The 9th Annual Toys for Tots Golf Tournament

Two pedestrians killed in crosswalk crash



NEW LEBANON—State Police are investigating a double fatal car versus pedestrians crash.

Saturday, September 9 at 8:21 p.m., troopers were dispatched to the crosswalk near the New Lebanon Valley Speedway, 1746 U.S. Highway 20.

An investigation determined a 2019 Subaru Crosstrek operated by Erica C. Florin, 36, of Lee, MA, was driving eastbound on U.S. Highway 20 when she struck two pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Troopers and responding emergency medical service personnel attempted life-saving measures, but both victims were pronounced dead on the scene.

The victims were later identified as Gary J. Sheldon, 74, and Patricia Peck, 77, both of Clarksburg, MA.

This investigation remains ongoing and will be updated as new information becomes available, according to police.

To contact Diane Valden email

Judge sends rapist to prison

HUDSON—An Austerlitz man was sentenced by Columbia County Supreme Court to 10 years in prison on multiple counts of rape, August 17, according to a press release from the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.
Brendan Ryder, 29, pleaded guilty April 10 to a 10-count indictment, charging him with two counts of first degree rape; two counts of first degree criminal sexual act; four counts of third degree aggravated sexual abuse and two counts of first degree sexual abuse. The incident occurred June 12, 2019.

The defendant, Mr. Ryder, in his own words, told the court on April 10: “I raped [the victim]… [I] forced myself on [the victim who] was incapacitated.”

“The defendant not only took advantage of someone who was incapacitated, but he also recorded his conduct, inflicting further pain and trauma. I cannot say enough about the survivor’s bravery and courage to come forward and let her voice be heard,” Assistant District Attorney Ryan Carty said in the release. Mr. Carty prosecuted the case.

Supreme Court Judge Richard McNally said the crime was one of the most terrible he has seen in his 30-year legal career.

At sentencing, the survivor spoke about how the crime still affects her to this day.

“Emotionally this crime has torn me to pieces,” the survivor said in her statement to the court. “Never in my life have I ever felt so isolated and alone. Over the last few years, I have been on a roller-coaster, blindfolded. The second I found out I was in complete shock, a type of surreal numbness that I had never felt before. This lasted for months, it even resurfaces from time to time. I was very out of touch with my body and emotions. The impact of the trauma was larger than I could conceive. I have very high anxiety. I remember not even feeling safe to walk down the street….”

The survivor reported her crime after waking up in pain with several burns, bruises and bite marks.

“You very nearly did break me. Very nearly. But I’m still here. I made a life for myself. You did something terrible to me and I have been the one to suffer, but it was on you. It was your responsibility. You are to blame. You don’t get to beat me. I live, and my life is in defiance of you and what you did to me.”

The case was investigated by the New York State Police and Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Mr. Ryder is represented by Mark Portin, Esq.

8,500+ tickets issued during Labor Day crackdown

ALBANY—State Police issued 8,762 tickets and arrested 154 people for DWI during this year’s Labor Day weekend DWI enforcement period. The initiative, which targeted impaired and reckless drivers, began Friday, September 1 and continued through the Labor Day holiday, Monday, September 4.

During the campaign, which was funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, the State Police increased patrols and conducted sobriety checkpoints to deter, identify and arrest impaired drivers. In addition to the DWI checkpoints and patrols, troopers were also watching for distracted drivers, vehicle occupants who were not properly buckled up, and drivers that were violating the Move Over Law.

As part of the enforcement, troopers also targeted speeding and aggressive drivers across the state. Below is a sampling of the total tickets that were issued during this period: Speeding 3,407, Distracted Driving 203, Seatbelt violations 383, Move Over Law 126.

Troopers used both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of this crackdown in order to more easily identify motorists who are violating the law. CITE vehicles allow the trooper to better observe driving violations. These vehicles blend in with everyday traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

Over the 2022 Labor Day weekend, from September 2 to 5, troopers arrested 208 people for DWI and investigated 139 personal injury crashes, including three fatalities, and issued 9,748 tickets.

Firefighters put their best feet forward

Greenport Fire Company Color Guard. Photo by David Lee

CHATHAM—Trophy winners who marched in the September 2 Firefighters Parade at the Columbia County Fair are as follows:

*Best Appearing Fire Unit Firefighters: Class A 1st (22 and over) Ghent, Class A 2nd Spencertown; Class B 1st (16-21) Ancram, Class B 2nd Stottville; Class C 1st (5-15) Red Rock, Class C 2nd Hudson

*Best Appearing Auxiliary: Class A 1st Mellenville, Class A 2nd Greenport

*Best Appearing Color Guard: 1st Stottville, 2nd Ancram

*Best Appearing Apparatus:1st Spencertown, 2nd Hudson

*Best Appearing Visiting Fire Unit: Class A 1st (16 and over) Millerton; Class B 1st (5-15) Milan, Class B 2nd, Ravena

*Best Appearing Visiting Color Guard: 1st West Sand Lake, 2nd Ravena

*Best Appearing Apparatus: 1st Nassau, 2nd Ravena

*Best Appearing Non-Firematic Color Guard: 1st New York State Police, 2nd Columbia County Sheriff’s Office

*Junior Firefighter: 1st Stottville

*Musical: Band 1st Ghent Band, 2nd Yankee Doodle; Drum Line 1st Hoysradt Hose, 2nd Spencertown

*Charles “Rip” Vogel Memorial Award, Overall Best Appearing Columbia County Unit With Auxiliary Mellenville

*Philip D. Mickle Memorial Award, Overall Best Appearing Columbia County Unit Without Auxiliary, Red Rock

*Howard A. Ploss / W. Gordon Goold Memorial Award, Overall Best Appearing Visiting Unit, Milan.

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