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Friday, 13 June 2014 18:35

Forget the Uniform – See the Man

A Father’s Day Story

Happy Father’s Day to those who are in a position to make lasting memories — here’s one of mine. 


Dad took me to my first Yankee game, in 1962. Yeah, a long time ago… ouch! But I remember every detail… 


I went out with the ‘grownups’... me, Dad, Poppy and Uncle Nathan... still in my mid-single digits, age wise. I must have been a handful… but that view of when we turned the corner and I see THE Stadium will say with me forever…


Luckily, Dad and crew caught a break and after 4 1/2 innings, they called it on account of showers — but not before I got to eat something from every food vendor + see BACK-2-BACK Maris and Mickey blasts into the seats! Each one punctuated with Dad shaking me and saying: ‘Wow! Look at that!’ That tends to hook a young boy for life, you know…


And so, no matter where I roam in life — I'm a member of that Evil Empire – the Yankee’s Universe – for life. 


A few years later, in 1964, I got an even more important lesson— about class and sportsmanship. 


We went to the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals – games 3 and 4...yeah, just like that. 


Me + Dad — the way things always are— a young boy thinks…


Which is why you treasure today.


In game 3, my hero Mickey atoned for an early error with a 2-run game-winning homer off Barney Schultz. But it’s game 4 that we are talking about friends. 


On that day, Dad threw me a curveball. I had just swaggered into my seat— a vet of two Yankee games by this point. We settled into the left field boxes: which were low down and pitcher high. No posts blocking our view. 


(This was the Original Yankee Stadium folks, where actual posts were a consideration… the Stadium of numbers 3, 4 and 5… if you don’t know who they are, why are you reading this?)


Anyway, the curveball.


Watch the pitcher — he told me.


Watch how he conducts himself and what happens when he gets up to bat. 


Yes, in those days pitcher's batted – no choice. Most, as expected, were pathetic. 


Bob Gibson batted 4 times that day. 


Each time; he did not reach within A STEP of the batter's box without the entire mass of Yankee Stadium - attendance: a mere 65,633 btw- standing - saluting - and politely clapping. 


The opposing pitcher! 


I was perplexed… so I asked my Dad why they were cheering a Cardinal.


My Dad said the words that meant everything that day – and everything to this day: 


“Forget the uniform – see the man.”  


Bob Gibson – number 45, was always a superior batter and of course, a hall-of-fame pitcher… also, the poster for the word ‘proud’ – and any time he had a chance to scowl he relished it. 


Perhaps the Yankee crowd thought if they could acknowledge him, they could somehow pacify him. 


No chance. 


He smashed a single in the 3rd to get the party started. Running the bases, he got batted home in front of Curt Flood via hits by Lou Brock and Bill White. 2-0 Cards.


Then he took the mound as few have taken the mound and mowed the Yanks down. Repeatedly and emphatically. The box score tells it all.


Till the ninth. When young pheenom Tom Tresh, who had already been intentionally walked twice by Gibson in this game – blasted a shot into the stands with Mickey aboard. Tie ballgame, 2-2!  All was right with the world again. For the moment.


But in the tenth, Tim McCarver blasted a 3-run job into the right field bleachers—legit and emphatic and with Gibson out to close in the tenth (in those days— you were your own closer) – done.


My first Yankee loss. 


And a portent of things to come. It was not until 1977, with the Thurman/Reggie/Willie/Billy crew re-establishing excellence (and me now a college junior!) that all was made right again with the Yankee Universe. 


But I became a true Yankee on that day in 1964; a Yankee of numbers 3, 4, 5 and soon, 7 and later, others… Sportsmen — who applaud excellence, giving credit when due on those occasions when they best you.


When you’re a true Yankee, you don't have to win every time... you just have to compete. And so, that's what I do. I compete, to this very day.


True Yankee fans are thought to be arrogant, but a true Yankee salutes his/her opponents for a job well done. 


Thank you, Dad for that most important lesson. Thanks to you, I always see the man, not the uniform. In fact, today I can say I see the person, not the uniform.


But let’s face it — we both agree that every person looks better in pinstripes. 

Friday, 13 June 2014 11:03

It’s ArtsFest Time!

A Full Weekend Of… Everything Awaits

SARATOGA SPRINGS – We are blessed with a vibrant arts scene year-round in this region. But, to paraphrase Emeril, it’s time to kick it up a notch…


BAM! And here we are – the Eighth Annual Saratoga ArtsFest is upon us and there is still plenty of time to get in on the action. Last night’s opening featured the acclaimed Martha Graham Dance Company at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Sponsored by SPAC, the performance included pieces from such classics as Appalachian Spring and The Rite of Spring, as well as other compositions. 


On Friday, June 13’s ArtsFest will present its signature event, “An Evening with Duncan Sheik,” at the Arthur Zankel Music Center at Skidmore College. Sheik, a Grammy and Tony award winner, launched his musical career in 1996 with the Grammy-nominated hit “Barely Breathing.”


Sheik is more recently known for his role in composing the musical Spring Awakening, which earned two Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Sheik’s December, 2013 debut of the stage production of American Psycho in London opened to rave reviews. Tickets for the Sheik performance at Skidmore are priced at $50, or $25 with an ARTSPASS.


Speaking of the ARTSPASS, it’s not to late to pick one up and it remains an outstanding value. The price for the SaratogaArtsFest admission package is $40 for adults and seniors, and $35 for military members and their dependents. Children under 12 are admitted free. 


Admission packages may be purchased online at SaratogaArtsFest.org or at the ArtsFest Center and Gallery at 385 Broadway. Admission materials must be picked up at the Center. The Center’s hours of operation during June 9-15 are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The Center phone number is (518) 871-1379.


If, however, you prefer to sample ArtsFest a la carte, there are many free events such as the “en plein air Paint Out,” along Broadway on Saturday, June 14, family events such as “Kids do Art” at UPH and the Beekman Street Arts Fair, both on Sunday, June 15. 


Also, here is a listing of premium events that you can purchase admission singly without an ARTSPASS: 


June 14

Saratoga Shakespeare Company presents “Shakespeare: The Remix”

The Remix, performed by two actors, introduces Shakespeare to young audiences. When a hip-hop-loving high school girl on the verge of dropping out meets Shakespeare, a 400-year-old ghost having a mid-death crisis, a pitched battle of wits erupts. 

3–3:45 p.m. 

Universal Preservation Hall, 25 Washington Street


Home Made Theater presents “Theatrical Therapy – A Cabaret Performance”

Find out what happened to your favorite musical theater characters after the final curtain. This original piece is filled with laughter and song. Supported by a SaratogaArtsFest program enhancement grant.

5–6 p.m. 

Universal Preservation Hall, 25 Washington Street


No. 11 Productions presents “Coosje”

In this whimsical love story two sculptors learn to collaborate in life and art. Meanwhile, a pear falls out of a fruit bowl, gains consciousness, and travels the world.

8–9 p.m.

Universal Preservation Hall, 25 Washington Street


June 15

Panel Discussion: “Sport as Art”

Former professional athletes and professionals in the field of collegiate sports will discuss the concept of sport as an art form. Skidmore professor Jeffrey Segrave, a noted expert on the Olympic games and the role of sport in society, will lead the session. Sponsored by the Saratoga National Golf Club.

11 a.m.–noon

Skidmore College, Arthur Zankel Music Center, ELM Room 117


Heard and Skidmore College present “Spirit of Life: 150(1) Years of Words, Music and Dance”

Choreographer Mary Harney and composer Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius join forces to present original choreography and music, performed live by the jazz group Heard and Skidmore dance and theater students. 

1:15–2:15 p.m.

Skidmore College, Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater 


Saratoga Springs Youth Orchestra (SSYO) presents “Neapolitan Renaissance”

SSYO is fresh off a May 30 performance at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Center in New York City, under the direction of Maestro Gioacchino Longobardi. They represented the Saratoga Region in one of a thousand concerts that took place around the world as part of the Thousand Tones Project in tribute to Japanese Tsunami victims.  


Today, journey back to the 18th century with the musicians of SSYO as they explore and present for your listening enjoyment a Neapolitan Renaissance experience.

1:30–2:30 p.m.

Skidmore College, Arthur Zankel Music Center, Helen Filene Ladd Concert Hall


“Fame High”

From Academy Award nominee Scott Hamilton Kennedy comes a documentary exploring the trials and tribulations of talented teens as they reach for their dreams of becoming actors, singers, dancers, and musicians. Kennedy will be on hand to discuss the film.

2–4 p.m.

Dee Sarno Theater at the Arts Center, 320 Broadway


Hubbard Hall Projects presents “Serenata Italiana: Exploring the Music of Italy”

Hubbard Hall Opera Theater presents a concert featuring music ranging from powerful and familiar arias by Verdi and Leoncavallo, to popular songs by Tosti, Donaudy, and others. This concert explores the music of Italy in the 18th and 19th centuries and features the talents of four outstanding opera performers. 

4:30–5:30 p.m.

Skidmore College, Arthur Zankel Music Center, Helen Filene Ladd Concert Hall



Instead of hunting for scarce parking spots for ArtsFest and Flag Day festivities, arts and parade lovers can support free professional theater by parking downtown with Saratoga Shakespeare Company.


The Company will open The Saratogian’s private lot for public parking during ArtsFest on Saturday, June 14, from 11 a.m. to midnight.


The lot, located at Maple Avenue and Caroline Street, has its entrance on Pavilion Row. A $10 donation can be made to Saratoga Shakespeare Company by cash, check or credit card.



For single event admission pricing and more programming information visit the ArtsFest Center and Gallery, 385 Broadway or SaratogaArtsFest.org 


Friday, 13 June 2014 10:43

Proposed Paid Parking Plan Pitched

SARATOGA SPRINGS – “It’s not a garage, it’s a parking structure.”


So said Mark Baker, president of the Saratoga Springs City Center on Wednesday, June 11, as he and other members of the City Center Authority, along with design and architectural experts, gave authority members and the public a first look at the actual proposed paid parking facility, adjacent to the City Center between Maple and High Rock Avenues. 


This is a major step, yet only one in a process that will have several opportunities for public comment by both the public and members of the Saratoga Springs City Council (several of whom were in attendance Wednesday). The structure is on city-owned land and a lease arrangement would have to be executed for any facility to go forward. 


The next phase in the process will be a presentation to the city council next Tuesday, June 17. The City Center Authority did unanimously pass a resolution to seek lead agency status on this project. 


Cost and Design Details

- Mr. Baker estimated that this project would cost between $10.2 - $10.6 million. He noted that the City Center Authority would bond the money, which means the city would not incur any additional debt, or any additional tax burden for residents. 


- Revenue would come from paid parking, which would be open to everyone. Mr. Baker noted that the exact cost schedule to park is still being worked on, but that it was likely that the first hour would be free—enabling residents to visit the neighboring farmers’ market, for instance.


- The plan as detailed calls for a five-level facility, with access from both High Rock and Maple Avenues. A total of 511 spaces could be accommodated under this plan. Bike racks and charging stations are built into the plan.


- A major design element has a covered portion over Maple Avenue, with direct access to the City Center at its southeast entrance. There will also be a drop-off area here.


- Another design element at the High Rock Avenue side is an open public area that was called “agora” (see illustration) – porticos that are 20 by 45 feet and could be used for events. Mr. Baker noted it might replace the former City Center loggia area (which was removed in the 2011 expansion) for events such as Hats Off. The top deck of the garage could also be adapted for similar public performances, he said.


The City Center’s ideal timetable is to break ground this fall, with completion in the summer of 2015. During the public approval process, including Design Review Commission and Planning Board hearings, changes to design and other elements could affect that schedule.


By Alexandria R. Parisi

Saratoga TODAY


SARATOGA SPRINGS – Open since 1998, Four Seasons Natural Foods Store and Cafe located at Phila Street in downtown Saratoga Springs now has given consumers something new to look forward to. The second location has been open for business for less than two weeks and its location on Henry Street proves to continue pursuing ultimate customer satisfaction with buying in bulk for a cheaper price. What is now a retail grocery store, the new location offers the same great variety of natural foods groceries, teas, coffees, supplements, personal care and aromatherapy that is far different from the other health stores that may be coming into play.  

The owner of the store, Richard Frank, believes the retail store to be a great opportunity for consumers to purchase natural foods in a more spacious environment.  Currently there is a transition of the original location on Phila Street to compliment of the foods in the retail store and now serve as the complete café. 

Customers walk in and out of the second location pleased with the naturally-made structure of the building itself, and the same local name and products are just around the corner to sit down and enjoy a fresh organic meal.  in a much more comfortable shopping center and convenient parking area. The natural materials used by local craftspeople add to the overall sense of organic well being of the new arrangement. 

Customer satisfaction is top priority for Frank and his staff, which is one of the many reasons for branching out to a larger distribution centers that allows for a smoother delivery process, buying in bulk and selling for less, and allow for an even simpler way for customers to shop the store just like they are used to. 

Even though Saratoga Springs and surrounding areas are experiencing a mass exposure to healthy living shops, farmers markets, and organic stores, what makes the Four Seasons stand out could be argued as a reflection of the name itself. Frank mentioned how “Four Seasons” originally derived from the previous owners in 1988. They were firm believers in macrobiotics and whole foods diet as a means to restore health. 

Essentially, “eating seasonally, and seasonally growing” is one of the many reasons why customers are completely satisfied with the products that are provided at not one, but now two locations. Frank believes that “engaging the senses with natural, organic foods” is an admirable life choice that many people are now realizing is crucial for one’s health and overall well-being.  


For more information please contact Richard Frank, owner of both locations at (518) 584‑4670, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or visit fourseasonsnaturalfoods.com.


SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Bataan Death March of verbiage, pontification and blather about all things relating to the city’s status regarding the proposed Saratoga Casino and Raceway (SCR) expansion was taken to a new level of intensity this week. 


We were first treated to a marathon City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 3, in which the mayor’s agenda item about the expansion did not get entertained until nearly 10 p.m. (note that the meeting started at 7 p.m.; note further that the mayor’s agenda is the first of five departments to report, followed by the county supervisors). 


This meeting ended about 11:20 p.m., but after the item about SCR’s expansion I had had enough for one evening, thanks. Three plus hours is enough. Mind you, this was a discussion item. Nothing was actually decided. 


A “special” public hearing on the next night (Wednesday) followed this — this one solely devoted to the expansion issues.  I hoped that everyone got their comments in, for everyone should feel they had their say I guess. 


But, at the risk of being characterized as “un-interested” or “un-involved” I admit I gave this one a pass altogether.  I also cover arts and entertainment, and there was a great new jazz ensemble making its debut (look for a feature on them before their next appearance in a few weeks) on the same night. 


Blast me if you want, but I think I made the right call. Good music wins out over hot air. Tell me, what would you do?


Now, we hear that there “might” be another “special” city council meeting, this time after Saratoga TODAY goes to press: it is tentatively scheduled for Friday, June 6 at 10 a.m. Unbelievable. 


Perhaps something might actually be decided at this one. But from now on, your city council reporter will value both your time and my own. We will report on something that actually happens.


The crux of the issue, for those whose eyes are not totally glazed over at this point, is whether the city should assert itself as an involved agency in the review process, known as SEQRA, as opposed to “interested,” which in theory would give them the further right to vie for the lead agency status on this project, instead of the Gaming Commission and therefore greater oversight over what happens. 


This would be triggered by filling out a form, stating that the city objects to the gaming commission being the lead agency. However, if this course is pursued, it is likely to generate a costly legal battle, which the city’s attorneys say they have no shot of winning. 


So there you are. I have summarized nearly 600 hours of debate in two paragraphs. Yes, I might be glossing over some fine points, but who cares. The mayor believes that an ongoing dialogue with both SCR and the gaming commission can gain more than a legal fight. Time will tell if that is the right way to go. 


None of the above should be construed as wanting to restrict anyone’s right to comment. The public comment period to the Gaming Commission extends until June 13 and I certainly encourage everyone who wants to express their opinion to do so. 


Just don’t make me listen anymore, OK? 

Friday, 30 May 2014 10:29

Trouble On The Tarmac

Tensions Rise as Saratoga County Airport Eyes Expansion


By Megan Irene Kretz

For Saratoga TODAY 


MILTON – At a May 20 public hearing, proposed expansions to the Saratoga County airport were met with heavy opposition. County officials held the meeting to discuss changes to the airport’s master plan. 


At the heart of the controversy is the keyword: uncertainty. Even after the meeting, attendees still had no idea about exactly what form the proposed expansion would take; the timetable for expansion; or even if it would occur at all. 


The airport is a public space that is managed by North American Flight Services. The company leases space from the County and provides aviation services such as aircraft maintenance, fueling and hangar rentals. 


According to Jon Zilka, the business manager for North American Flight Services, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that airports put together a new master plan every ten years. This mandatory process began about a year ago when the County hired the engineering firm, McFarland Johnson, to conduct a top to bottom survey of the airport. McFarland Johnson, which has an office in Saratoga Springs, presented the survey along with data from the past ten tears to the FAA for review. The federal agency then came back with three tiers of recommendations. 


The first recommendation would be to do nothing and leave the airport as-is, the second included a 300-foot runway expansion, and the third recommendation detailed an 800-foot runway expansion. In addition to the expansion of the runway, the recommendations include grass runways for gliders, a parallel taxiway and additional storage hangars. Zilka, who is also a member of the County’s Transportation Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), said that the 300-foot expansion is the option most likely to be accepted. “The 800-foot runway lengthening can’t be done, there’s too much of an impact. If you look at the 300-foot lengthening, there’s a minimal impact. We [the TAC] voted on that option because it’s feasible,” he remarked. 


Regardless of whether the 300-foot or 800-foot expansion is chosen, the non-profit Gateway House of Peace hospice will be affected. The privately-owned non-profit is housed in the former Red Cross building and began leasing the space from the County in 2011. After three years of renovations, the two-bedroom facility officially opened in April of this year. 


President and Founder, Joni Hanchett is concerned about the lack of information she’s received about the potential impact on the facility. “I know that for ourselves and our surrounding neighbors, no one was informed of these plans. The only reason that anyone knew anything is because Milton Town Supervisor, Dan Lewza sent out notices,” Hanchett said. During the public hearing, a consultant reportedly told the non-profit that they’d be relocated, but Hanchett said she has not received any official communication from the County. Hanchett expressed dismay over the timing of the proposed expansion. She remarked that over the past three-years, $150,000 in material donations and countless man-hours had been poured in to the renovation of the Gateway House. Presumably, volunteers were remodeling the facility at the same time the engineering firm was making recommendations to raze it.


In response to these concerns, Zilka remarked that any changes to the airport and surrounding land are not foregone conclusions. “Just because it’s added to the master plan, doesn’t mean it will be done. The FAA will pick and choose over the next decade which projects it will fund. That’s a huge point that people are missing.” Before changes can be eligible for FAA funding, the County Building and Grounds committee and then the County Board of Supervisors must authorize them. If the FAA decides to fund expansion, they will pay for 90 percent of the cost, with the State and County splitting the remaining 10 percent.


Milton Town resident Leann Driscoll attended the public hearing and is concerned about the vagueness of the information provided. She remarked that the maps on display weren’t labeled clearly and it was uncertain which neighborhoods and houses would be affected by runway expansions. She also added that the noise from planes is already very loud and is concerned about the potential for increased airport traffic and lower property values. 


However, Zilka alleged that an extra 300 feet would not increase the amount of traffic or plane size. “A 300-foot runway lengthening is not big enough to increase the size of planes that are landing here. All it does is increase safety,” he said. However, a longer runway will allow planes to carry more fuel under current aviation regulations. North American Flight Services, which sells the fuel and the County, which collects the tax, would both stand to benefit from increased sales. It is unclear what the County will do with any additional tax revenue. 


As the fruits of her hard labor face an uncertain future, the President and Founder of Gateway House hopes to retain the non-profit’s current location. ‘There’s a lot of love here, a lot of love was put in to this building,” she says. The Saratoga County Building and Grounds Committee is scheduled to discuss the airport at 3 p.m. on Monday, June 9. The meeting will be open to the public.

Friday, 30 May 2014 10:22

DMB Returning With 2 Sets A Night

By Gunnar Conway

For Saratoga TODAY


SARATOGA SPRINGS – They’re back.

The Dave Matthews Band is returning to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for a two-day event, starting tonight and finishing up Saturday evening.

The exceptional duo that is musical virtuoso Dave Matthews, as well as fellow bandmate and guitarist Tim Reynolds were at SPAC for Farm Aid back on September 21 for an all-acoustic set.  This is the first time the entire band will be performing at the venue since May 25th of last year. 

If you went to the 2013 concert, you know the band’s usual live style. This year, DMB will be doing something a bit different. Instead of just playing one show all the way through each night, they are going to split into two sets, giving this year’s show a new twist.  

One set will be an acoustic set featuring the whole band with Dave and Tim on acoustic guitar, while the other will have a more energetic, electric set.

Last year the band did a very special performance to open the show playing “Seek Up,” a fan favorite, and opened the next day with “Tripping Billies,” so it should be very interesting to see what the band opens up with this year. 

In recent shows, Dave and the band have playing more uncommon songs such as “Pig,” a relaxing song about love that picks up the intensity toward the end, and “Louisiana Bayou,” which is a unique country-style Dave jam with a funky twist.

With last year’s shows more than living up to the hype, the band will have high expectations yet again tonight and Saturday. DMB always seems to play their best stuff at SPAC, as they play with a certain energy that they don’t play with at every show. 

The band is really known for their amazing jams that are usually led by Reynolds and violinist Boyd Tinsley. Last year, Reynolds led a jam after the song “Two Step” that many will not forget.  

One of the band’s best qualities is how they play with all they’ve got. You don’t have to be inside to really make a connection with the band. Whether you’re inside, or on the lawn, the band will not disappoint. 

This is really going to be a concert that all fans will be able to enjoy, as the two sets will allow one of Saratoga Springs’ favorite groups to play songs that usually would only be played at a show like Farm Aid, when it was just Dave and Tim. But, if you are someone who enjoys the more rock style of Dave, you will be able to hear songs that you want to hear. 

Whether you have been to their concerts before, or if this is you first time, or if you prefer the acoustic style or the electric style, you are sure to get what you are looking for. The Dave Matthews Band never seems to leave anybody in the crowd unpleased.


Both nights are set to begin at 7 p.m.

Friday, 30 May 2014 10:07

Mission: Chester

Delegation Seals The Sister City Deal


SARATOGA SPRINGS AND CHESTER, ENGLAND – A group of local citizens and individuals, using only private funds, are expected shortly to hear that their invitation to form Saratoga Springs’ second Sister City relationship; with Chester, England has been formally accepted. The first, with Chekhov, Russia was seen as a relationship that had its roots in cultural and artistic exchanges. Should the Saratoga Springs-Chester relationship be realized, enormous impacts could be felt in economic, racing, education and other areas. 


Bob Giordano, a key member of the delegation, recounted the origins of the idea; how the process played out to this point; and the potential next steps in the process of this important development.


Origins: When one door closes, another opens


“It all began in 2012 when Kay Kent and her husband Steve, owners of steeplechase horses in Chester, England, saw that there was to be a Steeplechase Festival that fall in Saratoga. I was co-chair of this event and they contacted me.” Bob Giordano said. “After purchasing their tickets, the event was unexpectedly cancelled, but they decided to come any way and see first-hand the famed Saratoga Springs.”  


Bob and his wife Michele Erceg hosted them for their visit. They were given the full tour. “They saw the race course, training at Oklahoma, The National Museum of Racing, toured SPAC, shopped the downtown businesses, dined at a few of the many restaurants Saratoga offers and were given welcome gifts by Mike D’Anzeris of Embrace The Race. They loved the town and went back home with the impression that most visitors get when they visit Saratoga for the first time, saying, ‘What a great little place!’” 


A year later in July of 2013, Bob attended a presentation in the City Center given by Paul Roberts of Turnberry consulting that outlined proposed enhancements to the Saratoga Race Course. Paul stopped Bob, saying, “Kay Kent says to say ‘Hello’!” Paul was working with Kay in England in her role as Chair of the Cheshire Racing Hub, on a proposal that her institution, the University of Chester, was developing to offer the first Masters degree in racing in Europe. Bob sent a note to Kay to rekindle the friendship. 


“Over the next few months of conversation, the idea of establishing a Sister City relationship between the two cities – the oldest racecourse in the United States and the oldest racecourse in the United Kingdom, Chester, began to develop.” Giordano said.


First, the City of Chester presented two historic prints of the Chester Race Course to the City of Saratoga Springs to acknowledge our 150th Anniversary of Racing at an event at the National Museum of Racing last August. Charles Wait accepted them in his role as Chairman of the Anniversary event. The gifts are on display in the Saratoga Springs City Center. 


“Mr. Wait thanked Chester and stated that he would like to return the gesture in May of 2014 on the occasion of the 475th Anniversary celebration of that Race Course, one that is still surrounded by the Roman walls built in 100AD and completed by the Normans in 1100.” Giordano noted.


Giordano contacted local members of the Chekhov Sister City committee as well as Sister Cities International about the proper procedures. As a result “A formal Letter of Invitation was authorized by the Saratoga Springs City Council and signed by Mayor Joanne Yepsen on April 25.” He said. Charles and Candace Wait, Bob Giordano and Michele Erceg carried that letter to Chester. 


“Mr. Wait, as the Mayor’s Ambassador-at-Large presented the letter to The Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor Jill Houlbrook. There were also letters of support from the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, The Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau, the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, The National Museum of Racing, the Saratoga Polo Association and the Saratoga Springs Rotary Club.” Giordano said.


Along with these, Chester was presented with an original oil painting by Saratoga Springs’ Rumara Jewett titles “Morning At The Whitney Stand”. 


The painting is full of symbolism. It depicts the newly erected viewing structure at the Oklahoma Training facility and includes personalities who have ties to both Saratoga Springs and Chester. For example, the rider on the gray in the center of the painting, Danny Wright, was a former jockey who at 17 won his first race at Chester. He was born less than a mile from the racecourse and resides every year in Saratoga for the Oklahoma training season. For more information about the painting, visit rumara.com


While in Chester the Saratoga Delegation was hosted at the Directors’ Suite at the Chester Race Course on May 9. The visitors were given a tour of the Race Course facility, the town with its historic Cathedral and the training yards of prominent racehorse flat and steeplechase trainers. The differences and similarities between US and UK racing were explored and discussions of the potential benefits of the Sister City relationship, with specifics, occurred throughout the visit.


“Mr. Wait provided Saratoga 150 Adirondack Trust ties and scarves to our Chester hosts and I left copies of Paul Roberts’ book “The Spa” as mementos of the visit.” Giordano recalls. “Kay Kent was given gifts from N. Fox and Dennis DeJonghe jewelers in recognition for her effort at coordinating the many aspects of the Saratoga delegation visit and the Sister City effort.” It’s important to note again that all of the expenses for this visit were privately funded. 


Next Steps

When asked what the next steps were, Bob Giordano indicated that there is a formal process to establish a Sister City. “Now that a letter of Invitation has been presented to the Lord Mayor of Chester, Chester will send a reply of acceptance, indicating the willingness to partner with Saratoga Springs. Next an agreement is formulated that will list the contact individuals in each city and the goals to be achieved.” He said. “Once that plan is agreed to, the Mayors of Chester and Saratoga Springs sign a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the partnership.”


Looking ahead “the intent is to start slowly and accomplish one or two projects in the near term.”  Once details are defined, the Chester Racing Hub, as part of their Masters Program in Racing, will partner with NYRA via board member Charles Wait to provide an internship for a graduate student pursuing a career in the racing industry to learn about American racing. This could occur as early as the summer of 2015.”  


Another item of interest is for the Chester Polo Club to visit Saratoga Springs to play a match with Saratoga Club members, eventually leading to a match between the two cities - a second “Battle of Saratoga”. There was also high interest in the Saratoga Warhorse Program, as there is currently University research into this area in the UK as well. “An informational exchange of this type is exactly what a Sister City partnership is meant to address.” Giordano said.


Other things that are possible include Convention and Tourism exchanges. The idea has been broached to develop a “Sister Cities Passport” for visitors to both cities that could provide local hosts and access to entertainment venues such as NYRA, SPAC, UPH as well as merchant and room discounts. Similar hosting would take place in Chester.


Down the road, the business communities of the two cities, via their respective Chambers of Commerce, could develop exchanges. Exchanges between the University of Chester and Skidmore College are possible, as they could be for High Schools. 



Citizens with additional thoughts about developing this connection are encouraged to contact Bob Giordano at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (518) 527-1496.

Asian Inspired Noodle Café To Debut Friday Evening


BALLSTON SPA – A new culinary star will appear on the horizon tonight in the Carousel Plaza in Ballston Spa. 


The combined talents and effort of Chef Linh Sullins and Owner Nancy Holzman will be on display at the Good Night Noodle Café – which features a Southeast Asian menu that combines traditional recipes from Vietnam, Cambodian and Thailand dressed up with modern brightness and flair. 


A notable point is that Good Night Noodle will be housed in the same restaurant that Ms. Holzman has already made popular inroads—The Good Morning Café at 2100 Doubleday Avenue. 


The restaurant intends to transition from ‘Good Morning’ to ‘Good Night’ every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at 5 p.m., which will certainly maximize the use of the restaurant space, but definitely present logistical challenges because of the different ingredients, preparation and even utensils required for both menus. But through careful formulation and planning, both Chef Linh and Nancy are energetically confident that they have arrived at a formula to delight customers – at any time you visit.


For though the menus are as different as night and day (sorry, couldn’t resist that one!) it says here that a common formula will be the key – a commitment on the part of both restaurants to fresh, organic sustainable and delicious ingredients – with vegetarian and gluten-free options—that will make you want to put Good Night Noodle on your short list of “try soon” restaurants. 


That commitment extends to working with local organic farms (such as Little Sparrow in Ballston Spa) to grow the exact Thai Basil that is required to make Chef Linh’s pho (a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth and linguine-shaped rice noodles called bánh phở) sing with zing! 


Speaking of pho, it is one of the menu staples that she prepared for us on a recent visit – available in beef, chicken and vegan options, the common element is the balance derived from the addition of key herbs and ingredients that are added to the noodle broth: Lime for zest, Red Boat Fish Sauce for salty, vegan hoisin for sweet, chili’s (optional, but do it) for bite, bean sprouts and (yes, yes!) crispy shallots for crunch. 


The bánh mi sandwich showcases the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine right up front as it is served on a fresh-baked toasty baguette. Pickled vegetables (bright carrots, dikon, cucumbers and bean sprouts) are the core in flavor core in either the meat/chicken or veggie options, but what seals the deal is a touch of mint, crushed cashews (a substitute for those with peanut allergies) and shallot-infused oil dressing. 


Spring rolls come in shrimp and veggie versions, enhanced by homemade Nuoc Cham (a traditional fish sauce customized by Chef Linh to “stimulate all 5 senses’) and hoisin garlic dipping sauces.  


For the first two-week “soft opening” phase, a smaller menu (which includes all of the above, plus more) is planned. After June 5, a larger summer menu will be revealed; at that time, they also plan to offer call-in/take out options and take reservations. 



The good news is that the opening menu’s prices range from only $7-12. That makes it worth cooling your jets a bit if you have to wait for a table: On two levels, a small price to pay for a Good Night, indeed.


Thursday, 22 May 2014 15:31

Gene Corsale – American

Remembering Saratoga’s Veterans Advocate on Memorial Day


SARATOGA SPRINGS— It was always an honor to listen to Eugene Corsale as he spoke before city council meetings, in small groups and, on too few occasions, one-on-one. The forthright way he conducted himself: Ramrod-straight and yet selfless, an advocate for veteran’s most times yes, but for what is the right thing always, made an impression on me, and everyone in his audience, of any size, every time. 


As this is our first Memorial Day without Gene, I can think of no finer tribute to all veterans than to step aside and let his family, friends and our city leaders past and present, speak in tribute to him as representative of the tribute that we all wish to pay to everyone who serves, and served our country with honor and dignity.



“Gene ‘Pop’ Corsale was the best Grandfather anyone could ask for; he is truly a man to look up to. Pop was a real American.  Pop was that kind of person that you could tell that he truly cared about his country, but most of all his Grandchildren, whether it be seeing my sister dance at Ballet performances, teaching me how to fish, or allowing me to eat as much ice cream as I can handle, he was always there for us.  Pop also made me understand what it meant to be an American. He always told me that if I were to look to the reason as to why this great nation has achieved so much, it was because we unleashed the freedom of the individual to the greatest extent that has ever been done before. That’s what freedom’s all about. Pop had a special place in his hear for Memorial Day, this day truly symbolizes what it means to be free, thanks to our military.”   

- Colin W. Brady, Grandson




“The Navy’s unofficial motto is “Not Self—But Country”.  And from the Navy Core Values comes   “Honor, Courage, and Commitment.”  These two simple axioms are Eugene J. Corsale.


“Honor was not a word to Gene; it was what he did and who he was. 


“John F. Kennedy stated, “Ask not, what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.”  There are very few individuals or politicians who can say they lived by these lines. But Gene did. 


“Gene, having served in the Korean War, saw first-hand what the evil effects of communism and progressive ideology had on the common man and the country that was forced to suffer under that tyranny.  Not self-but humanity.

Gene truly believed it was the supreme sacrifice of military men and women over the last 240 years that has made American the Greatest Country in the world.  Gene worked tirelessly to honor the courage and commitment of all the service men and women who have served and especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice during combat.  


“Not self-but Country. 


“Not self but Wife, not self but Family, not self but Grandchildren, not self but Community, not self but Country. Gene left a great indelible mark on all those came in contact with him.”  


- Joseph K. Brady 


Eugene “Gene” Corsale was a sweetheart of a man. He took his Italian heritage very seriously as well as being a native of this city.

I always looked forward to Gene’s bi-weekly visits to Saratoga TODAY – his dedication to the local Deceased American Veteran’s notification in the paper always impressed me. He had the veteran’s life story down pat; all I had to do was type up the details and scan the picture he provided!


I only knew Gene for the duration of my time at Saratoga TODAY, just about five years. But being a native myself, I learned so much about my wonderful city and its residents, young and old, information that Gene chose to share with me. The fact that he remembered my parents was a very special connection that we shared.


He will be remembered by many.

- Anne Kearney Proulx


“Gene and I have been friends and have worked on veteran’s issues and events for over 8 years. Sometimes we'd meet at the Principessa Elena or at the County to talk over issues of Saratoga Springs or regarding the Veterans Committee.  


“I thought of Gene as the wisdom behind whatever we were doing but he always cheered me on saying what a great job I was doing for our Community. Coming from him that meant a lot.


“Last year before the Memorial Day parade I called Gene as I did from time to time. This time it was to invite him to be the grand marshal for our traditional annual City Memorial Day parade one year ago. He said on our phone call that he was honored and would come and watch if he had the energy. I felt an instinct that it most important to honor him in that 2013 parade, fearing that it would be his last year with us on this earth. 


“I am so glad we had a big banner made in his honor last year to lead the parade and that his son-in-law Joe Brady and his grandson Colin Brady carried it with pride for all of Saratoga to enjoy.


“I miss him as a community leader, a supporter and as a veteran.  God Bless Gene, and all our Saratoga veterans, who have served this country with honor and dignity.


-Joanne Dittes Yepsen

 Mayor, Saratoga Springs



“Saratoga has always been a special place, with special people. Indeed, Gene Corsale was no exception and, in fact, was more the rule. His passion and compassion was legion in a City that is unparalleled for history, our present and the potential for our future.  I had the pleasure of both knowing Gene and working with him on so many causes to advance our City, while preserving our past and giving due recognition to those who made us what we are today.


“The Corsale and Johnson family friendship goes back over 50 years, when my family moved to Saratoga and settled in the Dublin neighborhood.  Back then, Dublin was actually a misnomer, with the original Irish having been replaced with Italians.  Despite not one ounce of Italian in the Johnsons, we were wholly embraced into that wonderful community, a fact not ever lost by Gene in my later working with him as Mayor.  Gene’s sister-in-law, Nancy, and my Mom were best friends up until my Mom’s recent death.  The stories are too many to recite in this tribute, but are well known to so many Saratogians.


“Gene will always be known as a vigorous American patriot, a tireless advocate for our veterans, and as a true Saratogian.  Whenever Gene came to me as Mayor, with an idea for the City, there was no doubt I was being asked to come along on a mission that would happen nonetheless.  His was always a vision, whether it was Veterans Day, Memorial Day, 9/11, Veterans Memorial Park, the Korean Vets Color Guard, or preservation of the Gideon Putnam Cemetery.


“No doubt, our City is less in his absence. We should all be thankful to Gene, and his family, for all they did and accomplished for Saratoga.”   


- Scott Johnson

Former Mayor, Saratoga Springs


“Gene was, among many other things, a driving force behind the Saratoga Springs to North Creek “scenic rail” project.  Early on it seemed like a pipe dream, a great idea in principle but probably too complex to make happen. His dogged persistence in promoting it and bringing the various stakeholders together was a key factor in bringing it to fruition. He was earnest, friendly and truly non-partisan.  

“Lots of community activism can be negative, rallying people AGAINST something. Gene was typically an advocate FOR things, and figured out a way to get them done. He was a true community servant, informed, involved, and above all effective.  And he didn’t worry about who got the credit—that didn’t matter as long the community could be made stronger and better.”


- Kenneth Klotz


Former Mayor, Saratoga Springs


Page 26 of 39


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