Jaynie Ellis

Jaynie Ellis

GREENFIELD CENTER — Children’s author Artie Bennett will be appearing at the birthday celebrations for legendary racehorse Zippy Chippy at Old Friends at Cabin Creek on April 17. 

On April 17, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., Old Friends at Cabin Creek will be holding a reopening event and festivities in honor of Zippy Chippy’s 30th birthday (his actual birthday is on April 20). Artie Bennett, author of The True Story of Zippy Chippy: The Little Horse That Couldn’t, illustrated by Dave Szalay, will be there to read and sign copies of the award-winning picture-book biography.

“With its powerful message of hope and determination, and its healing dose of humor, it could well be the perfect storybook for our times,” said Bennett. 

Zippy Chippy’s legacy is quite an unusual one for a racehorse, as his losing streak is what made him famous. Zippy ran in 100 races during his career, and lost every single one – becoming one of the most losing racehorses in history. His trainer Felix Monserrate had traded an old pickup truck to get Zippy and had an emotional attachment to him. Felix then went about entering him in races with tough competition that he knew Zippy couldn’t beat, because Felix did not want anyone else to claim the horse. Zippy was also known to be a troublemaker at the track – stopping mid-race, refusing to leave the gate, biting, etc. Zippy is also banned from almost every track in America. In retirement, Zippy now lives at Old Friends, with his best friend Red Down South. You can read more about Zippy, and keep up with him and the other horses, on the Old Friends at Cabin Creek website: oldfriendsatcabincreek.com. 

Bennett is also the author of the rhyming picture books The Butt Book, Poopendous!, Peter Panda Melts Down!, Belches, Burps, and Farts – Oh My!, and What’s Afoot! Your Complete, Offbeat Guide to Feet, as well as two joke and riddle books titled The Universe’s Greatest Dinosaur Jokes and Pre-Hysteric Puns and The Universe’s Greatest School Jokes and Rip-Roaring Riddles. The True Story of Zippy Chippy is a CCBC Choice 2021. He has received praise on his books from Publisher’s Weekly, The Huffington Post, School Library Journal, and many more. 

Old Friends at Cabin Creek is a retirement facility for aging racehorses, located at 483 Sand Hill Rd in Greenfield Center. They are resuming their public tours April 17 through July 1, Saturdays only, from 12 -3 p.m. Summer hours are to be determined. A $10 donation for Zippy Chippy’s 30th Birthday Party will be gratefully received. Masks are required, and all necessary social distancing protocols will be observed during the celebration. 

Thursday, 08 April 2021 12:51

Wiswall: New Plans for Old Park

BALLSTON SPA — Wiswall Park is in need of revitalization, but the Village of Ballston Spa needs the community’s help to move the project forward. 

The Village of Ballston Spa Park and Tree Board, along with a group of citizens, have been working on a renovation plan for Wiswall Park. On Nov. 9, 2020, they proposed their concept design at a Village Board meeting. However, they need public feedback before it can be finalized. 

The reasons for revitalization listed by the Village of Ballston Spa Park and Tree Board are the invasive plants, dilapidated gazebo and park benches, the awkward location of the spring, uneven paths, and more. Their concept design is based on the park being a quiet retreat for strolling, sitting, visiting, and having lunch. The Board adds that they also want opinions on moving community events that previously took place at Wiswall Park to other locations in the Village. 

Liz Kormos, Trustee and Liaison to the Park and Tree Board, stated that the concerts will be moved to Iron Springs Park and the farmers’ market moved to Saratoga County History Center at Brookside Museum this summer to allow for the work to be done. Movies are still planned for Wiswall Park with Iron Springs Park as the alternate location. 

The Village of Ballston Spa Park and Tree Board asks that you freely share your thoughts regarding the concept design of the park and its future uses by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by April 12.

Who: Alan Richer, The Toga Chip Guy

Q. Have you always lived in Saratoga Springs? 
A. I grew up in New Jersey and went to college at Syracuse University. I’ve lived in Houston, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Albany. Now I have a house on the lake in Saratoga. 

Q. How would you describe what you do?
A. I am a chip historian.

Q. Can you give a brief description of  the history of the potato chip in Saratoga Springs?
A. The potato chip was popularized in Saratoga Springs. There are a lot of myths and legends around how it was invented. There is evidence that it was invented outside of Saratoga by a famous doctor in 1817 whose cookbook talked about “potato shavings.” The claim in Saratoga was in 1853 – 30 years later. 

Q. How did you get interested in chips?
A. While looking at art for my recently purchased home on Saratoga Lake in 2004, Michael Noonan, protégé of George Bolster, first told me about the various versions of the myths and legends surrounding Moon’s Lake House and the Saratoga Chips. He had original photographs of Moon’s Lake House, George Crum Speck, his sister Aunt Katie Weeks Adkins, and some of the early boxes, which he later sold to me. I was fascinated by the fact that the original name for the potato chip was the “Saratoga Chip” and wanted to determine how the name spread across the U.S. and abroad and was later phased out, something nobody else had ever done.

Q. Do you have any chip memorabilia or collectibles?
A. I have the largest collection of Saratoga Chips [brand name memorabilia]. I have a 40x40 display with bags, tins, machinery, and signs. It took me a long time to get a picture of an Aunt Jemima Potato Chipper (dates back to the 1900’s). While I have the photo, I have never been able to find the actual chipper. I once did a presentation for a Brown Bag Lunch at the Saratoga Springs Public Library and one of the attendees told me he had one. By the time I got done meeting attendees after the presentation, he had left, and I did not get his name and wasn’t able to determine if he actually had one or if he was willing to sell it. 

Q. In your opinion, what is the best chip flavor and the worst chip flavor? 
A. I like the traditional kettle chip (not a fan of spicy chips). 

Q. What is your go-to chip brand that you snack on?
A. A lot of companies send me chips, so I’m always eating new ones. When I go to the store, I’ll pick up the 40% Less Fat Cape Cod Chips, but all chips have their distinct niches.

Q. Can you give us an interesting trivia fact about chips?
A. Most people assume they are made with Idaho or Maine potatoes. But most of the potatoes used to make potato chips come from Michigan. 

Q. You have made quite a few media appearances. Do you want to name some of the things you have been featured in? 
A. I have done two segments for the History Channel’s “The Food That Built America” on Frito-Lay and Pringles. I have been interviewed by CBS, NBC, the Boston Globe, and various other television and radio stations, newspapers, and magazines. I am prominently featured on The Chips That Took Over The Snack World podcast (produced by History Channel’s “The Food That Built America”). I have partnered with the Saratoga Springs Lions Club to put on two chip festivals. Recently, on March 25, I did a Zoom fundraiser for the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation.

Want to learn more about potato chips? Check out Alan Richer’s website at togachipguy.com, his blog “My View of the World Through the Prism of the Potato Chip”, and his Toga Chip Guy Facebook page. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Skidmore College Men’s Ice Hockey Team had their first and only games this past weekend on Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27 against Hobart College. 

All of the games prior for the Thoroughbreds had been cancelled due to other colleges’ COVID protocols, or their own COVID protocols – varying reasons every game. 

“It’s great to be back on the ice in a game setting, after many trials and tribulations,” said Rob Hutchison, Head Men’s Ice Hockey Coach. “We just couldn’t get over the hurdles to get to a game until Hobart.” 

The home/away weekend series were exhibition games. Skidmore lost 1-0 on Friday. Hobart’s Zach Tyson scored the lone goal in the first period of the game, with assists from Travis Schneider and Aaron Maguyan. Skidmore’s goalie Brian Kowalski had 42 saves, 19 of them in the third period. 

They lost again on Saturday at Hobart, the final score being 4-1. Tyler Hall scored the only goal for the Thoroughbreds in the third period, with assists from Everett Wardle and Mike Gelatt. Danny Lassman had 18 saves in goal for Skidmore. Kowalski had 14, and Tate Brandon had 20. 

 The team had been practicing like it was a regular season right along. After about eight weeks of practice in the fall, they had a two-month break from Thanksgiving until January, instead of their usual 10-day rest. Although there were no spectators allowed at the games this past weekend, they still honored their five seniors - Danny Lassman, Matt Muzyka, Misha Mrotchek, Tyler Hall, and Brian Kowalski. 

“They are awesome people on and off the ice,” said Coach Hutchison. “In terms, of leadership, they kept the team motivated and excited to get out on the rink. They put a positive spin on things.”

Next season, the team is looking forward to a fresh start after an exhausting season this year. Coach Hutchison is hopeful that they will be able to go into summer training with some sense of normalcy. 

Congrats to this week’s Athletes of the Week – Brock Delsignore and Colden Dorfman!

Brock and Colden are both seniors and varsity wrestlers at Shenendehowa High School. In the 2019-2020 season they were both state finishers at the NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships. Brock was just one match short of winning the state title and placed 2nd in the Division I-182 weight class. Colden placed 4th in the Division I-160 weight class. In this past “hybrid” season (only 7 separate dual meets and 1 tri-meet), Brock was 3/3 and Colden was 2/3. 

Their coach, Robert Weeks, describes them as leaders within the program – great athletes and students. All wrestlers in the program were given the option to compete on their own for the 2020-2021 season. Brock and Colden decided to stay with the team, despite having more opportunities to compete if they wrestled on their own. Coach Weeks expressed that their decision to stay with the team is a testament to their character as athletes and teammates. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Skidmore College has reversed their decision to allow a Progressive Zionists for Peace club a trial period. 

On March 13, via a Zoom meeting, Skidmore College’s Club Affairs Committee initially denied a Progressive Zionists for Peace (PZP) club a chance to see if they had interest on campus. The establishing president of the pro-Israel group is student Nessa Goldhirsch Brown. 

A letter from Sarah Baker, a Senior Senator on Skidmore College’s Student Government Association (SGA) board, to Nessa Goldhirsch Brown, describes why the group was turned down. In the letter published on FIRE’s website (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, thefire.org), Baker wrote the following:

 “…some members [of the Student Club Affairs Committee] expressed concern that a dialogue focused club with one perspective being conveyed could be troublesome. That being said, the committee thinks that the group should try to either gain more diverse perspectives before becoming a club focused on dialogue or reframe the mission to be more advocate focused with a specific stance.”

Recently, the Committee granted a trial period to a
Pro-Palestinian group, Students for Justice in Palestine,
without hesitation.

On March 19, the prospective PZP club had a follow-up discussion with the Club Affairs Committee, who ultimately decided to move the club into a trial period. Sara Miga, Director of External Relations and Strategic Communications for Skidmore College, gave the following statement: 

“This was never an issue of religion or ideology. Skidmore does not and will not tolerate anti-Semitism or religious discrimination of any kind. Skidmore seeks to create a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment for all, and there is no place for discrimination at Skidmore. Skidmore College is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive community in which members develop their abilities to live in a complex and interconnected world. In line with this mission, thoughtful, spirited and sometimes challenging discussions are encouraged. We support our students in their efforts to work out student governance and organization.”

Saratoga TODAY also reached out to Nessa Goldhirsch Brown, and Skidmore College’s SGA, but did not receive a response from either.

Thursday, 25 March 2021 13:17

Football Wrap-Up: Your Local Team Updates

Section II kicked off the “Fall II” varsity football season with games this past weekend on Friday, March 19 and Saturday, March 20. 


SARATOGA SPRINGS — CBA (Christian Brothers Academy) started off their season with a 40-0 win over Saratoga Springs on Saturday in their Class AA away game. CBA ran away with the game in the second quarter, where they scored 26 of their 40 points. 

Brenden Simek had 2, 1 yard rushing touchdowns and 1 receiving touchdown on a 25 yard pass from Jack Gregory. Dylan Jones scored twice, once on a fumble recovery and off a 33 yard pass from Gregory. Jake Lacobaccio had one score on a 3 yard run. Stewart was 4 for 5 on extra points. 


BURNT HILLS — Burnt Hills got their season started with a big win over Ballston Spa on Friday night. The final score of the Class A match-up was 35-12. 

Rocco Mareno got the scoring started for Burnt Hills on a 58 yard pass and the first completion from QB Caeden LaPietro. LaPietro threw 7 times with 5 completions for 118 yards, also rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown. Jaleel Joseph scored on a 6 yard run, and Jake Pausley also scored on a 1 yard run. Michael Puglisi scored on a 35 yard interception return. Sbuttoni was 5 for 5 on extra points.

Ballston Spa finally got on the board in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t make up the deficit. QB Andrew Kramer took eight passing attempts and completed one 25 yard touchdown pass to Owen Walsh. Kramer was intercepted twice. He also rushed for 38 yards on 7 carries with a long of 16. Jovie Acacio rushed for 41 yards on 15 carries with a long of 9. Erik Gottman rushed for 34 yards on 8 carries with a long of 15. C.J. Guarino also scored on a kickoff return of 86 yards. 

“It’s good to be back out on the football field. We were asking for spring football and we finally got it,” said Ballston Spa Varsity Football Coach, Greg O’Connor. “I’m sure both teams wish it was a cleaner game…but we had a short pre-season, and it’s a work in progress.”


MECHANICVILLE – In the Class C match-up between Schuylerville and Mechanicville on Saturday, Schuylerville came away with the decisive win of 38-0. 

In the first quarter, Sam McGarrahan scored on a 6 yard TD run. Ryan Dow completed the 2 point conversion on a pass to Zach Bowen.

In the second quarter, Jack Dwyer scored on a 1 yard TD run, and the 2 point conversion was completed from Owen Sherman to Dow. Also in the second quarter, McGarrahan scored on a 9 yard TD run. Dow completed the 2 point conversion to Dwyer. The second quarter was capped off by a 42 yard TD pass from brothers O. Sherman to Lukas Sherman. The 2 point conversion was completed to Dwyer from O. Sherman.

In the fourth quarter, O. Sherman scored on an 11 yard TD run. 

Schuylerville had 311 total yards, 221 of them rushing. McGarrahan ran 135 yards on 21 carries. Dwyer had 57 yards on 11 carries. O. Sherman had 26 yards on 6 carries. QB O. Sherman completed 6 of 11 passes for 90 yards.

On the receiving end, Dwyer had one catch for 20 yards, L. Sherman had one catch for 42 yards, Bowen had 2 catches for 18 yards, and McGarrahan had 2 catches for 10 yards.

Defensively, Nick Abruscato had a fumble recovery. 

Mechanicville was limited to 38 total yards. D’Ambro had six carries for 20 yards and passed for 22 more yards. Sanchez also had 9 carries for 14 yards. Recieivng, Johnson had a catch for 14 yards. 


STILLWATER - Stillwater lost in a close contest against the WarEagles on Saturday. The final score of this Class C match-up was 12-8. 

In the first quarter, Brody McCabe got the scoring started for the WarEagles with a 37 yard TD pass from QB Cole Clarke. In the second quarter, Stillwater took the lead on Isaac Cutler’s 32 yard run and 2 point conversion from Tyler Paffen to C.J. McNeil. Clarke then ran 35 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to take back the lead for the WarEagles. Late in the fourth quarter, the WarEagles turned the football over on downs near the 20, but they sealed the deal in the next play with an interception by B. McCabe.

Clarke had 10 carries for 117 yards, and completed 7 of 19 passes for 124 yards, for a TD and an interception. B. McCabe had 3 catches for 82 receiving yards.

Defensively, Clarke had 9 tackles and Andrew Jeckel had 10. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — In this digital age, has cursive writing disappeared from the curriculum at our local schools?

In Jan. of 2011, the NYS Board of Regents approved and adopted the NYS P-12 CCLS – Common Core Learning Standards. Schools across the state began implementing the standards at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year. This school year was seemingly the end of cursive writing lessons, which are generally taught in elementary school, as Common Core does not require children to learn how to read or write in cursive. According to one specific standard (W. 4.6) listed on the Common Core Standards Initiative website (www.corestandards.org), by the end of fourth grade students should be able to do the following, replacing the learning of cursive: 

“With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate a sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.”

Contrary to the myth that cursive writing is no longer taught, at least one local school has teachers who have kept it in their lesson plans. Maura Manny, Director of Community Outreach and Communications for the Saratoga Springs City School District, gave a statement on the school district’s approach when it comes to teaching the writing style.

“Our teachers support all students developing writing skills whether they use cursive, keyboarding, or printing. Although cursive writing is not required as part of the New York State Learning Standards, many elementary teachers do spend time teaching cursive writing in third grade and beyond.”

Saratoga TODAY also reached out to the Ballston Spa Central School District to see if they still taught cursive, but no one was available for comment. 

With teenage years and adulthood comes the standard requirement of signing documents. Dori McDannold, PR Manager at Arrow Financial Corporation that represents Saratoga National Bank and Glens Falls National Bank, stated that a cursive signature is not required to cash a paycheck and other banking such as that. However, once you sign certain loans or legal documents that have to be notarized, that signature does become your legal signature. 

For reasons to come later in life, cursive is still a relevant skill for school children to learn. While they are still in school, it can also help them study other subjects besides writing. Learning how to read cursive will help them to decipher original copies of historical documents, such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Cursive also allows for faster notetaking because it does not require the pen or pencil to be raised off the paper. Local schools still see this need for cursive and continue to teach it, challenging the assumption that it is becoming a lost art. 

Thursday, 18 March 2021 15:19

Drive Up & Drive Through

HALFMOON — A drive-thru convenience store may be coming to the region. 

Farm Stores are drive-thru convenience/grocery stores in retrofitted shipping containers that resemble red barns. Drivers pull up on parallel sides of the building to view merchandise – dairy, eggs, fresh-baked bread, produce, beverages, and more – through the windows. A clerk working inside takes and bags orders.

An article done by the Albany Business Review states that a developer of Farm Stores has already purchased a 0.67 acre plot of land at 9 Route 236. This plot is across from a Stewart’s, and a few miles down the road from a Trader Joe’s that is currently under construction. 

Olivia Huffman, a commercial real estate broker at RedMark Realty out of Clifton Park, exclusively represents Farm Stores and confirmed that the developer who purchased the land is Pointe Companies. Huffman also said that there are a minimum of 10 locations in upstate New York where they are looking to build more Farm Stores. Franchisees Richard and Angela Barone will be opening one soon in Wappingers Falls. 

Richard Harris, the Director of Planning & Building for the town of Halfmoon, says that they have not yet received an application or concept plans for the Farm Store, and that the approval process could take approximately 2-3 months. However, Harris believes that it could be a positive commerce opportunity for Halfmoon, and might help to spread out traffic near other businesses in town.

Thursday, 18 March 2021 15:16

Spa Catholic Basketball Senior Night

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Central Catholic honored their senior basketball players and their families in games this past weekend. Families were allowed to attend, marking a year since spectators had been in the gym. Both varsity teams won their senior night contests. 

Varsity Boys’ Basketball

BBallSeniorNight SSM BOYS

The varsity boys’ game was Friday, March 12 versus Corinth. In a game that was evenly matched physically, the Saints started off strong. They moved the ball well, and looked for fast break opportunities. Their great teamwork also contributed to the 62-46 victory.

They honored seniors Hayden Day (#14), Will Fizer (#11), and Aiden Lambert (#24). This trio of seniors has been playing basketball together since 9th grade. 

“It has been great playing with these guys,” said Hayden. “I’m glad we were able to have a season.” Hayden was the team’s leading scorer in their senior night game with 34 of the team’s points.

“It was a tough season, that took a lot of dedication,” said Aiden. “So, I’m glad we were able to have games.” 

And, Will added, “It was great to be able to have a team experience and finish off the season with these guys.”

Varsity Girls’ Basketball

BBallSeniorNight SSM GIRLS

The varsity girls’ game was Saturday, March 13 versus Galway. The final score was 68-46. The team honored their seniors Molly O’Reilly (#30), Megan Cornell (#22), Annie Naughton (#44), and Ryleigh Dempsey (#12).

In the game on Saturday, Molly drove to the hoop, drew fouls, and made her free throws. Megan was fast defensively and caused turnovers. Megan said that the team really bonded over the season’s unusual circumstances.

“I’m really sad it’s over,” said Molly. “None of us were expecting to have a season, but it worked out great.” Molly was the leading scorer of the game with 19 points. 

Annie and Ryleigh are strong forwards. Annie was not afraid to take the ball down the court herself and drive to the hoop. Ryleigh had great offensive moves and plays under the basket, and contributed 14 points to the win. 

“It’s bittersweet,” said Annie. “This is the last time most of us are playing, but this is a great team and great girls.”

Ryleigh, who said she was out on the court playing in memory of her brother, also added:  “It’s sad to finish the season and say goodbye. But, it was fun while it lasted.”

Page 5 of 6