Larry Goodwin

Larry Goodwin

Thursday, 16 March 2017 13:56

Milton Committee to Study Roof Leaks

MILTON – An item on the Town Board’s agenda for its March 15 meeting stirred up a debate that has dragged on in Milton for many years.

Apparently, the board chose not to replace a stained carpet in the Town Court because the condition of the building’s roof is getting worse.

Milton Supervisor Dan Lewza had invited Jason Miller, the town’s buildings and grounds spokesman, to comment on a board motion to obtain estimates for replacing the carpet.

Recently, a sewage leak in the town complex had soiled the carpet to the point of making life routinely unpleasant for visitors and Town Court staff. 

“What they need is a new court,” Miller responded. The town board, he said, needs “to really figure out what’s going on with the buildings.”

“Every single roof on this building leaks,” Miller stated at the board’s February 15 meeting.

Lewza explained that Councilman Benny Zlotnick, chairman of the board’s Facilities Committee, would address such issues in earnest starting on Monday, March 20.

“We’ve got to get the roof situation under control before we do anything else,” Lewza said this week.

The board proceeded to vote down a motion to obtain estimates for replacing the Town Court’s carpet. Zlotnick and Councilwoman Barbara Kerr were the only two members in favor.

According to Kerr, at least a couple of estimates for that job had already been given, totaling no more than $5,000.

For years, Kerr added, town staff members and residents have been pressuring Supervisor Lewza to address general maintenance problems at the town complex, including a full replacement of the roof.

Miller indicated that an estimate was given in 2014 for the roof project, whose cost exceeded $47,000.  

But all such problems are complicated by a lack of resources in Milton to address them. 

“I know there’s a lot of issues,” Kerr said, noting how “there’s so many patches” on the roof at the town complex. “I also want a good plan of how it’s going to be financed.”

“We don’t have anything put aside for it,” Kerr continued, referring to Milton’s $6.7 million annual spending budget. Any funding would need to be obtained through borrowing, she said, which itself necessitates a drawn-out public approval process. 

“To me, this is a five- to 10-year projected thing,” Kerr said.

Thursday, 16 March 2017 13:35

Another Local Mayor Opts Out

SCHUYLERVILLE – Mayor John Sherman was nearly a half-hour late to a meeting on a chilly Monday, but Deputy Clerk Rose Decker acted as if that were normal.

“I’m really going to miss him,” Decker admitted. “All the little things he does that people take for granted.” 

One of those “things” is when Mayor Sherman leaves to pick up official village mail at the Post Office—despite the fact that he had agreed with a reporter to meet and discuss his final days as Schuylerville’s top elected official. 

Decker said that Sherman had most likely encountered village residents who wanted to talk.

“We always seem like the bad guys,” Decker added, as she opened bags of candy for visitors to the village office in a familiar ritual. “That kind of sweetens it a bit,” she explained. The glass jar candy is only for village staff, while kids are free to take lollipops from a basket on the counter.   

Sherman was first elected as Schuylerville mayor in 1977. He decided months ago to step down after the March 21 election. Candidates Dan Carpenter, a village trustee, and local restaurant owner Jason Young are competing to replace him.   

Sherman said two main issues are bound to bear down indefinitely on whichever candidate wins. They have frustrated him for most of the last 40 years: village infrastructure and the weight of New York state mandates. 

The new Schuylerville mayor “is going to have a hard time,” Sherman predicted. “Mayors are dropping out all over the place.” 

For his $6,000 annual salary, Sherman figured he routinely puts in about 60 hours each week looking after village business. He calls himself a “full-time mayor.” In nicer weather, people honk their horns passing by Sherman when they see him mowing grass on village properties. 

“I can’t sit still,” confessed the 77-year-old, noting that he will continue serving on the Saratoga County Advisory Youth Board as he has for many years. 

On March 13, the Saratoga Town Board honored Sherman’s long service as mayor with a formal resolution. It observed that Sherman “demonstrates in his daily life the qualities and attributes which are highly desired and valued by our society.” 

Above all, Sherman said, he will miss the ability to help Schuylerville residents in his official capacity. But he and his wife of 49 years, Martha, will not miss the late-night phone calls about the village’s ongoing infrastructure problems. 

As a Hudson River village, Schuylerville is proud of its industrial past. Village Historian Kristina Saddlemire reports that Schuylerville played a key role in the country’s early clothing trade. 

On the village’s website, Saddlemire points to the commercial success of Ellen Curtis Demorest, a famed garment designer and women’s rights leader from Schuylerville. 

Today, though, Sherman says the village government has serious problems to solve with its aging water and sewer pipes—and perhaps with its very survival.

Sherman claimed that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state leaders are pressuring small villages like Schuylerville “to dissolve,” through such demands as sharing municipal services. 

“Our governor isn’t helping small villages,” Sherman said. He described how costs are increasing the most for local taxpayers. “Where do you get your income? We have no place to get it anymore,” he added.  

Schuylerville now has a modern sewage-treatment plant, whose construction was finished last year largely because of Sherman’s consistent advocacy for the project. He said the village had to take out a $12 million interest-free loan, payable over 30 years, to build the plant.

The Schuylerville budget—for a village of more than 1,300 residents and fewer than 10 employees—is roughly $1 million, Sherman said. 

Through the years, Sherman and other local officials had many heated disagreements regarding the sewer plant’s construction. The village’s waste used to be pumped straight into the Hudson.   

“Every thing we did with the sewer system was mandated,” the mayor said.  

Schuylerville also has 7 miles of deteriorating sewer and water pipes that still need to be replaced, according to Sherman.

The infrastructure problems are made worse, Sherman continued, by a protracted legal dispute with Victory Mills. He claims that neighboring village is violating a contract with Schuylerville by refusing to pay a 22 percent share of the annual cost for the treatment plant. 

“Nobody has listened to us at all,” Sherman said. “The only ones making money are the lawyers.” 

Victory Mills operates its own pipes and pumps but it utilizes Schuylerville’s sewage-treatment system, Sherman explained. The current amount in dispute is about $200,000, he said. 

“It’s awful,” Sherman said of the whole experience. He added that he hopes the new village government will conform to his firm negotiating stance in the Victory Mills court case. 

“They owe us the money,” Sherman said.   

Thursday, 16 March 2017 13:15

New Lake Club for Boaters in the Works

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Even as he navigated the messy roads during a late season snowstorm this week, area businessman Frank Parillo was eager to spruce up property he bought last year on the northern part of Saratoga Lake.

This summer, on the site formerly owned and managed by Saratoga Boatworks, Parillo intends to offer his own gathering place for Saratoga Lake boaters similar to a pair of marinas he runs on Lake George.

“If everything goes good, we’ll get going as soon as the weather breaks,” said Parillo, owner of Scotty’s Restaurant and Wilton Travel Plaza at Exit 16 of the Adirondack Northway. 

With management assistance provided by his son, Scott, and others, Parillo currently owns the Dunham’s Bay and Bolton Landing marinas on Lake George.

Parillo plans to open his Saratoga Lake Marina utilizing the slips already there, which can accommodate about 130 boats. He said the usage fee for the slips would be $89 per foot of actual boat length.

He said a restaurant is a possibility at the new marina, but so far no arrangements have been finalized. “There’s nothing cast in stone,” Parillo said, but added that he is in talks with “good operators” in regards to dining options at his new business.

The most immediate goal, Parillo said, is to refurbish the clubhouse structure both inside and outside.

At its regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday, the Saratoga Springs Design Review Commission considered the exterior modifications detailed in a proposal submitted by Parillo.

The Clifton Park firm Syvertsen Rigosu Architects is involved in the design of Saratoga Lake Marina and had prepared the renderings.  

The Design Review Commission is particularly concerned with any aesthetic changes made to lakefront properties within the city’s borders. 

The first phase of the project, according to the commission’s summary, “includes the removal of windows on the west and north elevations, new exterior wall penetrations for new windows and a new deck that will support the two entrances into a new club house.”

“The interior scope of work,” the summary continued, is to “create new rest rooms and club house for the members of the Saratoga Lake Marina.”

“The marina is going to be awesome,” offered Hal Raven, owner of the Adirondack Cruise and Charter Company, who has reached an agreement with Parillo to provide sunset, moonlight and other types of cruises on the lake.

Last year, Raven said, he gave such cruises to about 800 customers on a pontoon boat that he owns, which holds up to nine people.

Raven also recently purchased an early 1900s-era Fantail Launch replica that will be in service this summer on Saratoga Lake. It seats between 25 and 30. Individuals and families, according to Raven, once commonly enjoyed such boats on summer nights. 

“We’re trying to keep this old-time tradition alive,” he said.  

Friday, 10 March 2017 16:26

New Convenience Store Around the Corner

WILTON – Travelers along a popular stretch of Route 9 will soon have a Cumberland Farms to fill up their gas tanks and coffee mugs, but concerns remain about upgrading the state highway to more effectively handle traffic in the area that is already heavy.

On February 15, the Wilton Planning Board gave its final approval for a new Cumberland Farms store near the intersection of Route 9 and Daniels Road, north of the Maple Avenue Middle School.  

“The more business on Route 9, the better,” says Robert Pulsifer, a former Wilton planning and zoning attorney whose law offices have been located across from the project site for many years. “I’m in favor of the project. It’s private property,” he added.

Still, according to Pulsifer, the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) “ought to be looking” at ways to improve the flow of traffic in the area.

Pulsifer said the most effective action the DOT could take is to consider the addition of “a right turning lane headed south onto Daniels Road” utilizing the current shoulder on Route 9, according to minutes of the January 18 Wilton Planning Board meeting.   

The Cumberland Farms store is “going to be generating more traffic and it’s already a problem,” Pulsifer told the board, “and if they’re going to be granting an easement to the town for some future use like sidewalks, we all know that sidewalks are not going to make sense. It’s a driving area not a walking area. Why not use that [shoulder] now for that right-hand turn lane to siphon off that extra traffic.”  

Pulsifer and other residents also pointed to regular traffic backups on Daniels Road that are bound to get worse after the new store is built.

The town of Wilton has authority over Daniels Road, but the state has authority over Route 9, Pulsifer explained. He said any improvements to the local roads should be made before construction even starts on the Cumberland Farms.  

State DOT officials could not be reached for comment. Lucy Harlow, the executive secretary of the Wilton Planning Board, declined to comment.

“I drive Route 9 every day,” offered Ross Galloway, a site acquisition and development manager for Connecticut-based First Hartford Corporation, who manages the site for Cumberland Farms. Galloway and his family live in Wilton. 

“Our development does not create traffic,” Galloway said, noting how the new convenience store will attract travelers who already pass by on a regular basis.  

Construction of the new store in Wilton is expected to begin no later than June. Cumberland Farms is also building stores in Colonie and Rotterdam, with plans for perhaps a half-dozen others in the works, Galloway said.

In response to the concerns raised by Pulsifer and other residents, Galloway said current traffic volumes on Route 9 are “not even a blip” on the radar of state DOT officials.

“There’s no merit to it,” Galloway said.       

Friday, 10 March 2017 16:17

Veitch Meets Stefanik in D.C.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — City Supervisor Matthew Veitch recently went to the nation’s capital in part to sell the idea of replacing a popular bridge over the Adirondack Northway—one that the state no longer considers a target for complete removal.

On February 28, Veitch met with U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro), and other federal leaders who represent the Capital Region, as part of a delegation from the National Association of Counties.

“The congresswoman and I discussed a range of topics related to the district,” Veitch said in a statement. “The most important issue I felt which was discussed was urging support for infrastructure funding.” 

Veitch confirmed that the Nelson Avenue Extension bridge was singled out. Last year, that span’s fate was the subject of a concerted advocacy campaign led by the Balet family. 

“I knew that bridge needed to stay open for the whole community,” offered Suzanne Balet-Haight, who is busy this week preparing for her season at Balet Flowers and Design a short distance from the structure. State officials are closely monitoring the aging bridge. 

Last season, Balet-Haight said, her business had to be put “on hold” while she very publicly opposed a plan by the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) to tear down the bridge, which is utilized by many of her customers. She had reached out to Veitch, Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen, Malta Supervisor Vincent DeLucia and other officials for support.      

During his visit with Stefanik, Veitch indicated that he was moved by the ultimate success of that lobbying campaign. “The rallying point for the congresswoman was that federal infrastructure [funding] needs to be available to provide for all critical transportation links,” he said. 

Bryan Viggiani, a DOT spokesman, said the agency’s current priority is to replace two bridges over the Northway on East High Street in Malta and Crescent Avenue in Saratoga Springs. A competitive bidding process for those projects is expected to take place this summer, he said. 

“Safety remains our top priority,” Viggiani added, “and we are committed to continuing the maintenance effort on the Nelson Avenue Extension bridge.”

Tom Flanagin, the communications director for Stefanik, provided a statement downplaying her ability to control federal money used for specific bridge replacements. “Congress operates under an earmark ban that does not allow lawmakers to request funding for individual projects,” he said.  

“Our office is always pleased to assist with federal grant requests,” Flanagin explained, “and we encourage local officials to reach out to us for letters of support and assistance navigating the grant process.”

MALTA — Talk of a creek, new businesses and fancy fire sprinklers occupied town officials in Malta for most of a regular meeting last Monday night.   

The Malta Town Board heard a presentation at its March 6 meeting focused on the Route 9 North Corridor Plan. The plan is being considered as a means to simplify future approvals of commercial construction along one of Malta’s two main thoroughfares.  

The presentation was given by Anthony Tozzi, Malta’s building and planning coordinator, and Chris Morrell, a retired law enforcement professional. Both men were selected to sit on the committee charged with preparing the Route 9 corridor plan. Morrell chairs the committee.

Among other matters, Tozzi discussed the importance of preserving wetlands along Route 9 north of the town complex. There should be language in the final report making it clear to all parties that “you can’t develop here,” Tozzi said. 

Morrell added that parcels of land near Exit 13 of the Adirondack Northway may give town officials “grief” due to proximity of the Kayaderosseras Creek, forcing them to consider “creative” solutions to protect such wetlands.    

Malta Supervisor Vincent DeLucia said the board is gathering information necessary to complete the final stage of a four-part upgrade to zoning rules, similar to previous changes made that affected Route 9 farther south as well as stretches of Route 67 east and west.

Soon, after scheduling a required public hearing, the town board is expected to approve the fourth zoning upgrade. “I’m quite confident that will occur before this summer,” DeLucia said. 

In general, according to DeLucia, town officials want to encourage commercial activity on certain sections of both state highways while firmly establishing rural preservation areas.  

He said Malta’s parks and recreation trails “need to be maintained,” but that it is also crucial to pursue commercial development in order to avoid imposing a town tax in the future. 

“We need to increase our share of county sales taxes,” the supervisor said.  

In other business, the Malta town board heard again from Tozzi in regards to a local law involving the installation of better fire sprinklers in commercial and residential buildings. 

Tozzi said the need for more effective fire sprinklers was highlighted by a destructive fire late in 2013 at the Dunkin’ Donuts headquarters near Exit 12 of the Northway.  

Town Attorney Thomas Peterson advised the board that a previous local law it passed, pertaining to fire sprinklers, “can’t be enforced” because it is superseded by the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code. “We should get it off our books as soon as possible,” Peterson said. 

DeLucia explained that the debate basically revolves around increased costs for future projects, commercial and residential, totaling about 25 cents per square foot.

As an example, DeLucia said construction of a typical private home could incur $2,500 to $3,000 in extra costs. Malta needs to settle on fire sprinkler codes that are acceptable to builders, he said, “and at the same time create the absolute safest environment.” 

“We have to meet a balance,” DeLucia added. “That’s going to take us a while.”  

Peter Shaw, chief of the Malta Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, told the board it was “extremely disappointing” that state and local officials could not agree on the installation of higher quality fire sprinklers in new structures. 

Firefighters need all the help they can get, according to Shaw, because a steady decline in men and women volunteering for service is putting pressure on many fire departments.   

“I just don’t understand the whole state process,” Shaw said. “The clock is ticking. Every day buildings are being built.”     

Thursday, 09 March 2017 12:12

Village Race Heats Up

BALLSTON SPA – If enough registered voters can be persuaded to participate in elections on Tuesday, March 21, a trio of Democrats think they have a decent chance to modernize government in this village.

Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano, however, is as content with the village’s political order as he is confident in the qualifications of the Republicans in the race.

On March 5, village residents Elizabeth Kormos and Sander Bonvell invited three aspiring Democrats into their home on Hyde Boulevard for a “meet the candidates” forum, offering snacks and refreshments and a cozy place to exchange ideas with about 20 voters.

Kormos explained that she is “really impressed” by Democrats Erika Tebbens, Noah Shaw and Shawn Raymond. “None of them are politicians,” she said.

According to Kormos, a real estate and health care consultant, most village meetings in Ballston Spa lack productive or interactive discussions, which she said could change if voters approved of all three Democrats.

“The village has got to move into this century,” Kormos said.

Shaw’s campaign literature boasts of his legal experience at the federal and state levels. He is general counsel for the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority. Shaw has teamed up with Raymond, a civil engineer, in the hopes of filling two village trustee seats.

Tebbens is a mother of one and a small business owner, whose main government experience involves testimony she gave last year to the U.S. Congress regarding nutritional assistance for military families. She moved to Ballston Spa from Seattle almost 10 years ago with her husband Chris, a U.S. Navy veteran.

Tebbens is vying to unseat incumbent Village Justice Michael Morrissey. 

“We fell hard and fast in love with Ballston Spa,” Shaw told those gathered in Kormos’s living room, gesturing toward his wife and son in the dining area. Shaw said he wants to “bring some new energy and new perspectives” to village government. 

Raymond, who ran for a village trustee position in 2015 but lost by roughly 60 votes, was active in the Smart Growth Ballston group that opposed construction of a local Wal-Mart. He told voters at the forum that his main goals are to preserve Ballston Spa’s historic character and advocate for improvements to village infrastructure.

Above all, Raymond said, village officials need to ensure more “transparency” in their proceedings and improve how “constituent voices” are heard.

Both Shaw and Raymond expressed appreciation for Mayor Romano’s proven commitment to public service. But they also claimed that officials need to upgrade the village website as a means to better inform residents.

Republicans have long controlled government in Ballston Spa, home to about 5,500 people. According to Romano, the village has approximately 4,200 registered voters, though less than one-third participated in the last election two years ago. 

Romano first ran for mayor in 1995. The mayor and four trustees make up the Village Board, and each position has four-year terms.

In the course of knocking on doors to seek support from voters, all three Democrats said, residents appeared to be unaware that there was a village election on March 21.

Eleanor Dillon, chairwoman of the Town of Milton Democratic Committee, said she was “very disappointed” that there are no signs announcing the election at the Union or Eagle Matt Lee fire stations—historically, Ballston Spa’s only two polling locations.

“Our two firehouses are non-political,” responded Romano. He explained that the proper announcements have been published in the media, and that there are numerous signs in the village informing voters of the upcoming election.  

Romano lamented how the media was not giving attention to Morrissey and the other two Republicans in the race: Bruce Couture, a former Milton councilman; and current trustee Ron Henry, who was previously appointed by Romano to fill a vacancy.

When asked about the concerns raised by the Democrats relating to transparency and technology, the mayor doubted the effectiveness of computers and smartphones to aid in the process of governing in Ballston Spa.

“In a small village, residents see their elected officials all over the place,” Romano said. “Most residents, honestly, prefer the personal contact.”

For more than 20 years, during the summer months, Romano has held official Village Board meetings in the backyards of Ballston Spa residents. He said that practice “brings you back to the roots of the democratic process.” 

Moreover, Romano said, partisan politics should not cloud the judgment of any local leaders. He said municipal government is about “everybody working together in a spirit of cooperation, not confrontation.”  

Friday, 03 March 2017 10:23

City Beer and Cider Will Flow

[Author's note: The attached photographs of Saratoga Beer Week events were taken and provided by MacKenzie Liptak, communications manager for DeCrescente Distributing. The front photo shows (left to right) Death Wish Coffee owner Mike Brown; Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen; and Olde Saratoga Brewing owner Max Oswald, host of the Saratoga Beer Week kickoff ceremony at his Excelsior Avenue warehouse.]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The craft beer giddiness that swept through the city last week is bound to return even stronger, say promoters of the increasingly popular Saratoga Beer Week event. 

“There are certainly a lot of craft beer drinkers” in the Capital Region, says Kevin Rich, director of sales and marketing for Town Square Media. 

The Connecticut-based company, through its network of more than 600 radio stations and websites, promotes Saratoga Beer Week along with similar events nationwide as part of Town Square’s America On Tap series. 

On February 21, the city's sixth annual promotion kicked off at Olde Saratoga Brewing Company with a ceremonial keg tapping by Mayor Joanne Yepsen. 

It concluded on Saturday evening with a Beer Summit inside City Center, which was attended by multitudes of craft beer fans from around the area. 

Rich said 3,000 tickets were sold in advance for the Saratoga Beer Summit and another 1,500 were sold for the Cider Night event on Friday—the latter of which has become a “new drinking phenomenon,” he explained, due to people who are more health conscious and prefer hard ciders over beer. 

The revenue generated from Saratoga Beer Week is difficult to gauge among the city businesses that participated. But Town Square Media earned at least $165,000 from advance ticket sales alone.  

“That event continues to grow every year,” offered Paul Leone, executive director of the recently formed New York State Brewers Association (NYSBA). 

According to Leone, there are more than 320 craft brewers in New York state, including about 120 located on farms.

Leone says the state “is becoming a major player in the hops industry” and creating lots of jobs in the process. At present, he added, roughly 500 acres of hops—a primary ingredient of beer—are grown by New York farmers during the agricultural season while “hundreds more” acres are planned. 

Leone praised the support given to the craft beer industry by state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who passed and signed three separate bills in 2016, respectively, to boost such opportunities.

One bill authorized individual tax credits for craft brewers in New York City. Another allows farmers to sell craft beer products and ciders by the glass at their properties. The third modified New York’s so-called Sunday Blue Law by approving special permits for alcohol sales after 8 a.m. on Sundays.   

Leone also expressed gratitude for the efforts of Max Oswald, owner of Olde Saratoga Brewing, who donates a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales for his Saratoga Beer Week keg ceremony to support the NYSBA.

Oswald hosted that event this year at the Olde Saratoga Brewing warehouse on Excelsior Avenue in association with Mike Brown, owner of Death Wish Coffee in Round Lake; the Albany Distilling Company; and MacKenzie Liptak, the communications manager for DeCrescente Distributing in Mechanicville.

Rich, the Town Square Media promoter, said he’s already looking forward to next year’s events in Saratoga Springs. He suggested that local beer and cider lovers follow updates on the website   

Thursday, 02 March 2017 15:43

Campaign Builds Against a Word

[Author's note: The first photograph in the gallery shows (left to right) Special Olympics volunteers Deanna Ritzenberg and Emily Stevens; Saratoga Springs High School students Kylie Flynn, Griffin Donohoe and Cassie Layden; and Jennifer Frame, director of development at the Capital Region chapter of New York Special Olympics. Photos by]

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Beyond the doors of Fingerpaint’s main office on Broadway Wednesday, it was likely that too many people were still using a common word. Inside, a group of people argued that word’s days should be numbered.

“Unfortunately, this word is too often used in everyday conversation,” Jennifer Frame, director of development for the Capital District chapter of New York Special Olympics, told the crowd of about 30.

People had gathered on Wednesday inside Fingerpaint’s spacious office for a Spread the Word to End the Word campaign event. After a few speeches, most attendees literally finger-painted their names on a large banner.    

In a statement provided by Fingerpaint, a marketing agency that for several years has teamed up with Special Olympics to promote the campaign, the target is made clear: “”The ‘R’ word is the word ‘retard(ed).’ Why does it hurt? The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It’s offensive. It’s derogatory,” the statement reads.

“This campaign asks people to stop saying the R-word as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people,” it continues. “Language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions. Pledge today to use respectful, people-first language.”

“The ‘R’ word has to be stopped,” asserted Saratoga Springs High School student Kylie Flynn, who apparently has formed a tight bond in recent years with her fellow senior Griffin Donohoe.

Flynn told the crowd that she finds the R-word “dehumanizing,” which drives her devotion to the local campaign’s complete success. “With every pledge, Saratoga is becoming more inclusive,” she said.   

Donohoe spoke briefly and then stood next to Flynn. The pair comforted each other by holding hands as the other R-word campaigners made their statements. 

Bo Goliber, a spokeswoman for Fingerpaint, said the R-word campaign is “a cause that’s close to our hearts,” noting how it has picked up a lot of momentum since 2013. Employees of the marketing firm have particularly enjoyed interacting with Special Olympics athletes, she explained. 

“At Fingerpaint, we make it a priority to give back in more ways than just writing checks,” Goliber said. “It’s about raising awareness, doing what’s right and engaging with our community and the organizations that are truly making an impact. We love helping however we can.” 

Thursday, 02 March 2017 15:37

Mayor Sacks to Leave

ROUND LAKE – Nearly everyone who visits Village Hall here knows the owner of the tan Mini Cooper with vanity plates that proclaim, “DixieLee.”

At the end of March, the sporty little car owned by Round Lake Mayor Dixie Lee Sacks will be parking in front of village hall no more.

After almost 27 years of dedicated service in that public office, Sacks has decided to step down and entrust the quaint village’s future to her deputy mayor.

“It’s just that the time is right. I’ve been threatening this for years,” explained Mayor Sacks, during a recent interview in a spacious Village Hall conference room.

Sacks spent her early years in Liberty, New York, but moved to Round Lake in the early 1980s. She relocated because she had bought and decided to manage a retirement home for adults, which was located in one of the village’s several historic buildings.

“I was coming up to relax. Instead I spent 30 years in government,” Sacks said.

It didn’t take long for her to make the choice of ending her involvement in the adult-home business. It “became a money pit because of the changes in regulations,” Sacks explained, noting how state and local officials were intent on phasing out old wooden structures. 

At the same time, Sacks had perceived a need for new political leadership in Round Lake. For a few years, she served on the village board before winning her first election as mayor in 1990.

She received much support through the years from a longtime village clerk as well as Tom Bergin, her current deputy mayor who is expected to replace Sacks after she steps down on March 30. 

Repeated attempts to contact Bergin for comment were unsuccessful.      

For the first 10 years of her long term, Sacks advocated for a major infrastructure project to improve Round Lake’s water and sewer systems. That project was finally accomplished by 2003.

Several years later, Sacks was a strong supporter of the so-called Round Lake Bypass, a state project that diverted truck traffic from the village with an alternate connection between the Adirondack Northway and Route 9.    

The village had to borrow more than $3 million to complete the water and sewer project, but Sacks said she is confident that future village budgets will stay in the black. 

In general,  Sacks said, she remains opposed to too much development in Round Lake, a village that is proud of its “rich cultural past,” according to an account on its official website.

Though Sacks understands the importance of progress for any municipality, she said she is “sorry” two local development projects went forward, involving the construction of 80 townhouses in one case and about 50 single-family homes in the other.  

When asked what she will miss the most about being mayor in a small village of about 600, Sacks did not hesitate to say interacting with residents.

There are no individual mailboxes at Round Lake homes, so much of the village’s social life occurs near the post office boxes inside Village Hall (offered free of charge to village residents by the United States Post Office); a popular cake and coffee shop around the corner; or at the popular Lake Ridge Restaurant and The Mill, a tavern across Route 9.

Sacks, who is 80, said Round Lake residents respect her because “I’ll tell you like it is.”

“I’m a determined person and I don’t give up,” the seasoned mayor said.

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