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John Purcell

Stories by John

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McCoy eyes a healthier county

County executive focuses on nursing home, veterans, heroin scourge initiatives

County Executive Dan McCoy recently delivered his fourth State of the County address, which emphasized last year’s accomplishments and introduced new initiatives for his administration.

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Capturing wastewater’s wasted potential

Pilot program in Guilderland explores waste as energy source

ClearCove Systems, a Rochester-based company, showcased its New York State Energy Research and Develop Authority funded pilot site in Guilderland to Rep. Paul Tonko on Wednesday, Feb. 18.

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Hail Mary possible for historic barn

New Scotland official hopeful Hilton Barn will be persevered as interest surges

Daniel Mackay had conceded a miracle was likely need to relocate the Hilton barn locally, but a miraculous solution could be closing in.

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Vista eyes cashing in county’s $1M grant

Promised funds tied creating 500 jobs, legislators must release funds

Vista Technology Campus developers are looking to cash in on a more than decade-old agreement with Albany County for $1 million.

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Embossing accessibility

Bethlehem Public Library offering braille library cards, volunteer effort on braille book labels

Receiving a library card is a milestone for some children, but for Kelly Cusack the moment had little fanfare since she could not read it.

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Bethlehem Central School District kicks off budget talks

Bethlehem Central School District’s 2015-16 budget is assuming state aid will remain flat at roughly $23.35 million.

Report: Schools fiscally de-stress

Guilderland still susceptible to fiscal stress, South Colonie drops designation

Budget gaps and potential reductions might be looming for many school boards, but a recent report found most local school districts are not fiscally stressed.

UPDATE: Voorheesville schools bomb threat was false alarm

A bomb threat was found this morning at the Voorheesville Middle and High School building but proved to be a false alarm, according to school district officials.

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New Scotland weighs regulating storage containers

Zoning broadly defines accessory structures, allows PODS on residential property

Storage containers are facing an uncertain future as town officials weigh if additional regulations are needed for use on residential property.

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School leaders bemoan governor’s proposals

Cuomo unveils education reforms tied to funding increase; state aid runs absent

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed several initiatives targeting K-12 education during his joint 2015 State of the State address and budget presentation Wednesday, Jan. 21. Cuomo offered increasing funding to school districts statewide by $1.1 billion, but only if all of his education reforms are enacted.

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From helping horses to harmonious hymns

Bethlehem man ordained as deacon later in life, seeking priesthood

Many people try to find, and fulfill, what they believe is their true calling in life. A local man, however, feels he found his second calling later in life.

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A hero’s honor

Tonko rewards local man’s fight to honor another soldier

A local Korean War veteran’s elation was only beginning to subside two days after attending the 2015 State of the Union address, with him proudly pulling his gold-tinged ticket out an envelope.

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‘Miracle’ needed to preserve barn

Relocation of former LeVie barn seems unlikely before nearing deadline

Only photographs and other documentation are likely to remain as evidence of the historic Hilton barn after this summer. Relocation costs are proving too great for the massive post and beam structure.

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Hello, Birdie

Bethlehem Middle School students ready to perform ‘Bye, Bye Birdie, Jr.’

Audience members will likely leave with a happy face after watching an upbeat, humorous tale featuring a rock ’n’ roll heartthrob crooning sock hop tunes.

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'Toxic-Free Toys Act' signed into law

Local lawmakers defied calls from toy industry representatives to let state or federal officials draft changes to what levels of chemicals are allowed in children’s products.

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Year in Review: Looking back

There was plenty to speak about in 2014

A look back at the year that was in the towns of Bethlehem, New Scotland and Guilderland.

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From newsprint to law and order

Former Spotlight office renovated, becomes hub of attorneys’ offices

The Spotlight’s former office got a lot more than a new coat of paint before several attorneys moved into it.

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Police: Berne teenager kills 5-year-old cousin, falsely reports abduction

A Berne teenager allegedly killed her 5-year-old cousin and disposed of his body, before falsely reporting the boy was forcefully abducted from her home, according to police.

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New Scotland parks study outlines $1.3M improvements

Town likely to tackle projects in phases; local little league hopes for home field

New Scotland Town Board members heard a presentation Wednesday, Dec. 10, from consultant Ted Kolankowski of Barton & Loguidice on potential renovations and enhancements to Stephen P. Wallace Swift Road Park and Feura Bush Park.

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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