Author Archives: Jay Lawson

Meet Herkimer County DA Candidate Mary Iocovozzi

Mary Iocovozzi says she is the right candidate, with the experience and credentials to be an effective Herkimer County District Attorney.

Iocovozzi has been practicing law for 30 years, having received her degree from Pace University School of Law.

Two years ago she had a strong second place showing in the race for Family Court Judge. Her laws skills are easily transferable to a criminal court setting, she said.

Throughout her campaign, Iocovozzi has contrasted her lack of outside obligations with her opponent.

Jeff Carpenter, in addition to serving as Acting District Attorney, teaches a significant course-load at Herkimer County Community College.

Iocovozzi believes that kind of obligation to a second employer would necessarily impair a person’s ability to serve effectively as DA.

To support her conclusion, she states that between January and August of this year only one of 108 felony charges have gone to trial, many of the rest having been dispensed by means not involving a trial.

That sends a weak signal to felony offenders, Iocovozzi said.

And she said a District Attorney can and should do better in sending a message that felony crimes will not be tolerated.

“Again, I just don’t see someone having enough time to be a full-time prosecutor and also teaching students full-time, and having those dual obligations,” she said. Continue reading

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Meet Herkimer County DA Candidate Jeff Carpenter

Jeff Carpenter, who was appointed Herkimer County’s Acting District Attorney in January 2012, will be on the ballot November 6th seeking election to the District Attorney position. The Herkimer County native earned his bachelor’s degree from American University in Washington, DC, and his law degree from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles.

Carpenter, who has been a lawyer more than 19 years, spent his first nine in private practice, where he focused primarily on criminal defense and personal injury law.

In 2000, he was elected Herkimer Town Justice. He resigned from the position in 2002 to become a full-time Assistant District Attorney for Herkimer County.

For the past 20 years he has also taught in the criminal justice program at Herkimer County Community College. His courses are criminal law, criminal procedure, and constitutional law, he said.

Carpenter said that since college he has structured his career toward one day becoming a District Attorney.

“With my degrees in criminal justice and my professional experience, which includes more than 30 felony level jury trials, I believe I am the candidate with the most experience,” he said.

“Obviously this is a culmination of my professional lifetime in trying to obtain this goal, no question about it,” Carpenter said. Continue reading

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Webb board approves planned district; Mike Mitchell development proposal now returns to planning board

The Town of Webb Board grappled back and forth Tuesday, before finally agreeing to amend the Town of Webb Zoning Ordinance to allow a planned district for Adirondack Homes, a company of local businessman Mike Mitchell, which will allow Mitchell to seek Planning Board approval for a residential subdivision in Old Forge.

A public hearing had already been held regarding the proposed ordinance change with little discernible resistance, according to Supervisor Ted Riehle.

The public hearing was held on August 29th.

Riehle questioned Mitchell, who was on hand for Tuesday night’s town board meeting, as to the status of issues that had cropped up that involved the Adirondack Park Agency (APA).

Mitchell explained the concern.

“If there is wetland on a parcel, that parcel cannot be subdivided. Two of the lots in this subdivision fell on the parcel which is adjacent to the river, which constitutes a subdivision of a parcel with wetlands,” Mitchell said.

This meant Mitchell would have to go through the entire APA process, which could take two years and involve hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional studies, according to Mitchell.

“As an alternate means of advancing this project, I asked if we could simply do a lot line adjustment. In effect [this would] move the boundary line between the two lots 27 feet closer to the river. It wouldn’t impact the wetlands. It wouldn’t change the project in any way,” Mitchell said.

The APA agree that a lot line adjustment would be acceptable, Mitchell said. Continue reading

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McCauley Mountain: Councilperson compliments crew on job well done

The McCauley improvement committee has been working toward updating the chalet and making the mountain a better spot for a range of year-round events and activities. But nothing of quality will take place at the mountain without a quality operational team, said Councilwoman Russell, a committee member.

And McCauley is demonstrating that it has one.

“Recently a memorial service was held at McCauley Mountain and Steve Uzdavinis and his crew were amazing,” Russell said.

That event followed another, which was held earlier in the day, according to Russell.

The crew made sure the facility was ready for the service and the hundreds of people that attended.

“It’s pretty amazing what McCauley can do for our community and be for our community,” Russell said, referring the wide range of happenings that are equally at home on the mountain.

“[People] come there to laugh, they come there to cry. I think there were close to 800 people, not necessarily at one time, that came to that mountain on that day. So it is a very important part of our community. We really are blessed to have McCauley, not only for visitors but for the children in our community,” she said.

And the crew is vital.

“They did great,” Russell said.

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Town of Webb: Resident seeks to put teeth in local dog control laws

Town of Webb resident Michelle Soltes told the Town Board Tuesday that she’s had too many run-ins with aggressive dogs in the past several months—one of which resulted in bites requiring medical treatment—and she would like the town to act in curtailing what she describes as a potentially dangerous problem.

The bites resulted from incidents with a neighbor’s pitbull that was not adequately controlled, she said.

A local court proceeding ensued with Justice Graham dictating restraint measures to the dog’s owner, according to Soltes.

“The dog has to be muzzled if he’s out, he has to be in a pen, he has to get a fence, he has to be on a leash with someone over 21, he has to have an insurance policy,” Soltes said.

Soltes said a more recent incident involving a neighbor dog has her consulting a lawyer.

But beyond those concerns, Soltes said she has experienced unpleasant and sometimes scary encounters on Old Forge streets. Continue reading

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George T. Hiltebrant Rec. Center:

Webb balances taxpayer, commerce concerns in pavilion pricing

The Town of Webb Board reached a resolution on Tuesday to update the usage fees for groups wanting to rent the North Street pavilion.

Earlier this year the board examined the existing fees and decided they should be increased to better cover town expenses relating to the facility.

The board decided to implement a new “for-profit” rate of $600 a day, up from $250.

Several in the business community balked, saying the profit margins of many events are not sufficient currently to cover the additional cost.

The Central Adirondack Association (CAA), which represents area businesses and seeks to entice economic activity, urged the board to take a more incremental approach.

This would allow existing events to adjust operations to keep profitability.

And it would prevent smaller-margin events from being priced out completely.

The Town of Webb Board agreed to revisit the issue. Continue reading

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Assemblyman Butler briefs Webb town board on new 118th district

Assemblyman Marc Butler addressed the Town of Webb Board as a special guest during the board’s meeting on Tuesday, as he gears up for a new term—if reelected in November—in a newly drawn assembly district that will be implemented in January.

He said there is confusion about the new district, and he sought to clarify.

He prefaced his comments by stating that he hopes to earn reelection and continue to serve in the state assembly.

“My district, the new 118th district, will continue to include northern Herkimer County,” he said, which of course includes the Town of Webb.

Redistricting will also have it expanding northward, further into the Adirondacks, he said.

“I have picked up Hamilton County, nine townships in St. Lawrence County, and six townships in Oneida County, that spread west of Rome.”

But he’s lost territory too.

“They’ve cut everything below the Mohawk River off—I’ve lost about 40 percent of Herkimer County,” he said.

Still, the district has grown greatly in geographical size, Butler said, who describes it as sprawling.

It is larger than many Senate districts, and will present challenges to whoever represents it, according to Butler.  Continue reading

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