Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ We're watching for cicadas.
+ A peek at the new Honest Weight location.
+ We picked out a sampler of cooking classes.
+ Daniel recommended getting something at Famous Lunch that's not the hot dogs.
+ Jerry Jennings announced he's not running for re-election.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: the Albany app, St. Patrick's, scenes from the demolished, the next mayor, DARE, a flower CSA, bison, the good side, caveat emptor, unsolicited advice, bang for the buck in Saratoga, native trees, and Mother's Day.
+ A few of the items found on Craigslist this week: brownies earned through flirting, a bro triumvirate, a fainting couch, and fainting goat.
+ Cheese guru Gustav Ericson is leaving Honest Weight.
+ St. Joseph's is back in the city of Albany's hands.
+ Daniel talked with the founder of the new Albany Bagel Co.
+ And Casey talked with an organist at the Cathedral of All Saints -- about music, and adopting Albany as a temporary hometown.
Here's the whole week all lined up.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea or photo this week!
bagel photo: Albany Bagel Co.
The Cuomo admin announced a bunch of funding today for state parks projects -- a little more than $11 million around the Capital Region. Some of the items sound like the possible (very) beginning of interesting projects, among them: preparing vacant wings of the Lincoln Baths in Spa State Park for adaptive reuse, and stabilizing the Bleachery Building at Peebles Island for the same. Also: $150k for "viewshed and site restoration" at Thacher Park -- that's trimming back the trees, right?
When Graham Schultz first learned he would be moving to Albany, the Cathedral of All Saints organ fellow says all he heard from people was, "Oh, Albany. It sort of sucks." Well, they were wrong. And Graham figured that out pretty quickly.
Originally from Arkansas, he didn't really know much about the northeast or upstate New York in general. But now, after three years here, he'd probably be one of the best people to ask about Albany.
"I consider myself from Albany now, but I wouldn't say I'm a New Yorker," he says.
Graham's final performance at the cathedral is during services this Sunday (May 19) and he leaves Albany shortly after that for a new post in Dallas. But talking with him about some of what he's learned about the city and its history reveals what happens when someone embraces their adopted town.
Amtrak says it's in the process of upgrading the internet service for its on-train wi-fi -- it expects to have the new 4G service (it uses mobile data networks) rolled out to all wi-fi equipped trains by the end of the summer. Having wi-fi on the train is great... when it works. Amtrak says the upgraded service will have better speeds and connectivity. Noted: "To maximize the Wi-Fi experience for passengers, data-heavy activities that can slow everyone down, such as streaming video and music, and file downloads larger than 10MB, will continue to be restricted."
Perhaps you are among the many who have been intrigued by the mysterious Albany Bagel Co., which appeared out of nowhere late last year. They have been tweeting, creating interesting maps of Albany, and teasing all of us with the promise of great bagels.
Well, the wait is almost over. The Albany Bagel Co. will begin retail operations at the Colonie Farmers Market at the Crossings this Saturday.
But who are they? Why are they doing this? And what can we expect when they finally start selling their bagels to the public? We talked with one of the founders to find out.
This weekend looks like it could be Mother Nature's way of making up for the rain on last weekend's Tulip Festival. Lots of sunshine and spring-like temperatures.
Got plans yet? After the jump we've put together a list of a few things you might like to try. Doing something that's not on the list? Share it in the comment section.
And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.
Cuomo: "zero tolerance" for Lopez, development planned for Wellington Row, Handy Andy severely damaged in fire
Andrew Cuomo on Assemblyman Vito Lopez, following the ethics report about allegations of sexual harassment against Lopez: "The reaction should be zero tolerance. If he doesn't resign, they should expel him." Cuomo also said the Assembly has handled the situation surrounding Lopez "poorly and terribly," though he didn't specifically single out Sheldon Silver. Thursday night Silver's office announced the speaker will introduce a resolution that could lead to Lopez's expulsion from the Assembly. [State of Politics] [TU] [NYT]
The state attorney general's office and NYPD say 16 people have indicted for an alleged "criminal ring that flooded New York City, Albany County and Schenectady County with more than a million cartons of untaxed cigarettes illegally imported from Virginia." State AG Eric Schneiderman says authorities aren't sure where all the money ended up, ""We know that some members of this group have ties to some very dangerous people." [NYS AG] [TU]
The Cuomo admin and the Oneida Indian Nation announced a deal that grants the nation exclusive casino rights (and settle some longstanding land rights disuptes) in Central New York in exchange for a 25 percent of the casino revenue. The deal takes a potential Syracuse-area casino off the table if/when the state approves full casino gambling. (Andrew Cuomo has proposed siting three casinos upstate, with a preference for one in the Capital Region.) [Cuomo admin] [Post-Standard] [TU] [Cuomo admin]
Columbia Development is planning to build office and condo space in portions of Wellington Row, the stretch of facades along State Street in Albany near the Capitol. [TU] [News10]
Outside 1 Commerce Plaza in Albany. Blue skies back again.
One of the tactics Union College is using against pests: a release of 140,000 ladybugs, deployed to eat plant-attacking aphids. It's also enlisted praying mantises for the fight. Potential complication: mantises eat ladybugs. photo: Matt Milless / Union College
The Historic Albany Foundation announced today that it will be handing back St. Joseph's church in the Ten Broeck Triangle to the city of Albany. The preservation org has owned the building since 2003, and the deed back is via a "reverter clause" from that deal 10 years ago.
"Our first and primary goal was to stabilize the building," said Susan Holland, HAF's executive director, today. And Holland said they've accomplished that, raising more than $700,000 along the way for the work.
So why hand it back to the city?
For what it's worth: Earlier this spring the developer for a project in Syracuse that includes Costco said the warehouse store chain was also looking to open stores in Rochester and Albany. Yesterday it was announced Costco is anchoring a new development in Rochester. (In March a real estate broker told the Biz Review that Costco was scouting sites in Colonie.) [Post-Standard] [Rachel Barnhart] [Biz Review]
Gustav Ericson, Capital Region rock star of cheese, won't be making the leap to Honest Weight's new building.
Yes, we said the rock star of cheese.
Ericson has presided over the cheese counter at Honest Weight for the last 12 years, listening to stories, doling out samples, and educating volunteers and customers. And in that time he's developed a passionate band of fans for a guy who sells cheese.
The good thing about Craigslist: It's a window into our fellow community members' wants, needs and aspirations. The bad thing about Craigslist: It's a window into our fellow community members' wants, needs and aspirations.
Good or bad, we'll let you decide...
JCOPE report shows Silver's office shielded Lopez, Albany Dems endorse Sheehan, demolition of St. Patrick's tower underway
The long awaited JCOPE report on the Vito Lopez scandal was released on Wednesday. Among the details: Lopez told female employees to dress more provoctively, and asked them to do things like rub his hand or share an apartment with him, and threatened their jobs when they rebuffed his advances. The report also says the office of Sheldon Silver sheilded Lopez from public scrutiny and failing to investigate and refer initial harassment allegations . A special prosecutor in Staten Island who was conducting his own investigtion into the case found "no basis" for criminal charges against Lopez and also found Silver's office did not break the law, but "fell short of what the public has a right to expect." [NYT][WNYT][Capitol Confidential]
The 20-year-old son of the Schenectady woman charged with beating her 8-year-old grandson to death - who has been taking care of his three younger sisters while their mother is in jail - has been arrested for allegedly beating a pit bull with a shovel. [TU]
Demolition of the bell tower at the site of the former St. Patrick's Church in Watervliet was delayed again this week when someone vandalized the gas tank of a crane brought in to tear down the tower. Demolition has resumed this morning. [YNN][TU]
As crews tear down the last of St. Patrick's in Watervliet, a new Catholic church, formerly based in Troy, is opening in Watervliet. [News 10]
The tulips have to wilt eventually. But even then, still oddly beautiful.
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the Albany app, St. Patrick's, scenes from the demolished, the next mayor, DARE, a flower CSA, bison, the good side, caveat emptor, unsolicited advice, bang for the buck in Saratoga, native trees, and Mother's Day.
On an otherwise ordinary day, Elliot discovers something extraordinary: the power of mindfulness. When he asks his neighbor Carmen for a snack, he's at first disappointed when she hands him an apple--he wanted candy! But when encouraged to carefully and attentively look, feel, smell, taste, and even listen to the apple, Elliot discovers that this apple is not ordinary at all.
Lushly and humorously illustrated, No Ordinary Apple makes a traditional technique for training mindfulness a fun and enjoyable way for children to learn to slow down and appreciate even the simplest things.
"Lush" and "humorous" are good words to describe Phil's style -- his work is often colorful and witty. You've no doubt seen his work -- he's designed a bunch of book covers, as well a version of the Twitter bird.
Earlier on AOA: The book on Phil Pascuzzo
As you've heard, Jerry Jennings announced via letter Tuesday night that he will not run for re-election. This is a big deal -- Jennings has been in office for 20 years. And, at least in the last century or so, Albany doesn't get a new mayor very often. There have been just three since 1942.
The way the announcement came about was a surprise, too. As Common Council president Carolyn McLaughlin told the media this morning: "Very few people knew [that it was happening], even people close to him ... They were surprised."
So, as you might imagine, there were a lot of people packed into a conference room at city hall Wednesday morning to hear Jennings talk a bit about his decision.
Here's a quick scan of a handful of clips -- even one about tanning...
The new issue of the New Yorker include a good article about Ecovative by Ian Frazier. Here's a clip:
Gavin McIntyre, the co-inventor of a process that grows all-natural substitutes for plastic from the tissue of mushrooms, holds a pen or pencil in an unusual way. Gripping it between two fingers of his right hand, he moves his arm across the paper so that his wrist grazes the inscribed line; because of this, he uses pens with ink that doesn't smear. When he draws an explanatory diagram of the chitin molecule--chitin is the principal component of mycelium, the white, rootlike vegetative structure of fungi--he bends over his work, then looks up earnestly to see if his hearer has understood. The gesture makes him appear younger than his age, which is twenty-eight. He wears glasses and has straight black hair, dark eyes, and several piercings, with studs in his lip and ears.
The other co-inventor, Eben Bayer, won't be twenty-eight until June. Bayer is almost six-five, and often assumes the benign expression of a large and friendly older brother. His hair is brown, short, and spiky, his face is long, and his self-effacing manner hides the grand ambitions that people who come from small towns (Bayer grew up in South Royalton, in central Vermont) sometimes have. When he says, of the company that he and McIntyre founded, "We want to be the Dow or DuPont of this century," he is serious. He is their company's C.E.O., McIntyre its Chief Scientist. People with money and influence have bet that they will succeed.
As you know, Ecovative is based in Green Island -- and both McIntyre and Bayer are RPI alumni.
The article highlight both of the founders' backgrounds, along with the key role of RPI professor Burt Swersey in encouraging them, and mycologist Sue Van Hook in helping to grow Ecovative's library of fungus. And it also includes a bunch of interesting bits about the company's beginnings, tech, and plans (fungal resistors for mobile phones?).
More than anything, though, Frazier elegantly lays out Ecovative's ideas alongside the history of Dow Chemical -- the producer of Styrofoam -- and explains why Ecovative could be such an important, industry-altering company.
Earlier on AOA: A whole bunch of items about Ecovative
Reactions to Jennings decision not to run again, Cuomo to form "restructuring panel" to advise local governments, crews bringing in a big crane for St. Patrick's bell tower
Reaction to Jerry Jennings decision not to run again.[YNN]
Andrew Cuomo has announced a new panel that will hear from and advise cities that are seeking financial assistance from New york State. The "restructuring panel" will help "fiscally distressed" municipalities develop fiscal restructuring plans that could inlclude state money if the cities follow the recommended restructuring plans.[TU][WNYT]
The Cohoes High School principal who ordered ammiunition for a .22 caliber gun on campus will not face any criminal charges. [Record]
Contractors have given up on a cable and are bringing in a 200 ton crane to demolish the bell tower at the former St. Patrick's church site in Watervliet.[Record]
Rensselaer County legislators have approved the final payment for the special prosecutor in the Troy ballot fraud trial and are now considering a proposed law to control how the D.A. Seeks and pays for special prosecutors[TU]
And you can always try searching for it: