Items tagged with 'people'

Finding refuge: Francis Sengabo

Francis Sengabo

Francis Sengabo came from Rwanda and founded a program to help other refugee families.

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

For 17 years, Francis Sengabo was a man without a country.

In 1994, Sengabo escaped the genocide in Rwanda and went to a refugee camp in Tanzania. In Rwanda he had worked in planning and administration and later for the Red Cross and the UN High Commission for Refugees. In the camp in Tanzania he worked helping refugees while he waited for the UNHCR to decide where in the world he would go next.

He almost ended up in Australia. Thousands of Capital Region refugee families are better off because he landed, instead, in Albany.

Sengabo is one of the founders of RISSE, Refuge and Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus, where he's now the operations director.

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Finding refuge: Olivier Mandevu

Olivier Mandevu

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

Olivier Mandevu came to Albany ten years ago from the Democratic Republic of Congo via a refugee camp in Burundi. In Africa, he went to college and became a teacher. But a horrible ethnic conflict forced Mandevu and his family to seek asylum in the United States.

Today, Mandevu lives in Albany with his wife and five children. Since arriving here, he has gone to school and worked his way up from a hospital file clerk, to a bank employee, to his current job in finance for a New York State contractor.

Five years ago, Olivier Mandevu was sworn in as a US citizen and he is passionate about civic engagement and helping other immigrants and refugees.

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Finding refuge: Ni-Lar Way, Besa Paw, Christer-Say, Christer-Htoo

Nilar Christer Say Besa and Christer Htoo

Ni-Lar Way, Christer-Say, Besa Paw, and Christer-Htoo

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

Ni-Lar Way, Besa Paw, and sisters Christer-Say and Christer-Htoo are Karen refugees whose families were driven from Burma/Myanmar to camps in Thailand.

Christer-Say and Christer-Htoo are twins. They lived in the same camp as Ni-Lar, Christer-Htoo's best friend. Ni-Lar and her family moved to Albany. Later, the sisters' parents were told they were going to the United States. They considered making North Carolina their home, but Christer-Htoo put her foot down.

"I know that my best friend is here," she remembers. "I said, mom, if you don't come to Albany I'm not going to go to America!"

Today all three girls are students at Bishop Maginn High School in Albany, along with Besa Paw, another Burmese girl who came from a different camp in Thailand.

Bishop Maginn allowed us to share a few minutes of the teen's school day to talk about their lives before and after coming to the US, and their hopes for the future.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Five Rivers return, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, a time capsule, Bertha Cleveland, magnificent mounds of weeds, small cities, pre-paid passes, a blue ribbon, the Clove Run, the ice cream tour, Daley's on Yates, the Dino, prudishness at the buffet, playing music, and a dolphin.

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Albany Barn Fusion 2017 in-post ad

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Finding refuge: Tafsela Hashimi

Tafsela Hashimi.JPG

Tafsela Hashimi: "I want to give back"

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

Tafsela Hashimi came to the United States from Afghanistan about a year ago, with only her baby boy. She is reticent about why she fled her country for the United States -- she says she did not feel safe at home.

Tafsela wants to study. At home in Afghanistan she was forced to leave school. Here in the Capital Region, she is a single mother, raising a child, and working toward her dream of becoming a doctor.

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Finding refuge: Haeneypew Sey

Haeneypew  Sey.JPG

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

Haeneypew Sey is from Burma, which is also known as Myanmar.

She and her family came to the United States nearly two years ago, after spending 23 years in a refugee camp.

Today she spends her time learning English, and working slowly toward becoming an American citizen.

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Finding refuge: Amgad Abdalla

Amgad Abdalla

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

Amgad Abdalla and his family came to Albany from Sudan when he was 8 years old. He attended Hackett Middle School, Albany High, and Hudson Valley Community College, He's an American citizen now and dreams of being an engineer and working with refugees.

Abdalla's a driver and volunteer for RISSE in Albany, and still feels at home in this community of immigrants in the Capital Region because he's lived most of his life among immigrants and refugees.

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Finding Refuge: Niebiha

Niebiha

Niebiha and her two daughters on the playground at RISSE.

This week we're sharing the stories of a handful of refugees who have found new homes in the Capital Region.

Niebiha is from Iraq.

Her husband was a house painter there and she raised their children. A car crash changed her life, and forced her to find a new home.

She and her family have now lived in Albany for five years. Her husband is a driver at the Albany International Airport and Niebiha is a cook and a volunteer translator for other refugees at RISSE -- an org in the Pine Hills neighborhood center that assists refugees and immigrants in the Capital Region.

When we spoke with Niebha she was preparing to take her citizenship exam.

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Fort Orange Brewing

Fort Orange Brewing Jim Eat

Jim Eaton in the Fort Orange Brewing space. He's part of the team that includes Craig Johnson and John Westcott.

Albany's Warehouse District is in line to add another craft beverage producer this fall with the planned opening of Fort Orange Brewing.

Here's a quick overview of what's in the works and who's involved...

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the construction of the Corning Tower, 18th century paint, Snowy Mountain, Doodletown, sidewalk weeds, garden company, an unwelcome guest, Lyft, Silver Fox, local farms, Field Goods, steaks, seven sweets and sours.

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Albany Barn Fusion 2017 in-post ad

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Pivotal moments in our personal histories

other timelines personal alternate histories

It's Other Timelines week on AOA, in which we'll be looking at alternate histories of this place, about big and small things that did or did not happen.

Everyone has them -- moments and decisions that could have gone differently. The choices you made put you on the timeline you're on, but what if things had gone differently?

For Other Timelines Week, we talked with a few people about their own pivotal moments and personal alternate histories.

Downtown Albany BID alternate history-in-post ad

ACCVB alternate history in-post ad

FOGS alternate history in-post ad

CDPHP in-post ad

MHHS alternate history in-post ad

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the first year, self-criticism, support, the bus station, a new roof, the melting debt snowball, a secret bog, Bear Mountain, outdoor movies, Pitney Meadow, Mio Posto, the crusade against shameless vice, downtown Schenectady then, and the Big E.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: depression in the kitchen, 1 Monument Square, the Capital District, insurance, Philip Schuyler's body, the mourning maiden, German, a river to herself, MASS MoCA, Brooklyn, a drink limit, the nothing burger, and rainbows.

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Downtown Troy BID TNO in-post ad 2017-summer

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Talking about the Veggie Mobile on its 10th anniversary

veggie mobile side

Capital Roots is celebrating the 10th anniversary of The Veggie Mobile -- its rolling green market on a truck -- with a party called The Big Veg this Friday, July 28 at the org's headquarters in Troy. There will be music from a bunch of acts, food trucks, and drinks.

The Veggie Mobile is an established part of the food landscape, making stops around the Capital Region each week, selling fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods that don't have easy access to such products.

But a decade ago?

"Everybody I talked with afterwards thought it was a crazy idea," Eric Krans said to us recently about taking the job back then. He helped start the program and headed it up for almost eight years.

Eric -- who's known as EJ on the Veggie Mobile -- has since moved on to a job at UAlbany, but he's still involved with Capital Roots. And he'll be playing The Big Veg as part of The Parlor, the band he and his wife, Jen O'Connor, have had for many years.

We got together with Eric to talk about the early days of The Veggie Mobile, the power of relationships, what it was like to move on from something he helped build, and what's up with The Parlor these days.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: A festival of fungus, Thomas Elkins, William Seward, the Court of Appeals, churches, the Albany mayoral election, answers, trust, sharing food, Saratoga restaurants, French food, beer, and the magic pocket gene.

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Downtown Troy BID TNO in-post ad 2017-summer

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H&L on the Hudson

H&L on the Hudson

Albany has a lot of waterfront. But it doesn't have a lot places along that waterfront to grab something to eat.

So we were happy to find our way to H&L on the Hudson this week, a food trailer set up along the riverfront at the C. Springer Marina on the south end of Broadway.

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What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: oft-repeated and probably wrong, old postcards, the German Reformed Church, the Albany Symphony, lilies, next business day, the Tappan Zee, Portland, a small town Fourth, the harness track, walking culture, D'Raymonds, Unagi, a dish set, and one last off-leash walk..

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Troy Pig Out 2017 in-post ad 2017

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A look around the new -- again -- Fort Orange General Store in downtown Albany

Fort Orange General Store downtown Albany

The reincarnated Fort Orange General Store is now open in a storefront on Broadway across from the SUNY administration building in downtown Albany.

Shop owner Schuyler Bull said the store is currently in a soft opening phase. He said they unlocked the door with no announcement on Friday, and Monday posted an opening announcement on Facebook. (There's a ribbon cutting planned for a few weeks out. )

Bull said Monday afternoon that foot traffic into the store has already been brisk.

"It's been overwhelming in a very positive way," he said.

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Follow up: Troy Kitchen

Cory Nelson at Troy Kitchen 2017-June

Cory Nelson at Troy Kitchen

AOA is on summer break this week. So we'll have new follow-ups this week with people we've met and covered during the last year.

Troy Kitchen opened its doors in February of 2016 in the former Pioneer Food Coop space in downtown Troy. Entrepreneur Cory Nelson had a vision for a luxury food court and local food incubator in which small food businesses could get a start, learn the ropes, and move on to start their own restaurants. Admittedly, he had no experience in the food business when he began the venture. But Cory Nelson is an optimist.

So, now a year and a half after its opening, how are things going at Troy Kitchen? We stopped by to catch up on what's new and talk with Cory about the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship, some of the lessons he's learned, and the plan for his next food court.

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Follow up: Collar City Candle

Collar City Candle Josh Jamie Wallbank 2017-July

Josh and Jamie at the Collar City Candle booth at the Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market.

AOA is on summer break this week. So we'll have new follow-ups this week with people we've met and covered during the last year.

Collar City Candle took first place in the AOA Startup Grant contest last fall. Josh and Jamie Wallbank operate the business -- making candles, soaps, and wax containers for houseplants -- out of their home in Troy, and they started selling their products at the Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market. They're putting the $2,500 in prize money from the AOA contest toward business expansion.

We caught up with them at the farmers' market on Saturday where Jamie shared some thoughts on their progress, planning, and what makes a business more than just a business.

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Follow up: Farm on Peaceable Pastures

Farm on Peaceable Pastures Melissa Parade

Melissa Parade and Fleet, the border collie. (Fleet apparently wasn't keen on having his picture taken.)

AOA is on summer break this week. So we'll have new follow-ups this week with people we've met and covered during the last year.

We first met Melissa Parade as part of the AOA Startup Grant contest last fall. She's been working to start a farm and community programs at the Tivoli Lake Preserve in Albany.

In the time since, she's assembled a herd a sheep that she's been keeping at Albany's Normanskill Farm. And in just a few weeks they'll be making the move over to Tivoli as The Farm on Peaceable Pastures.

We met up with Melissa at a barn just up hill from the Normans Kill last week to talk about the challenges of becoming a farmer, shaping a business plan, and the occasional errant sheep.

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Follow up: Berben and Wolff's

Berben and Wolffs Joey Berben 2017-June

AOA is on summer break this week. So we'll have new follow-ups this week with people we've met and covered during the last year.

A little more than a year ago, Joey Berben and Max Wolff opened a vegan restaurant on Lark Street with the goal of making food that appeals to all sorts of people -- vegan and non-vegan.

As Berben said last year, "It's just good food. Vegetable forward, plant-based food."

And it's worked. Berben and Wolff's has built a following of fans, expanded its wholesale business that sells to other restaurants, and now has an eye on expansion.

We talked with Joey Berben last week in the busy second-floor dining space that looks out onto Lark Street about drawing an eclectic crowd, staying positive, and snowballing small successes.

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Follow up: Sunhee's Farm and Kitchen

Sunhees Jinah Kim 2017-June

By Cristin Steding

AOA is on summer break this week. So we'll have new follow-ups this week with people we've met and covered during the last year.

When we first spoke with Jinah Kim in 2016, she had big plans for Sunhee's Farm and Kitchen.

The goal, she said, was for Sunhee's to not only be a Korean restaurant, but also a hub for social services, specifically focused on the refugee and immigrant community. Walking into the restaurant today, you'll find little placards dotting the walls labeling things in Korean and English -- evidence of the English classes currently offered to staff members.

We caught up with Jinah to talk about how things have progressed over the last year, including a bar and a new patio, and how she's balancing between running a successful restaurant and giving back to the immigrant community.

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A look around the new Slidin' Dirty in Schenectady

Slidin Dirty Schenectady

The popular restaurant Slidin' Dirty opened a new location in the Foster Building on State Street in downtown Schenectady Thursday. It's the second location for owners Brooke and Tim Taney, who started out with a food truck in 2012, and then opened a permanent location in downtown Troy in 2014.

The new spot in Schenectady is much bigger than the Troy location, occupying two floors behind a large arch window that looks out onto the street.

Here's a look around the new space, along a few quick bits from the Taneys about why the picked Schenectady and the path from a food truck to multiple locations.

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Pushing the button one last time to start up the State Museum carousel

State Museum Carousel operator Ann Winnicki

Ann with her favorite carousel horse, Doc. (He only has three horseshoes.)

Back in 2001, Ann Winnicki was working in the State Museum's gift shop when her boss came to her with an unusual question: What would she think about being a carousel operator?

"And I said, 'There's no carousel here.' And he said there's going to be one on the fourth floor."

The State Museum had a circa 1915 carousel in storage and it was preparing to install it on the mezzanine level. Ann remembered seeing all the carousel's horses lined up in the gallery, waiting for their place on the circular platform. "I watched them build it."

Since then, the carousel has spun for hundreds of thousands of people. Winnicki has been pushing the button to start many of those rides. But this Thursday she'll push the button for the last time. She's retiring.

"I don't normally cry," she said this week, misting up. "It's very emotional."

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Recent Comments

What a brave young woman. Despite all of the hardships she has endured her main focus is to educate herself in order to spend her life in service to others as a doctor. How inspiring.

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