MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Another year has come and gone in Mahopac and it’s time to look back on 2019 and recap the most noteworthy stories of the past 12 months. Being memorable doesn’t necessarily mean a joyous occasion; this past year did have some heartbreaking moments. However, it was also a year of new ideas and a year of change. So, in no particular order, here are the top notable stories from 2019:
Suspect arrested after six-hour standoff
After a six-hour standoff on Nov. 28, police arrested a 28-year-old Mahopac man and charged him with a felony and a litany of misdemeanors. Police arrived at the scene to arrest Alexander Booth for violating an order of protection from his estranged wife when he barricaded himself in his home. During the standoff, Booth said on Instagram that police wanted to confiscate his guns under the state’s red flag laws causing a social media storm from gun rights advocates who threatened police and local media. Booth surrendered peacefully and no guns were found on the premises.
Judge James Reitz dies
Putnam County Court Judge James Reitz passed away June 14, after suffering a massive heart attack while on the bench. Reitz, 57, who graduated from Carmel High School and lived in Mahopac,was best known as overseer of the Putnam County Judicial Diversion/Treatment Court, a monumental success emulated by several courts across the country.
Becker pitches perfect-perfect game
On May 8, Shannon Becker took the mound against crosstown rival Carmel and proceeded to accomplish something that’s never been done before in New York State sports history. She pitched a perfect game by retiring every batter she faced—no runs, no hits, no errors. But it gets even better: She struck out all 21 Carmel batters in the 8-0 victory—perfect-perfect.
Councilman and reporter clash at meeting
A dispute between Councilman Mike Barile and Journal News columnist David McKay Wilson reached the breaking point at a Sept. 18 Town Board meeting when Barile accused Wilson of harassing and photographing his family members and threw an empty water bottle that hit the journalist. Barile then got a hold of Wilson’s phone and took it outside and threw it across the parking lot. Barile was later charged with a felony and the case is still pending.
Mahopac Coastguardsman dies in crane accident
Michael Kozloski, a 2001 graduate of Mahopac High School and a chief warrant officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, was fatally injured Jan. 31 when a crane rolled over and hit him while on duty in the town of Homer, Alaska, where he was stationed. Kozloski, 35, was injured while working in the buoy yard when the crane accident occurred. While at Mahopac High School, he was a member of the football team where he wore number 62 and was nicknamed, “Koz.” His number was retired in a ceremony this fall. He’s survived by his wife and four children.
Voters OK $53.9 million bond for school upgrades
Voters green-lighted a capital improvement project bond that calls for an investment of $53.9 million over the next several years. It will improve safety and security with enhanced security vestibules and building access controls; modernize learning environments, including science and engineering labs; upgrade instruction/practice rooms and media centers; and upgrade HVAC, roofs and lighting, among other things.
Town buys land for municipal parking lot
The last major obstacle in the plan to create a municipal parking lot and small passive lakefront park at Swan Cove was cleared when the Town Board voted unanimously at its July 24 meeting to sign a deal to purchase four parcels of land—totaling exactly one acre—from Mahopac Bank for $395,000.
Chamber building razed, Swan Cove cleared for park
In August, workers began leveling the area that will eventually become a green space and serve as a park at Swan Cove on Route 6N. The old Chamber of Commerce building was razed, and the area leveled and cleaned to make way for the park.
Cell tower site plans denied
The Planning Board unanimously denied two controversial cell tower site plan applications on Oct. 30 halting Danbury, Conn.-based Homeland Towers’ bid to build a tower on Croton Falls Road and on Dixon Road. Residents in both neighborhoods had fought the proposals since Day One, saying they would be an aesthetic blight and lower property values. While the board did cite those contentions as some of the reasons it rejected the applications, many of its members also said they felt that Homeland did not prove there was a need for the towers.
GOP makes clean sweep in town elections
Republicans made a clean sweep in Carmel on election night, Nov. 5, with both GOP challengers winning two seats on the Town Board. Political newcomer and Carmel resident Robert Schanil, a former police officer, garnered 3,746 votes (39 percent), while former councilman and deputy supervisor Frank Lombardi pulled in 3,654 votes (38 percent). Democrat Jean Hopper finished a distant third with 2,199 votes. The three were vying for two seats on the board that belong to current members Jonathan Schneider and John Lupinacci who opted not to seek re-election.