Family members sentenced to probation in girl’s death

Attorney Michael Sussman (foreground) appears with his clients, the Tranberg-Bennett family at their April 1 sentencing in Columbia County Court. Steven Bennett is standing and his wife, Heidi Tranberg-Bennett, is seated to his right. Photo by Lance Wheeler

HUDSON—Six of seven family members have been sentenced to probation in the connection with the death of 12-year-old Evanna Tranberg-Bennett.

According to an April 1 press release from Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka, Columbia County Judge Richard Koweek sentenced Steven Bennett, Heidi Tranberg-Bennett, Venuska Tranberg-Bennett, Svenia Tranberg-Bennett, Petrevena Tranberg-Bennett, Tevania Tranberg-Bennett and Ryan Torres in Columbia County Court.

All of the defendants pleaded guilty December 16, 2020 to endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor. They were all sentenced to probation, except Mr. Torres, who was sentenced to conditional discharge. Read more…

Woman charged with rape and falsely reporting rape

STOCKPORT—The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office charged a Stockport woman for allegedly falsely reporting an incident, rape and child endangerment.

Deputy Sheriff Brian McSween of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation March 1 into a reported forcible rape that occurred in Stockport, according to a press release from Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

Dawn Budelman, 59, allegedly reported to authorities that a male entered her residence and raped her February 28. Criminal Investigator Joshua Oakes of the Sheriff’s Office Special Victim’s Unit immediately began an investigation that included multiple interviews, collection of evidence and an examination at Columbia Memorial Hospital. Further investigation revealed that a forcible rape did not occur and that Ms. Budelman had allegedly consented to a sexual act with a minor male under the age of 17 years old. Read more…

Pilot lands safely… except for the wheels part

A plane landed on its belly after the pilot failed to engage the landing gear. Photo contributed

GHENT—A plane that landed without its landing gear engaged was the subject of an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, Saturday, March 20 at about 6:13 p.m.

Deputy Zachary Torchia responded to a call about a fuel spill at the Columbia County Airport on Route 9H, where he found that the spill resulted when a plane landed without its landing gear deployed, according to a press release from Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

The plane was a 1963 Piper Comanche PA24-250 operated by Larrie Sutliff of Briarcliff Manor, a village in Westchester County. Read more…

Woman charged with endangering nursing home patient

GHENT—A health care worker wanted for endangering a nursing home patient turned herself over to authorities in response to a post on the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Michelana Howard, 23, of Hudson was charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent person, a class E felony, according to a March 10 press release from Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

An investigation began in October 2020 when Deputy Ryen Boehme received a complaint from an area nursing home reporting the improper behavior of an employee. The Special Victims Unit of the Sheriff’s Office was brought in to assist with the investigation. A charge for endangering the welfare of an incompetent person was drafted based on alleged actions of Ms. Howard. Read more…

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. Read more…