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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Health tech company mySmartHealthcare is fighting the Ebola virus from right here in Saratoga Springs.
The company, which is headquartered at 60 Railroad Place, launched a series of online training courses aimed at training healthcare professionals on the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as Ebola.
Karen Cornelius, COO of mySmartHealthcare says, “We noticed such a broad fear of it [the Ebola epidemic], so we got on it right away.”
Cornelius explained that safety breaches were occurring due to a combination of misinformation and improper procedures. For example, some health care providers were using duct tape to secure gowns to their wrists and since the tape can be difficult to remove properly, this actually led to a greater risk of contamination. The company saw the need for better instruction and is now one of the leading producers of simulations for donning and doffing (putting on and taking off) PPE.
While mySmartHealthcare is based in upstate New York, their reach is international with customers in China, Singapore, South America, Russia, Turkey and Canada. Locally, mySmartHealthcare has partnered with Albany Med to accredit courses so staff can receive continuing education credits.
Cornelius says that their product is unique because “We create simulations that require the user to go through every single step, it’s very interactive.” Cornelius explained that before her company began producing their simulations, health care providers typically only had exposure to a basic safety video and training sessions often included a dozen or more people. After the brief training, Cornelius says, “Everyone was charged to go and just do it right.”
And that, she says, is where problems can arise.
Simulations with mySmartHealthcare are more interactive than a video or group presentation, and after completing the training, providers have to pass an assessment and prove that they are proficient.
Hospitals can then use this as evidence that they are following CDC guidelines. Institutions can also track every step of the simulation. For example, if a lot of users are struggling on a specific step (e.g. removing gloves), they can hold a special training on that particular action. The interactive portion of the training is important, because as Cornelius says, “You learn better when you do something yourself.”
In addition to primary provider training, mySmartHealthcare also offers trained observer instruction. During news coverage of the transport of the infected Dallas nurse, you may remember the outcry surrounding the plain-clothed person holding a clipboard. Many viewers asked why the individual was not wearing PPE; however, Cornelius says this person is actually an integral part of the team. A trained observer’s job is to ensure all providers are following correct PPE protocol. While they do not have to don and doff their own PPE, they must be trained to notice any safety gaps.
Most importantly, mySmartHealthcare’s training can be accessed 24/7. The company maintains that providers can access it “Anywhere, Anytime, and Just in Time.”
Cornelius says the simulations are so important because they allow for learning in a safe, virtual environment where providers can’t harm themselves or anyone else. “Practice makes perfect especially with low volume, high stakes procedures”, Cornelius says.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Over 3,000 participants will once again line up on Broadway near City Hall on Thanksgiving morning for the 13th annual Christopher Dailey Foundation Turkey Trot.
The 5k race is in memory of Christopher Dailey, who passed away suddenly the day after Thanksgiving in 2001, when he was an 8-year-old third grade student at Dorothy Nolan Elementary School. His parents, Mark and Maria of Wilton, began the steps to starting a foundation in his name just weeks later.
The idea was to build and pay for a recreational facility in Saratoga County for the children of the community—Chris was an avid baseball, basketball and soccer player.
In March of 2006, the Christopher Dailey gym was officially opened in Wilton at Gavin Park. By May of 2009, it was completely paid off. It’s now used for Junior NBA, after-school sports, travel teams and by many others.
As the foundation continues, the funds from the Turkey Trot and the family’s annual golf tournament have since contributed to a vast amount of other programs in the local community.
The foundation’s mission, including the Turkey Trot, is to: “Serve children in the Saratoga Community by providing resources that support youth athletics, the Christopher Dailey Foundation fulfills its mission through sponsorships for the needy, the physically challenged and all children who make sports a part of their life.”
Fundraising for the foundation has gone toward scholarships to local graduating students. It has also benefited the Special Olympics’ Young Athletes Program, as well as the Franklin Community Center’s Project Lift, the Double HH Ranch in Lake Luzerne, Saratoga Springs athletic facilities, Saratoga Youth Lacrosse, Saratoga American Little League, Wilton Youth Baseball, Saratoga Stampede Baseball, Saratoga Rowing, local Saratoga booster clubs, the Saratoga skating team and the Camp Chingacook Campership.
The foundation recently pledged to set aside funds for an adaptive playground in Gavin Park.
“We’ve been fortunate to have such a great community to support [the Turkey Trot],” said Mark on Sunday, the anniversary of his son’s passing on Nov. 23, 2001. “Somehow, it’s turned itself into a family tradition for a lot of people, so we’re happy to be able to have something like this occur as a result of what happened to us. It’s nice to have it in Christopher’s memory. It gives people a chance to think about him a little bit after all these years.”
There were a few hundred participants in the inaugural Trot in 2002. The event has since grown substantially.
Last year there were over 3,500.
As of Monday, that was around the expected number with over 3,000 registered and the big day being Wednesday night’s signup.
“We’re on path for that,” Mark said on Sunday. “One year we got over 450 on Wednesday, but either way it’s still a hefty number of people and it will be a full crowd.”
A series of pictures were put together for a slide show, which played as people signed up and collected their 2014 Turkey Trot packets from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday. The slide show documented the array of the Turkey Trot fundraiser’s contributions to the community as well as pictures from previous Trots.
After starting on Broadway at 8:30 a.m., the Trot continues on North Broadway past the Saratoga Hilton before looping into the Skidmore College through the second entrance and returning back down Broadway.
“We like the formula the way we have it for the race, and we want to keep it that way,” Mark said.
Before the race starts, Christopher’s younger brother Brendan, 14, will be one of the singers for the National Anthem—a yearly tradition for the race.
Mark and Maria’s daughter, Laura Rose, 24, has a best friend who will be joining Brendan in the pre-event singing.
“We’re looking forward to seeing all the regular people we know and new people who we don’t know,” Mark said. “We appreciate it very much.”
On Monday Nov. 10, a Saratoga County Sheriff’s Deputy abruptly resigned following charges of misconduct and harassment. Sgt. Shawn R. Glans, a 27-year veteran of the force, stepped down after a video showing Glans harassing a young man was posted online over the weekend.
The incident began when Glans received a call reporting suspicious activity around 2:30 a.m. on Friday Nov. 7 near Route 236 in Halfmoon. By the time Glans and his fellow deputies arrived, the vehicle was gone, but a few minutes later they located another car matching the descripting in the Walmart parking lot.
Upon approaching the vehicle, Sgt. Glans noticed a .22-caliber rifle in the back seat and told the car’s owner, Colin Fitch, and his friend, Adam Roberts, that he wanted to search the car.
Fitch replied that he didn’t want Glans to perform the search without a warrant and the scene escalated from there. Glans, who was unaware that Roberts was videotaping the scene with his cell phone, grew more and more agitated during the confrontation. Glans’ speech was littered with curse words and in the video you can hear him allegedly slapping Fitch.
In a press release, Sheriff Michael H. Zurlo said, “The actions of Sergeant Glans both as a police officer and a supervisor were completely inappropriate and unwarranted and not condoned in any fashion by the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office.” Zurlo also maintained that Glans’ actions are not a reflection of the Sheriff’s Office as a whole.
In light of this incident and the pending charges, we decided to dig a little digger into the laws and rights surrounding car searches. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you from search or seizure without probable cause, but what exactly is probable cause? The most widely accepted definition is that the police must have reasonable suspicion that a suspect has committed a crime. Facts or evidence must be present. For example if an officer sees a bloody weapon in your car or smells marijuana, that’s considered probable cause.
If you’re pulled over by the police, it’s important to remember that you are required to show your license and registration— you can be ticketed if you don’t comply. If an officer asks to look inside your car, you do not have to give your consent. However, if an officer believes evidence of a crime is within your car, your permission won’t be needed. It is unclear what criminal evidence Sgt. Glans believed was present in Fitch’s vehicle.
There are a number of situations when a police officer has the authority to search your car. The first, obviously, is if you give your consent. If an officer asks and you say it’s OK, he or she can proceed with the search.
The second situation is when an illegal or suspicious item is in “plain view.” For example, if an officer pulls you over for speeding and notices a bag of drugs on the backseat, he or she has the authority to search the rest of your car for contraband.
The third situation would be in connection to an arrest. If an officer has probable cause to arrest you, he or she can then proceed to search your car for further evidence.
The police can also search your car if they have probable cause to believe a crime has taken place or if “exigent circumstances” exist. Exigent circumstances can be likened to an emergency situation. An example of this would be if a police officer suspects you may try to flee or destroy evidence in the wake of a crime.
What if you really don’t want your car and personal property to be searched? If the officer has a warrant or can claim one of the above reasons, you must submit to the search. If none of the outlined situations apply and you refuse consent, the officer can hold you until a search warrant can be obtained. The guidelines for detaining a driver depend on the situation, but you can be held as long as it takes police to conduct the investigation, within reason. Remember that detentions are considered voluntary unless you ask (politely) to leave.
As far as the official protocol for the Sheriff’s office, during Monday’s press conference, Sheriff Zurlo said that Glans should have received permission from the car’s owner. If the permission was withheld, Glans could have detained Fitch until a warrant was issued.
Following Glans’ resignation, Justice Lester Wormuth arraigned him in the Town of Halfmoon Court. Glans was released and is scheduled to appear again at a later date.
- The right to remain silent in order to avoid incriminating yourself.
- The right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.
- The right to leave as long as you are not under arrest.
- The right to a lawyer if you are arrested.
- Do stay calm and be polite.
- Do not interfere with or obstruct the police.
- Do not lie or give false documents.
- Do prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested.
- Do remember the details of the encounter.
(Source: The American Civil Liberties Union)
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Bataan Death March of verbiage, pontification and blather about all things relating to the city’s status regarding the proposed Saratoga Casino and Raceway (SCR) expansion was taken to a new level of intensity this week.
We were first treated to a marathon City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 3, in which the mayor’s agenda item about the expansion did not get entertained until nearly 10 p.m. (note that the meeting started at 7 p.m.; note further that the mayor’s agenda is the first of five departments to report, followed by the county supervisors).
This meeting ended about 11:20 p.m., but after the item about SCR’s expansion I had had enough for one evening, thanks. Three plus hours is enough. Mind you, this was a discussion item. Nothing was actually decided.
A “special” public hearing on the next night (Wednesday) followed this — this one solely devoted to the expansion issues. I hoped that everyone got their comments in, for everyone should feel they had their say I guess.
But, at the risk of being characterized as “un-interested” or “un-involved” I admit I gave this one a pass altogether. I also cover arts and entertainment, and there was a great new jazz ensemble making its debut (look for a feature on them before their next appearance in a few weeks) on the same night.
Blast me if you want, but I think I made the right call. Good music wins out over hot air. Tell me, what would you do?
Now, we hear that there “might” be another “special” city council meeting, this time after Saratoga TODAY goes to press: it is tentatively scheduled for Friday, June 6 at 10 a.m. Unbelievable.
Perhaps something might actually be decided at this one. But from now on, your city council reporter will value both your time and my own. We will report on something that actually happens.
The crux of the issue, for those whose eyes are not totally glazed over at this point, is whether the city should assert itself as an involved agency in the review process, known as SEQRA, as opposed to “interested,” which in theory would give them the further right to vie for the lead agency status on this project, instead of the Gaming Commission and therefore greater oversight over what happens.
This would be triggered by filling out a form, stating that the city objects to the gaming commission being the lead agency. However, if this course is pursued, it is likely to generate a costly legal battle, which the city’s attorneys say they have no shot of winning.
So there you are. I have summarized nearly 600 hours of debate in two paragraphs. Yes, I might be glossing over some fine points, but who cares. The mayor believes that an ongoing dialogue with both SCR and the gaming commission can gain more than a legal fight. Time will tell if that is the right way to go.
None of the above should be construed as wanting to restrict anyone’s right to comment. The public comment period to the Gaming Commission extends until June 13 and I certainly encourage everyone who wants to express their opinion to do so.
Just don’t make me listen anymore, OK?
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The 2014 Saratoga Showcase of Homes will include a lineup of 15 award-winning builders and 16 new homes exhibiting some of the newest features available.
The 2014 Builders list includes Bella Home Builders, Belmonte Builders, BCI Construction, Bonacio Construction, Classic Homes, Heritage Custom Builders (entering two homes), Kodiak Construction, Malta Development, Polito Homes, Richbell Capital, Saratoga Builders, Traditional Builders, Trojanski Custom Builders, VanVeghten Construction and Witt Construction.
In its 19th year,the Saratoga Showcase of Homes Committee is in full swing planning the upcoming fall’s exciting edition of the area’s premiere new home tour. To qualify, homes must be built within the past year and be in Saratoga County.
This year’s event will take place over three fall weekends on September 20-21, 27-28 and October 4-5, featuring the finest builders in the area with their new construction. Last year, 3,500 people visited a display of 14 homes from 11 builders.
The annual community event has contributed over $825,000 to local charities in its 19 years.Proceeds from the Showcase of Homes continue to benefit Rebuilding Together Saratoga County and Habitat for Humanity of Northern Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties.
Barry Potoker is in his fifth year as Executive Director of the Saratoga Builders Association. Taking over after the only year the event was cancelled (2009 when the real estate market went sour), Potoker and the 160 members of the Builders Association have bounced back strong and carried on the tradition, raising between $60,000-$75,000 each year.
“It’s certainly grown over the years,” Potoker said. “People love going to the show and seeing what styles and trends are new—meet the landscapers and interior designers…The philosophy of the Saratoga Builders Association is to give it all back to the community.”
In 2013, the showcase raised $63,000.
“It’s a testament to the kinds of builders we have in this area,” Potoker said. “We have some really fantastic builders and they have been supportive of doing the show, because it takes a lot of work to put on a showcase home. All the homes have interior designers and they’re all furnished and they’re all decked out to the nines, so it takes a lot for the builder to do that. It’s also a testament to the community who buys tickets to go to the show. It has really become a fall tradition over the three weekends.”
In addition to building the homes, the builders have to pay a fee to be in the showcase.
Introduced last year, the Showcase Chef’s “Comforts of Home” will kick off the showcase festivities on Friday, September 19. Potoker anticipates eight to 10 homes participating in the chef’s event.
“It’s a terrific event,” Potoker said. “We only sell 500 tickets to that because you can only fit so many people in a house. You will know what the food is when you’re going. It has to be some sort of comfort food, whether it’s macaroni and cheese or tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, lasagna or chili. Last year we had music too.”
Before that, the Realtor Bus Tour will kick off on the Tuesday before the show (September 16). Not open to the public, the Judges Tour is an all-day affair. Three luxury buses will be filled with realtors, judges and sponsors and leave from the Saratoga Performing Arts Center at 8 a.m. to preview all the homes.
Of the 150-175 participants, a select number of judges will go through and judge on a variety of categories—bathrooms, architectural design, interior design, etc. The judges decisions will be revealed at an awards ceremony the following Thursday at the Vapor Night Club, filled with music, dinner and cocktails.
The public can tour the homes over the three fall weekends for $20 a ticket.
For more details on the 2014 Saratoga Showcase of Homes event, or to view virtual tours of last year’s homes, visitwww.saratogashowcaseofhomes.com. All details and updates can also be found on the “Saratoga Showcase of Homes” Facebook page.
You Are Now Encouraged To Play With Your Pints
SARATOGA SPRINGS – So, it was getting towards the end of the Saratoga Beer Summit, when I stumbled (not literally; well, maybe) into the smiling face of Kerri Tanner at a booth in the back. I took one look at her products, and had to tell her:
“I hate you. This was my idea.”
The shocked look on her face was quickly replaced by another smile and a knowing nod. Apparently, this was not the first time she heard something similar.
Well, it says here that Kerri and Robin Morgan better get used to similar reactions and also a lot of delight. They took a simple idea and took it out four new flavor doors— with more to come.
Behold Brew Salt. A homegrown product (manufactured in small batches) with unlimited potential. Available in lime, habanero, chocolate and bacon flavors. An idea refined from your Uncle Vito at the Elks Lodge putting table salt in his Genny Cream Ale, combined with the growing love of all things craft brewing, Brew Salt stands poised to add zingy exclamation points to pints from coast to coast.
The difference between Brew Salt and the shaker at your local sports bar or pub starts with the base ingredients “We use high-quality grey Celtic sea salt,” Robin notes, “which is mineral-rich. From there, the flavors are added, which is Kerri’s department- she’s the chef.” It’s all vegan (yes, even the bacon), high quality and gluten-free.
Indeed, the skillsets of these two local entrepreneurs are perfectly balanced. Robin is a free-lance marketer; Kerri is the foodie/recipe specialist. They met three years ago by happenstance when Robin moved to the area and made a random hair appointment. By the time the rinse and blow-dry was done, a partnership was born. Their respective partners supplement them handily: Patrick McGowin and James Morgan provide beer acumen and financial expertise. Or vice versa, and perhaps on occasion, both.
“We went e-commerce (see: www.brewsalt.com) and vending at big events like the beer summit, but now in a relatively short period of time (the site was launched just this year) we are looking around at a larger kitchen just to meet current demand.” Robin said.
In the meantime, the team is making PR visits to taverns and retail establishments locally. A major perk of the job – every day is TGIF in their world
So it should be no surprise to soon see the Brew Salt shakers, with their distinctive bowler and handlebar moustaches on the shelves of discerning specialty stores, or adjacent to the Bloody Mary condiments on the finest bars.
The effervescence of Kerri and Robin matches the effervescence of their product in your glass. So, a tout to those in a position to say yes to such things from your friendly food editor: Get Shakin’!
Recommended Brew Salt Beer Parings:
IPA's: Bacon, Habanero or Lime
Porters / Stouts: Chocolate or Bacon
Lagers / Pilsners: Bacon, Habanero or Lime
Nut Brown: Chocolate
Or: Mix it up!