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January 14, 2022

Welcome to your weekly newsletter of news, views and events in Saratoga Springs and beyond.

News from your Saratoga Springs Democratic Party:

Want to get (more) involved in local politics? Heading into 2022, our state committee has partnered with the Democratic National Committee to sponsor two virtual training seminars on how to build a more effective local party organization and utilize data to better engage voters. Organize To Win Your County will happen Tuesday, January 25 and Mastering VAN and Constituency Engagement is Thursday, January 27 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm each night. Both will be presented via Zoom. If you’re interested in attending, email our Chair: Separately, Eleanor’s List is having a training on Campaign Structure & Petitioning Training for pro-choice women interested in running for office. That is also on January 27, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, via Zoom. Sign up here.
It’s Dr. King Celebration Weekend. This year’s theme is “I have decided to stick with love” and the three days are packed with joyful, educational and thoughtful sessions, most of which are described below. All sessions are free and open to the public, thanks to generous community support. For more information and a downloadable schedule, see the MLK Celebration Weekend website. Note: due to COVID concerns, some events may have been cancelled or postponed and others are moved to online-only. Check for the latest information before you go.
Per Gov. Hochul in response to the Omicron variant, masks are now required for all indoor events. You may be required to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test as well. In-person events may be cancelled or moved to remote; check with the venue before you go.
Friday, January 14, 5:30 – 6:30 pm. Wilton Wildlife Preserve Moonlight Hike. Are you interested in seeing the preserve at night? View nature (and critters) in a new light as we walk the trails in moonlight with a Wilton Wildlife educator. The trail will be about 1 mile long. This program is for children, teens and families. Please register each person in your group online. Make sure to dress warmly! This event is full but a waitlist is available here. Wilton Wildlife Preserve is at 80 Scout Rd in Wilton.
Friday, January 14, 7:00 – 8:30 pm. Seventh Annual Dr. King Challenge. The weekend opens with profound and provocative performances by regional artists, actors, & musicians including Tina Fretto, tap dancer; Robert Miranda, musician; Poetyc Visionz, poet; Kim Wafer, actor and more. Register for the Zoom live event here.

Friday, January 14, 8:00 pm. Hayley Reardon LIVE at Caffé Lena. At the age of 24, the young storyteller has been honing her craft for over a decade, has released four recorded works and has toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe. Her raw artistry boasts a lyrical and melodic weight far beyond her years, being described as “brilliantly moving folk/pop with a lyrical depth and soul” by Performer magazine.  Caffe Lena has returned to full capacity. In order to ensure everyone's safety we are now requiring proof of vaccination for all attendees. Tickets $9-18 at this link,  Stream this show and others at Caffé Lena is at 47 Phila St..

Saturday, January 15, Sunday, January 16, Monday, January 16, 9:00 – 9:15 am each day.  Community Peace Mediation. Connecting over Zoom, Rev. Kathy Johnson begins each morning session by lighting a candle, reading from Dr. King, and then guiding participants through a 5-minute meditation, followed with a brief, gentle body movement, and closing with a song about peace. (Please note that only Rev. Kathy will be visible onscreen.) The Zoom registration link for each day’s mediation is here.

Saturday, January 15, 10:00 – 10:45 am. The Puppet People Present: The Three Little Pigs - What's Love Got to Do with It?  Since 1994, The Puppet People have performed in over 3,000 shows and have delighted audiences young and old. Master Puppeteers Mark Carrigan and Michelle Smith-Carrigan have sought to reintroduce children’s classic tales into our hectic modern world, inspiring children with the ancient art of puppetry and creating family and community memories that will last a lifetime. Join us via Zoom for this fun and heart-warming rendition of a well-loved tale, with just a bit of a “piggy-wig twist to the tail,” so to speak! Register here and you will receive the Zoom link via email 3 hours prior to the event. A MLK Weekend event, presented by Saratoga Springs Public Library.

Saturday, January 15, 10:00 – 11:30 am. Nonviolent Communication Practice: a Workshop with Philomena Moriarty, LCSW. Murray is an active member of the Nonviolent Communications (NVC) community in the Capital District and has taught its Basic Course for several years. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is based on the principles of nonviolence — the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart. Learn more by registering for this virtual MLK workshop here.
Saturday, January 15, 11:00 am – noon. Family Online Experience "... and WHO WALKED THIS GROUND". Local Writer, Storyteller, & Musician Joe Bruchac "walks" us through the rich history and traditions of the Native People of Saratoga. Bruchac is an enrolled member of the Nulhegan Abenaki Nation and a lifelong resident of Saratoga County. In partnership with Youth2 – Youth Helping Youth (, an organization based in Saratoga County made up of both youth and adults working together to improve the lives of people around the world. To attend via Zoom, register here.
Saturday, January 15, noon – 1:30 pm. A COMMUNITY FORUM ON CRITICAL RACE THEORY: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and the Implications for Our Community. A panel of community leaders will come together to help us better understand the structural inequities that impact our communities and how we can imagine ourselves as agents of change and action. Register for this virtual event here. A Dr. King Celebration Weekend event, presented by Saratoga Educational Equity Network (S.E.E.N.), MLK Saratoga, The Black Studies Program at Skidmore College, and SUNY Empire State College Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Saturday, January 15, 2:00 – 3:30 pm. The Lost Rondout: A Story of Urban Removal, Screening and Filmmaker Panel Discussion. This documentary tells the story of Kingston, New York's transformation during urban renewal. Artist Marcus Anderson will also share his community mural, a vision of displacement in Saratoga Springs.The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the film-makers, artists and special guests to talk about the history of urban renewal in Kingston, Saratoga Springs and other U.S. neighborhoods. Panelists include: Marcus Anderson, artist; Lynn Woods, filmmaker;  Stephen Blauweiss, filmmaker; David Hochfelder, Historian, 98 Acres in Albany Project; Joy King, Saratoga Springs West Side resident and Julianne Lewis, moderator, C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios. Register here and you will receive the Zoom link via email 3 hours prior to the event. A Dr. King Celebration Weekend event, presented by Saratoga Springs Public Library.

Saturday, January 15, 4:30 – 5:30 pm. Northshire Presents Michelle Coles Black Was the Ink. Civil rights attorney & author Michelle Coles will discuss her new novel for young adults. Through the help of a ghostly ancestor, sixteen-year-old Malcolm is sent on a journey through Reconstruction-era America to find his place in modern-day Black progress. Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds and Nic Stone, and featuring illustrations by upcoming artist, Justin Johnson, Black Was the Ink is a powerful coming-of-age story and an eye-opening exploration of an era that defined modern America. This event is presented in partnership with MLK Saratoga as part of theirl Dr. King Celebration Weekend. Register for the Zoom presentation here; attend for free or purchase a copy of the book to be shipped or pick up at the store.

Saturday, January 15, 6:00 – 6:50 pm. The Brilliance of the Female Spirit in Today’s Activism:  Have Women Been the Deciding Factor in Faith and Social Activism throughout Our Country? Pastor Holly Strickland will facilitate this online conversation exploring and expanding on the vibrant role of women as agents of Change! Pastor Holly is a prolific writer with deep community and outreach experience, and a Doctoral candidate of the Rochester Colgate Divinity School. Register for this virtual Dr. King weekend event here.

Saturday, January 15, 6:00 – 7:00 pm. Yaddo presents: Love Is Transformation: Queer Genius in Contemporary Culture. A conversation with Yaddo luminaries Arabelle Sicardi, American feminist fashion and beauty writer and author of Queer Heros; and Sam Feder, the creator and director of DISCLOSURE, an unprecedented, eye-opening look at transgender depictions in film and television, now streaming on Netflix. Register for this virtual Dr. King weekend event here.

Saturday, January 15, 7:00 pm – 7:50 pm. Martin and Malcolm: Shifting the Struggle from Civil Rights to Human Rights: with Dr. Kenneth Clarke. Kingian scholar Dr. Ken Clarke will be exploring how this emphasis in the later periods of the public careers of Dr. King and Malcolm X reflected their evolving understanding of the black freedom struggle in the U.S. The expanded perspective of both men utilized international human rights law and principles to pressure the United States to a social transformation that would truly deliver liberty and justice for all. Register for this virtual MLK event here.

Saturday, June 15, 8:00 pm. The Campbell Brothers LIVE at Caffé Lena. With pedal steel, electric guitar, lap steel, bass and drums, The Campbell brothers play electric gospel music. This tradition is just now emerging from the House of God Keith Dominion Church, where for over sixty years it has been an integral part of worship, and moving to secular venues including the Hollywood Bowl and the Kennedy Center. Caffe Lena has returned to full capacity. In order to ensure everyone's safety we are now requiring proof of vaccination for all attendees. Tickets $14-28 at this link, Stream this show and others at  Caffé Lena is at 47 Phila St.
Sunday, January 16, 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Historical theater: “O Jerusalem”. A multi-media performance about Rev. James Reeb, a white ally killed by supremacists following "Bloody Sunday" in 1965. Dr. King gave the eulogy, which was not published until 2001. This and other contemporaneous readings will be livestreamed from Caffé Lena by Donald Hyman, Sister Amelia Paul and Kim Wafer.  To attend the Zoom presentation, register here.
Sunday, January 16, 3:00 – 4:30 pm. A conversation with Jean-Remy Monnay, founder & artistic director of BTTUNY. Join us for this wonderful hour as Remy shares the journey of the Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY against the backdrop of the Capital Region Arts landscape and how creating space and place for stories for, with, and about People of Color can change and heal us all! Livestamed from Caffé Lena as part of MLK Celebration weekend. To attend the Zoom presentation, register here.
Sunday, January 16, 5:00 – 6:30 pm. Community Conversation #3: Hour of Love. Interviews with local organizations doing great things right here at home — with interlude music by classical guitarist Julio Rodriguez! Selections to include “Romance Antiguo,” “Recuerdos de la Alhambra,” “Flamenco Rumba,” and “Malaguena,” among others. Livestreamed from Caffé Lena. To attend the Zoom presentation, register here.
Sunday, January 16, 7:00 – 9:00 pm. LOVE, JUSTICE & UNITY - Poetry Slam & Open Mic. Join Saratoga BLM and C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios online for Poetry and Musical Performances inspired by Martin Luther King's message of Love, Justice and Unity -- all from the legendary Caffe Lena stage! Curated by Samira Sangare. To attend the Zoom presentation, register here.

Monday, January 17, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. MLK Day Craft at the Library. Come to the Children's Room on Martin Luther King Day and make a Balancing Peace Dove. This craft may be done in the library or taken to be assembled at home. Note: although MLK Day is a holiday, the library will be open regular hours. Saratoga Springs Public Library is at 49 Henry St.
Monday, January 17, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. MLK Day of Service: 2022 In-Person & Remote Volunteer Opportunities. Visit this page to learn about remote and in-person service opportunities and community projects. Activities are still being added, so check back often.
Monday, January 17, noon – 3:00 pm. Virtual Open House: Affinity Groups for BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and allies. Saratoga Educational Equity Network (SEEN), Saratoga BLM, Stomping Grounds Camp and C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios are teaming up to form and support Youth Affinity Groups for BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and allies. During this Open House you can meet the team, find out more information about Affinity Groups and pick-up a free art kit to participate in our collaborative community mural, titled To Be Loved, a project inspired by Martin Luther King’s message of Radical Love. Attend via Zoom here; no registration required.
Monday, January 17, 2:00 – 4:00 pm. Commemorative Gathering: CommUNITY Interfaith Celebration of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Experience beautiful, deepening offerings of music and words of inspiration to inspire us with the vision of Dr. King, as shared by our local Faith leadership. MUSIC MINISTRY by Garland Nelson, Soulist & MLK Saratoga Co-Chair, with Azzaam Hameed; keynote from the Very Rev. Paul J. Borowski. Register for the virtual gathering via this link.

Monday, January 17, 5:00 – 6:00 pm. Community Peace Workshop & Mediation: Creating Peace in a Spiritual Way—Putting Research into Practice. The first half of this workshop will include a presentation of the research, as well as Q&A. After, Rev. Kathy will guide the participants through a half hour meditation, with the intention to create peace in the hearts of each of the meditators, and to spread that peace to all of Saratoga County. At the end, there will be time for questions and comments. Rev. Kathy Johnson has chosen this modality as her ministry. She will continue to offer weekly community guided meditations with intentions to heal our community and our world. If you cannot attend any of the meditations, but would like to get involved, feel free to email her at

Tuesday, January 18, 7:00 – 8:30 pm. Online Class: Fix Your Finances. The first in a four-week series with Margaret Pearson, library volunteer and former Skidmore professor, that will speak to fixing your finances in the current conditions. Learn how to build a sound portfolio and live a cost-effective lifestyle, with sensitivity to climate change in your spending and investing. Ms. Pearson is not a finance professional, but a successful fellow saver and investor and a library-loving citizen who enjoys sharing what she has learned. Classes each Tuesday at the same time. Register here; you will receive the Zoom link 3 hours prior to class. Presented by Saratoga Springs Public Library.

Tuesday, January 18, 7:00 pm. Rochmon Record Club: David Bowie “The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust". Filled with Bowie classics such as “Five Years”, “Moonage Daydream”, “Starman”, fan favorite “Suffragette City” and 7 more, “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars” is a trip and a half.  A Rochmon Record Club Listening Party is meant to inform and deepen our understanding of the history of the individual performers, songs and the stories that went into the making of this classic album. By listening together, we get to hear the music again for the first time. Tickets are $10, available here. Proof of vaccination required for all attendees. Also available via livestream at Caffé Lena is at 47 Phila St.
Wednesday, January 19, 4:30 – 6:00 pm. Stuffed Shells Dinner for Curbside Pick Up at Saratoga-Wilton Elks Lodge. Dinner for 2 includes Stuffed Shells, Meatballs, Sweet Sausage, Tossed Salad, Garlic Toast. Dinner for two is $30; cash only please. Call (518) 584-2585 between 10 am and noon on Monday or Tuesday to order for curbside pickup on Wednesday. Saratoga-Wilton Elks Lodge #161 is at 1 Elks Lane, off Maple Ave and opposite the Triangle Diner. 
Wednesday, January 19, 7:00 – 8:30 pm. The Big Mess: Climate Change. Al Hicks, a retired wildlife biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, spent much of his career dealing with bats and the disease white nose syndrome and he will speak about those efforts. He will also discuss the work of researchers that have been raising the alarm about climate change for decades but, thanks to the ceaseless actions of powerful interests, almost nothing has been done. Whatever good that comes out of the next few years will determine the future of this planet. That good will depend on you. Register here to receive the Zoom link 3 hours prior to the presentation. Co-sponsored by the Adirondack Mountain Club.
Thursday, January 20, 10:00 – 11:00 am. Offbeat Destinations: Go Here, Not There. Let’s look beyond the most popular (and crowded) destinations. While we are in the midst of a northeast winter and waiting for travel to reopen further, follow Rhona Koretzky off the beaten path. There are spectacular alternatives to the most visited national parks, fascinating small cities in every state, and tucked away corners in every country (and even some infrequently visited countries). Join a virtual journey on the road less traveled. Advance registration required here; you will receive the Zoom link three hours prior to the event. Sponsored by Saratoga Springs Public Library.
Thursday, January 20, 3:30 – 4:45 pm. Books and Tea. Join us for good conversations around books! Books and Tea* is an ongoing reading group that meets the third Thursday of each month. Copies of the book to be discussed. may be obtained in the Reading Group Choices collection or by placing holds on the online public catalog. Contact the library for any assistance. Tonight, The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel. Advance registration required here; you will receive the Zoom link three hours prior to the event. Sponsored by Saratoga Springs Public Library. *B.Y.O.Tea.

Thursday, Janary 20, 7: 00 pm. The Figgs Celebrate Josh Chambers. With enduring energy and passion, The Figgs occupy the throne of rock royalty here in the Capital Region--three decades after they first worked out their thing in their parents' garages and basements. Tonight they celebrate Josh Chambers, a Greenwich native and Skidmore College graduate lost in February who made a name for himself around Saratoga in the 1990s as both a musician, playwright and director. Caffe Lena has returned to full capacity. In order to ensure everyone's safety we are now requiring proof of vaccination for all attendees. Tickets $12.50-25 at this link,  Stream this show and others at Caffé Lena is at 47 Phila St.

Local news and happenings:

Is Omicron peaking? Some data suggest yes. The number of new Covid-19 cases in New York City rose more than twentyfold in December. In the past few days, it has flattened, reports the New York Times. In both New Jersey and Maryland, the number of new cases has fallen slightly this week. In several major cities, the number is also showing signs of leveling off. In Boston, the amount of the Covid virus detected in wastewater, which has been a leading indicator of case trends in the past, has plunged by about 40 percent since its peak just after Jan. 1. “We really try not to ever make any predictions about this virus, because it always throws us for a loop,” Dr. Shira Doron, an epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center, told GBH News. “But at least the wastewater is suggesting a steep decline, and so we hope that means cases will decline steeply as well, and then hospitalizations and deaths will follow.”

Home COVID tests to be covered by insurers starting Saturday. Private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for people on their plans, reports the Times-Union. The Biden administration announced the change Monday as it looks to lower costs and make testing for the virus more convenient amid rising frustrations. Under the new policy, first detailed to the Associated Press, Americans will be able to either purchase home testing kits for free under their insurance or submit receipts for the tests for reimbursement, up to the monthly per-person limit. A family of four, for instance, could be reimbursed for up to 32 tests per month. PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be fully covered by insurance with no limit.
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