News of Otsego County

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


Opportunities for Otsego

Helios, OFO Top Recipients Of Community Foundation Of South Central NY Grants

Helios, OFO Top Recipients Of

Community Foundation Grants

ONEONTA – Nine community organizations, including Helios Care, Opportunities for Otsego and Catholic Charities, have received more than $65,000 in grants from the Community Foundation for South Central New York to help the fight against COVID-19.

“Typically, we support school districts, arts organizations and human services,” said Diane Brown, executive director. “But COVID-19 hit in the middle of our spring grant cycle, so we repurposed our funding.”

Deemed ‘Essential Services,’ County Shelters Reopen

Ruled ‘Essential Services,’

OFO Shelters Reopened

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to


ONEONTA – Citing the domestic violence and homeless shelters “essential services,” the Otsego County Board of Representatives and the county’s Department of Social Services have reopened both buildings.

“We’re happy that they have reopened and that they are helping these vulnerable populations in our community,” said county Rep. Adrienne Martini, D-Oneonta, chair of the county board’s Human Services Committee. “It’s so important that they be open and operational.”

OFO Announces Temporary Closure, Virtual Services

OFO Announces

Temporary Closure,

Virtual Services

ONEONTA – Opportunities For Otsego has announced that they will be closed until Tuesday, April 14, closing Head Start and Universal Pre-K, and relegating emergency housing services to the County, according to a release from Dan Maskin, CEO.

Essential staff will be working remotely to answer questions, and WIC and Weatherization participants with appointments will be contacted.  The Violence Intervention Program staff will be providing virtual services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and violent crimes. If immediate assistance is needed, the 24-hour Crisis Hotline is operating; call (607) 432.4855 to speak with an advocate.


Benefit Concert To Support

Emergency Shelter Program


PERFORMANCE – 7 – 10 p.m. Support Emergency Shelter program by Opportunities for Otsego while enjoying evening of music by Steve Fabrizio Band. Features light hors d’oeuvres, raffles, cash bar. Cost, $25 at door. B Side Ballroom, 1 Clinton Plaza Dr., Oneonta. 607-433-8000 or visit

16.1% Of Us In Poverty. In Oneonta, That’s 25.6%


16.1% Of Us In Poverty.

In Oneonta, That’s 25.6%

By DAN MASKIN, President, OFO

As it does annually, the New York State Community Action Association has just published “Poverty in NY,” which has a poverty report for each county and city in New York State.
Otsego County has a poverty rate of 16.1 percent, meaning roughly one out of six people are living in poverty. Forty-eight percent of school children are enrolled in either the free or
reduced school meals program.

There are two distinctions at play here. The overall poverty rate is classified as 100 percent of poverty. This is a calculation of what the lowest income needs to be in order to be classified as poor by the federal government. So a family of four earning $24,000 or less is considered living in poverty.

Maskin Asserts: 2,000 Children In Poverty – ‘And That’s High’

Maskin Asserts: 2,000

Children In Poverty

– ‘And That’s High’

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal

ONEONTA – Daniel Maskin, Opportunities for Otsego president, wants people to rethink poverty.

“Most people who are poor work,” he said. “They’re not sitting on their porch drinking beer. But where in this county can working class families get substantial jobs that support their families? There aren’t a lot of those.”

The annual poverty report, put together by the state’s Community Action Association and released in the past few days, rated the county’s poverty rate at 16.1 percent. “Poverty is defined as $24,000 for a family of four,” he said. “That might be two parents with two kids, or a single parent with three kids,” he said.

In Oneonta, it’s 25.6 percent.

Oneonta’s Housing Problem Sparks Debate in Council Committee Meeting

Is Additional Affordable

Housing Needed In City?

Council Committee Asks

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Melissa Nicosia, left, who chairs Common Council’s Community Development Committee, and Council member Michelle Frazier question an OFO proposal for affordable housing. ( photo)

ONEONTA –  A $10,000 Opportunities for Otsego proposal to determine the need for low- and moderate-income housing in the city and how to fill it met skepticism from a Common Council committee last night.

Still, the Community Development Committee forwarded the proposal for discussion by the full Common Council, which next meets at 7 p.m. this coming Tuesday.

OFO Housing Director Audrey Benkenstein said her organization is seeking $5,000 from the city to match the $5,000 OFO would provide.  The idea is to underwrite “a process done by a facilitator” who would examine housing information and analysis done an Otsego County housing study just on Oneonta.


Fly Tying For Spring Fishing


FLY TYING CLASS – 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Join Otsego Land Trust for fly tying demonstrations, lessons with Craig Buckbee, licensed fishing guide, master certified instructor with Fly Fishers International. Equipment, materials provided. Prepare for spring fly casting/fishing workshop. Pizza, beverages provided. Pre-registration recommended. Pine Lake Environmental Campus, 1894 Charlotte Creek Rd., Oneonta. 607-547-2366 ext. 108 or visit

Betsy Hayes, 70, Toddsville; Focus Family Council Chair

Betsy Hayes, 70, Toddsville;

Focus Family Council Chair

Betsy Hayes

COOPERSTOWN – M.E. “Betsy” Hayes, 70, Toddsville, long active in public health initiatives, and most recently in the news as president of the Centers at Cooperstown (former Focus) Family Council, passed away on Jan. 2, 2019, from complications of a recent illness.

Born in Plainfield, N.J., Betsy cherished the memories of her early childhood in the South Jersey town of Delanco, moved to metropolitan Cranford, N.J., in middle school, and obtained a BSN degree from Keuka College.

OFO Wins $3M To Provide Legal Help To Abuse Victims

OFO Wins $3M To Provide

Legal Help To Abuse Victims

Dan Maskin

ONEONTA – Opportunities for Otsego has received a $3 million grant to hire attorneys who will support crime victims with civil legal matters, such as divorce, custody, immigration and financial issues, OFO CEO Dan Maskin announced a few minutes ago.

Administered by the state Office of Victim Services (OVS), the federally funded grant will provide $600,000 annually for each of the next five years so its Violence Intervention Program can provide free legal help to its clients.


New York State K-9

Unit Demonstration


FAMILY PROGRAM – 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. NYS K-9 unit demonstrates care, training of police dogs & how they help fight crime, assist in other duties. Cooperstown Village Library. 607-547-8344 or visit

OPEN HOUSE – 5 – 7 p.m. Meet new doctor Lia Briggs M.D., tour doctors office, see renovations, enjoy refreshments, meet new people. Hoffman Family Medicine, 50 Dietz St., Suite M, Oneonta. 607-643-4045 or visit

Seward Delivers Funding To OFO To Combat Domestic Violence

Seward Delivers Funding 

To Fight Domestic Violence

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, announces funding for Opportunities for Otsego’s domestic-violence prevention program at OFO’s West Broadway headquarters Monday afternoon.   With him, from left, are OFO Crisis Intervention Director Will Rivera, Catholic Charities Executive Director Lynn Glueckert, Delaware Opportunities Executive Director Shelly Bartow and OFO CEO Dan Maskin. OFO and Catholic Charities of Otsego and Schoharie counties will receive $15,000 each, and $7,000 each goes to Delaware Opportunities and Liberty Resources (Chenango County). “These community programs provide vital services for those in dire need,” said Seward, “We are fortunate to have so many local organizations providing help to vulnerable individuals, and I am pleased to assist them in their efforts to make our communities safer. These agencies are lifelines and, in many cases, are all that stand between a domestic violence victim and further harm.” (Ian Austin/

Knit With Friends


KNITTING GROUP – 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Cooperstown Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Call 607-547-8344 or visit

NAVIGATORS – 8 a.m. – Noon or 1 – 5 p.m. Communication Across Barriers returns to perform training of community members who choose to become Navigators, people who choose to use their time and contacts to help neighbors in poverty. Opportunities for Otsego, 3 W. Broadway, Oneonta. Call 607-433-8005 or visit

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103