News of Otsego County

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


Oneonta News

The Hill City Rollers Skate Against Hate

The Hill City Rollers

Skate Against Hate

Baby Lace, Mrs. Boutfire and Bizzy Cheap Skate lead a a group around Neahwa Park this morning at the Hill City Roller Derby team took a stand against hate. The demonstration was part of the Worldwide Roll Out Day: Roll To Erase Hate movement started by skating coach Skate Fan Tazee out of Atlanta. “We wanted to get people from the rolling community to promote positivity and safe spaces in our community.” explained Mrs. Boutfire (aka Robin Williams, Oneonta) “We want to be open to all people. Derby is about anyone being able to do it regardless of color, body type, gender, or how much you have skated. This is an all-inclusive sport!” The group met at the skatepark and rolled their way around the park with their signs. “Anything we can do to make a statement.” said Jim Ruffo, Oneonta, “We will not stand for hate.”(Ian Austin/
Leroy Charles Klein, 78; Oneonta Native Was Retired Contractor

IN MEMORIAM: Leroy Charles Klein, 78;

Oneonta Native Was Retired Contractor

Leroy Charles Klein

ONEONTA – Oneonta native Leroy Charles Klein, 78, of Keystone Heights, Fla., passed away Sunday, July 5, 2020, from injuries he sustained in a tractor accident.

He was born May 31, 1942, in Oneonta, to Edward and Doris (Earing) Klein. Mr. Klein served in the  Navy and was a retired contractor. He was Episcopalian and loved staying busy doing odds and ends.

In addition to his father his son Wayne Klein and brothers Philip Klein and Paul Klein had also preceded him death. Mr. Klein leaves behind is daughters Shawn McClure (Robert) of Boynton Beach, Fla., and Jannell Davisson of West Columbia, S.C.

Reprinted From This Week’s
Hometown Oneonta, Freeman’s Journal



From Mary

Jim Belleau shows off two views of Notre Dame de Paris, which he has used in developing his computerized schematic of what he calls “Mary’s Plan” for the iconic cathedral. (Jim Kevlin/
Inspired by a 2017 visit to the shrine at Lourdes, France, a devout Jim Belleau of Oneonta prayerfully offered to organize seminars to explore the meaning of the Virgin Mary’s 18 appearances in 1858 to a 14-year-old peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, “unless you have somethng better for me.” Belleau believes that “something better” is coming to pass.

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

ONEONTA – “It was an amazing moment.”

It was October 2017, and Jim Belleau was in his third or fourth night of his second visit to Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine in France.

A procession at Lourdes, photographed by Jim Belleau in 2017.

“We witnessed this procession,” the Principally Prints owner recalled the other day. “It was a warm night. The moon was out. And, for an hour, I had just witnessed 12,000 people singing the Rosary and holding candles.”

St. Mary with crown, the statue in the Lourdes plaza.

He had attended a mass, in Italian, at the Grotto, and was walking back to the hotel, crossing the 124-acre main square – it can accommodate up to 100,000 visitors; now it was completely empty – with the cathedral-like chapel behind him.

“I turned toward Mary,” he said, a famed statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, crowned, “and I got down on one knee. And I placed the rest of my life at her service. I said literally that.”

Oneonta Mayor: Bars Beware Or Be Closed
Reprinted From This Week’s
Hometown Oneonta, Freeman’s Journal

Question: Can Students Safely Return?

Mayor Herzig:

Bars Beware

Or Be Closed

Hayley Dower, manager, Red Jug Pub, is already a social distancing VIP, setting up the “velvet rope” to limit the number of customers in her bar. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – Mayor Gary Herzig has a message if returning Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta students go out on the town – follow the rules, or the fun stops.

“We will enforce the state regulations,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “If you’re not at a table, you need to have your mask on. You can’t be elbow-to-elbow at the bar. We will send the police, code enforcement or the state Liquor Authority in to respond to complaints.”

As the colleges announced reopening plans for this fall, Herzig plans to meet with the two college presidents, Hartwick’s Margaret Drugovich and SUNY Oneonta’s Barbara Jean Morris, to lay out the city’s new approach.

City, Chamber: Come Get Your PPE!

City, Chamber:

Come Get Your PPE!

Masked man Mayor Gary Herzig, gives Peter Clark, foreground, a gallon of hand sanitizer as part of the “Survive, Then Thrive” giveaway of personal protective equipment, including hand sanitizer, masks and thermometers, to local businesses at Damaschke Field this morning. 85 businesses have signed up for appointments to get the PPE, contact-free, but there are still slots available tomorrow from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Call the Otsego County Chamber (607) 434-3130 for an appointment (Ian Austin/
Police: Man Falsely Accused Man Of Having Handgun
Told Officers ‘Shoot Out’ Imminent; No Weapons Found

Police: Man Falsely Accused

Man Of Brandishing Handgun

ONEONTA – An Oneonta man was arrested after he allegedly made a series of calls to the Oneonta Police Department, falsely accusing neighbors of being “involved in a drug deal” and brandishing a handgun.

According to Police Chief Doug Brenner, Thomas E. Harker, 64, Oneonta, allegedly called the Oneonta Police department yesterday afternoon, first to report an alleged drug deal, then made a second call, where he allegedly told police he witnessed one of the two men pull out a handgun.

“He told officers there was going to be ‘a shoot-out’,” said Brenner.

History Center Reopens Friday

History Center

Reopens Friday

The Oneonta History Center at Dietz and Main is opening Friday.

ONEONTA – The Oneonta History Center reopens at noon Friday, Executive Director Bob Brzozowski announced a few minutes ago.  COVID-19 closed the center at 183 Main St. almost four months ago.

The GOHS has developed a Safety Plan to help ensure everyone’s health upon reopening. Attendance will be limited to 15 persons at a time. Masks and social distancing will be required. There will be regular cleaning and disinfecting of high-contact surfaces.

Schumer Promises Help For Local Governments


Schumer Promises Help

For Local Governments

Against a backdrop of pure Americana – the Stars & Stripes, Doubleday Field and the Sandlot Kid – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, the state’s senior senator, this afternoon pledged federal support that would go directly to local governments in the support package now being negotiated in Congress.  He appeared with county board Chairman David Bliss, left, and Treasurer Allen Ruffles, who have been pleading for that kind of direct aid to municipalities (if the money goes through Albany, it can never make it here), as well as, inset left,  Mayors Gary Herzig of Oneonta and Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch of Cooperstown, who detailed how their municipalities’ financials have been stricken by the coronavirus threat. He called Cooperstown “one of the hardest hit” communities due to its dependence on tourism. The senator, who makes a swing to Otsego County at least once a year, had begun the day in Buffalo and, his airplane grounded at Oneonta Airport by the weather, drove on to New York City. (Jim Kevlin/

Council Approves Main Street Closure, Dining

Common Council Approves

Main Street Closure, Dining

ONEONTA – Starting 9 a.m. next Saturday, July 18, and continuing through Sept. 5, Main Street from Elm to Chestnut will be closed to allow restaurants to expand their outdoor dining opportunities.

“It’s highly marketable,” said Council Member Mark Drnek, Eighth Ward, who chairs the Survive, Then Thrive committee. “Downtown Oneonta could become the Best Restaurant in New York.”

Restaurants will be able to place tables in front of their restaurants only, as well as determine whether to offer service or ask diners to order take-out. Patrons will still be required to wear masks where social distancing is not possible.

Alpine Building Gets A DRI Face Lift

Alpine Building

Gets A DRI Facelift

Frank Gaisford, Better Home Improvement, begins tearing off the old facade of the former Alpine Ski Hut, now Serenity Hobbies. According to owner Ingrid Hofbauer, it’s the third such “facelift” in 53 years; the first, when they bought the building in 1967, then in 1973 when they expanded the sporting goods section, and today. The work was funded by a Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant, but will pay homage to the history of their family business as The Alpine Building. (Ian Austin/
Otsego County Fair Announces Cancellation

Otsego County

Fair Cancelled

MORRIS – After” exhausting all avenues,” the Otsego County Fair announced that the 2020 event has been cancelled, according to a press release on their website.

“Without any guidelines from NYS, CDC, and with high demands for the Dept. of Health, it will be impossible to have the 75th Annual Otsego County Fair,” the press release read. “We completely understand your frustrations and heartbreak not having your county fair and we can assure you we’ve exhausted all avenues.”

Customer Appreciation Day Helps Beat The Heat

Customer Appreciation Day

Helps Beat The Heat

It’s always the perfect time for ice cream at the Polar Bear Homemade Ice Cream parlor! Above, Joseph Dalton, who has known owners Heather and Michael Ross for over 40 years, get a cone of soft-serve with his grandchildren Daniel and Olivia Jagielo, from Macy Jordan, Franklin during The Polar Bear’s customer appreciation day. (Ian Austin/
Buttermann Wins Assembly Primary


Buttermann Wins

Assembly Primary

Republican Elections Commissioner Lori Lehenbauer, center, (as well as her Democratic counterpart, Mike Henrici), supervises the counting of absentee primary ballots Thursday. According to the candidate and his campaign, Dan Buttermann of Oneonta won the nod to run for the 121st Assembly seat in the fall. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Dan Buttermann

ONEONTA – Dan Buttermann has won the Democratic primary in the 121st District, the candidate confirmed a few minutes ago, although he said the numbers are not “official” until the count of Otsego County absentee ballots is completed Monday.

That was echoed by his campaign manager, Martha Moore, Cazenovia, who added, “His opponent” – Hamilton farmer Corey Mosher – “has conceded.  Dan is ahead.  He won Oneida.  Madison County was close.  His opponent won it, but it was not enough to overcome (Buttermann’s) lead.”

While the Otsego County absentee count is not complete, it is expected Buttermann, an Oneontan, will win the county, she said.






Dr. Morris
President Morris

ONEONTA – SUNY headquarters has approved a plan that mixes face-to-face and online instruction that will allow students to return to the Oneonta campus this fall, President Barbara Jean Morris announced a few minutes ago.

“Its aim is to carry out the mission of the college — to nurture a community where students grow intellectually, thrive socially and live purposefully — while remaining vigilant against COVID-19,” said Morris.

With Hartwick College having already announced it is reopening, that means 6,000 students – and their spending capacity – will give a boost to the city’s rebound from the COVID-19 threat.

Said Morris, “Thoughtful consideration of several scenarios and extensive input from the campus community went into our plan.”

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