News of Otsego County

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



COLONE: As Upstate Declines, There Will Be More Schenevuses

As Upstate Declines, There

Will Be More Schenevuses

To the Editor:

What’s to blame for the financial stress currently being experienced by the Schenevus Central School system?

Mismanagement? Nah.  A ban on hydro-fracking? I doubt it.

I think it’s regional population loss which has negatively impacted much of Upstate. If there’s anyone or anything to blame, I’d suggest putting it on the multi-generational commercial decline within the City of Oneonta and the
surrounding urban center!

Small and medium-sized city/urban centers have long been seen as drivers of commerce and culture, both directly for their internal constituents, as well as for the people in the rural settings around them.

The ongoing economic softness within the city and town of Oneonta is having a ripple effect in the outlying areas; and I suspect there will likely be more Schenevus-like moments coming soon!

I’m a long-time believer that “as goes Oneonta, so goes the entire area!” So, if nearby communities and school systems around the Oneonta Urban Center are to gain some economic strength, growing the overall economy of the Greater Oneonta urban center is most compelling.

For that to happen, the city and town need to consolidate into one new streamlined higher-powered municipality, one able to substantially expand its public resources, reduce property taxes, raise development confidence among private developers, become a more forceful engine towards hosting far more good paying jobs, growing the municipal tax base and many more positives. There really are no negatives.

And I’m not alone in this belief; please see below the survey results of area leaders conducted sometime back by the Greater Oneonta Economic Development Council In around 2014, GO-EDC put out an area leaders’ survey surrounding its “300 in 3 Challenge”: Can 300 new, good-paying jobs be created over the next three years, through 2018.

The distribution list featured 353 area leaders, garnering 57 respondents who completed the survey. It’s very important to note that the survey indicates that respondents have firm positions about city/town enterprise and job creation.

A. 69 percent of the respondents reside in the town or city of Oneonta; 33 percent of the respondents reside in the Town of Oneonta; 36 percent of the respondents reside in the City of Oneonta and 31 percent reside in other towns and villages nearby.

B. 95 percent of the respondents agreed that the economic prosperity and sustainability of the municipalities within a 30-mile radius of Oneonta depends on the prosperity and sustainability of Oneonta. 5 percent disagreed.

C. 69 percent of the respondents agreed that the town and city of Oneonta would become more prosperous if they merged. 31 percent disagreed.

While we’re talking consolidation, perhaps merging should also be seriously pursued by other villages and towns throughout the Oneonta area and maybe it’s time to look at forming one or two county school districts?


City of Oneonta

GO-EDC co-convenor


Steven C. Naatz, 67; Forester, Outdoorsman, Entrepreneur


Steven C. Naatz, 67; Forester,

Outdoorsman, Entrepreneur

Steven Naatz

SCHENEVUS – Steven C. Naatz, 67, formerly of Goodyear Lake, a forester who could identify every tree and animal by its Latin name and proprietor of Naatz Excavating & Forestry, passed away on Sunday, July 7, 2019, with family by his side.

Steve was born on Sept. 30, 1951, at Fox Hospital in Oneonta to Audrey V. (Baumann) and William M. Naatz of Emmons, the middle of five children. He graduated from Oneonta High School, earned an A.A.S. from the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry Ranger School in Wanakena, then received a M.S. from Colorado State University. He served in the Army National Guard as a senior surveyor at Fort Belvoir, Va.

Trooper Injured In I-88 Altercation

Trooper Injured

In I-88 Altercation

SCHENEVUS – At least one state trooper was injured in an altercation that took place near the Schenevus exit on I-88, according to Officer Aga Dembinska, Troop C public relations.

However, by late evening Dembinska lacked any further details.

Fireman’s Carnival Ends Tonight With Parade, Midway and Music

Fireman’s Carnival Ends Tonight

With Parade, Midway and Music

Above, Paul Neske, Captain of the Schenevus Fire Department, begins cleaning off the front of one of their engines with head of EMS (and past Chief) Don Sperbeck in preparation for the Fireman’s Carnival parade that will kick off tonight’s festivities. At right, Heather Hunter and Rose Lombardo, Schenevus, place their tickets in bags during the Chinese Auction earlier this afternoon to benefit the Schenevus and Maryland Fire Departments.  Tonight’s entertainment includesa parade at 6pm, followed by live music from Off The Record, a chicken BBQ, BINGO, and a Midway full of games and rides for the whole family. (Ian Austin/




Deowongo Island Day


SUMMER PICNIC – Noon – 3 p.m. Day of summer fun featuring food, party barge rides to Deowongo Island, live music. Bakers Beach, St. Hwy. 28, Richfield Springs. 607-547-2366 or visit

DANCE PARTY – 6 – 10 p.m. Back to the 80’s with cover band “Flux Capacitor.” Includes snacks, beer, wine, soft drinks. Cost, $25. Proceeds to Greater Oneonta Historical Society building fund. Deer Haven Campground, 180 Deer Haven Ln., Oneonta. 607-432-0960 or visit


A Wrinkle In Time

At The Sports Center


MOVIE NIGHT – 9 – 10:30 p.m. Screening of “A Wrinkle in Time” (2018) on the inflatable movie screen on the field. Bring snacks, beverages, chairs, blankets, bug spray, etc for added comfort. Free, open to the public. Outdoor Soccer Field, Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown. 607-547-2800 or visit

THEATER – 7:30 p.m. Performance of “Brighton Beach Memoirs” by Neil Simon. A coming of age story about Eugene Morris Jerome, a teenage Polish-American immigrant during the Great Depression in Brooklyn. Tickets, $17/adult. Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. 607-431-2080 or visit


Jazz Concert In Neahwa


CONCERT SERIES – 7 – 8 p.m. Chris Wolf-Gould Jazz Ensemble performs in Neahwa Park, Oneonta. Visit

FIREMANS CARNIVAL – 6 p.m. – Midnight. Features rides, Elk Creek Sky Divers at 6:30 to kick off the festivities, live music by the Jason Wicks Band. Free Parking/admission. Rt. 7, Schenevus. Visit

Bruce Scofield, Schenevus; Enjoyed Active Retirement After GE Career

IN MEMORIAM: Bruce Scofield, Schenevus;

Enjoyed Active Retirement After GE Career

Bruce Scofield

SCHENEVUS – Bruce Charles Scofield, 67, a 38-year employee of General Electric, passed away at home with his family by his side on Nov. 19, 2017.

Bruce was born Oct. 11, 1950, in Cooperstown, the son of Charles D. and Isabel R. (Davis) Scofield.

He was a life-long resident of Schenevus, graduating from Andrew S. Draper Central School.

Stephanie K. Shultis, 48; Managed Family’s Polar Bear Restaurants

IN MEMORIAM: Stephanie K. Shultis, 48;

Managed Family’s Polar Bear Restaurants

Stephanie Shultis

SCHENEVUS – Stephanie K. Shultis Hurlburt, 48, a manager at her family’s Polar Bear restaurants, passed away September 7, 2017, after a courageous 10-year battle with thyroid cancer.

She was born May 9, 1969, in Oneonta, the daughter of Edmund G. and Beth A. (Wells) Shultis.

Stephanie grew up in Schenevus, graduating from Andrew S. Draper Central School, Class of 1987.

Matthew L. Bowman, 48; Systems Administrator In Capitol District

IN MEMORIAM: Matthew L. Bowman, 48;

Systems Administrator In Capitol District

Matthew Bowman

ONEONTA – Matthew Lee Bowman, 48, a computer systems administrator who attended Oneonta schools and received his bachelor’s from SUNY Oneonta, passed away Aug. 20, 2017, in his home in Clifton Park.

He was born May 12, 1969, in Tacoma, Wash., and was adopted by John F. and Margaret M. (Mahnken) Bowman. Matt grew up in a military family, traveling the world. After his father retired, his family returned to Central New York.

Questions Greet, Applause Affirms Mathes Appearance


Questions Greet,

Applause Affirms

Mathes Appearance

Among 75 attendees reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of this evening’s briefing are, from right, Paul Smith, James Heaney and his son, Tom, and Victor Hansen. (Jim Kevlin/

75 Attendees Provided Details

Of Hunt For Distribution Center

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

In the Schenevus AMVETS this evenng, Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes forsees “a very positive economic stimulus.”

SCHENEVUS – “Welcome,” an audience member called out when Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes finished introducing the concept of a 250- to 600-job distribution center to a community whose commercial base dropped from 57 businesses to a handful in the last half-century.

Even with 90 minutes of sometimes probing questions that followed from the 75 citizens at the AMVETS this evening, the audience broke into applause when the presentation and Q&A came to an end.

“We will be as aggressive as we can to maximize the local benefits,” Mathes pledged at several points.

But he also referred to the uncertainty and strategic nature of what lies ahead for 600-resident Schenevus and the Town of Maryland (total population 1,897) over the next couple of years.

“It’s like making a sports team,” he said.  “You’ve got to make the cut.”

Companies Knocking on Schenevus’ door


Oberacker: Already,

Companies Knocking

On Schenevus’ Door

Maryland Town Supervisor Harold Palmer, center, who presided this evening, said, “We’re in the baby stage and we’re hoping it grows.” He is flanked by Town Board members Scott Gaston, left, and Brian Bookhout. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

County Rep. Peter Oberacker tells constituents in Schenevus this evening: If we make it “shovel ready,” they will come.

SCHENEVUS – Since the news broke on Thursday, Jan. 26, companies seeking distribution-center sites have already begun calling county Rep. Peter Oberacker to express interest, he told the 35 people who packed the Maryland Town Board’s meeting room this evening.

“We’ve been contacted,” said Oberacker, the Republican who represents the towns of Maryland, Worcester, Westford and Decatur.  “Nobody’s committed, but we’ve been contacted.”

Still, he encouraged people not to get too excited yet about development of the 170-acre site on the east end of this hamlet at the I-88 exit, which could bring an estimated 250 to 500 jobs here.  “It’s not going to be all unicorns and rainbows,” he said.

But upbeat townspeople were having none of it at the lighthearted 90-minute meeting, where attendees eagerly blue-skied about what might be.

On WAMC’s ‘Morning Headlines’, Editor Tells Of Distribution Center For Schenevus

On WAMC’s ‘Morning Headlines’, Editor

Tells Of Distribution Center For Schenevus

County Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, walks the 130 acres identified as a site for development of a 500-job distribution cetner. (

In today’s weekly report, “Morning Headlines,” on WAMC/Northeast Public Radio, Jim Kevlin, editor/publisher of (and Hometown Oneonta & the Freeman’s Journal), reports on plans to develop 130 acres off the Schenevus exit to I-88 for Otsego County’s first just-in-time distribution center, which may yield up to 500 jobs.

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