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Hilltowns Archives —The Altamont Enterprise, September 28, 2006

Man threatens woman at gunpoint, rams her car

By Tyler Schuling

EAST BERNE — A man rammed his truck into a woman’s car and held her at gunpoint on the evening of Sept. 11, police say.

The Albany County Sheriff’s Department responded to the call from Pine Knoll Lane around 7:15 p.m., and investigated. Joseph T. Knightes, 21, of Schenectady, was involved in a domestic dispute with a woman, and during the incident had placed a 20-gauge shotgun under the woman’s chin, threatening to kill her, the arrest report says.

The woman escaped "during a lull in the immediate violence or threat," and fled to a neighbor’s house to call police, Lieutenant Michael Monteleone, with the sheriff’s department, told The Enterprise.

During their investigation, police also concluded that Knightes rammed his 1994 Ford pick-up into the woman’s car, and they found him in possession of a quantity of marijuana and cocaine, the arrest report says.

"The woman’s name has not been released by police," Monteleone told The Enterprise.

Knightes was arrested and processed at the Albany County Sheriff’s Department on the charges of second-degree criminal mischief, a felony; second-degree menacing, second-degree reckless endangerment, and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance — all misdemeanors.

Knightes was also arrested for unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation.

Asked if Knightes had been using a controlled substance on the evening of the arrest, Monteleone responded, "He was not arrested for DWI." Monteleone added, "He was arrested for possession of a controlled substance"Whether or not he’d been using, I can’t say, but he was in possession."

Monteleone, who did not have Knightes’s criminal record at his disposal, said that he believed the two involved in the incident were a couple, but he did not know whether the woman had ever had an order of protection issued against Knightes.

Knightes was arraigned in the New Scotland Town Court before Judge Thomas Dolan, and was remanded to the Albany County Correctional Facility, pending a preliminary hearing in the town of Berne, the arrest report says.

Knightes did not answer calls from The Enterprise.

BKW considers the cost of clean air

By Tyler Schuling

BERNE — The Berne-Knox-Westerlo School District has been approved for a federal grant to reduce bus emissions, but board members and administrators might say "no" to the award.

BKW applied for the grant in 2004, and discovered that it had been awarded last month. If the board accepts the grant, issued by the Clean Buses for Kids Diesel Retrofit Program, the district would get $149,000 to retrofit up to 19 of its school buses, which run on diesel fuel, with emissions-controlling filters that would lower sulfur emissions.

The retrofit program is the result of a 2003 settlement between Toyota and the federal Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act.

According to United States v. Toyota, the car manufacturer did not disclose certain limitations in its on-board diagnostic systems that checked for leaks in vehicles’ evaporation systems. Approximately 2.2 million Toyota vehicles’ systems had faulty diagnostic systems. Toyota, the court said, was required to implement a supplemental environment project, at the cost of $20 million.

According to the Clean Buses for Kids website, 52 school districts throughout the United States have installed the filters on their buses. More than 600 school districts expressed interest for the Nov. 12, 2004 deadline, and 62 schools were invited to receive funding in December, 2004. After that, applicants were placed on a waiting list for when funding became available. Fifty-two applicants have completed installations, five schools have been approved for funding, and seven (including BKW) have been invited to apply for funding. BKW is the fifth in New York State to be awarded the grant.

BKW, upon acceptance, would be required to solicit bids to provide and install the diesel particulate filters.

BKW board members have been hesitant to accept the grant, fearing that the particle filters to lower emissions would result in added future costs to the district.

At last week’s school board meeting, Vice President Ed Ackroyd said the replacement of a bus’s existing muffler with the emissions filter would result in added fuel use.

"If a vehicle feels a seize, its engine works harder, so fuel consumption goes up," said Ackroyd. "We’d be using more gas, but our air will be cleaner."

Alan Zuk, BKW’s transportation coordinator, is also skeptical about accepting the grant. He told The Enterprise this week that the filters could result in an increase to the district’s fuel consumption. He also said replacing the filters is costly.

"The filters have a decent warranty of five years," Zuk told The Enterprise, "but after five years, it’s the district’s responsibility."

The filters, he said, would be installed in place of the buses’ mufflers, and would be exposed to road hazards, and ice-melting chemicals used on roads in the winter, and would rust and corrode.

Zuk also said that, once the warrantee expired, the cost for replacing one of the filters would be around $7,000 for labor and parts.

Asked if he’d heard from any other schools within the state which had accepted the grant, Zuk said he hadn’t spoken with other districts, and contrasted the BKW School District’s environment to Wappingers Falls. Wappingers Falls, in southern New York, about 70 miles from New York City, has been awarded the grant.

"They’re in a totally different environment," Zuk said, and added that the ice melting chemicals used in Wappinger Falls are quite different than those used in the BKW district.

William Crosson, the Director of Wappingers Falls’ Transportation Department, told The Enterprise this week he’d recently had 43 buses retrofitted through the Clean Buses for Kids Program.

"This is my second round with emissions-control stuff," Crosson said. Wappingers Falls, he explained, has the largest fleet of school buses in the state. He has 250 buses, he said, and 111 out of the 250 had had emissions-control systems installed.
Once buses within the Wappingers Falls district had the filters installed, he said, he didn’t see an increase in fuel consumption. Crosson added that he’d been using low-sulfur fuel and had had no experience with retrofitted busses, which ran on traditional diesel fuel.

The district’s proximity to the city, he said, has made low-sulfur fuel easily accessible to the district.

"I’ve been using the low-sulfur fuel for over a year," he said.

Superintendent Steven Schrade told The Enterprise this week he doesn’t think the district will pursue the grant.

"As far as I can tell," he said, "it isn’t going to happen."

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