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SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Adirondack Trust Company Community Fund announced today that the Independent Advisory Committee has awarded Lend-A-Hand Grants to a record seventeen, local, nonprofit organizations. The grants totaled $42,600 which was a new record, up from $12,300 in 2012.  The grants were handed out at the Community Fund’s annual grant award reception.  The name of each organization is listed below.  Directors or representatives of the organizations were present at the reception and briefly spoke about their respective organization’s mission and how the grant will support their particular cause. 


Grant awards were provided to:

  1. 1.Adirondack Samaritan Counseling Center 
  2. 2.Domestic Violence & Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County
  3. 3.Double H Ranch
  4. 4.Floydwarrios.com
  5. 5.Glens Falls Operetta Club
  6. 6.Habitat for Humanity, Northern Saratoga, Warren & Washington Counties
  7. 7.Lake George Music Festival Inc.
  8. 8.Operation Adopt A Solider  
  9. 9.Parsons Child and Family Center
  10. 10.Regional Food Bank of Northeastern NY
  11. 11.Saratoga Film Forum 
  12. 12.Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation
  13. 13.Saratoga Sponsor A Scholar (2)
  14. 14.Senior Citizens Center of Saratoga
  15. 15.Shelters of Saratoga  
  16. 16.Waterford Historical Museum
  17. 17.Wildlife Institute of Northeastern NY

Speaking on behalf of the ATCCF Independent Advisory Committee, volunteer Chairperson, Joan Taylor, noted: “With snow flying and the holiday spirit of giving in the air, our annual grant award ceremony was particularly poignant this year. Representatives of the various nonprofits braved the weather to attend the event and share their plans for the grants they were receiving. The unwavering commitment and dedication of these organizations to charitable missions that improve our community was both inspirational and humbling.  Equally inspiring is our caring community, which is the reason these organizations have a strong Community Fund to look to for funding. We are forever grateful for the tremendous generosity of individual donors and businesses in response to our 2013 October Autumn of Giving Match Campaign, which allowed us to extend our Lend-A-Hand Grant reach to address the requests of all 2013 applicants. Thank you for your belief in and support of our mission:  to foster and perpetuate the local philanthropy that is so integral to the strength of our community. Your generosity is making a difference for all of us.”


The Adirondack Trust Company Community Fund ("The Community Fund") was established in 2009 to serve as a perpetual source of philanthropic support for the needs of local charities. The Fund is an independent 501(c) (3) charitable organization.  The Adirondack Trust Company serves as the Trustee and Administrator of The Community Fund with the guidance of an Independent Advisory Committee, comprised of individuals from the community. The Community Fund’s website is www.atccf.org.

Thursday, 19 December 2013 15:20

Rock Your Holiday!

The Figgs, Charlie Watts Riots at Putnam Den

By Chelsea DiSchiano

For Saratoga TODAY

SARATOGA SPRINGS – By this point in the holiday season, it is easy to become slightly weary of Christmas music after hearing it on the radio, in stores, in shopping malls, in restaurants and any other public place looking to spread holiday cheer. 

Those who are looking for a different way to celebrate the holiday season have the opportunity to do so this Saturday, December 21at the Putnam Den in Saratoga Springs, where native band members of The Figgs and opening band The Charlie Watts Riots will be playing both original and Christmas-themed tunes. 

With music reminiscent of Weezer’s early days, the promising Charlie Watts Riots will be opening up the stage at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.) with plenty to offer, including their brand new Christmas single “The Christmas Fit,” an upbeat rock track which comically depicts the band’s struggle to write a holiday song, claiming “There ain’t no Christmas songs left for us to play.” 

"There’s surprisingly little Christmas rock,” says Seth Powell, the Charlie Watts Riots' singer-guitarist. “You’ve got The Figgs covering the Kinks’ 'Father Christmas' and Springsteen’s 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.' After that, what’s left—Mannheim Steamroller?"

In addition to debuting their first-ever Christmas song, the Riots will be playing music from their newly released album, “A Break In The Weather,” the band’s follow up to its 2010 debut album “Long Story Short” which received praise and plenty of play from independent radio stations. Charlie Watts Riots are known for their energetic, rambunctious live shows which bring to life their guitar-pop sound. 

Following the Charlie Watts Riots are the main event, The Figgs, who have more to celebrate than just the holidays: band members Mike Gent, Pete Donnelly and Pete Hayes, who met while students at Saratoga Springs High School, are this year celebrating their 25th year of playing music together as The Figgs with the release of “1,000 People Grinning: The Figgs Anthology.”

The Anthology celebrates the band’s 25 years of touring and recording fittingly, as it includes 25 time-tested tracks inspired by bands such as the Kinks, The Beatles, The Band, The Who and more. Over the past two and a half decades, The Figgs have quietly offered their music to a worldwide fan base who value the band’s power rock sound, sonic experimentation and youthful elements, even as the years have come and gone. 

The Figgs are also known for their work and tour dates with renowned singer/songwriter Graham Parker, who came across the band after they signed to Capitol Records (which released 1996’s “Banda Macho”), recruiting the band to back him on tour. A 1997 double-album live release on “Razor & Tie, The Last Rock N Roll Tour” was the fruit of that initial tour, but the band has continued to work with the iconic Parker, including recently in his 2010 live DVD titled “Graham Parker & the Figgs: Live at the FTC.” 

The Figgs are also prepared to celebrate the holidays at the Putnam Den with their cover of the Kinks’ “Father Christmas” and other holiday tunes. So if you’re getting cabin fever from this week’s snowfall, head out to Putnam Den on the 21st for two sets of rock that will get you in the groove at the peak of the holiday season. Doors open at 8 p.m., Charlie Watts Riots spark up the show at 9 p.m. The show is $15 for 18+ and $10 for 21 and up. 

The Figgs / Charlie Watts Riots

Saturday, December 21 – Doors 8 p.m.

Putnam Den

63A Putnam Street

Saratoga Springs


$15 for 18+ / $10 for 21 and up





Thursday, 19 December 2013 15:06

Reporter’s Notebook:Three Stars

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Since I used baseball and boxing in the main story, let’s invoke a hockey-like homage here and announce the three “stars among stars” at Monday’s Chamber Fact-finding forum. 


This, of course, is like picking your favorite child in many ways, for I must salute the panel members in total and the Chamber for putting said panel together.


Nonetheless, there were standouts on a stage where everybody brought their A-game. I have no reason to gush over everyone assembled; they earn it from their passion to be involved, which also includes over 1,000 people in the audience. Kudos all around and a tip-o-the-hat to a passionate community. 


Having said that, let’s first begin with an honorable mention: This goes out to Colleen Holmes, co-owner of Wheatfields Restaurant, for being the only one that I heard mention the subject of shuttle-buses between a Casino property and downtown Saratoga Springs. It says here that this might develop into a bigger topic down the road and certainly one worth exploring deeper. Colleen did not get to say much more, but she cut through the clutter and made it count. 


Now, your three stars:


Number 3: Skip Carlson, Saratoga Casino and Raceway – I, like many, have had the privilege of knowing Skip for a long time. I knew of his skill in communicating on a human scale—one-on-one and in small groups, but I was amazed at how well he was able to articulate his message over the big screens at the City Center. One woman (well-placed in the Downtown network with built-in reasons to be at least skeptical) that I was sitting with described him as “warm, funny and genuine.” That’s good enough for me.


Number 2: Robert J. McLaughlin, Esq., Hodgson Russ Attorneys LLP – When a lawyer chooses his or her lawyer, you are well-advised to pay attention. In that connection, Mr. McLaughlin drew the daunting task of explaining both the language of the statute, potential timetables and other important matters to a large audience of varying degrees of knowledge. 


This audience of one came away with a lot more understanding both about the important points and just as importantly the nuances of the topic. This is a communicator, pure and simple. 


Number 1: Matthew J. Jones, Esq., Senior Partner, The Jones Firm – He makes this list just for having the guts to take on the role of MC, but he earns the top star for the way he conducted the proceedings with a combination of commanding presence, timing and verve. He may not have asked all the follow-up questions that you wanted, but he asked most of them and probably threw in quite a few that you didn’t think of. He exhibited good grace with enough Jimmy Stewart-reminiscent “aw, shucks-ness” to make everyone feel like they were listening to their neighbor… a native son. 


Which, in fact, you were. 


- Arthur Gonick 



Thursday, 19 December 2013 14:35


SARATOGA SPRINGS – While much uncertainty remains about what the actual characteristics that a full-blown “Saratoga Style” casino would have, if it were to come to Saratoga Springs at all, some things are already certain: 


To use a sports analogy, we are closer to the top of the first inning than the bottom of the ninth in the process – This is because, as explained at the fact-finding forum by Attorney Robert J. McGlaughlin, the actual guidelines for a casino request for application (RFA) that comes out of the language in Proposition 1 has not been finalized.


Last Election Day Proposition 1 passed by a good margin statewide but emphatically defeated by both the Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County electorate. 


Moreover, the panel of RFA reviewers has yet to be appointed. Proposition 1 calls for a review panel of five. But when three people are appointed, an RFA is supposed to be finalized within 90 days. Mr. McGlaughlin’s read on the timetable was that the most optimistic timetable would be to have the RFA deadline be the end of June of 2014, with an actual “you get the casino” decision being some undetermined time after that. 


So it’s going to take a while. In the meantime:


The Battle Lines have Been Drawn – The stage has been set. The combatants have coalesced around two major groups, each vehement in getting their message out. 


This is not to say that the citizenry at large have declared their individual loyalty to one camp or the other, but rather that two firm camps have been established. Both groups are well equipped to be victorious; both get high marks for their organization skills although their approaches are markedly different. 


Just what you look for in a heavyweight title fight, which both sides would probably say the casino issue is:


The red team, as it were, is a color worn by the SAVE group; standing for Saratogians Against Vegas-style Expansion. They burst on the scene first in a big, big way on November 18 when they packed City Hall for an overflow meeting. You can read all about their POV at www.savesaratoga.org but for the purposes of setting the table, think of them as the hardcore “No” group. 


They don’t want to “make it work.” They don’t want a casino, period. 


Their principal strong points to date are in the numbers – not just the one’s they have motivated and turned out, but the voting numbers. They purport to give voice to the majority that voted down Proposition 1 locally and that alone is compelling. They have developed a variety of citizen action tactics, most recently when, chagrined at their exclusion from the Chamber Forum, they had their supporters come to Monday’s forum in… red! 


And I did the math. I saw a lot of red this past Monday night. Here are two reasons why you shouldn’t underestimate SAVE as just a bunch of proletarian tree-huggers or some such:


  • -They turned out big visible numbers – twice now- in a little less than a month, and


  • -Let’s face it— all those red tee shirts cost money, even if you are getting a deal somewhere. I have been told to expect further fund-raising and rally plans by a principal member of SAVE and I have absolutely no doubt that they will do just what they have planned. 


The other side can be called the Green Team, and not because funding their activities should hardly be an issue—well, at least not totally. 


Behold Destination Saratoga. Their POV is delineated at destinationsaratoga.com and prominently on their site’s front page is the fact that The Saratoga Casino and Raceway is a major branch of their coalition, in addition to “…local officials, business leaders, small business owners and community members…” and some, if not many of their steering committee members (listed on their site) would be familiar to someone who has lived in this market for any length of time. 


In other words, they bring a strong, experienced lineup to the game.


Destination Saratoga came to the party later, proclaiming their formation at a press conference at Lillian’s Restaurant on Wednesday, December 11, so at this point their plans and related tactics are in the “to be announced” category. 


Yet there is no doubt that a full-range of activity will be forthcoming, if for no other reason than the principals’ self-interest, which is how it should be. At press time, there are interviews pending with both Destination Saratoga and Saratoga Casino and Raceway officials. Like SAVE, these groups have their case to make and deserve the space to make it. 


For this is nothing less than THE local issue of our lifetimes. 


We invite all concerned readers to submit their views. We will select to print one pro-casino and one anti-casino letter per week from what we receive. The rest will be posted online if they are sent electronically. Email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You are also invited comment on our coverage as it goes forward. 


Game on!


SARATOGA SPRINGS— Professional, accomplished musicians with original songwriting credits playing the music they grew up loving – just like you did, eight days a week- whether you are eight or eighty. That’s pretty much what Hey Jude…The Tribute brings to the table in a nutshell. 


The Beatles released some of this music over 50 years ago its intrinsic cross-generational appeal may be enough to get you considered for a prime venue at First Night Saratoga, but to make it onto the main stage in the big room, you’ve got to have the goods in all respects. 


And so, after only about a half-year performing as this incantation of the Fab Four, Hey Jude will be sharing the Ed Sullivan-like City Center Main Hall, trading sets with the mighty, mighty Soul Session (see our story next week.) 


“Our goal is to play some of The Beatles music from all of their various stages but our favorite Beatles music is their early stuff, circa 1962-1966,” said Rick Bedrosian, affectionately known as “George” in this case. “That's what we play the most. The early Beatles music tends to be the most fun for the audience too.”


And so, an advance preview of songs that have been picked for your pleasure include:

  • She Loves You
  • I Saw Her Standing There
  • All My Loving
  • This Boy
  • A Hard Days Night
  • Ticket To Ride
  • I'm Happy Just To Dance With You
  • Act Naturally
  • Yesterday
  • Imagine
  • Hey Jude

As someone who programmed original music in this town for over a decade, let me say that I always advised a songwriter to include a stylized cover tune in their set to show perspective. However, when it comes to iconic Beatles music, often the best ‘stylization’ is to remain as true to the original as possible. In that context, Hey Jude…The Tribute hits a bulls-eye for authenticity.


Hey Jude… The Tribute

City Center Main Hall

Shows at 6, 8 and 10 p.m.



Thursday, 12 December 2013 15:57

Sharon’s Winning Hand

- Iconic Creativity, On Deadline, Since 2000

SARATOGA SPRINGS – To begin with, there’s the creative talent, without which nothing would follow. 

Then there is the motivation to give back to the community where you yourself were raised; where generations before and after in your family make their home. 

Finally, there is the delivery of the creative message, on deadline. Year after year. It’s something that a deadline journalist can specifically appreciate, but the product is one that all can enjoy.

Meet Sharon Bolton. She provides all the components of that unique skill-set and talent necessary to be First Night Saratoga’s poster artist for the past 11 years; and 14 of the posters since 2000. 

We got her to share some insights and comments while looking at the First Night poster exhibit at the Saratoga Arts Council, 320 Broadway, which you too can see until after the New Year. 

This is a big deal, because Sharon is someone so in demand and busy these days that she didn’t even have time to show up for the First Night press conference where her latest poster was revealed on December 2!  

“I’m very grateful to my employer, Ambrosino Design.” Sharon said. “First and foremost, Owner Larry Ambrosino has been a supporter of First Night Saratoga from day one. I was fortunate to be assigned my first poster (for the 2000 celebration) as a freelancer in 1999, and it led to me being hired there! So I have a warm spot in my heart for First Night.”

“Since then, Ambrosino has donated my time to work on the annual poster as if it were a retail agency account,” Sharon said, which gave her the ability to use Ambrosino’s facilities toward the creation. 

Ambrosino donates the time. Sharon donates the unique annual vision and brings it to life. 

“The first couple of years, beginning in 2000, I was playing with a mix of mediums.” Sharon notes. It’s not easy to pick a favorite from a collection sometimes, although “I’d say 2002 would be my choice, because Rick (Bolton, her husband) was actually the model for the adult in that illustration.” 

“Later, beginning in 2004, I started accelerating and ‘punching out’ the color more,” Sharon continues, “the inspiration for the designs came from a combination of Celestial Seasonings tea boxes and wine labels” the latter being products of her non-volunteer work at Ambrosino Design. 

Then in 2011, coincidently around when Saratoga Arts assumed the presenter’s role from the YMCA of Saratoga “I went digital, using the full spectrum – paint, photoshop and pencil.” Sharon concludes. 

This year’s poster, reflecting the theme “Color Me First Night,” is that perfect combination of color splash and flash we have come to expect. In this case, a glowing white moon is painted by a fairy-like artist, and the moon comes to life like someone getting dolled-up for…New Year’s Eve perhaps.

In order for the artwork to be replicated on several thousand buttons, posters and brochures in time, Sharon needs to have the artwork completed by early to mid-October. But “I push the deadline each year,” she says. “I always have a million ideas in my head, and of course I want this year’s to be better than the last. I tend to do my best work when I’m busy. I need multiple projects going to make each the best they can be.”

“There are times that I am facing an impending deadline,” Sharon said, “and, really, I’ve got nothing. But a fast-approaching deadline is a great motivator.”

Spoken like a good deadline journalist, Sharon. Which reminds me. It’s time to write this up – press time is a-looming. So I’ll end this by saying thanks to Sharon – a fabulous talent that whose work on behalf of First Night Saratoga helps to make each year’s celebration a little more festive and a lot more colorful.


Thursday, 12 December 2013 15:48

Sneak Peak: New Stadium Menu on Tap

SARATOGA SPRINGS – How do you make a great thing better? Offer more of it. 

The two Stadium Cafés (389 Broadway and 112 Congress Street, Saratoga Springs) are doing just that by increasing their menu options and launching a new menu design which should be in place by next weekend. 

“We’ll have all your favorites from before – wings, crabcakes, kobe burgers are still on the menu,” Proprietress Chris Harmon said. “We’ve just increased the options.” 

Indeed. For instance, A popular item is calamari, and next week you can have it prepared three ways: tossed with balsamic and parmesan, buffalo style and salt and pepper with marinara sauce. The new arugula salad menu item would pair well with each, as would the new grilled salmon salad. 

But they really kick it up with the burger offerings: eight new options to try. “We would try some new burger combos and put them on a one-day special, and people went for them in a big way,” said Chef Joe Shea, “so we decided to offer all of them every day.” 

Included in the new burger options are the Stadium “hot mess” burger - complete with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, sweet potato fries bacon, jalapenos, pickles and Russian dressing; the breakfast burger with smoked bacon, red onion, cheddar cheese and topped with a fried egg; pulled pork and salmon burgers and four other similarly inventive combos. “We’ll be starting a new burger club card soon as well,” Chris said. “Buy eight burgers and get the next one free. Once we get the new menu rolling, we’ll have another round of daily specials – a ‘build your own burger, for instance.”  

That will be soon to come, but in effect on the day the new Stadium menu’s debut is an everyday, permanent 10 percent discount (with valid ID) for military, Skidmore and Empire State College personnel on all items. It’s even printed on the new menu’s cover.

“We’ll have a lot of other theme nights and promotions planned,” said Chris. For more information visit thestadiumcafes.com


Thursday, 12 December 2013 15:28

Hard Times in Malta

Ethics Complaints Move Up the Ladder to State Attorney General

MALTA – “I don’t care what happens to me. This kind of stuff must stop.” 

- Lynda Bablin

Saratoga TODAY has exclusively learned that Lynda Bablin, Malta town tax receiver, has filed a complaint with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office alleging improprieties in the way the Malta Town Board has attempted to circumvent her original ethics complaint, which was initiated on September 11. 

Saratoga TODAY has received documents, which in some cases were notarized; email trees and other supportive materials from Ms. Bablin that appear to indicate that the town board sought ways to avoid acting on her complaint. 

Ms. Bablin’s original complaint was regarding the conduct of Town Clerk Flo Sickels. As reported in Saratoga TODAY on November 1, the town of Malta’s ethics committee, in a 7-0 vote, found that Ms. Sickels had “…solicited on multiple occasions, employees to make a political contribution, through time, effort, endorsement or signature” on behalf of the Malta Republican Committee during town working hours. The ethics committee’s findings also noted, among other things, that more than one town employee described specific examples of behavior by Ms. Sickels that they believed were retaliatory against people who objected or did not comply with her requests.  

This report was issued by the ethics committee on October 28, which is a significant date: The Malta Town Board, which installed the original guidelines for filing and processing procedures, had given themselves up to 45 days to act upon the ethics committee’s findings. They could accept, modify or reject the findings which called for Ms. Sickels’ censure on those two counts. 45 days from October 28 is December 12 – yesterday. 

Ms. Bablin claims that the town board instead concentrated on procedure instead of substance. “Keep in mind, these were procedures that the town board itself had approved. They were listed in the employee manual. I used their guidelines,” Ms. Bablin said. “And I followed everything I was given to the letter.”  

During the next regular meeting on November 6, the town board held an executive session, which is closed to the public, to discuss the ethics committee’s findings. 

In the public portion of the meeting, town board members (with Councilperson Tara Thomas recusing herself from all discussions, public and private, because she is Ms. Sickels’ daughter) discussed ancillary recommendations by the ethics committee, such as an overhaul of the ethics section of the employee manual. 

There was by no means universal agreement among board members as to whether any changes were necessary. 

Councilpersons Maggi Ruisi and John Hartzell indicated that procedures for filing complaints were very clear. However, the town board did agree that the ethics committee should have the advice and counsel of Attorney Christine Karsky to them at least for the balance of the year. Ms. Karsky had previously advised the ethics committee on other matters (though not on Ms. Bablin’s complaint up to this point.) 

But there was no public finding on the merits of Ms. Bablin’s original complaint at that November 6 meeting.

A key point is that the ethics committee proceedings are largely done in secret in order to protect the confidentiality complainants. 

A member of the ethics committee had contacted Ms. Bablin on November 3 to say that it would be advisable that 1) she have her complaint form notarized, with her address and contact information and 2) that she state in writing that she was signing her complaint under penalty of perjury. 

“This was my understanding anyway,” Ms. Bablin said, “so I had no problem doing what was requested, even though these requirements were not specified when I had originally filed my complaint in September.” The now-notarized form was completed and dated on November 13 and sent back to the ethics committee via snail mail. 

What makes this interesting is that, though Malta town code chapter 11, section 18, subsection C that Ms. Bablin referenced does state that a complainant attest to the facts under threat of perjury, it does not specify a notarization requirement. 

Ms. Bablin was working with the knowledge that she had at the time, and immediately responded to the request for the additional notarization and information almost immediately when requested. 

It would appear that the town board either had no idea, or perhaps chose to ignore that such a contact and those subsequent actions had transpired though, for on November 18, five days later, at a special town board meeting for the purpose of discussing the ethics committee findings, the town board in a resolution remanded the complaint back to the ethics committee, stating that:

“WHEREAS the Town Board wishes to provide the Ethics Committee with legal assistance and to ensure that the procedures required by Town Code Chapter 11, Section 18  are followed, specifically: 1) that the complaint be signed under penalty of perjury; and that 2) that “clear and compelling evidence is used as the standard of proof rather than “weight of the evidence”; and further that, though not specifically required by 11-18 (emphasis added) the subject of the complaint should be provided with a copy…” 

In response to this, Ms. Bablin read a statement to the town board at the November 18 meeting which said in part: 

“There was a so-called established process for filing complaints with the committee at the time the complaint was made. Those processes were followed to a tee. Now you are trying to retroactively change the process that was in place at the time in the hopes of coming to a different result…. In my opinion you are doing nothing more than shooting the messenger because you didn’t like their findings…. This Board is doing everything in their power to bury this complaint…” 

Later, Ms. Bablin amplified “The three things they cited were non-issues. The first, I had already done five days before. Second, the ethics committee voted unanimously twice. Doesn’t a 7-0 vote indicate that the evidence the ethics committee received was “clear and compelling? The final requirement of notifying the complainant is something completely new — and in fact, in this case Flo was offered a copy, which she refused.”

After the remand, Lynda Bablin gathered her documentation and waited. After nearly another month of waiting for any result, she knew her next step was clear: next stop, Attorney General. 

Her complaint was received and acknowledged by the AG’s office. She was told it would be three to five weeks before they are able to begin the process of examination. 

One other fact worth noting at this juncture is that all the members of the Malta Town Board are Republicans, including Flo Sickels. 

But Lynda Bablin is also a Republican, an elected official whose term runs through 2015. The State Attorney General, however, is a Democrat. 

2014 should be an interesting year in the Town of Malta. 


Thursday, 12 December 2013 15:20

Heavens to Betsy!

- She’s Everyone’s Bestie!

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Back before (but not too much before) you had ‘Jenny from the Block’ you had ‘Betsy from the nabe’ – the neighborhood being Hoboken, New Jersey. Happy days personified.

And so we harken back to the days the Ronettes, the Chiffons, the Shirelles, the Shangri-Las and so many others that lit up stages and screens around the world. The girl groups with the ‘do’s, sometimes in chiffon, maybe even a poodle skirt or two. 

And if you were lucky, you got to see the PastElles perform. 

Set against a backdrop of NJ summers at the shore, WCBS-FM 101 playing the old school stuff, preferably with Cousin Brucie behind the mike. A time of nostalgia. And you pull into the club and there they were. 

Your best girl or guy at your side, the way it’s gonna be forever. And your other gf’s on stage: Lisa, Lizzete and Betsy. It was the time of the oldies, and this trio was selling it, man.

Well, I never saw the PastElles, but I can hear them in my head. 

Because I saw Betsy and the ByeGons a few times recently. 

And I hear the roots that Betsy Cannon developed long (but not so long) ago. 

And that’s why it says here you should put this group on your First Night dance card. 

Because all the ByeGons, including Ms. Betsy, Tom Keller (guitar), Joe Treiber (bass), and George Cannon (drums) have the pedigree. 

Plus, it’s the oldies. And nearly everyone likes them.  

If you’re into jazz, you like the oldies. If you’re into country, you like the oldies. 

Surf music? Sure! 

Metal? Maybe. 

Rap? Probably. 

The roots of classic rock ‘n’ roll were spawned from what most now call the oldies. And that’s what the ByeGons deliver. 

So Betsy married PastElle sound man George and somehow meandered up to this region with a stop in Riverdale along the way. Having kids, the whole deal. You hear what I’m saying? And Betsy, well, the good mother grows restless with the kiddo’s and decides that after they leave that “I’m going to get fit and not be a trophy mom anymore,” she laughs.

Fast forward and behold the finished product— yoga instructor at the Saratoga Y and private trainer by day, front singer for the music she loves at night, with the former sound man George now her husband and drummer. 

“I’m performing the exact music I want,” Betsy says, and it’s easy to believe. All you have to do is close your eyes and remember…

Betsy and the ByeGons

Empire State College Rotunda

2 Union Avenue

Shows at 9, 10 and 11 p.m.



Friday, 06 December 2013 10:42

Dig In!

Restaurant Week now through December 12 with “Toys for Toga” Donation Drive

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Think of it as one big weeklong dim sum sampler platter, with 57 choices (as of press time) spread over Saratoga County, and you get the idea. 

For foodies, dining enthusiasts and holiday shoppers alike, the (lunch and) dinner bell has rung. Restaurant Week has returned. 

As usual, the task is to make a great happening better and one thing worth noting is that the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau has added an important new aspect to the event.  In conjunction with DeCrescente Distributing Company and Olde Saratoga Brewing Company they have initiated the “Toys For Toga” campaign. 

During Restaurant Week, you can donate a new and unwrapped toy at any of the participating restaurants. 

These donated toys will be distributed on December 16 to local charities Franklin Community Center, Captain Youth and Family Services and Mechanicville Area Community Services Center. Last year, these 3 non-for-profits assisted over 1,400 children at holiday time.

A complete updated list of participating restaurants can be found throughout Restaurant Week at discoversaratoga.org/restaurantweek.

Restaurants span from Clifton Park through Wilton.  These are the new restaurants that are participating in the ninth edition:

Nanola - Route 9, Malta

Legends Café – Congress Street

Healthy Living Market and Cafe – Wilton Mall

Lucky Joe’s – Saratoga Casino and Raceway

Merry Monk Saratoga – Henry Street

Thirsty Owl Bistro – Broadway

The Brook Tavern – Union Avenue

The Crown Grill – Broadway

Peabody’s – Phila Street

Javier’s Nuevo Latino Cuisine – Maple Avenue

Nanola is worth noting as they just opened last month, so Restaurant Week is a perfect time for them to invite you to sample. Nanola is a New Orleans themed restaurant, specializing in both American and Cajun/Creole fare.

Restaurants have the choice of offering any or all of these price options: $5 or $10 lunches; $10, $20 or $30 dinners. 

Todd Garofano, Bureau president said, “The change in price structure we implemented last year was overwhelmingly successful. It allowed more restaurants (we had a record 54 restaurants last year) to participate throughout the county which led to more visitors trying them. Saratoga County restaurants truly offer something for everyone this week.” 

Whether you discover a new or re-discover an old favorite, Saratoga’s Restaurant Week is always a tasteful signpost on the event calendar. Bon appetit!


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  • Saratoga County Court  Sara N. Babinski, 35, of Schuylerville, was sentenced to 3 months incarceration/ 5 years probation, after pleading to felony DWAI, charged January 2024 in Saratoga Springs.  Thomas R. McCall, 35, of Rensselaer, pleaded to criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree, in connection with a March 2024 incident in Saratoga Springs, when city police initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle on South Broadway and located a Magnum .357 revolver with ammunition underneath the driver’s seat, according to a statement by Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen. Further investigation determined that the firearm belonged to the defendant,…

Property Transactions

  •   BALLSTON  Frederick Wright sold property at 78 Beacon St to Jacqueline Zielinski for $361,000 Barbera Homes Kelley Farms sold property at 30 Paddock Pl to Erik Weiskopf for $716,959 Harold Tomlinson sold property at 429 Devils Lane to Amy Hotaling for $575,000 CORINTH Khalil Grant sold property at 5049 Rt 9N to Colin Murray for $239,500 Angela Wingle sold property at 83 Clothier Dr to Brittany Dunston for $249,900 Foothills Builders sold property at 49 Black Bear Path to Zachary Yetter for $455,605 Gwendoyln Matson sold property at 116 County Route 10 to Victoria Bourque for $169,000 MALTA  David…
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