News of Otsego County

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


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/
Just Four Men Sing At Father’s Day Service

Just Four Men Sing

At Father’s Day Service

Rev. Diana Friedell and Rev. Sue Landon, right, and their congregation at the Institute for Spiritual Development, were treated to a special treat this morning as John Rice, Thomas Landon, Tom Glosik and John Sabol of the Just Four Men barbershop quartet lended their vocal talents to the Father’s Day service this morning in Oneonta. (Ian Austin/
‘Broadway Revealed’ At Hartwick’s Foreman Gallery

‘Broadway Revealed’

At Hartwick’s Foreman

Irene Weinburg, Oneonta, above, enjoys an in-depth panoramic look into the workshops, offices and stages of Broadway in some of the 113 works in “Broadway Revealed: Behind the Theater Curtain” by photographer Stephen Joseph now on display at Hartwick College’s Foreman Gallery. At right, Stephen Joseph, Hartwick President Margaret Drugovich and Sophie Richardson, Oneonta, enjoy conversation amidst the many images after the opening day crowds have died down. A 90-minute tour of the exhibit and lecture will be given at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, by Patrice Macaluso, retired SUNY Oneonta theater professor. (Ian Austin/

Thursday RocksWith 38 Special


38 Special Rocks

At Y Fundraiser

A heavy downpour didn’t keep throngs of music lovers from cramming the tents to support the Oneonta YMCA at the fundraising concert featuring 38 Special at the Sixth Ward Athletic Field Thursday evening. Above, guitar and vocalist Don Barnes, left, and guitarists Jerry Riggs performing their hit, “Hold On Loosely”, after they took to the stage. Special guests Jackson Michaelson and Dylan Schneider warmed up the crowd. Rndy Mowers, Oneonta, inset right, acted as auctioneer for the evening, as guests had a chance to bid on sports memorabilia and even a tour of the ESPN studios. (Ian Austin/

Oneonta Honors Our Servicemen and Women

With 2 Eagles Overhead,

Oneonta Honors Veterans

As two eagles circled, Oneonta’s Memorial Day celebration was conducted this morning at the memorial at the end of Veterans’ Memorial Walkway before the start of the parade. American Legion Commander Gary Ballard, top photo, oversees Troop 23 Boy Scouts Giovanni Hromada, Ben Casola, Kaleb Bergeron, Andrew Pierce, Caneb Casey and Noah Miller as they place wreaths at stations marking the different branches of the military. At right, OHS Valedictorian Aben Carrington recites Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address alongside Master of Ceremonies Les Grummons, to the crowds gathered in the park. (Ian Austin/

80 New Trees Planted Near Oneonta High School

80 New Trees Planted

Near Oneonta High School

Volunteers Steve Londner and Dave Hutchison work together planting a sapling in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Conservation’s “Trees for Tributaries” initiative which planted 80 small trees and shrubs along the S-curve near Oneonta Hugh School this morning. Founded in 2007, the goal of the program is to plant young trees and shrubs along stream corridors to prevent erosion, increase flood water retention, improve wildlife and stream habitat, and protect water quality A small group worked digging holes and planting80 young trees and shrubs that included Sycamore, Birch, Elderberry, and Dogwood.  At right, Laura Grant, Upper Susquehanna Coalition, demonstrates how to place a protective sleeve over the trees to protect it from animals. (Ian Austin/

Animal Friends VisitA.O Fox Nursing Home

Animal Friends Visit

A.O Fox Nursing Home

ONEONTA – Jordan Shindler of The Ross Park Zoo in Binghamton holds Fluffy, an African Pygmy hedgehog for A.O. Fox Nursing Home resident Betty Jones to pet — down her back, not up! — while resident Lois Benedict, right, waits her turn. The nursing home’s Activities Department invited zoo staff to bring some of their people-friendly animals and teach residents about them to celebrate National Nursing Home Week. (Jennifer Hill/
Annual R.I.F Event Delights Young Readers

Annual R.I.F Event

Delights Young Readers

Aaliya Koncklin, Leilanie El and Nathaniel Hurley and the rest of MRs. Wood’s first grade class rush to the the tables in the library full of books for the annual Reading Is Fundamental (R.I.F) event this morning at Valleyview Elementary in Oneonta. Each child is allowed to pick out two books of their choice and hands out over 6000 books a year to students from pre-k to 5th grade. The event is sustained entirely through donations, can be supported by mailing your gift to RIF P.O. Box 703 Oneonta, NY 13820, or by contacting OneontaRIF on facebook. (Ian Austin/
First UM Votes No On ‘Traditional Plan’


First UM Votes No

On ‘Traditional Plan’

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – Members of Oneonta’s First United Methodist congregation tonight approved a “We Refuse” resolution that rejects the United Methodist Church’s reaffirmation of prohibitions against gay marriage and gay pastors.

The “We Refuse” resolution says the “Traditional Plan,” approved, 53 percent to 47 percent, at the UMC’s General Conference last February in St. Louis, is “incompatible with God’s all-inclusive love of and for everyone.”



Everyone Needs A Mom’s Hug

“Mom Hugs” members include, from left, Aimee Swan, Monica Grau, Danielle Tonner and Amy Crouse Powers, and will be hugging LGBTQIA+ youth at June’s Pride Fest in Oneonta. (Ian Austin/


ONEONTA – Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate our moms for loving us unconditionally, regardless of our faults.

Sadly, some LGBTQIA+ youth may not find support from their parents because of their sexual and/or gender identification.

A group of local moms aim to give LGBTQIA+ youth by doing what moms give best – hugs, planning a “Mom Hugs” booth at the Otsego Pride Fest June 1 in Neahwa Park.  Anyone can stop by for a hug, moms want gay youths in particular to know they’re there for them.

Orpheus Theatre Brings ‘Mamma Mia!’ To Goodrich

Orpheus Theatre Brings

‘Mamma Mia!’ To Goodrich

Tanya (Amy Fletcher-Foster), left, and Rosie(Jennifer Fowler), right, try to snap Donna(Jill Ogden) out of her pre-wedding funk as they sing “Dancing Queen” during this weekend’s performance of Orpheus Theater’s “Mamma Mia!”. The jukebox musical had audiences young and old dancing in their seats to the tunes of ABBA during the show’s run this weekend at Goodrich Theater. (Ian Austin/
First UM Plans Vote On Whether To Reject Church’s Ban On Gays


First UM Plans Vote

On Whether To Reject

Church’s Ban On Gays

In February, Worldwide Church Council

Affirmed Bar To Gay Marriage, Pastors

J.J. Warren, a gay seminarian whose speech at the United Methodist General Council in St. Louis brought some attendees to tears, spoke at Oneonta’s First UM today. He received a standing ovation. (Jim Kevlin/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – A resolution, “We Refuse,” objecting to the international United Methodist Church’s reassertion of its prohibition on gay marriage and gay pastors, was inserted into today’s Sunday Service program at Oneonta’s First UM.

Warren led youngsters in an exercise to draw a multi-colored flower, symbol of a diverse church.

The local resolution calls the church’s “Traditional Plan,” which reaffirmed its ban and was approved by majority vote last February, “exclusive, punitive, and unwelcoming” and declares it “incompatible with God’s all-inclusive love of and for everyone…and with Jesus’ teachings,” which tell people to love everyone “unconditionally.”

The resolution goes further, labeling the Traditional Plan “un-Christian.” It calls for regional churches and the bishop to reject it and pursue a separate path.

The insert also announced a Special Charge Conference for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the church, where members of the congregation will debate and vote on “We Refuse.” Rev. Marti Swords-Horrell, the pastor, will preside.

Delivering the sermon today was J.J. Warren, a gay seminary student from Penn Yan whom Bishop Mark Webb, of the Syracuse-based conference that includes Otsego County, has said he will not ordain.

Sobriety Celebrated at LEAF Poetry & Art Show

Sobriety Celebrated at

LEAF Poetry & Art Show

Sam Judd, Oneonta, shows some personal photographs before singing the poem he wrote for LEAF’s 2019 Art & Poetry Contest on the theme, “Home Is Where The Heart Is,” at CANO’s headquarters in the Wilber Mansion Friday evening.   The poem, which took third place in the Adult category, celebrates an adventure he went on with his wife and new dog, Jasper.  Attendees packed the venue, examining art that filled and walls of four rooms, and packing the main room to hear poet read their original works.  (Jennifer Hill/
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