Thursday, July 23, 2009

Victoria Pool needs more chairs on sunny days. Good suggestion from Victoria pool patrons.

Victoria Pool should have enough stackable chairs for Capacity crowd instead of using Park Rangers who can be much more useful in other ways than acting as chair police. Parks just spent $15,000 on chairs for the Ice Cream Parlour at Victoria Pool. Obviously, the cost of pool chairs would be much less and free up the Park Rangers for important duties.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Victoria Pool news?

Why would Park Administrators allow a Gideon Guest to get into the Victoria Pool with unsafe NON Coast Guard approved equipment? Another pool patron who obviously had had too much to drink and was loud and abusive was allowed to stay at the pool without Administrators on-site calling the Park Police. Everyone's safety is compromised when such infractions are allowed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ah, summer, wise words from Allan P..

Wherefore art thou, summer?
July off to chilly start; warming trend on way
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
By Lee Coleman (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Photographer: Barry Sloan

Nick Guilder of Hudson Falls and his 10-month-old son Nicholas enjoy Lake George's Million Dollar Beach despite Monday's cooler-than-normal temperatures.Text Size: A | A | A
CAPITAL REGION — Get out the sweat shirt and forget the shorts.

The low temperature this morning is expected to be near the record low temperature for the day: 49 degrees set in 1940.

Lower than normal temperatures have dominated the first 13 days of July, keeping swimmers out of area pools and forcing people to wear sweat shirts or jackets in the early morning and evening hours.

Ingrid Amberger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany, said the jet stream of cool air coming out of the north has remained farther south than it usually is in July.

“It hasn’t retreated north,” Amberger said. “It usually goes up into Canada.”

The first 12 days of July were, on average, nearly 5 degrees cooler than normal, Amberger said.

The normal high temperature for July is in the low 80s, and the average low is about 60. For the first part of the month the average high temperature has been 75.5 degrees and the average low 56.2.

The low temperature Monday morning was 51 degrees at Albany International Airport, where the weather service gets its readings. The high in the afternoon was 74.

But a warming trend is on the way, with high temperatures in the low 80s by Wednesday, the weather service said.

Michael Greenslade, manager of the Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs, said activity at the park’s two swimming pools, the Victoria and Peerless pools, has been slower than usual for this time of year.

But he said the Peerless Pool continues to have decent crowds even on cooler days, because local day camps have bus trips planned to that pool most days.

On Sunday, with lots of afternoon sunshine and a rock concert later in the day, the Victoria Pool in the Spa State Park was at capacity, said Allan Polacsek, a park employee.

The capacity for the Victoria Pool is 344 swimmers, while the capacity for the larger Peerless Pool is more than twice that number. The Peerless Pool includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a sliding pool and a wading pool for children.

Park officials said the thin crowds at the park’s pools have been noticed on weekdays during this cold spell.

But whether the pools are just about empty or filled to capacity, the park still must staff the pools with lifeguards.

“They are scheduled, rain or shine,” Polacsek said.

He said a larger number of people applied to be lifeguards this summer, possibly because of the weak job market. Most years, park officials struggle to sign up the necessary number of lifeguards to staff their pools.

At the Edison Club on Riverview Road in Rexford, the swimming pool is being used a lot less this summer, said Andy Hughett, the golf club’s general manager.

He said the only time the club shuts down the pool is when there is a lightning storm or when the forecast is for rain throughout the day.

Rainfall during the first part of July is also above average, according to the National Weather Service. The average rainfall for the entire month of July is 3.5 inches at the Albany International Airport while this year 4.09 inches of rain has fallen in less than half a month.

“There has been a lot of lightning with recent storms,” Amberger said. She said the Adirondacks and North Country have been especially hard hit by electrical storms and scattered power outages over the past two weeks.

Today is expected to be sunny again with highs in the mid-70s. On Wednesday, the temperature will get up to 80 degrees but later Wednesday and into Thursday a low pressure system will arrive, bringing some showers, Amberger said. However, the high temperatures are expected to remain in the low 80s, despite the showers.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

New York City Ballet is home in Saratoga more magnificent than ever. Restore 3wk. season please!

New York City Ballet shines in Saratoga Springs opener
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
By Wendy Liberatore (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Text Size: A | A | A
SARATOGA SPRINGS — New York City Ballet is back at its summer home, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. And though the company’s stay will be shortened to a mere two weeks, its 44th season here is not short on terrific dance and music.

Evidence of that was Tuesday’s opening night in a salute to Russian music. The orchestra, led with vigor by Faycal Karoui, was freshly tuned. And the dancing, in George Balanchine’s “Theme and Variations” and “Symphony in Three Movements,” was spectacular.

Certainly, it’s what audiences have come to expect from City Ballet, one of the greatest companies in the world. And much of their greatness is due to its founder, the world’s most masterful choreographer, the late Balanchine.

His “Symphony in Three Movements” to Stravinsky’s daring score was one of the highlights. The strength of this ballet is the striking corps de ballet and the exotic pas de deux. And the tableau ending with all the men crouched, as if ready to pounce, is so original that it never fails to elicit gasps and whoops.

The ballet begins with a diagonal line of women. They wheel their arms and march about en pointe as if soldiers readying for battle. They disperse and Sterling Hyltin and Daniel Ulbricht appear. They jump straight up and sideways with their feet tucked underneath their rumps. As they bounce, the women return, flinging their arms and legs, heightening the hum of the music and bulking up the already large energy output.

The duet, with Abi Stafford and Jared Angle, is quieting and engrossing. They move toward each other, their arms snaky. As they approach with small steps, they entwine their arms and then move to the center. As they circle each other, hands and feet flexed, the look is strange, but alluring.

At the end, the music purrs as the full cast joins together for an eye-popping finale.

The marvelous “Symphony in Three Movements” is the antithesis of Balanchine’s formal and cool “Theme and Variations.” Yet it is equally enjoyable. Here, Megan Fairchild, with Andrew Veyette, becomes a turning machine. Her petite allegro is extremely taxing, but she pulls it off with regal ease.

Veyette, too, is impressive. He has matured from a slouchy, faceless dancer to one of princely status. He’s always had the chops, but now he owns the persona. It was wonderful to see.

The program opened with Christopher Wheeldon’s atmospheric “Mercurial Manoeuvres,” to music by Shostakovich. The music and dance, though initially foreboding, grows into a vision of beauty. Gonzalo Garcia was ebullient as the solo dancer in red. And Tiler Peck, with Adrian Danchig-Waring, was the soul of exquisite calm.

Finally, the bill was filled out by Sean Lavery’s lovely “Romeo and Juliet” pas de deux to music by Prokofiev. The lovers’ earnestness is clear in the choreography, but as danced by Yvonne Borree and Tyler Angle, it was only evident with Romeo. Borree, though she makes all the right moves, was icy until the very end as she kissed her Romeo and fled up the balcony stairs.

Reach Gazette reporter Wendy Liberatore at 395-3199 or at

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Friday, July 03, 2009

The public ignored at Saratoga Spa State Park in these tough economic times.

Many people have contacted us to say with the raise in fee to $8 at Victoria Pool and Season Tickets to the pool eliminated without explanation they will not pay it when rain is predicted. Catherine's restaurant which also pays part of every check to nys parks will also be adversly affected by the raise in fee at Victoria Pool.

NYS Parks lower fees at Mine Kill Park but raises fee at Victoria Pool to $8.

Mine Kill Park cuts fees to aid public
Thursday, July 2, 2009

By Edward Munger Jr. (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

NORTH BLENHEIM — While some parks increased fees in the face of budget cuts this year, the cost of a day at Mine Kill State Park in Schoharie County is going down.

Park Manager Brian Strasavich said officials agreed to lower costs to ensure families can enjoy nice things even when times are tough. “The way the economy is and everything, it really just made sense,” Strasavich said Monday during a tour of the 650-acre park tucked in the rolling Catskill foothills alongside the Schoharie Creek.

Roughly 45,000 people visit the park year-round to picnic, swim in three swimming pools or buzz along the waters of the New York Power Authority’s lower reservoir.

The park, which opened this past weekend, has already drawn guests from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Brooklyn and Italy, according to a guest book at the top of the small trail leading to the Mine Kill Falls overlook.

“It’s awesome,” said Carol Jacobs of Rhinebeck, who noticed the Mine Kill Park sign while driving south on state Route 30 Monday. Jacobs was checking if there was anything at the park she might bring her grandchildren to see.

After a peaceful walk down an elaborate stair system with several overlook decks, Jacobs decided she’ll be back. “I didn’t know it was here.”

Last year, guests paid $6 per car to enter. That fee was cut to $3. Renting the pavilion for group outings cost $75 last year, now it’s $50.

Strasavich said reservations for the pavilion were “blown out” after the rate cut.

Using the pools costs $2 for adults and $1 for youth, and that includes swimming lessons when available.

The bath house and locker rooms were renovated during the off-season, and staff added a new self-guided nature trail with signs identifying unique features.

The nature trail has been added to a new trail map for the park that features its own hiking trails and a segment of the Long Path Northern Excursion, an 80-mile trek that extends from the Schoharie Reservoir to Thacher State Park in Albany County. About 8 miles of trails are on the site, which is popular among mountain bikers and hikers, Strasavich said.

A half-dozen youths participating in the Schoharie County Youth Bureau’s summer adventure program were using the pavilion Monday to learn back-country camping skills.

The park’s natural setting makes for an ideal learning site, said George McDonnell, a program coordinator at the Schoharie County Youth Bureau.

“This is exactly what we wanted. Everything’s here,” McDonnell said.

Strasavich, an avid hiker who studied recreation, adventure travel and eco-tourism at Paul Smiths College in the Adirondacks, has managed Mine Kill, with a staff of about 50 in the summer, for two years.

“It’s my dream job.”

The day use park is open year-round, with snow shoeing, skiing and hiking.

Strasavich said overnight campers at the Max V. Shaul State Park, situated 10 miles north on Route 30, can use the Mine Kill Park for free.

Information on the park can be found at