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Friday, 13 March 2015 09:46

The Foal Project” at Fortunes Restaurant

SARATOGA SPRINGS —For the entire 2015 harness racing season, “The Foal Project” gallery show is on display at Fortunes, Saratoga Casino and Raceway’s trackside restaurant. This nationally renowned gallery focuses on the intimate moments of connection between a mare and her foal.

 

Originating in 2010, “The Foal Project” was started by photographer Lisa Miller with the goal to raise awareness and funding for equine assisted therapies. Miller’s work has been recognized on ESPN.com and has been featured across the country in venues including the prestigious Cross Gate Gallery in Lexington, KY and the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in Aiken, SC.  

 

All of the pieces are numbered, signed and printed on large metal. Guests will be able to purchase these signed, numbered and limited edition prints, with 100 percent of the sale proceeds going to the Foal Project Donor Advised Fund, which is used to fill grant requests made by qualified 501(c)3 equine assisted therapy centers.

 

“The opportunity for ‘The Foal Project’ to be featured in Fortunes is truly an honor,” said Lisa Miller. “It’s very exciting to create more awareness for the project within the Saratoga community, and Fortunes is the ideal venue to accomplish that.”

 

 

For reservations at Fortunes, call (518) 581-5790. For more information on “The Foal Project,” visit FoalProject.org.

Published in News
Thursday, 12 March 2015 14:33

In the Homestretch

Public Invited to Help Complete Spirit of Life’s Restoration 

SARATOGA SPRINGS In less than four months, the iconic Spirit of Life and Spencer Trask Memorial in Congress Park will celebrate its 100th birthday. The public is invited to an official rededication ceremony on June 26, as part of the city’s Centennial activities. This will be the culmination of years of effort to restore a nationally significant work of public art. In order to assure that the restoration will be completed by that date, an appeal to the community at large has been issued.

 

This month the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation has asked the public for help to raise the remaining amount needed to complete the restoration of the unofficial symbol of Saratoga Springs. Thanks to the widespread support to date from many local individuals, businesses and foundations along with the Foundation’s work and the City’s commitment, less than 10 percent of the project’s total cost of $660,000 remains to be raised.   

 

Honorary Co-Chairs of the campaign, Barbara L. Glaser and Kathleen Fyfe, are now appealing to area residents and businesses to support this worthy project and ensure that the Spirit of Life and Spencer Trask Memorial is preserved for the next hundred years. “As of yesterday, we have only $46,000 remaining.” Glaser said. “I’m particularly excited to work on this campaign with Kathleen, because we represent two generations and she has boundless energy.” 

 

Ms. Glaser said that a social media campaign will be launched soon, but donations can be accepted now on the web, by mail and phone (see details at the end of this story.) For those who are able to donate $500 or more, they will receive a high-quality print of a painting of the Spirit of Life by local artist Kate Edwards. But any amount is welcome. 

 

In 2011, the Preservation Foundation took initial steps to restore the Memorial. In anticipation of marking both the Memorial’s and the City’s centennial, on-site work began last spring with the removal of decaying 100-year-old white pines and work to restore the masonry started this past summer. In addition, this spring conservation of the bronze Spirit of Life sculpture will take place and the restoration of the wide pathways, plantings, benches and lighting will be completed. 

 

“Some to the reasons why I particularly love this project is that it combines open space, public art and preservation,” Glaser said. “Plus the fact that it’s free, not to mention the site of many important family milestones for generations.”  

 

In 1913, Katrina Trask, philanthropist, founder of artist colony Yaddo and Saratoga resident, and Spencer Trask’s business partner George Foster Peabody, commissioned the Memorial to honor her late husband Spencer Trask. The Memorial is the product of the artistic collaboration of noted American sculptor Daniel Chester French, architect Henry Bacon, and landscape architect Charles Leavitt, Jr.  

 

French and Bacon are best known for their collaboration on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.  French created the bronze Spirit of Life sculpture; Bacon designed the masonry; and Leavitt, who was responsible for significant changes to the Saratoga Racecourse at the turn of the century, planned the landscape setting. The Memorial was unveiled and gifted to the City of Saratoga Springs on June 26, 1915. 

 

Over the past century, countless residents and visitors have enjoyed this National Historic Landmark. Also, the image of the Spirit of Life has been used numerous times for a variety of logos, including most recently the City of Saratoga Springs’ official Centennial Celebration logo. 

 

In a town known for its civic involvement and pride, this is a great chance for everyone to participate in securing a bit of local history’s future. 

 

Should fundraising efforts exceed the project’s final cost, excess funds will be placed in a restricted endowment fund dedicated to the Memorial’s maintenance and preservation.   

 

Donations are needed as soon as possible to complete the restoration by June 26. They can be made online at spiritofliferestoration.org; by check made payable to Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation and mailed to 112 Spring Street, Suite 203, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866; or by credit card over the phone: (518) 587-5030.

Published in News
Friday, 06 March 2015 13:41

Increased FUNding

Spa State Park to Receive $7M

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A statewide program to radically transform New York’s State Parks will have a positive impact locally. Under a plan called NY Parks 2020, $7 million dollars has been earmarked to Spa State Park for significant upgrades to many of its facilities.

 

The plan, which has allocated a total of $900 million in capital funding, was detailed in a Monday, Mar. 2 press conference at Spa State Park by state parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. The plan recapped some of the improvements to state parks since 2011 with an eye towards continued future upgrades. 

 

At Spa State Park, some of these improvements are already visible, including a new entrance sign and a renovated façade at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). Yet, most of the major improvements will be forthcoming shortly. 

 

These upgrades include:

  •   At SPAC, a “green parking lot” with porous material and vegetation will be open this season, providing an  environmentally sustainable entrance
  •  A new picnic shelter and bathrooms at the Peerless Pool’s Polaris Pavilion
  •   Upgrades to the Victoria Pool
  •   Refurbishments of Roosevelt and Lincoln Bathhouses
  •   Rebuilding the Hathorn playground
  •   Construction of a classroom / environmental center near Geyser Creek, which is tentatively scheduled to be completed in 2016       
  •   Renovation of the Karista mineral spring
  •   General trail upgrades.

“SPAC is grateful for the Governor’s commitment to revitalize New York’s State Parks through the NY Parks 2020 Plan,” said SPAC President and Executive Director Marcia J. White. “Continued investment in Saratoga Spa State Park and all New York State Parks is essential because these cultural and natural landmarks contribute to our state as economic engines and important centers of community life. This investment will help us achieve our mission of enhancing the quality of life of the community we serve, and allow us to continue to bring world-class performing arts to our region in years to come.”

 

Regarding Moreau Lake State Park, Harvey expressed optimism that 763 acres of land surrounding the closed Mt. McGregor Prison facility will eventually get transferred to Moreau’s adjacent parkland. A timetable for actual development will have to await the land’s transfer from the state’s Corrections Department and the formulation of a master plan for the site. At this point, a priority for the Parks department is to work with Corrections to secure utilities for the Grant’s Cottage historic site, which is next to the prison, for the opening of its season in May. 

 

No funding for new projects at Moreau Lake was specifically named in the NY Parks 2020 report. But according to information provided by Dan Keefe, deputy public information officer at the NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Department, Moreau Lake had previously received funding in the amount of $1,275,000 for resurfacing campground roads and the swimming beach parking area, as well as to rehabilitate the restroom area in 2012, and $100,000 to rehabilitate the beach bathhouse roof in 2013. Keefe said that future projects would be determined when the funding is approved in the state’s annual budget.

 

A significant element of the NY Parks 2020 plan is that funding has been placed in a pool in the capital budget, which eliminates the need for state parks to secure funding on an individual project basis. In 2015-16, $110 million has been put in the capital budget for state park projects, so it is conceivable that Moreau Lake might receive further project funding when the transfer of McGregor’s lands is completed. 

 

Overall, about $840 million of the $900 million in funding will come from state funds; $640 from the NY Works program for infrastructure improvements; $200 million from partnerships with state agencies such as the Department of Transportation. The balance will come from Federal dollars and private philanthropic and “friends” groups. 

 

The plan has a stated goal of completing many neglected infrastructure projects statewide, while providing for seven strategic priorities to position the state parks for the future:

 

• Transforming New York’s flagship State Parks (Spa State Park was specifically identified) 

• Promoting healthy, active outdoor recreation 

• Connecting people with parks

• Rejuvenating New York’s world-class park system 

• Preserving historic sites and cultural assets 

• Sustaining New York’s natural environment 

• Energizing local economies 

 

Since 2012, New York State has advanced 279 capital improvement projects at 109 parks and historic sites. The NY Parks 2020 plan allocates just over half (52 percent) of the $900 million in funding to infrastructure – much of which park patrons may not see. Yet at Spa State Park, the prospect is for many visible improvements from the $7 million earmarked will help to keep its place as one of New York State’s treasures. 

 

For more information, visit nysparks.com/publications/documents/NYParks2020.pdf

Published in News
Friday, 27 February 2015 10:06

Former City Attorney Challenges Mathiesen

Sarah Burger to Vie for Public Safety Post

 

SARATOGA SPRINGS –The 2015 city election season heated up early with an announcement on Tuesday, Feb. 24 that Sarah J. Burger, former City Attorney, stating that she wanted to make Saratoga Springs a better place to live and do business, will seek the post of Commissioner of Public Safety. 

 

This announcement sets up a primary battle for the Democratic Party endorsement against two-time incumbent Commissioner Chris Mathiesen, who has indicated he will seek re-election this fall. 

 

In her announcement, Burger stressed her family history in the area, which dates back to the Revolutionary War, as well as her experience with labor / management negotiations and pledged to keep an open mind on issues while listening to the entire community in her decision making. While she did not get into specific campaign platform issues in this announcement, she did criticize the Public Safety department for “bad decisions that have led to legal challenges.” Later, she cited the recent attempt to create a district, generally around Caroline Street, outside of which 4 a.m. bar closings would not be permitted, as “discriminatory and ill-advised.” 

 

Burger declined comment on the city’s sale/exchange of parcels on the Eastern Ridge and the Collamer lot at 500 Broadway, stating that she was City Attorney at the time. 

Yet it would be hard to visualize a campaign in which this will not be a subject of contention as the election season goes forward, as this is one such subject under litigation.  

 

Currently a labor attorney at Cooper, Erving & Savage, LLP, with offices in Saratoga Springs, Burger was appointed by Mayor Joanne Yepsen to be City Attorney in January of 2014. She resigned from that post abruptly last September, citing a “fundamental disagreement” on how to handle the legal affairs at City Hall. 

 

Burger stated that she would be also seeking endorsements of other political parties as well. If elected, she would be the first female to hold the position of Commissioner of Public Safety in the 100-year history of Saratoga Springs. 

 

Burger was introduced to a gathering of her supporters at the Empire Room at Maestros at the Van Dam Restaurant by her long-time friend, Gary Dake, president of Stewart’s Shops, who stated that the conduct of city council business should not be based on ideology, but balance.  

Published in News
Friday, 06 February 2015 10:37

Inhospitable Mandate

State Wage Board’s Proposed Increase Raises Concerns Locally

By Arthur Gonick

Saratoga TODAY

SARATOGA SPRINGS – On Friday, Jan. 30, the New York State Wage Board, after several months of hearings, recommended that tipped workers’ minimum wage be raised from $5 to $7.50 per hour. This recommendation would affect all wait staff and bartenders at restaurants and other hospitality venues. The increase, if accepted by the Commissioner of Labor, would take effect on Dec. 31, 2015. The recommendation had the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said in a statement: “For far too long, wages for tipped workers in New York State have been too low.”

 

However, in Saratoga Springs, which has a large number of restaurants and bars per capita in comparison to other cities, it was no surprise that local restaurateurs expressed several areas of apprehension about the implications, for both patrons and workers, if the recommendation is adopted. 

 

“We’re very concerned,” stated Nancy Bambara, Vice President of DZ Restaurants, which has four establishments in Saratoga County. “I’d personally like to see where they (Wage Board) got their research.”

 

Bambara noted, “Most of our servers make a good living already. For us, a new requirement like this, on top of mandates like health care, makes it harder and harder to do business.” 

 

“People don’t realize that in order for us to be competitive, we need to be make sure we are pricing our menu properly. All our restaurants’ (Chianti Ristorante, Forno Bistro and Boca Bistro in Saratoga Springs; Pasta Pane in Clifton Park) margins are exceedingly small.” She added. 

 

Should the wage board recommendation be accepted, Bambara believes that it won’t be long until consumers feel an impact. 

 

“We’ll do what we can – aggressive marketing, for instance, to try and keep the customer’s coming in. But it’s hard to believe that, with this percentage increase, we can hold the line on prices forever.” 

 

Regarding worker staffing and hours being impacted as well, Bambara didn’t rule that out, and added. “We would have to look at everything, including the employees. We take pride in having things like staff awards and other creative incentives; we may not be able to retain these.”

 

Bambara also took the Wage Board to task for favoring a blanket increase to everyone statewide outside of New York City: “Our situation here has to be considered. We are in a resort area, but we operate year-round, not just at peak times, and try to keep as many on staff as we can.” 

 

Robert Lee is the long-time owner of The Wishing Well Restaurant and recently opened The Brook Tavern. Regarding the potential wage increase, he stated succinctly: 

“Ultimately, any new cost is passed on to the consumer.” 

 

And while Lee did not specifically speak to the potential impact on employee’s jobs and/or their hours, he did state, “Restaurants are not any different from other businesses that are always looking to increase their efficiency while continuing to deliver a great product.” 

     

While other restaurant owners declined formal comment, they were universal in expressing frustration, and in some cases, anger that the state was adding another burden to them. 

 

One who had no reluctance to speak out was John Baker, owner of Gaffney’s Restaurant since 1982. “Let’s say I’m not too happy.” Baker said.

 

“Most of our tipped workers are making a very good living, so I don’t think in our case this kind of percentage is justified. In my experience, most of our employees who take tipped jobs do so because of the income they can derive.” He said.

 

Also, he was concerned that raising the pay rate for one subset of employees was unfair. “What about dishwashers and line cooks? Don’t they deserve an increase?” 

 

Other restaurant owners also stated that the impact on non-tipped employees was barely taken into consideration by the Wage Board, even though these workers might bear the brunt of the impact should the increase go through.

 

While Baker said he would do all he could to keep employees and hours at current levels if the increase is adopted, he did state that, “all pricing will need to be examined.” 

 

He offered an international perspective, and felt it wasn’t one that people here would favor, “In other countries, Australia for instance, tipping is a non-factor. In that case, you have wait staff that makes $20-25 per hour, which impacts all your costs. Eventually the customer pays – in some cases twice what we pay here for the same menu item. I don’t think people here want to go that way.” Baker concluded.

 

Tim Holmes, Co-owner of BWP and The Wheatfields Restaurants in Saratoga Springs and Clifton Park, as well as the current President of the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association, recommended the comments of The New York Restaurant Association. Their comments mirror the concerns expressed by local restaurant owners. 

 

In a release, Melissa A. Fleischut, CEO and President of the Association, stated: “Increasing the cash wage will hit small businesses hardest, and hurt the backbone of the restaurant industry, back of the house workers. There’s only so much money a restaurant can spend on labor, increasing the wages, the people who earn the most in a restaurant, leaves the owner with fewer resources for back of the house staff.”

 

After the Wage Board recommendation, in a call for the state Labor Commissioner to reject the Board’s recommendation, Fleischut added:  “This decision will handcuff small businesses’ ability to create jobs, decrease the pay of non-tipped employees, and reduce hours for tipped employees. Nobody won today.”

Published in News
Friday, 30 January 2015 08:25

A Life Well Lived

Anne Palamountain dies at 91

SARATOGA SPRINGS—Anne Tonnesen Palamountain, first lady of Skidmore College for 22 years during a period of dynamic change at Skidmore and in higher education nationally, died on Jan. 24 in Saratoga Hospital of complications from pneumonia. She was 91 years old. 

 

Mrs. Palamountain came to the college in 1965, accompanying her husband, Joseph C. Palamountain Jr., when he became the fourth president of Skidmore. Whether at the side of her husband, or through her own initiatives as a fundraiser and liaison to the community, she played a pivotal role in the life of the college and its hometown of Saratoga Springs.  

 

During the Palamountain presidency, 1965–87, Skidmore built an entirely new campus and moved there in stages from its eclectic mix of older downtown buildings, ushered in coeducation in 1971, and weathered student unrest in the late ’60s and early ’70s. The era was made all the more challenging by the college’s then-small endowment and severe financial strains. 

 

With Joe Palamountain at the helm, Skidmore’s student body doubled; the endowment grew, bringing a stronger financial footing; Skidmore chartered a chapter of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa; and the college launched the pioneering University Without Walls program, offering an alternate, nonresidential route to a bachelor’s degree. Joe Palamountain died in 1987, following his retirement from the College.

 

Mrs. Palamountain’s involvement in the life of Skidmore is a story in its own right. Her greatest passion at the college was building endowment for financial aid, which she saw as the most effective way to make a college education accessible to all students. In 1979 she spearheaded the launch of one of the college’s major fundraising events—the annual Palamountain Scholarship Benefit—now a highlight of Saratoga’s renowned summer scene. She presided over the event for 35 years, helping the Joseph C. and Anne T. Palamountain Scholarship Fund reach a total of $5.8 million.

 

An avid traveler, Mrs. Palamountain over the years attended Skidmore events across the country. She was named an honorary alumna of Skidmore’s class of 1973 and received an honorary doctorate from the college in 1997. In 1986 she received an alumni award for outstanding service to Skidmore and in 1987 received the college’s Denis B. Kemball-Cook Award from the board of trustees. She was a member of the advisory committee for the development of Skidmore’s Tang Teaching Museum, which opened its doors in 2000, and the museum’s Palamountain Gallery was named in her honor. In 2004, she was awarded Skidmore’s Lucy Scribner Medal, given for selfless service to others and a commitment to the community. 

 

Within the greater Saratoga Springs community, Mrs. Palamountain was a visible and active leader whose work was recognized by a wide range of organizations. In 1994 she received the President’s Award of the Hudson Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities, and in 1999 she was presented with the Woman of the Year Award from Soroptimists International of Saratoga County. In 2001 she received the Kathryn Starbuck Award for community service and in 2003 was honored by the Saratoga Springs Rotary Education Foundation for her commitment to education and the community. 

 

Mrs. Palamountain was a recipient of the Liberty Bell Award of the Saratoga County Bar Association and was twice honored with resolutions of the New York State Assembly. She has served as board president of the Lake George Opera and as a board member for the artists’ retreat Yaddo and for WMHT public television. Over the years, she was affiliated with Planned Parenthood, the Saratoga Springs League of Women Voters, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Action Council, and the National Museum of Racing. She regularly attended events supporting charities and nonprofit organizations in the Saratoga Springs region.  

 

Fond of international travel, Mrs. Palamountain served as U.S. delegate to the Pan-Pacific South East Asia Women’s Association, attending meetings and conferences in various countries of South East Asia.

 

She attended White House State events during the Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter administrations and in 1969 was a guest at New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s dinner honoring Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 astronauts.

 

Mrs. Palamountain’s first jobs were in the fashion industry, starting with the executive training squad of R.H. Macy’s in 1944. That same year she was named Miss New York City Subway and Miss R.H. Macy. She became a fashion buyer for Macy’s in New York City and Slattery’s in Boston. From 1948 to 1953 she was buyer for Bonwit Teller in Boston. 

 

Mrs. Palamountain is survived by two sons: Bruce K. Palamountain and Bromley C. Palamountain. 

 

A memorial service is scheduled on Wednesday, May 13, at the Arthur Zankel Music Center on the Skidmore campus. Details will be announced.

 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Palamountain Scholarship Fund, Office of Advancement, at Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY. 

Published in News
Thursday, 29 January 2015 15:54

Chowderfest: More Delicious Than Ever!

By Arthur Gonick

Saratoga TODAY 

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Now in it’s 17th year, Chowderfest is nothing less than a happening. Over time, it has ascended to a level where it rivals any event in this area. What makes Chowderfest distinctive is the time of year it occurs (this year’s event is on Saturday, Jan. 31 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), it’s tasty, and every year it keeps growing, growing, growing! 

 

Last year, The Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau, which coordinates the event, was pleased to hit a high-mark of 86 chowder outlets throughout downtown Saratoga Springs. In 2015, they have 92 at press time. Even so, don’t expect anyone to be standing around with a ladle, because year after year, chowder-loving consumers (with an emphasis on “consume”) descend upon downtown regardless of weather. Last year, just over 130,000 servings were enjoyed by an estimated 30,000 people. 

 

All the restaurants and purveyors are competing for your vote in a variety of categories. A triumph in any of them assures the winner bragging rights for an entire year. In fact, let us salute the 2014 winners one more time:

 

2014 Chowderfest Winners: 

People's Choice - Merry Monk

Most Chowder Served - Druthers

Best On Broadway - Stadium Cafe

Best Off Broadway - Olde Bryan Inn 

Best Dessert - Bettie's Cakes 

Best Newcomer - Thirsty Owl

Best Non Downtown - Fifty South

Best Chowder - Under 1,000 Served - Panza’s Restaurant

Dog Chow Down - Milton Manor Pet Spa

 

It’s a point of pride that spurs participants go all out to win your vote, and you get to enjoy the delicious consequences! 

 

As in previous years, the voting procedure is relatively simple:

 

- Pick up your official ballot at a number of places downtown. 

- Now the fun: sample to your heart’s content. Chowders cost $1 for a 3 oz. sample. Taste as many chowders at as many locations as you like and when you spot a favorite, pick up one of the participants’ stickers and place it on your ballot (don’t worry – they’ll have plenty.) 

- Completed ballots will have five stickers from participating businesses and can be turned in at the Saratoga Springs Visitor Center or the Saratoga Springs City Center (11 a.m. - 4 p.m.) or the Saratoga Downtowner Motel (from 2 - 4 p.m.) 

- For an additional $10, Chowderfest attendees with a completed ballot can take home an official long-sleeve Chowderfest T-shirt with this year’s logo (2XL shirts are $12.) These have become collector’s items – further evidence of Chowderfest’s popularity.

- The tabulations will be going on all afternoon and winners are to be announced inside the Saratoga Springs City Center at 6:30 p.m. that evening.  

 

Other Highlights of Saturday’s Chowderfest:

 

- Free Shuttles  

A great new addition to Chowderfest. You can avoid any parking inconveniences and get on a free shuttle from two locations. Buses will be running from the Wilton Mall at Saratoga (next to Dick’s Sporting Goods) to the Post Office, and from Saratoga Casino & Raceway (Jefferson Street Entrance) to Congress Park from 10-6. Just follow the parking signs at either location.

 

- Dog Chow Down

Also, coming back for the seventh year in a row will be the Dog Chow Down,” with special chowders made for your canine friends. And at 1 p.m. the contestants making dog chowder will go head to head to win the coveted Best Dog Chowder trophy in the Saratoga Downtownerparking lot (413 Broadway.) The Chow Down will feature Mayor Joanne Yepsen and her dog; both will help to choose the trophy winner.

 

 

For more information, visit Discoversaratoga.org/Chowderfest or call (518) 584-1531.

 

Published in News
Thursday, 22 January 2015 10:32

City Centennial Events Revealed

SARATOGA SPRINGS – You don’t turn 100 years old every day, or every year in fact – and so when you do, you put together a comprehensive celebration that reflects that milestone. 

 

That is the short course on the big plans that were detailed by Mayor Joanne Yepsen and the Saratoga Springs Centennial Committee at City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 20. Indeed, there is not one aspect of city life – be it history, arts, sports and health, among many others – that will not be touched upon in the course of 2015.

 

“We have so many exciting events and projects lined up,” the mayor said. “In true Saratoga Springs style, our centennial is going to be a one-of-a-kind celebration.” 

 

While the basic framework of events and projects was announced today, it is reasonable to think that there will be significant additions as the centennial year gathers momentum. Expect the Centennial logo (designed by Fingerpaint Marketing) to be as ubiquitous as the Saratoga 150 logo a few years ago – except in more places and for a longer period of time. 

 

As the schedule grows through the year, a website (www.SaratogaCentennial.com) will be updated.  

 

The committee membership itself draws from every facet of the community. The honorary chairs are Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson. On Tuesday, Mayor Yepsen was joined by planning committee co-chair Eleanor Mullaney and several sub-committee chairs and members in detailing plans for this year. 

 

For now, these are just a few of the 2015 highlighted Centennial events. In fact, the celebration kicked off on New Years Day, with a reading of a proclamation by Mayor Yepsen: 

 

- On April 7 there will be a Celebration of Saratoga Springs’ exact date of incorporation as a city by New York State in 1915  

 

- June 1 is the scheduled unveiling of Centennial Park, at Congress Park and Union Avenue, which was gifted by Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson  

 

- June 26 is the Rededication of Spirit of Life statue’s restoration – the iconic symbol of the Centennial logo will have its unveiling in Congress Park 

 

Mayor Yepsen also took note that sometime in the fall there will be a significant event when the High Rock Spring, the founding location of the city and the site illustrated on the city’s seal, will be re-piped and flowing again, thanks to a grant from the Alfred Solomon Foundation.

 

“In addition to the many events around the city, we're honored and excited to present such a diverse list of unique centennial projects,” said Mullaney, “from the History of Saratoga Centennial book, with contributions from 25 authors, to the planting of legacy centennial trees around the city.”

 

A few pieces of commemorative merchandise were also revealed, including t-shirts and 14K gold pendants, which will be on sale at Impressions and N. Fox Jewelers. 

 

If there is one sure bet, it is that you can expect frequent updates and augmentations to this story. The mayor, centennial committee members and the citizenry of Saratoga Springs wouldn’t have it any other way in its hundredth year.

 

For more information, visit SaratogaCentennial.com

Published in News
Friday, 09 January 2015 13:56

Candy Lovers Unite!

Candy Company, Saratoga Sweets to Join Forces

By Arthur Gonick

Saratoga TODAY

 

SARATOGA SPRINGS – To paraphrase Reese’s, Saratoga County will soon have two great tastes that taste great together! 

 

That’s because the owner and co-founder of Halfmoon-based Saratoga Sweets, Mike Fitzgerald, recently decided to step back from day-to-day operations after 26 years. The creator of the iconic, beloved “Peppermint Pig” is turning over the reins to son Mike, Jr.

 

It was announced this week that Saratoga Sweets will shortly combine forces with the 17-year old Candy Company of Saratoga Springs, which was founded by local entrepreneur Dawn Oesch. The new entity will be called Saratoga Sweets Candy Co., retaining The Candy Company’s current retail location at 5 Washington Street, Saratoga Springs. 

 

The two company’s operations will merge, with an expanded area inside the nearby Rip Van Dam Hotel at 353 Broadway, where Fitzgerald, Jr. will head up a new candy kitchen that will be housed in this space. Meanwhile, Oesch will continue operations at 5 Washington Street with a refreshed look to accompany an expanded product line. Commenting on the forthcoming expansion and working with Saratoga Sweets, Oesch stated: 

 

“This is a great addition to my store and I am so excited.  My landlord, Bruce Levinsky (owner of both 5 Washington and the Rip Van Dam) has created a larger space for us to make more delectable creations and to carry on Saratoga Sweets traditions. As time moves on we will see what space may be needed to expand and we will grow from there.” 

 

The Rip Van Dam is also currently the home of an expanded Maestro’s at the Van Dam restaurant, which Oesch noted has a pastry kitchen. This could further help expand the new company’s product line further as the occasion arises.

 

A target launch date for the newly merged operation has been ambitiously pegged at Jan. 25 “just in time for the busy Valentine season,” Oesch noted. “We are hoping (by that date) to have everything meshed together including a wholesale division, new website and overhaul of both the retail and kitchen spaces.”  

 

For more information, contact Dawn Oesch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (518) 580-0499.

Published in News
Friday, 12 December 2014 09:48

Still Time For Your Perfect Match!

Home Made Theater Encouraging Creative Donations

By Arthur Gonick

Saratoga TODAY

 

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Now at the beginning of it’s 30th season, Home Made Theater (HMT) has a lot of great reasons to be thankful. Thanks to an anonymous benefactor, as well as some wide spread community support, it may have up to 30,000 more reasons before the end of this year. 

 

Prior to Thanksgiving, the theatre was prepping for their opening of The Jungle Book, when word reached General Manager Stacie Mayette Barnes that a long-time friend of the theater had pledged to match all donations to HMT up to $15,000 by Dec. 31. 

 

Never one to miss an opportunity to do something creative – usually on the spur of the moment – Stacie and her staff set about developing an impromptu fundraising drive that was equal parts community involvement, social media and of course, fun!

 

#HMTPerfectMatch was born. 

 

The campaign serves Home Made Theater’s goal to raise awareness and funds by encouraging people to make a donation before the end of the year to be matched (visit homemadetheater.org/HMTPerfectMatch to make a donation online or print out a form to do so). 

 

Once you have made your donation, the creativity and fun begins. People are then encouraged to post photos and videos of their idea of a perfect match to HMT’s Facebook page (see and like facebook.com/pages/Home-Made-Theater/100518173426) using #HMTPerfectMatch and then inspire others to do the same. 

 

“We’re hoping our Perfect Match campaign is a fun way for people to double their donation while also getting creative with their posts and rallying others to support our community theater,” said Mayette Barnes.

 

So far, the community has responded very positively and creatively. Some notable perfect matches have been posted so far. For instance:

 

-Susan and Bill Dake of Stewart’s Shops – their perfect match is ice cream

-Dee Sarno’s perfect match is the Arts

-Photographer Tom Stock’s perfect match is his camera

-The Candy Co.’s Dawn Oesch perfect match is chocolate and maple fudge

-Jaime Martinez-Rivera and his fiancé Elyse are each other’s perfect match

-Deborah Otto-Jones’ perfect match is her morning coffee

-Bo Goliber of Fingerpaint Marketing found her perfect match in philanthropy

-The cast of HMT’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone is a perfect match for the cast of The    Addams Family – HMT’s recent fall production

 

This certainly puts the ‘fun’ into fundraising and, of course, the possibilities are endless. It’s hard to disagree with any of these matches, and the good news is that there is still time for you to make a donation, find your perfect match, post it and get your donation doubled. 

 

Home Made Theater is a not-for-profit theater company first and foremost, a success story that has stood the test of time to become a treasured community asset in a community of many such assets. A campaign like this is a great way to be distinctive and yet have a good time. But there’s a serious message behind all of this.

 

“We’re hoping the momentum carries into the New Year,” said Mayette Barnes, “But most importantly we just want the community to know we’re thankful for their support being the perfect match to our success. We wouldn’t be here without them.”  

 

The bottom line is that in a world with a variety of perfect matches available, Home Made Theater has proven itself to be a perfect match for everyone in this community, which is why you are invited to join your neighbors and show your backing.

 

For more information on Home Made Theater or their Perfect Match campaign, visit homemadetheater.org  

 

Published in News
Page 9 of 25

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