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Friday, Dec. 6, 2013: 'You're drenched in their blood forever'

   Leading off today: Dennis Drue, the man who admitted to killing two Shenendehowa student-athletes in a crash last December, has been sentenced to a 5- to 15-year term in prison.

   Drue pleaded guilty in September to 58 counts, including manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, assault, vehicular assault and driving while intoxicated. He was intoxicated, under the influence of marijuana, speeding and texting when he crashed his Volvo into a car with four high school students inside.

   Students Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers were killed. Two others, Bailey Wind and Matt Hardy, were seriously injured, but survived. Wind and Hardy spoke during the 90-minute sentencing, as did the families of the two teens who died.

   "You are a murderer!" Wind told Drue. Later, she added, "You're drenched in their blood forever."

   At one point, Drue's attorney tried to object, saying Wind had gone too far with her statements. He was overruled.

   Saratoga County Assistant District Attorney Jim Davis told Drue, "You are the only person responsible for killing Chris and Deanna." Responded Drue, "I accept that."

   According to court records, Drue text-messaged four different people in conversations about buying, using and selling drugs during the time leading up to the Dec. 1, 2012, crash on I-87. His texting was considered a factor in the crash.

   A quick thought: Not unexpectedly, the accident had a substantial effect on the families and many friends of the four teens. Beyond the initial tragedy, they had to relive the events periodically in the last year as new details emerged and the case moved through the system.

   It's likely some people close to the convicted driver also endured some strain at times during the year. And others in the community may have tired of hearing about the case in the media; I'll admit to the same sort of fatigue regarding certain tragedies in my neck of the woods.

   Having said that, though, many of the reader comments tacked on to the end of the Times Union story that I linked to above are simply disgusting. I'm guessing some were posted by one or two individuals who happen to possess multiple registrations for the site and the maturity of a 13-year-old. Other comments undoubtedly came from the convicted man's family and/or close friends.

   Regardless of their origin, the attacks on the injured girl were uncalled for, as were subtle suggestions that the driver of the teens' vehicle bore some degree of responsibility. There was only one person responsible here, and he's going to prison.

   I mention from time to time in this blog that we will never allow unmoderated comments on this site (if you disagree with something I write, send me an email asking for equal

  

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time and I'll be happy to consider posting it) or use message-board software here because they are intellectual cesspools. It's God-awful "content," but website managers are addicted to page views, so the commenting software won't go away until the readership does.

   Grass vs. artificial: There was good reading this week in the Poughkeepsie Journal on a topic that has more or less moved to the back burner but still remains important and interesting.

   In the past year, four schools in the vicinity of Poughkeepsie have added artificial turf fields, making seven (out of 19) in the paper's circulation area with such facilities.

   As noted by the paper, people are still asking if artificial surfaces are safer than traditional grass. Numerous studies conducted since FieldTurf and other 21st-century technology debuted have not yielded a definitive answer. Most "evidence" is anecdotal at best.

   The main story of the package also delves into a cost comparison between grass and artificial turf.

   You can read more here.

   Calling all helpers: We are working on the 2013 New York State Sportswriters Association all-state football teams, and this is our annual plea for assistance.


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   While several all-area teams have not been published yet, we are asking reporters to send in their selections (we will not publish your picks, just use them in the selection of our teams) by Sunday Dec. 15.

   Similarly, it would be helpful if the respective chairmen could send copies of their all-league teams.

   All material should be emailed to Steve Grandin at sgrandin55@aol.com.

   The all-state teams will be announced in early January.


  
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