Blogs > Saratogian Newsroom

The Saratogian Newsroom blog, complete with thoughts and commentary from our newsroom staff and regular posts on happenings around town.

Monday, September 29

Pinewood Derby registration open

The Children's Museum at Saratoga is excited to announce that registration for its 2nd Annual Pinewood Derby is now open! Participants, both boys and girls, will be able to design and race their very own Pinewood Derby Car during this S.T.E.M. activity. This year the museum will be offering design classes on Monday, October 13th followed by a race. Participants can choose one of two sections: 10 noon or 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Displaying Pinewood Derby 2014 - Poster.jpg

Friday, September 26

Sheriff's Office clears pistol permit backlog, 400 permits now approved

SARATOGA COUNTY -- Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo (R,I) today, announced that his office has
cleared the backlog of pistol permit applications that has flooded the Sheriff's Office since the
implementation of the New York State SAFE Act.
Zurlo said his office has processed close to 400 permits since January 1, 2014.
"With stricter laws in place and hundreds of residents waiting for their application to be processed, we
needed to find new strategies to help alleviate a backlog of pistol permits," said Sheriff Zurlo. "By
partnering with local sportsmen clubs and professionally certified instructors, we are now able to offer
additional safety courses throughout the county for those who are interested. This allows our staff
to process permits more expeditiously."
"When I took office back in January, I asked my staff to review the pistol permit application process. We were able to streamline and speed-up the process for those law-abiding citizens who submitted
applications and we are happy to do so," Zurlo added.
The Saratoga County Sheriff's Office is responsible for processing permit applications, providing pistol
safety courses and conducting background investigations. Those interested in obtaining a pistol permit
can find more information by visiting the Sheriff Office website:
With a population of roughly 224,000, Saratoga County has close to 20,000 pistol permit holders in the county.

Wednesday, September 24

Saratoga Springs a good deal for drivers

According to, Saratoga Springs places well among neighboring cities as far as total costs per year for car insurance.

Annual costs in the Spa City were on average $1,164, 23 percent less than the state average.
To see average rates for the whole state - see this link. 

And just from personal observation, gas is significantly cheaper in Saratoga County right now versus Albany County.

Some of the cheapest I've noticed are the Stewart's in Milton and USA Gasoline in both Clifton Park and Ballston Spa, where prices were less than $3,50 per gallon most of this week.

Thursday, September 18

Sheriff's Department reveals new car design

- Photo from Sheriff's Dept. twitter 

The Saratoga County Sheriff's Department revealed new designs for some of their patrol cars. They'll hit the road tomorrow starting from the Clifton Park station.

Tuesday, September 16

Living history in the Spa City

In honor of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Saratoga Springs in 1915, the Saratoga Springs Public Library is bringing together the city's mayors, past and present.

The library will present the program titled "On Being Mayor" at noon on Thursday, September 18 in the H. Dutcher Community Room. 

Former publisher and managing editor of Saratoga Wire, Dale Willman will host a panel of all living former mayors and the current mayor, Joanne Yepsen. 

James Murphy, Raymond Watkin, A.C. Riley, J. Michael O'Connell, Kenneth Klotz, Michael Lenz, Valerie Keehn, and Scott Johnson will all be present to share their experiences as mayor, and the challenges and satisfactions of this office.

This event at the library, 49 Henry St., is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

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Friday, September 12

City Council meeting agenda 9/16

The Saratoga Springs City Council meets Tuesday Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.

The agenda calls for another executive session at the start of the meeting and an announcement from the mayor's desk - possibly regarding the resignation of city attorney Sarah Burger last week.

Here's the story on Burger's resignation.

Other notables include announcements of upcoming public forums and information on the groundbreaking of the Waterfront park.

The meeting can be streamed live at 

Thursday, September 11

Farm Aid 2014 live stream

The yearly concert promoting local farms, family farms and an overall holistic lifestyle paid a sold-out visit to Saratoga Springs last year, and fans can experience this year's show through their live stream. 
Last year's highlights included a surprise appearance from the late Pete Seeger, singing "this Land is Your Land" alongside Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews. 
This year's sold-out show is in Raleigh, N.C. The lineup is a similar makeup including Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and Jack White. 

Stream the show live -here- on Saturday starting at 7 p.m. 

Tuesday, September 9

Peace Week schedule of events & call for exhibitors

From Ron Deutsch an organizer of Peace Week in Saratoga -- 

Saratoga Peace Week in Saratoga is Just Around the Corner - Exhibitors Needed
Saratoga Peace Week Steering Committee is now accepting applications for exhibitors for the fifth Annual Saratoga Peace Fair on Sunday, Sept 21 at 24 Circular St, Saratoga Springs, NY. Past fairs have drawn more than 50 exhibitors and countless visitors. Exhibitors must identify how their organization promotes peace.  Registration is available online at
Mayor Joanne Yepsen will kick off the week by reading the Peace Week Proclamation at the Saratoga Peace Fair on Sept. 21. 
Sept. 21 is the UN international Day of Peace. 
The fair will include over 50 exhibitors promoting peace through fair trade, environmental stewardship and non-violent conflict resolution. There will be activities for children and adults, live music and fabulous food. The Saratoga Peace Fair is held on the grounds of the Presbyterian and New England Congregational Church, 24 Circular St. Rain or Shine.
Organizations may sign up online by going to

Peace Week Schedule:
Local and national organizations co-sponsor the fifth-annual week of activities in Saratoga Springs to promote peace at home, in the community and around the world. Events are free unless otherwise indicated.

 Sunday, September 21
UN International Day of Peace Observance & PEACE FAIRincluding Saratoga Sings for Peace with Tom Chapin 12-4pmPresbyterian-New England Congregational Church.      50+ exhibitors, live music, calls to action, fair trade products, alternative energy, food vendors and family fun!!  Mayor Joanne Yepsen will kick-off the festivities at 12:30pm with the reading of the Peace Week proclamation.  Appear in our Saratoga Sings for Peace YouTube video with Tom Chapin at 2pm and enjoy a piece of our 6 ft Peace Cake. Veterans For Peace will be collecting paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap, laundry detergent, and non-perishable food items for area Vet Homes.

Monday, September 22
Saratoga Pride sponsors LGBT Asylum Task Force 7:30pm, Filene Recital Hall, Skidmore College.  Did you know...there are laws against homosexuality in 8o+ countries around the world?  That you could be imprisoned or receive the death penalty in some?  Join us to hear how The LGBT Asylum Support Task Force supports those who are seeking political asylum in the U.S. based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Learn how we can help change policy around the globe so that someday no LGBT person will need to seek asylum because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Tuesday, September 23
Tuesdays for Tots:  Peace Quilting 10am-12pm and 1-3pm, The Children’s Museum.
Create peace quilts with fabric markers. (Program free with admission.) 

Peace Potpourri - 3 Presenters from The Giving Circle, AOET and Drilling for Hope 7pm, Spring Street Gallery.  What do these presenters have in common? They live in Saratoga and volunteer in Africa! Come hear how they each share their time and talent in different ways so that children and adults can have a future. Explore volunteer opportunities locally and abroad. If you’re an armchair traveler, enjoy the faces, the sounds and scenery without leaving Saratoga. Indigenous crafts and jewelry will be available for purchase.  Karen Flewellling will be signing her book, Drilling for Hope.

Wednesday, September 24
Palestine & Israel Presentation with Potluck Dinner 6pm,Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church. The Rev. Mark Koenig, Director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, will update us on the conflict and the UN’s position. Elizabeth Meehan will present on her recent trip to the Middle East as part of the Mosaic of Peace Conference. Please bring a dish to pass. Don’t have time to cook? Bring a donation of $5 instead. Mid-eastern cuisine will be offered.

Thursday, September 25
Teen Tie-Die Creations 3-5pm, Saratoga Springs Public Library's Teen Room.  Drop in to making some amazing-looking tie-dyes with Sharpie markers that are so simple to do! We’ll supply bandanas and drawstring backpacks, just bring yourself! Registration is not required. (Grades 6-12)

Open Mic for Peace at Caffe Lena 7pmSing a peace-related song and receive a special peace button! Or just listen and enjoy the music of others!

Friday, September 26
Teen Tie-Die Creations 3-5pm, Saratoga Springs Public Library's Teen Room.  Drop in to making some amazing-looking tie-dyes with Sharpie markers that are so simple to do! We’ll supply bandanas and drawstring backpacks, just bring yourself! Registration is not required. (Grades 6-12)

Guatemalan Folk Dancing 5-8 pmNational Museum of Dance.This event will bring to life the Guatemalan Dance exhibit currently on display at the museum. This exhibition “celebrates the rich history and tells the story of how Guatemala embodies the spirit of dance in all of its culture.”

Saturday, September 27
Sweet Dreams Movie and Skype Session with Director7:30pm, Gannett Auditorium, Skidmore College. Don’t miss this award-winning documentary about the Women’s Drumming Circle that brings reconciliation to Tutsi and Hutu people. The women form a co-op and start an ingenious business, but we can’t give too much away. Have your questions answered by co-director Rob Fruchtman after the film.

Monday, September 8

Sheriff's office to start issuing daily arrest reports

The Saratoga County Sheriff's office announced today that going forward, they will release daily reports with arrests made and a log of all service calls for the agency each day.

They will continue to issue more extensive releases for significant events, but will no longer maintain a physical press book at the Milton station. 

Previously, many press releases were issued to the media on a regular basis, but reporters often had to visit the office directly and view additional releases from a binder.

This will save many of us members of the media a trip to Milton each week, so this news is certainly welcome here. 

“Part of our commitment to our residents is to ensure that they have access to up-to-date, accurate information about their communities. The use of social media and collaboration with our media partners has allowed us to further our commitment," Sheriff Michael Zurlo said in a press release. 

The agency will continue its already active social media presence, according to the press release. The Saratoga Sheriff's Office has a Twitter page, Facebook and website

--Lauren Mineau 

9/11 memorial ceremony at High Rock Park planned

The city of Saratoga Springs will hold a 9/11 commemoration ceremony on Thursday at High Rock Park.
Mayor Joanne Yepsen and her 9/11 memorial committee will hold a ceremony and remembrance starting at 8:15 a.m.
The gathering will be held at the Tempered by Memory sculpture and will include speeches and a city-wide “ringing of the bells” at 8:46 a.m. to symbolize when the first plane his the North Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
The ceremony will begin with bag pipe music from Peter Lounsberry and at 8:40 a.m. a color guard will enter under the direction of state general Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy.
A welcome from Dottie Pepper will start the official ceremony, followed by choraliers from Saratoga Springs High School. The keynote speech will be delivered by Matt Tully, a military law professional.
The sculpture “Tempered by Memory” was created from five pieces of steel twisted in the 2001 terrorist attacks..

--Lauren Mineau 

Friday, September 5

17th Comp Plan meeting scheduled for Monday

The Comprehensive Plan committee will meet on Monday, Sept. 8 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the city recreation center.

The Comprehensive Plan serves as a guide for future development within the city combining input from the public, professional consultants, and members of the committee. A committee was established and appointed by the City Council to assist in the construction of the finalized plan. The committee has met 16 times and makes continued revisions to the current plan, adopted in 2001, revised in 2007 without adoption and will eventually complete a finished plan.

In early August, a draft of the plan was made public and this meeting will serve to collect comment and for the committee members to present their findings after their month of review. 

Many residents have been vocal about multiple elements in the planning process so far, and they say they plan to continue those outcries on Monday. 

They are concerned specifically with proposed increased density in neighborhoods near West Circular and Elm Street, special interest zoning that they feel might intrude residential neighborhoods and potential additions of multi-family homes in their neighborhoods. 

To view a live steam for Monday's meeting and the draft comp plan visits

-Lauren Mineau 

Wednesday, September 3

Elitists for Elise protest GOP fundraiser

By Lauren Mineau
@LaurenMineau on Twitter

A satirical group calling themselves RepubliCorp organized a small protest outside Saratoga National Golf course on Wednesday where 21st Congressional candidate Elise Stefanik was expected to appear at a fundraiser.
The group was organized by plain clothes citizens dressed and in character as lobbyists and CEOs, held signs and presented Stefanik a check for $300,000, as a reward for what they call her ability to serve corporate interests and to "fund future votes."
Protestors acted as members of the "one percent" and sarcastically touted Stefanik as the right person for the job.
"She will keep acquiring money from Karl Rove and ruin your life," Bill Baker of Averill Park said.
Members of the group outside Saratoga National.

Sharon McFarlane of Wilton holding a sign outside the golf course.