News of Otsego County


Prayer Vigil for victims of Buffalo Shooting 

Prayer Vigil For Victims
Of Buffalo Shooting

The community is invited to an interfaith Prayer Vigil to be hosted at 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 18, by the Elm Park United Methodist Church in Oneonta. The focus of the gathering is to comfort the broken hearted and to pray for the people of Buffalo as they struggle with this tragedy, Rev. Dr. Cynthia Walton-Leavitt said in a press release to announce the vigil.

‘So many of us were saddened as our hearts were broken once again at hearing the news of another mass shooting – this time so close to home with the shooter traveling from Conklin to a Tops Supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo.’

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Candlelight Vigil 12-2-21

Candlelight Vigil


CHRISTMAS – Be an Angel. Sign up to give the gift of Christmas to local families in need with this years Angel Tree Program. Visit for details.

VIGIL – 7 p.m. Bassett will hold a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the patients who have died of COVID-19. Family is invited to attend in person. All others are invited to attend by Zoom. Presented by Bassett Medical Center. 607-547-3626 or visit



Friends Gather In Memory

Of Student Who Passed Away

Hundreds of students gathered in the President’s Garden outside of SUNY Oneonta’s Milne Library this evening to share their memories of Nicholas Stagnitta, 20, of Patchogue, who died by suicide on Saturday, Aug 25. Above, two of his ZBT fraternity brothers Kevin Middleton and Sam Campolo comfort each other after speaking about Nick. “He encouraged me to feel worthy in my own life.” said Middleton. “I couldn’t have asked for a better friend.” Speakers all remarked on his compassion, love and his ability to lift up and bring out the best in those around him. Rabbi Meir Rubashkin, right, also offered words of comfort: “If you are not forgotten, you are not gone. We speak about his spirit, his smile; that is his soul. His impact and his life will live on through us all.” Students and staff will be wearing blue and yellow ribbons on Friday in support of Nicholas’ family and friends. (Ian Austin/

Three Dozen Line Streets In ‘Lights For Liberty’ Vigil
Placards Spell: End Concentration Camps

3 Dozen Line Oneonta Street

In ‘Lights For Liberty’ Vigil

Joining the nationwide “Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Detention Camps,” nearly three dozen people – Mark Drnek, left, among them – lining Oneonta’s Dietz Street Friday evening near the corner with Main, singing “This Land Is Your Land,” with cars honking in approval as they drove by. They held candles, signs and letters spelling out “End Concentration Camps.”  Inset, Katie Boardman of Cooperstown, right, helped organize the vigil because “children cannot be in cages.”  John Maier, center in the plaid shirt, came to the vigil from Treadwell.  “I can’t believe there are concentration camps in the U.S. in my lifetime,” he said.  (Jennifer Hill/

Pastors, Officials Offer Support To Local Sufis

Pastors, Officials Offer

Support To Local Sufis

A Cooperstown contingent – seated from left, Methodist Pastor Tom LeBeau, and Presbyterians Carol Beechy and Pastor Elsie Roades – attended Sunday evening’s service of solidarity at the Sufi community in Sidney.  (Ian Austin/

By IAN AUSTIN • Special to

Attendees include the Rev. Craig Schwallenberg, pastor of Oneonta’s UU Church.

SIDNEY CENTER – Spiritual leaders, mayors, law-enforcement officers, friends and neighbors gathered Sunday evening at the Sufi Muslim community of Osmanli Dergahi here to express solidarity after the mass shooting in Christ Church, New Zealand.

“You coming here shows you care.” said Junaid Khan, a leader of the community. “Facebook, twitter, they don’t matter. Thank you for taking action and coming here. It means a lot to us.”

A gunman entered Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch during Friday Prayer on March 15 and shot almost 100 worshipers, killing 50, in the worst mass shooting in that nation’s history.

With Kaddish, Interfaith Prayers, Oneonta Mourns Pittsburgh Dead

With Kaddish, Interfaith Prayer,

County Mourns Pittsburgh Dead

Cooperstown Village Trustee Richard Sternberg, right, speaks with Rev. Elsie Rhodes, Cooperstown and Rev. LaDana Clark, Oneonta, during a vigil at Temple Beth El earlier this evening. (Ian Austin/

By CATHY NARDI • Special to

Alice Lichtenstein, Oneonta, wipes away a tear as she listens to the words of Bernadette Winters-Bell as she read “Tree of Life”

ONEONTA – Unity among the diverse community members was the subject of Tuesday’s vigil for the 11 Jewish worshipers killed in Pittsburgh by a white supremacist gunman during services on Saturday, Oct. 27.

The message of solidarity was given to a crowd of supporters who were hard-pressed to fit inside Temple Beth El in Oneonta.

“Tonight we morn the victims,” said Temple Beth El president, Ken Sider. “And we are grateful for your support. Thank you.”

Sider said the Jewish community felt safe in America until recently.

Dozens March To Protest Seizing Children At Border

Dozens March To Protest

Seizing Children At Border

Almost 100 Cooperstown folks participated in a vigil this evening in front of Cooperstown Baptist Church on Elm Street in protest to the separation of children, perhaps as many as 2,000, from families attempting to cross the Southern border from Mexico.  Participating pastors, at right, included, from right, the Rev. Joe Perdue, Cooperstown Baptist, who hosted the gathering; the Rev. Elsie Rhodes, First Presbyterian; the Rev. Tom LeBeau, Cooperstown Methodist; Randy Velez, a Roman Catholic deacon, and the Rev. Ladonna Clark, who is associated with the Presbyterian Church.  In sequence, the pastors read an “Open Letter to Donald Trump” authored by a Unitarian Universalist minister in Wisconsin, the Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw.  In part, it said, “There must never again be internment camps, concentration camps or forced detention camps by any other name on American soil or under American control.”  While unable to attend, the Revs. Kyle Grennen, Grace Episcopal, Springfield Center, and Sharon Rankins-Burd, Fly Creek and Schuyler Lake Methodist churches, also signed the document.  The gathering then marched to First Presbyterian, where a worship service followed.  Some attendees contributed packages of diapers intended for the youngsters taken from their families.  (Jim Kevlin/


Classic Rock Concert


CONCERT – 6:30 p.m. Tom Golden presents a selection of classics ranging from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennet, Nat King Cole, and Elvis Presley. The Empire House & Restaurant, 136 Marion Ave., Gilberstville. Call 607-783-2859 or visit

VIGIL – 5 p.m. The Feast of the Holy Family. Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, 39 Walnut St., Oneonta. Call 607-432-3920 or visit

Oneonta Rallies In Solidarity With Charlottesville

 Oneonta In Solidarity

With Charlottesville

Over 100 people gathered in Muller Plaza this evening to rally in solidarity in response to the violence in Charlottesville, VA. and to denounce white supremacy.   The gathering was organized by Craig Schwalenburg of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta. After an invocation by Schwalenburg, the mic was available for anyone to use to share their thoughts and experiences. Above, Christina Hunt Wood, above, Delhi, tells the crowd of her recent experiences at the Delaware County Fair when her protest group approached the Fair Board about banning the sale of Confederate flags, they were barred from the fairgrounds. The crowd closed the evening by singing “This Little Light of Mine.” (Ian Austin/







Morris Mourns

A pair of angel wings hang on the school sign as more than 200 community members gathered at the steps of Morris Central School this evening for a candle light vigil in remembrance of Jacelyn O’Connor. Pastor Brad Keator of the Chenango Christian Church led the gathered in prayers and singing “Amazing Grace”. Friends, family and classmates shared  memories of Jacelyn after releasing heart-shaped balloons into the sky. (Ian Austin/
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