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Reporter's Notebook

August 24, 2013

Event aims to memorialize Chief Russo

A 5K race in Oneonta next month will raise money for the Chief Russo Memorial Playground Fund.

Lower Deck Events will have its annual 5K Fund Run on Sept. 8 at the Sixth Ward Booster Club playground on Scramling Avenue, and proceeds will go to the playground fund, Frank Russo III, son of the late chief, said. The fund aims to raise $20,000 to $30,000 for a piece of playground equipment designed to resemble a fire truck, he said.

“It will make a great memorial for my dad,” Russo said Thursday. “Dad impacted a lot of people in the Sixth Ward.”

Frank R. “Cootie” Russo Jr. died July 7 at age 83. He was chief of the Oneonta Fire Department for 33 years, and he served as an Oneonta Common Council member representing the Sixth Ward, where he was a life-long resident.

Frank Russo III said memorial contributions already have been made, and he seeks support from foundations with hopes of installing the playground equipment next year.

Race-day registration will be from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. The pre-registration deadline is Friday, and applications are available at the Oneonta YMCA, where Russo III is executive director.

Russo said has been asked the meaning of his father’s nickname, “Cootie,” but the answer is a mystery.

“I still have to research that,” he said.

•••

On the last day of the Otsego County Fair in Morris earlier this month, most rabbits were lounging in their cages waiting to go home.

Not Charlotte, a 4-month-old mini-rex. Jenna Gregory, 12, of New Lisbon, was getting acquainted with her newly purchased bunny. Within a couple of hours, Jenna said on the last day of the fair, Charlotte was hopping along a course with seven jumps of various heights in inches.

“That’s pretty impressive,” said a teenager who stopped by with a few friends to see the show.

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