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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County Board Gives Final OK to Raises

County Board Gives

Final OK To Raises

County Rep. Ed Frazier, R-Unadilla, center, discusses today’s M&C raises with colleagues, clockwise from left, county Reps. Keith McCarty,  Meg Kennedy, Adrienne Martini and Gary Koutnik.  Upper left, county board Chair David Bliss reviews agenda with Carol McGovern, clerk of the board.  (Jennifer Hill/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Board of Representatives made it official today.

With only one dissenting vote from Andrew Stammel, D-Oneonta,  the representatives voted a half-million dollars worth of raises for department heads and managers – including $3,000 for themselves, their first raise since the $250 in 2008.

M&C county employees’ titles and current salaries range widely, from Deputy Director of Community Services earning a stipend of $3,000 to the District Attorney having an annual salary of almost $200K. Personnel Director Penny Gentile said she could not give exact percentages of the raises because they were “varying figures” and a list of them had not yet been drawn up.

Police Charge Oneonta Man With Attempted Murder

Oneonta Man Arrested

For Attempted Murder

David Thomas

ONEONTA – An Oneonta man was arrested and charged with attempted murder after he allegedly strangled a woman and twisted her neck, causing severe injury.

David C. Thomas, 28, was arrested after Oneonta Police responded to a domestic dispute that allegedly turned physical. In the course of the investigation, police discovered that Thomas had allegedly twisted her neck “in a violent manner,” causing extensive damage. According to Police Chief Doug Brenner, the victim also had bruises and bite marks.

Hobbie Waves Right To Detention Hearing

Hobbie Waves Right

To Detention Hearing

COOPERSTOWN – Justin Hobbie, the CCS phys-ed coach accused of receiving and distributing child pornography over the internet, has waved his right to a detention hearing, according to a memo from his lawyer, Kimberly Zimmer.

“I met with Mr. Hobbie and explained to him his rights to an immediate detention hearing and a preliminary hearing,” Zimmer wrote in a memo to Magistrate Judge Therese Wiley Dancks. “Mr. Hobbie told me he understands those rights and that he agrees to waive those rights at this time, reserving his right to request such hearings in the future.”

After Fire, Union Seeks Staff Hikes


After Fire, Union

Seeks Staff Hikes

Flames shoot from the Church Street home where fire broke out Tuesday. (Facebook photo)

ONEONTA – Following Tuesday’s housefire on Church Street, the Oneonta Professional Firefighters union today called for an increase in staffing “to help keep the … community safe.”

In a press release, the OPF called for:

  • At least six trained firefighters/EMT’s on duty, 24/7, and
  • At least three personnel, trained at EMT level or higher, responding to each medical emergency.

On Monday, there were only five firefighters on duty, the union said in a press release. One member was located in Binghamton for mandatory training.

Bassett Tractor-Rollbar Program Saves Lives, $4M

Bassett Tractor-Rollbar

Program Saves Lives, $4M

The photo shows how a rollbar on a refitted tractor can prevent a farmer from being crushed.

COOPERSTOWN – From 2007 to 2017, at least 10 lives and more than $4 million were saved in New York State due to a Cooperstown-based program to retrofit tractors with rollover bars, an analysis in the American Journal of Public Health had concluded.

The analysis of the program, developed by Bassett Healthcare Network’s NYCAMH (New York Center for Agricultural Medicine & Health), found that a combination of social marketing and rebates saves lives and money.

Over the decade, the rollbars were affixed to 2,510 tractors built before 1995.

In Bidding Farewell, Rep. Faso Calls For Civil, Respectful Debate

In Bidding Farewell, Rep. Faso

Calls For Civil, Respectful Debate

Otsego County’s departing congressman, John Faso, R-19th, asked for recommitment to “civil, respectful” debate in the public arena. He also cited two efforts, so far unachieved, of the past two years: One, to lift the burden of Medicaid costs from counties; only New York State has such a requirement, and its counties pay more than than the counties in all other 49 states combined; two, to remove the “absolute liability standard” on falls from scaffolds on construction jobs, which increases all construction projects in New York State by 7 percent; again, only New York has that provision. Faso’s farewell speech was broadcast live yesterday morning on C-Span.


Salvation Army Needs Help Statewide, Not Just Locally

Salvation Army Needs Help

Statewide, Not Just Locally

Maj. Ivan Rock

ONEONTA – The local Salvation Army post falling behind on its kettle drive is part of a larger challenge.

With just 10 ringing days left in this year’s campaign, the kettles are trending short of the statewide goal,  Maj. Ivan Rock, commander of the Syracuse-based Empire Division, reported today.

With 13 days to go, the Oneonta post that serves Otsego County reported it was $3,000 short at that point compared to last year.

Sounds of the Season

Sounds Of Season

Riverside Students Celebrate Tradition

Friends and family gathered to enjoy sounds of the season as music teacher Domnick D’Imperio, center, directs a group of Riverside Elementary first graders singing holiday songs in Oneonta’s Muller Plaza earlier this morning. This is the 17th year Riverside first-graders have sung carols at Community Bank and Ruffino’s, but with the latter business now closed, they moved to the plaza. After singing, the children enjoyed a walking tour of the gingerbread houses in business windows before returning to class. (Ian Austin/
Town Board: Unanimous No On Compressor Station Grant

It’s Unanimous: Town Board

Rejects Gas Decompressor

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – At the urging of Otsego 2000 and 40 people who showed up at its monthly meeting, the Oneonta Town Board last night unanimously voted to oppose a $3.5 million state grant application for a gas decompression station at Pony Farm.

“No member of the Town Board is in favor of the decompressor gas station,” declared Supervisor Bob Wood at the start of the meeting.

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