Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (wut), to eating and drinking, to poems and stories, to hip hop, to digital news, to farming, to music...
Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ We gave away tickets to the Gathering of the Farm Cideries by asking: What's your favorite thing to eat when it's cold and snowy outside?
+ It's been snowy in a normal way.
+ Haley looked at a handful of projects trying to lift Schenectady's Eastern Ave neighborhood.
+ A quick scan of the latest batch of high school graduation rates from around the Capital Region.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: the Blake family, Knox & Mead, purchasing your own supply of chocolate, the pearly gates, helping kids become community members, snow stress, mineral springs, snowy photos, The Tollgate, pizza, the restaurant industry, Buffalo wings, and childhood.
+ We talked with Albany native Miles Joris-Peyrafitte about As You Are, the Sundance prize-winning film he directed here.
+ Ann an David from 98 Acres examined the history of redlining in Albany.
+ The EBA building on Lark Street is up for auction -- we talked with Maude Baum about selling the longtime home of the dance company.
+ And a look at the many, many tax-exempt properties in Albany, and how that affects the city's budget and the people who live there.
Here's the whole week in one place.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!
Walking up State Street, for a moment, it was all blue skies, sunshine, and wispy clouds.
Then it was February again.
The map above depicts parcels in the city of Albany from which, for various reasons, the city doesn't get property taxes. It's from a slide deck used by Kathy Sheehan during her recent presentation before joint state legislative budget hearing about municipal aid.
That topic has popped up again this week (it never really goes away) because the city's request for an additional $12.5 million from the state -- what the Sheehan admin has tagged as "Capital City Funding" -- was not included in the 30-day budget amendments submitted by the Cuomo admin. That doesn't necessarily mean the money is completely off the table -- the Cuomo admin indicated Friday it could still happen -- but it does cast the fate of the money in doubt. Given given that it represents 7 percent of the current $177 million enacted budget, the city faces making some hard cuts if the money doesn't come through. And on Friday Sheehan urged city residents to call the offices of state legislative leaders to push for the aid.
Sheehan and other city officials have long argued the city deserves more aid from the state for two reasons:
1. The amount of money the city gets from the state's main type of aid to municipalities (AIM) is, on a per capita basis, way lower than what other large cities around the state get. It's not even close. As Sheehan said Friday: "We are not asking for something extra. We are asking for something that gets us a little closer to parity."
2. Large portions of the city -- some 63 percent of the property value -- are tax exempt because of the presence of the state and other institutions that don't have to pay.
Here's a larger view of that map, along with a few quick bits.
Over at City Lab there's an interesting look at how some of the people involved with the creating the very popular High Line park in New York City are using the lessons they learned -- and the failures they now recognize -- to help other cities make similar parks and adaptive reuse projects more useful to the people who already live near the sites. [City Lab] Earlier: A few bits about the proposed Albany Skyway
Hitting the half court shot wasn't the big surprise, as it turned out. Though the made basket wasn't in the plan! (That Gazette article includes a great photo by Peter Barber.)
The clip got the top spot on the SportsCenter top 10 last night.
Some score and however many years ago our forefathers and foremothers looked forward to a weekend filled with fun things to do. It probably wasn't this weekend. But it was a weekend... sometime, because everybody loves a good weekend. So we're guessing it's true. It might not be true at all. You know what -- forget about that part and focus on this weekend. Our weekend. The one that starts today. Yes. Let's do that.
After the jump you'll find a whole bunch of stuff going on this President's Day weekend -- from Flurry Fest and mac 'n cheese to gems, fossils, and butterflies.
Planning something you don't see on our list? Tell us about it in the comment section. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.
Albany bracing for possibility state aid doesn't come through, push for money to fix sewers and water systems, he was cooking at home
Albany push for state aid
The $12.5 million in additional state aid the Sheehan administration included in the current city of Albany budget was not part of the state budget amendments released Thursday evening. At a press conference Friday morning Kathy Sheehan said she believes the Cuomo admin is "is convinced of our case" and the city would continue to press for the aid with members of the state legislature.
The money represents 7 percent of the current city budget and Sheehan said the city is preparing for the possibility it doesn't come through. She's instituted a hiring a freeze in which any new hire would have to be revenue neutral. And she said the city is reviewing every program -- including events such as Alive at Five, which is now at risk without the aid.
Said Sheehan of the city's request to the state in light of the relatively low amount of money the city gets through the state's regular aid program for municipalities: "The state capital is treated like no other large city in New york State. And I just want to stress that. We are not asking for something extra. We are asking for something that gets us a little closer to parity."
Here's a quick thread by Geoff Redick that includes some context and reaction. [@Redick_TWCNews]
"That's a lurking monster right now"
Jim Tedisco and Phil Steck pushed the case for state legislation that would set up a regular stream of funding for local municipalities to address water and sewer infrastructure. Said Tedisco Thursday: "That's a lurking monster right now and we can pay now or we can pay later." Tedisco has promoted this idea in past years, but he says hopeful of seeing action this time around because he's a now in the state Senate and a member of the majority coalition. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN]
For sale: Century-old Lark Street theater. Only two owners.
The building at the corner of Lark and Hudson that houses the dance company EBA, a staple of the neighborhood since 1977, is up for auction.
If you're a frequent New York State Park visitor the Empire Pass has been the most economical option for paying entrance fees -- $65 gets you unlimited entry for the year. So, anything past your 8th or 9th visit is free admission.
The downside: It has to be affixed to a car window.
Now there's a new option: The Empire Pass Card, which can be shared among members of a household and doesn't have to be stuck on a vehicle. The card is $80. Blurbage:
A new wallet-sized Empire Pass Card that can be shared within a household is now available. It's a family-friendly alternative to the traditional window decal, and not assigned to a specific vehicle. The new card can be used by parents, grandparents, caregivers and others.
The Empire Pass stickers are still available, and they're still $65.
New York State Parks also offers multi-year cards -- $205 for three years, and $320 for five years.
There's also a lifetime Empire Pass for $750.
The Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond recently published a website displaying redlining maps from the 1930s for American cities with populations over 50,000. These so-called Residential Security Maps, along with detailed descriptions of urban neighborhoods, give us insight into how the flow of bank funds into some areas -- and their denial in others -- shaped the postwar American city.
We researched the history of these maps, as well as related records pertaining to Albany, at the National Archives. Here's what we found.
Prompted by the latest batch of high school graduation rates, Bethany Bump talked with school districts in Troy, Schenectady, and Albany about how the districts are working to close the graduation gap between white students and students of color. For this past cohort, students of color in the Troy school district graduate at a higher rate than white students. [TU+ (bypass link)] Earlier: Capital Region high school graduation rates 2016
The local branch of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants -- USCRI -- has an information session Thursday (February 16) for people interested in volunteering or somehow helping out the organization. It's at 6 pm in the org's offices at the Nipper Building in Albany (991 Broadway, Suite 223).
We heard from the director of USCRI Albany -- Jill Peckenpaugh -- this week that the local branch is helping 4,000 refugees in the Capital Region. The org helps people with finding apartments, furniture, housewares, as well as how to navigate things like paperwork and doctors appointments. We get the feeling there are plenty of ways a person could lend a hand right now.
If you're interested but can't make Thursday's information session, USCRI has another one lined up for March 16 -- same place and time.
The lineup for the Solid Sound Festival this summer at MASS MoCA is out.
It's headlined by Wilco, as usual. The band will be playing two shows at the festival, as usual. A few others from the lineup: Television, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Robert Glasper Experiment, Dawn of Midi, Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin with the Guilty Ones, Kevin Morby, Joan Shelley, and Big Thief.
John Hodgman will be back with another comedy showcase. And Mark Bittman -- "Real Food Crusader" -- is also mentioned under "eat and drink."
The full announced lineup below.
This year's festival is June 23-25. The ticket currently on sale is the advance 3-day pass -- it's $159 plus service fees. There's also a kids pass (ages 6-10) for $50 (under age 6 is free).
Video admissible in Crossgates shooting, D.A. report: Rotterdam police shooting justified, fired Walmart employee sentenced in bank robberies
Video admissible in Crossgates shooting
An acting State Supreme Court judge has ruled that a videotaped conversation between police and Tasheem Maeweather -- the man accused of firing a gun during the November incident in Crossgates that prompted a lockdown of the mall -- will be allowed as evidence in his attempted murder trial. [TU]
Rotterdam police shooting declared justified
Schenectady County DA Robert Carney released a report on Wednesday, stating that the Rotterdam patrolman who shot and killed a knife-wielding veteran in April was justified in the shooting. The report calls the event "an unavoidable tragedy."[TU][TU][Gazette]
Inmate charged with murder
A prison inmate serving time for a non-fatal Hamilton Hill shooting is now facing murder charges in connection with the 2014 shooting death of Angel Carrion in Schenectady's Mont Pleasant neighborhood. [TU][Gazette]
Talking with Miles Joris-Peyrafitte about As You Are, and the film's upcoming local premiere at The Spectrum
The Sundance prize-winning film that shot in this area during the fall of 2015 -- As You Are -- is set to make its local premiere at The Spectrum March 3.
The film was directed by Albany native Miles Joris-Peyrafitte. And it was and co-written by Joris-Peyrafitte and Madison Harrison, both alums of the Albany Free School. It stars Owen Campbell (from The Americans), Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things), Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games), and veteran actors Scott Cohen, John Scurti, and Mary Stuart Masterson.
The film got positive reviews after its debut at Sundance last year, where it won a special jury prize.
Miles Joris-Peyrafitte will be at one of the March 3 screenings at The Spectrum for a Q&A. And this week got a chance to talk with him about growing up in Albany, learning to make movies as part of the YouthFX program, and what it's going to be like to have the film shown in his hometown.
This pretty much what it says on the label: "How each of New York state's 62 counties got their names." (Among the meta bits about the list: Just two county names trace back to a woman.) [New York Upstate]
The schedule for the next Albany Symphony season -- the 2017-2018 season -- is out. It includes a weekend of Mozart, a weekend of Gershwin, and performances of new music by living composers.
Tickets for many of the dates are available via a season subscription. (Individual date tickets will be available later on.)
And, of course, the ASO's current season is in progress, with handful of dates over the next few months.
Without further ado...
Hand Habits is Meg Duffy, of course, who went to college and played a bunch of music here and is now out in LA. She's touring now in support of the new album (and playing a house show here this week).
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the Blake family, Knox & Mead, purchasing your own supply of chocolate, the pearly gates, helping kids become community members, snow stress, mineral springs, snowy photos, The Tollgate, pizza, the restaurant industry, Buffalo wings, and childhood.
And you can always try searching for it: