City Beat and Arts & Entertainment Editor
CORINTH — Plans to build a 60 multi-family affordable housing complex in Corinth are moving forward following the state’s announcement last week that it has awarded $7.3 million to RISE Housing and Support Services toward the construction of the building.
The Riverview at Corinth Affordable Housing Project, which will be located on Pine Street in the village of Corinth, will provide 30 supportive housing apartments, 15 affordable senior housing apartments and 15 affordable community apartments. Bonacio Construction, Inc. will oversee the construction of the apartment building which is expected to break ground by the spring of 2023. The total cost of the project is projected to be $21 million.
In addition to providing affordable housing to Corinth residents, the project will also create eight jobs for the community including two case workers and one registered nurse to help provide support for residents. The project is projected to bring in an additional $1.4 million in annual revenue to the village.
The project is joint effort of RISE and Corinth-based Hudson River Community Credit Union (HRCCU)whose Board of Directors determined three years ago that the single greatest challenge for many of its members living in the community is their ability to afford quality housing. HRCCU found a partner in RISE to build and operate the 60-unit apartment building, which will consist of both 1 and 2 bedroom apartments for Corinth seniors and residents. The three-acre parcel of land on which the apartment building will be constructed was donated by HRCCU.
The funds awarded to the project are part of a $104 million in state grants announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul to create and preserve 864 affordable housing units across New York State.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The private message from a local resident came via Twitter.
“Hey, I have a story lead (sic) maybe,” it began. “Wondering if there’s any truth to the rumor that the post office is delivering mail every other day in Saratoga Springs due to mail carrier shortage.”
A quick trip to the local post office to ask this very question soon followed.
“Delivery every other day?”
“Pretty much,” the postal window clerk on duty, said simply.
“It’s been going on quite a while,” came the response.
What followed that was a media request made with the USPS upstate N.Y. regional representative seeking an interview with the Postmaster for Saratoga Springs, N.Y. to learn more about the status of local delivery, as well as general staffing information detailing employment comparisons to years past, and what positions are currently being sought.
“Due to several recent retirements, we are experiencing challenges with employee availability in some locations causing occasional impacts to mail deliveries,” responded Mark Lawrence via email. Lawrence is the strategic communications specialist for the United States Postal Service in the Upstate New York, Central & Western Pennsylvania area.
“We have taken specific actions to continue service to our valued customers, which includes:
• Continue to fully authorize overtime to allow employees to work the time necessary to deliver mail; Expanded mail deliveries to earlier in the morning, later in the evening, and on Sundays to ensure customers receive mail at the earliest date possible.
• Use additional carriers from nearby offices, when necessary, to maintain mail deliveries.
• Hiring additional personnel. To view available positions, go to about.usps.com/careers. Job postings are updated frequently, so job seekers should check the website often. We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding and want to assure customers that we will continue to adjust routes as needed to improve service.”
To the latter point, the Postal Service was on hand for the Albany Job Fair in Latham July 13 and hosted two job fairs - July 20 at the Saratoga Springs Post Office on Broadway and July 21 at the Post Office on Washington Street - with a focus on letter carrier applicants.
“It’s important to note our hiring efforts are ongoing at many locations nationwide. That’s because it’s part of our Delivering for America plan, which includes building and retaining a diverse pipeline of candidates not just for the present day, but for years to come,” Lawrence said.
“The Delivering for America plan is off to a great start,” he added. “Since the beginning of the last fiscal year, the Postal Service converted 63,000 pre-career employees into career positions and onboarded more than 185,000 employees since the beginning of last fiscal year, including the backfilling of the 63,000 pre-career employees.”
For more information about positions sought, and applying for a job at the USPS, go to: about.usps.com/careers.
SARATOGA COUNTY — A U.S. News & World Report ranking nearly 3,000 U.S. counties and county equivalents in 89 metrics across 10 health and health-related categories has named Saratoga County at number 60 in its overall rankings, and tops in all of New York State.
The ranking system used 89 individual metrics, and communities were scored across 10 categories: Population Health, Equity, Education, Economy, Housing, Food & Nutrition, Environment, Public Safety, Community Vitality, and Infrastructure.
Saratoga County’s highest rankings came in the Education, Public Safety, Economy, and Population Health categories. The county’s lowest rankings came in the Housing and Community Vitality categories.
The broad framework of categories and subcategories is based on factors key to evaluating community health that were identified by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics – a policy advisory board to the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – as part of its Measurement Framework for Community Health and Well-Being.
The top 3 ranked communities in the country, according to the report are: Los Alamos County, New Mexico; Falls Church City, Virginia, and Douglas County, Colorado.
Nassau County, at number 98, was the only other New York community to rank in the top 100. Of Saratoga’s neighboring counties which made it to the top 500, Warren Country was ranked at number 357 overall, Albany County at 444, and Rensselaer County at 442.
For an in-depth analysis and the complete Healthiest Communities Rankings of 2022 list, go to: www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/rankings.
BALLSTON SPA — At its monthly full-member board meeting July 19, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors approved a lease agreement for the short-term lease of the rear portion of 145 South Broadway in Saratoga Springs - also known as 4 Adelphi St. – to be used as a “Code Blue” emergency homeless shelter for the winter months.
The term of the lease, once signed, is effective immediately and runs through April 30, 2023 at a cost of $8,000 per month. Much of that funding is anticipated to be reimbursed by the state Department of Social Services.
In 2020, Shelters of Saratoga - which oversees the Code Blue shelter program – operated the same temporary venue, a 61-bed facility just west of South Broadway, which it leased through 2021.
Motivated to action in the wake of the death of a city woman exposed to a winter’s elements on a December night in 2013, a temporary homeless emergency shelter was launched in Saratoga Springs that Christmas Eve at St. Peter’s Parish Center.
A series of temporary winter shelters, sited at a variety of venues across town, have followed: the Salvation Army building west of Broadway and Soul Saving Station Church east of Broadway, among them. Presbyterian New England Congregational Church was also open for extended periods to care for any “overflow” of people requiring shelter during cold temperature spells.
In addition to approving the temporary lease of the Adelphi Street building, members of the board expressed a desire to seek a location that could be used on a permanent basis starting in winter 2023.
The Board also approved a rental agreement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the placement of communications and related equipment on the county’s radio communications shelter located at 99 Radar Road in the town of Stillwater. The FBI sought to rent the space for the placement, operation and maintenance of communications equipment to improve their radio communications, according to the agreement.
The one-year rental agreement, at $250 per month begins Aug. 1, with the option to renew annually for an additional 9 years on the same terms and rental cost.
The Board also authorized a cooperative agreement with the United States Department of the Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center, for the loan of 3 thermal imaging cameras and 12-night vision goggles for one year, at a cost of $4,500. The estimated cost of purchasing the equipment outright is approximately $49,500.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Pronouncements aside by some of a robust summertime season-in-progress, Saratoga Springs Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi told the council at its July 19 meeting that tax revenue the city receives to help fund its budgeting is down when comparing June 2022 to June 2021 levels.
“Today I bring some not-so-good news. While our sales tax collections in the past have been strong, we are seeing tepid results this month,” Sanghvi said. “This is a major cause for concern.”
Sales tax revenue is down 13.47 % June 2022 compared to June 2021, a $54,000-plus decline. Occupancy tax is up, but mortgage tax is down by about 4%, she added.
“Maintain your budgets, find cuts if possible, and definitely don’t add any increases. Please look at absolutely must-do things, and not a wish list,” Sanghvi urged councilmembers. “I was talking about how the recession was on our doorstep; Well, it’s knocking.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Springs’ role in the fight for women’s suffrage was honored in a series of events on July 13.
Two National Votes for Women Trail (NVWT) markers were dedicated to commemorate the role that Saratoga Springs had in giving women the right to vote.
The first was placed at 11 Fifth Ave. the childhood home of local suffragist Kathryn Starbuck. A march from Fifth Avenue to Congress Park followed. Many attendees wore suffragist white to show support.
A marker celebrating Matilda Joslyn Gage and her role starting the New York State Woman Suffrage Association in Saratoga Springs was subsequently unveiled outside Congress Park, and an afternoon of dedications followed at Canfield Casino.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Swedish born artist Claes Oldenburg died this week at the age of 93. Oldenburg moved to New York City in the mid-1950s, when he became part of the Happenings and performance art scene.
In 2002, shortly after the opening of the Tang Museum on the campus of Skidmore College, the renowned artist’s work was featured in the exhibit “From Pop to Now: Selections from the Sonnabend Collection.”
Oldenburg’s “Giant Ice Cream Cone” grew from a series of painted plaster and soft sculpture creations displayed as “merchandise” (priced to sell for as little as $69.95!) in a storefront performance space in the East Village in the early 1960s.
“My intention is to make an everyday object that eludes definition,” he once said.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Matt Witten will return to Saratoga Springs this week to make an in-store appearance at Northshire Bookstore.
Witten, known to longtime Saratogians for penning his 1998 published book “’Breakfast At Madeline’s” – which was partially written at the former Saratoga Broadway cafe – is in town with his most recent novel, “The Necklace.” The story has been optioned for film—with Leonardo DiCaprio attached as producer.
Set in Lake Luzerne, “The Necklace” is showcased as a fast-paced thriller starring a small-town waitress from upstate New York who fights to prove that the man who’s about to be executed for killing her daughter is actually innocent. The real killer is still free and as the clock ticks down, the woman takes on the FBI in a heart-pounding crusade for justice.
Witten wrote a number of books under the Jacob Burns mystery novel series and worked writing for television shows for about 20 years - Law & Order, House, Pretty Little Liars, and CSI: Miami, among them.
“My first book signing was at the mall in downtown (Saratoga Springs) a couple of blocks over from Madeline’s and there were about 200 people there,” Witten said, during an interview published in Saratoga TODAY last August. “It was such a good feeling, and all kinds of funny things happened. Dee Sarno – who was the head of Saratoga Arts Council - was very gracious that I had a character in there who was the head of Saratoga Arts Council, even though I kind of lampooned the Arts Council. Just a joyful experience.”
Witten will be at Northshire Bookstore on Broadway in Saratoga Springs at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — David Greenberger, one of the community’s great creative treasures, releases his latest CD, “David Greenberger & The Waldameer Players: TODAY!”
The release weighs in with 40 tracks that mixes music and monologues, with text based on Greenberger’s conversations at the Duplex Nursing Home (of Greenberger’s Duplex Planet zine fame), and senior centers from Los Angeles to Schenectady. Also included is the percussive work of Michael Evans, who died in 2021.
“Given the number of players involved at different times, I knew this was going to exist solely as a recording, not as a performance piece,” Greenberger explains. “I just didn’t know Michael wouldn’t be here to celebrate this result of our long friendship.”
For more information about David Greenberger, go to: davidgreenberger.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Members of the New York Racing Association joined philanthropist John Hendrickson and representatives from the Backstretch Employee Service Team (BEST), Saratoga Hospital and the New York Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association (NYTHA) in a ceremonial event to celebrate the construction of a new backstretch healthcare clinic at Saratoga Race Course.
Hendrickson has pledged $1.2 million for construction of the permanent clinic - $400,000 of which was raised in an auction of possessions belonging to late wife Marylou Whitney, who died in 2019.
“Marylou always thought that Saratoga should be the summer place to be for everyone, including the backstretch workers (and) saw the need for a better backstretch clinic,” Hendrickson said during Wednesday’s event.
“A lot has been accomplished the past few years to improve the lives of the backstretch workers – the unsung heroes,” Hendickson said, noting the development of the backstretch pavilion, daycare center and new NYRA dorms, as well as critical services provided by BEST and The New York Race Track Chaplaincy.
The event was staged in front of a concrete foundation where the clinic, which will include four exam rooms and a lab for blood work, is slated to open next spring.
Sen. Daphne Jordan and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner respectively delivered proclamations and citations honoring those involved with the clinic. Dr. Alexander Cardiel, Medical Director of the Backstretch Clinic, Saratoga Hospital, said 600 to 700 workers are provided medical care each summer – providing many workers the first time that they’ve seen a physician in the country. The new building will provide a large space and offer the opportunity for additional health services for the backstretch community.