[Saratoga Wrestler Photos by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com]
[Other Photos Provided]
SARATOGA COUNTY — Few sports demand so much and give so little as wrestling. But as the legendary competitor and coach Dan Gable said, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.” Locally, as the temperatures drop and athletes head indoors, a unique group of young men, and a few women, prepare to entertain loyal fans in one-on-one battles. Wrestling season has begun.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Frank Spatafora, a senior and captain of the wrestling team, has been on the mat since seventh grade. He started on varsity as a freshman at Saratoga High School and is also a football player, which helps with wrestling because it keeps him lifting all off-season.
“Last year, along with a couple of my teammates, I got to wrestle in the sectionals tournament, which was a big accomplishment for me,” Spatafora explained.
Spatafora said that he had an awesome football season and now he is “definitely trying to keep that momentum going” in his final wrestling season.
Spatafora is trying to maintain his weight after losing some in the beginning, though he says that “candy and ice cream” isn’t helping him.
“My goal this year is to place as high as I can in the Class A tournament and the sectionals tournament,” he expressed.
Last year, Spatafora placed fifth in Section II.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Eric Griskowitz, a sophomore at Saratoga High School, started wrestling in kindergarten and has been trying to avoid “ice cream and pizza” to maintain his weight ever since.
“My parents always thought I was a crazy kid and they wanted me to do something and not be crazy around the house, so they brought me to the wrestling room and I started in the middle of the pee-wee season and continued from there,” he explained.
Last season, Griskowitz lost in the sectionals and is hoping to take the win this year. He has won several varsity tournaments since joining the team in seventh grade.
“I’ll be hopefully getting my one-hundredth win this weekend, which will be nice,” he said.
He says that his biggest challenge will be cutting weight.
“Maintaining my weight is definitely difficult for me. I’m trying to maintain a weight that’s lower than my average body weight,” Griskowitz explained.
He also played JV lacrosse last year and is hoping to move up to varsity this season.
He is a two-time Section II place finisher for Blue Streaks wrestling.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ryan DiGiuseppe, a senior at Saratoga Springs High School, has been wrestling since he was four years old. Though DiGiuseppe used to also play football, he did not continue this season so that he could focus solely on wrestling. He stayed in shape during the off-season by lifting.
When asked what his biggest accomplishment has been so far, he humbly said, “even just placing in a varsity tournament is a wonderful thing. Going to sectionals for three years in a row and placing twice, that’s a wonderful thing, too. It’s just amazing to be on the varsity team, it’s just a big accomplishment just to be here in general.”
DiGiuseppe had nothing but nice things to say about his coaches, led by Coach Kris West.
“They’re awesome, I love them. They push us hard. We have days where they’ll be on you about stuff, every coach does that though, and you just have to get through it. These coaches are so amazing, they’ve helped me for such a long time. They’ve had a big impact on my life,” he marveled.
DiGiuseppe has goals outside of wrestling; he’d like to be an EMT or a firefighter. If he is offered the chance, he would pursue wrestling in college as well.
BURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE — Danny Jada, a senior and captain of the wrestling team at Burnt HillsBallston Lake High School, is ready to take on his fifth season on varsity.
“I love wrestling and I’ve wrestled ever since first grade,” Jada said.
His biggest accomplishment so far was placing second at sectionals last year. Being a captain requires leadership, both on
and off the mat.
“Jada is a great leader. He leads both by example and by just being a good teammate in the room and helping people out,” said varsity coach Stephen Jones.
“I really enjoy the leadership aspect. I think I try to portray a good example to the younger kids. I try and help out with the pee-wee guys when I can. I really try and put in the time to help everybody out,” Jada said modestly.
As far as his biggest challenge this season, Jada thinks of that from a captain’s perspective, too.
“Our biggest challenge is probably trying to get the team ready for bigger events since we do have a younger team this year. A lot of new guys are stepping into the varsity lineup this season,” he explained.
Jada is interested in finding a college that fits both his academic goals and one that has a wrestling team.
As far as maintaining his weight goes, he said his biggest crutch is, “probably my mom’s homemade cooking.”
BURNT HILLS-BALLSTON LAKE — John DeConno is not a wrestler who started the sport as an elementary student, in fact, he didn’t begin with the sport until eighth grade after his sisters’ boyfriend recommended he try it out.
“My sisters’ boyfriend was a wrestler. He told me, ‘you’re going to love it, you’re an aggressive kid.’ I didn’t really like sports like baseball, which is just a lot of standing around, so this is a sport that I can use my aggression and actually do something all the time. I’m always moving. I wasn’t sure about wrestling at first but I loved it right away. I fell in love with the sport from the start,” DeConno explained.
Now in his junior year of high school, DeConno thinks he has an advantage to starting a little later than some of his teammates.
“I think a lot of the kids that start early may be pushed into it. Then they can get burned out later on, but I think I started at a good time. I was mature enough, I was stronger and more grown, and I think I can perform better than a kid that may have started earlier,” DeConno said.
“Wrestling is one of those sports where you’re always welcome. John’s a good athlete and a fast learner, he wants to get better every day,” said Coach Jones. Last year’s performance was the first time DeConno placed in sectionals.
DeConno has big goals for this season, “I want to wrestle as hard as I can, learn as much as I can, and get to a state level.”
SCHUYLERVILLE – Orion Anderson, a senior at Schuylerville High School, is a three-time New York State finalist and a two-time state champion, which he achieved as a sophomore and a junior. Anderson began wrestling at age two, following in the footsteps of his older brother and sister.
“My favorite high school match was probably my sophomore year in the states final because I wanted to get that state title so badly after losing it the year before,” Anderson reminisced.
As a senior, his goal is simple: to be state champion again. He has committed to Binghamton, which offered him a full ride scholarship with an injury guarantee; he will sign his Letter of Intent in the spring.
“I’m really trying to focus on my school work this year,” Anderson explained.
The varsity team is coached by Buck Anderson, his father, and while the team isn’t large in number this year, Anderson is happy they have kids who are “definitely intense in the room and want to be there.”
“My favorite part of the match itself is knowing that there is no one else but you out there and you just have to get it done. No one else is going to help you.”
[Photos by Lori Mahan]
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The city’s Department of Public Works (DPW) garage at 19 Van Rensselaer Street has been there since before Division Street Elementary School, which was built back in the 1960’s. Last January there was a fire in the middle of the night at the garage, called in by a neighbor. Kathy Wilson, a concerned citizen who lives on Central Avenue, about four streets away from the garage, worked with newly elected Commissioner of Public Safety Peter Martin on his campaign this fall.
In an email, Wilson said that Martin “shares our concern and will work with the City Council to help remove this danger from our midst.”
Since the fire last January provided the city with insurance money, Wilson said she hopes that “the city council would look at the insurance money and sell that land off. That land could become all residential.”
Anthony “Skip” Scirocco, Commissioner of Public Works, said “we have done everything to limit the activity over there. We have no plans to move the garage because there is nowhere to move it.” The city owns the building, but National Grid rents it for $16,000 per month.
“If National Grid would move out tomorrow, I’d move the garage over there, but at $16,000 a month, we want to keep that revenue for the city,” Scirocco explained.
Wilson and her neighbors are concerned about the amount of fuel kept in that garage and the chemicals stored there.
“What if there was a chemical released into the air? The school isn’t air-conditioned and the windows are open in the summer. The garage is just an overall hazard now,” Wilson said.
“I went to Division Street Elementary School and the DPW garage was there. It was there before the school was. Saratoga Springs Central School District didn’t feel the garage was an issue before it built there,” Scirocco said.
Wilson countered, saying that back then it was a less residential area.
“It’s a lot of older homes, the area wasn’t built up like it is now. The kids on my street all walk to school. The garage has been there, out of sight out of mind, but after the fire it was really brought to the forefront. The chemicals, the fuel, the heavy equipment, traffic. They’re exiting all day long. It’s just an overall dangerous situation. There are no sidewalks at the school and you’re forced to walk by the garage. The whole area is just really more residential than it was back then,” Wilson elaborated.
“Safety is a concern and I get that,” Scirocco said, “but we are always working to improve our safety measures.”
Wilson says that the crews who work at the garage are all nice people. She added, “the noise is annoying but not more so than a siren in the night, and sometimes the new blacktop is smelly.”
To her, it’s about safety concerns with the elementary school across the street.
Maura Manny, Director of Communications for Saratoga Springs Central School District, released a statement on the DPW garage concern.
“All Saratoga Springs City School buildings have multiple plans in place for emergency situations. Specific information cannot be provided publicly as it compromises the safety of our staff and students,” Manny said.
“I trust that this is going to be an important enough issue for the council to work together on. I’m hoping this is something all of us can agree on, that this is an issue that needs to be looked at carefully and addressing the risks to the surrounding neighborhood and the school,” Wilson said.
“The school has used the garage as a safe haven before in times of need. They used it just last week when they had to evacuate the students. We work with the school and they work with us. It’s a great partnership,” Scirocco countered.
As of now, no plans to move the DPW garage are in place.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Central Catholic Saints began their bowling season on Tuesday, Nov. 28 in an Adirondack/Wasaren League Tri-Match versus the Granville Golden Hordes and the Stillwater Warriors. The Saints proved to be no match for either teams, winning all three games against the Golden Hordes and all three games versus the Warriors.
Tim Barrett led the Saints with an average of 232, the highest of the team; followed by Micaela Barbolt, the first female bowler on the Saints team, with an average of 197.
The Warriors were led by Brandon Dyer with an average of 205.
The Saints next match takes place on Monday, Dec. 4 at 4:15 p.m. versus Hoosick Falls High School at the Saratoga Strike Zone Bowling Alley. The varsity bowling team is coached by Alphonse Lambert, athletic director at Saratoga Central Catholic.
[All photos by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com]
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Coach Matt Usher has been coaching varsity basketball at Saratoga Springs High School for the last five years and he and his team of five seniors, seven juniors, and one sophomore, are ready for the new season to begin.
“We’ve been pretty balanced. We’ve got some depth and some athleticism and hopefully we can use and have a different guy ready to contribute on any given night, so that’s nice to have. You never know who’s going to step up from game to game,” Usher explained.
The three captains this year are Brian Hart, senior and straight-forward; Matt Larkin, senior and point-guard; and AJ Lawton, senior and shooting-guard. Coach Usher spoke highly of the three captains and called Brian Hart and AJ Lawton two of his key-players. Hart was the second leading scorer last season as a junior and was brought up to varsity as a sophomore.
“We’re going to be looking to him for a lot of leadership and rebounding on both ends of the floor. He’ll be our guy that we can look to in a tight game,” Usher said.
Hart has accepted a baseball scholarship to Marist College for next year. Lawton has been on varsity since his sophomore year as well and has started for the team for the past two seasons.
“He’s a very good shooter, we’re going to be looking to him to continue to do well from outside of the perimeter shooting and also scoring in a variety of ways,” Usher explained.
Usher gave praise to junior Andrew Patnode.
Patnode “had a really good off-season, he’s come in and done a nice job in the pre-season so far,” Usher said.
It certainly helps that Patnode is 6’7”.
You may recognize some of the guys shooting hoops on the court this season from the football field in the fall. Wes Eglintine, quarterback and Carter Steingraber are both on the basketball team. Eglintine recently returned to basketball after being out last year for an ACL injury. So far, this season, there have only been a few minor injuries.
“Hopefully we can, knock on wood, stay healthy,” Usher said.
While the dual athletes may not have as rich of an off-season as the other basketball players, “in the same hand, they come in and they’re strong and they’re tough and they’re used to the physical contact and we need some of that as well. We have some other players that are very skilled, but maybe not as strong as some of these other guys coming in off the football field,” Usher explained.
Although Usher feels good about the teams’ offense, he knows they need to work on their defense.
“We’ve shown flashes of being solid on the defensive end, but we haven’t been consistent enough throughout our first three scrimmages on the defensive side of the ball. I think if we play defense that will help us score the ball and transition, that will help us put up some easy points,” Usher said confidently.
“There is no night off when you play in the Suburban League. It’s very deep and wide open this year,” Usher said.
On Tuesday, Dec. 5, the Blue Streaks will take on the Christian Brothers Academy at Saratoga Springs high School, the game starts at 7 p.m.
[All photos by www.PhotoAndGraphic.com]
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Basketball season has begun scrimmaging and Coach Robin Chudy, now starting her fifth season as varsity coach at Saratoga Springs, is ready for a successful season.
With 13 girls on the team, five of which are seniors, Chudy is grateful for the scrimmage opportunities the team has before officially starting the season.
“It’s always good to compete. We’ve been practicing a lot so to get out and compete against other teams is a good thing. It gets the girls kind of excited for the season to start,” Chudy said.
The team has already seen a few sprained ankles and one ACL repair this pre-season, so it is safe to say that scrimmaging was a nice way to pull the team together in a competitive atmosphere. Chudy spoke of her four key players warmly. Dolly Cairns, a sophomore, is described by Chudy as the teams’ “go-to person when there is five seconds left on the clock.”
“Cairns handles the ball, handles the pressure, she handles the leadership out on the court. She has a great outside shot, she can drive to the basket, and she plays solid defense,” Chudy said.
It is clear to see why Cairns would be Chudy’s point-guard, she was brought up to varsity halfway through her seventhgrade season.
Kerry Flaherty, a junior who has been on the team since her eighth-grade season, is another player to watch.
“She’s a solid overall shooter, she’s fast, she’s quick to the basket, and she runs the break really well. She’ll be another person who will lead us in scoring, tempo, and pace. She and Dolly are both able to see the court well so the two of them will be huge for us,” Chudy explained.
Briann Barringer, a senior and captain for the team, has been described by Chudy as a “work horse.”
With three other captains to help Barringer lead the team, she is able to put in work as a small forward.
Barringer will “get to the ball, she’ll grab rebounds, she’ll have put-backs. She will add a lot to our team as well as her defense and her ability to get to the basket,” Chudy said.
Barringer is a captain along with senior guard Kara Vamvalis and senior small forward Amanda McGinn. Kara Vamvalis is being counted on to take the pressure off the other two guards.
“Kara is going to be pretty big for us this season. She is a very good outside shooter, she’s so fast. We’re going to look to her to take some of the pressure off the two guards. She’s a very good shooter, I think she’s really going to help us a lot,” Chudy explained.
Chudy said their biggest challenge this season will be, “putting together our defense the way we want to. Our offense has a lot of shooters and very good, very talented, shooting guards. It’s going to be our solid overall defense, being aggressive, playing hard, rebounding, and getting boards. Defense will be our focus because we are pretty skilled offensively.”
Chudy considers the games against Shenendehowa as the teams’ biggest of the season.
“They have a great team and we always seem to compete with them. We haven’t been quite able to get the win, but we always have a great game with them. The girls are always pumped to play with them so I think it’s going to be another great couple of games when we play them,” Chudy said.
Friday, Dec. 8 marks the first official league game of the season and will be played against Schenectady High School at Saratoga Springs at 7 p.m.
Skidmore College students (left to right) Erin Baright; Nell Mittelstead; Elianne Paley; Henry Cooley; Andrew Knispel; Monica Hamilton and Jillian Siegel. Photo by Lori Mahan.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – If you are looking for commercial-free local radio, the Skidmore College radio station, WSPN 91.1 FM, is the place on the dial to go.
In 1972, WSPN became its own operation in the Case Center on campus, and then moved to the Jonsson Tower basement six years later. On Wednesday, Dec. 6, the station’s original charter and floor plans will be part of a multimedia exhibition held in the Case Center.
Nell Mittelstead is a senior English major at Skidmore and the current general manager for WSPN. She will leave behind the archive project as a legacy of her time at the college.
Mittelstead first began at the station as a freshman with her own HotBox radio show. Record promoters send new material to the station’s music directors, who then listen to it and decide what music would appeal most to Skidmore students. Those tracks are then featured on the show.
Mittelstead decided to create an archive exhibition of the station. Monica Hamilton, the current WPSN librarian, is also involved with helping the project come to fruition, among many other helpful students and school librarians.
“It really started off as me wanting to create a physical archive, but my original idea was a scrapbook. Just a small book of WSPN history,” said Mittelstead. “One of the librarians reached out to me because she had been a Skidmore student and had been a part of WSPN. So, we talked and had coffee and then she suggested I reach out to Wendy Anthony, who is in charge of special collections at Skidmore. Wendy had all of these original documents of WSPN when it was being started.”
“The station has become a place for people to share stories and talk about their passions and interests,” offered Hamilton. “I care about the station and am intrigued by all the stories that take place there. It’s a 24-hour station, so we may never know all of the stories.”
Some of the original documents Anthony had were program guides, the charter, floppy disks, old posters, newspaper articles about the station, audio clips from past shows, and floor plans. Other items featured in the exhibition came from within the studio itself, either found in desk drawers or hanging on the walls.
Since the idea came to be, Mittelstead was able to turn this passion project into a class where students could meet and do the archive project for credit in a pass or fail capacity. The archive exhibition is “really multimedia,” she said.
The class consists of five students on the radio board, one DJ, and one student not affiliated with the station at all.
“It’s been cool to work with someone who doesn’t really know what’s going on in the station and get an outsider’s perspective,” Mittelstead explained.
“A successful exhibition in general needs collaboration and opportunity to have feedback from other people,” said Hamilton.
“I’m interested in archive work on my own,” Mittelstead added, “and I felt myself wishing that I had some of that material and those documents. Just to know how WSPN got started. We didn’t really have that in the station, so I figured it would be nice and then just to have a sort of physical document about how a year went on. That’s what I wanted it to be; accumulating stuff throughout the year and making that into an object.”
On Tuesdays from 5 to 6 p.m., there is a WSPN show called “Archive Hour” where some students from the class, including Mittelstead, discuss the project and talk about some of the documents that they are including in the exhibition.
The radio show is “much more relaxed than the exhibition and class,” she explained.
The exhibition itself is described by Mittelstead as “a retrospective of WSPN.”
On Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 5 p.m. in the Case Center, the archive exhibition will be unveiled. To listen to WSPN, which broadcasts dozens of shows to peak various interests, tune in to 91.1 FM or visit the website https://academics.skidmore.edu/blogs/wspn/
[Photo by Lori Mahan]
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The YMCA “is a lot more than just a gym. It encompasses everything. If there is anything someone is looking for, we probably offer it. Whether it’s childcare, aquatics, gymnastics, tennis. Even if we don’t have it at a specific branch, it is probably offered at one of our other Y’s,” said Mike Miakisz, marketing director of all Saratoga Regional YMCA branches.
Whether you are going to the YMCA to work out or participate in one of their many fitness classes offered, or take a dip in the pool, you will be greeted warmly by every employee you pass, and probably every member you see as well.
The Saratoga Springs YMCA (SRYMCA) is much more than a gym to its’ members, it is a place to gather and socialize, too. Allison St. Pierre, executive director, knows every member and employee by name and greets them without hesitation.
Their most popular employee seems to be Connor McEvoy, a young man who has been working in the custodial department for the last three months.
“When I first moved up here, which was in June of last year, I had no job and my mom, and my support team wanted me to get a job. I became a member here and then we talked to my now-boss, Chris Schumacher, and he got me a job as a custodian,” McEvoy explained.
“Connor is always in the fitness area lifting weights,” Miakisz said, “or he’s walking around the track listening to his music and singing. When he works, he always interacts with the members and it’s just fun to see them interacting. He’s smiling, they’re smiling. He always puts a smile on people’s faces.”
“He’s the best, period,” said Lou Gregory, affectionately called Mayor Lou by fellow members.
Gregory has been working out at the SRYMCA since 2009.
“This is a really great place, it truly is. Connor makes it a little better. I come in sometimes, you know I’m older, I get a little grumpy, but then I see him, and I cheer right up. He’s always in a good mood, he’s a good man,” Gregory said affectionately.
“I don’t want it to go to your head though,” he said to McEvoy, “because you do cause trouble sometimes.”
“I do not!” McEvoy laughs.
It’s clear the two men have a wonderful friendship, all because of the SRYMCA bringing them together.
Matt Murray, an employee, started off as a member, too.
“I was having problems with my hip, so my doctor said, ‘we’re going to replace the first hip, but you need to lose 30 pounds before we do the other hip.’”
Murray decided to follow his wife’s lead and join the SRYMCA and began to work with a personal trainer. He lost the necessary weight, had the surgery, and after having such a positive experience with the staff and other members, he retired from his job at the state where he had worked for the last 35-years and decided to work at the Y. He has been an employee for the last year.
“I feel wonderful, it keeps me young. Working here has been a great experience,” Murray said sincerely.
“We’re really unlike any other gym because of the relationships that people form here. These guys on our senior league basketball team will probably stay here for a half an hour to an hour in the café just sitting and socializing and having a coffee. It’s a really neat thing to see. It’s more of a community,” Miakisz said.
Financial assistance is provided to whoever needs it, no one is ever turned away from a membership.
“I think we gave over $500,000 in financial assistance last year,” Miakisz explained, “we’re always giving back to our community and that’s a big perk of us being a 501(c)(3) charity.”
Aside from all the fitness classes, childcare, and sports teams offered, SRYMCA also has a LiveStrong program which is open to anyone who has battled any illness, whether in the past or presently. It is a free program for people to get back on their feet with their fitness.
“It isn’t set up as a support group, but it forms into one,” St. Pierre explained.
Membership applications, pricing, and class schedules can be found at www.srymca.org. The SRYMCA is located at 290 West Avenue, with other branches located in Battenkill, Corinth, Malta, and Wilton.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has announced their 2018 racing schedule, which will be 229 days of live thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course.
Saratoga Race Course will have a 40-day summer meet. The meet will feature the 91st running of the Grade 1 Whitney and the 149th edition of the Grade 1 Travers. The Saratoga season begins on Friday, July 20 and will have its last day on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3. Races will take place six days a week, with Tuesday being the dark day. The race course will offer plenty of other non-race activities throughout the week. Some family friendly, some brewery and winery tastings, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
The Belmont Stakes Racing Festival takes place on Thursday, June 7, featuring the 150th Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 9. After the Saratoga season, racing returns to Belmont for a 36-day Fall Championship meet that begins on Friday, Sept. 7 and concludes Sunday, Oct. 28.
Racing at Aqueduct continues through April 22, 2018 and is held four days a week during January and February and three days a week in March.
NYRA has announced that the popular, promotional 2018 Racing Calendar will be offered through a special three-day sale Dec. 30, 2017 through Jan. 1, 2018 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The full 2018 racing schedule can be found at www.nyra.com.
[Photo by Nate Smith]
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Ice hockey is known to be a sport where the crowd is just as riled up as the players. Whether it’s their team shooting the puck into the goal or a fight breaking out between the two teams on the ice, hockey is a fun sport to watch. Robert Hutchison, Skidmore College hockey coach, has started his third season with the Skidmore Thoroughbreds.
The Thoroughbreds have had their fair share of injuries this season, but nothing too severe. Pre-season began in September and on-ice training with the coaching staff started in October, per NCAA regulations.
The team is experiencing the typical challenges of a new season, such as team and personnel turnover, they remain focused on the goal at hand: “for us, the focus is consistently on maintaining a high compete level, being a great communicator, and being a great teammate regardless of role within the team on any given day,” Hutchison explained.
This seasons’ captains are Luke Alletzhauser, class of 2018, and Adam Moodie, class of 2019.
“Both [captains] bring different strengths to the table but are very well suited to lead this group. With such an inexperienced group, it will take some time for our key players to emerge, but Moodie is coming off a solid sophomore campaign as is fellow junior defenseman Corey Morgan and goaltender Brandon Kasel,” Hutchison said.
Hutchison describes the team as “young, but very talented,” he has the group working consistently to improv on a weekly basis.
“We’ve had our very good days and some moments of adversity in the first five weeks of the season. The New England Hockey Conference is an uber-competitive league with at least three to five of our eight teams consistently in the top 15 of the National Rankings. Consequently, every game is a highly anticipated contest and we’re always working to focus on the next opponent and not look beyond each individual matchup,” he explained.
While the team is matching up well against the top 15 opponents, the inexperience late in games “has been evident. This group has responded well to learning on the fly in the early going, but will only continue to improve with increased games under their belts,” Hutchison said.
“We’re fortunate to have a great group of young men who work hard, share a common goal, and genuinely care about being high quality student-athletes,” Hutchison said proudly.
The Skidmore Thoroughbreds will be playing Fredonia at 2 p.m. and at 5 p.m. against Hamilton vs. Canton on Nov. 25 in Saratoga Springs. All game information can be found at www.skidmoreathletics.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – At its Nov. 14 school board meeting, the Saratoga Springs City School District Board of Education voted to adopt a resolution for the Alternative Veterans’ Tax Exemption at Level C and a 10 percent Cold War Veterans’ Tax Exemption at Level C.
According to a statement from Maura Manny, director of community outreach and communication at the school district, “the Alternative Veterans’ Exemption (AVE) was established in 1984 for municipalities…and the Cold War Exemption (CWE) in 2007. Beginning in 2014 (AVE) and in 2016 (CWE), school districts were given the option to adopt these exemptions, which would exempt a portion of an eligible veteran’s assessed property value from real property taxes. The exemptions are only available to veterans who served during a designated time of war, and only applicable to primary residential properties.”
The tax levy (total amount of taxes) collected from all residents does not change but rather causes a shift in taxes, allowing qualifying veterans to apply to have their school taxes lowered. Non-qualifying taxpayers would experience an increase.
According to Lew Benton, a veteran and representative of an ad-hoc group of veterans who have been advocating for this tax break since last summer, members of the veteran community went to the board of education several months ago and asked what exemptions, if any, were offered.
Prior to the school board making their final decision on Nov. 14, the exemption was included on many board-meeting agendas, there was an online survey, and a public hearing was held to gather feedback from the community members.
Benton and his fellow veterans reviewed all of the board meeting minutes, for language suggesting a misunderstanding on the board’s part.
“There was a disconnect between the board about what a veteran really means,” Benton said.
The ad-hoc group then decided to take the board minutes and craft a memo regarding any misconceptions, providing clarification and appended anything that seemed to need highlighting and explanation. The group presented the memo in June to the board.
Following that, more meetings were held and the veterans’ group encouraged the board of education to “review, discuss and put it back on the table to draw a conclusion,” Benton said.
“While this is not the level we sought, it is a first step and will benefit many, particularly those of modest means and younger veterans attempting to become home owners,” said Benton.
Both exemptions will go into effect for the 2018-19 school year budget.