Attorney general asked to investigate K’hook assault case

KINDERHOOK—Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka has asked the State Attorney General’s Office to take over the case of an assault on a man at the County Route 21 home of a Sheriff’s deputy, July 5.

The Columbia Paper has learned from a source close to the assault investigation, that the DA made the request earlier this week after new information about the case came to light July 27.

Asked to confirm the information Wednesday, Mr. Czajka said he had no official comment.

The home where the assault of Harold Handy, a local mechanic, took place belongs to Alex and Kelly (Briscoe) Rosenstrach.

Mr. Rosenstrach, the owner of Club Life Health and Fitness, 3143 U.S. Route 9, Valatie, was in the news recently for re-opening his gym in defiance of Covid-19 New York State Executive Orders until it was shut down by officials.

Mrs. Rosenstrach has been employed as a Columbia County sheriff’s deputy for about eight years. She has served on patrol and as a school resource officer in both the Chatham and New Lebanon Central School Districts.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to assist the Valatie Rescue Squad at the Rosenstrach residence July 5 at about 1:27 a.m. Deputies arrived on scene and found a man who had been the victim of an assault that had taken place during a Fourth of July party at the Rosenstrach home.

The victim, who had serious injuries, was taken to Albany Medical Center for further treatment.

According to television news reports, Mr. Handy’s relatives said, “He’s lucky to be alive” and was placed on a ventilator prior to his release from Albany Medical Center’s Trauma ICU, July 6. The family said Mr. Handy was the victim of a group beating early Sunday morning following a 4th of July celebration.

The Sheriff’s Office came under criticism following the assault because it took the lead on an investigation involving one of its own.

I requested assistance from the New York State Police in the early stages of this investigation. Our investigators, and investigators from the New York State Police Special Investigative Unit have worked side by side throughout this entire incident, along with the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office. At the conclusion of this investigation, anyone, including a member of my agency, who participated in this assault will be held accountable,” Sheriff David Bartlett said in an earlier press release.

The request for the AG’s Office to take over the case, does not mean that the DA has disqualified himself from the case entirely if the AG decides not to take on the case.

To contact Diane Valden email

After police pursuit, train hits empty car on tracks in Chatham


CHATHAM—State Police from New Lebanon arrested Yasser J. Collado Feliz, 31, of the Bronx for third degree unlawfully fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle, a class A misdemeanor, July 13.

At 4:30 a.m. that date, troopers attempted to stop a 2020 Ford Explorer for a violation of vehicle and traffic law on State Route 295 in the Town of Chatham.

The vehicle failed to comply and led troopers on a pursuit into the Village of Chatham. The suspect vehicle left the roadway at the intersection with State Route 296 and State Route 66 and drove onto the railroad tracks heading west. Near Woodbridge Avenue troopers found the vehicle disabled and stuck on the railroad tracks.

Mr. Feliz and his two passengers were removed from the vehicle and a request to halt all trains was made to CSX.

A train was traveling on the track in that area, and as a precaution troopers moved all persons to a safe distance. The train was unable to stop and struck the Feliz vehicle. No one involved, including CSX employees, was injured as a result of the collision.

Mr. Feliz was issued an appearance ticket returnable in Chatham Village Court August 5.


State Police arrested Bradley R. Straley, 37, of Washington for second degree attempted arson, a class C felony, July 22.

At 4 p.m. that date, Troop T patrols responded for a report about an arson at the Canaan Toll Plaza on Interstate 90 in the Town of Canaan.

An investigation revealed a recently terminated New York State Thruway employee, Mr. Straley, allegedly attempted to light an occupied State Thruway vehicle on fire.

He fled the scene prior to the arrival of police, and was subsequently taken into custody by Troop K patrols on the Taconic State Parkway. No one was injured.

Mr. Straley was arraigned virtually in the City of Hudson Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $15,000 bond. He is next scheduled to reappear in court at a later date.


Scott T. Zempko, 39, of Greenport was charged with second degree criminal contempt and second degree harassment, July 3 at 11:35 p.m.

Deputies Michael Meier and John Sullivan made the arrest after investigating a domestic dispute involving Mr. Zempko that took place June 12 in Greenport.

Mr. Zempko was arraigned virtually by Town Justice Barry Sack in Greenport Court, and was released on his own recognizance, and directed to reappear in court for further proceedings August 24.


Jesse A. Brown, 37, of Hudson was charged with second degree criminal contempt by Deputies Peter Merante and Cindy Madison, June 30 at 12:57 a.m.

Mr. Brown was allegedly found to be with a person who was the protected party in an order of protection. The incident took place in Stockport. Mr. Brown was virtually arraigned by Justice Barry Sack in Greenport Court. He was released on his own recognizance, and was directed to appear in Stockport

Court for further proceedings August 24.


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

*Denise Gogg, 58, of Saugerties was charged with DWI by State Police from Kinderhook, June 7. She was interviewed on State Route 9 in Schodack after driving away from her residence following her involvement in a domestic dispute. An investigation revealed she was allegedly under the influence of alcohol. She was subsequently arrested.

*Kim B. Brignull, 53, of Ghent was charged with DWI by State Police from New Lebanon, June 7. He was traveling on the Taconic State Parkway in Austerlitz, when he was stopped for a violation of the vehicle and traffic law. An investigation revealed he was allegedly under the influence of alcohol. He was subsequently arrested.

*Paul N. Hoffmann, 62, of New York City was charged with DWI by State Police from Kinderhook, June 26. He was traveling on Church Street in Chatham Village, when he was involved in a motor vehicle crash. An investigation revealed he was allegedly under the influence of alcohol. He was subsequently arrested.

*Adam D. Steeneck, 32, of Livingston was charged with DWI by State Police from Livingston June 28. He was traveling on County Route 8 in Livingston, when he was involved in a one-car motor-vehicle crash. An investigation revealed he was allegedly under the influence of alcohol. He was subsequently arrested.

To contact Diane Valden email

Sgt. Rowe bids farewell to HPD

HPD Sergeant Dean Rowe with his family at his July 9 retirement ceremony. Photo by Lance Wheeler

HUDSON—Hudson Police Sergeant Dean Rowe retired after 19 years with the department and 20+ years in law enforcement July 9.

In a procession led by a bagpiper, Sgt. Rowe and his family emerged from the Hudson Police headquarters on Union Street in the city to a crowd of applauding relatives, friends, officials and law enforcement colleagues.

Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore told the crowd Sgt. Rowe had completed his duty with HPD and during his 19 years on the force, he made 565 arrests, issued 1,250 tickets, worked 1,566 night shifts and drank 348 gallons of coffee.

He commended the sergeant on his patience and his steady, calm demeanor. The chief said the sergeant’s presence on the force, “made our old city better.”

It’s time to start your second life,” the chief told the 47-year-old sergeant, “congratulations on a job well done.”—Diane Valden

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