Larry Goodwin

Larry Goodwin

Thursday, 29 March 2018 17:23

Kathy Kahl

Kathy Kahl and her expectant daughter Melissa. Photo by Larry Goodwin. 

Q: How many years have you been open?

A: This is my fourteenth season. I could write a book about this place, “The Chronicles of a Hot Dog Cart.”

Q: Do you keep track of how many customers you serve?

A: A lot of locals, and in the summer time a lot of track people. There was nothing around here. Now they’ve got a trail, a metropolis over time…my daughters have been working with me since they were kids. Put them through college. Single mom. I usually don’t come out until April 1st, but I wanted to get an early start on it. Once the kids get out of school, and the track, I got lines out to the parking lot here. I make soup and chili at this time of year, plus the hot dogs. My daughter does fresh-squeezed lemonade.

Q: How do you view the city’s changes in general?

A: I lived here all my life; I’ve seen the growth. It’s nice. I used to take the business to Florida (in 2009, when the economy went bad) and brought things back. I like it because there’s growth here. I don’t like the ways they design these buildings. People live in there, saying the rent’s so crazy high.

Q: Do you like feeding people?

A: I love it. I love to be outside and cook. I’m up in the morning at four making meat sauce, all that kind of stuff. Salads. It’s all wood-fired…it’s a wood-fired smoker.

Q: Where do you get the firewood?

A: I’ve got a friend that brings it to me, oak and cherry wood…I’m just looking for a good season. Both of my daughters are pregnant, due two days apart. Great kids.

Q: Do you like the idea of being a grandmother?

A: I think I’m still in shock about it. I guess I’m looking forward to it. They’ll be spoiled. They’ll be running their own lemonade stand, hopefully in another few years.” 

Thursday, 29 March 2018 17:02

Cumberland Farms Work Starts

A newly remodeled convenience store on Geyser Road in Milton. Photo provided. Heavy machinery preparing a site in Wilton this week for construction of a new Cumberland Farms. Photo by Super Source Media LLC.

WILTON – After months of delays, tree removal and site work commenced this week at the Daniels Road and Maple Avenue intersection for a Cumberland Farms convenience store that was approved by town officials nearly a year ago.

Ross Galloway, a site acquisition manager for First Hartford Corp. in Connecticut, said the company’s 5,275-square-foot store would be most comparable to a Cumberland Farms on Troy-Schenectady Road in Albany County.   

A minor cleanup project delayed the start of construction in Wilton until late last year, according to Galloway.

He added that Guilderland-based Emco Construction would be managing work at the site from this point forward.

Emco Construction Vice President Kevin Huntington, when reached for comment this week, said that all of the trees would be promptly cut down and disposed of in a chipper machine at the 2.5-acre site.

“It’s just another day at the office,” Huntington offered, as work crews were efficiently completing that same task.   

Huntington explained that his firm specializes in both renovations and full build-outs of Cumberland Farms stores. 

He said a renovation project, including one that Emco Construction recently finished on Geyser Road in Milton, typically takes about 10 weeks of construction work and at least another week to clean and stock the store.

Huntington said the Maple Avenue work is expected to take about 20 weeks, which indicates that opening the store would occur in late July or early August.  

Site plans for the new Cumberland Farms in Wilton include an “extensive landscape” design, he added. 

Thursday, 29 March 2018 16:38

New City IT Firm Opens

The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce officials and Enginuity Technologies employees who celebrated a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 (left to right): Keith VanVeghten, Cathy French, Josh Izzo, Jason Greco, Matt Scarchilli and Joseph Russell. Photo provided. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A technology specialist from the Ayco offices on Broadway has opened his own firm at 77 Van Dam Street.  

Jason Greco, the former chief technology officer at Ayco, started formulating his business plan for Enginuity Technologies last summer but officially opened in early February. He said the firm specializes in the creation and optimization of websites and provides continuous support for all of the computers utilized by businesses.  

Enginuity employs three people locally and will grow as revenue allows, Greco said.

For more information, visit the website

Front photo: Sidney Martin of Simply Sidney expresses gratitude on Wednesday, March 21 for being a welcome member of the city business community. In gallery: Twelve festive scenes from the Next Door Kitchen and Bar in Ballston Spa on Monday, March 19; and two from a Luther Forest Technology Campus networking event on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 hosted by the Malta Business and Professional Association. Photos by Super Source Media LLC. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Three separate gatherings were held this week in the greater Saratoga area, yet they shared a common theme: small business owners can find lots of success when they network; or when they develop and maintain genuinely cooperative relationships. 

One event was held on Wednesday night at the recently opened Simply Sidney Floral Design on Broadway. The attendees, as active members of a group that eagerly promotes the city’s businesses, were happy to get together and celebrate.   

On Monday evening in Ballston Spa, dozens of business owners and their supporters converged on the Next Door Kitchen and Bar on Front Street for a similar occasion. They mingled loudly in the popular village restaurant, which was started in 2014 by two savvy business partners.

The third gathering was organized Tuesday in the heart of Malta’s Luther Forest, where a particularly talented woman from an Albany training firm advised more than a half-dozen local professionals in how to expand both sales and opportunities. She focused on some of the attitudes, behaviors and techniques that are most effective when meeting new people.   

The Downtown Business Association  

“I just feel like it’s a big family, and I just couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it,” admitted Sidney Martin, who joined the city’s Downtown Business Association (DBA) late last year upon opening his specialty floral shop in the modern Park Place Condos building.  

Martin was in the midst of a pleasant conversation Wednesday with Cudney’s Cleaners owner and DBA Vice President Joyce Ure, before throngs of men and women started filing in to enjoy drinks and food. 

Nicci Miller, the general manager of Wheatfield’s a little farther north on Broadway, said she has been a DBA member for about a year. On Monday she was tasked with the management of a sign-in sheet at the Simply Sidney reception desk.

Membership in the DBA, according to Miller, “opens your eyes to other businesses around town that you wouldn’t normally see.” 

The attendees were at Simply Sidney as much to hear a special guest, Saratoga Performing Arts Center President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol, as they were to cast formal ballots for a handful of DBA board members. 

Sobol was invited to the event by Lifestyles of Saratoga owner Heidi Owen West to talk about the vital links between city businesses and SPAC.

As part owner of Impressions on Broadway, and enthusiastic president of the DBA, Maddy Zanetti has abundant experience in bringing together city business owners for the best possible results.

In her time at the DBA’s helm, Zanetti has been attuned to the busy schedules of the group’s 250-plus members. She said most of them appreciate a switch that she supported in 2017 for the monthly DBA meetings, from evening to morning time slots.

While a big event in Saratoga Springs “reminds people” of the many businesses that call the city home, Zanetti said, it behooves individual owners to go beyond standard networking and devise unique ways of drawing in new customers.

“You get out of it what you put in,” she explained.

Zanetti is well known for sometimes bringing her miniature horse Upset to Impressions for visiting with pedestrians on the sidewalk, which often results in potential customers browsing the assortment of items inside her store.  

During the “Chowderfest” event in February, Zanetti added, Impressions offered passersby bottles of water and cookbooks that were created by Discover Saratoga (also known as the Convention and Tourism Bureau.) 

The Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association

On Monday, during a lively community mixer arranged by the Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association (BSBPA), various scenes of village life played on TV screens in the Next Door Kitchen and Bar. SillyCar Design owner Joel Glastetter had prepared the promotional video.  

Leaders of the BSBPA scheduled the event to mark 35 years of operation, but also to introduce new board members.   

Apparently, several years ago, Glastetter was urged by his wife Melissa to join the group. It has led to multiple different opportunities for his graphic design company, including the production and maintenance of websites for the Ballston Spa Fire District, Community Emergency Corps and Union Fire Company.  

Glastetter indicated that he likes having the ability to rent computer servers as a means to specialize in such work. 

“That way, I have a little support, too, if something goes wrong,” he said.   

David and Kyle Ominski, a father-and-son landscaping team, said they were cheerfully invited into the BSBPA by Vice President Kelly Ostrander, who is also employed by a local Trustco Bank branch.  

Their company, KDO Landscaping, now gets more exposure by assisting the BSBPA in the maintenance of numerous flower-planting beds scattered around Ballston Spa. 

Ostrander reached out to the Ominskis at the bank, she explained with a smile, “because that’s my thing, my customers.”  

Chris Fignar, who co-owns both the Next Door restaurant and Front Street Deli a few doors down, offered praise to the BSBPA for sustaining local businesses as it has since 1983.  

“Everybody just really supports each other,” he said of BSBPA members. He added that there is “great word of mouth around here, so if you’re doing a great product people definitely spread that word.”

Fignar said he sources as many of his dining products locally as possible. On a plot of land nearby on Science Street, he even grows fresh vegetables.

His Front Street partner Matt Hall thinks that Ballston Spa can easily accommodate all sorts of other businesses, including more restaurants and bars. He said there are “a lot of new families moving to town.”

The BSBPA officers concluded their formal presentations this week by noting that everyone in the restaurant should have succeeded in meeting at least two new people.  

The Malta Business and Professional Association     

The exact same sentiment was expressed Tuesday in a small classroom at the Hudson Valley Community College TEC-SMART facility, which is located in Malta’s Luther Forest Technology Campus. 

The Malta Business and Professional Association (MBPA) often takes a slightly different approach than the other two groups by arranging guest speakers to inspire local business owners. This week the MBPA featured Lauren Valentine of the Albany firm Sandler Training.

“Networking is about building meaningful relationships” at business-oriented events and not “telling people how great you are,” said Valentine, who was accompanied by MBPA board member Zuzana Kaplan. “It means we need to be focused on the other people there.”

Valentine instructed the attendees to be very discerning about whom they choose to approach, being both mindful of their own interests and sensitive to the needs of others.

“We meet people networking who may not be ready to be our client,” she said, gladly citing examples from her own past experiences.

Karen McGowan is the owner of Capital Interiorscapes, a firm that specializes in indoor plant arrangements. She asked Valentine about the lack of women at many networking events—though McGowan was admittedly unfamiliar with the dominant role of women in the BSBPA and the city’s DBA.

“There’s a lot of us who just feel like the wallflowers,” McGowan said.    

Valentine avoided responding to that specific issue, reiterating her previous points and adding that networkers must know when to “politely disengage.”    

The MBPA annual dinner is scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 11 at Panza’s Restaurant, on the southern end of Saratoga Lake. 

BALLSTON SPA – The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution this week authorizing a formal agreement with Albany County to jointly finance, build and operate a “regional biosolids handling facility.”

Sewer District Executive Director Dan Rourke said the total project cost would be “north of $40 million.” He declined to provide further details until Albany County lawmakers vote on a separate but related resolution later this month. 

In an email, Saratoga County Deputy Administrator Chad Cooke said this week’s resolution “authorizes the creation of an agreement between the two counties for the construction, operation and governance of the regional biosolids facility. The evolution of this project is still in its infancy so details related to hard costs for construction and operations as well as construction dates have not been established.” 

The Saratoga County Sewer District has an annual budget of roughly $21 million.

Through an extensive network of pumping stations and pipes, the county transports 13.5 million gallons of wastewater each day to its treatment plant in Mechanicville, according to Rourke.

Last year, when negotiations between the two counties were in the early stages, Rourke explained that water is removed at the Mechanicville plant and yields 11 tons of dried biosolids on a daily basis.

“We need to get rid of it,” he said.  

Currently, Saratoga County contracts with Casella Organics to ship biosolids to an incinerator in Connecticut and other locations, Rourke said.

He added that the new agreement is intended to share costs with Albany County and to possibly “generate revenue” in the future.  

Timothy Murphy, executive director of Albany County’s Water Purification District, said last year that he oversees the operation of two sewage treatment plants and active incinerators. But the incineration process is expensive, he said.

Murphy explained that biosolids transported to a new “regional digester” facility would be further broken down through a process called “anaerobic digestion,” and ultimately result in “substantial savings” for both counties.

“We’re always looking at ways to minimize costs,” Murphy admitted. 

He said the digester facility could specialize in processing “high-strength organic waste,” such as that disposed by restaurants and bakeries.  

In turn, according to Murphy, methane gas from the regional digester could be utilized for energy production.

Albany County officials are eager to partner with Saratoga County as soon as possible, Murphy added.

“This is a project that has gotten tremendous support,” he said.   

Before taking the vote on Tuesday, during the public comment period, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors were given an earful from a woman about the what she described as an urgent need for more funding to expand bus services.

“I have this map that I got from a local Stewart’s,” started Saratoga Springs resident Darlene McGraw, “and there’s a whole bunch of businesses down here—Saratoga Lake, Malta—that you can’t get there using public transportation.” 

“People think I’m crazy, and I tell them ‘I know I’m crazy,’ when they say if you can travel anywhere in the United States for three days, where would you go?” McGraw continued. “I want to go to Clifton Park for three days…I would love to go see southern Saratoga County and use public transportation without having to call our Sheriff’s Department to help me get across Route 146.”

McGraw explained afterward that she is unable to drive. She is as a traumatic brain injury survivor who also has been diagnosed with epilepsy.

She claims that federal law mandates the installation of sidewalks on all roads that have been significantly “altered” by construction projects, including many local roads.

The supervisors should be allocating funds for “either bus lines or more accessible routes,” McGraw said.

“We can’t keep building all these condos and all these businesses without having everybody be able to get a fair shake and deal at it—not just people with cars,” she told the county leaders.

Moments later, Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett approached McGraw and politely replied to her that she is “not crazy.”    

Thursday, 22 March 2018 17:26

Milton Manor Pet Spa to Expand

MIDDLE GROVE – Town officials in Milton unanimously approved a site plan and special use permit last week for an expansion project at the Milton Manor Pet Spa and Resort located at 612 Route 29.

According to an audio recording of the March 14 Milton Planning Board meeting posted online by Building Department Clerk Samantha Cope, the site plan specifies nearly 5,000 square feet of new space and additional parking spots at the pet grooming and lodging facility.

Milton Manor has grown steadily in popularity among pet owners since it first opened in the mid-1980s.   

One resident who lives nearby questioned the current brightness of lighting, as well as the possibility for increased noise from more dogs barking after the expansion project is complete. She also expressed concerns about a decline in her property value. 

The planning board reviewed rules under the state Environmental Quality Act and determined that there would be no negative impacts from the one-acre project.  

Thursday, 22 March 2018 17:07

Town Historians Team Up to Promote New Book

MILTON – “Anything you can do to promote the history of a town is a good thing,” says Milton Town Historian Kim McCartney.  

While many locals a short distance north were planning multiple events throughout this year to celebrate the Town of Wilton’s bicentennial, which includes a special magazine scheduled for publication in early April by Saratoga TODAY, McCartney and fellow historian James Richmond have been busy producing a hefty book of their own.

Titled, “Milton, New York: A New Town in a New Nation,” the 278-page tome is available at the price of $18 through Amazon. It includes 120 images and extensive source notes.

McCartney and Richmond have scheduled special presentations and book signings for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3 at Milton Town Hall; and again at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 26 at Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa.

McCartney indicated that, so far, 60 copies have been published. They are available at Brookside Museum or the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs.

“I grew up around here, so it’s pretty interesting,” said Milton Supervisor Scott Ostrander, admitting this week that he already has finished reading the book and passed it along to women in his family.

McCartney said she hopes the April 3 event will lead to the creation of a “history roundtable” that will further explore early life in Milton and surrounding municipalities.  

Richmond had published another book in late 2016 titled, “War on the Middleline.” Shortly afterward he and McCartney agreed to start a more comprehensive project, focusing on people and events between the Revolutionary and Civil wars and how Milton developed in that time period.

Through the course of 18 months, as residents were celebrating Milton’s 225th anniversary last year, McCartney and Richmond were assisted in researching and writing “A New Town in a New Nation” by lifetime Saratoga County resident Karen Staulters.

“I think the most compelling reason to buy the book is the stories of the local people, living out their lives in a long-forgotten time,” offered Richmond in an email, when contacted for comment.

“In many ways,” he added, “we were able to see that despite our differences, people 150 years ago struggled with the same basic issues—how to make a living, bring up their families, respond to the bigger issues confronting them in politics, religion and war.”

“Our goal is to expand historical literacy among residents and create a foundation for future historians to build on,” Richmond explained, noting how the only comparable “general history” of Milton was published in 1907.

According to McCartney, most researchers interested in learning about Saratoga County start with a book published in 1878 by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester. He was commissioned to write multiple similar county histories around the time of the nation’s centennial in 1876, she added.

McCartney, Richmond and Staulters used that book as a source, but did a lot of legwork locating old property deeds and other documents preserved by Saratoga County.

“The proof-reading was the worst part,” McCartney confessed.

The population of Milton was about 5,000 during the years covered by “A New Town in a New Nation.” That number has grown to nearly 20,000 today due to “significant growth in the last 40 years,” Richmond said.

Overall, McCartney said, she is satisfied after making the effort. She and Richmond funded the book’s publishing independently at no town expense. 

“That’s all I do, research and reading. I love it, though,” McCartney said. “You’re always learning something new.”


Thursday, 15 March 2018 17:27

Naval Changes to Impact Community

Gallery photo shows an oversized shipping container used by the U.S. Navy.  

"...the number of Navy personnel will be reduced."--Naval Nuclear Laboratory spokesman. 

WEST MILTON — A spokesman for the United States Navy’s nuclear submarine training site in West Milton confirmed this week that significant personnel changes would occur after an ambitious upgrade project starts there in September. 

Public Affairs Officer Gene Terwilliger, on behalf of the Naval Nuclear Laboratory, reported in an email that one submarine “prototype” at the Kesselring facility would be shut down completely “because it has reached its end of life.” 

A second prototype, which he called the “S8G,” is scheduled for a major “Refueling and Overhaul” that is expected to last until 2021.  

The result, according to Terwilliger, is that the current number of 1,200 Navy officers and enlisted personnel who are active in West Milton will be reduced to 525 when the three-year project commences.  

He added that there would be only one nuclear submarine prototype used for training when the Kesselring project is complete, requiring a steady presence thereafter of 800 officers and enlisted men and women.   

“Between September 2018 and 2021,” Terwilliger continued, “the reduced number of Navy personnel will be partially offset by increases to the on-site industrial subcontractors’ staff, highly skilled shipyard workers who will temporarily relocate to the area, and local trades that will be hired to support the Refueling and Overhaul project.” 

He further explained how the 200 subcontractors who are “normally” at Kesselring to perform prototype maintenance have already doubled in number to 400. Their ranks will be increased to 600 until the upgrade work is completed.     

Previous statements by Navy officials have indicated that the prototype projects would ultimately cost $180 million. 

Last summer, county and local officials were informed that the Navy’s plans would include numerous oversized shipments of materials on train tracks in the Village of Ballston Spa and roadways between there and West Milton.        

Front and last photos by In gallery (at left): The site on Route 50 in Wilton where Prime Group Holdings plans to build a two-level storage facility. Photo by Larry Goodwin. 

BALLSTON SPA – The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) board members reviewed an application for more than $500,000 of tax relief this week in relation to a large storage facility north of the Wilton Mall.

The Saratoga Springs firm Prime Group Holdings has been planning the project for many months and submitted the application.

At more than 90,000 square feet on three acres next to Route 50, and a total project cost of about $4 million, Prime Group’s two-level structure will be among the biggest high-tech storage facilities in the region.

Prime Group officials say they intend to build a “showcase” among many properties.  

In late December, the Wilton Planning Board approved a related final site plan. In recent months the Prime Group land itself was cleared and prepared for construction.  

The IDA board voted to set a formal public hearing focused on the firm’s Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) application for 8 a.m. on Monday, April 9 in Wilton Town Hall.  

A PILOT valued at more than $527,000 is sought by Prime Group, which in turn estimates its various project expenses to result in a net gain of about $400,000.   

Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership President Marty Vanags gave a brief overview of the Route 50 storage facility.

“The building is highly secured, using state-of-the-art locking systems and climate controls,” he explained. “This type of business warehousing is very important to small businesses that cannot maintain inventory in their own facilities.”

Vanags reported that the project will generate 90 construction jobs and $56,900 in local property tax revenue after the five-year PILOT expires.

He then introduced Gerard Moser, who appeared as the official representative of Prime Group Holdings in the PILOT application process.

Business owners in Saratoga Springs typically have to pay $40 to $50 per square foot for operating space, according to Moser.

“You don’t want to be wasting $40 to $50 a square foot to store inventory,” he said. “You want to have a less expensive place to offset your costs, and that’s where we come into play. “

Moser said Prime Group’s Route 50 site, as planned, would accommodate at least one tractor-trailer for loading and unloading. There will be two elevators (costing $80,000 each, he noted) and access doors on both sides of the building.

“Everything is going to be designed so that the business owner will have a facility that works for them,” Moser informed the IDA board members. He sees the location as ideal due to the growing number of businesses in the area, not just south on Route 50.

“When we bring clients in, we want to be able to showcase for clients what we do,” he said.

Moser also described the wider scope of Prime Group Holding’s operations. The firm manages nearly $1.5 billion worth of properties in 23 states, he indicated.

“We are the largest independent owner and operator of storage facilities throughout the U.S.,” Moser said.

He added: “We’re not limited to just storage facilities. We do own apartments and other types of projects,” including Malta properties “partially owned by Prime Holdings.”

Moser had a long discussion with the IDA board members regarding an apparent need to expand Prime Group’s corporate headquarters as well.

Moser described the $400,000 worth of PILOT savings for the storage facility in Wilton as a vital component of Prime Group’s local expansion plans.

He said the Prime Group offices on Railroad Place are “bulging at the seams” with 40 employees. The firm considers Saratoga County as an ideal location, Moser added, noting how 20 more employees may be hired to occupy any new space.

But IDA board members criticized the timing of such discussions. They pointed to a strong possibility that the number of long-term jobs created by the Route 50 storage facility in Wilton would be minimal.   

“It’s an exciting project, no question about it—don’t get us wrong,” Board Chairman Rodney Sutton said. “But we are dealing with taxpayers’ dollars, and on first blush this is a tough project to sell with one or two or multiple jobs” at the Route 50 site.  

Sutton added that he is personally amenable to considering a role for the IDA in Prime Group’s office expansion plans, but only at the right time.  

Before disclosing that he has worked in the past with Prime Group Holdings through his own insurance firm, Sutton said the IDA board would determine “how to structure this so that it’s equitable to you, the applicant, and then we can go forward.” 

(Left to right) The late Robert J. Creifelds. Photo provided by Armer Funeral Home; Ballston Spa Fire Department Chief Bill Lewis, Volunteer Apprentice Tess Davidson-Brown, Second Assistant Kevin Krogh and Volunteer Apprentice Zachary Greenspan; and National Bottle Museum Board Director Ellie Dillon, Director Gary Moeller and Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano. Photos by Larry Goodwin. 

BALLSTON SPA — Village leaders mostly avoided the heavy topic of budget problems Monday night, as the name of a respected volunteer firefighter flashed in red letters on a digital sign outside. 

After dark the Eagle Matt Lee firehouse sign brightens up a part of Bath Street, and it is visible through the windows of the Ballston Spa Village Board’s meeting room.

In light of recent events, Mayor John Romano decided to reverse the board’s agenda items and start with “new business.” 

He offered praise to Tess Davidson-Brown and Zachary Greenspan, both area teenagers, who were approved by the board as volunteer apprentices in the Ballston Spa Fire Department. They had appeared for the occasion together with Chief Bill Lewis and Second Assistant Kevin Krogh.

Before introducing Davidson-Brown and Greenspan, Romano took a moment to honor Robert J. Creifelds, who passed away the weekend of March 4 after serving as a firefighter in the village for nearly 60 years. 

“He’s the epitome of what volunteerism is all about,” the mayor said.

The firehouse’s digital sign continuously scrolled the letters “R.I.P.” for Creifelds. 

Lewis reported that Creifelds, in previous years, had served in Rotterdam’s Carman Fire Department and volunteered elsewhere, too. 

Romano also paid homage to the work of Gary Moeller, director of the National Bottle Museum at 76 Milton Avenue, which was presented with a $1,200 check from the village.

The museum, according to Romano, preserves the history of Ballston Spa as a producer of bottles that were then shipped worldwide, as a means to distribute the area’s famously healthy spring waters.  

A more graphic description appears on the website “Exhibits inside of the National Bottle Museum allow visitors to view thousands of glass bottles that were produced by strong men who toiled in intense heat for 12 hours a day, six days a week, when the demand for glass containers was staggering,” reads one account. “It was an era when vast commercial empires rose and fell. In many cases, only the bottles remain as witness to the drama.”

“We appreciate what you do,” Romano told Moeller, before giving him a second “surprise” gift: a symbolic key to the village. It was earned by Moeller’s dutiful efforts at the museum.

“His job is, for sure, under-appreciated,” Romano added. 

“I have to say, I’m a little touched,” Moeller responded.

When visitors ask about tourist attractions in Saratoga Springs, Moeller explained, he instead recommends they go see places that are much closer. “You can go to Saratoga, if you want,” he tells tourists. “Ballston Spa is a cool village.”    

The mayor thanked as well Ellie Dillon, the National Bottle Museum board director, who had accompanied Moeller to the March 12 meeting. 

As the village board members proceeded through their regular agenda items, which were recently updated to include specific budgetary information, Trustee Noah Shaw requested to see even more details about $3,500 of expenditures in the Department of Public Works.

In relation to the village’s ongoing effort to address shortfalls in its $4.1 million annual budget, Shaw said every public meeting agenda should “identify the amounts” of money deducted from each separate account.

During its meeting in late January, the board voted to take out a short-term loan of $600,000 from Ballston Spa National Bank to cover a number of current expenses. 

But Romano insisted this week on ending the discussion as it started, with a focus on more positive aspects of life in Ballston Spa. 

He predicted that weather would not be a factor for the upcoming Easter Egg Hunt that is popular among local families.

The annual event, sponsored jointly by the village and the Town of Milton, is scheduled to take place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 25 at the Milton Community Center on Northline Road.

“It’s a good way to run off the pancake breakfast,” concluded Trustee Robert Cavanaugh.   

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