Stories for December 2013


Tuesday, December 31

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A second chance on the court

Shaker tennis standout teaches sport to at-risk youth

One high school tennis standout does more than just win on the court.

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Firehouse fitness

Shaker Road offers exercise classes for all ages, but without participation, the program could fold

Fitness classes at Shaker Road firehouse aim to involve everyone from children to seniors, but without more participation, their future is uncertain.

Signs to tell the story at Pruyn House

Written information and graphics will make site’s history more accessible

A new educational initiative at the Pruyn House aims to bring visitors back to the 19th century home and focus on what makes it such an important historic site.

EDITORIAL: The saga continues

This appears in the Jan. 1 edition of The Spotlight.

Colonie, a year in review: Part II

A snapshot of the second half of 2013 in Colonie and Loudonville

A snapshot of the second half of 2013 in Colonie and Loudonville

Sports poll: What was the top sports story of 2013 in Colonie?

This poll appears in the Jan. 1 edition of the Colonie Spotlight.

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2013 Year in Review: Battles won and lost

Football final between CBA and Shaker among second half highlights

This appears in the Jan. 1 edition of the Colonie Spotlight.

Sports poll: What was the top sports story of 2013 in Bethlehem and Guilderland?

This appears in the Jan. 1 edition of The Spotlight.

Colonie, a year in review: Part I

A snapshot of 2013 happenings in Colonie and Loudonville

A snapshot of 2013 happenings in Colonie and Loudonville

Monday, December 30

Albany County budget within tax cap

Legislators amend proposal to fund nursing home through 2014

Albany County lawmakers adopted its first budget within the state mandate tax cap amid an amended proposal to continue funding the county nursing home through next year.

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2013 in pictures — Bethlehem, Guilderland and New Scotland

A photo gallery of images from 2013

New bond rating will save town money

Colonie recently received a new bond rating that decreased the town’s interest rate, a development that is projected to save nearly $200,000 in interest over the next seven years.

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2013 Year in Review: Big wins and near misses

Dutchmen from Albany and Guilderland make noise in second half of year

This appears in the Jan. 1 edition of The Spotlight

Police: More than one pound of drugs seized in Bethlehem traffic stop

State police seized more than a pound of cocaine following a thruway traffic stop in the Town of Bethlehem.

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A year in review: Part 1

A snapshot of 2013 happenings in Bethlehem, New Scotland and Guilderland

A snapshot of 2013 happenings in Bethlehem, New Scotland and Guilderland

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Bethlehem OKs middle schooler’s fowl plan

Bethlehem Planning Board approves site plan allowing boy to raise pet chickens

A Delmar middle schooler will be able to raise chickens as pets after the Bethlehem Planning Board gave site plan approval for the project last week.

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Comings and goings in Colonie

In the last town board meeting of the year, Peter Berry promoted to EMS chief and Daniel Hornick ends his term

The end of year brought some changes in Colonie, with a new EMS chief being named and a board member stepping down after four years of service.

Town calls Skylane ‘disgusting’

Colonie attorney describes conditions he found during inspection of Central Ave. motel

Town officials argue that a Central Avenue motel is in such poor condition that they aim to shut it down.

Saturday, December 28

Guilderland music program receives accolades

High school selected as Grammy Signature Schools semi-finalist

Guilderland Central School District announced its high school was selected as a 2014 Grammy Signature Schools semi-finalist on Friday, Dec. 6. The Grammy Signature Schools program recognizes public high schools making an “outstanding commitment” to music education.

Friday, December 27

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Crossgates expansion clears another hurdle

Rendering unveiled alongside revised site plan; World of Beer coming to mall

Crossgates Mall developers heeded concerns of Guilderland Planning Board members and revised its site plan to more clearly show impacts of the proposed two-story addition, along with a more attractive exterior design.

Voorheesville voters approve $2.7M project

Severe snowstorm leads to sparse turnout at school’s polls

Fewer than 200 people cast a ballot Tuesday, Dec. 17, on Voorheesville’s proposed $2.7 million bond project, which passed with 131 votes in favor and 52 votes against.

Thursday, December 26

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Police rule out foul play in Glenmont death

Police are ruling out foul play in the death of a woman who was found earlier this morning at the Woodhill Apartment Complex in Glenmont by County Waste employees.

Wednesday, December 25

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Recipes ripe with tradition

In an effort to raise money for needed repairs and upgrades to St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church in Watervliet, the congregation’s women have compiled hundreds of family recipes into a new cookbook.

POV: Gas prices need to be lowered

This appears in the Dec. 25 editions of Spotlight Newsapers.

Tuesday, December 24

EDITORIAL: The year that was at Spotlight

This appears in the Dec. 25 editions of Spotlight Newspapers.

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2013 Year in Review: A tidalwave of titles

Guilderland leads the way with three championships in the spring

This appears in the Dec. 25 edition of The Spotlight.

LETTER: So little, Town of Bethlehem?

This letter appears in the Dec. 25 edition of The Spotlight.

Monday, December 23

LETTER: It was a pleasure to serve

This letter appears in the Dec. 25 edition of the Spotlight.

Savings unclear for Guilderland's reduced substitute rate

School board debates reduced pay-rate amid rising costs for long-term subs

Guilderland Superintendent of Schools Marie Wiles presented an update on substitute teaching expenses at the Board of Education’s meeting Tuesday, Dec. 10. Wiles stressed concrete conclusions could not yet be drawn on the affects of reducing the pay-rate.

Town details road project

The Town of Colonie recently held a meeting with residents to discuss the Sand Creek Road rehabilitation project, which is set to begin in the spring of 2014 and will be a complete overhaul of a portion of the road to deal with drainage issues.

Fliers: Keep the cell phone stowed

Survey at Albany airport shows most air travelers not in favor of in-flight calls

According to a recent survey conducted at the Albany International Airport, a majority of travelers overwhelmingly oppose the use of cell phones while in flight.

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2013 Year in Review: A new dynasty begins

Colonie bowlers win second state title in last three years

The following article appears in the Dec. 25 edition of the Colonie Spotlight.

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More fallout from ‘Guilderland sophomore rap’

Lawyer says cops overzealous in publicizing cyberbullying arrests

A lawyer for one of the four Guilderland teens charged under Albany County’s cyberbullying law said he is concerned with the way the Guilderland Police Department publicized the arrests, although police said the incident was handled the same as the department would any other case.

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Carman Road fire damages three businesses

A fire caused by a broken gas line at a Carman Road plaza damaged three businesses on Friday, Dec. 20.

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Colonie Police asking for help finding robbery suspect

The Colonie Police Department is asking the public for help with any information they have about an armed robbery at a Cumberland Farms.

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Help is at hand at BC High

With budget cuts looming and needed technical repairs increasing, Bethlehem High School’s Tech Services Department had an idea. Why not establish a student help desk similar to ones already in place a

Bethlehem Central High School is using interested students to man it's tech-based help desk.

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At home with reading

Habitat for Humanity, Book House team up for project

The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza is helping New Books for New Homes get books to children.

Friday, December 20

Pay bump for police supervisors, chief and deputies

The Colonie Police Supervisors Association agreed to a contract that would give them their first pay raise since 2011, and on Tuesday, Dec. 10, the Town Board voted unanimously in support of the contract.

Thursday, December 19

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Boys basketball: Guilderland rolls past Shaker

Four Dutchmen reach double figures in 17-point win

What was supposed to be a showdown of two Suburban Council powerhouses turned into a one-sided affair. Four Guilderland players reached double figures in a 67-50 boys basketball victory over Shaker Thursday in Latham.

Wednesday, December 18

LETTER: Watchdog needed

This letter appears in the Dec. 18 edition of The Spotlight.

EDITORIAL: A call for common sense

This editorial appears in the Dec. 18 edition of The Spotlight.

POV: Progress Club tackles many tasks

This point of view appears in the Dec. 18 edition of The Spotlight.

Sports poll: What hockey team has the best chance to beat Saratoga this season?

The second-to-last sports poll question of 2013 focuses on high school hockey, where early indications are that defending state champion Saratoga Springs is the local team to beat. We want to know which of these four candidates has the best chance to beat the Blue Streaks, in your opinion.

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Crossgates Mall ready to make room for more

Expansion would include space for two restaurants and two entertainment attractions

A small expansion at Crossgates Mall is planned to make way for two new restaurants and two entertainment attractions, but Guilderland planning board members were concerned about the lack of information provided at a recent meeting.

LETTER: Exciting times at Ravena plant

This letter appears in the Dec. 18 edition of The Spotlight.

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Bethlehem police owns its shooting range

Callanan Industries completes donation of its land off Old Quarry Road

For more than 30 years, the Bethlehem Police Department has been using land provided by Callanan Industries to train their officers in shooting their weapons.

LETTER: Treat Bethlehem’s paraprofessionals fairly

This letter appears in the Dec. 18 edition of The Spotlight.

Tuesday, December 17

Hatching plans

Bethlehem Scout wants to raise chickens as pets; needs site plan approval

Luke Manley, of 25 Parkwyn Drive, has asked the town’s Planning Board for site plan approval to raise chickens as pets.

Police: Altamont woman drove drunk with four kids

An Altamont woman involved in a three-car crash was arrested for driving with a BAC more than twice the legal limit, with four children passengers in her vehicle.

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Slingerlands teen keeps magic in Christmas

Girl runs toy drive for local kids in need

Lily Killar, 16, has operated her own holiday toy collection and distribution to Albany families since elementary school.

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Voorheesville voters to decide $2.7M project

District proposes reconstructing roof, upgrading technology for future demands

Voorheesville school officials are hoping a scaled-back capital project targeting what it has deemed to be essential improvements will be approved by voters.

Monday, December 16

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Bethlehem man hosts holiday party for veterans

Event is a way for former soldiers to reminisce and make new friends

For the past three years, Delmar resident Frank DeSorbo has organized a local recognition and remembrance ceremony for veterans of the European invasion known as D-Day. This year he is holding an additional holiday party.

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Wrestling: Golan Cohen, Austin Dicerbo lead Colonie at Stuart Memorial Duals

Snowstorm causes problems at annual tournamnt

Saturday night's snowstorm turned out to be a minor bump in the road at Colonie's annual Linda Stuart Memorial Duals Tournament.

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Wrestling: Justin Schipano gets his dream job

Ravena '03 graduate is new varsity coach

Life is good from Justin Schipano's point of view. The 2003 Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk High School graduate is now the varsity wrestling coach at his alma mater, and as such is taking control of one of the premier Colonial Council programs.

Saturday, December 14

Boys basketball: Guilderland fends off Albany Academy

Matt Cerutti leads Dutchmen to non-league win over defending Federation champs

The Guilderland boys basketball team passed a major test Saturday.

Boys basketball: Guilderland too much for Colonie to handle down low

Matt Cerutti, Marc DuMoulin dominate for the Dutchmen

Try as it might, Colonie had no answer for Guilderland's Matt Cerutti and Marc DuMoulin.

Friday, December 13

Boys basketball: Bethlehem fends off Averill Park's rally

Connor Morelli pours in 24 points for the Eagles

Connor Morelli's 24-point performance helped Bethlehem defeat Averill Park 66-61 in Friday's Suburban Council South Division boys basketball game.

Girls basketball: Shaker eases past Niskayuna

Sage VanAmerongen leads a balanced Bison attack

The Shaker girls basketball team used a balanced attack to defeat Niskayuna 63-26 in Friday's Suburban Council North Division game.

Hockey: Shaker/Colonie shuts out Clinton

Two third-period goals propel Jets to non-league win

The Shaker/Colonie hockey team scored twice in the third period to pull out a 2-0 non-league win over Clinton (Section III) in Friday's non-league game at the Albany County Hockey Facility.

Thursday, December 12

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Albany County Styrofoam ban becomes law

McCoy announces green initiatives alongside signing bill, looks to expand ban past chains

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy signed the Food Service Waste Reduction Act into law Thursday, Dec. 12, at Bethlehem Town Hall flanked by local officials. The law bans polystyrene foam food containers and requires such businesses using disposable food service ware to use a “suitable, alternative product” that is compostable or biodegradable.

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2013 Bethlehem Holiday Parade

A lively crowd braved a chilly Friday night to see the Bethlehem Holiday Parade on Friday, Dec. 6.

UPDATE: Minor crash delays Altamont school bus

Altamont Elementary School students on bus route 46 were involved in what district officials called a “minor accident” on their ride home, but there were no injuries reported.

Vista tech tenant still sought

IDA says Breonics at Vista an ‘unknown’

With Breonics opting to stay at Harriman Campus for the time being, Columbia Development is now stepping up efforts to attract a new tech business to Slingerland’s Vista Technology Campus.

LETTER: Horse is doing well

This letter appears in the Dec. 11 edition of The Spotlight.

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Safety program gets cars fitted for the road

CarFit helps older drivers stay safe behind the wheel

CarFit volunteers converged at Westmere Fire Department on Wednesday, Dec. 4, to make seniors aware about vehicle safety equipment and to fit cars to each individual. Information is given to enhance driver safety, too, along with recommending certain items that can be purchased to make driving safer.

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Colonie cops seek suspect in package theft

The Colonie Police Department has released photos of a suspect and vehicle wanted in connection with the theft of a package off the doorstep of a Boght Road residence.

Wednesday, December 11

LETTER: Sportsmart once again a success

This letter appears in the Dec. 11 edition of The Spotlight.

Making way for Western Avenue walkers

Business sign must move for Route 20 sidewalk, several acquisitions along roadway

Before pedestrians step foot on newly installed sidewalks along Western Avenue, several property acquisitions must be completed. For one building housing a few businesses, that means moving its sign and making up for lost parking spaces.

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Altamont a holiday hot spot

Community group to host annual Victorian celebration

The village will be transformed into a festive hot spot during Altamont Community Tradition’s 12th annual Victorian Holidays Celebration on Sunday, Dec. 15, from noon to 6 p.m.

Sports poll: What Suburban Council girls basketball team will have the best record in the league?

Now that the Suburban Council season is in full swing, we want to know which girls basketball team you believe will be the best overall in the league.

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Grocers raise concerns over Styrofoam ban

McCoy holds public hearing on proposed law, most residents urge approval

Leading supermarket chains voiced qualms over the Albany County Legislature’s recently adopted Food Service Waste Reduction Act, but not over the most contentious proposal banning Styrofoam containers.

Card skimmer sentenced

Heng Li, 27, of Brooklyn, was sentenced to 2-1/3 to 7 years in State Prison before Judge Stephen W. Herrick in Albany County Court Wednesday, Dec. 11.

John Halacy back in court

Colonie police arrested John W. Halacy, 24, of Rensselaer, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, in connection with a Thanksgiving Day burglary at a residence on Haswell Road.

EDITORIAL: A good idea that needs tweaking

This editorial appears in the Dec. 11 edition of Spotlight Newspapers.

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To preserve and protect: Understanding how long term care fits into your financial plan

Spotlight on Finance

Our financial well-being and long-term financial security has a direct relationship with the amount of risk we’re willing to assume and how we choose to transfer that risk. Long term care insurance is one way people mitigate risk later in life by providing the insured person with benefits when they can no longer perform a number of pre-defined “activities of daily living.”

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Ice dreams

Disney celebrates 100 years with skating extravaganza at Times Union Center

According to Walt Disney, anything is possible if you just believe, and that may not be far from the truth as one of the stars from Disney on Ice’s latest show to hit the Times Union Center explains.

Tuesday, December 10

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POV: One man’s unusual collection

This point of view appears in the Dec. 11 edition of Spotlight Newspapers.

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Lights to aid in emergencies

Donation allows Selkirk Fire Department to purchase portable generators

PSEG Power NY’s Bethlehem Energy Center donated the funds to the Selkirk Fire Department just before Thanksgiving for the purchase of three portable generators with lighting units.

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Voorheesville ambulance contract talks stabilize

Village and service company near agreement after sheriff intervenes

Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service members and village officials have locked horns for months over contract differences, but in recent talks, the atmosphere has become surprisingly civil as next year’s agreement deadline nears.

Monday, December 9

Perspective owners go for chains

Franchise trends see retirement funds tapped; semi-absent owners

More people are cashing in their retirement savings to open up a franchise business, according to consultant Frank Dunne, with more than half of clients he has placed this year tapping such funds.

Wrestling: Colonie, Shaker impress at first invitationals

Garnet Raiders win Ballston Spa Duals title; Shaker places third at Columbia Duals

The Colonie and Shaker wrestling teams made a good impression during the first invitational dual meets of the season Saturday.

Sunday, December 8

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Girls basketball: Bethlehem finds a way past Guilderland

Jenna Giacone's 16 points pace Lady Eagles in opener

A strong first quarter proved to be enough for the Bethlehem girls basketball team.

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One for the books

Colleagues praise retiring Voorheesville Library Youth Services director’s passion and creativity

Connecting with young readers of all ages is what attracted Joyce Laoisa to Voorheesville Public Library around 16 years ago. Although a library’s role has changed over time, her mission to inspire children remained steadfast.

Saturday, December 7

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Boys basketball: Shaker handles Burnt Hills in opener (with Photos)

Four Bison reach double figures

The Shaker boys basketball team started the 2013-14 season strongly with a 69-48 victory over Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in Friday's Suburban Council North Division game.

Hockey: Shaker/Colonie goes on the offensive

Malatesta and Egan tally twice to lead Jets past Monroe-Woodbury

Giovanni Malatesta and Kevin Egan each scored two goals to lift Shaker/Colonie past Monroe-Woodbury 7-3 in Saturday's non-league hockey game.

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Hockey: Bethlehem storms past CBA in league opener

Five-goal second period propels Eagles to first win

When Andrew Carroll scored 12 seconds into the second period, it was a sign of things to come for the Bethlehem hockey team.

Indoor track: Guilderland edges Niskayuna in first league meet

Dutchmen sweep top two places in two boys races

The Guilderland boys and girls indoor track teams earned victories in the first league meet of the season Saturday at Union College.

Friday, December 6

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On the right path

Party set to celebrate Rail Trail portion opening; further improvements eyed for bicyclists

Friends of the Rail Trail will celebrate the official opening of a new three-mile section running through New Scotland as efforts continue toward expanding the trail’s size and usage.

Boys swimming: Shaker picks up its second win of the season

Seven individuals win races for the Blue Bison against Albany Academy

The Shaker boys swim team improved its record to 2-0 with Friday's 111-73 dual meet victory over Albany Academy in Latham.

Boys swimming: Saratoga pulls away from Guilderville

Collison, Nhan earn individual wins for GV

Alex Danielson, Zach Zwijacz and Trey Wall each won a pair of events to lead Saratoga Springs past Guilderville 96-75 in Friday's boys swim meet in Saratoga.

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Girl Scouts make fabric flowers for seniors

Gathering one of the first to involve almost all Bethlehem troops

Delmar costume designer Amelia Dombrowski taught the girls how to make fabric flowers.

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Bethlehem students making connections

Ricky the Robot teaches Glenmont first graders about technology

The Glenmont Elementary School teacher Peter Rawitsch has been introducing robotic technology to first graders for more than 25 years.

‘Black Friday’ handicap parking sweep nets 48 tickets

Some shoppers seeking door-buster deals found themselves leaving with more than a bargain after parking their car in the wrong spot.

Thursday, December 5

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Bethlehem clarifies residency requirements

Town board also drops longevity payments for elected positions

The Bethlehem Town Board made changes to a local law that would establish residency requirements for certain town officials.

Wednesday, December 4

EDITORIAL: Let the children play

This editorial appears in the Dec. 4 edition of Spotlight Newspapers.

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Bugler answers the call

VanAmburgh among those picked to play at Kennedy memorial

The day President John F. Kennedy was buried, Sergeant Keith Clark — the Army bugler playing “Taps” — made a single mistake some refer to as the “broken note” that reflected the sad feelings of the whole country.

Sports poll: What Suburban Council boys basketball team will have the best record in the league?

With the Suburban Council season starting Friday, we want to know which boys basketball team you believe will be the best overall in the league.

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Not your average craft market

Made by Hand features select artists from the Northeast

Many people are familiar with craft fairs, but a local business is holding an invitation-only craft market to ensure the quality of the products for sale.

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Students help send medical supplies to needy

A charity organization with a new chapter started this summer by University at Albany students will be warehousing locally collected items in Bethlehem.

Court upholds Hughes' felony conviction

The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division unanimously upheld the 2012 conviction of Christopher Hughes on Nov. 27.

Tuesday, December 3

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Dance series aims to bring crowds to their feet

Old Songs hosts monthly gatherings featuring simple moves and a social element

Dancing isn’t everyone’s favorite activity, but one local man bets he can get even the most reluctant of dancers off the sideline and moving in no time.

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Home for the holidays

Holiday traditions may have been a little different in the late 1700s when the iconic Ten Broeck Mansion was built atop an Albany hill, but more than 200 years later, the historic home continues to welcome visitors for the holidays.

Monday, December 2

Boys basketball: Colonie varsity job too good for Jim Boland to pass up

After three decades as an assistant coach, Boland makes the jump

By Jim Boland's own admission, he could have taken a head coaching job at any time over the last couple of decades, but he held out. Not any more.

Boys basketball: Bethlehem tests itself before season begins

A.G. Irons puts veteran Eagles through their paces with tough scrimmages

A.G. Irons wasn't going to wait until the start of the Suburban Council season to test his Bethlehem boys basketball team.

Girls basketball: Shaker needs new players to step up in 2013-14

Lyric Artis, Jenny Barra among those being counted on for more offense

Madison Rowland is no longer around to lead the Shaker girls basketball team to victory, so other players must step up this season.

POV: How to give gifts from the heart

This article originally appeared in the November issue of Capital District Parent Pages.

Sunday, December 1

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Boys basketball: Guilderland bolstered by the return of Matt Cerutti

Senior forward's health issues are almost in the rear view mirror

The 2012-13 season was difficult for Matt Cerutti and the Guilderland boys basketball team.

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Hockey: Bethlehem's first-period blues cost the Eagles at opening tournament

Mamaroneck scores goals in bunches to beat Bethlehem

The season is two games old, and already Bethlehem hockey coach Andre Rodrigue is tired of seeing his team fall behind early.

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Hockey: "Moon Dog" leads Shaker/Colonie to first win over Mamaroneck

Zach Dignum stops 24 shots in shutout

Zach "Moon Dog" Dignum was the leader of the pack in Shaker/Colonie's first-ever win over Mamaroneck.

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National Grid braces for season’s storms

Company spending $3B to upgrade electric infrastructure

Tackling some of what the worst winter storms inflicts has National Grid “hot stick” workers preparing for the chilly reality of living in the Northeast.