News of Otsego County

Oneotna News

Mayor Herzig Reaffirms: He’s Stepping Down

Mayor Herzig

Reaffirms: He’s

Stepping Down

In 10 Months, He’ll Retire

Mayor Herzig

ONEONTA – Mayor Gary Herzig reaffirmed in a statement issued a few minutes ago: He won’t run again.

Here is the full statement:

“During the past six years, by working together, the people of Oneonta have achieved remarkable progress in developing new housing options, supporting our local businesses, and strengthening our infrastructure while continuously improving upon our high quality of life.

“Even an unprecedented pandemic was not able to slow us down.

Wayne J. Balnis, Jr., 59 Feb. 18, 1961-Jan. 16, 2021


Wayne J. Balnis, Jr., 59

Feb. 18, 1961-Jan. 16, 2021

Wayne J. Balnis Jr.

ONEONTA – Wayne J. Balnis Jr.  better known as “JR”, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 of heart complications.

Wayne was born on Feb. 18, 1961, in Oneonta, to Wayne Balnis and Patricia (Weitzel) Balnis.

He married Carla Palmer on May 23, 1992, in the First United Methodist Church. They were married for 28 years and were constant companions, partners and best friends.

His children survive him, son Joseph Michael Balnis and daughter-in-law, Catie Vincent Balnis, of Delmar; daughter Caryn Rachel Balnis and spouse, Christopher Sloan, of Morris.  He is also survived by two sisters and brothers-in-law, Sherry and Brian Pidgeon and Laurie and Stephen Page.

This Week Nov. 12-13, 2020
Philo Vance Film Series Concludes With Lecture From Mystery Novelist


Mystery-Writing Editor

Places ‘Oneonta-Born’

Philo Vance In Context

Oneonta mystery writer Libby Cudmore assesses Philo Vance’s place in the golden age of detective fiction at this evening’s third installment of the Philo Vance Film Series at the Greater Oneonta Historical Society.  The talk preceded a screening of “The Dragon Murder Case,” based on one of the lesser beloved of S.S. Van Dine’s 12 novels featuring the detective that Van Dine (aka Willard Huntington Wright) created while living in his aunts’ home on River Street. At  left are GOHS Executive Director Bob Brzozowski and Father Ken Hunter, St. James Episcopal pastor and a mystery buff, who organized the film series.  Cudmore is also managing editor of Hometown Oneonta, The Freeman’s Journal and  Her “The Big Rewind” was published by William Morrow in 2016. (Ian Austin/
Record Crowd, Record Funds At Out Of The Darkness Walk

Record Crowd, Record Funds

At Out Of The Darkness Walk

Some 285 walkers this morning raised over $22,500 to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention during Oneonta’s eighth annual Out Of The Darkness Walk from the Sixth Ward Booster Club field. Above, Olive Vergari, Ithaca, Clarice Wahl, Oneonta, Brittny Mott, East Meredith, Taylor Hall, Oneonta, and Julie Goupil, West Laurens, carry the banner as they lead the way. At right, Caryn Balnis, Oneonta,  sings “Dancing In The Sky” by Dani and Lizzy as white doves are released by Carl Miller, Oneonta, in honor of those lost to suicide. (Ian Austin/

This Week — Sept 20-21, 2019


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

Sept 20-21, 2019


Henry the Labrador retriever, Cooperstown merchant Neil Weiller’s companion/mascot at Muskrat Hill, 139 Main St., has become a major profit center, with Henry T-shirts and Henry stickers selling like hotcakes. Now, Weiller is considering a children’s book, “A Day In Henry’s Life.” (Jim Kevlin/


Sister, Seward Plan Parole-Reform Rally

County Reps Consider E-Waste Recycling Fee

Doubleday Field Receives $10K Memorial Gift

TedX Talk: Upstate’s Water Can Save World

Anti-Fracking Pioneer Retires At Ommegang

Inn, 2 Homes Win Beautification Laurels


Will Downtown Upgrades Ever End? No!


DiPERNA: How Did America Stray So Far

ZAGATA: Don’t Blame Poverty On Rich, But Us

MORGAN: U.S. Conceived In Slavery? Bunk!



HAMMOND: Stop Dunkin’/Baskin Incursion

RUDY: Where Does Money Come From? Us

WEBSTER: Agent Dedicated To Clients, Family


BOUND VOLUMES: Sept. 20, 2019

HOMETOWN HISTORY: Sept. 21, 2019

Who’s Hanzolo, And How Can It Find Fame?

Love Of Henry Creates T-Shirts, Sticker Profits

THINGS TO DO: Girls Of Summer, Harvest Fest


Guy Fisher, 60, Otego; Landscaper, Auto Fan

Peggy Jean Banta, 63; Fought Cancer 8 Years

Kate Hansen, 88; Raised 6 Siblings, Children

Edward Taws, 56; Mayor Of Pathfinder Village

Harold L. Slover, 77; Vietnam Vet, Coop Native

Janet Spencer, 54; Schenevus Native Dies In NJ



Previous Edition Click Here

Administrator Named At Fox Nursing Home

Emhof Leaves Cooperstown Center

Administrator Named

At Fox Nursing Home

Jeff Emhof

ONEONTA – Jeff Emhof, a veteran nursing home administrator at Focus Otsego and the Cooperstown Center, as well as Chase Memorial in New Berlin,  is the new administrator at Fox Nursing Home, it was announced today.

A licensed nursing home administrator in New York State for more than 11 years, comes to Fox from the Cooperstown Center, where the facility received state recognition for improvements over the past two years, the press release said.

We NYers ♥ Each Other

We NYers ♥ Each Other

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig hands out bumper stickers he picked up at Governor Cuomo’s State of the State speech today in Albany to his Common Council colleagues this evening. They read, “I ♥ New York; New York ♥ You.” Next to the mayor is City Manager George Korthauer. (Ian Austin/
Arrest Reported In Oneonta Blaze


Arrest Reported

In Oneonta Blaze

ONEONTA – News outlets are reporting an arrest has been made in Saturday’s fatal fire on Walling Avenue, where former fireman John Heller died.  A press conference is planned at 5 p.m. with details, and will be reported here as soon as they are available.

First Flurries Fly At Tailgate 5k

First Flurries Fly

At Tailgate 5k

Runners of the annual Tailgate 5K had a wintery start this morning with wind and flurries filling the air of the 6th ward in Oneonta. Above:  Bryan Squires and 6th Ward Athletic Club President Bob Thomas release the tape as Tom Slicer, Oneonta, crosses the finish line after coming in 1st  with a time of 16:49. At right, Oneonta running partners Jacqueline Scanlon, left and Lydia Dillon, run through the snow on the race course near Riverside School. The two were the first two women to cross the finish line; Jacqueline took 1st with 21:39, followed closely by Lydia with a time of 21:41. (Ian Austin/


Rosa Grigoli, 87; Matriarch Of Sal’s Pizza Family

IN MEMORIAM: Rosa Grigoli, 87;

Matriarch Of Sal’s Pizza Family

Rosa Grigoli

ONEONTA – Rosa Grigoli, 87, who helped her sons operate Sal’s Pizza parlors in Oneonta and Cooperstown, passed away in the comfort of her Ford Avenue home on March 23, 2018.

She suffered for several years with dementia and relied on the strength of her Catholic faith to carry her through.

She was born in Carini, Sicily, on Oct. 3, 1930, to John and Rosa Picone. She was an immigrant from Sicily, landing on Ellis Island on Dec. 6, 1956, with her family in tow. She helped to run the family pizzeria business in Brooklyn until they moved to Stamford to run and operate a dairy farm.

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