News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Gary Herzig





15 New Cases In July; 4 In

Hospitals, 3 On Ventilators


CDC image of the coronavirus

After a quiet May and June, 15 cases since the beginning of July, nine in the past week, may mean we’re heading right back where we started from.

Heidi Bond

“This increase is similar to what we were seeing in the beginning,” county Public Health Director Heidi Bond said Tuesday. “If we continue to see a rise in cases, it could set us back.”

Four of the new cases have been hospitalized, two at Bassett Hospital, one at Fox and one at Albany Med, she said. Three of the four are on ventilators.

Four are in the City of Oneonta, and one in the Village of Cooperstown.

City Council Asked For $153K To Fund Pandemic Recovery

City Council Asked

For $153K To Fund

Pandemic Recovery

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

ONEONTA – Common Council Tuesday will be asked to approve $153,000 in funding for Mayor Gary Herzig’s “Survive Then Thrive” Committee, according to the meeting’s agenda released this afternoon.

Of the total, $75,000 will be used for Small Business Reopening; $75,000 for Small Business Recovery; and $3,000 for a Survive Art/Online sales promotion.

Chamber Chair: Re-Opening Chance For Growth, Creativity

Chamber Chair: Reopening

Chance For Growth, Creativity

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to


ONEONTA – Though Phase One of “un-PAUSE” is limited to construction, manufacturing and curbside retail, Al Rubin, chair, Otsego County Chamber of Commerce Board, wants to make sure all businesses are ready to begin the process of rebuilding the local economy.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “Now is the time for innovation and creativity. Now is not the time to be shy. We need to be sharing all these ideas.”

This afternoon, county board Chairman David Bliss announced that Otsego County businesses and industry have been included in Phase One of the state’s reopening from the COVID-19 lockdown, effective this Friday, May 15.

For More Details, See This Week’s
Freeman’s Journal, Hometown Oneonta




Levine, Herzig In Leadership Roles;

Public Asked To Assist Fundraising


COOPERSTOWN – Local citizens face “an emergency need” to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the new Community Foundation of Otsego County.  So at 2 p.m. today, the CFOC announced it has created the COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund.

“Otsego County unemployment is rising and we are seeing growing numbers of potentially fatal illnesses,” CFOF announced in a statement.  “The nonprofit service sector of our economy is faced with overwhelming assistance requests, and we are going to help.”

The CFOC is chairman by Harry Levine, Town of Springfield, former president of the Otsego Land Trust.  The vice chair is Gary Herzig, Oneonta’s mayor; treasurer, Sarah Manchester, Oneonta, limited partner in Edward Jones, the financial advisers, and secretary, Bob Schlather, the Cooperstown attorney and accountant.





Oneonta, Cooperstown Mayors Both Anticipate Glimmerglass In Autumn


Oneonta, Cooperstown

Mayors Both Anticipate

Glimmerglass In Autumn

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch aboard “The Boat,” as her young daughters christened it in 1995. She and husband Gary have been enjoying relaxing on Glimmerglass’ waters ever since. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig and wife Connie often make the trip up Route 28 to the Otsego Sailing Club. They enjoy sailing, but also teacher youngsters, like J.J. here, how to sail.

COOPERSTOWN – Not one, but two Otsego County mayors highly recommend boating on Glimmerglass this – or any – fall.

Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh and Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig have long loved boating on the lake – motor, sail, kayak, paddleboard – you name it.  And while summer is peak boating time, both go out on Lake Otsego through autumn – Herzig and his wife Connie until mid-October, and Tillapaugh and her husband, Gary Kuch, until mid-November.

“The fall colors are glorious when you’re on Otsego Lake,” Tillapaugh said.  “You’re surrounded by them.”

With her family’s house only 1½ blocks from the water’s edge, Tillapaugh grew up boating on Otsego Lake.

“I had my own little wooden boat at age 12,” she said, “which I bought with money I earned scooping up the golf balls people at the Country Club hit into the water.”

Signs Say Loud: RSS Not Welcome

Signs Say Loud:

RSS Not Welcome

Mayor Herzig Would Be ‘Surprised’

If State Funds River Street Project

Doleen Vergari hands out signs to her fellow Sixth Ward residents including Rich Gravlin and Carl Miller following tonight’s meeting. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE  • Special to

RSS’s lack of transparency is what bothers him most, Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, tells Sixth Ward Neighbors United.  In the foreground is Fran Colone, the meeting’s moderator.

ONEONTA – Bill Shue doesn’t see the Sixth Ward’s fight against housing developer RSS as a strictly Sixth Ward issue.

Bill Shue

“If this can happen here, it can happen anywhere,” he said. “It can happen in Center City or on the East End.”

The Sixth Ward Neighbors United, which has vocally opposed Rehabilitation Support Services’ proposed 64-unit housing project at River and Duane streets, met tonight at the Sixth Ward Athletic Club, the first meeting since speaking at the Otsego County Board of Representatives’ April 3 meeting.

County Rep Danny Lapin, District 5, was in attendance, as was Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, and Mayor Gary Herzig.

Transit Hub Planning Study On Common Council Agenda

Transit Hub Planning Study

On Common Council Agenda

Separately, DRI Grant Approvals Due In Early March

ONEONTA – Common Council will be asked to approve a $155,000 contract for planning a transit hub around the Downtown Parking Deck when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

Paid for with state money available through the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative), the contract will be with Wendel, a consulting firm in Williamsville, the Buffalo suburb, for a Transit Hub Conceptual Planning Study.

Mayor, DRI Could Finally Bloom In ‘19

City of The Hills

Mayor, DRI Could

Finally Bloom In ‘19

Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA – Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig had plenty to smile about as he laid out Oneonta’s 2019 plans at the State of The State breakfast on Wednesday, Jan. ONEONTA

ONEONTA – In 60 days, Mayor Gary Herzig said, the new Main Street plans will be revealed.

“This redesign is not by City Hall, but by 80 downtown business owners whohave submitted proposals for $2.5 million in funding for improvements,” he said.

Herzig, alongside Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, spoke at the annual State of the State breakfast, hosted by the Otsego Chamber.

First Oneonta Common Council Meeting of 2019 Opens On Somber Note

First Common Council Meeting

Of 2019 Opens On Somber Note

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – Common Council opened its first meeting of 2019 on a somber note, with Mayor Gary Herzig calling for a moment of silence in honor of former Oneonta firefighter John D. Heller, who lost his life while rescuing his fiancée and four nephews from a house fire last Saturday, Dec. 29.

Herzig said about Heller, “I think we can all feel that we do have a true hero among us and can be very proud of him.”

Oneonta Photographers Exhibit On Display At City Hall

Oneonta Photography Exhibit

Now On Display At City Hall

Wayne Wright, the Greater Oneonta Historical Society’s, shows off a two-lens stereoscopic camera that is featured in three panels from the “Oneonta Photographers, 1850-1900” he staged for GOHS during the fall now being installed in the City Hall lobby. The show features work from William Mereness, Perry Young and Howard N. Smith, who took some of the earliest images of Oneonta. At right, Wright shows Mayor Gary Herzig a stereoscope of the D&H rail yards. Stereoscopes, photographs, cameras and other ephemera will be on display through the end of March. (Ian Austin/

Herzig Will Ask Council To Name Airport For Sam Nader

Herzig: Name Airport

To Honor Sam Nader

Former Mayor Sam Nader, left shares a laugh with current Mayor Gary Herzig at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Oneonta Municipal Airport, which Nader himself championed, on Sept. 17, 2016. In December, Herzig will ask Common Council to approve re-naming the airport in Nader’s honor.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – Mayor Gary Herzig will ask Oneonta Common Council to approve the re-naming of the Oneonta Municipal Airport in honor of Sam Nader at their meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

“At our airport, I recently participated in the first graduation of Oneonta Job Corps’ Drone Operator program,” said Herzig.  “While doing so, I could not help but think that this event would never have taken place if not for Mayor Sam Nader’s determination to realize his vision of an Oneonta Airport.”

When Nader ran for mayor in 1962, he supported a new airport, which newspapers at the time called “Nader’s Folly.”

“I said the issue was more important than any individual, and I would risk defeat to have an airport,” Nader said in an interview with the Hometown Oneonta in September 2016.

Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103