A little About Alot Saratoga

May 2012 Archives

I want to introduce you to a friend who worked on all the shows you loved but you would never know his name unless you lived in the world of T.V. or had a brush with his glowing hot white flame.
Jim Paratore died in France Tuesday while cycling through the beautiful countryside. What a magnificent way to end a magnificent life a bigger than life person. 
Jim died of a massive heart attack at the young age of 58 years old.
I knew and worked along with Jim at WJXT in Jacksonville, WPLG in Miami, when he jumped ship to join WTVJ in Miami and then onto to Los Angeles where he made an enormous footprint on many of the shows you've enjoyed for years.
Jim brought a joy to everything he did. 
All who knew Jim have very heavy hearts. A life and talent taken far too soon.
Jim had a joie de vivre, a zest for life. And, we need to remember him for all those outstanding qualities. Try to emulate his legacy in our daily lives. Put that smile on your face and enjoy what this world has given to you. Jim did and more.
Jim, your many friends all miss you and our condolences goes to your lovely and devoted family. May you be at peace in Heaven and keep an eye on all of us as you always did while you spent your days on this earth. Words cannot express our sadness and deepest sympathies.
I cannot tell his story better than the many articles written Tuesday. He accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. Jim lived life to a fullness you and I can only hope to do. 

Goodbye, Jim from a Saratoga friend.

Below you will read stories from a variety of trade magazines and find out how much he impacted your viewing habits.

UPDATED: Syndication veteran Jim Paratore died Tuesday from a heart attack while on a cycling vacation in France. He was 58. Paratore most recently owned a production company, the Warner Bros. TV Group-based paraMedia, and was executive producer on syndicated TV magazine TMZ and daytime talker The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which he developed in his previous role as president of Warner Bros.' Telepictures Prods. Paratore's latest series, daily interactive game show Let's Ask America, was just announced last week to run on Scripps stations in seven markets. Warner Bros. TV Group president Bruce Rosenblum said everyone at the company was shaken by the news of Paratore's unexpected passing. "The Warner Bros. Television family has lost an incredibly talented and creative friend and colleague in Jim," Rosenblum said. "He has left an indelible mark not only on our company's success but on each of us who worked with him during the past 26 years. Jim had a passion for life, both inside and outside the entertainment industry, and he will truly be missed."

Paratore spent almost two decades at Warner Bros. before leaving to launch paraMedia in 2006. In addition to serving as president of Telepictures since 1992, Paratore was named EVP, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution in 2002. During his time at the helm of Telepictures, Paratore built the division into a leading producer of daily syndicated series with such programs as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tyra Banks Show, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Jenny Jones, Judge Mathis, The People's Court and Extra. He also established the company as a network reality series player with The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, High School Reunion, Steve Harvey's Big Time, The Starlet and The Real Gilligan's Island.

While at WBDTD, Paratore's distribution responsibilities included oversight of the station sales activities. Prior to being named President of Telepictures, Paratore served for two years as SVP, Lorimar-Telepictures. Before that, he was SVP, First-Run Development, Lorimar-Telepictures from 1988 to1990 and VP, Production, Lorimar-Telepictures from 1987 to 1988. Prior to joining Lorimar-Telepictures in 1987, Paratore was Director, Programming and Production at WTVJ-TV (Miami); Program Director at WPLG-TV (Miami); and served as Advertising and Promotion Manager at WJXT-TV (Jacksonville, FL) and at KALB-TV (Alexandria, LA).


Jim Paratore, a veteran television executive who was an executive producer of TMZ, died suddenly May 29 of a heart attack while on a cycling vacation in France. He was 58.

Paratore oversaw development of the show TMZ with Harvey Levin while he was president of Telepictures Productions, a unit of Warner Bros. TV. He also served as executive vp of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. "The Warner Bros. Television family has lost an incredibly talented and creative friend and colleague in Jim," said Bruce Rosenblum, president of Warner Bros. Television Group. "He has left an indelible mark not only on our company's success but on each of us who worked with him during the past 26 years. Jim had a passion for life, both inside and outside the entertainment industry, and he will truly be missed. All of us at Warner Bros. are shaken by this news."
Paratore founded paraMedia in 2006 after almost three decades as an executive. ParaMedia has an exclusive overall deal with the Warner Bros. Television Group and is based on the studio lot in Burbank.

TMZ started online in 2005, which was an unusual move at the time. After interest in the website grew, however, Paratore and Warner Bros. were able to move it to television in 2007, where it has become a surprise success story.

Paratore was unusual in that he worked on both the creative and the business side of show business, often at the same time. He served as president of Telepictures Productions from 1992-2006 and had been executive vp of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution since 2002.

While running Telepictures, Paratore was credited with building the nonscripted production division into one of the industry's most prolific producers. Among the shows that came out of those efforts are The Ellen DeGeneres Show (on which he was an executive producer), Bonnie Hunt, Judge Mathis, Extra, The Tyra Banks Show, The Rosie O'Donnell Show and Jenny Jones.

In primetime, Paratore and his team helped put on the air The Bachelor, High School Reunion, Steve Harvey's Big Time and The Starlet. He also worked on TBS' late-night talker Lopez Tonight, starring George Lopez.

Before Telepictures, Paratore was at Lorimar as senior vp and was vp first run development before that. He was also vp development at Lorimar.

Before Lorimar and Telepictures, Paratore worked at local TV stations. He began his career in New Orleans at KALB-TV (in Alexandria, La.) and was director of programming and production at WTVJ-TV Miami, program director at WPLG-TV Miami and advertising and promotion manager at WJXT-TV Jacksonville, Fla.

Paratore earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Loyola University in New Orleans.

He is survived by his wife, Jill Wickert, and his daughter, Martinique Paratore.


Jim Paratore spent much of his career at Warner Bros. Television. (Warner Bros. / May 29, 2012) 

By Joe Flint
May 29, 2012, 2:26 p.m.

Jim Paratore, a well-regarded televison producer and executive, died Tuesday after suffering a heart attack while cycling in France.

Paratore, 58, spent much of his career atWarner Bros.Television and was still associated with the Burbank studio, where his production outlet paraMedia had an exclusive deal.

"TheWarner Bros.Television family has lost an incredibly talented and creative friend and colleague in Jim," said Bruce Rosenblum, president,Warner Bros.Television Group. "He has left an indelible mark not only on our company's success but on each of us who worked with him during the past 26 years. Jim had a passion for life, both inside and outside the entertainment industry, and he will truly be missed."

Paratore was president of Telepictures, a production arm of Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Television, from 1992 through 2006. During that time he was heavily involved with the creation and launching of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" and "The Bachelor." He continued as an executive producer of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" after leaving Telepictures.

Prior to joining Telepictures, Paratore worked in local television as a programming director at several Florida stations.

Paratore is survived by his wife, Jill Wickert, and his daughter, Martinique.

An earlier version of this post mistakenly said Paratore was 59 at the time of his death.

Wow! It's time to seriously crank up that grill, if you haven't already, and enjoy what will be a fun summer, Saratoga!

I cannot help but think about what I really enjoy doing, entertaining. 

So, today I put my head into several cookbooks and came up with some ideas on how to make a great but simple spread. And, I found an easy way to make those basic burgers even more tasty. 


    Now, in my family, I have a few who won't eat mushrooms. By making the burgers the way I am about to tell you, those who don't like mushrooms, will. These burgers burst with extra flavor and juice from the water in the mushrooms. Chop up the mushrooms into fine pieces, toss in your sea salt, pepper and make your patties about a half-inch thick. And, now, you are set throw them on the grill.Theironyou.com

    The different taste by adding mushrooms 

    will astound your guests. Super moist burgers 

    for all.


    Another great ingredient is to add a bit of pesto sauce to create another unique and wonderful flavor. A touch of garlic and presto, a hit!


      So many cheeses to select. Put out an array for your guests to enjoy. That makes their burger an individual delight.


        Add a your favorite lettuce. Mine happens to be romaine...


        ...and a slice of tomato.


          A feast all in one burger! 

          But, on Memorial Day Weekend Americans love just a bit more for our spread.

          We like plain and simple cold herbed pasta primavera. Extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper with a touch of garlic and basil.


            And a simple side dish of asparagus with balsamic vinegar. My husband adores asparagus grilled. So, that becomes his role as he handles the burgers. I add the feta, baby tomatoes (you cannot have enough tomatoes) and bits of red onion. Once again, extra virgin olive oil.....myrecipes.com

            Now, I recently taught myself how to make flan. Sure, it is one of the most delicious dessert dishes but, did you realize how simple it is to make? I can now make it in my sleep!

            The ingredients are so basic: pyrex dish or bowls, sugar melted, vanilla, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and eggs.  

            That is it!  Bake at 350 degrees for an hour and chill.


              I enjoy topping my flan with fruit. This one has fresh blackberries. Plus, you can make it the night before, put it in the refrigerator and it tastes divine on a warm almost summer afternoon. Don't forget drinks. I love to make a pleasantly chilled sangria.An interesting fact to tell your guests as you pour them a glassf your delightful sangria: the word sangrĂ­a means "bloodletting".Don't let that spoil your weekend bbq. It will be a fun point to make as you pour a glass for one of your guests. Imagine their expression! And, once again, a super simple but exotic addition to your dinner party.hotrockinsos.blogspot.com

              For a large group try the party sangria recipe which is very popular. Use several delicious fruit slices to bob around in the clear pitcher.This sangria is attractive served in a wine glass with an orange slice placed on the rim.


              1 1/4 cups (26 fl. oz) dry red wine 

              1/3 cup (3 oz) sugar

              1/3 cup brandy

              1/3 cup Cointreau

              1/3 lemon-flavored vodka

              1 small lemon, sliced crosswise

              1 small orange, sliced crosswise

              1 small lime, sliced crosswise

              1 medium pear, diced

              2 medium peach, peeled, pitted and sliced

              2 cups (8 oz) sliced strawberries

              1 bottle carbonated lemon-lime soda


              In a sangria pitcher, combine all ingredients except the strawberries and soda. Chill in the refrigerator overnight. Immediately before serving, stir the strawberries and lemon-lime soda. Pour into chilled glasses and serve.

              Recommended Wines

              Wine Spectator: "This plush red is rich with chocolate and black cherry flavors, thick and almost sweet on the palate, with ripe, well-integrated tannins and a spicy finish.

              Voila! Summer fun, now, Saratoga!

              Join me on Newspeake on Facebook for more Memorial Weekend feast ideas.

      Atlasshrugs - Memorial Day Thoughts

      Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. And, for most of us, we know it is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Qualtrics.com

        There are many stories how it actually started. And, there are well over two dozen cities and towns claiming to being the birthplace of what we now know as Memorial Day, the final Monday of May.


          Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868 by General John Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was first observed on May 20th, 1868.

          General John A. Logan
          Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-B8172- 6403 DLC (b&w film neg.)]

          spired by the poem "In Flanders Fields" -   

          - by Moina Michael 

          In Flanders fields the poppies blow

          Between the crosses, row on row,

          That mark our place; and in the sky

          The larks, still bravely singing, fly

          Scarce heard amid the guns below.

          We are the Dead. Short days ago

          We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

          Loved and were loved, and now we lie

          In Flanders fields.

          Take up our quarrel with the foe:

          To you from failing hands we throw

          The torch; be yours to hold it high.

          If ye break faith with us who die

          We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

          In Flanders fields.



          Flowers were put on the graves of all Confederate and Union soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Evidence shows that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War. In a hymn published in 1867:  

          "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" 

          by Nella L. Sweet

          The hymn carried the dedication:

          "To the ladies of the South who are decorating the graves of the Confederate Dead."JHiess.com - graves of Union & Confederate soliders at Arlington National Cemetery

          New York was the very first state to officially recognize the day as a holiday in 1873. 

          While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.


            By 1890 the day was recognized by all the states

            in the North but the states in the South refused to acknowledge the day. The South and the North honored their dead on separate days until after 

            World War I when the holiday changed from 

            honoring just those who died fighting in the 

            Civil War to honoring all Americans who found

            in any war around the world. 

            Glogster.com - World War I

            It is now celebrated in almost every State on 

            the last Monday in May to ensure a three

            day weekend for Federal holidays. Themcglynn.com

            For some the day is especially hard. Respect

            their grief. Honor their dead. If you can, take 

            the time and go to a cemetery. 

            Pay tribute to a troop who died in battle for your freedom. 

            It will mean a tremendous amount to his or her 

            family and their loved ones. Memorial Day is the

            day, if you do not have time

            the rest of the year, to take a moment and really think about the loss. They fought for your freedom. 

              Ohionatureblog.com - Worthington Memorial Day Parade, 2011

              Nothing better than to enjoy a military band

              or seeing children play a role during a traditional Memorial Day parade. 

                Article.wn.com - Marines and Sailors march

                in the Little Neck Memorial Day Parade

                in Queens, 2011

                Nationally, this is a fine way for children, 

                youth and adults show to they care and 

                support our troops wherever they may be, 

                home or abroad. 

                  soldiersangelsgermany.blogspot.com - 

                  Soldiers placing American flags at each 

                  gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery

                  Those who fought and died in battle

                  deserve our humble thanks 

                  and to be honored.

            Remembering the true meaning

            of Memorial Day, Saratoga!

The 30th annual Americade will make it's way to the Million Dollar Beach in a matter of weeks. And, if you enjoy motorcycles as much as my husband and two sons, you will be there. Noise, excitement and all the joys of riding motorcycles. Expect 50,000 plus!


    Event founder and organizers all expect the influx of visitors to be strong as in years past. Americaders bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Lake George region. Hotels and motels fill to capacity this time of year.Americade is an upstate New York happening.


    The event's open to all motorcyclists and brand and type of motorcycles. Americade's annual event is known as the "World's Largest Motorcycle Touring Rally" and is distinguished from events such as the Daytona Bike Week because the focus is on touring by the organization.


    Expect demo rides by all major manufacturers, boat cruises, motorcycle judging, and group rides called "MiniTours" around New York and to Vermont.


    Americade runs a major trade show called TourExpo which is set-up along Lake George's beautiful Million Dollar Beach.

Don't miss the Special 30th Annual Americade!
June 5-9, 2012 in Lake George, NY
Register at the Holiday Inn on Tuesday June 5th.


Are you ready? Americade is coming to Lake George, Saratoga!

Public school ends in a couple weeks, private schools close soon, college students are out and the racing season will take over the region shortly.

Such a time of change: spring into summer.

Summer camp season has so many surprises in store for the little ones.


      If you have not already made plans, time to shift into high gear. 

      Or, if you decide to enjoy Saratoga, time to shift into low gear and enjoy the coming fun. 

        profimedia.com - Great time to simply lounge in the your backyard on an easy chair

        And, of course, the very exciting Saratoga Race Course has so much to offer this time of year.

        Timesunion.com -  The Travers Day crowd at Saratoga Race

        For those who leave for a lake house or visit relatives or simply go for an adventure, the season is now.

          gllm.org - Camp House from Lake George

          Like a diaspora, everyone scatters to the four corners during the summer months. A great time to get away, see old friends, make new friends and enjoy a change of scenery.

          Both sons will be working this summer and have plans for get away trips with friends because taking that family trip is no longer cool.

          That works fine. They have so much to see, explore and enjoy.

          And they must plan it all around summer jobs and work. Now is the time when young adults start making plans no longer set by Mom and Dad.

            Bonacio.com - Irish Times - great summer job!

            Saratoga is a great place to simply stay, especially during racing season. 

              Panoramio.com-Front gates to Historic Saratoga Race Course

            Or take your little one for a ride on the beautiful Saratoga Springs Merry-go-round. Talk about a Kodak moment or should I say an smart phone picture taking moment!Iloveny.com

            My husband and I both have our work and we love the summer atmosphere of increased Saratoga population, especially the family atmosphere.

              flickr.com - The bejewelled Saratoga merry - go-round

              Daily plans shift and get worked out and by the time Memorial Day rolls around everyone will be ready for summer. 

              I'm teaching two summer courses and look forward to the experience.

              We rent our house out each summer during the Fasig-Tipton sales which means we need to move out for two weeks. Thankfully we have our plans in order for that time period.Bloodhorse.com - Fasig-Tipton Sales

              We know anything can change but for your benefit, get your summer plans together, Saratoga!

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      Researching Thoroughbred racing history always brings me back to Saratoga Springs, New York. I should not be surprised but when I found out that The Preakness had its start right here, I simply had to dig deeper.

      equinechronicle.com '09 Preakness  

      In 1868, on a summer evening, an agreement was made to host a special race to commemorate that memorable dinner party in Saratoga Springs. The genesis of what would be known as middle jewel of the Triple Crown was founded. A horse named Preakness, out of New Jersey, would become the races namesake.

        othersiderainbow.blogspot.com-Sir Barton - Preakness winner

        A wealthy group gathered for a lavish dinner at the Union Hall Hotel in Saratoga given by Milton Sanford, a man who made his money selling blankets during the Civil War. A horse owner, John Hunter of New York, suggested during the feast they commemorate the elegant evening by creating a stakes race to be run in the fall of 1870.

        printsoldandrare.com - 

        Union Hotel in Saratoga Springs, New York
        The race would be for three-year old colts and fillies to run at two miles and to be known as the "Dinner Party Stakes" honoring the affair. 


        Governor Oden B

        owie surprised the crowd by announcing he would put down a $15,000 purse for the race, which was an extraordinary amount of money.

      Governor Oden Bowie of Maryland, 1869-1872

      The Governor requested the "Dinner Party Stakes" be run in Maryland. Bowie pledged to build a new racetrack to host it each year. He created Pimlico.

    bleacherreport.com - talented field to race at the 137th Preakness Stakes Saturday May 19, 2012

    Won by Sanford's enormous bay colt Preakness, one of only two male entrants in the seven horse field, he was a first time starter. The race from that point on became The Preakness

    Will I'll Have Another win the 2nd jewel in The Triple Crown? 


      n the race was over, P

      reakness' winning jockey, Billy Hayward, followed a time honored tradition of stretching a wire across the track from the judges' stand with a small silk bag filled with gold pieces. He untied the string holding the bag and claimed the money. It is believed this custom brought about the modern day "wire" at the finish line, and the designation of "purse" money.

      imlico Race Course

      Governor Bowie's Dinner Party Stakes became the Dixie, the 8th oldest stakes race. 

      therail.blogs.nytimes.comThe Preakness race runs on the third Saturday in May where the best of the Derby horses gather hoping for a Triple Crown prospect.


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I danced to Donna Summer until the wee hours of the morning for years while going through college and my early working years at a TV station in Miami. 

How her songs filled the clubs and the music on the radio accompanied me along my way trying to figure out where I would take my life. She always sang songs that made the evenings fun. And, it turns out today is a sad day for all those who loved the Queen of Disco.

Take a moment and listen to her music. It will take you back or it will enlighten you on how vibrant a singing voice this dynamo possessed.

TMZ reported first reported that Donna Summer Died Thursday morning, May 17, 2012 that at the age of 63 years.

Donna Summer had a long battle with cancer. Summer's family confirmed her death shortly after she passed away. The disco star kept the extent of her illness quiet as she completed a new album. Several weeks ago sources who saw her said she "didn't seem too bad." 

The five-time Grammy winner was known as the "Queen of Disco" and rose to superstardom in the 1970s with her hits "Last Dance," "Hot Stuff," and "Bad Girls."

Donna Summer you will be missed but your music will live on. What an extraordinary voice. Simply to sad. You are in Heaven now, at peace, Ms. Summer, where all the angels sing for an eternity.

Just listen to Heaven Knows



    Donna Summer

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I'm on a gluten-free diet. I have been working on this for about three months. It simply makes me feel better. 
But, I have not been diagnosed by my doctor with celiacs disease. Most people with celiacs disease complain of intermittent diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating of the stomach.
So, am I simply falling into the gluten-free diet craze? But, when I eat gluten-free, I really do feel better! Is it all the food additives causing the problems for so many in this country? Do we go back to basics foods that our ancestors ate?
Each day I have several food choices. Very serious decisions to make as I go gluten-free.
I have lots of questions and I am research the answers daily.
This morning, I was bad. I had a coffee with soy and an everything bagel with butter. Why did I do this to myself when trying to go gluten-free? The answer: because it was there! I live in a house with three skinny men! So, everyday becomes a challenge. Landmines everywhere! I knew the feeling immediately: I felt sluggish. No digestive issues. So, am I a celiac candidate or am I falling for the gluten-free craze? I'm hunting down the answer.
I've searched numerous grocery stores, checked labels, websites, consulted with experts, talked with my doctor, a dietitian, friends, family and I have tried the foods, hoping to find the answer.
The popularity of gluten-free foods has increased tremendously over the recent years. Yet another fad? Is it a way to sell foods? Supermarket shelves have filled up with ingredients such as rice flour and xanthan gum. But do you need these products?
Going back to the basics, lots of exercise and drinking only always seem to be the best route, for me. How about you?

Even Domino's pizza created a new offering for those on a gluten-free diet. The company's new gluten-free crust has been created from rice flour, potato starch, rice starch and olive oil. Domino's worked with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to bring these new standards to the company's employees and kitchens. 
The company recommends those who suffer from a mild gluten allergy try their new pizza.
Check with your doctor because a gluten-free diet is a treatment for celiac disease.

Do not be fooled. This is also a major money maker for the food industry. 

Do your homework. Make sure this is right for you before you make the switch. Test drive the diet, if you will. 

I am not 100% convinced but I can tell you this: I do feel healthier when I eat gluten-free foods.

The prevalence of gluten sensitivity is real issue. As a consumer I'm glad I have this as a choice as I continue figuring out the best food habits. You would think by now I would have it all figured out. Nope, I don't.

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).

A gluten-free diet is used to treat celiac disease. Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease. Eating a gluten-free diet helps people with celiac disease control their signs and symptoms and prevent complications.

Initially, following a gluten-free diet may be frustrating. But with time, patience and creativity, you'll find there are many foods that you already eat that are gluten-free and you will find substitutes for gluten-containing foods that you can enjoy.

Remember, and this is quite important, portion control. And, exercise. Vital for any diet to work.

I do not have celiac's disease. And, according to one recent story, gluten free is really only good for those who suffer from the ailment. It works for a period of time and then it could reverse the effect you feel.

Some people get tested for celiac disease and find it's negative, but decide they feel better following the diet. Some people have tested negative and later gotten a positive test and express frustration with the years of symptoms they've experienced and medicated with little to no relief. Some people turn to alternative medical advice and follow a GF diet because they feel better when eliminating gluten.

The term gluten sensitivity has more recently been used to recognize people who have symptoms of gluten intolerance but whose blood tests negative for the antibodies typically present in celiac disease. Because there's currently no biomarker (blood test or biopsy) that can officially diagnose gluten sensitivity, there's confusion and disagreement about diagnosing and treating it. Experts in celiac disease research are working to find a more definite diagnostic marker.

Scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Center for Celiac Research have shown that gluten sensitivity is different from celiac disease in both immune response and effect on the stomach. With gluten sensitivity, researchers have found that while gluten does not cause such serious reactions, it does cause annoying symptoms, such as abdominal pain similar to that of irritable bowel syndrome, and fatigue, headaches, "foggy mind" or tingling of the extremities. Evidence also indicates that some people with schizophrenia and children with autism might be affected by gluten sensitivity.

Scientists estimate that about 1% of the U.S. population has celiac disease and that about 6% are gluten sensitive, a significant increase over the past several years. While we do know more about how to recognize gluten intolerance and sensitivities, but we have more to learn about diagnosing them. Many people need a gluten-free diet, and it's not always "just their imagination" if symptoms exist.

A gluten-free diet is not "healthier." 

It can actually be low in recommended amounts of fiber, B-vitamins, magnesium and iron. 

A gluten-free diet is typically higher in refined grains, making it fairly common for a person following it to gain weight. Talk to your dietitian about ways to avoid weight gain with a gluten-free diet.

Source: www.umaryland.edu 

The jury is still out. 

And, while I have not switched over completely. If I do make the choice to eat 100% gluten-free it will be under my doctor's supervision.

For now, I am testing out the gluten-free diet. And, since it makes my body feels better, lighter and somehow different, it seems to be doing the trick.

I will keep you posted as I go gluten-free, Saratoga!                                                       

Here is a list of naturally gluten-free foods:

Beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form

Fresh eggs

Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)

Fruits and vegetables

Most dairy products

It's important to make sure that they are not processed or mixed with gluten-containing grains, additives or preservatives. Many grains and starches can be part of a gluten-free diet:




Corn and cornmeal


Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)

Hominy (corn)








Always avoid:

Avoid all food and drinks containing:

Barley (malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley)


Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)


Avoiding wheat can be challenging because wheat products go by numerous names. Consider the many types of wheat flour on supermarket shelves -- bromated, enriched, phosphated, plain and self-rising. Here are other wheat products to avoid:


Durum flour


Graham flour




Okay, get ready: avoid unless labeled 'gluten-free':

In general, avoid the following foods unless they're labeled as gluten-free or made with corn, rice, soy or other gluten-free grain:



Cakes and pies



Cookies and crackers


French fries


Imitation meat or seafood



Processed luncheon meats

Salad dressings

Sauces, including soy sauce

Seasoned rice mixes

Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips

Self-basting poultry

Soups and soup bases

Vegetables in sauce

Certain foods can be contaminated with wheat during growing and processing stages of production. That's why doctors and dietitians recommend avoiding oats unless specifically labeled gluten-free.

You should also be alert for other products that you eat or that could come in contact with your mouth that may contain gluten. These include:

Food additives, such as malt flavoring, modified food starch and others

Medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent

And, get this: Play dough

Watch for cross-contamination

Cross-contamination occurs when gluten-free foods come into contact with foods that contain gluten. It can happen during the manufacturing process


People with celiac disease who eat a gluten-free diet experience fewer symptoms and complications of the disease. People with celiac disease must remain on the diet for the remainder of their lives.


Not getting enough vitamins

People who follow a gluten-free diet may have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Ask your dietitian to review your diet to see that you're getting enough of these key nutrients:








Not sticking to the gluten-free diet for those with celiac disease:

If you accidentally eat a product that contains gluten, you may experience abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some people experience no signs or symptoms after eating gluten, but this doesn't mean it's not damaging their small intestines. Even trace amounts of gluten in your diet may be damaging, whether or not they cause signs or symptoms.

According to the Mayo Clinic, look for these symptoms for celiac disease:

There are no typical signs and symptoms of celiac disease. Most people with the disease have general complaints, such as:

Intermittent diarrhea
Abdominal pain
Sometimes people with celiac disease may have no gastrointestinal symptoms at all. Celiac disease symptoms can also mimic those of other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, Crohn's disease, parasite infections and anemia.

Celiac disease may also present itself in less obvious ways, including:

Irritability or depression
Stomach upset
Joint pain
Muscle cramps
Skin rash
Mouth sores
Dental and bone disorders (such as osteoporosis)
Tingling in the legs and feet (neuropathy)
Some indications of malabsorption of nutrients that may result from celiac disease include:

Weight loss
Abdominal cramps, gas and bloating
General weakness and fatigue
Foul-smelling or grayish stools that may be fatty or oily
Stunted growth (in children)
Another gluten-related condition 

Dermatitis herpetiformis is an itchy, blistering skin disease that also stems from gluten intolerance. The rash usually occurs on the torso, scalp and buttocks. Dermatitis herpetiformis can cause changes to the lining of the small intestine similar to that of celiac disease. However, it may not produce noticeable digestive symptoms. This disease is treated with a gluten-free diet, in addition to medication to control the rash.

When to see a doctor 

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. If someone in your family has celiac disease, ask your doctor whether you may be at risk of the disease. Your doctor may recommend testing, because celiac disease tends to run in families.

Seek medical attention for a child who is pale, irritable and fails to grow, and who has a potbelly and foul-smelling, bulky stools. Other conditions can cause these same signs and symptoms, so discuss it with your child's doctor before trying a gluten-free diet. 

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Conan O'Brien's Dartmouth College Commencement Speech 2011 keeps coming up as the best inspirational speech everywhere I search.

Comedic, fun and full of momentous words just a year ago. But between his 2010 commencement speech at another fine college institution and the 2011 speech a lot happened in his life. And that was liberating on so many levels. The words of his speech from then stand today. 

O'Brien's 20 minute speech was filled with a lot of humor and a serious dose of post-graduation reality. For nervous college graduates living through a tumultuos time to be seeking a career or searching for a job, his humor will help those trying to enter the workforce, especially now.

Conan, who pointed out that he went through a difficult job transition himself just the year before, in January 2010, structured a speech to relate to the graduates while filled with humility, a major dash of hope and words of wisdom. 

And, for those graduating now, be patient, the job market continues to be tough but you will make it through these times. As it has been said "what doesn't kill you makes you strong."

O'Brien paid homage to former President George H.W. Bush. Both received an honorary degree. 

"I must point out that behind me sits a highly admired president of the United States and decorated war hero, while I, a cable television talk show host, has been chosen to stand here and impart wisdom. I pray I never witness a more damning example of what is wrong with America today."

Conan even talked about his own departure from the Peacock Network. He learned a hard and profound lesson. Don't be afraid to fail. Do your very best to avoid it. Disappointment stings. And, because he has been through it himself, he warns that you do not always get what you want. Learn from the failures. Try things. Re-create yourself. Abandon all preconceived notions.

Yes, O'Brien did some strange things and that became the most satisfying year of his professional life. And, the challenge meant so much to him. Totally liberating to have your worse fear realized.

Conan's message turned serious. He took a page from his own, but brief, NBC TONIGHT SHOW 2010 sign off speech: 

"Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen," O'Brien re-quoted himself from a previous graduation speech. And, he said he believed that even more that day than the year before. O'Brien changed in one year. So will you, young graduates.

For all college graduates, here it is and enjoy! Remember, your path at 22 years old does not mean that will be your path at 32, 42 or even 52 or 62.

Be ready for the change. It will happen to you and everyone. 

Your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound reinvention.

His words ring true in 2012. 

Now is time for that college commencement speech, Saratoga!


TIMES NewsFeed

Today is my son Colin's 21st birthday! 

My husband and I could not be more proud. 

On this day Colin happens to be in excellent company. 

Many great people were born this day and have done great things;they all have a major sense of purpose in common. 

Colin has accomplished so much since he was born at New York Hospital, moved to Greenwich, Ct for 18 years, Exeter, New Hampshire for 2 years and now lives in amazing Saratoga Springs, NY. 

Colin studies criminal justice, plays the snare as well as bass drum in several pipe and drum corps, has been learning to play the bagpipes, plays bass guitar, has been a British reenactor for 2 years, studies history and works non-stop with the goal of raising enough money to head to Scotland in August to continue his studies. Colin also helps with the New York Horse Park to bring the facility here to Saratoga County. And, anyone who knows Colin has no doubt he will accomplish so much more. 

Happy 21st, Colin! We cheer you on daily.

  1. Colin enjoying what downtown Saratoga Springs has to offer.

    Sketch of Colin, on the right, as a British reenactor - Saratoga Springs.
  1. Sketch drawn at Saratoga National Historical Park, the battle of Saratoga.

Here are a few more names you will certainly recognize who share with Colin May 14th as their special day:

Colin is excited to share his day with you, Mr. Zuckerberg.

Mark Zuckerberg Birthday

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, turned 28 Monday and was born the same year Apple introduced the Macintosh. How cool is that? The world famous chief executive started social network's biggest movement. And, Facebook's stock begins trading Friday. Not bad for 28! The IPO will be valued at $100 billion. Ford, Kraft Foods and Disney will all be bypassed. 

Could being born on May 14th have anything to do with his determination?

Cate Blanchett

Blanchett at the 2011 - Sydney Film Festival

What a stunner! And, what an actor! She turns 43 today and as an ageless head turner this Academy Award-winning Australian has played so many roles your head spins: The Aviator, Babel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, shall I go on?


As a bass player of Scottish descent, Colin cannot believe he shares this special day with such an outstanding musician.

John Symon Asher "Jack" Bruce is a Scottish musician/songwriter/vocalist best known for being a founding member of the psychedelic rock group, CREAM. And, what makes Colin happy, another Scotsman! He is best recognized as world-class bassist and as a pioneer in his main instrument, considered as one of the greatest bass players of all time.

"Sunshine of Your Love" - circa 1968 - Jack Bruce, bassist


Bruce performing in Frankfurt, Germany
October 2006

AND, remember Bertie Forbes, who was born on this date, as well. 

Colin's honored.

Bertie Forbes, born on this day in 1880, created FORBES MAGAZINE. As a Scotsman, as well, this makes Colin not only happy but deeply honored. 

As a reporter and editorial writer with a local newspaper until 1901 when he moved to South Africa and founded the Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg. He emigrated to none other than New York City in 1904 where he was employed as a writer and financial editor and then founded FORBES. 

These five mega names sums it up. Colin, you're certainly in good company on your 21st.


B. C. Forbes
Bertie Forbes - journalist, author, publisher

You can be part of the thoroughbred racing. 

The Kentucky Derby's over, the excitement in the racing world builds. Will "I'll Have Another" be the next winner of the Triple Crown? 

"You simply never know. And, that, Elaine, is what makes a horse race," my recently departed and dear friend who loved the track, Billy Garrigues, once advised me.

As I headed to Belmont Park Wednesday, Billy's words swirled around in my head. My heart readied for any turn of events. And, the races did not fail to surprise me and my group of track goers.

On the drive I prepared for a full day. Luckily I had an expert inform me fully about the fastest two minutes in sporting, by my escort, attorney Todd Engel of Syracuse and Saratoga. 

Engel, indulged my ignorance and all my questions. He guided me to the owners parking space at Belmont Park, introduced me to his trainer, the extraordinary Gary Contessa and to his horse, "World Premier", and to his world famous jockey, Corey Nakatani racing in the 9th. 

Corey Nakatani        by Sarah Andrew

We dined at the Trustees Room, talked with NYRA's employees about the track, discussed what makes a great race horse and placed several wagers. We won some. We lost some.

We watched several races with great intensity as the horses crossed the finish line just as we would at what would be known as the 50 yard line had this location been on a football field. 

I could not help but think while watching all the activity from the bugler alerting everyone the race was about to start to the commotion in the paddock to the horses on the backstretch heading for the starting gate that anyone would not enjoy seeing the track in person. The joy of owning a piece of the action makes the experience even more thrilling.  

I took ownership of the day. Unique unplanned moments happened. Meeting horse owners, trainers, the head of a thoroughbred partnership to the wide variety of wagerers to the security team. Suddenly what had been a gloomy day turned into a non stop surprising afternoon.

I walked to the paddock twice Wednesday, prior to the 8th and 9th race. Seeing these racing machines up close just prior to hitting the track helped my untrained eye to make final decisions on which racehorse to place wagers. 

In each case, my escorts briefed me on what to look for, how they decide and a gut feeling. But then I was all on my own at the betting window. 

I did not win either race. 

That's okay. I set a limit on what I could play.

Both horses came in a strong second and because I bet on them to win, I came home empty handed. That did not matter. I became part of the thrill of the sport. 

Engel's horse, "World Premier", gave it's all. A winner all the same. "World Premier", trained by Gary Contessa and mounted Corey Nakatani, fought to the end. Engel, out of Syracuse, has been coming to Saratoga his entire life. His mother and father trained him to understand horse racing. His family history grows because it is part of DNA. 

Engel explained the joy of owning a piece of the action makes him whole. Even a damp and rainy day, becomes a thrill. The closer you get to the horse, the closer you get to the action. 

As an equine lawyer Engel needs to know both sides. Owning a horse allows him to understand the client and the horse. 

Engel will be happy to answer your questions as he did mine by reaching him at 214 North State Street, Syracuse, New York 13203 www.nyhorselawyer.com

I also had the pleasure of meeting, again, the head of the major horse owning partnership, West Point Thoroughbreds,Terry Finley. As the founder and president, Terry is extremely busy introducing new owners to their horses as he was doing Wednesday. I was also introduced to the owners of "Belle of the Hall", running in the 8th race. Broad smiles beamed as they all gathered at the paddock and talked about her abilities. Each person involved, standing near the horses as they were paraded through the paddock, had an intense desire to own a piece of the horse racing action.

Terry Finley has the perfect persona to help owners enjoy their horses.

 " 'Belle of the Hall" has been a fun horse for West Point and our Partners. She's very competitive," Finley said. "Belle of the Hall" came in a close second in a fierce battle to the finish. She was mounted by jockey Elvis Trujillo and trained by Thomas Albertrani which gave her a great advantage. 

Watching on TV or on the internet or seeing a photograph does not do the sport justice. Go to the track. See it. Feel it.

"I select horses at world class select sales for syndication to our partners. We use technology to help identify the best possible prospects to run under the black and gold silks,"says Finley.
Recently I helped five people in completely different fields to land jobs. And, each one is settling in nicely.

That's the easy part.

Now it is time to keep that job.

A friend, Stephen Viscusi, America's Workplace Guru wrote the bible on how to BULLETPROOF YOUR JOB in 2008 and it stands to this day.

Put on that armor!

Despite reports that the economy is settling today, in today's volatile workplace it's more important than ever to be prepared for any kind of change, should your career take a turn for the worst.

From a layoff, to a demotion, to a change in your job role - it happens! When you are prepared for change - you're more likely to rebound quicker and faster!

I highly recommend reading the 171 pages. Read it before you start your new job or Now while in your current position, if you want to hold onto it.

Read it before you start looking for a new job.

Viscusi has been in the career placement business for 30+ years and his words hits on the essence of what a job is all about, no matter where you work, who you work for and what type of work you are doing.

Viscusi maps out 4 simple strategies to ride out the rough times and help you come out on top at work. The job is one aspect of work, keeping and bulletproofing that job is another aspect of the work you must do.

The silver bullet on the front cover of the book says it all.

As Viscusi points out, no job is safe. Not the CEO, the top managers, the worker bees, nobody owns a job, even if your position has a board of directors all on your side.

And, for those who own their own businesses you can learn from this book as well. Want to keep your good employees and help them from grow, hand them a copy of this book, talk to them about the strategies you appreciate and follow-up with a question as well as answer discussion.

There's no surprise that the workplace is a nerve wracking place and only those with nerves of steel survive. The unemployment realities prove those worries to be a force to be concerned about, even today since the recession lingers.

Take the book, sit down and read. Do it this weekend in one sitting or read it every night before you go to bed. 

Give the book to your son or daughter about to enter the workforce. It will help them throughout their lifetime.

The 4 simple basics:





Pay attention to your office apparel and your appearance, expert Stephen Viscusi suggests.

One tip that every seems to know but slip backwards a lot is to pay close attention to your office apparel and your appearance, expert Stephen Viscusi suggests. It sounds like a "duh" point but you'd be surprised at how many forget after a few weeks on a new job.

Recent news about the economy and the job market hasn't been encouraging. Companies are taking a much closer look at their operating expenses, especially their payrolls.

Writer Stephen Viscusi asserts that in this atmosphere, "You must understand that your job is your most valuable asset -- and your primary objective is to protect it."

That's just part of the advice Viscusi outlines. The book discusses all tactics for being visible, easy, useful and ready in order to keep one's job.

It is a simple read you will keep with you throughout the rest of your working life.


Maurice Sendak wrote WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE in 1963. 

Children since have read and been read that story for so many years that it is a vivid part of young memories and home libraries. 

That title brought Sendak international acclaim. Not only as a children's book author but also as one of the world's great illustrators. 

For this, we say "thank you, Mr.Sendak."

My sons, now almost 21 and 16 years old, both enjoyed hearing their Dad read the story just before they fell asleep many nights.

Admittedly, the story conjured up dreams.

In some cases, nightmares.

"Scary but fantastic," said my son Colin. "The story took me into another realm."

Sendak allowed for the young imagination to roam free, far and wide. A place where Sendak himself, a sickly child, did not get to do physically but did get to do inside his mind. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE took Sendak far away while he sat in his Bensonhurst, New York apartment peering out his window as other children played.

"The illustrations opened up my world to a far greater landscape than just where I lived in Greenwich, Ct, at the time," said my other son Wyatt.

The book helped our boys at a young age to learn how to navigate a globe well beyond a tiny part of their universe where they lived daily. Our boys enjoy and seek out world travel because of this book.

The drawings, magical words and mischievousness all built around a playful plot allowed both troublemakers and goody two-shoe children relate. Sendak had a foundness for causing trouble but in a delightful and wonderful way.

The story tells how the character Max, one evening near his home, is caught by his mother being mischievous while wearing a wolf costume. 

As a punishment she sends him to bed without his supper.

For Max that time out turns into a wild adventure.

That bedroom opens up and brings out Max's full imagination. A mysterious, wild forest along with a ferocious sea quickly develops. 

Max sails to the world of the Wild Things. These creatures appear monstrous but Max learns he has all the power. They come under his spell. Max conquers them by "staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once." 

Max becomes "the king of all wild things." They dance a primitive dance called a "wild rumpus" with all the creatures joining. Max now realizes, although he still enjoys the world of the Wild Things, he's lonely, he misses his home and his family. 

What child does not feel that feeling at some point in his or her young life.

Soon Max finds himself back in the comfort of his home where a warm supper made by his Mother awaits him, still hot.

Max should be thankful for the timeout. Readers, we're quite thankful to Mr. Sendak.

What adult does not feel that same feeling at some point in his or her adult life.

The simplicity of words and the colorful images will be with all of us forever.

The book sold over 19 million copies worldwide as of 2009. Widely considered one of the most important children's author and artist of the 20th century.

Good Night Maurice Sendak from Saratoga! 


Maurice Sendak, 83, died Tuesday May 8 in Danbury, Connecticut from complications from a recent stroke. Sendak lived in Ridgefield, Ct.

Maurice Bernard Sendak was born in Brooklyn on June 10, 1928.

Saratoga Center For The Family supporters care in a big way and you can help, too. The power of hope matters.

Showing how much they care by giving, that is what "Celebrating the Power of Hope" fundraiser was all about, Wednesday night April 25, at Longfellows, Hotel, Restaurant and Conference Center, 500 Union Avenue. The Saratoga Center for the Family benefited from the Saratoga County community by being recognized for the tireless efforts and the generous donations of financial support through paying to attend, through a live and a silent auction.

Corinne Vahanian, the event chairwoman predicted early during the evening they would raise between thirty-five to forty thousand dollars. This annual fundraiser, held every year during the month of April, as an observance of the National Child Abuse Prevention month.

The center handles 4,300 cases a year at the Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center located at 359 Balston Ave, Saratoga Springs. Offered there are child abuse prevention programs, counseling and victim advocacy. Law enforcement, Child Protective Services and the Saratoga County district attorney work closely to bring abuse cases to justice. The victims are given counseling as well as the victims are helped to heal after their trauma.

Prevention programs included parenting, strengthening families, child custody stress prevention and anger management. Its mental health services focus on trauma caused by abuse, violence and victimization. Counseling also addresses family dysfunction and managing symptoms of depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorders.

The crowd who help support the center participated in the fundraiser because they believe in what The Saratoga Center for the Family does for those traumatized. The advocacy center is a place where mental health professionals, law enforcement and specialized medical teams can hear the story one time by the victim and has been designed after a national model in which a non-threatening environment allows the abuse cases can be heard all at the same time. The victim does not need to repeat the story numerous times.

Through the dedication of legal, psychological and trauma specialists, the center is able to help thousands countywide. The fundraiser helps the professionals to do their difficult but necessary work.

The one hundred fifty plus crowd at Longfellows enjoyed a vibrant evening with a vibrant group of supporters. Yvonne and Steve "Sully" Sullivan showed how much they cared for The Saratoga Center for the Family by donating their facility to the fundraiser. Also, in attendance were Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson and his wife Julie who enjoyed, along with the delighted crowd, unique performances by the Schuylerville High School Chamber singers. The student ensemble performed solos and several popular songs throughout the evening entertaining all the attendees as they mingled and checked out numerous auction items.

Benita Zahn, WNYT Channel 13 news anchor served as the celebrity host while Dr. Manny Cirenza, Community Care Pediatrics physician based out of Saratoga and Malta, served at the evening's auctioneer. Dr. Cirenza just returned from a trip to Africa where he examined twelve abused orphans. While there, Dr. Cirenza told the gathered crowd, that he saw a giant sign with the words written in bold letters: "During life the things you do for yourself, die with you, and the things you do for others remain in the world." Dr. Cirenza related that to the kindness of those in attendance Wednesday night. He added, "and that is what the people of the Saratoga Center child advocacy program do everyday."

Dr. Cirenza then jumped into the auctioneering role along with the help of Ms. Zahn urging the crowd to bid higher for each item. They made a strong team.

Dr. Timothy Brooks stood at the rear of the hall talking with his wife, Ellen, and friends about the evening. Dr. Brooks has been an emergency medicine specialist for 28 years and works at Saratoga Hospital Emergency Department.

He spoke proudly about the work being done at The Saratoga Center for the Family, saying that "these children are innocent and they need someone to advocate for them and take care of them and protect them and help them heal, and that is why we do what we do." Dr. Brooks says this type of advocacy, teaching the traumatized how to deal with their physical and emotional pain, takes time, but these methods do work.

Dr. Brooks works closely with the center and says there are two types of cases he sees most often, chronic cases of abuse in which an individual has been traumatized over many years and acute cases in which a victim has been recently abused. The acute victim goes directly to Saratoga Hospital emergency department, while the chronic victim usually, on their own, finally decides to come forward, seeking the services of the Saratoga Center for the Family. At the center hope exists to relieve the trauma. Working, teaching and helping the victim cope makes a tremendous difference in their future lives.

At the center there are three nurse practitioners, all highly trained women, who handle cases of pediatric sexual assaults. According to Dr. Brooks, serious concern develops if a case is not handled properly at this crucial stage. The cycle of abuse has an extremely high potential of continuing, not only by the perpetrator, but by the victim. The victims can become abusers if not guided professionally.

One area Dr. Brooks says the adolescent offender who bullies children needs tremendous attention. "These offenders are too young to be punished as adults, they often times slip through the cracks and continue to abuse others later in life, "said Dr. Brooks.

Dr. Candice Dunn, the clinical director of psychology at the center, specializes in effecting change by working closely with a group of highly trained therapists who deal directly with victims. The traumatic event can be devastating. Dr. Dunn and her team focus on the abuse and making a difference in the victims future.

"A lot of people think they are going crazy after they have been abused and that abuse could have happened years ago. Many become depressed as adults and do not understand why," says Dr. Dunn. "Our therapists help victims discover the source of their pain, panic attacks and inability to function in their daily lives."

Dr. Dunn has been in the Saratoga region for two and a half years and she brought her highly specialized background in clinical psychology, family therapy, treatment of trauma, supervising teams of therapists who provide home based therapy to keep children in their homes. Dr. Dunn also has experience working with a many different types of clients and age groups. Last year the organization provided more than 3,500 mental health visits to more than 400 clients and offered prevention programs to more than 400 clients.

The Saratoga Center for the Family will continue "Celebrating the Power of Hope" year round. Everyone has a moment of stress and strain they need to work through. Teens who are under tremendous pressure from bullying, school and recent financial strains affecting their lives should contact the center to work through mental health problems. 

For those people who have been severely traumatized, feel hopeless and are concerned they have no one to speak, the center personnel urges anyone to call the center at 518-587-8008

All information is kept confidential and free of charge.

The power of hope exists in Saratoga County because The Saratoga Center for the Family has the power to help.

The mystery: The art of a true artist is never fully realized by the viewer until you go inside their mind. Break down into words the elements and attempt to capture the mystery. The only true way is for you to see the visual end product.

Unlock your mind: Today's your chance to unlock your mind. Meet a budding young artist who will come to the Saratoga meet again this summer. Brian Fox, 44 years old, will be here at the start of the meet July 20th and again during the Fasig-Tipton sales. 

Why art: The artistic endeavor has one common denominator, whether it being a dancer, a singer, a sculptor, writer, a movie director, a comedian or an oil painter: passion. The artist is driven when in the middle of his or her work, just as an athlete, is when in "the zone". All synapses firing. Creative juices flowing. 

"My best work comes at night after everyone is in bed, fast asleep. This is when I truly feel the full extent of the moment as everything races through my veins to my fingertips to the canvas," says Fox. The stimulation from day works into the canvas at night.

Accomplished: That is what Fox set out to do and you can see in his just finished painting: Dubai Millennium. It is of a 4-year old Arabian stallion in the year 2000 as it is about to cross the finish line at the Dubai World Cup. The horse, now dead, comes back alive again on Fox' canvas.

The journey: Fox explains, "I'm still only crawling. One day I will walk, then, I hope to run." Fox is grateful and down to earth way, because he knows the journey is a gift. 

The struggling artist: "I lived on the floor of a shed before I was married and had children. I do not want to do that ever again. That motivates me. The past shapes the future and I work hard everyday to make sure I can provide for my family as well as do my art," said Fox. ox is developing quite a name for himself. He's now entered a rarefied world of models, actors and athletes. 

His support system: Fox, over six foot four inches, lives in Somerset, Mass, a quick forty five minutes outside of Boston, with his accountant wife and two boys, ages seven and nine. And, for him, the routine as well as the hard work is made easier because of the understanding of his loving family. Fox says he owes them so much. Fox gushes about the love they've provided to him so he can do his art daily. Fox feels the power of his hand to the paint brush comes from a much higher place. 

The corporate world: Fox talks of how the work as an illustrator developed his daily discipline. Fox knows how to meet deadlines, market his work and create what is asked of him on his commissioned work. Fox realizes the corporate helped him take criticism, direction and how to change to go along with the workflow. Fox says he would not be where he is today if it were not for the seven years he spent in the real world experiencing that work environment. Every experience creates the present me," said Fox.

The process: He observes and absorbs. He witnesses a scene or reads a story and studies the event. Fox searches for the soul of the person or the animal he'll paint. He reckons with the force that makes the being real. Fox sketches what's his mind. He creates eighty to ninety sketches for each new ideas that soon to becomes a living, breathing work of art.

The feeling: "I'm thinking about the horse as it was alive. I watch a lot of videos of the horse in races. I try to capture the spirit. Dubai Millennium's not just a horse winning any race, it's the Dubai Millennium winning in the year 2000, the millennium year. How dramatic. That is inspiration. I get an idea in my head and for years I think about it," said Fox.

"Everyone has an opinion of your work, and that is wonderful. I aim for that emotional effect. I want to touch the soul of the subject and create an emotional connection for the audience. Whether is it a sports team, a person, an animal, I want to capture the moment and the essence of the being," says Brian.

Why Dubai Millennium: "I was inspired to paint this piece based on the story of Sheikh Mohammeds love of his horse. The story of 'Dubai Millennium's" amazing victory. As a four- year old, he crushed it at the 2000 Dubai International. He won by six lengths. That's incredible," said Fox. 

A dream: Fox completed the piece Dubai Millennium this week after several years of planning. Fox says this horse was known as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's favorite. According to Fox, the Sheikh is a man who truly cares for his animals. It must have saddened the Sheikh immensely when this beautiful stallion passed, just a short year after winning the 2000 Dubai International, from grass disease. 

Fox is humble, thankful and gracious. He believes the images say it all. But, the constant stream of comments Fox receives about his art shows how his audience feels and appreciates his work..

"My favorite part of this (painting) is the veining on the head of the horse and the handling of the number two on his bridle. It gives a timelessness to the painting. I am also pretty fond of how you handled the kicked up dirt. It makes the painting move!" said Christine Hannon.

"He (Dubai Millennium) is gorgeous, Brian. You've outdone yourself! I hope that Sheik Mohammed sees this painting of his beautiful boy, you truly captured the spirit that was Dubai Millennium," said Marion Altieri.

"God has blessed you with a talent like no other I've know, my friend. Incredible!" said Todd Bettencourt. 

Fox comes twice this summper to Saratoga Springs: July 20th to unveil an oil of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew at the CAPTAINS's event, a fundraiser for the youth and family services organization. CAPTAIN's is short for Community Action for Parents, Teens and Interested Neighbors. Fox will also be in Saratoga Springs during the first week of August Sales of Fasig-Tipton. Fox will also be showing at a local gallery while visiting Saratoga Springs, New York. Brian Fox understands the power of the paint brush, Saratoga!

Dubai Millennium by Brian Fox

Recently I had the pleasure of enjoying an evening with the coaches, parents, families and supporters of the Saratoga Rowing Association, SRA, as they worked hard to raise money for the teams.

And, over the past weekend I joined my husband, on board a start raft (a flat barge type floating structure with a simple folding chair, a bullhorn, 2 life jackets, a white flag and a red flag all used to tell the judges when the boats at the start are aligned, ready for the start of the race), as we aligned the boats at the 15th annual Saratoga Rowing Association 2012 Invitational regatta. Over 900 boats entered, 53 clubs, 46 cities, 9 states, 2 countries and 390 shells raced. All in true form as the rowers sped down the beautifully laid out Fish Creek course off of Saratoga Lake in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Visiting teams set-up on the grounds of Lee's Trailer Park by crossing over the Saratoga Lake on Route 9-P bridge, on the left side, directly across Fish Creek from the SRA boathouse.

Toronto, Canada's Branksome Hall rowing team traveled 7 hours to compete. And, E.L. Crossley, the defending Canadian national champions for the past 11 years, participated. Quite a weekend of racing. 

SRA dealt with numerous obstacles due to the weather, but the results were well worth the hard work and efforts of the team, the coaches, the referees, the racing officials, the volunteers and the supporters.

Although the wind blew out several races, the competitions held put those rowers to the full test. Fighting against 20 mph winds at times, pushing hard to cross the finish line with bravery and endurance by each competitor as they fought for each and every stroke. 

At times the white caps caused fear in many minds but because the officials kept an eagle eye on the conditions and even called off several races Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, there were absolutely no problems to report.

The Connecticut Boat Club, the Greenwich Water Club team, Manhasset and teams throughout the state of New York and far into Canada joined on the six lanes to fight it out against one another and the fierce elements. The wind would not let up all weekend.

The Saratoga Rowing Association won 10 races Sunday afternoon with 6 boats second and 3 finishing in third place. They raced in a total of 69 contests. The boys varsity 4 got stronger as they raced. Their time: 7 min 18.30 seconds - 2,000-meters - their win: more than 14 secs over their competitors.

A gold medal was won by Arik Torkelson, Liam Casey, Luke O'Brien and John Howe, coxswain Rachel Bowen. A big congratulations to the SRA team!

The rowers took a much needed day off Monday and will be back on the water today depending on weather conditions, once again. 

All in all everyone involved from the referees, the judges, the supporters and volunteers, a lot of patience and pre-planning served SRA well. It is simply what they do. And they do extremely well. I witnessed the cooperation first had two weeks ago at the SRA 15th annual silent auction celebration to raise funds for the organization.

As the mother of one of the rowers, I appreciate every advantage SRA gives my son. The crowds who turned out over the weekend and at the event two weeks ago prove that this is a fine organization with plenty to be proud of as they head into their spring season.

Two-hundred turned out Thursday night April 19th, 2012 at Longfellow's Hotel and Restaurant in Saratoga Springs. The organization known as SRA, is a nationally recognized rowing association with a proven record of training youth from eighth grade through their senior year. They compete locally, statewide and nationally. SRA also runs a highly acclaimed masters program for adults twenty-six years and older. Ninety-percent of adult SRA rowers started after their children began with SRA.

A record breaking year," says Karen Lazar Travis, SRA fundraising coordinator. Everyone who attended Thursday night was in a high-spirited, giving mood which heightened the hopes of varsity coach and SRA executive director, Eric "Cat" Catalano. 

"We would like to say that the event was very successful and exceeded our budget," said Catalano. "The success of this fundraiser makes rowing accessible to anyone who wants to row at SRA," Catalano went on to say. The final figures on how much was raised Thursday night are still being calculated. At the end of the year all figures will be released publicly for anyone to review since SRA is a not-for-profit run organization.

The festivities began with a 15-year tradition: "The Boat Name Honorees". 

The six boats included The Alcalyn, named for a ten year veteran rower, Tony Stellato. The name combined his three daughters names, Lynda, Casey and Alex Stellato, all SRA alumni.

The Falvo, was named for John Falvo, a long time SRA dock master and board of director member. Falvo's entire family got involved with rowing, including John's wife, Julia and their three daughters Sarah, Lisa and Nicole. Nicole Falvo currently coaches. 

Another boat was named in honor of Fred Cole, one of the first SRA presidents. "Mr. Cole organized the rowing program and helped to make SRA a more professional organization," said Catalano. Cole influenced SRA to take on state championship regattas. His family, including his wife Mary and daughters Maria and Meghan, all cheered as Cole accepted his recognition.

A uniquely named boat called the"Vita Inacta Non Moriar", which translated from Latin into English means, "I will not die a life unlived." This boat was named after two young rowers Erin Clare Fay and Adam Dane Webb died separately and tragically. Erin died in a car accident and Adam died while hiking in Alaska during the early years of SRA.

The Keith Abler, a magnificent boat named for a magnificent former SRA coach. Keith Abler served as the varsity boys coach for several years. Abler, 39, still looks the part of a tremendous athlete, not an ounce of body fat on his trim frame. Along with his wife, Shanley, they joined the festivities to help commemorate his years of service working with young rowers. The pair/double boat was named for him because, as head coach Catalano said, "Abler did some of his best training in a pair." Abler was highly dedicated, he held a full time coaching position working twelve to fifteen hours per week while the father of two small children. He trained on his own by rowing, biking and prepping as a tri-athlete. Catalano told the crowd that "Abler made time for what he valued and inspired numerous athletes to do their best." 

Rowing, a sport in which athlete's race and test their skills against the clock or one another on different bodies of water, depending upon the discipline, pushes each to their limits. The sport, one of the oldest in the Olympics, can be recreational or highly competitive. Fitness plays a tremendous role.

On hand were supporters and members of a variety of boats. Each practices during potentially through three seasons in which rowers pursue good physical development, education, recreation along with a strong dose of competition. All those mentalities came into play Thursday night as supporters reconnected with rowing friends, competed against one another during the live and silent auction, all for the love of a sport they adore.

SRA programs include scholastic, community rowing, a Learn to Row program for potential rowers, a Masters Rowing program as well as an Adaptive Rowing program, which has had nine participants. Catalano said the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation gave a grant to the SRA not-for-profit organization to develop an adaptive rowing program. "Four of those participants trained regularly and three competed at regattas SRA hosted this past fall," said Catalano.

SRA's financial review committee identifies each year rowers who need help. That way anyone who wants to row can benefit from the programs. SRA has become what some say is a treasure to the region, for this reason. According to Catalano, the fund raiser made it possible for rowers to pay five hundred dollars per season, not twenty-five hundred dollars it would actually cost. "This fundraiser helps raise twenty-five per cent of the cost of running the boathouse, the facilities and coaching the teams, as well as other quality programs."

"I'll dance on a table to get a bid," John Orsini, the night's auctioneer, announced with a broad smile to the crowd during bidding on a weekend cabin offering.

Catalano attempted to bid on items but had this to say about defeat, "I personally bid four hundred twenty-five dollars on some of the home made cakes and I lost!"
Michelle Prager, co-food tent coordinator along with a group of women known as the "food tent Moms" carefully surveyed the list of auction items. Prager said their work to feed the rowers comes down to their motto that "it takes a team to feed a team." The other food tent mothers, including Annie Wakeman and Tracy Bossalini, co-food tent coordinator, all cheered during the boat naming announcements along with SRA President, Joanie Fitzhenry. "I've never seen such a dynamic crowd. This is truly a night to remember," said Fitzhenry.

Silent and live auction items included a kayak rental that went for seventy-five dollars, a White Mountain cabin for a weekend won for one-hundred dollars, tennis lessons that cost one bidder eighty-five dollars. A behind the scenes tour of "Good Morning America" studios, in Times Square to see GMA anchors Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos went for one-hundred fifty dollars. The Crew Spectator basket went for one-hundred fifty dollars as another bidder won an Audi station wagon kit that hit the fifty dollar mark.

As the bidding continued, Coach Keith Alber talked quietly about how he cannot wait until he watches the newly named boat make its way across Saratoga Lake. "I never thought this honor would be bestowed upon me and for that I am grateful," said Alber with a beaming smile.


                                           UPCOMING SRA CALENDAR OF EVENTS


If you want to Tweet pictures, here is the hash tag for this weekend's event:

Sectional Championship at Niskayuna - May 5 - 6

New York State Championships at Fish Creek at Saratoga Lake - May 12 - 13

Stotesbury Cup Regatta on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia - May 18 - 19

Junior B/Junior C Championships at Fish Creek at Saratoga Lake - May 19 - 20

SRAA Scholastic Nationals in Camden, New Jersey - May 25 - 26

SRA Senior High School Rowers Banquet - June 5

U.S. Rowing Youth Nationals in Oak Ridge, Tennessee - June 8

Modified League Championships - June 9th

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Elaine Hume Peake

Elaine Hume Peake has vast experience covering news, lifestyle and entertainment since 1976. As an award-winning media executive, senior producer and show runner for a variety of multimedia, Elaine has a deep sense of curiosity and enjoys digging deep to find not only the serious side of life but also the immense joys. Elaine's proven expertise on the national and the local level while working in Washington, DC for Post Newsweek stations, WPLG in Miami, WABC in New York City, WCBS in New York City and WTEN in the Capitol region, she has found a wonderful home in Saratoga. Elaine has extensive experience on the editorial and the creative production side. She has developed several news and talk shows, documentaries, non-fiction television series, major live events and specials has taken her on a fantastic journey she will share with her audience of A LITTLE ABOUT A LOT. Elaine's perspective after covering riots, Princess Di's death, Pope John Paul II funeral and others such as the search and recovery of the body of John F. Kennedy, Jr, numerous political campaigns, major crime stories to the amazingly life changing days of 9/11 created her level of news gravitas. Elaine has been the driver of numerous newsrooms in the nonstop 24/7 news cycle of New York City, Miami, Washington, DC and now this region. She is well as traveled and enjoyed her globe trotting in search of great tales to share. Elaine loves to communicate the story in an interesting, compelling and enjoyable way. She is a passionate idea generator and program innovator with a news metabolism for innovation, change and a focus on the future while a perspective from over the past 35 years of news. Elaine maintains a keen awareness on delivering enjoyment to her readers whether it be a major news happening or a compelling, memorable moment in time. Elaine is on board with Saratoga.com for a fun ride deeper into the world of this region and wants her readers of A LITTLE ABOUT A LOT to be a part of the journey but also a major participate in the ongoing conversation. Readers can e-mail me with comments, suggestions, ideas, stories at