Thomas Dimopoulos

Thomas Dimopoulos

City Beat and Arts & Entertainment Editor
Contact Thomas

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Public Works Commissioner Jason Golub and DPW Business Manager Mike Veitch provided an update Thursday of the city’s anticipated implementation of a summer 2024 downtown permit parking plan.

More than 50 people, most of whom are downtown business owners, attended the presentation at Saratoga Music Hall where the 25-minute presentation was followed by a 30-minute Q&A session.

The anticipated plan will affect more than 2,000 existing downtown parking spaces located in the downtown area and located both east and west of Broadway. Broadway itself will remain as is.

Specifically, the program – the name has been changed from “Tourism Parking” to “Seasonal Parking” - is looking to convert more than 1,300 on-street parking spaces to permit parking and 2-hour-free & permit parking spots, as well as taking the near-800 combined spots in the Walton, Putnam and Woodlawn city parking garages and converting them into 170 “permit” parking spaces, with the balance being set as “paid” spots. The City Center parking garage will remain as is.

Permit parking will be reserved for residents, business owners and their employees. Businesses will be able to register their employees for permits. Residents will be able to register for permits with proof of residency, and “guest passes” will also be made available for those visiting residents. Plans call for permits to be free to city residents and downtown business employees, accounting for an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 permits being issued.   

The plan includes pay stations and mobile pay options, but no traditional parking meters.

The city anticipates a projected first-season gross revenue of just over $2 million that would be offset by about $750,000 in costs; some of those costs would be first-year implementation expenses, so the city’s net income could conceivable be higher in future years.

The plan is tentatively slated to go into effect from May 1 to Sept. 30. Commissioner Golub stressed that the plan is fluid and community input is encouraged in advance of implementation.  

“This is an ongoing conversation. We want your input and we want to get this right before we roll it out,” Golub said.

There will be at least one public hearing – date TBA – before the City Council votes on the matter. The council will also be required to vote separately on the dollar amount of parking fees. Check next week’s edition of Saratoga TODAY for a deeper dive of the seasonal parking plan.        

SARATOGA SPRINGS - A city woman is dead and a 31- year-old Saratoga Springs man charged with murder, in connection with an alleged incident that occurred Feb. 6 at Vanderbilt Terrace.

The suspect, Sebastian P. Mabb, was known to the victim and had a prior relationship with her, according to police.

Mabb was charged with murder in the second-degree. He is accused of “intentionally (and) knowingly” causing the death of 25-year-old Brianna Craig, after engaging in a physical altercation with the victim, during the course of a domestic incident, according to court documents. The incident is believed to have occurred between 5 and 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at Vanderbilt Terrace on the city’s east side.  

An autopsy was conducted Feb. 9 and a preliminary report shows the cause of death to be by asphyxiation, police said, adding that the investigation is ongoing and evidence is still being collected. A final autopsy will be issued at the completion of the toxicology report.

Mabb is scheduled to appear in Saratoga Springs City Court March 5.

Wednesday, 07 February 2024 15:04

Mayor Safford Delivers State Of The City

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Mayor John Safford delivered the 2024 State of the City Address, the first of his term as mayor of Saratoga Springs, on Tuesday, Jan. 30. 

The mayor riffed on “harmony” as a theme moving forward. 

“As we envision the Saratoga of tomorrow, I ponder: What will our city look like in a decade? Not merely in its architectural facets, but in its character—the essence of our Saratogian identity. Who will we be? At the core of this reflection lies the notion of harmony,” Safford said. 

“Much like an orchestra or a chorus, we are diverse yet interwoven—individual notes coalescing into a harmonious symphony. In an era marked by division, the concept of harmony beckons us to bridge divides and foster unity. Here, today, in this room, we sow the seeds of a harmonious future—a future where our collective melody transcends discord.”

Safford spoke of both 2023 city accomplishments and 2024 stated goals, offering general remarks related to some overall council topics – “a comprehensive, long-term plan is imperative as we strive towards achieving net-zero homelessness” – and applying more specificity to Mayor’s Department goals.      

The Goals of the City Attorney’s Office are: Complete a review of all litigation pending against the city; See if we can find a way to reduce litigation frequency and expense; Help the various law firms employed by the City manage their cases and to keep the City Council informed; Streamline & expedite responses to FOIL requests to avoid legal fees being granted against the City.

In 2023, the city Building Department conducted 2,157 Inspections, and issued 460 Certificates of Occupancy including approximately 70 new dwelling units. The department also issued 871 permits - generating over $500,000 in building department fees, with an estimated construction value of approximately $185 million, the mayor said. 

2024 Building Department Goals: reduce permit wait time to the range of 4 – 6 weeks for the majority of permit applications, streamline the process for third party review of commercial building permit applications to facilitate reduced permit times; evaluate and modify the process for intake and review of simple permits so minor projects can be permitted more quickly. A full integration of scanned digital records and improvement of digitization for projects was also stated. 

2023 was the first full calendar year since the adoption of the City’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). Approximately 64 Land Use Board meetings were held and a total of 1,044 project applications were submitted to the Design Review Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Planning Board. 

Mayor Safford specifically pointed to a handful of “notable” projects that had been recently approved, including a pair of housing developments that will provide approximately 232 affordable housing units, a large fitness center at Skidmore College, the redevelopment of Longfellow’s Hotel and Restaurant, Canadian pipe maker Soleno’s warehouse and corporate office expansion into the U.S., and three retail marijuana dispensaries.

In 2024, the Office of Planning and Economic Development will kick-off the Climate Action Plan which will guide the city in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, Safford said. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Zoning Board Of Appeals will host their next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12, at Saratoga Springs City Hall. 

Among the new agenda items is an Area Variance extension sought by B&D Properties, Inc. to permit construction of a new mixed-use development at 126 West Ave. that would consist of four new townhouses, office space, and a studio apartment. 

Other new agenda items: 

190 Woodlawn/23 Greenfield:  Area variance to permit the construction of a new single-family residence.

28 Warren St.: Area variance to permit a renovation and addition to a single-family residence.

180 Fifth Ave.: Area variance to permit a two-car garage addition to the single-family residence.

131 Middle Ave Extension: Area variance extension to permit the construction of a new single-family home. 

29 Newton Ave.: Area variance to permit the construction of a new single-family home. 

11 Ritchie Pl.: Area variance to permit a two-lot subdivision. 

Thursday, 01 February 2024 14:44

From Camcorder to HBO Emmy

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Jack Quinn grew up on the city’s west side near Saratoga Hospital. The pages of his high school yearbook – Saratoga Springs Class of 2008 – unveil images of the young man’s smiling face alongside a list of pursuits of his teenage years: ski club and SPAC, fun, lacrosse and film club among them. 

“I was always the kid with the video camera,” he says. “It just grew from there.”

Three weeks ago, Quinn walked onto a Los Angeles stage and was presented with an award that recognized the achievements of the kid with the video camera from Saratoga Springs. 

“It was crazy,” says Quinn about attending the 75th Creative Arts Emmy Awards. “Just a wild night.” The images depict a smiling man cradling that most famous of statuettes depicting a winged woman holding an atom. “I watch the Emmys every year and it was a great opportunity to go.” 

Quinn and his team were nominated for and the eventual winners of the Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction Or Reality Series award based on their work with the HBO series “Succession” (Controlling The Narrative).  They faced competition from Saturday Night Live (Presents Behind The Sketch), and The White Lotus (Unpacking The Episode), among others. 

“The night we got to attend was geared toward unscripted shows - a lot of documentary series, a lot of Reality Shows, and our category fell into that because we were nominated for the Inside the Episode series, which is basically a mini-documentary,” Quinn says. The Creative Arts Emmys presentations are among a small handful of events held during the multiple nights of Emmy ceremonies.    

“Jeff Probst - the host of Survivor, was presenting that award. It was funny to see him onstage and to have him hand us the trophy,” Quinn says. “It was a whirlwind night.” 

Quinn was born in 1990 and spent his formative years in Saratoga Springs, leaving for four years to attend classes at SUNY Oswego – where he earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting in 2012 - and returned to Saratoga Springs for a handful of years before heading to Georgia, where he earned a Master of Arts - Film & Television Production, at Savannah College of Art & Design. 

“I was hired right out of school to work for Turner Broadcasting,” Quinn says. He joined HBO in the summer 2021, where he has worked with the shows “Room 104,” and “Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union,” “The Gilded Age,” and the current running series “True Detective: Night Country.” 

“When I started at HBO, season 2 of Succession was wrapping up. When season 3 came around, I told my boss: hey, I really love Succession and I would love to work as much as possible on this show. Thankfully I got the opportunity to do that,” Quinn says. 

“I work for HBO in the marketing department on the corporate side. Within my team we get assigned certain shows to handle the marketing campaign,” he explains.  “We do these little episodic promos - basically a trailer for the next episode. So, after the episode ends it’s: Next Week on Succession… and there are the little trailers we put together. Or, after the episode there will be an Inside the Episode featurette – an interview with the cast and crew, and that’s something my department does as well. That involves us interviewing everyone and putting together these little featurettes for every episode.”

You can find Quinn’s specific editing work on a number of “Succession” Inside The Episode broadcasts as well as in a variety of series trailers. The series, as described by the television network itself: “A bitingly funny drama series exploring themes of power and family through the eyes of an aging media mogul and his four grown children.”   

It is for “Succession: Controlling The Narrative,” that Quinn as producer secured the Creative Arts Emmy award. 

“When season 4 came along, I guess my boss trusted me a little more and we worked closely putting together the interviews – assisted in writing questions for every cast member and crew member who we would interview per episode, and actually worked on a cast interview,” Quinn says. “When it came time to work on the campaign in terms of editing everything together, I got the opportunity to do the most consequential episode featurettes - the Inside the episodes of the season and the series finale.”

How does he approach the work? “When I’m working on those Inside the episode pieces – you watch as many episodes as are available, and you read the scripts. You’re not looking at the finished product, but you’re trying to find as much subtext and drama and identify the most exciting and interesting moments and try to create questions that might give answers that people are interested in,” says Quinn. 

“I’m really glad to be working with HBO because I feel they have the best programming department in the business. They’re really good at picking projects and they give people a considerable budget to work with so I’m always excited to see what HBO gives us next to work with,” says Quinn, who these days calls Brooklyn home. 

It was during his time growing up in Saratoga Springs that Quinn says he came to the realization that the craft of editing - as opposed to shooting or anything else in the realm of videography - was a path he wanted to follow. 

“I grew up messing around with the family camcorder – we had this Sony Handycam that probably most families had at that point – and I just started messing with it, shooting videos with my friends, little skits. I figured out how to edit on my own,” Quinn says. “I got professional software and I had no idea what to do, but eventually I just sort of figured it out.” 

What’s up next? “Right now, I’m wrapping up some work on the series True Detective – which just started a few weeks ago – and the next thing is a show called The Regime, which was given to our team to handle because some of the same people from Succession are producing and writing it, so it’s a good fit.

“I was always the kid with the video camera and luckily, I now have a career in the same field.” 

SARATOGA COUNTY — There are $18.4 billion in unclaimed funds turned over to the Office of the State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli – and more than 82,000 Saratoga County residents and businesses currently account for more than $34 million in total value of those unclaimed funds.

The state has posted a “Search For Lost Money” page on its website that allows individuals or organizations to search for lost money that is rightfully theirs. Every day New York State returns $1.5 million to those who file claims through the webpage. 

Where the money comes from: Banks, insurance companies, corporations and the courts are among the many organizations required by law to report dormant accounts to the State Comptroller. These organizations must attempt to notify people by mail and publish the information in newspapers. Despite efforts, many funds remain unclaimed and are turned over to the Office of the State Comptroller.

To plug your name, or business name into the search form, go to: 

Thursday, 01 February 2024 14:16

Train Depot Razed in Schuylerville

SCHUYLERVILLE —A train depot which stood for nearly 150 years in the historic village of Schuylerville was demolished this week. 

Located on state Route 29, the Boston & Maine depot was constructed in the late 1800s. By the mid-20th century, as the Saratoga and Schuylerville Railroad, it served as a connecting point between the city of Saratoga Springs to the village of Schuylerville eight miles away. A roundtrip ticket on the S&S Railroad – which visited Saratoga Springs, Schuylerville and Mechanicville cost $2 when purchased in advance, $2.50 if riders waited to purchase the ticket while aboard the train. 

The depot ceased to operate as a rail station in the 1950s, and the structure converted into a 2,033 square foot residence with three bedrooms and one bathroom on a 0.41 acre lot, according to a Redfin realty listing. It is not known when the building - located adjacent to a Schuylerville Central School District practice field - was last inhabited. 

The Schuylerville CSD purchased the land in 2022. Voters approved the land purchase proposition in May 2022 by a 400 to 87 vote, authorizing the school district to acquire the property at a cost of approximately $200,000. The initial plan was to explore options for creating easier access from the main road to the school campus. 

“Anytime the district can purchase land that is adjacent to school property is a great opportunity,” said then-Schuylerville School Superintendent Ryan Sherman, in the months leading up to the vote. “The land purchase will allow the district to work with architects and the Department of Transportation to research a possible second outlet to reroute campus traffic and allow a better traffic flow in the future.”

A second outlet road may still happen in the future, but there are no specific plans to do so currently, said Gregg Barthelmas, who was appointed Schuylerville CSD Superintendent in 2022. 

“We want to get through the (current) budget process and then we’ll revisit the conversation and try to determine the best use for it moving forward,” Barthelmas said this week.  “We may revisit it in the summertime to come up with an educated decision on what we want to do.” The NYS Department of Transportation will be involved in the process, he added. 

The building was condemned and taken down at this time for safety reasons, Barthelmas said. The Jersen Construction Group of Waterford was hired for the demolition work.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The State of the City address will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30, in the Saratoga City Music Hall, located on the third floor of City Hall.

The SOTC address will also be available via live stream on the City of Saratoga Springs website at: 

The City Council has announced its meeting schedule for the 2024 calendar year. 

Pre-agenda meetings are typically held at City Hall 9:30 a.m. on the first and third Monday each month, with regular meetings held one day later – at 7 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month, with the following exceptions: Pre-agenda meeting variations are Friday, Feb. 16 in lieu of Presidents’ Day (Feb. 19), and Friday, Aug. 30 in lieu of Labor Day (Sept. 2). General meeting variation – Wednesday, Nov. 6 in lieu of Election Day (Nov. 5). 

All Pre-Agenda meetings will take place in the Council Meeting Room – located on the first floor in City Hall. 

Regular City Council meeting locations will be held either in Council Meeting Room, or in the larger capacity Music Hall, located on the third floor of City Hall, and will be announced in advance of each meeting.   

BALLSTON SPA —The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors held its first regular monthly meeting of the year Jan. 16 at the county complex in Ballston Spa. 

During the meeting, the Board authorized the renewal of an agreement with NTS Data Services, LLC, based in Niagara Falls, for maintenance and support services of the county Board of Elections’ voter database software. NTS has provided voter registration and other election services to county board of elections in New York State since 1981.

The contract with Saratoga County runs through Dec. 31, 2026 and is authorized at a total overall cost of up to $224,011 for the three years. 

County Supervisors also approved the creation of eight, part-time deputy sheriff positions through the 2024 calendar year. Those temporary positions are help meet staffing shortages in the Saratoga County Sheriff’s department. Each of the temporary deputy positions may be employed for up to 75 hours every two-week pay period at a pay rate of $27.10 per hour. 

Board of Supervisors Chairman Phil Barrett also recognized three county Sheriff Deputies who were honored earlier in the day for their actions during two specific events in 2023. 

“This afternoon we were able to attend the New York State Sheriffs Institute event in Colonie, and I want to congratulate the Saratoga County deputies who were honored for their incredible acts of bravery and service,” Barrett said. “Those are deputies Simpson, Whipple, and Milligan.”

Deputies Jeffrey Simpson and Robert Whipple were selected for their actions in May 2023 as members of the Sheriff’s special response team. While serving a search warrant in Clifton Park, the subject of the search warrant began shooting at deputies. Simpson, who was shot, took heroic action to protect his fellow team members and the public-at-large. Whipple, realizing Simpson suffered a life-threatening injury, tended to Simpson’s wound to control the bleeding while under stressful circumstances. 

Deputy Nikklas Milligan was selected after showing exceptional valor and heroism during an in Corinth in June when he and an off-duty Warren County Sheriff’s Office sergeant dove into the Hudson River to save two exhausted swimmers who had come perilously close to the Palmer Dam.

The New York State Sheriff’s Institute’s Deputy of the Year for 2023 award, first presented in 1977, typically recognizes one deputy sheriff each year for an act of exceptional valor and heroism, above and beyond the normal call of duty in the previous calendar year. This year, more than one deputy was chosen. 

“These members personify grace under pressure, and I could not be prouder than I am today,” Saratoga County Sheriff Zurlo said. “There are truly no words to describe just how fortunate the people of Saratoga County are to have them.”

The county Board of Supervisors oversees a $410 million budget and is comprised of 23 supervisors. Each of Saratoga County’s 21 municipalities have at least one elected supervisor; Saratoga Springs, and Clifton Park – the county’s most populous municipalities – each have two representatives. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS —The City Council this week approved a new set of rules to be applied to public conduct during the council’s twice-a-month meetings at City Hall. It is a topic that has come under much scrutiny during the past few years.

“Public Comment has been a subject that was very much a part of this last election,” newly elected Saratoga Springs Mayor John Safford said shortly after taking office on Jan. 1. 

The new Rules of Decorum and Order instruct members of the public to “behave in a manner conducive to the free and courteous expression of opinion,” but warn to not otherwise “engage in behaviors which disrupt the conduct of the meeting.” 

Listed prohibited actions include: Profane language, obscene gestures, threatening statements, shouting or other behavior meant to intimidate members of the council or others present at the meeting. Additionally, sustained noise impeding others from hearing speakers, and items - such as signs - that may block the public’s view, are also prohibited.

The mayor has the authority to declare any person to be out of order for failure to follow directives.

Enforcement comes in 3 steps: 

1. The mayor will verbally request the person or persons violating a rule to cease that conduct.

2. If the violation continues, the mayor issues a second verbal warning, stating that if the violation continues, the violator(s) may be required to leave the meeting room. 

3. If the person(s) does not cease the violation the mayor shall declare the person to be out of order. At that time, a member of the Saratoga Springs Police Department who has been designated as the Sergeant-of-Arms may take steps to remove the person(s) from the meeting room. That person may also be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties. 

Thirty minutes will be set aside at each meeting for public input, and each speaker will be limited to three minutes. All remarks are to be directed to the City Council as a body and not at a specific individual, staff, or member of the public. 

Following council debate regarding whether the 30-minute overall time limit should be extended or  removed altogether, an agreement could not be reached and the amendment was approved 4-1, with Commissioner Minita Sanghvi casting the lone vote against.

“My main concern is by limiting public comments to only 30 minutes, we are creating a situation where some members of our community will not be heard,” Commissioner Sanghvi said. “The way I see it we are here in public service and our job is to listen to our community. If you have 30 minutes and are allotting three minutes per person, we are ensuring that only 10 people will be heard…we can’t limit the number of people who want to contribute to the betterment of our city.”

Written public comment may also be submitted via email at:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Mayor Safford said.  “This email is automatically received by all councilmembers, their deputies, and the Clerk of the Council. Such comments shall be entered as part of the official record of such meeting, so we’re bending over backwards. If you send us an email it’s going to become a part of the public record.” 

During the Public Comment period at this week’s meeting, local blogger John Kaufman and former city Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton each expressed concern regarding emergency compensation for city councilmembers’ deputies. That on-call pay for deputies was authorized by the City Council in February 2023 by a 3-1 vote, with one abstention. City Mayor Ron Kim cast the lone vote against the measure.

The Daily Gazette first reported on the topic in February 2023. Last week, with the addition of documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), Kaufman published comments related to on-call pay status on his blog      

Newly elected city Supervisor Michele Madigan also commented on the matter. “As a city Supervisor and a former Finance Commissioner I believe it’s essential to address this issue transparently and consider the broader impact on city employees and city taxpayers,” read Madigan, from a prepared statement. “Four of the five deputies in 2023 availed themselves to the on-call funds,” said Madigan, adding a list of responsibilities, duties and attended meetings associated with the potential securing of on-call pay. “As a former finance commissioner for 10 years, I’m well-versed in the fact that these are basic job functions for an appointed deputy in this city’s form of government.”

While not referring to the issue by subject directly, Mayor John Safford began his agenda at the Jan. 16 meeting by seemingly referencing the topic. 

“Based on a number of comments that were made tonight, we are looking into the question that’s been raised and our attorneys are engaged in that right now,” Safford said.  “We will find out what the right thing to do is and work with everybody to correct that if there’s been any mistakes.” 

Safford also announced The State of the City Address will be held 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30 in the Saratoga City Music Hall, located on the third floor of Saratoga Springs City Hall.

Page 5 of 103


  • Saratoga County Court Rick C. Sweet, 36, of Ballston Spa, pleaded to attempted assault in the second-degree, and menacing in the third-degree, charged in January. Sentencing July 3.  Seth A. Labarbera, 24, of Ballston Lake, was sentenced to 1 year in local jail, after pleading to criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree, charged July 2023 in Saratoga Springs.  David A. Fink, 27, of Ballston, was sentenced to 4 years’ incarceration and 5 years’ post-release supervision, after pleading to attempted arson in the second-degree, charged August 2023.  Michael J. Scensny, 34, of Waterford, was sentenced to 3 years in state…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON  William Bergstrom sold property at 793 Rt 50 to KMD 793 LLC for $245,000 Eastline Holdings LLC sold property at 2 Linden Ct to Donna Jordan for $449,980 John Moynihan sold property at 28 Fruitwood Dr to Joshua Matthews for $380,000 Ronald Taylor sold property at 1422 Saratoga Rd to Invequity Holdings LLC for $600,000 CHARLTON Tara Hicks sold property at 8 McNamara Dr to Andrew Sayles for $270,000 Jon Andersen sold property at 454 Finley Rd to Ryan Donselar for $475,000 CORINTH Steven Cole sold property at 28 West Mechanic St to Maurice Jeanson for $275,000 GREENFIELD Robert…
  • NYPA
  • Saratoga County Chamber
  • BBB Accredited Business
  • Discover Saratoga
  • Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association