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Did you know that the Oscar winning film '12 Years A Slave' is based on the autobiography of Solomon Northrup who was born in Minerva and later lived in Saratoga Springs? Northrup worked as a free man at several Saratoga hotels, including the Grand Union as a stand-out violinist before he was captured and sold into slavery in Louisiana.

The great-great-great granddaughter of Northrup, Melissa Howell of Seneca Falls, is petitioning President Obama to posthumously award the former Saratoga Springs man the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Having been a frequent visitor and now, a recent resident to Spa City, I truly believe there is nothing more that could be added to make Saratoga even more wonderful than it already is. However, the latest addition may just prove me wrong. A waterfront park on Saratoga Lake that has been in the works for some time now has set its opening date for July 9th.

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One of the progress photos viewable on Saratoga-Springs.org

One of the last remaining, active farms in Saratoga Springs will now belong to the community. Pitney Farm's well-known open fields and sporadically placed rustic, gray barns have become one of the most scenic backdrops within city limits. 

While most farmlands are developed into commercial buildings and office space, the future for Pitney Farm's lands is looking lush and green. This past week, the Saratoga Springs City Council agreed to pay $1 million for the development rights to the farm, and there are some exciting potential plans in the works!

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The Saratoga Builders Association, Inc., recently announced the recipient of their 2015 Scholarship Award. Each year, the Saratoga Builder's Association makes this student scholarship award available to high school seniors who are planning to pursue education in the construction industry. Victoria Pinto, an honor roll senior at Schuylerville High School, is the most recent recipient of the 2015 Scholarship Award.

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With Saratoga's continued growth, nobody is denying the growing need for downtown parking solutions. There is some disagreement, however, in the best way to go about adding it.

The City Center has proposed plans for a 5-story High Rock paid-parking garage to replace the free parking lot behind the City Center. With the capacity to hold 480 vehicles, this new $10.4 million structure would be single use, offering parking only, which many citizens feel doesn't make economic sense for Saratoga.

"We continue to look at our project, and are assessing the design and components to see what it is we can do to be responsive, if possible," City Center President Mark Baker was quoted by the Times Union. "What we have proposed to date is not the finished product."

Opponents of the current proposed plan argue a giant concrete parking garage and connecting pedestrian bridge over Maple Ave would be an eyesore misaligned with the historical integrity of the city when that space could be better utilized while still adding much-needed parking.

Public Forum About High Rock Parking
Citizens discuss High Rock parking at public forum, photo courtesy of Citizens for High Rock, used with permission

The Saratoga County Fair is looking for individuals to compete in the Talent Competitions during the 174th annual fair taking place from July 21st through July 26th. The talent show consists of a variety of acts from stand-up comedy to dancing to ventriloquism, the sky is the limit when it comes to individual talent! 

Think you have what it takes? Find out how to apply.

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Ever wonder how Saratoga truly came to be? Well, you're in luck. In honor of the city's 100th birthday, 25 volunteers led by historian Field Horne, editor of Saratoga Living magazine, thoroughly researched all facets of the city's history and created a 425-page hardcover book that tells the complete story of Saratoga Springs. Want to get your hands on one? They go on sale this Monday at a special event!

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A submission deadline for a wonderful writing opportunity is fast approaching!

Opera Saratoga and Words After War, a literary organization, have partnered up to present an two-day writer workshop, at no cost, to civilians, veterans and military families. Accepted writers will have the rare opportunity to be critiqued by two renowned authors.

The writing workshop will be presented at The New York State Military Museum on July 11th and 12th and is being held in conjunction with Opera Saratoga's premiere of The Long Walk, an opera based on Brian Castner's memoir about war and the struggles of coming home.

All those with a passion for writing are invited to apply, whether you're a civilian, veteran, wife or husband of a soldier, a gold star child, or on active, reserve or guard duty,

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Do you know a Vietnam Veteran? Get in touch with the Saratoga-Wilton Elks Lodge so that they can be honored and celebrated this weekend in Saratoga. The always popular 47th Annual Flag Day Parade will be held on June 13th from 12:00 P.M. to 2:00 P.M, and will be honoring Vietnam Era Veterans and remembering the 50th Anniversary of that conflict

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photo credit: HPIM8647 via photopin (license)

At a crowded public hearing last week, many Saratoga residents, groups and racing enthusiasts gathered to voice their opinions on the planned developments at Saratoga Race Course, which are expected to total as much as $110 million over the course of a decade.

After brushing up on reports from various local news sources, including WNYT, News 10, Times Union and The Saratogian, it's easy to see a pattern; as one speaker so eloquently put it, "The devil is in the details."

While the speakers all had different concerns over these unprecedented developments, one prevailing theme rang clear: "Make necessary upgrades, but don't spoil what we love most about the track."

Saratoga Race Course charm

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