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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 2, 2007

‘A celebration of life in the Clarksville area’ is varied and fun

By Rachel Dutil

CLARKSVILLE – The hamlet of Clarksville will celebrate its history on Saturday at its second annual Heritage Day.

The celebration comes as the town of New Scotland turns 175 years old; Supervisor Ed Clark will mark the occasion with a cake-cutting. Clarksville itself will celebrate its 175th birthday next year.

Heritage Day is "a celebration of life in the Clarksville area," and was established to bring together the community, at least once a year, said Joe Hogan, president of the Clarksville Historical Society and chairman of Heritage Day.

This year’s festivities – which mostly will be centered at the Clarksville Community Church – will include a car show, Heritage Day postal cancellations issued by the Clarksville Post Office, a geological surface walk, a firehouse dance with a local band, Minds End, a communitywide garage sale, and numerous demonstrations and informative booths.

Clarksville – in the southwestern part of New Scotland – was part of Bethlehem until the 1830s; the area was settled, though, in the late 1700s, at which point limestone was the main industry, said Hogan, a lifelong Clarksville resident.

There were 50 limekilns within a two-mile radius of Clarksville, Hogan said.

The name Clarksville was born on April 16, 1833, in honor of Adam Clark, Hogan said. Clark was the postmaster of "Bethlehem PO," which Clarksville was called before it was renamed and became a part of New Scotland. He was also the innkeeper of the Clark Hotel, located where June’s Place is now, Hogan said.

Some residents are under the impression that Clark founded Clarksville, Hogan said. "He didn’t find anything," said Hogan; he happened to be in the right place at the right time. Clark was a veteran of the War of 1812, and was a prominent citizen, he added.

The first post office opened in Clarksville in June of 1812, and was the only one in the town of Bethlehem for 12 years, said Hogan.

"A lot of communities picked up their names from the post office," Hogan explained. "That was the hub of activity back then."

Automotive Memorabilia

This year’s car show will be the third that the Clarksville Historical Society has sponsored.

"The historical society got their feet wet by doing the car show," said Hogan, adding that, after the first show, the society decided to launch Heritage Day the following year.

"If it’s a nice day, people will come from all over," Hogan said of the origin of the people showing their cars. Last year’s rain kept the number of cars low, but there were 50 cars at the first show, he said. "If we hit 50 to 100 cars, we’d be real happy," said Hogan.

Tony Silvano will show his two 1967 Chevrolets – one is a sandy-colored Impala, and the other is a maroon Caprice – on the lawn outside his Clarksville garage.

A.S.T. Automotive Memorabilia, Silvano’s garage, is located on the corner of Route 443 and Verda Avenue.

Silvano’s garage has "everything you can think of automotive," he said. He has been collecting car "stuff" for about three years.

His collection began with "a love of old cars," Silvano said.

The walls are lined with shelves and decorated with old signs advertising various oils, tires, ice cream, tobacco, root beer, and paints.

Silvano estimates that he has 75 different tire-tube patch kits, and at least 400 different sized oil cans – quarts, three- and four-ounce squirt cans, gallons, two gallons, two-and-a-half gallons, five gallons. Not to mention the dozens of glass jars in which oil was once sold.

Frankly, said Silvano, "It’s a lot of stuff in there."

The memorabilia dates from the late 1960s back to 1896, Silvano said. The average age is late-’40s to early-’50s, he said.

Silvano opened his garage for Heritage Day last year, he said. "Older people came in and said, ‘It brings back a lot of memories,’" he recalled.

"It’s a good conversation piece," he said. "People can reminisce about better times."

Silvano has been working on cars for 30 years, and likes older vehicles because, he said, "It’s simpler. My preference is Chevrolet," he said. "But I like them all."

Civil War surgeon

Matthew Farina, a pediatric cardiologist and a member of the Capital District Civil War Round Table, will represent the Round Table at Heritage Day. He will display his reproduction of a Civil War amputation kit. Farina is not a re-enactor, but he will explain how the instruments were used, and will answer questions.

Farina bought the kit about eight or nine years ago from a company that makes surgical supplies for dentists, he said. The company bought an actual amputation kit that had belonged to a Confederate soldier, and reproduced the kit for resale, he explained.

"All the instruments are authentic-looking," he said. The kit contains about 25 or 30 instruments and other "odds and ends" such as a conventional bone saw, a small bone saw, and a needle driver, said Farina.

"When you look at this kit, you’d be surprised at how much it looks like modern-day instruments," he said. The scalpel blades, for example, look similar, he said, except the blade is attached; today’s scalpel blades are replaceable.

He also has straight and curved needles, a compression tourniquet with screws to dial in varying amounts of pressure to an artery, and silk for suturing.

In emergencies, though, surgeons would boil the hair from a horse’s tail to suture with, Farina said.

Farina frequently does presentations on Civil War subjects for the Round Table, and each year the group participates in events like the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, he said.

The group has been very successful at raising funds for Civil War battlefield restoration, said Farina.

On Saturday, Farina will also have some Capital District Round Table commemorative envelopes and cachets, he said. The Round Table designs the cancellation stamp – the round mark with a date that is stamped on all mailed envelopes – to meet the post-office specifications, and the envelopes are all hand-cancelled, he explained.

Farina, who lives in Unionville, will set up his Round Table booth next to that of his wife, Nancy, who will be spinning and demonstrating how to make yarn, with the Mountain Treadler Fiber Art and Golden Fleece Fiber Art groups, he said.

During last year’s Heritage Day, "I was just the tent putter-upper and taker-downer," Farina said. "She talked me into this," he said of his wife.


Other Heritage Day events include: The famous firehouse breakfast at the Onesquethaw Volunteer Fire Company from 8 to 10:30 a.m; the wurst lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Giffy’s Bar-B-Que take-out chicken dinner from 4 to 6 p.m., sponsored by the Clarksville Community Church and the historical society.

The historical society will be selling ice cream donated by Stewart’s and Toll Gate Ice Cream. June’s Place will be serving breakfast and lunch and Pa’s Pizza and Deli will be open for lunch.

The Onesquethaw Fish & Game Club, the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, and the Onesquethaw-Coeymans Watershed Council will host an information booth; the geological surface walk will meet in the upper parking lot behind June’s Place at 1 p.m.; volunteer wildlife rehabilitator Michele Segerberg will host "Wildlife Alive – Birds of Prey" from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. under the tree, east of the church bells; the town of New Scotland cake-cutting ceremony will be at 1:30 p.m.; the Quilter’s Studio will host a yard sale; The church will have an indoor Expo in the Fellowship Hall with vendors from Pampered Chef, MaryKay,and Tastefully Simple, they will also be selling raffle tickets for a 32- and a 40-inch flat-screen television; the Clarksville Boy Scout Troop 89 will have scouting demonstrations; and Joe Merli, from Duanesburg will demonstrate blacksmithing skills.

Opening for Flying Arrows a bulls-eye

By Rachel Dutil

NEW SCOTLAND – Flying Arrow Sports III on Route 85 "is in a position to fly," says the store’s manager, Gary Despart.

The store is a "full-service hunting shop," said Despart, who opened it about a month ago in the building that was formerly Kissel’s garage. The store carries archery and hunting supplies; paintball accessories; and fishing, tackle, and live bait. It also offers maintenance and repair on all makes of archery equipment.

Despart plans to add an outdoor paintball field and three-dimensional shooting range next year.

Albany County is a "bow-only" county, Despart said. "There’s a big market of bow hunters in this area," he said. "I’m looking to run a customer-friendly archery establishment."

Though the shop is "a store more than anything," it also features Rinehart targets and a three-dimensional archery shooting range – equipped with foam animals such as a crocodile, turkey, wild boar, and black bear. Customers can also go on a techno hunt – an interactive archery game, where archers shoot full-strength, full-size arrows, with a specialized tip, at a movie screen with scenes from the wild, allowing the archer to shoot at a moving target.

When the arrow’s blunt tip hits the screen, said Despart, it bounces off and drops to the ground. The screen shows a picture of the arrow on the spot where it hit, and informs the shooter of a bull’s eye, a miss, or an obstruction in the shot, Despart explained.

"Bow hunters are in love with this thing," he said. "It’s a hot setup."

Michael Clemente and Thomas Ardis own Flying Arrow Sports, founded in Carmel, N.Y. in 1998. About a year-and-a-half ago, Despart’s brother Jimmy started a second location in East Greenbush.

Jimmy is a champion archer who has competed around the world. He works with Corey Monohan, a 15-year-old national champion archer.

Despart and his brother have been archers since they were kids. Their father – a tournament archer in the 1980s – got them involved when they were about 8 or 9, Despart recalled.

"There are more opportunities now than when we started," Despart said. "The sport has progressed," he said, explaining that bows today are faster, and the arrows are lighter than when he first learned to shoot.

"Singular sport"

Archery is all about the individual, Despart said. "It’s a singular sport."

Though archery is often associated with hunting, which is typically male-dominated, "there are tons and tons of women shooters," said Despart, remembering a woman who had come into the shop without any archery experience, and walked out with a few thousand dollars worth of equipment.

Jessi Lengfellner has been shooting for four years. Lengfellner is a 17-year-old senior at Bethlehem High School and lives in Feura Bush.

Don Howard is Lengfellner’s instructor. He has been teaching archery for 30 years and works as a bow mechanic for Despart. Howard is an Olympic-certified instructor, and has taught in Israel and Canada.

Lengfellner will participate in a youth league, beginning in August, at Flying Arrow Sports III. The shop will offer three-dimensional and target archery leagues on Thursday and Friday nights, in levels ranging from beginner to expert, Despart said.

"I got her a small bow, and she’s been winning competitions ever since," said Lengfellner’s stepfather, Bob King. Lengfellner recently ranked 14th at an indoor national competition.

"I like the competition of it," she said, adding that she wants to go to college in Texas, and is hoping to be awarded an archery scholarship and continue competing there.

"This here, it’s all you," said King, as Lengfellner unloaded her bow from its case before target practice. "It’s a great ego booster," he said.

King is a bow-hunter with six children, he said. He relies on venison to feed his family, he said, adding that two of his kids are allergic to beef.

Archery, he said, is something that he and his daughter "can do together."

Rumors fly over who will take over Voorheesville girls’ basketball

By Rachel Dutil

VOORHEESVILLE – Though the school board has made no decision as to who will replace John McClement as the coach of the girls’ varsity basketball team, rumors are spreading about who will be appointed.

McClement resigned from his coaching position at Voorheesville in June, after his appointment by the Albany City School District to coach the boys’ varsity basketball team at Albany High School. He has been a physical education teacher in the Albany school system since the late 1980s.

McClement led the lady Blackbirds since the 1999-2000 season. "We absolutely had so much success on and off the court," McClement told The Enterprise earlier. "The relationship with the players is what matters no matter what happens on the court. We spent a lot of time together" It was fun on a lot of fronts. That’s one of the things that I will miss most," he said.

The district has received four applications for the position, said Superintendent Linda Langevin, citing it as a personnel matter that prohibits her from further discussing applicants.

Former school board President Robert Baron is one of the applicants. "I have applied," Baron confirmed this week.

Several Voorheesville residents called The Enterprise last week – two of them anonymously and two who wanted their names withheld – concerned that Baron had already been appointed, and was not qualified for the position.

"The school board has not appointed anyone," said David Gibson, the current president. The process is underway, Gibson said. The board, he said, will select "whoever is going to be best suited to meet the needs of the students."

The board will make its decision in a vote at either its August, September, or October meetings, which are open to the public, Langevin said.

Baron, who is not a certified teacher, has been involved in basketball in Voorheesville for more than 20 years, he said. He has never coached for the school district, but has been involved in numerous youth leagues – Catholic Youth Organization, Amateur Athletic Union, and community basketball teams – and coached third- through twelfth-graders, he said.

"I have all my credentials – first aid, CPR, and coaching first aid," Baron told The Enterprise, surprised that residents were concerned about his application for the position.

According to State Education Department guidelines, individuals with coaching experience who are not teachers "may be employed as temporary coaches of interschool sport teams, when certified teachers with coaching qualifications and expertise are not available, upon the issuance by the commissioner of a temporary coaching license."

Temporary coaching licenses are issued by the Capital Region Board of Cooperative Services, said Kevin Kroencke, a school board member who works for the State Education Department’s Office of Licensed Professions. It is valid for one year.

Kroencke himself coached with a temporary-coaching license while working toward his teaching certification, he said.

If a certified educator is interested in the coaching position, Kroencke said,"They have to be offered a job first."

"If anyone is contemplating coaching a high-school varsity sport who is not a certified teacher, I would hope they’d be made aware of the qualifications," Kroencke said.

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