News of Otsego County

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





ONEONTA – The city and town of Oneonta yesterday applied for an $8.7 million state DOT grant to make Lettis Highway safer and more attractive and to build sidewalks between Home Depot and Lowes on Southside.

The grant application was approved at a special common council meeting Wednesday night to meet the deadline. Mayor Gary Herzig said he expects to hear on the application by January.

Oneonta AAA Finds New Home On Southside

Oneonta AAA Finds

New Southside Home

AAA celebrated the grand opening of its new location on Oneonta’s Southside with a ceremonial ribbon cutting this morning.  Participating were, from left, Nicole Roe,  Jane Murphy,  Vikki Bellinger, Laima Kauger, Stacie Medowcraft,all of Oneonta; Adrianna Lewis, Utica, Jamie Reynolds, Oneonta, Carol Morris, Utica, Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, Kevin Morgan, Oneonta, Patti Artessa, Utica, incoming branch manager Stacie Harvey and Daniel Butterman, both of Oneonta; Otsego Chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan, current branch manager Deb Leach, state Sen. Jim Seward’s representative Catherine Mosher, Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood, Karen Lang, Otsego County Chamber, Gary Lang, Oneonta Outlaws and AAA Regional Manager Ed Welsh. “Our company is committed to Oneonta,” said Welsh. “AAA has been in Oneonta for over 100 years and we’re not going anywhere. We plan to be here for a long time. We may be a national organization, but we hire strong, local, hometown folks.” (Ian Austin/
Denny’s Celebrates Remodel With Ribbon Cutting, Specials

Denny’s Celebrates Remodel

With Ribbon Cutting, Specials

From left: Benjamin Cruz, michelle Arnecke, Kimberly Simmons, Frank Aviles, Mae Van Alstyne-Davis, Kitty Cruz, Rita Strobeck, Abu Morshed, Jane Brown, Erica VanWarner, Aria Morsted, Sharon Teator, David Johnson, Mike Hall, Dustin Hummell and Paul Ferguson cut the ribbon at the Oneonta Denny’s during their Grand Slam celebration for the newly remodeled restaurant on Monday morning. Stop on in for specials that including the newly launched 3-course meals, or buy a mug and get free coffee for a month! (Ian Austin/
Southside Welcomes Five Star Urgent Care

Southside Welcomes

Five Star Urgent Care

Owner John Radford, M.D., Andrea Knowles, LouAnne Giangreco, M.D, and Patrick Sexton, Regional Practice Manager stand outside Five Star Urgent Care that opened this morning on Southside in Oneonta. The practice, located across from the Southside Mall, offers x-rays on site, tests for strep throat, mono, flue, RSV, pregnancy and more. They are also equipped to treat sprains, cuts and to administer stitches. “We understand that time is valuable,” said LouAnne Girangreco, “We aim to see people within 30 minutes. We want a warm, comforting environment for patients and their families, so we also offer toys, free arcade games and slushies.” Bob Wood, who attended the ribbon cutting, said “This is a real asset to our community and a great location. We are happy to welcome you.” They also partnered with A&D Taxi services to offer free rides for college students to and from the clinic when they show their student ID. Five Star Urgent Care is open 365 days a year from 8am-8pm.(Ian Austin/
Fire Chief: Christopher’s Fire Started In Dining Room

Fire Chief: Christopher’s Blaze

Started In Front Dining Room

Oneonta Assistant Fire Chief Jim Maloney, front, confers with fire investigators, while Don Tubia, left, helps sift through the rubble of the front right corner, where the early-morning fire that destroyed Christopher’s Restaurant is believed to have started. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – The overnight fire that destroyed Christopher’s Restaurant on Southside started in the front right corner of the building, a dining area, according to Oneonta Fire Chief Patrick Pigeon.

A passerby called the fire in at 2:20 a.m. and crews arrived less than five minutes later to find the fire fully involved. “We started an aggressive attack through the front doors, but after 10 minutes, we realized it wasn’t going to work,” said Pigeon. “The fire was already up in the roof system.”

According to Pigeon, they spent another 20 minutes inside trying to battle the blaze, but with so many rooms, the fire was impossible to contain. “We would douse one room, and the fire would just be pushed to the next,” he said.

Fire Destroys Christopher’s Restaurant



Oneonta Landmark Burns Overnight

The fire that broke out overnight completely destroyed Christopher’s Restaurant on Southside.  The landmark was unique locally:  It was built and decorated as an Adirondack lodge, evident in the trophies (foreground) that decorated the walls. The cause remains under investigation (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – The Oneonta Fire Department is still on the scene after an early morning blaze destroyed landmark Christopher’s Restaurant on Southside.

The call came into the city fire department at 2:20 a.m. and professional firefighters arrived on the scene to find the restaurant fully engulfed.  “It no longer exists,” said fireman Al Sayers Lutz. “It’s been completely destroyed.”

McDonalds Manager Named Outstanding Manager

Southside McDonald’s Manager

Wins Top Honors For Restaurant

John Crotts, manager at the Southside McDonald’s, holds his latest (of seven!) Outstanding General Manager award for his work at the restaurant. (Ian Austin/

ONEONTA – John Crotts, General Manager of the McDonald’s on Southside, knows that it’s all about service with a smile.

“I enjoy my job,” he said. “We have a good time here.”

And last week, Crotts was once again given the McDonald’s Outstanding Restaurant Managers award for the Philadelphia Region, which spans from Pennsylvania to Watertown, as well as parts of New Jersey and Delaware. “It goes to the top 10 percent of General Managers across 14,000 restaurants nationwide,” he said. “It’s really nice to get.”

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