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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Galloping up and down the emptied corn filed behind Pitney Meadows Community Farm, “Claude’s Alley Cat” begins its preparation for the 2017 racing scene in earnest with some gentle exercises.  Before long, the two-year-old stallion will move onto the Oklahoma Training Track, across the street from the Saratoga Race Course, to begin more intense training. 

For trainer Melvin Winney, Claude’s Alley Cat, named in memory of his late father, looks to make his return to the horse racing business a successful one.  Running his first winning horse back in 1996 with “David Parson,” Winney went on to run eight winning horses during his career, including “Back Door Deal” and “Ms. Will a Way.”  Now, after five years away from the business, he sees the potential for victory in his latest horse.

“He’s been doing everything right from day one,” Winney said.  “He broke easily, quietly.”

Winney’s new horse was sired by celebrated stallion “Desert Party,” which currently resides at the Irish Hill Century Farm in Stillwater and was previously owned by Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai. 

“Most two-year-olds will go out with other two-year-olds to keep each other company,” Winney said about his new horse.  “This guy, he doesn’t need any company, he’s very attentive, he’s focused.  He’s like an older horse for a baby.  He’s just a baby.” 

 

All photos by Photoandgraphic.com.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 13 April 2017 14:18

Scotties’ Winning Debut

BALLSTON SPA – It was the warmest and sunniest day of spring so far on April 10 when the Ballston Spa High School baseball team took to the diamond for the first time.  Heading out onto solid turf that had recovered from recent bouts of rain, the team warmed up for the first game of their spring season against Albany High School as a playlist of high-energy hip-hop filled the air.  Varsity head coach Curtis Nobles stood to the side near the dugout, monitoring his players and directing them to help improve their play-styles. 

“[We’re] very confident,” Nobles said about his faith in the team heading into the season. “Everyone’s chasing the same thing, getting sectionals, and trying to make a run at a sectional title.”

This goal to grab a sectional title got off to a solid start, as the Scotties bested the Albany High Falcons with a strong 11-5.  Standout players from the game, according to Nobles, were sophomore Luke Gold, who put up two hits and two RBI’s, and senior Aaron Hinman, who scored two RBI doubles.

Practice began for the spring season on March 7, but it was mostly indoors on account of the damp and frigid weather that only let up recently. 

“They’ve been productive,” Nobles said about the Scotties’ spring preparations.  “Lately they’ve had to be short and sweet because we’ve been inside so much.  So, just to kind of keep things efficient but not over-dragged we made sure that we come in and gets quality reps rather than quantity.”

Nobles expressed particular excitement for senior Grady Gawrys, citing impressive relief appearances last season and the hard work that he has been putting into practice for this season.

“He looks like he’s prepared and ready and willing to do whatever it takes to have a winning season,” Nobles said about Gawrys.

Jared Winkle, a team captain, was also singled out as a strong, quiet leader for the team, one that leads by example on and off the field

The Scotties are coming into spring off of one of their strongest runs ever.  Last season, they became Ballston Spa’s first ever state-ranked baseball team, being ranked 11th in the state, and put up a 15-5 win-loss record.

“The best [season] in school history from what I hear,” Nobles said.

All photos by Photoandgraphic.com.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 13 April 2017 14:08

Saratoga Independent School Celebrates 25 Years

SARATOGA SPRINGS – What began with six kindergarteners in the basement of the Trinity Methodist Church in Gansevoort has now, 25 years and change later, grown to include 132 K-6 students in its own building, tucked away amongst the trees on 60-acres of land.

The Saratoga Independent School (SIS) has been celebrating 25 years of operation since the beginning of the current school year back in Sept. 2016.  From humble beginnings, the school has grown in both scope and vision, with its enrollment numbers swelling by well over 100, and the amount of classes and programs on offer growing at the same pace.  Looking to the immediate future, the growth seems likely to continue.

Back in Sept. 1991, the parents of six local preschool students on their way to kindergarten found that there were not any schools in the area that would offer their children the same style of education that they had gotten in preschool.  Specifically, they wanted a school that would not group them with other children strictly by date of birth, and that would teach them thematically, weaving different subjects around a common idea to give them a better sense of how their lessons reflected the world around them.

“So, these five parents did everything from getting the charter from State Ed,” Felice Karlitz, Director of School, said.  “Finding a place, and [they] started the school in the basement of the Methodist church in Gansevoort with their own five kids.”

From the start, the growth of enrollment at SIS was strong.  In three years, the school had outgrown the basement and moved to the warehouse area behind a Shoe Depot on Division St. in Saratoga Springs.  In 2003, after “exponential” enrollment and staffing increases, the school raised $850,000 in land, gifts, and pledges to begin the construction of their current location, the Anderson Campus, named in honor of Gail Anderson and her late husband, Willard. 

[CORRECTION: In the print version of this article, it was incorrectly stated that Gail Anderson was deceased.  This is incorrect, and the online version has been corrected to reflect this information.]

In 2010, the school added an east wing, adding space for new computer and science labs, as well as a dedicated art room. A year later, in 2011, SIS achieved one its biggest milestones by earning accreditation from the New York State Association of Independent Schools, which involved “a two year introspective self study, a four day visit by a review committee, and a full NYSAIS review of the findings by the committee and the school.”

Currently, construction is underway on the second floor of the school’s east wing, which the school intends to use to add grade 7-8 middle school level programs to their offerings.  They estimate that this new middle school will be up and running in 2019.

All photos by Photoandgraphic.com.

 

Published in Education
Thursday, 06 April 2017 15:43

April 7th - April 13th

COURTS

Riley P. Belkevich-Manupella, 21, Clifton Park, was sentenced on March 30 to five years of probation after pleading to felony vehicular assault regarding an incident that occurred in Clifton Park. 

Tyree T. Saxon, Schenectady, was sentenced on March 30 to 2-1/2 years in state prison and two years of post-release supervision, after pleading to felony criminal sale of a controlled substance. 

Kenneth R. Boni, 65, of Halfmoon, was sentenced on March 30 to time served and five years of probation, after pleading to felony DWI regarding an incident that occurred in Clifton Park. 

Craig M. Guifoyle, 31, of Ballston Spa, pleaded on March 30 to felony criminal contempt regarding an incident in Malta. Sentencing is scheduled for May 25.

Heaven M. Puleski, 36, of Wyantskill, was sentenced on March 30 to one year in jail, after pleading to felony DWI regarding an incident in Northumberland.

Angel M. Rodriguez, 32, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded on March 30 to felony burglary regarding an incident in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing scheduled for March 25.  

POLICE

The Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic incident complaint at the Westwood Motel in the Town of Ballston this morning at 3:16 AM.  Investigation into the complaint led to the arrest of the following person for 

Bonnie J. Kent, age 45, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 20 with second-degree assault, a felony, two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and one misdemeanor count criminal possession of a weapon, and assault in the third degree.  

Amanda G. Ippoliti, age 23, Mechanicville, was charged on March 19 with misdemeanor DWI, felony aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle under the influence, operating a motor vehicle without a license, and two vehicle equipment violations. 

Rogerio F. Torres, age 35, of Ballston Spa, was charged March 30 with assault in the second degree, a felony, assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor, menacing, and criminal possession of a weapon, in connection with allegedly stabbing his brother in his hand at a motel in the Town of Ballston. He was arraigned, sent to Saratoga County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail, or $20,000 secured bond, according to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. 

Alicia J.D. Hyman, age 25, Albany, was charged on March 19 with misdemeanor DWI, and improper lane use.  

Edmond G. Currier, age 63, Corinth, was charged on March 18 with felony DWI as a second offense, felony aggravated DWI, and driving violations. 

Jenna L. Murray, age 23, Wilton, was charged on March 18 with misdemeanor DWI, driving the wrong way down a one-way street, and unlawful possession of marijuana. 

Daniel H. Shea, age 47, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 18 with misdemeanor DWI, and failing to keep right. 

Adam T. Berlin, age 22, Galway, was charged on March 18 with misdemeanor DWI, refusing a pre-screen test, and unreasonable speed, after being involved in a one car accident. 

Anthony J. Soprano, age 25, of Queensbury, was charged on March 17 with misdemeanor DWI, refusing a pre-screen test, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and speeding.  

Richard F. Salluzzo, age 66, Saratoga Springs, was charged with misdemeanor DWI, and improper lane use, after being involved in a one-car accident.

Maximilian E. Chambliss, age 21, Altamont, was charged on March 29 with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, in connection with an incident that occurred in February in Corinth. It is alleged that Chambliss entered a residence on Farr Road in Corinth and stole numerous firearms including at least two long guns and four handguns. Some of the above stolen firearms have been recovered in the Albany area; however, some still remain missing. The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office asks that anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of those guns contact them at 518-885-6761. The case remains open as an active investigation and more arrests are expected. 

Brittanie A. Bonnivier, age 21, Mechanicville, was charged on March 17 with unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a controlled substance, a vehicle equipment violation, and speeding. 

Julian M. Oliver, age 26, Clifton Park, was charged on March 17 with two vehicle violations, and aggravated unlicensed operation, a misdemeanor.  

Jeremiah J. Hopkins, age 34, Ballston Spa, was charged on March 16 with aggravated unlicensed operation, a misdemeanor, and making an unsafe lane change, after being involved in a property damage accident 

Matthew S. Ragotskie, age 25, Ballston Spa, was charged with misdemeanor petit larceny. 

Michael J. Furforo, age 46, Gansevoort, was charged with misdemeanor DWI, misdemeanor aggravated DWI, refusing a pre-screen test, and two vehicle equipment violations. 

Makenzie L. Lesson, age 21, Schuylerville, was charged on March 13 with petit larceny, a misdemeanor. 

Lamont C. Washington, age 27, Ballston Spa, was charged on March 12 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, and a driving violation. 

Cody K. Kazakoff, age 21, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 12 with falsely reporting an incident. 

Ilyssa J. Riley, age 25, Monson, MA  was charged on March 12 with misdemeanor DWI, aggravated DWI, and speeding. 

Jacob W. Peek, age 20, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 12 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, failing to stop at a stop sign, and unlawful possession of marijuana. 

Devin J. Waite, age 23, Hadley, was charged on March 12 with misdemeanor DWI, and a driving violation. 

Rahmel D. Dobbs, age 24, Schenectady, was charged on March 12 with criminal possession of a controlled substance, and a driving violation.  

Published in Police Blotter
Thursday, 06 April 2017 12:14

Neighbors: Snippets of Life From Your Community

Who: Maureen Sager.

Where: Spring Street Gallery.

Q. What’s your day like?

A. I wear many hats. I’m executive director of Spring Street Gallery and right now we’re developing a show on birds that will open on April 29.

Q. What’s another hat you wear?

A. Project director at the Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy. People tell me about projects they’re working on and we look for ways we think the creative industries can be developed in this region. And we’re finding lots of ways to bring business and arts organizations and parks organizations and others together, and to roll it into a vibrant, economically thriving way to address the creative industries and the arts.

Q. How big is the region you oversee as project director?

A. It’s eight counties, as far a south as Columbia and Greene and north to Washington and Warren counties.   

Q. Do you have a nickname?

A. Moe. Everyone calls me Moe.

Q. What did you want to be when you were a kid?    

A. A fashion designer. I had two aunts that went to Fashion institute of Technology and boy, that captured my imagination as I was growing up in New Jersey. I thought that was a very glamorous career.

Q. What was your first concert?

A. The Jacksons at Nassau Coliseum. I was like 10 years old. My mom wanted to do something exciting for us, so she took us to a Jacksons concert. It was on Easter Sunday. What was really embarrassing: we were in our Easter outfits. It was so bad. I never felt like a bigger dork in my entire life.

Q. What’s your favorite brush with fame?

A. I used to be in the entertainment industry and so many of my stories about famous people are not good. But, someone who delighted me goes back to my first job in New York, when I worked for management company for Kiss, the rock band. I saw them regularly at the time, but much, much later - about 13 years later, while I was working for a big record company, I ran into Paul and Gene in the elevator. I was thinking: should I say hi? Ah, they’re never going to remember a girl who worked for them that long ago, but I finally said, ‘Paul and Gene you probably won’t remember me…’ I thought they were going to blow me off, but instead, Gene says: ‘Paul! Look! It’s her!” Ha, they were so sweet about it. They didn’t remember me, of course, but they made good fun out of it, and I thought that’s the kind of famous person that I really appreciate. They were so generous in that moment, to acknowledge me and to give something back, because that’s something in that industry that’s so rarely done.     

Q. When did you move to Saratoga?

A. Twelve years ago.

Q. How has the city changed in that time?   

A. It’s changed a lot. My first couple of years here, I felt that I knew a small subset of people who I’d run into in town. I thought that was just a wonderful way to bring up my kids and raise a family. Now, I’ll sometimes go to an event in Saratoga and I won’t know anyone. And that’s also very exciting in a way, to have groups of people with such varied interests. I think Saratoga benefits from all these varied interests we have. 

 

Published in Entertainment
Thursday, 30 March 2017 15:35

March 31st - April 4th

POLICE

Alison J. Pecor, age 20, of Corinth, was charged on March 22 with first-degree vehicular manslaughter, and second-degree vehicular assault – both felonies, driving while ability impaired, and reckless driving – both misdemeanors, and two violations of traffic law, in connection with a serious motor vehicle collision that occurred on Feb. 5 in the town of Hadley. Pecor is accused of driving under the influence of narcotics when her vehicle crossed her lane of travel on Route 9N and struck a vehicle operated by 55-year-old Denise Scofield. Pecor’s 18-month-old daughter, who was in Pecor’s vehicle but not properly secured in her child safety seat, died as a result of injuries suffered in the crash, according to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office.  Scofield remains hospitalized and is recovering from her injuries. Pecor was sent to County Jail in lieu of $15,000 cash, or $30,000 bond.   

Katelynn M. Skoda, 25, of Ballston Spa, was charged on March 26 with one count DWI, one count driving while ability impaired by drugs, speeding and operating a motor vehicle without insurance following a crash at Forest Hills Mobile Home Park in the town of Milton.  It is alleged Skoda was operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, left the roadway and struck a tree, according to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department. Skoda was extricated from her vehicle by members of the Rock City Falls Fire Department and flown to Albany Medical Center for non-life threatening injuries.  She will appear in Milton Town Court at a later, unspecified date.

Emanuel W. Philippe, age 21, Brooklyn, and Elizabeth M. Stanley, age 20, Schenectady, each face multiple charges following an incident that occurred on March 17.  Saratoga Springs Police said an officer on patrol stopped a car driven by Phillipe, and with Stanley as its passenger, for speeding on West Avenue. It is alleged a search of the vehicle returned marijuana, a scale suspected as being part of drug paraphernalia, an AR-15 assault weapon and two loaded magazines for the weapon that each contained over 20 rounds ammunition.  Police said Phillipe fled the scene on foot, was quickly apprehended and found to have on him more than 25 grams of powder cocaine was packaged in small quantities for individual sale. Philippe was charged with six felonies and three misdemeanors, mostly related to weapons and drug possession charges in connection with the incident and sent to jail in lieu of $75,000 cash, or $150,000 bond. Stanley was charged with three felonies related to criminal possession of a weapon and sent to jail in lieu of $50,000 cash, or $100,000 bond.  

Kristen M. Pohl, age 23, Ballston Lake, was charged on March 12 with criminal possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of marijuana, and consumption of alcoholic beverages.  

Samantha M. Hamelin, age 21, South Glens Falls, was charged on March 11 with misdemeanor DWI, and a vehicle equipment violation.  

Richard L. Heithaus, age 21, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 11 with criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument, a misdemeanor. 

Azaria C. Traver, age 27, Edgewood, Maryland, was charged on March 11 with misdemeanor DWI and operation of a motor vehicle by and unlicensed driver.

John P. Henry, age 24, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 11 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and failure to stop at a stop sign.  

James C. Lynch, age 43, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 10 with criminal contempt in the first degree, and aggravated family offense- both felonies.  

Keith B. Hedge, age 53, Gansevoort, was charged on March 10 with misdemeanor DWI.

Ezekiel J. West, age 23, Schenectady, was charged on March 10 with two felony counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance – alleged to be cocaine, and the misdemeanor charges: criminal impersonation, criminal possession of a controlled substance, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. 

Unikia L. Cross, age 34, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 10 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and failing to signal a turn.  

Jacob S. Wright, age 35, Middle Grove, was charged on March 9 with misdemeanor petit larceny. 

Jerritt T. Chura, age 31, Stillwater, was charged on March 9 with speeding, and unlawful possession of marijuana. 

Tatyanna A. Antoski, age 23, Ballston Spa, was charged on March 9 with misdemeanor DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle/ under the influence – a felony, and a driving violation.  

Corey A. Spruiel, age 29, Ballston Spa, was charged on March 9 with misdemeanor DWI and a driving violation. 

Michael T. Connelly, age 27, Gansevoort, was charged on March 8 after being involved in a motor vehicle accident with misdemeanor DWI and aggravated DWI, and a driving violation. 

James B. Belden, age 27, Hudson Falls, was charged on March 8 with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.  

Daniel J. Taber, age 21, Amsterdam, was charged on March 8 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, operating an unregistered motor vehicle on a highway, and not having a valid inspection certificate. 

Rachael A. Carson, age 28, Hudson Falls, was charged on March 8 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a vehicle equipment violation, and unlawful possession of marijuana.  

John R. Daniele, age 30, Ballston Spa, was charged on March 8 with criminal possession of a controlled substance. 

Katie A. Gregorek, age 30, Stillwater, criminal possession of a controlled substance, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and a vehicle equipment violation.  

Kevin R. Kelly, age 26, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 7 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, failure to signal a turn, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. 

Joseph J. Casertino, age 49, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 7 with obstructing governmental administration in the second degree, a misdemeanor.   



Shannon L. Tracey, age 33, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 7 with felony criminal possession of a weapon, and the misdemeanors: menacing, resisting arrest, and criminal trespass in the third degree.

Published in Police Blotter
Thursday, 30 March 2017 15:28

Saratoga YMCA Youth Basketball Finals

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The play-offs for the Saratoga Regional YMCA’s youth basketball league were held recently, marking the end of the league’s current season before the new summer league commences in June.  In the Saratoga Rotary Jr. Division, the D’Andrea’s Pizza and BHHS Blake Realtors teams faced off, with D’Andrea’s coming out on top, 42-32.  In the Saratoga/Wilton Elks Lodge Sr. Division, the Toyota of Clifton Park and Mexican Connection teams competed in the finals, with the Toyota of Clifton Park team taking the win, 56-46.

Along with the finals, the youth league also gave out the James Cudney Award, which goes to the player who most exemplifies the YMCA’s core values.  This year, the award went to Saratoga Springs High School junior Elias Wohl.

Published in Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Amateur boxers came together in Saratoga Springs this past weekend to fight for a good cause. 

On March 25, the Saratoga Springs City Center played host to a night of amateur boxing to honor and raise money for celebrated Capitol Region boxing promoter, Bob Miller.  Miller, a 60-year industry veteran and founder of the Uncle Sam Boxing Club in Troy, was in a serious car accident on Oct. 15 of last year that left him paralyzed.  Shortly after, the Miller family established the Bob Miller Fund, a GoFundMe campaign with the goal of raising money to help cover Miller’s expenses, including “his medical care, the equipment (e.g., wheelchair, braces) he will need, and lodging for Linda, our father's wife, and the immediate family so that we can continue to support him during his long rehabilitation away from home,” according to the page’s description. 

Doors opened for the event at 6:30 p.m., with the first bout commencing at 7:30 p.m.  A total of 13 bouts took place over the course of the show, which drew around 850 attendees.  According to city center executive director Ryan McMahon, when factoring in volunteers and trainers, the total attendance number for the night was closer to 1,000. 

“Very strong,” McMahon said about the night’s attendance figures.

Some of the bouts on the card included Schuylerville-native Joey Barcia against Francis Hogan of Boston, Alison Watson of Vermont against Jamere Shelby of Albany, Malachi Davis of Albany against Richard Hogan of Boston, and the Uncle Sam Boxing Club’s own Tugar VanDommelen against Gianni Gragnano.  In addition to the boxing, other fundraising activities at the event included a raffle and a silent auction.

At time of writing, event organizer Dave Wojcicki estimates that the event raised around $15,000 for the Bob Miller Fund.  When asked if the city center would possibly work with Bob Miller and company in the future, McMahon was optimistic.

“We would love to,” McMahon said.  “Bob is a long standing client and fixture in Saratoga Springs boxing.”

Anyone interested in donating to the Bob Miller Fund can find the campaign’s page at www.gofundme.com/bob-miller-fund-2unsxys.

All photos in this story are by PhotoAndGraphic.com.

Published in Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A group of local students recently took a break from esoteric calculus and SAT prep to learn some more practical real world skills.

The Saratoga-Sponsor-A-Scholar program decided to do something a little different for its yearly feedback session, during which they find out what their senior students like and dislike about the program for the sake of future improvements.  Responding to a complaint that has been common from students over the years that they did not learn enough about handling certain social situations, Mary Gavin and Kristie Roohan organized an “etiquette dinner” that would help their students learn to be more comfortable in such situations, in addition to giving them an opportunity to give their feedback on the program. 

Held at Sperry’s Restaurant in downtown Saratoga Springs, part of the goal of the dinner was to teach the students about restaurant etiquette, including using menus, how to order, which utensils to use, among a variety of other things.  Beyond all of that, the broader goal of the night was help the students learn to feel comfortable in social situations that might take place in environments similar to Sperry’s, whether they be meetings, interviews, parties, or any other similar sort of occasion. 

“It was so much better than we could’ve expected,” Mary Gavin said of the dinner.  “They loved it.” 

Students were encouraged to ask any questions they had about anything during the night, and they asked plenty, as many of them had never had experience with restaurants like Sperry’s before.  According to Gavin, questions ranged from wanting to know about certain menu items that they had never heard of, to asking if it was okay to ask to take their leftovers home.  To their credit, Gavin said that the wait staff at Sperry’s were courteous and grateful throughout the night, helping students with anything and everything they needed or wanted to know about.

The dinner also gave the program organizers their annual opportunity to solicit feedback about the program from the outgoing senior students.  According to Gavin, students expressed their satisfaction with the program as a whole, in particular with the mentors that they have been working with, while also expressing dissatisfaction with their mentors’ tendency to be gone certain days on official business, leaving them without guidance.  Gavin said that they will be taking that latter criticism into account moving forward.

Saratoga-Sponsor-A-Scholar is a ten-year-old not-for-profit program that works with “financially-disadvantaged” students in the Saratoga Springs school system by assigning them mentors who help them to finish high school and prepare for college.  Many of the students in the program end up being the first in their families to enter college, according to Gavin.

Ultimately, Gavin said that one thing stood out to her the most as a sign that the night had been a success.

“I think the highlight was we didn’t see a single cell phone the entire night,” Gavin said.

What do you think of SSAS's etiquette dinner idea?  Should more school program's teach practical social skills?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

All photos in this story are by PhotoAndGraphic.com.

Published in Education

SARATOGA SPRINGS – City residents and visitors alike will soon have a centrally located resource to bring their ideas to foster a better understanding of cultural differences, as well as express concerns about potential human rights violations.   

“Luckily, we’re a very safe city, but I’ve had enough proof and input from our citizens that we’re not immune to problems,” said city Mayor Joanne Yepsen, who after appointing five people to a human rights-focused planning committee is “moving forward to the next level” and coordinating a seven-person Human Rights Task Force.

“It’s hate crimes I’m most worried about: prejudice, not accepting one another as equals - basic human rights,” Yepsen said. “We’re going to be proactive but also in a reactive mode, too, if anything were to occur like the swastikas.”

Last November, spray-painted swastikas surfaced on city streets. Police conducted a hate speech investigation after a social media site that referenced neo-Nazis mentioned Saratoga Springs High School, and a senior class student of Jewish descent came upon anti-Semitic acts.  

“The idea of this human rights group came up a year ago. This is a need. It wasn’t because of the Trump election,” Yepsen told a group of reporters gathered in the mayor’s office, before the question could be asked. “It was more a case of: we need to be a better city. And being a better city means we take care of our citizens. I would like to have a resource to help ensure we can maintain our status as a community that fosters mutual respect and understanding among racial, religious and nationality groups in the city.”  

The Schenectady County Human Rights Commission served as an informational resource, said Yepsen, who also consulted with state legislators. The Schenectady Commission, which was established in 1965, is a policy-making body composed of 15 commissioners appointed by the County Legislature. The proposed seven-member Saratoga Springs task force will differ in regards to the amount of power it may wield.

“The Commission in Schenectady County can take calls and work on cases. We’re not going to be qualified to do that, but we do have a lot of organizations in town that are, and we can suggest a list of referrals – like EOC, like the Racecourse Chaplaincy, like the Legal Aid Society,” Yepsen said. 

“We depend greatly on people from other cultures to work here. Let’s face it, there are 2,500 different people working for the racing industry and many of them are Latinos. I think there are seven different dialects spoken on the backstretch alone and more and more of these families are settling in our city as community members. We also have a lot of restaurant workers who come here and try to make a go of it, so we’re trying to respond to their needs.”

The city’s Human rights Taskforce will focus mostly on education, programming and collaboration. The mayor cited the city’s annual series of public events and programs celebrating the work of Martin Luther King Jr. as a model of what can be done year-round related to human rights to foster a better understanding of cultural differences.

Anyone interested in joining the Human Rights Task Force can apply via the City of Saratoga Springs Board Application form on the city’s website. Deadline for applications is April 12 and Mayor Yepsen said she hopes to appoint members to the seven-person group at the April 18 City Council Meeting.   

 

Charter Review Commission Releases Charter Draft

The Charter Review Commission has released a draft of a proposed new Charter for Saratoga Springs city government. The 24-page document may be viewed at: https://saratogacharter.com/. A referendum will be held in November.

 

Upcoming Meetings

The City Council will hold a pre-agenda meeting 9:30 a.m. Monday, April 3, and a full meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 4 at City Hall.

The Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Technical Review Advisory Committee (TRAC) will hold a meeting 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 4 at Saratoga Music Hall.

 

The Design Review Commission will hold a meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 4 at City Hall. 

Published in News
Page 62 of 66

Blotter

  • Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office  A 20-year-old Watervliet man was charged with first degree manslaughter after allegedly “striking another person with a large wrench and causing that person’s death,” according to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office said they received a call of a fight in progress on Sparrow Drive in the town of Malta and the Investigation into the complaint led to the arrest of Cyrus J. Tetreault, 20, of Watervliet.  The victim was identified as 53-year-old Malta resident Brian M. Miller.  “It is truly tragic that this situation resulted in a loss of life,” county Sheriff Michael Zurlo…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON  Richard Burt sold property at 921 Route 50 to 921 Route 50 LLC for $173,000 GALWAY Rita Werner and Erin Forlenza sold property at 1064 West Galway Road to Karen Crandall for $145,000 GREENFIELD John Mishoe sold property at 463 Allen Road to Michael Forlini for $390,000 John Duffney sold property at 288 North Greenfield to Kelly Rozembersky for $270,000 MALTA  Timothy Albright sold property at 54 Shore Ave to Joseph DiDonna for $800,000 Jennifer Hogan sold property at 5 Plum Poppy South to Dustin Mullen for $475,000 Nicolas Aragosa sold property at 10 Scotch Mist Way to Steven…
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