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Thursday, 01 June 2017 13:29

R U Tuff eNuff? These BOCES Students Are

SARATOGA SPRINGS – This Saturday, June 3, will bring the sixth annual TUFF eNUFF obstacle course challenge to Saratoga Springs, providing local families and fitness enthusiasts with a day of high-energy, muddy fun on the reconstituted fields near the F. Donald Myers Education Center.  Prior to the big day, the course itself has to be planned and constructed, and for the last six years these tasks have fallen into the hands of local BOCES students who learn their crafts at the Henning Road campus.

Each September, The Prevention Council gets in touch with Greg Hammond and Ken Brooks, instructors at the Henning Road BOCES in the Heavy Equipment Program, to work out a date for the following year’s TUFF eNUFF challenge.  From there, according to Hammond, the instructors and their students will begin the process of putting together the course about three weeks in advance, beginning first with the planning stages.  The actual construction portion of the build takes up the last week or so before the event takes place.  Every BOCES student in the Heavy Equipment program works on the project, which Hammond estimates to be around 80 students in a given year.

According to some of the students who have worked on this year’s course, the equipment used to prepare the TUFF eNUFF course are the typical vehicles that one would expect on a construction site: excavators, backhoes, bulldozers, wheel loaders, and more.

“A little bit of everything,” Hammond said.

This equipment is used to create the primary facets of the TUFF eNUFF course, including trenches to be filled with muddy water, and giant mounds of dirt to be scaled by runners.  After these elements are in place, Hammond says that a number of other elements are brought in to spice things up, including logs, tires, ropes, and a number of other things to make the course more challenging.

Aaron Lohaus, a student in the Heavy Equipment program, also noted the importance of safety in designing and constructing the course.  He said that different considerations have to be made for the children’s course versus the normal course, including the depth of the trenches, to avoid potential drowning hazards for the smaller competitors.  Furthermore, safety checks for the whole project are needed to ensure that nothing is left in place that might be too sharp or that might trip up participants in a bad way.

All the tasks that go into creating these courses tie back into the lessons the students learn in the Heavy Equipment program.  Unsurprisingly, proper operation techniques are an important part of the program, but the students also learn how perform maintenance on the various vehicles and pieces of equipment they work with.  Additionally, as Lohaus highlighted, safety is a major part of what they learn about, especially when it comes to being aware of their fellow workers on the project site.

In recent years, the Prevention Council has also brought in students from other BOCES programs to improve the overall TUFF eNUFF experience.  This includes students from the culinary program, who help put together a barbeque for the event, as well as student from the criminal justice program, who help to police the course and direct the flow of participants on the course.

The Sixth Annual TUFF eNUFF challenge will take place at the Henning Road BOCES on June 3.  The Kids 1 Mile Run will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by the Teens/Adults 5K at 9:15 a.m.  Anyone interested can register at www.finishright.com, and more information can be found by calling 518-581-1230. 

Published in Education

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Springs Democratic Party will meet Thursday, June 8 when a vote is expected to take place to endorse a mayoral candidate.

On May 19, current city Mayor Joanne Yepsen publicly announced she would not seek re-election in November and “enthusiastically endorsed” Deputy Mayor Meg Kelly for the position. The announcement came just prior to a meeting by city Democrats. Committee chairman Charles Brown said while the prospect of selecting Kelly as the party’s choice for the mayoral seat was debated, there was insufficient time between Yepsen’s announcement and the previously scheduled gathering of the party to properly go through the review process.

During the interim, former Deputy Mayor Hank Kuczynski considered throwing his proverbial hat into the mayoral ring, but subsequently informed Democrats that he had re-considered that option due to time constraints that would be placed on the operation of his own business.   

All five council seats, both supervisor positions and one city court judge position will be decided by voters in November.  

Three currently seated Democrats are on the move: City Mayor Joanne Yepsen and Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen each announced that they will not seek re-election, and current Supervisor Peter Martin announced his intention to fill the seat being vacated by Mathiesen.

City Democrats had previously endorsed incumbents John Franck and Michele Madigan, current city judge Francine Vero, and newcomers Pat Friesen and Tara Gaston for the two Supervisor seats.  Thus far, Kelly is the lone Democrat vying for mayor, and no potential candidate has come forward to challenge Republican incumbent DPW Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco. 

Last month, city Republicans endorsed mayoral candidate Mark Baker; political newcomers Andrew Blumenberg – vying for a seat as City Court Judge, and Don Braim – who will be running for the position of Public Safety Commissioner; Saratoga County Supervisor candidate John Safford, and incumbent DPW Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco and Saratoga County Supervisor Matt Veitch.

   

Published in News
Thursday, 01 June 2017 10:00

Feds Sweep Through Saratoga Springs, Arrest 16

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Federal Agents conducted an operation Tuesday morning in Saratoga Springs, arresting 16 “unlawfully present foreign nationals,” according to an email statement issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in response to an inquiry seeking information regarding Tuesday’s events. 

Special agents and officers with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement and Removal Operations conducted the operation following an ongoing investigation, according to the organization.

The men - one Guatemalan national and 15 Mexican nationals - are between the ages of 19 and 49 and currently face administrative immigration violations.

Jeff Many looked out his Division Street office window Tuesday morning and watched the activity going on in the parking lot below. As a long white van sat in the lot, a variety of cars and SUV’s periodically pulled next to it, transferring men in handcuffs from the smaller vehicles into the van, he said.  

“I noticed the white van in the lot at around 7:30 in the morning. A female driver stayed behind with the van while the cars and SUV’s would leave then come back around every 20 minutes or so,” Many said.  “This went on until 10 or 11.”

City police were informed of the arrival of federal agents, but played no role in the event, said Saratoga Springs Police Lt. Bob Jillson.  “We were made aware of it.  They let us know they were in town, but we weren’t a part of it. No other agencies were involved as far as I know.”

Nine of the men are facing potential federal felony charges for re-entry after deportation or visa fraud and are currently being held at the Albany County Correctional Facility.

According to the federal agency, the investigation is ongoing and no further information will be released at this time.

Late Thursday, city Mayor Joanne Yepsen released the following statement regarding the event:

I have spoken to top level Homeland Security officials to obtain as much information as permitted. ICE (U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcements) is carrying out the law and national agenda through ongoing investigations and targeted arrests. I absolutely respect the federal agency's authority to keep our cities and nation safe. My concern, as the Mayor of Saratoga Springs, is that we are a community that relies significantly on the hospitality and racing industry workforce. The well-timed, newly formed City Human Rights Task Force will be working diligently to conduct education, information and awareness raising activities and presentations, including the immigration process and why it's so difficult.

Published in News

Minnie Clark Bolster has collected thousands of pieces of historic memorabilia related to the city which she has called home for nearly a century. A new book, “Elegant and Fashionable as Seen Through the Eyes of Artists and the Words of Writers, 1787-1847,” depicts local life and architecture in prints and text, and was inspired by the research initially conducted by her friend, the late Sonia Taub. The 102-page publication features over 40 engravings, woodcuts and lithographs, many of which are extremely rare. Proceeds from the sale of the book, which is $24.95, benefits the Saratoga Springs History Museum.  The museum, located in the Canfield Casino in Congress Park, will host a book signing and reception with Minnie Bolster at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 8. The event is free and open to the public.

Who: Minnie Bolster.

Where: At home in Saratoga Springs.

  1. Tell us about the new book.  
  2. Well, if you call this mine, this would be the fourth one. I just had to do this, to save it from the wastebasket, because I knew what it was. From cover-to-back it is a history of our city from 1787 to 1847. Everything you ever wanted to know about our city, in prints. 
  3. When were you born?
  4. In 1920. I graduated high school in 1938. I’ll be 97 in a couple of months.
  5. Is there one era of Saratoga you prefer over another?
  6. I just love Saratoga. Period.
  7. What’s the biggest change in the city?
  8. You can’t find your way down to Broadway with all the buildings, haha. But, that doesn’t bother me.
  9. What was Saratoga Springs like when you were growing up?
  10. Everything was so calm and wonderful. The neighborhood kids playing ball in the street. The circus came to town every year.  In the ‘50s it got kind of drab because a lot of the stores on Broadway started closing up, but it was just an amazing place to live and to grow up. You never wanted to leave it. I still don’t. We had so much going on. I remember when company would come over from out of town we would give them the tour, and my God, it went on forever. North Broadway. Union Avenue. Yaddo. it just went on and on. And those are all still there. 
  11. Did you go to the racecourse often?
  12. I started going to the racetrack on my birthday in 1938. I bet two bucks. And every year on my birthday I would win the Daily Double! It was funny because the people who knew me would follow me around on my birthday. I had no rhyme or reason to bet, except that I had two dollars and I liked the colors and the horses’ names. I saw a lot of the big horses. Whirlaway was one. Native Dancer was another.
  13. You have a book signing coming up on June 8. What’s next?
  14. I think I’ve got another book in me. Why not? I’ll only be 97. 
Published in Entertainment
Thursday, 25 May 2017 15:09

Oprah Inspires Skidmore Grads

SARATOGA SPRINGS – For 40 seconds, most everyone in the crowd of nearly 5,000 people inside the SPAC pavilion and several thousand more seated outside on the lawn kept their eyes closed in an exercise in the expression of gratitude led by Oprah Winfrey. 

“Serve the calling of your soul,” the popular former television talk show host instructed. “Use more of YOU, to bring forth the light.”

Winfrey, author and scholar Wes Moore, and journalist and education advocate Ann Rubenstein Tisch were each awarded a doctorate of letters, and the achievements of more than 600 graduates were celebrated during Skidmore College’s 2017 Commencement at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Saturday.

Winfrey spoke for nearly 30 minutes and stressed each individual find their way through life’s varied stages by following the instinct of their own truth. Mohau Mazibuko – one of three students enrolled at Skidmore this year who came from Oprah's Leadership Academy for Girls in Africa – was a member of the graduating Class of 2017. 

“Every decision I ever made that led me to the right space and place in life, I got there because I relied on my inner voice – the truth of me,” explained Winfrey, urging attendees to develop their spiritual muscle by practicing gratitude – something she said she does every day.

Among the graduating class were Pete Donnelly – who returned to school 25 years after taking a leave of absence to spend full-time as a member of the band The Figgs – and Lulu Simon, whose parents Edie Brickell and Paul Simon joyfully watched the day’s ceremonies from their seats in the front row.

Skidmore College President Philip Glotzbach offered congratulatory remarks to students, noted their graduation gowns were composed of recyclable materials – “symbolic of Skidmore’s commitment to sustainability,” he said – and appointed them “ambassadors for liberal learning” in their future endeavors as they crossed the divide into the real world.

Moore jokingly apologized that his book, “The Other Wes Moore,” was required reading at the college, and Tisch urged graduates to prepare for life’s inevitable challenges by seeking the opportunities wrapped within them. “Learn to re-define failure as part of the process of success,” she said.  

Perhaps the day’s most passionate words were spoken by graduating student Abude Al-Asaad. The co-chair of the Senior Gift campaign dutifully thanked teachers and trustees, jokingly welcomed affluent parents now broke because of tuition costs and “people who show up at random such events,” and shared the emotional journey from his upbringing in a Syrian refugee camp to the day’s celebration of his graduation, even as his family was not permitted to enter the country to witness their son’s graduation. 

Published in News
Thursday, 25 May 2017 13:48

Fastest in the Nation

SARATOGA SPRINGS – There might not be any records left to break in the near future if Kelsey Chmiel continues at her current pace.

Competing in the 77th Annual William F. Eddy Meet at Schenectady High School on May 20 alongside 11 other Saratoga athletes, Chmiel, a sophomore, competed in the 3,000-meter race event, finishing with a dominant 9 minutes and 18.09 seconds, putting up the best time in the country for the spring 2017 season so far as well as setting the sophomore girls national record in the event. As one might expect, a performance that put national records to shame also left her competition on the day in the dust, as her closest competitor, Burnt Hills senior Eva Scott, finished the race close to a minute and a whole lap behind her at 10 minutes and 9.66 seconds. This was Chmiel’s third year competing at the Eddy Meet.

This performance continues Chmiel’s recent streak of standout performances and broken records. Back in March, at the 2017 New Balance Nationals Indoor national-level track & field event, Chmiel competed in the 2-mile event and ended up with a time of 10 minutes and 12.94 seconds, besting the state record and narrowly edging out the national record as well. Just a little before that, at the NYSPHSAA State Championships, Chmiel set the previous record in the 3,000-meter event for sophomores. At least year’s Eddy Meet, she set the all-time record for the 1,500-meter event in Section II with a time of 4 minutes 23.81 seconds, and also put up a time of 9 minutes and 48.25 seconds in the 3,000-meter race, a time she would best by over 30 seconds just one year later.

“It makes me excited,” Chmiel said about her collection of record-breaking runs. “But I think it also makes me work harder... I’m just gonna keep working at practice and hopefully lower my times.”

“She’s very competitive, she’s very analytical,” assistant coach Linda Kranick said of Chmiel’s consistently excellent performance. “I think this is the fourth national sophomore record she’s broken this school year... Kelsey has high aspirations, and works very hard.”

Kranick, who has been coaching track & field for 37 years and has coached with husband Art Kranick at Saratoga Springs High School since 1985, reckons that Chmiel is one of the best runners she has worked with in her career, if not the best, given her consistent record-breaking performances. Some of this she attributes to the advances in coaching techniques over the years that have allowed them to train faster and faster athletes, but it mostly comes down to Chmiel’s hard work and innate talents.

“Kelsey is very humble, very modest,” Kranick said. “And she understands that she has even farther to go.”

Elsewhere at the meet, senior Mimi Liebers bested the competition to finish first in the 100-meter hurdles event. Liebers will be competing in track and field at the College of the Holy Cross in the fall.

Published in Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The upcoming Golf Classic and Par-Tee fundraiser event on June 5 is more than just a good deed for a good cause for some of those involved with it. For them, it is also a deeply personal endeavor.

Gathered in the back of a local coffee shop for their usual meeting, several women involved in organizing the upcoming golf fundraiser talked about how the event’s mission to help find a cure for Type-1 diabetes has touched their lives, whether it be that they have lived with the disease themselves, have children with it, or both. Funds raised from the event will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, which helps to fund research into the treatment of Type-1 diabetes.

Type-1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune disorder that hinders the production of insulin in the body. Its causes are unknown, although a family history of the disease is known to increase one’s risk of developing it. It is important to note its differences from Type-2 diabetes, a metabolic disorder caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. Due to the fact that Type-2 accounts for around 90-percent of diabetes cases, public perception can often be that it is the only form of the disease, which is a source of great frustration for those who develop Type-1 through no fault of their dietary or lifestyle choices.

For Joyce Ure, Denise Nicastro, and Karen Larkin, the attachment is through their children, who all live with the disease. When Ure’s son began exhibiting symptoms consistent with Type-1 when he was eight, she thought it could not be true due the lack of history with the disease, but after he was taken to Albany Medical and found to have a blood sugar of 680, the diagnosis was clear. For Ure, the hope for the event is that it will also help spread awareness for the symptoms of the disease. Nicastro’s daughter was diagnosed early in life and is now a student in college. With her daughter so far away most times of the year, it leaves her with a lot of anxiety.

Larkin’s son was diagnosed when he was six, and has lived with the disease for the last four years. Over those years, she has noticed definite improvements in the technology for treating and monitoring diabetic symptoms, a sentiment supported by everyone at the table. A few of them mentioned apps on their phones and watches that allow them to monitor their children’s blood sugar levels at all times anywhere. These technologies were not around only a few years ago, they said, and developments like these show the benefits of raising money for organizations like the JDRF.

For Ellen Brodie, Type-1 is just about her entire life, as both she and her two children are living with the disease.

“My personal attachment is my life, and its my kids’ lives,” Brodie said. “That’s about as personal as it gets.”

The Golf Classic and Par-Tee will be held at Saratoga National Golf Club on June 5, starting at 11:30 a.m. For the first time this year, the Golf Classic and Par-Tee events will be combined into one event, as opposed to years prior when they were separate affairs. The organizers estimated that the two separate events in the past have raised over $200,000 a year for the JDRF. More information about the event can be found online at www.jdrf.org/neny/events/hoffman-car-wash-hoffman-jiffy-lube-golf-classic-and-par-tee/#event-details.

Published in Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS – History came alive recently for students at Saratoga Springs High School (SSHS).

In the intimate setting of the SSHS teaching auditorium, a little over three classes worth of local students gathered for an assembly on May 24 where seven members of the Adirondack Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association came to share stories from their times serving their country. In attendance to share their stories were Bruce Blackie, Roger Calkins, Eugene Slavin, Paul O’Keefe, Edward Bushey, William Reid, and Robert Garland. After each speaker rose to give the audience a salute, Blackie spoke first, introducing the group’s intention to shed a light on what many have termed the “Forgotten War.”

“What we wanna do is put a personal face on what you read in the history books,” Blackie said. He continued, noting the historically significant facets of the Korean War: it was the first war in American history with no formal congressional declaration to mark the country’s entrance into it, and it ended not with a victory on either side, but with a ceasefire that holds to this day.

Calkins spoke next, first noting how each speaker had lived through WWII, which ended just five years before the start of the Korean War, and how at the time the feeling of peace was such that few thought that it would ever end, let alone so soon after. He then took students through the shape of the lands controlled by the North and the South over the course of three years, starting with the divisions of the country made by the United States and the Soviet Union after WWII, see-sawing back and forth from Northern to Southern control, before finally ending with the current dividing line at the 38th Parallel, currently known as the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

“It all happened very fast,” Calkins said.

O’Keefe spoke next, bringing a much more personal angle to his talk, telling the story of how he came to be involved in the war, and how things went for himself and his friends afterwards. O’Keefe graduated from Mechanicville High School only four days before the war began. Alongside himself, a good friend of his from school, Raymond Waldron, was also drafted, and he told the audience to remember that name, as he would be coming back to it. Before basic training, O’Keefe had never held any sort of weapon before.

“Not even a BB gun,” O’Keefe said.

Speaking of his time on the battlefield, he noted how the life of a soldier felt like being an animal.

“Your home is now a hole in the ground,” he said, telling the students about foxholes.

Coming back to his friend Waldron, O’Keefe told the story of how surprised he was to see a friend from home in the army with himself. Later on, he told students about how Waldron went on to attend Ithaca College, and eventually became a coach and respected athletic director at SSHS, despite at one time being among their bitter rivals on the sports team in Mechanicville. Waldron’s esteem within the community was so great that a street was named after him, Coach Waldron Way, just off of Washington Street in Saratoga Springs.

O’Keefe concluded his portion by highlighting the some of the graduating Blue Streaks who would be going on to attend military academies in the fall, including student athletes Hunter Choy and Will Navin, who were in attendance.

After each speaker had told their stories, they opened up the floor for student questions. Choy and Navin each came with the kinds of specific questions befitting soon-to-be members of the Armed Forces. Choy asked about the tactics employed by the forces they interacted with in Korea, to which many of the men recalled the overwhelming numbers mobilized by the Chinese, who fought on the side of North Korea alongside the Soviet Union. Navin wanted to know about the public’s perceptions of the war at the time, which according to the men was something like ignorance, as many people seemed unaware of the war. Upon returning home from combat, a few speakers recalled how many people at home were not aware that they had been gone for so long on account of the war.

Along with sharing stories from their times in the service, the speakers also stressed how important it is to honor those servicemen and women who were not lucky enough to come back, an appropriate message so close to Memorial Day.

“It is a day to remember those who never got to take their uniforms off,” O’Keefe said about the upcoming day of remembrance.

All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com

Published in Education

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Singer-songwriter Howard Fishman will lead a troupe of performers in a street-side serenade on Sunday in Saratoga Springs.

BUSK! - a free public event presented by The Orchard Project - will incorporate circus performers, theater companies, live music and local food vendors in an event to be held in and around the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center on Broadway from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 4.

Billed as “a spontaneous, outrageous, family-friendly event” that promises to “elevate the form of busking” by creating designated performance spaces and stages, BUSK! will culminate in an evening cabaret at Putnam Den featuring artists who performed throughout the day, kicking off at 8 p.m.

Visiting performers include musical performances by Howard Fishman, Jimy Graham, Katie Louise, Mike Campese, Nightmare River Band, Ramblin’ Jug Stompers, Shane Guerrette, and A World For You. Additional performs include: Atlas Circus Theatre (circus productions), LubDub Theater Co. (a hybrid physical theatre company), The Red Trouser Show (acrobats, comedians, and jugglers), and. Local participants include Balloon Gal Jenny, traveling puppetry by Heldeberg Marionettes, face painting by Jojo's Fabulous Faces.

Published in Entertainment
Friday, 19 May 2017 10:16

School Budgets Pass Across the Board

SARATOGA COUNTY – Voters across New York State took to the polls at their local schools to vote on proposed budgets, board of education elections, and the odd proposition. Across the board in Saratoga County, budgets were passed and propositions were approved. Here are some of things that area voters decided to approve:

Saratoga Springs City School District:
-$122,712,342 2017-18 budget: Passed
-Purchase of six 66-passenger school buses, four 30-passenger buses, one 23-passenger wheelchair bus and one SUV: Passed
-Establishment of Capital Reserves Fund to ““finance future construction, general improvements, reconstruction and renovations”: Passed

Ballston Spa Central School District:
-$90,340,742 2017-18 budget: Passed
-Purchase of buses and vehicles, $907,000: Passed
-Public library funding, $55,650: Passed
-Creation of Ballston Area Recreation Commission, $30,000: Passed

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central School District:
-$64,492,019 2017-18 budget: Passed
-Creation of student-held school board position: Authorized

Schuylerville Central School District:
-$34,849,537 2017-18 budget: Passed
-Bus leasing proposition: Passed
-Schuylerville Public Library funding: Passed

South Glens Falls Central School District:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         -$57,842,074 2017-18 budget: Passed -Purchase of five buses, one with wheelchair option, and one vehicle: Passed

Galway Central School District:                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -$21,058,918 2017-18 budget: Passed                                                                                                                                                                                                          -Proposition to purchase four school buses: Passed

Mechanicville City School District:                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -$25,480,499 2017-18 budget: Passed                                                                                                                                                                                                              -Proposition to purchase school bus: Passed                                                                                                                                                                                               -Sale of 0.44 acres of land on Elizabeth St. to Saratoga County for $1,000 for expansion of the Zim Smith trail: Approved 

 

Published in Education
Page 43 of 55

Blotter

  • COURT Dylan K. Vella, 28, of Corinth, pleaded guilty to murder in the second-degree, in Saratoga County Court on Nov. 17. The charge – which also included three felony counts of assault – date to an April 7, 2020 incident in the town of Corinth during which Vella was accused of intentionally driving his vehicle into three motorcycles, causing physical injuries to one victim, serious physical injuries to two other victims and resulting in the death of a fourth victim – Paul Hollenbeck of Corinth. Vella additionally pleaded to one felony count sexual abuse in the first-degree regarding an incident…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON Eastline Holdings LLC sold property at 14 Timber Creek Dr to Bradley Gregg for $492,676. Manoj Irala sold property at 11 Timber Creek Dr.to Kumar Padala for $535,000. Charles Schewe sold property at 119 Ballston Ave to 838 Rentals LLC for $175,000. Volney Larowe sold property at 3 Lakehill Dr to Michael Cyrus for $195,000. CORINTH Sean Homes Excavating LLC sold property at 504 main St.to Anthony Villano for $190,000. GALWAY Thomas Shippey sold property at 5999 Greens Corner Rd to Laura Mancini for $405,000 GREENFIELD Valerie Bellon sold property at 70 Sand Hill Rd to Lauren Halligan for…
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