In the Loop March 27, 2020 Edition

This weekly newsletter by the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee is emailed every Friday. To get it before it’s posted, subscribe here.

News from your Saratoga Springs Democratic Party:

Thanks to all who carried and signed candidate petitions. Through your participation, you are supporting the democratic process! Governor Cuomo ended petitioning early as a precaution, and reduced the number of signatures required by 75% through an executive order. If you carried petitions for a candidate and have not yet turned them in, please contact the candidate’s office immediately for instructions!

Our event listing will be going virtual over the coming weeks. And there’s plenty to do, in our community and beyond, while practicing safe social distancing:

Friday, March 20 through Thursday, March 26: Saratoga County Take-Out Week. Restaurant Week is turning into Take-Out Week, with three course meals available at $30 or $30 for take-out or delivery from many local restaurants. More information here. Whether or not they’re on the list, all local restaurants need your support right now in order to keep paying their expenses and staff till the crisis is over. Don’t know if your favorite spot offers take-out? Give them a call!

Wednesday, March 26, 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Supervisor Tara Gaston’s Public Forum will be on Facebook Live. This month’s public forum will start with an update from Supervisor Gaston’s trip to Washington DC for the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference, with plenty of time for other questions. Head to this page for a Facebook Live forum and we’ll learn this together!

Take advantage of remote services from your library. Saratoga Springs Public Library offers e-books on demand and digital access to dozens of magazines. You can also sign up for a digital library card from the New York Public Library, so long as you are 13 or over and physically reside in New York State, and access thousands of books through their SimplyE application.

Attend a virtual concert at Caffé Lena. A number of performances are available through the Caffé Lena YouTube Channel. A good place to start might be last Friday’s John Paul White concert, which already has over 5,000 views.

Remember when Farm Aid came to SPAC? You can relive it here. That link will take you to Neil Young’s unforgettable performance, then you can view Dave Matthews and other musicians over the years on the Farm Aid YouTube Channel. (Type “Saratoga Farm Aid 2013” in the search box if you want to see all the SPAC performances.)

Take a yoga or pilates class. Local instructor Megan Rose McEntee (a member of your Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee) is building a library of on-demand classes on her ATinyCollective YouTube Channel.

View an archived performance from the Metropolitan Opera. The Met will stream a title from its Live in HD series each night through the duration of the closure. The performances, originally captured as live broadcasts in movie theatres worldwide, will begin at 7:30 PM from the company’s homepage. (The featured performances—and several others—are available via the Met Opera on Demand subscription service, though the videos in the nightly series will be made available for free for 20 hours following the initial stream). Selection for tonight, March 20: Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment, conducted by Marco Armiliato, starring Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Flórez.

Take an Ivy League class for free. Class Central is a clearing house for information about free and commercial online classes, including 496 courses from the 8 Ivy League schools that are in most cases accessible on demand. Also available: the best online courses of all time, as rated by Class Central users.

Visit a world class museum from your couch. This Travel and Leisure article has links to tours of the British Museum, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Guggenheim and more, made possible through Google Arts & Culture. You can also take a stress-relieving mini-tour by using the hashtag #MuseumMomentofZen on Twitter to find and view what each museum considers its most Zen painting.

Identify that bird singing in your yard. Birdsong is a welcome relief during these times… so why not get to know the critters better? The Audubon Society Bird Guide has identification tips as well as snippets of their melodies. Listings are sortable by region: you’ll probably have best luck in the New England section.

And we’ve just scratched the surface! This regularly-updated CNET page has links to dozens of entertainment resources to help you survive social distancing, as well as trial offers from their sponsors. Many of these links will bring you complimentary downloads of games for PC or mobile… hours o’fun. And if you have a great online entertainment or education resource, please send it to and we’ll check it out for a future issue of In the Loop!

Got kids at home? Facing the challenge of home schooling? Here are ideas. Many of these were suggested by Julie Rohr, a home-schooling mom and distance learning specialist based in Schenectady. Thanks, Julie!

Build a project on Google. Google Arts & Culture, mentioned above, is packed with stories and content to keep them (and you) in a state of lifelong learning. Most popular this week: 4 things to do with your camera phone from home; take a peek at Frida Kahlo’s diary; 6 things you never knew about Monet. With parental guidance, this could be a project for older or younger children depending on the topic you choose.

Are you a teacher? Kahoot’s game-based premium learning platform is free to educators for the balance of the school year. “With Kahoot! Premium, teachers can use advanced reports to facilitate formative assessment and adjust instruction based on student performance – even when they cannot attend school. Kahoot! Premium also lets teachers put together a bank of school-wide educational games and collaborate with other teachers in their school.” To get free access, apply here.

Khan Academy to expand pre-AP test offerings. Many parents and students are familiar with Khan Academy for their vast range of free courses to supplement classroom learning. According to Julie, they will be adding AP-prep material for students who plan to take Advancement Placement tests this spring but are locked out of the opportunity to get the learning they need at school.

Julie Rohr’s perspective as a homeschooling parent. She is required to submit a lesson plan to NY State at the beginning of the year, but it is an acceptable result if 80% of curriculum objectives are met. So don’t panic if you and your kids have a bad day. Consider taking this time to go outside, enjoy life at a slower pace, perhaps learn about our political system and how democracy works.

Local news and happenings:

Saratoga Springs Farmers’ Market will be OPEN this Saturday! The market, which was closed last week, will move outside to the parking lot by the Bow Tie Cinema and former Bon Ton store. If you have a favorite vendor and you have their contact information, you might want to get in touch with them for an advance order. Updates will be posted on the market’s website as well as Facebook and Instagram pages.

Changes to state regulations in light of COVID-19 emergency. State park fees are currently waived for people that want to spend time outside while avoiding exposure to the virus, according to Governor Cuomo, although scheduled events and group activities have been cancelled.. In addition, the State Liquor Authority will relax rules to allow home deliveries of wine and other alcoholic products.

Saratoga Springs City Council approves Budget Director position to help deal with fiscal crisis. At its March 17 meeting, the City Council voted to fund the new non-union position to help deal with the fiscal crisis caused by COVID-19 related business closures. The position is full-time and pays $77,000 per year.

News and outreach from local officials. The COVID-19 Task Force, operated by the SSPD and SSFD, will provide information and resources on COVID-19 when you sign up here. You can also sign up by phone at (518) 587-3550, ext. 2627. Saratoga County Emergency Notification will alert you with a text message or phone call from their local emergency response team in the event of emergency situations or critical community alerts; it takes less than a minute to sign up.

SSCD working to find childcare for essential workers. Saratoga Springs City School District, in conjunction with the WSWHE BOCES, is working with local county providers and existing licensed daycare providers to find open placements for families of essential health care workers and first responders.  Essential healthcare workers may include licensed health professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, LPNs and nurse assistants or laboratory personnel. First responders may include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers and firefighters. If you are working in any of these professions and having issues with childcare, please fill out the Childcare Needs for Essential Healthcare Workers Form.

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