Finding refuge.

A quick recap of the week

week review 2017-08-20

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

+ Scenes from the Albany rally response to Charlottesville.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: Five Rivers return, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, a time capsule, Bertha Cleveland, magnificent mounds of weeds, small cities, pre-paid passes, a blue ribbon, the Clove Run, the ice cream tour, Daley's on Yates, the Dino, prudishness at the buffet, playing music, and a dolphin.

+ The fall schedule for the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series is out.

+ Imagining possibilities for the future of Sheridan Hollow, including an interesting park idea.

+ The latest renderings for the Moynihan Train Hall, which is set to evetually replace Penn as the destination for trains from Albany-Rensselaer.

+ A few spots around the area for watching the eclipse on Monday.

And we highlighted the stories of refugees who are making their new homes in this area:

+ Finding refuge: Zina Prokofyeva, Sameerah Moharb, Sakuntala Chhetri

+ Francis Sengabo

+ Finding refuge: Olivier Mandevu

+ Finding refuge: Ni-Lar Way, Besa Paw, Christer-Say, Christer-Htoo

+ Finding refuge: Tafsela Hashimi

+ Finding refuge: Haeneypew Sey

+ Finding refuge: Amgad Abdalla

+ Finding Refuge: Niebiha

Here's the whole week in one place.

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

A few spots around the Capital Region for watching the eclipse

NASA 2017 Albany eclipse simulation

A simulation of what the eclipse will look like at its maximum coverage here. It's from NASA's "Eyes on the Eclipse" online app, which is fun to play with.

As you've no doubt heard, the moon is going to get between the Earth and the sun Monday, casting its shadow across this part of the world. And though the Capital Region isn't in (movie trailer voice) THE PATH OF TOTALITY, we will see a partial eclipse between 1:22 pm and 3:56 pm (maximum eclipse at 2:42 pm).

If it's not cloudy, you'll be able to see what's happening -- while wearing proper eye protection -- from anywhere with a clear view of the sky. But it might be more fun to see it with other people, some of whom can explain exactly what's happening. (Luna's throwing shade. That's what's happening.)

So here are a few of those places to catch the eclipse in the Capital Region...

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Finding refuge: Zina Prokofyeva, Sameerah Moharb, Sakuntala Chhetri

finding refuge Zina Prokofyeva and Sameerah Moharb and Sakuntala Chetri

From left to right: Zina Prokofyeva, Sameerah Moharb, Sakuntala Chhetri.

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

One of the most immediate challenges for many of the refugees making a new life here is learning English. It's an obstacle not only for getting a job, but also connecting with the wider community.

We talked with three people who are working through this challenge.

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Stuff to do this weekend

Altamont Fair 4H cow show

It's Altamont Fair weekend!

Listen. Do you hear that? It's summer calling. Right there, outside your window. And with a weekend coming and everything.

What more do you need?

A list of stuff to do? We've got that, too. After the jump we've pulled together a bit list of things happening this weekend that might interest you.

Planning something you don't see here? Drop it into the comments and share with the rest of the crowd.

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

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Finding refuge: Francis Sengabo

Francis Sengabo

Francis Sengabo came from Rwanda and founded a program to help other refugee families.

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

For 17 years, Francis Sengabo was a man without a country.

In 1994, Sengabo escaped the genocide in Rwanda and went to a refugee camp in Tanzania. In Rwanda he had worked in planning and administration and later for the Red Cross and the UN High Commission for Refugees. In the camp in Tanzania he worked helping refugees while he waited for the UNHCR to decide where in the world he would go next.

He almost ended up in Australia. Thousands of Capital Region refugee families are better off because he landed, instead, in Albany.

Sengabo is one of the founders of RISSE, Refuge and Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus, where he's now the operations director.

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Saratoga Wine and Food Festival 2017

baseball player David Ortiz

Big Papi

The Saratoga Wine and Food Festival returns to SPAC September 8 and 9. And this year's headlining food personality is David Ortiz. Because why not.

Apparently the retired baseball star has his own line of cigars and wine. He'll be appearing at a series of events the Friday of the festival, including a meet and greet. Tickets for those events start at $85.

As in years past, the grand tasting event -- featuring stations from many different restaurants and food providers -- will be Saturday afternoon. Tickets for that also start at $85.

photo via David Ortiz Facebook.

Moynihan Train Hall construction starting

Moynihan Train Hall rendering cross section

A cross section of the planned project.

The Cuomo admin announced Thursday that construction is starting on the Moynihan Train Hall, which serve as the new station for Amtrak trains in New York City. The $1.6 billion project is expected to be finished in 2020.

The train hall will be in the Farley Building -- a post office complex -- across the street from Penn Station. Former New York US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan proposed the trains-at-Farley idea decades ago, and there was a plan dating back as far as 10 years ago for the construction of a "Moynihan Station" on the site. Now a version of the idea is finally happening.

An underground concourse will connect Moynihan to Penn Station. The train hall will also serve the Long Island Rail Road.

This is of interest here, of course, because NYP is by far the most popular destination from Albany-Rensselaer. And Albany-Rensselaer is one of the nation's 9th busiest train station, with more than 825,000 "on offs" each year. Also: Penn Station is depressing.

Here are new renderings, along with an animated promo video....

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Biz Review: Central Warehouse has been sold

Central Warehouse 2017-July

Ace local real estate reporter Mike DeMasi reported today that Central Warehouse -- AKA, that enormous block of a building with peeling paint that sits next to 787 just north of downtown Albany -- has been sold to Evan Blum, the owner of an architectural salvage company in NYC. From the Business Review:

Blum told Albany Business Review he has saved millions of cubic square yards of usable items from buildings -- everything from light fixtures to fa├žades -- that would have gone into landfills. He's an artist whose medium is free-form sculpture.
"I' not one of those guys that wears fancy shoes, Rolex watches and flashy suits," he said. "I'm just a guy who's done interesting things for the past 42 years. I do a fair amount of business with people upstate. I've found there's a void in what i do up there. I feel I can be a good addition."

Here's a Business Insider profile of Blum's Harlem-based operation from a few years back, and a New York Time article about his huge collection in storage in Connecticut.

Of course, becoming the owner of Central Warehouse and actually doing something productive with Central Warehouse are two different things. The building presents a challenge not just in its enormous size, but also because it was originally constructed as a cold storage facility. Oh, and there was that time it caught on fire. Others have tried and failed. (The building had been owned by a credit union that took possession after the last failed development attempt.)

Blum told DeMasi he hasn't decided yet whether he'll be seeking financial assistance from the various development arms of the city, but it does sound like he'll be seeking state funding.

One thing the city could potentially do that might not cost a lot of money is look at how the area around Central Warehouse could be reformatted. If you've ever walked around there, it's a tangle of blocked-off streets, parking lots, and railroad track.

Finding refuge: Olivier Mandevu

Olivier Mandevu

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

Olivier Mandevu came to Albany ten years ago from the Democratic Republic of Congo via a refugee camp in Burundi. In Africa, he went to college and became a teacher. But a horrible ethnic conflict forced Mandevu and his family to seek asylum in the United States.

Today, Mandevu lives in Albany with his wife and five children. Since arriving here, he has gone to school and worked his way up from a hospital file clerk, to a bank employee, to his current job in finance for a New York State contractor.

Five years ago, Olivier Mandevu was sworn in as a US citizen and he is passionate about civic engagement and helping other immigrants and refugees.

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Troy residents protest police shooting, not-guilty plea in double murder, Albany mayoral debate tonight, another equine death at Saratoga

Troy police involved shooting
Video has surfaced of the man shot by Troy police, bleeding on the ground as officers pushed him down and cuffed him, and witnesses say police had their guns drawn as they approached his vehicle, though he was only wanted for a parole violation. At a news conference on Wednesday, Troy Police Chief John Tedesco said authorities had been searching for Dahmeek McDonald for months after he violated parole by removing an ankle bracelet, and that he had "a history of weapons possession." More than 100 members of the community held a march to City Hall on Wednesday, to protest the shooting of the unarmed man. McDonald's uncle, Messiah Cooper, led the march, spoke with police and helped calm the crowd but called for better policing. He called on young people of color to take the exams to become police officers. He also spoke about discrimination against the poor, saying "They think poor people don't matter. They'd beat white people in the ghetto just like they'd beat me. We're in this together."[TU][Gazette][News 10][Spectrum][Record][WNYT][TU]

Other Troy police involved shootings
A look at some of the other police involved shootings in Troy in recent years, including the fatal shooting of Edson Thevenin -- D.A. Joel Abelove's handling of that case remains under investigation by the NYS Attorney General's office. [Spectrum]

Not guilty plea in double murder
Bryan Redden, the 21-year-old man charged with the double murder of a 33-year-old Glens Falls woman and her 4-year-old daughter pleaded not guilty to eight charges, including murder, grand larceny and tampering with evidence. [Spectrum]

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Imagining possibilities for Sheridan Hollow

Rezone Sheridan Hollow model block cropped

Sheridan Hollow is one of Albany's oldest neighborhoods. And throughout much of that history, the neighborhood has repeatedly been overlooked, bypassed, or excluded. It's gotten the short end of the stick many times.

But in recent years the neighborhood tucked into the center of Albany has added new, affordable housing and mixed-use space, and it appears to be gaining some positive momentum.

How to keep that going was one of the central questions in a recent week-long intensive look at the neighborhood, an extension of the city's Rezone Albany initiative. Consultants were in town studying the neighborhood, talking with people, and imagining new possibilities -- which they presented at a public meeting last Thursday.

Here's a look at what they came up with. (Are there renderings? You know there are renderings.)

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Finding refuge: Ni-Lar Way, Besa Paw, Christer-Say, Christer-Htoo

Nilar Christer Say Besa and Christer Htoo

Ni-Lar Way, Christer-Say, Besa Paw, and Christer-Htoo

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

Ni-Lar Way, Besa Paw, and sisters Christer-Say and Christer-Htoo are Karen refugees whose families were driven from Burma/Myanmar to camps in Thailand.

Christer-Say and Christer-Htoo are twins. They lived in the same camp as Ni-Lar, Christer-Htoo's best friend. Ni-Lar and her family moved to Albany. Later, the sisters' parents were told they were going to the United States. They considered making North Carolina their home, but Christer-Htoo put her foot down.

"I know that my best friend is here," she remembers. "I said, mom, if you don't come to Albany I'm not going to go to America!"

Today all three girls are students at Bishop Maginn High School in Albany, along with Besa Paw, another Burmese girl who came from a different camp in Thailand.

Bishop Maginn allowed us to share a few minutes of the teen's school day to talk about their lives before and after coming to the US, and their hopes for the future.

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"Telling the Truth in a Post-truth World" series at UAlbany

journalist lydia polgreen

HuffPost editor in chief (and former TU reporter) Lydia Polgreen is one of the panelists for the symposium. / photo via Lydia Polgreen Facebook

Tucked into the new schedule of fall events for the New York State Writers Institute is mention of a series of events -- including a big gathering at UAlbany's downtown campus October 13-14 -- called "Telling the Truth in a Post-truth World." Blurbage:

What is truth in an era that has been called post-truth?
What does it mean that Oxford Dictionaries declared "post-truth" its international word of the year in 2016? Or that Time magazine recently asked on its cover: "Is Truth Dead?"
The New York State Writers Institute presents a series of events, culminating in a two-day conference featuring acclaimed journalists, authors, historians, and First Amendment scholars, who will share their views on issues including "fake news;" Constitutional protections for a free press; information overload; the shifting roles of social media; hacking and cybersecurity; and more.

The October 13-14 symposium slate includes a bunch of discussions featuring high-profile journalists, media thinkers, and academics. Among them: Lydia Polgreen, Bob Schieffer, Bill Keller, Amy Goodman, Tim Wu, Harry Rosenfeld, Maria Hinojosa, Jeff Jarvis, and Gilbert King.

And October 12, author/journalist/radio host Kurt Andersen will be on the uptown campus for a conversation. Admission for that talk is $30 and includes a copy of Andersen's new book, Fantasyland.

Here's the panel lineup for the symposium...

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NYS Writers Institute visiting writers fall 2017

rapper comedian actress Awkwafina

Rapper, comedian, actress -- and UAlbany alum -- Awkwafina opens the new season August 31.

The fall lineup for the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series is out. And holy moly, is it packed with events featuring high-profile authors, writers, filmmakers, and journalists.

Here's a quick overview of the schedule...

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Five Rivers return, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, a time capsule, Bertha Cleveland, magnificent mounds of weeds, small cities, pre-paid passes, a blue ribbon, the Clove Run, the ice cream tour, Daley's on Yates, the Dino, prudishness at the buffet, playing music, and a dolphin.

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Albany Barn Fusion 2017 in-post ad

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Craft brewery neighborhoods

Richard Florida reviews some new research that concludes craft breweries in cities tend to pop up in industrial or warehouse neighborhoods, and then cluster together. "Brewers and brewpubs work in concert with cafes, restaurants, and arts spaces to turn former industrial districts into 24 hour neighborhoods." Sound a little bit familiar? [City Lab]

Finding refuge: Tafsela Hashimi

Tafsela Hashimi.JPG

Tafsela Hashimi: "I want to give back"

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

Tafsela Hashimi came to the United States from Afghanistan about a year ago, with only her baby boy. She is reticent about why she fled her country for the United States -- she says she did not feel safe at home.

Tafsela wants to study. At home in Afghanistan she was forced to leave school. Here in the Capital Region, she is a single mother, raising a child, and working toward her dream of becoming a doctor.

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Police involved shooting leads to standoff in Troy, Cuomo to push new hate crime provisions, date set for Silver re-trial, parts of Yaddo for rent

Police involved Troy shooting leads to standoff
Troy police shot a suspect in the North Central neighborhood Tuesday evening while attempting to stop him for alleged parole violations. The man, 22-year-old Dahmeek McDonald, was shot twice in the torso. One witness to the arrest of the shooting victim said police were cuffing him "rough-like, like he wasn't even shot." The incident sparked a confrontation between residents of the neighborhood and Troy police in riot gear, closing streets . [WNYT][Spectrum][TU][TU]

Grand jury empaneled in Troy police investigation
The Columbia County District Attorney is empaneling a grand jury to look into the case of several Troy detectives who are being investigated for entering the residence of a Troy woman without a warrant in June. [Spectrum]

Cuomo on Trump
Andrew Cuomo tweeted a response to Donald Trump's Tuesday afternoon press conference in which Trump made reference to "very fine people" on both sides of the events in Charlottesville this weekend, saying: "There are no "very fine" white supremacists, Mr. Trump"
Cuomo also said on Tuesday that he will push to strengthen the state hate crimes laws and stiffen penalties for rioting. [@NYGovCuomo][TU]

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Today's moment of summer

monarch butterfly 2017

Noticed that royalty's been in town recently.

It's kind of wild to think the populations of these butterflies migrate from here to Mexico.

Finding refuge: Haeneypew Sey

Haeneypew  Sey.JPG

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

Haeneypew Sey is from Burma, which is also known as Myanmar.

She and her family came to the United States nearly two years ago, after spending 23 years in a refugee camp.

Today she spends her time learning English, and working slowly toward becoming an American citizen.

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Looking for more? Check out the last week's worth of posts or the archive.

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Recent Comments

What a brave young woman. Despite all of the hardships she has endured her main focus is to educate herself in order to spend her life in service to others as a doctor. How inspiring.

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