City hall closed after lightning strike
Damage from a lightning strike and fire will close Saratoga Springs City Hall indefinitely.
The Friday night fire damaged the attic and caused smoke and water damage elsewhere in the Broadway building.
City leaders plan to set up a temporary City Hall at the Recreation Center on Vanderbilt Avenue, but no date has been announced for its availability. The Police Department will continue to operate from its normal spot on Lake Avenue.
Updates will be provided as information becomes available. The City Council meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday will be held at the Saratoga Springs City Center.
The corresponding pre-agenda meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Monday will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the Recreation Center.
Saratoga County bridges re-open
Two Saratoga County bridges that span the Northway have re-opened to traffic, according to the state Department of Transportation.
The $8 million project closed the Crescent Avenue and East High Street bridges in late March. The bridges were demolished and then rebuilt ahead of schedule.
According to a news release, the bridges were built in 1962 and both aged to a point where the project is necessary.
The new bridges have wider shoulders to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists and should be in service for at least 75 years.
As for the Crescent Avenue bridge replacement, it reconfigured the intersection of Crescent Avenue and the slip-ramp, providing access southbound.
Northway travelers should continue to expect off-peak lane closures over the next two weeks to finish guiderail installation, shoulder improvements, landscaping and new signage.
Shuttered stand back in business
BALLSTON SPA — A 7-year-old Ballston Spa boy is back selling lemonade and raising money for a friend in need after a state health inspector put the squeeze on him last month.
Brendan Mulvaney raised more than $900 on Saturday for the family of a 12-year-old girl who’s facing surgery this week to fix a bowleg deformity from a rare bone disease.
An inspector shuttered Brendan’s stand in Ballston Spa on July 27 because he didn’t have a permit to sell 75-cent lemonade. State officials said vendors from a nearby county fair had complained.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo quickly intervened. The Democrat directed health officials to work with Brendan’s family to ensure he could reopen.
The health department apologized. It said permits are required but children usually get a pass.
State tax payments are for the birds
ALBANY — On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that requires the state to pay property taxes on state-owned land in the towns of Argyle, Fort Edward and Kingsbury.
This land that makes up the Washington County Grasslands provides critical habitat for numerous bird species, such as bobolinks, eastern meadowlarks and sedge wrens, as well as threatened and endangered species such as the northern harrier, short-eared owl and upland sandpiper.
The short-eared owl and upland sandpiper can be found in less than 5 percent of New York state and are primarily threatened by habitat loss.
The measure will help protect the Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area.
“This legislation ensures the cost of conserving New York’s endangered and threatened grassland birds is not borne solely by economically depressed rural communities,” said Laurie LaFond, founder of Friends of the Washington County Grasslands IBA.
The friends group has conserved and manages over 60 acres of grassland at their Alfred Z. Solomon Grassland Bird Viewing Area in Fort Edward, with another 64 acres under contract. It is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to protecting critical habitat for state-endangered and at-risk grassland birds.