Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rensselaer County Woman Charged With Laundering $1M

ALBANY, NY –  District Attorney P. David Soares announced that MARCIA J. DOYLE STALLMER, 50, of Averill Park, was arraigned on (1) Count of Money Laundering in the First Degree, a Class B Felony, (1) Count of Money Laundering in the Second Degree, a Class C Felony, (1) Count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a Class E Felony, (3) Counts of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Third Degree, all Class D Felonies, (2) Counts of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, both Class E Felonies, and (5) Counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, all Class E Felonies, before the Honorable Judge Stephen W. Herrick in Albany County Court this morning.

A Grand Jury previously returned an indictment against DOYLE STALLMER, alleging that she did falsely report the income she received between January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2012, and did underpay the Department of Taxation and Finance for personal income tax liability for each year during that time period.  

The indictment also alleges that between June 27, 2008 through December 20, 2012, DOYLE STALLMER schemed to defraud multiple individuals.  Knowing those transactions to be fraudulent, DOYLE STALLMER did in that same time period allegedly involve the proceeds of those crimes in furtherance of her scheme and larceny to launder in excess of one million ($1,000,000) dollars. 

DOYLE STALLMER pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on $25,000 bail.  At this time no further public court appearances for DOYLE STALLMER have been set by the court. 

A separate case against DOYLE STALLMER is still open and pending in Rensselaer County. 

CDTA to Offer Free Rides Home as Part of Capital Region Stop DWI Efforts


ALBANY, NY (December 30, 2014) The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) has announced that on New Year’s Eve, Wednesday, December 31, 2014, service will operate on a regular weekday schedule. To help support Capital Region Stop DWI efforts, CDTA will once again offer free bus service at all regular bus stops from 8:00pm on New Year’s Eve, Wednesday, December 31, 2014 through 1:00am on Thursday, January 1, 2015.


CDTA is once again offering special Saratoga First Night transportation service on New Year’s Eve. Attendees who show First Night buttons may ride for free on all regular Saratoga bus routes and two special shuttle routes from 4:00pm – 1:00am. On New Year’s Day, Thursday, January 1, 2015, service will operate on a Sunday/Holiday schedule. Regular weekday service will resume on Friday, January 2, 2015.


CDTA’s Northway Xpress (NX) commuter service will not operate on New Year’s Day. Regular NX service will resume the day after the holiday.


Customers who need more information about CDTA’s Holiday schedule can call the CDTA Customer Service Center at 482-8822 or visitwww.cdta.org. Customer Service Representatives are on duty weekdays from 6:00am–7:00pmfrom 8:00am–6:00pm on Saturdays, and 8:00am–5:00pm on Sundays and holidays. To stay connected with CDTA’s latest news visit facebook.com/CDTAiride or follow us on twitter.com (@CDTA).



Monday, December 29, 2014

Neuroscience office in Clifton Park moving

Ellis Medicine's outpatient Neuroscience Care office in the Medical Center of Clifton Park will move to a new location just down the road at 939 Route 146, Building 500, effective Jan. 5.  Ellis Medicine's Neuroscience Care office at 1101 Nott St. in Schenectady will remain open.
  "In addition to the neurological and neurosurgical care provided by our team, the new location allows us to share space with physical therapy, which will benefit many of our patients who need outpatient treatment for injury, concussions, headaches and other movement disorders or impairments," said Jeff Winacott, R.N., director of neuroscience at Ellis.
In addition, the newest physician to join the Ellis neuroscience team, Richard Jackson, M.D., will be seeing patients at both the Clifton Park and Schenectady offices.
.Appointments can be scheduled by calling 518.243.3387 or online at ellismedicine.org.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

NYS DEC to Establish Capital Region Task Force to Battle Destructive Emerald Ash Borers

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) established the Capital District Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Task Force to help fight and slow the spread of the destructive insect, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. EAB continues to spread with recent infestations found in the City of Albany, the Town of Colonie, the City of Watervliet, and the City of Troy. Building upon the success of EAB task forces in other regions of the state, DEC has partnered with the City of Albany, the Town of Colonie and other units of local government in the Capitol District to start the Task Force and invites additional municipalities in Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties to join the effort.
 “EAB has been found in 22 counties in New York, putting all of New York State’s 900 million ash trees in the state at risk,” said Commissioner Martens.  “It is currently estimated, however, that less than 5 percent of New York forests are infested with EAB, making now the time to take action. There are 10 Emerald ash borer Task Forces in the state, some just beginning and some well-established that facilitate cooperative management efforts among communities facing EAB.  Communities that participate in Task Forces have the opportunity to share ideas, resources and experiences, saving everyone involved time and money.”
 EAB is a small, invasive beetle from Asia that was brought to the United States in wooden shipping pallets and crates most likely in the 1990s. EAB larvae feed on the cambium tissue of ash trees, just below the bark. This feeding creates S-shaped galleries, or tunnels, through the living tissue of the tree, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients. Trees infested with EAB typically die within two to four years, under a moderate to severe infestation.
 The Capital Region will be affected by EAB in a number of ways. Ash is a common street tree and yard species because of its beauty, upright growth and resiliency. If action is not taken, entire streets and residential communities could become treeless, resulting in an increase in home-cooling costs and potential decrease in property value. Dead ash trees also deteriorate quickly and fall unpredictably, creating significant liability issues as dead trees threaten to cause injury to pedestrians and property. In addition, ash is a species that often pops up in highly disturbed areas, such as along roadways and power lines. There will be additional maintenance needs as these trees die and fall, resulting in higher costs for utility customers and taxpayers.
 “The City of Albany has approximately 1,000 ash trees on city streets and hundreds of additional trees in City parks and other public spaces,” said City of Albany Forester Tom Pfeiffer. “The loss of these trees will greatly impact business districts and residential neighborhoods. Our goal is to continue providing public safety and to protect the valuable trees that provide so many benefits to Albany’s urban forest. We are hopeful that the task force will be a huge asset as we face this challenge.”
 The Capital District hopes to learn from the success of well-established groups, such as the Onondaga EAB Task Force. This Task Force includes members from the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Cornell Cooperative Extension, NYS Department of Transportation, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, National Grid, homeowner associations, residents and arborists. The engagement of a diverse range of partners allows for a wider array of opportunities and activities with larger scope.
 The Onondaga EAB Task Force has been successful because of the timely planning they have done and because of the range of stakeholders that have joined in the efforts. Their activities include surveying street and park trees for damage, setting traps for EAB, selecting trees suitable for chemical treatment or removal, and creating disposal sites that follow state and federal regulations. By participating in the Task Force, Onondaga County had the opportunity to share information and resources with other agencies and organizations which assisted them in the creation of a management plan and budget for all county-owned ash trees.  If enough municipalities and communities participate, these successful initiatives can be replicated by the Capital District EAB Task Force.
 The Capital District EAB Task Force meets regularly and all interested agencies, organizations, and associations in the region are invited to attend. The spread of EAB is inevitable but with proper management, the rate of movement can be slowed and the costs of coping with EAB can be lowered.  The next Capital District EAB Task Force meeting will be heldJanuary 7, 2015.  Those interested in attending, or with questions can contact DEC’s Forest Health Operations Supervisor, Rob Cole at 518-402-9420. For more information about the EAB Task Forces statewide, visit the New York Invasive Species Clearing House website at http://www.nyis.info/ .

Friday, December 19, 2014

Teen Arraigned for Second-degree Murder of her 5-year-old Cousin

Danielle Sanzone
@DanielleSanzone on Twitter

KNOX- Tiffany VanAlstyne, 19, is alleged to have strangled her 5-year-old cousin to death and causing blunt force trauma Thursday, then throwing the boy over a guardrail in Knox and covering the body with snow, authorities said today.
Kenneth White's body was found Thursday night across the street from the 994 Thatcher Park Rd trailer residence by police with the assistance of a K9, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said.

"This was a tough one," said Apple.
During today's press conference, VanAlstyne was arraigned on felony second-degree murder.
Officials have said the investigation is ongoing and there could be further charges.
White lived at the residence with his legal guardian Brenda VanAlstyne and his two sisters- 4-year-old Christine and White's 5-year-old twin Chyanne.
White's parents do not live in the area. VanAlstyne is White's aunt.

It is unclear where the two girls were when the alleged murder took place.
Authorities said that Thursday morning the family went to the doctor for an appointment then went to a store to fill a prescription. They went back to the house in Knox then VanAlstyne and an unidentified 18-year-old went to the nearby school to drop off items for a party, Apple said.
White was purportedly killed by Tiffany VanAlstyne while her mother, Brenda, was at the school.
A motive has not been determined, officials said.
"This is heart-wrenching," said Apple. "I have three boys, and I'm going to go home and hug them. There are cases that stick with you through your entire career. This is one of those cases."
An amber alert was issued yesterday when Tiffany VanAlstyne called 911 and reported White was abducted by two masked men.
Apple said things started to not add up during questioning and it was found that her story was false.
White was found that night and Tiffany VanAlstyne was arrested and arraigned Friday.
Agencies working on the case include State Police, US Marshals, the Albany County District Attorney's office, and the Albany County Sheriff's Office.
Danielle Sanzone can be reached at 290-8362.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

NYSUT Condemns Cuomo Letter as "Clueless"

ALBANY, N.Y. December 18, 2014 — New York State United Teachers Thursday slammed as “clueless” a letter sent by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to the Regents and State Education Department, saying the questions and tone signal “ignorance about what parents want and the real issues facing public education.”
“The governor says he wants to put students first.  If that were even remotely true, he would listen carefully and act on the advice of the real experts — parents, educators and students — about what’s best for public education,” said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee.  “Instead, New Yorkers get clueless, incendiary questions that do the bidding of New York City hedge fund billionaires who have letterhead and campaign donations, but know absolutely nothing about how public education works.  If the governor wants a battle, he can take the clueless New York City billionaires.  We’ll take the parents, teachers, higher education faculty and students in every ZIP code of the state.”
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta challenged the governor’s assertions that he knows — from the campaign — what parents want.
“The governor barely campaigned, and he certainly hasn’t visited classrooms and met with parents whose schools have suffered devastating, inequitable budget cuts during his administration.  I taught in the Bronx and Brooklyn for 24 years and I know the great work that teachers and public schools do day in and day out.  The governor can’t honestly say that.  Maybe he should partner with NYSUT in scheduling town hall meetings in the coming months, where he can hear — unfiltered — the concerns parents, educators and students have about standardized testing, the Common Core and other so-called 'reforms.'  We know what works."
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

One Lane Closed on Rexford Bridge Overnight Thursday (Tonight)

Motorists are advised that one lane will be closed tonight on the Rexford Bridge carrying Route 146 over the Mohawk River between Niskayuna and Rexford, Clifton Park, between 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. for pavement repairs.

The work is weather dependent.

Traffic during these hours will be reduced to one alternating lane controlled by flaggers.

It is imperative that motorists remember to drive carefully through this construction zone, for their own safety and the safety of workers.

Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license.

For up-to-date travel information, call 511, visit www.511NY.org, or our new mobile site at m.511ny.org.

Follow New York State DOT on Twitter: @NYSDOT. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/NYSDOT. For tweets from New York State DOT Region 1 (covering the Capital Region), follow@NYSDOTAlbany.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Elected Officials Sworn In at Green Island Ceremony Monday

Three Green Island village trustees and one town councilperson were sworn in at Monday's meeting.

Those who took their oaths included Richard Jones, Michele Bourgeois, and Barbara Belokopitsky for two-year seats on the village board. And Erica Milliner Gardner was sworn in for a four-year seat on the town council.

Mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan officiated each of the oaths with the person's family.

Photos are below:

(Richard Jones is sworn in first at the Green Island Municipal Center, along with three other Green Island elected officials on Monday, Dec. 15.)
(Michele Bourgeois is sworn in)
(Barbara Belokopitsky is sworn in)
(Erica Milliner Gardner is sworn in for town council. She was first elected this year.)

New Snow Emergency Plan in Troy

TROY, NY – Mayor Lou Rosamilia has announced the details of the Troy’s newly adopted snow emergency plan to allow the City to clear roadways in an efficient and economically feasible manner. The new guidelines for declared “Snow Emergencies” will go into effect immediately.

“In order to ensure that this new measure is successful, we ask our residents and business owners to educate themselves about the new plan and fully cooperate with snowplowing and removal efforts,” said Mayor Rosamilia. “Doing so will allow for our streets to be cleared in a timely and safe manner.”

Snow emergencies will be declared at the discretion of the Mayor approximately eight to ten hours before the measure goes into effect. In the event that an emergency is announced, news outlets, including print newspapers, radio and television stations will be immediately notified. An emergency will begin at either 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. and last 48 hours. However, if conditions warrant, an emergency may be extended an additional 48 hours with the odd/even parking restrictions starting over.

In the event of a declared snow emergencies, only designated roadways will be affected. These include:  Central Business District (Federal St. to Ferry St. / Front St. to 7th Ave), the Boulevards (101st to 125th), 103rd (River Street to 8th Avenue), 108th Street, 112th Street, 116th Street, 15th Street, 1st Street, 2nd Avenue, 2nd Street, 3rd Street, 4th Street, 5th Avenue (101st to 125th), 8th Street, Brunswick Road, Burdett Avenue, Campbell Avenue, Collins Avenue, Congress Street, Desson Avenue, Division Street, Ferry Street, Hoosick Street, Lansing Avenue, Liberty Street, North Lake Avenue, Oakwood Avenue, Pawling Avenue, Pinewoods Avenue, River Street, South Lake Avenue, Spring Avenue, Stow Avenue, Tibbits Avenue (lower), Tibbits Avenue (upper), Walker Avenue, Washington Street and Winter Street. Roadways not listed will be provided with normal plowing services.

During the first 24 hours of snow emergencies, parking on the odd numbered side of affected roadways will be prohibited. Parking on the even numbered sides of city streets will be prohibited during the second 24 hours of declared emergencies. Vehicles in violation of these guidelines will receive a parking ticket and a towing fee, both at the owner’s expense.

Under a snow emergency, normal parking rules and regulations will be temporarily suspended on designated snow emergency streets only. In the Central Business District (Ferry Street to Federal Street / Front Street to 7th Avenue), parking restrictions will remain in effect unless otherwise notified.

During snow emergencies, residents are asked not to place trash bins in right of ways. Additionally, recycling collection will be suspended during a declared snow emergency.

For information or questions in the event of a snow emergency, residents are encouraged to call 274-TROY for pre-recorded messages or the Department of Public Works Dispatcher at 270-4579 for information on vehicle towing, vehicle impound locations and specific street information.

Capital Region Casino Decision Coming Wednesday in Albany

The five-member Gaming Facility Location Board will make their announcement Wednesday (tomorrow) regarding the decision on up to four casino sites in three regions of New York State. There were 17 applicants statewide.

One of the projects is slated for the Capital Region. Summaries of the proposals are below. Also, be sure to check out troyrecord.com for up-to-the-minute information when the decision is announced after 2 p.m. at Meeting Room 6 of the Empire State Plaza.

(rendering of Capital View)

Capital View Casino and Resort, East Greenbush (a.k.a. Casino at East Greenbush)

Location: Thompson Hill off Interstate 90 Exit 9

Jobs: 1,700 construction, 1,700 permanent (estimated $39.2 million annually in wages paid to local residents)

Square feet: 70,000 for main gaming area, casino and amenities will occupy a total of 174,000 and nearly 270,000 with the hotel

Hotel rooms: 100

Entertainment: 56 gaming tables, 1,500 slot machines, dining, retail

Investment: $327 million

Revenue: Estimated $22.8 million for location governments ($5.7 million for East Greenbush, $5.7 million for Rensselaer county, $11.7 million for nearby counties), estimated $800,000 in annual sales tax revenue, $11 million for city of Albany

Involved Parties: Saratoga Casino & Raceway and Churchill Downs

County vote on November casino referendum: 18,386 yes, 17,443 no (majority in favor in Rensselaer County)

Hard Rock Cafe Hotel & Casino

Location: DeLaet’s Landing along Hudson River

Jobs: 967 direct construction, 393 indirect construction, 900 permanent

Acres: 25

Hotel rooms: 100

Entertainment: Live music, Hard Rock Cafe restaurant, 50 casino table games, 1,500 slot machines

Investment: $280 million

Revenue: $260 million total from gaming, (city of Rensselaer will get $5.7 million annually and county of Rensselaer will get $5.7 million), $11 million to city of Albany

Involved Parties: Hard Rock, Capital OTB and Global Gaming/Chickasaw Indian Nation; name of applicant was NYS Funding

County vote on November casino referendum: 18,386 yes, 17,443 no (majority in favor in Rensselaer County)

Howe Caverns Resort and Casino

Location: Off Interstate 88, adjacent to current Howe Caverns site

Jobs: 3,000 construction, 1,700 permanent

Acres: Up to 330

Square feet: 400,000 square feet for gaming facility, not including water park

Hotel: 10-floor hotel with waterpark and second hotel; both hotels with 250 rooms and three restaurants at each location

Entertainment: Casino, dinosaur theater, arcade/kids area called KidsQuest, convention center, and indoor/outdoor waterpark hotel, indoor waterpark is about 80,000 square feet and outdoor park is 1.5 acres

Investment: $350 million to $400 million

Revenue: A fund, starting with $1 million, will be created to promote local tourism and will add 2.5 percent from the resort annually

Involved Parties: Michael J. Malik Sr. and Full House Resorts Inc.

County vote on November casino referendum: 4,672 yes, 4,417 no (majority in favor in Schoharie County)

(Rivers Casino rendering in Schenectady)

Rivers Casino & Resort at Mohawk Harbor, Schenectady

Location: Eric Boulevard along Mohawk River

Jobs: 1,250 permanent jobs

Acres: About 25

Square feet: Approximately 50,000-square-foot gaming floor

Hotel: 275 rooms over two hotels on site, one attached to the casino with 150 rooms and another at Mohawk Harbor

Entertainment: Sports lounge, steakhouse, marketplace food venue, banquet facility, day spa, walking/biking trails on riverfront

Investment: $330 million investment for casino, $150 million in adjoining mixed-use Mohawk Harbor for $450 million private investment

Revenue: $223 million in annual gaming revenue, projected $82 million in annual gaming taxes and fees ($4.1 million to city of Schenectady, $4.1 million to county, $8.1 million annually to surrounding counties, and $6.7 million through property tax, sales tax, and hotel tax)

Involved Parties: Galesi Group and Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming

County vote on November casino referendum: 13,767 yes, 16,316 no (majority opposed in Schenectady County)

Jury: Moore Did Not Write Famous Twas Christmas Poem

Courtroom Trial Verdict Challenges Holiday History in Troy, NY

HD Trial Footage & High Res Still Photos Available NOW


TROY, NY (Dec. 15, 2014) -- A jury delivered a surprise verdict on Sunday, Dec. 7, finding that long-credited author Clement Clarke Moore did not write the most famous Christmas poem in history.

The holiday mock re-trial was held on Dec. 7, 2014 in the John T. Casey Ceremonial Courtroom at the Rensselaer County Courthouse in downtown Troy, the city where "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" was published anonymously, for the first time ever, in the Dec. 23, 1823 edition of the Troy Sentinel newspaper.

Six jurors, selected at random from the packed courthouse gallery, unanimously found that Major Henry Livingston Jr. of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. is the true author of those cherished verses that begin with the famous line "'Twas the Night Before Christmas."

"The people of Troy do like to route for the upstate underdog," said trial creator Duncan Crary. "But this verdict came completely by surprise for all involved."


Now in its second year, "The Trial Before Christmas" is a full-blown mock trial to determine "Who Really Wrote 'Twas the Night Before Christmas." It is held in a real court, before a real (retired) judge, real attorneys, with real court guards and personnel.

The trial centers on a centuries-old authorship controversy between to old New York families.

Years after its un-credited publication in the Sentinel, in 1837, a wealthy Manhattan biblical scholar named Clement Clarke Moore claimed authorship and has been officially credited ever since. But descendants of Henry Livingston Jr., a gentleman farmer of the Hudson Valley, claim their ancestor was the true, unrecognized author. Backing their assertions is Vassar College professor and literary forensics expert Don Foster, whose 2000 book "Author Unknown" presented a strong case for Livingston. On the other hand, Dr. Joe Nickell thoroughly refuted those claims in his book "Pen, Ink and Evidence," also published in 2000. Both works and other research serve as inspiration for the upcoming courtroom showdown.

"There's no question that Santa is real -- because children believe in him!" said event creator Duncan Crary. "The question is: who wrote this magical poem that first sparked our belief in a distinctly American Santa known and loved around the world?"

After a hung jury on Dec. 18 2013, this year's case of Livingston v. Moore was once again tried by E. Stewart Jones, Jr., upstate New York’s preeminent trial attorney, representing the interests of Moore. Reprising their roles for the Livingston claim were Troy novelist/sole practicing attorney Jack Casey, author of "The Trial of Bat Shea," and his daughter, attorney Molly Casey of Albany law firm Thuillez, Ford, Gold, Butler & Monroe.

Retired New York State Supreme Court Justice Edward O. Spain presided over this year's retrial.

Expert testimony was given by City of Troy and Rensselaer County Historian Kathryn Sheehan, as well as Canadian anti-smoking advocate Pamela McColl, who famously published a version of the poem with all references to smoking removed (during her testimony, McColl furbished a letter by Moore that deplored smoking, thus calling into question his authorship of a jolly, smoking elf).

Three ghosts took the stand to testify as well: Maj. Henry Livingston Jr. , played by Byron Nilsson; Sarah Sackett, played by Kathleen Carey; and Clement Clarke Moore, played by Patrick McKenna.

"If they can vote in Troy, they can testify," said each of the Caseys at different points, in response to Jones objections to calling the dead to the stand -- and in tongue-in-cheek reference to a long history of voter fraud involving deceased residents of that city.


Seated at Jones' table was Chris Post, a descendant of Clement C. Moore. Joining the Caseys was Mary Van Deusen, a descendant of Henry Livingston Jr., who was responsible for bringing the authorship controversy to the world's attention in 2000 by enlisting the help of literary forensics expert Don Foster.

"It shouldn't be surprising that Troy adopted Henry Livingston so enthusiastically, since Henry's authorship has been a matter of passionate belief by so many along the Hudson River for decades before I was ever born," Van Deusen said after the verdict. "If Henry belongs to anyone, it's to those people who grew up with Henry's same love of this vital and energetic Hudson Valley region."

Crary said he would not be surprised if this year's re-trial were declared a mis-trial, and for the Moore party to come back ready to reclaim their ancestor's author credit in the future.

"We may never know who the true author of this poem was," Crary said. "But the controversy is nearly as old as the poem itself, and this mock trial is a fun way to keep interest in this literature alive for another generation."

Friday Dec. 19, Noon Ceremony at Sentinel Bldg. Troy, NY

Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia issued a proclamation to honor the jury’s historic verdict, finding Maj. Henry Livingston Jr. as the true author of "The Night Before Christmas."

The mayor will present the proclamation during a brief ceremony at noon, on Friday Dec. 19 in front of the historic Sentinel newspaper building in Troy at 225 River Street in downtown Troy. The ceremony will be attended by both the Jones and Casey legal teams, as well as by event creator Duncan Crary, and members of Gramercy Communications, major sponsors of The Trial Before Christmas.

Also present will be Uncle Sam re-enactor Fred Polnisch and "Sax-O-Claus" Luke McNamee.

"Troy, New York is the place where two of our greatest American icons, 'Uncle Sam' and 'Santa Claus,' first took shape," said Crary. "It only makes sense for them to attend our Friday ceremony to recognize our community's role in the history of national symbolism and myth."

Crary said a traditional St. Nicholas, or "Sinterklaas," will attend to meet his successor, Santa Claus, and that the two figures will exchange special gifts. (Dec. 19 is celebrated as "St. Nicholas Day" in orthodox countries.)


The Trial Before Christmas was filmed for a live simulcast and webcast by RPI TV. A special, edited and re-mixed video, featuring additional B-Roll footage, will be screened at Brown's Revolution Hall on Sunday, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. with suggested donation of $5.

Video editing and re-mixing is by Jersey Nerds. Revolution Hall is located at 425 River Street in Troy, NY. The edited video will be posted online at http://ChristmasTrial.com

Monday, December 15, 2014

Save East Greenbush Group Plans to Attend Casino Decision Meeting on Wednesday in Albany

East Greenbush, NY (December 15, 2014). East Greenbush residents opposed to siting a casino in their community have mounted a “relentless” (WNYT) campaign in response to the flawed and controversial process that led to Capital View’s bid for a license. The grassroots group Save East Greenbush formed to advocate for the thousands of residents who “felt betrayed” by their own town government.

Spokesperson Cara Benson: “East Greenbush never should have been under consideration. The zoning is all wrong, the town has a high tax base, and clearly the majority of residents don’t want a casino here. Our town players tried to roll over us. We’re counting on the Gaming Facility Location Board to have integrity in its process.”

Save East Greenbush has two pending lawsuits in the State Supreme Court regarding Town and Zoning votes and over 3,250 signatures on the petition. The opposition has been consistently noted by the press and by the Gaming Facility Location Board. 

Save East Greenbush residents are available for interviews and plan to attend the December 17 meeting at Empire Plaza. 

Researchers Develop “Radio-genetics” at RPI

Researchers Develop “Radio-genetics” – New Method Triggers Gene Expression With Radio Waves or Magnetic Field, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Researchers Partner in Research Described in Nature Medicine

 Troy, N.Y. — It’s the most basic of ways to find out what something does, whether it’s an unmarked circuit breaker or an unidentified gene — flip its switch and see what happens. New remote-control technology may offer biologists a powerful way to do this with cells and genes. A team at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Rockefeller University is developing a system that would make it possible to remotely control biological targets in living animals — rapidly, without wires, implants, or drugs.

In a technical report published today in the journal Nature Medicine, the team describes successfully using electromagnetic waves to turn on insulin production to lower blood sugar in diabetic mice. Their system couples a natural iron storage particle, ferritin, to activate an ion channel called TRPV1 such that when the metal particle is exposed to a radio wave or magnetic field, it opens the channel, leading to the activation of an insulin-producing gene. Together, the two proteins act as a nano-machine that can be used to trigger gene expression in cells. 

“The use of a radiofrequency-driven magnetic field is a big advance in remote gene expression because it is non-invasive and easily adaptable,” said Jonathan S. Dordick, the Howard P. Isermann Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and vice president for research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “You don’t have to insert anything — no wires, no light systems — the genes are introduced through gene therapy. You could have a wearable device that provides a magnetic field to certain parts of the body and it might be used therapeutically for many diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases. It's limitless at this point.”

Dordick, Ravi Kane, the P.K. Lashmet Professor and head of Chemical and Biological Engineering, within the Rensselaer Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, and doctoral student Jeremy Sauer collaborated with Rockefeller colleagues Jeffrey Friedman, Rensselaer Class of 1977, and Sarah Stanley on the project.

Other techniques exist for remotely controlling the activity of cells or the expression of genes in living animals. But these have limitations. Systems that use light as an on/off signal require permanent implants or are only effective close to the skin, and those that rely on drugs can be slow to switch on and off.

The new system, dubbed radiogenetics, uses a signal, in this case low-frequency radio waves or a magnetic field, to activate ferritin particles. They, in turn, prompt the opening of TRPV1, which is situated in the membrane surrounding the cell. Calcium ions then travel through the channel, switching on a synthetic piece of DNA the scientists developed to turn on the production of a downstream gene, which in this study was the insulin gene.

In an earlier study, the researchers used only radio waves as the “on” signal, but in the current study, they also tested out a related signal – a magnetic field – that could also activate insulin production. They found it had a similar effect as the radio waves.

“The method allows one to wirelessly control the expression of genes in a living animal and could potentially be used for conditions like hemophilia to control the production of a missing protein. Two key attributes are that the system is genetically encoded and can activate cells remotely and quickly,” says Friedman, co-senior author on the project and the Marilyn M. Simpson Professor and head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at Rockefeller. “We are now exploring whether the method can also be used to control neural activity as a means for noninvasively modulating the activity of neural circuits.”

Troy Legislators Call for Fair Representation for the Citizens of Troy

In an effort to correct legislative action that effectively denies the City of Troy any real say in County affairs, Minority legislators filed a resolution Wednesday to require the Rensselaer County Legislature to restore essential legislative counsel.

If passed, the bill would correct action taken by the Republican Majority in the Legislature that eliminated vital legal counsel for the Minority Legislative Office, yet retaining legal counsel for their own office. Since all six County Legislators from the City of Troy are members of the Minority Office, the Republican action deprives the people of the City of Troy of effective representation.

“While the Republican Majority continues to refuse the Minority Office of legal counsel, they are all supporting the denial of fair and effective representation for all citizens of Rensselaer County,” said Legislator Cynthia Doran.

The Minority Office represents one third of the County’s population.  “A minority office has a vital role at any level of government, providing the necessary checks and balances to ensure honesty and integrity in government”, stated Minority Leader, Peter Grimm.  

In Rensselaer County, the role of the minority is critical because both the executive and legislative branches of government have been under the control of one party for more than a decade.  The action of the Majority had only one purpose — to cripple dissent and oversight.

 “Although frequently disagreeing, Democrats and Republicans have collaborated productively on many issues.  Common sense and the County Charter provide for a viable Minority Office.  This position must be restored in fairness to the people we represent”, stated Legislator Len Welcome.

Detours Late Tonight and Wednesday Night at I-90 and 787 in Albany

Motorists are advised that ramps will be closed tonight (Monday) and Wednesday night from 10 pm. to 2 a.m. to and from Interstate 90 to Interstate 787 as the New York State Department of Transportation conducts a biennial inspection of these bridges.

Tonight, NYSDOT will inspect the I-90 eastbound bridge ramp to 787 northbound, and the I-90 westbound bridge ramp to 787 southbound. To allow for bridge inspection to proceed safely, these ramps will be closed from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

During that time, motorists should follow these detours:

  • Motorists wishing to go from I-90 eastbound to 787 northbound should follow the detour to southbound 787 and then to Exit 4B for Clinton Avenue. At that point, motorists should follow the signs (turning left at Broadway, then right onto VanTromp Street) to access 787 northbound.

  • Motorists wishing to go from I-90 westbound to 787 southbound should follow the detour to 787 northbound and then to Exit 7W for Route 378 West. After exiting, motorists should follow the signs to access 787 southbound

On Wednesday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., the 787 southbound bridge ramp to I-90 eastbound will be closed to allow for inspection to proceed safely. During that time, motorists should follow the detour to I-90 westbound, exiting at Northern Boulevard and following the signs to access I‑90 eastbound.

Under New York State law, every highway bridge in the Empire State is to be inspected at least once every two years.

Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license.

For up-to-date travel information, call 511 or visit www.511NY.org.

Follow New York State DOT on Twitter: @NYSDOT. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/NYSDOT. For tweets from New York State DOT Region 1 (covering the Capital Region), follow@NYSDOTAlbany.

Local eatery holding brunch to benefit Toys for Tots Dec. 21

Friday, December 12, 2014

NYS DEC Fines Buckeye Albany Terminal $181,000 for Air Violation

Requires $145,000 Environmental Benefit Project

Under a Consent Order, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) imposed a $181,000 penalty on Buckeye Albany Terminal, LLC for air permit violations, relating to the transfer of ethanol at its Port of Albany facility, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The violations did not result in any material air quality impacts. The order requires Buckeye to institute operational changes to ensure full compliance with state air regulations. Part of the penalty, $145,000, will be put toward an Environmental Benefit Project (EBP).  DEC will work with the community to identify the EBP, officials said Friday.

“DEC continues to vigorously enforce New York’s strict environmental rules and regulations to limit air emissions and protect public health and the environment,” Commissioner Martens said.  “This enforcement action addresses Buckeye’s failure to comply with its air permit, and will ensure that the company’s operations at the Port of Albany fully meet air pollution control requirements.”

Buckeye owns and operates an ethanol truck loading rack on property leased from the Albany Port District Commission at the Port of Albany. The truck loading rack transfers ethanol from storage tanks to trucks for distribution. In early May, DEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency staff conducted an inspection of the facility and discovered that an air pollution control device, called a vapor combustion unit, at the truck loading rack was not operating properly. The unit controls hydrocarbon emissions by heating vapors to high temperatures, which breaks them down into carbon dioxide and water.

Inspectors found that Buckeye had failed to supplement the vapor combustion unit with natural gas, which is necessary to ensure the breakdown of hydrocarbons. Although facility-wide emissions limits were met, DEC initiated enforcement action to ensure the company complies with all provisions of its Title V Air permit.

Under the Consent Order, Buckeye has implemented operational changes to its vapor combustion system, including installing a temperature control device that will shut down the system unless a minimum temperature is achieved, which will ensure efficient combustion of hydrocarbons to control emissions.

Over the next several months, DEC will require that Buckeye solicit input from local stakeholders on potential Environmental Benefit Projects and submit a proposed project to DEC for review and approval.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Ornaments Still Available from the Tree Lighting in Watervliet

From the Watervliet City Website:

2014 Ornaments

We have a limited number of ornaments left from the Christmas Tree Lighting on Saturday.  They are available in Room 3 of City Hall Monday-Friday between 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on a first come, first serve basis, according to the city site

UPDATE: Napier Announces Candidacy for Cohoes Common Council, Incumbent Plans to Run

Cohoes—Steve Napier, owner and operator of a boutique consulting firm based in Cohoes, announced Thursday his candidacy for the Fifth Ward of the Cohoes Common Council. A sixth generation Cohoes native, Napier is focused on addressing residents’ day to day issues within the scope of the local government, he said in a statement.

“Local government has a very specific and crucial role to play in the every day lives of residents. I like to think of it as everything between the potholes and the power lines. For me, that means that ensuring our streets are safe by doing everything from regular repairs, to efficient snow removal, to exceptional emergency services is the most important job for any elected official. And as Alderman that is where I will focus my efforts," Napier said.

For more information from Napier and his possible opponent, incumbent Roger Ceccucci, read this weekend's article.

UPDATE: Ceccucci was on vacation in Lake Placid when reached for comment and declined to say last week if he did plan to run for office again or not. He has confirmed that he does plan to run for re-election in the Fifth Ward.

Napier is proposing updating the antiquated system of mailing a letter to make a request of the Department of Public Works to a more efficient and transparent computerized reporting system.

“People want to know that their government is working for them," he continued. "For example, when you have a  pot hole on your street, right now you have to put a stamp on an envelope and mail your request for repair to the hard working folks at the DPW. Then while you wait, you and all of your neighbors continue doing damage to your cars every time you drive down the street. That system is too slow, it is inefficient, and it lacks the transparency for the resident to know that their request has been received and is being handled. By making communication between residents and their government more efficient we can make a real and tangible difference for our city.”

Napier also stressed the importance of reducing living costs for residents by taking on manageable portions of the budget and finding ways to make the system work better for everyone.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the City of Cohoes actually sells drinking water from our water treatment facility to neighboring municipalities at a lower rate than we sell that same water to our own residents. I think that’s wrong, and ensuring that we sell Cohoes water to Cohoes residents at as low a rate as we sell it to any other town will be the first of many measures I will seek to ease the financial burden on our residents and make our taxes more fair for everyone," Napier said.

The Democratic Primary election for this seat will be held in September of 2015, however Napier intends to begin knocking on doors immediately so that he will have time to discuss his fellow residents’ concerns over the course of the coming weeks and months.

National Grid: About 6,000 Still Without Power Should Have Power Restored Tonight

Dec. 11, 2014  National Grid has more than 600 electricity line and tree personnel working around the clock on restoring service to those who have lost power over the past few days of heavy, wet snow and ice. As power was nearly restored to those who lost it duringTuesday’s snow storm, additional rounds of heavy, wet snow continued to bring down trees, branches and wires in the following two days resulting in additional customer outages.
If no new outages occur through the day today, National Grid expects to have most of the 6,000 customers without power back on by late tonight, with the possibility of a few customers in the hardest hit regions of Schoharie and Warren counties back on early tomorrowmorning.
National Grid’s field force is focused on removing downed wires, repairing damaged equipment and replacing poles and wires that were damaged by three days of continued snowfall. Crews from central and western New York as well as Massachusetts are also assisting with restoration efforts. The company also has hundreds of employees working behind the scenes in support of the restoration efforts.
“This storm has actually included several storms over multiple days,” said Keith McAfee, vice president for upstate New York electric operations. “While we have made significant progress in restoring service, new outages occur as the heavy, wet snow continues to cause damage.”
Given the large amount of tree damage that brought power lines down, National Grid is urging the public to be particularly careful around wires that may be hanging low or on the ground. The public should assume that any wire they see is live, and stay away from it and anything it may be touching, including tree limbs. Downed wires should be immediately reported to National Grid by calling 1-800-867-5222.

Time-Tested Plan Restores Power Quickly
            National Grid emergency crews follow a time-tested plan to begin restoring service as safely and quickly as conditions allow. Accurate damage surveys, resource assessments and restoration estimates are critical in the preliminary stages of any major weather event. Credible and consistent communication with local public officials and the media is maintained throughout the duration of the restoration effort.
            First, crews clear away hazards such as live, downed lines. The clean-up of storm-damaged trees and branches removed from electric facilities remains the responsibility of the customer or property owner, whether private or municipal. 
            Next come repairs to main transmission facilities, including towers, poles and high-tension wires that deliver power from generating plants. Recovery work at local substations is also a high priority, because power flows from transmission lines through substations on its way to you.
            Circuits and transformers in neighborhoods and the wires that connect them to customers’ homes and businesses come next—starting with areas that involve the largest number of customers. While waiting for your power to return, please know that we’re doing everything we can to restore electricity service as quickly as possible.

National Grid is keeping safety a priority
National Grid continues to offer the following tips to minimize inconvenience and maximize safety when storm-related power interruptions occur.
Electricity Safety
  • Call National Grid’s at 1-800-867-5222 to report a power outage.
  • Never touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electricity wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.
  • If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize the safety of line crews and the public.
  • If you lose power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.
  • People who depend on electricity-powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a life support customer, call the company’sCustomer Service Center at 1-800-642-4272.
  • Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period
Gas safety
  • The build up of ice and snow around or over gas meters and vents for natural gas appliances could pose a serious safety risk. Ice and snow falling from a roof can damage gas meters or service connections to customers’ homes or businesses, resulting in a gas leak.
  • Ice and snow blocking vents could cause carbon monoxide (CO) to back up into a building and result in carbon monoxide poisoning for those inside.
  • To avoid these dangers, National Grid advises natural gas customers to closely inspect areas around and over gas meters, service hook-ups and vents for ice and snow that could damage equipment or prevent CO from properly venting.
  • National Grid advises that you take immediate action anytime you suspect a natural gas leak:
Get Out - All occupants should leave the house immediately. Open windows to ventilate. Do not use the telephone or light switches for any reason.
Call Us – After leaving the house and reaching a safe environment, call the National Grid 24-hour gas emergency number: 1-800-892-2345 in upstate New York.
Stay Out - Do not return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe.
Carbon Monoxide Symptoms
  • The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu. Depending upon the amount of carbon monoxide in the air and length of exposure, symptoms may include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart or loss of muscle control.
  • If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, go outside immediately and breathe deeply; then call 911. If symptoms are severe, get medical attention right away.

National Grid provides a number of channels for customers to learn about service issues and interruptions during storms. Customers can receive text message alerts and updates by texting the word STORM to NGRID (64743) or follow the storm on their mobile devices by using the National Grid mobile app. The company provides real time outage information on its Outage Central web site.
E-mail alerts are also available to customers who create an online profile on the company’s website. All alert services can be started and stopped at the customer’s request. National Grid also provides storm and restoration updates through Facebook and Twitter.

About National Grid 

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of the greatest challenges facing our society: creating new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins 21st century economic prosperity.

In the northeast U.S., we connect close to seven million gas and electricity customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles. National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in MassachusettsNew York and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New YorkMassachusetts and Rhode Island. In Great Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.