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Friday, 02 May 2014 08:15

A Code Blue Thank You

The Community’s Finest Hour


SARATOGA SPRINGS—A triumph of hope, of a community rallying to bolster those among us who are the least fortunate, was celebrated at a reception gathering for Code Blue volunteers and donors on Sunday, April 27 at Bethesda Parish House on Washington Street.  


A Code Blue program swung into action just four days after the death by outdoor exposure of city resident Nancy Pitts on December 20, 2013. She was remembered in remarks by community resident Joy King. Also, an original new song, Homeless Heart, inspired by Ms. Pitts was written and delivered by songwriter Jeff Brisbin and Mayor Joanne Yepsen and Code Blue Coordinator Cheryl Ann Murphy made remarks.


Between Christmas Eve, 2013 and March 27, 2014 the Code Blue Shelter was open for 58 nights during one of the severest winters in several years. There were 928 overnight stays, an average of 16 guests per night. 


While there was much to celebrate, there appeared to be a sense among those gathered that there is much to do. A permanent Nancy Pitts Memorial Code Blue shelter is still to be located and tentative plans for necessary fundraising (such as a Code Blue Road Race next spring) were discussed. 


But this was a day to be thankful, and to take note of the tremendous community member and business response to an emergency situation. Here then, is an honor roll of sorts:


Restaurants and Other Services Donated By:

The Holiday Inn


Georgia’s of Woodlawn Commons and Embury


The Olde Bryan Inn

The Wishing Well

Maestros at the VanDam

Saratoga Casino and Raceway

Jacob and Anthony's

The Bread Basket 

William Neimer, age 14 of Schuylerville and Rachel Dwyer, who made meatball subs and salad as part of his STAR project for Boy Scout Troop 4013.

PJs Bar-B-QSA 

Parkside Eatery

50 South

Spring Street deli

Capriccios Saratoga



The Stadium

The Inn at Saratoga


Gaffney’s Restaurant

EL Mexicano

Irish Times

Panza’s restaurant

The Kettle

Country Corner Cafe



Cobble Pond Station of Malta

Spot Café

Unity Lodge No. 22

Dunkin Donuts, S Broadway

Pizza Hut, Ballston Avenue

Treasures of Saratoga Hospital

Catholic Charities


Price Chopper of Ballston Avenue

American Red Cross Adirondack-North Country and NENY chapters

New England Presbyterian Church

The Giving Circle

Cudney’s of Broadway, donated fresh linens daily

St. Peter's Church

The Salvation Army

The local U.S. Navy


Individuals from the community who volunteered their time making meals and time serving the homeless, as well as those who made financial contributions:


Jasper Ian Aganon        

Helen Atwell

Andrea Barry             

Audrey Belt              

Mark Bertrand            

Robert Beyer             

Bill Boehmke             

William Brennan          

Kristin Brenner          

Kate Breslin             

Paul Brisson             

Ann Bullock             

Bob Bullock              

Margaret Bushee          

Lisa Capasso             

Gail Capobianco         

Frank Capone             

Tammy Chandler          

Margaret Cocozzo        

Rob Colangelo            

Jen Colangelo            

Doreen Collins           

Catherine Commerford     

Coqui Conkey             

Ellen Cuminale 

Robert Curry

Brian Dailey             

Barb Dalton              

Gail and Ed Decker       

Mary Beth Delarm         

Edward DeLuca            

Nathan Detweiler        

Ronald Deutsch           

Gurdeep Dhaliwal         

Ann Diller               

Brittany Dingler         

Patricia Downing         

Leann Driscoll           

Sharon Drosky            

Stanley Drosky           

Rachael Dwyer            

Jesse Elwert-Peters      

Carol Fallon             

Jeff Fortman             

Mitchell Frost           

Pam Funiciello           

Susan Gaddor  

Leo Geoffrion          

Thomas Gibbs             

Rachel Gill              

Conor Golden             

Bo Goliber

Arthur Gonick              

Michele Goyette 

Kathy Gregory

Sherie Grinter           

Susan Hamlin             

Jamey Hardesty           

Andrew Haskins           

Jami Hawthorne           

Rob Hawthorne            

Michelle Hicks           

Rolland Hoag             

Alex Hodor-Lee           

Catherine Hurley

Rev. Dominic S. Ingemie 

Sarah Ireland            

Janice James             

Jeri Jannicelli          

Eric Jenks               

Peggy Jenny              

Whitney Jobmann          

Chauncey Jones           

Beth Kane                

Mollie Kavanagh          

Aaron Kay                

Joy King                 

John Kirwin              

Douglas Klein            

Colin Klepetar           

Ian Klepetar             

Chuck Kochheiser        

Laura Kruegler           

Bill & Laura Kyer        

Laura Kyer               

Mark Lawton              

Alexas Leach             

Norine Lee-Wagner        

Devante Lewishearns      

Dave Lindberg            

Chip Locke               

Peggy MacArthur          

Mary C Mahoney           

Peg Mangano              

Tony Mangano             

Andrea Mann              

Ernest Mann              

Jackie Marcelle          

Robert McChesney         

Laurie McDermott         

Lisa Meade               

Erica Miller             

Kay Moberg               

Mary Monigan             

Amanda Moore             

Megan Mumford            

Cheryl Murphy            

Bradley Nagle            

Richard Naple            

Kelly O'Connell          

Betty O'Connor           

Kathryn Oppedisano       

Patricia Paduano         

John Penzer              

Michael Phillips         

Gary Picher              

Lisa Plue                

Steven Poissant          

Kim Poli                 

Joseph Potrzuski         

Elizabeth Powers         

Kelly Pressley           

Traci Radigan            

Lillian Ramsey           

Lisette Rayher           

Carol Reynolds           

Joyce Rice              

Patty Riggi   

Vincent Riggi

Julie Roberts

Bruce Robinson          

Marian Roth              

Marc Russo               

Melissa Russo            

Stuart Schultz           

Val Schultz              

Caroline Sgorrano

Ray Simboli              

Robert Simpson           

Janet & Bernie Singer    

Julie Slovic             

Karen Solomon            

Edward Solomon           

Beau Stallard            

Mary Starr               

Susan Steer              

LaVerne Stiles           

Brian Straughter         

Conrad Swiers            

Crystal Swinton          

Stephen Toman            

Chuck Tyree              

George Van Deusen        

Pam Volzone              

Karen Wadsworth          

John Waechter            

Krick & Sophia Wahl 

Shirley Waterfield       

Peter Whitten            

W Winz                   

Peter Wohl               

Ashley Wood              

Rob Wright               

Cathie Wright            

Sharah Yaddaw

Joanne Yepsen            

Karen Zanni              

Monna Zuckerman         


“But if we fail, then the whole world… including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister…. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if {we} last for a thousand years, {people} will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’.”


- Sir Winston Churchill

Published in News
Friday, 10 January 2014 10:55

The People’s Wall: On Expanded Gaming

Note to Readers: We invite your thoughts and emails. Please keep your comments brief (150 words or less) and email them (no snail mail please) with a phone number to confirm to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Saratoga TODAY reserves the right to edit or reject any offensive or other language as needed. What a dilemma Saratoga Springs is faced with. If Saratoga Casino and Raceway is chosen to get a Vegas-style casino – Downtown Saratoga will be destroyed along with SPAC and other businesses! If Rensselaer is chosen for a casino, then Saratoga Casino and Raceway will be destroyed! If Saratoga Casino is gone – what will replace it? Saratoga will not get the revenue it has bee accustomed to receiving. It would be interesting to know how the Saratoga hotels and restaurants do during the winter months. SPAC, of course, is idle. Other than the Victorian Streetwalk, First Night, Chowderfest and the Flurry there is not much going on downtown in the winter. A casino with entertainment could help fill the gaps and even help downtown if there was a designated area (like a visitors center) that promoted downtown Saratoga. The City Center’s concern about the size of the event space at the casino could be resolved if the casino agrees to have only entertainment (dancers, singers, bands, etc.) and not conventions! John J. Totten Saratoga Springs Why I’m against the proposed casino complex: It’ll bring more crime, pull people from downtown, undermine the city convention center and other venues, increase congestion, put a strain on infrastructure, lead to more devastation to families due to gambling and other addictions, bring the guys in shiny suits back to town, make this a less attractive place to live (which will affect property values), and be spiritually deadening. Look at the places near casinos that are dark and struggling. We don’t need any more development. We’re a small city. The Chamber’s “fact finding forum” on the proposed Vegas-style, full-scale casino, hotel, restaurants and convention center, was short on facts, long on vague promises, and almost all about business and money, not community effects on people, city, crime, etc. 450 casino “supporters” we’re bussed in under threats of fines to pack the house, just like a stacked deck. The Chamber event was an infomercial for the first hour! Skip Carlson and Rita Cox were sweetly promising to live in harmony with Saratoga, but a casino, convention center, hotel, and restaurants would try to keep their patrons there and would be in competition. Mark Baker, John Baker and Harvey Fox raised concerns about dangers about a “mini-Vegas” on downtown, but SAVE, a citizens group, was not allowed to speak. 58% of Saratogians voted against allowing casinos, and in electoral terms that’s a landslide, but that doesn’t matter unless people pressure the politicians. Robert W. Davis Saratoga Springs Add me to EXTREMELY opposed list. Ask people if they remember horse racing in Atlantic City? Some will recall the Matchmaker, the United Nations Handicap and world-class racing and then the casinos came to make everything better... Marilyn Lane Saratoga Springs A pragmatic approach is to establish a point that both parties can agree upon. Without a doubt, gambling brings risk: property value, crime, quality of life, infrastructure and tax risks to name a few. There are also benefits: jobs, economic growth & tax revenue. In similar cases where risks of adverse conditions potentially harming tax payers, their land values and quality of life for residents are absorbed by property owners’ (AK, PA oil & gas) ongoing compensation in the form of royalties is paid to the land owners. Let’s share the risk and reward with the residents and taxpayers by sharing profits based on property tax participation- pro-rated proportionately. In this model, true entrepreneurship prevails. If the pro casino faction balks, their self-serving greed will surface. If they accept, their points gain validity. With great decision-making power comes immense responsibility. I hope Saratoga’s leaders raise the bar for accountability and social responsibility. Stephen D. Berg Resident and Business Owner The nightmare of Saratoga’s historic flat track forsaken for the air-conditioned “Destination Saratoga Casino” is too threatening to be ignored. Yet, to date, it seems NYRA is sitting this one out. At the casino forum, two thoroughbred breeders and one for the standardbreds represented horse interests. Collectively they tried to convey concerns of being left behind and told chilly stories of failed racetracks when a casino comes to town. But where was NYRA? Could it be in collusion with the Governor’s office (where it seems SPAC has gone), or are there conflicts of interest? What say you NYRA? Robert M. Toole Saratoga Springs So my take on the meeting at the city center is that we still know very little about what the potential development of the 160 acres really is. I think this meeting was nothing more than fluff from the development side. We have to “wait and see” how much they cram into their RFA’s, and then it’s too late. I would like to see their proposal BEFORE it is filed! Why can’t we have a meeting to discuss the proposal that has the very real possibility of altering what we have worked for, for so long? Why have we never embraced harness racing like we have thoroughbred racing? As a life-long resident do not recall any development of that part of racing to improve attendance. Is it really “failing” to the point we could lose if casino development is blocked? What other options have been explored? I think it was abundantly clear the opposition to Casino expansion has made their presence known and as someone said; the large turnout for, against, and undecided does represent we are a concerned community; and hopefully we can all stay on this issue like flies on rice! We should we have a voice at the next meeting! Just saying... Kim Fonda My family spans five generations in Saratoga Springs, including my daughter who, if we stay, will attend the same school as her mom, uncle, great grand-uncle and great grandmother. I can work anywhere in the U.S., but chose to come home – a rarity based on the AP story of January 4, noting the mass exodus of young professionals from upstate NY. I have many concerns about the siting of a casino in Saratoga Springs - principal among them is the recent talk of ‘promises,’ and ‘assurances’ being made in the name of getting this deal done. I’m equally concerned about so-called ‘partnerships’ to exist between private interest groups and our city, and its residents and businesses. While I’m sure some of our public officials have benefitted from their own personal partnerships with these private interest groups, let’s ask ourselves honestly: How real are these promises? How binding are these assurances? How strong are these partnerships? Private casino interests are just that: private. These same people promising public partnerships have a single objective: maximizing private interests. There is nothing inherently wrong with maximizing private interests. There is something disingenuous about doing so under the pretenses of acting in the public’s best interest. I submit to you the same group promising you partnerships and thoughtful expansion will act in the public’s interest only if doing so furthers their own agenda. That is something less than a true partnership. We’ve now heard the following: “We’ll build a “Saratoga-style” casino.” “We will close at 1 a.m. if the Saratoga Springs bars have to” “We don’t plan to offer subsidies on drinks / meals / entertainment” “We will work with the local businesses” “Development will be in line with Saratoga’s culture and history” What precisely are the legally binding mechanisms requiring private casino interests to adhere to these promises? Moreover, when it suits these same interests to sell to new owners in order to maximize their own bottom line, what can this city point to in order to bind successors and assigns as to these same promises? Private casino interests are the first to speak of their neighborhood pride. Can you say the same for Genting, Ceasar’s, MGM and other corporations buying up casinos nationwide? What kind of partnership should we expect then? Casinos are in the business of making you feel as if you have a chance to win, when you otherwise know the odds are stacked decidedly against you. It’s smoke and mirrors. This entire bid for a “Saratoga-style” casino in partnership with the city and its businesses and residents is just more of the same. I respectfully ask our elected officials to please stop buying the talking points of the racino – your citizens are smarter than that. Uphold the vote of your citizens and pass a resolution against the siting of a casino in Saratoga Springs. Brooke McConnell Saratoga Springs I am urging each member of the City Council to protect the precious resources of our City and pass a resolution against full gaming in Saratoga Springs.Powerful forces, fueled by greed alone, are determined to force this facility down our throats if we stand idly by. No community in history has withstood the crushing social impacts of casino gambling within their city limits. Increased problem gambling, embezzlement, drunk driving, burglaries are all proven to increase when a casino comes to town. Detroit needs a casino. Monticello would benefit from a casino. Placing a casino in Saratoga would be like encouraging a dingo farm to be next to a child care center. As a former local business owner, 34 year resident and Grandfather, I treasure what Saratoga has to offer. As a property owner, much of our personal wealth lies in the local residential and commercial properties we have worked so hard to acquire, renovate and maintain over the decades. A casino threatens property values. This is a proven fact, not merely an opinion. I wouldn’t choose to send my granddaughter to college in a casino town, and suspect many other families wouldn’t either. Please just say ‘no way’ to the casino...they only care about themselves. Russell Pittenger Saratoga Springs
Published in News
Friday, 10 January 2014 10:46

Code Blue Diary

Note: Andrea Barry has been Saratoga TODAY’s intern for this past semester. She is currently a senior at Saratoga Springs High School. To complete her internship she was asked to choose an assignment based on current events and write about her experiences. She elected to become a volunteer at Saratoga Springs’ new Code Blue shelter, which is located on the campus of St. Peters Church and became active on December 24. She visited on what could be one of the coldest nights of the new year. SARATOGA SPRINGS - Going into Code Blue on Friday, January 3, I wasn’t sure of what to expect. I knew it would be eye opening and awakening to say the least. But what I didn’t realize was the power that strangers had to touch me in such a way. My experience there was undoubtedly life changing. In Saratoga Springs, the Code Blue facility at St. Peters Church becomes active when the temperature outside drops below 10 degrees (with wind chill factored in) or a foot of snow falls. On this night the forecast was severe: potentially falling to 20 degrees below zero or even lower. In circumstances so extreme, this facility could mean the difference between life and death for several in our community. Upon arriving, my first task was to help organize the donations table. Clients then would come and pick out the items they needed most. From something as simple as of pair of socks, or every day as jeans, the appreciation was tremendous. Later, I helped serve food. I don’t think there was a single person who didn’t say thank you. When I wasn’t involved with a task, I was speaking with the clients. I was touched by our differences, but even more was amazed about our similarities. Each person there had a story, a past and a purpose. Sadly, something went awry for them along the way. I got to know some wonderful, giving volunteers as well. Listening to what most endure on a daily basis was incredible to me. It was then that I realized just how fortunate I was. Although only for a night, the facility takes people off of the streets and provides them with a hot meal and a bed to sleep in. These simple things are so commonly taken for granted yet are capable of meaning the world to some. Thanks to Code Blue, I was able to engage in a life altering experience and encounter some of the strongest individuals I have ever met. If you wish to volunteer or donate, visit codebluesaratoga.org.
Published in News
Friday, 15 November 2013 12:48

Local Residents Packing Joy For Needy Children

SARATOGA SPRINGS — With holiday supplies already covering the store shelves, Saratoga Springs individuals, families, churches and groups are working to make Christmas a reality for needy kids around the world by filling shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement. Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, is ramping up as Saratoga Springs residents prepare to collect 800 gift-filled shoeboxes during National Collection Week from Nov. 18 to 25. At this local collection site in the Saratoga Springs area, anyone can drop off a gift-filled shoebox to send to a child overseas. Then using whatever means necessary – trucks, trains, boats, bikes and even elephants – the shoebox gifts will be delivered to children worldwide. For many children, the shoebox gift will be the first gift they have ever received. Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 100 million shoebox gifts to suffering children in more than 100 countries since 1993. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect another 9.8 million gift-filled shoeboxes in 2013. Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (518) 437-0690 or visit samaritanspurse.org. National Collection Week for gift-filled shoeboxes is Nov. 18-25. However, shoebox gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C. Participants can also build a box through an online tool offering a personalized and convenient way to send a gift to a child in one of the hardest-to-reach countries. SARATOGA SPRINGS COLLECTION SITE: New Life Fellowship 51 Old Gick Road Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Operating Hours: Mon. Nov. 18 - Fri. Nov. 22: 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Sat. Nov. 23: 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. Sun. Nov. 24: 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Mon. Nov. 25: 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. NEARBY COLLECTION SITE: Calvary’s Family Life Center 100 Sherman Avenue Glens Falls, NY 12801 Operating Hours: Mon. Nov. 18 - Fri. Nov. 22: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sat. Nov. 23: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sun. Nov. 24: 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Mon. Nov. 25: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. For more information regarding these collection locations, call 1-800-567-8580.
Published in News


  • Saratoga County Court Matthew J. Gifford, 31, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced to 5 days incarceration and 5 years probation, after pleading to felony DWI, charged February 2024 in Saratoga Springs.  Kevin P. Masterson, 52, of Mechanicville, was sentenced to 6-1/2 years incarceration / 5 years post-release supervision, after pleading to criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree, charged May 2023.  Shawn Flores, 45, of Milton, pleaded to criminal contempt in the first-degree, charged February 2024. Sentencing July 30.  Nicholas F. Bonfante, 44, of Halfmoon, pleaded to criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second-degree, a felony, charged…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON  Eastline Holdings LLC sold property at 1 Aspen Drive to Sateeshnvss and Srividya Gudipaty for $549,980 Adesh Budhraj sold property at 1 Larkin Road to Katz Excavating and Construction LLC for $65,000 CORINTH William and Robert Morgan sold property at 677 County Route 25 to Christin Guilder for $285,000 GALWAY Rita Werner and Erin Forlenza sold property at 1064 West Galway Road to Karen Crandall for $145,000 GREENFIELD Desolation Ventures Inc. sold property at 498 Lake Desolation Road to MW Real Estate Enterprises, LLC for $680,000 Justin Kelsey sold property at 519 North Creek Road to Scott and David…
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