Blogs > Saratogian Newsroom

The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Monday, December 24

Merry Christmas! I got you police blotters for Dec. 18-23!

Just what you've always wanted!

Dec. 18, 2012 Blotter from 112/18/2012 Dec. 19, 2012 Blotter from 12/19/2012 Dec. 20, 2012 Blotter from 12/20/2012 Dec. 21, 2012 Blotter from 12/21/2012 Dec. 22, 2012 Blotter from 12//22/2012 Dec. 23, 2012 Blotter from 12/23/2012

Thursday, December 20

First Night fun

First Night Fireworks may be going off after all. It's yet a possibility, but Saratoga Springs Police Chief Chris Cole said he has been working "literally around the clock" on coming up with a solution that can bring the popular fireworks back to usher in 2013 (presuming, of course, that we're all still here).

The fireworks were cancelled after the Public Safety Department expressed concerns over staffing for the event. The Police Department has fewer officers than anyone can remember (54 active officers). That means that splitting their time between keeping the New Year's Eve crowd under control (remember the stabbing last year?) and keeping people from experiencing the fireworks in a far too up-close-and-personal kind of way is not much of an option.

He said they've been talking to Saratoga Arts organizers who put First Night "coming up with a viable solution"  to bring the fireworks back, but that it is in their hands now.

Monday, December 17

Blotters for the last few days: Dec. 14 - Dec. 17

Haven't posted the blotter in a while, but here is the last four days of it.

Dec. 13 at 177 S. Broadway: “Two white females dressed in red came into the store and threw coffee on the floor”

West Avenue, Dec. 14 at just after midnight.: Reports of an intoxicated male “unable to get onto bicycle.” He was transported home, though there was no indication whether it was a police officer driving him there.

On Nelson Avenue at about 8:30 a.m. Dec. 14 there was a report of a “possible 6 or 7 year old female wearing pink coat walking in circles.” Not sure why that was a problem, but the girl was waiting for the school bus and was observed getting on it about an hour later. Long wait, I guess.

Here is the blotter entry about the reports of a gun being flashed Friday night at Cumberland Farms on Geyser Road:
4:27 p.m.: “Caller requests assistance with a dispute possible road rage incident that occurred Cumberland Farms on Geyser Road. Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office looking for two vehicles white SUV … possible weapon in vehicle. Also second vehicle burgundy Grand Prix with no plate available Possible black male operating vehicle Park Police advise they are checking the park.
4:30 p.m.: “Vehicle stop Geyser Road School white SUV.” I saw that traffic stop, actually, and it turned out to be the alleged victim. About 15 minutes later it was sent to Cumberland Farms to talk to the officers there. “Victim states did not see a weapon units clear.”
The Sheriff’s Department handled the case and did not provide much info afterward. I was told it was not what it seemed, though.

5:20 p.m. Friday there was a report of a possible vehicle stolen. I’ll see if there is anything to that later.

Just after midnight Saturday night, a woman reported being pushed out of a moving vehicle by her boyfriend. Police caught up with him a few minutes later but did not make an arrest.

Shortly thereafter, an intoxicated subject on Caroline Street requested EMS “for voices in his head.”
Anyway, that was my takeaway from the weekend's blotters. If you want to read what else the police were up to, below are the days' blotters. In case you hadn't noticed, I've been posting them for the last couple weeks.

December 14, 2012 Blotter Blotter 121412 December 15, 2012 Blotter Blotter 121512 December 16, 2012 Blotter Blotter 121612 December 17, 2012 Blotter Blotter 121712

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Thursday, December 13

Blotter 12/13/12

I spent almost my entire day in Washington County today between the Cambridge press conference on Jaliek Rainwalker and the sentencing of the man who caused the Salem House explosion in July 2011.

It seems like the police spent most of yesterday chasing down mental health pickups and suspicious vehicles.

There was also an unattended death which I am told is not suspicious, a report of a Rottweiler running down the street with a cat in its mouth and an assault on a woman in her home that ended in a mental health pickup.

Blotter 121312

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Wednesday, December 12

Blotter for 12/12/12

Here is the City Police blotter for 12/12/12. There are a few reports of Christmas lights and decorations being stolen from houses, so I'm going to see if there have been any reports of a green guy in a Santa suit with a heart that is two sizes too small on the loose.

Blotter 121212

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Tuesday, December 11

Blotters for Dec. 10, 11

Here are the blotters released Monday and Tuesday.

There were no arrests either day and at first glance, doesn't appear to be anything too crazy.

Just after midnight Sunday, a man called police asking what he should do about a small piece of paper towel lodged in his throat... so that's interesting. Blotter 121012
For the blotter released Tuesday for 8 a.m. Monday to 8 a.m. Tuesday, A woman was egged while walking her dogs along Michael Drive Monday night and a man was dropped off on Allen Drive at about midnight, only get confused about where he lived. At that point dispatchers reported he "is screaming." Blotter 121112

Just curious if anyone out there is actually reading these? I haven't seen any comment, which usually indicates that I may as well be posting this over my desk for the number of people who read it.

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Monday, December 10

Weekend Blotters Dec. 7-9, 2012

I should have said in my other post that I will post the blotters on every day I'm working. That often does not include weekends.

Here are the releases from the weekend.

Friday's blotter, released Saturday morning:
Blotter for Friday, released Saturday Here is the release for Saturday 8 a.m. to Sunday 8 a.m. which was released Sunday: Blotter for Saturday, released Sunday. Noticed a lot of calls for cars running with no one in them. Do people call the police for that? I'll post the blotter for Sunday to Monday as soon as I get it.

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Friday, December 7

Public safety transparency

There has been a lot of criticism in the last few months about transparency in the Public Safety Department or the perceived lack thereof, but I will say this: things are getting better.

Just in the time that I have been working at the newspaper and covering events in the city (about two years now) I've noticed a difference in how readily information comes out of the Police Department.

They have improved their website, routinely put up mug shots (something they didn't often provide when I got here) and have gone to the Nixle service which will send text or e-mail alerts about incidents/activities/arrests that happen with the PD.

For those who are interested, you can sign up to receive those alerts at their website here.

Recent events show it isn't a perfect system, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

The editors and I also met with Chief Chris Cole, Lt. John Catone who handles their public information, Capt. Mike Chowske who oversees the patrol unit and deals with press inquiries on administrative issues, Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen and Deputy Commissioner Eileen Finneran yesterday in City Hall to discuss communication issues.

There were disagreements over a few things but overall it was a productive meeting.

Catone is in training for his duties as public information officer at the end of which he will be certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (because we all know how good the federal government is about disseminating information).

In addition, if you've noticed any of the recent Police Blotters, the PD is releasing more detailed information about every arrest made in the city, which makes our job easier.

In addition, they've started e-mailing their full police blotter to the press daily. It was available before at the window at the police station, but the email means I can put it out to anyone who is interested.

So, I'll be posting the blotter here in the blog. I'd like to commit to doing it every day, but I know that as soon as I commit to that something will come up and I won't do it. So I'll just say that I'll post it as often as I can.

I'll tag the post with "Blotter" so if you are interested in seeing how each shift at the department goes, check in every day and you can see it for yourself.

If you have questions about anything in the blotter, feel free to e-mail me at lmccarty@saratogian.com and I'll do what I can to get you some answers.

Blotter 120712

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Tuesday, December 4

And the plot thickens...

Well, I had finished the story about 66 Franklin Street and was at the City Council meeting when I got an interesting e-mail from Joe Boff, owner of 66 Franklin Street, the historic Winan-Crippens House.

It seems he is getting a restraining order against him from the attorney representing the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation. Maybe I should let that sink in....

Here's the e-mail he received and forwarded to me:
Gentlemen: Please be advised that we will be seeking a temporary restraining order in Supreme Court tomorrow morning. We have not yet been assigned a judge, but we anticipate being assigned a judge at around 9:30 am. We will telephone you at that time as to who the case is assigned too, and will provide you with a set of our papers at that time.
George F. Carpinello
Now, I'm sure that this isn't the kind of "You will not go within 500 feet of..." kind of restraining order, but it definitely seems bizzare. 

This came after Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation Executive Director Samantha Bosshart said they were "taken a bit by surprise" by the fact that the Design Review Commission will be reviewing their proposal Monday at a special meeting.

She said the SSPF has "concerns" about the Final Environmental Impact Statement the DRC accepted and will be ruling on Monday. With that, the DRC will also decide whether Boff can tear down the building, something he said he will do immediately if approved.

While Bosshart told me "we want to see the process preserved" and has accused Boff of doing an "end-run" in the past along with other SSPF members, Boff says its Bosshart and the SSPF that "manipulate the system" to keep him from tearing down a building he says can't be saved.

This isn't the first time and may not be the last time the two sides will end up in court over this. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Snow Geese

While it may not be trending as one of our most popular stories of the day, the gaggle of Snow Geese certainly left quite an impression on Saratogians Monday.

Between the groups of people flocking (har har) to see them in the corn field across from the YMCA to those who followed their trek to Loughberry Lake, birders and non-birders alike were clamoring to get a glimpse. It seemed like every other call we got at the office was letting us know about the field of white feathers on West Avenue, and some people were exasperated in their descriptions.

I received an e-mail from a bird-enthusiast I thought I would share.

There seemed to be some debate about how common these geese are to our area. From what I understand, it isn't unusual for them to pass through the area, but it IS unusual for them to stop in the Spa City itself.

Kenny Barnett, who has a Facebook page called "Naturalist Guy", said he routinely sees them in the Argyle area on their way south for the winter. He seems to know his stuff (and I everything I know about Snow Geese was confined to that short article). The other bird expert I spoke to said they often fly at night, which is why people don't often see them around here.

Here's a video I shot at Loughberry Lake Monday night when the thousands of geese were resting on the water. You can't really make out much, but listen to those honks! The lake seemed to just amplify the din. 

video 

Update: They were, indeed, on Loughberry Lake still today. I got a series of three pictures from Eric Green, who said he pulled over to catch a few photos when he was driving home but  as he was taking them, "something spooked them and they took off. It was a pretty amazing sight."

I'll say! Thanks for the photos!