BALLSTON SPA: A shear infraction

Three local leaders were arrested Friday night, Aug. 10, and charged with the crime of being clean shaven within the limits of the Village of Ballston Spa.

State Assembly Minority Leader Jim Tedisco, R-Schenectady, Ballston Supervisor Ray Callanan, and Milton Supervisor Frank Thompson were hauled into Wiswall Park in the heart of the village and seated before Kangaroo Kourt Judge Paul Farnan to answer the charges.

The trial was all part of the village's bicentennial festivities, which includes a resurgence of the Brothers of the Brush organization, which requires all adult men to adorn their faces with beards, moustaches, goatees or long sideburns.

Tedisco, Callanan and Thompson had the audacity to sip coffee in the village with freshly shaven faces and not even a trace of stubble.

You are legally arrested for having no facial hair, said Farnan. "He who has no hair on his face cannot be trusted. These officials thwarted the rules of the people. The lessons of history are important; if you let the little things go, soon all institutions will look as if they were hit by a steamroller."

In front of a crowd of about 75 people eagerly watching from picnic blankets and folding chairs, defense attorneys argued that the arrest reeked of entrapment.

Village Mayor John Romano was called to the witness stand and confessed to luring the trio into the village limits.

"I invited the men to the Coffee Planet, knowing specifically they had not grown facial hair," said Romano.

Farnan sentenced all four men to a few minutes behind bars in the wooden jail built for the occasion, and worse, in head stocks imprisoning them by their neck and wrists. Photos were taken for the village's 2007 time capsule.

Others in the crowd showed their bicentennial spirit by dressing in 1950s garb. Sisters Ruth and Betty Coleman wore the same lilac and white gingham dresses and bonnets they wore as they rode in the sesquitennial parade in 1957.

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