News of Otsego County

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


Search Results for: Brooke Ketchum, 27; Killed In Crash In Otego

Brooke Ketchum, 27, Unadilla; Crash Victim Leaves 2 Daughters

Brooke Ketchum, 27, Unadilla;

Crash Victim Leaves 2 Daughters

Brooke Ketchum

UNADILLA – Brooke N. Ketchum, 27, originally from Gilbertsville, died in the early morning hours on Oct. 4, 2019, from injuries sustained in a motor-vehicle accident.

She was enrolled as an LPN student at DCMO BOCES and was working part-time as a home health care aide. She had finally found a career path that she was passionate about.  Deep down inside, Brooke was a compassionate, caring, loving person who put everyone else’s feelings before her own.

 ‘Ozzie’ McMorris II, 86, Otego; Village Official, Avid Firefighter

 ‘Ozzie’ McMorris II, 86, Otego;

Village Official, Avid Firefighter

OTEGO – Elbert Osborne “Ozzie” McMorris II, 86, longtime fire chief here and an avid firefighter recognized as Otsego County Fireman of the Year in 1999, died Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, at Fox Nursing Home, Oneonta.

He was born July 13, 1931, in Oneonta, a son of the late Elbert and Leona B. (Boyes) McMorris.

On June 17, 1962, Ozzie married Marjorie Downie in Otego. They celebrated their 55th anniversary this year.

Monument Planned For 20 Killed In Limousine Crash

Monument Planned For 20 Killed In Limousine Crash


Ian Austin/ Josh Loden, whose family owns the Apple Barrel, looks at the touching makeshift crosses at the site of a fatal crash that took the lives of 17 young people plus three others, and envisions a permanent monument there. He’s participating in a fund drive to make that a reality.

SCHOHARIE – Within days of the Oct. 6 limo crash that killed 20 people in the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store, memorials began to spring up.
“There were 20 crosses, and wooden deer that John and Anita Borst built,” said Josh Loden, Apple Barrel director of operations. “The people Matt (Coons) worked out with built a cross, and people who came to pay their respects would sign it.”
Now Loden and the Reflections Memorial Foundation are raising money to install a permanent memorial to the crash victims, who were en route to Brewery Ommegang when the modified 2001 Ford Excursion limousine they were riding in plowed into a parked car in the Apple Barrel parking lot before crashing into the ravine.


Man Killed In Otego Train Crash From Bloomville, State Police Say

Man Killed In Otego Train Crash

From Bloomville, State Police Say

Wife Thrown From Golf Cart, Broke Both Legs, Troopers Report

OTEGO – A husband from Bloomville, Charles W. Turk, 57, was killed when the golf cart he was driving struck a train at about 2:54 p.m. Sunday behind 515 Route 48, Otego, state police announced this afternoon.

When troopers from Oneonta arrived to investigate, they found him underneath the overturned golf cart.  His wife, Cynthia E. Turk, 58, was thrown from the cart and broke both legs, police said.  She was life-flighted to Albany Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Woman Dies In Early-Morning Crash In Otego

Unadilla Woman Dies

In Early-Morning Crash

OTEGO – A Unadilla woman died early this morning after she allegedly crashed her car into the wall by the Betty Beaver gas station on Route 48 in Otego.

According to Trooper Aga Dembinska, public information officer, Troop C, troopers from Oneonta responded to a crash at 2:50 a.m. in Town of Otego and found the victim, a 27-year-old from Unadilla, deceased inside a 2015 Kia.

Singer With Local Roots Killed In Calif. Crash

Victim Is Jazz Great Paul Bley’s Daughter

Singer Raised Locally

Killed In Calif. Crash

2 Children Also Dead In Head-On

Known professionally as Vanessa Bley, she was the lead singer of the band Beast Patrol.

COOPERSTOWN – Vanessa Goss Bley, 34, daughter of famed late jazz pianist Paul Bley and artist Carol Goss, Cherry Valley, was killed Friday in a three vehicle accident in Santa Barbara County, Calif.

Also killed in the wreck were two children, who are yet unidentified, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s officials.

According to a story published in the Santa Ynez Valley Star, the head-on crash occurred around 4:45 p.m. on Friday near the Cold Spring Bridge on Highway 154, according to the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Betty Davis, 79, ; Retired Otego Elementary Teacher

In Memoriam: Betty Davis, 79; Retired Otego Elementary Teacher

OTEGO – Elizabeth “Betty” Davis, 79, who was raised in Oneonta, then spent a career teaching first and second grade at Otego Elementary School, passed away on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at the Francis House in Syracuse.  Most recently, she had lived in Liverpool.

Hartwick Graduate Among 20 Killed In Crash

Hartwick Graduate Among

20 Killed In Schoharie Crash

Savannah Bursese, Hartwick College ’15, was one of the 20 killed in the tragic car accident on Saturday afternoon in Schoharie.

ONEONTA – The Hartwick College community expressed “profound sadness” today upon learning that one of its own was a victim of the car crash that killed 20 people in the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Savannah Bursese graduated from Hartwick College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Political Science and Business Administration. She was a sister of Phi Sigma Phi and a member of the volleyball team.

Oneonta Christian Academy Pleads For Otego Elementary

3 Bidders Seek To Buy Vacant School

Oneonta Christian Academy

Pleads For Otego Elementary

Oneonta Christian Academy board member Rita Oellrich presents her school’s case to the Unatego Central School Board Monday evening. At left is Liz Cook, the academy’s director of programming. (James Cummings/

By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special to

OTEGO – The Oneonta Christian Academy is running out of room.

“We are only limited by our size,” Elizabeth Cook,  director of programming and 12th-grade English teacher, told the Unatego Central School Board Monday, Oct. 28.

The OCA was one of three bidders trying to convince the school board to sell them the Otego Elementary School, which it closed in the summer of 2018.

Dirig Design of Wells Bridge, a development firm, and Granite Data Solutions, a high-tech company from California that seeks to hire disabled veterans, are the other two bidders.

The Unatego school board is planning a public meeting Nov. 4 to announce the winning bid.

“We don’t even have a gym,” Cook said. “The entire school tears down every classroom to do an event; every single kid puts their hands on every desk and every chair in order to make the space do what we need it to – and it’s exhausting.”

Last year alone, the school saw a 13 percent increase in enrollment, reaching a five-year high of 92 students.

The academy, now at 158 River St., Oneonta, has a vision of a larger school and what it would mean for their current students, as well as any future attendees, Cook said.

The former 34,000-square-foot Otego School on Route 7 in the middle of the village is big enough for that vision. “We will only use about two-thirds of the building,” says Cook, offering the rest as rental space for local businesses, as well as an affordable event space for community members.

In the future, the idea is to develop early education programs that would benefit Otego families.

In his presentation, Adam Dirig, CEO of Dirig Design, said he has a seven-year plan to develop a mixed-use Otego Commons – nine apartments, 16 offices and community space, including updates to the gymnasium, hallways, and bathrooms.

School board member Kenneth Olson expressed concern: “Sixteen office spaces is aggressive for an area like ours.” But Dirig expressed confidence in the concept.

He also expressed his enthusiasm about the future of the building, calling it “a good symbol of the community – I don’t want it to go to waste.”

“There’s a need in Otego for apartments,” adding Dirig project manager Dan Dahlstrom. “There are also a lot of businesses in Oneonta that don’t need a Main Street location.”

Granite Data President Brigg Goodwin described his plan to develop the school into a full-service New York/East Coast sales and logistics branch of the company.

Goodwin, who grew up in a small town of 3,500 in Iowa, relates to Otego’s circumstances and believes that his company’s proposal will help revitalize the area.

“It makes such a huge impact on small communities, to be able to bring in jobs like that,” he says. “Altruism is dying with the information age, we don’t rely on each other as much and, call me old-fashioned, I like altruism, I like people who jump in and help out.”

His company’s proposal hopes to focus hiring efforts on local veterans first. “If there’s an Otego resident who’s a veteran and an Otego resident who’s a non-veteran, we’ll lean towards the veteran,” he says.


Ronald C. Ketchum, 68; Contractor Lifelong Gilbertsville Resident

IN MEMORIAM:  Ronald C. Ketchum, 68;

Contractor Lifelong Gilbertsville Resident

Ron Ketchum

GILBERTSVILLE – Ronald C. Ketchum, 68, a lifetime resident of Gilbertsville and proprietor of Ron’s Building Maintenance, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 19, 2019.

Ron was born on June 8, 1951, in Sidney, a son of the late Morris and Ruth (Latham) Ketchum.

Ron was a jack of all trades and had the work ethic of a mule.

Police: Driver Killed In Crash Was Sharon Springs Man, 23

Police: Driver Killed In Crash

Was Sharon Springs Man, 23

Deputy Mateunas’ cruiser ended up in the middle of Route 20. All’s car is at left. (Jennifer Hill/

The driver who died in Tuesday afternoon’s crash when his car collided head-on with a Sheriff’s Department cruiser was Matthew All, 23, of Sharon Springs, according to Troop C spokesman Aga Dembinska.

Dembinska said All threatened a woman, Robin Church, with a knife outside the Richfield Springs Barracks, the episode that triggered the chase that ended in the crash at Kelley’s Corners, Route 20 and 80, in Springfield Center.

Deputy Jim Mateunas, who was in the cruiser, broke both legs.

Passenger Killed, Driver Injured In Guilford Crash

Rig, Car Collide;

Passenger Dies,

Driver Injured

GUILDFORD – A passenger was killed and the driver seriously injured after the car they were traveling in allegedly failed to stop at an intersection and went under a tractor trailer.

According to Aga Dembinksa, Troop C public relations officer, State Police at Sidney responded to the crash at the intersection of State Route 8 and County Road 35 in the town of Guilford at 6:17 p.m. this evening.

Edson, Mary Kitchen, Bainbridge; Couple Killed In Two-Car Crash

Edson, Mary Kitchen, Bainbridge;

Couple Killed In Two-Car Crash

Edson and Mary Kitchen

BAINBRIDGE – The funeral service was this morning for  Edson and Mary Kitchen, the Bainbridge couple killed in a two-car crash in the Broome County town of Colesville Tuesday, June 12, 2018.

Edson and Mary were married May 18, 1985. After 33 years of marriage, they still showed us all what a devoted couple should be. You never saw Ed without Mary or Mary without Ed. They will forever be known for their love and commitment to their family.

Russell A. Southard Sr., 96; WWII Vet Supervised Major Construction Projects

Russell A. Southard Sr., 96; WWII Vet

Supervised Major Construction Projects

Russell A. Southard Sr.
Russell A. Southard Sr.

OTEGO – Services are planned later this month for Russell Anderson Southard Sr., 96, a WWII veteran who helped build the Downsville Dam and supervised other major construction projects while raising six daughters and a son in Otego.  He died Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, at the Oxford Veterans Home.

He was born Sept. 11, 1920, one of four sons of Lou and Bethel (Anderson) Southard. He married Marguerite Smith on Oct. 22, 1942, in the Otego Presbyterian Church. Together they raised a family of seven. She died Aug. 28, 1986.

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