Stories for December 2011


Saturday, December 31

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BC senior prepared to enter world of fashion

Phoebe Gatta has six months until she graduates from Bethlehem Central High School, but since third grade, she’s known that she wanted to be an artist.

Friday, December 30

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Long list for Bethlehem board seat

With a Bethlehem Town Board seat set to be vacated at the start of 2012, the four known members of the board are meeting with a lengthy list of candidates interested in an appointment to the body, and for the first time, a list of names has been revealed.

2020 Committee wraps up work

With a final presentation on citizen engagement and leadership, the 20/20 Implementation Committee, which has analyzed a number of elements of Bethlehem town government, wrapped up its work.

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Long-time BC music teacher passes

The Bethlehem Central School District community is mourning the loss of Mary Jane Hughes, who passed away Thursday, Dec. 29 after a battle with brain cancer.

Thursday, December 29

Weapons used in fight at Crossgates

Two men have been charged after a fight broke out at Crossgates Mall, with the victims sustaining minor injuries.

Looking back, ahead, in Glenville

Town supervisor talks accomplishments, works in progress

Glenville officials met some key economic development goals in 2011, but efforts to increase shared services and possible consolidations are taking longer to ferment.

Police: Man inhumanely kept dogs in storage unit

A homeless man was arrested after the Schenectady County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals discovered four pitbulls, with one dog bleeding “profusely,” without food or water in an unheated and non-insulated storage room.

S-G BOE appoints interim middle school principal

A former Schenectady schools administrator will be filling in as the Scotia-Glenville Middle School principal until a permanent replacement is found.

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Top stories of 2011, January to June

The Spotlight's year in review higlights the top stories of the year in all our coverage areas.

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A tasty draw for the off season

New event hopes to draw beer lovers to Spa City in the winter

Visitors to and residents of Saratoga Springs will have a new reason to visit the city’s many bars and taverns come February. The Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the organizers of Saratoga Festivals will be sponsoring the first annual Saratoga Beer Week, although it will actually last just three days from Feb. 22 to 25. In time, organizers say the event will grow to a full week as the event gains more recognition.

Grant will help mark 'Sword Surrender Site'

Plans moving along to modernize Saratoga's Revolutionary War history

A $38,000 grant was awarded to The Friends of Saratoga Battlefield in December to pay for the construction of a new plaque to mark the “Sword Surrender Site” south of Schuylerville. The grant was awarded by the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust and will be used to commission a bronze or brass relief sculpture that replicates the “Surrender of General Burgoyne” by John Trumbull, a well-known painting that hangs in the Capitol’s rotunda in Washington, D.C. The plaque will be installed at the historic 19-acre site where British General John Burgoyne surrendered his sword to American General Horatio Gates in 1777.

Bedbugs still an issue for apartment complex

Housing Authority says problem being dealt with, council urges speedy resolution

The director of the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority has hired an insect specialist to help construct a long-term plan to handle the ongoing bedbug infestation at Stonequist Apartments. Ed Spychalski told the City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 20, that an entomologist has been hired to train Stonequist employees on how to treat the 176-unit apartment complex for bedbugs, explaining “there’s a difference between an exterminator who takes a three-week course” and a person who studies the bugs professionally.

Wednesday, December 28

Hockey: BH/BS beats G/M for N/S Tournament title

Clark's 30 saves leads Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa

Goaltender Austin Clark's 30 saves helped the Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa hockey team defeat Guilderland/Mohonasen 4-2 in Wednesday's championship game of the Niskayuna/Schenectady Tournament at the Schenectady County Recreation Facility in Glenville.

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Cooking up green chemistry

DEC selects Schalmont High School as test site for initiative

Science teachers at Schalmont High School are taking a new approach to chemistry after being selected by the state to bring green practices into the classroom.

Tuesday, December 27

Best local sports story of 2011 (poll)

OK, sports fans. Here is your chance to weigh in on the top sports stories of 2011.

Letter: Public should be involved in selection process

This letter appeared in the Dec, 28, 2011 edition of The Spotlight.

Letter: Fire station vote not true referendum

This letter appeared in the Dec. 28, 2011 edition of The Spotlight.

Letter: Appointment should have new approach

This letter appeared in the Dec. 28, 2011 edition of The Spotlight.

Editorial: A remarkable year comes to an end

This editorial appeared in the Dec. 28 and 29, 2011 editions of The Spotlight.

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A car for Christmas

When Otto Cadillac asked the community to help find a Colonie family that deserved to win a car, Mike Keane knew exactly who to nominate.

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The nursing home 'Santa'

Maria Oeffler is a bargain hunter, and for the past five years she’s put those skills to good use — and for a good cause — during the holiday season.

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Playing for food

Piano students raise thousands with their talents

At the end of October, 100 piano students raised more than $6,500 for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and on Wednesday, Dec. 14, teachers from the New York State Music Teachers Association presented a check to food bank reps.

Monday, December 26

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Messina looks back on term

After one term highlighted by clashes with the Town Board, a lively debate over a golf course and progress on the town’s largest economic development project in years, Bethlehem Supervisor Sam Messina can still remember the reasons why he ran for the town’s top spot in the first place.

Saturday, December 24

Farley ends his County Legislature tenure

Economic development a key focus of lawmaker’s legacy

Spirited debates between Republican Legislator Robert Farley and sitting Democrats have come to an end.

Friday, December 23

SCCC prez isn’t leaving

College officials happy to keep Bullock, who withdraws from job hunt

Schenectady County Community College doesn’t need to begin the hunt for a new president, for now.

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Study: Learning gap exists at Nisky schools

Closure of one middle school recommended for efficiencies, cost savings

There is a bevy of recommendations for Niskayuna Central School District officials to contemplate with the release of a yearlong independent study on its two middle schools that found achievement gaps among student groups and suggested closing one of the schools to save money.

New year, new fees

Niskayuna outlines lawn debris fees, alarm systems fees approved

Questions in the Town of Niskayuna about proposed fee increases and the implementation of new fees are now answered, and a public hearing has been set on the new lawn debris fee.

Police: Woman stole from Booster Club

A Clifton Park woman was arrested for allegedly stealing from a Booster Club on Friday, Dec. 23, according to State Police reports.

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Police: Man assumes dead brother’s identity, charged with drug possession

The Albany County Sheriff’s Office reported the arrest of a man they say gave authorities his dead brother’s name when stopped Dec. 22 in New Scotland.

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Tebbano set to retire to Florida

Michael Tebbano came from Voorheesville in 1997 to work in the music department at Bethlehem High School. Nearly 15 years later, Tebbano is leaving his position atop the district as he prepares to move to Florida with his wife.

Child thrown from car in Thruway rollover crash

State Police said a seven-year-old boy was ejected from an SUV during a rollover crash on the Thruway in the Town of Bethlehem.

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'The voice' of North Colonie

When Sally Newton graduated Shaker High School in 1967, she had no way of knowing she’d spend nearly 40 years working for the school district she grew up in.

Thursday, December 22

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Vet memorial funds questioned

Incoming administration to call for audit of Rotterdam’s finances

Supervisor Frank Del Gallo’s tenure on the Rotterdam Town Board was filled with heated debates, and what could be his final meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14, proved to be no different.

State: No debt, no IDA

Rotterdam agency could be dissolved, chairman blasts determination

The New York State Authorities Budget Office is seeking to terminate the Rotterdam IDA because it fails to comply with a provision of the General Municipal Law requiring any IDA to hold outstanding bonds or notes.

Letter: Appointment should be temporary

This letter appeared in the Dec. 21, 2011 edition of The Spotlight.

Letter: Let the voters decide in November

This letter appeared in the Dec. 21, 2011 edition of The Spotlight.

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'Spirit' set free

More than two months after suffering severe injuries, a bald eagle named Spirit has been released from The Animal Hospital in Slingerlands.

Editorial: SEQR first, then weigh the facts

This editorial appeared in the Dec. 22, 2011 edition of the Saratoga County Spotlight.

Editorial: Misplaced good intentions

This editorial appeared in the Dec. 22, 2011 edition of the Schenectady County Spotlight.

Girls cross country: Smith makes first team on state all-star list

Five Saratoga, two Shen runners earn all-state honors

Saratoga Springs' Estela Smith leads the list of Section II girls cross country runners honored with all-state selections by the New York State Sportswriters Association.

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Terms of Clarksville proposal unveiled

Bethlehem Central School District officials are moving forward with a proposed agreement to lease the shuttered Clarksville Elementary School to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, but an agreement has yet to be adopted by Board of Education members.

Man pleads guilty in connection with counterfeit credit card ring

Patrick Ward, 22, of Freeport pleaded guilty to once count of criminal possession of forgery devices and one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, both felonies, in Albany County Court on Wednesday, Dec. 21, according to Albany District Attorney David Soares' office.

Wednesday, December 21

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Crews battle Selkirk fire

Fire crews spent a portion of Wednesday afternoon battling a fire in Selkirk.

Hockey: Bethlehem, Guilderland/Mohonasen post 1-goal wins

Verstandig's goal lifts Eagles past LaSalle

The Bethlehem hockey team needed a late goal by Joey Verstandig to edge LaSalle 4-3 in Tuesday's Capital District High School Hockey League game at the Bethlehem Area YMCA.

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A transition in government

Over the course of the past month, Bethlehem Town Hall has been relatively busy early in the morning.

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Sharing the joy

Sheriff’s Department provides presents to families in need

Employees of the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office unload presents on Tuesday, Dec. 13, before surprising children at the Rotterdam Boys & Girls Club with the gifts.

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Police: Teacher bites student

A teacher and soccer coach in the Voorheesville Central School District has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly biting a student during a class.

POV: Cambodian life complex, fascinating

This point of view column appeared in the Dec. 21 and 22, 2011, editions of The Spotlight.

Editorial: Less bang for your buck

This editorial appeared in the Dec. 21, 2011 editions of the Colonie and Loudonville Spotlights.

Editorial: Everywhere a sign

This editorial appeared in the Dec. 21, 2011 edition of the Bethlehem/Guilderland Spotlight.

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Skidmore students and faculty give back

Items and monetary donations collected for local programs in need

A campus-wide initiative by Skidmore College has collected thousands of dollars in donated items and money to be given to local assistance programs in need this holiday season. Thousands of food items, school supplies, toiletries and monetary donations were collected by Skidmore Cares, a program began by Skidmore President Philip Glotzbach and his wife Marie in 2006.

9/11 sculpture has a home

Monument to be placed in High Rock Park, after months of debate

The 9/11 memorial sculpture created by local artists John Van Alstine and Noah Savet has finally been given a home. The Saratoga Springs City Council voted unanimously to give the endorsement of the High Rock Park location for “Tempered by Memory. The spot was recommended after the city created a committee to determine the appropriate location. High Rock Park was suggested as the best place in early December after the committee held public hearings and visited several sites themselves.

2012 county budget passes with modifications

Majority of supervisors call county course unsustainable for 2013

Despite objection from residents, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt a $308.3 million spending plan for next year that includes a 3.5 percent property tax increase. It is the first increase in nearly a decade. On Wednesday, Dec. 14, Supervisors Joanne Yepsen, D-Saratoga Springs, and Phil Barrett, R-Clifton Park, voted against the plan because of the tax hike, while all other members voted in favor.

Concerns abound over asphalt plant

Ballston planners may require additional environmental review

Residents continue to be wary of a plan to build a new asphalt plant at the Curtis Industrial Park in the Town of Ballston. Nearly 100 residents attended a Planning Board meeting on Wednesday, Dec 14, where experts and officials from Callanan Industries Inc., a sister company of Dolomite Products Co., presented their plans for a third time. At the meeting, experts hired by the company addressed potential environmental and traffic impacts, health risks, safety issues and noise concerns.

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Justice: Best served too cold

Mock trial helps students learn the intricacies of the judicial system

Goldilocks: Hardened criminal or innocent little girl who accidentally walked into the wrong home? That’s the question parents had to decide at two mock trials held by fourth- and fifth-grade students who participate in Ballston Spa Central School District’s Ballston Scholars program.

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Start of Hanukkah celebrated in Delmar

To celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, a menorah lighting ceremony was held Dec. 20 at the Four Corners in Delmar.

Police: Woman had 35 pounds of pot

A traffic stop ended with an Albany woman being hit with drug charges on Sunday, Dec. 18, according to State Police reports.

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Girls basketball: Shen wins thriller against Colonie

Lewis' late layup leads Plainswomen to victory

The Shenendehowa girls basketball team passed its first test of the season against a team that had been tested repeatedly.

Tuesday, December 20

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Museum closing for second January

Additional funding cuts lead to decision

For the second year in a row, Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa will close for the month of January due to financial issues. Brookside’s Board of Directors decided to close the museum again after it learned funding from both Saratoga County and the New York State Council of the Arts would be partially cut.

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Mahan reflects on 2011

If she had just one word to describe the Town of Colonie’s 2011, Supervisor Paula Mahan knows exactly what it would be.

Police: Man exposed himself at airport

A man from Florida was arrested at Albany International Airport on Monday, Dec. 19, for allegedly exposing himself in an airport bathroom, according to information from the Albany County Sheriff's Office.

17 arrested in DWI sweep

A DWI enforcement effort held over a three-day period in Albany County resulted in 17 arrests of drivers who were allegedly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Monday, December 19

Airport unveils $45.6M budget

Officials 'optimistic' about coming year

Doug Meyers is “cautiously optimistic” that Albany International Airport’s 2012 will be better than its 2011, and the Albany County Airport Authority felt similarly when it approved a $45.6 million 2012 budget on Friday, Dec. 16. The budget is a 1.6 percent increase over the 2011 adopted budget.

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Alplaus fights to keep its identity, again

Post office struggled to remain open throughout history

Fighting for the Alplaus Post Office to remain open is not a new battle for the hamlet’s residents.

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Icing on the cake

National Guardsmen sworn in on Guard's 375th birthday

“I … do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of New York against all enemies …”

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Hockey: CBA gets past Guilderland/Mohonasen on pro ice

VanEpps' second goal lifts Brothers to CDHSHL victory

Less than four hours prior to Saturday's Albany Devils home game, the Times Union Center opened its doors to a pair of Capital District High School Hockey League teams.

Sunday, December 18

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Sign debate delays vote on zoning changes

Proposed changes to Bethlehem’s Zoning Law and Subdivision Regulations were tabled at the Town Board’s Dec. 14 meeting after a lengthy discussion of an issue that wasn’t addressed in the changes.

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Girls basketball: Shaker hangs on to beat Averill Park

Blue Bison withstand late rally to win key game

Last year's Section II Class A and AA champions met Friday night in Latham in an early-season Suburban Council girls basketball battle. When the dust settled, defending Class AA champion Shaker had a 52-46 victory over two-time Class A champ Averill Park.

Saturday, December 17

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Police: Man made threats with gun, knife

Bethlehem police say a man armed with a knife and a gun was apprehended yesterday in a church after fleeing a Selkirk home.

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Irene's tab calculated

It’s a number that will raise a lot of eyebrows. $4.3 million.

Friday, December 16

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Cunningham to seek Town Board seat; Clarkson against interim bid

Bethlehem’s past supervisor wants to be a part of town government again, but the future supervisor isn’t in favor of the idea.

Traffic stop leads to felony drug arrest

A traffic stop in Menands led to a felony drug arrest on Thursday, Dec. 15, according to State Police reports.

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Guilderland man charged with assault

Guilderland police have charged a man with assault following a domestic dispute.

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Scenic icons in peril

Local artist’s series on historical barns is meant to raise awareness of their destruction

Carole Warburton's latest exhibit at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center focuses on antiqued and vintage barns and their beauty.

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So. Bethlehem man arrested for DWI outside Judicial Center

The Albany County Sheriff’s Office reports that a South Bethlehem man was arrested outside the Albany County Judicial Center and charged with DWI.

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Horses have feelings too

Local thoroughbred writer hopes to help children with new series

Marion Altieri's first children’s book, titled “Claude, the Clumsy Clydesdale,” shows she has finally embraced the characteristics that make her unique. She hopes the lovable horse and his pals will help children feel the same.

Twelve arrested on drug charges in Saratoga

Five-month investigation leads to arrests

Twelve people, including a Milton Town official, were arrested on drug related charges on Thursday, Dec. 15, after a five-month investigation by the Saratoga Springs Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force in Albany. According to police, street level investigations began in August of 2011 by the department. Soon after, the DEA was asked for assistance in a larger investigation, which included the county district attorney.

Nisky apartment plan spurs rezone plea

Residents express concerns over proposed land development

For almost 30 years, more than 30 acres have remained undeveloped despite the landowner’s wishes, but a possible rezoning would end the impasse.

Flood victims offered tax relief

Governments, school districts can reassess devastated properties

Flood victims could have their tax bills more accurately reflect their damaged properties following relief measures approved by the State Legislature.

Thursday, December 15

UPDATE: Motorist in deadly crash was also BH-BL bus driver

A Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake bus driver was killed today while behind the wheel of his personal vehicle when his SUV collided with a district bus.

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Breaking ground at Vista

After year of negotiations, ideas, proposals and debates, development at the Vista Technology Campus off Route 85 in Slingerlands is officially underway.

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Upscale living coming to downtown

Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority announced on Tuesday, Dec. 13, construction work is starting this month on a new $3.1 million residential development in downtown Schenectady.

From the classroom to the bank

Credit union hopes to teach financially responsibility with in-school branch

A new program at the Ballston Spa Middle School is working to instill financial responsibility at an earlier age. Through the guidance of employees at TCT Federal Credit Union, students will work to open a branch of the credit union inside the school. Students will run the branch during lunches each week, while their peers will be able to open an account to make real deposits and withdrawals of their money.

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Program gives soldiers a break

Chamber's rrespite program gives National Guard members vacations

A new community respite program for the state’s National Guard members will be hosted by the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce beginning in February. Modeled after a similar chamber program held in 2002 for first responders of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, this year’s program will allow National Guard service members to visit Saratoga for a weekend getaway with their families. All participating service members were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan sometime within the last 10 years and many were severely wounded.

Sacks sets off firestorm

Ballston bookkeeperfired by supervisor, position defunded by board

The Ballston Town Board voted to abolish the position of town bookkeeper following the decision of Supervisor Patti Southworth in November to fire the woman who previously held the position for more than a decade.

Thruway stop leads to discovery of cocaine

A stop on the New York State Thruway for a traffic violation led to drug charges for a downstate man.

Police: Man raped friend

The Albany County Sheriff's Office arrested a Rensselaer man for allegedly raping a 19-year-old woman in a parking area at Albany International Airport, according to information from the sheriff's department.

Wednesday, December 14

Legislature overrides Breslin's veto

On Monday, Dec. 5, the Albany County Legislature adopted a $598 million budget with an 8 percent tax hike. Exactly one week later on Monday, Dec. 12, County Executive Michael Breslin exercised his veto power. And on Wednesday, Dec. 14, the 2012 Albany County budget showdown came to a close when the legislature voted 27-7 to override Breslin’s veto, keeping the 2012 legislative budget intact.

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State council awards county more than $940K

County Airport and ALCO Trail projects to receive funding

Schenectady County is set to receive nearly $945,000 to spur development from the $785 million awarded through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

Mohon unveils ‘grim’ forecast

Tax cap limits spending, school aid decreases as costs increase

Mohonasen Central School District’s budget forecast for next school year doesn’t appear to provide any relief from continuing staffing cuts.

Northeastern Nitro holds final tryout

Women's professional football team seeks players for inaugural season

The Northeastern Nitro women’s professional football team is holding its final official tryout Saturday form 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the team’s indoor training facility at 17 Mohawk Avenue in Schenectady.

Boys swimming: Shen, Mohonasen/Schalmont post victories

Six Plainsmen win individual events against Ballston Spa

The Shenendehowa boys swim team improved its duel meet record to 3-0 with Tuesday’s 95-86 victory at Ballston Spa.

College update: Olsen among Saint Michael's leaders

Bethlehem grad scores 20+ points in two games

Bethlehem Central High School graduate Megan Olsen is having a strong junior season on the Saint Michael's College women's basketball team.

Editorial: More than just where you get your news

This editorial appeared in the Dec. 14 and 15, 2011, editions of The Spotlight.

Girls basketball: Burnt Hills wins defensive battle

Gestwick earns first varsity coaching victory

It wasn't pretty, but Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake coach Sue Gestwick won't complain about winning her first career varsity game.

Tuesday, December 13

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Residents support Slingerlands Fire expansion

By an overwhelming vote of 105 to 32, voters in the Slingerlands Fire District approved the borrowing of up to $1.8 million for expansion of the department’s headquarters.

USPS delays post office closures

Thousands of post offices and mail processing facilities across the country will remain open until at least May 15, 2012, according to the United States Postal Service.

Elderly woman dies in Altamont fire

Preliminary findings indicate that a fire at a home in Altamont, which claimed the life of an elderly woman, was accidental.

Nursing home debate to carry into 2012

The future of the Albany County Nursing Home remains unclear as questions continue to be posed about the need for county-run facilities in tough times.

Weighing in on tax reform

“The economy has taken another turn for the worse,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a video address on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Monday, December 12

Quick arrest following morning robbery

A Schenectady man was arrested after robbing a woman in the parking lot of Northway Mall at 1440 Central Ave. on Monday, Dec. 12, according to the Colonie Police Department.

Breslin vetoes Albany County budget

Albany County Executive Michael Breslin has vetoed the $598 million dollar budget approved by lawmakers for 2012.

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Wedding education with education

Economy takes toll on alternative preschool programming

Children at Gateway Montessori Preschool choose what they learn, prepare their own snacks and decide when its time for a break, but chaos doesn’t ensue.

Town seeks path for students

Resident concerns spark walkway plan along industrial park

Seeing Scotia-Glenville students walking down a street in the neighboring industrial park could be history if a town plan to provide a safe walkway takes off.

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Public welcome for Vista groundbreaking

A formal groundbreaking ceremony has been scheduled for Dec. 15 at the Vista Technology Park off Route 85 in Slingerlands.

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Elementary toy sale benefits Schoharie Co. school

By selling slightly used toys within their school, a group of second graders at Westmere Elementary School in Guilderland have raised money for those deeply impacted by Tropical Storm Irene.

Sunday, December 11

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Town reviewing soaring costs for ambulance services

The Town of Bethlehem could achieve substantial savings through a reworking of contracts with providers of emergency medical services.

Saturday, December 10

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Soccerplex plans scaled back

For years, the Bethlehem Soccer Club has prepared to build an indoor soccer facility at its complex on Wemple Road.

Friday hockey: Shaker/Colonie takes off against LaSalle

Leach's hat trick helps Jets in league game

LaSalle scored the first goal, but Shaker/Colonie scored the next nine on its way to a 9-2 Capital District High School Hockey league victory Friday at the Albany County Hockey Facility in Colonie.

Boys swimming: Shen handles Saratoga

Gordon, Conley lead Plainsmen to second win

The Shenendehowa boys swim team won for the second time in three days when it defeated Saratoga Springs 98-74 in Thursday's duel meet in Clifton Park.

Friday, December 9

B-Spa teacher faces child porn charges

An elementary school teacher in the Ballston Spa Central School District has been arrested on child pornography charges.

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Young debaters take on Internet dilemmas

Craig Elementary students participate in parent-run club

Kids may sometimes say the darndest things, but they also can provide an interesting perspective to modern-day problems and struggles.

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Progress made at prominent intersection

Construction work at one of the busiest intersections in Delmar is moving at a rapid pace, and two projects are set to wrap up in the new year.

District weighs merged classes

Nisky’s first budget forum focuses on class size, multi-grade courses

Combing different grades into one classroom isn’t a new approach to achieving savings, but some parents and community members aren’t welcoming it.

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Police arrest two after finding 89 pot plants

Two people were arrested after Albany County Sheriff's investigators found 89 marijuana plants growing inside an East Berne residence, according to information from the sheriff's office.

Letter: Town planning falls behind on Chipotle

This letter appeared in the Dec. 8, 2011, edition of The Schenectady County Spotlight.

Army Reserve center step closer

Senate approves $20M for ‘state-of-the-art’ counter-terror training grounds in Niskayuna

Federal funding for a new $20 million Army Reserve center in Schenectady County recently took the next step toward becoming a reality.

Thursday, December 8

Fluman joins Scotia board

Gatta resigns Village Trustee seat after successful county bid

A man who failed to win a seat on the Scotia Board of Trustees in November will join the board after all.

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Warm hands are happy hands

For the tenth year, the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center will be sponsoring its annual “Happy Hands Mitten Tree” program to benefit those in need this winter. Through Saturday, Dec. 31, donations of winter gear can be placed on the tree located inside the Visitor Center on Broadway. The items can be purchased or handmade, but must be new. Last year, more than 200 items were donated. The Visitor Center hopes to set a new record for this year.

SPAC turns to cyberspace, passes 2012 budget

Venure aims to keep patrons engaged in the off season

In an effort to keep its patrons engaged throughout the year, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center will now release new information about the coming season each week on its website. The new initiative, called “The Building of a Season,” is meant to give event-goers a look behind the scenes and provide a “seamless transition” into the off season.

Proposed cuts upset residents

Nearly 100 turn out to decry cost-savong measures

On Thursday, Dec. 1, nearly one hundred people attended the meeting to condemn the cuts. It was the only planned public forum held by the county and some residents were forced to spend the three-hour meeting in the hall because of the lack of space.

First Night needs funding

Money for fireworks cut from county budget

Organizers of Saratoga’s First Night celebration held each year on New Year’s Eve may now need to find funding for its biggest attraction, the annual fireworks display. As in years past, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors had originally set aside the funds for the display that locally rings in the New Year. But at a County workshop in November it was proposed all of the fireworks money be cut from the budget as a cost saving measure.

Searching for families in need

Businessman seeks to donate $5,000

Kris Roglieri, president and founder of Prime Commercial Lending in Albany, has been feeling pretty lucky these days and he wants five needy families to feel just as fortunate this holiday season.

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Local veteran remembered

Picnic pavilion at VFW Post named for local WWII hero

A local Ballston Spa resident and longtime member of VFW Post 358 was honored posthumously on Wednesday, Dec. 7 for his work with the veteran’s organization and the community. The late Maurice “Christopher” Morley was honored with a dedication ceremony at the VFW Post on North East Street in Ballston Spa, with the new picnic pavilion behind the building was named in his memory. Morley had the distinction of being the oldest, active member of the post.

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How do you say 'delicious' in French?

Path to language is through the stomach for this class

Bon Appétit! A handful of students at Maple Avenue Middle School in Saratoga Springs were given their first taste of French cuisine during Samantha Decker’s foreign language classes on Monday, Dec. 5.

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Getting Christmas on Track

Local man's display has brought joy to young and old for generations

For the past 55 years, Don Erlenbush has been a model circus and train builder. Since 2005, he has brought his display to the Saratoga County Fair, often allowing children to have a turn operating his tiny trains. This year he is one of the main attractions at the Saratoga Festival of Trees

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School board hears updates on BCHS, Clarksville

Bethlehem Central School District Superintendent Michael Tebbano provided the Board of Education with an update regarding recent drug incidents at the high school during a Dec. 7 meeting.

Police bust four for drugs in Cohoes

Four people were arrested on drug charges in the City of Cohoes on Thursday, Dec. 8, according to the Albany County Sheriff's office.

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Hockey: CBA makes the most of its short bench

Brothers give Saratoga a battle before losing late

Through the first two weeks of the hockey season, Christian Brothers Academy has been building a reputation as a scrappy team that will give any team a challenge.

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System solves donating dilemma

‘Giving Map’ organizes Capital District drop-off spots

Have you ever wanted to donate something but didn’t know where to go?

Wednesday, December 7

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Remembering Pearl Harbor

Seventy years ago, Dec. 7 was a Sunday that dawned sunny and calm in Hawaii. Joe Ryan, then 24, had just finished breakfast and was standing by the rail of the USS Argonne, gazing across Pearl Harbor to Battleship Row.

Letter: Fair Trade market a success

To everyone who supported the Black Friday/Saturday Fair Trade Market at Delmar Reformed Church - THANK YOU!

POV: The Pleasures of Indoor Gardening

This Point of View column appeared in the Dec. 7 and 8 editions of The Spotlight.

Editorial: Time out on blame game

The eidotiral appeared in the Dec. 7 and 8, 2011, editions of The Spotlight.

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Ballston Lake man charged with attempted sex crime with teen

A Ballston Lake man was arrested and charged with attempted dissemination of indecent material to minor after an investigation by State Police.

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75 years of animal care

Animal Hospital celebrates milestone anniversary

Not too many veterinarian hospitals can say they’ve served man’s best friend for 75 years and counting.

Tuesday roundup: Defending champion Shaker wins big in opener

Woods paces Bison against Ballston Spa

The Shaker girls basketball team began its season Tuesday by beating Ballston Spa 57-20 in a Suburban Council North Division game in Latham.

Tuesday, December 6

Girls soccer: Schalmont duo earns top state honors

Florio shares Player of Year award; Caschera earns coaching accolade

Schalmont defender Taylor Florio and head coach Angelo Caschera received the state's highest honors by the New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports.

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Bethlehem police charge man with sex crimes

Bethlehem police on Monday, Dec. 5, arrested a man they say grabbed the buttocks of one woman and masturbated in front of another.

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Bethlehem's fair financial footing

In a year when municipalities have struggled to stay within the parameters of a 2 percent property tax cap, the Town of Bethlehem fared relatively well. Moving forward, however, the task may not be as easy.

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Keeping the mind fresh

Man remembers action-packed life

In 1985, Tom Norton tried his hardest to get on a space shuttle in hopes of playing his violin in space.

A slice of the South

Pine Bush neighborhood remembers its roots

Rapp Road in Albany’s Pine Bush once had more in common with the Big Muddy than the Big Apple.

Legislature adopts budget

Tax cap struck down, tax hike at 8 percent

The Albany County Legislature voted to override Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2 percent tax cap and adopted a 2012 budget, both by votes of 29-10, at the Monday, Dec. 5, meeting.

Monday, December 5

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The gift of family

County’s tree lighting ceremony shines light on adoption

Thanksgiving meals and Black Friday had come and gone, but a lifelong bond between several children and their adoptive parents was just beginning.

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Locally owned stores stock a different kind of toy

Old-fashioned items popular at independent shops

What’s moving off the shelves of locally owned specialty toy stores probably didn’t appear in any Black Friday ads.

Arrest made in connection with Guilderland burglaries

Guilderland police have arrested a man they say entered several unlocked cars, garages and homes in the Westmere area of the town.

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Shopping safely this holiday season

Shoppers at Colonie Center on Wednesday, Nov. 30, got a crash course on safe and smart holiday shopping from Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales and Executive Vice President of the Retail Council of New York Ted Potrikus.

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Bringing warmth one stitch at a time

Piles of quilts are stacked up on a table in a room of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, where a dedicated group is working to keep people warm this winter.

Hockey: Saratoga edges CBA on the road

Naples' late goal gives Streaks league win

Tom Naples' goal with 3:35 left in the third period helped the Saratoga hockey team post a 3-2 Capital District High School Hockey League victory over Christian Brothers Academy Saturday at the Albany County Hockey Facility.

Hockey: Bethlehem wins Potsdam Tournament

Sanchez makes 20 saves to clinch title

The Bethlehem hockey team continued its early season run by winning last weekend's Potsdam Tournament.

Sunday, December 4

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Preventing a repeat of Irene

Houses were destroyed, roads were washed out and lives were lost when Tropical Storm Irene barreled through upstate New York.

Friday, December 2

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Bethlehem parade ushers in holiday season

Fire trucks, children’s football teams and the big guy himself were just some of the highlights of the Fifth Annual Bethlehem Holiday Parade.

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Trees ring in the season

Festival of Trees viewing extended, 50 firs on display

The annual Festival of Trees has spread festive cheer for nearly a week, but unlike previous shows, you haven’t missed out just yet.

Recycling a vacant space

Glenville redemption center planned at former auto shop

Developers hope another vacant building will be bustling once again along Route 50 in Glenville.

Deal on table for Clarksville

The Bethlehem Central School District’s Board of Education will be considering a proposal to use Clarksville Elementary as a substation for the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.

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Help get these firefighters off the roof

Firefighters from Midway Station 1 at 1956 Central Ave. in Colonie climbed to the firehouse roof around noon on Friday, Dec. 2, and will stay there until $5,000 is raised or 8 a.m. Saturday morning.

Car wreck claims nursing director’s life

A longtime Albany Medical Center employee died in a three-car crash on a highway in Duanesburg on the morning of Thursday, Dec. 1.

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Update: Three to surrender in connection with marijuana bust

Three men wanted in connection with a large-scale marijuana growing operation discovered in New Scotland are set to turn themselves in, according to authorities.

Sheriff: Five banned for drinking at DWI panel

Five people were kept from attending a STOP-DWI Victim’s Impact Panel at Guilderland Town Hall after allegedly arriving at the panel with alcohol in their system.

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Public weighs in on hamlet plans

Residents of New Scotland are again weighing in on development issues as a renewed effort gets underway to shape the town’s future.

Nisky’ schools to host budget forums

District eyes outsourcing operations as a money saver

There is a series of community forums planned leading up to the formation of the Niskayuna Central School District’s 2012-13 budget.

Police: Man sold heroin

A Colonie man was arrested on Thursday, Dec. 1, for allegedly selling heroin, according to police reports.

Thursday, December 1

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Schalmont given energy savings award

One school district proved focusing on energy efficiency can result in significant savings.

Glenville traffic stop yields heroin arrest

Police arrested a man on heroin possession charges following a traffic stop on Route 5 in Glenville.

Over 800 cited for texting while driving

State Police issued 816 tickets for texting-while-driving during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Even angels need a hand this year

Dozens of children still await holiday sponsors

For more than 20 years, children throughout Saratoga County have had a happier holiday through the volunteer work of local business leaders, but this year some may go without. With the deadline for sponsorships fast approaching, nearly 50 children whose names were submitted for the Southern Saratoga County Chamber Angels program still need someone to make their wishes come true.

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Meals on Wheels scores new wheels

Someone stole a Meals on Wheels delivery van just before Thanksgiving on Monday, Nov. 21, delivering a shocking blow to the already stretched program.

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Local students give the gift of reading

Program will help to donate books to Schoharie schools

Through the power of reading, some local students are choosing to help their peers after Tropical Storm Irene caused many to lose all that’s familiar to them. This year, the Saratoga Independent School is partnering with the Schoharie County School District to provide books to students through the Independent School’s local Reach Out and Read program. Each year, the money raised through the program is donated to a local cause to purchase additional books for children in need.

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A tradition reborn

Schuylerville celebreate the season the way the Dutch do

Today, the beginning of the holiday season is marked by the arrival of Sinterklaas parading through town and is broadcast on national television. His helpers, called Pieten, pass out candy and small toys to children in the crowd, while stockings and shoes are still left out on Dec. 5 in order to receive gifts. The residents of Schuylerville follow the traditions closely as possible.

Cloudy water possible in Bethlehem

The Town of Bethlehem’s Department of Public Works is carrying out repairs and installing new valves this week.

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Town band to welcome the holidays

Dave Knorr isn’t one of the founding members of the Memorial Concert Band of Colonie, but he’s certainly devoted to its success.

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Concerned parents hear of new drug trends

Due to recent concerns about drug possession and use within Bethlehem High School, Phil Mullett’s recent presentation on teen substance abuse to the community may have taken on extra significance.