Photos: In a dark season





Let there be love

On Sunday evening, before a festive crowd at the United Church of Christ in Medusa sang carols by the faint glow of a Nativity scene and the colored lights of a Christmas tree, Reverend Warren Beeman spoke from the pulpit about churchgoers centuries ago. The congregation, mostly children, sat in white, straight-backed pews that, Beeman said, the original settlers had had no time to build. Nor did they have lights, he said, but Christmastime is about the joy of good deeds and hearing from one another.

“Think of Christmas as a magical time, a time of rebirth, a time of rekindled friendships,” Beeman said. Part of the magic, of course, is the secrecy of Santa, as played by helper Ted Rice, through two doorways, wending his way to the church.

Pamela Beeman, the pastor’s wife, read “The Night Before Christmas” attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, to a bevy of children sitting on the stage and the score of people in the audience sang “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.”

Bill Moore, church organist for the last 36 years, explained, lifting his hand, at right, that the spruce tree in front of the church was originally six feet high when it was dug from a field 16 years ago.

Adults dressed in holiday attire — as Mr. and Mrs. Claus, carolers, and a reindeer — sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and led the way to the towering tree outside.

Everyone filed into the warm annex after the tree was lit, eating cookies with coffee and punch, sitting on Santa’s lap, and decorating ornaments. 

— Photographs by Marcello Iaia













Let there be light

Cheers go up all around as Voorheesville’s Mayor Robert Conway flips the switch to light the tree in Hotaling Park Sunday afternoon. Hosted by the Helderview Garden Club, the crowd gathered to sing Christmas carols and sip hot cider. Street lamps were decorated with pine garlands and anchored with red bows.

Students from the high school’s Voorheesville Key Club joined in Christmas caroling with members of the First United Methodist Church. The celebration has a solemn side, too, as Pastor Charlie Wang, of the Methodist Church, and Pastor Jim Foyt, of the Meadowbrook Christian Church, said prayers while listeners bowed their heads.

— Photographs by Michael Koff

More Regional News

A recent traffic stop gone awry, resulting in the driver being subdued with a Taser gun, led us to ask Melanie Trimble, director of the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, about a motorist’s rights when stopped by police.

NEW SCOTLAND —Two months after Watervliet’s school superintendent called the Watervliet Police wi

After Summer Smith died last Jan. 9, her mother and her young son went through her box of special keepsakes. In the box was an edition of The Altamont Enterprise devoted to the aftermath of a 2000 crash on Hurst Road that killed two teens and wounded a third.  The kids had been hotboxing — driving while stoned.

Summer, then a 17-year-old Guilderland High School senior, was friends with a classmate who died in the crash. She raised money for a bronze angel statue to stand in Altamont’s village green. “The angel represents people who have lost people,” Summer told us then.

Her mother, Kristin Smith-Hoin, finds both irony and comfort in the keepsake. Summer died of a drug overdose. She was 31.