Thomas Dimopoulos

Thomas Dimopoulos

City Beat and Arts & Entertainment Editor
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SARATOGA COUNTY — Gov. Kathy Hochul announced nine upstate airports – Saratoga and Albany among them, have been awarded $230 million for revitalization projects to “reimagine and further modernize airports across upstate New York.”

“Great to be back. The last time I was officially here was for an ice storm in April, so this is much better,” Gov. Hochul said, announcing the grants during a Sept. 14 presser at Greater Binghamton Airport. 

“Our upstate airports are our gateways to local economies and make lasting impressions, connecting New Yorkers and tourists to the beautiful destinations that the Empire State has to offer.” 

Saratoga County Airport was awarded $27 million for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art, energy-efficient terminal building.

The new building’s first floor will provide two spacious passenger waiting areas, a multi-media conference room, and a café and ice cream counter that will open onto a courtyard with outdoor access. The lobby area will feature a display area for automobiles from the Saratoga Automobile Museum, while the second floor of the building will provide space for pilots as well as a restaurant area and an exhibit area for local artists. 

The hangar portion of the building will be finished with aged, reclaimed wood to mirror the look of the many Saratoga County horse and agricultural barns, while a solar array on top of the hangar roof will help reduce the airport’s collective carbon footprint.

The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors meanwhile have hosted a series of on-again, off-again discussions and public hearings dating back to last year regarding a proposed lease at the Saratoga County Airport with Prime Group Holdings, LLC for the construction, maintenance and use of an airplane hangar on county land. It is not currently known how the governor’s new announcement of funding may affect that previous proposal.   

The funding comes from the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, a competitive solicitation which aims to promote, revitalize and accelerate investments in upstate commercial passenger service airports, helping to create airports for the 21st century. 

“The grants are extraordinary,” Hochul said. “By making critical investments to further modernize facilities across upstate New York, we are lifting upstate airports to new heights and providing a 21st century transportation experience that travelers expect and deserve.” 

The nine airports awarded grants are Binghamton, Albany, Watertown, Syracuse, Rochester, Ogdensburg, Saratoga County, Sullivan County, and Adirondack Airports.

Albany International Airport was awarded $60 million for the expansion of the airport’s terminal, which will provide enhanced passenger amenities pre- and post-checkpoint and more efficient passenger flow through security. 

Pre-check point, the Albany project will create a modern business center for conferences and community gathering spaces to alleviate congestion. At checkpoint, the project will expand the security queue. Post-security, the project will expand the area where passengers prepare themselves for their journey, creating additional retail space, a children’s play zone, a multi-sensory calming room, and an outdoor green space. In addition, the project will improve the facility’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, for enhanced indoor air quality and filtration.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Applicants EC Woodlawn Vandam Property, LLC are seeking the demolition of an existing structure at 119 Woodlawn Ave. 

The structure is “dilapidated, incapable of restoration, uninsurable unusable,” according to documents submitted to the city. Its demolition “would benefit the aesthetic of the neighborhood thereby increasing property values of the neighboring lots.” 

The owner acquired the lot April 20, 2022. The structure is a single-family, 1,312 square foot home believed to be built about 1940, and is located just off Van Dam Street, and roughly opposite Bethel Saratoga Church.

A determination of the architectural/historic significance of that residential structure is under consideration by the Saratoga Springs Design Review Commission Board, which next meets at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at City Hall.    

Additional applications under consideration at the DRC include: a determination of architectural/historic significance of the motel, spa structures and gazebo with a mineral spring located at 120 South Broadway – where demolition is sought, and the Architectural Review of a proposed six-story, mixed-use building development at 30 Caroline St. 

BALLSTON SPA — Saratoga County is offering a series of upcoming clinics regarding the updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters. 

The boosters - called a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine - include components of the original virus strain and the Omicron variant and are designed to provide better protection against the Omicron variant, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. 

According to Saratoga County Department of Health data as of Sept. 2, 2022, since the start of COVID-19 in 2020 there were a total of 427 fatalities to county residents. Of those: 35 were vaccinated and up-to-date with booster recommendations, 68 were vaccinated but not up-to-date with booster recommendations, and 256 were not vaccinated. 

The FDA authorized bivalent formulations of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for use as a single booster dose at least two months after completing primary or booster vaccination. 

Moderna Bivalent Booster 

Clinics - Individuals ages 

65 years and over

Friday, Sept. 23: 8:30 -10 a.m.

Monday, Sept. 26: 1:30 – 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 28: 

8:30  - 9:30 a.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 4: 2 - 3 p.m.

Pfizer Bivalent Booster 

Clinics - Individuals ages 

65 years and over

Thursday, Sept. 22: 8:30 – 10 a.m.

Tuesday, Sept.  27: 1:30 – 3 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 30: 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

Monday Oct. 3: 2 - 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 5: 8:30 - 9:30 a.m.

All clinics will take place at Saratoga County Public Safety Building – 6012 County Farm Road, Ballston Spa. To book an appointment, go to: www.saratogacountyny.gov/covid/covid-19-vaccines-and-boosters. 

GLENS FALLS — For the seventh year, Adirondack Theatre Festival (ATF) will produce the Adirondack Film Festival, which again this year will be presented in a hybrid model, both in-person and online. The screenings will take place at the Charles R. Wood Theater and Crandall Library in downtown Glens Falls. 

An opening night reception Thursday, Oct. 13 at the Queensbury Hotel will feature an evening of music videos capped by “Blondie: Vivir en la Habana,” a short documentary about a path-breaking concert in Cuba by the band Blondie, and a Q&A with director Rob Roth. 

The band’s 2019 concert was part of an official cultural exchange between Havana and New York City. Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry pointed out that Havana’s resemblance to pre-gentrified New York made her feel like she’d been there before. 

“There’s so much beautiful architecture which has deteriorated due to the fact it’s a Caribbean island and salt air is disastrous to the edifices,” Harry told the NME last year, as the documentary had its North American premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.  “They’re in a period of renewal and it made me think back fondly to the ‘70s and the crumbling decay of the Lower East Side.” 

Blondie burst out of the Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s scene in downtown Manhattan in the mid-70s with their self-titled debut (most notably featuring the songs “X Offender,” and “Rip Her To Shreds”), and its follow-up LP ‘Plastic Letters.’ It was their third release, ‘Parallel Lines,’ that gained them national attention with the hit “Heart of Glass” in 1979 – and it is from this period and on into the ‘80s with the subsequent hit songs “Rapture” and “The Tide Is High” that the 18-minute documentary focuses its soundtrack. The film includes guitarist Chris Stein - who wasn’t able to go to the shows due to health reasons - and drummer Clem Burke, pounding away on his skins draped in – what else – a CBGB’s T-shirt. 

The opening night reception will feature a Q&A between ATF Producing Artistic Director Miriam Weisfeld and the film’s director Rob Roth. Roth - a longtime collaborator with Blondie, has also worked on projects with David Bowie, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna, among others. 

“Adirondack Film Festival is thrilled to host the regional premiere of Blondie: Vivir en la Habana and to introduce our community to its iconoclastic creator,” Weisfeld said. “Hearing firsthand from Rob Roth about the experience planning this trip to Cuba with Debbie Harry and Chris Stein and the unexpected twists and turns adds so much to the experience of seeing this innovative short film. Rob’s work spans film and theatre – just like the Adirondack Film Festival, which is the only film festival operated by a professional theatre company. I’m excited to be in conversation with Rob and ATF audiences about art, music, and storytelling across these different platforms. It’s what makes the Adirondack Film Festival unique.” 

The Adirondack Film Festival runs Oct. 13 – 15 and includes screenings of various features, documentaries, shorts, comedies, thrillers, and “Homegrown” Adirondack Region Films. There are a variety of ways that people may attend. 

“Last year we introduced an innovative range of options for audiences to participate in-person, online, or both. By far the most popular option was the ‘All-Access Pass,’ which grants entry to all the screenings in downtown Glens Falls, all the screenings online, plus panels, popcorn bars, parties, and the awards presentation. This year we’re excited to offer our patrons the same flexibility and the same great value,” ATF Managing Director Tracey Sullivan said in a statement. 

All-Access, In-Person, Virtual, and Day Passes are available at adkfilmfestival.org. With a few exceptions, the full lineup will be available both in-person and online. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — For the first time since 2019, downtown Saratoga Springs will play host to a multi-genre arts festival on New Year’s Eve. 

This year’s showcase – Saratoga New Year’s Fest – will showcase events spread throughout the weekend. 

Festivities are anticipated to kick off with a pre-party Friday night, Dec. 30, and begin in earnest on Saturday, Dec. 31 when an afternoon of family-friendly activities will lead to an early evening fireworks show. 

Live music will rule New Year’s Eve night. Multiple venues across town will be themed by sonic genre and stage shows by national headliners and regional musical combos alike. The lineup is slated to include Cowboy Junkies, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio (or DLO3, specializing in the lost art of feel good music), Jeffrey Gaines (with more than a quarter-century of recording and performing under his belt), as well as The Samples and Daniela Cotton. 

Cowboy Junkies were formed in Toronto in 1985 with siblings Michael Timmins on guitar, Margo Timmins on vocals, Peter Timmins on drums, and Michael’s lifelong friend Alan Anton on bass. The band has released 25 albums, a sequencing initiated with their 1988 debut LP “The Trinity Session,” featuring their hauntingly seductive rendition of the Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane,” – reportedly cited by song creator Lou Reed as “the best and most authentic version I have ever heard.” 

“Early Bird” badges will provide access to all venues on New Year’s Eve and are on sale for $20. Reserved seating and VIP packages are also available. 

A fireworks show will be launched from the upper level of the Saratoga Springs City Center parking garage sometime around 6:30 p.m. New Year's Eve. 

The weekend schedule is also anticipated to include a Dance Flurry Takeover, Jam Bands galore, DJ dance party, and sporting tournaments. 

The 5k Road Run will this year take place on Sunday, New Year’s Day. Registration information will be forthcoming. 

For more information about the festival and to purchase admission badges, GO HERE

BINGHAMNTON – Gov. Kathy Hochul announced nine upstate airports – Saratoga and Albany among them, have been awarded $230 million for revitalization projects to "reimagine and further modernize airports across upstate New York.”

“Great to be back. The last time I was officially here was for an ice storm in April, so this is much better,” Gov. Hochul said, announcing the grants during a Sept. 14 presser at Greater Binghamton Airport.

"Our upstate airports are our gateways to local economies and make lasting impressions, connecting New Yorkers and tourists to the beautiful destinations that the Empire State has to offer."

Saratoga County Airport was awarded $27 million for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art, energy-efficient terminal building.

The new building's first floor will provide two spacious passenger waiting areas, a multi-media conference room, and a café and ice cream counter that will open onto a courtyard with outdoor access. The lobby area will feature a display area for automobiles from the Saratoga Automobile Museum, while the second floor of the building will provide space for pilots as well as a restaurant area and an exhibit area for local artists.

The hangar portion of the building will be finished with aged, reclaimed wood to mirror the look of the many Saratoga County horse and agricultural barns, while a solar array on top of the hangar roof will help reduce the airport's collective carbon footprint.

The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors meanwhile have hosted a series of on-again, off-again discussions and public hearings dating back to last year regarding a proposed lease at the Saratoga County Airport with Prime Group Holdings, LLC for the construction, maintenance and use of an airplane hangar on county land. It is not currently known how the governor’s new announcement of funding may affect that previous proposal.   

The funding comes from the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, a competitive solicitation which aims to promote, revitalize and accelerate investments in upstate commercial passenger service airports, helping to create airports for the 21st century.

“The grants are extraordinary,” Hochul said. "By making critical investments to further modernize facilities across upstate New York, we are lifting upstate airports to new heights and providing a 21st century transportation experience that travelers expect and deserve."

The nine airports awarded grants are Binghamton, Albany, Watertown, Syracuse, Rochester, Ogdensburg, Saratoga County, Sullivan County, and Adirondack Airports.

Albany International Airport was awarded $60 million for the expansion of the airport's terminal, which will provide enhanced passenger amenities pre- and post-checkpoint and more efficient passenger flow through security.

Pre-check point, the Albany project will create a modern business center for conferences and community gathering spaces to alleviate congestion. At checkpoint, the project will expand the security queue. Post-security, the project will expand the area where passengers prepare themselves for their journey, creating additional retail space, a children's play zone, a multi-sensory calming room, and an outdoor green space. In addition, the project will improve the facility's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, for enhanced indoor air quality and filtration.

Thursday, 15 September 2022 12:07

WINTER WOES: Heating Costs Forecast to Skyrocket

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Market prices for natural gas are expected to increase this coming winter heating season. 

In anticipation of a cost hike to consumers, National Grid announced it is reaching out to customers to make them aware of the forecast and to promote bill management programs and options to potentially help customers save money on their energy bills.

“We recognize that higher energy prices will add to the financial burden for our customers who are struggling with higher costs at the grocery store, gas pump and elsewhere,” said Melanie Littlejohn, National Grid’s New York Vice President for Customer and Community Engagement, in a statement. “National Grid has many assistance programs available, as well as energy saving strategies, resources and tips. We are encouraging our customers to take action now, before the cold weather arrives.”

Some of those resources include various payment assistance programs for income-eligible customers, residential and business energy efficiency programs and incentives, low-cost and no-cost bill management solutions, and flexible payment programs, according to the energy company – which serves more than 20 million people throughout New York and Massachusetts.

How Current Forecasts Will Affect Winter Bills

Based on current market conditions, National Grid’s residential natural gas customers who use an average of 713 therms during the five-month winter heating season — Nov. 1, 2022, to March 30, 2023 — are forecasted to pay about $263 more than last winter. 

That’s a 39% increase for the same amount of energy use over five months, with $231 of that increase attributed to higher wholesale supply prices. The remaining portion of the increase is related to delivery price increases approved as part of the company’s multi-year rate agreement and other customer bill surcharges. 

For electricity, National Grid’s winter bill forecast shows that eastern New York residential customers will pay about $116 or 22% more compared to last season. Higher wholesale electricity prices are contributing to $105 of the increase, with the remaining amount associated with a regulatory-approved delivery price increase and other bill surcharges. The forecast is based on average electricity use of 600 kilowatt-hour per month. National Grid defines “eastern New York” as everyplace east of Little Falls and encompassing all of Saratoga County, said regional spokesman Patrick Stella. 

The company says it plays an active role in managing the natural gas and electricity purchased on behalf of customers by using gas storage and future price hedges or locked-in pricing. Today’s forecasts factor in the benefit of the company’s hedging strategies, helping to mitigate wholesale supply price volatility on customers’ bills.

Winter bill forecasts are based on information available at the end of August and assume typical winter weather conditions. Energy costs and use are impacted by weather and other market factors that determine actual costs and can be dramatically impacted in real time, the company cautions.

Some Heating Saving Tips 

• For every 1 degree a thermostat is set back, customers can save 1% to 3% on their annual heating costs.

• Turn down the thermostat every time you leave the house for two hours or more, and each night before you go to bed. It takes less energy to warm up a cool house than to maintain a warm temperature all day and night.

• Consider a smart thermostat. When used properly, a smart thermostat can save 10% on heating and cooling costs annually.

• Insulate the attic, walls, ceilings, and floors to prevent heat from escaping.

• Open drapes during the day to capture warmth and close them at night to prevent heat loss through windows.

• Seal holes and cracks where cold air can get in, especially in the attic and basement. Reducing drafts in a home may save 15% in heating and cooling costs annually.

• Remove window air conditioning units during the cold months to reduce drafts. If this is not possible, cover the inside and outside of the units.

• If your heating system has a filter, clean or replace it every month during the heating season. Cleaning or replacing filters as directed by the manufacturer can reduce energy use by up to 15%. And have your heating system serviced annually.

• If you’re looking to replace an appliance, choose one that is ENERGY STAR® certified and save anywhere from 10% to 50% in energy costs. For example, replacing a refrigerator that is older than 15 years with an ENERGY STAR® certified refrigerator can save up to $1,000 over the lifetime of the unit.

• Unplug electronic devices when they are not in use, and repair or replace leaky faucets.

• A 100-watt incandescent bulb and 16.6-watt LED bulb each provide approximately 1,500 lumens of brightness. Replacing five incandescent bulbs with LEDs can save more than $11 a month. Lighting accounts for around 15% of a home’s electricity use. The average household can save about $225 in energy costs per year by switching to LED lighting.

Customer Assistance Programs

Customer Assistance Customers having difficulty with affording their energy bills are encouraged to contact National Grid as soon as possible. There are several assistance programs for income-eligible customers. These are some of them:

• New York state’s one-time Electric & Gas Bill Relief credit program, which eliminates unpaid utility bills accrued through May 1, 2022, for eligible customers. Customers can qualify for the arrears relief program until Dec. 31, 2022.

• The federal Home Energy Assistance Program provides eligible customers with financial grants that assist in paying home heating bill. These grants do not need to be repaid. The program is administered by county departments of social service and typically runs from November through March, but the timeframe may be lengthened or shortened based on federal funding availability. For more information about HEAP, contact the Saratoga County Department of Social Services at 518-884-4140.

• National Grid’s Energy Affordability Program, which provides automatic monthly gas and electricity bill credits for HEAP-eligible customers or customers who participate in other qualifying programs. To learn more about EAP, call the Energy Affordability Team at 1-866-305-1915. 

• NYSERDA’s EmPower New York Income-Eligible Free Weatherization Program, under which a participating contractor will complete a no-cost home energy assessment to identify if a home would benefit from free energy upgrades such as high-efficiency lighting, attic and wall insulation, replacement of old, inefficient refrigerators and freezers and water-saving showerheads. For more information, call 1-877-NYSMART (1-877-697-6278).

Additional Customer Solutions include: The Budget Billing Program which spreads payments out more evenly across the year, as well as additional payment and billing options, including flexible payment agreements and special protections. For more information, go to: nationalgridus.com. 

National Grid Consumer Advocates work directly with customers to help them manage their energy bills. The Advocates specialize in assisting income-eligible and vulnerable customers, aligning them with available programs and services offered by National Grid and local agency partners. They can be reached at 1-800-642-4272 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

ALBANY —  The 1962 New York Mets, a team so charmingly inadequate – 40 wins, 120 losses and 60 games out of first place – their play inspired legendary scribesman Jimmy Breslin to pen a book about them, titled “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?” 

Ira Kaplan, long before he would wed Georgia Hubley and the musical pair formed their seminal band, was born in the borough where the Mets made their marvelous mess when he was five years old.  Now as the story goes, despite advance calls of warning to verbally signal “I Got It!”  Mets’ fielders Elio Chacon and Richie Ashburn collided into one another so often while chasing fly balls atop the Shea Stadium grass that Ashburn eventually asked his Venezuelan teammate how to say “I Got It!” in his native tongue. “Yo La Tengo!” Chacon reportedly responded and from then on out the call would bellow across that Flushing, Queens field of dreams. 

Fast-forward a couple of decades and Yo La Tengo – the musical trio – was born in Hoboken, N.J. More than a dozen studio albums later, the band is making their way across the east coast and will stage a show at Albany’s Lark Hall on Hudson Avenue, Monday, Sept. 26. If you know Yo La Tengo, you know; if you don’t, google their music to learn what you’ve been missing. For show info, go to: https://larkhallalbany.com/.     

SARATOGA — He’s a little bit country-folk. He’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. He’s a little bit…Wayne’s World?

Michael Eck had just attended his third Richard Thompson show in three nights at Caffe Lena when he paused and shared some thoughts about his own career celebration set to stage at the historic Spa City venue. 

“To be on that stage? The same month as Richard Thompson? Oh. My. God. I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy,” he said with a chuckle, launching into a fairly decent reconstruction of the magical moment when Wayne and Garth met Alice Cooper. 

On Sunday Sept. 25, singer, songwriter, poet, writer and Capital Region legend Michael Eck will mark his 40th Anniversary in Live Music with an acoustic performance at Caffe Lena. And while he likely hates the tag as “legend,” worthy he certainly is. It is, to paraphrase the title of his new upcoming release - his turn to shine. 

On Friday, October 1, 1982, Eck made his live musical debut, playing electric guitar with a hardcore band during a Battle of the Bands at Bethlehem Central High School. On the planet, it was A Week. The musical “Cats” opened on Broadway kicking off a generation-long run. Marvin Gaye released what would be his last studio album (“when I get that feeling I want sexual healing” buried within its vinyl groove), and Sony launched the first consumer compact disc player. The sitcom Cheers premiered on broadcast TV. A Bomb attack in Teheran injured 700 people. Ronald Reagan was in The White House, Pope St. John Paul II was at The Vatican, a gallon of gas cost 91 cents, and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was but a mere few weeks away from being unleashing upon the world. 

A prolific longtime reviewer of music and theater, Eck has played the mandolin and the jug, the dobro, ukulele and jaw harp while performing with most every band you’ve ever heard of in the greater Capital Region over the past 40 years, and scores of others that you likely haven’t. Above all else, a six-string noisemaker has been his steady. 

“I always had a desire to be a guitar player. I wanted to be Bill Nelson, from Be-Bop Deluxe,” he says.  “But then punk rock came along and totally blew my mind: Oh, you can just do this teach-yourself-thing.” 

The musical passion-bug seeped into his psyche at a young age. 

“My oldest brother Billy, who recently passed, would play 45’s. We had a battery-operated turntable, and we’d buy plastic bags filled with jukebox 45’s from the old LJ Mullen Pharmacy,” Eck recalled.  “We’d listen to those in the back of the car while the country music that my parents were listening to would come in from the car speakers. Hearing all that music at the same time…it just made me into a music nut from a very young age.” 

The first album purchased with intent? “’Frampton,’ by Peter Frampton – it was the one just before ‘Frampton Comes Alive.’” 

His first attended concert featured Aerosmith at The Palace Theater. “March 3, 1978,” he recalls without a flinch. “Concrete seats in the back of the balcony. I was 13 years old and they were my favorite band.” 

“Aerosmith blasted the roof off the Palace Theater to a capacity crowd of lucky people,” wrote reviewer Al Baca in the Albany Student Press, in the days following the concert. “Unless one is a corpse in the advanced stages of rigor mortis, it is impossible to leave an Aerosmith concert without feeling emotionally drained.” 

“The Palace Theater as a young kid…seeing rock shows at the old dirty Palace before it got renovated, that was something really special to me. This is music, happening right in front of me, being played by people. I just couldn’t imagine anything better. I’m still a voracious live music attender,” Eck says. “Seeing Patti Smith for the first time changed my life. There was a freedom there that just spoke to me.” Decades later, in a church in Albany he and Patti would spend an afternoon together, rehearsing, laughing, and performing. Grooving across state lines, watching jazz saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett performing at Great Barrington’s Club Helsinki is one lasting “just amazing” night of music. 

But to think that Eck’s 40th anniversary in live music is strictly nostalgia is to be misguided. The celebration gig at Caffe Lena will mix old favorites and previously unheard new tunes, as well as serve as the release party for his new album, “Your Turn To Shine.” 

“The great thing about Caffe Lena is that as much as people think of it as a historic place, and it is – it’s always been about the future. What’s going to happen years in the future is happening at Caffe Lena now, and I think that’s terribly exciting,” Eck says.

“What people can expect at the Lena show will be all songs I wrote, all original material – about half the songs from my previous four albums, and half new songs.” 

Eck made his solo artist debut in 1995 with the release of his “Cowboy Black,” album, and followed with  “Resonator,” “ Small Town Blues,”  and “In My Shoes.” 

“Your Turn To Shine” features 12 new songs, - three of which were written a handful of years ago, he explains, and the other nine written in this new era: during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, and for Eck personally, following a stroke. 

“I had a stroke a year-and-a-half-ago. It was a completely life-changing experience, but, oh well - we take each day as it comes. Health-wise, I think I’m doing OK. I can walk and talk, and depending on the time of day, better than at other times of the day. I can take that as a bonus,” Eck says. “Every day is different, but playing music and writing songs are really good therapy for me.  It does a lot more for me spiritually even than it does physically. And my family has been incredibly supportive. I’m feeling pretty lucky.” 

His children Lakota Ruby-Eck – on guitar, and Lillierose Ruby-Eck – on violin, will be joining him for a few songs at Caffe Lena. 

That spirituality? 

“My spirituality comes from a belief in humanity. And a belief in the power of the arts,” Eck says. “I think we can find – to use that term ‘spirituality’ – in whatever we look to or choose to find that. And for me it’s in people, and the arts.” 

Michael Eck’s 40th Anniversary in Live Music will be presented at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25 at Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs. Call 518-583-0022, or go to: www.caffelena.org. Physical copies of Eck’s fifth album, “Your Turn To Shine—New Songs, Live At WEXT,” will be available on disc at the event, with digital distribution to follow.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Residents who had attended several City Council meetings to advocate for safer passageways for young students attending Caroline Street Elementary School were pleased to learn this week that the city announced it will be installing pedestrian sidewalks along a five-block stretch east of the school, where no sidewalks currently exist.     

“Nearly every time I drive on this stretch of Caroline Street, I have to drive into the opposite lane of travel to avoid pedestrians in the road,” said Olivia O’Malley, who was accompanied by her second-grade daughter, Carlin, at a gathering during the Sept. 1 announcement.  O’Malley said that once her daughter started attending kindergarten at the school, her perspective grew to a new realization for the “absolute necessity” for sidewalks. 

“Once you walk with your 5-year-old on this narrow, two-way road with no shoulders and parking allowed on both sides… there is no denying the need,” she said, adding that wintertime snow piles create an even more precariously narrow passageway for pedestrians.

The sidewalks will be installed along the north side of Caroline Street on a stretch of road that runs five blocks from Schuyler Drive to Foxhall Drive. 

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner and Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Public Works Jason Golub made the joint announcement. Woerner secured $150,000 toward the project, with the city providing matching funds. 

“These are our tax dollars and it’s a pleasure to bring them back to the community to make such an important difference in the lives of our youngest members, and to help the keep the anxiety levels of our parents down considerably,” Woerner said. 

Golub thanked Woerner – “without her support this project wouldn’t have been possible” – as well as parents and residents who came to City Hall to bring the issue to the City Council. 

“This sidewalk project is something you fought for, both yourself and other families,” Golub said. “There is nothing more important than the safety of our children. When children and families are walking home from school in the street without the safety of sidewalks, we have not done our best.”   

The overall project will include the installation of new sidewalks, curbing, and storm water infrastructure to limit drainage issues along Caroline Street. City DPW will conduct the work which is anticipated to take place later in the school year.

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