The last week's worth of items on AOA

This week was brought to you by

Thanks to Takk House and New World Catering for making AOA's 7th birthday awesome!

This week was brought to you by cupcakes, presents and all things birthday. It was also brought to you by the wonderful folks at New World Catering and The Takk House, who made this year's AOA birthday bash so fabulous.

The last seven years of AOA has been possible because of advertisers like the ones listed below. They help us bring you the information you've come to expect here, and without them, there would be no AOA. Bottom line -- please patronize them when you can, and thank them for their support.

If there's something you want to pass along to the AOA crowd, we can help get you started. It's easy and affordable. Just send us a note at advertising@alloveralbany.com.

Stuff to learn

UAlbany's History Department, offering an M.A. and Ph.D. in Environmental History. Explore the human connection to nature.

The Fred Astaire Dance Studios on Troy Schenectady Road in Latham. Learn to dance in 2015. Gift certificates available

The College of Saint Rose, offering 52 Graduate Programs with a purpose. Programs include: MFA in Creative writing, MBA, Computer Information Systems and more.

Ways to get where you're going

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

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

Keeler Mini, sponsor of AOA's Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza.

Stuff to do

The Mop & Bucket Improv Company. MopCo offers a new improv show every Friday night at Proctors with music, scenes and improv games based on audience suggestions. They're also teaching classes in improv and creativity for adults and kids at MopCo World Headquarters on Union Street in Schenectady.

Spectrum 8 Theaters. Wait out the cold with a movie at The Spectrum. And don't forget the mint brownie.

miSci, The Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady. Their annual butterfly exhibit is open through April 19.

Albany Institute
The Albany Institute of History and Art's Triple Play exhibit, a look back at the history of baseball in the Capital Region.

Troy Music Hall
Troy Music Hall, presenting Paula Poundstone, April 18 at 8pm.

Places to live

Brian Brosen and Reggie Monroe at The Capital Team at Realty USA,created a bonafide tournament of pizza miracle, when they bought out all of the tickets to the TOP final at Shmaltz brewing and gave them away to 100 hungry readers. In addition to being pizza philanthropists, Brian and Reggie can help out with your residential and commercial real estate needs in the Capital Region. Because that's how they roll.

Food and Drink

Honest Weight Food Coop. Eat healthy, eat local.

Beer
Shmaltz Brewing, host of the All Over Albany Tournament of Pizza People's Plate tasting event.

Farmie Market
Farmie Market -- Farm fresh food delivered right to your door.

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.

Now Open
Broadway Plaza Liquor is now open at 418 Broadway, next to Coulson's News.

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

Helpful stuff

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C.. Yep, it's time to get your 2014 taxes in order, and 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.

Historic home help
Historic Albany's architectural parts warehouse -- the Capital Region's only not-for-profit architectural parts warehouse.

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 2015-03-27

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

+ AOA7 drawing: New World Bistro Bar + The Spectrum: What's a highlight of your local neighborhood, and why?

+ We broke up with Winter. It was well past time.

+ Proctors unveiled its upcoming Broadway season.

+ Alisa asked about how to spend an early spring weekend with some out-of-towners visiting with kids.

+ AOA7 drawing: The Confectionery or Peck's Arcade or The Grocery: Which Capital Region building/place would you like to make over, and how?

+ The story of Audrey Munson, who was the model for the Spirit of Life statue in Congress Park (and many other monuments around the country).

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: the line, the game winner, flattery, American Express, half marathoning, frogs, winter, chit chat, salad, sushi, Route 7 Diner, Rock 'n Roll Brunch, Psychedelicatessen, popcorn, cheese sticks, critics, and Girl Scout Cookies.

+ AOA7 drawing: Nine Pin Cider + Albany Distilling: If you could bottle something about the Capital Region, what would it be?

+ Sean asked about finding a good spot to get General Tso's chicken -- there were a bunch of suggestions.

+ AOA7 drawing: Fort Orange General Store, The Cheese Traveler, Saratoga Sweets Candy Co.: What's something in the Capital Region that lifts your spirits?

+ And thanks to everyone who celebrated AOA's birthday this week, in person or in spirit.

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

party photo: Tim Raab Northern Photo

Meeting about food trucks in Albany

food trucks at the capitol 2013 summerThe city of Albany has a public meeting about food trucks lined up for this coming Monday (March 30) at 5 pm at city hall. Press release blurbage:

What are your thoughts on food trucks in Albany? If you'd like to see more of them, where should they go and when should they operate? What did you like about last year's Mobile Food Vendor Pilot Program, and what would you like to see changed?
This Monday, March 30th, at 5 p.m. in the rotunda of City Hall, a meeting will be held to discuss these questions and explore what worked and what can be improved on last year's Mobile Food Vendor Pilot Program, which ran from August to October 2014. The City is looking to launch a revised food vendor pilot program this spring.

The meeting is open to the public, and the city says it welcomes attendance from business owners, including food truck operators and owners of fixed-location restaurants.

Here's the city's information about the food truck pilot program it ran last year.

Photos from AOA7

AOA7 party composite

We had a lot of fun celebrating AOA7 Wednesday evening. Thanks to the Takk House for being such great hosts, New World Catering for the tasty food, Yogibo Crossgates for setting up a sweet comfy lounge and DJ Trumastr for spinning the music.

And most all, thank you to everyone who celebrated with us, either in person or in spirit. We appreciate it. A lot.

Here are a bunch of photos from the party...

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Stuff to do this weekend

Jekyll & Hyde.jpg

The national tour of Jekyll & Hyde is at Proctors Saturday.

Oh, weekend -- we were afraid you'd never arrive.

But it's Friday, and like clockwork, here you are. After the jump, we have some plans for you that do not involve catching up on dishes and laundry.

Got some weekend plans you don't see here? Share them with the rest of us in the comment section. Everything is more fun when you share.

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

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More testimony in hearing over custody of Kenneth White's sisters, state budget crunch time, an exit through fire, stolen wheel chair prompts many donations

On the second day of testimony in the Albany County Family Court case over whether Brenda VanAlstyne should be allowed to have custody of Kenneth White's two sisters the foster mother of the girls said one of them told her she had been hit by Tiffany VanAlstyne multiple times. The defense has argued that there's no evidence there was abuse by Brenda VanAlstyne. A judge is scheduled to rule on the case in April. [TU] [News10] [Daily Gazette]

There have been high levels of hunkering, behind closed dooring, and hashing out at the state Capitol as leaders negotiate the details of the state budget. If the budget is to be on time, and follow the typical rules of procedure, the budget bills will have to be ready by the end of Saturday to make the Tuesday deadline for a vote. [TWCN] [TU]

Education continued to be a big topic at the Capitol as the budget process headed into crunch time -- on Thursday there was another rally inside the Capitol to oppose education initiatives floated by the Cuomo admin. Also: "growing number of New York parents," according to the Times Union, are pushing for the state to stop student testing on the Common Core curriculum. [News10] [TU]

Albany County leaders have indicated the county won't appeal the federal court decision regarding redistricting and minority voting rights. [TU]

Skidmore has extended the suspension of a student accused of raping another student by two years, the accuser and her attorney reported Thursday. The accused hasn't been charged with a crime, but an administrative board found him guilty of violating the college's code of conduct. Reina Kiefer said the college should have expelled the student. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

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AOA7 drawing: Fort Orange General Store, The Cheese Traveler, Saratoga Sweets Candy Co.

fort orange general store saratoga sweets cheese traveler composite

The last prize of the week includes:

+ A $25 gift certificate to the Fort Orange General Store in Albany.

+ A $15 gift certificate and a tote bag from the The Cheese Traveler in Albany.

+ A basket of candy from Saratoga Sweets Candy Co. in Saratoga Springs: Chocolate bunny, jelly beans, chocolate eggs, etc. A $40 value.

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

What's something in the Capital Region that lifts your spirits?

It could be something big, but we'd really like to know about those little things that brighten your day. A note from someone, the sight of flowers somewhere, maybe some food item. We'll draw one winner at random.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Friday, March 27, 2015 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 5 pm on Monday and must respond by 5 pm on Tuesday, March 31.

A good spot to get General Tso's Chicken?

general tso's chickenSean emails:

General Tso's Chicken is a huuuuuge guilty pleasure of mine. It was a staple of my college diet. Trouble is, since moving out here to Albany, I've had a heck of a time finding somewhere that can give me a decent version, let alone a GREAT version. I was wondering if any of your readers shared my guilty pleasure and could point me in the direction of their favorite spot. I live in Albany and work in Latham so anywhere near either place is fair game.

General Tso's chicken has an interesting history (or histories), as illustrated by this short profile of the dish by Fuschia Dunlop. Its roots can be traced back to the Hunan province of China, but like a lot of Chinese food in the United States it went through some interpretation and change before becoming popular here. In this specific case, the thread runs through Taiwan, New York City, Henry Kissinger (really), and back to China. (OK, culinary history tangent over.)

Aside from Ala Shanghai and Hong Kong Bakery & Bistro, we don't hear much about individual Chinese food restaurants around the Capital Region. That is undoubtedly our fault -- we're probably not listening in the right places. So, this question is a good opportunity to maybe learn a little bit more.

Got a suggestion for Sean about a good place for General Tso's chicken -- or good Chinese restaurants in general? Please share!

photo: Evan Joshua Swigart (TheCulinaryGeek) on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The recent evolution of Troy, as charted by the New York Times

Troy City Hall For Sale late 1990s

A New York Times article about Troy from 2000 referenced the "for sale" sign on the old city hall. / photo from the collection of Tom Flynn courtesy of Duncan Crary Communications

Like some sort of multi-year tidal cycle on the Hudson River, the attention of the New York Times briefly shifts upriver to focus on the state of the city of Troy in 6-8 year intervals. And if you'll consult your almanac, you'll see that the next scheduled appearance of this phenomenon is set for this weekend.

Oh, look, it's here now. (Must be climate change.) Posted online today for this weekend's paper: "A Town on New York's Hudson River Reinvents Itself."

Let us now chart the some of the changes over each recent interval...

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Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show: Giulia Rozzi

comedian giulia rozziThe Pretty Much the Best Comedy Show series at Proctors is bringing Giuli Rozzi to town on Saturday for a standup show.

Rozzi has appeared on The Moth, a bunch of TV shows, and in print around the web. And he's had her own Upright Citizens Brigade show, "Bad Bride." Here's a clip from a recent Washington Post interview with her about her comedy:

Most of it is just really silly and stupid -- and probably some of it is self-serving. It's like: "Oh, I just want to tell this story about me." But I try to discuss issues that affect women -- in a funny way -- and issues about depression and anxiety and relationships. I think that just sharing a very open, self-aware style of comedy and storytelling, I think that . . . helps other people have permission to be more honest themselves.

The show at Proctors starts at 8 pm on Saturday. Tickets are $15.

Wiltshire enters Troy mayoral race, Kenneth White's aunt in family court over abuse allegations, homeless services approved for New Scotland Ave church

Troy City Council President Rodney Wiltshire officially announced his bid for Mayor on Wednesday. At his announcement, Wilshire promised to create jobs, capitalize on he waterfront and make the streets safer. A Lansingburgh native and pharmaceutical sales rep says he also plans to throw his hat into the Troy mayoral race. [Record][WNYT][TWCN]

Carl Heastie says raising the minimum wage "absolutely has to be on the table" in budget negotiations as far as the assembly is concerned. [TU]

State Senate Republicans say they are close to an ethics agreement with Democrats. [CNY]

The aunt of Kenneth White, the five-year-old boy police say was killed in December by his cousin, Tiffany, was in court on Wednesday, attempting to clear herself of abuse charges. Lawyers for Albany County are arguing that Brenda VanAlstyne knew her daughter Tiffany was not in a proper state of mental health when she let her care for 5-year-old Kenneth White. Brenda VanAlstyne is trying to gain custody of Kenneth White's two sisters. [Gazette][TWCN][WNYT]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Thank you

aoa birthday cupcakes 2015

Wednesday night we're celebrating AOA's 7th birthday party.

Those years, somehow, seem both really long and really short.

And at this point there's not much else to say except this: Thank you.

AOA7 drawing: Nine Pin Cider + Albany Distilling

ADC Nine Pin composite

Drawing's closed!

This week AOA celebrates our 7th birthday, so of course that means presents. Throughout the week we'll have drawings for fun Capital Region stuff.

The next prize up includes:

+ A gift certificate for two 7-cider flight tastings at Nine Pin Cider Works in Albany

+ Two bottles of rum and a hoodie from Albany Distilling Co.

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

"If you could bottle something about the Capital Region, what would it be?"

This could be anything. And, you know, we're not really looking at all too literally. You want to bottle the view from Thacher Park? Sure, why not. We'll draw one winner at random.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Thursday, March 26, 2015 to be entered in the drawing. You must be 21 years of age to enter. 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 5 pm on Friday and must respond by 5 pm on Monday, March 30.

"Say hi to everybody in Albany ... not now, later"

Two Saint Rose students were on the Tonight Show Tuesday night as part of the "Freestylin' With the Roots" bit -- and it was all spring flowers and... candy corn.

And, of course, Jimmy Fallon is an alum, so they had that to talk about, too.

JUSTLMAO

The New York State DMV has banned/rejected about 7,000 vanity license plates since 2010, the Syracuse Post-Standard's Marnie Eisenstadt reports. (Apparently there's a "Red Guide" of about 2,000 custom license plates that automatically get rejected.) The Post-Standard has posted a databased of all the rejected plates. [Syracuse Post-Standard]

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the line, the game winner, flattery, American Express, half marathoning, frogs, winter, chit chat, salad, sushi, Route 7 Diner, Rock 'n Roll Brunch, Psychedelicatessen, popcorn, cheese sticks, critics, and Girl Scout Cookies.

Broadway Plaza Liquor in-post ad

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Audrey Munson, the model for The Spirit of Life

Spirit of Life (credit- Mike Hare}.jpg

The model behind The Spirit of Life had a fascinating and tragic life of her own

By Mike Hare

(This post includes photos that could be considered mildly NSFW.)

This year the city of Saratoga Springs is celebrating its centennial.

So is its most noted statue: The Spirit of Life in Congress Park.

The sculptor, Daniel Chester French, is well known. But French's model for the Spirit of Life -- Audrey Munson, and the tragic story of her rise and fall -- have nearly disappeared into history.

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Troy city council president to announce mayoral bid, state of emergency lifted on Jay Street, pedestrian hit by train in Mechanicville, support for Schenectady County farmer

A federal judge ruled this week that Albany County's 2011 redistricting plan diluted minority voting power, and ordered legislators to rework the plan before this year's legislative elections. [TU]

Unlikely to be part of the state budget: raising the age of criminal responsibility and The DREAM Act.Still being discussed: ethics and an overhaul on plans to evaluate public schools.
[TU][NYT][CNY]

Troy City Council President Rodney Wiltshire is expected to announce his candidacy for mayor today. [TU]

A pedestrian was hit by a train in Mechanicville early Wednesday morning.[WNYT]

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Geoffrey Canada at Siena

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

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

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

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

Stories about Albany

Partners for Albany Stories logoA group of local historical and cultural groups has teamed up for a series of events to collect family stories that somehow related to the history of Albany. Blurbage from the Partners for Albany Stories:

Come and share a story about you and your family that relates to the history of Albany. You will have 10 minutes at the microphone to enchant and enlighten the audience. Sign up is on a first-come, first-tell basis. Stories will be video documented for preservation at the Albany Public Library.
Interested, but not sure what to talk about? Check our website for story suggestions. Interested, know what you want to talk about, but want help with telling your story? Come to a free coaching session one hour before the event. Interested, but don't want to tell a story? Just come and listen.

The first event is this Thursday, March 26 at the Albany Institute at 6 pm. Admission is free.

Additional dates, at spots around the city, are listed after the jump.

PASt describes itself as "organizations working together to develop a comprehensive and compelling story of Albany's rich history."

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Former Albany International building conversion moving ahead

Over at the Biz Review, Mike DeMasi reports that Uri Kaufman has lined up the financing to move ahead with the residential conversion of the former Albany International building on the Albany/Menands border. (The plan has been in the works since 2012.) [Biz Review]

AOA7 drawing: The Confectionery or Peck's Arcade or The Grocery

the confectionery

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

This week AOA celebrates our 7th birthday, so of course that means presents. Throughout the week we'll have drawings for fun Capital Region stuff.

The next prize up: A $75 gift certificate to The Confectionery, Peck's Arcade, or The Grocery in Troy -- the winner gets to choose which one.

And to enter the drawing, please answer this question in the comments:

All three of those establishments are in historical buildings that have been made over. Which Capital Region building/place would you like to make over, and how?

This is one of the wave-a-magic-wand questions, so don't be confined too much by complications like funding -- there will be totally non-redeemable bonus points for imaginative answers. We'll draw one winner at random.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 6 pm on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 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 5 pm on Thursday and must respond by 5 pm on Friday, March 27.

Ways to spend an early spring weekend with visitors from out of town?

purple crocus macroAlisa emails:

Easter and Passover are fast approaching and I have a question a bit different from the typical holiday happenings.
Family with small children are coming into town and I would love ideas of things to do with them beyond the typical holiday meals, religious services and Easter egg hunts. What have you got for a dad and his three year old daughter from out of town?

Passover starts April 3 this year, and Easter is April 5. Let's hope things are noticeably more spring-y by then, because it'd be great to get outside and soak up sunshine and celebrate the changing of the season.

A short trip somewhere in the area? Maybe people have some ideas for a few kid-friendly early spring destinations.

Got a suggestion for Alisa? Please share!

Proctors Broadway series 2015-2016

The Lion King touring production 2015-2016

The Lion King is set for a month-long run at Proctors in spring 2016.

Corrected.

Proctors has announced the lineup of Broadway-style shows that will be at the theater for the 2015-2016 season. As usual, the slate includes some very popular shows, including The Lion King and the return of The Book of Mormon.

A condensed version of the lineup is after the jump.

Tickets for the shows are currently only available through season-long subscriptions. 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.

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Rosamilia not running for second term, more VLTs where?, top judges wonder why they're even hearing Albany case

Lou Rosamilia announced Monday that he will not be running for re-election as mayor of Troy. Rosamilia's term has been marked by a series of challenges and controversies, including the city's shaky financial position, a federal investigation into demolitions, and the frozen water pipes situation in Lansingburgh. Said the mayor at the press conference: "Each night, before I go to bed, I look in the mirror and I ask myself: 'Did you do the best thing you could do for the City of Troy?' And I've gone to bed with peace of mind, and comfort that I did my best." [Troy Record] [TU] [TWCN]

Schenectady officials have identified the fourth victim of the Jay Street fire. The brother of Robert Thomas tells the Times Union his sibling was "loved by everyone who came in contact with him." [Daily Gazette] [TU]

"Several state lawmakers" tell the Times Union that they were pitched a plan to add 200 VLTs to the Capital District OTB location on Central Ave in Albany. Also: Some of the elected officials cited last week as supporting the proposed 1,000 VLT facility at DeLaet's Landing in Rensselaer tell the Times Union they don't actually support the plan. [TU x2]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Dear Winter...

silhouette gray grass

Everything just seems cold and gray now, and life shouldn't be like that.

Dear Winter,

We need to talk.

After thinking about this for a long time, we've decided it's time to break up.

It was a hard decision to make. But we think this will be the best for everyone.

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Schenectady in miniature

Over at the Daily Gazette, Patrick Dodson has a photo set of a remarkable model train replica of downtown Schenectady -- the details in the models are really impressive. [Daily Gazette] Earlier: A miniature version of Troy and its past

FIFA video game tournament at Wolff's

FIFA15 AO tournamentThis could be fun: Wolff's is hosting a FIFA 15 tournament this Sunday organized by the American Outlaws, the US soccer fan group which has a local chapter in Albany. Spots in the tournament start at $5 and all proceeds go to support Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.

The tournament is one of many similar tournaments around the country. Prizes for the local tournament include a copy of FIFA 15, an American Outlaws beer stein, and Wolff's gift certificates. The winners will be entered into a national drawing for prizes that include US Men's National Team jerseys signed by Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin and keeper gloves signed by Nick Rimando.

The tournament starts at 12:30 pm on Sunday, March 29. The entry fee starts at $5 for having your team randomly assigned (cross your fingers for Real Madrid or Bayern). For $10 you get to pick your team. And there are a few other levels above that.

When the cold is no longer cold

Why does 40 degrees in March feel like a heat wave, when 40 degrees in November feels like the icy grip of winter? Over at the Washington Post, (Albany local) science writer Jill Adams looks at some of the ways our bodies adapt to the cold over time so that 40 then doesn't feel like 40 now. [Washington Post]

Siena poll: Majority support minimum wage increase to $10.50 per hour

washington dollar bill green shadeWhen given the choice of letting the New York State minimum wage rise to the already-scheduled level of $9/hour next year or raise it to $10.50 per hour, almost 3/4 of respondents in a Siena poll out today picked the $10.50 level.

Here's the question text from the Siena poll, because it was a little complicated:

The current minimum wage in New York State is eight dollars seventy-five cents per hour. It is scheduled to go to nine dollars per hour next year. When it comes to the minimum wage, among the following three choices, do you agree more with the State Senate, which wants it kept at nine dollars per hour, OR Governor Cuomo, who wants it increased to ten dollars fifty cents per hour, OR the State Assembly, which wants it increased to ten dollars fifty cents per hour now, with provisions to go higher in future years?

And the answer options:

+ "State Senate, which wants it kept at nine dollars per hour": 26 percent of all respondents

+ "Governor Cuomo, who wants it increased to ten dollars fifty cents per hour": 20 percent of all respondents

+ "State Assembly, which wants it increased to ten dollars fifty cents per hour now, with provisions to go higher in future years": 52 percent of all respondents

The $10.50/hour options drew the combined support of more than 65 percent in each of the three income categories for respondents -- less than $50k, $50-$100k, and $100k+. And it also had at least 50 percent support from both Democrats and Republicans.

The Siena poll also asked about the idea of a having a higher minimum wage downstate -- the yes/no split on that was 47/51 for all respondents. NYC respondents supported 55 percent, it was essentially even for people in the downstate suburbs, and upstate respondents opposed it 63-43.

The Siena Research Institute says the poll was conducted March 15-19 and has a +/- 3.5% margin of error.

AOA7 drawing: New World Bistro Bar + The Spectrum

spectrum new world composite

Drawing's closed! Winner's been emailed!

This week AOA celebrates our 7th birthday, so of course that means presents. Throughout the week we'll have drawings for fun Capital Region stuff.

First up, dinner a movie. This drawing includes:

+ A $50 gift certificate to New World Bistro Bar in Albany

+ Four movie passes to the Spectrum 8, plus a Spectrum tote bag.

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

New World and the Spectrum are two highlights of the Delaware Ave neighborhood in Albany. What's a highlight of your local neighborhood, and why?

We're hoping to learn about some fun/interesting stuff. We'll draw one winner at random.

Important: All comments must be submitted by 5 pm on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 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 5 pm on Wednesday and must respond by 5 pm on Thursday, March 26.

Jay Street fire ruled accidental, VLT casino proposed for Rensselaer, questions about death of man tasered by police, together for 75 years

The investigation into the Jay Street fire has concluced that it was accidental, Schenectady officials announced Friday. SFD chief Ray Senecal said the investigation had determined the fire started in an upholstered chair -- maybe because of candles, incense, or cigarettes -- in the apartment of Harry Simpson, who then tried to drag the chair out of the apartment into the hallway, but it got stuck in a doorway. Simpson died in the fire, but officials say he managed to alert two other residents who escaped -- one of whom says he'd have died if Simpson hadn't woken him up. Schenectady County DA Robert Carney said the investigation is continuing into the specific circumstances related to the deaths of the four people who didn't make it out alive. [Daily Gazette] [News10] [WNYT] [TWCN] [Daily Gazette] [News10] [TU]

Schenectady police say two people were wounded in an exchange of gunfire between two vehicles Friday around noon in Mont Pleasant. The incident prompted a lockdown at several nearby schools. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN]

Capital District OTB wants to open a video lottery terminal casino at de Laet's Landing in Rensselaer, a plan that has the support of Rensselaer's mayor of other local elected officials. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

A spotlight on child poverty in some of the Capital Region's urban areas, specifically Schenectady and Troy. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

The UAlbany men's and women's basketball team lost their NCAA tournament games. [TU x2]

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The week ahead

bill nye science guy 2015

We can only hope Bill Nye's bow tie will be accompanying him to UAlbany this week. (The talk is now sold out.)

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (glimpse of spring), to YouthFX, to Bill Nye, to novelists, to food, to music...

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This week was brought to you by

new honest weight exterior close thumbnail

Local+healthy+delicious = Honest Weight

This week was brought to you by startups, spring, snow and peeps! It was also brought to you by the wonderful people at the Honest Weight Food Coop. Eat healthy, eat local.

You'll find more of the advertisers that make AOA possible in the list below. Please patronize them when you can, and thank them for their support. If there's something you want to pass along to the AOA crowd, we can help get you started. It's easy and affordable. Just send us a note at advertising@alloveralbany.com.

Stuff to learn

UAlbany's History Department, offering an M.A. and Ph.D. in Environmental History. Explore the human connection to nature.

The Fred Astaire Dance Studios on Troy Schenectady Road in Latham. Learn to dance in 2015. Gift certificates available

The College of Saint Rose, offering 52 Graduate Programs with a purpose. Programs include: MFA in Creative writing, MBA, Computer Information Systems and more.

Ways to get where you're going

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

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

Keeler Mini, sponsor of AOA's Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza.

Stuff to do

The Mop & Bucket Improv Company. MopCo offers a new improv show every Friday night at Proctors with music, scenes and improv games based on audience suggestions. They're also teaching classes in improv and creativity for adults and kids at MopCo World Headquarters on Union Street in Schenectady.

Spectrum 8 Theaters. Wait out the cold with a movie at The Spectrum. And don't forget the mint brownie.

miSci, The Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady. Their annual butterfly exhibit is open through April 19.

Albany Institute
The Albany Institute of History and Art's Triple Play exhibit, a look back at the history of baseball in the Capital Region.

Troy Music Hall
Troy Music Hall, presenting the Gibson Brothers, Harmony Through the Years, March 27 at 8pm.

Places to live

Brian Brosen and Reggie Monroe at The Capital Team at Realty USA,created a bonafide tournament of pizza miracle, when they bought out all of the tickets to the TOP final at Shmaltz brewing and gave them away to 100 hungry readers. In addition to being pizza philanthropists, Brian and Reggie can help out with your residential and commercial real estate needs in the Capital Region. Because that's how they roll.

Food and Drink

Honest Weight Food Coop. Eat healthy, eat local.

Beer
Shmaltz Brewing, host of the All Over Albany Tournament of Pizza People's Plate tasting event.

Farmie Market
Farmie Market -- Farm fresh food delivered right to your door.

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.

Now Open
Broadway Plaza Liquor is now open at 418 Broadway, next to Coulson's News.

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

Helpful stuff

Staff Ciampino & Company, P.C.. Yep, it's time to get your 2014 taxes in order, and 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.

Historic home help
Historic Albany's architectural parts warehouse -- the Capital Region's only not-for-profit architectural parts warehouse.

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.

Looking for more? Check out the archive. Or try searching for it:

The Scoop

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

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The way the light hits the State Ed. building in the evening. It shines just through Alfred E. Smith, the LOB, and the Capitol and catches the corner columns in this orange glow. I don't know why, but I just find it stunning.

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