Melissa Hale-Spencer

BERNE — At the darkest time of the year, nine hundred people stood shoulder to shoulder, holding candles and singing. Snow fell lightly Monday night, the flakes turning wet as they landed on faces and mittens and boots while the crowd stood in front of the elementary school at Berne.

They were there to mourn a little boy the vast majority of them did not know. Kindergartner Kenneth White was slain in his home last Thursday, police said, his body pitched over the snow bank across from the trailer where he lived with his twin sister and their younger sister. The 19-year-old daughter of their aunt and legal guardian stands accused of murder. Tiffany VanAlstyne, too, had once attended the school where the crowd gathered.

The town judge treated them like human beings, say elderly Stannard sisters who have a sense of freedom now that charges stemming from their housing too many stray cats have been adjourned.

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"The worst thing you can do is make no decision," the vice president of the school board told his colleagues as they wrestled with reams of public opinion on how to solve the problem of too much space for too few students.

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GUILDERLAND — Brenda McClaine, who was treasurer of the Guilderland Teachers’ Association when she stole over $100,000 from the union, no longer works for the Guilderland School District.

In exchange for her resignation, the school board agreed to withdraw the disciplinary charges the superintendent had filed against McClaine, to pay the district portion of her health insurance until June 30, 2015, and also to allow her two fifth-grade children to finish out their school year free of charge.

Those responsible for websites for Albany County, the town of Guilderland, and Guilderland schools found both fault and value in this fall's statewide survey by an Albany think tank.

It’s not your grandmother’s business program where girls, seated in straight rows, dutifully learned shorthand and typing so they could become secretaries.

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GUILDERLAND — A controversial consultant’s report led to a collegial forum on Nov. 19 as 74 district residents participated in the first summit on the future of Guilderland schools.

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ALTAMONT — Marc Smith grew up in Altamont, in a pillared house that looks like it came from Gone with the Wind. As a kid, he delivered newspapers, riding his bike up and down village streets — “not throwing them, but taking each newspaper to the door,” he says.

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Raymond Perry can replicate the sound of an owl.

In fact, he can replicate the sound of all three species of owls that visitors to Five Rivers might be likely to hear. Beyond that, he can make a variety of noises that the owls would make in different situations.

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Brenda McClaine was a math teacher at Guilderland when she stole over $100,000 in union funds. She was sentenced last week to six months, served on weekends, so she will coninue working at the district office.

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