Thirty animals perish in Taghkanic barn blaze

TAGHKANIC—Thirty animals were killed when their newly constructed metal barn at 189 Sopak Road, went up in flames, February 28 at 11:32 p.m.

Taghkanic firefighters and Northern Dutchess Paramedics were called to the barn that housed Joe Macri’s miniature horses, goats, guinea hens, sheep, pregnant goats, rabbits and pigs, all of which perished.

One miniature horse was able to escape, but had to be put down due to severe burns.

The animals were Mr. Macri’s life, he told newsman Lance Wheeler, they were his “pets” and his “joy.”

Fire investigators are trying to determine what caused the fire. A wooden barn on the property was destroyed by fire last year, according to information provided by Mr. Wheeler.

Ancram and Livingston firefighters responded to render mutual aid. Copake firefighters stood by, Columbia County Fire Coordinators, State Police and Sheriff’s deputies assisted on scene. Firefighters were back in service 4:42 a.m. Saturday, March 1.

Stockport

Jason E. McCagg, 18, of Hudson was charged with two counts of second degree criminal contempt, a class A misdemeanor and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, by State Police from Livingston, February 22 at 5:15 p.m.

Troopers stopped the car Mr. McCagg was operating on Atlantic Avenue for a seatbelt violation. They found that he allegedly illegally possessed two firearms and marijuana.

Mr. McCagg allegedly intentionally disobeyed a Columbia County Family Court order to surrender any and all firearms after an order of protection was issued against him. He was issued tickets and ordered to appear in Stockport Court at a later date.

Valatie

Carl M. Babij, 63, of Valatie was charged with third degree assault, a class A misdemeanor, by Deputies Travis VanAlstyne and Joshua Oakes, February 16 at 9:36 p.m. Mr. Babij allegedly fought with a woman.

He was arraigned in Kinderhook Town Court and released on his own recognizance pending a return court appearance.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/images/cleardot.gifGreenport

Anthony C. Novak, 61, of Hudson was charged with fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class A misdemeanor, by Deputy Travis VanAlstyne, February 20 at 11:30 a.m.

Mr. Novak allegedly possessed a pistol illegally.

He was arraigned in Greenport Court and released on his own recognizance pending a return court appearance.

Drugs/alcohol

The following face drug- and/or alcohol-related charges:

*Dylan J. Graves, 21, of Belmont, VT, was charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana by State Police from New Lebanon, February 14 at 4:30 p.m.

Mr. Graves was driving on State Route 22 in New Lebanon, when troopers stopped him for not wearing his seat belt. During the interview, police determined that Mr. Graves was operating the motor vehicle in an impaired condition and he also possessed oxycodone and marijuana. Mr. Graves was arraigned in New Lebanon Court and released on $4,000 cash bail. He is scheduled to reappear in court at a later date.

*William C. Pitcher, 36, of Claverack was charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, by State Police from Livingston, February 15 at 1:42 a.m. Police pulled Mr. Pitcher over in Copake for speeding and found him to be intoxicated. He provided a breath sample with a .09% blood alcohol content. He was issued tickets ordering him to appear in Copake Court at a later date.

*Dennis J. Embree, 23, of Elizaville was charged with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, a misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, by State Police from Livingston, February 15 at 8:30 p.m. Mr. Embree was found to be impaired after he was pulled over for failure to signal and failure to maintain his lane of travel in Claverack. A drug recognition expert confirmed that he was impaired. Mr. Embree was issued tickets ordering him to appear in Claverack Court at a later date.

*Joseph W. Furner, 36, of Copake was charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, by Deputies Kris Bauhoff and Joshua Oakes, February 15 at 2:59 a.m. Mr. Furner is accused of operating his vehicle in an intoxicated condition on State Route 23 in Copake. He submitted to a breathalyzer test which yielded a .14% blood alcohol content. He was released with tickets to appear in Copake Court at a later date.

*Samantha J. Brighenti, 31, of Chatham was charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, by State Police from New Lebanon, February 17 at 8:47 p.m. Ms. Brighenti was found to be intoxicated during an investigation into an accident on State Route 203, Ghent. She provided a breath sample with a .11% blood alcohol content. She was issued tickets ordering her to appear in Ghent Court at a later date.

*Kenneth D. Wiggins, 71, of Canaan was charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, by State Police from New Lebanon, February 20 at 10:10 p.m. Troopers found Mr. Wiggins to be intoxicated during a traffic stop in Canaan for a seatbelt violation. Mr. Wiggins provided a breath sample with a blood alcohol content of .15%. He was issued tickets ordering him to appear in Canaan Court at a later date.

*Diane Dangelo, 64, of New Lebanon was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, by State Police from New Lebanon, February 21 at 1:20 p.m. Ms. Dangelo was found to be intoxicated during an investigation into an accident on State Route 20, New Lebanon. She provided a breath sample which yielded a .24% blood alcohol content, three times the legal limit of intoxication. She was issued tickets ordering her to appear in New Lebanon Court March 6.

*Matthew S. Primavera, 26, of Hudson was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class a misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, by State Police from Livingston, February 22 at 4:55 p.m. Troopers stopped Mr. Primavera for an equipment violation on County Route 78 in Red Hook and noted a strong smell of marijuana. He was found to unlawfully possess prescription medication and marijuana. He was issued tickets ordering him to appear in Red Hook Court March 6.

K-9 helps collar marijuana grower

COPAKE—Nine marijuana plants were seized after a traffic stop on State Route 22, February 25 at 2 p.m.

Sheriff’s Deputy Heath Benansky pulled the vehicle over for speeding.

During the stop, the deputy detected an odor of marijuana coming from within the vehicle, and found the driver, Glen A. Fortunato, 55, of Wingdale to be in possession of a partially burnt marijuana cigarette, according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

An exterior search of the vehicle was conducted by the deputy and his K-9 partner, Apollo, who “alerted” on the rear trunk area of the vehicle. A search of the trunk uncovered marijuana plants and growing equipment. Mr. Fortunato admitted that the plants were his and that he was moving his grow operation from Wingdale to a new location in Greene County because he feared his wife was going to turn him in.

He was charged with fifth degree criminal possession of marijuana, a class A misdemeanor. He was arraigned in Copake Court and released on his own recognizance. He is due back in court March 24.

Also assisting with the investigation were Sergeant Donald Krapf and Deputy David Proper. —Diane Valden

Home invader sentenced

CLAVERACK—Columbia County Judge Jonathan D. Nichols sentenced Joshua Spencer to 25 years in state prison, March 3.

A jury found Mr. Spencer guilty after trial January 29 of two counts of first degree burglary and two counts of second degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Columbia County Sheriff’s deputies assisted by State Police arrested Mr. Spencer, Christopher Anderson and Jeremy Bost after they fled from the home in North Chatham they had just invaded.

Chief Assistant District Attorney David Costanzo prosecuted the defendant.

Mr. Anderson was found guilty after trial June 22, 2012 of first degree burglary, first degree robbery and criminal possession of a weapon and Mr. Bost was found guilty of the same charges after trial April 26, 2013.

Judge Nichols sentenced Mr. Anderson to 80 years and Mr. Bost to 65 years. District Attorney Paul Czajka prosecuted both defendants at trial.

The DA commended the work of his chief assistant, stating in a press release, “This successful investigation and prosecution is yet another example of the emerging and unprecedented cooperation among Columbia County law enforcement agencies. The public will benefit greatly.”

Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Donald Krapf stopped the vehicle in which the defendants fled the burglary and State Police arrived on the scene shortly thereafter to provide assistance.

Mr. Czajka also commended the victims for their testimony and their presence of mind to call 911 in a timely manner. He further noted that this conviction brings to a conclusion a lengthy, multi-defendant prosecution that took place over two years.

 

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