News of Otsego County


Family & Friends Bid Farewell To Bud Pirone


Family, Friends Bid

Farewell To Bud Pirone

Friends, family, colleagues and students filled the Belden Auditorium at Oneonta High School this afternoon where a service was held celebrating the life of William “Bud” Pirone, a beloved teacher, OHS principal and coach, who passed away on Jan. 13 at age 80. Retired Methodist minister Dick Breuninger gave the sermon, remarking, “If Dick saw paradise as a walk in the woods on a golden afternoon, the best way to honor his memory would be to go for a walk on a lovely day. If it’s too cold to walk, sit down with a good book.” Pirone’s son and daughter, Michael Pirone and Kim Pirone Baskin, seen at left, remarked on memories of their father. “My father had a reputation as a harsh grader, and once told me he gave himself a B+ as a father and husband,” said Michael. “But I gave him an A+.” (Ian Austin/

Oneonta Yellowjackets Fall To Seton Saints

Oneonta Yellowjackets

Fall To Seton Saints

Oneonta’s Matt Shultz, right, dribbles past Tyler Rumpel of the Seton Saints(19-3) during their game at the Seton campus in Binghamton this evening. Despite a strong first quarter by both teams, by halftime the Saints had a 13 point lead from which Oneonta could not recover, eventually losing 58-79. (Ian Austin/
This Year, Drago Tourney At OHS Marked 60th Year



This Year, Drago Tourney

At OHS Marked 60th Year


ONEONTA – Two OHS athletic directors – the current one, Joe Hughes, and a legendary one, Tony Drago – presented the annual Tony Drago Tournament trophy Saturday, Dec. 1, to the Lady Yellowjackets.They realized they were  marking two milestones. One, it will be Joe Hughes’ last: He is retiring in June. Two, Tony Drago was marking his namesake tournament’s 60th anniversary.

Tony Drago looks over the program from OHS’ first Drago Basketball Tournament, 60 years ago.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Hughes. “There was no better way to go out than with the OHS girls’ win. Presenting the trophy with Tony to them was an honor.
“I’ve been blessed to have had such a good job and worked with such good people,” he said. “Coaches, students, directors, and of course, Tony.”
Hughes and Drago, who retired as OHS athletic director in 1984, share more than just that title.
Their families have been close since at least the late 1930s, when Drago and Hughes’ dad, Bill, attended OHS together. Tony was best man at Bill’s wedding, and a second father to Joe. “Joe is my son,” Drago declared. “He’s a good kid.”
As for Joe Hughes, “I followed in Drago’s footsteps.”

OHS Alumni Tee Off Weekend Of Celebrations

Annual Gathering Starts

At Oneonta Country Club

Some 135 OHS Alumni, top, pose on the Oneonta Country Club’s putting green before this morning’s start of the annual Alumni Golf Tournament, which begins the annual weekend of reunion celebrations. Players have a chance to win loads of prizes including a 2019 Chevy Cruze if they get a hole-in-one! At right, as the sun comes out, Jim Sandoli, ’63, lines up a shot as son Jim Jr., ’02, and Phil Meagley, ’63, look on. Awards will be given out around 2:30 p.m. The Alumni Banquet is this evening at the Asa C. Allison Building.  Annual Wall of Fame inductions are Saturday morning at the high school, followed by the homecoming game in the afternoon.  (Ian Austin/

Oneonta Graduates Lauded For Care & Compassion

OHS Class of ’18 Lauded

For Care & Compassion

Leroy Williams, Jr. embraces one of his teachers, Kelly Tavarone, as the Oneonta High School Class of 2018 exits the auditorium following the 149th annual Commencement at the high school’s Belden Auditorium at this afternoon. The graduates, lauded by Principal Tom Brindley, right,  for their caring and compassionate nature, had an unheard of number fights during the school year: zero. “This is a group that cares about each other, looks out for each other and cheer each other on,” Brindley remarked. “(They) are a friendly smile on a bad day. What you do does not compare to who you are.” It was also announced that Brindley is being promoted to assistant superintendent, a new position.   “I consider it a privilege to graduate with you.” he said. Brindley’s successor will be his assistant principal, Anne Wolstenholme. (Ian Austin/



OHS Seniors Enjoy Dancing, Games On Prom Night

Seniors Enjoy Games,

Dancing At OHS Prom

The OHS Class of ’18 celebrated its Senior Prom last night in the Foothills Atrium, where they danced and enjoyed food and photo booths. Above, Nate Southwick and his date Kirsten Lester sway on the dance floor among their classmates to one of the evening’s slow songs. Later, students headed to the OHS Cafeteria where they played games of chance to win a wide selection of prizes and money. At right, Christian Holoquist and Danielle Basdekis, left, as they deal cards to Jada Fisher and Christina Mattocks. (Ian Austin/


Joe Hughes Honored as OHS Alumni of the Year

Reunion Weekend ’17

Joe Hughes Honored

As OHS Alumnus Of ’17

Joe Hughes, ’76, Oneonta High School athletic director and Oneonta Outlaws manager, basks in the crowd’s applause as he is recognized as the OHS Alumnus of the Year  at the 2017 Wall of Fame & Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Belden Auditorium this morning. Wall of Fame inductees were Milton Collins, ’51, Dr. Charles Mitchell, ’47, Eric Spaziani, ’74, Edward Syron, ’67, and Michael Zagata, ’60. The Athletic Hall of Fame inductees were Kim Kurkowski Huffman, ’80, William Elwood IV, ’98, Stephen Downey, ’87, Thomas Duffy, and the 1999 OHS Boys Soccer Team. (Ian Austin/
OHS Celebrates Graduates At Commencement

OHS Celebrates Their Graduates

At 148th Commencement

Oneonta High School sent 118 of it’s students off into to a larger world this morning during the 148th Commencement Ceremonies in the Charles Belden Auditorium this morning. Above: Hannah Reynolds is embraced by her father Jamie Reynolds, President of the School Board, after she accepts her diploma from Superintendent Joseph Yelich, left, and Principal Thomas Brindley. At right, Ruby French flashes a triumphant smile with her high school diploma in hand as she and the rest of her class parade out during the recessional. (Ian Austin/


Class of ’17 Enjoys Prom In Foothills Atrium

Class of ’17 Enjoys Prom

In Foothills Atrium

Thanks to an anonymous donation, the OHS Class of 2017 were able to enjoy their senior prom in the Atrium of Foothills, where they enjoyed dinner, dancing, daiquiris and a candy bar before heading to the after-prom party in the High School cafeteria for a chance to win prizes at casino games and  raffles. Above, the dance floor was hopping throughout the night to tunes spun by DJ Hectic. At right, Nick Giacomelli and Maria Farrell enjoy a slow dance together as the evening winds to a close.(Ian Austin/


Oneontan Joins Cooperstown Police

Oneontan Joins Cooperstown Police

Steve Lansing of Oneonta is sworn in as a Cooperstown police officer by Village Manager Teri Barown. Behind Officer Lansing is his father, Robert, and Police Chief Michael Covert. Seated are Mayor Jeff Katz, right, and Deputy Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, left. The swearing-in happened Monday at the Village Board’s monthly meeting.  Lansing is a graduate of SUNY Albany, where he majored in human biology and minored in psychology, and ran cross-country.   He graduated from OHS, where he lettered in cross-country and track & field all four years, as the team won four championships in a row; he was also elected vice president of the OHS Student Council.    (Jim Dean photo)
Disney’s ‘High School Musical’ Opens at OHS

Disney’s ‘High School Musical’

Opens at Oneonta High School

Ella Pawkett as Taylor McKenzie and Josette LaRocca as Gabriella Montez lead the rest of the cast in the opening number to Disney’s “High School Musical” at Belden Auditorium this evening. The play is presented by the Oneonta High School Blue and Gold Guild and has shows Friday and Saturday at 7pm. Attendees can bring school supplies to benefit The Family Service Association. Tickets are $5 seniors and students, $10 adults. (Ian Austin/



Disney’s ‘High School Musical’ At OHS


MUSICAL – 7 p.m. Bring the family out for this presentation of Disney’s “High School Musical.” Bring school supplies to donate and half the proceeds of the show go to the Family Service Association “Back to School” drive. Oneonta High School Auditorium, 31 Center Street, Oneonta. Info,

ART EXHIBIT RECEPTION – 5-8 p.m. Exhibits “Within The Happy Crowd,” by Kate Shannon and “Icelandic Images,” by Bret Delanoy opens at the Community Arts Network of Oneonta. Includes music by Wendy Slicer. Wilber Mansion, 11 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Info,

Our Kids Perform ‘Our Town’

Our Kids Perform ‘Our Town’

Bailey LaTourette, Andrew Mariano and Katie Capra in a scene from OHS's Blue and Gold Guilds production of 'Our Town' by Thornton Wilder, which opened this evening at the Belden Auditorium at Oneonta High School. Performances are at 7pm on Friday and Saturday. (Ian Austin/
Mrs. Webb, (Bailey LaTourette), left,  tells an anxious George Gibbs (Andrew Mariano), center, it is not customary for a groom to see his bride before the wedding as  Dr. Gibbs (Katelin Capra) agrees during  OHS’s Blue & Gold Guild’s opening night production of  Thorton Wilder’s “Our Town.”  Performances continue tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m. in Belden Auditorium at Oneonta High School. (Ian Austin/


Class of 2016 Dances The Night Away At Prom

Oneonta Class Of 2016

Boogie Down At Prom

The OHS class of 2016 enjoyed their senior prom at the Southside Holiday Inn last night, where food and revelries were had by all. Here Natasha Kashii, Tony Russo, Brittney Ngoyn, Bhanu Gaur, Tara Austin and Daniel Mazei dance to "Cupid Shuffle" by Cupid. The after-prom party was held in the cafeteria of the High School where students could partake in casino games and win a wide selection of prizes.(Ian Austin/
Prom night finally arrived and the Oneonta High School  Class of 2016 enjoyed every minute of it! Here Natasha Kashii, Tony Russo, Brittney Ngoyn, Bhanu Gaur, Tara Austin and Daniel Mazei hit the dance floor to “Cupid Shuffle” by Cupid.  The after-prom party was held in the OHS cafeteria, where students could play in casino games and win TVs, video game systems and a jar of money. (Ian Austin/
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