The last week's worth of items on AOA

The week ahead

comedian Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer will be in town later this week for a show at the TU Center.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (May-ish), to drama, to art, to startups, to comedy, to tulips, to music...

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This week was brought to you by

New World ext.jpg

New World is taking Mothers Day reservations.

This week was brought to you by pretty birds, stinky trees and blooming tulips.

And of course, it was brought to you by AOA's awesome advertisers.This week we send out special thanks to New World Bistro Bar, taking reservations for their amazing Mothers Day brunch.

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.

Food and Drink

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.Tierra treats are available at their Madison Avenue shop and at the Madsion Theater.

New World
New World Bistro Bar. Make reservations now for their Mothers Day brunch.

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

Make stuff
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.

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, mummies, art, history and now the home of Cafe Crisan.

Laughs
Mop & Bucket Improv Company, performing every Friday night at Proctors and at your special event.

Films
Spectrum 8 Theaters.

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 2016-04-30

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

+ We gave away tickets to Champagne on the Park by asking: If you could create any sort of tulip, what it look like and what would you call it? There were some fun answers!

+ There's a push to make Nipper a landmark -- officially.

+ Deanna was moved to verse by the ice cream slider at Kurver Kreme.

+ A big list of shows from the upcoming Proctors season.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: reaching people, the presidential primary, the Washington County Fiber Tour, wildflowers, Gore Mountain, getting into the game, red sauce joints, pierogi, Woodstock, a burger, a business expense, the universe, a poignant monument, a not-shoddy history, and a pep talk.

+ Julie highlighted some of the unusual birds you can spot in Washington Park, along with a handful of other nearby birding spots.

+ CDTA had another year of record-high ridership.

+ The big project at 1 Monument Square in Troy has been canceled.

+ And some "sliding" photos of the Washington Park tulip beds before the blooms and after.

Here's the whole week in one place.

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

The 1 Monument Square project is off (again)

1 Monument Square rendering

A rendering from one of the last iterations of the current project.

The development company behind the latest effort to build on the 1 Monument Square site in downtown Troy announced Friday that it's pulling out of the $24 million residential/retail project.

In statements, officials for the Kirchoff Companies criticized the city of Troy for what they described as "materially inadequate" info about underground utility lines that complicated construction at the site. And they had sharp words for a group that organized to oppose the project, questioning whether the group had the city's best interests at heart. [TU] [Biz Review]

That group, We Care About the Square, had argued that changes Kirchoff made to its original proposal -- including switching from two buildings to one -- had evolved the project to a degree that it significantly differed from what had first been pitched. In a statement posted on Facebook Friday, it called the proposed project "substandard." It continued:

"Anyone who has been listening to the debate knows that WCATS is a pro-development, pro-design, pro-quality group of invested citizens that values the extraordinary urban and architectural assets of Troy and wants to see the gap in River Street and our city's river fa├žade completed in a manner that connects the downtown to the Riverfront, meets the highest standards of excellence in architectural design, and is of the construction quality the city deserves."

This ending wasn't really a surprise.

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Blooming tulips, before and after

tulip2016 bloom before after static

It's prime tulip season, so we put together another around of "sliding" before-and-after photos of the tulip beds in Washington Park.

The pre-bloom photos are from April 22. And the post-bloom photos are from Friday, April 29.

The tulips be at their peak this coming week. And thanks to the snapback cold a few weeks ago, it looks like many of them will be around for Tulip Fest.

Happy spring.

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Coyotes and their exciting opportunities

From the state Department of Environmental Conservation's annual heads-up-there-are-coyotes-here-please-don't-feed-them announcement (emphasis added): "In most cases, coyotes avoid people as much as possible. In fact, coyotes provide many exciting opportunities for New Yorkers. Their howling and yipping at night can provide a haunting but harmless reminder of wildlife in our midst. However, if coyotes learn to associate people with food (such as, garbage or pet food), they may lose their natural fear of humans, and the potential for close encounters or conflicts increases." [NYSDEC] Earlier: About those coyotes

Death Wish Coffee Vodka

death wish coffee vodka albany distillingThe latest local beverage collaboration: Albany Distilling Company and Death Wish Coffee have teamed up to create a coffee-flavored vodka. And there's a release party for the product of the collaboration this Saturday, April 30 at Olde Saratoga Brewing Co in Saratoga Springs.

Vodka blurbage: "Our most recent joint project has been a long time in the making - Death Wish Vodka. This silky smooth coffee flavored vodka is balanced by roasted choclate and just a touch of sweetness."

The release party is from 2-6 pm. There will be samples of the vodka, and bottles available for sale, along with beers on tap from Olde Saratoga. Also lined up: music from The North & South Dakotas, Angels on the Fourth, and Better Pills. Tickets are $5 ahead / $10 at the door.

Bottles of the vodka will be available on retail shelves starting Monday, a spots such as Empire Wine and Exit 9 Wine and Liquor.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Death Wish Coffee gets a Super Bowl ad
+ The Brew Brew

photo: Optimum Exposure Photography / ADC

Recycled funk: Those stinky trees

pear tree blossomsBecause of the #518funk situation this morning (which, we must say, we did not detect) -- and the season generally -- we figured it's a good time to recycle Ryan's post about the very distinct smell of flowering pear trees: What are those stinky trees? A clip:

[A]ll of the approximately 30 species of pear contain the aroma compound pentyl butanoate. I will spare you the biochemistry -- this is the compound that makes pears and apricots smell as they do. One the precursors of pentyl butanoate is butyric acid, which is present in butter, parmesan cheese and... vomit.

The callery pear was a trendy street tree for a while in many cities because of its appearance. Apparently its odor profile was much less publicized. Last year we asked Albany city forester Tom Pfeiffer about the trees:

"[The smell] was something I wasn't aware of," Pfeiffer said of the trees' rather distinctive odor. "Then we had a very warm spring day and I said, 'What is that smell? It smells like cat piss.' The temperature was about 90 and it just made that odor come out. These trees that we had so many of all of sudden... oh, my god, what did we have? So that fell off my list right about then."

It also turns out the pear trees don't hold up well under heavy snow. So between that and the stink, they've since fallen out of favor in cities.

Stuff to do this weekend

Alton Brown

Alton Brown's Eat Your Science show is Saturday night at Proctors.

On your mark. Get set. Weekend!

There's so much stuff going on this weekend you may not know what to do first -- food, comedy, films, music, art, history -- baby animals. So. Much. Stuff.

After the jump, a little weekend roadmap to help you figure out how you're going to spend your precious 48(ish) hours. Planning something you don't see here? Drop it in the comments for the rest of us to see.

And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.

Amy_Schumer-TUC(525x80).gif

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Family questions handling of Troy police fatal shooting investigation, Albany aiming to save $100k with new lights, the kindness of regular people

April 17 fatal shooting by Troy police (updated)
Friday morning the family Edson Thevenin -- the man fatally shot by Troy police during an incident near the Collar City Bridge -- spoke to the media about the case, saying Troy police have changed their story about what happened multiple times. Said Thevenin's wife, Cinthia, about the handling of the case: "They were just trying to wrap things up as quickly as they can and sweep it under the rung. They were hoping it would just go away and we wouldn't ask questions." [TWCN] [TU]

In light of the current dispute between state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove over who should have jurisdiction to investigate the case, a look at an opinion piece Abelove wrote for Times Union this past August about the Andrew Cuomo executive order moving the power to investigate deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of police to the AG's office: "I remain committed to handling all cases, including those involving law enforcement officers, with impartiality, fairness and honesty, without fear or favor -- but in a lawful and transparent fashion." Abelove continued to decline publicly commenting Thursday. A question in the case: Could Thevenin's car -- which police allege he used to pin an officer against another vehicle -- be considered a weapon? [TU+] [Troy Record] [WNYT]

Stabbing in downtown Troy
Troy police say they're investigating the stabbing of a woman near State Street and the Frear Alley (map) Thursday night. TPD says sounds of moaning led people to discover the woman -- she was taken to the hospital for surgery. [News10] [TWCN] [TU]

Albany apartment fire
A fire at multi-unit home in West Hill late Thursday afternoon has displaced 13 people. Residents say it appears a problem with electric wiring caused the fire. [News10] [WNYT]

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Another year of record-high CDTA bus ridership

CDTA 10 bus downtown Albany

CDTA announced this week that it had more than 17.1 million passenger boardings during the fiscal year that ended in March -- a record high for the transit org. It's the third straight year CDTA has set a new annual ridership record.

Boardings were up 1 percent compared the previous fiscal year. And CDTA says they're up 25 percent compared to five years ago.

What's driving the increase? One big factor appears to be the increasing number of "universal access" agreements CDTA has formed with multiple organizations (such as local colleges) in recent years, under which people connected with the orgs are provided unlimited free rides. CDTA says boardings that are part of this program now make up 25 percent of all the systems rides.

CDTA ridership hit low point during the late 1990s and has been trending upward overall since then. After the jump there's a graph of the numbers from 1980 to now.

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Birding in Washington Park

wood ducks in Washington Park

A pair of wood ducks in the Washington Park lake this week.

By Julie Madsen

The Capital Region is a very wild place -- and not just on Lark Street around 2 am.

Many colorful and fascinating birds call this place home. And spring is a migratory season for birds, a time in which a lot of our noisy old friends rejoin us from the south. If you take a closer look you'll get to know quite a few avian residents.

A great place to start birding is Washington Park, right in the middle of the city of Albany...

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A big bucket of water for a big fire

If you'd like to speed through the clip, you can switch it on 2x speed by click the gear icon.

Farther afield: Check out this video of a helicopter dropping water on the large wild fire in the Sam's Point Preserve in Ulster County earlier this week -- it was posted by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. The agency has also posted photos from the burned-out area. They're eerie.

By the way: That bucket suspended from the helicopters is called a "Bambi Bucket", and it was dropping 250 gallons, according to DEC's description.

Rain this week helped knock down the fire, and as of late Wednesday officials said it was 60 percent contained and they were focused on remaining spots that were still smoldering. The fire had burned roughly 1,900 acres (that's almost 3 square miles), according to DEC estimates. [Times Herald-Record]

GameFest 2016 at RPI

RPI GameFest 2016 posterThe annual GameFest returns to RPI this weekend with a bunch of demos and talks about video games and their futures, along with an electronic music event. This year's theme is "Visions of the Virtual." The events are free and open to the public.

Here's some blurbage about the student-created games demo and competition at EMPAC that's part of the fest:

On Saturday, April 30, the GameFest expo, competition and symposium at EMPAC features over 50 student teams from colleges and universities across the Northeast, with a game design competition hosted by Vicarious Visions. Dive into virtual reality and fly a stunt kite, or become a narwhal making sandwiches at a deli counter. Play through a tale of love and loss using your own facial expressions, or explore an immersive environment of freshwater ecology. Check out the future of multiplayer gaming, haptic feedback devices, mobile games and more.

(Aren't we all narwhals making sandwiches at the deli counter of life?)

The schedule also includes Algorave 0x0F -- "an evening of cutting-edge electronic music, interactive visuals, and live-coding performances" -- Friday night at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity. And there will be keynotes and mini talks on Saturday. A condensed schedule is after the jump.

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Schneiderman sues Rensselaer County DA over handling of fatal police-involved shooting, 2nd Troy bank robbery this week, Jackson reverses plan to hire RPI activities director

AG's office sues Troy DA
Eric Schneiderman's office is suing to take over the recent Troy case of a fatal police-involved shooting of a DWI suspect. The suit claims Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove, rushed the case to a grand jury, in violation of Andrew Cuomo's executive order giving the New York attorney general broad powers to investigate and prosecute in deadly encounters between police officers and unarmed civilians. After hearing Abelove's case, the grand jury cleared Troy police Sgt. Randall French of any wrongdoing in the incident, which occurred five days earlier. In a statement on Wednesday, Schneiderman claimed "Abelove's actions not only violate the law but directly undermine the public's confidence in law enforcement." [Record][NYT][TU][Gazette]

Another Troy bank robbery
The First Niagara bank branch in Troy was robbed on Wednesday afternoon -- the second Troy First Niagara branch to be robbed this week. [TU][TWCN]

Alleged sexual assault at Saint Rose
Police say they have video of two suspects leaving a building around the time of an alleged sexual assault at a College of Saint Rose dorm. [TU]

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Today's moment of spring

flowering crabapple Tricentennial Park

It seemed like the early warmth -- and then snapback cold -- blitzed a lot of the flower trees. So it was nice to take a moment and admire the the crabapple blossoms catching the late-day sun in Tricentennial Park Wednesday evening.

"[W]e will do whatever it takes to make sure that New Yorkers have access to ride-sharing..."

Over at Politico New York, Josefa Velasquez checks in on what's up with the state legislation that would allow services such as Uber and Lyft to start operating in Upstate New York -- and it sounds like there will be a big push, from both the companies and legislators, between now and June. [Politico NY] Earlier on AOA: A few more thoughts about the push for Uber and Lyft

Capital Region Bike to Work Challenge 2016

share the road bicycle sign

The annual Bike to Work Day is May 20 -- which means you still have some time to organize your team for the Capital Region Bike to Work Challenge.

What is this challenge? Blurbage:

Trophies will be awarded in each county for the following categories. Winners will "own" the trophies until Bike to Work Day 2017.
+ Organization with the largest number of riders
+ Small organization with the highest percent participation (20 or fewer employees)
+ Organization over 20 employees with the highest percent participation
+ Person who rode the farthest.

The challenge is organized by the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC), Capital Moves, and Bikeatoga. There's sign-up info at that link above.

Competition aside, this sort of event can be a good prompt to try cycling to work. For some people it's just not going to work because of distance or whatever. That said, we suspect it's a bit like riding the bus: If you don't do it often, it might seem impractical or a big hassle. But you might be surprised by how well it works out. You just have to give it a fair shot.

How many people bike to work?
Bike commuting in the Capital Region core ranges from .4 percent of adult commuters in Albany County to .1 percent in the other counties, according to the most recent Census Bureau estimates (2010-2014). That adds up to... not a lot of people -- something just under 1,000 people.

The percentages are bit higher for some of the places within the Capital Region, such as the cities of Albany and Saratoga Springs.

Here's a national list of the cities (population 100k+) with the highest percentage of bike commuters -- it includes cold-weather spots such as Cambridge (Massachusetts), Madison (Wisconsin), Ann Arbor, and Minneapolis. All of those places have rates about 4 percent. (It'd be interesting to learn more about the bike infrastructure in those places.)

The Schuyler Flatts Burial Project

schuyler flatts burial project logoThe Schuyler Flatts Burial Project is working to honor and provide a burial for the remains of 14 people found in Menands, whom research indicates were slaves during the 18th and 19th century. From the project description:

In 2010, bioarchaeological analysis was completed by the NYS Museum. The analyses determined that the remains are about 200 years old and represent 6 women, 1 man, 2 children, and five infants. DNA analysis concluded that four of the individuals are of African descent. (West/East and Central Africa) Two sets of remains are descendants of women from Madagascar (off the coast of Southeast Africa). One individual, who may have been of mixed ancestry, was descendant from a Native American woman (possibly Micmac Tribe: Eastern Canada and the Northeastern corner of the United States). The burial ground was dated between the 1700s and early 1800s. Historical research indicates that the burial ground was part of a large estate owned by the colonial Schuyler family who owned a number of slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Project Committee is in the process of planning and implementing a ceremony at St Agnes Cemetery located in Menands, NY on Saturday, June 18th 2016.

A handful of artists have been recruited to create burial containers for the remains. And this Saturday, April 30 at the State Museum there will be a public meeting and presentation about the work. It's at 1 pm in the museum's Huxley Auditorium. It's free.

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: reaching people, the presidential primary, the Washington County Fiber Tour, wildflowers, Gore Mountain, getting into the game, red sauce joints, pierogi, Woodstock, a burger, a business expense, the universe, a poignant monument, a not-shoddy history, and a pep talk.

Neighborhood in-post ad APL 2015

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There's an Albany Patroons documentary in the works, and it looks like it could be good

Via Chuck comes word that there's a documentary in the works about the old Albany Patroons professional basketball team. It's being produced by the Upside Collective, which is based here in Albany. Blurbage:

As the premiere franchise in the Continental Basketball Association from 1982 to 1992, the Albany Patroons left an indelible mark on the city of Albany, the CBA and the NBA. From elite coaches like Phil Jackson, Bill Mussleman and George Karl to standout players like Michael Ray Richardson, Mario Ellie, Tony Campbell, Sidney Lowe, Rick Carlisle and Scott Brooks, the Patroons' legacy continues to shape the world of professional basketball. We are working to bring you the untold story of the Patroons' quick rise, championship success and ultimate downfall. Beyond the franchise's ups and downs, the stories of the individuals involved, from fans, to executives to coaches and players are implausible, hilarious and inspiring.

The site linked above includes some clips of interviews with Phil Jackson, George Karl, Rick Carlisle, and others. The clip embedded above is from an interview with former player Derrick Rowland about coach Bill Musselman -- it's a funny story (and the editing in the clip is really good).

The documentary is scheduled to debut in 2017, according to the website. The producers of the doc are looking for old video, photos, memorabilia, and other stuff like that. Contact info is at the project website.

Former JCOPE director to join Cuomo administration, Albany County hearing on proposed tobacco law, Earth Day oil spill on the Hudson

Former JCOPE leader joins Cuomo administration
The Former Executive Director of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics has quietly taken a job as a deputy commissioner at the state Department of Taxation and Finance, where she will lead the criminal investigation services division. [TU+]

Hearing on Albany County tobacco law
At a public hearing on Tuesday night, Albany County legislators listened to members of the public comment on the pros and cons of a proposed law that would raise the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. [News 10][TWCN][WNYT]

Sentencing in Schenectady drug murder
Carlson Nunes was sentenced to 22 years to life in the 2015 murder of Carlos Figueroa. [Gazette]

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History days at Cherry Hill and the Ten Broeck Mansion

Cherry Hill house

Historic Cherry Hill

Two Albany historic sites have history-themed events this Sunday, May 1:

"Homegrown History: Albany's Gardening & Agricultural Past" at Historic Cherry Hill
Historic Cherry Hill is hosting the annual Albany History Fair this Sunday from noon-4 pm at the mansion grounds in the South End. The free event includes tours of the historic house, a scavenger hunt for families, music, exhibits, and vendors.

The theme this year is "Homegrown History: Albany's Gardening and Agricultural Past" and there will be presentations about Washington Park, the Shakers and their agricultural industries, and colonial gardens.

Living History Day at the Ten Broeck Mansion
The Albany County Historical Society has a living history day this Sunday from noon-4 pm at the Ten Broeck Mansion in Arbor Hill. The free event includes tours of the mansion, historical re-enactors, an archaeological excavation of the mansion grounds, demonstrations, pony rides, music, and vendors.

The League of Extraordinary Red Heads "Fire on the Hill" at The Hill at Muza

Hill at Muza League of Extraordinary RedheadsThe League of Extraordinary Red Heads has its mid-year gathering -- "Fire on the Hill" -- lined up for this Wednesday, April 27 at The Hill at Muza. starting at 5:30 pm. Admission is $5 to help cover costs.

The event will include a fire dancer, a cash bar, and a special menu at The Hill's outdoor grill. And, of course, much socializing. Additional blurbage:

As always, newcomers will be inducted into the League by receiving the coveted "Member" card. This Wednesday, the League is rolling out two new lines of official cards. Finally, for non-red haired parents, siblings, & offspring... we give you the MC1R Gene Carrier card (that would also be known as "The Redhead Gene"). While only about 2 percent of the U.S. population has red hair, about 25% of the population are "red hair carriers." We won't be requiring any cheek swabs. But this is our way of thanking all you out there for keeping the fires burning for us, so to speak.
And for our other LoERH friends, fans and supporters, we give you the Member(ish) card. Think of it as a "Ginger Benevolent Association" card.

The event is from 5:30-8:30 pm. Admission is $5 to help cover costs.

As you might know, the founder of the league is Duncan Crary, who sometimes works with AOA on organizing events.

Proctors 2016-2017 season

Back to the Future Lloyd Fox

Of course, in the next film, they go to the future. Which was... 2015.

This week Proctors released a big schedule of shows and events for its 2016-2017 season -- some new, some already announced. A big list is after the jump.

One of the new dates that caught our eye: Christopher Lloyd Goes Back to the Future on February 19 (yep, next year). Tickets $20 and up -- they're on sale now. Blurbage:

Great Scott! It's the event that will be generating 1.21 gigawatts of power as Christopher Lloyd ("Dr. Emmett Brown" from Back to the Future) takes the stage in this electrifying live event! "Doc Brown" himself will rev up the excitement to 88 MPH as he shares hilarious and revealing behind-the-scenes stories from the making of the film, his experience working with Michael J. Fox and Steven Spielberg, and much more.

The event will also include Q&A with the audience.

OK, on to that list...

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Ice cream slider at Kurver Kreme

kurver kreme ice cream slider

By Deanna Fox

I have to be honest with you. I don't think there is much more that I could add to this story than this: There is a magical place on the western fringes of Albany proper that serves soft serve ice cream inside a glazed doughnut -- and then rolls the whole thing in sprinkles.

Really? You're still reading? You need more details than that? (sigh) OK, let me share with you that which I have tasted.

And by the way, it's called The Slider, and it is from Kurver Kreme.

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Williamstown Theatre Festival 2016

Williamstown Theatre Festival 2016 casting poster

There are new details out this week about the upcoming slate of shows for this summer's Williamstown Theatre Festival. As usual, the casts include actors you'll recognize, such as Marisa Tomei, Kate Walsh, Alfred Molina, Jane Kaczmarek, Wendell Pierce, and Justin Long.

In recent years WTF has also served as a launching point for shows headed toward Broadway. So it's notable that this summer's schedule includes four world premieres and one American premiere. It's possible one (or more) of these shows could end up on Broadway in the next few years.

Also: Single-show tickets are now available for pre-order online. (You can also save some money per ticket by buying tickets in multiple show bundles.) Many of these performances sell out, so if you're interested in going, it's a good idea to buy tickets sooner rather than later.

OK, let's have a look at the schedule.

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Upswing in Capital Region home sales, bank robber with the sniffles?, details of deal for restaurant at TU Center

Upswing for home sales
Closed home sales in the Capital Region during the first quarter of 2016 were up 18 percent compared to the same period the year before (and pending sales were up 30 percent), according to numbers from the Greater Capital Association of Realtors. Among the reasons floated: increasing rental prices, relatively low interest rates, and a mild winter. [GCAR] [TU+]

Affordable housing in Troy
The residential conversion of the former Mooradians furniture warehouse in North Central will include units set aside for people in different income brackets. [TWCN]

April 17 fatal shooting by Troy police
The Record's Mark Robarge: There's no evidence the officer who fatally shot a man during the encounter near the Collar City Bridge did anything wrong, but the apparent effort by the Rensselaer County DA's office to quickly resolve the investigation into the incident "did [the officer] no favors by injecting more controversy into the case than it deserves, and I wouldn't at all be surprised to learn in short order that the grand jury's word is not the last in this case." [Troy Record]

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Today's moment of spring

white purple violets

While on an Otto walk this afternoon, we noticed the north side of Buckingham Pond in Albany was dotted with these tiny white flowers (and a few dandelions). They are, we're pretty sure, a type of violet.

The purple streaks in the white petals are lovely.

"For one man to feed close to 4,000 guests a year from a 12-acre wooded property boggles the mind."

If we hadn't previously eaten at this place -- admittedly, it was a decade ago when the experience was much less involved than it sounds now -- we might have suspected that Susie Davidson Powell's article in the Times Union about recently eating at Damon Baehrel's eponymous restaurant in Greene County was a satire of modern forage-focused cuisine and the eccentric chefs who produce it. As she writes: "Parallels with fictional Willy Wonka's self-imposed retreat and mysterious chocolate factory operations are unavoidable." [TU+ (link around)]

Making Nipper a landmark -- officially

looking up at Nipper 991 Broadway 2016-April

Chuck Schumer was in town today calling for the National Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Office to add 991 Broadway in Albany's Warehouse District -- and the Nipper statue that sits atop it -- to the National Register of Historic Places.

You might be thinking: Wait, isn't there a residential redevelopment project in the works for that building? And haven't the backers of that project said they intend to keep the exterior -- and Nipper -- pretty much as is?

And the answers to those questions are: yes and yes. So why the push for the designation if Nipper isn't, in the words of Schumer's office, in line to be "ruffed" up?

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Norah Jones at Brewery Ommegang

norah jones 2016

Norah Jones is set to play an show at Brewery Ommegang July 21. Tickets go on sale this Friday (there's also a pre-sale) -- they're $65. (There's also an optional add-on camping ticket for $15.)

Also on the bill: The Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Jones has won nine Grammy awards since scoring her first in 2003. She's recently been playing with the alt-country trio Puss n Boots.

Ommegang shows this summer
Let's have a look at the lineup so far for the outdoor shows at the brewery in Cooperstown, one of which is already sold out...

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"I'm not gonna give away my front yard any more than someone in Clifton Park's gonna give away their front yard"

Somewhat oddly not farther afield: Over at The Awl, Luke Stoddard Nathan examines the history of Troy's Washington Park, the recurring disputes over its tax status, and opinions about whether the private park should be open to the public in some way. [The Awl] (Thanks, Jess)

Blake Shelton at the TU Center

Blake Shelton 2016

Country star Blake Shelton is set to play the TU Center September 29. Tickets go on sale this Friday, April 29 -- they're $39.75 and up.

Shelton's fame, of course, has also grown even bigger in recent years because of his spot as a judge on The Voice. (And he always seems to be showing up on the front of the tabs in the supermarket checkout aisle...)

TU Center concerts
There are a bunch of big pop music and comedy concerts lined up for the TU Center this year. Here's the schedule so far:

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Drawing: Champagne on the Park 2016

Washington Park pink tulips

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

The annual Champagne on the Park event will be back in Albany's Washington Park May 5. The party -- which is set up near the tulips beds in the park -- includes "live music, champagne and food tastings by all your favorite Lark Street area restaurants." We have a pair of tickets to the event, and we're giving them away.

To enter, please answer this question in the comments:

If you could create any sort of tulip, what it look like and what would you call it?

We asked this question for a drawing a few years ago and got a lot of fun answers, so we're hoping it's a good time again. There's a lot of room to be creative here -- it could be pretty much whatever pops into your imagination. (Normal commenting guidelines apply.)

Champagne on the Park 2016 is Thursday, May 5 starting at 6 pm. Tickets are currently $80 per person and available online. The event is a fundraiser for the Lark Street BID.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, April 26, 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 Wednesday and must respond by noon on Thursday, April 28.

Man fatally shot by police in Berne, chef pleads guilty in theft from restaurant, considering sparklers in Albany County

State Police fatally shoot man in Berne
State Police say two troopers responding to a call in Berne fatally shot a man Friday night when he "aggressively approached" the troopers while carrying a knife in each hand and did not comply with orders to put the knives down. State Police Major William Keeler says the man, 51-year-old Carl Baranishyn Jr., had called 911 and expressed "suicidal thoughts, homicidal statements, including two any responding law enforcement" -- and a coroner has ruled the death suicide by police. Keeler said it was his understanding the troopers had tasers, but the dark night conditions made would have made them difficult to use. He said the troopers gave Baranishyn "ample opportunity to surrender and drop his knife." [NYSP] [TWCN] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [News10]

April 17 fatal shooting by Troy police
A Rensselaer County grand jury returned a "no true bill" clearing Troy police sergeant Randall French of criminal charges in the April 17 incident in which he fatally shot Edson Thevenin after Thevenin allegedly pinned French against a car with a vehicle. It's not clear what sort of investigation -- if any -- the state attorney general's office will be pursing in the case under its recently granted power to investigation the deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of police. [Troy Record] [TU]

February 9 Colonie murder suicide
State Police say they still don't know what prompted Colonie police officer Israel Roman to kill his wife, 10-year-old son, and himself and set their house on fire. [TU+]

(there's more)

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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.

Recent Comments

I know why I take the bus more - because it's easier to take now! Busplus from Schenec to Albany gives me a nice relaxing ride and I can do work or read my book, I basically gain an extra hour of my life. Can't wait for the navigator cards to ramp up. Much better than those ten trips.

The 1 Monument Square project is off (again)

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