News of Otsego County

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

Senator Seward

Seward Bill Exempts ‘Vintage’ Snowmobiles From Registration Fee

Seward Bill Exempts

‘Vintage’ Snowmobiles

From Registration Fee

Utica Lawmaker Introduces Companion

Samples of entries in Malone’s annual Vintage Snowmobile Show.

ALBANY – For a fourth time, the state Senate has passed a bill exempting vintage snowmobiles from the $100 annual registration fee, the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, announced.

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, a Utica Democrat, has introduced the legislation (A.7164) in the state Assembly.  This year’s legislative session ends Wednesday.

Oneontan Among Students At League’s Day In Albany

Oneontan Among Students

At League’s Day In Albany

Oneontan Mahala Johnson, center, was among a contingent of students who shadowed state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, left, this week during the League of Women Voters’ “Students Inside Albany” conference.  Other students from Seward’s nine-county district are, from left, Lena Kennell, Newfield; Santana Deckard, McGraw, and Andrew Cihocki, Cincinnatus.  “The learning experience with the shadow students is a two-way street,” said Seward. “Along with providing our future leaders with a better understanding of state government policy, it’s a great opportunity for me to find out what’s on their minds. I want to be sure we are taking steps at the state level to help our next generation thrive here in New York.”  (Jeff Bishop photo)
NY Has Third Most Lyme Disease Cases

COLUMN • Capitol Perspective

NY Has Third Most

Lyme Disease Cases

By State Sen. JAMES L. SEWARD • Special to

ALBANY  – May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and with the number of reported cases in New York rising each year, it is important to arm yourself and your family with the tools to avoid the disease when possible, and detect and treat when necessary.

Lyme disease is an infection, caused by bacteria, that is spread by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick.  Lyme disease can affect the skin, joints, nervous system and/or heart.  When detected early, it usually can be treated with oral antibiotics.  If left untreated, it often causes serious health problems.

According to reports by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), New York State has the third highest number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease in the country, trailing only our neighbors Pennsylvania and New Jersey. While this problem has historically been concentrated on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley, the state Department of Health reports that it is quickly migrating to other counties across New York.

Not all ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease; they become infected after feeding on infected animals such as mice or other small mammals.  Transmission times for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases vary, and the sooner a tick is removed, the lower the risk of infection. Always check for ticks after spending time outdoors.  You cannot get Lyme disease from another person or an infected animal.

Ticks can be active all months of the year when temperatures are above freezing. However, most tick encounters occur from April through November. Their preferred habitats are wooded areas and adjacent grasslands. Lawns and gardens at the edges of woods may also be home to blacklegged ticks. Ticks may feed on wild animals such as mice, deer, birds and raccoons, but domestic animals such as cats, dogs and horses can also carry the ticks closer to home.

I have worked to enact several new laws in New York State to improve our response to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.  We have also taken steps to upgrade education efforts and enhance efficiency when it comes to treatment and reporting measures.

Last year several measures I co-sponsored were signed into law, including:

  • Senate bill 7171, requiring the state to study the effect Lyme and tick-borne diseases have on mental health;
  • Senate bill 7170, establishing an expert-based Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group to review current best practices for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Lyme and TBDs;
  • Senate bill 7242, requiring Lyme and tick-borne disease warning signs at all state-managed parks, including trail entryways and campgrounds.

Another bill that I have co-sponsored would serve as a major step forward for treatment of Lyme.  The legislation would create specific protocol to notify individuals of their diagnoses related to Lyme and other TBDs. The bill would require the commissioner of health to work with health care providers to develop a standard protocol and patient notification for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme and TBDs.

In discussing this issue with individuals who have contracted Lyme and doctors alike, it is clear that diagnosis and treatment plans vary greatly.  We need to develop a uniform health care strategy that will increase positive outcomes so people aren’t left guessing if they are infected or if they will be left to struggle with a debilitating disease for the rest of their lives.

I have also helped secure state funding to combat Lyme.  Last year, a record $1 million was included in the state budget for research, education and prevention efforts.  Unfortunately, the new Senate majority failed to continue that commitment this year and the funding was not included in the new state budget – a major disappointment.

Additional information regarding Lyme disease prevention, how to remove a tick, and symptoms is available through the state Department of Health website at  By knowing the facts and taking precautions, you can enjoy the outdoors and avoid Lyme disease.

James L. Seward, R-Milford, represents the 51st state Senate district, which includes Otsego and eight other counties.

6th Ward Neighbors Complain To Seward About RSS’s Record


6th Ward Neighbors

Complain To Seward

About RSS’s Record

Former Oneonta Alderman Bill Shue, left, and Fran Colone, Sixth Ward Neighbors United organizer, brief residents on strategies going forward to block a 65-unit apartment complex, including 12 units for residents in rehabilitation, planned for River Street near Duane. (Ian Austin/


By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – The Sixth Ward Neighbors United is hoping to enlist the assistance of state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, in the fight against Riverside Apartments, a 64-unit low-income housing project proposed by Rehabilitation Support Services.

We “are seeking a full investigation of the financial dealings of (RSS), who have submitted funding applications to several state agencies,” the letter read. “We feel that because of the super-inflated costs of this project, historical evidence points to a project filled with potential kickbacks, self-dealing, improper loans between nonprofits, some exorbitant expenses and a potentially improper relationship with a for-profit entity.”

Recalling 1989 Murder, Senator Unveils GOP’s Victim’s Justice Agenda

Recalling 1989 Murder,

Senator Unveils GOP’s

Victim’s Justice Agenda

Jill Gibbons’ Death Inspired Package

Jill Gibbons

ALBANY – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, today joined members of the Senate Republican Conference to unveil the “Victims’ Justice Agenda.” 

The package of bills would reform the parole system to keep violent criminals behind bars without parole and ease the parole process for suffering victims, families and the public.

 “To understand how this law would work you need to look no further than the murder of 18-year-old Gillian ‘Jill’ Gibbons in 1989 in Oneonta,” said Seward. “The convicted killer David Dart has had three parole hearing since 2014 and will be eligible for another next year.

 Seward, Salka Regret NYC’s Loss Of Amazon


 Seward, Salka Regret

NYC’s Loss Of Amazon


ONEONTA – Otsego County’s delegation in the state Legislature today expressed regret on news that Amazon has backed away from locating its second headquarters in Long Island City, Queens.

“This is a lost opportunity for New York State,” said state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford.  “It is extremely unfortunate that a hostile political environment has resulted in the loss of 25,000 good paying jobs.  While I have been critical of the lack of transparency involved in the Amazon deal, I was ultimately supportive of the economic opportunities that were on our horizon.”

Skeptical Seward Had ‘Frank Talks’ With Frontier, PSC

Skeptical Seward

Had ‘Frank Talks’

With Frontier, PSC

Senator Urges Constituents To Keep

Complaints Coming Until Outages End


MORRIS – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, today said he has received assurances from Frontier Communications and from John B. Rhodes, state Public Service Commission chairman, that frequent lengthy outages in telephone service in the Butternut Valley will be address.

But he added, “the proof is in the pudding.  I will remain vigilant and encourage constituents to keep me apprised of any additional problems.”

The problems are in western Otsego County and contiguous areas of Delaware County.

“After learning of telephone outages in rural portions of my district, I called on Frontier Communications to spell out what is being done to correct deficiencies and ensure customers that they will have reliable service moving forward,” said Seward in a press release issued over the weekend.





Frontier Customers Experience

Long Outages In Western Otsego

Senator Seward

ONEONTA – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford,  today called on the state Department of Public Service and Frontier Communications to review and remedy recent problems with phone service in western Otsego County.

“Reliable communication service is essential in the event of an emergency, for economic development, and for quality of life,” said Senator Seward.  “Recent telephone outages in a rural portion of my senate district isolated customers and compromised safety.  Adding insult to injury, the response from telephone carrier Frontier Communications has been fully inadequate.”

Ranking Republican On Finance, Seward’s Other Assignments Made

Ranking Republican On Finance,

Seward’s Other Assignments Made


ONEONTA – In addition to serving as ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, today announced he will also serve on the education, finance, higher education, insurance and rules committees.

As longtime chairman of the Insurance Committee, he said he looks forward to serving there, and in particular on Education and Higher Education, he said.

State Of State Includes Senator, Both Mayors, Chair Of County Board


State Of State Includes

Senator, Both Mayors,

Chair Of County Board

ONEONTA – The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce today announced the lineup for its annual State of the State Breakfast, scheduled as it’s been traditionally done on the day after New Year’s Day.

The headliners are state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, Cooperstown’s new mayor, Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and her Oneonta counterpart, Gary Herzig, and David Bliss, chairman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives.

Seward Appointed Top Republican On Finance Committee

Seward Appointed

Top Republican On

Finance Committee

Newly In Minority, Senator

Vows He’ll Fight For Upstate

In September 2015, Senator Seward brought then-newly minted Majority Leader John Flanagan of Long Island to The Otesaga to confer with key community leaders. Clockwise from front are Tunnicliff Inn proprietor Frank Leo, Hall of Fame Vice President Ken Meifert, Otsego Chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan, retired assemblyman Tony Casale, Bassett Hospital’s then-president Vance Brown, Flanagan, Seward, Springbrook President Patricia Kennedy, Community Bank’s Joe Sutaris, and Bank of Cooperstown President Scott White.  (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

ONEONTA – Otsego County’s state senator, Jim Seward, R-Milford, today announced he has been named ranking Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee by the Republican leader, John Flanagan.

With Seward on the committee, “Our budget priorities will be widely known and well-articulated, and we will stand up for taxpayers at every turn,” Flanagan said in announcing the appointment.

Seward Hosts Reality Check Members

Seward Hosts Reality Check

Members of Realty Check and Advancing Tobacco Free Communities Delaware, Otsego & Schoharie Counties met with state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, in his Oneonta District Office. Standing behind the senator are, from left, Brea Fyfe (Oneonta Community Christian School), Jasmine Neill (Sharon Springs Central School), Ava Valetutto (Sharon Springs Central), Linda Wegner (ATFC-DOS Program director), Bonnie Peck (Reality Check Youth Engagement coordinator).
GOP – And One Democrat Gather For Pancake Feast

GOP, And One Democrat, 

Gather For Pancake Feast

Dave Bliss, Republican chair of the Otsego County Board and a Rotarian, pours coffee for state Sen. – and candidate – Jim Seward, R-Milford, a few minutes ago at the traditional Cooperstown Rotary Club Election Day pancake breakfast at the Vets’ Club. With the senator are, from his left, daughter-in-law of two months Kelly Ann, daughter Lauren, wife Cindy and son Ryan. Seward is being challenged today by Democrat Joyce St. George, Margaretville area. Inset, Democratic kingmaker Richard Sternberg joined the Republican table that includes, at left, county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr. and County Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner; at right is Republican County Chair Vince Casale, who is also a top adviser to Republican Marc Molinaro’s campaign against Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  Devlin is being challenged by Republican Bob Fernandez, a retired state trooper who appears on the Democrat line.  Sinnott Gardner is unopposed.  “I like these people,” said Sternberg.   The polls are open across Otsego County until 9 p.m.  (Jim Kevlin/

Knowledge Worker, Not Industry, Is Our Future, Speaker Says


Knowledge Worker,

Not Industry, Is Our

Future, Speaker Says

Cleinman Wins Seward’s Support

To Launch ‘Come Home’ Campaign

If Boise, Idaho, and Bozeman, Mont., could create vibrant economies based on knowledge workers, so can Oneonta, business consultant Al Cleinman told today’s Workforce Summit at The Otesaga. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Senator Seward said he would support Cleinman’s “Come Home” initiative, and expand it to include “Stay Home.”

COOPERSTOWN – After a rousing salute to “knowledge-based industry,” a local businessman with a national clientele, Al Cleinman, today announced he intends to lead a “Come Home to Oneonta” campaign.

Cleinman was addressing the Workforce Summit at The Otesaga, where attendees learned we have more jobs than people.  The day was organized by the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce and the office of state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who immediately warmed up to Cleinman’s idea.

The idea is to lure back some of the 75,000 living Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta graduates – executives, consultants, business owners and tech employees who can work anywhere – to reposition the local economy.

Seward Announces $30K State Grant To Fund West Oneonta Alert System

Seward Announces $30K Grant

To Fund W. Oneonta Alert System

West Oneonta Volunteer Fire Department Chief Water Schmitt (seated) demonstrates the department’s new omni-directional alert and voice mass notification system for state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford.  Seward presented a $30,000 state grant this evening to help pay for the new alert system.  (Jeff Bishop photo)


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