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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Twelve Tribes

Twelve Tribes Investigated For Child Labor Practices

Twelve Tribes Investigated

For Child-Labor Practices

Inside Edition’s expose of Twelve Tribes child labor practices is available on Youtube.

ONEONTA – An investigation into child-labor practices has been opened by the state Department of Labor into the local sect of the Twelve Tribes group following a report by Inside Edition that showed children working in a cosmetics factory on the Common Sense Farm in Cambridge.

An “Inside Edition” investigative report, which used hidden camera footage gathered by a former member of the Twelve Tribes, aired Friday, June 1. In it, children as young as six years old are allegedly working on the farm and in the factory, which produces cosmetics for the organic Acure and Savannah Bee lines.

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EDITORIAL: It’s Decision Time. But Is There The Will?

Editorial, May 5, 2018

It’s Decision Time.

But Is There The Will?

Gary Herzig

Question: Can Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig’s administration make tough decisions?
For one thing, whether or not to condemn the Twelve Tribes’ blighted Oneonta Ford property has been hanging fire since before Herzig took office. He’s now in his second term.
There is state money in hand to demolish what is a public hazard and state money to prepare the site for new construction. All that’s hanging fire is a tough decision.


Now, the April 30 deadline to clear out the venerable but – city inspectors have found – dangerous Oneonta Hotel is passed. Where’s the decision that’s been promised for months?
City Hall’s Board of Public Service declared the property unsafe in January 2017, 16 months ago. And still the building is occupied, and businesses are functioning on the ground floor.
You have to ask, what’s City Hall’s liability –and that of local taxpayers — if a fire or some other misfortune were to happen?
It’s past time to make a tough decision. Question: Can the Herzig Administration make it?
Question 2: Common Council has barely debated any issue publicly in months. Where are the Council members?

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Governor Sends $417,000 To Raze Oneonta For Hulk

Governor Sends $417,000

To Raze Oneonta Ford Hulk

ONEONTA – The Cuomo Administration today announced a $477,915 allocation to be used toward the demolition of the former Oneonta Ford building at Chestnut and South Main to make way for the new Susquehanna Regional Food & Beverage Hub.

Concidentally, at an Otsego Now hearing this morning on taking the property by eminent domain, spokesmen for its owner, the Twelve Tribes, testified $150,000 offered for the property is insufficient; the governor’s announcement came this afternoon.

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Otsego Now, Twelve Tribes Spar Over Oneonta Ford

Otsego Now, Twelve Tribes

Spar Over Eminent Domain

At a public hearing this morning, Lee Beane of the Twelve Tribes argues Otsego Now is offering too little for the Oneonta Ford building, site of the future “food hub.”   Listening behind him are Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes and lawyer Joe Scott. Hodgeson Russ LLP, Albany. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – As the plans for the Mohawk Valley Food & Beverage Innovation Center move forward, negotiations for purchasing the former Oneonta Ford building have grown tense.

“We’ve engaged in good-faith negotiations with the owners,” said Otsego Now CEO Sandy Mathes. “We’ve shared info, appraisals and environmental issues that need to be remediated.”

But with the option of eminent domain on the table, a packed public hearing was held this morning at the Otsego Now offices.

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