Thomas Dimopoulos

Thomas Dimopoulos

City Beat and Arts & Entertainment Editor
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BALLSTON SPA — Stewart’s Shops officially announced on April 18 that it will close its on 404 Geyser Road in Ballston Spa. The store will close on Sunday, April 30. “All Partners will be offered placement at other shops,” according to a company statement. 

Residents of the neighborhood shop had initiated a Save Our Local Store petition that had garnered 120 signatures. 

“Please do not close our neighborhood Stewart’s: the only Stewart’s within walking distance of Geyser Crest neighborhood,” reads the petition. “We love this store and use it every day. It’s part of our community, and the neighborhood will not be the same without it.” 

Stewart’s Shops said it chose to close the Geyser Road location to refocus their efforts on serving customers at nearby locations. 

“In most areas, Stewart’s Shops have the space to be the community grocery store, restaurant and gas station and this shop cannot expand to fit those needs. It is always a difficult decision to close a shop, and we would like to thank all our loyal customers for their business,” Stewart’s Shops president Gary Dake said in a statement.

The company added that this closure is not a reflection of the company overall, and that in 2023 Stewart’s Shops is investing more than $50 million in construction of nine brand new shops and eight rebuilt shops, which will replace older, smaller locations.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The songs of Mississippi John Hurt have been covered by everyone from Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Dave Van Ronk, to Donovan, Jerry Garcia, and Jorma Kaukonen – both as a soloist and with his band Hot Tuna - and he famously performed at Caffe Lena shortly before his death in the mid-1960s. 

On Saturday, April 29 a bevy of entertainers will perform atop the Caffe Lena stage in tribute to the singer and songwriter who has influenced a world of musicians with his unique fingerpicking style. 

The fundraiser features four duos playing the music by and inspired by Mississippi John Hurt.  Performers include the Piedmont Bluz Duo of Valerie and Benedict Turner, Annie & Jonny Rosen of Annie and the Hedonists, Erin Harpe & Jim Countryman and Mark Tolstrup & Jill Burnham of Mark & Jill.

Monies raised will benefit the Mississippi John Hurt Foundation, established by Hurt’s granddaughter, Mary Frances Hurt. The Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted primarily to preserving the musical legacy and history of Mississippi John Hurt, while providing musical and educational opportunities to disadvantaged youth. Through the music of John Hurt, children and adult music fans alike are exposed to the rich oral, musical, and literary traditions of the Mississippi Delta and surrounding areas. 

Funds raised will also support a film, currently in production, about his life and legacy.

For tickets and more information, go to: 

BALLSTON SPA - Stewart’s Shops officially announced on April 18 that it will close its on 404 Geyser Road in Ballston Spa. The store will close on Sunday, April 30. “All Partners will be offered placement at other shops,” according to a company statement. 

Residents of the neighborhood shop had initiated a Save Our Local Store petition that had garnered 120 signatures. 

“Please do not close our neighborhood Stewart's: the only Stewart's within walking distance of Geyser Crest neighborhood,” reads the petition. “We love this store and use it every day. It's part of our community, and the neighborhood will not be the same without it.” 

Stewart’s Shops said it chose to close the Geyser Road location to refocus their efforts on serving customers at nearby locations. 

"In most areas, Stewart’s Shops have the space to be the community grocery store, restaurant and gas station and this shop cannot expand to fit those needs. It is always a difficult decision to close a shop, and we would like to thank all our loyal customers for their business,” Stewart’s Shops president Gary Dake said in a statement.

The company added that this closure is not a reflection of the company overall, and that in 2023 Stewart’s Shops is investing more than $50 million in construction of nine brand new shops and eight rebuilt shops, which will replace older, smaller locations.

BALLSTON SPA — There are 21 municipalities – 19 towns and 2 cities – represented at the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors. Every municipality is represented by one supervisor, except for the larger populations of Clifton Park and Saratoga Springs which are each represented by two. 

The Board of Supervisors meets monthly – typically at 4 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month – to vote on proposals. This year’s annual budget is about $381 million - or a spending plan that works out to more than $1 million per day, every day of the year, including weekends and holidays.      

The measures, proposals, budgets and resolutions upon which the Board of Supervisors votes typically come from the county’s Standing Committees. 

There are 12 Standing Committees, each with 5 to 7 members appointed by that year’s county chairperson.  Some of the Standing Committees include: Economic Development, Law & Finance, Health & Human Services, and Public Safety.   

In 2023, all 23 County Supervisors were appointed to at least one Standing Committee, with some appointed to multiple committees. In total, the 23 supervisors were appointed to 74 seats on the 12 Standing Committees. 

The Town of Day is Saratoga County’s least populated municipality with a population of just over 800. The Day Supervisor was appointed to 4 Standing Committee seats. 

By comparison, Saratoga Springs is the second most populated municipality in the county with about 28,500 residents, about 35 times more the number than Day. The two Saratoga Springs supervisors were appointed to a total of 6 Standing Committee seats. 

Some other municipalities with less than 5,000 residents, and those with more than 20,000 residents, and the number of seats appointed to on the Standing Committees: Edinburg –1,333 population/ 3 seats; Hadley – 1,976 population/ 3 seats; Providence – 2,075 population/ 3 seats; Galway – 3,525 population / 3 seats; Charlton – 4,328 population/ 5 seats. Halfmoon – 25,662 population/ 4 seats; Clifton Park – 38,029 population/ 9 seats.     

Population numbers by Saratoga County municipality and revised “weighted vote” per supervisor figures, as presented by County Administration at March 2022 Law & Finance Committee meeting.

BALLSTON SPA — Gordon Boyd launched his campaign this week as Democratic Party and Working Families Party nominee for County Supervisor from Saratoga Springs.

Two supervisor seats representing the city at the county level are up for vote in November. Current Supervisor Matt Veitch, a Republican, and former city Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan, a Democrat, both announced earlier that they will seek to occupy one of the two city supervisor seats in this fall’s election. 

Boyd said public safety, fair housing and increased city representation at the county level are among his priorities. 

“Getting more democracy in place is a way to bring out better outcomes,” said Boyd, publicly launching his campaign April 12 in front of the county Board of Elections building in Ballston Spa.   

“One of the challenges we have is that Saratoga Springs has about 30,000 people. We have two supervisors, and they are on 6 positions on county Standing Committees. Now there is another group of 30,000 people who are represented by nine supervisors holding 28 positions on the Standing Committees, so, 6 versus 28. For an equal number of people,” said Boyd, who is advocating for a more population-aligned restructuring of how the decision-makers are appointed to the Board of Supervisors’ important Standing Committees. Members are currently appointed by the Board chair. 

“My proposal would be to change the rules of the board as a first step and to have better representation for the larger population municipalities that is more in proportion to the number of taxpayers and people they represent,” Boyd said. “The population differential penalizes the larger municipalities, especially Saratoga Springs which probably generates 18-20% of the county’s revenue. If I were representing Clifton Park, Malta, Milton, Wilton, Moreau – any of the Northway corridor towns – I would want greater representation for my constituents as well, so it’s not just Saratoga Springs that’s being penalized.”    

Boyd also raised issues around housing needs.  “Our county’s housing prices and rents make it difficult for working families and individuals to find affordable homes.” Boyd’s solution: pushing for the county to educate its municipalities about zoning law reforms that could increase the overall housing supply, “make short-term rental owners pay their fair share of taxes,” and increase funding for supportive and transitional housing for those in need. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ray O’Conor has worked as a financial consultant with a major Wall Street investment firm, a United States Border Patrol Agent and a Special Agent with the U.S. Department of Defense. He has served on the boards of several not for profit organizations, and is the CEO of a not for profit community development company. 

Close to home, you may know O’Conor as a former local bank CEO, a Wilton Town Board Councilmember, an avid mountain climber, the author of the book “She Called Him Raymond.” 

That’s a lot of lives for one existence, now here’s one more:  on Saturday, April 15 Saratoga Arts Center will host the debut screening of Veda Films’ documentary “An Above Average Day,” featuring longtime friends Ray O’Conor and Joe Murphy on their hiking and wilderness adventures while seeking answers the question: What could two men with a 30-year difference in age possibly have in common that would compel them to climb more than 400 mountains and hike in excess of 4,000 miles of trails?

Q. Where did the idea for the film come from? 

A. My good buddy Joe and I have done a lot of hiking and climbing over the last 15 years. We hiked more than 400 different mountains, most of them together and more than 5,000 miles of trail. 

About 2-1/2 years ago I got a message from Katera Kapoor - one of the founders of the Veda Films company – who said, “I’ve been following your adventures with your buddy Joe and was wondering if you had any interest in doing a documentary film together.” Katara is originally from Saratoga Springs. She told me how she and her husband (Aviral), both graduates of the New York Film Academy where they’d met, started this documentary film company. So, Joe and I said: sure. That’s how it all started.

Q. How did the filming work?

A. The husband-and-wife team followed us around when we went out. They were generally long days because in addition to the hiking itself, there was the setting up to take shots, second shots, third shots, and the interviewing. It’s taken a couple of years to get done. Joe and I had a lot of fun with Katera and Avi. They are exceptional people and superb storytellers.

Q. What is the focus of the documentary?

A. There are two sides to the story. One is the adventure side about hiking and mountain climbing. The other is about the relationship between Joe and I. There are 30 years between us - I’m 68 and he’s 38. My wife Mary has always said that my behavior is worse than a child, and Joe is like an old soul kind of person. So, one of the focal points is the relationship between these two guys who met by chance and spent a lot of time together over the past 15 years on mountains and on trails.

Q. You go up a city kid. Where did your fondness for hiking and climbing come from?

A. Back in the late 1980s, I decided to run for the town board in Wilton and Roy McDonald was our town supervisor. Unbeknownst to me, Roy was big on hiking at the time. He had climbed Mount Marcy like 10 times. So, Roy calls me and says, “I’m going to pick you up at 5:30 in the morning and we’re going to go on a hike.” I didn’t even know where we were going, or what I needed. It was a real nice weekend, so I had on a pair of gym shorts, a T-shirt, and some work boots that I wore when doing yardwork. We wound up hiking Mount Marcy. We had a great time. On subsequent hikes, I came much better prepared.

Q. How do you decide where to climb?

A. We have a list we work on. The first was the 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks. There’s a fire tower challenge  - 32 mountains between the Catskills and the Adirondacks that have fire towers on them.  And we’ve done all those. There’s a broader list called the Northeast 115, the tallest mountains in the northeast United States. And there are other smaller mountains – the Lake George 12ster, the Saranac Lake 6er.

The next list is the 50 highest points and peaks in the United States. I’ve already got 17 states done and Joe’s a couple shy of that. I’ve got a plan mapped out for a southern swing next month where we go to Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Indiana. Nine states, high points or peaks in six days.

Q. For people inspired to go on a hike or climb, what local resources are available to learn more?

A. If you’re a beginner there is the Adirondack Mountain Club, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Saratoga Plan. You know you don’t have to climb Mount Everest to get the benefits emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Q. What do you get from hiking, emotionally, physically or otherwise?

A. I’d like to say it’s as good for the mind and the soul as it is for the body. There’s something special about being out in the wilderness. The Japanese have a term they call it: Forest Bathing. Being out in the woods, on the trail, in isolation. Getting away from all the world’s troubles is magical.

The debut screening of “An Above Average Day” will take place at the Saratoga Arts Center, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs on Saturday, April 15. Shows at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets are $5 and available at: Produced and directed by Katera and Aviral Kapoor, founders of Veda Films. 

BALLSTON SPA — An unnamed member of the grand jury that last week led to the indictments of suspected actors in the Nov. 20 shout-out in Saratoga Springs intimated that they felt “undue pressure” to come to decision, and “feel ashamed that we did not do our job properly” after hearing testimony.  The story was first reported April 3 by NewsChannel 13. 

Vito E. Caselnova, a Rutland County Vermont sheriff’s deputy and Glens Falls resident, was indicted on eight charges, five of which were felonies and included one count of attempted murder in the second-degree. 

Three Utica men - Alexander Colon, Darius A. Wright, and Christopher (AKA Christian) E. Castillo,  were each charged with one count attempted assault, a misdemeanor, in connection with the incident, alleging each of the defendants “attempted to cause an injury to a person by repeatedly punching him,” according to court documents. 

“I am confident that the Grand Jury process was done in compliance with the laws of the State of New York, Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said in a statement on April 3, following the circulation of the unnamed jury member’s comments, which were initially enclosed in a letter to Saratoga County Court Judge James Murphy. 

“While I would like to respond to and answer the numerous questions I have received regarding those proceedings, those very same laws expressly prohibit me from commenting further on the specifics of the grand jury presentation,” Heggen added. “I stand by my office’s presentation and await the judicial review.” 

Colon, Wright, and Castillo are scheduled to return to Saratoga Springs City Court April 25, and Caselnova is slated to return to Saratoga County Court on May 2. It is not known at this time what effect this week’s juror revelation may have on the proceedings.

SOUTH GLENS FALLS — More than 400 people packed into St. Michael’s Catholic Church in South Glens Falls on April 3 to say their final farewell to Bobby Dick. 

There were prayers during the 75-minute ceremony and the sprinkling of holy water, readings - by his daughter-in-law from the Book of Revelations, and by a family friend a letter from Paul to the Thessalonians. In song there was an ancient hymn titled simply, “Song of Farewell,” and, following the mass, there were stories. 

Bobby Dick was born and raised in Brooklyn and began performing at a young age. He attended Quintano’s School for Young Professionals where he was classmates with Patty Duke. Duke asked him to escort her to the prom at The Tavern on the Green, but he had to decline due to a scheduled performance in Lake George.

The band with which he most often known was The Sundowners, who made upstate N.Y. their home turf. In 1965, the group opened for the Rolling Stones at the Palace Theatre and the Dave Clark Five at the RPI Field House. They toured with Monkees and Jimi Hendrix and made a cameo performance on the TV shows “The Flying Nun” and “It Takes A Thief.” 

After the group disbanded in 2011, Dick continued to perform with his wife, Susie Q for the next 12 years. He battled a very rare cancer yet continued to perform up to February 2023. He died on March 27 at the age of 76.

“The world’s oldest teenager, now rocking and rolling, if I may say it that way, with the saints,” Rev. Tony Childs said from the pulpit at St. Michael’s Church. 

Family and friends shared stories, heartfelt, humorous, and befitting of a gregarious soul. Dick’s granddaughter played “Love Me Tender” on her clarinet, because, she said, Bobby loved Elvis. 

The last song of the Mass was played over the parish PA, a recording of Dick’s voice singing the “The Impossible Dream.” It received an ovation from those in attendance,  standing and clapping across the church, far as the eye could see. 

Dick is survived by his wife and an extended family that includes his children, grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter, siblings and nieces, nephews and cousins.  Rite of committal will be in the spring at St. Mary’s Cemetery in South Glens Falls.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — What’s in a name? Plenty when it comes to how some local residents see themselves represented. 

A new movie by local filmmaker Shaun Rose is garnering loud feedback from some in the community in which the movie was made - largely due to its one-word title: Toga. 

“I’ve never seen this before with any type of movie on any type of level. The fanatical ones, they’re at me like rabid animals,” Rose says. 

The 61-minute film tells Rose’s continuing story of a person progressing through different stages of their life. Released in January, “Toga” follows freelance videographer ‘Ellis Martin’ on assignment, scouting locations in the town where he was raised.

“I grew up in Saratoga Springs over on the west side of town by the high school,” says Rose.  “Toga” is a semi-autobiographical film and a sequel to his previous work, “Upstate Story.” 

“Getting into some of the biographical details of the movie, just channeling that, I think has been very therapeutic for me,” says the 37-year-old filmmaker. 

“The character is a fictionalized version of me, but there’s a lot of truth in that movie; Capturing me at different aspects, different time periods of my life,” says Rose, who handled most of the writing, directing, acting, and image-making/editing of the independent film. “Pretty much everything; tackling so many different roles, but I did have some help,” he says. 

“It has received good reviews from outside sources and has built up quite a few views over on YouTube. But it’s been controversial, to say the least - mostly due to the name alone and I’ve received a lot of hate from fellow locals over the shortening of our town name,” says Rose, privately sharing some of the more personally focused messages he received. Rose isn’t wrong in his labeling of these as “outright vulgar and disgusting. My girlfriend and co-producer received some as well.”

Saratoga: What’s In A Name

There is more than one Saratoga in the U.S. – a town in Wyoming, a city in California, and a Saratoga Springs in Utah, among them. Closer to home, the Town of Saratoga Springs was set apart from the Town of Saratoga in 1819. It was incorporated as a village in 1826, and in 1915 the City of Saratoga Springs came into existence. Its translation and spelling are varied:

•“Saratoga after an Iroquois Indian word Sarachtoue, which translates to “place of miraculous water in the rock.” - Visit Saratoga Wyoming, Carbon County Visitors Council. 

•“Saratoga, it is said, is derived from an Iroquois word, Se-rach-to-que, literally, ‘floating scum upon the water,’ a completely understandable interpretation to be put on the presence of mineral deposits showing up as vari-colored film on the surface of a pond.” – Saratoga Historical Foundation, Saratoga California.

•“Among the earliest dates in which the name Saratoga appears in history is the year 1684. It was not then the name of a town, nor of a county, neither was it the name of a great watering-place; but it was the name of an old Indian hunting-ground located along both sides of the Hudson River…Se-rach-ta-gue, or the “hill-side country of the great river.”-  Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, 1878, History Of Saratoga County, N.Y. 

Toga? What People Are Saying

An inquiry posted this week on locally focused social media channels asking folks to reply with their preferred usage of “Saratoga” vs. “Toga” returned more than 200 comments. 

Some said they took no issue with either. Others pointed to the two-syllable “to-ga” as affording a clean and simple chant at high school sporting events. 

Those opposed to the abbreviated version – which counted more than twice as many commentators - said they had either had never heard the phrase uttered, or set blame for its usage on everything from “the younger generation” and summertime “invaders from New Jersey” to John Belushi’s portrayal of the bellicose toga-draped John “Blutto” Blutarsky in the 1978 film “Animal House.” 

Here are some of the comments:

Calling Saratoga Toga is like calling your father “the old man,” or calling your mother by her first name, or calling your wife “my old lady”, etc. etc. Sounds cool to those of the same mindset. Lived in the area for most of my life and TOGA is just one of the many little things that irk some of us “OLD TIMERS” - Don.

“Toga” is a nickname used by Saratoga high athletics only. Anyone else referring to Saratoga as Toga is a Neanderthal - Scott. 

We don’t call it ‘Toga. New people do – Michele. 

Toga a known cheer and chant. Nothing wrong with it. Everyone knows where Toga is - Barbara. 

My dad is 79 and my mom is 73. We’ve all lived here our whole lives. I know plenty of “old” Saratogians and I’ve never heard it – Amber. 

TOGA was probably made popular by a drunken frat boy – Heather. 

Lifelong born and raised, graduated from SSHS. It has always been shortened to Toga – Dee. 

Been here since 1956. Toga is an abomination. Nobody called it that when I was growing up… and get off my lawn while you’re at it – Eric.

Notice that cranky “baby boomers” are the only ones offended – Bruce. 

Bruce - boomer here...not offended. SSHS class of ‘79 and we used to chant this at basketball and football games, taking a page from Animal House – Cathy. 

This must be coming from people who were NOT raised in Saratoga. No one I know of calls it Toga – Joan. 

Lifelong resident and it’s always been Toga! My kids, current students, call it Toga! Never found it offensive or complained about the shortened name. A lot easier to chant “let’s go Toga!” – LeeAnn. 

True natives say “Sara-doga” born there, raised there, still return any time I can. Never heard the Roman sheet reference until recent times. Kind of goes with backward ball caps and flips flops, not good – Brian. 

I have called it both. At sporting events it was yelled as Toga but I normally said just Saratoga. I was not born and raised here but my kids call it both. Don’t really get what there is to be offended by but I guess that’s the way of the world at present. – Jonna. 

Rose first became Inspired to make films while growing up watching movies that came into his home from the video rental store that stood in the strip mall on South Broadway. 

“I used to go there all the time with my family and rent movies. I just fell in love with movies as a teenager,” he says. 

“I always try to make movies to connect with people. Outside the obvious title fiasco, I’ve gotten positive feedback from a lot of people who have liked it. Something that people can connect with,” Rose says. 

“When we usually see coming of age movies -it’s common to see kids transitioning into teenagers, or teenagers into adults - but what about further areas of adulthood? We don’t really see that. I think we as people never stop growing, or maturing, bettering ourselves. It’s constantly a learning curve,” he says. “I try to make things that people can connect with, a story I’m trying to tell, and balance it with comedy or drama so people can be entertained by it as well.”   

The film may be viewed on YouTube by searching “Shaun Rose” and “Toga.” Note, the film contains mature themes and strong language. 

Thursday, 30 March 2023 13:30

Gunfight: The Charges Are In

In the early morning hours on November 20, 2022, members of the Saratoga Springs Police Department responded to the sound of gunfire coming from Broadway. The officers involved were assigned to the downtown area, and were on foot on Caroline St at the time. Within seconds, the Officers confronted two individuals exchanging gunfire on Broadway in the heart of the City’s busy downtown area. –Saratoga Springs Police Department statement March 28, 2023. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A deputy sheriff was charged with attempted murder and three men from Utica with attempted assault in this week’s reveal of charges in connection with a November early morning incident in Saratoga Springs that saw approximately 20 bullets raining down on Broadway. 

Vito E. Caselnova, a Rutland County Vermont sheriff’s deputy and Glens Falls resident, was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Saratoga County Court. The sealed indictment, unsealed in court, documented eight charges - five felonies, two misdemeanors, and one violation. 

The charges: attempted murder in the second-degree, assault in the first-degree, possession of a firearm in a sensitive location (that “sensitive location” in this instance believed to be carrying a firearm inside a place that serves alcohol), two counts of possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device, menacing, reckless endangerment, and harassment.

“There is a wide range of sentences the court could impose if you are convicted of that (attempted murder) charge or if you plead guilty of that charge, but the most severe sentence is a determinate term of up to 25 years in state prison,” Judge Jim Murphy said in the courtroom on March 28. 

Approximately two dozen people filled the public area of the courtroom. Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen was seated in the first row. Ten members of the media sat in the jury box, notebooks and cameras in hand. 

“Given the configuration of the indictment, it may be that some of those charges would run concurrently, or potentially consecutively if you were to be found guilty or if you were to plead guilty,” Judge Murphy told Caselnova. 

Caselnova, who sat mostly quiet while in the courtroom, pleaded not guilty to all counts. 

Bail was set at $50,000 cash, or $100,000 bail bond. Caselnova’s attorney, Greg Teresi, said that bail would be posted on Caselnova’s behalf at the correction facility. Caselnova, 25, was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom. 

During proceedings, an order of protection – effective immediately - was issued advising Caselnova to not have any contact, directly or indirectly, with Alexander Colon. 

Less than 24 hours later and across the county, Colon’s name as well as those of two others allegedly connected with the Nov. 20 incident appeared on documents at Saratoga Springs City Court. 

Court records indicate that the three people, all from Utica, were each charged with one count attempted assault in the third-degree, a misdemeanor, in connection with the incident. According to the prosecutor’s filings, the charge specifies each of the defendants “attempted to cause an injury to a person by repeatedly punching him.” 

Those charged are: Alexander Colon, 28, Darius A. Wright, 29, and Christopher (AKA Christian) E. Castillo, 28. The charges were assigned on March 23, according to court documents. All three were summoned to appear in person in Saratoga Springs City Court at 9 a.m. on April 25.

According to statements by Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Jim Montagnino shortly after the Nov. 20 incident occurred, an altercation allegedly involving Caselnova - who was off-duty at the time - and “a group of individuals from the Utica area” was initiated on or around a Caroline Street bar before accelerating west and onto Broadway with approximately eight shots being fired. It is unclear how many weapons may have been involved, or who is suspected of firing first. 

City police officers subsequently responding to the incident fired approximately 11 shots after the off-duty deputy allegedly ignored calls to drop his weapon. 

“What they see is the Vermont sheriff’s deputy, standing on the sidewalk, his gun leveled and moving from side-to-side pointing the gun,” Montagnino said. “The officers repeatedly, loudly direct the deputy, ‘Drop the gun, get on the ground,’ again, again and again. By my count there are at least eight separate clear unequivocal demands to put the gun down and get on the ground. They are all ignored.” 

The incident marked the first discharge of a weapon in the line of duty by a Saratoga Springs officer in more than a quarter-century. 

City officers testified before the grand jury and waived immunity for their actions, according to a statement issued by PBA President Paul Veitch this week. “The Grand Jury decision to exonerate our officers confirms that they acted appropriately and justifiably during this stressful life-threatening situation.”

Caselnova suffered a number of wounds as a result of the incident and a woman believed to be his girlfriend was “nicked by one of the bullets in her upper arm,” Montagnino said. The woman, Glens Falls resident Cali Brown, filed the notice of claim against the city and police department signifying her intent to sue, the Daily Gazette in February. 

It is anticipated Caselnova will return to county court on May 2 at 9:30 a.m. for discovery compliance - the sharing of evidence in the matter.

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