The Arc New York Elects Saundra Gumerove President

Committed disability advocate to lead statewide nonprofit serving people with developmental disabilities and their families

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The Arc New York, the largest nonprofit in New York state supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), elected Saundra M. Gumerove, Esq. as its President.

Nearing its 70th year in operation, The Arc New York Board of Governors tapped Gumerove at its annual convention to lead the call to action uniting  51 regional chapters in its campaign to update public policy and laws to better support the growing number of New Yorkers with disabilities and their families.

"It's a critical time for disability advocates, and I am proud to serve as President," said Gumerove. "Across New York State, Chapters of The Arc New York will stand together for greater understanding, inclusion and opportunity on specific issues. Progress, in my 30 years as an advocate, attorney and parent, only comes through a shared commitment to engaging local communities and all levels of government."

Gumerove comes to office at a time when thousands of New Yorkers with I/DD are in immediate need of housing and face an onerous, unclear process for placement; are struggling with a shortage of direct support professionals who ensure daily living needs are met; and face challenges arising from gaps in teacher compensation between preschools that serve children with developmental disabilities and typical schools.

Gumerove is poised to address these issues, after serving as a member of The Arc of the United States Policy Committee for the past 10 years and Chair of The Arc New York Government Affairs Committee for seven years. Gumerove also has been active on the board of AHRC Nassau, an Arc New York chapter based on Long Island.

"Saundra has been a powerful and persistent advocate for countless families for decades," said Mark van Voorst, Executive Director of The Arc New York. "She is committed to the unique experience of how disability impacts lives. We welcome her leadership to advance our collective mission and vision."

The Greatest NIGHT OUT Coming to Nigra Arts Center!

The Lexington Foundation’s annual Night Out will take place at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts on Thursday, September 20, at 6 p.m. The arts center is located at 2736 State Highway 30, Gloversville.

The theme of this year’s fundraiser gala is The Greatest Night Out, inspired by the hit movie musical The Greatest Showman. The party will feature live music from Flame and Our Secret Love Society, food and cocktails from Union Hall Inn Restaurant, roaming performers, raffle and silent auction items, and plenty of circus-themed surprises.

At the event, Lexington will be honoring businesses and individuals who have helped make Lexington what it is today. Century Linens of Gloversville will be recognized as the Employer of the Year for their partnership with Lexington. Century Linens has a strong record of hiring individuals with disabilities to be employees at their business. Assemblyman Marc Butler will be acknowledged for over 20 years of supporting Lexington and the men and women it supports. The Assemblyman retires at the end of 2018. Jack and Shirley Scott, owners of WENT Radio will be thanked for supporting Lexington from the day they bought the station in 1986. Jack and Shirley have been strong advocates for Lexington and individuals with developmental disabilities. The life and contributions of the late Brian Hanaburgh will be honored at the event. Brian served as Chair of the Transitions and Nigra Art Center Advisory Board and for over 20 years he served on the Lexington Foundation Board. Anita Hanaburgh and family members will be on hand to accept the tribute to Brian.

Proceeds from this special event benefit the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, a community arts center open to the public that hosts rotating art exhibitions, concerts, fun family events, theater performances, day camps for children, and classes in music, dance, fine arts, yoga, cooking and more.

The Greatest Night Out will also celebrate the achievements of the students in the Transitions program and raise funds for its Elmore Scholarship Fund. Transitions is a post-secondary program that provides training in skills young adults with autism and other learning differences need to live independently and follow their college and career dreams. Its evidence-based curriculum covers social skills, health and wellness, independent living, self-management, and self-advocacy and leadership. Transitions offers weekend Mini Camps, weeklong specialty camps, summer programs, year-long programs and a Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies in collaboration with Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

“This is a great opportunity to gather and support Transitions and the Nigra Arts Center, two of Lexington’s newest programs,” said Shaloni Winston, Transitions founder and executive director of The Arc Lexington. “It is also a wonderful way for us to honor and thank those who have been so supportive of Lexington over the years. They have helped us become who we are and supported us to build programs such as the Nigra Arts Center which benefits the entire community and Transitions where we are helping to change the lives of young adults with learning differences throughout the northeast, and we are excited to welcome the public to share in our students’ success. We hope you will support our work by attending the Greatest Night Out and contributing to our scholarship fund.”

Individual tickets for the Night Out are $100. Young professionals under the age of 40 can purchase tickets for $75. Tables for 10 and several sponsorship levels are also available. For more information, visit

#ABLETOSAVE: Information from the ABLE National Resource Center!

The ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC) has launched their month-long #ABLEtoSave grassroots campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to educate and inform the general public about Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts. The goals of the #ABLEtoSave campaign, which runs throughout the month of August, are to increase awareness about ABLE accounts and to increase the amount of ABLE accounts opened across the country.

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ABLE accounts are tax-advantaged savings accounts that have the potential to significantly increase the independence and quality of life of individuals with disabilities without jeopardizing benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Informational Webinars on ABLE-related topics will be held on Wednesday each week. To see the calendar and sign up to participate, visit our events page. To learn more about the #ABLEtoSave campaign and ABLE accounts, visit the ABLE National Resource Center website ( be sure to “like” the ANRC on Facebook and Twitter (@theABLENRC).

Lexington's Shaloni Winston on News Channel 13!

Did you catch Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston on WNYT NewsChannel 13 this past weekend? If not, click on the image below to check out the video and see her talk about our Transitions program, #AutismAwarenessMonth and more! To learn more about Transitions, visit! #TransitionsUSA

Rock for Abilities Concert!

Flame, Lexington’s world-renowned rock band, will perform a concert for the community on March 16, 2018 at Lexington’s Gloversville facility, 127 East State Street, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The concert is open the public.

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Flame will present the concert as Lexington celebrates National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Flame performs around the state and country and last year were the headliners of a concert celebrating abilities in Carpi, Italy, in northern Tuscany. The band performs more than 75 concerts a year, traveling on a specially designed motor coach that has racked up several hundred thousand miles and is due for replacement. Having produced six albums featuring their own music and cover pieces, the band of talented musicians is dedicated to sharing their music and helping people see that everyone has both abilities and disabilities. Celebrating abilities is what motivates the band and makes them sought after as performers.

Lexington celebrates National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to showcase not only Flame, but the success of many men, women and children with different abilities. Lexington is very proud of the accomplishments of the many individuals whose success in daily life, work, volunteerism, school and college work, and raising families shows how capable they truly are. Flame’s concert is part of this month-long celebration highlighting all that the men and women supported by Lexington do to give back to their community.

Tickets for the community concert cost $5 each and are available at Lexington’s Johnstown location, 465 N. Perry Street; Lexington’s Gloversville location, 127 E. State Street; Lexington’s Oppenheim location, 405 County Highway 114, St. Johnsville; the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, 2 N. Main Street, Gloversville; and Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market, 20 N. Main Street, Gloversville. Tickets will also be available at the door on the day of the event. Audience members are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate in exchange for the chance to win a door prize. All donated non-perishable food items will benefit local food pantries. Lexington participates in fundraising and food collection throughout the year to benefit a variety of community agencies. Proceeds from this concert will go to the fund to purchase a new Flame tour bus.

In addition to the concert, Lexington is sponsoring a poster contest to help raise public awareness for the importance of equality in our society. Students at Fulton County elementary, middle and high schools are welcome to submit art that celebrates equality and differing abilities. This year’s theme is “Together We Have No Limits.” Entries will be judged and top winners chosen from each age group. Winners will receive two free tickets to the Rock for Abilities Concert, where they will be publicly recognized, receive a gift basket and get the opportunity to meet the members of Flame. Top posters will be on display at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts in the Flame recording studio until April 25. In addition, the school with most entries will win a free Flame concert. For information about the contest and how to enter, contact Lynette May at (518) 661-9932 or Entries are due by March 8.

Andrew Carpenter Accepts International Award

   Andrew, standing on left, with his family in Tampa.        

Andrew, standing on left, with his family in Tampa.       

Andrew Carpenter, a student at Transitions of the Fulton County-based The Arc, Lexington, NY, today accepted a “Yes I Can” award from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Andrew was one of only 12 students who received the prestigious international award. The presentation took place this morning at CEC’s annual Special Education Convention & Expo in Tampa. 

Andrew, who is affected by Autism, attends Lexington’s renowned Transitions program and is studying communications at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. He enrolled in Transitions after graduating from Gloversville High School in 2015. Andrew says Transitions is helping him learn a variety of skills to prepare for independent living, including organizational skills, managing money, cooking and social skills.

His success in the program earned him the “Yes I Can” award.

 “So many things are different now. I have more friends than I ever had in high school,” Andrew said. “I have improved my social life and can talk to people with confidence, use the bus, and go to professors for help if I need it. Autism doesn’t define who I am or who I will be. I have so much more to look forward to in my life and I am only 20. I can’t wait to see what is next for me.”                

CEC is a professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the educational success of children and youth with exceptionalities. The “Yes I Can” program recognizes the accomplishments of students with exceptionalities in six categories: academics, arts, school and community activities, self-advocacy, technology, and transition. Andrew’s award is in the transition category.

Andrew has had an enriching experience since arriving at Transitions in 2015. In July of 2016, he joined Lexington’s immensely popular band Flame as a vocalist after he was overheard singing in the hallway at Transitions. The group is made up of people with disabilities and has played on world stages, last traveling to Carpi, Italy, in May 2017 to perform at the 19th International Festival of Different Abilities.

“We are so proud of him, as we are with all of our students. Everything changed when Andrew enrolled in Transitions,” said Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston. “After just a few weeks in this post-secondary program for young adults with learning differences, Andrew embraced the curriculum and gained a wealth of new skills. Through self-advocacy and leadership classes, he learned how to speak up for himself, advocate for his needs, set long-term goals and identify the steps he needs to take to accomplish those goals. He is a true success story. We can’t wait to welcome him home.”


The band Flame will celebrate the release of their new album, “Christmas Classics,” on Thursday, December 7, with a CD Release Party. The party will take place 6-7:30 p.m. at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, 2736 State Highway 30, Gloversville. There is no cost for admission.


At the party, Flame will perform songs from their new album. Attendees will be the first to have the chance to purchase “Christmas Classics” at a one-time special price of $10. There will also be snacks, raffles, autograph opportunities and more. 

Flame recorded “Christmas Classics” in April at SUNY Schenectady County Community College’s (SCCC) School of Music’s Vianna-Brignola Recording Studio. Hailey Lozier, at the time a Music Audio Technology major at SCCC and intern with the band, acted as lead engineer under the direction of Sten Isachsen, assistant professor in the SCCC School of Music. The album’s six-song track listing includes classics such as “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” “Run, Run Rudolph,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Santa Baby” and “Where Are You Christmas” as well as the original song “Wide Awake.”

This is Flame’s sixth album and second Christmas album. “Christmas Classics” and the rest of Flame’s discography are available for purchase at the Nigra Arts Center’s gift shop and online at It is also available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby and for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and Napster.

Flame is a ten-piece band comprised entirely of musicians who happen to have disabilities. They formed in 2003 at a talent show put on by Lexington, a chapter of The Arc New York. Flame has a repertoire of more than 100 classic rock, pop, country and blues songs from the past 50 years as well as some original tracks. In the past 14 years, they have produced six albums and a single. They tour the northeastern United States in a custom bus and play more than 70 shows per year. Some of the biggest venues they have played include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the House of Blues in Cleveland, New York City’s Apollo Theater, Harvard Law School, the Greek Ministry of Education building in Athens, Greece, the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho, and the 19th International Festival of Different Abilities in Carpi, Italy. Flame has received press from Good Morning America, People magazine, Metroland magazine and the Daily Mainichi News in Tokyo, Japan.  

For more information about Flame, please visit or contact Maria Nestle at (518) 661-9932, ext. 164 or

Creative Expressions Artists Selected to Exhibit in Arkell Juried Show

Local artists Richard Freeman and Francis Dempsey were selected into the Arkell Museum and Canajoharie Library’s 2017 The Art of New York: Annual Juried Art Show. Freeman is exhibiting “Silver Dollars,” a mixed media piece, and Dempsey is exhibiting “Cosmic Pool,” an acrylic and silicone painting.

 Francis Demsey and Richard Freeman

Francis Demsey and Richard Freeman

Both artists have honed their skills through classes at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts and the Creative Expressions program at Lexington, a chapter of The Arc New York, through which they have already participated in many other local exhibitions, won awards and sold their art. The Nigra Arts Center is an organization that hosts art exhibitions, special events, concerts, programming for children and classes in every type of art media. Lexington founded the center in 2015 to help bring the community together and support people to achieve success and fulfillment through the arts.

Each year, artists living in New York State are invited to submit entries to The Art of New York: Annual Juried Art Show hosted by the Arkell Museum and Canajoharie Library. The show is open to artists working in any media. The 2017 show, juried by Ann Larsen, artist, teacher and past president of American Women Artists, will be on exhibit from November 3rd, 2017 through January 3rd, 2018 in the Regional Art Galleries. The Art of New York exhibit features work from artists from across New York. It will be on display through January 3 at the Arkell Museum and the Canajoharie Library at 2 Erie Boulevard, Canajoharie, NY. For more information, visit or call (518) 673-2314.


Flame, a ten-piece band comprised entirely of musicians who happen to have disabilities, will join four other community bands to perform at a radiothon to benefit hurricane victims in Puerto Rico on Thursday, November 30. Flame formed in Gloversville in 2003 at a talent show put on by Lexington, a chapter of The Arc New York.


This concert is part of the LIVE-AID: Fulmont for Puerto Rico Taste of the Mohawk Valley and Hurricane Relief Concert at Amsterdam High School, 140 Saratoga Avenue, Amsterdam, NY. Since the community has many direct connections to the areas of Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria, this event is bringing together local businesses, organizations and acts to collect much-needed donations and supplies to assist the relief effort. The evening of food, fun, silent auctions, raffles and live music begins at 5 p.m. with Taste of the Mohawk Valley, a family-friendly event that showcases the food of the region. A variety of vendors will present samples of a wide variety of food favorites.

The Hurricane Relief Concert begins at 7 p.m. In addition to Flame, other artists to take the stage include Skeeter Creek, Bronte Roman, Louie and Lisa Velez, and MedRock. Together, they are all preparing an evening of music filled with heart, soul and everything they can give to help and heal.

Tickets to the event cost $15-$25 and may be purchased at

Flame has a repertoire of more than 100 classic rock, pop, country and blues songs from the past 50 years as well as some original tracks. In the past 14 years, they have produced six albums and a single. They tour the northeastern United States in a custom bus and play more than 70 shows per year. Some of the biggest venues they have played include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the House of Blues in Cleveland, New York City’s Apollo Theater, Harvard Law School, the Greek Ministry of Education building in Athens, Greece, the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho, and the 19th International Festival of Different Abilities in Carpi, Italy. Flame has received press from Good Morning America, People magazine, Metroland magazine and the Daily Mainichi News in Tokyo, Japan.