It’s nice to see young people getting involved in politics, so I commend Josh Bailey for running for Oneonta Common Council in Ward 8. However, we are at a time where experience and a historical perspective are warranted.
I have known Mark Drnek for over 25 years and he has always had a good handle on what Oneonta needs and how to improve our community. The SweetHome Oneonta calendar alone has been valuable in attracting both tourists and locals for years into our community and local businesses.
As a business owner, Mark has a long history of working with local Oneonta businesses to compete in an increasingly difficult economy. Through the creation of SweetHome Productions, Mark has helped my business, along with many other Oneonta businesses to advertise and gain exposure to attract customers.
Both myself and Mark were local radio hosts for over 20 years. Mark continues to represent Oneonta in two dozen radio stations across the country with the Blue Light Central. Mark Drnek has been Oneonta’s spokesperson for many years so far, without even holding a political office.
Mark is deeply committed to the Oneonta community and his expertise and experience are gravely needed at point. He has invested in Oneonta as a resident and businessman and Mark’s vision for Oneonta is to keep the economy stable through local jobs and job growth in the local area. His understanding of small, local business is a key to upholding this small “City of the Hills”.
He realizes the resources available within our area and is committed to utilizing local businesses rather than hiring outside consultants, and other workers. Therefore the money spent stays here in the local economy.
This candidacy is not about political party but for the future security and well being of Oneonta.
Experience and deep commitment are key to the success of City Council and I support Mark Drnek because I believe he is the best candidate for the job.
ONEONTA – Stella Luna’s Bucatini all’Amatriciana may be the ultimate in comfort food.
Tony and Vinne Avanzato began serving the pasta dish, famous in Amatrice, Italy, as a fundraiser after the Aug. 24 earthquake that devastated the town. “Our friends over there told us there were foundations we could donate to, but they would take 20-30 percent,” said Tony. “I said, ‘Not gonna happen!’ People are giving their hard-earned money. It should go to the people who need it.”
If you leafed through the real estate listings recently, you may have noticed that Oneonta landmark Stella Luna is for sale.
But don’t worry. Vinne and Tony Avanzato aren’t closing their doors yet. “If the sale takes six months, a year, 10 years, we won’t close,” said Vinne. “We’ll still make the best food in Oneonta!”
Though the listing just went public, it’s a decision that’s been in discussion since the November 2012 accident that claimed the life of the family matriarch, Giuseppa, and left Vinne with severe injuries. “My life changed that day,” he said. “I’m ready to move on from this.”
The Avanzato family rescued the Market Street train station from demolition in 2000, but their roots in Oneonta go much deeper. “Our parents, Diego and Giuseppa, brought us here from Sicily in 1966, and we had nothing,” he said. “But my father, he had a vision for his family.”
They opened the Italian Kitchen in 1972 and ran it for 36 years until 2008. For a time, the family ran both restaurants. “I worked at the Italian Kitchen and my brother ran Stella Luna,” he said. “But it was a lot of work for just one person.”
The late Mayor Dick Miller was a fan of the Avanzatos, as well as their cooking, calling the family “the American dream.”
Margaret Drugovich ate her first meal as Hartwick College president there, and in 2013, the brothers were named Hartwick’s Citizens of the Year for their contributions to Hartwick athletics, including helping save Division One soccer.
The brothers also raise money every year to take upwards of 30 disadvantaged children on a shopping trip at Christmas. “I’m not ashamed to say I’m a softie,” he said. “I’m a giver. These kids deserve a nice Christmas like we have.”
And at 59, he’s put 43 years into his cuisine. “The Avanzatos are Oneonta’s history,” he said. “We’ve established a culture here. We believe in giving people good food because we’re proud Italians. We’re sincere.”