Jonathon Norcross

Jonathon Norcross

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Skidmore College has unveiled a newly-expanded locker room at the Saratoga Springs Ice Rink. The 3,200-foot facility includes a changing area, training room, and coaches’ office. 

“The new locker room provides a much more professional space for our team to get ready for games and practices,” said goalie Tate Brandon in a statement. “The locker room is a microcosm of how far our program has come, and just how far it will go.”

This season, the Skidmore Thoroughbreds are off to one of their best starts in decades. The team is currently ranked 13th nationally in NCAA Division III.

The city also plans to make additional improvements to its ice rink on Weibel Ave. Earlier this year, new LED lights and automatic sliding doors were installed.

SARATOGA SPRINGS —A new dormitory currently under construction near the Oklahoma Training Track at the Saratoga Race Course will open this spring, according to Patrick McKenna, Vice President of Communications for the New York Racing Association (NYRA).

“At Saratoga Race Course, the first of three new dorms is taking shape on the Oklahoma side and will be open this spring,” McKenna wrote in a Tweet. “In addition, [the NYRA] will be renovating more than 40 backstretch residences in the coming years.”

The plan to build three new dorms at the track was announced last year. The buildings will add 204 beds and are the first housing units built at Saratoga since the early 1960s, according to the NYRA. Each dorm costs around $2 million to build.

GLENS FALLS — “I don’t think anyone’s going to be satisfied unless we win a state title,” said Adirondack United Head Coach Jeff Willis. “I think that’s a pretty bold statement to make, but I know for the girls, that’s the target for them.”

The team’s goal is certainly not unrealistic. Last season, the United fell to Clinton 2-1 in the state championship game. On the whole, the girls’ hockey squad finished its season with a 19-2-0 record. All this despite it being United’s inaugural season.

“Being a first-year program, you’re hoping you can compete,” Willis said. “I could never have expected that we would reach all the way to the state championship final game. We far exceeded any expectations we had in year one.”

Much of the United’s core group will be back this season, including leading scorer Bayley Duffy. “She’s probably the best high school hockey player in New York State,” Willis said. “She had a tremendous year.” 

Also returning are forward Lillian Willis (the coach’s daughter), and goalie Ava Reynolds. “She was our number one goaltender last year,” Coach Willis said. “She was the one that got the majority of the starts when we got down to the state playoffs.”

Before competing for this year’s state title, the United will have two opportunities to avenge last year’s loss against Clinton. The rivals will face off on December 22 at the Glens Falls Recreation Ice Center, and then again on January 6 at the Nexus Center.

The team’s first game is on Saturday, December 9 against Beekmantown.

The Adirondack United girls’ hockey team is comprised of players from the Saratoga Springs, Glens Falls, South Glens Falls, Hudson Falls, Queensbury, and Corinth High Schools.

SARATOGA SPRINGS —The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation has added four new members to its Board of Directors: Chris Armer, Jim Gold, Michelle Paquette-Deuel, and Roger Woody.

• Armer is a Saratoga native and realtor for Berkshire Hathaway. His family ran a retail store at the historic Old Firehouse on Broadway. He previously served as a board member from 2009 to 2015.

• Gold is a long-time Saratoga resident and was, for 29 years, Director of the Bureau of Historic Sites for the New York State Office of Parks.

• Paquette-Deuel is director of the Pre-College Program at Skidmore and was a committee member for SaratogaArtsFest and the Saratoga Regional YMCA.

• Woody is a frequent visitor to the Spa City, and a Vice President at AmTrust Financial Services in New York City.

The Preservation Foundation was established in 1977 to “protect and preserve the architectural, cultural, and landscape heritage” of the city, according to a statement released by the foundation

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Arms Hotel celebrated its 25th year in business on Thursday night with a lavish party replete with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. At the event, General Manager Rachel Boggan unveiled a new marketing strategy designed to attract local residents.

“As a thank you to the community that has really made Saratoga such an amazing small city,” Boggan said, “we are launching a locals rate starting in January of 2024.”

The rate will apply to anyone who lives within 50 miles of downtown Saratoga. It’s available during the off-season and on select dates during the busy season. Bookings at this discounted rate will open next week.

Boggan announced that breakfast will soon be open to local reservations on select days. Some of the hotel’s signature morning dishes include cinnamon breakfast bread, lemon ricotta pancakes, and homemade buttermilk biscuits. A breakfast speaker series that will feature community leaders is also in the works.

“We’re thrilled to start our next 25 years with a focus on our community, and allowing our hotel guests to experience that community in the most immersive way possible,” Boggan said.

The building that houses the hotel was originally built in 1870 by Gideon Putnam’s grandson Loren. In February of 1999, it reopened as the Saratoga Arms after extensive renovations. Last month, the Saratoga Arms was ranked one of the best hotels in the Mid-Atlantic in the 2023 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A free Alzheimer’s caregiver conference will be held at the Saratoga Springs City Center on Tuesday, November 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will honor and support people who provide unpaid care to loved ones with dementia, according to a statement by the Alzheimer’s Association. 

“This conference is one of our most popular offerings for new and returning families,” said Gwen Rowland, the outreach and program manager at the Alzheimer’s Association Northeastern New York chapter. “Knowing you are not alone and receiving support from others can be very cathartic.”

The event will include a variety of presentations and discussions, as well as lunch served courtesy of the CDPHP health insurance company.

To register for the conference, visit alz.org/crf or call 518-675-7214. To learn more about the Alzheimer’s Association, visit alz.org or call 800-272-3900.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — One down, just 349 to go. On Friday, a gift tag order was placed on the Impressions of Saratoga online store by someone in Staten Island. Word of the new “Adopt a Grandparent” campaign had apparently already reached the Big Apple.

The owners of Impressions of Saratoga and The Dark Horse Mercantile have launched a holiday gift-giving initiative for seniors. The “Adopt a Grandparent” campaign officially begins on November 24 and ends December 17. During that time, $20 gift tags can be purchased. Buyers can write their own personalized notes on the tags. Then those tags will be hung on trees at the two stores.

Come December 18, store co-owners Maddy Zanetti and Marianne Barker will use the proceeds from the tags to buy gifts for the residents of the Wesley Community’s Health Care Center. The hope is that 350 gift tags will be purchased, thus allowing Zanetti and Barker to give one gift to every Wesley resident.

“We can talk to the Wesley Community and see what the residents might actually use,” Zanetti said. The goal is to buy the seniors gifts that are both practical and will “make them all feel special during the holiday season,” according to Zanetti.

For Zanetti, Wesley has special significance in her life. “My great-grandmother lived there when I was little,” she said, “and my grandmother just recently passed away and she was there.” 

The Wesley Community “empowers seniors to live independently with choices, confidence, and peace of mind” in the heart of Saratoga Springs, according to a company brochure. 

Zanetti said that she and co-owner Barker’s families were fortunate because they could go visit their elders during the holidays. “But sometimes people don’t have a local family member,” she said.

Those interested in buying a gift tag can do so at either Impressions of Saratoga or The Dark Horse Mercantile on Broadway in downtown Saratoga. Non-locals can visit www.ImpressionsSaratoga.com to purchase a tag online. Orders can also be placed over the phone by calling 518-587-0666.

Tuesday, 21 November 2023 13:25

Saratoga Teachers March for New Contract

SARATOGA SPRINGS —Dozens of people huddled together in the frigid darkness. With glow sticks and cell phones to light the way, they marched towards downtown Saratoga. Thus began a dramatic and emotional night for Saratoga Springs City School District teachers and their supporters.

The march began and ended at the Caroline Street Elementary School, where a Board of Education (BOE) meeting occurred on Thursday, November 9. The demonstration was in support of the teachers’ union, which has been negotiating a new contract with the district for two years.

During the board meeting, teachers criticized the current state of their schools. 

“In all my years here, morale is at an all-time low,” said Robin Chudy. “I see a huge change. I see good, young teachers leaving this district; good teachers looking for jobs in different districts that pay more, and I can’t blame them.”

John Mishoe, a 2005 graduate of the district, spoke of teachers experiencing “nights of tears, searching for new careers, and early retirement.”

“I implore the board to take action in securing and maintaining teachers,” said Katie Cole. “It’s what our current and future students deserve.”

At a previous BOE meeting on October 12, teacher Melissa Deutsch said she has not received a “true raise” in over eight years. “Each contract that provides more salary also increases our healthcare contributions, wiping out any significant increase in take-home pay,” she said.

At both BOE meetings, teachers said that the district was struggling to hire and retain employees.

In a statement to Saratoga TODAY, Saratoga School District’s Director of Community Outreach and Communications Maura Manny said that “teacher retention and recruitment are ongoing priorities for our district, and we continuously strive to create an environment that attracts and retains professionals who are dedicated to the success of our students.”

“Like many school districts across the nation,” Manny said, “the nationwide teacher shortage makes teacher recruitment and retention more challenging each year. Despite these challenges, our district has been fortunate to consistently attract a talented pool of applicants for our open positions.”

According to a November 2021 report from the U.S. Department of Education, New York State “has faced geographically widespread and persistent teacher shortages.” 

Tuesday, 21 November 2023 13:12

Little Libraries Contend with Vandalism

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Two little libraries were vandalized last month in Saratoga Springs. The public boxes contain banned books that can be borrowed and returned for free. 

One box, located near Caffe Lena on Phila Street, is stewarded by Nancy Weber. When she found the library vandalized, she said she “kind of did a double-take because it was so shocking.” Weber discovered that dozens of books had been taken from the library. Only one remained: “The Hate U Give,” a novel about race relations in the wake of a police shooting.

“We knew that it was just a matter of time before something like this would happen,” Weber said. “We’re living in very volatile, polarized times.”

The identity of the vandal or vandals is unknown. “It could’ve been a prank, or it could’ve been someone intentionally doing it,” Weber said.

Weber said that no further vandalism has occurred since the initial incident, but there was one odd book exchange.

“Curiously, one book came back: The Bible,” Weber said. “A few days ago, that copy of the Bible left and another copy of the Bible came in, which I thought was sort of pointless.” 

Weber said that since the vandalization occurred, there’s been an increase in book donations to the library. But many of the donated books are not actually considered banned books. Donated books should be included on the American Library Association’s list of banned and challenged books, or the PEN America Index of School Book Bans.

The second vandalized little library of banned books is stewarded by Julie Holmberg. She said that one of the congregants at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Saratoga found the library’s contents under a nearby bush.

“There had been a rainstorm, and all of the books were destroyed,” Holmberg said. “They were all hidden away underneath there and had to be trashed.”

“It’s very frustrating that people would destroy property like that, especially books,” she said. “It just feels like right now things are so discouraging.”

Unlike Weber, Holmberg has not received a significant increase in book donations since the vandalization occurred, leaving the little library with an uncertain future.

“I just encourage people to open their minds, read things. If you don’t agree with it, that’s fine. But keep the conversation going so that we can figure out a way to live together,” Weber said.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga High School welcomed 127 of its seniors into the National Honor Society on November 14. According to the school, the students “exemplify citizenship, leadership, and character development through community service and academic excellence.”

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Blotter

  • Saratoga  County Court Lorenzo J. Parker, 28, of Schenectady, was sentenced to 2-1/2 years in a state correction facility and 1 year post-release supervision, after pleading to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth-degree, charged February 2022 in Clifton Park.  Annmarie Balzano, 54, of Ballston Spa, pleaded to felony DWI, charged June 2023 in Malta. Sentencing Sept. 19.  Cedric D. Sanchez, 28, of Yonkers, N.Y., pleaded to attempted burglary in the second-degree, charged in Milton. Sentencing Aug. 2.  Matthew G. Peck, 46, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded to felony DWI, charged November 2023 in Milton. Sentencing Aug. 16.  Lacey C.…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON  Lynn Joyce sold property at 88 Beacon St to Elizabeth Demuro for $400,000 Adrianne Abbruzzese sold property at 67 Cornerstone Dr to Marjorie Young for $366,000 US Bank Trust NA as Trust sold property at 56 Ballston Ave to Olivia Mannion for $325,000 Eastline Holdings LLC sold property at 8 Aspen Dr to TongCheng Chen for $536,069 American Estate and Trust sold property at 151 Kingsley Rd to Susan Messere for $200,000 Bernard Ingram sold property at 17 Everson Way to Michal Pastore for $549,000 CORINTH Carey Mann sold property at 18 Pine St to William Freeman for $200,000…
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