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Thursday, 15 June 2017 12:16

ICE Arrests 10 More Men in Saratoga Springs

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Following an ongoing investigation, deportation officers with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations arrested 10 unlawfully present adult males and one unaccompanied alien minor Wednesday, in Saratoga Springs. The men - one Guatemalan national and nine Mexican nationals, who are between the ages of 20-49, currently face administrative immigration violations.

The arrests occurred without incident near multiple area residences. Three of the adult males are facing potential federal felony charges for re-entry after deportation. All of the adult males are currently being held at the Albany County Correctional Facility, according to a statement issued by ICE on Thursday.

The unaccompanied alien minor was served with a Notice to Appear in immigration court, and transferred to the Department Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement for placement, consistent with ICE policy relating to minors.

Just over two weeks ago, special agents and officers with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement and Removal Operations arrested 16 men in Saratoga Springs with alleged administrative immigration violations.

 

Published in News

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A local film production company is bringing to life the fairy tales of old right in our very own backyard.

The newly established Trident Fantasy Films is currently in the midst of its first production, a children’s fantasy television series to be called “The Adventures of Snow White and Rose Red,” inspired by the Grimm’s Fairy Tales canon and more. The company was co-founded by Nicole Coady and husband-and-wife team Andrew Balog and Katie Spass. All three co-founders are serving as executive producers on the show, among other duties. They are aiming to release the show on Amazon Prime in early 2018.

The show will consist of seven episodes, which will range from 10-15 minutes each. Coady wrote the pilot episode, and co-wrote two other episodes. Balog is also set to direct one of the episodes. Each episode will consist of sisters Snow White and Rose Red going on adventures with other popular “fairy tale friends,” including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Lewis Caroll’s Alice. The show’s producers hope that it will teach its young audience a variety of wholesome life lessons, as well as inspire them to seek out and read the classic fairy tales from which its characters are derived.

“We really tried to go back to the original Grimm’s text and pull from there, and say, if Snow White and Rose Red were to really run into [for example] Little Red Riding Hood, what would happen?” Coady said about the show’s creative ambitions.

Coady, who is acting as showrunner and creator for the series, compared the feel they hope to achieve with the series to Disney’s 2015 live-action “Cinderella” with Lily James, while producer Spass said that the show’s intended demographic includes children ages 4-9. While the series is aiming young, Coady said that they hope the enduring popularity of the characters would make it popular with older kids as well.

The series’ titular fairy tale heroines will be played by real life sisters, Demetra and Callista Zorbas, 14 and 17, respectively, of Colonie. Callista, portraying Rose Red, has been performing since age 3, and has been involved in a number of plays and short films. Demetra, portraying Snow White, has also been performing for a while, but until now she has mostly been an extra in things alongside her older sister. This series marks the biggest undertaking for the two of them.

“It’s been really fun,” Callista Zorbas said. “This is like our dream come true.”

Production on the series began on June 12, and is set to wrap on July 1. When press were invited to visit the set on June 14, the cast and crew were shooting scenes in the gardens behind the Surrey Williamson Inn, across from the entrance to Skidmore College. Spass described the isolated location as a “hidden treasure” in the area, with stonework perfect for a fantasy project. The episode being filmed involved the characters meeting Rapunzel, portrayed by Madeline Balta, 16, of Greenville. Balta has previously worked with Coady on an adaption of the Brothers Grimm’s “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Coady described the moral of this particular episode as learning to share. Other planned shooting locations for the series include Galway and Moreau State Park.

Coady currently resides in Ballston Spa, having moved to the area from Los Angeles after spending time close to Hollywood building her career in film. She is originally from New York City. Balog and Spass have both lived in the area for most of their lives, with Balog hailing from Vermont originally, and Spass having moved here at age 5. Prior to the creation of Trident Fantasy Films, Balog founded Logs Leisure Entertainment, a company focused on providing digital releases for various film projects on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Google Play, and more. Balog also produced a pilot last year for Amazon called “Solitude,” which he also directed. The rest of the series is scheduled to begin production in Aug. It will, like “The Adventures of Snow White and Rose Red,” be filmed locally.

All photos by Thomas Kika.

Published in Education

A blur of bright neon burst through Congress Park Sunday and it brought with it tens of thousands of dollars. What was it? A pack of children in green shirts running for a good cause.

Children up to age 12 sprinted and waddled and rolled through two different trails in the tenth annual Cantina Fun Run Sunday morning. The Cantina restaurant, in conjunction with the Saratoga hospital foundation and various sponsors, organized the event.  

“The tenth anniversary had a lot of personal meaning for us,” Cantina owner Heath Ames said. “Along with the money an awareness raised over the years, engaging our kids to help others and showing how a community comes together is a wonderful lesson to share.”

This year, the event raised $76,500, 30 percent more than the organizers’ goal of $59,500. The race trampled the previous donation record of $60,000, set in 2014. All the funds have supported Saratoga Hospital’s pediatric care. The event has raised over $400,000 since the first race in 2008.

The Saratoga Hospital Foundation has fostered the event since its inception. Officials estimated that the hospital treats over 4000 children each year. The donations have brought in new equipment and provided employees special training.

The benefit isn’t solely for the children in need of treatment. Jane Jeffery of Clifton Park said her two children, who ran the event for the first time, felt inspired watching parents and other kids move together for a good cause.

“After these types of activities, I see my kids walking around with a little bit more confidence, feeling taller, older,” Jeffery said. “I think it’s great to have that kind of internal feeling of what it feels like to move your body, what it feels like to accomplishing things together.”

Over 730 people from all over Saratoga County participated in the race. For some, the sense of community the event brought was a highlight.

“We got a big kick watching the little ones run by,” said Sal Calvelli, a Saratoga County resident of six years. “We don’t know them but we’re cheering them on. It brings you together.”

Calvelli’s children participated in the event for the first time this year.

“It’s not just fun; it makes you feel good that you’re contributing to the hospital,” he said. “It’s not just getting together with friends and family. It’s getting together for a good cause.”

Among the numerous community members were hundreds of volunteers. Heather and Brian Straughter have been Fun Run volunteers since its second year, when it was held in the old Cantina parking lot. They have watched the event, the community and their own son, Ethan, grow together.

“All these events are so great because you see people who have young kids, who have older kids. Some of the kids who run this are now volunteers. It makes you feel happy that you live in area where people care.”

Ethan, 12, has been running in the event since he was five, and 2017 was his last year eligible for the run. “He aged out,” Brian said. “Now he can volunteer.”

Published in Sports
Thursday, 08 June 2017 17:16

June 9th - June 15th

COURTS

Maria L. Lentini, 31, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced on June 1 to 1-1/3 to 4 years in state prison for leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in a death. Lentini was convicted by jury trial in November 2016 in connection with an incident that occurred 11 months earlier on state Route 9 in Halfmoon.   

Craig M. Guilfoyle, 32, of Ballston Spa, was sentenced on May 25 to one year in Saratoga County Jail after pleading to felony criminal contempt in connection with an incident that occurred in Malta. 

Angel M. Rodrigues, 33, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced on May 25 to 90 days in jail after pleading to felony burglary in connection with an incident that occurred in Saratoga Springs. 

John D. Vickery, 52, of Ballston Spa, pleaded on May 30 to promoting sexual performance of a child, a felony. Sentencing scheduled for Aug. 11. 

Brandy Barragan, 25, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced May 31 to eight years in state prison, after pleading to criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first-degree, in connection with three incidents that occurred in Saratoga Springs in 2016. 

Bruce J. McDonald, 53, of Ballston Spa, was sentenced May 31 to 1-1/3 to 4 years in state prison, after pleading to felony DWI, in connection with an incident that occurred in Saratoga Springs. 

Leonard P. Chase, 45, of Schenectady, pleaded on June 1 to misdemeanor DWI and felony aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, in connection with an incident that occurred in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing scheduled for Aug. 3. 

POLICE

Michael P. Zorn, age 26, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 25 with three counts each felony forgery/ credit card, felony criminal possession of a forged instrument second, misdemeanor petit larceny, and two counts criminal possession stolen property.

Maurice D. Mangrum, age 39, Schenectady, was charged on May 25 with misdemeanor DWI, and resisting arrest. 

Brendan M. Berry, age 18, Gansevoort, was charged on May 24 with criminal impersonation misdemeanor. 

Alice M. Steele, age 56, Ballston Spa, was charged on May 24 with aggravated unlicensed operation, no/expired inspection certificate.

Christopher M. Decker, age 35, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 24 with assault. 

Thomas W. Aldrich, age 52, Mooresville, North Carolina, was charged on May 24 with misdemeanor DWI, failure to stop at stop sign, failure to keep right, failure to signal a turn.  

Edward J. Hamil, age 61, Schenectady, was charged on May 23 with assault. 

Dylan V. Howard, age 23, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 23 with misdemeanor criminal trespass.    

Michael D. Rosebrook, age 31, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 23 with misdemeanor criminal contempt.    

Gary R. Nipper, age 40, St. Louis, Missouri, was charged on May 23 with misdemeanor DWI, failure to signal a turn- 2 counts.

David T. Pelkey, age 25, Mechanicville, was charged on May 23 with misdemeanor DWI, speeding.  

Royal D. Hamilton, age 35, Brooklyn, was charged on May 21 with two misdemeanor counts criminal mischief.

Wesley J.W. Keithline, age 18, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 21 with assault, criminal mischief, and unlawful possession of marijuana.   

Arjan S. Sarang, age 22, Ballston Lake, was charged on May 21 with misdemeanor DWI, improper lane use, and three counts criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Clarissa A. Rock, age 27, Malta, was charged on May 20 with aggravated unlicensed operation.

Julienne M. Moyer, age 57, Ballston Spa, was charged on May 19 with aggravated unlicensed operation, fail to obey traffic control device.  

Donald G. Barber, age 58, Bennington Vermont, was charged on May 19 with misdemeanor DWI, unsafe lane change. 

John R. Bellon, age 23, Porters Corners, was charged on May 18 with two counts criminal possession stolen property.

Benjamin H. Emmich, age 20, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 18 with criminal mischief. 

Joseph M. Plue, age 23, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 17 with assault.   

Anna M. Hollander, age 54, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 17 with misdemeanor DWI, failure to keep right. 

Brett L. Lauren Kennedy, age 38, Schenectady, was charged on May 16 with aggravated unlicensed operation, unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Michael P. Zorn, age 26, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 15 with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, aggravated unlicensed operation third degree, following motor vehicle too closely, leaving the scene of an auto accident, criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Michael T. Mulvey, age 18, Gansevoort, was charged on May 15 with felony burglary and two felony counts grand larceny/ credit card. 

Published in Police Blotter

City Council members fiddled with their respective pens, rested chins on palms of hands and listened intently to the 12 speakers who came forward Tuesday night at City Hall, where a public hearing was held regarding the much-debated SPA Housing Zoning Ordinance.

The goal of the plan – initially proposed in 2006 - is to produce “affordable” homebuyer and rental housing units for working households across the city. That last part – across the city – appears to be a major sticking point for some.

Tuesday night, Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus addressed the council and recommended they seek “site-specific” affordable housing projects to be placed in designated locations, rather than the across-the-city policy the Inclusionary Zoning, or IZ proposal offers.

Sustainable Saratoga Chairman Harry Moran, who resurrected the plan when bringing it to the council last year, pointed to the council’s study of the plan as “a watershed moment” in the city’s history, and local Rev. Joseph Cleveland – who also spoke in favor of the IZ – told the council that a citywide diversity would help make Saratoga Springs a more sustainable city and that “we should not put gates up between communities.”    

A vote scheduled for Tuesday to amend the existing Zoning Ordinance to add Inclusionary Zoning – as well as a vote regarding the SEQRA Determination for the SPA Housing (IZ) ordinance - was tabled until Monday, June 19, the date of the next City Council meeting. The vote requires majority approval of the five council members to be adopted and it is not clear, at this point, which way that vote will go. 

Upcoming Meetings

7 p.m. Monday, June 12: Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting at City Hall.

3 - 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 13: Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Technical Review Advisory Committee (TRAC) Meeting at Saratoga Music Hall. 

Published in News

Who: Dave Patterson.

Where: Congress Park.  

What are you doing today?

Taking a group of fourth-graders from Geyser Road Elementary School on an outside tour of Congress Park. When my group is finished, we’re going to switch with Jamie Parillo – he’s the director of the Saratoga Springs History Museum – and he will take the students on an inside tour of the history museum. This is part of the fourth-grade program on local history.    

Where are you from originally?

Originally from South Boston. I’ve been living in Saratoga for about 40 years now. I used to be president of the history museum, and I used to teach a course on local history at Saratoga high school.

How has Saratoga changed in the 40 years since you’ve been here?

It’s changed quite a bit. The buildings have been sprouting like flowers, but way back in the day, in the 1880s, there were buildings over there (on Broadway) that were taller than they are now. As a matter of fact, the largest hotel in the world used to be right across the street from this park: The Grand Union hotel. So as big as Saratoga is getting now with the buildings, it pales in comparison to what it was in the 1880s.     

Student question:  How long have the springs been in Congress Park?

One of the first springs discovered in Saratoga Springs is called Congress Spring – right over there. A man named Nicholas Gilman found water bubbling out of the ground and brought his friends to it. Because he used to be a member of the Continental Congress, they named it Congress Spring, and it was so important that this whole park used to be called Congress Spring Park.   

Student question: How many springs are there?

We have 17 today. At one time, we had just over 200.

Student question: How is Saratoga with the pollution?

Saratoga’s been pretty lucky because we haven’t had a lot of industry that would create pollution. Probably the biggest polluter in Saratoga Springs would be the automobile. Of course, 100 years ago we had horses and carriages - and horses have their own kind of pollution, if you know what I mean, so you had to keep the streets clean.

 Student question: Are any of these places here haunted?

The building right behind you. Did you ever see a show called “Ghost Hunters”? Well a few years ago they came in and said there were spirits right in the museum here.

Student Response: Awesome!!! 

Published in Entertainment

SCHUYLERVILLE – One local student will soon be off to D.C. for the opportunity of her high school career.

Freya Birkas-Dent, a junior at Schuylerville High School, will begin a three-week position in the competitive and prestigious United States Senate Page program on June 11, which will run until June 30. Birkas-Dent will be sponsored by N.Y. Senator Chuck Schumer, and was one of only 30 students from across the country selected for the program.

Her responsibilities during these three weeks will include administrative tasks, such as filing paperwork and delivering documents and mail between offices. The program will also involve time in the Senate Chamber, during which pages will be responsible for arranging papers at each seat and holding doors, according to Birkas-Dent. She will also be attending page school, to “l earn about parliamentary procedure and the legislative process,” according to the Schuylerville schools website.

Birkas-Dent first became aware of the Senate page position while reading a book written by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, in which he references pages as the people who perform various administrative tasks for the Senate. This interested her, and she began researching the position by visiting the websites of some of her Senators.

She first got in touch with the offices of N.Y. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, inquiring about page positions for the spring or fall, as she initially wanted to apply for one that would happen during the school year. Finding that neither Senator had available positions for those sessions, she applied to a number of Senators from different states, including Susan Collins of Maine and Claire McCaskill of Mo. This too failed to yield fruitful results, as she said that Senators prefer to sponsor pages from their own constituencies. Finally, Senator Schumer came through with a page position for the summer, which she accepted.

“I’m really interested in going into international relations or into government,” Birkas-Dent said about what inspired her to pursue a position like this. “We learn about this kind of stuff in the classroom, but you really don’t have a tangible experience with it. It’s kind of shrouded in secrecy what actually goes on there, so I don’t feel like I have a good understanding of exactly how it runs on a day-to-day basis.”

Birkas-Dent believes this position will give her the sort of understanding of the legislative process necessary for her to decide if it is a career path that she would like to follow. Some of the careers she has considered for herself include elected official, diplomat, or possibly working with a non-profit doing international relations work. Whatever career she ends up pursuing, she knows that she would like to go into the Peace Corps after college.

“I think the U.N. [United Nations] would be really interesting to be in,” Birkas-Dent said. “But I think it’s hard to get into as an American. So I’ve kind of branched out.”

Back at home, Birkas-Dent is involved with a number of groups and programs focused on environmental preservation. She is the president of the high school’s Environmental Club, and works with the Hudson River Community Advisory Group, which works on various things including dredging and floodplain sampling. She is also the captain of her school’s Climate Leadership Team, and with that group recently attended the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit. While environmental issues are important to her, she said that were she to get involved with politics in the future, they would likely be a side issue for her and not a core part of her hypothetical platform, given the divisive conversation surrounding such issues.

“I’m very excited,” Birkas-Dent said about beginning her new position. “I’m excited to meet people from all over the country. It’s a little bit nerve-wracking cause we don’t know yet what we’ll be doing exactly, but I think it’ll be a good experience and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Published in Education
Thursday, 01 June 2017 16:13

June 2nd - June 8th

COURTS

Paul S. Woodcock, 46, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded on May 18 to felony DWI in connection with an incident that occurred in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing scheduled for July 13. 

William L. Weatherwax, 34, homeless, pleaded on May 18 to first degree criminal contempt in connection with an incident in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing scheduled for July 6. 

Christian Maldonado AKA “C,” 26, of Queensbury, pleaded on May 18 to attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony, in connection with an incident that occurred in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing scheduled for July 7. 

Celena M. Rich, 27, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced on May 19 to 5-1/2 years in state prison and three years of post-release supervision, after pleading to attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony, in connection with an incident that occurred in Saratoga Springs.

Irwin Gonzalez, 31, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded on May 19 to criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony, in connection with an incident that occurred in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing scheduled for July 7. 

David W. Sousa Jr., 41, of Troy, pleaded on May 23 to three felony counts of criminal possession of a weapon, one felony and two misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of stolen property, resisting arrest, reckless driving, and unlawfully fleeing police officer in a motor vehicle, involving an incident that occurred in the city of Saratoga Springs and the town of Saratoga. Sentencing scheduled for July 28.   

POLICE

Victoria F. Amaya, 22, of Wilton, was charged on May 22 with felony burglary in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred in the town of Milton. Charges are also pending against a second known suspect in the case, according to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. 

Jasmine N. Ball, age 22, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 14 with two felony counts criminal sale of a controlled substance, and three felony counts criminal possession of a controlled substance. 

Kara L. Harrington, age 37, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 16 with two felony counts criminal possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful possession of marijuana.   

Nicholas V. Valenze, age 24, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 15 with misdemeanor DWI, aggravated misdemeanor DWI, and two driving violations. 

Thomas E. Lindeman, age 64, East Schodack, was charged on May 15 with felony grand larceny.

Felicia J. McGann, age 22, Fultonville, was charged on May 14 with misdemeanor DWI, and two driving violations. 

Jesus J. Intesti, age 18, Amsterdam, was charged on May 14 with criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Carlos Perez, age 22, Amsterdam, was charged on May 14 with criminal possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful possession of marijuana. 

Robin P. Williams, age 25, Ballston Spa, was charged on May 14 with misdemeanor DWI, speeding, and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Danielle M. Bennett, age 31, Bennington, Vermont, was charged on May 14 with unlawful possession of marijuana, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. 

Daniel R. Bennett, age 28, Bennington, Vermont, was charged on May 14 criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Andrew R. White, age 40, Corinth, was charged on May 13 with misdemeanor DWI, and two driving violations. 

Shawn K. Srokowski, age 39, Porters Corners, was charged on May 13 with criminal possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful possession of marijuana.   

Jerrad P. St. John, age 39, South Glens Falls, was charged on May 13 with grand larceny in the fourth-degree.

Raymond J. Westhead, age 24, Mechanicville, was charged on May 13 with misdemeanor DWI and two driving violations.

Kevin J. Potter, age 45, Greenfield Center, was charged on May 12 with misdemeanor DWI, two driving violations, and unlawful possession of marijuana.  

Patrick F. Murphy, age 30, Stillwater, was charged on May 12 with misdemeanor DWI, refusing a pre-screen test, leaving the scene of an auto accident, and failure to keep right.   

Tracy L. Brousaides, age 42, and Thomas Foley, age 21, Walpole, Massachusetts, and Ryan P. Doherty, age 29, Merritt Island, Florida, were each charged on May 11 with one felony count criminal possession of controlled substance.

Amy K. Austin, age 45, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 11 with misdemeanor DWI and two equipment violations.  

Tyrone A. Knight, age 40, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 11 with obstruction of breathing or blood circulation - a misdemeanor.  

David P. Brinson, age 68, Greenwich, was charged on May 11 with aggravated unlicensed operation misdemeanor, and a driving violation. 

BillyJoe E. Ryle, age 40, Saratoga Springs, was charged on May 11 with misdemeanor criminal contempt.

Published in Police Blotter

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Blue Streak history was made at the recent Section II boys tennis tournament.

Entering the competition on May 24 as the No. 1 seeded doubles team, senior David Romano and eighth-grader Nick Grosso went all the way, finally besting the team of Govind Chari and Shamanth Murundi of Bethlehem to become the Section II doubles champions.  Capping off an exceptional 18-0 season for the Saratoga Tennis program, Romano and Grosso helped bring home the program’s first ever doubles title.  This comes off of the program taking its first-ever sectional team title in 2016.  From this win, they will move on to compete in the State-level competition at Flushing Meadows, the same site as the US Open.

Both Romano and Grosso have been in the Saratoga Tennis program since their seventh grade years.  This was their first year working together as a doubles team.  As a senior and an eighth grader, they are working with an age-disparity that they say is very much not common in varsity tennis. 

“I’ve never seen it, in my six years,” Romano said about the age gap. “It works out, cause we both know and respect each other’s games a lot, and he’s one of the hardest workers that I’ve known, and I think together we make a great team.”

“Seeing David out on the court when I was little, you know, it just kept me moving,” Grosso said. “Kept me going, kept me trying every day to be a player like him some day.  I think that’s what kept me going, and that’s where I’m at right now.”

Coach Tim O’Brien singled-out the team’s ability to communicate on the court as one of the reasons that they have been so successful.  Romano attributes this to their knowledge of each other’s styles, including their strengths and weaknesses on the court, allowing them to cover for each other fairly quickly.

“There have been plenty of times when I shouted for help and he was right there,” Romano said. 

Romano will be attending Brown University in the fall after graduating.  While there is a very strong tennis team at Brown, Romano was hesitant to say that he would be up to the task of making the team.  He does, however, intend to offer his services to help the team in whatever way he is able.  Grosso, meanwhile, will be moving up from middle school to high school in the fall, and is not feeling too much pressure about it.  Given his experience with high schoolers during his two seasons on the tennis team, he feels confident in his ability to make the transition smoothly.  If anything, he expects the change to do wonders for his game. 

Elsewhere at the Section II championships, singles players Seungmin Kim and Max Lee made it to the quarterfinals.

“The key to it I think has just been having a foundation of great kids and leaders, on the court and off the court,” O’Brien said about what has made this season’s team so dominant.  “It begins with them.” 

Photos by Photoandgraphic.com.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 01 June 2017 13:29

R U Tuff eNuff? These BOCES Students Are

SARATOGA SPRINGS – This Saturday, June 3, will bring the sixth annual TUFF eNUFF obstacle course challenge to Saratoga Springs, providing local families and fitness enthusiasts with a day of high-energy, muddy fun on the reconstituted fields near the F. Donald Myers Education Center.  Prior to the big day, the course itself has to be planned and constructed, and for the last six years these tasks have fallen into the hands of local BOCES students who learn their crafts at the Henning Road campus.

Each September, The Prevention Council gets in touch with Greg Hammond and Ken Brooks, instructors at the Henning Road BOCES in the Heavy Equipment Program, to work out a date for the following year’s TUFF eNUFF challenge.  From there, according to Hammond, the instructors and their students will begin the process of putting together the course about three weeks in advance, beginning first with the planning stages.  The actual construction portion of the build takes up the last week or so before the event takes place.  Every BOCES student in the Heavy Equipment program works on the project, which Hammond estimates to be around 80 students in a given year.

According to some of the students who have worked on this year’s course, the equipment used to prepare the TUFF eNUFF course are the typical vehicles that one would expect on a construction site: excavators, backhoes, bulldozers, wheel loaders, and more.

“A little bit of everything,” Hammond said.

This equipment is used to create the primary facets of the TUFF eNUFF course, including trenches to be filled with muddy water, and giant mounds of dirt to be scaled by runners.  After these elements are in place, Hammond says that a number of other elements are brought in to spice things up, including logs, tires, ropes, and a number of other things to make the course more challenging.

Aaron Lohaus, a student in the Heavy Equipment program, also noted the importance of safety in designing and constructing the course.  He said that different considerations have to be made for the children’s course versus the normal course, including the depth of the trenches, to avoid potential drowning hazards for the smaller competitors.  Furthermore, safety checks for the whole project are needed to ensure that nothing is left in place that might be too sharp or that might trip up participants in a bad way.

All the tasks that go into creating these courses tie back into the lessons the students learn in the Heavy Equipment program.  Unsurprisingly, proper operation techniques are an important part of the program, but the students also learn how perform maintenance on the various vehicles and pieces of equipment they work with.  Additionally, as Lohaus highlighted, safety is a major part of what they learn about, especially when it comes to being aware of their fellow workers on the project site.

In recent years, the Prevention Council has also brought in students from other BOCES programs to improve the overall TUFF eNUFF experience.  This includes students from the culinary program, who help put together a barbeque for the event, as well as student from the criminal justice program, who help to police the course and direct the flow of participants on the course.

The Sixth Annual TUFF eNUFF challenge will take place at the Henning Road BOCES on June 3.  The Kids 1 Mile Run will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by the Teens/Adults 5K at 9:15 a.m.  Anyone interested can register at www.finishright.com, and more information can be found by calling 518-581-1230. 

Published in Education
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