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RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina State sophomore gymnast Brittni Watkins set the bar high before the start of her second season with the Wolfpack.

“I looked at all the banners in the beginning of the year before the season started and I picked one,” Watkins said. “I said, ‘I want this one,’ and I picked ‘Gymnast of the Year.’ Everyone was almost doubting me and saying, ‘No, you can’t do that, there’s only been one other person,’ but I said, ‘I don’t care. I want it.’ So I worked really hard in the gym to just go for it.”

Months later, Watkins became the second NC State gymnast ever to earn the East Atlantic Gymnastics League Gymnast of the Year award (Christi Newton, 1996).

Watkins finished the EAGL regular season with the No. 1 Regional Qualifying Score on vault, floor and in the all-around. She led the league on vault with a RQS of 9.890, was first on floor with a RQS of 9.820 and was first in the all-around with a score of 39.071. Nationally, she ranks 15th in the all-around.

She also garnered EAGL Gymnast of the Week honors a record four times this season en route to claiming first-team All-EAGL on vault, beam, bars, floor and the all-around.

“[This season]’s meant the world to me,” Watkins said of reaching such a high goal and realizing that “anything is possible” as she moves forward. “I’ve made some changes in gymnastics and school and it’s all helped me get to my goals.”

Watkins’ road to Division I success started when she was about 3 years old when her mom had her join Stepping Star Gymnastics in Saratoga Springs. Moving a lot between Cambridge and Saratoga Springs with her mom, Watkins spent most of her pre-college education time in Saratoga.

“I fell in love with gymnastics when I realized I was gifted with ability that not many people were given, so I needed to take advantage of it and do the best I could do with it,” Watkins said.

To take advantage of local opportunities, she made the move to World Class Gymnastics in Latham, which Watkins credits to helping her get where she is today—with one of the most memorable individual seasons in school history.

“It was a lot of hard work and dedication,” Watkins said. “Lot of sweat, blood and tears—literally. You have to work through every injury no matter how bad it is.”

When it came down to where she would compete at the collegiate level, Watkins had her decision narrowed down to three schools: West Virginia, Maryland and NC State.

Although Watkins visited NC State three times, it really only took her the first time to realize where she belonged.

“I said, ‘I love [NC State], I want to be here,’” Watkins said. “It was more of a family there than anywhere else. I felt the connection, especially with the coaches and the teammates.”

Head coach Mark Stevenson was “the main guy” who made Watkins feel at home in Raleigh before making the transition to collegiate gymnastics her freshman year.

With the Wolfpack qualifying for their 12th straight National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships Regional, Stevenson’s teams at NC State have competed in postseason play 26 times in his 34 seasons as head coach.

After finishing third at the EAGL Championships, the Pack are looking to advance past the NCAA regional round. Last year, the team finished fifth at the Ohio State regional.

This year, Watkins and the Pack travel to the closest possible regional site for the program—the University of Georgia.

As six regionals are held throughout the country, with the top two from each advancing, Watkins said she is happy with the location draw and the chance to advance to nationals.

“Last year we had some issues that we worked through and this year I think it has really come out that we’re a strong team and we want to make it to nationals really badly,” Watkins said. “We’re pushing everyone as hard as we can and making sure everyone is healthy to get to our goal. I think it’s going to be tough for us, but I think we have the best chance that we could. If we were to place in a different region, I don’t think we would have had as good of a shot as we do now. Any of those teams could make a mistake and we could have our best meet and that’s what is going to put us there. But we want to compete against the best teams and beat the best teams.”

Those teams are Georgia (No. 6 RQS in the nation), Michigan (No. 7), Central Michigan (No. 18), Ohio State (No. 22) and Rutgers (No. 32).

The Wolfpack are ranked 28th in the country with a RQS of 195.615.

With regional action beginning Saturday at 4 p.m., Watkins will also have the chance to individually advance to nationals. With the top two all-around competitors, as well as the event winners from each regional, advancing with an automatic bid, Watkins has one particular teammate she hopes to compete with if her team does not qualify.

“[Stephanie Ouellette] literally helped me with everything,” Watkins said. “She does all four events with me, so she has my back and I have hers. Before bars she calms down. Before beams she gets me excited. She’s been there for literally every single thing.”

Ouellette was named Senior Gymnast of the Year. Fresh off one of her top performances in the all-around, Ouellette brings years of success and experience. She was the EAGL floor champion last season, a four-time EAGL First Team all-arounder and is someone Watkins has been able to look up to.

Proud to be part of the Wolfpack and a team that wants a trip to nationals just as bad as she does, Watkins said her main goal is for the team to advance as a whole.

“The strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack,” Watkins said. 

Published in News
Monday, 31 March 2014 16:47

Helping Hope Take Flight

Shelters of Saratoga's 4th Annual Gala


SARATOGA SPRINGS –Join Shelters of Saratoga at their2014 annual gala on Thursday, April 3, from  6-9 pm, as they celebrate the ways they are "Helping Hope Take Flight.” The Event will be held at Longfellows Restaurant, 500 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs.


Enjoy gourmet hand-passed hors d’oeuvres and a selection of wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages along with live music and a premium silent auctions.  All proceeds benefit Shelters of Saratoga. Tickets are $100 and reservations can be made by calling 518-581-1097 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Shelters of Saratoga, the only homeless men's and women's shelter in the Greater Saratoga Region, serves hundreds of homeless annually with the provision of shelter, food, clothing, and case management services,  which includes assistance with employment, transportation and housing. Recent service additions have included mobile outreach to youth, chronically homeless individuals, and families and individuals lodged in area motels.



Due to the growing demand for services, SOS relies heavily on the community’s generosity to volunteer, fundraise and provide financial assistance. Learn how you can get involved at: http://www.sheltersofsaratoga.org

Published in News

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Close to 20 horses have been evacuated after a barn fire at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

Shortly after 6 a.m. on Friday, March 28 the Saratoga Springs Police Department received a call from the Saratoga Casino and Raceway in regards to an active fire at one of their barns.

The barn is number 15, which is located inside the fence near Gridley Avenue. The evacuation took place without any injuries to the horses. One person was evaluated for smoke inhalation, but not transported for medical aid.

The horses were evacuated by Saratoga Springs Public Safety personnel, the Casino and Raceway's security staff and other employees on site. The Saratoga Springs Fire Department brought the fire under control. The cause of the fire was deemed electrical and an accident, although the investigation will continue.

Update: Rita Cox, Senior Vice President at Saratoga Casino and Raceway issued the following statement at 12:45 p.m. today:

"Friday morning at 6:15, a fire was discovered by a backstretch security manager and local horsemen in barn #15 at Saratoga Casino and Raceway.  All horses were immediately evacuated and no injuries have been reported.  The Saratoga Springs Fire Department quickly contained the fire and is working to determine the cause.  The 26 stalls in the barn were fully occupied at the time and all horses have been safely relocated to other barns at the facility.  Damage to the barn was confined to 6-8 stalls and 2 tack rooms on the west end. 

"Saratoga Casino and Raceway’s backstretch includes 34 horse barns with 1,040 stalls.  There are currently 600 horses housed at the facility.  There have been no significant fires in over 20 years.  Inspections of the 50 structures located at the facility are conducted regularly by local fire officials, most recently in May 2013.

“The quick response of our team members and horsemen ensured the safety of all horses and personnel impacted by today’s events,” said Saratoga Casino and Raceway’s COO, Jamie Hartman.  “We are also very grateful for the immediate response of our local Saratoga Springs Fire Department, whose quick response ensured that the fire was quickly contained.”


"The live harness racing schedule will not be impacted.  Post time on Friday and Saturday is 6:45pm."

Published in News
Friday, 28 March 2014 11:18

Heroin: No Community Has Immunity

SARATOGA SPRINGS— We tend to wax romantic about our community. And in truth, compared to other communities, we are relatively safe. As such, we sometimes fall into an illusion that we are insulated from the worst of society’s ills. 


But at street level, there’s no such illusion. This is the reality Sergeant Tim Sicko and the Saratoga Springs Police Investigation Division sees: 


“Just in the last four to five months, we’ve seen over a half-dozen overdoses from heroin.” He said. Moreover, “the number of heroin buys my (undercover) officers make have risen significantly over the past two and one-half years I’ve been in charge of the division.” The Investigation Division oversees both the drug and criminal units.


When asked to estimate the percentage, Sergeant Sicko commented. “Undercover buys of heroin were maybe 2 out of 100 just a couple of years ago, when we saw mostly crack cocaine and pills on the street. Today, I would estimate it’s closer to 50 percent.” He said.


The Prevention Council of Saratoga confirms that a significant uptick in heroin usage in this community has occurred, as part of a nationwide trend. Executive Director Janine Stuchin noted:


“No one starts off on heroin. National and local studies have shown that the recent upsurge in heroin use is directly connected with prescription pain killer (opiate) abuse.” 


The purpose of this article is not to sensationalize or unduly alarm, but to educate and advocate that if your head is in the sand about heroin in Saratoga County and you are thinking “it can’t happen here,” take a look around. 


“It” already is happening. 


And while no one will purport that Saratoga County has as bad a problem as some of the larger and more urban cities, to deny the insidious presence of this most insidious of drugs would be irresponsible. 


Both Ms. Stuchin and Sgt. Sicko cite the relative inexpensiveness of heroin as a factor in its recent rise in usage. “Heroin is less expensive than illicit prescription pain killers such as oxycodone, explaining the trend toward increased heroin use.” Ms. Stuchin noted. Sgt. Sicko also noted the “difficult, painful withdrawal process” that is involved from heroin once addicted that will naturally keep people looking for their next fix. 


Compounding this is the phenomenon of the “chase after the initial high,” as Sgt. Sicko put it, which would lead a user who might have started snorting heroin to graduate to a needle for a greater effect. 


Finally, you have the factor that, according to any study, the profile of the heroin user is younger than ever. “One of the recent overdoses we had was someone in their 20s,” Sgt. Sicko noted, “fortunately, he was not a fatality.” 


For the user, Sgt. Sicko noted that a factor compounding the danger of heroin are the other substances that are lacing it; substances which can be even more lethal than the heroin itself. “You don’t know what you are accepting or where it came from.” Sgt. Sicko noted. “In contrast, you can look at a given pill and if you are savvy, recognize the manufacturer – although this is not foolproof.” 


Heroin dealers attempt to mitigate this by engaging in a “branding” exercise: Labeling their nickel or dime bags with a logo or markings that would tend to inspire a false sense of confidence – I’ve bought this before, it’s OK – yet, Sergeant Sicko rightly points out that the street dealer has little knowledge of where today’s batch came from, if they were inclined to care in the first place. 


He spread an array of evidence bags before us and my eyes kept going to one dealer’s mark.


All I could think of was: How desperate would you have to be to shoot up from a bag that is marked “Game Over.”?


But is the game over? Hardly. 


“We have a number of full-time people who are on top of this daily,” Sgt. Sicko notes, “you’re seeing a significant increase in heroin arrests because our people, working with other law enforcement divisions such as the State Police, as well as a network of informants, are battling this daily and we have no intention of pulling back.”


“We are nowhere near the level of activity of other cities precisely because we are fortunate to have a group of young officers who are dedicated and on top of things… when a dealer comes to town to set up shop, we usually know who that person is already,” he continued. “But it’s a matter of constant vigilance.”


In that connection, Sgt. Sicko noted that while the profile of the heroin user the police are has gotten younger, this is not a major problem at either the High School (where he lauded the work of Officer Lloyd Davis who is stationed there), or on the Skidmore campus at this point. 


The Prevention Council confirms this, to some extent. “Our data from student surveys in Saratoga County show about eight percent of high school students are involved in prescription drug abuse and one percent reporting using heroin,” noted Janine Stuchin.


Any law enforcement officer would acknowledge that even with a consistent focus on interdicting heroin supply, long-term effectiveness of any effort is dependent upon programs that educate and impact on demand. Sgt. Sicko, while acknowledging that the restoration of D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) funding in the city is something on his “wish list,” cites that the education programs provided by the Prevention Council are invaluable.


“The role of the Prevention Council in addressing the scourge of heroin in our community is to be preventive rather than reactive.” Ms. Stuchin said. We do this though programs, like Too Good for Drugs, taught in many local school districts, which educate children on the inherent dangers.”


“We regularly collaborate with law enforcement with drug take-back days. For instance, the next National Prescription Take-Back Day will be Saturday, April 26 and we will be announcing local sites that will be participating.”


But both the police and Prevention Council note that the real education and greatest impact is an outgrowth of effective parenting. “Parents should not be afraid to talk to their kids and find out ‘what do you know about this stuff?’ Look at who they are hanging out with and take note of changes in behavior and appearance, for instance.” Sgt. Sicko says. 



While it would be nice to have an ending here, in fact this is a story about the process of progress, the ebb and flow of societal struggles and responses; perhaps a battle that will never be won, but nonetheless a battle worth undertaking daily. 

Published in News
Friday, 28 March 2014 11:13

A Fashionable Move!

Fifth Annual Electric City Couture Fashion Show To Highlight Regional Designers 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A major Capital Region original juried runway fashion extravaganza will be moving this April 26 to the Spa City.


Electric City Couture and Universal Preservation Hall will co-present the “5th Annual Electric City Couture Fashion Show — Saratoga Edition,” featuring both established and up-and-coming regional fashion designers in a juried, pure runway experience.


The evening will showcase signature collections of six regional designers and will include roughly 55 male and female models on the runway. Targeted proceeds from this year’s show will go to the ongoing restoration work of Historic Universal Preservation Hall, a year-round arts and community events venue located at 25 Washington Street in Saratoga Springs.


“Universal Preservation Hall is a beautiful venue to showcase Upstate New York’s burgeoning fashion scene,” said Dorothy ‘Teddy’ Foster, Director of Universal Preservation Hall.


The Electric City Couture mission is to provide a platform to increase awareness for regional fashion designers and fashion support industries to stimulate a regional fashion based economy.


“It is crucial that our communities show support for small business in all industries, including the arts and fashion,” said F. Michael Tucker, president and CEO of the Center for Economic Growth (CEG). “We support Electric City Couture’s goal of connecting local retailers with local designers to contribute to the creative economy of our region; which also supports these small business owners.”


Designers participating in the show include:


- Kim Vanyo of Khymanyo Studios (Saratoga Springs),

- ‘eko logic (Troy),

- Jane Wilson Marquis (Putnam Valley),

- Behida Millinery (Hudson)

- Kristina Collins Clothing (Saratoga Springs)

- Gamakache Black by Margaret Persaud (Brooklyn)


A new edition to this year’s show format will be the ability to “buy it off the runway” in a retail sales area that will be available both after the show on Saturday for show attendees and on Sunday, April 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the general public. This year’s show will be a partnership between Proctors Theater of Schenectady, N.Y., Universal Preservation Hall and Electric City Couture. It is designed to highlight the strengths of the regional creative economy.


The Honorary Chair for the event is Julie Bonacio.


Live DJ music will be provided by Albany-based, Nate da Great. A special entertainment segment is yet to be announced.


Event tickets can be purchased in advance through the Proctors Theatre Box Office starting April 1 at 432 State Street, by calling (518) 346-6204 or online at electriccitycouture.com. Proctors Theater is a founding partner.


Special seating is available to media and fashion industry professionals including independent boutique owners with RSVP. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


This year’s show is also sponsored in part through contributions of Sonny and Julie Bonacio, Keeler Mercedes, Skinny Girl Vodka and Lifestyles of Saratoga.



For more information, contact Corey Aldrich at (518) 928-4622 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in News
SARATOGA SPRINGS— The inauguration of Merodie Hancock, Ph.D., as the fourth president in the 42-year history of SUNY Empire State College commenced on Thursday. The theme of the inaugural celebration was “re-emergence,” which highlighted Hancock’s career of advocacy for the re-emergence of nontraditional students. Further, the inauguration event was part of the re-emergence of the college as the exemplar of open, public and innovative education. Hancock assumed the role in July 2013 with unanimous support from the State University of New York Board of Trustees and Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. The chancellor cited Hancock’s leadership experience in higher learning in the delivery of online programs across campuses and international boarders as key in her appointment to the position. Led by bagpipers and dressed in full academic regalia, members of the SUNY and Empire State College communities, as well as guests from across the country and around the world, processed from the robing area at Saratoga Springs City Hall, down Broadway, to The Saratoga Hilton for the investiture ceremony and installation of the new president.
Published in News
Friday, 28 March 2014 10:58

MOOC Symposium Coming To Saratoga Springs

SARATOGA SPRINGS—From April 2 to 4, The MASIE Center is holding the first global symposium on “Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Corporate Learning” at the Saratoga Springs City Center. Imagine if a major retailer wanted to update 100,000 employees on a new product line. There aren’t enough classrooms or instructors to make that course fast and massive. MOOCs may provide an expandable and scalable alternative – allowing the employee to personalize the timing for his or her convenience. “We will have over 70 education and corporate leaders from the United States, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Russia, Malaysia and Canada exploring how and if MOOCs can be used to educate and train employees. We are honored to have senior representatives of organizations like Microsoft, UPS, Liberty Mutual, Corning, LL Bean, McKinsey, PwC, GE, Ernst & Young, Saudi Aramco, Amway, Dept. of Defense and others at this event,” said Elliott Masie, CEO of The MASIE Center. MOOCs are a new model of education and learning where thousands of learners can participate in a single course from anywhere, at anytime, using online content and collaboration. “We are honored to host this MOOC event in Saratoga Springs, which was also the site of the very first corporate event on eLearning that The MASIE Center hosted in the mid-1990s,” Masie said. “With Empire State College and Skidmore College based in Saratoga Springs, it is a perfect setting to explore the future of learning.”
Published in News

SARATOGA SPRINGS – An idea whose time has come.


Beginning this weekend, a brand-new menu of brunch and breakfast items will debut at both Stadium Cafés in town (389 Broadway and 112 Congress Street, Saratoga Springs). 


Brunch will be served on both Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to breakfast items, the Stadium will offer drink specials including $5 Bloody Mary’s and Mimosa’s. 



It’s a perfect way to watch your (probably) busted Sweet 16 get whittled down to The Final Four. But I’m looking ahead to the fall. There’s something about showing up to the breakfast table just in time for the 4 p.m. NFL game that says Sunday Funday to me. Enjoy!

Published in News
Friday, 28 March 2014 09:40

Reporters View: A Facebook Feelgood Story

SARATOGA SPRINGS – This is a story about two local ladies who happened to be conversing on Facebook. 


Neither of them wanted this story to be about them, although their good intentions (and even better actions) are highly notable, particularly when contrasted against the typical narcissistic drivel and/or selfies for attention that seem to dominate my “news feed.” But they are real, and your neighbors. 


The first is Kathy Frank, an entrepreneur I have known for years. A caring wife and mother, she’s the type who is always there to support everyone. You know the kind, or at least I hope you do. The other is Laurie Coppola. She’s a nurse in a pediatric intensive care unit of a major regional medical center. Both make their homes in Saratoga Springs. 


Kathy had posted something that had inspired her based on a news segment she had seen. It was very simple, yet generated an outpouring of response: 


“So many children are confined to a cancer ward for months to receive chemo/radiation yet can't afford things as like an iPad...or simple technology that some of us have more than we know what to do with…Wouldn't it be nice to start a collection of used iPads sitting around our homes and donate them to Capital District Hospitals to give to those children that don't have access to these?” 


One of the many who responded was her friend Laurie, who in addition to supporting an ongoing need for these types of items, also noted that her facility had recently lost several items that the children used due to a variety of circumstances. She posted:


“Almost all of the most popular games …are a great tool at the time of need for the sickest of our kids. If you have any games for any kind of platform (PS, Wii or XBOX) and you don't mind parting with them…”


That was all that Kathy and her friends needed to hear. The “likes” exploded, the shares and comments went crazy, and most importantly, donations and pledges starting coming in from all over. 


“It was gratifying to see the response,” Laurie said. “I’m really proud to be part of this community.” 


As the gently used items started streaming towards Kathy’s home, she posted again saying why she was doing this. Mind you, this is a woman with a pretty full boat to begin with: “…children and parents spend a long and often unbearable time with little family support because the family lives hours away and can't afford to come visit very often… cancer doesn't discriminate/neither does tragedy. We would like you to help these kids in a small way make their stay bearable.”


Kathy and Laurie together identified a list of things that the pediatric unit could use to make their client patients and families stay more comfortable.  


  • Leap Pads/V-Tech Games for toddlers
  • iPads/iPods/Tablets  
  • Picture Books for toddlers/books for all ages
  • DVD’s for all age groups
  • Games for Xbox/Wii/PlayStation
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Board games (with all pieces included) 
  •         Card Games i.e.: UNO
  • Any used game system that you have upgraded 


As the last item on the list indicates, gently used items are what will be appreciated. While Kathy and Laurie’s friends have been dropping off items to their respective homes, this is a need that is ongoing. A little phone research revealed that several pediatric units throughout the country are sharing this need. 


So, we invite you to participate. If you wish, please bring any items that are in good working order and are no longer needed, those that are perhaps just gathering dust in your basement, to our office at 5 Case Street. We will make sure that these items get to Kathy and Laurie, and then to the patients and families that truly need it. 



Call it spring cleaning with a purpose. S

Published in News

SARATOGA SPRINGS-- The rezoning proposal that would expand the Beekman Street Arts District was presented to the Saratoga Springs Planning Board Wednesday night and was issued a negative referral for too wide of scope and too small a demand for the alterations presented in the proposal.

The Planning Board served in its capacity as an advisory role having voted 5-0 against the endorsement of the proposal.

“When this project first came in front of us last year,” said Board Member Clifford Van Wagner before the Board turned the discussion over to public comment. “I consistently stated that the arts district needs to fix what they have before they do an expansion, and just before this meeting I drove down the street and saw the same empty store fronts that I saw back in the fall.”

“In my sense, I’m very supportive of the Arts District and expansion of the Arts District,” Planning Board Chairman Tom Lewis said after the meeting. “I would be very supportive of adding business uses in the Arts District. I think that their goals are very laudatory. However, in my opinion, the scope of what they asked for, the expansion area was really, really, large and I would’ve thought it would have made sense for incremental changes.”

“I’m supportive of having less regulation, not more,” he added. “So conceptually what they’re asking for, I would support. However they haven’t had much demand (from the artist community). So the demand isn’t there and they’re looking to put the supply before the demand was there. Again I understand that expanding the area is to attract business: it becomes a matter of degree.”

The Planning Board decision is only referral. Subsequently, the City Council can still vote in favor of the rezoning proposal. Planning Board member Robert Bristol and Chairman Mark Torpey recused themselves from the meeting because of potential conflicts of interest. Tom Lewis was the acting chairman of the board that night.

Packed on the benches and lining the walls of the second-floor room of City Hall, members of the community turned out to defend their stake and to have their say in the process of the Planning Board’s recommendation. Many of the views during public comment, whether they were for or against the rezoning proposal, were in favor of evaluating a more “suitable approach to what will work to revitalize the district”: as one community member said.

Several grounds for disagreement drove public comment. One of those was parking. Some individuals said that there were existing issues regarding parking on and around Beekman Street and that adding commercial zoning to the mix of a predominately residential neighborhood would further decrease the number of available parking spaces.

Beekman Street Arts District Founder Amejo Amyot said during public comment, that the Beekman Street Association and the City Council were currently in talks on the creation of additional parking where the Spa City Recycling is currently operating.

The comments continued to other themes including the waiving of city oversight for commercial businesses in the Neighborhood Complimentary Use-1 (NCU-1) and within the “Creative Arts District”. Zoning changes under the NCU-1 would allow for art studios, art galleries, retail and service establishments under 2,000 square feet; restaurants with less than 40 seats; offices with less than 2,000 square feet on upper floors only and open air markets to move into the Arts District without a special use permit. Special use permits in the NCU-1 that would be required for retail and service establishments exceeding 2,000 square feet; offices on the first floor, bed and breakfasts and outdoor entertainment.

The “Creative Arts District” overlaying the NCU-1 and covering the surrounding parcels includes waiving of special use permits or site plan review within existing structures for artist studios, art galleries, retail and service establishments – all within 2,000 gross square feet.

Amyot said: “The purpose is to bring more vibrancy. Our vision was to recreate the once thriving neighborhood of the West Side. In the overlay area of what we are encouraging is a live work-residential area for our artists to develop a community of the arts.”

The other side of this situation is a fear of the unknown. Some individuals who live within or adjacent to the “Creative Arts District” opposed the waiving of site plan approval and commercialization because it would change the environment they called home, and the reason the selected to move into the area in the first place.

“If you live there you do not want to have the uncertainty of knowing what commercial enterprise is going to be moving in next door,” said Frank Capone, a resident of Dublin Square. Dublin Square is on the opposite side of Grand Avenue where the “Creative Arts District” does not reach. He and another community member said that when they first moved in, after a period of due diligence, they chose to buy property in the West Side because it is designated as a residential zone.

The final count for community members that spoke either against the rezoning proposal or in favor of it was 14-8, respectively. “What we’re talking about is the arts, but what we’re worrying about is commercialization,” Capone said.

Published in News
Page 16 of 25


  • Saratoga County Court Brad C. Cittadino, 49, of Stillwater, was sentenced April 11 to 3 years incarceration and 2 years post-release supervision, after pleading to criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third-degree, a felony.  Matthew T. McGraw, 43, of Clifton Park, was sentenced April 11 to 5 years of probation, after pleading to unlawful surveillance in the second-degree, a felony, in connection with events that occurred in the towns of Moreau, Clifton Park, and Halfmoon in 2023.  Matthew W. Breen, 56, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded April 10 to sexual abuse in the first-degree, a felony, charged May 2023 in…

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