Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ There's a plan for redeveloping Albany's oldest building.
+ We revisited Albany's reservoir goats. (Toast is kind of pushy!)
+ Here's a quick scan of some things that caught our eye in the Capital Region's bid for $500 million from the state -- it includes a proposed huge development project in downtown Albany.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: two contrasting experiences, feeling old, laughing at life, a ghost sign, a beautiful old map, ancestors, trigger warnings, springs, the Bridge of Flowers, what's fermenting on the farm, being judgy, Innovo Kitchen, Memphis King, and the best bottle of cheap wine.
+ We gave away tickets to the Albany Barn Fusion event by asking: If you could "fuse" any two elements from the Capital Region together, what would they be -- and what would they create?
+ Women in the Capital Region are pulling ahead of men when it comes to getting a college degree.
+ After a service started offering to ship foliage -- that is, leaves in a box -- to people, we considered what other locally abundant stuff we could be selling. It's time to start monetizing our potholes.
+ A look at how Albany's red light camera system has started off.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!
The city of Albany released the first batch of numbers related to its new red light camera system this week.
The APD reports that since the cameras started coming online in July, the system flagged 2,197 potential violations. After reviews by officers, the city sent out 1,356 citations. So about 38 percent of the potential violations were screened out by the human review.
As you've probably heard by now, getting tagged by one of the red light cameras (and the officer review) is a $50 violation (like a parking ticket). The legislation authorizing the system allows the city to place cameras at up to 20 intersections. (It's now up to 15 intersections, the latest coming online October 2.)
The city released numbers for each intersection approach being monitored by the cameras, so let's have a closer look at the numbers to see which intersections had the most violations...
Well, we're in the thick of it now -- apples, pumpkins, decorative gourds and foliage people from other parts of the country might actually be willing to pay to see. So pull on a wool sweater, go for a hike, find a apple cider donut, and do some other fun stuff this weekend.
We've raked up a pile of stuff to do for you to dive into after the jump. Got something planned you don't see there? Drop it in the comments and share it with the rest of us.
And whatever you're up to this weekend -- weather you've got two days or three -- enjoy!
Plea deal for former Watervliet police officer, facebooking with Alain Kaloyeros, local FiOS rollout nearing finish
Plea deal for Watervliet police officer
Former Watervliet police officer Joshua Spratt pleaded guilty a third-degree criminal sex act, a felony, as part of a plead deal over charges that he engaged in sex acts with a 16 year old. He faces six months in jail, 10 years of probabation, and must register as a sex offender. Spratt met the teen -- and a 17 year old with whom he was also accused of having sexual relations -- through his job as a school resource officer. He could have faced as many as 16 years in prison if he had been convicted on all the charges against him. Albany County DA David Soares called the penalties in the plea deal "very appropriate sanctions." [Albany County DA] [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT]
$15 an hour
The impending minimum wage increase for fast food workers in New York State prompted talk at a state legislative hearing of people potentially leaving health care jobs, such as nursing home aide, for fast food jobs. And various players are gearing up for the fight in the state legislature over Andrew Cuomo's proposed $15-an-hour minimum wage across all industries. [TU] [AP/Troy Record]
Gotham Gazette's David Howard King reports that Alain Kaloyeros said via Facebook messenger that he faced the "threat of jail" if he were to talk about US Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation of the Buffalo Billion. [Gotham Gazette]
A crew from NPR will be at UAlbany next Thursday (October 15) for a series called Family Matters. Blurbage:
Facing first-time loans as a college student or a new mortgage as a third-time home buyer both come with risks, opportunities and, of course, questions. In collaboration with WAMC & WMHT, NPR Presents: Family Matters connects regular people with financial experts for an unconventional conversation about money. This live, lively and entirely FREE event is driven by an audience ready to talk strategy: from accumulating debt and amassing wealth; to saving for college, home ownership, retirement and even fitting in a midlife extravagance, or two.
NPR Presents: Family Matters is led by NPR Morning Edition host David Greene; Business correspondent Yuki Noguchi; nationally-syndicated personal finance columnist for the Washington Post Michelle Singletary; and personal finance expert Louis Barajas, who together equip audience members with greater confidence in their financial futures.
(Apparently NPR's version of Family Matters doesn't involve Urkel.)
The event is Thursday at 7 pm in the UAlbany Performing Arts Center's recital hall on the uptown campus. As the blurbage mentions, it's free -- and you can reserve a ticket online.
photo: Richie Wireman
All this time and we didn't realize an economic opportunity was literally growing right in our backyard.
We collect, preserve and ship gorgeous fall foliage! All leaves are collected from New England, and undergo a unique preservation process. The process enhances the foliage color contrast and also preserves the leaves for years to come! ...
Our foliage experts hike all around the Northeast in search for the perfect leaves. During our collection phase we sift and filter through our inventory, hand selecting only "Grade A" foliage.
All for $19.99. And of course, there's also a service for shipping snow.
So this got us thinking about what other under-appreciated assets from around here we've just been letting lie fallow -- and how they could be monetized...
Not local, but we thought this was interesting in light of the ongoing discussion here about ways to make places such as the city of Albany more hospitable to bicyclists: San Francisco is debating whether to adopt the "Idaho stop," in which cyclists wouldn't be required to come to a full stop at stop signs. [CityLab]
The second Saratoga International Flavorfeast is this Saturday, October 10.
More than 30 restaurants will be offering $1 samples of dishes from a range of international cuisines, Turkish to Italian to German to Thai. Here's the list of participating restaurants with the samples they'll be offering.
The festival is in downtown Saratoga Springs from 11 am to 4 pm. Admission is free. (And it sounds like some $1 bills for samples is a good idea.)
Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert will be at Skidmore November 3 for a talk titled "We Are the Asteroid." It's free and open to the public.
Kolbert's a staff writer for The New Yorker, and in recent years has been writing frequently about climate change and extinction. Her book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, won a Pulitzer Prize last year.
According to Kolbert, "The earth changes slowly, except for extraordinary moments when it doesn't. At times of sudden change, vast numbers of species have died out. There have been five major mass extinctions over the last half a billion years. We are now living through the sixth. The rate of change on the planet today is faster than at any time since the asteroid impact that ended the reign of the dinosaurs. This time around, we're the asteroid. We are warming the planet, cutting down rainforests, and moving plants and animals between continents. Look around: this is what mass extinction looks like."
The talk is Tuesday, November 3 at 7 pm in Palamountain Hall.
More upcoming talks at Skidmore
+ October 15: journalist Graham Roberts, "Seeing is Believing: Visual Journalism York Times"
+ October 15: ethicist Roger Scruton, "The Law of the Land: Reflections on Law and Migration"
+ October 20: novelist Colm Toibin, "Fresh News from a Small Town"
+ October 21: former US Senator George Mitchell, talking about his new memoir
+ October 29: Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree, "Do Black Lives Matter? Race and Justice in America Now!"
photo: Nicolas Whitman
Pipeline opponents seek water protection law, SUNY Poly extends Tokyo deal, Schenectady County opens solar farm, the view from Corinth
Pipeline opponents seek water protection
Dozens of pipeline opponents attended a Rensselaer County Legislature public hearing on the subject on Wednesday, and asked legislators to pass a Drinking Water Protection Law that would require water testing before blasting for the pipeline.[TU]
Beer, Wine, Cider and Spirits
More incentives for NYS distillers were announced at Wednesday's Beer, Wine, Cider and Spirits summit [TWCN]
At the Beer, Wine, Cider and Spirits event, Cuomo faced a number of questions about the Buffalo Billion investigation.
Cuomo said federal investigators have not questioned or subpoenaed him in connection with the "Buffalo Billion" investigation. [TWCN][TU]
More women than men in the United States had a bachelor's degree or higher in 2014 -- 30.2 percent of women, compared to 29.9 percent of men, according to Census Bureau estimates. And as the bureau pointed out today, it's the first time that's happened nationally since the bureau started tracking the number in 1940.
We were curious about about the numbers for the Capital Region, so we looked 'em up for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area. They're smashed into the chart above.
And here's a bit more...
The Albany Barn's annual Fusion event -- which brings together art, food, and music -- is October 16. We have a pair of "catalyst" tickets for Fusion. And they could be your tickets for the event.
To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:
If you could "fuse" any two elements from the Capital Region together, what would they be -- and what would they create?
You can interpret however you'd like -- fuse together two different places, fuse together an idea and a place, fuse an event with an idea, whatever. We asked a similar question last year for this drawing and the were some fun answers, so we're looking forward to what bubbles up this year.
Here's what's lined up for Fusion this year:
+ Open studios, performances & live art by artists in residence
+ Creative cocktails and eats by Chef Mark Graham
+ Wine pairings from Empire Wine
+ Craft brews from Druthers
+ Desserts by The Cookie Factory
+ Pour over coffee bar by Stacks Espresso Bar
+ Live jazz with Bryan Brundige Trio from 6 - 7 pm
+ Deejays Space, Time, & Spacetime from 7 pm to...
Tickets are $75 and available online. Catalyst tickets -- the tickets in this drawing -- are $125 each or $200 for a couple, and include limited-edition Albany Barn glassware with signature cocktail, valet parking, and trolley transport between parking and the event.
Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Friday, October 9, 2015 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 5 pm on Friday and must respond by 5 pm on Monday, October 12.
AOA is a media sponsor of Albany Barn Fusion.
State Police say Adam Rupeka of Troy crashed a drone into a chimney of the Capitol building in September, and the remote control device ended up on the building's roof. NYSP says Rupeka was arraigned this Wednesday morning on two reckless endangerment charges, both misdemeanors, for the alleged incident. (And, yep, Rupeka is the same guy who was the center of the recent middle finger/pepper spray incident with a police officer in Saratoga Springs that prompted a $50k settlement from the city.) [NYSP] [TU 2015 August]
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: two contrasting experiences, feeling old, laughing at life, a ghost sign, a beautiful old map, ancestors, trigger warnings, springs, the Bridge of Flowers, what's fermenting on the farm, being judgy, Innovo Kitchen, Memphis King, and the best bottle of cheap wine.
The state Office of General Service is again looking for two trees to be donated for display in East Capitol Park and on the ESP during the upcoming holiday season. "The tree should be a spruce between 35 and 55 feet tall, easily accessible on the property, and clear of power lines. Proximity to the Capital Region is ideal." (The state will arrange for the trees to be taken down in November at no cost to their owners.) [NYS OGS]
Autumn has arrived and that means that curling season is near.
Curling? Yeah, curling. You know, that sport in which people slide stones down a sheet ice while other people furiously sweep the path of the stone with brooms. It's an Olympic sport -- and a wintertime way to get together with other people.
If you're curl curious, the Albany Curling Club has a free open house at its facility off Schoolhouse Road this Saturday (October 10, 10 am-4 pm) and Sunday (October 11, noon-4 pm). You'll have a chance to try out curling (bring clean sneakers so you can go on the ice) and check out the place.
The Schenectady Curling Club's fall open house was last weekend (we dropped the stone on that). But its offering beginners' curling classes tonight (October 7) and Friday (October 9) that are open to anyone for $15 each night. (The cost of the classes is deductible from your membership fee should you decide to join the club.)
So what's a curling club like? Casey wrote about visiting the Schenectady Curling Club a few years back: "Overall, going to the curling match was... relaxing. I like the idea of a sport that is tight-knit, informal (in some leagues), and friendly. The players laugh, joke around and, sometimes, drink a beer while they're playing (though only from cans, glass isn't allowed on the ice)."
And here's Jess writing about her experience trying out curling at the ACC.
By the way: Curling has some great vocabulary -- bonspiel, kizzle kazzle, keen ice, and so on.
Albany teen stabbed, investigation continues a year after Guilderland homicides, heating costs expected to drop this winter
Another Beer, Wine, Spirits and Cider Summit is being held at the Empire State Plaza. [TWCN]
Albany teen stabbed Tuesday afternoon
A 16-year old Albany boy is recovering from a stab wound to the chest after being attacked at around 3pm Tuesday near North Manning Blvd. Police escorted school children to their homes for several hours after the incident.[WNYT][TWCN]
Anniversary of Guilderland homicides
"One of the most complicated set of circumstances that we've ever experienced in an investigation." -- David Soares on the brutal killings of the Chen family in Guilderland a year ago. The family of four - a mother, father and two boys ages 7 and ten, were murdered in their Guilderland, and police are still working to solve the homicides. [Gazette][TWCN]
Sentencing in Troy Halloween attack
Cody Santalucia was sentenced to nine months in prison for the Halloween 2014 attack on Raymond Felix outside of Bootlegger's on Broadway.[Record]
How do you make the case that you should get $500 million?
The regions competing for one of the three Upstate Revitalization Initiative awards from the state released their plans this week.
We read through the Capital Region's plan -- which includes a proposal for a huge downtown Albany development -- and here are a few things that caught our eye...
On this week commemorating the the 186th birthday of Chester A. Arthur -- Washington County native, Union College grad, 21st President of the United States, current resident of the Albany Rural Cemetery -- let us take a moment to admire Mr. Arthur's facial hair in this 1881 portrait, a work by Ole Peter Hansen Balling that is part of the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.
From the accompanying description:
This head-and-shoulders portrait can only hint at the fashionable figure that Arthur cut. With his muttonchop whiskers "trimmed to the perfection point" and his suits made of only the finest fabrics, he invariably looked like the very epitome of the well-bred Victorian gentleman.
By the way: You can search the portrait gallery's collection by facial hair. Really. See: muttonchops.
portrait image via Wikipedia
A month ago the Albany Water Board announced it had hired (so to speak) five goats to clear a brush-covered section of the land around the city of Albany's Loudonville Reservoir.
A strip along the eastern edge of the reservoir had become choked with a tangle of trees, bushes, and vines -- and the slope of the land made it hard to work on, especially since debris would have to be kept out of the reservoir. Apparently it was difficult enough that the water board had trouble finding a contractor willing to take on the tricky task.
Enter the five goats from Heather Ridge Farm as a sort of test of the concept of goatscaping.
So, how'd that turn out?
And you can always try searching for it: