Items tagged with 'Siena'

Siena looks to the heavens

siena roger bacon observatory rendering

A rendering of the planned observatory.

Something to watch for: Siena is building a new observatory that it says will house the area's largest telescope. Work is scheduled to start this summer on the college's Loudonville campus and it's aiming for the telescope to be up and running this fall.

Press release blurbage:

The permanently-mounted telescope will be housed in a 16-foot structure atop Roger Bacon Hall, topped by a rotating dome with a retractable opening. The telescope will feature a 27-inch diameter mirror that can be remotely controlled via the internet.
The telescope will allow eyepiece observing of such favorites as the moons of Jupiter and Saturn's rings, and will have sophisticated imaging that will be used to track near-Earth asteroids and to follow the fading light of exploding stars, according to [physics professor] Dr. [Rose] Finn. In addition, a spectrograph will allow for analysis of the chemical composition of stars, nebulae and galaxies.
The observatory won't be used by just physics and astrophysics faculty and students - Dr. Finn said that more than 30 percent of Siena students take Introduction to Astronomy as a liberal arts elective, and they will be able to use the telescope as well.
Students and faculty will use the observatory for their coursework and research, and public observing sessions will be held throughout the year.

Siena got a $467,402 grant for the project from a foundation.

Other observatories
Two other observatories in the area:
+ The Dudley Observatory at miSci, which hosts all sorts of events and classes, including star parties with telescopes. (See also its blog)
+ The Hirsch Observatory at RPI often offers public viewing sessions on Saturday nights.

image via Siena

Shaun King at Siena

activist and writer Shaun_King

Activist and writer Shaun King is set to appear at Siena March 27 for a talk about the new civil rights movement. The event is free and open to the public.

King writes about social justice issues for the New York Daily News, and has amassed a large following on Facebook and Twitter.

The talk is part of the "Real Talk" series at Siena. It's at 12:30 pm on Monday, March 27 in the Sarazen Student Union.

(King was originally scheduled to appear at Siena March 6, but the talk was postponed because of a travel issue. That previous event was not open to the public because of space. This time around Siena says it's been scheduled for a venue with enough space to include members of the public.)

Also coming up soon at Siena
+ Hip-Hop Week 2017, March 20-25, featuring a keynote from MC Sha-Roc.
+ The annual Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture with sociologist Robert Bullard March 28: "Environmental Justice and the Politics of Place: Why Equity Matters"

photo via Shaun King Facebook

Siena Hip-Hop Week 2017

Siena hip-hop week 2017 posterThe annual Hip-Hop Week returns to Siena March 20-25 with a series of events focused on the art, politics, and culture of hip hop.

The keynote speaker this year is the groundbreaking MC Sha-Rock. As Siena professor Todd Snyder, a member of the Hip-Hop Week committee, writes:

Sha-Rock (our keynote) is the first woman of hip hop. She was a member of the pioneering group The Funky 4 +1 (know for their old school hit "That's the Joint"). She was the first female rapper to appear as a musical guest on SNL & was also featured in films such as "Beat Street" and "Wild Style." She had a huge influence on artists such as Run-DMC and Kurtis Blow.

There's a listing of the week's free-and-open-to-the-public events below.

This is now the fourth year for Siena's Hip-Hop Week, which has included talks by Grandmaster Flash and Chuck D in previous years. It's sponsored by the Damietta Cross-Cultural Center at Siena.

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Chuck D at Siena

Chuck D by Jason Persse CC

Hip hop titan Chuck D will be at Siena April 4 for a talk. The event is free and open to the public.

Chuck D is, of course, a founder of Public Enemy. In the years since founding the group, he's also been a political activist, writer, producer, radio host, and collaborator with all sorts of artists. His talk at Siena will be the keynote lecture for the college's annual Hip Hop Week. He'll also be talking with students in a course called "Rhetoric(s) of Hip-Hop Culture," which is taught by Todd Snyder, an assistant professor of English.

The lecture on April 4 is in the Sarazen Student Union. It starts at 7:30 pm (doors at 7 pm). There will be no ticketing, so it's first come, first sit.

photo: Jason Persse via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Geoffrey Canada at Siena

geoffrey canada promo photoThe founder of the Harlem Children's Zone, Geoffrey Canada, will be at Siena this Thursday for the college's annual King Lecture on Race and Nonviolent Social Change. Canada's talk is titled "The Crisis Facing Youth: What Adults & Communities Can Do to Save Our Children."

The Harlem Children's Zone is, in its own description, aimed at "disrupting the cycle of generational poverty in Central Harlem through our innovative and effective programs." Toward that end it's attempting to provide comprehensive family, social service, educational, and health services to kids in a roughly 100-block area of Harlem.

In recent years the program has gotten the support of the Obama administration, which has touted the program as a model to replicate. And the HCZ has been one of the inspirations for the Albany Promise program.

The Canada talk is at 7 pm, Thursday, March 26 in Siena's Marcelle Athletic Complex. It's free and open to the public.

Golazo!

Check out this goal scored by Cassy Landis for Siena against Canisius Wednesday -- her back to the goal, the ball volleyed overhead and then into the net after a wicked bounce past the keeper. (We'd give her credit just for trying it.) Even better: It was in overtime and won the game for the Saints 1-0.

Because of the wide angle of the shot, it's a little hard see -- so definitely watch it in full screen in HD.

[via TU College Sports]

Pulitzer Prize winner Douglas Blackmon at Siena

doug blackmon bio photoPulitzer Prize winning author Douglas Blackmon will be at Siena Thursday evening for a lecture titled titled "Civil Rights and the Continuing Impact of Slavery in the 21st Century." Blackmon won the Pulitzer for the book Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II -- which was turned into a PBS doc with the same title.

From the author's bio:

Blackmon has written extensively over the past 25 years about the American quandary of race-exploring the integration of schools during his childhood in a Mississippi Delta farm town, lost episodes of the Civil Rights movement, and, repeatedly, the dilemma of how a contemporary society should grapple with a troubled past. Many of his stories in The Wall Street Journal explored the interplay of wealth, corporate conduct, the American judicial system, and racial segregation.

Maybe you saw Blackmon when he at UAlbany a few years back for a NYS Writers Institute event with UAlbany professor Sheila Curran to talk about the production of the PBS version of Slavery by Another Name.

Blackmon's appearance this time is part of The Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture series at Siena.

The talk starts at 7 pm Thursday, April 3 in the Marcelle Athletic Complex. It's free and open to the public, no tickets required.

Siena hires a basketball coach -- and his personality

jimmy patsos siena press conference

"I've always envied this job and wanted this job."

Siena officially named Jimmy Patsos as its new men's head basketball coach Wednesday afternoon. And the Capital Region just got a new, big character.

Patsos is moving to Siena from Loyola (Maryland), where he was 145-135 in nine seasons. (The Greyounds are in the same conference as Siena, but they're moving to the Patriot League next season.) But when he took over the program, it had gone 1-27 the season before. Over the two most recent seasons the Greyhounds were 47-21, with a trip to the NCAA tournament in 2012.

Accompanying that track record is the sonic boom of his personality and reputation.

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Here's your diploma -- and a payment schedule

One of the interesting things in a recent NYT package about student debt is an interactive listing that includes school-by-school breakdowns of the average student debt for each school.

We were a bit surprised by the numbers from Capital Region schools (above). Even though Skidmore and Union College both have expensive sticker prices (both locally and nationally), their average graduate debt figures were among the smallest in this area -- and they had the lowest percentage of grads carrying student debt.

That result probably speaks to a few things about those schools: a) a not insignificant share of the students attending come from families that can help them cover the price and/or 2) many of the students whose families can't cover the cost probably aren't paying the full sticker price. In fact, Union says more than 60 percent of its students "receive some kind of financial assistance."

Contrast that to St. Rose and UAlbany. CSR had the highest average graduate debt -- with 86 percent of its graduates carrying debt. And UAlbany, though having one of the lower debt numbers probably as a result of its relatively inexpensive tuition, had by far the highest debt-to-tuition ratio.

The NYT interactive feature has more info and is worth checking out.

Noted: Americans now owe more in student debt than they do in credit card debt -- the total amount of outstanding student debt in the country is roughly $1 trillion. [USA Today]

Fine print: All the tuition and debt total numbers are for 2010 and via NYT, with one exception: NYT didn't have a tuition number for Union. So we pulled it from College Grotto's rankings for 2009-2010. It appears NYT pulled the numbers from The Project on Student Debt, from which we pulled the "grads with student debt" percentages. The debt:tuition ratio is our own calculation.

US News ranks for Capital Region colleges

nott memorial

Union will probably Nott be disappointed.

US News released its vaunted college rankings today (not important, of course... unless your school ranked well). Here's how local schools ranked.

(Plus a ranking in which UAlbany tops RPI.)

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"God knows how many hairs are on your head!"

mary buckheitESPN.com columnist and Siena alum (class of 2002) Mary Buckheit in a commentary for NPR about coming out while in college:

But I am able to rest easy knowing how Father Dan took the news. He was the priest who was tasked with hearing confessions the day I nervously knelt down in the Siena College chapel. "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned," I began, as usual. I started with a few minor transgressions: "I lied to a friend. I broke my teammates' earbuds. I cheated on a calculus exam. And I'm gay."
I started crying. Father Dan, who also happened to be my World History professor, put his hand on my shoulder. He asked me if I was telling him that because I thought it was a sin. And then he quoted a Bible verse. "Don't be afraid," he told me softly. "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do you know what that means, Mary? God knows how many hairs are on your head! God knows everything about you. He created you. Don't be afraid."

photo: Mary Buckheit Twitter profile

Four commencement speeches in four lines

michelle rhee st rose commencement 2011

Michelle Rhee at St. Rose's commencement. Apparently her daughters are not very good at soccer, but they still get trophies. This bothers her.

Commencement was this past weekend for the College of St. Rose, the University at Albany, Siena College, and the Sage Colleges. Here are four of the commencement speeches in four lines (or so):

St. Rose: former DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee
"We should be striving always to be better or we will never be better. Our country needs to regain its competitive spirit." [St. Rose press release]

UAlbany: alumnus, and Wicked author, Gregory Maguire
"Stories start right out with action. Your story starts today. What will you imagine?" [TU]

Siena: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
In referring to George Bernard Shaw's remark that youth is wasted on the young: "Please prove Mr. Shaw to be wrong. You are ready for the world now and the world certainly is ready for you, and needs you." [Troy Record]

Sage Colleges: LouAnne Johnson, the teacher and author whose book became the movie Dangerous Minds
While doing an impression of the main character in her book Muchacho: "You don't get the life you got because of being lucky, or poor, or Mexican. You get it because of the way you think about yourself. Because you think you're a loser, you're going to be a loser. If you think you're going to be a success, you gotta set your intention. Like I used to be afraid of being an intellectual because I thought was going to get my ass kicked all the time. But then I figured that's only in school. When you get out of school, people don't kick your ass for being smart -- they give you money." [Sage Colleges video]

Commencements coming up: Skidmore (May 21), RPI (May 28 [corrected]), and Union (June 12).

photo via the College of St. Rose

Quality opponents lined up fo Siena, UAlbany

siena ualbany sports logos

The Siena and UAlbany men's basketball teams released their non-conference schedules this week. And both schools have lined up some quality, big name competition.

Both schedules are after the jump. A few of the at home highlights:

UAlbany November 12 vs. Cornell (Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament last season)

Siena November 23 vs. Butler (you know, the runner up in last season's national title game)

Siena December 22 vs. Georgia Tech (against old coach Paul Hewitt)

Also: The Siena-UAlbany game will be December 4 at the TU Center.

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Where Capital Region colleges rank on Princeton Review lists

UAlbany walkthrough fountainThe Princeton Review released its annual college rankings this week (party schools, reefer madness, etc).

Here are the lists Capital Region schools made it onto...

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Many questions in teacher's death, deliberations start in Raucci trial, what happens in Vegas stays on Facebook

Police near Buffalo say there are still many unanswered questions surrounding the shooting death of Albany elementary school teacher David Park. The attorney for the homeowner who fired the shot said his client and wife were "terrorized" during the episode and were protecting themselves. The principal at Arbor Hill Elementary, where Park taught, said he "exemplifies everything you're looking for in a teacher." One of Park's co-workers said the "whole faculty is devastated." [Buffalo News] [WTEN] [TU] [YNN]

Steven Raucci trial Jurors have begun deliberations. During closing arguments, Raucci's attorney used a bag of plastic Easter eggs to represent doubts about the prosecution's case. Schenectady County DA Bob Carney urged jurors to send the message that "street justice is no substitute for real justice in a court of law." [Fox23] [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

The stepson of Virginia Gratto Utigard told WTEN that his stepmother "is wound differently than anyone I've ever met and I wish I'd never met her." [WTEN]

The SUNY Board of Trustees voted again to close the New Covenant charter school in Albany, this time 6-0 with four abstentions. Four hundred students about $3 million in funding could be headed back to the Albany school district. [SUNY] [TU]

This week in Which Way Northway? State police say a man led troopers on a chase from Exit 13 to Exit 8 Saturday night. And on Sunday, state police say a man drove south in the northbound lane at Exit 10 and hit a tractor trailer. Police say the man's blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit. [TU] [TU] [Fox23] [YNN]

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Local elementary school teacher shot and killed in Buffalo, McCaffrey leaving Siena for Iowa, state budget will almost certainly be late, a seven-year-old philanthropist

An Albany elementary school teacher was shot and killed in a Buffalo suburb this past weekend. Police there say the man appears to have gone into the wrong house and was shot by the homeowner -- though they some of the details are unclear. The Albany school district says the man was "a loved and respected teacher with a strong commitment to his students and their families." [TU] [CBS6] [Buffalo News] [Fox23]

Schenectady police say two men were shot and killed in Hamilton Hill Friday night (map). The SPD says there was a crowd on the scene and it appears there had been some sort of argument -- though it's not sure whether the victims were at odds or on the same side. [Daily Gazette $] [WNYT] [TU]

Siena men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery is leaving to become the head coach at Iowa. McCaffery's teams were 112-51 at Siena and went to the NCAA tournament three times. [Iowa press release] [TU]

Local state legislators says GlobalFoundries request for another $300 million in state subsidies for the Luther Forest chip fab will have a tough time. GloFo says it wants expand capacity at the not-yet-open facility to include the world's largest clean room. [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

Steven Raucci Trial Closing arguments are expected today. On Friday, a CSEA union leader took the stand as a defense witness. The testimony continued didn't seem to help the union get out from under the negative light cast by the case. [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [TU]

A daughter-in-law of Virginia Bellerose Gratto Utigard, the sole survivor of a Cohoes fire that killed eight people 32 years ago, says Gratto Utigard went to Washington State a few weeks post-fire after receiving a sympathy card from a man there. She ended up marrying the man's brother a week later. Gratto Utigard's brother said last week that his sister was "absolutely not" capable of setting of fire. [TU] [Troy Record] [WTEN]

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Purdue 72 Siena 64

siena_sports_logo.jpgSiena made a good effort against Purdue, but the Boilermakers were just too tough.

The Saints led at halftime 32-29. Then the Boilermakers seriously clamped down on defense to start the second half, which helped them go on a 13-0 run. It looked like Siena was wilting, but the Saints pulled it together in the last five minutes to go on a 12-0 run.

It just wasn't enough. Purdue hit its foul shots down the stretch and Siena ran out of time.

Edwin Ubiles led Siena with 18. Ronald Moore had 14 (3 assists, 4 turnovers), Alex Franklin had 10 (all in the first half). Clarence Jackson, a game-time decision because of a bad ankle, did not play. Box score.

It was still a great season for Siena. The Saints were 27-7 overall and they dominated the MAAC with a 17-1 record.

Siiiii-eeeeennnnn-aaaaa

Jimmy Fallon has pledged his support for Siena's basketball team in this year's NCAA tournament. As part of his effort to support the Saints, his show last night featured facts about the college, an ode to coach Fran McCaffery ("he even scores with a woman's name") and the audience intoning "Siena" as if they were blowing one of those horns from the Ricola commericals:

As you would expect, Siena is trying to make the most of Fallon's support. Michelle Kim reports the school sent down a whole truckload of Saints swag to the show yesterday.

A lot of small schools see college basketball -- and the NCAA tournament especially -- as a way to market themselves to wider audiences. Xavier University in Cincinnati -- a school similar to Siena (smaller, Catholic) -- has apparently had success with this approach. As Paul Daugherty wrote for SI.com last fall, Xavier has used its basketball program as "a coast-to-coast billboard to attract students and money" (while seemingly not sacrificing academics).

Of course, you don't get the attention if you don't win.

Siena vs. Purdue fast break

siena vs purdue

Woof! Steam!

Siena takes on Purdue in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday afternoon (it's a 2:30 pm scheduled tip off).

Siena is a #13 seed and Purdue a #4, so it might seem that Boilermakers have this in hand. But the #1 and #2 seeds probably aside, no team in safe in the NCAA tournament. Example: #13 seed Murray State knocked off #4 seed Vanderbilt on Thursday in the West bracket.

So, what are the Saints' chances? Let's break it down...

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State delaying refund checks, Save the Y rally, father of American Idol judge to challenge Kirsten Gillibrand, Hasbrouck makes NBA

save the y rally

From yesterday's Save the Y rally -- here's a photoset from Sebastien B.

David Paterson says the state is delaying the distribution tax refund checks in order to keep the state afloat. Paterson and legislative leaders are finally meeting to negotiate the budget. [TU] [TU]

Paterson said yesterday that "we wouldn't project that the Saratoga racing season is in jeopardy at this point." Members of the racing industry have said recently the Saratoga season could be in doubt because of problems with New York City OTB and the stalled-again Aqueduct racino. [YNN]

Paterson signed The Family Health Care Decisions Act yesterday, which allows family members and close friends to make decisions on behalf of a patient who lacks capacity. The law has broad support, but was hung up in the legislature for 17 years. [YNN] [TU]

More than 100 people showed up yesterday for the Save the Y rally outside the Washington Ave location in Albany (photo above -- more photos here). Protesters criticized the Capital District YMCA and city officials for their handling of the location's now-imminent closure. A spokesman for the Y says it "just wasn't possible" to keep the location open. [Fox23] [Sebastien B] [TU] [YNN]

Day 11 of the Steven Raucci trial focused on testimony by former Schenectady school district athletic director Gary DiNola, who testified that an un-exploded device left on his car and vandalism of his house had "terrorized" his family. The testimony featured a heated exchange between DiNola and Raucci's lawyers, who objected to his characterization of the situation. Emails introduced as evidence indicated Raucci at one point wrote to DiNola: "I'm not a tolerant person to begin with. I'm even less tolerant of people who show me disrespect." In an email from DiNola to district superintendent Eric Ely, DiNola said that he had "learned to park my beat-up Volvo in front of the security cameras near the loading dock." [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Fox23] [CBS6]

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It's Siena vs. Purdue

siena_sports_logo.jpgUpdate: Here's a breakdown of the matchup -- by stats, experts, the masses and Vegas

The NCAA basketball tournament brackets were released Sunday evening -- and Siena is headed west. Way west.

The Saints got the #13 seed in the South bracket (they were a #9 seed last year). They'll face #4 seed Purdue on Friday in Spokane, Washington.

Purdue is 27-5 this season -- and shared the regular season title in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers had been in the running for a top seed until Robbie Hummel, probably their best player, hurt his knee at the end of February. (He's out for the season.) They haven't looked so great since.

What about Syracuse? The Orange got the #1 seed in the West bracket. They'll face #16 seed Vermont on Friday in Buffalo. Yep, Vermont. Payback is in order.

Siena plays for NCAA spot tonight

ronald moore

Ronald Moore and the Saints are playing their third-straight NCAA tournament spot.

The whole season for the Siena's men's basketball team has been pointing to tonight's MAAC tournament championship game. With a win, the Saints are headed to the NCAA tournament.

This year's team is one of the best ever at Siena. It features the conference player of the year (Alex Franklin), along with two other first-teamers (Ronald Moore and Ryan Rossiter), a second-teamer (Edwin Ubiles) and a third-teamer (Clarence Jackson). The Saints only lost one game during conference play. Moore continues to lead Division 1 in assists/game. And the Saints have won 37 straight games at the TU Center.

Siena faces Fairfield, the MAAC tournament's #2 seed, tonight. The Saints have already beaten the Stags twice -- 81-73 at Fairfield and 69-67 at the TU Center in early February.

The game starts at 7 pm. It's on ESPN2.

photo: MAAC Sports

New York is waiting

gillibrand and ford

Voters say they're still unsure about KG -- and even more unsure about Harold Ford.

Or, so it would seem from a Siena poll out this week.

The poll reports that voters continue to want someone other than David Paterson to be governor, continue to like Andrew Cuomo, continue to be unsure about Kirsten Gillibrand, and continue to think the state is headed in the wrong direction.

A few highlights after the jump.

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Multiple shootings over the weekend, stats indicate drop in Troy crime, Tedisco calls for tougher animal laws, big research grant for Siena

Schenectady police say a woman was shot in the face Sunday morning in her apartment in Mont Pleasant (map). Police say witnesses reported that a man had been ringing the woman's door bell repeatedly and then kicked in her door. The SPD says it's looking for the suspect. [Fox23] [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

Albany police say a woman was shot yesterday evening on Broad Street. [Fox23]

Albany police say a teen was shot in the face early Monday morning in West Hill (map). The APD is looking for the suspect, whom the teen said he didn't know. [TU] [Fox23]

Colonie police are investigating the death of a man found outside a muffler shop on Central Ave Saturday (map). The man's body was reportedly leaning against a building. Police say no cause of death was found during the initial autopsy -- foul play is not suspected. [CapNews9] [CBS6] [Troy Record] [Fox23]

The City of Troy reported that federal stats indicate the city's overall crime rate was down 2.5 percent last year compared to the year before -- and violent crime was down 11 percent. [City of Troy Facebook]

An arbitrator has ruled that an Albany cop accused of pointing a gun at a clerk should serve a 30 day suspension. [TU]

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An ode to Siena's maestro

ronald moore

"Undersized" -- but he's a big-time player.

Siena point guard Ronald Moore got some well-deserved national attention yesterday in a NYT profile. The piece has some interesting bits -- about how Siena was able to land Moore; and what he said to Rick Pitino during last year's second round game in the NCAA tournament.

Moore is a remarkable player in that he may very well be the MVP of this year's excellent Saints team -- and yet he's only their fifth leading scorer. But he contributes in other ways. Moore leads the nation in assists per game -- he also controls the tempo of the game and keeps teams from pressuring the Saints.

As Ed pointed out recently, Siena is having a great season -- even by the standards of the last few years. It has a 14 game win streak going, most recently an 88-68 victory over Iona -- the second-place team in the MAAC. The Saints continue to get votes in the AP Top 25 poll. And they'll take on #18 Butler in the showcase "Bracket Buster" game on ESPN later this month.

Siena faces Fairfield tonight at the TU Center at 7 pm. The game will also be on MSG (ch 73).

[Thanks, Rob!]

photo: MAAC Sports

Just-In'Love

How we missed this, we do not know: Siena's men's basketball team has a player named Just-In'Love Smith.

Really. Smith's a senior walk-on from East Greenbush. He told ESPN last fall that his mom named him Just-In'Love because she was "just in love with me." He told TWC sports in December that he loves his name:

Name aside, Smith is not a typical college basketball player. He's 26 and has already served four years in the military -- one of those in Iraq.

Smith has appeared in three games for the Saints this season (for six minutes) and has scored 4 points.

By the way: after having a rough time with its non-conference schedule, Siena has been ripping up the MAAC. The Saints are 8-0 in conference. They're next at against Loyola tomorrow night.

Siena's vampire explainer

dracula bela lugosi

Bela Lugosi in the 1931 film Dracula

By Jessica Pasko

A while ago I heard a rumor that Siena College had its very own vampire expert.

Yes, a vampire expert.

Obviously I needed to look into that. So I picked up some garlic and a stake and went to check it out.

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Are things getting better or worse?

The Siena Research Institute released an interesting poll today, a Capital Region "survey of social needs." The poll was intended to gauge how people in the Capital Region perceive the importance/severity of a bunch of social problems.

For example, the poll asked, "In general do you think the overall quality of life for most people in the Capital region has improved, stayed about the same or gotten worse over the last year?" Fifty-one percent of the respondents said things had "gotten worse."

Here are a few other results that caught our eye...

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Siena vs. UAlbany this weekend

edwin_ubiles.jpgThe Siena/UAlbany basketball game is this Saturday. It's probably the biggest sporting event of the year in the Capital Region, aside from the Travers. Pete Iorizzo reports that a bunch of tickets have already been sold -- and the total could top 14,000.

Both teams are coming off losses in the south. Siena fell 74-61 to Georgia Tech in Atlanta this past Wednesday. UAlbany lost at Florida Atlantic 81-65.

Siena, which has been a favorite of hoops pundits this year, would seem to have the clear the advantage in this game. But the Saints might not have Edwin Ubilies (that's him on the right) in the lineup -- he's one of their best players.

Tip-off time for the men's game is 7:30 pm at the TU Center. Robert Lee and Tom Huerter will have the call on Talk 1300.

Also: Pearl Street will be closed from 3-10 pm from Beaver St to Hudson for the game (that's the block right in front of the TU Center).

Siena tips off tonight

siena_sports_logo.jpgThe Siena men's basketball team opens its regular season tonight on the road at Tennessee State (in Nashville).

This could be a big year for the Saints. They return four starters from last year's team, which reached the second round of the NCAA tournament (for the second straight year). They were the #1 team in the MAAC pre-season poll, with two players on the conference first team. And the Saints have been so good over the last few years that "major" schools are now reluctant to play them.

You can catch the play-by-play of tonight's game on Talk 1300 at 7 pm, pre-game at 6 pm. (The TU had a Q&A today with Robert Lee, the Saints play-by-play announcer.) And the Recovery Room in Troy will be showing a live video feed from the game.

Troy police find guns during raid, suit filed over landfill expansion, local company dumps chamber of commerce over climate change legislation, sole tenant leaving Kiernan Plaza

Troy police say they found a shotgun and an assault rifle during raid connected to the investigation of last week's fatal shooting in south Troy. They also arrested a man. But they say the guns weren't used in the crime nor is the man a suspect. [Fox23] [CapNews9] [TU]

Save the Pine Bush is suing the City of Albany and the DEC in attempt to block expansion of the city landfill. A volunteer for the environmental org says the city "needs to adopt a rational solid waste policy that does not include destroying 15 acres of rare Pine Bush ecosystem." [AP/CBS6] [TU]

The judge in Adrian Thomas case has ruled that the jury will not hear testimony from dueling expert witnesses about the possibility of a coerced confession. Closing arguments are scheduled to start today. [Troy Record] [TU]

David Paterson said yesterday that he will be including the soda tax in next year's proposed budget. The Paterson Administration also said same-sex marriage will be on the agenda for next week's planned special legislative session. [WNYC] [NYDN]

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Who's afraid of the Saints?

edwin_ubiles.jpgSiena's men's basketball team has gotten so good that big-time schools are now afraid to play them. From ESPN's Andy Katz:

Saints coach Fran McCaffery has won two straight NCAA first-round games against Vanderbilt and Ohio State. So, of course, he would have no problem securing more big-time nonconference games, right? Wrong. Even though the Saints are exactly the team a "big six" conference foe should play, they struggled throughout the offseason to get games. But the Saints return leading scorer Edwin Ubiles and sharpshooter Ronald Moore and that's enough to scare most opponents away from scheduling them.

In the weird calculus of college basketball, a loss or close win against a good "mid-major" team such as Siena is somehow much worse than absolutely dominating a cream puff. So it goes. The Saints will have just have to save their giant killing for March.

By the way: Katz has Siena in his pre-season Top 25 at #20.

Siena opens its season November 13 on the road at Tennessee State (see the part about big-name schools above).

[via @peteiorizzo and @SienaSaintsBlog]

photo: Siena

State AG's office investigating Espada, man pleads guilty to killing son, CDTA trimming routes, Mine That Bird out of Travers

Andrew Cuomo's office is investigating whether Pedro Espada was something less than forthcoming when filling out a form for a $3 million state grant for his Bronx health care org. [TU]

David Paterson signed a bill that makes it illegal in most cases to shackle a prison inmate during childbirth. [AP/CBS6]

Glenn Vosburgh, the Coeymans man accused of killing his son last spring, pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday in a deal that will send him to prison for 19 years. Vosburgh said he was intoxicated when he shot his son in the back. [TU] [Fox23] [CapNews9]

Last night's Schenectady school board meeting included pointed criticism from the crowd as Linda Bellick, who lost in the last board election, was appointed to fill a recently vacated spot. Bellick's remarks during the meeting were stopped by the district's attorney after Bellick started talking about the not-publicly-released Steven Raucci report. [WNYT] [TU]

(there's more)

No progress in state Senate, mid-year budget change could be necessary, alleged pharmacy robber nabbed, stimulating the sign economy, hunting for what's left of Henry Hudson

The state Senate had two more in-and-out sessions this past weekend. Negotiations are apparently going on behind the scenes. The big sticking point remains leadership of the chamber -- specifically Pedro Espada's role as president pro tem. David Paterson is reportedly telling Democrats they may just have to get over it. [Newsday] [Daily Politics] [Buffalo News] [NYDN]

State comptroller Tom DiNapoli says it's looking like the state will be short on money later this year -- and a mid-year budget adjustment will probably be necessary. Of course, the would be virtually impossible with the state Senate locked in its current mess. [NYDN]

A state audit of the Schenectady Metroplex Authority reports that the org isn't tracking whether its investment projects are meeting job creation targets and that it's leaving parking money on the table. The authority disputed many of the findings -- and said it's purposefully not charging for parking. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Is it a coincidence that the owner of the construction company with a virtual lock on big projects in the City of Albany is BFF with the mayor and police chief? [TU]

(there's more)

State worker unions talk trash about Paterson, special election absentee ballot count starts, big new contract for Siena basketball coach, Troy dog park become partisan issue

The heads of the two biggest state worker unions, CSEA and PEF, met with David Paterson yesterday about the planned layoffs and it appears not much happened -- except for some trash talking. CSEA president Danny Donohue said the governor "needs a good psychiatrist or at least he should share the drugs that he's on because he's not making any sense to any of our members." Paterson's people called Donohue's remarks "inappropriate" and said they "reflect a lack of respect for the taxpayers of New York." The two unions are also upset that Paterson tried to go over their heads by sending a letter directly to state workers. [TU] [Troy Record] [Fox23] [Biz Review]

The "long, tedious" count of the absentee ballots in the 20th Congressional District special election has started. Every ballot is being examined by an election worker and observers from both campaigns. An elections commissioner says the process could take as long as three weeks. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Post-Star]

State police and animal protection groups raided a horse farm in Coxsackie yesterday and found 177 malnourished horses. The animals belong to trainer Ernie Paragallo, whose horses have won more than $20 million in purse money over the last 12 years. The condition of Paragallo's horses has been a concern of animal groups since at least 2007. [TU] [NYT] [NYT]

David Paterson says he's planning to introduce legislation that would make same-sex marriages legal in New York. Previous bills have passed in the Assembly, but stalled in the state Senate. [Gannett/TU]

(there's more)

Siena leaves its mark on the NCAA tournament, Morris calls for more community policing, stabbing in Ballston Spa, baracking

Siena put up a good fight against #1 seed Louisville in the second round of the NCAA tournament, but ultimately lost 79-72. After trailing at halftime by five, the Saints took the lead a little more than 10 minutes into the second half and held it until about four minute mark. [TU] [ESPN]

The org that runs New York's electricity market says an arrangement in which buyers of electricity pay more than the lowest bid is a feature, not a bug. [TU]

A study sponsored by a free market academic center concludes that New York State has the lowest level of personal and economic freedom in the country. [TU]

A 2005 report about then-state Senate minority leader David Paterson's office describes an operation with problems very similar to those exhibited during Paterson's first year as governor: chaos, indecisiveness and jumbled communication. [NYDN]

Albany Common Council president -- and mayoral candidate -- Shawn Morris says the APD has shifted its focus away from community policing -- and that's contributed to a recent surge in crime. [TU]

Forty percent of children in Albany County live in poverty -- as do 25 percent of people in Schenectady -- according to a report out from an advocacy org. [Daily Gazette]

The manager of the TU Center says he'd like to see mixed martial arts fighting legalized in New York State. He estimates ultimate fighting could sell out the arena and generate $1 million to $2 million in economic activity. [Daily Gazette]

After two of the three finalists for the job of UAlbany president dropped out, a source tells the TU the search will likely be reopened. UAlbany has been looking for a new president for more than two years. [TU]

(there's more)

The Scoop

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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.

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