by Linda Kaidan
When we first saw the interior of our new old house on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue, the soft winter light streamed in from numerous well-placed windows, gently illuminating the warm pastel colors on the walls. It felt so good, so homey–I decided to buy it in only 10 minutes.
I still love my house and the abundance of breathtaking natural places that surround it here along the Mohawk, but the brutal warfare of the last two years has been a trial. When we purchased our home at 330 Pleasant Ave in Herkimer, New York, we were unaware that a vicious war would shortly ensue, one between us and the entrenched gang of criminals who’ve occupied Pleasant Avenue and much of South Herkimer Village since at least 2011.
I’ve lived in many places including two war zones, but never before encountered the level of depravity that exists on Pleasant Avenue. I believe that the numerous techniques used by at least one organized criminal gang are their proven tool set, quite effective in ridding them of unwanted attention for years, if not decades.
However, Herkimer’s criminals have been slow on the uptake and ignorant of the changes in the world around them. Two forces have been acting against them. One is climate change. As our planet grows increasingly stressed by hostile weather conditions and the resulting fires, droughts and famines, more and more eyes are turning towards the vast abundance of natural resources we possess here in the Mohawk, Adirondack and Great Lakes region.
Most people are blind to the incredible wealth of our region. But many aren’t. If you look you’ll see how much renovation there’s has been in the past few years, not just in Herkimer and Herkimer County, but also in Albany and Syracuse. State and federal government and corporations recognize this as a strategic climate survival area. If you’re perceptive, you’ll see the result of some of the heavy hammers quietly obliterating the criminal enterprises that long flourished unchallenged in Herkimer.
The Internet is another major force opposing these soulless purveyors of drugs, kids, willful harm and death. Inexpensive technology offers each and every one of us the ability to observe, record and comment on what we see. And our rights as Americans grant us the freedom to do so. The Internet is a force for communication and a weapon for good in the ongoing war between criminals and their prey.
In March of 2014, we bought 330 Pleasant Avenue from Harriett Tangorra, Senior Clerk of the Herkimer County Supreme Court, for $32,000 in cash. She never mentioned the level of danger present on this street. (We were told it could be noisy in the summer.) However, when we were harassed and assaulted by her tenant Curtis Cool (aka Curtis Dolan), who lives right next door at 328 Pleasant Ave., she was indifferent to our plight, recommending that we purchase the property if we wish to control who lives there.
In the last two years we have spent $5,000 on cloud data storage, security services, surveillance cameras, web hosting and internet service not to mention thousands of hours of our time. We have suffered personal property losses due to vandalism by our neighbors and have experienced outrageous harassment. My children have vowed never to enter Herkimer again.
Recently we have seen encouraging changes in this community. Fire Chief Spanfelner has taken over code enforcement and is patrolling the streets taking effective action. Our street has been quieter and the former haunted house across the way has undergone significant renovation by Paul and Don.
Herkimer Village is an outstanding place to create a sustainable community that will help us live in these trying times of climate change. All it takes to succeed is a community commitment to fortify our resources of services, infrastructure, people and education. Each person in this community can take a role and assume a responsibility for our continued and successful survival.