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Displaying items by tag: saratoga springs
Kick off to Summer Car Show Season
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Saratoga Automobile Museum's huge Spring Auto Show and Family Fun Day, the traditional kick off of the summer car show and cruise in season, is drawing an unprecedented number of pre-registrations and show organizers are expecting the biggest turnout ever – for both cars and enthusiasts – at the museum's annual fund raising event for its many educational programs.
Set for Saturday, May 14 on the huge show field in the center of the scenic Saratoga Spa State Park, the show will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Show admission, as always, will include a visit to the nearby auto museum, where the "Real Steel: Stories of Automotive Archeaology" exhibit is in its final month before yielding the Golub Gallery to the highly anticipated "POSEY: Shifting Through the Creative Life of Sam Posey" exhibit, which will open in mid-June. General admission is $10, day-of-show registration is $15 – each registration includes admission for the driver and one passenger.
Another bonus for attendees is the traditional exhibit of the Atlantic Coast Old Timers’ vintage race and sports cars from the Mo-Hud Region of the Sports Car Club of America in front of the auto museum.
New for 2016 will be the opportunity for area youths to be involved with judging of the auto show under the sponsorship of Hagerty Insurance and the "Adirondack A's" car club.
The "Adirondack A's" Model A Ford club provides "hands on" learning experiences for area teens through a yearly vehicle rebuilding project, with the students and their mentors set to display and discuss a 1931 Model A deluxe roadster that is being totally restored. A select group of the teenagers will take time out to work with the judges of the show's four marque classes.
Additional Family Fun Day activities will include dental screenings at the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, a huge mobile dental facility staffed by the St. Peter's Hospital Dental Center staff, demonstrations on proper car seat installation by representatives of the Cornell Cooperative Extension program, Saratoga County Sheriffs with a display of Patrol Car technology and members of the regional Ford Model T Club with the Model T Experience. When you get hungry, there will be plenty of food vendors to choose from including Stewart's Shop and their delicious ice cream!
The featured marque classes for 2016 will include Model T Fords, Model A Fords, Pre-1972 Muscle Cars and Pre-1949 Street Rods, with entries arrayed around the Reflecting Pond adjacent to the huge "cruise-in" field.
Judges will select winners in the four marque classes while 20 SAM's Choice awards will be presented to the top "cruise in" entrants. Other awards up for grabs include the highly competitive People' Choice trophy, the Kid's Choice award from the student judges and the prestigious Best in Show trophy.
More information on the Saratoga Automobile Museum, including its many activities, lawn shows and educational programs, including the nationally recognized Distracted Driving program, can be found online at www.saratogaautomuseum.org, where registration forms are also available.
Dorothy Nolan Teachers vs. Greenfield FD For a Great Cause
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The basketball bleachers at Saratoga Springs High School were packed to the rafters as the staff of Dorothy Nolan Elementary School took on their arch-rivals Greenfield Fire Department for a great cause: Their annual Helping Hoops Basketball Game, at the Saratoga Springs High School on Friday, May 6 at 7 p.m.
While this was a tremendous opportunity for young students to see their teachers ‘strut their stuff’ in tye-dye, all who participated were there for an excellent cause – one that benefits student’s health, nutrition and well-being.
The proceeds from this event will go to the SNACPack program, which was founded by Dorothy Nolan alum Richard Martinez, and who was on hand to participate.
The SNACPack program is designed to meet the needs of hungry children on weekends, when other resources are not available. The program provides backpacks filled with food that is child-friendly, shelf-stable, and easily-consumed. Bags are packed each week by volunteers and discreetly distributed to participating children every Friday afternoon.
For more information about the SNACpack program and how you can get involved, visit www.facebook.com/SNACPackProgram
READING, PA – Cameron Coons, a former Saratoga Catholic Central standout baseball star, has been named as Player of the Year in the MAC (Middle Athletic Conference) Commonwealth Conference. Coons, a junior at Alvernia University in Reading, PA was also named to the All-MAC Commonwealth’s First Team at First Base.
Alvernia University is gearing up for the 2016 MAC Commonwealth Championship, Alvernia is the #1 seed, and is defending their title from the previous year.
Coons was recently named MAC Player of the Week and ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) Division III South Player of the Week when he batted .588 (10-for-17) in a 4-1 week for Alvernia, including a 2-1 series win over Lebanon Valley College to clinch a berth in the MAC Commonwealth Tournament. Coons finished the week with nine RBIs, seven runs scored and three home runs. The junior opened the week hitting 4-for-4 with a home run in a win over Rutgers-Newark. Coons ended the week batting 4-for-6 with a home run, four RBIs and four runs scored over the final doubleheader against Lebanon Valley College. His regular season batting average is .426, with 55 hits, 15 doubles and 4 home runs.
SSHS Girls Soccer Players Tell Board of Ed About Their Experiences
SARATOGA SPRINGS – An investigation in process regarding an alleged pattern of abusive behavior by Saratoga Springs High School (SSHS) Girl’s Varsity Soccer Coach Adrienne Dannehy was given further, dramatic illumination at the Saratoga Springs Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, May 10. At that meeting, several SSHS students rose before the Board to read statements detailing their experiences on the team, in which they said they were forced to endure repeated instances of humiliation, intimidation and abuse at the hands of their coach.
Three students with Varsity Soccer experience read statements regarding their own experiences. Three other students read statements from Varsity players who wished to be anonymous.
Hannah Pendergast, a senior Varsity member, spoke to the Board and said forcefully that “…sports should not be about fear, power and control,” but this was the atmosphere that she and the other students/athletes who stood and spoke in support - Gabrielle Duchaussee, Rachael Blunt, Audrey Fox, Julie Granger and Lexi Bakkalapulo – had to continuously face. Hannah and the others talked about instances of three-hour team meetings where members of the squad were encouraged to browbeat others about their weaknesses, long practices in 90+ degree weather in which their coach walked by/ignored athletes who were vomiting, and many other incidents. “Our basic right of dignity has been consistently violated,” Hannah said, noting that she still feels the atmosphere of intimidation, though her high school playing days have concluded. “I still get sick every time I pass the coach or the locker room. School athletics should not be about this.”
Gabrielle Duchaussee, also a senior Varsity member, spoke about the regularity of the intimidating situations and constant negativity the surrounded the team. She made a point to note that “…we are not asking that the coach be fired, but the situation must be monitored and changed.”
Three other students - Rachael Blunt, Audrey Fox and Julie Granger, said that they had decided against playing for the Varsity Girl’s Soccer team because of the atmosphere. But each of them read statements to the Board from Varsity team members who wished to remain anonymous.
But Lexi Bakkalapulo, a sophomore Varsity Soccer Goalie, went on the record. “It has taken a lot for me to step forward, because I have two more years and I feel invisible to coaches I once admired and looked forward to learning from,” she said. “For a long time we suffered in silence in hopes of pleasing our coach, but we realize we never will.” She said that she never cries, but this situation had brought her to tears often. “I don’t want to sound negative or not hopeful for the future, but it’s so hard to be positive when our coach’s style is to constantly punish and criticize. My hope (in speaking out) is that we can have a healthy environment to play the sport we love,” she said.
Later, Lexi told Saratoga TODAY that she is planning to play soccer on the Varsity team next season, but is unsure of what atmosphere she will be facing. Nonetheless, “I stand up for myself and my teammates because it’s the right thing to do.”
Following the students’ statements, three fathers - Rick Matteson, Rob Camoin and Joe Sirianni, all with daughters who had played on the Varsity team under Coach Dannehy, in turn spoke in support of the coach and their child’s experiences. Sirianni, who was also the Soccer Booster Club President, noted that he could “…fill the (auditorium) with people who have had positive experiences” with Coach Dannehy.
Coach Rich Johns spoke about the dangers of minimizing or marginalizing the player’s statements. “What you are seeing in front of you is real,” he said, and praised the girl’s courage. “When faced with vertical aggression, it’s important to come up with a plan of action and put it into place.” Coach Johns, noting that he had recently visited South Glens Falls High School, where a seventh grade student had recently committed suicide, said further, “I’m proud the girls came forward. It’s up to us as adults to come up with a way to get them out of a dark place. Let us look at this as an opportunity, an opening to a new beginning.”
“Empathy is very important here,” Coach Johns continued, “… the culture that students who speak up are placed in jeopardy has been with us for quite awhile.” He further went on to praise the efforts of SSHS Athletic Director Peter Sheehan, of whom he said, “…inherited this culture and is making great efforts to eliminate it.”
Rob Blunt, who coaches a local club soccer team, in addition to having a daughter on the Varsity Soccer team, offered this perspective: “…I have had the opportunity to coach many of the women who spoke tonight, as well as several of the daughters of the gentlemen who spoke in favor of the program. And I do not doubt that their daughters, like mine, were not treated like the players who spoke tonight. But does that make it right?”
“I suggest,” Blunt concluded, “that every player on the team should have the opportunity to play the game they love and represent their school without feeling ridiculed.”
For his part, Athletic Director Peter Sheehan acknowledged that he was constrained by the necessary confidential nature of an investigation in process, involving his office and school administration. But he stated that “We have been aware of this situation, which has been under confidential investigation, and are continuing to look into this matter,” Sheehan said. “We do intend to make the necessary adjustments as needed.”
The issue of Coach Dannehy’s behavior came under increased scrutiny in December of 2015. Several student-athletes, after attending a DASA (Dignity for All Students Act) presentation in a physical education class, reached out to the SSHS DASA Coordinator. Since that time, letters were sent to the Athletic Director and School Superintendents by parents, with follow up contacts with the Superintendents throughout 2016, expressing their concerns. These parents said they had been told that the matter was being handled – but behind closed doors. A May 5 email to the Board of Education from Hannah Pendergast’s mother, Ann Marie, requested the Board get involved in this situation, and “act and respond prior to any vote to approve coaching appointments for Fall 2016,” and led to the students’ appearance before the Board on May 10.
After the Board meeting, Lexi Bakkalapulo’s mother, Tina Smith, expressed her frustration and sadness with the chain of events to date: “I never thought I would find myself asking the educational system to protect the safety and well-being of my daughter and her teammates from one of their employees.”
This is a story in process. Even if you believe that responsible people have been put in responsible positions, and ultimately will do responsible things, it is a situation worth watching going forward.
SARATOGA SPRINGS—Saratoga Central Catholic School’s senior Tyler Klingenberg has signed a letter of intent to play soccer next season at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania.
On hand to celebrate Tyler’s signing were Tyler’s coaches Tim Barnes and Jeff Geller, as well as proud parents Holly and Juergen Klingenberg. Congratulations Tyler!
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Parents at Dorothy Nolan Elementary School –one of the five elementary schools in the Saratoga Springs City School District (SSCSD) –are worried about how large class sizes are affecting their children’s education. Dorothy Nolan has twice as many students as the other grade schools, yet has a total of four less sections (classes) when comparing it to the current student population.
Parents are demanding that the school board add a third grade section which was removed in 2015/16 and also, that they do not go through with cutting a second grade section in 2016/17 as planned.
Without these changes, parents have projected that second grade sections will have a 20.4 percent higher class size than other grade schools and third grade will have a 24 percent higher class size.
“We created our own task force, the Concerned Parents of Dorothy Nolan. We have about 300 parents involved so far,” said Jessica Marriott, whose son will be going into third grade next year. Marriott took data provided by the school board and used it to create documents and graphs that project what second and third grade class sizes will be, which she presented at the last board meeting on April 21.
“This is our first year in the district,” she continued. “Had I known what I know now, that the classes were so large, I would have chosen one of the other elementary schools. I would not have moved to this neighborhood.”
However, according to Michael Piccirillo, Superintendent of SSCD, changes cannot be made to class sections until total student enrollment has been accounted for, which won’t be until the end of the summer.
“Our process, which we’ve used for 20 years, is to monitor the enrollment in sections across the elementary level. We’ll be making adjustments closer to next school year to account for enrollment fluctuations.” said Piccirillo. “We have a lot more movement from outside the district over the summer than people think. Families move and enrollment levels can go up or down significantly. Often, enrollment will fluctuate into September, and it can fluctuate dramatically.”
“We understand their concern about class size,” added Piccirillo. “But we’re not ready to make any decisions.”
Projections also show that even though class sizes at Dorothy Nolan are larger than other elementary schools, the projected class sizes are still below the district’s target class size of 27.
“If it goes above that target size of 27, we’ll add another section,” said Piccirillo, who noted that adding sections is factored into the budget already, just in case the need arises.
Nevertheless, parents feel that the target class size of 27 is are still too large and also, too dated.
“We need to look at what other schools are doing and reexamine our target class sizes,” said Marriott. “Our target class sizes have been around since the 1990s. Students have different needs nowadays. We need to give them the best education they can get in the modern age.”
Fellow concerned parent Jackie O’Donnell is also worried about her son, who is moving on to third grade at Dorothy Nolan next year.
“Third grade is the transition into intermediate – it’s when teachers start asking them to be more independent and it’s also the first year of state testing,” said O’Donnell. “We started realizing how inequitable it was for our kids at Dorothy Nolan. They’re going into middle school with different experiences than other kids in schools with lower class sizes. Dorothy Nolan students are not on an equal playing field.”
One parent of a Dorothy Nolan second grader, Brad Thomas, is going one step further to see change happen at the school: he’s running for the school board.
“My reaction to the meeting [on April 21], and the reason I’m running, is that it’s not interactive enough,” explained Thomas, who has been a teacher at Burnt Hills for 22 years. “All problems can be solved or worked on successfully if you have that kind of dialogue between parents and school district personnel. The great thing about the 21st Century is that it’s easy to join in and follow that dialogue.”
If elected, Thomas plans to use social media as an avenue to build engagement between parents, board and administration. He also wants the board to take the initiatives parents have been taking to make conclusions about class sizes, such as what Jessica Marriott did.
“Planning is a full time job. Instead of the board presenting the data, the parents are. Why isn’t this core idea being presented by the board and administrators?” questioned Thomas.
On the other hand, Piccirillo noted that the district does care about class sizes, but it’s also just one factor of many when it comes to success in the classroom.
“Research is inconclusive when it comes to class size and student achievement. You have to get down to a really low class size, like 15 students, for it to really have an impact,” said Piccirillo. “We have high quality teachers and there is a lot of support for them, such as math and literacy coaches, reading teachers, teacher assistants – we have a lot of resources we can and do use to support students.”
Though final decisions are not ready to be made yet, parents are still asking for more open conversation with the board and administration.
“We can all sit down, look at the numbers and figure out a strategy,” concluded Marriott. “Together, we can make things better for this important school that makes up nearly 30 percent of the elementary population in the district.”
The next school board meeting is coming up on May 10, and will focus on the school budget and voting on May 17. For more information about SSCSD, visit saratogaschools.org.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – At the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 3, Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan presented her preliminary year-end report for fiscal year 2015. A summary of the highlights of this report appears on page 19.
Mayor Joanne Yepsen announced her five appointments to the Saratoga Race Course Local Advisory Board. This panel, designed to facilitate good communication between the local community and the NYRA Board has 15 members - five each are appointed by NYRA, The Chairperson of the County Board of Supervisors and the Mayor’s office. The Mayor’s appointments were John Carusone, Dr. William Wilmot, Skip Carlson, Michelle Primacello, and Cindy Hollowood.
The City unanimously approved a resolution entitled ‘Authorization for Mayor to execute Settlement Agreement and Mutual Releases regarding The Anderson Group v. the City of Saratoga Springs,’ which sets in motion closure regarding a piece of long-standing litigation against the City. During the discussion and vote, no particular amount was mentioned, although later in the evening, during the Finance Department’s agenda item called ‘Budget Amendment-Legal Liability’, Commissioner of Finance Madigan noted that the amount was $750,000, which would come from the City’s unrestricted, unassigned fund. This budget amendment also passed unanimously.
In the original case, on July 2, 2010, a verdict of $1 million was awarded to the Anderson Group in US District Court, finding that zoning policies used by the City of Saratoga Springs had a discriminatory impact on African Americans and families with children. The Anderson Group, an Albany, New York builder, sought to construct a mixed-income housing development, called Spring Run Village, a development with 50 to 60 affordable units, on property they own outside the downtown area. The jury found the City had rejected the Anderson's application and rezoned the site from a classification where high-density residential and commercial uses were “preferred” and “encouraged” to a classification where such a development was prohibited.
A wide-ranging, 40-minute discussion on the subject of ‘Citizens' Complaints About Aggressive Panhandling’ took place, with Shelters of Saratoga Executive Director Michael A. Finocchi at the guest microphone for much of it. At the outset, a major distinction was made between homelessness and aggressive panhandling. For instance, it was noted that many panhandler’s are from out of town, may even work in shifts, and conduct their activities like a business – in other words, this may be the ‘occupation’ they have chosen. Homeless people are in need of a wide variety of services, but in most cases are looking for the means to better their situation. Finocchi also pointed out that the city currently has no drop-in daytime shelter or 24/7 mission, as is the case in many cities that are coping with this problem A key point, raised often, is that the best way to stop panhandling of any kind is to stop giving people money. During his agenda, Commissioner of Public Safety Chris Mathiesen announced that a Public Safety forum will take place on Thursday, May 19 at 7 p.m. in the City Council room, and that forum will cover the topic of vagrancy and related issues. Rebecca Davis will soon have a follow-up article to her April 29 cover story on this subject, in which this discussion, the legal perspective, and the thoughts of local business owners and community members will be examined in greater depth.
Toward the end of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Commissioner Mathiesen led a discussion on the subject of a ‘Response to Mayor Yepsen's Open Letter to the Citizens of Saratoga Springs,’ which appeared in our pages on April 22, and was written in response to our cover story (“Recusal or Refusal”) of April 15. The full recording of the meeting is archived on the city website (www.saratoga-springs.org). While final decisions from the City’s Ethics Board, on several inquiries related to this subject, are still pending (some have been filed over three months ago!), some things need to be made clear now.
In Tuesday’s discussion, the Mayor repeated her claim that she was somehow treated unfairly. But, in my opinion, Saratoga TODAY was more than fair in affording the Mayor an entire page to respond, and this was the fairest vehicle we could extend, given the extremely tight timeframe. During Tuesday’s discussion, the Mayor indicated that she submitted facts to the Ethics Board that the Commissioners and this newspaper’s readers were not privy to. The Mayor had an opportunity to put these facts in her open letter, but chose not to.
Eventually, I would like to write a piece that might propose some positive outcomes regarding this ethics controversy – for all concerned. We will continue to try to advance the discussion, while leaving you to draw your own conclusions. One final thing: I reiterate that I stand 100 percent behind our April 15 story.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The NEACA Arms Fair, a gun show scheduled for January 12-13 at the Saratoga City Center, will go on as planned despite over a dozen people calling for its cancellation during the public comment period of the City Center Authority’s January 9 meeting.