News of Otsego County

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

Governor Cuomo

600 $75,000 Jobs Within Commuting Distance Of County


600 $75,000 Jobs

Within Commuting

Distance Of County

On behalf of Governor Cuomo, Howard Zemsky, the state’s economic development czar, announces a $1 billion development at SUNY Polytechnic, north of Utica, that promises 600 jobs paying $75,000 within six years. (Photo courtesy Governor’s Office)

MARCY – The Cuomo Administration Monday announced a $1 billion agreement with Cree Inc. to create 600 jobs paying $75,000 at Marcy, within commuting distance of Otsego County, in the next six years.

Here’s the statement from the Governor’s Office on the announcement Economic Development czar Howard Demsky made on Cuomo’s behalf yesterday afternoon at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute north of Utica.  It decribes…

New License Plates Called ‘Money Grab’


New License Plates

Called ‘Money Grab’

County Clerk Sinnott Gardner Urges

Drivers To Complain To Governor

Governor Cuomo has asked New Yorkers to vote on a new license plate design. The Otsego County clerk says its an attempt to shift the cost of a DMV mistake onto drivers.
Sinnott Gardner

COOPERSTOWN – The Cuomo Administration’s plans to replace New York State license plates is an “unnecessary money grab,” County Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner declared in a public statement.

The new license plates will cost all New York drivers $25.  If you want to keep your current plate, you will have to pay $45.

“In other words,” Sinnott Gardner said, “if you want to keep your plate number, you will pay a total of $45 … This fee is absolutely unnecessary – they are making New York State drivers pay for their bad business deal with their vendors.”

With Domestic Terrorism Act, New York State Leads Nation



With Domestic Terrorism Act,

New York State Leads Nation

Editor’s Note:  This is an excerpt from Governor Cuomo’s Thursday, Aug. 14, speech to the New York City Bar Association, where he proposed the nation’s first Hate Crimes Domestic Terrorism Act.

Governor Andrew Cuomo

We must begin by recognizing the crisis for what it is because you will never solve a problem in life you are unwilling to admit, and today New York State acknowledges the ugly truth: that we have an enemy within, an American cancer, where one cell in the body politic attacks the other cells in the body. It spreads in the hidden corners of the internet, and from the highest positions in the land, and it infects sick and hate-filled hearts. This new violent epidemic is hate fueled American on American terrorism.

We still treat terrorism as an act committed by foreigners. It is. But that is only part of it.  It is now a two-front war on terrorism. It is fed by hate, but hate from abroad and hate right here at home: white supremacists, anti-Semites, anti-LGBTQ, white nationalists. These are Americans committing mass hate crimes against other Americans and it should be recognized for what it is: domestic terrorism. American citizens who are radicalized –  not by a foreign ideology but rather radicalized by hate for other Americans – but that is still terrorism.

Marijuana Law Prudent Step. Maybe, Just Maybe, Enough


Marijuana Law Prudent Step.

Maybe, Just Maybe, Enough

This year’s wild and crazy one-party bloc in Albany may have, by failing to reach it’s ultimate goal, achieved a sensible outcome in one area.

Governor Cuomo Monday, July 29, signed legislation that reduces the penalty for unlawful possession of marijuana under 2 ounces from felony to violation.

The penalty: a $50 fine for less than an ounce to a maximum of $200 for one to 2 ounces. (Above that, dealing’s involved, and stronger penalties kick in.)

It also erases the records of people convicted of possessing small amounts in the past. You may remember: The original goal of the Democratic majority was to create a massive commercial enterprise, with pot stores peppering Main Streets from Brooklyn to Butternuts.

Greed – how to split the huge anticipated revenues – and suburban soccer moms created an impasse.
Pot, of course, is part of our modern landscape. Sending junior to the Big House on finding a joint in his pocket is nonsense. So is creating another Big Tobacco – Big Pot?

Maybe the measure Cuomo signed Monday is just enough. Let’s leave it alone for a while and see how it plays out.

Governor Signs Ban On Declawing Cats


Governor Signs Ban

On Declawing Cats

ALBANY – Governor Cuomo today signed the bill banning declawing of cats in the Empire State, a move hailed by he Humane Society of the United States.  New York is the first state to ban the procedure.

“This historic bill in New York is a watershed moment for the declawing issue,” said Humane Society President Kitty Block (cq), “and we hope other states will follow suit by prohibiting this unnecessary convenience surgery.”

Officers, Use Judgment: Law Allows You To Provide Mugshots To The Public


Officers, Use Judgment: 

Law Allows To Provide

Mugshots To The Public

The recently completed state budget contains a measure, championed by Governor Cuomo, that prohibits police departments from releasing mug shots of suspects.

The other day, Monday, April 22, Trooper Aga Dembinska, Trooper C spokesman, declined to release a mug shot of Gabriel Truitt, 33, suspect in the Dec. 29 arson fire on Oneonta’s Walling Avenue, where former city firefighter John Heller was killed.

Dembinska advised that, while the governor has yet to apply his signature to that part of the state budget that will make mug shots closely held in the future, the Department of State Police, which is under the governor’s administration, has put it in place, anticipating its approval.

“No one will get anything from us anymore,” she said.  Granted, she and Maj. Brian Shortall, Troop C commander, are simply following orders from headquarters, as they must.

At the time, Truitt was at large. As it happens, he was wandering in our midst.  But without the mug shot, how could anyone have identified him? This newspaper circumvented the ban by obtaining Truitt’s mug shot from a 2018 arrest report, but that’s going to be harder to do as time goes on.

Originally, Cuomo had intended to bar release of all police reports, in effect enabling secret arrests, anathema – and historically unprecedented – in our system of open justice.  And so is the mugshot ban.

Welcome to the Cheka, Albany style.

In proposing the mugshot ban, the governor put it this way in an interview on WAMC, Northeast Public Radio:

Cuomo Bypasses Dems To Provide Tuition Aid To Gold Star Families


Cuomo Bypasses Dems

To Provide Tuition Aid

To Gold Star Families

Assemblyman Salka

Bypassing his fellow Democrats in the Assembly, Governor Cuomo today ordered the state to begin providing tuition assistance to Gold Star Families, the spouses and children of soldiers killed in the line of duty.

Otsego County Assembly John Salka, R-Brookfield, who has been pushing the legislation, said the governor’s action “is simply amazing.”

He said, “From me and my peers in the Assembly Republican Conference, veterans organizations and even President Trump, the outpouring of support was staggering to ensure that the memory of our fallen heroes was honored. I thank everyone who joined their voices with mine, a great step for New York.”

Assembly Democrats had defended their move to block the GOP-backed bill because its costs had not been determined and it came up after approval of the state budget.

Cuomo, Legislature Approve $102 Billion Budget Early Today

Cuomo, Legislature

Approve $102 Billion

F20 Budget Overnight


2% Tax Cap Permanent

School Aid Up $1 Billion

Plastic Bags Are Banned

Limousine Law Tougher

Special to

ALBANY – The state today has a 2019-2020 budget agreement that makes the 2 percent property tax cap permanent, and adds $1 billion to education funding.

Other notable components include tougher regulations on limos after the 20-fatality crash in Schoharie County, a ban plastic bags in supermarkets, public financing of elections and three hours off for all New Yorkers on Election Day so they can vote.

Governor Cuomo, who announced the agreement at 11:46 p.m. Saturday along with Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, said it achieves his three non-negotiables:  “the permanent property tax cap, criminal justice reform and an MTA overhaul including Central Business District Tolling.”  The latter will require drivers to pay a congestion fee to enter Manhattan.



On Spending, Pot, LGBTQ Rights, Cuomo Charts Path


On Spending, Pot, LGBTQ Rights, Cuomo Charts Path

Editor’s Note: With Democrats taking control of the state Senate Jan. 1, 2019, Governor Cuomo’s party now controls the state Legislature and his office for the first time in years, prompting him not to wait of the traditional State of the State message, but to issue a first-100-days “Justice Agenda,” a call to action for the state’s Democrats.  Here are the 20 points:

►Ensure a Progressive Tax System, maintaining millionaire’s tax, permanently capping property-tax increases at 2 percent.

►Cut Middle-Class Taxes while Fighting to repeal SALT, the federal limits on state and local deductions.

►Protect Quality, Affordable Health Care by ensuring the health exchange and coverage of pre-existing conditions will be protected at state level.

►Codify Reproductive Rights by passing the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act within 30 days to protect Roe v. Wade protections.

►Enshrine Gender Equality into Law, by passing Equal Rights Amendment to add sex as a protected class.

►Combat Gun Violence, by passing bump-stock ban, extending waiting period to buy a gun from three to 10 days.

►Expand $150 Billion Infrastructure Plan, adding $50 billion for new airports, bridges, train stations across state.

►Ease Traffic in NYC Business District by overhauling Mass Transit Authority.

►Ensure Education Equity by
increasing funding for poor schools.  (A coalition of public educations is seeking a $2 billion increase)

►Pass a Dream Act, to ensure a higher education system that opens the door of opportunity to everyone.

►Launch the Green New Deal,
to make New York’s electricity 100-percent carbon-neutral by 2040 and put state on path to eliminating carbon footprint.

►Ensure Clean, Safe Drinking Water for All, by investing in our water infrastructure and clean our water for our children and our children’s children.

►Improve Our Democracy, by enabling voting by mail, early voting, same-day and automatic voter registration, synchronizing federal and state elections, and make ►Election Day a state holiday to ensure as much participation as possible.

►Increase Trust in the Democratic System, by closing the LLC loophole, banning corporate campaign contributions, overhaul our campaign finance system and ending outside income for lawmakers.

►Protect Public Sector Unions, by expanding protections for public sector labor unions at the local level, and to ensure workers have labor rights in the gig economy.

►Keep Housing Affordable, by reforming rent regulations, including ending vacancy decontrol, repealing preferential rent and limiting capital improvement charges to protect affordable housing and respect tenants’ rights.

►Pass the Child Victims Act, to ensure those who abuse our children are  accountable criminally and civilly.

►Protect LGBTQ Rights, by codify the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act into state law and end conversion therapy.

►Legalize Adult Use of Recreational Marijuana, ending the disproportionate criminalization of one race over another by regulating, legalizing and taxing adult use of recreational marijuana.

►Ensure Fairness in the Criminal Justice System, by ending cash bail and enacting speedy trial and discovery reforms.

From the Governor’s Office – Governor Cuomo outlines the 20 points in his “Justice Agenda” for the first 100 days of Democratic control Dec. 17 at the Roosevelt Institute in Albany.






Gibson To Chair Molinaro Effort

Gibson To Chair

Molinaro Effort

Then-congressman Gibson marches in Oneonta’s Christmas parade in 2014. ( photo)

Former Otsego County Congressman Chris Gibson has agreed to serve as the chairman of Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro’s campaign for governor.

“Chris Gibson embodies the high standards for integrity, commitment and service by which we will run this campaign and which we will ultimately restore to the State Capitol in Albany. I am honored that he has agreed to serve as Campaign Chairman,” said Molinaro.

Chris Gibson, who retired from his 19th District seat in 2015, had been mentioned as a leading Republican to run against Governor Cuomo, but declined all entreaties.

Again, Ommegang Tops, This Time In ‘Taste NY’

Again, Ommegang Tops,

This Time In ‘Taste NY’

Three Philosophers Shines In State Contest
Governor Cuomo and Taste NY Judge Mario Batali toast with a glass of Three Philosophers as Ommegang was announced last evening as one of two statewide winners. (courtesy Governor’s Office)

COOPERSTOWN – Brewery Ommegang tied with Roscoe Beer Co. of Delaware County in a blind taste test featuring the five breweries that received the most online votes in the Taste NY Inaugural Craft Beer Challenge.

Governor Cuomo announced the grand winners Wednesday evening at Pier A on Battery Place in Manhattan.

The rest of the top five were Genesee Brewing, Rochester, Prison City Pub & Brewery, Auburn, and Southern Tier Brewing, Lakewood.

All of the finalists in the call-in contest that preceded the blind taste test were from Upstate New York, a fact not lost on, which headlined its story, “New York City Snubbed in Beer Taste Challenge.”

Governor Sends $417,000 To Raze Oneonta For Hulk

Governor Sends $417,000

To Raze Oneonta Ford Hulk

ONEONTA – The Cuomo Administration today announced a $477,915 allocation to be used toward the demolition of the former Oneonta Ford building at Chestnut and South Main to make way for the new Susquehanna Regional Food & Beverage Hub.

Concidentally, at an Otsego Now hearing this morning on taking the property by eminent domain, spokesmen for its owner, the Twelve Tribes, testified $150,000 offered for the property is insufficient; the governor’s announcement came this afternoon.

Cuomo Envoy Details Investments Upstate


Cuomo Envoy Details

Investments Upstate

With Governor Cuomo’s six-stop statewide tour to deliver his State of the State speech complete, his commissioners today fanned out to New York’s smaller cities to give slide shows and answer the questions of local audiences, as RoAnn Destito, state Office of General Services commissioner, did for 50 elected officials, businesspeople and SUNY Oneonta President Nancy Kleniewski and her team members at Foothills in Oneonta this afternoon.  Listening, top photo, are, from left, Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood, and Common Council members David Rissberger and Melissa Nicosia.  In photo at left, Mayor Gary Herzig listens to the presentation, in which the $10 million in state Downtown Revitalization Initiative money to Oneonta was mentioned several times.  Behind Herzig are County Rep. Andrew Marietta, D-Cooperstown/Otsego, left, and Oneonta Family Y Executive Director Frank Russo.  (Jim Kevlin/

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