Cascino trial closes with another eyewitness to dumping

HUDSON—The tone was contentious in state Supreme Court this week as Salvatore Cascino’s defense attorney, Dennis Schlenker, questioned his own witness, a former Copake Planning Board chairman. The witness did not appear to offer Mr. Cascino’s case much help, but instead supported the accounts of other eyewitnesses, who have observed large quantities of trash and other refuse being dumped on Mr. Cascino’s land in Copake.
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Village has poop, scoop and carry law nearly in the bag

CHATHAM—Village trustees reviewed the proposed “pooper scooper” law at their meeting Thursday, March 12. The draft law, which will be the subject of a public hearing Thursday, March 26, not only says that dog owners must pick up their pets’ waste, it also says they have to take it home with them.
     The proposed law states: “It shall be the responsibility of each dog owner… to remove any feces left by such dog on any sidewalk, gutter, street, public areas or privately owned property (other than the property of the dog owner) within the Village of Chatham.” The proposal also says that “every person, while walking a dog… in The Village of Chatham shall carry a device, commonly known as a ‘pooper scooper,’ or such other implements or materials, to be utilized for the purpose of removing the feces and for carrying of the same to the premise of the owner of the dog for proper disposal.”
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Local woman victimized by ‘Grandma’ phone scam

W.LEBANON–“Hi, Gramma,” the young man said to Dorothy DeBella last Monday. “What’s wrong,” she asked. The young man told her that he was in jail in Montreal, that he had accompanied a friend for a night in Canada, and that the friend had been carrying marijuana, discovered at a border check. He needed $2,500 wired to him immediately to get out of jail. “Please,” he begged her, “don’t tell anyone.”
     And like any grandmother, Mrs. DeBella moved heaven and earth to help her “grandson” in what has become known as the “Grandma scam.” At 9 p.m., when her “grandson” hadn’t made his promised call after she and her husband, Joseph, drove to Chatham in that day’s snowstorm to wire the money, she called her grandson on his cell phone. “‘What are you talking about?’ He thought I’d lost my mind,” she said. Then she called the State Police.

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By stroke of luck, snowy owl rescued from river

WHO KNEW that owls could swim?
Richard Guthrie, a prominent birder in this region, got a call early last November from a colleague about a snowy owl swimming in the Hudson River. The report originated with the crew and passengers aboard the USS Slater, a WWII destroyer escort, now a floating museum, moored near Albany. At the time Mr. Guthrie wondered whether the spotters  had actually seen a gull, goose or swan.
But it did turn out to be a snowy owl in the southernmost part of its range. And the bird had come to rest on an outcropping of rocks on the Rensselaer side of the Hudson.
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Cascino claims ignorance on need for permits

HUDSON—Salvatore Cascino is a registered hauler of solid waste, but the only solid waste he ever hauls is leaves—never garbage.
     Mr. Cascino testified to that among other things when he took the stand Wednesday, March 11, during his ongoing civil trial in state Supreme Court at the Columbia County Courthouse.
     The case, being heard by Acting State Supreme Court Judge Jonathan Nichols, stems from allegations by the Town of Copake that Mr. Cascino violated town codes by building and dumping illegally on his 300-acre property called Copake Valley Farm.
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