Local police help in Vermont investigation


MILAN—New York State Police locally assisted the Vermont State Police with an ongoing homicide investigation, March 1.

After receiving a law enforcement tip from Vermont State Police that a vehicle and its occupants were traveling on the Taconic State Parkway in Columbia County, local troopers spotted the vehicle headed southbound near State Route 199 in Milan.

Troopers initiated a traffic stop and the operator failed to comply. Spike strips were used to end the vehicle pursuit in the Town of Clinton, Dutchess County, and the two occupants fled on foot. Both were found a short time later in the surrounding wooded area.

The passenger of the vehicle was released uninjured. The vehicle operator was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and he was listed in stable condition.

In a March 4 update on the ongoing investigation, State Police reported the arrest of Jerry Ramirez, 35, of Brooklyn.

Mr. Ramirez was the operator who allegedly attempted to flee State Troopers March 2 on the Taconic State Parkway. He was charged with third degree unlawful fleeing in a motor vehicle, a class A misdemeanor, and as a fugitive from justice on a felony warrant issued by the State of Vermont.

He was arraigned as a fugitive before Judge Edward T. McLoughlin in Dutchess County Court and was sent to the Dutchess County Jail without bail, where he is currently awaiting extradition to the State of Vermont.

To contact Diane Valden email


Hitting the slopes for a good cause. Current and retired members of Troop K, its first responder partners, friends and family gathered at Catamount Mountain Resort in Copake for the 2022 Skis Boards and Badges fundraiser to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, March 4. Troop K thanks everyone for their participation and help. Together, everyone helped raise more than $15,000 dollars. Photo contributed

Residential brush burning prohibition starts March 16

Brush fires spread to structures as well. Photo contributed

GHENT—State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced the annual statewide ban prohibiting residential brush burning begins March 16 and runs through May 14. Since 2009, DEC has enforced the annual brush burning ban to prevent wildfires and protect communities during heightened conditions for wildfires each spring.

“The start of spring in New York comes with an increased risk of wildfires. Starting March 16 and ending May 19, New York State prohibits residential brush burning to protect our communities and our natural resources. Since 2009, New York’s burn ban has reduced the number of wildfires in our communities and we’re looking forward to continuing that trend in 2022,” Commissioner Seggos said in a press release.

Even though some areas of the state remain blanketed in snow, warming temperatures can quickly cause wildfire conditions to arise. Open burning of debris is the single-largest cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures warm and the past fall’s debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily, further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation. Each year, DEC Forest Rangers extinguish dozens of wildfires that burn hundreds of acres. In addition, local fire departments, many of which are staffed by volunteers, all too often have to leave their jobs and families to respond to wildfires caused by illegal debris fires. DEC will post the Fire Danger Map for the 2022 fire season on DEC’s website (www.dec.ny.gov) once there is a moderate risk anywhere in New York.

New York first enacted strict restrictions on open burning in 2009 to help prevent wildfires and reduce air pollution. The regulations allow residential brush fires in towns with fewer than 20,000 residents during most of the year, but prohibit such burning in spring when most wildfires occur.

Backyard fire pits and campfires less than three feet in height and four feet in length, width, or diameter are allowed. Small cooking fires are allowed. Only charcoal or dry, clean, untreated or unpainted wood can be burned. People should never leave these fires unattended and must extinguish them. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round. For more information about fire safety and prevention, go to DEC’s FIREWISE New York website.

Forest Rangers, DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs), and local authorities enforce the burn ban. Violators of the State’s open burning regulation are subject to criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. To report environmental law violations, call 1-833-RANGERS, or report online on DEC’s website.

Time to change clocks, check smoke alarms

GHENT—As New Yorkers prepare to set their clocks forward one hour Sunday, March 13 (Daylight Saving Time), the Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) is urging everyone to check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Homeowners with alarms that have sealed, non-removable batteries should test the alarms to see if they are functional and check their expiration dates. Alarms equipped with removable batteries should have their batteries replaced.

New York State currently leads the nation in home fire deaths in 2022 with 51 deaths. Working smoke alarms save lives. According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms or in homes lacking smoke alarms. A quarter of all smoke alarm failures are caused by dead batteries.

In 2019, a New York State law was passed requiring all newly installed or replacement smoke alarms in the State of New York to be powered by a 10-year, sealed, non-removable battery, or hardwired to the home. It banned the sale of smoke alarms with removable batteries. Smoke alarms equipped with sealed-in, non-removable batteries are nearly impossible to disable and require little maintenance. If you’re not sure when you last replaced the batteries, or bought a smoke alarm, FASNY encourages you to purchase a new one with 10-year batteries

Smoke Alarm Tips from FASNY and the NFPA:

*Test alarms at least once a month by using the test button

*If you have an alarm with a removable battery, be sure to check the batteries every six months, and change the batteries every year. If a battery is starting to lose its power, the unit will usually chirp to warn you. Do not disable the unit

*Vacuum or blow out any dust that might accumulate in the unit

*Never borrow a battery from an alarm to use somewhere else

*Never paint a smoke or CO alarm

*Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home, including the basement, and in, or near each sleeping area

*Smoke alarms should not be installed near a window because drafts could interfere with their operation

*Families should also develop and practice a home fire escape plan

*Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for testing smoke alarms and replacing the batteries.

For more information on smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and other information on fire safety and prevention, visit www.fasny.com and www.nfpa.org.

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