First Night Oneonta didn’t present some of the established musical performers of previous years, but nonetheless the night rocked.
Former New Year’s Eve events locally have featured the Catskill Symphony Orchestra, the Dady Brothers and Walt Michael as highlights, among many other performers, including local musicians and artists.
David Hayes, a member of the organizing First Night Oneonta board and a former chairman, said the panel wanted to offer a variety of performers from year to year and to avoid repetition.
Hayes noted that well-received bands this New Year’s Eve included the Fredtown Stompers, a Dixieland band with young musicians and “great vocals,” and the Spectacular Average Boys, playing “hot banjo Americana,” in a vacant Main Street storefront.
A remarkable ingredient of some performances was the opportunity for young musicians to share lessons learned from local teachers.
For the lovers of jazz and show tunes, Sing a Song of Broadway offered guests rhythms for dancing as well as listening pleasure at the First United Methodist Church. The lineup of performers included local musicians who have been playing many years and others still honing performance skills.
A few blocks away downtown, Naomi Bartz, 15, of Sidney Center, gave her first performance on the cello with the Little Delaware Youth Ensemble at the Greater Oneonta Historical Society.
“It was pretty fun,” she said. Her father, Tim Bartz, also appreciated the concert.
“I’m all for kids getting out and having the opportunity to perform,” he said. “It was wonderful.”
If the name Riddell sounds familiar, that’s because it has local connections.
Patricia “Trish” Riddell Kent, who was appointed this week to the Oneonta Town Board, grew up locally and has ties to a local state park.
As an appointee, Riddell Kent didn’t have the opportunity to go door-to-door during last year’s campaign season and introduce herself to residents.
According to a biography, Riddell Kent was born in Oneonta and is a 1979 graduate of Oneonta High School. In 1983, after graduating from Hartwick College, she married Steven Kent, a U.S. Military Academy graduate.
“I was an Army wife for our first 10 years together,” she said. They were stationed in the United States and Germany. She received the Molly Pitcher Award for service and volunteer work, and she taught school overseas in the Department of Defense school system. She also served on the board of the Babenhausen Officers and Civilian Spouses’ Club.
After military service, they settled in her hometown of Oneonta, and she worked for the U.S. Postal Service substituting for postmasters.
Riddell Kent said she and Steve decided several years ago donate more than 1,000 acres she inherited to be a state park, which was named for her father, Robert V. Riddell. The contribution honors her father’s wish that the land be preserved and accessible to future generations, she said.
A park entrance park is located off of state Route 28, not far from exit 17 of Interstate 88, in the town of Milford.
On the town board, Riddell Kent replaces Republican Janet Hurley-Quackenbush, who was elected in November to represent the town on the Otsego County Board of Representatives. Riddell Kent will serve one year.
“I would like to thank Supervisor Wood and the new town board members for giving me the opportunity to represent the citizens of our town,” Riddell Kent, a Republican, said in her biographical statement. “I am very excited to work with them.”
The town of Oneonta Comprehensive Planning Committee seeks comments from residents about the plan presented to the Oneonta Town Board for adoption.
The committee set a public forum at Oneonta Town Hall in West Oneonta at 7 p.m. Thursday.
In November, the committee presented the Oneonta Town Board with a draft plan that addresses economic development, municipal services and environmental safeguards, among many other issues. The draft plan updates previous studies.
Supervisor Robert Wood has said that the plan will be an important tool as the town considers zoning codes, the expiration this spring on a drilling ban and other matters.
The plan is available for public review on the town’s website, at Town Hall and at the Huntington Memorial Library on Chestnut Street in the city of Oneonta.
This week, the Oneonta Town Board set a public hearing for the plan at 7:45 p.m. Feb. 12. The board will vote on the plan after the hearing.
Denise Richardson, staff writer, can be reached at (607) 432-1000, ext. 213, or at email@example.com.