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GALWAY/PROVIDENCE — Saratoga PLAN rang in the New Year by conserving 168 acres in the Towns of Galway and Providence. A conservation easement restricting the property from development in the future was generously donated by Dolores Arste and David Hickey.
The land protected from future development includes 137 acres of natural woodland and habitat and 31 acres that will remain private, including woods, a residence, horse barns and pastureland.
Meandering through these woods, it’s hard to miss the enchantments of the land. The scent of the fern-carpeted forest awakens the senses and the aptly named Barkersville Trails, once grounds for sled-dog training, come to life with the whistling wind. A tributary to the Glowegee Creek winds its way through the woodlands, conversing in gurgles with passersby before going on its merry way, flowing into the Kayaderosseras and then to Saratoga Lake.
Arste’s daughter, Deanna Hadley, reflects on returning to Galway after 30 years. “I realized at that time the true beauty that my mother had seen so many years before. And when she spoke to me about what she wanted to do with her land it seemed that there was no other way,” she said at PLAN’s annual Conservation Hero celebration, where Arste and Hickey were being honored among other individuals for their commitment to conservation in Saratoga County. “[The property] doesn’t need to be developed, it just needs to be beautiful.. and [a place] that people can enjoy no matter what’s going on in the world,” Hadley added.
Indeed, the public will soon be able to enjoy the splendor of the oasis. Property owners Arste and Hickey who are horseback riding enthusiasts are graciously allowing public access for hiking and horseback riding on the trails, which are still being developed and are not yet open.
Through the efforts of Saratoga PLAN’s Monday Steward group, a dedicated group of individuals that work on trail maintenance projects year-round, as well as Death Wish Coffee employees, just over 2 miles of trails were developed in late 2019. The winding trails that jump streams and parallel stone walls are anticipated to open in early 2020. Arste and Hickey hope that over time, their property can connect with others to create a longer system of backcountry trails.
Trail enthusiasts donated approximately $25,000 so that PLAN could always uphold the development restrictions and maintain the trails. A $19,000 grant from Dockstader Charitable Trust covered survey, legal, and title insurance fees among others. Saratoga County Grants with Town of Galway awarded $10,000 to PLAN for the development of trails. The Town of Galway Highway Department developed the parking area.
For more information, call 518-587-5554, or visit saratogaplan.org
GALWAY — Galway High School’s senior baseball captain and catcher sees value beyond the game of baseball and prioritizes service to others.
Erik Malanoski plays both basketball and baseball for Galway Senior High School. Malanoski comes from a long line of baseball players in his family, including his father, grandfather and great aunt, who was a player for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League.
“I kind of like the whole feel of the game. There’s definitely a lot of respect around the game,” said Malanoski. “Not only is it an individual game, but it’s also got a good team aspect.”
Malanoski’s favorite athletes include David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, and Lebron James but not mainly for their athletic gifts, but for how they utilize their platform to better their communities.
“The big thing is not only that they’re amazing players, but they’re also a great impact off the field,” said Malanoski. “They’re guys that anybody can look to - David Ortiz, kind of took the city and put it on his back during the marathon bombings. Lebron James has a huge “Promise School” and Betts is always helping with the children’s hospitals and big foundations... they use their platform to help others too,” said Malanoski.
As an Eagle Scout himself, Malanoski has dedicated years of his life to servicing the community. Most recently for his Eagle project, he participated in the restoration of the Mechanic Street Community Church cemetery. While Malanoski admires his favorite athletes for their service to others it was first his parents (he names as his biggest support system) who instilled a strong sense of character for him.
“My parents too have set a great example always for me. Teaching me the right ways, and not only how to act like an athlete on the field or a student in the classroom, but a good citizen and person too,” said Malanoski.
Malanoski will attend Penn State in the fall to pursue a career in engineering.
GALWAY — On June 12, the group Saratoga Preserving Land and Nature (PLAN) finalized a perpetual conservation easement to preserve the 59-acre Carpenter Farm in the Town of Galway.
Property owner Donald Carpenter is donating the easement in order to conserve the land for agriculture, forestry, wildlife habitat, water resource protection, scenic beauty and public recreation. The property is situated in a rural historic landscape with scenic charm.
Carpenter is a quick-witted farmer who has always envisioned his Galway land as a gentleman’s farm. His sense of humor shines through when he adds that the “gentleman” part is questionable. He added, “Conserving this land is about keeping something alive from a life that isn’t common anymore. It’s about connecting with community and keeping active and healthy.”
In a statement, Saratoga PLAN Executive Director Maria Trabka said: “The Carpenter farm makes a wonderful addition to protected lands in Galway. The property is actively farmed, buffers the Gloweegee Creek, a tributary to the Kayaderosseras Creek, and has the potential to become a section of the Long Path, a trail that links New Jersey with Schenectady, and eventually the Adirondacks.”
Trabka said the terrain is particularly beautiful and features wonderful wildflowers in season within the woodlands among limestone outcrops. She added, “Interest in land conservation has been growing in the Town of Galway, and discussions with a few other landowners are in progress.”
Transactional costs for the project were partially funded via a grant from the Dockstader Charitable Trust. Over the coming months, Saratoga PLAN will be raising funds for the Stewardship Fund to ensure the organization can uphold the terms of the conservation easement in perpetuity.
Nurtured by his family’s heritage and farming community, Carpenter’s childhood experiences ripened into a dream and vision. At heart, Carpenter is a farmer. It’s because of his heart and connection to the past that he purchased 59 acres in Galway. His passion became his way of life, filled with days working the fields and walking the woods. A life spent connecting with a place that brings serenity – a place that nurtures the mind and heart.
As a career surveyor, Carpenter knows land and the landscape of Saratoga County – a landscape that he has seen change dramatically over the years. For him, conserving his farm is so important; it’s about sustaining an exceptional way of life that is disappearing.
For more information, visit www.saratogaplan.org or call 518-587-5554.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A local film production company is bringing to life the fairy tales of old right in our very own backyard.
The newly established Trident Fantasy Films is currently in the midst of its first production, a children’s fantasy television series to be called “The Adventures of Snow White and Rose Red,” inspired by the Grimm’s Fairy Tales canon and more. The company was co-founded by Nicole Coady and husband-and-wife team Andrew Balog and Katie Spass. All three co-founders are serving as executive producers on the show, among other duties. They are aiming to release the show on Amazon Prime in early 2018.
The show will consist of seven episodes, which will range from 10-15 minutes each. Coady wrote the pilot episode, and co-wrote two other episodes. Balog is also set to direct one of the episodes. Each episode will consist of sisters Snow White and Rose Red going on adventures with other popular “fairy tale friends,” including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Lewis Caroll’s Alice. The show’s producers hope that it will teach its young audience a variety of wholesome life lessons, as well as inspire them to seek out and read the classic fairy tales from which its characters are derived.
“We really tried to go back to the original Grimm’s text and pull from there, and say, if Snow White and Rose Red were to really run into [for example] Little Red Riding Hood, what would happen?” Coady said about the show’s creative ambitions.
Coady, who is acting as showrunner and creator for the series, compared the feel they hope to achieve with the series to Disney’s 2015 live-action “Cinderella” with Lily James, while producer Spass said that the show’s intended demographic includes children ages 4-9. While the series is aiming young, Coady said that they hope the enduring popularity of the characters would make it popular with older kids as well.
The series’ titular fairy tale heroines will be played by real life sisters, Demetra and Callista Zorbas, 14 and 17, respectively, of Colonie. Callista, portraying Rose Red, has been performing since age 3, and has been involved in a number of plays and short films. Demetra, portraying Snow White, has also been performing for a while, but until now she has mostly been an extra in things alongside her older sister. This series marks the biggest undertaking for the two of them.
“It’s been really fun,” Callista Zorbas said. “This is like our dream come true.”
Production on the series began on June 12, and is set to wrap on July 1. When press were invited to visit the set on June 14, the cast and crew were shooting scenes in the gardens behind the Surrey Williamson Inn, across from the entrance to Skidmore College. Spass described the isolated location as a “hidden treasure” in the area, with stonework perfect for a fantasy project. The episode being filmed involved the characters meeting Rapunzel, portrayed by Madeline Balta, 16, of Greenville. Balta has previously worked with Coady on an adaption of the Brothers Grimm’s “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Coady described the moral of this particular episode as learning to share. Other planned shooting locations for the series include Galway and Moreau State Park.
Coady currently resides in Ballston Spa, having moved to the area from Los Angeles after spending time close to Hollywood building her career in film. She is originally from New York City. Balog and Spass have both lived in the area for most of their lives, with Balog hailing from Vermont originally, and Spass having moved here at age 5. Prior to the creation of Trident Fantasy Films, Balog founded Logs Leisure Entertainment, a company focused on providing digital releases for various film projects on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Google Play, and more. Balog also produced a pilot last year for Amazon called “Solitude,” which he also directed. The rest of the series is scheduled to begin production in Aug. It will, like “The Adventures of Snow White and Rose Red,” be filmed locally.
All photos by Thomas Kika.
GALWAY – Two local teachers got the opportunity of a lifetime this past weekend when they took to the sky and gazed at the stars on NASA’s airborne observatory, SOFIA.
Galway Central School District first grade teacher Edie Frisbie and Earth science teacher Paul Levin flew with NASA research scientists onboard the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), the world’s only flying observatory, on March 4. They made two trips on SOFIA, taking of from one the craft’s two home bases in Palmdale, CA.
For Frisbie and Levin, it was an occasion long in the making. The two educators were given the opportunity though the Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors Program, a program put together by the SETI Institute, a non-profit organization committed to public outreach and scientific education, in conjunction with NASA. Frisbie and Levin first submitted their proposal for why they should to fly on SOFIA all the way back in December 2014, and were finally chosen to fly a year ago in March 2016.
“It was one of the best trips I have ever taken,” Levin said. “There were so many different things we saw and experience. We got to meet the scientist who discovered the black hole, sat through NASA preflight briefings… Everyone on the plane had a great backstory and they were all willing to share with us.”
“It was the single most amazing experience of my entire life,” Frisbie said.
Part the educators’ involvement with the program was focused was performing community outreach to share information about astronomy and SOFIA, both with their students and with the public. Before their flights this weekend, Frisbie and Levin gave presentation to both of their classes, as well as at an event for the Capital Region Master Teaching Program. They are currently planning to give further presentations about infrared astronomy and other topics to the Eastern Section of the Science Teacher Association of New York State, at the Museum of Science and Innovation in Schenectady, and in their classrooms.
During Frisbie and Levin’s flights, the researchers onboard were using SOFIA’s telescope to investigate a number of things. Chiefly, mission of each flight was to observe star formations, in hopes of discovering why some galaxies are capable of creating naround 200 new stars in a year, while other galaxies like the Milky Way only produce about 10. Beyond that, they also observed supermassive black holes, one of Jupiter’s moons, Callisto, and M51, also known as the Whirlpool Galaxy.
Almost as striking as the images they were seeing to Frisbie and Levin was the passion of all the scientists involved. According to the two educators, all onboard had PhD’s, and were experts in the very specific things they were there to do, and their passion for what they were doing was clear.
“Without one of them,” Frisbie said. “The flight wouldn’t be possible.”
“From the pilot, to the safety engineers to the scientist,” Levin said. “Everyone was excited to be there and you could tell that they were having fun with what they were doing.”
SOFIA itself is a modified 747 aircraft, with the rear door cut out and replaced with an infrared telescope. Inside the craft, images viewed by the telescope are transmitted to a screen for the researchers onboard to observe. While Frisbie and Levin’s flights maxed out at 43,000 feet up, SOFIA is capable of going as high 45,000, the standard maximum height for a 747. The telescope that SOFIA is equipped with is appropriately state-of-the-art, as it is equipped the Far Infrared Field-Imaging Line Spectrometer, or FIFI-LS. Frisbie said that SOFIA’s is currently the only operational FIFI-LS in the entire world.
According to Frisbie, SOFIA, as a flying observatory, has many advantages over traditional sorts of observatories. Unlike ground-based locations, its view is not blocked by clouds or weather since it flies so high in the air. Additionally, unlike satellite-based observatories, which require costly and time-consuming space flights to update with new technology, SOFIA can be updated quickly and efficiently while on the ground.
Frisbie’s hope for their involvement with this program going forward is that it makes learning about space more concrete for their students, and inspires them to follow their dreams, whatever they may be.
“If someone from around here can do that,” Frisbie said. “You can do anything.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — City officials held the first of several workshops designed to come up with a Master Plan for Saratoga Springs that will shape its future development; and over and over, residents expressed a desire for the City to continue to flourish, but at the same time, bring in more affordable housing to attract young families and to make the Spa City more walking and bike friendly.