Friday, January 30, 2009

Free Lifeguard training at Saratoga YMCA, 2/15-2/20

lifeguards needed:

A 40 hour FREE Red Cross couse will be held at the Saratoga YMCA, 290 West Ave., Feb. 16-Feb. 20 from 8:30am-5 pm.
participants must be in attendance the FULL Five Days.
A pre-test will be conducted Feb.15 to qualify candidates to take the course.
Candidates must have 20/40 uncorrected vision in each eye. The course is open to individuals age 16 and older.
At the end of the course the NYS lifeguard exam will be offered. There are 60 positions available.
Starting salary is $10.35 an hour for first-year lifeguards, and up to $15.93 an hour for supervising lifeguards.

For an information packet and to register for the course:
Call: Patricia Forward at 584-2000, ext. 120

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Does anyone know how the State Seal Water Pavilion in the State Park got named the Joe Bruno Pavilion?

Signs urge polite use of spring
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

By Lee Coleman (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Photographer: Bruce Squiers

Signs placed along corners of the State Seal water pavilion in Saratoga Spa State Park remind users to share the available spigots.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS — The State Seal water flowing day and night at an outdoor pavilion in the Saratoga Spa State Park has become so popular that park officials have been forced to post a new, informal guideline at the spring.

“Share Spigots, Don’t Be a Water Hog,” say the signs posted inside the Joseph L. Bruno Pavilion on the Avenue of the Pines.

“This morning I stood here one hour,” said John Salmon of Glens Falls, who had come Tuesday to get some of the water.

He said a man was filling up large, 20-gallon containers with the free spring water and wouldn’t share one of the spigots with Salmon.

Salmon said the man told him: “I got here first.”

So Salmon left and came back Tuesday afternoon to fill his two small jugs.

Mike Greenslade, manager of the state park, said that in recent months his office has received complaints from spring-water lovers who say some people don’t share the six spigots at the Bruno pavilion.

“We are asking people not to be a spigot hog,” Greenslade said. He said the little signs with a pig on them are meant to be “humorous.”

“We want to keep it lighthearted,” Greenslade said. He said that so far, there have been no physical altercations spilling over at the spring.

Roberta Abramo of Stillwater said Tuesday that she comes to the State Seal spring every two months and fills up dozens of gallon water bottles for herself and her daughter.

“Sometimes there are a lot of people here,” Abramo said. She said when many people want to use the spigots, as was the case Tuesday afternoon, she makes sure to use only one of the spigots.

Mike Hitchcock of Galway said he comes to fill up his two big blue water containers once a week. “The water has a nice taste to it,” he said.

Hitchcock said he has never had a problem with people hogging the spigots. “If it’s busy, you come back later. This is Saratoga; it’s very peaceful,” he said.

People filling up containers at the spring Tuesday said they like to use the State Seal water for drinking as well as for brewing tea and coffee.

“It’s clear, good water,” said Salmon. He said he has been coming to Saratoga Springs for 50 years to take home jugs of the water.

Unlike many mineral springs in the Saratoga Spa State Park and in Saratoga Springs, the State Seal water is not carbonated and does not have a sulfur taste to it. There is one spigot of real mineral water running in the Bruno pavilion, but people seldom use it.

Greenslade said the Bruno pavilion is probably the most popular place in the park on a daily basis.

He said his staff has done occasional car counts and they estimated that between 300 and 400 cars per day stop at the spring year-round.

He said there is another State Seal spring running in the park’s Geyser picnic area, but it's hard to access during the winter months.

Alli Schweizer, the park’s naturalist, said that the reason the water is so clean and uncarbonated is because it runs through sand and not limestone, through which many of the other mineral springs flow.

“The limestone gives the other springs carbonation,” Schweizer said.

State Seal is “recommended by physicians where mineral-free water is indicated,” says a statement from the park on its mineral waters. The statements says the water is “fresh, non-carbonated” and ideal for general use.

Greenslade said the park has had State Seal water tested recently and the tests indicated that it is “very good water” with no significant levels of any harmful substance or bacteria in it.

Despite the water hog signs, there is no shortage of State Seal water, Greenslade said.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Making waves, times union, 1/16/09

State's plan for pools, beaches makes waves
Fees and hours could change because of New York's budget problems

By DENNIS YUSKO, Staff writer
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Friday, January 16, 2009

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The state is considering changing fees and schedules for all pools and beaches at Capital Region state parks due to budget shortfalls, a regional director said Thursday.
Under a tentative plan, the state would increase fees at the Victoria Pool at Saratoga Spa State Park by $2 per day for adults and close the park's Peerless Pool two days a week this summer, said Alane Ball Chinian, regional director for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. She made the comments after Saratoga Springs resident Louise Goldstein obtained a copy of the Spa park's 2009 fee schedule.

Swimming operations also could be revised at Moreau, Grafton, Thacher and Thompson Lake state parks under budget cuts, Chinian said.

"The budget isn't near complete," Chinian said. "We're not sure what we're working with yet, so when we know, we'll make those decisions."

Goldstein, a city resident, has fought for improvements and more seasonal swimming days at the outdoor Victoria Pool.

The 2009 fee schedule for pools at the park shows admission for Victoria Pool would rise 25 percent for adults and children. Entry fees would be $8 for adults and $4 for children; the Peerless Pool would close Mondays and Tuesdays. The pools used to open on Memorial Day, but recently have opened later. Both pools will be open June 27 to Sept. 7 this year, according to the state. That, and potential changes to the pools, are unacceptable, Goldstein said.

"We're upset and we intend on protesting," said Goldstein. "Contrary to public opinion, everybody in Saratoga is not rich enough to have their own swimming pool."

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009


An anonymous rumor sent on the blog was confirmed today that the Victoria Pool fee is being raised from $6-$8 a day with no season tickets this year. The Peerless Pool will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays and the Pools are not scheduled to open until June 27,2009.
Victoria Pool was already the most expensive pool in the NYS Park system at $6.

We have already protested to NYS Parks in albany who claim to know nothing about such plans. Stay tuned.

Save the Victoria Pool Society

Saturday, January 10, 2009

who says Saratoga is the "real world" & can't open the Victoria Pool on Memorial Day?

Foreign investors smile on Saratoga
Arab investments, high-technology hopes putting international focus on county that still has rural feel

By DENNIS YUSKO, Staff writer
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Saturday, January 10, 2009

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Arab executives looking to invest billions in high-technology and horses have discovered a welcoming haven in Saratoga County.
The still-rural area offers an environment that values foreign investment and its horse-racing history, important factors in making it attractive to investors in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, said Robert Wages, executive director of private equity at the Abu Dhabi Investment Co.

United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven states, including the wealthy cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and it borders Saudi Arabia and Oman. Those areas are trying to supplement their energy-based economies with new business models and equine holdings, Wages said.

"A lot of countries and regions are not very welcoming," Wages said, in an interview from his Saratoga Springs residence, while home for the holidays. "I think New York, other than its taxes, has made a conscious decision to welcome foreign investment. And Saratoga, with its racing and equestrian activities, is very unique in the world."

That wealth from abroad could remake parts of Saratoga County:

• The Emirate of Abu Dhabi has committed up to $9.6 billion in Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Company officials say that will allow a joint venture, The Foundry Co., to build a $4.6 billion computer chip factory in Malta and Stillwater. The project could begin as soon as March.

• In May, a Dubai company purchased the Fasig-Tipton Co. and is now making millions of dollars in renovations to the historic four-acre horse auction site in Saratoga Springs. The company hopes to have the work done by August's annual yearling sales.

• Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is renovating a 106-acre horse farm adjoining Saratoga Race Course. He bought the property for $17.5 million two years ago.

The private development arrives during a recession and credit crisis. Local leaders point to thousands of jobs that AMD says the chip fab factory would generate in the 215,000-person county, and additional tax revenues created by the horse-related renovations.

"Where else is the money coming from these days," Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson said. "In the state of the economy, I welcome any kind of reliable investor. Just because you're a foreigner doesn't mean you can't be a good community investor."

But a handful of county residents who have opposed the AMD deal question the reliability of the foreign investment, especially amid declining oil profits. At a recent Empire State Development Corp. hearing, Kyle York of Saratoga Springs and Bob Radliff of Stillwater criticized the project's $1.2 billion in state subsidies to build on what is mostly forest land.

"About $1 million per job is an excessively high cost for taxpayers," Radliff said. "We are highly dependent on one company, on one business model in a highly vulnerable and volatile industry." Foreign companies would siphon profits out of the state and could abruptly pull out of the area if higher profits or tax subsidiaries are offered elsewhere, Radliff said.

Area economic leaders and investors argue that money from the UAE will make Saratoga County and New York into an international player in computer chip manufacturing and the city into the world's premier horse sales site. The federal government's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States signed off on The Foundry Co. deal this week.

The AMD offshoot will produce computer chips for companies, including AMD, at the Luther Forest Technology Campus.

Synergy Investments Ltd. — the new owner of Fasig-Tipton — is headed by Abdulla Al Habbai, a close associate of the ruler of Dubai.

"The ultimate goal is to make Saratoga the premier yearling sale in the world, plain and simple," said Boyd Browning, president of the Kentucky-based operation. "It's a substantial investment."

Currently, September sales at Keeneland in Kentucky score higher average prices for yearlings than Saratoga does, Browning said.

Wages, 45, who works in the UAE, couldn't say if additional investments in the region were planned.

Roughly 75 percent of the UAE's population are non-citizens. Investments like those into AMD are part of a long-term plan to bring industries and development to the UAE, Wages said.

"The United Emirates love Americans," he said. "They are very interested in being good friends with us. I don't think that aspect is appreciated much in the U.S."

Dennis Yusko can be reached at 454-5353 or by e-mail at

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Schodack Island State Park reopens! thanks to town support and volunteers.

Volunteers help park in Schodack reopen
Schodack Island State Park was closed in the fall due to budget cuts

By KENNETH C. CROWE II, Staff writer
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Wednesday, December 31, 2008

SCHODACK — Schodack Island State Park reopened Tuesday morning staffed by local volunteers in an agreement reached between the town and state.
"We're very happy to have opened the gates this morning. We're good to go. Events are planned down there,'' Supervisor Beth Secor said.

The Appalachian Trail Club will hold a snowshoeing event Thursday in the park, she said.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation shut the 1,052-acre park in October due to state budget cuts. At the time, State Parks said the park would not reopen until sometime in the spring. The park previously stayed open during the winter months.

"It is particularly gratifying to see groups and individuals coming together for their community in these challenging economic times,'' State Parks Commissioner Carol Ash said in a statement.

The town has 24 volunteers signed up to monitor the park and its buildings and town workers will keep roads plowed to the park. The town has placed a portable toilet donated by Schodack Septic in the park, Secor said.

The park's buildings and bathrooms will not be open during the winter months. The volunteers will check on the facilities and report any problems to either the town or state.

The park will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. State Parks workers will return to staff the park in the spring.

The park, which was created in 2002, is the town's only direct access to the Hudson River.

Rensselaer County worked with the state and town to work out the details in getting the park reopened.

"The state should make clear their plans for the Schodack park in 2009. At least some level of state funding is needed and the more information on future funding, the better,'' County Legislator Martin Reid, R-Schodack, said.

Secor said she believes the community's efforts to get the park reopened will prevent it from being shut in the future.

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