News of Otsego County

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


Senator Jim Seward

Oberacker Explores Running For Senate To Succeed Seward


Oberacker Explores

Running For Senate

To Succeed Seward

Peter Oberacker

SCHENEVUS – County Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, who is also president of  FormTech Solutions, a national food research consultancy, is exploring running for the 51st District state Senate seat to succeed James L. Seward, he said yesterday.

Last evening, Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-Schoharie, considered the front-runner for the nomination. pulled out, saying he has commitments to fulfill in his 102nd District job.

Otsego County GOP Chairman Vince Casale said he will be introducing Oberacker to other county chairmen in the nine-county district over the next two weeks to firm up support for the candidate.

From All, Best Wishes For A Speedy Recovery


From All, Best Wishes

For A Speedy Recovery

$10 MILLION MAN: State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, is flanked by, from left, MVREDC chairman Robert Geer, Empire State Development Corp. President Howard Zemsky, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig and Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, when the City of Oneonta was named the first DRI community on July 20, 2016. (Ian Austin/

Editor’s Note: This editorial is reprinted from this week’s editions of Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal, on newsstands now.

The news that state Sen. Jim Seward’s cancer is back – his office issued a press release Wednesday, Nov. 6 – brings two immediate reactions.

One, fingers crossed. Advances in cancer-fighting research can mean five years, 10 years – and more – of active living. Everyone’s got a story of a happy outcome.

Two, reflections immediately come to mind on the ongoing Seward Era of Otsego County politics. It’s been a charmed one, and to reflect on it underscores how his recovery will be good news for all of us.

Just think about this decade, the State Sen. Jim Seward Decade, if you will.

‘Justice For Gillian’ Rally Saturday In Muller Plaza

‘Justice For Gillian’ Rally

Saturday In Muller Plaza

The “Justice for Gillian” Rally for parole reform, organized by victim Jill Gibbons’ sister, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, will be at 3 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 28, at Muller Plaza in downtown Oneonta.  Seward will speak in opposition to the release of David Dart, found guilty of stabbing Jill to death in 1989 in the city’s downtown parking deck.  The senator and Kirkpatrick will be joined by former city Police Chief Joseph Redmond, who knew the family.  Jill’s family has had to participate in a parole hearing every two years since 2014,  reviving painful memories, and the senator has repeatedly introduce legislation to extend that period to every five years for violent crimes. There will also be an opportunity for those who knew Gillian to say a few words in her memory.
SEWARD: No ‘Green Light’ Law As Loose As This One



No ‘Green Light’ Law

As Loose As This One

By State Sen. JIM SEWARD, R-Milford • Special to

ALBANY – While the 2019 state legislative session concluded  several weeks ago, discussion continues to swirl around one of the more controversial new measures approved this year – the so-called “Green Light” law.

he new law, which formally takes effect on Dec. 14, 2019, would permit illegal/undocumented immigrants to apply for standard driver’s licenses using forms of foreign identification. The majority of New Yorkers are against the idea and prior to the Senate vote on the bill, I heard from a great number of constituents who voiced strident opposition.

Fair Practices Act May Force Farms Out Of Business


Fair Practices Act

May Force Farms

Out Of Business

By State Sen. JIM SEWARD • Special to

Earlier this year the New York City-centric state Senate leadership, for political reasons, blocked Amazon and 25,000 jobs from coming to our state.  Now, in the closing hours of the 2019 legislative session, the same group of “leaders” are killing off existing jobs by targeting our state’s number one industry – agriculture.

To be clear, when New York was announced as the winning site for the Amazon HQ2 project, I raised questions.  The lack of transparency involved in constructing the deal was concerning.  I have stated very clearly that we need more accountability and input when it comes to all of New York’s economic incentive programs.

Grummons, Pathfinder Village Honored At Chamber Awards

200 Pack Atrium,

Praising Pathfinder

Village, Grummons

Funeral Director Les Grummons, left, and Pathfinder Village, represented by its president, Paul Landers, right, last evening were honored by 200 well-wishers who filled Foothills’ Atrium at the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Gala & Celebration of Business.  Grummons, of Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, was Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen of 2019; Pathfinder Village, the NBT Distinguished Business.   Behind them, from left, are state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, NBT Regional Executive Jamie Reynolds, and Otsego Chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan.  (Ian Austin/
There ARE Jobs In Select Fields, Conference Told


There ARE Jobs

In Select Fields,

Conference Told

Jobs are available locally, but the workforce to fill them is shrinking through shrinking population and pending retirements, Christian Harris, state Department of Labor analyst, tells at Workforce Summit underway today at The Otesaga. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Cooperstown Central school board President Marcy Birch, also a businesswoman, and Superintendent Bill Crankshaw listen intently to Harris’ presentation. In the background is Mary Joe Ferrare of the Workforce Development Institute.

COOPERSTOWN – The good news is, if you want a job as a registered nurse, retail supervisor of information security analyst around here, you’ve got it.

The bad news is, young people aren’t participating in the workforce as before, and people generally are leaving the area.

Overall, if you really want to work, go into the hospital and healthcare fields.

That was the news Christian Harris, state Department of Labor analyst for the region that includes Otsego County, shared with 70 attendees at a Workforce Summit underway today at The Otesaga, co-sponsored by the Otsego Chamber of Commerce and State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford.

Seward Delivers Funding To OFO To Combat Domestic Violence

Seward Delivers Funding 

To Fight Domestic Violence

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, announces funding for Opportunities for Otsego’s domestic-violence prevention program at OFO’s West Broadway headquarters Monday afternoon.   With him, from left, are OFO Crisis Intervention Director Will Rivera, Catholic Charities Executive Director Lynn Glueckert, Delaware Opportunities Executive Director Shelly Bartow and OFO CEO Dan Maskin. OFO and Catholic Charities of Otsego and Schoharie counties will receive $15,000 each, and $7,000 each goes to Delaware Opportunities and Liberty Resources (Chenango County). “These community programs provide vital services for those in dire need,” said Seward, “We are fortunate to have so many local organizations providing help to vulnerable individuals, and I am pleased to assist them in their efforts to make our communities safer. These agencies are lifelines and, in many cases, are all that stand between a domestic violence victim and further harm.” (Ian Austin/
Seward’s Proclamation Raises Profile Of ‘2nd Chance Month’

Seward’s Proclamation Raises

Profile Of ‘2nd Chance Month’

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, presents a state Senate proclamation recognizing “Second Chance Month” to Ameen Aswad, executive director, Jail Ministry of Otsego County Executive Director Ameen Aswad, county Director of Community Services Susan Matt, and county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr.  “Once individuals have paid their debt to society, they will be returning to our communities and we all have a stake in their successful reintegration,” Seward said today. “Second Chance Month is an opportunity to recognize and support those who want to make an honest effort at a new life.” Second Chance Month is a national movement aimed at bringing awareness to the stigma and barriers those coming out of prison or jail face.


Jeff Katz Honored At Village Hall Reception

Jeff Katz Honored

At Village Hall Reception

Former Cooperstown Mayor Jeff Katz was celebrated this evening in the ballroom at Village Hall, where he was gifted a gavel, a print of the village and a proclamation by new mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, as well as remarks by friends, trustees past and present and state Senator Jim Seward, R-Milford. “I have been fortunate to serve with people of a like mind,” he said. “And I cannot say enough about all the people in this room. It’s nice to have people come to your side.” (Ian Austin/
Day 1 of Otsego Health Fair Already ‘A Phenomenal Success’

Day 1, And Otsego Health Fair

Already ‘Phenomenal Success’

At the first Otsego County Healthy Living Expo today, organizer Mathew Johnson, left, and Julie Dostal, right, look on as Bassett physician Richard Brown briefs state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, on National Take Back Week, an initiative to collect outdated prescriptions. Inset photo, Allistair, left, and Alex Scorzafava, center, present Michael Gardner, Milford, with a brand new bicycle provided by New York Central Mutual; the company will be giving out another 25 bike tomorrow (Saturday), when the Expo resumes from 10 to 4 in Foothills’ Atrium.  The event features 40 local organizations providing information on healthy living. Visitors can get information and resources, plus fresh produce courtesy of Pathfinder village.  You can pet animals from the Utica Zoo, listen to guest speakers, or have your feet checked for weight distribution.  (Ian Austin/


Rebounding, Nardi To Explore Run Against Seward In 2018

Rebounding, Nardi To Explore

Running Against Seward In ’18

‘I Had A Lot Of Fun, Did A Lot Of Good,’ Democrat Says

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Cathy Nardi at the end of today’s count.

COOPERSTOWN – Rebounding from her narrow loss in Republican-dominated District 3, Democratic newcomer Cathy Nardi said today she is forming an “exploratory committee” to consider challenging incumbent Jim Seward, R-Milford, in the state Senate’s 51st District next November.

“I really had a lot of fun and I think I did a lot of good,” said Nardi, who came within eight votes of defeating county board Chair Kathy Clark, R-Otego/Laurens.  With absent ballots counted today, the final tally was 561-543 for Clark, a lead a mere 10 votes could have shifted.

Senator, Commissioner of Agriculture Tour Ommegang Expansion

Seward, Ag Commissioner

Tour Ommegang Expansion

Richard Ball, state commissioner of Agriculture & Markets, left, and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, tour the new expansion at Brewery  Ommegang with Doug Campbell, right, brewery president.  “The new construction will be for a grain-handling area.” explained Brewmaster Phil Leinhart. “The room will be totally dry, so we will be able to process grains and yeast faster.”  Hops growing Upstate has been growing steadily in the last several years, beneficial to both businesses like Ommegang and farmers, Ball said. “The market is growing so fast.” he said. “It is a good day when we can celebrate the growth of a business that is putting out a good product.” (Ian Austin/



Senator Seward has introduced a bill to make baseball the state sports. ( photo)

COOPERSTOWN – This idea is a home run.

Inspired by a suggestion from Anne Reis’ fourth-grade class at Cooperstown Central School, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, has introduced legislation – Senate bill 4288 – to designate baseball as New York’s official state sport.

“Baseball is known as our national pastime but the game has deep roots and a rich history here in New York State,” said Senator Seward.

“From the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in storied Cooperstown, to the Mets and Yankees – the pinnacles of Major League Baseball – to our recently crowned Little League World Series champions from Maine-Endwell, New York State is clearly the epicenter of baseball greatness,” said Seward.

Education Commissioner Elia Tours Laurens Central School

Education Commissioner Elia

Tours Laurens Central School

Bella Armenti, left, and Lindsey Charrigan, right, both students at Laurens Central School, show Senator Jim Seward and Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia the finer points of dissecting a sheep's  heart in their biology class. (Ian Austin/
Bella Armenti, left, and Lindsey Charrigan, right, both students at Laurens Central School, show Senator Jim Seward and Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia the finer points of dissecting a sheep’s heart in their biology class. (Ian Austin/

LAURENS – Stopping into classrooms and talking with students were all on the agenda as Senator Jim Seward and MaryEllen Elia, Commissioner of Education, visited Laurens Central School this morning to tour the facilities and to discuss the needs of the teachers and changes in NY State testing standards.

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