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

Pounded By Rain, 1927 Empire Hotel ‘Imploded’ Today

Pounded By Rain,

1927 Empire Hotel

‘Imploded’ Today

No Injuries Or Off-Site Damage,

Sharon Springs Mayor Reports

Pounded by rains overnight, the 1927 Empire Hotel at 102 Willow St. collapsed this afternoon, Sharon Springs Mayor Doug Plummer reports. (photo from Facebook)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

This photo, from Schoharie County Real Property records, shows what the building looked like.

SHARON SPRING – The abandoned 92-year-old Empire Hotel here, a remnant of the village’s glory days as a tourist mecca, collapsed at about 2:30 p.m. today, Mayor Doug Plummer said a few minutes ago.

The four-story stucco structure, vacant for 40 years, was pounded by overnight rains and just “imploded,” said the mayor.  “Thankfully, the rain did a beautiful job: It ‘imploded’ inwardly,” he said.

Driver Assaulted Victim With Car, Troopers Report


Driver Assaulted

Victim With Car,

Troopers Report

COLUMBUS – Troopers from the Oneonta Barracks deployed at Unadilla Motorcross responded at 8:53 p.m. Friday to a report a pedestrian had been struck by a car on nearby Route 8.

They then arrested the driver, Edward D. Burnett, 31, of Utica, for vehicular assault in the second degree, and for DWI while two passengers in the car were under 15, according to a press release from Troop C.

Lagan Pleads Guilty In Inheritance Case


Lagan Pleads Guilty

In Inheritance Case

Report: Cooperstown Investor

Free Pending Later Sentencing

Tom Lagan

COOPERSTOWN – Cooperstown investor Tom Lagan, 61, pleaded guilty in federal court in Albany today to allegations he and a partner benefited from processing the estate of Warren and Pauline Bruggeman, Albany area philanthropists and RPI benefactors, the Times Union is reporting.

Lagan, who was an investor in the 2015 downtown Cooperstown hotel project that was eventually abandoned, entered his plea before Senior U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn. He remains free pending sentencing, the newspaper reported.

Missing Oneonta Woman Found Safe in Binghamton

Missing Oneonta Woman

Found Safe in Binghamton

Amanda Lee Chandler

ONEONTA – An Oneonta woman who was reported missing by her family was located by state troopers in Binghamton over the weekend.

According to a press release, troopers made contact by phone with Amanda Lee Chandler, 27, Oneonta, who was reported missing by her family on July 20. The trooper stayed on the line with her until a trooper in Binghamton was able to check on her. Troopers determined she was in good health and not in any danger.


Cooperstown Man Arrested In Railroad Avenue Burglary

Cooperstown Man Arrested

In Railroad Avenue Burglary

The door to Upstate Companies was damaged during last night’s alleged burglary at 21 Railroad Avenue.  Ommegang’s business office, at the end of the hall, was also broken into. (Jim Kevlin/

COOPERSTOWN – A Cooperstown man was arrested hours after he allegedly broke into offices at 21 Railroad Ave. and stole items, including a computer and money.

Richard C. Abbate, 18, allegedly broke into the building after 11 p.m. last night and stole items from several offices, including a laptop from the Ommegang’s business office and meat from the Green Cow butcher shop.  He also allegedly took money from an office, and damaged several doors, including at Upstate Companies.

Police Investigating Break-In At 21 Railroad Avenue

Police Investigating

Break-In, Robbery

At 21 Railroad Ave.

At this hour, Cooperstown Police and the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department are investigating an overnight break-in at 21 Railroad Ave. in Cooperstown. According to witnesses, the staff of Duvel Moortgat arrived to find that their door handle had been tampered with and a laptop was missing; the door handle of the Law Guardian office was also broken off and the door to Upstate Companies was kicked in. The staff of the Hometown Oneonta/Freeman’s Journal/ was at their offices on the first floor until 11 p.m. last night, but told police they did not hear anything unusual. The building has been evacuated and is currently considered a crime scene. (Jim Kevlin/
Much-Debated Corner Site Of Another Crash

Glen-Grove Again In The News

Much-Debated Corner

Site Of Another Crash

Cooperstown Fire Chief Jim Tallman arrives a few minutes ago at the scene of a two-car collision at the corner of Glen Avenue (Route 28) and Grove Street, an intersection that’s been in the news lately as the village’s second most crash-prone. Both cars were convertibles, one a black Mercedes. The damage to the vehicles seemed light, but a young woman was being attended to by EMTs.  Noting three personal-injury accidents have occurred there in the past year, Village Trustee Richard Sternberg has proposed a four-way stop-sign designation, but the trustees delayed action Monday while they seek an expert asssessment from the state DOT.   Mayor EllenTillapaugh Kuch has observed the most crash-prone intersection is Susquehanna and Beaver, next to Bassett Hall, and there’s already a four-way stop-sign designation there.(Jim Kevlin/
Daughter, Dad Charged With DWI, Endangering Child Per Leandra’s Law

Daughter, Dad Charged

With DWI, Endangering

Child Per ‘Leandra’s Law’

ONEONTA – State police here arrested a Cooperstown area father and daughter for DWI under Leandra’s Law and for Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

At 10: 26 p.m. July 17,  Troopers arrested Maegan J. Thaxton, 31, of Cooperstown, for the felony of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated with child 15 or Under as Passenger (Leandra’s Law).  She was also charged with the misdemeanor of Endangering the Welfare of a Child and issued tickets for Inadequate Lights, No Restraint or Lap Harness and Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test.

Police To Public: Help Find Missing Oneonta Woman

Police To Public:

Help Find Missing

Oneonta Woman

Amanda Lee Chandler

ONEONTA – Troopers are seeking the public’s assistance in locating Amanda Lee Chandler, 27, of Oneonta.

Chandler was last seen about a week ago in the City of Oneonta and, since, has not had any contact with any family or friends.

She is 5-foot-5, approximately 150 pounds and has blue eyes.  She currently has shoulder length brown hair with blonde ends. Chandler was last seen wearing a T-shirt, jeans and black sneakers.

If you have seen her or have any information, call State Police at (607) 432-3211.

Unadilla Woman In Critical Condition After Being Struck By Car

Unadilla Woman Hit

By Car, Hospitalized

In Critical Condition

UNADILLA – A 69-year-old Unadilla woman was critically injured Saturday when she was struck by a Jeep that drifted into the shoulder where she was walking,  Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer, reported.

Susan Haney was walking southbound on the east shoulder of County Route 4 when she was allegedly struck by a 2007 Jeep Patriot driven by Nicole L. Wilber, 34, Unadilla, who was driving north. According to police, the passenger-side headlight and mirror struck Haney, who was then thrown several feet onto the shoulder.

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.

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103