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Reporter's Notebook

February 8, 2014

Warnings of towing policy went unheeded

Oneonta police towed about 100 cars as a result of Wednesday’s storm that left between 8 and 12 inches of snow in the area.

Another seven cars were towed from the Wall Street parking lot on Friday, city police said, and six of those cars had been left in that lot since Wednesday’s storm. The city temporarily lifted parking restrictions after the storm, but the regulations were in effect again Thursday afternoon when the Wall Street lot was posted with “No Parking” signs so that the lot could be plowed Friday.

By about 3 p.m. Friday, owners had picked up all but 11 cars, police said.

After a snow storm in December, more than 100 cars were towed. The city charges $150, plus $5 daily for storage, to retrieve a vehicle.

After both storms, Oneonta Police Chief Dennis Nayor expressed surprise about the number of cars towed away. The police department had issued messages through social media, such as Facebook, as well as traditional media outlets, and Nayor said he considered 100 a high number considering the publicity effort.

After the December storm, and some complaints about having to pay cash when picking up an impounded vehicle, Common Council members inquired about establishing a system for consumers to use credit cards.

On Wednesday, motorists retrieving cars were able to use credit or debit cards to cover impound costs, plus a fee of about $5 imposed by the company handling the transaction.

Police said the credit or debit card option was well-received, with the cards being used in about 25 percent or 30 percent of cases.

•••

Twelve area stores passed checks by state police at Oneonta and Margaretville during an “Underage Drinker Initiative” between noon and 6 p.m. Jan. 25, according to a media release.

Two stores — the Pit Stop on state Route 28 in Hartwick and Stewarts’ Shop on Main Street in Richfield Springs — where where arrests previously were made for sales to underage customers — were in compliance with state law, troopers said.

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