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Queensbury town truck blamed for power outage

QUEENSBURY — A town truck plowing snow at a water pumping station caused Thursday’s power outage to nearly 1,900 National Grid customers in Queensbury, Glens Falls and Kingsbury.

No injuries were reported when the town Water Department vehicle backed into a piece of equipment owned by National Grid near its substation off Queensbury Avenue around 11 a.m.

It took nearly 90 minutes for National Grid to diagnose the problem and repair it, and an estimated 1,900 homes and businesses along Dix Avenue and Queensbury Avenue were without electricity during that time.

Chris Harrington, the town’s water superintendent, said the utility equipment on Stone Quarry Road was not marked or protected by bollards.

No police agency was contacted, and he said the utility had not indicated whether it would seek restitution.

National Grid spokesman Nathan Stone said an electrical “switchgear,” contained in a metal box, was damaged. The boxes are about 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide and are typically visible above the snow, he added.

“They are substantial,” he said.

He said the company was looking into whether restitution would be sought, but state law generally absolves municipal vehicles of civil liability when their vehicles cause damage while plowing snow or maintaining public property.

“When you are dealing with municipal vehicles, the law gets a little murky,” he said.

Glens Falls exploring purchasing energy

GLENS FALLS — The new sustainability committee has a full slate of projects it is pursuing, including looking into how Glens Falls could purchase energy for the entire city and pursuing more energy-efficient street lights.

At its first meeting last week, the committee discussed how the city could become a “community choice aggregator.”

Councilman Bill Collins, who is the chairman of the committee, explained that this idea grew out of the unsuccessful effort to explore a microgrid for the downtown area.

Collins said there are local energy companies, such as the Hadley-based Brookfield Renewable, which produces hydroelectricity.

“A huge amount of electricity is being produced right here on the Hudson River,” he said, adding that it is enough energy to power the city of Glens Falls.

“It could make sense that the city buys electricity produced right here at a much cheaper rate and passes those savings onto all the residents in the city,” he said.

Community member Jeff Flagg said deregulation in the power industry has opened up new opportunities. Under this idea, the Common Council would select an energy supplier on behalf of the entire city.

Collins said he spoke to a representative from Brookfield at an energy conference and that representative was very interested in exploring the idea.

Exactly how to set up the structure is something the city would have to decide. One idea is that the city itself becomes an energy company.

Another model is used by the city of Saratoga Springs, which gets its power from Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance. MEGA essentially acts as the middleman between the suppliers and the purchasers. The committee plans to reach out to Saratoga Springs officials.

The group also wants to meet in March with Johnson Controls, which would like to conduct a citywide energy audit and possibly enter into an energy performance contract.

Collins said the way those contracts work is the company completes the energy upgrades and the city pays for them out of a portion of the energy savings, which these companies guarantee.

The city would like to take a look at more energy-efficient streetlights.

Other initiatives are the completion of training for code enforcement officers and city officials on energy-efficient building construction.

The committee would also like to pursue being certified as a Climate Smart Community. Among the steps involved are creating a community task force on clean energy and an internal city “green team.”

Today's meetings 2.13

Bolton Zoning Board of Appeals, Regular Meeting, Town Hall, 6 p.m.

Chester Town Board, Regular Meeting, Municipal Building, 7 p.m.

Fort Ann Central School District Board, Budget Meeting/Regular Meeting, Library Media Center, 6:30 p.m.

Glens Falls Common Council, Sustainability and Utilities Committee Workshop, City Hall, 6:15 p.m.

Glens Falls Common Council, Regular Meeting, City Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Greenwich Town Board, Regular Meeting, Town Offices, 7 p.m.

Hague Town Board, Audit/Regular Meeting, Community Center, 6/6:30 p.m.

Hartford Town Board, Regular Meeting, Town Hall, 7 p.m.

Hudson Falls Central School District Board, Regular Meeting, District Office Board Room, 7 p.m.

Lake George Central School District Board, Curriculum and Instruction Committee, Jr.-Sr. High School Alumni Room, 6 p.m.

Lake George Central School District Board, Regular Meeting, High School Library, 7 p.m.

Lake George Town Planning Board, Regular Meeting, Town Center, 6 p.m.

Minerva Zoning Board of Appeals, Regular Meeting, Town Hall, 7 p.m.

Moreau Town Board, Regular Meeting, Municipal Building, 351 Reynolds Road, 7 p.m.

Putnam Central School District Board, Monthly Meeting, School Gym, 6:30 p.m.

Ticonderoga Central School District Board, Regular Meeting, High School Cafeteria, 7 p.m.

Victory Village Board, Regular Meeting, Village Hall, 7 p.m.

Washington County Local Development Corporation, Governance Committee/Loan Review Committee, LDC Conference Room, 8:30/10 a.m.

White Creek Town Board, Regular Meeting, Town Hall, 28 Mountainview Drive, Cambridge, 7:30 p.m.

Former KFC employee accused of $8,400 theft

Police: Ex-KFC worker stole $8,400

QUEENSBURY — A former worker at the KFC restaurant on Route 9 was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing an estimated $8,400 from the eatery while working there, police said.

Tanya S. White, 43, of Schenectady, was arrested after an investigation by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office after restaurant administration noticed an apparent theft, officials said.

Police determined that White was taking orders from customers but not entering them into the restaurant’s cash register between last April and last month, resulting in felony counts of grand larceny and falsifying business records, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

White was arraigned in Queensbury Town Court and released on her own recognizance. Sheriff’s Patrol Officer Jesse Pound and Investigator Doug David investigated the case.

Woman sentenced for smuggling

FORT EDWARD — A Syracuse woman is headed to state prison for trying to smuggle drugs into a local state prison.

Cimone A. Billue, 30, pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree promoting prison contraband, a felony, in connection with a December arrest at Great Meadow Correctional Facility.

She was charged after she was caught trying to bring unspecified narcotics and synthetic marijuana into the maximum-security state prison, according to State Police.

Washington County Judge Kelly McKeighan sentenced her to 1 to 3 years in state prison.

Man jailed for burglary, vandalism

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A Greenwich man was jailed Saturday night after he was seen vandalizing and burglarizing a Saratoga Springs building, police said.

Kevin S. Collery, 32, was charged after witnesses spotted him breaking windows at a building on Spring Street and flagged down a passing Saratoga Springs Police patrol, authorities said.

Officers determined he had gone in the building and damaged property inside, police said. Collery was charged with second-degree burglary and third-degree criminal mischief, both felonies, and misdemeanor resisting arrest, records show.

He was arraigned and sent to Saratoga County Jail for lack of bail.

Woman pleads guilty in fraud case

FORT EDWARD — A Vermont woman who was one of two people charged with insurance fraud stemming from a house fire in Salem has pleaded guilty to a felony charge.

Desiree DeBartolo, 60, of Wells, pleaded guilty to second-degree forgery in connection with allegations that she and a co-defendant made false insurance claims for rental reimbursement after a 2013 fire.

DeBartolo and Robert P. Smilansky, 60, of Salem, were indicted in connection with payments that amounted to over $3,000 for rental reimbursement, which authorities allege were based on falsified vouchers.

DeBartolo likely faces 5 years on probation when sentenced March 1 by Washington County Judge Kelly McKeighan.

Charges of grand larceny, insurance fraud and forgery are still pending against Smilansky, and he is due back in court on March 1 as well.

Man charged with DWI after crash

EASTON — A Schuylerville man was arrested early Sunday after he allegedly crashed a vehicle while driving drunk, police records show.

James L. Garnsey, 45, was charged after State Police responded to a 2:59 a.m. call about an accident with no injuries on Old Schuylerville Road, records show. Only one vehicle was listed as being involved.

Garnsey was found to be intoxicated and was driving with a suspended license, leading to misdemeanor charges of driving while intoxicated and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, the State Police public information website showed.

He was also ticketed for having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle and failure to keep right, and was released pending prosecution in Easton Town Court.

Village of Ballston Spa borrows more than $500K to cover bills

Ballston Spa borrows to pay bills

BALLSTON SPA — A New York village has been forced to borrow over a half-million-dollars to get it through the fiscal year that ends on June 1.

Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano, a Republican, told the Times-Union that “a bunch of bills came due before revenues came in.”

Democratic trustee Noah Shaw said the village should have been prepared for expenses like sewer and water-line repairs.

Shaw — who was newly elected last year — said he’s concerned that the bank loan won’t be enough if more expenses blindside the village.

Romano said that, among other things, state funding for roads is down.

He said the village has worked to reduce expenses and needs to do even more.

Park to host two snowshoe races

CHESTER — Natural Stone Bridge & Caves will host two snowshoe races Saturday, Feb. 17 on its network of trails.

The Pottersville park will host a 6k “caveman” race for all ages and abilities and an “extreme” 15k race on its miles of trails in the woods and mountains of northern Chester.

Races are to start at 10 a.m., and prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers. Those who enter will get free winter trail passes for the property as well.

For more information, click on to or call 518-494-2283.