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Friday, 16 January 2015 10:19

Community Briefs 1.16.15

Saratoga Casino and Raceway Blood Drive

Saratoga Casino and Raceway is once again kicking off the new year by giving back to the community with its eighth annual Blood Drive with the American Red Cross. Employees, staff and members of the local community are urged to give blood on Monday, Jan. 26 from noon to 6 p.m. inside Vapor at 342 Jefferson Street in Saratoga Springs. All presenting donors will receive a $5 DD Card*, as part of the “Dunkin’ Donors Make a Difference” Campaign with Dunkin’ Donuts. Additionally, all presenting donors will also receive a $10 voucher to Lucky Joe’s restaurant in the casino. Local blood donors are needed all year long to ensure a stable blood supply for patients in need. Walk-ins are always welcome, but donors are asked to make an appointment by downloading the new Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Saratoga Frozen Springs Classic

Games of the second annual Saratoga Frozen Springs Classic pond hockey tournament will take place Feb. 6-8 at the Saratoga Spa State Park. All games are played four-on-four, round robin style. Games shall be 40 minutes long consisting of two 20-minute halves with a two-minute break between halves. Register your team today at www.saratogafrozenspringsclassic.com.

Over-30 Basketball at Gavin

Grab your sneakers and get ready for Over-30 Basketball! Designed with the mature, basketball-playing crowd in mind, the Over-30 Basketball Program is for adults, ages 30 and over. This is a drop-in activity which runs Mondays, 8-10 p.m. now through May 19. The weekly fee is $5 per person (cash only), and a maximum of 20 players can participate on any given night. Any questions, please contact the park office at (518) 584-9455.

Tables Available for Monthly Indoor Craft and Garage Sale

On Sunday, Jan. 25, from 11-3 p.m., the popular Elks Ladies Auxiliary Indoor Craft and Garage Sale starts the new year at Saratoga-Wilton Elks Club off Maple Avenue on Elks Lane.  Admission is free with over 40 vendors; parking is great, bargains galore, lunch, books, household items, sports equipment, hand-made items, clothing,  jewelry, party vendors, and just about anything you can imagine may be found here.  New vendors are signing up every month. Rain or shine the sales go on and it is a fun activity the entire family enjoys.  Come browse, visit, eat, or just get out of the house with a friend.  All proceeds go to our local charities.  All markets are held the fourth Sunday of each month: next sales are Feb. 22, March 22, and April 26. Tables are $15 for an 8-foot table; call (518) 289-5470 for information. 

Gavin Park Pickleball

Come on down to Gavin Park and join the fun playing the net court game of pickleball. This game is played by 2 or 4 people on a badminton-sized court using wood, or composite paddle racquets and a plastic, poly baseball with or without holes. No commitment required. Drop-in registration takes place in the park office, Mondays- Friday, now through April. Session fee is $3 per person, per visit, 9:15-11:15 a.m. Any questions, contact the park office at (518) 584-9455.

Saratoga Winterfest 5K Snowshoe Run/Walk

The Saratoga Winterfest 5K Snowshoe Run/Walk will be held on Sunday, Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. in the Saratoga Spa State Park. The Camp Saratoga 8K Snowshoe Race will be held on Sunday, Feb. 15 at the Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park. Camp Saratoga will begin at 10:30 a.m. and is a qualifier for the U.S. National Snowshoe Championship. Go to www.saratogastryders.org to download an application or link to online registration at www.active.com. A limited supply of Dion Snowshoes will be available at a $5 rental charge. Email Laura Clark at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve a pair or phone (518) 581-1278. For information about the entire Dion Snowshoe Series and for snow updates visit www.runwmac.com.

Office of the Aging Looking for Volunteers

Are you 55 and over and looking for a volunteer opportunity? Saratoga County Office of the Aging is looking for kitchen volunteers to assist with serving meals for the Senior Nutrition Program. There is a current need at the Saratoga Senior Center. This opportunity is flexible to fit into your schedule, Monday-Friday availability between 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Call Billie Jo at the Saratoga County Office for the Aging for more details on this volunteer opportunity at (518) 884-4100.

Military Service Ceremonies

The Saratoga National Cemetery Honor Guard Association provides military burial service ceremonies for all branches of service at the Saratoga National Cemetery. We are always looking for veterans to join us, no matter what branch you served in (male or female) you must have been honorably discharged. You can choose which day of the week (Monday-Friday) that you want to be there. For information go to our web site www.snchga.com or contact the Cemetery Administration Office 200 Duell Road in Schuylerville. Call (518)-581-9128 for more information.

Teen/Adult Acting and Performance Academy

Join Malta’s Artistic Director Elyse Young in a new acting and performance class to improve you acting skills during the cold winter months. The class runs for nine weeks from now through March 18 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. (skip February 18). She is looking for teen and adult actors and actresses to work on monologues of their choice and scenes from classics like “Importance of Being Earnest” or “Skin of Our Teeth”. There are many great character roles to “sink your teeth into”, so call the Malta Community Center at (518) 899-4411 or visit www.maltaparksrec.com for more information.

Adult Sports and Fitness Opportunities in the Ballston Spa Schools

The Ballston Spa Community Education Program is currently offering adult sports from 8-10 p.m. with co-ed Indoor Soccer and co-ed volleyball held on Mondays and men’s basketball on Wednesdays. A 10-week session begins the week of Jan. 5and requires a $30 fee for school district residents. The popular Walk About program provides a safe, indoor walking course for those interested in a low impact fitness activity. The program continues through April when school is in session. A $15 registration fee is required for this program and non-residents are charged $18 to participate. Walkers may join the program at any time throughout the session. Pre-registration is required and fees are due at the beginning of each course. Those interested may register for courses by mail or in-person at the District Office, 70 Malta Avenue. Additional information regarding any of the courses offered is available online at www.bscsd.org or by calling 884-7195, ext. 1329.


Ballston Spa School District Offers Community Swim Opportunities

The Ballston Spa Aquatics Program is currently offering opportunities for public use of the pool during adult lap swimming sessions, from 6-7 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6-7 p.m. A family/open swim is also offered on Saturday afternoons from noon to 2 p.m. Additional opportunities are offered throughout the year, including adult Aqua Cardio classes and a Learn-To-Swim program. The Community Swim Program is open to district students, families and community members. District residents need to show identification and pay a $1 entrance fee to utilize the pool. Non-residents are admitted, as space allows, for a $2 fee. The pool is closed during school vacations, emergency cancellations (i.e. snow days or early dismissals) and when school activities necessitate closure. Information is available online at www.bscsd.org, by clicking on the aquatics/pool button on the left side of the homepage. For more information, please contact the pool office directly at (518) 884-7150, ext. 2324.

Register at Academy for Lifelong Learning
Spring class registration forms are now available for the Academy for Lifelong Learning (A.L.L.). Registration starts Jan. 26. With 23 classes including two speaker series starting the week of April 6 and running through June 4, there is something for everyone! A sampling of classes—which typically meet for two hours once a week for eight weeks and are led by volunteers- include: Photo Workshop, Spring Birding, Gothic Fiction, Economics for Beginners, Seeking Spirituality, Ancient Israel, Justice, Learning to story tell, Saratoga Sandplains, Conflicts in the Bible Part 2, Hollywood, Painting Lab, Writers Circle, Hikes at Moreau State Park, Military Medicine, and Wildflower Identification. Look for the new Spring Term Class Registration and Membership Application packet in area libraries, the Academy office at 111 West Avenue or on the website at www.esc.edu/all. Annual membership (through June) is $50. The first two eight-week classes or speaker series are $50 each with each additional class at $25. For more information, contact the Academy office at (518) 587-2100, ext. 2415.

Glenville Seniors Plan Bermuda Cruise

The Glenville Senior Center, 32 Worden Road, will hold an Informational Night on Tuesday, Jan. 27for their planned 7 Night Bermuda Cruise on the Norwegian Dawn sailing June 12.  Cruise will depart from Boston with a three-day stayover in Kings Wharf, Bermuda.  Sign in starts at 6:30 p.m. Presentation will held begin at 7 p.m. Refreshments and Prize Drawings will be offered. Call the Glenville Senior Center (518) 374-0734 to register for the presentation.

‘Café Malta’ Auditions

Join featured folk and blues artists Annie & the Hedonists! and showcase your talent during this yearly event! We are looking still looking for one or two more talented musicians, small acoustic bands, storytellers and/or dancers to perform in a casual setting on an intimate stage at the Malta Community Center on March 7. Auditions will be by appointment only.  (Performance quality video may also be accepted.) Contact Elyse Young, Artistic Director, at (518) 899-4411, ext. 305 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to schedule an audition.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014 13:12

Harry W. Croop Jr.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Harry W. Croop Jr., who brought joy to all who knew him, died Friday, Dec. 12 at the age of 94.

Born in Kingston, Pennsylvania, he was the son of the late Dr. Harry Croop and Elizabeth (McCloskey) Croop. Growing up during the depression, and serving in the Army during World War II helped to mold his generous spirit and lifelong appreciation for simple pleasures.

Harry married Rosemary Shea, the sister of one of his childhood best friends, in 1948. He was a loving husband and caregiver to her until her death in 1984. He remarried in 1988 to Helen O’Reilly and they had a long and loving relationship.

Harry was an amazing father to Shea and Patti Croop. He embraced their friends and interests and supported them in their life choices (for the most part).

His dream of living in Saratoga Springs was realized in 1965 when he was promoted by Interlake/Acme Steel to be the company’s sales manager for the Northeast region.  He subsequently left Interlake, accepting the position of sales manager for Powell & Minnock Brick Company in Albany. He took great pride in his company’s brick, and a number of Saratoga’s public structures are a testament to his persuasive nature and P&M’s quality product.

Harry had a strong sense of service and love of his community that was demonstrated by participating in numerous city projects and volunteering at SPAC, Literacy Volunteers, the Community Gardens, and Income Tax Preparation for Senior Citizens. He worked full time into his 70s, still making time to play tennis and ski with his daughters and golf with his friends. Throughout his life, he also loved gardening, bridge, crossword puzzles, traveling, the opera, ballet, ice cream and laughing. 

Harry spent his last two years at Woodlawn Commons where he participated in every activity imaginable and touched the hearts of residents and staff alike. He made several special friends during this time, greatly enriching his final years.

The outstanding care he received from his doctors, Saratoga Hospital and Hospice ensured that his humanity was honored and his death was peaceful.

Survivors include his daughters Shea Croop of Queensbury, Patti Croop and her husband Chris Dailey of Middle Grove, his sister-in-law, Lillian Croop and numerous nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends may call from 9-11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 18 at the William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing & Cunniff Funeral Homes, 628 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs 518-584-5373. Funeral services will follow at 11am at the funeral home and burial will be in the family plot at St. Peter’s Cemetery, West Ave.

To remember Harry, please send a contribution to The Community Hospice Foundation, 295 Valley View Blvd., Rensselaer, NY 12144; Literacy New York Greater Capital Region,1450 Western Avenue, Suite 101, Albany, NY 12205; or Saratoga Hospital, 211 Church Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Online remembrances may be made at www.burkefuneralhome.com.

Friday, 07 November 2014 09:31

Great Season Comes Up Short

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A 15-game winning streak, a No. 1 seed in the postseason and a second consecutive Section II Class AA finals appearance were three things the Saratoga Springs girls’ soccer team probably didn’t envision when they started the season 1-2.

But that’s what happened.

The stellar win streak in the Suburban Council came to an end after Wednesday’s championship game in Stillwater, as the No. 1 Blue Streaks (14-2-0) fell short to No. 6 Bethlehem, 2-1.

Bethlehem (12-4-2) scored 13 minutes into the match and again shortly after halftime, and the 2-0 deficit was too much for the Saratoga Springs to overcome.

It might have been the only thing the 2014 Blue Streaks didn’t overcome. After avenging a 6-0 loss to Niskayuna in the season opener and a 6-1 loss to Shenendehowa in game three of the season, this year’s team fulfilled and surpassed early fall expectations, while setting the bar high for 2015.

This week’s Q&A is with Blue Streaks head coach Adrienne Dannehy as she reflects on the Section II final and the journey to get there.

Q. What was your impression of the first half and how you guys started the game Wednesday?

A. I don’t think we started well. Our first half—I really don’t know what it was. It was just real flat. We gave up the free kick very early on and we just didn’t go to the ball and they scored, which gave [Bethlehem] the momentum going into halftime. And we didn’t really start picking up momentum ourselves until we scored our own goal. Then they played fantastic. If we had played the last 30 minutes like the first 30 minutes, I don’t think there would have been a discussion.

Q. Did you guys try to make any adjustments at halftime?

A. We just addressed that they had to pick it up. They had to start winning 50-50 balls, which we weren’t winning any of. Even the first 10 minutes of the second half we were kind of on our heels, backing up. Then, we started to bear down and we pushed the ball, like we’re used to doing, and had a beautiful goal. Unfortunately, it was too late.

Q. It obviously didn’t turn out how you had planned, but to get to that point and rattle off 15 straight wins in the Suburban is still pretty impressive.

A. My husband kind of pointed that out to me and said, ‘Did you ever expect, after the first week, that you would get this far and accomplish what you were able to accomplish?’ When you put it in that perspective, yeah we didn’t expect it after the first week, so to be able to do that means these girls really learned something and did the best they could. I think the nerves just got to us at the end. Being young, hopefully we can get there again next year and some of the younger ones will be a little less nervous.

Q.Before the Class AA playoffs started, you said many of the returners reflected on last year’s run to the finals. We’ve talked about the youth of this year’s team. Obviously, you expect many of them to be back next year after getting a taste of the postseason this year.

A. I think last year, those girls who had never been to the finals before, they were in awe of what we accomplished and the fact that we were there. So the girls who were there last year, those were the ones who were calm Wednesday. It was the young ones who were not as sure of themselves and shaky. I’m just hoping that, now, these girls, who are much younger than the younger girls from last year—they have two more years—I’m hoping they can impart a little bit of wisdom to the new girls who are coming up next year. Now we just want to go forward.

Q. But you have made it to back-to-back sectional finals and it seems safe to say that you guys have something figured out here, right?

A. We haven’t figured out how to start the regular season (laughter), but we sure figured out how to end it. Honestly, I don’t even care what happens in the beginning of the season. It’s just there to say, ‘OK, this is what we need to work on.’ You want to peak in sectional time. We started peaking a little earlier, but we honestly didn’t realize we were peaking until the end as we just went on this incredible run. It’s always nice to coach a team that just wants to win, works hard and does their best. That’s all I can ask for.

Q. Is there anything that you learned as a coach this year?

A. Every year you look back and see if there was something you could have done different. I have realized over the last couple weeks that this group of girls, if you put too much pressure on them, they don’t really take it and build on it. Teams in the past would say, ‘This is it. This is the end. If we don’t do it right here, we’re over,’ and that pumped them up. With this group, it was more relaxed. Going into the game relaxing yourself, and I almost think that I put a little too much pressure on them on this particular game. I didn’t put a lot of pressure on them for the Nisky game and they went out and played the game of their lives. Every team is different. As a coach you have to figure out what’s going to motivate them. What I took away from them was that they were much more relaxed when I was relaxed.

Q. We’ve talked about the youth of the team, but do you mind talking about some of the senior leadership one last time?

A. I can’t say more of my senior captains—Ellery Bianco, Kennedy Cocozzo and Theresa Starnes. On each third of the field, those three were there and the girls next year who are coming up definitely have big shoes to fill. Ellery is flashy and direct. Kennedy is very good at cleaning up and trying to get the best out of everybody, and Theresa is a silent person in the middle for me, but her leadership reflects in her gameplay and that motivates the girls. In every aspect, the three of them had something different to give, but they definitely left a lasting impression on all these girls. They’re hoping that they left a good legacy and precedence, and I think they did.

Q. Looking back on this year, what kind of things do you see yourself remembering?

A. I’m going to remember that we scored 53 goals in one season. Doing that in the Suburban Council is beyond nuts. We scored about 30 goals last year and Cassidy Driscoll and Ellery were two of the highest goal scorers. Between the two of them, they scored most of our goals last year. This year, to have it spread out among three (senior Bianco, sophomore Ya’nique Van Ness, sophomore Sarah Covell)—Ellery was the second leading goal scorer and I think YaYa was fourth, which makes me excited for next year. I’m very proud of my girls and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids. They all worked hard and they all wanted to be there. Their perseverance inspires me and I hope they continue to work in the offseason when I’m not with them and we come back, come together, continue this run, and show everybody that we’re here and here to stay. We earned a little respect and we hope that we continue to keep that respect.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Blue Streaks head into their Week 3 matchup against Guilderland with a 1-1 record in the Empire Division. During this week’s Q&A, we sit down with Saratoga Springs head coach Terry Jones, as he talks about building off of last year’s statement season and the season at hand.


Q. You guys had that 49-point outburst Week 1. Do you think you surprised people, after losing your offensive firepower from last year?

A.  I have no idea if we surprised people. I know we weren’t surprised. We feel we have the weapons offensively to put points on the board on a regular basis. We were more surprised by how many points we gave up (28).


QOne of those weapons is junior quarterback Brian Williams. The first game we saw legs (12 carries, 2 rushing TDs). The second game we saw his arm (23 passing attempts, 2 TDs). Do you see him as a consistent dual threat?

A. We certainly do. Brian may not have the overall quickness that Jake [Eglintine] had last year, but Brian runs the ball very well and he’s got very good speed and vision, and he has a very good arm. We anticipated, coming into this year, throwing the ball more. Part of that is to spread that ball around and get it to our threats on the outside—Nick Anderson, Luke Thompson. Throwing the ball isn’t necessarily out of necessity. It’s out of want to spread it around.


Q. After giving up 28 points in the Week 1 win over La Salle and allowing 391 rushing yards to Shaker in the Week 2 loss, is there anything that you’ve really been stressing with the defense?

A. We talk about being more physical up front. The bottom line is we have to play better and we’ve gone over their technique on film. This is a physical game and in AA there are a lot of physical schools. Right now, we’re not playing the way I think we can defensively, and it’s hurting us primarily in the run game.


Q. Last year, an integral part of the team was the big offensive line and an aggressive defensive line. We know you’ve lost a lot of guys from last year. When you talk about the team being more physical, are you implying that it starts with the lines on both sides of the ball?

A. It certainly does. I think we’re playing better offensively on the line and I think we’re more aggressive offensively. A lot of it comes down to confidence. When you look at our returning starters on defense, two of them are in the secondary and one of them is at linebacker. Every one of our starting defensive lineman were not starters last year. Now they’re being asked to do that and it’s a comfort level.


Q. At the beginning of last season, you said your goal was to get Saratoga back on the map as far as competing for a Section II championship (last one was 2009). You guys did that, starting with hosting your first playoff game in three years. Building off last year, despite losing a lot of guys, what are you saying this year?

A. We, as coaches, and the kids want to build off that. The kids want to go further than we did last year (Section II semifinal), but like we tell them, ‘It doesn’t just happen.’ You have to work at it. One thing about putting the team back on the map is also putting teams back on other team’s radar. Teams are aware of you and you becoming the stepping stone for other teams. If they can knock you off, it’s a step up for them. We’re aware of that and we know no one is going to roll over for us because we went 7-2 last year.


Q. Last year, offensively, you had three main weapons (Jake Eglintine, Dakota Harvey, Jordan Wilcox) and the game-plan was to run right at people. This year, as you spread things out, how do you feel about utilizing more guys?

A. Last year was an entirely new offense. We hadn’t run the spread and we had some experienced kids back who were going to get the majority of the carries. We didn’t throw the ball a lot because we didn’t have to. Our goal this year was to spread the ball around and not just rely on three kids. Already we’ve had a number of kids carry or catch the ball. From our quarterback to Ryan Manlapaz (RB), Robert Haughton (RB), Jordan Buchas (RB), Luke Thompson (WR) and Nick Anderson (WR) leading the team in receptions, the idea is to make it more difficult for teams to prepare for us on any given week.


Q. You host Guilderland (0-2) this Friday. What is your main priority?

A. [Andrew Sentz] is a mobile quarterback. He likes the ball in his hands and he likes to make things happen. He’s certainly a kid who we’re going to have to contain. Watching him on film, he’s made a lot of things happen with his legs. It’s funny when you watch the two teams, there’s a lot of similarities between the two. We both run a spread offense and we both rely on the quarterback. We’ll both throw the ball and we both run a 4-3 defensively, so there are a lot of similarities between the two programs.


Jones added that he’s pleased to be able to be playing at home tonight, after a grub problem on Blue Streaks’ field caused talks of having the game at a neutral site. As of Thursday, the Empire Division matchup was still scheduled to be played at the Saratoga Springs High School at 7 p.m. Both JV and freshman football have not been able to play on the field because of the grub situation’s damage to certain sections of the gridiron.


Note: In Week 1, at home, Ryan Manlapaz rushed for 129 yards on seven carries. The junior also added three touchdowns. Look for him to be a presence again tonight after a 63-yard, zero-touchdown performance at Shaker last Friday.


SARATOGA SPRINGS — “A loss of sight, never a loss of vision.”

That is the motto for the inaugural Camp Abilities Saratoga, a one-week overnight developmental active sports camp that will be held at Skidmore College for children and teens who are blind, visually impaired or deaf blind.

One of 21 Camp Abilities programs worldwide, the program is modeled after the 17-year tenured camp at Brockport. Camp Abilities Saratoga will give campers the opportunity to experience archery, gymnastics, judo, self-defense, paddle boarding, tandem biking, beep baseball, swimming, soccer, track and field, bowling, rowing (on Fish Creek) and dancing from August 3-9. 

“We want the kids to know they can do this stuff,” said Director of Camp Abilities Saratoga John McDonald. “Just because they’re visually impaired or deaf doesn’t mean they can’t participate in active sports. They also get to live on a college campus for a week and get that independence. As they start coming to camp year after year, when it comes time to go to college they have that experience.” 

A service project of the Saratoga Springs Lions Club, Camp Abilities is designed to empower children and teens (ages 10-18) who are blind to be physically active through sports and social activities. The program can help play a critical role in creating and reinforcing self-esteem and confidence while being with others who share similar joys, frustrations and obstacles in life. 

The camp will open to welcome the all-volunteer adaptive sports-trained counselors August 2, before the campers arrive the next day. Aside from the sports and activities, there will also be cookouts and concerts throughout the week before the final ceremony on Saturday, August 9, when campers will show off the skills they have learned.

“It’s going to be a whole summation,” McDonald said about the closing ceremony. “There’s progress reports that we will make for the parents and the kids get an opportunity to show off what they learned and picked up. So, they get to demonstrate that. It’s pretty special. From what I understand, at Brockport, it can get pretty emotional.”

Camp Abilities Saratoga will also feature specific sports specialist. One of this summer’s featured specialists is four-time Judo Olympian Jason Morris, who won a silver medal at the 1992 Olympics and was head coach of the 2008 Olympic Judo squad.

“It’s huge to have an Olympian like Jason,” McDonald said. “It gives us visibility locally, regionally, and in our mind nationally.”

Morris, who owns the Jason Morris Judo Center in Glenville, plans on bringing some of his nationally and globally recognized athletes along with him to Skidmore, as he teaches skills that can be used both on and off the mat.

“Judo is a life skill just like swimming,” Morris said. “I don’t care if you’re blind or not blind. It teaches you coordination, self-awareness and self-defense.”

Morris will be doing morning sessions Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout the week before the closing ceremony.

“This program is so neat because you meet new people with the same challenges,” Morris said.

Aside from the physicality and skill that goes along with the camp, McDonald agreed that a big part of the camp is the friendships kids and teens will walk away with.

“When your kids come home from camp, one of the things they will talk about is all the fun they had and the cool kids they met,” McDonald said. “You get lifelong friendships out of camps. Friendships, self-awareness, confidence…it just sets them up for life.” 

Aside from Saratoga County, there will also be participants from around the region, including Albany, Glens Falls, Hadley-Luzerne, Hudson Falls, Schenectady and Troy. Out of state, there will be participants from Vermont and from as far as Colorado. 

“I couldn’t imagine we would be getting kids from Vermont and Colorado,” McDonald said. ‘What it says is there’s a need. That’s what it’s telling us. We wouldn’t have 20 campers if there wasn’t a need. And we’re just scratching the surface. Word is going to get out there. Being in Saratoga in August, there are a lot of things in our region to do—a nationally recognized rowing program and equestrian sports, and just all the other sports at Skidmore College campus.” 

The first summer has already met its limit of 20 campers; however, names can be put on a waiting list by calling (518) 290-7050 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

With the initial goal being to raise $85,000 for the program, Camp Abilities has passed that and raised around $100,000 in less than a year. 

“As long as we can keep doing the fundraising, we’re going to keep doing it,” said McDonald, who plans on having a successful program that spans 20-plus years to come. “It’s amazing what happens once you get out there and start knocking on doors.”

Just two years after members of the Saratoga Springs Lions Club became inspired by Camp Abilities Brockport, Camp Abilities Saratoga has quickly gone from an idea to a reality—a bonafide program doing its part to help.

It’s all about the campers.


“I hope the kids get that feeling of accomplishment—that they took on something that they wanted to participate in and proved to themselves that they could do it,” McDonald said.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 13:16

Jean Helen Nichols

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jean Helen Nichols, a longtime Glendale, Arizona resident, living at the Glencroft Care Facility went to be with the Lord on December 7, 2013, following a battle with multiple myeloma. She was 89 years old at the time of her passing.  

Born on October 19, 1925 in Greenfield Center, she is the daughter of the late Fred and Madeline (Ebert) Braim and is the second eldest of five siblings; Bob (deceased), Louis, Louise and Joe Braim.

An honors graduate from St. Peters Academy in Saratoga Springs, in 1944 she married the late Walter H. Nichols. Widowed at an early age, she went on to raise her three children, James, Daniel and Karen to adulthood, as a single parent. She resided in Greenfield Center and Saratoga Springs until the mid-1980s when she moved to Glendale.

Her many jobs included seamstress for the now defunct Van Raalte clothing factory, assembly line worker in General Foods’ carton and container factory and as a library assistant at the NY State Library in Albany, among others.

She enjoyed knitting, crocheting, sewing, almost any type of family activity and traveling, having had the opportunity to visit Mexico, France, England, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany in her lifetime.

Upon her retirement and move to Arizona, Jean became an avid volunteer. She worked with the Foundation for Senior Living, the Glendale Senior Center, Thunderbird Hospital and devoted many hours of volunteer work for her long-time residence, Manistee Manor in Glendale. Her Catholic faith sustained her through her long life. Her son, Judge James R. Nichols Sr., died June 4, 2014 and his wife Carol Nichols, died on August 14, 2009.

Despite a severe hearing loss acquired in early childhood and deteriorating vision in later years, numerous health issues over the years and challenges that might have hardened a less hardy spirit, Jean was an unfailingly cheerful, compassionate and giving soul until her final breath.

Survivors include her siblings, Louis, Louise and Joe Braim; numerous nieces and nephews;  grandson, James (wife, Marla Jo) Nichols Jr, and a great-grandson, Justin; her granddaughter, Michelle Nichols-Smith (son Dan’s daughter), and great-grandchildren, Dylan, Steven and Johnathan, all of NY state; her daughter, Karen and her husband Mike Micele, granddaughter Danielle and her husband Richard Aniszko, grandson Erik and his wife Sara Jorgensen and great-grandchildren Aaron, Zachery, Houston Jorgensen, Alexandra, Braydon, Macy and Becker, all of Michigan; her son, Dan Nichols, grandson Damian Nichols, his wife Michelle and their children Jill, Danny and Taylor, all of Arizona.

Relatives and friends may attend a memorial service at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 21 at the Burke/Bussing and Cunniff Funeral Homes, 628 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY and burial will follow in St. Peter's Cemetery.

The family recommends for those inclined, that donations be made to Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona or any hospice facility of one's choice, in Jean’s name and in lieu of flowers.                 Online remembrances may be made at burkefuneralhome.com.

Monday, 09 June 2014 14:39

Gerald 'Gerry' Selig

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Gerald "Gerry" Selig, 92, passed away at Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton, Florida on June 7.

Born on May 27, 1922, he was the son of the late Freda and Charles Zelikofsky. He attended the University of Illinois and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942. During his service in the Air Force, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and flew missions over the European theatre as a Bombardier Navigator when he was shot down and taken prisoner in Germany for a period of three weeks. He received the Purple Heart for his service to his country.

When he returned home to Saratoga, after his discharge, he met and married Evalyn Britt, who was the mother of his two children, Susan and Joanne, and they were married for 35 years.

He then joined his father in the scrap metal business, Spa Waste Company, which in later years became Spa Steel Products Co., Inc., and celebrated over 50 years of prosperous business.

Gerald was devoted to his synagogue and to his beloved community of Saratoga Springs. He served as President of Congregation Shaari Tfille, and he was on the Board of Directors of Saratoga Hospital. He was a long time member of McGregor Links Country Club and the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club and a ski instructor at West Mountain. His greatest hours of pleasure and recreation were spent on his boat, the “Unicorn,” on Lake George and later in the ocean off of Ft. Lauderdale. But above all, his family was the center of his life.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his sister, Selma Berkowitz.

Survivors include his beloved wife of 30 years, Christa; his daughters, Susan Edwards (Robert) and Joanne Dwornik (Jim); sister, Bobbie Rapp (Frank); stepsons, Keith Ackerman (Lisa) and Craig Ackerman (Ivy); seven grandchildren, David Edwards (Robin), Sara Hills (Adam), Jeffrey Dwornik, Carrie Ellis (Jason), Chad, Spencer and Jeremy Ackerman; and seven great grandchildren, Ellie, Carter, Tucker, Jake, Natalie, Judah and Benjamin.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday June 11 at Congregation Shaari Tfille, 84 Weibel Avenue, Saratoga Springs.

Burial with military honors will follow in the Jewish Community Cemetery.

Arrangements are under the direction of William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing & Cuniff Funeral Home, 628 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Jewish Community Center, 84 Weibel Avenue, Saratoga Springs, New York 12866 or Hospice by the Sea, 1531 W. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton, Florida 33486 (561) 395-5031.

Online remembrances may be made at www.burkefuneralhome.com

Friday, 30 May 2014 12:05

Nancy J. (Morcombe) Meyer

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Nancy J. (Morcombe) Meyer passed peacefully on May 27 at Gateway House of Peace, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

Born in Cornwall, Vermont on December 4, 1937, she was the daughter of the late Floy and Francis Blair. Nancy attended school in Cornwall and Shoreham, Vermont and graduated from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School. 

In addition to her husband, Edwin, she is survived by their wonderful children, Susan Meyer (Jack Powell) from Schuylerville, Ted Meyer from New York City, and Sandra (Andrew) Swayne from Clifton Park. She adored and was so proud of her four grandchildren, Jasmine and Cianan Allen-Meyer and Madeline and Derek Swayne. She is also survived by her brother, Frank (Mary Jane) Blair, and nephew Scott Blair from Ballston Spa and two cousins, Gail Hoy from West Palm Beach, Florida and Harry Duffany, Jr. from Bridport, Vermont, and her cat, Alena.

Nancy will be remembered for her love of the arts, which was infectious. Her love of music started on a pump organ owned by her grandparents that she found in the woodshed of their Vermont farmhouse. She continued her keyboard fascination with an upright piano that she taught herself to play. Her first purchase upon starting work was a spinet piano, which remained with her for the rest of her life and has been shared with her daughter and granddaughter. She learned to play cornet in a Gospel Hymn Band in Vermont and upon moving to Burnt Hills discovered the French horn which she played in the BH-BL band.

Nancy started her professional career as a secretary in the Advertising and Sales Promotion Department at Schenectady General Electric. Her desire to travel took her career in another direction. She was accepted at the Eastern Airlines Flight Attendant School in Miami, FL and proudly wore the navy blue uniform of an Eastern Airlines Flight Attendant for several years. She had the honor and pleasure of serving Captain Eddie Rickenbacker aboard one of her flights. While flying into Albany Airport, she met her husband, who was also an Eastern Airlines staff member. They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Eastern later rehired her as a Flight Attendant Recruiter covering upstate New York and Vermont.

Her innate love of music found its way to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center where she started working as an usher in 1970, followed by 34 years on staff as Executive Secretary/Assistant to the President, retiring in 2010. Among her SPAC duties, she served as liaison with the SPAC Action Council and the SPAC Board of Directors, and provided hospitality for world-renowned classical music artists who performed at SPAC. She truly loved her job and treated every artist, manager, and agent with such respect and admiration - and they all loved her. It was her privilege to work with Maestro Charles Dutoit and Chantal Juillet on the orchestral and chamber music programs. She was an avid John Denver fan and loved The Philadelphia Orchestra. It was a rarity for her to miss an orchestra performance. Upon her retirement from SPAC, she was presented with an amphitheater seat bearing a plaque that reads, “Nancy Meyer: The Heart of Art of SPAC,” right next to a second seat dedicated to her husband and “Partner in the Arts.”

She also attended the Nursing Program at Adirondack Community College but withdrew so she could spend more time with her grandchildren.  

Following her retirement from SPAC and having had a great desire to be a nurse, Nancy became a volunteer at Saratoga Hospital, working with patients on A3 and assisting with blood drives. She always found something in common to discuss with the patients, regardless of age. Wanting to do more for the pleasure of the patients, Nancy started guitar lessons at age 73 and enjoyed playing for the patients, and also for her family and friends. She was a passionate, dedicated guitar student and loved to go out to hear live music by local musicians and dance the night away. She developed a repertoire of close to 200 songs and even did open mic nights. She is an example to everyone who witnessed her enthusiasm that you are never too old to learn something new.

Nancy always had a flower garden featuring a variety of roses, which she maintained with the same love and care she gave to the people in her life. She also enjoyed picking berries at area farms and would visit family and friends with the gift of a quart of berries handpicked with love. She made the best macaroni and cheese and loved to take her grandchildren shopping for clothes.

Nancy and her husband never lost their love for travel and visited the Hawaiian Islands and Walt Disney World in Orlando frequently.  

Whether working as a flight attendant, assisting performing artists, volunteering at the hospital, or spending time with family and friends, Nancy’s life was one of joyful hospitality and service. Her warm, radiant smile put everyone around her at ease. She often described herself as an optimist, and her sunny mood was indestructible. She smiled through any challenges life sent her way and always chose the path of love.

Nancy was an active and involved member of the Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church and volunteered for several organizations, including Saratoga Springs First Night, Saratoga Preservation Foundation, Saratoga Hospital Volunteer Guild, and Miss Greater Saratoga County Scholarship Pageant. She also served on the 50th reunion committee for the BH-BL Class of 1955 and was a member of the Wilton YMCA.

The family expresses tremendous gratitude for the angels at Community Hospice and Gateway House of Peace for the compassionate, tender, loving care they gave her every moment she was in their care.

Those who wish to honor her memory may contribute to Gateway House of Peace, 479 Rowland St., Ballston Spa, NY 12020, or Saratoga Performing Arts Center, 108 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, NY  12866, or the Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church, 175 Fifth Ave., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Relatives and friends may call from 4-7pm Friday, May 30, 2014 at the William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing & Cunniff  Funeral Homes, 628 North Broadway. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 31 at the Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church, Fifth Ave. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family.

Friday, 30 May 2014 12:02

Stephen Murphy

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Stephen Murphy, 51, passed away suddenly while at his home on May 24.

Stephen was born in Rome, Italy and was a naturalized American citizen. He was

the son of the late Ann and John Murphy (from Ardara, County Donegal and Rosslare Strand, County Wexford, Republic of Ireland).

Stephen graduated from Russell Sage with honors, having earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He was well known for his work in helping those who were homeless, principally through his employment at Shelters of Saratoga (SOS) where he enjoyed much respect. His generosity of spirit and genuineness in sharing his own experiences in aid of others made him a memorable and much beloved Irishman.

Survivors include his siblings: Mary Lemp and her husband, Thomas; Dermot and his wife, Ann; Patrick and his wife, Janet; and his nieces and nephews, Maureen and Brian Lemp, Laura and Sean Murphy, and Declan Patrick Murphy. He also has many surviving relatives in Ireland. 

Friday, 30 May 2014 12:00

Patricia A. Totten

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Patricia A. Totten, of Lawrence Street, passed away Sunday, May 25 at St. Peter’s Hospice in Albany. She was 83.

Born on March 29, 1931 in Saratoga Springs, she was a daughter of the late Thomas F. and Margaret C. (Murphy) Totten and was a lifelong resident. A graduate of the former St. Peter’s Academy on Broadway in the class of 1949, she began working for Skidmore College on August 15, 1950. After 45 years of devoted service, she retired as the alumni news editor on February 8, 1995. She felt honored to have been recognized with her own cap and gown during one of their annual alumni reunions.

In addition to her parents, she is predeceased by her fiancé, L.D. Bull, and a sister and brother-in-law, Marie Elizabeth and Kenneth Savard.

Survivors include one sister, Sister Margaret Totten, CSJ of the Provincial House in Latham; two brothers, Thomas F. (Elberta) Totten of Ballston Lake and John J. (Katherine) Totten of Saratoga Springs; two nieces, Christine (Mitch) Richards of Corinth and Karen (Wayne) Alonzo of Hamlin’ and one nephew, Kevin Savard of Saratoga Springs.

Relatives and friends may call from 9-10 a.m. Saturday, May 31 in the Church of St. Peter, 241 Broadway.

A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Church of St. Peter. The Rev. Timothy Keating, C.Ss.R. will officiate.

Burial will be private in the family plot at St. Peter’s Cemetery, West Ave.

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