Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Troy Relay Team to Run for a Cause

In a little more than two weeks twelve runners will take to the streets and trails of the Hudson Valley to compete in the Ragnar Relay Series Woodstock to New York City relay race. You read that correctly, 12 runners, 185 miles through the Catskill Mountains, then cross over the Hudson River, and down the lower Hudson Valley ending in Dobbs Ferry. Insane, right? That’s what I thought!

Troy resident Mark Wojcik is an avid runner/biker/swimmer. He can be seen regularly running or biking in his spandex race wear through Lansingburgh or competing in a 5k, 10k, or triathlon event. He loves this stuff, he’s the team captain. He has built a team of six men (including himself) and six women that share the same level of passion as he does. Joining him are Jim Shaughnessy, Melissa Gordon, Dave Wojcik, Susan Browne, Connor McGrath, John Carboni, Kim Didrich, Amanda Wright, Katie Hodgdon, Kyle Gutbrodt , and Shylah Weber. Together they call themselves Team Beer and Donuts (Team B.A.D) based in Troy, NY.

The event is actually pretty straight forward. Each runner will run three legs during a 24-hour plus relay. Each leg ranges between three to eight miles, and includes running continuously through the night. All teams will also engage in creative sleeping arrangements which can consist of a moving van, a tent, or a ditch on the side of the road. There is no doubt that this race is physically demanding, but since the legs vary in difficulty and length it ensures each runner has the opportunity to find legs that suit their ability. But don’t kid yourself the route takes you through some very challenging terrain. Mark and I drove the route over this past weekend and it took us over 9 hours just to drive the 185 mile trek, now go run it. There are many breathtaking views of the Catskill Mountains over the Mid-Hudson Bridge and through the quaint and charming country towns, the runners only hope is that these views help ease the pain of running the course.

One interesting part about this marathon event is that after you’ve run each of your legs you get to chill out in one of the team’s two transport/support vans for several hours until your next run. This is how the event operates. A runner will be dropped off at the starting point, the van will then drive ahead a few miles, cheer the runner on, and provide them with water, snacks, and plenty of love. That vehicle will then drive ahead to the first exchange point to drop off the second runner and pick up the first runner when that leg is complete. They will repeat this pattern for six legs until they hand off to their second vehicle. This leapfrogging pattern will continue all the way to the finish line.

Currently there are 216 teams registered. That’s 2,592 runners, 432 support vans, hundreds of volunteers… I can’t wait to be a part of this organized chaos. The logistics of pulling together an event like this is amazing. Just organizing the teams operation is challenging. Several local business have signed on to support Team Beer and Donuts, but they are still seeking sponsors and donations, if you’d like to be a part of their teams success please contact Mark Wojcik by email mdcwojcik@nycap.rr.com.

This is sure to be a memorable event and I’m glad to be involved. The event isn’t just for pure and insane fun it’s also to support the Marathon Project. The Marathon Project is an after-school training program that pairs adult mentors with at-risk youth to reduce risk factors such as childhood obesity, school drop-out and substance abuse. The Marathon Project provides opportunities for students to set and achieve goals, explore avenues for character development, improve health, and build positive relationships through mentoring.

Please join me and wishing Team Beer and Donuts the best of luck on May 14-15th.

For more information on Team B.A.D visit their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/teamBAD

For more information on the Ragnar Relay Series visit http://www.ragnarrelay.com/newyork/index.php

Your Involvement

I’d like to thank the numerous volunteers that came out to support the several Earth Day projects in Lansingburgh this past Saturday. Members of the North Lansingburgh Neighborhood Watch, our friends, family, and neighbors teamed with volunteers from Rensselaer County ARC to complete several projects in Lansingburgh. I’m happy to say that once again this year, just as in years past, our volunteers successfully met their goals. The 112th Street Kiddie Park was cleaned and raked from one end to the other in preparation for improvements that will soon be made by the City, additionally, the park’s equipment received a much need fresh coat of paint; and The Lansingburgh Historical Society’s Melville Park, located on 1st Ave and 114th St., was cleaned of debris left from this past winter and is now ready for community members to sit and relax by the river’s edge. Thank you to everyone involved once again!!

Our next neighborhood meeting will be Tuesday, May 11 at the Lansingburgh Boys and Girls Club and will begin at 7pm. We have two guest speakers. First, Lansingburgh School District Superintendent George Goodwin will discuss the proposed school budget and the current school/community forum that several of us are involved in. Then, recently named Troy Chief of Police, John Tedesco will introduce himself and discuss the changes the department will be experiencing soon. As always, there is an open invitation to everyone in the community to join us. The success of our group’s mission of improving the quality-of-life in our Lansingburgh neighborhoods greatly depends upon the involvement of our neighbors. We hope to see you at our May meeting.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Funds For Paws

Tomorrow April 24 starting at 12 noon No Paws Left Behind will be hosting a fund-raiser called "Funds for Paws" at Trader Ed's, 630 2nd Ave in Lansingburgh.

No Paws Left Behind, Inc. is a focus driven not for profit organization, designed to bring awareness to all communities the silent victims of foreclosure who have no voice or rights to implement change. The group, as a united front, aim to restore the moral obligations toward all pets that have the potential to be, or have been, left behind to suffer needlessly.

No Paws Left Behind is a support group for those who find foreclosure imminent and need help to find shelter for their beloved pets; be a resource for those who find or know of abandoned pets; and last, but by no means least, create unity to end the needless suffering by creating a national movement targeting lawmakers to change the laws categorizing pets as personal property. Statistics show that 63% of all American households have pets. Foreclosures are growing in record numbers and experts agree that anywhere from 2 Million to 4 Million Americans will lose their homes before the crisis ends. That leaves over a 1¼ Million companion animals at risk.

Stop by and support this great cause. I'm sure, just like my wife Melissa and I have our beloved cat Rocky, many of you have furry friends who are near and dear to your hearts and you wouldn't want to see them suffer needlessly. No pet should be left to suffer, support this group and their outstanding cause.

What: Funds for Paws
When: Saturday April 24, 2010, 12 NOON
Where:Trader Ed’s, 630 2nd Avenue, Troy NY.
Cost: $10 Donation requested, donation includes Buffet (Cash Bar), Live Entertainment, 50/50 Raffle, Door Prize and Raffle Gift Baskets

If you can’t make it to the fundraiser check out http://preservationmonthly.com and click on “Funds for Paws.”

To make a monetary donation or donations can be sent to Preservation Monthly, PO Box 232, Troy NY 12182

Funds for Paws will benefit “No Paws Behind” and “Homeward Bounds Rescue Dogs”. Both Organizations are 501C non-for Profit organizations.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Troy's Earth Day

This Saturday residents throughout the city will be partaking in the annual Earth Day celebration. Residents and neighborhood groups will be undertaking a number of clean-up and beautification projects that have been listed on the city's website, troyny.gov. I would encourage everyone to locate a local neighborhood project and donate what time you can to help these improvement projects.

Our group, the North Lansingburgh Neighborhood Watch, will be undertaking three separate projects. Just as we have in past years we will have volunteers at Powers Park and at the Lansingburgh Historical Society's Melville Park. Additionally, this year we will be "renovating" the 112th St. Kiddie Park on 4th Ave. Our objective is to return the park to its intended use, that being a playground for children 12 years old and younger. A number of steps will be taken that include changing park equipment, enhancing after hours security to deter vandalism, and beautification with plantings and paint. In the end the improvements to be made should provide park patrons and neighbors a better experience.

We are still actively seeking volunteers for our projects. If you are interested in participating please email me at jgordon003@nycap.rr.com. I am asking everyone who is interested to meet at 9am at the 112th Street Kiddie Park and we will disburse, as needed, from there. This is a great way to become active in your community and be apart of the solution and to make a difference. “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams”

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Monumental Year for Uncle Sam's Parade

The Uncle Sam Parade Committee has begun to plan their 35th annual parade and celebration. And to celebrate this milestone the committee is putting together what will definitely be a memorable event. Big announcements pertaining to a world-renown musical act and other special additions for this years extravaganza will be made throughout the spring and summer. This will be one event you will not want to miss, so mark your calendars Sunday, September 12 the parade will kick off at 12 noon this year and will immediately be followed by the celebration in Knickerbacker Park.

Each year our festivities begin with the crowning of a new Miss Uncle Sam and her court. Alta Reynolds, director of the Uncle Sam Pageant, is now accepting applications from young ladies from Rensselaer County. The pageant will be held on Saturday, August 21, 10:00am, and conducted in St. Augustine's Hall located on the corner of 114th Street and 4th Avenue in Lansingburgh.

The young ladies will compete in five age categories for the honor of being selected the top of their age group. The categories are: Little Miss age 4-6; Young Miss age 7-9; Pre-Teen age 10-12; Teen Miss age 13-15; and Miss Uncle Sam age 16-18. In addition to the winner of each category, two runner-ups will be recognized as well.

Please note that to be a contestant each young lady must be a resident of Rensselaer County, never been married, and never had a child or pregnant at the time of the pageant or while serving as a member of the Miss Uncle Sam Court. The last two qualifications at first may seem absurd but there are specific reasons we mention them.

The categories include competitions based on poise, personality, and appearance. An optional Miss Photogenic category is judged on photos submitted by the contestants. Each contestant will receive a trophy for participating. While the winners will also receive crowns, banners, and trophies, and the runner-ups will receive special trophies.

Miss Uncle Sam and her court have the opportunity to serve as goodwill ambassadors throughout the year by attending parades, charity and community events, and working with children.

The current Miss Uncle Sam, Alexis Foster, and her court Miss Teen Myranda Delcostello, Little Miss Caileigh Sawyer, Young Miss Alexis Vautrin, and Pre-Teen Miss Sylvie Lemieux, have been a highly active bunch and they could have been found throughout the Greater Capital Region participating in a number of events. This group of young ladies did and outstanding job and have set the bar high for their successors. Congratulations girls on a job well done!

For brochures and more information please write to: Uncle Sam Pageant, Alta Reynolds, 8 Bank Street, Troy, NY 12180 or call Alta at 274-7294. Don't miss out on being named to the Miss Uncle Sam Court during this milestone 35th Anniversary Year!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Electronics Recycling Day Scheduled

Recently, Rensselaer County Legislature Chairman Martin Reid and Legislator Alex Shannon announced that the county legislature will once again be joint sponsors of their 4th Annual Spring Electronics Recycling Day with Troy Business e-Lot.

The event is this coming Saturday, April 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the upper parking lot of the Rensselaer County Office Building, located at 1600 7th Avenue in downtown Troy. Residents can drop appliances and electronics for free. There will be a $50 charge each for televisions and a charge of $5 each for computer monitors. No wood console televisions will be accepted. While residents are able to bring appliances that contain freon to the recycling event, they will asked to deposit the appliances in dumpsters themselves due to liability concerns. Motorists attending the event are asked to enter the upper parking lot via Congress Street. During each of the previous three electronics recycling days, more than 300 residents participated, with everything from computers to refrigerators, stereos and VCRs.

The event is organized by the county Environmental Management Council, which is an office of the County Legislature. For more questions regarding the event, please call the EMC at 270-2888.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Frear Park offers a great golf experience and great food!

Today marks the "official" opening of the Frear Park Municipal Golf Course even though the course actually opened for business last Friday. I had the opportunity to play 18 holes on Saturday (the front 9 twice because the back 9 was still closed) and the course is in great condition for early April. This excites me because the conditions can only get better which will make for a great season of golf in Troy. As a side note, one of my favorite holes, the par 5 7th, still offers one of the best vistas of the City and surrounding areas, it truly is priceless.

It’s become evident just how popular this course is. Nearly 50,000 rounds are played each year on the course and recently the 2010 Metroland Readers Poll named Frear Park as the second best golf course in the region behind Saratoga National. This is something we should be proud of because as avid golfers can attest there are a number of great courses in the Capital Region. The city continues to invest into course improvements making play more enjoyable. But most importantly they have kept the rates at a very reasonable level. And if you are a resident of Troy the city offers a resident ID pass so that those who live in Troy receive discounted greens fees (18 holes for just only $17 during the weekdays and $19 for weekends and holidays).

When the course was originally constructed it was just nine holes and then in 1964 the course was expanded to 18, all of which were designed by world renowned golf course designer Robert Trent Jones. Other fun facts and accolades include being named the best golf course in the Hudson Valley in 2003 by Hudson Valley Magazine and the original 22 of the 247 acres of land that make-up the park as we know it today were granted to the City of Troy in 1917 by the William Henry Frear Estate, if you have heard of the Frear's you would know that they are steeped in Troy history.

A visit to Frear Park wouldn’t be complete without a stop by the Park Pub Restaurant. The Park Pub is the golf courses 19th hole and on-site eatery offering a wide-verity of menu offerings. They have been operating at the course for several years now and by far they have been one of the best additions to the park as of late. If you haven’t eaten at the Park Pub you are missing out on one of the most talked about and highly recommended restaurants in Troy.