Ralph J. Morley Inc., a building contractor on Lewis Street in Oneonta, will be closing at the end of the month, said owner/operator Terry Morley, who is retiring.

Morley said his father, Ralph, 87, started the business 59 years ago as a custom cabinet and kitchen maker. At its peak about 20 years ago, the business had 27 employees, he said, and the contractor has built homes, business buildings and completed interior and exterior work. The variety of work was a welcome challenge, he said.

``You name it, we've done it over the years,'' Morley, 64, said Tuesday.

Some Morley work includes construction of the Town House Motor Inn downtown and the Gruver and Scott building in Oneonta, Morley said. The firm also did work at the former Bresee's Oneonta Department Store, Medical Coaches and Glimmerglass Opera, he said.

``I'm really going to miss working with people,'' Morley said.

His plans include spending more time hunting, fishing, golfing, as well as learning carving from his father. Morley said the firm's six employees have or are looking for other jobs.

The contractor will have an open house from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday to sell remaining pieces of equipment, small tools, lumber and office equipment, Morley said.

He said he also hopes to spend more time in community service, including continued work with the Lions Club.

OFO to help workers develop skills

Some residents needing work may find help through Otsego and Chenango county agencies.

Opportunities For Otsego has been awarded $69,920 by state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to pilot a transitional employment program, subsidizing temporary jobs to assist long-term public assistance recipients developing job skills.

OFO, in partnership with Opportunities for Chenango, will coordinate temporary job placements for the hard-to-employ with businesses, according to a media release. Participants will learn the customs of work, acquire skills and establish a record that improves their competitiveness.

Participants also will receive help with transitions to unsubsidized employment, the release said, and services will be enhanced through programs and services at the CDO Workforce Career centers in Oneonta and Norwich.

Additional project partners include the Otsego County Chamber and the departments of social services in Otsego and Chenango counties. For more information, call OFO at 433-8000.

Mall, Main Street Oneonta prepare for Halloween

Southside Mall in Oneonta plans to celebrate the ``Spirit of Halloween'' from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

``Malloween'' is a chance for children to enjoy a safe, fun Halloween, according to a media release from the center on state Route 23. Events will include a spooky story reading, trick-or-treating and pumpkin decorating. Children also may participate in a costume contest for the best in each age group _ from newborns to 12 _ organizers said, and prizes will be awarded.

Main Street Oneonta, the downtown merchant organization, is signing up businesses to participate in trick-or-treating between 3 and 6 p.m. Oct. 31.

Grocery chain, Marines team up

Price Chopper Supermarkets, a Golub Corp. company, is partnering with the U.S. Marine Corps for the 2008 Toys for Tots drive to reach 200,000 needy children, according to a media release.

Price Chopper has stores in Oneonta, Delhi, Richfield Springs, Sidney, Norwich and Cobleskill, the corporation's website said.

Until Oct. 31, customers can donate new, unwrapped toys at 78 Price Chopper locations. The mission of Toys for Tots is to collect and distribute new toys as Christmas gifts to needy children, the release said.

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To suggest a business story, announce a new business or changes to an existing one, e-mail drichardson@thedailystar.com or call Denise Richardson at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 213.

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