News of Otsego County

Police & Fire

Reminder: Cars Left On Village Streets Overnight In Snowstorm Will Be Towed

Reminder: Cars Left On Village Streets

Overnight In Snowstorm Will Be Towed

COOPERSTOWN – Beginning with the next major snowstorm, the Village of Cooperstown will begin towing cars that are left on the streets overnight, Police Chief Frank Cavalieri announced today.

Overnight parking during storms has always been prohibited, but not enforcing the law became a particular challenge after the 29-inch snowfall on Dec. 17, when a few cars remained buried under snowbanks on streets for several days, he said.

Richfield Springs Man Arrested In Food Pantry Theft

Richfield Springs Man Arrested

For Stealing From Food Pantry

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Tips from the public helped State Police locate and arrest the man who allegedly stole $2,500 worth of Price Chopper gift cards intended to assist families in purchasing holiday meals, Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer, reported.

Jeremy T. Harris, 44, Richfield Springs, was arrested after an investigation into the theft of 65 gift cards from the food pantry at the Church of Christ Uniting. The cards, which were stored in a locked box, were intended to be given out to families in need of additional help purchasing food for the holidays.

Police: Man Got Caught Breaking In Home

Police: Man Caught

Breaking In Home

ONEONTA – A Mount Vision man was arrested after he was allegedly caught breaking into an Oneonta home while the owners were inside, according to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public relations officer.

Herbert J. Bidwell Jr., 38, Mount Vision, was arrested after county 911 dispatched state police to a burglary in progress at a home on Route 28, Town of Oneonta. The residents were home when they heard glass breaking and called 911.

Gift Cards Stolen From Richfield Springs Food Pantry

$2k In Gift Cards Stolen From

Richfield Springs Food Pantry

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – More than $2,500 in Price Chopper gift cards were allegedly stolen from the food pantry at the Church of Christ Uniting in Richfield Springs, Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer, reported this morning.

The gift cards, she said, were to be distributed by the church to help families in need to purchasing holiday meals.

According to Dembinska, troopers were dispatched to church on Tuesday, Dec. 1 after it was discovered that 65 gift cards were missing. Members of the church also also discovered that an emergency exit door had been pried open.

NYS SHERIFFS: 10 Per Table? A Step Too Far

10 Per Table? A Step Too Far

Editor’s Note: The New York State Sheriff’s Department issued this statement Monday, Nov. 23, saying local sheriffs lack the resources to enforce Governor Cuomo’s edict requiring
that no more than 10 New Yorkers celebrate Thanksgiving together.
This is an excerpt.

Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order which limits “non-essential private residential gatherings” to no more than 10 individuals.

That has caused great consternation among many of our citizens, who envision armed officers arriving at their doors to count the number of people around the Thanksgiving table.

Many Sheriffs and other law enforcement leaders have felt compelled to allay those concerns by assuring citizens that officers will not be randomly coming to their homes on Thanksgiving Day to count the number of people inside.

That would be neither practical nor Constitutional.

The Governor has responded by dismissing those serious concerns on the part of local law enforcement, saying, “Law enforcement officers don’t get to pick and choose which laws they will enforce.”

We find that comment ironic, and disingenuous, since the Governor has directed that his own State Police do not have to enforce the order. Apparently, it is another case of “do as I say, not as I do,” such as we have seen with many other political leaders.

He has also called sheriffs “dictators” for following the Constitution rather than his orders, which we also find ironic.

We do not know if the Governor’s limit on home gatherings to ten individuals is the right number or not. That is a decision for science, not us, to make.

We do know, however, that the Governor has attempted to foist upon local law enforcement an impossible task. How are officers to know, without violating citizens’ right to privacy and other Constitutional rights, how many people are in the home?

How are they to determine if the family gathering is to be deemed “essential” or “nonessential?” …All of those are serious questions which make it impossible for law enforcement to know how to legally enforce the Governor’s order. They are questions that could have been addressed if we had a functioning State Legislature, creating clear and enforceable laws after input from those who would be impacted by them.

Instead we are faced with an unenforceable dictate issued without any consultation with law enforcement or the public as to enforceability.

We believe that rather than issuing orders that cannot be practically enforced, and then blaming law enforcement when they are not enforced, the Governor would better serve the people of New York if he were to use his position to encourage citizens to use common sense and voluntarily adhere to the guidance of state and federal health officials…

We urge you to listen to our public health officials.

We urge you to limit your exposure to those outside your household as much as you reasonably can. If we all do that, we will sooner be able to get back to normal.

We in law enforcement do not have the resources nor the legal authority to force you to do those things.

It is a matter of individual respon-sibility and we are confident that you will all voluntarily rise to the occasion.

1st Teen In Worcester Slaying Pleads Guilty

1st Teen Pleads Guilty

In Worcester Slaying

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to


COOPERSTOWN – Alex Borgreen, 17, one of the three teens charged in the Oct. 2019 murder of Kenneth Robinson at his home in Worcester, has plead guilty to Burglary in the first degree, according to District Attorney John Muehl.

Borgreen is the first of the three former Oneonta High School students to plead in the case.

Sheriff: Man Intentionally Struck Pedestrian With Car

Sheriff: Kansas Man

Intentionally Struck

Pedestrian With Car

Attempted Murder Charge Levied

George Wang

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

HARTWICK SEMINARY – A Kansas man has been charged with attempted murder after he allegedly drove off the roadway and intentionally struck a pedestrian, according to Otsego County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr.

George K. Wang, 23, Lawrence, Kansas, was driving a 2013 Hyundai on Route 28 in Hartwick when he allegedly drove onto a grassy area at the front of Cooperstown Commons; the car struck a pedestrian.

“The victim was walking on the grass,” said Devlin. “He had to move out of the lane several feet in order to hit him.”

Blaze Destroys Fly Creek Barn

Blaze Destroys Fly Creek Barn

Firefighters from Fly Creek arrived on the scene of a fully-involved barn fire at 12:40 p.m. this afternoon at 399 Hoke Road, Fly Creek, according to Rob O’Brien, Otsego Count 911 coordinator. No injuries were reported, and the fire was out just before 2:30 p.m., with no cause yet determined. Mutual aid was provided by Cooperstown, Hartwick, Hartwick Seminary, Schuyler Lake and Richfield fire departments. (Bill Michaels for



Firefighters Called To Christian Hill,

Where Wood Bull Loses Stored Antiques

Cooperstown firefighter Henry Stewart, top left, and Fire Captain Chris Satriano watch for flare-ups after a fast-moving fire leveled Kip Coburn’s barn this evening at 324 Williams Road on Christian Hill, Town of Otsego.   Coburn operates Wood Bull Antiques on Route 28, Milford, and said today the barn was used to store overflow antiques from that operation; all were lost.  Coburn’s son said the only animals in the barn were chickens, and they escaped to safety.  Inset, Cooperstown’s second assistant chief, Kevin Preston, moves debris to allow the flames to burn out.  Firefighters responded from Fly Creek, Hartwick, Hartwick Seminary, Schuyler Lake and Richfield Springs, as well as Cooperstown.  “They toned us all,” said Cooperstown firefighter Frank Capozza.  (Jim Kevlin/

Meridy Gets 22 Years In Worcester Slaying

First Defendant

Receives 22 Years

In Worcester Death

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Nicolas Meridy

COOPERSTOWN – Nicholas Meridy, who plead guilty to second-degree murder in the October 2019 death of Kenneth Robinson at his home in Worcester, was sentenced to 22 years to life in prison during a hearing in Otsego County Court this morning.

“I’m satisfied with it,” said District Attorney John Muehl. “After speaking with the family, that was the offer I made so we didn’t have to put them through a trial.”

State Police: Drunk Drive Drove Car Into Bar

State Police: Drunk Driver

Drove Car Into Mt. Vision Bar

MOUNT VISION – State police arrested a Mount Vision man after he allegedly crashed his car into Mandy’s Bar on Route 205 in Mount Vision.

Robert E. Ahlqvist, 67, was arrested after state police and Otsego County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the bar following reports that a vehicle had crashed into the building. According to a state police press release, troopers observed characteristics commonly associated with impairment, and Ahlqvist’s reportable B.A.C. was .13 percent.

Harvest Fest Organizer Arrested For Trespassing, Nuisance




As 1,500 Gathered On Hill, Knarich

Ignored Warnings, Sheriff Alleges

An attendee wanders through the 23 annual NY Harvest Fest & Freedom Fair/Political Rally Sunday afternoon atop Allen Road, Town of New Lisbon, about three miles northwest of Mount Vision. (Jim Kevlin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

George Knarich is being held at the county jail, pending his arraignment. He is expected to be released this evening.

NEW LISBON – The organizer of what’s been described as a pro-marijuana-legalization festival that drew as many as 1,500 people to a rural hilltop over the weekend was arrested this morning.

George A. Knarich, 55, is charged with violating Governor Cuomo’s executive orders against COVID-Era mass gatherings on land, it is further alleged, that had been seized by Otsego County as a tax foreclosure – he didn’t even own it.

According to Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr., his department received a tip that NY Harvest Fest & Freedom Fair/Political Rally, featuring music and vendors, was still scheduled, despite the executive order banning “non-essential gatherings” of 50 or more people.

Victim ID’d In Fatal Fly Creek Fire

Victim Identified In

Fatal Fly Creek Fire

FLY CREEK – The 77-year-old man who perished in the Sunday morning fire in Fly Creek was Robert L. Huestis, according to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer.

Emergency crews were called to the scene at 5:28 a.m. after a call was received by Otsego County 911 of a house fire with an entrapment at 168 Jones Road, near Oaksville. Fly Creek Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene, where they found the fire confined to the rear bedroom, according to Chris Vuolo, Fly Creek Fire Chief.

Arrest Made In Mask Sign Vandalism

Arrest Made In

Mask-Sign Vandalism

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Cooperstown Police Chief Frank Cavalieri dusts one of the vandalized signs for fingerprints. (Jim Kevlin/

COOPERSTOWN – A Cooperstown man has been arrested and charged with criminal mischief after 10 of the Village’s “Mask on Main” signs were found yesterday with black X’s spray-painted on them.

According to Police Chief Frank Cavalieri, the alleged vandal, a white male, was arrested following an investigation after the three large signs were found dumped and vandalized in front of the District Attorney’s office. Seven of the smaller signs were found in Pioneer Alley.

Cooperstown ‘Masks On Main’ Signs Vandalized


‘Masks On Main’

Signs Vandalized 

Village Police Seek Suspects

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Overnight, someone marked big “Xes” on Cooperstown’s “Masks on Main” placards. (

COOPERSTOWN – Cooperstown Police are investigating the vandalism of the Village’s three “Masks on Main” signs after they were found with a black X spray-painted over them.

“We believe it happened last night,” said Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch.  “We noticed it first thing this morning.”

The vandalized signs were at the perimeters of the downtown where the mask ordinance is in place, including Church and Pioneer streets, Main and Chestnut streets, and in front of the Otsego County Building.

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