Altamont

People who like animals can often be distracted by them. If there is a dog barking in the neighborhood you may think, “I wonder if that dog is chasing a squirrel.” Or, “I’ll bet there is another dog in the area and they are talking to each other.”

I know that we all have different thoughts about what might be when we do not know. We use our imagination and fill in the blanks.

We had television on the other day when a commercial started. A boy was enjoying a large ice cream cone. He licked the side of the cone, and then turned it to lick the other side and not let it drip. The camera switched to another view with a large dog, on a leash, being walked. The dog licked his chops while looking at the boy and the announcer did a voice over in order to let us know what the dog was thinking. Through the announcer the dog said, “Oh, Boy. Let me at it.” Then the camera panned back and we could see, The Pet Center sign behind the boy with the ice cream cone.

We can all be distracted by the same scene for very different reasons. While I was watching this advertisement, I flashed to a news item that showed an employee who was carrying a stack of taco shells. Someone had taken a picture of him licking the side of most of the shells in the stack. The photo was then placed on Facebook for everyone in the world to see. It has since been announced that the employee has been identified and is in the process of having his employment terminated.

Just a few days ago my husband, Jim, was watching another show called, Stakeout. The basic premise of the show is to help find out why a business is not being successful and to fix the problems. During this episode the consultant was called in by a restaurant owner for help. The restaurant which specializes in barbecue had been owned and operated by the owner’s father. When the father retired and the son took over the business, the business started to slide drastically.

After talking with the son, the restaurant was wired with hidden cameras and microphones. Plans were also made to have diners who were employed by the consultant to get specific information and reactions from the employees. For a week the employees continued to work as they had in the past.

At the end of the week, the consultant and the new owner viewed the tapes to see if they could find a pattern and improve business. At that point, the show became both a comedy and a horror show.

One of the first encounters came when several people entered and found the restaurant was almost empty. They were left standing at the door for several minutes before one of the wait staff noticed them and with a wave of her hand said, “sit anywhere you want there are plenty of empty tables for you.” The people looked in surprise at each other and headed to a table that looked like it was well placed.

There were a few questions the customers came up with while they were looking at the menus. When the waitress returned they asked about one of the appetizers. The waitress said that she had not eaten that item before and did not know how it would taste. They discussed the item and decided to have something else instead. A short while later the waitress brought the appetizer to the table. The guests said that they did not order it and she argued with them insisting that they had. Finally she said, “Fine, I’ll take the (blank) thing away but you did order it.

In other scenes the wait staff played pranks on each other. One put salt and pepper in another staffer’s  drink. In retaliation she pulled down the trousers of the waiter while he was taking an order from customers. The staff ordered a pizza to be delivered to the restaurant and sat at one of the tables, in full view of other patrons, while they ate this non-menu item. They even took money from the cash register to pay for the pizza and tipped the delivery person $5.

During the review of the tapes, the owner was horrified and realized that he had failed as a boss. He had not trained his staff properly and he had not supervised them properly. There were several other examples of bad judgment on the side of the staff and the owner.

The consultant brought in all of the staff and with the boss present went over the tapes and discussed the problems. He talked to each one individually and discussed what had to change and asked if they were willing to change. They all said yes and over the next few weeks they made the dining experience more pleasant for everyone.

Their change spread by word of mouth and the restaurant earned back the good reputation it had when the owner’s father ran it.

This show was taped in a big city where it is easier for the staff in a restaurant to become impersonal. It is a benefit of living in a small village; we are fortunate to have such a great variety of places to buy food.

If we are on the run and filling our car with gas or waiting to catch the bus, or just want a quick cup of coffee or sandwich we can run into Stewarts or Sunoco’s. If we want a bagel and coffee or a flatbread breakfast sandwich we can get those at Hungerford’s or Subway. For a more complete breakfast, lunch or dinner the Homefront Café is always a great stop. Not only is the food excellent, but Cindy has gone to great lengths to honor our veterans with her World War II ambiance.

The Bamboo Garden has the variety of Chinese foods that will satisfy everyone and Paisano’s fills the need for Italian food from pizza to pasta and subs. Catering to the diners who also like a glass of wine or a cocktail with their meal we have Mio Vino, Orchard Creek, The Highlands Restaurant and the Township Tavern. Orchard Creek is also a great place for those who like to relax with a round of golf.

The problems that we described from the show called Stakeout are not likely to happen in Altamont for several reasons that are all related to our size. The people who work in these eateries are neighbors of ours. They are friends, relatives, and babysitters. When they are not at work,  they go to church with us, belong to the same clubs , walk our dogs or enjoy the entertainment in  the village park, and volunteer to honor our veterans in the American Legion and the VFW.

We are more likely to have friendly service from a neighbor who is happy to see us as a patron than it is to serve some stranger who just happens to be passing by and may never enter the restaurant again.

I have said it before and I will say it again, “We are very lucky to live in Altamont!” This is just another example of why we are lucky to live here.

Grands visit

The Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady District was honored on Saturday evening, June 1, when Keri Rhebergen, Grand Matron and Ken Milner, Grand Patron of the Order of Eastern Star made their official visit to the Albany, Rensselaer Schenectady District. The event was held at the Albany Elks Club.  Approximately 110 Eastern Star members were in attendance.

Preceding the event, members gathered at the Comfort Inn in Latham to welcome members traveling with the grand matron and grand patron. The social was hosted by Gail Secor, a member of the Rensselaer Chapter and other Eastern Star members..   

Members of Altamont’s Helderberg Chapter in attendance included Stacey Wright and Gerry Irwin, present matron and patron and Beverly Harrington, Patricia Irwin and Betty Spadaro, all past matrons. 

Following the social gatherings, the grand marshall blew the train whistle and led the grand officers into the dining room where all diners had a choice of  salmon, ham, or turkey accompanied by mashed red potatoes, steamed broccoli, salad and dessert.

Following the dinner, the grand matron and grand patron spoke of their projects which included supporting the Honor Flight, the Eastern Star Home, the emergency fund, veterans and cheer fund.

Members representing DeMolay and constellation were introduced.  Each spoke about their plans for upcoming events.

Musical selections appropriate to God, Country and the Armed Services were provided by Justin P. Cooke, associate patron of Beukendaal-George Hope Chapter 271.  He was accompanied by Stacey Wright, Matron of Helderberg Chapter 331.

Banking

The last day for students to do their banking at the Altamont Elementary School will be, June 14.

Mud Mania

The town of Guilderland Parks and Recreation Department remind the public that the third annual Mud Mania will be on Saturday, June 15.  The event will take place at Tawasentha Park beginning at 11:30 a.m., and is open to parents and children.

For additional information or to register for the event, stop by the Parks and Recreation office located at 181 Route 146 across from Tawasentha Park.  Contact can also be made by calling Dennis Moore, Parks and Recreation Director or Linda Cure, Public Information officer.

Book sale 

A sale of used books will take place at the Altamont Elementary School on Tuesday, June 18 and Wednesday, June 19.  Sale time is 1 to 3 p.m.

The following is the cost of the books:  children’s paperback books 2 for 25 cents, hard covers books 25 cents, and adult books 50 cents.

The book sale is to benefit the ASPCA.  All donations will go toward rescuing abused dogs and cats as well as pets displaced by tornadoes and hurricanes.

Staff appreciation

The Guilderland High School PTSA is planning the annual staff appreciation day to be held on Friday, June 21.  It will take place at 11:30 a.m. in the high school’s large group instruction room.

Food donations needed include green salads, fruit salad, and pasta salads.  Finger foods and desserts are needed. 

If you are unable to make a donation, the PTSA would be happy to accept gift cards to stores such as Price Chopper and Walmart. Donations should be dropped off on Thursday evening in the large group instruction room from 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. or Friday morning from 9 to 10:45 a.m. 

If you can help please call Carmen Valverde at 258-1905.

Summer school

Parents and students who have questions regarding the Guilderland summer school session are advised to contact Mr. Mark Brooks, Summer School Principle.  He can be reached at 456-6200, ext. 1200.  Parents/students can obtain information about the summer school program by going on line to http://www.guilderlandschools.org/highschool//programs/summerschool.cfm

50th anniversary

Congratulations are extended to Kathy and Larry Adams of Schoharie Plank Road who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on June 15.  Kathy and Larry renewed their marriage vows in Florida earlier this year.

Guilderland library

The library will host a demonstration and book sale on Saturday, June 15.  Author, Nava Atlas will speak on vegetarian cooking, will provide recipes and have samples.Anniversaries

Happy-anniversary wishes are extended to:

— Jan and Scotty Clark celebrating their special day on June 14;

— Valerie and Phil Walton on June 15; and

— Sharon and Dwight Mathusa on June 19.

Birthdays 

Happy-birthday wishes are extended to:

— Mark Houck and Mike Houck on June 14;

— Deirdre Bertrand and Betty Ann Best on June 15;

— Matt Consolo, Tim Northrup, and Gary Pruskowski on June 16;

— Ashley Dzingle, Evan Dzingle, and Kaylee Munroe on June 17;

— Thanda Fields, George Knapp, Gregory Munroe, Tom Nowak, and Linda Thomas on June 18;

— Eleanor Alland, Stephen Furr, Josh Lare, John Smith, and Mary Beth Vale on June 19; and 

— Elizah Munroe and Karen Hukey Rogotzke on June 20;

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