News of Otsego County


Helios, Rustic Ridge Join Best Of The Best


Helios, Rustic Ridge

Join Best Of The Best

Honorees at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s “Ignite the Fire of Entrepreneurial Spirit” banquet that ended a few minutes ago at The Otesaga are, from left, Helios Care’s board Chairman Connie Jastremski and President/CEO Dan Ayres, winners of the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Breakthrough Award; Laura and Rick Bennett, proprietors of Rustic Ridge Winery, Burlington, winners of the Key Bank Small Business Award; and NBT Insurance Agency Interns of the Year Jared Ciccarelli from SUNY Oneonta and Caitlyn Herlihy from Hartwick College.  At right are Chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan and board Chair Al Rubin.   Some 250 attendees helped celebrate the honorees’ accomplishment.  Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, presented Assembly citations to the honorees; and Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig delivered the closing remarks where, among other things, he urged Caitlyn and Jared to pursue their careers in Otsego County.  (Jim Kevlin/
New State Republican Chair At GOP Pre-Vote Celebration


New State Republican Chair

At GOP Pre-Vote Celebration

At his first public appearance locally, Nick Langworthy (inset, left) of Buffalo, elected chairman of the state Republican Committee in July, advises 100 candidates and party members at The Otesaga today that the GOP “is a party that’s coming alive” in the face of the state Democrats’ downstate tilt.  Albany decisionmakers come “from five square miles” in New York City, he said.  “There’s no one in the power structure right now who understands us.”  A Republican revival is necessary because Governor Cuomo “taxes too much and spends to much, and he’s driving people out of the state” — 2 million since taking office in 2011.  Langworthy was speaking at the party’s “Pre-Election Celebration” in advance of Tuesday’s polling.   Candidates in contested races, top, then posed for photos between Langworthy, right, and county Chair Vince Casale, left.  Front row, from left, are state Supreme Court candidates Chris Baker, Oliver Blaise and Mark Masler; back row, from left, are  Josh Bailey, Oneonta Common Council, Ward 8;  Rick Brockway, county board District 3 (Laurens-Otego); Len Carson, Oneonta Common Council, Ward 5, and Marcia Hoag, county board District 2, (Butternuts, Morris, Pittsfield) (Jim Kevlin/


40 New York State Mayors In Conference At Otesaga


40 New York State Mayors

In Conference At Otesaga

Peter A. Baynes, left, New York State Conference of Mayor executive director, confers with Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig this afternoon in the lobby of The Otesaga, where 40 mayors from across the state have gathered for the NYCOM’s 110th Annual Meeting & Training School. Today’s first program was the Fabulous Beekman Boys – Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcel – and how their business in Sharon Springs is the kind of enterprise that can revive rural downtowns. This is the first time in a while that the conference has been held outside of Albany. Sessions will be held through noon tomorrow. (Jim Kevlin/
Very, Very Antique Cars Rallying Around County

Very, Very Antique Cars

Rallying Around County

Janet and David Campbell of Pittsburgh pose alongside their 1912 Rolls Royce in downtown Cooperstown a few minutes ago, but their not alone. The Campbells are among 57 people driving 27 cars in the Friends of Ancient Road Transportation (figure out the acronym) who are using The Otesaga as a base of operations through Saturday. Today, they visited the Northeast Classic Cars Museum in Norwich. Tomorrow, they drive to Hamilton (home of Colgate University) and Saturday to Utica, according to Bob Williams, one of the organizers. The club was founded in 1980, and is unusual in that only cars that are older than 1915 can participate. This is the Spring Tour, Williams said; the Fall Tour will be in Virginia this year. Inset is Tom Whitlock, who works for Off Brothers, Richland, Mich., discussing panel instruments on a 1913 Fiat with a passerby outside The Otesaga. Most of the cars were delivered her by truck. Classic cars are loved by many and the market for them is very high, some car enthusiasts will buy used cars and build one up from the parts that are spare from sites such as, doing this means that they get their own unique car without the high cost of buying straight from vintage. (Jim Kevlin/

Job Seekers Offered Free Rides To Expo

Job Seekers Offered

Free Rides To Expo

At Otesaga Event, 30 Companies

Seeking Full-, Part-Time Workers

COOPERSTOWN – A&D Transport Services is offering free rides Wednesday from the CDO Workforce Center, 12 Dietz St., Oneonta, to the Otsego Chamber Job Expo at The Otesaga Cooperstown and back.

Call the CDO Workforce today at 607-432-4800 x 100 to reserve a seat. Reservations required.

The Job Expo will be underway 10 a.m.-2 p.m., featuring 30 companies, and designed to help job seekers locate good jobs, change careers, or explore employment options. The Otesaga is collaborating with CDO Workforce, state Department of Labor and A & D Transport in the venture. Those looking to attend should prepare a number of resumes and cover letters beforehand and could use Cultivated Culture’s examples to build upon. Employers will be keen to see the history of those attending, both work-based and otherwise.

Friends Of Bassett’s Soirée Raises $170K For Arts In Healing

Friends Of Bassett’s

Soirée Raises $170K

For Arts In Healing

Artistic Engagement Found To Ease Stress
Attendees included Friends of Bassett President Jason Tabor with wife, Emily DeSantis, DO, and, at left, Friends’ Vice President Kate Johnson..

COOPERSTOWN – The more than 300 guests attending the Friends of Bassett’s third annual Valentine’s Soirée Feb. 9 at The Otesaga raised $170,000 for the hospital’s Arts in Healthcare program, the Friends announced today.

Arts In Healthcare aims to reduce stress and promote healing among patients, their families and providers through artistic engagement.

Flis and Andy Blum of Cooperstown were recognized for their commitment to Bassett Medical Center and the arts.

Corinne Hillman, 98; Retired Teacher Mainstay Of Cooperstown’s Cotillion

Corinne Hillman, 98; Teacher, 

Cooperstown Cotillion Mainstay

Corinne Hillman

COOPERSTOWN – Corinne Hillman, 98, a retired teacher known to a generation of Cooperstown Area eighth graders for teaching them to ballroom dance for the annual Cotillion at The Otesaga, passed away on Friday Feb. 15, 2019, at Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing.

She was born on Jan. 1, 1921, and grew up in New York City. She attended Hunter College and New York University, and earned her master’s degree and teaching certificate in elementary education.





Chamber’s Rubin: Exciting Information

Exchanged, But ‘Now The Work Begins’

Concerned Citizens of Oneonta’s Kate O’Donnell, the Hartwick College professor who organized an energy forum in Oneonta two weeks ago, was among today’s attendees. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


COOPERSTOWN – In the end, 170 – up from 125 a week ago, and 155 a couple of days ago – today listened for eight hours to presentations on the United States’ – and Otsego County’s – energy future from some of the most knowledgeable people in New York State.

The venue was the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s “Energy Summit:  Energy & The Economy,” which finished up in late afternoon in The Otesaga’s pretty-close-to-full ballroom.

When it was over, Al Rubin, chairman of the chamber’s board, and chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan both said they were pleased by the amount of information the 19 varied presenters delivered in mostly 15-minute segments between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“This wasn’t about debate,” said Rubin.  “This was about listening to what other people had to say.  This event met and beat our expectations.”  But, he added, “The work begins now.”

So Far, 125 Sign Up For Energy Summit, With Limit Of 200


With Week To Go,

Energy Summit Fills

125 Of Its 200 Seats

Seeking ‘Balanced Agenda,’ 19 Speakers

Planned; Day Expands From 6 To 9 Hours

Jay Egg of Geothermal is keynoter at the Otsego Chamber’s “Energy Summit.”

COOPERSTOWN – With a week to go, 125 people have already signed up for the Otsego County Chamber’s “Energy Summit: Infrastructure & Economy,” and the day has expanded from the original six hours to a nine-hour program to accommodate a growing roster of speakers.

Planned Thursday, Jan. 31, at The Otesaga, the summit will be able to accommodate about 200 people.   To register, call 432-4500, extension 104, or email

After announcing the original concept, the phone started ringing with suggested speakers, Chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan said in an interview a few minutes ago, and she kept adding speakers to ensure “a balanced agenda.”

DAR Regent In County For Holiday Luncheon

DAR Regent In County 

For Holiday Luncheon

DAR New York State Regent Nancy Wallace Zwetsch, Penn Yan, was in Otsego County Dec. 15, joining 40 local Daughters of the American Revolution at their annual holiday luncheon at The Otesaga.   The regent, the DAR’s top state official, briefed attendees on a project to digitize the state archives in Albany. Jim Atwell of Cooperstown shared remembrances of times past; Sue Straub of Fly Creek led the group in holiday songs.  Attendees include, from left, Theresa Willemsen, state chaplain, National vice chair/Northeast Division;  Nancy Fish Hanna, Astenrogen Chapter regent; Priscilla Smith Davis, state custodian and library chair;  Kate Brust, Fort Plain chapter; Mrs. Zwetsch, and Lisa Michaels Smith, Otsego Chapter regent.
Oh What Fun It Is To Ride!

Oh What Fun It Is To Ride!

Greg Hall, left, gets in some sleigh-driving practice with his horses Monty and Andy ahead of tonight’s Santa Parade in downtown Cooperstown. With him are Reilly and Finbar Doyle, center, and Carolyn Roth. At 5 p.m., Hall will drive Santa and Mrs. Claus to their cozy Pioneer Park cabin, but until then, he’s giving free sleigh rides from the Otesaga every half hour. (Ian Austin/
Knowledge Worker, Not Industry, Is Our Future, Speaker Says


Knowledge Worker,

Not Industry, Is Our

Future, Speaker Says

Cleinman Wins Seward’s Support

To Launch ‘Come Home’ Campaign

If Boise, Idaho, and Bozeman, Mont., could create vibrant economies based on knowledge workers, so can Oneonta, business consultant Al Cleinman told today’s Workforce Summit at The Otesaga. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Senator Seward said he would support Cleinman’s “Come Home” initiative, and expand it to include “Stay Home.”

COOPERSTOWN – After a rousing salute to “knowledge-based industry,” a local businessman with a national clientele, Al Cleinman, today announced he intends to lead a “Come Home to Oneonta” campaign.

Cleinman was addressing the Workforce Summit at The Otesaga, where attendees learned we have more jobs than people.  The day was organized by the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce and the office of state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who immediately warmed up to Cleinman’s idea.

The idea is to lure back some of the 75,000 living Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta graduates – executives, consultants, business owners and tech employees who can work anywhere – to reposition the local economy.

189 Applaud Award Winners At Small Business Banquet

189 Applaud Award Winners

At Small Business Banquet

Almost 200 well-wishers turned out this evening to applaud honorees at the Otsego County Chamber’s 19th annual Banquet & Celebration of Small Business at The Otesaga. From left are Chamber board chair Nick Savin; Arc Otsego’s Pat Knuth and ReUse Center Manager Bill Hardy, who won the Breakthrough Award; Charlotte and Chris Chase of Directive, a 25-year-old computer services business, which won the Small Business Award; Hartwick College’s Kelsey Prest and SUNY Oneonta’s Emily Ahlqvist, Interns of the Year, and Chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford. (Jim Kevlin/
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