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.
STILLWATER — A new company based out of Stillwater is selling merchandise to promote free thought and be a beacon for like-minded individuals.
Mallorey Schaller, founder of Revolt Over Tyranny Apparel Co., is a former Spanish teacher in a Saratoga County school district who was fired for not complying with the COVID testing mandate instituted by her school; Mallorey had tested positive for COVID prior. In response, she and her husband have created and now officially launched ROTapparel.com.
“I always tell my students to ‘think enough of yourself to think for yourself,’ and I think I demonstrated that,” said Mallorey. “It’s heartbreaking that it resulted in me having to leave them, but I had to show integrity.”
ROT’s designs can be worn and displayed as they sell t-shirts, canvas totes, ceramic mugs, insulated stainless steel mugs, frosted glass beer steins, Christmas ornaments, and more. Mallorey’s husband is the graphic designer, but together the husband-and-wife team is constantly coming up with new designs. They design, print, and ship everything in-house out of Stillwater.
“I have had a lot of people reach out to me in support,” said Mallorey. “Our aim is to spread the message of freedom and show other people that they are not alone.”
Read the full story on Saratoga Business Report (www.saratogabusinessreport.com).
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Malta’s new breakfast spot, The Twisted Bagel Company, is baking up some fresh twists on a staple breakfast food.
The Twisted Bagel Company, owned by David Samora and managed by Patty Ernst, opened in late August and is located in The Shops of Malta at 15 Kendall Way. The bagel shop recently held a ribbon cutting in November with the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.
On the menu at The Twisted Bagel Co. is a wide variety of made-from-scratch bagels, homemade cream cheese, breakfast sandwiches, and lunch options.
In addition to the traditional bagel flavors, The Twisted Bagel Co.’s unique creations are becoming quite popular, like the jalapeno cheddar bagel and the bacon, egg, and cheese bagel (the bacon, egg, and cheese is not on the bagel, but baked right into the dough!). They have seasonal items too, like their pumpkin bagel for the fall and a cranberry eggnog twist bagel that will be on the menu soon. They also offer gluten-free bagels for those with a gluten sensitivity.
And, who said bagels can only be eaten for breakfast? The Twisted Bagel Co. even comes up with lunch creations like a tuna fish sandwich or a burger on a bagel.
“I just want to make good food, get to know my customers, and make people laugh,” said Ernst, who helped Samora open The Twisted Bagel Co. because she simply wanted to have her own business as a means to express her creativity.
Name a better way to start your day than a good laugh and a good bagel from The Twisted Bagel Company.
You can see their daily specials and what they come up with next on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TheTwistedBagelCompany, or their Instagram @twistedbagelco. Hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Contact the shop at 518-80-TWIST or 518-808-9478. Website coming soon!
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Committee of the Saratoga Springs City School District has picked four new community members to join the board, while parents’ concerns about the committee are still not being addressed.
In an email sent out to members of the district, and at the Nov. 22 DEI Committee meeting, the names of the four individuals picked to join the committee were announced. Over 60 parent/community member interest forms were received, but applicants heard nothing about the progress of their applications until the announcement.
Amy, a parent who applied for the DEI Committee confirmed that after submitting her interest form, she received no further correspondence from the committee regarding her application status.
“The committee is not being transparent,” said Amy.
The first element from the NYSED DEI Framework, which the Saratoga Springs City School District had adopted, is governance – “Establish a district Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee that is representative of all stakeholders.”
Brian, a conservative parent from a minority family, applied for the DEI Committee and was not selected. He can attest that this governance element is not closely followed.
“The committee is not representative of the conservative district members,” said Brian.
Michael, another minority parent who is conservative, also submitted an application. He expressed similar concerns to Brian’s.
“There is not an equal an opportunity for a diversity of races to be on the committee,” said Michael.
According to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Patton, “A subcommittee (student, staff member, two community members, and two building administrators) volunteered to review the interest forms to select four new members. This subcommittee reviewed each individual’s response of why they were interested in serving on the committee and their personal or professional experiences that will assist the work of the committee.”
Although Amy added that from a parent’s perspective, “there is no real mission statement.”
Board of Education (BOE) President Anjeannette Emeka added that the board trustees on the committee serve by invitation, just like any other stakeholder.
Parents in the SSCSD have real concerns about DEI/CRT, as do countless other parents across the country. All DEI Committee meetings are available to the public and can be watched via WebEx; meeting links can be found on the events calendar on the district’s website: www.saratogaschools.org. At the BOE Workshop on Oct. 26, Dr. Patton announced the possibility of an open forum with community members to address their concerns about the DEI policies, but no further information has been posted.
MILTON — Fred Dreher is celebrating his 80th birthday. Dreher is in his 57th year of much appreciated service to the community throughout his careers and has been on the job as the Court Officer at the Milton Town Court since the late 90s.
Born on Nov. 26, 1941, Dreher is a lifelong resident of Ballston Spa. He graduated from Ballston Spa High School in 1959 and enlisted in the Marine Corps. From the Marine Corps to Court Officer, all of Dreher’s roles show his dedication to serving the community.
In 1965, he began working as a Patrolman with the Ballston Spa Police Department, while simultaneously being employed full-time by General Foods in Saratoga, and helping his wife, April, raise four children.
Part of the duties of a Patrolman were providing security when court was in session. Dreher grew to enjoy work in the court and continued to sign up for the duty, becoming a “regular” there.
When Dreher retired from General Foods, he maintained his part-time position as a patrolman and doing court sessions until 1995. Dreher, always a hard worker, also added another role as a Code Enforcement Officer for the Town of Milton.
It was in the fall of 1998, that Village Justice Timothy Thomas was elected to Milton Town Justice. Thomas naturally asked Dreher to continue in the Milton Town Court as his Court Officer, and he has been there ever since.
Fred during his patrol days with the Ballston Spa Police Department. Photo provided by Timothy Brown.
Milton Town Justice, Timothy Brown, planned a small birthday party for family, close friends, and coworkers to recognize Dreher and highlight all the milestones he has achieved. Dreher will also soon be celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary with his wife in April of next year.
“As one of the Town Judges here in Milton, I could not ask for a better man on the job,” said Brown. “He is excellent with people, treats everyone with dignity and respect, and has also become a dear friend.”
Brown has personally known Fred and his family for most of his life. Brown vividly recalls waving to Dreher as a child when he drove by in his police car. In addition to the police force, Dreher also served the Ballston Spa Fire Department at the Eagle Matt Lee Fire Company #1 for over 50 years.
“He is a dedicated community servant and has made Ballston Spa a better place by his efforts. He coached all of his children in sports and life. His friendship extends well beyond the town court,” added Brown. “Fred is a remarkable person and I join my co-judge John Cromie in the sentiment that we feel fortunate to have him as court officer.”
When asked what advice he has upon turning 80, Dreher says to “always stay busy”. Sound advice that he lives by himself, as he still enjoys getting outside and doing his own yard work.
We wish you a Happy 80th Birthday Fred!
MALTA — Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) will start the bidding process for contractors to expand its Malta campus starting next month.
In august, HVCC announced that they will be constructing a new training and apprenticeship center at the college’s North extension center in Malta following a $500,000 philanthropic gift from GlobalFoundries. The center is part of the college’s $12.5 million expansions project aimed at boosting workforces training efforts in high demand areas.
HVCC President, Roger A. Ramsammy, explained that the college receives many applications for their selective programs. The expansion of the Malta campus will both facilitate travel for students who live more north of the Rensselaer campus and will allow for more openings in those programs.
The project, designed by Mosaic Associates Architects of Troy, is a new two-story, 17,500 sq. ft. STEM Education Center, which will include brand new, state-of-the-art labs for microbiology, anatomy, and physiology, chemistry and biology, and new classrooms, student support spaces, and offices.
Bids will be opened on Jan. 19. Construction is expected to take at least one year and is scheduled to start in April and be finished before the fall 2023 semester.
MOREAU — Cerrone Builders has submitted a proposal to build a cannabis growing and processing facility in the Moreau Industrial Park.
According to documents filed with the Town of Moreau Planning Board, the facility will be a single story, 30,000 sq. ft. light manufacturing building on an undeveloped 2.7 acres of land at 2-6 Corporate Place within the Moreau Industrial Park.
Construction is estimated to take 8-12 months if approved, and the estimated value of the project upon completion is $4 million.
Moreau Industrial Park was not the first choice. Back in August, Cerrone Builders presented a proposal to the Planning Board to build the cannabis facility across from their headquarters at 1589 Route 9 in South Glens Falls. The Planning Board raised concerns regarding that location, and the proposal was tabled until now that they have picked a new site.
Joseph Dannible, a senior Landscape Architect and partner with Environmental Design Partnership who has been overseeing the project, told the Planning Board in August that a Massachusetts-based cannabis company is the potential tenant, but the company’s name has not been released.
Saratoga TODAY reached out to Cerrone Builders and the Town of Moreau for a comment but didn’t receive a response.
BALLSTON SPA — Labels To Last celebrated their launch with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 17 at the Name Bubbles headquarters in Ballston Spa.
Name Bubbles is an award-winning brand specializing in custom waterproof children’s labels. On Nov. 17 they celebrated the launch of a new division in their company specializing in custom, everyday labels for older adults – Labels To Last.
Senator Jim Tedisco was in attendance to award Michelle Brandriss, Founder and President, with a citation for business achievement, along with Milton Town Supervisor, Benny L. Zlotnick, Jr., who thanked her for contributing to the town’s economy with her business.
Brandriss started the company in 2009, and when the pandemic hit she began searching for ways she could diversify the business, and Labels To Last was born.
Labels to Last was created to provide a high-quality label solution for those in retirement homes/communities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other senior care. Labeling apparel and other belongings can help seniors keep track of their items and avoid lost or stolen goods.
The company’s sales are nationwide, and Brandriss announced that Name Bubbles/Labels To Last will be expanding to Colorado for easier and faster shipping to states in the Midwest and on the West Coast, hopefully by the spring of 2022. Roughly 10% of Name Bubbles sales are local.
To purchase the durable, waterproof press-and-stick or iron-on labels from Labels To Last or Name Bubbles, visit their websites at labelstolast.com or namebubbles.com.
Black Horses Head to Semi-Finals
The Black Horses Varsity Football Team had another shutout win in post-season play – a 52-0 defeat against Ogdensburg Free Academy in the Class C State Quarterfinals on Saturday, Nov. 20.
In the first quarter, R. Dow got the scoring started with a 1 yd. TD run, followed by a pass from O. Sherman to Z. Bowen for the 2 pt. conversion.
O. Sherman threw five TDs to Dow – a 46 yd. pass and 34 yd. pass in the first quarter, a 34 yd. pass (2 pt. conversion completed by L. Sherman) and a 14 yd. pass in the second quarter (2 pt. conversion completed by O. Sherman to L. Cumm), and a 30 yd. pass in the third quarter (2 pt. conversion completed by Cumm).
N. Abruscato rounded off their scoring in the fourth quarter with a 2 yd. TD run.
Schuylerville had 434 total yds. (244 rushing). Top rushers for the Black Horses were: Cumm had 9 carries for 67 yds., M. Flanders had 14 carries for 55 yds., L. Sherman had 9 carries for 50 yds., and O. Sherman had 4 carries for 33 yds. Dow and Abruscato both rushed for TDs also.
Quarterback O. Sherman was 8 for 9 for 190 yds. with 5 TDs. Lead receiver was Dow, with 7 receptions for 187 yds. and 5 TDs.
On defense, Abruscato and C. Nastacie had fumble recoveries.
Ogdensburg had 139 total yds. (65 rushing). Top rushers were A. Calton who rushed for 26 yds. on 3 carries, and K. England who rushed for 14 yds. on 2 carries.
QB T. Lovely was 5 for 17 for 74 yds.
D. Costello had 2 receptions for 39 yds., Calton had 1 reception for 20 yds., and J. McIntyre had 2 receptions for 15 yds.
Schuylerville advances to the Class C State Semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 27 at noon at Middletown High School. They will face Dobbs Ferry, who beat James I. O’Neill 56-28.
Burnt Hills Falls to Somers
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Varsity Football Team fell to Somers in the Class A State Quarterfinals. Final score: 48-14.
D. Marcus scored the first TD of the game in the first quarter on a 4 yd. run. Marcus also opened up the scoring in the second quarter for the Tuskers with a 32 yd. TD run. M. Kapica added a 1 yd. TD run, and M. Fitzsimons also scored on a 1 yd. TD run to make the score 28-0 at halftime.
In the second half R. Dass scored on a 36 yd. TD run and a 52 yd. punt return. S. Swee scored on a 44 yd. TD run to round off the scoring for Somers in the fourth quarter. L. Savino was 6 for 7 on extra point attempts.
Somers kept BH-BL off the board until the fourth quarter, when R. Mareno scored the first TD for the Spartans on 25 yd. fumble recovery. J. Joseph followed up with a 38 yd. TD run with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
Tuskers QB Fitzsimons was 11 for 12 in the first half alone and ended the game 14 for 19 for 164 yds. and 1 TD. RB Marcus had 8 carries for 51 yds. and 2 TDs.
BH-BL’s Head Coach Shell was on the sidelines for the game after his ejection during the Section 2 Class A Superbowl against Queensbury was rescinded; officials determined that Shell was not the individual who provoked the 2 unsportsmanlike conduct penalty flags.
Somers advances to the Class A State Semifinals, a rematch against Rye.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Peak Performance, a premier gym among local athletes, has changed ownership.
Dr. Bryan Briddell who is widely regarded as one of the top certified personal trainers and fitness experts in the Capital Region, has sold his gym Saratoga Peak Performance to long-time trainer JR Michael. Michael has been helping Briddell grow the business for the past ten years as the head trainer.
“Bryan has been a mentor to me,” said Michael. “I started with him in my early 20s and he has helped me through a lot of life lessons, including teaching me how to maintain a business.”
Saratoga Peak Performance offers training to athletes of all ages, including sport-specific training and injury-reduction programs, to help all clients reach their individual fitness goals. Peak Performance has trained many successful athletes such as Kristi Wagner, Olympic rower from Saratoga Springs who competed for Team USA in Tokyo; Kelsey Bridell, Saratoga Springs graduate and daughter of Bryan, and Carrie Hanks, Niskayuna graduate, who were both named to the 2021-2022 U.S. National Women’s Field Hockey Team; and Joe Girard III, Glens Falls native and guard for the Syracuse University Men’s Basketball Team.
Michael has plans to give the gym a “face-lift” with some new equipment, as well as more modern marketing tactics. The good reviews about Peak Performance usually spread by “word of mouth”, but Michael has more tech-savvy ideas, such as an app for the gym. The app, which will be powered by Mindbody, will make the training experience at Peak Performance more streamlined, allowing clients to book classes, pay for classes, view openings, and more. Peak Performance will continue to stay open during the renovations.
For more information about Saratoga Peak Performance, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/togapeakperformance.