Page 1

In this Grant would aid ‘Complete Streets’ week’s issue Spa City seeks funding for comprehensive transportation study. Page 3


Serving Saratoga County Spa City in a good state Mayor says Saratoga Springs faces a bright future despite shaky economy nationwide. See Page 2.

Volume me XVI

Number 4

Complimentary Complime

Blue line to blue line Two teens raising money for outdoor program with an ambitious journey By MARCI REVETTE

Fun with i the Force Canadian-born actor Charlie Ross reenacts the original Star Wars trilogy in a high-energy, 60-minute comedy performance at Proctors. See Page 10.

Second half woes The Saratoga Springs girls basketball team struggled in the second half against Guilderland’s press in a 41-39 Suburban Council loss last Friday. See Page 16.

INDEX Editorial page ...................... 6 Police blotter........................ 5 Sports .......................... 14-16 Entertainment ................... 10 Classifieds .................... 12-13 Community shorts .............. 13

The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Spotlight (USPS020-327) is published each Thursday by Community Media Group LLC, 125 Adams St., Delmar, N.Y. 12054. Periodicals postage paid at Delmar, N.Y., and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: send address changes to The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Spotlight, P.O. Box 100, Delmar, N.Y. 12054. Subscription rates: Free to addresses in Saratoga County. Elsewhere, one year $40, 6 months $20. Subscriptions are not refundable.

When they talk about their adventures hiking in the Adirondacks, the eyes of Ryan Wichens, 18, and Gabe Messercola, 17, light right up. One can almost smell the crackling campfire, see the thousands of stars strewn across the night sky and hear the call of the loons. “It is a beauty beyond description,” said Messercola. “It becomes a part of you.” Wichens agreed. “There are times when we’re camping, and we don’t want to go into our lean to,” he said. “I’ve never seen so many stars in my life.” The duo have spent a good deal of their lives in the outdoors, but they realize their experiences Ryan Wichens are ones many youngsters never have. They’re looking to change that by organizing an ambi“One of our tious summer hike through realizations the Adirondacks that will raise awareness of and benwas how efit the Colorado-based charmuch ity Big City Mountaineers, which gives west-coast inner we’ve been city youths the chance to have affected by outdoor experiences. In June, Wichens and outdoors. Messercola will step off on ... That’s a 200-mile “blue line to blue line” journey (from the northwhat I want most to southernmost points these kids of the Adirondack Park). They expect it to take 21 days, via cato experinoe, bike and foot. They hope ence.” their fundraising through the – Ryan trip will qualify them for Big Wichens City Mountaineers’ Summit for Someone — a program

■ Line Page 8

“Now that Ryan’s in college, we don’t get out enough. Whenever he comes home, it’s go, go, go. We’ve remained really close friends.” – Gabe Messercola

Gabe Messercola

January 24, 2013

Saratoga to target vacants New proposal would fine owners of empty properties By MARCI REVETTE What do Detroit and Saratoga Springs have in common? Answer: both are searching for a way to eliminate vacant properties. Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Public Safety Christian MathieClick sen is hopit up ing to tackle the issue of To comment on vacant buildthis story, go to ings in the www.spotlight city. He pegs the number of vacant businesses and private residences at 50. They are scattered throughout the city, he said, and some have sat empty for years. “These buildings are continuing to deteriorate,” Mathiesen said. “This has an effect on neighborhoods and on property values in the area.” The commissioner is pitching an “incentive” to get owners to either develop their properties or sell them so they can be utilized. A new ordinance would be added to the City Code that would clear the way for a cataloguing of vacant structures. Code enforcement

■ Vacant Page 13

Chambers strike a common chord Capital District business leaders lay out strategic plans for future development By MARCI REVETTE A chamber of commerce offering up a January outlook on the coming year is nothing new, but getting four for the price of one is. That’s what was in store for attendees of the inaugural State of the Region breakfast on Wednesday, Jan. 17, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Clifton Park. The breakfast was co-hosted by Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus, Albany-Colonie

Regional Chamber of Commerce President Mark Egan, Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce President Linda Hillman and Schenectady County Chamber of Commerce President Chuck Steiner. “It is a myth that we don’t work together,” said Egan, in reference to the united front of chamber presidents. “The reality is, we do. … This is an opportunity to spotlight what the chambers do, in particular what we do together.” Despite hailing from different parts of the area, all four leaders offered up a positive view of the state of business affairs in the Capital District, especially when it comes to growth. Steiner said that in comparison to

■ Outlook Page 13

From left, Mark Egan, Congressman Paul Tonko, Linda Hillman, Todd Shimkus, CDTA CEO Carm Basile and Chuck Steiner take part in the first ever State of the Region breakfast. Marci Revette/Spotlight

Page 2 • January 24, 2013

Spotlight Newspapers

Mayor to state: put casino here State of the City focuses on ripple effects of uncertainty in Albany By MARCI REVETTE Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson thinks uncer tainty at the state level presents the biggest challenge to the Spa City for the coming year, but also feels 2012 was a success. Johnson delivered his annual State of the City address on Thursday, Jan. 17, at the Saratoga Springs City Center. He said a shaky economy nationwide is manifesting itself in a stalled expansion of casino gambling and thoroughbred racing, no relief from unfunded state mandates and the continued impact of the property tax on essential ser vices. Still, the Spa City is in a relatively good position, he said. “As a destination and resort community with a strong and expanding tax base, we are more resistant but not immune from the impacts of the global recession,� he said. “As a city, we remain heading in the right direction to control what we can control locally, while planning for the future.� Johnson said sales tax revenue was up 5.4 percent in 2012. He also said trends indicate the city’s unrestricted, unreserved fund balance may increase over the last year to

supplement the “rainy day� fund. Convention and Tourism Bureau statistics showed a 3 percent increase in hotel occupancy, and total number of bookings increased by 34 percent in 2012, which translates into an additional $7 million spent in the city last year. At the track, overall attendance for 2012 was up 3 percent and more than $200 million was generated. The City Center had a 10 percent increase in bookings of and an all-time record of 256 days booked for the year. Johnson touted city government highlights from 2012 like the opening of Water front Park at Saratoga Lake, the formation of Gateway Action Program of Saratoga to study conditions affecting the development on South Broadway, application for a Complete Streets grant, and the development of safe pedestrian and bicycle trails. The city’s future, however, could hinge on decisions made at the state level about the establishment of destination resort casinos in seven different locations statewide. If Saratoga Casino and Raceway is not chosen and another casino is placed nearby, Johnson said, it could jeopardize the casino’s (and the city’s) revenues. “We are well aware of the financial dependence of our city

upon the continued success of our historic racetrack,� said Johnson. “Anything, anything that would serve to threaten the survival of horseracing cannot be tolerated.� Johnson said that revenue from the casino and raceway for Saratoga County has been calculated to exceed $60 million per year, with wages and salaries exceeding $15 million per year. “Make no doubt about it, this casino gaming proposal, without further amendments to protect our horseracing industry and selecting us as a casino site, is not government operating at its best in true transparency,� he said. “Come on, Albany. Lay all the cards on the table.� Johnson also targeted the new, state-managed NYRA format, and said in no uncertain terms any changes to gambling laws must not affect the VLT revenue sharing agreements the city enjoys. “The integrity and future of New York State racing must not be compromised by any quick rich scheme,� Johnson said. “New York can and should do better to support our time honored Sport of Kings, here at the Spa.� During his speech, Johnson also announced he had officially formed a committee to review the city’s comprehensive plan. The topic proved contentious at a T uesday, Jan. 15, City Countil meeting during which

Saratoga Mayor Scott Johnson pauses during his State of the City Speech held on Jan. 17. Photo by Marci Revette/ Spotlight commissioners said they should be the ones to pick the committee members, not the mayor. Johnson said although he already had picked 11 members, he was extending an offer to each of the council members to recommend one member for the committee. “In the spirit of cooperation, dif ficult choices should not preclude consensus,� said Johnson. Johnson also called on the City Council to “keep politics out of government� and instill in Saratogians a “renewed sense of purpose, and commitment, to abandon any personal agendas and earn the respect demanded of City Hall.� Johnson ended his speech by reminding the audience of an

old African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.� Johnson’s proposal for selection of the comprehensive plan committee won favor with at least two council members. “It was a compromise,� said Finance Commissioner Michele Madigan after the speech. “I am pleased to have a choice.� Public Safety Commissioner Christian Mathiesen agreed. “I am happy to be part of the process,� he said. “One choice is better than none.� Newly elected State Senator Kathy Marchione was also in attendance, and seemed pleased with Johnson’s speech. “It was very comprehensive,� she said. “He touched on what is extremely important to the City of Saratoga.�


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January 24, 2013 • Page 3

Spa City looks for Caring for caregivers Complete Streets money Grant would fund a survey for bicycle/pedestrian/transit plan By MARCI REVETTE Saratoga Springs has taken another step forward in its plans for “Complete Streets” by applying for a grant that would fund a study to determine the most ef fective and safe routes for bicycles, pedestrians and mass transit. According to City Planner Kate Maynar d, the application has a connection to the city’s Complete Streets policy, which was adopted last year and focuses on improving non-automobile connectivity in the city. “It is a concrete next step in the Complete Streets policy,” Maynard said of the study. The grant the city is seeking is through the Capital District Transpor tation Committee. In concert with Department of Transportation and other regional entities, the committee looks to assign federal and state transportation dollars on a project-by-project basis. The committee’s Linkage Program is looking at of fering funds for municipalities to consider advancing planning efforts that include land use and transportation. The grant money totals $60,000 and requires a 25 percent match from the city. If approved, the grant money would be used to look at the existing conditions of the city’s transportation network and the people who use it, and determining the goals of a future plan and how to meet them. Maynard said an example would be an intact bicycle network around the city. “What streets are able to physically accommodate bicycles, changes that need to take place to make that happen, gaps in sidewalks, how we can bridge those,” are questions the study might address, she said. One of the Complete Streets goals is an examination of the CDTA transit system in the city. Maynard says the study would determine how easy it is to

reach different destinations through the transit system. Maynard said that on Geyser Road the city was successful in getting a Safe Routes To School grant funded, but they noticed transit bus stops on Geyser are just along the side of the road. “There’s no way to safely reach them via sidewalks,” she said. “In the winter you are standing in snowbanks at the stops. It’s a situation where what needs to better happen to enhance that mode of transportation.” Maynard added there has been more development in the city, so potentially there is an opportunity for more people to ride the bus. Another overall goal is to balance parking needs so people driving their cars past a bus stop could instead easily walk, bike and take the transit and not have to take up space with their car. “It’s looking at ever ything at that level for those users of those modes of transportation,” she said. “What’s lacking, what needs to happen, and move forward for those things,” Maynard said the grant application has already been sent out and the city will know in February if it was approved. If it is approved, the next step would be for the City Council to view any information regarding the scope of work, and oversee the study. Maynard anticipated the study would take six to nine months. She anticipated the study might recommend multi-use paths in rural areas, shoulders on each side of the road for biking in more congested areas, or sidewalks and trails where appropriate. “It’s looking at that context,” she said. “That’s really where the plan, the involvement level of fact and carrying it out is what’s suitable for the city in moving forward, some alternatives and how to actually implement that.” Maynard said the city is also looking forward to marketing Complete Streets and educating the public. That could be through signage or other ways to physically demonstrate to people the infrastructure.

Spotlightnews .com

Alzheimer support groups provide empathy and encouragement

By JOHN PURCELL Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s isn’t an easy responsibility, but there are others ready to provide compassion and encouragement through sharing experiences. The Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York offers support groups at more than 30 locations across 12 counties to help care-giving partners and individuals with early stage Alzheimer’s or others forms of dementia. The suppor t groups are designed to provide emotional, educational and social suppor t for caregivers through regularly scheduled meetings. Groups typically m e e t m o n t h l y, w i t h some meeting twice and month, and trained staff or volunteers facilitate discussions. Jason Lee, community ser vice representative at Home Instead Senior Care, facilitated his first group Tuesday, Jan. 15, at Kingsway Community’s Village Apar tments in Schenectady. The group meets monthly every third Tuesday at 7 p.m. “ Yo u c a n j u s t t a l k about personal conflicts, concerns and problems with your loved ones dealing with early stage dementia and Alzheimer’s,” Lee said. “I just kind of move the conversation, and then people share stories.” Lee said the groups often discuss how to better care for loved ones with dementia and Alzheimer’s. The learning experience often provides insight

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not found in textbooks or through browsing online. Talking about frustrations and challenges might seem wrong to people at first, but Lee said it is important to share experiences. “What people wind up telling me is, ‘Man, I didn’t realize I could do this,’” Lee said. “I think people don’t realize they can actually get that weight off their shoulders about discussing their trials and tribulations of the stressors they have.” His mother, Eileen, has come up with her own techniques to solve issues dealing with her husband’s Alzheimer’s disease. For instance, Eileen will lock one of her arms around her husband at night so she would awaken if he was going to get up in the middle of the night. Sometimes Lee’s father would be downstairs and have no recollection of how he got there or what he was doing. “I never would have thought of that,” Lee said, “because she always fears about him getting up in the middle of the night.” During the discussion group, Lee would often refer back to his personal experiences to help ease others into talking about their loved ones. “I think my wife was going downhill before we really realized what was

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Page 4 • January 24, 2013

Spotlight Newspapers

New trails to travel in this new year ON THE TRAIL Charles Wiff

author, Peter Bronski, detailed some mostly recent examples of disaster that have befallen hikers in the High Peaks area of the Adirondacks — some of them with fatal results. It’s a fantastic read, and a good reminder of exactly how serious striking out into the wilderness can be. A great deal of the more extreme stories came from hikers who had delved into the Adirondacks in the winter months. There were campers who had to climb on top of a lean to to escape a sudden raging river when an ice jam gave away. Others were caught in sudden, har rowing blizzards that buried tents and made simple survival a true challenge. “Laura, listen to this!” I called as I read. “These halfwits sleep outside in the winter! Can you believe it? What kind of mental disease would compel you to do that?” Not two years later, there I was, shivering in my inadequate sleeping bag on the floor of a lean to as the snow fell outside. If I was going to be an idiot, I was clearly going to have to go all the way. So this year we decided to get serious. We sought out big, fluf fy down sleeping bags, a nifty tent made for snow conditions, a new stove that will burn at any temperature and a bunch of other odds and ends. After researching, comparing, reading and researching some more, I finally felt prepared. We


The summit of Algonquin Peak provides incredible views any time of year, but braving winter weather pays off with solitude, clear air and an unforgettable experience. spread out all our nifty, cold weather gear and started to pack. Halfway though, the seams of my pack were bulging. “No more,” it seemed to whimper. “Why are you doing this? Think of my poor suspension!” But I would not be deterred, grabbing carabiners to hook my crampon bag, water bottles and odds and ends onto the outside of the pack. Then I decided to put it on and see how the weight was. The pain was immediate and searing. My knees quaked. My vision went dark around the edges as a faint quake of breath escaped my lips. “Help. Help!” I managed to stammer as my wobbly legs sent me careening around the room. “Hm?” came a disinterested voice from the adjoining room.

“Call 911, I think my lungs have a hernia!” “Oh, that reminds me. I put some of the food in the fridge, so don’t forget to pack that, too.” After regaining consciousness, I unpacked, resor ted, repacked, unpacked and repacked again to get something resembling a workable configuration. It was still an absolute mess. But we had everything we needed, so we’d be happy and warm, right? That was only the tip of the iceberg of ineptitude that was to follow us around that trip. We discovered the tent stakes we had were worthless for snow. So we dug rocks and branches out of the snow to anchor the tent’s guy lines—but not well enough to keep the tent fly from sagging under the falling snow, which got the tent wet

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and there. Well, I must have acquired that brain wasting illness all those folks in the disaster book suffered from because the trip was still a blast. And the next, with the lessons we’d already learned, was even better. That’s the thing that’s so invigorating about the outdoors: new experiences. There’s always a new peak to summit somewhere or a new skill to learn. And even when things are tough, well, that just serves as a reminder of how well you have it otherwise. So if you haven’t already, take the opportunity this 2013 to do just that and try something you never though you’d ever do. Even if it’s a hardship, at least it will be yours. Charles W if f is the managing editor at Spotlight Newspapers and enjoys hiking and the great outdoors.

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overnight. It only took us the majority of this geological age to set the tent up, so I was exceedingly proud when I got the stove lit in no more than seven tries (I didn’t even set fire to hardly any nature). That’s when I discovered snow in the woods, which you imagine as pure and clean, is actually filled with all manner of pine needles and birch bark. We drank our tea through our teeth. But that was nothing compared to dinner. I got the stove running (saving half a mitten! Outdoors exper t over here!) and whipped up some chickenless chicken noodle soup. It was stone cold by the time we refilled our bowls again, turning a hot slice of heaven into a gr uel that resembled excellent English cooking — in other words, inedible. Then it was into our sleeping bags at 6:30, two hours after the sun had set, for a rousing game of “stare at your par tner,” because your eyeballs are the only part of your body you might risk uncovering. Sounds like a blast, huh? You might think I would have applied the finicky stove to the tent and kissed the winter hardships goodbye then



Judging from the light, it was maybe 7:30 by the time I finally steeled myself enough to unzip my sleeping bag and star t the arduous and uncomfortable process of putting my layers on. I’d been awake for at least 15 minutes though, staring out of the tiny hole I’d left for my face in the sleeping bag and watching my breath travel to the top of the tent, where it was forming into a layer of hoar frost. It looked cold out there. Really, really cold. The thing is, it wasn’t all that cold, at least not by Adirondack standards. Maybe a few degrees below zero. But the wind whistling around the tent reminded me how hard of a day it was going to be. A short, dark, hard day. The great thing about having the proper outdoor gear and know-how is you can get out of town and into the backcountry without a lot of notice. Once you’ve figured out what works best for different situations, it’s a simple matter to round ever ything up and get packed, confident you’re prepared. That’s the state of zen I’d finally reached with backpacking. But living here in the Northeast, I was only taking advantage of a bit more than half of the months in the year when it came to truly getting away and spending the night outdoors. It was time to tackle winter backpacking. A few years back, I picked up a book called “At the Mercy of the Mountains: True Stories of Survival and Tragedy in New York’s Adirondacks.” As the title suggests, its

The Spotlight welcomes letters of local and regional interest. Letters are subject to editing and are limited to 500 words. All letters must include the writer’s name, address and phone number. Submissions can be emailed to news@spotlight The deadline for all letters is noon Friday prior to publication. Our full letter policy can be viewed online at

Spotlight Newspapers

January 24, 2013 • Page 5

Police Blotter

Stillwater man arrested after foot chase in Spa City Other arrests • The Saratoga County Sherif f ’s Depar tment arrested Angela L. Trippe, 36, of 10 Bear Brook Court, in Clifton Park on a charge of third degree attempted assault following a domestic incident at that address on Tuesday, Jan. 1. Police said while responding to the incident Trippe struck the arresting officer in the chest with a closed fist. She was arrested and transported to the Halfmoon station where she was released on an appearance ticket. • The Saratoga County Sherif f ’s Depar tment arrested Jacob Luciano, 19, of 128 Tomhannock Road in Valley Falls, on a charge of third degree burglary following an incident on Saturday, Jan. 5. Police said they responded to a report of a prowler on Glowegee Drive in Milton. Police said they located Luciano in the area of the burglar y. He allegedly forced entry into a garage on Glowegee Drive with the intent to steal tools. The homeowner interrupted him and he fled the scene.

Luciano was arraigned in Milton Town Court and was scheduled to appear at a later date. • The Saratoga County Sherif f ’s Depar tment arrested Andrew L. Murphy, 52, of 41 Sitterly Road, No. 12, in Clifton Park, on charges of aggravated DWI and an open container violation on Thursday, Jan. 3. Police say he was arrested following a complaint of an intoxicated male at the Stewarts on Route 9 in Halfmoon. He was processed and arraigned in Halfmoon and sent to county jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bail bond. He was schedule to appear in Halfmoon court at a later date. • The Saratoga County Sherif f ’s Depar tment ar rested Rachel D. W ilner of 30 Larinda Lane in Ballston Lake on charges of DWI, an open container violation and unlawful possession of marijuana on Sunday, Jan. 6. Police said Wilner was arrested following a complaint of a car off the road on East Line Road. Following an investigation, it was determined she was intoxicated. She was arrested and processed at the Milton station. She

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was scheduled to appear at a later date in the Town of Ballston Court. • Saratoga Springs police arrested Nichelle Marie Nicholes, 29, of Maple Avenue in Saratoga Springs on Monday, Jan. 7, on charges of aggravated DWI and failure to keep right. Police said her vehicle was obser ved driving er ratically on North Broadway. Nicholes was given a series of field sobriety tests and transpor ted to city jail where she was processed and released, police said. She is due in city court on a later date. • The Saratoga County Sherif f ’s Depar tment ar rested Damen D. Brewer, 17, of 39 Ash Street in Saratoga Springs, on a felony charge of thirddegree criminal possession of stolen property and a misdemeanor char ge of false personation on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Police said he was arrested after he was found in possession of car that was reported stolen to the Saratoga Springs Police Department. He was arraigned in Greenfield Town Court and remanded

to county jail for lack of bail. • The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Depar tment ar r ested Mark A. Mackenzie, 52, of Lancaster Street in Cohoes, on charges of DWI, open container and unlawful possession of marijuana on Thursday, Jan. 10. Police said he was stopped on Broad Street in Waterford, where it was determined he had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. He was taken into custody and processed at the Clifton Park station. At that time, he was allegedly found to have a small amount of marijuana. He was issued several traffic tickets and was scheduled to appear in court on a later date. • Saratoga Springs police arrested Gregory M. Arnold, 26, of Ridge Road in Glenville on charges of DWI and multiple traffic violations on Saturday, Jan. 5. Police said his vehicle was observed to be speeding on Ballston Avenue and was pulled over. After allegedly failing sobriety tests, he was sent to city jail for arraignment. • Saratoga Springs police arrested Zachary M.





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Young, 21, of Washington Street in Saratoga Springs, on Friday, Jan. 4, on a warrant for assault in the second degree. The warrant stems from a domestic incident on Dec. 25. Young is accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and causing a broken elbow. Young was processed an arraigned in city court. • Saratoga Springs police arrested Brian J. Park, 49, of County Route 69 in Schuyler ville, on Saturday, Jan. 5, charges of first-degree degree reckless endangerment, DWI, reckless driving, refusal to submit to an alcohol test and other traffic violations following a traffic accident. Police said they were responding to an accident in which the offending driver took off and found a vehicle at the intersection of Excelsior Springs and Veteran’s Way, and identified Park as the driver. Police said he was the driver of the car that left the accident and asked him to perform a sobriety test, but he allegedly refused to do so. He was sent to city jail and arraigned in city court.


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substance. He was held until his arraignment.


Saratoga Springs police arrested a Stillwater man following a disturbance in a bar earlier this month. Police said Nicholas W. Callahan, 26, of Claremont Road in Stillwater, was arrested on Saturday, Jan. 5, following an incident at Desperate Annie’s Bar in Saratoga Springs and subsequent foot chase. Police say they were called to the bar following a complaint by security that a customer, later identified as Callahan, was causing a disturbance. When police got there, he was attempting to exit the bar and shoved past them, police said. When officers attempted to stop him, Callahan allegedly took off running. A foot chase ensued for two blocks until he was apprehended in front of the public library on Henry Street. Callahan was placed under arrest and taken to the city jail. While being processed, he was allegedly found to be in possession of cocaine. Callahan was charged with assault in the second degree, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled

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Page 6 • January 24, 2013

Spotlight Newspapers

Matters of Opinion in The Spotlight

True sportsmanship in ugly times

An inalienable right? The back-and-forth antics of the 46th State Senate race are finally at an end, with Democrat Cecelia Tkaczyk clutching a whisker-thin margin of victory over Republic George Amedore. For Democrats, the significance of a win in the newly created 46th Senate District cannot be overstated. When redistricting maps were released in early 2012 Dems were quick to criticize its slender, arcing, six-county form as a blatant example of gerr ymandering by a Republican-controlled Senate. Then Senator Bob Reilly told The Spotlight the removal of Democrat strongholds to the northeast was nothing short of “illegal and unconstitutional.” How things have changed. Not only did a Democrat unexpectedly win the seat, but that helped to give Democrats a clear majority in the Senate chambers. (This is admittedly a moot point given the formation of a breakaway contingent of Democrats who will caucus with Republicans. New York, New York.) But beyond a serving of humility to some politicos, the real lesson served up by the weeks-long electoral slog in the 46th has to do with process more than politics. The figure of note has been 18, the number votes that ended up separating Amedore and Tkaczyk. With more than 126,000 ballots cast, that means this race was decided by just 0.0001 percent of the electorate. It was close to a tie, in which case no one would be named to the seat — a do-over, if you will. In some other states the candidates would flip a coin in such an event, if you can imagine that. So residents of the 46th who turned out to vote should feel awfully important. But when things run this tight, it exposes the cracks in the system by an order of magnitude. Amedore was certified the winner of this race for days and even filed an oath of office. That was before a legal ruling, pursuant to a lawsuit filed by Tkaczyk’s campaign, ordered 99 set-aside ballots opened and tallied, tipping the count. There but for the grace of the Supreme Court Third Judicial Department’s Appellate Division goes Senator George Amedore. And that crucial decision came after weeks of legal maneuvering, when matters were turned completely over to lawyers who fought not to make sure every vote was counted, but to keep certain votes protected while stomping on others. Our process for the counting of absentee ballots is beyond absurd. Lawyers face off and quibble over each and every slip of paper, looking for any excuse — a stray marking, a township instead of a hamlet listed on an address line (or vice versa!) — to have a vote invalidated. And they likewise advocate for votes in their candidate’s favor to be counted. Images like these from Florida caused America to collectively sigh in disgust in 2008, yet the status quo remains to be repeated over and over. Hundred of ballots were cast away in this fashion in the 46th, some no doubt with good reason, and others through the legal dance of politics. As a people, we consider the right to vote to be a fundamental right worth fighting and dying for, yet in reality there is a minefield of technicalities and regulations in the way. Reforming election laws is no easy task. But nonetheless, it should be a priority to institute no-nonsense rules and regulations the public is able to understand without a lawyer’s assistance. Likewise, submitting to the Board of Elections an address that would get you mail delivered should be enough to have your vote counted, even if it’s not exactly what is in the voter rolls. Having a vote tossed over such technicalities is not only silly, it’s downright un-American.


By FELICIA BORDICK This article originally appeared in Capital District Parent Pages. American society has come a long way, making huge leaps in technology, medicine and education in the past 50 years. We can communicate easily and instantly with just about anyone in the world; we are finding cures for diseases that once were fatal; and we have improved educational opportunities for all. And yet, we are still rendered almost defenseless against flood waters, raging fires and prejudice. We are working on controlling the devastation of water and fire as we add to our knowledge after each catastrophe, but our ability to learn from past experiences in regard to prejudice eludes us. We continue to struggle with “man’s inhumanity to man.” Prejudice rears its ugly head ever ywhere both subtly and blatantly. When it is blatant, we should be grateful because it is then that we are not be able to walk around the monster. To bring this philosophical reflection into focus in current times, let us look at a school environment probably no more than 20 miles from where you are reading this. I would like to share a true story of the good and the bad of a sporting event involving two school districts, two boys’ soccer teams and two coaches. Names are purposely left out because this is not a unique stor y; it is instead a universal tale repeated often in different places with different players. It was an end-of-the-season game with much at stake. Both teams were highly skilled and well prepared to face this big game. Each team had worked hard toward the same goal and had played well. It was right that they both ended up as contenders in this important matchup. The players on both teams were as psyched as they were confident, and they looked forward to the match

Spotlight Editorial Paginators — Dania Bianchi Sports Editor — Rob Jonas Reporters — John Purcell, Marci Revette, Zan Strumfeld, Marcy Velte

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that would make one team the winner. Their attitude toward preparation for the big game exalted everything good about sportsmanship and athletics. A member of one of the soccer teams by chance learned of the courageous battle a student from the other team’s school was waging against cancer. A young woman, also an athlete, had been sidelined by her illness. The young man from the competitive school was moved into action when he learned of the young woman’s situation. He wanted to do something to help. His team would be hosting her school’s boys soccer team in a few days. He contacted people and set up a vehicle for collecting donations to aid the student in need. Before lunch on that particular school day, the specifics of the good deed were in place and ready to go on game day. If only the story ended here, it would have been a simple and reassuring testament to our student athletes. Sadly, the story continues, and after lunch on that same school day, a prejudicial rant filled with slurs against a few players of one team had been posted on Facebook by the other soccer team’s coach. The coach’s post on Facebook was in the form of a list, one disgusting insult after another. The young man who had spearheaded the donation collection was on that list. Now if you were asked to project what happened next, you would probably suspect that there would be tension and trouble ahead in both school districts. Well, the best par t of sharing this stor y is that those same conscientious, sportsmanlike athletes, as well as the school leaders from both schools, decided they would

The Spotlight welcomes longer opinion pieces for the Point of View section. Do you have a hobby or cause you feel passionate about? We’d love to share it with our readers. Do you have information you think others would benefit from hearing about? Let us know. Point of View submissions should be around 700 words and can be submitted via email to with “POV” in the subject line.

not be defined by one ignorant adult. The school district leaders came together and in a common bond of doing right, acted immediately in a manner af firming the values of their respective school communities. The offending coach was fired, there was a heartfelt apology extended, and the game was played on schedule. The match was played with impeccable spor tsmanlike conduct; the good deed to aid a student in need was carried out as planned; and in the end, there was one soccer team who scored more goals. However, it was every student and citizen of both school communities who won a battle, not the war, against prejudice that night. The stor y could end here, but it doesn’t. As serendipity would have it, the team and its coach who had demonstrated extraordinar y grace under pressure, went on to win the New York State Championship a month later. Congratulations to them; they know who they are!

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Last week’s poll results: “Will 2013 be a better or worse year than 2012?” • Absolutely. Peace and prosperity 13% • No way. Doom and gloom this year 38% • It will be about the same 50%

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January 24, 2013 • Page 7

Your Community in The Spotlight Brave Will fundraiser The Bur nt HillsBallston Spa ice hockey team will play South Glens Falls in the “Brave Will” Hockey Game Friday, Jan. 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Schenectady County R e c r e a t i o n F a c i l i t y. The game is an annual fundraiser for the Brave W ill Foundation. The Brave Will Foundation provides ser vices and support for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families until a cure can be found.

Hockey for cancer Come “White Out Weibel” and help the Saratoga Varsity Hockey Team raise money for the fight against cancer when they play cross town rival Shenendehowa on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 6:45 p.m. Official “White Out” t-shirts will be sold in advance of the event for $10 each star ting Jan. 14 at SSHS, Waltons and in the evenings in the Weibel Rink lobby. Proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer program to help people in New York stay well, get well, find cures and fight back.

There are still various sponsorship opportunities as well as donations and raf fles suppor ting the event. Go to www. sec2bluestr eaks then click on the BBoard menu option for more details and sponsorship opportunities. Please help us not only sell out but also White Out Weibel for the fight against cancer.

Homework helpers needed CAPTAIN’s Homework Help Program at Cheryl’s Lodge in Halfmoon is in need of volunteers who enjoy working with youth. Volunteers help students with their homework, reading or simple craft projects. Orientation is provided. Volunteers are needed on Mondays thr ough Thursdays fr om 2:40 to 3:45 p.m. to work with children from kindergar ten through grade five, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. with middle school students and from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. for grades nine through 12. Call Kori at 371-1185 for more information. Volunteer applications can be downloaded from the CAPTAIN websitem

Warm coat collection Focus on Humanity Foundation have is collecting clean, gently used coats and jackets as part of the One Warm Coat community service project. Coats of all shapes sizes are welcome. One Warm Coat is dedicated to distributing reusable coats, free of charge, directly to local children and adults. The program is an easy way for you and your family to pass along coats and jackets that you no longer need. Focus on Humanity Foundation has made donating a coat simple. Just bring your clean, gently used coats and jackets to 26 Station Lane, Saratoga Springs Transpor tation Depot from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The Focus on Humanity Foundation will take care of the rest. All donated coats will be given to the NYC CARES for distribution to local people in need. Focus on Humanity Foundation has collected 450 coats thus far and would like to collect a total of 1000 coats by Feb. 8 wherein we will u-haul them down to NY city. We also need cash donations (gas cards) for gas and the insurance for the U-Haul truck

Schools helping schools The students at Malta Avenue Elementary School raised more than $500 by sponsoring a Hat Day in their school. The money raised will be sent to aid with the relief efforts from Hurricane Sandy. The school “adopted” the Massapequa City School District through the Schools Helping Schools program sponsored by the New York State Council of School Superintendents. Submitted Photo

Free concert at tavern The Town of Clifton Park will host a free concert with local band SIRSY on Friday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m. at Historic Grooms Tavern. The event is part of the town’s First Friday series of events. Residents of all ages are invited to join us for a special unplugged acoustic concert by the duo of Melanie Krahmer

and Rich Libutti, featuring surprise special guests. The limited seating at Grooms Tavern will be available on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Reptiles in Malta Touch a snake, pet a turtle, see eye to eye with a South American Frog. Learn how these creatures live, what to do if you

meet one in the wild and more. Reptile Adventure is bringing science and fun to the Malta Community Center on Feb. 21, from 1 to 1:45 p.m. This wild winter break adventure is for children in grades K-8. Adult is required to stay. Registration is required for children only, by Thursday, Feb. 14. Call the Malta Community Center for more information at 8994411.

LOCAL! LOCAL! LOCAL! Everyone wants to “do” local. But at The Spotlight, we don’t “do” local, we are local. For 55 years, we’ve been a source for community news in Albany, Saratoga and Schenectady counties, reporting on your governments, your schools and your friends and neighbors. The next time you’re at a Town Board meeting, a big community event or you just notice something interesting in your neighborhood, look around — you’ll see The Spotlight. To subscribe or advertise call 439-4949. The Capital District’s Quality Weeklies


Page 8 â&#x20AC;˘ January 24, 2013

Spotlight Newspapers

â&#x2013; Line (From Page 1) that pr ovides guided trips in exchange for a large donation. They each must raise $4,000 to tackle Washingtonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mount Rainier, which would not only take their journey to the next level, but give someone else the opportunity to start their own.

A cause worth hiking for Big City Mountaineers caught the teensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; attention because of its mission. The group uses the money raised for outdoor and mentoring programs that teach valuable life skills to children that have never had the chance. The

teenagers have immense respect for the foundation and what they do for underprivileged kids. They told a story of one mentor who was taking some kids on a hiking trip and one of the kids asked what the things in the night sky were. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This kid had never seen stars before,â&#x20AC;? said Gabe. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Living in his whole life, the kid had never been outside the lights of the city.â&#x20AC;? That thought sparked a fire for both hikers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of our realizations was how much weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been affected by outdoors,â&#x20AC;? said Wichens. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If it affects us that much, how much more would it affect kids who have never seen the outdoors? Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what I want these kids to experience.â&#x20AC;?

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Staying together was important to both. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like to hike without each other,â&#x20AC;? said Messercola. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now that Ryanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in college, we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get out enough. Whenever he comes home, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s go, go, go. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve remained really close friends. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stayed through it all.â&#x20AC;?

Deep roots in the woods Gabe Messercola, left, and Ryan Wichens have been hiking together since they were in their early teens, introduced to the pastime by Wichensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; father, Chuck. Marci Revette/Spotlight Both of them hope to continue an involvement with Big City Mountaineers, eventually becoming mentors themselves or bringing a similar project to the Adirondack region. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We would like to bring it more localized,â&#x20AC;? said Messercola. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We hope this is the first project of many.â&#x20AC;?

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For Wichens and Messercola, Adirondack Traverse 2013, as theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re calling the big trip, is a culmination of sorts. The teenagers are lifelong residents of Stillwater, and met on a school bus when Gabe was 5 and Ryan was

6. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been friends ever since, sometimes to the chagrin of their parents. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is sometimes unsettling and ner ve wracking, the things they come up with,â&#x20AC;? said Gene Messercola, Gabeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s father. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been hiking on their own for three years now and the elements donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t bother them.â&#x20AC;? Nancy Messercola, Gabeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mother, said the two have remained friends in spite of a separation when Gabe started going to Christian Brothers Academy and Ryan started college this past fall. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They have always been thinkers and planners,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They come up with things unusual for their age.â&#x20AC;?

It was Ryan Wichensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; f a t h e r, C h u c k , w h o introduced the two to hiking. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I started taking them geo-caching when Ryan was 13,â&#x20AC;? said Chuck Wichens. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was an instant love for both of them and they took off running.â&#x20AC;? Lisa Wichens, Ryanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mother, also finds her sonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ever-escalating outdoor challenges to be a challenge for her, as well. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It makes me nervous, but I know itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what he loves to do. I hold my breath and wait for them to come back. â&#x20AC;Ś â&#x20AC;&#x153;If I was in the mountains, there is no one else I would like to be with. There is no one more experienced that I know of,â&#x20AC;? she said. Once they got a taste of the outdoors, Wichens and Messercola dug in with vigor. Their first goal was to climb Mount Marcy, the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s highest peak, and they trained

by climbing in the High Peaks. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It became an addiction,â&#x20AC;? Messercola said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our goal was to get to the top.â&#x20AC;? The two quickly became interested in ice climbing as well as mountaineering. They enlisted the help of Jay Harrison, a skilled ice climber and founder of Adirondack Adventure Club. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They wanted to understand the technical aspects of ice climbing,â&#x20AC;? said Har rison. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I took them up Cascade Falls, one of the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks.â&#x20AC;? The casual way Harrison described the climb up the frozen falls is a reflection of the boysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; attitude towards hiking and mountaineering. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not about the summit, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the experience getting there,â&#x20AC;? said Wichens. â&#x20AC;?Sometimes we have to turn around. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s extremely impor tant to have the ability to say OK, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s enough.â&#x20AC;? R yan W ichens and Gabe Messercola shared their adventures during a recent fundraising dinner for Adirondack Traverse 2013 held at Stillwater United Church on Saturday, Jan. 19. For mor e infor mation on their trip and cause or to make a donation, visit

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Spotlight Newspapers

January 24, 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ Page 9


Page 10 • January 24, 2013

Spotlight Newspapers

Entertainment in the Spotlight “It has to be the most absurd thing in the world to watch – but a lot of fun.” - actor Charlie Ross

The force is strong with this one By DANIA BIANCHI

One man, three films; Star Wars reenactment hits Proctors


harlie Ross wasn’t the t y p i c a l S t a r Wa r s gur u as a kid, but he did see t he movies more times than he can count. Having grown up in an area without television reception, he was lucky enough to own a VCR and three videotapes. “One of the films on tape was Star Wars,” he said. Ross might be living a much dif ferent life today if that hadn’t been the case. Watching the movies as many times as he did gave him a unique perspective, which came in handy after he graduated from theater school and was hit with the desire to do something “a bit more of my own,” said Ross. The Canadian-bor n actor’s creation was a

condensed 60-minute version of the three Star Wars movies into a oneman comedy stage show called, “One Man Star Wars T rilogy.” In the show that hits Proctors F r i d a y, J a n . 2 5 , R o s s reenacts the Star Wars trilogy without props, costumes or special ef fects, miming his way through three movies. “It’s really is just me up there,” Ross said. “A 38-year-old man r unning around acting like an 8-year-old kid pretending to be all of the characters from Star Wars – flying ships and all the romance and battles and stuf f. It has to be the most absurd thing in the world to watch – but a lot of fun.” To him, the show may seem like child’s play, but to audiences all over the world the show is enter tainment at its best. In the past

12 years, Ross has per formed his one-man show more than 1,200 times in more than 180 cities across four continents. “Ever y time I think it is coming to an end, it just keeps on going,” Ross said. “It’s a fun show and I still genuinely enjoy doing it.” What keeps the show fresh for him is the audience. “There are cer tain characters that always get a good laugh,” he

said. “It tends to be the non-speaking ones like R2-D2 or Chewbacca.” Ross said he also likes to add a little impr ov to the show when the moment strikes. “If someone’s phone goes of f, we are all going to know about it,” he says. “Or if someone gets up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the show – if it happens at the right moment – I will definitely stop the show and sor t of highlight the whole experience.” Ross said audience

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members don’t have to be avid Star Wars fans to enjoy the show. “I definitely have people who have never seen a moment of the movies and enjoy it,” he said. “Knowing there are people who have never seen the movies who come to see it, it

has tasked me to make the show more of a show for ever ybody.” “One Man Star Wars” opens at Proctors on Friday, Jan. 25 and r uns through Jan. 27. Ticket price is $25. For more information about show times or to purchase tickets, visit

Spotlight Newspapers

January 24, 2013 • Page 11

Arts and Entertainment Theater THE BEAST Marty Egan’s original play about a French banker who must house a German officer during World War II, presented by Not So Common Players, Jan. 25-27, Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library, Moe Road, Clifton Park, shows 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, free. Information,

DRACULA Stage adaptation of classic thriller, presented by Curtain Call Theater, 210 Old Loudon Road, Latham, through Feb. 9, shows 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday, $23. Information, 877-7529.

THE PILLOWMAN Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy about a writer who is interrogates about the content of his short stories and their similarities to a series of child murders in his town, presented by Channel Z Productions, Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, Jan. 28 and 29, 7:30 p.m., general admission $15, students/ seniors $12. Information, 583-0022.

RACE Regional premiere of David Mamet play,

presented by Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl St., Albany, through Feb. 10, $20-$60, call for show times. Information, 445-7469.

THREE TALL WOMEN Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Pirze-winning play, presented by Schenectady Civic Players, Schenectady Civic Playhouse, 12 South Church St., Schenectady, Jan. 25-27 and Jan. 30 through Feb. 3, shows 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, $15. Information, 382-2081.

BILL STAINES New England folk troubadour, Jan. 25, 8 p.m., Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, members $16, general admission $18, children under 13 $9. Information, 583-0022.

ZAN STRUMFELD AND DANNY WHITECOTTON Two talented singer-songwriters, Jan. 25, 8 p.m., Moon and River Cafe, 115 South Ferry St., Schenectady, free. Information, 382-1938.


Music LOOSE CHANGE Mike, Peter and Elizabeth perform a variety of oldies and originals, Jan. 24, 8 p.m., Moon and River Cafe, 115 South Ferry St., Schenectady, free. Information, 382-1938.

DAVID RUBIN Traditional folk musician, Jan. 25, 7 p.m., Emack and Bolio’s, 366 Delaware Ave., Albany, free. Information, 512-5100.

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III Veteran folk artist, Jan. 25, 8 p.m., Swyer Theater, The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany, $29.50. Information, 473-1845.

Hosted by Saratoga Children’s Theatre and open to performers age 8-17, keyboard and CD player available, Jan. 26, 6:30 p.m., Lillian’s Restaurant, Broadway, Saratoga Springs, free. Information, saratoga

ALAN GOLDBERG Singer-songwriter, Jan. 26, 7 p.m., Emack and Bolio’s, 366 Delaware Ave., Albany, free. Information, 512-5100.

MANHATTAN TRANSFER Popular jazz vocal group, Jan. 26, 8 p.m., Swyer Theater, The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany, $39.50. Information, 4731845.

OLD SONGS SAMPLER CONCERT Benefit show for Old Songs Festival with performances by Annie & Jonny Rosen, Jeff Gonzales, Addi & Olin Unleashed and the Wheelbarrow Boys, Jan. 26, 8 p.m., Old Songs Inc., 37 South Main St., Voorheesville, $20. Information, 7652815.

RYAN, MATT AND FRIENDS Schenectady County Community College jazz group, Jan. 26, 8 p.m., Moon and River Cafe, 115 South Ferry St., Schenectady, free. Information, 382-1938.

SPUYTEN DUYVIL Eight-piece acoustic Americana band, with special guests Loves It, Jan. 26, 8 p.m., Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, members $12, general admission $15, children under 13 $7.50. Information, 583-0022.




Installations by Paul Katz, Harry Leigh, Harold Lohner, Lillian Mulero, Ken Ragsdale, Nancy Shaver and Joy Taylor. Information, 463-3726.

Holding open auditions for May production of “Sunday in the Park with George.” Feb. 5 and 7, 7:30 p.m., Schenectady Civic Playhouse, 12 South Church St., Schenectady, roles for at least 17 men and women age 20-79, plus one girl age 10-12. Information, 469-2269 or email morrisonduncan@

COMEDY WORKS (ALBANY COUNTY) Kevin Meaney with special guest Carole Montgomery, Jan. 25 and 26, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., 500 Northern Blvd., Albany, advance tickets $15, day of show $20, dinner packages $39.95 in advance, $44.95 day of show. Information, 2756897.

COMEDY WORKS (SARATOGA COUNTY) Kevin Meaney with special guest Carole Montgomery, Jan. 26, 6 p.m., City Sports Grille, 1668 U.S. 9, Clifton Park, advance tickets $15, day of show $20. Information, 275-6897.

GOD HAS A SENSE OF HUMOR TOO! Comedian Cuzin Mann brings together the area’s best comedians, gospel singers, poets and more for one show, Jan. 26, 6:30 p.m., WAMC Performing Arts Studio, 339 Central Ave., Albany, advance tickets $15, day of show $20. Information, 528-8701 or 590-9707.

ALBANY CENTER GALLERY “The Eighth Annual Members Show,” through Jan. 26; 30 Columbia St., Albany. Information, 462-4775.



“The Threads of Time,” through Jan. 31; 6 Charlton St., Ballston Spa.

Seeking dancers from pre-Kindergarten to young teens for its summer residency production of “La Bayadere” at The Egg in Albany, rehearsals begin July 29, 2013 for the Aug. 10 performance date, dancers will have the option to join the full company for its performances the following week in New York City. Information, or email Ajkun@aol. com.

CLEMENT ART GALLERY “Group Show V,” through Jan. 29; 210 Broadway, Troy. Information, 272-6811.

MISCI “Seeing,” through June 2; plus “FETCH! Lab” and “Fueling the Future,” ongoing; Nott Terrace Heights, Schenectady. Information, 382-7890.

SARATOGA AUTOMOBILE MUSEUM “The Syracuse Mile,” featuring two of the central New York’s famous stock cars; plus ongoing exhbits including “East of Detroit” and New York racing, 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs. Information, 587-1935, ext. 20.

TANG TEACHING MUSEUM & GALLERY “We the People,” through April 7; Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs. Information, 580-8080.


Family MICHAEL COOPER’S “MASKED MARVELS AND WONDERTALES” Virtuoso puppeteer and mime, Jan. 26, 2 p.m., Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 30 Second St., Troy, $10-$18. Information, 273-0038.


“In Art We Trust,” through Jan. 25; 47 Lark St., Albany. Information, 426-3501.

CLARK ART INSTITUTE “Lions and Tigers and Museums, Oh My!” through March 31; “Clark Remix,” through Jan. 1, 2014; 225 South St., Williamstown, Mass. Information, (413) 458-9545.

MASS MOCA “Invisible Cities,” through Feb. 4; “Oh Canada,” through April 1; “Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective,” ongoing; plus more; 87 Marshall St., North Adams, Mass. Information, (413) 664-4481.

Gifted British tenor, Jan. 27, 3 p.m., Hart Theater, The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany, $34. Information, 473-1845.

“An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War,” through Sept. 22; “Seneca Ray Stoddard: Capturing the Adirondacks,” through Feb. 24; “1934: A New Deal for Artists,” through Jan. 20; “Beneath the City: An Archeological Perspective of Albany,” permanent collections on the 9/11 recovery effort, New York state history and geography, Empire State Plaza, Madison Avenue. Information, 474-5877.



Call for Artists

Activist folk duo, Jan. 27, 7 p.m., Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs, members $12, general admission $15, children under 13 $7.50. Information, 583-0022.

“The Eternal Return: Stephanie Rose Portaits,” through Jan. 27; plus “The Folk Spirit of Albany: Folk Art from the Colletcion of the Albany Institute of History and Art” and exhibits on Hudson River

Holding auditions for spring production of “Deadly Deal” by Bill St. John, Feb. 6 and 7, 7:30 p.m., Berne Reformed


Church, Route 443, Berne, parts for four men and five women. Information, 5065834.

“Spontaneous Broadway,” a weekly show of improvised comedy and music, Jan. 25, 8 p.m., Proctors Underground, 432 State St., Schenectady, adults $14, students/seniors $6. Information, 346-6204. Also, weekly improv skit show, Jan. 26, 8 p.m., Comedy Works, 500 Northern Blvd., Albany, advance tickets $15, day of show $20, dinner packages $33.95 in advance, $44.95 day of show. Information, 275-6897.

RICK ROURKE CD RELEASE PARTY Capital District musician brings his three bands — Rick Rourke & The Lost Wages, Bluz House Rockers and Out of Control Rhythm and Blues Band — together for one show, Jan. 27, 2 p.m., Swyer Theater, The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany, $20-$35. Information, 473-1845.

School painting, American sculpture and the history of Albany, 125 Washington Ave. Information, 463-4478.

Weekly Crossword

ARKELL MUSEUM “From Giverny to the Brooklyn Bridge,” through Feb. 2; “Pastoral and Parkland: American Landscape Paintings,” through March 31; plus “Arkell’s Inspiration: the Marketing of Beech-Nut and Art for the People,” ongoing; Canajoharie. Information, 673-2314.


BALLSTON SPA COMMUNITY BAND Openings in several sections, especially percussion, rehearsals Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at Ballston Spa High School. Information, 580-1037.

THURSDAY MUSICAL CLUB Women’s singing group entering its 99th year, practices held Wednesdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Information, 7654536.

THE CHORALIERS Musical group looking for singers of all abilities, performs concerts at Christmas and in the spring, pieces are familiar and fun to sing, no auditions are necessary, practices are 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Saint Clares’ Chapel, McClellan Street, Schenectady.

ETUDE CLUB Looking for women interested in vocal and instrumental performance, meetings held the first Thursday of every month. Information, 374-5536.

CLIFTON PARK COMMUNITY CHORUS Ongoing rehearsals for its winter concert, Shenendehowa Adult Community Center, Clifton Common, Clifton Park, no auditions required to join. Information, 3716681.

CAPITALAND CHORUS Openings for all voice parts for women who love to sing and perform, rehearsals are at 7 p.m. Thursdays at New Covenant Presbyterian Church, corner of Orlanso and Western avenues, Albany. Information, 785-3567.

TANGO FUSION DANCE COMPANY Auditioning professional dancers by appointment at Arthur Murray Dance Studio, 75 Woodlawn Ave., Saratoga Springs. Information, 306-4173.

Page 12 • January 24, 2013


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January 24, 2013 • Page 13

■ Vacant (From Page 1) officers would then inspect those buildings, and owners of a vacant structure would be assessed an annual “registration fee” of $100, which would increase to $200 after the first year. “They have to be made safe,” Mathiesen said. “We need to make sure vagrants can’t get into the buildings.” Under the proposal, which will be up for a public hearing at a Tuesday, Feb. 5, City Council meeting, a vacant building is defined as one that “is not occupied in any way.” The law would also define as vacant a building that’s been offered up for sale for more than 180 days, is pending foreclosure or is being demolished or is under construction without a proper permit. Mathiesen said depending on how the public hearing goes, the City Council might vote on the proposal that night. He said that the Southwest Neighborhood Association, which is centered around the Geyser Road area, has been ver y interested in an ordinance of this sort for quite a while. That area includes socialite Mary Lou Whitney’s house, which is unoccupied for a good part of the year. “We’re not concerned about her house,” joked Mathiesen. “Her house is not on the list.” Mathiesen said once the ordinance is passed, building owners would be required to register their vacant buildings. The list of vacant

proper ties was determined by several different sources, including people calling his office complaining of a vacant building. “Neighbors are an important resource in terms of complaints about buildings that are deteriorating and vacant,” he said. “If we find that those people have not registered the buildings properly, they’re in big trouble.” Mathiesen said if a vacant building owner fails to comply with the proposed code, he or she would have to appear in court and be subject to a penalty. He added he would like to see a greater gradual increase in the fee in order to discourage buildings being left unoccupied year after year. “ We w a n t t o m a k e i t s o unprofitable for them to leave a building empty, that they just wouldn’t do that,” he said. Mathiesen said the ultimate goal is to bring the number of vacant properties down to zero. “We want turnover, we want buildings redeveloped,” he said. “The buildings that are just sitting and deteriorating and not adding to the character of the neighborhood, that becomes a problem. We do think that something like this will be helpful.” He said that even though code enforcement officers have some very specific guidelines that they impose on the owners to try to preserve the buildings, there’s only so much the officers can do. “This goes back to the character of a neighborhood,” said Mathiesen. “The character of a neighborhood is certainly diminished by buildings that are sitting empty.”

■ Outlook (From Page 1) Western New York, the Capital District has a far dif ferent economic scene. “I think I’ve died and went to heaven having the opportunity to come to Schenectady to work,” he said. Steiner pointed to the region’s 6.9 percent unemployment rate, compared to 7.9 percent statewide. “Clearly, these are significant numbers that show where we stand in relationship to the rest of the country,” he said. “We are very, very fortunate to be here in the Capital Region in this moment and time.” Steiner said all four counties represented at the breakfast have seen a growth in population and said that is a great indicator of the state of the economy in the region. He added the chambers have been addressing how to entice business to the region. According to Steiner, one of the contributing factors has been the New York producing an on-time budget. “This has allowed businesses to have faith in our government,” he said. “This is the place to invest.” Shimkus said businesses coming to the region and people buying homes here are starting to have an effect, but the biggest challenge will be to not become complacent.

“There are countries around the world trying to beat us,” he said. “We have to make sure we continue to fight.” All four presidents said the key to future growth is developing a strategic plan for the region, which includes developing the highways, cities, waterfronts and infrastructure. One of the highlights is the goal of Albany International Airport to add another carrier, providing more connections to travelers. To accomplish this, the chambers have asked businesses to work together as partners to apply for an airpor t grant. Egan said they’ve gathered a $500,000 commitment when applying for the grant. The federal grant will be $750,000, with the airport setting aside $1.5 million for the project. “In the long term, if we don’t have a competitive airport, we’re not going to be successful,” Egan said. According to Shimkus, the second piece of the strategic plan is to bring more power to the region, a resource of vital importance to tech manufacturing businesses like GlobalFoundries. “As your demand increases, so must your supply,” he said. “We need to get state and federal governments to make changes in investments in our infrastructure.” He added there are 20 chambers in New York with energy alliance programs.

“This helps businesses save money,” he said. The final piece of the strategic plan is commuter train linkage via Amtrak. Steiner said that a second track will be added between Schenectady and Rensselaer. “Our goal is to speed up ser vice,” he said. “It allows Schenectady to increase availability and improve service.” Steiner also said they are trying to add a car on Amtrak to transport bicycles. He said CDTA buses already has bike racks that are being used every day, even in the winter. Also in attendance at the breakfast was Rep. Paul Tonko, who also expressed his optimism for the region’s future. “I think the regional strategy is spot on,” he said. “I like working with the chambers to develop a plan and determining what the goals are.” To that end, he said he’s appointed a standing committee on energy and commerce. “Investing in innovating, clean energy builds potential here,” he said. The chamber presidents also took the opportunity to strike a collaborative tone, hinting at future joint ventures. “We can overcome problems by bringing our collective strength together,” Egan said. “Working together we can get a different perspective and either get a pat on the back or a kick in the butt.”

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Page 14 • January 24, 2013

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Saints pull away from Northville Naughton’s 22 points lead Saratoga Central Catholic in victory By SPORTS STAFF The Saratoga Central Catholic boys basketball team won for the fourth time in its last five games by beating Northville 4633 in last Friday’s Western Athletic Conference game. The Saints (6-3 league, 7-6 overall) used a 14-6 third quarter run to pull away from the Falcons (3-6, 6-7). Michael Naughton

■ Battle (From Page 16) on a regular basis. The freshman guard had 15 of Shen’s 28 points. The Lady Plainsmen are also on the road Friday, as they meet r ed-hot Averill Park (8-2, 9-3). The Warriors won their sixth consecutive game last Friday by beating Ballston Spa 66-28. Averill Park got of f to a strong start against Ballston Spa (0-10, 1-11) by out-scoring the Scotties 20-5 in the first quarter. A 19-5 third quarter sealed the Warriors’ victory. Kelly Donnelly poured in 17 points, and Lauren VanRoy added 12 points for Averill Park. Paige Gallo and Sydney Hansen each scored 11 points for Ballston Spa. The Scotties’ road doesn’t get any easier Friday, as they travel to Colonie (7-3, 9-3). Bur nt Hills-Ballston Lake (2-8, 2-10) is also looking to tur n things around Friday when it visits Guilderland. The Lady Spartans are coming off a 50-31 loss to Mohonasen (2-8, 4-8) last Friday in which they fell behind 2111 in the first quarter and never recovered.

Hatton overtakes his mentor on wrestling mat

scored 22 points to lead Saraatoga Central Catholic. Tim Monette’s nine points paced Northville. In other boys basketball action last Friday, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (4-6, 5-7) posted a 68-42 Suburban Council victor y at Mohonasen, and Shenendehowa (6-3, 6-4) defeated Columbia 63-49. Austin Nydeggar netted 32 points, and Rober t Knightes added 20 points for BH-BL in its road win. Brandon Fischer’s 19 points led Shen in its victory at Columbia. Kelsey Cowell and Saeeda Abdul-Aziz outscored BH-BL on their own. Cowell netted 19 points, and Abdul-Aziz added 15 points for Mohonasen. Lindsey Collins’ nine points paced the Lady Spartans. One team that has turned things around is Saratoga Central Catholic. The Lady Saints (4-7, 5-8) won their second c o n s e c u t i v e We s t e r n Athletic Conference game by beating St. Johnsville 44-36 Monday. Natalie Pikus scored 11 points, and Kaylie Fish contributed 10 points for Saratoga Central Catholic, which built a 25-14 lead in the first half. R ylie Smith had 16 points for St. Johnsville (0-9, 1-11). The Lady Saints entered Monday’s game off a 4329 overtime win against Northville (4-5, 5-7) last Friday in Saratoga Springs. The Lady Saints out-scored Northville 14-0 in the extra period to pull out the victory. Fish scored four of her team-high 13 points in over time, and Pikus chipped in with 10 points for Saratoga Central Catholic. Lyndsey Wadsworth paced Northville with 18 points. The Lady Saints visit St. Johnsville Friday.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School wrestler Jack Hatton (left), recently passed his judo coach, Jason Morris (right), for career wins on the mat. Hatton has 101 career victories in four years at BH-BL, while Morris earned 98 wins before graduating in 1985. Hatton is aiming to compete at this year’s state wrestling tournament in Albany. Morris won two Sectional and state titles at 167 pounds before becoming a four-time Olympian in judo. Submitted photos

■ Intrigue (From Page 16) and Andrew Tabber t are three talented scorers, and the Tartans are excellent at the defensive end. The Tar tans aren’t the only talented boys basketball team in Scotia. Several blocks down Route 147, Mekeel Christian Academy (5-0, 9-2) is quietly putting together another championship-level season in the Western Athletic Conference. Caleb Stewar t (20.2 points per game) is the Lions’ undisputed leader, and he’s getting suppor t from guards Spencer Bath (13 points per game, 37 three-pointers) and Courtney Penson (12.2 points per game, 24 three-pointers). As long as Stewar t, Bath and Penson are shooting the ball well, MCA has a good chance to go deep

into the Class B playoffs. Switching to hockey, Shen coach Juan de la Rocha passed a milestone when he earned his 200th career victory in last Friday’s 5-2 victory over Shaker/Colonie. The impressive thing is it only took 12 years for de la Rocha to get to that point. Winning six Sectional titles in that stretch helps. It’s worth noting that de la Rocha’s Plainsmen are playing at a much higher level than they were at the beginning of the season. With their weekend sweep of Shaker/Colonie and Bethlehem, the Plainsmen (7-1-1, 9-5-1) are on a six-game unbeaten streak that has moved them within striking distance of firstplace Saratoga Springs (9-0-0, 12-11). It’s also worth noting that Shen and Saratoga meet for the second time this season next Wednesday at Weibel Avenue Rink. That’s a battle

not to be missed. Finally, we’re going to know a lot more about what the University at Albany men’s basketball team is capable of over the next week. The Great Danes (5-1, 16-4) have home games against Boston University (3-3, 9-10), Vermont (5-1, 12-6) and Stony Brook (4-1, 13-5). If coach Will Brown’s bunch can win at least two of those three games, then I believe UAlbany will be strong contender for the America East title. If the Danes don’t get at least two wins, they may be looking at a No. 3 seed, at best. The good thing is, they control their destiny at this point. Spotlight Newspapers Community news

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Plainsmen win their own invitational tournament Five Shen wrestlers Jackson midway through the first period to win the take home titles in their weight classes 138-pound title. By SPORTS STAFF The Shenendehowa wrestling team had another strong invitational performance. One week after placing second at the Easter n States Classic in Westchester County, the Plainsmen returned home and won their annual Shenendehowa Invitational last Saturday. Five wr estlers won individual titles for Shen, which finished with 209 points – 60 points ahead of runner-up St. Anthony’s. Kevin Parker began Shen’s parade to the top of the podium when he won the 120-pound championship with a 9-7 victory over St. Anthony’s Shenendehowa’s Levi Ashley, top, tries to turn Harrison’s Joe Jimenez during their 195-pound division quarterfinal Joe Russ in the finals. match at last Saturday’s Shen Invitational. Ashley pinned Jimenez on his way to claiming the title in his weight class. T h r e e m a t c h e s l a t e r, Ashley was one of five Plainsmen to earn individual titles. Rob Jonas/Spotlight Nick Kelley pinned Kevin

■ Shen (From Page 16) Saturday’s CDHSHL game at the Bethlehem Area YMCA. As was the case against Shaker/Colonie, Shen allowed the first goal

before going on a r un. Andrew Car roll scored 5:23 into the first period to put Bethlehem (4-3-2, 6-62) ahead 1-0, but Mortka and Kevin Miles tallied to give Shen a 2-1 lead after the first 15 minutes. Nick Quigley and Max Papele scored in the second period to extend

Shen’s lead to 4-1. Russo, Peter Sacks and Nick Hansen added goals in the third period before Adam Liebold tallied late for Bethlehem. The Plainsmen ride a seven-game unbeaten streak into Friday’s home game against CDHSHL foe Queensbury (3-2-2, 7-5-3).

Saratoga Springs (90-0, 12-1-1) played only its second game in the last two weeks when it hosted South Glens Falls/ Hudson Falls (2-6-1, 4-82) Wednesday. The Blue Streaks’ previous game was a 10-2 CDHSHL victory over LaSalle (2-92, 2-11-2) last Wednesday

in which Tyler Bullard had four goals and two assists, and Nick Winter added a goal and four assists. Saratoga’s lone game this weekend is Friday’s non-league home contest against Section I’s Suffern. Bur nt Hills/Ballston Spa (7-5-0, 8-8-1) ar e looking to bounce back

David Almaviva, Chris Naccarato and Levi Ashley also won individual titles for the Plainsmen. Almaviva defeated St. Anthony’s Nick Alessandrini 7-0 for the 145-pound championship, Naccaratoa edged Xavier’s Colin Cunningham 6-4 to win the 160-pound title and Ashley beat Colonie’s Wayne Burt 9-4 to claim the 195-pound crown. T wo Shen wrestlers reached the finals. Jordan Maynard lost to Xavier’s Will Chowanec 9-3 in the 126-pound championship bout, while York’s Joe Mastro pinned Zach Joseph with one second left in the second period to win the 152-pound title. St. Anthony’s had five wrestlers reach the finals, but none of them won. York, Xavier, Newburgh Free Academy and Brewster each had two individual champions. from last weekend’s 4-2 non-league loss against Beekmantown when it hosts South Glens Falls/ Hudson Falls Friday at the Schenectady County Recreational Facility in Glenville. Trey Swingruber and Nick Van Liew scored for BH/BS.

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Page 16 • January 24, 2013

Spotlight Newspapers Sports Editor Rob Jonas 439-4949, ext 422

Battle to the end Guilderland fends off Saratoga Springs in Suburban Council contest

Victory over Shaker/Colonie is de la Rocha’s 200th


Plainsmen dominate invy The Shenendehowa wrestling team took the team title at its own tournament last Saturday. Five Plainsmen won individual championships to help Shen surge to a 60-point victory over runner-up St. Anhtony’s. Shen was coming off a second-place finish at the Eastern States Classic. See Page 15.

Follow us on Twitter Hear about local sports as they happen with Rob Jonas — @jonas_spotlight.

The Saratoga Springs girls basketball team couldn’t hang on to a seven-point halftime lead in last Friday’s 41-39 Suburban Council loss to Guilderland. The Blue Streaks (4-6 league, 5-7 overall) built a 23-16 lead in the first half, but they struggled against the Lady Dutch’s fullcour t press in the second half. Several Saratoga FINAL SCORE turnovers helped Guilderland (5-5, • Guilderland 6-6) pull in front Lady Dutch, 41 31-30 in the third • Saratoga quar ter, and the Blue Streaks, 39 Lady Dutch held on to ear n the victory. Caitlin Corbett netted 14 points, and Zibby Eckhardt contributed 10 points for Guilderland. Emily Aube, Madeline Klotz and Ann Mahoney each netted seven points for Saratoga. The Blue Streaks travel to East Greenbush Friday to face Columbia (4-6, 5-7) in a Suburban Council cross-divisional game. Columbia enters Friday’s game off a 28-16 loss at Shenendehowa (6-3, 8-3) last Friday. The Blue Devils limited the Lady Plainsmen to six points in the second half, but they managed only seven points over that stretch to fall short in their upset bid. Carly Boland was the only player on the court hitting shots

■ Battle Page 14

Shen coach’s milestone By SPORTS STAFF

Saratoga’s Ann Mahoney collides with Guilderland’s Sunshine Edwards during last Friday’s Suburban Council game in Saratoga Springs. Visit to see a photo gallery of the game. John McIntyre/Spotlight

Shenendehowa coach Juan de la Rocha earned his 200th career victor y last Friday as the Plainsmen defeated Shaker/Colonie 5-2 in a Capital District High School Hockey League game at the Clifton Park Arena. Jef f Bink scored 30 seconds into the first period to give the visiting Jets (6-1-2 league, 7-2-3 overall) a 1-0 lead. But goals by Dave Hunter, Riley Ir ving and Kyle Marr put the Plainsmen (7-1-1, 9-5-1) ahead for good. Brad Tardif and Ryan Mor tka added second period goals for Shen. Andrew Serafino tallied in the third period for Shaker/Colonie. Hunter finished the game with a goal and two assists, and Peter Russo added four assists for Shen. Goaltender Brian Walter stopped 21 shots. The Plainsmen added to de la Rocha’s career victor y total by beating Bethlehem 7-2 in last

■ Shen Page 15

Intrigue abounds in Suburban Council Weekly poll What is the toughest high school gym to play in? • Bethlehem • Christian Brothers Academy • Loudonville Christian • Scotia-Glenville • Shenendehowa Go to and click on “Sports” to cast your vote.

Last week’s poll results: What is the best rivalry in Section II hockey? • Saratoga vs. Shen 60% • Bethlehem vs. Shen 13% • CBA vs. Shaker/Colonie 13% • BC vs. Shaker/Colonie 7% • Shaker/Colonie vs. Shen 7%

Time to tackle the stretch runs in high school basketball and hockey. Let’s start with Friday’s Suburban Council girls basketball clash between undefeated Shaker and undefeated Bethlehem in Delmar. This game is not only about gaining a leg up for the top seed in the Section II Class AA playoffs, but it’s also a measuring stick to see how well each team has matured. Shaker has matured the most out of any Suburban Council contender this season. The Blue Bison knew they had a special talent in senior guard Madison Rowland (16.7 points per game), but they needed other players to step up after graduating most of last year’s starters. What they got was five players – Jenni Barra, Lyric Artis, Merrick Rowland, Adriene Gambles and Sage VanAmerongen – who have contributed key baskets. That balance has helped Shaker earn key victories over Shenendehowa and Colonie in the past two weeks. Bethlehem has its own special player in sophomore forward Gabby Giacone (20.4 points per game). Not only is Giacone a power in the low post, but she’s also exhibited range with seven three-pointers. It’s up to VanAmerongen, Artis and the rest of Shaker’s forwards to stop Giacone. Even if Shaker can slow down Giacone,

From the

Sports Desk Rob Jonas

it still must deal with Bethlehem’s talented guards, Bridget Murphy and Kaylee Rickert. And Bethlehem’s full-court press has been very effective in forcing turnovers, which Shaker must also take into account. Ultimately, I see Shaker beating Bethlehem Friday night. There are too many Shaker players who can shoot the ball well for Bethlehem to defend, and Giacone hasn’t faced the type of powerful, athletic forwards Shaker possesses this season. Murphy and Rickert may keep the Lady Eagles in the game with some perimeter shooting, but the Blue Bison will find a way to win. On the boys’ side, things got a lot more interesting in the Suburban Council North Division thanks to Colonie’s 58-49 victory over Shaker last Friday. Now, Shen (7-2 league, 7-3 overall) has a chance to pass Shaker (8-2, 10-2) for the division lead when the Plainsmen host Averill Park and

the Blue Bison meet South Division-leading Bethlehem Friday. Shen is in this position because it’s adopted the scrappy demeanor exhibited by senior guard Teddy McCar thy. Like McCarthy, the Plainsmen never give up on a possession. If they miss a shot, they crash the boards for a rebound. Wherever there is an open look, a Shen player will take a shot. And defensively, Shen has a habit of jumping the lane to steal a pass. The Plainsmen also have defined roles on offense. McCarthy is the spark plug, forward Brandon Fischer is the muscle in the low post, and guards Dylan Molloy and Kevin Huerter are the sharp shooters from behind the three-point arc. When all four are clicking, Shen is difficult to stop. Speaking of teams difficult to stop, ScotiaGlenville is running away from the Foothills Council pack. The Tartans (8-0, 12-0) are winning their league games by an average margin of 39 points per game, which either is a credit to how good they are or how bad the rest of the league is. From what I’ve been hearing from my colleagues, it’s the latter. Still, I have a hard time believing any Class A team in Section II has a chance to beat Scotia-Glenville. Joe Cremo, Alex Sausville

■ Intrigue Page 14

The Spotlight - Saratoga County Edition  
The Spotlight - Saratoga County Edition  

January 24, 2013. Issue week 04.