Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Albany Parking Authority Gives Thanks With Free Holiday Parking

ALBANY – The Albany Parking Authority (APA) announces a “parking meter holiday” for Thanksgiving Day. All multi-space meters in downtown Albany will be programmed to notify drivers that parking is free on Thanksgiving. In partnership with the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District, the APA is also making free parking available on Small Business Saturday in its Riverfront Garage, encouraging people to shop locally by providing easy access to downtown’s businesses (meter parking is also free Saturday as it is normally on weekends).

“Celebrating family and our community is important during the holidays,” said Michael Klein, Executive Director of the Albany Parking Authority. “When families come to downtown Albany during the holiday season, we want them to have easy access to parking and enjoy all of the downtown entertainment and dining options too.”
All multi-space meters will read “CITY HOLIDAY NO PAYMENT REQUIRED” on Thanksgiving Day.  Single space meters are also free for the holiday. Parking will also be free during other holidays listed on the APA website, with the next being Christmas Day. For a complete listing, refer to the official meter holidays as posted in the meter section at

Note that the downtown multi-space meters conveniently extend the traditional 2-hour parking limit to 10 hours, making parking more customer friendly every day of the year – certain exceptions may apply, and drivers should check signs and meter information for details. The multi-space meters accept credit and debit card payments using Visa, MasterCard, and Discover in addition to accepting coins. All multi-space meters run on a gradually increasing rate structure.

The Albany Parking Authority’s special “Seasonal Savings” rate for its three downtown parking garages is now available for new garage customers from December through March. Drivers can park in the Riverfront, Green-Hudson or Quackenbush garages at a flat rate of $100/month, for up to 4 months. Drivers that take full advantage of this program save $160. For more information, contact the Albany Parking Authority at (518) 434-8886, or email

Federal Funding Awarded CDTA to Advance Key Transportation Programs

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 25, 2014) The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) Board of Directors announced the approval of its local match for two federal grants totaling nearly $1.5 million to be used for key transportation projects.

CDTA was awarded the funds through the Federal Transit Administration’s Urbanized Area Formula Program to support preventative maintenance, bus and facilities programs. The funding will be used to purchase commuter buses, paratransit vehicles and shelters. CDTA is on pace to provide more than 17 million rides during its current fiscal year, surpassing last year’s record total of 16.5 million.

Federal funding supports 80 percent of the costs with the New York State Department of Transportation and CDTA providing the other 20 percent of the cost. Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program funding supports costs associated with the acquisition of CDTA’s New Fare Collection system and park and ride signage at lots throughout the Capital Region.
In other news:

·         CDTA ridership continued its climb during October with 1.6 million boarding which was up 4% from the same time last year. Fiscal year to date ridership totals 10 million also up 4% from the same period last year. The increases are fueled by redesigned services, a growing partner base and universal access relationships.

·         The Board approved authorization to fund the local portion of the River Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Project Development. The River Corridor BRT is part of CDTA’s plan to implement 40 miles of BRT along high volume corridors by 2017. In September, the Board endorsed the locally preferred alternative for the River Corridor (Blue Line) between Albany and Troy via Watervliet, with branches to Cohoes and Waterford.

·         CDTA employees pledged nearly double this year to the United Way campaign, posting a company record of close to $32,000, shattering the previous high of $19,000.

The CDTA Board of Directors meets on the last Wednesday of every month at the Rensselaer Rail Station. Board meetings are open to the public and streamed live at

Repeat DWI Offender Crashes In Off Road Pursuit, Pleads Guilty to DWI

District Attorney P. David Soares announced that STEVEN DENNIS, 25, of Delmar, pleaded guilty to (1) Count of Driving While Intoxicated, a Class D Felony,  before the Honorable Stephen W. Herrick in Albany County Court this afternoon.

On October 13, 2014, at approximately 7:16 p.m., a deputy with the Albany County Sheriff’s Department observed a Jeep being operated by DENNIS parked partially in Newry Road at the intersection of State Route 32 in the Town of Westerlo.  When the deputy executed a U-turn, DENNIS started his Jeep and fled.  As DENNIS fled, he was observed almost striking a civilian vehicle with his Jeep.  After making a left on State Route 32, DENNIS proceeded to drive into and out of a ditch on to Carr Road.  DENNIS led the officer on a high speed pursuit, and at the end of Carr Road, DENNIS continued onto a dirt road where he proceeded to crash the vehicle into a tree, disabling his vehicle.  Following being informed of his rights, DENNIS admitted to consuming alcohol before driving.  DENNIS registered a .13 on a Datamaster Breath Analysis test. 

At the time of this incident, DENNIS was illegally driving his vehicle without a valid driver’s license and in circumvention of an Interlock Ignition Device.  The device had been put in place due to a prior Felony Driving While Intoxicated conviction from October of 2013.  

DENNIS faces 2 to 6 years in State Prison, a $2,000 fine, participation in a Victim Impact Panel, 3 years of mandatory Interlock Ignition Device upon release from custody, and an 18 month license revocation subject to the Department of Motor Vehicles, when sentenced on January 8, 2015.

Assistant District Attorney Dave Szalda of the Vehicular Crimes Unit is handling the prosecution of this case.

First Code Blue Night of the Season in Albany Friday

Albany’s first official homeless Code Blue of the season is being called for Friday Nov 28th.  Reports are predicting temperatures as low as nine degrees (including wind chill).  The homeless can go to either the Capital City Rescue Mission at 259 S. Pearl Street or the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless at 26 South Swan Street.  The Homeless Action Committee will assist with transportation and outreach.

Tree Lighting in Albany on December 3

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan will host a tree lighting ceremony in front of City Hall on Wednesday, December 3 at 5 p.m. in honor of the holiday season.

The tree lighting ceremony kicks off with a concert by Amy Heebner on the historic Albany City Carillon beginning at 4:30. Mayor Sheehan, members of the Albany Tulip Court and City officials will light the tree at 5:15. Enjoy holiday music and light refreshments following the lighting, as well as an Albany “wishing well” for attendees to write what they’d like to see in the City in 2015.

Attendees are encouraged to spend the evening downtown and visit the 3rd Annual Albany Holiday Market at the Albany County Visitors Center at 25 Quackenbush Square after the tree lighting. The Holiday Market features a variety of local vendors, live music, food and beverage tastings, door prizes and much more. For more information, visit

For information on more great December entertainment throughout the City of Albany, visit the following resources:
·         The Egg
·         Palace Theatre
·         Times Union Center

For additional information on the City of Albany Tree Lighting, please contact the City of Albany Office of Special Events at 518.434.2032 or visit

Special thanks to Cider Belly Donuts & Stacks Espresso.

Yankee Trails World Travel Kicks Off the Holiday Season by Donating to Charities for Children

Yankee Trails World Travel marks the return of its theatrical production and motor coach ride “Santa’s Magical Express” by providing the first five shows of the season free of charge to families of the The Bus Stop Club and children involved with the Albany Police Athletic League (PAL).

Albany PAL has worked with local inner city children for more than 20 years, providing educational and recreational activities and juvenile crime prevention programs. The Bus Stop Club gives siblings of children with chronic illness or special needs the care and supervision of health care workers, to gain the support they need to help overcome the everyday battles they are faced with.

“Yankee Trails has called the Capital Region home for more than 50 years and feels strongly about giving back to our community,” said Stephen Tobin, President of Yankee Trails World Travel. “We are honored to provide the families of The Bus Stop Club and our friends at Albany PAL with an evening of holiday joy and cheer and thank them for joining us for such a special evening. We’re pleased to announce that due to our previous years’ success, we’ve added show times for the 2014 Santa’s Magical Express and invite families from the Capital Region and beyond to check out the new show.”

The Santa’s Magical Express interactive shows get children and families alike in the holiday spirit by embarking on a special journey to help Santa save Christmas from the sneaky Jack Frost. From taking pictures with Santa to chasing down favorite holiday characters like Frosty the Snowman and Ebenezer Scrooge, the 90 minute motor coach rides takes families on a trip from Yankee Trails World Travel around Rensselaer before picking up Santa at Garelick Farms. The show even includes a stop at Price Chopper for milk and cookies, and families are treated to lights displays donated by Albany PAL from Capital Holiday Lights in the Park!

Santa’s Magical Express has expanded this year to include more shows, every Thursday through Sunday starting Friday, November 28, through Tuesday, December 23. Each day has been expanded to offer five departure times. Participants are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes prior at Yankee Trails World Travel, 569 3rd Avenue Extension, Rensselaer, in order to check in, prior to taking part in pre-show activities.

No Parking at Former Troy City Hall Site

From a press release:

As of December 1st, Kirchhoff-Consigli Construction will begin preliminary site investigation work for the redevelopment of One Monument Square (former Troy City Hall site). For the safety of all parties, there will be no public access or parking at the site while the investigation work is being completed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Albany Startup, Twill, Celebrates Launch & Kickstarter Success with Children’s Fashion show

ALBANY>> Twill, a local startup that donates a blanket to a child in need after one is purchased, hosts a company launch event with food, drinks and fashion

What:  Twill, a local startup, will host a celebratory company launch event on Saturday, November 29 at TASTE in Albany from 6 to 9 pm. The event will feature a children’s fashion show, authentic super heroes, delicious food and drink and a moving presentation from Felix Perez, a guest speaker from the American Red Cross.

Twill donates a warm and inspiring blanket to a child in need for every blanket that is purchased. The local startup will donate over 200 blankets by the end of the year, and their goal is to reach every child battling life threatening diseases, homelessness, or temporary hardships in the Capital Region.

Marissa Lanchak, from FLY92, will MC the fashion show as kids strut down the runway. The models, which are children volunteering from Twill’s partner organizations, will be wearing formal evening outfits donated by TuxEGO and Peek A Boo. Heroes4Hope, a charity that inspires kids to be their own heroes, are sending five authentic superheroes to mingle with Twill’s supporters.

Guests will enjoy drinks, and culinary treats from TASTE’s executive chef, Mark D. Graham, and Twill’s founders will present a video showing supporters of the company’s mission, as well as recipients of Twill’s blankets. A number of notable advocates will be in attendance, including County Executive Dan McCoy, Assemblyman John McDonald, and NYS Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk.

The Albany-based startup launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier this month to raise $10,000 by December 15. The funds raised through the campaign will be used to fulfill purchase requests, expand the product line and allow the co-founders to dedicate more time to the company. A number of local organizations, known as Blanket Buddies, have already partnered with the startup, including Albany Medical Center, American Red Cross, Maddie’s Mark, American Cancer Society and more. Proceeds raised at the company launch event will be contributed to the Kickstarter campaign.

When: Saturday, November 29, 2014
6 to 9 pm EST
Where: TASTE
45 Beaver Street.
Albany, NY 12207

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cohoes Fundraiser Planned for Fire Victims November 23

45 No. Mohawk Street – Cohoes, NY 12047


The Cohoes-Waterford Elks will sponsor a benefit breakfast buffet on Sunday, November 23rd from 9AM - Noon.  Cost is $7 for adults.  There will also be a donation bucket.  Approximately 6 weeks ago, 5 Families and two landlords lost their homes due to a fire.  We are doing a breakfast buffet and all proceeds will go to the families.  We also reached out to our Elks District Charity Fund and they are also donating money to the families.  Shortly after 10:00 AM, the firefighter who went back into one of the houses for the favorite teddy bear of 4 year old Carson will be reunited.  Carson is autistic and the only child in the 5 families.  Our Community is very important to us and we are happy to help! 

WHO: Open to Public - 5 Families and both Landlords will be there

WHAT: Benefit Breakfast for Cohoes Saratoga Street Fire Victims

WHEN: Sunday, November 23rd
9:00 AM - Noon

WHERE: Cohoes-Waterford Elks Lodge
45 North Mohawk Street

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

State Gaming Facility Location Board Meeting Friday, No Decisions Expected


WHAT:                 Meeting of the New York Gaming Facility Location Board

WHEN:                Friday, November 21, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. 

WHERE:              Hofstra University
                                Hofstra University Club
President’s Board Room
                                Hempstead, NY 11549

·         No decision or announcement regarding casino gaming facility license recommendations is anticipated at this meeting.A letter from Gaming Facility Location Board Chairman Kevin Law to Gaming Commission Chairman Mark Gearan indicating as such may be found at:
·         As a matter of convenience to ease entry to the meeting location, members of the public or media wishing to attend the meeting in person are encouraged to contact the N.Y.S. Gaming Commission’s press office at 518-388-3415 by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 20, 2014. Directions to the Hofstra University Club may be found

1.                   Call to Order

2.                   Consideration of Meeting Minutes for November 10, 2014

3.                   Motion to Enter into Executive Session for the Express Purpose of Consideration of the Financial History and Employment History of Particular Persons or Corporations,[1] specifically Applicants Responsive to the Request For Applications to Develop and Operate a Gaming Facility in New York State

4.                   Adjourn

New Nassau Town Board Member Says He's "More than Happy to Step Up"

Earlier this month, Nassau officials appointed a new member to the town board: Robert "Bob" Rings.

Rings replaced a former board member, Donald "Don" Carpentier, who died suddenly over the summer.

"Don and I were great friends," said Rings, noting that he was also friends with Carpentier's father. "I was more than happy to step up."

Rings is a former board member who served previously from about 1978 to 1983. He was appointed to fill the remainder of Carpentier's term (until the end of this year) and he was elected this month to fill a three-year term.

You can read more about the appointment, Rings, and Carpentier in this article.

Monday, November 17, 2014

United Way commits $940,000 in grants to Rensselaer County

Albany-- United Way of the Greater Capital Region has committed $940,000 in grants to 35 programs and services in Rensselaer County aimed at helping individuals and families meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and safety, and improve their education, income, and health.

“We’re able to make these investments thanks to the generous support of our community,” said United Way of the Greater Capital Region President and CEO Brian T. Hassett. The result will be more children prepared to succeed in school, more families becoming financially secure, more seniors living independently, more hungry people fed and countless others gaining opportunities for success.”

United Way invests financial resources from its Community Care Fund, which is made up of unrestricted donor contributions, through grant processes designed to impact the areas of Basic Needs, Education, Income, and Health. Research and experience demonstrate that these are the building blocks for a strong community and a good quality of life for all.  Funding commitments are made to health and human service agencies working to improve community conditions for the low income and vulnerable in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, and Schoharie counties.

“The need is great. Rensselaer County nonprofits provide much needed services throughout the community.  We are proud to support programs which enhance the quality of life for those struggling in the Capital Region” said Dan Sauer, United Way of the Greater Capital Region Board Chair. “The gap between the need and what United Way is able to fund motivates us to share our message that every donation counts and that it is going to take all of us working together to make a difference.”

Funded agencies work with United Way to advance the long term health of the region.  Through community conversations and bringing together similar service providers who are working toward shared results, United Way helps advocate for change and mobilizes resources to advance conditions for the low income and vulnerable.  Together, these funds and relationships help local organizations achieve more for individuals, children and families than any one agency could alone.

Albany-based Equinox Receives $87,100 from Fuccillo for Domestic Violence Services

So, $210,000 total was donated to groups in five regions of the state from Fuccillo's month-long incentive to help promote domestic violence awareness. 

In Albany, Equinox Inc. has received a check for $87,100 from Fuccillo Auto Group to support its services to domestic violence survivors and their children. Equinox was one of five agencies statewide to benefit from a Fuccillo campaign launched in the wake of multiple allegations of domestic violence by NFL players.  During October, Billy Fuccillo pledged to donate $100 for every car sold at his dealerships throughout New York State to organizations providing domestic violence services.  October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

At a November 7 ceremony at the Fuccillo Hyundai dealership in Syracuse, checks totaling $210,000 were presented to groups in Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Watertown, as well as Equinox in Albany.

“Mr. Fuccillo’s gift was an extraordinary act of generosity,” said Equinox CEO Dorothy Cucinelli. “This donation will help us continue to ensure that domestic violence survivors and their children get the desperately needed assistance to escape their abusers and build a safe and independent future. We are also deeply appreciative that during October Mr. Fuccillo used his frequent commercials to raise public awareness about domestic violence and where those in need can get help.”

Equinox's annual budget is about $12 million, officials said.

Fuccillo pledged to donate up to $250,000 statewide as part of the incentive.

Since 1989, Equinox has operated Albany County's only Domestic Violence Shelter for victims and their dependent children, providing room and board and multiple services, including case management, safety planning, counseling and support groups, child care and recreation opportunities, advocacy and specialized services for those in the LGBTQ community and victims of elder abuse. Last year, 1,847 people received Equinox DV services, of which 175 adults and 86 children found safety at the shelter.

In addition to domestic violence services, Equinox serves teens and adults struggling with chemical dependency; youth, adults, and families who are living with mental illness; urban teens and young adults; and homeless and runaway youth.

Albany Man Sentenced for Assault on Albany Police Detective

ALBANY, NY – District Attorney P. David Soares announced that KASAAD DORSEY, 25, of Albany, was sentenced to 6 ½ years in State Prison, before the Honorable Stephen W. Herrick in Albany County Court on Friday, November 14, 2014.

On October 8, 2014, DORSEY was found guilty after jury trial of (1) Count of Assault in the Second Degree, a Class C Violent Felony.

An investigation led by the Albany Police Department uncovered that on October 7, 2013, DORSEY went to the Home Depot on Central Avenue in Albany to sell heroin in the parking lot.  Police officers attempted to place DORSEY under arrest for drug sales, but DORSEY resisted physically.  During this altercation, DORSEY dislocated and tore the ligaments in the detective’s ring finger.

At the time of this assault, DORSEY was awaiting sentencing in a separate heroin sale case.  

On November 21, 2012 in the Ida Yarborough Apartments in the City of Albany, the defendant was found in possession of 110 bags of heroin with the intent to sell.  On September 30, 2013, DORSEY pleaded guilty to (1) Count of Attempted Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a Class C Felony. DORSEY was sentenced to 3 years in State Prison, to be followed by 3 years of Post Release Supervision, before the Honorable Peter A. Lynch in Albany County Court on November 29, 2013.

Assistant District Attorney Kurt Haas of the Street Crimes Unit prosecuted this case.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Vent Fitness donating equipment to one local nonprofit for Extreme Gym Makeover

ALBANY>> VENT Fitness is offering an Extreme Gym Makeover to one local community organization in the Capital Region.  As part of a tradition of community involvement, sustainability and commitment to health, VENT will provide equipment such as stair climbers, treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines and other pieces of equipment to a local organization (including charities, not-for-profits and schools).

VENT Fitness is proud to present the Extreme Gym Makeover project.  VENT is fulfilling its commitment to sustainability by donating its available club-quality, industry-leading fitness equipment to one local community organization.  The project will also provide non-structural renovations and facility improvements (including painting, flooring, etc.) to the chosen organization’s fitness area.  If the organization does not presently have a fitness area, VENT and partners will create one in an area or space that is unused. 

VENT Fitness President Bill Lia, Jr. said, “Schools, charities and non-profits are a vital part of our community.  Helping to improve the health and wellness of the people served by community organizations just makes sense on every level.”

Those wishing to nominate an organization for the Extreme Gym Makeover should visit to apply.  Applicants may include photos, videos, an essay and anything else that might help illustrate the need for a makeover. Nominations are now open and will be accepted through 11:59pm EST on December 7, 2014.  One organization will be chosen to receive the Extreme Gym Makeover on Monday, December 22, 2014.  The makeover is expected to occur in early 2015.

Facility improvements and non-structural renovations are to be provided by The Pike Company and other partners.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless lauches 30 Meals in 30 Days campaign

ALBANY>> In recognition of Homeless & Hunger Awareness month and 30th Anniversary of the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless (IPH) is kicking off a unique campaign: 30 Meals in 30 Days.

The campaign aims to connect volunteers, donors, and other community advocates to the issue of homelessness and encourage meal donations to the organization, at least one per day in the month of November.

A total of 30 meals are scheduled to be donated to IPH over the course of the month to the IPH Albany Emergency Shelter. Some of the groups that have committed to participating are The Cathedral of All Saints, St. Anne Institute, Boys and Girls Club, Whole Foods Market Albany, Bryant Asset Protection, Inc., Turkish Cultural Center, Congregation Ohav Shalom, The Academy of Holy Names, SUNY Cobleskill, Policy Research Associates, Inc., The Franciscan Center for
Service and Advocacy at Siena College, and several individuals and families.

“This is definitely going to be an exciting month at IPH,” said executive director Janine Robitaille. “This initiative invites both long-time supporters and new friends to be a part of something special. Enjoying a home cooked meal from our volunteers means a lot to the guests we serve. We’re very thankful for everyone involved.”

The IPH Albany Emergency Shelter houses 30 single men and women at any given time. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served at the shelter daily. A daily meal at the Sheridan Hollow Drop-In Center serves upwards of 50 individuals.

Across all IPH programs including the Albany Emergency Shelter, Danielle’s House (Amsterdam Emergency Shelter), Sheridan Hollow Drop-In Center, and special community holiday celebrations, more than 40,000 meals are served annually.

The 30 Meals in 30 Days campaign is sponsored by OneMain Financial. Staff from various branches are scheduled to donate a meal twice during the month.

There are still opportunities to schedule meals and be a part of the campaign. To participate, or learn more about the IPH meal donation program, contact Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, Adriana Battle, at (518) 434-8021 x106 or

Since 1984, Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless (IPH) has been providing a continuum of programs and services to address the needs of the homeless and low-income community to encourage self-sufficiency and stability.