Capital Region News

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.

Green Your Commute

May 17, 2013
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Today is the day to embrace "People Power" across the land.

That "People Power" is being expressed as "pedal power" - it is "National Bike To Work Day," celebrated annually coast-to-coast on the third Friday in May, which happens to be National Bike Month. The New York adaptation is "Green Your Commute Day" - it is being championed by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens.

Karen DeWitt

Gun shows have caused concerns and triggered protests in Saratoga Springs. But the events have been pared back for the coming year...

In the wake of last December's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, gun safety advocates have grown increasingly concerned with Saratoga Springs City Center's continuing to host gun shows.

(WAMC photo by Dave Lucas)

Twenty-four hours after Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings made public his letter stating that he will not run for another term after 20 years in office, the Albany County Democratic Committee gave its nomination to City Treasurer Kathy Sheehan in the race for mayor. The committee passed over former City Council member Corey Ellis, who ran against Mayor Jennings four years ago fir the Democratic nomination.

Wednesday on Midday Magazine, we heard from Sheehan. Today, we speak with Corey Ellis, who says the lack of the party's nomination will not affect his campaign.

WAMC/Patrick Donges

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings has formally announced he will not run for a sixth term in office, ending a political career spanning more than three decades.

There was no shortage of applause, glad-handing, and backslapping at Albany City Hall Wednesday morning as Mayor Jerry Jennings, a Democrat, publicly announced what he had previously revealed in an open letter sent to members of the press and city officials Tuesday night announcing his intention not to seek reelection.

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings’ announcement last night that he will not seek a sixth term in November came at a time when the city’s Democratic machine is already in motion as it gears up for a primary between announced candidates Kathy Sheehan, the city treasurer, and 2009 mayoral candidate Corey Ellis. Barbara Smith of the Albany Common Council  spoke with WAMC’s Alan Chartock as the city prepares for its first new administration in 20 years.

Northeastern New York is home to approximately 5,000 veterans who served in Iraq. This past February, President Barack Obama announced that another 34,000 American troops will return home this year from Afghanistan… And the drawdown will continue…   

Marsha Lazarus is the "LegUp Workplace Solutions Project Director" at MHANYS, the Mental Health Association of New York State. She says MHANYS is hosting a free forum Thursday afternoon at 2 at the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce. Lazarus is urging local businesses to take a hard look at hiring returning veterans.

[WAMC photo by Dave Lucas]

It's been a hot-button issue: the continuing saga of what to do about the Albany County Nursing Home.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy has been on a mission to privatize the County Nursing Home, favoring a lease agreement with the Upstate Services Group, a company that provides administrative and operational support to affiliated skilled nursing facilities throughout New York. 

WAMC / Dave Lucas

Advocates gathered in Albany's West Capitol Park  on Friday in solidarity with the "Worldwide Lyme Disease Protest" to raise awareness and highlight the need for more recognition from government, science and medicine that Lyme Disease is a global concern.

Lyme disease is a growing public health concern throughout the Northeastern United States - the co-ordinated worldwide rally is all about getting the word out - with 30 states and 30 countries in all participating.

A Columbia County city plans to become the first community in New York state to purchase its electricity as locally-produced wind power.

Researchers say that with a little effort, New York could get the power it needs from wind, water and sunlight by 2030. The city of Hudson is leading the pack for now with the announcement it will purchase electricity through retailer Viridian Energy. Hudson Mayor William Hallenbeck hails the move as a "win-win for the environment and for taxpayers."

Photocomposite by Dave Lucas / WAMC

Mayor Jerry Jennings has announced a round of technological leaps for the city of Albany. It's a triple dose of innovation - first, a redesigned, more user-friendly city website... second, the city rolls out its second major app...  and third, a new information czar.

WAMC / Dave Lucas

Albany Common Council Member Anton Konev, who represents the city's 11th ward, talks about how redistricting is changing Albany city politics with Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas.

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