February 9, 2018

Opening arguments in trial connected to Jay Street fire, more cross examination of Todd Howe, new Troy police chief, remembering Edmund O'Neal

Jay Street fire trial
During opening arguments in the trial of former Schenectady building inspector Kenneth Tyree connected to the fatal Jay Street fire, the prosecutor said the fire alarm was not working properly two weeks before the fire and that "if the defendant had done his job properly" ahead of the fire four people wouldn't have died. The defense argued Tyree had not been trained for that sort of inspection and is being scapegoated. [WNYT] [Daily Gazette] [News0]

Percoco trial
+ During cross examination of Todd Howe, an attorney for Joe Percoco laid out an argument that Percoco thought he was making money from a lobbying firm and Howe deceived him -- a charge that Howe denied. [TU]
+ Also on cross examination, Howe admitted that he had lied to his credit card company about racking up a $600 charge at the Waldorf Astoria in October 2016, which would appear to be violation of his cooperation agreement with the feds. [NYT]
+ Another angle to this whole situation: the use of private email accounts by Cuomo admin officials for government business, which Howe has testified was widespread. [TU]
+ The trial has also highlighted, again, the LLC loophole in the state's campaign finance rules. [Spectrum]
+ Andrew Cuomo again declined to comment on Thursday about the trial. [Politico NY]

Schenectady Restaurant Week 2018 in-post ad

NinePin525inpost.jpg

17-6070 Its Not Too Late Flu Shot Squad All Over Albany Online Ad_525x80.jpg

(there's more)

CoLab

Arcade Building downtown Albany exterior 2016-11-02The owners of Stacks Espresso are planning to open a membership co-working space -- CoLab -- across the hall from their downtown Albany location in the Arcade Building. It's aiming for a spring opening, according to its website.

The blurbage describes it as, "A space where innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers, artists, students, and collaborators from all walks of life can work independently, or in groups, to accomplish their goals and achieve success." That link above includes renderings and an amenities list.

The space will also available to rent for events.

Many coffee shops already are de-facto co-working spaces, so opening a formal co-working operation almost seems like a natural extension of a modern coffee business.

Co-working boomlet
Co-working has started to catch on around the Capital Region over the last few years, and there are now handful of places. Among them:
+ Beahive Albany
+ Saratoga CoWorks
+ Tech Valley Center of Gravity in Troy
+ Troy Innovation Garage
+ Urban Co-Works in Schenectady
+ The planned Bull Moose Club in downtown Albany from Troy Innovation Garage

Earlier: Why Stacks Espresso picked downtown Albany for its next location

Proposed apartment project at the Playdium site gets OK from planning board

363 Ontario Playdium site redev rendering 2018-January B

A rendering of the planned apartments.

The Albany Planning Board has signed off on the proposal to demolish the Playdium and replace it with an apartment complex. The board voted 4-0 in favor of the necessary approvals, with one new member abstaining.

The developers are currently seeking a package of tax breaks from the city's Industrial Development Agency. Ryan Jankow, whose Jankow Companies is backing the project, says if they can reach a deal with the IDA soon, construction could start this spring.

There's been a lot of focus on this project because of pushback from community members -- and a Common Council member - over the height of the buildings. And it's been a notable example of the ongoing wider discussion in the city about the direction of new development.

Here are a few more bits about the project, and the bigger picture...

(there's more)

Yep, this flu season continues to be bad

new york state influenza cases 2018-02-08 report

That red line is the weekly number of lab-confirmed influenza cases reported in New York State this winter, compared to the previous three winters. / graph: NYS DOH

So the flu is kind of being a jerk this winter.

The number of lab-confirmed influenza cases in the State of New York continued to climb sharply during the most recent surveillance period*, the state Department of Health reported Thursday.

The Cuomo admin says the weekly number of lab-confirmed cases and hospitalizations for the flu was the highest on record since reporting began in 2004. The previous record had been... the week before.

Even though it's later in the season, public health agencies are still urging people to get a flu shot if they haven't so far. Here's a site that can you help find a place to get the jab -- be sure to check before heading out, though, because supplies are running low at some places. There are some early indications this season's flu shot doesn't match up well with one of the main types of flu in circulation this year, but it's still better than nothing.

Beyond that:

+ Wash your hands.

+ Cover your mouth when you cough, preferably not with your hand.

+ If you're sick, stay home if you can. (This is an example of how paid sick time could help everyone.)

Influenza is kind of like weather -- there tend to be general trends, but it's hard to predict exactly what course it's going to take. Let's hope the pattern shifts soon.

A snapshot from a winter day, then

Ice skating Washington Park Lake  1880  albany ny

This photo is the frozen Washington Park Lake in the 1880s. It's from the extensive Albany Group Archive on Flickr.

There are a few things we like about this photo. One is that it shows the old lake house. The other is that, if you head over to Flickr and look at a big version of the photo, you there are all these little moments going on. People chatting. Kids playing. Three women trying hold their balance.

It's just a snapshot of life on a winter day, here, 130some years ago.

Earlier: "This is the hat."

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