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Utica Common Council Talks Facebook, Hydrofracking and Proclamations

Gino Geruntino, WIBX

The Utica Police Department’s Facebook page took center stage during Tuesday night’s special meeting of the Utica Common Council.
Much of the comment period was devoted to the social media page, with both supporters and opponents coming out to speak. Although everyone agreed the comments on the page were wrong, the public was split on whether the page should be revived, including County Legislator Franklin Davis.

“I think the intent of the page was probably good,” Davis said. “We generally have good intentions when we’re starting something. But, what it turned into was something that I even called in months ago.”

Gino Geruntino, WIBX

Police Chief Mark Williams then spoke, defending the page’s merits.

“We had over 25,000 likes for a community that only has 62,000 people. We’ve received national, state and local recognition.”

Williams also discussed the role the page has played in solving nearly 50 crimes in the community, many being felonies, while increasing transparency and community involvement with the city’s citizens.

Councilman Frank Meola ended the conversation by saying the situation is being resolved between the UPD and the city’s mayor, Robert Palmieri.

People also came out against hydrofracking, with speakers saying that, “if you enact the ban, you are protecting yourself,” but also hinting at a long battle with the gas companies. Another speaker addressed the council, saying “even if we do ban it in every town in the country, gas companies will continue to try and do it.” The Common Council listened, voting unanimously to support a ban on all gas exploration in Utica.

This vote follows a similar one taken last year, placing  moratorium on gas exploration.

Gino Geruntino, WIBX

Finally, two Utica Police Officers and the Central New York Civil Air Patrol were honored for their work during last night’s Common Council meeting.

Councilwoman Samantha Colosimo-Testa was the first to speak, congratulating officers Michael Curley and Kerry Carville for their handling of a 14 year-old boy who brought a BB gun to Donovan Middle School in January.

Councilman Joe Marino then presented a proclamation to Lieutenant Colonel John Jones, who leads the Central New York Civil Air Patrol. The group was honored for its work during and after Super Storm Sandy.

Both proclamations were passed unanimously, and the crowd gave both standing ovations.

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