2016: A year in review

Editor’s Note: What follows are snippets from some of the top stories that appeared in The Evening Sun throughout 2016.

IRT-Greater Chenango Cares made rare return to Chenango

Take two of the 2015 summer installation of military vehicles, service personnel dressed in fatigues and scores of many appreciative community members took over the Norwich High School Campus during Greater Chenango Cares-Innovative Readiness Training (IRT).

Lead agency, Chenango United Way, spearheaded its own army of community volunteers to pull off yet another successful event that in 2015 performed nearly 15,000 procedures to some 2,400 patients at no cost – a value of more than $1.3 million.

“This was a great opportunity for our entire community in 2015, and we're pleased that the United Way was able to negotiate a contract for this to happen for a second year, right here in Chenango County,” said Victoria Mitchell of Chenango United Way in May. The military IRT is a Department of Defense (DOD) training exercise which provides real world training scenarios to military personnel and service members, all while supporting the needs of rural, under-served and economically challenged communities.

Drug Kingpin awaits retrial following judicial errors in County court

Michael A. Victor Jr, who was found guilty in Chenango County Court in 2010 on ten counts including narcotic sales and firearms possession, returned to Norwich to appear in court after being granted a retrial. As decided by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York on May 5, one of the ten counts was dismissed, and Victor is to receive a new trial on the remaining nine counts that he faced after his initial arrest in 2010. In mid October, it was reported that Victor's retrial was to be delayed into 2017 pending an expected response from the Court of Appeals. Judge James E. Downey, who presided over the case, conveyed that there was two separate issues to discuss during the conference; one being the status of the prosecution's appeal on the overturning of Victor's original conviction, which was sent to the court of appeals on June 30; the other being that defense counsel wishes to have $1,800 allocated in order to hire a private investigator.

Grace said that he has still not received the records of his clients trial from his previous counsel, and requested that if a new trial is going to take place, he would need at least 60 days in order to properly review all of the material. Until a response is received from the court of appeals, a decision on a new trial cannot be made.

Madison, Otsego Sheriff’s made swift work of Edmeston NBT Robbery

On May 23, the Otsego County 911 call center took an emergency call from an alarm monitoring system reporting a robbery at the NBT Bank, located at 1 West St. in the Village of Edmeston. A suspect originally described as a white male in his mid to late 20's, approximately 5'7'' to 5'10'' tall and of thin build was soon identified as Dennis D. Gelatt of Earlville. According to a release issued by the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office, it is alleged that Gelatt entered the bank and waited in line with other customers. When he got to the teller’s window, he demanded cash. No weapon was displayed, but authorities say one was “implied.”

When Gelatt obtained the cash, he fled the bank on foot, running to a parked vehicle on West Street. Gelatt then allegedly drove away from the bank heading west on Otsego County Highway 20. Following the robbery, the Unadilla Valley Central School was placed on lockdown. On June 5, the Otsego and Madison County Sheriff’s Offices executed a search warrant at a Madison County residence, arresting Gelatt. Gelatt was charged with robbery in the second degree, a class C felony. He was arraigned in the Town of Edmeston court and remanded to the Otsego County Correctional Facility on $25,000 cash bail.

Roots and Wings program re-opens doors after lack of funding

Not even three months after closing to re-evaluate its business model, Roots and Wings of Chenango County has finally re-opened the doors of its clothing and household goods center.

Roots and Wings, a Norwich-based emergency services and self-sufficiency program operated under the auspices of Catholic Charities of Chenango County, closed its clothing center on Berry Street in January. Program organizers said the purpose was to restructure the program in a way that makes it more fiscally viable.

Roots and Wings provides clothing, food, household goods and furniture for individuals and families in need.

We want to be able to still reach out to our customers – the needy, and people who are low-income – so we’re keeping prices low,” said Mandeville. “People have been starting to come back just by word of mouth.” Catholic Charities started exploring the prospects of a thrift store model in November. Citing the tremendous financial burden fronted by Roots and Wings in recent years (despite a steady increase in community needs), Catholic Charities began researching various thrift store concepts. Catholic Charities Executive Director Robin Beckwith said at the time that Roots and Wings was losing a substantial amount of money that the organization simply couldn’t recoup.

Ramsaran murder conviction overturned

Ganesh 'Remy' Ramsaran – the man who was convicted of second-degree murder of his wife, Jennifer, back on Dec. 1, 2014 – saw his conviction reversed on Thursday after an appeal decision handed down by the Supreme Court, Appellate Division: Third Judicial Department.

Jennifer Ramsaran, the defendant's wife and the victim in the case, went missing on Dec. 11, 2012. She was last seen at her home in New Berlin that morning. The defendant reported her missing around 8 p.m. that evening after she failed to report home from a shopping trip in Syracuse.

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