Blogs > Saratogian Newsroom

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

Friday, January 25

Blotter for Jan. 25, 2013

Not much going on but a counterfeit $10 bill reported on Nelson Avenue Thursday afternoon, which to me sounds like a lot of work/risk for $10, but I guess that's why I don't counterfeit bills.

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 24

Blotter for Jan. 24, 2013

Police received a call at 9:30 a.m. about a student last seen at 2 a.m. half-dressed and intoxicated. The subject was eventually located and was in the ER, though it is unclear whether he/she was located in the ER.

There was also a report of burglary at a chapel on Greenridge Place. I’ll be trying to get more info about that.

Someone lost their finger last night, though I don’t think it was in Saratoga Springs.

A woman reported receiving “disturbing pictures” on her phone from a man who was then transported to the mental health unit. Those had to have been scary.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 23

Police Blotter for Jan. 23, 2013

Not much going on yesterday. A couple of property-damage accidents (PDA) and some reports of harassment and larcenies.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 22

City Council - 2013

Like Christmas, the election season seems to start earlier every year. We're barely into 2013 and already people are speculating about who is running for City Council in November.

"Usually you don't hear about these things until April," Mayor Scott Johnson said in his office Tuesday. 

I've heard all sorts of rumors at this point: that the mayor is not running again; that a certain supervisor is looking to unseat him if Johnson does run again; that Ken Ivins is returning from his term off to take a run not as finance commissioner, but as Accounts Commissioner; that Bill McTygue is planning a campaign for supervisor; that Cuomo is running for president.... oh wait, wrong election, though that is probably the same level of foresight we are talking about here.

Well, I'm going to be calling around on these. Actually, I called around on these (with the exception of Cuomo) and I'll post their responses as (if) they call me back.

Ivins said he hasn't made up his mind about what he is going to do another half-year from now (I can relate, I still haven't finalized my plans for this evening). As for the idea that he would not go for Finance Commissioner again, he said "I haven't made up my mind yet A) whether I'm running and B) what I would be running for." So that doesn't exactly sound like "No."

McTygue also didn't discount the idea. "It's early," he said, adding "no decision have been made at all in that regard."

He said people have been speculating because he has been making more appearances at City Council meetings and speaking up about issues. "I've been getting a lot of encouragement," he said.

Johnson, too, said he hasn't "publicly decided yet" about whether he would be running for reelection, but in our conversation about who a potential opponent would be referenced a quote he attributed to Joe Bruno, saying "I don't pick my opponents, I just beat them." 

Well, on the mayoral race I did catch up with Joanne Yepsen as well, who wouldn't say what position she is planning on running for in November. "There are several options on the table," she said, adding that she is having "preliminary conversations," about which she would choose. She wouldn't comment, either, on whether she was just evaluating city positions or if she was looking outside.

Those aren't the only rumors running around, obviously, but those are the ones I thought I'd address today. If anybody else hears others, let me know and I'll try to get non-committal answers from those people.

Labels: , , , , ,

Blotter for Jan. 22, 2013

Not much in the blotter today and there were no arrests.

I'm not sure what to make of this one: A female called 911 at about 8:27 a.m. and told police she was having a language barrier and some kind of psychiatric issue with another party. Then a male party got on the phone, “not cooperating” and said she was pregnant and wanted to go to work. An officer was dispatched and only reported there was no problem.

 There were also some reports of a few belligerent intoxicated individuals, nothing out of the ordinary, and some minor motor vehicle accidents.

Labels: ,

Monday, January 21

Weekend Blotters Jan. 18 - Jan. 21 *Updated*

Here is the blotter from Friday, Jan. 18:
9:42 a.m. A woman on Hamilton Street reported that someone threw a beer bottle at her window and broke it. I don’t know if it was a house or a car. Either way, no fun.
10:39 a.m. – Prisoner injured at the jail, bad enough that he/she needed to be transported to the ER. I’m putting some calls in on this and will update when I have more.
* Update: That was, in fact, John Flacke, who as some may remember was arrested three times last week. According to police, he complained of injury and was evaluated, but nothing was wrong, he was just trying to get out of going to jail.*
11:07 a.m. – Reports of possible mail/credit card fraud.
At 7:19 p.m. there was a  request of a welfare check on someone’s 6-month-old son. I assume that is a typo or something, since who leaves a 6 month old alone? Anyway, no contact and the scene was clear, also adding to the idea that it is not as it seems. 
2:01 a.m. on High Rock Avenue there was some sort of disturbance, possible break-in and someone’s 17 and 20 year old sons ran outside chasing someone. The police ended up searching the construction area at the Courtyard Marriott. They didn’t find the guy, though, and a report was initiated.

The blotter from Saturday, Jan. 19:
Someone had their purse stolen at the library Friday morning. Lame.
There were also a lot of dog complaints Friday. A beagle puppy was found milling about on Lake Ave. The owner was found in that case, but later a Boxer was found running around on Adams Street but it was brought to the shelter.
A little while later, in a cliché brought to life, a mail carrier was chased by two Rottweiler’s . Those dogs were secured by the owner.

Saturday night saw an interesting non-dog-related call (sort of) that began when a woman went next door to her neighbor and asked him to call 911.
Evidently, the man she had been on a date with earlier that night thought the two were connecting when she did not. After the date, Nathan J. Thomas, 35, of Harwich Lane in West Hartford, Conn. kicked in her door on Caroline Street and then passed out on her couch, according to the police blotter.
He was charged with a couple of misdemeanors and was sentenced to a dateless future, if Google has anything to do with it.

 Here is Monday's blotter from Sunday. 
The morning started with someone reporting their car was struck overnight on Wagon Wheel Terrace, but it is less than $1,000 in damage and they didn't want a report.
 In the afternoon there were some reports of wires, signs down, what with the weather.
 There were a couple of domestic incidents reported, one of which will be in the blotter tomorrow.
 At 7:41 p.m. there was a report of a man who didn’t want to pay his bill and also didn’t want to leave the City Tavern. He eventually left, but didn’t pay, and it took police intervention to work out.
  At nearly 5 in the morning there was a report of a car sitting sideways in the road on Lincoln Avenue with someone unconscious behind the wheel. It appears that he struck a tree, though was not intoxicated. He was transported to the ER for treatment.  

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 17

Police blotter for Jan. 17

Not much going on in the police blotter other than what was reported in the Police Blotter. 

A woman reported at about 2 Wednesday afternoon that her dog had been bitten by a skunk. This resulted in a lot of questions in our news room as to when skunks bite: before or after spraying? No answers in the blotter, though. They referred her to a vet. 

Drive thru visitors at the McDonalds on South Broadway got more than fries with their orders Wednesday night. According to the blotter, McDonalds has been having an “ongoing problem” with two individuals in a red SUV who harass the drive-thru window throwing snowballs. I don’t know if it was at the window or at the customers. Either way, the police will have a no-trespass order on them in the near future.

Labels: ,

Shots fired in the Comprehensive Battle

For anyone who missed the article, the first shots of the battle over the Comprehensive Planning Committee were fired Tuesday at the City Council meeting Tuesday when a vote on hiring a consultant to help with the review of the Comprehensive Plan was tabled until the appointment of the committee was addressed.

I was off yesterday, so one of the editors put a call into Mayor Scott Johnson to see if he would be naming the committee at the State of the City Address tonight, but he played it coy it seems.

From the article:

On Wednesday, Johnson called the recent opposition to his naming the committee a “wrinkle, but not insurmountable.”

“I will be addressing this during the State of the City tomorrow evening,” he said, though he declined to give details ahead of the speech, which is set for 7 tonight in the City Center.
I'll be there with bells on tonight, so I guess we'll see how this plays out.

Labels: ,

New Gun Legislation Fact Sheet

Although The Saratogian's coverage area doesn't extend to James Seward's senate district (stretching from the western outskirts of Schenectady to the Finger Lakes) I thought I'd post this.

Given the e-mail I received, it seems to be getting forwarded around by people (including gun clubs) trying to understand the impact of the new gun legislation. Seward is opposed to the law and put out a statement which I'll post at the bottom, but I thought the fact sheet was pretty helpful.


430 Capitol Bldg Albany, NY 12247 (518) 455-3131

41 South Main St. Oneonta, NY 13820 (607) 432-5524


*This is a summary. It is not exhaustive*

The legislation (S. 2230) passed by the legislature and signed by the governor contains the following key components of significance to law abiding gun owners and pistol licensees.

Redefines and Bans "Assault Weapons."

An ‘assault weapon’ is now defined as any semiautomatic rifle or pistol capable of accepting a detachable magazine with ONE military style feature (folding stock, pistol grip, thumbhole stock, second grip that can be held by the weak hand, bayonet mount, flash suppressor, muzzle brake, compensator or threaded barrel or grenade launcher); any semiautomatic shotgun with ONE of the following: folding or thumbhole stock; second grip that can be held by the weak hand; a fixed magazine in excess of seven rounds; ability to accept a detachable magazine; A semiautomatic pistol that can accept a detachable magazine and has at least one of the following: folding or thumbhole stock; second grip that can be held by the weak hand; capacity to accept a magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip, threaded barrel, barrel shroud, weight of 50 oz or more when unloaded.

Within one year, all "assault weapons" under the new definition (pre-1994 and now pre-2013 semi-autos as defined above) must be registered with the state police at no cost. This will trigger a NICS check. Current owners may transfer these semi-autos only to a dealer or sell them out of state. Intentional failure to register will be a class A misdemeanor. Unintentional failure will trigger a 30 day grace period to register, after which the gun will be confiscated. Knowing possession of an unregistered assault weapon will be a felony.

The law does not distinguish between rimfire or centerfire firearms. Even .22s are covered by the law.

Exempt: the following are not ‘assault weapons’ and are not affected by this law: bolt action or pump rifles and shotguns; antiques; revolvers; semi-automatic rifles that cannot accept a detachable magazine; semi-auto shotguns holding five or fewer shotgun shells in a fixed or detachable magazine.

The law bans all magazines in excess of ten rounds, including "pre-ban" magazines of 20 or 30 rounds previously possessed lawfully. High capacity magazines possessed lawfully heretofore must be disposed of out of state or to someone authorized to possess them within one year. Ten round magazines are grandfathered, but it will be a crime to load them in excess of seven rounds. Magazines older than 50 years old – curios and relics – are exempt. No new ten round magazines may be sold or possessed in New York.

Pistol licenses
All pistol licenses will have to recertified (not renewed) every five years. Licensees will have to confirm to the state police that their information is current and that their registered pistols are still the only ones possessed. Pistol licensees will be able to request that their names be withheld from public disclosure, and state police will compile a statewide database of pistol license holders.

All ammunition purchasers must undergo an instant background check at the point of sale when the new state check system takes effect. This provision does not take effect for a year. A buyer of pistol or revolver ammunition will need to show a valid NYS pistol license and a driver’s license. Internet sales of ammo are banned except in the presence of a gun dealer where a NICS check is required.

Gun sales
A NICS background check will be required for all private sales of long guns in New York, except transfers to immediate family members.

Gun storage
The new law requires the safe storage of guns in a house where the gun owners knows someone in the house is mentally ill, prohibited from possessing a gun, is a convicted criminal or subject to an order of protection.

Here is his statement:
“The rights of law abiding citizens who use firearms for sport, protection, and collection have suffered a considerable blow. While the newly minted gun control laws offer some increased penalties for criminal use of guns and take a step toward keeping weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill, they overstep in many ways.
“For the first time, New York will be registering rifles and confiscating private property. We will do background checks on the simple purchase of a box of .22 ammo for squirrel hunting or target practice. Someone who puts eight cartridges in his magazine instead of seven will be a felon. Sadly, these extreme, harsh measures won’t stop criminals from getting guns and using them for illegal purposes.
“These reactionary laws force new, onerous regulations on those who meticulously obey the law and infringe on Second Amendment rights. Further, we can’t afford to place good paying jobs at a long-standing employer in my district, Remington Arms, in jeopardy.
“Legislation focused on stopping gun crimes and preventing those at risk of harming themselves and others from obtaining firearms would have been a public safety win. However, further impeding the rights of law-abiding citizens does nothing to confront gun violence.”

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, January 15

Gun law statements

Here is where I will be posting all of the statements from legislators on the newly-passed law strengthening the state's gun control laws, which I hear Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be signing immediately:

For Immediate Release: January 15, 2013

Statement from Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville)

“It would be a shame not to do something about the type of violence we’ve seen recently but it would be more shameful to do something that accomplishes nothing except giving people a false sense of well-being and that’s what will happen today.

Facts are difficult things to deal with when you’re trying to put forth an agenda in the dark of night when this bill was conceived, and in Bob Woodward’s words, the worst thing we have to fear as Americans is ‘secret government’ because in darkness democracy dies.

Today we’re being asked to vote on legislation that would purportedly make New York a safer state but will accomplish nothing but penalizing law-abiding New Yorkers. Here are the facts: rifles accounted for 5 of the 769 homicides in New York State in 2011.  That same year, 161 deaths were caused by stabbings and 31 were from a blunt instrument such as a hammer.  This legislation does not take any of this into account.

I support increasing penalties on those who commit acts of violence on school grounds and I support strengthening our mental health laws to prevent those who are unfit to own a gun to never have access to a firearm. We must strengthen penalties for anyone who uses an illegal gun or illegally gives a gun to someone who is prohibited from using one so we may prevent tragedies like what happened in Webster, NY against our brave first responders.

What is taking place today is secret government at its worst.  I support our 2nd Amendment constitutional rights and I do not believe that something as important as our freedoms should be tinkered with to grab a headline.  I will be voting against this measure.”

In case you missed it, here’s a link to Assemblyman Jim Tedisco’s remarks on the Floor of the Assembly this afternoon in support of our 2nd Amendment rights.  Below also find a statement from Tedisco on the bill currently being debated in the Assembly.

Here’s a direct link to the video:


For IMMEDIATE Release: January 15, 2013

Assemblyman Dan Stec (R,C,I-Queensbury) voted against legislation today severely limiting residents’ constitutional right to bear arms, citing unreasonable restrictions placed upon responsible gun owners and the lack of time for both legislators and the public to read the particulars of the legislation.

“The bill that passed the Assembly today is a slap in the face to legal, responsible gun owners,” said Stec. “There are elements of this legislation that I support, such as the strengthening of Kendra’s Law, increased penalties for illegal firearm usage and the measures taken to protect first responders. However, I cannot support a bill where large parts severely restrict the constitutional rights of our sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts and ignores overwhelming information that shows restricting access to firearms is not a solution to solving gun violence in our communities.

“Passing a bill that directly infringes upon our Second Amendment rights without taking the time for the public and the Legislature to have a true dialogue about gun control, school safety and other ways to protect our loved ones from future tragedies is distressing.

“In the wake of the horrible events in Sandy Hook and Webster, there needs to be a meaningful discussion about gun violence in our communities that includes better mental health treatment and the content in our popular culture. It’s a disservice to victims of gun violence that the bill hastily presented today missed the mark and avoided that important discussion in favor of political theater.”


For Immediate Release: January 14, 2013

Senator Marchione keeps her promise and votes “NO” on restrictive new gun control; will launch an on-line petition to repeal and replace package’s restrictive gun control measures, asks Second Amendment supporters to stand strong – and stand with her
Statement from New York State Senator Kathleen A. Marchione (R,C-Halfmoon)
            “Tonight, the Second Amendment Constitutional freedoms of every New Yorker were weakened by passage of restrictive new gun control.  As shortsighted as the new gun control policy is, the hasty process used to adopt it was even worse.  It was a shame that a Message of Necessity was used to rush this important measure through without a single public hearing or the proper time to carefully review the bill and consider alternatives.  This is not how democracy is supposed to function.  More time, more discussion, more dialog would have allowed our constituents to have a greater voice in this process and for legislators to hold town hall meetings and hear directly from the people they serve.
            Law-abiding citizens are NOT the issue: millions of New Yorkers own firearms and do so safely, responsibly and legally.  The real issue, the real threat, is criminals having guns and the seriously mentally ill obtaining access to guns.  If tonight’s legislation focused solely on these issues, I would have voted yes.  However, along with strengthening Kendra’s Law, enacting Mark’s Law, providing funding to further secure our schools, and cracking down on illegal guns – all of which are good ideas I strongly support – the bill contained restrictive new gun control that could weaken the Second Amendment.  That is something I will not support.
The vote tonight is only the beginning of an important debate.  I believe we need to repeal and replace parts of tonight’s legislation and keep the sections pertaining to increased penalties on criminals, use of illegal guns, securing our schools and addressing the seriously mentally ill.  However, I cannot do it alone: I need Second Amendment supporters to stand strong and stand with me.  I will be launching an on-line legislative petition on my Senate page to build public support for repealing and replacing the restrictive provisions passed tonight. 
If every New Yorker who supports the Second Amendment makes their voices heard we can forge a true public safety remedy without curtailing the Second Amendment.  This is no time to sit on the sidelines: every gun owner, hunter, sportsman and supporter of the Second Amendment must get involved.  If you’ve been e-mailing, writing and calling, then keep doing so.  If you are not registered to vote, get registered.  Now is the time to be heard.”
Here is an e-mail response from a spokesperson for Assemblyman Tony Jordan, R-Jackson, about his vote on the bill before he voted. 

Tony is voting "no" on this bill. The last time I spoke with Assemblyman Jordan, he said there were significant problems with the scope of the legislation and the method of rushing the vote on this bill with the Message of Necessity, in the darkness of night, without proper public vetting.

We have already discovered significant errors, which will require the Governor to submit Chapter Amendments to resolve the carelessly written law, such as making it illegal for law enforcement to enter school grounds with a firearm.

Here is one from the good people at the NRA:

January 15, 2013
(703) 267-3820

Statement from the National Rifle Association of America Regarding the Passage of S. 2230 in New York
Fairfax, Va. – The National Rifle Association and our New York members are outraged at the draconian gun control bill that was rushed through the process late Monday evening.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature orchestrated a secretive end-run around the legislative and democratic process and passed sweeping anti-gun measures with no committee hearings and no public input.
Hammered out in a backroom in Albany, S. 2230 was quickly drafted and released 20 minutes prior to the Senate vote. It passed as the clock ticked toward midnight.
This legislation lowers New York's arbitrary magazine capacity limit from ten rounds to seven. It also greatly expands the state's existing ban on commonly owned semi-automatic firearms, and will require New York gun owners to undergo background checks on ammunition purchases.
These gun control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime. Sadly, the New York Legislature gave no consideration to that reality.  While lawmakers could have taken a step toward strengthening mental health reporting and focusing on criminals, they opted for trampling the rights of law-abiding gun owners in New York, and they did it under a veil of secrecy in the dark of night.
The legislature caved to the political demands of a Governor and helped fuel his personal political aspirations. New York lawmakers have ignored and excluded gun owners throughout this legislative process, but the NRA and our New York members remain committed to having a meaningful conversation about protecting our children and will speak frankly about the lawmakers who have failed to do so.
Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America's oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at and on Twitter @NRA.

And, for the other side of the issue, The BRADY CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Brady Campaign Statement on Passage of Gun Legislation in New York
Washington, DC – The President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence today called the passage of major gun-related legislation in New York, “an historic moment that will save lives.” 

“Governor Cuomo and the lawmakers in Albany have today shown tremendous leadership on the critical issue of gun violence.  By making this a priority, the Governor has not only saved lives, but will hopefully inspire leaders in Washington also to take swift action,” said Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign. “The comprehensive package passed today in New York represents the kind of solutions that need to be implemented on the federal level.  Many of these solutions, including universal background checks, have tremendous support from Americans across the country and across the political spectrum, including among gun owners and NRA members.  The policies will have an immediate and widespread impact on gun violence, and when coupled with public health and safety education programs, will finally begin to address in a real way the epidemic of gun deaths in America. We thank Governor Cuomo for his bold leadership to prevent gun violence and for creating a model for the nation.”

The Brady Campaign has been working with the Vice President’s Task Force on Guns and has submitted a set of comprehensive recommendations.

A poll released yesterday by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press shows that the American people are overwhelmingly supportive of major changes to our gun laws. The poll showed that about 85% of those surveyed supported background checks for private gun sales and sales at gun shows.  The poll also showed that four out of five Americans favor laws that would prevent the mentally ill from buying weapons. 

Labels: , , , , , ,