New Jersey woman charged in Livingston stabbing

LIVINGSTON—A New Jersey woman was charged with the January 4 stabbing of a man on Bells Pond Road.

State Police responded to the scene at 8:23 a.m.

Skyler M. Morrell, 23, of Bayville, NJ, was charged later that day with second degree assault, a class D felony; second degree menacing and fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon, both class A misdemeanors.

An investigation determined that during a verbal domestic dispute, Ms. Morrell allegedly stabbed the victim in the hand.

He was taken to Albany Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. Ms. Morrell was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital for evaluation.

She was later arrested and arraigned in Livingston Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $500 cash bail or $1,000 bond.

This investigation remains ongoing.

To contact Diane Valden email

Police alert public to ‘grandparent scam’

CHATHAM—In December State Police in Columbia County began investigating multiple reports of the “Grandparent Scam,” according to a press release.

These scams usually involve calls claiming that someone’s grandchild or other relative has been arrested and a bail bondsman needs to be paid immediately—in some cases as much as $30,000.

In one recent case in Chatham, the victims left $12,000 outside of their house to be picked up by a “courier.” Another case involved payments of cash to be sent through the mail hidden inside old magazines.

Another prevalent scam currently used attempts to convince the victim a relative was involved in a serious accident and money is needed for medical payments. These scams ask for large sums of money transferred in unusual ways without any face-to-face interaction. Once these thieves have extracted money they may also call back and try to get more.

State Police offer the following tips to protect against the Grandparent Scam:

*Take a pause. Scammers create a sense of urgency to prey on victims’ emotions and their love for family members

*Verify any supposed emergency by calling friends and family before sending money. This is especially important if a potential victim has been warned not to do so

*A grandparent may think they would know whether they were speaking to their own grandchild or to an impostor, but it is easy to be fooled. The caller may be crying, or the background may be noisy, or the caller may claim the connection is bad

*If the caller purports to be a bail bondsperson, ask where the relative is being held and contact the facility directly. People can also call their local police department, where officers may be able to call the jail and confirm the story

*Be suspicious of anyone who calls unexpectedly asking to be sent money

*Never send cash through the mail

*Never purchase pre-paid debit cards or gift cards for the purpose of transferring money

*Develop a secret code or “password” with family members that can be used to verify the identity of family members over the phone

*Ask a question that only the real grandchild would know the answer to, such as “what was the name of your first pet?”

*Set Facebook and other social media settings to private to limit the information available to scammers, such as the name of grandchildren.

In 2020, the Federal Trade Commission received 24,545 complaints of individuals impersonating family members and friends, up from 20,234 in 2019. New Yorkers alone filed 1,359 complaints in 2020.

Additional information about the Grandparent Scam can be found on the Office of the Attorney General’s website. New Yorkers who have been targeted by this scam are urged to file a complaint by completing and submitting a Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau online complaint form or by calling 1-800-771-7755.

FASNY updates name for 150th anniversary

ALBANY—In 1872, a group of firemen gathered in upstate New York and founded the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY).

As FASNY prepares for the 150th anniversary of the Association in 2022, the Association’s leadership not only looked back at its history but also began planning for the next 150 years.

“FASNY and the volunteer fire service have changed dramatically since our humble beginnings in 1872. We are very proud of our history. The presidents and the Board of Directors view this special anniversary as an opportunity to honor our past, while simultaneously positioning FASNY for an even better future,” FASNY President John Farrell said in a press release.

Over the years, FASNY’s logos and symbols have evolved with time, but one thing remained a constant—the association’s name. At the December meeting of the Board of Directors, a motion was passed unanimously to update the association’s name from its historical 1872 origins to The Firefighters Association of the State of New York.

“We all felt it was time. The volunteer fire service has grown and changed greatly from the late 19th century. While our original name was based on the fire service of 1872, our new name positions us for the 21st century,” said President Farrell.

“We did not make this change lightly. We know and respect the great history of our association. We also know that our name, like our logos, symbols and actions, must represent today’s volunteer fire service,” First Vice President Edward Tase said in the release.

The association has already begun the process of updating its logos and signage to reflect the new name. As with any major change of this nature, it may take some time before it is in place in all applications.

FASNY represents the interests of the 85,000 volunteer firefighters in New York State. For more information visit

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