Opal Jessica Bogdan
BALLSTON SPA — Authentic Salon opened their doors Wednesday of this week, bringing high quality hair service in a wholesome atmosphere.
Kayla Murphy, owner of Authentic Salon, was inspired to open the new business through her work as a National Color Educator for John Paul Mitchell Systems. Murphy has travelled around the country as a national educator and has worked in many different salons. By visiting and working in the salons across the country, Murphy had the opportunity to see both successful and unsuccessful work in the salon industry for other stylists in many different demographics.
“Working in so many salons in the Capital District, I have gotten to learn what works best for our demographic. And working with Paul Mitchell, I have had the opportunity to receive amazing quality training with the best in our industry globally,” Murphy said. “Once the Covid-19 crisis hit, my ideas and plans were solidified even more through the need for transparency in sanitation for my salon guests and coworkers. Also being pregnant and having asthma put me at a higher risk for contracting the virus so I knew I had to do something.”
The salon, located at 1 Lake Hill Road, Ballston Lake, will offer women's, men's and children's haircuts as well as blowouts, specialty color, keratin smoothing, event styling and airbrush makeup.
“Authentic Salon is unique in the way that we provide the highest quality hair services in a down-to-earth, community friendly, wholesome atmosphere. I think so many times in situations where you receive excellence in standards, you trade off a lot of the wholesome qualities the community appreciates and values,” Murphy said.
Since Authentic Salon is a new business, the doors will open in accordance to restrictions and guidelines set in place for the community. Following the mandated guidelines for New York salons, Authentic Salon will test for COVID bi-weekly, wear masks and face shields, provide a clean cape for services and limit the number of guests in the salon at one time.
“In addition to the mandated guidelines, we are taking extra steps of precautions such as having our guests sign waivers when they arrive, wearing disposable gloves for the duration of the appointments, running air sanitizers throughout the salon, using neck strips and wearing a clean apron for every client. If a guest arrives without a mask, hand sanitizer, gloves and a new mask will be provided for them,” Murphy said.
“I am most looking forward to creating the place I always knew I needed to work in to be as successful and prosperous as possible. And creating a safe work environment for my salon guests whom I have known for so many years, to come visit me and receive the services I love to provide for them,” Murphy said.
MALTA — Zegers Freedom Flags is a small business focused on creating handcrafted wooden American Flags.
The father-daughter team Arthur and Morgan Zegers create the flags together. The two came up with the idea when Morgan Zegers graduated in 2018 and she found herself left with student debt. At the time, Art Zegers had watched online tutorials on how to create the wooden American flags and suggested they try creating one themselves.
“After we made one, it was so beautiful we didn’t know what to do with it,” Morgan Zegers said. “We donated it to the local VFW, we were both members in Malta when we lived there. Our friend got cancer from Agent Orange when he served in Vietnam, so they had a fundraiser for him and we donated [the flag] and a ton of people wanted to buy more. We began selling them after that.”
Colonel Arthur Zegers served the country in Operation Iraqi Freedom and on the site of 9/11. Morgan Zegers is the founder and CEO of Young Americans Against Socialism and owner of Zegers Freedom Flags.
When the two first began making flags, Morgan Zegers would hand carve the stars with a dremel. Soon after, the Eagle-Matt Lee Fire Department in Ballston Spa purchased 28 flags as gifts for each member of the fire department.
“We just couldn’t make that many by hand so we ordered the CNC machine. That allows us to not only do the stars, but we can also do custom carvings,” Morgan Zegers said.
A Computer Numerical Control, CNC, is the automated control of machining tools and 3D printers by means of the computer. A CNC machine processes a piece of material, in this case wood, to meet specifications by following a coded programmed instruction and without a manual operator.
To create the flags, Art Zegers said he purchases the wood that he then cuts into small strips. He will stockpile the lumber, then burn the wood and stain it. They then put together the custom flag.
“It’s nice to be able to make a flag, but when it comes out as well as we make it, it’s pretty rewarding to hand it to a customer. They just really appreciate it and they send me photos of it hanging in the living room or in their office. It’s very rewarding in that aspect,” Art Zegers said.
Two years ago, Megan Zeggers ran for New York’s State Assembly, which led to a plethora of networking for flag donations and sales.
“It’s really a big network of people who are already involved with great causes,” Megan Zegers said.
Both Megan and Art Zegers have full times jobs, and find themselves creating the flags in the evenings during their free time.
“I’m just doing this as a hobby now for when I do retire in four years as a civilian and a reservists. With all my military connections…this is where I’m getting my custom work. From different soldiers, engineers, military police and the units that I belong to are all ordering flags from me. So that was very rewarding especially since I worked with them,” Art Zegers said.
The business has grown to be a family affair, as Morgan Zeger’s brother now lends a helping hand. She added that her favorite part was the time she spends with her father.
“Working with my dad is the best. We don’t talk very much as we work because it’s pretty loud. Other times we’ll be really busy and sometimes we don’t work for very long, but it has been really nice to spend the time with him,” Morgan Zegers said. “All of our best customers are military family members or family members with people in law enforcement. It’s just really exciting to know that we are creating something that means a lot to the people receiving the gift. It means a lot to us.”
BALLSTON SPA — The 2020 Ballston Spa Farmers’ Market will open starting June 13 and run through September 26.
By following interim guidelines set by New York State Agriculture and Market for Farmers’ Markets, guidelines and precautions have been set in place. According to the market’s website, vendors will be properly spaced, social distance precautions will be implemented and masks will be required for vendors and customers. They will also offer hand sanitizer to customers and vendors.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market has currently been open on Wednesday and Saturday each week following the same guidelines. Emily Meagher, Market Administrator of Saratoga Farmers’ Market Association (SFMA) said the market only cancelled in mid-March, but moved outdoors to the Wilton Mall, occupying the parking lots near the Bow Tie Cinemas and the old Bon-Ton department store. Bracing cold weeks throughout March and April, Meagher said the move outdoors wasn’t the only change SFMA has made.
“Things have been going well for our farmers’ market. We’ve been heartened by the immense support from our local community. Now more than ever, it seems people are really appreciating local products and producers,” Meagher said.
Other changes SMFA has made to their set up includes: spacing out vendors’ stalls 10 to 15 feet, widening walkways to encourage and accommodate social distancing between customers, increasing hand washing stations and hand sanitizer available to customers and vendors, requiring masks to be worn within the market perimeters, and encouraging customers not to bring more than two members of their household and not to bring pets, to preorder when possible, and not to linger after they shop.
Meagher also mentioned vendors cannot give out samples and are the only ones to touch products. They are also encouraged to prepackage items to limit exposure. Every hour during the market, customer attendance is counted to ensure not too many customers are at SMFA at one.
“Farmers’ markets are usually a very social and communal place. Although we can’t create that atmosphere right now as a market, thankfully our vendors and customers still create a joyful and positive environment,” Meagher said.
Even as a social setting, Meagher added the community shouldn’t worry while visiting the market so long as proper guidelines are followed. Each market entrance, in addition to their social media page, posts the safety guidelines.
“For those customers who are vulnerable or immunocompromised, we do encourage preordering or having a friend or family member come to the market instead. But due to the precautions we’ve taken and the fact that we are operating outdoors, our markets are very safe. For those who might still be worried, I suggest trying out our Wednesday market, which is a smaller market with about 15 vendors. Especially after the first opening rush, which lasts until about 4 p.m., the market becomes a very intimate and socially distanced place to do your shopping safely and without any stress,” Meagher said.
Starting in June, SFMA’s satellite location in Clifton Park will also be opened on Mondays, outside the Shenendehowa Methodist Church.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs City School District has seven candidates running for the Board of Education 2020 vacancies.
Each year, there are three BOE vacancies, each for three-year terms. On June 1, the candidates will discuss issues in a virtual forum from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. hosted by the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County. The discussion will be hosted on Webex and a log-in will be available on the school’s website with the ability to sign in as an attendee.
The seven candidates running are as followed: Marissa Altimar, Erika Borman, Anjeanette Emeka, Scott Jackson, Tony Krackeler, Casey Putnam and Matthew Taylor.
On May 1, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the 2020 school budget vote and BOE election will take place on June 9. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the executive order moved the vote to exclusively be done through absentee ballot. The following information is according to each candidate’s Facebook page.
“I have lived in Saratoga Springs for over 2 years now. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, I started out as a single mother at age 22, and worked my way through college after my daughter was born so I could give her a better life, and serve as her role model. She now attends SSHS, and I couldn’t be happier that she is in such a remarkable school.”
• Improve our continuity of learning platform to reach all students during these challenging times.
• Support policies that address equity in education, mental health and overall safety of our students.
• Provide teachers with the resources they need to be successful.
• Protect our education and sports programs. Encourage engagement with our entire school community”
“Neighbors, I am finishing the third year of my first term as a board trustee for the Saratoga Springs City School District. It has been hard work, incredibly rewarding and I love it! I hope to gain your support”
“I would be proud to serve and represent the SSCSD community if given the opportunity. It takes vision, effective communication skills and business and personnel experience to be a positive contributor to a school board. These are all skills that I use in both the USPS and the U.S. Army every day. All SSCSD students, families, and taxpayers deserve a unified school board that works together towards the future, with the goal of providing children the absolute best public school education and experience.”
“I think the coming few years are going to be uniquely challenging for our district as processes, procedures, and finances will change and be disrupted. I want to make sure we look out for the students, families, teachers, and staff who will be asked to do things differently in the years ahead but who will still need and deserve the levels of excellence and humanity that they are used to, and which our district continually strives to provide. I would very much like to use my long experience in both education and running a business in the service of an institution (American public education) that has given me and my children far more than I could ever repay.”
“It is clear that the months ahead will require creative solutions to unprecedented financial, instructional, and logistical problems. I would like to be part of addressing these challenges in a way that keeps students moving forward academically and perhaps enhances their capacity for empathy, their stores of patience, and their ability to be flexible. I believe we have already seen this is possible from our educators, our students, and our community.”
“I believe my perspective as a recent graduate is a great benefit and a voice that has never been but should be on the board. I look forward to listening to you and working hard to earn your vote on June 9 (via mail in ballot!).”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Southern Adirondack Library System (SALS) created an online survey to document life during COVID-19.
“Leaving Our Fingerprints” is an online survey SALS is asking people of all ages in the community to fill out online. The information is collected anonymously and will be used to document COVID-19 in the Southern Adirondacks.
The survey consists of 20 questions, and each question does not have to be answered. There is no limit to how many times the survey is done, and a second survey can be submitted if more information was discovered at a later time.
Erica Freudenberger, outreach and engagement consultant for SALS, created the idea for the documentation. She was scrolling through Twitter when she noticed a post that recommended keeping a journal through the COVID pandemic.
“Scientists, epidemiologists and historians had learned so much about the Spanish Flu from journals they found,” Freudenberger said. “When we began to work from home in mid-March, I spent a lot of time thinking about how we could create and maintain community in a time of pandemic. As a librarian, my first thought was: sharing stories.”
Freudenberger shared her idea with Sara Dallas, executive director of SALS, who was enthusiastic and told her to go for it. SALS is comprised of 34 member libraries in Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren, and Washington counties, and each library is autonomous, with its own board and director. They create the Director’s Council who very supportive of Freudenberger’s idea.
In addition, the Saratoga Springs Public Library, Crandall Public Library and Schuylerville Public Library put her in touch with library staff to help with any efforts. She then formed a committee at the end of April with Lorie Wies, local history librarian at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, Michelle Isopo, adult services librarian at the Schuylerville Public Library, and Jack Scott, tech and youth services consultant SALS.
According to the “Leaving Our Fingerprints” website, by collecting stories the community can become witnesses to history, helping to provide insight into daily life during the global pandemic.
“We want everyone to participate. There are 20 questions, but you don’t have to answer them all. We’re also collecting images, gifs, and digital documents, if people want to share artwork, poetry, photos, or TikToks – we’re open to however people want to share their pandemic story,” Freudenberger said.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — A local neighborhood on the west side of Saratoga has brought up concerns regarding an access road for which Canadian Pacific Railway uses an easement.
Property owner Joseph Ogden noticed the access road when he first moved to the residential area with his family almost eight-years-ago. After looking into the history of the access road, he began to question if Canadian Pacific actually requires use of the path, or is even legally entitled to it.
“When there was only a couple houses in this neighborhood, use of the access road made sense…maybe it was more out of the way, but the neighborhood now is residential and it’s problematic,” Ogden said.
Adjacent to Grand Ave, Ogden said the easement was originally given to the property owners when the overpass was built so residents could have access to Grand Ave and not become landlocked. From what Ogden has noticed, the only use of the path is from unauthorized vehicles using the road to privately dump garbage on an adjacent parcel of undeveloped land.
“People come in and they bring truck loads because they think that this is something they can get away with. They don’t understand that this is really private property. The railroad and the property owners themselves are the ones that hold the easement,” Ogden said.
The undeveloped parcel of land now holds loads of broken cement, rocks and even a CRT (cathode ray tube) television. As the neighborhood grew with more families and houses, he grew concerned over the path’s overall safety, adding to the environmental concern.
“They have not articulated to us that there is something unique about this particular path that gives them some kind of different functionality,” Ogden said.
He started contacting the railroad company about a year ago, voicing his concerns over the safety and asking if the rail company actually needed access to the path.
He asked: “you have several other access points on the west side as a railroad company and just here in the city, do you really need this? We also noticed we don’t use it a whole lot. It’s not even plowed in the winter…it’s covered in snow for those months and if you’re only using it seldom throughout the year, do you really need it?”
He said at first, Canadian Pacific said they would look into the access road and it’s use, but after nine months of follow-up by Ogden, finally answered they were not willing to submit the use easement.
“They’ve admitted to me that they don’t use it, that they don’t need it,” Ogden said. “My goal, as a citizen and property owner and our goal as a neighborhood here, is to have Canadian Pacific acknowledge that they do not use this access road anymore. They don’t need the access road anymore. It’s private property and the full ownership and full use of it really needs to be returned to the property owners, given that it doesn’t appear to have any extra functionality for the railroad. I know they don’t use it a whole lot and it’s engendering this unauthorized dumping. The safety of our entire neighborhood is in question, including the well-being of our young children. We cannot tolerate this any longer.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Eight middle school students attending Saratoga Springs School were honored in memory of Billy Wardell, a sixth grader who passed away in March 2016.
The eight outstanding students were recognized for showing kindness, maturity, anti-bullying and helpful towards other students. The students awarded this year are: Jasmin Mercer, Alyssa Connors, Dylan Muller, Dylan Pincelski, Kari Reilly, Aubree Ketcher, and Josh Malo’Kai Merchant.
Each student receives a certificate and a $50 Target gift card to help purchase school supplies for the next academic year. Sherry Wardell, Billy’s Grandmother, said each year since they have given out $50 gift cards to students at the middle school.
“The teachers pick out the students. They’re not the top of their class academically or all-star athletes, they are kids that the teachers have watched all year that have strived to help others…if they see someone hurting and get involved.
“Billy was against bullying,” Wardell said.
Billy Wardell was a 12-year-old sixth grade student when he was killed riding an all-terrain vehicle on his father’s farm in Greenfield.
“It was truly very hard to get through and you still struggle with it,” Wardell said. She added: “people wanted to give some sort of a memorial and we didn’t know quite what to do. It was just one night - in the middle of the night - I felt God talk to me and tell me to do something at the school, to do a memorial,” Wardell said.
Wardell spoke with Amy Totino, assistant principle, April 2016 about honoring students and that they had enough money through family, friends and a few construction companies in the area to give the gift cards to eight students.
Wardell continued that they will continue to honor students until 2022, the year Billy Wardell would have graduated. For that year, Wardell plans to ask high school teachers to select two students who honor the memory of Billy and award each with a $4,000 check to the skill school or college of their choice.
“I think I’m going to miss it after 2022 when we don’t do it anymore,” Wardell said. “People have been great. People have reached out and it just helps with the grieving. We have been blessed big time.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — After receiving a donor match that saved his life three years ago, Jim Calhoun is excited to announce that his donor, Christian Montano, signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a rookie free agent.
“We were waiting for the draft that weekend because we knew that this would be his year…he just graduated. We watched the draft all weekend,” Calhoun said. “As soon as the draft ended they called him immediately and said he was probably being looked at by 13 teams. We were ecstatic when we found out.”
Montano is a recent graduate from Brown University where he joined the football team as an offensive lineman. Calhoun admitted that although he’s a diehard NY Giants fan, he would cross over to the Steelers to support Montano.
“I’m always going to be a die hard Giants fan, but since saving my life I’ve drilled more into football than I ever had,” Calhoun said. “I follow the Steelers app and try to read the stats on everything. I was never one into stats on anybody, but it’s amazing the position that [Montano] plays and how he always has to be an alert person…I appreciate what he does as far as on the field. It’s just an amazing thing.”
Ironically, the Steelers season opening game is against the Giants in New Jersey this year. Currently, Calhoun is waiting in anticipation to order Montano’s jersey as soon as the player’s numbers are established.
“I would love to go to that game and I’m hoping I could somehow get my chance to go watch,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun’s battle began in 2017 when a blood test revealed he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In addition to chemotherapy, Calhoun needed a bone marrow transplant.
During his first year at Brown, Montano had signed up for a cheek swab for “Be The Match” with the football team. The swab revealed he matched all 12 genes for transplanting capability with Calhoun.
The two keep in close contact to this day, speaking and texting a few times per week. Calhoun said Montano has a busy schedule now filled with meetings, as Montano isn’t at the Pittsburgh training facility due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We text quite often and his family has welcomed us in like we all have been family forever. I’m waiting for this quarantine to be over so we actually hang out with them again,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun had previously worked for 15-years as a Human Resources Assistant at St. Peter’s Health Partners. This past March, he was excited to get back to work when two-hours into the job, he was sent home. The next day there were two reported cases of COVID.
“I was just getting ready to get out and go to work and then this [virus] happened. It kind of put me back to square one where I’m not working…but there are a lot of people out there now that are not working,” Calhoun said. “I try not to worry about work right now, there is nothing I can do about it, but I just try to make the best out of every day.”
Calhoun is excited for the football season and knows Montano will do well.
“I’m excited and I can’t wait for the season to start,” Calhoun said.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — As the community faces the first phase of the regional re-opening, Cheveux Design Hair Salon in Saratoga is hoping to open within the next three weeks.
Hair stylists and barbershops in New York will be allowed to re-open during phase two of regional reopenings as announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo this past week. Although specific guidelines were not shared in regards to re-opening, Cheveux Design Hair Salon owner Kelly Slywka already implemented safety precautions and practices.
“The salon had already implemented what other salons are doing now. I told the staff to use minimal products so they could pick them up and clean off after every visit. We also no longer offer magazines, coffee or water,” Slywka said. “We already restricted access to the building before we closed down. You get a text to enter, or waved in if you’re older and your phone doesn’t do texts.”
Slywka continued to say she plans to open the exact same way she closed, with minimal contact and safety precautions in place. She has installed plexiglass walls between each station.
The salon has been closed since late-March and Slywka has 95 appointments already lined up due to the closure. To help save time with appointments, Slywka has cut down on some of the salon’s services.
“It’s going to be about getting your cut and getting your color. It’s just about getting everyone in and getting everyone back on their book safely,” Slywka said. “My staff will only see one customer and clients cut down at least 30 minutes of an appointment if they don’t get a blow dry. Now they wont be in the salon for a longer period. Let’s just get everyone on the book and everyone caught up to where they need to be.”
Despite feeling ready to open, Slywka said hairdressers are feeling frustrated. Hair salons are mandated by the state and undergo a yearly test to ensure everything is in proper shape.
“It’s a surprise visit that can possibly have hefty fines. Salons have already done cleaning and safety practices… these are all things that have always been this way,” Slywka said.
Despite the frustration, Slywka said clients shouldn’t be afraid when they venture back out into the community. She said those with underlying conditions or autoimmune should stay safe for a while longer, but urges others to get back out in the community.
“If you are a healthy person you have got to get out there. We are avoiding the inevitable, you can’t beat nature,” Slywka said. “The only person who can advocate for you is you.”
Saratoga Springs started phase one reopening this week, joining other regions as they reopen. Regions are expected to pause for two weeks before moving on to phase two reopening. Slywka said, “I’m excited and ready to go.”
GLENS FALLS — The sale of flavored e-cigarettes statewide and all tobacco sales at pharmacies ended May 18.
Governor Andrew Cuomo wanted to combat the use of tobacco and nicotine products, so he enacted a Comprehensive Tobacco Control Policy as part of the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget. Cuomo signed the budget on April 3 of this year.
The policy prohibits the sale or distribution of e-cigarettes or vapor products that have a flavor, unless approved as part of an FDA pre-market approval. The policy also restricts the public display of tobacco and vapor products near schools.
The NYS Tobacco Control Program includes a network of statewide grantees, including Adirondack Health Institute (AHI), who works on Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities. Kelly Owens is the program manager of Clear the Air in the Southern Adirondacks and oversees AHI’s Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities. Owens and staff have worked to educate local communities about the need to protect children from tobacco marketing in places where kids can see it. She feels the law will help protect youth.
“Selling tobacco products in pharmacies has been sending a contradictory message…” Owens said.
The mixed messages to clients by offering tobacco alongside products for illness either caused or worsened by smoking.
“We also know that flavors and e-cigarettes attract younger kids which causes them to become addicted. The law will really help protect kids from a lifetime of nicotine addiction.”
In a release from AHI, research has shown 40 percent of NYS high school seniors have used e-cigarettes, also known as “vaping.” Over 25 percent of all high school students have used e-cigarettes. Flavored e-cigarettes are known to attract youths and they become addicted to nicotine in return.
“We are really happy that NYS was compelled to take action on this law and I really feel that without the flavor to attract youth, I think we will see the rate of e-cigarette use drop,” Owens said.
“This is a great step forward for New Yorkers’ health, including those who live in the Adirondack region where tobacco use prevalence is higher than most other areas in the state,” said Eric Burton, Chief Executive Officer, AHI in a release. “This legislation will have a major impact on helping individuals live free from nicotine addiction.” AHI administers the Clear the Air in the Southern Adirondacks initiative, which includes the Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities/Reality Check program.
For those who do wish to stop smoking there are different methods and options available.
“Those who are addicted to nicotine through vaping or cigarettes or smoking, there is more support than ever,” Owens said. “Folks can reach out to their healthcare provider, or they can call the quit-line and visit the website. “There is really a lot of support out there for people who really want to take that next step and quit.”
The New York State Smokers’ Quitline is 1-866-NY-QUITS and the website is nysmokefree.com.
AHI is an independent not-for-profit organization licensed under the New York State Public Health Law as an Article 28 Central Services Facility. Since 1987, the organization has supported hospitals, physician practices, behavioral health providers, community-based organizations and others in the region in sharing our vision and mission of transforming health care and improving population health.
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