A few things to do this week.

Albany All Stars Roller Derby has a new home

Albany Capital Center multipurpose space basketball court

At the Albany Capital Center ribbon cutting, there was a full-size basketball court set up in the center's big multi-purpose space to show off both the size of the room and its ability to host sporting facilities.

The Albany All Stars Roller Derby launches into its 10th season April 15 -- at.a new home.

The All Stars are moving to the new Albany Capital Center.

"It's a huge, beautiful space and we're very excited," said Kimberly Eisen, AKA "Dottie Damage."

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Saratoga County ranked as the "healthiest" county in New York State

RWJF 2017 Health Outcomes New York map

The state's counties coded by how the ranked for health outcomes in the rankings. / map: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Saratoga County is the "healthiest" county in the New York State, according to rankings out this week from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Specifically, Saratoga ranked #1 in health outcomes -- "how long people live and how healthy people feel while alive."

The rankings also look at factors that feed into health, and Saratoga ranked #3 overall for those.

Here's how the Capital Region core counties stacked up compared to to Saratoga and each other.

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Air taxi

Gondola lift from the train station to downtown Albany? Pfft. Small scale. An "entrepreneur in residence" at Binghamton University is floating the idea of an air taxi/train/hovercraft/thing that would take people from Binghamton to NYC in 57 minutes. New state economic development plan: everyone gets a gondola. [WBNG] [via @JimmyVielkind]

Albany County Land Bank buyer workshops

Albany County Land Bank property Roosevelt St Albany

A property on Roosevelt Street in Albany recently acquired by the Albany County Land Bank. / photo courtesy of the ACLB

The Albany County Land Bank has a few workshops coming up for people who might interested in buying one of its properties. Blurbage:

In this workshop Virgina Rawlins, our Housing Counselor, will walk you through your application and answer any questions. This workshop is important to all who are interested in purchasing a property from the Land Bank and for those who are considering purchasing a property; every individual will go through the same process.

The workshops are:
+ Monday, April 3 at the Albany Public Library Washington Ave branch at 6 pm
+ Wednesday, April 19 at 255 Orange Street at 6 pm

The land bank website displays available properties in both list and map form. And here's a map of land bank properties in their various states -- from evaluation in progress to sold. Many of the properties are in the city of Albany, but others are spread around the county.

The Albany County Land Bank website currently lists about 20 available properties, both buildings and vacant lots. But there are lot of properties in the pipeline -- the land bank recently announced it had acquired 265 properties in the city of Albany.

Land bank?
Land banks are a relatively new concept. The idea is that they serve as a bridge between when a vacant property is seized in tax foreclosure and when it's bought by a new owner for renovation and/or redevelopment. Land banks acquire the properties, stabilize them, and then market them for sale with the aim of finding buyers will redevelop them responsibly. The orgs can also "bank" properties (thus the name) to group them or otherwise set them up for better chances of successful development.

The Capital Region has three land banks: Albany County Land Bank, Troy Community Land Bank, and Capital Region Land Bank (Schenectady and Amsterdam).

Earlier:
+ The push to breathe life into the buildings that breathed light
+ Bringing Albany buildings back from blight and making them into owner-occupied homes

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: hope and optimism, forming a new bond, parking around Lark Street, college applications, weather grumbling, the Albany Great Flood of 1913, die Heilige Kreuz Gemeinde, old downtown, Worcester, the wine and chocolate festival, winter bites, takeout, cilantro haters, Mrs. Fearnow, and punks.

Neighborhood in-post ad Honest Weight 2017

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Jane's Walk Albany

Woodlawn Ave sidewalk perspective

We got an email from Yasmine, who's organizing a Jane's Walk in Albany this May (link added):

Jane's Walks are community led walking tours by anyone who would like to host one - inspired by Jane Jacobs. I am hoping to get a few of these going in Albany this year so I am looking for people or organizations who would like to host a walk and participate in the event. These walks happen all over the world so its a cool event that hopefully fosters some community and gets people out walking and talking. ...
Examples of walks hosted in other cities include tours of neighborhoods, parks, co-working spaces, historical sites, waterfronts areas, architecture, public art, wildlife, infrastructure, public transportation, environmental justice, technology centers, warehouses, or any part of the city that someone would like to highlight.

Yeah, there might be 1 or 2 or 10 or 100 possibilities for walks like that in Albany.

That first link above is the Albany Jane's Walk page and it includes contact info for getting in touch with Yasmine to organize a local walk.

Cuomo rating up in new Q Poll, federal cuts may affect NY budget plan, fewer local opt outs on state exams, fixing up FDR's Packard

Q Poll shows hike in Cuomo's approval
The latest Quinnapiac poll shows Andrew Cuomo's approval rating at a two year high of 52%, while Donald Trump's rating is at 29 percent. [Politico]

State budget
New York's budget deadline is three days away and Andrew Cuomo says deals are close on policy items like expanding ride sharing outside NYC and raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York. but Cuomo is concerned about the impact federal funding cuts could have on the state budget. Cuomo also said on Tuesday that he won't sign a budget without a wage hike for workers who care for workers who care for people with developmental disabilities. [TU][NYT][News10]

Albany budget
While New York State is concerned about the impact of the federal budget on New York's spending plan, Kathy Sheehan is concerned with getting $12.5 million from the state to balance Albany's budget.Sheehan is also concerned about the impact of Albany's sanctuary city designation and what that could mean for federal funding to the city, since earlier this week Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to pull funding for sanctuary cities -- but Sheehan reaffirmed that Albany will remain a sanctuary city. [TWCN][WNYT]

17-2932 Daily Dose Simplicity Series Online Ads - Single-Tasking_525x80.jpg

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Today's moment of spring

sun gold tomato sprout

We've been aching for one of those warm, sunny spring days that feels like everything is breathing deep and ready to burst forth.

Until then we'll have to settle for a few sprouts inside and the promise that there will be tomatoes eventually.

Mapping a way toward education

Emma Willard 1828 Native American map

Willard’s History of the United States, or, Republic of America started off with a map of Native American nations.

Maybe you know (if a bit vaguely) about the significance of Emma Willard as a pioneer in advocating for educational opportunities for women. She, of course, founded the Troy Female Seminary in 1821, which is still around today -- though with a different name: the Emma Willard School.

But maybe you, like us, did not know about Willard's interest in geography and teaching geography. From the Worlds Revealed: Geography & Maps blog at the Library of Congress:

As head of the Troy Female Seminary, Willard was an early promoter for teaching science to young women. Troy's curriculum included mathematics, science, philosophy, and geography. Geography, in particular, played a major role in a student's education at Troy. Willard believed that studying geography laid the foundation for solid scholarship, "sound judgement, and an enlarged understanding." In addition, she found that studying geography "brings into action the powers of comparing and abstracting." Willard was adamant that it was more important to teach students how to think, rather than what to think and that the study of geography could promote this teaching philosophy.

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Another look at New York State's population change, this time along the urban/rural split

New York State counties population density 2016

There's a clickable map inside, because of course there is.

Here's a bonus track from last week's post about the slow population growth of the Albany metro area -- and the melting populations of many of upstate counties.

That map above depicts counties by population density. The deeper the blue, the more people per square mile of land. It's pretty much you'd expect. But we had the numbers leftover so we figured we'd roll the map together.

As we mentioned last week, there's been an urban/rural split in the state over the last handful of years for population growth -- basically, counties with higher population densities have added people, while counties with lower population densities have lost. (With a few notable exceptions)

So we grouped the state's population by county density and it makes this divide very clear -- let's have a look, along with a clickable map...

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The mystery of Hazel Drew's death

The modern world is... The Daily Mail carrying a long article about the unsolved murder of a young woman in Sand Lake in 1908 because the mystery may have served as inspiration for Twin Peaks, which is being rebooted. And there's a podcast in there somewhere, too. [The Daily Mail (UK)] (Thanks, Jess)

Behemoth Short Film Festival 2017

behemoth short film festival 2017 posterThe Behemoth Short Film Festival returns to the Saratoga Arts Center April 15. Blurbage:

The Behemoth Short Film Festival showcases some of the very best in up and coming cinematic talent from around the world. From horror to sci-fi, comedy to drama, The Behemoth Short Film Festivals goal is to bring unique voices to new viewers and broaden the audiences horizon by delivering something different.

The festival includes two slates of films. Explained organizer Shane Frasier in a post on the festival Facebook page:

The first showcase will be more of a general audience showcase (around a PG-13 rating, roughly), so parents/teens should plan accordingly. Also, our later showcase (which we've dubbed EXTREMEOTH) will be a little more adult (showcasing more horror, action, language, etc.)

That first showcase is at 6:30 pm on Saturday, April 15 and the second is at 8:45 pm. Tickets are $10 for each and available online.

Lifestyle Farming Conference at SUNY Cobleskill

SUNY Cobleskill Lifestyle Farming Conference logoThis looks like some quality fuel for stoking those backyard gardening / DIY / I've-had-enough-I'm-moving-to-a-farm dreams.

SUNY Cobleskill is hosting its first Lifestyle Farming Conference Saturday, April 8. Blurbage:

In our classrooms and labs, SUNY Cobleskill faculty will teach organic gardening, home brewing, composting, mushroom growing, yogurt making, apiary management, and more. With three levels -- 1.5-hour Introductory Courses, 3-hour Skill Builders, and a 6-hour Intensive -- everyone from novice to experienced homesteaders will find a course to suit their interests and skill levels.
The conference will be accompanied by a specialized vendor fair featuring goods and supplies that complement the workshops, such as brewing equipment, apiary supplies, animal feed, and orchard necessities.

Among the workshop topics: square foot gardening for maximizing production in small spaces, home brewing, backyard poultry, family livestock herds, composting, making sausage, fruit and berry orcharding 101, wild edibles, homemade ice cream, and homemade yogurt.

Conference registration is $60 / $72 with lunch and available online. And the website notes that space is limited in each workshop.

Extension for the state budget?, push for recorded interrogations, question incentives to keep jobs upstate, shooting in Albany, three minutes of alpaca

State budget
The state budget is due by the end of Friday -- but Andrew Cuomo is talking about the possibility of an "extender budget" that would continue the state's current budget, citing concerns about uncertainty in how funding for the state will shake out in the federal budget. (Is this just a negotiating tactic on the part of the governor? Maybe!) [TU] [Politico NY] [State of Politics]

Recorded interrogations
Advocates were at the Capitol Monday pushing for a requirement that all police interrogations in violent felony cases be recorded on video. And Adrian Thomas, who was eventually acquitted of killing his infant son in Troy in 2008 in a case that included a recorded confession that he says was coerced by police, was there to lend his support to the proposal. A bill passed by the state Senate and backed Andrew Cuomo would expand recorded interrogations, but advocates say it doesn't go far enough and wouldn't have required video in the case of Thomas. [Spectrum] [NYSNYS/Troy Record] [News10] [TU]

Peter Young
Peter Young Housing Industries and Treatment is asking a court to stop the state from cutting off the funding for its programs in the Capital Region, and accuses a state official of "egregious bureaucratic bullying." [TU]

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A look at the plan for new bus and pedestrian amenities at Lark and Washington in Albany

Washington and Lark looking east 2017-March

The spot where Washington Ave, Central Ave, and Lark Street run together in Albany is one of the city's busier intersections -- and not just because of cars. It also funnels many of the most popular bus routes into downtown, and it bustles with pedestrians from the surrounding walkable neighborhoods.

And this summer it's getting a bit of a makeover as part of a plan to reconfigure CDTA's facilities around the intersection.

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WHAT? (airplane flies overhead)

Capital Region transportation noise map

That image above is clipped from a new map produced by the federal government that attempts to model road and airplane noise around the country. Here's the clickable, interactive version.

The map colors depict estimated 24-hour sound level averages. The light yellow is about the noise level of a humming refrigerator. The magenta colors are something more like a vacuum cleaner.

You can probably guess what that cross-shaped, magenta pattern is in the middle: Albany International Airport. And if anything, for us, looking at the map both locally and across the nation highlighted the wide-ranging noise effects of airports. Those "smears" of noise along the approach and take-off paths for ALB really stick out. (And having lived inside one of those zones, yep, you definitely hear the planes as they land, especially in the summer with the windows open.)

[via NPR]

map clip: US Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Coffee school at Superior Merchandise

superior merchandise co cups

Superior Merchandise Co. in Troy is bringing back its series of "coffee school" classes for a spring season. Blurbage:

"Over the past 20 months of being in business, we've affirmed that our guests tend to be inquisitive and eager to learn more about the mysterious world of specialty coffee. With Coffee School we are happy to try to clear up some of the myths and mysteries folks have in an informal 'school' format," said SMCo.'s Director of Coffee Matthew Loiacono.
Classes are taught in a loose lecture / taste / participate format, where attendees can shape much of the learning based on questions and desired goals. Tickets include printed notes and 10% off in-store merchandise during the evening of the class.

The slate includes a new class about home roasting coffee:

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Traditional trades

This area has a lot of historic buildings. There's a lot of demand for restoring these historic buildings. There just aren't a lot of people with the skills to do the work. Over at the TU, Leigh Hornbeck looks at this gap and a new program from HVCC, Historic Albany, and the State Historic State Historic Preservation Office that's aimed at building historic preservation and restoration trades skills. [TU+ (bypass link)]

Hudson Valley Hops 2017

Hudson Valley Hops 2017 posterThe Hudson Valley Hops event is back at the Albany Institute April 8. Tickets are $35 ahead and available online.

The annual event celebrates the history of brewing in the Hudson Valley, and this year has an Erie Canal theme. There will be tastings, a local IPA blind taste test, and special Irish Red Ales from Chatham Brewing and local craft beer pioneer Bill Newman in collaboration with Brown's.

Local brewing artifacts will also be on display.

Here's the list of participating breweries...

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Matchbox Twenty + Counting Crows at SPAC

counting crows

Counting Crows

This is becoming a regular thing: Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows are set to return to SPAC August 25. Tickets go on sale this Friday, March 31 -- they're $29.50 and up. (There's also a limited supply of lawn four-packs for $88.)

The opener for the show is Rivers and Rust.

While we're on the topic, here's how the SPAC pop show calendar is shaping up so far -- it's getting full...

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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

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Recent Comments

I went to one last month. My friend took his oath of citizenship. It is a great ceremony. A local school choir sang. There was a moving speech from one of the new citizens who grew up a refugee and at the age of 21 was finally a citizen of a country for the first time in her life. The League of Women Voters give warm welcomes, flags and voter registration cards to all the new citizens. It gave me such warm fuzzies. Everyone should try to go to one of these if they get the chance.

Albany All Stars Roller Derby has a new home

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WHAT? (airplane flies overhead)

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