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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 14, 2006

Away from students:
Crandall will work on phys ed curriculum

By Rachel Dutil

VOORHEESVILLE – Robert Crandall will return to the Voorheesville School District for the start of the second semester on Jan. 29, but will not return to the gym. The long-time physical education teacher, instead, will be writing curriculum.

The district is trying to improve on its curriculum, said Linda Langevin, superintendent for the district. Crandall will be writing lessons for all areas of physical education from kindergarten through grade 12, she said.

Crandall, who has been working for the district since 1978, is returning to the school after more than two years of paid leave and a 60-day unpaid suspension. He was counseled on multiple occasions from 1994 through 2003 for inappropriate comments and behavior.

"He had been warned and warned and warned," Langevin told The Enterprise earlier.

In a unanimous vote, the school board decided in June of 2004 to bring charges against Crandall, through a state-set disciplinary process for tenured teachers.

That process took two years, during which time, Crandall was on paid suspension.

The hearing officer, Ronald Kowalski, found Crandall guilty of four charges of misconduct and inappropriate behavior. Kowalski said, in his determination, that Crandall’s "long and largely successful teaching career with the District and the nature of the misconduct do not make dismissal appropriate."

It is the responsibility of the board to ensure the safety and comfort of the district’s students and employees, said school board Vice-President C. James Coffin earlier.

Crandall’s return to the district was not favored by the school board, but the board is "bound by the decision of the process," Coffin said earlier.

"He’s nearing retirement age," Langevin said of the tenured teacher who will be eligible for retirement at age 55.

Langevin said she has not spoken to Crandall about his new position with the district, and is unsure what his retirement plans are.

Crandall could not be reached by The Enterprise.

Other business

In other business, at its Dec. 11 meeting, the school board:

– Decreased the tax warrant by about $6,700, from about $14,417,000 to about $14,410,000 as a result of decisions made by hearing officers in 10 small claims court cases in the town of New Scotland;

– Heard a presentation outlining an October International Center for Leadership in Education Symposium held in Washington, D.C. which six district administrators and six teachers attended;

– Heard about the school lunch program from Assistant Superintendent for Business Sarita Winchell. "Yes we’re losing money," said Winchell, "but we cut our losses by two-thirds." She also announced that the top sellers in the nutritious vending machine are grapes, celery sticks, yogurt, and bagels;

– Accepted receipt of the audit report by the New York State Comptroller;

– Heard a proposal from Principal Mark Diefendorf for an additional guidance counselor who would work with students transitioning from the middle school into the high school;

– Amended several district policies. The board approved the recommendation from the district audit committee that the board president, David Gibson, approve the use of time and reimbursement expenses by Superintendent Langevin. She will need board approval to use district funds, or go on a trip, and then needs audit committee approval for reimbursement. The change comes in the wake of an audit by the state Comptroller’s office alleging the previous superintendent spent money inappropriately.

The board approved amendments to the expense reimbursement policy. Langevin will continue working on this policy as she looks at federal reimbursement rates, and wording to include incidental expenses and mileage, she told The Enterprise.

The board approved a new information security breach and notification policy as part of the corrective action plan.

The board intends to amend its tobacco-use policy, and plans on posting the policy on the district website with a feedback survey. The board hopes to receive feedback and suggestions on the policy before adopting it;

– Approved renting school vehicles to the town of New Scotland for use in transporting senior citizens;

– Announced a special meeting to be held on Monday, Jan. 8, at 7:15 p.m., to discuss a sliding scale on tax exemptions for senior citizens and people with disabilities who have limited incomes; and

– Extended supervision at the elementary school for an additional 60 days. At its October meeting, the board decided to allow a teacher’s aide to work an additional half-hour per day in the mornings to supervise children who arrived at school early. It was approved on a 60-day trial basis, and will now be extended an additional 60 days. The board revised the time to 8:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., as that is the period of time that most of the students were arriving.

A place of worship assembled in New Scotland

By Rachel Dutil

NEW SCOTLAND – The octagonal-shaped sanctuary of the new First Assembly of God Church provides a modern home for a Pentecostal denomination dating back to the late 1800s.

The church is a member of Assemblies of God, USA, based in Springfield, Mo. Assemblies of God is the largest Pentecostal denomination, with 51 million members worldwide. Their mission – "Evangelism, worship, and discipleship."

About 150 congregates worship at the New Scotland church on Mariana Lane off Krumkill Road, which took several years to build as plans were delayed over obtaining water.

In 1995, the church purchased a large parcel of land where it intended to build a newer, larger church building. In 2000, the church purchased an adjacent piece of land, adding to the size of its property. After some confusion over whether the property was within the town of New Scotland or Bethlehem, construction on the church was finished in October, and it received a certificate of occupancy on Oct. 31, 2006.

The church is now hoping to add a 24-square-foot sign with interior illumination and changeable letters to the exterior façade. Interim pastor Sterling Lawrence said the sign would help enhance communication with the community.

The congregation met on Partridge Avenue in Albany prior to the move to New Scotland. Raymond Sullivan told The Enterprise two years ago that it was not the church’s first choice to relocate from Albany, but it was unable to find an affordable location there.

Lawrence has been acting as interim pastor since Sullivan retired. He moved to the area from Ohio, where he worked as an evangelist, traveling around the country. He has been a staff evangelist for the First Assembly Church of God for seven years.

Lawrence took over as pastor in early October, just after the church began holding services at its new location. A pulpit committee is searching for a new pastor.

"Since I’ve been interim pastor, it’s been people working together," Lawrence told The Enterprise. "Everybody has been doing their part."

A prospective pastor will arrive in January, he said.

The new church has a sanctuary, capable of holding 350 to 400 people where Sunday services are held. Aqua-colored theater-style seats, rather than traditional pews, face the altar. The octagonal shape is emphasized by exposed wooden beams.

An oblong-attached educational wing with various rooms is used for a multitude of youth programs and religious classes, as well as office space. A large room is used for special events, and gatherings for families. A nursery with pale blue walls painted with fluffy white clouds is located just off of the family room, and to the left of the nursery is a teen room. The teen room is where the teenagers in the congregation meet one night a week. It has a small stage with musical instruments for some creative fun.

The proposed sign, Lawrence said, could publicize church services, upcoming events, and youth programs for the week. Changeable letters are necessary, he said, because "things are constantly changing with events."

Two applications for use variances for the sign were heard before the town’s zoning and planning boards in recent weeks.

One variance is required because the church falls in a residential conservation district, and the zoning law for that district allows a maximum of two signs not exceeding 16-square-feet each.

The other variance is required because illuminated signs are permitted only in commercial or industrial districts.

Both the planning board and the zoning board had issues with the size of the sign, and questioned the need for the sign to be so large. Both boards requested that Lawrence provide photographs and design sketches to better understand what the church is proposing.

A public hearing on the applications will be held at the Dec. 26 zoning board meeting, and a separate public hearing on the illumination of the sign will be held at the Jan. 2 planning board meeting.

Other business

In other business at the recent zoning-board and planning-board meetings:

– The planning board passed a favorable response to the zoning board on an application submitted by Samuel Whiting on behalf of Edith McMillen for a boundary line adjustment on a pre-existing, non-conforming, 1-acre lot, where McMillen’s house is located. The house straddles two lots, one owned by McMillen, the other owned by Steven Crooks, and is located within the residential hamlet district at the intersection of Bennett Hill Road and Tarrytown Road.

McMillen is seeking 40 feet of relief from a rear-yard setback to allow for a setback of 10 feet for her home, and a minimum of 76,500 square feet of relief from the minimum lot area to allow for the reconfiguration of her pre-existing 1-acre lot. A public hearing will be held at the Dec. 26 zoning board meeting;

– A public hearing on an application submitted by John Jeffers on behalf of his business, J.J. Maddens, for a special use variance to illuminate a detached sign, was adjourned until the Jan. 2 planning board meeting;

– Henry Digeser withdrew his application for a special use variance to erect a windmill on his property on Upper Copeland Hill Road. His property falls within a residential forestry district, which does not allow windmills as a permitted or a special use. The windmill would have been used to power a generator to produce electricity for his home. Digeser would have had to prove unnecessary hardship in order to be granted the variance.

Digeser was heard before the zoning board and planning boards, and withdrew his application following the planning board’s stance that he did not meet the hardship requirement. In a letter sent to town supervisor Ed Clark, Digeser said that clean, renewable energy should be a priority in the town, and the town should think about revising zoning laws to permit alternate energy forms;

– The planning board passed a favorable response to the zoning board on an application submitted by Sherman Coonradt on behalf of Walter and Catherine Vivenzio, with the stipulation that the layout of Vivenzios’ property be reconsidered.

The Vivenzios own property on Fielding Way, and are proposing a subdivision of two pre-existing, non-conforming lots, to create a new residential lot. The new lot, however, would lack the required road frontage. Zoning law requires that lots have a minimum of 15 feet of road frontage, providing access to a public road in order to be granted a building permit.

The planning board made suggestions on how the tax lot could be reconfigured, so that each of the two existing tax lots has only one house on it. A public hearing will be held at the Dec. 26 zoning board meeting;

– The planning board passed a favorable response to the zoning board on an application submitted by Krishen Mehta and Katy Irani for a boundary line adjustment between two pre-existing, non-conforming lots located along the Feura Bush Unionville Road within the residential hamlet district. The couple own both parcels, and live on one of the parcels. The lots have power lines and a roadway that intersect them, and the adjustment would create a third lot with the road and the power lines acting as boundaries for the lots. A public hearing will be held for this application at the Dec. 26 zoning board meeting;

– The planning board passed a favorable response to the zoning board on an application submitted by Edward and Cynthia Bunk for a two-lot subdivision where a pre-existing, non-conforming dwelling is located within a front yard setback. The property, owned by the Bunks, is located on New Salem Road, within the residential agricultural district, which requires a minimum front setback of 70 feet when located on a state road. The Bunks are requesting relief of 47.4 feet to allow a setback of 22.6 feet. A public hearing will be held at the Dec. 26 zoning board meeting; and

– The planning board heard from John DeMis on behalf of New Salem Properties LLC on an application for the subdivision of a 40.9-acre parcel into nine lots, ranging in size from 1.01 acres to 31.1 acres. Individual wells and septic systems would be provided privately on each site. The board had issues with the storm-water management layout, and forwarded the application to the town’s engineering firm for review.

Nichols selling market, store stays independent

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

VOORHEESVILLE — Elaine Nichols is selling her family’s supermarket but, she says, the name will remain. The market that has become a community center for the village of Voorheesville will be called Nichols’ Shop ’n’ Save.

Nichols is selling to Kevin Smith, who owns three other stores — the Millers Shop ’n’ Save in Averill Park, a store in Ravena, and a store in Schaghticoke, she said. Smith lives in the Ballston Lake area, she said.

The transition will take place on Jan. 27 and 28, said Nichols, who declined naming the sale price.

Nichols and her husband, Jim, moved from Sullivan County to open the supermarket, then called SuperValu, on Maple Avenue, on Jan. 7, 1995, filling a store that had been vacant for years. The family-owned business was one of the few local independent grocery stores in a field increasingly dominated by chains. The Nicholses expanded the store in 2000, adding a pharmacy among other conveniences.

"It was always Jimmy’s dream to own a supermarket," said Elaine Nichols.

The popular grocer died in January of 2002 while snorkeling on a Cayman Island vacation. Elaine Nichols and her son Jaret continued to run the store. Jim Nichols is remembered fondly in the village, and a park behind the village hall was named in his honor.

Elaine Nichols said this week that it was tough carrying on without her husband.

"When somebody has a dream, it’s easy for everyone to jump on the wagon.," she said. "It’s been tough without him. It’s time to move on."

She described Smith as "a person who is much like my husband." She said, "He has the same exuberance for the business."

Smith, she said, will keep on the current staff members, who number just under 100. "He didn’t want to re-staff," said Nichols. "His benefits are the same or better than what we offer."

The staff was told of the sale on Monday, Nichols said. "Kevin handed out his handbooks; it went very smoothly," she said.

Smith’s stores are supplied by Hannaford, said Nichols. Formerly Shop ’n’ Save, Hannaford is now owned by the American subsidiary of the Belgian Delhaize Group, Delhaize America, which owns over 1,500 stores along the east coast. Only a small number of markets — stores that are independently owned and operated franchises that receive merchandise through Hannaford’s wholesale distribution — use the Shop ’n’ Save name, mostly in smaller communities.

"Kevin is an independent store owner, as I am, but he also has the strength of the chain," Nichols said. "I believe I am giving the store longevity."

She added of her husband, "Jim wanted to have multiple stores"It’s important for survival."

Nichols went on, "This decision was made as the best one for our associates, for the store, and for the community."

Nichols said she will stay on, working at the store, for "at least six months to be sure there’s a smooth transition."

Asked if her son Jaret will continue as a manager, Nichols said, "No, he will go out and find his own dream."

Nichols, herself, will continue to live in the area, she said. Asked about her plans, she said, "I have an 88-year-old mother I want to spend more time with."

Nichols was recently honored by the Community Caregivers with its Community Service Award, which lauded her for supporting local organizations and individuals. Her donations ranged from Equinox turkeys to Memorial Day fireworks for the village. She estimated then that Nichols’ Market supports about 150 organizations, by direct financial support, donation of goods, or discounts

Many of her efforts have been funneled through the Kiwanis.

"Kevin is a Kiwanian in Averill Park," said Nichols.

She concluded, "I really hope the community will embrace and support Kevin so they can continue to have a store."

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