A few things going on this week...

Today's moment of summerfall

tree top blue sky 2017-09-25

Monday's high temperature hit 91 degrees -- a new record the date. And the high Sunday was 90 degrees, another record. Near the end of September. [NWS Albany x2]

In other news: We've been eating tomatoes from the back yard like it's August.

By the way: The latest 90-degree day in a calendar year on record for Albany is October 5, set in 1941. [NWS Albany]

Also: Autumn is out there. Its temperatures approach. [@Jason_Weather]

Let Dogs Be Dogs at Northshire Saratoga

Let Dogs Be Dogs book coverThe authors of Let Dogs Be Dogs -- Brother Christopher of the Monks of New Skete and Marc Goldberg -- will be at Northshire Saratoga for a demonstration and Q&A October 8.

The monks of the monastery are famous for their German Shepherds and their dog training acumen, previously chronicled in books such as the best-selling The Art of Raising a Puppy. Blurbage for the new book, which was published this month:

America's foremost authorities on dog care and training distill decades of experience in a comprehensive "foundational" guide for dog owners. No matter what training method or techniques you use with your dog, the training is unlikely to be optimally successful unless it is predicated on an understanding of the dog's true nature. Dogs need food, water, exercise and play, rest, veterinary care--the basics. But since dogs naturally want to be led, they also need focused and compassionate guidance. Through abundant stories and case studies, the authors reveal how canine nature manifests itself in various behaviors, some potentially disruptive to domestic accord, and show how in addressing these behaviors you can strengthen the bond with your dog as well as keep the peace. The promise of this book is that, especially in an ever-accelerating world filled with digital distractions, you can learn from your dog's example how to live in the moment, thereby enriching your life immeasurably.

The event is Sunday, October 8 at 5 pm at the store in downtown Saratoga Springs.

Cardi B at TU Center

rapper Cardi B

Rapper Cardi B is headlining a "Homecoming Concert 2017" show at the TU Center October 21. Tickets went on sale this past Friday -- they're $45 and up for the general public, $30 and up for students with valid college ID.

Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow" is currently #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. She's first female hip hop artist to attain that spot as part of a solo act since Lauryn Hill did it in 1998. (And she did so despite the efforts of Team Taylor Swift.)

Her ascent up the mountain of fame has followed a very modern path: stripper, to Instagram star, to reality TV star, to major label rap star.

The lineup for the TU Center is co-headlined by reggae/dancehall singer Charly Black, and includes Famous Dex and Lil Pump.

photo via Cardi B Facebook

AOA Startup Grant 2017 finalists

AOA Startups 2017 applicants poster billboard 2

This is always the hard part of the AOA Startup Grant contest: Narrowing the field down to three entries. Because, as it is every year, there are many projects worthy of a spot in the final.

But we do have to narrow the list. And so we have. Here are the finalists for this year's $2,500 grant...

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This is Not a Test at the Arts Center

Aaron Marquise This Is Not A Test

Something different: Aaron Marquise is bringing his contemporary clown show This is Not a Test to the Arts Center of the Capital Region for a run starting September 29. Show blurbage:

"This is Not a Test" is a mix between theater, a French-style of clowning, and contemporary circus. In a war-torn era, inside a decrepit vaudeville theater, with nothing but a pile of shoes to sleep on, an isolated clown finds shelter. After having survived for a long period of time with only inanimate objects as friends, the clown is shocked to awake one morning to see an audience of people staring back at him. As if observing an animal in a zoo, the audience watches as he sings, dances, and celebrates parties. Comedic vignettes offer a balance for darker content throughout the show. All the while the clown conveys his own resilience to loss and his willingness to seek hope.

This is the show Marquise performed at Revolution Hall last year.

Marquise trained at the National Circus School in Montreal, and has toured around the world. He has a modern circus production company called Marquise Productions that's based in Troy. You might remember shows it produced a the Gasholder Building.

This is Not a Test will be at the Arts Center September 29-October 1 and October 6-8 at various times. Tickets are $20 / $15 for 12 and under.

photo: Douglas Liebig

New casinos lagging revenue predictions, alleged election shenanigans, the 1 Monument Square drama, a really big pumpkin

Casinos
+ All three of the new full casinos in New York State are behind projections for revenue -- and, as a result, also behind projection on the amount of money they'd be providing to municipalities. A breakdown of the numbers. [TU x2]
+ A few different views on the effect of the casino in Schenectady so far. [TU]
+ See also: The Daily's Gazette's tracking of Rivers revenue. [Daily Gazette]

Puerto Rico
New York State is coordinating a donation drive to assist Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday: "Look, to our colleagues in the federal government, I humbly suggest that at this time instead of arguing with football players, instead of obsessing about how to take health care from the poor in this country, why don't we put the politics aside and focus on helping Americans in desperate need." [TU] [NYS] [Politico NY]

South Glens Falls school bus incident
The South Glens Falls transgender teen who was ordered off a school bus last week after not complying with an order from the bus driver to sit with the girls: "I don't hate the bus driver for what he did ... I believe a lot of instances like this come from a place of ignorance." [News10]

CDPHP small business in-post-ad 2017-September

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The week ahead

Capital Rep Sex With Strangers

Capital Rep's production of Sex With Strangers opens this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (sizzle), to the stage, to the environment, to apartment touring, to food, to music...

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A quick recap of the week

week review 2017-09-24

Here are a few highlights from the past short week on AOA...

+ A breakdown of how Albany's mayor gets selected by just a small slice of the city's population.

+ Alie asked about finding a lawn mowing service in Albany. (We could use a few more suggestions for this one.)

+ We stopped by the Tivoli Preserve in Albany to see the sheep.

+ If you want to provide direct feedback on that Capital District Gondola idea, here's your chance.

+ Deanna tried the cereal sundae at Bumpy's.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: rude people, restaurants, the Pony Barn, a basket of ingredients, babysitters, floating palaces, a poignant monument, a 20s Broadway star, the Boreas Ponds, an endangered plant, Nova Scotia, and growing up.

+ This moth's episode of Exciting Tales of the Albany Planning Board prompted a lot of discussion.

+ Cristin checked out the 5 Wits "escape room" at Crossgates.

+ And noted: Those plants in Washington Park are for admiring, not taking.

Here's the whole week in one place.

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!

Today's moment of autumn

sun and sunflower

Sunflower -- and sun.

Enjoy the beautiful weekend.

Night of the Walking Red V

night of the walking red 2014The League of Extraordinary Red Heads will once again gather at Ryan's Wake in Troy on October 4 for The Night of the Walking Red. Blurbage:

The fiery festivities feature an autumnal rite known as the "Toast of The Coppertops," during which members of the red-haired collective raise glasses of seasonal Pumpkin Ale (this year's batch is by Ithaca Beer Co.). Looming above them will be a 15-foot vinyl sign bearing the League's registered trademark logo and the concisely stated: "Agenda 1) Us. 2) Them."
There will be a sunset group photograph on the deck at 6:15 p.m. Entertainment will include a caricature artist, a photo booth, a t-shirt printing station provided by Troy Cloth & Paper and other fun activities. Admission is free. Children are welcome with supervision. The League gives special recognition to "Distinguished White Heads," such as Santa Claus, whose ginger hair has turned white. Un-red heads are also welcome to witness the crimson jubilee.

The league, founded by Duncan Crary, is about fostering ginger fellowship and solidarity -- and a good time for everyone.

The festivities begin that day -- a Wednesday -- at 4 pm. There were more than 200 people at last year's event.

photo: Neil Grabowsky

Troy history walking tours: Uncle Sam, ghost signs, wild women, mayhem

market block downtown Troy early 1900s

The Rensselaer County Historical Society has a handful of Saturday morning walking history walking tours of Troy coming up over the next few weeks.

The topics range from Sam Wilson to ghost signs to wild women to murder and mayhem...

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Checked in

Two bits from this Mike DeMasi story about SUNY Poly and its scandal-stalled plan to build a residence hall on/near its Albany campus: 1) Because SUNY Poly doesn't have a dorm here, it's been housing students at the CrestHill Suites on Washington Ave. And 2) The Albany SUNY Poly campus has just 160 students enrolled this semester. (It has more than 2,700 students at its Utica campus.) [Biz Review]

Stuff to do this weekend

LarkFest2010 crowd by Sebastien B

LarkFest returns on Saturday.

Another gorgeous September weekend is ahead of us, filled with festivals, cider donuts, theater, haunted tours, and more.

Our list is below -- pick your favorites. Planning something you don't see here? Drop it in the comments so we can all see.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Trucks destroyed in Voorheesville explosion, students defend transgender teens on school bus, charges in crash with cyclist, significant downtown Albany resident project facing redesign

Voorheesville explosion
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says an explosion at a state Department of Transportation site in Voorheesville Friday morning destroyed three dump trucks worth an estimated $500k. Neighbors reported hearing multiple explosions. The cause hasn't been determined, but investigators are calling it suspicious. [TU] [News10] [Spectrum]

South Glens Falls school bus incident
Students on a South Glens Falls school bus came to the defense of two transgender students this week when during an incident captured on video in which the bus driver kicked the two students off the bus. The district superintendent says the bus driver was wrong and "we're going to use this as a learning experience." [TU] [News10]

Puerto Rico
Andrew Cuomo, a group of state officials, and experts from the New York Power Authority are headed to Puerto Rico to survey damage from Hurricane Maria and offer assistance. [TU]

CDPHP small business in-post-ad 2017-September

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Today's moment of late summer

Buckingham Pond peachy sunset 2017-09-21

The autumnal equinox is at 4:02 pm Friday.

This summer is exiting in exceptionally fine form.

Those plants in Washington Park are for admiring, not taking

Washington Park tropical plants

We'll just get right to the point here: You should not dig up and take the tropical plants from Washington Park in Albany. Doing so is stealing from the city and its residents. Also: It's tacky.

Even so, someone has been stealing the plants. And Albany city's gardener would very much like them to stop.

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Parking, free or otherwise

Some of the discussion this week around the gondola and projects before the Albany planning board have ended up touching on parking. Because it always come back to parking.

So we thought you might find this Vox video interesting. It's basically a quick overview of the thoughts of Donald Shoup -- UCLA urban planning professor, author of The High Cost of Free Parking, and the patron saint of parking skeptics. It touches on the history of parking, pricing of street parking, and the requirements for off-street parking that municipalities fold into their zoning.

If you're curious, the parking requirements under Albany's new zoning code are in this pdf on p. 170. It's important to note that developers can get the requirements relaxed by doing things like siting a project near transit or including affordable housing.

Buffalo got some national attention recently because it got rid of parking minimums when it overhauled its zoning.

Checking out 5 Wits at Crossgates, and other Capital Region escape rooms

5 Wits Albany Deep Space

"Transported away from the relative safety of Earth and onto an abandoned ship in deep space..."

By Cristin Steding

One of the fastest growing branches of the entertainment industry is one that's still largely under the radar of most people: the escape room. More than 1,700 have popped up around the country since 2015 -- including five of them here in the Capital Region.

So I got together a group and checked one out.

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Cityscapes by David Hinchen

Cityscapes by David Hinchen

Now on display at the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center at Quackenbush Square: Cityscapes, an exhibit of paintings and photos by local artist David Hinchen. Blurbage:

"For me, buildings are the significant carriers of cultural memory. Surviving the builders and residents, they are reminders of remoter lives and times," says Hinchen. "Over the years, a city takes on an almost geological aspect, with successive generations leaving behind a layering of architectural styles."
Hinchen's work is characterized by these carefully constructed layers, remarkable for their complex details. In Hinchen's work, each stone and leaf is enumerated, each window lovingly detailed. In fact, Hinchen's buildings take on a human quality. He imparts these structures with an air of nobility, of quiet grace and dignity, befitting their cultural status. "There is a hard, beautiful dignity in weathering all those years - pure to themselves and uncompromising," says Hinchen. But if the buildings have a human quality, they also have the ability to impact humanity, says Hinchen. "The enduring physical makeup of a city directly influences its culture as well as its ability to survive as a place people care about."

We especially like Hinchen's architectural paintings, which have a certain warmth about them. You can see more of his work online and prints are available through his Etsy store.

Cityscapes will be on display at the visitors center through November 2.

Albany assessment error cost $90 thousand, Father's Day shooting suspect arrested, pair of teens suspects in fatal Mechanicville shooting, Egg to get $4 M shell


Albany assessment mistake cost $90,000
A mistake by the former Albany assessor cost the city about $90 thousand. Investigation into the mistake showed 9 of 27 properties granted commercial or mixed use tax exemptions did not qualify for the exemption.

Algae in Albany reservoir
The Basic Creek Reservoir in Westerlo, which is Albany's backup water source, has been affected by an algae bloom that has been a problem in bodies of water around New York State. [TU][WNYT]

Albany mayoral primary breakdown
Kathy Sheehan took 12 of the city's 15 wards in last weeks mayoral primary, with Carolyn McLaughlin taking two and Frank Commisso Jr, winning just his own ward.

CDPHP small business in-post-ad 2017-September

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Imagine if a mixed use development - apartments, townhouses, restaurants, offices, a park - were built on the Rensselaer riverfront, and people on both sides could go to work and go out in either Albany or Renss, just by walking to a gondola station? If people had reason to traverse the Hudson - in both directions - for a reason other than commuting or getting to/from the train station, a gondola could be an awesome (and financially self-sustaining) idea, that also cuts down on the need for parking. ...

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