Craft Beer Success Means Expansion At Local Brewery, More Business At Steel Fab Company

June 8, 2016

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Bert Weber, left, and Christian Weber, owners of Common Roots Brewing Co. in South Glens Falls are adding four new fermenting vats to the growing operation.

Courtesy Common Roots Brewing Co.

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Fronhofer Tool Co. has moved into the niche of making fermenting vats for breweries.

Courtesy Fronhofer Design

By Jill Nagy

Common Roots Brewing Co. in South Glens Falls is doubling its brewing capacity and a local company, Fronhofer Design of Cossayuna Lake, is fabricating the vats that will allow them to do it.

Both are local, family-owned, companies.

Common Roots will add four new 20-barrel (620 gallons) fermenting vats and a new 20-barrel "bright tank," said co-owner Bert Weber.

The bright tank, he said, is for the final conditioning of the beer. It spends a day or two in the tank before being transferred to kegs.

Fronhofer is a 36-year-old steel fabrication company in Washington County, consisting of Fronhofer Tool and Fronhofer Design. Brewery equipment is a relatively new line of work for them.

"They do beautiful work," Bert Weber said of Fronhofer.

Getting into the brewery niche began about two years ago, according to Paul Fronhofer II, who runs the business along with his brother Kyle. Paul Sr. founded the business in 1980.

Their projects have included a 40-barrel tank for a meadery (a honey-based beverage) in the Bronx, a 70-barrel tank for the Brown's Brewery facility in Hoosick Falls, and a full-scale brewery in Argyle.

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Concerned Citizens For Saratoga Racing Tabs Lewi As Chair, Pushes for Track Privatization

June 8, 2016

The Concerned Citizens for Saratoga Racing has rejected the state's plan for re-privatization of the New York Racing Association.

NYRA is the group that operates Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park and Aqueduct, the three main thoroughbred horse racing tracks in the state.

According to the local group, the plan now being circulated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that seeks to retain public control of NYRA and unilaterally transfer funds legally designated for the state's thoroughbred racing industry into the state's general fund.

Four years ago, Cuomo "promised to return NYRA to a nonprofit corporation in three years," Concerned Citizens said in a statement. "He did not keep that promise last year. This year, his plan is another means by which he is seeking to exert his control over NYRA and the future of our state's thoroughbred racing industry."

The group, which recently elected Maureen Lewi as its chairwoman, said the governor's proposal will:

• Allow the governor to appoint one-third of the members to the new NYRA board of directors or five of the 15 members.

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Downtown Business Association Joins With SPAC For Discount Promotional Venture

June 8, 2016

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) has partnered with the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association in celebration of SPAC's 2016 50th anniversary season, offering SPAC patrons a 10 percent discount at participating DBA member businesses.

Participating DBA businesses show a SPAC 50 logo in their window.

In addition, SPAC and the DBA co-present a chance to win SPAC amphitheater tickets to all 2016 performances of the Freihofer's Saratoga Jazz Festival, New York City Ballet, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The sweepstakes package is valued at more than $2,000.

Officials said anyone can enter to win by completing an entry form at participating DBA member businesses before June 19. The winning entry will be drawn on June 21. Participants must be 18 or older to enter.

"We are delighted to announce our exciting 2016 50th Anniversary partnership with the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association," said Marcia J. White, president and executive director of SPAC. "For five decades, community collaborations such as our continued partnership with Saratoga's DBA member businesses have facilitated SPAC's growth into an internationally renowned summer home for world-class music and dance. As we celebrate SPAC's 50th Anniversary, we celebrate this community that has enhanced, enriched, and expanded SPAC for fifty years."

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'Simplicity, A Salon' Moves Into Embassy Suites Hotel, Serving Guests And The General Public

June 8, 2016

Tina Levielle-Briscoe, co-owner of Simplicity, A Salon, styles hair in the studio's new space at the Embassy Suites hotel in Congress Plaza. The business moved there from Henry Street.

©2016 Saratoga

By MAureen Werther

After 16 years on Henry Street, Simplicity, A Salon, now occupies space in the Embassy Suites hotel in Congress Plaza.

The space was available after a previous tenant vacated the premises. Co-owners Tina Levielle-Briscoe and her husband, Sahn, decided it was the right time to make the move.

"We loved Henry Street, but parking was becoming too difficult for our clients and we felt it was time to switch our energies to a new space," she said.

Levielle-Briscoe said it all happened very quickly. Although they had considered making the move when Embassy first opened, another salon leased the space. However, in March of this year, they were given the opportunity to take the spot. Their lease on Henry Street was coming up for renewal and they made the decision to move.

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Kraverie, New Restaurant In Arts District, Has Eclectic Mix Of Unique Dishes On Its Menu

June 8, 2016

Charles Usher and his wife, Amy Usher, are proprietors of Kraverie, a restaurant sensation that fuses Korean and French cuisine in the Beekman Street Arts District in Saratoga Springs.

©2016 Saratoga

By MAureen Werther

Kraverie, a Jersey City restaurant sensation that fuses Korean and French cuisine, is opening a second location in the Beekman Street Arts District in Saratoga Springs.

The new eatery opens at 78 Beekman St. on June 11. As it turns out, chef/owner Christian Usher is accustomed to taking his show on the road.

As their website says, Kraverie is the "brainchild of two revolutionary food truck owners."

Charles Usher started his culinary career 10 years ago in Jersey City, N.J., as a food truck vendor, operating Lucinda's Creperie. It was there that he met his business partner, Charles Heo, also a food truck vendor and owner of Krave, a Mexi-Korean BBQ.

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Cerri Annette Banks Is Named Skidmore College Dean Of Students Beginning Aug. 1

June 8, 2016

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Cerri Annette Banks will be the new Skidmore College dean of students.

Courtesy Skidmore College

Skidmore College in May named Cerri Annette Banks as dean of students and vice president for student affairs.

Currently serving as vice president for student affairs and dean of the college at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., Banks will begin her new position at Skidmore on Aug. 1.

"We are truly thrilled to welcome Cerri Banks, who brings an extraordinary level of experience in the increasingly complex world of student affairs," said Skidmore President Philip A. Glotzbach. "She is uniquely qualified to lead a division that oversees every facet of our students' lives outside of the classroom. Her background and insights will be invaluable in the President's Cabinet and across our campus."

Banks will oversee 134 employees and five offices within Student Affairs, including athletics, campus life, career development, student diversity programs, and student academic services.

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Smashburger Restaurant Coming To Clifton Park

June 8, 2016

By Jill Nagy

A new Smashburger restaurant, the fourth in the Capital District, is scheduled to open in Clifton Park July 20.

One of the branches is on Marion Avenue in Saratoga Springs in the Fresh Market shopping plaza.

Co-owner Marc Goldstein is director of real estate for Columbia Development Cos. in Albany. His co-owner and the operating partner, Leo Butera, has some 30 years of experience in the franchise business, mainly supervising franchisees on behalf of their parent companies.

Goldstein and Butera have the exclusive franchise rights for an area comprising six upstate New York counties and all of Vermont. They have contracted to open eight restaurants in their territory. The Clifton Park site is their fourth and they plan to open a new outlet every two years.

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Cuomo Introduces 8 Laws To Cap Campaign Contributions At $5,000, Closing 'Loophole'

June 8, 2016

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced in May that he is advancing legislation to close what he called "the LLC loophole" in New York state.

The governor has introduced eight bills - one for all political offices and one for each of the state's elected offices, requiring that limited liability corporations be treated as traditional corporations, capping contributions at $5,000. The bills would prevent LLCs from circumventing disclosure requirements and ensure that businesses do not wield an outsized influence in politics and elections across the state, Cuomo said.

"The people of New York are demanding change and it's time we took action to restore the public trust by closing the LLC loophole and bringing fairness to our campaign finance system," Cuomo said. "For years, I have proposed closing the LLC loophole--one of the most egregious flaws in our campaign finance system--and every year the bill has stalled. This year, I am introducing eight different bills to close the LLC loophole - one for each elected office in the state. Pass all of them, or as many as you'd like, but at a minimum, pass the one impacting anyone running for the office of the governor."

He said the LLC loophole is widely open to abuse - with companies regularly taking advantage of the gap in state law to set up numerous LLCs to donate millions of dollars to political campaigns, candidates for public office and elected officials in New York.

These eight bills are designed to close the LLC loophole, all of which apply to candidates for governor:

1. Everyone (all candidates for state political office).

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Lola Accessory Boutique Has New Broadway Space, Prepares To Launch New Product Line

June 8, 2016

Megan Druckman operates Lola Saratoga at 372 Broadway, formerly Lola Accessory Boutique. The store sells women's handbags, jewelry and accessories and some paper goods.

©2016 Saratoga

By Jill Nagy

The former Lola Accessory Boutique in Saratoga Springs has a new name, a new location and is about to launch a new product line.

The shop, now known as Lola Saratoga, moved in April to larger quarters at 372 Broadway, a location that allows greater visibility and an expanded assortment of merchandise, according to its owner, Megan Druckman.

The store sells women's handbags, jewelry and accessories and some paper goods. Their products include Rebecca Minkoff handbags and they are the only Capital Region outlet for Kate Spade products, Druckman said.

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A Portion Of 'Fireball Run', A Contest Streamed On TV, Internet, To Be Filmed Locally In Sept.

June 8, 2016

Fireball Run, a television and internet streaming series, will be crossing New York state in late September, passing through southern Saratoga County in September.

The Fireball Run is a live action trivia pursuit, adventure travel competition that has "missions" or tasks framed as trivia. Each 26-episode season is filmed in a section of the country, edited, then streamed over the internet in the U.S. and shown on television stations.

Welcome events are planned in Ballston Spa and Clifton Park, according to the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County, as 40 competing teams vie for top honors in solving clues and engaging with historic artifacts. Contestants also aid in the search for America's missing children, and to date 48 children have been found in part by their efforts, according to program officials.

The contestants will be in the area on Sept. 29 and 30.

The event is not a race, organizers said. Teams earn points for completing tasks after having driven to spots of interest, many times historical, based on clues. Points also can be deducted for things like speeding.

The 2016 rally will be going up and down the Hudson Valley as well as the surrounding states from Sept. 23 to Oct. 1. Estimates put the financial impact of the presence in a community at $250,000 per day, according to the production company.

The rally will arrive in Ballston Spa Sept. 29 and Clifton Park on Sept. 30.

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J.W. Danforth Co., Mechanical Contracting Company, To Have New Halfmoon Office Soon

June 8, 2016

By Maureen Werther

J.W. Danforth Co. plans to take occupancy of its newest location at 5 Liebich Lane in Halfmoon by late fall or early winter of this year.

One of the largest mechanical contracting firms in the Northeast, Danforth has its origins in the Buffalo area, where it began over 130 years ago. Its main office is now located in Tonawanda, a few miles outside of Buffalo. The company received site plan approval from the Town of Halfmoon in early May.

Danforth came to the Capital Region in the fall of 2015 to help support the expansion at GlobalFoundries. The company initially rented space in Clifton Park until about six months ago. The company is now occupying space at 107 Hermes Road in Malta until construction on the new office is completed.

This new building will be the third location for Danforth. They also have an office in Victor, N.Y.

According to Steve DiRaimo, vice president of business development and acquisitions, "With the addition of the new office, Danforth will be better positioned to expand in the Capital Region and offer a full array of services, including custom sheet metal and pipe fabrication; full mechanical contracting services; design-build capabilities; energy performance contracting, and other specialty offerings."

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NBT President Dietrich Named Chairman, Among Bank Management Changes In 2016

June 8, 2016

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NBT President and CEO Martin A. Dietrich was elected chairman of NBT Bancorp Inc.

Courtesy of NBT

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Daryl R. Forsythe has retired as chairman of NBT Bancorp Inc.

Courtesy of NBT

The board of directors of NBT Bancorp Inc. elected President and CEO Martin A. Dietrich to the position of chairman following the retirement of Daryl R. Forsythe.

Dietrich also announced his intention to retire in December 2016.

Dietrich began his career in financial services with NBT Bank, N.A, in 1981. He joined the bank's senior management team in 1995. Dietrich became president of the bank in 2000; advanced to president and CEO of the bank and president of NBT in 2004; and ultimately became CEO of NBT in 2006. He joined the board of directors in 1993 and NBT's board of directors in 2005.

Dietrich is a graduate of Colgate University with a bachelor's degree in economics.

He said of Forsythe, "Daryl's impact on NBT has been tremendous. During his tenure, the company has grown from a community bank with a local presence in central New York to one of the leading financial services organizations in the northeast at a time when the banking industry has faced many historic challenges. On behalf of all NBT directors, our nearly 1,800 employees and our retirees, I extend our deeply-felt gratitude and appreciation for the dedication, leadership and vision Daryl has provided."

The board of directors also unanimously endorsed a succession plan that calls for the promotion of John H. Watt, Jr. to the position of president of the bank, effective immediately, and expanded roles for other members of NBT's Executive Management Team.

Upon Dietrich's retirement from active employment, Watt will succeed him as chief executive officer of NBT and the bank.

"NBT has benefited from consistent leadership for several decades," said Dietrich. "We are pleased to have the resources within our organization to create this succession plan. The board's unanimous endorsement of the plan speaks to the high level of confidence they have in John Watt and NBT's entire Executive Management Team."

Watt joined NBT in 2014 to lead the bank's expansion into Maine and establish a regional headquarters in Portland. Since joining NBT, his role has expanded to provide executive leadership for credit administration, consumer lending, marketing and product development. He was promoted to executive vice president in 2015.

Watt has over 30 years of experience in financial services. Prior to joining NBT, he was executive vice president of commercial banking, investment management and bank operations at Alliance Bank, N.A., through the merger with the bank in 2013.

Previously, he was employed by JP Morgan Chase and its predecessors. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a bachelor's degree in political science and earned his Juris Doctor from the National Law Center at George Washington University.

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Straight-Edge Razor Shaves, Haircuts Available At TruCutz Barbershop On Jefferson Street

June 8, 2016

Lamont Washington cuts a customers hair at his new establishment, TruCutz Barbershop, on Jefferson Street in Saratoga Springs. The shop opened in May.

©2016 Saratoga

By Maureen Werther

Lamont Washington has two important talents: He knows hair cutting and he knows marketing. His new business, TruCutz Barbershop, celebrated its opening on May 6 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the renovated building at 44 Jefferson St. in Saratoga Springs.

Since then, he said he has seen his new business grow day by day.

Washington didn't start out with the expectation of becoming a barber. As a marketing major at SUNY Brockport, he started cutting his fraternity brothers' hair and discovered he was pretty good at it. Realizing that it was a way for him to earn extra cash while attending school, he asked the owner of a local barbershop if he could use one of the empty chairs. The shop owner, who had no employees at the time, agreed.

"After watching me cut hair, the barber realized that I was pretty good at it," said Washington. "It worked out well because the barber had nobody cutting hair in his shop at that point. He offered to train me, and I agreed and became his apprentice."

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National Grid To Hold Upstate Business Prices

June 8, 2016

National Grid's prices for delivering electricity and natural gas to upstate New York customers will be extended at today's levels into 2018, following regulatory approval of a plan that also will allow the company to continue investment in its networks.

Current energy delivery prices will be maintained through March 2018, extending a period of delivery rate stability for consumers that began more than a decade ago, company officials said.

The company also will be increasing its capital investment in its electricity and natural gas networks over the next two years to approximately $1.3 billion, bringing total investment since 2013 to more than $3 billion. These investments are improving the safety and reliability of the networks, encouraging growth and enhancing storm resiliency, said Daly, National Grid president-New York.

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Mandate For Prescriptions To Be Emailed To Pharmacies Will Improve Safety, Officials Say

June 8, 2016

As New York state shifts away from paper prescriptions, an Albany Medical Center physician said electronic prescribing, or "e-prescribing," will lead to improved patient safety and a more efficient prescription process.

As of March 27, all prescriptions written in the state must be transmitted electronically from the prescriber directly to the pharmacy.

According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the requirement is a key component of New York's I-STOP initiative that is focused on helping curb the abuse of prescription medication throughout the state.

Prescriptions will no longer be handwritten or called into a pharmacy for all medications, including controlled substances, except in rare circumstances.

According to state officials, those limited situations include such things as disasters, and technological or electrical failures. In exceptional circumstances requiring written prescriptions, prescribers must still use official state prescription forms and document the reason for use of the paper script each time. Prescribers with waivers are exceptions to the e-prescribe mandate. Patients seeking the best prices for their medications can still comparison shop before asking their doctor to send their prescriptions to their preferred pharmacy.

According to Dr. Patricia Hale, associate medical director of informatics at Albany Medical Center, the benefits of e-prescribing include:

• Lower risk of errors due to poor handwriting.

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The Wesley Community Improvements To Springs Building Includes More Private Rooms

June 8, 2016

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Improvements and enhancements at the Wesley Community's Springs building include this upgraded dining area. Enhancements began in 2015 and more are scheduled over time.

Courtesy The Wesley Community

The Wesley Community in Saratoga Springs, a provider in housing and services for independent seniors and those requiring all levels of care, recently unveiled a series of enhancements and improvements to its Springs building.

The renovations to the fifth floor of the Springs building increase the amount of private rooms from four to 17, officials said. The redesigned floor includes an upgraded dining room, warm and inviting common spaces with gas fireplaces, new LED lights to make the space brighter, and an improved air circulation system that will increase resident comfort.

Resident rooms on the fifth floor have received a substantial upgrade as well. Each room now features an updated bathroom with shower, new furnishings, and a flat-screen television. Meals will now be delivered from a centralized kitchen that is also accessible to residents.

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North Country ENT and MedSpa Evolves Its Business To Have More Of A Spa Retreat Feel

June 8, 2016

Meredeth Conley, an aesthetician at North Country ENT and MedSpa, applies a facial treatment to a client. The business has added a spa treatment feel in addition to providing medical services.

©2016 Saratoga

By Jennifer Farnsworth

North Country ENT has undergone a revitalization and is now known as North Country ENT and MedSpa.

Just as the change in name suggests, the business has evolved into more of a spa retreat feeling, according to office manager Claire Hensler.

Dr. Robert Hughes and staff are now not only ear, nose and throat specialists, but offer a full holistic treatment service spa as well.

Hensler said the MedSpa offers European waxing, which covers all areas of the body; permanent makeup, which aids individuals with visual impairments or dexterity-related conditions that may make applying makeup a challenge; laser-free tattoo removal; micro-needling, also known as collagen induction therapy; cosmeceuticals, which helps to create and maintain a youthful looking complexion; acne treatments, facials and peels, BioLOGIC cosmeceutical spray tan, FuturaFace light therapy, teeth whitening and Infra-Slim body contouring.

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Albany Med Specialist, With Saratoga Office, Says People Should Know Skin Cancer Signs

June 8, 2016

Albany Medical Center melanoma specialist Dr. Hal Fletcher Starnes is urging Capital Region residents to know the risks, signs and symptoms of skin cancer as the summer season arrives and sun exposure is greatest.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation of America, an estimated 76,380 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. Some 10,000 of which will be fatal. It is the fifth most common cancer in men and the sixth most common in women.

"Every time you step outside without wearing appropriate clothing or sun block you are putting yourself at risk," said Starnes, a surgical specialist with advanced training and experience diagnosing and treating skin cancer whose office is in Saratoga Springs.

He said there are three types of skin cancer. The first two are basal cell and squamous cell, which are less serious and are often found on the nose and cheek areas. The third type is melanoma, which can develop anywhere on the body usually 10-15 years after the initial sun damage occurred and can be deadly.

Wayne Morris, 70, of Greenwich, said it was discovered that he had melanoma approximately the size of a quarter on his scalp.

"I happened to be at my yearly physical when my physician first saw the lesion on my head. He sent me to Dr. Starnes who saw me immediately and diagnosed and removed what we now know was a very serious case of melanoma," said Morris, who credits Starnes and the advanced technology used to make a quick diagnosis, which resulted in a positive outcome.

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Trades Union Heads See Business Picking Up For Members; Growth Of Tech Industry Cited

June 8, 2016

Members of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 773 are finding more work in the area.

©2016 Saratoga

by Susan E. Campbell

After nearly three years of anticipation, local union officials say the economy upstate may be on the verge of a healthy growth spurt.

Recent years have been slow for the building trades. But technology firms throughout the Capital District and parts north have played a big part in projected business growth, said Scott B. Martel, business manager of the U.S. Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 773.

"As tech firms expand, more businesses come to the area to supply what those firms need," Martel said, furthering the demand for qualified tradesmen across the commercial building industry. Lately most contracts for Local 773 have been in the public works sector, he said.

From September 2015 through April 2016, 90 apprentice plumbers and steamfitters took part in the most recent training school, meeting for three hours, three times a week, following a full work day, Martel said. The apprentice program lasts five years, but even the most experienced journeymen continue classroom training and practical experience to keep up their skills.

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MacDonald Tread Bumpy Path But Now Owns Successful Plumbing, Heating Service Business

June 8, 2016

Craig MacDonald started Suburban Services Group in Burnt Hills over three decades ago.

Courtesy Suburban Services Group

By Maureen Werther

Craig MacDonald, owner of Suburban Services Group in Burnt Hills, started his company 36 years ago, and he doesn't mind saying that the first 15 years were a struggle.

In fact, MacDonald's career path took a lot of twists and turns before he was able to build the successful business he runs today, which has been providing heating, air-conditioning and stand-by generators area residents and businesses since 1980. He knows what it is like to start out in one direction, only to find out it may be the wrong path.

MacDonald has gone from working for a telephone company in the New Jersey town where he grew up, to serving in the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, to selling fire hydrants in upstate New York. Each of those experiences played a role in guiding him along the slow, often circuitous path to success.

"I wasn't terribly happy selling fire hydrants and I started thinking of other things I could do," he recalled. He knew he didn't want to work for anyone else. "So, I started my own remodeling company."

"I did everything from foundation to roof" in the remodeling business, he said. This was during the early 1980s, and it coincided with a large number of GE layoffs. "It was a tough business anyway," he said. "But, on top of it, you had all these GE guys out there now, looking for work. Basically, anyone who had a pickup truck became a contractor."

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Hidden Fountain Commons To Be Built On Lawrence Street, Comprised Of 6 Apartments

June 8, 2016

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This rendering shows the three-story building that is proposed for 61 Lawrence St. in Saratoga Springs. It will have four two-bedroom apartments and two three-bedroom apartments.

Courtesy Brayton Construction

By Jill Nagy

Developer Bill Brayton is expecting to break ground soon on a six-unit luxury apartment development at 61 Lawrence St., in Saratoga Springs.

It will be built by his company, Brayton Construction Inc. in Albany. He said he is waiting for one last approval from the city before beginning work.

The project is called Hidden Fountain Commons.

The development will consist of a three-story, 3,420-square-foot building, with four two-bedroom apartments and two three-bedroom apartments, built in a Victorian-style building with a wrap-around porch. He plans two retail spaces on the first floor and 29 parking spaces.

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Remodelers: Many People Are Making Home Improvements, Not Moving Into New Homes

June 8, 2016

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Dan Camarota, a remodeler, says glass showers like this are becoming popular.

Courtesy Custom Renovations

BY Molly Congdon

People's homes are full of precious moments and memories that people like to preserve.

Many people want to stay in the same place but there are changes that must be made to make it possible. Many people remodel for accessibility, gravitating toward open designs.

People also give their homes a face lift to increase resale value or because they want to make their living situation more enjoyable. Instead of moving forward with new construction, some prefer to renovate.

"Since the big banks mortgage collapse, I believe more than ever that people are leaning toward renovating their homes and protecting the investment that they already have," said Dan Camarota, owner of Custom Renovations in Saratoga Springs. "Upgrading their existing home into a dream kitchen or mini spa or a family room basement is much more affordable then taking the chance with a new, higher mortgage for their 'dream home.' They are already invested right where they are, so they make it as comfortable as possible for much less than buying a new home."

The market in Saratoga and Glens Falls is a hot market, said Greg Raczkowski, owner of Inspired Designs. "I think because of the recession a lot of people are a little gun shy to buy new. Back before the recession, interest rates were so low, when people wanted to renovate or remodel they would just say, 'Well, why don't we just sell our home and buy a new house.' It was an easy transition and it made sense at the time."

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Forensic Accounting & Consulting Firm Offers Litigation Support And Investigation Services

June 8, 2016

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Pamela D. Wickes has created Wickes Forensic Accounting & Consulting.

Courtesy Pamela D. Wickes

Local forensic accountant Pamela D. Wickes has branched off to found Wickes Forensic Accounting & Consulting LLC.

The niche accounting services firm focuses on forensic accounting, litigation support, consulting, and collaborative divorce financial services.

The forensic accounting services include a wide variety of investigations and economic damages calculations to assist with the resolution of the financial aspects of business and personal disputes, including those related to employee embezzlement, shareholder disputes, divorce, bankruptcy, certain insurance claims, and construction and post-acquisition disputes.

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Business Report: Having A Buy-Sell Agreement

June 8, 2016

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Frank Mayer, a member of Bond Schoeneck & King, deals with tax-related matters.

Courtesy Bond Schoeneck & King

By Frank C. Mayer

It's been said that all good things must come to an end. This includes an ownership interest in a closely-held business.

Many successful business owners concentrate so much of their creative energy and talent on growing their business that they may not set aside the time for, or may choose to put off, making critical decisions about how they plan to deal with the eventualities of life.

Among the important questions that the owners of a closely-held business should address are: How long do I want to be in business? What happens if I become ill or pass away? Will I be able to preserve the value of my business for my loved ones? If something happens to one of my business partners, how do I prevent an unwanted third party from acquiring an ownership interest in the business?

These threshold questions are easily addressed in what is commonly referred to as a buy-sell agreement, which is a binding agreement between the owners of a closely-held business. By entering into a buy-sell agreement, the owners of a closely-held business can take some comfort in knowing that a well-considered plan is in place to smoothly guide both the owner and the business through the transition process.

A buy-sell agreement may be used by various forms of businesses, including corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships. Buy-sell agreements are typically structured as a cross-purchase transaction, as a redemption transaction, or as a combination of a cross-purchase and a redemption.

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Business Report: Health Savings Accounts

June 8, 2016

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David Cumming, CFP, RICP, CRPS, is a senior vice president with Morgan Stanley.

Courtesy Morgan Stanley

By David L. Cumming

Health savings accounts are a popular resource commonly used by individuals covered by a high-deductible health plan. Whether you have access to an HSA through your employer or you opt to enroll in one on your own, there is much to learn about these flexible savings vehicles.

The number of Americans covered by high-deductible health plans (HDHPs)/health savings accounts (HSAs) rose to about 19.7 million in 2015--up from 17.4 million in 2014. On average, enrollment in HDHPs/HSAs has risen nearly 22 percent over the past two years.

If you are new to HSAs and eager to take advantage of all the potential benefits they have to offer, keep the following in mind as you familiarize yourself with your account this year.

HSAs help to cushion the effect of high up-front medical costs, but in order to take advantage of your account it must be funded. According to industry experts, having an open account is not enough. You must have money in the account--even a few dollars--in order for it to be considered a valid source of tax-advantaged funding. If you wait until a medical bill arrives to fund your HSA for the first time, you may well miss out on its key benefit.

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Financial Management And Consulting Firm Changes Name To BST & Co. Effective July 1

June 8, 2016

A prominent financial and management consulting firm will operate under the new banner of BST & Co. LLP, effective July 1.

The new banner follows a year of significant growth for the firm, which generated a substantial increase in local and regionally-based revenue in 2015, the company said.

Officials said the name change will allow the firm to strategically focus its efforts on its core markets in the greater Capital Region and Hudson Valley, as well as other areas in upstate New York. There are plans to grow a strong presence of its valuation, forensic and litigation practices in the New York City, Westchester, Long Island, New Jersey and other downstate markets.

"Our new name is a nod to our heritage and history and is a testament to our positive outlook and steadfast confidence in the local and regional economy. There is a tremendous amount of growth potential and opportunity in the Capital Region and nearby Hudson Valley. We strongly believe that focusing our attention on these markets, while continuing our work in New York City, will position BST for significant growth in the years to come," said BST & Co., LLP Managing Partner Ronald L. Guzior, CPA. "We look forward to continuing to provide our clients with the highest quality of service in our role as their most trusted advisor."

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State Makes $59M In Grants Available For Home Rehab, Improvement, Construction

June 8, 2016

New York state has made $59 million available to construct, rehabilitate, and improve the homes of income-eligible families.

"Every New Yorker deserves a safe, affordable and decent place to call home and with this funding we are taking one more step toward that goal," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "This program will help build safer, healthier communities throughout this state and I encourage any eligible organization to apply."

Funding is available through the state Homes and Community Renewal's Affordable Home Ownership Development Program, administered by the Affordable Housing Corp., which provides up to $40,000 per dwelling to eligible municipalities, municipal housing authorities, and other nonprofit and charitable organizations that develop affordable housing or assist homeowners in funding necessary repairs.

James S. Rubin, commissioner of Homes and Community Renewal, said the program has made nearly 300 Affordable Housing Corp. awards totaling approximately $141 million. "These funds have created or improved more than 7,500 safe affordable homes across the state. We encourage eligible applicants to apply," he said.

Officials said AHODP funds will promote homeownership and revitalize communities by:

• Constructing new owner-occupied homes for sale, including single and multi-family homes, condominiums, or cooperatives, and the replacement of dilapidated mobile and manufactured homes. AHC funds may be used for construction financing, permanent financing, infrastructure improvements, site acquisition, down payment and closing cost assistance, and the replacement of dilapidated mobile homes with manufactured or stick-built homes on homeowner-owned land.

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15 Contractors Are Set For Showcase Of Homes

June 8, 2016

The 2016 Saratoga Showcase of Homes Committee has a line-up of 15 builders in place to participate in its annual Showcase of Homes event.

Celebrating 21 years, the annual fall tradition will run over the three weekends of Sept. 17-18, Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 1-2.

Builders committed to this year's event are Amedore Homes, Bella Home Builders, Barbera Homes, Belmonte Builders, Blitman Development, Bonacio Construction, Caruso Home Builders, Herbinger Construction, Heritage Custom Builders, LaFemme Home Builders, Malta Development, McPadden Builders, Saratoga Builders, Terrace Homebuilders and Witt Construction.

Officials said 20 or more new home locations will be on display in Saratoga County. Tickets to visit these homes will remain at $20.

There will also be a "Taste of Showcase" preview on Friday, Sept. 16. It will be held at selected homes 5-10 p.m. and feature food samplings from area chefs along with local craft beer and wine tastings.

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Personnel Briefs: June 2016

June 8, 2016

The Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau hired Kelly Boucher as director of convention services.

Boucher's primary role will be to work directly with meeting and event planners to ensure a strong Saratoga meeting, conference or convention experience.

Boucher, a 15-year hospitality and events industry professional, most recently served as the education and events manager for the New York State Hospitality & Tourism Association.

She has a bachelor's degree in hospitality management from Johnson & Wales University and a master's of business administration from the College of Saint Rose. She managed a bed and breakfast for several years and has earned her certified guest service professional designation.

Boucher is a 2010 graduate of the Leadership Saratoga program and currently serves as the vice president of the program's alumni association.

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Brittany Lindenmayer was named relationship manager at Ballston Spa National Bank.

Lindenmayer will be responsible for providing financial solutions to customers and for maintaining the daily operations of the bank's Greenfield Center and Wilton branch offices.

She comes to BSNB with retail banking experience from a regional financial institution where she was the supervisor of the operations department. Lindenmayer earned her bachelor of science degree in English from the SUNY Oneonta.

Lindenmayer has participated in a number of community activities, including most recently a roadside cleanup with BSNB's Volunteers in Action and also as a new trail steward for Saratoga PLAN.

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Kevin Bright has joined the Caffè Lena board of directors.

Bright is one of the original executive producers behind the Emmy Award-winning television series "Friends" and is vice president and founding director of Emerson College Los Angeles.

Early in Bright's career, he produced numerous specials for Johnny Cash and David Copperfield. In 1986, he produced the Cable ACE Award-winning series "The History of White People in America," as well as HBO specials starring Robin Williams, Harry Shearer and Paul Shaffer. In 1989, he received his first Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series as supervising producer on Fox's "In Living Color." In 1992, Bright won a Cable ACE Award for Best Comedy Series as executive producer of "Dream On."

Bright lives in Los Angeles and spends summers in Saratoga County.

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Business Briefs: June 2016

June 8, 2016

The Saratoga Builders Association Inc. announced the recipient of its 2016 Student Scholarship Award is Brian McKeighan of Gansevoort.

McKeighan is a senior at South Glens Falls High School and a member of the National Honors Society. He will be attending SUNY Delhi to study construction management this coming fall.

The Saratoga Builders Association makes this $1000 student scholarship award available annually to high school seniors who are planning to pursue a construction industry education.

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The TCT Federal Credit Union announced the recipients of its 2016 academic scholarships.

Four $750 scholarships were awarded to Lillian Snyder (Cambridge High School), Sydney Potter (Shenendehowa High School), Lynn Edwards (Queensbury High School) and Mara Bureau (Queensbury High School).

Each year, TCT awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors who are TCT members, have displayed outstanding academic and extracurricular achievements and demonstrated an awareness of the "people helping people" credit union philosophy. Applicants are judged by representatives of the New York Credit Union Association located in Albany.

Students interested in applying should look for 2017 scholarship applications to become available this fall at any of the TCT Federal Credit Union's four branch locations located in: Ballston Spa, Cambridge, Clifton Park and Queensbury. For more information, visit a TCT branch or

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Members of Sackatoga Stable LLC presented in May a $7,500 donation to Old Friends at Cabin Creek, a Saratoga County thoroughbred retirement home located in Greenfield Center.

The donation stems from the group's belief that a passion for horse racing should be accompanied by a promise make sure horses have a safe and dignified home where they can live a full life off the track.

Formed in 2006 by Knowlton and co-founder Ed Mitzen, Sackatoga Stable LLC was created for investors who wish to enter a horse racing partnership. The group is dedicated to providing investors with an enjoyable racing experience and the potential for achieving financial success through purchasing quality horses, with the added commitment to contributing to nonprofit organizations that benefit all aspects of the sport.

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SPAC Nearing Its $5M Capital Campaign Goal; Board Tabs Bonacio, Higgins As New Members

June 8, 2016

Saratoga Performing Arts Center is embarking on a $5 million capital campaign its board of directors announced in May.

The board also elected two new members, Sonny Bonacio and Richard Higgins, both residents of Saratoga Springs. Leaders in their professions and in the Capital Region community, Bonacio and Higgins will fill vacancies created by outgoing directors Ed Mitzen and Nancy Toohey. Both served SPAC for nine seasons.

SPAC President and Executive Director Marcia J. White said the arts center is launching the public phase of its inaugural 50th anniversary capital campaign to raise funds needed to support SPAC's future.

Noting that the "next 50 years are as important as SPAC's founding 50 years," White said over $4 million of the $5 million target has already been raised during the campaign's silent phase. The goal during this next public phase will be to meet or exceed the fundraising target of $1 million in order to reach at least $5 million.

"In this milestone 50th anniversary season, we pay tribute to SPAC's founders who achieved a goal of monumental proportions when they created SPAC," said White. "Their vision was extraordinary and powerful. It motivated them to push past innumerable obstacles and financial hurdles to create a magnificent, open-air venue in the heart of the Saratoga Spa State Park. Without them, we wouldn't be here today."

"However, SPAC's story and its financial needs are ongoing. Keeping SPAC strong and growing over the next five decades depends on a new generation of founders--our founders of the future," White said.

She noted that funding for nonprofit performing arts centers is increasingly competitive and that ticket sales from classical programs cover only 40 percent of expenses. Each performance of the New York City Ballet and The Philadelphia Orchestra costs approximately $180,000 to present.

A total of 57 donors, including 100 percent board participation, had contributed over $4 million to the campaign at varying levels by mid-May, including a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor, she said. Donors have the option of directing a gift to one of three categories: programming, capital improvements or SPAC's endowment fund. Donors can also choose not to restrict their gift to one area, and instead allow SPAC to direct their gift to the area of greatest need.

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Circus Smirkus Coming To Saratoga Casino Hotel In July; Shows Benefit Waldorf School

June 8, 2016

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Thirty performers ages 11-18 comprise the Circus Smirkus that returns to the outdoor polo field at Saratoga Casino Hotel for four performances this summer.

Circus Smirkus returns to the outdoor polo field at Saratoga Casino Hotel for four performances this summer.

The performances on July 8 and 9 will benefit the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs.

The Circus Smirkus 2016 Big Top Tour will perform at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. on both days.

The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs first brought Circus Smirkus to Saratoga in 2007 as a fundraising and outreach event.

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'Saratoga Casino Hotel' Becomes The Official Name In Casino Rebranding; Hotel Opens Soon

May 5, 2016

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A new sign, 'Saratoga Casino Hotel,' was erected at the casino on Jefferson Street in Saratoga Springs. The casino is rebranding itself in anticipation of opening its new hotel in June.

Saratoga Casino and Raceway has changed its brand for the property. It announced on April 27 it will now be called the Saratoga Casino Hotel.

The change took place immediately, in advance of the anticipated opening of its new 117-room hotel expansion.

Officials said the brand change reflects the casino's transformation into a comprehensive, modern destination that offers something for everyone.

"The addition of the hotel and its amenities, including Morton's The Steakhouse, creates an entertainment experience unmatched in the region," said Rita Cox, senior vice president of marketing at Saratoga Casino Hotel. "Our new brand is a product of this transformation, highlighting that we are a complete entertainment destination within the already world famous tourist destination that is Saratoga Springs. First-time and repeat guests alike will find new reasons to visit, and to keep coming back, for all that we have to offer."

The $40 million, 123,000-square-foot hotel is set to open in July, officials said.

Featuring 117 luxury rooms and suites, the hotel will be located just steps away from the casino floor and harness track. The hotel's premium rooms and suites are named after the raceway's founders and longtime President, Roland Harriman, Dunbar Bostwick, and Ernest Morris. Suites feature large bay windows, and many overlook the harness track. Additionally, guests will be able to watch and wager on live harness racing from every room in the hotel.

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Construction Of Solar Project In Halfmoon Is First 'Shared Renewables' Project In NY State

May 5, 2016

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Solar panels like these in Halfmoon can help reduce energy bills for some residents.

Courtesy Clean Energy Collective

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), state Department of Public Service (DPS), EnterSolar and Clean Energy Collective (CEC) began a collaborative project in April involving construction of the first Shared Renewables community solar project in New York state.

The project is taking place in Halfmoon.

State officials said the project advances the goals of the state's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system by helping to make clean energy a possible choice for more residents.

The success of REV depends on communities taking charge of their own energy as New York increases the growth of electricity generation at customer sites to supplement power generated at central power plants, NYSERDA officials said.

The announcement was made at the groundbreaking for the project April 27 in Halfmoon.

The Halfmoon Community Solar Project will feed solar energy to the grid operated by New York State Electric & Gas Corp. (NYSEG) and will allow more than 100 residential customers in NYSEG's Capital Region territory (parts of Columbia, Essex, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington counties), including low-income residents, to participate in local clean power generation and save money on their electricity bills.

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Distracted Driving Program Is Important To Automobile Museum's New CEO Jim Letts

May 5, 2016

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Jim Letts was appointed the new CEO of the Saratoga Automobile Museum.

Courtesy Saratoga Automobile Museum

The board of trustees of the Saratoga Automobile Museum appointed Jim Letts, CEO of the Saratoga Regional YMCA for the past 12 years, as the museum's new executive director,.

"While serving as the CEO, Jim has had amazing success, growing the Y's membership from 6,900 to 26,900, while raising many millions of dollars through capital campaigns to support and expand the Y's facilities and activities," said Anthony Ianniello, board chairman. "We think he is a perfect fit for our extremely active, rapidly growing museum and are thrilled to have him on board"

One of the factors in Letts coming to the museum was his interest in its nationally recognized distracted driving program, museum officials said.

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Downtown Saratoga Gets Women's Shoe Store, Stephanie Anne's, In Downtown Marketplace

May 5, 2016

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Stephanie Siracusa has opened a new show store, Stephanie Anne's in Saratoga Springs.

©2016 Saratoga

By Maureen Werther

Stephanie Siracusa is trading in her real estate career for a new pair of heels--to be exact, a whole store full of them.

Her new shoe store, Stephanie Anne's, opened in the Saratoga Marketplace, 454 Broadway, on the main level, in between Pangea and Mango Tree. Siracusa offers a wide assortment of shoes, boots and sandals that will appeal to women who love shoes.

"I've thought about opening either a clothing or a shoe store for years," said Siracusa. She is originally from Dallas and lived for several years in New York City as well. When she moved to Delmar, the Shoe Depot in Saratoga became her "go to" store for shoes. "When they closed, it left a gaping hole in the market," she said.

When Siracusa moved from Delmar to Saratoga Springs a few years ago, her plan was to either sell real estate or open a shop. She stuck to that plan and worked with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services on Broadway.

But, the lure of opening her own retail store was strong and, after a couple of years as a realtor, she decided to make the career change.

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'Curtain And Carpet Concepts' Offers Rugs, Window Treatments, Drapery In One Spot

May 5, 2016

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Cathy Carollo, owner of Curtain and Carpet Concepts, with assistant designer Scott Drake.

©2016 Saratoga

By Jennifer Farnsworth

After years of being in the home decor business, Cathy Carollo said she knew it was time to find a space that could accommodate both her growing business and her growing dream.

Carollo has been helping clients with curtains, carpets, and home décor for 22 years. She bought the popular Curtain Exchange of Saratoga in 2002 in the former fire department building at 543 Broadway.

To account for expansion, she moved recently to larger space and created Curtain and Carpet Concepts at 46 Marion Ave., in the shopping area that has Fresh Markets, Smashburgers and other commercial ventures, behind the Hamlets housing project.

"I have been in business in Saratoga, in the oriental rug and carpet end, for 22 years, beginning with Jacobsen Orientals, then with Stockade Orientals as a third-generation rug dealer," said Carollo.

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Vischer Ferry General Store Offers Breakfast And Lunch; Also Jewelry, Soaps, Lotions, More

May 5, 2016

Louise McManus, left, and Anouk Booneman are the owners of Vischer Ferry General Store at 357 Riverview Road, Rexford, that features a café open for breakfast and lunch.

©2016 Saratoga

By Liz Witbeck

Vischer Ferry General Store, owned and operated by Louise McManus and Anouk Booneman, features retail space as well as a café open for breakfast and lunch.

The store, at 357 Riverview Road, Rexford, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 22.

"People have been thrilled," said McManus, who opened the store in December. "They want a place to eat and to walk to. Some people even come in twice a day."

McManus worked at the bridal shop Lily Saratoga for 10 years and also worked as a jewelry designer before opening the business. She brings to Vischer Ferry General Store her knowledge of the retail industry and is responsible for purchasing items for that portion of the store.

"My inspiration is trying to carry unique things that nobody else carries," said McManus. "I am very inspired by nature. I love the nature preserve that we have here. Many of our items are tied to nature in some way. We also have a lot of books, history related items, and local items."

Some of McManus' favorite items at the shop include the jewelry line by Alex Monroe. The line features nature-inspired pieces, such as rabbits and birds. Another favorite is Library of Flowers, a bath and body line featuring lotions, perfumes, soaps, candles, oils, bubble bath, shower gels, and more.

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Ballston Spa Fitness Expands, Adds Indoor Cycling Studio With Six Certified Instructors

May 5, 2016

Tiffany Robyck, owner and founder of Ballston Spa Fitness on Ralph Street in Ballston Spa, offers a new array of fitness programs in a new indoor cycling studio called Ballston Spa Cycle.

©2016 Saratoga

Ballston Spa Fitness has expanded its facility with the addition of a new indoor cycling studio called Ballston Spa Cycle.

"I've wanted to do this for several years," said Tiffany Robyck, owner and founder of Ballston Spa Fitness. "I am an outdoor cyclist and I love to ride. I wanted to share my love for riding and indoor cycling workouts, and I saw a need for this in the Ballston Spa area."

Ballston Spa Cycle is in the same location as Ballston Spa Fitness, 18 Ralph St.

There are six certified indoor cycling instructors who offer classes at various times every day of the week. Classes are 45-60 minutes long.

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Business Briefs: May 2016

May 5, 2016

NBT Bank was named 2015 Financial Institution of the Year at the 12th annual LPL Financial Institution Services Program Leadership Conference held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

NBT Bank was nominated by LPL growth consultants and selected from more than 750 financial institutions based on quantitative and qualitative factors, including year-over-year growth, thought leadership and innovation

The annual conference is one of the industry's largest gatherings of financial institution investment program leaders, with more than 250 bank and credit union program managers and executives in attendance this year. The conference provided attendees with the opportunity to discuss challenges and opportunities in today's financial services environment and the importance of wealth management for the long-term growth of community banks and credit unions and to network with peers.

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The Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association will be sponsoring a Networking Breakfast on Tuesday, May 17, from 7:30-8:30 a.m., hosted by Community Emergency Corps, 78 Thompson St. in Ballston Spa.

Community Emergency Corps, which celebrates 50 years of service in 2016, is a nonprofit, emergency medical service organization that serves the Village of Ballston Spa, the Town of Milton, part of the Town of Ballston. The breakfast falls will include a demonstration of life-saving equipment, as well as a discussion about the world of EMS.

Cost for the breakfast is $5 with advance reservation or $10 that morning, both payable at the door. Business and community members are welcome.

The BSBPA sponsors networking breakfasts every month at different locations in Ballston Spa. For more information or to RSVP, call 885-2772 or email

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