Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Charter Review Commission draft: a handy reading guide

Late last week the semifinal draft of the proposed revised charter was posted on the city's website. The Charter Review Commission is looking for public input before a final version is sent to the Board of Elections for the November ballot referendum. It can be found here.

A public hearing is scheduled for August 10 at 6 p.m. at City Hall. Previous public hearings have been sparsely attended. There is also a City Council Law Committee Meeting August 5 at 5:30 p.m. at which the changes will be discussed with commission members.

In the coming days, The Record will be talking with department heads, Charter Review Commission members, City Council members, past and present city officials and others to gather comments and thoughts on the proposed revisions.

The most obvious changes include the size of the city council (reduced from nine members to seven), the direct election of the City Council President (as opposed to the at-large council member with the most votes), the extended term of the Council President (four years rather than two) and the creation of the Department of General Services, which would combine the Department of Public Works with Parks and Recreation.

By eliminating redundancies, the commission cut the size of the document by roughly one third.

At the bottom of this post is an executive summary of the proposed changes written by Charter Review Commission member William Dowd, a former Times Union editor.

Because so much changed, including the structure and order of the document, it's difficult to compare the changes with the current charter side-by-side.

Dowd said every change was a consensus decision. which he described as "mind boggling."

In 2008, both the City Council and Mayor Harry Tutunjian appointed separate Charter Review Commissions. A court decision determined only the mayor's commission's proposed charter would be included in the November referendum. That was voted down.

Both those proposed charter revisions from 2008 can be found here.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth story coming in The Record. Residents can also submit comments by sending an email to or by mail to Commission Chairman Ian Silverman at City Hall, 433 River Street, Troy NY 12180.

Feel free to also send comments or questions to me at or comment on this post. Happy reading.

RCHS hires new leader

Displaying RCHS_Karin_Krasevac-Lenz.jpeg
TROY>>  The Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) announced today the appointment of Karin Krasevac-Lenz, a long-tenured advancement professional and member of RCHS, as its new executive director.
Krasevac-Lenz brings more than 30 years of experience in not-for-profit development, strategic planning, creative community engagement, constituent relations, agency communications and other areas to her role at RCHS. 
"Our search brought us many highly-qualified candidates with museum and fund-raising knowledge," said Laudelina Martinez, president, RCHS Board of Trustees. "From this group, Karin impressed us with her excellent experience in fund development, nonprofit organizations and historic sites. Her appointment underscores our desire to see RCHS grow in strength and engagement with our region. We are excited and optimistic about the future with our new executive director."
"With great anticipation I look forward to guiding RCHS into its vibrant future," said Krasevac-Lenz. "The stage for its next phase of success has been well set by RCHS's staff, strong Board and its many dedicated members and volunteers who work to preserve a treasured community asset."
Krasevac-Lenz holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Mount Holyoke College. She has also taken courses in religion, history, psychology and public health education from five other educational institutions, including Harvard University.  
In her most recent position, Krasevac-Lenz led a capacity building program serving 56 educational institutions in Western New York for the Catholic Alumni Partnership in Buffalo.  In a prior post she directed a team to raise $5.7 million to successfully close a $12.5 million campaign for The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. She was also on the Board of Trustees of the Hull House Historic Site Foundation in Lancaster, NY. It is her avid interest in Troy’s history and passion for instilling the mission of RCHS that drives her commitment to the organization.  
“Troy's historic significance and current renaissance drew our family to live downtown and become active in RCHS as its leadership helps to develop plans for the region's strategic future."

About RCHS:
The Rensselaer County Historical Society and Museum is a dynamic not-for-profit educational organization established in 1927 to connect local history and heritage with contemporary life. 
We strive to enrich the present and advocate for the future by bringing the region’s past to life, recognizing every face and every story. In pursuit of this mission, we collect, preserve, study, interpret and make accessible a broad variety of objects and documents, and conduct educational programs to inspire public enthusiasm for the past. 
Situated in the downtown Second Street Historic District in Troy, New York, the museum fulfills its mission from two adjacent 19th century townhouses -- the historic and architecturally significant Hart-Cluett House, which serves as a house museum, and the Carr Building, which houses programmatic and research functions. RCHS offers visitors and members a wide range of tours, exhibitions, educational programs and an extensive local history research library.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Last Day to Claim Missing $7M Cash4Life Ticket

Fliers Distributed in Brooklyn Neighborhood Where Lucky Ticket Was Sold

Today (Friday) is the last day for someone out there who is sitting on a $7,000,000 New York Lottery prize, and the Lottery continues to search everywhere for this “missing millionaire.”

A lucky Lottery player purchased the jackpot-winning ticket for the July 24, 2014 Cash4Life drawing at Milky Way Deli at 1669 Ralph Avenue in Brooklyn.  Prizes can be claimed up to one year after the drawing, which means the winner only has until the end of the day today to collect the jackpot Lottery prize.

The Lottery has canvassed the Brooklyn neighborhood around the Milky Way Deli with fliers ‘Have You Seen Me?’ and ‘Is This You?’ fliers to try to find the winner of this lucky ticket, as well as a social media video to attract attention to the missing ticket (see links below).

“This is the absolutely last chance to find the winner of this $7,000,000 jackpot prize,” said Gardner Gurney, Acting Director of the Division of the Lottery. “This is a last-call to all players: check and double-check your tickets one last time before it is too late.”

The winning ticket matched all six numbers from the July 24, 2014 Cash4Life drawing:
05 – 20 – 35 – 43 – 48 and the Cash Ball number 03.

Lottery officials recommend that the ticket holder sign the back of the ticket and contact them immediately at 518-388-3370The winner may claim the ticket at any one of the Lottery’s Customer Service Centers statewide, including the Manhattan office at 15 Beaver Street, New York, NY 10004 and the Long Island office at 45 South Service Road, Plainview, NY 11803. To learn more about how to redeem a prize, click here.

As is always the case, in the event the prize is not claimed by the deadline, the prize money will be returned to the prize pool for future winners. It is used to subsidize prizes for jackpots, promotions and/or special one-time games.



Social Media Video:

About the New York Lottery
The New York Lottery continues to be North America’s largest and most profitable Lottery, contributing $3.11 billion in fiscal year 2014-2015 to help support education in New York State.  The Lottery’s contribution represents 14 percent of total state education aid to local school districts. 

New York Lottery revenue is distributed to local school districts by the same statutory formula used to distribute other state aid to education.  It takes into account both a school district’s size and its income level; larger, lower-income school districts receive proportionately larger shares of Lottery school funding.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Napier Announces “See Click Fix” Walking Tour

Cohoes-Common Council Candidate Steve Napier announced Tuesday that he will be embarking on a walking tour of Cohoes’ Fifth Ward to highlight his support for Cohoes implementing the “See Click Fix” public works reporting system.

“People have been telling me for months, I have a problem and no one is listening” said Napier. “With See Click Fix, citizens can report their needs to the city, and the city has the opportunity to publicly show those citizens that they are listening and taking action.”

Napier plans to take the system to the streets as a tangible example of how he thinks the city and elected officials can use modern technology to more effectively address the day-to-day needs of the city.

“These are the types of issues people deal with on a daily basis. When people are constantly in debt to the neighborhood repair shop because their streets are in disrepair, they want to feel like their voice is being heard. This system creates that opportunity.”

Monday, July 20, 2015

Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students Guidance Document Now Available for School Districts

Document Provides Definitions, Illustrative Examples, and Resources to Help Districts Foster Safe and Discrimination-Free Environments for
Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia Monday released the Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Guidance Document to school districts. The document, which has been transmitted to every public school district in the state, is intended to help districts foster an educational environment safe and free from discrimination for transgender and gender nonconforming (GNC) students. It includes information to help districts comply with local, state, and federal laws concerning bullying, harassment, discrimination, and student privacy, and meet schools’ obligation to provide all students with a safe and inclusive environment.

“The important thing we must do is to keep children safe,” Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. “Children cannot be expected to learn unless they feel welcome, safe, and comfortable at school. Every school should foster that kind of environment for all its students. This new document gives administrators practical guidance to ensure their schools are places where transgender and gender nonconforming students can focus on academics, friendships, and their interests instead of worrying about how they will be treated by school staff and their peers.”

“All students need a safe and supportive school setting to progress academically and developmentally,” Commissioner Elia said. “The Education Department is committed to providing all students, including transgender and gender nonconforming students, with an environment free from discrimination and harassment. We have a moral responsibility to foster civility in our schools, and to ensure that every student has equal access to educational programs and activities. This document will help schools make that a reality for all of our students.”

Nationally, and in New York State, transgender and gender nonconforming students are targeted with physical violence and experience a hostile school environment at a higher rate than their lesbian, gay, and bisexual peers. Over the past several months, the Department has worked closely with advocacy groups and key stakeholders to prepare the New York State Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students Guidance Document. This Guidance Document will be used by school boards and administrators to develop school procedures and district policies related to transgender and gender nonconforming students.

The document provides guidance on using pronouns and handling issues like restroom and changing room use. The scenarios presented are all based on real-life examples from New York-based students and schools and the document will complement existing resources available from the New York State Education Department relating to the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA).

The Department is charged with the implementation of DASA. Since 2010, when DASA was signed into law, the Department has amended and promulgated the Commissioner’s Regulations, released several guidance documents to the field, and created the Dignity for All Students Act Task Force to develop guidance and curriculum. This latest document addresses the needs of transgender and gender nonconforming students, who, pursuant to the Dignity Act, are entitled to educational programs and activities free of bias-based discrimination and harassment.

Statements from Stakeholder Groups and Advocacy Organizations

“We applaud the State Education Department for providing guidance so every school in the state knows how to follow the law and protect the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming youth,” said New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman, which released the report “Dignity for All?” in June. “Too many New York youth have faced relentless harassment and discrimination in the schools that should have nurtured them just for being who they are. We look forward to working with the state to ensure that transgender students have the same rights to an education that all kids are entitled to in New York.”

Empire Justice
“Empire Justice Center is proud to be a contributor to the development of NYSED’s gender-inclusive guidance document, a crucial new resource that will help reduce gender-based discrimination and harassment in our state’s schools. The document provides useful examples and guidelines to school districts on how to support transgender and gender nonconforming students and comply with relevant federal, state, and local nondiscrimination laws—guidance that is particularly important for students in Upstate New York, where there are fewer supportive services for this population.”—Julia Sáenz, Esq., Hanna S. Cohn Equal Justice Fellow, Empire Justice Center

Empire State Pride Agenda
“Empire State Pride Agenda is proud to have worked in collaboration with other advocates and The New York State Department of Education to create these new guidelines, which will offer our schools a much-needed map pointing the way toward a safe and supportive educational environment for transgender students, and will help schools provide those students with the same educational opportunities as every other child. At a time in which an epidemic of transgender teen suicide is sweeping the nation, a safe educational environment doesn’t only ensure kids a chance to learn – it absolutely saves lives. As coordinator of the LGBT Health and Human Services Network, the Pride Agenda has extensive firsthand knowledge of the struggle students and schools alike have had in trying to address the needs of transgender students without a clear, statewide policy, because Network organizations have been absolutely overwhelmed with requests for help, training, and guidance. We look forward to working with our partners and stakeholders to take the next steps to ensure that every child in New York has access to a safe, quality education.”—Eòghann Renfroe, Manager of Transgender Education and Advocacy, Empire State Pride Agenda

Friday, July 17, 2015

DEC Seeks Public's Assistance in Locating Illegal Dumper in Schenectady

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking the public for assistance in identifying an individual wanted in the illegal dumping of approximately 125 gallons of waste oil in the city of Schenectady, DEC Regional Director Keith Goertz announced Friday.
On July 10, DEC received a complaint of waste oil being illegally dumped on Van Der Bogart Street in the city of Schenectady. A witness described two individuals dumping the waste oil from large drums down a city storm drain.
Thanks to the assistance of the Schenectady fire and police departments, and utilizing security video footage from local businesses, DEC Environmental Conservation Officers apprehended one of the alleged dumpers on July 10.
Gholson Linwood, 58, of Schenectady was charged with felony level endangering public health, safety, and the environment under the New York State’s Environmental Conservation Law. In addition, Mr. Gholson was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration.
DEC is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the second individual captured on video surveillance. The individual is described as a black male with green eyes, known locally as “Green Eyes” and is believed to be a Schenectady resident.
            Anyone with any information about this case is asked to contact DEC’s tip line at:
1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267). Callers may request to remain anonymous.

Melrose Man and Son Seriously Injured in Backhoe Accident

Melrose (July 17, 2015)– Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call at approximately 5pm on River Rd. in Melrose, NY involving an accident with 2 individuals and a backhoe.
A man and his son were seriously injured while working on a backhoe outside Thursday afternoon.
According to Deputies 36-year-old Vincent Colarossi was caught and run over by a backhoe while attempting to rescue his son.  According to the information received Colarossi’s son was sitting on the stalled backhoe while he was making repairs when unexpectedly the engine started and the backhoe started moving.
Emergency responders included Hoosick Valley Rescue, Melrose Fire Department, Clifton Park and Half Moon Rescue.                                                               
Colarossi was flown out to Albany Medical Center where he is listed in critical condition.  His son was transported to the same hospital by ambulance and is in stable condition, according to a press release from the Rensselaer County Sheriff.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Open House Slated for 65th Anniversary at Arc of Rensselaer County in Troy

TROY, NY –The Human Resources Department for The Arc of Rensselaer County is organizing a first-ever Agency Open House on July 21 from 5-8:00 p.m. at the administrative offices located at 79-102nd Street in North Troy.

The Arc of Rensselaer County and its members are dedicated to building the capacity and realizing the full citizenship to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing invaluable resources and support.  The Arc currently serves nearly 800 individuals and their families.

The purpose of this event is to celebrate The Arc’s 65th anniversary of providing advocacy, resources and community while promoting employment opportunities and services provided by the agency.

“This is an amazing human services agency to work for with numerous benefits,” explained Alisa Hobb, Director of Human Resources, sharing how she has been with the agency for many years moving up to her current position. “Consider joining The Arc team by attending this event and learning why The Arc is such a great place to work and a great place to succeed!” added Hobb.

The Arc is one of the largest employers in Rensselaer County with more than 500 individuals serving in a variety of positions. 

On the spot interviews for Direct Support Professional positions will be held throughout the Open House, while people supported by the agency will be available, as well as employees and families.

Additionally, activities for children over five years old will be led by our own summer camp employees.  Bring a friend and stop in to enjoy refreshments and an opportunity to win fun raffle prizes for attending.

For more information about the Agency Open house, please visit or contact 518-274-3110 ext. 3027.  RSVP is encouraged by emailing


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Morse Files 1,600 Signatures in Bid for Cohoes Mayor

Morse also calls for mayoral debates before Democratic primary 

COHOES - Shawn Morse, Democratic candidate for Mayor of Cohoes, has filed more than 1,600 signatures in his bid to become the next Mayor of Cohoes – more than five times the required number to make the ballot for the Sept. 10 primary.

This is about double the amount of petition signatures that opponent Dianne Nolin filed this week.

Morse was joined by family and friends at the Albany County Board of Elections as he filed his petitions. 

“The enthusiasm I’ve seen throughout the city is reflected in today’s filing. The people of Cohoes know my record of independent leadership and experience that will lead this city’s future back on track. I have, as I’ve done all my professional life, will continue to bring a passion to service and will keep the people’s needs first and foremost as the next Mayor of Cohoes,” said Morse. 

Morse also called for mayoral debates ahead of the primary to better inform voters of the choice they’ll make on Sept. 10 to lead the Spindle City. 

“A forum or a debate would be one of the best ways to get in front of potential voters. I am proud to review and talk about my record of effective leadership, accomplishments, and my vision for this city, and would welcome a chance to listen to the positions of others in terms of how they believe this city be directed,” said Morse. 

For more information about the Morse campaign, visit

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Nolin Files Over 800 Signatures For Cohoes Mayoral Race

COHOES >> Needing only 295 signatures to get on the ballot for the Cohoes Mayoral Democratic Primary, Tuesday Dianne Nolin filed over 800 signatures to ensure her a place on the ballot, according to a press release from her camp.

“The outpouring of support for my candidacy is the best way to start my campaign to be Cohoes’ next Mayor. People know that when Cohoes comes together, we can do better,” said Nolin, a lifelong resident of the City. “There are many financial and infrastructure issues facing our city. I will bring a level headed, experienced approach to City Hall while keeping my door open to the great ideas that I know will come from our citizens. ”

Nolin is committed to having a City with
  • Clean, safe and attractive neighborhoods
  • Economic development to attract and grow the local economy
  • Open, transparent and efficient government, and
  • Sound financial management and budgeting.
A Cohoes native, Nolin grew up in the City with her parents, Edmund and Janet Rigney and her 11 brothers and sisters. She attended Keveny Memorial Academy and then went on to HVCC and the Albany College of Pharmacy. She has worked as a pharmacist in Cohoes since 1977.

Nolin has served on the Cohoes’ Common Council representing the City’s fourth ward for the past eight years. During her tenure, she has served as President of the Common Council and is now Vice President. She is also the Treasurer of the Cohoes Local Development Corp. and has provided leadership in the City’s budget process keeping spending below the tax cap.
For more information on the Nolin campaign, go to