December 27, 2012

District Seeks Community Input Through Budget Survey

Schodack eNews – Districtwide News

As part of continued efforts to involve our community in the budget development process, the district is offering a survey where residents can provide suggestions and give guidance about what information they need to better understand the 2013-14 budget. The survey runs through January 11. “Once again we are facing serious challenges next year due to New York State’s continued cuts to state aid,” said Superintendent Bob Horan. “We want to hear from our residents to help us make decisions and better communicate the challenges we face.” Visit the district website,, for a link to the survey.

December 26, 2012

December 25, 2012

'At the mention of your name'

A fallen friend resurrects the miracle of Christmas
Published 8:17 pm, Saturday, December 22, 2012

The holidays began quite differently for me this year. Instead of the commercial mayhem of Black Friday, I found myself at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, staring at The Wall and the endless scroll of 58,286 names.

Slowly, I walked past the reflecting panels of black granite. The names tumbled into one another — left-right, left-right, up-down, up-down, much like a military march of lives lost to the brutality of war.

I was overwhelmed by emotions. I was on the same somber mission as so
many others to find the name of the soldier we lost. My heart raced searching for the name of Kevin Joseph McArdle, my childhood friend from Albany, who died Aug. 18, 1968, in Quang Nam province. My heart beat faster with the same sadness and anxiety that consumed the other visitors to The Wall.

My heart ran wild through memories with Kevin: the ballgames, the parties, the school pranks, our music, and the weekend nights that forgot to end. How did we stomach all those 10-cent drafts of cheap beer at Knapp's Tavern? My heart was reckless tearing through these images of my youth with Kevin as I searched for his name. I tried to calm myself and channeled a lyric of the musician Brian Fallon's: "Be still my heart, I age by years, at the mention of your name." But my heart sped fiercely through glory days with Kevin marching off with our teenage friends to Ridgefield Park for our weekend battle12/25/12 'At the mention of your name' -  between kids from Madison Avenue and New Scotland Avenue.  My heart pounded heavily at the ease with which memory condenses time as if one weekend we fought those silly, high school turf wars, and the next weekend we said goodbye to Kevin dressed in his military outfit at the funeral parlor. One week just a teenager, and the next, a deceased teenage war veteran.
"Be still my heart." I trembled when I found Kevin's name: Panel W / Row 46. I cried tracing my finger over each carved letter. I whispered the last stanza to "A Stripe," a poem I wrote more than 40 years ago for "Demilitarized Zones," an anthology of Vietnam War writings: And I can't help thinking of Kevin who still wears his boots and his uniform inside the coffin in that brought him home.

Later that evening, in the bar at the nearby Marriott, I thought there must be an emotional asterisk for so many at the mere utterance of the simple words "Merry Christmas." And then I thought how we are all soldiers, especially during the holidays — not soldiers fighting in a war — but soldiers who must brave life's other cruelties. I thought about Sara's divorce, the horrific accident on the Northway, Larry losing his job, Mary's visit from the Marines to inform her that her son was killed on patrol in Afghanistan, Ben's family devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and Josh and Lisa staying at the Ronald McDonald House for the holidays. I could only imagine how many must wear the mask of merriment each holiday season. And I realized I was not alone that Black Friday morning. I was blessed, as were the other visitors to The Wall, by a miracle of Christmas, the presence of guardian angels, our reinforcements, who gave us strength to endure and to go on. Sitting at the hotel pub, I recalled how each glance from a stranger, during our tear-stained journey to find a name, was accompanied by a holiday message as if to say, "I'm with you. Stay strong."

This was the miracle of Christmas at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Never forgotten. Never alone. Despite the crushing emotional pain, we managed to transpose to each other a spirit of compassion, and strength, and peace. The waitress set my Guinness on a cardboard coaster. "Tough day," she noted and then explained, "This season can be exhausting. You look very tired." Her brown eyes sparkled with energy and I thought of Van Morrison's most popular song. I smiled, "Yeah. ... a long day. But we stay strong, right?" I lifted my pint and wished her happy holidays.

With a plastic straw from the counter of the bar, I wrote the initials of Kevin's name into the creamy head of my pint. Empowered by the miracle of Christmas that I found at The Wall, I sighed knowing my childhood friend was somewhere up in the big sky laughing down at me for what I just paid for my glass of beer.

Gregg Weinlein is a retired English teacher from East Greenbush. He's working on two book manuscripts. His email address is: 'At the mention of y our name' - Times Union -y our-name-4141214.php#ixzz2FzX6m0sF 4/4

December 21, 2012

Howard L. Goff School Roof Damaged by High Winds

Posted December 21, 2012
This morning, there was wind damage to Howard L. Goff Middle School’s roof.   As a precautionary measure all middle school students and staff will be dismissed at 10:30 a.m.  The buses will depart promptly after dismissal. All students and staff are safe. 

EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y. -- High winds damaged the roof of Howard L. Goff School in East Greenbush.
A large section of the roof was blown over the side of the building, sending debris all over the school grounds.
No one was injured. School officials dismissed students early as a precaution.
The high winds also knocked down trees and power lines in places like Oakwood Avenue in Troy.

Goff Middle School in East Greenbush is evacuated after wind damage to the building on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (John Carl D'Annibale/Times Union) / AL
Goff Middle School in East Greenbush is evacuated after wind damage to the building on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. (John Carl D'Annibale/Times Union)

Wires and trees were downed in Rensselaer County, and in East Greenbush Goff Middle School students were sent home early Friday after wind damaged the building's roof around 9:30 a.m.

Read more:

December 19, 2012

Police are asking for help in locating Jennifer Renz Ramsaran formerly from North Greenbush. Jennifer graduated from Columbia High School in 1994. Ramsaran has been missing since December 11, 2012 when she left her home in the Town of New Berlin to go shopping at the Carousel Mall in Syracuse.
Ramsaran’s cell phone was found on Wednesday December 12th on Rt. 23 in the Town of Plymouth and her minivan, a maroon 2006 Chrysler Town and Country, plates EFA-1962 was also found days later.  Neither, were not far from her home in Norwich NY.

December 17, 2012

Chinese Representatives visit Schodack

The district had an opportunity to show off its schools to a trade and business representative for China on September 28 as part of its efforts to promote the Schodack community to potential businesses and homeowners.

Millay Yuan, president of the Jiangsu (China) Trade & Business Representative Office, visited Schodack schools after he connected with Board of Education member George Warner.

Mr. Warner and Superintendent Robert Horan attended a trade conference over the summer to create connections with businesses potentially interested in locating in the area or possibly their employees.

December 16, 2012

Schodack business woman stabbed to death

By Lauren Stanforth
Updated 6:44 pm, Sunday, December 16, 2012

SCHODACK — The boyfriend of the realtor who was stabbed to death will be arraigned Sunday evening on second-degree murder charges.

At approximately 4:35 a.m. Sunday, emergency responders were called to 20 Bri Lan Ave for a report of an assault with a knife. Police arrived and found 33-year-old Nikki Hart, who was transported to Albany Memorial

December 14, 2012

Kiwanis Christmas Gift to SCSD

The Castleton Schodack Kiwanis Club donated $1,000 in gift cards to each of Schodack Central School Districts three school buildings recently. This donation will help community families in need during the holiday season. Social workers from each school were on hand to accept this generous donation and will be able to identify families to help. 
photo contributed
The donated funds come from various fund raisers (chicken barbeques, food sales at summer concerts at the Schodack Town Park) and a very generous donation from a family in the Schodack/Castleton

Kiwanis members would like to thank the community for their support, which allows the organization to give this Christmas donation as well as many other donations throughout the year. The Schodack CSD is very grateful for the Kiwanis Christmas donation and their continued generosity to the community.

December 13, 2012

Hudson's new home in Schodack

@ Town Hall getting a license
The story begins with Rich and I watching the news of the three pups nailed to the railroad tracks.  We were horrified but glad that they were rescued by railroad workers and brought to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society (MHHS).  All the puppies were treated for dehydration, malnutrition and infections caused by their wounds.   All the pups had severe wounds to their paws; one pup had a hole through her paw; the male pup's rear paw was completely removed; and the other female pup had two digits removed.  Sadly the smallest female pup with a hole in its paw did not survive.  Hudson, the puppy missing his back paw was fitted with a prosthetic paw at MHHS in November.  Hudson and Pearl were neutered and spayed and were now ready to be adopted and thus starts the happy beginning for Hudson and Pearl, "The Railroad Pups."

December 12, 2012

Letter to the Editor

Letter: School leaders, expand vision 

How can a school community reject more than $31 million in building upgrades at a mere cost of $85 for a taxpayer who owns a $250,000 home? East Greenbush residents did just that in a recent capital projects vote ("East Greenbush voters reject $31.65M project," Dec. 5). The message in this vote is not "difficult financial times;" it is lack of community trust and respect for the leadership of the district.

The school community has grown tired of the threats of teacher layoffs, the elimination of classes and the possibility of cutting sports (but never administrative consolidation to reduce costs) made annually to the residents as part of a gun-to-the-head-of-taxpayers mentality to steal a "yes" vote for the school budget.

December 11, 2012

Schodack Valley Christmas

The members of the Schodack Valley Fire Department held their Annual Christmas celebration on Saturday, December 8.

More photos on Facebook

December 10, 2012

Community Budget Advisory Team

The first meeting of this year's Community Budget Advisory Team will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 11 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the High School Library. Topics to be discussed include pension costs, state aid reductions and a community budget survey. 

Interested community members are encouraged to attend.

December 9, 2012

Chatham Winterfest

Sunday, December 9 

Chatham Village Winterfest,

December 6, 2012

Christmas Eve Celebration

December 24, 2012, at 7 p.m., a Christmas Eve Celebration of music, carols, the Christmas Story from Scripture, a children's message, an original Christmas story by Rev. Glenn Van Oort, and candle lighting will take place at the Reformed Dutch Church of Schodack at Muitzeskill. 

December 5, 2012

Schodack NEWS

  • Residents Invited to Attend Community Budget Advisory  Red Cross Blood Drive Rescheduled 
  • Students to Perform at Proctor's Theater
  • District's Efforts With Startup Companies Featured in Business Review


Team Meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 11

For the fifth straight year, the district is organizing a Community Budget Advisory Team where residents can learn about the budget process, provide suggestions and help communicate budget news to the community.