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John Purcell has worked at Spotlight News for more than three years and covers Albany County suburbs.
Purcell covers the towns of Guilderland and New Scotland, the villages of Altamont and Voorheesville and Albany County news and feature stories. He also covers the school districts of Guilderland and Voorheesville. Previously, he covered Schenectady County for Spotlight News.
In the New York Press Association's 2011 Better Newspaper Contest he received third place honors in Spot News Coverage for his story on the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene. Also, in NYPA's 2010 contest he received honorable mention for best news story.
Before joining Spotlight, he interned at The Legislative Gazette covering state government. He graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a B.A. in Journalism. Also, he is a Schenectady County native.
Uncontested races the norm locally, some use paper ballots to keep costs down
Locally this month, there are elections in both the Village of Colonie and Voorheesville, with only the Colonie race seeing a contest. There is also a contested race in the Village of Ravena. Most village elections, however, don’t inspire the same political discourse of town, county or state races and the county Board of Elections often isn't involved.
Public hears about $4.1M plan for Albany-Bethlehem pathway portion
The Albany County Department of Public works held an open house Thursday, Feb. 20, on the third phase of the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail at Bethlehem Town Hall. The project as proposed is estimated to cost $4.18 million, with county officials needing to cut around $40,000 to stay within budget.
Thacher Nature Center to host annual environment-inspired art exhibit, offering art classes
Artistic inspiration comes from a variety of sources, but one local art show is rooted in Mother Nature’s visual appeal.
Albany County gets $656k grant for Counsel at First Appearance program
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy announced the county was awarded $656,000 of state grant funding for the Counsel at First Appearance Project on Wednesday, Feb. 19. The three-year grant will be used to provide legal representation during arraignment to those who cannot afford an attorney.
Forum focuses on Common Core problems facing special education
Senators Cecilia Tkaczyk and Neil Breslin and Assembly members John McDonald and Phil Steck listened to comments from several speakers Tuesday, Feb. 11, discussing how implementation of the Common Core curriculum has exacerbated challenges for students with special needs.
Some supporters weary of shifting operations, McCoy wishes board selected sooner
The Albany County Legislature approved creating the nursing home LDC by 27-10 at its meeting on Monday, Feb. 10, with votes split across party lines, and appointed its board of directors.
Benedict steps down, but returns as deputy to ease party's transition
Albany County Legislature Minority Leader Lee Carman announced Monday, Feb. 3, that Christine Benedict was appointed as deputy minority leader, along with two new positions within GOP caucus.
McCoy signs executive order citing health concerns, lack of regulation
The growing popularity of electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, has not gone unnoticed by Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, who signed an executive order Thursday, Feb. 6, banning the use of the devices to match restrictions placed on tobacco smoking on county property.
Tkaczyk proposes moving primaries to June, or state covers $50M price tag
Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, held a press conference Wednesday, Jan. 29, to highlight a bill she recently introduced, which would move state primaries to coincide with federal primaries. The legislation also puts the onus on the state to cover state primary costs if the date is not moved.
Forum focuses on effects of lost state aid to schools, rallies for funds to be returned
The regional forum, “NY Schools Still in Fiscal Peril: Our Kids Can’t Wait Another Year,” drew around 1,000 people to South Colonie High School on Thursday, Jan. 30, with a gym opened as an overflow room to broadcast it.