The last week's worth of items on AOA

Capital Region holiday markets 2018

basilica farm flea photo

The Basilica Farm + Flea holiday market returns the weekend after Thanksgiving. / photo via Basilica Hudson

The unofficial holiday shopping season officially starts up Friday. (Or so they say.)

If you're looking for something a little bit different -- craftier, handmade, more independent, fair trade -- there are a bunch of local holiday markets around the region.

And here's a big list for this year...

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Got people in town a need to get 'em out of the house? Head for a museum.

Albany Institute Hudson River School exhibit

The large Hudson River School exhibit at the Albany Institute.

It can be great having friends and family around for the holidays. But sometimes after all that visiting people need to just get out of the house.

So... maybe take them to a museum, where people can spread out, have some time to their selves, and see some new things to talk about.

There are a bunch museums around this area, and handful make good day trips. Here are a few ideas...

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Turning the camera around

Journalist typically try to stay out of the photos. Which is one of the reasons this photoset posted by longtime photojournalist Cindy Schultz is interesting -- it's all about photos of Capital REgion journalists doing their jobs. And it provides a glimpse at the ways the job can be sometimes intense, sometimes kind of boring, and sometimes a lot of fun. [via @_era]

Albany Can Code has a new round of classes starting up soon

Albany Can Code logo

Albany Can Code -- the local initiative aimed at making training in computer coding available to a wider group of people -- has a new round of classes starting in January.

It will be offering front end web development classes -- "a solid foundation for anyone looking to explore a career in coding" -- at the Schenectady Community College extension in Albany and SUNY Adirondack in Wilton. And it also has a more advanced front-end Javascript frameworks class at SCCC in Schenectady.

From Albany Can Code's newsletter this month:

In 2018 we planned and executed 5 classes for 69 students in our workforce development program. These students learned Front End Web Development, JavaScript frameworks, Back End Web Development, and SQL Database skills. In the first quarter of 2019 we are planning to offer more classes than ever before. Nearly half of our students were women this year and more than a third were people of color.

The 12-week classes are $1,500 and there is some grant funding for people who meet various criteria. See the student FAQ for details.

Upstate Girls

Upstate Girls Brenda Kenneally coverA book collecting Brenda Ann Kenneally's ongoing work documenting the lives of people living through poverty in Troy -- Upstate Girls -- was published in October. (You might remember the North Troy Peoples' History Museum.)

From the book description (link added):

Brenda Ann Kenneally is the Dorothea Lange of our time--her work a bridge between the people she photographs, history, and us. What began as a brief assignment for The New York Times Magazine became an eye-opening portrait of the rise and fall of the American working class, and a shockingly intimate visual history of Troy that arcs over five hundred years. Kenneally beautifully layers archival images with her own photographs and collages to depict the transformations of this quintessentially American city. The result is a profound, powerful, and intimate look at America, at poverty, at the shrinking middle class, and of people as they grow, survive, and love.

This month Adrian Nicole LeBlanc -- who wrote that NYT Mag article -- takes up Kenneally's book in The New Yorker. A clip:

Shaming people who live in poverty is an old reflex in America. Kenneally reminds us that the fault lines of capitalism are everywhere within our nation, running through the very foundation we keep building upon. Her excavations blast through any attempt to deny it. In her book's opening essay, she refers to her photographs as "new fossils." With taking pictures, Kenneally writes, "comes the power to manufacture a record that future generations will consider fact." Whether we choose to look or not, these images are facts.

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You can now renew your Empire Pass (or get a new one) at a discount

empire pass card 2018

New York State Parks has opened online renewals for the next season of the Empire Pass, and you can save a few bucks doing so. Blurbage:

The Empire Pass program provides unlimited day-use vehicle entry to state parks, boat launch sites, arboretums, park preserves and Department of Environmental Conservation forest preserves. By renewing online, Empire Pass-holders will keep their existing card and not have to wait for the pass to be mailed to them nor face waiting in line at the park to pick up a new pass during peak season.

If you renew your Empire Pass -- or get a new one -- between now and March 31, it's $80 -- a savings of $10 off the regular price.

Empire Pass?
The Empire Pass is basically a season pass for New York State parks that offers unlimited admission for a calendar year. If you're a frequent state park visitor -- say, 8-10 times or more during seasons with admission fees -- it's the cheapest and easiest way to pay the admission fee. And the card can be shared among family members. (The cards have replaced the old car stickers.)

If you go to state parks a lot every year, and you've got the cash, the State Parks also offers a 3-year and 5-year Empire Pass -- they're $205 and $320, which saves another few bucks.

There's also a lifetime pass for $750.

Albany city budget approved, Troy woman no longer facing deportation, uniting against the Amazon New York deal, bioswale brouhaha

Albany city budget
The Albany Common Council unanimously passed the $177 million city budget, which includes no increase in the tax levy and again relies on $12.5 million in "capital city funding" from the state. It also approved an expansion of a $90 trash fee to single-family homes, a move that drew four votes against. [TU] [News10] [@mandy_fries]

Lawsuit over Troy police shooting
Dahmeek McDonald -- who was shot by a Troy police officer in August 2017 -- has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and officer alleging "excessive, unreasonable, racist and deadly force." (A special prosecutor presented the case to a grand jury and this past summer and it declined to hand up charges against the officer.) [TU x2]

Troy woman no longer facing deportation
A Troy woman who was facing deportation will be allowed to stay in the country after she filed for a green card (with money donated by someone she didn't know following a Times Union story) and an immigration court dismissed her case on Monday. [TU]

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Albany is set to build the link between Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail -- here's the plan

South End Connector 787 Church Street rendering

What part of the trail underneath 787 could look like.

The city of Albany is planning to start construction next year on the much-anticipated link between the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail.

The South End Connector is a key piece of the region's growing network of alternative transportation paths. When finished, it will offer a protected path for cyclists and pedestrians along the two miles from the rail trail's South End trailhead and the Mohawk-Hudson trail on the Hudson River. And it holds the potential to offer people within the South End a safer way to the riverfront.

The South End Connector has been in public planning for more two years, and the idea for the trail stretches back even farther. The city unveiled the construction plan and a new timeline last week at a public meeting.

Here's a look at what's in the works...

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AOA Thanksgiving charity drawing 2018: What are you thankful for this year?

bowl of cherries

In our (almost) annual tradition, we'd like to know:

What are you thankful for this year?

Please share in the comments -- it could be anything or anyone.

As is tradition, we will draw one comment at random and AOA will donate $100 in that person's name to the charity of their choice.

That last time we did this, the winner chose Capital Roots at his charity.

The editors will start things off below.

Important: To be part of the drawing, you must submit your comment (that answers the question) by 11:59 pm on November 21, 2018. You must include a working email address (that you check regularly). The winner will be notified via email by noon on November 26 and must respond by noon on November 27. The choice of charity is totally subject to AOA approval. For example: We're not going to give money to People Against Puppies. (But we know you'll make a good choice.)

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Stuck on Albany

albany stickers cara hanley

These Albany-themed stickers by local artist Cara Hanley are delightful and they're available via Etsy for $8. Blurbage:

Set of 4 Albany stickers made from my original watercolor paintings. These stickers are made from a durable vinyl with a laminate that protects your stickers from scratching, rain and sunlight.

We'd be happy to get them as a gift, and we bet other people would, too. You know, if you're looking for some fun, small gifts for the upcoming holiday season.

See also: The rest of her Etsy shop, which include a number of local-themed works.

[via Justin and Daniel]

Earlier: Senate House Marigolds

photo via Etsy

Harry Rosenfeld: Battling Editor

Battling Editor Harry Rosenfeld cover SUNY PressFormer Times Union editor Harry Rosenfeld has a new memoir coming out: Battling Editor: The Albany Years. Blurbage:

In 1978, Harry Rosenfeld left the Washington Post, where he oversaw the paper's standard-setting coverage of Watergate, to take charge of two daily papers under co-ownership in Albany, New York: the morning Times Union and the evening Knickerbocker News. It was a particularly challenging moment in newspaper history. While new technologies were reducing labor costs on the production side and providing ever more sophisticated tools for journalists to practice their craft, those very same technologies would soon turn a comparatively short-lived boom into a grave threat, as ever more digitally distracted readers turned to sources other than print and other legacy media for their news. Between these boundaries, Rosenfeld set about to do his work.

The memoir is a follow-up to Rosenfeld's previous work, From Kristallnacht to Watergate. (Harry Rosenfeld -- and the character Harry Rosenfeld -- appear in both the book and film version of All The President's Men.)

Battling Editor will officially be released by SUNY Press in January. But a handful of events -- readings and book signings -- connected to it start this month...

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Breaking out, on screen

From Amy Biancolli's review of the new Escape at Dannemora series on Showtime, about the 2015 prison break: "The result is fascinating, nuanced and smart, a tricky weave of character studies that benefit from the three actors in the leads: Benicio Del Toro as Matt, Paul Dano as Sweat and Patricia Arquette as Joyce "Tilly" Mitchell, the prison employee who oversees them in the tailoring shop." [TU]

The skating rink on the ESP opens for the season at the end of this month

Empire State Plaza ice skating rink overhead

The ice skating rink on the Empire State Plaza is scheduled to open November 30, the state Office of General Services announced today.

Opening day will start that Friday at 4:30 pm and run until 8 pm. There will be free skate rental throughout the weekend. And opening day will include live music. All that, of course, is weather permitting.

The ESP ice rink will then be open seven days a week (weather permitting). And this season's hours will be noon-8 pm, closed daily from 3:30-4:30 pm for maintenance.

Skate rental is $4 for adults / $3 for kids 12 and under. A photo ID is required to rent skates. And this season free skate rental day is Saturday (it's been Friday in the past).

There's no fee to skate.

The rink also hosts a series of learn-to-skate clinics. The first one is December 1. They usually fill up fast, so register for a spot if you're interested.

Tree lighting
By the way: The annual tree lighting / holiday festival activities on/near the ESP are December 2 this year.

Mourning the teen fatally shot in Cohoes, Delgado prepares for Congress, Albany County eyes tax levy decrease, pop quiz: who's a good boy

Cohoes shooting
+ Cohoes police identified the person killed in the Friday shooting on the Mohawk-Hudson bike path as 17-year-old Johni Dunia.
+ City police and mayor Shawn Morse are describing the shooting as an "isolated" incident, and they've haven't released any info about arrests. [TU]
+ Dunia's mother to CBS6: "I'm quite sure there is someone who killed my son. And I have to know that person." [CBS6]
+ A group of teens gathered in George Street Park to remember Dunia. [Spectrum]

Troy shooting
+ Troy police say a two-year-old boy was shot in the hand Friday night while he sat in a vehicle in North Central. TPD says it believes the vehicle had been targeted. [CBS6] [TU]
+ People gathered at the corner Saturday morning to protest the violence. [CBS6]

Corinth shooting
State Police say and investigation and autopsy indicate 34-year-old Ashley Rosenbrock -- fatally shot in her home Thursday night in Corinth -- was hit by a shot discharged while her husband was doing maintenance on a gun. Neighbors said the couple have three children. [NYSP] [TU]

Bulletproof vests for firefighters
The Schenectady Fire Department has bought 45 bulletproof vests for its firefighters. A fire department official couldn't recall an incident in which firefighters in the city had been shot at, but said they do sometimes respond to situations in which people have guns. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

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The week ahead

Troy Turkey Troy 5k via Troy Turkey Trot / Rueckert

The Troy Turkey Trot returns for its 71st running Thursday morning. / photo via: Troy Turkey Trot

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (winter is here), to Thanksgiving, to words and stories, to basketball, to politics, to trotting, to music...

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Approval to convert two prominent downtown buildings, a warm response to increased density, and more exciting tales of the Albany Planning Board

Kenmore Steuben block

This block is in line to get new life.

Exciting Tales of the Albany Planning Board is a program recorded before a live studio audience once a month in which the fates of multi-million dollar projects around the city are (partially) decided.

This month: Approval for residential conversion of two notable downtown buildings, a historic parking garage, that big residential/retail project across from St. Peter's, stormwater concerns, an addition to the Lionheart, a practice gym, and that enormous Kenwood project...

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Weekend Destination: Connecticut

weekend destination connecticut composite

By Julie Madsen

Connecticut is the third smallest state in the country -- but still has plenty of things to see and do during a quick weekend trip.

The northwestern corner of the state is rural and hilly, while the coastal portion is dotted with industrial cities. And though it borders New York, your best bet from Albany is probably to drive through
Massachusetts to get there. Head out on I-90 east, take a right turn at Springfield, and cross the border.

Here are a few ideas for weekend trip...

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A look at the 2019 Tanglewood schedule

musician Yo-Yo Ma 2018

Yo-Yo Ma is on the schedule, because of course. / photo via Yo-Yo Ma Facebook

Though winter just started, it's not too early to be thinking a little bit about summer.

To that end, the 2019 Tanglewood schedule is out. A few of the announced-so-far dates that caught our eye:

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It snowed, big investment at SUNY Poly, record job count, early voting to be considered, push for statewide rent control, Saratoga to Saratoga

It snowed
About five inches in Albany as of Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service. There's another few inches of snow on the way, and the precipitation could turn to rain in the afternoon. [NWS Albany x2]

Albany County DA policy on marijuana possession
Albany County DA David Soares announced Thursday his office won't be prosecuting people for possessing up to two ounces of marijuana, and there will be a path for people with previous convictions to have them expunged. Using pot publicly, in a car, or around children will still be prosecuted. Soares said prosecuting the low-level cases isn't worth the resources, and his office would be focusing its attention instead on drugs such as heroin. And he framed the new policy as easing "the transition into market regulated marijuana." [AOA] [TU] [CBS6]

SUNY Poly
New York State is putting up $250 million as part of an $880 million for a semiconductor research effort by the company Applied Materials at the SUNY Poly Albany campus. The company says it will be doing materials engineering research and development for clients in fields such as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and life sciences. [TU] [Biz Review]

Jobs
The number of the jobs in the Capital Region reached the highest number of jobs on record (since 1990) in October, according to the state Department of Labor. The statewide unemployment rate in October was 4 percent, the lowest mark on record. [TU] [NYS DOL]

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Stuff to do this weekend

Double Dare stage show Pick It game

A live stage version of Double Dare is at Proctors Saturday.

Cold gray autumn weeks
can honestly suck sometimes.
But weekends are fun.

OK, so we're not much for haiku, but you know what we are good at? Finding stuff for you to do on the weekend. We've had a lot of practice at that. So take a look at what we've pulled together for this week and make a plan. Then write us a haiku about it. (Or maybe don't.)

Planning something that didn't make our list? Share it with us in the comment section.

Whatever you do,
have a really great weekend.
We'll stop now. Promise.

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Line crossing

Slightly farther afield in Hudson: A group of people -- including two people in their 70s -- pleaded not guilty this week to painting unauthorized crosswalks in the city in September. (There are said to be Facebook photos.) There had been complaints about traffic safety at the intersection leading up to alleged guerrilla striping. The city added authorized crosswalks in October. [Hudson Valley 360]

The Albany County DA's office is going to stop prosecuting people for having small amounts of marijuana

David Soares marijuana public meeting

David Soares at a community meeting about marijuana policy at APL Arbor Hill branch this past summer.

Albany County DA David Soares announced Thursday that his office will no longer be prosecuting people for "simple possession" of marijuana -- cases in which people are found to have less two ounces. The new policy starts December 1, and the DA's office says it will be seeking dismissals "where appropriate for cases currently pending where these are the sole charges."

The new policy does not cover cases in which people are openly using pot in public or in a car, or near children.

Soares held a series of community meetings about changing views toward marijuana earlier this year. And the announcement today's change referenced those meetings. Press release blurbage:

This policy has been developed after conducting a number of public meetings across the county in order to hear from the people we represent. In conjunction with the public meetings, we sought the opinion of residents via our website. The vast majority of our constituents indicated that they wanted to see a shift in the legal status of recreational adult use marijuana and in the enforcement of existing laws. Given the near certain impending changes in the law, and given the sea change in society's views of the issue, it is no longer the best use of our resources to prosecute these low-level marijuana offenses.

Recreational marijuana use is now legal in Vermont. And Massachusetts is in the process of starting recreational marijuana sales.

Here in New York, a Siena poll reported earlier this year that a majority of people favored allowing recreational marijuana. Cynthia Nixon made it a plank in her gubernatorial campaign. And a state Department of Health report released this past summer argued for legalizing recreational pot.

It would not be surprising to see a move toward legalization of recreational marijuana in New York State now that Democrats will control both chambers of the state legislature.

Past convictions
One of the important angles in the shift towards legalizing pot is the thousands of people who have been prosecuted in the past for something that is now being decriminalized or may even soon be legal.

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Aly Raisman at UAlbany

Aly Raisman Rio Olympics 2016 Agencia Brasil Fotografias CC

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman will be at UAlbany's SEFCU Arena December 3. And ticketing for the event is now open; the tickets are free, but there's an online registration process -- see the link.

Raisman will be talking about her memoir Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything. She's won six Olympic medals, including the team gold at both the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. And Raisman has also been outspoken about the abuse perpetrated by the USA Gymnastics team doctor and the need for change within the organization and the sport.

The UAlbany event starts at 7:30 pm (doors at 6:30 pm) that Monday, December 3. Note: "No Cameras, flash photography or recording devices will be permitted. ... Bags are discouraged and subject to search."

It's sponsored by a bunch of UAlbany organizations, and is part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series.

photo: AgĂȘncia Brasil Fotografias via Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)

A bunch of comedy shows coming up

comedian Joel McHale

Joel McHale will be at the Rivers Casino in December.

A series of people will be coming to the Capital Region over the next few months and they're hoping will you give them money. In return, you'll be hoping they make you laugh.

And here's a rundown of a bunch of those shows...

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Colonie police car hits pedestrian, State AG wants to reinstate charge against Abelove, Raniere renews bid for bail, Albany County to use federal funds for immigrant assistance

Abelove
The state attorney general's office wants to reinstate a perjury charge against Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove, for allegedly lying to a county grand jury in 2017 to keep from being prosecuted for official misconduct in a probe of a 2016 fatal police involved shooting [TU]

Police car/pedestrian
A 61-year old man was hospitalized on Wednesday after being hit by a Colonie police car while crossing Route 9 near Fiddler's Lane. [TU] [Spectrum]

Prosecution of marijuana cases
David Soares is expected to announce a new policy on prosecution of marijuana possession in Albany County. [TU]

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Today's moment of late autumn

tire tracks in snow 2018-11-14

Yep, this again.

A few pics from AOA10

AOA10 at Fort Orange Brewing

Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate AOA10 with us this week at Fort Orange Brewing. It was great to see so many people again and meet some of you for the first time.

We had pizza from DeFazio's and donuts from Cider Belly. And we were lucky enough that DJ Trumastr was able to stop by to spin some music.

Here are a few pics from the party.

We are so appreciative of all the support and encouragement over the years from all of you. Thank you.

Future jobs, done by humans and not

Rockefeller AI jobs graph

Roughly half of the jobs in New York State could be automated or otherwise significantly changed by artificial intelligence over the next 20 years. That's from an ongoing look at the issue by the Rockefeller Institute of Government here in Albany. From a post by Rockefeller's Laura Shultz:

The calculation is based on individual occupations. A recent paper by Frey and Osbourne estimated the probability of computerization of more than 700 jobs in the near future based on the tasks associated with the job and currently available technologies.[1] A high probability of computerization suggests technologies could eliminate or dramatically change the tasks associated with the job in the next twenty years. We combined these data with the occupational makeup of the New York State workforce in 2017 and found that 53 percent of jobs in New York could be automated with technology available today or anticipated in the near future, while 56 percent of workers across the US face threats from automation.[2]

Rockefeller has put together an interactive graphic that highlights the number of jobs -- by industry and type -- that could be affected around the state. (That image above is a static version of the graphic.) At the top of the list are office support, retail salespeople and cashiers, and food service -- potentially 2.5 million jobs lost or changed.

This struck us as a key clip from Shultz's post (emphasis added):

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Growing a chair

Green Island-based Ecovative is one of the Capital Region's most interesting companies. For the past decade it's been developing ways of using mycelium -- mushroom roots -- to "grow" all sorts of materials that can replace things like styrofoam or leather.

In the clip embedded above, the company shows an experiment in making a chair using the mushroom root tech. It's interesting to watch how the process works -- and, also, that something not-quite working is part of the path.

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: the Lady of the Grove, Gertrude Crissey Valentine, WWI, mail and railroads, lockdowns, Megyn Kelly, escarpment fungi, the Syracuse Half Marathon, tall Christmas trees, well prepared vegetables, a bakery, and flannel.

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Albany Barn in post ad 2018

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Winners taking all

Come for Derek Thompson railing about against the massive incentive package Amazon is getting to locate one of its new centers in Queens; stay for a discussion from Annie Lowrey about an issue that's probably more important for Upstate and places like it: the ongoing clustering of people, jobs, and opportunities in superstar cities such as New York and DC. [The Atlantic x2]

Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Watch (updated)

snowy apocalypse meter 2018-11-15

Updated Thursday afternoon. The forecast for snow totals continues to climb. And there's now a winter storm warning in effect.

Don't call it a comeback. Winter's been here for years.

It's mid November and we're pulling the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse Meter out of the barn for the start of the season. Let's go.

The paraphrased forecast for the next few days:

Wednesday night: Unseasonably cold. Lows around 15.
Thursday: Cloudy, with snow starting late in the afternoon. Around 32.
Thursday night: Snow and sleet. Maybe 5-9 inches. Lows in the upper 20s.
Friday: A shift to snow and rain, maybe freezing rain, and then rain. Highs in the upper 30s.

The updated forecasts for this particular apocalypse keep increasing the predicted snowfall. And the totals are now looking like winter's going to do some work. The National Weather Service Albany probabilistic snowfall forecast has Albany pegged for about 9 inches of snow. And the various probabilities for snowfall ranges point to a ceiling below 12 inches..

The Friday morning commute looks it won't be fun. There's still the issue of potential sleet and freezing rain. And it sounds like this will be wet, heavy snow (which is the worst kind of snow -- take it slow when shoveling).

So we're upgrading this icy, snowy apocalypse to "proper winter" level.

Shovels at the ready -- you are all hardy Upstaters.

Media freakout forecast: Early season. Remember to stretch. It's been a while.

Necessary note: You should take this all with an enormous bag of rock salt. AOA has absolutely no weather forecasting expertise. At all. That said, the world will probably not end because of some snow. Most likely.

Earlier: Very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical, they are the very model of a modern forecast meteorological

Icy conditions create slippery commute, more migrants sent to Albany County Jail, Niskayuna identifies source of lockdown threat, AI center planned for Troy

Ice
Icy roads resulted in a number of accidents in the Capital Region this morning. The icy conditions caused some highways and bridges to close and there were some school closings and delays. More snow and cold conditions are expected today and very cold temperatures tonight. [Gazette][TU]

More detainees at Albany County Jail
More than 50 new migrants from the southern U.S. border have been sent to the Albany County Jail in the past month. The jail now holds 178 immigrant detainees. [TU]

Student identified in Niskayuna threat
Niskayuna High School officials say they have identified the student responsible for the threat that resulted in a November 5 lockdown at the school. [Gazette]


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I am grateful for the wonderful mix of old and new sights to see in Albany, and the ever interesting humans who inhabit this place, and to the proximity Albany has to such adventures as Adirondack hikes, Shakespeare in Lenox Mass, music in the Berkshires, and the beauty and history of Saratoga.

Upstate Girls

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Got people in town a need to get 'em out of the house? Head for a museum.

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Stuck on Albany

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Albany is set to build the link between Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail and the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail -- here's the plan

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AOA Thanksgiving charity drawing 2018: What are you thankful for this year?

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