The last week's worth of items on AOA

A quick recap of the week

week review 2016-05-29

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

+ The lineup for this summer's Rockin' on the River is out.

+ Ben & Jerry's, a longtime fixture in the Lark Street neighborhood, re-opened at a new location.

+ Here's the Music Haven lineup for this summer.

+ Deanna took her young son to 20 North Broadway Tavern in Schenectady for his first taste of Buffalo wings.

+ Here's the big list of concerts in Freedom Park this summer.

+ Sandy walked through some of the issues with commuter rail in the Capital Region.

+ Here's the Upbeat on the Roof lineup for this summer.

+ What was up in the Neighborhood this week: Automobile Row, Margarita Schuyler, the center of the Earth, hot rods, feeling 44, coaching, the White Mountains, treasured wildflowers, a Bethlehem bubble, food court date night, Bongiorno's, 15 Church, Athos, and a baked bean sandwich.

+ Nate asked about finding a good pediatrician in Rensselaer County or nearby.

+ Lauren talked with a Troy building owner about transforming some of her urban spaces into gardens.

+ Sunhee's Kitchen recently opened in Troy and Cristin talked with the owner about the restaurant's mission, which extends beyond food.

+ And it's crunch time for getting a bill through the state legislature to open the way for Uber and Lyft to operate here.

Here's the whole week in one place.

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

eagle photo: NYS DEC

Stuff to do this weekend

lake street dive 2016 v2

Lake Street Dive opens the outdoor concert season at Brewery Ommegang this weekend with Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings.

It's the holiday weekend and the unofficial kick off to summer.

So, what's your plan?

After the jump, not one, not two, but three days of goings on in the Capital Region this weekend, from parades and memorials to music and drive-ins. And that doesn't count the barbecues, picnics, lazy strolls, and patio time you can start logging.

Doing something that's not on the list? Tell us about it in the comment section. And whatever you're up to, have a fantastic weekend!

Lonely I'm Not ad 525 x 80

2016 Phish at SPAC ad 525x80

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New York State could be closer to allowing Uber and Lyft to operate here. Maybe. Sort of.

uber app sample screenshots

Sample screenshots from the Uber app.

It's been more than two years since a local campaign started to get "ride sharing" services such as Uber and Lyft to come to the Capital Region. And, as it turned out, a big obstacle to those services operating here and in other non-NYC parts of the state is the way New York's laws are configured.

But now the state legislature is on the verge of removing that obstacle. Probably. Maybe.

Here's the situation -- and a glimpse at one possible related future.

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They haven't gone bald yet

bald eagle chicks NYSDEC

That pic above is a pair of bald eagle chicks that biologists from the state Department of Environmental Conservation recently banded in Albany County. From a DEC Facebook post:

Using band data, DEC biologists can track the birds age, movement and dispersal activity. The silver band is a federal ID band that is tracked by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) while the blue band is a New York State ID band.
From a distance you can sometimes see the colored band and at least know that that bird was born in New York. With a good spotting scope it's also possible to read the letter and two digit number code when the bird is perched. That data can be reported to DEC biologists and we can track their movement.

That link above includes more photos of the chicks and their nest.

Bald eagle populations had been almost entirely wiped out in New York State by the 1960s, in part because of an insecticide called DDT that weakened the shells of birds of prey. (Museum specimen collections such as the one at the New York State Museum helped biologist figure that out.) The pesticide was banned in the early 1970s. And in 1976 a program aimed at re-establishing bald eagles in New York State started relocating young eagles from other parts of the county, and it helped rebuild the population in the state -- and it's still growing.

Earlier on AOA: What, your job doesn't involve baby bears?

photo: NYS DEC

The Remains Of The Day with James Ivory at The Madison

The Madison Theater will screening The Remains of the Day June 18 -- and the film's famous director, James Ivory, will be there for a discussion with film critic/historian Peter Biskind. Tickets are on sale now -- they're $15 until June 11 / $20 after that.

The 1993 The Remains of the Day, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompason, was nominated for 8 Oscars. And its producers included Ivory's longtime partner Ismail Merchant. Their film company has produced a string of well-regarded period films -- so many, that "Merchant-Ivory" became a bit of a genre in itself.

The event at The Madison is Saturday, June 18 at 7 pm.

The Madison advertises on AOA.

Fence 2016

Fence show 2016

The annual Fence show recently opened at the Arts Center of the Capital Region and we stopped in this week to browse for a few minutes. It's worth a look if you have some time in Troy. There's an artists reception this Friday (May 27) evening during Troy Night Out.

What is the Fence show? Blurbage:

Now in its 51st year, the Fence Show got its name when members' artwork was exhibited on the iron fence surrounding Washington Park in Troy, the original location of the Arts Center. Today, the exhibition typically features approximately 500 pieces, displayed salon style (floor-to-ceiling) in our galleries. All levels of skill and ability are represented, from novice to professional.

One of the things we like about this exhibit is that it's usually a mix of works -- all sorts of materials, styles, and subjects. And this year's exhibit -- with 382 pieces by 231 artists -- is no different, with works ranging from illustration to painting to photography to sculpture.

The Fence show is on display through June 26. The annual Fence Select exhibit opens July 16.

Sunhee's Farm and Kitchen

Sunhee's Kitchen Jinah Kim

Jinah Kim

By Cristin Steding

Sunhee's Farm and Kitchen is a new Korean restaurant in downtown Troy with a three-part approach: farm, food and community engagement.

The family farm supplies the restaurant with eggs (and soon, produce), and the restaurant assists and employs recent refugees. It's a family endeavour, with owner Jinah Kim's mother and a longtime family friend as chefs, and her father completing the renovations to the restaurant space.

Sunhee's just recently opened, but Kim has big plans for the future. She's trying a new business model and isn't afraid the blur the line between for-profit business and social service agency.

I got together with Jinah Kim to talk about the new restaurant, her passion for social service, and her favorite Korean foods.

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Madison Avenue sinkhole reroutes traffic, family busted for allegedly running Niskayuna pot factory, closing arguments today in Vanessa Milligan murder case

Sinkhole
Madison Avenue in Albany is closed from South Lake to Willett Street while crews continue to work on a sinkhole over a 140-year-old trunk sewer . The slate and brick sewer dates back to 1870, further complicating repairs.. Officials say the hole is 20 x 20 feet and that repairs could take several days to complete. [TU][WNYT][TWCN]

Albany budget
The city of Albany spent about $4.7 million more than anticipated from it's reserves last year, leaving very little reserve funding for this year. [TU]

Milligan case
Testimony concluded on Wednesday in the trial of Gabriel Vega, charged with the 2014 murder of Vanessa Milligan. The County Medical Examiner testified that no soot was found in Vanessa Milligan's lungs, indicating she died before the fire started in her home. Closing arguments and jury deliberations are expected today. [TU][TWCN]

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Finding opportunities for growth in urban spaces

Emily Menn Troy urban garden view towards the street

By Lauren Hittinger Hodgson

Living in a city often means that you have to make the best of extremely limited outdoor space. If you're lucky enough to have a yard, stoop, or fire escape, it can be a challenge to flex your green thumb in any significant way.

Emily Menn, a Troy real estate developer and landlord, has been working on green space in Troy for the last eight years. And she's transformed a neglected double lot into a budding downtown oasis.

I chatted with Emily about how gardens in cities can build community, as well as the challenges and opportunities of urban gardening.

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To work and back

A sort-of follow-up link to Sandy's post earlier this week about commuter rail: Here's an interesting (and fun) animated visualization of commuting patterns by county in the United States based on Cenus data. It tracks commuting flows between census tracts, and you can change the place, distance, and destination. [I Like Big Bytes] (Thanks, R!) Earlier: Where the commuters are from

A good pediatrician in Rensselaer County or nearby?

stethoscope and ophthalmoscopeNate emails:

I found this post from a few years ago regarding a search for local pediatricians and was wondering if you could repost. We're expecting our first child in July and we're on the hunt for a reputable pediatrician.
FYI - We live in Averill Park.

That earlier question is from 2011, so it's been a bunch of years and things change. Also: We're guessing Nate and his family are probably looking for a good practice somewhere in Rensselaer County or eastern Albany County.

So, got a suggestion for Nate? Please share! And as with most questions -- but especially with doctors -- a sentence or two about why you're recommending a practice (easy scheduling, good listeners, etc.) can be a big help.

photo: Flickr user Adrian Clark (CC BY-ND 2.0)

What's up in the Neighborhood

The NeighborhoodAmong the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Automobile Row, Margarita Schuyler, the center of the Earth, hot rods, feeling 44, coaching, the White Mountains, treasured wildflowers, a Bethlehem bubble, food court date night, Bongiorno's, 15 Church, Athos, and a baked bean sandwich.

Neighborhood in-post ad APL 2015

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New digits

The telecom industry and regulators are taking the first steps toward adding a second area code for the greater Capital Region, Larry Rulisons reports over at the Times Union. (Here's a map of New York State area codes -- 518 covers a large part of the eastern side of the state.) [TU+ (link around)]

Upbeat on the Roof 2016

olivia quillio 2015

Olivia Quillio opens the series July 1.

Rolling along with schedules for concert series this summer... Here's the lineup for the 2016 Upbeat on the Roof series of Friday evening shows at Skidmore's Tang Museum. As usual, it includes local acts across a range of genres -- from folk to jazz to gospel.

The concerts are all on the roof of the Tang (thus the name). And they're free.

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Vega's former girlfriend testifies he confessed to Milligan murder, woman survives 60 foot fall from Thacher Park cliff, Salvation Army closes Saratoga Code Blue shelter

Woman falls from Thacher Park cliff
Crews rescued a woman on Tuesday after she fell 60 feet from a cliff on Thacher Park Road after crashing her car into nearby guardrail. [TU]

Vega trial
The former girlfriend of Gabriel Vega testified on Tuesday that Vega told her he murdered Vanessa Milligan. Kim Virola testified that she kept the secret out of fear, and also admitted that she had threatened Milligan. [TU][Record]

Pedestrian identified
Police have identified the woman who was struck and killed on Tuesday while crossing Central Avenue as 62-year-old Borziloke Zakolli, who lived not far from the scene of the accident. [WNYT]

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Thinking about Capital Region commuter rail

Connecticut Shore Line East train CC

A Shore Line East commuter rail service train in Connecticut. / photo: Pi.1415926535 on Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

By Sandy Johnston

The topic of bringing rail transit to the Capital District is one that comes up regularly every few years. Certainly, there are a good number of well-intentioned advocates out there in the region who believe that to have a serious transit option, the Capital District must have rail.

I don't -- at least, not yet. And here's why.

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Freedom Park 2016 concert series lineup

Black Mountain Symphony

Black Mountain Symphony closes out the season in late August.

The schedule for this summer's series of free concerts at Freedom Park in Scotia is out. And, as usual, it's big -- really big -- with multiple concerts each week from late June through late August. And the lineup includes a bunch of different genres.

Freedom Park is on the Mohawk River, just over the Western Gateway Bridge from Schenectady, next to Jumpin' Jack's.

So, without further ado...

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House Hunters Saratoga

Noted: The popular HGTV show House Hunters -- "the most unstoppable juggernaut on TV" -- is shooting (and eating ice cream) in Saratoga Springs this week, Lauren Halligan reports over at the Saratogian. The show also shot in Bethlehem last year for an episode that aired this past December. [Washington Post] [Saratogian] [Biz Review]

Buffalo wings from 20 North Broadway Tavern

20 North Broadway Tavern wings

By Deanna Fox

"Can we try Buffalo wings sometime?"

Finally. My youngest child is now a true Upstater.

A kindergartener in public school, it was only a matter of time before he heard about wings and was tempted to try them. He was barely off the school bus when he asked, and then asked again, and asked a subsequent half-dozen times over the next few days.

It was happening. We were going out for his inaugural taste of this quintessential Upstate New York dish. But where do you go to make sure the first bite is a good introduction?

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Two local brewery anniversary parties this week

Druthers Albany

One of the interesting aspects of the local food scene in recent years has been the opening of a handful of new craft breweries/distilleries/cideries. And two of them are celebrating anniversaries this week:

Druthers in Albany
The Druthers location in Albany -- which includes a restaurant and production facility for the brewery -- is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a block party this Thursday with food (they're roasting a whole pig) and beverage indoors and out, along with brewery tours and live music. The section of Bridge Street alongside the brewery on Broadway in the Warehouse District will be closed off for the party. Thursday 4:30-11 pm

Rare Form
Rare Form Brewing Co. in Troy will be celebrating its second anniversary this Saturday and Sunday with the release of some beers and and some food pop-ups. Here's the lineup:

Saturday starting at 1 pm
+ Can releases of Royal Coconut Cream Ale and Sexy Beats IPA -- the first 50 people to purchase cans will receive a free Sexy Beats poster. (They're Rare Form's first can releases.)
+ Peck's Arcade "Alleycart" serving tacos
+ The Dutch Udder ice cream cart serving beer ice cream
+ DJ Chill Smith playing music from 8-11 pm

Sunday at noon
+ Brunch pop-up with The Shop serving savory and sweet crepes.
____

Druthers advertises on AOA.

Pedestrian struck and killed on Central Ave, jail phone calls at issue in Vega trial, NYCLU protesting proposed law about ALB security screenings, she's leading the parade

Pedestrian death on Central Ave
Colonie police say a pedestrian died after being hit by a vehicle on Central Ave -- the force of the crash threw her into another lane where she was hit by a second vehicle. The crash prompted the closure of the westbound side of Central Ave at Tull Drive (map) and the off-ramps at Exit 2 of the Northway were closed. [TU] [News10]

Trial in the death of Vanessa Milligan
The admissibility of phone calls Gabriel Vega is accused of making from jail to his mother and a girlfriend in which it sounds like they're discussing the investigation of the case has become a point of contention between the prosecution and defense -- Vega's attorney says the calls shouldn't be allowed because they didn't get them until after the trial started. The prosecution says it discovered the calls last week and gave them to the defense this past weekend. [TU] [TWCN]

Also Monday, prosecutors played an interview in which investigators told Vega a DNA test had indicated he was the father of Vanessa Milligan's baby. [Troy Record]

April 17 fatal shooting by Troy police
The family of Edson Thevenin has filed a wrongful-death claim (the first step in a lawsuit) against Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove and members of the Troy Police Department. [TU]

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Music Haven 2016 lineup

DakhaBrakha music group

"Adventurous Ukrainian ‘folkdrone Björkpunk’ quartet" DakhaBrakha will be there in August.

Here's the lineup for this summer's Music Haven concert series in Schenectady's Central Park, which is now in its 27th season. The Sunday evening series starts up July 10.

One of the things that sets Music Haven apart from the other summer series is that it tends to focus on world, jazz, and roots music. And this year is no different.

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16-7

Ecovative gets a mention in this Wall Street Journal article today about how manufacturers that serve the domestic market are doing better than those that rely more on international business. The Green Island company says it's running the factory that makes/grows its eco-friendly styrofoam replacement materials 16 hours a day, 7 days a week -- and co-founder Gavin McIntyre says they're having a hard time people people to keep up with demand (here's its jobs page). [WSJ]

Ben & Jerry's open again in Lark Street neighborhood

Ben and Jerry's Madison Ave Albany exterior 2016-May

The Lark Street Ben & Jerry's has re-opened -- and it's on Madison Ave now. Specifically, it's at 467 Madison Ave, which is right next to El Loco and just east of Washington Park. (It's the former Little Moon storefront.)

The store opened this past Saturday, and there will be a grand opening set for sometime in the near future. Hours are noon to 11 pm every day.

Rich Wilson, who owns the franchise with business partner Mike Sperduto, was in the store this afternoon working on the wall art when we stopped in for a few minutes. Some of the furniture is yet to arrive, but there's ice cream in the cooler and they're scooping. Wilson said they're enjoying the feel of the new space and the extra work space it affords.

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Circus company setting up in Troy

Circus performer at Frear Building

From a performance in the Frear Building last year. / photo: Douglas Liebig

The circus performers who staged a show in Troy's Gasholder building last year are back in town to establish their headquarters -- and perform a series of shows around the Capital Region this summer.

Marquise Productions -- led by Round Lake native Aaron Marquise, a graduate of the National Circus School in Montreal -- will start off the production of a circus called YOL at the Gasholder building June 10-12. The production will then make stops at a handful of other venues in the area. The schedule is after the jump.

From the website for YOL:

YOL, which means "road" or "way" in Turkish, tells the story of one girl on a mystical journey, exploring a path formed by her own curiosity and imagination. Interacting with the supernatural and mysterious aspects of her own mind, she undergoes her own evolution as both storyteller and observer. A story told through a mix between a new form of circus and theatre, YOL explores what our beliefs say about us and the possibility of returning to a childlike wonder about the world around us.

Marquise talked with Lauren last year about the style of circus his company performs. There are no animals -- it's more like Cirque du Soleil than Ringling Brothers.

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Touring Olana as a three dimensional artistic composition

Olana from afar

Emily sent along this photo from one of the carriage paths as an example -- the lake, meadow, slope, trees, and house were all part of Church's design.

The Olana State Historic Site in Hudson -- the home and studio of Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church -- has a new tour this season, and it highlights an aspect of the site that was new to us: That the area around the beautiful home is itself a designed landscape.

The guided electric vehicle tour follows roughly five miles of the carriage road system on the 250-acre site, surveying the various landscape elements that Church designed.

We heard about the new tour via Emily Lemieux*, who's been leading it. And we emailed her to find a more. Here's a clip from her response:

Frederic Church wasn't just a landscape painter, he was a landscape architect and the entire 250 acres of Olana is a designed landscape, a three dimensional artistic composition. It's like Disney Land for Art History fans.

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Troy Rockin' on the River 2016

The Felice Brothers

The Felice Brothers will be there in July.

The schedule for this summer's Rockin' on the River free concert series in downtown Troy is out. The Wednesday night series starts June 15 in Riverfront Park and runs through August 3.

And here's the lineup of acts...

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Another turn in the investigation of the April 17 fatal shooting by Troy police, fire investigator testifies in Vega trial, a 350 percent tip

Investigation of April 17 fatal shooting by Troy police
"Two people briefed on the matter" tell the Times Union that Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove didn't get a waiver of immunity from the Troy police sergeant who shot and killed Edson Thevenin when the sergeant testified before a grand jury about the shooting -- as a result, Randall French now has immunity from prosecution for his actions during the incident. (The state attorney general's office is still reviewing the case.) [TU]

Schenectady officer back at work following traffic stop incident
The Schenectady police officer who had been suspended after leaving a traffic stop for which he was the subject is back on the job after pleading guilty to two traffic violations and doing 10 hours of community service. [Daily Gazette]

Trial in the death of Vanessa Milligan
On Friday a state fire investigator testified in the trial of Gabriel Vega that the fire in which Vanessa Milligan's body was found -- and destroyed two Lansingburgh homes -- had started on or near Milligan's body, which the investigator said had been soaked with gasoline. And the prosecution showed a photo of Milligan's burned body, pointing to burn patterns the investigator said indicated the fire was intentionally set. The trial is set to continue this week. [Troy Record] [TWCN]

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The week ahead

Luna the band

Luna is at MASS MoCA later this week.

Here are a few things to keep in mind, look forward to, or keep busy with this week, from the weather (summery), to art, to cities, to gardens, to cooking, to music...

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