Friday, it so nice to see you.

Stuff to do this weekend

comedian Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer is at The Palace Saturday.

Things should start to dry out just in time for this pre-Halloween weekend. And there's plenty to do, from haunted hayrides, scary movies and harvest festivals to music, theater, and comedy.

After the jump we've raked up a pile of stuff to do for you to dive into (figuratively, of course). Got something planned that you don't see here? Drop it in the comments for the rest of us to see. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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Man arraigned in death of Vanessa Milligan, Ebola case in NYC, llamas on the lam

Gabriel Vega -- accused of killing Vanessa Milligan in Lansingburgh this past April -- was arraigned on charges that included murder, abortion, and arson. The unusual abortion charge is for the baby Milligan was carrying -- she was due to give birth the next week. Police and prosecutors have not said how Milligan was killed. At press conference Troy deputy police chief Richard McAvoy called Vega "a classic sociopath." Vega's attorneys said in a statement that their client maintains his innocence. Said Milligan's father: "I wanted to jump over the banister and just go to jail, but I knew I wouldn't be able to get to him and my cousin was holding me tight. And I just, just wanted to die. Just wanted to cry." [Troy Record] [TWCN] [WNYT] [TWCN] [TU] [News10]

The state Department of Transportation has concluded that the derailment of 18 train cars in Selkirk rail yard this week was due to a piece of safety equipment that had been left on a track. Albany County exec Dan McCoy is pointing to the incident as an example of a need for direct communication between rail companies and the county when an accident happens. [TU] [TWCN]

A New York City doctor who recently returned from Guinea where he had been working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients has tested positive for the disease. Public health officials have been working to trace his potential contacts in the city. The doctor is being treated at Bellevue Hospital in NYC, one of the hospitals designated in the state's Ebola response plan. [NYT x2] [Cuomo admin]

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Poking at some numbers for New York school districts, graduation rates, and income

chalkboard eraser chalk

This won't be on a test. / photo: Flickr user alkruse24 (CC BY 2.0)

Two things (indirectly) prompted this post:

1. The discussion around that Miss Pearl question about moving out of Albany for the school district.

2. Another one of those school district rankings.

If anything, both of those items highlighted for us our desire to better understand what people are talking about when they talk about "the schools" -- and how factors such as income and poverty fit in.

So we pulled a whole bunch of numbers on New York State school districts -- specifically graduation rates, household income, and poverty rates -- and did some sifting. And we came across a few things we expected -- and few things we didn't.

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Chip Kidd at Skidmore

designer chip kidd

Designer/author Chip Kidd will be at Skidmore November 13 for a talk and Q&A.

Kidd is probably best known for this book covers. He's designed a bunch of them, many for famous authors, while working with Knopf since the 1980s. In fact, you probably have a Chip Kidd-designed book cover on your bookshelves right now. Kidd has also written a few novels, a Batman graphic novel, and multiple books about comics.

The Skidmore event starts with a talk titled "! or ?: Let me be perfectly clear. Or mysterious" at 7:30 pm on Thursday, November 13 in Palamountain Hall's Gannett Auditorium. A Q&A with the audience is scheduled for 8:30 pm. And there will be a book signing at 9 pm. It's free and open to the public.

Toughness

Over at the Times Union, Deanna Fox talked with Eliza Winters about keeping her family's Hill Hollow Farm in Rensselaer County going after her husband's death in an accident this past spring -- while also raising a toddler and a newborn. [TU]

Evil Dead: The Musical x2

evil dead the musical touring company

From the touring company that will be a Proctors.

Somewhat improbably, there's a stage musical version of The Evil Dead cult-classsic movie series. And somewhat even more improbably, there will be two productions of it in this area over the next week.

Proctors
Proctors is hosting the touring production Evil Dead: The Musical next Tuesday, October 28. From the blurbage:

Patron Advisory: Those seated in the designated "Splatter Zone" seat locations will be splashed by stage "blood" and get increasingly wet over the course of the performance.

The show is at 7:30 pm on the Proctors main stage. Tickets are $20 and up (the splatter zone is $75 and $85).

Troy Civic
More chainsaw: Troy Civic is staging a production of Evil Dead: The Musical at The Troy Atrium starting this Friday and Saturday. And it will continue the next two weekends.

Tickets for the Troy Civic production are $15 / $13 for students and seniors.

Contractor for matching historical building style?

troy washington park autumn ivyOmar emails:

I'm buying a victorian-style house in Troy soon and would like to have a garage built. I would like it to match the style of the neighborhood so I'm envisioning a cinder block garage, possibly with a brick facade. Can anyone recommend a good mason or whoever does this kind of work?

We had a similar questions earlier this year, but it was focused on indoor carpentry work. As we said then, there are so much old houses in this area, there have got to be companies that can building something to fit with the style.

Got a suggestion for Omar? Please share!

Suspect arrested in Vanessa Milligan's death, tentative agreement to save Ladder No. 1, Malta businessman honored by White House

Police arrested the former boyfriend of 19-year-old Vanessa Milligan in connection with the death of Milligan and her unborn daughter in Lansingburgh. Gabriel Vega is expected to be arraigned this morning in Rensselaer County Court.[Record][WNYT][News 10]

Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan and the Albany firefighters union have struck a tentative deal that would keep Ladder No. 1 open in exchange for help cutting $1.2 million from other parts of the fire department. [TU]

Somewhere between 18 and 25 freight cars derailed Wednesday night in Selkirk. One car was a propane tank, but that does not appear to be a danger. [TU][WNYT][TWCN]

Andrew Cuomo and Rob Astorino met Wednesday, along with third party candidates Howie Hawkins and Michael McDermott, in what is expected to be their only debate of the gubernatorial campaign. Cuomo and Astorino traded barbs about support for fracking and women's issues. [TU] [NYT]

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Where the wild things aren't... yet

mountain lion in zoo by Greg Hume cc

A mountain lion (cougar) in a zoo. / photo: Greg Hume (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikipedia

The reported mountain lion sightings near Cambridge in Washington County recently is a familiar story. [Post-Star]

Mountain lions!? Here!? In 2011 The US Fish and Wildlife Service declared that the eastern cougar had likely been extinct since the 1903s. Even so, there have been people -- naturalists, hikers, people drinking coffee on their decks -- who say they've seen one of the big cats in the eastern US since then. And the rather wayward journey of one of the cats through New York and into Connecticut a few years back just stoked those rumors.

After covering this topic a bunch of years ago for another outlet, we've thought this was one of those fun mysteries -- the kind of thing people hoped was true. That maybe our part of the world was a little more wild than we all thought.

Many parts of the Northeast have been going through an interesting environmental change over the last century in that they've actually been gaining forest land as former farmland falls back into being forested. As it happens, these once-again-spreading forests aren't exactly like the Northeastern forests of centuries ago -- the mix of trees is probably different. And they lack many of the big predators that disappeared through hunting and habitat loss. Or, at least, they have lacked those predators -- because that could be changing. [Science Daily]

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Figuring Sh!t Out with Amy Biancolli

figuring shit out amy biancolli

Amy Biancolli is a self-described mom, ink-stained wretch, and survivor of suicides.

We would describe her as a gifted and thoughtful writer with an ability to find the joy, truth, and humor in living -- even in the aftermath of great personal tragedy.

Three years ago, Biancolli's husband, well-known Capital Region writer Chris Ringwald, took his own life. It was not Biancolli's first experience with suicide. Years earlier her sister, Lucy, killed herself, and her father survived his own suicide attempt.

Biancolli -- a former film critic for the Houston Chronicle and the current arts writer for the Times Union -- has turned that experience into a new memoir. Figuring Sh!t Out (and her blog of the same name) take a look at her first year without Chris, and the, well, stuff she had to figure out -- from who she is now without her husband of 20 years, to how to help her children, to how to work the lawn mower, to whether she should bother to shave her legs anymore. Tales of "crisis ziti", memos to George Clooney, surviving a monkey attack only to be bitten by a dog in Ecuador, and whether to search for a "Mr. Manly Pants" alternately prompt laughter and tears -- and sometimes do both at once.

Biancolli spent a few minutes with us this week, to share some thoughts on the bizarre ways humor and grief can overlap, why she decided to share such a deep personal tragedy, and the experience of being carried by her Albany community.

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In a brewery (not so) far, far away

Lucasfilm -- you know, the production company behind Star Wars -- is challenging a trademark application from Syracuse's Empire Brewing Co. over a beer called "Strikes Bock." [Post-Standard]

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Ladder No. 1, a different ridge, Chatham, the Walkway over the Hudson, the time machine, entertainment options then, the Tour de Cider Donut, Italian sausage, falafel, comparing donuts, an order-again appetizer, savory and sweet, uncertain status, and a FATMUP issued.

Broadway Plaza Liquor in-post ad

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Talking about talking about movies

film critic wesley morrisOne of the events at the currently-in-progress Film Columbia that caught our eye is this panel on Saturday about film criticism -- and its lineup:

+ Moderator: Peter Biskind, author and Vanity Fair contributing editor

+ Owen Gleiberman, former head critic for Entertainment Weekly and current critic for bbc.com.

+ Eric Kohn, chief film critic and senior editor at Indiewire.

+ Wesley Morris, 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner and staff critic at Grantland. (That's Morris on the right.)

+ Alison Willmore, film critic for BuzzFeed and co-host of the podcast Filmspotting: SVU.

The panel discussion is Saturday, October 25 at 10 am at Tracy Memorial Village Hall in Chatham. Tickets are $15 and available online.

photo via Wesley Morris Twitter

Siena Poll reports Cuomo still ahead but with highest unfavorables to date, Capital Region's first START-UP NY designee, Schenectady knocks down the first of 80 buildings

The newest Siena College poll reports Andrew Cuomo and Eric Schneiderman both more than 20 points ahead of their challengers. Still, Cuomo had his highest unfavorable rating since becoming governor.[NYT][TU]

WMHT will televise what it appears will be the only debate between Andrew Cuomo and Rob Astorino, tonight at 8pm.[TU]

Andrew Cuomo's reelection campaign rented its email list to Harper Collins to promote the governor's new memoir.[TU]

An "eTextbook delivery" company that currently employs 11 people is the Capital Region's first tax free START-UP NY designee. ClassBook.com expects to move into downtown Albany and create about 70 new jobs. [TU][WNYT]

A Green Island man is dead after his car crashed into a school bus on Route 7 in Rensselaer County on Tuesday morning. No serious injuries were reported among the 26 children onboard the bus. [TWCN][Record]

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The Capital Region's unemployment rate continues to drop

Capital_Region_unemployment_employed_2001-2014_8_cropped.png

The Capital Region labor force since 2000. Here's a bigger version.

The Capital Region's unemployment rate was 4.8 percent in September -- one of the lowest rates of any metro in the state -- according to figures out this week from the state Department of Labor. And it was down from 6.1 percent in September 2013.*

New York State's unemployment rate was 5.6 percent in September, down from 7.4 percent the year before. And the upstate unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, down from 6.9 percent the year before.

The numbers for September continue a trend for the Capital Region in which each month's unemployment rate has been lower than that same month the year before, dating back to 2012 November.

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Where to sell old gold and silver?

tangle of random jewelryCAOD emails:

Have you ever sold your old gold and silver? I have dozens of single earrings and broken chains that I need to get rid of. Where did you sell it and did you feel you got a fair price?

We see ads for this kind of thing all the time, but they often have a Crazy Louie's House of Ridiculous Deals feel about them. And a few years back News10 looked at the prices quoted at a traveling gold and silver road show -- there was quite a difference between when the camera was on and off.

So, got a suggestion for CAOD? Please share!

Wolff's Schenectady

The Schenectady Wolff's Biergarten is set to open October 30, pending approval of its liquor license. Matt Baumgartner talked with the Gazette's Bethany Bump about what's planned for the new location. [Matt Baumgarnter Instagram] [Daily Gazette]

Drawing: Postmodern Jukebox at Troy Music Hall

Postmodern Jukebox

Drawing's closed!

The pop song cover/re-interpretation act Postmodern Jukebox will be at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall this Saturday, October 25. The group takes modern pop hits and reinterprets them in other styles, often from previous eras. A few examples: a ragtime version of "Call Me Maybe" and and 1920s jazz take on Iggy Azalea's "Fancy."

We have a pair of tickets to the show and we're giving them away. To you? Maybe!

To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

What's something in the Capital Region that you'd like to see reinterpreted?

This could be anything. Non-redeemable bonus points for creativity.

the show at the Troy Music Hall starts at 8 pm Saturday. Tickets are $29.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 5 pm on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by midnight that day and must respond by noon on Thursday, October 23.

Troy Music Hall advertises on AOA.

Albany Common Council passes red light camera ordinance: comments, votes, thoughts

albany red light camera vote fahy

State Assemblywoman Pat Fahy speaks during the public comment period ahead of Monday's night vote on red light cameras.

The Albany Common Council passed the ordinance for a red light camera demonstration project in the city Monday night. The ordinance passed 11-4 after some impassioned comments from council members.

Pending a signature on the bill from mayor Kathy Sheehan, who supports the measure, Albany will be on its way to becoming the first municipality in the Capital Region to get the automatic cameras.

Comments, the votes, the ordinance, and a few thoughts...

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Albany red light camera ordinance passed, Kaloyeros says IBM-GloFo will lead to more jobs at NanoCollege, artists' lofts proposed for Troy

The Albany Common Council passed the red light camera ordinance 11-4 during Monday night's meeting. We'll have a lot more about the vote a little later today.

Alain Kaloyeros says he expects that GlobalFoundries taking on IBM's chip fab's in the Hudson Valley and Vermont will result in more jobs for both companies in the Albany area. (IBM is one of the research partners at the NanoCollege.) He also touted investment at the NanoCollege as key part of the deal: "The governor is calling it 'mAlbany' -- a combination of Malta and Albany -- because in his mind investments have been made for a high-tech mall at CNSE." [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan on the fight over her proposed budget closing the Ladder No. 1 company: "Firefighters are out there telling people that they're not going to be safe, and that's just patently wrong." [TU]

Albany police say the man shot on South Pearl Street in the South End last Thursday morning died over the weekend. APD took a suspect into custody, but no charges have been filed yet. APD says it's investigation continues and it's looking for tips from the public. [APD FB] [TU]

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... Let's also lower the city speed limit to 25 while we're at it. Maybe then these morons will not go 45 miles an hour down Washington Avenue. Why should cities surrender themselves to the automobile and automobile drivers? - the very forces that killed cities to begin with. ...

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