Nighttime gunshots lead to charges against Clermont man

CLERMONT—A Sheriff’s deputy and investigator were checking out an Environmental Conservation (EnCon)-related complaint in Clermont when they heard a gunshot nearby after dark, November 27 at 5:20 p.m.

An investigation by Deputy Daniel Keyser and Senior Investigator Foster revealed that a Peter Kilmer, 56, of Clermont had allegedly fired at a deer from a barn on his property.

EnCon Officer James Davi responded to the scene to charge him with Department of Environmental Conservation violations.

Mr. Kilmer was also found to be a convicted felon in Florida, which would prohibit him from possessing firearms in New York, according to the Sheriff’s Office press release.

Mr. Kilmer’s firearms were seized and secured. He was charged with fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class A misdemeanor, by Sheriff’s Office personnel, November 28.

He was issued appearance tickets and is due to report to Clermont Court December 17 to answer the charges.


The Sheriff’s Office Dive Team gears up for the rescue of two hikers in Stuyvesant December 1. Photo contributed

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Dive Team responded to the Lewis A. Swyer Preserve in Stuyvesant to rescue two people who became stranded on an island due to the incoming tide December 1 at 3:56 p.m.

Two hikers had gone into the trail during daylight hours and upon their return had gotten landlocked on the trail due to the incoming tide after a heavy rain, according to a press release from Sheriff David P. Bartlett

Members of the dive team were activated because the hikers could not be reached by land or boat due to their location. Dive team members received GPS co-ordinates for the hikers through Sheriff’s Office dispatch, and had to traverse to their location by foot through an outgoing tide.

The tide was reportedly up to four feet deep in areas, making the trails unrecognizable.

The hikers were located after a quarter mile hike and found to be in stable condition. They donned rescue suits and personal flotation devices, and were brought back to the trial head on State Route 9J, where medical attention was not required.

In the release, Sheriff Bartlett praised the team stating, “This is the second time in two weeks the dive team has had to come out in less than desirable conditions to do their job. Once again they did great. This is what this group trains for. I’m glad the hikers were able to make it out safe.”

Members on scene were Sergeant Heath Benansky, Deputies Joshua Oakes, David Stevens and Steven Rose.


Shaquarn T. Jackson, 25, of the Bronx was charged as a fugitive of justice by State Police from Kinderhook, November 17 at 8:50 p.m.

Troopers conducted a traffic stop on a 2015 Nissan Altima for a violation of vehicle and traffic law on State Route 9H in Kinderhook. An investigation determined Mr. Jackson was wanted in Berks County, Pennsylvania, for multiple felony firearm and stolen property charges.

Mr. Jackson was arraigned in Stuyvesant Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail. He is next scheduled to appear in Kinderhook Court December 15.

*State Police in Columbia County began investigating a possible hate crime in Kinderhook, November 28.

At 4:30 p.m., police were “alerted to a handwritten sign containing biased speech taped to a public road sign on State Route 203 between Fairway Drive and Novak Road,” according to a press release. No further information was given.

Anyone who has information regarding the incident is asked to contact State Police at 845-677-7300. Refer to case# 9951452.


One person was hurt in a three-vehicle collision at the intersection of Route 9 and Herrick Road, November 28. Photo contributed

One person was hurt in a three vehicle collision at the intersection of Route 9 and Herrick Road, November 28 at 11:22 a.m.

A person was initially reported to be trapped in a rolled over vehicle but was later able to get out on their own.

A black Nissan driven by Erika VanZandt, 39, of Cohoes was traveling southbound on State Route 9 when it failed to yield to the traffic signal. The VanZandt vehicle entered the intersection and struck a black Jeep operated by Kayley Geir, 19, of Valatie on the passenger side causing it to flip.

Before coming to rest, the Geir vehicle overturned and rolled onto a grey Hyundai driven by Matt Flanagann, 51, of Schodack Landing, which was just beginning to move at the light on Herrick Road.

The Valatie Rescue Squad took Ms. Geir to the Albany Medical Center for treatment of lower leg pain.

Ms. Van Zandt was ticketed for failure to yield. She is to appear in Kinderhook Town Court December 8. The accident was handled by Deputies Stephen Naegeli and Jordan Brahm. Niverville firefighters were back in service at 12:37 p.m.

To contact Diane Valden email

Input sought for police reform, reinvention

CHATHAM—The Village of Chatham seeks community input in its comprehensive review of the Village Police Department. This review is mandated by an executive order by Governor Cuomo that requires all local governments with a police department to develop and enact a policing reform plan.

The plan is to include any modifications and innovations to current police deployments, policies and procedures based on the public safety needs of the community.

The order calls for the plan to also include policies and procedures that promote trust, fairness, accountability, and transparency, and which seek to reduce any racial disparities in policing.

To solicit community input, a brief questionnaire has been posted which can be accessed online at or on the Village website:

For those who do not have access to the internet, call the Village Hall at 518-392 5821 to obtain a hard copy. Handwritten surveys can be dropped off at the Village

Hall in the locked mailbox by the front door.

The questionnaire is only for people who: own property in the Village of Chatham (commercial or residential or commercial); reside (renter or home-owner) in the Village of Chatham and/or operate a business in the Village of Chatham.

The committee working on the review is called the Collaborative. The next online meeting of the Collaborative is December 8 at 6:30 p.m. Access to the online meeting can be found on the village website.

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