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John Purcell

Stories by John

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Police: Berne teenager kills 5-year-old cousin, falsely reports abduction

A Berne teenager allegedly killed her 5-year-old cousin and disposed of his body, before falsely reporting the boy was forcefully abducted from her home, according to police.

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New Scotland parks study outlines $1.3M improvements

Town likely to tackle projects in phases; local little league hopes for home field

New Scotland Town Board members heard a presentation Wednesday, Dec. 10, from consultant Ted Kolankowski of Barton & Loguidice on potential renovations and enhancements to Stephen P. Wallace Swift Road Park and Feura Bush Park.

Albany County Legislature reduction advances

Public hearing to be held on contentious downsize, some question timing

The Albany County Legislature voted 22-14 in favor of holding a public hearing Monday, Dec. 29, at 7:15 p.m., on amending the county charter to reduce the amount of legislators from 39 to 29 members.

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McClaine resigns from GCSD teaching post

Guilderland teacher convicted of felony reaches agreement with school district

The Guilderland Board of Education unanimously approved McClaine’s resignation agreement during a special meeting on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 10. McClaine’s resignation was effective Nov. 21.

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Albany County Legislature OKs ‘Toxic-free Toys Act’

Lawmakers approve ban on children’s products with known carcinogens

The Albany County Legislature on Monday, Dec. 8, voted 34-4 to approve Local Law J, known as the Toxic-Free Toys Act. The new law would ban the sale of children’s products containing benzene, lead, mercury, antimony, arsenic, cadmium and cobalt within the county.

Villages to share building inspector

Altamont ends contract with Guilderland, turns to Voorheesville

The Altamont Village Board of Trustees on Tuesday, Dec. 2, approved a shared services agreement with the Village of Voorheesville for building administrator, code enforcement and fire prevention services.

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Jerry’s Law is on the books

V’ville teen suicide victim's family hopes legislation will spare others from tragedy

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed “Jerry’s Law” last month, which ended the three-year crusade of Mary Clark to get a state law passed to help other families avoid the same tragedy her family faced.

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Rezone likely to clear up Guilderland eyesore

Runion suggests blighted property repairs tied to Cumberland Farms approval

On Tuesday, Dec. 2, the Guilderland Town Board weighed Tri-Way Services, Inc.’s proposal to rezone the 1.35 acres parcel at 2444 Western Ave. from local business to general business. Tri-Way is seeking to build a Cumberland Farms gas station.

Albany County Legislature could be shrinking

Albany County Legislative Chairman Shawn Morse and Democratic Majority Leader Frank Commisso introduced a local law Thursday night, Dec. 4, during a Democratic caucus. The legislature will set the date for a public hearing on the proposal at its meeting Monday night.

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Indoor kart racing facility reopens under new company

K1 Speed takes over former Fastrax Raceway in Crossgates Commons

K1 Speed opened its doors Friday, Nov. 21, at Crossgates Commons and has since rebranded the inside of the indoor kart racing facility, with plans to make changes to the track.

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Advocates urge Albany County to pass ‘Toxic-Free Toys Act’

Report: A dozen toxic toys sold in county, call for local legislation

The Albany County Legislature held a public hearing Tuesday, Nov. 25, on its proposed Toxic-Free Toys Act, which would allow the county health commissioner to inspect merchandise sold in stores and issue fines for toys found to have dangerous levels of, or banned, chemicals.

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Holiday cheer in full bloom

Guilderland Garden Club to hold annual Greens Show at Mynderse-Fredrick House

The annual Open House and Greens Show at the historic Mynderse-Fredrick House, located at 451 Main St. in Guilderland Center, will kick off on Friday, Dec. 5, from 4 to 8 p.m. The show continues through the weekend and is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 6 and 7.

Survey highlights holiday spending habits

Siena Research Institute finds seasonal spending stable, gifts more practical

Siena Research Institute released its annual Statewide Poll of Holiday Spending on Monday, Nov. 24, which was conducted from Nov. 3 to 17. Approximately 59 percent of the shoppers surveyed are planning to spend about the same as last year.

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Voorheesville Elementary honored

School celebrates Blue Ribbon designation

There aren’t many times someone can say they’re having a blue day while sporting a big smile, but that’s exactly what Voorheesville Elementary School Principal Thomas Reardon recently did.

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Voorheesville fills school board vacancy

Board of Education appoints newcomer, who plans to run for full term

School board members appointed a local attorney to fill the vacancy created after a recent resignation, which comes as the board gears up to make some big decisions.

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Guilderland seeks solutions for schools

District projects $129k budget gap next year, while focusing on long-term vision

School district leaders again sought community input before budget deliberations begin, but this year, residents had new insight on the excess capacity of its buildings.

County nursing home set for nearly $2.5M in fixes

Several modernizations and improvements are scheduled for the Albany County Nursing Home, which will be bonded over the next two years for a total of $2.456 million.

New Scotland OKs $7.2M budget within tax cap

Spending plan holds 1.94 percent property levy tax increase

Town Board members adopted next year’s budget totaling almost $7.23 million, which stays within the tax cap while tapping about $70,000 less from fund balances.

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It’s a wonder

Voorheesville Middle School Drama Club to present a musical twist on a classic this weekend

Two years ago, Stefanie DeFronzo took a summer workshop at the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham and played the white queen in the musical “Wonderland.”

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The man behind the wimpy kid

Author of popular series talks to Guilderland students

Three years after trying to get syndicated and years after the first draft was sketched out, a wimpy kid finally got his time in the spotlight. That light is still shining, too.

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Cumberland Farms rezone gets the OK

Guilderland Town Board will vote on change for Route 20 property, tied to DOT follow up review

Town planners have clashed with developers of a proposed Cumberland Farms at a busy intersection, but a compromise was reached to allow for the rezone.

Guilderland Town Board OKs $33.3M budget

Adopted spending plan unchanged from preliminary, no public comments

Guilderland Town Board members on Thursday, Nov. 6, unanimously approved next year’s budget holding a property tax levy increase of 1.5 percent. The adopted 2015 spending plan totals $33.32 million.

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UPDATED: Guilderland teacher sentenced for stealing union funds

Former GTA treasurer receives jail time, felony probation

A Farnsworth Middle School teacher will be serving jail time for stealing more than $100,000 from the Guilderland Teacher’s Association during the 2012-13 school year.

Guilderland Central School District calls for bids on upgrades

Capital improvements proceed through fog of building study

Capital improvements totaling more than $17 million are proceeding as planned, despite uncertainty over whether Guilderland school district will continue using all its buildings.

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Hess wheels in its history [photo gallery]

Toy Truck Mobile Museum stops in Slingerlands, showcases its 50-year history

Fascination over Hess’ toy trucks seemed to hold an ageless appeal at a recent and rare showing of the entire collection.

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Amedore defeats Tkaczyk in rematch

GOP captures four of the 46th Senate District’s five counties

Amedore, R-Rotterdam, defeated incumbent Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, on Tuesday, Nov. 4, following a heated rematch for the Senate seat Tkaczyk had won two years ago by a little more than a dozen votes.

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Tonko topples Fischer for congressional seat

Democrat easily sweeps to his fourth two-year term

Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, was elected to his fourth two-year term after election results on Tuesday night, Nov. 4, grew to an insurmountable lead that Jim Fischer, R-Ballston Spa was unable to overcome.

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Kicking into high gear

Latham man expands Taekwondo lessons to a second Guilderland location

Joe Hasan started his martial arts training at 4 years old and went on to compete in national and international competitions. Now, he’s looking spur other 4-year-olds’ interest in taekwondo.

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Fastrax goes off track, closes doors

Indoor raceway abruptly closes at Crossgates Commons, deposits allegedly not refunded

The area’s only indoor go-kart racing facility abruptly shut its doors last month, and there has been little information revealed about the reason behind the closure.

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Resilience follows unthinkable tragedy

Guilderland Elementary School grieves over slain students, plans to memorialize boys

After the initial shock of hearing about the quadruple murder at a home on Western Avenue wore off, Guilderland school district officials were faced with tackling how to address the varying needs of grieving students and staff.

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Grant Hill Road bridge reopens

Replacement opens to traffic ahead of schedule following completion of $1.9 million reconstruction project

Detour signs for Grant Hill Road might have seemed permanent to some drivers after more than a year of bypassing the rural bridge, but the Normanskill Creek overpass has reopened.

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Guilderland Central School District plans ‘community summit’

Cross section of district sought to develop solutions for tackling financial woes

Guilderland school district leaders are looking to community members for solutions addressing excess capacity and waning resources after setting aside scenarios from a recent building capacity study.

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Paul Tonko, Jim Fischer see different paths

Candidates for 20th Congressional District meet at forum, lay out vision for country

Job creation and growing the economy are crucial issues for residents of the 20th Congressional District, according to both candidates. However, they share diverging opinions on how to achieve those goals.

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A race to the finish in the 46th

Rematch is once again a heated battle between Tkaczyk and Amedore

Any voter wondering if their vote really matters only needs to look at how close the 46th Senate District race was two years, with a little more than a dozen ballots deciding the race.

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New Voorheesville trustee sworn in

Board member resigns following move to Guilderland

A roughly decade-long draught without a woman serving on the Village Board of Trustees is ending following a board member resigning.

Guilderland proposes $33.3M budget within tax cap [UPDATED]

Preliminary budget increases spending 3.5 percent, taps more fund balance

Town officials kept next year’s proposed budget within its tax levy limit, but the spending plan holds a 35 percent increase in fund balance allocation.

Veto override fails to gain support

Only 15 legislators supported the move to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies, far under the supermajority need to pass

Tobacco can still be sold in local pharmacies after county legislators stood behind County Executive Dan McCoy’s decision to only ban the display of such products in those businesses.

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Battle for the 46th Senate District continues at debate

Tkaczyk, Amedore differences clear at League of Women Voters' candidates forum

Displeasing looks aplenty were cast between candidates during a recent debate for the hotly contested 46th Senate District, as each listened to the opponent’s answers.

Guilderland sewer bills see slight uptick

A typical single-family home in the Guilderland Sewer Improvement District will see their sewer bills increase $1.17 next year, which mostly covers increasing debt service costs.

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McCoy's proposed budget keeps county taxes flat

No property tax levy increase in $597M spending plan, 49 vacant positions cut

County Executive Dan McCoy is proposing to hold the line on property taxes next year and is projecting the county’s fund balance will close this year at its highest level in more than a decade.

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Hoffman's Playland move set

Huck Finn’s Warehouse and More receives $650k in grants to relocate beloved amusement park rides

The “more” in Huck Finn’s Warehouse and More has taken on a whole new meaning after plans were announced to move the rides from Hoffman’s Playland to the store in North Albany.

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A call for better youth drug abuse prevention

Regional coalition kicks off awareness month with stories of addiction

One 13-year-old girl started out drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, but in four years, she found herself addicted to prescription pills. More than a decade later, she’s hoping her message of recovery keeps someone from ever starting down that same path.

New Scotland budget within tax cap

Town Supervisor's proposal totals $7.2M, holds no staffing cuts

Town Supervisor Tom Dolin’s proposed budget holds a property tax levy just below New Scotland’s state imposed tax cap, while tapping less from its reserves.

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UPDATE: Police release names of Guilderland murder victims

Names of slain children not released, details on murders still sparse

Two Guilderland Elementary School children and two adults were found murdered in a Western Avenue home Wednesday, Oct. 8, and authorities have yet to name a suspect in the quadruple homicide.

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De-stressing

Comptroller’s report finds Albany County, Town of Colonie are in better fiscal health than in years past, but areas of concern remain

Local lawmakers are still feeling financial burdens of living within the tax cap while balancing budgets, but there are signs of improvement.

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Guilderland CSD restarts building capacity discussion

District leaders review study, look toward community driven solutions

Guilderland school district leaders held a community meeting Monday, Sept. 29, to discuss factors leading to the building capacity study and reviewing some of the data presented in it.

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Guilderland GOP elects new chair

Town Republican Committee gets reorganized, pledges grassroots effort

Doug Breakell is taking on leadership of the Guilderland Republican Committee, but his involvement behind the scenes started decades ago.

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Continuing to dance the night away

Old Songs announces third season of Community Dances with a sweet twist

Despite social media being omnipresent in many people’s daily lives, connecting a community can sometimes be difficult. A series of local events is hoping to change that by getting people on their feet and socializing in a more traditional way.

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Cecilia Tkaczyk, George Amedore ready for battle

Candidates for the 46th Senate District meet for first debate of the election season

One of the most contentious state senate races is on track to be a cutthroat contest featuring a rematch between two candidates looking for a knockout victory.

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Soup’s on in Guilderland

Annual event welcomes season with food, fun and fast cars

The leaves are starting to turn and the air is getting chillier so it can mean only one thing in Guilderland: It’s time to slurp some soup.

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