Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. A gift from Marylou to Saratoga.

The Marylou Whitney Rose unveiled (with video)
Published: Friday, December 24, 2010

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Longtime friend Marlene Okby greets Marylou Whitney at her birthday luncheon at the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club Thursday. The Saratoga Springs philanthropist has been honored with the commission of a rose in her name. The first crop of the Marylou Whitney rose is being grown now. (ERICA MILLER, The Saratogian)

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Marylou Whitney, at a birthday luncheon held in her honor Thursday, holds a bouquet of roses similar to the new rose in her name that was commissioned as a gift from her husband, John Hendrickson. Her friends have arranged with the city to donate a Marylou Whitney rose garden outside the Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs’ Congress Park. (ERICA MILLER, The Saratogian)

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A rose garden honoring Marylou Whitney will be created in Congress Park near the entrance where the local philanthropist and horse owner traditionally enters the Canfield Casino for her annual black-tie gala celebrating the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga Race Course.

The garden will feature a new specially bred, long-stem pink tea rose named in her honor, an 85th birthday gift from her husband, John Hendrickson, who commissioned it as "an endearing legacy."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A great opportunity to meet a Saratoga Icon, Minnie Bolster and buy her wonderful book and great Saratoga vintage photos, Sat.,12/18-10-1,Casino.

Bolster Collection Day and Meet the Authors
December 18, 10-1
'Have you ever been in a home, shop or business in Saratoga Springs that had old time photos of Saratoga Springs displayed and you wondered where they came from? Chances are they are copies of images from the George S. Bolster Collection of the Saratoga Springs History Museum.

On Saturday, December 18 from 10-1, the museum will hold Bolster Collection Day and a local author book signing in the History Museum. If you haven't heard of the Bolster Collection, now is your chance to get acquainted. The Bolster Collection is an archive of over 300,000 negatives of Saratoga Springs, 1855 to the 1980's. This major photographic collection is one of the largest of its type in the country and is filled with striking and important images from Saratoga Springs past.

In this fundraising event, the History Museum will have hundreds of different images copied from the collection on display and available for purchase at discounted rates. Visitors can also check to see if we have an historic image of their own home on the spot with a museum curator.

The Museum will also feature four local authors selling and signing their recent books in the Museum's Holiday Shop. Minnie Clark Bolster will sign her latest book: The Way We Were and What They Said About us 1822 - 1896. This book tells a fascinating story of early Saratoga Springs through the eyes of visitors and the media. Journalist Paul Post's Soldiers of Saratoga County: From Concord to Kabul looks deeply into contributions Saratoga County residents have made in defense of our country. Thomas Wood III's latest book Saratoga is a post card view of the Town of Saratoga. This book includes many rare and recently discovered images of Schuylerville, Victory, and Saratoga Lake. Hollis Palmer's most recent book, See and Be Seen Saratoga in the Victoria Era is a look at Saratoga Springs in the gilded age when grand hotels lined Broadway and visitors came to take the water .

These books and photographs of Saratoga Springs make perfect gifts.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

More money needed to complete main Geyser restoration in Saratoga Spa State Park.

Crosswalk to state park mulled
Thursday, December 9, 2010

By Tatiana Zarnowski (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

Text Size: A | A | A
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Try to walk across Route 50 near Saratoga Spa State Park now and you may risk your life.

But sometime in the future, you may be able to make that crossing from the Railroad Run Trail to the state park without fear.

The city, the Railroad Run Trail Committee and the state park system want to finish the trail connection and build a safe crosswalk after the Route 50 Southern Gateway Study recommended such a crossing just north of the intersection with West Avenue.

The parties plan to meet with the state Department of Transportation soon for guidance, said Alane Ball Chinian, regional director for the Saratoga/Capital District Region of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

“I think we need to turn to DOT to say, ‘What do we do next?’ ” Chinian said after a meeting of the regional park commission Wednesday.

The city still has some grant money to extend the Railroad Run Trail to Route 50, which was always planned but not finished because crossing the state highway is too unsafe, said Barbara L. Glaser, chairwoman of the trail committee.

“We’ve been waiting and waiting to complete it,” Glaser said.

Officials hope to install a HAWK, or high-intensity activated crosswalk system, which Glaser said may be the first in the state.

Pedestrians press a button, which starts overhead lights flashing yellow and then red to motorists, at which point the pedestrians are given a walk signal. After pedestrians cross, the signal goes dark and motorists move again.

The HAWK systems are installed away from intersections on busy highways where pedestrians may need to cross.

The system is expected to cost about $100,000, Chinian said. While there’s currently no money budgeted for the crosswalk, she said she is hopeful that the parties involved could collectively come up with that much.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has applied for a federal recreational trail grant to finish a trail on the park end, past the former railroad building known as the Restoration Building on the northwest end of the park. The new trail would link with sidewalks installed by Springwood Apartments on Ballston Avenue.

Chinian expects grant winners to be announced soon.

Also at the Wednesday meeting, commissioners noted that they don’t have enough money to construct a second pavilion near the spouting geyser at the state park as part of a reconstruction there.

Commission chairwoman Heather Mabee said it would cost somewhere between $25,000 and $35,000 to build a pavilion near the Orenda Spring overlooking Geyser Creek and the mineral deposits built up around the spring.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Part of World Trade Center coming to Saratoga for sculpture.

Officials at Saratoga Arts announced today that they plan to commission a large-scale public sculpture made of steel from the World Trade Center.

The piece, to be called Tempered By Memory, is described as a “progressive piece of contemporary art that is reflective of the past, the historical global events of September 11, 2001, yet forward looking.”

Officials said they would like to finish the project by September 2001 and donate the sculpture to the city, which they hope will put it outside the newly expanded Saratoga Springs City Center. Two local sculptors, John Van Alstine and Noah Savett, will put the piece together.

Steel for the project was given to Saratoga Arts by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It comes from both the World Trade Centers’ North and South towers.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Wendy Whelan, New York City Ballet, reviews new Black Swan movie. Wendy has been very beloved at SPAC and Saratoga for the past 20 years.

The Ballerina's Curse
by Wendy Whelan Info
At the age of three, Wendy Whelan began taking dance classes in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. She went on to train at the School of American Ballet, the official institute of the New York City Ballet and eventually worked her way up the ranks, from the corps de ballet to principal dancer. Whelan has been featured in many ballets, including The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, and has toured extensively throughout the world. In 2007, she also received a Dance Magazine Award.
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print TwitterEmailShare A principal dancer at the New York City Ballet reviews Black Swan and Natalie Portman's stunning performance—and says the movie captures the head trips that every great dancer faces.

For the past 20 years, I have been a ballerina with the New York City Ballet, and I was asked to offer my thoughts on the new Darren Aronofsky film, Black Swan. I first heard about the idea for this new ballet film some years ago when Aronofsky contacted me for his research. Some time later, as I began to get wind that it would be based on Swan Lake (not my favorite ballet), my hopes weren't high, but I became enticed again when I heard it would be a psychological thriller. Since that first phone call, the presence of this film in the background of my life has continued to grow as a great many friends and colleagues became involved in the production.

Natalie Portman is fantastic as Nina, a corps dancer struggling to rise to the challenge of dancing the principal role of the Swan Queen. The actress poured herself into serious ballet training to be able to embody the look of a professional dancer and she did a magnificent job of it. No real dancer I can imagine could have portrayed the depth of emotion this role required, it needed a great actress. But without the degree of devotion and discipline that she applied to the dance, Black Swan would never have achieved the heights that it does.

In his film, Aronofsky layers Nina's challenge to break free from her childlike, sheltered world with a parallel story that exists within the ballet itself. Black Swan explores the grueling physical and mental anguish of an aspiring ballerina as she faces the challenges of dancing the most famous dual role in all of ballet, that of Odette/Odile (the swan queen and her evil black twin). While the White Swan comes easily to Nina, the dark mysteries of the Black Swan evade her. This is paralleled in her own life as she struggles to hold her own against a mother (Barbara Hershey) who would keep her a perpetual child, a sexually aggressive boss (Vincent Cassel), and a rival dancer (Mila Kunis) who embodies the sensuality/sexuality, abandonment/freedom, self-confidence and strength that Nina must grasp in order to fully portray Odile, the Black Swan. All of this points to the larger issue of the true self-possession that any artist needs in order to be great and fully realized.

As a ballerina, to embody the duality of the Swan Queen and the black swan can be a fiendishly difficult task. It's a role that requires the true balance of opposition in a dancer; both technical command and poetic lyricism need to be cultivated. It requires a full spectrum of artistry. I have played the dual roles and understand firsthand the intense physical drain and the nervous energy that gets stirred up in both body and mind while preparing for it. When the body gets exhausted the mind can become fragile. It requires a particular strength and confidence in one's emotional core unlike anything else in classical ballet. As Nina engages in these intense (and intensely linked) personal, professional, and artistic struggles, she begins to hallucinate and become obsessive and paranoid. At one level, one could look at this film as a portrayal of the beginnings of full-blown neurosis and mental illness. But this would, of course, miss the larger truth that dancers learn to take on these subtle head-trips every day. Going to those depths is a unique part of our job as performing artists. Sometimes these head-trips are empowering at other times, terrifying and debilitating, but there is no question that they are part of the game, part of our art, and those that cannot learn to live with them, and work with their power, will be weeded out weaker artists.

Dancers learn to take on these subtle head-trips every day. Going to those depths is a unique part of our job as performing artists.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Saratoga's Victorian Streetwalk, 12/2/10. Kim,our favorite waitress/friend dressed in her grandmother's clothes and shoes handing out goodies.

Ah, summer, SPAC announces dates for 2011.

Several program dates were announced for 2011, including a June 9 performance by Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and an Aug. 16 show featuring the Trish Brown Dance Company; the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival on June 25 and 26; the New York City Ballet, July 5 -- 16; the Philadelphia Orchestra, July 27 -- Aug. 13; the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, July 26 -- August 9; and the first cabaret-style program in the Little Theatre from Aug. 18 -- Aug. 27.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Downtown Saratoga Victorian Stroll tonight, 12/2/10.

Celebrate the magic of an old-fashioned Victorian Streetwalk and Christmas in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, December 2, 2010!

Photo Credit: Stacy Lynn Baum

Downtown Saratoga closes to traffic and all of Broadway is blanketed in Victorian holiday magic each year the Thursday after Thanksgiving for the annual Saratoga Springs Victorian Streetwalk. Witness the fun this year as the Spa City is transformed into a Victorian winter wonderland on December 2nd, from 6-10 pm.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tree Nursery next to Saratoga Spa State Park under the gun again!

The Saratoga Tree Nursery could find its staff cut nearly in half as lawmakers look to close a gaping budget gap by paring the state workforce.

The nursery, run by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, is a perennial punching bag when it comes time to cut the state budget; state officials have on more than one occasion suggested closing it outright.

Now, in the face of a gaping budget deficit, state leaders say they need to cut 900 workers, including 140 staff members at the DEC, to help control costs. A list of positions targeted for elimination, obtained by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, includes four laborers from the Saratoga region due to be fired by Dec. 31.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saratoga is hopping. Victorian Streetwalk on Thursday, 12/2/10. Restaurant Week starts Friday, 12/3-12/9.

Celebrate the magic of an old-fashioned Victorian Streetwalk and Christmas in Saratoga Springs on Thursday, December 2,2010.

Downtown Saratoga closes to traffic and all of Broadway is blanketed in Victorian holiday magic each year the Thursday after Thanksgiving for the annual Saratoga Springs Victorian Streetwalk. Witness the fun this year as the Spa City is transformed into a Victorian winter wonderland on December 2nd, from 6-10 pm.

There will be all types of entertainers working the crowds at the Victorian Streetwalk in downtown Saratoga Springs. Musicians, singers, magicians, and other performances will delight young and old alike. Santa will welcome visits from children at his very special cottage outside 435 Broadway, then kids can get up close and personal with his real-life team of reindeer right down the street! Free hot beverages and treats will be served at numerous locations around downtown.

Carolers will stroll the sidewalks dressed in elegant period costumes, gaily colored hats and scarves, delighting listeners with music and song.

Saratoga Restaurant Week

Saratoga Restaurant Week

3 Course Menus For Just $18.19!

Participating local restaurants offer 3-course dinner specials for just $18.19 during Saratoga County Restaurant Week
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY — Enjoy the 6th Annual Saratoga Restaurant Week from December 3 - 9, 2010.

Get a 3-Course dinner for just $18.19 at participating Saratoga County restaurants during Saratoga Restaurant Week! Start off with your choice of an appetizer or salad, then choose from a menu of sumptuous entrees, and top it off with a decadent dessert! All for just $18.19!

Plus some participating restaurants are offering lunch specials for just $9.09. Saratoga Restaurant Week is the perfect time to get out and try new restaurants in the Spa City!

And we're giving away the chance to win gift a Saratoga Restaurant Week Prize Pack! Find out the details and enter to win here!

Reservations are strongly suggested during Saratoga Restaurant Week and can be made by calling the restaurant of your choice.

2010 Participating Restaurants:

Both Dinner & Lunch:

Circus Cafe :: (518) 583-1106

Gaffney's Restaurant :: (518) 587-7359

Grey Gelding :: (518) 584-0957

Jacob & Anthony's American Grille :: (518) 871-1600

Karavalli Regional Cuisine of India :: (518) 580-1144

Lillian's Restaurant :: (518) 587-7766

Local Pub & Teahouse :: (5180 587-7256

Maestro's Restaurant :: (518) 580-0312

Max London's Restaurant & Bar :: (518) 587-3535

Pacific Grill :: (518) 583-0008

Phila Fusion :: (518) 226-0400

Putnam's at the Gideon Putnam Resort :: (518) 584-3000

Ravenous :: (518) 581-0560

Scallions Restaurant :: (518) 584-0192

Sushi Thai Garden Restaurant :: (518) 580-0900

Wheatfields Bistro & Wine Bar Clifton Park :: (518) 383-4444

Wheatfields Restaurant & Bar :: (518) 587-0534

$18.19 Dinner Only:

Bookmaker's at Holiday Inn :: (518) 584-4550

Brindisi's Restaurant & Bar :: (518) 587-6262

Catina :: (518) 587-5577

Chianti II Ristorante :: (518) 580-0025

Dine :: (518) 587-9463

End Zone Sports Pub :: (518) 584-6460

Forno Bistro :: (518) 581-2401

Fortunes at Saratoga Gaming and Raceway :: (518) 584-2110

Hattie's Restaurant :: (518) 584-4790

Horseshoe Inn Bar & Gill :: (518) 587-4909

Irish Times Pub & Restaurant :: (518) 583-0003

Limoncello Ristorante :: (518) 580-8700

Longfellows Restaurant :: (518) 587-0108

Mexican Connection :: (518) 584-4466

Mouzon House :: (518) 226-0014

Olde Bryan Inn :: (518) 587-2990

One Caroline Street Bistro :: (518) 587-2026

Pasta Pane :: (518) 371-5762

Prime at Saratoga National Golf Club :: (518) 583-4653

Primo's at The Inn at Saratoga :: (518) 583-1890

Sabina's Wood Fired Restaurant :: (518) 583-3333

Sperry's Restaurant :: (518) 584-9618

Springwater Inn :: (518) 584-5051

Tiznow Restaurant :: (518) 226-0655

Wishing Well Restaurant :: (518) 584-7640

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dr. Hoge pictured here was a very handsome lifeguard early on at Victoria Pool which opened 7/26/35.

Go to to read about Dr. Hoge today at 95, a proud WWII veteran and Saratoga icon.

At 95, World War II veteran thankful to be an American: D-Day survivor part of a group of multi-generational veterans with video
Published: Thursday, November 25, 2010

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Dr. Hoge holds a picture of his late wife, Sheila, which he keeps in his wallet. The two were married for 43 years. “Strong, stalwart, gentle. “She was a great gal, a real straight shooter.” Hoge recalled. “On June 1, 1946 we got married at my parents’ house on Church Street in Saratoga.” (ED BURKE, The Saratogian)

A multi-generational group of U.S. veterans meets regularly at Saratoga-Wilton Elks Club for camaraderie and storytelling. Seated, left to right, are World War II veterans Myron Bazar, Dr. Leo Hoge and Philip Myers. In back, left to right, are Ken Tubbs, Joe Lohman and Bill Pettigrew. (PAUL POST, The Saratogian)
By PAUL POST, The Saratogian

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Dr. Leo Hoge talks about serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II at a luncheon at the Olde Bryan Inn honoring his 95th birthday. (ED BURKE, The Saratogian)

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Counting his blessings comes easy to Dr. Leo Hoge, who survived D-Day and extensive action in the Pacific during World War II.

Above all else, however, the U.S. Navy veteran is most thankful to be an American.

Hoge, who celebrated his 95th birthday on Tuesday, is part of small group of veterans that meets each Thursday morning at the Saratoga-Wilton Elks Club to swap stories and simply enjoy each others’ company. With amazing clarity, he recalls D-Day — June 6, 1944 — like it was yesterday.

"Five-thirty in the morning the sun was just coming up," he said. "We would take guys in to hit the beach, Omaha Beach. Then we came back to pick up casualties. When we got them stabilized we’d take them back to Engl

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lake George Opera Changes its name to Opera Saratoga.

Lake George Opera has changed its name to Opera Saratoga for its 50th anniversary in 2011. Opera Saratoga performs brilliantly at the Little Theater located in Saratoga Spa State Park.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Community Media Lab comes to Saratoga !!!

[Pictured: Barbara Lombardo, managing editor of the Saratogian Newspaper and a fellow staffer]

Louise and Andrew attended the first of the "Community Media Lab" presentations:

The Saratogian Newspaper Website gives the following description: 'Community Media Lab, an informal partnership between local bloggers and The Saratogian".
We attended this evenings presentation at the Saratogian's own downtown newsroom. We had a tour of the "city desk" and saw the staff preparing the upcoming days news, page by page in real time. As bloggers, this was very exciting to see another media outlet in action.
The Community Media Lab is an idea to open doors in the community, giving a stronger voice to readers in this digital-first world.
To see the complete article please go to:

Special thanks to Saratogian's Managing Editor, Barbara Lombardo for her kindness and for inviting us to this event. To contact Barbara at the Saratogian, please call 583-8711 or email

A birthday rose for Marylou.

Saratoga Seen
Your insiders’ source for what’s happening around Saratoga County.
About the Saratoga bureau Saratoga coverage Follow us on Twitter!
A rose named Marylou
November 17, 2010 at 4:19 pm by Leigh Hornbeck
Imagine trying to buy a gift for Marylou Whitney. Her husband, John Hendrickson, faces the challenge every year. In years’ past he’s given her jewelry. This year for her birthday he hit upon the best gift yet – the one that brought her to tears, he said. He bought the naming rights to a long-stemmed, pink tea rose. Marylou will celebrate her 85th birthday on Christmas Eve. The first Marylou Whitney rosebushes will be planted at Cady Hill in the spring.
I spoke to John and Marylou from Kentucky today. Marylou said she always secretly wanted a rose named for her, but never told her husband.
“John is magic,” she said. “Somehow, he knew.”
See a full story in tomorrow’s TU.

Monday, November 15, 2010

NYS Parks in great need of help, Times Union, Fred LeBrun.

Our state parks need a better plan for survival than the careening crisis management the Paterson administration gave us this year.
Never again should we have to wonder from one week to the next whether Thacher Park will open for the season, or Grafton, or any of the other 176 parks in the state system. Of all the fallout we experienced from the draconian cuts to state agencies this year, none was felt more personally by the public than the threat to the parks. The scream of horror and anger was loud enough for even the politically tone-deaf Paterson group to get the message.
So we dodged the bullet. But how often can we expect a similar result? My guess is with a new administration facing overwhelming demand for continually decreasing state revenues, that would be zero. As bad as funding for many state services proved to be this year, it's only going to be worse next year, and the year after that.
Yet, there are two encouraging signs for park advocates.
The first is to be found in Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo's mostly vague policy book on the environment. He clearly recognizes that parks, particularly upstate and on Long Island, are mini economic engines spread out across our geography, generating, according to advocates, $5 for every $1 invested. And they are recreational destinations that carry local identification and pride. Cuomo pledges he "will work to ensure that they (parks) stay open for the benefit of all New Yorkers." His support matters.
In the same policy book, he says we need something new: innovative public-private partnerships to bring in more money to offset dwindling state revenues. He mentions a Brooklyn fundraising alliance as a model.
As if answering the call last week, enter the perfectly timed Alliance for New York State Parks, under the considerable auspices of the Open Space Institute, to advocate for state parks and historic places, and raise funds for them.
The deep-pocketed Open Space Institute is a nonprofit that already has bought and protected largely for public use 100,000 acres in New York, including 75,000 currently in parklands.
It has ties to a phenomenal donor base. At the announcement of the alliance formation at OSI's New York City office, for instance, members of the Rockefeller, Harriman and Roosevelt families were on hand to express support. The alliance raised $2 million in the first week against the $10 million it wants to get started.
Carol Ash, the vibrant and hugely capable recently departed commissioner of the Office of State Parks, Recreation and Historic Places, will be deeply involved over the next year, although a former deputy parks commissioner, Erik Kulleseid, will be the alliance's director.
No one knows better than Ash how badly mangled the finances and operations of our state parks system have become over the last couple of years. Deep cuts in money and manpower, coupled with repeatedly deferred maintenance, have taken an awful toll. Ash says flatly that our parks system is in jeopardy.
An alliance like this is obviously a blessing and a source of badly needed optimism. But in no way is it the definitive answer. The amount of money that would have to be raised year after year can't depend on the largesse of big donors, or on donations through a mass appeal.
Our parks need a dedicated revenue fund, or at least that is the view of Ash and OSI director Joe Martens. The alliance will advocate for creation of such a fund.
I am assured that the details and limits of a dedicated fund are a work in progress. Because there are obvious warning flags to consider, and pitfalls abound.
A dedicated fund for parks would be administered by a state agency, no matter how many locks you put on the box. So some governor can come along and raid it anyway. History has shown that already, by repeated raids on the Environmental Protection Fund.
State legislation would be needed to create the fund, which means politics comes into play. Who knows where that takes us?
I wonder how other environmental groups will feel about a competitor for the EPF? And what will the fund actually pay for? Will it be limited to operations and maintenance of existing state parks, or can it be used to hire more personnel, or buy more land for parks?
At the moment, the alliance is looking at two models as the revenue source for a dedicated fund.
The Montana model puts a small surcharge on motor vehicle registrations. The Washington, D.C. model charges a nickle surcharge for those using plastic shopping bags. I can hear the yelps already from overtaxed vehicle owners. Shoppers, maybe less so.
Anyway, that's still to be worked out. It's a fabulous idea, comes just at the right time, and Andrew seems to like it.
Keep in mind, we have to do something, or its gut-wrenching time all over again with our parks.
Contact Fred LeBrun at 454-5453 or by e-mail at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Toot for the Victoria-pool-mobile.

Trees being planted again in Avenue of the Pine at Saratoga Spa State Park. Truly, a sight for eyes sore from watching them being cut down.

Program to add to Saratoga Spa State Park’s pines
Published: Thursday, November 11, 2010


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More white pine trees will be planted along Avenue of the Pines in Saratoga Spa State Park thanks to a partnership between New York State Parks and Odwalla’s Plant a Tree program. (Photo provided)
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Spa State Park has teamed up with Odwalla, via the 2010 Plant a Tree program, to replenish white pine trees along Avenue of the Pines at the National Historic Landmark park.The park obtained more than two dozen trees through Odwalla’s Plant a Tree program.“We need to periodically plant young trees if we are to sustain the towering column of pines as the iconic entrance to the park,” said Alane Ball Chinian, regional director for New York State Parks Saratoga-Capital Region. “With Odwalla’s Plant a Tree program, this successful partnership has generously provided more than two-dozen six-foot white pines to fill in the spots along the avenue where mature trees have died and been removed.”The collaboration between Odwalla and New York State Parks is in its third year and has included the web-based Plant a Tree program and a supply of Odwalla food bars for use at select park events and activities throughout several park regions in the state.The national web-based promotion encouraged visitors to go to the site to choose which of the 50 state park systems they would like to see trees planted in. In New York, the resulting earmarked funds were committed for tree purchases in the Saratoga-Capital region.Avenue of the Pines was originally constructed as a mile-long pedestrian path surrounded by four rows of white pines, and it is historically known as the Pine Promenade. In 1929, when the current Lincoln Bathhouse was built, other improvements were undertaken in the parks. The Pine Promenade was enlarged and paved and opened as a parkway for automobiles. By this time, the pines planted years before had grown high, and the parkway was appropriately renamed Avenue of the Pines.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Carol Ash, NYS Parks Commissioner(pictured on left) to resign 10/13/10.

ALBANY, NY (09/23/2010)(readMedia)-- Governor David A. Paterson today announced that Carol Ash will resign her position as Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) effective October 13.

"Over the past four years Commissioner Ash has led her agency with dedication, integrity and professionalism," Governor Paterson said. "Despite these extraordinarily challenging times, the Commissioner presided the over construction and opening of the remarkable Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, a very successful U.S. Open Golf Championship at Bethpage State Park and initiated an effort to rebuild and restore the agency's aging infrastructure."

During Commissioner Ash's term more than $200 million was invested in roadways, bathhouses, historic structures and electrical and plumbing systems. She promoted public-private partnerships and encouraged strong relationships with Friends Groups and non-for-profits. She also saw visitation rates climb, as more than 56 million people were welcomed at the State's 178 parks and 35 historic sites in 2009.

Commissioner Carol Ash said: "I offer my sincere thanks to Governor Paterson for the opportunity to serve the people of New York. I am also deeply honored to have had the privilege to lead a dedicated and resourceful workforce. Even in these trying times, their commitment to our parks and historic sites has resulted in better experiences for millions of park patrons and I am proud of their collective efforts. Our State is home to the finest State park system in the country. Our wonderful natural, recreational and historic treasures continue to be a source of great enjoyment, pride and economic activity throughout the State. The opportunity to lead this agency was among the greatest professional experiences of my life."

Governor Paterson appointed Andy Beers to the position of Acting Commissioner. Mr. Beers has served as OPRHP Executive Deputy Commissioner since 2007. He has been responsible for the day-to-day operations of the agency, as well as overseeing the continuing efforts to revitalize the State parks system. Prior to serving as Executive Deputy Commissioner, Beers served as Deputy State Director at the Nature Conservancy. He received his B.A. from Colgate University and his M.S. from Cornell University.


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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Labor Day farewell at Victoria Pool for 2010.

Saratogian, 9/21/10,Save the Victoria Pool Society Labor Day Bash.

Life Inside Saratoga: Cooks bring their best recipes to 'Save the Victoria Pool Society' picnic

By JEANNETTE JORDAN, Inside Saratoga

“Save the Victoria Pool Society” members got together Labor Day for its seventh annual picnic at the Victoria Pool in Saratoga Spa State Park.

A covered dish — with the theme “Iron Chef: Victoria Pool” — highlighted the day. Everyone brought their signature dishes.

Doug Jasinske made a seven-layer salad with crisp lettuce, bacon and boiled eggs. It was a real hit.

Andrew Jennings brought his family recipe for Italian potato salad.

Mary Sickles’ breakfast quiche was deemed “out of this world,” and Jean Sharkey made delicious homemade double-thick chocolate chip cookies.

John Tighe was the first and last person in the pool for the season, an honor he attempts to keep every year.

Sickles had a small jewelry show and sale of homemade beads, both necklaces and bracelets. Thomas “Max” Moller was voted the best lifeguard of the season. Moller is in his second year at Adirondack Community College and always sets the high standard of safety at the pool.

Louise Goldstein gave a short talk about the work of the society, reminding everyone that the pool is “all of ours, as New York state residents, and we have a duty to preserve its historic beauty for the next generation.”

Members also took a tour of the state park conducted by Jennings showing off the biggest attractions in the Spa Park.

Some others attending included Stanton Williamson, Dr. Mark Depietro. Maureen Godlewski, Lily Swits, Holly Swits, Steve Taranto, Cathy Gillis, Carole Leader, and Sally Biggie.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Saratoga Spa State Park and SPAC numbers up for 2010.

schenectady gazette:

State parks officials pleased with summer season
Thursday, September 16, 2010

Marcy Velte

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Despite budget cuts and the threat of closures for the 2010-11 season, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is calling its summer season a success.

According to Saratoga-Capital Region Director Alane Ball Chinian, region-wide attendance for parks and historic sites increased 17 percent from last year. Attendance at John Boyd Thacher State Park increased by 2 percent.

Saratoga-Capital District Regional Parks Commission members said they believe the increase is due to the summer’s beautiful weather and the economy. Many families chose to take “staycations” or local trips this summer instead of traveling far away. Another theory was that the public had been scared the parks would remain closed because of budget cuts. When budget extenders re-opened the parks, people took advantage of the opportunity.

“We are thrilled to have had such a healthy season,” said Chinian.

Heather Mabee, chairwoman of the commission, said the Saratoga Performing Arts Center had a great season also, but attendance was down slightly from previous years.

This year, the commission approved a $10 parking fee for all SPAC concertgoers who park within the recreational area. This increased revenue by 57 percent from last year, when only cars parking at the north end were forced to pay the fee. The charge was put in place to offset the price of cleaning up after SPAC shows, extra police and overtime pay, since the commission receives no money from the concerts themselves.

Chinian said the concert season was also safer than usual after state police strictly enforced the alcohol ban on park grounds this year.

“There was a dramatic difference,” said Chinian.

She said police received additional training on how to spot and test for alcohol on-site. As a result, intoxication arrests and hospital transports were down and the amount of trash left behind decreased.

However, with 40 percent of the commission’s budget cut in the past two years and eight local state park employees opting to take the new retirement incentive come September, there is still work to be done.

“There is a lot of experience walking out of the door all at once,” said Mabee. “We are losing people with knowledge we might not get back,” since a state-wide hiring freeze is still in effect for most positions.

However, Chinian said many retirees have pledged to come back as volunteers or work as seasonal employees.

Commission members expressed concern over the loss of so many workers.

Mabee said the cuts were “getting ridiculous.” One member said if Thacher Park was to close, it would deteriorate in just two years.

To make sure legislators don’t look to cut park funds again next year, the state parks office and Saratoga-Capital Region commission members are already reaching out to lawmakers to express the importance of New York’s parks and historic sites.

“What we are trying to get legislators to see is it would be a huge cost to get [parks] back to their previous states,” said Mabee. “If any close, expect them to close forever.”----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SPAC hits high notes in Dutoit's last season
By Steve Barnes Senior Writer
Published: 03:01 p.m., Wednesday, September 15, 2010

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SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The final season for Charles Dutoit as principal conductor and music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center helped push overall attendance for SPAC's summer 2010 classical and dance programming up by about 11 percent over last year.

Total attendance was about 92,500 for classical events, an increase of 9,500 from the 2009 attendance, according to figures released Wednesday by SPAC.

The non-Live Nation season at SPAC encompasses residencies by the orchestra and the New York City Ballet, plus the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival and the annual jazz festival, as well as such newer offerings as beginning-of-the-summer jazz concerts, modern dance performances and SPAC's first battle of the bands.

Orchestra audiences climbed by 21 percent over three weeks, to 40,464, and income was up by 15 percent, totaling $986,184, SPAC said.

Ballet attendance was down by 1 percent and income by 8 percent, to 34,509 and $863,065, respectively, for the two-week season.

Although overall chamber-music attendance declined, because there were two fewer performances, the per-performance attendance increased by 11 percent. Jazz audiences were 4 percent smaller, at 11,491 over two days, and income dropped by 2 percent.

Speaking of the larger orchestra audiences, Marcia White, SPAC's president and executive director, said, "Their energy and enthusiasm contributed to the enjoyment of each performance and was the best possible parting gift for our beloved Maestro Dutoit."

Dutoit and violinist Chantal Juillet, who ran the chamber festival for 19 of the 20 summers Dutoit was at SPAC, announced in February that this year would be their final season at SPAC.

The pair got married earlier this year. Albany Times Union

Thursday, September 09, 2010

group labor day photo below.

1st row, stanton and mark
2nd row, jean, andrew,jeannie, carole, holly, louise and sally
3rd row,maureen, lily,steve,john,doug,mary,cathy,mary.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Bid adieu to our cherished Victoria Pool. Monday,Labor Day,Noonish, bring-a-dish luncheon.

Save the Victoria Pool Society hopes everyone comes for our annual bring-a-dish farewell labor day lunch, 9/6/10,noonish.
Wear you snuggies this morning.