Police: Colonie man arrested with gun, threatened to shoot people

COLONIE – A Colonie man has been arrested on weapons possession counts after reports he threatened to shoot people, Colonie police said.

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Seth I. Buess, 32, of Colonie, was arrested late Sunday morning and charged with second-degree and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm, felonies. He also faces one misdemeanor count of criminal trespass.

The incident began at about 11 a.m. when police responded to a report in the area of Maria Drive of someone armed with a handgun threatening to shoot people, police said.

Officers soon found Buess near the Christ Our Light Catholic Church on Maria Drive. Upon seeing officers, Buess fled on foot. Officers gave chase and soon found him in a nearby residential back yard and took him into custody. Officers also soon located a loaded handgun they believe he discarded in the same back yard, police said.

Just prior to officers arriving, Buess had been involved in an argument at a nearby residence and left on foot, police said.

Buess was arraigned and ordered held pending bail. 

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Colonie Police investigators at 518-783-2754.

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UAlbany football picked 8th in CAA

The UAlbany football team was picked to finish eighth in the 12-team CAA preseason poll.

James Madison, which finished 7-1 last season and made its fourth trip to the semifinals of the FCS playoffs in five years, was picked to finish first in the poll released this morning that was the result of a vote of the league’s head coaches and media relations directors.

Running back Karl Mofor was UAlbany’s only preseason all-conference selection. The league’s preseason offensive player of the year was James Madison running back Percy Agyei-Obese, while the defensive choice was James Madison defensive lineman Mike Greene.

UAlbany finished 1-3 in its abbreviated 2021 spring season.

2021 CAA FOOTBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

(First place votes in parenthesis)

 1-James Madison (15) 231

2-Delaware (7) 222

3-Villanova 194

4-Richmond (2) 169

5-New Hampshire 135

6-Rhode Island 121

7-Towson 115

8-UAlbany 114

9-Maine 99

10-Stony Brook 73

11-William & Mary 61

12-Elon 50

 

Letters to the Editor Tuesday, July 27

Keep the focus on Saratoga Springs PD

Regarding your coverage of the July 14 protest in Saratoga in the July 16 Gazette article (“Police charge five after protesters block Broadway”).
Firstly, It is important to note that you stated as fact that Darryl Mount died due to a fall from scaffolding when injuries were limited to blunt force trauma to the face with no broken limbs or internal injuries to the torso,
That, according to a second autopsy done by a private medical examiner who isn’t on the Saratoga Springs Police Department’s payroll, is consistent with an assault, not a fall.
One of the points of these rallies is to keep attention on the fact that the SSPD never even conducted an internal investigation into the matter before they swept it under the rug, so that is an important thing to make clear.
To be clear, the main reason for this protest was John Cantone’s recent public statement that BLM was bringing gangs to Saratoga and his promise to use his family’s 130 years of connections to quell the violence caused by it.
SSPD says they don’t have systemic racism. But then the assistant chief of police comes out and essentially screams I think all persons of color are gang bangers and will use all of my white privilege to suppress the fight for racial justice… and follows it up with harassing stops and searches for weapons that don’t exist.
Not a good look, SSPD.
Phoenix Masters
Troy

CRT ideas deserve to be condemned

Glenn Sacks’ July 12 column (“Schools have an obligation to teach students about racism”) rejects criticism of Critical Race Theory [CRT] teaching in our schools as “feverish condemnation from conservatives.” This note was sounded by The Daily Gazette’s Zach Matson in his June 19 article (“School officials defend inclusion policies”) characterized CRT as “…a major boogeyman among conservatives and some parents.”
Mr. Sacks is doing what advocates of CRT have done, namely, make it appear that America’s history of racism has never been effectively included in U.S. history instruction.
On the contrary, it has been a significant part of instruction; it hasn’t, however, been used to characterize ALL aspects of American culture as the “legacy of racism.” This characterization informs us that to “teach students about racism,” is to teach CRT.
These CRT ideas deserve “feverish condemnation.”
White children are to be taught they enjoy “White privilege” and oppress their fellow students of color by their mere presence.
Children are to be taught that due process, colorblindness and equality before the law are concepts developed by Whites to maintain their privileged position. They’re also to be taught that an equitable society cannot have differences in wealth by race, so wealth must be redistributed by the government.
Further, students must learn that any disparity in school disciplinary actions or enrollments (i.e., tracking) is ipso facto evidence of implicit bias on the part of administrators.
CRT’s contribution to improving race relations is to tell children that the color of their skin determines their destiny, not the content of their character, as Martin Luther King Jr. had it.
Richard A. Evans
Burnt Hills

Deal with St. Clare’s before merging

Before Ellis Hospital contemplates a merger with St. Peters, clean up the St. Clare’s pensions lost with the last merger.
The Catholic Church and New York state have unfinished business.
Rick Green
Ballston Lake

 

 

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Venditti to retire after leading Albany Med through COVID

ALBANY – Dr. Ferdinand J. Venditti, Albany Medical Center’s executive vice president and hospital general director, will retire in February, Albany Med President and CEO Dennis P. McKenna announced Monday.

Venditti, a Schenectady native, managed Albany Med’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. He also coordinated the regional health care providers’ communication efforts in the early stages. Venditti called last year the most humbling of his career.

“Albany Med, and our region, are better because of Fred’s leadership,” McKenna said in a prepared statement. “His exemplary guidance of our most transformative initiatives, and our battle to end the coronavirus pandemic, will certainly be legend on this campus. Fred’s vision, smart decisions and character are surely seen in our growth and success over challenges, but it is most acutely felt in the level of quality care we provide our community.”

Venditti started at Albany Med in 1999. In more than two decades, he has also taught; been a department chair and a vice dean in the medical college; and overseen the faculty practice. He grew the practice by more than 170 doctors and added new programs at Albany Med. He rose to his current position in 2015.

 

Today in Saratoga: What’s Happening for Tuesday, July 27

Tuesday, July 27 in Saratoga

Pick of the day

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$2 BOWLING NIGHT

  • 9 to 11:45 p.m.
  • Saratoga Strike Zone, 32 Ballston Avenue, Saratoga Springs

Around town

CONGRESS PARK WALKING TOUR

  • 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Saratoga Springs Visitors Center, 297 Broadway
  • $20 per person

GROWING MICROGREENS WITH CAPITAL ROOTS AND BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD

  • 11 a.m.
  • Saratoga Senior Center, Saratoga Springs
  • RVSP to Senior Center for spot

Elsewhere

SUMMER STITCHING IN THE READING GARDEN

  • 10 a.m.
  • Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, 475 Moe Road, Clifton Park
  • No registration required

WORKSHOP FOR FARMERS WITH CORNELL COOPERATIVE EXTENSION

  • 1 to 3:15 p.m.
  • 4-H Training Center, 556 Middleline Road, Ballston Spa
  • Register at 315-866-7920, or [email protected]

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Schenectady council asked to reallocate $236k for adaptive rehab of vacant Elmer Avenue School

SCHENECTADY – Two representatives of the development team that wants to turn the vacant Elmer Avenue Elementary School into 51 affordable apartments for senior citizens asked the City Council on Monday to reallocate $236,000 from the city’s Homeownership Made Easy program.

The city funding hasn’t been used because of a merger that resulted in Better Community Neighborhoods, Inc., the non-profit organization developing the project.

The two previous non-profit organizations that formed BCNI were Better Neighborhoods Inc. and Community Land Trust of Schenectady.

Monday’s public hearing concerned amending the city’s 2020-2021 annual action plan that prioritized housing needs and the creation of affordable apartments, with priority given to a Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area designation that allows greater flexibility in the use of community development block grant money. According to a legislative request by city Director of Development Kristin Diotte, the city in its 2018-19 yearly action plan allocated $100,000 to the former BNI to convert the vacant city-owned property into rental units.

The city added $136,000 in the following year’s action plan for the same purpose.

But because of transitions within the organizations, and the merger, those activities never took place.

BCNI intends to partner with Rochester-based Home Leasing, an affordable housing development management company, to convert the school into affordable apartments for seniors.

The estimated $20 million project will seek grants from the state Division of Homes and Community Renewal and the state Historic Preservation Office.

The proposed apartment building, named Elmer Gardens, was granted a use variance by the city Zoning Board of Approvals in October. 

BCNI CEO Jennica Huff and Adam Driscoll, development manager for Home Leasing, requested the reallocation.

Huff touted their work elsewhere in the city, noting that BCNI and Home Leasing completed 55 rental apartments for families in the Renaissance Square development along Eastern Avenue during the spring, and another 85 rental apartments were placed in service through Hillside Crossing.

Huff said BCNI is working with the state and municipal stakeholders to create homeownership opportunities in the Hamilton Hill and Eastern Avenue neighborhoods, with BCNI assembling financing for 20 first-time homebuyers in those neighborhoods.

Driscoll said the money was important for applying to New York state in a competitive process that uses a point-scoring system. For that reason, the preliminary plan is for photovoltaic solar arrays to sit atop the building, benefiting seniors by reducing their energy bills.

Huff added that the reallocation would help leverage additional state and private dollars into Schenectady for development, and prevents a vacant school building from becoming a blighted property in the neighborhood.

David Hogenkamp, project director for the Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority, which oversees the Capital Region Land Bank, said the land bank is pleased Home Leasing took an active interest in wanting to redevelop the vacant school. The Land Bank has done a great deal of work to restore the Eastern Avenue neighborhood. 

Tom Carey, president of Schenectady United Neighborhoods, also supported project and request for the transfer of funds.

“It preserves a really important historic resource,” Carey said.

The Elmer Avenue building has been empty since the Schenectady City School District adjusted its school boundaries in 2017.

Deborah Rembert, president of the Schenectady Tenants Association, was the lone detractor of the plan during the public hearing.

Rembert said the money would be put to better use if it were given to struggling city homeowners who need to rehab their properties. 

But Huff said the developer is also securing grants for owners who occupy their homes to conduct rehabs.

The HOMES program is a partnership between the city, area banks, real estate firms, and other housing-related entities to promote and facilitate homeownership in Schenectady. 

 

 

Schenectady City Mission’s farm-to-table operation from shipping container off to healthy start

SCHENECTADY – With no dirt on her hands from soil, and a sweater nearby when the growing environment gets chilly, Elsa Bohl is not your typical farmhand.

Bohl, 24, helps run City Mission of Schenectady’s new hydroponic farm from a 40-foot shipping container on Hamilton Street.

In one week, the container can produce the equivalent of what a two-acre farm grows in a year.

Since the shipping container, called a freight farm, became operational in February, Bohl and fellow coordinator Liddy Zierer have grown more than 2,000 heads of lettuce that the City Mission uses in meals for its residents and program participants in its dining center, which serves about 500 meals a day.

They’re also placing the locally-grown lettuce and salad dressings in bags to dole out from the mission’s kitchen.

They can also grow root vegetables like radishes and turnips, while vine veggies and fruits don’t do as well because of their weight, Bohl said.

Soon, she said she will start growing herbs and other vegetables that can be used in salads, and perhaps strawberries.

The freight farm is a partnership between the City Mission and SEFCU in an attempt to address food insecurity while at the same time, teaching participants new skills through a social enterprise.

Bohl went “farm” to table by bringing a harvest of buttercrunch lettuce to the kitchen Monday morning, and, during the afternoon showed a reporter columns of Oakley lettuce that were close to harvest. She was also managing Rex butterhead and salanova lettuces.

Bohl, who has a background in nursing, explained the two-month seed-to-harvest process in the controlled environment that uses hydroponic LED lights to mimic sunlight.

The combination of the hydroponics and the LED simulates an ideal growing environment, said Executive Director Michael Saccocio.

Unlike on a real farm, the produce can be grown year-round in the shipping container, and Bohl and Zierer control the setting through a computer or a smartphone app.

Each night, Bohl said she goes on her app and makes sure the outputs are correct for dripping, pH levels and lighting.

The mission hopes to share produce with neighbors and other organizations and will sell extra products to local restaurants and at the Greenmarket.

Saccocio said those ventures will be an opportunity for program graduates to run the operation, with components in marketing, delivery, sales, and running a booth at the Greenmarket.

Bohl said the freight farm can be used to spur a community garden across the street that’s expected to be finished in two or three months.

The donor, SEFCU, has a freight farm at its Albany headquarters that’s run by Megan Meduna, whom Bohl said has been an invaluable resource when the City Mission operation hits a snag.

Saccocio said the operation is manageable because it’s not complex.

“If it takes PhDs in science or even people with agricultural degrees, it’s not going to be able to really proliferate,” he said. “Just take hard-working people who can learn the system, really.”

Since the neighborhood qualifies as a food desert, with  Hamilton Hill on the next block, public housing across the street, and no major grocery store, Bohl said it’s very rewarding to offer fresh vegetables at City Mission.

“With our community members and our residents, I have heard such amazing feedback from them of just how it tastes, looks, how we’re growing it for them specifically,” she said. “Our first goal isn’t to give it to restaurants. Our goal is to give it to our community, and our community is our residents; it’s who lives here. So just that response of them knowing how much we value them and how they feel… It’s just amazing.”

We’re talking nutrition,” said Saccocio, who noted he has dreams of having a salad wagon that would go into the community and make salads for people on the spot. “We all know it’s important. But for us to actually be able to provide the product, really, then to grow it over time. It’s one thing just to point and talk and say you should. It’s another thing to come with the main product and say let’s do this together.”

Bohl, who served as an oncology nurse at St. Peter’s before she was hired last fall for the freight farm operation, said she switched her career focus because “the Lord has taught me what we put in our bodies is what we’re going to get out.

“And so, I just want to have that opportunity to genuinely be able to grow food for myself. I put that in my body and know what’s good for me because I know that there will be benefits for that. I want to help other people and teach other people.

“Having this opportunity to learn how to grow food straight from seed right to a full head of lettuce is like, I couldn’t even believe that I got asked to do this. I’m just blown away still, every day, that I get to be here to do this.”

Gloversville Common Council to consider $84k worth of property sales

GLOVERSVILLE – The city Common Council is set to hold public hearings Tuesday night for the direct sale of eight properties for a combined $84,275 from the city’s newly formed Property Dispensation Committee.

In May, for the first time in the city’s history, the council approved the purchase of 10 city properties that had been taken by property tax foreclosure in 2020 by Fulton County for a total cost to the city of $145,404.

Gloversville gave up its property tax foreclosure power to Fulton County around this past turn of the century. The city’s finances have benefitted from not having to make the Gloversville Enlarged School District whole for unpaid property taxes, a requirement of any foreclosing government. But it has suffered since then from a lack of control over the fate of the city’s tax delinquent parcels, leaving many properties vulnerable to land speculators at Fulton County’s annual foreclosure auction.

Mayor Vince DeSantis’ administration created the city’s first Property Dispensation Committee in May as a tool for attempting to steer properties that can be rehabilitated toward more responsible owners. The city paid the county the amount of taxes owed for all of the properties except 48 Spring St., which has a costly demolition associated with it.

Since then the Property Dispensation Committee has gone through a process to sell some of the parcels, as well as a few other pieces of land acquired at different times by the city. Tonight the final sale of these parcels will be voted on by the council:

• 48 Spring Street to JPAK Holdings for $3,000, up from zero dollars paid by the city.

• 68 and 68 1/2 E. Fulton Street to Gloversville Public Library for $4,250.

• 86 E. Fulton Street to Jenna Patterson for $25,000, up from $20,865 paid by the city.

• 200-202 S. Kingsboro Ave. to Alexander Luciano and Ines Rizo-Luciano for $14,500, up from $12,748 paid by the city.

• 211-213 N. Main St. to William J. Vannostrand for $4,000.

• 5-7 Nassau St. to Tarik Turner for $10,500, up slightly from $10,160 paid by the city.

• 37 E. 8th Ave. to David Connolly and Jennifer Connolly for$24,500, up slightly from $24,324 paid by the city.

• 34 5th St. to David Wokaty for $1,000.

• 39 Maple St. to Stanley Scarano for $1,525.

The Property Dispensation Committee has, so far, enjoyed bipartisan support. The committee is chaired by Councilman-at-large William Rowback Jr., who is also the Republican candidate for mayor in November. The other members of the committee include: City Assessor Joni Dennie, 1st Ward Councilwoman Marcia Weiss, City Building Inspector David Fox and the head of the city’s Community Development Agency Nick Zabawsky, who is also a grant writer for the city and oversees federal grant money obtained by the city, some of which can be used for housing rehabilitation. Zabawsky also serves on the city of Amsterdam’s Property Dispensation Committee.

The direct sale of the properties requires at least three-fourths of the council members in office to vote in favor of the sale, which equals six yes votes. The council is set to meet at 6 p.m.

 

Schiltz: Sportswriting career full of fond memories

As I thought about the final piece I’d be putting together as a full-time Gazette sportswriter  — and I thought about it quite a bit — the word “fortunate” kept bouncing around in my head.

I consider myself fortunate for so many reasons.

I grew up playing all sorts of sports and in high school at Guilderland. I determined that I wanted to write about baseball, football and basketball for a living. I did just that for 37 years, all with the same paper, before I decided earlier this year to retire.

I am fortunate that, from Day 1, my family was there to offer encouragement, and that the many reporters, photographers, editors, bosses and administrators I shared this journey with were so helpful and supportive. I cannot thank them enough, as well as all of those who have taken the time to read my stories.

I also consider myself fortunate to have been placed in such a unique position to see and chronicle so many special moments, special events and athletic trends, and to have met so many special people — from the youngsters to the coaches to the administrators — that were a significant part of them.

While high school sports became my niche, I also wrote stories about speed skating, water skiing, swimming, rowing, horse jumping, pro golf, pro soccer, minor league and youth baseball, youth lacrosse, martial arts, wrestling and boxing, some college events, auto racing, and the all-encompassing Empire State Games, which took me to all parts of New York.

During my run, the paper moved its location, changed its name, added a Sunday edition, changed the type size you read and the printing press we use, and I don’t know how many times we changed the computers. The way we gather information changed. People here changed, as well, some moving on after long stays and some after shorter stints. I will always have fond memories of them, including Butch Walker, my first boss and the man who hired me shortly after I graduated from Oswego in December of 1985.

About two years after that, and I’ll never forget the day, Butch said, “Let’s go for a coffee.” That’s really when my world changed forever, when he elevated me from a clerk to a sportswriter, and I was given the scholastic beat.

In just a few words: it has been a blast. 

The games and competitions were always something I looked forward to, and I consider myself so fortunate — again — that during my time here I was able to work with so many individuals dedicated to high school sports which included some of the most successful coaches in Section II history such as Craig Phillips, Ken Strube, George Mardigan, Gary Bynon, Mike Vorgang, Art and Linda Kranick, and Brent Steuerwald.

I have seen a big move toward turf fields and Friday night football, as well as the birth of a girls’ lacrosse league and that sport’s rapid growth in our area, and the continued growth of boys’ lacrosse. I’ve seen the coming together of Linton and Mont Pleasant high schools to form Schenectady and the start of a hall of fame to honor the district’s greatest sports personalities. I’ve seen a bunch of league realignments, the demise all together of the Big 10 that once flourished, some major rule changes like the advent of the 3-point shot in basketball and the baseball pitch limit, and the shutdown of scholastic sports and their comeback in the COVID-19 era.

That sports comeback made my final school year a four-season sprint, with the “Fall II” season tucked between the winter and spring, which for me coverage-wise was capped by one more crazy high school game up at Canajoharie when the Cougars rallied late and won the Class C baseball title in walk-off fashion.

Baseball was at the forefront of an interview that I will always cherish, when I sat right next to Cardinals legend Stan Musial at a card show in my early years working here. Pat Riley while coaching the Lakers was another early interview. 

Fortunate? I’ll say.

My position has also afforded me the opportunity to promote sports like field hockey, gymnastics, swimming, volleyball and cross country, which is something I’ve taken a great deal of satisfaction from. It also afforded me the opportunity to work side-by-side with some really nice folks who work for other news organizations.

While I am retiring from this job I have enjoyed so much, I will not be going away completely. I do intend to freelance for the Gazette, and maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to add a few more items to my highlight list that I have included below.

SAFETY GAME

How many sportswriters can say they covered a 2-0 football game, and not the forfeit kind? I can, and though it came relatively early in my career in 1991, Schalmont’s 2-0 homecoming win over Mohonasen still stands out because of its rarity.

For the record, Schalmont got its safety in the second quarter when Kevin Ward, Paul Barnett and Bill Olochnowicz converged on Mohonasen quarterback Craig Schaff in the second quarter.

The Schalmont-Mohonasen football rivalry was among my favorites to cover. Other football rivalries I covered, and enjoyed tremendously, included Shenendehowa-Saratoga Springs, Johnstown-Gloversville,  and more recently Burnt Hills-Queensbury.    

THE NIGHT LANSLEY WAS PERFECT

I took in a lot of no-hit baseball games over the years, but only once did I witness perfection, when Shenendehowa’s Keith Lansley sent down 21 straight Schenectady batters in a 7-0 Section II Class A title-game win in June 1994 at Heritage Park.

Even more vivid than Lansley’s strikeout to finish it was Tracy LaFountain’s bunt attempt just before that, and the close call at first base that kept Lansley’s bid alive.

“We gave him his high fives after each inning, and then it was dead silent. Nobody said anything and nobody looked at him. We didn’t want to jinx him,” Shenendehowa coach Jim Carrese said afterward.

Another Shenenedehowa pitching memory didn’t end so well for Jason Downey, who in 2004 spun 10 no-hit innings in an 11-inning, 1-0 Section II Class AA quarter­final loss to Troy.

In a 2008 Class C regional semifinal game, Dustin Baker of Fort Plain retired the last 21 Ticonderoga batters he faced in an 8-0, no-hit win. Only an error to start the game cost Baker a perfect outing.  

SLOWING IT DOWN

Shenendehowa wasn’t going to let Albany race up and down like it had earlier that winter in a 25-point non-league basketball win, so the Plainsmen slowed it down. Way down. From start to finish. And that strategy of milking the clock on every possession almost worked, but the Falcons made a few key plays in the end to pull out a 27-24 Section II Class A quarterfinal win in February of 1994.

Never saw another game quite like it.  Albany had averaged 77 points in five games leading up to the strange rematch in which Shenendehowa scored four points in one quarter and Abany scored three in another. Neither team made a 3-pointer, and Shenendehowa missed two of those inside the final minute in a bid to pull even.

“We talked about it. I said there are two ways we can play,” Shenendehowa coach Jim Zullo said afterward. “We could try to beat them by pressing and taking good shots, or we could try this. I gave the guys a night to think about it, and they all said they want to give it a shot.”

Albany went on to win the Class A championship. 

SCHENECTADY X2

I will always have fond memories of the Schenectady boys’ basketball program, which often struggled for wins in its earliest years after the merger between Linton and Mont Pleasant and reached its greatest heights in 1997-98 and 2000-21, when the Patriots won New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class A championships, first under the direction of Gary DiNola and then Mark Sausville. Both of those editions beat Hempstead for the NYSPHSAA title with fourth-quarter heroics, and both finished 28-1. Another coincidence involved the teams’ star centers, James Thomas and Rashaun Freeman, who both had 18 points and nine rebounds in the title games.

Two key figures from the 1998 team, DiNola and guard Willie Deane, were the first coach and player from modern Schenectady High School to be inducted into the Schenectady City School District Athletic Hall of Fame in  2018 and 2019, respectively. The SCSDAHF candidate list includes Casper Wells, who in 2002 was the star of a gritty Schenectady baseball team that came within one win of what would have been another state championship for the high school.

STREAK BUSTERS

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s 2002 Class A boys’ championship certainly stands out among all of the great swimming meets I have covered, and all of the streak-busting efforts I’ve written about. The Spartans won nine of 12 events in the Amsterdam pool, and with 427 points to Bethlehem’s 410.5, ended the Eagles’ 29-year run as the area’s top Section II team.

“Every race, we pounded out good times. The whole team swam great,” Burnt Hills senior Jud Rudgers said afterward. “Not one person let down, and we needed that. We needed everyone to come through.”

One of the most anticipated Section II girls’ lacrosse title games ended with Niskayuna beating Guilderland 15-14 for the 2011 Class A crown. Kayla Treanor scored the final goal as Niskayuna ended Guilderland’s 80-game win streak against Section II teams.

In the fall of 2016, inside a packed gym at Shenendehowa, the Plainsmen’s girls’ volleyball team ended Burnt Hills’ 390-match Suburban Council win streak that stretched over 26 years. 

“I hoped it would be three sets, but I never imagined it would be three sets,” Shenendehowa senior setter Julia Paliwodzinski said after the 25-20, 25-9, 25-17 victory. “I figured it would be a five-set battle.” 

OVER THE HUMP

I couldn’t have been happier for the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football team when, after losing in state title games in 2008, 2009 and 2011, it rode a big first half to a 40-20 Class A win over Sweet Home in 2012 at the Carrier Dome. Burnt Hills had let a 20-7 lead get away in the 2011 Class A final in a 27-20 loss to Maine-Endwell, which made the victory a year later that much sweeter.

Burnt Hills reached the state tournament in 2011 by beating Amsterdam 26-23 in what was among my most memorable Super Bowls. That thriller saw Tyler Rouse kick a late field goal for the Rams before Ryan McDonnell threw a touchdown pass for the Spartans inside the final minute. That game, the last for Amsterdam coach Pat Liverio, was tied at 7-7, 13-13 and 20-20.

GUTS AND GLORY

Shenendehowa was in trouble at the half of the 2013 state Class A field hockey final, trailing two-time defending champ Sachem East by two goals, and with star Anna Bottino hobbling on a sprained ankle. Bottino got taped up, though, and assisted on two goals and then scored the game-winner in an overtime shootout as the Plainsmen prevailed 3-2.

Shenendehowa added a second state title in 2016 and completed a 21-0 campaign when Carli Pelletier and Kelly Buckley scored goals in a 2-1 win over Scarsdale.

Before those wins, Burnt Hill-Ballston Lake was the last Section II team to win a state Class A title in 1987, and I was there, too. Hoosick Falls won the Class B state crown that day, and its coach, Jeanne Frevola, guided both of those Shenendehowa squads that were best in the state. 

STOPERA’S GAME

Without Scott Stopera’s three free throws in the final seconds of the second overtime, the Scotia-Glenville boys’ basketball team never wins those back-to-back state Class A championships in 2014 and 2015 or wins those 53 straight games, either.

Stopera was fouled hoisting a 3 from the corner, his three makes gave Scotia-Glenville a 77-75 lead, and after Troy missed a short shot and a tip-in try, the Tartans had a Section II Class A title-game win in March of 2014 at the Glens Falls Civic Center. It was among the most thrilling and intense high school games I have ever seen — and I’ve seen a bunch — with Tartans’ reserve Schuyler Sayles hitting a 3 in each OT and Tartans’ star Joe Cremo getting a triple-double and a key block just before Stopera delivered at the other end.

I believe if Troy had won that game, it would have been the state champ that year.

“No one was going to go down easy in this game,” said Scotia-Glenville coach Jim Giammattei, whose team was ranked No. 1 in the state and Troy was No. 3. “In the locker room before the game it was, ‘If you want this, you’ve got to fight for it.’ We knew how it was going to be.”

Scotia-Glenville beat Troy again in the 2015 Section II Class A final and went on to defend its state public school title before a loss in the Federation tournament ended Section II’s longest winning streak in boys’ basketball.

AT LONG LAST

After watching so many wonderful boys’ lacrosse seasons end with a loss somewhere along the state tournament trail, Niskayuna got to the top by beating West Genesee 13-10 in the 2015 Class A championship game at Vestal High School. This one was extra special because I had followed Niskayuna since Day 1, and had seen them come so close several times, including state title-game setbacks in 2005 and 2009.

“A lot of other years ended with tears in their eyes, and not the right kind of tears,” Niskayuna coach Mike Vorgang said after bringing the first, and to this day, the only state lacrosse title to Section II.

THE SHOT

You do this long enough and you’re going to see some fantastic finishes, but the ending to the 2019 state Class B basketball title game was something extra special, when Joseph Girard III took an inbound pass from under the basket and scored on a difficult layup to give Glens Falls a 75-74  win over Lowville. 

The all-time state scoring leader, Girard III forced OT with a 3-pointer and totaled 50 points, and lifted Glens Falls to its first state championship after Jimmer Fredette and Mike Van Schaick-led teams had lost at that stage of the tournament in 2007 and 2003. Earlier that school year Girard III quarterbacked Glens Falls to its second state football title in three years.

“To be the first in basketball, and to win two [state titles] in the same year, it’s unexplainable,” Girard III said. “I can’t put it in words right now.”

EDITORIAL: State should release sought-after covid data immediately

If you bought something online and you received less than 5 percent of your order, you’d be pretty ticked off, right?

Or if you went the ATM and tried to take out $100 of your own money and the machine only spit out four dollars and change, you’d be pushing buttons demanding to talk to the manager.

Yet the state of New York has fulfilled less than 5 percent of the Freedom of Information Law requests submitted by the Empire Center to the state Department of Health and other state agencies for information related to the coronavirus outbreak — public information that could be vital to the citizens’ knowledge of the virus, how the state has responded and how the state addresses the still-viable crisis in the future.

Should we be OK with that?

According to the Empire Center, the public advocacy think tank in the past several months has submitted 62 FOIL requests to the state. So far, it has only received back three completed responses — for demographic-based vaccination numbers, antigen testing information and surveillance data on flu-like illness.

Three requests were denied because the state said the information didn’t exist. That’s fine, if the data really doesn’t exist.

But the rest of the responses were typical of state agencies — the request can’t be filled because state is still “diligently” searching for the records will release them at an undetermined future date.

First of all, agencies are required to provide an estimated date when the information will be released, not leave it open-ended. And often when the state does provide a date, they fail to meet that deadline and say they need more time, extending the requests indefinitely.

There’s no reason for the state to be withholding this information from the public. Much of what is being sought is, according to the Empire Center, information the state uses for its daily progress reports on the virus — information such as detailed statistics on testing, hospitalizations and deaths.

So if the state already has the information available for its own reports, why can’t it immediately release the information in full when a member of the public requests it? Why delay the release of the information even another day?

The likely reason is because the state doesn’t want the public to have this information to analyze and critique. And that makes one suspicious about what the data actually reveals about the state’s response and the current public health situation.

The less information the public has, the less it’s able to adequately evaluate the state’s actions and the less criticism state officials receive for their actions.

If the state has these records available, it shouldn’t wait any longer to release them.

This information belongs to the public.

And the public deserves more than 5 percent of a response.

Carney’s Tavern operators call it quits but owner, Rosemary Carney, says historic spot will open Tuesday

BALLSTON LAKE – Carney’s Tavern, the restaurant housed in the historic Ballston Lake building known by the same name, will be open Tuesday, despite the departure of the restaurant’s operators, owner Rosemary Carney said Monday.

The restaurant’s operators for the last eight years, Stephanie and Matt Finnigan, on Monday announced in a Facebook message and post to the restaurant website that they were “shutting the doors” to the longtime local pub.

But Carney, who along with her husband bought the building and opened Carney’s Tavern in the 1970s, said the tavern will be open on Tuesday and will go forward.

“Apparently they’ve had enough or whatever, we will be open tomorrow,” Carney said in a Monday interview. “It will be open tomorrow and next year, as long as I’m around.”

The Finnigans, who did not return a message seeking comment Monday, in their public message suggested the old building didn’t meet their needs and indicated an announcement about a new restaurant venture they were planning in the area would be forthcoming soon. 

“Our hearts are extremely heavy as we are no longer able to continue operations at the address of 17 Main Street in Ballston Lake,”  the owners wrote in the message Monday. “Unfortunately, the beautiful old building which houses Carney’s Tavern and dates back to 1840 has met its limitations.”

In the farewell message, the Finnigans said they and several of their current employees will be continuing in the restaurant industry and told their patrons to “stay tuned” for an announcement about their next plans.

Carney said her son, who has managed the kitchen for decades, and other longtime employees, including people who predate the Finnigans as operators, planned to continue running the restaurant, which had been temporarily closed of late. She said she didn’t know why the Finnigans suggested the restaurant was closing and said they leased the building from her on a month-to-month basis. She said she knew that business had been slowing down recently and that “everybody thinks it’s easy to run a restaurant.” 

“They won’t be there, but I will make sure it’s open,” Carney said, referring to the Finnigans. “It’s all about the locals.” 

The building itself, which contains a sign listing its original establishment in 1840, has long served as a restaurant, bar, saloon, hotel and local landmark. Local historians even speculate that then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt stopped at the old tavern – known at the time as the Ballston Lake Hotel – on his way back to Washington from a hunting trip in the Adirondacks after then-President William McKinley suffered from a gunshot wound he would eventually succumb to in 1901.

“We don’t know that for sure, but it’s a long trip, and the Ballston Lake Hotel was the first place in town to have a telephone,” Town of Ballston Historian Rick Reynolds told the Daily Gazette for a 2011 article on the tavern’s history. “He didn’t sleep here, but he probably ate, used the phone, and then got back on the train.”

The building has passed hands many times over the decades but was largely used as a hotel and restaurant for much of its history. 

Tracy Egan, executive director of the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund, remembered the old swear jar that sat at the bar under previous ownership. Her father’s family ran the Shenandahora Hotel that used to occupy the building. She said it has always been an important and central part of the Ballston Lake community.

“Many of the classes from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (High School) have spur-of-the-moment reunions at Carney’s,” Egan said. “Matt and Stephanie would always roll out the red carpet for everyone.”

The restaurant, a popular spot for local musicians, has long hosted legendary St. Patrick’s Day celebrations complete with many pounds of corned beef.