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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An up-and-coming old fogey's dream: Getting proofed at 58

Just when I was worried about getting old, a wonderful thing happened Monday morning as I signed in for my annual exam at the gynecologist: The receptionist handed me a medical history update form with the heading "For women under age 50." I was as happy as if she'd asked for a photo ID to serve me a well-chilled cosmo. But of course that would have been impossible. It was only 10:30 in the morning. And I am pretty sure they don't have a liquor license at Women's Care, though I bet it would boost revenue. Feet in stirrups, wine glass in hand. I tried not to smile too broadly when I tapped on the receptionist window to let her know I needed the form for women past 50. "Really?" said this wonderful woman, with a straight face. She gave me a different sheet titled something like "For decrepit patients on the back nine" and I pocketed the flattering form. I've only been 58 for a week, and I am still adjusting to the idea that calling me middle-aged is as laughable as wishing to be proofed at the bar. Or going to a bar. But I can party and have been known to stay and out past 9. At the Bruce Springsteen concert the day before my birthday, I was in good company in the gray-haired crowd that packed the Times Union Center, though I couldn't match the stamina of the Boss at 62. However, at The Palace this past Sunday for a rousing show by the Avett Brothers, my husband and I kept an eye out to see if we were the oldest fans in attendance. It was touch and go. There were some groups of young adults and their parents, but we weren't sure who brought whom. Earlier that day I was with classmates from the Voorheesville High School Class of 1972, planning our -- how can this be? -- 40th reunion. More time at these get-togethers is spent reminiscing than planning, followed by wondering how things that seemed to have happened yesterday (throwing rocks at a freight train, counting a girl's hickeys) occurred decades ago. We're going to invite teachers, many of whom are still alive. Turns out some weren't much older than we were. Yet we think of the teachers as old fogeys and ourselves as a bunch of kids -- several of whom happen to have grandkids. What the heck. I may be a member of the Class of '72, but I can pass for 50. I have the medical history update form to prove it. Barbara Lombardo is managing editor of The Saratogian. Read her blog, Fresh Ink, at

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Support Saratoga Center for the Family; fundraiser April 25 at Longfellows

“Breaking the Cycle of Child Abuse.” That’s the motto, if you will, for a terrific local nonprofit organization called Saratoga Center for the Family. Originally the Saratoga County Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect, the long-ago name change, as the group explains, “reflects the center’s commitment to serving not only those who have been abused but to build stronger families and empower individuals with a goal of preventing abuse.” It works to strengthen children, families and the community “by reducing the effects of abuse, trauma and family dysfunction through advocacy, education and mental health therapy.” For the most part, the children and families who benefit from the services do not have the means to keep the organization running. The Saratoga Center for the Family relies heavily on community donations to support its services. One of its major fundraisers is this Wednesday, April 25, at Longfellows out Union Avenue. I hope to see you there! (And if you can’t make, I hope you’ll donate.) Wednesay's event, made possible in large part due to the generous donation of Longfellows owners Steve and Yvonne Sullivan, is 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. Corinne Vahanian does a great job as event chairwoman. Attire is traditional business or casual cocktail. I usually go straight from work. Benita Zahn, news anchor for WNYT Channel 13, is the celebrity host for the event, which is held in April in observance of National Child Abuse Prevention month. The cocktail party will include hors d’oeuvre stations, entertainment by the Schuylerville High School Chamber Singers, a silent auction and a cash bar. Tickets are $85. The Saratoga Center for the Family offers child abuse prevention programs, counseling and victim advocacy, working with law enforcement, Child Protective Services and the district attorney to bring abuse cases to justice and help victims afterward. Last year the organization provided more than 3,500 mental health visits to more than 400 clients and offered prevention programs to more than 400 clients. Prevention programs include parenting, strengthening families, child custody stress prevention and anger management. Its mental health services focus on trauma caused by abuse, violence and victimization. Counseling also addresses family dysfunction and managing symptoms of depression, anxiety and attentional disorders. The center’s Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center at 359 Ballston Ave. is designed to be a single location to interview, examine and counsel abused children while preparing for prosecution of child abuse cases. For more information about the Saratoga Center for the Family or Wednesday’s event at Longfellows, call 587-8008 or go to

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Future of the arts in our region is topic of free public forum April 24

We are fortunate to live in a region so rich in the performing arts. Saratoga, Albany, Troy and Schenectady all offer a variety of venues for virtually every interest.
But what’s ahead for the arts as financial challenges increase and live performances vie for people’s attention? Will there be growth, down-sizing, collaboration or mergers?
You’re invited to a free public form titled “The Arts: Trouble or Opportunity,” scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, at The Meader Little Theatre on the Troy campus of Russell Sage College.
The event is a collaborative effort of The Saratogian and The Record in Troy, which are both part of Journal Register Company/Digital First Media.
Panelists include Peter Lesser, executive director of The Egg; Philip Morris, CEO of Proctors; Dr. Susan Scrimshaw, the Sage Colleges president; and Marcia White, executive director of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
The panelists will offer their thoughts about how their organizations have been impacted by the economy and their vision of the future of the arts in the Capital District. A question and answer session will follow.
I am looking forward to the event.
It always mystifies me that people don’t avail themselves of the opportunities in our area. Within a short span, I will have taken advantage of The Troy Music Hall for Andrew Bird, Proctor’s for Jersey Boys, the Times Union Center for Bruce Springsteen, and The Egg for an upcoming concert by Ingrid Michaelson. This summer, I plan to see the New York City Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet at SPAC, and three dates are penciled in to listen to the Philadelphia Orchestra under the Saratoga skies.
The venues, the types of performances, and the prices vary, with something in just about everyone’s reach. I hate to think of these and other venues disappearing. I’m interested in what the panelists will have to say, and to what questions the audience will bring to the April 24 forum.
Since space is limited, your RSVP is requested. Register online by visiting