We're wrapping up the week early, have a great weekend.

A quick recap of the week

week review 2017-05-26

Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:

+ Eric asked about the experiences families have had with Albany schools -- and there were many thoughtful responses.

+ We gave away passes to Albany Symphony's American Music Festival + a Peck's Arcade gift certificate by asking: What's you're favorite Capital Region body of water?

+ Here's the plan to connect two major bike paths at the Albany waterfront.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: scapegoats and change, discovering fierceness, chutzpah, mountain biking, Lake Bonita, Philip Schuyler's physician, the view of the State Education Building, making pasta, square pan pie, secrets at DeFazio's, and many miles.

+ Here's the Albany Police Department's plan to start outfitting its officers with body cameras.

+ A look at the recent batch of population totals for cities and towns in New York State -- a few Capital Region towns are among the fastest growing (by percentage).

+ Anne asked about finding a restaurant for regular group meetings.

+ A peek at the big, new mural going up on the side of the Quackenbush Garage in downtown Albany.

+ And more free summer concert series schedules: Freedom Park, Brown's Summer Sessions, and Music Haven.

Here's the whole week in one place.

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!

Stuff to do this weekend

the band Cake

Cake is playing two shows in the region this weekend -- at Ommegang and MASS MoCA. (And MASS MoCA is also opening its huge new exhibition space this weekend.)

It's Memorial Day weekend. Time to fire up the barbecue grill and kick off the unofficial start of summer by doing fun stuff. This week our list includes beaches, parades, art, comedy and other fun stuff.

Doing something that didn't make our list? Add it to the comments so everyone can see.
And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

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A few bits about that big, new mural going up on the side of the Quackenbush Garage in Albany

Quackenbush Garage Albany Hellbent in progress

Maybe you've noticed the new mural going up on the south face of the Quackenbush Garage in downtown Albany.

Here's what's up with that, along with a few in-progress pics...

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A restaurant for regular group meetings?

fork on tableAnne emails:

I am a member of a service group that meets 2 evenings a month, during the week. We are looking for a restaurant/food venue that is reasonably priced and can accommodate 10-20 people, preferably with a separate meeting area or space that is not too loud. Since our members come from all over the capital district, we are looking for something in the Colonie/Latham area. Looking forward to hearing your ideas!

That Anne included "food venue" with restaurant makes us think there might some flexibility here, so we're curious if maybe there are some other options beyond just a straight-up restaurant.

Got a suggestion for Anne and her group? Please share!

New York State city and town populations 2016

new york state city town population map 2016

The Capital Region has some of the state's fastest growing towns in terms of population percentage change.

That's one of the bits from new population estimates for cities and towns released by the Census Bureau this week.

Is there a clickable map? You know that there is.

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Music Haven 2017 lineup

musicians Amadou Mariam

Afropop duo Amadou & Mariam will be there in July.

The lineup for this summer's Music Haven series in Schenectady's Central Park is out.

One of the things that distinguishes Music Haven among the free summer concert series is its focus on world, jazz, and roots music. Press release blurbage for this year:

"I've curated this summer's itinerary with a focus on crossing borders and breaking down barriers, in celebration of our shared humanity," says [producing artistic director Mona] Golub. "To that end, we'll be hosting artists from Ireland, West Africa, Cuba, Louisiana, and visiting Veracruz, Iraq, Prince Edward and the Magdalen Islands and Yemen for first time."

The series starts July 9. Here's the lineup...

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Fields Sculpture Park at Omi 2017

art omi arcs

"Arcs in Disorder" by Bernar Venet.

There are a bunch of places around the greater Capital Region that are worth a short weekend drive to check out -- because they're fun or interesting or just a different place to be, if only for a little while.

The Fields Sculpture Park at Omi -- in Ghent, in Columbia County -- is one of those places. And its summer exhibition opens this Saturday, May 27 with new sculptures from a handful of artists. There will also be new site-specific installations, performances, and special lunch vendors in the cafe there. Admission is free.

What is the Fields Sculpture Park? About blurbage:

Comprised of over sixty acres of rolling farmland, wetlands and wooded areas, The Fields Sculpture Park presents the works of internationally recognized contemporary and modern artists, offering the unique possibility to experience a wide range of large-scale works in a singular outdoor environment. Founded in 1998, The Fields offer nearly eighty works of art on view - with several pieces added or exchanged every year.

It's a beautiful spot and a fun walk. We also hear it's a good art activity for kids because 1) Whoa! Huge, sculptures! and 2) They can run around in the wide open spaces outside.

Earlier: Sculpture parks to explore

Patient dies in ambulance crash, victim identified in Albany stabbing, candidates emerge for Spa City mayoral contest

Ambulance crash
A patient is dead and two other people are injured after an Ambulance crashed into a tree on Wednesday evening in Duanesburg. [Spectrum]

More Siena poll results
This week's Siena poll that showed a favorability jump for Andrew Cuomo also showed that 65 percent New Yorkers polled hold an unfavorable view of Donald Trump. The poll also found New York voters overwhelmingly oppose he federal health care bill passed earlier this month by the House of Representatives and that most have not heard anything about the upcoming November on a proposed constitutional convention. [Spectrum][TU]

Stabbing victim identified
Albany police say the victim in Saturday's fatal stabbing on Elk Street was 26-year-old Jonathon Weldon. [WNYT]


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Albany police planning to start using body cameras this summer

APD body camera 2017-05-23 crowd watching video

The crowd watching sample video at Tuesday's meeting.

The Albany Police Department has a plan to start deploying body cameras to all its officers this July.

The details of the rollout of the cameras -- and how they'll be used -- were the main topic of a presentation by acting police chief Bob Sears at an Albany Community Policing Advisory Committee forum at the Albany Public Library Washington Branch Tuesday evening. Sears also took a bunch of questions from the crowd in discussing the department's policy for the tech.

Here are a few more bits about the much-anticipated program...

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Brown's Summer Sessions 2017

Mondo Cozmo

Mondo Cozmo (Josh Ostrander) opens the series June 1. / photo: Travis Shinn

Brown's Brewing has started its own outdoor concert series for this summer called Brown's Summer Sessions.

The six Thursday evening shows are set to be at stage along the river behind the Troy brewery/restaurant. Admission is free and the shows are open to all ages. Food and drink will be available for purchase (food and drink from outside will not be allowed in).

Brown's worked with EQX on the lineup, and here it is...

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In the hole

Prompted by recent high-profile stories of restaurants being shut for back taxes, Steve Barnes looked into how restaurants find themselves in such a situation -- and how they get back out. [TU+ (bypass link)]

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: scapegoats and change, discovering fierceness, chutzpah, mountain biking, Lake Bonita, Philip Schuyler's physician, the view of the State Education Building, making pasta, square pan pie, secrets at DeFazio's, and many miles.

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The plan to connect two major bike paths at the Albany waterfront

Albany waterfront connector route plan under 787 rendering

Part of the plan includes a new multi-use path that runs through the space under 787.

Two major bike paths -- the Mohawk-Hudson Hike-Bike Trail and the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail -- run into Albany's South End. But they don't connect. They're separated by roughly two miles filled with interstate off-ramps, truck traffic, and trains.

For the past year the city of Albany and consultants have been working on way to connecting these bikeways. And now there's a plan.

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Siena poll:Cuomo's popularity jumps, NY lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have problems with Trump budget, an act of kindness revealed after graduation

Siena poll shows bump in Cuomo's popularity
A new Siena poll shows Andrew Cuomo's support among New York voters has jumped significantly, from 54% to 61%. But the poll shows some voters still think the governor is "under water" on six issues, including taxes and infrastructure. [Gazette][TU]

NY lawmakers on Trump budget
Chuck Schumer, Elise Stefanik and John Faso all say they have problems with the proposed Trump budget. [Hearst]

Stefanik
The DCCC is adding Elise Stefanik to a list of Republicans to target in the midterm elections. [Gazette]


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Today's moment of spring

robins eggs hatched from Helen D

A little more than a week ago Helen sent along a pic of some beautiful robin eggs from her downtown Albany backyard (photo left). And this week she sent the photo above on the right: "I have seen momma and papa standing on the nest edge feeding the babies but not often. Momma mostly keeps them warm right now. She has been a very good mother, sitting through the pouring rain and the 90 degree heat."

(Thanks, Helen!)

Small Change

This is interesting: Small Change is a new crowdfunding site aimed at helping gather funding for small real estate development projects, the kind that banks or big developers might not back. It also prompts some questions about risk and accountability. But the challenge of providing people options for finding a way to fund (relatively) small neighborhood projects is one worth thinking about. [Curbed]

Freedom Park 2017 concert series lineup

sawyer fredericks

Sawyer Fredericks opens the season June 21.

The schedule for this summer's series of free concerts at Freedom Park in Scotia is out.

As usual, it's a big lineup with multiple concerts each week from late June through late August. And the lineup includes a bunch of different genres.

Freedom Park is on the Mohawk River, just over the Western Gateway Bridge from Schenectady, next to Jumpin' Jack's.

Let's take a look...

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Upcoming RCHS tours and talks: Troy landmarks, Prohibition, abolition, Aaron Burr's slumber

Troy Charles Nalle Harriet Tubman site

One of the programs will cover the rescue of Charles Nalle in downtown Troy, which was aided by Harriet Tubman.

The Rensselaer County Historical Society has a handful of tours and talks coming up over the next month (or so) that look interesting..

They range from walking tours of Troy landmarks, to talks about Prohibition, to a program about the history of abolition in Troy, to... Aaron Burr's slumber.

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Drawing: American Music Festival + Peck's Arcade

empac_concert_hall.jpg

The beautiful concert hall at EMPAC hosts some of the festival performances.

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The Albany Symphony's American Music Festival returns May 31-June 4 in Troy. We have a pair of festival passes and we're giving them away.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: The winner of the drawing will also get a $50 gift card to Peck's Arcade.

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

This year's festival has a "Water Music" theme. So... What's you're favorite Capital Region body of water? Why?

It could be a lake, a river, a stream, a puddle that shows up after rain, a backyard pool, whatever. We'll draw one winner at random -- that person will get the pair of festival passes and the Peck's gift certificate.

One of the things that distinguishes the Albany Symphony is its efforts to highlight the work of American composers. And the American Music Festival is a prominent example of that dedication. Blurbage for the festival, the theme of which this year is inspired by the Erie Canal:

+ Five days of concerts, recitals, interactive experiences, special events, and artistic happenings across Troy including performances by the renowned Albany Symphony and their raucous, progressive Dogs of Desire ensemble.
+ More than 30 new and recent works by 24 American composers, including 14 stunning world premieres.
+ Experiencing Troy as a unique cultural destination through performances at the legendary Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, the Tiffany glass adorned St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and the state-of-the-art Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC.)
+ Exploring the intimate relationship between music, technology, humankind's deep dependence on water, and Troy's rich heritage as a canal community.

Festival passes are $99 and available online.

And, of course, you know Peck's Arcade on Broadway in downtown Troy. It's one of the best restaurants in the Capital Region.

Important: All comments must be submitted by noon on Thursday, May 25, 2017 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 Thursday and must respond by 5 pm that Friday.

Security stepped up after Manchester attack, alleged hit-and-run crashes in Schenectady, Albany seeks steep cut in valuation of Coeymans property

Manchester reaction
Following the bombing in Manchester, England, Andrew Cuomo said in a statement he's "directed state law enforcement officials to step up security and patrols at high-profile locations across New York, including our airports, bridges, tunnels and mass transit systems." [NYT] [Cuomo admin]

State Senate stipends
"Sources briefed on the meeting" tell the Times Union that one of the leaders of the state Senate Democratic conference and staffers were contacted by the Albany County DA's public integrity unit about the Senate stipends that have been paid to Republicans and members of the Independent Democratic Conference. [TU]

Schenectady alleged hit-and-runs
+ Schenectady police say a driver ran over a curb near an elementary school in Mont Pleasant Monday morning, hitting a high school student, and then drove off. SPD said it later arrested the alleged driver at her home. [Daily Gazette]
+ The man accused of a different hit-and-run in Schenectady Monday is facing a felony leaving the scene charge. [Daily Gazette]

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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:

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Recent Comments

I've found that anecdotes from neighbors, friends, or internet "strangers" can only take you so far. If you haven't already, I strongly recommend you get out there and visit these schools during the school year, during the school day to get a feel for things. In the last few months, my wife and I have made a series of visits to our local elementary, middle + high-school. During those visits, we had the chance to talk to multiple teachers and see the kids "in action". It was very VERY telling in a lot of ways - both good and bad.

Where to get an Apple laptop fixed?

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