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John Purcell

Stories by John

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House calls for the house trained

Guilderland native starts exclusively mobile veterinary service

Capital District Mobile Veterinary Services aims at reducing stress around the veterinarian experience by bringing their office to pets. Owner Sarah Nolan and veterinary assistant Anne Giagni started making house calls about three months ago and both said the business is quickly taking off.

Voorheesville looking at EMS options

Tough contract negotiations spur a review, bring allegations to light

Voorheesville officials are investigating what, if any, emergency medical service options it might have, as contract contentions are becoming the norm with its historic provider.

Altamont floats new sewer charges

Village to hold public hearing over addition of $90 annual fee

The Altamont Village Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Sept. 4, approved holding a public hearing on a proposed change to the village code regarding sewer service changes. The new $90 user fee would be split between each semi-annual bill.

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Race battles the ‘silent killer’

5K run/walk aims to raise ovarian cancer awareness and support research

The 12th Annual Teal Ribbon Run/Walk, coordinated by Caring Together, will be held on Sunday, Sept. 15, and kicks off at 9 a.m. at Washington Park in Albany.

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Quinn faces drug charges

Police say deputy county executive attempted to obtain hundreds of Ritalin pills

Albany County Deputy Executive Christine Quinn allegedly deceived a Colonie nurse practitioner in order to illegally obtain hundreds of Ritalin pills, according to police.

Guilderland Dems fend off primary challenges

GOP candidates fail to grab Independence or Conservative lines

Town Democrats secured all contested third-party ballot lines during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Sept. 10, according to unofficial election results.

Police: Watch for children while driving

Troop G Commander Maj. Steven James on Wednesday, Sept. 4, said drivers should use “extra caution,” because “vacation minded” children are less likely to be careful while traveling to and from school.

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Guilderland YMCA has a new executive director

Venter eyes increasing community outreach, fostering new programs

Ryan Venter believes most people don’t really know everything the Guilderland YMCA has to offer, but as its new executive director he wants to tell them.

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Steps taken with purpose

Delmar woman training for marathon walk benefiting Boston cancer institute

Terry Moskowitz is walking 10 miles every other day, and pulling 20 on the weekends, but her pace has more behind it than desire for a solid workout.

Fuller Road speed limit reduced to 30 mph

Guilderland approves change after residents air safety concerns

The Guilderland Town Board recently approved reducing the speed limit on Fuller Road to 30 mph from where the southern end begins off of Route 20 to the town line.

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D&B advertised as the ‘epicenter for fun’

Dave & Buster’s opens in Crossgates Mall featuring food, drinks, sports and a lot of games

As you walk towards the flashing lights beaming from the “Million Dollar Midway” at Dave & Buster’s, it’s hard not to feel like a kid again.

New Scotland hires DPW boss

Town adds position to ease workload, post will be part time to start

The Town of New Scotland has hired a retired Bethlehem police officer to the newly created position of Public Works commissioner to address a mounting workload in the DPW office.

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Hometown overture for returning musician

Bethlehem native to perform acoustic set with band at Swifty’s

An upcoming gig at a pub is more than just another show for Brian Mulkerne, because he’s coming back to where he started strumming a guitar 45 years ago.

More than a handshake with new agreement

Towns of Bethlehem and New Scotland enter into a formal shared services contract

Bethlehem and New Scotland have been sharing services for years, but both towns just recently approved a formal contract after operating on nothing more than a handshake agreement.

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Broadway comes to Albany

Palace announces three one-night performances for its Broadway Series

The Palace Theatre recently announced a new Broadway Series for the 2013-14 season, which includes three one-night performances of popular music driven productions.

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Rally targets Iran policy

Women Against War urge negotiation during Food Festival demonstration

The group Women Against War rallied during the Empire State Plaza Food Festival on Wednesday, Aug. 14. A group of about a dozen members spoke out against the idea of the country entering a war with Iran.

County’s credit rating stable

Rating services credit economic development, urge reining in expenses

Moody’s Investors Service assigned an “Aa3” rating for the county’s bonds sold earlier this month, and Standard & Poor’s assigned a similar “AA” rating. The county also had Moody’s affirm the same “Aa3” rating for its $248 million of outstanding debt.

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A day at the races

A Spotlight reporter spends time behind the wheel sizing up some high-speed go-karts

Fastrax Raceway, located in Crossgates Commons, features go-karts that go beyond traditional speeds associated with open-air racing machines, and the media was invited to see just how fast that meant on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

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Tradition gets its own recognition

Altamont Fair’s museums are the star attraction for volunteers, history lovers

Every year, the Altamont Fair draws thousands of people with its flashier facets, from the newest rides to a destructive demolition derby. But for a slew of volunteers, the main attraction is one that flings you back in time.

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The apples are on

Growers say it’s back to business after last year’s poor apple crop

The New York State Apple Association is expecting the upcoming yield of the state’s official fruit to be strong given “near-perfect” growing conditions bolstered production to typical levels.

Test scores tumble after Common Core implementation

Around 70 percent of students are below the grade, new baseline established

State Education Commissioner John King Jr. on Wednesday, Aug. 7, released results of April assessment test results in mathematics and English language arts for third- to eighth-grade students, and only 31 percent of students statewide met or exceeded proficiency standards.

Pups get their own place

Colonie to construct two town dog parks, spurred by public interest

Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan recently announced the town is constructing two dog parks, with one at the Colonie Mohawk River Park and the other on town property adjacent to the Colonie Town Golf Course.

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All’s fair in Altamont

Three-county event marks 120th year, offers more than thrill rides and good eats

The Altamont Fair is opening its gates and welcoming patrons for its 120th year on Tuesday, Aug. 13, featuring many of the popular attractions people look forward to every year, with some new ones mixed into the three-county celebration as well.

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Fitness and fun reach new heights

Guilderland reopens rock-climbing wall housed in historic barn to public

The Guilderland Rock Adventure Barn, or GRAB, reopened to the public last month after closing its doors several years ago following waning interest. Public use of GRAB is limited to Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. until the end of August.

Erratic driver complaint leads to DWI, drug charges

Guilderland police arrested a Troy man for allegedly driving while impaired and possessing drugs after receiving a complaint about a gray Honda driving “all over the road,” according to police reports.

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Tony award winner honors his roots

Early inspiration led Altamont native toward theater fame

Leon Rothenberg wanted to share his Tony award accolades with those who helped shaped him as an artist early on, so he come back home to honor his roots and mentors.

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Neighboring state parks to merge

Public hearing yields support for Thacher and Thompson’s Lake draft master plan

he New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation on Thursday, Aug. 1, held a public hearing on its draft master plan and draft environmental impact statement for Thacher and Thompson’s Lake state parks at New Scotland Town Hall.

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Guilderland PD to host a ‘night out’

National event marks 30th anniversary connecting police to community

The Guilderland Police Department Community Service Unit is hosting the local Night Out, which is the nationwide event’s 30th anniversary, on Tuesday, Aug. 6, from 6 to 10 p.m., at Tawasentha Park.

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Hamilton Square renovations move ahead

VENT Fitness opens, M&T breaks ground, Starbucks brewing at Guilderland plaza

Hamilton Square, formerly named 20 Mall, is looking to redefine not only the plaza’s name, but also what residents have come to expect of its offerings.

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Big screen comes to town

Ballston Spa Film Festival promises family fun, showcases young filmmakers

The sixth annual Ballston Spa Film Festival will start rolling the movie reels on Friday, Aug. 2, with more than 40 short films featured during the two-day event.

Lafarge granted more time to build new kiln

Amended settlement holds strengthened pollution standards for Ravena cement plant

Lafarge was granted additional time to complete construction of its new kiln, but the extension came alongside strengthened emissions standards to further reduce pollution at its local cement plant.

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Gillibrand requests emerald ash borer funding

Senator calls for federal funding to eradicate invasive species

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday, July 30, urged for additional federal funding for research, control and eradication efforts on the emerald ash borer, which is an invasive species that kills ash trees.

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Ambulance contract signed amid heated debate

Voorheesville approves amended contract, company argues for reserve funds

For this year, the debate has concluded over Voorheesville’s contract with its local ambulance service, but next year’s debate appears to have already begun.

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Hot rods heading to high ground

Thacher Park to host fourth annual ‘Wheels in the Woods’ car show

John Boyd Thacher State Park in New Scotland is revving up for its fourth annual “Wheels in the Woods” car show on Saturday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pear Orchard Picnic Area.

Hometown history highlighted at fair

New Salem Fire Department to host 71st annual Punkintown Fair

The 71st annual Punkintown Fair, hosted by the New Salem Volunteer Fire Department, kicks off Thursday, July 25, this year, and runs through Saturday, July 27, with doors opening at 6 p.m. each day.

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Super hopefuls fill their coffers

Guilderland candidates nearly neck-and-neck in early fundraising efforts

Democrat and Guilderland Supervisor Ken Runion has more cash on hand than Republican challenger Mark Grimm, but both have raised a similar amount of money since campaign season got underway.

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GCSD eyes $18M facilities improvement plan

Building renovations, enhancing security, technology upgrades proposed

The Guilderland Board of Education recently heard the district’s Facilities Committee unveil proposed capital projects totaling almost $18.2 million. If pursued, the spending would require voter approval.

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Guilderland restaurants celebrate $20.13

Restaurant Week to feature 12 eateries, taste of cooking classes

Restaurant Week, coordinated by the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce, will run from Sunday, July 21, to Saturday, July 27, and feature 12 restaurants offering a variety of dining options.

Guilderland lends support in home rule battle

Coming court battle could decide whether localities can keep out fracking

The Guilderland Town Board on Tuesday, July 2, approved joining an amici curiae, or friends of the court, brief supporting the towns of Dryden and Middlefield in enacting local laws banning natural gas drilling within the towns.

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Board blinks on ambulance contract

Voorheesville negotiations flatline, board awards funding despite objections

Despite opposition from a majority of the Voorheesville Board of Trustees towards approximately $8,800 in reserve funding in the Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service’s contract this year, the board awarded the money at its June 25 meeting.

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Guilderland retains top tap title

Albany County Best Drinking Water contest sends town to regionals

The local first round of the state’s Best Drinking Water contest was held on Tuesday, July 10, in the lobby of the Albany County Office Building. The Town of Guilderland once again captured the favor of the majority of taste buds.

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Bethlehem drops federal lunch program

Lack of interest at high school prompts menu change, parents object

The Bethlehem Board of Education recently approved eliminating participation in the National School Lunch Program only at the high school after district administrators presented information showing a “steep decline” in the number of lunches purchased.

New Guilderland school board leaders selected

Nisky admin tapped for high school post, superintendent’s contract extended

Two new leaders have been selected to head up the Guilderland Board of Education, and the body has also chosen a new assistant principal at the high school.

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State raises bar on distracted driving

Cuomo says initiative, laws aim to change behavior and save lives

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, July 9, while in Buffalo, detailed a $1 million summer initiative to increase enforcement of distracted driving laws by boosting undercover operations statewide.

Summer school an honor

Voorheesville student attends Boston University Tanglewood Institute

Voorheesville High School student Rebecca Barron was selected to study French horn at the prestigious Boston University Tanglewood Institute this summer.

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Runion to seek eighth term

Guilderland Dem supervisor points to record, board incumbents seek reelection

Guilderland Supervisor and Democrat Ken Runion will once again seek his leadership position, with fellow Town Board incumbents likely to join him on the party’s ballot lines.

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A growing discord over student loans

Tonko, UAlbany students urge Congress to freeze rates for two years

Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, SUNY officials and University at Albany students rallied on Monday, July 1, for a freeze of federal student loan rates at 3.4 percent for two years as Congress develops a long-term solution.

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A lurking threat

Bethlehem at epicenter of emerald ash borer infestation that expert says could explode

The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Albany County on Tuesday, June 25, hosted Mark Whitmore, a forest entomologist at the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University, for a presentation on updated information about emerald ash borer infestations and what communities can do to address them. The emerald ash borer, or EAB, has already been confirmed at more than 20 locations in Albany County.

The sounds of summer

Local concert series offer a season of free entertainment

The towns of Bethlehem, Colonie, Guilderland and New Scotland offer several chances to enjoy the outdoors while bands perform. The venues range from the lawn outside of a library to a performing arts center stage, but the low price of “free” remains the same.

Library projects awarded funds

Nearly $80k awarded between Voorheesville and Altamont

The New York State Library has awarded more than $300,000 to Albany County libraries in an effort to help fund the needed projects, with nearly $80,000 awarded to the Voorheesville Public Library and the Altamont Free Library.

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