Larry Goodwin

Larry Goodwin

Thursday, 03 August 2017 17:54

A Popular Summer Feast by Fires

Scenes from the August 1 "Fire Feast on the Farm." Photos by

SARATOGA SPRINGS — “We have so many interesting farmers here, constituents, community people, chefs from all over the country,” observed Mayor Joanne Yepsen on Tuesday, as she provided opening remarks for the “Fire Feast on the Farm” held at Pitney Meadows Community Farm (PMCF).

Dan Forbush, one of many event organizers, said nearly 300 people had purchased tickets for the PMCF fundraiser. The tickets ranged in price between $200 and $500.

Last year, the Pitney family sold their farm’s property rights to the city for more than $1 million. It is now home to a lively community garden and a host of educational events.

The program for the August 1 Fire Feast, which was sponsored by a few dozen area businesses, called it “an amazing evening on the farm.”

“It is so important that we preserve farmland in the City of Saratoga Springs. And we now have 161 acres, in perpetuity, preserved. So enjoy,” Yepsen told the large crowd gathered under a newly constructed greenhouse at the West Avenue property.

John Sconzo, the PMCF organizer who led the introductions, then informed the crowd that two fire pits would be cooking at any given time, with each individual chef focused on serving specific items such as fresh seafood, beef and vegetables.

Long lines formed right away among most of the Fire Feast attendees, who appeared to relish each other’s company as much as the smoke and aromas wafting through the air on a warm summer evening.

Richard Ball, commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, also made an appearance at the Fire Feast.

After Yepsen had departed for a city meeting, Ball briefly explained how he manages those things that sometimes cause the loss of sleep, including family issues, life on his own farm and his relationship with bankers.

“What keeps me up during the day is people like you,” Ball said. “People like you, here tonight, who are putting this together and carrying the vision forward for a very special community.”

For more information, visit the website

Thursday, 27 July 2017 17:58

$180 Million to Milton

MILTON – The U.S. Navy confirmed this week that major upgrades are planned over the next five years at the Kenneth A. Kesselring Site in West Milton, including installation of a new high-tech simulator of an engine room.

The upgrades are being designed as complements to the engine “prototypes” already located at Kesselring, a facility that has trained more than 50,000 sailors since the 1950s in the operation of nuclear submarines.   

In an emailed statement, Ray Pefferman, a spokesman for the Naval Nuclear Laboratory, described the $180 million project as “a state-of-the-art simulation system that will be used to enhance the training of Navy sailors” at Kesselring.

“We refer to the new system as an Engine Room Team Trainer which will use advanced computer simulation coupled with an immersive learning environment to augment the training provided to sailors on the S8G Prototype's nuclear propulsion plant," wrote Pefferman. "Basically, the Engine Room Team Trainer provides the Navy students with a prototypical representation of the S8G Prototype's engine room so the students can complete training evolutions required for their particular qualification.”

“The cost for this project at Kesselring is approximately $180 million, which includes the simulation equipment and a building,” Pefferman said. “The building and simulation equipment are currently being designed. Construction on the building is planned to start next year and installation of the simulator will begin at Kesselring in 2020.”

“The Engine Room Team Trainer will be available for training in 2022,” Pefferman continued. “In addition, the Kesselring Site is preparing to start a Refueling Overhaul (ROH) next year that will allow the site to continue training sailors for the next 20 years.”

“The Kesselring Site upgrades, in conjunction with two new Moored Training Ships (i.e., converted Los Angeles Class Submarines) and two Engine Room Team Trainers at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit in Charleston, South Carolina, will provide an overall training capacity to meet the needs of the U.S. Navy,” Pefferman said.

Milton Supervisor Dan Lewza predicted the news would have positive benefits for the town, since Navy personnel have stimulated the local economy for many years with the rental of apartments and regular purchases of groceries and local services, etc.

“You’ll have more and more sailors coming here,” Lewza said. “Their tax dollars go a long way to help us.”

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MALTA – Development pressures and years of control by Republicans are compelling Democrats to get more organized in both Malta and Wilton ahead of this November’s local elections.

“We just want to have a voice,” offered Julie Galloway, chairwoman of the Malta Democratic Committee, when contacted this week about a slate of four candidates the party has chosen for town supervisor, town board and town justice. “We want to have a clean, upbeat election.”

“We are super excited,” Galloway added.

Democrats in Malta have endorsed Bill Breheny for supervisor, since lifelong town resident Vincent DeLucia is up for reelection in November.

Breheny, who’s lived in the town for 32 years with his wife Cindy and three sons, works in insurance and retirement planning.

For two seats on the Malta Town Board, the Democrats have endorsed Tracy O’Rourke, an employee of the Ballston Spa School District; and Cynthia Young, a self-employed accountant.

Michelle Storm, a Long Island native and more recent arrival in Malta, has been endorsed for the town justice seat now occupied by Judge Steven Gottmann.

According to Nick Wilock, vice chairman of the Malta Republican Committee, the party has endorsed DeLucia and Town Councilman John Hartzell, along with Sharon Farley Schiera for another town board seat.

The Republicans also plan to back Roger Crandall for highway superintendent, Patti Ruggles for town clerk and Gottmann.

When asked to comment by email on the Democrats’ plans in November, Wilock said: “The fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans is fiscal discipline and high ethical standards. Under Supervisor DeLucia's leadership, Malta remains a tax-free town because of the commitment to not spending more than we take in, and recognizing the importance of responsible economic development in our commercial corridors so that money spent here is kept here. Malta's fiscal health remains in great condition thanks to responsible spending practices by our current town board.”

“Also under Supervisor DeLucia's leadership,” Wilock added, “town hall has transformed itself from a place where ethics and integrity were a real problem to a model example of how public officials should hold themselves to higher standards.” 

“If there were ethical problems in town hall . . . none of that had to do with Democrats,” responded Young, who noted how Republicans have controlled most town offices in Malta for many years. “They can’t blame it on us.”

“The Democratic candidates for supervisor and town board are concerned that the unfettered development and rezoning of Malta will threaten the fiscal health of the town,” Young explained in her own emailed statement. “Increased development will require higher expenses for public safety, emergency services and highway maintenance.”

“Republican town governments, the current and former, have rezoned areas of the town from residential to commercial, allowed high-density apartments to be built and catered to developers using the Planned Development District formula,” Young continued. “We already feel the impact in increased traffic and crime.”

Patricia Tuz, the chairwoman of Wilton’s Democratic Committee, echoed such comments.

“What’s democratic is to give people choice,” Tuz said, noting how Wilton, much like Malta, has been controlled by Republicans for decades.

“We will get more people out to vote,” she vowed, saying that is “our main goal.” 

Democrats there have endorsed Nancy Dwyer for supervisor; Paula Tancredi Penman and Ken Garcia for town board; and John Helenek for highway superintendent. 

Dave Buchyn, chairman of the Wilton Republican Committee, said the party is supporting longtime Supervisor Arthur Johnson and Councilman John McEachron, along with “political newcomer” Duane Bogardus for the town board seat being vacated by Councilwoman Joanne Klepetar. 

Kirklin Woodcock, Wilton’s highway superintendent, also has the Republicans’ support.

“The people you vote for will be making decisions that affect your home value (your greatest investment), your schools, and your roads,” Tuz said in an email. “Our right to vote is very important so why should we not exercise it every way we can?”

She also lamented an “explosion” of growth that has crowded schools and caused noticeable traffic problems in Wilton.

“One of the greatest contributions a person can make is to sit on a town board and contribute experience and ideas to move the town forward,” Tuz said. “Why should we have the same people running with the same backgrounds, with the same ideas?”

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[Larisa Romanowski and Don Graham of the EPA in Ballston Spa. Photos by Larry Goodwin.]

BALLSTON SPA — Federal and state environmental officials appeared at a public forum inside the Elks Lodge this week to discuss chemical contamination that is lingering inside the Rickett’s dry-cleaning facility.

No one could say for sure how soon the one-and-a-half acre site—widely viewed as a blot on the village landscape—would be cleaned up and readied for a new business.

“There’s definitely contamination migrating. It leaves us in a quandary,” explained Don Graham, the on-scene coordinator for the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who supervised “vapor intrusion” tests at 50 homes near the Rickett’s property earlier this year.

In May, results of those EPA tests indicated that no serious contamination of homes had occurred. Most of the properties tested are downhill from Rickett’s, on the eastern side of Doubleday Avenue (Route 50), while a smaller number are located behind the deteriorating structure.

Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano said the test results were “the best news you could hope for” in terms of “human health and safety.” He also praised Graham, Larisa Romanowski, the community involvement coordinator, and other EPA officials for being “very responsive and thorough.” 

After Rickett’s closed for business in 2014, it was discovered that a substantial amount of chemicals had saturated concrete floors inside the building. As groundwater levels rise and fall over time, Graham said, the chemicals are carried away.

Dozens of Ballston Spa residents attended the forum and asked questions about various related issues.

“The facility’s very contaminated,” Graham told Hyde Boulevard homeowner Sander Bonvell, who has thoroughly researched the history of the Rickett’s site.

Michael Bashore, a Ballston Spa firefighter, reported that the village’s all-volunteer fire departments have a standing policy of not pumping out flooded basements near Rickett’s because of the chemical contamination. He said caution is advised as long as the environmental agencies involved “will not say it’s okay” to do so. 

Other village residents voiced concerns about the homeowners behind Rickett’s if and when an actual cleanup commences, and for the safety of pedestrians who currently navigate the sidewalks right next to the property.

Graham assured them that there is minimal danger, before acknowledging that any further study of such matters would be conducted by the state Department of Health.

Chris Tebbens, a U.S. Navy veteran whose wife Erika earned nearly half of the votes cast for village justice in a March election, asked how soon the Rickett’s property would be “released” for a new use.

“This is a little more complex because it’s a groundwater issue,” offered Michael Dipietro, an environmental geologist for the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

There is a “transitioning” taking place that enables the DEC to be the “lead agency” from this point forward, according to Graham. 

Upon further questioning Dipietro tried to explain the complicated process of state and federal funding for environmental remediation at contaminated sites like Rickett’s.

“It will move forward,” he told the crowd.

DEC engineer Eric Obrecht, who accompanied Dipietro, noted how some developers are willing to acquire vacant properties if that type of funding covers the costs of needed cleanup projects. 

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — As fresh summer air poured into the community room at Universal Preservation Hall through an open door, Angela Beddoe offered simple advice to any woman who may want to start her own business.

“You just have to find what you love to do,” stated the owner of Beddoe Publishing LLC, a franchise based in Saratoga Springs that circulates HerLife magazine through 1,700 locations in the Capital Region and Adirondacks.

As part of its “Spark Saratoga” series of talks, the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) had invited Beddoe along with Kathryn Cartini, the founder of Chloe Capital, and Dr. Tobi Saulnier, CEO of 1st Playable Solutions, to address the topic of “Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Leveraging Passions and Skills as a Female Entrepreneur.”

Approximately 20 people were in attendance at the July 25 event.

Dennis Brobston, the SEDC president, spoke briefly before yielding the floor to Catherine Hill, a professor of management and business at Skidmore College, who fairly moderated the discussion among Beddoe, Cartini and Saulnier.

Beddoe said the “glass ceiling” expression makes her “cringe” because it is often “self-imposed by women.”

As someone who admitted to previously “taking all of my creativity and benefitting one corporation,” Beddoe insisted that women must identify the many opportunities that develop in their lives and become “better self-promoters.”

“This is a pattern amongst women that we constantly see,” she observed. 

Cartini, a graduate of the Newhouse Program at Syracuse University and native to that part of New York, said women “just need a little buzz to break the glass ceiling.”

Cartini cited an example from several years ago, when a few of her colleagues in local broadcast journalism had felt the need to keep their homosexuality a secret. Later, as the stigma was being cast aside in most states, those same colleagues went on to be featured in national news programs.

Cartini’s Chloe Capital is an “early stage investment fund” that focuses on supporting “technology and tech-enabled companies with talented, hard-working, diverse teams,” according to a summary on the firm’s website ( “We make seed-stage investments in promising companies and use our networks and experience to help them grow.”

A major focus of Cartini’s is Upstate Venture Connect, a nonprofit that aims to harness the collective strengths of organizations like SEDC and academic institutions such as Skidmore. Its goal is to support entrepreneurs so that they can remain in New York instead of pursuing more viable opportunities in other states, she said.

Cartini and Saulnier both talked about the importance of reaching out to young women and fostering in them leadership skills.

Saulnier said that is crucial because of “what society has taught” girls, especially, including the imposition of different stereotypes.

The official motto of Saulnier’s company (, which is based in Troy, is “harnessing the power of games to educate, transform and change minds.”

Beddoe and Saulnier also discussed the “camaraderie” that comes naturally to women, especially when they gather in “peer-based groups.”

When asked by Hill to provide their final thoughts in brief, Saulnier reiterated her comments about properly educating young people.

“More of everyone being kind to each other,” Cartini said.

“Hashtag give yourself permission to dream,” Beddoe added. “Don’t be afraid to do it.” 

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Thursday, 27 July 2017 16:47

Awkward Village Stop Sign to be Moved

BALLSTON SPA — The Village Board voted Monday night to relocate a stop sign near the intersection of Hyde Boulevard and Malta Avenue that has caused headaches for several years among drivers and local homeowners alike.

In discussing the three-way stop at that intersection, Mayor John Romano said the current sign configuration is too “confusing.”

“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” Romano said.

In 2013, the mayor explained, a stop sign was put up on the eastern side of East Grove Street, but village workers will move it closer to the intersection with Hyde Boulevard.

At present, trees and vegetation obscure the view of Hyde Boulevard for drivers heading toward the village on Malta Avenue. The existing signs also make it difficult to determine which driver gets to turn left or right first.

The village board voted 3-1 to move the East Grove Street sign, with Trustee Robert Cavanaugh opposed. Trustee Noah Shaw was absent. 

Thursday, 20 July 2017 18:38

Housing Project Debate Ends in Milton

[Front photo shows town officials and the crowd at the Milton Community Center on July 19; gallery photos show a map prepared by Environmental Design Partnership (EDP); and Joe Dannible of EDP (at left) and attorney Michael Toohey. Photos by Larry Goodwin.] 

MILTON — A lively public hearing was held Wednesday inside Milton’s popular community center on Northline Road, focusing on the merits of a construction project that is planned about a mile away.

At the outset, Supervisor Dan Lewza said there was “not going to be a give-and-take between the resident and the applicant,” or Malta Development owner Tom Samascott.

Yet, through the course of about three hours, that’s basically what happened.

A majority of nearly 50 speakers were opposed to Samascott’s proposal to build a “senior apartment complex” of 83 leasable units in serene woods between Hutchins Road and Margaret Drive. Most cited concerns about increased traffic and the impacts on existing neighborhoods of single-family homes.

However, a vocal contingent of Samascott’s supporters showed up to argue in favor.

The formal public hearing was preceded by a lengthy presentation from Saratoga Springs attorney Michael Toohey.

“I’m very proud to be representing Tom Samascott,” Toohey told Lewza and the other four Milton Town Board members. “Very seldom in my career have I heard or read as much vehemence, as much I’ve heard with regard to this particular project,” he added.

For Samascott’s proposal to move forward, the town board would have to approve changing the current residential zoning to a Planned Development District. A vote on that change is expected soon.

Samascott, who also owns the much larger Winner’s Circle apartment complex off Geyser Road, grew up close to the intended project site. His mother still resides in the same house around the corner on Coachman Drive. (A family member of this writer lives on Coachman Drive as well.)

“I can only speak to the fact that I’ve been involved, and worked with Malta Development for nearly 30 years,” offered Randall Countermine, owner of the New Dimensions landscaping company in Gansevoort that maintains the lawns and shrubs at Winner’s Circle. “They deliver what they promise, and they better the communities that they choose to deliver in.”

Several Winner’s Circle residents also appeared at the podium in support.

“I grew up with Tom Samascott. He’s a very honorable man,” stated Wade Carter, whose family owns the 14-acre property off Hutchins Road that would be sold to Malta Development. “It’s time for us to sell. We have no choice,” Carter added, noting how his family has seen many changes in Milton. “I don’t feel we should be denied because some people are nervous about what it’s going to do.”

Hutchins Road homeowner Dorothy Christiansen led the opponents—both longtime area residents like her and newer arrivals. “We neighbors are not in opposition to having senior housing,” she said. “We are opposed to having it in the middle of an R-1 residential district.”

In the days before the July 19 hearing, Christiansen posted comments in an online forum called “” that encouraged a large turnout and summarized her views.*

“The developer is promoting this as a 55-plus age housing community,” she wrote. “As anyone who lives in Milton has seen, there is a saturation of these housing offerings throughout the town, with more being built, and there is no dire need for more.”

“To allow such a development would detract from us being a well-balanced ‘family’ community as well as it undermining the community’s vision as expressed in the Comprehensive Plan,” Christiansen argued, referring to a document approved long ago by town officials. “Let your voice be heard as citizens, like myself, refusing to swallow the spot-zoning/anti-Comprehensive Plan pill that the developer has prescribed.”

Lewza repeatedly granted Christiansen opportunities to reiterate such points when numerous speakers had yielded their time to her. Early on the supervisor joked that she would “wear a path” to the podium.

Bruce Boghosian, a Saratoga Springs developer who has built condominiums in Milton, raised more serious concerns. He implored the town board to consider the ethics of several business relationships for the Hutchins Road project.

Boghosian also alleged that there was a “misrepresentation of the fact” that a public sewer system existed, when most of the affected area is served by private septic tanks.

“I stand by the fact,” Toohey responded, “that there’s something else going on with regard to these comments.” 

[* Due to an editing error, all print copies of Saratoga TODAY mistakenly listed this website as "" Dorothy Christiansen's comments were posted in the "Hutchins/Whippletree" section of ""]

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[Photos by]

WILTON — Adirondack Trust and Stewart’s Shops officials are planning a second combined location at the intersection of Northern Pines Road and Route 9, several months after fire ravaged a bank branch behind the existing convenience store.

Maria D’Amelia, a spokeswoman for Stewart’s, said this week that initial discussions had occurred among officials at both companies after a March 14 blaze decimated the Adirondack Trust in Wilton during a heavy snowstorm.

D’Amelia confirmed that a new structure is being planned to accommodate the bank and replace the current Stewart’s store, which was originally built in 1994.

“We would actually be shifting our building over slightly,” she explained, as a means to improve and “increase the flow” of traffic.

“We’ll be ready to go as soon as we receive the approvals,” D’Amelia added.

The first combined Adirondack Trust and Stewart’s location, in Malta’s Luther Forest, was celebrated with a grand opening in May.

The Wilton Planning Board this week tabled the new proposal instead of sending it to the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. D’Amelia said a variance is required because there will be setbacks that are beyond “what the current zoning calls for” at that location.

The property is divided into three lots, one of which would have to be purchased to build the new Adirondack Trust and Stewart’s complex.

Lucy Harlow, the planning board’s executive secretary, indicated that it could be several months before a public hearing is set and the project receives its final approvals. 

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[Front photo: An information board dedicated to Robert Eastman in the city's Waterfront Park, photo by Larry Goodwin; and Saratoga Lake Association members at Doc Brown's restaurant, photo provided.]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Even as they took cover from a strong thunderstorm this week, members of the Saratoga Lake Association (SLA) were determined to honor the late Robert Eastman.

On Monday, SLA members were joined by Stillwater Supervisor Ed Kinowski at Brown’s Beach to unveil one of three information boards dedicated to Eastman. But severe weather conditions forced the group inside Doc Brown’s restaurant to mingle instead.

A second information board stands at the bottom of steps leading to the Saratoga Springs Waterfront Park, while a third will eventually be placed at the state boat launch. The boards contain detailed maps of Saratoga Lake, and small metal plaques “in memory” of Eastman are affixed to them.

Eastman, the former SLA vice president, died suddenly in the spring of 2016. He was an avid photographer and “genuine ‘can do’ type of guy,” according to a flyer circulated among SLA members for a photo contest that was also organized in his memory. “Bob was a great individual with a gentle soul and incredible integrity. His counsel, wisdom and leadership skills were exceptional and he was very well liked by everyone.”

This month, Tina Pamper and Sal Fusco were announced as the winners of the SLA photo contest. They both received tickets to Hal Raven’s Adirondack Cruise and Charter Company, plus gift certificates to a local tavern and marina.

For more information, visit the website 

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Thursday, 13 July 2017 19:57

Zegers Campaign Takes Shape

[In front photo: Morgan Zegers at East Eden Farms in Stillwater, photo provided; and the candidate with her parents, Art and Amy Zegers, photo by Larry Goodwin.]

MALTA — The age of a candidate for state office is not the most important thing to Morgan Zegers and her supporters. They simply share this young woman’s strong beliefs in reducing taxes and removing government regulations, so that more New Yorkers can start or expand businesses; or at least afford to remain in New York for life.

The 20-year-old Zegers, who looks forward to graduating college next spring, is already working hard to promote such causes. She is devoting her summer break to building a genuine campaign for the 113th State Assembly District seat, which she hopes to win in November 2018.

Earlier this year, Zegers enlisted Jack Moulton to serve as her campaign manager. The two met last year during U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik’s successful re-election bid. Moulton has worked on both of Stefanik’s political campaigns.

In response to emailed questions, Moulton said the race will pick up speed early next year, when political committees “begin conducting endorsement interviews.” He reported that roughly $10,000 has been raised so far to support Zegers.

Zegers is seeking the Republican nominations in both Saratoga and Washington counties, which could make her a viable contender. Thus far, according to Moulton, no other registered Republicans in the district have announced intentions to challenge incumbent Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake).

“Right now we are building a network of grassroots volunteers who will be able to help us with the petition process, and making sure Morgan has the opportunity to meet as many voters as possible,” Moulton said.

“Saratoga and Washington counties are very unique and the community staples, from fly fishing on the Battenkill to the horse racing at Saratoga, are very dear to me and are a large factor of the person I am today,” Zegers says in an email. “I only want what’s best for our community and that means getting leaders down in Albany who will work to get New York back to business.”

“I’d put up a good fight against the three-men-in-a-room type of politics that goes down in our state,” Zegers continues, “and that’s why I’m running for the 113th. We need good people up front to take the lead and make New York business friendly and more respectful of taxpayers.”

In a previous statement, Zegers described her recent visits with area farmers and how she found them facing a “daily grind.” She called a pending proposal by Assembly Democrats to pass a $15 minimum wage “damaging legislation” because of its potential negative impacts on farmers statewide.

“The business of farming already faces an array of challenges, ranging from weather to pricing,” Zegers said. “The added costs and burdens will continue to hurt small family farms and prevent them from competing with nearby states.”

Another key volunteer for Zegers is Sarah Valentine, a former acquaintance of hers at Ballston Spa High School.

“It’s evident that her age will stand out to voters, although I see this as an advantage,” Valentine offered, when asked by email to comment on her commitment to the Zegers campaign for the next year and a half.

“Morgan is well aware of New Yorkers’ hardships and understands the need for a new generation of leadership,” Valentine said. “Morgan provides a new lens to solve these issues that I think voters will appreciate.”

“I firmly believe,” she added, “that it’s important for young people to get their voice out there as these issues are, or soon will become, crucial to their everyday lives.” 

[The campaign website for Morgan Zegers is and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner's official site is]

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