flagman is hit by car
Published: Tuesday, August 05, 2008
-- A flagman was struck by a car and injured while directing traffic in
Whitehall on Monday morning, State Police said.
Craig Lennox, of Granville, was taken to Glens Falls Hospital with leg and arm
injuries, Trooper Brian Callahan said.
injuries did not appear to be serious, Callahan said.
Lennox, a Washington County Highway Department employee, was directing cars in
a marked construction zone on county Route 12 at about 8 a.m. when the accident
occurred, police said.
Fred Stark, of Fort Ann, was northbound on Route 12 in a 1995
four-door Buick when he entered the construction zone, State Police said.
Stark did not see Lennox or his raised stop sign, and struck the flagman,
authorities said. Stark was ticketed for failure to obey a flag person, police
Merging police could
be good for taxpayers
History in county
shows merger could work without hurting coverage.
Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2008
They're considering it, and for all the same reasons every other government
body should be considering it.
Whitehall and Granville officials are looking into merging their police
departments, or seeking some other cost-cutting arrangement, that would allow
them to save taxpayers money.
the kind of thinking that should be taking place all over the region, as rising
prices for everything from fuel to salaries and pensions drive up the cost of
government to the citizens.
The impetus for this discussion between Whitehall and Granville is a vacancy
created in the Whitehall chief's office as a result of the incumbent failing to
pass the civil service test.
than hire a new chief, village officials in both communities are considering
combining police departments under one administration to serve their combined
There's already a model for this kind of cooperation in Washington County
that's working well.
The Cambridge and Greenwich police departments merged in 2004, with Cambridge
Chief George Bell taking over the Greenwich force when the part-time Greenwich
chief declined a full-time position.
Greenwich contracted with Cambridge for administration for less than the cost
of a full-time chief. Eventually, the two departments merged under a single
name to serve their 3,900 residents.
Chief Bell said Tuesday that the Greenwich-Cambridge arrangement has worked
well and has saved taxpayers money over the past four years. He said he's able
to have complete police coverage in both villages using full and part-time
officers, and he has flexibility to move officers around as the need arises.
For instance, he said, he can have a part-time officer work part of a shift in
Greenwich and another part of the shift in Cambridge if necessary.
said it also came in handy when officers from both villages were able to be
dispatched to the Jaliek Rainwalker search.
Bell said even more taxpayer money could be saved if he didn't have to operate
the departments under two separate payrolls. Village attorneys and other
officials have been working for the last month to see if they can get the
departments working under one budget, he said.
The situations involving the municipalities are similar, too, in that the
villages of Whitehall and Granville are roughly the same driving distance apart
as Greenwich and Cambridge.
There are other options the villages could consider besides an administrative
They include contracting with the county Sheriff's Office for coverage. That,
too, might be able to save taxpayers money without having a negative impact on
they could do a combination of both.
The enthusiastic support from local officials for some kind of action with
regard to police administrations is encouraging. Other police departments in
close proximity to each other should consider similar proposals. Officials in
these small communities should ask themselves if they really need their own
individual police forces anymore.
The police stations in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, for example, are about two
miles apart, and there's a sheriff's station and county jail between them.
Perhaps they could consider combining forces to save money and operate more
Any time that government bodies, whether by choice or by circumstance, decide
to look into consolidating services, the taxpayers win. Tradition and
familiarity aren't a good excuse for maintaining an expensive and inefficient
Local editorials represent the opinion of The Post-Star
editorial board, which consists of Editor Ken Tingley, Editorial Page Editor
Mark Mahoney and citizen representative Nancy Fitzpatrick.
Village looking at
possibly disbanding or merging force with Granville's
By Don Lehman
Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2008
-- Village officials are exploring the possibility of disbanding the village
police force or merging its administration with that of the police department
in neighboring Granville.
The discussions come as the Village Board is looking into hiring a new police
chief after current Chief Richard LaChapelle was unable to pass the civil
service test for the position.
board plans to meet with a prospective candidate for the chief position today,
but has also contacted Washington County Sheriff Roger Leclaire about the
possibility of doing away with the Police Department and having the Sheriff's
Office instead patrol the village.
Whitehall Mayor Patricia Norton said village leaders "are looking at
different options to save money" when paying for police protection.
just putting some feelers out. I'm open to everything at this point," she
said. "Obviously with the cost of fuel everything is coming to a head
She said the Village Board is to meet with a chief candidate Tuesday, and
Norton planned to meet with Granville Mayor Jay Niles on Thursday to discuss
the two villages sharing a police chief.
Under that scenario, Granville Police Chief Ernest Bassett would serve as chief
of both departments, with the two villages sharing the cost of his position.
Bassett referred comment on the situation to Niles.
"We have to find ways to save taxpayers money," Niles said.
"They (Whitehall officials) approached us on it, and it's something we're
seriously looking into."
Leclaire acknowledged he had been contacted by Norton, but he said he had not
been asked for a formal proposal to take over policing of the village.
"We haven't done anything with it. I'd have to see what they want" before
determining how much it would cost, Leclaire said.
would return to his previous rank of sergeant when Bassett, or someone else, is
LaChappelle said the arrangement would seem to be similar to that of the
Cambridge-Greenwich Police Department, where then Cambridge Police Chief George
Bell took over police chief duties for both villages.
Sandford, who is the police chief of Fort Edward, said he favors keeping a
local police department, and he said many residents "like his (LaChappelle's)
services" as chief of the department.
The Whitehall Police Department has five full-time officers, one of whom is out
on long-term injury disability, and 10 part-time officers.
LaChapelle said he has been asked to cut patrol car miles to save money, and he
had concerns that village leaders would seek to cut a police officer position,
which he believes would affect public safety.
LaChappelle said the village would not get the same level of
service if patrolled by the Sheriff's Office without a station in the Whitehall
"You need to keep local service," he said.
LaChappelle said he is looking into other ways to save the village money, such
as putting fewer miles on the department's patrol cars and using more foot
Singer: Drug arrest
saved my life
By Don Lehman
Published: Thursday, June 19, 2008
EDWARD -- Former Phish frontman Ernest "Trey" Anastasio said
Wednesday that his December 2006 drug arrest saved his life.
Anastasio's remarks came as he graduated from Washington County Felony Drug
Treatment Court, along with 10 other participants in the program.
Anastasio said he remembered thanking Whitehall Police Chief Richard LaChapelle
the night LaChapelle and his fellow Whitehall Police officers arrested
Anastasio on drug possession charges during a traffic stop.
Anastasio was arrested for illegal possession of heroin and prescription drugs
and driving under the influence of drugs.
remember thinking, 'My life is being saved,' " the Richmond, Vt.,
resident told the dozens in attendance for the graduation.
Anastasio invited LaChapelle to the graduation, and the chief was in attendance
as the famed musician thanked him.
"It's good to see someone who is serious about addressing their drug
issues," LaChapelle said.
The 44-year-old lead singer and guitar player completed the intensive program
of supervision and treatment in 14 months. He will spend 3 years on probation
following the completion of the drug court program.
Anastasio's remarks were part of an emotional ceremony that saw the 100th
person graduate from the county's drug court program, which is in its sixth
In addition to thanking the police, he and the other graduates also praised
drug court staff members Melanie Vaughn and Charles DeVries and county Judge
Kelly McKeighan for their roles in helping them get sober.
can go on and on about how they changed my life," said graduate John
One of the graduates, Daniel Wasielewski, who spent 27 months in the program,
composed a moving song about his experience, which got him a standing ovation
from the packed court gallery.
"I stand before you living proof, because if I can do this, anyone can do
this," he said.
Drug court participants are required to complete extensive rehabilitation and
counseling programs, do community service and take frequent drug and alcohol
One graduate, Richard Schulz of Granville, joked about the frequent tests.
"I know when I wake up tomorrow morning and have to pee, I
don't have to call (drug court) first," the 62-year-old said. "At my
age, that's important."
No statistics were available as to how many of the drug court graduates have
re-offended since the first group graduated in 2003, but Washington County
District Attorney Kevin Kortright said it's only a handful.
"It's proven to be a very good program," he said.
UPDATED -- Missing Whitehall man found
THE POST STAR
Updated: Monday, June 9,
2008 11:43 AM EDT
WHITEHALL The elderly
Whitehall man who disappeared this morning was found in a car at a car
dealership late Monday morning, officials said.
Harold Huzzy Martell, 82, was found seated in a
car behind the repair shop at Ross Chevrolet, police said. An employee of the
dealership had seen him walking in that area around 8 a.m. and notified police,
who found him in a car, police said.
Whitehall Police Chief Richard LaChapelle said it was
unclear why he was in the car, but he appeared unhurt.
Whitehall and Skenesborough firefighters, Whitehall
Police and state forest rangers were searching for him when he was found.
Martell had last been
seen at his Boardman Street home about 6 a.m., LaChapelle
Martell, a former Washington County fire coordinator, has health problems that
include not being able to move well. LaChapelle said
relatives last saw him early Monday, and there were no plans for him to go
Man driving motorized
cooler faces DWI, other charges
By Don Lehman
Published: Tuesday, June
WHITEHALL - In case you
were wondering, a motorized cooler on wheels is a motor vehicle under state
A Whitehall man learned that on Memorial Day, when he was charged with driving
while intoxicated after police pulled him over for swerving and driving on the
sidewalk on a four-wheeled, motorized cooler known as a "Cruzin Cooler."
Leslie J. "Bomber" Marr, 57, could face felony DWI and aggravated
unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle charges because of prior arrests and
convictions in drinking-and-driving cases, said Whitehall Police Chief Richard LaChapelle.
The electricity-powered Cruzin Cooler that Marr was
riding contained 14 beers, the chief said.
LaChapelle said Whitehall Police
Patrolman Andrew Mija stopped Marr at about 7:45 p.m.
after the officer saw Marr swerving and preparing to cross William Street on
the motorized cooler.
The machine has handlebars, and its operator sits on a seat atop the cooler, LaChapelle said.
"We were told it can do up to 12 mph," the chief said.
Marr had apparently just left the nearby American Legion Post 83, but it was
unclear where he was going, LaChapelle said. He was
not headed toward his Lafayette Street home, and he refused to take a breath
test, the chief said.
Marr had apparently been working at the American Legion post earlier in the
day, according to police.
Marr was charged with misdemeanor counts of DWI and aggravated unlicensed
operation of a motor vehicle, and also was cited for operating an uninsured
He was released pending
prosecution in Whitehall Village Court.
The Cruzin Cooler was seized by police, the chief
No listed phone number for Marr could be found Monday.
Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright
said the scooter is considered a motor vehicle under state law.
"They tell us he's been riding around town on that cooler for years,"
Kortright said. "You can't cruise around on your
cooler if you're intoxicated."
Cruzin Coolers generally run on
300-watt to 500-watt motors similar to those used on other motorized scooters,
but there are some models that run on gasoline.
The company's Web site boasts the vehicles can travel up to 13 mph and pull up
to 400 pounds. Price-wise, they begin at about $300.
They are legal in New York, according to the company's Web site.
Police make arrests
in alcohol sting
By DON LEHMAN
Published: Tuesday, June
Two store clerks were
arrested Wednesday after they sold alcohol to underage volunteers who were
working with police. The arrests included one clerk who sold to two underage
people in a span of five minutes, police said.
Katina Davis, 21, of Whitehall was charged with two counts of first-degree
unlawfully dealing with a child, a misdemeanor, after she allegedly sold beer
to two 19-year-olds in a span of a few minutes while working at the Stewart's
Shops store in Whitehall.
The arrest was part of an effort to check businesses in Whitehall, Fort Ann,
Kingsbury, Hudson Falls, South Glens Falls and Fort Edward to see if they would
sell alcohol to the 19-year-olds, who volunteered to work with police.
Police had success only at the Whitehall Stewart's and at Fort Ann Super Stop,
where Nicholas Butler, 19, of Fort Ann was charged with unlawfully dealing with
a child for allegedly selling alcohol to one of the teens, according to the
Washington County Sheriff's Office.
Police checked 16 stores in
all, including Stewart's in Kingsbury, Hudson Falls, Fort Edward and South
Glens Falls, Cumberland Farms in Whitehall, Hudson Falls, Fort Ann and Fort
Edward, CVS, Hannaford and Kingsbury Liquor in Kingsbury, Deli Mart and Hess in
South Glens Falls and Sunoco in Whitehall, but staff at those stores did not
sell alcohol to the 19-year-olds.
Davis was released pending prosecution in Whitehall Village Court, while Butler
was released to appear in Fort Ann Town Court.
The sting was part of an effort by the Sheriff's Office and police in
Whitehall, Hudson Falls, Fort Edward and South Glens Falls.
Four charged in
jumping on freight train
By DON LEHMAN
THE POST STAR
Published: Tuesday, May 20,
WHITEHALL - Police early
Sunday arrested four people who had hitched a ride on a freight train from
Vermont, the second time in about a month that freeloaders who jump on freight
trains were caught in town, officials said.
Washington County sheriff's officers arrested four Vermont residents about
12:30 a.m. Sunday after getting a complaint from Vermont Rail officials that
trespassers had boarded a freight train heading into Whitehall from central
Vermont, Sheriff Roger Leclaire said. At least one
person had apparently made it into one of the engines pulling the train, Leclaire said.
The train stopped in Whitehall and sheriff's officers caught all four, although
two fled from police and were caught after a brief foot chase, the sheriff
"Apparently it's some kind of game they were playing, jumping on the train
to hitch a ride," Leclaire said.
Nicholas J. Welch, 21, of
Wallingford, Vt.; Michael J. Manfredi, 28, of West
Rutland, Vt.; Troy M. McCullough, 27, of West Rutland, Vt.; and Diana L. Bessette, 29, of West Rutland, were each charged with
third-degree criminal trespass, police said. They were arraigned before
Whitehall Judge Richard Gordon, who sent Manfredi and
Welch to Washington County Jail for lack of bail, while McCullough and Bessette were released pending prosecution.
Whitehall Police Chief Richard LaChapelle, whose
agency assisted the Sheriff's Office with the case, said the arrest was the
second of train freeloaders in five weeks.
On April 11, three people were caught trespassing on railroad tracks off
Broadway, he said. One was from California, the others from Connecticut and
Rhode Island, and they told police they had been on trains together from
Buffalo headed east, said LaChapelle.
"They said they just hopped on and went from place to place," the
chief said. "They climb into a box car and off they go."
They told police they were trying to get to Vermont. They were charged with
trespass, a noncriminal violation, and released.
Dave Wilson, president of Vermont Rail, said trespassing on freight trains has
long been a problem, but it doesn't seem worse now than usual.
"It's an issue that's
still out there. We have trespassers all over the place," he said.
"Until the states step up and do something to make more penalties, it's
going to continue."
The criminal trespass charge filed in Sunday's case is punishable by up to 90
days in jail.
Two men charged in
THE POST STAR
Updated: Tuesday, April 15,
2008 8:54 AM EDT
WHITEHALL -- Two men who
allegedly stole 84 pieces of scrap steel from a railroad storage area were
arrested Monday as they drove to a scrap yard to sell it, police said.
The duo was spotted driving from the Broadway railyard
with the pieces of metal, which weighed about 130 pounds apiece, in a pickup
truck Monday morning, said Whitehall Police Chief Richard LaChapelle.
Police got a good description of the pickup from witnesses, and minutes after
the truck left the railyard, Washington County
Sheriff's Deputy Don Jett spotted it in Kingsbury, LaChapelle
said. The men were on their way to Eastside Auto's scrap yard to sell the
metal, the chief said. The metal, old pieces of railroad track, was worth about
$600, LaChapelle said.
Charged with petit larceny, a misdemeanor, and the non-criminal violation of
trespass were Jeremy J. Hicks, 20, of Dresden and a 16-year-old from Queensbury
whose name is being withheld because of his age. The Post-Star generally does
not identify those under 18 charged with misdemeanors or less.
Both were released pending
prosecution in Whitehall Village Court.
Police: Street fight
leads to broken jaw, felony assault charge for Whitehall man
THE POST STAR
Published: Sunday, April
WHITEHALL -- A dispute over
a woman prompted a Whitehall man to attack an acquaintance Thursday night and
break the man's jaw, police said.
Charles A. DeGroff, 19, of Saunders Street was
charged with second-degree assault, a felony, in the 11:50 p.m. altercation on
Main Street, said Whitehall Police Chief Richard LaChapelle.
Michael Rozell, 19, of Whitehall suffered a fractured
jaw and was taken to Glens Falls Hospital for treatment, LaChapelle
said. Police were told the injury will likely require surgery, the chief said.
The two men had dated the
same woman and were embroiled in a dispute over her, police said. DeGroff is accused of punching Rozell
in the face.
DeGroff was arraigned in Whitehall Village Court and
sent to Washington County Jail for lack of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bail
Whitehall Police Patrolman Craig Fifield made the
Man arrested after
allegedly burning woman's face with cigarette
THE POST STAR
Updated: Friday, April 11,
2008 3:03 PM EDT
WHITEHALL -- A Whitehall
man was arrested on a felony criminal contempt charge Thursday night after he
allegedly burned a womans face with a cigarette,
Andrew A. Lane, 38, of Molineros Trailer Park, was
arrested after police received a call at 7:30 p.m. about the womans injury, said Whitehall Police Chief Richard LaChapelle.
The woman was not seriously hurt and refused medical treatment for a minor
burn, the chief said.
Lane was charged because an order of protection had been issued in Whitehall
Town Court barring him from abusive conduct toward the woman.
In addition to a charge of
first-degree criminal contempt that accused Lane of violating the order of
protection, he was charged with second-degree harassment, a non-criminal
violation. An assault charge may be filed as the investigation continues, LaChapelle said.
Lane was arraigned before Whitehall Town Justice William Redmond and released
on his own recognizance, with a no-contact order of protection issued.
social host law
By NICK REISMAN
Published: Wednesday, March
WHITEHALL -- In an effort
to curb beer-soaked underage drinking bashes, village officials Monday approved
a measure that would punish anyone over the age of 21 for hosting parties where
alcohol is served to minors.
"I know that there have been some where there
seems to be some partying with not necessarily with the parents present. But
they might be in another part of the house," said Village Mayor Patricia
Norton. "It is becoming a problem."
The law, which the Village Board approved unanimously, is similar to measures
passed in Hudson Falls and Warren County.
Known commonly as a social host law, the measures are designed to punish
parents or guardians who knowingly allow underage drinking parties to go on in
The law would take effect
upon filing it with New York's secretary of state.
About 50 communities around the state have passed social host laws.
"I think it will make the young people aware of the fact that partying is
not going to be tolerated and there are consequences to that partying,"
Offenders could receive a maximum fine of $250 fine and up to 15 days in jail.
Village Attorney Tony Jordan said the law would be applied judiciously.
Parents who are truly unaware that their teenagers are throwing an
alcohol-fueled party would escape prosecution, he said.
"For instance, if I'm
out of town, my kids have a party -- that's not what this case deals
with," Jordan said.
The law, he said, would go after repeat offenders.
"I think it begins to defy credibility, however, if someone cries
ignorance a third time," Jordan said.
Like many communities, underage drinking parties affect the quality of life, he
Whitehall officials discussed a social host law in November, when a 27-year-old
man was arrested after being found in a vehicle with a bottle of liquor,
containers of beer, an 18-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl, both of whom
had been drinking, police said at the time.
the same issues every community I think is experiencing," Jordan said.
"I don't think it's any different anywhere else. There's this problem,
there's a way to address this problem, why don't we look at it?"
It's already illegal for adults to purchase alcohol for minors to consume.
But the social host laws take the issue a step further, said David Saffer, executive director of the Council for Prevention of
Alcohol and Substance Abuse of Warren and Washington Counties.
"It's another tool for law enforcement to make parents responsible, to
make property owners responsible for what happens on their property," he
Caller ID leads
police to suspect who fled scene
By DON LEHMAN
February 27, 2008
WHITEHALL -- A Vermont
teen's attempt to flee from police early Tuesday was foiled by caller ID.
The 18-year-old, Alexander Jakubowski of Castleton,
Vt., hid his car in a Poultney Street driveway after Whitehall Police Patrolman
Craig Fifield tried to pulled him over at 1:45 a.m.
for attempting to pass in a no-passing zone, said Whitehall Police Chief Dick LaChapelle.
Jakubowski and two passengers in the 2000 Audi sedan
he was driving ran from the car when Fifield pulled
in behind it, the chief said.
Fifield caught a 19-year-old woman, Katelind Rowe, of Fair Haven, Vt., seconds later, but the two
men got away.
Jakubowski, though, wound up in
custody about 45 minutes later after he entered a home on Mountain Street and
used a phone there to call Rowe's cell phone while she was at the Whitehall
Police, suspecting it was him, traced the call to the Mountain Street home
through caller ID and arrested Jakubowski as he hid
in the front doorway of the home, LaChapelle said.
"We didn't pick it up, but we had dispatch trace the number and give us
the address when he called," LaChapelle said.
Occupants of the home were sleeping upstairs when the teen went into the home,
and were not aware he was there until police arrived, LaChapelle
Jakubowski was charged with the felony of
second-degree burglary for entering the home and the misdemeanor of petit
larceny for taking the cordless phone from the home, and was also issued
several traffic tickets, LaChapelle said.
He was arraigned before village Justice William Redmond and sent to Washington
County Jail for lack of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bail bond.
Rowe was charged with the noncriminal violation of unlawful possession of marijuana
and released on her own recognizance.
Police on Tuesday afternoon were still seeking the other passenger who got
He was identified as Adam Spanos, 22, of Castleton,
Vt., but LaChapelle said it did not appear he would
be charged. He is on probation in Vermont, the chief said.
The group was headed into Whitehall to buy beer, police said. Stores and bars
in Vermont stop selling alcohol at 1 a.m.
So why did Jakubowski, who was driving his father's
car, flee from police?
"He said he was
scared," LaChapelle said.