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BALLSTON SPA – Ankie Meuwissen, a science teacher from Ballston Spa High School, recently completed a special program that will help her to bring the stars to her students.
From June 15-19, Meuwissen took part in the Honeywell Educators in Space Academy (HESA) program in Huntsville, Ala. The program gives educators from across the country a chance to learn more about space and space-related technologies, so that they can ideally bring back the things they learned to share with their students. Meuwissen mentioned that there were also activities focused on incorporated engineering design, which she said would be “much needed from our graduates.”
The HESA program was created in 2004 by the Honeywell Company in conjunction with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center with the intention of helping math and science teachers become more effective STEM instructors. This year, Meuwissen was among over 200 other educators from 45 states and 33 countries. Over the years, 2,776 instructors have taken part in HESA, from 52 U.S. states and territories and 62 countries, with official estimates putting the numbers of students impacted by the program through their instructors at over 3 million.
At HESA, Meuwissen went through around 45 hours of classroom and laboratory instruction. Some of the activities that she took part in included a jet simulation, scenario-based space missions, land and water survival training, interactive flight dynamics programs, and more. Some of the activities that stood out to Meuwissen the most were mock water landing drills and a simulation of gravity on the Moon, which is about 1/6 the gravity found on Earth. Attendees were also able to hear from important pioneers in the realm of space travel, including space flight advocate Ed Buckbee, “Rocket Boys” author Homer Hickam, and astronaut Clayton Anderson.
Meuwissen said that she first heard about the program from “a friend of a friend,” and thought that it sounded both interesting and like something that would have meaningful benefits for her students.
“I learned sometime in the spring,” Meuwissen said about getting the opportunity to attend HESA. “I was really excited! What a wonderful opportunity!”
Meuwissen’s students were initially excited to hear about her involvement with the program, however, she said that the now-previous year’s students did not really see any benefit from it. Next year’s class will be the one to experience the significant changes in her curriculum.
“Currently I have plans to alter my bottle rocket project and incorporate better engineering practices into it,” Meuwissen said. “I also want to create a lesson around thermal heat shields into my physics class, and challenge students to keep an egg-stronaut safe as it re-enters Earth's atmosphere.”
Meuwissen has been with the Ballston Spa school district for five years and currently teaches astronomy, physics, and earth science.
SARATOGA TODAY — Overcoming repeated bouts with rain, the 5th Annual Saratoga Lacrosse Shootout brought some of the best high school lacrosse teams from across the country together at Gavin Park for a weekend of high intensity competition. Taking place from June 30-July 2, the event saw teams mostly from New York, a good number from New England, and a couple from as far away as Arkansas. These teams competed for a Championship title, and the wider event also featured professional player clinics, coaching clinics, opening night ceremonies and festivities, a players-only lounge, 3-vs.-3 mini lacrosse tournament, Mazzone Catering, and a vendor village.
All photos by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Dr. David Gabay still occasionally finds his dreams drifting back to when he was fresh out of college.
“It’s funny, I still have the dreams where I wake up, and I’m still in chiropractic college and I have three months to graduate, and I don’t know where I’m gonna go,” Gabay said. “And now it’s 35 years later.”
Gabay first established his private chiropractic practice in Saratoga Springs back in May of 1982, just a few months after finishing school in December of 1981. He had completed his undergraduate degree at Stony Brook, and his graduate school had been the New York Chiropractic College, which was then located in Long Island. He initially stressed about which direction to take his career early on, not sure whether to go work some place as an associate, or to start up his own practice. Despite offers from respected chiropractors in Manhattan and Long Island, he followed the urgings of family friend Robert D. Scott to come check out the Saratoga area for a potential practice.
After staying with Scott for around two weeks, Gabay made the decision to take a risk on his own practice, starting out with a location on Myrtle Street. Having grown up in the Pine Bush section of Albany, it was something of a homecoming for him. Now, many years and accomplishments later, Gabay’s practice is still going strong on the second floor of a building on Maple Avenue, just across from the middle school tennis courts.
Gabay recalled an amusing exchange from the early days of his practice. Two of his first patients, local golf enthusiasts Mike McGraw and Denny Farone, were interested in checking out “the new guy in town.” Both men were in need of a chiropractor, but expressed concern over getting treatment from someone as young as Gabay.
“To this day, Mike remembers my response,” Gabay said. “I said, ’Well, do you want somebody who’s old or do you want somebody that’s good?’”
Gabay began to get involved in sports medicine in 1994 after Dr. Philip Santiago, the first ever chiropractor chosen to be part of the U.S. Olympic Team Medical Staff, established the Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician program to offer specialized training to chiropractors looking to work with professional athletes and Olympians. Gabay completed his certification over the course of three years, going to Meadowlands area of N.J. one weekend each month for classes and hands-on instruction. From time to time, he worked with the New York Giants while working towards his certification, occasionally attending games to help the players on-site.
A few years later, Gabay went to work at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, alongside a number of other professionals from a wide variety of medical disciplines. His and everyone else’s job there was to help get as many injured athletes off the bench as possible in time for them to compete in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. Gabay stayed in the position right up until the athletes shipped out for the games. He was offered the opportunity to attend the games, but ut as a solo practitioner, Gabay could not be away from his practice for another 3 weeks.
Since then, Gabay has worked with U.S. bobsledding, skeleton, and luge teams at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, and recently procured funding and casted orthotics for Bobsled, athletes.
Some of the teams that Gabay worked with included the U.S. wrestling teams, the judo and taekwondo teams, the weightlifting team, the shooting team, and more. Some of the notable individuals that Gabay worked with during this time included three-time wrestling gold medalist and future Edinboro University athletic director Bruce Baumgartner, and gold medalist and future WWE performer Kurt Angle.
In his spare time, Gabay likes to work on restoring classic cars, for which he has a garage set up out back of the building where his practice is. Often on the weekends, he gets together with a group of friends to work on his latest restoration project.
(UPDATE, 11:42 a.m., 7/7: This online article has been changed with minor corrections, and so differs from the print article.)
Officials Provide Update of Three City “Workforce Housing” Projects
Saratoga Springs' Mayor Joanne Yepsen, County Chamber President Todd Shimkus and the city's Housing Task Force, led by Cheryl Hage-Perez, held a press conference Tuesday to provide an update regarding three “site-specific” workforce housing proposals in the city. The three projects, independent of one another, symbolize a starting point in addressing affordable housing needs for area residents who work in the city but are unable to secure housing within its borders.
The three workforce housing solutions are slated to be developed at: South Broadway on the site currently occupied by the Saratoga Diner (110 to 120 one and two-bedroom rental units); on vacant land adjacent to the rail station on West Avenue (120 units), and in a new building adjacent to the Stonequist Apartments on South Federal street (158 units).
The first two projects are currently being evaluated by the city’s Land Use boards. As proposed, the apartments will be offered to workers whose households earn approximately $36,000 to $80,000 annually.
It is important to note these are not low-income households, nor are they related to the “Inclusionary Zoning” or “SPA Housing Ordinance” currently being debated, which if approved would site “affordable” workforce apartments in all new developments citywide.
Code Blue Emergency Homeless Shelter Maintains Forward Track
An appeal filed by nearly two dozen residents in opposition to the building of a permanent Code Blue emergency homeless shelter on the city’s west side was rejected in a 7-0 vote by the city ZBA Monday night, in an overcrowded City Hall chamber attended by more than 70 people.
The proposed 6,400 square foot facility is slated to be sited on Walworth Street adjacent to the Shelters of Saratoga – which offers case management services, service referrals and resources and other programs to individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, since 1991. The project is believed to next be headed to the city Planning Board, which meets on July 13.
Voters to Decide on a New Form of Governing Nov. 7
The Charter Review Commission passed a resolution by an 11-2 vote at the Saratoga Music Hall Tuesday night, approving the final version of a Charter and proposing an alternative form of government.
Since its inception in 1915, the city has operated under a “commission” form of governing, comprised of four commissioners and one mayor each running separate departments and all having equal say. After 13 months of deliberation, the Commission concluded that a council-manager form of government would better serve the city. Voters will have their say at the polls on Nov. 7.
The proposal calls for a new City Council comprised of seven members, including the mayor, and the establishment of a professional City Manager to consolidate the city's administrative functions.
Tuesday night, the Commission adopted a handful of amendments to its draft plan. Among them is the suggested compensation of the mayor - an annual salary of $40,000 plus health and medical insurance coverage under the city’s plan – and the six other council members, stipulated as $14,500 annually with the option to purchase into the city medical at their own expense. Compensation would not be extended beyond the elected terms of any of the seven council members – each of whom must reside in the city.
"In our research, interviews and deliberations, we found that great benefit will come from consolidating the administration of city government under one professional manager, and giving the elected City Council powers of oversight, leadership, fiscal control and policy," said Commission Chairman Bob Turner.
July Paving Schedule
The following city roads will be under construction in July, according to the department of public works: Franklin Street - Washington Street to Division Street, mill Monday July 10 and pave Wednesday, July 12; Division Street - Clinton Street to Beekman Street, mill Tuesday, July 11 and pave Thursday, July 13; Pearl Street – van Dorn Street to Seward Street, mill Tuesday, July 11 and pave Thursday, July 13; pave Cobb Alley – Beekman Street to So. Franklin Street pave Wednesday, July 12.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The New York Racing Association, Inc. will continue its tradition of giveaways with four giveaway days scheduled for the summer 2017 meet at Saratoga Race Course. All giveaways are free with paid admission, while supplies last. The 2017 Saratoga Race Course premium giveaway schedule is as follows:
SARATOGA BASEBALL CAP: Sunday, July 23
The first giveaway of the 2017 season will pay tribute to the theme of opening weekend - Hats! Racing fans gather to receive a red and white Saratoga baseball cap, presented by Saratoga Casino Hotel. In addition to the Saratoga hat giveaway, the day's festivities will include the 26th annual Hat Contest, presented by Hat Sationa! By DEI.
SARATOGA SHORT-SLEEVE T-SHIRT: Monday, August 7
Racing fans will take home the second giveaway of the 2017 meet, a gray short-sleeve t-shirt featuring a red Saratoga Race Course logo. The giveaway corresponds with the weekly Berkshire Bank Family Mondays series, which features free children's activities and entertainment at the Berkshire Bank Saratoga Pavilion.
SARATOGA COOLER BAG: Monday, August 21
The season's penultimate premium giveaway - a red and black Saratoga cooler bag - will kick off the countdown to the $1.25 million Travers, which will be run for the 148th time on Saturday, August 26.
SARATOGA CLOCK: Sunday, September 3
Fans will celebrate closing weekend of the 2017 Saratoga meet with the final giveaway of the 2017 season - a Saratoga wall clock, presented by Foxwoods Resort Casino. The clock features an image of thoroughbreds racing down the stretch against the iconic Saratoga grandstand and clubhouse roofline.
Guests will be able to redeem up to three vouchers at Saratoga Race Course's giveaway redemption areas, including the one they receive with paid admission and the two additional vouchers they are able to purchase at the multiple admissions line beneath the grandstand.
WILTON – Soccer teams from across the Northeast came together at Gavin Park in Wilton and at the Saratoga Youth Lacrosse Association fields on the PBA Range property this past weekend to put on a show for around 160 college coaches at the 15th Annual Mad Dog Mania Showcase Tournament. The aim of the tournament was to provide high school soccer teams a venue at which to demonstrate their talents in the hopes of being recruited for a college team. At this year’s tournament, 131 teams from eight states competed, and while the number of individual players was not counted, tournament director Nancy Stangle estimated that there must have been over 1,800 players.
The event drew in teams from all around the Northeast, including 15 local teams and some from as far as Maine. According to Stangle, most of the teams at the event were from schools in the 3-4-hours-away range. Coaches in attendance came from all across New York State and beyond. Stangle said that most every local college was represented, including Skidmore, Union College, Siena, the College of Saint Rose, and SUNY Albany, and according the Mad Dog organization’s official website, coaches from Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania made it to the event.
While the organization has never tracked the rate at which players from its tournaments successfully get recruited, Stangle cited anecdotal evidence from friends and families of players over the years to say that a good number of them are successful thanks to the tournament. A press release from Mad Dog Mania also cited an unnamed college coach in attendance at this year’s event as saying that they had targeted around 30 players as worthy of further consideration.
In that same press release, Mad Dog Mania also touted the economic benefits of their annual tournament. According to them, approximately 4,500 individuals journey to the tournament each year, resulting in around 1,000 hotel rooms being booked, with many participants partaking in local shops and restaurants.
“Numerous participants and spectators have said that they plan to return to this area for personal visits,” the release from Mad Dog Mania stated. “After attending the soccer tournament and seeing all that the region offers.”
All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Regional YMCA concluded the first phase of its outdoor development program by bringing adventure to our very own backyard.
Tucked into the woods on the south end of the Saratoga Regional YMCA (SRYMCA) on West Avenue is the brand new Adventure Course, which had its grand opening on June 22. The 4,340-square-foot course consists of a multiple rock-climbing walls, rope bridges, and tire bridges suspended at varying levels above the ground. Affixed to the top of the main rock wall tower structure is a zip-line, which brave participants can use to ride down to the bottom. When press and other attendees arrived for the grand opening of the course, SRYMCA Board President Alysa Arnold addressed the crowd from the top of the course before riding the zip-line down.
“Today, I am so excited that we are at the point where we have an amazing team that is well-trained, and this summer, kids and adults in our area are going to be able to experience this wonderful adventure course,” Arnold said from the top of the structure. “We have 300-plus campers this summer, and they are gonna have a lot of fun and learn a lot of life skills right on this course.”
Arnold went on to emphasize that the course was far more than just a way for kids and families to have healthy fun, but that it will also give them the opportunity to safely challenge themselves by going outside their comfort zones. Then, using herself as an example of this due to her fear of heights, she ended her speech and rode the zip-line down to a round of applause.
“This is one of those resources that helps us make sure that Saratoga is the healthiest county in all of New York State,” Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus said, introducing the course to the gathered crowd. “As well as, hopefully, the world, someday.”
The Adventure Course is just one part of the first phase of SRYMCA outdoor development initiative. Other aspects of the first phase have included an enclosed pavilion for rainy days and a traverse wall on the north side of the West Avenue location. Planning for the course began approximately three years ago, with construction taking about a year to complete, beginning with the procurement of building permits. The actual time that it took to physically construct the course was around three months. The costs for constructing the course were covered through community fundraising, according to Chief Operations Officer Kelly Armer.
“The best way children learn is through play,” Armer said. “And this is a great structure to add [for that].”
The next phase of development for SRYMCA will begin soon, with plans to build a new pool and another gym, as according to Armer, they are quickly outgrowing their current space. There is currently no set timeline for this second phase.
All photos by Thomas Kika.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – One local scholar is on his way to a bright future in the field of medicine.
Matias Kivi, a sophomore at Saratoga Springs High, has been chosen to attend the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Lowell, Mass., from June 25-27 as a delegate from New York State. According to Kivi, only a handful of young people are selected to attend from each state. While there are a number of other delegates from N.Y., Kivi is the only one from the Saratoga County area. Dr. Robert Darling, the Medical Director of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists, nominated Kivi for the Congress, based on his “academic achievements, leadership potential and determination to serve humanity in the field of medicine,” according to a press release from the Academy.
The aim of the congress is to motivate and direct honors-level high school students across the country that are interested in pursuing a career in medicine. Kivi’s ultimate goal is to become a cardiac surgeon, which he said is inspired by his grandmother’s recent bought with heart problems, as well as a general respect for the bravery of surgeons.
“I’m pretty excited,” Kivi said. “It’ll be a long drive down there, but I’m excited to see what’s really going to be there and all the people I’m going to meet. I’m interested to see who else is going to be there who is about my age and what they do as well.”
At the Congress, Kivi will meet with other young aspiring medical practitioners from across the country and have the opportunity to learn from industry leaders. There will be talks given by Nobel Laureates and winners of the National Medal of Science. Deans from Ivy League and other top institutions will be on hand to advise the young delegates on what to expect from medical schools. Patients said to be “living medical miracles” will be present to share their stories. There will also be opportunities for the delegates to learn about the latest advances in the fields of medicine and medical technology.
Some of the major medical leaders attending the congress include Dr. Pardis Sabeti, who used real-time DNA sequencing during the most recent outbreak of Ebola to prove that the disease spreads through humans and not animals, and Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, the first surgeon to perform a full face transplant in the United States. The delegates will also hear from Carmen Tarleton, the fifth recipient of a full face transplant in the U.S. Kivi and his fellow delegates will also have the opportunity to watch a live surgery streamed to the congress from a nearby hospital.
Kivi learned that he had been nominated for the congress by Darling last summer. As becoming a delegate for the congress was not something he sought out, it came as a pleasant surprise. Kivi noted his high mark on the Biology S.A.T., which he took last year, and his consistently high marks in high-level A.P. courses as factors beyond his interest in pursuing a medical career that might have caught Darling’s eye. Kivi is also a part of Saratoga Hospital’s “Students Sharing Opportunities and Responsibilities” (SSOAR) volunteer summer program for high school students.
Kivi has already visited and number of colleges, including Georgetown and Utah University, and will be visiting Northwestern sometime over the summer.
“I’m really proud of him doing this,” Di Kivi, Matias’s mother, said. “Because he’s worked very hard, he’s very good student, and he keeps a good balance in his life, and he deserves this. It’s well-earned.”
Photo by Thomas Kika.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga Springs Little League celebrated a season of competition on June 17 with the first-ever Adirondack Cup. Held at West Side Rec, the day-long event kicked off at 9 a.m., pitting the top-seeded teams from both the major and minor divisions of the league against their counterparts from Glens Falls Little League (GFLL). A total of 18 match-ups played out, culminating with the No. 1 seeded major and minor teams from each league facing off, which led to victories for Saratoga Springs Little League in each case.
Majors champions PBA bested their GFLL opponents, Warren Tire, with a strong 16-1. PBA was dominant from the outset, scoring six runs on Warren Tire in the first inning. Minors champions Julie and Co. bested GFLL’s Hudson River Community Credit Union, rallying back against their opponents’ early 3-point lead. Prior to the event, each team had claimed the Saratoga Little League titles in championship bouts on Thursday (Julie and Co. vs. HT Lyons) and Friday (PBA vs. Byrne Orthodontics).
Beyond the numerous match-ups, Saratoga Springs Little League went above and beyond to make the gathering feel like a proper celebration for all the young athletes in attendance. Special announcers were brought in for the games, and music was played between innings. A bounce house was also set up for the enjoyment of the children in attendance.
“This was a celebration of both leagues in their entirety,” league vice president David S. Karpinski said. “We always love to conclude our seasons with a sort of playoff type event.”
Moving on from this season, 36 out of the around 300 players from the normal leagues have been chosen to compete on the All-Stars team. Practice for this higher-level team began on June 20, and the first game will take place June 26 against Mechanicville/Stillwater.
All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Quinn Sullivan was in the second grade when legendary bluesman Buddy Guy pulled the 8-year-old guitar player onto the stage in his native New Bedford, Massachusetts to show what he could do.
“I'm like, "There's no way in the world you can play these notes,” Buddy Guy told Rolling Stone, regarding the performance. “He was hitting Eric Clapton, he was hitting me, Stevie, Jimi Hendrix. I couldn't even play a radio when I was seven or eight years old! Players like him come along once in a lifetime. I said, 'I need to let the world know about you.'"
A decade later, the guitar prodigy has shredded six-string licks in front of the TV cameras for Oprah Winfrey, Jimmy Kimmel and NBC's The Today Show, performed at music festivals alongside Dave Matthews, Sonic Youth, and Pearl Jam, and received a standing ovation while on stage at the Crossroads Guitar Festival at Madison Square Garden with his mentor Buddy Guy. Surreal, he says.
“The musical influence came right from the time when I was a little kid,” says Sullivan, who celebrated his 18th birthday in March. “My parents bought me a First Act acoustic guitar for Christmas – one of those kids’ guitars - when I was about three years old. That was my first encounter. They also played me all different kinds of music, from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers band. In my house, the music was always playing and I would just sit down, and absorb it all.”
Sullivan released his debut album, “Cyclone,” in 2011. His latest, “Midnight Highway,” was released last year. Sunday afternoon, local fans can catch the blues phenom on the big stage during Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The event, which takes place on two stages Saturday and Sunday, features nearly two dozen acts and is headlined by Chaka Khan - on Saturday night, and the Gipsy Kings – who close the festival on Sunday.
A living contradiction of the classic Alice Cooper tune about teen angst, Sullivan is 18 and he knows what he wants.
“There are the normal things that are great about becoming 18, but I think I’ve grown up in such a good environment with really great people in my life and a support system that has always been there and surrounded me. My main focus now is to just put on the best show I can,” says the guitarist, who performed nearly 100 shows last year and will certainly top that number in 2017.
“I’ve been able to evolve; Playing with the guys I’ve been playing with for years now we’ve reached this level on stage where everybody is jelling and the chemistry is very good,” Sullivan says. “I think the future of music – real music anyways - is live music and live performances, more so than records. I love the recording process and making records, but to me you need to have that same level of confidence on stage,” he says. “I think that’s what a true artist does, and that’s what I’m trying to do: to better my live show, and to not be afraid to take chances. Life in general is about taking chances especially when you’re in the music industry. I’m all about learning more and more every single day. “
With a bright future ahead of him, Sullivan says the musical path is without restriction, or limit. And while some may try to tag him strictly a blues artist, the guitarist says he won’t be pigeonholed into such fine a category.
“I don’t think of music as one thing, six different genres. I think if you’re putting out music that touches someone, that helps someone feel something, that’s the key to great music. I have so many different influences that I take from and I want to put that into what I do,” he says. “The sky’s the limit.”
If he wasn’t a touring musician, Sullivan says he imagines he somehow would have found his way into some segment of the arts. And at the age of 18, he’s not so far removed from his initial inspiration of what he wanted to be when he grew up.
“When I was a little kid, it was funny, I wanted to be a police officer. That was my first love,” recalls Sullivan of an age when the guitar was still a hobby. “I had a cousin who I used to play cops and robbers with all the time. I was totally down for that.”
View Quinn Sullivan at various stage of his musical life:
- The 8-year-old guitar prodigy tears it up on the B.B. King classic, "The Thrill is Gone," at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHoO3JHnn3Q.
- Performing Jimi Hendrix’ “Little Wing,” a sunburst Strat draped across his lithe torso, his chest be-spotted with a Sex Pistols “T-Shirt, on stage at the Western Maryland Blues Festival, June, 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMl7FYVz8x8
- Sullivan’s latest, “Something for Me,” featuring noise-infused blues on the cobblestone streets of downtown Manhattan: https://youtu.be/C1oIzzxtOUQ
Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival will be held Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25 at SPAC. For more information about artists performing and tickets to the festival, go to: http://www.spac.org/events/jazz-festival.