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John Purcell

Stories by John

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.

Sharing more than memories

Guilderland Class of 1978 holds auction to benefit Make-A-Wish

The Guilderland Class of 1978’s reunion on Saturday, Oct. 12, will honor more than 20 deceased classmates through an online auction benefitting the Northeast New York Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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McCoy offers county budget below tax cap

Proposal would fund county nursing home only to June 2014, planning on LDC takeover

McCoy released his 2014 Executive Budget to county legislators on Tuesday, Oct. 8, which proposes a 1.6 percent tax levy increase and appropriations totaling more than $574 million. The budget includes a three-year financial plan to bolster general fund reserves.

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Fall’s finery

Experts say this fall has already been a banner year for leaf peepers. And locally, the peak is near.

Leaves are big business in New York. By official accounts, the yearly fall foliage fireworks draw billions in tourism dollars. And it is expected this year will offer a sensational season.

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Going green, from top to bottom

Officials tour environmentally friendly infrastructure throughout Albany County

The Stormwater Coalition of Albany County hosted a Green Infrastructure Tour Tuesday, Sept. 24, for elected and municipal officials, engineers and other community members to see for sites across the county where green ideas have been implemented to manage stormwater issues.

Storm leaves thousands in Bethlehem without power

National Grid’s power outage map as of 5:15 p.m., Monday, Oct. 7, indicated around 4,440 customers in Bethlehem have lost electricity to their property. This accounts for almost a third of the company’s customers in the town.

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Voorheesville mayor’s newsletter prompts backlash

Fresh wounds before ambulance contract negotiations, committee proposed

Tensions between Voorheesville officials and its local ambulance service were reignited after the mayor voiced concerns in the village’s seasonal newsletter.

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Guilderland supervisor's home sale turns political

Grimm points to Runion placing home on market, incumbent says he’s downsizing

Guilderland Supervisor Ken Runion is selling his 3,200-square-foot home, but he has expressed his intent to stay local and chided his Republican opponent for seizing on the sale as a political topic.

Voorheesville targets two taps for shutoff

Village says leaky pipe has wasted more than 1 million gallons

Voorheesville officials have warned two village homeowners they could soon be without water after more than one million gallons of water has reportedly leaked from their connection since May.

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Guilderland strives for the ‘best day ever’

Guilderland Community Fest offers family fun, proceeds help local nonprofit

Local families have chance for a great time with their neighbors while at the same time helping children who suffer from serious medical conditions have their “best day ever.”

Cafeteria cuisine comes home

Voorheesville school chef offering dinners to go as a ‘fun’ way to boost revenue

Two weeks ago, Voorheesville Central School District opened its doors and kitchen to the community through a new “Meals to go” dinner program, which is aimed at keeping its school lunch program in the black.

Stitt Road to go public

Guilderland will acquire private road through eminent domain after buses stop running

The Guilderland Central School District put the brakes on traveling down a private road to pick up children, which has spurred town officials to quickly make the road public.

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The ABCs of infant sleeping

Albany County highlights National Baby Safety Month, gives task force progress update

The Albany County Safe Sleeping Task Force’s latest initiative isn’t an exercise in remembering the alphabet, but rather another outreach effort cautioning parents and caretakers to not sleep in bed with an infant.

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Hot rods, hot soup

Chamber to hold annual ‘Souped Up on Guilderland’ at a new location

The Guilderland Chamber of Commerce will on hold Saturday, Sept. 28, its seventh annual event combining ladles of savory soups and awesome automobiles: Souped Up on Guilderland.

Voorheesville to exit county Stormwater Coalition

Village trustees cite increased fee in plans for departure

The Voorheesville Board of Trustees signaled their intention to leave the county Stormwater Coalition during a workshop meeting on Monday, Sept. 16, after the annual membership fee for the village was more than doubled to around $7,300.

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