News of Otsego County

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


Habitat For Humanity Celebrates 30 Years


Habitat Slide Show Applauds

36 Homes, 2 Renovations

Habitat For Humanity celebrated 30 years of building homes in Otsego County at the Elm Park Methodist Church this evening. A slideshow of the 36 homes and two major renovations was played for the guests as they enjoyed refreshments and cake. Above, Brad Conforti, wife Colleen and their children Abrielle and Micah, Town of Maryland, show off the most recent Habitat newsletter that features the home they will move into. The home is one of the newest residences Habitat is building on McFarlane Road off of Route 205 between West Oneonta and Laurens.  At right, Habitat president Mary Ann Dowdell, Oneonta,  who gave the evening’s keynoter, recognizes those who have donated time and talents over the past three decades by having their names included on an honorary plaque. (Ian Austin/

And They’re Off!

They’re Off!

Legion Riders Off On 2019 Legacy Run

Chris Chase, vice president, American Legion Riders, Post 259, gears up with fellow riders as they prepare to head out Saturday morning on the 2019 Legacy Run. Inset, Deborah Rodriguez-Heim, Oneonta, starts out on her red Can-Am Spyder. The ride funds the American Legion Legacy Scholarship, which provides scholarship money to children of post-9/11 veterans who died on active duty.  This year, the riders made their way from Oneonta, over Franklin Mountain to Delhi where they will take a break before going to Walton, Margaretville and Downsville.  In past year, the riders have circled Otsego Lake and stopped at Glimmerglass State Park before heading home.  (Ian Austin/

Standing Ovation For Huff At End Of ‘Firebird Suit’


Standing Ovation For Huff

At End Of ‘Firebird Suite’

Silas Huff, right, one of three conductors auditioning to succeed founding conductor Charles Schneider in directing Oneonta’s Catskill Symphony Orchestra, took to the stage tonight at SUNY Oneonta’s Hunt Union Ballroom.  Here, he directs cello soloist Andrew Janss in Franz Haydn’s “Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major, Op 101.”  Huff, the first of three candidates who will be guest conductors this fall, received standing ovations for Strauss’ “Overture to Die Fledermaus” and, the finale, Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite.”  The next conductor candidate will be Carolyn Watson, who will perform on Oct. 12.  Tickets available at (Ian Austin/
Bargains Galore At Grand & Glorious

Bargains Galore

At Grand & Glorious

Bargain shoppers flocked to the annual Grand & Glorious Garage Sale today on Oneonta’s Main Street searching for that special item, great deal or a walking taco. Above, Steve Londner unloads boxes of items at the League of Women Voters tent as Jill Eichler, Franklin, a volunteer with the Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans, converses wit Alice Collins, Oneonta. All items they had left will be donated to the Super Heroes With Ripped Jeans Thrift Store. At right, Linda Pipitone and Pam Hanley, Town of  Maryland, admire an iron found amidst one of the sellers offerings. (Ian Austin/

Table Rock Bouldering Hosts Climbing Competition

Table Rock Bouldering

Hosts Climbing Contest

Jacob Lyons, SUNY Oneonta, Stefan Janiszewski, Delhi, Reese Gelbsman, Oneonta, and Heather Kase, Syracuse, watch as Steve Sammons, Burnt Hills, climbs his way along the ceiling at Table Rock Bouldering, Oneonta, this afternoon, part of its Summer Sendoff Competition. Participants from all over the state compete competed in three levels of difficulty for a chance to win prizes and awards. (Ian Austin/
Legion Honors Families With Blue Star Ceremony

Legion Honors 6 Families

With Blue Star Ceremony

Legion Commander Terry Harkenreader and Wayne Gregory, above, present a Blue Star flag to Roxanne Condon, Oneonta, in honor of her son Leaf Ericson, who is serving as a foreman in the Navy, as part of the Blue Star Ceremony.  Six area families were honored this evening at Oneonta’s American Legion Post 259. Originally started in 1917, the Blue Star Ceremony presents families with children serving in a branch of the military with an honorary flag to hang in their window. The tradition fell out of fashion during the Vietnam era, but has been regaining in popularity in recent years. This is the first time the Oneonta Legion has taken part in the ceremony. Inset at right, Ericka Ericson, Kim Lindberg and Lois Proctor listen as Gregory reads the history of the Blue Star flag. (Ian Austin/

Angry Birds Obstacle Felled Ninja Warrior Eardley


Out Of ‘Ninja Warrior’

For Now, He May Try Again

It was the Angry Birds that bested all of the contestants on this evening’s episode of Ninja Warrior, including Oneonta’s own Anthony Eardley. The obstacle, seen above, is the second to last on the course, and is styled  to promote the upcoming movie Angry Birds 2. Leaping to a platform that rotated while also unable to see the handholds on it proved too challenging for Eardley and all of his fellow contestants despite a strong and confident run on the course. Eardley finished in 16th place, just missing out of the top 13 who advance to the next round in Las Vegas. But,  Oneonta’s ninja is far from out. He has his sights on competing in the Florida Ninja League on August 24 and Ultimate Backyard Warrior on Labor Day Weekend. Following the show at Foothills, Eardley took time to talk with fans and pose for pictures, like this one with Camden Hill, 5, Cooperstown, who is already training to be a ninja himself.  To watch the episode click here (Ian Austin/

Avanzato Releases Oneonta Inspired Poetry Collection

Avanzato’s Poetry

Focuses On Oneonta

Gianluca Avanzato, with his mother Rosemarie and father Antonio, poses with his new collection of poetry inspired by growing up in Oneonta, aptly titled “City Of The Hills.” Gianluca was on hand at Stella Luna this evening where he read from the collection and signed copies. The book will be available at Greater Oneonta Historical Society, The Green Toad Bookstore and on (Ian Austin/

Music Fills Maple Park

Music In Maple Park

The air was filled with music this afternoon as musicians and music fans filled Maple Park in Oneonta for the third annual Celebration of Local Musicians. The event, sponsored by The Autumn Cafe, The B-Side Ballroom and Cleinman and Associates is free to the public and features more than 5 local bands who had people dancing away. Above, members of Blues Maneuver Tina Johnson, Rebecca Harrington and Dave Krajicek lend their musical talents to the afternoon lineup while Harry and Mary Bristol, right, Oneonta, swing dance together. (Ian Austin/

St. J. Fest Opens With Fife &Drum Processional

Fife & Drum, Processional

Lead Off St. James Festival

St. James Episcopal Church kicked off its St. J. Fest this afternoon by parading through the streets with the Leatherstocking District Fife & Drum band, which has been practicing at the church for 30 years. Above, Father Ken Hunter and Deacon Vicky Hunter, Oneonta, walk with Jordan Eggleston, Oneonta, Kathy Beveridge, Delhi, Bill Reardon, Cobleskill, Brian Fluery, Laurens, Ed McAteer, Oneonta, Sara Evenson, Walton, and Stephen Yearly, Walton, as they lead the procession to the St. James Garden. The all-day event features Cajun Pete’s Jazz Band, an organ recital and presentation by Craig Morrow, and Evensong. Freestyle Confections are also on site offering tasty confections. Admission is free; all welcome. (Ian Austin/
Oneonta Enjoys A Colorful 4th of July


Colors Abound

At Oneonta’s 4th

Dr. Joe Rufrano barrels through a cloud of color during the annual Color Run that kicked off today’s annual Hometown Fourth of July celebration in Neahwa Park.  The celebration continued with a parade at noon, followed with live music, food, vendors, bounce houses, demonstrations, and more. Fireworks will follow this evening night. (Ian Austin/





Father-Son Development Team

Will Brief City Council July 16

The Lofts on Dietz – a prospective four-story building containing 40 artist studios and 26 middle-income apartments – will be on Tuesday’s Common Council agenda. The developers, a father-son team from the Hudson Valley, will brief Council members July 16.

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

ONEONTA – Attention, Oneonta: The Lofts on Dietz are coming.

Mayor Herzig is “excited” about the biggest DRI prospect so far.

Common Council will vote Tuesday on making Parkview Development & Construction, Inc., a father and son development team from the Hudson Valley, Ken and Sean Kearney, the “preferred developer” on a local version of Artspace – 40 lofts for artists and another 26 middle-income apartments  – planned for the Dietz Street parking lot.

All 66 units in the four-story building are “affordable,” Mayor Gary Herzig emphasized a few minutes ago, adding, “I’m very excited about this.”  If all goes as planned, a ground-breaking could occur next summer.

“This really kick-starts transforming downtown Oneonta,” he said.

Oneonta Common Council Hopefuls Head To Primaries

Common Council Hopefuls

Head To Oneonta Primaries

Richfield, Springfield, Laurens Polls Open Too
Volunteer Marge O’Mara, Oneonta, hands Lee Spering, Oneonta, his ballot for the Oneonta Common Council primary for Second and Fourth Ward representatives. The poling site will remain open until 9 p.m. this evening at Foothills Performing Arts Center.  Polls are also open until 9 p.m. for local races in the towns of Richfield, Laurens and Springfield, as well at the county board’s District 3, Laurens and Otego.  (Ian Austin/
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