BALLSTON SPA - The Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is helping Core Tech Industrial Corp. plan for a proposed expansion that would cost $2 Million. Core Tech is seeking $418,000 in tax breaks through the IDA, according to SEDC president Denis Brobston. The SEDC is assisting Core Tech through the application process in Ballston.
Core Tech, located at 2 McCrea Hill Rd. in Ballston Spa, is a manufacturing business that develops and engineers parts for the power market. They have built gas-fired, solar and wind turbines for General Electric and others.
Core Tech is planning to build a 30,000 square-foot detached manufacturing facility in Corporate Tech Park, in the lot adjacent to Core Tech’s current site.
“So this is a retention of the existing company because if they don’t keep investing here then they invest somewhere else,” said Brobston. He adds that Core Tech has been approached aggressively from states throughout the country pitching to have expansion done in a new location.
Core Tech currently leases out one-fourth of its existing facility to another company. The lease is for 10 years.
“The way that their growth has taken place they need 30,000 square feet of manufacturing space and there’s a lot right next to them that they were able to get control of,” said Brobston.
The expansion would bring Core Tech’s current employment from 48 to 68. According to Brobston these are in the $70,000
BALLSTON SPA — Ballston Spa Village elections took on place March 19. The village voted on a new mayor and two trustee positions.
Residents elected Larry Woolbright as the new mayor, succeeding John Romano who has been mayor for nearly 25 years. Woolbright received 651 votes; his term begins April 1. Woolbright ran as a Republican under the campaign motto “Deliver4BSpa.” Running under the same motto was Peter Martin and Rory O’Connor; however, they did not win the two open trustee seats.
Liz Kormos and Christine M. Fitzpatrick ran under a new party called “A Better BSpa,” and won with 500 votes and 512, respectively. Martin received 434 and O’Connor received 398.
“Last night did not go the way we hoped, but we are so thankful for every single voter who did turn out for us yesterday. Moving forward, those elected to the village board must take action, get finances settled while protecting the services Ballston Spa residents deserve including our police and fire department,” a Facebook post read from Deliver4BSpa on March 20 and pictured O’Connor and Martin.
“The election marks a turning point for the Village. No longer will people be excluded from participating in Village government because they are the wrong party or haven't been here long enough. Along with Noah Shaw and Shawn Raymond, we will let the sunshine into Village Hall... Together we will steer Ballston Spa toward the goals of financial health, repair our infrastructure and redevelop existing properties. We will address public safety and make Ballston Spa a place welcoming to people of all ages and abilities,” a Facebook post says by ABetterBSpa.
Kormos and Fitzpatrick succeed former trustees Stuart Hodsoll and Robert Cavanaugh. Their terms also begin on April 1. Kormos says the future is bright for A Better Ballston Spa.
Photos by Elisa Sheehan.
SARATOGA — For the last two-or-so years, Saratoga local Elisa Sheehan has been painting eggshells. She is a painter and has previously managed her own graphic design business. Her art is rooted in wellness and is typically used in hospitals and healing settings.
“I used to get up early in the morning to paint because I had a graphic design business and two kids that we home-schooled so my painting time was often early in the morning. There were just these eggshells lying on our counter waiting for the compost and something struck me about them, they looked like they could be fun to doodle on,” Sheehan said.
“So I just grabbed them. I would just kind of doodle in them, mostly it just started with pen and ink. Over time a bunch of them piled up and I just thought they were so cool,” Sheehan said. She then posted images of the shells to her to Instagram and received a lot of positive feedback.
Her work reminded her of the Japanese art of Kintsugi, the act of repairing pottery with gold and silver. The philosophy behind Kintsugi is embracing something for its flaws and imperfections.
“I was just so taken with that concept, and I really do constantly think about it in my life too as a result of creating these every day. I’m really trying to make it my own practice as well,” she said.
Sheehan uses a variety of techniques to paint the inside of the eggshells: Paint brushes, ink, pen, and acrylic paint because it won’t eat away at the shells.
“I really strive to make each shell really interesting in its own right,” Sheehan said. She says she spends hours on one single shell.
After preserving the design Sheehan sometimes adds a gold leaf, drawing inspiration from Kintsugi.
Sheehan’s art, being as unique as it is, gained attention on social media which led to her work being featured on Martha Stewart’s website as a news story.
Since being featured, Sheehan says she has gained more followers on social media and has received requests for custom eggshells.
To learn more about Sheehan or purchase her art visit elisasheehan.com
SARATOGA COUNTY — The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership (SCPP) is currently surveying business owners in the community to gauge the need of digital marketing skills in the capital region. With the growing number of Saratoga County-based businesses that rely on e-commerce, commercial transactions conducted electronically on the internet, there is also a growing need for unconventional marketing strategies and the skills to implement them.
“There’s not enough talent in our region in the digital marketing space, especially companies... that do so much of their business on the web. You can outsource some of it but you can only to a point and you really do need people in house to be able to tackle some of
this,” said Shelby Schneider, Vice President of the SCPP.
The survey asks questions like “How important is digital marketing to the success of your business?” and “Other thoughts on "Social Media Management you need help with in your business?”
“We want a real true sense of what the employer needs for a digital marketing strategist, if they need people full-time, part-time, in-house and just get a really true sense in how many jobs,” Schneider said.
Schneider said the partnership noticed a skills gap in the capital region; skills that are needed include content creation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the ability to understand algorithm changes on Google, Facebook and other social media platforms, purchasing advertisements on the internet, identifying trends, and measuring conversion.
“If you probably search Glassdoor, Indeed or other sites you'll probably see opening for digital marketing strategists and look at how long those jobs have been out there," Schneider said.
After establishing what the specific needs are through the survey, the SCPP plans to develop and launch a workforce-training program. However, this is not the first time the SCPP has created a solution to an issue that is affecting the entire capital region.
The partnership helped launch AlbanyCanCode in 2016. AlbanyCanCode is an educational program that was designed to fill the skills gap between local employers
of software and IT professionals, and local individuals who have the aptitude to work in software but lack local options for training. The program was launched based on research and the feedback they received from local employers.
“How great would it be... to have that level of leadership, industry-driven workforce development, and having the industry at the table to say this is what we need right now and having the industry collaborate with our training partners or community colleges to support that vessel,” Schneider said.
To take the survey visit saratogapartnership.org.
BALLSTON SPA — After a tumultuous year, regarding Ballston Spa’s finances, the village will vote for two new trustees, and a new mayor, each for a four-year- term. Elections are being held March 19.
Current village trustees, Stuart Hodsoll and Robert Cavanaugh, announced that they are not seeking re-election this year. Nor will Mayor John P. Romano. All three have held their positions for nearly 24 years each.
Liz Kormos and Christine Fitzpatrick, who were endorsed by the village Democratic Committee, are running as an independent body, under a newly formed party line “A Better BSpa.” Their platform is centered on first addressing the poor state of financial management in the Village. Following that they would like to concentrate on repairing and improving the infrastructure, roads, parking and sidewalks; increasing the tax base by redeveloping existing properties, improving public safety on the streets; and supporting senior citizens.
Kormos was a member of the budget advisory committee appointed by the village board to develop strategies and identify opportunities for advancing the state of the village’s fiscal affairs. Kormos was also a member of the Zoning Advisory Committee with members of the Planning and Zoning Boards, Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association, and local developers to make recommendations on improvements in the zoning code, which were then adopted by the Board of Trustees.
Fitzpatrick has been a resident of Ballston Spa since
1987. For 16 years, Fitzpatrick was responsible for strategic planning, budget and daily operations, of a non-profit member-driven organization. She was the corporate-wide manager of employee benefits for a Fortune 500 company for seven years and worked in employee relations and labor/management negotiations for more than 10 years for the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations. She was also a middle-school teacher in Washington D.C. and New York City and worked in social services agencies in New York City in the 1970s.
There are also two Republicans running for the village trustee seats as well. Candidates Peter Martin and Rory O’Connor are running under the tagline “Deliver 4 BSPA,” were endorsed by the Villages Republican Committee. The two sat on the village’s budget advisory committee alongside Kormos.
Martin, owns and operates an 18-year-old small business, Village Photo, LLC, in the heart of Ballston Spa’s downtown. Additionally, he has more than 20 years of experience managing high-volume grocery stores giving him a background managing large budgets and personnel. He is an active member of the Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association (BSBPA). Martin is also highly involved with the local community by supporting many organizations, especially those for youth and high school athletics.
O’Connor is a real estate broker who owns Saratoga Real Property and 199 Professional Building. He dedicated years serving the village on its Planning Board and the Board of Assessment Review. He is active on the boards of the Greater Capital Association of Realtors and the New York State Association of Realtors. He is a current member of the Ballston Spa Elks Club and a former board member of the BSBPA.
Trustees are voted on separately despite their conjoined platforms.
Larry Woolbright, who was also endorsed by the village’s republican committee, is running for village mayor. Woolbright was also on the budget advisory committee alongside Martin and Kormos.
Woolbright is a retired professor from Siena College and former head of the Biology Department and Dean of Science. He has an extensive background
in government service having dedicated many years of service as chair of the Town of Milton Planning Board and the Open Space Committee. Additionally, he served on the Ballston Spa Central School District Board of Education and co-founded the Friends of the Kayaderosseras.
Former Mayor of Ballston Spa James Capasso announced on Feb. 23 via Facebook that he decided to run for mayor as a write-in after his petition to run independently was declined due to lack of signatures.
“After some serious thought I’ve decided to run a write-in campaign for Mayor. This is our Village and we deserve better.
I will be needing a lot of help to get the word out. We can win this. Please pm (private message) me if you can volunteer,” Capasso said in a Facebook post.
James Capasso was reached for comment but did not respond. In October of last year an audit from the New York State Comptroller’s office was released, the audit determined that the treasurer did not maintain adequate accounting records and that Board did not adequately monitor the village’s financial condition. No incumbents are seeking re-election this year. The two elected trustees will join Trustees Noah Shaw and Shawn Raymond.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On March 1 President of Saratoga Hospital, Angelo Calbone, shared a letter to neighbors expressing interest in revisiting the concept of a medical building in close proximity to the hospital’s main campus at the top of Myrtle Street in Wilton.
The medical office building project was first pitched in 2015; however, it was met with strong opposition from neighbors and was later dropped.
The Saratoga Springs City Council is currently concluding its work to align the city’s zoning map to the city’s approved comprehensive plan and the hospital wants to be a part of that conversation at the upcoming City Council meeting taking place on March 12.
“First, I want to say that I respect the right of all members of the community to be informed and to voice support or opposition for matters that affect all of us. I encourage that dialog. We all benefit from informed discussions,” Calbone says in the letter.
The project would include creating a 75,000 square-foot building that’s expandable by 13,000 square-feet and 300 parking spaces. The building site would also include green space. The projected medical office rental space savings are $750,000 per a year, according to the letter.
“We respect the issues that have been raised since the project was first proposed. However, we, as Saratoga Hospital, believe the upcoming decisions affect the entire community — even beyond our city limits. We have a responsibility to provide the best possible healthcare services to the community we serve, that is our public obligation,” a spokesperson for Saratoga Hospital said.
Calbone believes it is best practice that the hospital have medical offices in close proximity to the hospital because it results in better patient care, especially for patients with critical needs.
The hospital already employs 3,000 people, which includes a team of 250 doctors, nurses and physician assistants providing medical care in more than 30 specialties in over 20 locations across the region. The new building would also include 90 staff parking spaces. Full occupancy is estimated to take over five years.
“One way or another, the assumption must be that the property at the top of Myrtle Street will be sold and ultimately developed. We do not own the property. Any other development options for the property are outside our control. If the hospital moves forward, our objectives are clear. If another developer purchases the property, those objectives are also clear — to maximize profits,” Calbone wrote.
Calbone says he hopes to move forward together and come to the best solution for residents of the community and neighbors to the hospital.
He closes the letter with, “I know many will still be opposed to our plan for their own reasons. I also recognize that some will question every word, perhaps selectively quote what I have offered to you in this letter. But I hope any opposition is for the right reasons, all things considered.”
BALLSTON SPA — A public hearing regarding Saratoga County Airport’s Master Plan was held on Feb. 20. On the same day, it was announced by Governor Cuomo that $23 Million in state funding will be awarded to airports statewide for modernization, operational improvements and safety enhancement projects.
Saratoga County Airport, located at 405 Greenfield Ave. in Ballston Spa, was awarded $719,000 to construct a new snow removal equipment storage facility at the airport, according to a press release by the state. Airport projects throughout the state are funded through the Governor’s State Aviation Capital Grant Program initiative and complement the Governor’s Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, which provided $200 million to modernize airports across Upstate.
$1.4 million went to Albany International Airport to construct a photovoltaic solar array, while $1 million was awarded to Schenectady County Airport to
construct a new aircraft hangar. Proposed changes in the Master Plan that were discussed at the public hearing include taxiway improvements, glider operations improvements, wildlife hazard management improvements, proposed acquisition of land and navigation easements, and vegetation obstruction removal affecting runways, according to public documents. Potentially affected resources include habitat for the federally listed endangered species, the Karner Blue butterfly. However, Matthew Veitch, Supervisor for the city of Saratoga Springs and Chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee says that the butterfly habitat will be exchanged with a larger parcel of County-owned land in Wilton adjacent to an existing butterfly habitat to make up for the loss.
The plan was adopted in 2014 and is not due for another update until 2024 according to Veitch.
A Facebook group called Stop the Saratoga County Airport Expansion was created in 2014 and has remained an active proponent in the airport’s master plan. According to Facebook, the mission reads: “We are uniformly opposed to any expansion of the runways at the Saratoga County Airport and this includes the “no build” option. We vote no to all proposals.”
However, Veitch says that no runway extensions or expansions are included in this proposal.
Veitch says that input at the public hearing was extensive. “While I did not speak publicly on the various aspects of the master plan, my job as Chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee was to listen to the concerns of residents, just to be aware of how they felt about the proposals. I appreciate the public’s input on the projects, and their comments will be taken into consideration as the projects progress, and with any future discussions the County may have regarding the Airport,” he said in email correspondence.
A member from the Stop the Saratoga County Airport Expansion commented “The proposed 77 acres of mowing around the runway perimeters will require taking (killing) 77 acres of the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly and their known habitat. This proposed action in effect has been stated to the public and throughout the MPPP-EA as a need for greater safety that would increase visibility to animals (deer, coyote, etc.) that might be hidingin the grass. Any safety concerns could be resolved by rebuilding/ repairing the fence as proposed in the MPPP-EA. As the fence stands today, the large holes and lack of height could allow both smaller animals to crawl under and deer to jump over and onto the airport property. Given the severity and great risk imposed on the endangered Karner Blue, and the fact an alternative
option to repair the fence has been given by the consulting firm McFarland Johnson, we are respectfully asking the SEQR Full Environmental Assessment Form associated with the current MPPP-EA is given a negative declaration, and the proposed mowing plan that will take (kill) 77 acres of surviving Karner Blue and their known habitat is removed from the MPPP-EA.”
WILTON — Molly McMaster, a resident of Wilton, is celebrating Colon Cancer Awareness Month and 20 years cancer free with the release of her new book “One Drop of Rain: Creating a Wave of Colon Cancer Awareness.” March is colon cancer awareness month.
2019 is also celebrating the 15th year of her original creation and release of the Colander; a calendar and now magazine chronicling the lives of the growing number of individuals under 50 with colon cancer.
McMaster was diagnosed with colon cancer on her 23rd birthday in 1999 and since then she made it her mission to bring awareness to the disease; “it’s not an old white men’s disease anymore,” she says.
“I decided to start doing crazy things to raise awareness because I was told I was the only one in the country that was so young,” McMaster said.
In 2002 she built a 40-foot- long colon that toured the country that has now found its home in Texas at Houston Health Museum as the Colossal Colon. She herself has toured the country roller blading on inline skates from New York to Colorado in 2000, calling it the Road to Recovery. McMaster has even appeared on the TODAY Show, and was interviewed by Katie Couric.
“All of our projects, we try to use the word colon because it makes people say it. People don’t usually want to talk about colon cancer let alone say the word,” she said.
“On the last day of the cross- country skate, this stranger signed in on my guest book and he said ‘Molly, one drop of rain ripples the entire pond, you’ll never know the lives you’ve touched,’” McMaster said. This is the inspiration of her book title.
McMaster is also the founder of the Colon Club that was created in 2003. The Colon Club’s mission is to connect young adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer so they never have to feel alone.
“I realized this organization, that I was afraid was going to fall without me, is going like a freight train now and there are so many people involved and its kind of, for lack of a better word, its truly like a legacy, to see what its become and having these other people involved. I don’t see it stopping anytime soon,” she said. Although she considers the release of her book, ‘hanging up her hat’ as far as the ‘crazy’ projects go, “if anyone came up with a crazy idea that I can still do, definitely I’d do it,” McMasters aid.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Keith Koster is life-long resident of Saratoga Springs, a three-time cancer survivor, a Navy veteran and has climbed all of the Adirondack Mountain’s 46 peaks, twice. This month Koster is pictured on the front page of the American Legion’s monthly magazine celebrating the organization’s 100-year-anniversary.
“It’s really weird reading a story about yourself but yea it’s been pretty neat. A lot of people reaching out on Facebook and stuff like that,” Koster said.
In the last year, Koster has been climbing the Adirondack high peaks with the American Legion’s flag in hand. He plans to finish all 46 peaks before or on March 15. Koster says he was given the idea by a friend to pay tribute to the legion’s 100 years.
The 46 Adirondack High Peaks are a collection of mountains that range from 3,000 to 5,000 feet. Koster says the hikes can take between 10 to 12 hours, and sometimes more.
“The solitude and the beauty of it, when you’re standing on top of the mountains, even the ones with lousy views, there’s always somewhere that you’re gonna get a vista. I’ve hiked in about 13 different states... in the Adirondacks and you don’t see any civilizations so it’s just pure nature at its finest,” says Koster.
Koster has held high positions in the American Legion in New York State. Most recently he was the third and fourth district Department Vice Commander for New York. He also shares his story through public speaking as well.
“It is a group of people, that together we’re trying to create a better life for all those vets out there,” said Koster who has served in the U.S. Navy in 1982 to until 1988.
Right now Koster is trying to change what first comes to mind when people hear “American Legion.”
“Unfortunately when you hear the American Legion club what do you think? Some old guys sitting around the bar telling war stories; doesn’t mean we don’t do some of that still. But I wanted to try to create a different image in trying to bring in some of the new veterans that have families and do things other than the social aspect of what people perceive the American Legion is,” Koster said.
Aside form climbing mountains, Koster runs 5K’s and half marathons, and is trying to connect with more vets and their families through athletic events with the American Legion 4th District Family Athletic Club.
Koster was inspired to create the club when he was challenged by the Sons of the American Legion Detachment Commander William Casey III to do something big and bold. To start the year, veterans and family members in the club participated in the Lake George Polar Plunge, which meant jumping into the freezing lake on Jan. 1. He is also planning to participate in 5k marathons in every county of New York’s fourth district, for this year.
“I always say if I can help one veteran not commit suicide or change a path that they may go down the wrong way, that’s the most important, even if I don’t know I helped them. To me that’s the key and that’s what it’s all about.”
To find out more about Koster’s efforts, visit Facebook and search ‘American Legion 4th District Family Athletic Club.
HALFMOON — Saratoga County’s first marijuana dispensary opened on Feb. 1 in Halfmoon. F.P. Wellness, located at 1675 U.S. 9, is a medical marijuana dispensary, which means that, in order purchase products the customer has to have a certification issued by the New York State Medical Marijuana Program. According to the New York State Department of Health there are 2,201 registered practitioners that can prescribe medical marijuana and 90,954 certified patients in the state of New York.
Customers need to have one of the qualifying conditions by New York State as well as a prescription from a practitioner that has taken approved courses and is registered by the New York State Medical Marijuana Program.
“This opportunity was presented to me late fall. I had already been intrigued by it and I like the idea of alternative medicine. It was becoming quite cumbersome as a retail pharmacist with the opioid issue so that was really what my main motivation was,” said Katie Ogden, Pharm.D. and F.P. Wellness dispensary manager.
Ogden had a career in pharmaceuticals working as the pharmacist in charge at CVS in Wilton. Ogden also worked several years in a compounding pharmacy, incorporating her knowledge of compounding techniques and nutritional supplements.
“One of the qualifying conditions of medical marijuana uses opioid replacement therapy so it’s a really unique alternative to using pain medications,” she added.
Under the New York State Department of Health, qualifying conditions for the use of medical marijuana include cancer, positive status for HIV or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathy, chronic pain as defined, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or Huntington’s disease, any condition for which an opioid could be prescribed or substance use disorder.
A typical appointment at FP Wellness would begin with a consultation with the pharmacist. A newly certified customer would have to fill out a patient in-take form. In the consultation, the pharmacist will determine the dosage, product ratio and what type of Cannabidiol (CBD) that would be best for the customer.
“I would run an interaction check with any medications they are currently taking with marijuana to make sure there are not going to be any interaction. We would discuss the condition they’re looking to treat... and discuss whether they’ve used recreationally,” Ogden said. The level of THC would be adjusted based on the customer’s use of Marijuana.
F.P. Wellness stands for Fiorello Pharmaceuticals, which is a medical company based in New York City. Other dispensaries under Fiorello Pharmaceuticals are in Rochester, Manhattan and Nassau. The next nearest dispensaries closest to Saratoga County are located in Albany or as far as Massachusetts.
Products that F.P. Wellness offers include vape cartridges, capsules, tincture, tablets, powder and oral spray. All medical Marijuana has more than 0.3 percent of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive constituent of cannabis.
To find out more about F.P. Wellness, visit fpwellnessny.com.