The bone-chilling cold and wind chill in the region caused eight districts to cancel school and led to some more broken pipes.
The area remains under a wind chill warning until 7 a.m. Sunday with wind chills in the range from 15 to 40 below zero.
Glens Falls was among the school districts that canceled. Superintendent of Schools Paul Jenkins said he made the decision based upon the forecast.
“The temperatures were right around zero, which normally wouldn’t be an issue for us, but when you factor a wind child of 25 below. Frostbite kicks in in about 15 minutes when you’re exposed to that cold temperature,” he said.
The district does not bus all students. Some students walk and others receive rides from family members, according to Jenkins.
“We know that there are going to be a number of students who would have to walk to school to get here or walk home,” he said.
Friday was not technically a snow day because faculty and staff had to report, according to Jenkins. He said it is considered one of the district’s superintendent’s conference days. The district builds about four snow days into the schedule. The school year has to be 180 days in length.
The district has a couple of snow days left that it could use, Jenkins added.
Glens Falls has not experienced any issues with the buses not starting up because of the cold weather. However, Jenkins said one of the pipes burst at the Sanford Street School. It did not cause a lot of damage, but water leaked into one of the offices. The district retains some space there and leases classrooms to BOCES.
Argyle, Cambridge, Hartford, Long Lake, Newcomb, Salem and Schuylerville also closed Friday.
Among the districts that issued two-hour delays were Ballston Spa, Corinth, Fort Ann, Fort Edward, Greenwich, Granville, Hadley-Luzerne, Lake George, Queensbury, Saratoga Springs, South Glens Falls and Whitehall.
High school sporting events were also postponed across the region besides a pair of hockey games.
Interim South Glens Falls Superintendent Jon Hunter said he looks at the wind chill factor when making a decision to close or delay the opening of school. He is concerned when the wind chill is in the high teens or 20s. Students could be waiting 15 to 20 minutes for a bus.
“You watch those temperatures very carefully, so you can make sure the kids are out there for a brief period of time,” he said.
The two-hour delay gives the staff more time to get the buses and facilities ready for students to arrive. Bus drivers and other staff come in early. Like most districts, Hunter said South Glens Falls is putting additives in the diesel fuel to prevent freezing so they can start.
“They’re going to turn over, which is absolutely critical,” he said.
Staff even comes in during the weekends to warm up the buses so they do not sit idle for two days, Hunter added.
Even with the two-hour delay, Hunter said it still counts as a full day toward the 180-day requirement. The academic schedule gets condensed, which he said teachers don’t like.
“At least we’re getting the kids in and getting a chance to work with them,” he said.
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Glens Falls City Engineer Steve Gurzler said the crews have been dealing with some broken water services. About 66,000 gallons of water flooded near the corner of Glen and South streets, where the building housing Mikado is. It appears that there was a broken sprinkler line.
The line broke at about 1:15 a.m., according to Gurzler. It was reported to the city at about 4:30 a.m. and it had the water shut off at about 5:15 a.m.
Two sawhorses were set up in front of that corner of the building to block the sidewalk.
Rob Cass, maintenance worker and dishwasher for Mikado, said workers were renovating the other portion of the building. They were attempting to heat up the frozen pipes. When the pipes thawed, they released some water.
There was not significant damage to the restaurant.
“It is what it is. This is the North Country,” he said.
There was also a broken water service to home on Coolidge Street, according to Gurzler.
In addition, Gurzler said the city had a heating failure at its maintenance garage at West Mountain Road, which was caused by a broken water service. The building is used for storage of city equipment and Just Beverages also leases out space.
Gurzler did not believe there was any significant damage.
Because of the cold weather, Willard Mountain Ski Area did not open on Friday. It will stay closed on Saturday with plans to re-open on Sunday.
Saturday is projected to get even colder with a high temperature reaching only minus 1 degree, according to the National Weather Service. The forecast calls for a low temperature of minus 24 degrees. Things warm up on Sunday with a high temperature of 13 degrees.
GLENS FALLS — Angela Lynds isn’t sure what caused police to conclude she was impaired after a two-car crash in Glens Falls last March. She thinks it was probably her shock about the collision and concern over the condition of her two young sons in the back seat.
A test by officers using a new device indicated she had used amphetamines, and the Gansevoort woman was charged with felony aggravated driving while impaired by drugs and with multiple misdemeanors.
She was charged with a felony because she had children in her vehicle. A followup investigation by Warren County Child Protective Services ensued, and her driver’s license was suspended.
Ten months later, the felony charge and charges that accused Lynds of driving under the influence of drugs have been dismissed, with Lynds pleading guilty to reckless driving, a misdemeanor, instead.
The dismissals came after she paid $8,000 for legal assistance to the Syracuse-area firm Anelli Xavier. She also paid to have an analysis of the blood sample that police took from her to try to quantify the medication in her blood, which showed only the presence of a medication she was prescribed, Adderall. It is a stimulant/amphetamine used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
But she said it was money that was wasted because she never should have been charged in the first place. Officers jumped to the conclusion she was impaired and to blame for the accident, she said.
“I had my two boys in my car. It’s not something I would do,” she said of driving impaired.
The arrest shines a light on the emerging science and police tactics when officers try to determine whether a driver is under the influence of drugs.
While detecting alcohol use in a driver is fairly easy because of the smell and other outward signs, evidence of drug use can be tougher to find.
As prescription drug abuse has increased and the opioid crisis raged, police agencies have sent officers to special schools for training as “drug recognition experts.” The Glens Falls Police Department was the first in the region to buy and begin using a machine, Drager DrugTest 5000, that can detect drug use through a saliva test.
Lynds was the first person to be arrested in Glens Falls using the machine.
No one was injured in the March 3 collision on Broad Street, but Lynds was taken from the crash scene to Glens Falls Hospital to give a blood sample for testing. She said her sons, then ages 9 months and 2 years, remained behind with police.
Glens Falls Police Detective Lt. Peter Casertino said he saw Lynds in the police station that day, and she did seem impaired at the time, having trouble speaking and moving. Court records show she failed multiple field sobriety tests, and that the arresting officer concluded she was impaired.
Lynds, though, said any issues she had were not related to taking her medication, which she had done earlier in the day as prescribed. The dosage she uses does not include a limitation or warning about driving after taking it.
Her lawyer, Constantine Destefano, wrote to Glens Falls Judge Gary Hobbs that the level of Adderall in Lynds’ bloodstream was “was in the order of 10 times below the stated cutoff point” for the test to be considered positive.
“The results showed that the only substance in Ms. Lynds’ blood at the time of the arrest was her prescribed Adderall,” Destefano wrote. “In fact, the levels indicated are within a normal range of someone with a prescription for that particular substance.”
Lynds, 34, acknowledged she had a prior drunken driving arrest in the Albany area when she was in college, but said whatever issues police noted that day last March had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol.
Months later, she said the felony arrest has hindered her ability to find work with her psychology degree, in part due to media coverage. In addition to a write-up in The Post-Star, at least two Albany television stations reported on the case last March.
(Per Post-Star policy, the online version of the original arrest write-up was amended to show the disposition of the charges.)
“It’s the first thing people see when they Google my name,” she said. “I just want to move on with my life.”