Opal Jessica Bogdan

Opal Jessica Bogdan

Thursday, 17 September 2020 14:04

Schuylerville Barbershop Opens New Location

SCHUYLERVILLE — McCarthy’s Zark’s Angels Hair Salon has opened the doors to a new location, only located one door down from their old shop.

This new location allowed the family styled barbershop to re-open their doors after closing them on March 21. Owner of McCarthy’s Zark’s Angels Hair Salon Shelly Squire and her daughter Erika Squires attempted to open their doors earlier in the pandemic, but found it impossible to safely service their clients.

“When we came back to work, I would work the morning shift then Erika would come in and work the afternoon shift,” Shelly Squires said. “With our requirements we had to be six-feet-apart, could only allow so many people in the space…
we couldn’t give a safe space for our cliental.”

In Shelly Squires and Erika Squires’ previous place, the barbershop chairs were too close together and after attempting shower curtains, walls and shields between the two chairs, they admitted defeat shortly after and shut their doors. However, a year prior they had spoken to the building landlord Jim Parisi about opening a larger location on the other end of the mini-mall. 

Squires said renovations started in January, and the shop has officially been opened for two weeks. More than doubled the size of their old location, the Squires’ also included a better air quality system, which larger stores do have to installed per COVID-19 regulations. However, Squires said she added it for a different reason.

“One of the biggest things when you work in this industry is the odor. The odors from hairspray, colors, gels, bleach and people have their own perfumes. We put this really great filtration system and exchange so the air is clean,” Squires said.

She first met previous owner of the barbershop Zark McCarthy in 1986 when she learned styling techniques and hair cutting tricks while working for him. He later sold the salon to Squires, and she cut down to her roots and became the only worker at the salon. Squires daughter Erika Squires later joined the salon.

“We were in this tiny place that was designed for just me, and we both worked there for six years,” Squires said. “We have this really amazing clientele. They are loving, kind and positive clients.”

Since opening their doors two weeks ago, Squires said she missed working next to her daughter the most. 

“We really missed working together and we just work well together. We are not the same person but we have fun with each other and just understand each other,” Squires said.

The best way to reach Zark’s Angels is by calling Shelly Squires at 518-369-1403 or Erika Squires at 518-469-2252. Their salon is located at 118 Broad St., Schuylerville.

Friday, 11 September 2020 12:30

Five Points Market Begins New Chapter

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Some businesses shut their doors during the 2020 pandemic, but Maura Pulver, owner of Five Points Market & Deli, used the restrictions as an opportunity.

Pulver created Simply Food by Maura to continue her tradition of great breakfast sandwiches and homemade Take 5 Dinners. She also hopes to expand her business focus to private catering.

“Life comes with many opportunities. Sometimes I have even been fortunate enough to latch onto them, and while change can always be scary, it also brings new and exciting memories that we are not yet aware of. I call this a chance to Get to the Point,” Pulver wrote on Facebook. “I will only be down the street. I will still be making breakfast sandwiches…with some mad crazy additions. I will be adding additional Take [five] dinners during the week. And I will be catering. I will take some wonderful Five Point traditions with me and create some new and fantastic ones.”

Pulver plans to sell her breakfast sandwiches out of a commercial kitchen at the Saratoga Springs Senior Citizen Center. In addition to breakfast, she will begin a catering business and continue a popular take-out option she offered at Five Points, called Take Five Dinners. 

So far, Pulver has released menu details for Simply Food. Some items include: the Points Classic made up of two eggs, american cheese, choice of sausage, bacon or ham on toasted hard roll and the Blueberry Bomb made of two eggs, sausage, cheddar with a maple syrup drizzle on grilled blueberry bread.

The doors to Five Points officially closed Aug. 31 after Pulver had owned it for eight-and-a-half years. Just like other downtown businesses, Pulver had reduced her staff, menu and hours of operation due to the pandemic. She then used her extra time to create her new catering business. 

On her website, Pulver states that loyalty points from a Five Points account can carry-over to Simply Food by Maura. Free lunches on Saturday and Sunday will also continue at the new location.

“The support of the community has been so very generous, we look forward sharing this small gesture with our neighbors as long as there is a need to do so,” Pulver wrote on her website.

She added: “In a year of pandemic pivoting, I have arrived at a new point in my journey. Over these challenging months I have been fortunate to continue doing what I love…simply feeding my community. Whether our simple free lunches, deliciously simple Take Five Dinners and take out, or our creatively simple catered covid celebrations. I have been in my element.”

Simply Food by Maura will be located at 5 Williams Street and her website can be reached at simplyfoodbymaura.com.

Thursday, 03 September 2020 11:32

Community Welcomes Youth Ballet Non-Profit

BALLSTON SPA — The community of Saratoga Springs welcomes the Youth Ballet (SSYB) non-profit aimed at providing quality professional dance training to pre-professional students. 

Cristiane Santos and Joan K Anderson started their non-profit this year after working together for eight-years. The two professional dancers decided to open their own ballet school to focus on proper ballet training and technique.

“We have been working together for quite some time and the two of us have a similar vision on how we think a good ballet and dance training ought to be,” K Anderson said. 

Santos added: “We wanted to have a dance school that can bring something back to the community. Not just about us teaching the students, we want to offer services to the community besides the dance classes...we also would like to build a scholarship fund to eventually offer a scholarship for a students who doesn’t have access to dance education.”

Through SSYB, students can achieve their potential as dancers and artists while learning in a collaborative environment. A focus is put on building self-confidence and maturity in a nurturing atmosphere and SSYB places an emphasis on performance and positive reinforcement. Dancers learn the value of hard work and garner an appreciation and love for the arts.

The non-profit offers classes in ballet, pointe, modern, contemporary, and conditioning for dancers ages three to adult.

“Our youngest student is three-years-old,” K Anderson said. “[We] offer a few open classes to adults and older teens who perhaps don’t want to do the rigorous schedule, but they just want come in and do a contemporary class.”

Any interested student needs to register and pay in advance to help SSYB social distance. Any dancer coming into the building will have their temperature checked parents will not be allowed in to the building. There is a registration limit. 

“In person classes, for the younger age group the max is eight [dancers] for the older students its ten [dancers],” Santos said. “The classes that we are doing hybrid, some in the classroom some virtual, we are only going to accept four-kids for the virtual class if we have ten-in person.”

Classes will begin Sept. 14 and run through June 2021. Santos and Kilgore-Anderson said they hope to offer a 2021 summer camp. Interest community members can register and find more information on their website at www.saratogaspringsyouthballet.org.

K Anderson first danced professionally with Cedar Lake II and went on to dance with Philadanco, the Philadelphia Dance Company, where she was a senior member and toured extensively both nationally and internationally. She performed many ballet and modern classics as well as contemporary and new works by renowned choreographers from around the world.

Cristiane Santos Founder, Co-Artistic Director Santos danced and taught ballet and tap for seven years at Ballet Vera Bublitz in Brazil. She was accepted to Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) school with a full scholarship and joined the company’s Dancing Through Barriers Ensemble through which she performed in lecture demonstrations at public schools around the country, taught movement classes in NYC public schools, and performed with DTH during its 30th anniversary season.

SSYB is located at 418 Geyser Rd., Ballston Spa, and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thursday, 03 September 2020 11:31

Unsung Heroes Prevent Chimney Fires

SARATOGA SPRINGS – After a fire on Aug. 21 blazed through celebrity chef Rachael Ray’s home on Chuckwagon Drive in Lake Luzerne, local chimney expert Jamie Wallace, president of Chimney Heroes, wants the community to know how to prevent these fires.

“Following a thorough evaluation of the physical evidence, witness interviews, and various photographs and video clips, investigators from New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control have determined the fire which damaged a residence on Chuckwagon Drive in Lake Luzerne was accidental in nature and began in the chimney of a wood-burning fireplace,” Colin Brennan, a spokesman for the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, said to the Times Union.

Wallace said fires like the one at the Ray’s household is preventable.

“The best way to prevent it is really follow the guidelines from the national fire protection agency (NFPA211),” Wallace said. “What they do is recommend what the standard is for chimneys and vents and other things within the home, and their standard is to have them inspected annually.”

Annual inspections ensure homeowners don’t have flammable substances in their chimney and checks that the flue, which is the liner in the chimney that lets the dangerous gases escapes, is in shape. Wallace said there are three levels to an inspection. 

“Basic inspection level one has 60 points of inspection, depending on if it’s a fireplace, stove or furnace. Level two [inspection] involves a chimney camera and checking the roof, attic, all the parts that the chimney passes through the home. Level three [inspection] is only needed if there has been an incident like a chimney fire or some kind of tree damage, we open up the chimney and figure out what’s wrong with it,” Wallace said. 

Wallace warns the homeowners with chimneys should have a professional survey each year. 

“I think chimneys are like septic systems, you don’t really think about them or notice them until there is a problem, although no one intends to neglect their chimney,” Wallace said.

According to their website, the company receives many phone calls for blocked or plugged chimneys from downtown Saratoga. Blocked and plugged chimneys create a great risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. This happens because of the chimney’s age, how they were built, or what fuel they now serve. Many of these chimneys do not have clay liners, which causes the actual bricks to deteriorate and fall into the chimney. Others that do have a clay tile liner are often so deteriorated that giant flakes and pieces of the flue collapse in on itself.

Wallace created Chimney Heroes in 2009 Saratoga Springs, when the company was known as Saratoga Chimney Sweep. The company has grown to accommodate six trucks dedicated to helping the local community. 

“We live by our core values and just really try to create a company that is ethical. We are a customer service company that specializes in chimneys because I think customer service is one of those things we try to excel at,” Wallace said.

Chimney Heroes has locations in Malta, Clifton Park, Albany, Queensbury and Niskayuna.

“The greatest thing that everybody loves working at Chimney Heroes is we really do kind of get to play a hero in someone’s life. We really do protect people from dangerous flue gases or keeping their chimney clean. It’s fun to keep people safe,” Wallace said. “We enjoy what we do and we do our best to keep everybody safe.”

Chimney Heroes website can be visited at chimneyheroes.com and reached at 518-424-8620

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Stampede 13U summer team hit a 17-game winning streak for their season.

“We played a total of 29 games…and we finished the season with a record of 23-5-1,”   said Phonsey Lambert, coach of the 13U team as well as the athletic director and baseball coach at Saratoga Central Catholic High School. 

“What was interesting is, we beat 18-14U teams, and one 17U team along the way,” Lambert said.

Lambert’s team was elevated in a tournament called Last Man Standing where they advanced to the championship game.

“They moved us up to the 14U level. They advanced us up there and we lost the championship game on a walk off base hit 4-3,” Lambert said. 

That loss ended the Stampede’s 17 game winning streak, but Lambert said he was impressed with how the team played this summer. 

“We had a great year and an outstanding season. The kids followed guidelines and they were hard workers. They were great listeners and they have a lot of talent on this team,” Lambert said.  “The kids played very well together during the summer and during these difficult times. We are very respectful towards each other and they are very coachable. The players were respectful of the new rules and regulations in this ever-changing world in our pandemic.”

Thursday, 27 August 2020 13:19

Saving Face Back to School Promotion

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saving Face Barbershop in Saratoga Springs decided to buzz it’s way to support local students attending school this fall. 

Jeremiah Cregan and his business Saving Face Barbershop has been feeling the toll COVID-19 has taken on locally owned businesses, but decided to continue their yearly tradition of giving back to the schools. 

“We usually do a fundraiser every year that’s called Barber-Q. It’s our annual fundraiser and client appreciation day. Every year we do free haircuts, free food and drinks, live music and we encourage donations and we give those donations to a local charity. But we had to cancel due to everything with COVID-19,” Cregan said. 

Saving Face is running a back to school promotion for local kids attending school this fall. They will be conducting an online raffle to win a backpack with a cromebook laptop, pens and pencils, notebooks and more. Parents can purchase raffle tickets online at www.savingfacebarbershop.com.

“We will give donations to the Saratoga Bridges,” Cregan said. “We can still do something good for the community.”

They will draw the winner for the raffle on Sept. 5 at 12 p.m. and tickets can be purchased until that time.Saving Face has been open for a year and a half and are located at 68 West Ave., Suite 5. They can be contacted at 518-450-1217.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Members of the Saratoga Little League Challenger Division played their hearts out this past Thursday at their under the lights baseball game.

Teammates had a chance to help each other hit a ball, throw a ball and tag each other while staying socially safe.  Robert Kelly and Derrick LeGall, president of the league, designed the program to give children with special needs the chance to play baseball.

Saratoga Spring Little League’s adaptive baseball program is in its fifth year and is only one of a few in the region. It gives players with specialized needs a place to join in and enjoy playing the game of baseball in our community. 

Kelly can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Legall can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SARATOGA SPRINGS — In the Fall of 2018, mother of two, Anna Laloë was searching for ways to keep her two girls engaged in mountain biking.

“I started this selfishly for my then six- and eight-year-old daughters. When you hike and bike with your own children, they’ll often complain. But, as soon as other adults or kids join, the complaints stop,” Laloë wrote on her website.

The Saratoga Shredders began with 10 to 15 girls biking together at the Saratoga State Park. This past summer, the Shredders registered close to 90 girls, meaning 90 individual girls have showed up at least once to a practice.

“[We] couldn’t do it this past spring due to COVID-19, but once guidelines from Governor Andrew Cuomo were developed, we were able to start the Shredders up again,” Laloë said. “We had 25 girls show up the first night and it only grew from there.”

For this past season, the group has added two more trail systems to their weekly rides. Girls in the group can explore Luther Forest in Malta and Kalabus-Perry Preserve in the Wilton area. Because of COVID-19, the Shredders have been diligent about restrictions and social distance guidelines. When a girl shows up to participate, their family signs a release form and she splits off into her respective age level group.

“We have five groups organized by different bug names. The [Shredders] are always in pods of 10 to 15 girls and because we have a huge number of volunteer female mentors, we can break up into five or six girls per group,” Laloë said.

The group names are all inspired after insects and each represents a different age group and skill level, including young beginners to older intermediate and experienced groups. When a girl registers for a ride, Laloë needs to know their age along with their riding experience, which can range from neighborhood riding to trail experience.

“You don’t need a fancy bike or any experience trail riding…just come ride your bike,” Laloë says.

Laloë comes from a background in mountain bike racing. She spent five years racing at a high level.

“I pulled back on my racing career, went back to working full time, and was ready to give back to the community that had given me so much throughout my racing career.” Laloë said. “This was a big transition for me; going back to work and going from race to ride mode. It’s been a wonderful transition for me and my two daughters and this group of awesome girls.”

With only two more weeks of the summer schedule left, Laloë is already looking forward to the fall schedule. No date is set yet, but interested parties can visit online at www.saratogashredders.com for updates. While looking forward to the fall season, Laloë wanted to thank the volunteer mentors and sponsors of the Shredders. She continues to welcome other female mentors and volunteers.

“Thank you to the ones that have come. [They] hold this group together,” Laloë said.

As for her favorite part about Saratoga Shredders, Laloë answered it was seeing the Shredders’ reaction at the end of a ride.

“It’s towards the ends of rides…watching all the girls come back to the parking lot and seeing their faces lit-up and hearing each of their tales of adventure - it’s just mind-blowing to see and hear,” Laloë said. “To see that sense of accomplishment, sense of empowerment, sense of adventure that we are instilling in them just by going for a bike ride.”

The Shredders can be found online or on facebook. They can be reached at 781-879-3647.

Thursday, 20 August 2020 12:38

Local Bowling Alleys Open

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Strike Zone bowling alley officially opened their doors this past week, placing precautions in place to bring safety and fun back to the community. 

Nick Stanislowsky, general manger at Strike Zone, said they are excited to be able to open their doors and ensures any guests will feel safe.

“When I heard the news [of reopening] I was ecstatic, it was like Christmas morning,” Stanislowsky said. 

He explained some safety and cleaning precautions the alley has put in place. Guests will notice some laminates on the floor that encourages people to keep their distance as soon as they enter the front door. 

“We are using every other lane so you won’t be right next to somebody, there will always be a lane in between,” Stanislowsky said. “Then after everybody is done using the lane we go through a clean off the bowling balls, including the holes, and disinfect the tables and keypads. Everything that gets touched will get disinfected.”

The alley is still welcoming larger size parties for events. Conveniently located just off Broadway, Strike Zone is the perfect entertainment fun spot for all kinds of indoor activities. Their bowling alley features 34 lanes, all with automatic bumpers if needed along with a state-of-the-art light and sound show. The alley also offers bowling leagues and tournaments for people who want to test their skills.

“We are just extremely excited to get back open and hopefully bring some fun and normalcy back,” Stanislowsky said.

The bowling alley is located on 32 Ballston Ave and can be reached at 518-584-6460.

Thursday, 20 August 2020 12:21

Challenger Division Hits Fifth Season

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Little League Challenger Division started with a home run for their fifth season this summer. 

Leading up to a game under the lights this week, the Challenger Division welcomes special need kids in the community. Robert Kelly and Derrick LeGall, president of the league, designed the program to give children with special needs the chance to be kids and the opportunity to play America’s favorite pastime. 

“Every kid wants to be outside, making friends, enjoy the fresh air and to just have a good time. We give that opportunity to the kids and to the parents as well,” LeGall said. 

Xavier Camlet, a member of the Challenger team, said he loves the opportunity to play on a team, help his teammates out and most importantly have the chance to hit the ball. 

“I like helping my friends, letting my family come here and hitting the ball too,” Camlet said. “I like working for my team, helping them and hitting the ball out there…letting my teammates know where the ball is going to be.”

His mom, Jessica Camlet, ejoys the opportunities the team gives to Xavier. 

“He’s excited every day to play with his friends and it builds up his self esteem and confidence, I think that’s the biggest thing for him. When we got Xavier—we adopted him—he wasn’t very experienced and socialized and this gives him the chance to really be a kid and that’s my favorite part…just seeing his face light up. He’s just so happy to contribute and to be with his friends,” Camlet said. 

Xavier Camlet and his teammates are practicing for their under the lights game at the West Side Recreational Little League Field on Friday, Aug. 21, 2020 at 7 p.m.

One of his teammates, Regan Perella is playing on the team for his first year and will sing the Star Spangled Banner at the start of their under-the-lights game. 

“I do like singing and I don’t get nervous,” Perella said. “I’m loving it.”

Perella has enjoyed the fans’ reaction he gets when he plays baseball and likes all the fans his has, including his father Jim Perella. 

“We love all of the kids getting together and just having a great time,” Jim Perella said. “We love to see the kids play and everyone leaves here with a smile. These kids are playing ball just like America’s favorite pastime and we love that.”

The team is open to families outside of the Saratoga community as well and will accommodate kids up to the age of 21-years-old.

The Little League Challenger Division was established nationally in 1989, and is Little League’s adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges. Any individual with a physical or intellectual challenge may participate. The Little League Challenger Division accommodates players’ ages 4 to 18 or up to age 22 if still enrolled in school.

Saratoga Springs Little League’s adaptive baseball program is in its fifth year and is only one of a few in the region. It gives players with specialized needs a place to join in and enjoy playing the game of baseball in our community. 

Little League Baseball, Inc. is a non-profit organization with the mission “through proper guidance and exemplary leadership, the Little League program assists youth in developing the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being. By espousing the virtues of character, courage and loyalty, the Little League Baseball program is designed to develop superior citizens rather than stellar athletes.”

“I’m really proud of this program because I see moms, dads and kids working together out on the field,” Kelly said. “I enjoy seeing the kids having fun and experiencing what everyone else can experience.”

“My favorite part about all this is just watching the kids enjoy themselves,” LeGall said. “Whether it’s a hit they get and they look to make sure mom or dad saw it….it’s something that brings joy to their faces and it brings joy to me because that is what it’s all about.”

Kelly can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Legall can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The team practices every Thursday evening and plays Saturday morning games. 

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