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The Beacon Free Press has been Beacon’s primary center of news and entertainment coverage for over 25 years. Coverage includes local city and school news and features, Dutchess County Legislature, county legal notices, obituaries, plus coverage of arts and entertainment, hospitals and health, education, libraries and local businesses and organizations.

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10/29/14 Highlights of this week's edition...

5K to raise funds for Cancer Society in memory of Beacon officer

By Kristine Coulter

(Continued from cover) “He was very close to his colleagues on the force, one of the most moving parts of the 5K is the support my family continues to receive from the Beacon Police Department. Many participate in the run, and countless others donate their time to help out at the event,” she said.

One of Mike Archer’s good friends was Shawn Barry.

“Mike was a very devoted police officer. Having been raised in Beacon, he held a strong connection to the community and making sure it was safe,” said Barry. “Mike was devoted to traffic safety and upon achieving the rank of Lieutenant, spearheaded the implementation of the Traffic Enforcement Unit. This unit comprised officers who put forth an extra effort to make the streets of Beacon safer.” Barry said the unit helped organize saturation patrols to keep and remove impaired drivers off the roads. Barry talked of how Archer led by example through his leadership and work ethic.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with Mike. His sound advice and leadership ability allowed myself and other officers to grow and learn from him. Mike always recognized officers who performed well and supported their work efforts. Mike was highly regarded among his peers and the law enforcement community.”

He added: “In the years after Mike passed, I found myself in several critical encounters where I said to myself ‘My guardian angel was working overtime.’ I like to believe that my guardian angel was Mike looking out for his fellow officers, making sure they made it home to their loved ones.”

Barry, who has made a donation to ACS because of scheduling conflicts cannot attend this year’s event, also noted Archer was a devoted husband and father.

“When Mike was not working, he would be spending time at one of his children’s school or sporting events,” Barry stated.

Barry said to those who will participate in the 5K, “To all who have come out to help remember Mike, I applaud your devotion to remembering a great man and contributing to a noble cause in Mike’s honor.”

Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

Exploring the afterlife

Paranormal group makes a study of ghostly manifestations

Tom Kelly, left, founder of Ghost Magnets with a Twist, and investigator Bon Klein test the sensors used to locate spirits in the Van Wyck Homestead in Fishkill.- Photo by Curtis Schmidt

By Kristine Coulter

My first ghost hunt was fascinating and kind of creepy. But whether it has changed my fundamental skepticism about the existence of spirits among the living remains to be seen.

It started with an e-mail from Tom Kelly of Beacon who, with his wife Johnna runs a paranormal group called Ghost Magnets with a Twist. The club, whose stated goal is to seek knowledge of the afterlife, has “experience working with historic locations here in the Hudson Valley,” Kelly wrote.

Would we be interested in doing a story? With Halloween approaching, I figured it was a perfect time for a spooky tale. I asked Kelly if he would take me on a ghost hunt and he readily agreed. (I would later learn from several members of the group that spirits aren’t more active on Halloween than any other time of the year. “They aren’t aware it’s Halloween,” someone said.)

As the night of our adventure approached, I admit to growing more nervous – despite my skepticism.

Our target is the Van Wyck Homestead in Fishkill, a house dating back to the early 1730s. That’s a long time to accumulate spirits. Ghost Magnets has never investigated the homestead before, so the members of our little band are excited. By the time I arrive Kelly, Johnna and their crew are already inside setting up. Steve Lynch, president of the Fishkill Historical Society, opened the house to us and got caught up in helping with the investigation.

The homestead looks creepy enough at night, dimly lit and brimming with historic artifacts that seem somehow ominous in the shadows. And with Kelly and friends setting up and testing all manner of ghost-detecting gadgets, I start to feel as if I am on one of those ghost hunter reality TV shows.

Kelly, who works at West Point, began his paranormal investigations seven years ago, and during that time he has amassed an impressive array of equipment. Cameras are set up in every room and can be viewed on a single screen – the sort of thing you might see in a security guard’s office. If there’s visible movement anywhere in the house, Kelly will know about.

That’s just the beginning, though. Fellow ghost-chaser Bill Helms, a visiting investigator from New Jersey, explains that he’s manning an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) recorder. The device, he says, can pick up ghostly voices “that we can’t hear with our own ears.”

Read the full story in this week’s print edition.

Also in the Oct 22-28, 2014 issue:

  • Retailer holds job fair in Beacon.

One of the signs announcing the Gap job fair.
- Photo by Kristine Coulter


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