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Village watchers urged to report crimes, shed light

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VALATIE — The village is offering to install outside lights on businesses on Main Street. The mayor and trustees discussed the lights at a Neighborhood Watch meeting on Thursday, May 19.

Meeting participants also talked about a recent fight that broke out on Main Street. Deputy Sheriff Wendy Guntert, who helped form the Valatie Neighborhood Watch last summer, stressed that if people see something they need to call 911 and inform law enforcement. “You see a brawl on Saturday afternoon, we should have gotten 30 calls,” Deputy Guntert said.

Village Trustee Jennifer Furey, who owns a business on Main Street, said at the meeting that she called the police when the fight started and was told they had received other calls.

Parking issues in the village also came up. Deputy Guntert said that the village plans to repaint the no-parking zones on the corner of Main and Church streets and the crosswalks. Mayor Gary Strevell said he was told the painting would be done after street cleaning took place, which cannot be done until the weather improves.

Deputy Guntert said that with traffic violation issues, people should call 911 as soon as the incident happens. “(You have) a better chance notifying us right away,” she said of situations where cars have been sideswiped or cars are parked in the no-parking zone.

The county Sheriff’s Office has a satellite station on Main Street in the American Legion Hall, which is staffed by one officer during the day, and can be used by deputies at night.  There are also cameras on Main Street monitored by law enforcement.

Deputy Guntert brought the sheriff office’s crime report for the month to the meeting, saying that it consisted mostly of minor traffic issues in the village. That day there had been reported burglaries in homes in the village and arrests had been made.

Last summer there were several robberies at local stores on Main Street. Mayor Strevell said that over a year ago the village offered a program to install LED lights on buildings on Main Street to get more light on the Street. The village would only install lights on the front of the stores facing Main Street and not in alleys or behind businesses.

One business took advantage of the lights at 3039 Main Street. That store owner was responsible for supplying the electricity for the light and the village supplied the light and the local crews to install it at no cost to the business owner.

Mayor Strevell said there is money in the budget for the lights. Interested Main Street residents should contact the village.

The next Neighborhood Watch meeting will be Thursday, June 23 at 7 p.m. at Barnwell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Church Street.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email eteasdale@columbiapaper.com.

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