BY Jake Palmateer
My daily review of the New York State Police news media website has revealed some gems lately.
Troopers maintain an online police blotter for registered members of the media. I check for releases and blotter entries involving our local Troop C. But on the website's home page, there are news releases from around the state.
Troop L on Long Island made an arrest lately that caught my eye. Troopers from the Brentwood station in Suffolk County stopped a blue Nissan for allegedly traveling 83 mph in a 55 mph zone on the Southern State Parkway. The 35-year-old driver from Bayshore had a suspended license, according to troopers.
But it wasn't just suspended for one previous infraction. The driver had 44 license suspensions, troopers said.
He was charged with first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, a felony.
Last year was a safe one for New York's hunters.
During the 2011 hunting season, there were just 26 personal-injury hunting related shooting incidents, including four fatalities, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
This puts last season in a tie with 2009 for the safest year on record based on the number of incidents.
Although the number of hunters in the state is declining, the hunting incident rate is falling at a much faster rate, according to the DEC.
The past five years has seen an average of 5.3 incidents per 100,000 hunters compared to 19 per 100,000 hunters in the 1960s. In a media release last week, the DEC said the decline is due to decades of mandated hunter-safety courses for first-time hunters.
All of the fatalities last year occurred during regular deer season and one of the four fatalities was the result of a self-inflicted wound.
"Hunting is a tradition in New York state that continues to be safely enjoyed by many" DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in the release. "New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters thanks largely to more than 60 years of dedicated efforts of 3,000 volunteer Sportsman Education Instructors. All first-time hunters are required to attend a comprehensive hunter safety course of a minimum of 10 hours taught by DEC's highly-trained instructors. Their hard work is paying off."
A housing summit held last Saturday at Center Street Elementary School in Oneonta was a resounding success -- at least as far as attendance is concerned.
The event, conceived by Mayor Dick Miller and commissioned by the Common Council, was designed to target specific issues on which sub-groups will work for the next several weeks. The summit will reconvene in an attempt to identify possible solutions to myriad issues around housing availability, housing affordability, senior housing and preserving the quality of life in neighborhoods.
There were more than 100 attendees, including many of the usual movers and shakers from within the community. Organizers said they expected 50 people. There were clearly dozens of residents who are not in elected and appointed offices or leading businesses or non-profit groups. They seemed to simply be concerned about their neighborhoods. It was an "eclectic" group, according to Third Ward Council Member David Rissberger, who coordinated the effort along with Ruth Allen, a retired Cornell Cooperative Extension educator.
Miller lamented about the noticeable lack of one demographic -- college students.
Although thousands of college students live off campus, there were few if any present at the summit.
The wide ranging discussion also kept referring back to economic issues, particularly the need for economic development. At one point, as several at the meeting keyed in the need for more business development and other issues related to the economy, Miller interjected.
"Remember, this is a housing summit. Sen. Seward is going to be having an economic development summit," Miller said.
That summit, focusing on Otsego County, is scheduled for March 8. A time and place have not yet been announced.
Jake Palmateer can be reached at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 221, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.