DEC hunts person who dumped oil tank in river

A 275-gallon oil tank left on the shore of the Hudson River. Photo contributed

GERMANTOWN—The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is investigating the illegal dumping of an oil tank in the Hudson River, the night of March 2.

The Columbia Paper received a news tip from Tom Shannon of Germantown, who said he took a walk down to Cheviot Park March 3 and noticed oil stains on the road and heading south on the access path.

Mr. Shannon said he spoke to someone who lives down there, who reported hearing scraping the night before and saw a small pickup truck take a home heating oil tank down the road, across the tracks, then down the access path.

Mr. Shannon said he reported it to the DEC.

According to a statement from the DEC, the agency received a report of an oil tank in the Hudson River at the end of Cheviot Road, about a quarter mile south of Cheviot Park.

The DEC Division of Law Enforcement immediately responded to the location March 4 and observed “a 275-gallon heating oil tank on the banks of the Hudson River. The tank was mostly empty with some sludge at the bottom and no impacts to the river were observed.

“DEC’s spills contractor was contacted and successfully removed the tank within hours. The tank will be cut and cleaned for proper disposal.”

DEC’s active investigation into this incident is ongoing.

Anyone who witnesses an environmental crime or believes a violation of environmental law occurred should call the DEC Division of Law Enforcement hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).


Hudson City Police arrested Brenda J. Miller, 50, of Mays Landing, New Jersey, for second degree robbery, a class C felony, March 5.

Police received a phone call from the Lucky Mart at 718 Columbia Street, March 5 at 8:12 a.m.

The HPD communications specialist only heard a brief moment of yelling and then no voice was heard at all.

Patrols were immediately dispatched to the Lucky Mart. Officers learned that a female suspect had entered the store and forcibly stole an item from the store clerk.

The suspect threw items at the clerk and attacked her physically causing minor bleeding and injuries to the clerk’s head and face. The suspect fled the store on foot before officers got there.

Sergeant Mishanda Franklin quickly found the suspect in the St. Charles Hotel parking lot across the street, where she was arrested and taken to the station for processing. The stolen merchandise was recovered by police at the time of the arrest.

Ms. Miller was arraigned before Judge John Connor in Hudson City Court and was sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $500 cash bail or $1,000 bail bond. She is due back in City Court at a later date.


Michael Grimaldi, 49, of Hillsdale was charged with third degree criminal possession of a weapon- silencer, a class D felony and third degree criminal possession of a weapon- three or more illegal weapons, a class D felony, on Overlook Drive, by Deputies Joseph Favorito and Zachary Torchia, February 1 at 2:50 p.m. The arrest was based on a previous incident in which Mr. Grimaldi allegedly possessed two modified firearms. After an investigation, it was determined that the altered firearms were not compliant with NYS law. Mr. Grimaldi was arraigned in Hillsdale Court before Justice Russ Immarigeon and released to return at a later date.


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

*Daniel Cronin, 27, of Hillsdale was charged with driving while ability impaired, a class U misdemeanor, and moving from lane unsafely, by Deputy Phillipp Gomm, January 30 at 10:28 p.m. Mr. Cronin was found to be impaired after he had been involved in a one-car motor vehicle accident on Route 23, Claverack. He was issued appearance tickets and released to return to Claverack Court at a later date to answer the charges.

• Skyler Walker, 21, of Germantown was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class a misdemeanor and issued several traffic tickets for infractions, by Deputy Zachary Torchia, February 7 at 5:52 p.m. Mr. Walker was allegedly in possession of pills that were a controlled substance following a traffic stop on Route 22 in Copake. He was issued tickets to appear in Copake Court at a later date to answer the charges.

•Anysa Tobin, 27, of Pittsfield, MA, and Damon Neal, 39, of St. Albans face drug-related charges following a traffic stop on the Taconic State Parkway in Austerlitz, February 8 at 2:49 a.m. Deputies John Sullivan and Andrew Horst stopped Ms. Tobin for vehicle and traffic violations and then found her to allegedly possess controlled substances. Her passenger, Mr. Neal was also found to allegedly possess a quantity of marijuana. Ms. Tobin was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, second degree unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, and traffic offenses. Mr. Neal was charged with second degree unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation. Both subjects were issued appearance tickets returnable in Austerlitz Court at a later date.

*Hans P. Tursack, 34, of Hudson was charged with driving while intoxicated, first offense and operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% in Greenport by Livingston State Police, February 23 at 9:55 p.m. He was issued appearance tickets returnable in Greenport Court at a later date.

To contact Diane Valden email .

Deputies complete disability awareness training

Deputies pictured in virtual disability awareness training. Photo contributed

GREENPORT—The first group of Sheriff’s deputies have successfully completed Law Enforcement Disability Awareness Training for this calendar year, Sheriff David P. Bartlett said in a February 25 press release.

This training is offered by the Division of Criminal Justice Services—Law Enforcement Training Unit, in partnership with the Niagara University of First Responders Disability Awareness Training Office. The topics in this eight hour virtual course include, disabilities defined specific to law enforcement, the Recognize-Identify-Approach-Interaction- Response model, victimization/ abuse the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals, de-escalation strategies, and current trends. The training is meant to sensitize and educate law enforcement officers on how to effectively identify, address, and respond to various disabilities they will encounter in their line of duty.

“This is a newer version of existing training many members of this office have already taken. My goal would be to have a member of my office trained to teach this topic, or to bring someone in house, so that I can have every member of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office attend this training. Disability awareness is a topic that is personal to me, and I want to make sure the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office are equipped to properly address persons with disabilities,” the sheriff said in the release.

Brush burning prohibited March 16 through May 14

ALBANY—The annual statewide ban prohibiting residential brush burning begins March 16, and runs through May 14, according to a press release from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos.

With spring approaching, DEC reminds residents that conditions for wildfires are heightened in springtime when most wildfires occur.

“While wildfires are more visible in the western part of the country, the start of spring brings an increased risk of wildfires right here in New York. In an effort to protect our communities and natural resources, New York prohibits residential burning for two months starting on March 16, when dry conditions are highest. Help DEC put safety first and continue to reduce the number of wildfires in New York’s communities by following the burn ban,” Commissioner Seggos said in the release.

Even though some areas of the state remain blanketed in snow, warming temperatures can quickly cause wildfire conditions to arise. DEC will post a Fire Danger Map rating for the 2021 fire season on DEC’s website ( once there is a moderate risk anywhere in the state.

Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures are warmer and the past fall’s debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation. In 2020, DEC Forest Rangers extinguished 192 wildfires that burned a total of more than 1,122 acres. In addition, local fire departments, many of which are volunteer, all too often have to leave their jobs and families to respond to wildfires caused by illegal debris fires.

Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round. For more information about fire safety and prevention, go to DEC’s FIREWISE New York website.

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