News of Otsego County

Robert O’Brien

30 Accidents Reported Overnight; No Serious Injuries

Slick Roads Cause 30 Crashes;

No Serious Injuries Reported

Joining people all over Otsego County, Linda Parmalee clears 4 inches of snow that fell overnight from her Glen Avenue home, Cooperstown. (Jim Kevlin/

COOPERSTOWN – Snow and slippery roads caused 30 car accidents overnight throughout the county, according to Robert O’Brien, Director of E-911 Communications.

Though no serious injuries were reported, O’Brien said that Fire and EMS teams responded to seven of the motor vehicle accidents.

Flurries are expected today, but no accumulation, according to the National Weather Service.

IN MEMORIAM: Richard Perry O’Brien, Jr., 69; Father of Hartwick Town Supervisor


Richard Perry O’Brien, Jr., 69;

Father of Hartwick Supervisor

Richard O’Brien

MILFORD – Richard Perry O’Brien, Jr., 69, a lifelong area resident and father of Hartwick Town Supervisor Robert O’Brien, passed away unexpectedly Sunday night, Sept. 23, 2018.

He was born July 28, 1949, in Cooperstown, a son of the late Richard P. (“Dixie”) O’Brien, Sr. and Helen Gorney. He was raised on the family farm on Panther Mountain in Fly Creek Valley by an aunt and uncle, Joseph and Ruth Peplinski, whom he considered parents. He attended Cooperstown schools and graduated with the Class of 1967.

On Oct. 3, 1968, Richard enlisted in the United States Navy and proudly served his country at the Alameda Naval Air Station in California. Upon receiving his Honorable Discharge in 1969, Richard returned home and helped run the family farm.

Fire Destroys Cherry Valley Garage

Fire Destroys Garage

In Cherry Valley

CHERRY VALLEY – A structure fire destroyed a garage on County Highway 50 in Cherry Valley last night, according to Robert J. O’Brien, county 911 director.

The fire at 1697 County Highway 50 broke out around 8:45 p.m. and was fully involved by the time the Cherry Valley Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene. Mutual aid came from Springfield, Middlefield, South Minden and Sharon Springs. 

Otsego County 911 Receives $840K State Grant

Otsego County 911 Center

Receives $840K State Grant

Shaking hands with District -7 Representative David Bliss, R-Cooperstown, Otsego County Director of 911 Communications Robert O’Brien (right) was the main figure responsible in securing $842,330 in grant funding for Otsego County’s 911 dispatch services. (Parker Fish/

By PARKER FISH • Special to

In a press release sent out this morning, Otsego County Director of 911 Communications Robert O’Brien announced that the county’s 911 dispatch department had secured $842,330 in New York State grant funding. The total sum is divided between two seperate grants: $157,687 under the New York State Public Safety Answering Points Operation Grant Program for upgrades to the call center, and $684,650.00 under the New York State Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant Program which will be used to build three additional communications towers to improve coverage for the dispatchers. 

The Rivers Are High, But Otsego Roads Are Clear

Rivers Are High, But

Otsego Roads Are Open

The water gauge on the Main Street bridge in Oneonta shows the water up nearly 11 feet this afternoon.  (Ian Austin /

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – Rain, sleet and warmer temperatures may have made the rivers rise, but according to Robert O’Brien, Director of 911 Communications for the county, all roads in Otsego are clear and no flood warnings are in effect.

“We have seen an increase in requests for Fire Departments to respond to flooded basement calls,” he said. “But they’re very minor at this point. It is evident that through the hard work of our Town, Village, State and County Highway crews, issues with flooded roadways have been very minimal. At this point in time, we are not aware of any present or ongoing issues. ”

Hartwick Highway Super Charged With Petit Larceny

Hartwick Highway Super

Charged With Petit Larceny

HARTWICK – The Town of Hartwick Highway Superintendent was arrested and charged with several misdemeanors by Otsego County Sheriff’s Department.

Frederick R. Striesse, 60, Hartwick was charged with petit larceny, official misconduct and offering a false instrument for filing after the Hartwick Town Board allegedly discovered a series of fraudulent charges on the town’s credit card and reached out to the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department.

Victory Goes To Bob O’Brien

Victory Goes To Bob O’Brien

HARTWICK – Bob O’Brien, the father of triplets, is used to surprises.

Still, when Hartwick’s surprise-rich election year ended Tuesday, Nov. 10, you can understand why the Hartwick town supervisor-elect declared, “Thank God it’s over.”

Robert O'Brien
Robert O’Brien

O’Brien learned that day that, 233 to 229, he had defeated two-term incumbent (and longtime Town Board member) David Butler after months of campaigning, legal challenges and political infighting to claim the top office in Otsego County’s fastest-growing town. A third candidate, Hartwick Town Board member Juli Sharratt, tallied 151.

O’Brien’s whole enterprise was a handful of votes away from disaster at every step.

It began over the summer, when O’Brien, the Hartwick hamlet fire chief for the past five years, won the endorsement from the Republican Town Committee over incumbent Butler.

That led to a Republican primary on Sept. 10, where he inched past Butler, 50 votes to 49, too close to call.




HARTWICK – With 233 votes, Democrat Robert O’Brien has won the Town of Hartwick Supervisor race, beating Republican incumbent David Butler, 229 votes and Independent Juli Sharrat, 151.

Hartwick Triplets Only Identicals In Otsego County

Hartwick Triplets Only Identicals In Otsego County

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Hometown Oneonta/The Freeman’s Journal

Edition of Thursday-Friday, Nov. 27-28, 2014

Triplets Hunter, Lucas and Noah O’Brien rest up after their afternoon snack.  The trio, born Sept. 30, are the only set of identical triplets in Otsego County.  (Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA/The Freeman's Journal
Triplets Hunter, Lucas and Noah O’Brien rest up after their afternoon snack. The trio, born Sept. 30, are the only set of identical triplets in Otsego County. (Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA/The Freeman’s Journal

When Beth O’Brien saw one little body on the sonogram, it was a thrill.

When she saw two more, it was a miracle. “I was in shock, but I knew we were so blessed,” she said. “I thought poor Robert was going to pass out!”

The O’Brien family – Beth and Robert, and daughters Hannah, 2 and Abigail, 5 – grew by three on Sept. 30, when Beth gave birth to three healthy baby boys, Hunter, Noah and Lucas. “I grew up an only child, so I always wanted a big family,” said Beth.

The odds of having identical triplets are one in 60,000. And although the Tallman family of Hartwick and the Catan family of Oneonta also have triplets, the O’Briens’ are the only set of the same gender.

After suffering a painful miscarriage, Beth and Robert decided to try one last time for another child. In April, they went to get the first ultrasound at Bassett Hospital. “They showed us one healthy baby and then, suddenly, there were two, and then another! I was thrilled, then excited, then I was terrified!”

“You have so many mixed emotions,” said Beth. “But the girls took the news like champs. Hannah offered up her crib, and Abigail took the ultrasound pictures to show-and-tell.”

“I love them,” said Hannah. “We’re going to play tag!” said Abigail.

The girls help put their brothers into their swings, sing lullabies, help put them down for naps and give them check-ups with their play doctor kits. “When we first got home, Hannah didn’t understand why the boys couldn’t go on the slide,” said Beth.

Bassett doesn’t have a neo-natal intensive care unit, so Beth’s care was transferred to Albany Medical Center. Though the pregnancy was mostly worry-free, at 29 weeks she began having blood flow problems. “They thought they were going to have to deliver them within 24 hours,” she said. “I was terrified.”

The problems ceased, but the doctors decided to induce labor at 33½ weeks. “Each baby had their own team, plus mine,” she said.

The babies were delivered by C-section – Noah, then Hunter and lastly, Lucas – but because of tests doctors had to run, it was an hour before the proud papa could even hold Noah. “I was sent to recovery, and it was 12 hours before I could see them,” Beth said. “I was crying, trying to negotiate with the doctor to let me see them. Finally, I said, ‘You can either take me to see them or I will go myself.’ They got me in a wheelchair and took me to see my children.”

Noah and Hunter weighed just over 4 pounds at birth, while Lucas weighed 3 pounds, 14 ounces, and they had to be incubated for the first few weeks. Noah and Hunter came home after two and a half weeks, with Lucas making his arrival a week and a half after that. “We’re so relieved to have everyone home,” said Beth.

And yes, the parents can tell the little ones apart. “Hunter’s right ear sticks out a little bit, and Noah’s doesn’t,” said Robert. “Lucas’ face is a little smaller than the other boys.”

And the community pitched in when she brought the new babies home, bringing toys, clothes and gifts. “We went to the Fly Creek Cider Mill, and they watched the boys so we could shop,” she said. “At Price Chopper, they offered to shop for me, because the carts only have room for two, and I don’t have a stroller for three yet!” It’s true that finding a stroller for three must be a struggle for Beth. Luckily, sites like offer great reviews on strollers of all shapes and sizes to find an ideal one.

The proud grandparents, on mom Beth’s side, are Patricia Morgan of Cooperstown and Robert Booker; on dad Robert’s side, Richard and step-mom Marcelle O’Brien of Milford. (Robert’s mom was Deborah O’Brien, who passed away in 1989.)

While in the hospital, Beth befriended a woman who had lost her infant son, but who made the triplets pumpkin hats for Halloween. “Hannah and I were pumpkin princesses, and they were the pumpkins!” said Abigail.

Because daddy Robert is a hunter and the fire chief of Hartwick, the boys received plenty of camo and fireman-themed presents, and the Community Bible Church of Toddsville has been bringing meals over weekly. “They have a schedule of who’s bringing us what through December,” said Robert. “The support has just been tremendous.”

And though they’re not quite the size of a full-term baby, the boys are already rolling over, holding their own pacifiers and turning their heads to see the world around them. “Everyone always asks if it’s rough,” said Beth. “But right now, they’re all doing great.”

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