So, it snowed. In October.
And, as it turns out, that's not all that unusual. In fact, the average start date of the snowfall season for this area is October 28, according to the NWS Albany office. (And average end date: April 16.)
Here's a look at the length of every snow season on record for Albany...
You might have heard about the case of Marquis Dixon, the Albany teen convicted of stealing a pair of sneakers from another teen in downtown Albany in March of 2014. His case has gotten has a lot of attention -- from advocates such as Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration, and a series of columns written by Chris Churchill at Times Union -- because Dixon was sentenced to nine years in prison for the crime.
Advocates for Dixon have argued that sentence is unfairly harsh, especially given the limited evidence that he might have displayed or implied he had a gun during the crime (Dixon admitted to stealing the sneakers but said he never had a gun).
On Thursday a state appellate court ruled on Dixon's appeal. And the short story is that it decided Dixon should get youthful offender status and that his sentence be reduced to 1-3 years in prison.
You can read the decision online, which walks through the various elements in the case. For example: The court was unpersuaded that the limited evidence about the gun -- basically, the word of the victim that he saw something black and blocky tucked into Dixon's waistband -- should knock out that part of the case.
But the part about considering Dixon for youthful offender status is remarkable. (Presiding justice Karen Peters raised the issue during the oral arguments in the appeal.) The court basically concludes that everyone involved in the case screwed up on the question of whether Dixon should be eligible for the status.
First snow of the season, a review: A charming entry, with a dash of whimsy, and small undercurrent of foreboding. ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ -- Would gaze out the window again.
With pleasant foliage all around us, this time of year is perfect for heading out in any direction in search of something unexpected.
And there are all sorts of weird museums and strange roadside attractions across this region, you never know what you may find when you hit the road!
Here are handful of them...
Trooper remembered for helping people, not-guilty plea in Lake George boating fatality, man survives fall from Dunn Memorial Bridge, Cuomo supports upstate ride sharing
Trooper Pratt remembered
Funeral arrangements are underway for NYS Trooper Timothy Pratt, who was killed early Wednesday when he was hit by a car while investigating why a tractor trailer was parked in a median in Wilton. Flags were lowered to half mast around the state and Pratt's Body was returned to South Glens Falls from Albany Med on Wednesday evening in a procession up the Northway. No tickets are expected to be issued in the incident. A colleague remembered Pratt on Wednesday, saying "He died the way he lived, helping people." [WNYT][Saratogian][TWCN][Gazette]
Not guilty plea in fatal boating incident
The driver of the boat that crashed into another boat on Lake George over the summer, killing a 7-year-old girl, pled not-guilty to a dozen charges on Wednesday, including manslaughter, assault and criminally negligent homicide and boating while impaired by drugs and alcohol. The judge in the case increased Alexander West's bail from $100 thousand to $300 thousand , but West's attorney expected he would make bail by the end of the week. [TU][Gazette]
Worker rescued from building collapse
A worker was rescued from a Colonie home on Wednesday when the home's foundation gave way trapping him in the building. [TU]
Thanks to everyone who joined us at Nine Pin Cider Works Tuesday evening for a leisurely tasting of cider cocktails.
The owners of Harvest Spirits and Albany Distilling Co. were at Nine Pin's new tasting room mixing up a few cider cocktails for people to sample along with snacks. And they talked a little bit about what goes into making up different drinks and their ingredients. Then Nine Pin founder Alejandro del Peral led a tour of the cidery's expanded production space. And the evening finished with sorbet from The Dutch Udder.
It was a good time and fun to see everyone.
Here are a handful of photos of the night...
Over at LoHud.com there's a big look at property tax exemptions in New York State -- about a third of the total value of all land in the state isn't taxed -- and the number of untaxed properties is growing. (This is a constant topic of discussion for the city of Albany, where almost 60 percent of the city's land value is untaxed.) Also, this: "There are 175 different ways to qualify for at least a partial property-tax exemption in New York, ranging from putting solar panels on your house to being a member of the clergy to hosting an NBA and NHL team for at least 10 years in New York City -- a tax break carved out specifically for Madison Square Garden." [LoHud/USA Today Network/the conglomeration known as Gannett]
To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:
When the weather turns cold, what's something local that you like to eat?
Could be something a certain type of food you can get at many different places, could be something specific at a specific place. It could be something you make at home. We'll draw one winner at random.
The Giddy Up's 4th annual Fall Food Tour is November 5 starting at 11 am. Blurbage:
This season we have decided to highlight the Saratoga Springs region of the capital district. We are excited to have such a variety of restaurants that have jumped on board for this years tour. ... KRAVERIE, Henry Street Taproom Blue Agave @One Caroline and we are awaiting for one restaurant that we will announce shortly.
Tickets for the tour are $65 each. They include transportation and food at all five venues. (Drinks and tip are not included.)
Important: All comments must be submitted by 5 pm on Friday, October 28, 2016 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 noon on Monday, October 31 and must respond by noon on November 1.
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Cohoes Music Hall, a "sick and sad state of affairs," getting a passport, Lion's Head, Green and Schoharie counties, Saratoga Battlefield, where Aaron Burr stayed, the story of an RPI founder, testing what people have been saying, Spicy Mint, subs, a bus stop conversation.
K.Flay is Kristine Flaherty. She's touring in support of a new EP. (A bunch of the dates on the tour so far have sold out, so something to keep in mind if you're thinking about going to The Hollow show.)
Here's a clip from a recent interview with the San Jose Mercury News about her sound, which shifts across genres:
I think, even from the outset, there was a genre-less-ness to what I was doing. I've done a lot of electronic stuff, some stuff that was more straightforward rap and stuff that is all singing. I feel like there has always been a lot of co-existing between the different methods. I think -- and I might be wrong about this -- that a lot of the people who know about my music and have been fans, it's not because I've been part of a scene or a genre. I think a lot of people discovered me through so many different channels that they were ready for whatever to happen.
The opener for the show at The Hollow is the pop band Nightly.
photo via K.Flay Facebook
The latest sip and sketch/paint event: There's a FanboysInc's Sip & Sketch at Peck's Arcade Saturday, November 5. The theme is "Mystical Steampunk," and it's free -- there will be food and drink specials that night.
...join us on Saturday Nov 5th at Pecks Arcade in Troy NY for FanboysInc's "Sip & Sketch", where you can share napkins (lol), ideas, art supplies with some great artists and creators within the comic book realm while sipping on your favorite beverage. Get a chance to meet and create alongside special guests Ming Chen from AMC's Comic Book Men, action figure/statue sculptor Paul Harding, comic book artists Nikkol Jelenic, Kevin Conrad, Sal Otero, Buddy Beaudoin and Brennan Freemantle.
Also you will get a chance to be a part of a live FanboysInc podcast recording as FBI's very own DW sits down with Ming Chen and they will talk nerdom, Comic Book Men, and more while having a few laughs. Plus there will be a Q and A segment so get your questions ready.
The sip and sketch is 5-8 pm, and there's after party. It's a 21-and-over event.
Calls to close Colonie landfill, state trooper dies from injuries in Wilton crash, 30 years worth of library fines
State Police trooper dies from injuries following crash
Update: State Police say the trooper, Timothy Pratt, has died. | A NYS Trooper has been hospitalized with serious injuries after he was struck by a car on Ballard Road in Wilton while attempting to assist a tractor trailer Wednesday morning. [NYSP] [News 10]
Kaloyeros / Percoco
A federal judge is giving prosecutors two extra weeks to file an indictment against Joe Percoco, Alain Kaloyeros and six others in the bid-rigging scandal bribery scandal uncovered last month. [TWCN]
The Albany Muskrat shared this pic today -- it's said to be from the 1920s, of a crowd listening to a World Series game in Albany's Liberty Park over a loudspeaker. (Albany Archives helpfully pointed out it's from the Morris Gerber Collection.)
Liberty Park, Albany's oldest park, still exists today -- though you might miss it. It's now a tiny patch of grass on Hudson Ave in downtown Albany, down the street from Albany's oldest building.
Of the almost 53,000 guns recovered by law enforcement agencies in New York State between 2010 and 2015, 74 percent of those guns originated out of state. And of the 1,872 guns recovered in the Capital Region over that period, 67 percent were from out of state.
Those figures are a from a new report by the New York State Attorney's General Office -- "Target on Trafficking" -- that use federal gun trace data to argue for stricter gun regulations on the federal level and in other states.
The report tags a handful of states with more lax regulations for being the source of many of the crime guns, handguns in particular, that end up in New York.
The Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show series will be at Capital Rep in Albany this Saturday, October 29, instead of its usual spot at Proctors.
The headliner this time around is Andy Sandford. He's appeared on Conan, and played himself on Aqua Teen Hunger Force. And he has one-hour TV special set for release this fall. (See also: His blog post from earlier this year about organizing a DIY comedy tour, which was interesting.)
Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show shows typically include an opener and host. The show at Capital Rep starts Saturday at 8 pm. Tickets are $15 ahead / $20 day of.
photo: Mindy Tucker
Over at the Albany Student Press, Stefan Lembo-Stolba looks at the strict summer orientation program for UAlbany's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), and reports that some of its rules and practices are similar to hazing: "Before being admitted to the university, academically and financially disadvantaged students applying through the EOP program must first graduate from a five-week orientation, structured by a system of strict rules, which if violated result in punishments referred to by EOP officials as 'lockdown,' 'bed rest,' and 'isolation.'" University officials say the strict orientation helps the program's graduation and retention rates, and the students in the program build a cohort group. [ASP]
The lineup is out for this year's TEDxAlbany, which is December 1 at Overit in Albany.
This topics for this year's talks range from social justice, to erotic intelligence, to historic buildings, to doing things you hate, to artificial intelligence. The lineup of speakers posted as of today is after the jump.
TEDxAlbany is the locally-organized version of the popular TED talks series. Overit hosts the event at a studio in its converted church building on New Scotland Ave.
Tickets are now available. They're $75 and include breakfast and lunch. There's a limited number, and the event has filled up quickly the last few years.
Another arrest in Rensselaer County homicides case, man accused of string of Albany bank robberies, CDTA gets bids for bike share program
Another arrest in Rensselaer County homicides case
Troy police say a fourth person has been arrested in the case involving the beating death of Javier Gomez in an apartment on Glen Ave. The men are accused of using a hammer and knife to kill Gomez. Police says Gomez's death is connected to the death of Christian Gonzalez-Hernandez, Gomez's roommate, whose body was found in Brunswick. But no charges have been filed in the death of Gonzalez-Hernandez. [TWCN] [TU] [News10] [Troy Record]
Hulett Street fire
The federal prosecutor in the Hulett Street fire case told a judge Monday that there is "significant evidence" that one of the men recently arrested on perjury charges in the case, Bryan Fish of Saratoga Springs, was involved with the fatal arson. The judge ordered Fish held pending trial. The 2013 Hulett Street fire killed four people and significantly injured Safyre Terry. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
Arrest in Albany bank robberies
Albany police say they arrested 56-year-old Albany man Monday after a robbery at the Citizens Bank at 111 Washington Ave (map). And APD alleges the man is also responsible for two other bank robberies on State Street this month, along with a convenience store robbery on Quail Street. [APD]
While walking along Myrtle Ave near South Main Ave in Albany Monday afternoon, we heard this faint whooshing sound and then looked back to see this hawk swoop past, not more than a foot away, as it tried -- unsuccessfully -- to pluck a squirrel from the street.
The squirrel took refuge under a parked car and let out a loud series of chirps, that we understand to mean, roughly translated: "HOLY @#$%^&* @#$%, DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!"
We had a roughly similar reaction.
After missing out on the squirrel, the hawk took a perch on a nearby second-floor porch where it promptly let loose an enormous poop on the house steps below. (If you live on Myrtle and encountered a strangely large bird turd on your front steps upon your arrival home Monday... now you know.)
A minute later the hawk took flight again, this time to check out some flattened squirrel remains in the street, stopping a car that was traveling along Myrtle. The hawk seemed unhurried by this situation, and after a few beats lazily took flight again to a nearby house gutter to watch the street again.
(A few pics after the jump, if you're curious.)
There's a GoFundMe campaign in progress to help keep the Upstate Artists Guild on Lark Street. The campaign has a $8,500 goal, and after two days it's already at almost $1,500 (as of late Monday afternoon). UAG announced in September that it was planning to move from its longtime spot on Lark Street in Center Square because of a lack of funding.
And you can always try searching for it: