Friday, April 09, 2010

Racetrack and Victoria Pool in jeopardy but "Jersey Shore" and Bo Derek a sure bet.

Feds: Risk millions if state parks close
State move to shut facilities draws warning from National Parks Service

By JIMMY VIELKIND, Capitol bureau
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Friday, April 9, 2010

ALBANY -- Federal officials are threatening to withhold millions of dollars in funding to the state if the Paterson administration pushes forward with its plan to close parks around the state.
In a letter dated March 31, National Parks Service Northeast Regional Director Dennis Reidenbach wrote that the move would put New York in "non-compliance" with the requirements for taking funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Federal Land for Parks Program.

"Also, NPS may initiate suspension and debarment procedures to have all Federal funds (e.g. Recreation, Housing, Transportation, Education etc.) withheld from the State of New York," Reidenbach wrote. "In addition, closure of any park acquired through FLP could result in reversion of the property to Federal ownership and subsequent sale of the property."

Gov. David Paterson proposed the closure of 41 parks and 14 historic sites -- the majority of which, Reidenbach wrote, have received federal funds. The cuts are slated to save $6.3 million.

Eileen Larrabee, a spokeswoman for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said they don't believe the proposed closures put the state in violation.

"We are as committed to these parks and these public spaces as anybody else. We are dealing with the current fiscal crisis, and we simply do not have the funding to open all of these parks right now," she said. "Ultimately we believe that these closures are temporary and not permanent, and we're not converting the land. We would assert that the funding is not jeopardized."

New York received $1.4 million from the LWCF last year, and is slated to receive just under $1.9 million this year. Larrabee said that has been "diminished" from around $20 million a year, which has made it difficult to keep up with needed maintenance.

OPRHP Commissioner Carol Ash did not raise the federal threat during a Thursday meeting of the state Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation. She told the committee that if the new state budget is delayed beyond early May, it could threaten state plans to open 34 parks that now depend on added funding from the state Environmental Protection Fund under Paterson's proposed budget.

Parks officials are currently hiring seasonal workers for the parks.

Capital Region parks on the list include Grafton Lakes State Park, Cherry Plain State Park, and Fort Crailo State Historic Site, all in Rensselaer County; Minekill State Park in Schoharie County; and Peebles Island State Park in Saratoga County. Also, the Victoria Pool in Saratoga Spa State Park would be closed.

Parks Service spokesman Phil Sheridan said the law was clear that lands needed to stay open for public recreation "in perpetuity," and the principle was important.

"Our only recourse is that there is a significant penalty if you fail to live up to that pledge," Sheridan said. "It is very tough budgetarily. However, the fact remains that people accept these and accept certain responsibilities. As private citizens, if we accept money for certain things it would annul the contract if we did things with it that we didn't say we were going to do."

He said Reidenbach's letter was prompted by U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Ulster County, who questioned Parks Service officials about the LWCF provisions and requested they communicate their position to the Paterson administration.

The letter, which Hinchey posted on Facebook earlier this week, was the result.

"The public has no less need for recreation opportunities and access to open space in times of economic hardship," Reidenbach concluded. "If anything, the need for recreational opportunities is greater now, not only due to leaner economic times but also because of the increasing personal, community, and environmental health issues associated with more sedentary lifestyles and lack of contact with the nature."

Brian Nearing contributed to this report. Jimmy Vielkind can be reached at 454-5081 or

Privacy Rights | Terms of Service
All Times Union materials copyright 1996-2010, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation, Albany, NY

Saratoga Seen
Your insiders’ source for what’s happening around Saratoga County.
About the Saratoga bureau | Saratoga coverage | Follow us on Twitter!

The Jersey Shore comes to Saratoga
April 8, 2010 at 10:10 am by Christen Gowan

Ronnie from the Jersey Shore.

Watch out, ladies! Ronnie from MTV’s Jersey Shore will be in town and on the prowl Saturday night to reopen Mare Discoteca.

The club, which will have some sort of cover, will be hosting Girls Gone Wild next Friday night (April 16). Originally opened as an Italian fish restaurant years ago by David Zecchini, Mare will strictly be a night club now.

The club, located next to 9 Maple at 19 Maple Ave., opens at 8 p.m. Saturday and will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. So, bust out the hair gel and wifebeaters and get ready to party Jersey-style.

The show, set in the boardwalk community of Seaside Heights, concerns the lives, loves and barroom antics of eight young Italian-Americans who self-identify as “guidos” and “guidettes.”

As you might remember, an Albany City Council member took aim at the “Jersey Shore” cast several months ago, saying the show showed Italian-Americans as “ignorant, violent, self-centered and lewd.”

There’s no official word from the Saratoga Springs City Council on how they stand on Ronnie and his fellow cast mates.

Posted in General, Nightlife | 38 Comments

Saratoga Seen
Your insiders’ source for what’s happening around Saratoga County.
About the Saratoga bureau | Saratoga coverage | Follow us on Twitter!

The Sheikh and Bo Derek in Saratoga this summer
April 8, 2010 at 3:41 pm by Christen Gowan

Sheikh Mohammed checks out the art on the second floor of the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion. Not only did he spend millions on yearlings, he also spent thousands on art that night. (Skip Dickstein/Times Union)

What do the Sheikh and Bo Derek have in common? They’ll both be honored this summer at Canfield Casino for their work to end horse slaugter, according to the Saratogian.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, and Bo Derek have been invited to Saratoga this summer for the annual Equine Advocates Dinner at Canfield Casino. As some of you may remember, the sheikh rolled into town and dropped tens of millions of dollars at the annual Fasig-Tipton sale. He’s a one-man force of economic development.

Bo Derek sits on the California Horse Racing Board and has worked tirelessly to end horse slaughter. Click here to learn more about Equine Advocates.

Traditionally, the annual gala is held at Stonebridge Farm in Schuylerville, but (as Dennis reported here), owner Jeffrey Tucker lost $7.5 billion in the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme.

Posted in At the track, Celeb sightings, General | 1 Comment

No comments: