Think back to Jan. 1, 2010. The year was starting with new promise. Jay Niles was the village mayor and the parishioners of St. Mary’s Catholic Church were anxiously awaiting a new pastor. We had no idea just how wild the year’s weather would be. People in West Pawlet regularly shopped at Dutchie’s Store, patrons of Schoony’s were still waiting for it to re-open, and Beebe’s Thirst Parlor was a popular hangout.
In the following months, many of those things would change.
This week we’ll look at the first six months of the year, and next week’s paper will examine the year’s events from July through December.
Niles won’t run
Mayor Jay Niles announced he does not intend to run for another term as mayor of the Village of Granville. “I’ve decided it’s just time to be fully retired,” Niles said after the meeting when asked why he chose to forego a run at a second term.
After “a great four years,” Niles said, he is looking forward to some new experiences as someone with a little more time on his hands.
They’re not searching of extraterrestrial life on North Street at Family Dentistry, they’re looking to go green and beat the high cost of energy with an array of four solar panels. Dr. Jennifer Kelley, D.D.S. and her husband Joe Thomas of Positive Energy NY decided the solar panels were just the thing to offset the high cost of power as they hoped to account for approximately 40 percent of the daily electricity used when their project was completed. The panels are set up to follow the sun as it arcs across the skies of Granville allowing the panels to absorb the most sunlight possible.
Roger Ellis traveled to Washington D.C., to be recognized for his volunteer efforts as a part of two organizations: Veterinarians Without Borders and Farmer to Farmer.
Having traveled to a number of different countries, including Russia and Liberia in Africa, Ellis has spent decades as a volunteer.
The award he personally received, the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, came as a complete surprise to Ellis as he’d gone to the nation’s capital with Ohio veterinarian Dr. Julie Hunt to represent Veterinarians Without Borders.
LaRose declares intent
Following Mayor Jay Niles’ announcement last week that he will not seek re-election, speculation regarding who might throw their hat in the ring has begun to percolate in the village of Granville.
A short time later current Trustee Brian LaRose announced his intention to seek the mayor’s chair in March.
Reached last Friday for comment, LaRose said he planned to take the weekend to finalize his decision.
“I haven’t made an exact decision yet,” LaRose said. “I’m probably running for the mayor-ship but I’m taking the weekend to think about it.”
The two-term trustee, who has served six years, said he planned to discuss the move with his wife before he began the process, but he expected to notify the village by Jan. 10.
St. Mary’s says Welcome to Father Joe
St. Mary’s is buzzing with activity these days.
Parishioners zip in and out of the doors as they help the Rev. Joseph Arockiasamy (pronounced A-row-ki-sa-mi) get settled on Bulkley Avenue. Since taking the helm at St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Jan. 1, Arockiasamy has been working to learn names and meet people as well as sending the word Granville’s Catholic community has a permanent priest again.
Forum changes hands, but not families
The name remains the same, but the Forum with its white tower has been sold.
Ron and Michelle “Shelley” Daigle confirmed last Thursday they recently purchased the restaurant, bar and ballroom facility from his brother Kevin and his wife, Donna.
Ron Daigle said his brother had been working at the Forum every day since 1998 when he started the process of converting an old Agway warehouse into the multi-use facility that stands off East Potter Avenue now.
Brisk sales bolster fund
Since becoming available, the DVD recording of the day of the rededication of the World War II Veterans Memorial Clock has seen significant sales, helping to provide for the future upkeep of the Main Street living monument, officials said.
With an eye to the distant future in the spring of 2010, John Freed asked that a fund be set up to provide for the upkeep of the clock after he volunteered to spend the summer completely rebuilding and restoring the clock.
The work is done. The ceremony a pleasant memory for all involved and now sales of the recording are helping to ensure the future of the WWII Veterans Memorial Clock long into the future.
Granville wins grant
A popular walking route in Granville is getting more “sidewalk.”
The “Make the Connection Program” by the Glens Falls Transportation Council informed the town and village their joint application succeeded in bringing $56,300 in federal grant monies toward the Quaker Street sidewalk project.
The project is slated to bring more than 2,200 feet of sidewalk to the east side of Quaker Street from the end of the existing sidewalk at Granville Jr./Sr. High School south to the entrance to the Rite Aid at the corner of the Price Chopper Plaza.
The project will put a sidewalk on one side of the road.
Snow builds up
The snowiest winter in many years brings with it a unique set of challenges for residents as a season’s worth of accumulation remains on building roofs across the area, in some cases having dire results.
Although no injuries, loss of equipment or livestock occurred, a Middle Granville barn succumbed to what quickly became far too much snow for some roofs to bear by Sunday morning. Following a day when temperatures soared to 40 degrees, the barn collapsed about 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6.
A wet, heavy snowfall that turned to rain and even included a rare winter thunderstorm on Feb. 5 made the snow load more than the county Route 23 barn of Dan Wilson and Susan Knapp could handle.
Firefighters from Penrhyn Engine and Hose and North Granville Hose Company responded briefly to the site to evaluate the scene across Route 23 from Hicks Orchard.
Wilson said the family was enjoying a quiet evening at home when the family heard a noise that sounded like more snow falling off of the roof, but then the dogs started barking. “We thought it was snow, but then Jonah looked outside and said, ‘The barn just fell over,’” Wilson said. The structure’s exact age was not known, but Wilson said he had seen a 1909 photo of his house and the barn is in the image.
Education cuts coming
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a $132.9 billion budget on Feb. 1 focused on closing the state’s fiscal gap, officials in the Granville School District heard little good news in the address.
The governor’s aid run, the first indication school districts receive reporting potential state aid numbers, is down again, more than last year.
Business manager Cathy Somich said on Friday, Feb. 4, the district is looking at an aid loss of about $900,000 for the 2011-2012 budget or 7 percent more than last year.
“We’re waiting to see what happens, but that is not good news,” Somich said.
“This governor seems to want to get education costs down by reducing state aid and then there’s (talk) of a 2 percent tax cap,” Somich said. “With the loss of that aid what can (the board) do? They’re going to have to make cuts.”
It took just a split second — just the tiniest of lapses by a Greenwich defender Friday night and Emily Fuller was in the record book.
Needing just one point to reach 1,000 career points about half way through the second quarter of the final regular season game for the Golden Horde, Fuller split the defense and flipped up a shot toward the net.
The ball wobbled on the rim for just long enough to get the attention of everyone in the room before falling in to make history.
With those two points Fuller became the first female in Granville High School history to reach the scoring milestone and just the third overall, ever.
“It would have been good at home, but this is perfectly fine. I got it out of the way,” Fuller said.
“It’s just a relief; it was like a block was just lifted off my shoulders because it was like ‘I’m there,’” Fuller said, the relief showing in her face.
Arrests in break-in
Three local men have been arrested in connection with a burglary that allegedly took place in Queensbury in July when several guns were taken.
New York State Police on Feb. 10 identified the suspects allegedly responsible for the July 27 smash-and-grab burglary at John’s Outdoor Sports just over the Washington County border on Dix Road in Warren County.
Joshua Brown, 22, of Route 22 and Shawn Mahar, 21, of DeKalb Road were charged, along with Gary N. Moore Jr., 22, of Whitehall with a single count each of felony third-degree burglary.
Hole closes bridge
A popular shortcut between Granville and Whitehall is no more after damage found to a North Granville bridge resulted in its permanent closure last Friday.
The Upper Turnpike Bridge rests in a gully about 1 mile from Route 22 and is used as a pass through during the year for residents of both communities in lieu of the longer trip around to Whitehall via routes 22 and 4.
About 2 p.m. workers from the Washington County highway department discovered the hole and reported it to the highway department headquarters in Fort Edward.
“It pancaked out,” worker Francis Wilson said.
Rough winter storm
Phil Juckett feels your pain.
“I hate to do that,” he said looking down from the driver’s seat of one of the village’s ‘wing’ plow trucks.
Juckett just filled in the entry to yet another driveway which has already been shoveled of snow.
Residents, some of them still shoveling or using the snow blower to clear up their yards from the 10 inches dropped by the last storm just look up at the big yellow truck and stare.
Some curse, some shake their heads with resigned frustration – it is the rare resident who fails to react in some way to the passing of the plow truck.
As Juckett made his mid afternoon rounds he picked up a passenger who went along to see what it was like to try to find someplace to put 10 pounds of snow in a five pound bag.
Blizzard whacks Granville
Winter reasserted its icy grip on the North Country as a major storm dropped more than a foot of a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain across the region knocking out power, closing schools and generally making getting to work Monday morning difficult for residents already tired of a long, long, snowy winter.
After two days of promising temperatures with highs Sunday topping 50 degrees the change-over forecasters warned about came to Granville in the early afternoon on the heels of gusty winds that knocked out power in spots across Washington County. New York State Gas and Electric Company workers responded to reports and had power restored to most customers before noon Monday, according to the company’s outage website.
Melting and overflow
The melting snow, rain and freshly fallen snow provided trouble for more than motorists and residents tired of shoveling Monday as the waste water treatment plant experienced an overflow condition in the early morning hours.
A combination of runoff from the melt and more than an inch of rainfall combined with the water normally flowing through the system to cause the primary clarifying tanks to overflow, officials said.
“I received a high level alarm call from the alarm company and found the level was high when I got there,” waste water treatment plant operator Dan Williams said Monday morning.
The alarm system, installed following a discharge into the Mettowee River in 2009, functioned properly and Williams said he notified the state Department of Environmental Conservation to report the condition after taking actions to mitigate the overflow.
“It lasted about six hours and I can’t say it won’t happen again; yesterday was worse because all the snow was melting,” Williams said.
The system is designed to accommodate 2.5 million gallons of water per day and was well beyond that mark, he said. “There was so much water that I can’t even measure it,” he said.
Mount Carmel sold
For those who used to worship there before the doors closed, Our Lady of Mount Carmel was a place they loved, where they went for weddings and funerals and came together during good times and bad.
Following a sale in February, at least one person is going to love the reoccupied building for meals and cozy nights and many other things –as home sweet home.
Gisele ‘Gigi’ Zeitler said she’s aware of the attachment community members will have to the church so one of her primary concerns is to let people know she’s going to be respectful of what is now her residence.
Salt an issue
The purchase of additional salt for the remaining portion of winter weather could get expensive for Granville, highway superintendent John Tanner said Thursday night.
“Well I guess it’s pretty much common knowledge what we’ve been up to since the last meeting,” Tanner said.
Highway crews having been busy with the roads but have managed to get some other tasks done as well, although the weather has been their chief concern for most of the past month in one way or another.
Tanner said the town already used more than 840 tons of salt on the roads over the course of the winter, he said. Under purchasing rules the town is allowed to purchase up to 120 percent of their pre-ordered amount at the set price.
Spurred by layoff notices sent to 13 teachers and 15 support staff members, taxpayers and students marched to the podium Monday night to urge the Granville Board of Education to reconsider its 2011-2012 budget proposal and save those jobs.
On Friday, as required by contract, the 28 school employees received Reduction in Force (RIF) notices, alerting them they could lose their jobs at the end of June if the present budget is accepted. The teacher layoffs would come all major departments, as well as several places. The support staff members work throughout the school system.
The expected crowd resulted in the board moving the meeting to the from the high school library to the auditorium, where members of that crowd pleaded with the board to not eliminate the jobs of teachers variously described as life savers and personal heroes.
Fire destroys Dutchie’s
Despite a quick response by local firefighters, an early-morning fire in West Pawlet, Vt ., killed one man and destroyed two buildings, including a long-time neighborhood grocery, on March 26.
The owners of Dutchie’s General Store of West Pawlet, Vt., Eric Swanson and Will Kuban, were initially trapped by the flames, but escaped from the second story of the building by jumping out a window to make their way to the ground, officials said.
Both men required medical attention for minor burns and injuries sustained in the fall from the marquee-type sign in the front of the store, police said. The fire also killed two of their three dogs.
Schoony’s to rebuild
It was a long, cold winter for the Schoonmakers.
Bob and Dorie and the kids, friends and family along with members of the community watched helplessly as Black Friday took on a whole new meaning for North Granville. The fire, spotted by a passerby who returned to the store to inform the clerks working inside, unaware the buildings roof had a gaping hole burned in it.
Months after the devastating fire it turns out North Granville is getting a brand new Schoony’s. Even as fire ighters doused the smoldering ruins of the family-run store Schoonmaker vowed to rebuild.
What has filled the intervening months, Schoonmaker said, was a lot of time of the phone with the insurance company. “We’ve just been going through the process,” he said.
The initial plans shifted from rebuilding the existing structure. Finally after months of work a determination was made – tear it down.
“There was just too much water and smoke damage, they decided it was better to tear it down,” he said. “Everything just got ruined inside,” he said. Then came a painstaking inventory process of every last bit of every last product delaying any other action.
“It took a long time to count everything piece by piece. It was a loooong process,” Schoonmaker said.
Top salaries frozen
Both the current superintendent of the Granville School District, and his predecessor will forego raises under their current budget plans.
Superintendent Mark Bessen and business manager Cathy Somich previously stated they plan to go without a pay increase in the next year, saving the district just short of $7,000.
Bessen’s raise would have been $4,500 and Somich’s $2,400.
Somich said from the start of the budget process she had not had a raise programmed in for either administrator.
In addition, Granville Administrator’s Association president Kristie Gijanto said Monday her group were talking the matter over. “We’re discussing some things we can do. We’re in the process of discussion,” she said.
Former superintendent of the Granville School District will join two other top administrators in foregoing a pay raise as the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk school district struggles to close a $3.2 million budget gap.
Dan Teplesky, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Elisabeth Smith and Assistant Superintendent for Business Lyn Derway will freeze their salaries at the current level for the coming school budget.
The move is expected to save the district $16,000.
Job cuts stay
An on-time state budget did little to help close the budget gap in Granville and will lead to layoffs, district officials said.
Granville school district officials discovered the restored aid in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s first budget will have little impact on the spending plan proposed by Superintendent Mark Bessen calling for 28 layoffs — 13 teachers and 15 members of the support staff. The tax increase will be two percent.
Five jobs saved
The Granville Teachers Association agreed to a new contract with a Wednesday night April 6 vote, a move which will save five teaching jobs in the high school.
The contract was approved by the Granville Board of Education at its April 11 meeting. With the new contract approved by the teachers Granville Teachers Association President Lynn Wilbur, board President Kathy Nelson, Superintendent Mark Bessen and Business Manager Cathy Somich sat down to talk about what effect the agreement will have on the tentative budget which called for the elimination of 13 teaching positions and 15 support staff positions as well as a 2 percent tax increase and use of about $1 million in fund balance.
Tax increase to be 1.5
Eyeing an uncertain financial future and rising costs of operational essentials, the Granville Board of Education approved sending a $24 million budget to the voters May 17.
The $24,048,554 budget will increase taxes less than the anticipated 2 percent cap looming over next year, with a 1.5-percent tax increase for 2011-2012.
The budget will use $684,000 from the district’s fund balance to make up for the shortfall in state education aid when Governor Andrew Cuomo chopped $1.5 billion from education aid in his state budget proposal.
With the aid cut, Granville lost more than $1.6 million over two years with state aid restored in the budget amounting to just $91,000.
The majority of the jobs losses remain in the budget with 15 support staff positions being eliminated. The proposed elimination of 13 teachers’ positions was reduced with a deal announced by the district April 7.
When the Granville High School ‘Green Team’ heard the announcement, they were stunned to say the least.
Not because they had won, but because according to the announcement – they hadn’t.
The team members had a number of reasons to believe they should be finalists in the 2011 Union College Rube Goldberg Contest held Saturday, April 9 at Union College in Schenectady.
The student team of Christina Rice, Corrine Brown, Gabe Pratt, Jordan Penor and Taylor Davidson did indeed take home the coveted first-place trophy at the annual challenge with the presentation “Welcome to Pandora,” drawing from the movie “Avatar,” but like most engineering problem, it took a little straightening out. The victory marked the second time in three years a Granville team has one the challenging competition.
Saved teaching jobs named
Officials in the Granville School District announced April 14 the names of the teachers retained through concessions made by the Granville Teacher’s Association for a salary freeze.
The agreement which saved the district more than $200,000 and included concessions on healthcare costs saved five teachers when district officials agreed to readdress the budget and find accompanying cuts.
Granville Superintendent Mark Bessen the job retention recommendations would come from Principal Scott Bojanich and would be based on the class schedule demands of students for the 2011-2012 school year.
Social studies teacher Mike Anderson, special education teacher Ann Brustkern, science teacher Leah Liebacher, English teacher Ann O’Brien and business teacher and FFA adviser Terry Wheeler will be retained.
Some layoffs happen
Despite concessions by the Granville Teacher’s Association which helped save five teaching positions at the high school, 15 teaching assistant and monitor positions and eight teachers will lose their jobs as a result of $1.6 million in lost state aid over the past two years.
The Granville Board of Education approved the dismissal of seven teaching positions including one elementary, math, science, driver’s education, speech, (LOTE) and two special education full time positions through reduction in force or RIF by a vote of 7-2. Board members John Shaw and Pam Tatko voted in opposition to the abolishment of teaching positions.
Voting on specific teachers, however, passed the board 9-0; each teacher has the least amount of seniority in their respective certification area.
Castle returns to work
The Granville Police officer facing the loss of his job over a residency question went back to work the night of April 28 instead of attending a disciplinary hearing.
Village officials confirmed last week that officer Joseph Castle was scheduled to return to work following action in Washington County Court.
Castle had faced a disciplinary hearing for failing to provide proof of New York State residency when questions of residency were raised recently.
Washington County Judge Kelly McKeighan granted an injunction similar to the one allowing state corrections officers to remain on the job as the issue of workers who reside outside of the state is considered.
Two seniors cause ‘crash’
Granville’s emergency responders show students ‘what if?’
A grisly two-car crash stopped everything in Granville Friday.
Of the three occupants, one would not be going home – drinking and driving had claimed yet another young life.
The driver of one car was intoxicated and failed to stop for an intersection, his vehicle t-boned another containing two high school seniors preventing one from walking across the stage at graduation.
Fortunately for everyone the crash was a simulation.
No one was hurt and the three seniors who participated, Derek Devino, Nicole Hunt and Jenna Prehoda, helped local emergency response groups drive home the point that drinking and driving just do not mix.
“I never thought I was going to see the inside of a hearse, I mean to actually look at it,” senior Nicole Hunt said after the presentation was over.
As expected, Granville voters approved a $24 million budget and re-elected school board members Kathy Nelson and John Shaw Tuesday night.
The unexpected came in the election of Suzanne McEachron to the board as a write-in candidate. One of the seats was up for grabs by a write-in candidate, because board member Pam Tatko decided not to run for re-election. McEachron, who campaigned by word of mouth and through flyers, was an easy winner, gaining 93 votes. No other write-in candidate – and there were more than a dozen – got more than a handful of votes.
The budget passed by a vote of 287 to 190, and voters approved the purchase of three new vans by a 227-154 margin. Nelson received 345 votes and Shaw got 300.
Superintendent Mark Bessen had said he expected the write-ins would cause a slight delay in counting votes, but the process went smoothly and did not take more than 20 minutes to complete.
Jenna Brown, Lauren Edwards and Shelley Fairbanks reached the pinnacle of Girl Scouting Sunday as the trio received the Girl Scout Gold Award.
The ceremony looked back at the 13 years building up to the event as the trio receiving the award begins to look forward to the next stage of their lives post high school.
From pigtails to Pizza Hut to digging in the dirt, the slideshow traced back more than a decade to the third grade when each young woman started down the path to this achievement.
More than 60 friends, family, fellow troop members and teachers gathered at the Methodist Church to congratulate Brown, Edwards and Fairbanks on their achievement.
As the slideshow revealed, the girls have come a long way from that first meeting so many years ago.
Village must insure
A grievance filed by a former Granville Police officer has resulted in a potentially costly decision for the Village of Granville recently.
Village officials confirmed Friday the result of a binding arbitration decision means former officer Gregory Bourn will continue to receive health insurance coverage for the remainder of his life as called for in the police collective bargaining agreement.
“We’re just going to move forward with this and pay what is due to (Bourn),” Mayor Brian LaRose said Friday.
Asked if he was disappointed in the decision, LaRose said no.
“I don’t think that’s our position. It is what it is. The (arbiter) made his determination and now we’re bound by it,” he said.
Bessen extended to 2014
Mark Bessen will be the superintendent in the Granville School District at least through the end of the 2014 school year after the board of education approved a contract extension May 23.
In a contract amendment approved unanimously by the board 7-0, with two members absent, the move extended Bessen’s employment with the district beyond his current contract which began in September of 2009 and now runs through June of 2014.
Jim Marsfelder got to see a preview of the two students who would finish at the top of Granville High School’s Class of 2011.
“They were both in my Advanced Placement English class as sophomores,” Marsfelder said of valedictorian Alyssa Martel and salutatorian Patrick Ryan. “Alyssa, as a sophomore, was already a very talented writer, and she already could make clear and insightful observations.”
Marsfelder was also quite impressed with Ryan’s critical-thinking skills, and he’s seen those skills grow this year, while teaching him in two Syracuse University-sponsored English classes.
Beebe’s to close
Carla Williams said she just woke up one day, and she’d had it.
With another liquor license renewal coming up, the longtime owner of Beebe’s Thirst Parlor on Main Street decided that was that, she was not going to be a bar owner any more. After more than 20 years running the landmark bar arguably known outside of Granville nearly as much as slate, Williams said she’d just had enough.
Enough of the worrying when she wasn’t there but the bar was open, enough worrying about everyone getting home all right every night of the week, enough worrying about getting sued or hassles with the license.
Even before she owned the bar, Williams said she managed it for her parents mother Margaret Priscilla ‘Pert’ Beebe and stepfather Bud Beebe for about a decade and after that time, she just decided she’d had enough.
More playing fields?
Although in the early stages, the Hartford Town Board hopes a move made June 14 will eventually provide more places for the town’s youth to play.
The board unanimously approved a motion to proceed with improving the language in a potential agreement between the board and the Hartford School District which could result in leveling of what was referred to as ‘the mountain’.
The 5-acre area in question rests just off of Route 149 adjacent the Hartford Central School, bordering the area of the baseball field west of the school.
GHS graduates 121
Amateur meteorologists around Granville will be keeping an eye on the Doppler radar and the long-range forecasts as the Class of 2011 prepares to bid good bye to high school and embrace its future outside for the third year in a row.
“I’m hopeful we’ll be outside because then it’s the more the merrier,” Superintendent Mark Bessen said.
With improvements to the façade, the refurbished dome and the stamped concrete pad it will be a nice spot to take pictures of the graduates. “It’s just a pretty background,” Bessen said.
The ceremony will be on the Granville Central School lawn and is scheduled start at 6:30 p.m.
Rain visits grads
Into every life a little rain must fall and fortunately for Granville’s Class of 2011, all of that rain fell outside while the soon-to-be alumni stayed cool and dry in the high school gymnasium.
Although Friday’s 125th graduation ceremony was forced inside by rain nothing could dampen the spirit of the graduates who sang, clapped and even shed a few tears during their final moments as high school students.
Rain fell and threatened enough to send the ceremony indoors and those gathering outside of the ceremony just before graduation started as big drops fell on the courtyard forcing graduates and family members inside. Despite the packed gymnasium the atmosphere the recently installed air conditioning helped to keep everyone comfortable, helping to make the evening relaxed as well as enjoyable for all.
Superintendent Mark Bessen emphasized the graduates would always have a support system here in Granville. Bessen recalled his favorite president Teddy Roosevelt and the obstacles he overcame to become the man that he was known to be challenging the graduates to ‘dare greatly.’
“Set goals and never give up,” he said.
O’Callahans to open
It’s been a long time coming, but tomorrow it is finally here.
O’Callahans grand opening kicks off at 11 a.m. Friday for the lunch crowd in Granville.
Although the bar and restaurant open the doors to the public tomorrow, owner Dan “DJ” Boone said his crew plans to conduct a soft opening of sorts, cooking for family and friends playing the role of the customers to get ready and shakedown before their public debut.