Front photo shows the Saratoga Community Health Center on Hamilton Street. Photo by Larry Goodwin. In gallery photos (from left): Dr. Ginger Simor; Dr. Joshua Zamer; and Dr. Renee Rodriguez-Goodemote of the Saratoga Hospital Medical Group. Photos provided.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – For months, three doctors in the Saratoga Hospital Medical Group have been leading a team of medical professionals who are determined to offer solutions for the problem of drug addiction in local communities.
The team operates a new program out of the Saratoga Community Health Center offices at 24 Hamilton Street, where more than 100 individuals struggling with addiction are currently being offered a comprehensive treatment regime that includes long-term primary care and behavioral health.
The new program is intended to serve as a local complement to the St. Peter’s Addiction Recovery Center (SPARC) and its affiliate offices.
Drug addiction “is an equal-opportunity disease” affecting people of all age groups and backgrounds, says Saratoga Hospital spokesman Peter Hopper.
Earlier this week, Hopper arranged an interview with the trio of physicians leading the effort: Dr. Renee Rodriguez-Goodemote, director of the Community Health Center; Dr. Ginger Simor, a psychiatrist; and Dr. Joshua Zamer, the addiction medicine specialist who has been treating patients in the program since April.
Case and social workers as well as health center employees provide crucial daily support and assistance, the doctors said.
The three doctors were asked to discuss the widely publicized growth in opioid addiction and the overall purpose of the new program.
“The definition of addiction is compulsive, out-of-control use that essentially takes over your life,” explained Dr. Zamer. “All you do is spend your time thinking about obtaining or using the drug…people lose their job, their spouse, their family, their money, their house, their car.”
Zamer talked about the “hijacked brain hypothesis” in the addiction field, which stipulates that people lose control of their normal cognitive functions by allowing the pleasure-seeking limbic system of the human brain to take control.
Powerful drugs such as heroin raise the dopamine levels in the brain “a thousand times more” than “a piece of chocolate cake,” Zamer said, and the downward spiral begins.
That means addiction must be seen as a physical disease much like cancer and diabetes, according to Zamer.
“Addicts get a bad rap,” he said. “A lot of them want to be clean, they really do. This has ruined their life. They’re not choosing this like it’s such a great lifestyle.”
In four out of five cases, Zamer reported, serious drug addiction starts with prescription opioids. He referred to studies showing how 25 percent of all people hospitalized in the United States go home with an opioid prescription. Of those individuals, he added, more than half are still using opioids 90 days later.
“The new push is for a three- or seven-day prescription,” Zamer continued, pointing to recent changes in both federal and state laws.
In the month of September alone, Zamer is projecting more than 170 total patient visits in the Community Health Center as part of the drug-treatment program. On a busy day he may see 15 patients. He said he is actively “carrying” 107 patients.
Hopper indicated that the program is open to individuals struggling with any type of addiction, including alcohol and sedative benzodiazepines.
Zamer commonly prescribes for treatment a milder opioid called Suboxone, which he said has a “ceiling effect” and negates the consumption of heroin. It is available in both pill and sublingual strip.
He also faulted doctors who are “preying” on opioid addicts by offering Suboxone—but only if the addicts can pay $500 up front and $200 or $300 for each follow-up visit.
“As I’m finding out, it’s rampant,” Zamer said. “Those docs are everywhere.”
“You can’t really overdose” on Suboxone, Zamer explained, noting how the Community Health Center team members are very strict about requiring patients not to feed any addictions while they are in treatment.
The federal government also strictly limits Suboxone prescribers like Zamer, who said current regulations cap his allowable patient number at 275.
“The team approach, by far, works the best,” offered Dr. Simor. “We try to treat the whole patient together. Their physical health, mental health and their addiction. It’s the best way to tackle this type of disorder.”
Simor added that part of the solution is helping patients figure out “how they got where they are today.”
She said treatment drugs such as Suboxone can “regulate neurotransmitters” in the brain, but ultimately conquering addiction involves each patient being “engaged” in the entire process.
Patients “can slowly start rebuilding their lives” when they realize that “living a sober life is bringing more enjoyment,” Simor said. The drug gets replaced with “happiness and health and goals, and that becomes what’s important.”
Dr. Rodriguez-Goodemote explained that the “integrated, longitudinal program” at the Community Health Center has been designed with each patient’s “wellness” in mind.
In addition to active drug treatment, information is shared with patients about the topics of nutrition, yoga and meditation. The goal, she said, is to assist patients in dealing with “painful experiences,” whether they are physical, emotional or mental.
“This should be a set of providers that are with you for as long as you need us,” Rodriguez-Goodemote said.
In a subsequent email, Rodriguez-Goodemote added: “We saw families and patients struggling with addiction. Access issues. Frustrations with relapse. I was the voice early on, but hospital leadership quickly recognized we had the expertise and the responsibility to commit resources to address this addiction epidemic head-on. And we took on the challenge.”
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Front and gallery photos show the main geothermal unit and the home of Union College professor David Cotter on Charlton Road. Photos by PhotoAndGraphic.com. Other gallery photo shows (from left) John Ciovacco, president of Aztech Geothermal; Katie Ullmann, vice president of marketing at Dandelion; and Cotter. Photo by Larry Goodwin.
CHARLTON – The lawn in front of David Cotter’s quaint country home has yet to fully recover from all the digging done by machines and work crews last spring.
Cotter, a professor of sociology at Union College in Schenectady, is one of about a half-dozen homeowners on the scenic Charlton Road who hired Aztech Geothermal, LLC in Ballston Spa to install a geothermal heating and cooling system.
Thousands of feet of pipe—extending roughly 100 yards away from the house—are now buried six feet below Cotter’s grass. The pipes slowly circulate water through an impressively designed forced-air unit in his basement, which can provide hot or cold air as needed to Cotter and his wife.
Cotter said they agreed to hire Aztech Geothermal for the job after his old furnace had failed early this year. “The long-term savings were pretty substantial,” he figured, adding that the company was recommended by his neighbors.
On Sept. 7, a statement was released by Dandelion, a geothermal startup firm with an office in Saratoga Springs, announcing a new partnership with Aztech Geothermal. (Both companies provided links to their websites: www.dandelionenergy.com and www.aztechgeo.com.)
Dandelion will make initial contact with homeowners interested in geothermal while Aztech will perform the inspections and installs. Homeowners can either pay $20,000 up front with no subsequent costs, or $150 per month over 20 years.
Aztech and Dandelion officials are aiming to rapidly expand the local market for geothermal power, which harnesses the natural energy capabilities of the Earth itself.
“Dandelion is making geothermal heating and cooling affordable by introducing a number of process and technology innovations, including analytics-based marketing, fixed-system pricing, a low monthly payment option and an innovative drilling method,” the statement indicated.
Katie Ullmann, Dandelion’s vice president of marketing, said she is working with Aztech Geothermal to create “classic economies of scale.” A partnership between Dandelion and Hudson Solar was previously announced.
“What we’re doing is targeting towns and blocks,” Ullmann explained, as she was wrapping up a brief visit this week to Cotter’s home for the production of a promotional Dandelion video.
John Ciovacco, president of Aztech Geothermal, said his company has already installed nearly 300 geothermal systems in the Capital Region, primarily using existing ductwork. He expects the new partnership with Dandelion to substantially boost that number, all in the effort to promote the “net zero” concept of local homes powered completely by renewable energy.
Ciovacco said Aztech specializes in “horizontal” geothermal systems like at the Cotters’ home. “You have to minimize the mess,” he said. “This isn’t for everybody.”
He added that numerous properties in Saratoga Springs have utilized the less disruptive “vertical” geothermal installation. Well-drilling companies can be called in and the pipes can be placed 400 feet straight down, which makes a lot fewer holes.
Skidmore College has an extensive geothermal network utilizing the vertical method.
According to Ciovacco, approximately 2.5 million homes across New York State do not have access to natural gas, which forces property owners to heat with oil, propane or electric. Geothermal should be considered as a viable option for them.
“It is silly, in today’s world, that we burn so many fossil fuels,” Ciovacco said, as he inspected the geothermal unit in Cotter’s basement and snapped his own pictures.
The unit includes a small “flow center” that quietly circulates water through the system, pumping it in or out as needed, he said.
Ciovacco said water underground generally conforms to New York’s “average air temperature” of 52 degrees.
He called the soil, which gets heated by the sun in warmer months, a “long-term solar storage battery.” That stored heat then warms up the unit’s water supply for use in winter, while cooler water is utilized for air conditioning in the summer.
Aztech designs each geothermal project with the specific square footage and energy needs of homes in mind, he added.
“We do tons of math,” Ciovacco said. “When you’ve done 300 of them, it’s not a guess.”
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Gallery photos show unsightly growth in Saratoga Lake and Leo Nosal Jr.'s shoreline prior to the project. Photos provided. Front photo shows Nosal on Sept. 15 next to his nearly finished Shoresox project. Photo by Larry Goodwin.
SARATOGA – Leo Nosal Jr. takes pride in keeping a close eye on his family’s 230 acres of property—commonly known as Lee’s Park—on the eastern banks of Saratoga Lake.
These days, Nosal explained last week, concerning him most are the algae blooms and erosion problems that seem to have worsened near the wooden docks he rents to more than 170 boat owners, just north of the Route 9P bridge.
Nosal recently contacted a Florida-based company, Sox LLC Erosion Solutions, to provide a fix for such problems that may prove to be quite effective for many years.
He said the company was recommended by CLA Site, the Saratoga Springs landscape architecture firm. "This is really going to make a big difference," confirmed CLA Site founder Peter Loyola, adding that he has seen related shoreline projects and recommended Sox LLC "for years."*
At this point, according to Nosal, no local companies happen to offer the same product.
“The shoreline project was long overdue,” Nosal admitted. “Anybody who has an erosion problem, and values trees and the environment, this is something that definitely works for them.”
The company’s patented Shoresox system consists of large sections of tough burlap and mesh, which are dug in (after the removal of topsoil) and staked according to a specific design. The sections closest to the water can be filled with organic, localized materials such as woodchip mulch. The burlap and mesh are then folded back over to tightly contain those materials (more details are available at www.soxerosion.com).
Nosal is only the second customer to order the “sox in a box” package, which Sox LLC offers to those who want to save money by performing their own installation. He might have paid in the range of $60,000 for a full install.
Nosal said he ordered enough of the product to protect 450 feet of shoreline near his boat docks, and that he plans to complete an additional 360 feet soon. The mulch he used was produced on his property.
The Shoresox system reportedly prevents the runoff of nitrates, phosphates and other chemicals that are suspected of promoting explosions of algae in water bodies. It also allows natural plants to take root, which is viewed by experts as one of the most effective ways to prevent erosion and further protect water quality.
“What he’s doing out there is pretty impressive,” offered Daniel Schaaf, the founder and CEO of Sox LLC, whose round-trip airfare was paid by Nosal as the project began early in the week of Sept. 11.
“You’re average homeowner could do this,” Nosal said, explaining how he hired four trusted laborers and utilized his own machines—excepting one rented excavator—for the work. The project was mostly completed by that Friday afternoon.
The temperature rose as the week progressed and the shoreline soil was churned up. Nosal said the work is “very physically demanding,” but added that the actual placement of the Shoresox materials “went so smoothly, so easy.”
Schaaf was invited to the site “due to the size of the project,” Nosal said.
According to Schaaf, erosion problems can be more severe in water bodies that have fluctuating water levels, including Saratoga Lake. The banks are undermined because they dry out as water levels drop and then get saturated again, he said.
“With the sox there, that’s not going to happen again,” he said, noting how many golf courses have installed his system, including one owned by the famed Jack Nicklaus.
Schaaf said his passion for promoting the Sox LLC system is rooted in a genuine desire to provide solutions for serious environmental problems. He runs a separate company, Midwest Erosion Technologies, which provides dedicated work crews for Shoresox installs or training teams that can explain the installation process.
The water-quality problems that concern Nosal are affecting lakes and rivers across the entire country, Schaaf continued, noting in particular the emergence of “new hybrid algae” blooms that are toxic, especially in states like Florida.
The risk of contact with toxic algae is higher for individuals with lacerations on their skin, Schaaf explained, because bacteria “gets into the human body and eats flesh.”
“It’s like a horror movie,” he said.
“It’s so nice to meet a man like Leo,” Schaaf concluded, saying he hopes more New Yorkers will inquire about the Saratoga Lake project and take similar proactive steps to improve their local water quality.
“People have to work together,” Schaaf said. “We’ve got to stop this thing.”
*All print copies of Saratoga TODAY excluded a reference to the involvement of CLA Site.
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Front photo provided. Gallery photo shows the main pumpkin patch this week at Sunnyside Gardens. Photo by Larry Goodwin.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – “You just can’t imagine how big they are until you see it.”
That is how Ned Chapman, the longtime owner of Sunnyside Gardens, described the oversized pumpkins that will be delivered to his property later this week from farms across New York and even from neighboring states.
On Wednesday, Chapman was all smiles in anticipation of hosting his second annual Saratoga Giant PumpkinFest, which runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday.
Chapman explained that an acquaintance had encouraged him to host the 2016 pumpkin festival after a similar event was canceled previously in Cooperstown. He was not expecting such a large turnout of pumpkin fans.
“I had no idea what we were getting into,” Chapman said. “We were hoping for 1,000 and 6,000 showed up.”
Last year’s giant pumpkins were grown in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont and elsewhere. When asked how farmers manage to grow them so large, Chapman joked that their methods are “top secret.”
This year, Chapman said he is expecting more than 50 giant pumpkin growers to submit entries for the contest, which offers several thousand dollars in prizes for the winners as judged by pumpkin weight. The largest three entries may be close to 2,000 pounds.
The event at Sunnyside Gardens has been organized both years through the efforts of Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus.
“He’s working hard on it,” Chapman said.
Other sponsors of the Saratoga PumpkinFest include the Adirondack Trust Company, Stewart’s Shops, Saratoga Honda, Dunkin’ Donuts, Farm Easy Credit, Shelby’s Four Corner Diner, Wallace Organic Wonder, Farm Family, Roohan Realty and more.
Visitors also will be able to enjoy hayrides, cider doughnuts and pumpkin ice cream courtesy of Stewart’s, according to a statement released for the Sept. 23 event.
For more information, visit the website www.saratogagiantpumpkinfest.com.
In photo, the Saratoga Hospital Gift Shop Steering Committee (left to right): Grace Rosse, Patricia Cross, Noreen Wade, Yolanda Paolicelli, Vicki Milstein and Anne Hunscher. Photo by Larry Goodwin.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Customers in the Saratoga Hospital Gift Shop this weekend are bound to find cheerful women promoting 20 percent discounts, which are being offered to mark the shop’s nearly 20 years of existence.
During a monthly meeting of the Gift Shop Steering Committee on Tuesday, volunteer Yolanda Paolicelli reported that she ranks at the top of the list in hours worked over the course of 20 years, having put in 26,000 hours.
Manager Grace Rosse, who has 30 years of experience in the city’s retail market, and Vicki Milstein are the only two paid staff of about 20 people in the gift shop. The others belong to the Saratoga Hospital Volunteer Guild, which has about 250 members in total, says Director of Volunteer Services Betsy St. Pierre.
The committee ladies agreed that hospital employees “are our best customers.”
The gift shop started out in the late 1990s in cramped quarters. The steering committee members praised volunteer Patricia Cross for working “tirelessly” 10 years ago to advocate for a larger space near the main lobby, which is accessible from the hospital’s Church Street entrance.
Cross, who shares with Rosse a retail background in the city, also arranges displays on the gift shop’s racks and shelves and handles the overall design.
All proceeds from gift shop sales—as well as from sales at Treasure’s Boutique on West Avenue—are managed by the Saratoga Hospital Volunteer Guild for the support of numerous annual donations, explained the steering committee ladies.
Paolicelli pointed out that includes five $1,500 scholarships awarded to high school students throughout the Capital Region each year who can prove they are serious about “going into the medical field.”
The gift shop discounts are effective through Sunday, Sept. 24, according to Rosse. Its hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12 to 4 p.m. on weekends.
MALTA — In his 37 years of farming at Malta Ridge Orchard and Gardens, Dave Bowman says the worst he lost to inclement weather were one or two crops—never an entire season’s worth of fruit from his apple trees.
This year, something unusual transpired at the Malta Avenue farm that, in turn, has caused a number of people to sour on the idea of supporting Bowman as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) supplier.
Bowman, one of the original founders of the popular Saratoga Springs Farmers’ Market on High Rock Avenue, claims that a brief but destructive hail storm on Aug. 12 ruined virtually all of his apples and seriously damaged numerous vegetable crops.
“I’m losing $10,000 a weekend” without the apple harvest, Bowman said earlier this week, after he had shut off and jumped down from his tractor to discuss the matter.
Four CSA members, who signed a Malta Ridge Orchard contract for the 2017 growing season, have contacted Saratoga TODAY to dispute the farmer’s account. They argue that Bowman is not honoring his part of the CSA obligation, nor being transparent.
“Just be honest with people,” says CSA member Kristy O’Donnell, who moved to the area with her family late last year from Long Island. “I’m not looking for my 15 minutes of fame. I just want answers.”
Phyllis Underwood, president of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market Association, reported that she is not aware of any other local farmers who experienced such extensive crop damage due to August storms.
“While I certainly understand farmers can’t always stay ahead of Mother Nature, in this case I don’t believe that’s what happened,” wrote CSA member Catherine Morton in an email. “A short hail storm would not likely wipe out entire crops, especially root crops, and the greenhouses are still standing.”
“I understand that when we sign up for the CSA we are taking a risk on the crop, but I didn’t expect to be taking a risk on the farm management,” wrote CSA members Pam and Greg Cooper in another email. “So we have lost out on more than half of our CSA for the season.”
The Coopers said they had paid Bowman about $400 in the spring. “We were not contacted with any offers for a refund or a way to recoup our losses,” they added, noting how they “even offered to help salvage some crops.”
During a brief tour of the farm, which is located at 107 Van Aernem Road, Bowman insisted that he is doing everything in his power to honor the CSA contracts. There are more than 30 in total.
In the weeks after the Aug. 12 storm, Bowman enlisted the help of his son to post pictures of the spoiled fruits and vegetables on social media. As a seasoned farmer who spends more time in the field than behind a computer, Bowman admitted that he has difficulty even sending emails to people.
He displayed two large wooden bins on wheels that he places in front of his shop every Saturday and Sunday for CSA members to take whatever fruits and vegetables he is able to harvest—and he performs practically all of the labor himself, with no staff to help.
Also, he said, Malta Ridge Orchard and Gardens is not protected by crop insurance.
“You’ve got to paw through the rotten tomatoes to get to the good ones,” Bowman explained. “I put out what we can pick and it’s there.” Each fruit or vegetable type is considered an “item” by CSA rules, and members are currently limited to six items instead of eight as originally planned.
Bowman produced a sheet signed on the weekend of Sept. 9 by 26 CSA members, who had taken freshly picked tomatoes, eggplant and other items from the bins.
“We still have the CSA here. Whatever I can provide,” he said.
Bowman further indicated that he is in discussions with the group Saratoga Preserving Land and Nature (PLAN) regarding a “purchase development rights,” or PDR, agreement for his property. He hopes a PDR would alleviate some of his financial burdens, while protecting the land from future development.
“We have been working with him for a couple of years,” offered Saratoga PLAN Executive Director Maria Trabka. She said Bowman’s farm has “really good soil” and “a lot of good things going for it.”
According to Trabka, grants have been secured for the Malta Ridge Orchard PDR agreement through the town of Malta, Saratoga County and New York State. “We’ve done most of our due diligence,” she said.
Trabka added that “a fairly substantial report” for Malta Ridge Orchard and Gardens should be compiled and finalized by the end of the year.
That, Trabka said, may just be what Bowman needs to plant some new apple trees. She called the pending PDR agreement “a four-way financial deal to permanently secure this farm.”
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In front photo: (From left) Elijah and Scott Fultz, with dogs Abbey and Kona, on the summit of Basin Mountain during their celebratory Aug. 27, 2017 hike; the view (from left) of Haystack, Little Haystack, Skylight and Marcy from the summit of Basin; and Abbey and Elijah enjoying the cloudy summit of Mt. Marcy on Aug. 27, 2012. Photos provided.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Dozens of times in the span of five years, Scott Fultz and his son Elijah left their home in Gansevoort before dawn. They drove north to accomplish a feat together that challenges the most serious New York hikers: climbing all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks.
On Sunday, Aug. 27, the pair officially reached that goal atop the 4,827-foot summit of Basin Mountain, along with trusted canine companions Abbey and Kona.
The weather was perfect and “it was a really cool father-son moment,” admits Fultz, a co-owner of the Saratoga Springs firm Mountain Media. At nearly 20 years old, the company (www.mountainmedia.com) specializes in website design, e-commerce and Internet marketing.
On the same day in August 2012, the Fultzs and Abbey hiked the 5,344-foot Mt. Marcy, long revered as New York’s tallest mountain. Fultz said he and Elijah (who was 11 at the time) resolved during that trip to climb all of the High Peaks.
Fultz added that he and his wife, Jeanette, had climbed about 10 in prior years.
According to records kept by the 46er Club (posted online at www.adk46er.org), the actual number of people who have climbed the High Peaks and then formally registered is approaching the 10,000 mark.
Fultz acknowledged that he and Elijah each sent the required documents to the 46er Club with a $10 registration fee. The father also kept detailed records about every hike and signed, for safety purposes, the New York State logbooks found at all trailheads.
The 46ers Club, whose origins date back to the 1920s, presently coordinates Adirondack trail-preservation and maintenance efforts in conjunction with other groups and officials from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Club members are busy organizing a centennial hike on all 46 mountains—with parties of six individuals each—the weekend of Aug. 3-5, 2018 to commemorate the date that two brothers, Robert and George Marshall, and their guide Herbert Clark reached the 4,867-foot summit of Whiteface Mountain in 1918 and began keeping records.*
Lacking cars and modern hiking gear, as well as the easy access afforded by today’s well-worn mountain trails, it took the Marshalls and Clark seven years to finish the High Peaks with a climb up 4,040-foot Emmons Mountain in 1925, according to the 46er Club.
There are four mountains identified as High Peaks that are below 4,000 feet: Blake Peak (3,960), Cliff (3,960), Nye (3,895) and Couchsachraga (3,820), the club reports.
Furthermore, the U.S. Geological Survey measures a 47th peak, MacNaughton, at 4,000 feet, but the 46ers Club does not require its members to hike it.
“As an avid mountaineer myself, I wish to congratulate Scott on this awesome accomplishment,” offered Mountain Media co-owner James Curley, in a statement released this week. “The fact that he included his son and dog on the mission speaks to his character and makes me proud to call him a partner.”
With presumably anticipated flair, the company was described in the statement as “a progressive, personable, ecommerce website services provider that offers online payment solutions as well as custom graphic design and digital marketing services that don’t require a mountain of cash.”
*Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article incorrectly listed the date of Aug. 1 for the 46ers' commemorative hike. For more information, visit www.adk46er.org.
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WILTON – During its regular meeting on Sept. 7, the Wilton Town Board voted unanimously to raise fees for certain sporting events in Gavin Park and to purchase a transport van for local residents who visit the Lillian W. Worth Senior Center each week.
Gavin Park Director Mark Marino appeared before the board to explain fee increases that he devised for Junior NBA and pickle ball sessions, in addition to field and gym rentals and field trips.
The fees that support all of the park’s activities and programs are divided into three categories. Those for town residents are the least expensive, while city residents, students and non-residents of Wilton pay proportionally higher amounts.
“All of the costs have gone up,” Marino said, noting in particular the employee wages, maintenance and materials that factor into Gavin Park’s routine operations.
Councilman John Lant raised his concern about the fee increase for pickle ball sessions, which presently cost town residents $3 for two hours.
“My belief is, if they’re Wilton residents, they should play for nothing,” Lant said, admitting how customers at his Maple Avenue auto-sales business have complained about such fee increases.
After some discussion, the town board voted to keep that $3 fee the same, as Lant had proposed, in lieu of raising it to $5 for the other categories.
The additional fee increases were approved as Marino had proposed. They involve Junior NBA sessions (now $135 for Wilton residents and $195 for non-residents); gym rental (now $60 and $80); field trips (now $825 and $1,300); and field rentals (now $40 and $45 for locals; they remain $65 and $75 for the other categories).
“I think residents will be happy with this proposal,” concluded Wilton Supervisor Arthur Johnson.
In other business, Comptroller Jeffrey Reale requested that the town board accept the lowest bid—slightly over $35,000—for the purchase of a van that will be used for transporting residents to the senior activity center at the town complex on Traver Road.
Councilwoman Joanne Klepetar had inquired about the timing of the van purchase and the selection of a driver, but ultimately voted in favor.
Johnson said that Saratoga County would reimburse the town roughly $20,000 for the expense. A Buffalo-based company, Main Mobility Inc., will furnish the van.
Town officials are planning a $6 million construction project next year that includes the demolition of the existing Lillian W. Worth Senior Center. A completely new facility for seniors will be built on 20 acres of town land off Northern Pines Road.
At present, Johnson informed the board, Director Robin Corrigan uses her personal vehicle several days each week for providing rides to senior center functions.
“Robin needs to be over there and not driving these people around,” the supervisor said.
The board also approved the purchase of a cellular phone for Corrigan, so that she no longer has to incur the costs of using her own phone for senior center business.
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BALLSTON SPA – In its “unofficial results” from the Sept. 12 primaries in Saratoga Springs, Milton and Wilton, the Saratoga County Board of Elections reports that there were both decisive and narrow victories.
Out of more than 200 votes cast in an Independence Party primary, the records show, Saratoga Springs City Court Judge Francine Vero defeated challenger Andrew Blumenberg by capturing 74 percent of the total.
Vero, a Democrat, and Blumenberg, a Republican, will compete again in November.
In a contentious Milton Republican primary for town supervisor, Councilman Scott Ostrander claimed victory with 716 votes over Councilwoman Barbara Kerr, who received about 500, according to the election records.
Republican primary voters in Milton also chose—with more than 1,500 votes— Councilman Frank Blaisdell and former Planning Board member John Frolish for two Town Board seats that are due for reelection in November.
A retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, Jim Frey, came in third by receiving more than 500 votes, or about 25 percent of the total cast by Milton Republicans.
In the Wilton Independence Party primary, longtime Town Justice Gerald Worth lost by four votes to political newcomer Eric Rosenberg, the Board of Elections records show.
Worth and Rosenberg also will compete again in November, having already received endorsements, respectively, from the town’s Republicans and Democrats.
Photo by www.photoandgraphic.com.
WILTON – Adirondack Trust and Stewart’s Shops officials have canceled plans to build a second combined location at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Northern Pines Road in Wilton.
The companies’ proposed project would have followed the successful opening earlier this year of a combined bank and retail store on Luther Forest Boulevard in Malta.
Maria D’Amelia, a spokeswoman for Stewart’s Shops, confirmed in an email this week that her company’s “great relationship with Adirondack Trust” will continue, regardless of the apparent setback in Wilton.
“We are no longer moving forward as the project became too complicated with constraints we faced at the site,” D’Amelia said.
On Sept. 7, the Wilton Town Board voted to refund more than $9,400 in engineering fees to Adirondack Trust that had been previously allotted for the canceled project.
Wilton Supervisor Arthur Johnson indicated this week that Adirondack Trust officials are now focusing on plans to build a regular bank branch at the Northern Pines Road intersection, as a means to replace the one destroyed last winter in a fire.