Posts Tagged ‘crime and justice’

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lawrence Gooley: A Trip To The Big City

89Life takes so many strange turns, you never know what to expect. We’ve seen that often while operating our own business, but recent events were particularly unusual, to the extent that I’d like to share them with you. Three weeks ago, near the end of that long stretch of rain nearly every day, we battled flooding and incurred some damage that cost us more than a few dollars. And up to that point, I had worked all day almost every day since New Year’s. That level of tired can get to you after a while, but an unexpected turn of events soon re-energized me.

While things were still unsettled, we received a phone call from a media outfit. It appeared to perhaps be a survey about television, and maybe about our viewing habits. We’ve received similar calls in the past, and with all the “busy-ness” going on, we could have ignored this one. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 24, 2013

A Short History of Local KKK Activities

KKK hdline 1924Last week in this space, I addressed the subject of cross-burnings in the North Country, which became common in the 1920s during a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan. Throughout the region, meetings were conducted by Klan leaders, and thousands of followers were added to their ranks. For many of us, it’s an uncomfortable part of Adirondack history, but there is another side to the story. Despite widespread intimidation spawned by secret meetings, robed figures, and fiery crosses, New York’s citizenry rose in opposition to the Klan policies of bigotry and exclusion. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 17, 2013

North Country Cross Burnings Are Nothing New

KKK cross burning LOCLast week the Watertown Daily Times reported a story that was disturbing on many levels. Knowing that it wasn’t equally disturbing to everyone (rest assured that bigotry is alive and well even in our lovely North Country) makes it even more unsettling. A snippet from the article said, “A Gouverneur man is worried about the safety of his family after he claims he was threatened by a Hammond man …. Ryann A. Wilson burned a cross and threatened to lynch Nigel A. Spahr, a black man ….”

If that is indeed what happened, it’s sickening in my opinion, but Wilson’s case will be settled by the courts. The point here instead is to address how we perceive ourselves in the Adirondack region. At the end of the article was this: “Sheriff Kevin M. Wells said the cross-burning was an isolated event. ‘It’s not something that occurs here.’ ” If only. » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Remembering ‘Adirondack Detective’ Writer John Briant

JBriant 01aFor the second time in recent months, the Adirondacks lost a longstanding member of the regional writers’ community. John Briant of Old Forge, known far and wide for his Adirondack Detective series of books, passed away on May 14. I’m not a religious person, and I can’t say to what extent John was, but if he was devout, he probably looked forward to reuniting with his beloved wife, Margaret, who passed away in June 2012.

If you didn’t know the Briants but you attended book events in the area, they were the loving elderly couple who clung so closely to each other. Each seemed to support the other. Her death last year was a tragedy that many of us feared would be John’s undoing as well.

The world of literature is filled with moving stories of young love lost and the tortured souls of survivors, pining for what once was or might have been. As John spoke to me last year of Margaret’s passing, it became clear that, at least in this instance, age had nothing to do with love’s depth or fervor. He at times wept while describing her hospital stay, her unexpected death, and the deep sense of loss that had since enveloped his life. Had John not mattered to so many people in so many ways, he might well have left us soon after Margaret did―just from grief alone. He had lost, after all, his partner, love, and inspiration. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Judge: Hudson River Rafting Company Can Resume Business

cunningham-300x246A state Supreme Court judge has ruled that Hudson River Rafting Company must post a $50,000 performance bond to stay in business and pay $12,000 in fines for violations of the law.

However, Justice Richard Giardino refused the state’s request to shut down the rafting company for good. He also dismissed the state’s claim that the company had engaged in false advertising by billing its rafting trips as safe. » Continue Reading.


Friday, April 26, 2013

AG Puts Spotlight On Cunningham’s Raft Business

cunningham-300x246The owner of Hudson River Rafting Company knew a guide had a drinking problem, but he continued to let him take clients on whitewater trips, one of which resulted in the death of a client who fell out of a raft and drowned last year, according to sworn statements.

The guide—Rory Fay of North Creek—later admitted he was intoxicated at the time of the accident. He pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, driving while intoxicated, and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

In a statement to state police, Fay said Pat Cunningham, who owns the company, and one of his assistants, Mark Lebrecque, knew he drank heavily. At the time, Fay was living in a guides’ house owned by Cunningham. » Continue Reading.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Judge Says Rafting Company Violated Law

cunningham-300x246The state attorney general’s office has won the bulk of its lawsuit against Hudson River Rafting Company and its owner, Patrick Cunningham.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard Giardino ruled on March 29 in favor of the state on three of four causes of action, finding that Hudson River Rafting violated the law by repeatedly sending customers on whitewater-rafting trips with unlicensed guides and transporting them in buses with unlicensed drivers.

The judge has yet to determine any penalties, but he continued an order forbidding Hudson River Rafting from running whitewater-rafting trips. The whitewater season began a few weeks ago. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Adirondack History: Dannemora Prison’s Chicken Thieves

Chicken Thief headline 1931 01 Among the several dozen correctional institutions in New York State, Dannemora (officially Clinton Correctional Facility, but most often referred to as Dannemora Prison) is the largest maximum security prison. It is located in northern Clinton County, where the cold winter weather led to a variety of nicknames incorporating the word “Siberia.” It is also known as home to the worst of the worst, housing many of our most dangerous criminals.

For more than 160 years, the North Country’s famous lockup has confined inmates guilty of the most heinous crimes: murder, rape, arson, assault, bank robbery, serial killing … and chicken theft. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cabin Life: Seeking Comfort When Tragedy Strikes

The SyrupI made my maple syrup yesterday, and it turned out really good.  I know because I drank more than a couple shots of boiling sap and syrup during the process.  I did not mind the taste-testing.

Due to the incredibly windy conditions up here and the fact that there’s a residential burn-ban in effect, I decided to boil down the sap at Amy’s.  I ended up with about five and a half gallons of sap which boiled down nicely to about a pint and a half of syrup.  Not a ton, but enough to enjoy and even share.  Making and tasting the syrup was a much needed break after the events of the past week.  I think most of us needed a distraction or two this week. » Continue Reading.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Lawrence Gooley:
Amazon, Collusion, and Local Book Stores

Book House imageSix months ago, I wrote about a major court decision and the negative impact it could have on many regional Adirondack businesses, especially booksellers. The next phase has arrived in a convoluted, “if-you-can’t-beat-’em, join-’em” story, challenged by one of upstate New York’s top independent bookstores. The defendants in the earlier case included several of the nation’s largest publishers―Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster. Their e-book titles were being deeply discounted by Amazon, and to fight back, the group signed an exclusive agreement with Apple to sell the same e-books at artificially inflated prices.

The government called it anti-trust collusion, and when the courts approved a settlement in favor of Amazon last September, the Justice Department lauded the agreement as “in the public interest, and consumers will start to benefit from the restored competition in this important industry.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hudson River Guide Gets Jail In Rafting Fatality

A rafting guide whose client drowned in the Indian River last September has been sentenced to a year in jail and five years of probation.

Rory Fay, 37, of North Creek admitted he was drunk when he and the client, Tamara Blake, 53, of Columbus, Ohio, fell out of the raft on the morning of September 27. Blake’s boyfriend stayed in the raft and paddled to shore. Fay also managed to get to shore. Blake’s body was found five miles downstream in the Hudson River.

Fay, who worked for Hudson River Rafting Company, pleaded guilty in November to criminally negligent homicide, a felony, as well as two misdemeanors, driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cunningham Acquitted In Rafting Case

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA rafting outfitter who sent a father and daughter down the Indian River without a guide was acquitted of reckless endangerment today after a three-day trial in Hamilton County Court.

Pat Cunningham, the owner of Hudson River Rafting Company, had been indicted on two misdemeanor reckless-endangerment charges stemming from separate incidents in August 2010. One of the charges was dismissed because the witnesses did not want to testify, according to Marsha Purdue, the county’s district attorney. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

State Takes Action On Lake George Invasive Species

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) have announced they will take actions to prevent the spread and threat of aquatic invasive species in preparation for the summer 2013 Lake George boating season.  In addition, an environmental review of a long-term plan to address invasive species is expected to begin shortly.

The announcement is the latest state and local action designed to reduce the spread of invasive species, particularly aquatic invasives. In 2011 Warren County passed a law making the introduction and transport of aquatic invasive species into Warren County waterbodies illegal. The state’s first county law of its kind imposes a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 15 days in jail for violators. In July 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Invasive Species Prevention Act  into law, directing DEC and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop by September 2013 a proposed list of invasive species to be regulated and prohibited.
» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Cunningham Trial: Rafting Customer Tells Of Scary Trip

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen Robert Carson asked his daughter Savannah how she wanted to celebrate her twenty-first birthday, she told him she wanted to take a whitewater rafting trip. Carson did some research on the Internet and booked a trip with the Hudson River Rafting Company in August 2010.

Initially, the father and daughter planned to ride in a guided raft with other customers down the Indian and Hudson rivers, but as things turned out, they would start their trip in an inflatable kayak, a two-person vessel with no room for a guide. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hudson River Rafting: Pat Cunningham’s Rocky Ride

On March 30, 2012, Hamilton County Court gave Patrick Cunningham a second chance. It came with conditions and a warning.

Judge S. Peter Feldstein told the defendant: “My goal in this matter, as I said at the beginning, was to affect how you do business. Now, I understand, Mr. Cunningham, through your attorney, that you do not feel that you’ve committed any crimes and you’re perfectly within your rights and you’re innocent before this court, but I want to be sure you understand that if you engaged in the behavior alleged in the indictment, I have no doubt that you committed crimes.” » Continue Reading.



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