News of Otsego County

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

Free Parking On Fridays OK’d For Doubleday Lot 

Free Parking On Fridays

OK’d For Doubleday Lot 

Merchants Urged: Stay Open Until 8:30

COOPERSTOWN – The Village Board this morning approved free parking in the Doubleday Field lot on Fridays from July 18 to Sept. 5, as part of its “Cooperstown Outdoors” promotion of the downtown.

In collaboration with the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, stores will be encouraged to stay open until 8:30, and “Music on Main” performances will be scheduled on Fridays to help draw people downtown.

The idea came out of a meeting last week between Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk, new Chamber President Jess Lanza and Chamber Executive Tara Burke.

County Got Leg Up On Police Reform

County Got Leg Up

On Police Reform

Due To Sheriff’s Son’s Case,

Psychological Test Upgraded

By JIM KEVLIN •  Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Rebounding from the year-long investigation of Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr.’s son, Otsego County may have gotten a head start in meeting the wide-ranging reforms coming out of Albany, said county board Chairman David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Town of Middlefield.

David Bliss

Last year, the county already upgraded pre-employment testing for correctional offices, deputies, parole officers – “anyone who carries a gun,” said Bliss, when asked about Governor Cuomo’s executive order and new laws the state Legislature enacted last week in the wake of national tumult caused by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis while being taken into custody.

“Yes and no,” Bliss replied when asked of former correctional officer Ros Devlin’s situation – an outburst in the county jail’s break room that eventually led to his resignation – prompted last year’s reforms. “It was probably instigated because of that, but it wasn’t a direct result,” he said.

Interviews this week indicated the three largest local governments – the county itself, the City of Oneonta and Village of Cooperstown – are already considering specific steps to respond to the new directives.

Over the past several days, Governor Cuomo signs several pieces that quickly moved through the state Legislature last week, including banning chokeholds, opening police disciplinary records for public review, and more.

He also issued an executive order requiring police departments to work with their local communities on “a plan that reinvents and modernizes police strategies and programs,” and to submit it to Albany by next April 1 or lose state funding for law enforcement.

Mayor Herzig

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig, a Democrat, said Cuomo’s executive order “works hand in hand with what we’re trying to do, so I think it will be helpful.”

Herzig and OPD Chief Doug Brenner have proposed a Community Advisory Board to review police policies and practices. The mayor plans to discuss the concept with Common Council’s Planning Committee June 29, and bring it before the full council when it next meets on July 7.

In Cooperstown, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, also a Democrat, said “I 100 percent think it’s a good idea.” As for the April 1 deadline, she said, “The village doesn’t receive police department funding from the state, but that doesn’t negate this.”

Mayor Tillapaugh

Tillapaugh said she’s planning “a community group. That’s always the best thing, when you involve the community.” In addition to herself, the group might include the village’s two officers, a mental health expert, someone from Bassett, “a faith leader,” and a selection of village residents. A new police chief, when hired, would also be included.

For his part, Bliss said, “The executive order – it will mean what we are already doing,” said Bliss. “We already have a review in process. We haven’t had any accusation of those types, which I hope means we’re doing this well.”

He said he will ask county Rep. Dan Wilber, R-Burlington, who chairs the county board’s Public Safety & Legal Affairs Committee, to take the lead in meeting the governor’s order and implementing the legislation. Wilber did not return calls.

Sheriff Devlin

Sheriff Devlin said he’s participated in several conference calls set up by the state Sheriff’s Association, and is waiting for guidance from the association on how to move forward.

“We already review policy and procedures, annually or every other year,” he said, “and go by the best practices. A lot of those things (enacted last week) are already occurring.”

The sheriff said no complaints against the department are pending right now. “You get complaints from time to time, he said. “Those are investigated. Knock on wood, fortunately we haven’t had a use of force incident in some time.” They usually occur when a suspect resists being taken into custody, he said.

Village Budget Hearing Monday On YouTube

CLICK FOR TENTATIVE 2020-21 BUDGET

Village Budget Hearing

Monday On YouTube

Written, Emailed Inputs Due By 6 p.m. 4/13

COOPERSTOWN – The Village Board will convene a public hearing on the 2020-21 budget via video-conferencing on Zoom at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 13.

Citizens may view the meeting at the village’s www.YouTube.com channel (Cooperstown Village Hall) or by clicking on the YouTube link for the meeting at www.cooperstownny.org.

The budget may be reviewed by clicking link at top of this article.

Village Offices Remain Closed; DPW Work Force At 50 Percent

Village Offices Remain Closed;

DPW Work Force At 50 Percent

COOPERSTOWN – The Village of Cooperstown will be alternating its Water, Sewer and Streets department staff –  with one half off one week, the second half the next week, through April 15 – due to the Governor Cuomo’s extension of his March 16 emergency order, Village Administrator Teri Barown announced today.

Additionally, the Village Office remains closed to the public, except by appointment 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday.  For an appointment, call 547-2411 during office hours, or email tbarown@cooperstownny.org.

Village Of Cooperstown Hosts Zoning Revision Info Session

Village Of Cooperstown Hosts

Zoning Revision Info Session

COOPERSTOWN – An informational session on possible revisions in the zoning code to create more housing is planned at 6 p.m. this evening in the fire hall, 22 Chestnut St., Deputy Mayor Cindy Falk announced.

An official public hearing will be held later, but this will give residents a chance to be briefed and ask questions.

Potential changes are designed to meet a call for more housing contained in the village’s updated 2016 Comprehensive Plan and to bring the code up to date with current terminology and legal requirements.

Plant 30 Trees A Year in Cooperstown, Survey Recommends
DECEMBER MEETING • COOPERSTOWN TRUSTEES

Plant 30 Trees A Year In

Village, Survey Suggests

By PATRICK WAGER • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Cindy Falk

COOPERSTOWN – As many as 30 new trees a year could be planted in Cooperstown starting in 2020, according to Village Trustee Cindy Falk.

“Right now we’re planting about a half a dozen trees a year,” she said.

The Davey Resource Group of Kent, Ohio, just released a survey of the village’s 1,897 trees, with a proposed maintenance schedule of removals and plantings. Planting trees is quickly becoming the norm for some businesses around the world, as they are trying their best to contribute to making a difference when it comes to the climate. Companies similar to Loveplugs are trying their best to do their part for the environment. It seems to be no different for the Coopertown’s village trust.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW DAVEY PLAN

 

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Takes Office In Ceremony

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh

Takes Office In Ceremony

Outgoing Trustee Second Woman In Top Job

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch poses with her two predecessors – Carol B. Waller and Jeff Katz – after she was sworn in a noon today in ceremonies at Village Hall, 22 Main St. Lower left, Trustee Cindy Falk signs the register after her swearing-in for another three-year term; husband Glenn held the Bible. Lower right, Trustee Jim Dean is also sworn in for another term by Village Administrator Teri Barown; his wife Eileen holds the Bible. The Village Board’s reorganizational meeting is at 6:30 this evening. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
A Better Normality Returns To Pioneer

FLAGPOLE FOLLOWS SOON

A Better Normality

Returns To Pioneer

After $1.2 million worth of digging, water- and sewer-line replacement and roadway reconstruction, the final bucket-load of asphalt was put in place shortly after 2 p.m. today by a crew from G. DiVincentis & Son, the Binghamton contractor that has been rebuilding Cooperstown’s Pioneer Street since the day after Labor Day Weekend. From left are Ed Fox, South Otselic, Lenus Beaulieu, Harpursville, Joe LaClair, Port Crane,  and Dave Kotarski, Binghamton. In rear, Carmen DiLoreto, Binghamton, directs traffic. Dennis Bozzi, Binghamton, was driving the backhoe and Mike Manderville, Harpursville, was supervising. A new flagpole will be erected later this week at Pioneer and Main to replace the one taken down during the reconstruction.  The crew will be back in the spring for final paving of the street and  to install new sidewalks.   (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103