Your Community

Your Community 03.25.21

Compassion for the Homeless

BRUNSWICK – Over a month ago, I noticed and was concerned for a woman who frequently stood on a traffic island at the entry of the Price Chopper parking lot.  She would hold a “Homeless” sign and stare down at the ground abysmally. I spoke with this person in order to learn something of her story: she had lost her job during the pandemic, moved into her sister’s house along with her four children, and was seeking support payments from her estranged husband.  I contacted my town government to find out what social services might be available to assist this woman.  The town official I spoke to indicated an awareness of her presence – having sent a law enforcement officer to speak with her – and offered to look into it further and get back to me.

Several weeks have passed since our conversation and I have heard nothing. What I have noticed, however, is that a “No Loitering…No Panhandling” sign has since appeared at the very spot where this woman had been standing. I consider this a wholly inadequate response. It seems to me that the role of the town government is to be solicitous regarding the welfare of all members of our community. Viewing the destitute through the narrow prism of “Law and Order” politics does nothing to solve the problem.

I would refer you to Michael Gerson’s column in the Times Union (March 3rd) entitled, “Republicans, Whom would Jesus shun?” In that article, Gerson cites conservative politico Alexander Zubatov’s night tour of New York City, in which he describes addicts he encounters, who lay in “piles of rags and filth and the stench of their own excrement.” Zubatov’s reaction to these vagrants, quoted at length by Gerson, concludes: “I refuse to humanize those who cannot be bothered to lift a finger to humanize themselves. The mentally ill need our care. The rest need the whip.”

I would offer an alternative vision to this whiplash politics. The Judeo-Christian heritage posits covenantal existence as the framework within which commitments are made, community is established, and life flourishes.  (“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity…Choose life so that you and your descendents may live…” Deut. 30:15-20 passim). Old Testament scholar, Walter Brueggemann, elaborates upon this model of relations: “It insists that life consists in a dialog with a powerful, compelling Other who bestows mercy and compels accountability. The God to whom we confess is a serious partner in our life. We may pray to God for mercy because God does not give us what we have coming to us…God leaves us not free but requires that our life be lived in answer to God’s expectations.”

Jesus provides a picture of where this “serious partner” engages us, both in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), as well as in The Judgement of the Nations near the end of Matthew’s Gospel (25:31-46).  Response to the question “Whom would Jesus shun?” is best answered in the words of Jesus himself: “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?”

We need to have a serious discussion about the plight of the poor and homeless in our community. Such conversation would keep covenant faith with those before whom we ought to blush as we drive out from the plentitude of our parking lots.


(The Rev.) James A. Hulihan

Pastor, Evangelical Lutheran Church

Brunswick NY

Averill Park Junior & Senior Prom Fund Drive A Success – THANK YOU!

AVERILL PARK – The Classes of 2021 & 2022 would like to thank everyone who donated to our Prom Fund Drive! It was a wild success – we took in over $7500! Since we were so limited in our fundraising efforts this year, this fund drive was our one source of funds for Prom. Not only our parents; but teachers, staff, community members, and local businesses all made a tax-deductible donation to help us to just about reach our goal. You were all so generous, and the Classes of 2021 & 2022 are grateful beyond measure.

Every donor was entered into a drawing for a gift basket with six $25 gift cards in it. We are happy to announce that Stephen King, the father of one of our seniors, is the winner of the gift basket! Thanks to you, Mr. King!

Once again, we can’t stress enough the gratitude we feel toward our generous, thoughtful community. We are Averill Park Strong!

43rd Freihofer’s® Run for Women Moved to Sept. 25

ALBANY – Officials at the Freihofer’s Run for Women (FRW) today announced that the event’s 43rd edition, which was originally set for Saturday, June 5, has been moved to Saturday, Sept. 25 in downtown Albany.

The event will feature an in-person 5K, Junior 3K and Kids’ Run featuring CDC- and New York state-mandated safety measures. Virtual options will also be offered for both the 5K and Junior 3K. Registration for the event will open late spring at

“Over the past four months we’ve been busy planning for our 2021 event.  Our 12-person task force, which includes members of the local medical community, examined how to ensure the safety and security of our participants, volunteers, spectators and community-at-large,” said FRW Event Director Kristen Hislop. “After much deliberation and an analysis of the current situation, we mutually determined that this spring is too early to safely hold an in-person community event.

“Following discussions with our title sponsor, the City of Albany and supporting agencies, we have decided to reschedule the event to the fall, which will give us additional time to see how the COVID pandemic plays out, while allowing those wishing to get the vaccine an opportunity to do so,” she added. “Last year has been rough for everyone. We are excited at the prospect of getting back together again after so many months of social distancing!”

With the Run for Women pushed off until later this year, organizers plan to shift the start of the event’s popular Training Challenge from Monday, March 22 to Monday, July 12. The program is an 11-week program for runners of all abilities. It follows a beginner’s 5K training plan and features small groups led by mentors, as well as a virtual option.

“The FRW Training Challenge is designed to prepare you for a fantastic 5K. It features a beginner program for those who are new to running and an intermediate program for those who completed last year’s challenge or want more interval workouts. Our advanced program is tailored to those ready for focused speed and distance workouts who are already running five or more miles at a time. We hope that the warmer summer weather will encourage many new faces to start running with us!”

For more information, visit From the home page, you can also link to the event’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube pages.

Rachel Morris Named to SUNY Oneonta Provost’s List

SUNY Oneonta recently announced that Rachel Morris of East Greenbush, NY was named to the Provost’s List for the Fall 2020 semester. Rachel is majoring in Business and Communications and is a Junior on the Women’s Lacrosse Team. She was also inducted into the Lambda Pi Eta National Communication Association Honor Society in November 2020.

To be named to the Provost’s List, a student must achieve a perfect 4.0 average for the semester and complete 12 credit hours.

News from Averill Park CSD

AVERILL PARK – The University at Albany launched a new scholarship this year and two Averill Park High School students were selected as winners. McKenzie Swinson was selected to receive $3,000 annually while Lauren Paris was selected to receive $1,000 annually if they choose to attend UAlbany after graduation. Way to go McKenzie and Lauren!

This year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee is allowing school districts to hold virtual spelling bees for students who are learning both in-person and remote. Algonquin Middle School held its first-ever Virtual Spelling Bee and sixth grade student Theodore Hart was crowned the champion. Rachel Strickland (8th grade) placed second while Gianna Scott (6th grade) took third. Great job by everyone who participated!

Congratulations to the girls basketball team and the girls bowling team for being named NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete teams for the Winter season!

Submitted by Dr. James Franchini, Averill Park CSD Superintendent

Mission: Meeting the needs of and creating opportunities for every student every day. #AP_EveryStudentEveryDay

Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2021 NYS is Facing Problem Gambling Together

CAPITAL DISTRICT – In honor of Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM) in 2021, the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) is challenging everyone across New York State – individuals, agencies and communities alike – to come together to face problem gambling. With gambling opportunities expanding at rapid rates in New York State and beyond, it’s imperative that all factions of the community, in all geographic areas of the state, join forces around the issue of problem gambling. We need to collaborate to raise awareness of problem gambling, prevent any additional problems related to gambling, and get those in need to adequate support services in their own community.

If you are an individual concerned about your, or someone else’s, gambling activity, call your local Problem Gambling Resource Center to learn about supports and resources in your community.

If you are interested in learning more about problem gambling participate in one of our PGAM webinars.

If you’re a community-focused organization, add problem gambling information to your outreach and education materials.

If you are a recovery support facility, create gambling-free zones to ensure individuals feel safe from triggers.

If you are a mental health or addiction professional, host an event or screen all of your clients on Gambling Disorder Screening Day (March 9, 2021).

If you are a New Yorker who cares about problem gambling, take the PGAM Facebook Video Challenge and tell the world why you care.

To access all the tools, and to get involved in Problem Gambling Awareness Month 2021, visit:

Let’s join to let New York know that we are here to work together to address problem gambling!

If you or someone you love is struggling, please visit: to connect with resources in your community.

Announcement From The Elmwood Cemetery Association of West Sand Lake 

WEST SAND LAKE – We will have our Annual Meeting on Monday, March 29, at 7 PM, at Hoffay’s Harvest House, 489 Sheer Road, off of Rte. 150 out of West Sand Lake.   ALL cemetery lot owners and anyone interested in Elmwood Cemetery are encouraged to attend. The meeting includes a budget report and election of Trustees and Officers for the coming year. Volunteers are welcome and needed for both Executive and Trusteeship positions. Please be prepared with a facial mask and practice social distancing while attending the meeting.

Poestenkill and Sand Lake Summer Camp

POESTENKILL/SAND LAKE – Poestenkill and Sand Lake Summer Camp will run together at Poestenkill Elementary School from July 12th to August 13th. Camp is for kids entering kindergarten to ninth grade. Registration is online and specific information about camp is posted on Poestenkill and Sand Lake website. Positions are available for CITs, Counselors and Med Team. Applications can be found on each town’s website. Counselors need to be 16 years old and CITs need to be 15 years old.

Historical Calendars Still Available

NORTH GREENBUSH – The 2021 North Greenbush Historical Calendars first printing has sold out but a second printing is now available for purchase. It contains old time pictures including Tess Alber’s Restaurant, Jordan’s Ice Cream Dairy in Defreestville, Snyder’s Lake photos and many others. The calendars are still only $10 and are available at the Town Clerk’s office in Wynantskill (283-4306) for pick up or mailed from the Town Clerk’s office for $12.00. Checks should be made out to the Town of North Greenbush. Town Historian Jim Greenfield in Defreestville (265-4254).

Dunham Hollow West Stephentown Scholarship

AVERILL PARK – The scholarship committee announces the availability of the Dunham Hollow-West Stephentown Scholarship. The scholarship is in memory of Frank Johnson. It is open to anyone (graduating senior, post graduate, or adult wishing retraining) living within the boundaries of the Averill Park School District and has been accepted to a trade or vocational school.

The deadline for submission of an application is May 15th. Scholarship applications may be obtained by contacting the Averill Park High School guidance department at 518-674-7025 or by emailing

Guilderland Central High School Class of 1971, 50th Year Reunion 

CAPITAL DISTRICT – The Guilderland Central High School class of 1971 50th year reunion committee invites classmates to join us on the weekend of July 23-25, 2021.  We have established a website at that we are asking you to please join.  The details of the great weekend we have planned for us to catch up are located on the site.  We’d love to hear your ideas for making this reunion special and fun. 

The Bread of Life Food Pantry 

POESTENKILL – The Bread of Life Food Pantry in Poestenkill is now offering 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 items upon request. Please send a private Facebook message, email, or leave a message at 518.428.0124.

Attention Marines and Naval Corpsman Past and Present

CAPITAL DISTRICT – The Capt. Wm. Dale O’Brien Marine Corps League Detachment #241 in Albany NY. – Are looking for Marines and Corpsman who want to continue to share the honors and camaraderie that you had while in the corps? Our Detachment is dedicated to helping other marines, their family and fellow veterans. We do it through several programs like the Rose Program, Honor a Vet, visiting home or hospital bond marine or naval corpsman, with our color guard in parades and other ceremonies. We continue to participate in the Toys for Tots program and more. There is also many social activities available such as our Annual Marine Corps Ball, bus trips to Washington DC to clean our monuments and participation in other Veteran events. We ae brothers and sisters supporting each other still!

If any of this sounds like something you would like to be a part , please contact me Fred Gilmore for more information, my cell phone is (518) 258-8125 (call or text), my email is – Semper Fi.

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

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 5:00 to 7:00 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.

Vaping – Public Service Announcement

CAPITAL DISTRICT – Vaping has become almost more common today then cigarettes. Originally marketed as being more safe than other tobacco products recent events have made it clear that this is not the full story. One study found that those who vape the equivalent to a pack of cigarettes a day had a 70% higher risk of stroke. This is only one of the health risks that can arise from vaping. For more information visit:

Addiction Screenings – Narconon can help you take steps to overcome addiction in your family. Call today for free screenings or referrals. 1- 800-431-1754.

Fentanyl – Public Service Announcement

CAPITAL DISTRICT – Fentanyl has been making headlines recently, this is because the incredibly potent chemical has been contributing to the increase in overdose deaths across America. Most people however do not know much about the chemical. For instance many don’t know that one of the things that makes fentanyl so dangerous is the fact that it can be absorbed into the system through skin contact. Meaning getting it on your skin could cause a potentially fatal overdose.

To learn more about Fentanyl visit:

Addiction Screenings – Narconon can help you take steps to overcome addiction in your family. Call today for free screenings or referrals. 1- 800-431-1754.

Rensselaer County Recovery Helpline

RENSSELAER COUNTY  – 1-833-467-3123 – Do you need help with substance use issues? Are you interested in volunteering for the helpline? The Rensselaer County Recovery Helpline offers information, local resources, and referrals for individuals and their families regarding substance use issues. The toll-free line is available 7 days a week from 9am-9pm. Each volunteer chooses shifts of 4 hours at a time to be on-call. When someone calls the number, a volunteer answers on their own smartphone, and can enter information to a database on their own computer, allowing for easy and quick access to resources. The information is sent to one of the 9 leaders, who will then assist the caller. If you or someone you know needs information, resources, or a referral for a substance use problem, call 1-833-467-3123. For more information, or if you are interested in volunteering, contact

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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