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News of Otsego County

Jess Lanza

Delgado Seeks Advice From Local Merchants

After Oneonta, He Visits Cooperstown

Delgado Seeks Advice

From Local Merchants

After stopping in Oneonta, U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19, continued on to Cooperstown, where he canvased  Main Street with Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and Village Trustees Cindy Falk and Richard Sternberg, asking business people about pandemic impacts on local business.  Here, he pauses at Kate’s Upstate, where he met with co-proprietor Jess Lanza, the new Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce president.  Delgado, a freshman, is being challenged by Republican Kyle Van De Water, a Dutchess County lawyer, in the Nov. 3 election.  (AllOTSEGO.com photo)
Merchant New President Of Cooperstown Chamber

JESS LANZA CO-OWNS KATE’S UPSTATE

New Chamber President

Has Main Street’s Pulse

During down moments, Jess Lanza and wife Kate sit in front of Kate’s Upstate, gauging “the pulse of Main Street.” (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO>com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – During down times at Kate’s Upstate, Jess Lanza, new president of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce board of directors, sits on one of the turquoise chairs out front, chatting with tourists, customers and other businesspeople who happen to walk by.

“We’re right in the center,” said Lanza, the first merchant to lead the Cooperstown chamber board since 2007, when Riverwood’s Rick Gibbons passed the mantle to Inn at Cooperstown proprietor Marc Kingsley.  “”We have the pulse of what’s going on.”

Jess and his wife, the former Kate Whitney, were both born in the Northeast – he in Fort Lee, N.J.; she in Sidney – were raised in Florida.

They met at Stetson College – it was founded by John B. Stetson, who developed the famous cowboy hat – in DeLand, Fla.  “We had classes together,” said Jess, who double-majored in poli-sci and business administration,  “and a lot of mutual friends.”

Week 1, All Agree: Masks Being Worn In Downtown Coop

Week 1, All Agree:

Masks Being Worn

In Downtown Coop

Masked and enjoying Main Street are, from left, dad Kevin, Alexis and Addington Kress, Olivia Guida, and mom Christine Kress, visiting from Little Falls last Sunday. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN •  Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Kevin Kress, who was raised in Richfield Springs, brought his family from Little Falls to Cooperstown last weekend, and was neither surprised by the village’s new mandatory-mask law, or that most everybody seemed to be obeying it.

“We were in Lake Placid last weekend; they had done the same thing there,” said Kress, who was aware – and undeterred by – the new restrictions, which he’d heard about in a report on WKTV-TV, Utica.

Locally, Village Board members who had crafted the law, and businesspeople who may have worried about it, seemed to unanimously agree that the first weekend of the new strictures had gone smoothly.

Mayor Tillapaugh

Saturday, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch went into the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market while hubby Gary Kuch, the town justice, sat in the car waiting and watching.

“What’s your take, Gary?” she asked on finishing her shopping. “He said, ‘Easily, 97 or 98 percent are compliant. Those who don’t wear it have it around their necks.’”

“I walked Main Street a little bit,” she said. “I found the same thing.”

Village police patrolled, but didn’t have to give out any citations, the mayor said. They asked a few people to put on their masks, and they did. (She emphasized: If they had been issued citations, fines – they are authorized to $1,000 – wouldn’t go to the village, but into state coffers.)

Trustee Richard Sternberg, who has been most hawkish about the need to require mask-wearing, had a similar experience. “I thought I was seeing a higher percentage of masks,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s just a statistical variance. Some people weren’t aware of the new law yet.”

Jess Lanza

Jess Lanza, new board chair at the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, estimated adherence to the law “in the 90 percentile” along Main Street. In Kate’s Upstate, the fashion store he operates with his wife, “we haven’t had any issue with people coming in and fussing about it,” even under the less strict state order.

“We didn’t have any issues or anything,” agreed Laurie Fink, Tin Bin Alley proprietor. “From my perspective, the first weekend went very well.”

The Village Board unanimously passed the law Monday, Aug. 10, requiring masks to be worn on Main Street between Fair Street and Pine Boulevard, and on Pioneer between Church and Lake. The law was reviewed by Village Attorney Martin Tillapaugh, then filed with the New York secretary of state by week’s end, and it went into effect.

The law enhances Governor Cuomo’s executive order requiring people to wear masks within six feet of each other; because of sidewalk cafes, the trustees were worried pedestrians are unable to maintain the required distance on downtown sidewalks.

Concerned that there be enforcement, Sternberg said he had engaged village patrolmen in conversations about their plans to walk Main Street sidewalks.

Trustee Sternberg

But that was before he and the rest of the trustees received an email from the mayor clarifying the chain of command: “She is the sole authority to speak to police,” as well as Village Administrator Teri Barown, he said. “She is correct.”

(However, if Tillapaugh and Barown are both out of town, he continued, the Village Board can meet and designate an acting mayor until one of the women returns.)

Meanwhile, the “Masks on Main” effort to alert out-of-towners to the new law is continuing, with signage, “masks required,” placed in the rain gardens along Main Street, the mayor said.

“We ordered more signage after the law passed Monday night,” she said. “Sandwich boards should be in this week,” she added.

Village Merchant Jess Lanza Elected To Lead Chamber

Village Merchant

Jess Lanza Elected

To Lead Chamber

He, Wife Operate Kate’s Upstate

Jess Lanza

COOPERTOWN – Jess Lanza, who operates Kate’s Upstate on Main Street with his wife, has been elected chairman of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce board, it was announced today.

He succeeds Stacey Grady, Springbrook director of development, who has served on the board for the last decade.  Chamber Executive Director Tara Burke praised Grady for “her many years of service, above and beyond the call.”

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