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SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Regional YMCA (SRY) has a goal: to make sure that everyone who wants to go to the Y is able to. Through their Annual Scholarship Campaign program, SRY has provided countless memberships over the years to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. This year, the Scholarship Campaign is called Mission 443, and represents the goal of the 443 memberships SRYMCA hopes to provide in 2016.
Mark Ventra has been going to the YMCA Saratoga Springs Branch for over five years, sometimes going five days a week. As a traveling salesman, the Y staff was sometimes the only people he would see on a regular basis besides his family, and he loved how welcoming and caring they all were. However, if it wasn’t for the Y’s Scholarship Campaign last year, Ventra would have had to stop going.
“A year ago, I was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. At the same time, my job was going through financial difficulties and couldn’t afford to pay me any longer, so I was let go,” explained Ventra.
When Ventra approached John Higgins, Director of the Saratoga Springs Branch, and explained to him how he wasn’t going to be able to afford to renew his membership, Higgins simply told him, “We’ll take care of it.”
“I never thought I’d need a scholarship,” said Ventra. “I always thought the scholarships were for people that weren’t as well off as I had been. I used to never give it a second thought about volunteering or giving $100 to the scholarship fund, and now, I couldn’t even pay for my own membership. I wasn’t looking for a handout, but they helped me anyway, no questions asked.”
New Personalities and Programming Starting Next Month
SARATOGA SPRINGS – LOOK TV, available locally on Time Warner Cable channel 68, is preparing to launch new programming with a local focus about issues concerning women. They also will be revising its daily newscast to become more feature-oriented. Both programs will continue to place emphasis on the geographic area comprised of Saratoga, Washington and Warren counties.
“Like you (referring to Saratoga TODAY Newspaper), our mission is to be hyper-local,” said LOOK TV President and CEO Jesse H. Jackson III. “As the products you publish are a vital must-read for myself and anyone who wants to be informed about our community, we constantly strive to deliver the same relevant content via a different platform.”
To that end, Jackson previewed some program lineup additions and enhancements to existing programming that are scheduled to debut in early June:
“HER LOOK” with Paula Gretzinger
“As far as I am concerned, this should in short order become the station’s ‘crown jewel,’ both for the programming we hope to provide to this important market segment,” Jackson said, “but also the professionalism and enthusiasm our new host brings to the mix.”
The host of “HER LOOK” will be Paula Gretzinger, whose background includes network affiliate news on-camera and producer credits, as well as multi-media experience. She was part of the original team that launched Capital News 9 (now Time Warner News) in this market. Also, she founded ParentologyWithPaula.com, a website that has video casts; interviews and perspectives on all topics related to parenting and related subjects.
“My number one qualification is that I’m a mom (of three),” Paula said. “For me, a motto that I live by is “Families First” – which extends beyond traditional parental roles. Once your child is born, you are a parent to the day you pass beyond this world.” With “HER LOOK,” she hopes to widen the net of topics that are vital to women, while spotlighting achievers who make a difference locally.
“For the past few years, I have spearheaded a project called ‘Parent of the Year’ – a awards gala that recognizes parents, men and women, in various categories. A great example is Heather Straughter, who we awarded ‘Most Inspirational Parent.’ I’m thrilled to see that that she’s a Saratoga TODAY “Woman of Influence” this year.
Ms. Gretzinger places a premium on community involvement off-camera as well – putting emphasis on activities locally such as with the regional chapters of the Autism Society, Junior Achievement and with the “Sports are for Everyone” annual bowling event. She recently concluded (along with several prominent Capitol Region men and women) a 10-week activity campaign to benefit The Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. She also is looking forward to representing the area in an upcoming event that might lead to some interesting first-person on-air accounts:
“In August, I will travel to Virginia and represent the Capital Region in the “Crowns of Inspiration,” which is a national pageant with a twist. It’s based on community service, inspiring others and making a difference. I have put together quite a team to help me with this endeavor, including Cathy Taylor, Gina Sidoti Wesoloski, Daniel Mozzes and Allison Provenzano.” She said.
For his part, Jackson believes that his ‘HER LOOK’ team, which includes Director of Media Development Christine Dixon and Ms. Gretzinger, is already giving him such a winning hand that “the smartest thing I can do, having set the tone, is to take a step back and let these fine people do their job.” But he emphasized that this will be a show with a lot subject matter that reaches beyond traditional ‘women’s’ programming. “For instance, we just shot a great “HER LOOK” segment this morning with Steph Carleton, who is a First Vice President at Janney Montgomery Scott about financial challenges facing women.” The HER LOOK team intends to make finance a cornerstone of it’s programming, in addition to lifestyle, health and parenting issues. “We also want to integrate a touch of both humor and, where appropriate, controversy.” He said.
HER LOOK will be a half-hour weekly program, which will debut in primetime during the week on June 9 and will be re-broadcast at least twice per week.
Beginning June 1, the program now originating as LOOK News will reformat and have a new name – LOOK TODAY. Mr. Jackson said, “The only thing that will be the same is a short headline segment and the weather, which is already geared to the local market.”
The balance of the show will have longer than usual feature segments, on topics such as society and racing. “They’ll be others, for sure,” Jackson noted. He said that he identified people who would be the lead correspondents on these segments, though he declined to reveal who they were at this time. “I have to save some surprises for my own media,” he said, laughing.
These LOOK TV programming additions come on the heels of the launch of two well-received new programs in April: Beyond the Headlines, hosted by former Saratoga Springs Mayor Michael Lenz and TRAX which features performances by esteemed local musicians such as Bob Warren and Steve Candlen.
All in all, if you haven’t visited in awhile, it may behoove you to take a new look at LOOK TV next month. After you have finished reading your favorite newspaper, of course.
For more information, visit looktvonline.com
SARATOGA COUNTY – Thanks to a new state program that will give high school students the opportunity to prepare for in-demand technology and manufacturing jobs, up to 6,000 students throughout the state can now look forward to earning both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree by the time they’re 18.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Veteran handicappers Tom Amello and Nick Kling, longtime co-hosts of “Trackfacts Live” on the Capital OTB television network, will participate in a Travers Stakes preview discussion at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Thursday, August 22 at 10:30 a.m. The program is free and open to the public and will feature video of key races leading up to the Midsummer Derby as well as a question-and-answer session with the panelists.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — There will be enhanced security measures taken this weekend at the Saratoga Race Track for the horses running in the million dollar Travers Stakes.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Former Siena head basketball coach Bob Beyer was arrested late Thursday night, after what police said started with a fight inside Gaffney’s Restaurant on Caroline Street.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Turf writing legend William Nack will is coming to the Spa City to discuss his memories of Saratoga racing on Wednesday, August 21 at 7 p.m. in the Canfield Casino. This event is part of the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust Program Series and is co-sponsored by the Saratoga Springs History Museum and the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. This event is free and open to the public.
Whatever happened to ladies first? So much of what is written these days surrounds the horses, colts and geldings. They do make most of the headlines especially in the post-Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra era, but Saturday is high time for the three-year-old fillies to strut in the Grade I $600,000 Alabama Stakes.
Most of us are still struggling to say sesquicentennial (ses-qui-cen-ten-ni-al), but already we are nearing the end of that celebration. It’s unlikely that our great sport will see this level of reverence again until the 200th anniversary and by that time a whole new generation of racing enthusiasts will be at the helm.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Though a final report has not yet been released in the investigation of why 13 teachers left Division Street Elementary School this year, Saratoga Springs Superintendent Michael Piccirillo said the staff exit interviews have provided four areas of consideration for the district to take action on.