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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 18, 2007

Group home proposed in G’land

By Jarrett Carroll

GUILDERLAND — Looking to help five area men live independently, the Center for Disability Services has submitted plans for a new assisted group home.

At Tuesday’s town board meeting, the center proposed converting a house at 25 Velina Dr. into a home for the five men, aged 29 to 39, with 24-hour supervision. Velina Drive is located between Western Avenue and the New York State Thruway, between Crossgates Mall and the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.

The matter was before the board because of a concern over too many group homes in town.

There are currently 11 group homes in Guilderland, including the three in Altamont. The center, formerly known as the Center for the Disabled, runs seven out of the 11.

"They are men who have lived in the Capital Region in suburban communities very similar to this one," said Alan Krafchin, chief executive officer and president of the Center for Disability Services. "Each of the men will work Monday through Friday and will be doing other activities on the weekend."

The men’s mental disabilities range from "mild to moderate mental retardation," according to the center’s programs director, Donna Lamkin.

"A saturation of group homes"that would be the only area we would be looking at," Supervisor Kenneth Runion told presenters at Tuesday’s town board meeting. "The Center for Disability Services always were good at working with neighbors on either landscaping or parking issues"to make them look like single family housing."

Runion told The Enterprise there does not appear to be a saturation and that all of the construction and parking issues will be left to the regulations of the town’s building codes and zoning board.

Krafchin told the board that the house would be supervised 24 hours a day with a manager living in an in-law apartment and would have additional staff "on-call."

"As for parking"," Krafchin said, "the house will have four to six vehicles at any given time." The off-street parking is "adequate" and a garage is attached to the house, he said. An estimated three to five employees could be at the house at any given time, he added.

The vehicle most likely to be designated to the house would be a mini-van, he said.

Renovations to the house deal mainly with health and safety features, and the footprint of the structure would not be altered or increased, said Krafchin.

The outside of the garage will also be renovated to match the rest of the house, Lamkin told the board.

Only one Velina Drive resident spoke at the meeting, saying he had just heard about the proposal two days earlier.

"As neighbors, should we expect to interact with these individuals"" asked Bill Stoecklin of 21 Velina Dr., after asking about what disabilities the men had.

"We certainly hope so," answered Lamkin. "However your community currently interacts, we hope these men will be a part of that."

Stoecklin also asked Lamkin if the men were moved from house to house and how long would they be residing at the home.

"These placements are very long-term"We provide a life-time commitment to them," Lamkin said of the Center’s clients.

When asked about a time frame, Lamkin said that the closing for the house was scheduled for mid-February, but there were "a variety of approvals" needed from state agencies before construction could begin.

"Particularly with a change in the administration, it could take a very long time; a couple of months," Lamkin told Stoecklin.

Lamkin said Center for Disability Service officials are "always available to meet with all of the neighbors," and that the center provides tours of its facilities. She reiterated that the house would have 24-hour supervision and that someone would "be awake all day."

Runion wished Krafchin and Lamkin well at the end of the presentation, and ended by saying to Stoecklin, "I know the center has always been available for questions."

Fees rise for upgraded parks

By Jarrett Carroll

After nearly 10 years, the town of Guilderland Parks and Recreations Department has increased its fees for 2007.

The department has recently moved into the former Inga Barth’s Florist building across from Tawasentha Park on Route 146. This year, conference rooms will be available there for local residents, businesses, and non-profit organizations.

The new park schedule was adopted Tuesday night by the Guilderland Town Board.

A conference room can hold upwards of 30 people and will cost residents $40 per meeting, which was defined as an "average meeting period" of a few hours each time.

There is a small kitchen with a refrigerator and a microwave available as well as restrooms, a small television, and a DVD player for presentations. Wireless Internet will also be available throughout the building.

Businesses or private groups will be charged $50 per meeting, but the conference room will have to be reserved by a town resident. Once reserved, the applicants will be issued a number or code for the conference room’s programmable keypad entrance. A new number will be assigned with each reservation to keep the building secure.

The conference room will be available from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.

Supervisor Kenneth Runion has been a strong advocate of the newly expanded park system in Guilderland, which includes new trails in Tawasentha Park, renovations to the Guilderland Rock climbing Adventure Barn, and improvements to the community gardens along Route 146.

"Basically, we have 600 acres in the center of town where you can go golfing, play baseball, basketball or tennis, go to the Guilderland Performing Arts Center, have a garden, or go swimming, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, walking, or hiking, fishing, and simply enjoy yourself any time of year," Runion told The Enterprise last fall about the area.

As for the pavilions at Tawasentha Park, the rental fees have increased and are broken into two separate categories: weekday prices and weekend prices.

The large pavilion, which used to cost residents $50, will now cost $80, Monday through Thursday, and $90, Friday through Sunday. This pavilion accommodates over 100 people and is available May 1 through Oct. 30, with the exception of summer camp hours.

For businesses or private groups, it will cost $100, Monday through Thursday, and $150, Friday through Sunday.

The small pavilion, which used to cost residents $30, will now cost $40, Monday through Thursday, and $60, Friday through Sunday. This pavilion accommodates 40 people or fewer and is available the same times as the large pavilion.

For businesses or private groups, it will cost $60, Monday through Thursday, and $80, Friday through Sunday.

Guilderland school groups are not charged for pavilion reservations.

Use of the Nott Road Fields will cost residents $25 per game and leagues $30 per game. Businesses and private groups will pay $40 per game.

The fields are open 8 a.m. to dark and additional fees include:

— $55 for use of field lights;

— $10 per child camp fee (which must be sponsored by a town-approved Guilderland Youth Sports League); and

— $250 per day for tournaments.

The board was told that the new prices were still "far below" the prices of surrounding municipal facilities for similar services in towns such as Colonie.

Other business

The next board meeting will be on Feb. 6 and developers of the proposed $100 million Glass Works Village off of Route 20 are scheduled to come and formally submit their Draft Environmental Impact Statement to the board.

The town is currently waiting for a letter from developers showing how the draft statement specifically addresses questions raised in scoping documents dealing with potential environmental issues and the proposed development.

The second board meeting in February has been canceled due to the Association of Towns meeting.

In other business, the board unanimously:

— Adopted a resolution authorizing the supervisor to sign a contract with New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation to receive a $100,000 grant for the rehabilitation of the pool house and deck at Tawasentha Park.

Saying the pool house was in "desperate need of rehabilitation," Runion said that the project will cost significantly more than $100,000, "But it certainly helps to get some help from the state," he said.

The grant was rejected last year by the state, but was granted for the 2007 fiscal year, according to the town’s chairman of economic development and grant writer, Donald Csaposs.

"We were rejected for the 2005 funding round and approved in the 2006 funding round," said Csaposs. "That’s not uncommon," he added;

— Authorized the police department to bid for new police uniforms.

"Currently we have"a green color which matches Army uniforms,’ Runion said. "I guess the Army is going toward a different color"so now we are, too."

The new color will be a dark blue or black, as chosen by the police department, said Runion.

The Police Benevolent Association has agreed to "forgo their uniform allowance this year in exchange for the new uniforms," he said.

The estimates for uniform pants alone are more than $10,000, so the expenditure needed town board approval before going out to bid;

— Appointed Dawn M. Nedoroscik as a telecommunicator from the Albany County Civil Service list;

— Appointed Darrin M. Anton as records coordinator from the Albany County Civil Service list;

— Authorized the supervisor to sign an agreement contract with Hudson Valley Community College for paramedic training;

— Authorized the department of Water and Wastewater Management to bid for granulated activated carbon for replacement of final filters at the water treatment plant;

— Set a public hearing on March 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall the Guilderland Section 8 Housing Agency Plan, a federal program sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help low-income households; and

— Appointed Jean Cataldo, town tax collector, as delegate, and Patricia Slavick, town councilwoman, as alternative delegate to the Association of Towns meeting in New York City, in February.

"Jean, you did such a fantastic job last year, your duties of delegate have been re-assigned," said Councilmen Paul Pastore.

Committee to be formed
How should district spend $1.78M in EXCEL aid"

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — The school district here has been allocated $1.78 million in state funds for buildings, and will put together a committee to advise it on the best way to spend the money.

At the same time, the school board last Tuesday accepted state-required annual reports that show all parts of its five elementary schools and high school are in satisfactory shape. The high school, in Guilderland Center, went through a $23 million renovation in the late 1990s.

The middle school, off of Route 155, which was updated and expanded in a $19 million project completed last fall, was also deemed satisfactory, although a half-dozen of the 46 categories, including roof, windows, and communications system, were rated excellent.

The transportation building, built in 2003, got an overall rating of excellent.

And, while the district office building, located near the middle school off of Route 155, was rated satisfactory overall, it had the only unsatisfactory ratings. Six categories were rated unsatisfactory — drainage; electrical; foundation; roof; ventilation equipment; and heat, ventilation, and air-conditioning control system.

Part of the office building had originally served as a clubhouse for the golf course on which the middle school was built over three decades ago.

"That place is falling apart," said board member Peter Golden.

The district office building "is potentially overstressed," according to the five-year capital facilities plan.

It also notes moisture and mold problems and says drainage around the building needs to be added due to ground elevation changes made during the reconstruction of Route 155 two years ago.

"The electrical system needs to be evaluated," the report says. "It appears the possibility exists the building may have two separate feeds from the middle school. This would be a code violation."

The report also states, "It appears that administrative needs are close to outgrowing the present building. It is recommended that the district consider cost/benefit review of improving the existing building versus building a new structure."

School board President Richard Weisz asked about leasing district office space since state aid for offices is not what it is for instructional space. While district-office needs were brought up early on in discussions for the middle-school project, they were not included in the end for fear the project might be voted down.

On the elementary schools, the five-year plan states that detailed inspections indicate the need to upgrade or replace electrical systems, roofs, and telephone systems.

"Some electrical distribution panels are fifty years old and circuits are currently maxed out for usage," the report says.

It estimates electrical upgrades at Altamont would cost $169,000; at Guilderland, $219,000; at Westmere, $214,000; and at Lynnwood, $60,000. The fifth elementary school, Pine Bush, was built more recently and doesn’t need an electrical upgrade.

There are pavement concerns at Westmere and Lynnwood, the report says, and radiant heating systems in the 1950 - 1960 sections of the elementary schools don’t meet today’s standards in heating and air quality, the report says.

Additional elementary-school needs include updating fire-code and public-address systems, replacing gym floors, complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act, replacing interior doorway glass, meeting various plumbing needs, and replacing floor tiles.

The report estimates the cost for "highest priority" repairs to all of the district’s buildings at $2.59 million.

"There’s always sticker shock," said Weisz on the cost of maintaining district buildings.

Committee to form

Assistant Superintendent for Business Neil Sanders proposed establishing a facilities committee to develop a plan "with an emphasis on the needs of the five elementary schools, district-wide instructional technology, and to maximize the use of the district’s $1.78 million EXCEL allocation."

The state’s program, a one-time offer, stipulates that EXCEL (Expanding our Children’s Education and Learning) Aid can be used in addition to the district’s normal state building aid as long as the combined aid does not exceed the project’s total cost. Eligible projects include those related to education technology, health and safety, accessibility, and energy.

Although members were in favor of the proposal, the vote was postponed to Jan. 23 at the suggestion of board member Colleen O’Connell, to conform with board protocol of discussing an issue the meeting before voting on it.

The board agreed that two board members should serve on the committee along with the superintendent, the assistant superintendent for business, an elementary principal, the chief technology specialist, the building and grounds supervisor, a math and science supervisor, a maintenance mechanic, an office worker, three teachers, and three Parent-Teacher Association members.

Sanders said that the committee will present recommendations to the board in June. The committee will work in conjunction with an architect, Sanders said. The architect will be chosen based on a request for proposals.

Weisz said the emphasis will be on the elementary schools because the middle school and the high school have had renovation and expansion projects more recently than the five grade schools.

The committee may recommend using just the $1.78 million or it may recommend using that as "seed money that may or may not involve additional funding," said Weisz.

He also said that, if a member of the community is interested in serving on the committee, he or she should let the superintendent know.

"We either use this money or we lose this money," said Golden.

Board Vice President John Dornbush asked if the district office could be considered by the committee. Sanders said that it could.

Other business

In other business, the board:

— Set the tuition rate for 2006-07, based on state figures, for out-of-district secondary students at $10,265, for elementary students at $7,112, and for kindergarten students, in a half-day program, at $3,832.

Superintendent Gregory Aidala said that the district currently has four non-resident students paying tuition to go to school in Guilderland;

— Approved raises for non-unit workers to $33 per game for score/timekeepers.

For substitute teachers, rates were increased at the middle school to $15 for each additional period, and at the high school to $40 for one block, $60 for two blocks, $85 for three blocks, and $95 for four blocks, with an additional $5 per block after 40 days;

— Fired Roger Fallon as a monitor at Guilderland High School, effective Dec. 22, 2006; Fallon had worked for the district since Nov. 13, 2001;

— Adopted policies, discussed earlier, on home-schooling and student records;

— Established a Citizens’ Budget Advisory Committee, which will meet a half-dozen times in televised sessions, beginning March 1.

"It’s a no-cut club," said Weisz, adding that some districts are emulating Guilderland.

He also said that volunteers have to do their homework as they will be interrogating administrators who present the budget.

The deadline for signing up is Feb. 16, said Aidala, noting that four people had already done so. The target number is 25, he said, and letters are being sent to last year’s members as well as to PTAs and community groups;

— Heard from Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Nancy Andress that the Capital Area School Development Association has published an article by Lisa Patierne, administrative dean at Guilderland High School.

Her article, "Process of Positive Transition Ensures Student Success," outlines her work on high-school transition for ninth-graders;

— Learned that three Guilderland teachers — science teacher Alan Fiero at the middle school and English teachers Michael Pipa and Aaron Sicotte at the high school — have been certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

To earn the certification, Andress said, the "teachers spend many hours of hard work and reflection and have to complete a detailed application and portfolio";

— Heard congratulations for sophomore Zagreb Mukerjee whose paper on Mohandas Gandhi’s struggle in South Africa, which Mukerjee wrote for the 2006 National History Day competition, will be published in the quarterly scholarly journal, New York State History;

— Heard from Weisz that the public is invited to comment on criteria for the new superintendent; sessions were scheduled for Jan. 10 and 18.

Aidala has announced he is retiring in November and the board has hired the Capital Region Board of Cooperative Educational Services to help conduct the search for his replacement.

The public will be asked to comment on the same four questions that board members commented on in a meeting held on Jan. 4, under the supervision of Capital Region BOCES District Superintendent Barbara Nagler and Assistant District Superintendent for Instruction Kathryn Gerbino.

Participants will be asked about positive aspects of the district and what should be strengthened; they will also be asked what the most important characteristics for the new superintendent are and what he or she should handle first.

Board member Barbara Fraterrigo suggested that the three finalists be interviewed in a televised session. O’Connell said she knew of a school district where that went poorly and she also said that, in New York State, candidates are allowed to remain confidential;

— Heard a recommendation from board member Hy Dubowsky that videos be made of various school events and district activities to be aired on the local public-access channel. He suggested Andress serve as the master of ceremonies.

Andress said that Nicholas Viscio, the district’s media specialist, used to make such videos. "That can be done," she said.

Weisz asked Cathy Barber, who heads the board’s communications committee, to look into it once the committee has finished with its coffee klatches, where board members chat with the public; and

— Met in executive session to discuss performance reviews for administrators and supervisors, and to review administrative contracts.

Despite ‘substandard’ road
More development approved

By Jo E. Prout

GUILDERLAND — With promises to bring more town officials into a discussion of moratoriums, the planning board last week approved more development on Vosburgh Road — a road described as substandard by the board.

The board also approved the development of a privately-owned parcel the Albany Pine Bush Commission had slated for full protection.

Paul Fallati’s proposal to subdivide 1.7 acres on Vosburgh Road into two lots met all town standards, but his neighbors disapproved.

Resident Susan Batty said that her lawn has ruts from vehicles that have no room to pass safely. Her driveway is difficult to back out of, and the area around Vosburgh Road is home to deer and turkeys, she said.

"It’s past time to say no to any more development on Vosburgh Road," Batty said.

"I don’t know how we can say no," said planning board Chairman Stephen Feeney. Fallati’s lot is zoned for residential 20,000-square-foot lots, and it has access to public water and sewer, Feeney said, adding that the public access removes any health issues

Planning board attorney Linda Clark said that the planning board is given standards to enforce.

"We don’t have the right to waive them or expand them"in these proceedings," Clark said.

Batty and her husband, David, said that they would like Vosburgh Road to be widened and upgraded. The board told them that other Vosburgh Road residents had previously said that they wanted to keep the road as it is.

"The road is getting dangerous," Susan Batty said. She said that Vosburgh Road, as a dead-end road, needs a second form of egress for safety.

Developers of the nearby proposed Twenty West subdivision and the town have discussed connecting the future neighborhood to Vosburgh Road, but one objection to the suggestion is the substandard nature of Vosburgh Road.

"Maybe it’s time to upgrade it," Feeney said.

Planning board member Lindsay Childs suggested that the board stop development. He said that Fallati’s proposal would bring the number of developed lots on the road to 25.

"What’s the legal basis"" Clark asked.

"Can there be a few more lots" Certainly," Feeney said.

Childs said that the board should delay Fallati’s application until the town decides what to do for Vosburgh Road.

"I can only delay an application so long," Feeney said. Legally, the board must move applications through if they meet all town standards.

Childs wanted to defer concept approval until the next board meeting, but the rest of the board disagreed.

"I don’t understand under what authority I would say no," Feeney said.

The board asked town planner Jan Weston to look into how more development would affect Vosburgh Road. She said that she would speak with the town’s highway superintendent, Todd Gifford.

Childs praised the board for making the request.

"It’s a positive step," said board member James Cohen. Cohen voted with the majority to approve the concept, but he noted that he wanted the study on future development of Vosburgh Road done.

Childs abstained, saying that he would wait for the study. All other board members approved the proposal.

Pine Bush property

The planning board approved Philip Battaglino’s proposal for a two-lot subdivision of 3.7 acres on Brookview Drive, which is zoned residential.

Weston told the board that an environmental study of the parcel found that it does not contain the requisite habitat for the endangered Karner blue butterfly, which lives in the nearby Albany Pine Bush. The parcel had been targeted for full protection from development by the Albany Pine Bush Commission.

Battaglino had planned to donate a small triangular parcel to the town in lieu of paying the park fee for each house built on the lots, but Weston said that the parcel is too small to be useful for the town.

Weston and Feeney suggested that the parcel and a park fee might be accepted. The town owns an adjacent open space parcel.

The board said that Battaglino must provide an erosion control plan. Board member Terry Coburn asked if the board should suggest a no-disturbance area around a dune on the property, but the board disagreed.

"It’s an enforcement problem," Clark said.

"They’ve shown a grading plan," Feeney said. His concern, he said, is that in 10 years someone else will want to take out the dune.

Childs’s was the sole vote against the proposal. Childs wanted to protect the dune.

"What do we really do that is logical, Lindsay"" Feeney asked.

"That’s why I’m asking you. You’re the expert," Childs said.

Childs said that, according to the proposal, Lot 1 would be suitable for a house, but Lot 2 would not.

The board agreed that the slope of the driveway and the grading would be about 5 percent. Weston checked the regulations, and returned to the board meeting to report that slopes 30 degrees and greater are protected.

The board determined that no negative environmental impact would result from the subdivision, with Childs voting against the decision. Feeney said that the property is adjacent to a town park, but not adjacent to the Albany Pine Bush.

"It’s not an involved agency, because they don’t issue a permit," Feeney said.

Other business

In other business, the planning board:

— Approved a site plan for Daniel Abbruzzese to construct a pavilion at the Altamont Orchards Golf Course on Dunnsville Road, to replace a party tent that had been used in the same place.

Feeney said that the facility’s handicapped parking area doesn’t meet building codes. Abbruzzese said that the parking area is gravel and difficult to stripe; and

— Approved the final plat of Dean Attanasio for a two-lot subdivision of 20 acres at 2729 Curry Road.

Gilbert Van Guilder, who represented Attanasio, said that the lots back against the Thruway. He said that Attanasio plans to build a single-family residence on one of the lots.

Village to develop water plan

By Saranac Hale Spencer

ALTAMONT — Water is topping the village’s agenda now that its board has adopted a new comprehensive plan.

In a unanimous vote at Tuesday’s meeting, the board adopted the plan and voted, also unanimously, to take Trustee Dean Whalen’s advice to put together a committee that would come up with a water plan. Whalen, an architect, headed the committee that developed the comprehensive plan for Altamont’s future.

In the plan’s very first section of suggestions, entitled Infrastructure and Transportation, goal number-one reads, "High quality sewer and water services are maintained to preserve public health."

The first recommendation is for the establishment of an advisory committee that would look into the possibility for expanding utilities.

"The policy needs to be in place," said Kate Provencher of procedures regarding village water. Provencher serves on the zoning board of appeals and was a member of the comprehensive planning committee.

She spoke during the public comment section of the meeting, which came on the heels of a unanimous vote to hold a public hearing at the next meeting on implementing a $15 maintenance fee for all properties that use village water. The fee would total $30 per year for each connected unit.

Following Provencher in the public comment session was Dick Ogsbury, a Schenectady County resident whose family has a long history in Guilderland. Ogsbury had taken an interest in the gray water recycling section of the comprehensive plan. He recalled the old days, when people used to recycle their own wash water, using it to water their lawns.

The gray water project that is mentioned in the comprehensive plan involves putting all of the buildings in the village on a pipe line that would collect non-sewage water from them and recycle it rather than treating it with the sewage.

"It’s everyone’s responsibility, I feel it’s a moral responsibility, to look after your water," Ogsbury said.

Other business

In other business at Tuesday night’s meeting, the board:

— Heard from Anthony Salerno, the village’s public safety commissioner, that he and other Altamont Police officers had completed a training session with the Army National Guard on how to handle terrorists’ attacks involving the use of weapons of mass destruction; the course was held at the Altamont fairgrounds. Major Cooper and Captain Michaels of the National Guard were at the meeting to present Salerno and the department with certificates;

— Heard from James M. Clancy, commissioner of the Albany County Board of Elections, on voting machines in New York, which is the only state in the union that has not yet complied with the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002.

"I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news," Clancy told the board, "but we’re going to have problems with the new machines." The village board had planned on voting on a resolution that would urge lawmakers to purchase paper-ballot optical scan voting machines. The machines have yet to be certified, and "the certification process is not what we had hoped it would be," said Clancy. Vendors can take their machines back and change them if they do not pass the initial certification test, he said.

Trustee Harvey Vlahos mentioned that he had heard that the organization that certifies the machines is funded by the manufacturers of the machines, to which Clancy said he wasn’t sure.

"This is big business," Clancy said, "which is why it got kicked down to us in the first place." The state legislature charged the counties of New York with choosing voting machines that would comply with HAVA rather than making a state-wide decision itself. "The state legislature didn’t want to get caught up in the lobbying," he said.

The village board tabled its vote until its next meeting;

— Heard from Tim McIntyre, the village’s commissioner of public works, that his department had put grass seeds in parts of Orsini Park that had been torn up by kids playing football;

— Heard from McIntyre that the gates at Bozenkill Park have been closed because of late-night visitors there lately. He reported having found beer cans in the park and said that he had discussed more police presence in the area with Salerno;

— Heard from McIntyre that, during a gas-service installation on Maple Avenue, the gas company had interrupted water service to one resident. The village’s department of public works fixed the problem;

— Voted unanimously to approve the final stage of the courtroom renovation that will include the installation of a recording system by Robert Haines and a custom-designed judge’s bench by Charles Donnelly. The total cost is not to exceed $17,775 and the funding is from a Justice Court Assistance Program grant of $5,580 and $12,195 from shared services;

— Unanimously passed two motions concerning the new village well on Brandle Road, which will supplement the municipal water supply.

The board awarded a $1.4 million bond sale to the firm of Roosevelt & Cross, Inc. at an interest rate of 4.34482 percent; two other bids were higher.

And the board voted to hold a public hearing on Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. to consider adopting the first local law of the year, which would amend a 2006 law on water and sewer regulations. The amended law would include a $15 maintenance fee on all units connected to village water; this would "be in support of $1.4 million ground water project";

— Held a public comment period on the renewal of Time Warner Cable’s franchise on cable television in the village for 10 years. "You’re not locked into one provider," said John Mucha, a representative for Time Warner, to the board, explaining that, if another cable provider wanted to come to the village, it could. Vlahos asked some detailed questions about the new contract; none of the other board members did.

The board voted to accept the contract to extend Time Warner’s cable franchise for 10 years. Trustee William Aylward made the motion to accept and Kerry Dineen seconded the motion; all board members voted in favor except for Vlahos, who abstained;

— Held a public hearing on the comprehensive plan. Tony D’Adamo, of Capital Architecture, PC was the only person to speak, he was there on behalf of Sally Ketchum. She owns property on Prospect Terrace and she’d like to build self-storage units on the lot, he said.

There is no place to put storage units in the village and D’Adamo wants something allowing for it added to the plan. There is no better place for a storage unit, he said; her lot is "between an Agway and a gas station";

— Voted unanimously to approve recommendations from the Altamont Guilderland Referral Committee regarding a 60-by-120 foot pavilion to replace a tent at Altamont Orchards and forward a copy to the Guilderland Zoning Board;

— Voted unanimously to approve the volunteer firefighter Service Award Program list of all active volunteer firefighters for posting in the fire station for at least 30 days for review by members; and

— Voted unanimously to hold the next village election on March 20, 2007, to take place at the Village Hall from noon to 9 p.m.

To the rescue
Free blood-pressure clinic in Altamont

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

ALTAMONT — The supervisor of the Altamont Rescue Squad, Paula Dunnells, has spent the bulk of her adult life caring for others.

Her career as an emergency medical worker began when she was a brand-new mother. She was 19 and worried after her infant son fell in his carrier on the sidewalk. She called for help and, because she lived in Westmere, the Western Turnpike Rescue Squad answered her call and calmed her fears.

Her son was fine and she decided to volunteer to help.

"Five kids later, I’m still doing it," said Dunnells.

Her latest initiative is a blood-pressure clinic at the Home Front Café on Main Street in Altamont. The free clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Jan. 27.

"We have a lot of elderly residents," said Dunnells. "The Home Front is a community center and Cindy was nice enough to offer it," she said of the café’s owner, Cindy Pollard.

In addition to taking blood pressures and answering questions, squad members will ask residents to fill out Vial of Life information. Residents write down their medical history and emergency contacts and keep it in vials in their refrigerators so that, in case of an emergency where, for example, a patient is unconscious, rescue workers can find what they need to know.

"It’s not just for old people. It’s for anybody with a medical problem, like diabetes or allergies," said Dunnells. "The first thing an emergency worker does is head for the refrigerator."

Dunnells also hopes the Jan. 27 clinic might inspire residents to volunteer for the rescue squad. The Altamont squad currently has 17 volunteers, she said, and could use more.

During the daytime, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the staff is paid, but, at night, volunteers are needed, she said.

Dunnells’s entire family is involved in rescue work. "My husband works with me; he’s out in the rig now," said Dunnells on Monday morning as she dropped by the Enterprise newsroom with a notice about the blood-pressure clinic.

Her children range in age from 16 to 3. Her 14-year-old is an Explorer at the firehouse, she said, and her toddlers do CPR on their stuffed animals.

"They love to help," she said as her beeper sounded, calling her to someone in need.

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