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Zan Strumfeld

Stories by Zan

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Literacy through lyrics

‘Composer to Center Stage’ brings songwriting to students, courtesy Albany Symphony Orchestra

It isn’t always an easy task to get kids excited about literacy, but one local school recently teamed up with the Albany Symphony Orchestra to combine reading with the medium of music.

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Cohoes Heritage Day extended across weekend

City’s history, culture and art will be on display for second event

At the request of the public, this year Cohoes Heritage Day will add an “s” to its name, an will take place over the course of the entire weekend of Friday, June 7, through Sunday, June 9. The weekend-long event will feature street vendors, parish-wide garage sales, activities and tours of the city to celebrate its culture.

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Eleventh PolishFest deemed a success

Weather fails to keep hungry crowds away from Latham gathering

Families and friends of different cultures from around the Capital District gathered at the Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa Polish National Catholic Church on Old Maxwell Road in Latham for the 11th annual PolishFest Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 2.

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Heads up for safety

Albany County officials educate on bike safety, hand out helmets to kids

As the days grow warmer, so too do the concerns of public safety officials who see residents biking around the Capital District.

Colonie candidates step forward

GOP to run Todd Drake against Supervisor Paula Mahan

Colonie Democratic and Republican committees have begun announcing their endorsements for the open spots in the Town of Colonie elected offices.

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Student’s urgent message: hold on

Colonie Central High School senior Josh Murphy’s design placed on billboard

Murphy’s slogan “Don’t Text and Drive - It Can Wait” and an image of the iconic iPhone text message symbol was chosen as the winning design for an anti-distracted driving billboard contest sponsored by the CCHS Art Department and Lamar Graphics.

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McCoy takes his show on the road

At Colonie meeting, county exec. says he supports gov’s tax-free plan

In his second “State of the County” tour, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy told a small group of Colonie residents that he wants the community to speak up to their local government.

Kind words for Mill Road apartment

Concept approval granted for six-unit project at Colonie Planning Board

Plans for a new apartment building on Mill Road are creeping ahead after a developer received concept approval from the Colonie Planning Board Tuesday.

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[Photo Gallery] Honoring the Fallen

A cloudy day didn’t stop bagpipes, a firing party and laying of wreaths Wednesday, May 22, at The Crossings of Colonie.

A lifetime of service

After half-century volunteering with EMS and fire, Colonie resident stepping off call

Bill Teator, 72, has been working with several different emergency medical services within the Town of Colonie for more than 50 years and will officially retire from it all on May 31.

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Shaker student’s photo wired in

Spur-of-moment snapshot to be displayed in halls of U.S. Capitol

For the next year, Shaker High School senior Mitchell Aragona's photo will be on display at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., after being chosen as the winner of the 2013 Congressional Art Competition for the 20th District of New York through Congressman Paul Tonko.

South Colonie's tax cap challenge succeeds

66.2 percent of voters approve of budget in excess of state tax cap

What was continuously called a challenging budgeting year for the South Colonie Central School District was capped with residents approving a 2013-14 school budget that exceeds the state tax cap.

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North Colonie school budget passed

Budget stays within the state tax cap

Residents of the North Colonie Central School District approved of the 2013-14 budget that stays within the state tax cap on Tuesday, May 21.

S. Colonie teachers offer concessions

Couple with changes to administrator health care, unpaid day will save $332k

South Colonie Central School District teachers and administrators have approved contract givebacks for the second year in a row, and they will save the district more than $300,000 in the 2013-14 school year.

McCoy makes move to keep funding nursing home

Contingency funds targeted to make payroll for July

Three days after the Albany County Legislature tabled a vote on privatizing the county nursing home vote, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy has sent out a request to move $2.2 million from the county’s contingency fund in the budget to meet the facility’s July payroll.

Candidates emerging in local races

A few new faces join familiar ones as parties gear up to make endorsements

As campaign season inches closers, those seeking spots in Town of Colonie elected offices are beginning to announce their plans to run.

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Tournament stocks community chest

SEFCU’s Monopoly tournament nets $20k for Center for Disability Services

This year, on Tuesday, May 7, 305 players took on the challenge at The Albany Marriot on Wolf Road for the 21st Annual SEFCU Monopoly Tournament and helped raise $20,000 for the center.

Project approved over protests

Planning Board OKs two buildings in split vote after neighbors raise concerns

The Colonie Planning Board gave the green light on Tuesday, May 8, for construction of two retail and office buildings on Albany-Shaker Road over protests of neighbors.

Nursing home deal tabled

County comptroller urges legislature to turn over control

The Albany County Legislature tabled a deal to give control of the county-run nursing home to a private company at a Monday, May 13, meeting, after hearing a presentation from County Comptroller Mike Conners urging action.

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Cooking her way to the top

Colonie Central student makes waves with her love of the kitchen and dining room

There is nothing Colonie Central High School senior Rachel Gauthier doesn’t like to cook. Meats, vegetables, cakes, soups. You name it, she’ll make it.

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60 years strong, 80 years young

Albany Memorial honors longtime nurse Esther Rappold for decades of service

Friends, family and coworkers gathered at Albany Memorial Hospital to celebrate 80-year-old Esther Rappold's 60 years of service at the facility.

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Reading the greens

After 42 years working on the links, Colonie resident looks back on career

After almost 50 years of working in the golf maintenance business and 42 years on the greens at Albany’s Wolferts Roost Country Club, Bill Stevens stepped off the grass to retire this past April.

Disciplined mind opens doors

Shaker High School teacher went from dropout to academic achiever

Alex Finsel got what he needed in the ranks of the Marine Corps, and now, more than 15 years after becoming a college dropout, he’s being recognized for his academic achievement as the 2013 recipient of the Jean Edgecumbe Groff ’39 Graduate Scholarship in Education in the School of Education at the University at Albany. And he’s also bringing the ideals that shaped his life for the better to a new generation as a teacher at Shaker High School.

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Part of the pack

Colonie prepares successor in one-dog canine unit

Two months ago, the Town of Colonie purchased Vader, and once training is completed, he’ll be the 11th dog in the history of the Colonie Police Department to join the K-9 Unit Patrol Division.

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Of loss and young love

Shaker High grad Dana Lee Hom releasing first album, “Almost Gone”

It took love, heartbreak and a bout of emotional numbness for Dana Lee Hom to put together her first full-length album. Now that she’s ready to release those songs to the public, she feels like the burden of some of her troubles is disappearing.

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Walkers step up in heart disease fight

Annual Capital Region Heart Walk this Saturday at Crossings

The 2013 Capital Region Heart Walk at The Crossings of Colonie will begin with breakfast and last-minute registration at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 4 and walkers will take either a 1- or 3-mile stroll. Participants raise money for the American Heart Association, and the donations go directly to funding research and education to fight heart disease and stroke. This year, the goal is set for $570,000.

Colonie teams up with Albany FBI

Town to send manpower to help Child Exploitation Task Force

The Town of Colonie will once again be working with the FBI’s Albany offices and Child Exploitation Task Force targeting Internet predators in the Capital District.

Nursing home set for May 13 vote

Much discussed operating agreement moves ahead, as some lawmakers push other options

A vote on the future of the Albany County Nursing Home has been set for May 13, even as some lawmakers lobby for other options.

Town signs off on CAP COM HQ

New offices and bank branch targeted for a summer 2014 completion

CAP COM Federal Credit Union has the green light to start construction on its new headquarters in Colonie.

Menands searches for new superintendent

District narrows down list to three to succeed Kathy Meany

The search for a new Menands School District superintendent has been narrowed down to three candidates.

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Artwork connects the dead and the living

St. Agnes Cemetery’s ‘Living Room’ dedicated to hosting work of local artists

St. Agnes Cemetery isn’t a place just for remembering the dead anymore. With a remodeled old chapel now a room lined with local art, it’s also become a place to calm the living.

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Full court press for compressions

Colonie boys affected by CPR part of effort to teach method in schools

Two Colonie boys learned about the power of CPR the hard way, and now they’re advocating that it becomes mandatory for their peers to learn the life-saving method.

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Afghan officials look to Colonie

Town part of U.S. tour meant to help forge future of Afghanistan

The Town of Colonie might not have the same culture, landscape or problems that the country of Afghanistan faces, but officials from that faraway land hope they can learn something here all the same.

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Who let the dogs in?

County teams up with humane society on program that sees inmates training dogs

For five weeks, a dog’s best friend will be an inmate at the Albany County Correctional Facility.

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Colonie native’s courage goes viral

Jimmy Plourde captured on camera carrying wounded from Boston Marathon

Growing up with two firefighters and EMS volunteers as parents, it came as no shock to Peter and Janet Plourde that their son Jimmy would become a firefighter himself.

N. Colonie adopts school budget

Tax levy hike of 4.25 percent is at the state tax cap limit

The North Colonie Board of Education adopted a 2013-14 budget on Monday, April 22, that carries a 4.32 percent increase to the tax levy, which is within the state tax cap.

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Educator leaves a lasting legacy

Blue Creek teacher Jean Bassett inspired students, even during her fight with cancer

During her first stages of chemotherapy, Blue Creek Elementary teacher Jean Bassett knew she was going to start losing her hair. Nervous her students might become afraid of the changes, Bassett cut her long, curly hair short and walked into the classroom one day with her hair dyed blue. Another day, it was red.

Planning Board tackles multiple projects

Expansions, office space and apartments on the agenda at April 9 meeting

Two projects got their time in front of the Colonie Planning Board underway Tuesday, April 9, with concept approvals. The applicants will have to come back to the board with more detailed plans.

Contamination found at Troy Industrial Solutions

Plans for expansion put on hold as DEC gets involved in brownfield cleanup

The Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating contamination at Troy Industrial Solutions in Colonie.

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Pruyn House celebrates 30 years

Town and volunteer effort turned dilapidated home into historic treasure

On Wednesday, April 24, the Friends of Pruyn House will celebrate the home’s 30th anniversary at their annual dinner meeting at the Century House Inn in Latham, where they will show a 15-minute movie about the historic site.

Colonie Center changes hands

Investment firm vows new investments and new tennants

Colonie Center has been purchased by an investment firm.

Colonie changes developer notification rules

Resident concerns result in amendment to town code, effects will be monitored

After several weeks of discussion, the Colonie Town Board voted unanimously on Thursday, April 11, to amended the town code and expand neighbor notifications requirements for developers.

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A mission for music

Shaker student playing own music at MOVE Music Festival

Even before she knew how to walk, Bridgette Guerrette knew she wanted to be a musician.

BOCES takes to cyberspace

Blog aims to inform and engage community on education issues

When it comes to conversations about public education, the Internet has taken up a place along with the coffeehouse and PTA meetings as a preferred forum. And the educational services group BOCES is getting in on the action.

South Col. budget would exceed tax cap

Savings use trimmed back while tax levy would grow 5.4 percent

The current 2013-14 budget proposal for the South Colonie Central School District would hold expenses to a 0.74 percent increase, but hike the tax levy by 5.4 percent, a full percentage point above the district’s limit under the state tax cap.

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Local officials react to state budget

Budget roundtable in Cohoes reveals satisfaction, hope for future

While many New Yorkers are expressing disbelief that this year’s state budget was passed not only on time, but early, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy is most excited with the fact the county will see no new unfunded mandates.

Another nursing home vote tabled

Legislator calls lease a ‘sweetheart deal on steroids’

A vote on the future of the Albany County Nursing Home has been tabled despite earlier signs legislators were narrowing in on a vote.

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18th century, meet 21st century

Shaker history comes alive through virtual reality project in Watervliet

The Shaker Heritage Society is sharing the Shakers with the modern world by creating Virtual Watervliet (VWV), a digital reconstruction of their historic settlement.

Dementia care pitched for Colonie

64-bed facility would focus on creating home-like setting for patients

Peregrine Assisted Living, based out of Syracuse, is looking to build an assisted adult home with a focus on dementia care at 5 South Family Drive in Colonie. Representatives from the Hershberg & Hershberg engineering firm described a sketch plan to the Colonie Planning Board Tuesday, March 26, for a 35,000-square-foot, one-story memory enhancement facility.

Menands looks to stick to tax cap

Public hearing approaches on budget that would hike taxes 2.5 percent

The Menands Board of Trustees voted Monday, April 1, to authorize the village to exceed the state tax cap, but officials hope it won’t come to that.

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