Displaying items by tag: Saratoga County
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Several local nonprofit agencies are dealing with the adverse effects of Saratoga Taxi’s suspension of services, speaking to the larger issue of the lack of transportation resources for Saratoga County.
Saratoga Taxi has been serving the community for 55 years, and as of Nov. 1, 2021, they have temporarily ceased operations. In a Letter to the Editor of the Saratoga TODAY Newspaper, Taxi Owner Larry Kupper cited the reason for this as the $300,000 insurance mandate from the City of Saratoga Springs, without any temporary relief. For 40 years Saratoga Taxi has been operating with the required $50,000 NYS insurance that other taxi companies servicing cities with rural areas (such as Glens Falls for example) are operating with as well.
With Saratoga Taxi out of operation for several months now, the lack of public transportation that has been an issue in Saratoga County for years is even more apparent. Local nonprofit agencies that help many low-income individuals and families in the community are now struggling to find reliable and affordable transportation options.
CAPTAIN Community Human Services (CAPTAIN CHS) relied on Saratoga Taxi to take homeless and runaway youth to school and healthcare appointments within a 50-mile radius of their shelter in Malta.
CAPTAIN CHS has scrambled to contract other taxi services that do background checks and have GPS safety protocols like Saratoga Taxi. They have relied on staff to transport the youth they serve as well; however, they lack resources, and this is not a sustainable option for them.
“Saratoga County is in need of transportation for low-income community members,” said Andy Gilpin, Executive Director of CAPTAIN CHS. “Saratoga Taxi was one of the larger fleets in the Saratoga area. This is an impact to the community at large.”
Wellspring is another local non-profit that Saratoga Taxi has helped throughout the years.
“Saratoga Taxi has been very valuable, and losing them affects all members of the community,” said Maggie Fronk, Executive Director of Wellspring.
In addition to their clients, Fronk said that Saratoga Taxi’s services were valuable to senior community members and others who can’t drive, or community members that don’t own a car and need to get to work. The county’s lack of public transportation is especially an inconvenience to those that live in less densely populated towns at the outskirts of the county such as Corinth and Stillwater.
“Social determinates lead to disparities,” said Fronk regarding this. “The underserved in our county have limited employment opportunities.”
CDTA and other taxi services in Saratoga County are very limited, as the CDTA bus route is confined to the Route 50 corridor. These non-profit agencies have demonstrated the high demand for CDTA’s pilot program, Flex. The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce is working with the CDTA to test the program in Mechanicville, Halfmoon, and Clifton Park.
“This service is door-to-door with uniformed drivers and safety cameras. It’s been well received so far in helping people in those communities to get to work, healthcare appointments, and food shopping,” said Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. “If it works there, our hope is that we can expand CDTA’s Flex service to other parts of Saratoga, including here in the City. We’re hoping to meet with CDTA leaders soon to see what kind of resources would be needed to perhaps expedite that expansion.”
Until there is a reliable and affordable transportation solution in place, Fronk suggested to reach out to those you know in need of transportation, as well as connect and communicate with county leaders as they gather to address the situation.
SARATOGA COUNTY — Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake), announced Saratoga and Washington counties are slated to receive more than $9.7 million for 14 important community projects. The funding was provided through Round XI of the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative.
“Thanks to this influx of state funds, Saratoga and Washington counties can repair critical infrastructure, improve recreational opportunities and breathe new life into local towns and villages. With the 2022 legislative session right around the corner, I’ll keep working to support our local recovery and help us all build back stronger,” Woerner said, in a prepared statement.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the REDC Round XI funding, which provided an additional $196 million to support 488 projects statewide, earlier this week. In Saratoga County, the local projects that received funding include:
• $2.75 million to upgrade Saratoga County’s Water Treatment Plant by installing efficient technology for the biological removal of ammonia from wastewater. This project will repair aging infrastructure, protect the Hudson River from pollution and allow regional manufacturers to continue expanding in the region.
• $2.5 million to expand STEM and Health Care Workforce Development by enabling Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) to create new training facilities that expand workforce development programs in healthcare and advanced manufacturing.
• $2 million to reduce energy consumption at the county Water Treatment Plant through biogas production created by new digesters.
• $800,000 for Albany-Schoharie-Schenectady-Saratoga BOCES to expand its Occupational Health and Safety Service program.
• $500,000 for Wright Electric Inc. – a company specializing in reducing the environmental impact of aviation – to establish the new Wright Laboratory, which will create high-paying jobs in the Capital Region.
• $250,000 for the town of Moreau to break ground on the Big Boom Trail by creating trailhead parking, the Waterfront Trail Loop, a kayak launch, fishing piers and an overlook area. The first of a three-phase project, this new trail will connect bicyclists and hikers from Nolan Road to Moreau State Park and to the Palmertown Ridge Trail System.
• $153,000 for the village of Ballston Spa to develop a Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) program nomination for a 176-acre area that includes a large portion of the downtown center along Route 50 and Gordon and Kayaderosseras creeks. The village intends to redevelop this area to increase waterfront access and return underutilized land to productive use.
• $100,000 for the town of Wilton’s Artisanal Brew Works facility to invest in new equipment, a new facility and restaurant service to meet the burgeoning demand for craft beverages.
• $100,000 for the town of Halfmoon to expand an Empire State Trail trailhead near Crescent Vischer-Ferry Road, Old Canal Road and Crescent Bridge and create a new parking area.
• $85,000 for the town of Saratoga to install a new segment of the planned Champlain Canalway Trail, allowing a portion of that trail and the Empire State Trail to pull off the heavily trafficked Route 4 corridor.
• $24,000 for the city of Mechanicville to develop an engineering report to identify sources of inflow and filtration, evaluate alternatives and recommend improvements to the city’s wastewater collection system.
Additionally, in Washington County: $428,500 for the village of Greenwich’s downtown revitalization efforts.
BALLSTON SPA — The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 8 voted to approve the 2022 county budget.
The $381 million budget depicts an increase of $10 million over 2021 and offers “significant investments in public safety, health and human services, infrastructure, open space and conservation while once again lowering our property tax rate and staying below the property tax cap,” according to a prepared statement released by the county. The 2022 budget also makes available $5 million in community support grants and devotes another $1 million to economic development and tourism for the county.
“This budget lays the groundwork for smart initiatives and investments that will ultimately help Saratoga County residents continue to enjoy a strong local economy in one of the safest and healthiest counties with one of the lowest tax rates in New York State,” said Theodore T. Kusnierz, Jr., town of Moreau Supervisor and Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chair.
More than $4 million was approved in new investments in the county Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices for body and car cameras, judicial discovery laws, officer training, and mandated jail programs, and more than $3 million to support health and human services initiatives and the county’s Public Health Services department’s transition to a full-service Department of Health. Approximately $1.1 million was approved for economic development, heritage promotion, and tourism.
The 2022 sales tax revenue is projected at $141 million, a slight decrease from anticipated 2021 revenues.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Gov. Kathy Hochul announced last week that masks would be required to be worn in all indoor public places statewide starting Monday Dec. 13. Businesses and venues could alternately implement a vaccine requirement, and the action was directed to address the “winter surge” with COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rising across the state, Hochul said.
On Monday morning, a great number of store windows fronting Broadway shops had been fitted with signs instructing all who enter to wear a mask. Late Monday, Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Theodore Kusnierz, Jr. released a statement to say the county’s Public Health Department and law enforcement agency would not enforce “New York State’s misguided and unrealistic
“The best way to protect the health and safety of Saratoga County residents, families, schools and businesses is to continue to focus public health resources on rapidly providing booster vaccinations to the public, which our Public Health team continues to do,” Kusnierz said, in his prepared remarks. “Asking already thin-stretched local health departments to enforce mask or vaccination mandates only detracts from this critical endeavor.”
Saratoga County joins more than a dozen New York counties refusing to enforce the mask mandate.
Saratoga Springs City Supervisor Tara Gaston pushed back on the statement issued by Board Chair Kusnierz.
“While I admit that there are a number of issues with mask mandates, including concerns about possible violence against business owners and employees, I strongly disagree with the tone of the statement, and worry for its impact on our community,” Gaston said. “There will never be a true account of the number of non-fatal losses, the businesses we’ve seen all over town, the domestic violence that our Sheriff and the DA have seen.”
More than 1,000 Saratoga County residents had tested positive for COVID over the previous 7 days, and seven-day average positivity rate in Saratoga County was 6.7%, compared to a 4.8% average rate statewide. Since the start of December, 23 county residents had died of COVID. Current hospitalizations, as of Dec. 15, were 49.
Gaston praised the county’s public health department for their work and said while it should not be the priority of the health department to enforce a mandate, she took exception with the tone of the chairman’s statement, which did not come via an overall board vote, and created confusion among many residents and business owners who had reached out to her following the statement’s release late Monday.
“It should not be the priority of our public health department to enforce such a mandate…they are doing work that is far more important than doing that - but - it should not be the work of this Board of Supervisors to issue by any member, or the board as a whole, a statement that is inflammatory and indicates that the mandate or the law of this state will not be held in this county,” Gaston said Wednesday.
Board Chairman Kuznierz donned a mask at the start of the county’s monthly meeting on Dec. 15. All 14 other county supervisors in attendance wore masks, the majority of them kept in place throughout the meeting.
“Quite honestly you can still wear masks. We’re just not going to go out and fine people $1,000 for not wearing a mask or following the ‘unenforceable’ - using the words of our own governor – policy,” Kuznierz said during the meeting.
“Yes, masks benefit our residents, but there’s nothing that can protect our residents more than getting vaccinated and getting your booster shots,” Kuznierz said.
According to data provided by the county public health department this week, 74.5% people – approximately 170,000 of the county’s 230,000 residents – are considered fully vaccinated.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Last week, Saratoga Springs Supervisor Tara Gaston posted a statement and graph image on her official government page depicting the recent spike in the percentage of county residents testing positive for COVID-19.
“Saratoga County is a leader in the state with COVID19 vaccinations in all ages, and I’m thrilled with the number of residents who have completed their vaccine series (however) when we compare today to one year ago - before vaccinations and before the lifting of many restrictions - it’s clear that the vaccines are not enough to get us out of this,” Gaston said.
Gaston asked residents to get vaccinated if they had not already done so, obtain a booster if eligible, and to wear a mask.
Following the recent holiday weekend, the State Department of Health on Friday, Dec. 3 reported the 7-day average positive test rate among Saratoga County residents at 8.7%, with the neighboring communities of Warren and Washington counties reporting 10.7% and 11.9%, respectively.
“The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors sits as the Board of Health for the County, and can issue guidance or directives accordingly,” said Gaston, one of 23 members of the Board of Supervisors - the legislative and executive authority of Saratoga County government. “Unfortunately, the Board is unwilling at this time to take additional steps to #StopTheSpread, and there is little I can do alone.”
Saratoga County Public Health Services (SCPHS) has “recommended” the wearing of masks in certain situations, but the county board – which directs and oversees SCPHS - has not taken legislative action regarding the matter. Some other communities have been more aggressive.
In late August, the Saratoga Springs City Council adopted a resolution requiring all employees and visitors regardless of vaccination to wear a face mask when entering City buildings, facilities and/or indoor events sponsored by the city. The resolution additionally called for all public-facing employees to wear a mask.
And in New York City, residents and visitors age 12 and older are required to show proof of vaccination to participate in indoor activities at restaurants, bars, fitness gyms, and entertainment and recreational settings such as movie theaters, museums and concert venues. Compared to Saratoga County’s 8.7% rate, the 7-day average positive test rate in the five New York City boroughs range from a low of 1.6% in Manhattan to a high of 3.5% on Staten Island.
To combat the rising COVID-19 infection rate in the region, state Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Nov. 29 that a mass state vaccination site would re-open in Queensbury. The location will provide vaccinations (8 a.m. -7 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays), as well as COVID-19 PCR testing
(8 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays). Pre-registered as well as walk-in appointments will be available.
Upcoming Booster Clinics. All are COVID-19 Moderna boosters.
Wednesday, Dec. 8
For Age 18+ (9 a.m. – noon); For Age 65+ (1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.) at Saratoga County Public Health, 6012 County Farm Road, Ballston Spa.
Friday, Dec. 10
For Age 18+ (9:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.) at Mechanicville Senior Center, 178 N. Main St, Mechanicville.
Saturday, Dec. 11
For Age 18+ (9 a.m. – noon) at Saratoga County Public Health, 6012 County Farm Road, Ballston Spa.
Monday, Dec. 20
For Age 65+ (9 a.m. – 3 p.m.) at Clifton Park Senior Center, 6 Clifton Common Boulevard, Clifton Park.
Booster Clinics are by appointment only. Visit www.SaratogaCountyNY.gov/COVID to register. Seniors may also call 518-693-1075 to register for a clinic.
Vaccine Clinics for individuals between the ages of 5-11 years old
Clinics are by appointment only. Make an appointment for your child at the NYS operated vaccination clinic at Crossgates Mall (via am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/) or at a pharmacy near you by visiting vaccines.gov.
BALLSTON SPA — In a move that promises to increase the quality of life for local residents as well as provide a future opportunity to secure tourism dollars for municipalities throughout the county, the Board of Supervisors on Nov. 16 unanimously approved and adopted an official Saratoga County Bike Route Map.
The map was created through the collaborative input of representatives from area cycling clubs and government leaders in Saratoga Springs and
“It’s the culmination of about three years of work with a subcommittee of city residents and county officials,” said city Supervisor Matt Veitch, following the adoption of the measure. “You’re going to start to see those green bike route signs on roads all over the county, so it will be great to see people start doing some bike tourism, all over the county.”
Veitch thanked current city council members Michele Madigan and Robin Dalton, city supervisor Tara Gaston and former city commissioner Peter Martin, as well as other city and county officials and bike advocacy groups.
“This is a great start for improving the health and quality of life benefits that we bring to our residents, as well as the potential for tourism dollars,” said Martin. “I’ve taken many day trips that have included just about every part of the map route.”
Martin cited states such as Colorado, which have multi-day biking tours that provide positive economic impact for local communities.
“I’ve had the pleasure of riding several times on one of these tours – it’s called Ride The Rockies – and is in its 38th year. It’s estimated to generate a quarter of a million dollars of revenue – per day – for the towns and villages it travels through.” In Iowa, the RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) is in its 47th year, and draws 15,000 cyclist to its 7-day, 500-mile trip. “The economic impact in 2021 was estimated to be $25 million in direct spending in the cities and towns the tour runs through.” Martin said.
“You have a real opportunity here. Our county roads are a real resource,” echoed Ed Lindner, of Bikeatoga. “This beginning is an important step, and you need to build on it.”
Budgets: City Approves 2022 Plan, County Public Hearing Nov. 30, Vote in December
• Having made revisions to the Saratoga County tentative 2022 budget, the Board of Supervisors, as required by county law, approved a public hearing regarding the revised tentative 2022 budget. The public hearing will take place 4:45 p.m. on Nov. 30 at the county complex, 40 McMaster St., Ballston Spa. The county initially proposed its $381 million budget in October. It is anticipated budget adoption will take place Dec. 8. The 87-page 2022 Tentative Budget with Amendments may be viewed via the county website at: saratogacountyny.gov/wp/wp-content/uploads /2021/11/2022-Budget-Workshop -Report.pdf.
“I did try in our workshop to amend the budget to provide more funding for non-profits. That did not pass,” said Supervisor Tara Gaston. “We’ve heard from non-profits in the city and throughout the county interested in some support recovering from COVID, and I would recommend they come speak to us in order for supervisors to hear that and potentially amend the budget before we pass it in December.”
• In the City of Saratoga Springs meanwhile, the City Council on Nov. 16 adopted a $54.2 million operating budget for 2022. The City Council will seat four new members on Jan. 1. DPW Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco is the one returning member. The current council members, completing their respective two-year terms and it is anticipated the final two meetings of this current council will take place on Dec. 7, and Dec. 21.
This summer Brookside opened an exhibit: “Century of Ice Cream! The Dake Family and Stewart’s.” One might wonder why this successful business, with almost 350 convenience stores is named “Stewarts” and not “Dake’s” Actually, the original founder of Stewarts had a strong reputation for high-quality dairy products, long before the Dake family purchased the business.
Technically, Donald K. Stewart was not a Saratoga County native. He was born in Austin, Minnesota on May 26, 1897. However, he lived most of his life in the Ballston Spa area, where his father, Thomas F. Stewart, was in the grocery business. Stewart’s grandfather, A. B. Stewart was a farmer in the Town of Ballston, per the 1880 census. So, the Stewarts' had been in Saratoga County for a while. The father of Donald’s mother, Lizzie, was from Minnesota, so Lizzie likely went there to be with her parents during her pregnancy.
Donald, at age 18, was already working as a retailer. The 1915 state census gave his occupation as “Salesman, Tea and Coffee Wagon.” Details of this business can be gleaned from an ad in the Saratogian in September, 1915: “Wanted: Man to take the tea and coffee business of D. K. Stewart, covering Galway, Milton and Greenfield.” Another ad, placed by Stewart, offered for sale a “kind and gentle” horse—perhaps the steed that had hauled him around.
Thomas had left the grocery business by this time. A notice in the Troy Times of October 15, 1912 said that he’d moved from Ballston Spa to a farm west of the village. Ill health had induced him to seek an outdoor occupation. Probably his son gave up his tea and coffee route and went to help with the farm. The 1920 census listed the occupation of Thomas as “farmer,” and Donald, living in his father’s Town of Ballston household, was a “milk dealer.” He had been at this for a while, because a 1919 article about increased milk prices mentioned several dairies, including D. K. Stewart’s. In March 1920, his firm, the Milk Depot, had a telephone installed at the store on Bath Street.
About this time, Thomas sold his farm, and moved into the village. The Stewarts, in Ballston Spa, mostly seem to have lived in the Ballston Avenue/McMaster Street neighborhood. Donald earnestly pursued the business of selling dairy products. The 1930 census showed him and his wife, Pearl, in Ballston Spa, with his occupation given as “retail merchant, milk and cream.” Stewart had married Pearl Jones at her parents’ home in Rock City Falls. Their honeymoon plans included touring the Adirondacks.
Cleanliness was important at the Stewart dairy business. The “Kleen Kaps” on the bottles were touted in advertisements, and customers could join the “Kleen Kap Klub.” Reliability of delivery was also a priority: a 1929 ad promised bottles would arrive on porches “regardless of the weather.” In 1932, the firm received an award from a state agency. Stewart’s milk scored high on aspects such as bacteria content, flavor, sediment, odor, butter fat, and temperature.
The year 1934 was eventful. Stewart was appointed justice of the peace, and he also purchased the Westcott garage on Church Avenue, and converted it to “one of the most modern milk dealer’s plants in this vicinity.” This was the first Stewarts shop (though the Milk Depot had been operating for quite a while before this). The site still is the location of a Stewarts store.
Stewart apparently kept up with developments in the dairy trade, as, in 1936 he graduated from a program at the Massachusetts Agricultural College. This interest in improved techniques for managing a dairy firm characterized his concern for his business. He made a modest expansion by opening a store in Saratoga Springs: an ad from 1944 warned customers that the Stewarts Ice Cream store on Church Street would be closing for an indefinite period. Pearl Stewart was identified as the proprietor. It seems there were just the two shops then.
That year, a trade publication noted P. W. and C. V. Dake, of Saratoga Springs had acquired Stewart’s milk and ice cream business. It stated that he’d started the firm in 1917, and had run it for 27 years. The Schenectady Gazette of October 4, 1944 specified that the Ballston Spa and Saratoga Stewarts stores had been purchased by the Dake brothers, but that Stewart would stay on for a short time as an advisor.
His time as an advisor may have been quite short, since in mid-October, employees gave him a surprise farewell party at the Church Avenue shop. Two days after the party, employees visited Donald at his Ballston Avenue home and expressed regret at his departure. But there were refreshments and games, so it was not totally a sad occasion. The Dakes started expanding the business, adding new stores over the years, eventually becoming the chain we know so well today.
After parting ways with the business. Donald took an interest in the Ballston Spa Village Cemetery, which was not far from his house. He was a sales agent for Temple Brothers, Inc. of Rutland, Vermont, who were. “builders and designers of cemetery memorials.” In the 1950s and 1960s, he was a director of the nearby cemetery.
Stewart died on October 31, 1971, while visiting his son, Donald K. Stewart, Jr. in Florida. Pearl died the following year, also in Florida. Both are buried in the Village Cemetery, as are their son and daughter-in-law.
BALLSTON SPA — The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors held their monthly meeting Sept. 21. The in-person meeting was attended by approximately 50 people. The Board addressed the following issues:
Cost-of Living Increases Approved for Some County Officials
• The board approved a local law amending the 2021 county compensation schedule to provide a cost-of-living increase for certain county officials. Effective Jan. 1, 2021, the measure calls for the compensation for the following county officials to be increased to the following levels:
Elected Officials - Susan Hayes-Masa, County Coroner $31,182; David DeCelle, Coroner $31,182; Michael Zurlo, Sheriff $139,601; Craig Hayner, County Clerk $120,848; Andrew Jarosh, County Treasurer $120,848.
Appointed Officials; Christopher Schall, County Auditor $ 89,598; Andrew Blumenberg, Public Defender $135,095; Margaret McNamara, Director of Human Resources $135,182; Anna Stanko, Director of Real Property $ 89,209; Tina Potter, Commissioner of Social Services $141,918
Saratoga Springs Supervisor Tara Gaston cast the lone vote against. “I’m not opposed to the increases. I just would have don’t think that now is the time,” Gaston said. “There are a number of financial issues with regard to COVID that do impact the staff at the county that I would like to see handled prior to that – but again, it’s nothing against the staff here, I fully support them.”
Positions Created for COVID Testing in Schools
• Earlier this year, the board accepted a $3.98 million Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Reopening Schools Grant. The funds are targeted to assist with establishing COVID-19 screening and testing programs for students, teachers and staff to support and maintain safe, in-person instructions for schools.
As such, the board approved the creation of temporary positions of COVID-19 School Epidemiology Officers - as needed at the discretion of the Commissioner of Health - at the base salary of $40/hr.; as well as the temporary creation of positions of COVID-19 School Testing Site Supervisors (base salary of $25/hour); and COVID-19 School Testing Site Coordinators (base salary of
The Impact of COVID on the County Court System
• Due to the impact COVID-19 had on the Court system in 2020, many cases could not proceed through the system to conclusion, creating a backlog of cases which are now being disposed of in 2021, the board reported. The backlog has caused an increase in assigned counsel attorney invoices. To this purpose, the board approved a transfer of $160,000 from its Fund Balance to the Human Resources Department to pay for additional assigned counsel attorney services.
October Proclaimed Domestic Violence Awareness Month
• The Board proclaimed October 2021 as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” In Saratoga County. The resolution cited “the horror of domestic violence (that) continues to plague our society.” In addition to resulting physical and emotional damage inflicted, the national financial ramification of domestic violence is $8.3 billion in expenses annually. The following statistics were also cited:
- 30% to 60% of families where adult domestic violence is present, child abuse is also present;
- Despite underreporting, domestic violence calls make up more than half of all calls to the police;
- More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced rape, severe physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner;
- The NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline received 8,584 calls last year.
The proclamation reports heightened public awareness is an effective tool and urges all citizens to support and participate in ongoing programs designed for the reduction and eventual elimination of domestic violence. The help hotline, which operates 24-7/365 is 1-800-942-6906.
BALLSTON SPA — The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office and other police agencies will participate in a special enforcement effort to crack down on impaired driving. The statewide STOP-DWI Crackdown efforts continue through Sunday, March 21.
St. Patrick’s Day Weekend is a notoriously deadly period for impaired driving due to the number of celebrations and drivers on the road. New York State Police, County Sheriff and municipal law enforcement agencies across the state will be out in force in this across-the-board effort to reduce the number of alcohol-related injuries and deaths.
The STOP-DWI St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Crackdown is one of many statewide enforcement initiatives promoted by STOP-DWI NY and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. The campaign also targets Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day Weekend, Halloween and the national Holiday Season in December.
While STOP-DWI efforts across New York have made great strides in reducing the numbers of alcohol and drug-related fatalities, still too many lives are being lost because of crashes caused by drunk or impaired drivers.
W.D. Boyce, a wealthy Chicago publisher, encountered a Boy Scout while lost in London. Impressed by the Scout’s “Good Turn,” Mr. Boyce returned to the U.S.A. chartering the name “Boy Scouts of America” (BSA) in February 1910. Mr. Boyce never formed a unit nor enlisted a youth in his movement.
Edgar M. Robinson, Boys Work Secretary of the International Committee of the YMCA, oversaw all YMCA youth programs and summer camps in the U.S. and Canada. Mr. Robinson travelled to Chicago to meet with Mr. Boyce in May 1910. Mr. Robinson, a quiet, charming man, not particularly charismatic, but a man of vision and substantial organizational skills, convinced Mr. Boyce to allow the YMCA to serve as the organizational arm of the BSA.
Mr. Robinson contacted the heads of all youth (boys) organizations and convinced most to reorganize under the auspices of the BSA. The national office of the Boy Scouts of America opened in New York City on June 1, 1910. The first Boy Scout summer camp was held at the YMCA’s Silver Bay on Lake George that summer.
In September 1910, J.C. Smith, Boys Work Secretary in charge of youth programs at the Saratoga Spa YMCA, travelled to New York City to attend a meeting at the Waldorf Astoria. There, Smith heard presentations by General Baden Powell, Dan Beard and others, and received his appointment as a Scoutmaster. Upon his return, Smith organized a “Patrol” of Scouts at the Saratoga YMCA.
Smith announced the first nine youth members of the Patrol on Oct. 12, 1910. Because the YMCA was a Protestant organization, many early Patrols were formed at local YMCA’s or Protestant churches across the country.
Patrols also began in Mechanicville (sponsored by First Presbyterian Church), on Dec. 17, 1910; in Schuylerville, on July 13, 1911; in Corinth, on Oct. 18, 1911; and in Saratoga Springs (First Baptist Church) on Oct. 24, 1911.
Initially, each city or village operated as its own Council. The “Saratoga County Council” was founded in 1924. Troop 1 Ballston Spa, chartered to the Ballston Spa United Methodist Church in 1913, is the longest continuously operating Troop in Saratoga County.
Author Gene Phillips joined the Boy Scouts as a Charter youth member of Pack 24 Wilton in 1955. During more than 40 years in scouting, Phillips has served as Cub Scout Committee Chair, Scoutmaster, Sea Scout Skipper, Training Chair and Advancement Chair for the Saratoga District of Twin Rivers Council.