Jonathon Norcross

Jonathon Norcross

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Sunlight reflecting off the water. The scent of pine trees. A light breeze carrying with it the rehearsals of a live orchestra. The most zen place in all of Saratoga Springs might be the Spa State Park, where summer yoga classes will be held June through August.

“When you’re outside, it’s this really beautiful alchemy of everything working all together, the way it should be, the way it was originally meant to be,” said Amy DeLuca, the founder and teacher coordinator of Yoga in Spa State Park. “One of the things that yoga does is it helps to get you into that parasympathetic nervous system where it’s more restful, and you need that. We need that right now.”

Yoga in Spa State Park launched in 2013, offering classes on the lawn in front of the reflecting pool. Years later, when the pandemic hit and yoga studios suddenly closed, the program grew rapidly. “It was a huge plus for everybody during a very challenging time,” DeLuca said.

The program now includes year-round classes held in the Roosevelt II Pavillion during the colder months. Summer classes take place under the brick arches of the Administration Building behind the Spa Little Theater. The classes are donation-based, with a suggested contribution of $15, but participants can pay what they wish. DeLuca said nobody is ever turned away. The only thing necessary for taking a class is a yoga mat. 

DeLuca has six teachers at the moment, some of whom are teaching three classes per week. They’re all “highly certified,” DeLuca said, with some having twenty years of experience. “What makes us unique is that these teachers, including myself, have a clear focus about what we feel yoga can be, the benefits that it offers.”

Beginners are more than welcome. “We as teachers, because we’re experienced, know how to do variations and modifications so that anybody, any size, in any condition can really benefit from the first class,” DeLuca said.

The program’s summer schedule begins on June 1, with at least one class occurring every day of the week. Classes include “Foundations of Flow,” “Intuitive Yoga Flow,” “Gentle Yoga,” and “Vinyasa Yoga.” No pre-registration is required. For more information, visit the Yoga in Spa State Park Facebook page at

SARATOGA SPRINGS — After an independent investigation earlier this year determined that the Saratoga Springs City School District investigated “most, but not all” complaints made against members of its athletic program, the district discussed the results of a second independent review at a May 22 Board of Education meeting.

The review, summarized at the meeting by Dr. Glenn Lungarini, executive director of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, praised what Lungarini called Saratoga’s “long-standing culture of excellence,” but also offered some recommendations for improvements.

• Lungarini said that while it’s not uncommon for athletic directors to have multiple roles, assigning too many responsibilities to the position can mean that “you’re resigning yourself to the idea that each of those is going to be done to the best of their ability part-time.”

• Lungarini suggested the district formalize athletic and coach handbooks, an idea previously raised by Superintendent Dr. Michael Patton, so that everyone involved in the athletic program is more aware of their roles and responsibilities.

• Lungarini said the district should be mindful of providing equal access to boys and girls sports, citing the example of the state of the baseball field compared to the softball field, which has a temporary fence.

• “Everybody talked about buses,” Lungarini said, referring to the district’s bus driver shortage. He suggested that parents be notified sooner if there are no buses available so that carpools and other methods of transportation can be arranged. 

The remarks about transportation issues came on the heels of voters approving the 2024-2025 budget, which cut two transportation department positions: a bus mechanic and a bus dispatcher. Both positions sometimes served as bus drivers as well.

Dr. Michael Patton said that the full report from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference would be posted online so the public could review all of Lungarini’s recommendations.

Thursday, 30 May 2024 14:19

Revamped Tinney’s Tavern Reopens

MIDDLE GROVE — Lake Desolation was not so desolate last Wednesday afternoon when a small crowd gathered to celebrate Tinney’s Tavern, the lakefront restaurant and bar that reopened after undergoing several renovations. On hand were local community members and the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.

“I just can’t tell you how much we appreciate the support that we got from the local community already. It’s really truly what a local community should be about,” said Tinney’s co-owner Sean Willcoxon while surrounded by his family. “Here in Greenfield, Middle Grove, and the local communities, it truly is supported by everyone and we take great pride in joining that.”

On tap were a variety of craft beers, including a refreshing Saranac Blueberry Blonde Ale enjoyed by at least one local reporter.

Tinney’s Tavern is now open for business at 498 Lake Desolation Road in Middle Grove.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Gaffney’s, the popular bar and restaurant on Caroline Street in downtown Saratoga Springs, has been listed by the Scott Varley Team of Keller Williams Capital District for $4.6 million, and a well-known Saratogian has floated the idea of buying it. 

Gaffney’s was put up for sale after facing potential foreclosure. The listing states that the sale is for the real estate that houses Gaffney’s, not the actual business itself. The property, built in 1967, includes commercial space plus ten rental apartments.

When the Instagram account Around Saratoga Springs posted news of the property’s sale, Barstool Sports founder and owner Dave Portnoy asked his 5 million followers, “Should I buy?”

Portnoy is a frequent visitor to the Saratoga Race Course and owns property on Fifth Avenue next to the Oklahoma Training Track. Last year, he acquired an area variance from the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals so that he could demolish the existing ranch-style home and build a new one.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A recently announced $35.2 million construction project at the Saratoga County Airport aims to be done in time for next year’s Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. But in the meantime, private jets are jockeying for possession of coveted parking spots.

When major sporting events come to town, airports, especially smaller ones, can become overwhelmed by visitors. “There’s limited space,” said Janine Iannarelli, an international broker of private aircraft. “There’s already a base population there. There’s an expectation for a certain amount of incoming traffic, but then you add a significant event and you can ratchet up that traffic by as much as 100, 150 percent.”

With a new terminal building and hangar space in the works, the airport is certainly growing. But it may not be enough. The 20,000-square-foot hangar will be big enough to fit two corporate jets. “That’s really rather small,” Iannarelli said. 

Iannarelli, a horse racing enthusiast who spends her summers in Saratoga, said that although most Belmont visitors flying private will head to the Saratoga or Albany airports, increased plane traffic could also be felt as far north as the Burlington International Airport in Vermont, and as far south as the Stewart International Airport in Newburgh.

“The fact that you see an interest in traveling specifically to a sporting event like this shines new light on the value of the Saratoga County Airport,” Iannarelli said. “The airport is there not just for the pleasure of people, but it’s going to serve a more important purpose as the area develops.”

According to Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Phil Barrett, the current economic impact of the airport exceeds $10 million. Barrett called the airport “a vital gateway to our local economy.”

Prior to the recent construction project, the airport was also working on adding a six bay Tee-hangar for additional aircraft storage. The new terminal and adjoining 20,000-square-foot hangar are expected to be completed by June 2025 when another influx of Belmont attendees is expected.

Thursday, 30 May 2024 14:07

Belmont Merch Fills Broadway

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Belmont t-shirts. Belmont jewelry. Belmont posters. Belmont shot glasses. Belmont cigars. It seems like everywhere you go on Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs, there’s a piece of Belmont memorabilia to buy. 

With local officials estimating that the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival could have an economic impact of $50 million in four days, it’s perhaps no surprise that local businesses are getting in on the action.

Union Hall Supply Co., at 437 Broadway, unveiled this week a limited edition Belmont collection designed by East + Lake. The line includes a “History in the Making” t-shirt, a purple sweatshirt adorned with a crown, and a red top with the outline of a pair of flowers.

At 368 Broadway, Impressions of Saratoga is offering a wide range of Belmont swag, including hats, shirts, shot glasses, cups, mugs, and the 2024 Belmont Stakes at Saratoga poster designed by Greg Montgomery.

At James & Sons Tobacconists, one can light up a Rocky Patel-made exclusive Belmont cigar with a Honduran binder and a Sumatra wrapper. One stick costs $15 and a box of ten cigars will run you $150. The mild to medium smoke will “please aficionados and beginners alike,” said James & Sons.

deJonghe Original Jewelry at 470 Broadway has limited edition Belmont charms available in sterling silver, 14k white gold, and 14k yellow gold, with prices that start at $135. “The Belmont Saratoga race is a remarkable opportunity for people to discover Saratoga, the charm of its historic downtown and the shops and restaurants that make this town unique,” said Evan deJonghe.

As previously reported by Saratoga TODAY, the projected $50 million economic impact figure was calculated by simply adding up four days of economic activity at the annual 40-day summer meet. In other words, the impact of Belmont may be more or less the same as a typical busy track weekend. Whether or not visitors are as excited for the uniqueness of Belmont at Saratoga as locals are, there will certainly be plenty of mementos available for them to bring home.

BALLSTON SPA — This June, residents can begin moving into The Estates at Ballston Spa, an apartment complex located a little less than two miles from the village’s downtown. The apartments are the first phase of a planned three-pronged project that would ultimately create 144 residential units.

Phase one is finishing The Estates at 1419 Saratoga Road, which will include two buildings; one with 24 units and another with 40 units. The luxury apartments are all 2 and 3 bedrooms, with monthly rent prices starting at $1,875. According to Paul Nichols, co-developer of the project, about half of the 24-unit building has already been rented, with a handful more units reserved in the 40-unit building.

Phase two involves building 28 modern farmhouse-style townhomes in the rear of the property. The homes are currently awaiting town approval. If approval is granted, Nichols said that land for the homes could start being cleared this fall. 



The final phase of the project entails constructing three additional three-story, mixed-use buildings with another 52 apartments; plus 25,000 square feet of retail and amenity space on the first floor.

“The location itself is really the gateway to Ballston Spa. We found that very appealing,” Nichols said. “We’ve always liked downtown Ballston Spa. It’s quaint with its shops and restaurants, and we think it’s just a great place to live.”

Paragon Residential Management is developing the project alongside general contractor BDC Builders.

MALTA — The Malta Town Board held a public hearing on Monday night regarding fire code violations at the Steeplechase apartments. The violations, first noted in May of 2022, were initially supposed to have been addressed by September 2022. Representatives from Steeplechase said the violations were still being addressed as of May 2024. They also said they didn’t know if residents had ever been notified of the violations.

The hearing resulted in some heated exchanges, including Councilperson Al Ricci repeatedly referring to the unaddressed violations as an “epic failure,” and Councilperson Barbara Conner telling a Steeplechase representative that she didn’t understand how they could live with themselves.

Special counsel Stefanie Bitter said that after the initial May 2022 inspection report, the town followed up with Steeplechase at least four times in 2022 and 2023. In August 2023, a second inspection noted 104 deficiencies that affected 235 residential units. In November 2023, a fire marshal issued an order to remedy the violations and gave Steeplechase thirty days to do so.

A property manager at the apartment complex later said she was aware of the violations and was working to address them. As of the hearing on Monday night, only six of the complex’s twenty-four buildings had completed the remedial work.



The primary safety issue, said Malta Code Enforcement Officer Greg Berg, was unlisted antifreeze systems within the buildings, which can become flammable and, under certain conditions, could cause an explosion. 

“It’s like playing with grandpa’s old World War II hand grenade and someone says it’s been defused. I’m not pulling the pin,” Berg said. 

Attorney Jennifer Yetto, representing Steeplechase, said the company had contracted a vendor to complete the necessary work in the remaining buildings by the end of August. “Contrary to what the town may have noted,” Yetto said, “we very much are concerned with our residents as much as anyone else.” Yetto criticized town officials for poor communication. She also refused to concede any of the violations.

“We’re very well aware this had been prejudged well before we even walked into the door,” Yetto told Councilperson Ricci.

“It seems like a lot more effort has gone into the defense of the procedure than it has to fix.. the problems of the building,” Ricci said.

The hearing was adjourned with the understanding that Steeplechase had hired a vendor and would address the remaining violations by the end of August.

GREENFIELD — 12-year-old Amelia Juracka, a camper at Hidden Lake Girl Scout Camp, knew something was wrong when her two-year-old cousin wandered into the deep end of a swimming pool. Thanks to her water safety training, Juracka sprang into action and pulled her little cousin out of the water. 

For her heroics, Juracka became one of only 27 girl scouts nationwide to receive the Girl Scout Medal of Honor. Last week, she was also awarded the New York State Senate Liberty Medal, the Senate’s highest honor. Juracka is one of the youngest people in state history to receive the award.

“I am proud to present the Senate’s highest honor, the Liberty Medal, to Amelia for truly exemplifying the spirit of heroism and compassion and the best of New York,” said Senator Tedisco in a statement.

Tedisco presented Juracka with the award at the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York office in Queensbury.

TROY — The No. 3 Ballston Spa varsity baseball team entered the Section 2 Class AA playoffs with a bang on Saturday, defeating No. 6 Columbia 8 to 2. 

The win sent the Dawgs to the semifinals at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, home of the Tri-City ValleyCats. But faced with a tough game on Monday against No. 2 Bethlehem Central, BSpa fell short, 4 to 0. It was a rough game for the Dawgs, who finished with zero hits and two errors.

Despite the loss, the team finished with a strong 13-7 record on the season and has a large group of returning players next year. This year’s graduating seniors include Tyler Corry, Conner Garrant, Nate Gurwitz, Jake Nagengast, and Blaine Zoller.

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  • Saratoga County Court Matthew J. Gifford, 31, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced to 5 days incarceration and 5 years probation, after pleading to felony DWI, charged February 2024 in Saratoga Springs.  Kevin P. Masterson, 52, of Mechanicville, was sentenced to 6-1/2 years incarceration / 5 years post-release supervision, after pleading to criminal possession of a weapon in the second-degree, charged May 2023.  Shawn Flores, 45, of Milton, pleaded to criminal contempt in the first-degree, charged February 2024. Sentencing July 30.  Nicholas F. Bonfante, 44, of Halfmoon, pleaded to criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second-degree, a felony, charged…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON  Eastline Holdings LLC sold property at 1 Aspen Drive to Sateeshnvss and Srividya Gudipaty for $549,980 Adesh Budhraj sold property at 1 Larkin Road to Katz Excavating and Construction LLC for $65,000 CORINTH William and Robert Morgan sold property at 677 County Route 25 to Christin Guilder for $285,000 GALWAY Rita Werner and Erin Forlenza sold property at 1064 West Galway Road to Karen Crandall for $145,000 GREENFIELD Desolation Ventures Inc. sold property at 498 Lake Desolation Road to MW Real Estate Enterprises, LLC for $680,000 Justin Kelsey sold property at 519 North Creek Road to Scott and David…
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