News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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Police & Fire

Underwood Faces 20 Years In Slaying

Now 26, He’ll Emerge At 46

Underwood Facing

20 Years In Slaying

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

OPD Officers Lindsay Rumenapp and Edmund Donley had a grim New Year’s Day, investigating a slaying. (www.AllOTSEGO.com photo)

COOPERSTOWN – Joshua Underwood, 26, will reenter society at age 46 after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter yesterday in a death in the wee hours of New Year’s Day in Oneonta.

Joshua Underwood

The plea in the death of Mark Morrison, 52, was entered before county Judge Brian Burns as the deadline – yesterday – for two plea options was running out, District Attorney John Muehl said today.

Muehl said he offered Underwood and his lawyer, Public Defender Bruce Maxson, two options:  second-degree murder, 15 years to life, or first-degree manslaughter at a firm 20 years.   Underwood chose the “determinant” sentence, the D.A. said.

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Sister, Stranger Worked Together After Crash

Younger Sister Came

To Her Elder’s Rescue

Julie Ford’s car hit a patch of black ice and sent her and her sister, Abby, into a tree on Saturday morning.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Even though she herself was suffering from a concussion, Abby Ford was able to call 911 following the Saturday crash that left her sister, Julie, the driver, injured and in and out of consciousness.

“Abby managed to dial 911,” said their mother, Amy. “It’s a miracle they were able to get the call through. Wiley Town Road never has cell service.”

A stranger, later identified as Dennis Brassaw, Cooperstown, was also driving down the road and stopped to wait with the girls until state troopers and EMS arrived. “We’re so grateful to him,” said Amy. “I went to the site of the accident today, and he was there and introduced himself.”

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CCS Forward Airlifted From Crash, Recovering

CCS Forward Airlifted

From Crash, Recovering

Julie Ford

COOPERSTOWN – CCS basketball star Julie Ford is recovering at home after she was airlifted to Albany from an accident scene last Friday.

According to Nate Reigel, State Police public information officer, Ford was driving the car southbound on Wiley Town Road around noon when she hit a patch of black ice and slid 100 feet before striking a tree on the northbound shoulder.

Ford was “in and out of consciousness” at the scene, and her sister, Abby, a passenger, called 911, according to a Facebook post made by their mother, Amy Hurtubise Ford.

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Runaway Rail Cars Cross Route 7

Runaway Rail Cars Cross Route 7

The antique rail cars that line Route 7 near Colliersville broke loose and crossed onto the highway, bring state police to the scene. No further details were immediately available. Oneonta’s Bob Pondolfino was driving by and snapped this image.
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Hotel ‘Unsafe’, Mayor Confirms

Hotel ‘Unsafe’, 

Mayor Confirms

Tenants Ordered: Vacate In 30 Days;

Landlords Must Meet Code By April 30

The former Oneonta Hotel at Main and Dietz is “unsafe,” Mayor Herzig confirmed at a meeting in City Hall this evening. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The brand new Oneonta Hotel rose from the ashes of the Central Hotel within months after the earlier establishment burned in 1910.

ONEONTA – The once-elegant Oneonta Hotel at Main and Dietz, in decline for decades, has been declared “unsafe,” Mayor Gary Herzig acknowledged this evening when asked about it at a meeting of the city’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee in City Hall.

Seth Clark, a downtown landlord and member of the steering committee, said he had heard a “vacate” order had been issued, requiring tenants of the building – it includes businesses on the ground floor, with apartments on four stories above – to depart within 30 days.

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2 Candidates Sought To Run For Oneonta Fire District Vacancies

2 Candidates Sought To Run For

Oneonta Fire District Vacancies

ONEONTA – The Town of Oneonta Fire District today announced elections to fill two fire commissioner vacancies will be held 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the Elm Park Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut St.

Candidates are needed for one five-year term that begins on Jan. 1, 2018 and ends on Dec. 31, 2022, and one two-year term that begins Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2019.

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Flashover Training Helps OFD Build Intuition

Flashover Training

Helps OFD Build Intuition

Oneonta firemen Don Tubia and Richard Knapp, rear, listen to Jeff Dygert, a state fire instructor, former Fire Chief and current City Manager from Auburn, who stands next to the smoking remains of a fireman’s coat and a melted helmet, pulled from a fire inside a burn container at a two day flash-over simulator in Neahwa Park. The training is put on by the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs and is given to fire departments at the County’s request. Firefighters are put in a specialized multi-level container where they are subjected to fire that can reach temperatures of 1400 degrees. The purpose of the training is to help the firemen be keenly aware of their surroundings equipment in extreme situations to build intuition about when to leave a situation and knowing the limits of themselves and their equipment. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

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Investigation Ongoing In Holding Cell Death

DA, OPD Investigate

Death In Holding Cell 

Suspect May Have Ingested Drugs,

Causing Heart Attack, Chief Says

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Kenneth Faulkner

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police and Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl are investigating a death in police custody last evening, after a man arrested on narcotics-trafficking charges swallowed what might have been cocaine, according to Police Chief Douglas Brenner.

To Brenner’s knowledge, this is the first time a suspect has died in OPD custody.

Kenneth J. Faulkner, 52, New Rochelle, was arrested on a warrant at about 5 p.m. at 85 Ford Ave., and taken to the city’s Public Safety Building, Brenner said.  About 5:35 p.m., a second warrant was served at the building, allowing “a body search. “

“He was on the threshold of the door of the holding cell, and in three seconds he had managed to close the door and get the drugs into his mouth,” Brenner said in a interview this afternoon. “The officer opened the door and tried to get him to spit out the drugs.”

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BULLETIN SUSPECT DIES

BULLETIN

Drug Suspect Dies

In Police Custody

ONEONTA – A drug suspect arrested at 5 p.m. last evening died in police custody after apparently ingesting a substance, OPD Chief Doug Brenner reported a few minutes ago.

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