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Hilltowns Archives —The Altamont Enterprise, January 25, 2007

Couple busted for growing pot

By Saranac Hale Spencer

KNOX — Police found 20 marijuana plants in Edward and Patricia Gardineer’s East Berne home.

Police were met with the pungent smell of marijuana when they entered the Gardineers’ house at 1496 Thompson’s Lake Road on Jan. 22, said Inspector John Burke who heads the Drug Interdiction Unit of the Albany County Sheriff’s Department. After receiving complaints about the Gardineers’ house, the sheriff’s department and the Altamont Police got a search warrant for the place, he said.

Police seized about 10 pounds of marijuana that has an estimated street value of $30,000, according to a release from the sheriff’s department.

"The thing I find strange is the age," said Burke of the couple. Patricia Gardineer is 59 and her husband, Edward, who works as a senior claims examiner in consumer services for the New York State Department of Insurance, is 60.

Burke guessed that the couple must have had the operation going for a while, though he didn’t know for how long. Underneath the stairwell, in the basement, police found a room used for growing the marijuana, Burke said, with about 20 plants in different stages of growth. Police found a scale, baggies, books on how to grow marijuana, growing lamps, soil, pots, and chemicals used for growing the plants. "He was pretty well-versed," said Burke of Edward Gardineer’s knowledge about growing marijuana.

Freshly picked marijuana was hanging from ropes in the bathroom to dry, police say.

Everything related to the plants was confiscated and is in the custody of the sheriff’s department. The lamps, soil, and pots will likely be donated to 4-H or the cooperative extension at the end of the trial, said Burke; the plants themselves will be burned.

The Gardineers were each charged with second-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a felony, and unlawfully growing cannabis without a license, a misdemeanor.

When it comes to drugs, Burke said, "Age is no barrier."

John Crosier steps down from planning board

By Tyler Schuling

BERNE — John Crosier, a founding member and long-time chairman of the Berne Planning Board, has stepped down after 35 years.

Crosier began serving on May 10, 1972, one of the original five members of the planning board, when the planning board was commissioned. He got his start on the board after then-supervisor Harold Pangburn asked him to serve. Throughout the 35-year span, Crosier said, he didn’t see much change in the town’s zoning.

He served with six supervisors, said Crosier, and, because he served for many years on the board, was a bit unsure how many years he had served as the board’s chair.

"About 20 years"" he asked. "I’m not sure. It’s been a long time," he said.

Crosier said he served on the board because he wanted to help people as much as he could with zoning. He owns Crosier Realty and said of his business affecting the planning process, "I don’t think it did"If anything, it helped since I had more knowledge with dealing with people in the Hilltowns."

Crosier’s son, Kevin, was elected town supervisor five years ago, and backed a controversial re-zoning of the Berne hamlet.
Crosier recalled January of 2005, when the Berne Town Board, in a 3 to 2 vote, approved the resolution to re-zone the hamlet from largely residential to two zones of traditional neighborhood mixed-use. The plan allowed certain businesses in the hamlet, but with detailed restrictions intended to make buildings match the traditional nature of the hamlet.

"We had a lot of controversy with that," Crosier said.

Crosier said there wasn’t anything "really hard about" about planning, and laughed after saying that "getting off the board" was the most difficult part of the process.

Most of the planning, he said, "went pretty smoothly." Crosier added, "You’re not going to please everybody all the time, no matter what you do."

Now, Crosier said he expects to spend more time at his business and pursue other interests. He added that he golfs, hunts, and fishes.

Crosier called his successor, Gerald Chartier, "a good man."

"He’ll do a good job for the town," he said.

At Berne’s January Town Board meeting, Supervisor Kevin Crosier announced that his father was stepping down, after serving for 35 years on the planning board. An audience member asked that "we give your dad a round of applause for all his years of service," and the hall erupted with applause.

"I wasn’t there," John Crosier said. "There were probably some who applauded for my years of service and some who are glad I’m gone.

"You have both sides of that coin," he said.

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