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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 8, 2006

Town given NEIP environmental statement

By Jarrett Carroll

GUILDERLAND — With the United States Army Corps of Engineers report half-a-year away, a final generic environmental impact statement for the Northeastern Industrial Park was given to the town on Tuesday night.

The industrial park is located on property that was once used as an Army depot; toxic wastes were buried there.

The Restoration Advisory Board, made up mostly of local residents working with the Army Corps on cleanup, met on May 24 in Guilderland to discuss what has been done to the areas of concern, those deemed a risk to human health, and what it plans to do next.

Several people on the advisory board were concerned that the town board would accept a final impact statement from the industrial park without further public discussion or recommendations from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Supervisor Kenneth Runion told The Enterprise that this is untrue and additional public comments will be included in the final impact statement after it is reviewed.

Charles Rielly, co-chair of the Restoration Advisory Board, personally delivered a letter to board member David Bosworth, stating that he was not given adequate notice of Tuesday’s presentation.

On Tuesday night, Kathy Simmons, representing the Northeastern Industrial Park, along with David Buicko, chief operating officer of the industrial park, both presented the board with the impact statement.

Currently the impact statement addresses 73 comments considered to be "substantial," Simmons said, and she also provided CD’s of the impact statement for the town’s website.

Representatives from the industrial park will be back at the June 20 town board meeting.

Runion said that more comments will be added to the final generic environmental impact statement and that the board will review the Army Corps’ findings at the end of the year.

"My main concern is the drinking water of Guilderland. The Black Creek is right there," Rielly said at the May 24 RAB meeting.

Thadeus Ausfeld, the town’s chief water plant operator and other co-chair of the Restoration Advisory Board, is also very concerned with the town’s drinking water.

"I am sure you are aware the Watervliet Reservoir is being overloaded with plant, industrial, municipal, and residential organic and inorganic pollutants," Ausfeld wrote in a letter sent to town board members. "Organics are being generated in the Bozen Kill by the Village of Altamont. Additionally, organics are being generated in the Normans Kill by Princetown, Rotterdam, and Duanesburg. One Black Creek generator is the Northeast Industrial Park."

Ausfeld urged board members to wait for the Army Corps of Engineers’ report in the fall, saying in his letter, "It would be wise to wait until after their meeting before approving the Northeastern Industrial Park Generic Environmental Impact Statement."

The Normans Kill, Bozen Kill, and Black Creek are all tributaries of the Watervliet Reservoir, which supplies water for both Guilderland and the city of Watervliet, which owns the reservoir, located in Western Guilderland. The reservoir and part of its watershed run through a former section of the Pine Bush. The rest of the 113-square-mile watershed is a mix of forest and farmland.

When the industrial park was owned by the United States government as an army depot, industrial waste was disposed of into the Black Creek for many years.

The government is now finishing a $650,000 clean-up of land outside the industrial park, west of Depot Road, now owned by Joan Burns. Work is set to resume in early July with a target completion date of December, 2006.

Ausfeld warned board members in his letter that there is no watershed protection plan for the Watervliet Reservoir.

Rare 3-2 split leads to delay for re-zoning

By Jarrett Carroll

GUILDERLAND — If there was one message conveyed during last Tuesday’s town board meeting, it was that proper town planning is necessary.

The board listened to public comments on two re-zoning proposals — one at the site of a new restaurant and the other for a senior housing complex — but no decisions were made.

In a rare 3-2 split, the all-Democratic town board voted to delay re-zone requests for 2026 and 2028 Western Avenue from Local Business to Business Non-Retail Professional, in an effort to address what members call "spot zoning."

Those parcels are the site of a former flower shop, where the zoning board has now approved variances and a permit for an Italian restaurant.

Supervisor Kenneth Runion and board member Michael Ricard voted against board member David Bosworth’s proposal to delay the vote. Board members Patricia Slavick and Paul Pastore voted in favor of the proposal.

"I feel the board made a mistake in making the lots Local Business, so I don’t feel a delay is necessary," Runion said at the meeting, adding that he already gave an extensive review of the lot’s history.

Bosworth, who chairs Guilderland’s Democratic party, sent Runion an e-mail prior to the meeting, asking for a delay in the re-zone vote because he believes other similarly-zoned parcels along the busy Western Avenue corridor should be reviewed in order to prevent future problems.

"I’d like to postpone the vote and ask the town planner to look at other parcels on Western Avenue," Bosworth said, adding that he did not want the owners of the two Western Avenue properties to feel singled out.

Pastore, the tie-breaker, was hesitant with his vote in favor of the delay.

"I’m going to vote in favor," Pastore said, but warned, "What we are doing is setting a precedent for an Appellate review of the planning and zoning boards, and I am wary of that," Pastore said.

Runion reminded everyone at the meeting that the restaurant slated to open at 2026 Western Ave., which was the source of a neighborhood petition asking for the re-zoning, would retain its special-use permit, no matter what the property is zoned.

"The ability of the restaurant to open is not in jeopardy by any action that this board takes," Runion said.

The re-zone, if it goes through, would restrict the parcels to lighter uses, such as a doctor’s office or lawyer’s office. The parcels on busy Route 20, are backed by a residential neighborhood.

Town planner Jan Weston told the board that she wanted to speak with Supervisor Runion about the "scope" of the zoning reviews.

During the public-comment period at the beginning of the meeting, the new restaurant’s owner, Connie Ware, and her attorney, Rob Adams, spoke to the board.

"I purchased the property"because I felt it would be a great place for a restaurant," said Ware. She added that she paid a premium price for the lot and feels that a zoning change would affect the re-sale price of the property.

Ware also apologized to the board for not attending the original public hearing.

Adams informed the board that Ware took out over a half-million dollars in loans to open the restaurant and could lose her business and her home if she could not build the restaurant.

"The town board is going to honor the special-use permit issued by the zoning board of appeals," Runion told The Enterprise yesterday. Runion said that the zoning board did its job in granting the special-use permit, following the law, and that the mistake was made when the lot was originally re-zoned to Local Business in the early ’90’s.

"We’re just looking to the future," Runion said.

Senior housing

A public hearing on re-zoning land further west on Route 20 for Jeff Thomas’s senior housing project was also held during Tuesday’s meeting.

The re-zone would change 13 acres — formerly the site of the Bavarian Chalet restaurant — from Local Business to Multiple Residence. This would allow denser development.

"There is a tremendous need for senior housing in Guilderland, especially in the west end," Thomas said during his presentation. "I believe I found the perfect site."

Dominick Ranieri, the project’s architect, said the zoning change would be "more appropriate" for the area and that the project would be a good fit for the town.

Ranieri said the average housing price in Guilderland was around $267,000 and that Thomas’s senior housing units would likely be priced at around $220,000.

"That’s in the affordability range the board was looking for," Runion told The Enterprise.

Weston sent a memo to board members saying she has "reservations about the density" of the project. Thomas and Renieri asked the board for some leniency on the density issue, citing a low traffic impact and offering the town the existing chalet building as a community center.

There were many public supporters for the senior housing project at the meeting, most of them elderly.

"As a whole, seniors aren’t really all that noisy. We deserve a few variances," one Guilderland resident said.

One couple who lives adjacent to the old Bavarian Chalet liked the project, but requested that a substantial buffer be put in place between their home and the proposed parking lots for the project. They also asked Thomas to abandon a driveway that currently runs from Route 20 along their property.

Marion Avery of 5085 Western Turnpike sent a hand-written letter to the board in support of Thomas’s project.

"I watched the chalet start, grow, and then close down," said a resident from 9 Frenches Mill Rd. "This is a nice project"It’s going to be an asset."

"I don’t see any reason why we would deny a zoning change for this project," said Gene Messercola, an Albany County legislator who represents the area and lives on 3879 Carman Rd. "I have lived in this town most of my life"This project here, I believe, is an affordable project.

"This is one of the better senior projects that I have seen," Messercola added.

Town officials weighed in, too.

"Would you consider putting in a small store so people could get newspapers and other things"" Slavick asked, inspiring a small round of applause.

Thomas said it was a good idea and would look into it.

The town’s planning board sent its recommendation for the project to the board members and Runion said that, overall, he liked the project.

"I like it. It’s attractive," said Runion. "It’s a nice project for seniors, plus it provides us with a place for senior services."

John Brenan from Old State Road asked if the units would be multi-level or single units on each floor.

Ranieri said that each unit will be on a single floor, but that buyers could opt to have a personal-use residential elevator put in for units on higher floors. Thomas added that the staircases in the project were designed to accept elevator chairs if potential buyers were interested. Thomas said a brochure will be created to market the units.

"From the small press we’ve got from the Times Union and The Altamont Enterprise, we’ve already got a waiting list for the project," Thomas said.

The only sticking point during the hearing was the construction of a sidewalk that would connect the project to the town hall and a local supermarket.

"I think sidewalks are important. People are looking for walkable communities," Runion told The Enterprise. "We have a pathways committee trying to make a walkable community. It’s important and we can’t ignore that."

Renieri said a sidewalk would be built along Route 20 in front of the project, but that plans did not call for anything more.

"I definitely am willing to explore ideas with the zoning and planning boards," Thomas told the board.

Runion set a vote-only session for June 20 on Thomas’s re-zone request.

Other business

In other business, the town board:

— Set a scoping session for the $100 million project called Glass Works Village on Western Avenue and Winding Brook Road, which is to combine both residential and commerical buildings in a village-like atmosphere. The session, set for July 11, at 7:30 p.m., will allow town officials and local residents to raise issues of traffic and environmental impacts;

— Heard a presentation on revisions to the Mill Hill planned unit development, another project to house senior residents — on Route 155. Out of four phases, only two were proposed to change. Representatives from the Mill Hill project said they wanted to drastically reduce the density of the original proposals of phases two and three.

Representatives also wanted to reduce the age requirement for the projects from 62 to 55 in order to compete with other retirement housing projects in town;

— Set a public hearing to re-zone properties beginning at 3011 Spawn Road and running to Timothy Lane from General Business to Rural 15. The public hearing will be on July 11, at 8 p.m. Weston sent a memo to board members in support of the re-zone

A petition and several letters were sent to the town board asking for a re-zone of the area. A Stewart’s shop is interested in opening a store on the busy road. Weston said, "I wholly support the re-zoning of these premises," in a memo to board members;

— Unanimously approved the transfer of $2,357.58 from the Serafini Drive pump station account to the sewer reserve fund;

— Unanimously authorized the Department of Water and Wastewater Management to bid for materials for Water Extension #72, which is the Voorheesville and Guilderland interconnection;

— Unanimously authorized an agreement with Barton & Loguidice, PC for engineering services and for repairing and painting the Westmere water tank. The agreement also states that the company will demolish the Depot Road water tank;

— Unanimously authorized the supervisor to sign a collector’s warrant for the Guilderland water district; and

— Announced that the town clerk’s office is now accepting passport applications Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Guilderland students bring history to life

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — They crossed lines through decades and centuries; they crossed ethnic lines and gender lines. But they were all Americans.

Last Thursday, Guilderland High School students in an interdisciplinary course that combines English and United States history portrayed historical figures in a living museum.

The perimeter of the gym was lined with 43 displays that captured moments from the country’s earliest European settlement to its most recent pastimes in sports and music.

Davy Crockett, portrayed by Katie Steinmann, looked over a cardboard parapet, painted to look like stone, through the site of a Kentucky long rifle. Steinmann decided to portray Crockett, she said, because she had heard about his exploits since her youth.

"My dad would play ‘The Ballad of Davy Crockett’ when I was little," she said. "I wanted to find out what he was about."

And so she learned the whole story of the frontiersman and politician who died at the siege of the Alamo.

Nearby, Nikki Branchini and Liz Vennard posed as the great Civil War generals at Appomattox Courthouse, where Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865.

Grant wore a blue Union cap and a dark mustache and Lee wore a curly white wig and beard. The young women portraying the generals were interested in the period and the moment of history and unperturbed by the gender switch.

The same was true of Josh Kershaw who portrayed Sacagawea, the Shoshone guide and interpreter who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition.

"I’m one quarter Native American," Kershaw said with pride. His grandfather, Paul Bennet, was Abenaki.

Kershaw had on the display table before him family treasures that included a carved mask, a headdress, and a photograph of his grandfather as a soulful young man on a reservation in Canada. He is wearing a feather headdress and many necklaces.

Details mattered. At the end of the first hour-and-a-half session, before the final session began, while the gym was largely empty, Ryan O’Rourke, who was portraying Edgar Allan Poe held a violin. He quickly set it down as a visitor approached, explaining Poe didn’t play; it would be out of character.

He chose to portray Poe, O’Rourke said, because he was "a neat character." O’Rourke’s favorite piece by Poe is his macabre 1845 poem, "The Raven."

Some of the actors worked in pairs. Greg Barcomb and Joe Lima looked at home in their Yankees uniforms, portraying Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Nearby, Jackie and John F. Kennedy, portrayed by Stephenie Bintz and Michael Corridan, were ready to tell their stories.

Outside of the gym, visitors were challenged with a game of jeopardy.

The familiar Uncle Sam with the starred top hat and stern gaze pointed his forefinger from a student flyer and asked, "Think YOU know American history""

Lynnwood kids explore the far reaches of fitness

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — The kids at Lynnwood Elementary School know the state’s geography in their muscles and their brains.

As a school-wide project, they donned pedometers and walked till they sweated.

"It’s fun to see how many steps you go," said nine-year-old Andrew Sentz, a Lynnwood third-grader.

Another third-grader, eight-year-old Lexi Ochs, agreed. "You see how many steps it takes you to get from one place to another," she said.

One Lynnwood step was calculated at two feet. A huge map of New York State is posted in the hallway outside the gym door.

The map states that 5,280 feet equal a mile, and the course the Lynnwood kids collectively walked is plotted from Lynnwood to New York City — that’s 166 miles and took a day to complete — then from New York west to Niagara Falls — that’s 407 miles and took four days — then north to Lake Placid in the Adirondacks — that’s 428 miles and took a day — and then home to Lynnwood — another 140 miles.

"It was for the whole school," said physical education teacher Michael Schaffer who spearheaded the project with co-worker Don Favro.

Money to buy the pedometers was raised over many months, he said, including at the school’s Family Fun Night.

Being able to measure their treks made all the difference for the kids, Schaffer said. "They were sweating and loving it," he said. "It was monumental for them to see how far they walked....They were disappointed to be done."

Wellness policy proposed for Guilderland schools

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Everything from how kids exercise to how they eat during school hours comes under a new wellness policy presented to the Guilderland School Board Tuesday night.

The district, like those across the country, is required to have a policy in place by the end of the month.

"We don’t have a person who’s going to monitor everything," said Linda Mossop, food service director, in explaining the policy to the board.

Mossop served on a committee with administrators, board members, teachers, and parents who developed the policy.

"As a committee," Mossop said, "we agreed to use words like ‘encourage’ and ‘discourage.’ ‘Prohibit’ does not appear."

She also said, "The important thing is to have choice."

The committee, Mossop said, first looked at all the Guilderland schools — five elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school — to "see what we actually are doing."

While the district exceeds state nutrition standards and a Hooked on Health Committee has been educating students and sponsoring family activities, she said, "We noticed a 17 percent increase in BMIs from first grade to sixth grade, which put these students in the unhealthy range of over 25."

Body mas index, or BMI, is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a BMI of 25 up to 30 indicates a person is overweight; 30 or greater indicates obesity.

Mossop went on to say, "Our Wellness Policy was developed as a starting point, with compromise and achievable goals."

The policy’s mission statement says that the district "is committed to developing healthy schools that support student learning and create an environment conducive to the health and well-being for faculty, staff and all students, while also supporting parents in accomplishing this goal."


Meals served through the national school lunch and breakfast program will meet state nutrition standards, offer a variety of fruits and vegetables; serve only low-fat milk, and use whole-grain breads when possible, the policy says.

Staff will "make every effort to eliminate any social stigma" attached to free and reduced-price meals, preventing identification of students who are eligible for them, it states.

Students are to be provided at least 10 minutes to eat breakfast after sitting down, and 15 minutes for lunch. They will also have access to wash their hands before eating snacks or meals.

Sharing of food is discouraged because of allergies and other restrictions on some children’s diets.

At the elementary schools, all snacks sold by the district must fall under the Choose Sensibly guidelines of seven grams of fat or less, two grams or less of saturated fat, 15 grams or less of sugar, and 360 milligrams or less of sodium. Students will not have access to vending machines before, during, or after the school day.

At the middle school and high school, half of all food sold a la carte must fall under the Choose Sensibly guidelines; no candy or gum is to be sold on school grounds; and a choice of two fruits or vegetables will be offered at any location where food is sold.

When the elementary schools first changed to 100 percent healthy snacks, Mossop said, "Initially, it slowed down sales, but it picked up again once they got used to low fat and whole wheat."

She also said there hadn’t been any loss of revenues at the high school, but students still have a choice of buying food that doesn’t meet the Choose Sensibly guidelines.

The policy also outlines limits on portion sizes.

Board member Linda Bakst stated she had read an article in The New York Times that said limiting portions could "backfire," leaving kids hungry so they would later make poor choices to fill the void.

Board member John Dornbush responded that he had volunteered to work on the food-service line at Farnsworth Middle School and said of the students who could pick among many fruits, vegetables and hamburgers, "They have all kinds of choices. They will be hungry only if they choose to be hungry."

Fund-raisers and rewards

Outside of food services, the policy discourages bake sales "centered solely on high sugar, high fat, low nutrition food items that present no healthy alternative."

PTA leaders have said, in the past, that sales of sweets make the most successful fund-raisers. Mossop said the Guilderland Music Parents "offer wonderful fruit plates and cheese-and-cracker plates during events" and that the wrestling concessions "provide healthy food choices."

Also, snacks brought to school, the policy says, "should make a positive contribution to students’ and staff’s diet and health," and school stores must follow the policy guidelines.

The district encourages rewarding students with "healthy snacks, physical activity and appropriate non-food rewards and discourages the use of unhealthy sugary, high fat snacks particularly as daily token rewards," the policy says, adding, "Classroom, club, team celebrations and parties, to the extent that they are food events, should reflect the school district’s policy promoting healthy food choices."

Beyond food

The district’s physical-education program follows state learning standards, the policy states, stressing the value of physical activity "as an ongoing part of a healthy lifestyle."

High-school students meet for 85 minutes once every four days, middle-school students meet every other school day for 42 minutes, and elementary students meet for 90 minutes a week.

Extracurricular activities include intramural, extramural, and interscholastic athletics.

"Recess," the policy states, "provides opportunities for physical activities which help students stay alert and attentive in class and provides other educational and social benefits." It also states, "Extended periods of inactivity (2 or more hours) should be discouraged. Whenever possible, alternative consequences for behavioral issues should be explored before withholding recess activities."

The policy outlines district programs for emotional wellness and goes over the importance of staff wellness. It lists maintaining "an environment that is free of tobacco, alcohol and prohibited substances as required by law" and says the district will "ensure all staff members have access to opportunities that enhance their health"

The policy also covers nutrition and health education and states, "The district encourages health and wellness initiatives in the community and supports community outreach efforts...."

Board member Catherine Barber asked about encouraging bike paths and walks.

While Mossop said Barber’s idea was "wonderful," she concluded, "We haven’t gotten that far. We needed a starting point."

"This is just a skeleton," agreed board member Barbara Fraterrigo, who served on the committee. "There’s a lot more meat that, over time, could be added."

She gave as an example of work-out areas for teachers.

Superintendent Gregory Aidala said that the proposed policy will be "shared with building principals next week."

Once the policy is adopted, Aidala said, it will be "posted in conspicuous places," including on the district’s website: www.guilderlandschools.org.

"We feel we will be successful in moving forward," he concluded.

"We’re eons ahead of other districts," said Fraterrigo, praising the work done by the Hooked on Health Committee.

"We had to tamp them down a little," she said, "because they were so excited."

GOP chair charged with DWI

By Saranac Hale Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Remorse sits heavy but doesn’t right wrongs for Antonio Cortes.

The chairman of the stagnant Guilderland Republican Committee, Cortes, was arrested in Colonie on May 28 and charged with driving while intoxicated; his blood alcohol content was over .08 percent, according to the Colonie Police Department.

His position on the committee isn’t certain at this point, though he is full-speed ahead with goings-on for the party, he said.

Cortes told The Enterprise that he will meet with the Albany County Republican Committee chair, Peter Kermani, next Monday. They will discuss his situation and proceed with party logistics, like getting petitions ready for the next election, he said. Kermani didn’t return a phone call from The Enterprise yesterday.

Guilderland politics had been dominated by Republicans for over a century, but the GOP has not done well in recent elections. Although enrollment in town is about one-third Republicans, one-third Democrats, and one-third independents or small party, only one town post is still held by a Republican — the long-time highway superintendent.

There will be a decision on who will chair the committee "sometime in the following week," said Cortes. As far as who might step in to the position if Cortes resigns, he said, "The committee will make this decision."

Cortes became chairman of the Republican committee, from his previous post as vice chairman, when Jeffrey Perlee stepped down in 2003. The vice chairman position is currently empty.

"Right now, we are in the process of reorganizing," Cortes told The Enterprise on Wednesday. "We have maybe 20 active members in the committee." He said that the committee is trying to regroup and put things together for next year. "It’s not that we’re disorganized or not present," said Cortes. "We’re just doing other things."

Cortes will do some reorganizing in his personal life, too. After the arrest, he said, "I plan to do things differently." Asked if he had a history of drinking problems, Cortes said no. This was his first arrest, of which he said, "I’m ashamed."

Friends and fellow Republicans stand by him, though. "Tony is a friend who’s having troubled times," said Mike Donegan, who ran for Guilderland Town Board on the Republican ticket last year.

"Tony is a good and old friend," said Perlee, the former committee chairman. "He made a mistake as anyone could do." The two men both said that they support Cortes.

"I stand by him as a solid person and a solid citizen," Perlee said.

The Colonie Police Department said that Cortes was pulled over near Fuller Road and Cherry Street at 3:30 a.m. on May 28 when he failed to obey a traffic signal. Cortes said that his blood alcohol content was .09, one-tenth of a percent over the legal limit; the Colonie police said the BAC wasn’t listed but was over the .08 limit. The limit was reduced from .10 in 2003.

"I don’t want to downplay the incident," said Cortes. "I take responsibility."

Postal officials answer villagers’ complaints

By Saranac Hale Spencer

ALTAMONT — After months of complaints from village residents about the Altamont post office, Mayor James Gaughan arranged for local postal officials to be at the June 6 village board meeting to hear customers’ grievances.

"The good rapport with the post office in the community has been eroding over the past few years," said Barbara Quackenbush, a resident and Altamont library trustee.

Post office customers aired their gripes at the meeting, all citing similar problems. If a piece of mail has only their street address, not their post office box number, it will be returned to the sender. This happens with important pieces of mail — credit-card bills, packages of medicine, and hospital bills — say residents, many of whom say that junk mail finds its way to their box without the requisite post office box number.

Caesar Taormina, consumer affairs manager for the post office, listened to residents’ concerns at the meeting and gave some explanation as to the delivery problems. He pointed out that the introduction of the Delivery Point Sequencing system, which has streamlined the delivery process, cutting down on carriers’ in-office work hours, requires the box number in order for the mail to get to the box.

DPS enables the mail carrier to take a tray of mail, usually 500 pieces, and deliver it immediately because the mail is already in sequence, he said. "It works the same way with P.O. boxes," said Taormina. "You can begin to see the value of proper addressing."

If a piece of mail is addressed to a house number, it will go to the carrier who covers that area rather than to the post office box tray of mail, which causes delays and complications, he said.

Residents at Tuesday’s meeting said that local knowledge should fill in the places where technology falls short. When the DPS system puts a piece of mail in the wrong tray, a postal employee who recognizes the name or address should put that piece of mail in the proper box regardless of improper addressing, several residents said.

Postal customers also said that the companies that they do business with leave off the box number although the company is given that information from the customer. Suzanne DeLyons, manager of marketing for the post office, acknowledged this problem and said that the post office should work on getting the word out to businesses that box numbers are necessary.

What residents were most concerned about at the meeting were the financial problems they say they’ve had as a result of returned mail, though Beatrice Smith voiced concern over medicine that didn’t get to her on time.

Debra Pratt, who oversees mailing newspapers at The Altamont Enterprise, listed several financial problems that she has had as a result of problems with the post office, including a check that she got four months late.

Taormina closed the comment session, saying that the post office would get back to people addressing specific concerns and summing up: "The bottom line is — if we know where it goes, we deliver it."

Other business

In other business, the village board:

— Voted unanimously to approve a request from Scott Forman, of the Altamont Community Tradition, to provide support for the July 16 Community Day at Bozenkill Park;

— Voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Gaughan to submit an application for a federal grant to the Department of Transportation to benefit the Altamont Free library. The money would be used to move the library from the basement of the Key Bank to the old train station. The village will be co-sponsoring the application with the town of Guilderland and is in no way financially responsible;

— Authorized payment of $5,454.21 to E. Guy Roemer for legal services related to litigation with Michael and Nancy Trumpler over land for village wells;

— Announced that the Crounse house was taken last week and the mayor asked that the porch be taken off, which was done. The historic house on the corner of Route 146 and Gun Club Road was bought jointly by the town of Guilderland and the village of Altamont for back taxes from Albany County. A structural report and inventory of the property will be done and;

— Authorized Mayor Gaughan to represent Altamont Senior Citizens in a meal program grant though the Albany County Office of the Aging that will subsidize the weekly luncheon program.

Ribbon-cutting for road project — at last

By Matt Cook

ALTAMONT — Nine years after the project was conceived, work is officially completed on a $6 million road construction project in the village.

Mayor James Gaughan oversaw a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Thursday in Orsini Park in the center of Altamont. Former mayors Paul DeSarbo, who lost his post to Gaughan, and Kenneth Runion, the current supervisor of Guilderland, were also on hand.

The project began during Runion’s administration, in 1997, with planning for Main Street and Maple Avenue by the village and the New York State Department of Transportation. The project included streetscape concerns, safety, economic development, and the sewer and water line infrastructure, village officials say.

The bulk of the construction work was done during DeSarbo’s administration, often congesting traffic and blocking roads. The village has quieted significantly since then.

In addition to the roadwork, the project also included a new public parking lot off of Maple Avenue, funded by the Capital District Transportation Authority, after concerns were raised by village business owners about the reduced on-street parking..

Village taxpayers contributed about $250,000 for the project, Mayor Gaughan said.

Police protest

Unrelated to the project itself, Thursday’s ceremony also served as the site of a one-man protest against Altamont Commissioner of Public Safety Anthony Salerno.

Daniel Jacobson, of Altamont, held a cardboard sign that said "Commissioner Salerno must go."

"He has a history of harassing the teenagers and the single moms, and now he’s going after me," Jacobson told The Enterprise.

Jacobson would not elaborate on how Salerno has harassed him.

Salerno, who assumed the post last summer after a major restructuring of the small police department, has been accused of harassment before. In March, Altamont resident Terri Gockley complained to the village board about what she called "excessive and bullying treatment" by Salerno of her 18-year-old son after he was arrested for giving alcohol to minors.

In January, an Altamont Police Officer was disciplined by Salerno for harassing a clerk at Ketchum’s Service Store, where Jacobson works.

Salerno didn’t return a phone call from The Enterprise this week.

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