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John Purcell

Stories by John

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Guilderland school board sets aside study scenarios

District looks at fresh start to discussions about unused space within its schools

Guilderland Board of Education members unexpectedly voted 7-2 at the Tuesday, Aug. 19, meeting to set aside scenarios presented in the building capacity study in favor of community members and the board developing their own options.

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Tech Valley High makes a move

Regional program prepares for first year at CNSE’s Albany campus

The phones were still off the hook, but Tech Valley High School Principal Dan Liebert could already hear educational opportunities calling area students.

Albany County set to limit tobacco sales

Legislature passes ban on sales at pharmacies; McCoy to hold public hearing

Refilling your prescription medication and stocking up on cigarettes could require two separate stops a year from now.

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Nanotech interns tackle tough questions

CSNE summer program allows students to get hands-on research experience

Nearly 60 students worked one-on-one with SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering professors over the past 10 weeks to gain hands-on experience.

Do online report cards make the grade?

More Capital District schools are moving to digital reports to allow parents an easy way to monitor a child’s progress

This story appears in Spotlight Newspapers' Back To School supplement, which came out Aug. 13.

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Nearly two dozen homes eyed in New Scotland

Planning Board hears residential proposal for 62-acre sub-division

Developers are looking to create a 22-lot residential subdivision on a 62-acre parcel off Route 85.

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Habitat benefit puts tents in Tawasentha Park

Event allows participants to show solidarity with those who don’t have a roof over their head

Around two dozen people will take an extended stay at Tawasentha Park this weekend as they raise money to help provide a roof over another person’s head.

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Helping out, one muffin at a time

‘Muffin Man’ expands fundraising efforts to breakfast in bed service

A basket of muffins might not change the world, but one man is proving it’s a good place to start.

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Altamont Fair a summer tradition

Old favorites and new attractions showcased at weeklong event

Alongside fair food favorites, the Altamont Fair is offering up something new to taste with some local flavor.

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Altamont gets its own history book

Keith Lee releases book that includes more than 200 historic photographs

At least one image will come to mind for most area residents when thinking about the Village of Altamont — its annual fair. A new book aims to highlight a few more historic images, too.

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New 214-acre preserve formed along Bozenkill

Dr. Becker’s wish granted after his death

Dr. Milford Becker spent the last years of his life trying to preserve some of the land he owned, but he did not see his vision realized. Almost seven years after passing away, his wish is coming true.

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General killed in Afghanistan is Guilderland native

U.S. officials blame insider attack for shooting; Albany County flags lowered for weeks

Maj. Gen. Harold Greene was killed when an apparent Afghan security force member opened fire on a group of coalition troops during a routine visit at a military academy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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Greulich’s Market abruptly closes

Family-owned business in Guilderland shuts its doors after nearly 65 years; owes $15k in property taxes

An iconic neighborhood market abruptly closed its doors in Guilderland more than a week ago, with more than $15,000 of outstanding taxes on the property.

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Two decades of neighbors caring for one another

Community Caregivers raffles custom pendant, to hold appreciation reception

Community Caregivers is celebrating its 20th anniversary by holding a raffle for a one-of-a-kind gold pendant featuring the nonprofit’s logo of clasped hands forming a heart.

Can a law mend fences?

Neighbor complaints lead Voorheesville to draft changes to front-yard regulations

Voorheesville officials said several complaints about one home’s front yard fence spurred a local law to tackle the problem.

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Invasive trees being removed in Pine Bush

Commission set to clear 47 acres of black locust trees, reclaim landscape

Hundreds of invasive trees will be removed from the Pine Bush Preserve before next year, which will dramatically shift the landscape in preparation for a native habitat.

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The buzz at Farnsworth Middle School garden [video]

Local beekeepers looking to spur interest in honey hobby, offer guidance

Jennifer Ford and Keith Freeman conducted their first beehive inspection Friday morning, July 18, at Farnsworth Middle School’s Organic Garden. The couple has kept beehives at their home since 2008 and started maintaining one at the garden this summer.

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Veterans push Albany County legislators on housing plan

Democrats draft last-minute amendment to clear step for Solider On project

Dozens of veterans spoke out against Democratic legislators proposing to stall Solider On’s housing project, which spurred a last-minute amendment to clear a procedural step.

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Taking a bite into fighting crime

Albany County Sheriff’s Office initiatives presented to Capital Region Rotary Club

Rotarians got an up-close look into aspects of the Albany County Sheriff’s Department, from a mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle to a transmitter that helps find those who wander.

UPDATED: Voorheesville set to harness solar power

Village signs contract with Monolith Solar for panels at two sites

Voorheesville is the latest municipality to enter a Power Purchase Agreement to reap guaranteed solar power savings as rebates making such proposals more appealing are dwindling.

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Drama outside theater walls

Eighth annual Helderberg Theater Festival features twist on classic, youth directors

The Classic Theater Guild Inc. and Indian Ladder Farms are teaming up again for The 2014 Helderberg Theater Festival, which will be held outdoors at the farm from July 17 to 27.

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Guilderland school district drops construction manager

Turner Construction Company to oversee $17M improvements project

Guilderland Central School District ended its contract with a familiar company from overseeing construction of an improvements project after expectations were reportedly not met.

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Fowl are fair game in Guilderland

Zoning board precedent allows pet chickens, Town Board to weigh zoning revisions

Seeking to keep chickens on residential property in Guilderland will typically be much less of a public appeal — at least until any changes are made to the town code.

Guilderland keeps reduced sub rate at schools

Administrators urge pay restoration after trouble attracting substitute teachers

Guilderland Board of Education members Tuesday, July 1, voted 5-4 to maintain daily rates for substitute teachers during the 2014-15 school year. District administrators recommended restoring the daily pay rates after difficulties getting substitutes.

Court strikes down Albany County's cyberbullying law

State’s highest court rules statute unconstitutional, McCoy seeking new bill

The state Court of Appeals struck down the county’s cyberbullying law in a 5-2 decision Monday, July 1, with the majority ruling the statute as written was too broad and violated the First Amendment. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy vowed to work with legislators to draft a new law.

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Third time’s a charm for Jerry’s law

State legislature passes bill spurred by Voorheesville teen’s suicide

Three years after Jerry Clark’s grandmother began lobbying lawmakers to protect other families from the tragedy her family faced, state legislators approved a revised version of her bill.

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Altamont’s farmer [photo gallery]

Everett Rau discusses early days of farm life, agricultural passion

Altamont Archives and Museum volunteer Laura Shore interviewed Everett Rau about his life in agriculture Monday, June 23, in the community room at Village Hall.

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DOT cautious of Cumberland Farms plan

Guilderland Planning Board recommendation looms; site plan revised

Guilderland planners’ concerns over traffic impacts of a proposed Cumberland Farms at a busy intersection were not relieved after hearing a state official’s comments.

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Stable hands

Albany Therapeutic Riding Center seeking volunteers

Finding a sense of peace within the quiet, rural landscape below the Helderberg Escarpment likely is not difficult for most people. For more than 30 years, a local nonprofit has tapped into it to provide therapy for mentally and physically disabled individuals.

Altamont Elementary School awarded $75k grant

State designation spurs funding for professional development

Altamont Elementary School’s designation as a Reward School has led to the district receiving $75,000 to enhance professional development.

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Nugget of hope for chicken enthusiasts

Guilderland ZBA’s prior rulings could create pathway for fowl pets

Chickens could become a less public proposal in Guilderland if zoning board members determine past rulings set a precedent, despite prior claims against such ever being set.

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Study: Guilderland schools have too much unused space

District, board members mum on scenarios; school closure advised

Guilderland Central School District held a community meeting Monday, June 16, for consultant Paul Seversky to discuss findings from his building capacity study, along with some scenarios the district could pursue to reduce expenses.

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Growing a better future

Leadership Tech Valley project expands Patroon Land Farm’s growing capacity

The Leadership Tech Valley Class of 2014 formally unveiled its project Thursday, June 12, which included installing a high tunnel greenhouse and modern drip irrigation system at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York’s Patroon Land Farm

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Cumberland Farms seeks rezone in Guilderland

Gas station targeted for vacant land at intersection of routes 20 and 146

Stewart’s could soon have a competitor at the busy intersection of Western Avenue and Route 146 if Tri-Way Services convinces Guilderland officials to rezone the property.

Albany County neuters unscrupulous pet dealers

Legislature adopts law strengthening state regulations, seller voices concern

Fido would likely be wagging his tail if he knew stricter laws were recently adopted to protect his four-legged brethren in Albany County.

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A fair history will be displayed in Altamont

Village featuring photography exhibit to feature roots of Altamont Fair

Festivities at the Altamont Fair were far different 121 years ago when the inaugural event kicked off after a year of planning and preparations.

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Hands-on helpers

Kids at Voorheesville daycare are the youngest rail trail ambassadors

Some little kids have stepped up to take on a big role along a recently opened portion of the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail.

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A mess for success

Guilderland to hold fourth annual Mud Mania at Tawasentha Park

Three years after the Town of Guilderland held its inaugural Tawasentha Mud Mania race through a muddy obstacle course as a fundraiser for park improvements, it had made enough money to pay for shiny new playground equipment. This year, the race is continuing due to its popularity.

Albany County cyberbullying law has its day in court

NYCLU challenges statute’s constitutionality; county attorney argues for revision

Albany County legislators may be forced to draft a new cyberbullying law if the state’s top court rules in favor of advocates arguing it violates the First Amendment.

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Royal times ahead

Capital District gets its own Renaissance Festival promising merriment for all

The NY Capital District Renaissance Festival will be held on Saturday, June 14, and Sunday, June 15, at Indian Ladder Farms in New Scotland, adding a brand-new attraction to the region.

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Voorheesville eyes $1.3M grant for rail trail project

Village officials finalize plan, target state funds for enhancing trail’s end

Voorheesville Board of Trustees on Tuesday, May 27, approved submitting an application requesting $1.3 million of federal Transportation Alternatives Program funding for its rail trail project.

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A chair to remember

Chair of Honor installed at Times Union Center, reminder of missing soldiers

A Rolling Thunder POW/MIA Chair of Honor on Wednesday, May 28, was formally installed at the Albany entertainment venue. It serves as a permanent memorial to missing military members.

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Albany County legislator proposes term limits

Loudonville lawmaker lobbies for limits to be included in charter revisions

Albany County legislator Peter Crouse, R-Loudonville, on Thursday, May 29, announced he had submitted a proposal to the county Charter Review Committee requesting term limits be included in the revised charter presented to voters.

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Living history, one last time

Guilderland students hold 11th annual Living Museum; program to be cut next year

The likes of Thomas Edison, Davy Crockett and Helen Keller will probably not be seen again in Guilderland High School.

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On the lawn of history

Schoolcraft House Lawn Fest offers look into town’s past, fun activities

About 170 years ago John Schoolcraft built his grandiose home in what was known at the time as the hamlet of Guilderland. After suffering years of degradation, a local group is returning the home to its original grandeur.

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Guilderland denies chicken request

Town Board could still revise code to allow backyard coops

Neighbors won the battle in one man’s request to keep chickens, but the war of backyard pet politics is not yet over in the Town of Guilderland.

New Scotland hears second solar proposal

Company touts larger estimated savings of $370k over 20 years

Competition is brewing for New Scotland’s bid into solar energy, with a second company claiming it could offer even more savings annually on electricity bills.

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Tempers flare over Guilderland apartment project

Neighbors complain that traffic study for Wolanin apartments not properly done

There was not much new information presented on Wolanin Companies proposed luxury apartment complex at a recent planning board meeting, but some neighbors opposed to the project said they felt their interests were being sidelined.

Albany County’s hotel occupancy tax distribution debated

Legislators propose shifting funds from convention center but fail to gain support

Some county legislators do not believe funneling more than $7 million annually toward Albany’s convention center and civic center is the best use of its hotel occupancy tax revenue.

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UPDATE: Guilderland school district voters pass $92M budget

District’s vehicle purchase proposition approved; library budget passed

Guilderland Central School District voters on Tuesday, May 20, approved a $92.13 million 2014-15 budget, along with a nearly $1 million proposition to purchase seven buses and a maintenance truck.

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