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Bruce Squiers, Special to The Post-Star  

Although the New York State Canal System closed to recreational boating last month, about six weeks earlier than usual, it remains operational to some tourist boats and commercial traffic, such as this northbound barge leaving Lock C7 in Fort Edward one day last week.

Police seize large quantity of heroin in Glens Falls

GLENS FALLS — Two men from Connecticut were jailed Monday night after police seized nearly 300 bags of heroin from their vehicle after a traffic stop on Broad Street, authorities said.

Police said the men were headed to an unspecified location in Glens Falls to “distribute” the drugs.

The men were pulled over just before 8 p.m. for unspecified traffic violations, and they gave “conflicting” stories that led to police searching the driver and finding he had the prescription opioid painkiller oxycodone without a prescription, according to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

A Sheriff’s Office police dog was summoned to the scene, and a search led to the seizure of the heroin as well as 1.2 grams of cocaine, police said.

Charged with two felony counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance was David A. Gardner, 30, of Enfield, Connecticut, police said.

The other occupant of the vehicle, Thomas C. Gracewski Jr., 38, of East Windsor, Connecticut, was charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Warren County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Stockdale said Glens Falls Police had gotten information about the possible arrival of a drug shipment and police around the region were watching for their vehicle. When the suspects’ vehicle was spotted, officers noticed traffic violations that led to a stop, he said.

“The drugs were headed to this area for distribution,” Stockdale said. “The case remains under investigation.”

Police said they have not seen any significant ties to central Connecticut in the region’s drug trade before.

Both men were being held in Warren County Jail pending arraignment Tuesday. Sheriff’s Patrol Officer Peyton Ogden made the arrest, assisted by his canine partner Easy and members of the Glens Falls Police Department.

Two years later, family seeks answers about missing hunter

HORICON — Two years ago Wednesday, Thomas Messick Sr. vanished in the woods of Horicon while deer hunting with friends and relatives.

And despite the thousands of hours dedicated to the search, it remains unclear what happened to Messick, whether he got lost in the woods, had a medical problem or was the victim of foul play.

His son, Thomas Messick Jr. of Troy, said loved ones are hoping for some closure and remain as “perplexed” about what happened as the professional and volunteer searchers who scoured the woods south of Brant Lake for weeks in November and December 2015.

“We’re stilling praying for answers,” he said.

Messick Sr. was 82 when he disappeared Nov. 15, 2015 near Lily Pond in an area of state land that is part of the the Lake George Wild Forest.

Messick was supposed to remain in a stationary post while others in his party moved into the woods to push deer toward him and another hunter. When the group reassembled late that afternoon, Messick was not among them.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation oversaw a massive search that went on for weeks, using dogs, helicopters and divers to check ponds in the remote area, to no avail.

The DEC scaled back the effort to a “limited continuous search” after two months, in which local forest rangers and search-and-rescue teams will conduct spot searches and training exercises in the search area and nearby areas not previously searched.

State Police Aviation helicopters and forest rangers also periodically checked the lands and waters in and around the search area, but no one has reported finding any sign of him or any of his belongings, including the rifle he carried.

The area is also popular with hunters, anglers and hikers, but no one who has been there in years since has reported finding anything that could be linked to Messick.

“The search for Thomas Messick remains in limited continuous status since Jan. 20, 2016 after DEC forest rangers and others spent two months and more than 10,000 searcher hours seeking him to no avail,” DEC spokesman David Winchell wrote in an email. “Since that time, DEC forest rangers and others have periodically searched and conducted search training in and around the area where Mr. Messick went missing but have not found any sign of him. DEC asks hunters and others in the woods to report any possible signs of Mr. Messick or his belongings to the DEC Ray Brook dispatch at 518-897-1300.”

Messick Jr., who was not among the family members hunting with Messick Sr. that day, said the family theorized that his father walked off and either had a medical problem (he had a history of heart issues) or got lost and settled in a spot behind a tree or rock where he couldn’t be found. The forest area also has some caves and crevices.

“They had over 300 people a day in the woods for over two weeks,” Messick Jr. said. “They covered a lot of ground.”

He said his father was an avid woodsman and hunter.

“He was a hunter instructor for a lot of years, so he knew what to do,” his son said.

The State Police continue to investigate an active missing persons case for Messick Sr., but the agency reported no new developments in its investigation as of this week.

The disappearance was one of two unexplained missing persons cases in the region involving outdoorsmen in a matter of days in November 2015. On Nov. 24, Fred “Fritzie” Drumm, 68, disappeared from his property on Burgoyne Road in the town of Saratoga. Police theorized he went for a walk on his 170-acre piece of land along Fish Creek, but no trace of him was found, either.

Police do not believe the two cases were related.


Post-Star file photo  

Forest rangers, state correction officers and representatives of the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control go over search plans Nov. 23, 2015, from a command post at Horicon Town Hall. Missing hunter Thomas Messick Sr., who was last seen Nov. 15, 2015, has still not been found, despite efforts from rangers, police, volunteers and family members.

Diamond, Campinell, Palmer capture Glens Falls seats
Cynthia Hyde elected to full term in Thurman

QUEENSBURY — Mayor Jack Diamond will be taking a seat on the Warren County Board of Supervisors, as Democrats swept all three outstanding Glens Falls races after Tuesday’s counting of absentee ballots.

Diamond expanded upon his five-vote lead from the polls last week. Diamond received a total of 193 votes to defeat Nancy Underwood, the Republican, Independence and Reform Party candidate, who had 174.

Ward 1 Councilor Jim Campinell defeated challenger Phillip Underwood, who had the Republican and Independence Party ballot lines to win re-election to a second four-year term. Campinell held a four-vote lead, 164-160, on Election Night. After absentees were counted, the final total was 185-171 in favor of Campinell.

Diana Palmer will be the new face on the council. She defeated Republican Rachel Murray 486-463. Palmer and Murray each received 24 absentee votes, so the margin remained the same as on Election Night.

Diamond said Tuesday he is excited about the opportunity.

“I’m re-energized and looking forward to going up to the county and representing the city of Glens Falls and helping move the city forward,” he said.

Campinell said he attributed his victory to having more “skin in the game,” referencing a comment made by Underwood criticizing him because he does not own a home, but lives in Cronin High Rise. He said he has deep roots in the community.

“I’m a longtime East-Ender,” he said.

Campinell said he would like to focus on projects to improve energy efficiency and sustainability. He is also looking forward to completing improvements at East Field, including replacing the pool liner, repairing the field house building, renovating the basketball court and upgrading the playground.

Palmer said she is “humbled and grateful” by the outcome, which she attributed to hard work, getting out and talking with voters and her community involvement.

“I’m ready and excited for the real work to start,” she said.

She also wants to focus on improving efficiency, creating a sustainable community and developing collaborations between Glens Falls and other municipalities, including Queensbury and the county. Underwood said his showing at the polls was respectable for a first-time candidate and the campaign was a great experience.

“I learned a lot about my neighbors and how important the police are to them; also, how they felt about the DPW being too understaffed to properly service them,” he said.

Underwood hoped Campinell would focus on abandoned properties. He did not rule out a return to politics in the future.

Underwood said it was somewhat unusual to have a husband and wife run for office. They each arrived at the decision independently. They both care about the community, especially Nancy Underwood, who grew up in the city.

Campinell’s victory means the bipartisan unity ticket had a perfect record as Republican Scott Endieveri was re-elected in Ward 4 as well. Current Third Ward Councilor Jane Reid was successful in her bid for councilor-at-large. The current person in that position, Dan Hall, was elected mayor.

Second Ward Councilor Bill Collins and Fifth Ward Councilor Jim Clark were unopposed.

The current 4-3 Democratic majority on the council remain, with the Democrats consisting of Hall, Campinell, Palmer and Collins, and Republicans Reid, Endieveri and Clark.

In other races around Warren County, Democrat Cynthia Hyde defeated Republican Susan Shepler to win a full two-year term as supervisor of Thurman. Hyde had been appointed supervisor in February. She received 250 votes, compared with 229 for Shepler, who was running on a platform of financial stability.

Hyde will be facing a board that has a majority of three candidates elected who were running as a ticket with Shepler. Incumbent Kathy Templeton was ousted by Douglas Needham, who was elected to a four-year term. He received 266 votes, compared with Templeton’s 212. Incumbent Joan Harris was re-elected to a four-year seat with 295 votes.

Brenda Ackley got 311 votes and Gail Seaman received 250 to win two-year seats on the board over Mary Eddy, who finished with 209.

The outcome of the Johnsburg Town Board races was unchanged from Election Night. With absentees counted, Republican Laurie Prescott Arnheiter remained the top vote-getter with 506. She will be joined by fellow Republican Arnold Stevens, who had 461. He narrowly edged out Katharine Nightingale, who had 454 votes on the Johnsburg Hamlets United line.

Democrat Kathleen Lorah defeated Jo A. Smith 436-390 in the race for Johnsburg town clerk.

The final tally for the supervisor race was Andrea Hogan receiving 488, compared with Peter Olesheski’s 377.