Slew of New Concerts announced at SPAC

Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, and special guests Alter Bridge & Saint Asonia will stage a concert at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on July 12. Tickets are: $86.95, $76.95, $56.95, $46.95, $27.95, lawn $29.95, and go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday and are available on-line at, or charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

LiveNation has also announced Goo Goo Dolls, with special guests Collective Soul & Tribe Society will perform at SPAC Aug. 21. Tickets for this show go on sale Friday and are: $69.50, $49.50, $29.50, lawn $20.00.

Earlier today, it was announced Steely Dan and Steve Winwood will perform at the venue in July. More about that show here:

Saratoga Springs Police - charges and arrests


Saratoga Springs Police Department Arrest Information, from Feb. 18 – Feb. 22 KYLE J QUINN, age 28, Saratoga Spgs. Offenses: AGGRAVATED UNLICENSED OPERATION THIRD DEGREE- misd; NO/EXPIRED INSPECTION CERTIFICATE.



JOHN W BEEBE, age 24, Lake George, NY; JOSHUA D CUTTER, age 27, Queensbury, NY; JORDAN S BRANCHCOMB, age 22, Fort Edward, NY; WAYNE N PHILLIPS, age 23, Gansevoort, NY; JESSICA M LEBRUN, age 22, Glens Falls, NY; MICHAEL A TAYLOR, age 21, Glens Falls, NY. Offenses: CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE 7TH-misd; UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA




SPAC Concert Announcement: Steely Dan, Steve Winwood

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker will return to Saratoga this summer when Steely Dan stages a show July 10 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The band will kick off their five-week summer tour with special guest Steve Winwood on June 7 in Ohio. Steely Dan will perform songs from its four-decade catalog. Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Steve Winwood will feature songs from his 50-year career that has included stints with the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, and Blind Faith, as well as a solo career.

Steely Dan first appeared at SPAC in August 1993, while Steve Winwood fist appeared in September 1986, when he shared the stage with Jimmy Cliff, according to the SPAC timeline published in Saratoga Stories: Magic and Loss.

Steve Winwood, Blind Faith 1969:

Tickets - $150, $95, $75, and $55 inside, and $35 lawn - go on sale Feb. 29 and will be available on-line at or Charge By Phone at 1-800-745-3000.

Saratoga: that was then, this is now

The intersection of Church Street and Railroad Place - date unknown (Bolster Collection)
The intersection of Church Street and Railroad Place - date unknown (Bolster Collection)

A reader asked about a photograph we had posted a few years ago during a then-and-now series we ran. After fishing it out of the archives, we thought it would be fun to share the image again here. Depicted above is the intersection of Church Street and Railroad Place. This was then:

This is the same intersection today:

The intersection today
The intersection today

Saratoga County Fair officials announced last week that 10 scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each will be awarded to current New York State high school seniors, and students enrolled in college. The scholarships are sponsored by the New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs and the New York State Showpeoples’s Association. To qualify, candidates from Saratoga County must be active at the Saratoga County Fair, and submit their application through the Fair Office by April 8. Application forms are available at

Veterans’ employment: An overview of the job market for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and the ins-and-outs of hiring veterans will be the focus of a symposium from 7:30-10:30 a.m. on March 3 at The Gideon Putnam in the Saratoga Spa State Park.

Speakers and panel discussions will examine the job market for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and the ins-and-outs of hiring veterans, including the resources available to businesses that employ veterans. The event will be of special interest to businesses, human resource professionals, and veterans’ service agencies seeking to increase job opportunities for veterans. Cost is $40 including breakfast. Registration required at For more information call 518-587-5107.

Next month: In recognition of Women’s History Month, Saratoga National Historical Park will offer a free program that explores the lives of women who lived during the American Revolutionary War through their stories, excerpted from letters and diary entries. “In Their Own Words: Women in the Revolution,” will be staged from 2 p.m.- 3 p.m. Saturday, March 19 at the park visitor center. The program will be led by Colonial period educator Jennifer Richard-Morrow. Saratoga National Historical Park is located between Rt. 4 and Rt. 32 in the town of Stillwater. For more information, contact the visitor center at 518-670-2985, or go to:

SPAC President Marcia White to step down

Marcia White, longtime president and executive director of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center announced Friday that she will step down at the end of 2016. White, a political advisor and public relations strategist in the NY State Legislature came to SPAC in March, 2005.

“It has been a privilege and a joy of my life to lead, serve, and work for one of the most extraordinary performing arts centers in the world,” White said Friday, in a prepared statement. “I have been truly blessed to have had the unique opportunity to work with SPAC’s passionate board, dedicated staff and the greater Capital Region Community, and I am immensely proud of all that we have accomplished together.”

White provided no specific reason for leaving, saying, “I came to SPAC just prior to the 40th Anniversary season, and feel that the ideal time to depart is at the conclusion of SPAC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Season. While I feel my energies leading me in new directions, it’s with deeply bitter-sweet emotion that I announce my decision to leave SPAC.”

White has raised $15 million through major gift solicitations and generated a 70 percent increase in revenue from fundraising events and first-ever title sponsorships with global companies, according to the organization. She also spearheaded the expansion of SPAC’s wine festival fundraiser into The Saratoga Wine & Food Festival and Concours d’Elegance in partnership with the Saratoga Automobile Museum.

The SPAC Board has retained the nonprofit executive search firm Phillips Oppenheim to assist in the search for a new executive director and president. The arts practice group has worked with Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Metropolitan Opera, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, and the Music Center in Los Angeles. The search will be led by Phillips Oppenheim principals Sarah James and Becky Klein

College lecture will teach you how to remove demons from your household appliances; Opera Saratoga to perform in community; Child dancers wanted for SPAC ballet

Is there a demon in your toaster? Late last year a friend and coworker of my wife had passed after losing a battle with cancer. Let's call the friend M. Over the past few days, wife said she was somewhat taken aback when M's image starting popping up in Facebook memories. Then followed a series of emails sent by M - old emails from years past - which suddenly began popping up in the Inbox.

- It's probably just a glitch, I reasoned. M's former employer re-setting the system or something. (Like I even know what that means)

We discussed this over morning coffee just as I was making toast. With that face-of-Jesus on a slice of toast thing in my brain, I offered that maybe M should similarly make an imprinted appearance upon the slide of bread being heated in the toaster. Then I went off to the other room. A few seconds later, the dog was barking like mad, the smoke detector screaming like somebody was choking it and when I went back into the kitchen I found the toaster engulfed in flames. Not a little bit of smoke, mind you, but tall, shooting flames rising dangerously close to the wood cabinet above it. The next few moments were a blur, so I'll just say this: if you looked out your window and thought you saw a pajama-clad person racing through the snow with a toaster on fire, well, you weren't imagining things.

If you've had a similar experience, you may want to take note that next month, UNC­Charlotte religious and American studies professor Sean McCloud will give a lecture at Skidmore College about the Third Wave practice of "spiritual housekeeping." What is this? It's a practice during which demons are removed from household objects that bind people to bad habits and inherited patterns of sin. The lecture will take place 6 p.m. on March 8 at Emerson Auditorium. For more information call 518-580-5400. That is, if your phone lets you.

Other stuff:

Opera Saratoga will present Opera-To-Go performances of Operation Superpower to over 50 public and private schools throughout the region from Feb. 22 to March 25. The performances feature professional artists who share their joy of music and theater through the opera, as well as through question and answer sessions where students have the opportunity to meet the artists and learn about the music and what it takes to put on a performance.

This year’s opera, Operation Superpower, takes a stand against bullying by promoting the five essential elements of being a superhero: courage, hope, honesty, imagination and friendship. Operation Superpower has been performed for over 50,000 students through productions in the greater New York City area and by the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. Opera Saratoga is the first American company outside New York City to present the new opera for young audiences.

In Saratoga Springs, the show will be performed at 11 a.m. on Feb. 27 at Saratoga Arts, 320 Broadway, and at 10 a.m. on March 12 at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, 49 Henry St. For more information, go here: For more information, visit

Children's auditions for New York City Ballet’s July performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at SPAC will be held on Sunday, March 13at The School of the Arts of the National Museum of Dance, 99 South Broadway. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and auditions begin at 10.

The first round of auditions will be for one petite child ages 7-9 and 4 feet 2 inches - 4 feet 4 inches tall for a non-dancing role. This will be followed by roles for girls ages 9-13 with at least 2 years of serious ballet training who measure 4 feet 10 inches and below.

Note: dancers taller than the maximum height requirement of 4 feet 10 inches will not be eligible to audition. Children chosen must be available for rehearsals starting July 5. Performances of the ballet will be Wednesday, July 20, Friday, July 22, and Saturday July 23. Audition forms are available online at and


ZBA meets Monday; Jumel Place demo/ seven-unit condo project on agenda

The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet Monday Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. for a workshop, and at 7 p.m. for a full meeting. Agenda

New Business

  1. #2807.1 MURPHY LANE SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENCE 39 Murphy Lane, area variance modification for proposed changes to a previously approved barn conversion to single-family residence; seeking additional relief from the minimum front yard and rear yard requirements in the Urban Residential – 3 District.
  2. #2876 BENTON SUBDIVISION 58 Fifth Avenue, area variance to provide for a two-lot residential subdivision; seeking relief from the minimum average lot width and minimum lot area requirements for each of the proposed lots, and minimum total side yard setback and maximum principal building coverage requirements for the existing house on the proposed new lot in the Urban Residential – 1 District.
  3. #2647.1 NELSON & WILEY PORCH 317 Nelson Avenue, area variance to construct a screened porch addition to an existing single-family residence; seeking relief from the minimum rear yard setback and maximum principal building coverage requirements in the Urban Residential – 3 District.
  4. #2759.1 ANW HOLDINGS RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT 27 Jumel Place, area variance to demolish existing structure and build seven-unit condominium project; seeking relief from the maximum principal building coverage, minimum front yard setback and maximum height for a residential fence requirements in the Urban Residential – 3 District.
  5. #2875 PERRON RESIDENTIAL ADDITION 35 Greenfield Avenue, area variance to construct a three car attached garage to an existing single-family residence; seeking relief from the minimum front yard setback (Woodlawn) and maximum principal building coverage requirements in the Urban Residential – 1 District.
  6. #2878 REED DECK 12 Clubhouse Drive, area variance to maintain an existing rear deck to an existing single-family residence, seeking relief from the minimum rear yard setback in the Urban Residential – 4 District.


Old Business

  1. #2865 BOUGHTON GARAGE 1 Alger Street, area variance to construct an attached garage with second-story master suite addition to an existing single-family residence; seeking relief from the minimum front yard setback (Alger), minimum total side yard setback and maximum principal building coverage requirements in the Urban Residential – 3 District.



Code Blue gets boost, seeks your help; Saratoga gets top ranking - but there's a catch; Local dog has its day

Saratoga’s emergency shelter got a much needed boost this week in the organization’s efforts to comply with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order to protect homeless individuals from inclement winter weather when temperatures decline to 32 degrees or below. Code Blue Saratoga, which opens on an emergency basis, currently has protocols in place when temperatures dip to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This week, the United Way of the Greater Capital Region presented the Saratoga shelter with an $8,000 check and initiated a $32,000 overall fund-raising drive to help the local shelter meet Cuomo’s directive for the balance of the winter.

One hundred percent of donations to the fund will go directly to the cause, and any funds leftover will be forwarded for use next fall. Donations for Code Blue Saratoga may be made at

A minimum of 22 volunteers staff the emergency shelter on any given night. More help is needed and anyone interested in volunteering at the shelter may go to:

The Code Blue shelter works under the auspices of Shelters of Saratoga with a goal of transitioning people from the emergency shelter to the temporary housing provided by SOS and then into positions of employment and their own homes. Last year, 10 people successfully transitioned through the system. “They went on to jobs and to getting their lives back on track,” said Mike Finocchi, Executive Director Shelters of Saratoga.

Inside Code Blue Saratoga

Dollar General, who looked to purchase nearly 94 acres just off Exit 16 of the Northway, will not be pursuing an option to build a $92 million distribution center in Wilton, reports the Times Union. The news comes despite an offer to the discount retailer for $11 million in tax breaks and economic incentives. No explanation was provided.

Spa City Ranked Among Top Ten Best Places to Retire in NY! Beware the exclamation point. You will see a variety of happy polls appear during the course of the year and finding their way into any number of places, but, either through complete laziness, or selective click-through reasoning, they fail to give you the full picture. In this case, the same pollsters who determined Saratoga a happy place to retire (Saratoga Springs ranked in at number six and Ballston Spa ranked number two!) also gave Saratoga an F grade (as in Fail) for comparatively scoring tax value rankings. So, yay, a happy place to retire. As long as you don’t have to pay taxes. The lesson = reader beware.

Congrats to Holster, an Australian shepherd and the Greenwich, N.Y. community from whence it came, breezing through obstacles to take top honors in the 2016 Westminster Masters Agility Championship . (h/t to David Doonan)


DRC meets Wednesday - Agenda

The Design Review Commission will meet 7 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.  

Proposed Consent Agenda Items:


  1. 2016.010 Mr. Formal Wear Signage, 3 Hampstead Place Suite 103, Architectural Review of signage within the Transect-4 Urban Neighborhood District.


  1. 2016.013 St Peter’s Primary Care Sign, 8 Circular St, Architectural Review of a wall sign within the Transect-5 Neighborhood Center District.


  1. DRC Applications under Consideration


  1. 2016.009 Saratoga Cleaners Wall Sign, 228 Washington St, Architectural Review of a wall sign within the Transect-4 Urban Neighborhood District.


  1. 2016.008 Dwore Residence Garage, 34 North Lane, Historic Review of a detached 2-car garage within the Urban Residential-4 District.


  1. 2016.011 Groseclose/Polnac Porch Restoration, 136 Circular St, Historic Review of porch restoration within the Urban Residential-3 District.


  1. 2016.012 Martell Residence Window Replacements, 40 Franklin St, Historic Review of window replacements within the Urban Residential-4 District.


  1. 2016.002 Sautter Exterior Modifications, 150 Washington Street, Architectural Review of exterior modifications within the Urban Residential-3 District.


  1. 2016.007 75 Woodlawn Ave Window, 75 Woodlawn Ave, Architectural Review of an exterior modification within the Transect-5 Neighborhood Center District.

Bang on a Can All-Stars to perform Lou Reed, Philip Glass in free concert on Thursday

Bang on a Can All-Stars will stage a free concert at the Tang Museum Thursday. The amplified sextet – which includes Saratoga Springs native Ashley Bathgate - formed in 1992, and cross the musical boundaries of classical, jazz, rock, world and experimental music. The All-Stars’ celebrated projects include landmark recordings of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports and Terry Riley’s In C, as well as live performances with Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, among others.

Thursday’s program at the Tang features Bang on a Can co-founders Michael Gordon (performing Gene Takes a Drink), Julia Wolfe (Believing), and David Lang’s arrangement of Lou Reeds’ Heroin - originally recorded by the Velvet Underground, and arguably one of the greatest musical works of the 20th century.

Thursday’s program also includes Steve Martland’s Horses of Instruction, Philip Glass’ wonderful Closing, and the world premiere of a new composition by Brooklyn-based composer and guitarist Brendon Randall-Myers titled Changes, Stops, and Swells, which was commissioned by photographer, curator, and collector Jack Shear and the Tang Teaching Museum. The exhibition Borrowed Light: Selections from the Jack Shear Collection is on display at the museum through Aug. 14.

The concert will be staged 6 p.m. Thursday at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, in Saratoga Springs. Admission to the concert is free; reservations are required. Call the museum’s Visitors Services Desk at 518-580-8080 to reserve your spot.

Blurbs: Over 28 years, Bang on a Can has grown from a one-day New York-based Marathon concert (on Mother’s Day in 1987 in a SoHo art gallery) to a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a broad range of year-round international activities, including the annual Bang on a Can Marathon; the People’s Commissioning Fund; the Bang on a Can All-Stars; the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival; Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can’s extreme street band; and many others.



Ten Years ago: Saratoga and The Blizzard of 2006

Ten Years After: If you were living in or around Saratoga Springs in 2006, you remember. In mid-February, a low-pressure system moved in across New York and southern New England dropping snow at a rate of up to three to four inches per hour. Flights were cancelled, railroad service shut down and in Saratoga Springs the winter storm plunged the city into an icy darkness during the three-day President's Day weekend. The blackout lasted for several days, causing food businesses to lose thousands of dollars in sales and product, and the annual Dance Flurry to be cancelled. Statewide, 213,000 National Grid customers lost power. Fifty-three year old George Green, a state transportation worker and a father of three from Saratoga Springs, was killed when his truck was crushed beneath a wind-swept tree on the Avenue of the Pines in Saratoga Spa State Park. High winds, measured at a top wind speed of 98 mph at the Saratoga County Airport on Feb. 17 resulted in more than 350 downed utility poles and miles of electric wire.

Reporting on the event and trying to get information out to the public was a dicey mixture of navigating through frozen streets in the darkness for several days; relying on the kindness of strangers to power up laptops, and finding ways to stay warm. The newly constructed Maple Avenue Middle School was opened as an emergency shelter to house area residents and families who had for days suffered through the bitter cold. Eileen Reardon, then executive director of the Adirondack-Saratoga chapter of the Red Cross, tended to the shelter.

“How long will you be here?” I remember asking her.

“We’ll be here until everyone starts clapping that the power is back on,” she said. That wait would last several days.

Matt McCabe, the finance commissioner at the time, subsequently initiated a plan to secure a generator for City Hall should Saratoga Springs be faced with a similar disaster in the future.

A presser will be staged Tuesday to announce details of the United Way of the Greater Capital Region’s involvement in stepping in to help Code Blue Saratoga – the city’s emergency homeless shelter located at the Salvation army on Walworth Avenue.

Code Blue Saratoga - a not-for-profit staffed almost entirely by volunteers - has struggled to fund additional nights of service in an attempt to expand programs to comply with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order. For more information on Code Blue Saratoga and what you can do to help, go here:


City Council to provide updates on VLT Revenue, UDO process; Will discuss support for Laree's Law

The City Council will host a meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall where Mayor Joanne Yepsen will provide an update on the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) – for which a public workshop was held earlier this month. Among the goals of the UDO is to update existing zoning and subdivision regulations to be in conformance with the city’s Comprehensive Plan. Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan will provide an update on VLT Revenue, and Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiesen will lead a discussion asking for City Council support for Laree's Law, which is being considered by the NYS Senate and Assembly.

Laree’s Law would allow law enforcement officials to charge a drug dealer with homicide if a person overdoses on heroin or an opiate-controlled substance sold to them by that dealer. Laree’s Law is named after Laree Farrell Lincoln, a Colonie teenager and the daughter of a former Albany police officer, who died of a heroin overdose in 2013. The Assembly Bill is HERE and the Senate Bill is HERE.

The preliminary meeting agenda is as follows:


EXECUTIVE SESSION: (1) Pending Litigation with Respect to Retiree benefits and (2) Collective bargaining Negotiations with the Police Administrative Officers' Unit


  1. Discussion and Vote: Authorization for the Mayor to sign Service Agreement with Ricoh Effective 1/1/16
  2. Discussion: City Contribution to Saratoga Lake Protection and Improvement District (SLPID)
  3. Discussion: Update - Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Public Workshop



  1. Announcement: Saratoga Springs Smart City Council
  2. Update: VLT Revenue
  3. Discussion and Vote: Budget Amendments-Benefits
  4. Discussion and Vote: Budget Amendments-Interfund


  1. Discussion and Vote: Approval to pay invoices for Energy Management Technologies LLC /EMTech
  2. Announcement: American Public Works Association -Project Awards


  1. Discussion and Vote: Amend Chapter 225, Article IX Schedules sub-section 225-79 Schedule XIV: Trucks Over Certain Limits Excluded
  2. Discussion and Vote: Authorization to pay Wellness Farm invoice
  3. Discussion and Vote: Authorization for Mayor to sign agreement with MultiMed Billing Service
  4. Discussion and Vote: Amend Chapter 225, Article IX Schedules sub-section 225-69 Schedule IV: Speed Limits Outside Tax District
  5. Discussion and Vote: City Council support for Laree's Law presently being considered by the NYS Senate and Assembly
  6. Discussion and Vote: Authorization for Mayor to sign agreement with Wellness Farm
  7. Set Public Hearing: Revert the 2015 Comprehensive Plan map "Institutional" designation on Myrtle Street north of Church Street and on Morgan Street to the prior location


  1. Matthew Veitch

Intermunicipal Agreement with Clifton Park

National Association of counties Conference - February 19-23

  1. Peter Martin

Report: Social Programs

Report: Public Health

Report: Public Works


  1. Adjourn - The next pre-agenda meeting for the 2-16-16 City Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday 2-16-16 at 9:30a.m

Founder of Black Lives Matter to deliver keynote at Skidmore College conference

Social activist Alicia Garza, a founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, will deliver the keynote address at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, at the NY6 LGBTQIA Spectrum Conference at Skidmore College. Free and open to the public, her talk, titled “Black Lives Matter,” will be in Gannett Auditorium of Palamountain Hall.

Outraged by the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Garza took to social media to express her anguish and love for the black community. It was then that Garza—together with Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors—turned the powerful words “Black Lives Matter” into a social media phenomenon and an organizing network that now boasts more than 26 chapters internationally. #BlackLivesMatter has evolved into the banner under which this generation’s human rights movement marches.

An established organizer committed to social transformation, Garza challenges society to recognize and celebrate the contributions of all black lives, promoting a world where all people are valued, respected and can live with dignity.

Garza’s work is rooted in organizational strategies that connect social movements and has earned her various honors, including a spot on the Root’s 2015 List of African American achievers and influencers, and the 2015 Politico50 Guide to the thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Guardian, The Nation, The Feminist Wire and more.

Currently the special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Garza previously served as executive director of People Organized to Win Employment Rights, where she led the charge on significant initiatives, including organizing against the chronic police violence in black neighborhoods.

How Art Fuels Economy; Five Questions with Zika; Film Forum announces Oscar Night

In December 2014, Saratoga Springs initiated discussion of a focus on a Creative Economy – a marketing campaign to help grow the city’s economy by attracting business and employees in creative industries. While that creative industries sector is defined with a broad stroke (everything from software to craft beer brewing is included), the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Thursday released an economic impact survey pertaining specifically to the “art” segment of creativity, and the money it generates.

According to the report, three exhibitions presented at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the summer of 2015—China: Through the Looking Glass, The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe, and Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends—generated an estimated $946 million in spending in New York. Read more about the report HERE.

Five Questions with Zika Virus.

Q. Who are you?

A: A disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito.

Q: What are the most common symptoms associated with you?

A: Fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Q: How much damage do you inflict?

A: The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital. And they very rarely die of Zika.

Q: How do I prevent you from infecting me?

A: There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites, by doing things like wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and staying in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

Q: I live in Saratoga – and while I am not inviting you to visit – who can I call for more information?

A: Buzz over to the NYS DOH website HERE. I have my own page. And for Provider Zika testing contact information for Saratoga County Public Health, call: (518) 584-7460 24 hours/7days a week.

The Saratoga Film Forum – which is on hiatus from its regular screening schedule – will host an Oscar Night Gala on Feb. 28 at Longfellows Restaurant, on Union Avenue. The Film Forum’s annual Oscar Night Gala will feature a buffet dinner, live streaming of the Oscars, DJ and music, movie trivia contests. Guests are asked to come dressed to reflect your love of film—as a favorite character from a favorite film…or come red-carpet-ready. Tickets are $60 general public, or $50 for Film Forum members, and all proceeds will benefit the continued operation and growth of Saratoga Film Forum. The event will take place 7 p.m. to midnight. For more information, GO HERE.

Saratoga Shorts - Thursday : Caffe Lena show merges folk music with Victorian tastes

Travelers along Union Avenue saw an unusual amount of mid-winter activity this week in the main parking lot at Saratoga Race Course, as 33 of the 40 trees in the lot were removed, writes Mike Kane in Thoroughbred Daily News. Maria Trabka from Saratoga PLAN sat down with Look TV to talk about the conservation of farm land, and the folks at the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership want to hear from you HERE.

Folk music and the Victorian Era may seem unlikely bedfellows, but it’s Saratoga, and anything is possible, right?

Caffe Lena will take over the historic Union Gables Inn next month for a fundraising concert with proceeds to support the renovation of the historic café on Phila Street. The mansion rooms will be converted into mini-folk clubs and intimate performances of folk, jazz, bluegrass and pop music will take place through the evening.

The Line-up: Gathering Time, Hot Club of Saratoga, Greg Klyma, Ariana Gillis, Ramblin Jug Stompers, Dubl Handii, Kevin McKrell, The Trophy Husbands, Phil Henry Duo (Phil Henry, Singer-Songwriter, The Whippersnappers, The Bluebillies, Mike Gowans, MaryLeigh Roohan, Robin O'Herin Blues, Maria Zemantauski, Huxtable Christensen & Hood, Mark Tolstrup's Brass & Blues, Bob Warren & Joy Mackenzie, and Fennig's All-Star String Band.

The concert will be held March 10. Tickets are $75 advance / $80 door general public, and $60 advance / $65 door members. The Union Gables Inn was built in 1901.

The café is expected to close for renovation work this summer and re-open in October. During the construction process the plan is to take Lena’s “on the road” – that is, staging as many as two or three shows per week at a variety of venues across Saratoga. Caffe Lena opened in June 1960 and one year-later famously featured Bob Dylan. The young troubadour earned $50 for his two-night stand. Dylan returned to perform at the café again in mid-January 1962.

Here's Dylan making a TV appearance in March 1963:


City police car involved in crash

A crash Wednesday morning involving a police car in pursuit of a vehicle and a motorist who allegedly failed to yield the right of way, resulted in the motorist being transported to Saratoga Hospital. Officer John Sesselman was traveling eastbound on Lake Avenue shortly after 10:30 a.m. with emergency lights and siren initiated and attempting to conduct a traffic stop on a black sedan he had witnessed committing traffic violations, police said.

As the police car came to the intersection of Benton Drive, a 1992 Buick Century pulled into the path of the police car, according to authorities. Both vehicles sustained significant damage and the driver of the Buick, 97-year-old Ruth Callahan, required extrication from her vehicle by the Saratoga Springs Fire Department.

Callahan was transported to Saratoga Hospital for evaluation due to a general complaint of pain, and was subsequently issued two citations, for failing to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle at a stop-sign controlled intersection. Officer Sesselman was not injured as a result of the accident.

Lt. Gov. Hochul visits Spa City; YMCA proposed expansion up for review; New CDTA routes set

On a tour of the region Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul visited the Death Wish Coffee Company in Round Lake – whose business increased 300 percent in the first hour after their advertisement ran during Sunday’s Super Bowl – and stopped for lunch with city Mayor Joanne Yepsen at Pizza 7 on Caroline Street, before heading north to spend the afternoon in Glens Falls. Tuesday marked National Pizza Day, and the Saratoga Springs stopover during a tour of area small businesses provided Hochul an opportunity to reminisce about her high school years working at a pizzeria in Erie County, as well as don a chef’s apron and gloves and showcase her pizza-making talents.

The Planning Board will host a meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. Applications under Consideration:

- YMCA proposed Expansion, 290 West Avenue, Site plan review for a 17,000sf facility expansion in the YMCA Planned Unit Development (PUD) District.

- Rite Aid Development, 90 West Ave and 242 Washington Street, Site plan review for a 14,368 sq. ft. retail building with a drive-in establishment in the Transect-5 (T-5) District.

- Trifecta Subdivision, 136 Lincoln Avenue, Subdivision review for a two-lot residential subdivision in the Urban Residential – 2 (UR-2) District.

- Benton Subdivision Advisory Opinion ZBA, 58 Fifth Avenue, Advisory opinion to ZBA on a two-lot residential subdivision in the Urban Residential-1 (UR-1) District.

A live auction of work by local artists and reception will take place 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at The Saratoga Marketplace, 454 Broadway, to benefit Shelters of Saratoga. Tickets are $10 and available online, or at the door. For more information, go here:

Residents of 133 apartments at Jefferson and Vanderbilt terraces facing a loss of public transportation under CDTA’s proposed preliminary can rest easy, for now. CDTA will maintain that service as well as increase service to downtown, and add routes to the section of Route 50 that leads to Wilton, Washington Street. Eliminated from existing service will be a large segment of Lake Avenue stretching from East Avenue to the Northway, Weibel Avenue, and a large part of Jefferson Street, reports the Times Union.

The new routes will kick-off in the spring. For more information, visit CDTA here:

Saratoga Man's Springsteen Experience Goes Viral

A note written by a local man to his daughters’ school district - to explain that their tardiness was due to attending Monday night’s Bruce Springsteen concert in Albany - has gone viral. Patrick Pipino, co-owner of Ben & Jerry’s on Phila Street, took his daughters Isabelle, 12, and Sarah, 7, to the concert. Both are huge fans of Springsteen, Pipino told ABC News.

The note reads: This may not seem like a good excuse, but have you ever wondered how many kids would be late - or miss school outright - if God were to suddenly appear?

Pipino’s wife is a schoolteacher in the district. “The odds of me being divorced by 5 p.m. are 50:50,” he joked on his Facebook page. “Any takers for a fat, over the hill, buck toothed, failed comedian? Ice cream is included.”

Patrick Pipino's letter

Isabelle's favorite Springsteen song is "Lonesome Day." Here is Springsteen rehearsing the song prior to a TV performance in 2002


Sarah's favorite song by The Boss is "American Land." Here’s a live version from 2012

Tuesday 02.09: Saratoga Shorts

The 18th annual Saratoga Chowderfest on Saturday drew 40,000 visitors to downtown Saratoga Springs, city police reported Monday. “The Police Deapartment attributes the large number of attendees to the popularity of the event and the warm weather. Several officers were reassigned from routine patrol duties and additional officers were called in early for crowd control as the day progressed,” Saratoga Springs Police Chief Greg Veitch said, in a statement. No major incidents occurred during the event. According to the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau 130,000 bowls of chowder were served, and more than 1,700 people rode the free park & ride shuttles from the Wilton Mall and Saratoga Casino & Raceway. New CDTA bus routes: Residents of 133 apartments at Jefferson and Vanderbilt terraces facing a loss of public transportation under CDTA’s proposed preliminary can rest easy, for now. CDTA will maintain that service as well as increase service to downtown, and add routes to the section of Route 50 that leads to Wilton, Washington Street. Eliminated from existing service will be a large segment of Lake Avenue stretching from East Avenue to the Northway, Weibel Avenue, and a large part of Jefferson Street, reports the Times Union. The new routes will kick-off in the spring. For more information, visit CDTA here:

A winter ball fundraiser will be held Feb. 27 at the Hall of Springs. This year’s ball theme is “Party of the Century: A Black & Gold Masked Ball” inspired by Truman Capote’s masked Black & White Ball at the Plaza Hotel in 1966. Tickets are $100 in advance, $110 after Feb. 15, and will benefit classical programming in SPAC’s 2016 season, and are available at Extended blurb: Marking its sixth year in 2016, the Winter Ball has quickly become known as a “can’t miss” event among the region’s young professionals. With nods to pop culture and icons, time periods, and popular television shows, past themes have included “Mad Men,” “Bond: Shaken not Stirred,” “A Russian Whiteout,” and last year’s theme, “Vintage Hollywood: A Black and White Winter Ball.” Previous Winter Ball events have sold out weeks in advance, and the February 27th event is expected to do so as well.

Skidmore College history Professor Jennifer Delton will present the college’s annual Edwin M. Moseley Faculty Research Lecture at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at Skidmore’s Gannett Auditorium. The title of the lecture is “When We Were Liberal: Explaining the Twentieth Century.” Delton is the Douglas Family Chair in American Culture, History, and Literary and Interdisciplinary Studies at Skidmore. She has authored Making Minnesota Liberal: Civil Rights and the Transformation of the Democratic Party, Racial Integration and Corporate America, 1940–1990, and Rethinking the 1950s: How Anticommunism and the Cold War Made America Liberal, as well as numerous articles about race, politics, and business.


Phish returns for three-night stand at Saratoga; Janet Jackson; Dead & Co. announce SPAC shows

Phish, Janet Jackson, and the Grateful Dead spawned supergroup Dead & Company have  announced they will each stage concerts at SPAC this summer. Phish will return to Saratoga this summer for a trio of shows during the July 4 weekend.

The band’s tour begins June 22 in Minneapolis and concludes Sept. 4 in Colorado. Phish will perform at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Friday, July 1 through Sunday, July 3. (That cry-like noise you just heard was the lawn). All shows start 7:30 p.m.

A limited number of tickets are being offered via a ticket request period, according to the band’s website.

The request time ends just prior to midnight on Feb. 21 and ticket request status emails – that is, whether your ticket request is granted - will be sent by Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Tickets via Live Nation – priced at $65 amphitheater, $45 lawn plus applicable fees – will go on at 11 a.m. on Feb. 26. via or Charge By Phone at 1-800-745-3000.

Among the earliest performances by Phish in Saratoga Springs were appearances at Aiko’s (9 Caroline St.) in March 1990, and in the Skidmore College gymnasium later that same fall. The band first appeared at SPAC in 1992 on a bill with Santana, and has performed at the venue (by my count, give or take) a total of 19 times.

Dead & Company - Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, John Mayer, and Bob Weir with Oteil Burbridge & Jeff Chimenti will perform at SPAC June 21. Tickets are: $149.50, $99.50, $75.50, $50, lawn $40, and go on sale Friday.

Janet Jackson’s Unbreakable World Tour will stage a show at SPAC on Aug. 26. Tickets are $125, $89.95, $59.95, $39.95, lawn $29.95, and go on sale Saturday. Janet Jackson, the sister of the late Michael Jackson has had a successful musical career, although history will probably best remember her for a 2004 appearance during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII.

ICYMI: LiveNation also announced a four-show “mega-ticket package” which provides entry to four upcoming country music concerts at SPAC.

The shows feature headliners Miranda Lambert (June 24); Luke Bryan (July 31); Toby Keith (Aug. 14), and Florida Georgia Line (Aug. 28). The package price points are: $500 (one reserved lower pavilion ticket in the same seat to all four shows with Premier parking); $325 (one reserved balcony ticket in the same seat to all four shows), and $149 (one lawn ticket to all four shows).

Tickets, available at, go on sale 10 a.m. Friday.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman last week released the results of a wide-ranging investigation into the concert and sports ticket industry. “Ticketing is a fixed game,” in which many tickets are never made available to the general public in the first place, Schneiderman reported.

According to the investigation, more than half of all tickets -- 54 percent – are reserved for insiders,” and “venues and ticket sellers like Ticketmaster regularly tacked on fees that added more than 21% to the face price of tickets.”

The report mostly addresses the New York City area but also looked at some venues upstate like the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, reports the New York Times.

The complete report may be downloaded HERE.