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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Susan Hale strolled the streets of her ancestors, one recent weekday afternoon.
“My family originally came from Boston, and it goes pretty far back,” she said, tracing a lineage from 20th century Union College Professor Edward Everett Hale Jr. to 19th century artists Susan Hale and Philip Leslie Hale; 18th century American patriot Nathan Hale – who famously said "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country," just prior to being executed for spying on British troops - to Massachusetts minister John Hale, whom the history books remember for his involvement during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. More than 250 years later, his fictional portrayal appear in Arthur Miller's play “The Crucible.”
It was at some of Saratoga Springs’ most prominent venues – most gone, some still in existence – where her great-great grandfather, Rev. Edward Everett Hale, delivered popular sermons in the late 19th century during biennialUnitarian Conferences that drew attendees from across the northeast.
It is Hale’s own talents, which stretch across a broad spectrum of the arts, that brings her to Saratoga Springs on this day. One project in particular – a children’s book she wrote and illustrated titled “Follow Your Dreams!” – Hale hopes will inspire an audience with Oprah Winfrey. The media giant is slated to speak at Skidmore College’s commencement at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on May 20.
“I want to give a box of books to Oprah’s school in Africa. How do you do that? When I heard that she was coming to Saratoga…I don’t know, it would be a dream to get my books to Oprah, because the story is about positivity, and persisting in spite of bullies,” Hale said.
In 2007, Oprah opened the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, a competitive boarding school in Johannesburg, South Africa, that offers education to disadvantaged students from across the country, Skidmore College will recognize Winfrey's commitment to education through her academy. One of the graduates of Winfrey’s school will also be receiving a Skidmore degree.
The protagonist of Hales’ illustrated book is “Pickles,” a real-life pot-bellied pig who the author took in, in 1997.
“I always wanted a pig - since I was a little kid, like Arnold on ‘Green Acres.’ She was a perfect house pet. She rode in the car with me across the country, from here to L.A., and after the book got done Pickles would come with me to school assemblies and book store signings,” said Hale, who received a bachelor of music degree in classical organ performance from Wheaton College in Illinois.
“Pickles is the neglected one who no one ever hears and who struggles to be heard. She sees a Fairy Pig Mother, who says to her: don’t let them get you down, just follow your dreams,” explained Hale, whose own markers of a lifetime of achievement spill out from the confines of her oversized briefcase. They include flyers promoting “The Pickles Power TV Show” that broadcast on Schenectady’s cable access, clippings from Los Angeles newspapers about her potbellied pig trying to make it big in Hollywood, images from Pickles’ media photoshoots, and prototype T-shirts emblazoned with the words: Dare To Dream - Pickle Power!
“I dream big,” offered Hale, whose oil paintings have been exhibited and classical concerts performed from the South American country of Ecuador to the northern climes of Saratoga Springs. (A clip of her performance at The Grove last summer of Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in G Minor” may be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36LEhH7-NKg). In October, she is slated to perform at Carnegie Hall. “That’s been a longtime dream,” Hale enthused.
After Pickles passed away, the book project went on the back-burner, but Hale said she has a renewed interest in updating the illustrations and re-issuing the book.
Pickles’ dream is to be a singer and the book illustrated the challenges she faces and overcomes to reach her goal. Hale also sings a narration in an accompanying CD. “Follow your dreams,” Hale asserted.” I’m living proof.”
Who: Joe Cutshall-King.
Where: Saratoga Springs Public Library.
What are you doing today?
I’m giving a talk on the story behind the story of “The Burning of The Piping Rock,” which is a novel I wrote about the Piping Rock Casino here in Saratoga in 1954. The book is fiction, but it’s based upon real characters.
When did the book come out?
What prompted you to write the story?
My family. I learned things about my own family in light of what happened when I was writing the book. It turned out to be a horrifying story, actually.
What was your family’s connection to the story?
My dad was a pharmacist. He worked as a manager for MacFinn’s Drugstore, which was at 396 Broadway in those days, and his boss was James Leary – who was, shall we say, extremely close friends with the Mafia – who ran all the casinos. When I was older, my dad told me that he sold the arsonist the materials to burn the Piping Rock, so that started my interest in it.
How much did you know about the story when you were a kid?
I was born in 1947 and at first, it was very secret. Gradually, as my family got further and further away, decades after the incident, they told the younger kids. But I never heard all of it, it was in bits and pieces.
You were born in Saratoga, but abruptly moved to Washington County?
We fled. One day I was playing on Lincoln Avenue and the next day I was being shoved in a car with everything we owned and we left. We went to Fort Edward just to get away from it.
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in Saratoga Springs during your lifetime?
The improvements on Broadway. The vibrancy. I hear people lament that it’s gotten so expensive, but I’ll tell you: this is heaven. Beautiful and live-able.
You’ve written a screenplay of the novel. If a film were made, who would you like to see in it?
Jon Hamm to play my father. My dad was extremely good looking.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Every morning, Elizabeth Sobol begins her day driving down the Avenue of the Pines. Since taking over the reins in October at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Sobol has been forming a vision in her mind’s eye of a park for the arts.
“When I saw the reflecting pool, the Victoria Pool, the beautiful porticos and the baths, the Jazz Bar downstairs, the Hall of Springs and all sorts of these other nooks and crannies, I was like: wow. I started thinking about all sorts of site-specific work,” SPAC’s president and CEO said.
She asked about the jazz bar, and was surprised to learn no live music is played there; When she saw the reflecting pool, she was reminded of John Luther Adams’ 2014 piece “Become Ocean,” which was performed at Lincoln Center around that venue’s reflecting pool.
“I see the park filled with art-making. Music. Maybe some outdoor sculpture and interactive experiences. I think of the park as this magnificent convergence of man-made beauty and natural beauty.”
Sobol said she wants to eliminate any preconceived barriers that may exist separating the SPAC amphitheater – where the arts are staged – and the surrounding grounds of the Saratoga Spa State Park.
“I’m all about no boundaries. Let people experience art in unexpected places where it catches them off-guard,” Sobol said. “I feel like this is a park for the arts, with so many spectacular places we can do performances.”
The other thing she wants to dispel is the bipolar notion that SPAC is either pop music, or classical music. “I think SPAC is one organism. It’s a world-class venue, and as long as everything that appears on the stage is world-class, it belongs without respect to genre.”
Teaming-up with other organizations is key, and already collaborations have been struck with Caffè Lena for a six-concert series, Skidmore College – for a performance that will be staged in June - and with UPH and Proctors for a yet-to-be announced event that will take place in the fall. There are also ongoing conversations with the nearby National Museum of Dance, and Saratoga Auto Museum regarding a potential Cuban festival that would feature live music, dance classes and a curated show of classic cars that would involve all three venues in their respective area of expertise.
“You’d walk in here and have this immersive experience, pulling it all together for you rather than a kind of silo experience,” Sobol said. “I think the more you feel art connects with basic human experiences, then it touches you in different ways.” The idea is to host year-round events that would fan out beyond SPAC’s geographical borders and into the Saratoga Spa State Park, “giving people these sublime experiences out in nature.”
“Some of it would be formal collaboration, some of it would be ‘pop-up,’ but I’m also imagining a poet’s corner here, where people can come and read their work,” Sobol said. “I want people to learn they can just come here in the same way they can go to a fair and entertain themselves, there’s food and rides and animals there’s all sorts of stuff – but with a proliferation of artistic experiences they can have here.”
“I’m also imagining having this whole day based on science and music that would end with Holst – ‘The Planets’ - performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra with massive screens of NASA space footage and hundreds of telescopes placed down in the football field, so kids could go from not just being taught these connections between astronomy and music, but seeing and hearing and feeling it,” Sobol said.
Saratoga’s Arts Ranking
On April 24, SMU’s National Center for Arts Research released its third annual Arts Vibrancy Index, which ranks communities across the country, examining the level of supply, demand, and government support for the arts in each city.
The “arts vibrancy” is measured by nonprofit cultural institutions, organizations and venues particularly attractive to artists or tourists, levels of government support, and being robust in a variety of arts sectors.
The cities of Bennington, Vermont, and Hudson, and Oneonta, N.Y. placed high on the list. As a county, Saratoga placed in the 92nd percentile, meaning of the 3,144 counties across the country, Saratoga County ranks higher than 92 percent of the rest of the country, according to the report, which may be viewed at: https://sites.smu.edu/meadows/heatmap/index.html
Saratoga Springs Arts Commission Involvement
City Mayor Joanne Yepsen, who in 2015 appointed members to the city’s first Arts Commission, is in the process of attempting to strike a collaborative partnership with the city of Nashville, Tennessee.
“We’re identifying what that exchange and partnership will look like,” Yepsen said. “The first step will be sending an invitation to their arts commission to invite some performers, musicians to Saratoga Springs to begin the partnership and we’re hoping to do this in August or September. It might even turn into a mini-festival of national performers, so we’re going to move forward as an Arts Commission.” The creative pipeline could also result in the Spa City hosting music workshops featuring performers from “Music City.”
How It’s Done in Music City
Nashville with a population about 678,000, is more than 20 times the size of Saratoga Springs.
Overseeing things in the “Music City” is the 15-member Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, which was formed in 1978. The arts commission has an approximate $3 million annual operating budget, promotes and supports that city’s visual, performing and literary arts. The commission has autonomy from the council, meaning the granting process – while going through a transparent public process, don’t have to return to the City Council for approval, said Jennifer Cole, director of Nashville’s arts commission. Of the $3 million budget, $2.3 million is awarded to civic and nonprofit civic and charitable organizations that assist the commission in its goals, with the balance of monies used to fund special projects and administrative costs.
The arts commission in Nashville also receives separate funding for public art, through the city’s Capital Budget. In 2000, the council adopted a measure that ensures 1 percent of all city-issued bonds for public city buildings is targeted for public art projects. Potential public art projects are subsequently scored by “citizen panelists” - members of a seven-member Public Art Committee - and taxpayers are also permitted to weigh in regarding the art projects that will be placed in public areas, Cole said.
A separate group, the all-volunteer Music City Music Council was started in 2009, which doesn’t have governing powers but works as an advisory group to the mayor . They are an association of business leaders charged with developing strategies toward heightening the awareness and development of Nashville’s world-wide reputation as Music City. Music is to Nashville as horses is to Saratoga, with core employment in the music industry in Nashville per 1,000 population exceeding all other U.S. cities by large margins and New York and Los Angeles by 2.5 to 4 times.
Recently, the Saratoga Springs Arts Commission has held discussions recently regarding the impending loss of the 300-seat Saratoga Music Hall when converted to a court room. Yepsen said to compensate, there are plans underway to potentially enlarge and enhance the Dee Sarno Theater at the Saratoga Arts building on Broadway. Joel Reed, executive director of Saratoga Arts, said with some interior re-configuration, the theater could double its capacity from 100 to 200 people.
New Incubator Opens in Saratoga Springs
“There’s an opportunity for the city of Saratoga Springs with an incubator right here, through SEDC’s (Saratoga Economic Development Corporation) good work,” said Yepsen, referencing other existing regional incubators at the Center For the Gravity in Troy and The Albany Barn. “It could be a space for people to create inventions, or art, or a combination.”
By its own definition, the Tech Valley Center of Gravity in Troy cultivates a community of makers, innovators and entrepreneurs to initiate creative collisions resulting in economic and personal growth. In Albany, that City, its Housing Authority, and the Barn partnered to redevelop the St. Joseph’s Academy building into 22 low-cost live/work residences for artists, and a multi-tenant creative arts incubator, enterprise and program space that includes work and rehearsal suites, a dance studio, and digital media lab.
Ryan Van Amburgh, Economic Development Specialist with SEDC, met with the city Arts Commission during its monthly meeting in April, shortly after launching SPARK Saratoga to empower locally based entrepreneurs. On Wednesday, the non-profit consulting firm announced a collaborative agreement with Saratoga CoWorks to site a new business incubator on Regent Street. Van Amburgh said discussions with the city’s Arts Commission are ongoing regarding a potential arts component, and that SEDC is engaged in a willingness to play a role in the city’s creative economy.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The city Republican Committee hosted a campaign kick-off this week at the Pavilion Grand Hotel to introduce six candidates vying for seats in the November election.
The GOP slate includes: mayoral candidate Mark Baker; political newcomers Andrew Blumenberg – vying for a seat as City Court Judge, and Don Braim – who will be running for the position of Public Safety Commissioner; Saratoga County Supervisor candidate John Safford, and incumbent Public Works Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco and Saratoga County Supervisor Matt Veitch.
“This is the first step and a big step,” said Baker, who was born in Wisconsin and relocated to Saratoga Springs 34 years ago to become the first president of the Saratoga Springs City Center. During his tenure he worked with nine different city mayors.
Baker spoke about “regain(ing) a civil majority on the Saratoga Springs City Council” alongside his fellow Republican candidates, and spoke in general terms regarding city issues. Asked about the November referendum related to the city’s commission form of government, Baker said he will read the Charter Commission’s report when it is finalized.
“We’re dealing with the successes and the challenges of our successes,” Baker said, in response to a query of the city’s growth in recent years. “You’re going to have growth because people want to live here, and you’re going to have growth that allows people to have lower taxes,” he said. “We have a vibrant community that is alive and we have people that want to visit us, and that helps us grow our sales tax base.”
“Mark Baker – I can’t wait to work with you when you become mayor of Saratoga Springs; We’re going to get a lot of things done,” said longtime Supervisor Matt Veitch.
John Safford, who as a political newcomer in 2015 was defeated in his bid for mayor by Democrat Joanne Yepsen, said he brings a business and public service resume to his candidacy for supervisor, “to represent all of the citizens of Saratoga Springs (and to bring) the highest level of care to the under-served.”
Blumenberg, who since his hiring in 2007 as public defender, has handled more than 5,000 cases at City Court, is running for court judge; Braim, who worked in the city police department for 22 years, is running for Commissioner of Public Safety, and incumbent public Safety Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco is seeking his sixth two-year term in the position. He recalled rising above the “political games played and political enemies punished” when first elected a decade ago, and talked about putting the “public” back in public works.
Four incumbent City Democrats have announced their candidacy: Accounts Commissioner John Franck, Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan, Saratoga Springs City Court Judge Francine R. Vero, and current Saratoga County Supervisor Peter Martin – who will vie for the seat of Commissioner of Public Safety. Current Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen, a Democrat, said he will not seek re-election. Saratoga Springs Democrats are expected to endorse their candidates later this month. Current city mayor Joanne Yepsen has yet to announce whether she will seek re-election.
The Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee – which can be viewed on the committee’s website at: http://www.saratogadems.org/platform/tatements in support of affordable housing and homeless services; a focus on public health and gun safety; and the importance of a safe, adequate supply of drinking water.
In November, voters will elect all five City Council positions – the mayor and four commissioners, one City Court Judge, and two Supervisors who will represent the city at the county level. The elected positions are for two-year terms.
A referendum will also be held regarding the city’s current “commission” form of governing. Should voters choose to change the city’s way of governing, that change will not be implemented until at least 2019.
Jackie R. Coffey, 29, of Ballston Spa, pleaded on April 24 to vehicular assault in the second-degree, a felony, in connection with an incident that occurred in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing scheduled for June 19.
Ryan Petronis, 29, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded on April 25 to failure to register as a sex offender, a felony. Sentencing scheduled for June 13.
Arthur E. Brust, Jr., 18, of Greenfield, pleaded on April 26 to felony burglary, in connection with an incident that occurred in Milton. Sentencing scheduled for June 21.
Thomas W. Coons, 57, of Greenfield, pleaded on April 26 to felony grand larceny, in connection with an incident that occurred in Greenfield. Sentenced to conditional discharge.
Joshua J. Dray, 21, of South Glens Falls, was sentenced on April 26 to time served after pleading to third degree criminal mischief in connection with an incident that occurred in Malta.
Owen G. Phinney, age 22, Gansevoort, was charged on April 21 with aggravated unlicensed operation.
Julia M. Murphy, age 25, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 21 with criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Joselyn Y. Woodard, age 30, Greenwich, was charged on April 21 with grand larceny in the third-degree, a felony.
Kathleen Hall, age 52, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 21 with aggravated unlicensed operation, and speeding.
Kyle D. Martineau, age 30, Middle Grove, was charged on April 20 with aggravated unlicensed operation, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration, and failure to notify DMV of a change of address.
Patrick G. Veltman, age 28, South Bend, Indiana, was charged on April 20 with felony burglary.
Christopher E. Robenstein, age 27, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 20 with misdemeanor criminal contempt.
Heather L. Fraley, age 44, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 19 with misdemeanor DWI, and failure to keep right.
Leah H. Detroye, age 19, Porter Corners, was charged on April 18 with misdemeanor petit larceny.
Jordan R. Baker, age 25, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 18 with assault in the second-degree, a felony, and criminal mischief in the fourth-degree, a misdemeanor.
Britton L. Newchurch, age 29, Queensbury, was charged on April 18 with aggravated unlicensed operation, and operating an unregistered motor vehicle on a highway.
Morgan L. Milsop, age 32, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 18 with Misdemeanor DWI, and speeding.
Lester E. Lolley, age 34, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 17 with aggravated family offense - a felony, and criminal contempt, a misdemeanor.
Nicole R. Rossi, age 34, Albany, was charged on April 17 with no/expired insurance, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration, and aggravated unlicensed operation.
Dustin C. Scoville, age 23, Gansevoort, was charged on April 17 with criminal possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana, and following a motor vehicle too closely.
Gale D. Ranck, age 62, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 16 with failure to keep right, and misdemeanor DWI.
Mary Lynn Massonne, age 59, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 16 with failure to signal a turn, failure to keep right, refusing a pre-screen test, and felony DWI as a second offense.
Kristin S. Barnes, age 28, Queensbury, was charged on April 16 with failure to obey a traffic control device and misdemeanor DWI.
Jamel A. Miller, age 37, Schenectady, was charged on April 16 with unlawful possession of marijuana, felony criminal possession of a controlled substance, felony tampering with physical evidence, and misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Major L. Adams, age 34, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 15 with unlawful possession of marijuana.
Theresa M. Jordan, age 30, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 15 with criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.
Joseph Kyalo Kassim, age 36, Menands, was charged on April 15 with misdemeanor DWI, and failure to stop at a stop sign.
Corey D. Freemire, age 25, Clifton Park, was charged on April 15 with speeding, misdemeanor DWI, and following a motor vehicle too closely.
Lee R. Davenport, age 30, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 15 with criminal trespass in the second- degree, a misdemeanor.
Laquasuiah R. Patterson-Chapman, age 19, Schenectady, was charged on April 15 with false impersonation- a misdemeanor.
Daniel P. Houle, age 37, Moreau, was charged on April 15 with misdemeanor DWI, failure to stop at stop sign, failure to keep right.
Charles Watkins, age 30, Sauquoit, NY, was charged on April 15 with aggravated unlicensed operation.
Kevin Bryant Kuhn, age 57, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 13 with misdemeanor DWI.
Jamie L. McIntyre, age 30, Granville, was charged on April 13 with aggravated unlicensed operation.
Juliana S. Dreweck, age 40, Schenectady, was charged on April 13 with petit larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property – both misdemeanors.
Cory D. Henry, age 37, Malta, was charged on April 13 with misdemeanor DWI, refusing a pre-screen test, and speeding.
Kymir R. Pearson, age 25, Albany, was charged on April 12 with registration plate display violation, and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration- a misdemeanor.
Daniel R. Belmonte, age 31, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 11 with aggravated unlicensed operation, and following a motor vehicle too closely.
Thomas G. Stanton, age 31, Albany, was charged on April 11 with speeding, and misdemeanor DWI.
Richard A. DeMatteo, age 24, Schenectady, was charged on April 10 with criminal possession of stolen property – a felony.
John P. Pagano, age 56, Oceanside was charged on April 10 with misdemeanor criminal trespass.
Wifredo F. Diaz, 44, was sentenced on April 20 to a total of 50 years -to-life in prison, to run consecutively, after the conviction for two counts predatory sexual assault, and single count charges of first degree sexual abuse, and second degree assault. Diaz was also previously convicted for failing to register as a sex offender. The convictions stem from an incident that occurred in Saratoga Springs in August 2016 during which, a trial jury found, Diaz violently, physically and sexually assaulted his victim.
Jennifer M. Pugliese, 36, of Fort Edward, was sentenced on April 20 to 3-1/2 to 7 years in state prison, after pleading to felony burglary, in connection with an incident that occurred in Wilton.
William E. Slater, 46, of Gansevoort, pleaded on April 13 to criminal act in the first-degree, a felony, in connection with an incident that occurred in Wilton. Sentencing scheduled for June 8.
Jordan M. Mosher, 20, of Queensbury, pleaded on April 13 to third degree burglary, a felony, in connection with an incident that occurred in Greenfield. Sentencing scheduled for June 8.
Thomas J. Davin III, of Schuylerville, pleaded on April 14 to aggravated felony DWI, in connection with an incident that occurred in the town of Saratoga. Sentencing scheduled for June 9.
Louis S. Guerra, 42, of the Bronx, was sentenced on April 11 to five years of probation, after pleading to felony criminal contempt in connection with an incident that occurred in Saratoga Springs.
James J. Innes, 33, of Mechanicville, was sentenced on April 11 to 1-to-3 years in state prison, after pleading to felony DWI in connection with an incident that occurred in Ballston.
Nathaniel F. Dennis, 44, of Ballston Spa, was sentenced on April 11 to four years in state prison and 1-1/2 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 Ballston.
Kevin M. Sillah, age 28, Cohoes, was charged on April 8 with speeding, and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
Zachary M. Romano, age 24, Liverpool, was charged on April 8 with misdemeanor DWI, and driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
Nacoda E. Meredith, age 20, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 7 with unlawfully dealing with a child in the first-degree, and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Robert J. Loya, age 28, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 7 with two felony counts of criminal possession of controlled substance, and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Gabrielle K. Emery, age 24, Albany, was charged on April 7 with misdemeanor DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and three driving violations.
Sara A. Malpass-Willey, age 37, Ballston Spa, was charged on April 7 with misdemeanor DWI and aggravated DWI, and five driving violations.
Marcus A. Kelley, age 25, Porters Corners, was charged on April 6 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and having a suspended registration.
Christopher G. Perez, age 21, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 6 with unlawful possession of marijuana, a vehicle equipment violation, and two driving violations.
Patricia Arango, age 32, Porters Corners, was charged on April 5 with criminal impersonation, speeding, aggravated unlicensed operation, and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Theresa M. Jordan, age 30, Lake Luzerne, was charged on April 5 with a vehicle equipment violation, and aggravated unlicensed operation.
John A. Oakes, age 31, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 5 with felony assault, and misdemeanor petit larceny and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Jonathan L. Bartfeld, age 22, Sonoma, California, was charged on April 5 with misdemeanor DWI and two driving violations.
Clifford C. Colvin, age 57, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 4 with criminal contempt in the second-degree, a misdemeanor.
Paul J. Demertino, age 37, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 3 with criminal mischief in the third degree, a felony.
Mary Ellen B. Zebrowski, age 55, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 3 with felony burglary, and criminal contempt in the second-degree, a misdemeanor.
Cameron J. Audette, age 30, Niskayuna, was charged on April 3 with misdemeanor DWI, and a driving violation.
Delia M. Hopkins, age 51, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 2 with criminal trespass in the second degree, a misdemeanor.
Lance J. Beaubien, age 29, Massena, was charged on April 2 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor.
Lakey McNeil, age 35, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 2 with felony DWI as a second offense, refusing a pre-screen test, two driving violations, and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Lacey A. Brackett, age 28, Corinth, was charged on April 2 with unlawful possession of marijuana, and felony criminal possession of controlled substance.
Alexander P. Miller, age 29, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 2 with speeding and misdemeanor DWI.
Nathan J. Bordeau, age 24, Ballston Spa, was charged on April 2 with speeding and misdemeanor DWI.
Marlon A. Williams, age 34, Albany, was charged on April 2 with failure to keep right and misdemeanor DWI.
Corey A. Saxton, age 30, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 2 with criminal trespass, a misdemeanor.
Michael J. Waldron, age 41, Saratoga Springs, was charged on April 2 with misdemeanor DWI, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and two driving violations.
Nicholas L. Moon, age 27, South Glens Falls, was charged on April 1 with felony DWI as a second offense, circumventing a court-ordered interlock device, failure to keep right, and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Kelsie E. Gibson, age 23, Queensbury, was charged on April 1 with misdemeanor DWI and misdemeanor aggravated DWI, and failing to obey a traffic control device.
Eric J. Alford, age 45, Ballston Spa, was charged on April 1 with unlawful possession of marijuana, and two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Seth A. Blanchard, age 28, Galway, was charged on April 1 with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child and single misdemeanor counts of assault, and criminal tampering.
SCHUYLERVILLE - The Hudson River village that played a vital role in the turning point of the American Revolution can add “The Demon of Screamin’” to its feathered cap of historical significance.
Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler and daughter Liv Tyler - an actress perhaps best known for her role in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy - visited the adjoined Saratoga villages of Schuylerville and Victory in January after learning of their 19th century ancestral ties to the community.
Those local connections came to light in an episode of the TV series “Who Do You Think You Are?” which premiered on the TLC channel this week.
Steven Tyler’s great-great-grandfather, George Washington Elliott, was a drummer who was present at the battle of Antietam and at Gettysburg. He set down roots in Saratoga County while in his 20s, shortly after the Civil War.
“I can see my dad in his face,” Liv Tyler told Saratoga County Historian Lauren Roberts, after being shown a photograph in a 1912 brochure during a segment that depicted “Mr. and Mrs. George Elliott and family, Schuylerville, N.Y.” with their 17 children.
Liv Tyler, the daughter of Steven Tyler and Nashville based singer, songwriter and pop culture icon Bebe Buell, was filmed while driving around Saratoga and visiting the office of the Saratoga County Clerk in Ballston Spa. She was joined by her dad at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Victory, where in the shadow of the a 155-foot tall Saratoga Monument, they visited the burial sites of their ancestors.
“I thought it was a fun show and great piece of history about her family,” said the Saratoga Town Historian Sean Kelleher. “When you start doing these family searches, you just never know what you’re going to find.”
It is not known what prompted the relocation to the Schuylerville area of George Elliott, who had African-America roots. In the 19th century, the greater Schuylerville area counted two Abolitionist Societies who lobbied politicians, published abolitionist papers, and invited speakers into their communities - Frederick Douglass among them, according to Village of Schuylerville Historian Kristina Saddlemire.
In the village by the latter part of the 19th century, local kids found their winter recreation ice skating on the frozen canal. They attended classes at Schuylerville’s Union Free School, a four-story building that stood on Green and University Streets, and played host to a visiting music teacher from Northumberland who would arrive by pony and provide piano lessons for the entire family.
Research conducted independently of the show points to at least one member of the Elliott family being employed at the historic textile mill building in Victory, Kelleher said.
The family were members of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Schuylerville. Of George and Eliza’s 17 kids, 15 were born in Au Sable Forks.
“Two of the children - Jennie May, and Arthur - were born in Schuylerville,” said Don Papson, co-founder and curator of the North Star Underground Railroad Museum, in Ausable Chasm, N.Y.
Jennie May Elliott was born in 1889, and Arthur Earnest Elliott two years later. According to a 1976 obituary, Arthur was a groundskeeper who had been employed By Skidmore College and lived in Saratoga Springs for many years. Jennie May’s descendant, Mary Briscoe, currently lives in Watervliet. She recalled meeting many of her relatives as a young girl growing up in Victory, where she lived until the age of six, before relocating during the 1940s. Watching the TV episode, Briscoe said she was able to learn more about her own ancestors, particularly those who lived during the Civil War Era and beyond.
Steven Tyler’s mother, and Liv Tyler’s grandmother, Susan Ray Tallarico – whose maiden name was Blancha - was the daughter of Bessie June Blancha (Elliott), who in turn was the daughter of Robert J. Elliott and Edna Wheeler. Robert J. Elliott was one of the sons of George and Eliza Elliot, the first members of the family to settle in Saratoga. Their connection to Schuylerville and Victory seems to have lasted at least until the early part of the 20th century.
“Robert J. Elliott married Edna Wheeler. She was the daughter of Charles E. Wheeler, who as much as I can figure out was a photographer in the village,” Papson said. Advertisements published in local newspapers in the early 1900s take note of photographer C.E. Wheeler’s a shop located on Broadway in Schuylerville.
The historians best pin-pointed the family home as having sat on Pearl Street in the village of Victory and just around the corner from St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on nearby Grove Street in Schuylerville.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Saratoga Performing Arts Center is launching a new programming series this summer that seats audiences directly on the stage of the iconic amphitheater.
The onstage seating capacity in the unique format is 300. The entire audience will sit onstage with the artists and no other seats will be sold for the four-concert series.
“Positioning audiences onstage for this series will offer them a unique, visceral experience – a connection with the performance unlike anything they have experienced previously,” SPAC President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol said, in a statement.
The series takes place on four consecutive evenings in August. New York City jazz band The Hot Sardines perform on Aug.7; Time for Three, and its three classically trained musicians — violinists Nicholas Kendall and Charles Yang, and double-bassist Ranaan Meyer – perform Aug. 14; Classical, hip-hop and R&B fused ensemble Black Violin – whose members have appeared at President Obama's Inaugural and three Super Bowls – perform Aug. 21, and three-time Grammy Award nominated Afro-Cuban music group Tiempo Libre will perform on Aug. 28.
Tickets to SPAC on Stage are limited and are $40 to $50, and available at spac.org beginning May 3. And check out this video clip about the series:
Charles B. “Chip” Locke, 44, of Porters Corners, pleaded guilty on April 12 to third degree grand larceny, a felony, in connection with the theft of funds from the Greenfield Home School Association. Locke served as treasurer for the Greenfield HSA and admitted to stealing approximately $15,070.70, according to Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen. Locke is scheduled to be sentenced on June 8, during which it is anticipated he will be ordered to serve six months in jail and pay back full restitution to the Greenfield HSA during a period of five years of probation.
Clifford B. Nichols, 51, of Galway, was sentenced on April 5 to time served and five years of probation, after pleading to felony DWI in connection with an incident that occurred in Milton.
Joshua Noll, 28, of Gansevoort, was sentenced to 1-3 years in state prison, after pleading to second degree vehicular assault and felony DWI, in connection with an incident that occurred in Saratoga Springs in August 2016.
Adam Y. Paul, age 29, of West Hempstead, was charged on April 14 with Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second-Degree, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Third-Degree, and nine Counts Criminal Possession of a Forgery Device – all felonies. The Saratoga County Sheriff’s office said on April 4 a Sheriff’s Deputy on patrol came across Paul parked alone in a town parking lot off of Moe Road in Clifton Park. Paul was suspected of sitting in a vehicle reported stolen from the state of Florida. Paul was detained and further investigation revealed numerous credit cards and a credit card reader/writer machine in the vehicle, according to authorities. In conjunction with the U.S. Secret Service, Albany Office, the credit cards in the vehicle were determined to be forged and contained stolen credit card account information on them. Paul was arraigned and sent to County Jail in lieu of $20,000 cash, or $40,000 bond. The investigation is on-going and additional charges could be filed.
Ronnie Carrigan, 34, of Ballston Spa, Charaun Meertins, 30, of Clifton Park, David A. Coonradt, 45, of Saratoga Springs, and Jamar Henriquez, 28, of South Glens Falls, were each charged on April 13 with one felony count of grand larceny, one felony count of welfare fraud, and three felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing. According to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s office, each of the four individuals allegedly submitted documentation to the Saratoga County Department of Social Services to receive benefits they were not entitled to and that they received, in total, more than $37,000.
Abdellah N. Campbell, 20, of Troy, and Tyler R. Conner, 17, of Ballston Lake, were each charged on April 13 with first degree robbery, and second degree assault, both felonies, in connection with an alleged incident that occurred April 10 in the town of Ballston. Campbell and Conner are accused of being among a group of people who chased a 28-year-old man into a parking lot on Route 50 where they punched, kicked, and hit him with a tree branch causing injury, and forcibly took the victim’s boots, according to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department. Campbell and Conner were sent to jail, in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond, and $8,000 cash bail, or $30,000 bond, respectively. Additional charges are pending for other suspects involved in the incident, according to authorities.
Craig M. Guilfoyle, age 31, of Ballston Spa, was charged on April 5 with felony criminal contempt, based on the accusation that he violated an order of protection by appearing at the protected person’s Malta residence and by telephoning the protected person. He is alleged to have been previously convicted of criminal contempt in the first degree within the preceding five years, resulting in the charge being upgraded to a felony. He was sent to Saratoga County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail, or $20,000 secured bond.
Cathleen T. Gorman, 40, and Edward H. Gorman, 53, both of Saratoga Springs, were each charged on April 7 making a punishable false written statement, and obstructing governmental administration – both misdemeanors, in connection with a motor vehicle accident that occurred in Halfmoon on Dec. 24, 2016. It is alleged they had given misinformation about who was driving the vehicle.
Karen L. Hickcox, age 37, of Wilton, was charged on April 8 with assault in the second degree. She is alleged to have struck another person with a liquor bottle to the head on March 30 and causing physical injury to that person. The victim was transported to Saratoga Hospital where she was treated and released. Hickcox was released on her own recognizance.
Victor A. Maffetone, age 30, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 26 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and a vehicle equipment violation.
Alexander A. Moniot, age 30, Halfmoon, was charged after being involved in a property damage accident on March 26 with misdemeanor DWI, refusing a pre-screen test, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, passing a red traffic signal light, making an unsafe lane change, operating an unregistered motor vehicle on a highway, no/expired insurance, and speeding.
Keana H. Leton, age 39, Schenectady, was charged on March 29 with unlawful possession of marijuana, misdemeanor DWI, and two driving violations.
Kalill A. Bostick, age 42, Troy, was charged on March 29 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended registration.
Dianne M. Fuller, age 61, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 29 with menacing in the second-degree, and criminal possession of a weapon, a felony.
Joshua J. Allen, age 26, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 29 with criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.
Kariann P. Morris, age 46, Charlton, was charged on March 29 with felony grand larceny, and felony burglary.
Eustace E. Edey, age 28, Malta, was charged on March 28 with unlawful possession of marijuana, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and speeding.
William E. Covell, age 48, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 28 with two misdemeanor counts of forcible touching.
Marissa L. Upton, age 33, Troy, was charged on March 26 with criminal trespass, endangering the welfare of a child, petit larceny, and criminal mischief. All charges are misdemeanors.
Dennis H. Maier, age 22, Orlando, Florida, was charged on March 26 with misdemeanor DWI, and two driving violations, following a minor personal injury accident.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Code Blue Saratoga Emergency Shelter’s annual “Blue Needs You” 8K run and expo took off through the streets of Saratoga Springs last weekend, and the results were all that the organization had hoped for.
Each year since beginning the 8K run event, Code Blue, a local emergency shelter for the homeless, sets a budget-level for the year going forward with the hope that the funds raised at the event will match or exceed it. This year, the proposed budget was $40,000, which the Blue Needs You event raised almost exactly, according to executive director Michael Finocchi.
“We were right on target,” Finocchi said.
This budget was up slightly from previous years’ races. Despite raising a larger amount, this year’s run saw fewer runners, 470, compared to last year, though still significantly higher than the first year. Finocchi and other at Code Blue say that this lower attendance may be due to other runs that were being held at the same time. This had not been the case in previous years.
This year’s run started out from High Rock Park in downtown Saratoga Springs. From there, runners took Lake Avenue for a ways, crossing up and down a number of side streets before ending up on East Avenue. From East, the runners went all the way to Excelsior Avenue where they took a right, following the street all the way through a loop it makes near the Residence Inn near the Northway. Coming back down Excelsior, they turned onto Excelsior Spring Avenue briefly, and then turned once more onto the Spring Run Trail. Following this trail all the way back down to East, they once again returned to High Rock where the run concluded.
Code Blue is a shelter that provides emergency housing for the homeless during severe winter weather conditions, such as when the temperature drops below freezing or when more than 10-inches of snowfall is predicted. Code Blue also works to transition its residents to more stable living situations, including apartments or rehab services.
“It was very reassuring when you’re down there and you see how many people care about those we help,” Finocchi said.
All photos by Photoandgraphic.com.