The last week's worth of items on AOA

Snow, probably

NWS Albany snowfall probability map example

An example: This map depicts that probability that there will be snowfall of more than 1 inch around the Capital Region between 7 am Tuesday (February 9) and 7 am Wednesday. / image: NWS Albany

Check out these snowfall probability forecasts/maps the National Weather Service Albany office has been posting online.

The non-winter winter hasn't provided many opportunities for making use of these maps, but we figured they were worth highlighting this week as we face the prospect of... a whole 3 inches of snow. (Somewhere the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter is feeling lonely and neglected.)

One of the things we like about these maps is they way they highlight how forecasts are about ranges of possibilities. For example, the top of the page includes three maps: "expect at least this much," "most likely snowfall," and "potential for this much."

And farther down the page there's a series of maps depicting the probabilities that snowfall will be at least some amount in areas around the Capital Region.

So the page is both a way to get a quick sense of potential snowfall -- and indulge your inner weather nerd.

This winter so far: As of the end of Sunday, the Albany area has gotten 5.5 inches of snow this winter -- that's 32.5 inches off the normal pace.

How NYC does protected bike lanes

Interesting in light of the ongoing discussion in Albany about protected bike lanes: Over at Gothamist there's a look at the design -- and arguments for -- a new protected bike lane that's to be built along Sixth Ave in Manhattan. Obviously, it's a very different situation than Madison Ave in Albany, but some of the discussion will sound familiar. (And there are also some interesting bits about NYC tracking crash data before and after changing the design of intersections.) [Gothamist]

How New Yorkers see the presidential race

siena poll republicans clinton sanders vs republians

Republicans who told the Siena poll they'd vote for either Clinton or Sanders.

A lot of the stuff about the presidential race in the Siena poll out Monday is, well, pretty much what you'd expect in New York State. Democratic respondents said they preferred Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders 55-34 in a primary. And respondents picked Clinton over all the potential Republicans in a theoretical matchup by relatively consistent margins of about 57-32 (or thereabout).

But one of the things about Hillary Clinton is that she's a polarizing figure -- even here in New York State, which elected her to the US Senate. That table above lists how many Republican respondents to the Siena poll said they would vote for either Clinton or Bernie Sanders in a hypothetical matchup with each of the various Republican contenders. (The margin of error for Republicans in the poll is relatively high -- see below -- so grains of salt.)

Yep, some number of Republicans not only said they're likely to vote for the Democrat -- but a portion (or portions) said they'd be more likely to do so if the Democrat was Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton. And just going on general ideology, that's kind of unexpected because Sanders has repeatedly described himself as a socialist -- and even criticized Clinton for being too moderate.

Of course, there's a lot more to the situation, including a Hillary Clinton's long history in the political spotlight. But, still, the preference is a little surprising.

Speaking of polarizing figures (Donald Trump)...

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Redeveloping a corner in Troy

former trojan hardware building exterior 2016-February

The former Trojan Hardware complex includes multiple buildings that were connected during the former store's almost century-long run.

By Lauren Hittinger Hodgson

Some projects aim to remake a single space or building. Kevin Blodgett has been remaking an entire corner of downtown Troy.

Since 2012, Blodgett has been redeveloping the former Trojan Hardware complex on the corner of Congress Street and 4th Street bit by bit. Spaces within the 35,000 square feet now provide homes to Rare Form Brewing Company, The Shop, and most recently, Forage + Sundry. And this spring Harrison's Corner Market -- a neighborhood grocery and sandwich shop -- is set to open.

I talked with Blodgett recently about his hopes for selling groceries in downtown Troy and the challenges of developing such a large space.

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Janet Jackson, Dead and Company at SPAC at this summer

janet jackson 2016

More summer concert announcements...

Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson will be at SPAC August 26. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, February 13 -- they're $29.50 and up (there's a also a four-pack for $80).

Jackson is touring in support of her Unbreakable album, released last year. (By the way: It's been 27 years since Rhythm Nation 1814.)

Dead & Company
Dead & Company are set to play at SPAC June 21. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 12 -- they're $40 and up.

The lineup for this show: Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzman, John Mayer, and Bob Weir, with Oteil Burbrdige and Jeff Chimenti.

via Janet Jackson FB

Drawing: The Lovely Feast at Takk House

The Honey Taps

The Lovely Feast will feature a performance by The Honey Taps.

The Takk House in Troy has a Valentine's Day event called The Lovely Feast lined up for Sunday -- "A traditional romantic date night with a spin." And we have a pair of tickets to give away.

To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

What's your favorite romantic place in the Capital Region?

You can interpret this a few different ways. Maybe it's a specific spot. Maybe it's a specific place and time. Maybe it's being with a certain person. We'll draw one winner at random.

Here's more about The Lovely Feast at Takk House:

Feast with your love, group of friends or come single! This event is for everyone.
We are not only providing dinner but a 1920's club experience. The Honey Taps, New York City's finest dance troop paying homage to the effervescent chorus girls of eras gone by.
They will be performing throughout the evening and even showing you some moves! You will also have a chance during cocktail hour to chat with the dancers and even steal a photo with them!
In collaboration with the show we have a one of a kind menu brought to you by the award winning Ric Orlando (New World Bistro, New World Home Cooking)!

Tickets for The Lovely Feast are $90 (limited number of pre-sale) and $125 (general admission). They include the cocktail hour, dinner, open bar, and performance. The evening starts at 6 pm on Sunday, February 14.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by 10 am on Wednesday and must respond by 10 am on Thursday, February 11.

photo: Dennis J. Photography

DA shows UAlbany bus incident video to group of leaders, charting the timeline on the Hoosick Falls situation, homeless shelters facing space crunch

UAlbany bus incident
Albany County DA David Soares showed video of the UAlbany bus incident to a group of community and university leaders Friday afternoon. Alice Green, executive director of the Center for Law and Justice, was part of the group: "It was very confusing, very difficult to tell what was going on, but we haven't heard, at least I haven't heard, any racial slurs." Albany Common Council president Carolyn McLaughlin was also part of the group and said the crowded bus made it hard to see what exactly happened. Soares on why he showed the video to the group: "There is a social media component here that is moving at a much faster clip than the actual truth-seeking, fact-finding investigation, and ... people are arriving at conclusions that are based upon the words and hearsay of individuals. We can't engage in that." [News10] [WNYT] [TWCN] [TU]

Hoosick Falls water
The Times Union reports that documents and emails indicate the state Department of Health had some of knowledge of PFOA contamination of the Hoosick Falls water supply as far back as August 2014 -- but unclear information and regulations contributed to a delay in the public being notified. [TU]

State and local officials -- including Congressman Chris Gibson -- were in Hoosick Falls Saturday to learn about the new water filtration system. Also: a survey of the various law firms currently vying for business in Hoosick Falls. [News10] [TU+]

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The week ahead

bruce springsteen 2014 jeans jacket

He's the Boss. And he'll be at the TU Center Monday night.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (wintry), to birds and beer, to neighborhood history, to stories, to hoops, to music...

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This week was brought to you by

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Honest Weight -- eat healthy, local and delicious.

This week was brought to you by broken resolutions, decadent drawings, starting over and a quiet internal countdown to spring. It was also brought to you by AOA advertisers. Without them there would be no us for you. And that would be sad for us all. So please support them when you can, and, if you think of it, thank them for being a part of the community.

This week we send out special thanks to Honest Weight Coop: fresh, local, healthy and delicious.

Want to advertise on AOA? It's easy and affordable. Just send us a note at advertising@alloveralbany.com and we'll get you started.


Office space
The Tech Valley Center of Gravity. This maker space in a renovated historic Troy building currently has co-working available for just $50 per month. The Center of Gravity also offers space, equipment, education and camaraderie to makers, hackers, crafters, tinkerers and artists.

Food and Drink

Snacks
Our Daily Eats, making roasted nuts, seeds and granola in the Capital District for over 10 years. And the place to get Spicy Ginger Cashews while they last!

Nine Pin Cider
Nine Pin Ciderworks, offering cheese and charcuterie in their tasting room, Wednesday through Saturday evenings and Sundays from 1pm to 6pm.

Snacks and movies
Tierra Coffee Roasters and the Madison Theater. This season Tierra donated $2,500.00 to The Food Pantries of the Capital District.Tierra treats are available at their Madison Avenue shop and at the Madsion Theater.

New World
New World Bistro Bar, named #1 Best Restaurant, according to Times Union 'Best of the Capital Region' Readers' Poll and also listed as one of 'the 13 Best New York Restaurants, not in NYC' according to Thrillist.com.

Local, healthy, delicious
Honest Weight Food Coop. Eat healthy, eat local.

Catering
New World Catering, bringing small dinners, big parties and weddings to you.

Fine wine
Capital Wine at the corner of State and Lark Streets, with a wonderful supply of wines from around the world.

Ways to get where you're going

CDTA: whether it's work or play, CDTA can get you where you're going and safely back home again.

Capital Car Share. Share cars for just $8 an hour.

Stuff to do

Learn to dance
Fred Astaire Dance Studio. Learn to dance in 2016.

Music
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, presenting The Milk Carton Kids, this spring.

Museums
The Albany Institute of History and Art, presenting its exhibit: The Capital Region in 50 Objects. From cannons to billiard balls to tulip queens to Uncle Sam's chamber pot -- 50 objects and background images that help tell the story of the Capital Region.

Laughs
Mop & Bucket Improv Companypresenting a new season of Electric City Improv, every Friday night at Proctors.

Films
Spectrum 8 Theaters. Enjoy a movie this Holiday Season at The Spectrum.

Places to Live

The Capital Team
Brian Brosen and Reggie Monroe at The Capital Team at Realty USA. Brian and Reggie can help out with your residential and commercial real estate needs in the Capital Region.

Harmony Mills
Harmony Mills Lofts in Cohoes -- Manhattan style loft living in the Albany area.

Helpful stuff

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C.. Staff Ciampino can help you with your business and personal tax needs. They're also the sponsors of the All Over Albany Start Up Grant business contest, so they're not only good at what they do, they're awesome too.

Banking
Berkshire Bank, providing the $1,500 prize money for this year's AOA Startup Contest. Great rates on home equity loans.

Libraries
The Albany Public Libraries. Their mobile app helps you find library locations and hours, check your library card account, learn about upcoming events, download eBooks, audiobooks, music and more. You can even check ISBN bar codes on books, DVDs and CDs to see if the library owns what you need.

A quick recap of the week

week review 2016-02-05

Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:

+ Anonymous asked about finding a local mental health provider for working through their anxiety -- and there were a bunch of helpful suggestions.

+ Sandy wrote about how knocking down 787 and the South Mall Arterial could actually improve traffic in Albany.

+ What Frederick Douglass thought of Albany in 1847.

+ The schedules for the next seasons of Broadway shows at Proctors and productions at Capital Rep are out.

+ The big Resolution Shmezolution drawing -- prizes from Crave, Cheesecake Machismo, Nine Pin, Spa Virgo, The Spectrum, Uncle Sam's Candy -- asked: What are you planning to go all-out on this year?

+ Deanna tried out the fast-casual take on Italian food at Bellini's Counter.

+ Some discussion about the potential of bus rapid transit in this area.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: the proposed Albany-Rensselaer tunnel, comments, escaping turkeys, Patsy's, a pinball arcade, Frontier Town, going back to school, Parivar, wild game, Van's, Soul Kitchen, burgers, a blow torch, NYC, and a return.

+ A new sampler of local cooking classes for the next few months.

+ We talked with Albany resident Amelia Hershberger about winning on Jeopardy three times -- and arm wrestling Alex Trebek.

+ And there's going to be some new development at the Harriman State Office Campus -- so, what's the plan?

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea this week!

Planning Habitat for Humanity Capital District's future

Habitat for Humanity Capital District is starting a strategic planning process with a "Habitat Cafe" public meeting Monday, February 8 at the First Lutheran Church in Albany (181 Western Ave) from 8:30 am-11:30 am. (There's registration info at that link.) Blurbage:

"Habitat for Humanity Capital District is planning for the future! We are getting ready to prepare a strategic plan and we need YOUR help. We want to create a shared vision and a plan that will help guide us toward that vision. ... Join us for a morning of coffee and conversation about Habitat, our role in the community and how we can best realize our shared vision of a region where everyone has a decent place to live."

If you can't make the meeting, but would still like to offer thoughts, the org has posted an online survey.

In recent years Habitat for Humanity Capital District has been evolving into something more like a property developer. It's one of the key organizations behind the Sheridan Hollow redevelopment, one of the area's most interesting real estate projects. And it's also taken up an effort to rehab existing buildings.

Sentinel Butchery closed

Sentinel Butchery -- the whole-animal butcher shop that opened in downtown Troy last October -- has closed, Steve Barnes reports. (And confirmed by the shop's FB page.) [TU Table Hopping] Earlier: Talking with the owner of Sentinel Butchery

Phish back at SPAC for 2016

phish 2016

Phish is flocking back to SPAC for three shows July 1-3. Tickets go on sale February 26 -- they're $45 (lawn) and $65 (pavilion). (There's also an allotment of tickets available via an online ticket request presale.)

FYI: The Fourth of July is on a Monday this year. So those shows are Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Earlier: Dave Matthews Band at SPAC 2016

photo: Peter Yang

A new complex for UAlbany, and a few thoughts about the future of the Harriman State Office Campus

UAlbany ETEC GroundLevelView

A rendering of the Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex (ETEC).

UAlbany will be building a new complex on a chunk of the Harriman State Office Campus for the new College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity, the Cuomo admin formally announced today.

That's a rendering of the complex above. Here's a larger version, along with an aerial view of the complex's position on the Harriman campus.

The development -- called the "Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurship Complex" or ETEC -- will be on 12 acres in the southwest corner of the Harriman campus. (Yep, that's the portion right next UAlbany's uptown campus.) It'll house both the new college and New York State Mesonet, the statewide weather monitoring system that's currently being rolled out.

Press release blurbage:

The $184 million project will be financed through $92 million in previously appropriated State capital funds grants as well as $92 million in previously appropriated Campus-funds. It is anticipated that 1,600 construction jobs will be created by the project. When fully occupied, the complex will become an active hub of research, instruction and business development, with some 1,000 daily occupants including faculty, researchers, industry partners, and students. Site planning is underway and construction is expected to begin in 2017, with completion targeted for 2020.

About the Harriman campus and the city of Albany

The Harriman campus is ongoing issue not just for the state, but for the city of Albany -- because it's enormous, roughly 330 acres within the city limits. And it's tax exempt, a fact that Albany leaders routinely bring up when banging the drum for more state aid.

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"We can no longer deny or ignore the extent of slavery right here in Albany"

Over at the Times Union, Paul Grondahl looks at the new exhibit at Fort Crailo in Rensselaer -- "A Dishonorable Trade: Human Trafficking in the Dutch Atlantic World" -- and talks with with researchers about ongoing efforts to learn more about the history slavery in and around Albany, specifically involving the family of Philip Schuyler. [TU+ (link around)]

Stuff to do this weekend

molly ringwald

Molly Ringwald will be at Proctors for a 30th anniversary screening of The Breakfast Club.

Yes, it's the first weekend in February, but you should probably cancel your plans for tobogganing and snowball fighting. Still, a winter carnival, Chowderfest, roller derby and plenty of other events -- both indoor and outdoor-- are slated for the weekend.

After the jump, we've collected a bunch of stuff we thought might be fun. Doing something you don't see here? Tell us about it in the comments.

And whatever you're up to, enjoy he weather and have a fantastic weekend.

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Push for new Hoosick Falls water supply, "no secret spells" for Troy budget problems, railroad overpass as can opener

Hoosick Falls water
As fear and uncertainty wear on people in the Hoosick Falls, state Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin is pushing for a new water source for the village: "I don't think a permanent filtration system is going to satisfy the people of Hoosick Falls." [Politico NY] [WNYT]

Also: Charting the long history of manufacturing using PFOA in the village. [News10]

The state of Troy
Troy mayor Patrick Madden on fixing the city's financial problems in his state of the city speech Thursday: "There are no secret spells, incantations or silver bullets. We did not get here overnight, nor can it be fixed overnight. It will take some time to reclaim our fiscal health, but we cannot put this off any longer. The time to start this work is now." (Madden says the current year budget is balanced, but city council president Carmella Mantello says it's not.) He also floated the idea of a tax on hotel stays. [Troy Record] [News10] [TU]

Schenectady police discipline
A state appeals court has ruled against the city of Schenectady in its bid to have the city public safety commissioner oversee police disciplinary cases. Public safety commissioner Wayne Bennett says the city now has to decide whether it will appeal the case to the state's highest court. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

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Today's moment of winter

capital hills sunset 2016-02-04

Or non-winter, or whatever this season is.

She won Jeopardy three times -- and arm wrestled Alex Trebek

Amelia Hershberger on Jeopardy

A few hundred people appear on Jeopardy each year. And of those, only a handful end up as winners on the quiz show. And even fewer end up arm wrestling Alex Trebek.

Actually, there's probably only one contestant who'll end up arm wrestling Alex Trebek this year. And that person is Amelia Hershberger from Albany.

The Center Square resident -- she grew up in Greene County, went to UAlbany, and now works for the state courts system -- racked up $43,000 in prize money in the course of winning three times in episodes that aired last month.

And then there was that whole situation with Alex Trebek and the feats of strength.

We got a chance to talk with her recently about superfluous knowledge, the real scoop on Trebek, spending the prize money, and her Albany Jeopardy categories...

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Four more red light camera intersections

Red light cameras will be activated at four more intersections in Albany Friday: New Scotland Ave/Manning Blvd, Central Ave/Henry Johnson Blvd, Madison Ave/South Pearl St, Madison Ave/Quail St. [APD] Earlier: A quick look at how Albany's red light camera system has started off

Signs of a comeback for one of the Hudson River's iconic species

atlantic sturgeon illustration

illustration: Duane Raver/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikipedia

The Atlantic sturgeon is an iconic species for the Hudson River -- it's the fish depicted in the logo for the river's estuary, it was once a favorite food in this area known as "Albany beef," and they can grow up to 8-feet-long. The last century has been rough on the species, though -- the population has declined significantly the fish are now considered endangered.

But the state Department of Environmental Conservation reports this week that there are indications that Atlantic sturgeon populations are rebounding. DEC says a survey of the Hudson River last year found the highest numbers of sturgeon in the survey's 10-year history -- and there appears to be an overall upward trend.

Said acting DEC commissioner Basil Seggos in a press release: "We are cautiously optimistic that, with our continued vigilance and efforts to protect this species, Atlantic sturgeon will have a secure future."

The decline of Atlantic sturgeon populations prompted a 1998 moratorium on fishing them along the East Coast. And that ban could last until the late 2030s because sturgeon can live as long as 60 years, and don't reach maturity until 11-21 years old.

As David Strayer, a freshwater ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, explained to us last year:

"Fisheries biologists talk about [the overfishing of Atlantic sturgeon] like clear cutting, which I think is an apt analogy. You wouldn't think you could go into a wood lot and cut all the trees every five minutes and expect there to be a forest there any longer. Everybody understands it takes so many years for a baby tree to grow up. It's the same way with the sturgeons. When we started fishing them real hard it was like someone went into the woods and cut all the trees."

And now it appears the forest of fish is starting to slowly grow back.

Earlier on AOA: Odd and notable creatures of the Hudson River

The Triplets of Belleville with live score at Proctors

This could be fun: Proctors will be hosting a screening of the animated film The Triplets of Belleville with a live performance of the score in the GE Theater February 13.

The score will be played be a nine-piece jazz ensemble -- Le Terrible Orchestre de Belleville -- led by Benoît Charest, who wrote much of the music for the film. The clip embedded above is the ensemble playing along with the film in Montreal a few years back.

And if you've never seen the film -- it's a surreal blending o 1930s jazz, the Tour de France, the mob, and a mystery.

The performance at Proctors is Saturday, February 13 at 8 pm. Tickets are $20 and up.

A sampling of cooking classes, winter 2016

kitchen tools in metal holder

Even in this winter of non-winter, February and March can be a good time to take a cooking class. It's a chance to gather somewhere warm, learn something new, and eat something good.

So, here's a new a batch of cooking classes over the next few months that caught our eye -- and maybe you'll find them interesting: From Valentine's Day treats, to sausage making, to tagine, to ramen, to sushi, to pancakes.

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Sweat sentenced for escape attempt, Albany County joins suit to stop oil trains, Rivers Casino breaks ground, no really-- it's still February

Sweat sentenced
David Sweat, the convicted murderer who, with his partner Richard Matt, escaped from Dannemora prison last summer, was sentenced on Wednesday to pay $79,841 in restitution and serve 31/2 to seven years in prison for the escape and a similar consecutive sentence for prison contraband. At the sentencing Sweat apologized for frightening people, but the New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said she was convinced Sweat "would try it again if given the opportunity." [TU][TWCN] [TU]

UAlbany bus incident
UAlbany president Robert Jones released a video statement Wednesday asking people for patience on the investigation in the bus incident last weekend: "I ask all of us to not rush to judgment. We need to know all of the facts. We must get this right." Jones said university police had interviewed 29 people, and were reviewing video and audio. The incident is continuing to get attention beyond the Capital Region -- Hillary Clinton's Twitter account mentioned it Thursday. [UAlbany] [@HillaryClinton]

Saint-Gobain
"When all of the cameras are off and all the TV lights are down and all the microphones go away, we will be here." The President and CEO of Saint-Gobain, the company alleged to have released PFOA into the Hoosick Falls water system, on their commitment to the community where they have operated for years. [WNYT]

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It's winter beerfest season

NYSBA Craft New York at Desmond 2014

From a previous Craft New York Brewers Festival at The Desmond.

Coming up over the next month or so:

February 20: Saratoga Beer Summit at Saratoga City Center
It's the cap to Saratoga Beer Week. "Sample over 150 releases from some of America's best craft breweries. Plus hang out in an atmosphere filled with live music, delicious food available for purchase, and great vendors." Saturday, February 20 two sessions 1-4 pm / 5:30-8:30 pm -- $40

March 5: Craft New York Brewers Festival at The Desmond
The third year for this festival organized by the New York State Brewers Association. "The Craft New York Brewers Festival will bring together 45 New York Breweries (and brewers) from every region of the state featuring up to 100+ hard to find and award winning beers. To make this very special event more exclusive, we will feature food sampling and pairing from local Albany restaurants and food vendors to go along with each brewery attending at no extra cost!" Saturday, March 5 5-8 pm -- $40 ahead ($50 day of) / $55 VIP ahead ($65 day) gets you in an hour earlier and access to handful of one-off beers / $15 designated driver

March 12: Snommegang Invitational Beer Festival in Oneonta
"For the third annual Snommegang Invitational; Brewery Ommegang will be inviting a host of our craft brewing brethren to sample their wares and wow our audience. In addition to the seven breweries that are represented by Duvel Moorgat USA LTD we will feature brews by at least 30 of our good craft beer friends." Saturday, March 12 2-6 pm -- $50

photo: New York State Brewers Association

Substitutes

Not really surprising, but the real world doesn't always work as you'd expect: Low gasoline prices cut into Amtrak ridership by more four percent, according to a recent analysis -- though less so on short trip (less than 250 miles) than on medium trips (between 250 and 550 miles). Back of the envelope: The cost of driving roundtrip Albany-NYC on $2/gallon gas is about $20 cheaper than the cost on $4/gallon gas. (It's about 155 miles from Albany to Manhattan.) [CityLab] From way back: The best way to get from Albany to NYC?

"Anachronisms & Inaccuracy" at SCPL

SCPL event poster historical fictionThis could be interesting, even if you're not setting out to write a book: The Schenectady County Public Library is hosting an event called "Anachronisms & Inaccuracy: The Challenges of Writing Historical Fiction" with with historical mystery author Eleanor Kuhns. Topics-to-be-discussed blurbage:

+ Resources for research-from using Wikipedia to Writing software
+ How to avoid information dumps-working key historical facts into a narrative
+ Using period slang properly
+ Getting published
+ Working with editors

Heck, we'd be interested in a whole event about period slang. It'd be the bee's knees.

The event at the SCPL central library is Saturday, February 27 from 10:30 am-noon. It's free, but the library does ask that you pre-register.

Adult coloring book night: By the way, the SCPL's next adult coloring book night is Wednesday, February 10.

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the proposed Albany-Rensselaer tunnel, comments, escaping turkeys, Patsy's, a pinball arcade, Frontier Town, going back to school, Parivar, wild game, Van's, Soul Kitchen, burgers, a blow torch, NYC, and a return.

Neighborhood in-post ad APL 2015

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Nothing to melt

Non-winter winter fact of the day: Stewart's president Gary Dake says the company has sold 560,000 fewer pounds of ice melt so far this winter compared to the same time last winter. [@garydake]

The potential impact of bus rapid transit

cleveland healthline BRT

Cleveland's HealthLine was rated one of the highest quality BRT lines in the nation for its incorporation of multiple BRT features. / photo: Wikipedia user GoddardRocket

Whenever the topic of public transportation comes up around here, there's often a clamor for some sort of light rail. The reasons for that are probably an interesting topic all on their own. But one some level, it doesn't matter -- because building out a light rail system is probably not going to happen anytime in either the short or medium-term future because of cost.

But the Capital Region is moving toward a system that's more than "just" the bus: CDTA is working to build out bus rapid transit (BRT) -- BusPlus. There's already the line that runs along Route 5 between Albany and Schenectady. And CDTA is trying to pull together the funding for two more lines: one that would run along Western/Washington corridor (including UAlbany, SUNY Poly, and Crossgates) and another that would connect downtown Albany/Watervliet/Troy/Cohoes/Waterford via Route 32.

Of course, one of the criticisms of bus rapid transit is that it's actually more "bus" than "rapid transit."

But a new study concludes that BRT appears to have prompted small but significant differences in a handful of cities around the United States. Specifically, BRT stations appear to be attracting jobs (especially higher-wage jobs, perhaps pushing out lower-wage jobs), higher rents for office spaces, and more multi-family building development compared to other similar spots without BRT stations. They also found that BRT appears to be lowering transportation costs for nearby households.

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Video surfaces in CDTA bus incident, physician says public health study should include former Hoosick Falls residents, groundbreaking for Rivers Casino scheduled today, Senate approves MMA for the 7th time

Hoosick Falls water
A doctor who has been pivotal in uncovering the Hoosick Falls water contamination crisis says a state public health study of the long-term impact on village residents needs to include those who have moved away over the years. According to a new document, Hoosick Falls asked for the village water to be tested back in April of last year, but people were not instructed to stop drinking the water until November. [TU][News 10]

CDTA bus attack
Video has surfaced of the CDTA bus altercation in which a group of Ualbany students say they were the victims of a racially motivated attack. [TU]

Casino groundbreaking
The Rivers Casino groundbreaking is expected to take place today.[TU]

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Today's moment of winter

empty little league baseball field 2016-02-02

Beginning of February and it looks like someone could be out there raking the mound for the start of the season. Weird.

New, but also sort of old

trustco new scotland ave design echo

We end up talking about architecture and building design around here a lot -- and those discussions often trend toward people talking about things they don't like.

So, here's something we noticed recently that struck us as... good.

TrustCo recently replaced the building for its branch at New Scotland Ave and Ontario Street in Albany's Helderberg neighborhood. And the design of building's front facade echoes the look of facades on the longstanding commercial strip just down New Scotland on the other side of Ontario. See how the parapet* on the roof is a similar style. (Update: Thanks to Daniel N, it sounds like the word we should have used was fascia.)

The image above is the new bank building on top, with a few examples of the facades from the commercial strip below. Here's a larger version if you'd like to see more of the detail.

*We think we're using that term correctly. We're sure someone will (politely) correct us if we're not. (Update: And people have done so! Thank you!)

Food factories

Farther afield, but maybe interesting in light of the some of the old warehouse-type buildings in this area: There's a company called Gotham Greens that's been building enormous rooftop greenhouses around the NYC and Chicago areas for growing crops such as basil and salad greens -- it just opened a 60,000-square-foot facility in Queens. (Could a building like Central Warehouse become something like that?) [Gotham Greens] [Chicago Mag] [Cuomo admin]

Talking about the history of the Rapp Road Community Historic District

Rapp Road smokehouse

The building that served as the neighborhood smokehouse.

The city of Albany is hosting an event at city hall about the history of the Rapp Road Community Historic District February 9. Blurbage:

Beverly Bardequez, a third generation Rapp Road resident who is president of the Rapp Road Historical Association, and Dr. F. Maxine Fantroy-Ford, a former Albany School District principal who was raised on Rapp Road, will present a history of this vibrant community.
The area was settled by African Americans who came to Albany from Shubuta, Mississippi, as part of the Great Migration. They were among the millions of African Americans who fled the racial and economic oppression of the South from about 1910 to 1970. Many who came to Albany settled in the South End, but a group moved to Rapp Road to establish the rural lifestyle they were accustomed to and preferred.

A few years back, Casey Normile talked with Beverly Bardequez, a third-generation resident of the neighborhood, about the origins of the community in the Pine Bush.

The event at city hall on Tuesday, February 9 starts at 5 pm. It's free.

The Antipasto Salad at Bellini's Counter

bellinis counter antipasta salad overhead

By Deanna Fox

The fast-casual concept is the hot ticket in restaurants these days. It is why places like Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and the upcoming Troy Kitchen continue to flourish across the dining scene. Sitting down and ordering with a server is so old-hat. We Americans are a busy bunch! Give us quality food on the go and don't make us wait too long for it.

But one cuisine that is unrepresented in the local fast-casual marketplace is Italian fare (save for pizza). Is it possible to get a hearty bowl of spaghetti and meatballs with haste?

Bellini's Counter -- the fast-casual offshoot of the local Bellini's Italian restaurant chain -- seems to think so. And they are willing to bet that the food you've come to expect from more formal sit-down restaurants can be had just as easily in this quick-serve format.

I think it's fair to say Bellini's is cashing in on that bet.

(there's more)

Resolution Shmezolution 2016 drawing: prizes from Crave, Cheesecake Machismo, Nine Pin, Spa Virgo, The Spectrum, Uncle Sam's Candy

Cheesecake Machismo Frankencake

Few resolutions can stand up to a Frankencake. (Unless it's a resolution to eat more cheesecake.)

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

It's now February, so how are some of those New Year's resolutions working out? Yeah...

So, let's send them to their timely ends with gusto. It's the return of the Resolution Shmezolution drawing!

This year's prize includes:

+ A $30 gift card to Crave Burgers and Frozen Yogurt
+ A cheesecake from Cheesecake Machismo
+ A flight of cider and cheese at the Nine Pin Cider Works tasting room
+ A $100 gift card from Spa Virgo
+ Four movie passes to The Spectrum
+ One pound of fudge -- in a heart-shaped box -- from Uncle Sam's Candy

To enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

What are you planning to go all-out on this year?

This could be anything: Maybe you're planning to step it up at work. Maybe you're planning to see a ton of concerts around the area. Maybe you're going to run that marathon. It could be whatever. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.)

We'll draw one winner at random.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Thursday, February 4, 2016 to be entered in the drawing. You must answer the question to be part of the drawing. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.) One entry per person, please. You must enter a valid email address (that you check regularly) with your comment. The winner will be notified via email by noon on Friday and must respond by noon on Monday, February 8.

2016-2017 lineups for Proctors Broadway shows and Capital Rep

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

The Broadway season at Proctors includes the Tony-winning play The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. / photo: Joan Marcus

The Broadway season at Proctors includes the Tony-winning play The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. / photo: Joan Marcus

Proctors and Capital Rep have jointly announced their lineups for the next season of Broadway shows and theater productions. The Broadway series at Proctors includes a bunch of prominent shows -- including a little musical called Wicked. And the Cap Rep lineup again includes a world-premiere play.

Tickets for both series go on sale today (February 2) as part of subscription packages. Individual show tickets will be available closer to the season starting.

Some shows end up being very popular, so you might want to plan ahead a little bit for tickets if you're interested in going.

Without further ado...

(there's more)

Rally at UAlbany in response to bus incident, guilty plea in death of Skidmore student, she was born when Taft was president

UAlbany bus incident rally 2016-02-01

The rally Monday evening at UAlbany.

Incident on bus at UAlbany
A rally at UAlbany Monday evening to support the three African-American women who say they were attacked on a CDTA bus by a group using racial slurs drew hundreds of people to the uptown campus center. One of the women, Asha Burwell, told the crowd: "We are shocked, upset, but we will remain unbroken. We stand here with strength because we value our worth as black women and as human beings in general. I would like everyone to understand that more violence will not solve anything. It will not make us feel any better nor will it result in any justice for us." [TU] [News10]

Monday afternoon University Police Department chief J. Frank Wiley said in a statement that UPD has used video from CDTA and other sources to identify 34 persons of interest -- 16 of whom have been interviewed, with more interviews planned. TWCN has posted interview clips with an anonymous person who says she was on the bus early Saturday morning -- and she says her recollection of events differs from the details that have been made public so far. The bus was one of CDTA's new "accordion" busses -- and the transit org says the driver didn't know what was happening in the back of the bus. [UPD] [TWCN] [WNYT]

Hoosick Falls water
In Latham Monday, Chuck Schumer said of the situation in Hoosick Falls the public efforts say far by the company Saint-Gobain: "They've got to do more. Expressing sympathy and giving out filters is not enough. There's a cloud of fear and uncertainty hanging over Hoosick Falls." Residents of the village have been signing up for testing of their wells and blood, and some have already installed filtering systems in their houses. Said Brian Bushner, a village resident who's decided to run for the village board of trustees because of the situation, to the Troy Record: "What infuriated me the most -- and I think I speak for a lot of people here when I say this -- is the mayor saying it was a personal choice to drink the water until after the EPA said to stop drinking it. Think about that phrase for just a second. You can't live without water. Water, beside air, is the most basic thing you need to live. You're saying it's a personal choice to do the most basic thing for survival." [TU] [WNYT] [Biz Review] [Troy Record]

(there's more)

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