News of Otsego County


Sen. Oberacker: Flood costs could exceed town budgets

Flood damage in Gilbertsville on Sunday, July 18, shows the extent of the problems left behind by Saturday’s storm. (Janice Costello).

Sen. Oberacker:
Flood costs could
exceed town budgets

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

The flooding that occurred in Gilbertsville, Morris and Pittsfield on Saturday, July 17, is expected to cost millions and elected officials are calling for federal and state funding to pay for some of the damages.

State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Maryland, estimated that the amount of money needed for the flood damage in Butternuts and Morris would far exceed their total respective town budgets.

“After what I’ve seen, it would be conservative (that damages) would cost at least their budgets and then some,” Oberacker said.

Roads still closed around Gilbertsville as flood clean-up enters day two

Flood waters overtook the Meadow Brook Bridge on county Route 4 in the town of Gilbertsville on Saturday, July 17, causing extensive damage in the southwest part of Otsego County. (Contributed).

Roads still closed
around Gilbertsville
as flood clean-up
enters day two


Federal Emergency Management Agency officials were on the scene in southwestern Otsego County on Sunday, July 18, to assess flooding Saturday, July 17, in the villages of Morris and Gilbertsville and the towns of Morris and Butternuts.

According to Rep. Michelle Farwell, D-Butternuts, Morris, Pittsfield, the cost of the damage is expected to be in the millions, particularly with the damage to one of the bridges on state Route 51.

Heavy rains Saturday night caused the Butternut Creek and several of its tributaries to flood, first around Gilbertsville, and later in Morris south of the Otsego County Fairgrounds. An eyewitness account said the floodwaters in Gilbertsville at about 8:30 p.m., Saturday, were “like a waterfall coming down the hill.”

The floods stuck Morris a few minutes later, after a wash of flood debris clogged the culverts around the fairground, which were put in after the massive 2006 floods. The debris rendered the improvements useless and many of the same areas that flooded in 2006 got reflooded.

Gilbertsville and Morris hit by massive flooding
Flood damage in a Main Street business in Morris is evident Sunday, July 18. (Kevin Limiti/

Gilbertsville and Morris
hit by massive flooding

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

MORRIS — Heavy rains Saturday, July 17, led to massive flooding in the western part of Otsego County and left officials in several towns and villages assessing the damage Sunday morning.

Main Street in Morris looked like a disaster zone, Sunday, July 18, with construction crews and the Morris Fire Department working to clean up the damage from the previous night’s storm.

Morris FD officials said nearly every business was damaged by flooding, with water reaching as a high as a foot at a certain point and rain fall accumulating to three and half inches in less than an hour.

Vaccine clinics at local schools

Vaccine clinics at local schools

STAFF REPORT • Special to

The Otsego County Department of Health announced Thursday, May 6, that it would be setting up vaccine clinics at several county schools.

Residents 16 and up will be eligible for vaccinations.

Participating schools include Cherry Valley-Springfield, Richfield Springs, Schenevus and Morris. The clinics will be open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Go to for more information.

Brenda L. Utter, 63; Stricken By COVID-19


Brenda L. Utter, 63;

Stricken By COVID-19

Brenda Utter

MORRIS – Brenda L. Utter, 63, of Morris, passed away unexpectedly following a brief and courageous battle with the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

Brenda was born to the late Ralph and Mildred (McIntyre) Mitchell Sr. on Sept. 15, 1956, in Reading, Pa.

On July 31, 1976, she married Phillip C. Utter. They had a beautiful marriage of nearly 44 years.

Winter Carnival Brings Comedy, Dancing,Treats

Winter Carnival

Brings Comedy,


WINTER DREAMS – Kyle Morris and Jesse Pascale, Cooperstown, were hard at work making oven-roasted loaded baked potato sandwiches for last year’s Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause fundraiser.

Beat the winter blues with the annual Cooperstown Winter Carnival! Get the blood pumping at the Bob Smullins 5K/10K race, show off your trivia skills, dance the night away with Flux Capacitor and front your own imaginary band in the lip-synch contest. Friday-Sunday Feb.8-10, Main Street, Cooperstown. Info

On Friday, get some Brooks Chicken to help the Susquehanna SPCA. 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, Parish Hall, Christ Episcopal Church, 69 Fair St., Cooperstown. (607) 547-9555. On Sunday, cozy up with a Grilled Cheese for a Good Cause to support Otsego 2000’s historic preservation program. Tickets, $30/adult. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, Farmers Market, Cooperstown. Info (607) 547-8881.

4 Pigs Found In Shed On Morris Dirt Road


4 Pigs Found In Shed

On Morris Dirt Road

With crushed apples, two of four pigs rescued this afternoon are tempted out of a trailer into the Susquehanna Animal Shelter by Director Stacie Hayes and Alex McMillan, of the Leatherstocking Veterinary Services, New Berlin. The pigs were rescued after the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department notified the shelter that the emaciated animals were being kept in a shed without food or water, covered in mud and feces. The animals will be kept at the shelter for the time being, until a pig rescue organization can pick them up. (Libby Cudmore & Jim Kevlin/

Open Otsego County Fair


OPENING – 6:30 p.m. 21st Annual Otsego County Fair Hymn Sing & Special Music at the Grande Building followed by the Agricultural Olympics. Otsego County Fair, Mills St., Morris. 607-263-5289 or visit

BASEBALL – 7 p.m. Support Oneonta Outlaws against Utica Blue Sox. Damaschke Field, 15 James Georgeson Ave., Oneonta. Call 607-432-6326 or visit

Report Includes All Allegations, Some Unproved


Report Includes

All Allegations,

Some Unproved

Probes Exonerated Bishop, Priest

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Father Carl Stone
Father Louis Douglas

ALBANY – Of the two priests with Otsego County ties named in “Hidden Disgrace III,” one pleaded guilty to sodomy, but the second was investigated twice and exonerated.

The report, prepared by Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse and released today, appears to be a compilation of all allegations, whether or not they were proved.

For instance, retired Bishop Howard Hubbard is among the 42 priests listed.  In 2004, allegations surfaced that the bishop vehemently denied.  The diocese hired an outside law firm to investigate, and it found no “credible evidence” against him.

Helen Sokolowski, 90; Nurse Went Into Dairy Farming Locally

IN MEMORIAM:  Helen Sokolowski, 90;

Nurse Went Into Dairy Farming Locally

NEW LISBON – Helen J. Sokolowski, 90, a nurse who moved to Otsego County in 1971 and went into dairy farming with her husband and son, passed away on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, at Chestnut Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.
Helen was born in New York City, the daughter of Frank and Mary (Cenek) Mahdal on Jan. 17, 1927.

She graduated from St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1948 and shortly after married Leonard Sokolowski on Nov. 7, 1948.


Morris Mourns

A pair of angel wings hang on the school sign as more than 200 community members gathered at the steps of Morris Central School this evening for a candle light vigil in remembrance of Jacelyn O’Connor. Pastor Brad Keator of the Chenango Christian Church led the gathered in prayers and singing “Amazing Grace”. Friends, family and classmates shared  memories of Jacelyn after releasing heart-shaped balloons into the sky. (Ian Austin/

Fair Finale


OTSEGO COUNTY FAIR – 8 a.m. Gates. Buildings open 10 a.m. Open to 9 p.m. Finale of the Fair. Come for the Demolition Derby, a Horse Show, a Goat Show, a Carnival, and more. Admission, $5. Fair Grounds, 469 Mill St., Morris. Visit for more information.

PADDLE & PULL – 1-3 p.m. Paddle and help OCCA pull remaining Water Chestnuts out of Goodyear Lake. Canoe/Kayaks available. Bring hat, sunscreen, water and expect to get a little wet. Registration preferred. Meet at NYS Fishing Access site, St. Rt. 28, Portlandville. Call (607) 547-4488 or visit

Police Seek Missing 16 Year Old Girl

Laurens Teen

Reported Missing

Khailee M. Stoughton

LAURENS – State Police are looking for information on  a 16 year old girl who has been reported missing from the Town of Laurens.

Khailee M. Stoughton, 16, reportedly left home on June 19 and has not returned. According to police, she has made contact by phone and was believed to be traveling between the Oneonta, Morris and Albany areas. She is not believed to have been abducted.

Stoughton is a black female, 5’4″ tall and medium build. She has long brown hair and brown eyes. It is unknown what she was last wearing.


Support The Scouts


CHICKEN DINNER – 5-7 p.m. Boy and Girl Scouts serve a chicken and biscuit dinner. Price, $9 adult, $5 children. Morris United Methodist Church, 17 Church St., Morris. Info, Harry Graves (607)316-8239

3-D DESIGN WORKSHOP – 10:30 a.m.-Noon. Come tinker with your designs for 3-D printing. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Info,

Morris Woman Charged In Theft Of Religious Items From Church

Morris Woman Charged In Theft

Of Religious Items From Church

Amber Joy
Amber Joy

MORRIS – A Morris woman was arrested Tuesday evening, charged with stealing religious items from Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, state troopers report.

Amber N. Joy, 32, has been charged with a felony, fourth-degree grand larceny.

Troopers alleged the suspect stole a white altar cloth, several candles and holders and a bowl valued at about $240.

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