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Opinion
What you need to know for 01/19/2017

In Charlton, keep your eye on that money

In Charlton, keep your eye on that money

And how go things in Charlton, the little rural town in southern Saratoga County, and specifically i

And how go things in Charlton, the little rural town in southern Saratoga County, and specifically in the town’s Fire District No. 1?

I refer, of course, to the embarrassment of last year, when the treasurer of the fire district, Virginia DeCapria, wife of Fire Chief Dean DeCapria, was arrested on a charge of stealing as much as $500,000 from the district’s kitty.

Well, for one thing, I can tell you that Mrs. DeCapria was released on $75,000 bail last Friday after spending two months in the county can and awaits trial or other resolution of the charges against her, charges that could lead to a prison sentence of as much as five to 15 years.

What I cannot tell you is how it happened that a town check for $163,000 in tax receipts recently got delivered to her home rather than to the fire station.

Not to worry. She was still incarcerated at the time so was not there to receive it. As best I can learn, her husband, who has been separated from her since her downfall, took the check and duly delivered it the fire district treasurer, Andy LaPatra, so all is well.

It’s just that the idea of sending the fire district’s money to someone who stands accused of stealing such money is pretty funny.

The way it works is, Saratoga County collects taxes on behalf of the fire district and sends the money to the town, and the town then turns it over to the fire district in the form of a check.

Town Supervisor Alan Gattridge swears the check was placed in a window envelope with the address on the check showing through, and that address was of the fire station, 786 Charlton Road, not of Virginia DeCapria, 773 Charlton Road.

“We followed normal procedures,” he said, though he did note that the fire district recently instructed the town to send its mail from now on to a new post office box in Burnt Hills (Charlton has no post office).

As for the $75,000 cash bail, it was posted by one Susan Rhoades of Gansevoort, whom I was unable to reach, so I cannot tell you her connection with the defendant.

I can tell you, however, that Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy is going to request what’s called a “bail source hearing” to determine where the money came from.

“We want to protect the rights of the fire district and make sure it’s not criminal proceeds,” he said. “We have no proof that it is. We just want to rule that out.”

At the rate at which the wheels of justice are grinding, Murphy predicted a trial might come in July, if a plea agreement is not reached earlier.

Go, Santorum!

Yes, Rick Santorum kicked butt in three states! Rick Santorum, point man for the Christian fundamentalist effort to sneak biblical creationism back into classrooms.

He edged Mitt Romney in the Colorado caucuses, 40 to 35 percent; clobbered him in the Minnesota caucuses, 45 to 17 percent (with Ron Paul finishing between them); and clobbered him again in the Missouri non-binding primary, 55 to 25 percent.

Which means the Republican scramble to capture the lunatic fringe vote continues, and the candidates will continue maligning each other at least until Super Tuesday on March 6.

I don’t want to appear mean-spirited or anything, but how can I not enjoy it? I mean, this is a contest in which it is an insult to be called a moderate, as Newt Gingrich calls Romney, and in which the great push is to convince the Republican base that you, the candidate, have gone as far around the bend as they have.

They’ve got a candidate in Romney whom the evil mainstream media has been calling the frontrunner, and the base just doesn’t buy him. For all his adoption of the correct positions on abortion and whatnot, he still comes across as, well, moderate.

And who wants a moderate? Not the Republican base. Not those people who back in the days of Dwight Eisenhower were known as the lunatic fringe.

They want a guy who genuinely and sincerely rejects science in favor of the Bible, for one thing.

Remember Santorum? He was the senator who in 2001 tried to add an amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act that would have made evolution a point of controversy rather than established science, and he did it in cooperation with the Discovery Institute, pioneer of the “intelligent design” hoax.

Intelligent design, he declared, “is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes.”

He’s still alive in the primaries, and he can continue to slug it out with those other eminences, Romney, Gingrich and Paul, for the hearts of the Republican base.

God bless them all.

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