||[Home Page] [This Week] [Classifieds] [Legals] [Obituaries] [Newsstands] [Subscriptions] [Advertising] [Deadlines] [About Us] [FAQ] [Archives] [Commumity Links] [Contact Us]
New Scotland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, January 11, 2007
Fast fugitive slowed down in New Scotland
By Rachel Dutil
NEW SCOTLAND Television cameras last Thursday filmed the arrest of Paul S. Harris, after an eight-hour standoff, as deputies lobbed tear gas into his Krumkill Road home.
Harris, 44, was wanted for nine warrants in Florida, stemming from an arrest gone awry nearly a year ago.
Harris was stopped by the Florida Highway Patrol on Jan. 7, 2006 for "unlawful speed," heading south on Interstate 95 in Indian River County, Captain Deryl Loar of the Florida Highway Patrol told The Enterprise this week.
Harris was racing another vehicle and traveling 101 miles per hour, he said.
Harris argued with the trooper who stopped him, according to Loar, and, as the trooper was reaching into Harriss car to turn the engine off, Harris fled, dislocating the troopers shoulder as he sped off, he said.
The incident report, however, says only that the trooper sustained "a small scratch" on his right arm.
"He fled violently"He was successful in eluding us," Loar said. Fleeing an officer is a felony in Florida, said Loar.
Harris was driving a 2006 black Dodge Magnum, the same car he was driving on Jan. 4 when the Colonie Police ran a plate check, he said.
"We believe he was transporting illegal substances," Loar said about what may have prompted Harris to flee the scene.
Two troopers tried to get Harris out of his vehicle, the Florida incident report says.
He had two children in the wagon a male in the front passenger seat appeared to be about 10 to 12 years old, and a female passenger in the back seat appeared to be 6 to 8 years old, Loar said.
"We presume it was his kids," Loar said. "He was endangering their lives, racing down the highway."
The man racing Harris was arrested and secured in the back of the patrol car, the report says. The trooper told the boy in the front seat of Harris’s Dodge to get out of the vehicle, the report says, and "Mr. Harris told the boy, don’t get out of the car."
Harris refused to get out of the car himself and kept saying he "had a disability," the report says.
"Mr. Harris tried to close my right hand in the door" I stopped the door from closing and informed Mr. Harris that he tried to close my hand in the door. Mr. Harris said he was sorry," the report says.
The trooper sustained "a small scratch on my right arm close to my wrist," the report says.
The report goes on to say that the trooper threatened Harris with his oleoresin capsicum [pepper] spray, and "Mr. Harris went into a wild panic" I sprayed Mr. Harris as he was moving forward. The spray was knocked from my hand. I picked up my spray off the ground and went back to my car and pursued Mr. Harris, who fled the scene at a high rate of speed," the report says.
Harris had been on the lam until Jan. 4 when Colonie Police ran a plate check on his black Dodge. Colonie alerted the Albany County Sheriffs Department, said Chief Deputy Craig Apple; he also said his department had received information from Florida authorities about Harris months ago.
"We checked the location multiple times and he was never there," said Apple of Harris’s house at 880 Krumkill Road, which he bought in 2000.
When Apple heard from the Colonie Police, he said, deputies went to the house and saw Harriss car.
Harris was inside his house with his son, and his sons girlfriend, Apple said; two dozen officers surrounded the house.
"We knocked on the door several times," Apple told The Enterprise.
Harriss vehicle was in the driveway, and Apple said he was sure that Harris was inside the house.
The knocks were not answered, and Apple said that his team then called the house.
"A subject picked up the phone who we believe was Mr. Harris," Apple said. "I spoke to Mr. Harris on the phone several times, trying to get him out of the house peacefully."
Harris, Apple said, was adamant that he wasnt coming out. Harris told the police that they had no right to be there, and asked them to return in the morning, Apple said.
The Albany County Sheriffs Department was aided in its negotiation efforts by a State Trooper and crisis negotiation equipment loaned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Apple told The Enterprise yesterday.
The decision to use tear gas, he said, was made after Harris "severed communications" with police. "I was concerned at that point that he may have taken his own life," Apple said.
The team decided not to enter the house, but to first try "to gas him out" and that, fortunately worked, he said. Police threw seven rounds of tear gas into the house, he said.
Inside the house, Harris had "in his possession and readily available, a loaded twelve gauge Mossberg shotgun," court papers said. Apple said the gun was "loaded with the safety off."
Because Harris is a convicted felon having served a year in Schenectady County jail in 1989 for felony cocaine possession possessing a shotgun is a felony, his lawyer, Fred Korkosz, told The Enterprise.
Apple said he is pleased with how everything played out that day. "All my guys came out safe, and Harris was unharmed," he said. "It was a really good operation."
Apple said that, in his 20 years of experience, negotiation situations are not common. "I can only remember a couple of negotiations," he said.
Harris was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors. He is also being charged with a felony for a prior marijuana warrant in which he was wanted in Albany County. He will be extradited to Florida to face numerous felony charges there.
His 20-year-old son, Jonathan, was charged with obstruction of governmental administration, a misdemeanor, and is being held on $25,000 bail, Apple told The Enterprise. Jonathan Harriss girlfriend was not charged, he said.
Korkosz said this week that his client "doesn’t have the appearance of a criminal."
"Paul really is a family man," he said. "He’s really involved with his children."
In addition to his son Jonathan, Korkosz said, Harris has two younger children, and maintains a good relationship with his ex-wife.
Harris worked as a truck driver for many years, Korkosz told The Enterprise. He now suffers pain in his legs, back, and joints, he said. Harris believes his disability stems from the strain on his body during his years of driving, and climbing in and out of large trucks, Korkosz said.
"He does have a chronic pain," Korkosz said.
Korkosz said he was unable to comment on many specifics of the case but told The Enterprise that, to his knowledge, the state of Florida has not started any extradition proceedings.
"The ultimate goal is to get him down to Florida to face the charges there," Apple said this week.
Korkosz told The Enterprise that he believes that Harris has family living in Florida in the Miami area.
The Florida charges include: escape, resisting an officer with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, and child neglect.
Regarding the charges, Korkosz said, "I don’t even want to say that incident happened" He definitely was not racing. It did not happen.
"I think there is a lot more than meets the eye with this case," Korkosz told The Enterprise.
"We’re looking at successfully prosecuting him down here," Loar said. "He’s looking at a long time." Florida carries a minimum five year sentence per felony, he said, and Harris is facing several felony charges.
Planning expert to advise board
By Rachel Dutil
NEW SCOTLAND Planning for the future of the town is on the minds of many at the start of the new year, and, after being awarded a state grant, Supervisor Ed Clark is looking forward to advice from a local planning expert.
Patricia Salken is "quite frankly the expert, especially for our state, on planning," Councilman Doug LaGrange said this week. Salken is an associate dean and professor at Albany Law School and also the director of the Government Law Center.
She will make a presentation at a special meeting on Jan. 31, including suggestions specifically relevant for planning in New Scotland, and then will answer questions from the public as well as members of the town board, and the planning and zoning boards.
As New Scotland continues its discussion on whether or not to update its comprehensive land-use plan, the town has been awarded a Quality Communities Grant to be used for just that.
The town board decided at its October meeting to allow a group of grant writers to assemble an application for the grant, and later decide whether or not to accept it if awarded.
The state funded 51 projects at a total of $3 million. New Scotland was awarded $22,400.
The town must now decide if it should accept the grant and how to use the money if it is accepted. The town would be responsible for paying 20 percent of the amount awarded which was already budgeted in anticipation of being awarded the grant, LaGrange told The Enterprise.
LaGrange requested approval from the town board in order to apply for the grant, and also chaired a committee that made suggestions to the town board on possible revisions to the now 12-year-old comprehensive plan.
The committees consensus, LaGrange said in October, is some updating in some capacity should be done on the plan.
"We have to see just what direction we want to head into," LaGrange said this week.
Clark said it is time the comprehensive plan had more up-to-date planning ideas in it, to avoid urban sprawl and over-development.
He appreciates the grant writers who made it possible to get the funding that could make that happen.
"I don’t really have a timetable," Clark said this week, regarding when or if the board will decide whether to accept the grant to update the plan.
When asked if he thought the board was in agreement that the grant should be accepted, and the comprehensive plan updated, Clark said he is unsure.
He said he believes "the board is heading in two different directions."
One of those directions, he said, involves the building moratorium in the northeast quadrant, and the other involves the review of the comprehensive plan.
The largely undeveloped quadrant is the part of town closest to the city of Albany. The board last year enacted a six-month building moratorium while zoning issues are being considered.
He said that he is concerned the moratorium will result in "turning away from a full review of the comprehensive plan."
Clark said of Salken, "her advice is extremely valuable." Instead of proceeding with a "do-it-yourself project, we will have advice from a recognized expert," he said.
The town of New Scotland, at its 2007 re-organizational meeting:
Appointed Lori-Ann Saba as the recording secretary for the zoning and planning boards;
Re-appointed the following assignments to town board members: Deborah Baron for senior programs, schools, and libraries; Ed Clark for highway, assessing, building, audit and finance, and town properties; Doug LaGrange for co-liaison for the planning and zoning boards, and the comprehensive plan; Peg Neri for water, economic development, and the historical associations; and Richard Reilly for youth and recreation, parks, village inter-municipal relations, public safety committee, and co-liaison for the planning and zoning boards;
Re-appointed Lou Neri, Peg Neris husband, as counsel to the planning and zoning boards for a term to expire Dec. 31,2007;
Re-appointed Robert Stapf as chairperson of the planning board for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2007;
Re-appointed Elizabeth Stewart as a planning board member for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2013;
Re-appointed Jo Ann Davies as an alternate member of the planning board for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2007;
Re-appointed Ronald Von Ronne as member of the zoning board of appeals for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2011; and as chairperson of the zoning board of appeals for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2007;
Re-appointed Todd Britton as an alternate member of the zoning board of appeals for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2007;
Re-appointed Paul Cantlin as town constable to serve without remuneration for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2007;
Re-appointed Douglas Miller as Commissioner of the Public Safety Committee to serve without remuneration for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2007;
Re-appointed Darrell Duncan as Deputy Commissioner of the Public Safety Committee to serve without remuneration for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2007;
Re-appointed Mark Dempf as chairperson to the water committee to serve without remuneration for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2007;
Re-appointed Liz Kormos as chairperson to the senior advisory board to serve without remuneration for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2007;
Re-appointed Kevin Schenmeyer as dog warden and Eileen Mulderry as dog warden for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2007;
Designated The Altamont Enterprise and The Spotlight newspapers as the official newspapers of the town;
Resolved that the town board will pay dues to Town Justices for N.Y. Magistrate Association and Tri-County Magistrate Association membership;
Established the first Monday of the month as the 2007 regular water committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. in Town Hall;
Resolved an agreement with Vollmer Associates, LLP to act as the town engineering advisor for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2007;
Established the second Wednesday of the month as the 2007 regular town board meeting at 7 p.m. in Town Hall; and
Resolved that First Niagara Bank be designated as the depository for town funds, with Key Bank, CLASS and M & T Bank as alternates.
Water for sale"
Scotch Pine residents see hazard in golf course plan
By Saranac Hale Spencer
VOORHEESVILLE Construction of 42 new houses just outside of the village hinges on whether the board will grant them water.
A workshop meeting Tuesday night at village hall drew concerned residents, many of them from the decades-old Scotch Pine development, neighboring the proposed project. Many of them had signed a petition requesting a 50-foot buffer zone between their houses on Locust Drive and the proposed Colonie Country Club Estates before the village would grant the water. Michael Canfora, a Locust Drive resident, presented the petition to the board in August.
Amedore Homes, the developer planning the houses, has included a 50-foot no-disturbance area between its proposed houses and those on Locust Drive. "The applicant is trying to make a reasonable effort to accommodate everyone involved," said Keith Menia, a civil engineer with Vollmer Associates, when he presented a map that laid out the tentative plan for the development. During Tuesday night’s meeting Menia made a presentation to the board on behalf of the Town of New Scotland, which is approaching the village to provide water for the development.
The no-disturbance area conceded by Amedore isn’t the same as a buffer zone, said Canfora. "There’s been a line drawn on a map," he said. "There’s no true buffer zone." What Scotch Pine residents want is a green space between their properties and the one-acre plots that the new houses will be built on, he said. According to the map at Tuesday night’s meeting, the property designated for new houses directly abuts the property owned by Locust Drive residents and there is a 50-foot no-disturbance zone drawn over the newly-sectioned land that is to be built on rather than a 50-foot space between what would be two privately owned parcels.
"We just want a little bit of breathing room," said Canfora. "We’re not trying to stop the project."
Water is the villages only bargaining chip to get that space, Canfora said. Menia stressed that the plan is still in its preliminary stages.
"The only card we have right now is the water card," said Canfora.
Initially, Amedore had planned to use town water, from the Northeast Water District, but, "It’s maxed out right now," according to New Scotland Town Supervisor Ed Clark.
In November of 2006, following a recommendation from the towns water committee, New Scotland submitted a written request for water from the village of Voorheesville, a separate municipality within the town. According to Menias presentation, he anticipates an average use of 20,000 gallons per day by the development 40,000 gallons per day during peak summer usage. Residents of Colonie Country Club Estates would pay double the village rate for their water and each house would have a $1,500 connection fee.
The benefit to the village lies in the revenue generated by selling its water. According to Menias presentation, the developer would construct all of the pipes and infrastructure needed to dole out the water. The town of New Scotland would then take ownership of the hardware and be responsible for its upkeep and repair.
The village would read the central meter, which would keep track of all the water used in the development, and bill the town. Having the town collect the money from residents and pay the village is easier for tax purposes, Menia said.
During Tuesday nights presentation, Menia said that Vollmer would do studies on the effect that 42 more homes drawing water would have on the villages system after the village agrees to proceed; this would not be a binding commitment.
According to Voorheesvilles mayor, Robert Conway, the village has ample water, but, should the study find that granting water to the new development would adversely affect water availability in the village, the proposal would be off the table.
"If the board decides to move forward," he said of the village trustees, "we would try to lock in the revenue stream for as long as we can." He estimated that it would probably last a minimum of 10 years and added that the village would be careful not to make budgets that are contingent on the extra revenue.
New Scotland hopes to eventually hook Colonie Country Club Estates into its own water system, which Menia guessed would take place when another proposed development, called Kensington Woods or Tall Timbers, begins. That project would likely provide enough water to accommodate the new development but wont be completed any time soon.
Stapled to photocopies of the villages official notice of Tuesday nights meeting, a flier circulated through part of the village and found its way to some peoples porches.
"Do you oppose the Colonie Country Club Estates development"" reads the heading of the flier, all in capital letters. This was not an official village correspondence, although Voorheesville’s mayor, Robert Conway, is concerned that it looks like one.
Questioning the development project as well as New Scotland’s supervisor, Ed Clark, the flier asks questions like, "Does Supervisor Ed Clark even care"""" Then answers itself, "Apparently not!"
"I absolutely do care," said Clark in a phone interview Wednesday. He answered some of the other concerns raised in the flier, like an increased enrollment in the school as a result of further development. "The school district will show you that enrollment is dropping," he said. An increase in population could also bring with it more commercial development, which would offset the school tax increase that the flier mentions.
The flier ends with, "We like our small town" LEAVE IT ALONE!!!" To which Clark answered, "I’m not looking to change the character of the town. I’m trying to be responsible to people who own land in New Scotland."
He concluded, "You can’t please everybody."
[Return to Home Page]