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Thursday, 19 December 2013 15:06

Reporter’s Notebook:Three Stars

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Since I used baseball and boxing in the main story, let’s invoke a hockey-like homage here and announce the three “stars among stars” at Monday’s Chamber Fact-finding forum. 

 

This, of course, is like picking your favorite child in many ways, for I must salute the panel members in total and the Chamber for putting said panel together.

 

Nonetheless, there were standouts on a stage where everybody brought their A-game. I have no reason to gush over everyone assembled; they earn it from their passion to be involved, which also includes over 1,000 people in the audience. Kudos all around and a tip-o-the-hat to a passionate community. 

 

Having said that, let’s first begin with an honorable mention: This goes out to Colleen Holmes, co-owner of Wheatfields Restaurant, for being the only one that I heard mention the subject of shuttle-buses between a Casino property and downtown Saratoga Springs. It says here that this might develop into a bigger topic down the road and certainly one worth exploring deeper. Colleen did not get to say much more, but she cut through the clutter and made it count. 

 

Now, your three stars:

 

Number 3: Skip Carlson, Saratoga Casino and Raceway – I, like many, have had the privilege of knowing Skip for a long time. I knew of his skill in communicating on a human scale—one-on-one and in small groups, but I was amazed at how well he was able to articulate his message over the big screens at the City Center. One woman (well-placed in the Downtown network with built-in reasons to be at least skeptical) that I was sitting with described him as “warm, funny and genuine.” That’s good enough for me.

 

Number 2: Robert J. McLaughlin, Esq., Hodgson Russ Attorneys LLP – When a lawyer chooses his or her lawyer, you are well-advised to pay attention. In that connection, Mr. McLaughlin drew the daunting task of explaining both the language of the statute, potential timetables and other important matters to a large audience of varying degrees of knowledge. 

 

This audience of one came away with a lot more understanding both about the important points and just as importantly the nuances of the topic. This is a communicator, pure and simple. 

 

Number 1: Matthew J. Jones, Esq., Senior Partner, The Jones Firm – He makes this list just for having the guts to take on the role of MC, but he earns the top star for the way he conducted the proceedings with a combination of commanding presence, timing and verve. He may not have asked all the follow-up questions that you wanted, but he asked most of them and probably threw in quite a few that you didn’t think of. He exhibited good grace with enough Jimmy Stewart-reminiscent “aw, shucks-ness” to make everyone feel like they were listening to their neighbor… a native son. 

 

Which, in fact, you were. 

 

- Arthur Gonick 

 

 

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