News of Otsego County

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

Stewart’s Shops Donates To First Night Oneonta

Stewart’s Shops Donates

$1,000 To First Night

Andrew Zeh, manager of the Oneonta’s Stewart’s Shops, presents Carol Mandigo,  First Night Oneonta chair, with a $1,000 check in support of annual Hometown Fourth of July celebration and New Year’s Eve events. “They have been one of our signature supporters for these events.” said Mandigo, “God bless them.” Zeh, who has been manager for the last three years, said they have been giving ever since he took the position. “As a company, we give as much as we get.” said Zeh, “It keeps us local and keeps our areas running. We have to take care of our communities, kids and adults.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Oneonta Pastor Vowing To Perform Gay Nuptials

NEW ‘TRADITIONAL PLAN’ DISCUSSED

TODAY AMONG OTSEGO METHODISTS

Oneonta Pastor Vowing

To Continue Gay Nuptials

The Rev. Marti Swords-Horrell, pastor Oneonta’s First United Methodist Church, this morning told her congregation she will continue to perform gay marriages, despite a church conference’s decision in February adopting a “Traditional Plan” that affirmed a ban against gay marriage and the ordination of gay clergy.  Pastors, locally and throughout the Syracuse-based Upper New York Conference, were asked to brief their congregations this morning on the special conference decision.  Swords-Horrell, who was assigned to Oneonta in July, called the decision “sad and disturbing,” since the local church has been a “reconciling congregation” for 30 years. “We feel it is restrictive, oppressive and makes our gay and LBGTQ members feel unwelcome,” she said.  “We will continue with who we are, and accept all people.”  Syracuse-based Bishop Mark Webb is planning a livestream Q&A session 4-6 p.m. next Sunday.  “There’s still a chance it could be overturned,” Swords-Horrell said.  (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Fox Debuts Fantasy-Romance Novel At Green Toad

Fox Debuts Fantasy-Romance

 Novel At Green Toad

Amanda Fox, right, reads a passage from her new fantasy-romance novel “Rogue Fate” to friend Jess Brown, mother Donna Conrad, dad Gary and brother Scott, seen above, at the Green Toad on Saturday afternoon where she was signing copies. The book, the first book in The Rogue series, was released in January and is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kabo as an ebook, and an audiobook. Fox is currently working on the sequel “Dragon’s Scars”. More info on Fox and her books can be found at amandatfox.com. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Near Record Crowds At Empty Bowl Event

Near Record Crowds

At Empty Bowl Event

Bowls and soup were going fast as over 180 people in the first half hour streamed through the doors of the Christ Church in Cooperstown for the annual Empty Bowls event which benefits the local food pantry. Hungry crowds came to try the many different soups offered by 10 area restaurants and  seven individuals who in all created over 40 gallons of soup. Above, Amy Zoltick serves a bowl of curried butternut squash soup with wild rice edamame to Stephanie Adams. At right, event organizer Kathy Chase enlists helps from Diane Detrinis, to refill a crockpot with her Thai chicken and rice soup. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Bombers On The Horizon!

Bombers On The Horizon!

Sam McKissik, an employee with AJ Sign Co., Burnt Hills, finishes attaching the sign for the forthcoming Bombers Burrito Bar on the outside of 219 Main St. in Oneonta earlier this afternoon. Two large cranes were needed for the installation but did not cause any traffic delays. Construction on the interior is still ongoing. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Fathers, Daughters Enjoy Night Out

Fathers, Daughters

Enjoy Night Out

Daughters got the royal treatment this evening as they and their fathers enjoyed the festivities at the annual YMCA Father Daughter Dance at the Hunt Union Ballroom at SUNY Oneonta. Above, Brad Amadon, right, Davenport, swings his daughter Natalie on the dance floor before the dinner rush. At right, Tim Gargash enjoys a slow dance with his daughter Skylar, who is wearing a dress he hand-made for her especially for the occasion. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Delhi Culinary Earns Top Honors At Chili Bowl

Delhi Culinary Earns

Top Chili Bowl Honors

More people voted in this year’s 15th annual Chili Bowl in Oneonta than at any other in the history of the event. Guests and chefs waited in suspense for over an hour as CANO volunteers and staff sorted through more than 400 ballots, then announced a Caribbean-inspired dish from SUNY Delhi Escoffier Club members Jessica Shultis, Peter Blayne, John Gougoutris and Carly Yezzo, in top photo with CANO President Jim Maloney.  Maloney took both the Fireman’s Award and the People’s Choice Awards for Best Chili. Second place went to the Tulip & Rose of Franklin with The B-Side taking third place.  At right, Kirsten Gargash and daughter Skylar stir up their beef and venison chili before the first guests arrive. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Ice Harvest

Ice, Ice, Baby!

Crowds Flood Hanford Mills

For Annual Ice Harvest

It was a perfect winter day for the festivities at the annual Ice Harvest this morning at the Hanford Mills Museum. Above, Steve Kellog, left, Watertown, a volunteer blacksmith at the event, works with Lucas Nouko, Oneonta, and Nathanien Francisco, West Oneonta, as the demonstrate making cooking forks for visitors. At right,  Erin Neal, Walton, and son Tanner, try their hand at cutting blocks of ice from the lake alongside volunteer Jim Decker, East Meredith, Tanner Matz, East Meredith, and volunteer Robert Dianieh, East Meredith. The ice was then hauled to an ice house, where it will be stored until July 4th where it will be used to make free ice cream for museum guests.(Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

The Snow Must Go On!

The Snow Must Go On!

OCCA Program Director Jeff O’Handley, right, leads Bridgette Hulbert, daughter Vivian, Jack and William Mokay, and Andrew Rock, all of Delhi, and Erin and Kathryn Dailey, both of Oneonta, on a snowshoeing hike at the annual Winter Fest at Gilbert Lake State Park this afternoon. At right, Tami-Lee Volgari, Oneonta, sleds down a hill with her daughter Eama-Lee. Visitors also enjoyed skiing, information sessions on winter camping and survival, as well as a bonfire. The event was hosted by OCCA and Five Star Subaru. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

It Begins

It Begins!

First Flurries Of Weekend

Winter Storm Harper Arrives

Steve Menendez, Oneonta, shovels the first layer of snow outside of the Elks Club in Oneonta this morning. The main storm is expected throughout the weekend with total expected accumulations between 12″-20″. Check www.allotsego.com for weather-related updates and cancellations in our area. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Farewell, Mrs. Claus!

Farewell, Mrs. Claus!

Mrs. Claus, aka Vera Stewart, seen at her post outside of JCPenney at the Southside Mall (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By IAN AUSTIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Steve Hughes, Gilbertsville, gives Mrs. Claus a big Christmas hug.

ONEONTA – The end of the Christmas season will mark the end of an era for a Southside Mall mainstay.

For over two decades, Vera Stewart, aka Mrs. Claus, has been volunteering for the Salvation Army by ringing bells and holding doors at her station outside of JCPenney, spreading cheer to holiday shoppers. Dressed in red velvet with white trim, the Southside Mrs. Claus has become a mainstay of the Christmas season to many visitors young and old.

“When they first asked me to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army, I decided to try it.” said Stewart, “I began doing it only on weekends, then I went to five days a week.”

Christmas Comes Early At Community Dinner

Christmas Comes Early

At Community Dinner

By the end of the first hour, over 120 people had attended the Community Dinner at Oneonta’s First United Methodist Church this afternoon, with more continuing to come in.  Visitors like Andrew Winters-Bell, left, could enjoy plates of ham, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, sweet potatoes, Chobani yogurt and a wide selection of pies served by Carol Heller, Scott Lewis, Terri Fisher, Ambrose Santiago and other volunteers from St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Saturday’s Bread and First UM. The event, usually held on Christmas Day, was early the last couple years so it would not conflict with the church’s Sunday and Christmas services. “Next year, Christmas will be on a Wednesday,” said event coordinator Ann Steen.  “So we are excited that next year it will be back on the usual day.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Fortin Park Becomes A Tobacco-Free Zone

Fortin Park Becomes

A Tobacco-Free Zone

Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood and Town Clerk Cheryl Shackelton, left, stand with Deyanira Cisneros and Bonnie Peck, right, from SUNY Cobleskill’s Research Foundation, who presented them with several signs this morning at Town Hall. The news signs will soon be hung in Fortin Park in Emmons, proclaiming the area a tobacco-free zone.  That means no cigarettes, vaping and or chewing. The signs are part of the Advancing Tobacco Free Communities program , funded by a grant from the  state Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Control. “Ten years ago I owned a grocery store that sold cigarettes,” said Wood. “If I was to own a grocery store today, I would not sell tobacco at all. (The town) is glad to get ahead of the advancing tobacco technology to protect our youth.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
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