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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Building a mouth-watering lasagna from scratch can be a real challenge for busy moms on-the-go, which is one reason why Augie Vitiello, chef and owner of popular mainstay Augie’s Family Style Italian Restaurant in Ballston Spa, is bringing his famous recipes to Saratoga Springs at a new take-out-only location coming in January.

“It’s so exciting to have Augie’s To Go moving into the neighborhood!” said Katrina Lucas of Saratoga Springs. “A quick weeknight meal just got so much easier. We can pick up the kids from after-school activities and pick up a fresh, amazing Italian dinner down the street.”

Augie’s Family Style Italian To Go will continue the Augie’s concept, with familiar menu items as well as prepared foods such as packaged homemade pastas and sauces. There will be homemade cannoli, seasonally flavored gelatos, and other desserts as well.

“You can come in and pick up a pound of fresh pasta and quart of marinara at your convenience,” said Vitiello. “Or you can call ahead to pick up a pan of eggplant parm, lasagna or meatballs and salad to have for company at home the next day. Fresh and hassle-free.”

Vitiello said he often heard from his restaurant customers that they wished he had a location in Saratoga Springs.

“We’re making life easier for our great customers in Saratoga so they don’t have to drive to Ballston Spa,” said Vitiello. “It’s a great Eastside location, across from the park where there’s lots of activity and a big population of families that want good, wholesome Italian food at a reasonable price just a phone call away. I see a niche for that, and I think it will do really well.”

Vitiello is taking over the former pizzeria at 223 Lake Avenue, just across from East Side Recreation Park, which has been empty for about a year.

“The landlord has been doing extensive renovations to the property,” said Vitiello, “and he’s excited having me join the property and bring it back to life. We’re anticipating an opening date in mid-January.”

Vitiello has originally opened his restaurant in Larchmont in 1990, and moved to Ballston Spa in 2004.

“It’s been great,” he said. “We’ve been growing all the time, constantly expanding what we do. We’ve expanded our footprint in the restaurant and now have two private dining rooms for private parties and banquets. It’s been pretty active and promising.”

Vitiello sees that success growing with this new take-out venue, which will be its own entity, with a phone number, website, and social media sites separate from the existing restaurant. For questions about Augie’s Family Style Italian To Go, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For questions about Augie’s Family Style Italian Restaurant, located at 17 Low Street in Ballston Spa, call 518-884-8600 or visit AugiesRestaurant.com.

Published in Business

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Check, one. Check, two. Check. Check. Check.

If Bobby Carlton was trying to confuse the wait staff inside the redbrick bistro that boasts creative food, craft drinks and live music, it clearly wasn’t working.

Armed with their three Fender instruments – two guitars and a bass, their boxes of special effects – seven soundwave bending foot-pedals, and the back-beat thwomps of a drummer gluing it all together, Dryer celebrated the release of their new five-song EP at One Caroline last weekend, showcasing the harmonious weavings of punk-driven power chords and melodious hooks that the band has brought to the nation’s stages the past 24 years.

“We’re still a dirty bar venue kind of band playing loud rock music,” said Carlton, who co-founded Dryer with bassist Rachael Sunday in 1992, soon after she had left Skidmore College and was working at Strawberries record shop on Broadway. Drummer Joel Lilley joined the group in 1993.

“It’s really crazy. I didn’t know a band could go that long,” the guitar player said, laughing. “We did what we could do in the time we were a touring band, and we had some great experiences. We were able to tour the U.S. several times and we slept on a lot of floors, played a lot of clubs and got to meet some shady people.”

After a decade of touring and recording, the threesome broke up in 2002. The owner of a New Jersey-based record label convinced them to reform for what was to be a one-off show at Putnam Den in 2010. “At that time it meant calling Rachael, who I hadn’t talked to in eight years, and asking if she’d be into it. So, I threw it out there and surprisingly Joel and Rachael were both on board to do the show. The turnout was so huge that we were like: Oh, people really do enjoy Dryer. So we just started playing together again.”

In 2014, the band added guitar player Brian Akey, who had played with the Massachusetts based band Winterpills. “They were the darlings of the New York Times for a while. Brian moved to Saratoga Springs and someone introduced us,” recalled Carlton. “He just came up one night and expressed interest in playing with Dryer. We’d been a three-piece band for 20 years and never strayed from that, but when Brian came in I was excited about the idea of having another guitar player,” Carlton explained. “Here’s the thing: I know exactly what kind of guitar player I am. I’m not real proficient, but I know about power chords, so I like the idea of having this whole other layer of guitars – and it really works.” The showcase of sound blends raw riffs, sweet vocals and an underlay of melody-laced guitaristry. “The moment Brian came in it opened things up quite a bit and changed the landscape. It makes it more fun.”

The band’s four-member interplay is evident in both their live sets and the new five-song EP. “Bright Moon, Bright Sun,” which marks Dryer’s first issue as a quartet and its first overall release of new music since 2002. Now nearing the quarter-century mark since the band’s formation means finding a new way for the creative mind. “You have to adjust. For me, I cut my teeth on punk rock music coming out of the city – basement shows and CBGB’s in the early days and the whole D.C. scene, so that part still is there for me. I think if I didn’t have that, I probably wouldn’t want to be playing music anymore in this capacity,” Carlton said. “I might stay at home, Instagram a photo here and there of me playing a song. But, I’m still playing shows, I’m still traveling to clubs and I think that comes from the fact that I grew up in that era of punk rock music. The Ramones and The Descendants were huge inspirations for me. They had that ‘Get out and do it, no matter how old you are’ attitude.

“You know you can choose to sit home and do nothing – which is fine – but that’s not me. We’re still doing it at a capacity that’s good for us,” he said. “When I was in my twenties and Dryer was touring, I was sleeping on a dirty floor and thinking: oh man, I’m in Michigan, playing a rock show. I made it! But now, I’m still being creative and I’m sleeping in my own bed at night. That to me is making it.”

“Bright Moon, Bright Sun” is available on a variety of digital streaming sites, and the band has plans to release the tracks on a vinyl format in the future. For more information, visit: https://dryerrockmusic.com/

Published in News
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 14:37

The Inside Scoop on Barbara Lombardo

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ten thousand days of newspapers. More than a million published words.

Barbara Lombardo has served as a leading voice in the community for more than a generation - her words educating, entertaining, and often inspiring open dialogue of a variety of issues among political leaders and city residents alike.

“I got into journalism during the era of Watergate,” the longtime journalist and managing editor of The Saratogian explained to a crowd gathered at the Saratoga Springs Public Library to hear her speak about her 38-year career in the local news business. “There was a great feeling of what you could do – and not just tearing down a president – but in your own community.” She joined The Saratogian staff in June 1977 working the City Hall beat and by age 30 became the newspaper’s managing editor, directly supervising the newspaper’s day-to-day operations, overseeing editors, writing her column “Fresh Ink,” and helping to launch a countless number of journalists’ careers. The origins of Lombardo’s own career were founded in a series of serendipitous moments.

“I took journalism classes as a lark and got hooked. As it turned out, someone at The Saratogian had died and I was offered a job to start as soon as I finished grad school,” she said during the discussion at the library, moderated by longtime area writer Maria McBride Bucciferro. “I fell in love with Saratoga. I married my college boyfriend and we raised our children here. Things just worked out wonderfully.”

Lombardo cited a lengthy list of a dozen publishers she worked with during her five-decade career that alternated between collaborative camaraderie and ethical conflict. “There was one publisher - and I won’t name him - but a story in the Associated Press his first day on the job was about one of the big department stores that was being sued for discrimination against its workers and having to pay a big fine. That department store was one of our biggest advertisers,” said Lombardo, recalling pressure that was placed on her to stifle the news piece. “The publisher didn’t want me to put that story in the paper at all, let alone where I did put it: on the front page,” she said.

She spoke about memorable stints alongside publisher Linda Glazer Toohey in the 1970s - at the time one of the youngest female publishers in the country - and a decade later with Monte Trammer, whose actions Lombardo cited as a role models for newspaper ethics. “Monte was at a session with a publisher of another paper when somebody asked: ‘If I buy an ad for your company what do you get in exchange for news coverage?’ The publisher of the other paper said that if you buy an ad, you get a story. Monte said that our news columns were not for sale. That’s just as true today,” Lombardo said. “It’s not like you don’t get some pressure, but say you’re doing a story about apple picking and you go to three or four apple orchards to get comments. I believe strongly that you should go to the orchards that are advertising with you, because it’s an opportunity for you to support the companies that are supporting you. But it doesn’t mean you would only go to them, or give somebody special preference.”

These days she teaches a journalism class at the University of Albany, which she’s been doing since 2008, and maintains an online blog, titled “Done with Deadlines,” at: http://www.donewithdeadlines.com/. “One of the things I always loved about journalism in Saratoga was that we were in a competitive market,” she said, explaining that the competitive scramble for scoops, sources and stories in the pre-Internet days had a definitive timeline that no longer exists. “Once that deadline came it was over. Now, it’s never over. You constantly have to be out there - and with fewer and fewer resources. I’m also concerned now with things being archived online on some cloud somewhere and not in newspapers, or microfilm like they used to be.”

During her time at the Saratogian, Lombardo saw the American newsroom transform from a bricks-and-mortar foundation that housed journalists skillfully trained at scribing barrels of ink, to an open-air market of unfettered opinions, blurring the lines of reality and cluttering cyberspace. The Internet has, at least in part, posed a slew of challenges for the industry.

“The biggest challenge is how to make money out of the way people are getting their news now – which is on their phone. Newspapers have traditionally relied on their advertising from print and they have not succeeded in raising the same amount of revenue from advertising online. That’s been the crux of problem,” Lombardo said. Allowing public commentary alongside articles in real time can be both a blessing and a curse, at times providing new leads and sources while at other times allowing a forum for anonymous posters to verbally skewer public figures and private citizens alike.

“There’s a responsibility to try to avoid some of the comments and on some stories cut the comments off, because they can be so heartless or personal. I believe that’s part of the downside of the Internet: the ability to say things anonymously,” she said. “What I personally enjoyed was the thrill of the chase, pursuing a story that sometimes could be a bad event, but you feel that you’re doing something good,” Lombardo said. “Things that make a difference in the community. Sometimes that might make some people unhappy, but overall it can make peoples’ lives better.”

Published in News

Jerry Carpenter Jr. died in June, a few hours shy of his 21st birthday, his family by his side.

In an emotionally moving ceremony Tuesday night at City Hall, Carpenter’s family thanked Saratoga Springs Police Officer Bill Arpei for answering the call to tend to the Saratoga Springs High School graduate in his time of need. 

“On that day, June 2, that afternoon, the call was received by an officer for a young man in cardiac arrest,” family friend Donna Flinton told a chamber room crowded with residents and council members gathered to decide the city’s business. The call was placed by Carpenter’s sister. From Jefferson Terrace, the emergency was reported as a young man in severe medical distress.

“Officer Arpei responded within minutes of the call and assessed everything. He started chest compressions and continued to do so even after EMS came to take over,” Flinton said. “Unbeknownst to the officer, Jerry had only one working lung as well as a host of other complications. With Officer Arpei’s CPR, his not giving up on our boy and EMS’ help, Jerry was resuscitated.”

Although resuscitated, the young man whose obituary remembers him as an innocent soul with a brave heart who spread love to all who knew him, passed away a week later.

“The officer was asked to be kept in the loop, and we did,” Flinton said. “We informed Officer Arpei that Jerry had passed, and of the funeral arrangements, hoping he would perhaps come. He sure did. And in full uniform. It gave the family and myself great pride to know the Saratoga Springs Police Department would allow Officer Arpei not just to attend, but to salute as we passed by,” she recalled. “With that, my friends, everyone just cried. That was our time. And that was the time he gave us. He not only refused to give up on him, but he cared - and caring and compassion is not always prevalent in today’s society.”       

One of the young man’s sisters handed Arpei a keychain, to signify the day her life forever was changed and the moment the officer was welcomed as a member of the family. With the presentation of a statue she noted how they would never forget the officer’s actions.

“When we look at you, we see Jerry,” Flinton said. “Because of you, his mother was able to sit with him for the last few days he had, hold his hand and tell him he could go dance in heaven with his grandfather. His grandmother was able to kiss him one last time and tell him that she loved him.  His sisters were able to say goodbye and lay with him as he took his last breath - and we celebrated his birthday - because in some country he was 21,” she told the officer, who joined the city police department five years ago. “These are the moments the family will cherish forever and they know they wouldn’t have had them if it wasn’t for you.”  In the crowded council chamber overcome by silence some in the crowd choked back tears.

 “We feel it was time to express our family’s gratitude towards one of our own,” she said. “Saying just thanks, we think, is not appropriate. But that’s all we’ve got.” Residents and council members alike stood up and the chamber erupted in a lengthy ovation.  

 

City Approves Purchase of Pitney Farm: Westside Farm to Stay a Farm Forever

After much deliberation, the council unanimously approved the city purchase of the development rights of the 166-acre Pitney Farm on West Avenue.

The city is spending $1.165 million - $1.13 million outright and $35,000 in closing costs –   to purchase the development rights to ensure the farm land will remain a farm in perpetuity.

Members of the council had expressed hope that a portion of the 166-acre farm could be used to house recreation fields for youth sports such as soccer, field hockey and lacrosse. DPW Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco was especially adamant that the city may have done a better job negotiating the fields into the land contract, as the city lacks those resources.

The closing is scheduled to take place in mid-December. At the same time, the city will issue a bond anticipation note. The interest will be 0.95 percent, Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan said.       

A contract of sale for the farm was signed between the Pitney Family and the newly created 501(c)(3), Pitney Meadows Community Farm. The vision for the farm includes the creation of a community agricultural resource center to function as a teaching facility and incubator, as well as offering access to the community to cultivate gardens and enjoy nature trails on the property.

 

City Amends Sidewalk Sitting Ordinance – Penalties Reduced, Law Still in Effect 

The city's controversial “sit and lie ordinance,” which was adopted in June and makes it unlawful for any person to sit or lie down upon a public sidewalk, was amended by the City Council this week. The changes include a streamlining of exceptions to the law; those exceptions allow for medical emergencies, or in curbside areas permitted for street performers, as well as easing penalties for code violators. 

The previously adopted penalties called for a minimum $50 fine for first offenders, escalating to misdemeanor charges with the potential of up to 30 days of jail time and fines of up to $500 for repeat offenders. The new penalties call for a maximum $50 fine for first offenders. Subsequent offenders would be subject to a fine not exceeding $250 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 days, according to the city’s general penalties for offenses, posted on the city website.   

The New York Civil Liberties Union submitted testimony alleging both the original law and the amended proposal targets homeless people and is unconstitutional and should be rescinded altogether. Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen – who brought forward both the original and amended proposals – argued that the ordinance was based on other municipalities’ existing ordinances and that “it does pass constitutional muster.”  The council members were in general agreement in expressing belief that the ordinance is related to pedestrian safety issues and does not target the city’s homeless population. The amended ordinance was approved 4-1, with city Mayor Joanne Yepsen casting the lone vote against. “I don’t like this law and I don’t see a need for it,” said Yepsen, who also cast the lone voted against the initial proposal in June.    

 

On a High Note, City Center President Says Goodbye

Longtime Saratoga Springs City Center President Mark Baker delivered the City Center Authority’s annual report for 2015 to the council on Tuesday. In 2015, the City Center hosted 154 events and secured 252 days of paid activities - marking the highest number of annual paid events in the building’s history. The 2016 schedule already tops that number, Baker added, and reported $2.1 million in sales tax revenue was generated in 2015 for the local community. More than 155,000 people attended events last year.

“For 33 years it’s been a pleasure to serve for you and with you,” said Baker, who last week announced he will retire as the organization’s president at year’s end. “In the last 33 years I think it’s become most obvious that there is no place like Saratoga Springs – our history, our style, our grace,” Baker said..   

 

‘Eyesore’ at Interlaken to be Demolished, Replaced by Single-Family Homes

The council unanimously voted to support a Planned Unit Development SEQRA determination regarding a property on Crescent Avenue in the Interlaken community. The long-abandoned home will be demolished and the land subdivided into four parcels where four single-family homes will be developed. Residents of the neighborhood addressed the council, alternately referring to the existing building as “an eyesore” and “a neighborhood blight,” and outnumbered those opposed to the building’s demolition by a 10-1 margin.  

 

City Public Art Policy Approved; Changes Coming for City Arts Commission

The council unanimously approved a public art policy that will provide a civic planning process for the acceptance and placement of artwork in public areas.

The city Arts Commission – a 20-member advisory board appointed by the mayor in 2015 - will review submissions using artwork and site selection criteria and may recommend to accept or reject an artwork. The Commission is tasked with reviewing proposals for consistency with the city’s goals and where appropriate, recommending acceptance or rejection of such acquisitions for the city. “Public art,” in this scope, is defined as publicly accessible artwork that enriches the city through its aesthetic qualities, considers the social and physical context of the site, and addresses the goals of the city.

The Arts Commission will also undergo changes to its member bylaws. Starting in January 2018, the committee will be comprised of a maximum of 11 members; four will be selected by the commissioners and the balance appointed by the mayor. Currently, all 20 members have been selected by the mayor.

 

 

 

Published in Today in Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Inside the office on a sublevel of the Collamer Building, a pair of couches sit in a comfortable corner. A toy kitchen patiently awaits the attention of a child’s playing hands, and rows of books line the far wall.

“We have the easiest door to walk in,” says Maggie Fronk, executive director of the Wellspring office, which opens its doors five days a week and hosts seminars that are confidential and free of charge. A hotline, which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, annually fields about 1,400 calls that come in from across Saratoga County.

“When somebody comes in, we talk to them about what their situation is and about what domestic violence is. It’s a pattern of power and control,” says Fronk, who joined Wellspring 14 years ago. The organization has supported survivors and strived to end relationship and sexual abuse for the past 35 years.

“There are many different forms of abuse. There’s emotional control, psychological control, financial control, social isolation, sexual victimization. So many times people will call us and say, ‘But I’ve never been hit.’ In their mind they’re saying, ‘this is not domestic violence.’ Well, it is,” Fronk says. “We have a ‘power and control wheel’ that talks about all kinds of abuse and we’ll show that to them. The person that says, ‘I don’t know if I even should be calling,’ will look at that and say, ‘Oh, I do have all those other kinds, I’ve just never been hit.”

Wellspring’s crisis intervention and survivor services provide safe housing to adults and children either fleeing or homeless because of domestic violence, as well as comprehensive support in the form of counseling, legal advocacy, and case management. In 2015, the organization provided almost 15,000 safe bed nights of shelter and supportive housing, counseled 700 individuals escaping their abuse, and provided education about the signs of relationship and sexual abuse to 6,500 members of school, and community groups.

“Wellspring gave me a new lease on life and I’m going to take full advantage of it,” said Tina, who married at 18, divorced at 21, and was forced to give up on her dream of going to college after graduating high school. For three years, she endured an abusive marriage. She married her second husband in 2001 and gave birth to her first of three children in 2007. “Unfortunately, women who are victims of domestic violence tend to attract predatory mates,” Tina said.

“My first husband was an alcoholic and here it was, like a bad dream, happening all over again. He began drinking very heavily and the abuse began to get worse.” Pregnant with her second child in 2008, Tina temporarily moved back to her parents’ home and gave her husband an ultimatum. “I told him he had to rehab.” Things seemed to work for a while, but it would not last. “The police were called to our house several times. He punched me in the face and gave me a black eye. It took me a long time to realize I couldn’t fix him, that my love couldn’t carry it through. A lot of women think that if they’re nice enough, if they’re pretty enough, then they can fix things,” she said. “But they can’t.”

An incident involving child neglect that was brought on by her husband’s drinking convinced her the marriage was over. Tina wasn’t working and when the child support payments stopped coming, she became involved in a child custody conflict which continues to this day.

“The psychological effect of that spun me into a dark, life-threatening world of depression. I was in a state of turmoil and didn’t know what to do.” By chance, she came across a Wellspring business card. “I was a mess,” Tina recalled. “I reached out and called their hotline. Immediately, I felt there was a glimmer of hope.” Through Wellspring, she began picking up the pieces of her shattered life. The organization helped with housing, and she recently secured a job at a retail store on Broadway.

“At times it’s been a nightmare of a life, but I’ve realized my true value, my true worth and I have three little kids who I have to make a new path for, so they don’t follow in my footsteps,” she said. “Yes, there will be stumbling blocks, but you have to persevere. I’m not going to let my life be stopped by an abuser who I’d given 22 years of my life. I’m not going to give up on my education. I’m not going to give up on my kids. I’m humbled by these experiences. And I don’t take for granted one minute of my life.”

“We have a commitment to end relationship and sexual abuse in the community and I see that happening,” Fronk says. “We do that by involving the whole community. If you see something, talk to somebody. Tell them there’s a place to get help. Make the call.“

Wellspring maintains office hours Monday through Friday in Saratoga Springs. To reach the office during business hours, call 518-583-0280. To reach the 24-Hour Hotline, call 518-584-8188. For more information, visit: http://www.wellspringcares.org/.

Published in News
Friday, 07 October 2016 10:39

Notes From City Hall

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The city’s proposed operating budget in 2017 will top $45.5 million – an approximate three percent increase over 2016 – but will contain no increase in taxes for city taxpayers, according to the proposal released by city Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan this week.

The $45.52 million plan marks an increase of $1.51 million over the 2016 budget, with contractual wages and health insurance accounting for nearly all of the change. Main revenue sources supporting the operating budget remain largely the same as 2016 - little to no increase is anticipated for sales tax, mortgage tax, state aid, or video-lottery terminal aid (VLT). VLT is budgeted about $498,000 higher than in years past to reflect the amount received for each of the past three years ($2.325 million).

“In the face of large and obligatory expense increases and otherwise flat revenues, this is not the year to leave money on the table,” Madigan said, in a statement.

The 2017 Budget counts both reserve funds and fund balance among its revenue resources. Amounts supporting the general operating budget include funds from unassigned fund balance ($541,000), the Retirement Reserve ($300,000) and the Tax Stabilization Reserve ($775,000).

“With no new revenue sources, little revenue growth, an almost 8 percent increase in health care costs, I can think of few better circumstances to use this reserve. It was created for this purpose. It is funded with taxpayer dollars. Taxpayers deserve to use their reserve rather than pay more taxes or receive diminished services,” Madigan said. The Council last month voted unanimously in favor of using up to about half of the reserve. This is the fifth city budget put forth by Madigan that contains virtually no increase in property tax and the 2017 budget year marks the sixth time municipalities are required to remain under the state property tax cap. Public budget workshops will take place: 1 p.m. on Wednesday Oct. 12; Wednesday, Oct. 19, and Monday, Oct. 24. A Public Comment period will also be provided during each workshop. The first of two public hearings will take place at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18. The council must adopt a budget by Nov. 30; if it doesn’t, the proposed comprehensive budget will become the 2017 adopted budget. The 2017 budget proposal can be viewed on the city’s website at www.saratoga-springs.org.

 

City Requests Resident Feedback For Open Space Plan

The city of Saratoga Springs is conducting a survey to update its Open Space Plan and asks residents to participate in a survey regarding their needs and concerns as it relates to open space and future open space planning. “Open Space” in the survey is defined as: public and privately-owned undeveloped lands which are important for a variety of reasons, including recreation, conservation, water resource protection, agriculture, forestry, or simply because of their scenic qualities and their contribution to the overall character of the town. To take the survey, go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/X62W7JX

 

Weibel Ave. Not What It Used To Be

“Weibel Avenue has changed dramatically. It’s no longer the rural road it used to be,” said Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen, referencing a plan to lower the speed limit from 40 to 30 mph on Weibel, from Lake Avenue to the city line on Louden Road. A public hearing regarding the proposal will take place Oct. 18 with a potential City Council vote to follow later in the evening.

Published in News
Tagged under
Friday, 02 September 2016 14:57

High-End Video Production Company Lands in Saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS —Saratoga Springs just became home to 32 Mile Media, a video production company now located at 46 Congress Street. 32 Mile Media develops compelling video content for commercial and non-profit organizations locally and nationally, offering an array of video products, including online videos, promotional videos, TV commercials, animation, and video graphic packages.

“This is a thriving town with so much going on,” said Dale Mattison, co-owner, chief video producer, and founder of 32 Mile Media. “You can’t pick a better spot. The main reason we moved here from Glens Falls is because this is where PEP is located, but I’m so happy to be in Saratoga – the perfect place to have a new business.”

Under a new co-ownership partnership agreement with the Patient Experience Project (PEP) at 19 Railroad Place, 32 Mile Media has become a sister company to the full-service, patient-centric communications firm serving the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries.

“We’ve grown to about 35 people here and do a lot of content marketing, with a lot of written content and video,” said PEP owner Dan Bobear. “We’ve been outsourcing a tremendous amount of video.”

But rather than create an internal video production studio from scratch, PEP connected with 32 Mile Media, which was already serving local clients.

“It was a natural fit for us to expand laterally,” said Bobear. “We invested significant amounts of cash into equipment and a studio in town, and we have a nationally known guy, so the local market is getting a high-end video production quality pretty affordably. The [community] side benefit is now there’s great production capability right in their back yard with national talent.”

“We are really confident it [PEP’s investment] will yield a quick return with the unique storytelling approach we have,” added Mattison. “We begin every project that we do with a conversation. We take the time to listen to the stories of the company or individual, and bring to the surface the most meaningful story that they have.”

This approach matches PEP’s emphasis on storytelling as marketing. “I think you see scripted and formulaic pharmaceutical marketing out there,” said Bobear, “and we have introduced a way to keep them regulatory-compliant, but at the same time let people talk and tell their stories naturally, authentically.”

“It’s a perfect marriage,” said Mattison. “It makes sense for a company that tells stories through video to join a company that tells stories of people who are struggling and need their stories told out into the world. We are super focused on storytelling that gets to the root of what makes our clients unique. So is the Patient Experience Project.”

32 Mile Media has created many television commercials and video for web-based platforms. “We not only provide the video, but we can coach clients as to what to do with the video after we make it for them. We really work with any and all types of companies. We want to highlight Saratoga and the Capital District, and show the beauty of the area as much as we can.”

In fact, the company’s name is in homage to Mattison’s hometown, Lake George. “There’s a lot of beauty in upstate NY, and there’s no better way to capture it than through video. I want to inspire everyone to never overlook the beauty right in front of us,” said Mattison.

Mattison is especially proud of his team. “Our people that we have working for us are so talented,” he said, “the production manager and editor are the best around, and really continue to make 32 Mile an incredible company. With PEP and all of us together, the sky’s the limit and we’re excited to see what the future holds.”

Mattison is an award-winning videographer who founded 32 Mile Media with a mission to help companies tell their brand stories and convey their messages through video. His videography experience is extensive. He has worked on everything from backyard home videos to Oscar-nominated films. With each assignment, Mattison ensures quality and authenticity is apparent in the final video. Mattison earned a bachelor’s degree in TV and Video Production from SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, New York. See next week’s Saratoga TODAY to learn about the new, national talent hired at 32 Mile Media. Learn more about the Patient Experience Project at www.the-pep.com. For more information about 32 Mile Media, visit www.32mile.com.

Published in News
Friday, 02 September 2016 14:43

Our SPAC Family Moments: Remembering Vivienne

My parents, Drs. Presco and Vivienne Anderson, moved to Albany in 1950 from Philadelphia, where they both grew up, when I was two years old. Viv left her job as the first female and youngest Assistant Superintendent of the Philadelphia Public Schools so they could both work at the New York State Education Department. My mom was one in a billion. While some people would say that’s just a son overestimating his mother, anyone who knew or worked with Viv would enthusiastically endorse my sentiments. She was nicknamed the “White Tornado,” a phrase used in a popular TV commercial, because of her beautiful white hair and her ability to take complicated situations and clean them up so that they sparkled.

For me, as a kid growing up in the capital district in the 1950s and early 1960s, there wasn’t really that much to do. The drinking age was 18, so there were a lot of clubs with live music six nights a week, but, other than that, bowling and going to the movies were popular. Saratoga, other than the annual four weeks of thoroughbred racing, had become a pretty sleepy town after the 1951 closing of the casinos. The exception was the Harness track, which was pretty packed and was our destination, quickly reached thanks to the Northway, several nights a week. Despite Albany being the State Capitol, everyone knew that if you wanted “real culture,” you had to travel to New York or Boston.

Viv worked closely with Governor Rockefeller, coordinating the Hudson-Champlain Celebration (1958-60) and on other projects, so when SPAC began to take shape, her reputation as an arts advocate and community leader resulted in her involvement in SPAC from the ground up. The SPAC Gala was one of her most cherished projects, and, as President of the Action Council, she knew it had to be bigger and better every year. My favorite aspects of the gala have always been the different annual themes and the creative setups that patrons bring onto the lawn, including elaborate tables, chairs and even ornate candelabras. I’ve been to many galas in my life, but there is no gala like the SPAC Gala!

My mom’s mission in life was identical to SPAC’s mission: to cultivate, promote, foster, sponsor, and develop appreciation, understanding and love of the performing arts. Through her position in the State Education Department, Viv was able to enhance the role of the arts in the curriculum, knowing that involvement in the arts uniquely contributes to individual growth on emotional, creative and academic levels. She was instrumental in founding the New York State Summer School of the Arts, which Governor Rockefeller instituted in 1971. The ballet, dance, jazz and orchestral studies summer schools have always been housed at Skidmore College. Designed as an intensive pre-professional training opportunity, high school students interact with outstanding teachers including acclaimed performers from the New York City Ballet or Philadelphia Orchestra during the instructional day and attend SPAC performances at night. These students do final performances at the Empire State Plaza and SPAC.

Another of Viv’s beliefs was that the arts are for everyone and that everyone is an artist in some way. She founded the IMAGINATION CELEBRATION and Arts for the Handicapped, and ran these programs through the Kennedy Center in all fifty states and in 17 foreign countries.

In addition to the ballet and orchestra, SPAC was our first real opportunity to see the best rock bands live in concert (our region had no large venue before SPAC). There were countless legendary performances at SPAC, but my favorite was the first time I ever saw Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, in 1984. Bruce is legendary for his high-energy, lengthy performances, but when, guitar in hand, he slides across the whole width of the stage and then jumped up on top of the piano to finish “Rosalita,” I was blown away.

My friend Gary Weinlein went to see Janis there when he was 15. During the encore, he rushed down close to the stage and, when Janis took his hand, her ruby ring came off in Gary’s hand. Gary thought he was in heaven, fantasizing about returning it to her backstage, until someone older and stronger snatched it from him and disappeared. Forty years later, Gary is producing “GROOVIN,” a tribute to the great rock music of the 60s and 70s using local performers. That’s the kind of impact SPAC and the arts can have on people.

Congratulations to SPAC for turning 50! Also, a huge THANK YOU to SPAC for the annual May 5k and 10k walk/run that kicks off summer at SPAC. Many bands perform as participants run through the State Park to SPAC and then enjoy arts-related activities on the lawn. Proceeds benefit the Vivienne Anderson Children’s Program, which provides free tickets to performances and pre-show meetings with dancers and orchestra members.

Published in Entertainment
Friday, 02 September 2016 14:40

The William Woodward You Never Knew

Saturday’s Woodward Stakes marks the sixty-third rendition of this historically important Stakes Race. The event was established in 1954 - just one year after the death of Mr. William Woodward Sr.

He was the owner of Belair stud - a name revered for breeding and racing top-level thoroughbreds for four decades. Mr. Woodward and his famed white with red polka dot silks would rule the horseracing world in the 1930s.

He would win two triple crowns in that span with Gallant Fox in 1930 and then Omaha in 1935. Belair almost pulled a hat trick with the great Nashua in 1955. Second to the mighty Swaps in the Kentucky Derby, he would come back to win the last two jewels easily.

Mr. Woodward was as at ease in his office as sole owner of Hanover National Bank, as he was at his desk as Chairman Of The Jockey Club, positions that he used to greatly enhance the reputation of American horse racing in comparison to its European counterparts.

I believe Mr. Woodward would be ecstatic to know the relevance of his namesake stake. Nineteen times the winner of this perennially important event would go on to be named horse of the year, names such as Sword Dancer, Kelso, Buckpasser, Forego, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, Alysheba, Skip Away and Rachel Alexandra.

And let us not forget Holy Bull, a specimen so powerful that even Spain’s great matador “Manolete” would have been hard pressed to slow down this bull.

This is a roll call of those who have entered “The Pantheon of Champions” down through the ages.

Long after Belair closed its stalls and disbursed its remaining horse stock, The Woodwards would have one last hurrah. Bill’s daughter Edith would dust off the Belair silks one more time. This happened for one of the finest Thoroughbreds to ever grace the American Turf.

Damascus would thrill the racing world with battles of epic proportions pitted against his archrival Dr. Fager. It would be in the 1967 version of the Woodward Stakes where Damascus would prove his valor.

He would not only face Dr. Fager, but also the most regally bred champion in memory - Ogden Phipps’ Buckpasser, fittingly dubbed “The Race Of The Century.” Damascus put them both in his back pocket and along with it a well-deserved horse of the year trophy.

Years have passed, and The Woodward name is largely forgotten. The race is principally all that remains.

Then, in the spring of this year one more honor would be awarded to this great name in American racing. The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame named William Woodward Sr. as a “Pillar of the Turf.”

A distinction so well deserved, joining a select club including giants such as Alfred G Vanderbilt, John Hay Whitney, Paul Mellon, E P Taylor, August Belmont II and a few others who were the caretakers of horse racing in North America.

The advent of the Breeders Cup along with its huge purse structure and horse of the year ramifications have taken much of the luster off the Woodward and other historic races as well. Yet, it will always have the one distinction that separates it from all others… The Woodward name, a name that is synonymous with all that has made horse racing “The Sport Of Kings.”

Also, If you ever find yourself thirty miles southeast of Baltimore in Prince George’s County, just a few miles from the old Bowie Racetrack, you can still get a glimpse of Mr. Woodward’s masterpiece. Although most of the land has been sold off to developers and the tree-lined entranceways and perfectly manicured acreage may be long gone, the Belair Mansion and its renowned stables still survive.

Here you can walk your way into horse racing history as you tour these legendary grounds, a special place that for a few hours will take you back to the glory days of William Woodward and his beloved Belair Stud.

And, for any of the higher ups at NYRA that may read this, please consider the following:

- Make this race a Labor Day tradition.

- Race it at the classic distance of one and one-quarter miles (Saturday’s race is a mile and 1/8).

- Raise the purse to a richly deserved one million dollars.

It would be such a grand way to close out the future racing seasons here at the Spa. The late Mr. Woodward, who epitomized both class and the pursuit of excellence would expect, no make that demand - nothing less.

Published in Entertainment
Friday, 26 August 2016 11:53

Rodger That: Spot On!

SARATOGA SPRINGS — “Well, inside I was freaking out. But it was too good an opportunity to pass up.”

So said Rodger Wyland, a fixture in this market’s sports world, reminiscing about his first broadcast, which happened to take place on Travers Day, 1986, as a then-new addition to the WNYT-13 sports team. “Here I am, Born and raised in Altoona, PA, so of course we have heard of Saratoga, but never did I imagine that my debut assignment would put me on the roof to anchor our station’s coverage,” Wyland said.

Well, if he was nervous, it apparently didn’t show. For on Friday, August 26, Rodger Wyland, along with co-host John Pricci, will be up on the roof again, anchoring WNYT’s Travers Preview program, from 7-7:30 p.m. – a mere 30 years later. His regular sports program, “Big Board Sports,” has blossomed into the region’s “Must See TV” sports broadcast, on the network (NBC) affiliate that invented that catch phrase, as well as the network that will bring the big race, and show off Saratoga itself to the world on Saturday, August 27. And after the Travers, look for the Wyland-Pricci alliance to be on air with post-game analysis at about 6:20 p.m.

“So there I was, scrambling to prepare for that first broadcast, and I’m looking around the press box for some experts to interview,” Wyland said. “John at the time was the race analyst for Long Island’s Newsday, in addition to being an extremely colorful individual. John didn’t hesitate: He said, ‘Sure, I’ll do it!’ “He really bailed me out on that first broadcast. And we’ve been friends ever since,” Wyland concluded.

In a number of ways, this 30th anniversary has brought Rodger Wyland full circle. In addition to the WYNT anniversary, he this month transitioned to a higher plane on another other broadcast branch of his sports ‘tree’: Radio, as he moved to 104.5 the Team, an FM affiliate of sports powerhouse ESPN Radio, after several years on AM980. His show airs Monday-Friday, from 10 a.m. to noon, with Friday’s broadcast originating live from Saratoga Race Course. “I really got an offer I couldn’t refuse,” Wyland said. “For one thing, I have the syndicated “Mike and Mike Show” (Greenberg and Golic) from 6 to 10 a.m. as a lead-in. The ratings are huge!” “More importantly,” he continued, “I’ve got a big-time producer/partner on the show in Brady Farkas. This is a big upgrade. Most hosts get a producer who screens calls, cues breaks. Brady is on the mic next to mine. I can’t say enough about the guy! He knows his stuff, and puts it out there effectively. Even our good-natured ribbing and repartee is mixed with a major dose of respect. I’m telling your readers – watch this one. He’s going to do some great things,” he concluded.

We met last Friday, August 19, after the conclusion of his live radio show at the Race Course. A quick jaunt to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts stand. Caffeine in tow, we looked for a place to sit and chat. Failing that, we settled in around a recycle barrel and chatted a lot about racing trends. Wearing shades – we weren’t bothered by any fans (his, not mine). And so, we dug into the 2016 Saratoga Race Meet trends.

“What a meet so far!” he said. “Just halfway through, and we’ve got a lot of star power. No Triple Crown Winner, like American Pharoah in 2015 – but this meet has depth in its roster of outstanding performers.” So with three of the six racing weeks in the books, I asked him who his MVP of the meet would be if current trends continue.

“I got to go with my man from Mechanicville – Trainer Chad Brown. I remember interviewing him after he won his very first stakes race here years ago,” Rodger said. “But this is not a case of ‘homerism,’ the guy delivers – particularly on grass. He’s loaded up for the Travers as well, with three entries.” That would be My Man Sam, Gift Box and Connect – all who landed in the field of 14 for Saturday’s Grade 1 Classic.

Switching to the Jockey colony, Rodger’s top picks for the win title: “Now this is tough. A very competitive, high-quality group. I’m picking the Ortiz brothers one and two, with a slight edge to Jose over Irad, but I say it will be neck-and-neck to the wire at this meet. Number three, kind of funny calling him a ‘dark horse,’ but John Velazquez has come back strong this meet,” he said.

Now, onto horses – and I take great pains to remind you that this conversation took place the day before the Alabama, won for fun by Songbird. “You can’t look past Songbird – what a star! You can see greatness radiate off her. Her Coaching Club American Oaks victory here earlier in the meet (Sunday, July 24 – when Songbird won by 5 ¼ lengths) was good enough to convince me. I expect that she will smash a similar field in the Alabama,” he said.

(Songbird took that one the next day by seven lengths at odds on).

“Number two. It’s Chad Brown’s Connected. Primed for the Travers (as of press time, second morning line choice to Exaggerator at 4-1). Coming into this beautifully. And number three… well, what’s wrong with Frosted? Not a thing! We tend to overlook him because he will only race once at Saratoga (a Grade I Whitney Handicap victory) and this meet is geared to the 2 and 3-year olds. I wish he would try the Woodward, but his next race will be the Jockey Club Gold Cup, then, hopefully on to the Breeders’ Cup.”

So how about one longshot Travers pick before we sign off? “I’ll take Laoban. A longshot (15-1 in that same morning line) - but maybe not really. He broke his maiden in the Jim Dandy (July 30), first win in six starts - at 27-1, however. So we’ll see. I’m partial to his trainer, Eric Guillot. I visited his barn a while back, and he had this whole voodoo set-up with an opposing trainer’s head on it. Hard to go against voodoo,” Rodger said laughing. “What a character.” “So let’s go with the Connected/Laoban exacta. Bet it big and call it a day!”

Looking forward, we promised to discuss High School football once it started rolling, and in September, he was looking forward to promoting a golf tournament at Orchard Creek Country Club to benefit the Thomas Patrick Morrison Foundation, named after a two-year old child who succumbed and passed on January 20, 2006, as a result of a mitochondrial disorder. Rodger also recently concluded a soccer camp that benefitted the foundation.

We’ll be happy to help promote the tournament when details are finalized. It’s a no-brainer to do right by a person’s most near-and-dear cause, particularly when that person has spent decades doing the right thing in our market.

Published in Entertainment
Page 39 of 43

Blotter

  • COURT Jahelijah Davis, 38, of Watervliet, pleaded Nov. 18 to attempted sexual abuse in the first-degree, a felony, in Ballston. Sentencing scheduled Nov. 15, 2021.  Juan A. Vazquez, 47, of South Glens Falls, was sentenced Nov. 18 to serve 20 years to life, after pleading to murder in the second-degree. According to the Saratoga County District Attorney’s office,  Vazquez, at the time he entered his plea, admitted he intentionally caused the death of Kenny J. Shipski on April 10, 2020, following an argument that took place regarding drugs, and ended with Vazquez stabbing Shipski several times when visiting his room…

Property Transactions

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