With tremendous sadness in our hearts, we announce that our son Jacek Rudnicki, 44, of Chicago, IL, passed away tragically on February 6th after suffering a gunshot wound in downtown Chicago.
Jacek was born in Poland on September 10, 1977, to Joanna and Marek Rudnicki. He moved to the US in 1987, and went on to graduate from Union College in 1999. A technology wiz, Jacek worked in financial and computer tech. A lover of people and the world, Jacek was a most loyal and devoted friend, always ready to help with anything one needed. He was a generous and gentle soul who always saw the good in all he came to know.
Jacek is survived by his parents, Joanna and Marek, and sister Anna. A funeral mass will be held at St. Hyacinth Basilica, 3636 W. Wolfram, Chicago this Saturday, February 12thnasna at 11am. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
The Otsego County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man in a dispute involving a knife in the Town of Milford, following an investigation.
Steven Keach, 29, allegedly destroyed property at a residence on January 27. He was taken into custody and charged with assault, criminal mischief, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, and aggravated harassment in the second degree.
Mr. Keach was remanded to Otsego County Correction Facility with $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond.
New York State Police said February 1 an incident they reported as a burglary in the Town of Hartwick on January 3, 2022 “appears to be an isolated incident and remains an active and on-going investigation.”
Trooper Aga Dembinska told The Freeman’s Journal / Hometown Oneonta “there have been no other reported incidents like this.”
Sources say the matter was never a burglary nor a home invasion but was, upon investigation, an accident in the person’s home.
At least one person allegedly entered the Poplar Avenue home of an elderly woman in the Town of Hartwick between the evening of Sunday, January 2 and the morning of Monday, January 3, and injured her, according to New York State Police.
The victim was transported to Bassett Hospital where she remains in stable condition.
While the Oneonta Police Department continues to investigate the bank robbery that occurred on Wednesday, December 29 at the NBT branch on Wall Street in Oneonta, they ask for the public’s assistance in finding a person of interest in the robbery, pictured above.
According to a press release from OPD, the suspect is believed to have been assisted by another individual, who drove a four wheel sedan with blue and gold New York State plates. The car, possibly red, parked in a municipal parking lot at Wall Street and Dietz Street.
OPD asks any businesses with surveillance cameras on Main Street which might have captured traffic between 10: 40 a.m. and 11:10 a.m. to contact the Oneonta Police Detective Division.
Anyone with additional information can contact OPD at 607-432-1111.
COOPERSTOWN — Now that the trial of Dylan Robinson has ended in conviction, Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl said he is considering restarting the process against Robinson’s accomplice, Alexander Borggreen, for refusing to testify against Robinson despite making a plea deal.
Muehl said he was satisfied with the conviction, which the jury returned Wednesday, June 23, although he said he was surprised they didn’t convict Robinson of arson.
Robinson was convicted of second degree murder in the Oct. 10, 2019, shooting death of his father, Kenneth Robinson, as well as robbery in the third degree and first degree burglary.
“You have a 15-year-old who killed his father. Nobody takes pleasure in putting a 15-year-old in prison,” Muehl said, calling what Robinson did a “pretty violent crime.”
Muehl said he anticipates a harsh sentence because of the nature of the crime.
Muehl said he hasn’t made a decision on what is going to happen to Borggreen.
“I can make a motion to vacate his plea and his sentence and start over again. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do,” Muehl said. “But once again, we’re dealing with a 17-year-old. They don’t make the greatest decisions, and in reality, him not testifying, other than the fact that he could’ve established for certain for the jury that Dylan Robinson was the one who shot Kenneth Robinson, was almost as good as him testifying.”
The defense attorney for Robinson, Thomas Hegeman, said that the trial “was a tough case.”
“The bottom line is we were offered a plea bargain, my client didn’t like it so we went to trial,” Hegeman said.
The plea deal would’ve been for murder one, with a sentence of 22 to life.
Muehl said the crime was unusual in Otsego. “The last young person I had killed his parents when he was 19,” he said. “In my career I’ve never had anything like this with a 15-year-old.”
COOERSTOWN — The second day of the Dylan Robinson trial at the Otsego County Courthouse ended Tuesday, June 22, with jury deliberations, after the prosecution rested and the defense chose not to submit any evidence.
Robinson is accused of allegedly killing his father, Kenneth Robinson, and burning his house after a failed robbery attempt. He is charged with second-degree murder, burglary and attempted robbery in the first degree and third-degree arson.
Tuesday morning testimony began with Cory Robinson, 14, who testified that he remembered the night of Oct. 10, 2019 “because that’s the day my dad died.”
Cory Robinson, 12 at the time, was awoken by gunshots in the house.
He said that armed people came in his home wearing blue bandannas and he recognized two of them as his brother Dylan Robinson and Alexander Borggreen. Someone pointed a gun at him and asked for his phone, so he gave it to them.
Afterwards, he and his brother, Aiden, were told to put pillows up to their faces and walked a short distance from the house. They were told to walk back and found their home in flames.
He found Kenneth Robinson’s body when he came back to the house. “When I took the pillow off, I saw my dad,” Cory Robinson said.
COOPERSTOWN – A pair of Otsego County men were sentenced Monday, May 10, for their roles in a series of robberies, attempted robberies and an assault that took place during a one-day crime spree April 24, 2020, in and around the city and town of Oneonta.
Brian Ruple, 42, of Otego, received a sentence of seven years in state prison for a second degree assault with a knife that he committed during one of the robberies, at the Kwik-Fill convenience store at 65 Chestnut St. in Oneonta, where he stabbed a clerk in the hand. Ruple will then serve between two-and-a-half to five years for robbery in the third degree.
Otsego County Judge John Lambert said he was sentencing Ruple as a second-time felony offender because Ruple was convicted in Oneida County in 2013 of a class D felony of possession of a dangerous controlled substance.
Ruple’s accomplice, driver Derrick Gray, 42, of Laurens, received a sentence of between two-and-a-half to five years for robbery in the third degree.
COOPERSTOWN – The remaining suspect to be tried as an adult in the 2019 murder of Kenneth Robinson of Worcester, his son Dylan Robinson, will see his trial begin with jury selection, which is scheduled for Wednesday, April 14.
Kenneth Robinson, 53, was killed Oct. 10, 2019, in what police and prosecutors have called an attempted robbery of about $5,000 in cash and marijuana. The suspects then attempted to set fire to his house in an effort to disguise the murder.
The police apprehended six suspects soon afterward: Nicolas Meridy, then 32, of Oneonta; Dylan Robinson, then 15, of Worcester; Alexander Borggreen, then 16, of Oneonta; Anais Soto, then 15, of Oneonta; Alexis Lotterman, then 16, of Walton; and Tatiana Febo, then 17, of Downsville.
I revisited (social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling’s 1982 article, “Broken Windows,” in the Atlantic) because I was trying to solve a mystery. On a recent reporting trip to New York City to ask bankers, policy analysts and real estate brokers about the city’s economic future, I kept hearing that crime was a major risk.
…When I probed, I found that they talked less about violent crime than disorder. Homeless encampments were flourishing, panhandling had become more aggressive, and minor crimes like public urination or open drug use were not just more visible, but making the papers.
The summer had brought looting and riots close to home as well. Moreover, many of them saw this as a result of the city’s deliberate decision to ignore the “quality of life” offenses that broken windows had emphasized.
Now we know, lives indeed may be at stake.
Two top executives of Focus Ventures have been arrested on eight counts involving two residents of the county’s former nursing home, Otsego Manor. (The county sold the Manor to Focus in January 2014, for $18.5 million, and Centers Health Care bought it from Focus in January for an undisclosed sum.)
Five of the counts are “endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person.” The other three are “willful violation of health laws.”
Two patients were involved. The first, identified as M.B., was a celebrated case. She was left untended in a wheelchair throughout Memorial Day Weekend 2016. Several nurses and aides faced criminal charges as a result. The second, now known to be Robert Banta, longtime chair of the Otsego County Soil & Water Conservation board; the conservation center on Route 33, Town of Middlefield, is named in his honor. He fell on June 17, 2015, the night he moved into Focus, hit his head, and died a week later.
Arrested and arraigned May 31 in Otsego Town Court in Fly Creek were
Focus CEO Joseph Zupnik and Daniel Herman, a
partner in the company.
The company that operated Focus Otsego, CCRN
Operator, was also charged.
On the one hand, there’s hope in this piece of bad news, hope that nursing-home operators can’t recklessly cut staff and not be held responsible for deadly consequences.
Two weeks before, another piece of bad news, that Centers, Focus’ successor, had unilaterally raised “private pay” rates from $320 to $510 a day, the highest in New York State – Long Island and New York City included – caused a sense of despair. (Since, Centers has rolled it back to $410.)
With federal reimbursement policies forcing public nursing homes into private hands, can nothing be done to ensure the new private owners provide satisfactory care to our most vulnerable fellow citizens?
Recently, Gary Koutnik, D-Oneonta, vice chairman of the Otsego County Board of Representatives and chairman of its Human Services Committee, wrote a letter in response to an editorial urging the county board take more responsibility for the former Otsego Manor.
Having sold the Manor, he said, the county board no longer has responsibility for what happens there. This is not to beat up on Koutnik: His opinion is widely shared among county representatives.
The Zupnik-Herman arrests prompt us to repeat our point, and expand on it.
At the very least, the county board should have a representative at every meeting of the Centers (formerly Focus) Family Council. Medicaid regulations require nursing homes that accept federal reimbursement to have such councils. It is the only opportunity for the public to be briefed and ask questions of administrators.
Our state senator and assemblymen should do the same. And certainly, Congressman John Faso, R-Kinderhook, or any Democrat who might defeat him this fall should follow suit – after all, federal reimbursement policies forced the county to sell excellent Otsego Manor to profit-powered entities.
Since, who hasn’t heard stories with dismay about the degradation of service locally?
Regardless, the Zupnik-Herman indictments are excellent news, whatever the resolution of the court case.
The indictments, by the state Attorney General’s Office, send the message loud and clear: Top executives of nursing-home corporations may be exempt from the common decency in the search for profits, but they aren’t exempt from the criminal code.
What’s needed is whistle-blowers, not just private citizens, but the officials we elected to take care of us, who have greater clout in forcing action than the rest of us.
(In this case, that might indeed have already happened; if so, bravo.)