Dozens of employees of the Warren County Department of Social Services are better able to handle physical strife thanks to some martial arts training they recently received.

Warren County Sheriff Bud York had offered training to employees for the department after a caseworker was confronted by a man with a gun in Johnsburg last year.

Thirty-seven employees went through a one-day session last month with Queensbury black belt and retired police officer Larry Waimon.

“It was very well-received,” Waimon said. “They are dealing with danger all the time.”

Waimon and his students also provided training for the Warren County Probation Department several years ago.

— Don Lehman

In the spotlight

LARAC helped two high school seniors land a pretty big gig — sets at the New York Women’s Expo at Siena College.

Kirsti Blow, 17, of Glens Falls, and Alicia Bautista, 17, of Queensbury, will perform at the two-day event Feb. 28 and March 1 at Siena College.

Both young women performed at a LARAC event, where they met Suzette Anthony, one of the expo’s organizers, through LARAC’s community outreach coordinator, Candice Frye.

Blow — the daughter of Post-Star columnist David Blow — will perform from 10 to 11:15 a.m., 1 to 2 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, and 10 to 11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1.

She is a singer-songwriter who performs original songs and a mix of covers. She said she is excited by the opportunity. “It’s a cool thing,” she said. “It’s good experience.”

Bautista, a singer-songwriter who plays a mix of alternative rock and pop, takes the stage from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 28 — immediately after rock band Lifehouse, a group known for “Hanging by a Moment,” “You and Me” and “Whatever it Takes,” all Top 40 hits.

“I love Lifehouse so much, so I really hope I get to meet them,” Bautista said. “This is probably the biggest highlight of my career so far.”

Both young women perform regularly at area open mic nights and perform local gigs.

— Rhonda Triller

Idea bagged

At Monday’s Lake George Village Board meeting, Trustee John Root floated the idea of banning single-use plastic bags in the village, but in the end pitched the idea to the recycling bin.

With a lukewarm response from fellow village lawmakers, Root said he’d rethink it and possibly reach out to Price Chopper to see if the grocery store chain would participate in discouraging plastic bags.

Price Chopper is supporting a proposed Saratoga Springs ban and gives shoppers at all of its stores a 3-cent rebate for each bag they reuse at a shopping trip.

Root said he watched a Saratoga Springs City Council meeting on TV (to which someone asked if he lost his remote) and the nonprofit Sustainable Saratoga was pushing the city to pass a measure to ban thin-film bags customers are given to tote their purchases.

It wouldn’t be the first municipality to pass such an ordinance. If you want a plastic bag to carry your purchase out in Washington, D.C., you’re charged a 5-cent fee. In fact, California has a statewide ban set to go into effect.

New York state lawmakers have sponsored such legislation, but it has not passed. Root said maybe the reusable shopping bags could double as a “save the lake” initiative.

In 2011, the village of Lake George Go Green Committee tried to promote green reusable shopping totes, but officials said they did not catch on.

The other Village Board members thought going so far as a plastic bag ban that required vacationers to carry their own reusable bags with them when they went shopping in the village was far-fetched, and that such bans or fees for bags were more applicable when it comes to grocery shopping. Reusable bags or paper bags would be the alternative.

Some shops in Lake George already use paper bags.

Trustee Ray Perry suggested the village could discourage the use of plastic bags instead of banning them.

“You could write them all a letter and ask them not to, and they’d probably take the letter and put it in a plastic bag and send it back,” Mayor Robert Blais joked.

— Amanda May Metzger

Headed to the worlds

For the third year in a row, Granville High School’s VEX Robotics team will be headed to the world competition.

The team, named “Kaizen” and made up of Josh Sumner, Gabrielle Hilder, Matt Bixby and Adam Browe, won the “Excellence Award” at the Northern New York VEX Robotics Championship Feb. 7 in Syracuse.

A total of 40 teams competed and all had won in a qualifying event.

Seven teams from New York, four from the northern area and three from the southern region, will take part in the world competition in April in Louisville, Kentucky.

The four-day event draws 450 teams. Worldwide competition include 10,000 teams.

The team is seeking donations for the trip. They can be sent to Granville Central School, Business Office, Granville, NY, 12832, with a note indicating “Vex Robotics.”

— Bill Toscano

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