Taking a look back at the Schenectady Spotlight

No shortage of news in Schenectady County for first half of 2011

This week, The Spotlight looks back on the first six months of 2011. We will look back at the second half of the year next week.


  • While some people were resting from New Year’s Eve festivities, the Rotterdam Town Board holds its organizational meeting on Saturday, Jan. 1. At 1 p.m., the town meeting begins and recently elected Democrat Wayne Calder was sworn. The tone of the meeting is set quickly, as Supervisor Frank Del Gallo calls for an executive session to inform Calder about town employee matters on the agenda. Many spirited debates and discussions ensue before the meeting ends four and a half hours later.
  • The Scotia Planning Board on Monday, Jan. 3, starts off the year by approving developer Bruce Tanski’s project to demolish the Scotia Diner, formerly Attanasio’s Restaurant, and three houses along Glen Avenue to develop a three-story apartment complex. The Scotia Diner still has yet to be demolished at the close of 2011.
  • The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reaches a settlement with Niskayuna over the town’s wastewater treatment plant exceeding capacity. Through negotiations, Niskayuna officials reduce the fine to $7,500 and suspend an additional $30,000 fine, which would be reinstated if the town fails to adhere to the order of consent. The residential building moratorium remains in place and prevents any new residential connections to the sewer system if the town didn’t accept the project by Dec. 3, 2010.
  • Judge Stephen Swinton Jr. rules on Monday, Jan. 3, in Niskayuna Town Court that John Helm was violating sections 220-4 and 220-10D of the town code by keeping chickens on his property and fines Helm $20 dollars for every day since the notice was issued in early June 2010, which totals almost $4,000. Swinton says if the chickens were removed from the property within 72 hours he would entertain a motion to reduce the fine. The Helms claim they kept the chickens as pets, but town officials contested it was a code violation. John Helm expresses displeasure over the ruling but complies with the judge’s decision and removes the chickens from the property on Tuesday, Jan. 4.
  • Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services had received fuel tax free from the Town of Rotterdam, but with taxpayer funding for REMS being cut from the town’s budget, Supervisor Frank Del Gallo tells the not-for-profit organization to look elsewhere to fill its tanks. On Tuesday, Jan. 4, Del Gallo sends Joe Vanderwerker, president of REMS board of directors, an email asking for the fuel key to be immediately returned to the town, according to Frank Salamone, an attorney representing REMS.
  • During the Glenville Town Board organizational meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 5, Town Supervisor Christopher Koetzle announces the search for resigning Councilman Mark Quinn’s seat is completed. Former Scotia police chief John Pytlovany eagerly steps up to the position. Quinn served on the board for seven years, but he was selected to be the deputy commissioner for elections in Schenectady County.
  • After nearly two years of intensive eradication efforts, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation declares the Glen Oaks neighborhood in Glenville free of oak wilt, a devastating tree disease. On Friday, Jan. 7, DEC officials says measures to halt the spread of oak wilt, including tree and stump removal from the affected neighborhood, have been successful, but monitoring will continue in the coming years. The Glenville trees are the only confirmed instances of oak wilt in New York, but DEC officials are not clear on how the disease entered the town.
  • The Schenectady County Legislature meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 11, becomes heated over a final resolution to replace two members of the county’s Industrial Development Agency, including Legislator James Buhrmaster, R-Glenville. Buhrmaster, who served on the IDA for seven years, is the sole Republican legislator on the board.
  • Residents come out in force at the Wednesday, Jan. 12, Rotterdam Town Board meeting to protest the move of a senior center staffer, who, along with three other town employees, was appointed to a new position by Supervisor Frank Del Gallo. During the board’s agenda meeting on Monday, Jan. 10, Conrad Johnson, president of the Rotterdam CSEA, serves grievances to board members indicating the shift would abruptly change the town employees’ working hours. Del Gallo says the moving of employees falls within his authority.
  • The proposed plan for a new Glendale Nursing Home addresses Glenville residents’ opposition to building on open space and town officials’ desire to keep the facility local. Plans are unveiled by the Schenectady County Legislature’s Human Services and Aging Subcommittee on the Glendale Nursing Home Wednesday, Jan. 26, and have the new facility being built in front of the current home, which would eventually be torn down.
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