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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga’s annual July 4th “Firecracker 4” road race is brightening the financial outlook for several local non-profit organizations this month as it distributes the 2016 race proceeds. In total, six groups will receive a total of $30,000 in contributions to further the recreational opportunities and pursuit of healthy lifestyles enriched in the history of Saratoga Springs. This community race has raised over $280,000 for health and recreation-related charitable organizations since 2007. For 2016, these community organizations have been selected: - Veterans Business Council of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce; facilitating opportunities for Saratoga County veterans - Pitney Meadows Farm; recreational and trail system connecting via the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail to the YMCA, Saratoga Springs community and the Saratoga Spa State Park - Saratoga Camp Abilities Program; an annual Saratoga Springs Lions Club sports camp for blind/visually-impaired youth - Saratoga Regional YMCA West Avenue; this facility to support trails connecting the YMCA, the existing Railroad Run Trail, the Saratoga Spa State Park and the community - Saratoga Springs High School Boys’ and Girls’ Indoor/Outdoor Track /Field and Cross Country; supporting athletes of all abilities - Second Chance Sports; which assists disabled veterans and other individuals to begin playing sports without regard to their physical condition. The race’s “Run Your Colors” team competition promoted donations to the charities chosen by the teams with the greatest number of runners registered for the race. This year those winning teams were: - 1st place: Rock Your Fitness: $1,000 award to Heart 9/11 charity - 2nd place: Saratoga Regional YMCA: $500 award - 3rd place: Pop’s Warriors for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: $250 award The Rock Your Fitness team from Malta was the winner’s of this year’s team competition. “Having the largest group for our Firecracker4 “Run Your Colors” team goes to the heart of what Rock Your Fitness is all about. Our members are hard-working people who challenge themselves and give back to the community at the same time,” says Becky Weyrauch, owner of Rock Your Fitness in Malta. “We are honored to win this three years running.” The Firecracker 4 is managed by FC4, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit committed to healthy lifestyle choices. Information can be found by visiting www.Firecracker4.com, as well as by visiting Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The management and volunteers of FC4 are grateful for the support of sponsors and runners who make this year’s donations possible.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Students generally learn at a desk. They are given information to memorize from a book, and are expecting to regurgitate that information at the drop of a hat. For Heather Stewart, Director, Apple Blossom Bunch Day Care, she wanted to give students the opportunity to have a more hands-on learning experience. She wanted children to learn more about the world around them beyond the pages of any book. A nature-based pre-school in Saratoga Springs, the program focuses on social understanding and the community aspect. Says Stewart, “I modeled this program after the television show Mr. Rogers. I invented this school based on childhood memories and childhood development.” Students can learn the most from memories they created by being in school, particularly at ages three through five, and Stewart wanted to make sure that each memory a student creates was enjoyable. “Experience is in the community,” recalls Stewart. “If we want to learn about a farm, we can travel to one. We don’t need to just sit around and learn about a farm from the pages of a book.” The school emphasizes social understanding by making students aware of the current problems in the world. Stewart believes that these students should be aware of the challenges that they will eventually need to face. “We focus on aspects such as the homeless and animal shelters,” says Stewart. “The upcoming generation will have more problems than the previous generations, and students should be aware of those problems early on so they can deal with it down the road.” Each classroom is comprised of fourteen students and three teachers. Pre-K in the Park combines traditional and hands-on learning throughout each day. On a field-trip day, after students arrive at 7:45 a.m., they partake in free-play. Stewart describes this free-play as “natural.” There are no electronics in the room, and there is minimal teacher involvement. Children have the ability to decide how to use the materials that are in front of them. A blessing is said before eating lunch. According to Stewart, this blessing is more so about teaching students where their food comes from. “We want the kids to know where their food comes from and how it’s made. So we try to thank the earth for our food at least three times every day.” Each field trip corresponds with a letter in the alphabet. Students dress in their “muddy buddy” suits (multi-layered outdoor suit designed to keep children clean and comfortable), and venture out into the community. For example, students visited the firehouse to correspond with the letter F. Sometimes food will be brought back from certain field trips to help students learn about the food-making process. Stewart believes in teaching students in a health-conscious environment. She prides herself on providing an environment where parents are reassured that their students are well fed with organic food. Stewart and the rest of her staff hope that PreK in the Park will help reinforce positive memories for students that can be applied later in life. “Kids learn best while they are doing,” says Stewart. “We are creating memories based on actual involvement in the community, instead of drilling information from a book into student’s heads.” PreK in the Park’s “home base” is located at the Saratoga Arts Center, and Congress Park. It provides students the opportunity to learn as a group while still experiencing nature and their community. More information can be found on the school’s website, http://www.appleblossombunch.com/prek/.
Friday, 16 December 2016 11:47

Hunter Heads to West Point

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Senior goalkeeper Hunter Choy has been named Athlete of the Week. This season Hunter was a co-captain and standout for the varsity boy’s soccer team. Leading the defense on the field, Choy helped contribute to the team’s eleven shutouts this season. Allowing only twelve goals on the year, he finished the year with a ninety-three percent save percentage. Recalls Jake Zanetti, boy’s varsity soccer coach, “he kept us in multiple games with his unique style of goalkeeping. He is a great all-around kid who is going to continue to do great things at the next level.” In the classroom Hunter is an outstanding student. With a ninety-six grade point average, he will be attending The United States Military Academy in West Point, New York beginning this fall. While balancing a demanding athletic and academic schedule, Hunter is also involved in several school clubs. He is involved in Student Council, Honor Society, Fiddle Club, and even War Reenactments. Recalls Zanetti, “he was a captain for us, and did an amazing job of acting as a peer role model to his teammates. He took new members “under his wing” and really did his best to make everyone feel a part of the team’s success.”
Friday, 09 December 2016 09:45

Ranked # 1 in State

SCHUYLERVILLE — This week’s Athlete of the Week was nominated by wrestling head coach Erik Johanson. Junior Orion Anderson is currently a junior on the school’s wrestling team. As a mere freshman Anderson made quite the impression on the Mighty Horses, by finishing as a runner-up at the New York State competition. The very next year he was crowned the New York State champion. He is currently ranked as the top wrestler in New York State. This past summer he was named the Greco Roman New York State champion. A current member of New York State’s National Wrestling Team, Anderson was just one round away from being named an All-American at this past year’s National tournament. Through a total of three varsity seasons, he has accumulated an astounding career record of 108-6. Coach Johanson describes Anderson as “a great leader, and a role model on and off of the mat.” While being a spectacular athlete, Orion is a solid student in the classroom by maintaining a B grade point average. Anderson is yet another example of an exceptional student athlete. Congratulations on all of your success Orion. It’s very well deserved!
BALLSTON SPA — On Saturday, December 3 Ballston Spa High School’s FIRST Robotics Team #3044 will host a Hudson Valley FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Qualifying Tournament. Teams from throughout the region will compete for the opportunity to advance to the upcoming Championship Tournament at Dutchess Community College in February 2017. 
 This year’s FLL challenge, named Animal Allies, requires students to design a LEGO robot that can be programmed to operate independently on the competition table, and accomplish several tasks related to human and animal interactions. Each team is judged based on the robot’s performance, design, core values and its ability to contribute a solution to proper waste disposal. There will be twelve First LEGO League teams from throughout the region competing in the tournament, as well as three Jr. FLL teams. The Ballston Spa Central School District has fielded seven FLL teams for the 2016 season and one Jr. FLL team thanks to the donations of corporate sponsors. Teams from the Gordon Creek, Malta Avenue, Milton Terrace and Wood Road Elementary Schools, as well as teams from the Ballston Spa Middle School, will be participating in the competition. 
 Practice runs at each competition table will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. The opening ceremony for the competition will follow from 9:25 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. The Senior FLL competition will take place from 9:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., with the Jr. FLL Showcase being held from 12:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. All teams will be recognized in an awards ceremony at the conclusion of the day’s competitions at 2:45 p.m. The tournament is sponsored by the Hudson Valley FLL, Dutchess Community College, FRC Team 3044 and the New York Tech Valley FIRST Sponsors, which include GLOBALFOUNDRIES, GE, ASML, M+W Group, KLA-Tencor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, National Grid, Mattson Technology, Lam Research, Applied Materials, Turner Construction, Bechtel, SCREEN USA, Edwards, nfrastructure, Accumetra, Wonik IPS and PDF Solutions. 
 Additional information is available at http://www.sunydutchess.edu/legoleague/. Those requesting more communication may contact Ballston Spa K-12 Science Coordinator Diane Irwin by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or at the High School by calling 518-884-7150.
Friday, 02 December 2016 12:13

Athlete of the Week: Running Strong

SARATOGA SPRINGS – This week Saratoga TODAY would like to recognize sophomore runner Kelsey Chmiel. This past cross-country season, Kelsey’s list of athletic accomplishments is both extensive and impressive. She finished the season undefeated in dual meets. Kelsey also broke a course-record four times (Great Meadows Invitational, Wing Foot Cross Country Invitational, Suburban Council Championships, and NYS Public High School Championships), and was crowned champion at each of these meets. Kelsey was also crowned champion at two other events (Sectionals and NY State Federation). On Saturday, November 26, Kelsey finished as runner-up in the Nike Regional Cross Country meet at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, New York. The arguable icing on the cake for this amazing athlete was qualifying for the Nike National Cross Country Meet, taking place in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, December 3. According to coach Linda Kranick, Chmiel is “a pleasure to coach, and is a true team player.” Chmiel also excels in the classroom. On top of her strenuous athletic schedule, she has managed to earn an extremely impressive 98.79 GPA. This season’s accomplishment both on the racecourse and in classroom indicates that Chmiel provides a superb example of a determined student athlete. Congratulations on all of your success Kelsey! It’s very much deserved!
LINCOLNDALE — The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake football team finished their season in the 2016 NYSPHSAA Class A Football Championships semifinals with a loss to top seed Somers 48-24. The Tuskers kicked off to the Spartans to start the game. Somers broke the 0-0 score with approximately six minutes to play in the first quarter, thanks to a rushing touchdown by senior running back Messiah Horne. The extra point conversion gave the Tuskers a 7-0 advantage. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake responded with two long runs and a sixteen-yard pass, but failed to put points on the board. With under a minute to play in the first quarter, senior kicker Connor McCormick kicked a fifteen-yard field goal, making the score 7-3 to end the first quarter. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake would be forced to punt the football after a three-and-out offensive drive early in the second quarter. This possession led to a forty-yard touchdown pass by junior quarterback Kevin Olifiers. The extra point conversion put the Tuskers up 14-3. With under three left to play in the half and the Somers with possession of the ball on their own six-yard line, the Spartan defense recorded a quarterback sack and regained possession. This led to a two-yard rushing touchdown by junior running back Jake Stanko. The extra point made by McCormick cut the lead down to four by a score of 14-10. Somers would be quick to respond, thanks to a seventy-yard touchdown run by senior wide receiver Matt Pires. The extra point conversion would give the Somers a 21-10 lead going into halftime. The Spartans would score their second touchdown of the game with seven minutes to play in the third quarter, thanks to a thirty nine-yard touchdown pass to junior running back Mike Levan. The extra point by McCormick would cut Somers’ lead to four by a score of 21-17 to end the third quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, Somers would record their fourth touchdown of the game, thanks to an eighty-yard rushing touchdown. The extra point conversion by sophomore kicker Kevin Graber gave the Tuskers a 28-17 lead. A short time later Somers would record yet another touchdown. The extra point gave the Tuskers a 35-17 advantage. The Tuskers would add on two touchdowns within five minutes, increasing their lead by a score of 48-17. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake would have one last offensive strike with approximately two minutes to play in the game. Senior tight end Patrick Hopsicker caught a touchdown pass, making the score 48-23. The extra point conversion by McCormick put the score at 48-24 to end the game. Despite this loss the Spartans remain the Class A Super Bowl champions. The team finished with a final overall record of 10-2, and a final league record of 6-1.
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 14:36

4,000 Expected at Turkey Trot

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Mark and Maria Dailey lost their son, Christopher, on November 23, 2001. The Christopher Dailey Foundation was established with a goal to not only build a lasting and living memory of Christopher, but also to enrich the children of the local community with a place to learn, play, and enhance their lives through team and individual sports activities. “My daughter, Chris’ older sister, always found getting gym-time difficult when she was on a sports team,” recalls Mark Dailey. “Over time we realized that the Saratoga area needed more gym space. We also wanted to memorialize Chris in some way. What better way to do that than by raising money to build a sports facility in his name?” At the foundation’s 8th Annual Golf Tournament, on May 18, 2009, the board of directors announced that the Christopher Dailey Memorial Youth Gymnasium had been completely paid for. The gymnasium provides a space where various youth groups, as well as special needs athletes, may continue to grow their passion for different sports. On Thursday, November 24, the Chris Dailey Turkey Trot will take place in Saratoga Springs. When the foundation first started to fundraise, the Turkey Trot wasn’t even a thought. In May 2001 the foundation hosted a golf tournament, which turned out to be a huge success. Eventually a neighbor of the Daileys suggested a Turkey Trot race. The Daileys were able to create a 5k-race course around their neighborhood, and slowly it became more successful. “We came to realize that the race had a much larger response from the community, and that’s how it became an annual event,” said Dailey. The cold and sometimes snowy weather of this event coincides with Mark Dailey’s favorite memory of his son. Chris was an avid lover of the winter weather. Recalls Dailey, “when Chris would come home from school, and there was snow on the ground, he would go out sleigh riding with his friends until dinner. They would always come in with red cheeks, but each of them would have a smile on their face.” Last year the race had approximately 3200 paid participants. This year Mark hopes the race has even more success. Their expectation for this year’s race proceeds is approximately $50,000. “Our goal for 2016 is to beat our final total from the year before. The more money we raise, the more money we can give back to the community, which is always our primary goal,” said Dailey. The race starts at Saratoga Springs City Hall, and will finish on North Broadway in front of John Witt’s Office. Start time for the race is scheduled for 8:30 a.m., and there is a $25 entry fee. Those interested in registering for the race, or learning more about the Christopher Dailey Foundation may visit www.christopherdaileyfoundation.com.
Friday, 18 November 2016 10:56

14 Athletes Head to States

ITHACA — Fourteen athletes will represent Ballston Spa and the Saratoga Springs Blue Streaks at the NYS Championships at Ithaca College on Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19. The swimming preliminaries as well as diving preliminaries, semifinals, and finals will be held on Friday. Swimming finals will take place on Saturday. Three athletes will be representing the schools in the diving portion of the championships on Friday: Ballston Spa’s Emma Swistak will be representing Ballston Spa; while Felicity Ryan and Samantha Badar will represent the Blue Streaks. Ballston Spa will have a 200-meter team competing on Saturday. Emma Hoffman, Tierra Damico, Corinne Pepper, and Annalise Pepper will represent Ballston Spa. Corinne will also be swimming the 100-yard breaststroke. The Blue Streaks will have strong representation for Saturday’s events. Taylor Patnode and Autumn Boxley will swim in individual events as well as in two relays. Patnode will be swimming the 50 free and 100 free, while Boxley will be swimming the 500 free. The Blue Streaks Victoria Breslin, Morgan Hoffman-Smith Rena Wise, and Nicole Murphy make up the team’s 200 Medley Relay. Breslin will be swimming the butterfly, Hoffman-Smith will swim freestyle, and Murphy will swim breaststroke. Rena Wise will round things off by swimming freestyle for the relay, as well as swim in the 200 freestyle relays. The Championships will begin on Friday at 8:00 a.m. with swimming warm-ups and preliminaries as well as all diving events. The event will conclude on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. with swimming warm-ups, followed by swimming finals and consolation finals at 10:00 a.m. More information about the Championships may be found by visiting http://www.nysphsaa.org/Sports/Swimming-Diving-Girls/Championship-Preview.
Friday, 11 November 2016 13:35

Run for a Cause

SCHUYLERVILLE — Approximately three hundred sixty runners were registered for Saturday’s 5th Annual Revolutionary Run for Veterans in Fort Hardy Park in Schuylerville. This year the race had a new location and racecourse. Compared to previous years, this year’s course was relatively flat and fast. The race began at Fort Hardy Park in Schuylerville, and navigated the historic towpath north and across the canal to the Hudson Crossing park. Following a shallow loop around the Hudson Crossing Park field, the course entered the nature path along the Hudson River. The race returned on the towpath, and ended at the Fort Hardy Park. A section of the 5K race course has deep historical roots. This section took runners past the Champlain Canal Lock C5 in Hudson Crossing Park. In 1777, British General John Burgoyne led several thousand British and German soldiers across the Champlain Channel Lock to engage American militaries as part of Burgoyne’s journey south to conquer Albany. In an effort to cross the river, soldiers made several flat-bottomed wooden vessels to form what is now known as the “Bridge of Boats.” This resulted in the Battles of Saratoga, and is referred to as the turning point in the Revolutionary War. This in turn would lead to an eventual victory for the American forces. The race awarded the top three race finishers in age categories ranging from ages 1-14 all the way through ages 70-99. The youngest runner to place in the race was seven-year-old Madison Mailloux of Latham with a final time of 36:25. The oldest runner to place in the race was eighty-three year-old Richard Schumacher of Hoosick Falls, who finished the race with a time of 47:42. Twenty-year-old runner Jason Linendoll from Hudson Falls was the men’s overall race winner and the race’s overall winner, crossing the finish line at 16:50. Twenty-year-old Olivia Jaquith from Schenectady was the race’s female overall winner with a final time of 21:16. Proceeds from the race benefitted the Saratoga County Veterans Trust Fun. The funds received from the race will be used to help veterans with training, education, healthcare, housing, and services. Each of these projects is dedicated to the Welfare and Support of our Veterans. This year the race raised approximately $7,000. For Frank McClement, Director of the Veterans’ Service Agency, this event meant more than the amount of money raised. “It goes beyond the money for us. We typically don’t like to compare funds raised and runner participants year to year. As long as we keep raising money for our Veterans, then everyone involved in the race is happy.”
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