Some stuff going on this week...

A few more bits about the planned upgrades at Thacher State Park

Thacher State Park Visitor Center 2015-March rendering cropped

Here's a larger, uncropped version. / image: NYS OPRHP

The rendering above is the latest version of the new visitor center planned for Thacher Park State Park. It was released this week as part of the announcement of the Cuomo admin's NY Parks 2020 plan, which proposes to spend about $900 million on upgrades for state parks.

The plan reiterates some of the already-planned new amenities for Thacher Park, including the $3.8 million visitors center which will overlook "the most dramatic views in the region." Dan Keefe, deputy public information officers for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, says there isn't a target completion date for the visitors center yet. But planning is already in progress for exhibits inside the center, and an effort to raise private money to pay for those exhibits will start this spring.

Thacher is also in line for new facilities for mountain biking, caving, and a high ropes course. Keefe says those are expected to be ready for this summer. And park officials will be working with the Thacher Climbing Coalition to identify rock climbing locations after the snow melts.

Other state parks in the region are also slated for upgrades as part of NY Parks 2020 (pdf). Among those plans: facilities improvements for Spa State Park, possibly adding the former Mt. McGregor prison forestland to Moreau Lake State Park, and the digitization of a collections at at Peebles Island. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Troy Record]

Earlier on AOA:
+ Funding for new Thacher Park visitor center
+ A master plan for Thacher State Park

Three reasons why bringing the Olympics back to New York State is a bad idea

Lake Placid bobsled track

Lake Placid still has the facilities from the 1980 Winter Olympics -- and that's great. But it doesn't mean the games should return.

Every now and then the idea of New York State hosting the Olympics pops up. And it's done so again this week, with leaders in the North Country banging the drum about bringing the winter games back and both Chuck Schumer and Elise Stefanik offering generally supportive statements. [Lake Placid News]

This is not a good idea.

Let us turn our attention to the medal stand of reasons why not...

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Byrne Dairy ice cream sandwiches

byrne dairy ice cream sandwiches

By Deanna Fox

Though milder weather is apparently on the way, ice cream probably still isn't at the top of your mind.

But, really, any time is a good time for ice cream. And if you need justification, try this one that AOA Mary told me her dad used for wintertime ice cream while she was growing up: Eating food that's roughly the same temperature as the air around you will help offset any unpleasantries that weather or temperature might bring by creating an equilibrium between the temperature of your insides and the temperature of your outsides. (Also: Eating ice cream is, in general, an excellent distraction from what's going around you -- including the cold.)

While we have a bevy of good ice cream places in the Capital Region, Stewart's is perhaps the best known for year-round ice cream availability. But let's not overlook that other great New York State regional dairy, Byrne Dairy, which claims the hearts of Central New Yorkers. (It's the official chocolate milk of the New York State Fair.)

And it has one thing Stewart's doesn't: ice cream sandwiches.

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Orange is the new green

Noted: The production of season two of Orange is the New Black, which is shot in Rockland County, got almost $10 million in tax breaks from New York State's film tax credit program. [Democrat & Chronicle]

Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC 2015

yo-yo ma, megan hilty, joshua bell

Yo-Yo Ma, Megan Hilty, Joshua Bell

The Philadelphia Orchestra will be returning to SPAC this summer, August 5-22. The lineup of concerts is out -- it includes notable names such as Yo-Yo Ma, Bernadette Peters, Joshua Bell, and Megan Hilty. (There's also a Pixar night this year.)

A condensed version of the schedule is post jump.

Tickets go on sale to SPAC members today (March 3), and to the general public March 24.

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Upgrades for state parks planned, Albany parking permit system going sticker-less, former county legislator accused of dumping kitty litter in yards

The Cuomo admin has unveiled a $900 million plan for upgrading state parks. In the Capital Region, it includes facilities improvements for Spa State Park, possibly adding the former Mt. McGregor prison forestland to Moreau Lake State Park, and the construction of the already-proposed Thacher State Park visitor center. [Cuomo admin] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Troy Record]

The backstory on a temporary state surcharge on health insurance that grew to collect billions and billions of dollars -- which was has been spent with little or no formal oversight, and ended up filling the slush fund from which Sheldon Silver is accused of granting money for his alleged asbestos case referral scheme. [Capital]

About that walkway connecting the TU Center, not-yet-built Albany Convention Center, and ESP: it's not currently clear from where the money for the walkway conversion/renovation/construction will come. [TU]

The Albany residential parking permit system is switching over to a sticker-less system that will include online registration of visitor passes. [TU]

Some context for the $200 million price tag on the proposed renovation of Albany High School. [TU]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Today's moment of winter

capital hills breezy sunset 2015-02-02 animated gif

A bit breezy.

"[T]he reality of industrialized, population-wide drunkenness..."

Over at Drink Drank, Craig Gravina -- of the Albany Ale history project -- touches on some of the unfortunate side effects of Albany's long beer history. [via @AlbanyArchives] Earlier on AOA: Resurrecting a beer, and part of Albany's history

Write there and then

barbara slate you can do a graphic novel coverA couple of upcoming writing classes at the Arts Center of the Capital Region caught our eye:

Graphic novels
April 14-May 19, 6:30-8:30 pm - $188
Barbara Slate -- the author of many graphic novels and comics -- is teaching a class about how to write and draw a graphic novel. Blurbage: "Find a personal drawing style regardless of artistic ability, create memorable characters, develop a plot and subplots, and write compelling dialogue. Come receive the inspiration and know-how to get the stories you want to tell out of your head and onto paper by creating an original graphic novel."

Memoirama
April 16, 6:30-9:30 pm - $95
Marion Roach Smith returns to teach her very popular one-day class about writing memoirs. Blurbage: "A possible subtitle for this one-shot class could easily be Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Memoir, but that's a little wordy, isn't it? We'll talk about being too wordy, as well as every other aspect of writing what you know, in this unique, rarely-offered class. Multi-media, highly entertaining, this is the class you say you never have time to take in the 6-week, wait-listed version that is regularly offered. Highly informative, after this class students will be able to write memoir, whether it be a college essay, a blog, a letter home, an essay for public radio, an op-ed for the newspaper, or a book-length memoir." (Roach is also teaching the six-week version this spring.)

It worked that one time

Noted: The only successful attempt at secession from the State of New York was the split by Vermont in 1777. The Green Mountain state's exit from New York put in an odd spot given all that was going on at the time (you know, the Revolutionary War and all that) -- and during the state during that period has come to be known as the Vermont Republic. [via @JonCampbellGAN] Earlier: What if Upstate New York and Downstate New York were separate states?

Cheryl Strayed at HVCC

author cheryl strayed

Author Cheryl Strayed will be at HVCC March 12 for a talk. It's free and open to the public.

Strayed will be talking about Wild, her memoir about her 1,000-mile solo hike along the Pacific Coast trail. It was a best seller, and part of Oprah's book club. The book was made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon that was released last year.

But her work extends beyond Wild as an award-winning essayist. And she also wrote the popular Dear Sugar column for the Rumpus.

Strayed's talk at HVCC starts at 7 pm on Thursday, March 12 in the Bulmer Telecommunications Center Auditorium. Doors open at 6:15 pm -- seating is limited and first come, first sit.

[via @DanielleSanzone]

photo: Joni Kabana

So, that was February

2015 February average temps

Average daily temperatures for this February 2015 versus the typical daily temps for each day.

For the (almost) record: the past month was unusually cold.

This February was the second coldest February on record, according to the National Weather Service. The average daily temperature was 12.7 degrees -- 13.2 degrees colder than a typical February. (The record for February is 12.1 degrees, set in 1934.) That mark also tied for 4th coldest month on record for Albany. There were 12 days during February on which the minimum temperature dipped below 0.

It also happened to be the fifth snowiest February on record, with 30.6 inches of snow. (As of this morning we're at 72 inches of snow for this winter -- about 25 inches more than the typical amount by this point.)

Temperature record date back 1820, snowfall records to 1885.

In related news: It's now March.

Reasons for the Schenectady casino site selection, more ZIP code complaints, Albany cidery aiming to double production

Factors that played into the Schenectady casino site's selection, according to the Gaming Facility Location Board report released Friday: design and waterfront location, poverty rates for nearby areas, and perceived problems with other applications. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN]

Court papers filed by the Albany County Sheriff's Office in the Kenneth White case indicate investigators have tried to link boots worn by Tiffany VanAlstyne with tracks in the snow found near White's body. [TU]

A persistent issue for homeless single mothers with young children: the cost of child care makes getting and keeping a job very difficult. [Daily Gazette]

The Albany Convention Center Authority is aiming to start construction on the new facility the week of March 16. The convention center also recently hired a sales director who will start recruiting potential events/shows for the center. [TU] [Biz Review]

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The week ahead

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is at Skidmore Thursday.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (thawing), to the stage, to activism, to pizza, to beer, to music...

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This week was brought to you by

Staff Ciampino .jpg

This week was brought to you by carbs, cabin fever and the shift from disinterest to fantasy. Thank goodness for our AOA advertisers, putting the win in winter. Like the folks at Staff Ciampino and Company. They can help you win at tax season. 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.

You'll find more of the advertisers that make AOA possible in the list below. Please patronize them when you can, and thank them for their support. If there's something you want to pass along to the AOA crowd, we can help get you started. It's easy and affordable. Just send us a note at advertising@alloveralbany.com.

Stuff to learn

UAlbany's History Department, offering an M.A. and Ph.D. in Environmental History. Explore the human connection to nature.

The Fred Astaire Dance Studios on Troy Schenectady Road in Latham. Learn to dance in 2015. Gift certificates available

The College of Saint Rose, offering 52 Graduate Programs with a purpose. Programs include: MFA in Creative writing, MBA, Computer Information Systems and more.

Ways to get where you're going

Capital Car Share. Share cars for just $8 an hour.

CDTA: whether it's work or play, CDTA can get you where you're going and safely back home again.

Keeler Mini, sponsor of AOA's Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza.

Stuff to do

The Mop & Bucket Improv Company. MopCo offers a new improv show every Friday night at Proctors with music, scenes and improv games based on audience suggestions. They're also teaching classes in improv and creativity for adults and kids at MopCo World Headquarters on Union Street in Schenectady.

Spectrum 8 Theaters. Wait out the cold with a movie at The Spectrum. And don't forget the mint brownie.

miSci, The Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady. Their annual butterfly exhibit is open through April 19.

Saints Basketball
Get your tickets now for one of 14 Siena home games at the TU Center.

Albany Institute
The Albany Institute of History and Art, presenting the 2014 Exhibition by artists of the Mohawk-Hudson region,highlighting the work of the best visual artists in the region.

Troy Music Hall
Troy Music Hall presents an evening with Lily Tomlin, March 7 at 8pm.

Places to live

Brian Brosen and Reggie Monroe at The Capital Team at Realty USA,created a bonafide tournament of pizza miracle, when they bought out all of the tickets to the TOP final at Shmaltz brewing and gave them away to 100 hungry readers. In addition to being pizza philanthropists, Brian and Reggie can help out with your residential and commercial real estate needs in the Capital Region. Because that's how they roll.

Food and Drink

Honest Weight Food Coop -- eat healthy and local in the new year.

Beer
Shmaltz Brewing, host of the All Over Albany Tournament of Pizza People's Plate tasting event.

Farmie Market
Farmie Market -- Farm fresh food delivered right to your door.

New World
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.

Now Open
Broadway Plaza Liquor is now open at 418 Broadway, next to Coulson's News.

Fine wine
Capital Wine at the corner of State and Lark Streets, with a wonderful supply of wines from around the world.

Helpful stuff

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C.. Yep, it's time to get your 2014 taxes in order, and 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.

Historic home help
Historic Albany's architectural parts warehouse -- the Capital Region's only not-for-profit architectural parts warehouse.

Banking
Berkshire Bank, providing the $1,500 prize money for this year's AOA Startup Contest. Great rates on home equity loans.

Libraries
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.

A quick recap of the week

week review 2015-02-27

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

+ Lauren went ice fishing.

+ The measles vaccine was introduced in 1963 and you'll totally expect what happened next in New York State.

+ Place game: the eyes have it.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: downtown Schenectady, the need to talk, your other family, snowshoeing, fairy castles of cascading ice, gratitude for warmth, Marcus T. Reynolds, Saratoga Beer Week, Mac-N-Cheese Bowl, the new-again McGuire's, the food of the gods, jerk chicken, tacos, Schenectady Restaurant Week, and feeding the cats.

+ What's that figure on the SUNY Poly CNSE seal? And why was it picked?

+ Some stuff about the next upscale burger place scheduled for arrival in the Capital Region.

+ A few more details about CDTA's upcoming smart card/app for fares.

+ Among the nation's biggest metros last year, Albany had one of the lowest rental vacancy rates. (Which might help explain if feels like rents are high.)

+ And the story of Garnet Douglass Baltimore, a Trojan if ever there was one.

Here's the whole week all lined up.

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

Machine Age Modernism at The Clark

sledgehammers Sybil Andrews

"Sledgehammers" by Sybil Andrews / Daniel Cowin Collection

This looks interesting: The Clark is opening an exhibit called Machine Age Modernism: Prints from the Daniel Cowin Collection this Saturday (February 28). It includes prints from a handful of early 20th century British printmakers. Exhibit blurbage:

The first three decades of the twentieth century in Britain were a time of great civic and cultural change, ones that witnessed social and economic growth followed by depression, political turmoil, and vast technological advancement. Today known as the Machine Age, this was an era when industry and mechanization were embraced both economically and visually. New modes of communication and transportation--radios, trains, automobiles, airplanes--along with the rise of new building types such as the skyscraper transformed the landscape of the country. Amid the mass consumerism that emerged at this time, the fascination with all things mechanized ultimately gave rise to its seeming opposite: a desire for a return to craft and the hand-made.

The exhibit includes 13 works by Sybil Andrews, as well as works by Edward Wadsworth (image search) and C. R. W. Nevinson (image search).

There's an exhibit opening talk with curator Jay Clarke this Sunday, March 1 at 3 pm.

Machine Age Modernism is at the Clark through May 17.

Earlier on AOA: Day trip: Williamstown and The Clark

Gathering of the Farm Cideries at Nine Pin

gathering of farm ciders logoNine Pin Cider Works in Albany is celebrating its one-year anniversary this Saturday with a Gathering of the Farm Cideries. It starts at 11 am and runs through 9 pm with cider tastings (of course), food from Slidin' Dirty, and music. Tickets are $10 ahead, $15 at the door.

As you know, Nine Pin was the first cidery in the state to get a farm cidery license. It will be joined by eight other farm cideries from around the state at the event, and they'll be offering 1 oz samples (along with products for sale). A list of the cideries is after the jump.

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Garnet Douglass Baltimore, who was "as much of Troy as the monument"

troy prosepct park c 1910

Troy's Prospect Park was designed by Garnet Douglass Baltimore, RPI's first African-American graduate. This photo of the park is from around 1910.

Each Friday this February we've been highlighting people and stories from the Capital Region's history in honor of Black History Month.

Being named for two noted abolitionist heroes could be a little intimidating, but Garnet Douglass Baltimore was equal to his name.

This grandson of an escaped slave grew up to become RPI's first African-American graduate, a civil engineer, landscape architect, and the designer of Troy's Prospect Park.

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Stuff to do this weekend

Cap Rep Souvenir maraca

Souvenir is in previews this weekend at Capital Rep

So long, February! The end of the longest shortest month of the year is at hand. Sure, it's still pretty cold. But it's the weekend, and there's stuff to do.

What is there to do? We're glad you asked.

Well, after the jump we've pulled together a few things we thought might interest you.

Got something planned you don't see here? Drop it in the comments so the rest of us can see.

And whatever you're up to, don't forget your scarf, and have a fantastic weekend.

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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:

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Psst... Over Here

Rants, raves, suggestions, tips, shout outs:

editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com

Recent Comments

When I used to bus-commute in another city, there was a similar smart card system and it was AWESOME. On/Off time was significantly decreased, so buses were even a little more timely. I hope this pilot goes smoothly because the faster this gets implemented, the better for bus riders. This is good news!

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