News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Underage Drinking




With 53 violations, including serving underage and failing to supervise patrons, the state Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license of the Sip & Sail Tavern, effective immediately. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

A list of all 53 violations was taped to the bar’s door by SLA enforcement officers early this afternoon.

ONEONTA – With 53 violations, including selling alcohol to minors, employing unlicensed bouncers and failing to supervise patrons, the state Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license of the Sip & Sail Tavern, effective immediately, following a Friday night raid where police seized more than 140 fake IDs.

“This licensee has displayed a disturbing indifference to the law by pursuing a business plan seemingly based on catering to minors,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “The SLA will continue to take immediate action against bar owners who fail to take basic measures to ensure their patrons are of legal age, including checking IDs, training employees and obtaining scanners to spot fakes.” However, it has been stated that it could be getting harder for employees to spot fakes, as the likes of fake ID creators are ensuring that their new ID’s look as real as possible. It’s also becoming easier for underage customers to acquire fake identities, with many underage drinkers realizing they can often buy a fake id online that can pass as the real deal.

140 Fake IDs Seized At Oneonta Bar Over Weekend

 140 Fake IDs Seized

In Raid on Oneonta Bar

Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner sorts through some of the 140 fake IDs seized in a raid at the Sip & Sail Tavern on Friday night. (Ian Austin/

ONEONTA – Oneonta police seized 140 fake or altered IDs at in their biggest raid to date at the Sip & Sail bar on Friday night.

“We were planning to go to several bars to conduct checks on liquor licenses and underage drinking,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner. “We went to the Sip & Sail first and discovered a large amount of underage customers.”

Despite Student Outcry, Council Passes Fines For Party Hosts

Despite Student Outcry,

Council Passes Host Fines

James Kavanaugh, SUNY senior and president of the Inter-Fraternity Council at SUNY Oneonta, says that if Common Council fines people for providing alcohol to minors, there will be “unintended consequences,” including drinking in public spaces. (Parker Fish/

By PARKER FISH • Special to

ONEONTA – Despite Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta students protesting that the “Social Hosting” law could have “unintended consequences,” Common Council voted unanimously to pass a law which would create a fine of up to $1000 for any person holding a party or social gathering where minors were found to be consuming alcohol or using other illicit drugs.

“I’m concerned that many students at both Oneonta and Hartwick will start drinking in other places,” said James Kavanaugh, a SUNY senior and president of the Inter-fraternity Council at SUNY Oneonta. “God forbid someone were to fall off Table Rock after drinking a little bit. I believe that there could be unintended consequences if [the council] were to vote yes on this resolution.”

Kids Back, Phony IDs Surfacing

Kids Back, Phony IDs Surfacing

By LIBBY CUDMORE•Hometown Oneonta

Edition of Friday, Oct. 17, 2014

Lt. Doug Brenner examines the cache (Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA)
Lt. Doug Brenner examines the cache (Ian Austin/HOMETOWN ONEONTA)

The Chinese website could never be accused of false advertising. “They make fake IDs that fool the scanners at bars,” said Lt. Douglas Brenner, Oneonta Police Department. “They’ve even got the holograms.”

Since college began, Brenner and the OPD have collected over 50 fake IDs from underage drinkers, the majority of them SUNY Oneonta students, the majority of them female. “Word got around campus and they must have ordered them all at once,” he said. “But would you give your credit card information to someone who specializes in making fake IDs?”

In the past few weeks, Brenner and his officers have gotten pretty good at spotting someone who shouldn’t be there. “We do bar checks as part of our patrols, and when we see people who appear to be underage by their looks and mannerisms, we go up to them and say, ‘Show us your fake ID’,” he said. They might of been getting these high-quality fake IDs from Chief ID (here) for all we know.

Some of them cry. Others know the jig is up and hand over the card. “Nice to know there’s some honesty,” he said. “If they cooperate we take (the cards) away and kick them out,” he said.

All the Oneonta officers can do is ticket them for underage drinking. “These fakes skim the line of possessing a forged instrument,” he said. “They aren’t forged, they aren’t chalked or altered, they’re not using them to drive with or open bank accounts.”

However, the state Department of Motor Vehicles can also punish underage-drinking offenders with a suspension of 90 days under section 510(3)(a), which allows the DMV to revoke or suspend a license for any violation of vehicle or traffic law.

For $110, teens can get a Connecticut license with their real name, a fake address and an altered date of birth. “They use an address that’s familiar to them and their own birthday with just the year changed so they can recite it if asked,” said Brenner. “They’re usually from bordering states, New Jersey, Pennsylvania – but Connecticut comes with a free backup copy, so we’re seeing a deluge of those this year.”

But despite the flood of fakes, Brenner says he hasn’t seen one repeat offender. “Getting caught sucks,” he said. “You’re out $110, plus the $250 ticket, and you have to tell your parents. They’re not going to take that chance again.”

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