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Thursday, 02 February 2017 14:04

Entrepreneurs Welcome

SEDC to Launch Innovative Incubator

SARATOGA COUNTY – Polish up those ideas because, come Spring, the Saratoga Economic Development Agency (SEDC) is launching an incubator that models innovative entrepreneurial support systems straight out of Silicon Valley, partly by looking at failure and eligibility a little differently than most.

Executive Director of the Clarkson University Shipley Center for Innovation Matt Draper said an entrepreneur who has experienced failure, or an entrepreneur with an idea that would never head to the stock market, is just as eligible for Advance Saratoga Startup as the one who invents the next big tech gadget. 

“It’s a huge part of the model,” said Draper. “Everyone points to Silicon Valley and what they are doing, but if you break down what they do better than anybody else, it’s recycle talent. Whether a startup is a success or fails, there is a tremendous amount of experience gained. We want to maintain the investment and engage it in a new way. Rather than making bets on 1 in 10 entrepreneurs, which is the national success average, this model makes sure the other 9 are engaged somehow.”

Dennis Brobston, President of SEDC, agrees. “If you’ve been a good CFO but the startup failed,” said Brobston, “it’s a badge of honor and you always try to hook those people up with people you know because you know their quality. All that talent that they’ve got in their brain combined with what they’ve learned shouldn’t go to waste.”

Brobston added that business networks all know who needs people, and making matches of complementary strengths is a good way to retain talent in Saratoga County, an important component of SEDC’s mission.    

Advance Saratoga Startup, (a working title), seeks to accelerate entrepreneurial business growth, and is incorporating prominent members of the business community and local leaders to provide traditional methods of support such as business planning and market research assistance, as well as access to professional expertise to help overcome challenges. SEDC will work through area entrepreneur networks and student organizations in the coming weeks to develop an official name for the initiative.

The incubator was shaped over the course of 2016, culminating in an initial teaming agreement with Clarkson's Shipley Center for Innovation, which operates six business incubators and will provide support services to new entrepreneurs and early stage project teams and companies for Advance Saratoga Startup.

Draper attributes much of the success of the Center and its involvement in this new incubator to the University’s president.

“This all stems from the vision of our president, Tony Collins, who recognizes economic development can’t be successful without a thriving community around it,” said Draper. “Without a president as open as he is to us – none of this could happen. It is very much because of him that we are able to do this.”

Advance Saratoga Startup is set to open its virtual doors sometime in March, and entrepreneurs at any stage of business development are invited to apply.  

“One of type of entrepreneur is the gazelle, the traditional high-technology fast-paced startup that we are looking to target with an IPO or acquisition,” said Shipley. “But the second – and often overlooked – is the relevant entrepreneur. These are people who bring value to the region – service providers, people who are one piece of a value chain, maybe a high school student who has an interest in something that sparks an idea. Our model is very much for everyone; we don’t ask people to self-aggregate which type of entrepreneur they are. Too many incubator models focus on one or the other. We are looking for more balance. It’s a really cool ecosystem that builds on itself and supports each other.” 

Draper said the key to a successful incubator is not the location, but the programming that attracts and builds entrepreneurs. “The goal is not to duplicate or replicate what already exists. We are filling a niche for something not yet being met, and that makes the entire ecosystem that much stronger.”

Draper explained the entrepreneurial ecosystem is defined as the community or value chain. “Anybody that contributes to the overall success of a startup idea is part of that ecosystem,” said Draper. “It is the teacher that sparks the idea, the web developer that builds the website, the marketing talent that develops the brand working with a graphic artist developing the logo, and the machine shop that builds the first product sample.  This model is meant to be inclusive not exclusive. The more we can leverage human capital, the faster we can get up and running.”

According to Brobston, SEDC and its incubator partners have embraced creating this accelerator in part because of the appeal and quality of life that Saratoga County offers. The County is already attracting talent who want to live here; who are seeking to live a quality work-play balance.

“Part of our byline is ‘promote, retain and grow.’ If we have people in Saratoga County working out of their home looking to start a business, we definitely want to work with them,” said Brobston, “but we’ll also be promoting the area to lots of places through our connections to universities and groups outside the area. We want to retain whoever is here, and there is quite a bit of talent here, and grow by providing opportunity for people to consider moving here from somewhere else.”

Dr. Kenneth J. Rotondo, 
President and Founding Partner of Mind Genomics Advisors said he was very excited when he learned about this project and is delighted to be a part of it. He serves on the Advance Saratoga Startup Advisory Team.

“I think this is definitely needed,” said Rotondo. “From what I’ve gathered living in Saratoga and having an office in Saratoga, I think there is a lot of creativity in a variety of disciplines from the arts and sciences to retail and business development. But there’s not something that allows easy entryway for advice or ideas. It will be very worthwhile and an obvious extension of SEDC’s mission. I turn down more of these things than you can imagine because I want to spend my time on something that has merit and will do some good. I think they are on to something here.”

Brobston recognizes that Advance Saratoga Startup is a startup in and of itself, but demand is high for entrepreneurial support in the region and the level of professional expertise available is an asset ready to give back.

“We’ll keep costs down by leveraging all these assets of staff time and mentors – marketing experts, legal experts  – all willing to donate their time,” said Brobston, “as well as operating out of our facilities here in Saratoga Springs. The expertise from Clarkson, which has such a reliable network of undergrads and grads for research and three-D printing, is invaluable. In future, we envision a facility where these people can meet or work out of shared spaces, but much depends on how many applicants there are, their quality, and how quickly we can get them up and running.”

For more information or for those interested in becoming a mentor, contact Ryan Van Amburgh This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.saratogaedc.com.




Friday, 27 January 2017 11:24

Figure Skating: The Path to Gold

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Lillian Bergbom, 11, of Maple Avenue Middle School, has been ice-skating for 5 years. On Saturday, Jan. 21, she passed her first free skate test and also leveled-up by passing an ice dancing test called the 14 Steps, passing at pre-silver level. “It was a little nerve-wracking,” she said. “I get very nervous the night before a test, but as soon as I get on the ice, and then halfway through the program, I get very relaxed and I usually come off the ice laughing.” Lillian was one of about 25 skaters who participated in Saturday’s skating test sessions hosted by Saratoga Springs Figure Skating Club at the Weibel Avenue Ice Rink. Lillian’s father, Bart Bergbom, is a parent volunteer and treasurer of the skating club. He explained that the testing is similar to earning a black belt in karate. Skaters must achieve certain levels before they can compete with peers at that level. “The tests are all pass or retry,” said Bergbom. “All are shooting for gold medal status. There are four different disciplines to do that in, so you can become a double gold medalist or go up to quadruple. Skaters find the field they are most comfortable with and stay focused there, but some know right off the bat they want to be quads. There’s no requirement; it’s all self-imposed.” According to “All About U.S. Figure Skating Tests” provided by U.S. Figure Skating, the test structure is the “backbone of U.S. Figure Skating.” It is the national standard by which all skaters are measured on their path to become a gold medalist nationally, and even on to the Olympics. “We have had a handful of girls make the U.S. Synchronized Skating Team,” said Bergbom. “We’ve had people qualify and compete on national levels, and one of our dance coaches went up through the ranks to compete at national levels as part of a pair.” Bergbom said usually the testing group is much larger than 25, but that it is currently the peak of the competition season, and most kids are working on their routines right now and focusing on the upcoming Empire State Games in Lake Placid. “I compete in free style and synchronized skating, on a skating team,” said Lillian. “It’s hard at first, but once you figure out how to lean your foot and keep them narrow and parallel, then you don’t have to think about it. You can put on music and just go for it and see what happens. I just started using music from the movie La La Land – well, it was good music!” Lillian said she really appreciates the encouragement that comes from her friends and coaches. “You’ll try something by yourself and you think you just can’t do it, and they help you and you try it again and do it perfect – it makes you feel accomplished.” For more information about skating competitions or lessons, visit saratogalearntoskate.com.
SACANDAGA LAKE — No reality TV show can compare to watching an extreme sport live, and locals will get a chance to do that the weekend of February 18 through 20 at the Great Sacandaga Lake Snowkite Rally. “It makes me feel alive,” said Jean Dunoyer, who has been snowkiting for 8 years. “I think the feeling of going out into the great outdoors and finding a way to propel myself at high speed across a frozen landscape in a controlled and safe fashion is an immense challenge.” Presented by Kite Club NY, experienced snowkiters from hundreds of miles around will gather to showcase their skills traveling at heart-pumping speeds across the icy lake and snow, trying to break records reaching past 70 miles per hour. They will launch and land near the Lanzi’s on the Lake restaurant, where spectators can also gather to warm up. Beginners are welcome, but lessons are required. Christo Vetar, owner of Kite Club NY, is an instructor and will be providing lessons for those who arrange them in advance. He warned that this is not a sport the people can randomly show up to try. “And no one will give them their equipment to try it, either,” said Vetar. “It would be like giving someone an airplane to try.” Dunoyer, who is a cofounder of MassKiting.com, agrees. “It’s an extreme sport,” he said, “so it’s not something you can do casually like kicking around a soccer ball. When we’re kiting, we tie ourselves to the kite, and you can get dragged to places you don’t want to go and endanger people around you if you don’t know what you are doing.” But Dunoyer says for those who have kited, this event would be a great place to try out a new spot, connect with peers, make new friends, and meet old friends. He said the sport is very community-minded, which increases safety because everyone looks out for each other. “There’s an element of danger, and I say that to ward off people who think it’s pretty simple, and it looks like it is, but it takes many years and seasons to practice and get to the point of being proficient. It’s important to take stock of the conditions, assess the dangers, and take steps to mitigate those dangers. The result is an incredible day outdoors, with wind and gravitational forces pulling you this way and that way. It can be about speed or just going on a ‘stroll’ or achieving some tricks.” The kite functions like a sail, he said, but unlike a sail, it can be manipulated in radical motions so snowkiters can suddenly jump up to 20 feet in the air. He said the biggest thrill for him is realizing that snowkiting is one of the best ways to explore the wilderness, and plans to snowkite through mountains soon. “I heard this began when people were traveling in Antarctica to get to the South Pole and wanted to do it without motor assistance,” he said, “but hiking is exhausting, too, especially with all the weight of supplies and such. Employing a kite was a beautifully elegant solution.” Local snowkiters and those coming from as far away as North Carolina are gathering for this event, which Dunoyer said is the only snowkiting event this winter in the Northeast, other than in Quebec. A banquet is planned for Sunday night. For more information, or to sign up for lessons, visit www.kiteclubny.com or www.facebook.com/SacandagaSnowkite.
Friday, 20 January 2017 11:24

Senate Holds Hearing on Future of NYRA

ALBANY — On Tuesday, January 17, the NYS Senate held a Future of NYRA hearing with invitation-only testimony related to several issues surrounding the New York Racing Association. During the hearing, the senate panel received word that Governor Andrew Cuomo would be including a re-privatization plan for NYRA is his NYS 2017-18 budget proposal. “We had a brief opportunity to restate our position,” said Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus, “which is first, to re-privatize NYRA as a not-for-profit corporation, and second, to make sure the State honors the franchise agreement and doesn’t reduce the revenue from the VLTs. We received an amazingly positive response from the senators who were there. The Legislature was really our partner last year, passing legislation that we supported. This was our chance to reconnect and rebuild on that for 2017.” Shimkus had submitted written testimony, as well, and pictured below is part of his presentation, which highlights the fact the Saratoga Race Course draws more paid attendance in one season than any of New York State’s other sports franchises. Maureen Lewi, chair of Concerned Citizens for Saratoga, said in regards to this piece of the presentation, “I think that the chart and the copy on this one page sums up the essence of the importance of this hearing, not only to Saratoga and the entire Capital Region, but to all of New York and to all of the fans from many states and several countries, that Saratoga draws from, to create its unique fan base.” NYRA President and CEO Chris Kay had presented written testimony to the panel, and later said in a statement, “NYRA is the cornerstone of an industry that employs 17,000 people and generates more than $2 billion in annual economic impact in New York State—primarily in the important areas of agriculture and tourism. Our annual summer meet at Saratoga Race Course is an engine for the Upstate economy, generating $237 million in economic activity and nearly 2,600 jobs across the greater Capital Region. As a private entity, building upon our recent progress and record of accomplishment, we look forward to growing our sport, our fan base, and our economic benefit to the State of New York.” In a written response to the Governor’s announcement about re-privatization, Kay said, “We appreciate the Governor’s support for legislation to return NYRA to private control. NYRA supports this proposed legislation, which is the result of productive dialogue with the Governor’s office over the last several months. We look forward to working with the legislature and all stakeholders in efforts to pass the Executive’s proposal.”

BALLSTON SPA/MECHANICVILLE — A combined $90 million in apartment developments are receiving widely varied receptions in Mechanicville and Ballston Spa. Both projects are considered “workforce” housing, generally targeting tenants with household incomes ranging from about $35,000 to $80,000 annually. One town has been welcoming of workforce neighbors and community investment, and the other has not. Brian Donato, senior project director at Conifer Realty said the combined two-phase Blue Heron Trail project located in Ballston Spa totals about $35 million. The 142-apartment complex on 17 acres has already broken ground on Route 67 near East Line Road and expects to start leasing this fall with a goal of completing both phases of the project in Spring 2018.

“We really appreciated working with the Town of Ballston,” said Donato. “They were really helpful throughout the process. We’ve gone through the approvals and the Town was very supportive of it. There is a lot of market rate development in the area and very little of the workforce housing income range, and really, it’s been very well supported.”

Donato said that Conifer Realty is also proposing a similar project in Malta on 16 acres along Route 9, but it is in very preliminary stages. He said that so far, the Malta site has also been well received. The story is not so smooth in Mechanicville, according to Bill McNeary, president of Logistics One and owner of the 11-acre property where the $55 million, 227-unit Hudson Riverview Apartments development has been proposed. The rents would range from $760 to $1,275 per month and are targeted to an average household income of $47,461.

“This kind of development is a savior of affordable housing,” said McNeary, “because funding with tax credits allows a developer to build a high quality project and build it at half the price, so working class people aren’t overburdened with spending over 30 percent of their income on rent.”

McNeary said there are 28 units set aside for veterans and victims of domestic violence, both populations that already exist locally and are in need of quality, affordable housing. But the remaining 200 units would house people in the targeted income range, such as teachers, nurses, police officers, retail workers, and hundreds of other careers that fall in that range.

McNeary said there originally was support from the mayor and other locals, and he was very surprised about the change of heart as local officials began pulling their support.

“The opposition to the project is from those who don’t want housing on the site,” said McNeary. “Some have been led to believe there would be Section 8 there, but there wouldn’t be. People who work at DiSiena Furniture could live there. People are saying they want development that creates jobs, but that property isn’t zoned for commercial – it’s mixed use. We aren’t going to build a factory or mall here, so why not use it to the advantage of the community and bring in people? Employed people who could shop in the town?”

The developer, Chris Dirr, Vice President of the NRP Group, has decades of experience in this type of housing across the country. He said he had initially looked to put high-end units at that location, but could not find any investors – which is the same problem McNeary had when he first tried to look into high-end development there.

“We discovered for the most part that unless there’s somebody specifically drawn to Mechanicville, there aren’t a lot of strategic benefits to locating there,” said Dirr about the investors. “For trade and distribution, its proximity to the interstate. It’s just too far from the Northway. There are too many other parcels readily available closer to the interstate. And there is not enough population at all for retail. For national big box retailers, there’s not enough density of population, and they like to be close to interchanges and interstates as well.”

McNeary pointed to the Ellsworth Commons development in Malta. “That’s a four-lane road there right off exit 12,” he said, “and if they can’t get that filled, how can we do it in Mechanicville?” Dirr said that Malta Town Supervisor Tom Richardson has been a great advocate for the City of Mechanicville. “If it were not for his efforts, we would not have made the time and energy to come up with something to compliment those efforts. I actually looked at and passed on the site in Ballston that Conifer is doing because I didn’t think it had that same synergy, the green field development adjacent to a historic, walkable community. I thought this site had a more compelling story, and it makes sense to use housing to engage community revitalization.”

The project had applied for a PILOT, but with the opposition, Dirr decided not to continue that application.

Supervisor Richardson said in a statement, “After meeting with Chris Dirr of the NRP Group and property owner, Bill McNeary, about some community opposition to the proposed 227 unit, multi-phase, Hudson Riverview Apartments project, The NRP Group has announced that it will not seek IDA assistance, otherwise known as a PILOT – payment in lieu of tax agreement. We believe this is a step in the right direction to provide affordable, workforce housing. I look forward to further conversation with The NRP Group and support its decision to postpone the Planning and Zoning Bard meeting schedule for January 9 to allow the company to continue dialogue with concerned residents and plan for a formal site plan review meeting.” Dirr intends to keep moving forward with the project, working in partnership with the community as he has done on all of his prior projects.

“For all of the folks that have been naysays to the development,” said Dirr, “nobody has offered a credible alternative to redevelopment of that site. The city has never seen a $50 million developer. The development would pay taxes, it would introduce 227 units of people, living there, spending money, walking in community. I am committed to continue to work with Bill, the owner of the site, and the community to develop something that will be an asset to the community, and at the end of the day if my development doesn’t happen, the city and community will have a vacant site that can’t really be developed for any other purpose.”

Friday, 13 January 2017 10:24

35k Square Feet of “Y” Coming to Malta

MALTA — Two organizations that are engaged in health and wellness locally, the Saratoga Regional YMCA and Saratoga Hospital, are coming together to build a 55,000 square foot facility to be located at the Malta Medical Campus off Exit 12 in Malta. The details of the proposed medical office center and new YMCA, as well as the particulars of the collaboration, are still being finalized, but both parties are committed and a Memorandum of Understanding is in place. The Malta planning board will be reviewing the site plan application next week. “Collaborating with the Saratoga Regional YMCA on building a new facility on the Hospital’s Malta Medical Campus is an ideal next phase in developing the property at Exit 12,” said Saratoga Hospital President and CEO Angelo Calbone. “We believe there is a wonderful synergy between the Y and the Hospital’s mission to serve the health and wellness needs of our shared community.” Saratoga Regional YMCA CEO Sean Andrews said they are very excited to launch a partnership with Saratoga Hospital to develop a new YMCA. “The two story building will include 35,000 sq. ft. for the YMCA and community space, and the other 20,000 sq. ft. medical space for the hospital,” said Andrews. “We’re currently working on the details of the agreement, with some ability to work together on construction and shared costs. At the end of the day, we were both looking for ways to create a permanent space in Malta.” The YMCA’s portion will include fitness and recreation space, a child daycare, offices and some shared community space with the hospital. Angelo Calbone said that, from the hospital’s perspective, the mix of programs and services the hospital will be providing at the new Malta facility are still being assessed, with a goal of aligning the concept of “physical medicine” to complement the offerings of the YMCA. “We’re exploring services including physical therapy and occupational therapy,” said Calbone, “as well as community education programs and screenings, but we are still deciding what that final mix will be.” Andrews said that partnerships between healthcare providers and wellness providers are a growing trend, and there is a very successful model between the hospital at the University of Rochester and the YMCA. The project has evolved over the course of the last year, and that YMCA trustee Bill Dake, Stewart’s Shops corporate chairman, has been a champion and guiding force in moving the project ahead. “We’ve been looking for a new location in Malta,” said Andrews, “and this partnership allows both the hospital and the Y to realize joint goals. Having a site location adjacent to health services will allow us to serve new audiences with new programs. We’ve looked at YMCA partnerships around the country, and we’re building on the good work that’s happening in places like Rochester. More broadly, healthcare is certainly moving in the direction of collaboration and disease prevention.” One example he gave is the YMCA’s Live Strong program for cancer survivors. “There has been tremendous success with that in our other branches,” said Andrews. “Another new program is a Y diabetics program which we may offer, and there’s the connection with any physical therapy the hospital is doing and the Y being a bridge to help a person completing therapy get back to full functioning.” According to Calbone, the medical practices to be located on the second floor of the new building are also being assessed to align to the Hospital’s specialty practices currently located at the 6 Medical Park building, on the second floor above Malta Med Emergent Care. “Multiple factors are being weighed in this assessment and that in turn will inform the build-out of our space,” said Calbone. “Our goal is to provide a balance of access to care between the two buildings that will best meet the needs of the greater Malta community. We’re excited by the potential of this collaboration and look forward to sharing more details.” The planning board meeting will be held at the Malta Town Hall on January 17, and Andrews said they hope to break ground in the Spring with anticipated completion near the end of 2017.
Friday, 13 January 2017 10:08

Gun Show Returns to City Center

SARATOGA SPRINGS — After months of an uncertain future in Saratoga Springs, the New East Coast Arms Collectors Associates (NEACA) and New York State Senator Kathleen Marchione announced that the NEACA Arms Fair, popularly known as the Saratoga Gun Show, is returning to the Saratoga Springs City Center on Memorial Day Weekend. President of the NEACA, Inc. Gun Show and Military Exposition David Petronis had received word from the City Center last August that there were no available dates for the show through 2016 and into 2017. That, combined with protesters calling for the publicly-owned facility to ban gun shows, had Petronis seeking other venues, and the show had no shortage of invitations to move from the Saratoga Springs City Center, which had been its longtime home. Last fall, the Rensselaer County Legislature passed a unanimous resolution to invite the NEACA’s Saratoga Arms Fair to that county. In a statement released to the press, Petronis said he has received invitations to (the new) Albany Convention Center; Schenectady Tourist Bureau in the new Casino and/ or Armory; Whitehall Armory; Glens Falls Civic Center; and South Burlington, Vermont. But the NEACA and local gun advocates wanted the show to continue its biannual Saratoga presence, so Senator Marchione, (R,C,I,Reform-Halfmoon), Chair of the Senate’s Local Government Committee, and longtime Second Amendment advocate in the New York State Senate, launched a grassroots petition drive that received 2,464 signatures both online and offline through Facebook, GoKathyGo.org, and a petition at the August gun show. “When we were down, and counted out, lots of people wrote us off – nobody stepped up like Senator Kathy Marchione did to fight and help save our show. Nobody,” said Petronis. Senator Marchione also addressed the Saratoga Springs City Center Authority Board in October. “For 32 years, the Saratoga Gun Show has been a tradition and an important part of our Saratoga community. Since 1984, hundreds of thousands of proud, patriotic gun owners have walked through the doors of the Saratoga Springs City Center, visited the Gun Show, exercised their God-given Second Amendment rights and supported our local economy,” Senator Marchione said. Ryan E. McMahon, recently selected as the new Executive Director of Saratoga Springs City Center, explained that a successful increase in bookings was the main reason the City Center could not guarantee a show to the NEACA. “Senator Marchione is a long time friend of the City Center,” said McMahon. “Her thoughts are always welcome. Saratoga City Center Authority is a state authority, and we can’t discriminate against any legal business, of which the gun show is one. We book conferences first, which is business that drives local hotel rooms, and later bookings are for gate shows or sales such as the gun show.” In 2016, the facility created 261 revenue producing days, achieving 86 percent occupancy. According to McMahon, 2017 is already on track to exceed the 2016 sales figures. He said there’s new competition in the area, which leads to new opportunities. Current City Center bookings for conferences and conventions now reach as far out to 2021. “We are at a high water mark for bookings; I expect a lot of booked days this year,” said McMahon. “With 260 days booked a year, some things cancel or don’t make it through, and this weekend became open. It’s Memorial Day Weekend, not a weekend the Arms Fair historically ever wanted to book, but that’s what came available, and they took it.” But with the June vote by the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee to request the city council adopt an ordinance banning firearm sales and shows at the City Center, and the protests and petitions from Saratogians for Gun Safety, the confirmed show dates in May are being felt with relief and triumph by gun advocates. “This is a wonderful victory for gun owners and for our Second Amendment. I am truly proud of the success of our grassroots petition drive to save the Saratoga Gun Show. It’s crystal clear that our actions and advocacy spoke louder than words, had a real impact and helped keep the gun show right here in Saratoga. This is a terrific result and I want to thank NEACA President David Petronis, members of the City Center Authority Board and, most of all, the 2,464 people who signed our petition and made this victory possible,” Senator Marchione said. Petronis had nothing but praise for Marchione. “Senator Kathy Marchione proved herself a true patriot who delivered real results for gun owners. While it’s sad that some anti-Second Amendment politicians in the City did everything they could to try to drive away our show, Kathy Marchione stood up and did the work. Gun owners like me are proud to have a friend like Senator Kathy Marchione in our corner fighting for us,” said Petronis. Recently, the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) rated Senator Kathy Marchione A+ – the NRA-PVF’s highest possible rating – for her legislative and voting record of supporting and defending the right to keep and bear arms. The Saratoga Gun show, also known as the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates (NEACA, Inc.) Gun Show and Military Exposition, will return to the Saratoga Springs City Center May 26, 27 and 28 of this year. The Saratoga Springs City Center offers 32,000 square feet of leasable space and is at the core of a unique conference complex. The City Center has served as host to corporations, New York State associations, trade groups and northeast regional organizations. For more information visit www.saratogacitycenter.org.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — One hundred years ago, on a cold January day, the newly constructed marble headquarters of the Adirondack Trust Company opened its doors for the first time, replacing the smaller building that bank customers had been using since 1902. On Saturday morning, January 7, from 9 to 11 a.m., ATC will be hosting a public reception honoring the stately building’s centennial in the main lobby of the 473 Broadway location. There will be refreshments and a ceremonial closing of the 2016 time capsule, to be sealed for the next hundred years. The original time capsule was placed in the cornerstone of the marble building in June 1916, at the beginning of construction, and was opened ceremoniously last summer. The contents of both capsules can be viewed at the reception. ATC Executive Vice President Charles Wait, Jr., grew up in the bank family and has a strong sense of its history. “I worked counting pennies in the basement when I was 14,” he remembered, “and was a custodian at 16, then a teller at 18.” He left for college and returned in 2009 after receiving his law degree to take on the role of vice president of legal and regulation, and has since been promoted to his current position. “You’ve got both a sense of pride for the bank and community and a sense of awe of all the things that those before you have done and what you have to live up to,” said Wait, Jr. “I feel connected to the community that I grew up in, which is a great feeling.” That connection stretches back a hundred years, back when there was a cage in the middle of the lobby and the teller and bookkeeper sat next to each other. There was no boardroom in those days, according to Wait, Jr., so the board met on the balcony above the lobby. The boardroom was constructed in the 1930s, and now hosts executive and committee meetings, whereas the full board now meets in the Mabee building at 31 Church Street. But overall, the basic layout of the marble-and-brick building has not much changed over the last century. The chandeliers are all original and the vision of ATC Founder Sen. Edgar T. Brackett endures. “A big reason for Saturday’s celebration is to say thank you,” said Wait, Jr. “Thank you to the employees, customers, shareholders, the community, and everyone who has helped make this bank successful.” The bank’s website is AdirondackTrust.com. The contents of the time capsule can be viewed at http://info.adirondacktrust.com/1916timecapsule.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Matt Sames thinks it makes sense to open a Pet Lodge with a focus on “doggie daycare” in dog-friendly, walkable Saratoga Springs. And when he stumbled upon some great property, perfect for a little wine bistro, he thought he’d give that a try, too.

The successful businessman opened his first Pet Lodge in 2005 with his partners, Bill Davis and veterinarian Tom Brown. The business offers doggie day care, kitty camp, pet boarding, webcams, and everything possible to assure a safe, healthy, happy experience for pets. Pet Lodge has now grown to five locations: Latham; Glenville; Clifton Park; Plattsburgh; and Williston, Vermont. Sames said he is trying to get approval to build the Pet Lodge near the Hibachi Sushi Bar restaurant on Route 9.

“We started discussions with the City about a year ago,” he said. “It’s going a little slower than we would like, but it seems to be an extremely thorough process. The project currently lies somewhere between the zoning board and the planning board. There are a lot of layers in the planning process, and they won’t meet again until after the holidays.”

Sames said he’s had his eye on that area for years, but his business plan was forestalled when his daughter, Hannah, was diagnosed with a rare disease a little over 8 years ago. He turned his attention to fund raising through Hannah’s Hope Fund and hiring a scientific team to come up with treatment, which it looks like they have done.

“We are really ecstatic, it looks like it may be helping her,” said Sames. “It was pretty monumental. One of the doctors said it would take ten years and $10 million to save her, and it ended up 8 years and little less than $8 million. We also treated five other children with the same rare disease.”

All that joy couldn’t help but spill over into his business life, so following his dream to put a Pet Lodge off exit 13N was natural. And then when he discovered the 20 Bowman Street property that is zoned for a restaurant, he thought he could also fulfill his dream of owning a wine bistro.

“It’s going to be small,” he said. “The whole bottom floor will only be 1,500 square feet, including the kitchen and bathroom. It’ll have a robust wine list and small plates, some assorted vodkas and a couple craft brews – we’d like to have some local flavor.”

Sames said they went in front of the planning board, but the vote was tabled when some of the neighbors came out against it.

“I guess they were worried about noise,” said Sames, “but the board members are going to go look at it, and it will be on the agenda again. We’re not going to have outdoor music, and the whole place is only 54 seats. I’ve never seen a raucous wine place, and I don’t intend to be the first.”

Sames said he just really liked the location, and since it’s already zoned for it he thought why not, and he’s already found a great couple to operate the place, but if it falls through, he won’t look elsewhere. His family and Pet Lodge are his priorities. For more information, visit www.petlodges.com.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — When you meet Marion Buchanan, you become immediately aware that you are in the presence of a lady in her truest form. Marion’s petite stature belies a tall order of graciousness, and as she takes your coat and shakes your hand, you sense her strong civic duty and know this is a woman who values a good job well done.

Marion was born Dec. 18, 1909 in Dedham, Massachusetts just outside of Boston. A loyal Red Sox fan, the team recently sent her a birthday greeting with some souvenir gifts, including dirt from Fenway Park. She moved to Glenville in 1984, and after selling her home, she moved to Prestwick Chase in Saratoga Springs in 2008, where she is today.

The active 107-year-young woman has a history rich in public service. She is the second child of 7 and has never married, but between all of her nieces, nephews, and their progeny, she says her family numbers around 50.

Marion remembers America’s entry into World War II clearly. It was to be a turning point in her life.

“I was in my living room, listening to the New York Philharmonic, when the announcement came over the radio, we were at war,” recalled Marion. “I was shocked. All the members of my family were, it was totally unexpected.”

She was in her third year at Boston University at the time, working and going to school at night. Not long after that radio announcement, she joined the Women’s Army Corps (WAC).

“I was secretary to the WAC staff director in the European Theater,” said Marion. “When I returned in 1947, I was stationed at the Pentagon for a year and a half. I also served in a bombardier school in Carlsbad, New Mexico. I was an administrative specialist in the personnel division.”

She was thoughtful for a moment, then smiled as she said, “I was scared at first. When I was a child, I suffered from homesickness, but my mother felt I should represent the family and be of service, so she helped me. My brother joined the navy soon after I joined the WACs.”

Marion saw the role of women change dramatically during her life, saying it is very different now from when she first joined the WACs.

“We weren’t accepted,” she said. “We were new, and they thought we wouldn’t be effective. But I think the WACs did a good job, and relieved a lot of the men in their work so they could go off to war.”

She shook her head, saying, “They tell me women still aren’t getting equal pay. One thing I do miss after women’s rights, though, is the respect. It used to be, a man would jump up to let you have his seat.”

As a member of the Greatest Generation, Marion paid attention to current events as a matter of form, and clearly remembers history’s turning points as if they were yesterday.

“I was working for an orthopedic surgeon when a woman called in to speak with her father. She told us Jack Kennedy had been shot,” Marion said seriously. “That was a terrible experience.”

Marion was at the Grand Canyon when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. “I was very proud of my country,” she said, “and very proud of him, certainly. The whole world was watching. I remember getting our bags at the hotel, and the bellhop, who was Chinese, refused to pack our bags until the take-off. I was very proud of Jack Kennedy for having instigated the program.”

Her favorite presidents are Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, and, naturally, John F. Kennedy. She laughed and said, “I’m a Republican and my favorites are all Democrats. But Jack really was an inspiration to so many young people at the time.”

Marion said she has no secret to share for longevity. “I’m here by the grace of God,” she said. “I have done nothing at all to improve my life. I guess I would say it’s important to not take life too seriously, and be happy.” And then she laughed and said, “If I were to do it all over again, I probably would make the same exact mistakes I did the first time.”

Marion, who is fond of classical music and jazz; an avid Bridge player; a world traveler even after the war; a dedicated career woman who wore her hats and gloves with style, and a staunch patriot who has served her country well, has left those of us following behind her some very big shoes to fill. Thank you for your service, Marion Buchanan, and happy birthday.

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  • Saratoga  County Court Lorenzo J. Parker, 28, of Schenectady, was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in a state correction facility and 1 year post-release supervision, after pleading to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth-degree, charged February 2022 in Clifton Park.  Annmarie Balzano, 54, of Ballston Spa, pleaded to felony DWI, charged June 2023 in Malta. Sentencing Sept. 19.  Cedric D. Sanchez, 28, of Yonkers, N.Y., pleaded to attempted burglary in the second-degree, charged in Milton. Sentencing Aug. 2.  Matthew G. Peck, 46, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded to felony DWI, charged November 2023 in Milton. Sentencing Aug. 16.  Lacey C.…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON  Lynn Joyce sold property at 88 Beacon St to Elizabeth Demuro for $400,000 Adrianne Abbruzzese sold property at 67 Cornerstone Dr to Marjorie Young for $366,000 US Bank Trust NA as Trust sold property at 56 Ballston Ave to Olivia Mannion for $325,000 Eastline Holdings LLC sold property at 8 Aspen Dr to TongCheng Chen for $536,069 American Estate and Trust sold property at 151 Kingsley Rd to Susan Messere for $200,000 Bernard Ingram sold property at 17 Everson Way to Michal Pastore for $549,000 CORINTH Carey Mann sold property at 18 Pine St to William Freeman for $200,000…
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