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SARATOGA COUNTY – On May 16, residents across New York State will be able to vote on the proposed budget for their local school districts. In the interest of helping potential voters in the Saratoga County area make an informed decision, we have gathered together information about what will be on the ballots for a number of major local school districts.

Saratoga Springs City School District residents will be voting on four major things: the 2017-18 budget, the Board of Education election, and two propositions. This year’s proposed budget amounts to $122,712,342, which calls for a 3.64-percent spending increase over last year. According to the district’s website, this proposed budget was designed to “preserve the outstanding quality of education for students within the district.” On the Board of Education election ballot are three candidates running for three-year terms: Anjeanette Emeka, who works in academic affairs at SUNY Empire State College, Jennifer Leidig, President and CEO of Ambiance Commerical Systems and Vice President of Ambiance, and Dr. Stephan Verral, a Board Certified Dermatologist in private practice at Gateway Dermatology in Glens Falls and Malta.

Proposition Two will authorize the district to spend $1,075,000 on six 66-passenger school buses, four 30-passenger buses, one 23-passenger wheelchair bus and one SUV. Proposition Three will authorize the creation of a “Capital Reserve Fund” to, according to the district website, “finance future construction, general improvements, reconstruction and renovations.” The fund would pull from existing funds and would not result in a tax increase.

Ballston Spa Central School District residents will be voting on a proposed 2017-18 budget, to fill three Board of Education seats, and on additional propositions. This year’s proposed budget is $90,340,742, and represents a 2.1-percent spending increase, which would result in a 0.6-percent tax increase across the district. On the Board of Education ballot, voters will chose between candidates Michael O’Donnell, Katie Thimineur, Lillian McCarthy, and Jeanne Obermayer to fill three seats. Propositions on the ballot this year include a “School Vehicle Replacement Proposition” that allows the district to spend up to $907,000 to purchase and replace buses and vehicles, permission to collect $55,650 for public library funding, and $30,000 for the Ballston Area Recreation Commission.

Schuylerville Central School District residents will vote on a proposed 2017-18 budget, to fill two Board of Education seats, and on a few propositions. This year’s proposed budget is $34,849,537, representing a spending increase of 2.1-percent. The district’s website claims that this budget will allow for the continuation of programs and services for students, and for the continued “investment in literacy and technology with the continuation of a literacy coach and technology integration specialist.” On the Board of Education ballot, voters will choose from Stanley Barber, Michael Bodnar, and Veronica Wood to fill two seats. Additional propositions will include a proposition for bus leasing and another for the Schuylerville Public Library budget.

Finally, voters in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District will vote on a 2017-18 budget, on three Board of Education candidates, and on an additional proposition. This year’s proposed budget is $64,492,019, which will represent a 2.48-percent spending increase. The Board of Education ballot will include candidates Peter Sawyer, John Blowers, and Don Marshall. Proposition Two would authorize the district to create a new Board of Education position to be held by a student from the high school.

The state-wide school budget vote will take place on May 16, from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. Visit your district’s website to find out where your polling place will be this year.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Classic builds and vibrant colors returned to Saratoga Springs High School (SSHS) this past weekend for the third annual Saratoga Classic Car Show, held on April 30.

Hosted by former SSHS business teacher and classic car enthusiast John Grady, each year the show raises money for the SSHS scholarship fund. The fund provides graduating seniors with $15,000-$20,000 each year. According to Grady, the show raised $750 for the fund in its first year, and $1,000 in the second. Some of the cars at this year’s show included a 1976 Corvette Stingray belonging to Ron Delaney, a 1970 Volkswagen Baja Beetle belonging to Wendy Davis, a 1948 Austin A40 Devon belonging to Dave Insognia, and many others.

All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

Friday, 05 May 2017 00:00

Springettes Conquer at States

WILTON – The Springettes – one of the Saratoga Springs area’s premier girls gymnastics teams – continued to do their namesake hometown proud with an impressive showing at a recent state competition.

The Saratoga Regional YMCA Gymnastics Team, also known as “The Springettes,” attended the New York State YMCA Gymnastics Championships at SUNY Oneonta from April 22-23. At the meet, there were nine YMCA gymnastics teams from across NY competing, which amounted to just over 200 athletes. In all, 30 gymnasts from Saratoga Springs competed, taking part in the vault, bars, beam, and floor events.

The Springettes left SUNY Oneonta with an impressive eight all-around state champions, including Marissa Verro from Level 9, Abby Moller from Level 8, Jordan Toma and Katy Hawthorne from Level 7, Brynne Wright from Level 6, Rya Torres and Megan Wishart from Level 5, and Marianna Nasta from Level 4. In individual events, the team put up 29 first-place finishes.

“They did really well,” Kim Hewitt, director of gymnastics for the Saratoga Regional YMCA, said. “They held up against some tough competition.

In team competition, the Springettes entered four teams. The Level 7 and Level 5 teams placed first, the Level 4 team placed second, and the Level 3 team placed fourth.
“My Level 7 team has done a really good job this year,” Hewitt said. “They’ve been consistently placing very, very high, and they had a great day.”

The highest all-around score for the whole team was Abby Moller, Level 8, with a combined score of 35.8, followed by Katy Hawthorne, Level 7, with a score of 35.45. Another notable performance at the meet came from Marianna Nasta, Level 4, who claimed first place in all four individual events.

Going into the event, Hewitt had her athletes focused on repetition of their routines, making sure that they would be able to consistently get things right. Moving forward, the team will be competing at the Northeast Regionals from May 13-15. The focus on repetition remains the staple of their practices leading up to it. This year, regionals will take place in Waterville, ME. Around 40 teams from the northeast states will be competing, amounting to around 1,200 gymnasts.

“We’re really excited,” Hewitt said about going to regionals. “Our Level 5 and Level 7 teams are really strong, so we’re hoping to place in the all-around. It’s a little harder with 40 teams, but we’re hoping for those teams to do really well.”

All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

SARATOGA SPRINGS – It was a new beginning for little league baseball in Saratoga Springs last weekend.

Saratoga Wilton Youth Baseball, a new organization formed from a merger of Saratoga American Little League and Wilton Youth Baseball, held its inaugural Opening Day on April 29 at Gavin Park with an event that was as much a party as it was a little league meet. The day began at 8:30 a.m. with an “MLB Pitch, Hit, and Run” event on the softball field, which repeated at 12:30 a.m. From there, the young players in attendance gathered for a “player parade” at 11:00 a.m. Following a barbeque lunch courtesy of The 99 Restaurant, games finally began at 1:00 p.m. The league currently has over 500 players, ages 4-16, registered to play.

This merger leaves Saratoga Springs with two little leagues: Saratoga Wilton Youth Baseball, and Saratoga Little League, formerly known as Saratoga National Little League. Saratoga Wilton will play its games at both Gavin Park in Wilton and East Side Recreation on Lake Avenue in Saratoga Springs.

All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A strong season is continuing apace for the dominant Saratoga Springs High School varsity girls lacrosse team.

In a league game against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake on their home turf on April 22, the Blue Streaks dominated the visiting team from start to finish, ending the game with a strong 16-6 victory. The team made good on their intentions to dominate the game from the beginning, putting up the first point of the game, and by halftime, they had massive 10-1 lead. This win puts the team 5-0 in league games, with their only loss coming at the hands and sticks of Niskayuna in a non-league game. Coming up soon will be big games against formidable teams, including Shenendahowa, Shaker, and Bethlehem.

“We have really excellent momentum,” Coach Elaine Lotruglio said. “We’ve had one loss, and it was close. I think we’re in a real good place [going forward].”

Lotruglio was impressed by the rhythm of the game, noting that the younger team was really coming into its own. Compared to previous years’ teams, this team skews much more towards the lower grade levels, with five freshmen and four sophomore players. Lotruglio guesses that by the time these young players make it to their senior year, their familiarity with one another will make them a force to contend with.

“They love to be together,” Lotruglio said about the team’s chemistry. “They pass well, and they’re learning each other’s moves, so to speak.”

A strong practice routine is also helping the team put up impressive numbers, in particular their warm-ups developed by the players themselves alongside assistant coach Elise Britt, a personal trainer and Maple Avenue Middle School health teacher. Lotruglio also noted how the team pulls certain shortcomings from each game they play so that they can work towards fixing them in future practice sessions.

Alongside the younger players, this season’s team has four senior players, Olivia Oskin, Cameron Parry, Emily Fischer, and Francesca Mangino, the latter three of which have signed their letters of intent to play inter-collegiate lacrosse in the fall. Lotruglio also highlighted the skills of sophomore Lindsey Frank, junior Ellen Payer, and junior Katie Wendell.

“They all just have a lot of fun together,” Lotruglio said.

All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

SARATOGA SPRINGS – It was a situation that would be tense for any baseball team in any game: tied with the rival team, 4-4, in the bottom of the seventh inning. This was the situation that the Saratoga Springs High School varsity baseball team found itself in on April 14, when it faced rivals Shenendahowa in a non-league game at Shuttleworth Park. This was not just any old non-league game, however: to give some extra heft to the game required under new Suburban Council guidelines, the two teams came together to create the I-87 Cup, which will fought over each year by both teams in a non-league game.

Enter junior Brian Hart, who with just the right swing of the bat hit a homerun, cinching the Blue Streaks’ victory and making them the inaugural holders of the new title.

“It was a great feeling, just running around the bases,” Hart said. “Seeing everyone at home plate, all excited, and I was excited, just to touch the plate and celebrate with my team… Yeah, they were all excited for me, and it was a special moment for us.”
“I kinda said to him in the on-deck circle, it’d be nice if you hit one over that wall, kinda jokingly,” Coach Andy Cuthbertson said. “And, you know, sure enough, he did that.”

Hart has been playing baseball for Saratoga since little league, or, “most” of his life, as he said. Going forward in the season, he believes that the Blue Streaks can go on to win a sectional championship.
“We’re looking to make a long run,” Hart said.

“The one thing about Brian, even when he was a 10th grader last year, he is very composed,” Cuthbertson said. “He doesn’t get very worked up, and that’s quite an attribute to have as a 10th grader, and now as a junior, sometimes I almost think in my mind that he is a senior, and I have remember that, wow, I have him for one more year. What a nice treat for our program.”

All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A director discusses the specifics of scene D-14 with his actors and crew, stressing that 5-6 shots will be needed. Meanwhile, a short ways away on the set, other actors patiently wait on their marks, going over their lines and directions for the upcoming shots. All the while, the cast and crew eagerly await the completion of the last few shots so that can finally take their lunch break for the day.

But this film set is not in Hollywood, or somewhere else far off. It’s right here at the Saratoga Springs Public Library (SSPL). And that cast and crew is not made up entirely of film industry professional. Rather, it is composed of local students, learning about film production for a good cause.

Filmmaker Mike Feurstein returned to the Saratoga Springs area for a five-day film residency as part of the Don’t Wait to UnMake a Bully program, a partnership between his How to UnMake a Bully program and Lisa Bradshaw’s Don’t Wait Project. Through the program, Feurstein works with students in districts nationwide, using roles on a film set to teach them about treating others with respect and how to avoid being a bully. After the in-class lessons, students take what they learn and use their new skills to help produce an anti-bullying PSA. This most recent residency ran from April 17-20, with filming at the library taking place in the last three days.

“We meet the classes for the first time on a Monday and talk about bullying, kindness, citizenship, digital citizenship, cyber security, and things like that for the first 45 minutes,” Feurstein said. “The second 45 minutes is learning how to make a movie, and we learn all the roles, and I tie the roles into civic responsibility. So the sound guy is a good listener, and the director is a good leader as well as a good listener. So we tie in the jobs of a movie set to how you should e behaving in a civilized society.”

This is Feurstein’s second time working with students on a project in the SSPL, having worked there for the first time two years ago. This year, he is working with students mostly from the Saratoga Springs City School District, as well a few from South Glens Falls and Burnt Hills. The short film that they came up with has an appropriately library-inspired theme, with villainous characters coming out of various books and possessing the bodies a various children, causing them to act like bully.

“The Queen of Hearts is acting all boisterous and bossy,” Feurstein said. “And the Wizard of Oz is acting boastful”

According to Youth Services librarian Kali Nagler, the film will premiere to the families of the students and the public in a special screening on June 15, and in the fall, they will feature the film as part of a planned anti-bullying awareness day alongside the first film produced in 2015. The film will also be shared on Feurstein’s YouTube channel, “Unmaker Mike.”

“I think a lot of them are learning that making a movie is hard work,” Feurstein said. “And it’s collaborative, they have to work together, they have to listen.”

All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A crowd of cheering friends and families filled the bleachers in the Saratoga Springs High School’s blue gym as 14 young athletes embraced their futures.
In a special ceremony held on April 12, the Saratoga Springs City School District honored 14 senior athletes as they signed their letters of intent to play inter-collegiate athletics at the universities of their choice in the fall. Athletic director Peter Sheehan addressed the attended crowd – which included other student athletes allowed to attend before their various practices and meets by their coaches – before the actual signings, thanking them for their attendance and congratulating the athletes on their achievements.
“We are so very proud of each and every one of you, and of the time and effort you’ve put in to make this day possible,” Sheehan said.
The athletes honored at the ceremony were, in the order they were seated at the table from left to right: Sarah Winters, who will play field hockey at Skidmore College; Francesca Mangino, who will play lacrosse at SUNY Brockport; Cameron Parry, who will play lacrosse at Quinnipiac University; Emily Fischer, who will play lacrosse at Clarkson University; Tucker Pierce, who will play lacrosse at Westminster College; Elizabeth Maguire, who will play soccer at Le Moyne College; Gabe Olsen, who will play soccer at Mount Ida College; Daniel Varsames, who will play soccer at Utica College; Michael Moran, who will also play soccer at Utica College; Autumn Boxley, who will swim at George Mason University; Victoria Breslin, who will swim at Le Moyne College; Morgan Hoffman-Smith, who will swim at Ithaca College; Nick Cavotta, who will run track and field at Winthrop University; and Mary “Mimi” Liebers, who will run track & field at the College of the Holy Cross. Griffin Taylor, who will play lacrosse at SUNY Oneonta, was not present at the ceremony due to attending a meet at his soon-to-be school, but he was mentioned by Sheehan and was present on the list of athletes at the ceremony.
“I just loved the campus as soon as I stepped on campus,” Parry said about her choice of Quinnipiac. “I knew that that was the place for me. The coaching staff was just really welcoming, and all the girls on the team were super welcoming, and I just really got a good feel for the team and for the… kind of program that I’d be going to.”
“I’m very excited,” Liebers said about attending Holy Cross in the fall. “I’ve always known I wanted to do college sports, and track has been my main sport for five years now. So getting to continue track in college is a dream come true… I wanted a D-1 program, but I particularly liked the Patriot League. And I just loved the school, and I knew I needed to see myself at the school without track, so it all just fell into place.”
“I was looking at schools in the south, and I found Winthrop, it has my major in business and a minor in sports marketing, which is just awesome for me,” Cavotta said about his choice of Winthrop. “It’s a beautiful school. It’s down south, lot of warm weather. Not a huge school, which I like, so I can get some more individual time with my professors. It just has everything I could look for in a college.”
“Super proud,” Cavotta’s mother said about her son’s achievement. “I like the school. Like he said, it’s a nice small school, homey, they focus on academics and education, and parent involvement.”
Notably, two of the athletes at the ceremony, Varsames and Moran, will be playing the same sport, soccer, at Utica. This is fitting, as they have been close friends for years.
“That’ll help a lot,” Varsames said about attending school with someone he is so familiar with. “We both know how each other plays. It’ll help team chemistry, obviously. We’re best friends, so it’ll be fun… [We’ve been playing together since we were] probably like around 10, 12 maybe.”
“I think we have an outstanding group of coaches, we have very supportive parents who allow our student athletes to have opportunities, both in-school and out-of-school, that kinda give them a chance to compete at the collegiate level,” Sheehan said about the SSCSD athletics program. “I think that’s important to have that year-round commitment and to have those year-round opportunities.”

All photos by Thomas Kika.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Code Blue Saratoga Emergency Shelter’s annual “Blue Needs You” 8K run and expo took off through the streets of Saratoga Springs last weekend, and the results were all that the organization had hoped for.
Each year since beginning the 8K run event, Code Blue, a local emergency shelter for the homeless, sets a budget-level for the year going forward with the hope that the funds raised at the event will match or exceed it. This year, the proposed budget was $40,000, which the Blue Needs You event raised almost exactly, according to executive director Michael Finocchi.
“We were right on target,” Finocchi said.
This budget was up slightly from previous years’ races. Despite raising a larger amount, this year’s run saw fewer runners, 470, compared to last year, though still significantly higher than the first year. Finocchi and other at Code Blue say that this lower attendance may be due to other runs that were being held at the same time. This had not been the case in previous years.
This year’s run started out from High Rock Park in downtown Saratoga Springs. From there, runners took Lake Avenue for a ways, crossing up and down a number of side streets before ending up on East Avenue. From East, the runners went all the way to Excelsior Avenue where they took a right, following the street all the way through a loop it makes near the Residence Inn near the Northway. Coming back down Excelsior, they turned onto Excelsior Spring Avenue briefly, and then turned once more onto the Spring Run Trail. Following this trail all the way back down to East, they once again returned to High Rock where the run concluded.
Code Blue is a shelter that provides emergency housing for the homeless during severe winter weather conditions, such as when the temperature drops below freezing or when more than 10-inches of snowfall is predicted. Code Blue also works to transition its residents to more stable living situations, including apartments or rehab services.
“It was very reassuring when you’re down there and you see how many people care about those we help,” Finocchi said.

All photos by Photoandgraphic.com.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The storied Oklahoma Training Track, across Union Street from the Saratoga Race Course, officially opened for the 2017 racing season on April 17. Prior to the start of competition in July, members of the public can visit the track from 8:00-10:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, where they can watch thoroughbreds run as they prepare for the season ahead. Visitors will also be able to visit the Whitney Viewing Stand, which was unveiled in 2013 as past of the track’s 150th anniversary celebration.  The track will be open daily once the 2017 meet commences in July.

All photos by Photoandgraphic.com.

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Blotter

  • COURT Mark J. Woodard, 36, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced Aug. 11 to 2 - 4 years in state prison after being found guilty by a trial jury of the charge(s) criminal possession of stolen property, and one year in jail regarding the charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle. Sentences to run concurrently. Thomas Morro, 38, of South Glens Falls, was sentenced Aug. 11 to nine years in state prison, after pleading to attempted rape in the first-degree, in connection with an incident that took place in Moreau. John D. Vickery, 54, of Ballston Spa, was sentenced Aug. 11…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON SPA 257 Lake Rd., $499,900. Second Half Investments LLC sold property to Karen and Julie Royston.  129 Hop City Rd., $147,000. Harry Bliss sold property to Garth Ellms.  CHARLTON 4 Little Troy Lane, $300,000. Victoria and Kenneth Hayner, Sr. sold property to William and Joelle West.  CORINTH 369 West Maple St., $55,000. US Bank Trust (by Atty) sold property to Frank Brownell.  GALWAY  1058 NYS Route 29, $180,000. Thomas Cooper sold property to Vanessa Konkel and Ronald West. MALTA 90 Woodfield Blvd., $65,000. Michaels Group Holdings LLC sold property to HELD Properties LLC.  2147 Rowley Rd., $24,000. Jacqueline Traver…
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