We're knocking off a bit early today. Have a great weekend.

Stuff to do this weekend

lake street dive 2016 v2

Lake Street Dive opens the outdoor concert season at Brewery Ommegang this weekend with Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings.

It's the holiday weekend and the unofficial kick off to summer.

So, what's your plan?

After the jump, not one, not two, but three days of goings on in the Capital Region this weekend, from parades and memorials to music and drive-ins. And that doesn't count the barbecues, picnics, lazy strolls, and patio time you can start logging.

Doing something that's not on the list? Tell us about it in the comment section. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!

Lonely I'm Not ad 525 x 80

2016 Phish at SPAC ad 525x80

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New York State could be closer to allowing Uber and Lyft to operate here. Maybe. Sort of.

uber app sample screenshots

Sample screenshots from the Uber app.

It's been more than two years since a local campaign started to get "ride sharing" services such as Uber and Lyft to come to the Capital Region. And, as it turned out, a big obstacle to those services operating here and in other non-NYC parts of the state is the way New York's laws are configured.

But now the state legislature is on the verge of removing that obstacle. Probably. Maybe.

Here's the situation -- and a glimpse at one possible related future.

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They haven't gone bald yet

bald eagle chicks NYSDEC

That pic above is a pair of bald eagle chicks that biologists from the state Department of Environmental Conservation recently banded in Albany County. From a DEC Facebook post:

Using band data, DEC biologists can track the birds age, movement and dispersal activity. The silver band is a federal ID band that is tracked by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) while the blue band is a New York State ID band.
From a distance you can sometimes see the colored band and at least know that that bird was born in New York. With a good spotting scope it's also possible to read the letter and two digit number code when the bird is perched. That data can be reported to DEC biologists and we can track their movement.

That link above includes more photos of the chicks and their nest.

Bald eagle populations had been almost entirely wiped out in New York State by the 1960s, in part because of an insecticide called DDT that weakened the shells of birds of prey. (Museum specimen collections such as the one at the New York State Museum helped biologist figure that out.) The pesticide was banned in the early 1970s. And in 1976 a program aimed at re-establishing bald eagles in New York State started relocating young eagles from other parts of the county, and it helped rebuild the population in the state -- and it's still growing.

Earlier on AOA: What, your job doesn't involve baby bears?

photo: NYS DEC

The Remains Of The Day with James Ivory at The Madison

The Madison Theater will screening The Remains of the Day June 18 -- and the film's famous director, James Ivory, will be there for a discussion with film critic/historian Peter Biskind. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $15 until June 11 / $20 after that.

The 1993 The Remains of the Day, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompason, was nominated for 8 Oscars. And its producers included Ivory's longtime partner Ismail Merchant. Their film company has produced a string of well-regarded period films -- so many, that "Merchant-Ivory" became a bit of a genre in itself.

The event at The Madison is Saturday, June 18 at 7 pm.

The Madison advertises on AOA.

Fence 2016

Fence show 2016

The annual Fence show recently opened at the Arts Center of the Capital Region and we stopped in this week to browse for a few minutes. It's worth a look if you have some time in Troy. There's an artists reception this Friday (May 27) evening during Troy Night Out.

What is the Fence show? Blurbage:

Now in its 51st year, the Fence Show got its name when members' artwork was exhibited on the iron fence surrounding Washington Park in Troy, the original location of the Arts Center. Today, the exhibition typically features approximately 500 pieces, displayed salon style (floor-to-ceiling) in our galleries. All levels of skill and ability are represented, from novice to professional.

One of the things we like about this exhibit is that it's usually a mix of works -- all sorts of materials, styles, and subjects. And this year's exhibit -- with 382 pieces by 231 artists -- is no different, with works ranging from illustration to painting to photography to sculpture.

The Fence show is on display through June 26. The annual Fence Select exhibit opens July 16.

Sunhee's Farm and Kitchen

Sunhee's Kitchen Jinah Kim

Jinah Kim

By Cristin Steding

Sunhee's Farm and Kitchen is a new Korean restaurant in downtown Troy with a three-part approach: farm, food and community engagement.

The family farm supplies the restaurant with eggs (and soon, produce), and the restaurant assists and employs recent refugees. It's a family endeavour, with owner Jinah Kim's mother and a longtime family friend as chefs, and her father completing the renovations to the restaurant space.

Sunhee's just recently opened, but Kim has big plans for the future. She's trying a new business model and isn't afraid the blur the line between for-profit business and social service agency.

I got together with Jinah Kim to talk about the new restaurant, her passion for social service, and her favorite Korean foods.

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Madison Avenue sinkhole reroutes traffic, family busted for allegedly running Niskayuna pot factory, closing arguments today in Vanessa Milligan murder case

Sinkhole
Madison Avenue in Albany is closed from South Lake to Willett Street while crews continue to work on a sinkhole over a 140-year-old trunk sewer . The slate and brick sewer dates back to 1870, further complicating repairs.. Officials say the hole is 20 x 20 feet and that repairs could take several days to complete. [TU][WNYT][TWCN]

Albany budget
The city of Albany spent about $4.7 million more than anticipated from it's reserves last year, leaving very little reserve funding for this year. [TU]

Milligan case
Testimony concluded on Wednesday in the trial of Gabriel Vega, charged with the 2014 murder of Vanessa Milligan. The County Medical Examiner testified that no soot was found in Vanessa Milligan's lungs, indicating she died before the fire started in her home. Closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected today. [TU][TWCN]

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Finding opportunities for growth in urban spaces

Emily Menn Troy urban garden view towards the street

By Lauren Hittinger Hodgson

Living in a city often means that you have to make the best of extremely limited outdoor space. If you're lucky enough to have a yard, stoop, or fire escape, it can be a challenge to flex your green thumb in any significant way.

Emily Menn, a Troy real estate developer and landlord, has been working on green space in Troy for the last eight years. And she's transformed a neglected double lot into a budding downtown oasis.

I chatted with Emily about how gardens in cities can build community, as well as the challenges and opportunities of urban gardening.

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To work and back

A sort-of follow-up link to Sandy's post earlier this week about commuter rail: Here's an interesting (and fun) animated visualization of commuting patterns by county in the United States based on Cenus data. It tracks commuting flows between census tracts, and you can change the place, distance, and destination. [I Like Big Bytes] (Thanks, R!) Earlier: Where the commuters are from

A good pediatrician in Rensselaer County or nearby?

stethoscope and ophthalmoscopeNate emails:

I found this post from a few years ago regarding a search for local pediatricians and was wondering if you could repost. We're expecting our first child in July and we're on the hunt for a reputable pediatrician.
FYI - We live in Averill Park.

That earlier question is from 2011, so it's been a bunch of years and things change. Also: We're guessing Nate and his family are probably looking for a good practice somewhere in Rensselaer County or eastern Albany County.

So, got a suggestion for Nate? Please share! And as with most questions -- but especially with doctors -- a sentence or two about why you're recommending a practice (easy scheduling, good listeners, etc.) can be a big help.

photo: Flickr user Adrian Clark (CC BY-ND 2.0)

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Automobile Row, Margarita Schuyler, the center of the Earth, hot rods, feeling 44, coaching, the White Mountains, treasured wildflowers, a Bethlehem bubble, food court date night, Bongiorno's, 15 Church, Athos, and a baked bean sandwich.

Neighborhood in-post ad APL 2015

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New digits

The telecom industry and regulators are taking the first steps toward adding a second area code for the greater Capital Region, Larry Rulisons reports over at the Times Union. (Here's a map of New York State area codes -- 518 covers a large part of the eastern side of the state.) [TU+ (link around)]

Upbeat on the Roof 2016

olivia quillio 2015

Olivia Quillio opens the series July 1.

Rolling along with schedules for concert series this summer... Here's the lineup for the 2016 Upbeat on the Roof series of Friday evening shows at Skidmore's Tang Museum. As usual, it includes local acts across a range of genres -- from folk to jazz to gospel.

The concerts are all on the roof of the Tang (thus the name). And they're free.

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Vega's former girlfriend testifies he confessed to Milligan murder, woman survives 60 foot fall from Thacher Park cliff, Salvation Army closes Saratoga Code Blue shelter

Woman falls from Thacher Park cliff
Crews rescued a woman on Tuesday after she fell 60 feet from a cliff on Thacher Park Road after crashing her car into nearby guardrail. [TU]

Vega trial
The former girlfriend of Gabriel Vega testified on Tuesday that Vega told her he murdered Vanessa Milligan. Kim Virola testified that she kept the secret out of fear, and also admitted that she had threatened Milligan. [TU][Record]

Pedestrian identified
Police have identified the woman who was struck and killed on Tuesday while crossing Central Avenue as 62-year-old Borziloke Zakolli, who lived not far from the scene of the accident. [WNYT]

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Thinking about Capital Region commuter rail

Connecticut Shore Line East train CC

A Shore Line East commuter rail service train in Connecticut. / photo: Pi.1415926535 on Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

By Sandy Johnston

The topic of bringing rail transit to the Capital District is one that comes up regularly every few years. Certainly, there are a good number of well-intentioned advocates out there in the region who believe that to have a serious transit option, the Capital District must have rail.

I don't -- at least, not yet. And here's why.

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Freedom Park 2016 concert series lineup

Black Mountain Symphony

Black Mountain Symphony closes out the season in late August.

The schedule for this summer's series of free concerts at Freedom Park in Scotia is out. And, as usual, it's big -- really big -- with multiple concerts each week from late June through late August. And the lineup includes a bunch of different genres.

Freedom Park is on the Mohawk River, just over the Western Gateway Bridge from Schenectady, next to Jumpin' Jack's.

So, without further ado...

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House Hunters Saratoga

Noted: The popular HGTV show House Hunters -- "the most unstoppable juggernaut on TV" -- is shooting (and eating ice cream) in Saratoga Springs this week, Lauren Halligan reports over at the Saratogian. The show also shot in Bethlehem last year for an episode that aired this past December. [Washington Post] [Saratogian] [Biz Review]

Buffalo wings from 20 North Broadway Tavern

20 North Broadway Tavern wings

By Deanna Fox

"Can we try Buffalo wings sometime?"

Finally. My youngest child is now a true Upstater.

A kindergartener in public school, it was only a matter of time before he heard about wings and was tempted to try them. He was barely off the school bus when he asked, and then asked again, and asked a subsequent half-dozen times over the next few days.

It was happening. We were going out for his inaugural taste of this quintessential Upstate New York dish. But where do you go to make sure the first bite is a good introduction?

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Two local brewery anniversary parties this week

Druthers Albany

One of the interesting aspects of the local food scene in recent years has been the opening of a handful of new craft breweries/distilleries/cideries. And two of them are celebrating anniversaries this week:

Druthers in Albany
The Druthers location in Albany -- which includes a restaurant and production facility for the brewery -- is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a block party this Thursday with food (they're roasting a whole pig) and beverage indoors and out, along with brewery tours and live music. The section of Bridge Street alongside the brewery on Broadway in the Warehouse District will be closed off for the party. Thursday 4:30-11 pm

Rare Form
Rare Form Brewing Co. in Troy will be celebrating its second anniversary this Saturday and Sunday with the release of some beers and and some food pop-ups. Here's the lineup:

Saturday starting at 1 pm
+ Can releases of Royal Coconut Cream Ale and Sexy Beats IPA -- the first 50 people to purchase cans will receive a free Sexy Beats poster. (They're Rare Form's first can releases.)
+ Peck's Arcade "Alleycart" serving tacos
+ The Dutch Udder ice cream cart serving beer ice cream
+ DJ Chill Smith playing music from 8-11 pm

Sunday at noon
+ Brunch pop-up with The Shop serving savory and sweet crepes.
____

Druthers advertises on AOA.

Pedestrian struck and killed on Central Ave, jail phone calls at issue in Vega trial, NYCLU protesting proposed law about ALB security screenings, she's leading the parade

Pedestrian death on Central Ave
Colonie police say a pedestrian died after being hit by a vehicle on Central Ave -- the force of the crash threw her into another lane where she was hit by a second vehicle. The crash prompted the closure of the westbound side of Central Ave at Tull Drive (map) and the off-ramps at Exit 2 of the Northway were closed. [TU] [News10]

Trial in the death of Vanessa Milligan
The admissibility of phone calls Gabriel Vega is accused of making from jail to his mother and a girlfriend in which it sounds like they're discussing the investigation of the case has become a point of contention between the prosecution and defense -- Vega's attorney says the calls shouldn't be allowed because they didn't get them until after the trial started. The prosecution says it discovered the calls last week and gave them to the defense this past weekend. [TU] [TWCN]

Also Monday, prosecutors played an interview in which investigators told Vega a DNA test had indicated he was the father of Vanessa Milligan's baby. [Troy Record]

April 17 fatal shooting by Troy police
The family of Edson Thevenin has filed a wrongful-death claim (the first step in a lawsuit) against Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove and members of the Troy Police Department. [TU]

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

And you can always try searching for it:

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My son was born in November, and we love Harmony Mills Pediatrics in Cohoes. It's run by Mary Kathleen DiTursi who has a PhD in Engineering from RPI before getting her MD. She's basically a big (well qualified) nerd, and a kid at heart (she wears tee shirts with cartoon character's to work) She is so sweet to our baby, and very good at supporting our decisions. ...

Stuff to do this weekend

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New York State could be closer to allowing Uber and Lyft to operate here. Maybe. Sort of.

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They haven't gone bald yet

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