ONEONTA – Within hours of Saturday morning’s fire that claimed the life of former Oneonta firefighter John D. Heller, the leads began to pour in.
“We had more than 70 leads,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner an hour ago at a press conference held jointly with Fire Chief Pat Pidgeon. “And the investigation is continuing.”
The men reported Terrence Truitt, 34, Oneonta, was arrested and charged with first-degree arson, which investigators believe started on the second floor of 5 Walling Ave.
Heller and his fiancee, Amber Roe, lived on the top floor, and had their four nephews staying with them that night. Heller and Roe helped the children escape, but then was unable to get out of the building.
ONEONTA – This will be the year, Mayor Gary Herzig said, that the City of Oneonta begins to see the results of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grants
“In 60 days, we’ll unveil the redesign of our downtown,” he said. “And this redesign is not by City Hall, but by 80 downtown business owners who have submitted proposals for $2.5 million in funding for improvements. This is a downtown made possibly by the energy of our local businesses.”
Herzig, alongside Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, spoke at the annual State of the State breakfast, hosted by the Otsego County Chamber this morning at SUNY Oneonta’s Morris Hall.
ONEONTA – Negotiations between City Hall and the Oneonta Professional Firefighters have spilled out into the open.
The Oneonta Professional Firefighters accused Mayor Gary Herzig of “mischaracterizing” OPF’s “advocacy for maintaining adequate staffing” of the Oneonta Fire Department in a Dec. 17 press release.
OPF President Andrew Turner reiterated the Fire Department’s continuing need for “six trained firefighters…on duty 24/7” in order to keep Oneonta safe. “This is not an increase in staffing,” he emphasized.
ONEONTA – The Oneonta city firefighters’ union call for increased staffing in the wake of Tuesday’s Church Street housefire was “surprising,” coming in the midst of contract negotiations, Mayor Gary Herzig said today.
“The city has proposed scheduled adjustments that will provide the flexibility needed to ensure optimal staff coverage under all circumstances,” Herzig said.
“This was the single greatest point of pride in my dad’s life,” said former mayor John Nader, as he accepted a plaque this evening after Common Council unanimously voted to rename the Oneonta Municipal Airport as The Albert S. Nader Regional Airport. Nader, president of SUNY Farmington, who drove up for the event, read a statement from his father, who remarked, “I regret that I am unable to be with you tonight, but I want to thank each and every one of you for bestowing this honor on me.” The vote was broadcast on the city’s Facebook page, allowing Sam to watch from home. With Nader is Mayor Gary Herzig, who presented the idea to Council just before Thanksgiving. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
ONEONTA – Downtown Oneonta could soon be the site of a new boutique hotel.
Oneonta’s Common Council authorized the Mayor to contract with the consulting firm, REVPAR International, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia to do a marketing feasibility study for developing a downtown-area boutique hotel during their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
Funded by a state grant of $19,000, the feasibility study will determine if a boutique hotel would be a good addition to Oneonta.
ONEONTA – Following public outcry and concerns that the city was swapping private property, Mayor Gary Herzig has announced that Rehabilitation Support Services (RSS), the organization spearheading a multifamily housing development project located off River Street in Oneonta’s Sixth Ward, has requested to have its plan removed from the Oneonta Planning Commission meeting agenda on Wednesday, Nov 21.
RSS’s decision came after Oneonta’s City Council chose not to move forward with a swap of city property for private property that was a necessary part of the planned location for the housing development, which would be for residents with low-to-moderate incomes.