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Friday, 16 December 2016 11:51

Made from Scratch: Deli Celebrates 20 Years

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Imagine two young men, 22 and 23 years old, riding their mountain bikes to a meeting that could make or break their dream of creating a local deli and pizzeria, and walking in with their caps still on backwards. That was 20 years ago, and the man who then owned the 132 Spring Street building, George Lega, tossed them out on their ears.

“He wouldn’t even talk to us,” remembered Spring Street Deli and Pizzeria co-owner, Brian Brumley. “Fortunately, our attorney was a good friend of Mr. Lega’s, so he convinced him to give us a second chance. We went back – without hats – and sat with him for four hours. We really hit it off, and he later sold the building to us and held the papers, a pretty big deal for a couple of kids. No one does that. If he were still with us today to see us hit 20 years, I’d say thank you. Thank you for giving us the opportunity. The guy was just incredible.”

Brumley and his childhood friend, deli co-owner Anthony Gargano, turned out to be a good bet. They had grown up in the restaurant business and five houses away from each other in Geyser Crest. After comparing notes, the two friends felt confident they could create a neighborhood eatery that people would enjoy regularly, so they reached out to a chef friend of theirs, Rob Cone, to help set them up at the Spring Street location.

“Rob said we’ll do everything fresh from scratch daily,” said Brumley. “Homemade soups, salsas, dressings, making a better product than just any deli with sliced meats and processed, canned food. We make it all homemade. We’ve added more items to the deli menu, and now, we’re expanding our catering menu. We purchased a wood fired pizza truck a few years ago, and that’s been growing. We’ve done weddings and such, but we’d like to do more events. The business is capable of doing any size party.”

With made from scratch offerings and a philosophy that a happy staff leads to happy customers, it’s no wonder the Spring Street Deli and Pizzeria has much to celebrate on its 20th anniversary.

“We’ve had so much support from family and friends over the years,” said Brumley. “They’ve helped us get where we are, and we can’t thank them enough.”

Gargano agrees and added, “You have to find yourself some great employees and we’ve done that. Our staff is incredible. A lot of them are lifelong friends. They work hard and make it look easy.”

Brumley said, “The best part is, through the years, the kids that worked for us still come back. Some will be home visiting from college and can’t wait to eat Spring Street instead of mom’s cooking. Parents will even buy favorites here and bring them to their kids in Boston or wherever because they miss it.”

Brumley and Gargano both attribute their success to that community support plus hard work, dedication, and providing great food at affordable prices. They feel the business has become more than just a deli; it’s a lifestyle, with loyal clientele that visit daily, a neighborhood place where customers and staff kid around with each other, often about sports. They even kid about the day they first opened.

“It was either the 5th or 7th of December in 1996,” said Brumley. “We both think it’s a different day. We probably could go look it up in the paperwork, but why not just make it an anniversary week? Or month?”

“It’s a playful atmosphere,” Gargano said. “Every day there’s something great that goes on. This past Thanksgiving, I was able to bring my daughter Chloe in to help me make platters, and she said it was one of the best times of her life, working with me.”

Brumley has two children, 6-year-old Nicholas and 5-year-old Sarah. Gargano and his wife, Kelly, have two daughters, 6-year-old Chloe and 3-year-old Cora.

“Chloe’s been saying she wants me to buy Little India next door so she can have a bakery next to her daddy’s deli,” said Gargano. “She can’t wait until she’s older to come work with me.”

For more information, to find out about the giveaways or the daily specials, visit the Spring Street Deli Facebook page or call 518-584-0994. For catering, ask for Meaghan Macfarland, the front of the house and catering manager, or Brumley or Gargano. Also visit www.springstreetdeli.net.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — More than fifty years ago, when the Civil Rights movement was in full swing and Medicare was in its infancy, the national median household income was $7,143, and Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first black Supreme Court Justice, Thelma Williams studied at Manpower and started a career in nursing at University Hospital in Syracuse. Shortly afterwards, she began working in the operating room at Saratoga Hospital, and stayed there for 45 years, single-parenting her five children. Now a surgical liaison, the 80-year-old Williams has reached her 50th anniversary, the first Saratoga Hospital employee to do so, and is feeling blessed. “I believe I was the first woman of color to work at the hospital. I never had a problem, always felt respected, and the hospital has become my family,” said Williams. On Dec. 1, the milestone was acknowledged throughout the hospital on banners, buttons and even the cafeteria menu, as well as an evening reception in her honor. “Thelma embodies the culture of Saratoga Hospital: the commitment, dedication and compassion that drive every interaction with every patient,” Saratoga Hospital President Angelo Calbone said. “The fact that she has continued to work here for half a century says as much about our hospital as it does about her. In Thelma and Saratoga Hospital, our community has two amazing ‘institutions.’” A three-time cancer survivor, Williams is well known for her tenacity and compassion, qualities she says are important in a nurse. “You got to be able to talk to people. You have to work it out, work it through, so they understand what they need to hear. You see a lot in the operating room,” said Williams, “and you know within your first couple days if that’s the work for you or not.” “We saw a lot of tonsillectomies and appendicitis cases,” said Williams. “There have been a number of cases that made me cry. Like the gentleman who held my hand and said, ‘don’t let me die.’ And we did everything we could do.” There have been many hard cases and joyful ones, and she said she got through the tough days by counting her blessings. “I go home, I look at my kids, who are healthy,” said Williams, “and I just thank the Lord that everything’s turned out the way it has. Denise Orszulak, CNOR, RN, said she has known Williams for 32 years. “We’ve been in the O.R. together, on the vascular team for many years, long days,” said Orszulak. “In a busy surgery day, she can outlast them all. Sometimes we’ll go six, seven, eight hours.” Orszulak and Williams have been through quite a bit together. “I survived colon cancer and two breast cancers,” said Williams. “Denise, my buddy, she took me, took care of everything, talked to the doctor, the whole nine yards. These people, they are my family.” Orszulak was with Williams during her cancer treatments. “Thelma is a fighter,” she said, “and she doesn’t let anything get her down. She just accepted it and fought it like a champ. I don’t recall her missing any work during her treatments. She did what she had to do and bounced back and kept going. She is very strong, very independent.” Williams grew up in Saratoga Springs and began her Saratoga Hospital career in 1966 at age 30. Her first assignment was as a nurse on a medical-surgical floor, working 3 to 11 p.m. Six months later, she transferred to her dream job as a nurse in the “O.R.,” a position she held for 45 years until becoming a surgical liaison nurse, providing information and support for families while their loved ones are in surgery. Williams is especially grateful to several members of the hospital staff who have encouraged her in her career. “I need to mention Dr. Bell, Dr. DelGiacco and Dr. O’Conner,” said Williams, “those three are my big support. And Dr. Isenberg, he was the man.” During her tenure, William has seen extraordinary growth at the hospital and in the community. She remembers when the hospital had three O.R.’s, all on the ground floor. Those are long gone, replaced most recently by a multistory Surgical Pavilion that’s home to 10 state-of-the-art operating suites. “There’s something about this hospital and the way we treat our patients and each other. Everyone here is like a second family to me. I am going to keep working here until I can’t work any longer,” Williams added. For more information: www.saratogahospital.org or www.facebook.com/SaratogaHospital.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — James Earl Johnson of Gansevoort learned that his mother, Alice Johnson, 86, had Legionnaires’ disease a few days before her death on October 26. She had been a resident of The Wesley Community, a senior care and senior living facility in Saratoga Springs. Her case was one of 19 cases now confirmed by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) in Saratoga County. Johnson recently retained Attorney Michael Conway of Harris, Conway and Donovan, PLLC, to investigate the matter on behalf of his mother’s estate. Conway has served Freedom of Information Law requests to DOH, the Saratoga County Health Department, and the city of Saratoga Springs Department of Public Works. Once obtaining information that clearly identifies the source of the Legionella, his firm will bring a lawsuit on behalf of the estate. The law firm is also representing Susan Gonino, one of the confirmed cases, who has stated she had no contact with The Wesley Community. According to DOH, there are 12 cases associated with Wesley Health Care Center that are currently under investigation, and 7 cases in Saratoga County that are not associated with the facility. Two of the Wesley cases have died, however both had underlying health conditions. “We are investigating whether the common link is the city water supply,” said Conway, “and we’re hoping the department of health is looking into that issue.” A prepared statement from DOH said, “The New York State Department of Health continues to closely monitor cases of Legionellosis in the Saratoga Springs area. Multiple sources have been investigated, including construction on the municipal water system. As a precautionary step, state DOH recommended water restrictions for the facility, which it has implemented. The Department will continue to work aggressively to identify an environmental source and protect against any additional cases in the Saratoga area.” According to Saratoga Springs Public Works Commissioner “Skip” Scirocco, the municipal water construction taking place on Woodlawn Avenue is a line not in service yet. “As far as we know, we have not been contacted by the health department,” said Scirocco. “They haven’t said there are any issues with the city’s water.” At the time of the interview, Scirocco had not yet received the forthcoming FOIL request from Conway. “The water treatment plant was just upgraded a few years ago,” said Scirocco. “It could be from somebody’s hot water heater or from someone’s house.” The Legionella bacteria exist naturally in water and moist soil. For illness to occur, an individual would have to breath it in from a mist, such as from evaporative condensers, air conditioning cooling towers, or even home vaporizers that are not regularly cleaned. It is not uncommon for the illness to be diagnosed as a mild respiratory disease or even pneumonia. An increased awareness and focus on Legionnaires’ disease has led to a greater likelihood of detection and diagnosis by health care providers and does not necessarily mean there has been an increase in the number of Legionella cases in New York State. Between 200 and 800 cases are diagnosed annually statewide.
SARATOGA COUNTY — The new Saratoga County GOP chair, Steve Bulger, says he has much to be thankful for this holiday season given the pretty big GOP wins in November as a result of the strong party leadership of his predecessors. “John Herrick [the former GOP county chair] had big shoes to fill when Jasper Nolan stepped down after 27 years. Nolan really helped build the Republican party into the strong committee it is now, and John kept the committee strong,” said Bulger. “He actually grew the number of GOP elected officials, especially women. He helped elect Judge Ann Crowell to the Supreme Court, and Senator Kathy Marchione, which was really important to broaden our base of our party by helping attract more women. John did a great job with that and I’m grateful for it. He also increased the number of county supervisors who are Republican. We’re in a strong position thanks to his leadership.” Bulger was about 38 years old when he was invited to join the Clifton Park Republican Committee in 1997, starting out licking envelopes and putting out signs. He liked volunteering for the GOP and became more involved over a span of about 20 years. His background is in business. With a bachelor’s degree in government and law, Bulger went into the business world for 30 years, primarily in the medical device industry. The experience left an indelible imprint on him after spending quite a bit of time in operating rooms as a technical resource for nurses and surgeons while the devices were being inserted. “A planned knee replacement or other surgery is one thing,” he said, “but emergency surgery was quite another. How quickly someone’s life can change for the worse because of an accident. Seeing that, I have an appreciation of good health. If you have never needed surgery, it’s a total blessing, because so many lives are impacted – not only for the victim, but their families.” After that, in 2011, Bulger went to work for Congressman Chris Gibson, serving as his district director for the six years he has been in office. Now, Bulger said the timing was right for him to seek a new role serving the party. “I couldn’t do this if I was going to be working with Congressman Gibson,” said Bulger, “but once he decided not to run for congress or governor, that freed up my commitments. When Chairman Herrick announced in July he was going to step down, I thought it might be a good opportunity for me to see if the committee would be interested in having me be their chairman.” After several candidate interviews among local committees across the county, the full committee vote was held on Sept. 19 and Bulger was chosen as the new County GOP chair. “My number one goal is simple,” said Bulger, “and is just three words: keep good going. We are in a strong position and I’m blessed to move into a leadership role with such a strong committee in this county. We’ll continue the policies, maybe upgrade some of our technology and social media strategy, improving platforms to communicate with supporters and potential voters.” Bulger acknowledged the GOP did well this year. “We now have Senator-elect Tedisco, and Mary Beth Walsh is taking his former Assembly seat,” he said. “Marchione won again – she is strong and respected in our county. Republicans won local races, too, and I credit the committee and the candidates as well as John Herrick for a great job. The voters rewarded them by electing them to those positions because of a lot of the work they had done previously.” With the big national wins of both houses and the Presidency, Bulger would like the Republicans to focus on the economy, which he says will be good for both the country and the county. “What most Americans want is a strong economy, fair trade deals that will help our economy, and an equitable tax system,” said Bulger. “I don’t care for the side show stuff, such as should Hillary [Clinton] be prosecuted. I hope they will focus on what people want – getting the economy moving. This is a guy who built a large business empire [President-elect Donald Trump], and you don’t do that by yourself. He’s shown he can build a successful team, so whoever he decides is the best person for a particular role, I don’t care about their background or their party, if the President-elect chooses them, I’ll trust his choice.” Bulger sees his role as a support to GOP elected officials in “whatever decisions they are making that they believe are in the best interest of the public. It’s not my job to tell them how to vote.” The Saratoga County GOP committee has approximately 350 members who, as a group, will make their positions known to the elected officials. Part of Bulger’s role will be to help make sure that those in office are responsive to constituents and represent them in an honorable manner and help them get re-elected, as well as recruit new candidates who have integrity and good character. He said one thing he learned well under Gibson is that, after the election, it is important to listen to all constituents, that elected officials represent everyone, not just members of their party. “It’s sometimes a challenge to find good candidates,” said Bulger. “It’s a lot of work for little to no pay and you’re always on the clock. Someone can walk up to you in the grocery store saying they want you to do something. Finding people who want to step up and make that commitment of time, well, our county has been fortunate – and our country – that there are people who want to serve in this way. They are doing it to help their community, they believe in it.” Bulger acknowledged that the Internet has a lot to do with people’s hesitancy to run for office because there are so many more platforms to criticize people. “Especially in a small town where they just want to serve, and they think they can do a good job on the town board,” said Bulger, “they find themselves opened up to all this potential criticism, which can turn people off if they are not ready for it. So to make sure we have candidates who are prepared, we have training for them.” The candidate training will include managing social media, understanding election campaign finance laws, ethics laws, and how to deal with constituent groups. “The New York State Republican Committee asked Congressman Gibson to put together a candidate academy,” said Bulger, “a full day session to help train potential candidates and even existing elected officials. We did six of those across the state. We are going to be bringing that model here to Saratoga County to help prepare our candidates to face an election cycle.” Bulger says it is an honor for him to take on this new role. “I can continue my service to my community and the county that I was doing with Congressman Gibson,” said Bulger. The Saratoga County Republican Committee leadership team includes Vice Chairman Roger Schiera, Treasurer Cory Custer, and Secretary JoAnn Kupferman, as well as Women’s Republican Club President Dianne Freestone and an active Young Republicans Club. For more information, Bulger can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit SaratogaGOP.com.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Building a mouth-watering lasagna from scratch can be a real challenge for busy moms on-the-go, which is one reason why Augie Vitiello, chef and owner of popular mainstay Augie’s Family Style Italian Restaurant in Ballston Spa, is bringing his famous recipes to Saratoga Springs at a new take-out-only location coming in January.

“It’s so exciting to have Augie’s To Go moving into the neighborhood!” said Katrina Lucas of Saratoga Springs. “A quick weeknight meal just got so much easier. We can pick up the kids from after-school activities and pick up a fresh, amazing Italian dinner down the street.”

Augie’s Family Style Italian To Go will continue the Augie’s concept, with familiar menu items as well as prepared foods such as packaged homemade pastas and sauces. There will be homemade cannoli, seasonally flavored gelatos, and other desserts as well.

“You can come in and pick up a pound of fresh pasta and quart of marinara at your convenience,” said Vitiello. “Or you can call ahead to pick up a pan of eggplant parm, lasagna or meatballs and salad to have for company at home the next day. Fresh and hassle-free.”

Vitiello said he often heard from his restaurant customers that they wished he had a location in Saratoga Springs.

“We’re making life easier for our great customers in Saratoga so they don’t have to drive to Ballston Spa,” said Vitiello. “It’s a great Eastside location, across from the park where there’s lots of activity and a big population of families that want good, wholesome Italian food at a reasonable price just a phone call away. I see a niche for that, and I think it will do really well.”

Vitiello is taking over the former pizzeria at 223 Lake Avenue, just across from East Side Recreation Park, which has been empty for about a year.

“The landlord has been doing extensive renovations to the property,” said Vitiello, “and he’s excited having me join the property and bring it back to life. We’re anticipating an opening date in mid-January.”

Vitiello has originally opened his restaurant in Larchmont in 1990, and moved to Ballston Spa in 2004.

“It’s been great,” he said. “We’ve been growing all the time, constantly expanding what we do. We’ve expanded our footprint in the restaurant and now have two private dining rooms for private parties and banquets. It’s been pretty active and promising.”

Vitiello sees that success growing with this new take-out venue, which will be its own entity, with a phone number, website, and social media sites separate from the existing restaurant. For questions about Augie’s Family Style Italian To Go, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For questions about Augie’s Family Style Italian Restaurant, located at 17 Low Street in Ballston Spa, call 518-884-8600 or visit AugiesRestaurant.com.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016 14:44

Small Shops: Founded on American Courage

SARATOGA COUNTY — There is something so quintessentially American about “bootstrapping,” and no one does it better than entrepreneurs and small business owners. Building a business from nothing more than an idea, sweat, and a prayer is a courageous undertaking. It’s something to think about the next time you walk into a small shop filled with hand-made soaps. Or dine at a local restaurant built from a grandparent’s secret recipe. Or even when you pay your neighbor’s kid to mow your lawn.

When a small business owner falls down, he has to pick himself up by his own bootstraps. There are no shareholders to lean on. No high-retainer attorneys or accountants to offer advice. An entrepreneur knows that each mistake could be her last. She knows if she doesn’t work today, she doesn’t get paid.

“When you have your own business, everything is personal. It’s your livelihood. For other people, it’s your job, but for us, it’s our lives, it’s what we do. Even when we aren’t here, we’re thinking about it, thinking about how to make it better,” said Maddy Zanetti, managing partner at Impressions of Saratoga and vice president of the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association. “The scariest part is believing in yourself, believing that you can run a store and be successful. You don’t have an employer to worry about that; it’s just you. Of course we couldn’t do it without all our employees, but as a business owner, you are putting yourself out there.”

The risks are so high; you wonder why anyone would even do it. Much as you might wonder why a farm boy in Utah would put his last dime into inventing an electronic camera tube (which led to the first television), or why hundreds of thousands of pioneers would pile whole families into covered wagons to build a new life – and new cities – across wild lands with nothing but the raw skills of brain and brawn.

Debi Gustafson, co-owner of Ye Olde Wishin’ Shoppe at 19 Low Street, Suite 2 (side entrance) in Ballston Spa, said, “The whole thing is a risk really. We had all this inventory and opened the store, and put our own savings in it. A big box store probably has investors and such. For us, it’s a family business, and we’re here every day working all the time. You put your whole life into it.”

Small business owners know they must master being flexible in uncertain times and changing circumstances, or close up shop. Gustafson said her family’s business began with her grandparents, and at one point they lost the shop they were renting because the building was being renovated. For a while, it was running out of her grandfather’s house and her grandma was selling items on eBay. Now they have a brick-and-mortar shop that Gustafson says has been doing better each year since it opened three years ago.

“We’ve evolved into vintage clothing and jewelry and vinyl records,” said Gustafson. “We also now have a lot of handmade local jewelry and other items, including a local photographer with vintage photos.”

The Small Business Saturday initiative that began in 2010 recognizes the tremendous economic contribution entrepreneurs and small business owners have made to the strength of this country. The annual event has proven that shopping small keeps local dollars in the community, positively affecting job creation and economic growth in locales across the U.S.

“I think this is our seventh Small Business Saturday,” said Zanetti. “We’ve done it every year they’ve had it, and it’s grown each year. We don’t offer discounts, but we have a raffle and food samplings and hot cider as a thank you to our customers. We have longer hours and give them the best service possible. We feel offering a discount on that day takes away from what Small Business Saturday is all about, supporting small businesses and giving back to the community.”

Small businesses offer more personalized service, more variety and unique items, and are very likely supporters of local nonprofits and other community initiatives. The majority of dollars spent in a small business stay in that locale. Shopping small on Small Business Saturday, and every day, is one way to say “thank you” to the innovators, artisans, service providers, and other pioneers who keep America working.

“I think it gets better every year,” said Gustafson. “We’re doing three little sales: the first one is buy one - get one half off on all our used vinyl; the second is 10 percent off new vinyl; and then 20 percent off storewide. Each year, more people are trying to shop local and support small businesses and do something different than just going to the mall. It’s cool to see more interest in Small Business Saturday.”

To learn more about Impressions of Saratoga, visit www.impressionssaratoga.com. To learn more about Ye Olde Wishin’ Shoppe, visit www.yeoldewishinshoppe.com. To learn more about Small Business Saturday, visit www.shopsmall.com.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The large meeting room at the Saratoga Springs City Center on Thursday, November 10 was crowded with businessmen, land use planners, economic developers and elected officials all wondering the same thing – what do the national election results mean for job creation and economic growth in Saratoga County in 2017? The answer is – it depends.

A supermoon effect of economic growth in any area of the country depends on a planetary alignment that reaches from the federal world of the new President-elect to all the local worlds of homeowners, mayors, town supervisors, and educational institutions, among others. Each group has its own internal shifts and changes, and each affects the other, so economic results can be diverse and unpredictable. Wrapping economic development arms around all those moving parts is a challenge, but one Marty Vanags, president of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership (the Partnership), is confident is manageable here in Saratoga County.

To explore how that can be done, the Partnership hosted a Saratoga County Prosperity Summit last week at the City Center, inviting experts such as Hugh Johnson, chairman and CIO of Hugh Johnson Advisors, LLC. Johnson’s successful management work of over a billion dollars in equity and investments for individuals and institutions has prompted his appearances on CNBC, Bloomberg News, NBC Nightly News, Fox Business, The News Hour, ABC World News Tonight, Wall Street Journal, and CBS Evening News. Johnson predicted fewer regulations and a good, solid year for Saratoga County in 2017, although the first half of a new Presidential term historically tends to be a bear market, and nationally, the economy will likely expand at a slow pace.

“The financial market environment will be positive but certainly not great,” said Johnson. “Everything is fine, but I’m saying, hang on, watch carefully and I hope we all collectively have a great 2017.”

The keynote speaker, Jeff Finkle, president, International Economic Development Council said workforce preparedness was one of the biggest issues facing economic developers in 2017. The national focus on a college degree has minimized the number of young people entering the skilled labor force, and developers are feeling that shortage across the country.

Malta Deputy Town Supervisor John Hartzell said that hearing several of the panelists’ concerns about workforce is something the county really needs to pay attention to.

“There’s a crucial need for a trained workforce to meet employer needs going forward in our county and region. I think our local secondary and postsecondary schools are aware of this, and we need to ratchet it up,” said Hartzell. “The other thing I took away from the summit is that economic development success tends to be regional, and that we’re going to have to reach across some traditional lines of counties and economic development agencies to succeed on a regional basis.”

The free summit at the City Center covered a variety of topics – from the state of economic development to case studies and community preparedness. Speakers also included: Matt Jones, Founder, The Jones Firm; Rocky Ferraro, Executive Director, Capital District Regional Planning Commission; Tom Kucharski, President and CEO, Invest Buffalo Niagara; Brian McMahon, Executive Director, New York State Economic Development Council; Congressman Paul Tonko, NY-20 and many others.

Kucharski has presided over a sea change in Buffalo’s economic growth and future prospects. His advice for 2017? “What I found in New York is everyone needs to put their swords down,” said Kucharski. “In this global economy you aren’t competing against each other, you’re competing against the world.”

Wilton Town Supervisor Art Johnson said he found Hugh Johnson’s remarks about the stock market and timing very informative, but the panelists’ comments on preparing a community for economic development hit home for him, validating that Wilton is doing something right.

“A lot of what they were talking about was how to get a project through the local level with some sense of predictability and reliability,” said Art Johnson. “I can relate to that very closely because some things they suggested, Wilton already has in place. We have a free pre-application process where a developer can meet with me, our planning board chair, and both the planning and building departments. We will give them the sense right away whether a project has any chance of going through, what hurdles they may face, and whether traffic or open space will be an issue. Or be honest with them that it’s not going to work. You’d find out upfront before investing in the project. This is helpful for both the town and the applicant.”

One of the areas of unpredictability discussed frequently was the reaction of homeowners and community members to development. Often, a development project will go through several hoops in the process before a public hearing is announced about the project, and the panelists said when a community is surprised or overextended, costs go up and the viability of the project goes down.

“To provide the predictability that is necessary, we need to invest in planning,” said Ferraro. “There’s a failure to do so in many of our municipalities. They use the excuse of regulations as planning, but there should be more than that. There’s an unfairness associated with using SEQR [State Environmental Quality Review] as the planning method. We should start before then. We need to bring the public in earlier in the process, so the developer doesn’t go through the whole SEQR process and then the town holds a public hearing and finds out the public is against the project. Find out the opposition first, be proactive.”

Ferraro gave an analogy of economic development’s impact on roads and other infrastructure. “It’s like this cup of water,” he said. “One project causes this much traffic, filling part of the cup, then the next one causes more, adding more to the cup, then a project comes in that would overflow the cup and that project is hit with all the costs of upgrading the road, even though the cause was the combination of all the previous projects.”

He suggested that rather than hit one developer with all that cost, and possibly lose the project and not get the road upgrades funded, local planning departments could calculate what the future needs of the road would be, and spread that cost across all projects coming in that will contribute to the road’s wear and tear.

“When it comes to the traffic studies as new large developments are being built, what happens is, until you hit the tipping point, there’s no need for additional traffic infrastructure,” said Saratoga Springs Supervisor Peter Martin. “And then when you find you do need it, the next person has to pay for everything. I agree, it’s important to think ahead to allocate those costs to all.”

Another suggestion was providing prospective homeowners with zoning maps, so they know exactly how close they are to land that could be developed commercially in future or other projects.

“It would be easier on everybody if folks, when they bought the property, would have accurate expectations about what will happen,” said Hartzell. “They think the forest or field next door is going to be there forever, and then it’s gone. One of the things we can do is make sure we have the community engaged in the land use planning process, so they have a good understanding of what’s going to happen around them in the community. Having homeowners participate in the process of deciding what will happen around them, even if it’s not exactly what they want, will at least give them the opportunity to participate, provide input, and be aware, which is important. We as town officials should make that happen.”

Finkle summed up the steps to a positive economic future well. He emphasized there needs to be an increase in blue collar labor, with more access to quality training; more concentration on local retention of existing businesses; more attraction and working with small businesses and entrepreneurs; more development project process predictability; and disaster preparedness.

“Ever since Katrina hit, disaster planning response and resiliency is a major issue,” said Finkle. “Even D.C. had an earthquake. Our infrastructure is in serious decline. Are you prepared?”

Vanags said the Prosperity Summit is just one of many conversations like this that will happen.

“I like to think of this as an ongoing dialogue," Vanags said. "The issue of consistency and predictability is most important, and the brokers and businesses want to know what happens during the process, the A-B-C’s that have to be followed, and they want to know if they can count on it. We’ll do that, that’s the role we play, coordinating between government and developers. We want to be the agent for streamlining these processes and I think many of our supervisors know and recognize that. I’m encouraged by the number of people who attended as well as who attended. It’s their investment that makes this kind of thing work. We plan to do a workforce roundtable in the first quarter of next year, so we’re reaching out to local employers for their input as we put that together.”

For more information about the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, visit saratogapartnership.org.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Nearly 10 percent of Americans, 29 million people, have diabetes, according to the Center for Disease Control’s 2014 findings, but a Journal of the American Medical Association study last year said those numbers have been climbing, and in fact, about half of all Americans have either diabetes or are pre-diabetic. With that in mind, Saratoga Hospital has been building its Endocrinology and Diabetes practice with the addition of two Certified Diabetes Educators who are also Registered Nurses. They are on the front line of engaging patients about understanding and helping them manage their diabetes, being a part of the care team, and often seeing patients before they see one of the endocrinologists. “It’s an epidemic in our country right now. Millions haven’t even been diagnosed or they have pre-diabetes,” said Karen Hogan, RD, CDN, CDE, one of the now four Certified Diabetes Educators with the Saratoga Hospital Medical Group Endocrinology and Diabetes practice. “Basically, diabetes is when your body no longer produces insulin or your body is not functioning correctly in producing it. It can be genetic, which is Type II, or it can be Type I, which is usually a viral trigger. There is also a correlation between diabetes and our new society being somewhat more sedentary.” Hogan said the team approach at the Endocrinology Center is important, because the information can be overwhelming, especially for newly diagnosed patients. “We offer support and education, helping the patient to improve their diabetes management,” said Hogan. “There’s a lot of hands-on learning, helping establish goals, showing them food models, and helping keep abreast of the newest technology because it’s constantly changing.” One of the changes is the rising cost of insulin treatments, which can be daunting for some patients, said Hogan, so she and the other educators talk with patients about various medication options and patient assistance programs, and other sources for financial assistance. The cost, the daily diet and exercise planning, the treatment schedule, it can all be intimidating and Hogan is happy to be there to help. “I think the first thing they [new patients] don’t understand is that they still can eat the foods they love,” said Hogan. “There’s no restrictive list; it’s all portion control. They feel guilty, they think they got diabetes because of what they did, so we educate them that some of this is genetic, and if they have pre-diabetes, we teach them what they can do to delay it. If it’s in the genes, at some point you are going to get it. The one thing people need to do is see their providers, especially if they have diabetes in the family.” Hogan added that the main thing family can do is to listen to the concerns and frustrations of the diabetic. “It is a chronic illness,” said Hogan, “and they wake up every day and the first thing they have to think is ‘what do I have to do for my diabetes today.’ There’s the insulin shots, monitoring blood sugar, scheduling walks, it can be overwhelming. They need someone at home telling them what a good job they are doing. What they don’t need is someone telling them what they are doing wrong. They need encouragement.” Hogan said the educators look at barriers to a patient’s diabetes management, like not enough time, or lack of finances or support at home, and help to make sure they have the tools they need. “People come in so frustrated,” said Hogan, “and I’m here to help them with that. I think we’re very passionate about working with people who have diabetes here at Saratoga Hospital. We love to help them improve their quality of life.” According to Lisa Hodgson, RD, CDN, CDE Clinical Nutrition Manager at Saratoga Hospital, Saratoga Hospital and Saratoga County Public Health have recently formed a Prediabetes Coalition to raise awareness of prediabetes and diabetes prevention. Plans are underway to promote food drives at local food banks and food pantries that feature healthy food donations. The initiative is called “Nourish Your Neighbor” and began with the Eat Smart NY Program in Albany County. More details will follow in the coming weeks. During this Diabetes Awareness Month, the next Saratoga Moves program is set for Saturday, November 19. Saratoga Moves is a free community walking program open to all. It will meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Warming Hut in Spa State Park. The provider joining the walk this month is Michelle Frey, PA from the Endocrinology team of the Saratoga Hospital Medical Group. Frey will be available to informally answer questions about diabetes. For more information about diabetes and the Endocrinology and Diabetes practice at Saratoga Hospital, call 518-886-5121 or visit www.saratogahospital.org.
Friday, 11 November 2016 13:20

New Ownership at Dovegate Inn

SCHUYLERVILLE — A new chapter has begun in the story of the Dovegate Inn in Schuylerville. The chef of its attached Kitchen at the Inn restaurant has recently purchased the bed and breakfast and is planning some changes while maintaining the fresh and cheerful décor of the charming getaway. Built in the late 1800’s, it was renovated from a residence into a bed and breakfast 20 years ago by then-owner Ronnie Myers, who has now retired and sold the establishment to Stephen and Cara Clark, familiar faces to repeat customers, as they have been running the restaurant for the last 9 years. “It was the natural next step I guess,” said Stephen Clark. “It’s nice to put roots down in the area. My daughter just started kindergarten. It’s a nice, quiet village with a historic element. Busy, though, taking over a business and moving your house all at the same time. At some time, we’ll bring on additional help. My parents certainly do their share to help out. It’s a family effort.” Clark said he grew up in Saratoga and he and his family had been renting a house in Grangerville, but are now moving into the Inn. Married 6 years, he and Cara have formed a solid partnership where he focuses on the food and hospitality and she handles the books. “We have projects we want to tackle, like giving the place a bit of a facelift, maybe end of winter, early spring,” said Clark. “But our first goal is to integrate the two businesses more, offering more dinner and overnight accommodations.” Clark hopes to add a bar in a section of the inn that is underutilized, and obtain a liquor license next year to serve more than wine and beer. “I’ve been a chef all my life,” said Clark, “so having your own restaurant is what you would strive for. I have designs on starting a menu expansion, getting into more comfort foods and lower price point items as well as fine dining.” The varied menu offers fresh and seasonal dishes and homemade desserts. “I have two different kinds of homemade ravioli, strip steak, and pork saltimbocca on the menu,” said Clark, “as well as a $9.95 Sunday dinner special.” Also on the menu are such delights as the Brie empanadas, a buttery and savory pastry with brie and pears baked right in, topped with toasted almonds and served with a raspberry sauce. The menu also boasts a garlic-brined Cornish game hen, pecan-crusted fillet of sole, baked penne pasta and an array of tempting and creative salads – something for everyone. The menu and wine list can be viewed at www.kitchenattheinn.com. The Dovegate Inn and Kitchen at the Inn restaurant are located at 184 Broad Street in Schuylerville. Open all year long, each of the three spacious guest rooms offers a fireplace, private bath, television, WiFi and air conditioning. Children under 10 are free. No smoking; no pets. For more information, call 518-695-3699 or visit www.dovegateinn.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce’s Veterans Business Council is helping veterans transition from military to civilian life in numerous ways, such as last week’s Boots to Business Reboot entrepreneurial workshop held at the Chamber’s offices at 28 Clinton Street. The workshop’s instructor, Michael Stout, is a veteran business development officer with the Syracuse office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which covers 34 counties, including Saratoga. He is also a retired U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major, having served 23 years, including 5 tours in Iraq as well as tours in Afghanistan and in both Djibouti and Somalia in Africa. When he left service, he became a small business owner of a fitness facility in Georgia. “I decided to work for the Small Business Administration because I know how much veterans have given to this country,” said Stout, “and I know I can help them because I have been both a veteran and a small business owner. I want to be a part of that community that helps them start. Small business is what’s going to make this country great, helping it to grow and keep jobs in our community.” Stout explained that there are two programs – the regular Boots to Business for those in process of transitioning out of the military, and the Boots to Business Reboot, which is for veterans of all eras and their spouses, and the Army Reserve and National Guard. The one held on November 1 and 2 at the Saratoga County Chamber’s offices was the Reboot. The Reboot workshop is a free, two-day entrepreneurship training program that provides an overview of resources for veterans to help them start or expand a business. It explains business plans, resources – including financial, and the benefits of networking with other veterans and business owners. In addition, participants are introduced to SBA resources available to access start-up capital, technical assistance and contracting opportunities. Stout is currently in talks with the Chamber about holding future workshops here. Veteran Paul Jancsy took the class to network and gain new perspectives on a business he has owned for three years. Born and raised in Saratoga Springs, he is currently a Major in the New York Air National Guard. He was a major and a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, and has been stationed all over the world. Three years ago, he started a Marco’s Pizza franchise in western Pennsylvania and in Colorado. “One of the things I didn’t do,” said Jancsy, “was network enough or find a mentor, so I could have people I could confidentially ask questions from, and bounce ideas off of. When I saw Mike coming to Saratoga, I thought this was perfect.” One of the things Jancsy appreciates about the program is that it is not just veterans participating, but that there are veterans working for the SBA and the Veterans Business Council. “We all take care of each other, and it’s an honor to serve with them in this different capacity,” said Jancsy. “We’re a family. We take care of each other when we are deployed, when we come home, and when we transition from active duty into civilian life, and this event is part of that.” Jancsy said the best piece of advice he has to give is to tell veterans to start building their networks now, not with just friends and family, but through programs like Boots to Business. “As we transition out, I didn’t know where to look, I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” said Jancsy. “Programs like this, you sit down and have face-to-face meetings with people who have an existing network. It gives you all the options for funding, and points out new sources of funding that didn’t exist when I initially got out just a few years ago. And more importantly, it teaches you how to use them, how to focus your funds, the situational awareness on cash flow and who can help you with that such as bankers, accountants, people like that. It might be basic for someone who went to business school, but for veterans, we never had to worry about that.” But when it comes to military skills that are translatable to business, Jancsy said, “Any veteran will tell you that in the military, you have to allocate resources you are given – some of it limited – to manage the risk and solve the problem. That’s business, that’s being an entrepreneur. You are used to it, and now I can do that on the outside here in the city that I love.” Completion of the workshop enables participants to enroll in a free, 8-week Institute of Veterans and Military Families online business program that is much more in depth. To learn more about Boots to Business and other programs, visit www.ivmf.syracuse.edu , www.sba.gov, or the local Veterans Business Council at www.saratoga.org/pages/veterans-business-council.
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  • Saratoga County Court  Sara N. Babinski, 35, of Schuylerville, was sentenced to 3 months incarceration/ 5 years probation, after pleading to felony DWAI, charged January 2024 in Saratoga Springs.  Thomas R. McCall, 35, of Rensselaer, pleaded to criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree, in connection with a March 2024 incident in Saratoga Springs, when city police initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle on South Broadway and located a Magnum .357 revolver with ammunition underneath the driver’s seat, according to a statement by Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen. Further investigation determined that the firearm belonged to the defendant,…

Property Transactions

  •   BALLSTON  Frederick Wright sold property at 78 Beacon St to Jacqueline Zielinski for $361,000 Barbera Homes Kelley Farms sold property at 30 Paddock Pl to Erik Weiskopf for $716,959 Harold Tomlinson sold property at 429 Devils Lane to Amy Hotaling for $575,000 CORINTH Khalil Grant sold property at 5049 Rt 9N to Colin Murray for $239,500 Angela Wingle sold property at 83 Clothier Dr to Brittany Dunston for $249,900 Foothills Builders sold property at 49 Black Bear Path to Zachary Yetter for $455,605 Gwendoyln Matson sold property at 116 County Route 10 to Victoria Bourque for $169,000 MALTA  David…
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