Capital Region News

Composite Photo by Dave Lucas (WAMC)

It has been a busy week in Albany County politics...

For nearly a decade, there's been talk of building a convention center in downtown Albany. In 2004, the Albany Convention Center Authority was established by the state legislature to develop plans for the site. The project was awarded a $75 million grant in 2005. It never got beyond the idea stage.

flickr.com/josepha

If you are looking to buy a diner - Albany Medical Center's CEO has a deal for you.

The old U.N. Diner on the Albany corner of New Scotland and Dana avenues – in more recent times known as Quintessence - is available. Albany Medical Center President and CEO Jim Barba says the hospital owns it – but it does not have a place in the facility’s current expansion plans - - so the 1930's structure is on the market. It's all yours if you will simply haul it away.

The landmark diner was sold to Albany Medical Center in October 2012.

WAMC Photo Composite by Dave Lucas

Albany Medical Center has revealed the finishing phase of its ongoing 500-million dollar neighborhood revitalization  plan. When the old neighborhood surrounding Albany Med is completely rebuilt, it will cap what officials call "the transformation of New Scotland Corridor" - becoming a new community.

Adapted from Google Maps

The SUNY Board of Trustees has given the green light to separate the University at Albany and the College of Nanoscale Science And Engineering. While there are some concerns, officials seem to agree they are taking steps in the right direction.

Last week, the trustees voted 13 to 3 in favor of splitting the colleges into two separate entities.

Dave Lucas (WAMC)

On what’s shaping up to be the hottest day of the year, Saratoga begins its 150th season of thoroughbred racing.

This week, the New York Racing Association's new president and CEO Chris Kay met with members of the media to discuss his plans for Saratoga Race Course’s season.  One of the first questions, right out of the gate, was about the weather and whether or not racing might be cut back or suspended altogether on opening day: Kay told reporters "We've had warm days in the past. We're prepared for it..."

Tech website cnet.com hints that Apple may be interested in "buying into" a share of an existing chip fab plant on the GlobalFoundries campus in Saratoga County. Cnet says if Apple owned capacity at a fab, it would maintain control over design.  The Times Union reports Senator Chuck Schumer has been forging a deal between the iPhone maker and GlobalFoundries that would have the latter manufacturing computer chips for use in Apple devices.

Since a Florida jury cleared neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who faced murder charges in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, on Saturday, demonstrations on both sides have sprung up across the country.

Demonstrations large and small have been held in places like Burlington, Albany and Poughkeepsie after a Florida jury on Saturday night cleared Zimmerman of all criminal charges in the February 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Wednesday's Rain

Jul 10, 2013
Dave Lucas WAMC

The Albany-area gets a quick demonstration of flash flooding … The National Weather Service defines a flash flood as "rapidly rising water that usually occurs within two hours of the start of high intensity rain." Wednesday afternoon In the city of Albany, it took little more than five minutes for mother nature to produce a small demonstration of the phenomenon.

albanycounty.com

The Albany County Executive has been on a mission to privatize the 250-bed Albany County Nursing Home, while county legislators have been heading in the opposite direction, trying to keep the facility not-for-profit and under county control.  

On Monday, the Albany County Legislature voted to authorize McCoy to retain a law firm to assist in formation of a local development corporation to manage the facility. McCoy says he cannot legally do that.

This week, Albany County and city leaders joined Local First of the Capital Region in declaring a celebration of “Independents.”

Occupy the 4th of July!

Jul 3, 2013

A National Rally to uphold citizens' constitutional rights is being observed in New York’s Capital city…

Facebook (WAMC)

The New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and WAMC Northeast Public Radio held the 2013 Albany Mayoral Forum on Sustainability this morning at the Linda Norris Auditorium on Central Avenue, one of the only times the candidates to replace Mayor Jerry Jennings will gather during the campaign.
 
Five of the six declared candidates fielded questions from WAMC President and CEO Alan Chartock and Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.

Tom Wall

WAMC and the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund hosted a mayoral forum at The Linda on July 2, bringing together five candidates for office: Corey Ellis, Kathy Sheehan, Joseph Sullivan, Jesse Calhoun, and Marlon Anderson.

The forum was moderated by Alan Chartock and NYLCVEF President Marcia Bystryn.

Courtesy Occupy Albany

Occupy Albany comes out of hibernation tomorrow - the group is urging citizens to “come out to show support at two separate hearings for activists who were arrested locally for engaging in civil disobedience in furtherance of social justice."

Occupy Albany has been monitoring the legal battle that has County District Attorney David Soares at odds with City Court Judge William Carter.  Attorneys for both officials are scheduled to appear in state Supreme Court Friday morning before acting State Supreme Court Justice Richard Platkin.

The New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund

We are just one week away from the Albany Mayoral Forum on Sustainability...  

Back in mid-May, Albany was rocked by the news that longtime Mayor Jerry Jennings was opting not to seek a sixth term. The announcement was a game-changer for a cavalcade of mayoral hopefuls, many of whom will gather for a forum co-hosted by WAMC and the New York League of Conservation Voters at the Linda July 2nd at 11 a.m.

On June 14 Farm Aid announced that its annual benefit concert will, for the first time, be held at Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Today the concert lineup was announced: artists slated to perform include Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews. Additional artists include Jack Johnson, Amos Lee, Kacey Musgraves, and Toad the Wet Sprocket. 

Ticky Comes Home

Jun 24, 2013
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

An Albany basketball legend has returned to one of the places where his career began.

One of Albany's own NBA Stars came home Friday afternoon to the little gym that helped form the foundation for his career. Luther “Ticky” Burden made his way home to Trinity Place, which has been serving children in the city's South End for decades. Burden's pro career entailed a single season with the Virginia Squires and two with the New York Knicks in the late 1970s.

Gavin Schaefer/Wikimedia Commons

If you live in Hudson, scratch those chicken plans... for now...  

"Death ray" - it’s a phrase you would most likely expect to see across the top of a pulp sci-fi comic book from the 1950s – but this week it graced the front pages of some newspapers in their coverage of a case of domestic terrorism home-grown in New York’s Capital District.

On Thursday a federal magistrate in Albany ruled that 49-year-old Glendon Scott Crawford and 54-year-old Eric J. Feight are a threat and should remain jailed. 

The men are accused of trying to build a portable x-ray weapon to sicken Muslims and enemies of Israel.

wikipedia

It sounds like something out of a science-fiction movie: authorities foil a plot by two individuals to kill people with an x-ray gun that could be secretly fired from a moving van...

The idea of a building a convention center in downtown Albany has been on the back burner for some time... a developer has come up with a new plan for the land.  Democratic Albany Mayoral Candidate Corey Ellis has been a proponent of building a city aquarium for some time - now Omni Development Corporation is pushing that idea along with a science museum and an IMAX theater to be constructed  on the site of the flat-lined convention center project between Broadway and the South Mall Arterial. 

Gavin Schaefer/Wikimedia Commons

Citizens of one upstate New York city may soon be breaking fresh eggs - the US Department of Agriculture has called the city of Hudson a "food desert" - that's about to change... Last night the so-called "Chicken Law" passed: The Register-Star reports that Hudson residents will be allowed to keep up to five hens on their property - the law, which awaits approval of Mayor William Hallenbeck Jr., will "help people meet their needs for quality, cost-effective nutrition.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute today announced a new university-wide initiative to tackle the challenges and opportunities of Big Data.

At a morning ceremony at the Troy campus, RPI officials christened it "IDEA" - the Institute for Data Exploration and Applications – the college’s $60 million initiative involves students and faculty from more than 12 departments across the five schools of the university.

UAlbany's School of Social Welfare is developing a National Center for Excellence in Homeless Services, devoted to improving services and support for homeless individuals throughout the United States. Assistant Professor of Social Welfare Heather Larkin explains the center will be launched over the next year, using donor funding to partner with homeless agencies around the country with the goal of making a national impact. John Records will serve as a Public Service Professor and co-Principal Investigator to co-direct the Center with Larkin.

Dave Lucas / WAMC

As another school year comes to a close, education and education funding remain among the top concerns for parents, teachers and public officials.

President Barack Obama's “Early Learning Days of Action” initiative was highlighted in New York last week as Congressman Paul Tonko read to 16 children enrolled in what's called "The Butterfly Class" at Albany Head Start. The pre-K students were delighted with Tonko's chosen work: "Welcome To Kindergarten" by Anne Rockwell.

It has cost the city of Saratoga Springs more than $61,000 to fire a city employee who earned $33,000 a year, and that employee in question is now suing the city for back pay.  

Lucian McCarty, city desk reporter for The Saratogian newspaper, has been following the story of Mary Zlotnick who was suspended for insubordination last august from the Saratoga Springs Accounts Department. He spoke today with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

WAMC News/Brandon Holmes

There were some tense moments Thursday on an area college campus.  The College of Saint Rose campus in downtown Albany was locked down for close to an hour after someone reported seeing a gunman enter a school building. School officials released a terse text alert, and many students took to Twitter, worried that more bad news was imminent.

WAMC / Dave Lucas

An Albany Mayoral hopeful fears voters may have resigned themselves to the notion there may be only one candidate with any chance of winning the coming Democratic primary.

City Treasurer Kathy Sheehan was endorsed last week by the Albany County Democratic Committee following Jerry Jennings' announcement he would not seek a sixth term as Mayor. But Corey Elllis, who gave Jennings a run for his money in the 2009 primary, is still up for the challenge, as is Marlon Anderson, who is advocating for proper vetting of all candidates.

Graphic courtesy America's Edge.

A new report says unless steps are taken immediately, New York is not is going to be able to fill the jobs of the future .  A report released in Albany Tuesday finds a “skills gap” exists in New York State – especially in the Capital Region, where high-tech jobs are growing as the area embraces its “tech valley” moniker with the expansion of chip fabrication and nanotechnology.  But at the same time, the report warns of growing numbers of "unprepared students and unprepared workers."

WAMC Photo/ Dave Lucas

This week, Albany was rocked by the news that longtime Mayor Jerry Jennings has opted not to seek a sixth term. But even before his official announcement Wednesday, the rest of the city’s political machine was already in motion.

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