US senator Charles Schumer wants school kids to eat more yogurt, specifically the Greek yogurt made right here in our area.

Schumer paid a visit yesterday to the New Berlin headquarters of Chobani.

He wants the US Department of Agriculture to change the standards for the federal school lunch program to include Greek yogurt as a choice in the lunch and breakfast selections.

The problem for the yogurt companies is that the program classifies the more expensive Greek style product as the same healthy equivalent as regular style yogurt. The Greek variety has more protein.

Schumer has sent a letter to USDA secretary Tom Vilsack.

There are about 1,200 workers at the Chenango County Chobani plant, and Greek yogurt has become popular at grocery stores. Schumer wants to make the product a popular choice for a meat substitute or on its own for schools.

Neahwa Park Playground Opens Thursday

The new playground at Neahwa Park in Oneonta will formally open this Thursday at 4 p.m.

The playground was severely impacted by flooding in 2011 and rather than repair the equipment, the city funded a complete replacement of the playground, its surface and new equipment and swings.

Otsego Ready Mix, Stevens Excavating and Job Corps donated material and labor to supplement that which was provided by the Oneonta Parks and Recreation Department.

All those involved in the playground project and the general public are invited to attend the opening of the new Neahwa Park playground Thursday.

FEMA Hopes Housing Units Sell at Auction

There’s some used manufactured housing for sale just north of Oneonta, and FEMA hopes some people can find a use for it.

FEMA has turned a number of housing units used after last fall’s floods over to the US General Services Administration.

Twenty-five of the units are stored at a staging area in Cobleskill and are going up for auction at the GSA auction website. Tomorrow is the last day to bid.

FEMA hopes the housing units can be used for storage units, hunting cabins or other purposes.

The next round of auctions will be held in August. The web site to see the auction is Those interested in taking a look at the units can call 518-234-4825.

Bronx Man Arrested in Oneonta on Drug Possession

The Oneonta police department teamed up with the Otsego county sheriff’s office to arrest a man from the Bronx suspected of selling drugs.

Roberto Junior Ayala, 21, was found in a Route 23 motel on the south side Saturday morning. Police officers and deputies conducted a no-knock search of his room and found 20 packets of heroin, two grams of marijuana and over a thousand dollars in cash.

Ayahla has been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana. He’s being held on bail and if found guilty, may face 9 years in jail.

Norwich Cash Mob Set for June 30

Commerce Chenango and the Norwich business district have teamed up for the first cash mob event June 30 in downtown Norwich.

Commerce Chenango economic development director Rebecca sands explains what a cash mob event is all about.

After the vote the winning store will be announced a day or two before the cash mob June 30th. Sands says this is the first kickoff for the cash mob starting in Norwich and eventually spread to other stores in the county over the next year.

For information on joining the chamber or the events they sponsor, call the chamber at 334-1400.

Kingsbury Arrested for False Impersonation

State police at Oneonta arrested 38-year-old Brian Kingsbury of Oneonta last week on charges of false impersonation, possession of a hypodermic instrument and possession of a forged instrument.

The arrest resulted from a traffic stop on State Route 205 in Oneonta.

Kingsbury was arraigned in the Town of Oneonta court and remanded to the Otsego County jail in lieu of $1,500 cash bail.

Welfare Use Restrictions Expected to Pass this Week

State senator and deputy majority leader Thomas Libous expects to pass legislation this week that would prohibit welfare recipients from using public assistance for cigarettes, alcohol, and lottery tickets.

The Public Assistance Integrity Act was introduced by senator Libous and is meant to stop welfare abuse.

The bill would prevent individuals receiving welfare from using their electronic benefits card to make ATM withdrawals from certain places including liquor stores, casinos and strip clubs.

Seward’s Bill to Eliminate Business Tax on Manufactures Gains Traction

With this year’s legislative session in Albany winding down, state senator James Seward has a bill that has been approved in his house.

His proposal would eliminate all business taxes on companies who are manufacturers.

Seward hopes the measure will breathe new life into the manufacturing sector of the state. The proposal would provide about $495 million in tax relief under the state’s corporate franchise and personal income tax in a state known as a hostile and expensive to do business.

Seward also has a bill he co-sponsored to give small craft beer breweries a tax break and allow them more marketing options in the future.

Both bills have been sent to the assembly.