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John Purcell

Stories by John

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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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UPDATED: Voorheesville voters pass $22.7M school budget

District’s vehicle purchase and capital improvement plans approved; library budget passed

Voorheesville Central School District’s proposed $22.7 million budget was comfortably approved by residents on Tuesday, May 20, along with both propositions before voters.

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Albany County comptroller urges new course battling poverty

Annual address provides overview of county expenditures, revenue from last year

Albany County Comptroller Michael Conners believes the county is headed in a good direction, but it can’t leave behind those most in need.

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Guilderland Public Library continues tackling tutoring

Board members walking “fine line,” tutors could be tapped for input

Discussions over private tutors using space at the Guilderland Public Library and what procedures or policies should be implemented continued at the library Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, May 8.

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Guilderland police first to receive state heroin antidote funds [video]

A.G. Schneiderman kicks off Community Overdose Prevention program awards

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman kicked off the first round of awards at Guilderland Town Hall on Tuesday, May 6. Guilderland police received $2,100 to fully reimburse equipping and training 35 officers to use naloxone kits.

Watchful eye over Feura Bush Park

Rash of damage spurs park surveillance system in New Scotland

Delinquents beware — more than the birds will soon be watching over Feura Bush Park.

Renaissance festival coming to New Scotland

Planning Board OKs special use permit, Indian Ladder Farms hosting event

The New Scotland Planning Board on Tuesday, May 6, unanimously approved NY Capital District Renaissance Festival LLC’s request for a special use permit to hold the two-day historical themed event on two parcels of land Peter Ten Eyck owns.

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Albany County legislators mull pet sellers regulations

Law would strengthen state rules, establish permitting and fines

Legislators Gary Domalewicz and Bryan Clehanan on Tuesday, May 6, unveiled their proposed local law requiring the permitting of cat and dog sellers, along with regulating breeders. The bill would establish standards and allow for regular enforcement.

Discontent brewing over Guilderland apartments

Developer’s study claims fiscal benefit greater with apartments over homes

There are still several hurdles before a 210-unit apartment complex off Western Avenue is approved, but a bevy of people have already expressed disapproval or support for the project.

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Guilderland music teachers denounce proposed cuts

Educators ask to restore 0.25 FTE, Wiles says need not yet demonstrated

Several Guilderland school district music teachers are petitioning proposed cuts to their department, which totals less than half of one full-time equivalent position next school year.

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A century of faith, friendships

St. Peter Women’s Guild to commemorate 100th anniversary with dinner

Many things were different 100 years ago, with modern technology seeming more like science fiction. At least one thing remains unchanged — the dedication of a faithful group of women.

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Clarkson University to honor Voorheesville educator

Former student nominated Selkirk man for inspirational educator award

Physics teacher Ted Simons left a lasting impression on at least one former student, but Simons said his dedication is no different than that of his colleagues at Voorheesville Central School District.

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Wildflower is no wallflower

Pine Bush Preserve to hold annual Lupine Fest, with recreation opportunities

There are 3,200 acres of gently rolling sand dunes in Albany County providing a thriving home for a globally rare ecosystem. The recreational opportunities are rather extensive, too.

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Voorheesville school board adopts budget

Property taxes would increase 2 percent; state aid boost restores cuts

The Voorheesville Board of Education on Monday, April 21, unanimously adopted a spending plan totaling $22.89 million, which remained essentially unchanged from its March 31 meeting.

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Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service contract signed

Town hands over reserve funds to VAAS, village holds onto reserves

This year’s Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service contract signing with the village didn’t go quite as smoothly as predicted months ago, but it’s still around two months earlier than last year.

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Thacher Park awarded $3.8M for visitor center

State and private funds tapped for key step in park’s master plan

John Boyd Thacher State Park nabbed $3.8 million in state funding to build a new visitor center, which was a main element in the park’s recently completed master plan.

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Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy receives $68.5K [video]

State unveils $1.4M in Conservation Partnership Program grants at local farm

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens on Thursday, April 24, announced the annual conservation grant awardees, which included 50 nonprofit land trusts statewide. The announcement was held at Indian Ladder Farms, with the property used as an example for conservation efforts statewide.

Voorheesville adopts budget exceeding tax cap

Village spending plan totals $2.047M; fund balance usage decreases

The Voorheesville Village Board of Trustees approved a 2014-15 village budget exceeding its state mandated property levy tax cap, which totals slightly more than $2.047 million. The property tax levy is increasing 4.5 percent.

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Fundraising for a friend helps the birds

Guilderland girl’s bluebird nesting houses supporting Tour de Cure team

Many have taken part in fundraisers before, but one local sixth-grade girl is going the extra mile and helping two causes with each birdhouse.

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Clucking continues over chicken proposal

Guilderland zoning board to rule on resident’s fowl request

Uncertainty still looms over a Guilderland man’s proposal to keep chickens behind his house, but it’s clear opinions on both sides haven’t swayed.

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Guilderland conditionally approves rezone for apartments

Town Board sends Wolanin project to Planning Board for site plan review

Several years after Wolanin Companies proposed rezoning property off Western Avenue for a luxury apartment complex, the request has been granted, conditionally. The contentious project still faces more hurdles before final approval.

Revisions eyed for Albany County Charter

Committee formed to tackle review commission recommendations

Albany County legislators have formed a committee to evaluate what recommendations from the Charter Review Commission’s report should be implemented.

Voorheesville plans to exceed tax cap

Village Board finalizes $2.05M budget, 4.5 percent tax levy hike

No residents on Monday, April 7, spoke during a low-key public hearing on Voorheesville proposed budget. Local officials, while not advertising the move, are looking to exceed the tax cap.

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Outdoor fire quelled near Farnsworth Middle School [photo gallery]

Cause of blaze remains under investigation, limited damage to area

More than two-dozen first responders were at the scene of a small fire near the edge of the Farnsworth Middle School’s baseball field. The fire started around 5 p.m. Monday, April 21, and was extinguished approximately a half-hour later.

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New Scotland reviewing solar panel options

Company estimates photovoltaic system would be $93.6K savings over 20 years

Sunny days could be ahead for New Scotland if energy savings from a photovoltaic system are as much as an area company forecasts. The system would also provide more reliable energy costs.

State Police to conduct speeding crackdown

Weeklong campaign will also focus on aggressive and distracted driving

State Police will hold a “Speed Week” campaign from Thursday, April 17, through the following Thursday, which focuses on increased enforcement of speeding and aggressive driving violations. The campaign seeks to reduce speed-related crashes and improve traffic safety.

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Guilderland school board OKs $92M budget

Spending plan within tax cap, largely unchanged from superintendent’s initial proposal

The Guilderland Board of Education on Tuesday, April 8, unanimously adopted a 2014-15 budget totaling slightly more than $92.13 million, which increases spending around $1.1 million, or 1.22 percent. The budget holds a property tax levy increase of 1.94 percent.

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Lafarge breaks ground on plant modernization

Ravena facility renovation will replace kilns and cut emissions, retain jobs

Federal, state, and local officials and business leaders gathered on Friday, April 11, for Lafarge North America’s groundbreaking ceremony at its Ravena plant. The project will replace the more than 50-year-old equipment with “state-of-the-art” technology.

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Altamont budget keeps property taxes flat

Village board adopts 2014-15 totaling $2.14M, taps reserves

The Altamont Board of Trustees adopted a $2.14 million 2014-15 budget at the beginning of the month, which increases spending almost 1.65 percent or around $34,650. More general fund reserves are tapped to help ease the tax burden.

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Voorheesville schools’ budget gap shrinks to $176k

Overall state aid increases to $5.15M for district, contested cuts restored

Voorheesville Central School District will see an additional $144,000 of state aid, which was included in the recently approved state budget. The additional funding decreases its budget gap to around $176,500.

Public space, private business

Guilderland Library's ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ tutoring policy; neighboring libraries see less impact

Private tutors over the past several years have increasingly relied on public libraries as a space to meet up with students, according to some local library directors. How that use has affected libraries appears to vary depending on the amount of space available and the demand for it.

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GCSD: More money, same problems

Additional state aid will be used to cover increasing BOCES costs, gap nearly unchanged

Additional state aid was included in the recently adopted state budget, but the Guilderland Central School District budget will remain essentially unchanged.

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Voorheesville envisions master plan for trail’s end

Village officials eye state grants for Rail Trail enhancements, railroad museum

Voorheesville officials are looking to enhance its end of the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail and possibly build a museum to honor local railroad history, which has fittingly characterized the community.

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Trashed turf

Overflow parking tears up FMS field; repairs estimated to cost $6k

Athletic fields at Farnsworth Middle School were torn up after more than 1,000 people turned out for a state civil service exam and parking overflowed onto the grass.

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