Larry Goodwin

Larry Goodwin

News & Business Reporter, Editor
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Thursday, 01 February 2018 21:39

Wilton Bicentennial Begins

(Left to right) From the Wishing Well in Gansevoort: Chef Tim Godlewski and Sales and Events Coordinator Corey Pritchett; Wilton Supervisor Arthur Johnson and his wife, Sandy; Bicentennial Chairperson Sue Gavin Lant and her husband, Councilman John Lant; Gala Coordinator Fran Dingman and Supervisor Secretary Nancy Riely; from Chez Pierre in Gansevoort: Pierre, Kelsey and Patrick Baldwin; and musical entertainment provided by Jeff Brisbin, whose family dates back to Wilton's founding. Photos by www.photoandgraphic.com 

WILTON – The parking lots at the McGregor Links Country Club on Northern Pines Road filled up fast last Saturday, as hundreds attended the town’s Bicentennial Kick-Off Gala. 

“It’s going to be a fun night,” Wilton Supervisor Arthur Johnson observed at the outset, noting how 200 gala tickets were sold in recent months at $18.18 each.

The Jan. 27 gathering at the newly renovated golf club was the first of many events scheduled to mark Wilton’s two centuries of official existence.

“This is the first of a whole series of signature events throughout the whole year. They appeal to all different age groups,” said Fran Dingman, a local events promoter who organized much of the McGregor Links gala.

In a promotional brochure for Wilton’s Bicentennial, April was deemed the “anniversary month.” From 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 20, there will be a re-enactment of the first town meeting at the center court in Wilton Mall; and historic tours the next two days.

There also will be a Parkfest Celebration on July 7; a historic home tour on Sept. 16; a Taste of Wilton event on Sept. 23, and a holiday dinner on Dec. 29.

Sue Gavin Lant, whose father inspired the name of Wilton’s popular recreation park on Lewis Road, said other events may be added along the way. For more than a year, Lant has chaired the committee that is planning the bicentennial activities.

According to Johnson, there are currently about 17,000 people living in Wilton.  

“It’s the best place to live, raise your family and work,” he said. “We have low taxes, we have a great quality of life here; we’ve got parks, recreation, schools—all the best things to offer to people.”

Thursday, 25 January 2018 23:12

Ballston Spa’s Big Budget Gap

A view north on Milton Avenue in Ballston Spa. Photo by Larry Goodwin.

BALLSTON SPA – Mayor John Romano gave a lengthy presentation Monday night on various difficulties that are looming over village finances, before presenting a resolution that authorizes borrowing $600,000 to pay current expenses.   

With Trustee Noah Shaw listening through a cellular phone due to his absence, the village board voted 4-0 in favor of a “revenue anticipation note” backed by Saratoga County highway funds that will be provided to the village by June. Additional funds are expected sooner from sales tax receipts and water bills that are being prepared.

Romano indicated that Ballston Spa National Bank will provide the $600,000 loan, which he said will be promptly paid back from that expected revenue. The main purpose, he explained, is for the village to remain in “good standing with vendors.”

In an email, Susan Slovic, vice president for marketing at Ballston Spa National Bank, declined to provide more details.

“We value client confidentiality and as a result, we don’t provide information to the public regarding client relationships, including whether or not a specific relationship exists,” Slovic said. 

During his presentation, Romano pointed to “the rising costs of providing basic services to our residents and taxpayers.” In recent years, the village has incurred nearly $1 million in unexpected costs related to sewer system repairs and other factors, he noted.    

The mayor said “an avalanche of unfunded mandates” from New York State, involving expenses such as health care for village employees and workers’ compensation payments, now equals 22 percent of Ballston Spa’s $4.1 million annual budget.

Costs have been reduced as much as possible and staff is short in multiple village departments, Romano continued, even as the village’s annual payments to the state pension system for retired municipal employees have risen from $22,000 in the early 2000s to $288,000 now—or 1,200 percent. 

In addition, officials may be forced to consider spending $1.2 million soon on faulty village vehicles and upgrades for water infrastructure that is nearing 50 years old. 

“We can’t continue to limp along. We’re at a point now that we need to do things differently,” Romano concluded. He reported that individual meetings were held recently with each village board member to discuss such fiscal challenges.

“The first rule of holes is to stop digging,” offered Shaw through the cell phone. “This is not a sustainable trajectory that the village is on.”

A comprehensive review should be conducted of “systemic” fiscal issues in the village, Shaw said, especially during negotiations for the next annual budget in April and May.

Trustee Stuart Hodsoll called the mayor’s presentation “really overwhelming.”

Yet Milton Planning Board Chairman Larry Woolbright, who attended the meeting on Monday and spoke briefly during the public comment portion, found a reason to believe that Romano and his fellow board members would solve the village’s financial problems.

“I’m more optimistic than I’ve been in a while,” Woolbright said.

Thursday, 25 January 2018 23:00

Questions Linger for Route 9 Development

MALTA – On Monday, the Malta Town Board discussed the “Shecky” development, focusing primarily on the provision of additional water service.

Nearly 50 single-family homes are under construction near the site. The town board is considering a proposed change to local zoning so that a mixture of commercial and residential space near Route 9 can be added.

Scott Lansing of Lansing Engineering gave a brief presentation on behalf of the applicant, Skecky Development LLC. He noted how Skecky is proposing a 2,500-foot extension of water lines south on Route 9 to benefit the hamlet of Maltaville. 

But town board members said the water line extension alone would not solve multiple water problems that exist in Maltaville. They also discussed legal complications related to the combination of private and municipal water supplies.   

Thursday, 25 January 2018 22:49

Neighbor: Kaylee Delaney

Q: What is your actual title at the City Center?

A: I am housekeeping and set up. It’s 90 percent cleaning, and sometimes I do chairs and pick up tables if the guys are busy doing something else.

Q: How would you describe your work ethic?

A: I love cleaning. For me, it’s more like 100 percent cleaning and if the guys have this much to do and I’m done with my list, then I go help them. I love my job. This is a great place.

Q: What’s your most memorable event at the City Center?

A: Oh, goodness. We have so many, that’s a very tough question. I would say, once a year, we do a very fun event where families bring in all of their children who have special needs, and we do all sorts of things. We do so many fun arts and crafts, and there’s a bounce house. It’s just a good thing for the families that have special-needs children or even the parents themselves. Everybody has such a fun time. Or the pet shows, because everybody loves pet shows…We have Dance Flurry coming up next month, which will be 5,000 (or plus) people in the building for a two-, three-day period…We do so many events a year, it’s like non-stop.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: When it’s not wintertime, I do a lot of hiking. I like to ice skate, but I haven’t been able to get really back into that. That’s one thing where, if you stop doing it for a while, you’ve got to have really good balance. We’ll see if I get back into that. Fishing. Four-wheeling. I read often, go to the gym. That’s about it.

Q: Do you plan on staying in this area for life?

A: That I’m not so sure yet. I do love Saratoga, but there is a lot more of the world out there to see. And, actually, two years ago is when I really just started traveling, too. That’s another big one for me. One place a year, at least. My first trip…two years ago, I went to Vegas, and last year I went to New Zealand…I didn’t want to leave. 

Q: Where else do you want to go?

A: Italy, Greece, Australia’s a big one…I do want to go to South Africa once. [Her partner] Nathan’s sister is there now, and she’s been sending me so many pictures. Just to go see all the animals and their actual way of life is pretty cool. Plus, other cultures are so interesting.

Then I want to go to Fiji, the Philippines and see all the different islands and stuff out there. The next trip will either be Florida or Hawaii. We’ll see…Nathan’s family is all military, Army, Navy. They travel quite often. His sister and his brother, their next placement might be in Japan. If they go there and get stationed over there, we’ll go visit, so that’s another one on my list.

Thursday, 25 January 2018 22:43

Fingerpaint to Buy Broadway Property

(Left to right) The recently purhcased Fingerpaint property at 1 Franklin Square; and the company headquarters at 395 Broadway. Photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

SARATOGA SPRINGS – After owning a prime piece of Broadway real estate for the better part of 50 years, Andrew Hunt says his family is willing to part with it because “we have a lot of respect” for the buyer.

Earlier this week, Fingerpaint Marketing announced its intention to purchase the property at 395 Broadway from Myron M. Hunt Inc., which is based near Buffalo and has leased it to various businesses since the 1960s.

“We’d be happy to own that for another 50 years,” Hunt said, when contacted this week for comment. He is president of the real estate firm.

Hunt fondly remembers the corner lot as the site of both the Red Barn restaurant and Pope’s Pizza, before Border’s bookstore demolished that building and started anew with bricks and mortar in 2000.

Since 2012, the corporate headquarters of Fingerpaint have occupied the 25,000-square-foot space. The property includes a parking lot for more than 50 vehicles.

“It makes strategic sense for us, and I think it’s a great outcome for them,” Hunt said, admitting that 395 Broadway is the only property in Saratoga Springs that his family currently owns.

Hunt explained that the transaction with Fingerpaint is “largely under their control.”

In a statement, Fingerpaint indicated that the real estate deal is expected to be complete within six months.

Construction of a third floor is planned for the existing two-story structure along with a mix of new commercial and residential space in the parking lot, company officials said. 

Bill McEllen, chief of strategy in Fingerpaint’s Saratoga Springs office, said in an email that “we are not releasing any information” regarding the purchase price.

Fingerpaint also recently bought the property located at 1 Franklin Square, which McEllen said will be utilized “to accommodate growth for additional administrative and creative conference space” after renovations.

The Franklin Square building includes two apartments that staffers will be able to use when they travel to Saratoga Springs from Fingerpaint offices in Arizona, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  

The Fingerpaint statement reports that the company has grown from 42 employees in 2012, when annual revenues were $4.3 million, to a $45 million operation now with almost 200 employees.

In the statement, Fingerpaint Founder Ed Mitzen said: “This acquisition will ensure our long-term presence in downtown Saratoga Springs. We absolutely love our current location, and it has been a wonderful complement to all of the restaurants, bars and retail shops downtown.

“We are thrilled that we will continue to be a major player in downtown Saratoga Springs for years and years to come,” Mitzen added. “It’s a truly special place.”  

For more information, visit the website www.FingerpaintMarketing.com

Thursday, 25 January 2018 22:30

Local Sales of ‘CBD’ Products Turn Brisk

Healthy Living Market and Café Wellness Buyer Amanda Washburn. Photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.  

WILTON – The Healthy Living Market and Café in the Wilton Mall, founded by Vermonters, is widely known for offering products that satisfy shoppers who share a certain level of environmental awareness. 

Amanda Washburn, the store’s retail buyer for wellness items, indicated this week that she has seen a rapid increase in sales of a relatively new line of eco-friendly products.

Most of the products contain “CBD,” a non-psychoactive compound that develops naturally in the seedless flowers of cannabis plants. The acronym is short for the scientific term “cannabidiol.”

“It really does work miracles for people, and I’m glad people are opening their eyes to it,” Washburn said.

During a brief interview in the Wilton store, Washburn reported that many Healthy Living shoppers claim they are using CBD products to treat a wide array of physical ailments, ranging from anxiety to skin conditions to seizures. 

She said local nurses and doctors are even quietly recommending CBD products to their patients. 

But Washburn also acknowledged that any claims related to the effectiveness of CBD are not “clinically proven.”    

“There’s so many different things that it’s said to help with,” she offered, as she described the CBD products kept in a locked glass case in the supplement section of the market. “It’s crazy how big it’s become and how quickly.”

The CBD products available at Healthy Living (some rather pungent) range in price from $29.99 to $149.99. There are topicals that can be rubbed directly on skin; bath salts; oils that can be ingested by a dropper or simply added to food; and a CBD tea.

Washburn explained that the store is seeking to expand its selection of CBD-infused food for pets as well.

She said there have been steady sales of the $150 bottles of “Charlotte’s Web,” a highly concentrated CBD oil named after a Colorado girl who experienced dramatic seizures. In 2013, the girl was featured in a televised documentary produced by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  

At present, Washburn added, most of the CBD products are manufactured and tested in states that allow more cannabis growing, such as Colorado and Vermont.

In New York, state agriculture officials are in the process of expanding an “industrial hemp” program that may result in more localized CBD production. 

In addition, several registered companies in New York sell CBD products through the state’s “medical marijuana” program, according to Jill Montag, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health. 

When asked to comment specifically on the increase in sales of CBD products at Healthy Living and elsewhere, Montag explained that all of them “are outside the purview of the state’s medical marijuana program and may be of unknown content and quality.”

Last week, Old Saratoga Mercantile owner Christina Myers accepted her first shipment of a topical CBD balm. It is produced by a Vermont company called Luce Farm, which also offers edible CBD-infused honey and oils.  

“The people are digging it. They’re buying it,” Myers admitted.  

Myers explained that she first encountered CBD products in a chiropractor’s office. She is still in the process of securing constant supplies for customers who frequent her small grocery market on Route 29 west of Schuylerville.

A typical CBD balm “relaxes” parts of the body where it is applied, Myers explained, providing more long-term relief than the “hemp” rubs that she already sells for pain.

“Honestly, it’s going to women over 50,” Myers said of the new CBD balm. “They’re all complaining of inflammation.”  

Richard Frank, owner of Four Seasons Natural Foods in Saratoga Springs, confirmed this week that he, too, has witnessed the rise in popularity of consumer items that contain cannabidiol. More consumers, he said, should be educated as to the proper "therapeutic dose" of CBD for their particular condition.   

A Four Seasons manager deals directly with CBD companies in California, Vermont and other states to maintain constant supplies of products that are similar to those available at Healthy Living, Frank said. 

The store even obliged a California native, Frank explained, who relocated to Saratoga Springs and requested that Four Seasons start carrying a particular CBD product. 

"The whole industry's a little 'Wild West,'" he said, noting how federal authorities have attempted to clamp down in recent years on the CBD manufacturing process.*

*Author's note: The article was updated to include the comments of Richard Frank at Four Seasons Natural Foods after all print copies of Saratoga TODAY were published.        

Thursday, 18 January 2018 22:53

No More Beer Here

Photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Earlier this week, a Brooklyn company reported through social media that its business relationship with Saratoga Brewing Company was recently terminated, forcing an evacuation of truckloads of beer-production supplies from the popular Excelsior Avenue warehouse.    

Max Oswald, the owner of Saratoga Brewing, did not return repeated calls for comment.

Multiple attempts to contact Braven Brewing in Bushwick, Brooklyn and Mendocino Brewing Company in Ukiah, California also were unsuccessful. Both companies have existing partnerships with Saratoga Brewing, according to a report in the Daily Gazette.   

A beer industry expert familiar with the situation, who requested anonymity due to an ongoing investigation, told Saratoga TODAY that the sudden closure of Saratoga Brewing is related to legal problems facing an executive at the international brand Kingfisher Premium Lager Beer.  

A statement on the Kingfisher website describing the company’s history makes reference only to a licensing agreement with Mendocino Brewing Company.

A posting on Instagram Monday by Braven Brewing representatives explained an incident that reportedly took place at the end of last week: “When you’re told your partner brewery has gone out of business and you have 72 hours to remove $60,000 of packaging material and get 800 kegs worth of beer out of the tanks, what do you do? You get in your car and drive 4 hours north to conduct a rescue operation,” the social media post said.  

“We were able to move 60 pallets of kegs, keg collars, keg caps, bottle caps, 6-pack carriers, and 24-pack cases into storage on Friday morning,” the Braven posting added. “Then we salvaged about $3,000 of hops, threw them into the car, and UPS’ed them to another brewery for future batches.”

Large tanker trucks sent to the Saratoga Brewing facility by Braven Brewing also removed fermented beer, the posting indicated, with the assistance of a special fitting to perform that task. 

“All of this constitutes the closing of one chapter in Saratoga and the beginning of another” at the Ipswich Ale Brewery in Massachusetts, the Instagram post concluded.

Rob Martin, president of Ipswich Ale Brewery, confirmed that his company was contacted by Braven Brewing and agreed to make use of the hops and packaging supplies that were transported from Saratoga Springs.

“We’re going to start brewing for them next month,” Martin said of Braven, using that company’s beer recipes.

Stewart’s Shops President Gary Dake, who owns the property at 131 Excelsior Avenue, confirmed that financial problems at Saratoga Brewing are apparent. The company has been located there since about 1997, he explained. 

“We’ve been having problems getting paid our rent,” Dake said, adding that he is already seeking new candidates for another beer producer at the site.

“We’d love to keep it a brewery, keep those jobs in Saratoga Springs and keep the economy thriving,” Dake said.  

A candlelight vigil held in Congress Park on Aug. 31, 2017, also called Overdose Awareness Day. Photo by Larry Goodwin

BALLSTON SPA – The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday for a local law that declares opioid addiction a “public nuisance,” as the resolution states, and establishes a “cost recovery procedure for the county’s expenditures incurred in providing services related to the opioid epidemic.”

County officials argue in the measure that pharmaceutical companies and physicians, not only drug dealers in the streets, should be held responsible for causing the problem of opioid addiction. 

This week’s resolution follows a separate action taken last October, when the supervisors agreed in a special meeting to join a lawsuit filed by the New York City law firm Napoli Shkolnik related to the widespread distribution of opioids in multiple states. 

“The opioid epidemic is sweeping the country,” the Jan. 16 resolution states. “Vast amounts of prescription opioids were sold, distributed and prescribed in the county over the past several years, a practice that continues today. The selling, distributing and prescribing of large amounts of opioids in our community has created a public health and safety hazard affecting the residents of the county.

“This crisis has devastated families, wreaked havoc on our economy, and produced a generation of narcotic dependence,” the resolution continues. “As a result of the opioid epidemic, costs related to healthcare, family and social services, criminal justice, addiction and rehabilitation, and many other areas have significantly increased.”  

The resolution also sets a public hearing, which will be held at 4:28 p.m. on Tuesday, February 14 in the county complex at 40 McMaster Street in Ballston Spa.

According to Dr. Joshua Zamer, who leads a team of addiction specialists at Saratoga Community Health Center at 24 Hamilton Street in Saratoga Springs, 25 percent of all people hospitalized nationwide return home with opioid prescriptions.

After three months, Zamer said, fully half of those people are still taking opioids.

“The new push is for a three- to seven-day prescription,” he told Saratoga TODAY during a September 2017 interview. 

The resolution passed this week stipulates that Saratoga County “may initiate and recover costs through administrative, civil, and/or criminal action against the responsible party,” aside from the collection of “attorney’s fees, interest, and any other payment or type of damages the court deems proper.”

In the “public nuisance” section, the county estimates that “four in five heroin users” become addicted first to prescription opioids.

The resolution further states “that manufacturers of prescription opioids and those in the chain of distribution have wrongfully abused the privilege of selling and/or providing medication to our residents and must be held accountable.”

In recent months, Malta Supervisor Vincent DeLucia has indicated repeatedly that the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office happens to be so preoccupied by opioid-related crimes, such as larcenies, that it has less time to enforce local traffic laws.

At a Public Safety Committee meeting in September attended by DeLucia, Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo confirmed that larcenies are occurring countywide. But he stopped short of tying them directly to opioids.   

Many burglaries and break-ins across the county are going unreported, officials added.

After the vote on Tuesday, Clifton Park Supervisor Philip Barrett explained that local lawmakers intend to “make it known that, if you deal drugs in Saratoga County, you will be caught.

“The increase in drug abuse that’s occurring in all forms,” Barrett said, justifies taking such legislative action.  

Barrett was the sole vote in opposition to a separate resolution that transferred funds related to the pending construction of a $32 million public safety complex on County Farm Road in Ballston Spa, near the existing jail complex. That project is expected to start this spring. 

Barrett, reiterating concerns he has raised previously in county meetings, said he prefers to see funds appropriated for an expansion of the jail complex itself—at much less cost.

“I’m not against a public safety building, per se,” Barrett offered. “It would behoove the county to fulfill a known need.”

Stillwater Supervisor Edward Kinowski, who is serving in his second year as board chairman, responded that Zurlo and others are reviewing “any improvements to the jail” with close consideration of New York State requirements.

“The jail is being addressed,” Kinowski said. “We are pursuing all avenues.”  

Thursday, 18 January 2018 22:17

Wilton Planners Approve Projects

(Left to right) Bill Morris discusses the Craw Farm South subdivision on Traver Road; and Joe Dannible of Environmental Design Partnership presenting plans for the Ballard Road Self-Storage facility. Photos by Larry Goodwin. 

WILTON – After comments from local residents prompted some cordial debate on a wintry Wednesday night, the Wilton Planning Board voted unanimously in favor of two construction projects not far from Town Hall on Traver Road.

The 19-lot Craw Farm South subdivision of single-family homes, involving almost 13 acres less than a mile south of the town complex, was first proposed several years ago.

Bill Morris of William and Judy Morris Excavating appeared before the board to discuss the project, on behalf of Malta-based McPadden Builders.  

Morris said he expects construction to start later this year.  

Planning Board Chairman Michael Dobis, as required by law, invited comments from local residents during the public comment period.

Yet Dobis went further in allowing multiple instances of open discussion between the residents, Morris and fellow board members.  

Traver Road resident Jean Brew questioned the effects of another construction project on “the traffic flow in Wilton.”

Wilton Director of Engineering and Planning Ryan Riper indicated to Brew that all developers are required by law to pay “traffic mitigation” fees, and that a “professional consultant” is involved in local traffic studies.

Arleen and Gilbert Petteys said they live directly across from what would be the end of the development.

The Petteys requested that Morris consider putting up a fence to block the view, which he said did not seem prudent considering the need for plow access in winter months. Morris offered to plant white pine trees, but the couple rejected that idea.

Dobis interjected that white pines are favored most when they are “getting burned.” 

Morris offered to meet at a later time with the Petteys to discuss other options.

Eric Rosenberg, who lost an election in November for the position of Wilton town justice, requested that planning board members consider his “bigger infrastructure” concerns and the “total impact” of all local development projects, among other matters.

“People are concerned that there isn’t the proper dialogue going back-and-forth about the schools,” Rosenberg said.

Planning board member William Rice, who repeatedly opined that governing boards should not hamper development, responded to Rosenberg that “the general trend” in the Dorothy Nolan Elementary School is “declining” enrollment.      

Planning board member Erinn Kolligian politely advised that the Craw Farm South subdivision involves the South Glens Falls school district.

“It’s tough having increased traffic, but think about the opposite,” Rice added later, noting how property values appear to be decreasing as residents move away from other rural areas of New York, where development is lacking.  

Attorney Mark Schachner, who represents both the planning and town boards, guided members through part of the state Environmental Quality Review process before the unanimous vote to approve the Craw Farm South subdivision.

Some final reviews by Riper and county officials are necessary before construction can commence.  

There was nearly an hour of discussion relating to the Ballard Road Self-Storage proposal, which was presented by Joe Dannible of Clifton Park-based Environmental Design Partnership.

Dannible said the 9-acre project will be “strictly for a self-storage facility” with fully enclosed units. There will be no storage of vehicles or RVs, he said.

Rosenberg again questioned the planning board about various aspects of the proposal.

Town officials previously approved the Ballard Road storage project. But much of the discussion this week revolved around complicated changes that were made in relation to grandfathering such approvals.

“We don’t treat anybody else like this, and I don’t think we should start now,” insisted planning board member Brett Hebner. “We want to be consistent in the way we treat applicants.”

“Our intention is to move forward as quickly as we can,” said Saratoga Springs attorney Matthew Chauvin under questioning from the board. Chauvin appeared with Dannible on behalf of the Ballard Road project.

The planning board unanimously approved the special use permit for the Ballard Road facility, but the process is not yet complete. A final site plan still must be presented and approved.  

Thursday, 18 January 2018 22:10

Great Sacandaga Film Makes Big Splash

SARATOGA COUNTY – Peter Pepe, a Queensbury filmmaker, easily remembered what was in the box when he pulled it out of storage almost two years ago.

It contained materials Pepe had compiled in the 1980s, when he started collaborating with others to reveal the Great Sacandaga Lake’s history in a documentary.

He had recorded interviews with about 20 people, who shared memories of the Sacandaga Valley before it was permanently flooded by construction of the Conklingville Dam in the northern Saratoga County Town of Hadley.

But that initial filmmaking effort “fizzled out,” Pepe explained last week, noting how he “always wanted to finish the story.”

Pepe “said a little prayer,” since he perceived finding the box again as a sign that a new collaboration was possible. “Then I get a phone call from Lauren Roberts,” he added.

Roberts, the Saratoga County historian, expressed an interest in telling the exact same story. Pepe indicated that she was motivated by previous contacts with a retired schoolteacher who had experience in underwater archeology. 

Together Pepe and Roberts wrote the narrative script for “Harnessing Nature: Building the Great Sacandaga,” a new documentary that was produced utilizing some of his original footage from 30 years ago.

“This is a project that a lot of people are interested in,” reported Roberts, who organized the first public viewings in November to much fanfare. In the last two months, she said, thousands of DVD copies of the film have been sold.

Saratoga County Director of Planning Jason Kemper joined Roberts and Pepe in producing “Harnessing Nature.”  

“I think my generation or those around my age don’t have a clear understanding of the sacrifices made by those in the Sacandaga Valley when the lake was created,” Kemper offered in an email. “Hopefully this film illustrates the sacrifices made and the tremendous benefit the lake has provided both in terms of flood control as well as recreationally.”

In her own email, Roberts elaborated: “Peter, Jason and I worked on this project for approximately 18 months and conducted many interviews, visited locations around the lake and filmed in all four seasons. As someone who has lived on the lake all my life, I truly enjoyed this project and found it to be a very compelling story.”

Except for two submerged bridges, Pepe emphasized, “there’s nothing under water” in the Great Sacandaga Lake, despite “urban legends” to the contrary that still persist. 

Moreover, he said, the original dam planners did not foresee the “strong bonds” that would develop among property owners on the sizable lake that was created.

“It’s not as commercialized as Lake George,” Pepe observed. “Sacandaga is basically a great big neighborhood.”    

This week, Roberts organized two viewings of “Harnessing Nature” at Hadley-Luzerne High School: the first at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18 and a second at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20.

Film viewings in the school’s Alice Harris auditorium are free, but anyone interested in attending is required to pre-register by visiting eventbrite.com or calling 518-696-2112.

On Wednesday, Jan. 10, Roberts showed a clip of “Harnessing Nature” and briefly discussed it as part of her regular report to the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors. 

Edinburg Supervisor Jean Raymond praised Roberts for thusly preserving the lake’s history and informing area residents.

“I really urge everyone to look at this film,” Raymond said.

For more information, visit http://thegreatsacandagalake.com/.

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Blotter

  • COURT Temujin V. Bozeman, 60, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced Feb. 7 to 1 year in jail, after pleading to felony DWI.  Mason A. Weber, 25, of Stillwater, pleaded Feb. 6 to felony burglary in Malta. Sentencing is scheduled for  April 10.  Sean D. Knight, 32, of the Bronx, pleaded Feb. 5 to felony DWAI, and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor. Sentencing scheduled April 9.  Justin P. Rock, 32, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded Feb. 2 to felony burglary. Sentencing scheduled April 13.  Donald P. Gilbert, 22, of Milton, was sentenced Feb. 2 to five years of…

Property Transactions

  • TOWN OF BALLSTON  Lot 17, MacKenna Court, $356,194. John Paul Builders LLC sold property to Thomas and Michele Stamas.  4 Red Barn Dr., $444,853. Barbera Homes Kelley Farms LLC sold property to Gregory and Audrey Michalski.  Scotchbush Rd., $65,000. Charles Morris sold property to William Heflin. 136 Kingsley Rd., $80,000. Shawn and Rory Adair sold property to Rory and Timothy Adair.   CHARLTON 47 Crooked St., $400,000. Glenn Cook (as Trustee) sold property to David Griffiths and Allison Studley Griffiths. 1327 Sacandaga Rd., $249,000. Trustco Realty Corporation sold property to Jennifer and Lucino Venditti, Jr.   CLIFTON PARK 63 Westbury…
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