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John Purcell

Stories by John

Albany County Legislature reduction advances

Public hearing to be held on contentious downsize, some question timing

The Albany County Legislature voted 22-14 in favor of holding a public hearing Monday, Dec. 29, at 7:15 p.m., on amending the county charter to reduce the amount of legislators from 39 to 29 members.

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Albany County Legislature OKs ‘Toxic-free Toys Act’

Lawmakers approve ban on children’s products with known carcinogens

The Albany County Legislature on Monday, Dec. 8, voted 34-4 to approve Local Law J, known as the Toxic-Free Toys Act. The new law would ban the sale of children’s products containing benzene, lead, mercury, antimony, arsenic, cadmium and cobalt within the county.

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Jerry’s Law is on the books

V’ville teen suicide victim's family hopes legislation will spare others from tragedy

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed “Jerry’s Law” last month, which ended the three-year crusade of Mary Clark to get a state law passed to help other families avoid the same tragedy her family faced.

Albany County Legislature could be shrinking

Albany County Legislative Chairman Shawn Morse and Democratic Majority Leader Frank Commisso introduced a local law Thursday night, Dec. 4, during a Democratic caucus. The legislature will set the date for a public hearing on the proposal at its meeting Monday night.

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Indoor kart racing facility reopens under new company

K1 Speed takes over former Fastrax Raceway in Crossgates Commons

K1 Speed opened its doors Friday, Nov. 21, at Crossgates Commons and has since rebranded the inside of the indoor kart racing facility, with plans to make changes to the track.

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Advocates urge Albany County to pass ‘Toxic-Free Toys Act’

Report: A dozen toxic toys sold in county, call for local legislation

The Albany County Legislature held a public hearing Tuesday, Nov. 25, on its proposed Toxic-Free Toys Act, which would allow the county health commissioner to inspect merchandise sold in stores and issue fines for toys found to have dangerous levels of, or banned, chemicals.

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Holiday cheer in full bloom

Guilderland Garden Club to hold annual Greens Show at Mynderse-Fredrick House

The annual Open House and Greens Show at the historic Mynderse-Fredrick House, located at 451 Main St. in Guilderland Center, will kick off on Friday, Dec. 5, from 4 to 8 p.m. The show continues through the weekend and is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 6 and 7.

Survey highlights holiday spending habits

Siena Research Institute finds seasonal spending stable, gifts more practical

Siena Research Institute released its annual Statewide Poll of Holiday Spending on Monday, Nov. 24, which was conducted from Nov. 3 to 17. Approximately 59 percent of the shoppers surveyed are planning to spend about the same as last year.

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Voorheesville Elementary honored

School celebrates Blue Ribbon designation

There aren’t many times someone can say they’re having a blue day while sporting a big smile, but that’s exactly what Voorheesville Elementary School Principal Thomas Reardon recently did.

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Voorheesville fills school board vacancy

Board of Education appoints newcomer, who plans to run for full term

School board members appointed a local attorney to fill the vacancy created after a recent resignation, which comes as the board gears up to make some big decisions.

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Guilderland seeks solutions for schools

District projects $129k budget gap next year, while focusing on long-term vision

School district leaders again sought community input before budget deliberations begin, but this year, residents had new insight on the excess capacity of its buildings.

County nursing home set for nearly $2.5M in fixes

Several modernizations and improvements are scheduled for the Albany County Nursing Home, which will be bonded over the next two years for a total of $2.456 million.

New Scotland OKs $7.2M budget within tax cap

Spending plan holds 1.94 percent property levy tax increase

Town Board members adopted next year’s budget totaling almost $7.23 million, which stays within the tax cap while tapping about $70,000 less from fund balances.

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It’s a wonder

Voorheesville Middle School Drama Club to present a musical twist on a classic this weekend

Two years ago, Stefanie DeFronzo took a summer workshop at the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham and played the white queen in the musical “Wonderland.”

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The man behind the wimpy kid

Author of popular series talks to Guilderland students

Three years after trying to get syndicated and years after the first draft was sketched out, a wimpy kid finally got his time in the spotlight. That light is still shining, too.

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Cumberland Farms rezone gets the OK

Guilderland Town Board will vote on change for Route 20 property, tied to DOT follow up review

Town planners have clashed with developers of a proposed Cumberland Farms at a busy intersection, but a compromise was reached to allow for the rezone.

Guilderland Central School District calls for bids on upgrades

Capital improvements proceed through fog of building study

Capital improvements totaling more than $17 million are proceeding as planned, despite uncertainty over whether Guilderland school district will continue using all its buildings.

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Hess wheels in its history [photo gallery]

Toy Truck Mobile Museum stops in Slingerlands, showcases its 50-year history

Fascination over Hess’ toy trucks seemed to hold an ageless appeal at a recent and rare showing of the entire collection.

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Amedore defeats Tkaczyk in rematch

GOP captures four of the 46th Senate District’s five counties

Amedore, R-Rotterdam, defeated incumbent Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, on Tuesday, Nov. 4, following a heated rematch for the Senate seat Tkaczyk had won two years ago by a little more than a dozen votes.

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Tonko topples Fischer for congressional seat

Democrat easily sweeps to his fourth two-year term

Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, was elected to his fourth two-year term after election results on Tuesday night, Nov. 4, grew to an insurmountable lead that Jim Fischer, R-Ballston Spa was unable to overcome.

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Kicking into high gear

Latham man expands Taekwondo lessons to a second Guilderland location

Joe Hasan started his martial arts training at 4 years old and went on to compete in national and international competitions. Now, he’s looking spur other 4-year-olds’ interest in taekwondo.

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Fastrax goes off track, closes doors

Indoor raceway abruptly closes at Crossgates Commons, deposits allegedly not refunded

The area’s only indoor go-kart racing facility abruptly shut its doors last month, and there has been little information revealed about the reason behind the closure.

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Resilience follows unthinkable tragedy

Guilderland Elementary School grieves over slain students, plans to memorialize boys

After the initial shock of hearing about the quadruple murder at a home on Western Avenue wore off, Guilderland school district officials were faced with tackling how to address the varying needs of grieving students and staff.

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Grant Hill Road bridge reopens

Replacement opens to traffic ahead of schedule following completion of $1.9 million reconstruction project

Detour signs for Grant Hill Road might have seemed permanent to some drivers after more than a year of bypassing the rural bridge, but the Normanskill Creek overpass has reopened.

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Guilderland Central School District plans ‘community summit’

Cross section of district sought to develop solutions for tackling financial woes

Guilderland school district leaders are looking to community members for solutions addressing excess capacity and waning resources after setting aside scenarios from a recent building capacity study.

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Paul Tonko, Jim Fischer see different paths

Candidates for 20th Congressional District meet at forum, lay out vision for country

Job creation and growing the economy are crucial issues for residents of the 20th Congressional District, according to both candidates. However, they share diverging opinions on how to achieve those goals.

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A race to the finish in the 46th

Rematch is once again a heated battle between Tkaczyk and Amedore

Any voter wondering if their vote really matters only needs to look at how close the 46th Senate District race was two years, with a little more than a dozen ballots deciding the race.

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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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