Mountains To Miracles Veterans Foundation seeking home base

MONTGOMERY COUNTY — A local organization dedicated to helping veterans is seeking a space it can use as its headquarters. 

Mountains To Miracles Veterans Foundation –a non-profit organization founded in Tribes Hill in 2012 — is looking for a location with enough space to house its offices and an area to store and display donations. The group intends for its new headquarters to be in an easily accessible location, where veterans could seek mental health services

On Saturday, Thomas Elwood,  the commander of Mohawk Valley VFW Post 3275 in Fort Plain, outlined the goals of Mountains To Miracles during a meeting of St. Johnsville’s Neighborhood Watch. 

“What [Mountains to Miracles] does is reach out to any veteran — no matter the branch, what time they served, or wherever they served — to help them with basically anything they need,” he said.

While the group aims to fill whatever need a veteran may have, Elwood — the chief operation officer of Mountains to Miracles — outlined some of the organization’s specific initiatives, including securing vehicles and service animals for veterans.

Service animals, Elwood said, have the ability to assist veterans suffering with physical disabilities, and those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries. 

Elwood said many of the 2,800 veterans registered as homeowners in Montgomery County — that number not including those renting or staying with friends or family — could potentially benefit from mental health assistance.

A significant number of those veterans are unaware of what benefits they qualify for via the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system, Elwood said, which currently only provides services out of the Albany Stratton and Syracuse VA Medical Centers.

“Everybody here in the middle is on their own unless they can get a ride to Albany or Syracuse,” he said.

The VA health care system has agreed to provide mental health services in-house at the Mountains to Miracles headquarters once it is established, he said. Services would be available once a week at first, with there being potential for mental health services to be provided several times a week.  Elwood said the Family Counseling Center in Gloversville has also agreed to partner with MTM.

Though the organization has not found its home base yet, Elwood said he can still assist veterans in finding out what benefits they qualify for, and with their entry into the VA health care system; he said that can be a challenge sometimes.

“We can get [veterans] established into the VA health care system, and get them the care they need and the benefits they deserve,” he said.

Elwood said Mountains to Miracles is  seeking an approximately 3,000-square-foot facility to serve as its headquarters — the donated use of which would be tax deductible — which would also serve as a Miracles Center. The Miracles Center portion of the space would provide veterans with a wide variety of items, including silverware, clothing and appliances, he said.

“We want to get established in this area, and will be covering Schoharie, Montgomery, Fulton and Herkimer counties,” Elwood said about the Miracles Center.

He said one goal is to eventually open the facility not only to veterans, but also to community members who have fallen on hard times.

 

“It won’t be just VA related, and it won’t be there just for the veteran,” Elwood said regarding the Miracles Center. “It’ll also be there for the community, and it will be free.”

Elwood said the group is considering a location in Nelliston and a space that has been offered in Gloversville — though they will still look at other facilities.

 

Elwood said Mountains to Miracles is seeking — along with a facility to call home — donations and volunteers, including individuals familiar with grant writing, and those willing to assist in securing and moving donated items, washing clothing, cleaning and setting up the eventual headquarters.

Those interested in providing donations, volunteer time, ideas regarding potential locations for the organization, or information about a veteran who may be in need of assistance, can call Elwood at 518-848-2696.

Renters with unit in Rotterdam self storage fire press for access to belongings, hire attorney

A Guilderland couple who say they have an estimated $200,000 worth of belongings at Prime Self Storage said they hired a lawyer to stop the company from demolishing the business at 103 Old Mill Lane.

The storage company was severely damaged by fire on April 6. Officials have said at least 25 units were destroyed by the fire, while others had significant smoke and water damage. Some units remained intact.

Dave and Erica Murrell said the company is offering $3,000 to all customers with insurance through the company.

The Murrells said they have their own separate insurance policy.

But they said the belongings in their unit are salvageable, and they just want them back. They said Sunday they retained attorney Paul DeLorenzo of Schenectady to launch a class-action lawsuit on behalf of other aggrieved customers.

Prime Self Storage was on lockdown last week, surrounded by temporary fencing as a security guard sat in a pickup truck in the parking lot. A site manager occupied a sedan. 

When a reporter approached the site manager’s vehicle, she refused to roll down her window. She was observed using her camera to take photos as upset customers spoke to a reporter and photographer outside of the fire scene. 

Calls to the company’s corporate offices weren’t returned last week.

The Murrells, and others, are attempting to build a circumstantial case alleging a man who rented multiple units was living out of his units. They said the man is a habitual smoker.

In an interview last week, South Schenectady Fire Chief Dave Stern confirmed that the man in question was trying to “beat out” the fire with a wet towel when Stern arrived at the fire. 

The man, whose identity wasn’t known to authorities, wasn’t injured.

A charred rubble pile sat in front of one of his storage units.

“He eventually just kind of wandered away during the fire,” Stern said. “The investigators did speak to him.”

But Stern said he does not believe the man in question lived at the business.

“According to the neighbors, he would come to the bin daily, pull up a chair and feed the animals — squirrels and birds,” Stern said.

Building inspector Jim Keith agreed, saying he also does not believe the man lived at the storage business, although he appeared to spend an inordinate amount of time there.

“I don’t even know his name,” Keith said. ” I didn’t get any of that information.”

The Murrells said their lawyer has a private investigator working to find the identity of the man in question.

On the issue of allowing customers to get salvageable items, Keith expressed understanding for the positions of both the business and customers.

“I think it’s a big liability to let anybody in there,” he said. “But I also understand people have their contents. They want to be able to get in, or have their insurance companies get in if they’re insured, to see what damage was done so they can collect money, as well as the property manager.”

The Murrells said they have studio equipment, appliances, collectibles, and photos and other items of sentimental value stored in their unit.

Erica Murrell was miffed by what she said was the company’s unprofessional behavior to upset customers.

Murrell said she believes the company is being retaliatory, because she was outspoken when she spoke to officials of the business the day of the fire. 

Having rented her unit for seven years, Murrell went on to contend that the business is engaged in a cover-up about the man in question living there.

“That’s their negligence because the man lived here and they know that,” she said.

Murrell said regardless of what time of day or night she visited her unit, the man was always there.

“I’ve watched him wake up and I watched him go to bed,” she said. “They can’t lie to me. I know the truth.”

She pointed to a charred swivel chair in front of his unit. She said he sat in it as he fed squirrels and birds while smoking. She said she’s even witnessed him put ice and lunch meat in a cooler.

“Of course they’re going to cover [themselves] for insurance purposes,” she said. “I totally get that. But you’re not going to play me. You’re going to be held accountable for what you did because you know that he lived here.”

Another frustrated customer, Steve Long, of Scotia, said he’s part of a middle ages recreation group that has rented a unit from Prime for about 10 years. Long said they had $30,000 worth of items in the unit.

“We’re upset at the loss,” Long said. “We’re recovering and moving on, where we didn’t lose our house. The biggest loss for us was we had items made almost 50 years ago for us, and moved them here in the unit.”

Long, too, believes the man has lived in the unit for years.

“I feel like he was,” Long said. “I don’t have proof that he was.”

Whenever Long needed to go to his organization’s storage unit, he said he always did so at night. This was to avoid the man in question and his constant smoking, Long said.

“I’ve seen him here, and the prior people before me that had this job going back to 2014 had seen him here at all hours,” Long said, adding that it appeared the man ran a “knickknack shop of some kind” because he was observed with a money box.

“I’d say, ‘Oh God, he’s here again. Does he ever leave?’ “

Meanwhile, the Murrells have developed a Facebook page for aggrieved customers: Rotterdam Storage Fire Victims United. 

 

 

Soccer players get a kick out of zip-line park in Glenville

On the urging of the owner of Mountain Ridge Adventure in Glenville, 14-year-old Mia Casalinuovo of Clifton Park let out a Tarzan yell as she trolleyed from a high zip-line platform, then descended to the ground from a cargo net.

The treetop obstacle and zip-line park opened for the season this weekend.

Casalinuovo is a member of a Capital District Firestorm club soccer team. Club owner John Quimby rented the park for three hours Sunday for about 50 players on six of his teams.

It was to let off steam, and for a needed team-building activity during the 14th month of the COVID-19 pandemic, Quimby said.

Carissa Shanahan of Cohoes locks into a zip line on the Spirit Course Sunday afternoon. STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE
 

The park has treetop zip-line platforms as high as 70 feet off the ground as users traverse obstacles.

Wearing a body harness attached to a safety cable, guests move from tree to tree by crossing bridges, swings, swinging logs, cargo nets and zip-lines.

“It’s been a tough year with everything,” Quimby said. “We’ve been playing a lot, but mentally they needed something like this.”

Quimby said he got the idea to bring the teams after he had a casual meeting with a park worker who suggested the program could benefit from using the park.

“I waited until they opened, and the weather worked out and it’s been great,” said Quimby, whose players are ages 11 to 17.

While fun, Casalinuovo said the park pushed her physically.

Also, it’s helping with team communication, said Casalinuovo, who fills in at every position on the field.

She said her team hasn’t been able to practice as much as it wants.

Amelia Cataldo of Burnt Hills demonstrates what to do if an adventurer is stuck on the rope line. STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE
 

“It’s definitely harder because of COVID,” the teen said. “We sometimes reached out and we can maybe go on a team run, or just have a team FaceTime to check in with everybody.”

Zip-lining meshes well with social distancing, said Mountain Ridge Adventure co-owner Olivia Cellini.

Easily distanced

The course, which is on a 50-acre plot of land, lends itself to spacing because only one person can use an obstacle at a time, Cellini said.

The park only keeps an amount of equipment for not more than 60 people at a time, she said.

Facemasks aren’t required but they’re recommended. Users must stay six feet apart.

Ashlynn Boyce of Clifton Park is close to finishing crossing a rope wall, part of her club soccer team, Firestorm FC based in Niskayuna. STAN HUDY/THE DAILY GAZETTE

Cellini said workers try to keep lines moving and do their best to mitigate traffic.

“If you are stuck in a line and just kind of bored it’s not fun,” she said.

The park is in its sixth season, said Cellini, a structural engineer who co-owns the business with her husband, Michael.

It started, she said, when Cellini gave her husband a zip-line as a Father’s Day gift.

The park is open April until Halloween, during which it has “Zombie Zips,” Cellini said.

Last year, at the onset of COVID, the state required it to remain closed the first three months of the year.

It reopened at the end of June.

Except for the first week, when it struggled to get the word out that it was open, the park was sold out most days, Cellini said.

The business, which also has an add-on of a 40-foot drop from a platform called the Leap of Faith, spoke to the area’s pent up demand for outdoor activity during the pandemic, she said.

Spreading support for the Niskayuna community with nut butters and jellies food drive

 

The jars of nut butters began spilling out the sides of the cardboard box Thursday evening as Julia Snow placed another on top of the already overflowing pile. 

Her brother Tommy Snow got an empty box and began to fill that one instead. 

Julia, Tommy, their sister Madison Snow, mom Jessica LaFex and dad Patrick Snow brought several bags full of jelly and nut butters to the Nisky Nutrition On the Weekends pantry as part of an ongoing fundraiser the non-profit organization is doing throughout April. The organization provides food to families in the Niskayuna Central School District on the weekends and during breaks year round.

“People in the community are always asking how they can help,” LaFex said.   

The idea came about after the organization saw an outpouring of support from community members when it asked for cereal donations a few weeks back. LaFex said the treasurer of Nisky NOW thought it would be a good idea to celebrate national peanut butter and jelly day — April 2 — all month long, while getting donations to give out to families in need. There are four donation sites set up. 

“I heard that the other locations are doing really well,” LaFex said. 

The event has gotten the attention of some officials and local community members who chimed in with videos on how to make the best sandwich while urging community members to donate.

Howard Schlossberg decided to make a fun trailer about making a sandwich, using dramatic music. 

The right bread is the secret to the perfect sandwich, he said. Schlossberg said he uses Challah bread.

His wife and county Legislator Michelle Ostrelich, D-Niskayuna, also posted a video of how she prepares a PB & J during Passover using Matzoh.

Unlike her husband, the bread isn’t the most important part of getting the best sandwich, though. 

“I’m going to disagree,” she said Saturday. “It’s the proportion of peanut butter to jelly.” 

Ostrelich also said she grew up eating peanut butter and strawberry preserve sandwiches. Her husband only does grape jelly and her kids actually only like peanut butter with Nutella — mainly for the Nutella, she said. 

LaFex said the biggest debate in her house is between grape jelly or strawberry jam. She said she keeps both on hand to make everyone happy. She also keeps sunflower butter in her cabinets too because Julia is allergic to peanut butter. 

Ostrelich said she loves what Nisky NOW is doing to help the community. 

“People aren’t aware of the food insecurity needs in Niskayuna,” she said. 

She said about 10% of the student population is getting free and reduced lunches at school. 

Jessica Brennan, the president of Nisky NOW, had said the food program has seen the number of families it’s assisting rise to 80 families during the COVID pandemic from 40 before the pandemic.

“They’re really serving a need,” Ostrelich said. 

When and where to make a donation

When: 4 p.m.- 5 p.m., April 29

Where: Nisky NOW Pantry, door 21 on the Van Antwerp Road side of the Niskayuna School District offices

Where: 2 Chestnut Lane; leave the items on the porch.

 When: 7 a.m.- 7 p.m., daily 

Where: Niskayuna Fire Department #1, 1079 Balltown Road

When: 8:30 a.m.- 3 p.m., weekdays

Where: Main Entrance of Niskayuna District Office, 1239 Van Antwerp Road

Please leave items in a bag labeled “Nisky NOW Donations.” 

 

 

Capital Region COVID-19 Tracker for Sunday, April 18, by county

State COVID-19 Tracker numbers for Capital Region counties as of Sunday afternoon, April 15. Testing data as of midnight Saturday night.

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Sources: New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Tracker / Fatalities by County

Schenectady County

  • Number tested:366,072 – 1,458 new (1,836 new day before)
  • Tested Positive:12,420 – 25 new (38 new day before)
  • Today’s Percent Positive:1.72 percent (2.07 percent day before)
  • Deaths:192 residents (0 new); 185 place of fatality (0 new)

Saratoga County

  • Number tested:438,860 – 2,894 new (2,131 new day before)
  • Tested Positive:14,418 – 38 new (57 new day before)
  • Today’s Percent Positive:1.31 percent (2.68 percent day before)
  • Deaths:160 residents (0 new); 113 place of fatality (0 new)

Albany County

  • Number tested:646,635 – 2,656 new (2,618 new day before)
  • Tested Positive:23,679 – 70 new (74 new day before)
  • Today’s Percent Positive:2.64 percent (2.83 percent day before)
  • Deaths:345 residents (1 new); 555 place of fatality (1 new)

Fulton County

  • Number tested:95,192 – 617 new (555 new day before)
  • Tested Positive:4,081 – 24 new (16 new day before)
  • Today’s Percent Positive:3.89 percent (2.88 percent day before)
  • Deaths:86 residents (0 new); 60 place of fatality (0 new)

Montgomery County

  • Number tested:96,113 – 406 new (495 new day before)
  • Tested Positive:3,896 – 15 new (9 new day before)
  • Today’s Percent Positive:3.70 percent (1.82 percent day before)
  • Deaths:116 residents (0 new); 101 place of fatality (0 new)

Schoharie County

  • Number tested:53,375 – 154 new (166 new day before)
  • Tested Positive:1,552 – 4 new (5 new day before)
  • Today’s Percent Positive:2.60 percent (3.01 percent day before)
  • Deaths:15 residents (0 new); 4 place of fatality (0 new)

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Rensselaer County

  • Number tested:408,032 – 1,692 new (1,583 new day before)
  • Tested Positive:10,679 – 37 new (50 new day before)
  • Today’s Percent Positive:2.19 percent (3.16 percent day before)
  • Deaths:136 residents (0 new); 111 place of fatality (0 new)

Warren County

  • Number tested:129,200 – 636 new (484 new day before)
  • Tested Positive:3,386 – 12 new (14 new day before)
  • Today’s Percent Positive:1.89 percent (2.89 percent day before)
  • Deaths:56 residents (0 new); 79 place of fatality (0 new)

Hamilton County

  • Number tested:9,000 – 19 new(25 new day before)
  • Tested Positive:301 – 0 new(0 new day before)
  • Today’s Percent Positive:0.0 percent (0.0 percent day before)
  • Deaths:2 resident (0 new); 0 place of fatality

Washington County

  • Number tested:111,815 – 666 new (542 new day before)
  • Tested Positive:2,857 – 10 new (7 new day before)
  • Today’s Percent Positive:1.50 percent (1.29 percent day before)
  • Deaths:55 residents (0 new); 32 place of fatality (0 new)

New York State

  • Number tested:48,960,229 – 243,171 new
  • Tested Positive:1,984,929 – 5,704 new
  • Today’s Percent Positive:2.35 percent
  • Deaths:41,485 (35 new)

Sources: New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Tracker / Fatalities by County

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HIGH NOTES: Help for the homeless, food for spring break, vaccination success

In Schenectady, city police Sgt. Nick Mannix and Lt. Ryan Macherone, seeing a need to help the homeless rather than punish them, worked with community agencies over the winter to provide supplies for those living in a homeless encampment off of Lomasney Avenue until they could find housing. The officers could have taken the more conventional route by simply ordering the dozen or so people living in the camp to disperse. But they took a more humanitarian approach to the problem, enlisting the local agencies to bring meals and other supplies and eventually to help eliminate the need for them to live in the wooded area at all. Among the groups assisting with the effort were Bethesda House of Schenectady, Catholic Charities, New Choices Recovery Center, Schenectady County Health Services, City Mission, Schenectady Community Action Program and Mohawk Opportunities.

In Hudson Falls, about 60 volunteers recently helped fill a need for food for students and local families during school spring break by hosting a food distribution event at Hudson Falls High School. The event was organized by Catholic Charities, the AFL-CIO-Capital District Area Labor Federation Chapter, CDPHP and the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. Volunteers distributed about 16,000 pounds of food – enough to feed about 500 families – for those in need. The items included milk, eggs, salad, pizza and fruits and vegetables. Volunteers loaded food in families’ vehicles following covid protocols.

In Schenectady County, government officials, health officials, volunteers and others are working to stop the spread of the coronavirus by distributing vaccines at the fifth highest level of any of the 62 counties in the state. Through Friday, nearly half of all county residents had received at least one dose of a vaccine and 33% have been fully vaccinated. Both figures are well above the state average. For information on how to schedule a vaccination, visit: https://www.schenectadycounty.com/

SHARE YOUR HIGH NOTES
High Notes is a Monday feature of The Gazette Opinion section spotlighting the good being done in our communities by individuals, organizations, schools and colleges, and businesses. If you know of anyone who should be celebrated, send your suggestions for High Notes to Editorial Page Editor Mark Mahoney at [email protected]

Five things to know from Week 5 of Section II’s football season

Here are five things to know from Week 5 of the Section II football season.

HUMAN BATTERING RAM

Senior fullback Jaysiah Woodrow is a fan favorite of the Shenendehowa football faithful, and also of the guys he plays the game with.

“He is going to run the ball, and he is going to run people over,” Shenendehowa senior receiver and cornerback Dyvante Terrelonge said of his teammate after Friday’s 42-8 Class AA Empire Division semifinal playoff win against Schenectady. “When he’s blocking, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen him lay people out.”

The 5-foot-11, 265-pound Woodrow, who is both powerful and nimble afoot, did both of those things Friday in what was the Plainsmen’s fourth straight win.

“On the plays I don’t get the ball I want to create a hole for my teammate to get through,” Woodrow said. “When I get the ball, run through someone.”

Woodrow ran the ball eight times for 33 yards against Schenectady. He scored on a 1-yard run and gained first downs on lugs of five and four yards.

“He is a tough runner and a tough blocker,” Shenendehowa coach Brian Clawson said. “He is a team-first player who will sacrifice his body for the good of the team.”

Woodrow provided one of the highlights in Shenendehowa’s 35-7 Section II Class AA title-game win over Guilderland in 2019 when he broke several tackles and rumbled 27 yards for a touchdown in a put-away fourth quarter.

CLASS AA, A SEMIFINAL GAMES SET

Week 5 results set up pairings for the Week 6 Class AA and Class A league playoff semifinals.

The Class AA semifinals — or division title games — will have Shenendehowa (4-1) traveling to Guilderland (3-1) for an Empire Division showdown, and CBA (2-3) going to Shaker (5-0) for a Liberty Division clash. Friday’s 7 p.m. Shenendehowa at Guilderland game will be a rematch from the 2019 Section II large-school final that the Plainsmen won 35-7 as a stepping stone toward the state semifinals.

Shenendehowa defeated Schenectady 42-8, and Shaker beat Bethlehem 40-0, to start the Class AA playoffs Friday. Guilderland had the weekend off and CBA played a non-classification game with Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake because their scheduled playoff opponents, Saratoga Springs and Colonie, were on COVID-19 pauses.

The Class A semifinals will have Averill Park (4-1) going to the Grasso Division’s top team, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (5-0), and Queensbury (2-1) going to the Capital Division’s top team, Troy (5-0). Queensbury edged Troy in the 2019 Section II Class A title game 17-13.

Averill Park beat La Salle 20-13, and Queensbury beat Niskayuna 33-21, to secure their playoff spots.

With the inequity of games in Class C and Class D, as of Sunday Section II football was working out upcoming matchups for Week 6 that may or may not include playoff games. Class B is scheduled to complete its regular season in Week 6 before a one-week crossover in Week 7.

SCOTTIES’ IMMACULATE RECEPTION

With just three seconds left in the game Friday night Ballston Spa quarterback Andrew Kramer found Owen Walsh in the middle of the end zone for the wide receiver’s biggest catch of the year, completing a wild 34-31 comeback win against Amsterdam.

“He just ran a great route,” Kramer said. “We have a lot of weapons out there. He ran a great route, found a sweet spot in the zone so I gave it to him.”

With the ball on the 25-yard line it was more of a backyard route than something out of the Ballston Spa playbook.

“He just told everybody to run around and try to get open and that’s what happened,” Walsh said.

Pressure was on both the Scotties quarterback and his receiving corps.

“You get nervous when you see him and he’s open,” Kramer said. “You don’t really think about anything. I escaped the pocket, found him wide open, it happened naturally.”

Walsh slid to his knees and cradled the football as time expired and waited anxiously for the referees to signal the catch.

“I’m just trying to get open,” Walsh said. “I kind of found a spot in the end zone just to stay there, we locked eye contact and hit me on the route.”

In that moment, the football looked a lot different to Walsh as it headed towards him.

“It looked small, you don’t want to drop it, so you just have got to make sure you get under it and catch it,” Walsh said. “It was a little low through, I got down to my knees and I just caught it.”

BEEN A LONG TIME

The unpredictable nature of the “Fall II” football season has created some matchups that haven’t been seen in quite some time. CBA’s non-classification game Friday at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake was among them.

Before the Class A Spartans topped the Class AA Brothers 28-20 at Centennial Field, the teams last squared off in Week 8 of the 1994 campaign with CBA prevailing 26-21 in a Metroland Conference Division II game at Burnt Hills.

Current Burnt Hills head coach Matt Shell was an assistant with the Spartans back then, and current assistant Jason LaPietro was starting on the Spartans offensive line.

“Class As don’t get many opportunities to play AAs. A pause allowed us to do it, and it worked out well for both of us,” Shell said. “Of all the years this was the year to make it happen.”

CBA was left without a Week 5 game when its Class AA division playoff opponent, Colonie, went on a COVID-19 pause. Burnt Hills was originally slated to play a Class A league game at Scotia-Glenville Friday, and Scotia-Glenville instead played at Class B Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk. Ravena had an open date because its original Week 5 opponent, Holy Trinity, called off its season early last week due to a lack of players.

“Our guys played their tails off. So did CBA,” Shell said. “It was a great game. We needed that type of game and that caliber late in the year.”

LaPietro’s son, Burnt Hills quarterback Caeden LaPietro, scored on a two-yard run late in the game as Burnt Hills extended a 21-20 lead, and Michael Sbuttoni added the extra point.

Rather than give CBA a chance at a big kickoff return, Shell called for a Sbuttoni pooch kick that was recovered by teammate Vincent Venditti, and the Spartans ran out the clock.

“It was a huge team win because everyone had to do something,” Shell said.

A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Like many small-school teams with limited rosters, Broadalbin-Perth often asks its quarterbacks to take on a two-way role. Jackson Sassanella is no exception.

Like Vincenzo DiCaterino, Brodryk Benton and Dante Calderone before him, Sassanella does a lot more than run the Broadalbin-Perth offense. He also uses his size and athleticism to play a vital role on defense as an outside linebacker in head coach Jim Pelneau’s 4-3 scheme.

And that’s not all. Sassanella also handles punting and kicking duties for the Patriots (2-0).

Given the short season, Sassanella — one of the team’s four seniors — is glad to take on a bit of extra work.

“Get it all in while I can, I guess,” Sassanella said. “I can’t complain.”

In Saturday’s win, Sassanella completed 12 of 19 passes for 221 yards and a pair of touchdowns, with one of his key passes coming on a fake punt to Alex DiCaterino and extended a drive that led to Broadalbin-Perth’s first touchdown of the game. He also played an integral part on defense, made a downfield tackle on one of his own kickoffs and successfully made all four of his extra point attempts.

“Having such a small window of practice for him, he’s been doing a great job,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Jim Pelneau said. “We only had a very limited amount of time with him going into the spring. We’re proud of him. He’s a gamer.”

Fulton County Sheriff’s vehicle, motorcycle involved in crash Sunday in Broadalbin, sheriff says

BROADALBIN – A Fulton County Sheriff’s patrol unit was involved in a crash late Sunday morning with a motorcycle, Fulton County Sheriff’s officials said.

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The motorcyclist was conscious and alert at the scene, officials said. Officials described the motorcyclist’s injuries as minor. He was transported to the hospital for treatment.

The deputy was uninjured, officials said.

The crash happened at about 11:45 a.m. on Route  29 in the town of Broadalbin, officials said.

Sheriff Richard Giardino requested the state police investigate the accident to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, officials said.

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Moreau woman faces arson charge in residential fire, Saratoga Sheriff says

MOREAU – A Moreau woman faces an arson charge, accused of lighting a fire at her residence following a dispute, Saratoga County Sheriff’s officials said.

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Michelle L. Iorio, 32, of Route 9, Moreau, was arrested this past week on one count of third-degree arson, a felony, officials said.

Iorio is accused of intentionally lighting a fire inside her residence after a dispute with other occupants earlier in the day. She was the only occupant of the house at the time and no one was injured, officials said. A release did not specify when the fire happened.

Iorio was arraigned and held on bail. She is to return to court later.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the South Glens Falls Fire Department and the Saratoga County Fire Cause and Origin Team.

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Three arrested on drug charges in Saratoga County, two by Saratoga Springs police, one by sheriff

SARATOGA COUNTY – Three men face drug charges in Saratoga County after two separate investigations, two charged by Saratoga Springs police, one by the sheriff’s office.

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In the Saratoga Springs case, Juan C. Pantaleon, 20, of the Bronx, and Victor Dominguez, 19, of Saratoga Springs, each face one count each of third-degree and fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, felonies, police said.

The two were arrested late Friday morning after police executed a search warrant at 21 Kirby Road in Saratoga Springs. The search was the culmination of a investigation into possible drug activity at the residence, police said.

Police seized in excess of a half ounce of cocaine, cutting agents, packaging materials and just over $1,800 in cash, police said.

Pantaleon and Dominguez were each arraigned and released to return to court later, police said. State police assisted with the investigation.

In the Saratoga County Sheriff’s investigation, Brendan F. Mitchell, 31, of Malta, was arrested Thursday and charged with one count each of third-degree criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, felonies.

Mitchell was arrested after a lengthy investigation into drug trafficking in Saratoga County. Sheriff’s officials said Mitchell distributed quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin in the county.

Investigators searched Mitchell’s residence at 3 Everest Dr. in Malta and found packaging materials, scales and a firearm, officials said. Mitchell is on parole, officials said. State parole assisted with the investigation.

He was arraigned and ordered held. Further charges are pending.

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