Friday, January 31, 2014

Calling All Hoofers, Flappers, and Flyboys

If you’re looking of to paint the town red, the Bartenders’ Ball is the cat’s pajamas. So get yourself dolled up, grab some dough for the gaming tables, and get a wiggle on to reserve  your space for Saratoga’s  swankiest winter event done up with a Roaring 20’s theme this year. You don’t need to know 1920’s slang (in italics) though to enjoy yourself; the excitement of the Ball transcends the decades.

We’ve got:

Plenty of giggle water (a martini bar and a craft beer bar)

The Audiostars will keep the music hitting on all sixes all night so you’ll have a swell time on the dancefloor until your dogs start barking

With a spread of enticing  hors d’oeuvres, a full course dinner buffet, chocolate fountain and dessert bar, it’s clear we’re Putting on the Ritz

And risk a few clams at the gaming tables and you might just end up being the Big Cheese

Seriously this event is the Real McCoy,  a great night out  and all proceeds benefit Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services.

Tickets are $60* per person by advance reservation only. Call 583-0280 to reserve your seat today.

*$35 tax deductible

Relationship Abuse- Don't Ignore it Until Red Flag # 12

Sometimes it's tricky identifying an abusive relationship. Posters about domestic violence make it look easy; the image we all have is an overwrought and terrified woman with a black eye. That's easy to identify. But sometimes the victim is a same sex partner... or a male abused by a female partner. And there are many far more subtle signs that a relationship may be abusive. If you can recognize the early red flags of abuse, it's easier to evaluate your safety and investment in the relationship before the abuse escalates. So would you have noticed these  common early indicators?
  • Your partner makes snide jokes at your expense.
  • Your relationship developed very quickly, almost overnight you fell in love.
  • Your partner complains that your sister (mother, brother, best friend) is too pushy or is jealous of   how happy you both are together
  • Your partner calls, texts or just checks in with  you frequently throughout the day
It's good  to know the early signs before they progress to #12, "He (she) threatens to kill  you. "Sometimes a friend can see the red flags earlier than the person in the relationship. If you're concerned  say something.

If you're not sure about whether a relationship may be abusive, call DVRC. We can help you assess what's troubling you.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bartenders' Ball- Party til Your Head Hits the Pillow

Dressed to Impress... perhaps in Roaring 20's attire?
Hors d'oeuvres
Maybe a splash in the chocolate fountain, martini bar or craft beer bar.
After a few winning rounds at the gaming tables, more dancing as the Audiostars keep you moving until midnight.
Enjoy the party but don't drink and drive...book overnight accommodations  for the Bartenders' Ball

After all that fun who wants to drive home. Some of Saratoga's finest hotels are offering discounted rates to Bartenders' Ball attendees.
Saratoga Hilton (free parking)
Holiday Inn
Gideon Putnam Resort
Courtyard by Mariott
Hampton Inn and Suites
Residence Inn
So book your room and party til your head hits the pillow 

Need more information about the Ball ?

17 Annual Bartenders'' Ball
Saturday, February 8th
Saratoga Springs City Center
6:30 pm -midnight

Live music all night long by the Audiostars
Hors d'oeuvres, dinner and dessert bar
Gaming tables provided by the Lions Club
Entertainment by Holly and Evan in the gaming room

$60/per person
As always, advance reservations only. The Ball sells out each year so call 583-0280 to reserve your seat today 

All proceeds from the evening benefit Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County.
$35 of each ticket sale is tax deductible

Thursday, January 23, 2014

And today they met...

Today 2 amazing advocates for victims of relationship abuse met each other. 

Loretta Somerville who for nearly 50 yearshas helped victims of abuse, including domestic violence victims, child abuse victims and children ranging in age from infants to teenagers who have been sexually abused.  She started a child advocacy center in Michigan  in the late 1970’s to provide support and assistance to children who were victims of child abuse or sexual abuse. Years later she provided leadership locally to the Harriet West Child Advocacy Center at the Saratoga Center for the Family. The do great work there to help children recover. Sadly, these services are needed far more often than most people would imagine. 

After retiring from the Child Advocacy Center, Loretta has been an active volunteer for Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services helping us to increase community awareness. And that's how she met another amazing supporter- Verizon Wireless. Verizon has been a long-term passionate advocate for survivors of relationship abuse, and a generous supporter of DVRC’s programs. The company supports victim assistance services, provides cell phones so victims can feel safe, and promotes community awareness about relationship abuse.

 Today Verizon presented Loretta with their Community Volunteerism Award in recognition for her years’ of dedication to helping children and families.

Wendy DeAgostine, and her staff gave us a tour of an unbelievable new Verizon store at 3 Southside Drive, Clifton Park. Verizon isn’t just about cell phones anymore… this store has the technology to help you with everything from fitness, to finding your lost puppy, to controlling your heating bill… and digital dinosaurs like myself will love that they have a technology guru on site to teach you how to use your new device. Stop in and check out their new store; it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

17th Annual Bartenders' Ball

Never been to the Ball? Or have you been many times? Either way you won't want to miss this year's Ball. We've kept everything you love about the Ball and made it even better. How?

While the Audiostars are always a crowd pleaser, we're upping the dancing excitement. The Roaring 20's-Gatsby Era theme promises to be a hit; what  era  better sparks energy and fun on the dance floor? You're sure to see a flapper or two during the evening.

The Lions Club will host a Casino room again, so you may just leave the Ball with more money in your pocket than when you came. And if you missed the music while you were gaming last year, we've got a surprise for you. Holly and Evan will entertain you as you spin the roulette wheel.

Some things haven't changed:
  • the delicious hors d'oeuvres (yes we'll have those colossal shrimp again!)
  • scrumptious dinner buffet
  • martini bar
  • craft beer bar
  • chocolate fountain  and dessert bar .
As always, advance reservations only. The Ball sells out each year so call 583-0280 to reserve your seat today 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Saratoga's Code Blue... Miracles happen just off Broadway in Saratoga Springs Too.

"Miracles don't only happen on 34th Street"
Nancy Pitts probably never imagined herself as a catalyst for community change. Indeed, while she was known and seen by many locally every day, it was through her tragic death that she rallied our community to open their hearts and take action to help the homeless. Nancy was a homeless woman who lived on the streets in a city that is know for wealth, tourism, community spirit  and citizens who give back to their community.

Nancy, who grew up locally, had once had a different life. She was married, a stay-at-home mom raising children (now grown)... until a series of life circumstances launched a downward spiral into  alcohol that ended with her dying on the streets of Saratoga in a frigid December night last month.

Nancy could be outspoken. In fact, just a month before her death I heard her speak at a Homelessness Awareness Week event  about how hard it is living on the street. She talked about people ignoring you and not even caring... and others who mock, harass, and assault the homeless. Her words reached an audience of about 40 participants at the event... an event held annually to increase awareness of homelessness in a community that finds it hard to believe that there are homeless persons in our city. Nancy's voice was  one of the most memorable that night, but it reached just 40 people. It was just a foreshadowing of her impact just one month later in bringing the plight of homeless into our consciousness.

When her body was found frozen behind the Senior Center, that message about hardship shifted from our heads to our hearts. The community immediately came together to launch a Code Blue shelter to afford a safe , warm place for the homeless on bitter winter nights. A meeting was held on Friday and the shelter was operational for  the next night where temperatures would fall to 10 degrees. Not only was this just 4 days later, it was also Christmas  Eve; yet people altered their plans to volunteer.  My son and I volunteered several days later, as 15 Code Blue guests gratefully accepted the warmth and safety of the temporary shelter at St. Peter's Church, the camaraderie of volunteers who played games, watched videos and chatted with the guests throughout the night, and the sustenance of food donated by our local restaurants and home baked treats brought in by volunteers.

And the unseasonably chill temperatures   led to a series of Code Blue nights on those first two weeks. In the 16 days between Christmas Eve and January 8th, there were 10 Code Blue nights, offering a total of 119 warm beds for folks who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets.  In today's Saratogian, Elizabeth Powers writes her moving account of a brief encounter with Nancy just days before her death... and the wonderful initiative that our community launched in response to this tragedy. Elizabeth concludes, "Miracles don't only happen on 34th Street."

I've worked for years with the Saratoga County Housing Committee to increase awareness and services for the homeless. We're regularly surprised that, despite our efforts, in a community that is so giving and compassionate,  many people don't realize there are homeless people in our county. Through Nancy's familiarity, her voice and her tragic death we are all aware of homelessness now... and working together to end it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Excitement of the Roaring 20's is back in Saratoga

Reliving the Roaring 20's at the Saratoga Automobile Museum

Need to perk up from the mid-winter blues? Imagine this- tantalizing hors d’oeuvres, a full dinner buffet,  martini bar, craft beer bar, chocolate fountain.… and all-night dancing to live music by the Audiostars! And the excitement of the Roaring 20’s continues with gaming in the casino room and entertainment by Holly and Evan. That’s what you can expect at the 17th annual Bartenders' Ball on Saturday, February 8th from 6:30pm to midnight at the Saratoga Springs City Center.

Dress for fun and dancing as this year’s theme is the Roaring 20’s Gatsby Era. Year after year, the Bartenders’ Ball is still the best event in town! Come and find out who is Saratoga County’s best bartender as we announce the winners of the most Valuable Bartender Contest.

All proceeds support Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County’s emergency domestic violence shelter. Last year alone the shelter provided 2,612 bed nights of safe housing to domestic violence victims and their children fleeing abuse.

Tickets are just 60 dollars per person. The ball is always a sellout, so advance reservations only. Call 583-0280 for information and reservations.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Parents... Here's the Cliff Notes on How Alcohol Affects your Teen's Brain

We all know the risks of underage drinking: addiction, car crashes, unwanted sexual activity, risk taking. Some of these consequences apply to adult drinkers also.But we sometimes forget that alcohol affects developing bodies-- and developing brains-- very differently than adult ones.

Mike Nerney is a renowned expert on adolescent brain development. In this short video he packs in everything you need to know about why underage drinking  is such a concern (and also some tips to mitigate some of those risks.) At the 7 minute mark he gives parents 3 basic strategies to guide their teens safely around decisions about alcohol use.