Liz Holliday

Communications Specialist
Archive for October, 2014

Movie shoot in Amsterdam underway with some dismay from officials

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. – Shooting for a film is underway in Amsterdam, but to the dismay of some city officials, the main backdrop is the cities abandoned buildings.

The movie’s producer says it was Amsterdam’s beautiful abandoned buildings that brought production into town. While some would pay millions to create buildings in a California soundstage, the producer says they already exist.

The film, titled “Kill for Me,” features such stars as Bailey Chase, Dylan Baker and Amy Spanger, and on July 20, Amsterdam transformed into a post-apocalyptic movie set, despite initial hesitation from the mayor.

“That they’re coming and filming some of the more impoverished areas is a little disappointing, but what are you going to do,” asked Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane.

But according to the producer of the film, the term post-apocalyptic isn’t meant to be an insult.

“Horribly beautiful is how I like to describe it,” said producer Benjamin Bickham.

One abandoned textile factory will serve as the perfect backdrop to one of the scenes in the movie, but it was actually the tax incentive that brought them here in the first place. Bickham says they receive a 30-percent credit offered by New York State.

“Being in Montgomery county they give us an extra 10-percent and actually it was up in the area which location we were going to use, and that sort of sealed the deal for us,” said Bickham.

Now that crews are set up, Bickham says they are really trying to make the most to boost the local economy–something one of the film’s major stars, Bailey Chase, says he can attest to.

“We’re staying here, we’re eating here, we’re shopping here–so I think the tax credit does more than pay for itself,” said Chase.

With one week down and two more to go, Chase says it’s that interaction with the community that is really making this experience worth it.

“The really cool thing about Amsterdam is all of the people coming out,” said Chase.

Despite the post-apocalyptic depiction, even Thane says the feeling is definitely mutual.

“If Facebook is any indication, they are very excited, interested, and curious. It’s all good!” she said.

Filming for “Kill for Me” wraps up on August 10, but Bickham says it’ll most likely be almost another year before Amsterdam will be on the big screen.

New Salem residents begin storm cleanup

NEW SALEM, N.Y. – A quick storm caused a lot of fallen trees and downed power lines in New Salem Wednesday.

“Trees all over,” one resident described the damage. “Trees all over, and we rushed over to make sure the animals were okay.”

The resident said her ceiling collapsed with thousands of dollars in damage from her second floor to her flooded basement.

“I just tried to get pictures safe,” she said. “I had boxes and boxes of pictures.”

The New Salem Fire Department said they received more than 25 calls regarding storm damage with downed trees and power lines leaving many without power. National Grid crews worked throughout the night trying to restore power for residents.

One firefighter said he has been with the department for 27 years and never saw a storm bring down so many trees before.

Pam Branch lives a few houses away from a live, downed power line. She described hearing thunder and hail, and she came out of her house to see the damage.

“I was scared, yes,” she said. “I thought it was a tornado. I really wasn’t sure if it wasn’t.”

Branch said the town is now left to pick up the pieces of the damage.

“Back to picking up some of the mess,” she said. “Everything’s blown across the yard and stuff and get it all picked up.”

“It was very scary, I was sitting on my couch and all of a sudden you just heard this wind,” said Homeowner Doris Sanoreit.

Now she’s waiting for crews to remove a tree that fell against her front porch on Route 85 in New Salem. Although she says it caused little damage, she says the experience has brought the neighborhood closer together.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says his deputies were busy handling 911 calls and making sure residents were safe after last night’s storm swept through the area. He says the fire department had to come through to push the debris and heavy branches off the roadways so that power crews could get through.

He says the storm hit their 911 dispatch center in Voorheesville, but that didn’t affect calls. National Grid says there are about 3,000 to 4,000 residents still without power and they’re hoping to restore it by the end of Thursday.

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Jumpin Jacks dedicates fireworks to fire victim

SCOTIA, N.Y. – An annual fireworks show was dedicated to a local woman who lost her life in a fire Thursday.

The Jumpin Jacks Drive-In fireworks show is the highlight of the summer for many Scotia residents. But some watched with a heavy heart Friday as they remembered longtime Jumpin Jacks employee Jill Vanselow.

Vanselow died from smoke caused by a fire at her North Ten Broeck apartment complex Thursday. Cody Austin was Vanselow’s co-worker, and his mother lived in the same building. He said he could see smoke from the fire all the way from Jumpin Jacks.

“I’ve always seen her walking in and out of the apartments,” he said. “At work she’d always say hi to me, talk to me, and try to strike up a conversation.”

Vanselow was known as “Jilly Bean” by those who loved her. She worked serving ice cream at Jumpin Jacks for the past 11 summers.

“She became part of our family, and we wouldn’t let her go, so she made it a career,” owner Mark Lansing said.

Lansing said fireworks were always the best part of Vanselow’s summers, so when he heard the news of her death, he knew Friday’s fireworks were for her.

“It’ll increase the turnout tonight as a memorial for her,” he said.

It wasn’t only Vanselow’s co-workers and friends who mourned her death. Many of her customers also came out to the show with her memory in mind.

“She was a very nice lady,” customer Laurel Barns said. “I met her a lot of times at Jumpin Jacks.”

The drive-in employees all wore her initials on their hats and sleeves Friday to show she may be gone but will never be forgotten at Jumpin Jacks.

“She’s going to be missed,” Lansing said. “We’ll never forget her. She’s part of what makes this place run.”

The Scotia Police Chief said the fire was ruled accidental, and foul play is not suspected in Vanselow’s death.

Originally aired June 27th:

Heavy rain, rising waters damage Gilboa man’s property

GILBOA, N.Y. – A home in Schoharie County was severely damaged by heavy rain and rising creek waters Wednesday night.

“I’ve seen a lot, but this was probably one of the most miserable nights I’ve had,” Fred Oakley said.

Oakley is a disabled veteran who survived two tours in Vietnam, but he said his rescue due to rising waters Wednesday night from his Gilboa home was the worst.

“Oh, the worst,” he said. “Irene and the other hurricane was nothing like this.”

Oakley said not only was his street washed out but also the bridge that is his only way home.

“Water was coming underneath the trailer from the backside to the front side,” he described.

Oakley said Second Assistant Fire Chief John Ernst found a back way to his washed out property leaving a half-mile hike and then an ATV ride to safety.

“When we showed up, his whole trailer was completely surrounded by at least two or three feet of raging water,” Ernst said.

The bridge wasn’t the only piece of property affected. Residents all along South Gilboa Road suffered damage.

“Well, it wasn’t good, but Mother Nature – you can’t fight it,” resident John Standhart said. “You just have to take what it is.”

Oakley said he doesn’t have the $30,000 it will take to fix the bridge, and after 19 years, he and his wife are thinking they may need to find a new place to live.

“When we can get trucks in here and get the furniture and stuff out its going to go up for sale, and we’re going to move,” he said.

Oakley said he put a call in to his county commissioner who is sending out a few people to look at the bridge in the next few days to try and help.

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Child injured in ATV accident returns home from hospital

SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. – A family is thankful after doctors say their 14-month-old son will fully recover from a weekend ATV accident.

The accident happened in Schuylerville on Sunday night, when a six-year-old backed up an ATV into his baby brother.

Schuylerville Emergency Services were first to the scene of the accident. Matt Stefanacci, a paramedic, says he has been in the business for 17 years and this is the first time he has heard of a case like this, calling it freak accident.

The family has since returned home from Albany Medical Center and they say the child is expected to make a full recovery.

Bill Peck is the father of four boys, all under the age of six. He said he was returning from a business trip when he heard his eldest son accidently back an ATV into his 14-month-old, Henry Niell. The toddler suffered from a fractured skull and broken neck.

“You know you think you’re safe in your yard, but everywhere you go there are accidents waiting to happen and this was one of them,” said Peck.

Peck owns a dairy farm in the North Country. He says the boys have driven inside the family ATV many times, but were never allowed to do be in it on their own.

While in their family’s backyard, Peck’s six-year-old son got away from his mother’s watchful eye, with just enough time for him to take the ATV out on his own, not realizing his baby brother was running behind.

“He feels very badly– he knows the extent of the injuries,” said the father.

The family says the keys to the ATV are almost always kept atop their refrigerator, and that this was completely an accident.

Thankfully, the Peck family says the child will make a full recovery, despite a small fracture to his skull and two of his neck vertebrae. The family explains that the accident could have been much worse.

“These are life lessons and luckily we have good news to report out of it, that it wasn’t a tragedy,” said Peck.

The parents say their six-year-old feels terrible for injuring his baby brother.

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