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Utica Timeline

Utica Timeline

  • c. 1101 BCE

    Traditional founding date for the Phoenician colony of Utica by Sidon (or Tyre).

  • 309 BCE - 308 BCE

    Agathocles of Syracuse successfuly campaigns in North Africa defeating Carthaginian armies and taking Utica and Hippacra.

  • 264 BCE - 241 BCE

  • 218 BCE - 202 BCE

  • 204 BCE - 203 BCE

    Scipio Africanus wins two battles and besieges Utica in North Africa.

  • 149 BCE - 146 BCE

  • 146 BCE

    Utica is made the capital of the Roman province of Africa.


Utica Timeline - History

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Homicide of Utica teen Bianca Devins: A timeline of events

A timeline of events surrounding the death of Utica teen, Bianca Devins, according to a press release written by the Utica Police Department.

UTICA, N.Y. -- A timeline of events surrounding the death of Utica teen, Bianca Devins , according to a press release written by the Utica Police Department.

*Note that the details of this article are allegations as part of UPD's investigation.

May 2019 - Approximately 2 months before the Utica homicide

Brandon Clark, 21 of Cicero, and Bianca Devins, 17 of Utica - who recently graduated from Proctor High School, met on Instagram (social media) where they formed a relationship. They chatted on Instagram, before their relationship became an intimate one. They spent time together, and were introduced with each other's families.

Saturday, July 13, 2019 - 7 p.m.

Clark and Devins went to a concert in New York City, arriving around 7:30 p.m., and they left the concert venue sometime after 10 p.m. headed back to Utica. Police believe that some sort of an argument between the two started that precipitated the incident that followed.

Sunday, July 14, 2019 - Early morning hours

Sometime during the early morning hours on Boilermaker Sunday, the two arrived back in Utica and proceeded to the Poe Street location, where police allegedly found both victims. The investigation revealed that the argument progressed until Clark took a large, black-handled knife, and used it to stab Devins, ultimately causing her death.

At this time, it is unknown why Clark and Devins were on Poe Street.

Sunday, July 14, 2019 - Following Devins' death

During the time after her death, Clark allegedly took pictures of Devins and distributed the photos of her dead body on Discord, which is a social media platform for the 'gaming community.' Discord specializes in text, image, video and audio communication between users in a chat channel.

Members of the Discord platform viewed the images and alleged posts from Clark and contacted the Utica Police Department.

Sunday, July 14, 2019 - 7:20 a.m.

Oneida County 911 Dispatch received numerous calls informing them that a man had posted to a social media site that he had killed his girlfriend, and was threatening to harm himself.

Clark then called 911 himself and made incriminating statements with respect to the homicide. He also was alluding the fact that he was going to harm himself.

Sunday, July 14 - Some time before 8 a.m.

Utica Police tracked Clark's location to Poe Street in Utica, and found Clark lying on the ground next to a black SUV.

The first officer to arrive at the scene approached Clark, and almost immediately, he began to stab himself in the neck with a knife. The officer requested emergency medical care, and the Utica Fire Department arrived soon after.

After trying to harm himself, police say Clark laid down across a green tarp that was on the ground some distance away. The officer immediately noticed brown hair protruding from beneath the tarp and inquired as to where Devins was. Clark allegedly told the officer she was beneath the tarp, and proceeded to pull out his cell phone. It was at this time that police believe Clark took self-photographs of himself laying across Devins' dead body.

Sunday, July 14 - Following UPD's arrival at the scene

Other officers arrived within minutes, and they were able to engage and disarm Clark. After a brief struggle, they took him into custody and took him to a local hospital where he underwent surgery. Although his injuries were considered to be severe, he is expected to survive.

Monday July 15 - 1 p.m.

Police confirmed the name of the victim: Bianca Devins, age 17 of Utica, NY.

Monday, July 15 - Approximately 4 p.m.

The Utica City School District released a statement regarding the death of the recent graduate, and will be offering counseling services to those impacted.

Monday, July 15 - Shortly before 5 p.m.

Police did confirm that the images posted of both Devins' and Clark's injuries were authentic and happened at the time of the incident. They say they are actively are working with the various social media platforms used to share the images.

The family released a statement regarding the death of Bianca Devins.

Police also named the suspect: Brandon Clark, age 21, has a current address of Bridgeport, NY.

Monday, July 15 - 7 p.m.

WKTV learned that Brandon Clark has officially been charged with New York State Penal Law 125.25, murder in the second degree, a class A-1 felony. He was arraigned and is currently in the Oneida County Jail.

Monday, July 15 - 8 p.m.

Friends of Devins used social media to organize a candlelight vigil Monday night to honor Devins, at the corner of the Parkway and Oneida Street in Utica.

The Utica Police Department would like the public to know:

The Utica Police Department takes the offenses and claims of Domestic Violence seriously. We seek to be at the forefront in assisting victims and their families and preventing these acts from occurring. We ask the public that if you or someone you know are affected, please contact the Utica Police Department at 315 735 3301 and ask for our Domestic Violence Unit.

This incident was occurring as the Boilermaker 15K Road Race was about to begin, and as such the start of the race had to be delayed approximately 20 minutes. This event had no affiliation with the race, and no race participants were involved or affected in anyway. We thank the staff and volunteers of the Boilermaker for their assistance, and thank the runners for their patience and understanding during the incident.


Utica

UTICA, commercial and industrial center in the Mohawk Valley in central New York State population (2002) 59,684, estimated Jewish population 1,100. Both the city and its Jewish population have declined from the 1970s the decline of Jews has been proportionately greater. Utica was first settled in 1786. The first Jew to make it his home was probably Abraham Cohen, who brought his family there in 1847 from Poland, the homeland of nearly all of Utica's early Jewish settlers. In 1848 the first synagogue, Beth Israel, was established with 20 families and by 1871 there were at least 225 Jewish family heads. Waves of Russian and Polish immigrants in the years after 1870 increased the number of Jews to 2,517 by 1920. Most of the early Jewish settlers were peddlers, while many of the post-1870 immigrants started out as manual workers. The peddlers generally went into wholesaling or branched out into new enterprises, and after 1915 Jews began to enter the professions. Not many Utican Jews became wealthy, but among those who did, several attained national prominence, such as Miles Rosenberg, president of the Miles Shoe Store chain, and David Bernstein, vice president of the Loew's theater concern. From the 1930s on, Jews began to take an increasingly active interest in local civic organizations. Between 1904 and 1958, 22 Jews held political office, including state judge H. Myron Lewis.

Utica's Jews have generally followed traditional Judaism. Congregation House of Jacob, founded in 1870, brought to Utica its first ordained rabbi, Moses Reichler, in 1897. An attempt to establish a Reform temple in 1903 ended in failure but in 1919 Temple Beth El, a Conservative synagogue, was founded with Rabbi Reuben Kaufman as its head. During the first quarter of the 20 th century Jews served their social needs through fraternal lodges, a YMHA and YWHA and a Workmen's Circle (1892). Local chapters of several organizations such as Hadassah (1917) and the Zionist Organization of America (1938) were formed and Jews contributed to World War I relief funds, the United Jewish Appeal and other charities. Through the initiative of Rabbi S. Joshua Kohn of Temple Beth El a Jewish Community Council was organized in 1933 to supervise and unify the many functions of the Jewish community. A Jewish Community Center was founded in 1955 and after 1949 the community's affairs were recorded in the Jewish Community News. In the early 21 st century the community still supported three synagogues Temple Beth El, Temple Emanu-El (Reform), and Congregation Zvi Jacob which is Orthodox.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

S.J. Kohn, Jewish Community, of Utica, 18471948 (1959).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.


Utica College Timeline

UC launches the public phase of its Achieve: A New Dream, A New Era Comprehensive Campaign with a gala celebration on campus. For more information, visit www.utica.edu/achieve.

August 31

UC breaks ground on Phase II of its Science and Technology Complex, the state-of-the-art facility that will house the College's renowned Economic Crime and Justice Studies programs.

September

A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new residence hall, Bell Hall. The five-story building is named after its antique bronze bell feature and contains 113 living spaces for students mostly in single-occupancy, cluster-style rooms. Bell Hall is scheduled to open in August 2005.

August

Judith Kirkpatrick, former dean of Texas Wesleyan University School of Arts and Sciences, succeeded Mary Lee Seibert as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Utica College. Kirkpatrick brings with her nearly 25 years of administrative and teaching experience in higher education.

Larry Platt '86, editor-in-chief of Philadelphia Magazine, delivered convocation address starting the 58th academic year at Utica College. Convocation ceremony took place in the Harold T. Clark Jr. Athletic Center. Additional remarks were made from Vice President for Student Affairs and the Dean of Students.

U.S. News and World Report ranked Utica College No. 12 overall and No. 8 in Best Value among undergraduate comprehensive colleges in the North in its annual guide of America's Best Colleges. UC improved its position in both categories from last year's guide, which placed Utica No. 15 in Top Schools and No. 9 in Best Value.

May 16

UC held its 55 th Commencement on Sunday, May 16, in the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Congressman Sherwood Boehlert '61 delivered the Commencement address and received an honorary doctor of laws degree. Charles Gaetano also received an honorary doctor of laws degree while Joseph Furgal was awarded an honorary doctor of human letters posthumously. Joan Kay, associate professor and director of therapeutic recreation, received the Dr. Virgil Crisafulli Distinguished Teaching Award. Kimberly Bramley of Clarks Mills, N.Y., Diane Moran of Whitesboro, N.Y., were named valedictorian and salutatorian respectively.

Sharon Kanfoush, assistant professor of geology at Utica College, received a $43,787 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in support of her research of ice-rafted debris in the Southeast Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The grant award will support the research of Kanfoush and two undergraduate UC students with whom she will work with.

April

The Business Programs Speaker Series at Utica College sponsored "A Conversation with New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer." Spitzer, 1981 graduate of Princeton University and a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School, discussed issues and answered questions concerning New York State in the Library concourse. Spitzer became the New York's 63rd Attorney General in January 1999.

March

Utica College was invited by the Albanian government to conduct an international archaeological field school at Butrint National Park in southwestern Albania. Utica College was the only American institution invited to develop educational and cultural programs.

Utica College and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched a graduate certificate in Homeland Security Risk Assessment. The program combined classes taught at the Office of National Risk Assessment, located in the Washington D. C. area, with a distance-learning component.

Dr. James B. Garvin, lead scientist for NASA's Mars and Lunar Exploration Programs since 1984, and astronaut Kenneth Cockrell, joined U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert as participants in the 26 th annual Utica College Regional Science Fair.

The Utica College Board of Trustees approved a $20,980 tuition rate, a 5 percent increase, for the 2004-05 academic year. The tuition increase will enable the institution to expand its services to student education and help implement several initiatives President Todd S. Hutton says.

February

Plans were announced to offer a new Master of Business Administration in Economic Crime and Fraud Management starting Fall 2004. This program offers students an opportunity to learn specific concepts, methodologies, and tools that will assist them in managing complex technology projects and programs while identifying and preventing economic crimes.

The national organization America's Promise: The Alliance for Youth designated Utica College Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) as a Priority Community of Promise. The program has been recognized for fulfilling the organization's "Five Promises" to children and youth.

Plans were announced to offer a new Master of Business Administration in Professional Accountancy beginning in Fall 2004. Students will have a broad exposure to varied business disciplines including management, organizational behavior, economics, statistics, and finance.

January

Hamilton College and Utica College have been jointly awarded a $46,000 three-year grant through the Center for Intergenerational Learning at Temple University to help older immigrants and refugees in the Mohawk Valley become more actively engaged in their community and pursue U.S. citizenship. The funding supports the combined efforts of the two colleges to replicate Project SHINE (Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders) in the Utica area.

Utica College's History Project was selected to participate in the Council's Effective Practice Exchange by the Council of Independent Colleges and Universities (CIC) and its grant-making unit the Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education (CAPHE). The Project culminates into a publication of a journal featuring the original research of students and a public conference on local history.

November

Utica College President Todd S. Hutton was one of 10 college and university presidents who participated in a Symposium on the Liberal Arts and Business at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Ill. The Symposium designed to bring together leaders from the corporate community and independent higher education institutions to work together to support college leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance private higher education?s contributions to society.

Utica College Professor Theodore Orlin provided training to human rights advocates at National Human Rights Education Workshop in Mumbai. The five-day workshop addressed the human rights issues and problems facing India and provided expert training for human rights advocates from India, Bangladesh and Thailand.

The College will offer a new Master of Science degree in Special Education for the year 2004. The degree is designed to enhance the teaching skills necessary for effective instruction for children and youth with mental and/or physical disabilities.

U.S. Congressman Sherwood L. Boehlert and Utica College President Todd S. Hutton announced details of the $1.25 million in federal funding that Rep. Boehlert has secured for the College's science and technology center for the year of 2004. The $18 million project will provide more than 100,000 square-feet of new and renovated classroom and laboratory space.

October 2

UC sponsored its 15th annual Unity March: A Celebration of Diversity on Thursday, Oct. 2. Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and other members of the local community join together to celebrate the cultural diversity on campuses and in communities throughout the region.

Identity fraud termed "national crisis with global implications" Researchers at the Economic Crime Institute of Utica College and LexisNexis called for a new national strategy in the fight against identity fraud. Details of the plan were discussed in remarks delivered at the 14th annual Economic Crime Institute Conference being held outside Washington, D.C.

Utica College announced today that in Spring 2004, the College will offer a new Master of Science degree in Liberal Studies.

August

U.S. News and World Report rates Utica College No. 15 overall and No. 9 in Best Value among undergraduate comprehensive colleges in the Northeast

In a tribute to the legendary "Drums Along the Mohawk" author and Mohawk Valley native, Utica College officially dedicated the Walter D. Edmonds Room marked the centennial of the late author's birth.

Congressman Sherwood Boehlert (R-New Hartford) announced that he has secured $1.3 million for Utica College in Economic Development Initiative funds for a planned new science center on campus. This brings to $3.1 million the two-year total Boehlert has directed to the project.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded a $449,697 grant to Utica College's Institute of Gerontology to infuse cross-cultural aging education into allied health curriculum.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded a $1 million grant to Utica College, Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare, and ENTrust Energy Services LLC that will support the development of a distributed generation and combined heat and power project.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration (HRSA) awarded the UC Department of Nursing $61,451 grant for Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students for the 2003-04 academic year. This is the second consecutive year that Utica College has received this award, and this year's HRSA funding represents a $3,993 increase from 2002-03.

The faculty and administration of Utica College selected Radu Olievschi as valedictorian and Kimberly Alberico as salutatorian for the Class of 2003. George W. Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the Republic of the Gambia and a pioneer in human rights advocacy, delivered the honorary 2003 Commencement address. Haley was presented the honorary degree doctor of humane letters.

The New York State Education Department's Liberty Partnerships Program presented Utica College President Todd S. Hutton the Empire Promise Award for his support of the Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program.

April

Senior biology students Julia van Kessel and Tarah Scanlon presented research at the Council on Undergraduate Research's Poster on the Hill event in Washington, D.C. Kessel and Scanlon were two of only 60 undergraduate student researchers selected nationwide.

UC hosted a symposium recognizing the professional work of Scott MacDonald, professor emeritus of English and film.

Mary Katharine Maroney, director and professor of nursing, was selected to receive the 2003 Distinguished Career in Nursing Award from Columbia University.

March

The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties awarded Utica College a $14,630 grant in support of the Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program. The grant was made possible by the Credit Bureau of Utica Fund.

The 25th annual Utica College-Homogeneous Metals Regional Science Fair was held and featured special guests US Congressman Sherwood Boehlert '61 (R-New Hartford), NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, NASA Astronaut Leland Melvin, and NASA Associate Administrator for Education Dr. Adena Williams Loston.

January

Utica College received a $10,000 New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) grant allowing the College to partner with local agencies to address the problems associated with collegiate substance abuse on and off campus.

November

UC's new mascot is named Trax the Pioneer Moose following an eight-week "Name the Moose Contest." The winning entry was submitted by Ric Hollins of Whitesboro, NY.

October 9

UC officially opened its newest residential facility, Tower Hall. President Todd S. Hutton and College trustees joined student representatives in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting in front of the building's main entrance.

September

Utica College formally dedicated Charles A. Gaetano Stadium with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event.

UC received the largest single monetary gift in its 56-year history when longtime friend and benefactor Ruby "Bunny" diIorio had bequeathed $628,000 in her estate to the institution.

Utica College has received a $335,435 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education to improve the quality of and access to higher education for students with disabilities.

Rep. Sherwood Boehlert '61 (R-New Hartford), Chairman of the House Science Committee, and National Science Foundation (NSF) Deputy Director Joe Bordogna, joined Utica College President Todd S. Hutton in announcing the award of a $199,209 NSF Cyber Service grant to Utica College.

Utica College received two federal grants totaling $946,853 to support the institution?s efforts of providing educational opportunities to underrepresented minority nursing students.

Congressional legislators, military personnel, White House undersecretaries, academic faculty and administrators, and top executives from private industries gathered Monday, June 24 for a Congressional Field Hearing on Homeland and Cybersecurity at Utica College. This was the third in a series of hearings held examining security issues and the vulnerability of our nation's computer infrastructure. The first two hearings were held in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Kenneth Kelly was named vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Utica College.

UC heed a ground-breaking ceremony for the campus's new Faculty Center. The academic facility will feature modern classrooms equipped with high technology, faculty offices, and other academic resources.

April

The faculty and administration at Utica College selected Laura Richter as valedictorian and Jamie Martineau as salutatorian for the Class of 2002. Writer, poet Judith Viorst addressed Utica College's 53rd graduating class.

Tarah Scanlon, Erica McGovern and Julia Van Kessel attended the 102nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

The American Scholastic Press Association selected Utica College's student-run weekly newspaper, the Tangerine, as "Best Overall" in its annual newspaper competition. First place honors were also awarded to Photo Editor Geoff Coalter '03 for his entry in the national organization's individual photography competition.

March

The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) inducted Sherwood L. Boehlert, US Congressman (R-New Hartford) and a 1961 graduate of Utica College, into the Independent Sector Alumni Hall of Distinction.

January

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) elected Paula D. Carey, director and associate professor of occupational therapy at Utica College, secretary of the Professional Program Directors Education Council.


Union Station: 100 years of history, memories

Union Station has withstood the test of time, through deterioration that threatened its demolition, the decline of rail use and its multiple renovations. It typically sees about 195,000 people pass through annually. And this year, the multi-use station celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Ray Casatelli has countless memories of times at Union Station in Utica.

The 91-year-old Whitesboro resident used to take the passenger train roughly 70 miles east to the shrine in Auriesvelle when he was a teen.

&ldquoIt was always a hot, summer day in August,&rdquo he recalled. &ldquoWe&rsquod open the windows and we were black with dust by the time we got home.&rdquo

It also was the station he left from after he was drafted to the 747th Field Artillery during World War II.

&ldquoThe saddest night of my life was when I kissed (now wife, Jenny Casatelli) goodnight and goodbye,&rdquo Ray Casatelli said.

It is these memories and the goal of preservation for this city landmark that has kept Union Station alive since it was built in 1914.

The station has withstood the test of time, through deterioration that threatened its demolition, the decline of rail use and its multiple renovations. It typically sees about 195,000 people pass through annually.

And this year, the multi-use station celebrates its 100th anniversary.

&ldquoI think it&rsquos been a part of history and culture to have such a beautiful building,&rdquo said Paul Hage, president of the Landmark&rsquos Society of Greater Utica. &ldquoWhen you look at something that a community has to offer, to have this beautiful architecture in the Bagg&rsquos Square area is great.&rdquo

Union Station &mdash designed by Allen Stem and Alfred Fellheimer, those who also designed Grand Central Station &mdash saw its heyday through WWII.

In the 1950s and 60s, however, passenger rail travel declined with the opening the state Thruway said Bruce Becker, president of the Empire State Passengers Association.

&ldquoHaving been at Union Station my whole life, it was certainly in the early 1970 era &hellip it was a sorry situation, there&rsquos no question about that,&rdquo Becker said.

In 1974, the station was in jeopardy of being demolished.

A vocal group of concerned citizens began to grow, garnering support to save Union Station.

&ldquoIt brought a lot of recognition to the surface to the beauty of the building,&rdquo Hage said.

This also is how the Landmark&rsquos Society was formed, he added.

It was then-Congressman Sherwood Boehlert who helped secure funds to renovate the station and start the transition to breathing life back into the historical site.

Since the late 1970s, Union Station has seen five phases of renovations covering improvements to parking and road access to energy efficient windows and reconditioning of roofing and decking.

Renovations continue as the station becomes part of an ever-changing use.

Most recently Oneida County &mdash which now owns the building and has drawn both the offices of the state Department of Motor Vehicles and Oneida County Tourism into the station &mdash announced that $823,900 has been slated to renovate the station&rsquos former Railway Express Agency wing &mdash the long, narrow wing on the east side of the building.

Presently, the Oneida County Public Market hosts its summer market in the wing, and makes Union Station its home for both the summer and winter markets.

Market Manager Beth Irons has said the market attracted just under 20,000 people in 2013, a 36 percent increase over 2013.

The future looks bright for passenger and cargo rail usage as well.

CSX Railroad, which owns the tracks that pass the station, also has seen a slight increase over time, company spokesman Robert Doolittle said.

&ldquoRight now, there&rsquos an average of 60 to 70 CSX trains a day,&rdquo he said. &ldquoThat&rsquos a key route for CSX to move freight to the East Coast.&rdquo

Amtrak, which typically has about eight trains coming and going from the station daily, has seen a 47 percent increase in ridership from and to Union Station over the past 10 years, Becker said.

From 45,765 passengers in 2004 to 67,213 in 2013, he said, with the same eight trains serving Utica daily.

Cooperstown resident Kevin Kropp, 23, said he uses the train regularly to visit his girlfriend in Buffalo.

&ldquoIt&rsquos faster. It&rsquos affordable. It&rsquos actually cheaper than driving,&rdquo he said. &ldquoI always have good experiences.&rdquo

A faster passenger train from Utica to New York City also could be a possibility in the future.

&ldquoHopefully there would be a stop in Utica and hopefully with the Utica nano it would be a viable station,&rdquo Hage said. &ldquoIt&rsquos a way-station to the Adirondacks.&rdquo

Timeline
1914: Union Station is built.
1939 to 1945: Up through World War II the station sees the most use.
1950-1960: Passenger rails begin to see decline.
1974: Discussion of demolition of Union Station.
1975: Station placed on National Register of Historic Places.
1978: Oneida County purchased the station from the bankrupt Penn Station. The county had turned it over to the Oneida County Industrial Development Corporation to finance the restoration.
1980: Union Station the official rail for the Olympics in Lake Placid.
2000s: State Department of Motor Vehicles locates inside the station.
2012: Oneida County Tourism locates offices inside station.
2014: 100th anniversary
Source: Paul Hage, president of the Landmark's Society of Greater Utica

By the numbers
* About 195,000 came through Union Station in 2012.
* Just under 20,000 people in 2013 came to the Oneida County Public Market, which is hosted at the station.
* On average between 60 and 70 CSX freight trains cross Union Station daily.
* There were 45,765 Amtrak passengers that came to or from Union Station in 2004.
* In 2013, the number of Amtrak passengers increased 47 percent to 67,213.
Source: Oneida County Tourism, Oneida County Public Market, CSX Railroad and Bruce Becker, president of the Empire State Passengers Association.


Preliminary Operations [ edit ]

After ordering his fleet to sail to Utica, Curio began his march there around the gulf. Within three days he had reached the southern bank of the Bagradas river. Leaving the infantry there with Rebilus, he took his cavalry and rode northward to scout out a camp near Utica, the Castra Cornelia, ⎙] situated on a hill to the west of the town. ⎚] From that position he was able to assess Varus's camp, which was situated next to the town, with his further side protected by Utica's north-eastern wall, while his nearer side was protected by the sea and an outdoor theatre, ensuring that his camp could only be approached by a narrow passage. ⎚] Turning south, he noticed a stream of fugitives fleeing to the safety of Utica's walls, and he decided to attack the crowds to instil panic. ⎛] This forced Varus to send 1,000 Numidian troops (600 cavalry and 400 soldiers) to their rescue. The two forces clashed and the Numidians, unused to close fighting, were repulsed, losing 120 men in the process, as the remainder of the troops retreated to the town. ⎛]

Next, Curio, observing that some 200 ships containing the supplies for Varus's army lay unprotected in Utica's harbour, and that his fleet was already in position, decided to take possession of the supplies. He ordered the captains of the vessels to remove their cargoes and place them on the shore, next to where Curio was planning to make his camp. After threatening to kill them, they complied and promptly set sail after they had emptied their holds. ⎛]

Returning victorious to his camp on the Bagradas, the legions acclaimed him as Imperator. ⎛] The next day he ordered his forces to march towards Utica, but instead of heading towards the Castra Cornelia which he had spied out for his camp, he decided to take the offensive and placed himself on a ridge to the south-west of the town. ⎛] His soldiers were still preparing their camp when patrols reported seeing large Numidian reinforcements on their way, King Juba having sent them to reinforce Varus's position. When they came into view, Curio, who had not bothered to send out scouts, started showing signs of nervousness. ⎛] He urgently sent out his cavalry to impede the Numidian advance, while he impatiently recalled his legionaries from the trenches and began to line them up in battle formation. ⎛] His cavalry engaged the Numidians who, approaching in a disorganized fashion, were caught unawares and were dispersed with heavy losses. Before Curio could send his legions in, the Numidian cavalry had escaped from the slaughter, and quickly made their way into the town. ⎛]

The following night, two centurions, accompanied by twenty-two men, deserted Curio's camp and made their way to Varus. They told him that Curio's troops were deeply unhappy with their commander, and that he should attempt to win them over prior to battle. ⎜] Varus agreed with this strategy and the following morning, he assembled his troops and led them out of their camp. Curio followed suit. ⎜] The two armies were separated by a valley some 70 metres (230 ft) in width, between the town and a morass, with Curio's right flank and Varus's left touching by the morass. ⎜] Varus's brother, ⎝] Sextus Quintilius Varus, a senator, emerged from Varus's troops and urged Curio's troops not to fight for their commander, but to join their own side. The troops listened in silence, and Varus returned to his camp, with Curio again doing the same. ⎜] That day, with Curio's men contemplating abandoning their commander, Curio summoned his officers to seek their advice. Some counselled Curio to attack immediately, before mutiny could break out. Others suggested that he wait and let Varus come to him, giving his soldiers time to calm themselves down. Curio rejected both sets of advice and decided to talk to the men directly. ⎞] Ordering his troops to line up, he reminded them of their oaths to Caesar, and that they had acclaimed him Imperator. By the time he was done, his troops had been brought around to supporting him, and all mutterings subsided. ⎟]


Contents

After a three-day journey from Sicily, Scipio's army of 35,000 men landed near Cape Farina, sixteen miles northeast of the city of Utica, causing panic in the Carthaginian civilians in the countryside, who quickly fled into towns. Carthage had available 14,200 inexperienced men, comprising 13,000 infantry and 1,200 cavalry, situated 25 miles inland under General Hasdrubal Gisco. The Carthaginian senate immediately issued an order for a general mobilization and called for aid from Syphax. Hasdrubal recruited more cavalry and acquired 4,000 horses from the Numidians. Scipio moved inland, capturing a ridgeline and unloading men, horses, and supplies onto a beachhead, set up guards and outposts and sent cavalry forces to reconnoiter, burn, and pillage Carthaginian farms and property. ΐ] A 1,000-strong Carthaginian cavalry squadron under the aristocrat Hanno, sent to observe and harass Scipio, was defeated by the Roman cavalry and Hanno was killed. The Roman army then captured a nearby town. The rich Carthaginian farmlands were thoroughly looted by the Romans and 8,000 people, Carthaginian civilians and slaves alike, were kidnapped and sent to Sicily as hostages, along with considerable booty. Α]


Day 1: The Mob Files

As Special Prosecutor Robert Fischer left his office at 21 Hopper St. one wintry day nearly a half-century ago, it ended just another day in what would become a 3½-year crusade against Utica’s smug culture of vice and corruption.

As Special Prosecutor Robert Fischer left his office at 21 Hopper St. one wintry day nearly a half-century ago, it ended just another day in what would become a 3½-year crusade against Utica’s smug culture of vice and corruption.

Fischer got into his 1960 Plymouth convertible and started to back out of the parking area shortly before 9:30 p.m. Dec. 29, 1960, when he heard a sharp noise, like the sound of glass breaking.

The tall, square-jawed prosecutor stopped and checked the windows. Fischer didn’t see anything wrong, so he continued on his way to his Utica apartment. The next day, Fischer noticed something peculiar about the metal plate above the left side of his windshield.

Actually, as Fischer would find out, his car had been shot twice from behind. Both bullets – believed to be from a .22-caliber gun – pierced the car’s canvas top, with one bullet flying the entire length of the vehicle before embedding itself above the windshield.

Were these bullets meant for Fischer? He didn’t think so, even though bullet holes in cars back then usually meant one thing.

“It would take more than that to shake him up,” 77-year-old retired state police investigator and U.S. Marshal Frank Peo says today of Fischer, who asked then that the shooting be kept quiet.

It was Fischer, along with the Utica newspapers and numerous others, who would shake things up. Fifty years ago this week, the Observer-Dispatch and Daily Press were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for meritorious public service in writing about investigations into racketeering amid threats to reporters and editors.

The Pulitzer was a big deal for the newspapers, winning accolades from prominent individuals including Vice President Richard Nixon, who would have his own run-in with Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters 15 years later. More important, the news reporting became a catalyst for positive change in Utica.

“It was the classic case of a small city trying to govern itself and stumbling along the way, and the government failed to keep its administration on the right path,” said 81-year-old Tony Vella, a former O-D managing editor who was among the reporting team that helped win the Pulitzer in 1959.

“There were people rightfully concerned that the paper was giving the city an unfair and bad name,” Vella said. “But the paper felt back then that by bringing all this stuff to light we were trying to improve the city.”

Larger forces were at work, too, as society coped with the fear of communism, said Philip Bean, Dean of Academic Affairs at Haverford College in Pennsylvania who has studied Utica’s history with organized crime.

“I think the most significant change that took place in the 󈧶s was that the political and cultural ground was shifting little by little underneath the status quo in places like Utica,” Bean said. “Among other things, the rise of anti-communism raised fears that America was being undermined from within by seemingly respectable foreigners within our midst.”

So, when Utica’s crime began making headlines in New York City newspapers, local leaders finally reacted to what had been going on for decades, he said.

“Many people in Utica seem … to have been content to ignore what was going on so long as nobody was peering in on them,” Bean said. “But when the rest of American society took an extremely critical look at Utica…, things changed – people suddenly got up in arms about the local status quo.”

The newspapers’ work chronicled the efforts of Fischer and others to pull back the veil of corruption that had earned Utica the moniker “Sin City of the East” because of rampant gambling, prostitution and other activity conducted under the control of organized crime.

And then there were the murders – close to 30 that occurred in a 70-year tapestry of violence between 1920 and 1990. Close to 20 of them were never solved.

People received mysterious phone calls and wound up dead a short time later. Men were shot in their bedclothes while rushing off to some mysterious meeting, while others were found killed on rural roadways or stuffed into abandoned wells.

And perhaps most curious of all was a man found floating in the Mohawk River in 1930. He was shot twice in the head and ruled a suicide, only to have his brother strangled with a cord several weeks later as he began to ask questions.

At the heart of suspicion were two brothers from Sicily, who emigrated as boys to New York City and later appeared in Utica by 1919 – Salvatore and Joseph Falcone. Both businessmen would be targeted by prosecutors at various times over the decades, yet none of the charges ever stuck beyond one Prohibition-related conviction in 1925 that led to a fine.

Salvatore Falcone moved to Florida in the 1940s, but Joseph Falcone remained a local resident until his death nearly 20 years ago. Much is known about their activities, but much is not.

“In the sense there’s a Joe Falcone that existed and is real, and the Joe Falcone that is a cultural icon,” said Alex Thomas, a SUNY Oneonta sociology professor whose book “In Gotham’s Shadow” chronicles Utica’s “Sin City” era. “And as a cultural icon, there are practices and ideas that get attributed to him that may be rooted in reality and some that are not.”

“At least for a time, he was larger than life, and we don’t really know the specifics as to what had occurred,” Thomas said.

Across East Utica, the Falcones’ names would be mentioned in hushed tones. They left behind a legacy cited by a subsequent generation of organized crime figures who proved to be less disciplined than their predecessors during a spate of Utica violence a quarter-century ago.

The last criminal prosecutions of organized crime in Utica occurred in the 1980s and in 1990. Many of those figures remain behind bars, at least one filled with great remorse.

“I will say this,” convicted murderer Dominic Bretti wrote April 20 in a letter to the O-D. “I am sorry, very sorry for every criminal act I have committed, including some I never was charged with.”

Politics and the investigations

In marking this anniversary, the O-D made an extensive review of newspaper clipping from the 1920s through the 1980s, and conducted new interviews with people who witnessed these events first hand. The reporting turned up numerous pieces of new information, including the revelation that Fischer’s car had been shot at.

“If an ambush had been planned, it would seem more logical for the person shooting to have shot at Mr. Fischer when he was outside the car, instead of waiting until he was inside the car,” Fischer’s senior investigator, Sgt. Edgar Croswell, wrote in a Jan. 6, 1961, memo never before made public.

Croswell concluded the bullets might have been fired by youths playing with a new rifle they got for Christmas. Like much else associated with organized crime in Utica, the truth would never be known.

Other insight, however, has come with the passage of time.

Take former Mayor John McKennan, now 90, who describes behind-the-scenes conversations with then-Democratic Gov. Averell Harriman that confirm what many people have long said about the Fischer investigations – that they were politically motivated.

Former Mayor John McKennan, now 90, described behind-the-scenes conversations with then-Democratic Gov. Averell Harriman that confirm what many people have long said about the Fischer investigations – that they were politically motivated.

“I’m going to run for president, and I don’t want the papers against me,” Harriman told McKennan during a private meeting at the executive mansion not long after a November 1957 state police raid of a gangland meeting in Apalachin, near Binghamton. The Falcone brothers were among those present.

Harriman was slammed in the raid’s wake for being soft on organized crime. The embarrassing bumblings of Utica’s Police Chief Leo Miller and Oneida County District Attorney John Liddy only made matters worse.

“You get rid of the police chief, and I’ll take care of the DA,” Harriman told McKennan.

And with that, McKennan forced Miller to retire after $10,000 in $20, $50, and $100 bills was found in the chief’s dresser.

By mid-1958, Harriman had appointed Fischer to take over the district attorney’s job after Liddy did nothing to stop houses of prostitution in Utica, despite more than 20 years of evidence for all to see, if anyone bothered to look.

When McKennan asked if New York City would be investigated as well, since many of the reputed mobsters who attended Apalachin were from there, Harriman said, “No, I don’t think that will be necessary.”

It was believed, at the time, that Democratic leaders with suspected links to organized crime did not want New York City touched.

“So you can see how political this all was: It took the pressure off of New York City,” McKennan says with a big laugh. “We got the investigation to satisfy Governor Harriman and New York City.”

Fischer’s investigation came at a time when many in the public wondered how much influence organized crime and the Mafia had on the workings of the city, and questioned whether the city police department was up to the task.

By the early 1960s, Utica Deputy Police Chief Vincent Fiore was among many people convicted as a result of the investigations, accused of taking protection money from a brothel owner and of warning gamblers to lay low. He even acknowledged stopping to have coffee with Joseph Falcone every now and then.

Salvatore Falcone was indicted but saw that tossed by a 1960 court ruling.

Joseph Falcone “disappeared” for four years, turning up only after the investigations were over.
Still, to many of the city’s most outspoken cheerleaders, like Democratic leader Rufus Elefante and other East Utica Italians, Fischer was not a welcome guest at first. Many felt targeted and harassed, and many wondered who was next on Fischer’s list.

And still others didn’t understand what all the fuss was about, like 73-year-old Angelo Giacovelli. As he recently looked back fondly at that period as the “good ol’ days,” Giacovelli recalled being proud that Utica was home to two so-called mobster big-shots.

“Here we have Joe Falcone and the Mafia, living right here on Mohawk Street,” where Falcone’s house still stands, Giacovelli said. “Wow, that was a big thing. The Mafia was seen as a protector, and that kept a lot of the other racketeers from coming in, because this was Joe’s place.”

Bean, the Haverford College dean of academic affairs, said the national focus on Utica was harmful to the city’s economy, just as it was rebounding from the loss of textile mills

“Certainly, ignoring wrong-doing is not acceptable no matter what is at stake, but dragging Utica into the center of the national spotlight was unnecessary, disproportionate (because other places deserved to be pilloried, as well) and lastingly injurious,” Bean said. “I think that casts an unfortunate, irreversible shadow over the achievement that was the awarding of the Pulitzer.”

Thomas, the SUNY Oneonta professor, said the community became enveloped in a “moral panic” over vice that was common in many cities.

“There was probably nothing going on in Utica that wasn’t going on in other cities,” Thomas said. He also noted times have changed.

“Gambling was considered a very horrible thing,” he said. “Today, we talk very openly about brackets. A large part of Sin City was based on gambling, but now it’s part of economic development.”


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