Larry Goodwin

Larry Goodwin

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Thursday, 07 September 2017 21:34

Cancer Warriors Unite

In front photo: Saratoga Hospital intern Elizabeth Johnstone (at left) with hospital staffers Kweilyn Taylor, Renee Russell, Jennifer Baldwin and Joni Richter. Kweilyn Taylor next to a poster announcing the event arranged in her honor. Photos by

SARATOGA SPRINGS – With small amounts of money deducted from her paychecks over the last 10 years, a Saratoga Hospital employee has donated more than $25,000 to lift the spirits of local cancer patients.

Hospital managers were so inspired by the efforts of Kweilyn Taylor, a transport aide, that they have organized a special retreat next week in her honor, so people diagnosed with cancer may find some comfort and make new friends.  

“This is very exiting for us,” says Renee Russell, the program director in Saratoga Hospital’s Radiation Oncology Center (ROC). “We wanted to create something that would be a legacy of her donations.”

The first “Kweilyn Taylor Survivor’s Retreat” will be held all day on Saturday, Sept. 16 at The Barn at Bassett House in Greenwich. There are about five slots remaining out of 45 total for those interested in attending, Russell said.

Earlier this week, Taylor explained that her donations were borne out of the loss of a friend’s mother, who passed away in 2007 after a short battle with esophageal cancer—only seven weeks after the official diagnosis. 

“I still have days where it’s, like, yesterday that she’s gone,” Taylor said. “She was like a second mother for me.”

Taylor said the retreat is intended to help cancer patients relax, as much as it is to overcome their weaknesses and find inner strength.

“It takes a strong person to fight this,” she insisted. “This is definitely something you can’t go through alone.”

The retreat is open to patients diagnosed with any type of cancer. It includes a “YMCA Livestrong” exercise session, sound-healing hypnosis, and talks focused on the use of essential oils and arts in cancer treatment, among other related activities.

Jennifer Baldwin, an ROC social worker, and her Rutgers University intern Elizabeth Johnstone joined Russell and numerous other hospital volunteers in making the necessary arrangements.

Johnstone said the Greenwich retreat is designed to ensure that cancer patients will find a “shared connection.” 

For several years, the ladies noted, staff members at Glens Falls Hospital have organized similar retreats for cancer patients, many of whom report their satisfaction with the genuine relationships that result.

According to Russell, the Saratoga Hospital Employee Campaign includes a Cancer Patient Fund that receives between $9,000 and $14,500 each year from generous hospital staff.

Russell said money from that fund is typically used to assist cancer patients in meeting various expenses—every day roughly 45 people receive treatment at the ROC and its affiliate offices—through the purchase of gas cards and lodging. Patient visits to massage therapists are also covered, she added.

A related fundraiser is being planned for October, called “Comics Care,” and Russell said those proceeds will also be added to the Cancer Patient Fund.

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Thursday, 07 September 2017 21:21

Town Primaries Straight Ahead

MILTON – Two contested primaries in Milton and Wilton will be resolved at the polls on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Earlier this year, Milton Supervisor Dan Lewza announced his intention to relinquish the position he has held for almost six years this November.

That opened up a drawn-out contest for Milton supervisor between incumbent Councilwoman Barbara Kerr and Councilman Scott Ostrander, who was appointed to the town board this year shortly after the resignation of former Councilman Bruce Couture.

The Milton Republican Committee has endorsed Ostrander, a semi-retired Village of Ballston Spa police officer with nearly 30 years of experience.

Ostrander reports that he is a “part owner” of a private security consulting firm called Saratoga International Group, which provides details for such events as the recent wedding of U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro).

In addition, the town committee has endorsed Councilman Frank Blaisdell and political newcomer John Frolish for two seats on the town board, placing road signs with all three candidates’ names in many locations. 

Another contender, Jim Frey, is seeking a Republican primary victory for one of Milton’s town board seats as well.

Steve Bulger, chairman of the Saratoga County Republican Committee, said this week that the county committee typically does not provide endorsements for primaries, leaving such decisions to the town committees.

“We support all endorsed Republican candidates,” Bulger said.  

Kerr, a retired Skidmore College administrator first elected to the Milton Town Board in 2011, did receive the Upstate Conservative Coalition (UCC) endorsement.

In a statement released last week, UCC President Ben Potiker indicated that both Kerr and Ostrander were invited by the coaltion to explain their positions on various matters earlier this year at the Milton Community Center.

“Potiker thought that the deciding factors in Kerr’s favor were her experience in town government and her commitment not to vote to override the tax cap for the Saratoga County budget,” the statement reads.

“It was a privilege to receive an endorsement from such a serious and well-respected organization,” Kerr responded. “It validates my fiscal conservatism.”

According to the Saratoga County Board of Elections, among four separate precincts in Milton, almost 600 votes were cast in a September 2016 election for Republican Committee members, including Ostrander.

In Wilton, longtime Town Justice Gerald Worth is facing a challenge in an Independence Party primary from political newcomer Eric Rosenberg.

Rosenberg has practiced as an attorney in Florida since 1994, and he resettled last year in Wilton. He volunteers at the Wilton Food Pantry and maintains an active involvement in the local arts scene, according to his campaign literature. He has the support of the town's Democrats. 

All votes in the Sept. 12 primary must be made at the Wilton Town Hall Annex at 20 Traver Road, according to the county Board of Elections.  

Worth has served as the town justice for nearly 40 years, following in the footsteps of his parents Lillian and Wesley, who also served in that position.

When contacted this week, Worth said, “People can’t be too mad at me; they’ve been electing me for 40 years.” 

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Thursday, 07 September 2017 21:13

County to Double Animal Control Fee

BALLSTON SPA – If, say, a dog is on the loose in any of Saratoga County’s municipalities and local animal control officers are unavailable, the county has to send its own officers to handle the matter. The county then charges the municipality $45 for the trouble.

On Tuesday, the county’s Public Safety Committee voted to double that fee upon the request of Animal Shelter Director Jason Hayes.

“Percentage wise, it’s a pretty steep increase,” noted Galway Supervisor Paul Lent, who chairs the seven-member committee. “Prior to 2015, the fee was zero,” he added.  

Lent was the sole committee member opposed to the increase, which must receive a final approval by the county Board of Supervisors at its Sept. 19 meeting.

The proposed $90 fee in question is separate from the charge levied on owners who fail to contain their pets. When an animal control officer is called, the county charges owners $10 for an initial “redemption” and $50 for each additional one.

According to Hayes, last year there were only 14 calls countywide that were not handled by local animal control officers—of whom there are nearly 30 spread across more than 20 municipalities.

“Our budgets are very tight,” Hayes said. “It’s not to be punitive. It’s just to cover our basic costs.”

The Saratoga County Animal Shelter operates with 19 staff members, Hayes said, including seven full-time and the remainder part-time or seasonal.  

Lent also called for the appointment of a subcommittee to review disbursements from the animal shelter’s trust fund, which exists largely because of personal donations.

Supervisors Preston Allen of Day, Daniel Pemrick of Greenfield and Kevin Tollisen of Halfmoon will form that subcommittee.

The supervisors will ascertain whether or not disbursements from the trust fund are being used for unintended purposes, such as to cover operating expenses.     

Tollisen said it may take up to two months for that review to be completed.   

Hayes explained that the Board of Supervisors controls all disbursements from the animal shelter’s trust fund.

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Thursday, 07 September 2017 21:02

Overdose Vigil in Congress Park

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Nearly 100 area residents congregated in Congress Park before sunset last Thursday to remember the victims of drug overdose. They listened intently to the personal experiences of surviving family members.

“Many of us feel we lost our loved ones long before they left this Earth,” said Karine Montanye, whose brother died nearly 30 years ago from a heroin overdose. More recently, Montayne’s son Nico also passed away, even as he was in the midst of addiction treatment. She said her daughter is currently in treatment.

“It’s been my life,” Montayne confessed to those gathered near a weeping willow tree and the Spirit of Life fountain. “One of the biggest things…when we’re dealing with addiction is that it’s very isolating. As a family member who’s trying to help, you never know if you’re making the right decisions.”

“You’re being ignorant if you say that will never happen to my child,” concluded Eve Cascone, who lost her 30-year-old daughter Katie three years ago to a heroin overdose. She explained that Katie had struggled first with an addiction to prescription painkillers.

“One day, Katie went to her dealer and he didn’t have pills. He offered her heroin,” Cascone said. “She promised me that was the only time she was ever going to use.”

Cascone proceeded to read a graphic poem written, she said, by the author “Heroin.”  

The group Recovery Advocacy in Saratoga (RAIS-OurVoice!) had organized the Aug. 31 event in conjunction with the Healing Springs Recovery and Outreach Center and the Prevention Council of Saratoga.

It was preceded by a Narcan training session at Saratoga Springs Public Library. Similar events were held in communities nationwide to mark Overdose Awareness Day.

Maureen Provost, a spokeswoman for RAIS who emceed the Congress Park gathering, indicated that it may become an annual occasion.  

As darkness fell and candles were being lit, even in a steady breeze, Provost invited any of the attendees to speak briefly about those they have lost. The microphone was passed from one individual to the next, and people said “this is for” friends, cousins, ex-boyfriends, brothers and many others who succumbed to overdoses.

Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen was also in attendance along with U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam) and other elected officials. Tonko said communities across the whole nation are dealing with an “epidemic” of drug addiction.

“This epidemic is destroying our families,” he said. “We need to respond in epidemic proportions.” 

Thursday, 31 August 2017 20:56

County Agency Hosts Economic Consultants

In photos (from left): SUNY professor Michael Fancher (center, right) discusses the future of interior spaces in the ZEN building atrium at the Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany; Fancher describing the layout of SUNY Poly’s Albany campus; Tom Lawton of New Jersey observing a SUNY Poly clean room; SUNY Poly tour guide Alex Oscilowski (center) offers an explanation; Marty Vanags (center, in bow tie) and Shelby Schneider of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership with the tour group at GlobalFoundries on Aug. 28; and a hallway view of front-opening unified pods, or FOUPs, at SUNY Poly. Images by  

SARATOGA SPRINGS – In the comfort of a shuttle bus that departed from a city hotel, and through informative personal visits, leaders of the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership (SCPP) promoted both regional culture and local commercial sites this week to potential investors from as far away as Texas.  

Marty Vanags, the SCPP president, and Shelby Schneider, the agency’s business-retention and expansion specialist, took turns on a bus tour Monday describing how steady streams of people routinely golf, bike, walk and run (or fill up jugs of famously healthy spring water) in the Saratoga Spa State Park; as well as the daily operations of companies in the Grande Industrial Park, including Quad/Graphics and Ball Metal.

The small Embassy Suites bus chartered by SCPP—the county’s official economic-development agency, with an annual budget of $775,000—passed next through the Target and Ace Hardware distribution sites near Adirondack Northway Exit 16; then proceeded to the Exit 12 campus of State Farm Insurance in Malta.

As part of a corporate consolidation at the campus, Vanags informed the eight consultants on board, an office building was recently vacated by State Farm employees and is ready for a new commercial tenant. 

Schneider and Vanags made a point of revealing precisely how many acres are available for commercial development at the locations visited.  

Three of the consultants on the tour had traveled from Dallas, Texas: Dean Barber of Barber Business Advisors; Tim Feemster of Foremost Quality Logistics; and David Schrock, of NAI Robert Lynn. Two men, Joe Gioino and Christian Volney, represented the global real-estate broker Newmark Knight Frank. 

In addition, the SCPP had invited Austin Dimitri of Cushman and Wakefield in New York City, another large real-estate brokerage; Mitch Jacoby of Beacon Street Realty Advisors in Boston; and Tom Lawton of Webster Global Site Selectors in New Jersey. 

The Embassy Suites bus also went beyond Saratoga County’s borders for a walking tour of the SUNY Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany (commonly called SUNY Poly). 

Michael Fancher, a SUNY professor and “nanoeconomics” expert, led Schneider, Vanags and the consultants through several parts of the facility, answering their specific questions about the rapid advancement of technology since SUNY Poly’s Albany campus was established with state support several years ago. 

Alex Oscilowski, a spokesman for Tokyo Electron, joined Fancher in guiding that part of the tour. Tokyo Electron is a primary corporate sponsor of research at SUNY Poly. 

“Nanotech is driving a much closer collaboration,” Fancher explained, between large companies that are normally staunch competitors. That filters down to the local level, he added, compelling “low-tech” businesses in the “supply chain” to find ways of being more efficient. 

Fancher opined that “integration” of various types of technology will be a dominant theme in the future, especially benefitting fields such as “biologics” and hastening the development of “smart cities.”  

And he praised New York State officials for enabling collaborative efforts to flourish at SUNY Poly, alongside cutting-edge research into data storage, analytics and cyber security.  

“It’s very unique to have this together in a university,” Fancher said, adding later that local school districts have been encouraged to “build a pipeline of students” focused on science, technology, engineering and math as a means to continue the most relevant research at SUNY Poly. 

One of the consultants had pressed Fancher and Oscilowski about the presence of hazardous chemicals and materials. “The point is you can handle them safely, and that’s what we do,” Oscilowski responded. 

Jack Sloan, a Skidmore College senior along for the tour, did not hesitate to express his satisfaction as the prosperity partnership’s summer intern. 

“You learn so much,” Sloan said of his experiences at SCPP. “It was great.”   

Schneider, Sloan, Vanags and their guests returned to Saratoga County for a close-up view of GlobalFoundries and the Fab 8 complex. A photographer and reporter for Saratoga TODAY were denied access to that part of the tour.  

In a subsequent email, Vanags said “plenty of team members” in the SCPP office on Route 9 in Malta made the promotional trip possible with many hours of phone calls and arrangements, etc.—a first for the two-year-old county agency. He added that SCPP and the consultants’ firms shared travel expenses. 

The bus tour was preceded by a welcome reception on Sunday hosted by the Saratoga Polo Association. Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen and county Supervisors Jack Lawler and Matthew Veitch were among those in attendance.

The cultural exposure for the eight businessmen continued Monday afternoon with a visit to the Saratoga Race Course. According to Vanags, that was followed by another dinner with key representatives of Empire State Development, the Center for Economic Growth and the Capital Region Economic Advisory Board.  

“Usually,” Vanags said, “the site selectors don’t have an ongoing project slated for the region or community in which they agree to attend” such a familiarizing, or “fam,” tour. “The ethics on that would be too fraught with issues. 

“Instead this is an opportunity for us to build a relationship with them to plan future projects,” he summarized. “They need information about communities and they usually need it quickly. This is all part of the long-term economic development sales process.”   

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Thursday, 31 August 2017 20:48

Jockeys Visit Maple Avenue Coffee Shop

Front photo shows Hall of Fame jockeys Javier Castellano (left) and John Velazquez at the Maple Avenue Dunkin' Donuts on Aug. 30. Photo by Larry Goodwin. Gallery photo provided by Ed Lewi Associates. 

WILTON – As customers filed through the doors of Dunkin’ Donuts on Maple Avenue Wednesday morning, famed horse jockeys John Velazquez and Javier Castellano waited inside to greet them for a promotional contest and the introduction of a new flavor.

“It’s a pleasure to be here,” offered Castellano, who has competed at the Saratoga Race Course and other national thoroughbred tracks for nearly 20 years. He joked how that is not as long as Velazquez, who has raced for 27. 

Tom Burke of the Burke Network had coordinated the Hall of Fame jockeys’ visit to the Wilton store as a means to promote the Dunkin’ Donuts “Sip. Peel. Win.” contest. It offers a variety of prizes and specials to customers who purchase large or extra large coffees, teas, or hot chocolates.

Castellano and Velazquez enticed willing customers to peel off oversized stickers from a store employee who was disguised as a coffee cup; the jockeys also served up samples to people as they relaxed at tables in the store.

The “Sip. Peel. Win.” contest runs through the end of September at participating Dunkin’ Donuts stores, or until supplies run out. 

The celebrity-backed promotion, according to Burke, was also part of introducing Maple Pecan, a new Dunkin’ Donuts flavor, and the Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich.

“This maple-inspired event was part of a national Dunkin’ Donuts program, in which 15 Dunkin’ Donuts shops located on Maple Streets, Maple Roads and Maple Avenues throughout the country offered free maple-flavored coffee and breakfast sandwich samples,” explained a statement from the Albany firm Ed Lewi Associates.

The “Maple Pecan-flavored coffees and lattes serve a sweet and nutty taste for an exciting new way to stay energized around the changing of the seasons,” the statement continues. The flavor is available in the “full coffee lineup” at Dunkin’ Donuts stores, it adds, including hot or iced beverages, espresso, and frozen or cold-brew coffee.  

For more information, visit the websites or  

The Saratoga County administrative offices on McMaster Street in Ballston Spa. Photo by Larry Goodwin.

BALLSTON SPA – Out of more than half of a billion dollars in taxes paid this year by Saratoga County property owners for government services, county officials found less than half of a million to save in a shared-services review mandated by New York State.

On Tuesday, Aug. 15, the formal Shared Services Panel chaired by County Administrator Spencer Hellwig voted to approve a two-part plan developed this summer among the supervisors and mayors of the county’s two cities, nine villages and 19 towns.

School districts, which account for 65 percent of taxes levied on property owners, were allowed to opt out of the shared-services review in the law proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and passed by the state Legislature earlier this year, according to the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC).

The “cooperative bidding” part of the plan enables the Saratoga County Purchasing Department to find the best deals on “office supplies, paper products, cleaning supplies and auto parts” for use by all municipalities in the county, according to the official report that was issued by the panel. 

The total cost in 2016 for such items exceeded $2 million, but the panel devised a way to save 15 percent, or $300,265, in 2018 and beyond.

The second part of the plan involves a “Medicare-eligible Retiree Health Insurance Consortium,” the report says. It authorizes municipalities to join the county’s “Medicare Advantage” plan for retirees, with anticipated savings of $172,376 starting next year.

The combined annual savings in the Saratoga County shared-services plan is $472,641.

According to the panel’s report, the “sum total of property taxes levied in the year 2017 by the county, cities, towns, villages, school districts, BOCES and special improvement districts” is $530,713,796.

The “anticipated savings to the average taxpayer” is $4.89, the report indicates. It also amounts to savings of 1.2 percent for homeowners and 1.42 percent for businesses.

After the Aug. 15 vote, Deputy County Administrator Chad Cooke said property taxes account for slightly more than $56 million of Saratoga County’s $300 million annual budget. The remainder is derived from sales taxes in county businesses as well as state and federal aid.

On Aug. 14, Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen convened a special meeting of the City Council that focused on the county’s shared-services panel. The council voted to opt out of the health consortium, but it will participate in the cooperative bidding process.

Commissioner of Finance Michele Madigan said the Adirondack Trust Company, the city’s insurance broker, had advised opting out of the health insurance consortium for retirees. Madigan explained that the city has “a limited ability to do anything” because the rules for that type of insurance “are embedded in our labor contracts.”

According to an Aug. 1 statement by NYSAC, the shared-services review is the third attempt by state lawmakers in the last six years to compel the 57 counties outside of New York City to reduce tax burdens and overall costs.

A 2011 state law mandated property tax caps and a 2014 measure introduced a related “tax freeze rebate program,” the statement indicates. 

“While the goal of this legislation was to reduce property taxes, there is still work to be done,” NYSAC President William Cherry remarked in the statement. “The biggest cost drivers for property taxes in this state are schools and state mandates, and they were largely unaddressed by these panels.”

When reached for comment, NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario said “we need to do more in this space to help local taxpayers,” referring to the complicated nature of insurance coverage for government employees at the state and local levels.

Acquario admitted that county governments have to evolve with the times and technology, and it should be “heavily scrutinized” whether or not that is happening.

Still, he questioned the value of state leaders mandating the current shared-services panels. Acquario said the counties are only “in the middle of the process” at this point.   

“We’re still collecting the data,” he added.

“The state has to have more skin in the game,” Acquario said. 

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The Veterans Memorial Walkway in front of the Malta town complex. Photo by Larry Goodwin. 

MALTA – To Renee Farley, every action that helps a military veteran can be compared to a single drop of water being added to Saratoga Lake—the problems that local veterans face are so grand in scale.

On Monday, not long before she was scheduled to give a brief presentation to the Malta Town Board regarding a small project to expand the Veterans Memorial Walkway near town hall, Farley received an alert about a veteran in trouble.

She called him Everett. He reportedly fell in his garage and then refused to call for an ambulance. Farley ended up visiting Everett’s home to ensure that an ambulance was called, and he was later admitted to the hospital. 

The alert to help Everett went out by email to several thousand people through the Malta Veteran Appreciation Program (MVAP) network, of which Farley is one of four primary coordinators.

“We just kind of took him under our wing,” she says of Everett, adding that he often gets depressed. His only vehicle was recently repossessed, complicating matters more for him. “He’s had a tough life,” Farley added.

Farley described how another veteran living near the Publik House restaurant and pub on Route 9 was leaning a chair against his refrigerator door to keep it closed. When she went to inspect, Farley said, she noticed that his oven was in equally poor condition. 

She promptly made sure the veteran received two new appliances.

With military members in her family, Farley says her determination to help veterans is unwavering. Some days she arranges transportation for them to doctors’ appointments; on other days comforting phone calls may be necessary if, as in Everett’s case, they get admitted to hospitals.

A simple phone call could be the act that prevents a veteran from committing suicide, according to Farley, because it proves to them that people truly care about those who have served their country.

“It’s, basically, whatever they need,” she said. “They’re out there alone.”

The MVAP network’s official motto is “Help Us Locate Our Veterans in Need,” and Farley says her goal is “to keep adding emails” of local individuals who want to assist in that effort. People are welcome to call MVAP anonymously at any time if they are aware of a veteran who needs help, she said. (The network’s website is

On Sunday, Sept. 17, a dedication ceremony has been scheduled between 1 and 3 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Walkway in Malta to formally announce sales of bricks for $100 each to honor local veterans.

The bricks will be installed as complements to the existing memorial, which includes a small piece of steel from the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The veterans’ park was first built in front of the town complex nearly 20 years ago.

Farley informed the town board that unionized bricklayers have already offered to donate their labor for the expansion project.

“We have a long-term plan to grow it slightly in size,” explains Malta Councilman Craig Warner, referring to the existing concrete walkway. Warner has worked closely with Farley on veterans’ outreach since his 2015 election campaign.

The bricks are being manufactured in Florida, according to Warner, and they will be etched with individual names and military units. “When we sell each of them, it will benefit veterans out here substantially,” he said.

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Thursday, 24 August 2017 17:50

Solar Eclipse a Hit In Local Communities

Front photo was taken Monday, Aug. 21 at 2:41 p.m., when the eclipse reached its (local) peak of 66 percent, in the Winner’s Circle at the Saratoga Race Course. Photo by Thomas Dimopoulos. Gallery photos were taken by Nancy Castillo of Wild Birds Unlimited; and a scene with staff and residents at the Prestwick Chase senior living community on Saratoga Boulevard, who had an Eclipse 2017 party outside at the pavilion.The community and guests were treated to decorations, live music, fun food and snacks, including moon pies and rocket ice pops. Photo provided. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Multitudes of locals stopped whatever they were doing Monday afternoon to observe or photograph the partial eclipse over upstate New York.

Nancy Castillo, owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited shop in Wilton, explained that she had captured a series of images of the eclipse at home with her smartphone, using a spotting scope fitted with a solar filter.

Castillo then shared the pictures on social media for the benefit of people who were unable to see the eclipse.

“We have lots of customers that, maybe, weren’t able to get out there,” she said.

Castillo added that Wild Birds Unlimited is accepting donations of special eclipse glasses as a means to benefit school children in Asian and South American countries ahead of a 2019 solar eclipse that will be viewable there. The group Astronomers Without Borders is leading that effort.    

People in upstate New York will be able to observe a 98 percent “totality” solar eclipse in April 2024, according to Castillo.

The residents of Carbondale, Illinois have the good fortune of enjoying 100 percent “totality” in both 2017 and 2024 because of their geographic location, she reported.

“It’s pretty cool,” Castillo said.

For more information, visit the website   

SARATOGA COUNTY – A popular solar company in the Hudson Valley has partnered with a geothermal firm to expand both types of energy consumption at homes in Saratoga County.

On Monday, only hours before a well-publicized eclipse captivated people in upstate New York, a partnership was announced between Hudson Solar and Dandelion Energy. Both companies have increased marketing operations in the Capital Region.

In a statement, it was reported that Dandelion has developed “a new geothermal installation process” that “can convert homeowners away from oil or gas heat and offer them substantial savings.”

“A geothermal system uses a heat pump and underground pipes to move heat between the earth and your home—it’s the most efficient way to heat and cool your home,” the company explains on its website (

Jeff Irish, the founder and president of Hudson Solar, said: “Dandelion has lowered the cost of geothermal and set up financing so a homeowner switching to geothermal from oil or propane can save money from day one, just like with solar. When we combine our offerings, we enable customers to save money on their energy bills and completely eliminate their greenhouse gas emissions.”

In a subsequent email, Irish explained that Hudson Solar originally installed geothermal systems after it started as a business nearly 15 years ago. But the company has focused exclusively on solar panels for the last eight, he added.

Irish said “an average single-family home solar system is in the $8,000 to $15,000 range after federal and state incentives and tax credits.”

He added that Dandelion and Hudson Solar “are now working closely together on advertising, information sessions and events to promote geothermal and on-site and community solar” projects.

As a former Town of Rhinebeck Zoning Board of Appeals member, Irish further indicated that he is “sensitive to and experienced with zoning laws and issues.”

Katie Ullmann, vice president of marketing for Dandelion, said in her own email that single-family homeowners who want a geothermal system installed could expect to pay $150 per month over 20 years with no upfront costs; or $20,000 upfront “with no additional costs and minimal long-term maintenance.”

“Either way, when homeowners get our geothermal installation, they completely eliminate their oil, propane or natural gas bills,” Ullmann said. 

Dandelion has an office on Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs, Ullmann explained, and also has partnered with the firm Aztech Geothermal off Route 50 south of Ballston Spa.

Dandelion officially launched on July 6, so local marketing efforts are only just getting organized. An ESPN radio host regularly endorses Dandelion on-air and some outreach is taking place this summer at county and street fairs, Ullmann said.

According to Ryan Riper, director of planning and engineering in the Town of Wilton, at present there are 107 residential and seven commercial solar arrays in Wilton. Town officials are currently reviewing a comprehensive solar zoning policy.

Riper said he is not aware of any homeowners in Wilton who utilize geothermal heating and cooling, though one Route 50 business did install such a system.   

Homeowners who desire to have solar panels installed must apply for a permit, Riper added, so that firefighters can expect to encounter that type of electrical wiring in the case of an emergency.

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  • 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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