Your Community

Your Community 03.03.22

Literacy Volunteers Announces 10th Annual Famous Ladies’ Tea

Celebrate Women’s History Month and support literacy programs in Rensselaer County and Albany County at the Famous Ladies’ Tea, Sunday, March 27, 1:00-4:00P.M. Local actresses will portray notable women including Margaret Mead, Emily Dickinson, Inez Milholland, Anna Howard Shaw, Moms Mabley, Betty White and Phyllis Diller. 

The in-person event will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, 235 Hoosick Street, Troy, N.Y. A virtual option is available for those who do not wish to attend in person. The Famous Ladies’ Tea will include a raffle, silent auction and wine pull.

Tickets are $50 in person with traditional tea lunch, $40 virtual-only (without lunch). Payment is required in advance, online at or by check to Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County, 65 First Street, Troy, NY 12180.

For more information, call (518) 244-4650 or visit

News From Averill Park CSD

Congratulations to Averill Park High School teachers Matthew Duff and Louisa Sorriento for being named among this year’s select group of New York State Master Teachers! Master Teachers are dedicated education professionals who teach science, technology, computer science, robotics, coding, engineering, math, and integrated STEM courses throughout grades K-12. The demanding application process involves a content area test, an essay submission, professional references, and the presentation of a unique lesson to peers. We are very proud of the work our teachers put in to expanding their teaching capabilities. Great job Mr. Duff and Mrs. Sorriento!

Averill Park High School senior Liam Rounds received a National Gold Key award for his AP Studio portfolio. The Scholastics committee looks for work that exemplifies the Awards’ core values of originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal voice or vision. Congratulations Liam!

Kindergarten registration for the 2022-23 school year is open! If you still need to register your child for Kindergarten, please contact Registrar Julie Ernest at 518-674-7050 ext. 7201 as soon as possible.

As always, for the latest news from the District, please visit our website – You can also follow AP on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Submitted by Dr. James Franchini, Averill Park CSD Superintendent

Johnsonville Thrift Shop

The Johnsonville Methodist Church Thrift Shop, located at 22 Bridge St., Johnsonville, NY12094, is open from 9-12 every Wednesday and the first Saturday of each month. 

Look for our sign at the corner of Route 67 and Route 111. We have a large selection of seasonal adult and children’s clothing, boots, shoes, coats, purses, special occasion and career clothes, jewelry, toys, linens, puzzles and games, household and decorative items. 

Our well-organized book room has over 1,000 books available.

Bequest Used to Establish a Living Wage

St. Paul’s Center, a Rensselaer-based homeless services agency, received a bequest from the estate of Marjorie M. Jensen that will serve an important purpose for the organization and one congruent with Ms. Jensen’s values. 

“The Center has a dedicated team who is passionate about the mission but it would come as no surprise that in human service work, salary does not match the responsibilities. The Board designated this bequest be used to bring part-time staff up to a living wage of $15 per hour,” states board president, Jennifer Rexius.

“An investment in our staff is an investment in our mission. Consistency is vital to develop connections and to build trust which is at the foundation of our work with shelter guests and housing tenants. I am so pleased that the Board chose to use the bequest to reaffirm our commitment to our staff,” states executive director, Tracy Pitcher. 

St Paul’s Center opened the doors to its emergency shelter in 2006 and has since served over 2,300 mothers and children who did not have a place to call home. The Center also offers Bridges, a highly-successful after-shelter case management program, the Lee Dyer Apartments, a supportive housing program for families experiencing homelessness, and rapid rehousing to benefit individuals and families experiencing homelessness. 

Go to for more information about the Center and its services.

Michael Leonard Named Chapter 2 Athletic Director of the Year

Columbia Director of Athletics Michael Leonard was named Chapter 2 Athletic Director of the Year by the NYS Athletic Administrators Association in February.

This school year, Columbia won Section II Championships in Boys’ Indoor Track and Field and Boys’ Volleyball, which advanced to the NYS Championships, and Columbia finished as runners up in Boys’ Bowling, Girls’ Bowling, Girls’ Soccer and Girls’ Volleyball.

Mr. Leonard has served as Columbia High School’s athletic director since 2002. During his tenure, Mr. Leonard has been instrumental in starting the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame and establishing Unified Sports in the district, which has special education and regular education students compete together. Columbia Athletics won the NYSPHSAA Sportsmanship Award every year between 2013-20. They have also received two NYSPHSAA Community Service Awards for participation in the Teal Ribbon Run to support ovarian cancer research and the Adopt a Family gift giving project during the holidays.

Mr. Leonard served as Suburban Council President three times and helped start the Suburban Council Student Athlete Leadership Summit and end-of-year banquet.

“I am honored to receive this very special recognition,” said Mr. Leonard. “It’s a team award for everyone involved in Columbia Athletics.”

Mr. Leonard will be retiring in September, completing a 32-year career in the East Greenbush Central School District.

Columbia Graduation Rate Improves to 98%

Columbia High School’s four-year graduation rate improved to an impressive 98% for the Class of 2021, according to NYS Education Department data, which ranks 2nd in the Capital Region.

Columbia continues to outperform the rest of the state by a large margin, which had an 86% graduation rate.

Other state data showed an improvement in Columbia graduation rates for students with disabilities (85% to 94%) and economically disadvantaged students (90% to 94%).

“Our graduation rate reflects excellence among our teachers throughout the district and a focus on continuous improvement at all levels,” said Superintendent Jeff Simons. “The vision of our Board of Education ensures that school leaders, teachers and support staff work as partners with students and families to do whatever it takes to get all kids across the graduation stage.”

“We focus on overall student performance but importantly on the scaffolds and supports we can build for individual students to make sure that those students who are struggling are identified and provided the instructional support they need to achieve success,” Mr. Simons continued. “Our numbers reflect a total community effort! I am very proud of everyone’s efforts.”


CASTLETON – South Schodack Volunteer Fire co. Inc. is holding Bingo the first and third Sundays of each month from now to May 15th. 

Doors open at noon and games start at 2:00 PM. We a located at 1563 Bame Rd., Castleton, NY.

News from the Sand Lake Town Clerk

 It’s certainly been a cold, cold winter so far.  Anyone needing assistance with heating issues can apply to the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).  Please call Rensselaer County Department of Social Services 518-266-7960 or Department of Aging 518-270-2730.  After hours or emergencies should contact 518-283-2000.  

The Military Banner Program is up and running.  Applications can be found on the Town’s website:,  or call me for assistance.  I will need the completed application form, a check for $225. 00 and a photo which I can scan at my office.  The deadline to submit is March 31st.

We are processing passports and passport photos.  We ask that you call ahead of time for an appointment.  Currently the turn around time is 8- 10 weeks, which can be expedited for an additional fee.  Also, if your passport is going to expire do not hesitate to renew.  I’s best to renew it 6 months prior to its expiration, especially if you plan to travel abroad.  

Just a reminder that the Town of Sand Lake has a public Charging Station for electric vehicles at Town Hall, 8428 Miller Hill Road, Sand Lake.

Stay warm and safe.  Barbara Hansen, Town Clerk 518-674-2026 Ext. 122

Do You Have An Hour a Week to Spare to Help Someone in Our Rensselaer County Community? Community Caregivers Could Use You! 

RENSSELAER COUNTY – We need drivers to take folks to appointments, or to the grocery store. We also need help checking in on isolated people in our community by making weekly phone calls or visits. 

Our clients and volunteers must be fully vaccinated to participate. Our volunteer orientation is online several times a month. Please call Heidi Buono, Service Coordinator for Rensselaer County at (518)366-9173,, or Meredith Osta, Volunteer Coordinator, at (518)456-2898, Information on, and donations to, our programs can be seen at

Glass Lake Men’s Golf League

RENSSELAER COUNTY – Attention all golfers. The Glass Lake Men’s League at Burden Lake Country Club is looking for new members. Open to the public and members of Burden Lake Country Club. 

The league plays Tuesday nights from mid-April to mid-September, with tee times from 3:00-4:00pm. The league will also have two tournaments. The first being at a local golf course and the second at Burden Lake Country Club. All skill levels are welcome. For more information on dues and how to become a member, contact Kean Toomey at

Community Caregivers has continued to expand in Rensselaer County! 

Are you someone who could use help staying living independently in your home ? Our volunteers can help! Our volunteers can take someone on errands to the grocery store or elsewhere in the community , can visit, call, and help a bit with chores once and awhile. Volunteers drive clients to the doctors also. 

Call Heidi Buono, Service Coordinator, at (518)366-9173 if you are someone interested in our services. 

Call Meredith Osta, Volunteer Coordinator, at (518)456-2898, if you would like to volunteer. To learn more, see Community

Castleton Cemetery Association 

Annual Meeting – March 17th

 The Castleton Cemetery Association will hold its annual Lot Owner’s and Their Families meeting on Thursday, March 17th, at the V.F.W. Hall on Scott Avenue in Castleton beginning at 7pm.  

Light refreshments will be served.  The treasury report will be read, projects for the spring and summer will be discussed and election of officers will be held.  All those who have an interest are welcome to attend and encouraged to join our Board.  

Tax-deductible contributions may be sent to:  Castleton Cemetery Association C/O Dawne Kelly, 227 Shufelt Road, Nassau, NY 12123.  Volunteers are welcome to help at our spring clean-up day on April 9th.  Please call Jayne Robinson at (518) 732-4284 with any questions.

Literacy Volunteers Announces Hybrid Tutor Training Workshop for Albany County and Rensselaer County 

 Do you have two hours a week? Have you thought about volunteering as a tutor? We can train you. Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County will begin a Tutor Training Workshop in March.

 The training will include two in-person sessions, three sessions remote by Zoom, and two online modules: Reading Basics 2.0 and Language Basics 2.0 from Literacy New York’s self-paced I2O online training platform. Trainees will be asked to complete the two online modules before March 24. 

 Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County (LVORC) welcomes all kinds of volunteers, from tutors to administrative helpers and event planners. As a volunteer you can develop new skills, make friends, and see how your efforts make a difference in Rensselaer County and Albany County. 

To find out more about tutoring and other ways to help, join us for a Volunteer Opportunities Information Session on Thursday, March 3 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. via Zoom. Contact or call 518 244-4650 to register.

 For more information, visit

Baby Supplies Available at Bread of Life Food Pantry

The Bread of Life Food Pantry offers baby food and diapers & wipes. If your situation makes it challenging to afford supplies for your baby, please reach out to us! We are here to help. 

The pantry does not currently stock baby supplies, but we can provide some items upon request. Please send a private Facebook message, email, or leave a message at 518.428.0124. 

We are open for pick up the first and third Thursday of the month 4:30-6:30pm.

Poestenkill Area Food Insecurity

POESTENKILL – Any greater Poestenkill area residents currently experiencing temporary or long term food insecurity can turn to The Bread of Life Food Pantry at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Poestenkill for supplemental food assistance. We provide basic nutritional foods and related items the first and third Thursday of each month from 4:30 to 6:30 PM in a very discreet, nonjudgmental manner. We offer drive-thru service where each guest receives a product list to form your order, we then fill your order and bring the completed order back to your vehicle. Delivery service to Poestenkill Seniors unable to visit our Pantry is also available. Please try us, we are here to help. Our phone number is: 518-283-6045 to leave a message. Thank you.

Hope 7 Food Pantry

TROY – The Hope 7 Food Pantry located at 520 Pawling Avenue, Troy NY serves the East Side of Troy, Wynantskill and Northgreenbush.

Pantry Hours: Mon-Fri – 9:30am-11:45am; Thursday – 5pm-7pm. Last Saturday of each month 9:30am-11:45am

What to bring: Proof of residence (Troy’s East Side, North Greenbush, or Wynantskill) – (utility bill to your address in your name). ID’s for each person residing in household.

The Anchor Food Pantry 

SCHODACK – The Anchor Food Pantry  in an attempt to keep the residents of the Town Of Schodack apprised during these Covid 19 times has an update regarding hours  of operation and procedures. The Pantry is open on the following days for servicing clientele and the general public.

Monday Evenings-5pm-7pm, Tuesday and Thursdays -9am-2pm, and the first saturday of each month 10am-1pm. We ask to call ahead at 518-732-4120 for food calls so staff can prepare order for delivery to your vehicle.

The Anchor food Pantry would like to inform the public and clientele of following guidelines that as set forth by governing bodies.

All clientele will be required to show proof of income example( Pay stub, retirement  statement, social security or unemployment benefits) proof of residency, and verification for those residing in the household . The Anchor asks that those using the pantry for food benefits abide by these policies so that the pantry can obtain necessary funding and donations to aid all those needing its services and goodwill in these pandemic and uncertain economic times.

Donations are currently being accepted clothing wise for fall /early winter apparel preferably during business hours. As always we thank  the citizens of Schodack for their present, past, and future support of aiding those in need during these seemingly never ending difficult economic times.

Looking for ways to help The Anchor Food Pantry. Just a suggestion: 

 Return your recyclable cans and bottles to The 6  Cent Redemption Center 550 South Street-Rensselaer  – Rt9J.

Just inform the staff you are donating to the Anchor  Food Pantry account and account will be credited automatically.

How to Prevent ‘Domestic Abuse’

Domestic abuse is also called Domestic violence (DV). It is a crime under the Violence Against the Women 1994/96 which affords equal protection to women and men. DV can be emotional, financial, verbal, psychological, physical, sexual, and technology-facilitated abuse. It is affecting millions of individuals across the United States regardless of age, gender, economic status, religion and education. We can prevent DV by spreading awareness, challenging the myths and confronting the abusers.


NEVER BLAME THE VICTIM: We tend to ask “What did the victim do to deserve the abuse?”. Instead, we need to ask: “why does the abuser choose to abuse?”. 

TRUST THE VICTIM’S PERSPECTIVE: Listen to and believe the victim to empower them to make their own decisions. Tell the victim that the abuse is not their fault and they deserve safety and respect. Ask them what they need to be safe. 

TAKE A CLEAR STAND THAT DOMESTIC ABUSE IS NOT A “PRIVATE FAMILY MATTER.”: One in three women and one in four men will be a victim of severe physical violence at some point in their lifetime. Each day, an average of three women die at the hands of someone who claims or claimed to love them. Every abused person is someone’s sibling, parent, friend or co-worker. 

TELL THE VICTIMS about the DV Hotlines: Equinox 518.432.7865; Unity House 518. 272.2370; YWCA NENY 518.374.3386; Wellspring 518.584.8188 and the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline 800.799.7233. If the victim is in immediate danger, call 911. Support your community by volunteering or donating to the DV agencies.

CONFRONT THE OFFENDERS: If it is safe, tell them that their abusive behavior is unacceptable. Impose social consequences like not welcoming for family dinner or to hang out, until they stop their abusive behavior. Study ‘bystander intervention training’ on youtube and put it into practice. 

EDUCATE THE CHILDREN AND YOUTH about healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships. It is some of today’s children who will become tomorrow’s abusers and victims. Discuss DV at the family table and encourage everyone to respectfully speak up without fear when something doesn’t feel right. Set a healthy example by not using coercive measures to control your children’s’ behavior under any circumstance. Be respectful to everyone, irrespective of their age and sex. Losing your ‘cool ‘, is a big “No,’. If parents have difficulty managing their emotions, they need to seek help.  


CHALLENGE THE WIDELY-HELD MYTHS ABOUT DV AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY: That ‘DV means physical violence’, it’s a “private family matter’, ‘the victim is weak’ and the victims can “just leave”. In reality, the woman is at the greatest risk of being hurt or even killed when trying to leave or after leaving. She has to carefully plan her escape, to protect herself, her children and pets and ensure financial security.

CHALLENGE THE MYTH THAT THE ABUSERS “LOSE CONTROL”: Not true. They don’t “lose control” at work, with friends and other family members! Abuse is a conscious choice rooted in power and control over the partner. Challenge the inequalities and ‘isms’ like sexism, racism, classism and patriarchy on which DV thrives. 

GIVE SUSTAINED PUBLIITY TO THE DV HOTLINE NUMBERS through all the media until they are as well-known as ‘911’. Make sure DV brochures are always visible at public places like libraries, town halls, workplaces, doctor’s offices, religious places, community centers.  

ORGANIZE DV AWARENESS CAMPAIGN EVERY OCTOBER. DV agencies can provide the publicity posters, brochures and speakers. 

What’s the Big Deal with Sports Betting?

CAPITAL DISTRICT – Mobile Sports Betting was legalized in New York State last year, and the regulators have been approved to launch as early as this weekend, Saturday January 8, 2022. Access and availability to gambling outlets continue to increase across New York State. For many, gambling is a form of entertainment and causes little to no harm. But there is another side to gambling that often is not discussed.

Problem gambling and gambling disorder affect upwards of 8 million Americans every year (National Council on Problem Gambling). While most who choose to gamble are able to do it responsibly, it is important to understand the risks associated. When there is an increase in access and availability to something, the risk of developing a problem also increases. The New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) simply defines problem gambling as anytime gambling causes problems in your life. Problem gambling can cause personal, family, relationship, and/or career issues. These can include arguments over money and time spent gambling with loved ones, missing deadlines and being distracted at work, or feeling depressed or anxious because of one’s gambling.

With the launch of mobile sports betting, bettors will have access to wager 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are endless amounts of bets that can be made in a 24-hour period, expanding from simply betting on the outcome of a game to also include in-game bets, point-spreads, the over/under, parlay bets, futures, and many more (The Game Day).

Recent research has estimated that 6-9% of young people and young adults experience problems related to gambling — a higher rate than among adults (National Center for Responsible Gaming). A concern with mobile sports betting and the technology utilized is that it engages a younger generation of bettors, including individuals who may have never gambled before or at traditional venues for gambling. The potentially endless access to gambling in the palm of a young person’s hand could quickly escalate to be problematic for them and their loved ones.

Unlike substance use disorder, the warning signs of problem gambling and gambling disorder do not always present themselves in a physical way. It is often referred to as the hidden addiction. Warning signs include:

• Gambling to escape or avoid worries, frustrations, or disappointments

• Neglecting other responsibilities to concentrate on gambling activities

• Increasing amounts of money bet in an effort to win back losses

• Gambling with money needed for necessary expenses, such as groceries, bills, or medication

• Borrowing or relying on others to get out of debt

• Feeling desperate, depressed, or having suicidal ideations because of gambling

There is help available for anyone impacted by problem gambling. Problem Gambling Resource Centers (PGRCs) are located in every county and borough across New York State. PGRCs are designed to provide information and access to support to anyone seeking help as a result of problematic gambling. This includes help for the individual betting, for their loved ones who are impacted, as well as community partners seeking to provide support.

For more information on your local PGRC, please visit

Poestenkill “Bread of Life” Food Pantry 

POESTENKILL – We are open two times each month on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays beginning at 4:30 pm and ending at 6:30 pm. Bring proof of your current residence and grocery bags for your food request.

Starting in November 2021, we will now greet our guests inside the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 772 Route 351, Poestenkill, side entrance.

Please wear a mask and check the extra’s tables. Two guests at a time, fill out food selection forms while waiting in your car. We will continue to practice social distancing and safety for our volunteers and guests.

Delivery service to Poestenkill Seniors unable to visit our pantry is available. Call and leave your name and number at (518) 283-6045.

Our newest program offers infant and baby items (food, diapers and wipes) for those who reside in the Poestenkill area. Pre-orders only by a phone message at (518) 428-0124, a private Facebook message, or email: We do not currently stock these items in our pantry as selections are very individualized. 

Newly Diagnosed with Parkinson’s? Consider Attending PD SELF – Parkinson’s Self-Efficacy Learning Forum

CAPITAL DISTRICT – A national program being offered in Albany. The program provides people newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s with an in-depth understanding of the disease and the tools to manage it with confidence.  There is no cost to attend.  Registration is required.  Space is limited. Care partners are encouraged to attend.

This year the program, starting in September, has been adapted  to be fully online. Find out more at

St. Jude the Apostle Knights of Columbus Bottle & Can Donations

WYNANTSKILL – Help Support Local Charities – St. Jude the Apostle Knights of Columbus has teamed up with 6 Center Redemption located at 461 Main Avenue in Wynantskill to accept bottle and can donations that have a NYS deposit.

This is to support local charities and those in need.

• Bring your clean, NYS deposit empties to 6 Center Redemption in Wynantskill.

• Say they are to support the St. Jude the Apostle Knights of Columbus.

• They do the rest, that’s it!

• Thank you for your support!

Team “Knocking Out Alzheimer’s” Bottle Drive, The Fundraising Continues …

WYNANTSKILL/RENSSELAER – Team “Knocking out Alzheimer’s” is partnering with the  Alzheimer’s Association. Return your bottles and cans and help the Northeastern New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Through an arrangement with: Six-Center Redemption 

Two Locations: 461 Main Ave Wynantskill (Corner of Sharpe and Main Ave) & 550 South Street Rensselaer.

No need to count the cans or bottles, no waiting or standing in lines to feed your cans or bottles into a machine.

The Alzheimer’s Association will receive six cents for every container you donate to the cause. Simply drop off your containers and say: “These are for the Alzheimer’s Association.”

The mission of the Alzheimer’s Association is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. The first survivor of Alzheimer’s is out there, but we won’t get there without you.  Join the fight with your bottles & cans! Check us out on face book  – Knocking out Alzheimer’s

Hudson-Mohawk Search & Rescue is Looking for Volunteers to Join our Team

CAPITAL DISTRICT – If you enjoy being outdoors in the wilderness, working with others to help people, follow directions well and have a willingness to learn, then our SAR team might be for you! Prior knowledge is helpful, but definitely not required as we provide the training. Check out our website at: for more information.

Search and Rescue Volunteers Needed

CAPITAL DISTRICT – the Tri-State Emergency Team is recruiting volunteers to provide wildland and underwater searches within a 100 mile radius of Waterrford, NY.  This includes all aspects of field and underwater search.  The Tri-State Emergency Team responds when requested by NYS Forest Rangers and other police agencies throughout New York State, Western Vermont and Massachusetts.   

We are looking for certified scuba divers, experienced boat handlers, and people who enjoy hiking and the outdoors in general who wish to help people in need.   The team will provide training and complete support as needed.  Our headquarters is located in Waterford.  Applicants need not live in Waterford to volunteer. If interested, please call 518-237-6744 or visit our website at

New York State Commission for the Blind 

CAPITAL DISTRICT – The New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB) provides free vocational rehabilitation and other services to legally blind New York State residents, including children, adults, and older adults.  NYSCB assists participants in   achieving economic self-sufficiency and full integration into society.  Call toll-free (866) 871-3000 or visit our website:

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