Jonathon Norcross

Jonathon Norcross

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Hang on to your hats (or helmets), some buckin’ broncos (or bikes) are headed to town. 

On May 9, at the East Side Recreation Park, the Saratoga Springs City School District is hosting a Bike Rodeo event that will include mechanics on site for minor repairs, a helmet fitting station, a bike safety station, games, a bike obstacle course, and a physical education teacher race. The district will also have its bike fleet available for those who don’t own their own bike.

Last year, said Lake Avenue Elementary physical education teacher Jake Zanetti, about 200 kids attended the rodeo. But he and the district are hoping even more will come galloping in this year.

“This has been a very big year as far as the Saratoga School District and bikes go,” Zanetti said. “We’re actually the first school district in the entire country to have a comprehensive, K-12 bike program in our schools.”

The Bikes in Schools program, launched earlier this month by Saratoga Shredders, is designed to enhance the physical education curriculum by integrating cycling into the daily activities of students across the district’s six elementary schools. 

The program is one of several recent bike-related happenings in Saratoga. Last weekend, Biketoga had its first monthly Slow Roll in Congress Park.

“We have a great biking community here,” Zanetti said. “It’s really becoming a more and more bike-friendly community as far as adding bike lanes around the city.”

Zanetti cited the new Graphite Range Community Forest in Wilton as one of several recent examples of the area offering more trails for bikers. 

“Saratoga the city is just a great place to get from point A to point B on a bike,” Zanetti said.

This year’s Bike Rodeo will take place on Thursday, May 9, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the East Side Recreation Park’s track and in-field off Caroline Street. The rodeo will be followed by Bike-to-School Day on Friday, May 17.

BALLSTON SPA — Spa Academy, a unique program that allows Ballston Spa High School students to study in a college environment and earn college credits, is being “paused” for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year, according to Superintendent Gianleo Duca.

For the last three years, Hudson Valley Community College’s North campus in Malta hosted the academy. But due to its expansion and increased enrollment, the college can no longer accommodate the program. Duca said he was notified of this in late February.

“The Spa Academy program takes up some pretty prime real estate at a really good time spot for college classes,” Duca said at an April 17 Ballston Spa Central School District Board of Education meeting. Duca said he hoped to restart the program in the Fall of 2025.

The district searched for an alternate site to house the program, but couldn’t secure one in time for the 24-25 school year.

While the district continues its search for a new site, current Spa Academy juniors will be able to finish their high school careers on the Hudson Valley campus, where they can take both high school and college classes. Current freshmen and sophomores (about 30 students total) will come back to Ballston Spa High School until a new academy site can be secured.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” Duca said, “but I do think we’re going to be able to relaunch Spa Academy for Fall 2025.”

Hailed as a “new and innovative high school model” upon its launch in 2021, Spa Academy students can earn a high school Regents diploma while simultaneously enrolling in courses that give them college credits. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — At an April 18 Board of Education meeting, two Saratoga Springs City School District transportation department employees questioned proposed budget cuts that could eliminate two full-time positions in their department.

Dean Musgrove, a dispatcher, expressed his concerns during a public comment period, saying that he spoke on behalf of other transportation workers. “We’re very concerned about the situation that we’re in right now,” he said. “The cuts proposed are going to make things significantly worse.”

In a prior education board meeting on March 28, a budget presentation suggested that two full-time department positions could be eliminated: a bus mechanic and a bus dispatcher. 

Musgrove said his department was “at the end of our proverbial rope” and said fellow transportation workers in the audience were there to ask for the board’s help. 

David Gonzalez, a first-shift dispatcher who works with Musgrove, said he understood that “cuts have to happen, but we are putting safety at risk with cutting a mechanic, cutting a backup dispatcher.”

“I think these decisions need to be reconsidered,” Gonzalez said. “There are other options.”

Saratoga Springs, along with many other school districts nationwide, has struggled in recent years to hire bus drivers and maintain all of its bus routes. 

Friday, 26 April 2024 13:14

Saints Win Tournament, Remain Undefeated

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Central Catholic Saints varsity baseball team won both games of the Phil Waring Memorial Tournament last weekend to remain undefeated on the season with a 9-0 record. 

Game One

Saints - 13
Lake George - 1

The Saints dominated the Lake George Lakers in the first game of the tournament on Saturday morning at Veterans Memorial Park, scoring four runs in the first inning and never looking back. Carson Moser had two hits, including a double. Nine Saints players racked up at least one RBI apiece. On the mound, Tyler Weygand pitched five innings, allowing no runs and striking out five Lakers.

Game Two

Saints - 1
Schuylerville - 0

The Schuylerville Black Horses couldn’t push across a run in a close contest to determine the tournament champions on Saturday afternoon. For the Saints, pitcher Pierce Byrne went 2 for 3 at the plate, driving in Saratoga’s lone run. Max Britten also went 2 for 3, and Ronan Rowe smacked a double. Byrne might’ve been even more impressive on the mound, pitching seven shutout innings and striking out a whopping 11 batters. 

GANSEVOORT — Congresswoman Elise Stefanik promoted the Saratoga Flag Company’s Flag Advocacy Challenge in a social media post last week, calling the campaign a “great initiative.” The challenge is designed, in turn, to spread awareness about Stefanik’s Make American Flags in America Act. 

“I’m always inspired by seeing the strong patriotism and values of Upstate NY and the North Country,” Stefanik wrote in an X post. “Thank you @SaratogaFlag!”

The Saratoga Flag Company is a Gansevoort-based business known for its American-made flags. As part of its Flag Advocacy Challenge, it encourages people to take photos of themselves posing with an American-made U.S.A. flag.

The Make American Flags in America Act of 2023 was introduced by Congresswoman Stefanik last year. The bill states that any American flags displayed on taxpayer-funded federal property, and any American flags purchased by the federal government, must be made in America.

Stefanik was recently named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2024. She’s also frequently cited as one of Donald Trump’s potential running mates.

SCHUYLERVILLE — At an April 15 Board of Education meeting, the Schuylerville Central School District formally recognized and celebrated the high school career of star basketball player Luke Sherman, who set the school’s all-time boys scoring record earlier this year.

At the meeting, Varsity Basketball Coach Matthew Steinfort discussed Sherman’s accomplishments as both a player and a person. Sherman, a multi-sport athlete, stood by wearing his baseball uniform. 

“Luke made his first appearance on varsity as an eighth grader,” Steinfort said. “We had a handful of injuries that season and so we decided to bring him up. From that point on, he never looked back.”

In his final season with the Black Horses, Sherman averaged 24.5 points per game. In 20 games, he scored more than 20 points, and in four games he scored more than 30. In a home victory against Queensbury, he netted 38 points.

“Teams are scheming for him,” Steinfort said. “They’re planning for him. He’s the number one variable that they’re trying to take away. Despite that, he’s still able to put up numbers like that.”

Among his many accolades, Sherman was named to both the Foothills Council First Team, and the Section 2 All-Tournament Team for Class B. In his career at Schuylerville, he scored 1,536 total points, making him the school’s all-time boys scoring leader. In a game against Hudson Falls in January, he surpassed Eric Stover’s 1,317-point record set in 1978.

“As impressive as those statistics are, at least for me, it doesn’t define him,” Steinfort said. “He’s a talented young man, a talented student-athlete. But he put the work in. He worked on his body. He worked on his mind. He worked on his game. That came to fruition with the success that he’s had.”

“There’s such a unique balance with Luke,” Steinfort continued. “There’s a real confidence there, and he exudes it, but at the same time, there’s a real humility, which is rare.”

Sherman is still deciding which college he will attend, with SUNY New Paltz and Utica being two options. He plans to continue playing basketball in college and hopes to one day become a special education teacher.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Central Catholic varsity baseball team annihilated Tamarac High School on April 9 by a score of 13 to 1. Nine Saints players had hits in the game, and their two pitchers commanded the mound.

At the plate, Ronan Rowe went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI and 2 doubles. Hunter Fales and Ryan Gillis each went 2 for 4 with a double. Tyler Weygand, Pierce Byrne, and Carson Moser also chipped in with 2 hits apiece.

Pitcher Aidan Crowther, a senior, allowed no runs and four hits in five innings of work. He also struck out five Tamarac Bengals.

The Saints followed up the lopsided win with a shutout victory against Stillwater on April 10, 2 to 0.

Heading into an April 16 rematch against Stillwater, the Saints were undefeated thus far on the season with a 4-0 record. They previously defeated Tamarac 7 to 1 on April 8, and also beat Broadalbin-Perth 5 to 1 on April 7. 

Thursday, 18 April 2024 16:32

Saratoga Cigar Shop Hosting Sopranos Actor

SARATOGA SPRINGS — James & Sons Tobacconists in downtown Saratoga Springs is hosting an event that will feature Joseph R. Gannascoli, an actor best known for playing Vito Spatafore in the classic HBO series “The Sopranos.” 

According to a social media post shared by the company, Gannascoli will be signing copies of his book, “A Meal to Die For: A Culinary Novel of Crime.” The meet-and-greet event will take place at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, the first day of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

Also attending the event will be Moe ElAraby, the New York/New Jersey sales representative for Tatuaje Cigars, and Dave Peters of LNJ Brands, who will be doing a Rocavaka vodka tasting.

Thursday, 11 April 2024 16:29

70 Local Kids Compete in Double Dutch Event

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Around 70 kids participated in a three-day Double Dutch event last week that culminated in a competition on Thursday afternoon at the Chris Daley Gym in Gavin Park. Participants were judged on their speed and technique. Certificates and medals were awarded to the “hoppy” youngsters

The competition was run by nationally recognized trainers Ms. K and her Swagga Jumpers. Due to the success of this year’s event, the Saratoga County Department of Aging and Youth Services plans to hold another Double Dutch competition next year as part of its Youth Month activities.

POUGHKEEPSIE — The Skidmore College baseball team won twice in a three-game series against Liberty League rivals Vassar College in Poughkeepsie last weekend. The final game went into extra innings.


Skidmore - 4

Vassar - 3

In game one on April 5, sophomore infielder Nate Vandersea clinched a Thoroughbred victory with a sacrifice fly ball in the ninth inning. It was his second game-winning sac fly of the season. 

Vandersea has been a major asset to Skidmore this year, improving his batting average from .087 last year to .286 this year. His slugging and on-base percentages have also made steep climbs. Designated hitter Zachary Leiderman had an impressive day at the plate as well, going 2 for 3 with one walk. 

On the mound, Ameer Hasan allowed two runs in seven innings. His ERA stood at a career-best 1.77 on the season. Christian Giresi closed out the game, giving up one run in two innings, but earning the win.


Skidmore - 14
Vassar - 5

In the first game of a doubleheader on April 7, Skidmore exploded offensively, racking up 14 runs. Outfielder Owen Roy led the effort, going 3 for 4 with 3 RBI. Leiderman had another impressive game, going 3 for 5 with 2 RBI. Seven Thoroughbreds had at least one hit in the contest. 

Freshman starter Chase Siegel struggled, giving up 5 runs in a little over 5 innings, but still earned his third win of the season. Reliever Ethan Caiazza was credited with his first save, allowing no runs and striking out four batters in nearly four innings of work.


Skidmore - 9
Vassar - 10

The second game of the doubleheader had a thrilling, albeit disappointing (for Skidmore) conclusion. The game went into extra innings; 11 to be exact. After five straight innings with neither team getting across a run, Vassar earned a walk-off victory with an RBI single by first baseman Ty Murray. 

Skidmore was forced to use five pitchers, although three of them (Peter Martin, Grayden Harris, and Cal Champeau) gave up no runs. Offensively, Leiderman and Vandersea again impressed; both went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI apiece.

At the end of the series against Vassar, Skidmore had a 12-9 overall record for the season, and a 5-1 record in the Liberty League. Their .833 winning percentage placed them second among all league teams. 

Skidmore’s next scheduled home game is a doubleheader against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on April 20.

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