*Editor’s note: The following stories are ranked based on the number of views on HudsonValley360.com
1. Man, 19, shot and killed in Hudson
Date published: June 18
By Amanda Purcell
HUDSON — The man arrested in connection with the shooting death of a 19-year-old man in the city was charged with murder June 18.
Mohammed H. Morshed, 27, of Hudson, was charged with second-degree murder, a class AII felony. He was arraigned in Hudson City Court at 2:30 p.m.
“I didn’t do it, man,” Morshed said as he got into a Hudson police vehicle before being taken to Columbia County Jail.
Inderly InStinfil, 19, of Philmont, was shot at a home at 20 Fairview Ave. at about 8:18 p.m. June 17, near the Stewart’s Shop at the intersection of Green Street, Hudson, Police Chief L. Edward Moore said.
After InStinfil was shot, he left the house, got into a taxi at the Stewart’s Shop, across the street from 20 Fairview Ave. and was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital, the police chief said, adding InStinfil died from a single gunshot wound to the neck.
The shooting is believed to be the result of a fight.
Hudson police taped off the Stewart’s Shop parking lot where many customers were enjoying 50-cent ice cream cones for Father’s Day. Fairview Avenue was closed to traffic after the shooting between Green Street and Storm Avenue.
An investigation is underway and police have not determined what led to the shooting, Moore said.
Police would not release any information regarding possible suspects or arrests in connection with the shooting.
Police do not have any information linking the incident to last summer’s shootings that left one man killed and four adults and two children wounded.
Police remained at the scene investigating leads at 9:30 p.m. Members of the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office, state police, and Columbia County Sheriff’s Office were assisting at the scene.
“We’re bringing a lot of assets here,” Moore said.
2. ATHENS MAN DEAD 9 DAYS BEFORE DISCOVERY IN WALMART PARKING LOT
Date published: Sept. 5
By Amanda Purcell
GREENPORT — The man found in his car in the Greenport Walmart parking lot was dead for nine days before he was discovered, police said.
Thomas W. MacGregor, 59, of Athens, died from a heroin overdose Aug. 20, according to a statement from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Family and friends are mourning MacGregor, an accomplished architectural designer who worked at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City and as a studio manager with Richard Artschwager.
Questions remain about why MacGregor remained undiscovered for nine days in a parking lot frequented by hundreds of customers each day. The parking lot of the Greenport Walmart, located at 460 Fairview Ave., has about 700 parking spaces.
Walmart declined to comment on the incident.
MacGregor founded his own design firm based in Brooklyn, and completed residential projects across the state, including Manhattan and Brooklyn, Pemaquid and Amsterdam. He was a 1976 graduate of Albany High School and attended the University of Maryland, College Park, and State University of New York at Albany.
Police reviewed video surveillance footage provided by Walmart showing MacGregor was in the parking lot since Aug. 20, according to police.
MacGregor’s ex-wife filed a missing persons report with state police Aug. 29, state police spokesman Trooper Steven Nevel said.
MacGregor was found after state police asked Columbia County sheriff’s deputies to assist with the investigation.
Deputy David Pulcher found MacGregor in the Walmart parking lot by means of his last-known cell phone coordinates, which showed him to be in the area of Fairview Avenue and Joslen Boulevard.
MacGregor was staying with his parents at the time of his death, Nevel said. His parents are Billie and Thomas H. MacGregor, a professor of mathematics for 31 years, according to their son’s obituary.
Billie and Thomas declined to be interviewed.
“In addition to his love of designing, building and renovating homes, Tom loved music, running marathons and fishing with his father,” according to his obituary.
He is survived by daughter, Elizabeth Marion MacGregor, of Brooklyn, according to his obituary.
Dr. Jeffrey Hubbard, an Albany-based pathologist, arrived in Greenport to examine the body, Columbia County Coroner James Bertram said Aug. 30. An autopsy will not be performed.
Bertram did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The French, Gifford, Preiter, and Blasl Funeral Home in Chatham removed MacGregor’s body from the scene.
Anyone with concerns of suspicious activity or behavior should contact police, Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett said in a statement.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the Greenport Rescue Squad and Bertram responded to the scene and assisted with the investigation.
3. netflix’s ‘daredevil’ swings into production in windham
Date published: March 28
By Carly Miller
WINDHAM — Production crews swarmed Windham and Hensonville transforming the town hall, local restaurants, intersections and a quarry into settings for the third season of Marvel’s “Daredevil” Netflix series.
“It’s definitely Netflix and the ‘Daredevil’ series,” said Windham Town Supervisor Robert Pelham, adding that he heard crews are filming season 3 episode 9 but wasn’t told that detail directly by production staff.
Daredevil was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett. The character first appeared in Daredevil No. 1 published in April 1964. He is known to fans as “The Man Without Fear.” In 2003, Ben Affleck played the character in the feature film “Daredevil.”
Season 1 premiered April 10, 2015.
The cast of the Netflix series includes Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Rosario Dawson and Vincent D’Onofrio.
The hero, lawyer Matthew “Matt” Murdock, is blinded by a radioactive substance that falls from a truck after he pushes a man to safety from the oncoming vehicle. Although sightless, Murdock’s exposure to the radiation heightens his remaining senses beyond normal human ability and gives him a radar sense and superhuman agility and strength.
Ringside Filming planned to begin shooting in Windham on March 26 and continue for five to seven weekdays with about 150 crew members, according to Ringside Filming representatives Rocco Nisivoccia and Frank Trotta from Windham Town Board meeting minutes.
Nisivoccia and Trotta spoke with council members regarding safety procedures and possible locations for the third season of their show, according to the town board minutes from March 8.
At the regular town board meeting, they expressed interested in using the Catskill Mountain Country Store as a diner and filming an overnight car crash at the west end portion of Route 12. They were also scouting locations to fly a remote-controlled airplane and the inside of a quarry, according to the board minutes.
Windham Town Hall on Route 296 was moonlighting as Fagan Corners Town Hall on March 28 with the original sign replaced. A ‘Welcome to Fagan Corners, VT’ sign was also spotted leaning against a house on Route 296, and several crew members were tacking boards on the doors at Fitness Concepts to make it appear abandoned.
As of last week, the crew planned to film a drive-by scene on Route 296 featuring the show’s lead actress, according to an email from the production company to the town clerk and Lt. Adam Brainard with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.
Crew members on site said they could not confirm details about the shoot, or the name of the show, citing a non-disclosure contract.
The first two seasons of Marvel Netflix’s crime drama were primarily filmed in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, according to the movie website International Movie Database.
“They were doing something with our helicopter pad,” Pelham said. “I warned them that it’s for emergency use, but the chances of us needing it on Wednesday afternoon are slim, but I said they’re welcome to use it.”
The show’s team expanded to more sites including ski areas and the country club for staging, Pelham said. They did not need to apply to the town council directly for permits.
“I think it’s a great thing for the town,” Pelham said. “Anything that can get Windham noticed for more than just skiing is a good thing. It’s good for business and good for everyone.”
The film team paid to renovate the inside of the Catskill Mountain Country Store, Pelham said.
“It put that store on the map in a different way,” he said.
As street parking spaces filled up with crew cars, many local residents said they were excited to see their town showcased on screen.
“I heard it was ‘Daredevil’ by word-of-mouth, but when they passed out the papers, it said Netflix series R3,” resident Serena Astle said, referring to a notice restricting parking. “I think it’s a good thing for the town.”
“It would be nice to see the town on film.” Hensonville resident Billi Bush said.
Wendy Krom, a Hensonville resident of 40 years, said this is the first film crew she’s ever seen in town. She noticed production crews packing in and out of the Country Store in Windham this week, but didn’t know about filming on Route 296.
“I think it’s pretty nice,” Krom said. “They can portray our beautiful small town to other people.”
“I saw film crew [members] in Nunzio’s,” said Windham police officer Dave Sherman. “It’s great they’re patronizing the local businesses.”
“I’m excited,” Jessika Schreiber, co-owner of ‘Ze Windham Wine Bar, said. “I think it’s nice for a small community like Windham to have people coming in. There’s been several articles about how hip it is to be here, so if it can bring people up here to the Catskills and all the small businesses, I think it’s great.”
One of the show’s stuntmen, who specializes in car chases, visited the Windham wine bar this week and spoke with her daughter, Schreiber said.
The state Department of Transportation issued a special use permit to Touchstone Studios, to replace a street sign at Route 296 and Maplecrest, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 28, state DOT spokesman Bryan Viggiani said.
“They’re working with local police to remove and replace road signs for filming and re-direct traffic around it,” Viggiani said.
It’s not unusual for production companies to approach the transportation department for permits, and the office tries to accommodate them without disrupting rush-hour traffic, Viggiani said. He was also told the name of the show, which he said was standard procedure.
“We have to understand what it’s for and make sure it’s allowable,” Viggiani said.
They ensure there is no public hazard, safety laws are enforced, that the film company is insured and they’ll restore the site to its original condition.
“We want to make sure it’s legitimate,” he said.
4. BILL MURRAY, ADAM DRIVER FILM ZOMBIE COMEDY IN TAGHKANIC
Date published: Aug. 15
By Richard Moody
TAGHKANIC — Producers kept the plot under wraps, but it’s no mystery that an acclaimed independent director is filming a new movie with a star-studded cast at the local West Taghkanic Diner on Route 82.
The New York City-based director Jim Jarmusch is shooting a zombie comedy with the working title “The Dead Don’t Die,” and it is sparking positive response from local officials and businesses.
Production designers were transforming the diner at 1016 Route 82 into a movie set Aug. 13, and started filming at 6 a.m. Aug. 14.
“They will be filming mostly in the heart of the town, and mostly at the diner,” Taghkanic Town Supervisor Ryan Skoda said. “It is interesting, especially if the movie goes mainstream. This certainly gets the town’s name out there. If the movie is a hit, it will be good publicity for the diner and hopefully will help their business.”
Skoda may not have to worry about how well the movie does because Jarmusch has directed such well-received films as “Broken Flowers” (2005) starring Bill Murray, and the ingenious anthology “Night on Earth” (1991).
Jarmusch’s latest movie boasts a who’s-who of the director’s repertory company including Murray, Adam Driver (the poetry-writing bus driver in the acclaimed “Paterson”), Chloë Sevigny, Tilda Swinton (the devoted vampire wife in Jarmusch’s unjustly ignored “Only Lovers Left Alive”), Steve Buscemi and Selena Gomez, a newcomer to Jarmusch’s productions, according to a press release from Focus Features.
Filming at the West Taghkanic Diner took place until 8 p.m. Aug. 14, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 15, and continued through Aug. 17.
“They said they filmed at Lake Taghkanic and in Elizaville before this, and may go back to Lake Taghkanic after this,” said Carlo Macri, owner of Jo Jo’s Pizza and Ice Cream across Route 82 from the diner. “I heard there are going to be a couple big names in this movie.”
The production company dropped off a warning to the neighboring businesses Aug. 10, giving notice of when the cameras will be rolling and that traffic will be stopped periodically on the small section of road for certain scenes throughout filming.
“I am worried about how their shutting down the road will affect business,” Macri said. “We will see how it goes.”
The production company contracted with the state Department of Transportation and the state police to close the road down between the Taconic State Parkway ramp and Livingston Road, according to the notice provided to neighboring businesses.
Two state troopers were posted at the set all throughout the filming, State Police Capt. Kathryne Rohde said.
“We will be there from the morning until the evening when they conclude filming,” Rhode said. “Based on the filming schedule we will be closing the road intermittently. There has not been any trouble yet.”
Darshan Kaur owns the Getty station next door to the diner, where the production company has been parking vehicles.
“I like having them film here,” Kaur said. “They are nice. It is good for business. Why not? They are buying stuff here.”
Members of the production crew refused to comment about the film or its plot.
5. 46 COWS PERISH IN FIRE AT HISTORIC FARM
Date published: Oct. 15
By Amanda Purcell
ANCRAMDALE — A dairy farmer lost all but one of his cows after a fast-moving fire ripped through his barn.
Firefighters were called to the scene at about 7:30 p.m. at 3195 Route 82 — the Millerhurst Farm. They arrived to find the barn, which housed 47 cows, fully engulfed in flames.
One of the cattle was able to escape the deadly flames.
“I am at a loss,” owner Michael Miller said. “The farm is my whole life right there.”
Miller, whose ancestors purchased the farm in 1770, said he would like to continue the farm. He operates it with his wife.
“I am too young to retire,” Miller said. “The cows have been my life. I have a granddaughter — she is in tears over losing the cattle as well as I am. It’s all we want to do: live out our lives on the farm, like any farm family wants to do, and continue it all on for more generations.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Ancram Fire Chief David Boice said. Ancram firefighters and investigators from the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control were at the scene as of 3:30 p.m. Oct. 15.
No farmers or firefighters at the scene were injured, Boice said.
Boice did not know the size of the barn, but said it was very large.
The fire is believed to have started in the southern end of the barn, the fire chief said. He referred all questions about the cause to the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control.
“There was some heat damage to surrounding buildings, but we were able to protect all the exposures,” Boice said. “There are multiple silos and there were four other buildings nearby.”
Miller was reeling from the devastating blaze.
“Everything was just another fine normal day on the farm,” Miller said. “I finished up the chores a little after 5 p.m. Everything seemed fine and normal. Apparently, that wasn’t the case.”
Miller, who wakes up early to milk the cows, was in bed by 7 p.m.
“My wife noticed the power was flickering a little, then went out,” Miller said. “She came out and realized she saw all kinds of smoke. I initially rushed over thinking I could save some cows out of the barn, but it was engulfed in smoke so much and flames on the window edges that no one was going in there.”
Photographer Michael Molinski was driving north on Route 82 on his way back from a photo shoot when he spotted the fire as he crested the hill before the farm.
Molinski pulled over, grabbed his phone and dialed 911. He got out of his car and tried to help anyone who might be inside and he heard the sound of cows bellowing inside, he said.
“It was hard to take it all in,” Molinski said. “It was a horrible scene. You can tell there was so much pain happening inside the barn.”
Molinski saw a cow with its tail on fire running from the building, he said.
Firefighters from 15 departments responded. Most left the scene as of 1:30 a.m. Several excavator companies arrived to help move debris in the rain.
Dozens of nearby farmers in the community offered their support on social media for the Miller family, who own the farm.
“Our hearts are breaking tonight for our friends and neighbors at Millerhurst Farm,” according to a statement from Ronnybrook Farm Dairy, of Pine Plains, on Facebook. “This national bicentennial farm has been in their family since 1770. The farming community shares their grief on the loss of cows and their beautiful barn due to a fast-moving fire.”
Triple Creek Dairy Farms, of West Taghkanic, also offered support.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with The Miller Family of Millhurst Farm in Ancram after a devastating barn fire,” according to a statement from Triple Creek Dairy Farms’ on Facebook. “They lost their barn, their herd and some equipment.”
Boice thanked the large amount of fire departments and dozens of firefighters who answered the call.
Firefighters from the Germantown, Clermont, Pine Plains, Copake, Hillsdale, Craryville, Churchtown, Taghkanic, Livingston, Milan and Millerton fire departments assisted. Firefighters from Sharon, and Lakeville, Connecticut, also responded.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Community Rescue Squad and the Columbia County Fire Coordinator’s Office responded.
Lance Wheeler contributed to this report.
6. Drugs, weapons seized in 3 police raids in Hudson
Date published: June 5
By Amanda Purcell
HUDSON — Several people were taken into custody after multiple drug raids in Greenport and the city in June.
Search warrants in hand, police raided three homes along State Street and a home on Healy Boulevard in Greenport, Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore said at the scene on State Street.
The three locations in Hudson were 228 State St., 241 State St., and 508 State St. In Greenport, police searched 21 Healy Boulevard, according to a news release from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
More than 30 officers from the Hudson Police Department, state police and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office took part in the raids.
State Street was closed 9:30 p.m. to pedestrian and vehicular traffic while police executed the search warrants.
Several people were in custody and formal charges were expected to be filed later, Moore said. Police did not release the number of suspects or their names as of 11:30 p.m.
Police were looking for drugs, but Moore would not say what kind. Police were continuing to search the homes.
“This effort that you see tonight is part of an ongoing pressure that we will keep on the drug dealers in this city,” Moore said. “Our effort is to improve the quality of life for the residents on this block [of State Street].”
Moore declined to comment on any cash or weapons found at the addresses.
“We’re just basically sending a message to these drug dealers – don’t do it here,” Sheriff David Bartlett said at the scene in Greenport. “If you continue to deal drugs, we will come here in force and take you into custody.”
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and Columbia-Greene Shared Response Team was assisted by the City of Hudson Police Department, the New York State Police, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Greenport Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force.
Bartlett declined to say how many people were arrested as a result of the raids.
“This all ongoing right now,” Bartlett said.
The four warrants were based on several months of investigation for suspected drug trafficking, according to the sheriff’s office. Police were looking for heroin, powder and crack cocaine, Bartlett said.
Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka and the Columbia County Probation Department are assisting in the investigation.
7. aspiring rapper found dead under catskill home
Date published: Feb. 8
By Amanda Purcell
CATSKILL — Police investigators searched for answers in the disappearance and death of a Catskill man who was reported missing more than a year ago.
State police found the body of Brandyn Dayne Foster, 31, at a home at 124 Tool House Road. Troopers executed a search warrant at the residence after a year-long investigation into Foster’s missing persons case, which was opened in January 2017.
Police removed Foster’s body from the scene.
Carlos Graham, 31, of Catskill, was charged with second-degree murder, a class A1 felony, according to state police.
In October, Foster’s family offered a $20,000 reward for information that would lead to his whereabouts.
“We all miss him terribly and we will never stop until we find justice for him,” Brandyn Foster’s mother, Bonnie Steinberg Foster, said in October.
The news the family feared the most hit hard.
“My heart is broken,” Steinberg Foster said. “And the hearts of all the people that knew him are shattered. It is very hard to accept it is true and that he is gone.”
Foster was a hip-hop and rap artist who inherited his love of music from his father, renowned jazz drummer Al Foster, who played with the likes of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, his mother said.
“He was also a very incredible human being,” she said. “He was always reaching out to see if he could help people, even homeless people. And buy them clothes and put them in a hotel. He was an amazing son and exceptional father to his 10-year-old son, Jazzon.”
Foster last lived at the Tool House Road address, according to state police, but they declined to say what led them to the Tool House Road address, the condition of Foster’s body or the circumstances under which the body was discovered.
On Oct. 13, 2017, state police conducted exhaustive searches for evidence in Foster’s disappearance at two residences in the village of Catskill at 139 Broome St. and 126 Tool House Road.
“He was associated with three houses on that piece of property,” state police senior investigator Pete Kusminsky said.
The actions were part of an ongoing investigation following new leads, according to state police.
“The body has been positively identified as Brandyn Foster, but we are still awaiting the results of an autopsy,” Kusminsky said.
State police declined to confirm whether they suspect foul play in Foster’s death, but Kusminsky said charges are pending.
An autopsy is scheduled to be performed at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, but state police would not say when it would take place or when results would be completed.
Foster was reported missing under suspicious circumstances to the Woodstock Police Department on Jan. 27, 2017, according to state police.
Catskill village police, the FBI and the Ulster and Greene County district attorney’s offices assisted state police in the investigation into Foster’s death.
8. Ex-girlfriend of shooting victim charged in his murder
Date published: June 28
By Daniel Zuckerman
CATSKILL — The six-month pregnant ex-girlfriend of Brandyn Dayne Foster, who was fatally shot in his Catskill home and hidden in a crawl space in 2017, was charged in connection with his murder, police said.
Sade Knox, 30, of Kingston, was charged with second-degree murder, a class A-1 felony, and second-degree conspiracy, a class B felony; state police Senior Investigator Pete Kusminsky said.
Last month, Knox was charged with tampering with physical evidence and concealment of a human corpse, both class E felonies; and third-degree grand larceny, a class D felony. Ashton Adams, 26, of Catskill was also charged with the same offenses, police said.
Carlos Graham, 31, of Catskill, was charged Feb. 15 with second-degree murder in connection with Foster’s death.
He was additionally charged in May with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class C felony; third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and third-degree grand larceny, both class D felonies; concealment of a corpse and two counts of tampering with physical evidence, both class E felonies.
Graham pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Foster was shot in a bedroom of Knox’s home at 124 Tool House Road, Catskill, in January 2017. Graham, Knox and Adams lifted the floor up to hide Foster’s body in a crawl space, Greene County District Attorney Joseph Stanzione said in May.
Graham and Foster were friends who both dated Knox. Foster’s home was at 126 Tool House Road and Graham lived at 128 Tool House Road, Kusminsky said.
Knox is six months pregnant, Lubow said, and is due in September.
The pregnancy shouldn’t affect the case, Stanzione said.
“Something is going to have to be determined about the care of her child,” he said. “I don’t know if she thought of that.”
Graham, Knox and Adams drove Foster’s Cadillac Escalade to a casino in Connecticut to make it appear Foster drove there and disappeared, Stanzione said.
Knox pleaded not guilty to all charges and is being represented by attorney Greg Lubow, of Tannersville.
Lubow requested in court 45 days to file motions and demands pertaining to evidence in the case. A court date for Knox will be scheduled when the court receives the information, Stanzione said.
“They’re [the defense] entitled to obtain a lot of information pertaining to the case such as photographs, physical evidence such as duct tape, bags or things used in the crime,” he said.
Knox was released on bail for her prior charges. Lubow requested the previously posted bail of $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond be used to cover the new charges, adding Knox will not be a flight risk.
“She’s been available to me on a moment’s notice,” Lubow said. “She is someone who will return to court.”
Stanzione asked for an increase in Knox’s bail, or that she be held without bail because of the seriousness of the charges.
“We believe she’s a danger to the community,” he said.
Knox’s bail was increased because of her participation in hiding Foster’s body and telling his mother, Bonnie Steinberg Foster, her son was fine and was out of town, Stanzione said.
Foster was a hip-hop and rap artist who inherited his love of music from his father, renowned jazz drummer Al Foster, who played with the likes of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. Foster has a 10-year-old son, Jazzon Foster.
“She [Knox] was proven to be a sneaky, manipulative, deceptive person,” he added. “It certainly raises our concern she will flee the jurisdiction.”
Knox’s bail was raised to $100,000 cash or $250,000 bond. She is being held in the custody of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office until police determine where she will be jailed.
“She’ll be boarded out to whatever facility they can board her to,” Kusminsky said.
Further investigation by state police, the state police Major Crimes Unit and the FBI resulted in the discovery of additional evidence, which was presented to a grand jury and led to Knox’s indictment, Kusminsky said.
Knox is suspected of helping to orchestrate Foster’s death and could receive a life sentence in prison, if convicted, Stanzione said.
“That’s why the charges of murder were assessed,” he said.
Adams is scheduled to be arraigned in Greene County Court at 9:15 a.m. July 3. Police are expected to file more charges against him, Stanzione said. Adams is being held in the Ulster County Jail.
9. Ninth grader in custody after shooting threat
Date published: Feb. 27
By Carly Miller and Daniel Zuckerman
DURHAM — A ninth-grader at Cairo-Durham High School was taken into custody in connection with an alleged shooting threat that sent the school into a brief lockdown, according to state police.
The boy, whose age was given as 15, was issued a family court appearance ticket at a later date, state police Senior Investigator Pete Kusminsky said. The boy is being petitioned as a juvenile delinquent.
“If he was an adult, the charge would have been making a terroristic threat,” Kusminsky said.
Cairo-Durham High School was on lockdown for a short time following a report of a possible shooting, police said.
“There was talk of a potential shooting, which we are currently investigating,” Kusminsky said. “There is no current threat to anybody at the school. We are currently sorting that out to find out what was said and to whom.”
The high school, on Route 145 in Durham, was on lockdown for about 30 minutes, Kusminsky said.
No gun was found on school grounds and the boy was unarmed when he was taken into custody, Kusminsky said. No shots had been fired.
The lockdown was lifted by 1:20 p.m. Feb. 27, Cairo-Durham Superintendent Anthony Taibi said.
A student notified school administrators about the possible threat and the building was ordered into lockdown, Taibi said. Police responded to the school and made sure the building was secure before the lockdown was lifted.
“We remained in lockdown until we could ascertain exactly what was going on,” Taibi said. “Our process worked flawlessly as far as going into lockdown — everyone responded in a very timely manner, everyone followed the procedures and protocols that we drill constantly.”
“Especially with everything that went on in [Parkland] Florida, for it to happen at your school, it was kind of crazy,” said ninth-grader Alek Wagor as he was leaving the high school.
“It was weird to know that there’s someone who could shoot you,” said Ryley Pierce, another ninth grader who said he knows the student accused of making the threat. “He said he was going to shoot the school, and had a list of names of people he wanted to shoot.”
Students or faculty members can alert school administrators of anything, Taibi said, adding potential threats can be reported in various ways.
“If there’s need to go into a lockdown, any staff member can call a lockdown using our intercom system,” he said. “When we go into a lockdown, it is not necessarily because it is the same situation that was occurring in [Parkland] Florida.”
The district’s discipline procedure will be enforced depending on the situation and what the investigation reveals about the potential threat, Taibi said.
“If there was anything said that was at the level of [having] a superintendent’s hearing a student would be brought to a superintendent’s hearing and consequences would be levied in that way,” Taibi said.
This was the first lockdown at Cairo-Durham in Taibi’s 12-year tenure with the district, but there have been prior lockouts, meaning school business in the building continues as normal, but activities outside the building cease immediately.
“Anything that’s outside the building is brought into the building,” Taibi said. “No one is in or out of the building.”
Preliminary information about the lockdown was posted on the school’s website to notify parents, Taibi said. He praised the students and school staff for responding quickly and following protocols.
Tamika Abrams, of Green Island, was at Cairo-Durham Elementary School to take school pictures with LifeTouch when she was informed of the lockdown and was told to return in two days. Situations like this and the recent Parkland, Florida, school shooting worry Abrams.
“I’m scared because we go to different schools,” Abrams said of her profession.
Abrams has experienced a school lockdown on the job prior to Cairo-Durham’s.
“We were there for quite a while,” she said of her past experience.
“Our student and staff safety is our absolute No. 1 priority,” Taibi said. “Anytime any situation or information is brought to us, we’re going to jump to exactly what we need to do to make sure that everybody’s protected.”
10. Grandparents, 3 grandchildren perish in Durham blaze
Date published: April 2
By Amanda Purcell
DURHAM — A man, a woman and their three grandchildren died in a house fire early April 2, officials said.
Nicholas and Mary Mammano, both 68, two grandsons and a granddaughter perished in a blaze at 2753 Route 145 in East Durham, said Cathy Ballone, Mary and Nicolas’ daughter. Ballone would not name the children, who were all under the age of 10.
Emergency personnel responded to the fire at 6:37 a.m., state police Senior Investigator Pete Kusminsky said.
The children’s father, John Mammano, was taken to a local hospital suffering from burns, according to a release from state police. He was listed in critical condition as of 4 p.m., police said.
Nicholas and Mary are the owners of the home on Route 145, according to Greene County property records.
“We’re obviously devastated,” said Ballone, of Catskill. “My brother is still in the hospital, but he is going to be all right.”
Nicholas and Mary Mammano had the same birthday — April 26, 1949. They were born two hours apart.
“He was a great guy,” Ballone said of her father. “He loved his children and grandchildren very much.
“My mom was my best friend,” she added. “We used to talk every day. She was very special.”
Mary work as a nurse in more than 43 years at various facilities in Columbia and Greene counties. She ran a support group for people with Alzheimer’s disease, was an avid supporter of her local library and was a member of a local bowling league.
“She was very involved in the community,” Ballone said.
Ballone requested donations to the family be made to fire prevention causes and the Alzheimer’s Association.
The family was longtime parishioners of Sacred Heart Church & Our Lady of Knock Shrine church, 2052 Route 145, East Durham.
“For as long as I have been there — for 14 years — they [the family] have always been parishioners at Our Lady of Knock Shrine,” said church secretary Barbara Koerner-Fox.
A prayer service for the family was held at Sacred Heart Church & Our Lady of Knock Shrine at 6 p.m. April 2.
The Rev. Steve Matthews asked the community to pray for the children’s father, John, who is in the hospital in the burn unit.
“It is a very sad, tragic moment for the community,” Matthews said.
Matthews saw two of the children Easter Sunday, he said.
“I told them how wonderful it was that they participated in the church service and Mass and what a beautiful experience for us all to be together on Easter,” Matthews said. “Our faith says we will see each other again. That God loves us. God is holding them in his hands at this point. We can take comfort in knowing God was with them when the tragedy occurred.
“We just celebrated Good Friday and Easter. We believe our lord and savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. He is comforting them even as we speak.”
Mary Mammano was helpful with fundraisers and raising money for the church, Koerner-Fox said.
“They [the family] did whatever they could to help out,” she said.
Two of the grandchildren who died in the fire recently received sacraments at the church, Koerner-Fox said.
“It is just a shock to the community,” she said. “We wanted to have a prayer service for people to come together and grieve together.”
The cause of the blaze was not determined by 5:30 p.m. April 2, Ballone said. “It’s too early to determine that right now,” Kusminsky said.
Greene County Coroner Richard Vigilo pronounced the victims dead at the scene. The causes of death are pending, he said.
The fire remains under investigation. The blaze was extinguished by 12:20 p.m., state police spokesman Trooper Steven Nevel said. Route 145 was closed between both ends of Stone Bridge Road throughout the day, police said.
It remained closed as of 6 p.m. Police directed traffic onto Stone Bridge Road around the fire scene. State police, the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and firefighters from the East Durham, Freehold, Cairo and Oak Hill fire departments assisted at the scene. Durham ambulance and Greene County paramedics also responded.