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

Cheeseburger The Cat Found Safe In Closet



The Cat Found

Safe In Closet

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Rescued from the Oneonta apartment damaged by fire last night, Cheeseburger seems to be asking, What’s the fuss all about? Owner Matthew Baker was thrilled to get the cat back.

ONEONTA – Cheeseburger, the cat, survived last night’s apartment fire and was reunited with her owner, Matthew Baker, 26, today.

Baker’s landlord, Darren Cooke, found Cheeseburger hiding in a bedroom closet of the second-story Mayrose apartment on Lewis Street when he went in today to look for her.  The cat was shaken but unharmed.

“I’m just elated,” said JoanAnn Omelia, Baker’s aunt, who, along with her daughter ErinMarie Omelia, went to the complex last night to help.  “Darren gave me the thumb’s up after he found her.  I was waiting outside.”

“Matt is loving and holding the cat,” she said.

Firefighters Resuscitate Cat After Oneonta Apartment Fire

Firefighters Resuscitate Cat

At Oneonta Apartment Fire

Oneonta fire fighters responded to a fire at the Mayrose Apartments on Lewis Avenue this evening. One resident, Matt Baker, was treated for smoke inhalation, and his cat, Oreo, was rescued from the fire and resuscitated with oxygen at the scene.


Oreo is resting comfortably after Oneonta Fire Captain Rob Latourette resuscitated her with oxygen.

ONEONTA – Oneonta firefighters were able to resuscitate a cat rescued from the fire in the Mayrose Apartment complex on Lewis Avenue this evening.

“She was pretty much dead when we found her,” said Capt. Rob Latourette. “I gave her oxygen and she revived quickly.”

The cat, named Oreo, is owned by Matt Baker, a resident of the apartment, was also treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. Baker, 26, managed to rescue his three guinea pigs, which are in the care of a neighbor.

A second cat, a cream-colored female named Cheeseburger, was not located in the apartment, and is believed to have run out the door when the fire broke out and is still missing.

Three Indicted For Kidnapping, Robbery

Three Indicted For

Kidnapping, Robbery

ONEONTA – Three men who allegedly grabbed an Oneonta woman off the street and threw her into a van before demanding money were indicted on felony charges of kidnapping and robbery in Otsego County court yesterday, according to District Attorney John Muehl.

Erankie Liberata-Garcie, 24, Erick Tavares, 33 and James Semidey, 26, all of the Bronx, were arrested in May after Oneonta Police received a report from neighbors on Watkins Avenue that claim they saw two men grab a woman off the street and thrown into a white cargo van.

Inventive Scams Entrap Otsego County Elderly

Inventive Scams Entrap

Otsego County Elderly

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – An 88-year-old Laurens woman got a call, purportedly from Cooperstown Police: Her granddaughter had been in an accident, she was fine, but her car had been impounded and she needed $4,000 in cash to get it out.

The woman was instructed to wrap the money in a sweater and mail it to Staten Island. She did so, shipping the package overnight from The Shipping Room in Oneonta. But when the same person called back and asked for four Home Depot cards, she asked, “Is this a scam?”

“The person on the other end of the line said ‘Thanks for playing’ and hung up,” said Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer.

Firefighter Delello Retires After 32 Years With OFD

Haunting Memory: 2003 Delhi Flood

Firefighter Delello Retires

After 32 Years With OFD

Jim Delello, a Critical Care Technician with the Oneonta Fire Department, finished his final shift at 8 a.m. this morning after 32 years with the OFD. (Ian Austin/

By IAN AUSTIN • Special to

ONEONTA – After 32 years with the Oneonta Fire Department, firefighter Jim Delello’s served his final tour of duty today as a critical care technician with the Oneonta Fire Department.

“You see people at their best and their worst,” he said. “It is gratifying to see the effect you have on people’s lives, and it’s good when you can see a positive outcome after a call.”

He began working with the department on Sept. 4, 1985, then came on as a full-time firefighter the following year. He was Union President for sixteen years, served on Mayor Dick Miller’s task force for the department and takes the roll of Crew Leader when the Captains are off.

Neighbors Flee From Gas Leak


Neighbors Flee

From Gas Leak

An OFD crew watches warily from in front of Oneonta’s Red Door Church after a gas line was breached at Roosevelt and Main this morning, causing 103 homes to be evacuated. (Michael Foster Rothbart for
City Manager George Korthauer and Mayor Gary Herzig confer with NYSEG inspectors at the the corner of Main and Roosevelt.  Firefighters keep watch atop the EZ Mart.

ONEONTA – Neighbors in the vicinity of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, a half-block from Fox Hospital, are back in their homes after construction crews on the water-main replacement ruptured a primary natural gas line.

The 9:15 a.m. accident sent a plume of gas 100 feet into the air, according to eyewitness Michael Forster Rothbart.  “I thought it was smoke,” he said. “It looked like the Red Door church was on fire.”

Oneonta Police and Fire Departments and NYSEG rushed to the scene, immediately shutting off the gas line, evacuating residents “two houses in” from Main Street” in a 10-block area, according to Mayor Gary Herzig.

Couple Arrested When CPS Finds Drugs, Weapons During Child Welfare Check

Couple Arrested When

CPS Finds Drugs, Weapons

During Child Welfare Check

MIDDLEFIELD – A CPS complaint lead to the arrest of a Middlefield couple after state police allegedly found an eight month old child living in the home with loaded weapons and drugs present.

According to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer, Samantha P. Jicha, 22 and Zachary A. Mumbulo,  21, both of Middlefield, were arrested after a hotline tip to Otsego County Child Protective Services requested a welfare check on the infant at the couple’s residence on Blacks Road. When police arrived, they allegedly found loaded weapons marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.

Motorcycle Crash Leads To Gun Arrest

I-88 Motorcycle Crash

Leads To Gun Arrest

WORCESTER – A Virginia man was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a firearm after a motorcycle crash allegedly lead state troopers to discover he had two loaded pistols and no pistol permit.

According to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer, Phillip M. Davis, 25, Strasburg,. Va, was arrested after a trooper responded to an accident involving a motorcycle on Interstate 88 in Worcester.  Davis told the trooper that when a tractor trailer passed him, he applied his brakes and lost control of his Harley, but he he did not suffer any injuries.

Three Charged After False Abduction Report

Three Charged After

False Abduction Report

ONEONTA – Three people were charged after an Oneonta girl made a false report of abduction and her father shot at the alleged driver, state police reported today.

According to a release by Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officerCassandra A. Davi, 19, Oneonta, allegedly sent a text to her father asking for help while she was in a vehicle belonging to Charles O. Hall, 30, New Lisbon. Her father, Anthony M. Davi, 54, Davenport called 911 to report Cassandra had been abducted and went to locate his daughter on his own. Anthony located Hall’s vehicle and shot at the vehicle while on State Highway 23 in the town of Kortright and left with Cassandra.

Home Health Aide Indicted On Grand Larceny Charges

Home-Health Aide Charged 

With Theft From Elderly Pair

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Stephanie Shulgay leaves a county courtroom today after pleading not guilty to theft charges. (Libby Cudmore/

COOPERSTOWN – A former home health aide was arraigned in Otsego County Court today on charges that she stole more than $33,000 from an elderly couple over 15 months when they were in her care.

Stephanie Shulgay, 32, plead “Not guilty” to the third-degree grand larceny charges, filed by a grand jury. It is alleged that she stole the money from the couple by using their credit and debit cards between July 2017 and October 2018, while working as a home health aide.

“You can’t just breach someone’s trust like that,” said District Attorney John Muehl.

According to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department, Shulgay allegedly used the money to pay bills for herself and an elderly uncle.

Bassett Hall Evacuated As Smoke Alarm Sounds

Bassett Hall Evacuated

As Smoke Alarm Sounds

Employees go back into Bassett Hall a few minutes ago after a smoke alarm went off, causing evacuation of the office building at Beaver and Susquehanna in Cooperstown. Cooking on a stove may have caused the alarm to sound. The Cooperstown Volunteer Fire Department received the call, but it was cancelled after the situation was brought under control . ( photo)
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