For the second time in two weeks, 328 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer thug Curtis Cool again fails to burn out neighbors. Though not for want of trying. This time he apparently used an accelerant, and was simultaneously joined in his pyromania by neighboring fire builders at Jay Smith’s 326 Pleasant Avenue rental property. Though there’s was nothing compared to Cool’s fire.
A bonfire worthy of a 4th of July Back in the Day, it lasted 3.5 hours, from exactly 2100 hrs to about 0030, and was unattended while still burning briskly for at least an hour. (Except for Curtis Cool’s unsupervised kids poking it with sticks.) Below is a short video edited from security camera footage, followed by a longer video.
2015:28 The fire at 326 Pleasant Avenue begins first
2100 328 Pleasant Avenue fire explodes into life – obvious use of an accelerant
2108 2nd use of large quantity of accelerant. Intensity of fire’s heat signature blinds camera’s infrared sensors. People stay well clear.
2111 Actual fire column become clearer as thermal heat signature lessens.
2112 Fire clearly defined. Large, intense. People stand away from the heat.
End of clip: Shrieking children cavort in yard. (We heard.)
The structure to the fire rear is a portable screened picnic pavilion. Probably not fireproof.
Here’s the longer director’s cut. (Same price.) Note sparks sailing into the trees:
328 Pleasant AVenue’s Previous Fire Incident
The last fire incident at 328 Pleasant Avenue was at 1 am on 4/25. The Herkimer police gave it a pass, the responding officer declaring the uncovered fire to be covered. (I saw it. I heard him. It was not covered.) Before his arrival, my 61 year-old wife Linda was abused by squad of racist Herkimer thugs lead by Curtis Cool, aka Curtis Dolan, who were enjoying the illegal blaze. (Probably burning books.) Curtis Cool’s krew have made 328 Pleasant Avenue their wee hours clubhouse. Sadly, we did not have a camera in range of that ugly event. This time we did.
Fire being a silent killer, we slept through this latest event. Only in the morning, having partially heard 328’s Pleasant Avenue’s resident thug-in-chief abuse yet another upset neighbor, did we look at our security cam footage. (Whomever you are, thank you for that.)
328 Pleasant Avenue is owned by Mrs. Harriett Tangorra, Sr. Clerk of the Herkimer County Supreme Court. We bought our house, 330, from her. 328 was her family home for many years. She’s trying to sell it and I’m sure is very unhappy about all of this. Last night I texted her, attaching a screenshot of this latest fire. I suspect she is doing something about it.
The Herkimer police: been there, done that. Neither the Herkimer Police Department nor the Herkimer Fire Department will own up to having a public email address. (They do.) As usual with crime postings, I’ll share this with the State Police in Albany for forwarding to the Herkimer Police. They have that email address.
If there’s anything else in that 3.5 hours of fire footage, I’ll post it. We’ll be having more postings on 328 Pleasant Avenue Curtis Cool’s antics and that of his friends.
Author Stephen Ames Berry is a former officer of Harvard University and a veteran of the National Security Agency’s US Army Security Agency.
Last night at about 1:00 AM I was woken by the sound of rustling next to my back fence, which has been vandalized many times. I also heard the chinking sound of glass bottles. I thought to myself, at last I’ll catch red-handed the vandals who’ve been making holes in my fence. I discovered a fire in the backyard of Harriett Tangorra’s rental propterty at 328 Pleasant Avenue..
When I looked out the window, I saw a bonfire with sparks flying everywhere, notably into the tree limbs. Such fires, even when supervised, are very dangerous. When it is dry as it is now, they can easily spread to fences and homes. Antique homes can be burnt to the ground in 3 minutes because the wood is so dry!
I called the Herkimer police, who came and quickly went with the belief that this fire was safely under control, neglecting that fact that an open fire within 100 yards of a structure is illegal within the Village of Herkimer.
With great consternation, I ventured outside to assess the situation personally. Three tall, thirtyish, burly gentlemen wearing army camos surrounded the backyard fire at 328 Pleasant Ave. One, later identified as Harriett Tangorra’s tenant Curtis Cool, aka Curtis Dolan, challenged me when I said I objected to their fire. Calling me names, Curtis Cool told me to “go back to some Arab country.” (I’m Jewish, a 4th generation American, educated in Israel.)
Ho Hum – More Neighborly Harassment
Curtis Cool’s pack of cowardly loafers enjoyed harassing their elderly neighbor, with Cool calling me a crazy, lying, swearing, child molester who should be sent to a loony bin. All accused me of instigating the altercation, though I told them that their illegal fire had woken me up and that I had to go to work at 5:00 AM.
My husband then again called the Herkimer Police. Again. It says much about Herkimer’s rich tradition of lawlessness that the responding officer didn’t enforce the law, allowing the thugs to continue with their illegal open fire, its embers flying within 3 feet of tinder dry fencing. It was sad to know that this officer seemed entirely unaware of the massive harassment and vandalism caused by this neighbor and others.
Neighboring children have been sent to molest us in our own yard breaking holes in our fence in order to trespass and despoil our yard with trash. We have captured these actions on video, and posted them on this blog. It seems to be nearly impossible to repel these weaponized, vandalizing children from our privacy-fenced yard, even with a locked gate and multiple security cameras.
Advice to Herkimer Village administrators concerned with community safety
Please make sure your officers can distinguish between a safe fire and an unsafe one. Please don’t call an open fire a covered one.
BTW, it’s quite evident from the above photo that this fire you described as safe is not and such fires should not be legal in this area at any time of day!
I have heard there are 3 criminal hot spots in Herkimer, of which Pleasant Ave is one and 328 Pleasant Ave all too typical. Would it be too much trouble to acquaint your officers with the ongoing criminal activity in this area?
There seemed to be a tendril of smoke in the lower left of Chief Barton’s garage, just before he and his daughter left in his truck. And the same drifting across his backyard. The Bartons appear to avert their gazes from the garage as they approach it. Judge for yourself–here’s the original clip:
Was this a line of inquiry worth pursing? we asked. We’d forwarded all our videos of the fire to the Herkimer Police and Fire Departments on 1/11/16. But, it is Herkimer’s brazen Bartons. And Joyce Barton is ever in the background of Herkimer happenings. Also, the Herkimer Fire Department inspector seemed to agree with Deputy Fire Chief Barton that the cause was probably a faulty circuit breaker. (In a 1930’s garage, its electricity coming over an ancient line strung from the house. )
The fire inspector asked for copies of our video clips after he and a Herkimer police officer viewed surveillance footage on our computer. He said he didn’t know the Herkimer Fire Department’s email address. (It’s unpublished, I later learned. As is Herkimer Mayor Anthony Brindisi’s.) I sent the clips over the next day on a flash drive via a police officer, who said he’d drop them off. So much for chain of custody. But then as folks in Herkimer say with a sigh, “It’s Herkimer.”
The surveillance videos you see on our blog are compressed for transmission to our cloud hosting service. The originals are in high definition format, which can be restored to their origiinal quality, further enhanced, enlarged and forensically analyzed.
Below is the crucial frame from the clip, enhanced by PerPics. The surveillance camera is about 200 feet from the Barton’s garage. Barton and his daughter are in their driveway walking toward the garage. Could they reasonably have been expected to miss from about 15 feet what our surveillance camera saw from 200 feet?
“Upscaled resolution to increase detail. Clarified steam and reduced compression artifacts.” (Forensic video analyst report.)
(Steam = water. Smoke = fire. Which one was present in Barton’s garage?
farewell potential evidence
The Fire Chief’s Fire – What Next?
The Herkimer Post lacks the resources to complete a full video forensic analysis of the video. But maybe you do? Here’s the forensic analyst’s downloadable report and Enhancement Procedure Summary:
Written by Herkimer Post Crime Editor, author Stephen Ames Berry. Berry is a former officer of Harvard University and a veteran of the National Security Agency’s US Army Security Agency.
Republished 4.18.16 to include a photograph of now former Deputy Fire Chief Barton. The Herkimer Post regrets the omission.
Rewritten 8.29.16 to enhance narrative and include a visual motif of Herkimer Village government, and a link to a photo of the world’s most beloved German Army sergeant.
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” Albert Einstein
Herkimer Post’s 90 day statistics are remarkable for what began a few months ago as a small village’s gardening and environment blog. It’s our crime videos of course. Cameras don’t lie. “What did you expect?” asked one of my former students when I expressed surprise at our stats. (He follows us from Florida.) “You’re embedded on Freak Street. It’s the lure of the grotesque.” “But our police chief lives on this street.” “OK,” he laughed.
There are, believe it or not, some very nice people on this street and in the Village of Herkimer. But viewers can see nice at home. They’ve been coming to Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue in their thousands to see the not-nice. What they’re reading about and seeing are the fruits of willfully failed governance. Thousands of views of the unchecked criminality swirling about the rental home of one family long entrenched on this once truly pleasant street, allowed to run it as their matriarch sees fit. And they have, as our videos show.
Why? As our blog’s visitors see from our posts and videos, Pleasant Avenue is Herkimer’s Drug Central. A lot of narcotics and cash flow through Herkimer, which lies astride the New York Turnpike, an easy few hours drive to New York City and Canada. It’s an ideal location for narcotics trafficking. And as good businessmen, experienced criminals will typically invest resources to protect their territory.
Count with the Count: Herkimer Post Blog views
We hadn’t paid much attention to the Herkimer Post’s blog’s statistics since our first article in November. And we never checked the YouTube analytics for our postings’ related videos. Although we knew our posts of the booming drug trafficking and criminal antics here on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue were drawing far more readers than our real estate or environmental posts, we had no idea how many more. Then the other day we heard a neighbor remark, “No one reads their stupid blog.”
So we counted. And counted again. And were stunned: 2,092 views of our blog posts and 1,296 views of its associated YouTube videos, totaling 3,388 views since our founding. Our YouTube viewers watched 1,957 minutes of Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue in action. (32.6 hours) The YouTube summary analytics are here and also here.
Herkimer Post’s readers and its YouTube viewers are drawn from all 50 states, with a smattering of YouTube viewers watching from Europe and Asia. Only about 33% of our YouTube viewers during this period came from our blog–the rest found our videos either on YouTube, or came to them via social media or from forwarded links.
Herkimerpost.com Google Analytics data
And below are the less reliable WordPress’ Top Posts figures. They show which were our most popular WordPress posts, but the count per post is low: The author can ensure a special post is the first to greet blog visitors by sticking it atop her blog’s home page. (See line 1 below, “Home page/Archives.”) A reader typically arrives on the home page–a blog’s landing page–and there’s the post. For example, Herkimer Man Sexually Abusing Car was our lead home page post for several weeks, as were Drug Trafficking on Herkimer’s Slumlord Row, Drunks Along the Mohawk and Fire at 333 Pleasant Ave. Herkimer NY. Each undoubtedly received several hundred more views than individually enumerated below by title: (Left click to enlarge.)
Herkimerpost.com’s YouTube Videos – The Power of Many Short Videos
Our most successful posts were those with multiple videos. A post on our blog may only have a modest number of views, such as Fire at 333 Pleasant Ave Herkimer,which drew a mere 23 readers. But with compelling YouTube videos embedded in the post, that post soared in overall popularity.
Re-titled Fire Chief Barton’s Fire on YouTube and edited into six consecutive short videos, Fire at 333 Pleasant Ave drew 506 views on YouTube, a 1:22 ratio. Surprisingly, as the below “Top 10 Video” analytics show, only 38% of our viewers came from our blog. 62% were from YouTube itself, the result of searches and suggestions from other viewers. Many of them appear to have come from Berry’s 81.7k Twitter followers.Fire Chief Barton’s Fire attracted 529 viewers worldwide for a total viewing time of 298 minutes or 5 hours. (Click to enlarge.)
The Fire Chief’s Fire – YouTube Views, Watch times and viewer demographics
Pleasant Ave Herkimer- TOP Crime Videos YouTube Views, Watch times and viewer demographics
Herkimer Post’s Most Popular Posts
Total WordPress and YouTube Views
Herkimer, as with many of New York’s Mohawk Valley communities, is hoping to regain its long lost prosperity from the ripple effects of the billions of dollars being poured into the Nano Utica Initiative, a visionary high-tech manufacturing complex under construction in Utica, an easy 30 minutes commute away. Unfortunately, Herkimer is an impoverished, crime-ridden community, ranked as one of the 10 worst places to live in New York State. What we’ve been subjected to since moving to Herkimer two years ago bears that out–death and arson threats, dog poisoning and beating, burglary, mob menacing, police failure to protect.
We at Herkimer Post are determined to ensure that anyone considering moving to Herkimer is aware of all its aspects. We want no one else to walk blindly into we what did here on Herkimer’s Pleasant Ave. All our crime posts are tweeted to Utica Nano@nanoutica, their partner ams AG in Styria, Austria (@amsAnalog), and to our governor @NYGovCuomo.
We like Herkimer and believe in its future. We’ll continue to help ensure that future by covering, and uncovering, all aspects of our community in the hope that new and better days lie ahead for Herkimer.
The Herkimer Post would like to thank it’s 300+ email subscribers for their continuing interest, some from such distant points as Stockholm, Sweden, Graz, Austria, Sofia, Bulgaria and India, as well as its editors’ YouTube and Google+ subscribers and legions of Twitter followers.
We’d also like to thank the New York State Police and the US Department of Justice for their support, and cloistered elements of the US Department of Homeland Security for having our backs.
In fact, Joyce and Douglas Barton have done so much to bring the attention of the world to the Village of Herkimer that The Herkimer Post would like to nominate them as Herkimer’s First Family. Their accomplishments reflect what can be achieved by unchecked intimation and brazen conduct on a lawless street, aided and abetted by a willful failure of governance.
Written by Herkimer Post Crime Editor, author Stephen Ames Berry. Berry is a former officer of Harvard University and a veteran of the National Security Agency’s US Army Security Agency.
It’s grown quieter here on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue. Several of our more noxious druggie neighbors have moved, one fleeing in the night, allegedly scant hours ahead of child protection authorities. (CPS’ taking of kids on Pleasant Avenue is no rarity. )
The 24/7 fast-food drive-thru pace of traffic to and from 333 Pleasant Avenue has fallen off. We’ve had no arson or death threats or mob menacing since June. No one’s tried to kill our dog recently. Several of Pleasant Avenue’s more responsible landlords, aware we were besieged, have come down hard on their drug trafficking tenants. (Thank you, folks), and code enforcement of Pleasant Avenue’s abundant Section 8 rentals has acquired teeth under Herkimer Mayor Tony Brindisi. Our surveillance cameras have also helped lessen daytime criminal activity after several malicious trespassers and slanderous harassers, drug trafficking’s skirmishers, were publicly embarrassed on the Internet. The street is now as quiet as it should have been when we moved here 18 months ago. It’s seems almost pleasant.
And had it always been this peaceful, we’d be content. But it wasn’t. Some of our criminalistic neighbors felt empowered to try to terrorize us, having no idea who we are or who we know. (I’ll be writing a series about these outrages on my muckraking blog.) Unfortunately, the most depraved of Pleasant Avenue’s drug thugs are still here, brought to heel for now, but awaiting their opportunities. There’s a sense of red eyes glowering from porches when I walk past some houses. Sadly, there’s compelling evidence that the illicit economy supporting Herkimer’s drug scrotes is still bustling, its business model changed from that of brazen 24/7 retail pickups to stealthy nighttime deliveries. It’s aided and abetted by Herkimer’s Section 8 slumlords, who’ve helped make Pleasant Avenue a drug dealers’ haven.
If It Walks Like A Duck… Drug Trafficking Watch – Pleasant Avenue, Herkimer : 10/23 – 10/24 2015 Despite the falloff in retail pickups, Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue still needs a traffic cop: 162 significant motion events in 24 hours caught on video, and 113 in the 12 hours from 1730 – 0530. This is a small residential street in a village on the Mohawk. On parallel Eureka Avenue, one could safely consume a six-pack at high noon on a chaise lounge mid-street and never be bothered by a car. So, what’s up? We’re not the road to New York Turnpike. No wonder the street had to be repaved.
Analysis of our street camera feed for the 12 hours from 1730 to 0530 on October 23 – 24th shows 29 significant motion events at or related to 333 Pleasant Avenue, tenanted by Joyce and Douglas Barton, another 24+ issuing from the parking lot of 232 – 234 Pleasant Avenue, and 11 in and from the driveway of 335 Pleasant Avenue. There’s also much coming and going from 328 Pleasant Avenue, despite the recent best efforts of its owner. The peak period was from 1854 to 0302. These are the classic signs of a drug neighborhood.
Significant events means vehicles and people arriving and departing frequently from an address, in this case 333 Pleasant Avenue. If Pleasant Avenue were a drug trafficking street, 333 Pleasant Avenue with its short visits and frequent dispatches of vehicles would be its heart of darkness. In addition to arrivals and departures from Joyce and Douglas Barton’s, after dark there were at least 11 incidents of vehicles exiting or entering the driveway adjacent to the Barton’s at 335 Pleasant Avenue. (See satellite image, above.) Also late in the evening and early morning, vehicles entered and left the driveway across the street from the Barton’s at least 24 times. Always the same two vehicles, coming and going from the parking lot behind 332 and 334 Pleasant Avenue. 332 Pleasant Avenue is currently vacant. All three are rental properties of Herkimer landlord Jay Smith. (Jay Smith owns a critical mass of houses on Pleasant Avenue, according to the Herkimer County tax rolls.)
333 Pleasant Avenue – The Joyce and Douglas Barton House. The above video captures a series of arrivals and departures from 333 Pleasant Avenue, Herkimer, on 10/13 – 10/24, ending at 0049 hrs. There are many more, but this sequence is typical of nighttime traffic to and from that address on most nights. In this clip, flaring, irregular light from the house emanating into the street at 2319 hrs signals the start of the night’s core activities. (Hopefully the owners have fire insurance.) When a car arrives at 0006, there appear to be at least five people on the porch. The car is met by a figure resembling that of Joyce Barton, and departs 6 minutes later at 0012. This appears to trigger a series of events, with a vehicle leaving the Barton driveway a few moments later at 0033 and returning at 0049, prelude to later such activity from the parking lot of 332 -334 Pleasant Avenue.
Parking lot, 332 – 334 Pleasant Avenue – Jay Smith Rental Properties – At 0222 a vehicle crosses the street to the driveway adjacent to 333 Pleasant Avenue and pulls out of sight. This is the first of at least six vehicle exits from the 332 – 334 Pleasant Avenue parking lot through 0257 hrs. (The camera captures the headlights of vehicles exiting 332 – 334. The vehicles themselves can only be seen if they turn left down Pleasant Avenue. Two vehicles appear to be primarily involved.) 341 Eureka Avenue, a rental also owned by Jay Smith, shares the same parking area.
Satellite Imagery of Herkimer’s 333 Pleasant Avenue and Area
The Google camera truck either never photographed Pleasant Avenue or vanished doing so. But as can be seen from the satellite image, the driveway of 335 Pleasant Avenue way adjoins 333 Pleasant Avenue. The 335 Pleasant Avenue driveway is easily accessible via 333’s rear patio. 335’s driveway is a straight shot from the 332 – 334 driveway, as seen in the video clip. It would be very easy for people at Herkimer’s 333 Pleasant Avenue to access a vehicle parked at the base of 335 Pleasant Avenue driveway, hidden from the street camera.
Pleasant Avenue Night Moves – Unedited Street Footage Below is the unedited footage of motion events trigger our camera for the 12 hour period of 1730 – 0530 on 10/12 – 10/14 2015, from which the brief excerpts above were drawn. I don’t have the resources for sophisticated pattern and facial recognition analysis of the traffic and people bustling up and down the street. But maybe you do.
In this story you’ll discover how a malicious, well-executed kick transformed the acts of a neighbor recycling stuff on her own property into an act of larceny as defined by officer Haight of the Herkimer Police Department.
On July 15th at approximately 9:21 PM, I was placing a few items in the recycle bin that I keep outside in my driveway here in the Village of Herkimer. As I was finishing up and about to return to the house, something struck the back of my legs. I turned around to find a soccer ball at my feet.
I picked the ball up and approached my house. Nearby voices in the dark called for its return. As with many parents whose children do something they shouldn’t, I refused to hand the ball over. My driveway is very narrow and virtually inaccessible to normal ballplayers; the ball could only have entered it if had been kicked from across the street, not down it. It was obviously part of an ongoing and escalating pattern of harassment directed against my husband and I. Some neighbors strongly opposed our driveway security camera that records the stream of nighttime traffic. The Bartons of 333 Pleasant Avenue, who a regional DEA agent referred to in a phone conversation as “the porch people” were especially outraged by this camera presence.
1. At 9:24 PM., according to our video recording, Herkimer Village’s Officer Haight, appeared at our door.
Officer Haight said our neighbors, Douglas and Joyce Barton, had reported us for taking their ball and demanded to know if this was true. I admitted I’d taken their ball and explained why. Officer Haight was unmoved by my explanation and advised that if our neighbor wished to press charges, he’d “have no choice” but to enforce the law regarding larceny. The threat of arrest hung heavy in the night air. He expressed his opinion that we were in the midst of an ongoing feud with our neighbors. (We are, in the sense that the Allies were feuding with Nazi Germany.)
Officer Haight confessed ignorance of any of the multiple acts of vandalism, mob menacing and break-ins we’ve suffered over the past year, at least one orchestrated by the Bartons. I was thus accused of victimizing the Bartons by withholding their ball, which had just been used to assault me.
Officer Haight demanded to know the ball’s location. My husband said it had migrated to an adjacent empty yard. Officer Haight’s supervisor then arrived and the two went off to fetch the ball for the Bartons, who were consumed with mirth as they lounged watching from their porch at 333 Pleasant Avenue. The Herkimer police officers respectfully returned the ball to the Bartons and departed – our harassers were treated with deference while we were disdained.
2. Only afterwards did I discover this is a typical ploy used by thugs to harass and intimidate their neighbors, sometimes aided by allied police officers illegally acting under the color of law. The object is to have a victim cited and fined for petty larceny by police, hoping that the neighbor then won’t complain when the thugs trespass on their property to stash contraband, vandalize it, menace them or disturb the peace. It’s the dim mindset of social parasites who spent their brief school years in behavior remediation classes. The remedy, according to attorneys, is to demonstrate harassment by keeping security cameras on the street. This we will do. (Probably not the outcome our neighbors desired. )
I was dumbfounded that Officer Haight attempted to characterize my removing the ball with which I’d been assaulted as an act of larceny, when it was clearly an act of self-defense. He seemed ignorant that a condition of larceny is that there be an intent to steal. My intent was:
1. to place my recyclables in my bin and return inside to watch True Detective;
2. To avoid being ridiculed by neighbors and hit with their expertly aimed balls;
3. To avoid having neighbors continue to trespass on my property.
I never play ball. I spend my time hiking, writing and mending the myriad of worn out portions of my dilapidated and ancient (yet adorable ) Herkimer Village home.
In the past year due to neighbor trespass, break-ins and vandalism, we’ve had to expend resources on security systems and cameras, rather than on our home’s aging infrastructure.
My husband and I have been so undeserved by the Herkimer Village police that it borders on depraved indifference. Notably,
1. a direct statement by a Herkimer Village police officer that that there’s no New York State law restricting the gathering of a menacing mob of 30—40 in front of one’s home, and that the police aren’t required to disperse such a belligerent gathering. And of course,
2. The unblushing statement by a Herkimer police officer that I appeared to be guilty of larceny because I removed an old ball with which I’d been deliberately struck while putting out the recyclables at a bin in my driveway. (To be larceny the property “must have been lost or mislaid…or delivered under a mistake.” As it was used in assault, it wasn’t delivered under a mistake but deliberately and with intent to harass and harm.)
Police who aid and abet the victimization of peaceful retirees by neighbors who act criminally, and make ill-informed, self-serving and egregious statements, are at the very least in need of remedial training.