The last week's worth of items on AOA

A generational shift

new york state counties median age change 2010-2015

Just a handful of New York counties had lower median ages in 2015 (green) compared to 2010. Albany County was one of them.

Quick: Guess which 5-year age group has the most people of any age group in the Capital Region.

OK, got your answer? Hold onto it for a second.

The Census Bureau recently released new estimates for the populations of counties by age. And those numbers can help us get a sense of the age distribution of people here in the Capital Region -- and answer questions like which age group has the most people.

Plenty of graphs and maps are the jump.

But first, let's answer that question at the top...

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"Getting a nicely ripened pear is harder than winning the lottery"

Over at The Atlantic there's an interesting article about a horticulturist working to make pears more competitive with apples -- and it includes some interesting bits about how both fruits are grown. New York State is one of the few places in the country that grows pears, though the production here is just a small slice of the overall national production. [The Atlantic] [USDA]

Troy Mini Maker Faire at TVCOG

makerbotThe Troy Mini Maker Faire will be at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity August 27, and there's an open call for makers. Blurbage:

The Troy Mini Maker Faire is looking for artists, engineers, educators, and enthusiasts who are willing to show off their creations, skills, or works-in-progress to the public. The more interactive your exhibit, the better! We hope to have a nice mix of technology, life skills, art, educational activities, and entertainment...

The call includes a big list of the sort of projects they're looking for -- everything from fiber arts to 3D printing to robots to cooking. (The list is after the jump.) Here's the application.

Exhibits will be set up both inside the Center of Gravity space and outside along Broadway. That day is The Enchanted City festival in downtown Troy.

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West Fulton Puppet Festival 2016

West Fulton Puppet Festival Professor Tinkers

A scene from last year's festival.

This looks like something a bit different: The West Fulton Puppet Festival returns to Schoharie County July 8-9. Organizers say the schedule includes both national and regional puppetry artists in a series of family-friendly shows. And it's free.

Festival blurbage:

The Festival showcases a diverse range of puppet styles with dynamic and entertaining performances for the whole family. The program features two artists featured on the bill at last year's Festival; Peter Russo and Joanna Simmons' with their new show Professor Tinkers and the Improbable Journey Home, in which we re-join Professor Tinkers who, having found the location of the rare Red Elephant from a common House Fly, embarks upon a magical journey through space and discarded debris as she tries to find her way home to feed her cat, Percy; and Andy Gaukel with Treespective- an interactive puppet installation. Joining them are Crabgrass Puppet Theatre's The Pirate, The Princess and the Pea, a thrilling voyage chock full of sea monsters, sharks and side-splitting action; Ivy Vine Players Puppet Theater with Grian MacGregor's delightfully intimate A One Woman Show with a Cast of 75, and The Gottabees's Squirrel Stole My Underpants, the magical adventure Sylvie and a mischievous squirrel. Plus, a musical performance by storyteller and singer-songwriter Story Laurie featuring wondrous and witty tales.

Here's the festival schedule -- it includes performances that Friday evening, and then throughout the day on Saturday.

The festival is in a park in West Fulton, a hamlet in the town of Fulton -- the town is pretty much right in the center of Schoharie County.

screengrab: West Fulton Puppet Festival / Chris Haag

The story behind Larkasaurus Rex

dinosaur walking down Lark Street

As seen last week. (Thanks again, Heather!)

Last week we posted a pic sent along to us by Heather for a dinosaur -- T. Rex, it appeared -- walking down Lark Street.

A lot of people seemed to get a good laugh out of the pic. So we followed up to ask the very important question: "What the (heck) was that about?!"

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It's federal primary day, Hoosick Falls residents testify, New York Brexit ripples, legal sales of sparklers spread

NY-19 primary
It's federal primary day in New York, and there are both Democratic and Republican primaries in New York's 19th Congressional District as candidates compete to replace Chris Gibson. (The NY-19 wraps around the southern end of the Capital Region, from Rensselaer County south to Columbia County and Greene County and out into Schoharie County and other counties to the west.) Polls are open from noon to 9 pm. Don't know where to vote? Check with the state Board of Elections website. [TU]

Hoosick Falls
A Hoosick Falls resident at a state Department of Environmental Conservation hearing about PFOA Monday: "You can't get away from thinking about the water. Every time you turn on the water, every day it is a constant reminder of how terrible this situation is." Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Chris Gibson are pushing for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to assist people affected by the situation in Hoosick Falls. [WNYT] [TU x2]

Burned trucks and possible gunshots
Two trucks caught fire overnight in Mariaville, and there were reports of what sounded like gunfire. State Police are investigating. [News10] [TWCN] [Daily Gazette]

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Red, white & blue

lunchboxbrain red white and blue tshirt

Check out this handsome, seasonally-appropriate t-shirt created by local designer Andrew Gregory: It's called "Red, White & Blue." (You know, because the ampersand is red, white, and blue...)

The shirt is currently available from Cotton Bureau, in men's and women's sizes, through this Friday. It's $28.

Andrew Gregory? You might know his work under the name Lunchboxbrain.

Every house and every neighborhood a grid

New York State is an investor of sorts in Solar City in the form of the $750 million pledged by the state to the company's planned solar panel plant in Buffalo via the Buffalo Billion. So the state has a big stake in Elon Musk's proposed plan for Tesla (the electric car company) to buy Solar City. The initial reaction from market analysts has been skeptical. But over at Vox, Dave Roberts argues the deal could make sense in the longterm, in part because of predicted changes in how we all get electricity, changes for which New York is at the forefront. [Buffalo News] [Bloomberg] [Vox]

Design help for organizing a house?

cluttered closetMelissa emails:

We've lived in our house 10 years, and are in need of some help. We are a family now, with all the 'stuff' that comes with that, and just cannot figure out how to make a more grown up house that uses space well and files away all the paperwork of elementary school. Are there local decorators/organizers folks can recommend? Is that a real thing?!

We're always amazed by how people who have eye for design can rearrange a space to make it work better or just feel better.

Got a suggestion for Melissa? Please share! And a sentence or two about why you're recommending a person or service or idea is always helpful.

You should stop and smell the roses

Schenectady Central Park Rose Garden

Or, at least, stop and see them.

We stopped by Central Park Rose Garden in Schenectady Friday evening. Walking along the rows of blooms -- the roses are either at their peak or close to it -- the scene felt a bit unreal, almost magical.

There are a few pics after the jump (they don't really capture it). But if you have a chance during the next week, you should stop by and see the garden in person.

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Overcoming hurdles

Two remarkable graduation stories from Bethany Bump over at the Times Union: The Schenectady teen who overcame poverty and its many challenges, as well as mental illness, to become the first person in her family to graduate from high school. And in Albany, a Karen refugee who came here at age 9 and had to learn English -- and graduated from Albany High School this past weekend as an International Baccalaureate candidate. [TU x2]

Saratoga Wine & Food Festival 2016

Saratoga Food Wine Festival 2016 headliners

Left to right: Anne Burrell, Marc Murphy, Josh Capon, Joshua Weston.

The annual Saratoga Wine & Food Festival returns to SPAC September 9-11 this year. Tickets for the various events connected to the festival are now on sale.

The headlining food personalities are Food Network chefs Anne Burrell and Marc Murphy, chef and TV personality Josh Capon, and wine expert Joshua Wesson.

The event schedule is after the jump.

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Big warehouse fire in Watervliet, Bharara says he believes there's corruption in NY exec branch, hopes for the Upstatexit

Watervliet warehouse fire
A large warehouse fire in Watervliet Saturday night took multiple departments and many hours to extinguish. Watervliet's fire chief says the cause of the fire is under investigation. The building has been demolished. [Troy Record] [News10] [TU] [News10]

Bernie Sanders in Albany
Bernie Sanders to the crowd at his appearance at The Egg on Friday: "Our ideas of economic and environmental and racial justice are the future, if we keep at it." Sanders also said his campaign is talking with Hillary Clinton's campaign about "whether or not they can come up with some very serious proposals which will help us transform America." Of the 162 people the Times Union talked to at the event, about half said they would not vote for Clinton or Donald Trump. [Daily Gazette] [Politico NY] [TU]

Preet probes
Preet Bharara to ABC News: "We have found that corruption is rife in a lot of institutions in New York and throughout New York. That's true in the legislature ... It's also the case that there's corruption, we believe, in the executive branches as well. And we'll ferret it out wherever we find it." [ABC]

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The week ahead

So So Glos

The So So Glos are playing Rockin' on the River this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (classic), to swimming pools, to baseball, to WTF, to naked magic, to dance, to all sorts of music...

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A quick recap of the week

week review 2016-06-26

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

+ Sandy looked at whether light rail is right for the Capital Region right now.

+ We gave away tickets to the Hidden City House and Garden Tour -- with a gift card to Yono's or dp -- by asking: What's something local that you're looking forward to eating this summer?

+ Sean asked about which school district people would recommend for his family -- there were thoughtful answers.

+ Deanna doesn't like cream pies -- but she tried the coconut cream pie at Restaurant Navona anyway, and is glad she did.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: actions that reverberate across generations, not listening to naysayers, career tradeoffs, Daniel Manning, floods, the Dix Range, wildflowers, Huckleberry Point, memories of the Catskills, cheap eats, the happy place, a claim of burnt ends, and congratulations.

+ The schedule of authors for the NYS Writers Institute summer public readings is out.

+ It's swimming pool season! Here's a big list of public pools around the Capital Region.

+ Julie put together some ideas for a visit to the Finger Lakes region.

+ And here is a photo of a dinosaur on Lark Street.

Here's the whole week in one place.

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

Today's moment of summer

Euclid Ave picket fence sun

Euclid Ave in Albany.

Downtown Albany outdoor movie series survey

salt trailer 2 U-Haul

Parts of downtown Albany co-starred with Angelina Jolie in Salt. (The U-Haul building was a little insufferable for a while after this movie came out, always somehow wedging the topic into any conversation: "Speaking of work, you remember that time I worked with Angie in that movie...")

The Downtown Albany BID is setting up an outdoor movie series for later this summer and fall. And it's looking for input on which movies to show via an online survey.

The BID is asking for people to pick five movies from a slate of 20 films -- ranging from Indiana Jones to The Big Lebowski to Salt (partially filmed downtown, of course) to 10 Things I Hate About You. One person who completes the survey will win a four pack of season passes to the 2016-2017 movies series at the Palace.

The deadline for submitting a survey is July 1 at 11:59 pm.

The Downtown Albany BID advertises on AOA.

image: Sony Pictures

Another record year for New York State maple syrup production

mountain winds maple syrup amber


New York State set a new modern record for maple syrup production this year, the Cuomo admin announced Friday. The Empire State produced 707,000 gallons of syrup, according to numbers from the from the US Department of Agriculture.

That's up from 601,000 gallons last year. And it keeps New York at the #2 spot nationally, holding off a surging Maine with 675,000. Better luck next time, Pine (Not Maple) Tree State.

New York's increased production this year was in part a result of a longer season -- 36 days on average this year, compared to 26 last year. But the state continues to add taps, too. Its tap count was above 2,500 this year -- the Cuomo admin says that's the highest number since 1946 -- and the count has been rising by a couple of hundred each year for the past few years. (The state's yield per tap has also been rising.)

Of course, Vermont continues to dominate the field, where they're just playing a different game.

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On Lark Street, not extinct

dinosaur walking down Lark Street

T-Rex probably wears flip-flops because then there's no reaching down to tie laces. (And we all know arm length is a sensitive topic with Rex.)

Heather sent along this scene from Lark Street Thursday.

Just your typical summer evening.

(Thanks, Heather!)

Stuff to do this weekend

smokey robinson

Smokey Robinson is the headliner for the Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC this weekend.

Summer! Summer! Summer!

Sorry. We're excited about the summer. We should be focused on telling you what there is to do this weekend.

Weekend! Weekend! Weekend! Focus. So, we just checked the forecast and it calls for lots of sunshine.

Sunshine! Sunshine! Sunshine! OK, you know what, we're not even going to try. After the jump, a bountiful list of summer stuff to do.

Stuff to do! Stuff to do! Stuff to... Seriously, we'll stop now.

If you're planning something you don't see here, we hope you'll tell us about it in the comments. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!

2016 Phish at SPAC ad 525x80

2016-05-20-AOA-525x80-Old Songs Festival-Ad.gif

YNHW in-post ad CDPHP

YNHW in-post ad Downtown Albany BID

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Bernie Sanders back in Albany, LGBT flag burning being investigated as a hate crime, a commencement speech declaration

Bernie Sanders in Albany
Bernie Sanders is scheduled to give a speech at The Egg Friday -- his campaign is calling it a ""Where We Go From Here" speech. People were already lined up by 8:30 this morning for the midday event. On MSNBC Friday morning Sanders said he would vote for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. [Sanders campaign] [TU] [NYT]

Rainbow flag burned at Damien Center
The Albany Damien Center reported Thursday that the LGBT rainbow banner in front of the church that currently houses the center was set on fire sometime overnight Wednesday to Thursday morning in an apparent act of vandalism. Albany police say department detectives and the FBI are investigating and they're treating the incident as a possible hate crime. The Damien Center provides services to people living with HIV. Said Perry Junjulas, its executive director, to the Times Union: "When I saw it, it was this automatic almost punch-in-the-gut feeling, like 'Oh my God, there are people out there who really do hate us, and they're right here.'" [Albany Damien Center FB] [APD] [WNYT] [TU]

Troy charter changes might not go through
Troy city officials are looking into whether the city charter changes approved by voters last fall -- including the elimination of two city council seats -- can go into effect as planned because it appears the city might not have followed the proper procedural steps for making the changes. [Troy Record]

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Today's moment of summer

magazine street rabbit cropped

Magazine Street in Albany. The Easter Bunny finally finds those eggs he mistakenly dropped while making rounds earlier this year.

(This rabbit was looking at us like, "What, can't a guy just graze for a late-afternoon snack without someone gawking at him?" Definitely more annoyed than afraid.)

Trolley tours of downtown Albany

irish american heritage museum horse trolley tourBecause trolleys: The Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany is hosting horse-drawn trolley tours of Albany starting this Saturday, June 25. Tickets are $25 and available online.

Tour blurbage:

A local Historian will walk you through some great points of interest. Did you know that Herman Melville, author, wrote Moby Dick while staying here in Albany or the very first basketball game was played right here at the then YMCA on Pearl Street? Of course there will be a bit of Irish history told as well! Come and enjoy some local history and relax as we bring you back in time all while riding on a horse drawn trolley. This ride is approximately 1 1/2hr long ~ bring your cameras and enjoy Albany as we bring you back in History.

As we've mentioned before, trolleys had a long history in Albany and the Capital District. And the first trolleys, which started operating in the 1860s, were drawn by horses. Check out these historical photos of Albany and Schenectady.

The horse-drawn era didn't last long -- the local trolleys started switching over to electric power in the 1890s. And by the 1940s, the local trolley system was discontinued in favor of buses.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Riding the trolley -- everywhere
+ Thinking about Capital Region light rail

photo via Irish American Heritage Museum FB

A little dry

accumulated precipitation Albany ytd 2016-06-23

Accumulated precipitation for the Albany area for 2016 so far.

We noticed a few people watering lawns recently, and that got us curious about how this area's doing in terms of rainfall lately. So we looked up the numbers via the NWS Albany website, which very helpfully generated the graph above.

That precipitation accumulation since the start of 2016. The green line is this year's accumulated total, the brown line is the 30-year normal, and the red and blue lines are the record lows and highs.

As you can see, we're a bit behind the normal for the year. And for the month of June so far, the Albany area's at a little more than 2 inches -- about .8 inches off the normal. But over the past month parts of the state have been relatively dry -- see this map from the NWS Binghamton office.

graph: NWS Albany

Weekend Destination: Finger Lakes

weekend destination finger lakes composite

By Julie Madsen

Why: lakes, waterfalls, and wine
How far: 3-3.5 hours

The land surrounding the eleven long and narrow lakes resembling fingers in Central New York is filled with much natural beauty to behold -- and many libations to sample.

The Finger Lakes region is New York's largest wine producer, boasting over 100 wineries. There are also plenty of little towns to explore, as well parks and lakes to take in. And it's an easy summer weekend getaway from the Albany area.

Here are a few ideas to get you started...

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The hourly rate behind the wheel

Because of the ongoing Uber/Lyft discussion here: Using Uber data, Buzzfeed has put together estimates of how much drivers made in three cities during periods in late 2015 -- after expenses. The hourly rates ranged from $8.77 in Detroit to $13.17 in Denver. [Buzzfeed]

Taste of Troy food tours

troy monument squareA business called Taste of Troy, started by Amy Koren-Roth, is offering food walking tours (Or should be that walking food tours?) of downtown Troy. Blurbage for its "Central Troy Historic District Food Tour":

Put on your walking shoes for an entertaining and delicious way to learn about Troy, its ups and downs, and the role food is playing in bringing this architectural gem back to life. You'll sip and sample some New York classic flavors (often with a new twist). Of course, we will sprinkle in history, architecture, and culture to round out your perfect Saturday in the Collar City. Our Central Troy Historic District Food Tour is a leisurely 3 hour, 1.5 mile walk with plenty of refreshing and informative stops along the way, so it's suited for most ages and fitness levels.

The tours are offered on Saturday mornings. Tickets are $49 and must be purchased in advance.

Daniel went one of the tours recently -- here's his recap.

Tonko joins House Dems in sit-in, couple injured in Albany County bobcat attack, Siena team prints Frozen hand for child

House Democrats stage protest
Representative Paul Tonko was among the Democrats who staged a protest on Wednesday in the U.S. House of Representatives in a push for a vote on gun control. Tonko says the protest stemmed from frustration over the refusal to hold votes on gun control in the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, "And you resort to the most extreme measures to draw attention to the fact that the silence is deafening.''[NYT][TU]

Special session not likely
Andrew Cuomo says isn't likely to call state legislators back for a special session to address ethics because "because the measures they didn't do, they don't want to do." Cuomo said he believes it could take a constitutional convention to get ethics laws changed.[TU]

Kamfer v. Cuomo
The Supreme Court declined to hear a Mayfield man's challenge to the NY Safe Act, but he says he's not done fighting. [TU]

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Capital Region swimming pools 2016

victoria pool large


Swimming pool season has arrived.

Many of the Capital Region's municipal pools, beaches and spray pads have already opened, or will be opening soon.

After the jump, a list of town/city swimming pools, spray pads, and state beaches around the Capital Region with info about when they open, hours, and cost.

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Socialist polyamory and silverware

Sometimes the history of the most mundane objects -- like spoons -- has a remarkably weird history. For example: The "polyamorous Christian socialist utopia" that gave birth to the Oneida Limited company, which for roughly a century made silverware in Oneida, New York (located between Utica and Syracuse). [Collectors Weekly] [via @lnorthup]

NYS Summer Writers Institute 2016

author margo jefferson

Margo Jefferson -- whose memoir Negroland won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography last year -- is one of the authors on this year's schedule. / photo: Michael Lionstar

The schedule for this summer's New York State Writers Institute's free public readings series in Saratoga Springs is out. And as usual, the lineup is full of names you'll recognize, such as Rick Moody, Claire Messud, Robert Pinsky, Joyce Carol Oates, and William Kennedy.

The readings are on Skidmore's campus and are free and open to the public.

Without further ado...

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No doubt there are some very important mayonnaise-related trade secrets

The New York State Attorney General's office announced Wednesday that it reached an agreement with Jimmy John's to stop including non-compete clauses in the hiring packets it distributes to franchises. Yep, a non-compete clause for a sandwich shop. Details of the non-compete clause first came to national light in a 2014 HuffPo report. As NYT's Neil Irwin pointed out, the lack of reciprocity -- the sandwich shop employees got nothing for agreeing to the clause -- was striking. [NYS OAG] [HuffPo] [NYT]

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: actions that reverberate across generations, not listening to naysayers, career tradeoffs, Daniel Manning, floods, the Dix Range, wildflowers, Huckleberry Point, memories of the Catskills, cheap eats, the happy place, a claim of burnt ends, and congratulations.

Neighborhood in-post ad APL 2015

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A win for Mama Mia's

New York Upstate recently endeavored to determine the "best" pizza upstate (brave souls, they are). And the winner was... Mama Mia's in Saratoga Springs. Congrats. (For what it's worth, Mama Mia's did well in previous AOA Tournaments of Pizza, winning the Saratoga bracket twice. But it had an unfortunate hiccup in the the Tournament of Pizza to end all Tournaments of Pizza.)

Heather LaVine and Vic Christopher at Albany Startup Grind

The Confectionery

The Albany Startup Grind series has an event with Heather LaVine and Vic Christopher lined up for July 6 at The Confectionery in Troy. Tickets, which are being sold by the event series, are currently $10 and available online. (The price increases to $20 this Friday, and $25 at the door.) Proceeds go to support the series.

As you know, LaVine and Christopher are the owners of The Confectionery, Peck's Arcade, Twenty Two Second Street Wine Co., and the upcoming Little Peck's cafe. They'll be talking wit organizer Patrice Perkins about how they've gone about building their projects and what they've learned as businesses owners.

Not familiar with this series? Here's little bit of background from Perkins:

We're a monthly fireside chat series - each month I choose a successful local business leader and have a fireside chat about their journey to building a successful company. Agenda is networking for an hour, 1 hour fireside chat then Q&A from the audience then about 1/2 hour for more networking.
We're a global org so we tape the live chats and they go up on global website; you can see some earlier ones at

The event at the Confectionery is Wednesday, July 6 at 6 pm.

Former UAlbany student admits to false claims about bus incident, pedestrian hit in Schenectady, new record for swimming Lake George

UAlbany student admits to false claims about bus incident
One of the three students who claimed to be the victims of a racially-motivated attack on a CDTA bus earlier this year, admitted in court on Tuesday that elements of the story were fabricated. In a plea deal, Alexis Briggs pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and will perform 100 hours of community service. The other two women in the case could face up to two years in jail.[TU][WNYT][TWCN]

Casino payouts
Schenectady, Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties along with the city of Schenectady, are among 22 upstate municipalities that are already getting millions in casino payouts. The Capital Region received $10 million from Rush Street Gaming.[TU][Gazette]

Pedestrian hit in Schenectady
A 57-year old Schenectady woman was treated at Albany Medical Center after being hit by a car as she tried to cross State Street late Tuesday night. [Gazette]

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The Scoop

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