SARATOGA SPRINGS – The play-offs for the Saratoga Regional YMCA’s youth basketball league were held recently, marking the end of the league’s current season before the new summer league commences in June. In the Saratoga Rotary Jr. Division, the D’Andrea’s Pizza and BHHS Blake Realtors teams faced off, with D’Andrea’s coming out on top, 42-32. In the Saratoga/Wilton Elks Lodge Sr. Division, the Toyota of Clifton Park and Mexican Connection teams competed in the finals, with the Toyota of Clifton Park team taking the win, 56-46.
Along with the finals, the youth league also gave out the James Cudney Award, which goes to the player who most exemplifies the YMCA’s core values. This year, the award went to Saratoga Springs High School junior Elias Wohl.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Amateur boxers came together in Saratoga Springs this past weekend to fight for a good cause.
On March 25, the Saratoga Springs City Center played host to a night of amateur boxing to honor and raise money for celebrated Capitol Region boxing promoter, Bob Miller. Miller, a 60-year industry veteran and founder of the Uncle Sam Boxing Club in Troy, was in a serious car accident on Oct. 15 of last year that left him paralyzed. Shortly after, the Miller family established the Bob Miller Fund, a GoFundMe campaign with the goal of raising money to help cover Miller’s expenses, including “his medical care, the equipment (e.g., wheelchair, braces) he will need, and lodging for Linda, our father's wife, and the immediate family so that we can continue to support him during his long rehabilitation away from home,” according to the page’s description.
Doors opened for the event at 6:30 p.m., with the first bout commencing at 7:30 p.m. A total of 13 bouts took place over the course of the show, which drew around 850 attendees. According to city center executive director Ryan McMahon, when factoring in volunteers and trainers, the total attendance number for the night was closer to 1,000.
“Very strong,” McMahon said about the night’s attendance figures.
Some of the bouts on the card included Schuylerville-native Joey Barcia against Francis Hogan of Boston, Alison Watson of Vermont against Jamere Shelby of Albany, Malachi Davis of Albany against Richard Hogan of Boston, and the Uncle Sam Boxing Club’s own Tugar VanDommelen against Gianni Gragnano. In addition to the boxing, other fundraising activities at the event included a raffle and a silent auction.
At time of writing, event organizer Dave Wojcicki estimates that the event raised around $15,000 for the Bob Miller Fund. When asked if the city center would possibly work with Bob Miller and company in the future, McMahon was optimistic.
“We would love to,” McMahon said. “Bob is a long standing client and fixture in Saratoga Springs boxing.”
Anyone interested in donating to the Bob Miller Fund can find the campaign’s page at www.gofundme.com/bob-miller-fund-2unsxys.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A group of local students recently took a break from esoteric calculus and SAT prep to learn some more practical real world skills.
The Saratoga-Sponsor-A-Scholar program decided to do something a little different for its yearly feedback session, during which they find out what their senior students like and dislike about the program for the sake of future improvements. Responding to a complaint that has been common from students over the years that they did not learn enough about handling certain social situations, Mary Gavin and Kristie Roohan organized an “etiquette dinner” that would help their students learn to be more comfortable in such situations, in addition to giving them an opportunity to give their feedback on the program.
Held at Sperry’s Restaurant in downtown Saratoga Springs, part of the goal of the dinner was to teach the students about restaurant etiquette, including using menus, how to order, which utensils to use, among a variety of other things. Beyond all of that, the broader goal of the night was help the students learn to feel comfortable in social situations that might take place in environments similar to Sperry’s, whether they be meetings, interviews, parties, or any other similar sort of occasion.
“It was so much better than we could’ve expected,” Mary Gavin said of the dinner. “They loved it.”
Students were encouraged to ask any questions they had about anything during the night, and they asked plenty, as many of them had never had experience with restaurants like Sperry’s before. According to Gavin, questions ranged from wanting to know about certain menu items that they had never heard of, to asking if it was okay to ask to take their leftovers home. To their credit, Gavin said that the wait staff at Sperry’s were courteous and grateful throughout the night, helping students with anything and everything they needed or wanted to know about.
The dinner also gave the program organizers their annual opportunity to solicit feedback about the program from the outgoing senior students. According to Gavin, students expressed their satisfaction with the program as a whole, in particular with the mentors that they have been working with, while also expressing dissatisfaction with their mentors’ tendency to be gone certain days on official business, leaving them without guidance. Gavin said that they will be taking that latter criticism into account moving forward.
Saratoga-Sponsor-A-Scholar is a ten-year-old not-for-profit program that works with “financially-disadvantaged” students in the Saratoga Springs school system by assigning them mentors who help them to finish high school and prepare for college. Many of the students in the program end up being the first in their families to enter college, according to Gavin.
Ultimately, Gavin said that one thing stood out to her the most as a sign that the night had been a success.
“I think the highlight was we didn’t see a single cell phone the entire night,” Gavin said.
What do you think of SSAS's etiquette dinner idea? Should more school program's teach practical social skills? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation is kicking off its 40th Anniversary celebration by hosting the presentation “Origins of Preservation: Urban Renewal in Saratoga Springs 1962-1986” 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 at Universal Preservation Hall, 25 Washington St.
Join Matthew Veitch, Saratoga Springs County Supervisor and Treasurer of the Foundation, as he explores the often controversial Urban Renewal Program and the origins of preservation in Saratoga Springs. This presentation will feature rarely scene photographs from the 1960s, '70s, and '80s of the areas impacted by the Urban Renewal Program.
Urban Renewal provided federal funding for cities to cover costs of acquiring slum areas to demolish dilapidated buildings, consolidate the vacant lots, and then sell those lots to developers to create new “modern” residential and commercial buildings. When the Urban Renewal Program was approved in 1961 the city was facing an economic decline following the changes in tourism, the loss of the grand hotels, and gambling being illegal resulting in disinvestment in the existing building stock. In 1962, the Urban Renewal Agency was formed to eliminate slums and blight, expand and strengthen the central business district, establish a central residential area, expand the tax base, provide off-street parking, and improve infrastructure and traffic patterns.
Lasting from 1962 through 1986, the Urban Renewal Program resulted in the city’s largest urban change in its history. It cleared the way for large development projects, such as the City Center and the Public Library which continue to provide tremendous benefit to the community. It also resulted in affordable housing projects and low-income housing as well as parking areas on Woodlawn Avenue and High Rock Avenue. While the demolition of many historic buildings was unfortunate, it did result in an increased awareness about the need to preserve our community’s architecture. Additionally, many feel the program ruined the very fabric of the community by displacing a large African-American community from the west side of Broadway. “Today we are still affected by the Urban Renewal decisions that were made, some of which continue to benefit the city today while others still remain to be completed and the benefits have yet to be realized,” said Samantha Bosshart, the Foundation’s Executive Director.
The long line of humanity stretches far as the eye can see. It flows past the rows of fiction titles and shelves filled with historical tales. It weaves beyond bookcases that cradle publications with lessons about eating well and losing weight. It crisscrosses through the bookstore’s neighboring café, curls around a table that boasts new releases and spills out the front door, eventually coming to rest in an adjacent alley on the north side of the building.
The line is composed of 500 people who have come to “meet-and-greet” Theresa Caputo – author and TV star of the reality show “The Long Island Medium.” She said she had been given “The Gift” at a young age.
“I’ve been seeing, feeling, and sensing Spirit since I was 4 years old, but it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I learned to communicate with souls in heaven,” Caputo says.
She came to Northshire Bookstore Saratoga in between tour dates in New Jersey and Connecticut and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to promote the release of her fourth book, “Good Grief: Heal Your Soul, Honor Your Loved Ones, and Learn to Live Again.” Five hundred tickets were offered for the Saratoga Springs event. They were quickly gone.
“We watch her on TV and love her,” said Lela Barber-Pitts, who made the journey from Schenectady to Saratoga Springs to meet Caputo, and who holds the last place on the long line. “I’m thrilled she’s come to our area.”
The cost of admission requires a simple process: purchase a copy of the new book and in exchange receive an autographed copy of the publication and a picture standing alongside the author.
Sunday morning, Caputo held court in the center of the bookstore, her Long Island accent fully engaged and her small black-draped frame accented by a gold neck chain that reads: Blessed.
The event guidelines for ticketholders are clear: all books are pre-signed by Caputo - which she does Sunday morning in the bookstore’s offices upstairs - with no additional personalization possible. Every fan gets a professional photograph taken of themselves with Caputo and instructions on how to retrieve it. Asking for a personal “reading” is not permissible; the line must be kept moving quickly. Do the math: 500 people in two hours’ time equates to four people per minute. It does allow for brief exchanges: “Hi. How are you? Nice to meet you. I hope you enjoy the book.”
Despite an understanding of event instructions, the mind inevitably wanders. Whether people are here for the TV star factor and in appreciation of Caputo as an entertainer, or believe she has a way to connect with those who have left this mortal coil, everyone has got someone who they have lost – an Aunt Mary, a cousin Bill, a mother, a father, a family pet – and some can’t help to thinking: wouldn’t it be nice to hear from them again.
“I hope my mother comes through. She was a feisty one, and she loved Theresa,” said Michelle Milks, who arrived at the bookstore two-and-a-half hours prior to the signing and scored one of the first positions on line.
“I’m hoping to get help in healing,” said Liz Witbeck, while waiting in line to meet Caputo. A few moments later, the two women engaged in a brief discussion and posed for a photograph together. Then Witbeck was on her way, book in hand and the trace of a smile on her face.
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Rochmon Record Club has hosted monthly learning and listening parties featuring classic rock ‘n’ roll albums since last fall at Universal Preservation Hall.
With the Washington Street space set to undergo a lengthy renovation, Rochmon brainchild Chuck Vosganian announced this week – during a listening party that featured Queen’s “Sheer Heart Attack” – that the sound and vision show will be relocating to Caffè Lena for the foreseeable future.
Vosganian credited the local creative arts community for making the relocation to Lena’s café possible. The Rochmon Record Club series continues Tuesday, April 18 at Caffè Lena where the album focus will be on Jethro Tull’s 1971 album, “Aqualung.”
Gregory L. Lyons, 58, of Gansevoort, was sentenced on March 15 to five years of probation, after pleading to felony DWI.
Fred F. Albright III, 35, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded on March 15 to felony DWI. Sentencing scheduled for May 10.
James R. Wright, Jr., 26, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced on March 15 to one year in Saratoga County Jail, after pleading to felony DWI.
Craig L. Johnson, 54, of Schenectady, was sentenced on March 15 to 4 years in state prison and 1.5 years post-release supervision after pleading to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree.
Jeanne Mosher, 38, and Michael R. Mosher, 38, were both sentenced on March 15 to aggregate sentences of 40 years-to-life, after each pleading guilty to two counts of predatory sexual assault against a child, according to the Saratoga County District attorney’s office. The criminal conduct, which continued over the course of several years, involved two children less than 13 years old.
Charles W. Fosmire, age 41, and Julie M. Ramos, age 48 – both of Malta, were charged on March 10 by the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department on the suspicion of selling heroin. Fosmire was charged with three felony counts each criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance, and three misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance. Fosmire was sent to Saratoga County Jail without bail. Ramos was charged with one felony count each of criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance, and one misdemeanor count of criminal possession of a controlled substance. Ramos was released on her own recognizance. Both are scheduled to return to Malta Town Justice Court at a later date.
Brian D. Bowden, age 41, Gansevoort, was charged on March 5 with assault in the third degree, and criminal mischief – both misdemeanors.
Kimberly Loftis, age 44, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 5 with resisting arrest, and obstructing governmental administration – both misdemeanors.
Devin P. Robbins, age 23, Clifton Park, was charged on March 5 with criminal mischief in the third degree, a felony.
Raphael V. Duncan, age 22, Albany, was charged on March 5 with assault in the third degree, and criminal mischief – both misdemeanors.
Kyle P. Richman, age 22, Marietta, was charged on March 4 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor.
Benjamin B. Allen, age 21, Stoneham, Massachusetts, was charged on March 4 with misdemeanor DWI, refusing a pre-screen test, and failing to signal a turn.
Zachary M. Turner, age 24, Norfolk, Virginia, was charged on March 4 with obstruction of breathing, a misdemeanor.
Lamont L. Wilson, Schenectady, was charged on March 4 with criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, and menacing, a misdemeanor.
John L. Yakush, age 35, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 3 with one felony count and one misdemeanor count each of criminal possession of a controlled substance and five counts of unlawfully dealing with a child in the first-degree, a misdemeanor.
Angela D. Osberg, age 42, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 3 with five counts of unlawfully dealing with a child in the first-degree misdemeanor.
Rick D. Teetz, age 54, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 3 with assault in the third degree, and two counts of criminal mischief. All charges are misdemeanors.
Nathaniel Harrington, age 34, Hudson Falls, was charged on March 14 with promoting prison contraband in the first-degree, a felony.
Donavan A. Lair, age 44, Schenectady, was charged on March 3 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, and an equipment violation.
Kevin L. Dickinson, age 26, Troy, was charged on March 3 with speeding, following a motor vehicle too closely, and operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, a misdemeanor.
Heather A. Salerno, age 26, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 3 with refusing a pre-screen test, misdemeanor DWI, criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor, and two vehicle violations.
Gregory N. Ralph, age 34, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 3 with misdemeanor DWI, and speeding.
Satin L. Dewitt, age 29, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 2 with second-degree menacing, and criminal possession of a weapon – both misdemeanors.
Wayne M. Bakken, age 19, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 2 with two felony counts of grand larceny, and misdemeanor petit larceny.
Kip R. Chapman, age 27, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 2 with misdemeanor DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a felony, and use of portable electronic devices.
Collin A. Hunter, age 28, Greenfield Center, was charged on March 2 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, and following a motor vehicle too closely.
Larry E. Baldwin, age 48, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 1 with misdemeanor petit larceny.
Jennifer M. Fuller, age 34, Gansevoort, was charged on March 1 after being involved in a property damage accident with felony DWI as a second offense, refusing a pre-screen test, and following a motor vehicle too closely.
David S. Riley, age 64, Glenville, was charged on March 1 with operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs, a felony, and two driving infractions.
Tara F. Anderson, age 19, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 1 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, failure to keep right, and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Kristen Insardi, age 25, Clifton Park, was charged on March 1 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, and failure to keep right.
Lisa R. Milo, age 55, Saratoga Springs, was charged on March 1 with first-degree criminal contempt first degree, and criminal mischief – both felonies.
William M. Lentz, age 30, Wilton, was charged on Feb. 27 with criminal possession of stolen property, a misdemeanor.
Timothy E. Amirault, age 27, Saratoga Springs, was charged on Feb. 27 with making a punishable false written statement, and petit larceny- both misdemeanors.
Deborah A. Demarsh, age 45, Saratoga Springs, was charged on Feb. 27 with two misdemeanor counts petit larceny.
Shawn M. Johnson, age 34, Saratoga Springs, was charged on Feb. 27 with criminal tampering in the third degree, a felony, and criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.
Maite Cupp, age 32, Ballston Spa, was charged on Feb. 26 with assault, and criminal mischief – both misdemeanors.
Ashay L. Waykole, age 29, Ballston Spa, was charged on Feb. 26 with felony DWI as a second offense, criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor, and two driving infractions.
House Fire Claims Life in Northumberland
NORTHUMBERLAND – A 63-year-old man has died in the aftermath of a fire at a residence at 307 Rugg Road, reports the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office.
At approximately 10:22 p.m. on Sunday March 19, the Sheriff’s Department received a report of a possible structure in the town of Northumberland. Fire, EMS and Sheriff’s patrols were dispatched to the residence and upon entry by fire personnel, Edward R. Wilusz was located unresponsive and removed from the residence. He was transported to Saratoga Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. There were no other occupants in the residence.
The Saratoga County Cause and Origin Team was dispatched to the scene and is investigating the cause of the fire.
Mychal A. Travis, 28, of Halfmoon, pleaded on March 2 to criminal possession of a controlled substance. Sentencing scheduled for May 3.
Joshua J. Dray, 21, of South Glens Falls, pleaded on March 2 to felony criminal mischief. Sentencing scheduled for April 26.
Cody J. Letourneau, 19, of Clifton Park, pleaded on March 2 to sexual abuse in the first degree, a felony, regarding an incident that occurred in Halfmoon. Sentencing scheduled for April 26.
Zachary B. Sedefian, 24, of Malta, pleaded on March 1 to criminal possession of marijuana in the second degree, a felony. Sentencing scheduled for May 3.
Jared A. Brockbank, 26, of Clifton Park, pleaded on March 1 to aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony, regarding an incident that occurred in Halfmoon, and was sentenced to a definite term of two years incarceration. Brockbank was also sentenced to four years in state prison and 10 years post-release supervision related to felony rape, related to an incident that occurred in Clifton Park.
James Lucatorto, 45, of Gansevoort, was sentenced on Feb. 28 to one year in County Jail, after pleading to criminal contempt in the first degree, a felony, related to an incident that occurred in Wilton.
Denise N. Rush, 48, of Troy, was sentenced on Feb. 28 to 1.5 years in state prison and 1.5 years of post-release supervision, after pleading to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, related to an incident that occurred in Ballston.
Matthew D. Miller, 34, of Rensselaer, pleaded on Feb. 27 to felony DWI. Sentencing is scheduled to take place April 17.
Benjamin J. Schreiber, age 27, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on Feb. 25 after being involved in a two-car accident with misdemeanor DWI, refusing a pre-screen test, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and following a vehicle too closely.
Haripreet S. Kahlon, age 41, of Glens Falls, was charged on Feb. 25 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, and speeding.
Erik M. Gaylo, age 26, of Buskirk, was charged on Feb. 25 with misdemeanor DWI and two driving infractions.
Zachary P. Michaels, age 22, of Schuylerville, was charged on Feb. 25 with criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.
Loretta A. Hoffman, age 51, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on Feb. 25 with misdemeanor DWI, and speeding.
Kristie J. Patterson, age 42, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on Feb. 24 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, and an equipment violation.
Juliana S Dreweck, age 40, of Schenectady, was charged on Feb. 24 with three misdemeanor counts petit larceny, three misdemeanor counts criminal possession of stolen property, and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Robert M. Herring Jr., age 51, of Saratoga Springs was charged on March 1 with two felony counts each of criminal sale of a controlled substance, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, on the suspicion of selling powdered cocaine in the city in 2016 and 2017.
Nelson D. Bruno, 27, of Ballston Spa, was charged on Feb. 28 with promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a felony, after allegedly introducing heroin and Adderall into the Saratoga County correctional facility, according to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office.
Devan D. Hildebrandt, age 25, of Schenectady, was charged on Feb. 27 with felony burglary. The charge stems from an incident last July when it is alleged Hildebrandt entered Bailey’s Café, while it was closed for business, and stole liquor. He was sent to Saratoga County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash, or $10,000 bond.
Bradley E. Day, age 42, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on Feb. 23 with the following felonies: assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and one misdemeanor count of menacing. It is alleged Day menaced another person with a knife.
Juliana S. Dreweck, age 40, of Schenectady, was charged on Feb. 23 with felony DWI and a parking violation.
Melanie R. Stracuzzi, age 69, of Clifton Park, was charged on Feb. 23 with unauthorized use of a rental vehicle, a misdemeanor.
Joseph D. Powell, age 22, of Saratoga Springs, was charged Feb. 23 with misdemeanor assault.
Joelle R. Delaney, age 27, of Ballston Spa, was charged on Feb. 23 with criminal possession of a weapon, a felony.
Michael C. Gutto, age 29, of Ballston Spa, was charged Feb. 22 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and criminal possession of a controlled substance – both misdemeanors, and speeding and failure to keep right.
Connor A. Berry, age 36, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on Feb. 22 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, and speeding.
Paula A. Watts, age 34, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on Feb. 22 with misdemeanor DWI, felony aggravated DWI, refusing a pre-screen test, endangering the welfare of a child, having a suspended registration, and operation of a motor vehicle by an unlicensed driver. The felony offense falls under Leandra’s Law, as there was a 5-year-old child in the vehicle at the time of offense.
Casey E. Shuta, age 34, of Niskayuna, was charged on Feb. 21 with misdemeanor DWI, failing to stop at a stop sign, and to signal a turn, and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Maryann Thrane, age 58, Leeds, of Massachusetts, was charged on Feb. 21 with misdemeanor DWI, felony aggravated DWI, refusing a pre-screen test, and endangering the welfare of a child. The felony offense falls under Leandra’s Law, as there was a 13-year-old child in the vehicle at the time of offense.
Your fingers will have to start walking a little bit longer.
Beginning on Saturday, March 18, residential, business and wireless customers within the existing 518 area code can begin the practice of using a new 10-digit dialing system. The new system, which becomes fully effective Aug. 19, requires callers add a 518 prefix to existing 7-digit local telephone numbers.
The state Public Service Commission announced Saturday’s implementation of the start of “permissive 10-digit dialing” (518 or 838 plus the 7-digit local telephone number) as a way of preparing for the introduction of the new 838 area code.
Last September, the Commission approved a new area code to be added to the current 518 area code region to ensure a continuing supply of telephone numbers. The 518 region serves all or part of the 17 counties in eastern upstate New York, including Saratoga, Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Warren and Washington counties.
The new 838 area code will be “overlaid” or superimposed over the same geographic area as the 518 area code. Current telephone numbers, including current area code, will not change. However, all calls within the 518/838 area must be programmed to dial using 10-digit phone numbers.
As an intermediate step in the implementation of the new area code, the permissive dialing phase allows customers to dial either 7-digits or 10-digits (area code plus 7-digit local telephone number) on calls within the 518 area code; calls to other area codes must still be dialed as 1+ ten digits. The permissive dialing period will end on Aug. 19, at which time callers will be required to dial 10-digits (area code plus 7-digit local telephone number).
Beginning Sept. 19, customers in the 518 area code region requesting new service, an additional line, or a move in the location of their service, may be assigned a number in the new 838 area code.
The price of a call, and the price of other telephone services, will not change due to the new overlay area code. Calls to reach 911 Emergency Service will remain three digits, and existing 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 or 811 services will remain three-digit dial numbers.
The Commission recommends that customers identify their telephone number as a 10-digit number (area code + 7-digit local telephone number) when giving the number to friends, family members, business associates and others.
Customers should also ensure that all services, automatic dialing equipment, applications, software, or other types of equipment recognize the new 838 area code as a valid area code. These include life safety systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and security systems, gates, speed dialers, mobile phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, voicemail services, and similar functions. Business stationery, advertising materials, personal checks, and personal or pet ID tags should also include the area code.
WILTON - Scraps of charred wood and twisted metal slumped across the ravaged roofline of the Adirondack Trust Company bank branch on Route 9 after a Tuesday afternoon fire destroyed the 25-year-old structure. No one was inside the bank at the time.
“When we arrived the bulk of the fire load was heavily in the attic area and came down into the building the first 20 to 25 minutes we were there,” said Greenfield Fire District Chief Justin Burwell. The roof caved in, leaving in its wake a series of long glassless windows that exposed the collapsed ruins within. Bank officials posted a round-the-clock security detail on-site to protect valuables.
“They have a vault and the funds were secured,” said Chief Burwell. “And no, there wasn’t any money floating around or anything like that.” The chief said he’s been asked that question a lot.
Bank President Stephan von Schenk said he is confident the vault protected the belongings of the bank’s customers. “I was allowed in to the branch and made it to the vault, which appears to be structurally sound; it didn’t appear the sheetrock or the vault door had been touched by anything, so everything looks good. We’re very optimistic.”
All transactions prior to the fire, including those performed at the ATM, were processed successfully. Money and safety deposit boxes were inside the vault, which is being extricated and relocated by a Connecticut based company which specializes in such things, von Schenk said. It is anticipated customers will able to access their boxes after that relocation takes place, which is expected to be within a couple of days. Customers with inquiries regarding their safe deposit boxes at the Wilton branch are advised to call 518-584-5844 ext. 473.
The bank branch is located at the Route 9 intersection with Northern Pines Road, just north of the city. The branch closed at 1 p.m. Tuesday due to extreme weather conditions.
The combination of cold temperatures, high winds and heavy snow made battling the blaze difficult, said Burwell, who had to call the state Department of Transportation in to plow the road as Winter Storm Stella pounded the region. Burwell estimated there were about 60 firefighters from eight area fire companies on scene battling the fire, with two more fire companies standing by to offer assistance. No injuries were reported.
No one was in the building at the time of the incident, which occurred about one hour after the bank branch closed. Von Schenk said it appears “an electrical incident” related to wiring in an outlet had caused the fire.
Bank officials said they plan to rebuild as quickly as possible at the same location. The company has temporarily extended the hours of its nearby Exit 15 branch; those hours are: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays in the lobby, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the drive-thru.
The Saratoga Springs based Adirondack Trust Company employs about 250 people and was founded in 1910. It has 12 branch offices. The Route 9 branch building was constructed in 1991.