Soroptimist Global Initiative Grant awarded to charity helping African schools

Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation

A Soroptimist Global Initiative Grant has been given to Loisaba Community Conservation Foundation (LCCF), an American 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that serves the Ewaso community located in the Laikipia Valley in Kenya, 100 miles north of Nairobi. LCCF will use the awarded funds to provide computer and Internet access to the Ewaso Primary School’s 425+ students and teachers, which will increase that community’s educational opportunities and awareness of world news.

The grant will help supply secure, dust-free space for the computers; a computer technician; and training and support for Ewaso teachers. Many of the teachers live several hours away from their family and friends, so Internet access will provide a higher quality of life for the staff, allowing the teachers better contact with loved ones.

Ewaso Primary School students have been exchanging letters with Maple Avenue Middle School and Scotia-Glenville Middle School students for the past six years. This ongoing program has greatly enriched the writing and communication skills of the students in both Kenya and the United States, as well as given the children a unique firsthand experience with different cultures. Once the projected Internet connection is in place, the schools’ hope is to institute Skype sessions between the pen pals. This program is possible due to the time, effort and support of local teachers Joan McDonough and Alexis Marquis; the Ewaso Primary School teachers; and their respective administrations.

Through LCCF’s efforts, funds are provided to employ elementary school teachers; build housing for students and teachers; construct new classrooms; create a dining hall; provide for a physician’s assistant and a nurse for the Ewaso community; and sponsor scholarships for high school, college and professional students. The organization recently received news that one of their first scholarship students has graduated from medical school and will be returning to the region to practice medicine. Also due to LCCF’s sponsorship, the first female student from Ewaso has been accepted into medical school. To date, LCCF has sponsored more than 50 secondary, college and university students, as well as provided teachers, classrooms and supplies for more than 1,000 primary school students and given services to nursery school children as well.

LCCF also offers support for conservation and animal husbandry, and has just joined a local rapid-response antipoaching campaign to support efforts to stop the slaughter of rhinoceroses and elephants.

LCCF information can be found at www.LoisabaCCF.org.



Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce announces Ireland trip

Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce 

This year, the Saratoga Race Track will be celebrating the 150th year of racing in Saratoga Springs. The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce 2013 Annual International Travel Trip has been organized to tie into this year of celebrating racing. 

The 2013 trip is a 10-day adventure to Ireland November 2-11. Travelers will experience and visit some of the ways the Emerald Isle and Saratoga County are connected through the thoroughbred industry. Participants will take a tour of the famous Curragh Racecourse in County Kildare, and will also visit some of the most important stud farms in the world, including the Coolmore Stud Farm and the Irish National Stud Farm.

The thoroughbred industry is only a part of all the sites and stops the group tour will make. The trip will include other cultural must-sees, and free time will allow for personal excursions, rounds of golf and shopping.

The cost for members is $2,999 and includes airfare, deluxe accommodations, many meals and the entrance fees to the sites. This price is guaranteed through July 15; reservations after that date will be subject to availability. 

Please contact Kathleen Fyfe for more information at kfyfe@saratoga.org.


Former Good Times Lakeview Restaurant will open as Villago in September; boat launch open now

---- villago sign (large) 

The former Good Times Lakeview Restaurant at 175 Lake Rd. in Ballston Lake, taken over by the owners of Village Pizzeria and Ristorante at 2727 Rte. 29 in East Galway, is under renovation, with an anticipated opening date in September.  

The new eatery's name is Villago, pronounced "Veelago," according to Village Pizzeria owner Sandra Foster. 

“The building and grounds needed a lot of attention, so that was first on our agenda,” she said. “It is a beautiful spot that needed fresh, new ideas, and we are all onboard with the project.

“The new menu will be an abbreviated but similar version of our Village Pizzeria menu,” she continued. “Then we’ll see exactly what the people in the area request.” 

Foster’s family opened Village Pizzeria and Ristorante in 1988. Featuring northern Italian cuisine and an award-winning wine cellar, the eatery offers diners a pairing of food and wine “that tantalizes the taste buds.”

The family educates and informs customers with regular wine tastings and other charitable social gatherings that often revolve around a love of wine.

The boat launch at Villago is open now, as the workers there have the key.



Lifestyles restyled

Lifestyles - Saratoga Springs, NY

The belle of Saratoga’s downtown retail world is turning over a new leaf.  Lifestyles, at the coveted corner of Caroline Street and Broadway, has changed hands, and Saratogians can expect some distinct changes within.  
After 21 years, Lifestyles has a new owner: Heidi West, a Fashion Institute of Technology graduate, fashion buyer and merchandiser. If West looks familiar, that’s because she was a fixture in the shop when her mother, Kay Owen, owned and operated the boutique before her. 

“Heidi was always the major player behind the scenes as a manager and as a buyer,” Owen said. “Now for me, it was time to pursue some new opportunities.” 

West said, “It felt like synchronicity, taking the reins of Lifestyles. It’s a place that for me that feels like home, and I have great things in mind to give the store a fresh face.”
The store will be the same place with fresh space, West said. She will retain all the tried and true brands that have become staples of the Lifestyles customer. 

“We are the only Saratoga boutique that carries Eileen Fisher, Michael Stars, Silver jeans and many other brands,” she said. “We will continue to carry those lines; they’re not going anywhere.”  

Expect to see new and emerging designers, however, and touches like an array of Butter London nail colors, body products from Library of Flowers, and an expanded dress and jewelry department. West travels to New York City and Boston at least once a month, applying her critical eye toward identifying trends for her customers.  

West is a lifelong active member of the community. She is a 1984 Saratoga Springs High School graduate who moved back with her husband to raise her sons. She has also been a founding member and active supporter of the Double H Ranch Partners. She is the vice president of the Saratoga Rowing Association, and has been an integral part of the growth and success of that association, as well as being a master rower.  

“There is a real spirit of Saratoga I try to bring to my store--it’s history with an urban sensibility,” West said.

 She; her husband Bob of Old Saratoga Restorations; and Donna Talley, a designer for “Better Homes and Gardens,” worked together to update the space with new displays, an expansive new sales counter and redesigned dressing rooms. The space is airy and bright with exposed brick and flooded with natural light. The new layout gives the shop an open feel with a vista of visuals.

“I think it’s easier now for our customers to see the merchandise,” West said. “People have been asking me if we raised the ceiling because it appears so much larger inside now.”  

On July 18, West will host an open house from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with live swing jazz by The Hot Club of Saratoga, as well as swag bags, a $100 Eileen Fisher gift card raffle, “lite bites” to eat, Lifestyles’ signature cocktail and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. And though she has less time to devote to her former nonprofit work, she will be doing something a little extra for The Double H Ranch. 

“Don’t call it a grand reopening because I feel like I’ve always been a part of Lifestyles,” West said. “Call it a new beginning.”

Join West and friends July 18 at Lifestyles, 436 Broadway. For more information, call 584-4665 or visit www.lifestylesofsaratoga.com.



Strata opens in place of the former 51 Front Wine Bar and Bistro

Strata Wine Bar Food - Ballston Spa, NY

The Ballston Spa Business and Professional Association (BSBPA), and Mayor John Romano will be celebrating the relaunch of popular Ballston Spa restaurant 51 Front Wine Bar and Bistro as Strata. The well-known eatery at 51 Front St., Ballston Spa, is owned by Joe and Elena Marosek, who are transitioning the menu to feature small-plate items as well as entrées reflecting the owners' Mediterranean roots.

BSBPA, established 30 years ago, is a nonprofit organization committed to making the Village of Ballston Spa a better place to live and work, and to bringing quality arts and entertainment events for all ages to the community. More information can be found at www.ballston.org. 


Ballston Spa National Bank holds renovation celebration at Greenfield Center office

BSNB - Ballston Spa, NY 

Ballston Spa National Bank (BSNB) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony today at the bank’s Greenfield Center office at 3060 Rt. 9N. The occasion marked the completion of recent renovations at this location, and the start of a celebration that featured refreshments and a token gift for customers. In keeping with the refurbishment theme, special offers for home improvement loans, home equity lines of credit, mortgage loans and other bank services will be available to the public through mid-July. 

The Greenfield Center office is one of five BSNB locations to undergo renovations this year. Originally opened in 1991, the location now offers an updated look and an enhanced banking experience.

“BSNB has been a proud member of the Greenfield Center community for some 22 years,” said Christopher R. Dowd, BSNB’s president and CEO. “With this investment, we hope to build on the strong relationships we have established over the years, and to enhance the service and support we provide to our customers.”

Renovations were also recently completed at the bank’s Stillwater, Malta and Galway Offices. A renovation celebration at the Milton Crest Office begins this week as well.

With the right combination of personal service and high-tech convenience, BSNB offers a wide range of products and services to individuals, families, municipalities, nonprofits and businesses. Offices are located in Ballston Spa, Milton, Galway, Stillwater, Burnt Hills, Clifton Park, Malta, Greenfield Center and Wilton. See http://www.bsnb.com www.facebook.com/YourBSNB and www.twitter.com/BSNB.



Hattie’s throws 75th anniversary party

Hattie's™ restaurant 
Hattie’s Restaurant at 45 Phila St. will celebrate 75 years in business with an anniversary party Saturday, June 15, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The offerings will include a $1.38 menu, 50-cent draft beers and great drink specials. Hattie’s famous fried chicken will be among the items served on the $1.38 menu. 

“We were looking for a fun and unique way to pay homage to the year 1938, which is when the restaurant opened, and we came up with the $1.38 menu,” said chef and co-owner Jasper Alexander. “It’s our way to thank the community that has supported us all these years.”

A commemorative Hattie’s Magazine will be launched that day and will be available for guests to take home as a keepsake. Hattie’s has an insert highlighting the employees who have been with the eatery the longest. Two employees who have been there the longest will be honored that day: Ernest Waters, who has been at Hattie’s for 35 years, and Annette Vanderwater, who has been there 18 years.

“It was so much fun putting together all the photos, and reliving the stories of Hattie’s past and present,” said co-owner Beth Alexander. 

Mayor Scott Johnson will be on hand to make a proclamation at the event.

Entertainment for the party will be provided by Hot Club of Saratoga, a gypsy swing jazz band playing music from the 1930s to the early ’50s.

No reservations necessary. Call 584-4790 for more details.

Hattie’s Restaurant is open for dinner seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hattie’s Chicken Shack in Wilton is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Alexanders also operate Hattie’s Track Shack at the Saratoga Race Course.

Hattie’s Restaurant has achieved national recognition with features in “The New York Times,” “Gourmet Magazine,” “Food and Wine,” and other prominent publications. In 2006, Hattie’s was featured on the Food Networks’ “Throwdown!” with Bobby Flay.

See www.hattiesrestaurant.com and www.hattieschickenshacks.com.



Lola Accessory Boutique opens in downtown Saratoga

Lola Accessory Boutique - Saratoga Springs, NY

An official ribbon-cutting recently marked the addition of Lola Accessory Boutique at 454 Broadway to the Spa City’s historic shopping district. The shop features high-quality products without a high price tag, and is intended to be Saratoga's destination boutique for trend jewelry, small leather goods, scarves and hats. This will be a one-stop shop for reasonably priced trend accessories.

With an average price point less than $50, Lola’s inventory includes Echo scarves and hats, Emi-Jay hair accessories, Gorjana jewelry, Kenneth J. Lane jewelry, R. J. Graziano jewelry, San Diego Hat Co. products and Vismaya scarves, as well as many private-label jewelry vendors. The store targets the fashion-savvy and price-conscious customer.

Lola is owned and managed by Capital Region native Megan Druckman, who spent the past seven years working at Bloomingdale's New York City department stores as a buyer and planner in accessories and women’s contemporary ready-to-wear items. She has worked with some of the most high-profile and highly admired executives in the fashion industry.

“Because of the connections I developed at Bloomingdale’s, I am able to offer the most compelling assortment of fashion accessories at competitive prices,” said the Cohoes resident.

Druckman is a graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology, a former intern at Vera Wang, and an employee of Coach and Sunglass Solstice Boutique. She attended Colonie Central High School and currently resides in Cohoes.

 For more information, see www.shop-lola.com.


Gluten-Free Burgers and Beers dinner coming to 50 South restaurant

Fifty South 

Celebrate National Beer Month with a true gluten-free beer as another local restaurant attains Gluten-Free Resource Education and Awareness Training (GREAT) Kitchens status. The Glens Falls and Saratoga Celiac Support Group, Kim Klopstock's Fifty South Restaurant and Bar, and Amy Rota-Poulin are teaming up for the First-Ever Gluten-Free Burgers and Beers Dinner. This four-course all-inclusive dinner will take place at Fifty South on Tuesday, June 18, beginning at 6 p.m., and will feature New Planet Beer, a true 100 percent gluten-free beer. The dinner is $45 per person. 

“The First-Ever Gluten-Free Burgers and Beers Dinner at Fifty South will be a fabulous night that will delight your senses,” said Amy Rota-Poulin, a local gluten-free expert and the only affiliate of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) GREAT Kitchens gluten-free training program in upstate New York. “Kim Klopstock is simply amazing. She features so many local products and has always offered gluten-free dining. You can order with confidence, and know your meal will be prepared by a chef and a staff who have been properly educated to provide gluten-free alternatives in a safe gluten-free environment.”
The four-course dinner’s main course features three different burgers:

  • A Longlesson Farm burger of grass-fed and antibiotic-free beef served on a Saratoga gluten-free roll with fried onion straws , local cheddar cheese, local smoked bacon or pork belly (depending on availability) with grace cheese, and house-made barbeque sauce.
  • A pan-seared tuna burger, served on a Saratoga gluten-free roll with an Asian slaw.
  • A gourmet vegetable burger with local chevre served on a Saratoga gluten-free roll with potato skins.

Each course will be accompanied by the following 100 percent gluten-free New Planet Beers:

  •         Course 1, or the welcome, will feature the Blonde Ale, both light and refreshing, which offers bright notes of honey and a subtle floral aroma with a crisp clean finish
  •        Course 2, or the appetizer, will feature the Raspberry Ale, a delightfully drinkable ale that offers a crisp yet complex balance of subtle fruit flavor and aroma with a zesty, citrusy finish, brewed with natural raspberry puree and orange peel.
  •       Course 3, or the main course, will feature New Planet Beer’s Pale Ale, reminiscent of a classic American Pale Ale, offering bold hop character, and rich caramel and grapefruit notes with a clean yet distinctly hoppy finish.
  •     Course 4, or the dessert, will feature an exclusive tasting of New Planet’s latest Brown Ale, brewed with coffee and organic cocoa, and unavailable in any market served by New Planet Beer until late September.

The evening will also feature a presentation by Rota-Poulin regarding the important aspects of cross-contamination.

“I like the educational component of being a farm-to-table restaurant,” Klopstock said. “We are dedicated to making good wholesome food affordable and delicious by using only the finest and freshest ingredients. We strive to use fair-trade, organic and biodynamically farmed sustainable products wherever possible, while leaving as small an environmental footprint as we can. We never use trans fats or monosodium glutamate. We use only heart-healthy canola oil and fresh unsalted butter. So the gluten-free aspect was fairly easy for us since our food, by nature, is clean and simple.”

Make your reservations in advance by calling Fifty South at 884-2926.  The restaurant is located at 2128 Doubleday Ave. in Ballston Spa.



KidzArt programs come to Saratoga County

KidzArt - Jackson, Michigan       Introduced to the Capital District in 2008, KidzArt, an international art enrichment program for all ages, will now be serving students from Averill Park to Saratoga Springs through three franchise units. KidzArt is a portable art program that brings certified instructors and all materials to schools, camps, clubs, recreation programs or other requested locations. 

The growing interest and expansive geographic territory will be covered through three separate operations. The Saratoga County class locations vary, currently including Chango Elementary School, Arongen Elementary School, King of Kings Lutheran Church, Charlton Heights and Saratoga Independent School.

KidzArt provides drawing-based instruction for students of all ages, including adult classes. The program offers a creative outlet that encourages self-expression, creativity and right-brain thinking in a safe and relaxing environment. New curriculum is constantly being developed so students will never repeat a project.  
In addition to after-school art programs, KidzArt offers classes for preschoolers, teens, adults and senior citizens. Parks and recreation programs, PTA fundraisers, birthday parties and in-school field trips are also available. Summer camps with different themes will be offered for children age 4 to 12 beginning the week of July 15 through August 23 at various locations.

Megan Klein, the owner of the new Saratoga County KidzArt, is a New York state certified K-12 special education teacher whose children have attended KidzArt classes since 2009. She will be serving Ballston Lake, Burnt Hills, Clifton Park and Saratoga.

"We're excited to fulfill the growing need for after-school art enrichment and art instruction for students of all ages,” Klein said. “Individually, our franchises will continue to offer quality art programs and be better-equipped to serve the growing number of students, families, schools and partners with whom we work."

Founded in 1998, KidzArt/Art Innovators is an international art enrichment franchise company that helps art students from 2 to 102 explore their inner artistic potential. Through after-school classes, camps, birthday parties and fundraisers, KidzArt offers a diverse, multicultural, multimedia drawing and fine arts curriculum. KidzArt's "no mistakes" philosophy encourages students to try new things, explore their creativity, and overcome their inhibitions or obstacles in order to grow and learn. The Palette Up Art Soirees are art instruction parties for adults that combine art with fun, relaxation and socializing. No art experience is needed.

Franchising since July 2002, KidzArt now has franchised units throughout the United States, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Malta, the Middle East, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. 

To enroll in a local class or camp, or to find more information about KidzArt programs, contact Saratoga County KidzArt at 280-1052 or www.saratoga.kidzart.com. For the main company, call 800-379-8302 or visit www.kidzart.com. To find out more about the KidzArt franchise opportunities in the local market, contact Joel Lazarovitz at 888-813-2287 or Joel@kidzart.com. 



Fitness Artist studio opens on Henry Street

Fitness Artist at 35 Henry St. will hold its grand opening Saturday, June 15 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be raffles, healthy refreshments and tours of the new studio.

Fitness Artist takes an innovative approach to fitness, focusing on
both body and mind. Self-improvement goes beyond cardiovascular exercise and weight training. When the body and the mind are in balance, the possibilities are endless. As this balance strengthens, so does your quality of life.

Call 573-9569 or visit www.fitness-artist.com/.



Saratoga Learning Center holds open house

June 7 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and June 8 from 8 a.m. to noon, Saratoga Learning Center will hold an open house at 120 West Ave., Ste. 103. Find out about the SAT Prep individual classes being offered this summer, starting July 2 through August 31. Featured enrichment classes include Animated Filmmaking, Electrical Engineering, The History of Physics, and How to Write Your College Essay. 

Saratoga Learning Center offers professional tutoring to help students improve their homework, grades and academic standing. Tutors can also help students transition to the next level at school. Adult learners can receive assistance with reading and math skills. In all cases, Saratoga Learning Center strives to instill lifelong learning skills.

Call owner Susan Kiley at 450-1538 or visit www.saratogalearningcenter.com.



Ballston Spa National Bank completes Galway branch renovations

BSNB - Ballston Spa, NY 

Ballston Spa National Bank (BSNB) has completed renovations at its Galway office at 5091 Sacandaga  Rd. In keeping with the renovation theme, special offers for home improvement loans, home equity lines of credit, mortgage loans and other bank services will be available to the public through mid-July.    
The Galway office is one of five BSNB locations to undergo renovations this year. Originally opened in 1974, the location now offers the safety and convenience of a drive-through ATM, an updated look and an enhanced banking experience.    

“BSNB has been a proud member of the Galway community for some 39 years,” said Christopher R. Dowd, BSNB president and CEO. “With this investment, we hope to build on the strong relationships we have established over the years, and to enhance the service and support we provide to our customers.”  

Renovation celebrations at the Malta, Stillwater, Greenfield Center and Milton Crest offices are scheduled for this month.  

With a combination of personal service and high-tech convenience, BSNB offers a wide range of products and services to individuals, families, municipalities, nonprofits and businesses. Offices are located in Ballston Spa, Milton, Galway, Stillwater, Burnt Hills, Clifton Park, Malta, Greenfield Center and Wilton. BSNB’s Web site can be found at http://www.bsnb.com. To become part of BSNB’s online community, visit www.facebook.com/YourBSNB or www.twitter.com/BSNB.


Saratoga Chamber launches online petition asking Amtrak to allow bikes on certain trains

Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce Amtrak

The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce has launched an online petition that urges Amtrak President Joe Boardman to permit bikes on trains between New York City and Canada.

The Saratoga Chamber and others along the various Amtrak rail lines between New York City and Canada have for years been seeking Amtrak's cooperation with this effort. The goal is to provide upstate communities with a new and environmentally friendly way to promote themselves as tourist destinations to the millions of people that are connected by the passenger rail lines between New York City and Canada, such as the 10 million people living in the city and in Montreal. The chamber's Vice President for Tourism Annamaria Bellantoni was recently in New York City’s Penn Station for the NY by Rail Expo, promoting train travel to Saratoga and handing out information about this petition.

County and local elected officials along with a wide range of nonprofit organizations across Saratoga County and beyond have been working diligently for years to create outstanding hiking and cycling trails to attract visitors and tourists as well as for the benefit of area residents. The City of Saratoga Springs, for instance, has created the Spring Run Trail and the Railroad Run Trail, which will soon link directly to new trails in the Saratoga Spa State Park. The city eventually hopes to have a 20+ mile greenbelt trail in and around Saratoga that will connect with trails across Saratoga County in Moreau, Wilton, Malta, Ballston Spa, Halfmoon, Schuylerville, Mechanicville, Milton and Clifton Park.

"Lakes to Locks Passage encourages travelers to use many modes of transportation--biking, boating, hiking and riding the train,” said Janet Kennedy, executive director of Lakes to Locks Passage. “Amtrak baggage cars for bikes will make the region a destination for bicyclists, a proven market to showcase local culture and heritage, and support our local businesses and services." 

Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce members offer an online petition to sign and share with friends, neighbors, coworkers, employees and everyone else who supports this effort: https://www.change.org/petitions/tell-amtrak-president-joe-boardman-to-allow-bikes-on-trains-between-new-york-city-and-canada


Plum Dandy has new things up its sleeve

From the family behind Plum Dandy Frozen Yogurt and Toppings comes a brand-new dessert concept, to be offered at the Market Center location next to the future Bow Tie Cinemas. Stay tuned for details.