The last week's worth of items on AOA
The Grand Street Community Arts' YouthFX teen filmmaking program is premiering the short films from its 2012 season tonight (Thursday) at the Madison Theater in Albany.
Twelve films are on the slate covering a range of topics, among them: bullying, poetry, the Albany High School girls' basketball team's championship season, and the city of Albany's youth boxing program. The full slate is after the jump.
There are two screenings: 7 pm and 9:15 pm, with a Q&A with the filmmakers after each. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 students. Proceeds go to support YouthFX's summer program.
Cuomo proposes tax free zones around NYS universities, RPI to partner with Mount Sinai, more heavy rain expected
Andrew Cuomo is proposing the establishment of tax free zones for businesses that set up near SUNY campuses. Under the plan, 120 million square feet of tax free space would be made available for companies that locate within the zones, in an effort to create economic hubs. [YNN][TU]
Recent agreements between the Cuomo administration and the Mohawk and Oneida tribes to keep new casinos away from reservation gaming establishments, has ruled out a Lake George casino, but made Saratoga a much more likely site for one.[TU][Saratogian]
Niskayuna's school board will propose another round of budget cuts that could include school closures, before putting a spending plan up for a vote again in June.[TU]
Moxie's in Wynantskill -- of the Around the World of Vanilla sampler, of the blue moon ice cream, of the somewhat-later-than-other-stands opening -- is now open (opened on Mother's Day), 3-9 weekdays, 1:30-9 pm on weekends. That is all. Earlier: Moxie's is more than plain vanilla
The schedule for this summer's Rockin' on the River concert series in Troy is out. The Wednesday night series starts up June 19. This year the concerts will start out in Green Island Bridge parking lot and move to Riverfront Park in August.
OK, without further ado, the schedule...
There's an interesting article over at Modern Farmer about "the dark side" of Greek yogurt production: whey -- what's left over from the process of making yogurt. A clip from the article by Justin Elliot:
For every three or four ounces of milk, Chobani and other companies can produce only one ounce of creamy Greek yogurt. The rest becomes acid whey. It's a thin, runny waste product that can't simply be dumped. Not only would that be illegal, but whey decomposition is toxic to the natural environment, robbing oxygen from streams and rivers. That could turn a waterway into what one expert calls a "dead sea," destroying aquatic life over potentially large areas. Spills of cheese whey, a cousin of Greek yogurt whey, have killed tens of thousands of fish around the country in recent years.
The scale of the problem--or opportunity, depending on who you ask--is daunting. The $2 billion Greek yogurt market has become one of the biggest success stories in food over the past few years and total yogurt production in New York nearly tripled between 2007 and 2013. New plants continue to open all over the country. The Northeast alone, led by New York, produced more than 150 million gallons of acid whey last year, according to one estimate.
And as the nation's hunger grows for strained yogurt, which produces more byproduct than traditional varieties, the issue of its acid runoff becomes more pressing. Greek yogurt companies, food scientists, and state government officials are scrambling not just to figure out uses for whey, but how to make a profit off of it.
As you know, New York State was the nation's biggest producer of yogurt in 2012, thanks in large part to the Greek yogurt factories in the state (including Chobani). So this is a pressing issue upstate -- especially as companies to continue to expand production. And there doesn't appear to be an easy answer.
Update: Chobani sent along a statement about the situation surrounding whey. It's in full after the jump.
Modern Farmer: Yep, that's the new publication based in Hudson.
The senior class gift to RPI from the 2013 graduating class? "A a giant functional Rubik's cube mounted statue." Because... of course. Says the class president in a press release: "First off, it's a nerdy toy that resonates with a lot of the student body. Secondly, building it, with a brand-new mechanism by necessity, would be an impressive feat of engineering design and manufacturing, again resonating with the nature of our school." Here's a video of the prototype.
Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: workforce challenging, the Bod Pod, like of Troy, memories, Esther and Whiteface, a buffet for beavers, an excellent opening, less than transparent, don'ts, Henry Burden, then and now, circus school, the Tour de Gelato, heart melting creme brulee, Tara Kitchen, popcorn-esque frisbees, super carrots.
This Slate article takes up the (not) very important work of improving state bird choices -- and fighting the forces of the powerful bluebird lobby. (Guess what New York's state bird is...) [via Kottke] Earlier: On state animals, vegetables and whatnot
We gotta admit when we first read the description for "Subliminal Transcriptions" -- an upcoming light installation at the Arts Center of the Capital Region -- with its mentions of "transcription" and "topography" and "minuscule conditions" we were kind of like... huh? But then we saw the photo above.
"Subliminal Transcriptions" is the creation of Yael Erel, an architect currently in an RPI grad program for architecture and lighting. She's also the co-founder of a lighting design company called lightexture. Here's a short Etsy video about the company from a few years back.
Subliminal Transcriptions grew out of a project to understand and control projected reflections from light fixtures, along with the drawings they produce. While working as a luminaire designer, an accidental discovery allowed Erel to realize the complexities evident in the simplest materials and smallest textures. "It all started with a piece of double sided tape" said Erel. When amplified with a reflector, the minuscule and seemingly invisible surface textures were revealed beyond what the naked eye could see.
The opening reception for the installation is June 6 from 5-9 pm. The installation will be on display in the Arts Center's black box theater June 6-8.
Yep, the Arts Center has advertised on AOA.
Niskayuna school budget rejected, state judge backs ban on Armory dance parties, historic house accidentally saved
School budgets in most Capital Region districts were approved by voters on Tuesday, but the Niskayuna budget -- which included a 5.76 percent tax increase that required overriding the tax cap -- was voted down. The district's superintendent said in a statement that official expected to adjust the budget and put it back up for re-vote June 18. [Record] [YNN] [TU] [NCSC]
John Davis beat self-proclaimed fascist, and reptile owner, Jose Lopez for a seat on the Albany Public Library Board of Trustees. [APL Press release]
Andrew Cuomo has reached a casino agreement with the Mohawk Tribal Council that will give the Mohawk's casino exclusivity in an 8-county region of northern New York in exchange for $30 million in back payments to New York State plus future revenue shares from the casino. The move eliminates the prospect of locating a casino in Lake George. [TU][Post Star][Gazette]
Two of Vito Lopez's alleged harassment victims are "actively considering" suing Sheldon Silver for negligence in light of recent reports that Silver covered up earlier harassment claims through confidential settlements. [NY Post]
A 26-year-old Albany man was shot in the leg early Tuesday near the intersection of 1st and Judson Streets in the city. [TU]
A New York State judge has backed a decision by Albany's Zoning Board of Appeals to block dance parties at the Washington Avenue Armory. The original decision was made, in part, by consulting the dictionary for a definition of auditorium. [TU]
The unemployment rate in the Capital Region was 6.5 percent in April -- down from 7.2 percent during the same period last year, according to the state Department of Labor. [NYS DOL]
Today's map: The breweries, wineries, and distilleries of New York State.
We created this map based on data recently posted by the state. It includes big breweries and distillers, but also microbreweries, farm wineries, and cider producers. Check it out in large format -- where there's also a legend for the map.
To some extent, this is just sort of map gawkage. But it does highlight certain patterns...
After receiving a heads up about Albany Library trustee candidate Jose Lopez -- YouTube-described follower of "fascism" (as well as flag orderer) and "alligator man" -- Kerry contacted us to basically ask: Is this for real? Well, he's on the ballot. And as for whether he's for real... well... this Metroland article about Lopez might shed some light on that. Lopez is one of two candidates for the open trustee spot -- John D. Davis is the other. Update: Davis won 1,952-530.
TG Branfalt Jr, the one-man crew behind the project, posts that the doc was prompted by the expanding footprint of Albany Med and other new development in the Park South neighborhood -- which, as a few people have speculated, could eventually include where Valentine's sits. He continues:
Personally, Valentine's was where I went to punk rock shows over a decade ago. It was the very first place my first band played out. I played there almost monthly for a couple years with my second band. They always treated us well and I have yet to hear about Howard or Mike treating the bands poorly.
They've been a home for those miscreants, myself included, who don't dig the downtown or Lark Street scene in Albany.
My goal is to tell the story and explain the history of the venue through the lens of those who love the club. The club will always hold a special place in a lot of hearts.
He's looking to raise $6,500 for the project. Funding ends June 19.
Says Jona on Twitter:
it's official, I need to learn how to swim #swim. ... I know how to swim to save my life, but not compete. thanks!
There are two types of answers for a "swimming lessons for adults" question:
+ Lessons for basic swimming.
+ Lessons for people who already know how to swim a bit, but want to get better/faster for exercise or so they can compete in events like triathlons. (Sounds like what Jona's looking for.)
Either type of lesson can be hard to find if you're an adult. (Swimming lessons often seem to be geared toward kids.)
So... have a suggestion on either account? Please share!
Swimming season will be here soon.
Useful: The Lighting Research Center at RPI has launched a website with a bunch on information on lighting homes. The site includes patterns for lighting spaces, as well as details on different types of fixtures and bulbs.
That might not exactly light you up (oof), but lighting can make a big difference. Switching out the harsh ceiling light in the middle of a room for lamps can make the space feel a lot better.
The most interesting part of the site for us is the section that includes an interactive calculator for comparing the cost and energy use of different lighting sources in a room. The calculator lets you change the numbers around based on variables such as usage and wattage and anticipated life of the arrangement.
For example, the LRC figures lighting a small living room with incandescents costs on average $53 per year; with CFLs, it would cost $15; and with LEDs $21. (Even though LEDs are more energy efficient than CFLs, the bulbs themselves cost a lot more.)
image: RPI Lighting Research Center
Silver apologizes for handling of sexual harassment case, woman accused of soliciting donations for cancer she didn't have, 20 for $1 million
Today is school budget voting. Don't know where to vote? Check with your district's website.
An "uncharacteristically contrite" Sheldon Silver apologized for the handling of complaints of sexual harassment against now-former Assemblyman Vito Lopez. He also proposed a group of changes to Assembly sexual harassment polices, among them making all Assembly members and supervisory staff mandatory reporters of harassment. [TU] [NYDN] [NY Assembly]
Andrew Cuomo again criticized Silver's handling of the situation Monday. A Democratic Assemblyman from the Buffalo area took the rare step of announcing he was leaving the chamber's Democratic conference in protest. But Silver, "a master of wielding the levers of power at the Capitol," always seems to find a way to sail through the crisis. [State of Politics] [Buffalo News] [NYT]
The Chemung County sheriff says reps for county sheriffs around the state weren't summoned to the Capitol recently to discuss changes to the NY SAFE Act, as they thought -- but rather for Andrew Cuomo to tell to stop speaking against the gun law. [TU]
What's left of St. Patrick's in Watervliet: a pile of bricks. [TU]
Noted and filed under road trippage: There is book titled Unknown Museums of Upstate New York, by Chuck D'Imperio. Blurbage (links added):
Unknown Museums of Upstate New York is an informative and entertaining guide to the rich resources available at fifty small, often overlooked, regional museums. Even those familiar with the upstate area will likely have never visited and perhaps never heard of some of the treasures this guide unearths, such as the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum, the Kazoo Museum, and the Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage and Museum. D'Imperio tells each museum's story, in light of its cultural and historical relevance, and he provides a wealth of information about the museums as places of interest to visit, not just to read about.
D'Imperio really seems to have honed in on niche. Among his other books: Monumental New York! A Guide to 30 Iconic Memorials in Upstate New York and Great Graves of Upstate New York
book cover: Syracuse University Press
The work is autobiography with a twist: Fink travels back in time in an attempt to help her former selves. It results in some fantasies we've probably all had -- like providing her younger self with the comeback to an insult. But it also prompts her to re-examine how she acted and why. And, of course, not everything goes as planned. It is at turns funny, charming, and intense.
Or, as Fink summarized it to us one time: "It's part autobiography, part sci fi, part make-outs and farts jokes."
Here's a good write-up about it at io9.
We Can Fix It! is available in both hard copy ($14.95) and digital ($6.99).
Among Fink's other work is Chester 5000 XYV, a comic and graphic novel about a Victorian-era man who creates a sex robot for his wife -- with unexpected results.
images: Jess Fink / Top Shelf
Collins asks via Twitter:
Good Albany steak/filet recommendation? Other than Prime
The "other than Prime" part is a little like asking "What are some traditionally successful baseball teams -- other than the Yankees?" But it's good to get some suggestions beyond the places that get mentioned all the time.
And our quick take on steak: Considering steak is one of those things we don't order often, we tend to avoid filet. You know, if you're going to order a steak, order something with a lot of flavor -- a ribeye, hanger, something like that.
Got a suggestion? Please share.
Earlier on AOA: Ask AOA: The best burgers in the Capital Region? (2010)
The schedule is out for this summer's New York State Writers Institute's public readings series in Saratoga.
As usual, there are a bunch of names you'll recognize. The readings are in the evenings on the Skidmore campus -- they're free and open to the public.
Thanks to a few recent coronal mass ejections from the sun, the aurora was invisible in New York State over the weekend -- resulting in this fantastic photo from Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks. (And another aurora photo from a Saratoga parking lot.) Here's Spaceweather.com's gallery of recent aurora photos. [via Upstate NY Weather]
Each week with My Exit our friends at WEXT give us a chance to check out what's on the playlists of people in the Capital Region.
Today's guest DJ, Jen Acuna.
Rensselaer County clerk sealing all pistol permits, Vito Lopez resigns, UAlbany students fighting suspensions over house parties
Citing cost and lack of staff, Rensselaer County clerk Frank Merola says he's sealing all pistol permit records in the county so that his office doesn't have to deal with keeping track of which people opted out of having a public record under the NY SAFE Act. Merola describes the opt-out provision as an unfunded mandate from the state. He says his office has received about 2,000 opt-out forms. [TU] [News10]
Niskayuna and South Colonie are among the few school districts statewide looking to get voters to approve a tax cap override Tuesday. Local school districts are
Assemblyman Vito Lopez resigned effective this morning following multiple calls for his expulsion from the Assembly because of sexual harassment allegations. Lopez says his resignation is not an admission of wrongdoing and he did it for "for the sake of my family, for the sake of my close friends and for the sake of my own health." The situation has also cast a critical light on Sheldon Silver. [State of Politics] [TU] [NY Post] [NYT]
Said one of the attendees at the memorial service for the father and three children killed recently in a Schenectady house fire, which authorities say was arson, trying to make sense of the situation: "It's senseless." Said one of the service's speakers to the crowd: "It's a sad day for us when a child doesn't meet his first birthday. It shouldn't happen like that. But it does happen like that." [TU] [Daily Gazette]
Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (damp), a bigger boat, cooking, Dirty Wars, hidden gardens, fashion, Saratoga, DMB, music...
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Stuff to do
Mop and Bucket Improv Company, where making stuff up isn't lying - it's a gift for fiction. You can catch their shows every Friday at 8pm Underground at Proctors, every Saturday at The Comedy Works. They also teach drop-in classes every Saturday morning at Proctors.
+ The Albany All Stars roller derby.
Stuff to learn
Arts Center for the Capital Region, starting a beginning swing dance, Lindy-Hop and blues class on June 11.
+The Weekend MBA program at UAlbany. Get your MBA in 22 months, while you work.
Stuff to Try
The Capital Region Ultimate Disc Association, Albany's premiere ultimate frisbee league, is accepting new players for its summer league.
+Albany Public Library's mobile app --find locations and hours, check your library card account, learn about upcoming events, download eBooks, audiobooks, music and more. Check ISBN bar codes on books, DVDs and CDs to see if the library owns what you're looking for.
+ Get a FREE MONTH of Wink High Speed Internet Service from Tech Valley Communications. Enter this code when you sign up for service at: www.winkinternet.com: w1n87k0
Food and Drink
The patio is open and the wine is flowing at the Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark.
The Cheese Traveler, a purveyor of fine, hand-crafted domestic and imported cheeses mad by small producers by cheesemakers using Old World traditions. The Cheese Traveler offers a broad selection of artisan cheeses of all styles from the three major milks - cow, goat, and sheep - to compose a perfectly balanced cheese plate or to select a choice few for delightful snacking. All cheeses can be tasted before purchase and are cut to order by knowledgeable cheesemongers.
+All Good Bakers, Albany's farm to bakery cafe. Now serving croissants and pain au chocolat every day, made with our own fresh, grass-fed, cultured butter and NY stoneground flour from North Country Farms.
+Show those Grads some New World Bistro Bar love this weekend! They'll be serving up an awesome 'down-home' brunch buffet this Sunday, May 19th from 11AM-4PM that is sure to please even the heartiest of appetites. Bring the whole family -- there will be something for everyone! Call 518.694.0520 for reservations.
+ City Beer Hall has great food, a fantastic rooftop deck, and a Saturday and Sunday brunch starting at 11AM.
+Mingledonated 100 percent of their Dining Out for Life Day sales to The Aids Council of Northeastern New York.
+ Honest Weight Food Coop has all the best flavors of the season.
+Capital District Physicians Health Plan, offering Cafe Well, a social network to help you get well and stay well.
Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA:
+ We're watching for cicadas.
+ A peek at the new Honest Weight location.
+ We picked out a sampler of cooking classes.
+ Daniel recommended getting something at Famous Lunch that's not the hot dogs.
+ Jerry Jennings announced he's not running for re-election.
+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: the Albany app, St. Patrick's, scenes from the demolished, the next mayor, DARE, a flower CSA, bison, the good side, caveat emptor, unsolicited advice, bang for the buck in Saratoga, native trees, and Mother's Day.
+ A few of the items found on Craigslist this week: brownies earned through flirting, a bro triumvirate, a fainting couch, and fainting goat.
+ Cheese guru Gustav Ericson is leaving Honest Weight.
+ St. Joseph's is back in the city of Albany's hands.
+ Daniel talked with the founder of the new Albany Bagel Co.
+ And Casey talked with an organist at the Cathedral of All Saints -- about music, and adopting Albany as a temporary hometown.
Here's the whole week all lined up.
Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or shared an idea or photo this week!
bagel photo: Albany Bagel Co.
The Cuomo admin announced a bunch of funding today for state parks projects -- a little more than $11 million around the Capital Region. Some of the items sound like the possible (very) beginning of interesting projects, among them: preparing vacant wings of the Lincoln Baths in Spa State Park for adaptive reuse, and stabilizing the Bleachery Building at Peebles Island for the same. Also: $150k for "viewshed and site restoration" at Thacher Park -- that's trimming back the trees, right?
When Graham Schultz first learned he would be moving to Albany, the Cathedral of All Saints organ fellow says all he heard from people was, "Oh, Albany. It sort of sucks." Well, they were wrong. And Graham figured that out pretty quickly.
Originally from Arkansas, he didn't really know much about the northeast or upstate New York in general. But now, after three years here, he'd probably be one of the best people to ask about Albany.
"I consider myself from Albany now, but I wouldn't say I'm a New Yorker," he says.
Graham's final performance at the cathedral is during services this Sunday (May 19) and he leaves Albany shortly after that for a new post in Dallas. But talking with him about some of what he's learned about the city and its history reveals what happens when someone embraces their adopted town.
Amtrak says it's in the process of upgrading the internet service for its on-train wi-fi -- it expects to have the new 4G service (it uses mobile data networks) rolled out to all wi-fi equipped trains by the end of the summer. Having wi-fi on the train is great... when it works. Amtrak says the upgraded service will have better speeds and connectivity. Noted: "To maximize the Wi-Fi experience for passengers, data-heavy activities that can slow everyone down, such as streaming video and music, and file downloads larger than 10MB, will continue to be restricted."
Perhaps you are among the many who have been intrigued by the mysterious Albany Bagel Co., which appeared out of nowhere late last year. They have been tweeting, creating interesting maps of Albany, and teasing all of us with the promise of great bagels.
Well, the wait is almost over. The Albany Bagel Co. will begin retail operations at the Colonie Farmers Market at the Crossings this Saturday.
But who are they? Why are they doing this? And what can we expect when they finally start selling their bagels to the public? We talked with one of the founders to find out.
This weekend looks like it could be Mother Nature's way of making up for the rain on last weekend's Tulip Festival. Lots of sunshine and spring-like temperatures.
Got plans yet? After the jump we've put together a list of a few things you might like to try. Doing something that's not on the list? Share it in the comment section.
And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend.
Cuomo: "zero tolerance" for Lopez, development planned for Wellington Row, Handy Andy severely damaged in fire
Andrew Cuomo on Assemblyman Vito Lopez, following the ethics report about allegations of sexual harassment against Lopez: "The reaction should be zero tolerance. If he doesn't resign, they should expel him." Cuomo also said the Assembly has handled the situation surrounding Lopez "poorly and terribly," though he didn't specifically single out Sheldon Silver. Thursday night Silver's office announced the speaker will introduce a resolution that could lead to Lopez's expulsion from the Assembly. [State of Politics] [TU] [NYT]
The state attorney general's office and NYPD say 16 people have indicted for an alleged "criminal ring that flooded New York City, Albany County and Schenectady County with more than a million cartons of untaxed cigarettes illegally imported from Virginia." State AG Eric Schneiderman says authorities aren't sure where all the money ended up, ""We know that some members of this group have ties to some very dangerous people." [NYS AG] [TU]
The Cuomo admin and the Oneida Indian Nation announced a deal that grants the nation exclusive casino rights (and settle some longstanding land rights disuptes) in Central New York in exchange for a 25 percent of the casino revenue. The deal takes a potential Syracuse-area casino off the table if/when the state approves full casino gambling. (Andrew Cuomo has proposed siting three casinos upstate, with a preference for one in the Capital Region.) [Cuomo admin] [Post-Standard] [TU] [Cuomo admin]
Columbia Development is planning to build office and condo space in portions of Wellington Row, the stretch of facades along State Street in Albany near the Capitol. [TU] [News10]
Outside 1 Commerce Plaza in Albany. Blue skies back again.
One of the tactics Union College is using against pests: a release of 140,000 ladybugs, deployed to eat plant-attacking aphids. It's also enlisted praying mantises for the fight. Potential complication: mantises eat ladybugs. photo: Matt Milless / Union College
The Historic Albany Foundation announced today that it will be handing back St. Joseph's church in the Ten Broeck Triangle to the city of Albany. The preservation org has owned the building since 2003, and the deed back is via a "reverter clause" from that deal 10 years ago.
"Our first and primary goal was to stabilize the building," said Susan Holland, HAF's executive director, today. And Holland said they've accomplished that, raising more than $700,000 along the way for the work.
So why hand it back to the city?
For what it's worth: Earlier this spring the developer for a project in Syracuse that includes Costco said the warehouse store chain was also looking to open stores in Rochester and Albany. Yesterday it was announced Costco is anchoring a new development in Rochester. (In March a real estate broker told the Biz Review that Costco was scouting sites in Colonie.) [Post-Standard] [Rachel Barnhart] [Biz Review]
Gustav Ericson, Capital Region rock star of cheese, won't be making the leap to Honest Weight's new building.
Yes, we said the rock star of cheese.
Ericson has presided over the cheese counter at Honest Weight for the last 12 years, listening to stories, doling out samples, and educating volunteers and customers. And in that time he's developed a passionate band of fans for a guy who sells cheese.
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