Monday, August 31, 2015

Mayoral candidates Q&A: Public safety

This is the first in a series of Q&As with all five mayoral candidates on various city issues. This format is similar that used in this 12-question Reddit thread created by Reddit user cybermage, which all candidates participated in. Given its importance, we began with public safety. Stay tuned for more installments to come before the Nov. 3 election. The primary election is on Sept. 10.

Also, a Meet the Candidates Forum, open to all city candidates, will be held Friday, Sept. 4 at Bethel Baptist Church at 6 p.m. Residents will have the opportunity to ask candidates their own questions.

For further comments from these candidates,on crime, safety and recent violence, read my story that ran in Sunday, Aug. 30's paper.

These responses are exactly as the candidates sent them and were not edited for length or content.

Given recent nationwide attention and criticism of police departments, what, if any, changes would you like to see in the Troy Police Department’s relationship to the community?

Patrick Madden (D): I have spent many years supporting the ability of neighborhood residents to effectively interact with police. Community policing, when it is allowed to work, creates two way pathways for communication and understanding. My goal would be to continue and formalize the ability of the community and the police to work together to address the problems that we face. 

Jack Cox, Jr. (Independent): As a law abiding citizen, as a whole I am supportive of our law enforcement system not only here in Troy but across the country. My concerns with local law enforcement not only involve the police department but the citizens of Troy as well. The age at which we allow individuals to become police officers, the aggressive training methods and improper behavior of a few of our officers are some of my immediate concerns with our police department. I would like to increase the minimum age requirement and change some, not all, of their combat style training to communication and awareness training. Training that will allow officers to better understand the issue at hand and better determine their response in order to diffuse the situation. Sometimes just their presence with no contact is enough to solve a problem. The citizens of Troy and America need to show the proper respect to all law enforcement officers at all times, not just when they “need” them. I was taught if you are not doing anything wrong you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. If you are doing something wrong or are unjustly treated don’t resist and don’t run. If you resist or run, you expose yourself, through your own actions, to an increase in aggressiveness of the police response. I am confident however that the nationwide attention will bring about nationwide reform.

Rodney Wiltshire (D): As City Council President I’ve been an advocate for community policing. If elected I will continue to work with neighborhood leaders and the police force to make community policing effective. We’ve made tremendous strides, but for too many citizens and patrolman alike, the only interaction they have with each other is during arrests and confrontations. We need our officers and residents to truly understand and respect each other and to support and complement each other's roles.

Jim Gordon (R): I believe we are on the correct path when it comes to furthering positive relationships between our police and the public. As a current council member and long time participant in community initiatives I have had the opportunity to work closely with the members of our Community Police Bureau. I understand the importance of this function and would support expansion of it. I also have been a supporter of the TPD Cadet program that engages youth who have an interest in law enforcement as a career and recently I have begun to assist in the formalization of the departments Police Athletic League (PAL) which provides programming and opportunity to local youth. As we continue to have the officers and members of our community engage and participate in community enriching opportunities we will continue to strengthen the relationship between TPD and our residents.
Lastly one initiative we need to undertake within all our city departments is growing a diverse workforce. We should be turning to our local residents, offering opportunity through job fairs and encouraging individuals to take our civil service tests, partner with our community centers, churches, and alike to share that together we can share the message of the benefits of working for the city you call home and positive outcomes that grow from it.

Ernest Everett (D): First, our police do a phenomenal job, especially in light of the violence that happened recently. I believe that while we may need more officers to cover a growing city, we need a more diverse police force as well. We need the changing face of Troy to be able to relate to the faces of our police and vice versa.
We also need more community leaders - those who are the most vocal - to be the most active. Get involved. Organize. Organize something for these kids to do, instead of bashing what they’ve done. Lead by example…Set up job programs, set up family focused events and show our youth that being productive members of society is beneficial to all.

After a period of violent crime last summer, some residents called for the return of an 
aggressive policing unit. Do you support this type of policing and do you think it’s necessary in Troy?

Cox: I do not support or feel the need for an aggressive police unit. Crime has always been present 
and will always be present in our city. Some years are worse than others. The repercussions to this form of policing include lawsuits and a community that fears their law officers. I believe we will be better served with officers trained to communicate more effectively with the public. Training officers to focus on deceleration of aggressive / tense situations and when necessary, containment of a hostile situation until State Troopers arrive. The State Police are better trained and equipped to handle extremely aggressive criminal activity. Local law enforcement should focus on keeping a criminal isolated while removing innocent civilians from the line of fire. Very seldom do the police have the ability to prevent a crime, merely investigate after one has been committed. Crime prevention starts with each of us. Don’t leave valuables in plain sight in your cars.  Lock your doors at night and don’t open them unless you know who it is. If you see a situation turning volatile move out of the way so you don’t get caught in the middle.  These rules apply everywhere in the United States, not just here in Troy.

Everett: The street crimes unit is a great resource in the summer months. We need to look at past statistics, see when/where crime rates spike and react accordingly to better serve Troy.

Wiltshire: I’ve spoken to Chief Tedesco about this and his professional experience has informed me that the street crimes unit would not be effective in dealing with the issues that we’re facing. I fully 
support his judgment on this. We need officers embedded in our communities and we need to diffuse our neighborhoods that feel far too much like warzones. Bringing back a street crimes unit won’t accomplish that.

Madden: I do not. As has been amply demonstrated aggressive policing practices trade long term negatives for short term fixes. Alternatively, modern, data driven policing working hand in hand with community policing models will do much more to create sustainable change. With the help and trust of the community we can address the problems without taking a shotgun approach and alienating large segments of our community.

Gordon: Recently I was joined by several dozen community members, local clergy, community activists and leaders - we outlined our approach to address and eliminate crime and quality of life issues within our community, what we are calling our Clean Communities Coalition Initiative. Here are some highlights:
- unite, engage, and support each community enriching group and individual. We can no longer operate as fractured entities. Formation of action plan with clear directives of purpose and levels of local support.
- expand our policing zones to add a fifth zone, which would add two uniformed patrol officers per shift. This improves the public's safety and the safety of our officers. With the element we are facing in Troy more officers are a necessity.
- capitalize on every grant opportunity available for law enforcement purposes. Last year the current mayor turned away a grant worth several hundred thousand dollars that would have added 2 more officers to our force and our streets.
- reinstitute plain clothes details such as the street crimes unit to combat the quality of life, drug, and street crimes.
- enter into a regional approach for addressing the gang and drug activity. Regionally remove the
element rather than push it from community to community.
- improve communication and interdepartmental operations with TPD Community Police, and the departments of DPW and Code Enforcement. Reinstitute the Action Team. A collective and comprehensive approach to timely addressing community issues will result in improved living conditions.
Much of this approach follows the framework of the Broken Windows Theory - this approach as
demonstrated across the country nets results restoring order and reducing crime in communities. We need to engage every willing and able individual to demonstrate the criminal element that exists will
no longer be tolerated. We need to commit to enforcing the laws and codes and claiming our communities as ours. We have some work to do but as demonstrated there are a lot of optimistic and caring people in Troy and with the proper policies and leadership we can make progress.

What practices do you support for dealing with juvenile offenders?

Everett: Put them to work! Instead of jailing these young citizens and giving up on them, order community service in the neighborhood where the crime was committed. Putting a juvenile into jail not only wastes tax payer dollars but education and guidance helps these kids learn how to be productive members of society.

Madden: Drug courts, juvenile justice courts, peer courts, and diversion programs such as Youth Build. It takes a collaborative approach with the Police, the schools and non-profits.

Gordon: We need to deal with juvenile offenders to as the law allows. We need to better implement our curfew ordinance as necessary and engage the county services available that assist with juveniles. Soon the Troy Youth Court will be operation and will assist with matters related to youth who commit crimes - then this needs to be followed up with continued peer and community support to ensure the message was received and that the proper support channels are in place.

Wiltshire: I support treating juveniles as juveniles. Too many kids are thrown into a prison system that all but guarantees they will be unequipped to succeed in society when released. There will always be a tiny number of juveniles who commit heinous crimes that need to be prosecuted as adults. But the vast majority of our juveniles offenders are acting out because they lack stable homes, food, access to parks and they live in neighborhoods full of crime. These kids need opportunities, education and where appropriate, rehabilitation. Trojan kids are our kids, and we need to care for them first before we decide that kids from certain areas are destined to be locked up.

Cox: This is a very difficult group of individuals to deal with. Many of the juvenile offenders are young people with no role models or mentors. Some are children that have fallen through the cracks of society and are just trying to be noticed. With the limited recreational opportunities the City offers for young adults, many just have nothing better to do than be mischievous. My support would go to programs like Big Brother-Big Sister that will help provide positive role models and mentors for our lost children. I will support sentencing for juveniles that involve some form of community involvement. If they are athletically inclined they may be required to successfully participate in a sports program. If they are more mechanically inclined like me, they may be required to participate in a program like Youth Build. As Mayor, I plan to expand our parks to provide more opportunity to keep our young adults occupied and provide the tools needed to make them a productive part of the community.

How would you settle union contracts with the fire and police departments?

Wiltshire: One of my top priorities is to settle contracts for all union members that are working without one currently. As Council President I have consistently advocated for the current administration to settle these contracts. If elected, from day one I will do everything and whatever I can to bring all parties to the table and settle fair contracts. I’m proud to be endorsed by over 18 unions and count the UFA as a financial supporter. I’m the only candidate endorsed by labor- and endorsed widely by labor- because their members trust I can get the job done on this issue.

Everett: The first step is communication. I’ll be speaking with them about priorities and we’ll go 
over current/future financial numbers to assure workers that what they want will be good for the city as well. We want our fire and police to feel appreciated. We then come up with a comprehensive plan that moves Troy forward.

Gordon: The bigger issue here is that all the employee union contracts are expired in the city and there’s been no real movement to settle. This will be one of the top priorities of my administration and will be one of the immediate items on our agenda, but for any current or potential public official to talk about specifics of how they would negotiate these settlements would be reckless and not in the best interest of the city.

Cox: I have witnessed the bravery of these departments across the country on many occasions. They have my greatest respect and admiration. As much as I would like to grant them every request, in the end it always comes down to money. I will not make irresponsible or empty promises to gain their political support. The negotiations to settle union contracts have to acknowledge a balance between fair salaries and benefits and the city’s ability to support those benefits with the tax structure. What I need is a little time. Time to review the current union contracts, the union’s requests and the city’s finances. If the union’s give me the time I need to do my research, when I do come to the table it will be with the spirit of cooperation and with the knowledge to negotiate in everyone’s best interest.

Madden: We will approach negotiations with the understanding that we are the stewards of both the most effective management of the public safety department and the taxpayer.

Local "Missing" Mother Found in Albany

A woman who was living in Troy with ties to Saratoga County has been found, her mom said.

Thirty-year-old Elizabeth Priest had not been in communication with her family, including her three son, since late April. Her mom said over this past weekend that she reached out after seeing the article in Saturday's paper. She said that Priest is in Albany.

Her mom, Holly Rafferty, said she was "relieved" to hear from her daughter.

For the original story, click here.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Informational Picket Slated Friday for Proposed Pipeline Through Rensselaer County

From a media advisory:

There will be an informational picket line held by citizens opposed to the "Northeast Energy Direct Project" Friday, Aug. 28 at 12-1 pm in front of the  Kinder Morgan Co. office at 137 North St. Pittsfield, Ma. KinderMorgan is the parent company of Tennessee Gas Pipeline which is proposing a massive 428 mile 1460 PSI fracked gas pipeline beginning in Pa. and traversing New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Many western Ma and nearby Rensselaer County, NY communities would be negatively impacted in terms of health, safety and the environment. A large percentage of this gas will probably be shipped overseas and none of it will be used in New York; some of the property to be traversed would be taken by eminent domain. There is even an attempt to have a large portion of this proposal paid for by charging electrical utility users in New England.

Road Work Starting Next Week on 787 in Cohoes, Next Month on Hoosick Street in Troy

Construction is slated, and delays expected, in projects in the Capital Region starting next week and going into the fall.

Paving will be done on 787 between Tibbits Avenue and Saratoga Street in Cohoes, and on Hoosick Street from 8th to Hillcrest Avenue in Troy and Brunswick.

As explained in the press release below: "Paving on the 1.8-mile stretch of Route 787 is scheduled to begin next week and continue through early October. Cohoes work will largely occur during weekday daytime hours using off-peak lane closures. Three Saturday daytime work sessions are also expected to occur. Both directions of Route 787 will remain open at all times, and all properties in the area will remain accessible for emergency vehicles.

Sidewalk work on Hoosick Street in Troy is scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 14, with paving of this 1.6-mile stretch to follow. Work will continue into November. To minimize impacts to traffic, all milling and paving on Hoosick Street will occur between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Work on sidewalks may have isolated impacts to traffic between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Otherwise, all lanes on Hoosick Street will be open during daytime hours."

And here's a bit more from this comprehensive press release from the state:

Paving set to begin on Hoosick Street and Route 787 in the Capital Region and on portions of Route 18 and Route 33A in the Finger Lakes

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that resurfacing projects in Rensselaer, Albany and Monroe Counties are set to begin as early as next week. Construction on a $3.07 million project to repave Hoosick Street (Route 7) in Troy, Rensselaer County, and Route 787 in Cohoes, Albany County is scheduled to start next week. In addition, construction is set to begin on a $4 million project to resurface portions of Route 18 (Latta Road) in Greece and Rochester and Route 33A (Chili Avenue) in Gates, Monroe County. The work is part of $75 million in resurfacing projects across New York State that were accelerated into this construction season in order to repair widespread damage caused by deep frost last winter.

“With another winter just around the corner, this administration is doing everything in its power to ensure that crucial maintenance and repairs to New York’s roadways are completed in order to be ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store,” Governor Cuomo said. “By completing these projects now, we’ll be able safeguard against future damage, and the long traffic delays that come with it, down the road.”

New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, “By advancing this paving into 2015, Governor Cuomo has guaranteed that these roads will be able to better withstand upcoming winter weather and will continue to be safe for Capital Region and Monroe County travelers. These resurfacing projects and other preventive maintenance activities allow us to make cost-efficient investments to keep our roads and bridges in a state of good repair.”

Capital Region:
The project will pave Route 787 in Cohoes from Tibbits Avenue to Saratoga Street (Route 32) and Hoosick Street (Route 7) from 8th Street in Troy to Hillcrest Avenue in the Town of Brunswick.

Paving on the 1.8-mile stretch of Route 787 is scheduled to begin next week and continue through early October. Cohoes work will largely occur during weekday daytime hours using off-peak lane closures. Three Saturdaydaytime work sessions are also expected to occur. Both directions of Route 787 will remain open at all times, and all properties in the area will remain accessible for emergency vehicles.

Sidewalk work on Hoosick Street in Troy is scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 14, with paving of this 1.6-mile stretch to follow. Work will continue into November. To minimize impacts to traffic, all milling and paving on Hoosick Street will occur between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Work on sidewalks may have isolated impacts to traffic between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Otherwise, all lanes on Hoosick Street will be open during daytime hours during NYSDOT’s work, and all properties in the area will remain accessible for emergency vehicles.

Work on Hoosick Street will include installing sidewalk ramps to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The City of Troy also is performing a project on Hoosick Street to adjust drainage gates and manhole covers ahead of NYSDOT’s pavement resurfacing.

The contractor for this project is Rifenburg Construction, Inc., of Troy.

Senator Neil Breslin said, “It is critical that we continue to maintain and improve upon our community’s infrastructure. By accelerating these road improvements we will ensure the safety of our motorists for the winter ahead." 

New York State Senator Kathy Marchione, Chair of the Senate’s Local Government Committee, said, “Safe, well-maintained roads are vitally important for motorists and communities. The past brutal winter season wreaked havoc on our local roads and other critical infrastructure. These accelerated paving projects will help repair the damage and ensure better, safer roadways for motorists throughout the 43rd Senate District and across the Capital Region. I thank the Governor for moving forward with an accelerated pace for these important projects.”

Assemblyman John McDonald said, “Roadways such as Hoosick Street and Route 787 in Cohoes are major thoroughfares connecting Albany, Rensselaer, and Saratoga Counties. I am appreciative of the Governor and the New York State Department of Transportation for ensuring that critical roads, as part of the Capital Region’s transportation infrastructure, are maintained and repaired in a timely manner. I am pleased that these projects are underway before the start of another winter season.”

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, “Maintaining roads in the Northeast is a challenge particularly with the harsh winter we experienced earlier this year. Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for ensuring that Albany County roadways have the necessary funding to make sure we can keep those drivers safe who travel on them.”

Cohoes Mayor George E. Primeau Sr. said, “I’d like to thank the Governor’s Office and members of NYSDOT for making this happen here in Cohoes. Over the years I have had a great working relationship with Sam Zhou from DOT (Region One) who is a true professional at his job. Having a new surface on Route 787 in Cohoes as it is the major gateway into our city is a big positive as new surface makes for safer travel.”

Finger Lakes:
Both highways in Monroe County will be milled and resurfaced to improve the overall condition, as well as provide a smooth riding surface for motorists. Sidewalks and ramps will be repaired and fresh pavement markings will be applied.

Work on Route 18 (Latta Road) will take place between Manitou Road and the Lake Ontario State Parkway as part of a $2.5 million project. The ramps at the Route 390 interchange also will be resurfaced. 

Work on Route 33A (Chili Avenue) will take place between Westside Drive and the bridge over the Erie Canal as part of a $1.5 million project. The project also includes resurfacing a short section on Howard Road from Chili Avenue to just past the post office and along Route 204 (Brooks Avenue) from Chili Avenue to east of Old Beahan Road. Damaged drainage structures along these routes will be repaired.

At both locations, motorists can expect lane closures and alternating one-way traffic controlled by flaggers through the day. Work at the Route 390 interchange will require ramp closures with short term detours posted during nighttime hours or on weekends. 

The construction contractor for the projects is Sealand Contractors, of Rush, Monroe County. Work is expected to take approximately six to eight weeks and be complete by November.

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.

Senator Joe Robach said, “As Senate Transportation Committee Chairman, it is great to see these state resources being put to good use. These projects will upgrade our local infrastructure and roadways, and improve safety for drivers and passengers who use these roads every day.”

Assemblyman Peter Lawrence said, “The Latta Road Corridor is a major gateway for motorists who are traveling through one of Monroe County’s largest towns and serves as an important thoroughfare for residents and business owners. I am pleased that Governor Cuomo and the NYS Department of Transportation are committed to improving the infrastructure and safety of our roads and have selected Latta Road as a priority project as we prepare for the upcoming winter months.”

Assemblyman David Gantt said, “This project is important to maintain safe and efficient travel in the Gates community. Harsh winters have inflicted significant damage upon many of our roadways and we must continue to address these issues proactively.”

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, “These two road improvement projects represent an important investment in our public infrastructure. Monroe County has been rated 1st in the Nation for Easy Commuting and we look forward to these important projects contributing to that well-deserved reputation."

Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini said, Route 33A (Chili Avenue) is a key transportation route in Gates for business and residents alike. The rehabilitation of Chili Avenue will provide commuters a smoother ride, allow greater efficiency in the transport of goods and give business owners a more welcoming environment for customers. I want to personally thank the Governor for his investment in Gates.​

Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich said, “I am grateful to the Governor for his financial support of this project and his investment in our transportation system. Ensuring the integrity of our infrastructure is at the core of providing the safety of our residents as they travel throughout town. This stretch of Latta Road is the main route of travel throughout the Town of Greece; in particular with its direct connection to Route 390. These improvements are desperately needed and I know our residents will be the real benefactors once the project is completed.” 

Albany County Executive Race Heats Upe

A debate between Democratic candidates for the Albany County Executive's Office, incumbent Dan McCoy and opponent Dan Egan, took place on Wednesday. I missed it but Jordan over at the TU did a good job live tweeting. You can check out that coverage here.

But, just prior to the debate, Egan held a press conference about multiple issues his campaign has found with McCoy's tenure, but especially with his stance on the nursing home.

Here's a press release from Egan's office on that:

 Democratic County Executive candidate Dan Egan and leading County officials and leaders expose McCoy Aging Dept. funding scandal; 100+ seniors on waitlist, 39 die during wait

Albany, NY – Today Dan Egan and Albany County Legislators and community leaders held a press conference exposing County Executive Dan McCoy’s Department of Aging malfeasance concerning multiple years of underfunding for the Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP) which led to nearly 150 senior citizens being banished to a wait list, with 39 dying during that time period, as well as addressing McCoy’s lies regarding the Albany County Nursing Home and his years of flip-flopping on the issue for political gain.

McCoy’s Dept. of Aging Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP) Malfeasance

Albany County’s Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP) is intended to help elderly people live at home and to support and supplement the informal care provided by family members and friends. Services include personal care, such as assistance with bathing and grooming, respite, case management, grocery shopping, laundry, and light housekeeping. EISEP supplements medical care which may be necessary, but which by itself is often not sufficient for some to live independently. Albany County Budgets show that McCoy and his Administration were malfeasant in misappropriating funds that should have gone to EISEP but instead went elsewhere. Hundreds of seniors wound up on waiting lists because of the misappropriation, and 39 seniors died while waiting for EISEP.

In 2013, McCoy requested, and the County Legislature approved, the authority to spend $2,070,000 on EISEP, an amount sufficient for the program to serve over 340 people. But that’s not what happened. Instead, Albany County forced applicants on to a waiting list that in August of 2013, reached 147. Up to that point, 39 elders had died waiting for EISEP. During 2013, Albany County only spent 53% of the funds McCoy had asked for - and he then put $970,000 in the County’s general fund.

This wasn’t the first time in which McCoy did not spend all the EISEP funds that were available for their intended purpose – helping Albany County’s most vulnerable seniors – forcing dozens upon dozens of seniors on a waiting list. In 2012, while he was Chairman of the County Legislature, McCoy approved $2,150,000 for EISEP, but then as County Executive left $406,097 unspent. That amount would have been enough would move approximately 60 people off the waiting list. 

Dan Egan stated, “This gross misappropriation of taxpayer funds is simply a disgrace. It is not just a misappropriation of government funds, but a complete disregard of the public’s trust. The County Legislature approved funds for EISEP – a program designed to help Albany County’s most vulnerable senior citizens – and 100% of those funds should have been spent on that program, not redirected elsewhere for Dan McCoy’s political games. Dan McCoy should be ashamed of himself for putting the wellbeing of hundreds of seniors at stake, during which 39 of Albany County’s seniors lost their lives.”
County Legislator Dave Mayo stated, “Words cannot adequately describe how angry I am to learn that money specifically directed by the County Legislature for home health care services under EISEP did not go to providing such care but instead was wrongly misdirected by the County Executive to the general fund. To learn hundreds of seniors, many of whom were frail, did not receive these vital home care services, some even dying before ever receiving this care, is heartbreaking and tragic. I urge the State Office for the Aging and the State Health Department to investigate this matter fully.”

McCoy’s Albany County Nursing Home Lies & Flip-Flops

Dan McCoy has a well-documented history of lying about his position on the Albany County Nursing Home to suit his political needs. First, as Chairman of the County Legislature, McCoy supported building a new nursing home, even going so far as to sign the application submitted to the State Department of Health, even though he was not yet County Executive and as such, not authorized to do so. That application was so outrageously expensive, coupled with the fact that it was projected to lose 50% per year – annual revenues approximating $26 million against expenditures of $52 million – that the State Department of Health rejected it.

Then, as County Executive, McCoy reversed his position and tried to get rid of the County’s involvement with the Nursing Home. As County Executive, he issued a request for proposals for potential private buyers or operators. As part of his newfound take on the Nursing Home, he tried to sell a deal to the County Legislature with Upstate Health Services in which Albany County would have received zero funds, leaving County taxpayers on the hook for millions.

Next, McCoy supported the creation of a Local Development Corporation to operate the Nursing Home when he realized his privatization scheme had endangered his political standing. Now McCoy is seeking organized labor endorsements, changing his tune to garner the support of unions he says he supports the Nursing Home once again.

Dan Egan stated, “Time and time again Dan McCoy has put politics above people. He cares about his own political interests, not the interests of the hundreds of seniors who depend upon the Albany County Nursing Home. I am running for County Executive to restore integrity to that office and to put the interests of Albany County residents first.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Demolition Started at Price Chopper in Watervliet

Demolition started this week at the former Price Chopper in Schuyler Plaza in Watervliet.
Part of the property is planned to become a Whitney Young Health Center and the other part will be a yet-to-be-identified commercial business.
The Price Chopper moved to a new location along 19th Street last summer on the former St. Patrick's Church property.

Canadian Pacific Installing New Railroad Safety Equipment in Cohoes

New equipment is being put in by railroad company Canadian Pacific in the Spindle City, officials said.
Canadian Pacific workers were installing a new safety arm and cabin at the intersection of Mohawk and Columbia streets Wednesday. Employees there said that the work also included eventually taking down old electric wiring poles along the railroad track.
Similar safety infrastructure work will be done at multiple intersections in the Spindle City and work will continue into the fall.
City officials - including former Mayor John McDonald - had voiced concerns about the infrastructure for years and their desire to create a Quiet Zone around the tracks which would require upgraded equipment.
Employees at one of the sites Wednesday said funding was at least in part coming from the state for the project.

(Workers Wednesday installing railroad infrastructure in Cohoes)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

City Beer Hall Chef to be Guest Grillmaster at Friday's Cheese Traveler Cookoutc

Chef Dimitrios Menagias to be guest be grillmaster at 8/28 The Cheese Traveler Friday Night Cookout

Where: The Cheese Traveler, 540, Delaware Ave, Albany
WhenFriday, August 28, 2015
Cost: Priced according to menu between $4-$16

The Cheese Traveler, a cheese and specialty food shop in the DelSo neighborhood of Albany, NY, will feature special guest chef Dimitrios Menagias, executive chef of City Beer Hall, for theirFriday night cook out August 28, 2015.

Chef Dimitrios' menu will feature his signature eclectic mix of gastropub fare. He will use the locally sourced meats and specialty pantry items featured at The Cheese Traveler to create signature dishes for the popular cookout series. Craft beer, cider, wine, and specialty sodas are available to enjoy with meal. Appetizers include monger’s choice cheese plate and/or charcuterie plate, buffalo mozzarella caprese salad with 6 year aged basalmic and house-grown heirloom tomatoes and basil. Seating both outdoor and indoor is from 5-8 pm. Outdoor seating in the garden is limited and is on a first come, first served basis. Take out is available, and please allow 20 minutes before arrival.

We are very excited about our relationship with City Beer Hall and Chef Dimitrios.  We supply them cheese for their cheese board and have partnered with Chef on several beer and cheese guided tastings.  We expect something delicious from a leg of lamb and possibly rabbit confit,” said proprietor Eric Paul.

Please check this website for updated menu at or sign up in store for their weekly email newsletter. Call 518.443.0440 for take out.

The Cheese Traveler sells a wide array of cheese, cured meats, specialty pantry items, and features organic beef and pork from Tilldale Farm, located in Hoosick, NY.

Helicopter Rescue of 23-Year-Old Rock Climber in Adirondacks After Falling 60 Feet

Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 8/17-8/23/15

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the backcountry.
“DEC Forest Rangers’ knowledge of first aid, land navigation and technical rescue techniques are often critical to the success of their missions,” said Acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman. “Search and rescue missions often require Rangers to function in remote wilderness areas from rugged mountainous peaks to white-water rivers, and through vast forest areas from spruce-fir thicket to open hardwoods.”
Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks include:
Essex County
Town of North Elba
High Peaks Wilderness
Rock Climbing Rescue:
 On August 17, 2015 at 3:06 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting a 23-year-old male climber from Carmel, NY, hanging from a rope on Wallface Mountain Cliffs, on the diagonal climbing route, after falling 60 to 80 feet. A separate group climbing just above the fallen climber rappelled down and provided basic first aid.
Twelve Forest Rangers, two volunteer climbers and a helicopter from the State Police Aviation Unit stationed at the Lake Clear Airport responded to the incident. A Forest Ranger and one of the volunteer climbers were inserted via hoist, operated by another Forest Ranger from a State Police helicopter, hovering in the Indian Pass Canyon. The helicopter lowered the pair onto a precarious sloped accumulation of broken rocks (scree) at the base of the cliff. The Forest Ranger and the volunteer then climbed a 200 foot vertical cliff with a 5.5 difficulty rating on the Yosemite Decimal Scale (5.0-5.15) rating system to a small ledge where they located the injured climber. They assessed the injured climber’s medical condition and developed plans to get him off the cliff.
The helicopter then lowered another Forest Ranger and volunteer climber to the same scree slope with a litter. The injured climber’s climbing companions helped the four rescuers raise the litter to the crowded small ledge. While one Forest Ranger packaged the injured climber into the litter, one of the volunteer climbers built anchors with artificial protection. They rigged a technical rope system and the rescuers on the ledge attended the litter as it was lowered 200 feet to the scree slope.
Four additional Forest Rangers hiked 4.5 miles from Upper Works Trailhead, arriving as the litter reached the bottom of the cliff. They attended the litter with the injured climber down the scree slope to an open area. At 8:00 p.m. a Forest Ranger steadied the litter as it was hoisted up to the State Police helicopter. The Helicopter transported the injured climber to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.
The Forest Rangers, volunteer climbers and the initial responding climbers hiked out to the Upper Works Trailhead and were transported back to their vehicles in Lake Placid.
Town of Keene
Giant Mountain Wilderness
Overdue Hikers:
 On August 20, 2015 at 9:44 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a report of two overdue hikers. A 21-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man, both from Los Angeles, CA, had left the previous day from the Adirondack Mountain Reserve to hike Giant Mountain. As neither had access to a vehicle, it was assumed the pair departed from the nearby Roaring Brook Trailhead. Two DEC Forest Rangers initially searched the other trailheads to Giant Mountain with no results. At 12:15 p.m., as additional Forest Rangers responded, the pair were located hiking along Route 73 between Chapel Pond and Ausable Road. They reported they had started late from the Mossy Cascade Trailhead. The female hiker had gotten stuck in the mud in a swampy area for a period of time. Later, the male hiker developed physical issues that slowed him down. With darkness approaching they decided to hike to the Giant Mountain Lean-to where they spent the night. At day break, they hiked up and over Giant Mountain, and down the Ridge Trail to the Giant Mountain Trailhead along Route 73. After checking them out, Rangers gave the pair a ride back to the Adirondack Mountain Reserve. The incident concluded at 12:45 p.m.
Town of North Elba
High Peaks Wilderness
Lost Paddler:
 On August 20, 2015 at 11:54 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from Franklin County 911 reporting a stranded paddler whose cell phone GPS coordinates indicated she was on Cold Brook near Owl Pond. The 25-year-old woman, from Saranac Lake, was headed to Lower Saranac Lake and got turned around after going through the locks on the Saranac River. After her canoe could go no further up Cold Brook she left it and began seeking a trail through the woods. Four DEC Forest Rangers responded by boat from the DEC Second Pond Boat Launch. They went to shore, followed the brook to her canoe and began tracking her. At 2:06 p.m. they obtained voice contact with her on the opposite side of Cold Brook from where she had left her canoe. They met up with her and escorted her back to her canoe. At 2:30 p.m. they escorted her back to the main channel in the Saranac River where she stated she could proceed on her own from there.
Town of North Elba
High Peaks Wilderness
Hikers in the Dark: 
On August 20, 2015 at 10:10 p.m., Essex County 911 transferred a phone call to DEC Central Dispatch. The caller, a 48-year-old woman, reported that she and her companion, a 37-year-old man, both from Rome, NY, were stranded hikers at Indian Falls on the VanHoevenburg Trail. She said their flashlights were dead and they were unable to see the trail. A DEC Forest Ranger was dispatched to Marcy Dam with a UTV while an Assistant Forest Ranger at Marcy Dam hiked up to Indian Falls. The Assistant Forest Ranger reached the pair at around 1:30 a.m. and provided them with lights. She escorted the pair of hikers back to Marcy Dam at a slow pace due to physical problems the woman experienced. They arrived at Marcy Dam at 3:30 a.m. and the Forest Ranger transported them to the Adirondack Loj Trailhead concluding the incident at 4:00 a.m.
Town of Schroon
Pharaoh Lake Wilderness
Injured Hiker: 
On August 21, 2015 at 12:27 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a 52-year-old man from Middletown, NY, who had injured his lower leg while hiking down from the summit of Pharaoh Mountain. The hiker had attempted to continue down the mountain and further aggravated the injury. Nine DEC Forest Rangers and an Assistant Forest Ranger responded to the mountain. The first group met the injured hiker at 1:41 p.m. a short distance below the summit of Pharaoh Mountain. They stabilized his injury and carried him more than two miles to a waiting UTV. They transferred the hiker to the trailhead and then to the Schroon Lake Ambulance Squad, which took him to an area hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 7:00 p.m.
Town of Keene
High Peaks Wilderness
Injured Hiker:
 On August 23, 2015 at 12:53 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting an injured hiker on the col between Blueberry and Porter Mountains. The 28-year-old man from Keene, NY, had fallen, injuring his lower leg on a sharp rock. The injured man patched up the injury but was unsure if he could continue on his own back to the trailhead. Two DEC Forest Rangers responded. The first Ranger reached the injured hiker at 2:27 p.m. The Ranger assessed the injury and provided additional medical attention. The second Forest Ranger arrived a short time later and joined the first in assisting the injured hiker back to Marcy Field at 5:30 p.m. The hiker declined further medical treatment.
Hamilton County
Town of Arietta
West Canada Lakes Wilderness
Camper Stricken:
 On August 22, 2015 at 9:53 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call reporting an 18-year-old woman from New York, NY with a previous medical condition was very ill and in need of assistance. The woman was with a group from Hamilton College at the West Canada Creek Lake Lean-to, on the shores of Mud Lake, along the Northville-Placid Trail. Four DEC Forest Rangers responded to the area. Two of the Rangers drove UTVs to the lean-to while another Forest Ranger accompanied an Adirondack Life Flight Paramedic on a helicopter from the State Police Aviation Unit stationed at Lake Clear Airport. The Forest Ranger on the helicopter scouted for a suitable landing zone nearby. A spot was located 200 yards from the lean-to on the shoreline of the lake. The paramedic, with assistance from a Forest Ranger, evaluated the young woman and determined she was in medical distress. They escorted her to the helicopter, which flew her to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for treatment. The incident concluded at 12:56 p.m.
Town of Long Lake
High Peaks Wilderness
Camper Stricken: 
On August 22, 2015 at 10:16 a.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a call seeking assistance for a 40-year-old man from Ridgefield Park, NJ, with a medical emergency. The man was at Rodney Point Lean-to on the shores of Long Lake along the Northville-Placid Trail. A DEC Forest Ranger and a State Police Trooper traveled by boat to the lean-to. The man was provided basic treatment and then assisted to the boat. The Rangers transported him to the DEC Long Lake Boat Launch and then to a Long Lake Rescue Squad ambulance, which transported him to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for treatment. The incident concluded at 12:45 p.m.
Town of Indian Lake
Siamese Ponds Wilderness
Injured Hiker:
 On August 23, 2015 at 12:35 p.m., the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department contacted DEC Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a hiker with a possible lower leg injury at Chimney Mountain. Four DEC Forest Rangers responded with Hamilton County Sheriffs Deputies, NY State Police Troopers, Indian Lake Volunteer Fire Department members and Indian Lake Volunteer ambulance members. The 62-year-old woman from Syracuse, NY slipped and injured her leg while descending the Chimney Mountain Trail. Rescue crews transferred her to the Indian lake Volunteer Ambulance at 3:30 p.m., which transported her to the Glens Falls Hospital.
Warren County
Town of Lake George
Lake George Wild Forest
Injured Hiker:
 On August 20, 2015 at 3:52 p.m., DEC Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for assistance for a hiker on Prospect Mountain with a lower leg injury. The 62-year-old man from Queensbury, NY, sustained the injury while hiking on the trail up the mountain. A Forest Ranger responded and located the injured hiker about 100 feet off the Prospect Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway, being assisted by other hikers. The Forest Ranger assisted him to the highway where an emergency medical technician from the Lake George Emergency Squad Ambulance examined him. The incident concluded at 5:04 p.m.

'Monsters University" Movie at Capitol Rescheduled for August 27

‘The Maltese Falcon’ to be Screened This Wednesday in West Capitol Park

The free screening of “Monsters University,” originally scheduled for August 19, has been rescheduled for Thursday, August 27 at 8 p.m. in West Capital Park in Albany. Those attending the movies should come prepared with their own chair or blanket, event officials said.
“Monsters University” will take moviegoers on a trip back in time on August 19 to when star Monsters, Inc. employees Mike Wazowski (voice of Billy Crystal) and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (voice of John Goodman) were just two promising young students at Monsters University in this frightfully fun Disney/Pixar prequel.
At 8 p.m. this Wednesday, August 26, the “The Maltese Falcon” will be the featured free Capitol Park After Dark move. Humphrey Bogart achieved true stardom as Sam Spade, a hard-boiled San Francisco private eye who can be as unscrupulous as the next guy but also adheres to his own personal code of honor. Into the offices of the Spade & Archer detective agency sweeps a Miss Wonderly (Mary Astor), who offers a large retainer to Sam and his partner Miles Archer (Jerome Cowan) if they'll protect her from someone named Floyd Thursby.
A vendor selling ice cream will be on site for Capitol Park After Dark, and the rain location will be meeting room six inside the Empire State Plaza Convention Center.
For event updates, people can follow @plazaevents on Twitter, visit Empire State Plaza on facebook, or call (518) 474-4759.
Free parking in the East Garage on Philip Street off Madison Avenue is available after 5 p.m.
Sponsors include Stewart’s,, Saratoga Spring Water Co., Metroland, Holiday Inn Express,, 99.5 The River.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Albany County Executive Recognizes Damien Center Leader

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy honored Perry Junjulas as the August recipient of the Albany County Executive’s Citizen of the Month.
Junjulas has served as the Executive Director of the Albany Damien Center, where he has worked tirelessly to provide assistance to those who have been diagnosed with AIDs in the Capital Region. He also sits on the Governors’ AIDs Task Force Committee and is part of the Working Positive Coalition.

This award presented by County Executive McCoy provides a measure of recognition to those who go above and beyond to make our community a better place to live.

One Arrested After Albany Victims Shot, Stabbed in Large Altercation Sunday

ALBANY >> A 46-year-old Albany man has been charged with handgun possession following an incident on North Manning Boulevard, police said.
On Sunday at approximately 9:15 p.m., officers responded to the area of North Manning Boulevard and Third Street for a report of shots fired. Upon arrival, officers located a female victim who had been shot in her hand and two other victims who had sustained stab wounds as a result of a large altercation among a group of people who are known to each other, police said.
All three victims were treated at the scene and transported to Albany Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.
Robert C. Carter was arrested following an investigation by members of the Albany Police Department. A loaded .22 caliber handgun was also recovered.
Carter has been charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon.
He was arraigned in the Albany City Criminal Court and remanded to the Albany County Jail.

The investigation is still ongoing and more arrests are anticipated.


Shooting Monday Investigated by Albany Police

ALBANY >> Albany Police are currently investigating a shooting that occurred on Ontario Street.
On Monday, at approximately 12:40 a.m., officers responded to the area of Ontario Street and Livingston Avenue for a report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers located a 41-year-old male victim who had been shot in the upper leg.
He was treated at the scene and transported to Albany Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.
The incident remains under investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Albany Police Detective Division at 462-8039.

Albany Man Arrested for Robbery

ALBANY >> A 20-year-old Albany resident has been charged in connection with two robberies.
Justin Walker was arrested following an investigation by members of the Albany Police Department.
On Wednesday at approximately 2:55 a.m, Walker allegedly approached a man walking in the area of Quail Street and Hamilton armed with what appeared to be a handgun and demanded the victim’s property. Walker and two other suspects who were present, then proceeded to strike the victim in the head, steal his property, and flee the scene, police said.
The victim, age 21, sustained a laceration to his head and was transported to Albany Med for an evaluation.
Additionally, on Wednesday at approximately 3:20 a.m., Walker and two other suspects allegedly approached a female in the area of Second Avenue and Benjamin Street armed with what appeared to be a handgun and demanded her property. The victim complied and the three fled the scene with property belonging to the victim, police said.
The victim, age 27, was unharmed in this incident.
Through the course of the investigation, some of the stolen property has been located.
Walker has been charged with two counts of first-degree robbery and criminal possession of stolen property.
He was arraigned in the Albany City Criminal Court and remanded to the Albany County Jail.

The incidents remain under investigation and further charges may be pending.