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Friday, 21 March 2014 11:20

The Wine Bar Uncorks New Menu

New Executive Chef Renews Its Unique Flare on Broadway

By Taunia L. Kipp

For Saratoga TODAY 


SARATOGA SPRINGS – Don’t let the name fool you, The Wine Bar of Saratoga has been a culinary gem in the spa city for many years in addition to its great selection of wine and spirits. Recently, the Broadway-based restaurant and lounge announced a new Executive Chef and dinner menu to even further enhance the restaurant’s dining experience along with some other recent and planned changes to help revitalize their unique flare.


In recent months, Owner and Operator Melissa Evans has been taking progressive steps to renew the restaurant’s energy and to create a refreshed customer experience. 


“We’ve been in business for 14 years now and have been generally happy with the experience that we’ve been able to create for our patrons,” said Melissa Evans. “But I’m excited to make some changes in order to create some new energy. My goal is to encourage new customers to visit us for the first time and previous customers to discover The Wine Bar all over again. We’re not just about great wines. We¹re also about great food, a welcoming atmosphere and exceptional service.”


In December, Evans hired hospitality veteran Matt Campion as the Restaurant’s Manager. Campion studied hospitality management and boasts several years of high-end restaurant management experience including his most recent work with Mazzone Hospitality having worked at both 677 Prime in Albany and serving as Restaurant Manager at Prime at Saratoga National.


Changes since Campion’s arrival include the introduction of a new cocktail menu and plans for a regular live entertainment schedule along with planned events such as wine parings, cigar tastings in the restaurant’s NY state certified smoking lounge and other activities at the restaurant and lounge.


“We need to offer a unique experience,” says Campion. “Broadway has so many great bars and restaurants that we need to make a distinct impression on those who visit us. We do that by offering a variety of outstanding reasons to come in the door: the food, the wine, the smoking lounge, the entertainment and the service. There’s a reason for everyone to come in and we know that once they do, they¹ll always come back.”


Also this month, Evans introduced her new Executive Chef, Cameron Nealey to the team and unveils a new menu. Nealey studied under renowned chefs from Thomas Keller's world famous French Laundry located in California¹s Napa Valley and also at Keller's Manhattan-based, Per Se Restaurant. Getting his start in the Saratoga Springs area at Siro's under Chef Tom Dillon, Nealey says that the new menu at The Wine Bar will be a collaboration of his experience with multiple cuisines, his passion for fresh ingredients and his goal of producing flavors that "Everyone can relate to".


The new menu will feature what Chef Nealey refers to as “elevated comfort food.”  He says that these are dishes that give you the warm, homey feeling of eating something delicious while being presented in a new and modern fashion. “I've been really fortunate to train under some world class chefs throughout my travels,” says Nealey. “To be able to return to my hometown of Saratoga and to showcase what I've learned is truly a dream come true.”



The new menu is now available. The restaurant is located at 417 Broadway and is open Monday through Saturday from 4 p.m. until Last Call with dinner being served until 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended for parties of four or more by calling (518) 584-8777. For more information, visit thewinebarofsaratoga.com.

Friday, 21 March 2014 08:45

Villago: The Good Times Roll Again

BALLSTON LAKE – A successful concept, a neighborhood restaurant and gathering place, perfected over time (and lots of TLC) in East Galway, has been adapted and transmitted to the shores of Ballston Lake.


Behold Villago Pizzeria and Ristorante. Its pedigree was established at Village Pizzeria on Route 29 as a Northern Italian cuisine icon since 1988, a place that nearby locals consider a mainstay and people from all over Saratoga County know is worth the drive. Owners Sandy Foster and Joe Guerrera have combined forces with Sharan and Kurt Zarnofsky on this project at 175 Lake Road in Ballston Lake. 


While Sandy and Joe have tended to things in the kitchen and bar, the Zarnofsky’s have lent their expertise in the design and construction area. 


The results of their hard work are nothing short of stunning. While elements of the previous restaurant are incorporated into the new design (such as the fireplace and the only public boat launch on Ballston Lake), the overall transformation has made the restaurant and dining area more open, spacious and inviting. 


The view of Ballston Lake has been enhanced, with wall-to-wall windows making the lake seem brighter and more inviting than ever. 


Of course, long time Village Pizzeria devotees would probably be glad eat to Sandy and Joe’s food standing up in a subway, but the extra ambiance certainly does have its appeal. 


One decorative item behind the bar that will remind folks of Village Pizzeria is the 1940s vintage Bevador beer cooler. Joe found another one somehow in a garage in Troy and with some major restoration work has brought it back to its former glory.


But mostly it’s about the food. Many of your favorites are on what Sandy calls “the soft menu.” Several of the signature pizzas, of course. But also Aracini (pesto and mozzarella stuffed risotto balls), calamari, hand made pastas and bread and homemade sauce everywhere. 


But this soft menu is just a prelude - an amuse-bouche if you will. The expanded menu will be revealed as part of the grand opening festivities on the weekend of April 3, complete with a formal ribbon cutting and what promises to be a festive party atmosphere.


“Our patrons have embraced us since we opened on March 10. They’ve been dying for this to happen, and we are thrilled.” Sandy Foster noted. “We’ve been busy every night.” 


“But we also know how lucky we are.” She said. “We know how important this restaurant is to the community, with its history and being a focal point of activity in the town of Ballston Lake. We are here to embrace that special feeling people have for this place, and to work in concert with them to continue the tradition, and hopefully enhance it.” 


So, let the good times roll again!



For more information and reservations, phone Villago Pizzeria and Ristorante at (518) 280-0311 or visit facebook.com/VillagoPizzeria.

Friday, 21 March 2014 08:31

Back To Work

A Saratoga Springs Social Services Success Story

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Roy Roberts is just like you and me. 


A trained apprentice carpenter with over 15 years experience, he is skilled in framing, cabinetry and similar disciplines. But unlike you and me, perhaps, the ravages of the recent economy took its toll on Roy and several others. The firm he had done several jobs for ran out of work. 


They tried to keep him on as a painter, even though Roy admitted, “I’m no painter,” with a laugh. Eventually, even that went away, and the father of four had to put his children and his fiancé in crowded, unsuitable housing in Queensbury, while Roy received refuge at the Shelters of Saratoga (SOS). 


Roy took no time to grieve or bemoan his fate. He went to work to get back to work. 


He did so with a purpose and an end goal in mind: “Getting my family back together. That’s my motivation.” Roy said.


It was that determination and drive that pushed him out the door each morning, that put the spring in his step when others might be discouraged. One day, he walked up to a large, local construction company’s jobsite and introduced himself. It turns out that they needed a person with his skillset. Roy was hired on. 


With some occupations, this would be the end of the story. A happy ending. But this was only the end of chapter one.


Roy, you see, was provisionally hired. In an occupation like his, a carpenter in construction has to bring his own equipment to the party. Tools. Uniforms. Hardhats. These were things that he had, but had lost in the course of trying to keep the family together. State required licenses needed to be renewed as well – and everything costs money. 


“The case management staff at SOS has very resourceful people.” Roy noted. Case Manager Shirl Lloyd referred Roy to the Franklin Community Center just over a week ago on March 12, where Associate Director Jaime Williams and the staff there also reacted resourcefully.

“We have a great network of caring, giving people,” Jamie Williams noted. “We put out a donation appeal on our Facebook page, and got a lot of responses - the best one was from The Giving Circle who agreed to pick the man up and take him shopping for the items needed, including having him fitted for the right outdoor clothing.” 


This included a hard hat, safety goggles, outdoor uniform clothing, boots and some tools. “It was about $700 worth of merchandise all told.” Roy said. “It would have taken me forever to get that together.”


The licensing, an OSHA-required safety course was an obstacle, but not for long. “We just heard from Peter at Leading Edge Health and Safety Consulting and they have graciously agreed to provide the $210, 10-hour OSHA Training at no cost.” Jaime said. 


All that remains for Roy to get back to work is a company-required physical (which, if his enthusiastic handshake is any portent, he will have no trouble passing), but he still needs about $300 worth of specialty tools – Dewalt drill and bit sets and reciprocating saw – to be fully outfitted for the job. 


“Allerdice Hardware, at their Walworth Street location, has agreed to sell us these tools at their cost,” Jaime Williams noted. “They also agreed to put out a donation bucket there. We also will have one here at Franklin Community Center.”


So Roy is almost back to work. Perhaps, with this goal so close in sight, you who are reading this might want to help. If so, please note the contact information at the end of this story. 


For Roy Roberts though, getting back to work will put some struggles in the rear-view mirror, but it will be months of hard work until the primary job is done.


“I’m a family man,” he said. “This is my main motivation. They are suffering now, and I won’t rest until we are all back together.” 


“Having a place for all of us is everything.”



To donate, contact Jaime Williams at Franklin Community Center (FCC) at (518) 587-9826. Donations will be accepted at Allerdice Hardware’s 41 Walworth Street location and at FCC (10 Franklin St, Saratoga Springs). For more information about Leading Edge HSC and their programs, contact Peter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

- John Travolta To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

SARATOGA SPRINGS— Attention dance and pop culture enthusiasts: Mark down August 9 on your calendar, as the National Museum of Dance (NMD) will have it’s own version of “Saturday Night Fever.”


Saratoga TODAY has learned that at NMD’s August 9 Gala, legendary dance/actor/singer Gene Kelly and former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer/Choreographer Jacques d'Amboise will be enshrined in the NMD Hall of Fame.


Also, John Travolta, whose iconic performance in Saturday Night Fever pushed the dance and cultural phenomenon of Disco to the forefront, will be the recipient of the Museum’s Lifetime Achievement Award. 


Ms. Michele Riggi, President of the Museum’s Board of Directors, also stated that the August 9 Gala will mark the grand opening of a special facility at the Museum— The Mr. and Mrs. Ronald A. Riggi Theater. This will be a 48-seat film screening theater, but will provide the additional community asset of serving as a “black box” theater for live performances as it will be equipped with a stage.


“The foundation laid out by our founders (Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and Mr. Lewis A. Swyer) gave us a great platform to grow upon,” Ms. Riggi said. “In my nine years as Board President, I’ve been fortunate to help elevate and broaden our program offerings.” 


But the Museum’s robust financial health during Ms. Riggi’s tenure, through our economy’s uncertain economic times is a remarkable achievement. “We’ve gone from $5,000 in our bank account to over a million,” Michele Riggi noted. 


She shared the nominating and election processes for the Museum’s Hall of Fame Induction and Lifetime Achievement awards, which are different. “For The Hall of Fame, we have a nominating committee of about 50 dancers, educators and others in the discipline. A preliminary list of several is generated and this is discussed for about six month among the committee members.” Ms. Riggi notes. “Eventually the Board of Directors receives a list of six nominees, and votes on the eventual winner(s).” 


For the Lifetime Achievement Award: “This is initiated by the Board and the President. We are looking for a person who has had a broad impact on popular culture, which includes dance but includes much more.” She said.


At press time, Michele Riggi could confirm that Patricia Ward Kelly, Gene Kelly’s widow will be in attendance at the NMD Gala, and will also be delivering a presentation about Gene Kelly’s life and times the following day at Skidmore’s Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Center.


As for an appearance by John Travolta?


“We’re trying.” Ms. Riggi said. 


So that may or may not happen. But if history tells us anything, in the long run it’s a losing proposition to bet against anything Michele Riggi is “trying” to do.

Thursday, 13 March 2014 15:09

Tinney’s Tavern Is Back

- New Owners Revive Sports Enthusiast’s Paradise

MIDDLE GROVE – A beloved institution among snowmobilers, outdoor enthusiasts and fans of “just good times” has returned. After a year of being idle, Tinney’s Tavern, at 450 Lake Desolation Road in Middle Grove, is back up and running, with new ownership that had barely little time to catch their breath since taking over late last month. 


“We are fortunate to be near the Mulleyville and Galway snow trail systems,” said new co-owner Kevin Joyce. “The snowmobilers saw the flurry of activity and couldn’t wait for us to get opened again. Fortunately for us, the previous owner left the place in excellent shape.” So with some hard work overnight (an a tap-line cleaning assist from Saratoga Eagle) after officially taking ownership on February 28, Tinney’s was open for business the next day. 


“We had a fantastic turnout the first two weekends, especially since we only had time to rely on word of mouth,” said co-owner Brian Brumley, who is also a co-owner of the Spring Street Deli in Saratoga Springs. The Brumley’s also own Saratoga Wine & Spirits. 


If you haven’t been there yet, a perfect time to make plans is for next weekend’s (March 21-22) grand re-opening festivities, which will have a variety of giveaways from both Saratoga Eagle and Empire Merchants spirits, and a performance from Southern rocker’s HyTyde on Saturday, March 22 at 10 p.m.


The new owners have many plans in the works, which generally revolve around the concept of the word “expanded” as in, expanded food, beverage and music offerings that remain faithful to the concept of what made Tinney’s Tavern a great place to be year-round, while throwing a few extra things into the mix that will serve to put their personal stamp on things. 


While certain plans are not ready to reveal at this time, expect that the new owners of Tinney’s Tavern are quite aware that they have 200 feet of waterfront and plan to develop promotions that capitalize on it. 


In the meantime, Brian Brumley was excited about the idea of owning a special place, in a special place: 


“We both are outdoorsmen and a big part of us buying the property was to cater to outdoor enthusiasts in a family friendly environment. “ He said. “ With both of us having young families we look forward to having them grow up in the beautiful foothills of the Adirondack Park. Tinney's has been around since the 1940s and has a lot of great history. We would like to carry on the tradition by offering fair priced quality food to the locals and visitors who come up to enjoy all the seasons.” 


For more information about the new Tinney’s Tavern, visit facebook.com/tinneystavern or phone (518) 450-1066. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS— As parents, local entrepreneurs Lauren Rose and Lynn Pohl can relate to the dilemma a mom or dad faces when walking or wheeling their children past brightly colored vending machines that have become a part of the landscape. 


The siren call of bright colors, TV marketing campaigns and of course, high fructose corn syrup makes an attack of the “mommy, mommy I want’s” an inevitable result. 


Somehow, to most kids, something that comes out of a vending machine just tastes better.  


And thus, parental resistance has often been futile — until recently. Lauren and Lynn explored some options and decided there was a better way: a way to satisfy a child’s vending mania and still provide nutrition. 


They founded Go2Snax, an affiliate of the international firm Grow Healthy Vending – a company whose mission is to offer “an alternative to the standard junk food and sugar-laden drinks that dominate the marketplace.”


Lynn and Lauren have begun to place their high-tech vending machines at various places in our market with many more likely to come this year. Currently, you can look them over at Cutting Edge Martial Arts (175 Ballston Ave, Saratoga Springs), Global Fitness (in the Shoppes of Malta at 19 Kendall Way) and at The School of The Arts at The National Museum of Dance (99 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs). 


“We view our company as a community-based social wellness partnership.” Lauren Rose said. “Our machines are customizable, but all the products are designed to meet or exceed nutritional guidelines, including the USDA’s “Smart Snacks in Schools” mandate.


There are hundreds of different items to choose from and with the growing popularity of healthy foods there are many names you will recognize: Stacey’s Pita’s, Kashi Foods, PopChips, Horizon Organic Milk and Clif Bars are some brands that have already carved out markets for themselves, and their taste will get a welcome reception from your discerning X-year-old.  


The machines themselves utilize a touch-screen that is user-friendly, accepting cash, coin and debit/credit cards. Your kids might find it to be as fun to navigate as a Wii game, but for parents, an important feature is that when a product is touched, the nutritional information label is displayed to encourage a quality, thoughtful selection before purchase. 


The shelves within each machine are customizable depending on the needs of your location. The basic configuration is with three rows of snacks and two rows of drinks. But they can be made up as “snack-heavy,” “drink heavy” or “snack-only” as needed.


Best of all, the machines are delivered, installed and do not cost the location anything. In fact, Go2Snax has a generous commission and profit-sharing partnership that any location can participate in. 


“With the growing awareness of childhood obesity and healthy eating, from the White House on down, this is something we are very proud to be a part of,” Lauren said. “It’s a business that works in concert with a greater mission.”


Indeed, it would be a surprise if you don’t see Go2Snax machines in many local schools, large retail facilities and offices in the near future. The confluence of good taste and good nutrition can be an irresistible combination.


For more information, visit Go2Snax.com. To contact local owner/operators Lynn Pohl and Lauren Rose, call (518) 290-3131, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


You Are Now Encouraged To Play With Your Pints


SARATOGA SPRINGS – So, it was getting towards the end of the Saratoga Beer Summit, when I stumbled (not literally; well, maybe) into the smiling face of Kerri Tanner at a booth in the back. I took one look at her products, and had to tell her:


“I hate you. This was my idea.” 


The shocked look on her face was quickly replaced by another smile and a knowing nod. Apparently, this was not the first time she heard something similar. 


Well, it says here that Kerri and Robin Morgan better get used to similar reactions and also a lot of delight. They took a simple idea and took it out four new flavor doors— with more to come. 


Behold Brew Salt. A homegrown product (manufactured in small batches) with unlimited potential. Available in lime, habanero, chocolate and bacon flavors. An idea refined from your Uncle Vito at the Elks Lodge putting table salt in his Genny Cream Ale, combined with the growing love of all things craft brewing, Brew Salt stands poised to add zingy exclamation points to pints from coast to coast. 


The difference between Brew Salt and the shaker at your local sports bar or pub starts with the base ingredients “We use high-quality grey Celtic sea salt,” Robin notes, “which is mineral-rich. From there, the flavors are added, which is Kerri’s department- she’s the chef.” It’s all vegan (yes, even the bacon), high quality and gluten-free.


Indeed, the skillsets of these two local entrepreneurs are perfectly balanced. Robin is a free-lance marketer; Kerri is the foodie/recipe specialist. They met three years ago by happenstance when Robin moved to the area and made a random hair appointment. By the time the rinse and blow-dry was done, a partnership was born. Their respective partners supplement them handily: Patrick McGowin and James Morgan provide beer acumen and financial expertise. Or vice versa, and perhaps on occasion, both.


“We went e-commerce (see: www.brewsalt.com) and vending at big events like the beer summit, but now in a relatively short period of time (the site was launched just this year) we are looking around at a larger kitchen just to meet current demand.” Robin said. 


In the meantime, the team is making PR visits to taverns and retail establishments locally. A major perk of the job – every day is TGIF in their world


So it should be no surprise to soon see the Brew Salt shakers, with their distinctive bowler and handlebar moustaches on the shelves of discerning specialty stores, or adjacent to the Bloody Mary condiments on the finest bars. 


The effervescence of Kerri and Robin matches the effervescence of their product in your glass. So, a tout to those in a position to say yes to such things from your friendly food editor: Get Shakin’!


Recommended Brew Salt Beer Parings:

IPA's:  Bacon, Habanero or Lime

Porters / Stouts:  Chocolate or Bacon

Lagers / Pilsners:  Bacon, Habanero or Lime

Nut Brown: Chocolate

Or: Mix it up!


- Brewsalt.com


Friday, 07 March 2014 11:54

City Says 'No' To State

By Arthur Gonick 

Saratoga TODAY 

SARATOGA SPRINGS— With hundreds in attendance at the Saratoga Springs City Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 4, after months of public debate and public comment (with months more to come) Mayor Joanne Yepsen at 9:30 p.m. read a resolution into the record which stated firm opposition to several provisions of the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act of 2013. 

The resolution received unanimous (5-0) approval by a roll call vote of the entire council. 

Mayor Yepsen, in introducing the resolution, noted that an earlier meeting with the New York State Gaming Commission gave her sufficient indications that the forthcoming request for applications (RFA) later this month would not contain enough provisions for "home rule," or local control of conditions such as unlimited expansion of a gaming facility or potential license transfer. 

This, coupled with what she characterized an ambitious agenda of items that are important to citizens since taking office, led her to conclude:"We cannot change a siting decision (for an expanded gaming facility), that is for the state but we can assert our desire to protect our mix of assets." Mayor Yepsen cited horse racing, downtown, the City Center and cultural assets such as SPAC among others. "It is time to act." 

While each council member voted for the resolution, they stated differing reasons why they say they came to that conclusion. Commissioner Anthony Scirocco had a resolution on his agenda that might be characterized as more firmly against an expanded gaming facility, under any circumstances than the mayor’s, but found sufficient common ground in the mayor’s resolution to vote for this one and withdraw his. Commissioner Michele Madigan expressed that she felt "cut out" of the state’s process for citing an expanded gaming facility, but noted that "there will be impacts" whether Saratoga Springs gets one or that facility is placed somewhere else nearby in the Capital Region. 

Commissioner Chris Mathiesen noted that he had hoped that a middle ground could be reached, for instance expanded table gaming at Saratoga Casino and Raceway (SCR) without a large hotel or entertainment facility. But given that the state’s procedures left the council with only an "all or nothing" option, he would opt for approving the resolution. Commissioner John Franck said that he would have preferred to wait for the RFA, but that he supported the mayor’s conclusions that there would be little difference in "home rule" provisions once issued. 

The unanimous vote and the wording of the language of the resolution firmly placed the onus of political pressure on the State Gaming Commission. It also was a masterful way in which both the pro and anti-expanded gaming facility in Saratoga Springs could claim satisfaction with the result, while acknowledging that much work remains before a final result is reached.

 In a release shortly after the vote, the SAVE group, which opposes expanded gaming in the city, said in part: "The full support of the City Council rejecting a casino shows clear vision for the future of Saratoga Springs and it recognizes the fact that continuing our economic successes, preserving our quality of life and moving forward in a positive way that focuses on maintaining a strong downtown, protecting the horse industry, guarding the event spaces and maintaining control of our own economic future does not align with the goals of a casino…We hope that the Gaming Commission, the siting board and the Governor have finally realized that our community does not support siting a casino here and we hope that they will respect our collective voice The Council has sent a clear message to the Siting Board in Albany, that a casino has no place in Saratoga Springs."

 But Destination Saratoga, in favor of expanded gaming at SCR, said in part:"Destination Saratoga applauds Mayor Joanne Yepsen and the City Commissioners for passing a resolution that is… reserving judgment on expanded gaming at Saratoga Casino and Raceway until the state's request for applications is released and the details of the casino's bid are finalized…We agree with the City Council that Saratoga is a special place and that a Las Vegas style casino has no place in our city. We also know that Saratoga has successfully hosted a casino for the last ten years, and the benefits of that relationship are evident on Broadway and beyond. We are confident that once the facts are available, the city council and the public alike will see the benefits of an enhanced Saratoga Casino and Raceway and also recognize the negative consequences of sending those benefits to another nearby community, and the choice will be clear." 

But the clear choice from here is that the council itself was the biggest "winner" tonight. Every political science student should be required to study this scenario, for they have accomplished what was recently considered impossible, making two diverse factions feel like a winner, while leaving enough wiggle-room to re-open discussions on the topic if conditions warrant. A master bullfighting technique indeed, accomplished with both red and white capes. Ole`!

 In other council news:

- The name of Pleasant Street was changed to Ray Waldron Way from Washington Street to the Westside recreation fields to honor the city’s long-time and beloved coach. 

- An amendment to chapter 148 of the city code entitled "Noise" was amended. A 90-decibel limit on outdoor live music was established. 

- The water and sewer rates resolution for 2014 passed. 



By Arthur Gonick 

Saratoga TODAY

 ROUND LAKE— As reported in Saratoga TODAY in its January 24 issue, the residents around Round Lake Road have risen up in force to actively resist the imposition of roundabouts as a solution to traffic problems at two key intersections.

 While members of the Malta Town Board have characterized roundabouts here as a "done deal," the citizenry (about 75) who came out last Saturday, March 1 at the intersection at Chango Drive (one of the proposed sites) to wave signs and urge people to honk horns in support of their "no roundabout stance, as well as those who packed and spoke at a public hearing regarding eminent domain procedure at the town board meeting on Monday, March 3, say otherwise.

The town board voted at it’s last meeting of 2013 to accept Albany engineering firm Creighton-Manning’s (C-M) "preferred" alternative of roundabouts, though it noted in their report that it was a more expensive option and roundabouts that would be placed at the two intersections would have "non-conforming," features, or less than ideal specifications.

The roundabout projects are at the intersections of Round Lake Road with Ruhle / Raylinsky Roads and with Chango Drive. These two roundabout projects are estimated by C-M to cost $4.86 million, with approximately 80 percent funded by Federal and State sources while a project involving a traffic light (which does not exist at Chango Drive), turn signals and turning lanes (which are not at either location currently) would cost $3.1 million according to C-M estimates.

This caused resident Tim Downey at the public hearing to say that this issue came down to "Pork… you guys just wanted the money. The fix was in from the start."

Indeed, the acquisition costs of land for obtaining the proposed right-of-way widens the gulf between the two projects further. C-M estimated that roundabout right of way costs would be $165,000; while a traffic light project would be $39,900.

At the March 3 public hearing, representatives from C-M presented a report noting that some of the non-conforming issues had been resolved, but resident Elwood "Woody" Sloat noted that many remained, and even was skeptical about some of the "resolved" issues ever happening:

"The C-M group stated they are going to move the Stewart’s at Ruhle Road’s entrance/exit back (north) 20 feet and extend the splitter island. This was previously determined to be not feasible because of the extensive telephone/water/sewer and utility systems in this specific area.  Many residents, including myself, are skeptical that this will ever happen and will probably result in a "change order" (which will drive the project cost further) once they get approvals. 

 "The citizens will watch every step of this construction," Sloat said.

Other residents at the public hearing concentrated on the safety issue of roundabouts, both for vehicles and pedestrians.

"I fear there will be children’s bodies lying in the road." Said Shelda Roerig, resident whose family tree includes original residents of this area. Her family currently owns the ice cream stand and miniature golf course near the proposed Ruhle / Raylinsky roundabout that many area children frequent.

 Of the 16 commenters at the public hearing, only one spoke in favor of the project that the town board had voted for.

While this is obviously not a scientific sample, the packed town board meeting, a good number of motivated residents who lined Round Lake Road on a frigid Saturday and the passion of the community, exemplified by the now 400+ signatures against the roundabouts submitted at the public hearing, indicate that even though the town board has eminent domain on it’s mind, they think otherwise.

Their fervor could be capsulized by Kevin Eitzmann’s comment at the March 3 public hearing:

"This is not how democracy works."

Well, maybe it is. Stay tuned.


















Saratoga Performing Arts Center Announces New York City Ballet Summer SeasonJuly 8 – 12


SARATOGA SPRINGS – New York City Ballet, one of the world’s foremost dance companies, will present a diverse repertory of 14 stunning ballets during its 2014 summer season at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC),  July 8 – 12.  Showcased during the residency will be iconic works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins as well as contemporary ballets by acclaimed 21st century choreographers including Peter Martins, Mauro Bigonzetti, Justin Peck, Angelin Preljocaj, Liam Scarlett and Christopher Wheeldon. Highlights of the program include the Saratoga premiere of the newest collaboration from Justin Peck and Sufjan Stevens; a Gala tribute to Great Britain featuring the Saratoga premiere of Liam Scarlett’s Acheron; the return of several ballets not seen at SPAC in many years including Preljocaj’s La Stravaganza, Bigonzetti’s Vespro, Balanchine’s Raymonda Variations and Robbins’s Glass Pieces.  


“New York City Ballet’s unparalleled commitment to new choreography will take center stage at SPAC this summer as the company presents a gorgeous program that intertwines classics by Balanchine and Robbins with modern day masterworks by a range of contemporary choreographers, both emerging and established,” said Marcia J. White, SPAC’s President and Executive Director.  “The breadth and brilliance of this program is quintessential New York City Ballet,” she added. “Nearly 50 years after our Opening Season, it remains a tremendous privilege for SPAC to host this revered company on our summer stage; we are looking forward to an extraordinary 2014.”


Opening Night: Balanchine’s Journey


New York City Ballet opens its 48th season at Saratoga Performing Arts Center on July 8 with a tribute to the company’s legendary co-founder George Balanchine, in recognition of the 110th  Anniversary of his birth.  Balanchine, who was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on January 22, 1904, will be celebrated in a program that reflects the varying influences on his artistic life, from his formative years in his native Russia, to his early years as a choreographer with the Ballet Russes in Paris, to his 1933 arrival in America.


Among the works on the program are RAYMONDA VARIATIONS, Balanchine’s 20th-century tribute to 19th-century classicism, last seen at SPAC in 2007. Set to Glazunov’s music for Petipa’s full-length narrative ballet Raymonda, Balanchine’s version remains true to the spirit of the original while distilling the ballet to a pure-dance work.


Balanchine’s WALPURGISNACHT BALLET and THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER, each created in 1975, also highlight the program. Walpurgisnacht Ballet,  choreographed by Balanchine for a production of Faust by the Théâtre National de l’Opéra and the Paris Opéra Ballet, is an elegant, plotless work set to a passionate score by Gounod. The Steadfast Tin Soldier, a beloved work about a romance between a paper doll and a toy soldier based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, returns to SPAC which commissioned the work in 1975.  The work is one of seven NYCB ballets that have debuted on SPAC’s stage since 1966.  

The tribute ends with Balanchine’s WHO CARES?, set to a medley of songs by legendary composer George Gershwin.  Last seen at SPAC in 2010, the ballet celebrates Manhattan and the exuberance of city life. The production will feature new costumes created in 2013 by Tony Award-winning designer Santo Loquasto, the designer’s first for a Balanchine work in the NYCB repertory. The original production of Who Cares? which premiered on February 5, 1970, featured costumes designed by Karinska which were replaced in 1983 with costumes designed by Ben Benson.


The Ballet Gala: A Tribute to Great Britain


The culmination of the Ballet’s Saratoga program will be the annual Ballet Gala on Saturday, July 12, a celebration of the partnership between SPAC and NYCB and the primary fundraiser for the residency.  Elegant parties in the Hall of Springs and on the lawn complement the centerpiece of the evening: a spectacular one-time-only program of New York City Ballet classics and premieres.  This year’s Gala theme – A Tribute to Great Britain – finds inspiration in the new generation of British choreographers who are influencing contemporary ballet and in Union Jack, Balanchine’s famous work celebrating the British cultural heritage.


Making its Saratoga Premiere at the Gala will be ACHERON, a new ballet by Liam Scarlett which had its World Premiere in New York on January 31, 2014.  Set to a score by Poulenc and featuring costumes that were also designed by the choreographer, the work is Scarlett’s first for NYCB. The young British choreographer is currently the Artist in Residence for London’s Royal Ballet.


Also sharing the bill for the Gala program is Christopher Wheeldon’s poignant AFTER THE RAIN pas de deux. Set to a score byArvo Pärt, the duet has become one of the most widely performed ballets by a contemporary choreographer.

The evening culminates with a performance of Balanchine’s UNION JACK,a work created in 1976 to honor the British heritage of the United States on the occasion of its Bicentennial. Set to a score by Hershy Kay, the beloved work features a set of dances inspired by Scottish military tattoos and concludes with a dazzling cast of 74 dancers.  The work was last performed at SPAC in 2005.

NYCB’s Festival of 21st Century Choreographers


New York City Ballet will showcase for Saratoga audiences highlights of its spring Festival of 21st Century Choreographers.  The celebration is designed to encompass both the established voices who ushered ballet into the 21st Century as well as the field’s emerging talents. 


Marking its debut at SPAC on July 10 will be Peter Martins’s TODO BUENOS AIRES, a work originally premiered in 2000 and then expanded and re-choreographed for the 2005 season. Set to an arrangement of Piazzolla tangos for chamber orchestra, including La Mufa and Todo Buenos Aires, thework offers different interpretations of the tango.


Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti’s 2002 work VESPRO makes a return to SPAC’s stage in 2014, its first appearance since 2002.  Set to music by Bruno Moretti, the Diamond Project work features 13 dancers in geometric costumes who navigate around two musicians and a singer placed center stage.


Angelin Preljocaj’s LA STRAVAGANZA, another Diamond Project work which premiered in 1997, features an ensemble of 12 dancers. The work by the French choreographer juxtaposes 17th-century sensibility with modern culture against a backdrop of contrasting classical and electronic accompaniment.


Returning to SPAC’s stage after its Gala premiere last season is Christopher Wheeldon’s pas de deux THIS BITTER EARTH. Set to Max Richter’s version of Dinah Washington’s 1960 rhythm and blues song of the same name, the work is excerpted from Wheeldon’s Five Movements, Three Repeats.


New Collaboration from Justin Peck and Sufjan Stevens


A major highlight of the season will be the Saratoga premiere of a new collaboration from choreographer and NYCB Soloist Justin Peck and American singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens.  The project will be the second for Peck and Stevens, who previously collaborated on the acclaimed Year of the Rabbit which premiered in 2012. Stevens’ score was commissioned for the work, which also features costumes by Janie Taylor, who retired as an NYCB principal dancer on March 1.


At just 26 years old, Peck has received an unprecedented six commissions from NYCB in less than two years, beginning with In Creases which had its world premiere at SPAC in July 2012, followed by Year of the Rabbit (Oct 2012), Paz de la Jolla (Jan 2013), Take-Offs and Landings (NYCB Moves, Aug 2013) and Capricious Maneuvers (Sept 2013). His newest work will premiere at the company’s 2014 Spring Gala in New York on May 8. It will be performed at SPAC three times during the residency: July 9, 10 and

12 (matinee).


Jerome Robbins


Also highlighting the season will be two ballets by Jerome Robbins, the legendary co-founding choreographer of New York City Ballet. Programs on July 9 and 11 will feature Robbins’s masterpiece GLASS PIECES.  A ballet set to three works by American minimalist composer Philip Glass, the work is a tour de force for 42 dancers.


Robbins’s enchanting CIRCUS POLKA featuring a ringmaster and 48 young dancers highlights matinees on July 10 and 12. The work is set to Stravinsky’s Circus Polka which he composed for the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1942.


Ticket prices for SPAC’s NYCB performances start at $24 for lawn seats; inside seating ranges from $32 to $85. The Kids in Free program entitles children 12 and under to free lawn admission for NYCB  performances.  The Student Discount program allows students of all ages to purchase tickets at a 25 percent discount. Tickets to NYCB and SPAC’s classical season go on sale online at spac.org on February 25 for members and March 18 for the general public.  Box Office and phone sales begin on May 15.


About Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Saratoga Performing Arts Center, located in the historic resort town of Saratoga Springs in upstate New York, has established a reputation as one of America’s most prestigious summer festivals. Its tranquil setting in a 2,400-acre park preserve surrounded by hiking trails, geysers, and natural mineral springs draws vacation crowds and arts connoisseurs each year to its summer programming, which includes summer residencies by New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The 2014 summer season will also include engagements by the Bolshoi Ballet, the Martha Graham Dance Company and MOMIX, concerts by Live Nation and productions by Opera Saratoga.  The final curtain of the SPAC season comes down in early September with the annual Saratoga Wine and Food Festival, one of the fastest-growing wine and food events in the nation.  Information and tickets are available at spac.org


Tuesday, July 8


Russia, Europe, America (110th Birthday)

Raymonda Variations (Glazunov/Balanchine)

Steadfast Tin Soldier (Bizet/Balanchine)

Walpurgisnacht Ballet (Gounod/Balanchine

Who Cares? (Gershwin, adapt. & orch. by  Kay/Balanchine)


Wednesday, July 9


 Who Cares? (Gershwin, adapt. & orch. by Kay/ Balanchine)

New Stevens/Peck

Glass Pieces (Glass/Robbins)

American Girl Night


Thursday, July 10

(2 p.m. matinee)




    Circus Polka (Stravinsky/Robbins)

Walpurgisnacht Ballet (Gounod/Balanchine)

New Stevens/Peck

Who Cares? (Gershwin, adapt. & orch. by Kay/ Balanchine)


Thursday, July 10




Vespro (Moretti/Bigonzetti)

This Bitter Earth (Washington &   Richter/Wheeldon)

Todo Buenos Aires (Piazzolla, arr. by Wasserman/ Martins)

La Stravaganza (Vivaldi, Ficarra, Normandeau, Morand, Parmerud/Preljocaj)

Date Night


Friday, July 11




Raymonda Variations (Glazunov/Balanchine)

La Stravaganza (Vivaldi, Ficarra, Normandeau,


Glass Pieces (Glass/Robbins)


CDPHP’s Family Night


Saturday, July 12

(2 p.m. matinee)



Steadfast Tin Soldier (Bizet/Balanchine)

Walpurgisnacht Ballet (Gounod/Balanchine)

Circus Polka (Stravinsky/Robbins)

This Bitter Earth (Washington & Richter/Wheeldon)

Todo Buenos Aires (Piazzolla, arr. by  Wasserman/  Martins)

New Stevens/Peck


Saturday, July 12




Acheron (New Poulenc/Scarlett)

After the Rain (Pärt/Wheeldon)

Union Jack (British sources, adapt. by Kay/Balanchine)


Fireworks Finale

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