Historically, New York State has long been home to some of the nation’s toughest prisons. More than a century ago, having served 18 years at Sing Sing, 19 at Auburn, or 31 at Clinton marked any man as one tough son-of-a gun. So what could be said about a man who served all three of those sentences? The toughest SOB ever? Not even close. He was a hard case, no doubt, but in time, dedicated recidivism earned him media portrayals as quirky, unusual, and eventually somewhat endearing. It’s doubtful his victims felt that way, but it happens that some criminals gain personas making them far more acceptable than the average crook. Among those was upstate New York’s Hog-Pen Charley. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘crime and justice’
It has been nearly a year since I began a series of columns on diversity in the Adirondacks. Much has happened since then, most notably a challenging, motivating and well-received symposium held in August, “Toward a More Diverse Adirondacks.”
The symposium was a good start to addressing the important challenges in making the Adirondack Park more welcoming and inclusive, thereby increasing the Park’s role in the betterment of the lives of all New Yorkers and giving it a richer, more robustly supported future. But if a good day of conversation was all we accomplished it would amount to very little. So a number of initiatives are underway to the further the work. It is our sincere wish to make diversity part of the cultural DNA of the Adirondacks, as surely for human beings as it is for the natural world. » Continue Reading.
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Association will offer a public review of the case of convicted Adirondack serial killer Robert Garrow tomorrow, Thursday, October 2 at the Johnstown Eagles Club, 12 S. William St., at 7 pm. The presentation will be given by regular Adirondack Almanack contributor Lawrence P. Gooley, who is the author of Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow.
Garrow, an abused Dannemora child turned thief, serial rapist, and killer who admitted to seven rapes and four murders (although police believed there were many more). Among his victims were campers near Speculator where Garrow escaped a police dragnet and traveled up Route 30 through Indian Lake and Long Lake and eventually made his way to Witherbee where he was tracked down and shot in the foot. Claiming he was partially paralyzed, Garrow was shot and killed during an attempted prison escape in September 1978 – he had faked his paralysis. » Continue Reading.
On August 29th, I visited the Gull Lake and Chub Pond trails in the Black River Wild Forest. I photographed all sorts of trail and wetland damage from All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) use on these trails. ATVs are not allowed on these trails, but the Black River Wild Forest area has a history of illegal ATV use, and I thought that the damage to these trails reflected more of the same.
I had received reports about ATV damage in this part of the Forest Preserve earlier this year. The previous week I had spent time in the Ferris Lake Wild Forest inventorying trail damage from ATVs and photographing ATV side-routes around various barrier gates put up by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It appeared that the damage to the Chub Pond and Gull Lake trails was also caused by illegal trespass. The usual telltale signs of illegal trespass and recreational riding were evident. » Continue Reading.
Several months ago I wrote a series of columns on socioeconomic and racial diversity and the Adirondacks. The reception to these columns was even stronger than I expected. Much of it was thoughtful. Some of it was controversial. Some of it was ugly. But in total the columns and the reaction validated my point that for most people diversity in the Adirondacks is an under-the-radar issue even though it is arguably the most important issue facing the future of the park.
Since then the conversation has grown and led to action. Many stakeholders in the park recognize that human diversity – my new descriptor, for indeed the issue is bigger than just racial or socioeconomic problems – is just as important to the Adirondacks as plant and animal diversity is to a healthy Forest Preserve. » Continue Reading.
The public is invited to a special presentation by acclaimed cartoonist Sabrina Jones brought to you by John Brown Lives! and BluSeed Studios: “Race to Incarcerate: Creating Comics for Social Justice” on Thursday, July 31st at 7:30 pm at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake.
Jones will discuss her recent book, Race To Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling and using comics to confront social issues. Jones’ 2013 book is a graphic adaptation of Marc Mauer’s 1999 Race to Incarcerate, a classic examination of the cultural and political history of prisons in the United States. (Mauer is Executive Director of The Sentencing Project, a criminal justice reform organization in Washington.) This presentation is part of The Correction, a John Brown Lives! program to inform the public about prison issues in the North Country. » Continue Reading.
Among the foreign issues America has dealt with many times is hostage taking. Kidnappers claimed many reasons for the action, but it was frequently done to extort money in support of a cause. Extortion kidnappings have often involved seizing of American missionaries and threatening to kill them unless ransom was paid. More than a hundred years ago, there occurred what is referred to as “America’s First Modern Hostage Crisis,” which is actually the subtitle of a 2003 book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Teresa Carpenter.
The Miss Stone Affair is the title, referring to Protestant missionary Ellen Maria Stone. A North Country man was a key player in her story, which riveted the nation for half a year.
Charles Monroe Dickinson was born in November 1842 in Lowville, New York (Lewis County). After high school, he worked for several winters as a schoolteacher at Haverstraw-on-Hudson, about 20 miles south of West Point. The money earned helped further his education at Fairfield Seminary and Lowville Academy. During this time, Charles also explored writing, particularly poetry. At the age of 19 he produced a poem, “The Children,” that constitutes his second great claim to fame. More on that later. » Continue Reading.
George Hornell Thacher’s correspondence to his son George Jr. dated August 7, 1881 is a unique piece of history. He references a tragic affair which became the talk of the major NY newspapers
Camp, Aug. 7th, 1881
My health is about as usual. Nothing new here of importance except the recapture of Parker yesterday, the desperado, the man who outraged a lady on the carry between Forked and Long Lakes. He was arrested at Lowville while fleeing to Canada and taken back to Long Lake where he got away from the constable. Yesterday the same officer overhauled him on Forked Lake near the outlet, shot and broke his arm and recaptured him. The lady was a sister of the wife of U.S. Senator Platt of Connecticut. Parker was a newcomer here and took up the business of guiding. He was guiding her to Long Lake and perpetrated the deed near Butter Milk Falls.
P.S. Parker was shot through the arm and breast. The Doctor says he will die probably before night. The way of the transgressor is hard. 10 A.M.
The Troy Press said, “Probably no event occurring in the Adirondack region has caused as much comment and excitement as the crime that is attributed to Charles Parker.” » Continue Reading.
At a hearing Tuesday afternoon, State Supreme Court Justice Richard Giardino said that Hudson River Rafting cannot offer raft trips on any part of a river where licensed guides are required, according to the office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. In doing so, the judge reaffirmed an earlier order.
The attorney general has taken Hudson River Rafting and its owner, Patrick Cunningham, to court several times over the past few years. In 2012, Schneiderman tried to close Hudson River Rafting permanently over allegations that, among other things, the company sent clients on whitewater trips without licensed guides.
The suit was filed a few weeks after a woman drowned on one of Hudson River Rafting’s excursions. The guide later admitted he was drunk. He was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide.
Assistant State Attorney General G. Nicholas Garin is asking Justice Richard Giardino to forbid Hudson River Rafting from operating whitewater trips on rivers that require licensed guides until its owner, Patrick Cunningham, replenishes a $50,000 performance bond. » Continue Reading.
The Warrensburgh Museum of Local History is preparing its major summer/fall 2014 exhibit, opening Sunday, June 29, at 1 PM with a reception, and will remain through Columbus Day. The exhibit tells the stories of the Warrensburg Volunteer Fire Company, Warrensburg Emergency Medical Service, and local policing efforts, including the role Warrensburg citizens played as Warren County sheriffs.
Since Warrensburg’s early settlement in the late 18th century, as in any frontier community, the safety and protection of its settlers was a concern but little could be done about it. Destructive fires, whether of home, barn or commercial building, were all too common. With illnesses and accidents, availability and distances to doctors meant that home remedies were heavily relied upon. And self-protection was the order of the day when it came to criminal activity. » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the appointment of Timothy A. Duffy to the position of director of the Division of Law Enforcement. As the new director, Duffy will oversee more than 330 sworn members of DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement.
The division focuses on enforcing the Environmental Conservation Law although they are empowered to enforce all laws of the state. Their mission encompasses two broad enforcement areas: fish and wildlife and environmental quality. » Continue Reading.
This is a good time to review recently enacted laws and regulations about boating, particularly those related to boat operators and aquatic invasive species. » Continue Reading.
With two more prisons set to close in our region this summer, in Franklin and Saratoga counties, people are asking new questions about America’s drug war and about the outlook for prison workers from Ogdenbsurg to Malone to Moriah and Saranac Lake. » Continue Reading.
On Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 3 pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Saranac Lake, the Tri-Lakes will celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and continue his fight for economic justice. The Saranac Lake Ecumenical Council, local clergy, and dreamers of Dr. King’s dream are sponsoring this event. Dr. King’s efforts to achieve economic justice for all will be celebrated through his words and the music of the Civil Rights Movement.
There will be an eyewitness testimony from a local resident who worked alongside Cesar Chavez; excerpts from the Dr. King’s writings will be read, and the singing of music from the movement. A free will donation will be accepted to support Samaritan House, the Saranac Lake Ecumenical Council’s Homeless Shelter initiative. Afterward, refreshments will be served in the Great Hall. » Continue Reading.
Champagne said Angela Ball filed a notice of the defense strategy last week. As a result, each side will hire a psychiatrist to examine the defendant. If the prosecution expert concludes that Ball was sane at the time of the killing, Champagne said, the case could go to trial as early as this fall.
If both experts agree that she was legally insane, Ball will be committed to a psychiatric institution for at least a year, Champagne said. Thereafter, her fitness for release would be reviewed every two years.
Over a hundred years ago, Lowville and Watertown papers held readers’ attention with headlines such as “A Woman Murdered”, “Struck in the Head”, “Murderer Caught”, and “Fulton Chain Murder”. The murderer escaped from the scene, was caught by authorities and later jailed at Auburn State Prison. No, this murder did not occur at Big Moose Lake and the evidence did not point to Chester Gillette. And while this murder caused much excitement and newsprint, a movie never resulted.
On September 21, 1899, at about 10 in the evening, Horace Norton struck Nellie Widrick, supposedly his wife, with an axe on the Moose River Lock and Dam building’s porch and subsequently fled from the scene. What follows is their story. » Continue Reading.
February 2nd is going to be more than just the Broncos trying to best the Seahawks in the XLVIII Super Bowl, when the Champlain Valley Film Society (CVFS) brings Captain Richard Phillips to introduce the 2014 Oscar nominated film named in his honor, based on the harrowing experience of his capture and attempted ransom at the hands of Somali pirates.
It is easy for my family to get caught up in the animated version of pirates or the swash-buckling Johnny Depp characterization without realizing that real pirates do exist and there is nothing romantic and comedic about it. I remember reading the news stories when Phillips sacrificed himself to save his crew in the 2009 hijacking. Now is an opportunity to meet a true survivor. » Continue Reading.
Last week I wrote a column about my personal experiences on the South Side of Chicago. My purpose was to frame the issues in terms of sequestration: when a region or area is overwhelmingly of one socioeconomic or racial class, it gets cordoned off – literally and figuratively. Other classes know little about it in experience and understanding. Stereotypes predominate. Economic and cultural gaps persist, even widen.
This is a two-way street. An obvious example is the gap in understanding between people who have lived all their lives in hyper-urban areas – say East 55th Street in Cleveland – and people who have lived exclusively in very rural areas – say farm country near the Ohio River. When the only experience of another way of life is popular media, the lack of understanding can be fractious indeed; witness the current divisions in American politics. » Continue Reading.
Last week I began a series arguing that racial and socioeconomic diversity is the number one issue facing the Adirondacks. My multi-part argument is sustained in part by overwhelming demographics that I will be presenting soon. But there is a deeper moral and cultural dynamic to my argument far more important than statistics. I need to get to it first or the rest of the argument will suffer a lack of meaning. As always, I’ll try to accomplish that with a story. » Continue Reading.