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SARATOGA SPRINGS – A battle between toy soldiers and mischievous mice, a blizzard of ballerinas, and a wonderful world of confection will come alive at SPAC’s popular “Nutcracker Tea,” slated for Sunday, Nov.

A Capital Region holiday tradition for families, both performances - at 11 a.m. and at 3 p.m. - feature excerpts from The Nutcracker by Northeast Ballet Company, a traditional English Christmas Tea, American Girl doll giveaways, boutique shopping, and a visit from Santa Claus.

Held at the Hall of Springs, tickets are $75 for adults and $35 for children 15 and under. Proceeds benefit arts education programs at SPAC.

The Nutcracker, composed in 1891 by Tchaikovsky, is a fairy tale ballet that tells the story of a little girl’s journey through a fantasy world of fairies, princes, toy soldiers and an army of mice. First performed in 1892 in St. Petersburg, Russia, it has become an American classic since choreographer George Balanchine introduced his production in 1954 in New York City.

 Features of the event include: ballet excerpts from The Nutcracker performed by Northeast Ballet Company; a raffle for an American Girl Doll; tea, mini sandwiches, cookies and light edibles; a visit from Santa Claus, and more.

Tickets for the Nutcracker Tea will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Oct. 23. and are available at spac.org or by calling 518-584-9330 ext.101.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College has been honored with three awards in the 2019 American Alliance of Museums Publications Design Competition.

The Museum won:

- First Prize in the Posters category for a poster created for the exhibition Rose Ocean: Living with Duchamp, designed by Jean Tschanz-Egger, Head of Design at the Tang Museum. The 2- by 3-foot poster features screen-printed text on clear mylar with the letters of the exhibition title made of orange circles with white dots in homage to the typography on a 1934 artist book by the legendary Dada artist Marcel Duchamp.

- Second Prize in the Exhibition Collateral Materials category for an interactive project produced in conjunction with the Tang exhibition Give a damn. Also designed by Tschanz-Egger, the project includes four 6- by 10-foot banners that announced the project and invited visitors to write to their federal, state and local elected representatives about a variety of topics on specially-designed postcards that were mailed by the museum during the run of the show.

- Innovations in Print for the exhibition catalogue Sixfold Symmetry: Pattern in Art & Science, designed by Barbara Glauber, principal of the New York City design firm Heavy Meta. The 128-page catalogue features new scholarship by Skidmore faculty members, contributions from Skidmore students, and a translucent dust jacket and open binding.

Also announced: Important works at the Tang by acclaimed contemporary artists Nayland Blake and Lari Pittman have hit the road and are now on view as central works in career-spanning surveys at two prestigious Los Angeles museums.

 No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake is at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and will be on view through Jan. 26, 2020. Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence will be on view through Jan. 5, 2020, at the Hammer Museum at UCLA.

 “We are honored to have Tang works included in these important exhibitions,” said Dayton Director Ian Berry, in a statement. “Blake’s monumental Feeder and Pittman’s epic history painting represent key periods in each artist’s body of work.  As stewards of these important late-twentieth-century artworks, and as the Tang collection grows and deepens, we are gratified to share them with new audiences and to see that they resonate with today’s art historians, who are inspired to write new art histories. These new contexts for the collection teach us all a great deal.”

 The Tang collection includes more than 16,500 objects, and the works by Blake and Pittman exemplify part of the Museum’s mission of acquiring important work by artists from underrepresented identities and that reflect the museum’s exhibition history: Pittman was born in Los Angeles from an American father and a Columbian mother, and his work often addresses issues of inequality and sexual identity. Blake’s work addresses his own queer and biracial identity, as both African American and white. Both of their works are fueled by history and biography and deftly combine narrative and form.

 Located on the campus of Skidmore college, admission to the museum is free (donation suggested). Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., with extended hours until 9 p.m. Thursday. http://tang.skidmore.edu.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – A temporary location to house the Code Blue Emergency Shelter has been secured at 4 Adelphi St., in advance of the winter season.

The single-story building – currently a vacant warehouse – is undergoing an installation of floors, walls, heat, plumbing and electric to make the space habitable, according to Shelters of Saratoga (SOS) – the organization overseeing the Code Blue program. The building is located just west of South Broadway. The city issued a building permit for the temporary emergency shelter – the permit details the location as 145 South Broadway – on Oct. 4.

An 18-month lease has been signed and will provide the program with a consistent location for the next two seasons, according to the organization. The hope is to open the shelter in early November.

The city plans to provide financial support for the program, as per its proposed 2020 budget. “This will help pay rent and costs related to the Code Blue facility in the off season,” Karen A. Gregory, executive director of S.O.S. said, in a statement.

Since opening in the 2013-14 winter season and through 2017-18 – the latest figures available, the number of those seeking shelter has increased each year. During the 2017-18 winter season, Code Blue was open 162 nights, served more than 8,000 meals, and provided sleeping quarters for a total of 6,480 overnight stays – or on average, 40 nightly guests.  Presbyterian New England Congregational Church - or PNECC - was also open during 90 of those nights to care for “overflow” guests.

An executive order issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo directs emergency shelters to operate when temperatures drop below 32 degrees.

SOS is currently hiring qualified shelter supervisors, support and security staff. Any interested applicants can email their resume to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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GLENS FALLS – After securing numerous awards on the international film circuit, Spa City director and photographer Charlie Samuels will see the debut local screening of his feature documentary film, “Virgin Blacktop: A New York Skate Odyssey,” at the Adirondack Film Festival on Oct. 19. 

An uplifting story shot over four decades, “Virgin Blacktop” tells the story of the lives of a disparate crew of kids from Hudson River towns who had almost nothing in common when they met in the 1970s. The film uses the vehicle of skateboarding to tell the story which will make its world debut as an official sport in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Samuels – whose photography has appeared in the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, Vogue and The New York Times, among others - directed the film. He was also the spokesperson for over 3,000 skateboarders who lobbied the city of Saratoga Springs to re-open “The Bowl” on Lake Avenue eight years ago.

 “Virgin Blacktop: A New York Skate Odyssey" premiered at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival in California in 2018. The uplifting and sometimes heart-breaking coming-of-age story is about a super funky crew of suburban New York City kids who first met in 1977 with nothing in common except a passion for skateboarding. Despite their vastly different ages, races and economic backgrounds and with their parents hands off approach, they formed a competitive, traveling team of spirited outsiders called the “Wizards.” Now, nearly 40 years later, they remain lifelong friends, but their lives have followed very different paths, from boardrooms to jail cells.

The 83-minute documentary feature film screens locally at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 at The Wood Theatre, Adirondack Film Festival, 50 Elm St., Glens Falls. A Q & A session will follow. For more information, go to: adkfilmfestival.org, or call 518-798-7479. 

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 SARATOGA SPRINGS — Syndicated television star and Food Network personality Rachael Ray returns to the region and celebrates the release of a new book with a Meet & Greet at Northshire Bookstore Saratoga on Broadway this month.

The meet & greet and photo opportunity takes place 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17. Tickets are $34.24 and includes admission for one to the meet & greet, plus one pre-signed hardcover copy of her new book, “Rachael Ray 50: Memories and Meals from a Sweet and Savory Life.”

For more information on these or other events, call 518-682-4200, or visit the Northshire Bookstore website at www.northshire.com.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS - The city Planning Board meets this week to consider a permanent Special Use Permit and site plan review for the development of a Citizens Bank on currently unoccupied land at 1 Ballston Ave.; A site plan modification to add nine dwelling units to the existing complex at The Grove At Neumann, 233 Lake Ave.; And a special use permit for the construction of a proposed 120-room hotel at 176 South Broadway. The potential Citizens Bank location would be sited on a triangular-shaped lot that is bounded by Broadway and Hamilton Street, W. Circular Street and Ballston Avenue, just north of an existing Dunkin Donuts venue on Broadway.

The parcel had previously sited a gas station and has been vacant for about a decade. The city of Saratoga Springs had in 2008 considered purchasing, and in 2017 accepting as a gift the 0.2-acre parcel to create a pocket park featuring equine sculptures, but those plans never came to fruition.

Also on the agenda: a special use permit for a proposed 120-room hotel at 176 South Broadway. The 1.4-acre property currently sites the Turf and Spa Motel, Inc. and features a two-story motel that houses 43 rooms. According to the initial site plan application by Fairfield Inn & Suites in 2016, the proposal called for demolition of the existing site and development of a five-story, 50-foot high, 89-room hotel. The current application was been submitted by Larkin Hospitality, of Burlington, Vermont, and lists as hotel with 120 accommodations and parking.

Published in News
Thursday, 12 September 2019 15:00

A Day That Changed The World

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Patrick Kauth stood atop the lawn at High Rock Park Wednesday morning, trying to encapsulate the thoughts and emotions of the past 18 years into a few poignant words. 

“It’s a changed world,” said Kauth, whose childhood years were spent in the classrooms of St. Clement’s and Saratoga Springs High. He grew up in a hockey family, one of four siblings. His dad, Don Kauth, was killed in the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center.      

“A loss is a loss and you can’t change time,” said Kauth, who teaches history at the Albany Academy.

It was early in September 2001, when Don Kauth drove his son to Merrimack College in Massachusetts, where Patrick was entering his freshman year.

“He bought me own of those huge Dell desktop computers,” he remembered. “Afterwards we ate dinner and exchanged pleasantries and insults, the way that best friends do, because he was my best friend,” he said. “Then he was off to New York the next morning.” Don Kauth worked as a bank analyst for Keefe, Bruyette & Wood at the World Trade Center.

It was a week or so later when Patrick Kauth joined his new college roommates watching the events of 9/11 take form on the TV.

“I remember thinking that this couldn’t be real. At first, I joined along with them, just sat there, and then after about sixty seconds it clicked: wait a minute. He works there. So, I phoned home. And I heard it in my mom’s voice. She hadn’t heard from him. The communication was very difficult that day, but still, he would have found a way. So, I knew pretty immediately that he was gone. “

Kauth was the keynote speaker at the city’s 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony Wednesday morning at High Rock Park. It is a historic park that has been known to Native Americans for over 5,000 years. In the summer of 2012, it became home to the 25-foot-tall sculpture, titled "Tempered by Memory," which was created out of five twisted pieces of World Trade Center steel. Four of the pieces came from the North Tower - distinguished by the antenna on its roof - and one steel beam came from the South Tower.

The ceremony, held on the 18th anniversary of the attacks, began with a welcome from Raymond F. O’Conor, author and CEO of Saratoga National Bank, and the observance included members of the city police and fire departments and the U.S. Navy. Keri Alonzo sang The National Anthem, Rick and Sharon Bolton provided additional music. Chaplain Sid Gordon, Disabled American Veterans, delivered the Invocation and Benediction.

“The attacks caused the deaths of 2,996 people and the injuries of more than 6,000 others,” said city Mayor Meg Kelly, who recited a series of the numbers that reflected the tragic losses of that day at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, on each of the four planes, and the firefighters, paramedics, police officers and others who were killed responding to the attacks and trying to help others.    

“Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609; Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051; Estimated number of New Yorkers suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder as a result of 9/11: immeasurable,” Mayor Kelly said. “It is with these numbers that we will always mark this horrific day.”   

Kauth says the collective stories of the tragic day’s events, as well as visits to The National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York have become as fundamental to him as the battlefields of Saratoga, and Gettysburg, and the museums and the monuments in Washington.

“In particular, it is overwhelmingly emotional listening to our first responders The Day Of - from their own radio correspondence, describing in detail their quickly deteriorating situation and the victims who could not make it out of the stairwell,” Kauth said. “It becomes apparent, pretty quickly, that these heroes knew that they were not making out. That they were going to save as many people before the inevitable collapse.

“I cannot help but think, in awe and with tears streaming down my face, about the bravery and resolve displayed by these firefighters and policemen who wanted nothing else but to just have a chance at saving people like my father,” Kauth said.

“Time does help. I have a family of my own that we’re growing now, and that helps immensely. I love my son more and more each day,” he said, gesturing a few yards away across the park to his wife Shauna, and their 22-month-old son, Oliver.

Asked what he will teach his own son about his father, Kauth said it will be about his dad’s caring for others.  “He was a unique guy. A really thoughtful guy who did a lot for the community and for anybody that needed something. So, what I’ll tell my son is that we have to continue to try and live his legacy,” Kauth said.  “But you’re never going to have that hole filled up completely.”

Published in News
Friday, 06 September 2019 12:53

City Council Tackles Big Issues

City Council will address a series of issues this month that could change the visual landscape of Broadway, enhance the diversity of future political candidates, and alter the directional flow of traffic near the downtown core.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The City Council will address a series of issues this month that could change the visual landscape of Broadway, enhance the diversity of future political candidates, and alter the directional flow of traffic near the downtown core.

On Sept. 2, the council introduced a 44-page lease proposal between the city of Saratoga Springs and the Saratoga Springs City Center Authority. If approved – which could happen by mid-month - the agreement would set into motion the development of a 600-space parking garage project near High Rock Park.

The terms of the lease runs to Dec. 31, 2032 – aligning with the length of the existing lease with the City Center itself, explained City Attorney Vincent DeLeonardis.

Plans call for the City Center Authority to build and subsequently maintain a multi-level, 600-space parking garage atop city owned land, just east of the existing City Center building. “Air rights” for the construction of a so-called pedestrian connector would be included, and bridge the city center with the parking structure, atop Maple Avenue.

The city would receive in return 60 designated parking spaces in the new structure to be used during daytime working hours, as well as 50% of the structure’s excess cash flow. What approximate dollar figure that would equal is “not known at this time,” said DeLeonardis, but is “to be determined by a calculation of the revenues generated minus the debt service and maintenance and operation costs associated with the facility.”

The City Center Authority would also develop an extension of the Green Belt Trail along High Rock Avenue. The city owns approximately 2-1/2-acres of land, currently used for surface parking, that runs from High Rock Park to Lake Avenue, and Maple Avenue to High Rock Avenue, one block east of Broadway. The lease is specific to one portion of that segment – the area of land to the east of the City Center - and only to the development of the parking structure and pedestrian bridge.

A Public Hearing is expected to take place prior to the next City Council meeting, on Tuesday night, Sept. 17. The Council will likely vote on the lease agreement later the same evening. If approved, the development of the parking garage may begin as soon as this fall.  

Parking Congestion at Lake Ave School

The council hosted a 45-minute public discussion Sept. 3 to address student safety and residential concerns as it relates to public parking, student parking and school bus transport in the immediate area of the Lake Avenue Elementary School.  The school faces Lake Avenue and is bordered by Regent Street and Marion Place.  Proposed changes may include altering traffic patterns on some of the neighboring streets. Traffic congestion and the safety of students being dropped off and picked up at the school remains the primary concern. Two public hearings have been held on the matter, and a third is slated to take place Tuesday night, Sept. 17.

Increasing City Council Salaries, Expanding Deputy Residency Requirements to attract Qualified and Diverse Candidates and Appointees

The council staged a Public Hearing regarding a Local Law to amend the City Charter as it relates to terms of office, eligibility and salaries of officers. The law seeks to increase the compensation of the elected City Council members from $14,500 per year to $30,000 annually, beginning on Jan. 1, 2020.

Member salaries have not increased since at least 2001, city Mayor Meg Kelly said. “Consider what $14,500 means per year.  My average work week is about 50 hours. That’s $5.58 an hour. Consider that some of us (on the council) work 30 hours – that’s $9.28 an hour.”

Mayor Kelly advised that the Saratoga Springs salary is comparable with that of Mechanicville, which pays its mayor $12,000. “While Mechanicville shares our Commission Form of Government, it only has a population of 5,200 people with limited tax base, tourism, economy, or destination power,” she said, adding that among 14 comparably sized cities, the average salary paid to the mayor is about $44,500.

“We are entering into a new budget season and the time is right for fair and reasonable discussions about these salaries,” Kelly said. “It is more important than ever to attract talented and diverse candidates. To date, our candidate pool has been largely retirees, the affluent, or people who have the luxury of being supported by a partner’s income…this is a nominal increase aimed at a considerable impact on the quality of our governance.”  

The council did not vote on the matter related to their own potential salary increases, but did unanimously approve a resolution that proposes an amendment to state law to expand geographical residency requirements for deputies.

Each of the five council members appoints a deputy. According to Public Officers Law, all deputies must reside in the city of Saratoga Springs. The council resolution seeks to expand those geographical boundaries to become county-wide. 

The current requirement significantly restricts the number of qualified persons available for the administrative positions, the council says. The expanded boundaries would create an opportunity for council members to seek qualified individuals for positions from anywhere in Saratoga County, and would result in a significant benefit to the public. The proposal seeking an amendment to the existing law will be presented the offices of Sen. Daphne Jordan and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner for submittal to the State Legislature. 

City Approves Six-Year Plan Proposal - Eastside Fire/EMS Facility Tagged a Priority

The city’s six-year proposed capital plan, totaling just under $17 million, was unanimously approved Sept. 3 by the council in a 4-0 vote. Public Safety Commissioner Peter Martin was not present at the meeting.

The plan ranks 36 city projects according to importance with the highest proposed ticketed item being an Eastside Fire/EMS Facility. The city currently has two stations – one just off Broadway and one on the west side. The potential of an east side facility has been discussed for several years. At present, no land where the station would specifically be sited has been determined. The fire/ems station ranks third highest in order of importance.

The six-year Capital plan is updated annually and varies in accordance with changing priorities and budgetary fluctuations. The city’s Comprehensive Budget is presented annually in late fall.   

 

 

    

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee last week announced its endorsements for the 2019 general election.

The committee endorsed incumbent John Franck for Commissioner of Accounts, Patty Morrison for Commissioner of Finance, incumbent Meg Kelly for Mayor, Dillon Moran for Commissioner of Public Works and incumbent Tara Gaston for County Supervisor. The announcement was made by newly named Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee chairwoman Sarah J. Burger.

Earlier this summer, several members of the committee staged a walk-out after incumbent Michele Madigan - the committee’s previously endorsed candidate for Commissioner of Finance - lost the June Democratic Primary to Morrison.

Morrison - on the Democratic line, and Madigan – who will appear on the Independence Party and Working Families Party lines, will face one another in the citywide general election on Nov. 5 when all five City Council positions – including mayor - as well as two Saratoga Springs Supervisor seats, will be up for vote.

The city Democratic Committee also approved a resolution, supported by all endorsed candidates, declaring that survivors of sexual harassment, sexual assault and domestic violence be heard and respected, condemning sexual harassment, sexual abuse and domestic violence and demanding that perpetrators be held accountable.

Kendall Hicks, who is running for Commissioner of Public Safety as a Democrat, has not receive city Democratic Committee endorsement.

On the Republican side, Commissioner of Public Works Anthony "Skip" Scirocco and Supervisor Matthew Veitch - both incumbents, and candidates Robin Dalton – for the position of Commissioner of Public Safety, and Stephen Mittler - for Saratoga County Supervisor, have been endorsed by the Saratoga Springs Republican Committee.

Tim Holmes, who is running for mayor on the Republican line, has not receive city Republican Committee endorsement.

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 SARATOGA SPRINGS – At a special mid-day meeting of the City Council Aug. 27, the council approved a new contract to continue the School Resource Officer Program in the city’s public school system for the next two years.

The new contract represents some changes compared to the agreement which what had previously existed.

Previously, if the assigned SRO was not available – those cases including sick days and time off – a replacement had not been provided, explained Public Safety Commissioner Peter Martin. With the desire to have an armed and trained SRO present at the high school every day, the new contract stipulates that should the assigned SRO not be available on any school day, the city will provide a qualified substitute for the position. To meet that expectation, three additional officers began their SRO training on Aug. 27 to ensure there may be substitutes available.

The SRO will be assigned to the school on a full-time basis and on duty at the campus from 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. each school day, excluding summer school and summer programs. The School Resource Officer remains an employee of the city and within the chain of command of the Saratoga Springs Police Department.

Previous costs to the school were about $53,000. To meet the additional guaranteed time, the new contract sets costs at $65,000 for the 2019-2020 school year, and $70,000 for 2020-2021.

An additional officer, supplied by the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office, is designated for Maple Avenue Middle School, Dorothy Nolan Elementary and the Greenfield Elementary schools.

Among the duties of the School Resource Officer: assisting the Principal in developing plans and strategies to prevent and/or minimize dangerous situations which may occur on campus or during school sponsored events.

The SRO shall take law enforcement action as required. Except in an emergency situation, the SRO shall obtain the consent of the principal of the school prior to taking such action. At the Principal's request, the SRO shall take appropriate law enforcement action against intruders and unwanted guests who may appear at the school, and related school functions. And, except in an emergency situation, the SRO shall notify the principal before requesting additional police assistance on campus.

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