BALLSTON SPA — The Moreau man who shot and nearly killed his neighbor was acquitted of attempted murder recently but convicted of assault and weapons charges, ending a four-week trial in Saratoga County Court.
The panel found 25-year-old Joey M. Castro guilty of felony counts of first-degree assault, criminal use of a firearm, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon and failure to register a weapon. He was acquitted of attempted second-degree murder and unlawful manufacture of an assault weapon.
The acquittal for attempted murder is a hollow victory, as first-degree assault carries the same weight as attempted second-degree murder, up to 25 years in state prison. Because those two charges arose from one incident, concurrent sentences would have been required had he been convicted of both.
Saratoga County Judge James Murphy sent Castro to Saratoga County Jail without bail, pending sentencing Dec. 17.
Castro was charged for the Oct. 8, 2017 shooting that left victim Michael Desnoyers paralyzed from the waist down.
Police said Castro was at a gathering at Desnoyers’ home on Laurel Road when he became angry at taunts directed him after drinking, went to his neighboring home and got an AR-15-style rifle before walking back. He then opened fire into the garage where Desnoyers and others were, hitting Desnoyers in the back.
The semiautomatic gun fired as many as eight shots and was illegally owned by Castro, as it had not been registered with the state.
Cobb raises more funds than Stefanik
Democrat Tedra Cobb outraised incumbent U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik in the first half of October, according to the last filings from the Federal Election Commission.
Cobb, of Canton, received $145,000 in the period from Oct. 1 through Oct. 17 compared with $116,000 for Stefanik, R-Willsboro, who is seeking her third two-year term.
Cobb collected about 64 percent of her donations from inside the NY-21 Congressional District. About 47 percent were $100 or less, according to an analysis of the FEC documents.
Cobb did not collect any money from corporate political action committees. She accepted $1,000 from Friends of Kathy Hochul, which is a PAC set up by the lieutenant governor. Cobb also received $1,200 from the campaign of Tanya Boone, who dropped out of the NY-21 race in February.
Stefanik received 59 percent of her contributions from outside the district and 82 percent were greater than $100. Stefanik received nearly $54,000 from political action committees.
The Cobb campaign seized on that fact. Stefanik received $5,000 from U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s Fund for a Conservative Future PAC. Inhofe, R-Okla., has claimed climate change is a hoax.
Stefanik also has taken $5,400 from the Berexco family, which has oil and gas interests in Kansas; and $2,500 from Amgen, which is a pharmaceutical company that has been investigated for promoting off-label drugs for patients with cancer and anemia and hiding negative research data, according to a news release.
“I’m not taking a dime of corporate money,” Cobb said in a news release. “The difference in our donors is clear. She works for corporate special interests, I will work only for you.”
Stefanik has raised twice as much this overall campaign season — $2.66 million compared with $1.31 million for Cobb.
When asked to comment on the fundraising report, Stefanik campaign spokesman Lenny Alcivar pointed to the fact that Stefanik also had $1.26 million cash on hand as of Oct. 1 compared with $232,000 for Cobb.
Adirondacks warming fast
HAGUE — The Adirondacks have warmed more than two times the global average, according to scientific studies done by SUNY Plattsburgh.
The Adirondacks and North Country have warmed about 3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900, and that increase is expected to double by 2050 if carbon emissions remain “business as usual,” said Eric Leibensperger, associate professor at the Center for Earth and Environmental Science.
By the end of the century, the temperature increase could be so much, Leibensperger said it would be a “game changer,” especially for the winters as those who enjoy the Adirondacks know them.
The data was debuted at the North Country Climate Reality’s conference called, “Adirondack Communities: Preparing for and Responding to Climate Change,” held recently at the Silver Bay YMCA Conference Center.
Alexandria Elliott, one of Leibensperger’s students, said there hasn’t been as much temperature change in the spring and fall, but there has been significant change during the winter months, about 4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900. The warming particularly ramped up starting around 1980, the data has shown.
“Personally I have witnessed this change in my lifetime which is pretty horrifying to me,” Elliott said. “I remember when winters were a lot colder and had a lot more snow. And I’m young so that’s scary to me.”
County lawyer isn't a lawyer
Some Warren County supervisors believe the county is breaking state law by having a man who is not a lawyer serve as the county’s second assistant county attorney.
The county hired a man who took the state bar examination earlier this year and is awaiting word on whether he passed before he can be sworn in as a lawyer early next year.
The hiring came after the Board of Supervisors turned down a request by county Attorney Mary Kissane to hire a paid intern. Her three-attorney office had an opening at the time for second assistant county attorney, so Kissane received permission from the supervisor who chairs the committee that oversees her office to bring in the man, Ryan Dickey, to serve as second assistant, pending his admission to the state bar.
Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer, who is a lawyer, said, however, that state law requires that assistant county attorneys be able to step in for the county attorney if needed, and the second assistant cannot do so.
Braymer and a number of other supervisors questioned how Dickey was hired outside of approval by the board committee that oversees the county attorney’s office, and why the county is paying a salary of nearly $61,000 to a man to serve as a lawyer when he is not a lawyer.
East Field to get new lights
GLENS FALLS — City officials are hoping to save tens of thousands of dollars annually on energy costs through projects that will secure credits through a hydroelectric program and replace lights at East Field with more efficient bulbs.
The Common Council approved entering into a contract with Abbott Energy to replace 128 lights at a cost of about $92,000.
The city plans to use a $50,000 Clean Energy Communities grant it received from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. In addition, the city is using about $3,200 in rebates from National Grid for implementing more efficient lights. That reduces the cost of the project to the city to $36,000.
The new lights would save $102,000 over 15 years, or about $6,800 per year. That means the cost of the upgrades would be paid back in a little over five years, according to documents from Abbott Energy.
The city said previously it is looking to reduce the electricity supply cost from $2,500 per year to a little more than $500, based upon the 43 nights the lights are used for about six months of the year. That does not include the so-called “demand charge” incurred from turning the lights on. City officials also hope the new lights will spur more use of the field.