Ukraine live briefing: Austin says war is a warning for Asia; Kyiv promises to keep shelters open     Witnesses recall horrific details as India train crash toll passes 260     Religious leaders, once mostly spared Haiti’s violence, are now targets     A night in Ukraine’s sleepless capital, taking cover from Russian bombs     Use of NATO arms for attack in Russia raises doubts about Kyiv’s controls     More than 200 dead and 900 injured in India train crash     In photos: The scene following the deadly India train crash     Jordan’s royal wedding: A glamorous diversion from the kingdom’s woes     Ukraine live briefing: Blinken says U.S. ‘won’t let’ Putin impose will on others; Kyiv shoots down drones     Ukraine live briefing: Austin says war is a warning for Asia; Kyiv promises to keep shelters open     Witnesses recall horrific details as India train crash toll passes 260     Religious leaders, once mostly spared Haiti’s violence, are now targets     A night in Ukraine’s sleepless capital, taking cover from Russian bombs     Use of NATO arms for attack in Russia raises doubts about Kyiv’s controls     More than 200 dead and 900 injured in India train crash     In photos: The scene following the deadly India train crash     Jordan’s royal wedding: A glamorous diversion from the kingdom’s woes     Ukraine live briefing: Blinken says U.S. ‘won’t let’ Putin impose will on others; Kyiv shoots down drones     

News of Otsego County

state Sen. Jim Seward

Seward Lauded, Given Key To City At Common Council Meeting

Jim Seward Lauded,

Given Key To Oneonta

Mayor Gary Herzig,  lower left, presents retiring state Senator Jim Seward, R-Milford, with a Key to the City for his support of Oneonta over his 30 years as senator.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – Comparing retiring state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford to “Ghostbusters,” Mayor Gary Herzig lauded the Senator and presented him with a key to the city for his “timeless support” to the City of Oneonta.

“It was never quite ‘Who you gonna call,’ because usually, he called me first,” Herzig said. “And he always asked, ‘What do you need me to do?'”

Via Zoom, Chamber Hails Entrepreneurs


Via Zoom, Chamber

Hails Entrepreneurs

In a sign of the times, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, holds up the Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen Award to the 10 people who, by state regulation, were all who could gather at this evening’s Otsego County Chamber  “Tribute to the Entrepreneurial Spirit”; normally, more than 200 attend The Otesaga gala.  In time of COVID-19, the ceremony was broadcast via Zoom .  Applauding the senator are, clockwise from lower left, Custom Electronics President/CEO Michael Pentaris, Key Bank Vice President Rachel Galusha, chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan, and NBT Bank Regional Executive Jamie Reynolds.  At the podium is Al Rubin, chamber board chairman.  Inset, front row, are this evening’s honorees who were on hand, from right, Pentaris, whose Custom Electronics received NBT Bank Distinguished Business award, and Theresa Cyzeski and Kathy Verrelli, representing , Theresa’s Emporium, the Key Bank Small Business of Year winner. Standing, from right, are Reynolds, Heegan, Rubin, Galusha and Pastor Sylvia Kevlin, Milford Methodist Church, who gave the invocation.  Via Zoom, Pathfinder Produce & Mobile Market was named the Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield Breakthrough Business. Rubin’s A&D Transport sponsored the Bettiol Award this year. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.c0m)

Retiring Senator Receives Bettiol Award

Retiring Senator

Receives Bettiol Award

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

A safe social distance from the camera, Sen. Jim and Cindy Seward pose on their back porch. (Jim Kevlin/

MILFORD – A few weeks ago, the young mother of a newborn died – suddenly, before she and the baby’s dad could follow through on their intent to wed.

Already stricken, the young father discovered he had no legal claim on the little boy.

This is the kind of story state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, will tell you when asked about the most satisfying part of his 34 years in office: constituent service, helping the people of his 51st District.

Alerted to the dilemma, the senator’s staff sprang into action.

Saturday, Nov. 7, his daughter Lauren had just relayed a message: “Thank your father. I have my son in my arms.”

Seward was being interviewed – in the open air on his back porch in Milford, appropriately masked and socially distanced – on learning he’s receiving this year’s Eugene A. Bettiol Jr. Distinguished Citizen Award.

The award, from the Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, was due to be presented, via Zoom, at
4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, from the back lawn of The Otesaga.

He remembers the younger Bettiol’s effectiveness in promoting the former National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, and Foothills Performing Arts Center. “He loved Oneonta and our area,” Seward said.
And he remembers Bettiol’s father, Gene Bettiol Sr., the developer of Southside Oneonta, as “a father figure. That makes it extra special.”

Retiring at year’s end, the Bettiol Award – plus the Community Leadership Award, due Friday, Dec. 4, from the Boys Scout’s Leatherstocking Council, and no doubt more honors to come – has the senator, 69, who successfully fought both cancer and COVID-19 in the past year, thinking about the past – and the future.

Raised in the Cliff section of Goodyear Lake with a brother and two sisters, both their parents, Wes and Vivian, were involved in community life – he as a town assessor, she as tax collector.

Attending Valley View Elementary on Oneonta, “I was interested in what was going on in the world,” an interest encouraged by teachers John Clapp in fifth grade and Alice Edwards in sixth. And, at OHS, by future principal Bud Pirone.

As a teenager, the young Jim Seward began identifying role models: Clifford Seward (no relation), who as Milford town supervisor also served on the county board; and with Milford then-mayor June Hotaling.

He entered Hartwick College in 1969. With unrest about the Vietnam War all around him, “I gravitated toward the idea: You ought to have a seat at the table to get things done.”

The opportunity soon arose: In 1970, the Otsego County Republican Committee backed him for state Assembly against a sitting Republican, Harold Luther of Dolgeville. In the GOP primary, Seward lost, 45-55 percent.

Many successful political careers begin with a loss. “I got that out of the way,” he said. But he learned public-contact skills, and the importance of knowing people, of building a network of supporters.

He graduated in 1973 and married Cindy Milavec – the two had met as teenagers, while Jim, organizing Methodist youth groups, set up one in Schenevus – and two children, Ryan and Lauren, would follow.
Soon, he was working for Assemblyman Peter Dokuchitz of Oneonta, then state Sen. Charles Cook of Delhi and, by his mid-30s, for Senator Steve Riford of Auburn.

These were exciting years for the young couple. In 1976, Seward was a convention delegate for President Gerald Ford, and the Sewards found themselves at a reception in the East Wing of the White House, sipping champagne. (Ask Cindy Seward about the phone call in Milford from a mellifluous-voiced man who turned out to be candidate Ronald Reagan.)

As a legislative aide, the future senator also learned the lesson of constituent service. People don’t call up their senator or assemblyman lightly, he said, “people call legislative offices as a last resort.”

Then, unexpectedly in 1986, Riford announced his retirement. “You don’t plot or plan too much in the business,” Seward said. “You never know when opportunity will arise.”

After a hard-fought three-way primary, Seward dispatched the Democrat that November, entering the ornate state Capitol in Albany 34 years ago, as of this coming Jan. 1, 2021.

Senate Majority Leader Warren Anderson, the Binghamton Republican, tested the newcomer, soon naming him chairman of the Energy & Telecommunications Committee.

“It’s something you can sink your teeth into,” said the leader.

“I could get my teeth knocked out as well,” the young legislator said to himself.

In thanks, Seward also came up with the idea of calling I-88 the “Sen. Warren M. Anderson Expressway.” The leader had championed the Binghamton-to-Albany four-lane, which wags nicknamed “Anderson’s Driveway,” (even though, Seward said, Anderson usually flew back and forth to the state capital.)

A subsequent majority leader, Joe Bruno, picked Seward to join then-Assemblyman (now Congressman) Paul Tonko in co-chairing the first-ever conference committee on a stymied Power for Jobs bill.

The bill passed, making low-cost energy available for Upstate job growth.

In the early years, most of the complaints Seward received came from senior citizens struggling to pay skyrocketing school taxes.

In response, he crafted STAR – the school tax relief program – giving the elderly a break on school taxes.

“I remember getting a letter from a senior citizen,” he said, “saying, ‘The only reason I can afford to stay in my home is the STAR program’.”

Now, complainants are mostly asking for broadband.

In the last decade, Seward’s been particularly focused on bringing state funds here for economic development. When he convened his first “Seward Summit” on March 11, 2011, the county had received just $140,000 in such funding that year. Since, “we’ve been bringing in millions.”

While he’s pleased with the county’s economic diversity – the colleges, the hospitals, tourism – he’s worried about the million New Yorkers who have out-migrated from the Empire State in the past decade. “We need to come to terms with that,” he said.

Looking back, the senator finds some satisfaction in having been able to serve the county where he was born, raised, was educated and launched his career, assembling a lifetime worth of friends along the way.

“There are multiple counties in my district,” he said of the 51st. “But there’s something special about my home county.”

Retiring, he plans to complete his recuperation. But, he said, “there’s a role for me in moving our county and our region forward,” and he’s already looking at options.

Stay tuned.

Route 205 Dedicated To Fallen Marine

Route 205 Dedicated

To Fallen Hartwick Marine

Unveiling the sign on Route 205 honoring a fallen Hartwick Marine are, from left, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, Christine and Michael Winslow, his brother and sister-in-law; sister Maria
Winslow Folts and her husband Donald. (Jim Kevlin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

John Reynolds memorialized Sgt. John Winslow, known locally as “Johnny”

HARTWICK – The last weekend Michael Winslow spent with his brother, Marine Sgt. John Kempe Winslow, the two went hunting up on a hill overlooking their hometown of Hartwick.
“We successfully hunted two bucks,” he said, pointing over his shoulder at the hill behind him. “We always enjoyed hunting, fishing and trapping.”

Now, in the valley below that hill, a sign dedicated to Winslow, who was killed by a “friendly fire” airstrike during his second tour of Vietnam on July 30, 1969, marks the portion of Route 205 that cuts through Hartwick hamlet, his hometown.

“My hope is that every time motorists go by, they’re reminded of his service and sacrifice,” said state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford. “This is a fitting way to honor him, and after 51 years, it’s long overdue.”

In 2018, Seward was approached by Hartwick and Cooperstown veterans’ clubs, asking him to put through legislation to dedicate the route in Winslow’s honor.

Seward won approval for the bill in the Senate, and Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, in the lower house, and it was signed by Governor Cuomo, the sign’s unveiling was delayed from spring until Monday, Oct. 5, by the coronavirus threat.

“This proves that Hartwick is a special place where American ideals, like John embodied, are still present,” said Seward.

John’s friend Wayne Bunn recalled their idyllic boyhood days in the hamlet. “In the summer, I spent most of my days with Johnny,” he said. “We’d hitch a ride on Ken Foster’s milk truck, then we’d sit on top of the milk cans as they rolled down the conveyor belt at the Hartwick milk plant.”

A talented wrestler and golfer, he was also well-liked by his Cooperstown classmates. “I don’t recall ever meeting someone who didn’t like Johnny,” Bunn said.

Graduating from Cooperstown Central School in 1964, Winslow enlisted in the Marines. His father, Chester J. Winslow Jr. had served in the Army World War II and his brother, Chester J. Winslow III, had also served in the Army, stationed in Okinawa, Japan, where he trained German shepherds.

Winslow was injured in the leg and sent to Long Island to recuperate in a hospital there, where he received the Purple Heart. “It wasn’t just a band-aid,” said Michael. “I remember him pulling shrapnel from his leg weeks after coming home.”

But when he recovered, and was assigned to Camp Pendleton, where he volunteered for a second tour. “I remember my parents going out there to try and discourage him from going,” said Michael. “But he said the Marines needed experienced men to help train the new recruits. He told me if Dad could survive Patton’s army in World War II, he would be just fine.”

“He never told me why he wanted to return,” recalled Bunn. “But I never saw him after that day.”

He was killed in July; his return date was scheduled for August. “I still miss Johnny,” he said.

Classmate John Reynolds read an email from Randall Brown sent when the sign was announced, reporting meeting a vet named Van Crowder in Florida who remembered his comrade.

“He got out a few weeks before John’s scheduled release date,” Brown wrote. “Soon after John’s release date came, Van drove from Ithaca, where he was from, to Cooperstown to locate John and welcome him back to New York.”

Crowder arrived in Cooperstown late and slept in his car, only to be awoken by a policeman the next day.

“He told the officer why he was there,” Reynolds read. “The cop said he was sorry to have to tell him, but they’d buried John just the week before. Van loved John Winslow, and he named his son Nathan Winslow Crowder.”

SEWARD: Trouble At Nursing Homes


Trouble At

Nursing Homes

By State Sen. JIM SEWARD • Special to

Nursing home policies in New York State have been under the microscope throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and a number of significant concerns remain.

James L. Seward, who has represented Otsego County in the state Senate for 35 years, resides in Milford.

Back in July, after months of silence and inaction, Democrats finally heeded the call to hold legislative hearings.

Unfortunately, the Senate Investigations Committee refused to issue even a single subpoena to compel documents and testimony from the Cuomo Administration or state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.

While Commissioner Zucker took part in one hearing, he failed to answer a number of questions and did not provide accurate facts and figures regarding the number of nursing home residents who passed away during the pandemic. The commissioner avoided a second hearing entirely.

The lack of transparency is appalling and, certainly, not what grieving families deserve.
One major concern the commissioner was questioned on during the hearing centered on nursing-home visitation policies. Loved ones and facility staff who testified at the hearings discussed the negative and severe physical and mental health impacts the lack of visitation was having on residents. The testimony was heartbreaking in many instances.

For months, all visits to nursing homes were prohibited. Then in July, limited visitations were finally allowed as long as a number of conditions were met.

Unfortunately, the extremely stringent guidelines still made it nearly impossible for family members to visit their loved ones, continuing the isolation for many.

Finally, after repeated pleas, the guidelines were updated on Sept. 15. However, there are still major roadblocks in place.

Under the altered guidelines from the Department of Health, nursing homes are allowing limited visitation to resume for facilities that have been without COVID-19 for at last 14 days. That is down from the previous rule of 28 days, a benchmark that most facilities in the state were unable to reach.

The Department of Health boasted that the new rule would open limited visitation to about 500 of the state’s over 600 facilities.

However, here’s the rub, the new guidelines include a major hurdle – in implement-
ing the new guidance, the state also added a new layer of rules, prohibiting those under 18 from visiting and requiring visitors to have a negative COVID-19 test result within seven days of their visit even if the visit is to be safely distanced outdoors.

The testing requirement is particularly onerous for loved ones; as a result, times across the state vary significantly, with many New Yorkers currently waiting 10 days or more to receive their test results.

Immediately upon the release of the new guidelines, family members began contacting my office, pointing out the problematic fine print. Tests can be difficult to come by, there are many individuals who cannot afford them, and results take time to receive.

Many family members, who previously met with nursing home residents outdoors, were forced to cancel upcoming visits due to the new guidelines.

The health and well-being of nursing home residents must be a top priority. However, we need to formulate a procedure that will allow safe visitations to occur. We also know that a negative test from a week ago, or even a day ago, does not ensure protection for the residents or staff of a facility.

There is a rapid test available that can instantly alert a visitor and nursing home staff to a COVID-positive result in a matter of minutes. Access to this test for nursing home visitors would be a game changer. By utilizing the 15-minute test currently approved by the FDA, a visitor could be checked upon arrival to a nursing home and know almost immediately
if it is safe to enter.

One person who wrote me put it this way: “Nursing home visits are essential for the elderly. They are at the end of their lives.”

The Department of Health needs to step up and provide nursing homes with the rapid tests so that visitors can safely visit their loved ones while adhering to the new mandates.

SEWARD: Don’t Forget Lyme Disease

The View From Albany

Don’t Forget

Lyme Disease

State Sen. Jim Seward

The Coronavirus threat continues to dominate our lives in so many ways. As the weather starts to improve and people spend more time outdoors, while practicing social distancing and following other safety guidelines, there is another issue to keep in mind – Lyme disease.

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and with the number of reported cases in New York rising each year, it is important to arm yourself and your family with the tools to avoid the disease when possible, and detect and treat when necessary.

Lyme disease is an infection, caused by bacteria, that is spread by the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. Lyme disease can affect the skin, joints, nervous system and/or heart.

When detected early, it usually can be treated with oral antibiotics. If left untreated, it often causes serious health problems.

According to reports by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), New York State has the third highest number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease in the country, trailing only our neighbors, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

While this problem has historically been concentrated on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley, the state Department of Health reports that it is quickly migrating to other counties across New York.
Not all ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease; they become infected after feeding on infected animals such as mice or other small mammals.

Transmission times for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases vary, and the sooner a tick is removed, the lower the risk of infection. Always check for ticks after spending time outdoors. You cannot get Lyme disease from another person or an infected animal.

Ticks can be active all months of the year when temperatures are above freezing. However, most tick encounters occur from April through November. Their preferred habitats are wooded areas and adjacent grasslands. Lawns and gardens at the edges of woods may also be home to blacklegged ticks.

Ticks may feed on wild animals such as mice, deer, birds and raccoons, but domestic animals such as cats, dogs and horses can also carry the ticks closer to home.

I have worked to enact several new laws in New York State to improve our response to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. We have also taken steps to upgrade education efforts and enhance efficiency when it comes to treatment and reporting measures. However, more work remains.

One bill that I have co-sponsored would serve as a major step forward for treatment of Lyme. The legislation would create specific protocol to notify individuals of their diagnoses related to Lyme and other TBDs.

The bill would require the commissioner of health to work with health care providers to develop a standard protocol and patient notification for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme and TBDs.

In discussing this issue with individuals who have contracted Lyme and doctors alike, it is clear that diagnosis and treatment plans vary greatly. We need to develop a uniform health care strategy that will increase positive outcomes so people aren’t left guessing if they are infected or if they will be left to struggle with a debilitating disease for the rest of their lives.

Additional information regarding Lyme disease prevention, how to remove a tick, and symptoms is available through the New York State Department of Health website at By knowing the facts and taking precautions, you can enjoy the outdoors and avoid Lyme disease.

Turing our attention back to the Coronavirus pandemic, please keep in mind the health and safety guidelines along with ever changing state policies. Complete information is available at

It is terrific to see improvements regarding health statistics. Moving forward, I will continue to advocate for a commonsense regional approach to re-open our economy. Again, let me stress, public health needs to be the top priority as New York makes informed decisions during this crucial transition period.

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, has represented Otsego County in Albany for 35 years.

THUMBS UP! Enthusiastic Senator Seward Greets Celebratory Parade On His Rebound


Enthusiastic Senator Seward Greets

Cavalcade Celebrating His Rebound

In front of his North Main Street home, State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, gives a thumbs up at 2 p.m. today to a parade organized by fellow members of the Milford Methodist Church to celebrate his return from Albany Medical Center and his continuing recuperation at home.  Wife Cindy, inset, joined him in waving to their friends and supporters.  Suffering from coronavirus, the senator rebounded from an induced coma and being on a ventilator to return home last Monday.  Lola Rathbone, who organized the parade, said she decided on an auto cavalcade because it would ensure social distancing was maintain. Milford Mayor Brian Pokorny was organizing a walk-by parade on Sunday, but delayed it to a later date due to the same concern.  (Jim Kevlin/

SEWARD: Repeal Flawed ‘Green Light’ Law

The View From Albany

Repeal Flawed ‘Green Light’ Law

Senator Seward

One of the more controversial pieces of legislation signed into law last year was the “Green Light” Law, allowing illegal immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses.

Presented by its supporters as the “same law” adopted in other states, New York’s version contained a provision that prevents the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other border-protection agencies from accessing records contained in the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) – something no other state does.

I voted against the “Green Light” Law because the thought of giving a driver’s license, a secure identification document, to someone who is intentionally breaking the law was inconceivable.

Now we are seeing additional consequences of this bad public policy – putting law enforcement agents
and the public at risk while shielding criminals from detection.

Recently, I joined with members of the state Senate and Assembly for a special DHS briefing detailing how New York’s law is blocking law enforcement agencies from receiving critical information.
According to a fact sheet provided by DHS:

• New York State’s “Green Light” Law prevents U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) from accessing all New York DMV information. This includes driver’s license information essential to our law enforcement and national security missions.

• By restricting access to all DMV information, the “Green Light” Law stands as a dangerous and unnecessary roadblock to ongoing federal investigations into a broad range of criminal activity, and severe impediment to our officers and agents in the field.

• ICE is not asking the State of New York to provide a list of illegal aliens, or to identify which individuals in its database are here illegally. ICE needs access to the information – just like all other law-enforcement agencies that work in the state – whether the subject of our inquiry is a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or illegal alien.

• Seventy percent of joint terrorism task force disruptions stem from arrests for immigration violations, yet the agency responsible for those arrests is now frozen out of New York DMV databases. This is a pre-9/11 mentality in a post-9/11 world.

•ICE’s need to access DMV records is essential to supporting criminal investigative efforts not only in New York, but also across the country and around the world. Our ability to identify and dismantle transnational criminal organizations – whether they’re flooding our communities with killer drugs like fentanyl and meth, trafficking weapons, peddling sensitive military technology, or selling women and children into miserable lives of sexual servitude – depends on getting the right piece of information into the right hands at the right time. And often, that piece of information is as simple as a license plate, and address, or a photograph.

The statistics back up the importance of the long-standing, cooperative relationship between ICE and state DMV. On a daily basis, ICE uses DMV data to fight a substantial number of crimes including drug smuggling, human trafficking and violent gang activity. In 2019, ICE arrested 149 child predators, seized 6,487 pounds of illegal narcotics, identified or rescued 105 victims of human trafficking/exploitation, and arrested 230 gang members – in New York alone.

The new law has also handcuffed local law enforcement. The state Sheriffs’ Association recently issued a letter to the governor and legislative majorities pointing out that for the sheriffs to keep their own officers safe by allowing access to DMV data, they had to sign non-disclosure agreements that jeopardize their federal partners.

Sharing of information is a critical component of law enforcement. New York State has taken an irresponsible action by enacting a law that blocks information from those who need it most. The “Green Light” Law has a number of flaws and must be repealed immediately.

Senator Seward, R-Milford,

has represented Otsego County

In Albany since 1984.

Reform Bail Reform – And Here’s How


Reform Bail Reform

– And Here’s How

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford and Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, confer before a “Repeal Bail Reform” rally Thursday, Feb. 6, in the lobby of the Otsego County Jail. Seward keynoted, Salka emceed, and Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. hosted the event. (Jim Kevlin/


Another week in Albany but still no legislative action has been taken to fix the disastrous bail/discovery laws that are continuing to wreak havoc across our state.

Protecting the public is one of the most important responsibilities of government, and when a crime has been committed, the victim, not the criminal, should be our first concern.  Unfortunately, the disastrous new bail laws have completely reversed those priorities, endangering communities and empowering repeat offenders – while also forcing new costs on taxpayers.

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, has represented Otsego County in the state Senate for 34 years.

This week I joined with other area lawmakers who represent our part of the state to speak out against the bail/discovery laws.  Several county sheriffs and district attorneys, who are on the frontlines enforcing our laws and dealing with the negative fallout from the ill-advised reforms, also called for change.

I believe full repeal of the law is needed so we can start from scratch and enact a workable bail system.  Someone arrested for a non-violent offense should not be languishing in a local jail simply because he or she does not have the economic means to make bail.  However, the changes to the system have gone much too far, turning our court system into a revolving door and taking away any judicial discretion.

Commonsense legislation has been introduced in response to the concerns.  I co-sponsor all of these bills, which range from full repeal to meaningful amendments, including:

  • S.6839 – giving judges discretion to set bail in domestic violence cases;
  • S.6840 – allowing judges to consider whether a defendant poses a danger to the community when determining bail;
  • S.6849 – repealing criminal-justice reforms enacted in the 2019-20 state budget, including bail and discovery changes;
  • S.6853 – placing a one-year moratorium on criminal justice reforms to hold statewide hearings on the measures;
  • S.7133 – to allow the witness to a crime to decide whether their personal information may be shared with defense counsel or the individual accused of a crime;
  • S.7280 – ensure privacy protections for all emergency personnel present at a crime scene as it relates to the discovery process.

The last two bills are extremely important when it comes to protecting the identity of witnesses of a crime and emergency personnel who are called to a crime scene.  One of the more disconcerting policies enacted, as part of these sweeping changes, is the disclosure of personal information related to a witness to a crime to the defense and the accused.

Such a policy has the potential to lead to witness intimidation via the accused or their associates. This could have a crippling effect on cases presented by district attorneys, as well as a chilling effect on the willingness of witnesses to come forward to identify themselves to law enforcement and prosecutors.

It is important that the state provide a witness to a crime the ability to prevent personally identifiable information from being shared with the defense or the accused, if they feel that their safety or the safety of their loved ones is jeopardized through the reporting of such information.  I would also note that a justification must be provided to law enforcement and is subject to review by a judge.

Along with introducing legislation and keeping the public informed on problems surrounding the bail/discovery law changes, the Senate Republican Conference has also commenced a statewide Repeal Bail Reform Task Force.

The task force, which just held its first meeting, will be collecting testimony from law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victims, local leaders, and the public who were shut out from publicly commenting last year before the sweeping changes to the state’s criminal justice laws were enacted.

There have been countless stories, highlighting the problems with these so-called reforms since they took effect on January 1.  An individual is arrested, immediately released, commits another crime, and is back in custody again – sometimes within hours.  Action is needed to tilt the scales of justice away from criminals and back toward the law-abiding.

Cancer Back, Seward Reports

Cancer Returns,

Seward Reports

Senator’s Offices Will Remain

Open While He Gets Treatment

Senator Seward

ONEONTA – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, announced that the cancer he underwent treatment for in 2016 has returned.

“My physicians have recommended a series of treatments over the next several weeks that will limit my availability and curtail my normal, active district schedule,” he said in a statement. “While I will be taking some time to concentrate on getting better, my offices will remain open and my capable staff will continue to assist constituents with their state-related needs.”

At Rally, Victim’s Sister Warns: ‘David Dart Will Kill Again’

At Rally, Victim’s Sister Warns:

‘Dart Will Kill Again’

His Juvenile Conviction Sealed,

His First Victim Tells Her Story

Jennifer Kirkpatrick, sister of Gillian Gibbons, asked  50 supporters gathered at the “Justice For Gillian” rally in Muller Plaza this afternoon to send letters asking the state Parole Board to deny convicted murderer David Dart parole in the stabbing death of Gibbons, 18, in Oneonta’s Municipal Parking Garage 30 years ago. “If he gets out, he will rape, he will kill again,” Kirkpatrick warned. With her is state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who helped put the rally together and has sponsored a bill to increase the time between parole hearings from two to five years for violent offenders like Dart. At right, Jennifer Miller Dutcher tells her story – that when they were teens, Dart, who lived with his grandparents across the street from her in Portlandville, held her at knifepoint and assaulted her. “We were able to get him sent away for a little while. But when Gillian’s life was taken, I was devastated. I didn’t think I did enough,” she said.  Then shifting to address Bart, she said: “I am a victim who has a voice, and I am using that voice to ask you to keep him behind bars.” (Ian Austin/

Democrats Bottle Up Bill To Discourage Attacks On Officers



Democrats Bottle Up

Bill To Discourage

Attacks On Officers

By State Sen. JIM SEWARD • Special to

Police, firefighters, and emergency first responders are vital to public safety.  The brave men and women who work in these fields put the lives of others first and often risk their own well-being.  I am appalled by recent incidents in New York City of individuals hurling buckets of water at on-duty police officers.  Video of these abuses has spread on the Internet, certain to trigger copy-cat offenses.

This type of disrespect toward our uniformed police officers cannot be permitted to escalate further.  To help thwart this behavior, I have joined with my Senate Republican colleagues in co-sponsoring legislation that would make this type of harassment a class E felony.

The new legislation (S.6641) reads in part:

“The men and women who serve and protect our communities as police officers risk their lives every day. Therefore, it is extremely disheartening that there are members of communities harassing these officers with water and at times even assaulting them. Law enforcement in our state deserves better. 

Seward Legislation Seeks To Name Route 205 In Honor Of Fallen Marine

Seward Legislation Seeks

To Name Route 205

In Honor Of Fallen Marine

Sergeant Winslow

Today the state Senate passed legislation, proposed by State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, to rename the Hamlet of Hartwick portion of Route 205 in honor of United States Marine Corps Sergeant John Kempe Winslow.

Every man and woman who dons a United States military uniform sacrifices for our nation and our way of life,” said Seward.  “Sergeant Winslow made the ultimate sacrifice and we owe it to him and his family to keep his memory alive.”

Sergeant John Kempe Winslow was a life-long resident of Hartwick and a decorated Marine who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, earning a Purple Heart during his first tour.  Tragically, Sergeant Winslow was killed in action on July 30, 1969.

At Milford, Seward Declares March As ‘Youth Art’ Month

At Milford, Seward Declares

March As ‘Youth Art’ Month

Earlier this morning, State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, presented Jill Accordino, the art teacher at Milford Central School, with a resolution asking Governor Mario Cuomo to officially proclaim March as Youth Art Month. “This is a national designation.” said Seward, “We want to show how important art is. Art and education go hand-in-hand.” The presentation took place in Accordino’s classroom where her 6th graders were making Greek columns to coincide with their unit on Greece in history. (Ian Austin/
189 Applaud Award Winners At Small Business Banquet

189 Applaud Award Winners

At Small Business Banquet

Almost 200 well-wishers turned out this evening to applaud honorees at the Otsego County Chamber’s 19th annual Banquet & Celebration of Small Business at The Otesaga. From left are Chamber board chair Nick Savin; Arc Otsego’s Pat Knuth and ReUse Center Manager Bill Hardy, who won the Breakthrough Award; Charlotte and Chris Chase of Directive, a 25-year-old computer services business, which won the Small Business Award; Hartwick College’s Kelsey Prest and SUNY Oneonta’s Emily Ahlqvist, Interns of the Year, and Chamber President Barbara Ann Heegan and state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford. (Jim Kevlin/
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