Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ We gave away tickets to The Lovely Feast at Takk House by asking: What's your favorite romantic place in the Capital Region?
+ Lauren talked with Kevin Blodgett, who's been remaking a corner in Troy bit by bit.
+ J asked for recommendations for cleaning services.
+ We got together some of the Tournament of Pizza crew to try the pizza at Restaurant Navona in Albany.
+ Goofing on the Springsteen school note dad thing.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: living in world-class food shed, Sentinel Butchery, restaurant snippets, Chowderfest, Chester's Smokehouse, a Chinese New Year dinner, an Italian grandma dinner, pizza, trying a chain again, donating blood, a fight over tolls, the Plotter Kill, the effect William Seward had on people, Trivia Bowl, and what women want.
+ The lineup for the next season of the Albany Symphony is out -- it includes Yo-Yo Ma and an opera based on novel by William Kennedy.
+ Julie shared some ideas for spending a winter day in Western Massachusetts.
+ Here's a breakdown of the (troubled) vote on the reformulated plan to rebuild/expand Albany High School.
+ A the plans for a bunch of notable projects in Albany are up for review: a Warehouse District wine bar, a residential/restaurant redevelopment, a new supermarket, and student housing near the UAlbany campus.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!
We happened to be near the Albany convention center site Friday so we stopped by to gawk at the progress of the construction. And gawk we did.
The steel structure of the building is starting to go up along Eagle Street. And already you can get some small sense how the building will change that feel of that spot. Sort of like the Park South project, this section of downtown is starting to feel taller and denser because of the convention center project and the new parking garage on Howard Street.
The projected opening date of the Albany Capital Center is early 2017.
A plan for a new wine bar in a space along Broadway in Albany's Warehouse District is among a group of notable projects on the agenda for the city planning board meeting on February 18.
So, let's have a look at some of the details.
Just in time for Valentine's Day -- or maybe President's Day -- winter has decided to make a return to the Capital Region. Temperatures could drop below zero over the next few days, so break out the hats, scarves and long underwear and get ready for the weekend.
We've stockpiled a whole bunch of stuff to do that will help keep you warm and happy -- at least through Monday.
Got something planned that you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comments. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!
Police looking for motive in Colonie murder/suicide, $12.5 million for Albany budget gap, to re-vote or not to re-vote, UAlbany president updates bus investigation
Colonie murder/suicide investigation
State Police said Thursday that an investigation has concluded that Colonie Police Officer Israel Roman shot his wife, his 10-year-old son, then started the fire at their Latham home, and then shot himself. Police say a motive in the case is still unclear -- and there was "no indication of anything strange going on" as of this past Monday. An unnamed friend of Deborah Roman tells the Times Union Deborah had told her as far back as 2009 that she felt oppressed and trapped in her marriage to Israel Roman. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TWCN] [TU+]
Hoosick Falls water
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is pushing for Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International to pay for a Superfund cleanup of the groundwater contamination in Hoosick Falls. The DEC says the two companies -- along with possibly others -- are responsible for the PFOA in the drinking water supply. (A predecessor of Honeywell operated in Hoosick Falls during the 1980s and 90s.) Both companies said in statements they were looking to cooperate with DEC. [AP/Troy Record] [TU] [News10] [TWCN]
$12.5 million for Albany
The Cuomo administration's budget amendments include the $12.5 million Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan had been seeking from the state to cover a gap in the city budget. [TU]
Updated Friday morning with better maps.
The vote on the reformulated $180 million plan to rebuild/expand Albany High School has gotten a lot of attention this week not just because it passed (unofficially) by a small margin after another round of contentious discussion -- but also because of problems at many polling places around the city.
Now there's talk of holding yet another vote -- with some local elected officials outright calling for one (such as Albany County exec Dan McCoy) and others (such as Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan and state Assembly member Pat Fahy) saying the state should look into what happened. So, stay tuned. [TU]
In the meantime... We were curious about the patterns of votes around various parts of the city -- and how the vote this time compared to the vote last fall when the first proposal was narrowly defeated.
So, we pulled the voting numbers and sifted them. Are there maps? Come on... you know there are maps.
Albany Archives has a fun post about hunting down the exact location of the old Gayety Theatre on Green Street in downtown Albany -- it's the place where Abraham Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth almost fatally injured himself with a prop dagger in 1861 (yep, he was an actor). As it happened, Lincoln would arrive in Albany just six days after Booth accidentally stuck himself. And both men were probably in downtown Albany at the same time -- and it's said that Lincoln even saw Booth perform at the theater. [Albany Archives] [Don Rittner]
The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival is back July 14-17. And the lineup includes a bunch of names you'll recognize -- including headliners Bela Fleck (of his own fame) and Chris Thile (of his fame and also The Punch Brothers).
The full lineup (announced so far) is quickly listed after the jump.
Full-festival tickets are already on sale -- there are currently early bird passes for $190. Day tickets go on sale February 16.
Grey Fox is at the Walsh Farm in Oak Hill, in northern Greene County, not far from the Albany County line. It's about 30 miles south(west) of Albany.
The Troy Innovation Garage, a co-working space in downtown Troy planning to open this fall, has an info/social event lined up at Franklin Plaza Thursday, February 18 from 6-9 pm (free, registration required). We caught a presentation about the plans for the space recently, and they're ambitious. So it might be worth a look if you're a freelancer or small company looking for working space.
I love western Massachusetts because there are so many little towns to discover, all with unique personalities. Perhaps you've explored the Berkshires before -- Lee, Great Barrington, North Adams, and other nearby places.
So why not head to the far side of the Berkshires, in the area known as the upper Pioneer Valley, for a change? The car is warm, gas is cheap right now. Give some of these indoor activities a try on a winter's day (or any day!) to forget about the world outside...
Albany school board: referendum results will stand, police investigate possible Colonie murder/suicide, Assembly plans hearings on Hoosick Falls water, reasons to brush off snow
Albany High vote
The margin of votes by which the $180 million Albany High School referendum passed dropped from 228 to 189 on Wednesday, following the realization that some votes cast at the Arbor Hill polling place were counted twice. Calls for a third vote on the proposal and threats of a federal lawsuit have been mentioned, but they are not swaying the Albany School Board. School Board officials conceded that the vote was mishandled but said they won't put the project back on the ballot.Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says she is concerned about the problems with the polls but believes that the people have spoken and hopes the referendum results hold up.[TU][TWCN][Gazette][TU][TU]
Colonie murder/suicide investigation
Investigators are still trying to piece together the details about the fire that may have been a murder/suicide in Colonie. The Times Union reports Colonie patrol officer Israel Roman loaded the family car with some of his 15-year-old son's clothing , money and valuables and moved the vehicle from the garage to the street before the fire broke out. Investigators believe Roman may have shot his wife and younger son before setting fire to the home.Family and friends have set up a fundraiser for Noah Roman, the family's older son, who was not at home when the incident occurred. [TU+][WNYT][News10]
The full-time faculty at the College of Saint Rose issued a no-confidence vote in college president Carolyn Stefanco Wednesday. The vote stems from the college's move to cut 23 full-time tenure and tenure-track faculty positions in December, along with eliminating a range of academic programs.
The org representing faculty said 158 of approximately 200 eligible faculty cast votes -- 120 for "no confidence," 35 against, and three abstained. The result will be delivered to the college's board of trustees this Friday along with a petition calling for Stefanco to rescind the cuts or resign.
It sounds like the college administration knew this was a likely outcome. Leading up to Wednesday Stefanco gave interviews indicating her intent to the stay the course regardless of the vote. And after the vote the college issued a statement from Stefanco that read in part:
While some faculty members embrace and support constructive change at Saint Rose, others resist it. Regardless of our personal feelings, we share a solemn responsibility to make the changes necessary to meet the changing needs of our students.
I will proudly continue to lead Saint Rose, working alongside our trustees, staff, administration and those members of the faculty who support the efforts to improve our financial standing, increase our enrollment and chart a course for a strong future.
Back in December when it announced the cuts, Saint Rose cited a $9 million deficit and a 16 percent decline in enrollment since 2008. (For some context, the college had a $121 million budget in 2013, according to its 990 form.) It said about four percent of the college's 4,400 students were enrolled in the programs that would be eliminated (12 programs had no students).
The scheduled for the next Albany Symphony season is out. It includes a concert with Yo-Yo Ma, a performance of Beethoven's 9th symphony (you know this one), and the premiere of an opera based on a novel by William Kennedy.
Tickets for many of the dates are available via a season subscription. (Individual date tickets will be available later on.)
The 2016-2017 season with the Albany Symphony's 87th -- and it will be the 25th season with David Alan Miller as music director.
Without further ado...
The lineup for the tour includes a bunch of comics who have been all over TV and movies: Cedric 'The Entertainer', Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, George Lopez, and Charlie Murphy.
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: living in world-class food shed, Sentinel Butchery, restaurant snippets, Chowderfest, Chester's Smokehouse, a Chinese New Year dinner, an Italian grandma dinner, pizza, trying a chain again, donating blood, a fight over tolls, the Plotter Kill, the effect William Seward had on people, Trivia Bowl, and what women want.
Over at 98 Acres in Albany there's a great post about The Ambassador, a bar once located just across State Street from the Capitol. "The 'Night Owl' described the Ambassador as a 'Damon Runyon sort of place,' where legislators and state workers rubbed shoulders with gamblers, reporters, and 'show girls' from the Pierce Hotel, around the corner on High St." The story of the place reads like a treatment for a TV series or one of those ensemble films where the threads of multiple characters intersect at one point. [98 Acres in Albany] Earlier: Who lived in the neighborhood knocked down for the Empire State Plaza?
The wedding showcase Knotted will be back at The Takk House in Troy Sunday, March 6 from 1-4 pm. The event prides itself on being different from the typical wedding show. Blurbage:
What you'll find:
• The best indie vendors in the area
• Array of music performances so you can listen to bands and dj's first hand
• Couples of all kinds!
• Food tastings
• Cocktail ideas and craft beer sampling
• Wedding dress showcase
What you won't find:
• Ice sculptures
• Cattle herding like crowds
• A strange man/lady trying to get you to register for a free cruise
• Traditional... anything
• Tanning and weight loss booths. (just why?!)
Here are photos from last year's event.
Tickets are $5 and available online.
Deadly Colonie fire possible murder-suicide, problems at polls in Albany High vote, two arrested in Best murder, Bharara on corruption
Fire kills three at home of Colonie officer
Police are investigating the cause of a house fire that claimed the life of Colonie police officer Israel Roman, his wife and one of his sons. Authorities say the incident may have been a murder-suicide. [TU][WNYT]
Albany High School vote
The referendum on the new $180 million Albany High School proposal passed by 228 votes on Tuesday. About 8,000 people turned out to for the re-vote, but problems--including polling places opening late and running out of ballots--were reported at some polling sites. Affidavit votes are being tallied today. [Business Review][TU][TWCN]
Hoosick Falls clean-up agreement pending
Hoosick Falls Mayor David Borge says an agreement is expected to be reached Wednesday with Saint-Gobain over the costs for cleaning up PFOA from the village water supply. [TWCN]
Always intrigued by these sorts of patterns in the pond ice. Does anyone know what causes them?
Check out these charming comic stories about real people and their creative work by Troy-based artist/writer/educator Ira Marcks. Each tiny story in Creative Everyday covers the general arc of the person's work, from when they were a kid to how it's become a part of their life today.
Ira Marcks is drawing a comic to inspire kids to explore careers in Upstate NY's Creative Economy. The book is called Creative Everyday. With the help of the Workforce Development Institute and Capital Repertory Theatre's 'On The Go' School Tour, the book will be distributed for free to 10,000+ school kids around NY State.
Right now, Ira is collecting TRUE TALES from creative professionals about the triumphs, trials, and tribulations of ART & LIFE colliding.
If you have a story you'd like to share, Marcks has an online form for you to fill out.
And you can always try searching for it: