Otsego 2000 will receive a $12,500 grant from the Preservation League of New York for their Preserve New York grant in order to fund a Culture Resource Survey in the City of Oneonta.
This survey will be used to help maintain and determine which historic buildings in Oneonta can be renovated.
“Oneonta’s neighborhoods encompass a wonderful range of historic and architectural styles from the late 19th to the mid 20th century, the heyday of railroads,” Ellen Pope, executive director of Otsego 2000, said in a media release. “We are so grateful to the Preservation League of New York State for their support which will fund this important step toward documenting and preserving these neighborhoods and enabling homeowners to take advantage of the NYS Homeowner Historic Tax Credit program.”
Oneonta, which was settled in the 18th century, has many historical buildings within its boundaries.
SUNY announced that Dr. Alberto Jose Cardelle would be appointed SUNY Oneonta President on Tuesday, July 20.
This appointment is effective Sept. 6.
“From our first meeting with Dr. Cardelle, I was impressed, and the entire search committee was unanimous that he would be the ideal candidate for SUNY Oneonta,” SUNY Board Vice Chairman Cesar Perales, said in a press release. “His abilities go beyond his resume, which is extraordinary, as he shares a passion for creating a more equitable system in which students can thrive.”
ONEONTA – John Lampman Smith, Jr. 94, passed away, July 15, 2021 at St. James Manor in Oneonta.
He was born April 8, 1927 in Hudson, the son of John Lampman Smith Sr. and Arvesta (Pectal) Smith. John married Polly Ann Blass in 1950 and they moved to Davenport. Polly passed away on September 8, 2015.
John graduated from Roeliff Jensen School in Hillsdale, NY. He attended Cortland State University before entering in the United States Marines Corp in 1945. John received a Master’s degree in education. He was a science teacher and a school administrator at Charlotte Valley Central School in Davenport from 1950, retiring in 1983. John enjoyed playing golf, fishing and the NY Yankees.
ONEONTA — Oneonta High School celebrated its graduation Saturday, June 26.
The ceremony was held on the football field adjacent to the school, where, in a common theme among graduates this year, speakers talked about struggling through COVID and the extra challenges associated with the pandemic.
“No other generation has felt more trapped in our hometown than ours,” Aidan Mackey said, a graduate tasked with giving the greeting. “I call upon all of you to forge your own path and to tell your own story. … Our expectations were set so low this year that anything we got back was an amazing experience.”
In total, there were 121 graduating seniors in the class of 2021, many of whom won scholarships and awards.
In addition to congratulating the graduates, Superintendent Thomas Brindley thanked the parents and staff for enduring through COVID.
“In some way, shape or form, you’ve all participated in school this year, and for that I’m grateful,” Brindley said. “Despite the craziness of this school year, it seems that these four years have passed by really fast. This class was an incredibly special group. This is more true now than ever before.”
Valedictorian Maximillian Madej gave a speech that encouraged his fellow graduates to do better.
“I know nobody wants to keep hearing it but last year was challenging for all of us,” Madej said. “A few years ago, I was given the simple advice to do better. In some instances, I succeeded and in some instances, I failed. But I’ve always tried my best. By doing better, we’ll all be happier and more fulfilled. ”
“We, the class of 2021, have shown we are kind and hard working and ready to move on and take on the challenges of tomorrow,” Madej said.
ONEONTA – More than 100 people gathered at Neahwa Park on Saturday, June 19, to celebrate Juneteenth, a day that celebrates African-American emancipation.
There was additional cause for celebration Saturday since President Joe Biden signed a law this week making Juneteenth a national holiday.
With a DJ spinning music the entire time, it wasn’t unusual to see spontaneous dancing. Free hamburgers, hotdogs and beverages were also provided. There was face painting, a raffle and artwork.
The event appeared to attract a diverse group of people, both in terms of ethnicity and age. It was very much a family centric event.
Joanne Fisher, assistant secretary for the Oneonta NAACP, said celebrating Juneteenth in Oneonta for the second year in a row is a great idea because it helps people learn about each other and for Black Americans to reclaim parts of their history that are often forgotten or were untaught in schools.
“I think it’s the only way we’re gonna bridge the gap and learn each other’s value,” Fisher said. “History hasn’t told us everything.”
Fisher, originally from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, said she was not taught about slavery and Juneteenth in her school, and therefore she didn’t get a chance to learn about her own history.
Anita Hopson set up a tent to display old items brought from her grandparents that originated mainly in West Africa. Some of the items included a jumping broom, used traditionally in marriages, sand paintings and others.
“‘I’m proud to have my family history,” Hopson said. She said she appreciated being given the chance to show these things to people who “don’t look like me.”
The Otsego Pride Alliance had a table at the event in which they put up photos of Black trans and LGBTQ members who were killed in violence across the country. They said they were there to support the Black community and promote equality.
Bertram Knight showcased some of his photographs, which he said were meant to convey the beauty of Black bodies.
“All the images are representations of black beauty,” Knight said, who was “looking for different ways to highlight and elevate differences in our communities.”
Aaron Smith, who moved to Oneonta from Alabama in January, said he was happy Juneteenth was being celebrated here.
“It’s good for me to be able to get out and celebrate Juneteenth,” Smith said. “(It) feels good to be learning about the community and celebrating our newest holiday.”
Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig spoke before the entertainment began, quipping that it was nice to be out without masks.
However, Herzig said the last year was one of “needless tragedy, but one of reckoning and one of change.”
Herzig said the city of Oneonta recently “took a hard look in the mirror,” which was necessary for the community to become “better and better every year.”
Juneteenth is “a day for us to pause, a day for us to catch our breath and a day to celebrate,” Herzig said.
“Slavery may have ended, but its legacy has not,” Herzig said.
Herzig said it is only “through the richness of Black art and Black culture” that others can have a semblance of understanding the experience of Black Americans.
Herzig said he hoped the eventual artists lofts on Dietz Street would become the home of artists of color.
“Black culture has enriched our lives,” Herzig said. “We are so much better because of the African-American culture.”
Some of the entertainment included college students performing stepping dances, Jonathan Brown making a speech about how white supremacy not only hurts black people but also white people and the song “Speechless” from the new “Aladin” movie, performed by Ajare Malcolm.
Brown’s speech ended on a note that seemed to encapsulate the entire event. “Be truthful to our human experience,” Brown said. “Before we’re any race, we’re human.”
ONEONTA – Hartwick College celebrated the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 on Saturday, May 29, in a virtual commencement ceremony.
As the college acknowledged the unusual circumstances surrounding the graduation of the ’20 and ’21 classes, speakers highlighted some of the important lessons that the students would take with them in life.
Elizabeth LeTendre, a digital marketing entrepreneur who graduated Hartwick College in 1990, encouraged the graduating classes to step outside of their comfort zones in order to be successful.
“To be successful, you need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” LeTendre said. “Struggling is an important part of the growth experience … Fear is good. Don’t be afraid to take risks and don’t be afraid to fail.”
College President Margaret Drugovich rang the ceremonial bell at 11:30 a.m. to kick off the graduating ceremony followed shortly by a harmonizing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by the Hartwick College Choir.
Matipa Mutoti, the 2020 student government president, was the first to acknowledge some of the circumstances the graduates had to deal with during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Graduation is a big achievement under any circumstance, but especially for us,” Mutoti said, listing off the need for students to adapt to social distancing, virtual classes and a volatile job market. “I believe this may have made us stronger. The fact that we are here today shows that we are able to face adversity. …
“Whatever our next steps may be, I believe that our experience at Hartwick College has provided us the tools to be the medicine that our world desperately needs right now.”
Lydia Marteney, the 2021 student government president, also acknowledged the difficulty that the COVID pandemic had placed upon the school while speaking from her home in Auburn.
“Although this day might not look like how we had imagined it, today is a day to be proud of our many accomplishments and remember the glory days of our life as Hartwick students,” Marteney said. “For me, it’s strange and somewhat scary to think that we won’t all be up at Oyaron hill next year, but if we think back to the beginning and the many steps, both literal and otherwise, of our journey here at Hartwick we will realize that we are truly ready for the next step in our lives.”
David Long, chair of the Hartwick College board of trustees, also spoke during the graduation ceremony, talking about his own “abbey road” from England to Oneonta and the strangers who made him feel at home.
“Today you’re journey is uniquely yours, well underway and yet still to be created,” Long said. “You’ve already overcome some tough obstacles in life, demonstrating resiliency even at your young age.”
He spoke about the “unprecedented disruptions” of lives but how the graduates had to make their way through the college with “a unique determination.”
“You found your way,” Long said. “Well done.”
Presentations of awards were given to Madison Germuska and Kiara Biroo, who were awarded the Abraham Kellogg Oratorical Prize for 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Dr. Mary Allen, Professor of Biology, was awarded the Margaret B. Bunn Award for Outstanding Teaching. In addition, former state Sen. James L. Seward, who graduated Hartwick College in 1973, was awarded the President’s Award for Liberal Arts in Practice, and Richard Clapp, 1962 graduate, received the President’s Medal.
Oneonta senor pitcher Tanner Russin pitched a four-hit game for Oneonta, but Chenango Forks capitalized on three Yellowjacket errors to win a Southern Tier Athletic Conference baseball game Friday, May 21, at Joe Hughes Field in Oneonta.
Zack Young led the Blue Devils with two hits.
Forks pitcher Grady Stark got the win, giving up five hits.
Aidan Breakey had two of Oneonta’s hits, including an RBI single in the first.
The Oneonta Common Council unanimously passed an agreement between the city of Oneonta and the Professional Oneonta Firefighters, Local 2408, as it pertains to alleged violations of collective bargaining agreements at the council’s meeting Tuesday, May 4.
The Common Council also authorizing two three-year contracts with Castella Waste Management of New York.
Mental health month helpers
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. User-friendly accurate information on mental illness and helpful resources can be found at www.naminys.org.
People with ongoing mental health challenges can find support by calling upon peers at The Warm Line at 607-433-0661. Information about regular support meetings for families and friends can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Crisis?: MCAT 844 732-6228 (24 hr) or the National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 800 273-8255/ text TALK to 741741.
Editor’s Note: The COVID-19 pandemic has Albert Colone, founding president of the former National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, musing about the immigrant experience, when times were REALLY tough. This is the first of two columns on the immigrant experience of his grandparents, Frank and Lucia (Valentini) Colone.
COVID-19, which hit America hard starting in early 2020, turned our worlds upside down. I haven’t been able to hug my grandchildren since early February 2020 on my last visit with them. So here we are hunkered down, adhering to the virus protocols, playing it safe and staying healthy.
So, what do you do to maintain your sanity?
I reflect on stories surrounding the trials and tribulations of my ancestors to understand the struggles they plowed through in their lives.
Remember, they were handicapped by not having all of today’s quality-of-life assets, no cell phones, computers, the luxuries of travel from automobiles to airplanes, prepared foods, safe housing, money and all of assets that we enjoy, and perhaps take for granted, today.
Do you hear where I’m going with this? Let me share with you some of the storied struggles of the early lives of my grandfather and grandmother.
Chris Gustafson, top, counts the chimes as Rev. Mark Montfort rings the church bell at First Presbyterian Church in Oneonta this morning. Today marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of Brenda L. Utter, Morris, who was the first COVID related death in Otsego County. In the year since Utter’s passing, 55 residents have died from COVID-19, and this morning members of the congregation took turns ringing the bell in memory of those lost. “This is a somber anniversary for the community,” said Montfort, “We didn’t ring the bell for those who believed the way we do, vote how we vote, or for any other consideration. We’re all in this together and each loss is a loss for everyone. We rang the bell for all who have gone on and for everyone who is still here.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
ONEONTA – “Testing is the secret sauce to our success,” SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said today at a noontime press conference as students begin returning to SUNY Oneonta in advance of the Feb. 1 start of the spring semester.
This coming semester, all students will be required to take a weekly swab test, “and we are using the number one saliva test in the world here at SUNY,” said Malatras, who appeared with campus President Dennis Craig at the Dewar Arena, where testing sites have been set up.
The swab, in combination with mask wearing at all times and social distancing, makes him “optimistic” that last fall’s outbreak, where 750 students tested positive in a few days and campus was closed, will be avoided this spring.