Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (wintry), to birds and beer, to neighborhood history, to stories, to hoops, to music...
This week was brought to you by broken resolutions, decadent drawings, starting over and a quiet internal countdown to spring. It was also brought to you by AOA advertisers. Without them there would be no us for you. And that would be sad for us all. So please support them when you can, and, if you think of it, thank them for being a part of the community.
This week we send out special thanks to Honest Weight Coop: fresh, local, healthy and delicious.
Want to advertise on AOA? It's easy and affordable. Just send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get you started.
The Tech Valley Center of Gravity. This maker space in a renovated historic Troy building currently has co-working available for just $50 per month. The Center of Gravity also offers space, equipment, education and camaraderie to makers, hackers, crafters, tinkerers and artists.
Food and Drink
Our Daily Eats, making roasted nuts, seeds and granola in the Capital District for over 10 years. And the place to get Spicy Ginger Cashews while they last!
Nine Pin Cider
Nine Pin Ciderworks, offering cheese and charcuterie in their tasting room, Wednesday through Saturday evenings and Sundays from 1pm to 6pm.
Snacks and movies
Tierra Coffee Roasters and the Madison Theater. This season Tierra donated $2,500.00 to The Food Pantries of the Capital District.Tierra treats are available at their Madison Avenue shop and at the Madsion Theater.
New World Bistro Bar, named #1 Best Restaurant, according to Times Union 'Best of the Capital Region' Readers' Poll and also listed as one of 'the 13 Best New York Restaurants, not in NYC' according to Thrillist.com.
Local, healthy, delicious
Honest Weight Food Coop. Eat healthy, eat local.
New World Catering, bringing small dinners, big parties and weddings to you.
Capital Wine at the corner of State and Lark Streets, with a wonderful supply of wines from around the world.
Ways to get where you're going
CDTA: whether it's work or play, CDTA can get you where you're going and safely back home again.
Capital Car Share. Share cars for just $8 an hour.
Stuff to do
Learn to dance
Fred Astaire Dance Studio. Learn to dance in 2016.
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, presenting The Milk Carton Kids, this spring.
The Albany Institute of History and Art, presenting its exhibit: The Capital Region in 50 Objects. From cannons to billiard balls to tulip queens to Uncle Sam's chamber pot -- 50 objects and background images that help tell the story of the Capital Region.
Mop & Bucket Improv Companypresenting a new season of Electric City Improv, every Friday night at Proctors.
Spectrum 8 Theaters. Enjoy a movie this Holiday Season at The Spectrum.
Places to Live
The Capital Team
Brian Brosen and Reggie Monroe at The Capital Team at Realty USA. Brian and Reggie can help out with your residential and commercial real estate needs in the Capital Region.
Harmony Mills Lofts in Cohoes -- Manhattan style loft living in the Albany area.
Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C.. Staff Ciampino can help you with your business and personal tax needs. They're also the sponsors of the All Over Albany Start Up Grant business contest, so they're not only good at what they do, they're awesome too.
Berkshire Bank, providing the $1,500 prize money for this year's AOA Startup Contest. Great rates on home equity loans.
The Albany Public Libraries. Their mobile app helps you find library locations and hours, check your library card account, learn about upcoming events, download eBooks, audiobooks, music and more. You can even check ISBN bar codes on books, DVDs and CDs to see if the library owns what you need.
Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ Anonymous asked about finding a local mental health provider for working through their anxiety -- and there were a bunch of helpful suggestions.
+ Sandy wrote about how knocking down 787 and the South Mall Arterial could actually improve traffic in Albany.
+ What Frederick Douglass thought of Albany in 1847.
+ The schedules for the next seasons of Broadway shows at Proctors and productions at Capital Rep are out.
+ The big Resolution Shmezolution drawing -- prizes from Crave, Cheesecake Machismo, Nine Pin, Spa Virgo, The Spectrum, Uncle Sam's Candy -- asked: What are you planning to go all-out on this year?
+ Deanna tried out the fast-casual take on Italian food at Bellini's Counter.
+ Some discussion about the potential of bus rapid transit in this area.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: the proposed Albany-Rensselaer tunnel, comments, escaping turkeys, Patsy's, a pinball arcade, Frontier Town, going back to school, Parivar, wild game, Van's, Soul Kitchen, burgers, a blow torch, NYC, and a return.
+ We talked with Albany resident Amelia Hershberger about winning on Jeopardy three times -- and arm wrestling Alex Trebek.
+ And there's going to be some new development at the Harriman State Office Campus -- so, what's the plan?
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!
Habitat for Humanity Capital District is starting a strategic planning process with a "Habitat Cafe" public meeting Monday, February 8 at the First Lutheran Church in Albany (181 Western Ave) from 8:30 am-11:30 am. (There's registration info at that link.) Blurbage:
"Habitat for Humanity Capital District is planning for the future! We are getting ready to prepare a strategic plan and we need YOUR help. We want to create a shared vision and a plan that will help guide us toward that vision. ... Join us for a morning of coffee and conversation about Habitat, our role in the community and how we can best realize our shared vision of a region where everyone has a decent place to live."
If you can't make the meeting, but would still like to offer thoughts, the org has posted an online survey.
In recent years Habitat for Humanity Capital District has been evolving into something more like a property developer. It's one of the key organizations behind the Sheridan Hollow redevelopment, one of the area's most interesting real estate projects. And it's also taken up an effort to rehab existing buildings.
Sentinel Butchery -- the whole-animal butcher shop that opened in downtown Troy last October -- has closed, Steve Barnes reports. (And confirmed by the shop's FB page.) [TU Table Hopping] Earlier: Talking with the owner of Sentinel Butchery
Phish is flocking back to SPAC for three shows July 1-3. Tickets go on sale February 26 -- they're $45 (lawn) and $65 (pavilion). (There's also an allotment of tickets available via an online ticket request presale.)
FYI: The Fourth of July is on a Monday this year. So those shows are Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Earlier: Dave Matthews Band at SPAC 2016
photo: Peter Yang
UAlbany will be building a new complex on a chunk of the Harriman State Office Campus for the new College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, the Cuomo admin formally announced today.
That's a rendering of the complex above. Here's a larger version, along with an aerial view of the complex's position on the Harriman campus.
The development -- called the "Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex" or ETEC -- will be on 12 acres in the southwest corner of the Harriman campus. (Yep, that's the portion right next UAlbany's uptown campus.) It'll house both the new college and New York State Mesonet, the statewide weather monitoring system that's currently being rolled out.
Press release blurbage:
The $184 million project will be financed through $92 million in previously appropriated State capital funds grants as well as $92 million in previously appropriated Campus-funds. It is anticipated that 1,600 construction jobs will be created by the project. When fully occupied, the complex will become an active hub of research, instruction and business development, with some 1,000 daily occupants including faculty, researchers, industry partners, and students. Site planning is underway and construction is expected to begin in 2017, with completion targeted for 2020.
About the Harriman campus and the city of Albany
The Harriman campus is ongoing issue not just for the state, but for the city of Albany -- because it's enormous, roughly 330 acres within the city limits. And it's tax exempt, a fact that Albany leaders routinely bring up when banging the drum for more state aid.
Over at the Times Union, Paul Grondahl looks at the new exhibit at Fort Crailo in Rensselaer -- "A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World" -- and talks with with researchers about ongoing efforts to learn more about the history slavery in and around Albany, specifically involving the family of Philip Schuyler. [TU+ (link around)]
Yes, it's the first weekend in February, but you should probably cancel your plans for tobogganing and snowball fighting. Still, a winter carnival, Chowderfest, roller derby and plenty of other events -- both indoor and outdoor-- are slated for the weekend.
After the jump, we've collected a bunch of stuff we thought might be fun. Doing something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comments.
And whatever you're up to, enjoy he weather and have a fantastic weekend.
Push for new Hoosick Falls water supply, "no secret spells" for Troy budget problems, railroad overpass as can opener
Hoosick Falls water
As fear and uncertainty wear on people in the Hoosick Falls, state Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin is pushing for a new water source for the village: "I don't think a permanent filtration system is going to satisfy the people of Hoosick Falls." [Politico NY] [WNYT]
Also: Charting the long history of manufacturing using PFOA in the village. [News10]
The state of Troy
Troy mayor Patrick Madden on fixing the city's financial problems in his state of the city speech Thursday: "There are no secret spells, incantations or silver bullets. We did not get here overnight, nor can it be fixed overnight. It will take some time to reclaim our fiscal health, but we cannot put this off any longer. The time to start this work is now." (Madden says the current year budget is balanced, but city council president Carmella Mantello says it's not.) He also floated the idea of a tax on hotel stays. [Troy Record] [News10] [TU]
Schenectady police discipline
A state appeals court has ruled against the city of Schenectady in its bid to have the city public safety commissioner oversee police disciplinary cases. Public safety commissioner Wayne Bennett says the city now has to decide whether it will appeal the case to the state's highest court. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
Or non-winter, or whatever this season is.
A few hundred people appear on Jeopardy each year. And of those, only a handful end up as winners on the quiz show. And even fewer end up arm wrestling Alex Trebek.
Actually, there's probably only one contestant who'll end up arm wrestling Alex Trebek this year. And that person is Amelia Hershberger from Albany.
The Center Square resident -- she grew up in Greene County, went to UAlbany, and now works for the state courts system -- racked up $43,000 in prize money in the course of winning three times in episodes that aired last month.
And then there was that whole situation with Alex Trebek and the feats of strength.
We got a chance to talk with her recently about superfluous knowledge, the real scoop on Trebek, spending the prize money, and her Albany Jeopardy categories...
Red light cameras will be activated at four more intersections in Albany Friday: New Scotland Ave/Manning Blvd, Central Ave/Henry Johnson Blvd, Madison Ave/South Pearl St, Madison Ave/Quail St. [APD] Earlier: A quick look at how Albany's red light camera system has started off
The Atlantic sturgeon is an iconic species for the Hudson River -- it's the fish depicted in the logo for the river's estuary, it was once a favorite food in this area known as "Albany beef," and they can grow up to 8-feet-long. The last century has been rough on the species, though -- the population has declined significantly the fish are now considered endangered.
But the state Department of Environmental Conservation reports this week that there are indications that Atlantic sturgeon populations are rebounding. DEC says a survey of the Hudson River last year found the highest numbers of sturgeon in the survey's 10-year history -- and there appears to be an overall upward trend.
Said acting DEC commissioner Basil Seggos in a press release: "We are cautiously optimistic that, with our continued vigilance and efforts to protect this species, Atlantic sturgeon will have a secure future."
The decline of Atlantic sturgeon populations prompted a 1998 moratorium on fishing them along the East Coast. And that ban could last until the late 2030s because sturgeon can live as long as 60 years, and don't reach maturity until 11-21 years old.
As David Strayer, a freshwater ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, explained to us last year:
"Fisheries biologists talk about [the overfishing of Atlantic sturgeon] like clear cutting, which I think is an apt analogy. You wouldn't think you could go into a wood lot and cut all the trees every five minutes and expect there to be a forest there any longer. Everybody understands it takes so many years for a baby tree to grow up. It's the same way with the sturgeons. When we started fishing them real hard it was like someone went into the woods and cut all the trees."
And now it appears the forest of fish is starting to slowly grow back.
Earlier on AOA: Odd and notable creatures of the Hudson River
This could be fun: Proctors will be hosting a screening of the animated film The Triplets of Belleville with a live performance of the score in the GE Theater February 13.
The score will be played be a nine-piece jazz ensemble -- Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville -- led by Benoît Charest, who wrote much of the music for the film. The clip embedded above is the ensemble playing along with the film in Montreal a few years back.
And if you've never seen the film -- it's a surreal blending o 1930s jazz, the Tour de France, the mob, and a mystery.
The performance at Proctors is Saturday, February 13 at 8 pm. Tickets are $20 and up.
Even in this winter of non-winter, February and March can be a good time to take a cooking class. It's a chance to gather somewhere warm, learn something new, and eat something good.
So, here's a new a batch of cooking classes over the next few months that caught our eye -- and maybe you'll find them interesting: From Valentine's Day treats, to sausage making, to tagine, to ramen, to sushi, to pancakes.
Sweat sentenced for escape attempt, Albany County joins suit to stop oil trains, Rivers Casino breaks ground, no really-- it's still February
David Sweat, the convicted murderer who, with his partner Richard Matt, escaped from Dannemora prison last summer, was sentenced on Wednesday to pay $79,841 in restitution and serve 31/2 to seven years in prison for the escape and a similar consecutive sentence for prison contraband. At the sentencing Sweat apologized for frightening people, but the New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said she was convinced Sweat "would try it again if given the opportunity." [TU][TWCN] [TU]
UAlbany bus incident
UAlbany president Robert Jones released a video statement Wednesday asking people for patience on the investigation in the bus incident last weekend: "I ask all of us to not rush to judgment. We need to know all of the facts. We must get this right." Jones said university police had interviewed 29 people, and were reviewing video and audio. The incident is continuing to get attention beyond the Capital Region -- Hillary Clinton's Twitter account mentioned it Thursday. [UAlbany] [@HillaryClinton]
"When all of the cameras are off and all the TV lights are down and all the microphones go away, we will be here." The President and CEO of Saint-Gobain, the company alleged to have released PFOA into the Hoosick Falls water system, on their commitment to the community where they have operated for years. [WNYT]
Coming up over the next month or so:
February 20: Saratoga Beer Summit at Saratoga City Center
It's the cap to Saratoga Beer Week. "Sample over 150 releases from some of America's best craft breweries. Plus hang out in an atmosphere filled with live music, delicious food available for purchase, and great vendors." Saturday, February 20 two sessions 1-4 pm / 5:30-8:30 pm -- $40
March 5: Craft New York Brewers Festival at The Desmond
The third year for this festival organized by the New York State Brewers Association. "The Craft New York Brewers Festival will bring together 45 New York Breweries (and brewers) from every region of the state featuring up to 100+ hard to find and award winning beers. To make this very special event more exclusive, we will feature food sampling and pairing from local Albany restaurants and food vendors to go along with each brewery attending at no extra cost!" Saturday, March 5 5-8 pm -- $40 ahead ($50 day of) / $55 VIP ahead ($65 day) gets you in an hour earlier and access to handful of one-off beers / $15 designated driver
March 12: Snommegang Invitational Beer Festival in Oneonta
"For the third annual Snommegang Invitational; Brewery Ommegang will be inviting a host of our craft brewing brethren to sample their wares and wow our audience. In addition to the seven breweries that are represented by Duvel Moorgat USA LTD we will feature brews by at least 30 of our good craft beer friends." Saturday, March 12 2-6 pm -- $50
photo: New York State Brewers Association
Not really surprising, but the real world doesn't always work as you'd expect: Low gasoline prices cut into Amtrak ridership by more four percent, according to a recent analysis -- though less so on short trip (less than 250 miles) than on medium trips (between 250 and 550 miles). Back of the envelope: The cost of driving roundtrip Albany-NYC on $2/gallon gas is about $20 cheaper than the cost on $4/gallon gas. (It's about 155 miles from Albany to Manhattan.) [CityLab] From way back: The best way to get from Albany to NYC?
This could be interesting, even if you're not setting out to write a book: The Schenectady County Public Library is hosting an event called "Anachronisms & Inaccuracy: The Challenges of Writing Historical Fiction" with with historical mystery author Eleanor Kuhns. Topics-to-be-discussed blurbage:
+ Resources for research-from using Wikipedia to Writing software
+ How to avoid information dumps-working key historical facts into a narrative
+ Using period slang properly
+ Getting published
+ Working with editors
Heck, we'd be interested in a whole event about period slang. It'd be the bee's knees.
The event at the SCPL central library is Saturday, February 27 from 10:30 am-noon. It's free, but the library does ask that you pre-register.
Adult coloring book night: By the way, the SCPL's next adult coloring book night is Wednesday, February 10.
And you can always try searching for it: