July 26, 1998
Edition: Schenectady Albany; Final
Capital Region Week In Review
Albany County * ALBANY - A judge angrily cut short a plea bargain Wednesday when a mother accused of beating her infant son into a coma said she simply shook the infant. County Judge Thomas A. Breslin refused to allow the deal, which would have sent the mother to state prison for 10 to 20 years. Alita Britt, 21, who was pleading guilty to assault charges and had already admitted that she beat her son, gave an answer that infuriated the judge. * WATERVLIET - The family of a man killed by a Watervliet police officer filed notice Wednesday that they will sue the city, because police should have known the man was only pointing a pellet gun at them. Brian Myers, 36, died last Thursday just down the street from his home at 211 Seventh Ave. after Watervliet Police Officer Joseph Torre shot him once in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun. Now questions have arisen over whether the shooting was justified. Police officials have said Torre was right to use deadly force because Myers was pointing a gun at police, and refused repeated orders to put it down. But Randall E. Kehoe, a lawyer for the Myers family, said Wednesday that several witnesses told police officers at the scene and a police dispatcher that it was "only a BB gun," a message that went out across police radios. Fulton County * EPHRATAH - Marijuana festival promoter Ina Kurz will host "Woodrock '98" Aug. 8 on the grounds of her Rockwood General Store. Kurz, who bills her second annual event as a "Hemp Festival," is seeking to legalize marijuana. Last year's event, "Woodrock '97," caused a major stir in the county. Fulton County Sheriff Thomas J. Lorey set up a command post near the site and deployed off-duty deputies to control an anticipated crowd of up to 10,000 patrons. Lorey later estimated that only several hundred attended, although Kurz declared that attendance was over 1,000. * GLOVERSVILLE - The girlfriend of a city man convicted of sexually abusing a child is trying to open a "pre-school camp" in a house owned by the offender's family. Erica Pendl, the girlfriend of convicted sex offender Richard Fosmire, 47, of Wells Street, has an application for a child-care center pending with the state Office of Children and Family Services. Angels Academy would be located at the Hill Street home of Fosmire's late father, a building Fosmire said he recently helped prepare for the academy's use. County officials said Fosmire was convicted of second-degree sexual abuse in 1992, a misdemeanor. He was accused of having sexual contact with a young girl - age not available. Montgomery County * AMSTERDAM - Manufacturers & Trust Bank of Buffalo, the bank that lent the money to construct a now-defunct sludge drying facility in the city, called in the entire $7.285 million bond note on Wednesday. At the same time, Moody's Investor Service, a New York City-based bond investment firm, downgraded the city's bond rating to the lowest level for medium grade ratings. This rating and the bond recall actions are both a direct result of the city's decision to stop making its annual lease payments on the sludge treatment facility. * FORT HUNTER - Divers searched the Mohawk River near Lock 12 Monday but could not find the knife used in a Sunday afternoon fight over a woman that left a 22-year-old man with six stab wounds on his buttocks. Seventeen-year-old Karl William Jelenic of Esperance was arrested on a felony assault charge shortly after the incident. Police said he admitted stabbing 22-year-old Mark Rohling of Mohawk Drive, Tribes Hill. Rohling was treated at Amsterdam Memorial Hospital and released Sunday night. Rensselaer County * TROY - State Sen. Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, Tuesday announced a $1.5 million state grant for the Rensselaer County Historical Society that will be used to renovate its headquarters and museum on Second Street. The money, which Bruno added to the 1998-1999 state budget, will be used for the Hart-Cluett Mansion as well as the adjacent Carr Building and carriage house. The renovations will allow the historical society to open the entire 1827 Federal-style mansion to the public and move its offices to the Carr Building next door, said Executive Director Donna Hassler. "This will more than double our space," she said. Saratoga County * CLIFTON PARK - A Jonesville home that was listed on the town's historic register will be demolished to make room for the expansion of a golf course. The 150-year-old Greek Revival home on Main Street in Jonesville was one of 24 buildings placed on the original historic registry when it was created last year. Clifton Park historian John Scherer said the home was placed on the list because the building's architectural details had been left untouched over time. * SARATOGA SPRINGS - The agency that oversees historical properties in the city has reluctantly given its conditional blessing to a plan to demolish the former Tom's Lodge. Bradley and Christopher Myers of Ballston Lake want to tear down the 150-year-old building and another house to construct 13 single-family townhouses on about three-quarters of an acre. * HALFMOON - Saratoga County sewer district officials are optimistic they have resolved a long-running dispute with Saratoga Springs over sewer improvements in the city. Public Works Commissioner Thomas G. McTygue said a street work permit the district needs will be issued once final plans are reviewed and approved by the city. McTygue has tied up the permit since last fall because he wanted assurances city residents wouldn't end up paying for sewer improvements that would benefit developers in the town of Wilton. Schenectady County * SCHENECTADY - A 19-year-old city man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the first-degree murder of Sheryl Denise Toyloy and 20 related counts as a grand jury indictment was unsealed. Rashad Scott was charged with killing the 29-year-old woman during a robbery targeting her boyfriend, Richard Vale, inside his GE Realty Plot home in March 1997. Scott, who appeared briefly and said little in court Wednesday, is the third man to be prosecuted in the case, and the only defendant to face a first-degree murder charge. The district attorney's office filed notice Wednesday they will not seek the death penalty. Scott is charged with killing Toyloy during a robbery March 12, 1997. * ROTTERDAM - The town's fiscal woes got a hefty painkiller this week in the form of a $851,000 state grant for landfill closure expenses. The grant was awarded by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and will go a long way toward relieving the town's financial crunch. The town had projected it would finish the year with a deficit of about $761,000. Depending on how the grant is used, the deficit could be greatly reduced or possibly eliminated. The town applied for the aid several years ago, but there wasn't enough money in the Environmental Protection Fund to give to the town. The town has another grant application pending with the state that could provide another half-million dollars. * SCHENECTADY - The city has been forced to limit hours at some of its pools this summer because of a shortage of lifeguards. Competition with colleges offering better internship programs and a strong economy with plenty of jobs are part of the problem, city officials said. Lifeguards earn $6 an hour in the city, while the state pays $8.80 an hour for guards at parks in the region. Schoharie County * GALLUPVILLE - Spelunker Craig Douglas was rescued from a Schoharie County cave Monday after spending nearly 42 hours. Rescuer Bob Hall, an experienced cave explorer from Cortland, gave the 24-year-old Massachusetts man much of the credit for his recovery from the 250-deep crevice about 9:30 a.m. Monday. Douglas became trapped 90 feet underground in Keyhole Cave in the Barton Hill Karst Reserve about 2:30 p.m. July 18. * SCHOHARIE - The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets awarded Schoharie County a $50,000 planning grant for the development of a farmland protection plan. The funding will help pay for surveying every farm and farm-related business to learn what they need to survive and thrive. Farm families will be interviewed starting in January for the survey. Responses will be collected into a report that will lead to recommendations to the Schoharie County board. Copies of the report will be sent to other funding agencies that helped underwrite the $100,000 project. The survey is just one of three to be conducted by the Schoharie County planning office and members of the Schoharie County chamber's Business Retention and Expansion Committee. The group is currently surveying 40 manufacturers, and plans are under way to survey retailers here. Planners hope the survey results will help improve local laws and boost economic growth. Regionwide * COLONIE - Toxic PCBs are re-entering the upper Hudson River at a startling pace from pollution hot spots several miles downriver from two General Electric Co. plants, federal officials said Thursday. The rate of re-entry over a decade is considered so rapid that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will decide this fall what emergency steps should be taken to control the problem. The PCBs are being redistributed throughout the river system, "threatening the health of people who live along the river," EPA officials said. * ALBANY - The Albany Institute of History and Art this week announced it has received a $500,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation as it prepares to break ground early this fall for its $12.5 million expansion project. An exact date for ground breaking has not been scheduled. The challenge grant brings to $10.5 million the total realized to date in Albany Institute's Heritage Campaign. The institute must raise $2 million by June 1, 1999, in order to meet the Kresge challenge. Watching out Rotterdam residents Joseph Bellomo, Michael Maddalone and Bob Massaroni were among those who gathered this week to talk about reviving a Fern Avenue neighborhood watch group.
-- MARC SCHULTZ -- Gazette Photographer
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