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John Purcell

Stories by John

UPDATE: Minor crash delays Altamont school bus

Altamont Elementary School students on bus route 46 were involved in what district officials called a “minor accident” on their ride home, but there were no injuries reported.

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Safety program gets cars fitted for the road

CarFit helps older drivers stay safe behind the wheel

CarFit volunteers converged at Westmere Fire Department on Wednesday, Dec. 4, to make seniors aware about vehicle safety equipment and to fit cars to each individual. Information is given to enhance driver safety, too, along with recommending certain items that can be purchased to make driving safer.

Making way for Western Avenue walkers

Business sign must move for Route 20 sidewalk, several acquisitions along roadway

Before pedestrians step foot on newly installed sidewalks along Western Avenue, several property acquisitions must be completed. For one building housing a few businesses, that means moving its sign and making up for lost parking spaces.

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Altamont a holiday hot spot

Community group to host annual Victorian celebration

The village will be transformed into a festive hot spot during Altamont Community Tradition’s 12th annual Victorian Holidays Celebration on Sunday, Dec. 15, from noon to 6 p.m.

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Grocers raise concerns over Styrofoam ban

McCoy holds public hearing on proposed law, most residents urge approval

Leading supermarket chains voiced qualms over the Albany County Legislature’s recently adopted Food Service Waste Reduction Act, but not over the most contentious proposal banning Styrofoam containers.

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Voorheesville ambulance contract talks stabilize

Village and service company near agreement after sheriff intervenes

Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service members and village officials have locked horns for months over contract differences, but in recent talks, the atmosphere has become surprisingly civil as next year’s agreement deadline nears.

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One for the books

Colleagues praise retiring Voorheesville Library Youth Services director’s passion and creativity

Connecting with young readers of all ages is what attracted Joyce Laoisa to Voorheesville Public Library around 16 years ago. Although a library’s role has changed over time, her mission to inspire children remained steadfast.

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On the right path

Party set to celebrate Rail Trail portion opening; further improvements eyed for bicyclists

Friends of the Rail Trail will celebrate the official opening of a new three-mile section running through New Scotland as efforts continue toward expanding the trail’s size and usage.

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Dance series aims to bring crowds to their feet

Old Songs hosts monthly gatherings featuring simple moves and a social element

Dancing isn’t everyone’s favorite activity, but one local man bets he can get even the most reluctant of dancers off the sideline and moving in no time.

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National Grid braces for season’s storms

Company spending $3B to upgrade electric infrastructure

Tackling some of what the worst winter storms inflicts has National Grid “hot stick” workers preparing for the chilly reality of living in the Northeast.

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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.

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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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.

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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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.

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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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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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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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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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

State OKs farm ‘tax cap’

Agricultural land assessments held to 2 percent increase annually

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on Tuesday, Oct. 22, capping agricultural land assessments at 2 percent annually. The measure aims to offer a more stable and predictable tax climate for the state’s agricultural industry.

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Guilderland Chamber president leaving post

Burbank to lead Community Caregivers, credited with transforming organization

Kathy Burbank will be leaving the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce after serving as the organization’s president for six years.

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District helps plug into possibilities

Guilderland schools librarians help parents and students become cyber savvy

Guilderland Central School District librarians hosted on Thursday, Oct. 17, a program titled “Cyber Smart: Succeeding in a Digital World,” a series of workshops featuring interactive presentations containing tips for using online tools and accessing district resources.

Stitt Road takeover moves ahead

Guilderland begins eminent domain proceedings to acquire private road

The Guilderland Town Board proceed with plans on Tuesday, Oct. 15, to acquire Stitt Road through eminent domain after Fred Wagner, owner of Helderberg Excavating & Trucking, Inc., requested additional time to finalize a land purchase at the board’s Sept. 17 meeting.

No contest in New Scotland elections

Insiders say GOP regrouping this year, plans to come out swinging in 2015

The New Scotland Republican Committee offered no candidates for town offices this year. Any voter who is disillusioned with incumbents or with how the town has been governed will likely have to wait another two years.

Guilderland’s proposed budget brings tax decrease

Grimm says budget layout less transparent, Runion argues opposite

Guilderland's revised preliminary budget for next year calls for a property tax levy decrease of around 1.35 percent, or $153,000, for a total of $11.1 million in tax revenues.

Failing grade for school mailings

Vendor mailing error affects Voorheesville and Bethlehem school districts

Plummeting test scores have been a widespread concern this year, but at least two area districts had more to worry about after the results were mailed out.

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New author celebrates first book

Guilderland native releases adventure fiction novel, initial installment of planned series

The first installment of Benjamin Deer’s adventure fiction series, “Emerus: The Beginning,” was welcomed during a launch party on Friday, Oct. 11, with family and friends offering congratulations and hugs to the newly published author.

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Frightfully friendly

Guilderland’s Trick-or-Treat Street offers festive indoor activities for local families

Guilderland High School is preparing to host its 10th annual Trick-or-Treat Street Saturday, Oct. 26. The event will see the school’s halls, cafeteria and gymnasium transformed into a Halloween haven.

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Bonefish Grill opens Albany restaurant

Chain restaurant offers fresh seafood, specialty cocktails and Sunday brunch specials

Bonefish Grill, a casual dinning seafood chain restaurant, held its grand opening on Monday, Oct. 7, after holding a charity event benefiting the Capital District Habitat for Humanity the prior Saturday.

New Scotland's proposed budget at tax cap

Supervisor offers $7.2M spending plan tapping $332k from fund balance

Town Supervisor Tom Dolin filed a 2014 Tentative Budget calling for a 1.66 percent property tax levy increase. Expenditures between the town’s four main funds would increase by around $24,500.

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Voorheesville proposes $2.7M project

District scales back proposal for repairs, more projects likely in coming years

Voorheesville High School desperately needs a reconstructed, modern roof, according to district officials, and technology upgrades at all its buildings to prepare for the planned shift to computer-based testing and evaluations.

Police: GHS student crashes into school bus

A 17-year-old Guilderland high school student allegedly crashed her car into a district school bus after failing to yield the right of way, according to police.

Discount drug savings reach $3.5M

Albany County residents filed more than 93,000 prescriptions through program

Hundreds of county residents have paid less for prescription medication by simply presenting a card over the past few years. They’ve racked up $3.5 million in savings.

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Shedding light on domestic violence

Albany County highlights Domestic Violence Awareness Month, services offered

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, joined by county Chief Assistant District Attorney David Rossi, recognized the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month on Wednesday, Oct. 2, and honored county Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center Director Karen Ziegler for her efforts.

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