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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 11, 2007

G’land cop car struck

By Jarrett Carroll

GUILDERLAND — A car crash where a 21-year-old woman hit a marked Guilderland Police car ended with damaged vehicles, but no serious injury, according to police.

Kimberly Wagner, of Guilderland, was driving a 2000 Buick north on Lone Pine Road, crossing over East Lydius Street, on Sunday when she struck Officer Tylor Stevens’s cruiser around 6 p.m. Sunday evening, police say.

"At this time, it appears that she failed to yield to the right-of-way at the intersection" The girl was taken to the hospital and the officer had an injury to his hand," said Lieutenant Curtis Cox of the Guilderland Police. "The officers are still investigating, but it doesn’t look like any tickets will be issued."

Alcohol and drugs were not a factor in the crash, police say, and both drivers were transported to the hospital by Guilderland Emergency Medical Services workers and the Western Turnpike Rescue squad.

The injuries were characterized as "relatively minor" by Cox.

Cox also pointed out that Stevens was merely on patrol and not responding to a call or an emergency, indicating that speed was not a factor.

Both vehicles were damaged in the crash, said Cox, and the department’s police cruiser was taken to Auto Cosmetics in Altamont for an estimate.

"She had front-end damage and the police car had passenger-side damage," Cox told The Enterprise on Tuesday.

The investigation is still ongoing, police say.

New ethics board approved

By Jarrett Carroll

GUILDERLAND — With only a few new faces, Guilderland officials were sworn into office last Thursday at the Town Hall’s annual re-organizational meeting.

Being an off-election year, the town board mostly approved re-appointments and 2007 schedules during the meeting.

The more notable changes, which was due to term limits according to Supervisor Kenneth Runion, were in the town’s ethics committee,.

The new chairwoman for 2007 is Margaret McMahon of McKownville and the newly appointed members of the board are Robert Haines, Todd Vandervort, and Ken Brownell.

The seven-member ethics committee meets at least once a year to review ethics forms handed in by town offices, Runion told The Enterprise.

They will also hold a meeting if requested by either the town or individual town workers.

"You can’t hold another town position if you’re on the ethics board," Runion said.

McMahon has been on the board since it was formed, but because of term limits, this will be her last year serving, he added.

Runion also said that in order to create political diversity, no more than two members from one political party can serve simultaneously on the committee. He said he believes that currently there are two Democrats, two Republicans, one Conservative, one Independent, and one member not affiliated with a party.

The members of the ethics committee are appointed officials.

The town board unanimously adopted the new 2007 schedules for all of the town’s various boards and committees, and reset the April 3 public hearing on bringing water to western Guilderland. The public hearing will now be held on April 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

Additionally, it was announced that the new town website is currently under construction, with some of it already in place, and the next town board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 23.

Runion wished everyone a happy new year and thanked all of the town officials for serving their community. He said he looks forward to another year of working together in 2007.

The all-Democrat town board is made up of Runion as supervisor, and board members David Bosworth; Patricia Slavick; Mike Ricard, and Paul Pastore.

The board unanimously:

— Re-appointed Stephen Feeney as chair of the planning board (term expires Dec. 31, 2013);

— Re-appointed Linda Clark as assistant town attorney and counsel to the planning board;

— Re-appointed Peter Barber as chair of the zoning board of appeals (term expires Dec. 31, 2011);

— Re-appointed Susan Macri as member of the zoning board of appeals (term expires Dec. 31, 2011);

— Re-appointed Janet Thayer as assistant town attorney and counsel to the zoning board of appeals;

— Re-appointed John G. Wenple Jr. as member and chair of the environmental conservation advisory council;

— Re-appointed Herb Hennings, Stuart Reese, Kim Jones, and Thomas Kriger, and appointed Robert Feller and Glenn Kirkland as members of the environmental conservation advisory council;

— Re-appointed Bryan Clenehan as assistant town attorney and counsel to the town court;

— Appointed the law firm Feeney, Centi, and Mackey as counsel for labor relations and litigation matters;

— Re-appointed James Shahda as chair of the Guilderland Industrial Development Agency.

— Re-appointed William Young, Mames Lozano and James Runko, and appointed Michael Bopp as members of the Guilderland Industrial Development Agency. Appointed the law firm of Hodgson and Russ, Joseph Scott as counsel;

— Re-appointed Donald Csaposs as chair of the economic advisory council;

— Re-appointed John Decatur, Peter Sparano, James Schanz, Henry Klien, Carry Robinson, and Jane Schramm as members of the economic advisory council. The remaining members of the council will consist of the chairs of the planning board, zoning board, conservation council, and industrial development agency;

— Appointed Tom Remmert as an alternate member of the zoning board of appeals and zoning board liaison to emergency services;

— Re-appointed Dr. Don Doynow as medical director of the town’s emergency medical services;

— Re-appointed Alice Begley as town historian;

— Re-appointed Jean Cataldo as registrar of vital statistics and Cindy Wadach as deputy;

— Re-appointed John M. Wemple, Mark McNulty, Abe Palma, and Bruce O’Connor as part-time court attendants and security officers;

—Designated First National Bank of Scotia, Fleet Bank, CharterOne, First Niagara Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, NBT Bank, Pioneer Bank, and M & T Bank as the official depositories of Guilderland;

— Designated Boswell Engineering, Delaware Engineering, Clough Harbour Engineers, Barton and Loguidace and Spectra Engineering to serve as town designated engineers in 2007;

— Authorized the highway superintendent and the superintendent of water and wastewater management to spend up to $2,000 for the purchase of tools without prior approval from the town board; and

— Designated The Altamont Enterprise and The Guilderland Spotlight as the official newspapers for the town of Guilderland

Fountain View sold
Atria creates a ‘lodge-like décor’

By Jarrett Carroll

GUILDERLAND — The former Fountain View senior living complex is getting a facelift from its new owners, Atria Guilderland.

Atria, a nationwide company that provides senior living facilities around the Capital Region, is renovating Fountain View and giving the 91-unit building a new "lodge-like décor," according to Pat Price, regional director for Atria.

A new park with walkways and benches are also in the works.

The complex, off of Route 155 in Guilderland, once served monks and was known as Mill Hill.

Part of the remodeling to the building and the grounds will include a new entrance, a grand foyer, a fieldstone fireplace, new furnishings, newly-decorated common rooms, and a modern emergency call system.

"We’re going to remodel in compartments, so as not to disturb the residents currently living there," Pat Price, told The Enterprise. Continuing, she said all of the work that is currently underway should be completed within in six months.

"We will be offering the same great services as our other homes," Price said.

These include:

— 24-hour staff;

— An emergency call system in every apartment;

— An "Anytime Café," open 24-hours with complimentary snacks and beverages;

—Assistance with activities of daily living;

— "Restaurant-style" meals served three times a day;

— Housekeeping and laundering services;

— Grounds and apartment maintenance;

— Transportation to appointments and outings; and

— Social, spiritual, and educational activities.

The new Atria Guilderland on Millrose Court off of State Farm Road is next to the Albany County Country Club. Locally, the company’s homes include Atria Shaker on Northern Boulevard and Atria Crossgates on Washington Avenue Extension in Albany.

Rental pricing for units at Atria are based upon a point-value system, where the amount of time and level of assistance a resident requires determines the individual cost.

Some state and federal deductions and exemptions are available to those living in or paying for assisted housing in long-term care facilities.

Mill Hill

The long awaited Mill Hill project continues to wind its way through various town boards.

The Mill Hill proposal currently before the planning board calls for a 100-bed senior residence, 88 multi-family units, 24 townhouses, and a Stewart’s convenience store.

The non-profit dance school, Guilderland Ballet, is also located on the site in the old Mill Hill barn. The dance school, which is town sponsored, is still in operation and the property its on has been donated to the town.

Armand Quadrini originally owned the Mill Hill property and planned to develop it as a senior complex but filed for bankruptcy in 2003 and the property was sold to Abode Blue Chip, an Albany development firm. Since then, the Mill Hill project has been scaled down and various plans have been submitted to the planning and zoning boards.

Buying Fountain View in September, Atria has engaged in a partnership with Community Caregivers. Atria is currently providing rent-free office space for Community Caregivers until the not-for-profit organization can move into its newly renovated headquarters in Altamont.

Caregivers uses volunteers to provide free services for people in need, many of them elderly residents living at home. The organization was founded in Altamont and moved to Mill Hill when Fountain View offered free office space.

Diane Cameron, executive director of Caregivers, described the new partnership as a "perfect example of a nonprofit and for-profit organization working together to advocate for a common mission and values."

She told The Enterprise that she hopes to continue the relationship after Caregivers move.

"This formed as they were purchasing Fountain View"They were just wonderful," said Cameron of Atria. "We serve seniors and serve families in need. That’s their mission, too."

Price agrees, saying, "We are delighted to begin a partnership with Community Caregivers. We share a deep commitment to community"and we care about the community that our business is part of."

Cameron said Caregivers should be moving into Altamont by the end of the month. The new headquarters, off of Gun Club Road, are being renovated by developer Jeff Thomas.

Baker not board with living his dream

By Tim Matteson

GUILDERLAND — Damian Baker is living his dream.

Baker is doing what he has always wanted to do on his terms. He, and his wife Stacey, own Capital Board and Bike located on Western Avenue next to Robinson’s Hardware. Their goal is to have an indoor skate park in the area and to fight typical boarder stereotypes.

Baker has run his own store since last February. He started his business on New Karner Road but moved the store to its new location on Western Avenue in late November.

Baker is fighting the boarder stereotypes that come with running a shop like his.

"People think, with a shop like this, that we’re dealing drugs or partying," Baker said. "And it’s not like that at all. My mechanic and I don’t even drink or smoke. We want a place where kids can hang out and check out the gear. But we also want a place where mom and dad can come in.

"I’ve been doing this stuff my whole life," Baker said. "I’ve been working at shops forever. I’ve been the number-one salesperson at them. But it didn’t make sense to do it for someone else. I decided to do it for myself."

Baker has worked in skateboard shops and in ski and snowboard shops for the past 15 years. Capital sells snowboards and boots along with skateboards and BMX bikes. The store also repairs BMX bikes and provides tune-ups for road and mountain bikes.

The store is also a way for Baker to help the youth of his hometown pursue their passion for alternative sports.

Both Baker and his wife went to Guilderland High School and just bought a house in town.

"We were thinking about moving across the country to Portland," Baker said. "But then we thought that there is not a store like this around here. Why not do it here"

"There is no other store like this at this level especially with BMX stuff," Baker said. "BMX is really hard to come by. We have some real cool stuff."

Baker prides himself on selling high-end professional-level equipment.

"We have a full-service tune-up shop," Baker said. "We have a mechanic and a shop area on the other side of the shop. We sell BMX but he can fix mountain and road bikes. It’s not all about BMX."

"The right stuff"

Baker doesn’t want to fight the other skateboarder stores, like Zumiez, a national chain with a branch in Crossgates Mall. He knows his customers and the niche they represent.

"You can go to the shops in the mall and the kids working there are not necessarily doing that stuff," Baker said. "My mechanic and I are knowledgeable and we know everything that you can’t get at the mall spots."

Baker is also open to having newcomers come to his store.

"We have stuff for everybody," he said. "For beginners, we can get them the right stuff. We are knowledgeable for setting them up with the things they need."

Baker, 32, has been snowboarding and skateboarding for 20 years. He doesn’t ride a BMX bike, so that gets left up to the bike mechanic.

"I don’t know about that stuff," Baker said. "I’m a skateboarder, so we butt heads."

That helps keep his store busy all year round — even in a winter without snow.

"Depending on what season," Baker said. "We’re still servicing bikes, and that’s crazy. This time of year, we should be tuning skis and boards, and we’ve gotten a few, but it’s crazy for this time of year to have no snow."

Baker dreams of getting an indoor skate park to come to the area, one that is open to everyone.

"We want to get one for biking and boarding," Baker said. "BMXers have to travel to Ohio to get to a real accommodating park. Around here, some place might let bikes in one day a week, but mostly they are open to just skateboarding."

Running Capital is all that Baker needs to keep him busy. Having his own store is what he wants to do and what makes him happy.

"It’s about wanting to work somewhere like this," he said. "Nowhere in town is there a place like this and I wanted to open one. I’ve worked at other places and we have a different philosophy than those kind of stores have. I was the number-one salesman at those places and it didn’t matter. I got nothing at all for it. Here it matters, because if I don’t sell, I don’t eat. It makes me want to work more.

"Ever since I started skateboarding," Baker added, "I’ve known what I wanted to do. Ever since I started to go into skate stores, I wanted to have one."

Just desserts
School board pushes to improve tech ed

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Will Guilderland students have their cake and frosting, too"

Tuesday night, the school board heard a presentation on how the district is meeting state math, science, and technology requirements.

"What we saw tonight was a lot of cake and a little frosting," said school board President Richard Weisz after the presentation.

He also commented, "You rebuilt an education highway while the kids were using it."

He said the state had allowed "next to no time" for major required changes in curricula and he appreciated the district’s response.

Weisz said that, when the board made technology a priority this year, it let the staff know, "We’re going to give them money for dessert, too...We still have to educate the community. We have to educate ourselves, too."

Several school board members have pushed recently for new innovations and updated programs.

"We’re here to assure you that’s precisely what we’ve been doing," Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Nancy Andress told the board Tuesday night.

She concluded her presentation by stressing the importance of developing partnerships with government, businesses, and research facilities in the community.

Andress began by explaining how Guilderland uses curriculum cabinets — including one for science and another for math — to develop, review, and revise curricula. Andress meets monthly with the cabinets made up of representatives from each school in the district to "monitor and improve programs vertically and horizontally," she said.

Michael Piscitelli, the math and science supervisor at the high school, then went over the math, science, and technology learning standards. He also detailed how, in March of 2005, the state’s board of Regents, the body governing education in New York, accepted recommendations to re-align math curriculum from kindergarten through 12th grade.

That spring, the elementary school teachers in Guilderland got together for a full day to compare the new requirements with the current program. The new curriculum had to be implemented by September of 2005, he said. "In January and March, the tests began."

The middle-school math curriculum was completely overhauled during the summers of 2005 and 2006 to align with the new state standards, said Demian Singleton, the math and science supervisor at the middle school.

"We essentially had to start from the ground up," he said. "I’m very pleased with where we are at this point," he said.

Singleton described the elementary science program as "research-based," where students use kits from BOCES to study topics ranging from organisms to balancing and weighing. Fifth-graders spend the year on a thematic human body curriculum.

Middle-school science is also hands-on and research-based, said Singleton. The renovated science facilities at Farnsworth Middle School have improved lab safety, experiments, and the integration of technology, he said.

Middle-school students take 40 weeks of technology education, said Tech Ed Supervisor Griffin Holly. Exploratory introductory courses are offered to all seventh- and eighth-graders, she said. Instruction takes place in two different labs, one for computer-based multimedia and the other for production.

Singleton went over a long list of enrichment programs offered at Farnsworth to complement the curriculum.

High school

Piscitelli said that high-school staff had more time to change the curriculum to meet state requirements. Teams of teachers worked over the past two summers to create new courses to meet the changing math core. The new curricula, featuring three new courses — Integrated Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2 and Trigonometry — will begin next September. All three courses will culminate in a state Regents exam.

Graduation requirements will change. To earn a Regents diploma, students will have to pass three math courses and pass the Regents exam in Integrated Algebra.

To earn an advanced Regents diploma, students will have to pass three math courses and pass the Regents exam for Integrated Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2 and Trigonometry.

All science courses at the high school are aligned with the state’s core curricula, said Piscitelli. For a Regents diploma, students must pass three science courses and one Regents exam. For an advanced Regents diploma, students must pass three science courses and two Regents exams.

"All of our science courses are lab courses," said Piscitelli. Students must have at least 180 minutes of instruction per week and 1,200 minutes of lab work, he said.

"Most of our courses, we double that time frame," he said, noting students cannot sit for a Regents exam unless they have spent the required hours in the lab.

The high-school technology program is purely elective, said Holly. The state does not mandate technology courses, she said, and Guilderland offers nine of them.

About 120 students each year receive their credits for art and music through the Design and Drawing for Production course, said Holly.

Photography courses are the most requested electives, she said, and a class in digital photography will be offered in 2007-08.

What next"

"So where do we go from here is the big question," said Singleton.

He named some initiatives like curriculum-mapping software for analyzing student data and expanding the enrichment program at Farnsworth. He also said it was important to forge partnerships with government, businesses, and research facilities in the area.

Both Piscitelli and Andress also stressed the importance of developing such partnerships.

"We still are looking for folks in the community who are willing to partner," said Andress. "We know there are people out there...that might be interested in helping."

"It appears much of the work is about alignment," said board Vice President John Dornbush, stressing the importance of aligning curricula with "the real world."

Board member Hy Dubowsky asked if efforts had been made to explore the use of programs "with proven track records."

Andress said those would be looked at. "For a number of years," she said, "because of budget constraints...we have not expanded our electives."

Referring to the district’s budget process, Dubowsky said, "It’s January. The clock is ticking."

Board member Peter Golden said, "I encourage you to dream big...Maybe there are things that can be traded," he said of budget items.

Golden went on to ask questions he said had come from the public. He described a system for accelerating elementary school students by having all math classes or all reading classes taught at the same time so students of different levels could be grouped by ability.

"We’re not in favor of ability grouping at all in elementary school," said Andress, explaining that the high school is "totally in ability groups."

At the elementary level, she said, some children who are "highly gifted" in certain areas have special programs worked out for them; that is done on a child-by-child basis to "meet unique needs," she said.

"You really need to put a face on what you’re saying," said board member Colleen O’Connell. She supplied the faces in the form of her two children. Her son, an eighth-grader in the class of 2011, has, over his school years, been subjected to several different math programs, she said, as state requirements and district curricula changed.

On the other hand, her fifth-grader started kindergarten with the Everyday Mathematics program and will continue with a consistent approach. "By the time he gets to ninth grade," O’Connell said, "he’ll have it down pat."

Referring to the "rocky math history" of the class of 2011, she concluded, "If math is not your thing...I don’t think it’s all that easy."

"Transitioning to a new curriculum is always difficult for students," said Piscitelli. He went on to say that the teachers have more confidence in the new curriculum, but concluded, "The area of biggest concerns is what is the exam going to look like."

After half century, Fredendall Funeral Home sold

By Saranac Hale Spencer

ALTAMONT — After 27 years at the helm of the family business, Jim Yohey is a little disappointed that none of his children were interested in carrying on Fredendall Funeral Home, which has been in the family for five decades.

It’s a hard job, Yohey said of being a funeral home director. "It’s a lot of late nights and difficult situations."

He’s not giving it up yet, though. In December, he sold the funeral home to John Gulino; neither Yohey nor Gulino would comment on the selling price. The two are planning a transition period in which Yohey and the rest of the current staff will stay on. Neither Yohey nor Gulino would comment on the selling price.

"The standards here are really great," Gulino said. "We’re going to continue to build on that."

Gulino stressed that the day-to-day operations are going to remain the same. Owner of the Decker Funeral Home in Windham, N.Y., he had heard of the reputation of Fredendall and that is largely why he decided to buy, he said.

Harry Fredendall bought the business in 1921 and the name hasn’t changed since, nor will it. "I don’t need to see my name on the sign," said Gulino.

Dating to around 1860, the sprawling white building, an Altamont landmark, was initially a cabinetmaker’s shop, Yohey said. He guessed that it evolved into a funeral parlor when people came to the woodworker for coffins. Until recently, he said, it wasn’t unusual for funeral parlors to have furniture stores attached.

Gulino plans to settle in the village with his wife, Margaret, and two sons, Edward and Daniel. "Ultimately, I’d like to have this funeral home solely," he said. "It’s always been my dream to have a funeral home of this size in a community like this."

Out of high school, Gulino decided to pursue a degree in mortuary science at SUNY Farmingdale, having only been to one wake in his life. His parents, who owned a second-generation garment factory in Brooklyn, were surprised but let him go his own way, he said. His sons are 12 and 15 years old and Gulino isn’t sure if they’ll want to take on his business. "I certainly would be proud if my kids followed in my footsteps," he said.

The people that Gulino worked with were what cemented his interest in the field, he said. "An old timer, when I was an apprentice, said, ‘John, people go through this once, you gotta do it right," he remembered.

One of the reasons he’s ready to hand over the reins, Yohey said, is that "Over the years, we’ve become so close to the people, the funerals we have now are becoming very personal." On burying friends, he added, "There’s an emotional toll for that."

Getting to know the people he serves is one of the things he thinks is important, Gulino said. "It’s a type of business where people put their trust in you."

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