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Local News

December 4, 2010

Reporter's Notebook: Police dog all business in encounter

Business cards are handy and can be informative. The card I have for Matti has a picture and many basic details about him and his job.

Matti is a K-9 with state police, and his business address is in Albany. He is a male German shepherd and was born May 7, 2007. His specialty is explosives detection.

As with other K-9s, Matti is named after a trooper who was killed in the line of duty. He was named in memory of Cpl. Harold C. Mattice of Troop C in Sidney, who was shot during an arrest April 28, 1923. Trooper Jeffrey T. Dovigh is his partner, and they graduated from the State Police Canine Training Facility on Oct. 17, 2008. The team enrolled for more training at the facility in Cooperstown this year and graduated Wednesday.

Matti had been on tracking exercises when I saw him in November.

I didn't really meet Matti. He just barked at me from his patrol car. He announced my arrival at the scene with a deep, sonorous woof that was all business. His eyes glowered. I knew to stay away.

Robert Barnes, Oneonta's retired fire chief, has been hired as coordinator of the Bradford County Emergency Management Agency, The Daily Review of Towanda, Pa., reported Friday.

Barnes started his new job Monday and replaces Jim Vajda Jr., who retired, the report by James Loewenstein said.

Barnes served for 19 years as the fire chief and emergency manager for the city of Oneonta. Before that he was the emergency services coordinator for Otsego County.

As Bradford County emergency management agency coordinator, he will receive a salary of $15.25 per hour, or $29,737.50 per year, Teresa Jones, director of the county's personnel department, said in the news report.

Maggie Barnes, formerly spokeswoman for A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta and a public relations consultant, joined the public relations office of Guthrie Health Care of Sayre, Pa., this autumn.

"She is expanding her career at Guthrie, and I am able to continue the work I've enjoyed for so many years," Barnes said in the report. "It's a great opportunity."

Commanders of two state police troops released results of the recent Buckle Up New York enforcement efforts.

Of 3,830 vehicle and traffic arrests in the Southern Tier, which includes area towns, more than half were for not wearing seat belts, troopers said in a media release.

Maj. Kevin G. Molinari, New York State Police Troop "C" commander, has released the results for the "Buckle Up New York" enforcement efforts for the Southern Tier of New York.

"The Buckle Up New York Campaign has concluded with very positive results for commuters in the Southern Tier," Molinari said in the release. "While we will never be able to put an end to personal injury accidents, the campaign allows us to remind the public of the importance of seat belt safety and how a seat belt will definitely limit if not prevent an injury."

Statistics from the Nov. 15 to 28 campaign reported in the release included:

"¢ Fatal accident investigations: 1

"¢ Personal injury accidents: 47; the number of people injured: 60

"¢ Property damage auto accidents: 230

"¢ Driving while intoxicated arrests: 30

"¢ Speed arrests: 741

"¢ Safety belt arrests: 1,662

"¢ Child restraint arrests: 42

"¢ Total vehicle and traffic Arrests: 3,830

The objective of Buckle Up New York is to increase seat belt use, which in turn saves lives and reduces the severity of injuries, said a media release issued by Maj. William S. Sprague, Troop G Commander.

Troopers in Troop G, which includes a 10-county area in the Capital/Saratoga region, issued 1,418 safety restraint tickets during the recent two-week period, including 39 tickets for violations of the child passenger safety law, the release said. In addition, nine arrests were made for criminal offenses at checkpoints.

Enforcement emphasis was focused on the three counties that have the lowest seat-belt usage, troopers said, and of the 15 checkpoints in Troop G during this period, 11 were conducted in Washington, Rensselaer and Schoharie counties.

The most-recent observational survey of seat belt use in New York state showed that 88 percent of front-seat occupants of passenger vehicles were properly restrained, up from 75 percent in 1998, before the campaign began. In 1998, 1,505 people died on New York's highways compared to 1,148 in 2009.

The designated campaign is over, but enforcement of seat belt laws will continue, troopers said.

Denise Richardson can be reached at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 213, or at drichardson@thedailystar.com.

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