HOOSICK, N.Y. -- Many changes took place this year, in both the Town of Hoosick and the Village of Hoosick Falls. A plane crash, fiercely contested turnover in town government and the death of beloved town justice and former supervisor Thomas Restino each gave local residents a steady stream of the unexpected. Here are a few of the most newsworthy events that took place in 2013.
* After two decades of success operating their restaurant Brown's Brewing Co., owners Garry and Kelly Brown sold their downtown Troy restaurant and banquet hall to a New York City investor and over the summer opened a $3 million brewery on the Walloomsac River in North Hoosick. "We will have only single malt scotches and small batch bourbons. Vodkas and gins will be from only true vodka and gin producing regions of the world," said Stacy. "No flavored vodkas, no themed drinks and only proper cocktails."
* A single engine Aeronica model airplane crashed on the edge of the Hoosick Falls Country Club in April, approximately 100 yards from a neighborhood of homes. The pilot of the aircraft, Stanton King, 69, of Valley Falls, N.Y., suffered serious injuries in the crash. Witnesses described seeing the plane circling at an extremely low altitude, and watched it go down in a nose-dive from approximately 50 yards in the air. "It's not very often you see a plane in your backyard," said Katy Lilac, who did not see or hear the crash until it hit the ground.
* Longtime Hoosick Falls Central School Board of Education member Donald Skott resigned in September, after serving less than a year in his third consecutive three-year term. "I'm not leaving with any bad feelings or anything like that," said Skott as he addressed his fellow board members during his last meeting in the role. "I just feel like it's my time to go." In October, members of the board appointed former member Bridget Foster to the position, which she will fill for the remainder of Skott's term, ending May 20, 2014. "She's fully trained, she knows the goals of the district and she makes a perfect fit," said Board President Greg Laurin.
* Critically acclaimed fiction writer Russell Banks traveled to Hoosick to give the first reading of his new book, a collection of short stories entitled, "A Permanent Member of the Family," to high school students at HFCS. Banks also spent one-on-one time with a small group of talented students interested in writing, and advised them to set aside a time and place to write every day. "You're surrounded by people who are really interesting, once you cross that line and speak to them," he said, encouraging students to try painting a picture with their words. "Imagine the teller but also imagine the listener."
* The Hoosick Town Board experienced a long year of turmoil and accusations, resulting in a shake-up of the current status quo at election time. Twice-elected town supervisor Keith Cipperly lost his bid for reelection to challenger and longtime board member Mark Surdam, 1,124 votes - 790. In a much closer race, Town Highway Superintendent Louis Schmigel was voted out of his position after only one year and replaced with town highway employee William Shiland III. Schmigel took over for Shiland II in 2012, who left the role after many years of service with one year left in his four-year term. Jeff Wysocki kept his seat as a board member, and David Sutton was also newly elected, receiving the most votes in what was ultimately a narrow contest. Outgoing Supervisor Cipperly was soon-after arrested on charges of official misconduct and falsifying documents. The charges were listed by state police as allegedly being related to fraud. The Town of Hoosick Court recused itself from the proceedings and Cipperly will now appear in Pittstown Town Court on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m., just a week after his role in local government comes to an end.
* Members of the community mourned the death of long-time public official Thomas G. Restino, who passed away at age 86. The former justice, town supervisor and member of the Rensselaer County Legislature passed away on Nov. 23 in his home. "He had a lot of accomplishments over the years, that's what made it not easy," said Helen Restino of her late husband; the couple were married for 62 years. Plans are underway in the Legislature to pass a resolution honoring Restino's contributions to the town and county that he served for more than four decades. The dedication is currently being scheduled for January. Restino began his political career as a village trustee, and served three terms in the Rensselaer County Legislature in the 1970s and ‘80s before becoming town supervisor, a role he served beginning in 1991. He left behind four children, Kathryn, Michele, Gregory and Thomas Jr., the latter of whom is serving as a current town justice.
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