Paul S. Woodcock, 46, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced July 13 to five years of probation, after pleading to felony DWI.
Linda M. Sims, 24, of Ballston Spa, was sentenced July 13 to one year in jail, after pleading to felony conspiracy.
Edmund G. Currier III, was sentenced July 13 to five years of probation, after pleading to felony DWI.
Jonathan J. Pantoja, 29, of Middletown, pleaded on July 11 to disseminating indecent materials to a minor, a felony, regarding an incident in Malta. Sentencing scheduled for Sept. 12.
Jennifer C. Jenkins, 27, of Schuylerville, pleaded on July 11 to felony DWI, regarding an incident in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing scheduled for Sept. 12.
Colin R. Murphy, 28, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded on July 11 to attempted criminal possession of a weapon, a felony, regarding an incident in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing scheduled for Sept. 12.
Lenwood M. Savage, 35, of Hampton, pleaded on July 10 to felony burglary, regarding an incident in Milton. Sentencing scheduled for Sept. 11.
Christian Maldonado, AKA “C,” 36, of Queensbury, was sentenced July 10 to six years in state prison, after pleading to attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony, in Saratoga Springs.
Irwing Gonzalez, 31, of Saratoga Springs, was sentenced July 7 to eight years in state prison and five years of post-release supervision, and Brandy Barragan, 35, was sentenced to eight years in state prison, after pleading to criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony. The convictions follow a two-month investigation, according to Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen. On Sept. 21, 2016, Gonzalez and Barragan sold 100 grams of cocaine to a police agent for $5,000 while in a dorm room at 246 Union Ave. Several additional ounces of cocaine were found following the execution of a search warrant at Gonzalez’ dorm room and Barragan’s local storage unit. Gonzalez and Barragan were selling large amounts of cocaine in and around the Saratoga Race Course dorm area, according to the district attorney.
Eric T. Sutherland, 20, of Gansevoort, was sentenced July 7 to five years of probation, after pleading to the dissemination of indecent materials to a minor, a felony, in Northumberland.
Robert H. Costanzo, 47, of Staten Island, pleaded on July 12 to felony burglary, regarding an incident in Saratoga Springs. Sentencing scheduled for Sept. 13.
Edward J. Jones, 37, of Saratoga, pleaded on July 12 to second degree rape, a felony. Sentencing scheduled for Sept. 12.
Rafael Brito, 21, of Ballston Spa, pleaded July 12 to failure to register as a sex offender, a felony. Sentencing scheduled for Sept. 11.
Brian F. Jones, Jr., age 31, of Ballston Spa, was charged on July 11 with sexual abuse in the second-degree and forcible touching – both misdemeanors, after an investigation of an incident that allegedly occurred May 31 at Jones’ home where Jones is suspected of subjecting an adult female acquaintance to unwanted sexual contact without her consent. He was arraigned and released to return to Milton Town Court Aug. 13.
Robert S. Loomis, Jr., age 29, of Schuylerville was charged July 7 with attempted rape in the first-degree, a felony, misdemeanor assault, and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation. Loomis is accused of attempting to engage in sexual intercourse with a person by forcible compulsion and intentionally causing physical injury. The victim is known to Loomis, according to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department. The alleged domestic incident occurred on Broad Street. Loomis was sent to Saratoga County Jail in lieu of bail or bond.
Kevin S. Cuva, age 44, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on July 2 with aggravated criminal contempt, a felony.
Heidi M. Desmarais, age 50, North Bennington, Vermont, was charged on July 2 with criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.
Jesus J. Diaz, age 44, Saratoga Springs, was charged on July 2 with misdemeanor DWI.
Michael B. Smith, age 41, Kenner, Louisiana, was charged on July 2 with public lewdness, a misdemeanor.
Noah Graj, age 38, Pleasantville, was charged on July 1 with two felony counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance one felony count criminal possession of a controlled substance and one misdemeanor count criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Kenneth C. Gordon, age 26, Clifton Park, was charged July 1 with felony criminal mischief.
Ronald P. Gilday, age 58, Saratoga Springs, was charged July 1 with misdemeanor criminal mischief.
Lawrence Santucci, age 43, Cohoes, was charged July 1 with misdemeanor DWI.
Paul J. Sims, age 25, Saratoga Springs, was charged July 1 with felony criminal mischief.
Thomas J. P. Martin, age 27, Ballston Spa, was charged July 1 with criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.
Jonathan A. Berrios, age 22, Amsterdam, was charged July 1 with criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.
Stephen J. Deblois, age 57, Malta, was charged June 30 with felony criminal mischief.
Challenging. Extremely nuanced. And very, very complicated.
The city’s recently formed Human Rights Task Force hosted a Town Hall at Skidmore College on a stormy Monday evening regarding the impact of immigration in Saratoga Springs. The moderated panel discussion included regional business owners, an attorney specializing in immigration employment matters relating and local and state community leaders and representatives.
The prevailing sentiment of the informational meeting – which was attended by about 175 people and included an audience Q&A session – is that even as Saratoga Springs strives to be “a welcoming and all-inclusive community,” there are limits to what the city can do regarding immigrant workers – both documented and undocumented - given that federal laws supersede local ones.
“What we have done is everything we can do,” said city Mayor Joanne Yepsen. “This is a federal agency. This is The White House. And we don’t have legal grounds.”
Earlier this year, the mayor founded a city Human Rights Task Force – which focuses mostly on education, programming such as Monday’s event, and providing referrals to local agencies that can assist in immigration issues. In March, city Police Chief Greg Veitch said while the department will work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or I.C.E. if asked, local police will not detain anyone solely for a civil violation of federal immigration laws.
In June, federal agents conducted two separate operations in Saratoga Springs, arresting a total of 26 “unlawfully present foreign nationals,” according to the agency.
In recent months, two city based churches stepped forward with a sanctuary pledge for undocumented immigrants who are targets of deportation. I.C.E. typically operates under guidelines that recognize places like churches and schools as sensitive locations where agents would not normally carry out enforcement actions. However, there are no guarantees.
“Designating oneself as a ‘sanctuary’ doesn’t mean that people without immigration status are immune from federal law,” notes attorney Brendan Venter, an immigrant specialist with the Whiteman Osterman & Hanna firm in Albany.
More than 11 countries are represented on the backstretch said Task Force member Diane Barnes said Monday, adding that besides the racecourse, high-profile employers such as Skidmore College and Global Foundries also employ a good number of immigrants.
Panelist and local business owner Patrick Pipino spoke about the large immigrant work force in the food and restaurant business. “Good people. Hard working people. Why Saratoga? I think it’s easy to pick off people because we’re a high-profile community, and in my opinion there’s a new sheriff in town and he wants to show he’s tough on immigration.” Business owners are required to turn over employment records to federal authorities when asked and when they arrive with warrant in hand. Those detained are held locally in Albany for only a couple of days before being sent to federal detention in Buffalo, which makes timeliness of representation difficult where they can plead their case.
One resource available to anyone with immigration questions is at the New York State Office for New Americans, which is funded by Catholic Charities and offers resources in 200 different languages.
“First it will help refer you to an organization that will provide assistance on any immigrant-related questions. It’s all free and confidential,” New York Department of State’s Laura González-Murphy - who directs the New York State Office for New Americans - said Monday night. “We’re also going to be using that as a resource to connect with legal assistance, for an attorney.” The agency can be reached by phone at 1-800-566-7636. “People who know an immigrant can call, immigrants themselves can call. It’s for anyone who needs assistance,” she said.
“I think there is a humanitarian effort to this, because families are being broken apart in ways we haven’t seen before,” Yepsen said.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A local memorial golf tourney returned to the McGregor Links Country Club to once again honor the memory of the late course superintendent, Mark Printsky.
The fourth annual Mark Printsky Memorial Golf Tourney took place at McGregor Links on July 15, with 40 local golfers taking part in the tourney itself, and around 75 people being in attendance overall. The tourney is held each year to raise money in honor of the late Mark Printsky, the longtime course superintendent for McGregor who passed away suddenly in 2014 after 32 years of service. Money raised at the event goes towards the Mark D. Printsky Memorial Scholarship fund at Mark’s Alma matter, SUNY Cobleskill.
In 2014, Mark’s wife Mary Beth Printsky found him passed on their bed. Despite her efforts with CPR, Mark tragically and suddenly passed away, leaving friends and family stunned and mourning. Around 6-8 weeks after his passing, those same friends and family came together to organize a memorial golf tourney in Mark’s name, and they were happily able to get it set up at his former place of employment, McGregor Links. Initially, the funds raised by the event went to Mary Beth herself, with subsequent annual tourneys raising money for the scholarship fund.
“I didn’t want him to be forgotten,” Mary Beth Printsky said about continuing the tourney and establishing the fund in the last few years.
As the course superintendent, Mark Printsky was responsible for managing all of the upkeep duties at McGregor Links. As his wife put it, his work keeping the greens in top condition was one of the main reasons that people remembered and returned to course over the years.
“In a way, he was the heart of the golf course,” Mary Beth Printsky said. “He was the reason people came to play.”
Over the course of three years, the tourney has raised around $6,000 for the scholarship fund. Funds were raised this year through entrance fees, raffles, mulligan sales, and other methods. Saratoga Eagle Sales & Services donated beverages to the event. A plaque dedicated to Mark and his time with the club was also set up at the event. Mary Beth Printsky herself designed the plaque.
“It just gave me so much joy,” Mary Beth Printsky said about this year’s event. “It was a real labor of love.”
This year’s event saw returning Cobleskill senior Patrick Murray of Buzzards Bay, Mass., graciously accept the fund’s first scholarship, valued at $500. Once over $10,000 is raised for the fund, the amounts granted to each student will increase, according to Mary Beth Printsky. To qualify for the Mark D. Printsky Memorial Scholarship, one must be a returning student in the Grass Management Studies Program.
Mary Beth Printsky expressed gratitude to many individuals involved in helping in the tourney come to fruition. This included the owners of McGregor Links, Blake Crocitto and Bill Ahl, for providing the venue for the event and giving her a lifetime membership to the club, and Annemarie Kissane, McGregor’s assistant pro who helped her improved her golf game.
All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A local college student and professor are showing young people the power of radio.
Skidmore College junior Adam Simon and professor Adam Tinkle introduced the Upstate Youth Radio & Podcast Project this summer, with the goal of showing Capital Region kids the inner workings of radio production and sound engineering. According to the project’s official website, the project teaches kids “everything you need to be a radio DJ, talk show host, audio documentarian, and podcaster.”
The kids involved with the program are mostly preteens, but the range of ages runs from as young as seven to as old as 20. Simon and Tinkle wanted to be sure that the program would show that kids of all ages could gain things from radio production. Two days out of the week, the program runs workshops for its participating kids in the C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios, one at the Saratoga Springs location and the other at the Schenectady venue. Another two days out of the week, they take what they have learned in the workshops and run actual broadcasts from WSPN. On these days, Mondays and Thursdays, from 4-6 p.m., Simon either broadcasts prerecorded material produced during the workshops, or he works with the kids live in the studio. Simon said that for some of the younger participants, the sense of planning something and seeing it play out for an audience is the most engaging part of the program.
The program was made possible via a grant as part of Skidmore’s Faculty/Student Summer Research program, which allows individuals with the school to have around 5-10 weeks of lab or classroom time on-campus during the summer for research purposes. Unlike the traditional research pursuits that this program allows for, the Upstate Youth Radio Project is acting as a sort of pilot program, providing a means for facilitating youth involvement in radio production and testing the waters for a potential network of youth radio programs in the Saratoga area and beyond.
“We are basically acting as if we could propose a sort of permanent installation of this project,” Simon said.
The inspiration for the project partly came from similar projects that Tinkle had run in the past focused on getting young kids involved in experimental and improvisational music. Simon also said that the school’s possession of its own radio station was a major inspiration for creating the program. Creating such a program also went a ways to fixing the situation whereby the station would have to rely on automated playlists in the summer when many of its student DJ’s would be back home.
Simon is a philosophy major at Skidmore College with a minor in media and film studies. He has been involved with Skidmore’s local radio station, WSPN, as a radio DJ since his freshman year. Tinkle is a visiting professor at the school, teaching film and media studies with the John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative.
All photos courtesy of Adam Simon.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – A project to site a permanent homeless shelter on the city’s west side is being challenged by a group of nearly two dozen people who are taking legal action to halt its development.
Slated to be built on Walworth Street - adjacent to the current Shelters of Saratoga which owns the property, and funded by local business owner Ed Mitzen, and his wife Lisa - the two-story Code Blue structure to house about 50 beds has moved through the city’s Land Use boards and was anticipated to open Nov. 1, in advance of the winter season.
During the past few months, many who have spoken at public hearings in opposition to siting the shelter have delicately tiptoed through a not-in-my-backyard verbalization to urge that a shelter be built elsewhere. The lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday against the city Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, claims the project doesn’t fit into the neighborhood.
“The bottom line is it does not meet the definition of a neighborhood rooming house and it doesn’t meet the criteria for a special use permit – those are the two main claims,” said Glens Falls based attorney Claudia Braymer, who is representing those opposed to the chosen location chosen of the project.
“Obviously we want to help people who are homeless – most of my clients have expressed that to me - but it’s a matter of garnering good community support though, in finding the right location for it,” Braymer said.
Last month, city Republican mayoral candidate Mark Baker released a statement to say the shelter proposal “does not adequately respect our neighborhoods and current residents,” and suggested that a city shelter may bring more people in need from outside the community to Saratoga Springs.
Current Democrat City Mayor Joanne Yepsen, who in December 2013 helped spearhead the first temporary emergency shelter in the city, responded that Baker's accusation that the temporary shelter has contributed to the homeless problem was “misinformed, uncompassionate, and just plain mean spirited.”
Siting an emergency shelter at a permanent location has been a high priority following a series of temporary shelter venues that have been staged at St. Peter’s Parish Center, the Salvation Army building and the Soul Saving Station Church.
Officials at Shelters of Saratoga – who currently operate two other buildings on the Walworth Street property as well as a twice-a-week “drop-in” center – say having the Code Blue shelter in close proximity to the case-managed shelters maximizes the opportunity to provide a full continuum of services and more easily connect homeless individuals with the support services they need.
Between 2007 and 2015 homelessness in New York increased by 41 percent, according to the 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Between 2014 and 2015 alone, New York State’s homeless population jumped by 7,660 - the largest increase in the nation for the one-year period.
The average number of overnight guests at the temporary Code Blue shelter this past winter season – 41 per night – was an all-time high. An executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo directs emergency shelters to operate when temperatures drop below 32 degrees.
WILTON - Men and women of all ages gathered on July 15 for an all-day rugby tournament hosted by Saratoga Rugby Club (SRC) in Gavin Park. This tournament was a qualifier event for the national series. Teams from as far as Barbados and as close as Saratoga took part in the event.
Gavin Park was an excellent venue with the large open fields perfectly accommodating for the several matches happening at once. Spectators moved from field to field to take in all of the action involving several different teams. Between 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., there were approximately 90 matches on four different fields. Wilton was chosen to host this year because it is equal distance from New York City and Boston. Eric Huss is the original creator of the event and this time he handed the reigns over to his board of directors. Even though they were crunched for time this year, the club still managed to host approximately 40 teams equaling 500 players. Stephen Aguglia, Vice President of SRC, was proud of the event and stated that for the amount of people they had present and the short amount of coordination time they were working with, the tournament was only behind by a few minutes between different matches.
“We coordinated with two different leagues and the town of Wilton along with many volunteers. We knew that there would be a lot of potential pit-falls that we were anxious about but we managed to pull it off and the feedback we’ve received has been positive,” Aguglia noted.
Rugby, being the physical sport that it is, had already caused a few injuries just an hour after the tournament began. By 11 a.m. the EMT’s reported there had already been one broken nose and several scrapes and bruises. Coaches and EMT’s alike kept reminding the players to stay hydrated. Luckily, no ambulances were called.
“Small injuries and dehydration are the norm,” an EMT clarified.
Jamie Everett, a local graduate from St. Lawrence University, has played on the White Plains Team for five years. Everett commented on how his team “had a tough start,” but that they were happy to see how open the fields were, having plenty of room to move around and warm up before each match.
“This is a tourist destination for a lot of reasons,” Aguglia continued, “Saratoga is a great place to visit in the summer time and we are looking to partner with local businesses in the community moving forward into next year. The potential is there to create something even bigger now that we have more time on our side.”
The Barbados team has their own invitational that has packages in place for participants with the team’s local businesses and airlines to create a smooth journey. The Saratoga Rugby Club would like to expand their tournament in a similar way and reach out to Montreal and Ottawa teams. On the women’s side, New York Rugby Club, from NYC, took first place and Old Blue Women, also from NYC, took second. In the men’s bracket Old Blue, NYC, took first place and The Bulldogs from Connecticut, took second. All four teams will be moving forward to nationals.
Regardless of the overall division outcomes, the diversity on the field made for an entertaining tournament to watch. From the different coaching styles to the different playing techniques, the Saratoga Sevens Rugby Tournament was not an event to be missed.
All photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
John A. Oakes, 32, homeless, was sentenced July 6 to time served and five years of probation, after pleading to felony attempted assault in connection with an incident that took place in Saratoga Springs in April.
William L. Weatherwax, 34, homeless, was sentenced July 6 to 1-1/2 to 3 years in state prison, after pleading to felony criminal contempt in connection with an incident that took place in Saratoga Springs in May.
Justin M. Lematty, 28, of Malta, was sentenced on June 30 to 1.5 to 3 years in state prison, after pleading to felony mischief in connection with an incident that occurred in Malta.
Gerard J. King, Jr. 53, of Glens Falls, pleaded on June 30 to felony burglary in connection with an incident that occurred in Saratoga Springs.
Victoria F. Amaya, 22, of Wilton, pleaded on June 30 to attempted promoting prison contraband, a felony. Sentencing scheduled for Oct. 4.
Kara L. Harrington, 37, of Saratoga Springs, pleaded on June 30 to criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony. Sentencing scheduled for Aug. 16.
Robert M. Herring Jr., 52, of Ballston Spa, pleaded on June 30 to criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony. Sentencing scheduled for Aug. 24.
Robert J. Loya, age 29, of Saratoga Springs, was charged on July 3 with the felonies criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a weapon and aggravated family offense, and the misdemeanors reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child, following an investigation of a domestic incident at a residence on Vanderbilt Avenue.
James N. Vamvalis, 55, of Glens Falls, was charged on July 9 with operating a boat while intoxicated. According to the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, Vamvalis was observed operating a vessel without displaying the proper navigation lights for nighttime operation following the annual fireworks display on Saratoga Lake on July 3, and is suspected of operating a motorized vessel while in an intoxicated condition. He was released pending further court action in the town of Malta.
Kyle M. Shultz, age 19, of Hudson Falls, was charged with three counts felony assault following an altercation in Saratoga County Jail where Shultz was suspected of assaulting three corrections officers. The officers received medical attention and returned to duty.
Christopher M. Decker, age 35, Saratoga Springs, was charged on June 30 with felony criminal mischief, and making a punishable false written statement- a misdemeanor.
Luis F. Colon, age 34, Troy, was charged on June 30 with two felony counts of criminal possession of controlled substance.
Paul J. Demartino, age 38, Greenfield, was charged on June 30 with criminal contempt second degree/disobedience- a misdemeanor, and aggravated family a felony.
Michael C. Civitello, age 21, Ballston Spa, was charged on June 29 with felony criminal possession of marijuana.
Shawna M. Jenks, age 32, Saratoga Springs, was charged on June 28 with aggravated unlicensed operation third degree - a misdemeanor.
Michael S. Kober, age 74, Saratoga Springs, was charged on June 28 with assault and criminal trespass both misdemeanors.
Devon M. Rinn, age 25, Saratoga Springs, was charged on June 27 with assault and criminal mischief - both misdemeanors.
Adam J. Niedhammer, age 31, Ballston Spa, was charged on June 26 with criminal possession of marijuana - a misdemeanor.
Jeffrey J. Pregent, age 26, Glens Falls, was charged on June 26 with aggravated unlicensed operation second degree- a misdemeanor.
Kelli J. Washington, age 54, Mechanicville, was charged on June 26 with felony grand larceny.
Robert W. Cramer, age 61, Windham, was charged on June 25 with misdemeanor DWI and following motor vehicle too closely.
Norman A. Mcconnell, age 22, Albany, Jerome L. Bowens, age 21, Amsterdam, Cloe R. Reynicke, age 18, Amsterdam, Kaysha M. Maldonado, age 22, Amsterdam, were each charged on June 25 with criminal possession of a controlled substance.
David L. Vega, age 28, Troy, was charged on June 25 with criminal possession of a controlled substance and aggravated unlicensed operation - a misdemeanor.
Jared S. Holt, age 21, Albany, was charged on June 25 with aggravated unlicensed operation – a felony, and misdemeanor dwi.
Jacqualine C. Lombardo, age 32, Saratoga Springs, was charged on June 25 with felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon - a misdemeanor.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga Little League’s All-Star season age-12 players dominated their way to a championship victory on Sunday.
Taking place on the league’s home field at West Side Rec on July 9, the age-12 team crushed their opponents from Schenectady 13-0 to take the District 11/12 championship. Despite initial nerves heading into the game, the team eventually proved how far ahead they were of Schenectady with an excellent overall performance, according to Coach Jeff Babcock. The team will next face the team from Plattsburgh for the Section 2 title.
“The boys went out there a little skeptical in the first inning,” Babcock said. “But after that we just started hitting the cover off the ball, and defensively we were great. Had some nice plays, and just had a great team effort for the win.”
Babcock mentioned that the team made use of the batting cages at Sluggers Den while practicing for this game. Hitting 70-mph balls in the cages rather than simply throwing back-and-forth between each other no doubt helped give them an edge heading into the game.
Speaking of specific standout players, Babcock highlighted starting pitcher Mateo Avila, whom he referred to as “untouchable.” While Schenectady managed a few hits off of Avila in the fourth inning, his performance overall was sterling, with seven strikeouts. In the tournament overall, Avila has pitched 17 innings and has given up only one run, according to Babcock. Additionally, Babcock also praised Joey Barreto, who managed an RBI double.
Saratoga Little League’s All-Stars season commences directly after the end of the standard little league season in early summer, with tryouts taking place on June 9 followed by the first practice on June 20. The three All-Star teams are roughly divided by age, with ages 10, 11, and 12 being the standards, although Babcock and league vice president David Karpinski noting that players can end up playing for teams that do not match their ages depending on their skill levels.
Around 30 young players are picked for the All-Star from the around 300 players that usually compete in the preceding season. According to Karpinski, all leagues choose their All-Star players differently, using whatever method they deem fit. Saratoga Little League’s method is to hold an “assessment night” for all interested little league players. At these nights, players run through routines that include fly balls, running, pitching, catching, and more activities that reflect the skills necessary to be a part of the team. Karpinski also stresses that their choices are not strictly based on performances during the assessment night, but also on each player’s body of work throughout the year.
The first match between Saratoga and Plattsburgh is scheduled for July 15.
Photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Children and families took an adventure through time and space in the fields near the Saratoga Casino Hotel as Circus Smirkus returned to town. The renowned Vermont-based youth circus promotion made its way back to Saratoga Springs from July 11-12, once again with the collaboration of the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs. This year marks the show’s 30th anniversary, and the wild theme this year was designed to evoke a sense of its history. While certainly a grand afternoon out for many families in the area, the event also serves as one of the school’s biggest yearly fundraising opportunities, bringing in a significant amount for the school’s general operating budget.
The theme of this year’s show is “Midnight at the Museum,” which sees three young performers staying the night at the otherworldly “Smirksonian” museum. After a bit of mischief results in “The Archives” being opened against the express warning of the museum’s curator, all of the exhibits spring to life and serve as the basis for the show’s various set pieces. The general feel of the story being told by Circus Smirkus is most similar to the “Night at the Museum” film series.
Some of the set pieces in this year’s show include ones themed around jungles, skeletons, pirates, astronauts, and one particular inventive sequence based around a museum heist. One of the more striking performances early on came from 16-year-old Isabella Majzun, who performed a mesmerizing juggling routine while also balancing herself on a large ball. Artistic director for the show and head clown Troy Wunderle said that the museum theme was chosen deliberately, as it allows them to pay homage to Circus Smirkus’s 30-year history. Many of the individual set pieces in the show are references to themes from previous years.
One thing that should immediately stand out to viewers is the youth of the performers in the show. According to Wunderle, the performers range in age from 12-18, and come from all over the country. One performer, 18-year-old Patrick Chikoloma, is from as far away Lusaka, Zambia. While the performers may be young, Wunderle said that they are entirely professional, as anyone who watches their polished and skillful performances can attest. The teens in the show are properly trained in a variety of different circus arts programs. Quite often, Circus Smirkus serves as a springboard for careers in the circus industry, as Wunderle noted that past performers have gone on to work in world-renowned promotions like Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
This year marks the 11th time that the Waldorf School has worked with Circus Smirkus to bring the show to Saratoga Springs. On a yearly basis, the show has been one of the school’s biggest fundraising opportunities, bringing in around $20,000-30,000, according to administrator Anne Maguire. Funds raised with Circus Smirkus go towards the school’s general operations budget, which includes salaries, building maintenance, and more.
Maguire also said that working with Circus Smirkus helps encourage students to pursue interests in circus arts, as the school itself offers a Juggling and Circus Arts Club, where students can learn to do all the various tricks and techniques they might have seen under the big top. Two Waldorf students have in the past performed with Circus Smirkus.
Photos by www.photoandgraphic.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Saratoga Polo Association kicked off its 2017 Tournament season on July 7 with an exciting day of competition in front of a sell-out crowd. Alan Edstrom, director of sponsorship and events for Saratoga Polo, said that while there is not currently an exact attendance number, it must have been around 2,500-3,000 for it to be a sellout crowd. This was all followed by the second day of the season on July 9, which still drew a huge crowd, albeit one just short of another sellout.
The first day of competition notably featured National Interscholastic Polo champions Hannah and Olivia Reynolds, 17 and 14 years old respectively, in competition. On the second day, a team from downstate was bussed in from Pine Plains to compete. According to Edstrom, two of the players on this team were six-goal handicapped, a considerable ranking in polo. Edstrom further elaborated that polo players can be ranked as high as 10-goals, although players with the highest handicap are considered rare.
Moving forward, Saratoga Polo will feature a number of noteworthy events that fans should take note of. July 16 will feature the Bob Bullock “Voice of Saratoga Polo Association” Cup, a memorial event for the association’s veteran announcer to celebrate his now-30-year tenure. Later on, Aug. 4 and 6 will feature a tournament for the prestigious Whitney Cup.
Photos courtesy of Saratoga Polo.