News of Otsego County

otsego county news

Spike In Cases, Upward Trend Despite Reporting Delays

Spike In Cases, Upward Trend

Despite Reporting Delays


For a week, new cases have remained below 40 per day until today, when a significant increase was reported. Eighty new cases were reported, offset by 22 completed periods of isolation.

Further, the sudden uptick in cases can be attributed to a delay in lab reporting according to county Public Health Director Heidi Bond.

That said, the trend “definitely” remains upwards Bond added.

Thank You, Says Mayor Herzig To His Constituents


Thank You, Says

Mayor Herzig To

His Constituents

He Looks Forward COVID’s

End, New Projects Planned

Editor’s Note:  This evening, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig is delivering his sixth “State of the City” address to Common Council at City Hall, where he said “thank you” to his constituents for how they’ve pulled together against COVID-19, and detailed programs about to go into high gear, including the demolition of the former Oneonta Ford as part of Market Street’s renewal.  This is the text.

By GARY HERZIG • Mayor, City Of Oneonta

Special to

Mayor Herzig, seen here at Sunday’s MLK Jr. Day commemoration, is delivering his State of the City address this evening.

Good evening, Oneonta – We have been tested these past 10 months; however, I can tell you that the state of the City of Oneonta is one of Strength, Resilience, and Caring

2020 was a year that Oneonta will always remember – not only for the unprecedented challenges it brought – but also for the way we came together to overcome them.  From the shutdown of the spring, to the SUNY outbreak of the Fall, and now the second wave of the Winter, we have stuck together and we are getting to the other side.

I know that Oneontans are independent-minded folks – never shy about letting you know when they disagree with you – but we come together as one when times are tough.  I could not be more proud of your doing so this past year.

Don Sutton, Ace Pitcher, Dies In California At 75


Don Sutton, Ace Pitcher,

Dies In California At 75

Don Sutton’s plaque memorializes him in the Hall of Fame.

COOPERSTOWN – Don Sutton, who never missed a turn in the rotation in 756 big league starts, passed away this morning at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., after a long battle with cancer. He was 75 years old.

“Don Sutton’s brilliance on the field, and his lasting commitment to the game that he so loved, carried through to his time as a Member of the Hall of Fame,” said Jane Forbes Clark, National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum chairman.

“I know how much he treasured his moments in Cooperstown, just as we treasured our special moments with him. We share our deepest condolences with his wife, Mary, and his family.”

Rounds Of Light Snow Continue In Mid-Week


Rounds Of Light Snow

Continue In Mid-Week

If Otsego County winter lovers have been disappointed by a generally mild January thus far, a return to wintry conditions has commenced and will continue into midweek.

Areas of snow and flurries that persisted from Sunday night to Monday morning were part of the old storm that affected the region over the weekend.

At the start of this past weekend, a large storm system pushed across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast and spread an expansive swath of snow. Accumulating snow from this storm also blanketed portions of the Ohio and Tennessee valleys. About 1-2 feet of snow piled up over the Adirondack, Green and White mountains of the interior Northeast.

Irene M. Johnson, 80; Served Oneonta Schools For Half-Century

IN MEMORIAM: Irene M. Johnson, 80;

Served Oneonta Schools For Half-Century

Irene M. Johnson

ONEONTA – Irene M. Johnson, 80, who worked for the Oneonta City School District for a half-century, died Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021.

She was born Sept. 27, 1940, at home in a house on Country Club Road, the daughter of James C. and Tressa A. Northup.

On Aug. 8, 1959, she married Stephen N. Johnson Sr., who survives her. They were married for 62 years.

Irene graduated from Oneonta High School in 1958, and was hired as the junior high school principal’s secretary even before she graduation.

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.

STERNBERG: Here’s How You Crack NY Vaccine Scheduling


Here’s How You Crack

NY Vaccine Scheduling

It Takes Determination, Stick-With-It-Ness


Richard Sternberg, retired Bassett Hospital orthopedic surgeon, is providing his professional perspective to during the COVID-19

If you’re like me, and I only mean that in the COVID-phobic sense, you have been trying to figure out how to get vaccinated. I have been on-line an average of an hour a day for about two weeks trying to find appointments. Then I heard on the news that the New York State vaccination site at Jones Beach (Long Island) now has a three-month wait. What to do?

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the priorities that the state, i.e., Governor Cuomo set out. 1A was to be healthcare workers on the frontlines and nursing home residents, 1B was to be essential workers, 1C was to be people over 65 and high-risk individuals.

Then it changed, and changed again.

Every state has its own priority system. Doses have gone unused. People are flying to Miami just to get vaccinated (and maybe a little sun while they are there).

COVID VACCINATION CENTRAL You Can Register For Vaccinations Through NY State


You Can Register

For Vaccinations

Through NY State

Click Here For ‘Am I Eligible’ App

Editor’s Note: Beginning with this post, will seek to keep you up to date on the availability of vaccinations against COVID-19.  We will strive to update our information at noon daily.

The good news is that, beginning yesterday, our Otsego County neighbors 65 and older report having been able to schedule appointments to receive the COVID-19 inoculations at State of New York special sites, beginning in February.

As of a few minutes ago, through the “Am I Eligible” app, you could register for vaccinations at state sites.  The closest sites are at SUNY Polytechnic in Utica, SUNY Binghamton and SUNY Albany.  CLICK HERE FOR APPOINTMENT

The first round of the Pfizer inoculations are 50 percent effect; the second round, taken 28 days later, raise that to 95 percent, according to the CDC.

Going forward, there will be at least five ways to get the COVID-19 inoculation.  In addition to state sites, the other four are:

Vets Club, Genesee Bar Spawn COVID Outbreak

Vets Club, Genesee Bar

Spawn COVID Outbreak

RICHFIELD SPRINGS –The county Department of Health a few minutes ago announced a potential COVID-19 exposure at at the Richfield Veterans Club and the nearby Genesee Tap Room.

If you were at the vets’ club, 13 Lake St., Jan. 8-10, or the Genesee, 38 Lake, Jan. 8-13, monitor yourself for symptoms, the health department recommends.

Barbara Duell Hewitt, 69; OHS Grad Raised Champion Morgan Horses

Barbara Duell Hewitt, 69; OHS Grad

Raised Champion Morgan Horses

Barbara Duell Hewitt and one of her beloved Morgans.

ONEONTA – Barbara Duell Hewitt, who was raised in Oneonta and went on to raise world champion Morgan horses in Virginia, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, losing her final battle with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Her loving family was at her bedside.

Barbara was born in Las Cruces, N.M., on Sept. 9, 1951. The family lived in Kansas with generations of family until Barbara was 7, when she moved to Oneonta with her family.

Barbara graduated from Oneonta High School in 1969, and from SUNY Oneonta in 1973, with a bachelor’s degree in biology.

Delgado Visits, Promises Funding, COVID Assistance

Delgado Visits, Promises

Funding, COVID Assistance

Congressman Delgado

COOPERSTOWN – After visiting Otsego County government offices yesterday, Congressman Antonio Delgado, D-19, today issued a statement praising County Treasurer Allen Ruffles and Public Health Director Heidi Bond and calling for federal assistance to get through COVID challenges.

“I thank Treasurer Ruffles and Health Director Bond for their unrelenting work to maintain critical services and protect the public health of Otsego County residents,” said Delgado. “Counties like Otsego are ready, willing, and able to deliver vaccines. Passage of my bipartisan bill, the Direct Support for Communities Act, would ensure they have the resources required to vaccinate as many residents as possible safely and securely.”

Herzig’s ‘State Of City’ Explores Moving From ‘Survive’ To ‘Thrive’

Herzig’s ‘State Of City’ To Explore

Moving From ‘Survive’ To ‘Thrive’

ONEONTA – Reviewing a COVID-embattled year, Gary Herzig will deliver his annual State of the City address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, at the regularly scheduled meeting of Common Council.

Herzig’s address will focus on how the city is preparing to turn the corner from “Survive” to “Thrive” in 2021.

The speech and the Council meeting can be viewed by the public at the City’s YouTube page.

Sen. Seward Tribute On Newsstands Now


Sen. Seward Tribute

On Newsstands Now

“THANK YOU, WELL DONE!”, a tribute edition honoring state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, published by Hometown Oneonta and The Freeman’s Journal, is now on newsstands around Otsego County, featuring dozens of reminiscences about “Gentleman Jim,” who retired Dec. 31 after serving us in Albany for 34 years.   Don’t miss this souvenir edition.  (
Posts navigation

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