Noah Zweifel

The Berne Democratic Committee has opted not to carry petitions that would support Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple in his bid for re-election, in protest of his silence following a Feb. 20 incident where sheriff’s deputies ejected Berne resident Kevin Crosier from a public hearing on the unjustified orders of the town’s supervisor, who admitted the removal was based on a personal grudge. 

The Berne-Knox-Westerlo School District is the second — and the largest — Hilltown tax authority to pass the 10-percent property tax exemption for volunteer firefighters and EMS members. 

Berne-Knox-Westerlo Superintendent Timothy Mundell made the proposal after correcting the district’s tax cap calculation, which had originally been 2.5 percent but now sits at 4.1 percent. He also prompted the board of education to consider upcoming changes to the Foundation Aid formula that will either level out aid to the school, or diminish it, depending on lawmakers’ decisions. 

Albany County is proposing to build a solar farm at 897 Watervliet Shaker Road in Colonie, near the airport. County residents can learn about the project and share their views at two upcoming meetings.  

Rensselaerville resident Richard Tollner, whose own abuse-related civil suit against a downstate diocese was halted when that diocese declared bankruptcy in 2020, says that these maneuvers by the Catholic Church are designed to deprive abuse victims not just of financial settlements, but what for many might be the closest thing to victory — the chance to be heard and acknowledged. 

Of the Hilltowns, Knox was the first town to grant the 10-percent tax exemption that New York State now allows for first responders, with the rest of the towns appearing likely to follow once they hold the required public hearings. 

The Berne Town Board promised to contact National Grid about residents’ complaints that the new LED streetlights being installed are too bright and emit at too broad an angle, allowing the light to get into their homes at night. 

The not-for-profit organization will work with low-income residents to determine their energy needs and then help coordinate the delivery with any of the major oil companies in the county. 

The law, which would have allowed ATVs and other recreational vehicles to use town roadways, prompted overwhelming criticism of the board and the law at a public hearing on Feb. 20, at which Supervisor Dennis Palow had a resident removed by police despite that resident not violating any rules. The resident’s attorney has since demanded an apology from the board and threatened a lawsuit if it’s not received. 

Laura Ingleston, whose sister was killed by Westerlo resident Andrew Gibson in a drunk-driving crash in 2021, said that her family opposes the plea deal because it drastically reduces his sentencing potential.


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