Your Community

Your Community 07.29.21

Kudos to All the Volunteers 

AVERILL PARK/SAND LAKE – Kudos to all the volunteer firemen that came from different places to help our communities of Averill Park, Town of Sand Lake and surrounding areas during our emergency crisis. Where would we be without them? They are all looking for volunteers PLEASE VOLUNTEER!! Thank you all again and God Bless. Jeanne Stinson

Cadette Girl Scout Silver Award Project

AVERILL PARK – Zellia Fanfa, cadette Girl Scout from Troop 1052/Service Unit 151 in Averill Park/Brunswick completed three benches for the Brunswick (Brittonkill) Central School District’s Elementary School for her Silver Award project. She raised the funds to purchase materials and completed benches to be used by students outdoors. She helped meet a need for more outdoor learning spaces due to the pandemic.


East Greenbush teen to Compete for 2021 Miss New York Teen USA

EAST GREENBUSH – Sophia Hamilton, Age 17, of East Greenbush, NY will compete for the

 title of MISS NEW YORK TEEN USA 2021 on August 18th – 20th, 2021 at Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, NY. Sophia Hamilton is the daughter of Mark and Maggie Hamilton. Sophia is an honor student at Columbia High School in East Greenbush, where she plays soccer and sings for the Chamber Singers. Also, Sophia enjoys playing guitar, piano and composing her own music.

The Miss New York USA® and Miss New York Teen USA® pageants are the Official Preliminaries to the Miss USA®, Miss Teen USA® and Miss Universe® pageants and are proud to be the newest member of the Miss USA Family. The contestant chosen as Miss New York Teen USA 2021 will go on to represent the state of New York in the 2021 MISS TEEN USA® pageant.

“Always There”… Ibi Semper Training Brings Awareness to PTSD While Engaging Veterans and First Responders, Saving Dogs, and Providing Free Service Dog Training

CAPITAL DISTRICT – It is simple. Ibi Semper Training (IST), Latin for “Always There,” is having a positive impact on the lives of Veterans and First Responders while rescuing dogs, and pairing them together to train them to become Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Service Dog teams. It is also more complicated, because it is a process to find the right dog to pair with the right Veteran or First Responder, then work to train the two, free-of-charge, to become that ideal team that is “Always There” for one another. This is a calling that founder, Sonya Ward, is fearlessly and tirelessly taking on. She seamlessly pulls all the components together in order to help humans and save canine lives, and in the process, brings more needed awareness to PTSD.

How it began

A life long love for dogs turned professional for Sonya Ward in 2015. Upon training her dog, Lucky, she volunteered and eventually worked at an organization where she trained Veterans to train their dogs as PTSD Service Dogs. Leaving that organization at the end of 2018, Sonya thought she would focus on her passion and hobby of photography, but was approached by a Veteran and First Responder to start training him and his puppy. As more Veterans approached her, and with encouragement from friends, Sonya registered with the American Kennel Club as an evaluator and trainer. In January 2020, due to the ongoing support from local Veterans and the greater community, Sonya was able to found her own 501c3 registered non-profit, which is operated solely on donations, grants and fundraisers.

Relying on the kindness of others

The Covid-19 Pandemic threw a curve ball to the training and fundraising opportunities of this newly-formed organization. Just like the rest of the world, Sonya had to re-invent how to continue operating IST business while the mental health demands and needs of everyone, especially Veterans and First Responders, increased exponentially. This provided opportunities, as well as challenges. Never shying away from difficult situations, Sonya creatively used this time to network while continuing to help those working through PTSD. When the initial training location was closed during the pandemic, she trained virtual through FaceTime and Zoom classes, then traveled safely to the team’s homes. Through the Founder of a veteran’s art program, Art4Vets, Sonya met with the commander of the Albany American Legion Joseph E. Zaloga Post 1520, who agreed to let her use their facility to train. She also networked with one of the generous owners of the Schenectady Armory Center, who also agreed to let her train there. So now, IST is able to train out of two Capital Region locations.

“I am so appreciative for the generosity to be able to use the facilities to allow IST to train our teams. I am even more grateful for the connections I have made throughout this journey,” said Sonya, adding, “People are kind and willing to listen and learn about PTSD, and eager to help those that have served, but are now in need of assistance themselves.”

However, the financial needs to save dogs, adopt and pair them with Veterans or First Responders, and to train them, continues with many steps involved in the process.

How to support IST

Two upcoming fundraisers are on the horizon for IST. On August 28th, IST will hold an inaugural PTSD & Service Dog Awareness Ride. Enjoy a fun motorcycle ride and ceremony, along with food, raffle and vendors at the Brunswick Harley-Davidson location. Only $20 per bike rider; $10 for passengers… and dogs are free! Please consider joining this event and passing along the information to other bike enthusiasts.

Also in August, the first edition of the IST “Feasts & Flavors Collection of Recipes” Cookbook will be released. Filled with favorite recipes of Veterans, First-Responders, friends and supporters of IST. Some of the photos included are of IST teams and their rescue dogs. This cookbook will be available to the public for purchase. Remember, all proceeds from the

Awareness Ride and the cookbook directly benefit Veterans and First Responders with PTSD, as well as rescue/shelter dogs.

Direct, tax-deductible donations may also be made to IST via the website: or by sending a check to IST, 25 Dublin Drive, Niskayuna, NY 12309. Volunteers are also needed and welcomed to assist with a variety of tasks. For more information, please call or email Sonya at 518-605-3976 or







Sonya with her dog Lucky.         Duane and his rescue dog, Panda

Delaney Burton Earns Dean’s List Honor from Russel Sage

AVERILL PARK – Delaney Burton of Averill Park has been named to the Russel Sage Spring 2021 Dean’s List. To be placed on the Dean’s List for the semester, a student must earn a grade point average of 3.50 or higher while carrying a minimum of 12 credits in courses graded A-F, with no grades of Incomplete (I). Delaney is also a starter for the Sage Women’s Soccer team who finished an abbreviated Spring 2021 season with a Empire 8 Championship win. Delaney is the daughter of Michael and Michelle Burton and a 2020 graduate of APHS.

Local Author Recognized as Nonfiction Book Awards Gold Winner

WEST SAND LAKE – “Finding Sustainability” by Trent Romer from West Sand Lake was released through John Hunt Publishing June 2021. The book was recognized as a Gold Winner 

by the Nonfiction Authors Association Book Awards Program.

What if the foundation of your family business were threatened 

by something out of your control? What if the livelihood of 70 employees and their families were at stake, as the license to operate your business became called into question? What if 57 years of family history, grown through generations of hard work and sacrifice, were at risk of being lost? What if the reasons were actually one with which you fundamentally agreed?

Journey to 8 states, 3 national parks and 3 countries to experience the life-changing education and adventures that led Trent A. Romer to finding sustainability for his plastic bag manufacturing business and himself.

Visit for buying links, blogs, reviews and more information.

The New York Association for Pupil Transportation Presents School Bus Driver of the Year Award

Photo (from l to r): William Burns’ wife, Cathy; William Burns; and NYAPT Executive Director, David ChristopherBRUNSWICK – NYAPT recognizes Brunswick Central School District driver William Burns
The New York Association for Pupil Transportation (NYAPT), a statewide organization dedicated to the support, development, and representation of professionals responsible for the safe and efficient transportation of our school children, has awarded Brunswick Central School District school bus driver William Burns with its annual School Bus Driver of the Year Award for 2021.

Burns, who was presented with the award during NYAPT’s annual conference & trade show at the Saratoga Springs City Center on July 13, is credited with preventing a student from being seriously hurt, or killed, by a car that had illegally passed his stopped school bus at a high rate of speed. Burns was able to quickly reach out and grab the student as he was exiting the bus to prevent him from being struck.

“It is a tremendous honor to present William Burns with our School Bus Driver of the Year Award,” said NYAPT Executive Director David Christopher. “Not only does he represent the pinnacle of his profession with student safety as his top priority, William is known for going above and beyond of what’s expected of him every day he gets behind the wheel. From his positive interactions with the kids, community involvement, and mentoring of other drivers, this much deserved award is a credit to William’s dedication and professionalism.”

Burns has been a school bus driver for the Brunswick Central School District in Rensselaer County for nearly 14 years, and also spent a number of years driving for a neighboring district. During the height of the COVID pandemic he was often seen at school and community events holding up a sign wishing students well. He’s known throughout the District for his unwavering positive attitude and kindness, and is considered a true champion of student safety.

Averill Park Youth Soccer League 2021 Fall Rec Registration

AVERILL PARK – Now through July 30th. This is an all-play non-competitive league that focuses on learning the skills and fundamentals of soccer with an emphasis on fun! Practices start: Week of August 30th. Games start: Week of September 6 th

Teams: • Pre K/Kindergarten (Pre-K must be 4 years old before August 15, 2021). • Grades 1/2 • Grades 3/4 • Grades 5/6 • Grades 7/8.

***We are unable to honor requests for team placement or siblings practicing on the same night (i.e., coach, carpooling or teammate requests).***

Register online:

(Scholarships are available to those qualifying for the school lunch program.)

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.

Johnsonville Methodist Church Thrift Shop

JOHNSONVILLE – The Johnsonville Methodist Church Thrift Shop, located at 22 Bridge Street, Johnsonville, NY 12094 is open 9-12 every Wednesday. Look for our sign at the corner of Route 67 and Route 111. We have a huge selection of adult and children’s summer clothing, as well as special occasion and career clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry, toys, linens, household and decorative items. Our newly organized library has over 1,000 books for sale.

The Anchor Food Pantry 

SCHODACK – The Anchor Food Pantry in an attempt to keep the residents of the Town of Schodack informed during these pandemic times has an update for our hours of operation and business procedures. The anchor is open the following days for servicing clientele. Monday evenings 5pm-7pm, Tuesday and Thursday 9am-2pm , and the first Saturday of each month from 10am-1pm. New clients are asked to furnish proof of residncy on their initial visit. Also if possible call ahead at 518-732-4120 and staff will accommodate and have food call ready which until further notice will be delivered to your vehicle. We have good news on donation front -we will be accepting clothing and houseware donations  effective immediately during regular business hours . Clothing request is for summer and fall apparel at this time. As always we thank the citizens of Schodack for their continued generosity in our mission to aid those in need during these seemingly never ending pandemic circumstances.

Christmas in July Sale at The Corner Shoppe

N. TROY – The Corner Shoppe located at Cornerstone Community Church, 570 3rd Ave., N Troy is having a Christmas in July Sale – through July 29th. Hours are 9 am – noon, every Thursday & Saturday. Clothes for the entire family are on sale.. Check out other departments: housewares, linens, home decor, toys, books, arts & crafts and jewelry. For more info: 518-235-3851.

The Anchor Food Pantry of Castleton Part of Hannaford’s Fight Hunger Bag Program

EAST GREENBUSH – Spread the News – The Anchor Food Pantry of Castleton has been chosen for the month of August 2021 for the Hannaford Fight Hunger Bag program.

Hannaford’s participating store is the Hannaford supermarket -596 Columbia Turnpike -East Greenbush,NY..

With each purchase of a $2.50 reusable Fight Hunger Bag -Hannaford will be donating $1 to the Anchor Food Pantry toward our mission of providing for those in need during these pandemic driven economic times. We ask for the surrounding communities support to aid us in stocking our shelves for the upcoming Columbia High School Annual 70’s Alumni Party

CAPITAL DISTRICT – Graduates and attendees of Columbia High School 1970-1979 – as well as teachers and staff: mark your calendar to attend the annual Alumni Party/Summer Get-Together on Saturday, August 21, 2021, beginning at noon. ALL alumni welcome! Schodack Island State Park, 1 Schodack Island Way (off Route 9J), Schodack Landing. Camping available; reserve now, sites are going fast! Join our Facebook group “Columbia High School 70’s Reunion” for full party details or contact Caroline Lynch Zeyak at 518-928-3223 or to obtain an informational flyer and registration form.

3rd Annual Averill Park Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Dinner

AVERILL PARK – Saturday, Sept. 11th, 2021. Reception, Cash Bar & Raffles 5:00. Welcome & Buffet Dinner 6:00. Induction Ceremony 7:00. Troy Hilton Garden Inn. Registration Deadline is Aug. 26th. 

Event Sponsor – $2,000 (includes 8 tickets, a full page ad in program, a reserved table and recognition in program)

Platinum Donor – $1,000 (includes 6 tickets, a ½ page ad in program and recognition in program)

Warrior Donor – $500 (includes 4 tickets and recognition in program)

Gold Donor – $300 (includes 2 tickets and recognition in program)

Blue Donor – $150 (includes 1 ticket and recognition in program) 

Class of 2020 Athlete – Doug Childrose ‘83, Kevin L. Nichols ‘81, Rebecca Ortolano Clark ‘00, Deb Prendergast-Sanderson ‘81, Deborah Springer ‘91, Morgan Wheeler ‘09

Athlete/Coach – Mike Malenfant ‘86

Class of 2021, Athlete – Jenna Brooks ‘06, Michael Collopy ‘04, Katie Duma ‘10, Thomas Mangan ‘89, Susan Spierre Clark ‘01

For additional information please contact the Averill Park Athletic Department at (518) 674-7010 or . All inquiries – 

St. Jude Flea Market / Vendor Fair Vendors Needed

ALBANY – Vendors Needed. Flea Market/Vendor Fair To Benefit St. Jude. August 28th,2021 from 10-4. $15.00 Uncovered Space / $30.00 covered space with table. Uncovered Vendors who need a table can rent one for $5.00 per table. Easy up Tents will be permitted on uncovered spaces only. There will also be an uncovered garage sale area for anyone who wants to participate but is not a regular vendor. Contact Information – Polish American Citizens Club, 110 Commerce Ave, Albany NY 12206. E-mail: for signup information. Phone: 518-227-7142.

Senior Bowlers Wanted!

EAST GREENBUSH – The Rensselaer Senior Center Bowling is looking for senior bowlers for the upcoming 2021-2022 season starting on Tuesday Sept. 7th. We bowl every Tuesday starting at noon for 27 weeks at the East Greenbush Bowling Center on Columbia Turnpike. Individuals have to be 60 years old to join the Rensselaer Senior Center. This is a fun, relaxed, no pressure bowling league. All bowlers are welcomed from beginners to experts. For more information call the Rensselaer Senior Center at (518)463-2166 or Frank Putallaz at (518)477-4412

Columbia High School Class of 1986 35-Year Reunion

CAPITAL DISTRICT – Columbia High School’s Class of 1986 is celebrating it’s 35-year reunion on Saturday, September 18th at Birch Hill from 6-11pm. There will be a full BBQ, unlimited beer/wine option, bonfire and live music! Visit: for registration details and a list of who’s attending.

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

Poestenkill “Bread of Life” Food Pantry 

POESTENKILL – NEW HOURS – Since September 2015, the Poestenkill “Bread of Life” food pantry has been offering staple food items to individuals and families in Poestenkill and surrounding communities who need food for themselves and their families. Beginning on May 1st, 2021 our NEW HOURS will BEGIN at 4:30 pm END AT 6:30pm on the 1st & 3rd Thursdays of every month.

We thank our friends, community and many organizations who continue to support this effort through their most generous donations of time, resources and staple foods. Our new volunteers are the best, most kind, compassionate individuals. We are so grateful they have joined our pantry.

We are located at the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 772 Route 351, Poestenkill, NY 12140. If you have an urgent need for food, please call us at (518) 283-6045 and leave a message.

This year, we have begun a new program with the pantry by offering baby food, diapers and wipes for the youngest in the Poestenkill community. The pantry does not currently stock baby supplies, but can provide select items upon request. If you are experiencing difficulty affording these items for your baby, please reach out to us. Please send a private Facebook message, email or leave a message at (518) 428-0124.

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

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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