Jonathon Norcross

Jonathon Norcross

WILTON — A group of health professionals and concerned citizens are advocating for water fluoridation in the Town of Wilton, which supplies water to Dorothy Nolan Elementary in the Saratoga Springs City School District.

The group argues that the Wilton Water and Sewer Authority’s (WWSA) decision not to fluoridate costs families hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased dental costs, due to fluoride’s ability to reduce tooth decay in children. Dorothy Nolan’s fluoridation status currently impacts around 700 students.

“While 75% of American public water systems have adopted fluoridation, Wilton remains an outlier,” Peter J. Lindner, Ph.D, a member of the group and Gansevoort resident, told Saratoga TODAY. “Since its inception in 1945, [community water fluoridation] has been acknowledged for its significant health benefits and cost-effectiveness.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Dental Association, and World Health Organization have all advocated for water fluoridation. In February, the Albany Common Council voted unanimously to add fluoride to the city’s water supply.

Other group members encouraging Wilton’s fluoridation include Dr. Claudia Farrell of Community Care Pediatrics, Dr. Wayne Harrison of Harrison Family Dental, former Times Union staff writer Leigh Hornbeck Trombley, and Dr. Bill Maas, a former Dental Director of the CDC.

“The Wilton Water and Sewer Authority (WWSA) oversees our water supply,” Lindner said. “Although it purchases fluoridated water from Saratoga Springs, this supply is limited to a section of the Wilton Mall and does not extend to the broader community, including schools like Dorothy Nolan Elementary.” 

Because some water in Wilton is fluoridated via Saratoga Springs, Lindner said this has resulted in the CDC and New York State Department of Health wrongly deeming Wilton a fluoridated community.

In a statement to Saratoga TODAY, the WWSA explained its position on fluoridation. The WWSA said it does not contend the benefits of fluoride, but believes that it should not be responsible for administering fluoride to its customers. 

“The WWSA strongly believes that our customers and their health care providers should have the right to make their own decisions on fluoride consumption,” the statement said. “Many of the WWSA water customers do not want fluoride added to the water supply.”

The WWSA noted that the request before the board asks for fluoride to be added to the entire water supply, impacting all residents in addition to students at Dorothy Nolan Elementary.        

A 2013 report prepared by C.T. Male Associates for the WWSA estimated that the capital cost of fluoridation in Wilton would be $126,000, with an annual operation and maintenance cost of $13,300. Those costs have likely increased in the nearly 11 years since the report was written. The WWSA said it has no budgetary or logistical concerns over fluoridation.

The WWSA board voted unanimously on March 19 not to fluoridate the town’s water. But due to a minor procedural error, that vote was considered informal. The board will vote again on fluoridation during a public meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. on May 21.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A permission form given to students at Saratoga Springs High School was criticized by a transgender student for making them feel “unwelcome and unsafe.”

Levi Goodman, a senior, addressed the issue during public comments at the March 28 Board of Education meeting. “When I brought this form home and showed my parents what it said, they were appalled,” Goodman said. “When we pointed out why this form was problematic, we were told it was provided to the teacher by the school and that it was the standard form. I’m not blaming one person. It’s clear that this is a school-wide, possibly district-wide issue that needs to be addressed.”

The permission form was given to students scheduled to travel to New York City for a performance at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Students’ parents or guardians were given two boxes to choose from. One box granted permission for the parent or guardian’s student to be roommates with other students whose sex assigned at birth is different than the student’s assigned sex at birth. The second box specifically does not grant such permission.

“It seems to me that this form is a clear violation of privacy, both medical and personal,” Goodman said. “I also feel as though this form feeds into the false belief that transgender individuals are predatory, and therefore other students need to be protected from them, which leads me to ask the board, who are you really protecting and who is left vulnerable? As a nonbinary, transgender student, reading the sheet made me feel unwelcome and unsafe.” Goodman said that the school should create a new form and put it into use as soon as possible.

Natalya Lakhtakia, vice president of the board, said that the district should be “taking proactive measures to protect trans folks, especially trans students who deserve to thrive in our school environment.” 

Anjeanette Emeka, a board trustee, said that “inclusiveness is what we’ve been talking about for years, and I appreciate students that come out to express these things and open our eyes when we miss them.”

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The story of a five-year-old Ukrainian girl separated from her family during World War II will be the subject of a book panel hosted by Skidmore College on April 16.

The nonfiction book “Dominica’s Story: A Life of Courage, Hope, and Love” chronicles the life of Dominica Annese, who was reunited with her family 30 years after the Second World War tore them apart. Now, with Ukraine once again at war, the story is especially relevant.

“My sisters and I wanted to write and publish my mom’s story because it’s pretty inspiring,” said Francine Annese Apy, one of Dominica’s daughters. “This story could be a story of hope and inspiration to Ukrainian people and to people in general because here we are, literally history repeating history again of what my mom experienced as a 5-year-old little girl.”

Apy wrote the forward and epilogue for the book, which was co-authored by Dominica, Skidmore senior Kaitlin McQuade, and Skidmore Political Science Professor Kate Graney. 

At the event, McQuade and Graney will present Dominica’s story, connecting it to contemporary events in Ukraine. The panel will include a Q&A, book sale, and reception featuring Ukrainian cookies. The Annese family will donate all proceeds from book sales to the nonprofit Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E). The book is also for sale on Amazon. 

“The Personal Cost of War in Ukraine Through a Young Girl’s Eyes: Then and Now” will take place on Tuesday, April 16 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Ladd Hall room 307.

SCHUYLERVILLE — The Schuylerville Black Horses varsity baseball team won its first game of the season on Monday at Averill Park, 7 to 2. The victory could be a sign of what’s to come: a competitive, veteran team fighting for a successful postseason appearance.

“[Averill Park] has been a really strong team the last few years, and usually we go down there and kind of get introduced to what really solid ball clubs look like,” said Schuylerville Head Coach Darrin Renner. 

The Black Horses’ veteran-led team includes senior Luke Sherman, a multi-sport athlete who broke his school’s all-time boys’ basketball scoring record earlier this year. “He’s a guy that we really lean on to get things done offensively,” Renner said.

Coach Renner also named senior Griffin Brophy (a former third baseman now playing shortstop), senior lefty pitcher Brenden Steinberg, junior Alex Renner (catcher), senior Trevor French (pitcher/outfielder), and senior Josh Merrill (infielder) as part of his core group of returning players.

Among newcomers, Renner spotlighted Jackson Dunbar, a freshman second baseman whose first varsity at-bat against Averill Park was a double that fell right into an outfield gap and drove in the team’s first run. Renner said he was “very excited about the possibilities of [Dunbar] going forward.” 

On the mound, sophomore pitcher Jack Boden closed out the last two innings against Averill. “Bowden’s got really good stuff,” Renner said. “We’re excited to see how he grows and where he ends up in the rotation as we go forward.”

Renner said he runs a goal-oriented program, and one of his team’s primary objectives this year is to go far enough in the postseason to play at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, which is the home of the Tri-City ValleyCats minor league baseball team. 

“Every kid wants to play at Joe Bruno,” Renner said. “To play out on that field I think is for most kids kind of like a dream come true.”

Schuylerville Black Horses Varsity Baseball  2024 Roster:

Griffin Brophy - Senior INF, P #9
Luke Sherman - Senior P, OF, INF #13
Brenden Steinberg - Senior P, 1B, OF #1
Josh Merrill - Senior 3b, DH #24
Boston Reilly - Senior OF, 1B, 2B #11
Trevor French - Senior P, OF #4
Alex Renner - Junior C, OF, 2B #3
Lucas Reilly - Junior P, 2B, OF #14
Jameson Brownell - Junior 1B, 3B, OF #18
Aidan Wilber - Junior OF, INF, C #7
Matthew Waldinger - Junior OF #2
Ben Van Veghten - Sophomore 1B, OF #8
Jack Boden - Sophomore P, OF, 3B #6
Jackson Dunbar - Freshman 2B, OF, SS, P #10

Thursday, 04 April 2024 12:13

Upstate Native Sent to Yankees AAA Team

THE BRONX — Kevin Smith, the East Greenbush native who competed for a spot on the New York Yankees’ roster this spring, has been sent down to the Yankees’ AAA minor league affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

With injuries to infielders DJ LeMahieu and Oswald Peraza, Smith had been in consideration for a spot on the bench. But prior to opening day, New York acquired veteran infielder Jon Berti in a trade. 

Smith may still see some plate appearances for the Bronx Bombers this season should he be called up from Scranton. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Skidmore softball team fell short at their home opener doubleheader against SUNY New Paltz last Friday afternoon at the Wagner Park diamond.

The Thoroughbreds lost the first game in a shutout, 7-0. Haily Clarke, a freshman, pitched a complete game, giving up three earned runs (New Paltz’s other four runs were the result of fielding errors). She struck out three and walked two. Clarke also had two hits at the plate, both singles.

In game two, Skidmore pushed across a run in the first inning but couldn’t keep the momentum going. Elle Harrison singled on a bunt, then hustled all the way home after a misthrow.

The Thoroughbred fared better the following day in another home doubleheader. Against Plattsburgh State, they took one of the two contests, scoring ten runs in game two. Pitcher Natalie Mayne earned the victory with only 3 hits and no runs allowed across 3.1 innings. Mayne also went 1 for 2 at the plate, knocking in 2 RBI. Franchesca Casillas and Cortney Somsky also batted in two runs apiece.

At the end of last weekend, Skidmore’s softball squad had a 3-11 record for the season. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS/BALLSTON SPA — As plans for multiple cannabis dispensaries in Saratoga Springs continue to progress, the budding industry now has ambitions to expand into Ballston Spa. 

According to Ballston Spa Mayor Frank Rossi, on March 15 the village received an application for a cannabis dispensary that would be located at 303 Milton Avenue. The site is currently the home of Russell’s Deli. The application was made by Sachmarie Crowley of Saratoga Springs for Island Vibes Cannabis Dispensary, LLC.   

At a March 20 Board of Education meeting, Rossi said that the village could’ve opted out of having dispensaries in 2021 but didn’t. “There’s nothing we can do per se to stop a cannabis [dispensary] from locating in the village, it’s just a question of now doing the right thing, giving it its full review, etc.” 

Rossi wrote on his Facebook page that comments about the planned dispensary could be emailed to him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line “Proposed Dispensary Comment.”

Saratoga Springs also has a new dispensary application to review. At a Planning Board meeting earlier this month, a special use permit was considered for a High Peaks Canna Inc. dispensary that would be located at 137 Maple Ave. The site is currently used as an office building for The Towne Law Firm. Roohan Realty has the property listed as pending sale. 

Recently, New York has faced a number of issues regarding cannabis sales, including lawsuits, increased competition from illegal operations, and complaints about the difficulties of opening  dispensaries. On March 18, Governor Kathy Hochul began an assessment of the Office of Cannabis Management. “Today, we take the first step in revamping New York’s legal cannabis industry to ensure its long-term success,” Hochul said in a statement.

In addition to the proposed High Peaks dispensary, Saratoga Springs also has plans to open cannabis shops at 75 Weibel Ave, 95 West Ave, and 1 Kaydeross Ave West.

Education.-GlobalFoundries-Could-Bring-Millions-of-Dollars-to-Ballston-Spa-Schools.jpg

A slide from a Ballston Spa Central School District budget presentation shows enrollment impact from the opening of the first GlobalFoundries plant. Image via the district’s March 20 Board of Education YouTube livestream.

MALTA — After billions of federal and state dollars were invested in GlobalFoundries, a semiconductor manufacturing company headquartered in Malta, the Ballston Spa Central School District stands to benefit from the windfall, perhaps for decades to come.

As GlobalFoundries plans to build a second plant in Malta, school officials are trying to determine both the enrollment and financial impact the new plant might have. “Next year right now is financially difficult, but the future is actually quite bright for Ballston Spa because of that plant, no other reason,” said Clerk of the Board and Records Access Officer Brian Sirianni in a Board of Education meeting on March 20. 

When the first GlobalFoundries plant opened, an immediate impact was felt on the district’s enrollment. The number of total students jumped from 4,185 in 2011 to 4,322 in 2012. The increase of 137 students was the first time enrollment had climbed in years. Since then, enrollment has steadily declined from 2012 until the present day, when students number around 3,860. 

Sirianni said that predicting the enrollment impact of the second GlobalFoundries plant would be difficult. Compared to 2011, today’s housing market is in significantly worse shape, with inventory rates being especially low. “That’s why we’re seeing so many apartment complexes being built in the area; literally hundreds and hundreds of units,” Sirianni said. 

When it comes to the district’s finances, a second GlobalFoundries plant is nothing but good news. Sirianni said that in the first year or two, the district could see an additional few hundred thousand dollars. “But it’ll grow into the millions like it did before,” Sirianni said. “So that will offset our loss and, in fact, starts to subsidize the rest of the district.” Sirianni said the second plant could benefit the district financially for the next ten to fifteen years.

Construction on GlobalFoundries’ second plant is expected to begin this year. The company estimates that more than 1,500 manufacturing jobs and about 9,000 construction jobs will be created.

Thursday, 28 March 2024 13:31

Ballston Spa Scholar-Athletes Recognized

BALLSTON SPA — At the Ballston Spa Central School District’s Board of Education meeting on March 20, Athletic Director Dave Sunkes formally recognized the district’s winter sports scholar-athletes.

“It goes without saying that we do put the student before the athlete here, which is something we pride ourselves on,” Sunkes said. “Three years in a row we’ve been a school of excellence in New York State.”

Nine of the district’s winter teams qualified as New York State scholar-athlete teams. In total, the 114 students had a combined GPA of 93. Specific teams finished the season with the following GPAs (which have been rounded slightly): 

  • Girls indoor track - 94.7
  • Boys indoor track - 94.7
  • Girls basketball - 93.8
  • Boys basketball - 93.7
  • Girls bowling - 92.7
  • Boys bowling - 91.8
  • Boys swim and dive - 94
  • Ice hockey - 90.9
  • Boys alpine ski - 90.8

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Dolly Cairns, a Saratoga Springs native and the all-time scoring leader at Saratoga Springs High School, competed in the first round of the NCAA women’s “March Madness” basketball tournament last weekend. 

Cairns and the No. 12 seed Florida Gulf Coast Eagles faced off against a tough competitor: the No. 5 seed Oklahoma Sooners. The game was a nailbiter that came down to the final shot.

“It was a very fun and exciting experience,” Cairns told Saratoga TODAY. “I am extremely thankful to have gotten the opportunity to play in Assembly Hall against a very well-coached and competitive team like Oklahoma.”

The Eagles dominated the game in the early minutes, leading by 10 at the end of the first quarter. But Oklahoma quickly redeemed itself with a 10-0 run to open the 2nd quarter. At halftime, the Eagles had the lead. Florida was a perfect 28-0 in games they led at halftime. Momentum was on their side, but the Sooners didn’t give up without a fight. 

Cairns made the first shot of the second half, a smooth layup to maintain an Eagles lead. But Oklahoma chipped away at Florida’s defense and finished the third quarter with a 53-50 lead. In the fourth, the Eagles hit three straight shots from beyond the arc, showing why they’re regarded as three-point specialists. (Some fans wearing ponchos opened up umbrellas every time the Eagles “rained” three-pointers, but the umbrellas were apparently confiscated). 

The Sooners went on another run in the fourth, however, to put them up by 5 points with less than 4 minutes left to play. Cairns hit a huge three-pointer to put Florida within 3 points late in the quarter, causing an ESPN broadcaster to refer to Cairns as “deadly” beyond the arc. Later, Cairns fought for a rebound, and ran it all the way back for a layup, which put the Eagles up by 1 point, 68-67. With less than a minute left in regulation, the game was tied.

With only 5 seconds on the clock, Cairns attempted a three, but seemed to have either been blocked or fouled (though no foul was called by the officials). In the final play of the game, Florida was down by 3 points. With one second left, the Eagles quickly tossed up a three-pointer, but the ball bounced off the front of the rim. Oklahoma won with a final score of 73-70. Cairns finished the game with 10 points and 2 rebounds. She had the third highest point total among all Florida players.

In a postgame interview with ESPN, Sooners Coach Jennie Baranczyk praised the Eagles’ performance. “You don’t want to play them in this tournament,” Baranczyk said. 

Cairns looked back on her season at Florida Gulf Coast with no regrets. “I am so proud of our team for the way we carried ourselves all season,” she said. “The relationships I have made this year with my teammates have been like no other, and I am so happy that I made the decision to come play here.”

As for the future, Cairns, a senior, said she’s keeping her options open. “I am planning to take my extra year of eligibility and stay at [Florida Gulf Coast University] for another year,” she said. “After next year, I will be pursuing a career in healthcare.”

Cairns played for the Saratoga Springs Blue Streaks girls basketball team, scoring more than 2,000 points to set the school’s all-time scoring record. In 2019, she committed to the University of Rhode Island, where she played for two seasons before transferring to Florida Gulf Coast. With the Eagles this season, she averaged 9 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal per game.

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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…

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