• Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan is sworn into office for a third term on New Year’s Day. Paul Rosano was also sworn in as the newest Colonie Town Board member.
• Capital OTB opens the Clubhouse Race Book on Central Avenue on New Year’s Day. The 23,000-square-foot facility is equipped with 240 flat screen TVs, the largest projector screens in the Capital District and a full bar and restaurant.
• David C. Rowley is appointed to the Colonie Town Board on Thursday, Jan. 5, filling the vacant seat left by Dan Dustin, who resigned at the end of December.
• Lee Kindlon announces his intent to run against incumbent David Soares for Albany County District Attorney in a Democratic primary. According to financial disclosure reports to the New York State Board of Elections, Kindlon took in $50,000 between July 2011 and January 2012, including a $20,000 loan from his father, Terry Kindlon, for his campaign. Soares had $58,000 in contributions over the same period of time.
• Sandra Bauchiero takes over Ellen Mnich’s 15-year-old interactive storytelling program, Aunt Helen’s Closet. Mnich spent more than a decade traveling to classrooms, churches and other venues to tell the story of her Aunt Helen, who she said traveled to every country in the world except for two and every U.S. state.
• County Executive Dan McCoy announces that trained 911 dispatchers will start answering all calls to the Crime Victims and Sexual Abuse Hotline and transfer them to certified rape counselors or other appropriate individuals. Previously, the calls were contracted out to an answer service in New Mexico.
• Town Supervisor Paula Mahan gives her 2012 State of the Town address. Mahan praises various town officials, departments and residents for contributing to making 2011 a “productive year” and touts elimination of the town’s deficit and the signing of he landfill agreement as major accomplishments.
• Deanna Pauline, a fourth-grader at Saddlewood Elementary School, launches a tab collection drive to take her schoolmates’ tabs from the tops of aluminum cans to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Albany for its Pop Tabs Collection program.
• Southgate Elementary School teachers and Colonie police officers face off on the basketball court to support community building and anti-bullying efforts as part of school’s Peaceable School Program.
• Albany County legislators confirm County Executive Dan McCoy’s appointment of County Attorney Thomas Marcelle. McCoy also appoints Kathleen Dalton as commissioner of social services and Darrel R. Duncan as commission of public works.
• Students at Sand Creek Middle School participate in a Jump Rope for Heart event to celebrate 10 years of being a Jump Rope for Heart school. The program raises money for the American Heart Association to fund research for heart disease and stroke.
• The Town of Colonie’s land use law is amended to give the Planning Board more options when dealing with open space and green space issues.
• The Colonie Police Department begins its annual nine-week program allowing about 20 residents to attend a Civilian Police Academy. Participants attend weekly “classes” that focused on one or two topics, from criminal investigations to computer crimes to domestic violence, basic patrols, communications and forensics.
• The South Colonie School district is one of 200 organizations nationwide to be named an Energy Star Leader by the Environmental Protection Agency. In the 11 years the district has been involved with the EPA program, it has saved more than $3.5 million in utilities.
• Stacey Rhodes, mother of 17-year-old Tyler Rhodes, who was stabbed to death in Hoffman Park in Albany in April of 2011, speaks to students at Sand Creek Middle School about stopping violence. Rhodes’ visit is part of the school’s Olewus bullying prevention program that focuses on education and empowering students to improve relationships between peers.
• Albany County Comptroller Michael Conners holds a press conference in Menands to highlight efforts he says would combat rising gas prices, including asking the state legislature to have pricing transparency at the pump. He points out there are about 67 cents worth of taxes included in a $4 gallon of gas sold in New York.
• The South Colonie Central School District staff announces salary givebacks from the 450 members of the teachers union, labor groups and district administrators to go towards closing a $3.8 million budget gap for the 2012-13 school year. The salary givebacks amount to a salary freeze for the bargaining groups, to save the district about $1.7 million in the coming budget.
• Assemblyman Bob Reilly, D-Colonie, donates $1,000 of his 2012 salary to Spaying Capital Region Un-owned Feral Felines (Scruff), which works with the estimated 200,000 feral cats in the Town of Colonie. Over the years, Reilly has donated more than $467,000 to charities in Colonie, Clifton Park and Halfmoon.
• Assemblyman Bob Reilly announces he will not seek reelection after representing the 109th District for eight years.
• The former dry cleaner Cleanerama on Osborne Road in Loudonville is declared a superfund site by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The is was added to the state’s superfund registry as a Class 2 site that “presents significant threat to public health and/or the environment” because of the soil, groundwater and soil vapor that contains levels of tetrachloroethene that exceed standards.
• County Executive Dan McCoy announces the City of Watervliet and City of Cohoes will switch 911 dispatch services to the county in an effort to provide “high efficiency” and save taxpayer dollars. With the new plan, the county will save between $150,000 and $200,000 a year, without cutting any personnel because local employees will roll over onto the county payroll.
• The North Colonie Central School District Board of Education adopts a 2012-13 budget of about $94.1 million with a tax levy increase of 3.88 percent. The budget calls for no staffing reductions.
• The New York State Supreme Court dismisses a lawsuit filed by County Comptroller Michael Conners challenging Colonie’s landfill operating agreement with Waste Connections. Conners initially filed the lawsuit alleging the Town of Colonie broke the law when it entered into the agreement without a public referendum. The court rules Conners’ arguments “were not supported by any rational statutory construction or interpretation,” according to the town.
• Construction begins on a project to ease traffic congestion and accommodate the growth expected from the University at Albany NanoCollege’s $366 million expansion project. The $18 million improvement project sees the installation of a two-lane roundabout at the Fuller Road/ County Road 156 intersection, which sees 30,000 cars a day.
• The Purple Pub in Watervliet celebrates its 40th birthday with a week of special events. Aside from some routine upgrades, the restaurant has stayed largely the same over the years from the recipes to the décor to the clientele.
• The 10th Riverway Storytelling Festival runs from Monday, April 16, to Saturday, April 21. Storytellers share their stories in libraries in Albany and Rennselaer counties. Events include “Story Swaps” at the William K. Sanford Library, where attendees tell their favorite story in seven minutes or less.
• County Executive Dan McCoy announces “a million dollar mistake” has been spotted from a previous administration. The county’s Medco Health Solutions account, which provides prescription health benefits for county employees and retirees, will be $1 million richer.
• Colonie Deputy Supervisor Nancy Hernandez steps down to take a job at the New York State Comptroller’s Office less than halfway through her second term. She says she will continue to be active in the community.
• Nathalie Evans and Family and Children’s Service of the Capital Region host the fifth annual Suicide Survivors Remembrance Ceremony in Latham. The ceremony is aimed at promoting healing, unity and breaking the stigma of suicide.
• Loudonville-based sculptor Patrick Morelli speaks at William K. Sanford Library about two of his most famous sculptures, including “BEHOLD,” a monument inspired by the book “Roots” and dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The sculpture has stood over King’s tomb in Atlanta, Ga. since 1990. His other well-known sculpture is a 9/11 memorial, a 160-foot granite wall engraved with the names of each victim, at the Eagle Rock in New Jersey.
• Latham-based TurnKey Internet unveils a new state-of-the-art facility that makes the company one of the most energy-efficient datacenters in the nation. The 12,000-square-foot facility on Old Loudon Road has offices and a huge room that holds the first of five cold containment pods that host the company’s network of about 12,000 servers.
• Janet Stark of the Red Cross teaches a pet first aid course at the American Red Cross Capital District Headquarters on Everett Road. April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month and the course includes a presentation on how to prepare for emergencies with dogs or cats.
• The second ShopRite in the Capital Region opens on Central Avenue in Albany.
• Albany County Legislature Chairman Shawn Morse announces his candidacy in the redrawn 44th Senate District. He’ll face Sen. Neil Breslin in a Democratic primary. Morse puts unfunded mandates at the top of his issues list, saying they’re the key to lowering property taxes and improving residents’ way of life.
• Colonie Central High School senior Emily Himmelwright’s design wins a billboard contest sponsored by the high school art department and Lamar Graphics. Her message about the dangers of drunk driving – “driving hammered will get you nailed” – is blown up to a full-size billboard that towers over Central Avenue.
• In an effort to get the most out of the town landfill, the Colonie Town Board votes to submit an application to the DEC to increase the maximum annual disposal limit to 255,840 tons, up from 170,400 tons. Since the town hasn’t historically met its tonnage limits, upping the annual limit is not expected to have an impact on the estimated lifetime of the landfill, which extends to September of 2018.
• Nine Albany County residents, including Ronald Vincent, Norman Fancher and Martha Oden, are presented with a 2012 County Executive’s Volunteer Award. The volunteers are recognized for doing everything from serving meals to needy families to ministering to inmates at the county jail.
• Voters in both the North and South Colonie Central School Districts pass 2012-13 school year budgets. North Colonie voters approve a $94.1 million budget and South Colonie voters approve a $91.9 million budget. North Colonie’s budget carries an estimated 3.38 percent increase in residential property taxes.
• The Colonie Planning Board gives Siena College final site approval to build a three-story, 23,255-square-foot office and classroom building, as well as a loop road to improve movement through the campus.
• Several local police officers are recognized for exceptional service at the Colonie Police Department’s annual awards ceremony. Among those recognized are Sgt. Daniel Belles, who was presented with the Combat Cross and Medal of Valor, and Anthony Riccitelli, who received a Command Recognition Award.
• A new art gallery called The Annex Gallery debuts its first exhibition, “Robert Cartmell: In the Studio,” displaying works of local artist Robert Cartmell’s through November. The Annex Gallery opened on the second floor of the Albany International Airport after the airport partnered with Saratoga Arts.
• Latham resident and Southern Vermont college student Stephen Bliven opens Gelato Fresco by the food court in Colonie Center. Scooping gelato on the outskirts of the food court gives him a summer job, and also helps him create his own first business at a young age.
• The Girls Inc. Eureka! Program begins at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. The program focuses on nanotechnology and is said to be the first of its kind in the country. It is available to girls attending schools in the City of Albany interested in exploring nanoscience and nanoengineering.
• Albany County District Attorney David Soares announces he will seek reelection, and says he is not worried about his opponent, Lee Kindlon. Soares kicks off his campaign at a rally.
• Former Colonie Planning Board member and Democrat Brian Haak is appointed to the Town Board, filling the vacancy created by former Deputy Supervisor Nancy Hernandez’s resignation.
• The Patrizio Center for the Arts celebrates its grand opening, filling the site of the old Colonie Youth Center at 5 1st Ave. Former teacher Michael Patrizio opens the center with his wife, Alana, and partner Michael Caruso, to be the community’s one-stop shop for everything art-related.
• The Tailored Tea on Troy-Schenectady Road in Latham celebrates the opening of its art galleries. The exhibit featured artists including Maureen Sausa and Carol Owens and paintings of local sites, like landscapes from Scotia, Delanson and the Adirondacks.
• Representatives from the New York State Sheriff’s Association and Capital District sheriffs introduce the Yellow Dot program. The free program is designed to help first responders “provide life-saving medical attention during the first ‘golden hour’ after a crash or other emergency” by putting victim medical information right at their fingertips.
• After retirements in the Colonie Police Department create a handful of vacancies, the Town Board announces the hiring of new police officers to fill their spots. Matthew Garrgian, John L. Calabrese and Zacharias Ruter join the force as rookie police officers and Anthony Discipio takes the responsibilities of public safety dispatcher.
• According to a handful of residents who tasted tap water from around the Capital District for the 2012 Albany County Drinking Water Taste Test, the Town of Guilderland had the tastiest water. The “unscientific” competition has been held for more than 25 years.