Your Community

Your Community 05.25.23

The Anchor Food Pantry

The Anchor Food Pantry would like to advise that if you cannot make it to the Anchor,  we have 2 locations at Schodack Town Hall-Town Clerks Office and Castleton Village Hall during business hours for these municipal locations, to drop off food items in the bins provided.

Also you can redeem and donate bottles/cans for credit to our account at 6cent redemption center located on 9J -Rensselaer. Just inform staff to credit the Anchor Food Pantry account. As always we thank the Schodack Community for their past and continued support in our efforts to help those in these uncertain economic times.

Food Trucks are Back!!!!!

Our Wednesday Night Food Truck Event is back for a fun filled delicious night!!!!! They will be ready and willing to serve you on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, between the hours of 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. We can’t wait to see you all once again at the North Greenbush Town Hall, 2 Douglas Street, Wynantskill, New York. There are so many returning vendors and a lot of new ones to enjoy this year. Stop by and try out all the great choices of food that they will be serving all summer long. No need to cook on Wednesday nights for the following 12 weeks, just stop by and pick up dinners to go. You may contact my office @ 518-283-4306 or email me @ with any question you may have pertaining to the weekly event. Can’t wait to see everyone once again.

To Love A Child Launches June
Dollar-For-Dollar Fundraising Campaign To Support Vital Programs

CAPITAL DISTRICT – To Love A Child, Inc. announces the launch of its June fundraising campaign – the “June Dollar-for-Dollar Match”. Each dollar that is donated to To Love A Child, Inc. will be matched by an anonymous donor dollar-for-dollar during the month of June up to a total of $10,000!  

Donations during the month of June will help to support our local programs; Thyme to Thrive educational programs, field trips and school break camps;  and our international projects in Zimbabwe – clean water and wells, the building of a medical clinic, education, a piggery, food forests; and Haiti –educational support for teachers’ salaries. 

Please visit for more detailed information and to make a secure donation through PayPal or checks may be sent to To Love A Child, Inc., PO Box 165, Clifton Park, NY 12065.   Thank you for your support. Together we will make a difference in the lives of many. Established in April of 2009, To Love a Child, Inc. is a local nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization.

2023 Town of Schodack Day Camp

The Town of Schodack is pleased to announce that the 2023 Summer Day Camp for children will run from July 10, 2023 through August 4, 2023. The program will operate Monday through Friday, grades K-3 from 9:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. and grades 4-8 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Registration is $125.00 per child, with a $325.00 maximum per family, all inclusive. Applications will be available during regular business hours starting May 1st at the Schodack Town Clerk’s Office or online at (under Youth & Recreation). All health immunization forms are required with camper applications. No application will be accepted without proof of immunization. Bus service information will also be available. See registration applications for age requirements, camp locations and details. Completed applications and registration fees will be due no later than June 1, 2023. For further information please contact the Recreation Director Shelia Golden at

News From Averill Park CSD

On Tuesday, May 16, residents of the Averill Park Central School District supported a $64.9 million budget for the 2023-24 school year by a vote of 629 (yes) to 271 (no), as well as propositions for bus and equipment purchases, and a Capital Reserve Fund.

The budget of $64,915,480 calls for an increase of 1.63% from the 2022-23 school year and a tax levy increase of 2.99%. The approval of the bus and equipment proposition, by a 602 (yes) to 296 (no) vote, allows the district to purchase three (3) new large school buses, six (6) new small school buses, and two (2) maintenance trucks as part of the district’s long-term bus replacement plan. The district is eligible to receive approximately 73% reimbursement from the state on the purchase of these buses. The approval of a Capital Reserve Fund, by a vote of 624 (yes) to 262 (no), allows the District to save for future needs at no cost to taxpayers.

Residents also elected Jessica DiFiore and Michelle Garofolo to the Board of Education.

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

Seeking Crafters, Vendors and Garage Sailers!

Nassau Lake Association (NLPIA) 3rd Annual Lawn Sale 6/10 9am-3pm, the same date as the Nassau Community wide garage sale. Location: the ballfield on Nassau-Schodack Rd., East side of the Lake. To reserve a spot we’re asking for a $15 donation, which will go toward the new clubhouse. 

Plenty of room and parking. There will be food and beverages available as well as a 50/50 raffel and gift basket raffels. Contact Jim or Deb Prime on Facebook or by phone Deb Prime 518-466-2631, Jim Prime 518-776-0041 for more info and to sign up. Hope to see you there!

June Events at First United Methodist Church, 1 Gilligan Rd. East Greenbush

June 3rd from 11:30 am – 3:30pm we will be having our Second Annual Food Truck Festival. We will also have local Performers, Kids Activities East Greenbush Fire, East Greenbush Police, Face Painting and more. Please bring a lawn chair as seating may be limited . Hope to see you there. 

The 6/7 Storytelling Night will feature Olan Schillinger, a high school student who attends Emma Willard School and her Narratives of Youth Project. Olan will present her Project with us .Olan volunteers with young children who have emigrated from war torn and unsafe areas of the world. She assists them in writing books to discuss themselves and their experiences in both English and their home languages. This increases their literacy skills and sharing the books have educated others on the current conditions’ children experience in other parts of the world. We will have a time for questions and for light refreshments. A free will offering will benefit our FUMC youth. 

June 28 is John Wesley’s 320th birthday. John Wesley was an English cleric, theologian, and evangelist who founded the Methodist movement within the Church of England. The societies he founded became the dominant form of the independent Methodist movement that continues to this day. This year, the First United Methodist Church of East Greenbush will celebrate his birthday at the June 25 Sunday service by singing a couple of his brother’s hymns (Charles Wesley), contemplating on the tenets of Wesleyan theology, and of course enjoying his birthday cake. Join us for this special celebration from 9:30 am to 11 am. All are welcome. It’s a free event and no need for a reservation.

West Sand Lake Preserves Its History

As noted in the old newspaper stories that are being resurrected, the WSL fire department has a grand legacy of historic preservation. Please continue to honor that legacy by working with the Town of Sand Lake and the Historical Society to find a way to preserve and repurpose the old firehouse rather than simply tearing it down. I know that I and many others are ready to help figure this out.

The West Sand Lake Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 of Rensselaer County N. Y. protects a population of just over 2,000.  The pride of this small but high-spirited fire company is its remarkably well preserved collection of the vintage and antique fire apparatus which has served the community for well over a century and a half.  These pieces include:

An 1842 Button Hand Engine

An 1889 Button Hose Reel

And a 1957 Mack “b” Model Pumper

Each of these three pieces has a well-documented history.  Let’s start with the oldest.


On April 25, 1874, the West Sand Lake Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 paid $650 for a hand -operated fire engine which had been used until July 22, 1865 by the Lafayette Engine Co. No. 3 in the Village of Lansingburgh.  Originally named the “Old Black Joke”, the hand pumper’s name was changed to “Old Joe” by the fire company’s membership on February 17, 1876.  

Designed by John P. Rogers of Albany, N.Y., “Old Joe” was actually built by Lysander Button & Sons of Waterford, N.Y. Rogers designed the engine to simultaneously supply two 2-1 12 inch hose lines.  It is believed that two hand engines of this design were constructed, one of them “Old Joe”.  

This hand engine – or “enjine” – is classified as a Class II Squirrel-Tail Type Piano Box Style Hand Engine with two nine-inch pistons with seven adjustable strokes.  The 1842 Button served West Sand Lake from April 25, 1874 until April 17, 1926, at which time it went into “secondary” service.  During its fifty years of active service, the Button hand engine only once refused to pump – on July 1, 1909 – which resulted in a complete overhaul of the pump.  

On May 15, 1993 the fire company’s membership gave a public demonstration of the old hand engine for the first time in 20 years.  The Button hand pumper was used for the “wetdown” of the fire company’s new apparatus.  The Button’s two hand lines provided crossed streams over the gleaming, new pumper.

At Waterford’s 200th Anniversary celebration on September 24, 1994, “Old Joe” set its first pumping record since its restoration.  The venerable “olde Masheen” threw a stream of water 127 feet, ten inches.  

In October, 1986 the West Sand Lake Fire Company formed a Restoration Committee to restore the hand engine to as close as original as possible.  The missing brass wheel hub trim rings were fabricated by comparing old photographs and “rationing” the sizes so a local business could hand craft molds which were sent to a local foundry to be cast in brass.  After approximately three years, the businessman, Robert St. Germain of Averill Park, who fabricated the molds for the M. C. Carter & Son Inc. Foundry of Coxsackie, N.Y. owned by Mike and Joan Amatriello, cast the rings in brass for the fire company.  Both businesses donated time, material and labor to make the wheel rings, which were accepted by the fire company with deep appreciation.  

The only thing missing now is documentation to verify the hand engine’s original serial number and date of manufacture.  If anyone has any leads, friends, relatives, scrapbooks, photos, family albums or any other memorabilia which might provide this missing information, the fire company would be most grateful for the opportunity to photograph or photocopy it.  

The committee is also interested in any information pertaining to “Old Joe’s” twin.  All the committee knows is that it may have burned up in its storage building somewhere in the Capital district sometime between 1960 and 1970.


On August 3, 1883, Addison Uline and William J. Mielenz were appointed a committee of two to see if they could procure a hose cart for the West Sand Lake Fire Company.  After looking around for some time, Uline and Mielenz reported that the only second-hand hose reel available was owned by the Troy Fire Department.  After looking it over, the committee decided it was too old, and as funds were very low at the time the fire company decided to wait until they were in a position to purchase a new one.  

On March 19, 1889 another committee was appointed to purchase a new hose cart.  The two-wheeled hand-drawn hose reel was purchased from the L. Button Fire Engine Company for eighty dollars.  One section of the fire company’s Centennial Booklet shows April 9, 1889 as the purchase date.  Another section of the booklet lists the purchase date as March 28, 1889.  On May 21, 1894 the company purchased 300 fee of new hose.  Another 500 feet of hose was purchased on March 5, 1901 and more new hose was acquired early in January of 1912.


It’s one fantastic technological leap from the hand-drawn 1889 Button Hose Cart to the Mack “B” Model pumper delivered to the West Sand Lake Volunteers in 1957.

The Model B85F-1274 was built at both of Mack’s plants – in Sidney, Ohio and Allentown, Pa., during the Fire Apparatus Division’s move back to Allentown.  The Mack is powered by a Mack Thermodyne six-cylinder gasoline engine which drives a 750 GPM Hale two-stage pump.  The truck cost $18,532.  Final cost, with all equipment, was $23,000 funded by the fire company and its Ladies Auxiliary.  

Today, the Mack remains on the WSLVFD as the mascot for the fire company’s baseball and basketball teams.  With 20 members ranging in age from 18 to 55, including one female member, the “Mack Attack” Team takes their B-Model on the road with them.  It’s been as far as Bennington, Vermont.

The fire company is justifiably proud that all three of these firefighting veterans have never left West Sand Lake’s possession – nor are they ever likely to.

The information and photos for this story were provided by Rich Harrat.

Rensselaer County 4-H Members Participate in the New York State 4-H Horse Bowl Contest

Congratulations and Thank You to all the members, leaders and volunteers who supported our qualifying New York State 4-H Horse Bowl participants. 4-H members have participated in equine educational workshops to increase their knowledge of horses and the equine industry as well as qualified at our Regional 4-H Horse Bowl Contest to represent our county and region at the statewide contest held at Cornell University. The Junior team, led by Captain Thomas Colarossi of Melrose and members Alice Bourdeau of Averill Park, Emmeline Heer and Bridget Rowland both of Troy placed 2nd. Individually, Thomas placed 2nd, Alice 9th and Emmeline 8th. Kira Colarossi of Melrose was on a mixed Senior Regional team which placed 4th and individually she placed 3rd earning a seat on the New York State 4-H Horse Bowl Team which will compete at the National 4-H Roundup in Kentucky in the fall. Special thanks to our Coach Rebekah Colarossi of Melrose and Teen Coach Lindsey Oswald of Cherry Plain, who worked hard to get our members ready for the state contest. 

To learn more about this and other 4-H Youth Development Programs, contact your respective county Cooperative Extension office. Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.

Celebrated Children’s Musician Brings Local Talent to the Screen

Laurie Berkner, the celebrated children’s musician, has brought some local talent to the screen in her latest music video “Wash It.” Sisters Elizabeth and Ezmae Brant of Nassau have been cast in the video, and they couldn’t be more excited to show off their dancing skills.

Laurie Berkner has been in the music industry for over 20 years and has become a household name for her catchy and interactive children’s music. Her videos have amassed over 55 million views on YouTube, and her songs are beloved by children, parents, and educators alike.

With “Wash It,” Laurie continues to create fun and engaging music that encourages kids to get up and move. The song’s catchy tune is sure to captivate young listeners, and with the addition of Elizabeth and Ezmae’s dancing skills, the video is sure to be a hit with audiences of all ages.

The sisters were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Laurie and work with her on the video. Their energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and they add an extra layer of fun to the already engaging song. Elizabeth and Ezmae are sure to win over viewers with their charm and talent.

Overall, Laurie Berkner’s latest music video “Wash It” is a must-see for anyone who loves fun, engaging, and interactive children’s music. With the addition of local talent Elizabeth and Ezmae, the video is sure to be a hit with audiences of all ages. So be sure to check it out and see why Laurie’s music is beloved by kids, parents, and educators across the globe.

Sand Lake’s Memorial Day Parade And Ceremony Is Getting Organized And Invites You To Join In

Plans for the 2023 Sand Lake Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony are underway. To attract more participation and attendance this year, we encourage all interested civic organizations, businesses, churches, community and youth groups and individuals to participate in this year’s parade. 

This year’s Sand Lake Memorial Day Parade will be Monday, May 29, at 10:00 am. The Parade route is from Averill Ave. in Westfall Village to the Sand Lake Veteran’s Memorial Park on NYS Route 43. Ceremonies will begin at about 10:30 in the Veterans Park. 

Our honored speaker will be Colonel Lenny Kness, USA, Ret. He hails from Chadwick, Ill.

He has served with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea and was deployed in support of Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Sea Signal and three tours in support of Operation Iraq Freedom. He also served as the Chief of Staff – 1st Theater Sustainment Command (Fort Bragg, NC), XO to The Army Inspector General (DC) and Logistics Division Chief – Human Resources Command (Fort Knox, KY) where he retired on March 1st, 2018.

Colonel Kness is married to Colonel Heather Kness, USA, Ret. They have beautiful twin girls, Lily Anne, and Ivy Jo, born on the Fourth of July 2018. The Kness family recently settled down in Averill Park following her retirement after 30 years of active service. His wife also served for over 30 years in the Army.

Come and honor “Those Common Men And Women Who Proudly Served Our Country With Uncommon Valor.”

Those interested in participating should contact, 

Bill Glasser at or call or text (518) 322-9583.

Scott Gallerie at or call or text (518) 766-6575.

Castleton/Schodack Memorial Day Parade

Attention Veterans

The Castleton/Schodack Memorial Day Parade steps off at 10:00 AM on Monday, May 29th at the corner of Seaman and Boltwood Avenues in Castleton, NY.

The Peter Andrews Castleton Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 7337 is again inviting all veterans with any kind of connection to Castleton/Schodack to help us honor those that gave their lives for our country, by marching with us. Guests marching with us should dress appropriately for the day (no politics). If you are unable to march, but still want to be in the parade with us, please contact me as soon as possible so I can reserve a seat in a car for you.

Ricardo E. “Rik” Cosgrave, Commander, Peter Andrews Castleton Memorial VFW Post 7337, 105 Scott Ave Castleton, NY 12033 Email: Facebook: My Cell Phone: 518-694-2070.

Looking For Arts & Craft and Food Vendors for June 16th-18th Kiwanis Summerfest

The Kiwanis Club of Sand Lake is reaching out to Capital Region crafters and food vendors to take part in our annual, weekend-long Summerfest, one of the largest summer fairs in Rensselaer County. 

The carnival rides, major area bands, adult and youth activities and evening fireworks during the June 16-18th event attract hundreds of people each year. 

So this is an event you will not want to miss. Please contact Janet at for more information and to sign up.

AARP Defensive Driving Course

All RESIDENTS 18 AND OVER are Invited to Attend AARP Defensive Driving Course

Refresh your driving skills. Learn the new safety rules. You may be eligible for a reduction in your auto insurance.

Wed, May 31, 2023. 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. 

Everett Wagar Senior Center, 2 Roxborough Rd., Grafton.

Course fee is $25 AARP member / $30 non-AARP member. Payment by check or money order (made out to AARP) is strongly preferred. If paying in cash, exact change is needed. Bring to course driver’s license and, if member, AARP card. 30 minute lunch break, recommend bringing your lunch. Can eat in classroom. Please arrive 15 minutes early.

Call to sign up at (518) 279-3413. Material needs to be ordered.

Third Annual Lawn Sale

Nassau Lake Association (NLPIA) is looking for crafters, vendors and garage saler’s for our 3rd annual lawn sale on June 10th coinciding with the Nassau Community Wide Garage sale from 9AM to 3PM. Reserve your spot with a $15 donation towards the new NLPIA clubhouse (please bring your own table). 

There will be food and beverages available as well as a 50/50 raffle. Plenty of space and parking, located at the ball field, Nassau-Averill Park Road on the East side of Nassau Lake. Please contact Jim Prime (518)776-0041.

Western Governors University Offers Two Scholarships for Rural NY Residents

To help remove rural barriers to higher education, accredited nonprofit and online Western Governors University (WGU) has announced the new Learn Where You Live Scholarships exclusively for residents of rural communities. Valued at up to $3,000 and awarded at $750 per six-month term for up to four terms, the scholarships are available to new or returning WGU students living in rural areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. 

According to the latest Census figures, 2.5 million New Yorkers live in rural areas, including 31.7% of residents (392,263) in the Capital Region. 

“For many rural New Yorkers, it’s just not feasible to drive an hour or more to a college campus, especially if they have work and family obligations,” said Rebecca Watts, who oversees operations in New York as regional vice president for WGU. “Completing a degree program can change lives, families and communities, and WGU is doing what we can to remove the barriers of distance, time, and cost.” 

In addition, for those New Yorkers who live in a T-Mobile service area for internet service, WGU offers the Online Access Scholarship, which provides students with a laptop, internet service and a webcam to pursue their education studies.

WGU has more than 60 online bachelor’s and master’s degree program in business, IT, education, and healthcare. WGU serves more than 3,400 students and more than 6,300 alumni in New York.

Both scholarship application deadlines are June 30 and more information is available at and

Elmer A. Grogan Scholarship

Applications are being accepted for the scholarship award of $300.00 for the best essay on “What Freedom Means To Me” by a graduating senior from Brunswick Central School District or Berlin Central School District who is continuing on with his or her education. The essay should not be less than 250 words or not more than 500 words. The scholarship is being given by the Carner, Etman, Smith V.F.W. Post 6340 in memory of a former member Elmer A. Grogan.

The deadline for applications is May 31st. Applications are available at the guidance counselor offices of both high schools and should be mailed to Carner, Etman, Smith V.F.W. Post 6340, PO Box 361, Grafton, NY 12082, attn: Commander Len Claus, Jr.

Sand Lake Historical Society 2023 Schedule

SLHS will be presenting the following public programs, from January to June 2023:

June 3rd, (tentative) Annual Gala. Final date and location to be announced. Don’t miss this highlight of our year!

June 13th, The Pretty Fantastic Mr. Fox. Albert Rodmond Fox, industrialist, glassworks owner, State Senator, mover-and-shaker, and the Fox who gave us Fox Mansion. Learn about one of Sand Lake’s early leaders and speculate on why we live in Averill Park and not “Foxboro.”

All SLHS programs (unless otherwise noted) are held at the Sand Lake Town Hall Courtroom, 8428 NY Rte. 66, Averill Park, beginning at 7:00 pm. More information at Like us on Facebook.

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