JUser: :_load: Unable to load user with ID: 766

Thursday, 21 November 2013 12:21

Will it Pay to SAVE?

The Birth of a Citizens Movement

SARATOGA SPRINGS — An overflowing cross-section of the community gathered on Monday evening, November 18 at City Hall to learn about and make pledges to participate in activities to resist a casino inside the city and county limits. 

The meeting, organized by the group Saratogians Against Vegas-style Expansion (SAVE) brought such a large response from the citizenry that the city council chamber was not enough to hold them, necessitating an impromptu second simultaneous presentation in the hallway by Sara Boivin, one of SAVE’s organizers. Inside the council room, a tightly packed agenda brought about a wealth of information and the revelation as to SAVE’s action plans. 

SAVE organizers Colin Klepatar and Clem Marino described a multi-pronged approach which, in addition to an online petition, included neighborhood and event canvassing, media and political outreach. 

They asked each attendee to speak for a minute about their reasons for attending if they wished. The major subjects that were stated involved concerns about potential rising crime, the social costs of gambling and a general deterioration in the quality of life should Saratoga Springs or Saratoga County host a table-gaming casino facility.

“We’re the ones to give voice to the 20 percent,” said Klepatar, referring to the weight that community support, or lack thereof would count on a casino application. He also noted that there were no specific guidelines as to how that aspect could be gauged.

Both Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County soundly defeated casino Proposition 1 in the recent November 5 election, though it passed statewide. In the Capital Region, Fulton, Montgomery, Rensselaer and Schoharie Counties passed Proposition 1.

SAVE organizers asked each participant to sign their petition and to commit to at least one clear action to help spread the word. 

The organization’s website, www.savesaratoga.org, has a mission statement which reads in part: “(SAVE) seeks to preserve our thriving downtown, rarely seen in America today and recognized nationally; our world renowned performance art spaces; our thriving economy and our social and individual security and pride that generations of thoughtful and caring Saratogians have worked to build, rebuild and preserve.

“Casino gambling is a single-destination activity, which succeeds only by keeping its guests at the casino. Casinos are a drain on local businesses, directly competing with them by discounting their hotel rooms, entertainment, and amenities, drawing customers away from downtown Saratoga. The projected tax-revenue benefits are guesswork and when gambling revenues decline, it is the taxpayers who are burdened – with lower property values and higher rates of real estate foreclosures. Critical and already overburdened local services, such as police, fire, and hospital services, will become further stretched.

“The social costs of full casino gambling are potentially significant as well. Gambling is a regressive tax, exacting its profits from those who are least able to absorb financial losses. This can result in spikes in poverty rates, unemployment rates, and crime. The projected benefits of full casino gambling have yet to be convincingly documented. We are concerned that the promise of a windfall for host communities will not be realized, especially in light of plummeting revenues at casinos across the country. Meaningful guarantees and demonstrated long-term value are lacking. SAVE Saratoga contends that the revenues will never outweigh the costs and this is a risk our community will not take.”

It is obvious based on last night’s attendance that these ideas have broad appeal. The SAVE organizers came ready with a plan it will be interesting to see whether we witnessed the beginnings of a new form of broad-based citizen action in Saratoga Springs.

Friday, 15 November 2013 12:55


SARATOGA SPRINGS – We have certainly elevated our film profile in recent weeks with BowTies blooming all over. But we also need to be aware of other offerings around the area. Here’s a few noteworthy screenings:


The First Season — Putnam Den

On Thursday, November 21 at 6 p.m. an interesting evening program has been put together at Putnam Den. A screening of the documentary The First Season, which profiles Paul and Phyllis van Amburg, who believe that a small, family farm in the Schoharie Valley is the best place to raise their children, take their life savings and buy a defunct dairy and fight to defy the odds as they become full time farmers.

The First Season, filmed with an intimate, cinema verite style, bears witness to the Van Amburg’s struggle as they fight against relentless toil, financial ruin and the harsh reality of dairy farming to achieve their version of the American dream. 

Light food will be served before the screening and there will be a Q & A with at least one of the Van Amburg family members afterwards. 

Admission is $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Visit putnamden.com to order tickets online or they are available at the venue.

McCabe and Mrs. Miller- Film Forum

A Robert Altman 1971 classic screens at the Spring Street Gallery for free on Saturday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. This “anti-western” pairs Warren Beatty with Julie Christie (Best Actress Academy Award nominee). Beatty, as McCabe, wanders into a small wilderness village with an idea to use his gambling winnings to establish an upscale casino-brothel-bathhouse. His business partner is Mrs. Miller (Christie), a prostitute who, despite her dislike for McCabe, helps him achieve his goal. 

The screenplay is based on Edmund Naughton’s 1959 novel McCabe and was Altman’s follow-up to “M*A*S*H.” The soundtrack features songs by Leonard Cohen.

Thursday, 14 November 2013 10:58

Chips Ahoy

GlobalFoundries hosts open house

MALTA – The cars were backed up like rush hour on a NYC expressway (except for the roundabouts) as the public filled the parking lot of GlobalFoundries’ Fab 8 microchip plant at Luther Forest Technology Park on the evening of Monday, November 11. 

The occasion was the chip giants’ first ever open house that was structured to give curious onlookers an inside view of the manufacturing process. 

“It’s really a logical extension from what we had been doing for some time,” noted Jessica Kerley, communications specialist for GlobalFoundries. “We have hosted quarterly neighborhood meetings here to give resident’s updates on our construction and related subjects. During the question and answer periods, we would always get questions about how the manufacturing process worked, so we decided to refine the focus.”

Though Kerley said that they had done nothing extra to get the word out, it was obvious from the attendance that the interest was widespread. 

Kids and adults alike packed the company’s cafeteria (Global Café) whose walls were lined with several institutional ads that utilized Fab 8 which told of their involvement in the community, as well as motivational posters and flags from around the world. 

Exhibits were a combination of hands-on items and multi-media presentations. While the public never got to actually see computer chips being fabricated, they could see video of the process, and hold onto several examples of the finished product. Other videos talked about the company’s growth, which led it to upstate New York. Another exhibit displayed the nearly 40 patents that GlobalFoundries has.

By far, the largest fascination for kids of all ages was for the bunny suits and goggles that some people waited to try on for themselves. Kristy Bouillion of GlobalFoundries’ logistics department noted that the suits are worn for contamination versus cleanliness and that employees on the Fab 8 floor could not wear any makeup, which caused a few realtors to groan and decide to stick to their current occupation.

Regina Rodriquez of operations noted that though the Fab 8 floor is air conditioned to a cool temperature regardless of the time of year, the suits themselves were extremely hot and she had to adjust her clothing underneath to what most people would wear in the summer. 

Since 2009, Fab 8 has been holding regular neighborhood meetings in order to provide a unique opportunity for the company to meet with the community and provide updates on their projects. However, this was the first time they allowed the community to receive an interactive educational tour into the manufacturing facility. Given the popularity of this meeting, it seems likely the community will have many more opportunities in the future to learn about what goes on in the plant.

Thursday, 14 November 2013 10:49

Semper Fi!

At 92, retired Corporal James Smith, Jr. has Seen it All

MIDDLE GROVE – We went to visit him on Veterans Day. 

“Sure come on up. I’m surprised you’re working on a Holiday,” he remarked. 

But the truth is, to get a chance to reminisce and share his experiences, this was the perfect day.

Later, when it became appropriate to thank him for his service, he said of course “you are welcome.” Followed closely by, “it was not my pleasure.”

Meet Marine Corporal James “Jim” Smith, Jr., retired, of Middle Grove. Patriotic? Absolutely. But blind patriotism? Not on your life. He’s seen and experienced too much for that to happen.

Getting your backpack shredded by shrapnel on Guam can add to one’s perspective. And battlefield experience can make a young marine grow wise beyond his years in a hurry.

“We were in Guam,” Smith said, one of two tours to that remote battleground. “I was with a new man, Frank Mele. By that time I had been around a bit and knew a few things that could help us survive.”

By necessity, to stay out of the enemy’s rocket range a landing craft dropped them in knee to waist deep surf. 

“We had an expression: 'Don’t bunch up on the beach'. We had a guy on shore directing traffic and people would naturally gather around near him. I told Frank: ‘C’mon, this is the last place we want to be.’ Crowds draw mortar fire, we need to find a different way to shore,” he said. 

On one Guam mission, he did just that. Striking out on his own path, Smith could not see the gaping hole that the LST craft’s propeller left in the murky water. Stepping into the hole and down he went, under full pack and rifle; he sunk like a stone and fought with everything he had to get to the surface. 

“My hand was grabbed and I was pulled up out of the hole,” he said. Just like that.

I asked him who it was. He said he had no idea. 

“When I got pulled out, all hell was breaking loose. That guy had to get going and so did I,” he recalls

Such is the impersonal character of war. You rarely see the enemy you kill and sometimes you don’t know who to thank for saving your life. 

Smith’s military career parallels the United States’ WWII roadmap in the Pacific theater. Guam, Guadalcanal (twice), Bougainville, Iwo Jima. Enlisted in 1942, honorably discharged on October 16, 1945.  

Following Pearl Harbor, he first went to enlist in Brooklyn, but the line went around the block three times. Finally enlisted in Glens Falls, the Marine pride comes out. 

“A bus started all the way up in the Adirondacks and picked people up along the way to Albany for our physical. Only two on my bus made Marine. The rest, they sent down the hall to the Navy,” he noted with a chortle.

Boot camp in Paris Island, SC. He qualified as a rifleman and earned his marksman’s badge despite the fact that he broke in with a Springfield rifle and they switched him to an M1 halfway through the qualifying. 

“I wasn’t prepared for the extra recoil and it smacked me right in the eye socket. I got through, but never forgave them for that,” he said.

Iwo Jima. The imagery of that battle is characterized in history books as a triumph with the iconic raising of the flag, but for those who were there it was hell on earth. 

“I’m a survivor of Iwo Jima,” he noted. “But I cannot forget the images, the bloodshed, and 7,000 soldiers, many just out of boot camp, who gave their lives for freedom. I was there. Most people walking around today have no idea what happened.” 

In fact, while many people revisiting the history regard Iwo Jima as a stepping stone to victory, it may in fact have hastened the decision to use the Atomic Bomb to put an end to massive American casualties. 

“There were 7,000 soldiers, buried in their ponchos, with one dog tag, so that the War Department could keep track of who was lost,” he explained. “It’s not an image that goes away easily.”

After VJ day, he was assigned as Sargent of the Guard at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He was being lobbied to re-enlist and actually considered it until one day this officer told him to fix the heels of his shoes. 

“That was the sign that I had had enough,” he said. 

By the time the Korean conflict came around, he was already into his settled family life. He retained his Marine pride, but he was done.  

Of all the medals, awards and memorabilia we looked at, Smith seemed proudest of the last thing he showed me. It was a check from the Home of the Good Shepard for playing music for the residents. The beaming pride of a pro.

“I thought I would give music up by now,” he said. “My wife, when she was alive, told me it was important to keep playing music that made people happy. While I was thinking about hanging it up, I noticed during a performance that an old woman had her head down most of the time, but when I played the ‘Whippoorwill Song’ followed by ‘My Blue Heaven,’ well, she perked right up. That’s why I keep going.”

The least we can do is plug his next gig. For those interested, Jim will be playing this Wednesday, November 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Home of the Good Shepard.

“So I’ll be there Wednesday. Playing...” he said. 

Then a musician’s studied two-count pause.

“…For the old people. Ha!”


SARATOGA SPRINGS — The phenomenon known as Beatlemania followed the 1963 release of two albums and four singles by the Beatles, who were poised 50 years ago to rock the world.

Skidmore College musicians will perform those early tunes during Beatlemore Skidmania 13 on Friday and Saturday, November 22 and 23 in the Arthur Zankel Music Center. 

The show features a mix of a cappella groups, rock bands and acoustic acts, as well as their often strikingly original interpretations of Beatles repertoire.

In other words, they’ll be sending all their loving to you. 

Performances are scheduled at 8 p.m. Nov. 22, and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Nov. 23. Tickets are $8 adults, $5 seniors and Skidmore community, $3 for students and children. For information and to order tickets visit www.skidmore.edu/zankel/ 

The Saturday night show is for the Skidmore community only. The other two shows are open to the general public.

The music this year will feature selections from the albums “Please Please Me” and “With the Beatles”, including the hit singles: “Please Please Me,” “With Love from Me to You,” “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” 

“Beatlemore 13, in recognition of the 15th anniversary of the rise of Beatlemania in the UK and the release of “With the Beatles” features a repertoire that comes entirely from 1963, revealing the Beatles to be devotees of Motown, R&B, rock and roll and even show tunes.” Skidmore Music Professor Gordon Thompson said. “In one of the great ironies of the 60s, the release date (22 November 1963) was also the day of JFK’s assassination. We will acknowledge that anniversary even as we celebrate the promise and energy of youth.” 

Thompson, an expert on British pop music, has led each Beatlemore concert since its inception. 

“It began when students in my 2001 Beatles seminar asked to put on a collective performance of some of the music we had been studying. In a few short years, the event became one of the most anticipated of the year, with audiences exceeding capacity during the years we performed in Filene Recital Hall,” Thompson said.

In recent years, there has also been a live stream on the Skidmore website to reach alumni around the world.

The proceeds of the ticket, poster and T-shirt sales on Friday night and Saturday afternoon go to Skidmore Cares. Thompson said that it has been impressive to see how strongly the student coordinators embrace this aspect of the event. 

“They see raising money to support regional school children, a rape and domestic-violence crisis center, a hospice, and other programs as doing something great for the community,” he noted. 

The proceeds from Saturday night’s Skidmore show will contribute to student financial aid at the college. 


Thursday, 14 November 2013 10:07

The Best in the Business

At the top of Their Game

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Well, really all you have to do is read the headline and you know the story, but they pay me to write so let me prove my case.

Ladies and gents, The Gibson Brothers are the reigning two-time champions in their field, recipients of both the 2012 and 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Entertainer of the Year Award. That’s the one that they announce at the end of the show, by the way.

Not enough to get you off the couch? Let’s try their other awards from just the most recent IBMA:

- Best Vocal Group

- Best Song – “They Called it Music”

- Best Songwriter – Eric Gibson

If that doesn’t clinch the deal, how about the fact that The Gibson Brothers are homegrown with roots in both the Adirondack and Saratoga regions before touring worldwide and leaving an entire genre in their wake. 

The Gibson Brothers are too nice and grateful to say something like that of course, but it’s true.

I’m nice but not that nice, so I’ll put it another way: 

There is no more accomplished music group of any genre since well, whenever, that hails from our region. 

And you have the opportunity to see them on Sunday.

If you need any further evidence, or just would like to enjoy perusing through their many awards, eleven albums (the latest having the title track – “They Called it Music” – which won the Song of the Year award) or other accolades simply visit www.gibsonbrothers.com.

The fact is you can sometimes spend pages and pages and thousands of words to try and make your point. When talking about The Gibson Brothers, I only need eleven:

The best in the business. At the top of their game.

Case closed.

The Gibson Brothers

Lillian’s Restaurant

Diamond Jim Brady Room

408 Broadway

Saratoga Springs

Sunday, November 17 at 7 p.m.

Tickets: $25 available now at 

Saratoga Guitar

492 Broadway and 60 West Avenue

Charge by Phone: (518) 581-1604

Friday, 08 November 2013 11:50

R.I.P. Kyle

SARATOGA SPRINGS — There’s never a good time to hear about bad news, and the news about the untimely passing of Kyle York, 59, hit me like a lightning bolt on Thursday morning.

Kyle would be proud to be remembered as an involved individual in his adopted hometown of Saratoga Springs. Though he had family roots in Warren County, he made his claim to fame in NYC and subsequently renounced the rat race for a life of human scale. Kyle was a writer, an excellent one, but his best mode of communication was always face-to-face. 

He had a warm, engaging smile and a rare sense of tolerance. While he was passionate in his beliefs, his door was always open to different perspectives. You might not change his mind, in fact it would be a rare and special thing to do so, but with Kyle you knew that he thrived on the give-and-take, particularly over a lingering glass of wine. 

Though we shared obvious common interests of writing and politics, what might surprise people is that more often than not music would be the subject of our chats. If they sold them, Kyle would have been a season ticket holder at Caffé Lena, for original music was truly his thing. 

I was very happy that Kyle was part of our tenth anniversary of 9/11 issue here at the paper and I am confident that you will appreciate the perspective he brought to the table on this topic:


But most of all, I know Kyle would be most proud of seeing any tribute to him on his passing bearing a Saratoga Springs dateline. So there you have it.

Rest in peace, my friend. A seat at Damon Runyon’s and Studs Terkel’s table is waiting for you in heaven. They want you to order the wine.


Thursday, 07 November 2013 11:59

Town of Malta Grapples with Ethics Issues

MALTA – The monthly Malta town board meeting on Wednesday, November 6 was moved back because of Election Day.

An extra hour was added for some anticipated public comment about the town’s 2014 budget, which turned out to be minimal. Later in the meeting, the town council passed a $9,521,866 budget for 2014 by a 5-0 vote, with Councilperson Tara Thomas needing to officially abstain from two payroll line items. The budget anticipated two percent sales tax growth from 2013 and estimates that $456,000 will be needed to be drawn from the reserve fund to balance 2014 expenses.

The major items on the agenda centered on the subject of ethics, in light of the town’s ethics committee recently citing Town Clerk Flo Sickels (who was at her seat during this meeting). Thomas, who is Sickels’ daughter, recused herself during this portion of the meeting and left the room. 

A discussion about the merits of the ethics committee’s findings were handled in executive session and has not been made public at this time. 

The public did hear a discussion led by Supervisor Paul Sausville as to other recommendations by the ethics committee which could be regarded as procedural.

The town council did reaffirm that attorney Christine Karsky of Saratoga Springs would continue to advise the ethics committee for the balance of 2013 as needed. Carsky was referred to the committee during its most recent deliberations. 

The ethics committee made several recommendations arising out of that complaint filing, which ranged from making procedures for filing complaints clearer and less ambiguous, to recommending ethics training, to an examination and perhaps an overhaul of either the ethics section of the employee manual, or revise the entire manual. The committee also recommended an examination of how town employees report their work on behalf of not-for-profit (NFP) organizations, though it was unclear to many on the town board whether the committee was referring to those NFP’s that were doing business with the town, or any NFP.

Many of these recommendations were strongly objected to by town councilpersons Paul Hartzell and Maggi Ruisi, whose remarks indicated that they felt the town council was over-genuflecting in response to one incident, in the manner of using a bazooka to slay a hummingbird. 

“A waste of time,” was Ruisi’s response to some of the committee’s recommendations. 

Hartzell was even more strident in his objections, noting that the town had just completed an extensive review of its 100 plus page employee manual. Both of them said they thought that complaint procedures were clear at the present time  

Hartzell also felt that the committee should make a list of specific items in the manual that might be worth examining and said that a list could be generated of NFP’s that did business with the town, which would be small and procedures developed around that limited universe.

In the end, the town board agreed to have Sausville draft a memo back to the ethics committee asking for specificity about areas in the employee manual they found troubling and to pay an outside consultant $300 for a general overlook of it.

Thursday, 07 November 2013 11:54

Saratoga Springs City Council: Future Revenue

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Tuesday, November 4 meeting of the Saratoga Springs City Council was notable both for its content and its length. Despite the fact that this meeting was less than half as long as the preceding one on October 15, the council was able to accomplish significant business while allowing for adequate discussion where it was relevant. 

Chief among these items was the passage, by a 5-0 roll call vote, of the amended 2014 city budget. In a concise presentation of general fund requests and changes, Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan detailed each department’s requests and why or why not they were selected to be added to the amended budget.

The bottom line was that the general expense fund was increased by $113,000, with only $13,000 of that balanced with revenue from increased property tax. The remaining $100,000 came from increased revenue projections that Madigan felt confident could be reached. This means that the original 0.68 percent property tax increase projection was increased slightly to 0.76 percent. On a home with a $350,000 assessed value, this works out to an annual increase of $16.05 in 2014. Comments were generally supportive around the council table, and given the fact that the next day was Election Day for many of them, notably concise before unanimous passage. 

Earlier in the meeting, a presentation by Saratoga Children’s Theatre’s (SCT) executive director Meg Kelly detailed a potential source of additional revenue for the city. 

The Saratoga Music Hall, on the third floor of City Hall, is unused during 72 percent of its potential hours. Two systemic factors were identified that have led to this. The floor of the hall is not soundproofed to any extent, and thus the Music Hall cannot be used at all without disturbing the city court below when it is in session. Further, the hall currently cannot be used during the entire summer season because of the fact that it lacks air conditioning. 

While Kelly certainly felt that SCT could increase its use of the Music Hall if these two conditions were resolved, she felt a more important role was to have her organization partner with the city to assure that the Music Hall had everything in place to make it available to many organizations as frequently as possible. 

The presentation was very well received, notably by Commissioner of Public Works Anthony Scirocco, who sponsored the SCT presentation and noted that the Music Hall was a wonderful, underutilized space and that the city’s investment in these types of improvements would pay for themselves rather quickly. Scirocco also recommended exploring acoustic augmentations as well. 

This would have to go through the RFP and capital budget process to actually proceed, but the council is rarely presented with an opportunity of this nature for an existing facility.

In other council news:

- Commissioner Madigan also delivered her third quarter financial report for the city, noting that they were generally on track against projections. She also detailed five excess fund balance recommendations from the 2012 budget, which the council passed unanimously.

- Commissioner Scirocco announced a Veterans Day ceremony at the Tempered by Memory memorial in High Rock Park

- Supervisors Matthew Veitch and Joanne Yepsen both gave their perspectives on the proposed 2014 Saratoga County Budget (see Week in Review, page 4).     

- Public Safety Commissioner Mathiesen received unanimous approval to amend the city code to allow for a stop sign on the intersection of Ludlow Street and Jumel Place; and to have alternate side-of-the-street parking in effect each day during the Saratoga Thoroughbred racing meet. 

Mathiesen called upon Police Chief Greg Veitch to read a statement regarding the SSPD’s conduct during and after the late night incident involving Darryl Mount, Jr. (See the featured story).  

Thursday, 07 November 2013 11:37

A Friday with Mitch

“Tuesdays with Morrie” Author Brings Latest Book to Spa City

SARATOGA SPRINGS – He could have stopped decades ago and his place in several halls of fame would be assured. From the sports world to the otherworld, the walk-off hits keep coming for Mitch Albom.

Award-winning sportswriter. Best-selling author. Charitable foundation founder. Any one of these labels would constitute a lifetime well-lived. And yet each, standing alone, is almost damning with faint praise when you assess his career. 

He is, after all, a writer. So this is one lede you don’t want to bury. Here’s the story:

Q: When is the author of the best-selling memoir of all time coming to Saratoga Springs?

A: Next Friday, November 15 at the Holiday Inn ballroom

Northshire Bookstore has scored another plum as, in conjunction with WAMC (which will tape the event for later broadcasts throughout the NPR globe) welcomes Mitch Albom on the occasion of publishing his latest foray into storytelling, The first phone call from heaven.  

After penning several well-regarded sports books and columns, Albom achieved his breakout in 1997 with the publication of Tuesdays with Morrie, a runaway best-seller and movie that happened by an accidental viewing of Morrie Schwartz, Albom’s Brandeis professor who he had not seen in 16 years, on an ABC Nightline episode in which Schwartz talked about his struggles with ALS – “Lou Gehrig’s disease.” Their reunion, and the lessons that Albom learned from Schwartz during their visits on Tuesday’s until Morrie’s eventual passing imparted lifelong lessons that have proven to be inspirational to millions. 

Tuesdays was followed by smash after smash. The Five People you Meet in Heaven was Albom’s first venture into afterlife concepts, which forms the structure for his latest release. 

The first phone call takes place in Coldwater, a small town near Lake Michigan, in which the townspeople are suddenly the objects of worldwide interest when townspeople reportedly start receiving calls from heaven-dwellers. As a mania extends, first throughout, then far beyond the village’s boarders, it becomes a pilgrimage destination for cell-phone toting believers hoping for a ring from the afterlife.

“I found a small-town setting to be more realistic to have a small town transform quickly than a big city locale.” Albom said. “The town in its own way became a character.”

Reached at his home in Detroit, Albom describes the saga of main character Sully Harding, a former pilot returning home from prison after his wrongful conviction for the death of his wife. Harding makes it his one-man mission to debunk the myth. 

“He’s bitter because of his life circumstances,” Albom notes. “Plus, he’s got to deal with his 7-year-old son carrying around a toy phone asking when mommy’s going to call.” 

Myth or miracle? Charade or communications breakthrough? Don’t be surprised if you change your mind a few times as you navigate the pages. 

Albom, as you can imagine, keeps himself busy. This is his first visit to Saratoga Springs as one stop on a three-week, 20 city U.S. tour, in addition to media promotions to promote the new book. 

“I love these tours,” Albom said. “Not only do I get to see new places, but as you know writing can be a solitary practice. I’m proud to say that my books inspire people to share their own personal stories. It’s very gratifying.”

In addition, Albom keeps up a regular sports column, as well as routine appearances on ESPN staples such as The Sports Reporters

“I don’t think I’ll ever give up deadline journalism.” He said. “It exercises different ‘mental muscles’ like cross-training your brain.” 

The result is a stronger product no matter what the vehicle is.

I asked him, relatives aside, who he wanted his first phone call from heaven from. He didn’t hesitate, but you could hear him get emotional in relaying his response:

“It would have to be from Morrie,” Albom said. “He never got to see the book.” 

And all that came after.

“I’d just ask him: How am I doing?”

Northshire Bookstore Presents

Off the Shelf with Mitch Albom

“The first phone call from heaven”

Friday, November 15 at 7:30 pm

Holiday Inn Saratoga, 

232 Broadway, Saratoga Springs

Tickets: $32.50 - $40 include book


Page 37 of 39


  • Saratoga County Court  Sara N. Babinski, 35, of Schuylerville, was sentenced to 3 months incarceration/ 5 years probation, after pleading to felony DWAI, charged January 2024 in Saratoga Springs.  Thomas R. McCall, 35, of Rensselaer, pleaded to criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree, in connection with a March 2024 incident in Saratoga Springs, when city police initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle on South Broadway and located a Magnum .357 revolver with ammunition underneath the driver’s seat, according to a statement by Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen. Further investigation determined that the firearm belonged to the defendant,…

Property Transactions

  •   BALLSTON  Frederick Wright sold property at 78 Beacon St to Jacqueline Zielinski for $361,000 Barbera Homes Kelley Farms sold property at 30 Paddock Pl to Erik Weiskopf for $716,959 Harold Tomlinson sold property at 429 Devils Lane to Amy Hotaling for $575,000 CORINTH Khalil Grant sold property at 5049 Rt 9N to Colin Murray for $239,500 Angela Wingle sold property at 83 Clothier Dr to Brittany Dunston for $249,900 Foothills Builders sold property at 49 Black Bear Path to Zachary Yetter for $455,605 Gwendoyln Matson sold property at 116 County Route 10 to Victoria Bourque for $169,000 MALTA  David…
  • NYPA
  • Saratoga County Chamber
  • BBB Accredited Business
  • Discover Saratoga
  • Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association