Jonathon Norcross

Jonathon Norcross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 21 November 2023 13:25

Saratoga Teachers March for New Contract

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 21 November 2023 13:12

Little Libraries Contend with Vandalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SCHUYLERVILLE — Schuylerville High School has had a robust agriculture program for decades. But now, after an 18-month process, the CTE (career and technical education) program has been approved by the state.

“Going through this certification process was almost seamless because of the high quality of the program currently,” said Sarah Battiste, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development. 

“The CTE endorsement that we have now allows our students to use that as a pathway to graduation,” said Principal James Ducharme. “If students go through this pathway, take these courses, these four courses prescribed over this timeline, that is the equivalent of them going to the Meyers Center and completing a CTE-certified program over there. We now have our own program in agriculture.”

“We’ve intensified our offerings, we’ve intensified our rigor in the classes,” said Mary Elizabeth Foote, an Agricultural Education teacher. “We really solidified that we are meeting state and national standards, and that our students are really pursuing a speciality here in-house.”

The program provides a diverse array of classes, according to Agricultural Education teacher Carlyn Miller. These classes range from business to plants to animals to food science. “We cover just about all of it at this point,” she said. 

“The diversity in the classes that our kids have the opportunity to take, you would not expect from a small school like us,” said Principal Ducharme.

As part of the program, students get a taste of what a career in agriculture might be like. One initiative allows students to take sap from maple trees and turn it into maple products such as syrup, candy, and cream. During this process, students learn about the maple industry, as well as the importance of conservation. 

While some graduates do immediately enter the workforce, most pursue higher education. Recent Schuylerville grads have continued their agricultural studies at institutions such as Cornell University, SUNY Cobleskill, and Delaware Valley University.

Schuylerville’s agriculture program is open to all students, and according to Foote, an estimated 65% of them are enrolled in at least one agricultural class. 

“This is not a gender-specific study area,” Miller said. 

“There’s not a mold of what anyone in agriculture could look like,” said Foote. “It’s just someone who has an interest that develops into a passion, and then the rest is going to be history from there.” 

For more details on the program, visit

Tuesday, 21 November 2023 12:48

Skidmore Coach Loses Home in Fire

WILTON — A devastating blaze in Wilton derailed the lives of Skidmore men’s basketball coach Joe Burke and his family. Although no one was hurt, much of the family’s home was destroyed. 

The Skidmore community quickly rallied together to show their support. As of November 20, more than $70,000 had been raised for the Burke family on GoFundMe.

To learn more or to donate to the cause, visit

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs High School cross-country program has added more championships to its record books.

At the NYSPHSAA Class A championships on November 11, the girls’ team captured the team title for the fifth straight year, and senior Emily Bush won the Section 2 girls’ individual title. Alycia Hart finished fourth overall, and Anya Belisle came in seventh.

A week later, the girls won the Federation Cross Country Championships. Bush led the Blue Streaks, followed again by Hart and Belisle. 

The boys’ team won the Class A championship in a tiebreaker, marking their first team title since 2012. Thomas Isenovski led the boys Blue Streaks, finishing 17th. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Skidmore’s hockey team entered this past weekend with a pair of games against Norwich and New England. At 5-0, Skidmore was having its best start in decades. 

But historically, the Thoroughbreds have struggled to beat Norwich at home. Three out of the last four contests between the teams played in Saratoga ended in ties. So the question was, could Skidmore keep its undefeated streak alive? 

It turned out that history would repeat itself as the contest against Norwich ended in a tie, leaving Skidmore still undefeated but a tad imperfect. 

“[Norwich] play a very defensive brand of hockey,” said Skidmore coach Rob Hutchison. “It came down to finding a way to put a puck in the net in a meaningful moment and we weren’t able to do that, but we had our opportunities.” 

The following night, however, the Thoroughbreds beat New England 2-0. Goalie Tate Brandon finished with another shutout, while Everett Wardle and Kevin Urquhart put Skidmore’s two points on the board.

Coach Rob Hutchison credits his squad’s early success this season with player experience and preparation. “We’ve got experience like we’ve never had,” Hutchison said. 

The team’s core group of juniors and seniors have played a lot of games together, including championship bouts. “They’ve been able to have those experiences and grow from those experiences,” Hutchison said.

The Thoroughbreds are now 6-0-1 on the year. The team will next compete in the Thanksgiving Invitational this weekend.

Spa Catholic Boys Basketball Team Lineup

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Central Catholic boys basketball team is coming off a winning season in a competitive league. According to Coach Shea Bromirski, every game this year will be a rivalry and a challenge.

“I think it’s the best small school basketball league in the state,” Bromirski said, “and if it’s not the best, it’s in the top three.”

Last season was Bromirski’s first as coach of the Saints, and his goal was to have his team “understand me and what I’m about and ultimately what our program was going to be about, like a culture change.”

The Saints finished 12-8 in the regular season and were the third seed in the Class C sectionals. “We tasted some success,” Bromirski said. “I felt like last year we kind of created a little buzz around here because we played really hard and we play a fun style of basketball.”

This season, the roster is bolstered by a handful of new transfer students, as well as five returning players. “We have a really deep team,” Bromirski said.

Returning players include senior Aiden Crowther, and juniors Ryan Gillis, Hunter Fales, Tyler Weygand, and Ronan Rowe.

“This year, I just think that this is gonna be a spot to come and watch a really high level basketball team play every Tuesday and Friday night,” the coach said. “This team is going to be very fun to watch and really play basketball the way I think it’s supposed to be played.”

The season kicks off on Friday, November 24 at 7:30pm against Galway at home.

Coach Bromirski shared his team’s roster for the season...

Bryce Peterson 1 So G 

Pierce Bryne 25 So F 

Kihl Kelly 12 So G 

Ryan Gillis 3 Jr F 

Hunter Fales 2 Jr G 

Tyler Weygand 23 Jr G 

Ronan Rowe 22 Jr G 

Tyler Hicks 30 Jr G 

Taamir Koslik 33 Sr F 

Aiden Crowther 11 Sr G 

Jace Alfarone 14 Sr G 

Head Coach - Shea Bromirski 

Assistant Coach - Adam Britten

SARATOGA SPRINGS —As workers on cherry pickers adorned Broadway’s lamps with Christmas wreaths, the Salvation Army launched its annual Red Kettle campaign outside the Adirondack Trust main branch.

“The needs of our neighbors are present year-round, but most prevalently during the Christmas season,” said Salvation Army Lieutenant Michael Dow. “This is why the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign is so important to those looking for help in the coming weeks.”

The Salvation Army of Saratoga Springs’ Christmas assistance program will benefit more than sixty local families, Dow said. The charity’s goal this season is to raise $100,000. The first $1,000 was donated by Adirondack Trust. 

Contributions can be made online, at red kettles stationed in the city, or by texting “Saratoga” to 31333. This year, donations can also be made by tapping a phone or chip-enabled card on one of the dollar amounts attached to the red kettles.

The Red Kettle campaign launch was attended by Commissioner of Public Works Jason Golub, Adirondack Trust Company President and CEO Charles V. Wait Jr., and New York State Senator James Tedisco.

Red kettles will be at the following locations:

Market 32 – Ballston Ave in Saratoga

Market 32 – Route 50 in Wilton

Uncommon Grounds – Broadway in Saratoga

Adirondack Trust – Broadway in Saratoga

Walmart – Wilton

Walmart – Clifton Park

Market 32 – Plank Road in Clifton Park

Market 32 – Malta

To donate or learn more, visit

Page 22 of 25


  • 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…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON  Eastline Holdings LLC sold property at 1 Aspen Drive to Sateeshnvss and Srividya Gudipaty for $549,980 Adesh Budhraj sold property at 1 Larkin Road to Katz Excavating and Construction LLC for $65,000 CORINTH William and Robert Morgan sold property at 677 County Route 25 to Christin Guilder for $285,000 GALWAY Rita Werner and Erin Forlenza sold property at 1064 West Galway Road to Karen Crandall for $145,000 GREENFIELD Desolation Ventures Inc. sold property at 498 Lake Desolation Road to MW Real Estate Enterprises, LLC for $680,000 Justin Kelsey sold property at 519 North Creek Road to Scott and David…
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