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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 1, 2007

Newer, stronger poles for power lines

By Jarrett Carroll

NEW SCOTLAND — After nearly half a century, high-tension electrical towers in the area are being replaced.

Until the end of March, K.T. Powers, Inc. will be replacing 25 of the old structures that carry high-voltage power lines through New Scotland and Guilderland. At a cost of about $200,000 per structure, K.T. Powers of Waddington (Saint Lawrence County), is being sub-contracted by National Grid for the work.

Contractor William Tiernan says the new structures are being installed as preventative measures.

"We’re building a heavy structure, so it will be able to take more ice and a heavier load," said Tiernan, who works for K.T. Powers. "We’re just trying to prevent anymore possible outages."

The old towers were erected in 1958 and the steel has actually begun to bend during strong wind and ice storms, according to Tiernan. The new structures will be able to handle the strong winds and the weight of ice, he said.

The work will have no effect on the power to area residents.

"We’re doing it with the lines energized so"there will be no power outages during the work," Tiernan said, reiterating that customer service will not be interrupted.

Referring to the power lines as 345 KV, which means they carry 345,000 volts of electricity, Tiernan said laborers would work with live wires. The new structures carrying the lines, he said, are thick steel poles.

"They won’t come down in a storm," said Tiernan.

New Scotland resident Bob Shedd wrote the Enterprise editor this week that the wires will be reconnected with a loop called "dead ends" to prevent electrical towers from pulling down other towers in case of an accident.

"Then, if a tower should collapse and start pulling down other towers, the wires will pull apart," he wrote. (See letter to the editor.)

Tiernan says the new structures coupled with the dead ends would prevent such an incident from ever occurring.

"They would just stop once it reached to the dead end and because it’s a much stronger structure," he said.

The towers run from Little Falls to the National Grid substation in New Scotland and help carry electricity from Niagara Falls to New York City.

Final note: Discrimination suit thrown out

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

VOORHEESVILLE — Charles Reader, a tenured Voorheesville music teacher, has resigned and school leaders won’t say why.

Reader’s resignation is effective at the end of the school year, said Superintendent Linda Langevin. He will be on paid leave until June 30, she said.

"It wasn’t really a paid leave," said school board President David Gibson yesterday. "He had sick time that he’s using; it’s not like we’re giving him a half-year off."

The school board unanimously approved Reader’s resignation at its January meeting, said Langevin.

Asked about the reason, Gibson said, "Personnel matters— it’s a matter of confidentiality — we don’t generally respond."

Reader’s music students are being taught now by a combination of teachers, Langevin said. Part-time music teachers have extended their hours and Lydia Tobler, a long-time Voorheesville music teacher and former department chair, has come out of retirement to teach, Langevin said.

The district will hire a new music teacher to begin in the fall, she said.

Langevin also declined comment on the reason for the resignation. Asked about Reader’s performance separate from the current situation, she said, "He was a good teacher."

Reader could not be reached for comment.

On Jan. 3, The Enterprise submitted a Freedom of Information Law request to the district, asking for information on Reader’s salary, duties, and employment record, as well as information on when he was placed on leave and if he was being paid. The questions have not yet been answered.

Kathy Fiero, president of the Voorheesville Teachers’ Association, also declined to comment on the reason for Reader’s resignation. "You can’t refute that," she said of rumors, "without betraying a confidence...It’s personal for him."

Fiero did say, "He was an excellent teacher, well liked by his students. He created a lot of enthusiasm for students to participate in the band."

Asked how teachers were responding to Reader’s resignation, Fiero said, "Fine."

Fiero herself has taught at Voorheesville for 16 years and been president of the teachers’ union since 1999. Asked if other tenured Voorheesville teachers had resigned in the wake of complaints or allegations rather than going through a hearing process, Fiero said not that she could think of. But, she said, it has happened at other school districts. "It depends on personal circumstances," she said.

Robert Crandall, a tenured physical education teacher at Voorheesville, was on paid leave for over two years as the district went through the state-required hearing process before a tenured teacher can be removed.

A hearing officer ultimately found Crandall guilty of four charges of misconduct and inappropriate behavior but ruled that he should not be dismissed; rather, he was suspended without pay for 60 days and has returned to the school this year to work on curriculum but is not teaching or coaching students.

Asked about Reader’s plans for his future, Fiero said she didn’t know specifics but concluded, "He has a great passion for music and is a well-liked teacher. I expect that he will continue to teach — just not at Voorheesville."

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