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February 8, 2014

Warnings of towing policy went unheeded

By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star

---- — 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.

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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.

The other 10 stores in compliance were Sunoco Country Store and Stewarts’ Shops in the city of Oneonta; Mirabito Quickway and Valero on Oneida Street in the town of Oneonta; Express Mart on state Route 20 in Richfield; Taylor Mini Mart and Red Apple on West Main Street in Richfield Springs; Fly Creek General Store, state Route 28 in Fly Creek; Stewarts’ Shops on Chestnut Street in Cooperstown; and Apple Food & Grocery on state Route 28 in Milford.

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In 2013, T.L. Cannon Companies, the franchisee for 60 Applebee’s restaurants in upstate New York and Connecticut, provided $2.2 million in fundraising and in-kind support to community organizations, a media release said.

Of that total, $170,000 went to groups in the Mohawk Valley region, officials said, including $29,000 donated to local groups through fundraising efforts at the Applebee’s at Southside Mall in Oneonta.

Company officials said area groups that received fundraising and in-kind support included Alpha Epsilon Pi, Mu Sigma Upsilon, BSA Troop 23, Fokine Ballet Company, Schenevus Indoor Soccer Club, Greater Plains Safety Patrol, Oneonta YMCA Gymnastics Team, Valleyview PTO, Oneonta High School Senior Class, Oneonta High School Track and Field Team,Oneonta Youth Baseball, Morris Central School Spanish Club, Oneonta High School S.A.D.D., Eclipse Winterguard, St Joseph’s Youth Group and Tri-Valley Colts Football.

Other organizations included Oneonta Varsity Football, Oneonta High School Varsity Girls Swim Team, Valleyview Safety Patrol, OHS Boys Soccer Booster Club, Hartwick Cheer Team, 4-H FIRST Robotics Team 4203, Oneonta French and German Clubs, Oneonta High School Senior Class, Charlotte Valley Central School Varsity Girls Basketball Team, Laurens Central School French Club, Franklin Central School and Oneonta YMCA Orcas Swim Team.

Other recipients were Hartwick College Volleyball, the SUNY Oneonta Emergency Squad, Guiding Eyes for the Blind — Leatherstocking Region, the Oneonta Community Health Center and Opportunities for Otsego.

Applebee’s Services Inc. presented T.L. Cannon with the 2013 “Neighbor of the Year” award, which is awarded annually to one franchise group among about 40 in the nation for exemplary community service, the release said.

Also, T.L. Cannon earned the New York State Restaurant Association’s 2013 “Neighbor of the Year” award, which is the eighth year that the franchisee earned the award for outstanding service in communities throughout New York state.

Denise Richardson, staff writer, may be reached at (607) 432-1000, ext 213, or drichardson@thedailystar.com.