Photos by Marissa Gonzalez
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On May 17 the Saratoga Springs Golf Range located at 68 Weibel Ave. was shut down by the city of Saratoga Springs. According to owner Gary Stone, the property was cited for lack of proper permits.
The golf range is 22 acres and operated on the honor system. Golfers would drop money into a container in exchange for bucket full of golf balls. $10 for a small bucket, $13 for a large.
“It’s kind of a unique thing... no one even sits there. We have a drop box and hopefully they’ll put the money in. So that’s enough to pay someone to fix the balls and to mow,” Stone said.
Stone has owned the property since 1968. However, it has only been a driving range since 1998. Initially, Stone had leased out the property, and it was in that time where it was converted into a driving range. It did have a pro shop and a place to eat, but it doesn’t anymore. Stone also says that he has had people expressing interest in purchasing the property for apartments.
“They’re claiming that there were never any permits there to operate the driving range... I don’t know, that was 20 years ago, I feel like something should be there. They just gave me notice to close so I had to close,” Stone said.
Stone had hoped the town would allow him to operate while he was in the process of getting the proper permits.
“There’s a process you have to go through... It’d be winter time, it would kind of be useless and then once we do that, we’d lose all those people we lost and for the following season too,” Stone said.
“It’s a shame, we get tons of people coming out there that want to use it and I have to turn them away,” he added.
Stone currently has a sign outside the premise that reads: “After 20 years of operation, the city of Saratoga Springs has decided to close our golf driving range due to lack of proper permitting. If you would like to see this golf driving range stay open, call City Hall at 518-587-3550 and express your desire to see it stay open.”
“I did whatever I could do to get it open but it just doesn’t look good,” Stone said.
According to Vincent J. DeLeonardis, City Attorney for Saratoga Springs, via e-mail correspondence, “Mr. Stone has long been aware that the property is in violation of the City’s land use regulations and has, despite such awareness, failed to make any reasonable efforts toward bringing the property into compliance.”
“Court proceedings were previously commenced some 15 years ago concerning the violations; and in 2004 the Court went so far as to find the company managed by Mr. Stone in contempt of court for failing to remove the unlawful uses at the property. In a subsequent proceeding brought against Mr. Stone in 2016, he acknowledged the continued and ongoing violations at the aforesaid property and ultimately agreed to plead guilty to an incredible 79 violations of the City Code and Zoning Ordinance, to pay a fine and to discontinue certain uses, including the golf driving range, until such time as he obtains all required approvals.” DeLeonardis said.
“Thus, it is curious why Mr. Stone posted the sign at the driving range seeking public input to keep it open when he knows full well that its closure is solely due to his failure to obtain the necessary permits andapprovalsfromthelanduse boards,” DeLeonardis added.
“That 79 came into play the second time around, this year, that’s when I got the stipulation from them and they had all these violations,” Stone maintains.
Stone added, “If there were no permits, how could it be running for 20 years?”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On June 23 the Garden Conservancy is sponsoring their first ever Open Days event where five gardens in the Saratoga area will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The mission of the Garden Conservancy is to save and share American gardens for the education and inspiration of the public. Through Open Days, the Garden Conservancy is working to fuel the public’s passion for gardens and gardening.
“We’re honored to be included in the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program,” Ted Collins said.
Collins and his wife Susan’s garden at 339 Clinton Street will be showcased on the tour. Their garden also made an appearance in Janet Loughrey’s book “Saratoga in Bloom,” a book capturing 150 years of gardens in Saratoga. The book includes scenes from the Saratoga Race Course and Skidmore College.
“We have been on the local Secret Garden tour in the past and are looking forward to sharing our hard work with horticulturists, gardeners and the public. We’re using this national exposure as motivation to finish some projects and get the landscape looking as nice as possible,” Collins said.
Since 1995, Open Days has brought more than one million visitors into thousands of private landscapes in 41 states. This annual program showcases regional horticultural and stylistic expressions in a national context celebrating the rich diversity in American gardens.
Other stops on the tour include:
• Sarah Patterson’s garden 65 Central Avenue, Saratoga Springs
• Jim and Meg Dalton’s garden 284 Middle Grove Road, Middle Grove
•Fiddle-i-fee-Farm 167 West River Road,
• Shades of Green
2036 Cook Road, Charlton. The public is invited to join shade garden expert, Wynne Trowbridge, at Shades of Green at 2:30 p.m. for a “Digging Deeper” program to explore her garden and the extensive plant collection that inspired her to start a small nursery specializing in shade plants.
Admission to each garden is $7. To find out more or purchase tickets call 845-424-6500.
SOUTH GLENS FALLS — With tick season well underway, it is important to take proper precautions to avoid tick-borne illness this summer, especially when a tick was found on a child in South Glens Falls testing positive for Borrelia miyamotoi (B. miyamotoi), a tick-borne disease as well as Lyme disease.
Patients with B. miyamotoi are most likely to experience a fever, chills, and headache. Other common symptoms include body and joint pain and fatigue. However, this disease is not associated with any rash.
“It would take several days, at least, before you would get sick,” Dr. Brian McDermott said. McDermott is Saratoga Hospital’s Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control.
“This disease was first discovered in 1995 in Japan, and it’s only been a little more than 10 years that there has been any evidence that there has been this particular species existing in the United States,” he added.
The good news is patients infected with B. miyamotoi have been successfully treated with a multi-week course of antibiotics.
“Whether people have been treated or not been treated, people get better,” McDermott remarked regarding the time span in which the infection is treated.
According to the Lyme Action Network, this bacterium can be transmitted within the first 24 hours of tick attachment and the probability of transmission increases with every day an infected tick is allowed to remain attached. Currently, confirmation of a diagnosis relies on tests that detect DNA from the organism or antibody-based tests. Both tests are under development and not widely commercially available.
“So there is a small number of people who have developed infections from this bacteria with febril illness because it does not cause the rash of Lyme disease,” McDermott said.
“Just like any other infection, if you have a fever and don’t feel good, that would be about the only percepting (perceiving) sign that this infection would have,” he added. One characteristic of Borrelia miyamotoi that is different from Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) that is particularly concerning is that once a tick becomes infected with the pathogen, all the eggs laid by that tick, which number in the thousands per tick, will also carry the infection.
B. miyamotoi has since been detected in two species of North American ticks, the black-legged or “deer” tick and the western black-legged tick. These ticks are already known to transmit several diseases, including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, Powassan virus, bartonellosis, babesiosis, and other infections.
“In general we have lots of ticks in our community, they are out there. You know good inspection of yourself, then children after being in exposed areas are certainly appropriate and I advocate for good routine skin checks of yourself and your children to keep everybody safe,” McDermott advises.
WILTON — To celebrate the Town of Wilton’s bicentennial McGregor Links Country Club is offering a one-day golfing event on June 23. Wilton residents are welcome to enjoy a round of golf, cart included for $18.18. The country club also plans to unveil a newly renovated course and clubhouse.
“We are proud and excited to showourresidentsthenewlyreno- vated course and clubhouse and wel- come all to come view our property. Please join us,” said Blake Crocitto, General Manager of McGregor Links Country Club.
Proof of Wilton residency required f or all golfers. To register or find out more call 518-584-6270.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Members of the Saratoga Open Space Preservation Committee and some residents that live on or near Saratoga Lake have long been concerned about John Witt of Witt Construction’s plan to clear parts of an 111-acre, densely forested area on a ridge over-looking Saratoga Lake in order to create a subdivision for 31 cottage-style homes, a farm and lake views. The subdivision will be called Cedar Bluff Farms and the homes will reside on either side of Cedar Bluff Road pending the town’s approval to move forward.
Some of the concerns raised by the Saratoga Open Space Preservation Committee included the issue of runoff as well as the disturbance to wildlife that currently reside in this area. The Saratoga Open Space Preservation Committee is a active group of residents and professionals who are dedicated to protecting Saratoga’s open space.
One of the largest concerns of resident John Cashin from Saratoga regards the Town’s Conservation Subdivision Development (CSD) code that requires that a minimum of 50 percent of the buildable land be set-aside as “Open Space.” The code defines open space as a portion of a development site that is permanently set aside for public or private use and will not be developed.
“The thing that I object most strenuously to is the amount of clearing above the lake because the storm water run off is just going to run right into the lake. There are streams in the lower portion of the rest of the western side of this development that run right to Saratoga Lake,” Cashin said.
In a letter sent to a variety of environmental and nature conservancy groups, Cashin says:
“Despite the zoning code provisions, the developer has proposed clearing 39.8 acres of mature forest in the set aside open space to create an alleged farm of unknown use by an undesignated farmer. This faux farm is merely a ruse to clear the forest to create open views for the luxury homes in this portion of the subdivision. In the other set aside open space, the developer is seeking an unspecified agricultural use, which would allow for selective clearing of the forest to create views of Saratoga Lake from the homes situated above.”
“I’m not opposed to development, I’m just opposed to the amount of clear cutting that he’s going to do to destroy the forest just to create views for a couple of homes,” Cashin said.
Since March rumors have swirled that Witt had planned to leave tree stumps in certain areas on the 111-acre property as a solution to the environmental concerns. Witt has since denied these claims.
“It’s a mix of things, every home site will be cleared for the home site as you would for a home site. There are some lots and lake views we will be clearing for the home site and down below that we won’t be stumping, removing, or grubbing anything on the hillside. So there won’t be any erosion in that area,” Witt said.
“Every house site will have to have an approved storm drainage plan, so basically when we’re done with the project we will have the same amount, more or less, runoff as we did before we started the site. So it would be zero impact to Saratoga Lake,” he added.
“We got 93 buildable acres and for the conservation subdivision you’re supposed to have half of that, which is 46.5 acres of open space and we are proposing 60 plus acres of open space. We are keeping most of the project open space,” Witt said.
“There’s some natural drainage courses that will be forever untouched as part of the project and the farm, which is the old farm, will be re-developed into a farm which is aesthetically pleasing along with great for local agriculture,” he added.
According to Witt, the project is going through the Saratoga County Intermunicipal Stormwater Management Program as well as following the New York State Department of Conservation’s guidelines.
Cashin, along with the Saratoga Open Space Preservation Committee continues to seek support.
GANSEVOORT — On June 14 Alpin Haus celebrated the ending of a multi-year project, which created a brand new sales office and customer lounge at Alpin Haus RV of Saratoga. The expansion adds 3,600-square-feet and cost close to $500,000 according to Alpin Haus President Andy Heck. Expansion follows a 68 percent growth in RV sales since 2014.
“I just think that the traffic pattern on the I-87 corridor... It’s been such a great corridor for camping, for people going up to the Adirondacks. So we get not just locally, but we get a lot of transient people who camp up that way and use us as their store,” Heck said.
The new facility expands upon the 30 Gordon Lane location. It features new service bays, a new parts and accessories store, and a redesigned sales lot designed to create more space for customers to browse the latest recreational vehicles and campers. Alpin Haus also expects to hire 12 new employees as a result of the expansion.
“Over at Saratoga we’ve grown continuously over the years... Just to be able to tie in all the sales, really helps a lot,” Heck said about the expansion.
As much as this expansion is expected to be transformative for Alpin Haus, Heck says it’s always been in the back of his mind to keep upgrading.
“It’s just ongoing, we always look at things incrementally. We’re growing; we just keep trying to figure out what we have to do... That’s how the business got better and we’ve grown,” he said.
“We keep re-investing in our facilities; if we’ve out-grown an area, we looked at different facilities,” he added.
Alpin Haus has been in business for more than 50 years and is one of America’s largest RVdealers.The Saratoga facility sells and services new and used RVs, travel trailers, fifth wheels, and motorhomes. In addition to the Saratoga County sales facility, Alpin Haus operates RV sales locations in Amsterdam and Port Jervis.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen many families and individuals develop an interest in the RV lifestyle and it’s been our pleasure to help them find the right outdoor recreation vehicle for their needs. Our newly expanded sales facility will better allow us to serve our valued customers,” Heck said.
GLENS FALLS — The Glens Falls Hospital Foundation has announced the addition of three new members to the Board of Trustees and a new slate of officers for 2018.
The new board members are:
Sean Bain, MD – Internal Medicine physician specializing in Hospital Medicine at Glens Falls Hospital and President of the Medical Staff. Dr. Bain serves as a Hospitalist, providing care exclusively to inpatients at Glens Falls Hospital. As President of the Medical Staff, he leads the governing body that oversees the credentialing, continuing education, and policies and practice for the providers. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, his medical degree from Albany Medical College, and served his residency at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston- Salem, North Carolina.
Andrew Brodie – Co-ManagerofYankeeBoating Center, a family-owned business with locations in Lake George, the Thousand Islands region and Rockland County. Mr. Brodie previously served as a wholesale electrical market engineer for New York Independent System Operator. He earned a master’s degree in Electrical Power Systems Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a bachelor’s degree in Physics/Geology from Middlebury College.
Marc Monahan – Vice President of NBT Bank in Glens Falls. Mr. Monahan has been with NBT for more than eight years, serving in a number of managerial roles. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from SUNY Oswego and an associate’s degree in Business Administration and Management from SUNY Adirondack. He also serves on the boards of directors of the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Glens Falls Civic Center Foundation, and is a past president and treasurer of the Glens Falls Hospital Guild. He is also a member of the Adirondack Civic Center Coalition.
The Foundation’s officers for 2018 are Chair Debra Meier, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Glens Falls National Bank & Trust Co., Vice Chair Eric Cottrell, DDS, owner of Cottrell Dental; and Secretary Katherine Herlihy Schwenker, Esq., Director and Counsel for the Life Insurance Council of New York.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Hospital and Adirondack Trust Company introduce the Above and Beyond Challenge to raise funds for the addiction medicine program.
Helping an addict to recover is often a series of steps taken one at a time, and Saratoga Hospital is taking that quite literally in its new hike fundraising campaign, the Above and Beyond Challenge, presented by the Adirondack Trust Company. The Challenge encourages businesses and individuals to take advantage of the scenic geography of Upstate N.Y. All the while raising funds and awareness for the addiction medicine program at the Saratoga Community Health Center.
This new program features volunteer-led hikes up peaks across the Adirondacks – including the 46 High Peaks, the Lake George Twelve Peaks and the Saranac Six Peaks. The hikes are free and will include a committed adherence to responsible hiking with respect to the natural beauty and protection of the trails.
The Above and Beyond Challenge is the brainchild of Stephan R. von Schenk, president and CEO of The Adirondack Trust Company and former chair of the Saratoga Foundation Board. Von Schenk is an avid hiker and outdoorsman.
“The disease of addiction is heartbreaking for all involved,” von Schenk said.
“I had heard success stories of addiction and the power of outdoor exercise to heal, so I thought, why not incorporate the beauty of the Adirondacks with addiction and let these mountains do what they have done for centuries, provide spiritual and physical healing for all,” he added.
He reached out to Saratoga Hospital for help, and the foundation was quick to assist. So was the business community. Not only was The Adirondack Trust Company fully supportive as lead sponsor, but within a day of von Schenk reaching out, Roohan Realty agreed to be the T-shirt sponsor.
“The response is exciting and we hope this momentum will encourage people to come out to support addiction treatment, as well as enjoy these beautiful mountains with responsible hiking that will keep these trails a treasure for generations to come,” von Schenk said.
Like so many counties across the state and nation, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties face escalating numbers of families struggling with substance use disorders and addiction, impacting an estimated 17,689 children and adults in Saratoga County alone. There is strong, research-based evidence that correlates hiking or other outdoor activity with more successful addiction program outcomes.The Above and Beyond Challenge is an opportunity for patients to introduce adventure therapy into their treatment plan.
“We haven’t even reached the tipping point of the opioid crisis yet,” said Joshua Zamer, MD, medical director of the addiction medicine program at Saratoga Community Health Center.
“The funds raised by the Above and Beyond Challenge will help us continue to expand our addiction medicine program to meet rapidly emerging needs. I can’t tell you how grateful we are for The Adirondack Trust Company’s support for the Challenge,” he added.
“It was just such a great idea. We were thrilled to work with Steve to create the Above and Beyond Challenge,” said Amy Raimo, Vice President of community engagement and Executive Director of the Saratoga Hospital Foundation.
“There are hikes available for every level – beginner to expert – all led by volunteers with personal experience of those trails. We have no doubt the community will embrace the Above and Beyond Challenge to support the addiction medicine program. And there are some great sponsorship opportunities available, too,” she added.
Donations are encouraged, but hikes are free and registration is required. The hikes are taking place June through September and are open to individuals, patients, and groups.
For more information about becoming a sponsor, call Saratoga Hospital Foundation at 518-583- 8340. To learn more about the Above and Beyond Challenge or to register for a hike, please visit aboveandbeyondchallenge.org.
Photos by Supersource Media LLC.
The Saratoga-Wilton Elks Lodge #161 Flag Day Parade took place on Saturday, June 9.
BALLSTON SPA – The 5th annual Saratoga Balloon and BBQ Festival is back once again at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa. The festival will begin on June 22 and end on June 24. The name of the festival was the Saratoga Balloon and Craft Festival, and is now the Saratoga Balloon and BBQ Festival.
After four successful years, the event organizers realized that they wanted to create a bigger and better event.
“We needed to diversify and add non-balloon related components,” organizer, Tim Cianciola, from Craftproducers, said.
“There’s nothing more appealing than mouth watering barbecue,” Christian Dutcher said, co-organizer of Americade.
“With the barbecue and bacon additions, no one will be disappointed,” he added.
Both organizers agree that by adding barbeque, the festival will have a far greater appeal.
“People love to eat and drink. We will add a craft beer pavilion and serve wine too. With all the abundant great entertainment, our audience can have an enjoyable day,” Cianciola said.
“Let’s not dismiss the balloons; they are worth the price of admission. As they ascend, a parade of skyward-seeking colorful balloons and their passengers leave behind their friends on the ground. Actually, an amazing sight,” Dutcher points out.
Besides the balloons and barbeque, the festival will add a bacon theme. Organizers expect to host a dozen vendors serving bacon in one form or another. With all the emphasis on eating and drinking, there’s still a full slate of options at the Balloon and BBQ Festival. There will be a kids’ zone with games, bounce houses, tethered balloon rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, balloon twisting, a magician, and a walk-about balloon.
For the adults, the marketplace has art, craft, specialty foods, and commercial vendors as well as helicopter rides. The will be live music performances, street performances, and a magician. The Jersey Disc Devils, a team of trained dogs with performance routines will also be in attendance.
The festival opens on Friday at 3 p.m. and closes after the “Balloon Glow” at dusk. Saturday runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. While Sunday’s hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adult admission is $10 and child admission $5.
To find out more visit www.balloonandbbq.com