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John Purcell

Stories by John

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New Voorheesville trustee sworn in

Board member resigns following move to Guilderland

A roughly decade-long draught without a woman serving on the Village Board of Trustees is ending following a board member resigning.

Veto override fails to gain support

Only 15 legislators supported the move to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies, far under the supermajority need to pass

Tobacco can still be sold in local pharmacies after county legislators stood behind County Executive Dan McCoy’s decision to only ban the display of such products in those businesses.

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Battle for the 46th Senate District continues at debate

Tkaczyk, Amedore differences clear at League of Women Voters' candidates forum

Displeasing looks aplenty were cast between candidates during a recent debate for the hotly contested 46th Senate District, as each listened to the opponent’s answers.

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Hoffman's Playland move set

Huck Finn’s Warehouse and More receives $650k in grants to relocate beloved amusement park rides

The “more” in Huck Finn’s Warehouse and More has taken on a whole new meaning after plans were announced to move the rides from Hoffman’s Playland to the store in North Albany.

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A call for better youth drug abuse prevention

Regional coalition kicks off awareness month with stories of addiction

One 13-year-old girl started out drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, but in four years, she found herself addicted to prescription pills. More than a decade later, she’s hoping her message of recovery keeps someone from ever starting down that same path.

New Scotland budget within tax cap

Town Supervisor's proposal totals $7.2M, holds no staffing cuts

Town Supervisor Tom Dolin’s proposed budget holds a property tax levy just below New Scotland’s state imposed tax cap, while tapping less from its reserves.

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De-stressing

Comptroller’s report finds Albany County, Town of Colonie are in better fiscal health than in years past, but areas of concern remain

Local lawmakers are still feeling financial burdens of living within the tax cap while balancing budgets, but there are signs of improvement.

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Continuing to dance the night away

Old Songs announces third season of Community Dances with a sweet twist

Despite social media being omnipresent in many people’s daily lives, connecting a community can sometimes be difficult. A series of local events is hoping to change that by getting people on their feet and socializing in a more traditional way.

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Cecilia Tkaczyk, George Amedore ready for battle

Candidates for the 46th Senate District meet for first debate of the election season

One of the most contentious state senate races is on track to be a cutthroat contest featuring a rematch between two candidates looking for a knockout victory.

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Soup’s on in Guilderland

Annual event welcomes season with food, fun and fast cars

The leaves are starting to turn and the air is getting chillier so it can mean only one thing in Guilderland: It’s time to slurp some soup.

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Voorheesville opts back in to federal lunch program

District hoping to break even after nearly $100k deficit last school year

Voorheesville schools were in the vanguard of districts opposing more strict federal school lunch program guidelines, but an ongoing operating deficit has forced the district back in line.

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Connecting farms with just a click

Cornell Cooperative Extension unveils online ‘Ag Exchange’ service

Finding a buyer for an “Amish modified” New Holland 273 mini baler might not be done easily through traditional advertisements, but a new online service aims to fill that niche.

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Guilderland Center sidewalks project bid awarded

Construction costs, engineering expenses fall $110k under budget

About 4,000 feet of paved path will stretch through the hamlet of Guilderland Center next summer, which is a sight several residents have waited years to see.

New Scotland looks in-house for portion of New Salem water project

New Scotland officials are eyeing town employees to complete a portion of the New Salem Water District project after one contract garnered no interest.

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Voorheesville school district superintendant ready to retire

Snyder to leave post after school year; school board member resigning

Teresa Thayer Snyder is ready to step down from her leadership post at Voorheesville school district following a life-changing year.

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Lawson Lake clean up

AmeriCorps volunteers pitch in to spruce up, enhance county park

Lawson Lake County Park got an overdue makeover, with hundreds of volunteers coming together to help out and celebrate the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps.

Albany County OKs new cyberbully law

NYCLU threatens lawsuit on revised statute after prior court victory

Albany County legislators are hoping their new cyberbullying law sticks, but a legal challenge has already been threatened.

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IED-looking device causes false alarm

Local officials are shaking their heads after a member of the Navy brought what appeared to be an improvised explosive device through a checkpoint at Albany International Airport.

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Mixing it up on Upper Madison

Street fair celebrates the vibrancy of downtown Albany neighborhood

An outdoor block party in the Pine Hills area of Albany sets itself apart with its family-friendly vibe and activities for kids and adults.

Making sure you saw it

Guilderland native builds website to crowd source online video; launches Indiegogo campaign

There is a seemingly endless stream of videos across the Internet, but a Guilderland native is hoping to make finding the best videos an engaging and simple experience.

New Scotland mulls park fixes

Town targets Swift Road Park, eyes expanding scope to more areas

At least one park in New Scotland could be getting a makeover as town officials look to boost recreational opportunities offered.

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Jim Fischer, Paul Tonko camps squabble over debates

Televised debate, two public forums planned for the 20th Congressional District race

Even before the 20th Congressional District candidates have officially squared off, both campaigns have debated the process of setting up debates.

Voorheesville loses bid for Rail Trail grant

Village officials to pursue funding options; county sets goal to pave pathway

Voorheesville isn’t receiving funding local officials sought to enhance its end of the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail, but their vision is still in focus.

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Number of bids sparse for New Salem water project

New Scotland fails to draw bids for one contract, evaluating options

Little interest was drawn for contracts to construct the New Salem Water District, with one of the three contracts not receiving a single bidder.

Area schools awarded grant to review assessments

BOCES-led consortium wins nearly $440k for 12 districts

A dozen area school districts welcomed an infusion of state funding to help improve assessment practices.

Inaction irks developer

New Scotland Board mulls water lines for residential subdivision

Patience is running dry for a developer seeking a residential subdivision, with water infrastructure remaining a sticking point for town officials.

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Tech Valley High makes a move

Regional program prepares for first year at CNSE’s Albany campus

The phones were still off the hook, but Tech Valley High School Principal Dan Liebert could already hear educational opportunities calling area students.

Albany County set to limit tobacco sales

Legislature passes ban on sales at pharmacies; McCoy to hold public hearing

Refilling your prescription medication and stocking up on cigarettes could require two separate stops a year from now.

Do online report cards make the grade?

More Capital District schools are moving to digital reports to allow parents an easy way to monitor a child’s progress

This story appears in Spotlight Newspapers' Back To School supplement, which came out Aug. 13.

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Nearly two dozen homes eyed in New Scotland

Planning Board hears residential proposal for 62-acre sub-division

Developers are looking to create a 22-lot residential subdivision on a 62-acre parcel off Route 85.

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Habitat benefit puts tents in Tawasentha Park

Event allows participants to show solidarity with those who don’t have a roof over their head

Around two dozen people will take an extended stay at Tawasentha Park this weekend as they raise money to help provide a roof over another person’s head.

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Helping out, one muffin at a time

‘Muffin Man’ expands fundraising efforts to breakfast in bed service

A basket of muffins might not change the world, but one man is proving it’s a good place to start.

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Altamont Fair a summer tradition

Old favorites and new attractions showcased at weeklong event

Alongside fair food favorites, the Altamont Fair is offering up something new to taste with some local flavor.

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New 214-acre preserve formed along Bozenkill

Dr. Becker’s wish granted after his death

Dr. Milford Becker spent the last years of his life trying to preserve some of the land he owned, but he did not see his vision realized. Almost seven years after passing away, his wish is coming true.

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Two decades of neighbors caring for one another

Community Caregivers raffles custom pendant, to hold appreciation reception

Community Caregivers is celebrating its 20th anniversary by holding a raffle for a one-of-a-kind gold pendant featuring the nonprofit’s logo of clasped hands forming a heart.

Can a law mend fences?

Neighbor complaints lead Voorheesville to draft changes to front-yard regulations

Voorheesville officials said several complaints about one home’s front yard fence spurred a local law to tackle the problem.

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Invasive trees being removed in Pine Bush

Commission set to clear 47 acres of black locust trees, reclaim landscape

Hundreds of invasive trees will be removed from the Pine Bush Preserve before next year, which will dramatically shift the landscape in preparation for a native habitat.

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Veterans push Albany County legislators on housing plan

Democrats draft last-minute amendment to clear step for Solider On project

Dozens of veterans spoke out against Democratic legislators proposing to stall Solider On’s housing project, which spurred a last-minute amendment to clear a procedural step.

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Taking a bite into fighting crime

Albany County Sheriff’s Office initiatives presented to Capital Region Rotary Club

Rotarians got an up-close look into aspects of the Albany County Sheriff’s Department, from a mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle to a transmitter that helps find those who wander.

UPDATED: Voorheesville set to harness solar power

Village signs contract with Monolith Solar for panels at two sites

Voorheesville is the latest municipality to enter a Power Purchase Agreement to reap guaranteed solar power savings as rebates making such proposals more appealing are dwindling.

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Drama outside theater walls

Eighth annual Helderberg Theater Festival features twist on classic, youth directors

The Classic Theater Guild Inc. and Indian Ladder Farms are teaming up again for The 2014 Helderberg Theater Festival, which will be held outdoors at the farm from July 17 to 27.

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Fowl are fair game in Guilderland

Zoning board precedent allows pet chickens, Town Board to weigh zoning revisions

Seeking to keep chickens on residential property in Guilderland will typically be much less of a public appeal — at least until any changes are made to the town code.

Court strikes down Albany County's cyberbullying law

State’s highest court rules statute unconstitutional, McCoy seeking new bill

The state Court of Appeals struck down the county’s cyberbullying law in a 5-2 decision Monday, July 1, with the majority ruling the statute as written was too broad and violated the First Amendment. Albany County Executive Dan McCoy vowed to work with legislators to draft a new law.

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Third time’s a charm for Jerry’s law

State legislature passes bill spurred by Voorheesville teen’s suicide

Three years after Jerry Clark’s grandmother began lobbying lawmakers to protect other families from the tragedy her family faced, state legislators approved a revised version of her bill.

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Altamont’s farmer [photo gallery]

Everett Rau discusses early days of farm life, agricultural passion

Altamont Archives and Museum volunteer Laura Shore interviewed Everett Rau about his life in agriculture Monday, June 23, in the community room at Village Hall.

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DOT cautious of Cumberland Farms plan

Guilderland Planning Board recommendation looms; site plan revised

Guilderland planners’ concerns over traffic impacts of a proposed Cumberland Farms at a busy intersection were not relieved after hearing a state official’s comments.

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Stable hands

Albany Therapeutic Riding Center seeking volunteers

Finding a sense of peace within the quiet, rural landscape below the Helderberg Escarpment likely is not difficult for most people. For more than 30 years, a local nonprofit has tapped into it to provide therapy for mentally and physically disabled individuals.

Altamont Elementary School awarded $75k grant

State designation spurs funding for professional development

Altamont Elementary School’s designation as a Reward School has led to the district receiving $75,000 to enhance professional development.

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Nugget of hope for chicken enthusiasts

Guilderland ZBA’s prior rulings could create pathway for fowl pets

Chickens could become a less public proposal in Guilderland if zoning board members determine past rulings set a precedent, despite prior claims against such ever being set.

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Study: Guilderland schools have too much unused space

District, board members mum on scenarios; school closure advised

Guilderland Central School District held a community meeting Monday, June 16, for consultant Paul Seversky to discuss findings from his building capacity study, along with some scenarios the district could pursue to reduce expenses.

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