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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 26, 2009

Cops and the big box

By Saranac Hale Spencer

NEW SCOTLAND — Police agencies across the state have been alerted to the contentious development debate here.

Since Cazenovia-based Sphere Development made public its plans last spring to build a shopping center on the old Bender melon farm at the intersection of routes 85 and 85A, there has been tension between citizens, town officials, and the developers.  A group of citizens opposed to Sphere’s development formed a group called New Scotlanders 4 Sound Economic Development.

Last fall, Gregory Widrick and Kurt Wendler, managing partners at Sphere, filed a report with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department when they found two NS4SED buttons on the doorstep at their office.

“Widrick said that there is a group of people… that have been against him building a Target in New Scotland and have left pins on his office steps,” the sheriff’s report says.

“I think it was totally out of proportion to the incident,” Saul Abrams, of NS4SED, said this week of Sphere’s reaction.  “They left two little buttons,” he said.  “Nothing more, nothing less.”

At the time, Widrick explained about involving the police, “We’re just starting a file with them, so, in case this stuff escalates, it’s not the first time we’ve contacted them.  I mean, that’s how serious this has become.”

Now the Albany County Sheriff’s Office has been contacted, this time regarding the theft of signs.  On Tuesday, Abrams reported that four of the signs that NS4SED had put up to advertise a forum to be held on April 1 had been taken down.  Signs in front of the Voorheesville Hannaford, the Tollgate restaurant, the Slingerlands Price Chopper, and New Salem South Road had all been removed, he said.

“We don’t know who took them or why,” Abrams said.  “Obviously, the issues we’re raising are controversial.”

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