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Local and Regional News

by Bob LaRue


October 23, 2014

MASSENA – State police said yesterday that the body  found in August in a wooded area at the Massena Industrial Park has been positively identified as that of 25-year-old Lacey Yekel.  A forensic pathologist had to use DNA and dental records to confirm the identify, due to the decomposition of the partially wrapped body found on August 29th.  State police investigators say further forensic and toxicology testing will be conducted to determine cause and manner of death.  Until then, they are not ruling out foul play in Yekel’s death.  The young woman was last seen by family members on June 4th.  Authorities say Yekel had two previous drug arrests – one in 2010 as part of a drug bust, the other in 2012 involving criminal sale of a controlled substance.  They are investigating to determine if the death might be connected.  Anyone with information in the case is asked to call State Police BCI in Ray Brook at (518) 897‑2000. 

RUSSELL – An Edwards man was jailed after he allegedly kidnapped a female from the Russell area early yesterday.  St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputies were called to Pestle Street Road in Russell on a report that 36-year-old Paul Willard had been in the residence with a gun and had left with a female victim.  Deputies went to Willard’s home in Edwards where they found the woman unharmed.  Willard was arrested without incident.  He was charged with felony counts of second-degree kidnapping and first-degree burglary.  He faces additional counts of menacing, endangering the welfare of a child and first-degree criminal contempt.  Willard was arraigned in Fowler town court and remanded to St. Lawrence County Jail on $50,000 bail or $100,000 bond.  Deputies were assisted by State police and Canton village police.  The investigation is continuing.

CANTON – St. Lawrence County officials are being proactive in developing plans for dealing with any possible case of the deadly Ebola virus.  County officials say such a plan is particularly important due to a large mobile society in St. Lawrence County – from the influx of a large number of local college students and faculty, many from different countries; proximity to an international border and two nearby international airports.  County Public Health officials met this week with local hospital officials, emergency preparedness agencies, funeral directors and others who might come in contact with an Ebola victim.  The plans include the latest state and federal advisories on protection gear, handling a patient and disinfecting potentially-affected areas where patients have been.

MASSENA – The Massena Drug-Free Community Coalition was one of 680 grant recipients across the United States to receive funds to support programs that will prevent substance use among youth. The coalition, formed two years ago, will specifically work to address marijuana and prescription drug use, as determined based on a data analysis which included youth and adult information, a student focus group, and incident and police department reports. Massena Police Chief and Coalition Chair Tim Currier said, "We decided several years ago, Massena was not going to sit by and let this problem overtake us.  The coalition came together to implement proven prevention strategies which, research shows, are the most effective way to reducing drug use among young people.”

WASHINGTON – North Country Congressman Bill Owens expressed solidarity with the people of Ottawa, Ontario and all of Canada following yesterday's shooting at the Canadian Parliament.  In a press statement yesterday, Owens urged U.S. and Canadian security officials to respond in a way that allows law‑abiding residents, travelers and businesspeople on both sides of our border to continue to live their lives and do their work safely. Owens said the events “are a painful reminder that every community still faces the possibility of violence and tragedy.”  He expressed heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of all of the victims, including the soldier who was shot at the National War Memorial. Owens said, “I stand with Canada, our stalwart ally, and with the Canadian authorities who are now working to apprehend the perpetrators of these heinous attacks, conduct a full investigation of its causes, and respond with all means necessary to ensure public safety."

CORNWALL – A Cornwall woman was arrested, following threats made at a local hospital.  Cornwall City Police say, while at the hospital, 27-year-old Amber Crowder allegedly punched a nurse and threatened to kill her.  City police say Crowder was taken into custody and held for a bail hearing in the case.

UNDATED – Weather officials say the current rain is making up for some of the below-normal rainfall   levels across the state in September.  The North Country can expect more unsettled weather into the weekend, thanks to a storm that has spun into the region with all of the characteristics of a nor'easter.  More rain showers are expected to continue today, before sunshine tomorrow.  Some Indian Summer-like weather is expected for our region on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, with highs expected in the mid 60s.

CANTON ‑‑ SUNY Canton officials announced yesterday they have named one of its newest classrooms in honor of Canton's Coakley family.  The family which owns Coakley Carpet One-Ace Hardware in Canton made a donation to the SUNY Canton Foundation for a Student‑Athlete Study and Classroom, located in the Roos House Convocation, Athletic and Recreation Center.  College officials say the donation supports the connection between athletic and academic success.  Coakley also has many ties with the college, from instructor to coaching, and members of the various boards.



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Your weather just got better.