News of Otsego County

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


Police & Fire

Police: Man Choked Woman, Tried To Burn House Down

Police: Man Choked Woman,

Tried To Burn House Down

COOPERSTOWN – Otsego County Sheriffs arrested a New Lisbon man after he allegedly choked a female victim and attempted to set her house on fire, according to Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr.

Joshua Donnelly, 32, New Lisbon, was arrested following a domestic dispute where he allegedly choked a woman in her home. “He crumpled up paper all over the house and tried to light it on fire,” said Devlin. “She put out the fire before it had the chance to burn and fled the scene.”

Muehl: Talent Scout Must Pay Back Model
Charges Dropped After Six Months Good Behavior

Muehl: C-V Agent

Must Pay Back Model

Victoria Pressly

COOPERSTOWN – Victoria Pressley, the Cherry Valley modeling agent who was charged with fraud after a model claimed Pressly never booked any of the promised shoots, has agreed to pay back the $4,300 fee she charged a client, according to District Attorney John Muehl.

“It was an interesting case,” he said. “But with the courts not yet open, I had to triage it.”

Police Seek Missing Kortright Woman, 79

Police Seek Missing

Kortright Woman, 79

This is a recent photo of Beverly L. Golembeski, 79, who went missing this afternoon near her Kortright home.

KORTRIGHT – A 79 year old women with dementia was reported missing earlier this evening by her husband, prompting State Police, Forest Rangers and other authorities to mount a search for her.

New York State Police at Stamford received a 911 call at approximately 5:52 p.m today that Beverly L. Golembeski, 79. was missing from a seasonal residence on Reed Road in the town of Kortright.

The call to 911 was made by Golembeski’s husband after he and a neighbor attempted to locate Golembeski, who left the residence between 3 and 3:30 p.m., possibly carrying a white 5-gallon bucket to collect wood.

In Richfield Springs, No Answers, Many Questions Remain

In Richfield Springs,

No Answers, Many

Questions Remain

NY Fire Marshall Cleared After

4 Cars Hit, 10 Injured Downtown

The force of impact of the fire marshal’s truck is evident in the third car it struck before running into the steps of the Richfield Springs Post Office. The white car then struck the blue car in front of it. (Jim Kevlin/


Sheriff Devlin was at the scene into the evening the night of Dec. 20, 2019. ( photo)

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Mayor Robin Moshier still remembers the sound of the accident.

“My office was in the back, but you could hear the car going down the road, hitting things,” she remembered Tuesday after no charges were brought against the driver. “I had no idea what it was. But by the end of the night, we all knew.”

That was Dec. 10, 2019, when 10 people were injured when a state fire marshal, identified as Kevin Ritton, the secretary of the Otsego County Emergency Services, experienced a “medical event” and crashed his truck into four cars before coming to rest on the steps of the post office.

Police: Man Shot, Killed Dog

West Winfield Man Shot,

Killed Dog, Troopers Say

WEST WINFIELD – A West Winfield man was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing a dog, according to State Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer.

Troopers responded to a call that Ronald R. Bronson, 62, had allegedly shot a dog on his property on South Road in Richfield Springs.

Logging Accident Kills Unadilla Man

Logging Accident

Kills Unadilla Man

UNADILLA – An 80-year-old Unadilla man was killed on his property after a falling tree struck him while he was logging, according to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer.

William P. Marszal was clearing trees on his property on Ben McCumber Road last night with a John Deere 420 bulldozer. While skidding a downed tree, the downed tree uprooted another tree, which then fell on Marszal and caused head trauma.

No Charges For Driver Who Injured 10
‘Medical Event’ Caused Crash That Injured 10

No Charges For Driver

In Richfield Springs Crash

The investigation into the December crash that injured 10 people on Main Street in Richfield Springs has been closed with no charges filed by Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl.  The driver, Kevin Ritton, a state fire marshal and the secretary of the Otsego County Emergency Services, experienced what Muehl described as a “medical event” while driving, which, in turn, caused the accident, which damaged four cars and sent 10 people to the hospital. “There was no evidence or criminality or intent,” said Muehl. “Therefor, the investigation is closed.” (Jim Kevlin/
Mutual Aid Fire Underway In CV

Mutual Aid Fire

Underway In CV

Firefighters from Cherry Valley, Springfield, Middlefield and Richfield responded to a barn fire on North Road, Town of Cherry Valley, late this afternoon. 13 departments were on standby, and by 7 p.m., the blaze was under control and departments were able to clear the scene. The cause of the fire is not immediately known. (The buildings are not part of the fire site; the thick smoke could be see from a distance.) (Dennis Laughlin/
Thrown From ATV, CV Woman Airlifted, In Serious Condition

Thrown From ATV,

CV Woman Airlifted,

In Serious Condition

CHERRY VALLEY – A Cherry Valley woman is in serious but stable condition at Albany Medical Center today after crashing her ATV at 6 p.m. yesterday on Salt Springville Road on the north end of town.

Amber M. Girard, 46, of 282 Swamp Road, was driving the ATV as a “high rate of speed” when she lost control of the vehicle, which rolled over and ejected her near the intersection with County Route 32, according to state troopers at Richfield Springs, who responded.

Sheriff: Man Allegedly Harassed Victim From Jail

From Jail, Accused Keeps On

Harassing Victim, Sheriff Says

UNADILLA – The man arrested twice on Easter Sunday for allegedly violating an order of protection allegedly called the victim from the Delaware County Jail, according to Sheriff Crag DuMond.

Dennis P. Lafferty, Jr. 38, was arrested after Delaware County Sheriff’s Deputies received a complaint from an Otsego County domestic violence victim who reported receiving a phone call from Lafferty at the Delaware County Correctional Facility, where he was being housed for the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office.

OPD Chief Reports: 4 ODs In 48 Hours


OPD Chief Reports

4 ODs In 48 Hours

Beware Of ‘Bad Batch,’ Brenner Says

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police have been called to four heroin overdoses in the last 48 hours, prompting fears that a “bad batch” may be on the streets, according to Police Chief Doug Brenner.

“Each time, our officers had to use both of their Narcan kits to revive the person,” said Brenner. “That tells us that it’s a heavy overdose, possibly tainted with fentanyl.”

Second Man Arrested in Gas Station Robberies

Second Man Arrested With Ruple

Not Just Gas Stations,

Oneonta Man Allegedly

Hit Losie’s, Dollar Tree 


ONEONTA – In addition to his arrests for allegedly robbing the Taylor Mini Mart and attempting to rob the Kwik Fill in the City of Oneonta, Bryan Ruple, 41, also allegedly tried to rob Losie’s Gun Shop in Davenport and the Dollar Tree on Southside in Oneonta, according to Trooper Aga Dembinska, State Police Troop C public information officer.

Additionally, Derrek Gray, 41, Laurens, was also arrested for his alleged role in two of the six robberies, which took place over six hours in the wee hours of Friday morning throughout Oneonta and Otego.

At 12:57 a.m., State Police responded to a reported break-in at Losie’s after the 911 caller claimed they heard “banging” in the area. No one was found at the store, but troopers did note shattered glass at the scene.

Oneonta Man Arrested After Robbery Spree

Oneonta Man Arrested

After Robbery Spree

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Brian Ruple, 41, Oneonta, was arrested and charged with robbing four gas stations in the early-morning hours of Friday, April 24.

ONEONTA – Following four gas station robberies, including one where a clerk was stabbed, an Oneonta man has been arrested and charged in the five-hour spree across Oneonta and Otego overnight and into Friday morning.

“I called Mayor Herzig after we made the arrest,” said Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner. “I told him, ‘we got him, you can sleep well tonight’.”

Bryan Ruple, 41, Oneonta, was arrested last night, both by City of Oneonta police and State Police Troop C.

According to Brenner, Ruple’s first attempt was at the Kwik Fill, where he allegedly attempted to grab cash out of an open register drawer. The clerk slammed Ruple’s hand in the drawer to stop him, and Ruple allegedly stabbed him with a small knife before fleeing the store without any money.

Suspect Sought In 4 Stick-Ups At Quick-Stops


Suspect Sought

In 4 Stick-Ups

At Quick-Stops

In One Case, Clerk Stabbed In Hand

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

State Police released this surveillance photo of a man wanted for questioning in a series of gas station robberies in Oneonta and Otego early this morning.

ONEONTA – Four gas-station robberies were reported between 1:20 a.m. and 6:20 a.m. today in the city and town of Oneonta, and in Otego, city police and state troopers report.

In one case, the clerk was stabbed in the hand; in at least two of the other cases, the suspect said he was armed, but didn’t show a weapon,  police said.

According to a release from the Oneonta Police Department, the spree began at 1:20 a.m., when officers were called to the Kwik Fill convenience store, 66 Chestnut St., for a reported attempted robbery.

“The clerk told us the man purchased a snack, and when the register was open, he tried to grab the money,” said Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner.

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