2010 Looking back at the top stories of the year

 

A lot happened in Granville as the first 10 years of the 21st century came toward a close in 2010. As the new year approaches we here at the Granville Sentinel are taking a look back at some of the events and people who shaped the past 365 days.

Jan. 5

Lions give Youth Center effort a boost

The effort to bring a youth center to Main Street continues to gain steam as organizers announced receipt of another donation.

The Granville Lions Club presented members of the Granville Police Benevolent Association with a check for $5,000 to aid efforts to create a safe place for youths in town to go after school.

King Lion Sheila Comar, the club’s president, said the PBA sent a letter to the club offering a tour and soliciting a donation to keep the effort going forward in a timely manner.

Longtime coach, teacher Ken Harrison remembered

Ken Harrison was recalled Monday as a quiet force in the community where he lived and worked before his untimely death on New Year’s Day.

Many remembered Harrison’s contributions to the school where he recently retired after working for 32 years. Harrison was recalled as a tireless volunteer who never sought the spotlight but always worked to help out those around him.

Jan. 12

Administrators agree to terms

A new contract for Granville School District administrators calling for a 3 percent pay raise is being called a fair bargain by the Board of Education and administration association members.

The agreement features a 3 percent raise in each of the years it covers, 2009-2010, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. Contained in the contract is a provision providing for an automatic 1 percent raise in the event there is no agreement for the 2012-2013 school year.

Superintendent Mark Bessen said the clause is a contract standard that applied to the 2009-2010 school year until the new contract was signed, meaning the effective raise for this year is an additional 2 percent.

Used book store

Sarah Cramer, a 2004 Granville High School graduate, opened a used bookstore on Main Street.

Cramer said she’s calling her bookstore Through the Looking Glass, a reference to the Lewis Carroll book everyone knows as “Alice in Wonderland,” because the book was “about discovering worlds you never knew were there.”

Fortunately for Cramer, but unfortunately for Granville, other opportunities led Cramer away and the store closed.

Jan. 19

Local organizations ready Haiti help efforts

With the news a 7.0 magnitude earthquake has devastated the island nation of Haiti, relief and rescue groups are springing into action to lend a hand.   

In Granville, St. Mary’s Church and the Rotary are stepping up to collect much-needed cash donations.

The Granville Rotary Club will be providing the opportunity for citizens or community groups to drop off donations during the club’s third annual Trivia Night fundraiser on Saturday night.

Initial stage of bridge work funded

It will be some time before traffic starts flowing in North Granville again, but following action last Friday by the Washington County Board of Supervisors that day has moved a bit closer.

The supervisors approved a pair of resolutions dedicating funding to the first stages of work — engineering studies and right-of-way work for the rehabilitation of the North Granville Lower Turnpike Bridge and the replacement of the Truthville Bridge on County Route 12. 

Jan. 26

Scott can’t stop working

At 80 years old, Angelo Scott says he can’t ever imagine retiring.

Ever.

He tried it once, for about five years, but it didn’t take, he said.

Scott says he’s pretty sure working is what keeps him going. Despite his status as an octogenarian Scott works a schedule that would burn out most men half his age in short order.

Feb. 5

Officially EAST Potter Avenue

Monday night members of the Granville Village Board did a bit of housecleaning as they moved to make all addresses on Potter Avenue east of Church Street the same, clearing up an issue that had potentially serious consequences.

As a result, all of the residences on that easterly section of Potter Avenue will officially be on East Potter Avenue. 

House of Hope welcomes resident

Jan. 26, 2010, could be the answer to a future trivia question, but it is hardly a trivial thing.

The Haynes House of Hope welcomed its first resident on that date.

“He came last Tuesday; tomorrow it will be a week,” Janelle Clark, executive director of the Haynes House of Hope, said Monday. “He’s very appreciative; he can’t thank us enough for what we’re doing.”

Clark said the transition from building and establishing the house to welcoming the first resident to the South Granville comfort care home had actually been quite smooth.

“It’s a time of adjustment for everyone, but it sure has worked out really well,” Clark said. 

Feb. 12

Memorial clock effort progresses

It chimes, lights up and tells time – when it’s working – and that might be quite soon thanks to the efforts of a group of concerned citizens.

TD Bank manager Peter O’Brien said Friday the effort to restore the Veterans Memorial clock that rests high above the lawn of the bank on Main Street to full working order has taken a major leap forward. 

Since the beginning of the recent organizational efforts, O’Brien said, the clock committee has started to come together.

One of those members, John Freed, has done some research into what is needed to completely repair the memorial to veterans of World War II.

‘Jailbirds’ are also lovebirds

Roy Litts might shock you when he tells you where he met his wife. “In jail,” he said with a smile and a laugh Saturday morning.

Roy met Jacqueline, whom everyone knows as Jackie, when both worked in corrections downstate, so, technically, he’s correct.

“He loves to tell people that we met in jail,” Jackie said as she gives him that look and shakes her head.

The two met while working in separate areas of the Woodbourn Correctional Facility in Sullivan County.

Feb. 19

Hurley: Cuts required in county budget

Cuts in personnel and services are what is needed just to keep the Washington County budget going up at a reasonable rate, Granville Town Board members heard Thursday night.

Following an entire day spent in a meeting at the municipal center in Fort Edward as a part of the county’s finance committee, Supervisor Rodger Hurley read a statement explaining the bleak situation facing the county in planning for 2011.

Hurley said when it comes to managing the county’s budget, the two remaining areas under the county’s control are personnel and services.

Feb. 26

14 charged in drinking party

A noise complaint at a Pine Street apartment led to the Granville Village Police Department breaking up an underage drinking party on the night of Wednesday, Feb. 17, just before 11 p.m.

The caller reported excessive noise and obvious signs of drinking, including observable alcohol containers and individuals vomiting in the parking lot, police said.

Granville Police Sgt. David Williams said 20 people were found crammed into the small apartment with beer as well as marijuana paraphernalia.

Village officials say they are satisfied with their efforts on the recent draft of the budget because it maintains services with a reasonable tax increase.

The Granville Village Board met Thursday, Feb. 18, to finalize the draft that will be presented to the public March 1 containing a 2.36 percent tax rate increase as part of a $1.31 million spending package.

The tentative tax rate will be $11.16 per $1,000 of assessed value.

March 3

Rollover crash spurs evacuation

First responders in Granville and West Pawlet, Vt., ordered evacuations and spent a tense few hours the morning of Feb. 23 cleaning up after the crash of a propane truck on Button Falls Road just over the state line.

A handful of residents were ordered out of their homes as emergency personnel went door to door evacuating people from East Potter Avenue as far up the street as the Granville Rescue Squad building. Officials decided to evacuate the area on the Granville side of the accident, causing more than a dozen houses to be ordered cleared.

March 10

Rodger Hurley claimed by heart attack

Granville Supervisor Rodger Hurley got to serve just 61 of the 730 days he was elected to serve in November as the first two-term Democrat to hold the office in the history of the office in Granville.

Those who knew him said Hurley would have seen it that way, as “getting to” or having the privilege of serving his community for two additional years.

“He certainly put his heart and soul into making Granville a better community. I consider him a friend and a colleague,” Mayor Jay Niles said just after news spread Tuesday afternoon of the second-term supervisor’s passing.

Throughout the week Hurley was remembered as a man committed to making a difference whether in the town or for the town at the county level.

“He will be missed; he did a lot for Granville,” Granville Town Board member Matt Rathbun said just hours after the news broke.

March 17

Town will wait, substitute will be named later

After pausing to reflect on the passing of Rodger Hurley, the Granville Town Board got back to the business of governing on March 11 even while the late supervisor’s chair sat draped with an American flag.

Deputy Supervisor Matt Rathbun read, and the board passed, a resolution of sorrow acknowledging the first Washington County supervisor to die while in office in more than a decade. The board then paused for a moment of silence before returning to business. 

The board had previously announced that no one will be appointed to the interim position until after Hurley’s funeral, which took place March 13; however, representatives from both the Democratic and Republican parties attended last Thursday’s meeting.

Local fire officials are reminding people that a spring cleanup staple is no longer allowed, and dangerous, given the current conditions.

Outdoor burning was limited last fall when a law went into effect Oct. 14, 2009, eliminating “burn barrels” and confining the times residents can burn brush to a May-to-March window.

Officials with the Department of Environmental Conservation said the move should help reduce the number of wildfires resulting from burns that get out of control.

Despite several days of forecasted rain, local fire officials are cautioning against any outdoor burning of yard debris because the top layer of vegetation from last year is extremely dry and prone to burning out of control; also it’s now illegal.

March 24

‘Something’ could happen in June

The leader of Granville’s Roman Catholic community for 17 years could be on the move. The Rev. Thomas Zelker of St. Mary’s Church confirmed Monday he announced to the congregation Sunday he could be on the move.

“The diocese told me something is in the works – that’s all I know,” Zelker said.

March 22 marked the anniversary of the conversation he had with his bishop back in 1993 at St. Catherine’s in Albany when he was told he would be reporting to Granville, Zelker said.

“I know the diocese is talking about it, but I don’t know where and I don’t know when,” he said.

Zelker said he could find out in June and as soon as he knew anything he would spread the word to the congregation.

Beverly Tatko board chief again

The town of Granville has an interim supervisor following a special Town Board meeting March 18, but it was not the board member many expected to see take the position.

Longtime Town Board member and retired Granville Board of Education President Beverly Tatko was named to the temporary position in lieu of the man both Democrats and Republicans voiced support for at the board’s regular meeting on March 11.

Matt Rathbun told the more than a dozen people who turned out March 18 he had a change of heart after some soul searching and decided he could not take the position left empty when Supervisor Rodger Hurley died after a heart attack March 2 at his South Granville home.

March 31

Rail Bridge Out

Rail Tunnel coming to Granville

Snowmobile riders and cross-country skiers as well as walkers and kids riding bikes might have to wait a very long time now to cross the Mettowee River on the Rail Trail following an announcement by New York state officials.

 “I was as shocked as anyone when I got the call,” Mayor Jay Niles said just before press time.

Niles was reacting to the surprise call from Department of Parks Recreation of Historic Preservation officials telling him that after facing a series of lengthy delays the Rail Trail Bridge would now face the ultimate delay – the project had been canceled.

“I just can’t believe it,” Niles said. “We’ve seen delays; we sometimes expect the worse – but this?”

Instead of a bridge, state officials said they now plan to install a tunnel system similar to what crosses the English Channel from England to France from Folkstone, Kent, near Dover, to Coquelles, Pas de Calais.

Happy April Fool’s Day.

April 6

Clock origin uncovered, repair to begin soon

It hangs above Main Street and has been the subject of much discussion over the years. But new questions have entered the dialog about the Veterans Memorial Clock since fixing it once and for all became the favorite topic of clock fans in Granville.

When the committee for restoring the memorial clock met for the first time in February, the group resolved a number of issues relating to how to get the “living monument” back into perfect working order for the first time in many years.

Resident John Freed stepped in to get the effort moving out of his desire to see this unique monument in its glory once again. Freed presented a plan to completely restore the clock and prevent future functioning issues, agreeing to donate his work to this cause.

Bridge work begins, span expected this month

Soon a way will exist to cross the Mettowee River without taking the Church Street Bridge.

As the June opening date approaches, village officials said, all indications show the Rail Trail Bridge will go into place later this month as planned. “I think the excitement will be there when we see the bridge,” Mayor Jay Niles said last week.

“We’re looking for a grand opening on June 5 because that’s National Parks and Trail Day; we’re planning some events,” Niles said.  “We want to have some fun events and have a formal thank you and opening; however, I want to see the bridge first.”

April 13

Longtime SVM executive director moves on

Museum board seeks replacement

The Slate Valley Museum is seeking a new executive director following the resignation of Mary Lou Willits recently to seek a job opportunity elsewhere. 

Slate Valley Museum officials said they accepted the resignation at their April meeting with regret but expected to have Willits on board until possibly sometime in June, hopefully with some overlap with a new hire.

April 20

Poucher to take assistant desk back

Dan Poucher has resigned his position as Granville High School principal, but will continue with the school district instead as the assistant principal.

The school district announced the move Wednesday, April 14. The job change will take effect on July 1.

The district is now in the hunt for a high school principal.

Vets clock gets insurance, work starts

After clearing a number of hurdles, restoration of the World War II Veterans Memorial Clock has commenced. Restoration volunteer John Freed began work Friday and continued throughout the weekend. 

With a value placed on the Memorial Clock and the village officially taking charge of it, work began to restore the memorial to those who fought and died in World War II.

The Granville Village Board voted unanimously to accept ownership and stewardship of the clock in the future at its regular April meeting.

Village Clerk-Treasurer Rick Roberts said the following day, April 13, he had already received word from the village insurance carrier Cool that the clock would be insured, allowing restoration work to proceed as soon as possible. The news missed the Sentinel publication deadline by less than 30 minutes.

April 27

Barn fire suspicious

A nighttime fire in North Granville destroyed a barn on county Route 12 Saturday morning under what fire officials are calling suspicious circumstances.

Sunday evening a crew of firefighters from Middle and North Granville returned to the scene for a third time in 24 hours to douse the smoldering ruins of what was once a barn believed to be more than 100 years old.

Drug bust

Unusual behavior at an invitation-only student recognition breakfast at the high school on the morning of April 21 led to the arrests of three Granville students, two for allegedly having drugs on school property.

School officials told police the three teens entered the character education breakfast late, just after 8 a.m., but did not go up to get in line for food.

The three sat alone off to the side in the cafeteria filled with approximately 200 students until they drew the attention of teachers.

May 5

Three arrested in connect with arson

Within days of a fire that destroyed a North Granville barn police arrested three local teens, charging one with arson.

Officials at the scene of the fire, which started in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 24, said the blaze was suspicious and an investigation was under way.

Health club closes door citing economy

Patrons hoping to get in a morning workout at Gemini Fitness & Aquatics Club last Thursday found instead a note in the window announcing the closure of the facility.

The letter to the members said a last-ditch attempt to find additional funds to keep the facility operating had failed, forcing the closure.

Surprise thank you to two who served

Lions honor combined 100 years at milestone dinner

In nature, lions often lie in wait in the tall grass and spring out to take down unsuspecting prey animals.

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary the Granville Lions Club decided to do something similar at the Fair Haven (Vt.) Inn as Robert Vanderminden and Richard Freed were recognized for what they had done over a combined 100 years of service to Granville, both as Lions Club members and on their own.

The move was a surprise to both men who each thought they were coming to the celebration to be there to honor the other man.

May 12

Voters will go to the polls Tuesday, May 18, to decide on the 2010-2011 spending plan for the Granville School District.

The $24.2 million budget keeps the funds raised locally in the tax levy in the district at the same $6,563,421 as the 2009-2010 budget despite the loss of $765,000 in state aid producing a 0 percent tax levy increase. The budget eliminates one teaching position and one teacher’s aide position.

May 19

The village of Granville’s water treatment plant upgrade project has moved a step closer to getting under way after a state-ordered search for archaeological sites turned up nothing.

Granville Mayor Jay Niles said the village earlier this month completed digging for possible archaeological sites, and last week received a letter from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation confirming that the requirement had been met and no sites had been discovered.

May 26

Employees resign, village mum

The village of Granville had two employees resign abruptly May 18, but officials had nothing to say about the reason or reasons behind the sudden departures.

Mayor Jay Niles confirmed Thursday the two employees, Stacey Goodspeed and Scott Knowles, resigned from the village Department of Public Works but said he would not make any additional statements regarding the moves under advice from village attorney Michael Martin.

“It’s a personnel issue and under advice of my attorney I cannot comment on why they resigned,” Niles said. Niles denied any criminal investigation had been conducted and a search of village police reports by the Sentinel revealed nothing regarding the two men.

Martin did little to shed light on the sudden departures.

June 1

Granville headed (back) to the show

“We did it guys! We’re going to the show!” Jason Rathbun, Golden Horde manager following the final out in the come-from-behind victory.

The Golden Horde version of the Frank Sinatra classic “My Way” might be entitled “The Hard Way.” Granville fought back from 6-0 and 7-5 late-game deficits Saturday evening against the Hudson Bluehawks, to win, 8-7, and advance to Wednesday’s Section II Class B Baseball Tournament final.

With the win, Granville advances to the B final at Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy for the second time in three years to face the first seed, Saratoga Catholic. The teams meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Granville beat Spa Catholic in the team’s only meeting of the season and holds the edge in the series in the past three years, having lost to the Saints once in four meetings.

June 8

Ribbon cutting opens span

After Granville Mayor Jay Niles and others cut the ribbon to officially open the Rail Trail Bridge to traffic on Saturday, only one thing remained to be done — cross the bridge.

At the urging of Niles the more than 100 people assembled for the long-awaited opening of the bridge shuffled across the 145-foot-long span to the opposite side of the Mettowee River – a feat that would have been impossible just six months ago.

June 15

Restoration work slow, satisfying process for Freed

John Freed is trying to get used to being accosted.

Sitting in Scotties recently having breakfast with his son JT, people stop and ask, “How’s it going?” Everyone seems to ask that question as word gets around about the Veterans Memorial Clock restoration effort.

Like the man who stops to inquire about the work, those who ask often express enthusiastic support for the project Freed took on because he wanted to honor all of the veterans and one in particular, his father World War II veteran Richard “Dick” Freed.

Freed patiently listens to questions and tries to explain the process to the curious.

His infectious enthusiasm convinces those who don’t know Freed well to believe he is the right man for the job of restoring the clock to its former glory.

The conversations often result in donations for the clock fund, he said.

The search for a new principal for the Granville Jr. /Sr. High School is nearly complete.

District officials said Monday they expected to reach an agreement with the selected candidate soon, but not before the Granville Sentinel went to press.

Officials had hoped to name the new principal following executive session at the Monday, June 14, Granville Board of Education meeting but could not complete the negotiation process in time.

Superintendent Mark Bessen said the candidate will be announced as soon as he accepts a contract with the district.

The principal-select was discussing the offer with his family, Bessen said.

June 22

Stay. Father Tom gets the word

Local Catholic community breathes sigh of relief

The Rev. Thomas Zelker is staying right here in Granville.

Zelker said Friday he had finally received word Monday, June 14, he would not be leaving St. Mary’s Church following a nearly four-month wait for word on his possible new assignment.

After months of waiting, while hearing nothing from the church apart from the initial news he might be leaving, Zelker said, he finally felt he had to write a letter seeking clarification of his situation.

Pronounce it “Bee-on-itch” after July 1

New principal hired

The students at Granville have some summer homework after the Granville Board of Education approved a contract with a new high school principal. 

A Michigan native and currently one of the principals in Albany, Scott Bojanich was the choice made at the end of the search process that began after current Principal Dan Poucher announced he was planning to step down into the role of vice principal.

Bojanich said he plans to start July 1.

June 29

124th commencement shines

Grads urged to strive

As the class of 2010 lined up in the school parking lot, excited chatter filled the warm summer air almost as thickly as the anticipation for the event.

Waiting to lead the students out into their last action before they became alumni, Granville Board of Education President Kathy Nelson looked on, something like a proud parent.

“This is an exciting time, a scary time, but an exciting time. They’re great kids, I wish them well and I hope they do great things,” she said.

Weather for the event was sunny with temperatures in the low 80s that fell into the middle 70s by the end of the 90-minute event.

July 7

Not so fast – diocese reverses decision

Father Zelker to Hoosick Falls

Less than a month after receiving word he was staying put in Granville, the Rev. Thomas Zelker found out he is on the move from St. Mary’s Church.

At the Sentinel offices the morning of July 6, Zelker said he found out he is bound for Immaculate Conception in Hoosick Falls.

Two crops, one field

At least one local “farmer” is going to be sorely disappointed when returning to examine a field off North Street after Granville village police seized additional marijuana plants July 1.

Granville Police Chief Ernie Bassett Jr. said he took another look at the site where 33 marijuana plants were recently found and uprooted for destruction and removed another 13 plants from the same village field.

A total of 46 marijuana plants have been taken from the field in the past week, he said.

July 14

What’s next?

Granville Catholics await news

St. Mary’s Church will be without a parish priest for an indeterminate amount of time when the Rev. Thomas Zelker departs for his reassignment position on Aug. 2.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany communications director Ken Goldfarb said Monday he did not know how long Granville might be without an assigned parish priest after Zelker moves to Hoosick Falls. 

“We’re going to move as quickly as we can, but I don’t think we’ll have a new priest by that time,” he said.

July 21

Ben Bernard remembers ‘The Boss’

He was known for his free-spending ways that ultimately resurrected a storied baseball franchise into 27-time World Series Champions after the New York Yankees’ 2009 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Now that he has passed, some who knew George Steinbrenner are saying a new portrait of the man known as “The Boss” will begin to emerge, more accurate than the caricature of popular culture.

When the news broke on July 13 that the longtime Yankees owner had succumbed to a heart attack, perhaps no one in Granville was more surprised than Ben Bernard.

As the former owner of the Albany-Colonie Yankees, Bernard knew the controversial man better than any casual fan or Bronx Bombers die-hard.

Interim Supervisor Beverly Tatko has delivered a strong message to the Washington County Board of Supervisors from the town of Granville — taxpayers are at the breaking point and county spending must be cut.

Evoking memories of the late Rodger Hurley, Tatko urged her colleagues at their July 16 meeting to come up with a budget for next year with no tax increase.

 “We all understand the impact of taxes – at least I hope we all do,” she said.

Looking at the initial budget package passed out by Washington County Budget Officer Brian Campbell, Tatko said, she was reminded to just how large the county budget was.

Tatko urged all of her fellow supervisors to do as much as they could to try to bring about a zero percent tax increase.

July 28

Rededication preparation begins

All of Granville will celebrate when the Veterans Memorial clock returns to its perch above Main Street.

The rededication, tentatively slated for Sept. 18, will begin with a parade, have speakers and dignitaries and culminate in the first time the clock has chimed while lit in many, many years. Organizers stressed the date is tentative and subject to change should the ceremony work hit a dead end.

“The main focus is to get everyone there to honor the veterans 60-odd years to the day, or the month anyway, from when the clock was first dedicated,” Veterans Clock restoration and preservation committee member Peter O’Brien said.

Details are still being hammered out by organizers and more information can be expected over the days and weeks ahead, organizers said.

“It’s going to be quite the community event,” O’Brien said.

A recent uptick in reports of thefts from vehicles has police advising residents to remember to lock them when parking for the night.

“There have been six or seven and they’ve been scattered around; the things they have in common are they’re seemingly after electronics and medications,” Granville Police Chief Ernie Bassett Jr. said Monday.

Residents can play a big part in seeing the break-ins stop, police said, by making it harder for the suspects to have something to take.

“People should be removing any and all items of value from their vehicles and making sure their vehicles are locked and secured at night,” Bassett said.

None of the reported break-ins were believed to have taken place during daylight hours, he said.

Aug. 5

Weller new Slate Valley Museum director

The Slate Valley Museum has hired a curator from Schenectady County as its new executive director.

The museum announced on July 29 that Kathryn Weller, curator of the Schenectady County Historical Society for the previous six years, will start in her new post on Aug. 10.

 “Kate Weller comes to us with an extensive background in programming, exhibit design and fabrication, collection conservation, publications, grant writing and fundraising. We are delighted to have her join us and we look forward to introducing her to the Slate Valley community,” Slate Valley Museum Foundation President David Bridges said. 

The painting project on the pedestrian bridge hit a snag on July 26 as thieves made off with the scaffold setup used to suspend painters high above the Mettowee River to work, officials said.

Police said the unit, known as a “pick,” worth about $1,500, was removed from the bridge sometime during the weekend of July 24 and 25. The pick was reported missing July 26 to the Department of Public Works by the man who has been painting the bridge in his spare time for weeks and, in turn, reported to police.

Wayne “Butch” Hurlburt said he arrived at the site intending to paint, but found the pick missing.

Aug. 12

Village denied ‘hardship’ low rates cited by EFC

Granville residents face the prospect of higher water rates after village officials learned that one of the financing routes for the new state-mandated water treatment plant will not be available to them. 

Mayor Jay Niles said he received a letter from EFC, or New York State Environmental Facilities Corp., explaining the village was not eligible for hardship financing for the $4.5 million water treatment plant project.

“Basically, they said our user fee of $135 per year does not qualify,” Niles said.

Aug. 19

Usher departs

Former Saratoga Springs Blue Streak Matt Usher is a Blue Streak once again.

Usher confirmed Friday he had just submitted his resignation to the Granville School District following signing a contract with the Saratoga Springs School District and having it accepted by its board of education Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Aug. 26

Clock ceremony, parade set for Sept. 18

The Veterans Memorial Clock is set to chime again for the first time on Sept. 18 at the conclusion of a ceremony rededicating the clock near the Main Street location where it was first erected 67 years ago.

This ceremony will take place rain or shine, organizers said.

“There were about 1,000 people at the first dedication and we hope to see 1,000 people turn out to support veterans on this day that’s for them,” committee chairman Rick Roberts said.

Roughed up roads to remain, briefly

A scheduled temporary work stoppage will leave some rough patches of road in the village as workers from Washington County get a week off that is part of a planned move to cut costs at the county level.

Granville Department of Public Works Superintendent Dan Williams said the crews who worked to “mill” up parts of Pine and North streets as well as part of Morrison Avenue will not be on the job this week to replace the top layer of pavement.

Due to other commitments, Williams said, the county workers might not return to the village until the week of Sept. 6.

Sept. 2

On the Bubble

Gym floor damaged, school seeks answers

In a time of tight school budgets with no funds to spare, officials got a nasty and potentially costly surprise last week when they discovered a portion of the gym floor at Granville Jr./Sr. High School had swelled out of place.

The swelling, forming a “bubble” near the outside or eastern wall of the gymnasium, rose to nearly 12 inches above the original level of the floor during the weekend leading up to Aug. 23.

The bubble formed by warping boards appeared under the eastern basket opposite the gymnasium doors. It was discovered on the morning of Aug. 23 by volleyball head coach Aris Allen as she prepared for the first day of practice.

Sept. 9

Progress seen, repair eyed

Although the floor bubble in the Granville High School gymnasium has come down, school officials are saying an invasive repair appears inevitable.

Granville Board of Education Vice President John Steves said Friday the floor had dropped nearly 4 inches for the week and appeared to be continuing to drop towards its original level, although slowly.

Officials from Service Master, the company that came in to work to remove the moisture that caused the massive bulge in the floor, told school officials they expected the floor to eventually return to normal.

Clock ceremony, parade set for Sept. 18

The Veterans Memorial Clock is set to chime again for the first time on Sept. 18 and two Granville natives will be a part of the rededication ceremony.

Cols. Edward “Ned” Fish, U.S. Army, and Jeff MacEachron, U.S. Air Force, will speak at the ceremony for the clock dedicated to veterans of World War II 67 years ago. This ceremony will take place rain or shine short of an absolute deluge, organizers said.

Committee chairman Rick Roberts said organizers hope to host about 1,000 people, the number reported to have gathered in 1943 for the first ceremony.

Sept. 16

Event 67 years in the making Saturday

Large crowds are anticipated to flock to Granville Saturday as the newly restored and completely functional World War II Veterans Memorial Clock is revealed. The event will kick off with a parade and conclude with the unveiling of the clock. 

Clock committee chair Rick Roberts said he wanted to clarify that while invitations have gone out to organizations, dignitaries and World War II veterans, the event is free and open to the public – and they’re hoping for a big crowd.

Roberts said he had a mental picture of the event as something like New Year’s Eve in Times Square with people packed in to every available spot to catch a glimpse of the unveiling ceremony.   

Sept. 23

Emotional clock ceremony recognizes ‘Those Who Served.’

All of the work leading up to Sept. 18 showed that the twin mottos of “Lest We Forget — Those Who Served” is a message the Granville community has taken to heart.

In a stirring, often emotional ceremony last Saturday, the Veterans Memorial Clock officially returned to its sentry position above Granville’s Main Street with the fanfare deserving of what clock restorer John Freed often referred to as “a living monument.”

Before the refurbished clock was unveiled, the men to whom the monument is dedicated were recognized for their service with the respect and gratitude “the greatest generation” deserved.

Parade wows big crowd

It started with a roar and kept on roaring.

Featuring everything from horses to classic cars, fire trucks and ambulances, military vehicles and even an airplane or three, Saturday’s parade celebrating the return of the Veterans Memorial Clock, according to some observers, was the largest seen in Granville since the nation’s bicentennial celebrations in 1976.

Airport donates flyover

From the earliest planning stages, a military flyover was one of the features organizers really wanted to bring to the Veterans Memorial Clock rededication festivities.

At the start no one knew where to begin, but now at least one man could teach a master’s class on navigating the ins and outs of the federal bureaucracy overseeing use of military aircraft for non-military purposes.

Clock committee chairman Rick Roberts said the effort became a reality even if it wasn’t quite the way he expected it to take place.

Roberts announced at the final rededication ceremony meeting Sept. 15 that the day would have a flyover, thanks to an unlikely source – the Argyle Airport.

Dick Bovey contacted Roberts and told him he’d heard about the committee’s desire for a flyover. Bovey said he had three military trainer aircraft from World War II, two Pt-17s and a PT-23, and volunteered their services over the skies of Granville on the day of the clock rededication.

Scott to seek town office

Former Granville Mayor Tom Scott has thrown his hat into a larger ring and is poised for a run at the town supervisor’s seat, Democrats announced Monday.

The Granville Democratic Party announced the results of the Saturday caucus as town Democrat Party Chairman Nicholas Silitch confirmed the party will put forward two candidates in November, one for supervisor and one for town board.

Sept. 30

Six Years of Lights

Tradition continues under the lights

The air is a little cooler and you can sometimes see your breath as you stand watching the games. But it is a tradition Granville athletes look forward to as much as homecoming – it’s time for Lights Week. 

Lights Week returns to Granville for the sixth time with games on three nights with a schedule of contests under the lights for most outdoor varsity sports.

Gas-powered lighting units owned by the Whitehall Recreation League will be rented and hauled to town for nighttime competition by the varsity teams.

Tatko out, Hicks in

Granville Republicans have announced their new candidate for Granville town supervisor will be former village board member Matt Hicks.

Hicks said in an interview on Sept. 24 he was just hours removed from signing the paperwork to make him the GOP candidate after Beverly Tatko, interim supervisor and former school board president, decided against running for a full term.

Guns stolen, store owner offers reward

The owner of a Granville village business is offering a reward for information after a break-in on Sept. 24 at Whitney’s Archery on Church Street.

Granville police said they were withholding information regarding specifics on the case but said “several firearms” were taken from the 2 Church St. address, which is the home of the archery and taxidermy business owned by Dennis Whitney.

Hunting rifles are among the items for sale at the shop specializing in archery supplies.

A tenant who noticed something amiss just before 7 a.m. called police to the scene reporting broken glass near the front door of the store.

Oct. 7

Smoke free

The village of Granville seeks input from resident via e-mail regarding making all village-owned properties smoke free. Contact the village at granville@roadrunner.com with a subject line ‘smoke free’ to voice your opinion.

Oct. 14

Long-awaited repairs to the water-damaged gym floor at Granville Jr./Sr. High School are getting under way this week, according to School Superintendent Mark Bessen.

 Late last week, Bessen confirmed that Utica National, the school’s insurance company, is honoring the school’s policy in full and will pay for the repairs to the floor, which sustained significant water damage in August.

“Utica determined it was a one-time event,” Bessen said of the swelling that ruined part of the floor. Noting that the school carries a $1,000 deductible on its policy with Utica, he said the final estimate for the repairs came to $49,799.

Oct. 21

District, Support Staff reach agreement

Give and take produces contract

It took three years but the support staff of the Granville School District has a contract. The new three-year agreement includes a pay raise balanced with concessions on health insurance.

The Granville Board of Education voted to approve a contract providing for a raise but one that also asks employees to shoulder an additional portion of health-care costs after an executive session on Tuesday, Oct 12. The agreement covers the period from July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2013.

Both sides expressed satisfaction with the contract and comfort with the process that brought about the agreement.

Granville School District residents will be picking up the tab on a $1.4 million clerical error relating to the funding of the current building project, the Sentinel learned Tuesday afternoon.

When school district officials pitched the EXCEL aid project to the voters in 2006, they said its tax impact amounted to nothing, nada, zero. On Tuesday, however, school officials announced the project, which received voter approval in 2007, will cost approximately $1.4 million more than expected following the recent discovery of what appears to be a clerical error involving student enrollment numbers.

In making the announcement, Superintendent Mark Bessen and school board officials emphasized the mistake will not increase taxes directly, but will necessitate additional use of the district’s fund balance to help close the gap.

Oct. 28

Error traced to former business manager

An error in the mechanism for reporting student attendance numbers to the state is the source for the $1.4 million surprise Granville school officials found when they prepared to pay for the $18.3 million EXCEL aid building project, district officials said.

Officials said incorrect attendance numbers inserted into the SAMS (State Aid Management System) system for 2005-2006 gave officials the incorrect state aid percentage for the building project. Robert Sheridan was the business manager at the time. He retired in 2008.

Nov. 4

Hicks picked

Republicans take both local contests handily

The contest ended as it began – cordially.

Just before 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Republican candidate for Granville town supervisor Matt Hicks took a phone call from his opponent, Democrat Tom Scott, conceding the 2010 election.

Tuesday’s decisive 271-vote win by Hicks was a sharp contrast to last year when absentee ballots proved the difference for the late Rodger Hurley who won a close race over Mary Emery.

By virtue of his victory, Hicks will serve a one-year term as supervisor. He would have to run again next year if he wishes to serve a full term

Gorilla you’re a desperado

Police are seeking information relating to a stabbing that took place Halloween night just over the state border in West Pawlet, Vt.

Vermont State Police reported a New Street man called 911 about 8:38 p.m. reporting being stabbed at his front door.

The man told police he answered the door expecting to greet trick-or-treaters but instead found a man in a gorilla suit.

The victim told police the suspect, approximately 6 feet tall and wearing a black gorilla suit, poked him with a small needle-like device before fleeing on foot.

The victim told police the costumed assailant fled in the direction of the New York border.

District two and three offline five hours

Voters in the two largest voting districts in Granville ran into a problem Tuesday morning when they arrived to find the voting machine did not work.

Election observer Diane Martin said when the village hall on Quaker Street opened for voters in District 2 and District 3 the sole voting machine did not come on. “A new machine is coming,” Martin said just after 10 a.m.

Martin referred additional comment to Washington County Board of Elections officials.

Newly appointed Republican election commissioner Leslie Allen said the new machine was installed at the village hall about 11:15 a.m. and was operating correctly within seven minutes.

Nov. 11

Budget meeting dominated by ‘garbage’ talk

Washington County Budget Officer Brian Campbell said he took more than 100 copies of the tentative Washington County budget when he left Fort Edward to go to Washington County towns to talk about the 2011 budget, but he didn’t need nearly that many.

Discussion at the Granville village hall on the night of Nov. 5 was much the same as it had been in Salem, Greenwich and Whitehall, focusing on one facet of the budget, the proposed closure of the Washington County waste transfer centers.

Nov. 18

‘Gorilla attack’ a lie

Puncture wound self-inflicted

The West Pawlet, Vt., man whose story of a bizarre doorstep attack caught regional attention Nov. 1 has admitted to police the Halloween night tale was a fake.

Vermont State Police said Donald Gould, 22, of New Street in West Pawlet, just across the state border from Granville, admitted to making up the story of being stabbed by a needle-like device on Halloween night.

What caught the attention of most, however, was Gould’s claim the minor puncture wound was caused by a person wearing a black gorilla costume.

Nov. 25

First attempt fizzles for budget

The Washington County Board of Supervisors will try again later this month to pass the 2011 county budget after its first attempt failed Nov. 19.

Led by Granville’s interim supervisor, Beverly Tatko, others, including Jim Lindsey from Kingsbury, combined to vote down a budget resolution that would have included a 2.6 percent tax levy increase.

Dec. 2

‘We Will Reopen’

Black Friday Fire wrecks Schoony’s

Bob Schoonmaker didn’t hesitate when the inevitable question came up Friday night. When asked what he planned to do following the fire that heavily damaged the family business, Schoony’s North Granville Grocery, Schoonmaker didn’t miss a beat when he said: “We’ll rebuild; oh yeah definitely, we’ll rebuild.”

Less than an hour after the call went out alerting him to the fire, Schoonmaker was already planning to battle back.

St. Mary’s welcomes a new priest

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany confirmed Monday that Granville will be getting a new priest at St. Mary’s Church.

Diocese communications director Ken Goldfarb said the move will happen soon with the pastor arriving at St. Mary’s just before Christmas.

“Joseph Arockiasamy will be coming to St. Mary’s Parish and he will begin serving on the first of the year,” Goldfarb said.

Dec. 9

Quarryman will have new look

The Quarryman will return with a new look, chainsaw artist Tim O’Brien told the Granville Village Board Monday night, just not before spring.

The artist behind the original statue detailed the process he saw unfolding throughout the winter to have a piece ready for sometime after the still-falling snow melts away.

“I want to be true to what was there, but I’m thinking about something simpler,” O’Brien said.

Dec. 16

Christmas gift for village

Granville received some good news just in time for Christmas as plans for a national retail location in the village were revealed late last week.

Plans for a Tractor Supply Co. store, a Brentwood, Tenn.-based store chain, arrived at the village offices on the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 10.

The plans became public when received by the village as they were dispersed to the members of the village zoning appeals and planning boards, officials said.

“I’m very excited by this new development for the Granville community,” Mayor Jay Niles said Friday after showing the plans to a reporter.

Dec. 23

Palmer surpasses wins milestone

Karl Palmer said he can remember setting his sights on Mark Sabo as far back as seventh grade.

In his final match of the day at the Colonie Duals on Dec. 11, Palmer surpassed Granville’s all-time wins leader just 11 matches into his senior year.

Palmer was 9-1 at the notoriously difficult two-day tournament and later continued his winning ways at the Ken Harrison Memorial Granville Lions Tournament.

Sabo’s mark of 145 career wins stood since 1985 and only one wrestler, Brian Ehntholt, neared the mark, falling one win short of a tie in 2006.

‘Tractor’ Gains Traction

The Granville location of Tractor Supply Co. cleared its first hurdle Monday night with Schuyler Cos. receiving tentative approval from the Granville Village Planning Board for the expansion of the former Grand Union Plaza.

The approval is pending meeting a number of requirements, including the granting of a variance by the Zoning Board of Appeals, a process that is already under way, officials said.

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