Ben Birnell, Observer-Dispatch

Ben Birnell

Observer-Dispatch

Utica, NY, United States

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Recent articles by Ben:

Section III girls swimming and diving schools shift seasons

The eight high schools in the Utica area with girls swimming and diving teams will have to wait to get in the pool.Girls swimming and diving for the Section III teams is moving from fall to the spring, according to Section III chairperson Tom Wells."All of the swim teams (in the area) are going to swim in March," said Wells, who is also the longtime New Hartford coach. "The bottom line is, even… → Read More

Section III girls swimming and diving shifts seasons

The eight high schools in the Utica area with girls swimming and diving teams will have to wait to get in the pool.Girls swimming and diving for the Section III teams is moving from fall to the spring, according to Section III chairperson Tom Wells."All of the swim teams (in the area) are going to swim in March," said Wells, who is also the longtime New Hartford coach. "The bottom line is, even… → Read More

New Hartford among local volleyball teams forced to adapt

New Hartford girls volleyball coach Bill Gardinier has been forced to get more familiar with technology these days.As the coronavirus pandemic has limited → Read More

Dozens protest during March for Justice in Utica

UTICA – Kimberly Jones wants to help make things better in the community.As part of that effort, the Utica woman helped organize an event that took place Saturday afternoon — called the March for Justice — to peacefully call for action against police brutality and other societal issues affecting the city."We’re here to bring light to ... some of the situations we have had in Utica and the racism… → Read More

New Hartford businesses take precautions due to ad

Ahead of a planned March for Justice protest Saturday afternoon in Utica, a Craigslist ad claiming connection to a Black Lives Matter group had New → Read More

Businesses take precautions ahead of Utica protest

Ahead of a planned March for Justice protest Saturday afternoon in Utica, a Craigslist ad claiming connection to a Black Lives Matter group had New → Read More

Proctor’s Strife: Football moved to spring ’a tough deal’

Thomas R. Proctor football coach Steve Strife figured the high school season would be moved to the spring.The change became a reality when the New York → Read More

Colgate hockey affected by delay in Division I season

The start of the 2020-21 NCAA Division I men’s and women’s college hockey season will be delayed.The Hockey Commissioners Association – which represents the 11 Division I conferences – announced Thursday the delay due to the impact of COVID-19. The 2019-20 season was shortened in March because of the coronavirus.Colgate University’s men’s and women’s teams are members of the ECAC Hockey… → Read More

Friends, family honor popular Woodland bartender

UTICA – Friends and family described Mathew Fredericks as a valuable part of the Woodland Farm Brewery.Fredericks, a bartender at the popular brewery on Trenton Road since late 2017, was knowledgeable about beer, outgoing and willing to help out other people. He also was an employee at Upstate Cerebral Palsy (UCP) for 22 years."He was kind of a big deal. That more or less describes what Mat was… → Read More

State Police searching for a pickup stolen in Rome

State Police in Oneida are searching for a pickup truck that was stolen in late August from a residence in Rome.Officials are looking for a 2010 black GMC → Read More

Vehicle crashes into East Utica home, driver flees scene

A silver SUV crashed into the front side of East Utica home Saturday afternoon, causing a fire and gas leak before the driver of the vehicle left the scene.The incident at 928 Bleecker Street – which appeared to be a three-story house – was reported at about 3 p.m. Saturday, drawing a heavy response from the Utica fire and police departments as well as National Grid. Traffic on Bleecker Street… → Read More

Vehicle crashes into East Utica home

The driver of a silver SUV crashed into the front side of East Utica home Saturday afternoon, causing a fire and gas leak.The incident at 928 Bleecker → Read More

Car crashes into East Utica home

A silver SUV crashed into an East Utica home Saturday afternoon, causing a fire and gas leak.The incident at 928 Bleecker Street was reported at about 3 p. → Read More

Coronavirus: 4 new cases, 2 possible exposures in Oneida County

Oneida County reported four new COVID-19 cases as well as two possible public exposures Saturday.With the new reported cases, Oneida County’s total count for COVID-19 cases is 2,278. A total of 40 cases have been reported by Oneida County since last Saturday.The county has 55 active cases as of Saturday’s report. That was down from 62 active cases reported by Oneida County a week ago.There were… → Read More

Taste of Lebanon rolls on

UTICA – Suzanne Dorsagno’s eyes grew wide Saturday as she waited for an order at the Taste of Lebanon."We love the food," said Dorsagno, of Utica, while seated next to Stacy Moore in a gray SUV. "We ordered a little bit of everything."The popular Taste of Lebanon event – which started in 2010 and is put on by the St. Louis Gonzaga Catholic Church – went forward with an altered two-day drive-thru… → Read More

Coronavirus: 5 new cases in Oneida County

Oneida County reported five new positive COVID-19 cases Saturday.The county also said one case was removed upon further investigation, leaving the total → Read More

Pair to take on Boilermaker’s Wheelchair Challenge Sunday

One part of the Boilermaker Road Race is happening this weekend — with an altered format.The Wheelchair Challenge is set for 6 a.m. Sunday with two participants following the Boilermaker 15K course, which starts near ECR International in East Utica and covers parts of Utica before ending under the finish line arch outside of F.X. Matt Brewing Co. on Court Street.This year, the two participants —… → Read More

E.J. Herrmann Invitational not running in 2020

The E.J. Herrmann Invitational — one of the oldest and largest high school cross-country events in the state — has been sidelined by the novel coronavirus.The meet — which started in 1941 — has grown in size and popularity to a festival-like environment and attracts more than 40 girls and boys teams from large and small schools around the area while drawing thousands of spectators to Thomas R.… → Read More

Sunflowers bring Wagner Farms ’record-breaking’ season

ROME – Acres of bursting sunflowers were a big reason Brandon Jones and his daughter, Ava, made the trip Saturday to Wagner Farms.The pair from → Read More

Fire damages West Utica home

The Utica Fire Department responded to a fire early Saturday morning in West Utica.The fire was reported at 3:37 a.m. Saturday at a two-story home on the → Read More