SARATOGA SPRINGS — Katrina Trask Nursery School recently announced that they would be closing in June of this year. Originally founded in 1929 as a playgroup organized by Skidmore College, it later evolved into a full day childcare program in the 1940s, and then a cooperative non-profit nursery school in the late 1960s.
“This was not a rash decision,” said Shelia Vanacore, President of the Katrina Trask Board of Trustees. “For several years we’ve been hanging on, and saying, ‘We can stay open for one more year.’” However, due to a lack of enrollment and fundraising, the nursery school decided to close.
Vanacore stated that the school tried many solutions to its problems. “We did change some of the cooperative to a traditional drop off program in hopes that that would help,” she said. “But unfortunately everything that we tried just didn’t work.” Vanacore said that as enrollment and fundraising declined, so did staffing. The nursery was facing the loss of 3-4 teachers in the coming year.
The nursery school is most well known for its annual consignment sale, which was a major fundraiser for the school. However, those numbers have also recently declined. “There used to be us and one or two other places with a consignment sale, but now with Facebook Marketplace and other stores, the market is spread out,” explained Vanacore. With a lack of funding, Katrina Trask did not want to burden parents with a higher cost of tuition, and was running out of its own finances.
Vanacore said that many in the community have reached out to express their sadness over the school’s closing, and share their fond memories of the school and annual consignment sale. “We’re incredibly grateful to the families and entire community of Saratoga, especially what we were able to give to families and what they gave back to us,” said Vanacore. “We’re very sad to see it come to an end, but maybe someday there will be another Katrina Trask Nursery School. We’ll have to wait and see.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Casino Hotel is teaming up with the American Red Cross to host a Blood Drive on Monday, January 20. Members of the local community are urged to join dozens of Saratoga Casino Hotel team members to give blood on Monday, January 20 from Noon to 6 p.m. inside the hotel ballroom.
January is National Blood Donor Month, and right now, the Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood and urges donors of all types to make an appointment now to give and help replenish the blood supply.
“Declines in donations can affect patient care, and the winter months can be a difficult time to collect enough blood and platelet donations to meet patient needs due to inclement weather and seasonal illnesses causing some donors to temporarily be unable to give,” said Alyson Barraza, communications director with the Red Cross. “If you’ve ever considered giving blood to help save lives, now is the time to do it.”
In an effort to help more patients, Power Red donations will also be accepted at this year’s drive. A Power Red donation allows donors to safely donate a concentrated dose of red blood cells, which are the most commonly transfused blood component.
Each donation can help save more than one life. To date, Saratoga Casino Hotel has collected more than 1,300 blood donations at their biannual blood drives.
“We always see a tremendous response at our Annual Blood Drive.”, said Alex Tucker, General Manager of Saratoga Casino Hotel. “Year after year this event is embraced by our team members and local community. We’re very excited to once again partner with the Red Cross and help serve those in need.”
All presenting donors at this year’s Blood Drive will receive a $10 voucher to Perks Café, located in the hotel lobby.
Donors are encouraged to make an appointment prior to the January 20 Blood Drive. To schedule a time, call 518-581-5774 or visit RedCrossBlood.org. In an effort to receive as many donations as possible, donors are asked to complete their RapidPass® online on the day of the drive. Donors can complete their RapidPass® in 10 to 15 minutes by following the four steps. Donors will start by providing some initial information, before reading through the pre-donation materials and answering health history questions. After completion, donors are asked to print, download or email their RapidPass® to themselves, and bring it with them to the drive.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Former Saratoga County Public Defender Oscar Schreiber recently opened his own law practice in Saratoga Springs. This comes after 31 years with the public defender’s office, and a brief retirement.
“Retirement is not for me. I still have a lot to do,” said Schreiber. “I’m young enough, I have the experience and knowledge, and I still want to contribute.”
Schreiber received his law degree from Gonzaga University, and started out at a personal injury firm in NYC. He later moved to the area and began working for the county in 1989, becoming chief public defender in 2013. Schreiber said that he decided to leave in August 2019 to search out a new challenge. “The lawyers at the Saratoga County Pubic Defender’s Office are some of the best lawyers that I have worked with in my 37 years of practicing law, and I wish them the best,” said Schreiber.
In his new firm, Schreiber would like to focus on personal injury, rehabilitation, and counseling for addiction issues as an alternative to incarceration. He would also like to help any veterans that come into trouble due to their addiction. “Many veterans I’ve represented have returned from overseas with PTSD or addiction,” said Schreiber. “I will be advocating for veterans, substance abuse issues, and mental health treatment. Once we address the mental health issues and the addiction issues, I think criminality will be greatly reduced.” Schreiber also emphasized the importance of bail reform in the criminal justice system.
Schreiber will have a full time investigator and paralegal on his team, but will keep his practice individualized for now. “My goal in this private practice is to give the client my individual and undivided attention,” he said. “I want my clients to feel like they’ve been treated fairly by the criminal justice system, and my personal injury clients to feel like they’ve been treated fairly by the insurance company; if not, that’s what they look to my aid for.”
Schreiber’s practice is located at 100 West Ave. in Saratoga Springs. “I look forward to this practice; I’m going to miss the county, the administrators, and the people, but I think this is a great challenge for me,” stated Schreiber. For more information, call Schreiber’s office at 518-450-4007.
GALWAY/PROVIDENCE — Saratoga PLAN rang in the New Year by conserving 168 acres in the Towns of Galway and Providence. A conservation easement restricting the property from development in the future was generously donated by Dolores Arste and David Hickey.
The land protected from future development includes 137 acres of natural woodland and habitat and 31 acres that will remain private, including woods, a residence, horse barns and pastureland.
Meandering through these woods, it’s hard to miss the enchantments of the land. The scent of the fern-carpeted forest awakens the senses and the aptly named Barkersville Trails, once grounds for sled-dog training, come to life with the whistling wind. A tributary to the Glowegee Creek winds its way through the woodlands, conversing in gurgles with passersby before going on its merry way, flowing into the Kayaderosseras and then to Saratoga Lake.
Arste’s daughter, Deanna Hadley, reflects on returning to Galway after 30 years. “I realized at that time the true beauty that my mother had seen so many years before. And when she spoke to me about what she wanted to do with her land it seemed that there was no other way,” she said at PLAN’s annual Conservation Hero celebration, where Arste and Hickey were being honored among other individuals for their commitment to conservation in Saratoga County. “[The property] doesn’t need to be developed, it just needs to be beautiful.. and [a place] that people can enjoy no matter what’s going on in the world,” Hadley added.
Indeed, the public will soon be able to enjoy the splendor of the oasis. Property owners Arste and Hickey who are horseback riding enthusiasts are graciously allowing public access for hiking and horseback riding on the trails, which are still being developed and are not yet open.
Through the efforts of Saratoga PLAN’s Monday Steward group, a dedicated group of individuals that work on trail maintenance projects year-round, as well as Death Wish Coffee employees, just over 2 miles of trails were developed in late 2019. The winding trails that jump streams and parallel stone walls are anticipated to open in early 2020. Arste and Hickey hope that over time, their property can connect with others to create a longer system of backcountry trails.
Trail enthusiasts donated approximately $25,000 so that PLAN could always uphold the development restrictions and maintain the trails. A $19,000 grant from Dockstader Charitable Trust covered survey, legal, and title insurance fees among others. Saratoga County Grants with Town of Galway awarded $10,000 to PLAN for the development of trails. The Town of Galway Highway Department developed the parking area.
For more information, call 518-587-5554, or visit saratogaplan.org
BALLSTON SPA — The Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association is proud to announce our 7th Annual Chocolate Fest, taking place on First Friday, February 7, from 6-9 pm. We are currently announcing sponsorship opportunities as well as a call for Chocolate Chef entries.
Area restaurants, bakeries, and chefs are all welcome to compete to showcase their talents and tastes by preparing small, sample sized chocolate offerings in up to 3 categories: Dessert (Sweet), Savory, and Chocolate Beverage. A panel of our First Friday Fanatics and visitors will judge these chocolate treats in the Fan Favorite competition. More information and applications to participate as a Chocolate Chef can be found atballston.org/category/first-fridays.
On First Friday, visitors can pick up a ballot form at any participating business and head to their favorite "Sweet Spot" shops, restaurants, and chefs to sample a $1 chocolate taste. While savoring these chocolate treats, visitors will enjoy a variety of First Friday activities going on throughout the Village, including art gallery openings, live music, artist demonstrations, and special promotions and sales just in time for Valentine's Day. A complete listing of all events can be found at Ballston.org.
Last year featured over 20 “Sweet Spots” throughout our downtown area. We were proud to welcome over 1,500 visitors to the Village for this annual event.
Sponsorships from regional and local businesses and community members help make this event possible. For more information on advertising opportunities and how you or your business can support our 2020 Chocolate Fest, please visit: ballston.org/product/2020-chocolate-fest-sponsorship.
The Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association, established in 1983, is a non-profit organization committed to making the Village of Ballston Spa a better place to live and work, and to bringing quality arts and entertainment events for all ages to the community. More information can be found at www.ballston.org
LAKE LUZERNE — Howard Schaffer of Lake Luzerne has been elected President of the Hadley-Lake Luzerne Historical Society, following outgoing President Joe Kavanagh, who has served for the past four years. The Historical Society, founded in 1973, is one the region’s longest-standing historical preservation organizations and has been responsible for multiple conservation projects over the past half-century.
Among the noted projects the group has played a key role in preserving is the historic Hadley Parabolic Bow Bridge, as well as the Harmon House and the Gailey Hill Schoolhouse in the Town of Lake Luzerne.
Schaffer previously served as Vice-President and Programming Chair, coordinating monthly programming for guest speakers including authors and historians over the past three years.
Professionally, he is founder of Media Marketing Inc. in Albany and has served as President of the Lake Luzerne Association, working on the effort to address milfoil and invasive species in the southern Adirondacks. He is a member of the Adirondack Mountain Club as well.
Also elected were David Cranston as Vice-President, Sally Goodhart as Treasurer, Christine Blakley as Secretary, Nan Plantier as Media Director and Susan Wilder with Maureen Jones as Programming & Events Chairs.
Saratoga Springs — The Saratoga Springs Lions Club is holding their annual "Because Hunger Doesn't End with the Holiday's" food drive on Saturday, January 18 from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. at four different locations throughout Saratoga Springs and Wilton. The club will be collecting non-perishable food items to be donated to seven different food pantries in the greater Saratoga Springs area. The club partners with the Golub and Hannaford Corporations to hold this event. The four collection locations will be at:
• Hannaford on Weibel Avenue
• Price Chopper on Railroad Place
• Market 32 by Price Chopper on Ballston Avenue
• Market 32 by Price Chopper on Route 50 (Wilton)
The donated items will be assisting the Franklin Community Center Pantry, Wilton Food Pantry, St. Clement’s Church Pantry, Saratoga EOC, New England Congregation Presbyterian Church, Salvation Army Pantry, and Shelters of Saratoga. Last year the club collected a record amount of approximately 7,500 pounds of food to support the pantries. Monetary donations of $346 were donated to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, which further supports all the pantries throughout the region.
The Saratoga Springs Lions Club is a volunteer-based service organization with a mission to serve its community and support local youth, promote diabetes prevention, and promote sight and hearing conservation. To learn more about the club, visit www.saratogapsringslions.com
SARATOGA COUNTY — The Saratoga County Foundation’s Veterans Business Council recently elected a new slate of officers for the 2020 year. Elected for a two-year term were Jason Collins, from SUNY Empire State College, as Chair, Erica Choi, from Bank of America, as Vice-Chair, Robert Scheurer, from Adirondack Trust Company, as Secretary, and Tom Dingley, from Mosaic Wealth Advisory, as Treasurer.
Outgoing Chair Karen Charbonneau, from Saratoga Home Team, was recognized by the VBC for her outstanding leadership the past two years as the Chair of the volunteer group of Veterans. During her time as Chair, the Veterans Business Council helped to coordinate funding and construction of a 7,700 square foot field house at the Naval Support Activity Base in Saratoga Springs, implemented a new scholarship program to aid Veterans pursuing higher education and established a new fundraiser to help raise money for Veterans initiatives in Saratoga County, among many other efforts to assist Veterans that the VBC undertakes.
The Veterans Business Council operates under the Saratoga County Foundation of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, and is made up of a select group of Veterans who are business leaders in the region. The Veterans Business Council works to facilitate opportunities for military veterans residing in Saratoga County, including offering scholarship opportunities and connecting them with the business community to enhance their knowledge of employment opportunities, job or entrepreneurial training, and new business development.
More information on the Veterans Business Council is available online at www.saratogaveterans.org.
QUEENSBURY — Saratoga Hospital has added space and services at the former Adirondack Urgent Care center, which is now known as Saratoga Hospital Urgent Care – Adirondack.
Patients have easy access to urgent care—no appointment necessary—from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. Walk-in X-ray and laboratory services are also available seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for X-rays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for lab draws. A prescription is required for lab and X-ray services.
The hospital invested about $750,000 in the renovations and expansion, which created three more exam rooms plus space for lab drawing and other services.
“This expansion makes it easier for patients to access important healthcare services, and that has a positive impact on community health,” said Nicole Salone, site and medical imaging manager at Saratoga Hospital Urgent Care – Adirondack.
Urgent care provides walk-in services for patients with minor illnesses or injuries. Extended hours enable patients to receive the prompt, high-quality care that can prevent conditions—such as strep throat, earaches and upper respiratory infections—from getting worse. Prompt treatment also can prevent contagious infections from spreading.
Patients with a serious illness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness or a life-threatening emergency should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
Saratoga Hospital operates urgent care centers in Queensbury and Wilton. The Queensbury center is located on Route 9, just north of Walmart, in the Mount Royal Plaza. For more information, go to UrgentCareAdirondack.org.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Adirondack Trust Company has a way to help customers save money in the New Year: by using their Beyond Savings app. Launched in July 2019, the app continues to provide deals, or “perks” to customers shopping locally.
“There’s lots of rewards programs and apps that people can use to get discounts, but we wanted one that was just with local merchants on it,” said Rob Ward, Marketing Manager at the Adirondack Trust. “And also, from a digital perspective, everybody uses their phone for just about everything these days.”
The app works by tracking its user’s location and notifying them when they’re near a business that offers a perk. Some of the perks can include a discount, or various free items with purchases.
“It’s fun in a way that the app is actually interacting with you as you’re moving through the community, and then you’re looking to see what perk alerts come up and the value of the perk or discount that the merchant may be offering,” said Ward. “You may decide to go in and take advantage of it, or you may keep it in mind for future reference.”
The location tracking, or geofencing technology, is what makes this app so distinguishable from others. “The geo-fencing was a critical component of selecting this app for us,” said Ward. “We wanted it to be instantaneous; you know, sometimes people plan to go use a discount, and other times, some things are spontaneous.”
Merchants who want to offer perks on the app can sign up through a form on the Adirondack Trust website, though they must sign up for at least one year and have a business account with the bank. Once approved, businesses can begin to offer perks through the app. “They have full control over what offers that they have,” said Celia Vincek, Digital Marketing Assistant at the Adirondack Trust.
The app currently has around 75 participating vendors, ranging from Glens Falls to Clifton Park. Ward stated that the bank will begin more outreach for the app in March of this year, in preparation for the Spring and Summer season. “The more value that we can add to the app in the form of perks, we feel the more valuable that it’ll be to individuals that use the app and frequent it,” he said. The app is available for free in the App Store and the Google Play Store.
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