Archives for December 2015

Vaisey Plans Appeal

One day after an appeal was filed by Stephen Howells II of his sentence in relation to sexual abuse of children, his girlfriend, 26 year old Nicole Vaisey also filed notice on Wednesday, that she plans to file an appeal of her 300-year federal prison sentence for her role in the same case. Ed Histed now with more…

((On Tuesday, Howells appealed his 580 year prison sentence, which was handed down in response to the sexual abuse and kidnapping of two Amish children from a North Country farmstand. Yesterday, Vaisey filed her notice of appeal. According to her defense attorney, the notice was filed in order to preserve her rights, and an actual appeal must be filed within 14 days. The sentences, and subsequent appeals, stem from what happened in the period of time from September 2013 through Aug. 15, 2014, when Vaisey and Howells conspired to sexually exploit children for the purpose of producing videos and pictures of the conduct. Federal prosecutors say the children, who ranged in age from 5 to 12, were given drugs in order to sedate them during the acts. It all came crashing down on the couple after they kidnapped two Amish girls, ages 7 and 12, from a roadside farmstand outside the girls home in August 2014. An investigation into that kidnapping, turned up the disturbing evidence that the two had also sexually abused the sisters, as well as four other children. The even made arrangements with close friends and family members to spend time with other victims. Vaisey and Howells are both still awaiting sentencing in St. Lawrence County Court on a long list of state charges, including kidnapping.
Sentencing in that case is set for this coming Tuesday, and they each face to up to 25 years in prison on those counts, seperate from the federal charges.))

Recycle your real Christmas tree

If you’re putting the Christmas decorations away this weekend, don’t forget that you can recycle your Christmas tree. If you bring your tree to the Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District before Jan. 6, you’ll get a free seedling in April. All tree stands, lights, ornaments and any other decorations have to be removed. No artificial trees are allowed.

New York ranks high in infectious disease prevention study

New York is tops in the nation when it comes to fighting infectious disesases. According to a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health, New York was tied with Deleware, Kentucky, Maine and Virginia, hitting 8 out of 10 indicators. Each state was analyzed for everything from food safety to flu vaccination rates to biosafety measures at public health labs. More than half of the states didn’t meet the marks on half of the indicators the authors reviewed. “The overuse of antibiotics and underuse of vaccinations along with unstable and insufficient funding have left major gaps in our country’s ability to prepare for infectious disease threats,” Dr. Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health.”

Direct medical testing kicked out of New York

A couple of lab testing companies will no longer be able to sell medical tests to patients without their doctors involvement. DirectLabs advertises “direct access” to over 250 medical tests—everything from parasites to thryoid levels to various cancer markers. The AG’s office says without a health provider overseeing the results, sometimes those tests can be misleading—to the detriment of the patients health. DirectLabs will no longer be able to operate in New York and will have to refund all customers for any tests that have yet to be completed. LabCorp’s patient centers in New York will also no longer accept any specimens from Direct Labs or other similiar companies. LabCorp will pay a $225,000 penalty, while DirectLabs will shell out more than $24,000.

Howells Appeals 580 Year Prison Sentence

The man sentenced earlier this month to 580 years in federal prison for sexually abusing six children, including two Amish children that he and his girlfriend kidnapped from a roadside farm stand has appealed his sentence. Ed Histed has more…

((40 year old Stephen Howells II pleaded guilty back in May to all 22 Federal charges against him, including conspiracy to sexually exploit minors, 15 counts of sexual exploitation of children and five counts of possession of child pornography. Howells, along with his girlfriend, 26 year old Nichole Vaisey, admitted that they sexually exploited the children, who were all between the ages of 5 and 11, by drugging them and then recording sexual acts with them on video. Prosecutors argued that Howells used his position as a registered nurse to get the drugs necessary to sedate the kids, prior to sexually abusing them. The Telegram reports that Howells and Vaisey also were accused of making arrangements with close friends and family members to spend time with other young victims. Howells and Vaisey are expected to be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison on a long list of state charges, seperate from the Federal counts that are now under appeal. Vaisey was sentenced to 300 years in federal prison, but so far, no appeal of that sentence has been filed.))

Changes made to new bed tax law

The bed tax in Franklin County has only been in effect for less than two months, and already the county legislature is making changes. During their meeting Monday, they “clarifed” the language and specified a list of eight businesses that have to collect the 5% tax from guests. Besides hotels and motels, the list now specificially includes bed-and-breakfasts, vacation rentals and personal residences. All the money raised through the bed tax is going to tourism promotion aimed at drawing more business to Franklin County.

Constable Man Facing Drug Charges

After cops found about two pounds of pot in his car, a man from Constable is facing some serious felony drug charges. Ed Histed reports…

((37 year old Cory Laplant was pulled over by New York State Police on Route 11 in the Town of Canton, and while he was being interviewed, a Border Patrol K-9 alerted to marijuana possibly being in his vehicle. The search then turned up all the pot. Laplant was charged with second-degree criminal possession of marijuana. He was arraigned in Morristown Town Court and then released under the supervision of the St. Lawrence County Probation Department. He is due in court on Jan. 25th.))

Work expected to begin in a few weeks on Main Street bridge

Work is expected to start in a few weeks on repairs to the Main Street bridge in Malone. The State DOT says they’re working on some stabilization issues that were discovered when they tore down the dilapidated 9-story building next to the bridge this past summer. Traffic will likely go down to one lane in that area once the concrete work begins in mid-January. The work is expected to take two to three months to complete. The village spent more than $422,000 to take down the old building and they’re still waiting on the title to the property.

Winter Weather Advisory issued for Northern New York

Its finally starting to feel more like winter! The National Weather Service has the entire area under a winter weather advisory from midnight until 7 p.m. Tuesday. We’re looking at a chance of heavy snow early Tuesday, with sleet and freezing drizzle in the afternoon. The National Weather Service is predicting anywhere from 3 to 7 inches, with higher amounts in the mountains in Vermont. Roads are expected to be snow-covered and slippery, with some ice accumulation and gusty winds that could knock out the power. Lows will be in the teens tonight, with highs in the upper 20s or lower 30s on Tuesday.

Burke / Bellmont Fire Agreement Reached

Under the terms of an agreement that was signed last week, the Burke Volunteer Fire Department will continue to provide fire protection service to the northwest corner of the town. Ed Histed now with more…

((The agreement comes following threats by the Burke Fire Department to halt protection for part of Bellmont, because of the compensation provided for them under the terms of the new town budget. However, last week an agreement was hammered out that was mutually agreeable. Both sides also made a pact to begin negotiations for the 2017 budget by this coming August, so that another similar situation doesn’t create a problem, and potential loss of fire protection, in the future.
The town had initially budgeted $35,263 for the fire protection contract with Burke, representing only a 2 percent increase over the current $34,574. Burke fire people wanted an additional 1 percent increase, or $346, saying the increase was necessary for the department to maintain the services it provides. But town officials said no, because the tax levy in the 2016 budget was only $381 below the state tax cap. They said that if they gave the firefighters any more money… even an additional $346, it would place the town’s ability to stay under the cap in jeopardy.))