Lori Mahan

Lori Mahan

Photos provided.

ROUND LAKE — Capital District Sport and Fitness (CDSF), the Capital Region’s new premiere sports performance and fitness facility, is hosting a grand opening event on Saturday, June 23, to benefit the It’s OK to Dream Foundation. The opening will support Capital District youth programs through the It’s OK to Dream Foundation. The grand opening will run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Various hour-long classes will be offered throughout the day for those looking to experience one of CDSF’s world-class fitness programs or simply work out for a good cause. A minimum donation of $5 will be required for each class. All proceeds from the day will support the It’s OK to Dream Foundation, a charity founded by University at Albany football star and former NFL player Rashad Barksdale. The foundation benefits youth organizations and programs in the Capital District.

CDSF GRAND OPENING CLASS SCHEDULE: 9 a.m. – Adult Group Training Met-Con Class 10 a.m. – Youth Athletic Development Class 11 a.m. – High School and Youth Athlete Q&A/Meet and Greet with Rashad Barksdale 11:30 a.m. – Sports Performance Class Following the classes, CDSF will be providing the community food and drink from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Those who attend will receive special promotional offers for CDSF memberships, the chance to win CDSF apparel, and the opportunity to explore the facility and talk with CDSF staff. Raffles will also be available to support the It’s OK to Dream Foundation.

The following local businesses generously donated their products for the event: Death Wish Coffee - Gift Basket Tri-City Valley Cats- Tickets Colorize Inc.- 2 Gallons of Paint of Your Choice CDSF is located at 21 Wood Rd #100 in Round Lake, NY. Capital District Sport and Fitness is a sports performance and fitness facility designed to increase strength and improve quality of life for residents of New York’s Capital District. CDSF provides members with fitness training, a supportive community, and education to help get them out of their workout rut, performing their best, and seeing results that last. CDSF was founded by Mike Sirani and Dan Jones, two Capital Region natives who’ve returned home to provide the community with a gym that supports, motivates, and educates its members. Mike and Dan have trained hundreds of athletes, from motivated high school students to established professionals, at world-renowned training facilities across the U.S. They’ve worked with players from the MLB, MLS, and MiLB, learning how to best support athletes looking to reach the next level.

To learn more, please visit capitaldistrictsportandfitness.com.

Its Ok to Dream was founded by Rashad Barksdale, who grew up in the small city of Hudson, NY. Sports have always been a big part of his life, keeping him busy and out of trouble. Rashad played varsity basketball, baseball and football at Hudson High. He had the privilege of continuing playing baseball and football in college at the University at Albany where he also earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology. After four years of baseball, Rashad walked on to the University at Albany football team and quickly became a starting cornerback. His success was rewarded at the 2007 NFL draft, during which he was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 6th round. He was the first player in UAlbany history to be named to a 53-man roster and play in an NFL game. Rashad says it was a blessing to continue his football journey in the NFL, but it also enabled him to fill another passion of his— community service. To learn more, please visit itsok2dream.org.

Friday, 15 June 2018 10:11

Athlete of the Week: Katie West

Photos provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Katie West, a 17-year-old recent graduate from Saratoga Central Catholic is no stranger to chasing her goals; she was a cross-country and track and field star with plans to run her first half marathon in October, where she’ll be attending Loyola University in Maryland and majoring in English. The reason she became so invested in running? That’s easy.

“Honestly, just having something to do every day after school, I always loved that. Overall, just the team and being able to always have a group of kids to have your back and being a part of something,” West explained.

West transferred from Shenendehowa to Saratoga Central Catholic in tenth grade.

“Transferring gave me such a better opportunity to excel, not only in athletics, but in so many other clubs that I’ve participated in, and it gave me the chance to be a captain and a leader and learn so many things that I don’t think I could have learned at a bigger school,” West said.

West was a team captain for cross-country. Leadership responsibilities included a lot of little things; making sure all of the girls are doing what they’re supposed to do, making sure everyone is revved up and ready to go.

“Our team had a lot of younger girls so that was definitely something cool to be a mentor and a captain,” West explained humbly.

West’s inspiration to run came from her mother and grandmother.

“My grandma and my mom have always been huge marathon runners and just runners in general so when the time came in seventh grade to join a modified sport, cross-country was a natural fit,” she said.

“I like that it isn’t like any other sport. There’s no ref, there’s no time out, or penalty box, or benches. It’s an individual sport and it’s also a team sport and I think I really like that aspect of it. It’s all on you but it also can affect your teammates,” West stated.

Spa Catholic is widely known for their charity work and encouraging their students to follow suit.

“Spa Catholic is very big on charity work so when I first came, it was a little different for me, but I love being able to do so many charities through Spa Catholic and to see how motivated all of the teachers are and how many community service programs and opportunities they have for everybody. Besides that, my family has always been really big on giving back and my parents of course are huge on giving back so I think that’s really inspired me,” she said.

West was a part of Peer Ministry, which is an organization mainly focused on connecting and helping the younger students at Spa Catholic; Community Service Club; President of the student government, where she did a lot of work with Code Blue, Shelters of Saratoga, Ronald McDonald House, and more; the Fresh Air Fund; and last year she went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with the Foundation of Peace. West cites her family and coaches, Damian Fantauzzi and Bryan Halligan, as her biggest supporters throughout her high school athletic career.

“Definitely my family, they’ve never missed a race or a track meet. And of course my coaches, Damian Fantauzzi and Bryan Halligan, have always supported me and given me so many opportunities,” she said.

Friday, 15 June 2018 10:07

Operation Lunch Lady

Image provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — With summer break just around the corner, kids and families who rely on free and reduced lunch programs during the school year often become more vulnerable to food insecurity during school vacations. That’s why Fingerpaint, a marketing agency headquartered in Saratoga Springs, New York, is asking people to embrace their inner lunch lady this summer to help combat hunger in the communities surrounding each of their offices. Fingerpaint launched Operation Lunch Lady in partnership with The Pack Shack on April 16. Knowing that kids often face an increased risk of hunger during summer break and food pantry donations often dwindle, the team came up with a creative way to raise awareness and funds using the beloved unsung hero, the lunch lady, to get people excited to help.

With a commitment to matching up to $15,000, Fingerpaint will raise the necessary funds to purchase nutritious and easyto-prepare meals from The Pack Shack to donate to three hunger relief organizations in the communities surrounding Fingerpaint offices in Saratoga Springs, NY, Conshohocken, Penn., and Scottsdale, Ariz. The effort marks Fingerpaint’s second annual company-wide Philanthropy Day, during which its offices will close on June 29 to allow employees to work together simultaneously at each location toward a common goal. Last year, they raised more than $11,000 to help kids in foster care. This year, the company hopes to raise a total of $30,000 (including the company match) to tackle food insecurity, which will end up providing more than 65,000 meals across the country. The Pack Shack, a Midwest-based humanitarian organization, will send crews to each Fingerpaint office to host “Feed the Funnel Parties.” Fingerpainters will get their lunch lady on, donning hairnets, aprons, and gloves, cranking up awesome music, and creating thousands of meals from dry ingredients in an assembly line. The assembly line will include: funnels (where ingredients are poured into a funnel to fill a bag), scales (where bags are weighed for accuracy), heat sealers (where bags are sealed), and boxes (where the bags are put into cases). Once packed, the meals will be given to local hunger relief organizations in New York, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

“We know that the risk for food insecure families goes up during school breaks, so we wanted to find a way to raise awareness and work together to feel like we can make an impact. We figured a Feed the Funnel party would be both fun and productive, and we can make sure it feeds families in our surrounding communities,” said Bo Goliber, who heads up Philanthropy efforts at Fingerpaint. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — In the Friday, May 18, publication of Saratoga TODAY Newspaper, an article called “Four New Hall of Famers” ran, speaking of four local basketball players being inducted to the 2018 class. Excluded was other local, Robert Bostick, a St. Peter’s graduate, now known as Saratoga Central Catholic High School. We at Saratoga TODAY strive to correct any errors on our behalf. Below is Mr. Bostick’s remarks on his Upstate New York Hall of Fame induction.

“Basketball, loving the game was not an option. Mom played during the Depression in local games presented as entertainment and distraction from the harshness of national economic collapse. Her team, one of many in the Schenectady-Troy area played for “pot luck” as payment for their performance. When I was nine, she commandeered a ladder and nailed an apple basket, sans bottom, to the tall elm in our side yard. And, with a newly purchased basketball began her tutorial and my journey with a sport she taught me to respect and love. Brightness from the street light allowed me to practice until bedtime. Mom showed me a variety of shots; her forte, however, was dribbling. By the time I reached junior high, I had been jumping rope about an hour a day, rain or shine. She said, ‘you won’t be 6’5” but you’ll out jump them because you’ll build your legs, thighs and reflexes.’ She was so right.  I took great satisfaction in soaring over taller guys grabbing rebounds and ‘tipping in.’ I continued to jump rope well into my fifties while playing in men’s leagues and pick-up games. We were all delighted when the new St. Peter’s high school and gym was completed.  The new basketball court was a dream come true. One of the first things I did was ask Coach Duval if I could have a key to practice whenever I could.  He laid down the ground rules and for three years after school, weekends, holidays, I’d slip into the gym and work out. It paid off. I led my high school, St. Peter’s Academy, was All-County total career points, average points per game, and rebounds (1955-56 & 1956-57). I received a scholastic/ athletic scholarship from LeMoyne College in Syracuse. Le Moyne didn’t have an indoor basketball court. We practiced and hosted games at Syracuse University and when we could, until it snowed and became freezing cold, practiced on the LeMoyne campus’ outdoor basketball/tennis court.   I led the junior varsity squad in scoring and rebounds, 1957-58. Family issues forced me to drop out after my first semester during the 1958-59 season. As expected, 18 months into a really nice job, Uncle Sam drafted me and invited me to march in the U.S. Army.  I respectfully, declined his kind invitation, preferring instead to fly, and enlisted in the Air Force. There were few opportunities to play basketball during basic training. However, I did locate the indoor court and on weekends played non-stop pick-up games from early morning until late at night, well late for the Air Force, 9 p.m. Once the four-week orientation was completed, evenings were free and I captained the basketball team for our Crypto Communications Flight. It wasn’t league play, but it was organized to the extent that you stayed on the court until you lost a game; whoever scored 21 points first or won by two when tied at 20.  I know we won a lot of games because of the side bets. That lasted from March ‘til the end of May. I was sent to Shepard Air Force base for advanced crypto training. An NCO saw me dunking at an outside court and told me that if I practiced with the Squadron team I’d never get KP. I never busted a spud.  Because I already had my duty assignment, Taiwan, I declined the Base Commander’s offer to stay at Sheppard playing for the base team. As much as I loved basketball, I just couldn’t pass up an overseas assignment where I knew from checking around, I could continue to play basketball.  After a month’s leave in California, I shipped out to Formosa Taiwan and the Shu Linkou Air Station, Taipei. The little air station had a huge gymnasium, brand new, typhoon proof. Basketball court, bleacher seats, weight room, other training equipment, the works.  It became my barracks away from the barracks. By the time the interIsland Inter-service league kicked off in late October, I was ready. Had been named co-captain of the base team with the nickname, Popup, not only because I was a few years older than most of the guys but also because I could dunk with ease. It really stuck after a play I designed during a scrimmage against a much taller Army Communications Squad.  I would go to the foul line or not too far from it without the ball and yell Popup, jump as high as I could and whoever had the ball lobbed it to me while in the air and I’d shoot. It wasn’t an Ali Oop because I was at or just beyond the foul line. It worked most of the time, particularly when the game was close. That moniker was given to me by a 5’9” guard from Tennessee, named Willie Morton who was a Marques Haynes clone because of his dribbling and playmaking. My first season, 1961-1962, I often played center at 6’0”. I played forward in 1962-1963 Was named MVP 1961-1962 and 1962-1963 for the Intra/InterIsland Championships. A sports reporter for the Stars and Stripes said to me, ‘You had a great game Bob, you hardly ever miss.’  I said, ‘Well that’s not the object of the game.’ While there is no doubt that my love for the game stems from my Mom, I had the one thing that all MVP’s must have … An abundance of desire.  Without it, you can be good, you can enjoy the game, but you can’t be the MVP.”

Congratulations on your induction, Mr. Bostick.

Photo provided.

BALLSTON SPA — The Ballston Spa Central School District is pleased to announce that Kenneth Slentz will be appointed as the new Superintendent of Schools at the June 6 Board of Education meeting.  Mr. Slentz currently serves as the Superintendent of the Skaneateles Central School District, located in the Finger Lakes region of central New York.

“Mr. Slentz impressed the Board with his years of experience in many different educational capacities, including the time he spent at the State Education Department,” indicated Kevin Schaefer, President of the Ballston Spa CSD Board of Education.

“The Board is in complete agreement Mr. Slentz will be able to lead the Ballston Spa Central School District forward so that our students will continue to be exposed to many great opportunities.  We welcome him and his wife to our community,” Schaefer continued.

Prior to joining the Skaneateles district, Mr. Slentz served for five years as the Deputy Commissioner for PK-12 Education for the New York State Education Department. Over his 24 years in public education, Mr. Slentz has also served as a teaching assistant, as a middle school social studies teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and Principal as well as a Superintendent at both Long Lake Central School District and West Canada Valley Central School District. Mr. Slentz holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from SUNY Geneseo, a Master’s Degree in Education from SUNY Oswego and received Administrative Certification from SUNY Plattsburgh.  Mr. Slentz was chosen through a confidential search conducted by the Ballston Spa Board of Education with help from Capital Region BOCES.  Also included in the process were a small group of stakeholders who represented central and building level administration, teaching and support staff, operations staff and community members. 

“We are confident our exhaustive search helped us find the right person to lead our school district.  Mr. Slentz’s extensive experience will serve our students, schools and the entire community well,” said Sue Filburn, Ballston Spa School Board Vice President.

The Ballston Spa Board of Education would like to extend its sincere appreciation to both WSWHE BOCES District Superintendent Jim Dexter and Capital Region BOCES District Superintendent Anita Murphy for their guidance and help throughout a lengthy search process. Mr. Slentz and his wife Katie have one daughter, Keller, who is a graduate of Skaneateles Central School District. Mr. Slentz will begin at Ballston Spa on August 20, 2018.

Photo provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Michele Whitley, the K-12 Administrator at Mohonasen Central School District, has been appointed as principal at Geyser Road Elementary School. The appointment is effective July 1. Ms. Whitley has spent the past 12 years working at Mohonasen Central School District as a K-12 administrator for literacy, a principal, and an academic ELA administrator. Prior to that, she served as an assistant principal in the Ballston Spa School District and as teacher in the Mohonasen Central School District.

“We were very fortunate to have a number of highly qualified candidates who applied for the Geyser Road Elementary Principal position. The interview committee was very impressed with Ms. Whitley’s strong instructional leadership background, collaborative approach, and passion for working with children and their families,” said Superintendent of School Michael Patton, Ed.D. 

“Ms. Whitely brings valuable experience as an elementary principal, k-12 literacy specialist, and as a classroom teacher.  She has worked closely with teachers on curriculum and instructional initiatives, has created interventions to support student learning, and promotes strong character development for all students.  We are very excited to welcome Ms. Whitely to Geyser Road Elementary School in July,” Patton continued.

Ms. Whitley earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from SUNY Oswego in 1998, a master’s degree in reading from The College of Saint Rose in 2000, and a master’s degree in educational administration from University at Albany in 2006.  She holds a permanent certificate from New York State as a school district administrator and as a teacher for pre-k, kindergarten and grades 1-6.

“I am excited to join the Geyser Road School community and honored to be a part of Saratoga Springs City School District. I feel very fortunate to have been selected by a district that is known for its collaborative environment and commitment to academic excellence,” said Michele Whitley.

Photos provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Lots of muddy fun by all participants – nearly 500 runners in total doing the Kids Fun Run and Adult/Teen 5k!   All proceeds benefit The Prevention Council providing addiction prevention and recovery services in Saratoga County.

“Such a great, fun event for families in our community. Lots of kids, moms, dads running and volunteering year after year. The whole morning was such a feelgood event. BOCES programs from Heavy Equipment, Criminal Justice, and Culinary Arts are involved as well and do a great job.  We heard from the runners that the course was well laid out, varied and challenging,” said Janine Stuchlin, executive director of the Prevention Council of Saratoga County.


Friday, 08 June 2018 11:17

Fun Run Breaks Records

Photos by Rob Spring Photography.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — To quote our Foundation Board Chair and close friend Frank Messa, “This just has to be one of the great fundraising stories of all time. I’m sure it happens elsewhere, but it seems as if Saratoga has a disproportionate number of these kinds of stories - small community coming together to create a do good / feel good story that would have seemed impossible at the outset.”

“Eleven years ago, this event started out in a parking lot with post it notes and now is approaching a half million dollars in funds raised, and is attracting close to 1,000 children, their parents, and friends. This is incredible – and this is our community. We can’t thank you all enough,” said Amy Raimo, vice president of community engagement at Saratoga Hospital.

“We are absolutely thrilled that so many families came out to support pediatric care,” said Heath Ames of Cantina restaurant, who conceived the idea with her husband Jeff and brought it to Saratoga Hospital. “The weather was perfect, and it was extraordinary to watch this sea of children and families, all there to help other kids. We love how this community shows up,” she continued.

There were over 100 volunteers helping to make sure the event was a success. Since it first started in 2008, the Fun Run has raised nearly $490,000 to benefit pediatric emergency services at Saratoga Hospital, as well as pediatric dental care at Saratoga Hospital’s Saratoga Community Health Center.


1 Mile Run (Boys)

1st: Gianangelo Lanza
2nd: Owen Mongan
3rd: Brady Murphy

1 Mile Run (Girls)

1st: Emily Bush
2nd: Madison Nesbitt
3rd: Talia Anderson

¼ Mile Run (Boys)

1st: Rainier Pyle
2nd: Thomas Tyler
3rd: Bennet Snyder

¼ Mile Run (Girls)

1st: Madison Pyle
2nd: Vangie Johnson
3rd: Kate Greiner

Healthiest School Contest
(highest percentage of registered students) 

Saratoga Independent School

Photo provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Springs Little League® has announced its first ever Challenger Division game under the lights at the West Side Rec Fields on June 1, with ceremonies beginning at 7:30 p.m.     The Little League Challenger Division® was established nationally in 1989 and is Little League’s adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges.  Any individual with a physical or intellectual challenge may participate.  The Little League Challenger Division accommodates players ages 4 to 18; or up to age 22 if still enrolled in school.

“Saratoga Springs Little League’s® adaptive baseball program is in its third year and is only one of a few in the region. It gives our players with specialized needs a place to join in and enjoy playing the game of baseball in our community.  Additionally, we are inviting not only all SSLL parents, but all teachers, teacher aides, therapists, counselors, and other school staff to come out and cheer the players on.  As you make a difference in the school with them, watch them perform on the field for a special night,” said Rob Kelly, Challenger Division Player Agent. 

Challenger player Evan Daikos loves the game of baseball and explains it best, “I like playing baseball! Hitting the ball is my favorite part!”

The evening will begin at 7:20 p.m. with warm ups led by Major league players of the game, Ben and Patrick McKinley, followed by an introduction of each player at 7:30, the 7:45 p.m. ceremonial first pitch and at 7:50 p.m., an invitation for all Little League® players onto the field to stand with the Challenger players for the national anthem. First pitch is 8 p.m. under the lights.

“We hope the entire community comes out this Friday to celebrate these kids and to root them on.  We are so proud of our Challenger Division and all the volunteers and parents who make it possible.  Please come out and support them as they experience this well-deserved honor under the lights,” explained Derrick Legall, President of Saratoga Springs Little League.

Little League Baseball, Inc. is a non-profit organization with the mission “...assists youth in developing the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being. By espousing the virtues of character, courage and loyalty, the program is designed to develop superior citizens rather than stellar athletes.”

Photos provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — On May 24-30, the Albany Capitals, a team of 12-year-old hockey players, embarked on a journey representing the United States at the EuroChem Cup in Novomoskovsk, Tula, Russia.

"This is the first time a U.S. team has participated in the tournaments’ eight-year history. A great honor and experience for the kids, the team and families of the Capital District and Central New York area,” the press release said.

The EuroChem Cup is one of the largest children’s hockey tournaments in Europe with teams from eight different nations competing this year. Participating teams included this year: Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Switzerland, and the United States of America.

“For each country participating in the tournament, middle schools in Novomoskovsk will be assigned a country.  The students then learn about the country (and city), paint themselves in its colors and become their fans for the duration of the tournament,” according to the website.

The teams roster includes: Emmit Porter, Hunter Bridges, Santino Pedulla, Liam Chartrand, Gavin Parks, Nathaniel Poole, Karter Kenniston, Logan Wood, Ben Dalton, Jonah Vormwald, Noah Chen, Andrew Coston, and Matthew Bradley.

The team is coached by Brad Chartrand, who is a former ice hockey right winger with a fiveyear career in the NHL playing for the Los Angeles Kings. He played 215 regular season games, scoring 25 goals and assists for 50 points, picking up 122 penalty minutes. Chartrand now resides in Saratoga Springs. The Albany Capitals ranked number 10 out of 12 in the EuroChem Cup 2018.

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  • COURT  Earl T. Walsh, 28, of Schuylerville, was sentenced to 1 to 3 years’ incarceration, after pleading to felony DWI.  Jack D. Smith, 33, of Mayfield, pleaded Nov. 19 to felony DWI, in Galway. Sentencing Jan. 21.  Joshua E. Greco, 31, of Gloversville, pleaded Nov. 19 to felony grand larceny, in Ballston. Sentencing Jan. 21.  Shamiek A. Shorter, 25, of Schenectady, pleaded Nov. 19 to attempted criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing Jan. 24.  Erika L. Pettit, 39, of Ballston Spa, pleaded Nov. 19 to felony DWI, in Milton. Sentencing Jan. 19.  Travis C. Edmonds,…

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