News of Otsego County

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


Oneonta Common Council

Kaytee Lipari Shue Announces Council Candidacy

Kaytee Shue Announces

Fourth Ward Candidacy

Kaytee Shue

ONEONTA – Katherine (Kaytee) Lipari Shue, a long-time resident of Oneonta’s Center City neighborhood, has announced her candidacy for Common Council member representing the Fourth Ward.

“I’m looking forward to raising my son in the Fourth Ward and sending him to city schools,” she said. “It’s my priority to support legislation which will foster a positive community experience for all residents of the neighborhood.”

A Democrat, she will face Jerid Goss in the Democratic primary on June 25.

Common Council Adopts New Comprehensive Plan


Comp Plan Focuses On

‘Zombies,’ City Arts Scene

Bob Brzozowski, GOHS executive director and a member of the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, read from their final report as Common Council voted to adopt the updated Comprehensive Plan. (Ian Austin/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – An office to market the city as a destination for arts and culture, the reuse of “zombie properties” and continuing the Downtown Revitalization Initiative were all recommended as part of Oneonta’s updated Comprehensive Plan, adopted unanimously by Common Council during their meeting this evening.

“You’ve given us a road map that will use over the years,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “It’s given us a clear vision…an action plan and some real goals.”

The city formed steering committee in 2017 to update its Comprehensive Plan, implemented in 2007, because “Oneonta was at the tipping point,” Herzig said, “where we found ourselves with new opportunities and resources to reinvent Oneonta and thrive in today’s economy.”

Oneonta Airport Will See Growth Over Next 20 Years, Consultants Say

Consultants: Oneonta Airport

To Grow Over Next 20 Years

Zach Staff, regional aviation planning manager for the McFarland-Johnson consulting firm, Binghamton, presents recommendations for airport upgrades to Oneonta’s Albert S. Nader Regional Airport during a presentation to Common Council this evening. With him, seated, is Turner Bradford, senior engineer for the firm. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – For years, it was believed that as many as 23,000 takeoffs and landings happened annually at the  Albert S. Nader Regional Airport since the 1980s.

In reality, said Zach Staff,  McFarland-Johnson Consulting’s regional aviation planning manager, research for an updated airport master plan found annual takeoffs and landings over the last 30 years really averaged about 4,600.

“People would go with the old number and it was just gathered by word of mouth,” said Staff.

Staff and  Turner Bradford, senior engineer for the Binghamton-based firm, presented the updated data to Common Council this evening.

Oneonta Residents Weigh In On Environmental Impact of Rail Yard Development


Express Concerns

On Railyards Plan

‘Eco Park’ Urged In Scene Setter

For March 5 Public Hearing On Site

Colleen Blacklock urged Common Council to consider including renewable energy sources in any business development plans in D&H yard during public comment at tonight’s meeting. (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – Though the formal public hearing on the Railyards Generic Environmental Statement isn’t until Tuesday, March 5, citizens told Common Council tonight that it doesn’t focus enough on used of renewables.

“I would like to see us explore this idea of an ‘eco park,’ a net-zero eco park with wind and solar and geothermal energies,” said Colleen Blacklock, who is associated with the Concerned Citizens of Oneonta.

Berger, Tiemann named employees of the quarter

Berger, Tiemann Named

Employees Of Quarter

Mayor Gary Herzig stands with Police Sgt. Eric Berger, left, and Police Detective Joseph Tiemann, right, who were awarded the City’s Employees of the Quarter award this evening at Common Council. The pair were recognized thanks to a letter from Dan Maskin, CEO of Opportunities for Otsego, who commended them on their work with his staff during a recent active shooter drill at their facility. “They did an outstanding job working with and training my staff for the unimaginable,” said Maskin. (Ian Austin/
Common Council Approves Study for New Downtown Hotel

Common Council Approves

Study for New Downtown Hotel

Mayor Gary Herzig and City Manager George Korthauer believe that Oneonta would be a good site for a boutique hotel. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO,com)

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – Downtown Oneonta could soon be the site of a new boutique hotel.

Oneonta’s Common Council authorized the Mayor to contract with the consulting firm, REVPAR International, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia to do a marketing feasibility study for developing a downtown-area boutique hotel during their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Funded by a state grant of $19,000, the feasibility study will determine if a boutique hotel would be a good addition to Oneonta.

Oneonta Adds New Electric Vehicle Charge Station On Dietz

Dietz Street Lot Gets

Electric-Car Charger

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

This is an Ideal Shield electric-car charger, similar to one ordered for the Dietz Street lot.

ONEONTA – Looking for a “Clean Energy Communities” designation, a ChargePoint Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charging station has been added to the Dietz Street parking lot.

“Over the last two years, there was a joint effort among City departments and the Council to takes steps to earn the Clean Energy Communities designation,” said Council member Melissa Nicosia, Second Ward. “I am proud to have been a part of being able to complete this initiative. Clean Energy can only benefit our community in the future.”

The EV charging station is a pier-mounted console which will allow EV drivers to recharge their batteries over time.




Council Considers Hiring Consultant

One REVPAR project, the Betsy Hotel on Miami’s South Beach, won a World Boutique Hotel Award in 2012.

ONEONTA – Common Council Tuesday will be asked to approve a contract with REVPAR International Inc., Alexandria, Va., to do a feasibility study on whether a boutique hotel would be successful in downtown Oneonta.

During Mayor Dick Miller’s administration, such a plan was discussed for the lot between Ristorante Stella Luna and Foothills, but the concept did not move forward at that time.  The land was owned by the late Gene Bettiol.

Fire-Sprinkler Reg Excludes All But One Business, Owner Reports

Businessman: Fire-Sprinkler Reg

Excludes All But One Business

By CATHY NARDI • Special to

Bernie Zeh tells Common Council a new fire-safety regulation has damaged his business by excluding all but one local company.  Liz Rose of Peter Clark Rentals, left, seconded Zeh’s concerns.  (Ian Austin/

ONEONTA – During last evening’s Common Council, Bernie Zeh Jr. petitioned Council to hear his grievance.

Zeh said his business, ABM Fire Equipment, Hartwick Seminary,  is suffering unfairly due to a recent regulation that requires fire-sprinkler inspectors to obtain a Level II inspectors certificate from the National Institute for Certification in Engineering and Technologies (NICET).

“We were not notified of this change,” Zeh said.

Common Council passed the new code at a January 2016 meeting.

“It wasn’t until August 2017, when a customer called us to say the city would not accept our report that we were even made aware that there had been a change,” said Zeh.

Connectivity Is Key, Says Council Member Frazier

Connectivity Key To Success,

Says Council Member Frazier

Council member Michelle Fraizer, First Ward, explains the benefits of enticing remote-access workers to the city with City Manager George Korthauer. (Ian Austin/

By CATHY NARDI • Special to

ONEONTA – Connectivity is a future focus of economic development and Oneonta Council member Michele Frazier, First Ward, wants the Hill City to be a competitive presence.

“People are able to work remotely,” Frazier said. “They look for an ideal place to live, and we have a wonderful community, we are a perfect place for workers who want to live in a place like this and work remotely.”

Frazier asked that the board consider municipal Internet to be a possible infrastructure provided by the city. This coupled with a push to market the city to remote workers could be a new focus that has the potential to bring young adults to the area. This is because many of those young adults use software like FilecenterDMS to manage their work remotely, Frazier said.

Destination Oneonta’s Jessup To Update Common Council

Destination Oneonta’s Jessup

To Update Common Council

ONEONTA – Bank of Cooperstown Vice President Rachel Lutz Jessup, who is treasurer of Destination Oneonta, will brief Common Council on DO’s recent activities when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers.

Common Council also plans to update the city’s harassment policy to comply with recent guidelines established by the State Division of Human Rights.

Fire Commissioners To City: Let’s Talk

Fire Commissioner

To City: Let’s Talk

Al Rubin, commissioner for the Town of Oneonta Fire Commission, stands and addresses Common Council this evening, encouraging the City to talk with him to negotiate a formula for long-term fire coverage. Despite being elected to the position, talks between the two have been stalled, due to the chair of the fire commission not supplying the paperwork authorizing Rubin’s position to negotiate. (Ian Austin/


ONEONTA – Following two years of stalemate, the Town of Oneonta Fire Commission reached out to the City of Oneonta to re-open talks about the contract with the town Fire District.

“We feel the contract is very important,” said Town Supervisor Bob Wood said. “We would like to encourage you to talk, especially with Commissioner (Al) Rubin. He has expressed a strong intention in finding a formula that is fair, one we can go forward with.”

Council Votes to Widen Access On Busy Center City Street

Ford Avenue Fire Prompts

Council To Limit Parking

Oak Street resident Penny Cypress shows Council members Michele Frazier, First Ward, and Melissa Nicosia, Second Ward, photos of parking problems along Oak Street. (Ian Austin/

By CATHY NARDI • Special to

ONEONTA – With citizens voicing concerns that narrow streets lined with cars are limiting access for emergency vehicles, Common Council voted to restrict parking to one side of Oak Street, a short street between Dietz Street and Ford Avenue.

“That fire on Ford Avenue really sunk into me as to how difficult it would be if we had a fire,” said Oak Street resident Kristen Sloth told council at its Tuesday meeting.  “The fire trucks and rescue vehicles were all parked along one side of the street on Ford. If we had a fire, they would have a hard time getting down our street.”

Rissberger Apologizes But Holds Firm

Council Member Apologizes

But Holds Firm On OH-Fest

Reading from a prepared statement, 3rd Ward Council member David Rissberger apologized for his outburst at the previous Common Council meeting. (Parker fish/

By PARKER FISH • Special to

ONEONTA – The topic of OH Fest – SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College’s collaborative spring event – led to a heated exchange between 3rd Ward Council member David Rissberger and 5th Ward Council member Dana Marie Levinson two weeks ago at a Common Council meeting.

Talking led to shouting between the two until Mayor Gary Herzig stepped in to bring order to the discussion. Two weeks later, Rissberger apologized at last night’s Council meeting for his conduct, yet reaffirmed his belief that OH-Fest should be held off city property.  It is currently held in Neahwa Park.

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