Albany

The Knickerbocker Film Festival is under way this week, commemorating five years of presenting emerging filmmakers to New York’s Capital Region.

The festival opened at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy on Friday: tonight it's back in Albany for four days of screenings at the Madison Theater, the Linda, and Spectrum 8 Theaters.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

This morning at City Hall, Mayor Kathy Sheehan proclaimed the beginning of “Earth Week” in Albany. The mayor was joined by Congressman Paul Tonko and other government and business officials to discuss ongoing community-centric initiatives and upcoming events.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Several Capital Region mayors gathered in Schenectady Thursday to discuss the housing sector challenges facing their cities.

The mayors’ roundtable was part of the day-long summit “Strengthening Cities, Communities & Homes.” Participants took part in discussions and heard from experts including leaders from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Residents of one area city have been dreading the warmer weather, fearing it will lead to increased street shootings. Police believe they have identified what triggered the gun violence, and they think the string is over.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

With longtime Albany music club Valentine’s now shuttered, WAMC’s Dave Lucas reports the scene has shifted across town.

Howard Glassman ran Valentine’s, an important stop for local and indie rock groups, for years before an Albany Med expansion plan spelled the end for the club in December.

"There's plenty of reasons for people to come up this way, and not just to see music. They can come have dinner, and then go see music," said Glassman.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Municipal  leaders announced this afternoon they've agreed to establish Albany County’s first land bank. The initiative sets the stage for revitalization of blighted neighborhoods, a longstanding problem ... 

County Executive Dan McCoy announced that an application has been filed with the NYS Empire State Development Corporation to formally establish the Albany County Land Bank, to "restore the community."

Matt Ryan

Protesters gathered for a gun rally at the capitol in Albany on Tuesday, including guest speakers Donald Trump, 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino, and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican candidate for governor.

Roy Luck, flickr

With Albany County worried about crude oil shipments, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officials are looking to the EPA for oil spill contingency plans and demanding answers from the major oil shipper at the crux of the controversy.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Mayor Kathy Sheehan and local stakeholders united in support of two Assembly bills proposing New York State PILOT payments to the City of Albany on the Harriman State Office Campus. Mayor Sheehan, government officials and local business leaders called on the State to establish these payments as part of a long-term solution to stabilize Albany’s fiscal future.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren — all new officeholders — participated Wednesday in an Albany Law School forum called  “Leading a New Era in City Government: Women Mayors of Upstate New York.”

The public event at the school’s Dean Alexander Moot Courtroom gave attendees a personal glimpse into not only the day-to-day challenges faced by the three Democrats and their municipalities, but also their individual governing styles and the paths they took to leadership.

Tipiac-Alain Caraco/Wikimedia Commons

Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed state agencies to strengthen the state's oversight of petroleum shipments by rail, citing devastating accidents in Quebec and North Dakota and the expansion of crude oil shipping through the Port of Albany.

Lesley Adewunmi

Albany residents, politicians and community advocates recently voiced their concerns about plans to build a crude oil heating facility at the Port of Albany. The State Department of Environmental Conservation appears to have been listening.

WNYT

Municipal operations are about to undergo a major overhaul in Albany.

WAMC composite image by Dave Lucas

The debate over gun violence takes center stage once again this week in Albany.  Try as they may, politicians, police, clergymen, government officials and community activists have been unable to stem the tide of gun violence in New York's Capital City.  Forum organizer community advocate Marlon Anderson intends to instill a new dialog and a new process to a pathway to deal with Albany's gun culture. "I'm looking to create new partnerships, new commitments and to create the resources that have not been available to address the problem."

Albany Budget Blues

Jan 3, 2014
City of Albany

As citizens of Albany celebrate their new female mayor, the business of running the city could escalate into crisis mode.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

With the inauguration of Kathy Sheehan as its new mayor, Albany is ushering in a new era of city politics.

Changes are coming to city hall following the swearing-in ceremonies for the Albany Common Council, Common Council President, City Auditor, City Treasurer, and of course Mayor Kathy Sheehan, the Democrat who took over from 20-year incumbent Jerry Jennings. 

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Breaking from city tradition in more ways than one, former city treasurer Kathy Sheehan was officially sworn in New Year's Day at Kiernan Plaza in downtown Albany. Fellow Democrat New York Lt. Governor Bob Duffy gave the keynote address, hailing the day as the start of "Mayor Sheehan's era."

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Albany's new mayor, Kathy Sheehan, has taken the oath of office in downtown Albany. 

WAMC composite image by Dave Lucas

A formal ceremony was held today in downtown Albany to bid farewell to the man who has led the capital city for two decades.

Citizens, politicians, police and public service workers gathered in and around Albany city hall to say goodbye to Jerry Jennings - the colorful, outgoing Mayor who shepherded the capital city for the past twenty years.

CDTA

Transportation is the buzzword in many mid- to large-sized North American cities. Albany is no exception as commuters seek out alternatives to driving to work.

A new America THINKS survey from infrastructure firm HNTB Corporation finds people are getting on board with public transportation as the cost to own and operate a vehicle rises and consumers look for ways to save money.

According to the study, 76 percent of Americans are open to taking public transportation instead of driving, up from 69 percent in 2010.

CDTA

Transportation is the buzzword in many mid- to large-sized North American cities. Albany is no exception as commuters seek out alternatives to driving to work.

A new America THINKS survey from infrastructure firm HNTB Corporation finds people are getting on board with public transportation as the cost to own and operate a vehicle rises and consumers look for ways to save money.

According to the study, 76 percent of Americans are open to taking public transportation instead of driving, up from 69 percent in 2010.

WAMC composite image by Dave Lucas

December has been marred by episodes of gun violence in New York's capital city. Albany continues its struggle to "take back the streets" following a series of shootings including three gun-related murders since December 5th.

Despite leaders’ best efforts to get guns out of circulation, they continue to proliferate.

accany.com

The Albany Convention Center Authority was created in 2004. Now,  a decade later, the Albany Convention Center plan is headed toward fruition. The idea for building an Albany Convention Center has been floating around for more than a decade, seeded in outgoing Mayor Jerry Jenning's "Capitalize Albany" plan.

A former inmate and a former corrections worker will get together tonight in Albany to talk about their shared experience behind bars.   In 1973, New York Legislators enacted statutes that created mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years to life for possession of four ounces of narcotics—a comparable sentence to second-degree murder.  Those statutes became known as the Rockefeller Drug Laws and they prompted an unprecedented expansion of New York’s courts and prison system. Rockefeller’s hard-line approach set the tone for the nation’s “war on drugs.”

Project SALAM

NSA surveillance evidence leaked by Edward Snowden could play a role in finding justice for two Albany Muslims nabbed in a FBI "terrorism" sting nine years ago.

You may recall Yassin Aref,  the Albany imam convicted of material support for terrorism along with pizzeria owner Mohammed Hossain following a massive FBI sting in 2004 that created international headlines. 

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For years, the city of Albany has promised to increase the number of minorities in the fire department. But many, including one local activist, say little progress has been made.

Outgoing Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings made headlines after he intervened in a case involving an African-American man who was disqualified from a firefighting job on what some call "ridiculously trivial grounds."

Capitalize Albany Corporation is getting ready for the tuesday launch of its Impact Downtown Albany revitalization strategy. Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas spoke with Capitalize Albany's Director of Economic Development Sarah Reginelli and Communications and Marketing Assistant Amanda Vitullo.

There will be 3 events to be held next week: the kick-off event (open to the public) on Tuesday November 19th , the tour of nano-tech (this is an internal tour) on Wednesday November 20th, and the young professionals event (also open to the public) on Thursday November 21st.

Capitalize Albany is getting ready to roll out a new project that has big implications for Downtown.

On Tuesday at Ten Eyck Plaza, Capitalize Albany will unveil its Impact Downtown Albany revitalization strategy - a twelve month public/private collaboration.  Sarah Reginelli, Director Economic Development of Capitalize Albany, says there are currently about two dozen corporate contributors.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

This week, Albany mayor-elect Kathy Sheehan named leaders of a transition team formed to foster a smooth shift leading to her inauguration on New Year’s Day.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

In upstate New York and beyond, women have been taking more active roles in politics: running in races for elective office and winning them.  Currently, 98 women serve in the U.S. Congress; 78 in the House; 20 in the Senate, including one from New York, one from Massachusetts and two from New Hampshire. Numbers provided by the Center for American Women in Politics further show that the number of women in statewide executive posts is 75. And the proportion of women in state legislatures is about a quarter.

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