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

Democrat Buttermann Wins Democrat Herzig’s Backing

Democrat Buttermann Wins

Democrat Herzig’s Backing

Buttermann

ONEONTA – Dan Buttermann, Oneonta, Democratic candidate for Assembly from the 121st District, today announced he has been endorsed by Mayor Gary Herzig, also a Democrats.

If Buttermann wins the nomination against Corey Mosher, a Hamilton farmer, in the June 23 Democrat primary, he will face Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, in November.

LET’S UNITE, FIGHT COVID-19’S THREAT

LET’S UNITE, FIGHT

COVID-19’S THREAT

Community Foundation Launches

Countywide Relief, Recovery Effort

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Community Foundation officers are, clockwise from top left, President Harry Lavine, Vice President Gary Herzig, Secretary Bob Schlather, and Treasurer Sarah Manchester.

COOPERSTOWN – The nation’s first community foundation, founded in 1914, is in Cleveland, Ohio, and in recent years it identified a lack of “capital wealth” as preventing the city’s blighted neighborhoods from rebounding.

“With a consortium of business people, government organizations and charities, they’ve funded several hundred small businesses in those neighborhoods. “Funding entrepreneurship kept wealth in the community,” said Harry Levine, chairman of the new Community Foundation of Otsego County. It’s creation was announced Tuesday, April 21.

It’s an example of what a community foundation can do.

Beneath the public’s radar, CFOC formed last year, when Levine assembled a 14-member board, ranging from Cooperstown’s Lou Allstadt, retired Exxon Mobil executive vice president, to the former Smith Ford’s Patsy Smith of Norwich and Cooperstown, and Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, “a cross-section of community-spirited people,” Levine said.

The oldest such entity in the nation, The Cleveland Foundation is also one of the most successful community foundations, building a community skating rink to draw people downtown.

The original idea was, through focus groups and community meetings, to build a plan of action from the ground up over the next several months.

Then COVID-19 arrived.

“We put everything aside to focus on COVID,” said Levine, who operates a construction firm in Princeton, N.J., but also has a local home and recently ended his tenure as Otsego Land Trust president.

The board concluded it was time for action, which led to this week’s announcement of the first initiative: The COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Fund for Otsego County. Immediately, the Fund has committed $50,000 to help existing non-profits – 501c3s – address the crisis.

Of that, $30,000 is will be matched with private donations. Board members will reached out to their contacts for donations, and Levine urged members of the public – all of us – to donate to the initiative.

All money contributed to the fund will be used for COVID-19 relief; administrative costs will be covered by money CFOC raised previously. So far, the foundation has no staff, so administration will be handled by volunteers.

“Unemployment is rising and we are seeing growing numbers of potentially fatal illness,” CFOC said in a statement that accompanied Tuesday’s announcement. “The non-profit sector of our economy is faced with overwhelming assistance requests, and we are going to help.”

The priorities listed included helping healthcare workers, firefighters and police, and “essential workers”; education and sanitary supplies; support for “vulnerable populations” (the elderly and the homeless); addressing lost wages and lack of food when necessary “to fill gaps in government-led responses,” and to help people, the poor in particular, get healthcare when needed.

Tuesday evening, Oneonta Common Council pledged its support for the undertaking, and the Cooperstown Village Board plans a similar declaration at its April 28 meeting.

In an interview, Oneonta’s mayor, the CFOC vice president, said when the foundation board first met last year, the idea was to follow “the traditional model,” building a strategic plan based on grassroots inputs.

“Then, completely unforeseen circumstances developed,” Herzig said, referring to the coronavirus. “While we will follow the traditional model, this is not the time for that. There is a huge need. We have people in Otsego County who struggle in the best of times. In these circumstances, it is impossible for them to make it alone.”

He praised Oneonta’s Dewar Foundation and Cooperstown’s Scriven Foundation, a Clark family entity focused on in-county philanthropy: “They’ve done wonderful things.”

“The community foundation,” he continued, “is made up from support from every member of the community. Individuals can contribute, businesses can contribute, groups can contribute. It’s truly what the name implies.”

Herzig also pointed out that Otsego County has received some help from the Community Foundation of South-Central New York, but that is Binghamton-based and primarily focused on Broome County.

Another CFOC board member, county Rep. Andrew Marietta, D-Cooperstown/Town of Otsego, who is also regional manager of the state Council of Nonprofits, said that private foundations “can pursue their pet projects.” Not so a community foundation. “It’s truly what the name implies.”

“Community foundations are really trying to serve the broadest group of people and the greatest range of needs,” he said.

Plan ‘Transformative,’ But Details Still Fuzzy

Plan ‘Transformative,’

But Details Still Fuzzy

Nothing On File, And Officials Unclear On How $225K Will Be Used

Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA – Cherie Welch, Oneonta, strolls down Main Street toward the Westcott Lot, passing 218-224 Main St., whose owner WHH Realty received $225,000 for a “Transformative” project. No further details are available.

By LIBBY CUDMORE
& JENNIFER HILL

ONEONTA – The DRI Project Selection Committee called the project “transformative” and awarded it $225,000.
But it turns out few details are available on what WHH Realty Corp., owned by city Planning Commission chair Anna Tomaino and her husband, Jimmy T’s proprietor Jim Tomaino, plan for 218-224 Main St.
Asked for details, Project Selection Committee chair Kim Muller, the former mayor, texted, “Some of the information you are looking for may be confidential … I’m trying to figure what level of detail I can share.”
She referred questions to the Tomainos and Mayor Gary Herzig.
Anna Tomaino said, “We want to develop that space for more businesses to move into. We want to see Main Street grow.”

HOMETOWN ONEONTA – Mayors Herzig and Muller announce the first DRI grants Tuesday, March 5, at Foothills.

STATE OF CITY: ‘We’re Onta Something,’ Mayor Declares

STATE OF CITY:

‘We’re Onta Something,’

Mayor Declares

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig delivers his 2019 State of the City address Tuesday, March 5, at Foothills Performing Arts Center.

Editor’s Note: This is the text of Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig’s 2019 State of the City address, delivered Tuesday, March 5, at the Foothills Performing Arts Center. He also announced $2.3 million in grants through the city/state Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

During the past year, some have questioned whether we have lost some of our momentum in revitalizing and reinventing the City of Oneonta. I want you to know that the answer to that is absolutely “no.”
We have been taking the time to go about this process the right way. We have engaged the entire community in the planning process, and we have been listening.
Literally, hundreds of people – residents; business and property owners; member of our boards and commissions; committee and focus group volunteers, our truly dedicated city staff, and our Common Council members – have participated and enthusiastically contributed their energy, their ideas and their aspirations to create a blueprint for a new Oneonta.

Criticism Sours $2M Grants For Downtown

Criticism Sours $2M Grants For Downtown

Railyard Naysayers

Sink Mayor’s Bullish

State Of City Speech

Mayor Herzig

By PATRICK WAGER
& JIM KEVLIN

ONEONTA – In his 2019 State of the State speech, Mayor Gary Herzig Tuesday, March 5, said everyone wants to get to “net zero,” but – “please” – don’t oppose a plan for the D&H railyards “to create much-needed jobs.”
Particularly, “while we go about enjoying our indoor tennis courts, gyms, swimming pools and theaters – all heated with gas. These are not the values of the people of the City of Oneonta,” he said.
The plea fell on 112 sets of deaf ears.

Railyard Foes Derail $2M In Good News

Railyard Foes Derail $2M In Good News

Herzig Pleads: Work Together

By PATRICK WAGER
& JIM KEVLIN

Ian Austin/HOMETOWN – ONEONTA Common Council candidate Seth Clark, who runs a student rental business, was the only speaker who said, due to poverty, the city needs “hundreds of jobs.”
Mayor Herzig

ONEONTA – In his 2019 State of the State speech, Mayor Gary Herzig Tuesday, March 5, said everyone wants to get to “net zero,” but – “please” – don’t oppose a plan for the D&H railyards “to create much-needed jobs.”
Particularly, “while we go about enjoying our indoor tennis courts, gyms, swimming pools and theaters – all heated with gas. These are not the values of the people of the City of Oneonta,” he said.
The plea fell on 112 sets of deaf ears.
This was supposed to be a celebratory evening, with Herzig and former mayor Kim Muller, who chaired the DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) committee, announcing $2 million in grants for façade improvements, signage and redevelopment of upper floors for housing in the city’s downtown.
But as speaker after speaker – 30 in all, speaking for three minutes each – criticized the GEIS (generic environmental impact statement) on a multi-million-dollar plan to redevelop the 88-acre D&Y Railyards, time ran out and no announcement occurred.

Koutnik Set To Retire As Season Starts

Koutnik Set

To Retire

As Season Starts

In Oneonta, 5 Out, 7 Plan To Run For City Council

By JIM KEVLIN & JENNIFER HILL

►County Board Vice Chair Gary Koutnik is retiring. Keep track of campaign developments at AllOTSEGO.com

Usually, roses are budding before local candidates start circulating nominating petitions.
This year, with the primary for state races joined with federal offices and moved up from September to Thursday, June 25, petitions are being circulated before the first crocus.
That change set off a flurry of electioneering in the past few days.
In the City of Oneonta in the week prior to Tuesday, Feb. 26, the starting date for circulating petitions, seven candidates announced they are running for five Common Council seats being vacated this fall.
For the Otsego County Board of Representatives, Clark Oliver, chairman of the Otsego County Young Democrats, announced he’s running to succeed the board’s vice chairman, Gary Koutnik, D-11, before many people even knew the veteran legislator is retiring.

now what

Oneonta Hotel Twice

Leaks Carbon Monoxide,

Forcing Its Office-Building

Neighbors To Flee

NOW WHAT?

Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA – Oneonta Assistant Fire Chief Jim Maloney (dark classes) enters 189 Main after it was evacuated Monday, Jan. 28, for a second time, by fumes from the former Oneonta Hotel next door. At left, city Code Enforcement Inspector John Hester and Stephen Yearly follow.

Mayor Gary Herzig did not mince words after carbon-monoxide leaks from the former Oneonta Hotel cause the adjacent 189 Main professional offices next door to be evacuated twice in four days.
“People’s well-being is at risk if we delay action any further,” Herzig said. “Not bringing that building up to code is a risk we should not be taking.”

Many Dangers Found At Hotel

Many Dangers Found At Hotel

City, Landlords Return To Court

By LIBBY CUDMORE

ONEONTA – At 195 Main St., five of the 40 apartments don’t have kitchen appliances. Many are without operating smoke detectors. Window panes are cracked and fixed with tape. And suspended ceiling tiles cover the sprinkler system, rendering it inoperable in a fire.
“There are still considerable violations,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “We have an obligation to make sure everybody in the city lives in a building deemed safe.”

New Year’s Day Swearings-In Set In Oneonta, Cooperstown

New Year’s Day Swearings-In

Set In Oneonta, Cooperstown

ONEONTA – Mayor Gary Herzig, Town Supervisor Bob Wood, county board reps and local elected officials will be sworn in for new terms at 1 p.m. Monday, Jan 1., at Hartwick College’s Shineman Chapel.  The new county Democratic chair, Kim Muller, will emcee.

Meanwhile, that morning, the new county treasurer, Allen Ruffles, will be sworn in at 11 a.m. at the county courthouse in Cooperstown by county Judge John Lambert.

Snow Falls as Santa Lights Oneonta Tree

Hundreds Brave Snow As

Santa Lights Oneonta Tree

With Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood to his left, and Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig to his right, Santa Claus admires the City of Oneonta’s Christmas Tree just after it was lit this evening in Muller Plaza.  As if scripted in a movie, snow began to fall just as the tree’s lights came on for the very first time.  Christopher Brashear, pictured at right, and the Klipnocky Clangers handbell choir played holiday tunes to help get everyone in the holiday spirit.  After the lighting, Santa occupied his cottage and began hearing youngsters’ Christmas wishes.  (Parker Fish/AllOTSEGO.com)

Half Of $200,000 Impact Aid Will Ease Taxes, Herzig Says
STATE BUDGET BRIEFING/2

Half Of $200,000 Impact Aid

Will Ease Taxes, Herzig Says

Mayor Herzig says half of Senator Seward's $200,000 in SUNY impact aid will go to property-tax relief. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Mayor Herzig says half of Senator Seward’s $200,000 in SUNY impact aid will go to property-tax relief. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

ONEONTA – Half of state Sen. Jim Seward’s $200,000 “pilot program” money to help the City of Oneonta cope with impacts of SUNY Oneonta will be used for tax relief, Mayor Gary Herzig told the audience at this morning’s presentation on the state budget at Foothills Performing Arts Center. This announcment comes as so many people have been struggling with their taxes in recent years with some even having to search for tax relief based in Sacramento, CA. This part of the budget will help aid people’s finances.

He also expressed thanks to Seward for getting the money in the 2016-17 state budget. (Another $200,000 was allocated for Cortland.)

“While we love the having the college here; while we love having the students here – there is a cost,” the mayor said in remarks this morning before introducing state Veterans’ Affairs Director Eric Hesse, sent here by Governor Cuomo to give a presentation on the state budget, approved on deadline a week ago today for the sixth year in a row.

Mayor Herzig Gives First ‘State Of City’

Mayor Herzig Gives

First ‘State Of City’

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig
Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig calls for better housing, more jobs and infrastructure repair in his first State of the City speech, delivered this evening in Common Council chambers.  (Click on image for full size.)  Listening, at left, from foreground, are Council members Joseph Ficano, John Rafter, Russ Southard and Dana Levinson; City Clerk Nancy Powell, Acting City Manager Meg Hungerford, who reviewed the year just past, and Council members Michelle Osterhoudt, David Rissberger, Melissa Nicosia and Paul van der Sommen.  (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.)
FULL TEXT IN HOMETOWN ONEONTA, ON NEWSSTANDS TOMORROW
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