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

DAILY BRIEFING: Governor Seeking 1,000-Bed Overflow


Governor Seeking

1,000-Bed Overflow

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state is scouting additional new sites for temporary hospitals, with a goal of having a 1,000-plus patient overflow facility in each New York City borough as well as Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties. These new additions, together with the temporary hospitals that are being built at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and locations at SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury and the Westchester Convention Center, are aimed at building thousands of new beds to bolster existing hospital capacity, with the goal of being open to patients in early- to mid-April. The state is also preparing college dormitories and hotels for emergency beds.

CUOMO: Daily Updates Show Much Being Done


Cuomo’s Daily Updates

Show Much Being Done

Photo of the Day: I toured the Javits Center in New York City today, where FEMA is beginning to build a 1,000-bed temporary hospital.

Editor’s Note: Here’s an example of Governor Cuomo’s daily email updates, which underscore how much is being done to combat coronavirus. Do yourself a favor: sign up at:

March 23, 2020

Dear New Yorker,

Amid this pandemic, we can’t underestimate the emotional trauma people are facing or underestimate the pain of isolation. It is real. This is not the human condition — not to be comforted, not to be close to friends, not to be able to hug someone. This is all unnatural and disorienting. But my hope is that while New York may be socially distanced, we remain spiritually connected. We will overcome this challenge and we will be stronger for it.

Here’s what else you need to know tonight:

1. Supplies are arriving at the Javits Center, which I toured earlier today to see the progress on the building of a temporary hospital there. The federal administration has deployed 339,760 N95 masks, 861,700 surgical masks, 353,300 gloves, 145,122 gowns and 197,085 face shields to New York State. Many state supplies have also been deployed to the Javits Center. The facility will open next week.

2. We opened a drive-thru mobile testing center in the Bronx this morning.  This opening follows successful mobile testing centers in New Rochelle, Rockland County, Staten Island and Long Island. (Visits are appointment-only and must be made by calling 1-888-364-3065.) New York is currently testing more than 16,000 people per day, more than any other state or country per capita.

3. I launched the New York Stronger Together campaign. Celebrities including Robert De Niro, Danny DeVito, Ben Stiller and La La Anthony have shared videos amplifying my message that people must stay home – not just to protect their own health, but to protect the health of more vulnerable New Yorkers.

4. 30,000 people have responded to our call for retired nurses and doctors, medical school students and others to join New York’s Coronavirus response effort. We still need more citizens to join this reserve staff. If you are a recently retired medical professional, a therapist, a psychologist or a qualified medical or nursing school student or staff member, we want your help. Enlist here:

5. The FDA has approved the use of a new experimental treatment in New York on a compassionate care basis to treat COVID-19 patients. The trials will use antibody injections to help stimulate and promote individuals’
immune systems against the virus.

Tonight’s “Deep Breath Moment”: I want to remind New Yorkers that New York State Parks remain open for solitary walks or hikes — but you must keep six feet of distance from others.
You can also take a virtual tour of many New York State parks.
Ever Upward,



State of New York

Job One, Beat Coronavirus; Job Two, Limit The Harm


Job One, Beat Coronavirus;

Job Two, Limit The Harm

Governor Cuomo tells CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Sunday, March 22: “The lesson was loud and clear. Do everything you can as soon as you can, and that’s exactly what we’ve done here in New York.”

As a community, we face two tasks.

Job One is to tackle the coronavirus threat.

As evident in closing schools and colleges, local governments and business, in our adherence to “social distancing,” and in Bassett Hospital’s pro-active agenda, there is community-wide commitment to that.

Governor Cuomo, who has been at his best since the crisis loomed, put it well Sunday, March 22, in his interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: “In New York, we have already closed every valve that we can close. We learned from China. We learned from South Korea, and Italy.

“The lesson was loud and clear. Do everything you can as soon as you can, and that’s exactly what we’ve done here in New York. I can’t do anything else. I’m at zero non-essential workers. You can’t go below zero. So we have everything off.

“Now, we keep testing. We keep tracking the positives. Isolate the positives. Slow the spread. Increase the hospital capacity and in the meantime, get the darn masks and ventilators and the PPE equipment.”
In Otsego County, as in New York State at large, let’s continue doing all we can do.

Job Two is to limit the long-term damage.

With the welcome news that Italy’s epidemic is beginning to dip, we can be assured that the coronavirus will dissipate.
So, foremost, let’s not act precipitously.

Last week, Governor Cuomo estimated New York State’s challenge would peak in 45 days, in early May. If he’s right, that’s well before the summer season arrives here with Memorial Day Weekend.

The Hall of Fame’s decision to cancel the Classic Weekend in mid-May is defensible. That would be cutting it a little fine.

Cooperstown Dreams Park cancelling its 2020 season is premature, particularly given the economic impact – which, in the end, means impact on people: on retirees who depend on renting their homes, on business people dependent on the summer season, and on our foremost institutions and their employees, dependent on tourist visitations.

In short, pretty much everyone.

Cooperstown All-Star Village in West Oneonta has adopted a better model – “The Patton Plan,” if you will.

Owner Marty Patton is moving forward incrementally. Depending on how the challenge looks in early May, All-Star Village may or may not cancel its first week, June 5-11. The second week in May, the decision will be made whether to cancel the second week of youth-baseball tournaments, June 12-18. And so on.

Variations on “The Patton Plan” are no doubt being considered by The Fenimore and Farmers’ museums, Glimmerglass Opera, and the Hall itself as it looks ahead to July 26 and the prospective record-breaking induction of Derek Jeter.

Act if you must, but not immediately. All is not lost.

Running off county-by-county numbers on “The Coronavirus Economic Impact,” the New York State Association of
Counties (NYSAC), is estimating Otsego County’s government stands to lose $1,968,867 in sales-tax revenues alone, equivalent to about 20 percent of the tax levy.

That translates into $49,221,682 in lost sales – gasoline, restaurants, souvenirs – and doesn’t count lost occupancy tax on hotels and lodging, also substantial.

Apply the multiplier of 3 as money moves through the local economy, and that loss – even without lodging – would translate into $150 million, or $2,500 for every man, woman and child in the county.

That’s NYSAC’s “mild scenario.”

Job One is Job One – saving lives.

Let’s adhere to Governor Cuomo’s regimen, and give our healthcare community – the doctors, nurses and hospital staff, who are emerging as the heroes of this crisis – all the support we can.

But let’s look ahead to the job that awaits, and – with patience, prudence – minimize the long-term impact of a short-term crisis on the county that we love.

40,000 Health-Care Professionals Step Up, Governor Announces


40,000 Health-Care

Professionals Step Up,

Governor Announces

Governor Cuomo today announced that to date 40,000 healthcare workers, including retirees and students, have signed up to volunteer to work as part of the state’s surge healthcare force during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with more expected to sign up in the coming weeks. Additionally, more than 6,000 mental health professionals have signed up to provide free online mental health services. New Yorkers can call the state’s hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a free appointment.







Cutoff Set For 8 p.m. Sunday;

Soldiers, Police May Enforce It

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – The County of Otsego is seeking, first, to understand today’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order directing a wide range of businesses to close by 8 p.m. Sunday and, second, to helpfully collaborate where it can.

County Board Chairman Dave Bliss ( photo)

That was the message that county board Chair Dave Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield, and Allen Ruffles, who chairs the county’s Emergency Task Force, delivered after this afternoon’s twice-daily task force meeting ended shortly before 4 p.m.

As of 3 p.m. today, no Coronavirus virus case had yet surfaced in the county, Bliss said.

In announcing the “New York State On PAUSE” today, Governor Cuomo said that, if necessary, the state National Guard and state police would be used to enforce the closures, but Bliss and Ruffles said they had received no direction in that regard.

They referred people to the Empire State Development Corp. website to determine what businesses are exempt from the directive to close, and have directed that a link be placed on the county’s home page,

Bliss and Ruffles also reported:

In Blunt Interview, Governor Says State Hospitals Lack Beds

In Blunt Interview,

Governor Says State

Hospitals Lack Beds

Coronavirus’ Peak: Maybe 45 Days,

He Tells NYT’s ‘The Daily’ Podcast

Governor Cuomo at a recent Coronavirus briefing in the state Capitol. (Photo courtesy of Governor’s Office.)

In a blunt interview on today’s New York Times podcast, “The Daily,” Governor Cuomo said the Coronavirus will require 110,000 hospital beds.  “In this state you have 50,000 hospital beds,” he told host Michael Barbara.  “Needing 37,000 intensive care unit beds, and having 3,000 ICU beds.” He predicted the disease may peak in 45 days.  He said he’s been in frequent contact with President Trump in the past few days, and the federal government is doing what it can to assist New York State.


‘Bail Reform Nightmare’ Requires Delaware Sheriff To Ignore Better Instincts

‘Bail Reform Nightmare’

Requires Delaware Sheriff

To Ignore Better Instincts

Suspect In Forcible Home Entry Released

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Sheriff DuMond

DELHI – It’s another example of “the bail reform nightmare,” said Delaware County Sheriff Craig DuMond after he was required this week to release a suspect who allegedly forced his way into a Walton home, stole prescription drugs and choked a female occupant.

“It is still very difficult for me to fathom a world where a criminal can physically break into an innocent victim’s home, violently attack the victim by means of strangulation, and be released back into the community,” the sheriff said.  “Who really believes this is in the best interests of criminal justice?

“The victims of crimes are real and being ignored as a result of the miscarriage of justice caused by the governor and state Legislature,” he said.

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:

Posts navigation

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