Thomas Dimopoulos

Thomas Dimopoulos

City Beat and Arts & Entertainment Editor
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WILTON — Following incidents of vandalism at Gavin Park during the summer, Wilton Town officials unanimously approved a resolution to initiate a bidding process that would result in a bid award to install surveillance cameras at the recreation complex.    

Town Supervisor John Lant informed the board that he had received a phone call informing him that 40 to 50 people were having a beer party at the park, followed a few days later by “more vandalism there this weekend,” Lant said, according to the most recently published town meeting notes. He did not elaborate on the extent of the vandalism. The Board, which meets monthly, was scheduled to gather for their next meeting on Sept. 7.      

Gavin Park, a central recreation complex for Wilton Town residents and surrounding communities, sites numerous youth sports programs, regional athletic tournaments, and includes two multi-purpose gymnasiums, two pavilions, and 15 athletic and baseball fields. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS —A decorative planter rests easily atop the kitchen island, greeting all who enter with letters that spell: H-O-M-E. 

The two-story haven, which stands at Kirby Road near Washington Street, will serve as the SunRise Retreat – an intensive crisis residence that is the first of its kind in the greater Capital Region and the second one sited in the entire state. 

“It is a short-term retreat for people experiencing a mental health crisis,” explained RISE Executive Director Sybil Newell, offering a tour of the building during a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Aug. 24. The residence is expected to be open and fully operational in a few weeks. 

“Experiencing a mental health crisis can mean different things to different people,” Newell said. “We will be providing stabilization services, treatment on-site, and discharge planning so that people can return safely to the community. 

“We know that people often experience mental health distress where they may not immediately meet criteria to be in the hospital, but, without additional support and oversight they continue to deteriorate and eventually do end up needing hospitalization,” Newell said. “We hope that SunRISE Retreat will fill that gap and give people the extra support they need to avoid going to the hospital, or to give them the extra time they need to get solidly on their feet after hospitalization.”

The two-story building houses approximately 12 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and 6 showers. The bedrooms offer a living space about 15 feet long, 15 feet wide, and site a bed, desk, dresser and closet space. There is a multi-purpose kitchen with a free-standing island where meals will be prepared for those in residence, as well as a dining area, conference room, offices for staff and a large living room fitted with multiple couches, a TV, and a fireplace. 

The program is open to everyone with or without a diagnosis and there is no long referral process to get into the facility, Newell said.  “If you, or someone you know is in a mental health crisis – whatever that looks like – you can call here and we will have 24/7 availability, to be assessed by a professional to determine whether or not they are appropriate for this level of care.” 

“The wonderful thing is that it’s for everybody and anybody: your brothers and sisters, your mothers and fathers, your kids, for all of us,” said NYS Office of Mental Health Deputy Commissioner Moira Tashjian, who attended last week’s ceremony. She was joined by local and regional political dignitaries or their representatives, and health specialists.  “Hopefully it will be a safe haven for individuals who are in a behavioral health crisis,” Tashjian said. The project has been in the planning stages for nearly five years. 

Administered by RISE, SunRISE Retreat will host short-term voluntary program residencies up to 28 days for those who are in mental health distress or experiencing symptoms of a mental health crisis.  The program provides stabilization services and features four nurses currently on staff with additional nurses to be hired. A nurse practitioner acts as medical director. 

The center, available to those aged 21 and over, has contracted with managed care organizations in the area regarding insurance and accepts Medicaid, as well as being open to people who do not have the ability to pay. 

“We have some state funding to cover individuals who have no insurance, but this is primarily a service billable through health insurance,” Newell said. “The maximum stay is up to 28 days, but it really is individuals for what a person needs. Sometimes they just need a couple of days to get away from their lives to get things back together, sometimes individuals need a longer-term stay.”

While located in the city of Saratoga Springs proper, SunRISE Retreat is a licensed office of the New York State Office of Mental Health.

“Someone just has to call here, see if there is space, and come in and be assessed by a medical professional to determine whether person is appropriate for this level of care,” Newell said.  On-site treatment such as individual and group therapy, family interaction is offered. Discharge planning will specify where the person will go after being stable.

What the facility won’t provide is a hospital’s level of care, but it will offer an intensive treatment model for individuals who are in need of additional stabilization after an inpatient mental health hospitalization, or need a diversion from inpatient hospitalization but do not need that level of care or are currently in distress.

“The need is significant, particularly for folks in acute mental health crisis, behavioral health crisis,” said Dr. Michael Prezioso, Saratoga County Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services Commissioner. “Not all those folks meet criteria for admission to a hospital setting but we do need an intensive setting for them to get some relief from the symptoms they are suffering from. This is a needed addition to the continuum of care we have in the county.” 

The retreat is located within a building owned by RISE that was previously functioning as Kaydeross House, a home for adolescent girls. RISE Housing and Support Services is a human service agency that has served people in Saratoga and the surrounding counties since 1978.

What’s in the SunRISE name? “We wanted to come up with a name that indicates hope,” Newell said.  “Hope and calm.”

Thursday, 24 August 2023 14:06

Changes Coming for Three Popular Businesses

SARATOGA COUNTY — A new gourmet marketplace. A downtown party shop in Saratoga Springs. A neighborhood deli family-operated for decades.

Three popular retail establishments announced imminent changes pending in their respective businesses with a potential of ramifications resulting for the people who patronize their stores. 

Tailgate and Party Shop, Saratoga Springs

Kirsten Lambert purchased the building at the corner of Phila and Putnam Streets in spring 2021, relocating the Caroline and Henry Street-based Tailgate and Party Shop she first opened one year earlier. The new Phila Street location, since 1990, had previously housed Four Seasons Natural Foods. 

Lambert, a near 30-year-teacher of sixth-grade students was looking for a business to operate during what she anticipated as her retirement years. 

“It’s been a wonderful experience, but it’s just not ‘retirement.’ I found myself exhausted and not as retired as I thought I would be,” she says with a laugh.  “We decided we really need to spin some things down in our lives. A need to really retire this time. It is time for me to pursue other retirement dreams.”

The role Retirement 2.0 will take for Lambert and her husband is in the form of a small animal rescue operation to potentially include retired racehorses. 

The shop meanwhile will see new purpose. 

“We have a lessee coming in who is going to do his own thing,” says Lambert. While not yet completed in scope, the new business operator has plans to install a bar along an upper section of the interior and a small convenience market style area on the lower section. Paper Dolls of Saratoga has expressed interest in taking over the party supply part of the business.  Lambert will maintain ownership of the building. 

“We will begin the closing process in September,” she says. “I’ll be putting things on sale, and we’ll be done by November first.” 

The Tailgate and Party Shop was Lambert’s first real retail business. 

“I started a party store. During COVID. And I had no idea what I was doing: genius!” she says with a laugh. “I thought: have a quiet, seasonal little place. Racetrack season, Christmas. It did very well, it became a year-round store and there never seemed to be an off-time. That’s what caught me off-guard.” 

“I do think it’s absolutely wonderful that Saratoga has really become a year-round destination and my favorite thing about having the store is that it is a really happy place,” Lambert says of her go-to, one-stop-shop for all things celebration. “And meeting the other business owners. I really learned a lot and it has me understanding with compassion and empathy all these other industries.”   

Cannone’s Deli, Wilton 

“We were 28 when we got here and we’re like 67 now,” says Theresa Cannone, tracing a line back to the earliest days of the deli she and her husband John opened in 1984. 

Things were different in Wilton then. “When we got here it was almost like a rural area. On Northern Pines Road, you had no traffic. Now there’s condos, houses, developments – it’s just booming,” she says. With the influx of population over the decades, business at Cannone’s Deli at 654 Saratoga Road is also booming. 

A few months ago, the Cannones began thinking about retiring. 

“It’s bittersweet and it’s kind of hard to leave, but it’s time. We worked seven days a week, ten hours a day for 39 years. We just need to relax for a little bit, enjoy our kids, enjoy our family,” Cannone says.  “Our kids are really looking forward to us spending time with them. We’ve got five grandchildren - and one on the way in November!” she adds enthusiastically.

“The people and the community are wonderful. We built this corner back in ’89 – we had the deli for 10 years, sold it to Kelly’s Deli, we had the liquor store, the pizzeria - Christina’s Pizzeria, which we named after our daughter,” Cannone says. A handful of years ago they returned to operate the deli.   

“That was five years ago in May. When we came back people showed up with flowers – I thought we had a funeral going on – they showed up with flowers and balloons, pictures and cards, and pa-pa-pa,”  says Cannone, having left Deer Park, Long Island several decades ago to relocate upstate, but the accent not entirely having left her. 

Sunday will be the Cannones’ last day of working at the deli, which they have sold to Matthew Sanchez. The deli business will continue into the future, Cannone says. “He is a good man for the job.” 

PDT Market, Saratoga Springs 

Less than six months after the high-profile unveiling of a new gourmet marketplace in downtown Saratoga Springs, Chef Adam Foti announced this week he will be leaving PDT Market.

"Just less than two years ago, my partners and I embarked on a great adventure.  The goal was to transform my passion, PDT Catering, into a marketplace that would nourish the community with amazing, prepared foods, specialty products, and a variety of educational opportunities. From this vision, PDT Market was born,” Chef Foti explained on a social media posting. 

Foti says he will fix his undivided focus on a return to PDT Catering, which will relaunch externally Sept. 1. 

“The effort required to build and sustain PDT Market, and simultaneously keep PDT Catering functioning at the very high standards we set for ourselves, was not always compatible. Time spent on catering was time away from the market. Conversely, time spent focused on the market was time spent away from catering,” Foti says. “Each demand and deserve complete focus and attention.”

The market will also continue, presumably in the partners’ hands, and announced it will be sharing more information “over the next several weeks.” PDT Market did not immediately respond to a media inquiry regarding specific plans of the market going forward. 

PDT Market is located on Railroad Place at 55 Railroad Place in a location that previously housed a Price Chopper market.

“It’s such a labor of love that I’m so passionate about, that it’s just so exciting to see everything here,” Foti told Saratoga TODAY in March as the signage went up inside the 19,000-square-foot PDT Market in preparation of the store’s opening.  An opening celebration ribbon-cutting ceremony took place April 24. 

“PDT Market will continue to grow, flourish, and perhaps, change in my absence,” Foti says. “Rest assured that as I leave, the market is in skillful hands. The team in place is one of the finest I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.”

Thursday, 24 August 2023 14:04

Bobby Flay’s Kitchen Could Be Yours

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Five months after Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy purchased a Fifth Avenue home in Saratoga Springs, downstreet neighbor and Reality TV personality Bobby Flay has put his four-bedroom home on the market. 

Flay purchased the Tudor-style home for $1.7 million in 2021. It is up for sale at $3,295 million. 

The home, featured in House Beautiful magazine in April, was originally constructed in 1939, and features 3,087 square feet of living space with four bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and a two-car garage. 

“The outdoor living space is one-of-a-kind with an outdoor kitchen, expansive patio and unmatched views,” according to the real estate posting specifying JoAnn Potrzuski Cassidy with Julie & Co. Realty as listing agent of the property, in a story first reported by the Times-Union.      

Flay’s home, adjacent to the Oklahoma Training Track, is located approximately 100 yards away from property which David Portnoy’s company, Smokeshowcity LLC, purchased in March.   

Thursday, 24 August 2023 13:31

ZBA Meets Aug. 28

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs Zoning Board of Appeals will host its next meeting 6:30 p.m.  Monday, Aug. 28 at City Hall. 

All meetings are open to the public. 

New Business: 

An Area variance is sought at 174 York Ave. to permit the addition of a second-story to an existing building and extend the footprint of a home approximately 16 feet into the backyard. 

An Area Variance is sought at 34 York Ave. to permit the demolition of a 2,000 square foot outbuilding and replace with an approximate 900 square foot two-story structure. 

Continued Business includes: 

70 Fifth Ave. Demo & Construction Area Variance to permit the demolition of the existing house and construction of a new single-family residence.

12 Ballston Ave. Chipotle Area Variance to permit the demolition of the existing structure and reconstruction of a one-story restaurant building.

182 Excelsior Ave. Green Springs Capital Group LLC is seeking an Area Variance to permit a two-lot subdivision within the Urban Residential -4 (UR-4) District. In a letter to the ZBA dated July 18, Brian Green of Green Springs Capital Group wrote that the granting of the density variance for the 182 Excelsior Ave. project would enable the creation of a development “that respects the historic nature of the property and fulfills the housing needs of the community.”  The project involves relocating and renovating the historic house and carriage house at 182 Excelsior Ave. 

ALBANY — Work is underway on an overall $100 million project at Albany International Airport that will support the expansion of the airport’s terminal, provide enhanced passenger amenities both pre and post checkpoint and allow more efficient passenger flow through security.

“Our upstate airports are essential to our local economies, and we are committed to making them as welcoming as possible for residents and visitors alike,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said, while announcing the project update last week. 

The project, which was awarded $60 million from the Governor’s $230 million Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, will modernize the entranceways, relocate and expand the security area, add additional seating and waiting areas, and make other improvements to reduce congestion and ease the flow of passengers. 

Additional amenities include updated conference facilities, a public arts area and children’s play zone, new green spaces and an expanded airside marketplace. 

“These generational investments will continue to make Albany International Airport and airports across the state easier to navigate and more enjoyable to visit, creating a gateway to our top destinations that is truly worthy of Upstate New York,” Hochul said. 

An existing terminal at Albany International Airport was designed more than a quarter-century ago. The revitalization project includes the removal of the existing rotunda and pedestrian bridge to construct a new main entrance with glass curtain wall and the installation of lightweight, translucent canopies. The project will be funded by $60 million in state funds and $40 million in federal funds – the latter via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan.    

Work on the current project is expected to be completed in early 2025.

A previous state investment of $72.1 million saw the expansion of the parking areas and the creation of Exit 3 off the Northway. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The city’s Capital Program Committee has listed its proposed projects plan for the next six years.

The proposal includes the committee's ranking of projects in order of importance, as well as expense and revenue budgets for the 2024-2029 recommended Capital Program. 

Specific to 2024, the program requests projects total just over $11.76 million – with Loughberry Lake Dam (infrastructure) topping the list. A Fire Department ambulance, multiple park and recreation venue improvements and rehabilitations, and a variety of infrastructure projects also appear on the list.   

The adjoining chart depicts the ranking order of the projects and funding cost requests for 2024 and beyond.   

The projects ($9.64 million excluding water and sewer projects) and local taxes (bonds) to fund them is pending City Council action. 

During its Aug. 15 meeting, the City Council set a public hearing that will allow feedback regarding the Capital Program plan. The next council meeting – meetings typically are held the first and third Tuesday of the month – will take place 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7, due to the Labor Day holiday.   

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A Saratoga Springs Cannabis Growers Showcase has been approved by the NYS Department of Cannabis Management. 

The event – which begins noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3 - will be staged twice-a-week and held on the ground floor in the Saratoga Springs City Center parking garage. 

An official announcement regarding the showcase was publicly presented by City Center Executive Director Ryan McMahon during the Saratoga Springs City Council meeting on Aug. 15. 

The event organizer, Adult Use Cannabis Cultivator and one of the participants of the Saratoga Springs Cannabis Growers Showcase - Scot Trifilo, has been a Saratoga Springs resident and businessman for 24 years. He has also been involved in the national legal cannabis industry since 2014.

BALLSTON SPA — The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors staged their monthly meeting Aug. 15 at the county complex in Ballston Spa. The Board unanimously approved: 

• Authorization of a lease renewal agreement with Saratoga Prime Properties, LLC for office space For the Saratoga County Department Of Mental Health And Addiction Services. 

The office space is located at 135 South Broadway in Saratoga Springs, in close proximity to the current Code Blue emergency shelter which operates on a temporary basis on Adelphi Street. 

The current lease for the premises expires in October. The renewal, which would kick in in October, covers five years with the option of one additional five-year term at an annual rental rate of $391,682.66, for years one and two, and subject to a 3% rent increase every two years thereafter.

• The Board voted to accept the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services – 2023 SHSP (2023 State Homeland Security Program) and SLETPP (State Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention) - grant funds in the amount of $247,535. The funds are available to pay for installation of audio-visual equipment in the meeting/training room; cyano kits, firefighter accountability, 2D/3D forensic mapping scanner with related training, support equipment for the Lench Armored vehicle, and operational overtime for the protection of soft targets and crowded places, according to the resolution. 

• The 2023 Saratoga County Budget included a Trails Grant Program to give matching grants to local municipalities to fund trail development and construction projects. These include the funding of trail feasibility studies, engineering work, and construction in local municipalities. 

The Board approved fully funding 12 applications that were received by the Trails and Open Space Committee, at a total cost of $120,000.

Each municipality awarded the funding is required to provide matching funds or services in-kind.

Among those awarded: 

• City of Saratoga Springs: $10,000 to be applied towards the Saratoga Springs Railroad Run Trail Improvements to include the installation of energy efficient lighting to ~1/2-mile segment of the trail, between the Saratoga Springs YMCA and NYS Rt 50 that is heavily wooded and dark. 

• Town of Ballston: $10,000 to be applied towards the Ballston Creek Preserve to include a trailhead and small parking lot/area for people to access the existing trail on a Saratoga PLAN-owned parcel off of East Line Road. 

• Town of Greenfield: $10,000 towards the Brookhaven Park Trail. 

• Town of Malta: $10,000 towards the Malta Nature Preserve Trail Restoration.

• Town of Milton: $10,000 towards the Woods Hollow Nature Preserve Trailhead Improvements.

• Town of Moreau: $10,000 towards the Scenic Hudson River/Big Bend Trail.

• Town of Northumberland: $10,000 towards the Hudson Crossing Park to include rehabilitation of the park’s existing trail network.


BALLSTON SPA— The FBI is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for deliberately tampering with a portion of the Saratoga Corinth and Hudson Railroad in Corinth.

The FBI’s Albany Field Office was contacted after a railroad employee conducting a routine safety inspection noticed a portion of the rail line in Corinth had been tampered with.

The joint investigation between FBI Albany and the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office has identified evidence that the tampering is indicative of an attempt to derail a train and occurred in early June of 2023.

A derailment on this line could have resulted in serious injuries, or even fatalities. The Saratoga Corinth and Hudson Railroad offers scenic tours for passengers of all ages, to include field trips for young children.

“While we’re thankful the worst-case scenario was avoided, the FBI and our law enforcement partners will not stand by while someone tries to cause harm to our communities and destroy our small businesses,” said Janeen DiGuiseppi, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Albany Field Office.

Anyone with information related to this case is asked to contact the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or submitting a tip online at

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