News of Otsego County

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




AT RTES. 20, 80

A driver’s body was removed from this crumpled red Buick Lacrosse in today’s 2:45 p.m. fatal crash that also sent Sheriff’s Deputy James Mateunas to a Bassett Hospital operating room.  The driver’s identity has not yet been released, but an eyewitness said he saw the driver in a altercation with a woman, Robin Church, at the State Police barracks in Richfield Springs.  The driver fled the barracks with troopers in pursuit, and deputies joined the chase, which ended when the fleeing car collided head-on with Mateunas’ cruiser at the junction of Routes 20 and 80, Kelly’s Corners, at the north end of Springfield Center.  Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. is at the scene at this hour, and details will be reported as they become available.  (Jennifer Hill/


Sheriff’s Deputy Injured In Springfield Crash

Sheriff’s Deputy Injured

In Springfield Crash

Deputy James Mateunas

SPRINGFIELD – A Sheriff’s Deputy is in surgery following a two-car crash at the intersection of Route 80 and Route 20 in Springfield at around 3 p.m. this afternoon.

“Deputy James Mateunas sustained multiple fractures to his legs and is in surgery,” said Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. “His patrol vehicle was hit head-on.”

Job Corps Honors Fallen Hero Heller

Job Corps Honors

Fallen Hero Heller

Chris Kuhn, Director of the Oneonta Job Corps Academy, addresses family, friends and firefighters gathered in ‘the octagon,’ a hallway interchange on the third floor of Oneonta Job Corps named in honor of the late John D. Heller, who lost his life in December rescuing his fiancee and their nephews from the Walling Street arson. “We love him and we miss him.” said Kuhn. “It is our hope that when people walk through this space they will see his story and be inspired.” Members of the Oneonta Fire Department were present, as well as Mayor Gary Herzig, who remarked “This intersection was always full of life, it is only fitting it should be named after him.” At right, Heller’s fianceé Amber Roe speaks beneath his photo. “This is where we met. We spent a lot of time here talking and it was here fell in love.” Photos and stories of Heller’s life and sacrifice, along with his helmet signed by loved ones, are now on display in the John D. Heller Memorial. (Ian Austin/

Robert A. Tracy, 71; Award-Winning Springfield Farmer

IN MEMORIAM: Robert A. Tracy, 71;

Award-Winning Springfield Farmer

EAST SPRINGFIELD – Robert A. Tracy, 71, the award-winning proprietor of Golden Brook Farm, passed away  Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at Albany Medical Center.  At the time of death, Robert was surrounded by a room full of family who loved him dearly.

Bob Trady grew up in Oxford, where he graduated from high school. He then enlisted in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. During his enlistment, he meritoriously achieved E-5 (sergeant) rank in just three years, and was honorably discharged.

Jean Huntington, 86; Wife Of Trolley Line Road Developer

IN MEMORIAM: Jean Huntington, 86;

Wife Of Trolley Line Road Developer

COOPERSTOWN – Jean C. Huntington, 86, wife of the late Donald C. Huntington, developer of the Trolley Line Road neighborhood, Hartwick Seminary, died early Sunday morning, May 19, 2019, at Woodside Hall in Cooperstown. She was 86.

Born Feb. 25, 1933, in Oneonta, Jean was a daughter of Raymond J. and Cassie (Fowler) Cower. Jean grew up in Oneonta and graduated from OHS in 1951.

Polls Open Today On School Budgets, School Board Posts



Polls Open Today

On School Budgets,

School Board Posts

Voters are going to the polls today in all Otsego County (and state) school districts to decide the fate of 2019-20 budgets and elected school board members.

In Oneonta, the polls are open noon-9 p.m. at Foothills.  Two incumbents, Jamie Reynolds and  Susan Kurkowski, are running unopposed.

In Cooperstown, polls are open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at the high school.  Incumbent Marielle Ainsworth and newcomer Wendy Kiuber are running unopposed.

Goodyear Lake Trailer Charred


Goodyear Lake

Trailer Charred

A trailer home was heavily was destroyed, in a fire that broke out around 5:45pm at 920 Shady Acres, the mobile home park in Silliman Cove, Goodyear Lake. Above, Crews were on the scene within 7 minutes of the 911 call coming it. At right, Cooperstown firefighters Joel Bostwick and Billy Smith pry off roofing searching for straggling flames.The officer in charge, Milford Fire Chief Don Eckler, said “The fire was rolling out of the trailer pretty well when we arrived.” with he arrived with the first engine. With three hoses, Porta-Ponds and tanker relays, the fire was extinguished fairly quickly, he said. No one was in the home at the time the fire started, and only one injury was reported: a firefighter cut his hand trying to get inside. Eckler said the home belonged to an elderly couple who had left around 12:30pm. He didn’t know the name of the residents. Firemen from Oneonta, Cooperstown, Hartwick, Hartwick Seminary, Schenevus and Mount Vision helped their Milford colleagues, with Fly Creek and Davenport crews on standby. The home was deemed uninhabitable and The Red Cross was notified and will be providing assistance. (Ian Austin/

Allen Wamsley, 73; Vietnam Veteran, Reinhardt Retiree

IN MEMORIAM: Allen Wamsley, 73;

Vietnam Veteran, Reinhardt Retiree

Allen Walmsley

ONEONTA – Allen Wamsley, 73, a Vietnam veteran who retired from Reinhardt Home Heating, passed away on May 16, 2019, at Bassett Hospital, following an extended illness.

Allen was born in Kingston, on Jan. 19, 1946, to Ruth Effner and Andrew Wamsley. He was the youngest of his five siblings, Marie (Paul), Patricia, Butch, Steve (Shirley) and Chris (Russ).  He grew up in the Oneonta and the surrounding area, attending Oneonta High School.

Marijuana Stronger Today, Expert Says At Workshop

Marijuana Stronger Today,

Expert Warns At Workshop

Ben Cort, a Substance Use Disorder treatment expert from Colorado, shows a chart depicting the sharp increase in the average level of THC in marijuana over the past 40 years, from 2.5 to 10 percent, during his presentation,“Marijuana 2019: Commercialization, Community, and the New Normal,” at the Quality Inn today. With the state set to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the next year, LEAF sponsored the event so local business and political leaders, human services and health professionals, and educators could learn about the impact of legalization on cannabis use, both recreational and medicinal, and abuse. “We need to understand the big differences between how marijuana was used 40 years ago and how it’s used now,” Cort said. “Not understanding that and not taking cannabis use seriously is doing a disservice to those calling for help with their addiction.” (Jennifer Hill/
Job Corps Host Blood Drive To Honor John Heller

Job Corps Host Blood Drive

To Honor Fatal-Fire Victim

John D. Heller

ONEONTA – A community blood drive will be held in honor of John Heller, the former firefighter and Life Skill Supervisor who was killed in the Walling Street arson last December.

The community drive will be held 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 21 in the gym at the Oneonta Job Corps, 21 Homer Folks Ave, with the dedication of the John Heller memorial on the third floor octagon at 2 p.m.

National Expert Launches Today’s LEAF Pot Summit

National Expert Launches

Today’s LEAF Pot Summit

Ben Cort, illustrator of chlidren’s books like “Octopus’ Garden” who has been speaking nationally on marijuana commercialization, addresses a LEAF summit on the issue underway today at the Quality Inn, Southside Oneonta.   The workshop, which continues through mid-afternoon, will raise issues about the challenges the state will face if the bill to legalize pot now being considered by the state Legislature comes to pass.  Seated at left is LEAF Executive Director Julie Dostal and board president Tara Barnwell.  (Ian Austin/
Caten, Weldon Headed For Tennis Sectionals

Speaking Of Sports

Catan, Cooperstown Team

Looking Forward To States

Will Weldon shows his form at a recent match. (Connie Herzig/

ONEONTA – Oneonta’s Chris Catan and Cooperstown’s Will Weldon have a lot in common.

They are both outstanding young tennis players with lots of talent and enthusiasm for their sport. They both play first singles for very successful high school teams.   And both are looking forward to the State tournament.

They happen to live about 20 miles away from each other, but play in different sections, Catan in Section IV and Weldon in Section III.

Catan, a sophomore with Oneonta’s tennis team, is currently 19-0 on the season and qualified for the state tournament for the second straight year at the Binghamton Tennis Center over the weekend.  Catan dropped only one game on his way to repeating as Section IV’s representative to the State Tournament.

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