Above, Gerald Althiser, 21, and his lawyer, David Taylor, listen as county Judge John F. Lambert reads the terms of Althiser’s guilty plea this morning. Althiser plead guilty to attempted arson, third degree, for the fire that destroyed the Milford United Methodist Church last March. At right, Rev. Sylvia Barrett, pastor of the First United Methodist Church, read a statement on behalf of the church, telling Althiser that although they forgave him and were praying for him, they hoped the court would sentence him to a facility where he could receive mental health treatment. Lambert sentenced Althiser to five years probation, to be served at the Homer Folks Facility, a supervised institution for the developmentally disabled, where he will receive counseling. Should he attempt to leave the facility, he will be arrested and sent to state prison for up to seven years. A judgement of $1 million was also placed against him. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
SPRINGFIELD CENTER – State Police have arrested Gerald E. Althiser Jr., 20, of Springfield Center, under suspicion of starting the fire that destroyed the Milford United Methodist Church in March.
On Saturday, July 08, State Police arrested Althiser for allegedly starting fires in two campers. During the investigation, police allege that Althiser admitted to setting numerous fires, including the March 12 fire that destroyed the Milford United Methodist Church on State Route 28 in the Town of Milford.
According to District Attorney John Muehl, state police arrested a young man on Saturday, July 8, for allegedly setting fires to several storage units in that town. During the investigation, police allegedly discovered evidence linking him to the church fire, and he was arrested.
Muehl said the suspect’s name and charges would be forthcoming from state police.
The fire was originally believed to have been an accident due to faulty electrical wiring.
MILFORD – Community Bank branches across Otsego County acting as food-pantry drop-off points after the Milford United Methodist Church fire earlier this month. The church operated a food pantry, lost all of its supplies in the fire.
MILFORD – The Milford Food pantry is being restocked this afternoon as donors bring produce, fresh breads and non-perishables to replace what was lost in the Milford United Methodist church fire last Sunday.
At the Elm Inn, owner Dar Buck is encouraging diners looking for her St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage special to bring donations when they come to dine, and a benefit, featuring music by the Stoddard Hollow String Band, is planned for this evening, 7-11 p.m.
The food bank will be open 9:30-11:30 at the Upper Susquehanna Cultural Center on Saturday, March 18, and the following week will relocate to the Legion Hall on Main Street, where it will remain until a permanent location is settled.
MILFORD – The Elm Inn of Milford will be hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party and benefit from 11 a.m. – midnight this Friday to raise money and donations for the Milford Food Pantry, which was destroyed in the United Methodist Church fire on Sunday, March 12.
The Stoddard Hollow String Band will play from 7-10 p.m., and though there is no cover charge, guests are encouraged to bring a donation of non-perishable food or a check for the Milford Food Pantry.
A special menu including corned beef and cabbage, Reuben sandwiches, fish fry, turkey and pastrami, salads and tavern fare will be served all day.
MILFORD – Deputy Mayor Brian Pokorny has issued a statement asking villagers to continue to conserve water, following the use of 300,000 gallons of village water to extinguish last night’s fire at the Milford United Methodist Church.