Stories for November 2013


Friday, November 29

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Thacher Park enhancements plan finalized

Rock climbing, caving, mountain biking and more trails pitched for park

A series of improvements are being planned for John Boyd Thacher State Park and Thompson’s Lake Park. Capital improvements and operational enhancements will occur during the next 10 to 15 years.

Wednesday, November 27

College news: Ayer earns league honor

Delmar native Grace Ayer was named the Empire 8 Women's Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Week Monday evening.

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Bethlehem library project will keep old news fresh

Library to create digital database of historic Spotlight newspapers

A new project by the Bethlehem Public Library is looking to preserve a narrative of the town’s history.

New Scotland’s $7.16M budget within tax cap

Town Board adopts spending plan raising taxes 1.7 percent, reserves tapped for $334k

The New Scotland Town Board on Wednesday, Nov. 13, unanimously adopted next year’s budget totaling almost $7.16 million and holds an overall property tax levy increase of 1.7 percent.

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Holidays bring identity theft and counterfeit currency

DA's Office provides tips for consumers and retailers to combat crimes

Albany County District Attorney David Soares is warning people to be aware of the potential for identity theft and counterfeit currency as the holiday shopping season kicks off.

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Girls basketball: The next wave rolls in

A new group of players must help Colonie remain in the hunt

Colonie girls basketball coach Heather Fiore isn’t calling this a rebuilding season, but there are more questions than answers going into the season opener Dec. 6 home opener against Columbia.

LETTER: Let the dead rest in peace

This letter appears in the Nov. 27 edition of the Colonie Spotlight.

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EDITORIAL: Happy to lend a hand

This appears in the Nov. 27 edition of Spotlight Newspapers.

Tuesday, November 26

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Glenmont PTA's Project Playground receives grant from CSXT

Glenmont Elementary School PTA's Project Playground received a $10,000 grant from CSXT Corporation.

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Sports complex plan sparks debate

Zoning board hears public input, delays decision until January

After three hours of deliberation, the Colonie Zoning Board of Appeals opted to allow attorneys for Memory Gardens and Afrim’s Sports more time to submit documents pertaining to a proposed sports complex next to the cemetery before making a final decision.

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Burn off that bird

Local events let people run, walk or dance away those Thanksgiving calories

With Thanksgiving a few days away, some people are looking for ways to keep themselves off the couch and the calories at bay.

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Hockey: Experience is necessary

Caswell and Carroll return to lead Bethlehem’s top line into the 2013-14 season

Will this be the year the Bethlehem hockey team finally reaches the Section II Division I finals?

A model holiday

Train exhibit at miSci an intergenerational favorite

Trains and the holidays go together like peanut butter and jelly. There is just something about the sound of a train chugging around the base of an evergreen that brings people back to a simpler time.

Monday, November 25

Grants to grow on

S. Col wins federal funding for physical education programs

South Colonie Central School District was is one of 60 schools in the country to be awarded a federal grant for its physical education department.

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Siena is out of this world

College launches football-sized satellite to collect lightning data

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, Siena College sent a satellite that is not much bigger than a football into outer space.

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Shining example

Capital Holiday Lights celebrate 25 years of the Police Athletic League

When Capital Holiday Lights kicks off in Washington Park this year, it will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Albany Police Athletic League.

Boys basketball: Semifinal loss still haunts seniors

Shaker’s veteran trio sets their sights on reaching Sectional finals this season

Last year’s 52-36 loss to Troy in the Section II Class AA semifinals still haunts the returning seniors on this year’s Shaker boys basketball team.

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Hockey: Guild/Mohon adds Scotia to keep team going

One dozen players make up the Storm for 2013-14 season

Guilderland High School’s ability to field an ice hockey team has become so tenuous, it needs two schools to partner with it to have enough skaters to barely exceed the state minimum.

Flag law honors fallen Guilderland native solider

Flags lowered to half-staff at the State Capitol in honor of a fallen soldier will be given to loved ones at no cost through a new law named after a Guilderland native.

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Busy bodies

A new gym in Colonie aims to get kids active

Cold weather and early nightfall are not good enough excuses to keep children from participating in physical activities.

POV: So much to be grateful for

This appears in the Nov. 27 edition of Spotlight Newspapers.

Sunday, November 24

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Ten seniors sign on the dotted line

Four Shaker girls lacrosse players commit to NCAA Division I programs; Colonie’s Riddick goes east

Wednesday, Nov. 20 was a busy day for Town of Colonie high school senior athletes.

LETTER: Thank you for saving my life

This letter appears in the Nov. 27 edition of the Colonie Spotlight.

LETTER: Town needs more active participation

This letter appears in the Nov. 27 edition of The Spotlight.

Saturday, November 23

LETTER: Consider buying a family journal

This letter appears in the Nov. 27 edition of The Spotlight.

Friday, November 22

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Bethlehem Lions tree sale begins

Club members hope improved security will avoid a repeat of thefts

As they prepare to open their annual Christmas tree sale, the Bethlehem Lions Club will be beefing up security following last year’s theft of several dozen trees.

LETTER: We appreciate the generosity

This letter appears in the Nov. 27 edition of The Spotlight.

Thursday, November 21

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UPDATE: Guilderland students arrested for ‘vulgar’ YouTube rap

Police charge four teens under Albany County cyberbullying law

Four Guilderland students allegedly involved in the explicit rap song posted online, which detailed alleged sexual encounters of students, have turned themselves in on criminal charges.

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Styrofoam banned at chain food businesses

Albany County Legislature makes decision amidst community support, industry outcry

The Albany County Legislature on Tuesday, Nov. 12, approved the Food Service Waste Reduction Act by a vote of 24-12, which prohibits usage of polystyrene foam containers, commonly known as Styrofoam, at chain food service businesses. The ban will be effective in six months.

LETTER: Radon gas second leading lung cancer cause

This letter appears in the Nov. 27 edition of The Spotlight.

Wednesday, November 20

Lafarge modernization plan moves forward

Final approval granted for extension to build new kiln, strengthened pollution standards

Lafarge North America has received the final approval on an amended settlement granting additional time to construct a new kiln while further reducing pollution at its Ravena cement plant.

Revising residency laws for town employees

Bethlehem officials want to establish clarity

Bethlehem officials are looking to make changes to the law that establishes which employees of the town must also live within its borders.

Sports poll: What should be done to curtail the danger of concussions associated with youth football?

Recently, there has been a national discussion about the danger of youth football players (elementary school through middle school) sustaining concussions from playing the game. We want to know what you think can be done to curtail the potential for head injuries in the sport.

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Thanks comes naturally

Thacher Nature Center holds annual celebration connecting families to natural gifts

Fast approaching is the mad dash to retail stores for once-a-year deals on the hottest merchandise, but there’s one event coming up that allows people to slow down and connect with nature before the big feast that kicks off the holiday season.

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Ballroom dancing hits Slingerlands

Elementary kids get their kicks at after school program

Slingerlands Elementary students are now being given the opportunity to learn how to ballroom dance through a new program being offered after school called Dance Crazy Kids.

EDITORIAL: Patrolling beyond the halls

Guilderland High School demonstrated what a proactive approach to cyberbullying can do.

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Innovative banking products can help you control your holiday spending

Spotlight On Finance

In recent years, cutting-edge electronics have become an important part of the holiday spending spree. Whether it’s personalized music players, a tablet, the latest gaming system or the latest in high definition television, they are big ticket gifts that make a big impact. They are also big budget busters.

POV: Learning lessons on fire prevention

This point of view appears in the Nov. 20 edition of The Spotlight.

Tuesday, November 19

LETTER: Sports has no place next to cemetery

This letter appears in the Nov. 20 edition of the Colonie Spotlight.

Quinn returns to work at county

Former deputy exec now information officer; drug case still pending in court

Former Albany County Deputy Executive Christine Quinn returned to work with the county last week after taking a nearly two month leave of absence following her arrest on drug possession charges.

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All the trimmings close to home

Give thanks to area farmers, businesses by buying local ingredients

A bounty of area businesses and markets make shopping local for all the ingredients of a customary Thanksgiving dinner a relatively easy task.

LETTER: Fence needed for soccer park

This letter appears in the Nov. 20 edition of the Colonie Spotlight.

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It’s a small world

Nano Family Fun Day exposes young minds to tiny technology that has a big impact

Explaining the concept of nanotechnology can be a complex and potentially boring lesson for a group of elementary-aged kids.

LETTER: Burrows takes good care of the horses at her farm

This letter appears in the Nov. 20 edition of The Spotlight.

Monday, November 18

Boys volleyball: Bethlehem misses the state finals

Wood displeased with Fairport coach's decision in pool play

How much did one boys volleyball coach’s decision factor into Bethlehem’s failure to make the Division I finals at last Friday’s state tournament in Glens Falls?

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Guilderland Chamber names interim leader

Membership drop forecasted as business owners shift to state health insurance exchanges

The Guilderland Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday, Nov. 7, its membership and program manager, Erika Gauthier, was selected as interim president. Gauthier will lead the Chamber for approximately six months as its board of trustees searches for a new president and strategically plan the direction of the organization.

LETTER: Science weekend a success

This letter appears in the Nov. 20 edition of the Colonie Spotlight

LETTER: Cunningham thanks town voters

This letter appears in the Nov. 20 edition of The Spotlight.

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Hockey: Carhart takes challenges head on

Colonie junior plays for two hockey teams when she's not figure skating

Put a pair of skates on Mikayla Carhart, and she can do just about anything.

Hockey: Jets look for scorers

Shaker/Colonie hopes to challenge Saratoga and Shen again

Shaker/Colonie hockey coach Steve Hudak believes his Jets can be a factor in the Capital District High School Hockey League again this season.

LETTER: Monitor radon levels at home

This letter appears in the Nov. 20 edition of The Spotlight.

Sunday, November 17

Football: CBA run over by Carr in regionals

Monroe-Woodbury quarterback rushes for two touchdowns against Brothers

Quarterback Kevin Carr was a one-man wrecking crew for the Monroe-Woodbury football team.

Boys soccer: Guilderland falls short in state semifinals

Dutchmen hit crossbar twice in loss to Fairport

Guilderland wasn't ready for the speed of Matt Bischoff and the Fairport Red Raiders.

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Girls volleyball: Voorheesville struggles at state tournament

Blackbirds fail to get out of pool play as they say good-bye to senior class

The end of the road came a little too soon for the four seniors on Voorheesville's girls volleyball team.

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Six Guilderland girls sign on the dotted line

Five lacrosse players and a softball player declare their collegiate plans

Six Guilderland seniors signed their national letters of intent at an official ceremony Thursday at the high school.

Friday, November 15

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Guilderland school voters OK $17.3M proposal

Second referendum fails, sidelining football field light replacements and auditorium upgrades

Guilderland Central School District on Thursday, Nov. 14, presented residents with two building project propositions totaling $18.17 million. The first proposal totaling $17.32 million passed, but the second proposition, totaling around $845,000 failed by a narrow margin.

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Leashing in school safety

District plans to bring in K9 for locker searches; prior school shooting almost attempted

Guilderland school officials are implementing several measures to address safety issues, but the one attracting the most attention involves man’s best friend.

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Another bid for Bethlehem school building

Stram Center hopes to relocate to former BCSD administration site

Another local business is attempting to purchase the Bethlehem Central School District’s property at 90 Adams Place, and this potential tenant appears likely to meet the approval of neighborhood residents.

Thursday, November 14

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POV: A Civil War soldier’s story

This point of view column appeared in the Nov. 13, 2013, edition of The Spotlight.

Guilderland swiftly adopts $32M budget

Spending plan holds tax decrease, expenses and budgeted revenues increasing

The Guilderland Town Board held a public hearing on its proposed 2014 budget Thursday, Nov. 7, but no residents shared any remarks on the spending plan. Following the lackluster hearing, the board unanimously approved the budget.

Editorial: Don’t ignore the other side

This editorial appeared in the Nov. 13, 2013, edition of The Spotlight.

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Police: Man stole electronics from vending machine

Surveillance footage allegedly captured a Schenectady man stealing from a vending machine that held items much more valuable than snacks or refreshments.

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Operation Christmas Child equals happiness in a box

Bethlehem Church participates for 15th year

For the 15th year, Bethlehem Community Church will be collecting shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. The project provides gifts for children in need living throughout the world’s poorest nations.

Shedding light on lung cancer

Vigil aims to raise awareness of devastating disease

A local lung cancer survivor will be a speaker at one of the largest internationally coordinated events raising awareness about the disease.

Colonie budget passes

Small tax bump, but 2014 numbers stay within cap

At the Thursday, Nov. 7, meeting, the Colonie Town Board passed its $83.1 million budget for 2014.

Wednesday, November 13

Letter: Meredith thanks his supporters

This letter appeared in the Nov. 13 edition of The Spotlight.

Letter: Honored by the support at the polls

This letter appeared in the Nov. 13 edition of The Spotlight

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SNAP cuts will mean busier regional food pantries

Less support from government program creates higher need

Food banks throughout the country could be in need of additional donations this holiday season because of a recent decrease to all Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

Sports poll: Which team has the best chance to win a state title?

Four area teams are still alive for state titles as we hit the end of the fall sports season. Which one do you think has the best chance to bring a title home?

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UPDATE: Bethlehem Middle School girls not followed home

School districts reminds parents, students of safety tips

An investigation by Bethlehem police has found a man did not follow two middle school students as they walked home, and the reported incident was a misunderstanding.

Letter: Not a dignified solution

This letter appeared in the Nov. 13 edition of the Colonie Spotlight.

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A mermaid's tale

V’ville middle schoolers’ latest production is a team effort

Auditions for this year’s middle school production of “The Little Mermaid Jr.” began in early September when 60 students showed up to sing and read lines. By the end of the audition, 60 students remained.

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A place for peace or play?

Opponents of proposed sports complex say it would destroy serenity of the adjacent cemetery

A local developer is hoping to build a sports complex next to Memory Gardens, a memorial park on Watervliet-Shaker Road, but opponents say such a move would destroy the serenity of the place.

Letters: Other land should be explored

This letter appeared in the Nov. 13 edition of the Colonie Spotlight

Letters: Thank you, Bethlehem voters

This letter appeared in the Nov. 13 edition of The Spotlight.

Letters: Halloween event a spooky success

This letter appeared in the Nov. 13 edition of The Spotlight.

Tuesday, November 12

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UPDATE: Four Guilderland students suspended for ‘cyberbullying’ video

High school boys name students in explicit rap song, video removed from YouTube

Four Guilderland High School students have been suspended for posting a video to YouTube consisting of a rap song detailing alleged sexual encounters of students in the school.

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Veteran makes his mark

Postal Service issues stamp bearing the likeness of Selkirk war hero

This Veterans Day, a local Selkirk man will be one of a dozen men featured as part of the United States Postal Service’s commemorative Medal of Honor stamp.

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Making a plan to plant

Garden Club partners with town, DOT to improve median on Cherry Ave.

In its latest effort to improve the overall beauty of the town, the Bethlehem Garden Club is expanding its reach.

Life decisions

Transition fair helps students with disabilities plan for the future

Shaker High School has a program to help students with disabilities make plans for life after graduation.

Library’s homework program to continue

Free help for students struggling with homework

The William K. Sanford Town Library in Colonie is extending Homework Helpers, which initially began as a pilot program in October where honor students from local high schools tutored younger students and helped them with their homework.

Monday, November 11

Police: Two arrested in Bethlehem for animal abuse

Horses found allegedly mistreated and malnourished.

Bethlehem Police Department executed a search warrant at 80 Waldenmaier Road on Monday, Nov. 11 as a result of a multi-week investigation into complaints of animal cruelty and neglect of horses.

Sunday, November 10

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Boys soccer: O'Brien strikes again for Guilderland

Connelly scores overtime winner off O'Brien's free kick

It's reaching the point where opponents will have to avoid fouling Guilderland or allowing corner kicks because sooner or later, Connor O'Brien will find a way to make them pay.

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Boys volleyball: Bethlehem heads back to state tournament

Eagles take six out of seven sets to advance past Oswego and Suffern in regionals

The Bethlehem boys volleyball team is heading back to Glens Falls.

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Cross country: Injury hobbles Van Epps at state meet

CBA senior drops out of top 20 after being near the lead

Justin Van Epps' right hamstring gave way at the worst possible time. The Christian Brothers Academy senior was in contention for a state cross country title when he felt his hamstring give way at the 2-mile mark.

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Cross country: Stephen Booker gets top-five finish at state meet

Bethlehem senior out-leans Aidan Tooker at finish line

Stephen Booker got what he wanted. The Bethlehem senior nipped Saratoga Springs' Aidan Tooker at the finish line to place fifth in the boys Class A race at Saturday's New York State Public High School Athletic Association Cross Country Championships at Queensbury High School.

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Photo gallery: Section II Class AA Super Bowl

Christian Brothers Academy defeated Shaker 13-8 in Friday's Section II Class AA football championship game at the University at Albany's Bob Ford Field behind a stellar defensive effort in the second half.

Saturday, November 9

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Football: Defense comes up big for CBA in Class AA final

Last-second stand seals Brothers' win over Shaker

A combination of timely defense and critical penalties gave Christian Brothers Acadmey its first Section II Class AA football title in seven years.

Friday, November 8

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Festival for the minds

MiSci to hold Super Science Weekend, Dudley Observatory kicks off activities

Realizing the richness of the area’s science offerings will be a simple calculation at an upcoming inaugural science festival.

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Grounds for fun

Volunteers, donations help make Menands School playground a reality

A community came together to rebuild the playground at Menands School, adding a kickball field and replacing the former, bee-infested wooden play structure with new equipment.

Thursday, November 7

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Making the most of waste

Albany County unveils $8.6 million technology generating clean energy from sewage

Albany County Sewer District and state officials have done just that, unveiling Wednesday, Oct. 30, a new multi-stage combined heat and power system at the county’s North Plant.

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Healing through art and writing

BCHS class decorates journals for victims of domestic violence

For those who feel embarrassed sharing their troubles with another person, a journal or diary can be a cathartic lifeline, and a group of Bethlehem High School students are using that idea to help victims of domestic violence begin a new chapter of their lives.

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Albany SCCC satellite renovations on schedule

Classes expected to start in spring of 2014 at downtown campus

Renovations are coming along at Schenectady County Community College’s downtown Albany satellite campus, which is located in the Albany County offices on State Street as part of a partnership with the county.

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Guilderland Players to present ‘Night Watch’

Thriller is a change of pace for high school acting troupe

The fall production for Guilderland High School’s drama club diverges from its typically comedic selection and turns to “Night Watch,” written by Lucille Fletcher.

Wednesday, November 6

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Building improvements up to Guilderland voters

Majority of GCSD's $18M project tied to infrastructure renovations; low turnout at meeting

Guilderland Central School District residents will head to the polls again on Thursday, Nov. 14, just over a week after Election Day to decide two building project propositions totaling $18.17 million.

Spotlight names new managing, associate editors

Longtime employees take on new roles

Spotlight News recently named two longtime employees to top management positions in the newsroom. Design/niche editor Kristen Roberts will be stepping into the role of managing editor beginning this week. Sports editor Rob Jonas will take on additional duties as associate editor.

Sports poll: Who should be the Section II Class AA football player of the year?

With the Sectional portion of the 2013 football season concluding Friday, we want to know who is your choice for the Section II Class AA player of the year.

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UPDATED: Guilderland GOP bids fall short

Democrats sweep town races, Runion reelected to eighth term as supervisor

Guilderland Republicans presented a full slate of candidates for the first time in a decade, but failed to pick up any seats against Democrat incumbents and newcomers.

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Bethlehem Dems sweep election

Clarkson beats DiMaggio 5,684 to 4,064

With the Democrats sweeping Tuesday night’s general election, only one Republican continues to hold an elected office in the Town of Bethlehem.

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Mahan remains Town of Colonie Supervisor

“We ran a very professional, respectful campaign and the truth prevails. So that’s great for us and the Town of Colonie," said Paula Mahan, who was reelected as town supervisor.

Tuesday, November 5

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Election results in Bethlehem, Guilderland and Colonie

Check here for the latest result from the Albany County Board of Elections.

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Paint is dry at new artistic haven

Albany Art Room reopens at new location, owner committed to staying in city

Finding a permanent home for a local business catering to artists of all ages ended up taking much longer than watching paint dry.

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Guilderland sidewalk project on track

Residents near Western Ave. corridor want DOT to also target drainage

Residents and business owners were invited to share comments about proposed sidewalk improvements along Western Avenue in Guilderland, but most thoughts centered on drainage issues and fears that future repairs would require new sidewalks to be ripped out and repaved.

Boys soccer: Capollari leads Guilderland to Class AA title

Senior's three-point night lifts Dutchmen past Albany in final

Kledis Capollari was a young man of mixed emotions Monday night. On the one hand, he was happy to help Guilderland win its first Section II Class AA boys soccer title in five years. On the other hand, it came against an Albany team he had a close connection to.

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Make it quick

TSA ‘Pre-Check’ security program takes off at Albany Airport

Some passengers will be flying through the security checkpoint at Albany International Airport thanks to a recently implemented expedited screening program.

Monday, November 4

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Burnt Hills wins Section II title in Boys Volleyball over Mohonasen: Advances to regional play

Burnt Hills advanced to the next round of the playoffs in Boys Volleyball on Nov. 1 defeating Mohonasen in the Section II, Division 2 finals

Sunday, November 3

Girls tennis: Bethlehem doubles team wins consolation bracket at states

The Bethlehem doubles team of Elizabeth Buckley and Aria Shi won the consolation bracket at this weekend's New York State Public High School Athletic Association girls tennis tournament at Latham's Tri City Tennis Club.

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Send us your recipes and win!

Share your Thanksgiving traditions with The Spotlight

We are looking for reader-submitted recipes for our Nov. 13 Thanksgiving Lifestyle edition.

Saturday, November 2

Football: CBA shows Guilderland who's the boss again

Brothers come up big to advance to Class AA finals

Friday's Guilderland-Christian Brothers Academy football game wasn't a carbon copy of their regular season meeting three weeks ago, but the theme was similar.

Football: Shaker shuts down Saratoga

Blue Bison advance to Class AA finals for second straight year

The Shaker football team advanced to its second consecutive Section II Class AA final by shutting out Saratoga Springs 35-0 in Friday's semifinal game.

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Boys volleyball: Bethlehem rallies past Shen for title

Eagles need extra points to put Plainsmen away

The record books will show the Bethlehem boys volleyball team swept Shenendehowa in three games to win another Section II Division I title. But, it wasn't easy.

Cross country: Van Epps, Lansing win Sectional titles

Booker places second to Tooker in boys Class A race

Christian Brothers Academy's Justin Van Epps and Shaker's Maryanna Lansing won individual titles at Friday's Section II Cross Country Championships at Queensbury High School.

Friday, November 1

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Boys soccer: Corner kick sends Guilderland into finals

O'Brien and Czekay team up on winning goal for Dutchmen against Shaker

Connor O’Brien specializes in corner kicks, and Chris Czekay specializes in converting them into goals.

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Rail Trail expansion underway

Three-mile section in New Scotland to open this fall, Albany portion eyed for 2015

Enhancements to two bridges along the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail are progressing, and a three-mile section of the trail through New Scotland is expected to open next month.

Tensions are showing on Guilderland school board

Retreat to solve conflicts causes finger pointing before it even begins

Guilderland Board of Education members are scheduled to hold a retreat next month to work out their differences, but some internal tensions spilled out into public before they could get away.