Items tagged with 'Union'

The psychology of Frozen

frozen film posterUnion College psychologists George Bizer and Erika Wells make an appearance in a New Yorker post this week looking at how Frozen ended up being so popular. A clip from the piece by Maria Konnikova:

They organized an evening of "Frozen" fun--screening and movie-themed dinner--and called it "The Psychology of Frozen." There, they listened to the students' reactions and tried to gauge why they found the film so appealing.
While responses were predictably varied, one theme seemed to resonate: everyone could identify with Elsa. She wasn't your typical princess. She wasn't your typical Disney character. Born with magical powers that she couldn't quite control, she meant well but caused harm, both on a personal scale (hurting her sister, repeatedly) and a global one (cursing her kingdom, by mistake). She was flawed--actually flawed, in a way that resulted in real mistakes and real consequences. Everyone could interpret her in a unique way and find that the arc of her story applied directly to them. For some, it was about emotional repression; for others, about gender and identity; for others still, about broader social acceptance and depression. "The character identification is the driving force," says Wells, whose own research focusses on perception and the visual appeal of film. "It's why people tend to identify with that medium always--it allows them to be put in those roles and experiment through that." She recalls the sheer diversity of the students who joined the discussion: a mixture, split evenly between genders, of representatives of the L.G.B.T. community, artists, scientists. "Here they were, all so different, and they were talking about how it represents them, not ideally but realistically," she told me.

There's also some discussion about the always complicated business of princessification.

Union hockey playing for the national title Saturday

Thumbnail image for union college hockey logoThe Union men's hockey team beat Boston College 5-4 in the Frozen Four Thursday in Philadelphia, and it will now play for the national title Saturday night.

The Dutchmen will face #1 seed Minnesota in the championship game at 7:30 pm on Saturday. The game will be on ESPN.

The Gophers advanced to the final by scoring a goal in the final second against North Dakota for a 2-1 victory Thursday night.

This will be Union's first appearance in the final. It was last in the Frozen Four in 2012 when it lost to Ferris State in the semis.

Union vs. Minnesota is in some ways a David vs. Goliath game. The Gophers have won the national title five times, and the size of the school and its athletic budget towers over that of the Dutchmen.

But the two schools were ranked 1-2 in the final polls of the season -- with Union atop one poll, and Minnesota ahead in the other.

Union's headed for the Frozen Four, and much bigger competition

union college hockey logoOver the weekend the Union men's hockey team beat Providence 3-1 to advance to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament -- AKA, The Frozen Four. Two more wins and Union takes the national title.

It's the Dutchmen's second trip there in the last three years. They lost to Ferris State in the semis in 2012.

Union topped one of the national polls and was #2 in another just before this year's tournament. It is the tournament's #3 overall seed.

The Dutchmen will face #2 overall seed Boston College April 10 in Philadelphia. The game is scheduled for 5 pm on ESPN2. #1 seed Minnesota takes on North Dakota in the other semifinal.

Union's recent hockey success is remarkable given the size of the school. After the jump, a quick look at how Union stacks up in enrollment and athletics spending against its Frozen Four competitors...

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Cheerful, merry, joyful, and...

This Union College lip dub of the Pharrell song "Happy" is fun. True to the title, it's hard to get through it without smiling.

Also: We were glad to see Stella getting in on the action.

Jeremy Denk at Union College

pianist jeremy denk

Pianist -- and newly tabbed MacArthur "genius" -- Jeremy Denk is scheduled to play at Union's Memorial Chapel October 4. Tickets are $25 / $10 students and on sale now.

Blurbage for the Union concert:

Denk offers an innovative program connecting classical works with those influenced by jazz. In between classical works: Mozart's Sonata in F Major, K. 533/494, Schumann's Waldszenen, Op. 82, and Beethoven's "Waldstein" Sonata, Op. 53, Denk will perform a new work written for him by jazz pianist Brad Mehldau along with a series of rags by Bolcom, Hindemith, Stravinsky and others.

As mentioned above, Denk was also one of the new MacArthur Fellows announced this week. From the foundation's profile of him:

Jeremy Denk is a concert pianist enlivening the musical experience for amateurs and aficionados alike through his eloquence with notes and words. As a soloist and in concerti and chamber ensembles, Denk masterfully performs some of the most technically demanding works of iconic masters--Bach, Beethoven, Chopin--as well as compositions of storied twentieth-century artists--Ives and Ligeti--with virtuosic dexterity and imagination. Noted for his unexpected pairings of pieces in recital programs and recordings, he often draws out surprising themes and continuities between historically and stylistically disparate works. His live and recorded duets with violinist Joshua Bell, a longstanding tradition, are critically acclaimed and lauded for their extraordinary balance and original interpretation.

The foundation also praised his (occasionally updated) blog -- Think Denk -- and his writing for outlets such as The New Yorker.

This won't be Denk's first time through here. He played at both Union and Skidmore a few times over the last couple of years.

Another "genius": Mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile -- was a MacArthur fellow last year -- is playing at the Massry Center at St. Rose October 27.

"Art or Evidence" at Mandeville Gallery

union college gilles peress

"First snow in Ardoyne, a Nationalist neighborhood, Belfast, Ireland, 1981" by Gilles Peress

Could be worth a look: the just-opened exhibit "Art or Evidence: The Power of Photojournalism" at the Mandeville Gallery at Union College. Blurbage (link added):

This exhibition features the portfolio, Flashpoints, by international photojournalist Gilles Peress, which includes work from the conflicts in Northern Ireland, Iran, Rwanda and Bosnia. Peress sees his work as "gathering evidence for history" rather than art, though the forensic aspect of his photography is a mere fraction of its meaing. Thirteen additional photojournalists are included, whose work ranges from the battlefield to the social sphere of everyday life.

The exhibit will be up through March 10. On February 10 there will be a talk from Alison Morley, chair of the photojournalism department at the International Center of Photography.

The Mandeville Gallery is open 10 am-6 pm Monday-Sunday. It's in the Nott Memorial (which itself is worth seeing). It's free and open to the public.

Kate Bolick at Union College

kate bolick the atlantic coverKate Bolick -- the author of the much talked about/circulated/commented/shared "All the Single Ladies" article in The Atlantic a year ago -- is coming to Union College for talk in November.

In that Atlantic piece, Bolick examines the idea of what it means to be a single woman, the changing nature of the "marriage market," and ultimately argues for more flexible attitudes about the way people decide to arrange their lives. Here's a clip:

What my mother could envision was a future in which I made my own choices. I don't think either of us could have predicted what happens when you multiply that sense of agency by an entire generation.
But what transpired next lay well beyond the powers of everybody's imagination: as women have climbed ever higher, men have been falling behind. We've arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown up--and those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you don't want to go out with.

And here's an interview with Bolick at the Hairpin.

Bolick's talk at Union is November 6 (at Tuesday). It's at the Nott and it's free.

Capital Region college president compensation

UAlbany entrance fountain

UAlbany's uptown campus.

When it was announced last week that Robert Jones will become the next UAlbany president, there were a few eyebrows raised about his compensation -- he'll receive a total of $555,000. That includes salary, money from the Research Foundation, and a housing allowance.

That's a lot, no matter what job you're doing. And given that the SUNY system has faced budget cuts recently, it's understandable that the figure would catch attention.

But is it too high? That's a hard question. And people are going to have different answers based on their own perspectives.

To get some context, we pulled data about presidential compensation at UAlbany, RPI, Union, Skidmore, St. Rose, Siena, and the Sage Colleges -- and broke it down to see how it compares across multiple categories.

Here's the result...

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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.

Bob Woodward at Union College

bob woodwardCheck it out: Bob Woodward is giving a talk at Union College Thursday night. The topic: "From Nixon to Obama: War Stories from the Reporting Trenches on Eight Presidents." It starts at 7 pm in Memorial Chapel. It's free and open to the public.

It'll be interesting to see if one of those war stories is about Woodward's reporting on the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq during the Bush administration. His latest book is Obama's Wars, which in typical Woodward fashion, is an "intimate and sweeping portrait of Obama at work with his team."

Of course, he's also the Woodward of the Watergate Woodward and Bernstein. For old time's sake, here's a photo of the two back in the day.

[via Nippertown]

photo: Flickr user Miller Center

Union! Syracuse! Madness!

union vs harvard ecac tournament 2012Update update: Union beat UMass-Lowell 4-2! They're going to the Frozen Four!

Update: Union beat Michigan State 3-1, thanks in part to a little luck. [Union athletics] [TU]

The Dutchmen now face UMass-Lowell Saturday at 6:30 pm for a trip to the Frozen Four. The game is on ESPNU.
____

The Union College men's hockey team faces off with Michigan State this afternoon in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The game starts at 3 pm -- it will be on ESPNU and ESPN# (so you can watch it online).

It's been a great season for Union. It's ranked #3 in the nation after going 24-7-7, and winning the ECAC tournament for the first time in school history. The Dutchmen are a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Not too bad for a school that doesn't offer athletic scholarships and only has about 2000 students. There's an interesting article in NYT today about how Union got to this height in hockey.

Also: they're not allowed to have playoff beards. [@PeteIorizzo]

Syracuse

Update: Syracuse lost to Ohio State 77-70. The Orange finish their season 34-3.

The Syracuse men's basketball team beat Wisconsin last night in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament (remarkable because the Badgers apparently couldn't miss from behind the arc). The #1 seeded Orange next face #2 seed Ohio State on Saturday in the regional final for a trip to the Final Four. The game is at 7 pm on CBS.

photo: Union College Athletics

RPI's Jackson stays in top 10 for private college president compensation

shirley jackson croppedRPI president Shirley Ann Jackson's salary is the 7th highest in the nation among private college presidents, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education's annual salary rankings. The Chronicle reports Jackson's 2009 total compensation was $1,771,877, up 7 percent from the year before.

The average professor at RPI gets almost $154k/year in compensation, according to the Chronicle -- giving RPI an 11.5/1 president to professor pay ratio. (A few quick comparisons: the ratio is 4.7/1 at MIT, and 3.7/1 at Cal Tech.)

Said RPI's VP of strategic communications and external relations to the TU about Jackson's salary: "[it is] a reflection of her extraordinary accomplishments, and of the desire of the Board of Trustees to have her continue the comprehensive transformation at Rensselaer."

Jackson topped the Chronicle's chart for the 2007-2008 academic year with reported total compensation of $1,598,247. In March 2009, the school announced she was giving 5 percent of her salary to a student scholarship fund.

There have been a lot of impressive developments at RPI during Jackson's tenure. But there also has been what seems like a not insignificant amount of discontent. The most recent sign was a student senate resolution calling for Jackson's removal if "significant changes" aren't made at the school. And a group calling itself the "Alliance for Responsible Governance" has also been pushing for change. [RPI] [Reddit RPI]

The Chronicle also lists compensation for other local private colleges. Those are after the jump.

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Nick Brenn and the Altoids flashlight

altoids flashlightHere's that Altoids tin flashlight that Union College student Nick Brenn talked about on the Anderson Cooper show Monday. [Daily Gazette]

The show has posted a video of Brenn explaining how to do it yourself (it's also embedded after the jump). But you can also buy a kit from Edmunds Scientific for $19.95.

Brenn came up with the idea for the flashlight as a high schooler in Pennsylvania. He seems to be quite the maker -- here are his profiles on Instructables and MAKE. He's on the crew team at Union. He gets up early. We'll all be working for him someday. If we're lucky.

photo: Edmunds Scientific

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Still expensive, but less so (relatively)

nott memorial

Nott as expensive (relatively). (We never get tired of Nott puns.)

The website College Grotto recently released its annual list of the most expensive colleges -- and again Union, Skidmore, and RPI are on the list.

Here's how local schools rank on the list for 2011-2012 (the list for 2010-2011):

Skidmore's ranking has dropped considerably over the last few years -- it was #5 in 2009. RPI has been headed the other direction -- it was ranked #62 in 2009.

Sarah Lawrence topped College Grotto's list this year at $59,170, followed by NYU ($56,787), Columbia ($56,310), Harvey Mudd ($55,998), and The New School ($55,890). Here's Forbes' recently-released list -- it also has Sarah Lawrence #1.

Earlier on AOA:
+ US News ranks for Capital Region colleges 2011
+ Union, RPI in top 20 for "return on investment"

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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"Pulp Fiction Paintings" at the Mandeville Gallery

pulp fiction paintings madeville

Action! Sex! Intrigue!

Now open at the Mandeville Gallery at Union College: "Pulp Fiction Paintings
Selections from the Robert Lesser Collection."
From the blurbage:

This exhibition contains 37 paintings from the Robert Lesser Collection of Pulp Fiction Art and is on loan from the New Britain Museum of American Art. ... The paintings, roughly 30" x 40", were done as covers to the "pulp fiction" genre of the 1930's and 1940's. The subject matter includes adventure, mystery, science fiction, war, and westerns. Tarzan and the Shadow are two protagonists that are well known today. ...
The influence of pulp fiction is vast, seen in the development of later forms of detective and science fiction literature, super heroes, and film noir. The hyper-American imagery was later taken up by the Pop Artists of the Sixties.
After buying his first painting of the Shadow Lesser says, "I began to realize, my God, for these little ten-cent pulps, they had magnificent oil paintings for the cover art. I was amazed how great some of it was, how well trained these artists were."

Here are a few images from the exhibit. Comments from the curator. And a recent review of works from the collection.

"Pulp Fiction Paintings" is on display until September 25. There are a few events associated with the exhibit, including movie marathons and a talk, "Pulp Fiction and the Modern Reader," by Skidmore's Janet Casey (September 15).

The Mandeville Gallery is in the Nott Memorial at Union.

images from the Robert Lesser Collection, via the Mandeville Gallery

Robert Gibbs at Union, Will Shortz at Skidmore

robert gibbsTwo upcoming talks that you might get you going:

Former Obama admin press secretary Robert Gibbs will be giving a talk at Union College Monday evening. Gibbs (that's him on the right) was also the Obama campaign's communications director. The talk is titled: "Inside Washington: What's Next?" It starts at 7 pm in the college's Memorial Chapel.

Also Monday: NYT crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz will be speaking at Skidmore. If the crossword puzzle has rock stars, Shortz is like Bono. He was featured in the doc Wordplay and he appears on the puzzler segment of Weekend Edition Sunday (we're waiting for the day when the puzzle is: "I'm thinking of a number. What is it?"). According to the Facebook event page, the Shortz talk starts at 5 pm in Gannett Auditorium -- but the Skidmore calendar has it pegged at 8 pm. [via Skidmore Unofficial]

photo via Wikipedia

Breakdancing is back at Union College

Breakdancing Composite

By Liz Clancy Lerner

In the classroom, Union College junior Tri Trang goes by one name: Tri. On the dance floor he goes by another: B-Boy Squirtle.

The biology and economics double-major is the founder of UBreak, a breakdancing club at Union. Yes, breakdancing. The dance form peaked in the 80s -- but for Tri, it never really went out of style.

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Have you caught Union College hockey fever?

union college hockey trophy 2011Because it's going around, apparently.

The Union College men's hockey team has had a great season. The team is currently ranked #4 -- in the whole country. And the Dutchmen are in action at home this weekend against Colgate in an ECAC tournament best-of-three series. (Colgate beat RPI in the first round. Union had a bye.) The tournament is a step toward the NCAA tournament.

The games are Friday, Saturday, and (if necessary) Sunday night. Individual tickets are $12 for adults / $6 for kids.

If you're new to Union hockey -- or college hockey in general -- the TU's Pete Iorizzo has put together a helpful guide for hopping on the bandwagon.

photo: Union College Athletics

"Weeds and Wildness" at the Nott

weeds and wilderness nott exhibit space

The Nott Memorial provides a unique exhibition space. (panorama)

By Bennett V Campbell

The Nott Memorial at Union College is itself a work of art. If the dramatic circular structure, slate dome, and large windows letting natural light pour in from all sides aren't enough, the second floor hosts the Mandeville Gallery. And the current exhibition is worth checking out.

"Of Weeds and Wildness: Nature in Black & White" brings together 17 nationally and internationally recognized artists working in a variety of media. Kara Jefts, the gallery's interim director, was kind enough to give me an impromptu tour, fielding a few questions about the exhibit itself and the Nott Memorial in general.

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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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Union, RPI in top 20 for "return on investment"

nott memorial

Not(t) a bad deal?

An online service called PayScale has ranked colleges based on "return on investment."

Here are how the schools in the Capital Region stacked up:

Oddly, neither St. Rose nor Russell Sage Colleges were on the list of 852 schools.

Businessweek has the same rankings posted with a few more categories.

Here's the methodology, which is worth skimming. In short: the numbers were calculated using the 30 year median pay for a 2009 grad with a bachelor's degree, in a full time job.

MIT was ranked #1. The highest ranked public school was UC-Berkeley at #16.

(Thank, Fred)

Earlier on AOA:
+ Skidmore, Union, RPI among nation's most expensive
+ Capital Region college tuition

Video from the Rube Goldberg Challenge

Check it out: prompted by last week's mention of the Rube Goldberg Challenge for high school students this past weekend at Union College, Sebastien stopped by to see the devices. Here's some video he shot:

He's also posted a slide show of photos.

A lot of the video and photos made us smile. It looked like a lot of fun.

(Thanks, Sebastien!)

Paterson say continues to say he's staying, state stepping up tax audits, another Republican into NY 20 pool, pay by mobile in Saratoga, Dickens letters found

David Paterson told a Brooklyn congregation on Sunday that he will "keep governing till the end of the year." He also said that finishing the term would "fulfill the mission in which God placed me." [NYDN] [NYT]

It's not clear which agency will end up investigating the allegations that Paterson perjured himself during questioning about the Yankees tickets. [TU]

If Paterson were to leave office, lieutenant governor Richard Ravitch appears to be widely respected at the Capitol for his competence, experience -- and bluntness. Of course, that would mean another lt gov appointment, which could be tricky. [TU] [TU]

During opening statements in the Steven Raucci trial, prosecutor Robert Carney alleged that Raucci planned his alleged attacks for night so as to maximize their impact. Carney also alleged the Raucci's actions stole his alleged victim's "peace of mind, their comfort, their security." It also came out on Friday that a key undercover witness for the prosecution is a former cop whom Raucci's attorney called a "crook.". [TU] [Daily Gazette $] [Daily Gazette $]

Fred Lebrun says he thinks the state legislature will find a way to keep the state parks open. [TU]

The state has stepped up the number of audits in an effort to find more tax cheaters. [Daily Gazette $]

The state Board of Regents is reportedly considering cutting some Regents exams in order to save money. [TU]

One man died and a car hit a house as part of a two-car crash in Colonie Saturday. The driver who survived has been charged with Driving With Ability Impaired (drugs). Residents who live near the crash site say the residential intersection is notoriously dangerous because drivers often go through the stop sign there. (map). [CapNews9] [Troy Record] [CBS6] [TU] [Fox23]

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Snowfall total way behind, Republicans lining up behind Lazio, shooting in north Albany, Brunomobile still parked

This winter's snowfall so far is about a foot less than typical totals. By the way: Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today. [TU] [CNN]

Brian Stratton says Schenectady is facing a budget gap of almost $13 million in 2011. One possible way to help cover the gap: start charging non-profits such as Union College and Ellis Hospital for police and fire services. [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

It's looking like the state Republican Party is lining up behind Rick Lazio as its choice for governor. Lazio was in Colonie yesterday and called out Andrew Cuomo, saying that Cuomo has "locked himself in his office and watched as Albany burned." A spokesman for Cuomo said yesterday that the AG is currently "focused on his public service." [CapNews9] [TU] [NYT] [Fox23]

Skidmore's president announced yesterday that the college will not have to go through with planned layoffs. He said the college's financial is improved because of an upswing in the endowment, as well as the results of attrition and a hiring freeze. [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Post-Star]

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State now has glut of H1N1 vaccine, increase in heating oil prices, Olmert to speak at Union, suspect accused biting man in the neck

Apparently there is now a glut of H1N1 flu vaccine in New York State. [TU]

Prompted by the promise of federal money, David Paterson is now in favor of lifting the state cap on charter schools. [TU]

Schenectady County prosecutors allege that a Schenectady man accused of sexually abusing two girls offered to pay the girls' mother if they didn't testify against him. [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

The cold weather has prompted a rise in home heating oil prices. [WTEN]

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Cory Booker at Union

cory bookerCory Booker will be speaking at Union Wednesday night. The Newark, New Jersey mayor has become a star in political and media circles over the last decade. From a Time mag profile this past summer:

The Booker bio is irresistible -- and familiar: he arrived in Newark fresh out of Stanford, Oxford and Yale Law, passing up riches to save a poor city. He moved into a decrepit Newark public-housing project, which has since been torn down, and was elected to the Newark city council at age 29. In 2006, at 37, he became mayor. To his supporters, who include A+ listers like Oprah Winfrey, Bon Jovi and Brad Pitt, plus an élite cadre of Wall Street and Silicon Valley scions, Booker's self-sacrificial tale is heroic. To his critics, Booker is still a publicity-loving political opportunist, a permanent outsider using the citizens of Newark to jump-start bigger things for his career.

Booker recently got into a multimedia "fight" with Conan O'Brien after the TV host cracked that the city's health plan consisted of "a bus ticket out of Newark." Booker appeared with Conan on the Tonight Show last month to set things straight.

Booker's talk at Union is titled "How to Change the World with Your Bare Hands." It starts at 6:30 pm in the Nott Memorial.

photo: City of Newark

Opening statements in Bruno trial, Aretha Franklin coming to RPI, investigation into Paterson World Series tickets, cops say man was wearing a Breathalyzer costume, naked sprint around the Nott

A jury was selected for Joe Bruno's federal trial yesterday. Each side also delivered its opening statement. The prosecution said Bruno used his influence at the capitol to rake in more than $3 million from clients. Bruno's defense said he's "a hardworking, honest public servant" and the feds had made a mistake. As he entered the courthouse yesterday, Bruno told reporter he had been "looking forward to this day." [CapNews9] [NYT] [Troy Record] [TU] [NYSNYS via Daily Politics]

GlobalFoundries has announced that Hector Ruiz is stepping down as chairman of the board. The WSJ reported in October that the feds had identified Ruiz as the AMD executive who leaked news of the impending formation of GlobalFoundries to a hedge fund last year. The new chairman will be Alan Ross, who had been the CEO of another semi-conductor company. GloFo says Ruiz's exit will have no effect on plans for the Luther Forest chip fab. [NYT] [San Jose Mercury News] [TU] [Saratogian]

The Albany County Department of Health reported its first death associated with the H1N1 flu. The ACDoH says the teen had a "longstanding underlying medical condition." The county health commissioner said the news was not cause for alarm and "the vast majority of individuals" will recover. [TU] [WTEN] [Troy Record] [CapNews9]

The Albany County Department of Health says the death of a county resident has been associated with the contaminated ground beef that was recently recalled. The beef was produced by a company in western New York and distributed throughout the East Coast. Locally, the beef had been available at Price Chopper, which has been contacting people to notify them of the recall. [Fox23] [NYT] [TU] [@ChrisRooney]

Aretha Franklin and Joshua Bell will performing at EMPAC in December as part of a celebration of Shirley Ann Jackson's 10 years at RPI (or, as @supraphonic @timesunion called it yesterday; Shirleystock). The performances will not be open to the general public. (Earlier on AOA: RPI's Jackson tops compensation chart) [RPInsider] [TU] [AP/CBS6]

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Skidmore, Union, RPI among nation's most expensive

nott memorial

Union says 64 percent of its students get financial aid.

So reports the web site College Grotto, which released its annual list of the most expensive colleges and universities (it also ranked the schools just by tuition). As in years past, a handful of local and regional schools are on the list. First, the locals:

5. Skidmore College - $51,196

35. Union College - $49,983

62. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - $49,245

We did a similar cost comparison for local schools back in April and got somewhat different numbers.

And as we noted back then, a lot of the students that attend these schools don't actually pay full price. For example, Union says that 64 percent of its students get financial aid -- and the average individual total aid award is $25,400.

A list of schools a little farther out from the Capital Region that made the top 100 is after the jump.

(Thanks, James!)

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It's up... and good!

Check it out: a guy named Ed Larkin kicked a 50-yard field goal at halftime of the Union football game this past weekend -- and won a two year lease on a BMW:

Larkin is apparently a former Union linebacker who graduated in 2005.

And, oh right, the game -- Union, which plays in Division III, beat #8 Ithaca 24-21. The Dutchmen are now ranked #22 in D3.

(Thanks, G!)

Speculation about Tuffey's resignation, state Ed Department looking into kegger, Bethlehem cops go weeding, new row houses planned for Center Square

Speculation continues about the departure of Albany police chief James Tuffey. His retirement announcement -- by many accounts sudden -- came after a group of department commanders retained legal counsel and told city hall they would not deny a incident in which Tuffey is accused of using a racial slur. Mayor Jerry Jennings says he did not ask Tuffey to resign. The union that represents Albany police officers is saying that the resignation was forced with the help of the department's command staff -- and is accusing the city of using Tuffey's departure to stall contract negotiations with the union. [TU] [CapNews9] [WNYT] [Fox23] [Troy Record]

Jennings says there will be a "national search" for a candidate to replace Tuffey. Because of a charter change in 2007, the Common Council will have veto power over the mayor's choice for the position. Common Council president Shawn Morris says she wants Jennings to talk with the council about criteria for the candidate search. Citing Jennings' five other picks for chief, Morris said, "It's time to broaden the search." [CapNews9] [TU] [CBS6] [CBS6]

The New York State Education Department now says it will be looking into photos that popped up on Facebook of a Schenectady school board member and his wife -- a teacher -- at a kegger celebrating their son's high school graduation. Schenectady's schools superintendent says the district is "looking at [the situation] internally." [WTEN] [Upstream] [TU]

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Arrest in Saratoga kidnapping case, suit alleges Raucci cut off heat to classroom, assemblyman says four day week a "no-brainer," Union disputes party school tag

Saratoga Springs police say they have arrested the man whom they allege is responsible for the kidnapping and attempted rape of a woman last Thursday night (map). The man -- who's an illegal immigrant -- has been charged with felony kidnapping and felony robbery (he's accused of taking off with $500). Police continued to praise the woman for her moxie in being able to escape from the attack. Authorities say they're investigating whether the man was involved with another similar crime in Lake George. [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette] [CapNews9] [Post-Star] [TU]

Yet another lawsuit filed over the alleged conduct of Steven Raucci accuses the former Schenectady school district employee of cutting off the heat to a teacher's classroom after her husband -- who worked for Raucci -- indicated he might challenge Raucci for a union leadership position. [Daily Gazette]

David Paterson has requested that the USDA declare 17 counties, including the Capital Region, agricultural disaster areas. The damp, cloudy summer has been miserable for farmers. [CBS6] [Daily Gazette]

New York State's new education commissioner is David Steiner, who was a dean at Hunter College in NYC. He said yesterday that he will focus on improving teacher performance. [NYT] [TU]

(there's more)

State concludes Tuffey's police officer certification expired, murder on Central Ave, student sues former Union roommate for $1 million, Friday's biz reportedly down after snakehead

A state agency has concluded that Albany police chief James Tuffey's certification as a police officer has expired. Tuffey can still serve as an "administrative" police chief -- but he can't carry a firearm. (Tuffey turned in his department-issued gun last week.) Common council president -- and mayor candidate -- Shawn Morris has called for mayor Jerry Jennings to fire to Tuffey for carrying a gun without a permit. [TU] [CapNews9]

A man was shot and killed Saturday morning at a club on Central Ave in Albany (map). Police say they have no suspects or motive. It was third time this man had been shot in his life -- he'd been hit by bullets twice as a teenager. [Troy Record] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

That state pension fund dropped almost 29 percent during the last fiscal year and that will probably mean... wait for it... higher taxes. [TU]

The state budget crunch hasn't stopped David Paterson from making frequent use of state aircraft. [TU]

(there's more)

Kal Penn tonight at Union

kal pennThat would be the guy who played Kumar in Harold and Kumar. And he was also on House until just recently.

Why'd he leave the show? To work at the White House. Yep, the real one. He's now working for the Office of Public Liaison on arts outreach.

It looks like Penn has been on a tour of campuses (and, judging from his Twitter feed, Djibouti). According to Union's site, Penn will be speaking tonight about "the political side of pop culture and talk about what it's like to be a racial minority in the American film industry." Maybe he'll also say something about the upcoming A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas.

The event starts at 7:30 pm at Union's Memorial Chapel.

photo: Fox

Stella!

stella the tortoise

The name Stella caused some gender confusion early in his life.

This is Stella.

He's a 30something-year-old sulcata tortoise. He keeps tabs on one of the biology labs at Union College.

Stella ended up at Union about five years ago when a guy called up the the bio department to ask if they were interested in a tortoise (they were). Stella could be at Union for a long time to come -- sulcatas can live to be more than 50 years old.

He -- yep, Stella is a guy -- now patrols his bio lab (a baby gate keeps him from wandering out into the hall), munching on hay and the occasional grape. He's become a bit of a celebrity -- campus visitors (for example, us) actually stop by to see him. We didn't get the sense that the fame had gone to his head.

Video of Stella in action is after the jump.

(there's more)

Trayless in Saratoga

skidmore dining hall

Apparently the food's so good you won't mind juggling a few plates.

Could the nicest place to eat in Saratoga be... Skidmore's cafeteria? From a front-page piece today in the NYT:

For the most part, when students returned in the fall, they were so dazzled by the transformation of the cafeteria that they hardly noticed the missing trays. The renovated dining hall has three slate fireplaces and a half-dozen food stations, including a do-it-yourself griddle for eggs. Three of the chefs are graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, and all the pasta, granola and baked goods are made on site.

The focus of the piece is on Skidmore's status as, in NYT's words, "a pioneer in trayless dining." Apparently trayless cafeterias are popping up at colleges all around the country -- they reportedly reduce food waste and save water and energy.

Skidmore isn't the only school that's tried going trayless. Union has "Trayless Tuesdays" in its cafeteria (a quality dining establishment, as we recently learned firsthand). And according to RPInsider, RPI tried out the idea -- but it didn't go over well.

Earlier on AOA: Capital Region college tuition

photo: Flickr user craigemorsels

Howard Dean at Union Monday

howard deanThe former presidential candidate and governor of Vermont will be speaking at Union's Memorial Chapel Monday evening. Dean just finished up a term as head of the Democratic National Committee.

We saw Dean when he was at the Egg after the 2004 election. He was an engaging speaker -- informal and funny. (Alas, there was no screaming.)

Monday's event is free and open to the public. The press release says seating is limited and priority will be given to members of the campus community -- so you might want to show up a little early if you want to make sure you get a seat. Doors open at 6 pm and the doctor is in at 7.

photo: Flickr user Liberal Democrats

Capital Region college tuition

Nott Memorial

Union's Nott the most expensive.

After hearing recently that the cost of attending both Skidmore and Union had crossed the $50k mark, we were curious about how the local colleges stack up when it comes to cost.

So, we looked it up. The list and a few notes are after the jump.

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Common council pushes for ghost ticket investigation, new SUNY chancellor, pistol whippings in Center Square, official urges shopping and prayer, Brian Stratton hops a horse in Albany

Four members of the Albany common council say they want to pursue a full investigation of the city's "ghost ticket" scandal. Mayor Jerry Jennings says the city is correcting the problem and would rather see the state comptroller handle the audit. [TU] [Fox23]

The SUNY Board of Trustees is expected to name University of Cincinnati president Nancy Zimpher the next SUNY chancellor today. Zimpher has a reputation has a tough, effective leader. She says she'll open her tenure as chancellor by personally visiting all 64 of the SUNY campuses. [Newsday] [TU] [NYT]

In somewhat gubernatorial fashion, New York AG Andrew Cuomo was making the rounds yesterday in Albany to push for consolidation of the state's many and varied local governments. After meeting with the New York Conservative Party, one member said, "I think we've got a kinder, gentler Cuomo with this guy." [TU] [NYP]

The idea of a tax hike on households making $250,000 and up is gaining momentum in the state Legislature. A similar hike was passed last year in the Assembly and a bill will be introduced in the Senate today. [NYT]

(there's more)

Paterson says budget cuts will involve "a big knife," state economy in recession, recycling urged in effort to save money, proposed Saratoga horse park would be pricey

At a town hall-style meeting yesterday Syracuse, David Paterson said of making cuts to the state budget: "We'll be using a big knife but trying to operate it like a scalpel." The Gov will unveil his plans for cutting $2 billion from the current state budget this morning. Reportedly among the proposals: across-the-board cuts for health programs, big cuts to public universities, a repeal of the gasoline tax cap and increase in fees for health plans. [NYT] [TU]

The leadership situation in the state Senate is still unsettled. One of the three Democrats who have not pledged their support to Malcolm Smith says he'd prefer to see a Latino Democrat be majority leader. [NYT]

An analysis from a University at Buffalo center has concluded that New York State has been in a recession since the second quarter of this year. [Biz Review]

Local retail stores are hiring extra help for the holidays shopping season -- and this year they have their pick of employees. [AP/TU]

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Manute Bol at Union

Manute BolManute Bol, who was once the NBA's tallest player (he's 7-foot-7), will be speaking at Union College tomorrow.

After his 10 year career in the NBA ended in 1994, Bol's been working raise money for charities in his native Sudan. Most recently he's been trying to focus international attention on the situation in Darfur.

Bol's talk at Union starts at 6 pm in Memorial Chapel. It's free.

And just because: here's a picture of Bol with Muggsy Bogues, the shortest person to ever play in the NBA.

(Thanks, Fred!)

photo: Philadelphia 76ers

Breaking the bank at local colleges

Union College Nott Memorial

An expensive path to take.

According to a list compiled by a site called College Grotto (new to us, too), Skidmore and Union are among the 20 most expensive colleges in the nation. Skidmore's total cost weighs in at $49,266 per year (#13) and Union's at $48,552 (#19).

Of course, caveats do apply. At many schools -- and we're guessing this includes Skidmore and Union -- very few students pay full price. But even at a discount, that's still some serious coin. Just for perspective, the median household income in the US is $50,233, according to the census bureau.

Earlier on AOA: What students say about local colleges

photo: Flickr user saibotregeel

What students say about local colleges

UAlbany entrance fountain

Alas, no one reviewed UAlbany's new walk-through fountain.

Unigo, a new site aimed at giving prospective college students the scoop on schools, debuted this week. It uses a sort of Zagat-style approach in which students already at the schools write reviews.

So what were the reviews like for local colleges? We picked out some highlights (and lowlights).

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Final tally on budget cuts, Troy City Hall moving, Schenectady HS pegged as dangerous, cemetery ordered to bury woman in five days, visiting frat brothers may or may not have peed on couch

The final tally on the state budget cuts made by the Legislature for this year: $427 million. Combined with the $630 million already cut by David Paterson, the state budget is now $120.9 billion -- that's about $1 billion from where it started. [TU]

The Troy City Council has approved the plan to lease the Verizon Building as a replacement city hall (the current city hall is slated to be torn down for a waterfront park). Troy could be moving its offices by the end of the year, pending a study of how its new digs should be arranged. [TU] [Troy Record]

The state Ed Department has tagged Schenectady High School as "persistently dangerous." The Schenectady school school president called the label "an outrage" and said the methodology used is flawed. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

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How many things did Proust remember? Ha! You can't count that high!

Chad OrzelIn a piece over at Inside Higher Ed this week, Union College physics prof Chad Orzel decries the acceptance of innumeracy among his fellow faculty members:

Intellectuals and academics are just assumed to have some background knowledge of the arts, and not knowing those things can count against you. Ignorance of math and science is no obstacle, though. I have seen tenured professors of the humanities say -- in public faculty discussions, no less -- "I'm just no good at math," without a trace of shame. There is absolutely no expectation that Intellectuals know even basic math.

But, wait, it gets worse! Not only are they innumerate, they're snobby and innumerate!

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Rain and lots of it, shots fired near Union College, Saratoga cops accused of "inhuman" treatment, Albany DA's office threatened with having allowance taken away

As much as three-and-a-half inches of rain have dropped on parts of the Capital Region over the last day and a half. Schenectady County has declared a state of emergency because of flooding. High water closed the Thruway between exit 25 and 26 (the 890 exits) for a few hours. [Daily Gazette]

An 18-year-old has been charged with attempted murder after police say he fired shots yesterday at the intersection of Union Avenue and Union Street in Schenectady -- just outside the gate to Union College. [Daily Gazette]

The Saratoga Springs police department has been accused of "cruel and inhuman" treatment after it allegedly left a guy handcuffed to a ring in the holding area for eight hours. The Saratoga police haven't able to use their holding cells since last October because of renovation work. [TU]

The Albany County comptroller has recommending taking the Albany County DA office's petty cash away until it can prove it can handle the money better. [TU]

Local heating oil prices could be up 25 percent this year. [Saratogian]

After replacing a water fountain they'd vowed never to repair again because it had been broken so many times, Schenectady parks officials have been amazed to see it's gone undamaged for a whole month. Thirsty children and basketball players rejoice. [Daily Gazette]

Worries about Troy's infrastructure, where was the SPD?, Hucktown at Union, new slogan for UAlbany

Troy's city engineer says two recent underground fires are a wake-up call that it's time to start worrying about the city's infrastructure. Over the last week, downtown Troy has seen a gas leak, a manhole-rocketing underground explosion, and another underground fire that caused carbon monoxide to build up in the homes of 40 people. National Grid says it's investigating whether the events are connected. [TU] [Troy Record]

You can add parking to the infrastructure checklist: Troy City Hall's parking garage has been closed because of falling debris. [TU]

The Schenectady police are supposed to have officers patrolling the city's Hamilton Hill neighborhood around the clock. So city officials are asking why there weren't any while while a man was beaten for 20 minutes by a group there Monday morning. [Daily Gazette]

The Albany County legislature is trying to spur the state legislature to keep moving the Albany Convention Center project forward. [TU]

The Schenectady bed and breakfast that hosted the, um, parties for groups of consenting adults is up for sale. [Daily Gazette]

Mike Huckabee encouraged personal responsibility during an appearance at Union College Monday night. The former presidential candidate also described a place called "Hucktown," where hard-working, educated people self govern. [Daily Gazette] [tU]

A student research group from UAlbany has recommended that Saratoga Springs start charging for downtown parking. City officials say it's something they might consider. [Saratogian]

UAlbany unveiled -- with a drum roll -- its new marketing slogan that was $260,000 in the making: The World Within Reach. There was no mention of its grasp. [TU]

Call for Albany PD investigation, state budget still stuck, annoying football players, Troy farmer's market moving

Six members of the Albany Common Council have called on the state to investigate the Albany Police Department. The group says a string of incidents involving the department require investigation from outside. [TU]

The state budget is still not done, still not open. But it seems legislators are keeping themselves busy with other bills. [CapNews9] [NYT]

An official at the state Department of Health has billed the agency for more than $3000 in cab rides that she never actually took, according to the state's Inspector General Office. Apparently the official been driving herself to the train station and then filing an expense report for a taxi. [TU]

Chuck Schumer and Mike McNulty have seemingly gotten the Secretary of the Army on board with their plan to build a tech park at the Watervliet Arsenal. [Troy Record]

The state is after the former owner of the Big House for $44,000 in unpaid sales tax. The mix-up apparently involved confusion over what counts as a rooftop garden. [Business Review]

Law or no law, neighbors say the Union football team makes an annoying neighbor. A wide receiver attributes the sentiment to jealosy. Also noted: beer pong is a violation of Union's code of conduct. [Daily Gazette]

The Troy Farmer's Market will be moving its summer location because of a hotel construction project. Where? That's still TBD. [TU]

Who needs Facebook when you can have your very own phone book?

stacks of phone books as tall as a man

After seeing the post this morning about stopping the never-ending barrage of phone books (OK, we exaggerate... a little), a friend of AOA sent along this pic from Union's campus center today. Yep, those are phone books -- stacked in piles taller than that guy.

And, really, this makes sense. When you think of a demographic that would immediately turn to a phone book for information, you gotta think college students.

(Thanks, George!)

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

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