Compiled by Chantelle DeRose

Recorder News staff

Thirty Years Ago

• A battalion of former soldiers marched into City Hall Tuesday and came away with $3,000 for the upkeep of the South Side Veterans Park. About 25 members of the South Side Veterans Association attended Tuesday’s Common Council meeting at which group spokesman Richard Dantini requested funding to help the group’s efforts to maintain the city-owned park.

“We are short of funds and we’re here to ask you fellows to look at the situation,” Dantini said.

The organization has maintained the park since 1981 with only $400 a year from the city, with the bulk of their work being paid for through fund drives. The group has purchased equipment and benches, planted shrubs and trees, and has erected monuments to veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars. They have also presented concerts in the park, including a big-band concert which drew more than 700 spectators.

Mayor Mario H. Villa and several aldermen commended the organization and said they had saved the city thousands of dollars through their efforts. They voted unanimously to give the group $3,000 from the city’s contingency fund.

• The aldermen rejected a no-bid purchase of a $30,000 truck for the Signals Department. The city’s 11-year-old truck was retired last month, following an accident which left city employee Michael Bower with cracked ribs.

Bower was repairing a fire alarm box when the truck’s cherry picker bucket collapsed and fell 10 feet. The aldermen said they did not want to purchase a truck without accepting sealed bids but Mayor Mario H. Villa argued that the situation is an emergency therefore the city can sidestep the bidding process.

Fourth Ward Alderman David Pietrusza reminded the council they passed a resolution to accept bids for a truck at the last council meeting but Acting City Engineer Vincent Budinas said no action was taken on the resolution. The council agreed to rent a truck until they can purchase one through the bidding process.

The aldermen also approved a new three-year contract with the Police Department, which includes 5 percent annual pay increases and other benefits.

They authorized former City Engineer James Ochal to study drainage problems on Sanford Avenue and report back to the council.

The aldermen also approved a resolution for Standard Engineering of Albany to prepare site plans and specifications for repairs on the Second Avenue bridge. The bridge has a three-ton weight limit and the city wants to refurbish the bridge to make it safe for truck traffic.

Also approved were resolutions to accept bids for the sale of two former fire houses. The buildings are located at the intersections of Bunn and Chestnut streets and Locust and Lyon streets. First Ward Alderman Armand Giovanni says developers have expressed interest in converting the buildings into office space and housing.

• Fire severely damaged the Fort Miller Co., a burial vault manufacturer on Edson Street Extension Tuesday evening. Five firefighters were released after being treated at St. Mary’s Hospital for smoke inhalation, according to Amsterdam Fire Department Lt. John Duchessi. 

The department is still trying to determine the fire’s cause. Duchessi said the wood frame of the one-story corrugated steel building, formerly known as Ryan Burial Vaults, was damaged, but he could not estimate the financial loss.

Battalion Chief Thomas LaConte and firefighters Walter Martin, David Conrad, Marv Quick and Lawrence Majewski had their blood gases checked at the hospital. They did not return to duty, said Duchessi, who added that the smoke was very heavy inside. Most firefighters were back in the station by 10 p.m., according to Duchessi.

Walter Ryan, general manager for Fort Miller in Amsterdam, watched the fire destroy his workplace. Ryan could not estimate the damage to the building at which eight people are employed. Ryan and Duchessi said paints and plastic liners inside the building probably caught fire. “We’ll be in business today,” Ryan said.

Employees may clean up the debris or work at the firm’s other plants in Albany, Utica, Fort Miller, Washington County; or Pittsfield, Mass. The company has been in Amsterdam for nearly 40 years, about 15 of those on Edson Street Extension, said Ryan.

About 50 people were gathered near the building at various times as firefighters battled the blaze. Among them was Joe Kiuber, who works for a car wash across the street from Fort Miller. Kiuber said he heard “a few pops” at about 5:30 and then saw flames shooting from the building’s north-west corner.

• A Gloversville doctor was granted a variance to operate an office out of his 299 Guy Park Ave. home despite opposition from his neighbors. The Amsterdam Zoning Board of Appeals granted the variance at a meeting at City Hall which attracted about 30 people. ZBA Chairman James Bettini told the audience there would be no public comment at the meeting because the board heard an hour of testimony about the request at a public hearing two weeks prior.

Neighbors complained at the hearing that if Dr. James Condon opened an office at his home, traffic and parking in the area could become congested while others feared the plan would disrupt the residential nature of the neighborhood.

Condon, a chest surgeon, said he would use the office only for consultations with patients, and that he only confers with one patient at a time. He also has plans to make improvements on the house, which ZBA members supported.

All five board members voted in favor of granting the variance with several stipulations; that Condon provides adequate parking, posts a sign in compliance with the zoning ordinance, and does not expand services at the residence. Bettini said each variance is separate and that Condon’s variance does not set a precedent for other cases heard before the ZBA.

• The Amsterdam Lions Club and Lionettes had their annual summer picnic for the blind and partially sighted at Wojciki’s Grove recently. Dusty Miller and his band provided the afternoon’s entertainment. Mrs. Malfida Marsicano, Lionettes president, and Steve Picciocco, Lions Club president, directed the arrangements. Members of the Lions Club acted as chefs. Lions members Donald Novak, Thomas Battista, Robert Conover, Fred Falso, Angelo Califano, Harold Chait, Nicholas Pallotta and Bob Britton provided transportation.

First published July 22, 1987

Forty Years Ago

Timothy Robert Twardzik, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Twardzik, Minaville Road, RD 1, was baptized Sunday at St. Stanislaus’ Church. Rev. Ignatius Dziarnowski officiated. Godparents are Miss Karen Twardzik and Jeff Forbes. Maternal grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Robert Forbes of Amsterdam, and paternal grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Twardzik of Amsterdam. Mrs. Marion Forbes-Harris, Mrs. Thea Habla, Mrs. Mary Twardzik and Steve Cyrek, all of Amsterdam, are great-grandparents. A buffet at the home of the infant’s parents followed the ceremony. The infant was born June 10 at St. Mary’s Hospital.

• Miss Gail Markert, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Markert of Amsterdam RD 4, was honored at a greenback and variety shower recently at the Perth Firehouse. Hostesses were Mrs. Robert Markert and Mrs. Robert Sherlock along with Kathy Zimmerman, Joy Hall, Lori Markert and Diane Sasso. One hundred and fifty guests attended from Albany, Troy, Gloversville, Fort Johnson, Hagaman, Tribes Hill, Amsterdam and Perth.

Susan A. Sagatis had joined Mohasco Corp. as associate marketing research analyst in the marketing research department. Miss Sagatis received a bachelor of science cum laude in 1975 and a master of business administration from SUNY at Albany. She concentrated in marketing and management information systems in her pursuit of both degrees. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Sagatis, 26 Northern Blvd.

James Martin Jr. was installed as 1977-78 president of the Amsterdam Rotary Club during the Club’s annual dinner at the Antler’s Club. He succeeds Bernard M. Marks. Martin is president of Martin and Holloway Inc. Insurance, president of James Grayson and Son, Inc., and special agent with the Northwest Mutual Life Insurance Company. Other officers installed were Edward J. Brzozowski, first vice president; Ben Hawkins, second vice president; Timothy Moran, secretary; Thomas Wolocen, treasurer; William Nicholas, sergeant-at-arms; and Velmer Webb, music. Named to the board of directors were Brzozowski, Hawkins, Moran, Wolocen, Nicholas, Martin, Marks, and Arnold Jaffe. The event marked the 58th annual ladies’ night. Perfect attendance awards were presented by Francis Cuda to Solomon Goldman, Dr. Alton J. Spencer, and Maurice Richardson. Entertainment was furnished by the “Rotary Wheels” featuring Ben Hawkins, sax; Bernie Marks, guitar; Jim Markin, drums; and Ed Brzozowski, piano. Music of the 1930s highlighted the program.

• The Greater Amsterdam School Board has approved about $6,700 in change orders for the Lynch Middle School renovation project. The school is scheduled to be open in September to house seventh and eighth graders who have been attending Roosevelt Junior High School. The 1977-78 ninth grade class will attend the New Amsterdam High School this fall.

The change orders included the removal and installation of light fixtures in rooms where ceilings have been lowered for a cost of $2,847.73; the putting in some 23 receptacles in shop rooms for power hand tools in two workshops for $659.52; relocation of five receptacles for the installation of corridor lockers, $91.91.

Others were: the continuous power wire way had to be interrupted in two workshops where there was interference from existing steam piping for $256.83; power had to be disconnected to existing unit ventilators in rooms where wood flooring was removed to allow for concrete flooring and the power had to be reconnected after the units were returned for $103.49. Waste piping for lavatories in two toilets required modification because existing walls were inadequate to hang lavatories and new stud walls were provided and other work included with this was that leaks and deteriorated waste piping was found for $1,189.86.

The replacement for 38 lineal feet of stone cap at the third floor level of the east light court to be replaced with aluminum for $508; the putting in of ceilings in two rooms, also boxing out at window heads for $1,385; leveling of a former petition area to permit the installation of carpet, plus adding of a threshold for $527; and the installation of lights in room 136 for $1,100.

Proposed credit was accepted in the amount of $2,000 where operating costs were saved. Regarding student enrollment, the Greater Amsterdam School District finished the 1976-77 school year with a figure of 5,037 which is 91 students less than what was computed in June of 1976.

First published July 22, 1977

Fifty Years Ago

• The Rev. S. Kenneth Arntsen, who has served as pastor of the Bethany Lutheran Church in Niagara Falls since 1960, has assumed the position of director of the Lutheran Home for the Aged and Infirm at Clinton this month. The Rev. Paul J. Strenge, pastor of Amsterdam Trinity Lutheran Church, is a member or the board of managers at the Clinton Lutheran Home. A volunteer acting director has been serving at the Home since March. The Rev. Mr. Arnsten, a native of Brooklyn, graduated from Upsala College at East Orange, N.J. and the Lutheran School of Theology at Rock Island, Ill., and has done graduate work at Buffalo University. He has served pastorates in Omaha, Neb., and in Frewsburg. He has also been a member of the National Lutheran Welfare Conference and has served on the Lutheran Church Home for the Aged at Buffalo.

Phillip Bracchi and Rob Constantine have been named as honored guests at the first installation of officers’ banquet of Amsterdam’s Y Drop-In Club. The ceremonies will be held at the Brothers Restaurant.

Mr. Bracchi will serve as guest speaker following the dinner. He is a speech therapist with the Greater Amsterdam School District, and veteran performer in area theatrical circles. He has had major roles in Recreation Dept. plays as well as other productions. Constantine will be the featured entertainer at the banquet on the eve of his departure to Expo 67, where he will perform at the Canadian Folk Festival. The local folk singer already has recorded an album and a single record. He has appeared at several concerts in this area and recently toured coffee houses from Boston to Virginia. He also took part in the Provincetown festival on the Cape.

The banquet committee is Miss Alexandria Przybylo, Miss Lorrie Bielecki and Miss Elizabeth Riley. Officers scheduled for installation into office are John Pingitore, president; Mary Ann Calapitro, internal vice president; William Dworak, external vice president; Miss Patricia Sargalis, secretary; and Frances Lesniewski, treasurer. Willard W. Wells, “Y” executive director, serves as advisor to the group.

Robert R. Lebman, son of Dr. and Mrs. Harry Lebman, 87 Division St., is one of the 95 graduate students at Pennsylvania State University who have been award National Defense Education Fellowships for the academic year beginning in September.

Lebman, who graduated from Harpur College this year with a BA degree, majoring in political science, will be the recipient of a three-year fellowship. Among the 95 are 80 new fellowships for three years, and 15 to fill existing fellowships vacated by other students. This makes a total of 209 students who will hold such fellowships during the fall term.

The fellowships were established to assist qualified students to enter graduate school in preparation to teach in the nation’s colleges and universities. Students selected receive $2,000 for the first year, $2,200 for the second, and $2,400 for the third, plus $400 each year for each dependent. An additional stipend of $400 plus $100 or each dependent is available for summer study. Due to an institutional allowance received by the University, the student is exempted from payment of tuition and fees other than room and board.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Easton, of Romford, England, are visiting Mrs. Easton’s sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Snell of Fort Hunter, reuniting the two sisters who had not seen each other in 20 years. The Eastons made the trip from London by TWA jet, landing at Kennedy Airport in New York City.

Mrs. Snell, the former Betty Titchard of Warrington, England, met Mr. Snell while he was serving in the armed forces during World War II. He was serving in a railroad battalion at the time. Mr. Snell is a locomotive engineer for the New York Central Railroad.

The Snells were married at the Methodist Church in St. Johnsville, where they resided until moving to Fort Hunter in 1963. They have a son and a daughter. Mrs. Snell has another sister and a brother in England. Mr. and Mrs. Easton are both employed in Romford, England. Mrs. Easton is a school meal supervisor and Mr. Easton, a registered nurse, is a supervisor in St. George’s Hospital.

First published July 22, 1967