News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
Signs Say Loud: RSS Not Welcome

Signs Say Loud:

RSS Not Welcome

Doleen Vergari helps hand out signs to her fellow 6th Ward residents including Rich Gravlin and Carl Miller following tonight’s meeting. (Ian Austin/
Fran Colone, Oneonta, front, listens as assemblyman John Salka, expresses that it is the lack of transparency about the RSS project that bothers him most about the project.

ONEONTA – Bill Shue doesn’t just see the Sixth Ward’s fight against housing developer RSS as a strictly Sixth Ward issue.

“If this can happen here, it can happen anywhere,” he said. “It can happen in Center City or on the East End.”

The Sixth Ward Neighbors United, who have been vocally opposed to Rehabilitation Support Services’ proposed 64-unit housing project, met tonight at the Sixth Ward Athletic Club, their first meeting since speaking at the Otsego County Board on April 3.

Earl A. Duncan, 60; Golden Gloves Boxer Raised In Richfield

IN MEMORIAM: Earl A. Duncan, 60;

Golden Gloves Boxer Raised In Richfield

Earl Duncan

WEST WINFIELD – Earl A. Duncan, 60, a Golden Gloves boxer in his youth, and later a boxing coach, passed away Monday evening, April 22, 2019, in Bassett Hospital.

Earl was born on May 8, 1958, in Herkimer, a son to the late Edward and Rosetta Mondore Duncan. He was raised and educated in Schuyler Lake and Richfield Springs.

At one time he worked for the Village of Richfield Springs DPW, later on he became the superintendent of the Schuyler Lake Cemetery. He also worked with his family as a logger. On July 29, 1978 he married the former Laurie Bond in Bridgewater.

Suzanne E. Wart, 71; Farmer’s Wife Devoted To Large Family

IN MEMORIAM: Suzanne E. Wart, 71;

Farmer’s Wife Devoted To Large Family

COOPERSTOWN – Suzanne E. Wart, 71, who farmed with her husband on Christian Hill Road, Town of Otsego, and raised five daughters there, died peacefully on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, surrounded by her family.

Born Feb. 11, 1948, in Cooperstown, Suzanne was the only child of Corlis and Joyce (Coleman) Sharp. She grew up on Glen Avenue in the village literally across the street from the “old high school” from which she graduated in the Class of 1966.

Dietz Street Rebirth Suggested By Mayor

Dietz Street Rebirth

Suggested By Mayor

Mayor Gary Herzig, background, dropped some enticing hints this evening about the prospective redevelopment of Dietz Street at the annual meeting of the Greater Oneonta Historical Society at Toscana’s. First Lady Connie Herzig holds up an artist’s rendering of a mixed-used development along the west side of Dietz, from north of the History Center to the end of the parking lot at Dietz and Wall. It would include market-rate housing (for families with incomes in the $60,000 range), but also an artspace-like building, independent but modeled on the national Artspace concept. It would be built by Kearney Realty & Development Corp. of Peekskill, which recently completed a $20 million similar project in that Hudson Valley city. The development would be a private investment, which would dovetail with the $10 million in state money being invested in the redevelopment of the downtown. Herzig said more complete details of the concept will be forthcoming in the near future. (Jim Kevlin/
From Deadly Arson, To Deadly Garments

From Deadly Arson,

To Deadly Garments

Front breaking news – Gabriel Truitt arrested in the Dec. 29 fatal first on Walling Avenue – to feature stories – a SUNY professor and his student raising the alarm on the dangers posed by the garments you wear – this week’s editions of The Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta contains a wide range of offerings. That includes the latest about OH-Fest cancellation of Rapper Sean Kingston’s concert and the ramifications on campus. Both newspapers are on newsstands around Otsego County this afternoon.
Assistant DA: We Have Truitt On Video

Assistant DA:

We Have Truitt On Video

Green: It Shows Suspect Carrying Accelerant

Gabrielle Truitt confers with his attorney Lee Kindlon after being denied bail by County Judge Brian D. Burns this morning in Otsego County Court. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – Video evidence shows accused arsonist Gabriel Truitt, 33, with the accelerant found in front of Heather Engler’s apartment door in the Walling Avenue fire that killed former Oneonta firefighter John Heller, Assistant District Attorney Will Green said during this morning’s arraignment in Otsego County Court.

“Video evidence shows the defendant with isopropyl alcohol going to and from the crime scene,” the prosecutor said.

Truitt In Court To Face Charges

Truitt In Court

To Face Charges

Gabriel Truitt, 33, was led into Otsego County Court a half-hour ago, where he is now being arraigned on murder and arson charges in the Dec. 29 death of former Oneonta firefighter John Heller.  Heller was killed when a blaze allegedly set by Truitt swept up an open staircase to Heller’s third-floor apartment at 5 Walling Ave. Truitt was captured yesterday afternoon in the basement of a house adjacent to Oneonta’s police headquarters, where he was visiting his children and their mother. (Ian Austin/
Geraldine L. Kennedy, 96; Business Exec Active In Democratic Politics

IN MEMORIAM: Geraldine L. Kennedy, 96;

Business Exec Active In Democratic Politics

Geraldine Kennedy

ONEONTA – Geraldine LaGrua Kennedy, 96, a business executive active in Democratic politics, passed away Saturday, April 20, 2019, at Basset Hospital.

Survivors include two daughters in Oneonta.

Geraldine was born Aug. 13, 1922, in Brooklyn, the daughter of the late Fred and Elvira (Santangelo) LaGrua.

Gerry met the love of her life Howard Carvil Kennedy in Brooklyn while still in high school. They were married on Nov. 1, 1942. Together they traveled through life with a shared love of family, friends and new adventures. Howard predeceased her on Oct. 25, 1998.

Village Board Hears Plans For NY Pizzeria Upgrades

Village Board Hears Plans

For NY Pizzeria Upgrades

New York Pizzeria owner Joe Vezza and his architect, Teresa Drerup, appeared before the Village Board Monday night with plans to upgrade the restaurant at Chestnut and Elm. They reported Vezza has bought the former Triple-A offices next to the pizzeria, which is hopes to demolish to create 12 more parking spaces, shift the main entrance to the south side of the building, and perhaps add outside tables during the summer. (AllOTSEGO photo)
Cooperstown Central Names Kristin Butler High School Principal

Cooperstown Central

Names Kristin Butler

High School Principal

Veteran Teacher, Administrator Succeeds Lucy
Kristin Butler

COOPERSTOWN – Kristin Butler, veteran Cooperstown Central School teacher and administrator, has been appointed junior-senior high school principal, effective July 1.

She will succeed Donna Lucy, who resigned last summer.  In the interim, Jim Brophy, retired Edmeston Central School principal, has filled the role.

A 1999 CCS graduate, Butler has served the district for the past 13 years in both instructional and administrative roles, most recently as the director of curriculum development & assessment.

Truitt Located In House Next To Police Department

Truitt In Basement

Of House Next Door

To OPD Headquarters

Suspect Spirited To Otsego County Jail

Accused arsonist Gabriel Truitt was found hiding the basement of 95 Main St., right next door to the city’s Public Safety building. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Gabriel Truitt

ONEONTA – Less than a week since a grand jury indicted Gabriel Truitt, 33, on first-degree murder, one count of first-degree arson, and two counts of second-degree murder in the Dec. 29 death of John Heller, 38, Oneonta Police have arrested him at 95 Main St.

The two-story apartment house is right next door to the Public Safety Building, police headquarters.




ONEONTA – Moments ago, Gabriel Truitt, 33, was arrested in the basement of 95 Main St., right next to police headquarters, for the Dec. 29 fatal fire that killed former city firefighter John Heller, 38.


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