News of Otsego County


Drugovich: the timing is good for early retirement

Drugovich: the timing is good for early retirement

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

Retiring Hartwick College President Margaret Drugovich said she will miss the Oneonta community
when she steps down next year.

“I really enjoyed being part of the Oneonta community and I’ll miss it,” Drugovich said on Monday, Sept. 20, and said how much she liked the warm atmosphere of the people in Oneonta.

“They care deeply about one another and the people in it,” Drugovich said. “It’s just a great place to be and I’ll make sure to tell the next person who will be president that it’s a community they will really enjoy.”

Rawitch didn’t think path would lead to Cooperstown
Josh Rawitch shakes hands with one of his favorite players, Clayton Kershaw. Rawitch worked for the Dodgers when they drafted Kershaw. (Contributed).

Rawitch didn’t think path would lead to Cooperstown

By Charlie Vascellaro • Special to

The first thing that came to mind upon hearing that 45-year-old Josh Rawitch was hired as the new president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame (he was 44 when it was announced) is how young he seems to be.

Like his predecessor (once removed) and interim President Jeff Idelson, who was 43 when he first ascended to the position in 2008, Rawitch is a baseball wunderkind, having worked in the industry since his teenage years, beginning his career as an intern with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994.

“I don’t feel that young, maybe, because I was so lucky to start so young in baseball,” Rawitch said in an exclusive interview. “I was 18 years old when I got my first internship. Often, when my mom sees my bio and it says 27 years in baseball, she says, ‘how is that possible?’ and now I’m 45, and the answer is, I started when I was 18.”

Rawitch continued to work for the Dodgers for 15 years before more recently spending 10 years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, ascending to his most recent job as president of content and communications.

Dr. Alberto Jose Cardelle appointed SUNY Oneonta President

Dr. Alberto Jose Cardelle appointed SUNY Oneonta President

STAFF REPORT • Special to

SUNY announced that Dr. Alberto Jose Cardelle would be appointed SUNY Oneonta President on Tuesday, July 20.

This appointment is effective Sept. 6.

“From our first meeting with Dr. Cardelle, I was impressed, and the entire search committee was unanimous that he would be the ideal candidate for SUNY Oneonta,” SUNY Board Vice Chairman Cesar Perales, said in a press release. “His abilities go beyond his resume, which is extraordinary, as he shares a passion for creating a more equitable system in which students can thrive.”

Joseph George Smaila III, 92 Rotarian president, he helped start Worcester Pool and Worcester Health Center


Joseph George Smaila III, 92
Rotarian president, he helped start
Worcester Pool and Worcester Health Center

Worcester – Joseph George Smaila III, 92, went home to be with the Lord on April 10, 2021.

Joe was born in January of 1929 in New York City to Anna Udovich, who was originally from Austria.

He graduated from Worcester Central School, Class of 1949. He worked at his family’s restaurants, Bright Side Central Hotel and Anna’s Restaurant. He also worked at Worcester Lumber Co., General Electric, and Prudential Insurance as an agent. Joe was honored to receive several Vice-Presidential Academy of Honor Awards throughout his 30-year career at Prudential. Joe served as Rotarian President and contributed to the inception of the Worcester Pool and Worcester Health Center. He was a lifelong resident of Worcester. Joe loved his family, friends and community, enjoying bringing people together with a good laugh, cooking, a good poker game and a good polka.

Joe is survived by his wife, Jean Smaila of 20 years; son, Joseph “Buzz” and wife, Rita Smaila; daughter, Andria “Andi” Smaila; grandchildren, Christine (Smaila) and husband, Justin Soudant, Sara (Smaila) and husband, Brendan McGrath; great-grandson, Joshua Soudant; sister-in-law, Joyce Udovich; step-children, Marty and wife, Diane Winn, Ronnie and wife, Ginny Winn and Maryann (Winn) and husband, Wes Kryger; several grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Joe was predeceased by his first wife, Louise; his parents, Anna and Bill Udovich; sister, Barbara George and brother, William Udovich.

A private graveside service will be held at the St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Worcester.

Cards and remembrances may be sent to the family.

Online condolences may be made at, The Heller & Skinner Funeral Home, 155 Main St., Worcester, is assisting the family.

Hartwick Hails Class of ’19

Hartwick Class of 2019

Departs Oyaron Hill

Nursing major Mataiah Waters, Milford, above, walks with 214 fellow graduates during the recessional at Hartwick College,’s 88th annual Commencement on Oyaran Hill in Oneonta earlier this afternoon. At right, Hartwick President Margaret Drugovich, rear, joins the crowd in recognizing Eric Cooper, associate professor of biology, who was the recipient of this year’s esteemed Margaret B. Bunn Award for Outstanding Teaching. (Ian Austin/

ZAGATA: Is There No Way To Stop Child Separations?

Column by Mike Zagata, July 6, 2018

Is There No Way To

Stop Child Separations?

Mike Zagata

Most of us are the descendants of immigrants who legally entered the country via
Ellis Island.
As Americans, we should be proud that people want to come to our country. However, there are laws that control the rate of entry and processes to follow in adhering to those laws.
Today we’re besieged with a media blitz focused on the separation of children from adults caught entering illegally while they are subjected to our legal system.
Instead of jumping to the child separation issue, maybe we should stop and ask what it is that caused the separation, i.e. what are the adults
being processed for?
It turns out they have broken the law by illegally entering the country. Thus, it seems logical that any debate about immigration should begin there.
There are already at least two laws on the books that address these illegal border crossings, but they have, by several past presidents, largely been ignored.
Those presidents all took an oath to uphold the Constitution and laws of the land so they bear some of the responsibility for our current dilemma.
Congress passed the current laws and therefore they have the Constitutional authority to either amend them or pass new ones to address illegal immigration. Where is the media when it comes to asking Congress why it has been unwilling to fix the problem?
Now let’s address the topic of children being separated from their accompanying adults. Why did I say “adults” and not “parents”?
The answer is really quite simple – we have no easy way of determining if the adults are the actual parents of the children they are with.
We say that should be easy, and then are confronted with the fact that 50,000 people illegally cross the border each month. It takes months to do a background check on a U.S. citizen who was born here. We don’t have “months” to determine if the accompanying adults are the actual parents and if they have a criminal record.
However, we do have a legal process for deciding how to handle these illegal immigrants, but that process takes time. What do we do with the children in the meantime?
Do we put them in with other adults for whom we have no background information? Would doing so increase the likelihood of real child abuse?
Do we build, at taxpayer expense, holding facilities for the “families” – remember, there are 50,000 new ones each month. That would require a massive infrastructure to build and staffing it would be very expensive.
Do we simply put those caught illegally crossing the border on a bus and send them back – where is “back”?
Why not just release them at the border until their hearing date? That’s what’s been done in the past and about 80 percent don’t show up at the appointed court date. One could say they are the smart ones and soon after they blend into the overall population and the issue just goes away – or does it?

Because of our heritage and compassion, we all want those who wish to immigrate to our country to have the opportunity to do it legally. No one wants to see children entering a new country separated, even for a short time, from adults who may be their parents.
To address that concern, a broken immigration system needs to be fixed – not a tinkering, but a comprehensive overhaul.
If you, like me, want that done, please let your congressman and senator know that you understand it is them, not the President, who makes the laws and thus they have the power and responsibility to get it done.

Mike Zagata, a DEC commissioner in the Pataki Administration and a former environmental executive for Fortune 500 companies, lives in West Davenport.

Online Poll 11.14.16

Online Poll

Online Poll Results

Online Poll Results

Here are the results for the online poll we took asking “Do you think Donald Trump’s campaign for president is unstoppable?”


Online Poll – 03.03.16

Online Poll


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