Saturday, February 28, 2009

Federal Stimulus for Schools

Times-Union: $50M lift for kids in school
Schumer says badly needed stimulus cash should arrive at region's districts in a month

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Wednesday that federal stimulus money will narrow local school districts' funding gaps.
Total federal stimulus direct aid by school district.
Rensselaer City School District $467,836

Friday, February 27, 2009

February 27, 1909 - Women's Wages

100 Years Ago Today: From The Rensselaer Eagle [NY 41 Rensselaer 93-32173].



Are Paid But $1.00 a Day for Eight Hours' Work - Bill Provides That They May Receive $1.50 and Extra Pay for Overtime

It came to the attention of Assemblyman Bradford R. Lansing a few days ago that the women employed as cleaners at the State Capitol were earning $1 a day for eight hours of work. There are two or three Rensselaer women employed there and Mr. Lansing learned that it was necessary for them to get up at 4 o'clock in the morning and to take a car to Albany, so as to be at work at 5 o'clock.
"I was amazed," said Mr. Lansing, yesterday, "to learn that Rensselaer w
omen who are supporting their families by cleaning at the Capitol get only 88 cents a day for their task. The women who live on this side of the river take a car and pay 6 cents to ride to the Capitol, and the same amount to ride back home after their labor is finished. ... These women deserve to get better treatment and if there is any way of doing it I am ready to fight for such a measure at all times."

Remember William St. John, mascot of the J.N. Ring Fire Co.? He made the news again:

Boy Had a Bad Fall

William St. John of Walker Street, aged 4, met with a bad accident on Tuesday when he fell from a ladder in the back yard of his home striking on his head. He lay dazed in the snow until his brother found him. The young man has entirely recovered.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Transmission Towers as Art

I took a drive around the port last weekend, and was intrigued by the power transmission towers for the Empire Generating project. I think they're kind of appealing, and I wondered whether with a little more effort and imagination, the power company could make them almost like sculpture.

It turns out they do exactly that in Finland, where a team of designers led by Antti Nurmesniemi used color, structure and lighting to make their power transmission lines into landscape elements.

Check out some very cool photos of the Landscape Towers of Fingrid Oyj - it's well worth a look. These are "Blue Cranes" . =>

To learn more, here's an article from Transmission and Distribution World: Poles & Structures Transmission Structures As Landscape Art.

Stammel Leads Planning Commission

County legislator Mike Stammel will be chairing the board of the Capital Region District Regional Planning Commission this year. The CDRPC will be heavily involved in attracting federal stimulus funds to the region for transportation and infrastructure projects, and they will have a role in coordinating the 2010 Census as well.

Times-Union: GOP lawmaker to lead planning board

"The CDRPC is an important organization and I am honored to serve as chairman of the organization during what will be an important year,'' Stammel said in a statement.
CDRPC Executive Director Rocco Ferraro said the commission will seek federal money for a project that aims to stem sewer overflow into Hudson River. The project includes the Albany Water Board, Cohoes, Rensselaer, Troy, Watervliet and Green Island.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Riverside Diner

My folks came through town tonight and we finally had the chance to check out the Riverside Diner [314 Columbia St Rensselaer, NY]. They feature "All Homecooked" and "Breakfast All Day".

On a Tuesday evening there were plenty of tables available. In fact, everyone there seemed to be a "Regular" - we felt rather conspicuous, as if we'd walked into somebody else's church social.

We had a good diner-type meal in under an hour, and the prices were reasonable. It passed my "good bread" test - warm, crispy dinner rolls, sliced and grilled - a nice touch. I'm sure we'll go back.

Monday, February 23, 2009

DeLaet's Public Hearing

REMINDER: The City of Rensselaer Planning Commission is holding a public hearing on the proposed DeLaet's Landing waterfront project on Tuesday, Feb. 24th at 7pm, at the Boys & Girls Club of So. Rensselaer County [544 Broadway].

Unfortunately, I have a class, so I can't attend. If you go, please e-mail me or post a comment if you learn anything interesting.

Green Building - GE Healthcare

Turner Construction Company has issued a press release summarizing all its green building projects for 2008, including the new GE facility going up in the tech park.

Turner Completes $3 Billion of Green Buildings Nationally and $1 Billion of Green Construction in New York Region During 2008

Turner's active green projects in the tri-state region during 2008 include:
General Electric Healthcare digital x-ray detector production facility, $165 million, seeking LEED-NC Gold, Rensselaer Technology Park in North Greenbush, N.Y.

According to the Green Building Council, "The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. " A LEED-New Construction Gold rating means the facility scores between 39 and 51 of a possible 69 points for criteria like Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, etc.

GE was scheduled to start moving equipment into the new building last December, and the plant opening is planned for this spring. They're not currently posting any jobs for this location, but I believe that's because they've already done a round of hiring, and the employees started in Niskayuna and will transfer here later.

DWI Arrest

Troy Record: Drug charges after police chase in Rensselaer

A Troy man was arrested on drug and drunk driving charges early Saturday morning after a traffic stop led to a police chase. Damian Cruz, 36, was charged with DWI, possession of marijuana, reckless driving, resisting arrested, and several additional traffic violations after city police stopped his SUV on suspicion of drinking and driving.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

History on E-Bay & Amazon

Postcard: Masonic Temple, Rensselaer, N.Y.

Photo: Horsedrawn Firetruck: James Hill Hook and Ladder And Hose Co. and book: James Hill Hook & Ladder Co. #1, a century of protection; 100th anniversary, 1892 to 1992., by Thomas W. Poole, Illus. A history of the Rensselaer, New York, fire department.

Postards: Old Forbs Manor, postmarked 1907; Forbes Manor House circa 1910

Postcards: Civil War Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Rensselaer, N.Y., 1910, and F.C.Huyck & Son Factory, with vintage autos

Postcard: 1906 Rensselaer New York Convention Hall

Book: Then & Now Rensselaer New York a Pictorial Journey (Mass Market Paperback)
by Ernie Mann, Bill Schilling, *Author Signed!*, 1996 [I love this book - you can borrow it through the Upper Hudson Library system]

Friday, February 20, 2009

February 20, 1909 - New Power House

100 Years Ago Today: From The Rensselaer Eagle [NY 41 Rensselaer 93-32173].



Has Made Many Improvements and Will Spend About $80,000 -- Better Lights, power and Train Service Soon to Come

The power troubles of the Albany and Hudson Railway Co. will be all over in the early spring and then the people of Rensselaer will not only get better street lights but those who use the company's power are promised better service in every way.

For the past eight months the company has had a hard time to get enough power, principally due to the fact that when the company began business it depended to a large extent on hydraulic power from Stuyvesant Falls. The unprecedented drought, however, caused the company serious loss and no end of trouble.

To obviate this it is now spending some $80,000 on betterments. As is generally known the Stuyvesant Falls power house is a combination hydraulic and steam plant... The present plan of improvement is to discontinue the use of the smallest steam engine and install one 1000 K. W. turbo-generator and one 1500 K. W. Frequency Changer set, these machines being the most recent design and most efficient in operation produced by the General Electric Co. of Schenectady.

In 2009 dollars, this upgrade was about $1.9M. Even before the 1909 upgrade, the plant powered 97 miles of third-rail electric train and supplied current for power and lighting.

Back in April 2008, the Business Review ran this article about Albany Engineering Corporation's plans for the historic power plant:
Albany Engineering buys Stuyvesant Falls hydro plant for $210K
When fully operational, the plant will generate 3,500 kilowatts of power, enough for about 3,500 homes. The renewable energy produced at the station is expected to save 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Take a Daytrip: Historic Huguenot Street

The QuadUpdates Blog ["Insightful and interesting news about the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial"] alerted me to an interesting lecture in New Paltz this coming Sunday.

"Once Adorned With Quaint Dutch Tiles", a discussion of Delft Tiles found in the Hudson Valley, Sunday, February 22nd, 1 to 3pm, Historic Huguenot Street, 18 Broadhead Avenue, New Paltz, NY.

Delft Tiles are the iconic Dutch ceramic tiles known to many... They were an important decorative item not only in the Netherlands, but also in colonial New Netherlands and New York as well.
Walter R. Wheeler, the Senior Architectural Historian at Hartgen Archeological Associates, is the featured speaker. Hartgen Archeological Associates is a cultural resource management firm headquartered in Rensselaer, New York, and with offices in Albany and Putney, Vermont.
Historic Hugenot Street is a National Historic Landmark District featuring seven unique stone houses dating to the early 1700s, a burial ground and a reconstructed 1717 stone church, all in their original setting on six landscaped acres surrounded by a nature preserve, yet just steps from the shopping and dining of downtown New Paltz.

1903 Article: Roundhouse

I never intended this to be a "this day in history" post - it's just a coincidence that the article was published 106 years ago today. I just noticed it while I was typing it up. The link let's you download low res scan of the full article, sized for legal paper - it's about a 1Mb PDF. (I'll try for a higher resolution PDF this weekend, but this one is already a slow load.)

If you like detail, follow the link - you could build your own roundhouse after reading this.
New Roundhouse of the New York Central at Rensselaer, Railroad Gazette, A Journal of Transportation, Engineering and Railroad News, Friday, February 20, 1903

The New York Central has recently built a new passenger engine roundhouse for the Middle Division at Rensselaer, New York. For the present but 30 stalls have been provided, but by the addition of sections B and C, the ultimate capacity can be increased to 60 stalls.

The roundhouse and attendant facilities were completed within the remarkably short time of 60 days. The auxiliary departments include a blacksmith shop, ... machine shop, ... two offices,... rest room, ... store room, ... oil room, ... boiler room, ... coal bin, ... and casting shed... A modern coaling plant is also to be erected. ... At the present time from 100 to 140 engines are handled a day, but it is stated that these figures can be nearly doubled when the new coaling plant is completed...

... A standard 70 ft. turn-table designed for a total load of 200 tons is operated by a Fairbanks & Morse gasolene [sic] motor, and serves all the stalls...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Firehouse Progress

The foundation is starting to take shape on the new Washington Ave. firehouse (click to enlarge).

Locker Break-ins

Times-Union: Rensselaer worker charged in locker break-ins, DPW employee told police he thought items were "junk"
A city employee was arrested for breaking into court officers' lockers in the old City Hall and taking batons and "Family Guy" DVDs.

James E. Thomas, of Nelson Avenue, an employee of the city Department of Public Works, was charged with third-degree burglary, fourth-degree criminal mischief and petit larceny in the Feb. 5 incident.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stimulus $$ Sought

Troy Record: Municipalities seek piece of stimulus funding

Municipalities are lining up in hopes of getting a piece of President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package.
Included with Jimino’s proposal is an additional $10,162,180 in projects for the city of Rensselaer, as submitted to her by Mayor Dan Dwyer. Those projects are as follows:

- $5 million for water and sewage replacement
- $3,062,180 to replace a 5-million gallon water tank
- $1.5 million for flood control measures along the Quackenderry Creek
- $600,000 for increased public library accessibility

MORE: Troy Record: Localities line up for bailout bucks
He specifically highlighted the system that carries drinking water from the Tomhannock Reservoir to Troy and other communities. At $30 million to replace the century-old pipes, the project is among the roughly $137 million the city has requested from the package.

Latest on de Laets Landing

Times-Union: Tenant, then groundbreaking
Developer of de Laet's Landing sets condition before moving ahead
RENSSELAER — The construction firm planning a massive commercial, residential and retail complex for the Hudson River waterfront intends to break ground on the much-anticipated project by early summer.

The City of Rensselaer Planning Commission is holding a public hearing on the proposed DeLaet's Landing development on Tuesday, Feb. 24th at 7pm, at the Boys & Girls Club of So. Rensselaer County [544 Broadway].

MORE: Comments on The Buzz: Business News

It's good to see some residents speaking up on behalf of the city.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Feb. 2009 Leg. Report

Here's the District 6 Legislative Report from Mike Stammel.

He filed a resolution asking Megabus to secure adequate parking for their riders.

The Rensselaer County Legislature files a lot of resolutions - I don't know if they actually have any means for enforcement.

Friday, February 13, 2009

High Speed Rail Stimulus

Times-Union, The Buzz Business Blog
Stimulus gives high-speed rail a faster track

The federal economic stimulus agreement reached between the Senate and the House of Representatives includes $8 billion for high-speed rail, with an undetermined portion of that to support work in upstate New York, according to an announcement from Sen. Charles E. Schumer.

February 13, 1909 - New Horse Ferry

100 Years Ago Today: From The Rensselaer Eagle [NY 41 Rensselaer 93-32173].



Upper Portion of the City Has Been Without a Horse Boat For Several Years - Fault Was Principally Due to a Poor Service

During the week a number of Albany men were in Upper Rensselaer looking over the old ferry slip at the foot of Central avenue and thereupon the rumor was started that they were inspecting the place with a view to running a horse boat from Central avenue across to North Ferry street, Albany, during the coming spring and summer.

Not for several years has there been a horse boat operated from Upper Rensselaer to Albany. Time there was not so very many years ago when the operation of the ferry was a paying enterprise but of late years the service got very bad and the farmers who used to drive down from Blooming Grove no longer took that route because when the did get to Upper Rensselaer it was ten chances to one that the boat was not running.

However every farmer who has occasion to go to Albany will welcome a horse boat that will permit him to drive to albany. The majority now drive to Upper Rensselaer, put up their team and go to Albany by the trolley or the local trains. However this is hardly possible when one has a load and then it has been the custom for several years back for many to ddrive to Troy because it was nearer than to go to Albany.

With the right business enterprise and a boat that could be depended on there is little reason why a line could not be made to pay. The farmers would much prefer to go to Albany than Troy and Albany merchants who now deliver in Rensselaer would much prefer to have their teams and autos sent over a ferry than to have them go down through the southern section of Albany and then across the bridge.

It is to be hoped that a boat will be established and run properly to the benefit of all concerned.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Westbound Rail Traffic

Times-Union: DOT plan revived to speed rail traffic

The state Department of Transportation wants to put a dormant plan to lay a second railroad track between Schenectady and Albany back on the region's transportation agenda and make it eligible for federal stimulus funding.

An 18-mile stretch of Amtrak's Empire Corridor between rail stations in Schenectady and Rensselaer is a bottleneck that delays both passenger and freight trains at a critical point for travel in upstate New York.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dunn Memorial Bridge Weekend Closings

Here is a travelers advisory from the NYS DOT:

Dunn Memorial Bridge to Close for Sign Work

On Saturday and Sunday, February 14 and 15, overhead sign work will be done on the Dunn Memorial Bridge, Routes 9 and 20 between Albany and Rensselaer. This work will require the bridge to be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Motorists, including those planning to travel to and from the Rensselaer Rail Station via the Dunn Bridge, should allow extra time and follow the signed detour using I-787, I-90 and Route 4 to return to Routes 9/20.

It is expected that the bridge will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays during the same hours over the next five weekends for this work. This plan may change as work proceeds; additional travel advisories will provide any differing updated information.

Chamber Networking

The Rensselaer County Chamber’s next Networking Plus Breakfast will be held at Hudson Valley Community College tomorrow (Thur. Feb. 12). Registration and breakfast start at 7:30am, and the networking program runs from 8-9am. Cost is $20 for members, $40 for non-members, and you can register online. You could also call 274.7020 to register, which would give you the opportunity to ask them just where on campus it's being held...

We’ve enhanced our popular networking format to give members just what they asked for--quality contacts, greater flexibility and a dynamic program that will double the number of connections you make at these networking events. Make your reservations today to "Get Connected, Develop Leads and Build Relationships!" Sponsored by: Berkshire Bank, Brigar X-Press Solutions, Inc. & Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Services.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Roller Derby Practice

Here's a big Flickr photo set of an Albany All Stars Roller Derby practice, taken Jan. 14 in Rensselaer (looks like they're at the Boys & Girls Club):

AASRD Practice - Rensselaer

Monday, February 9, 2009

Van Rensselaer Square

Check out the post "A Rush To Build" from the North Greenbush Pipeline blog, analyzing a fundamental problem with the as-yet-unbuilt Van Rensselaer Square shopping plaza.

I had missed the underlying article in the Times-Union:
No sale for empty storefronts
Vacancies signal the party is over for retail developers, at least for now
John Nigro, president of The Nigro Cos., a shopping center developer in Colonie, conceded the economy has put his company's plans to build the massive Tempel Farms shopping plaza along Route 4 in East Greenbush on hold.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Kitten Heart Surgery

A group called Animal Lovers is trying to raise $2,700 for surgery to correct a heart murmer on a kitten found in a box after a house fire in Rensselaer last summer.

Times-Union: Appeal starts for cat needing heart surgery

This group is now doing cat adoption clinics evenings and weekends at the East Greenbush PetSmart. (I had been wondering why the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society was no longer listing there.)

UPDATE: Great Comments on All Over Albany

Internet Sting

Capital News 9: Child porn investigation leads to arrests

Troy Record: Six caught in internet crimes sting

Times-Union: 6 charged in child porn case
Robert Deschano, 32, of 327 Sunset Ave., Rensselaer, who was arraigned in East Greenbush Town Court and was sent to Rensselaer County Jail with no bail.
I probably would have passed on this story, figuring that it would get more than enough attention on its own. But it reminded me of a recent posting on TechDirt: "Connecticut AG Upset That MySpace's Sex Offender Tracking (Which He Asked For) Works". (MySpace claims to have identified and removed over 90,000 registered sex offenders.) I doubt this rises to the level of offense they're addressing, but a People Search for Robert Deschano on MySpace turned up a profile with the handle "xXx™". Great way to fly below the radar...

Friday, February 6, 2009

February 6, 1909 - Ice Harvest

100 Years Ago Today: From The Rensselaer Eagle [NY 41 Rensselaer 93-32173].

Berry & Waugh Are Harvesting a Third Crop

Icemen are taking advantage of the opportunity to harvest ice now. About 50 ice handlers from Upper Rensselaer are employed at the Montgomery houses, just below this city. The ice is of good quality and between 10 and 14 inches in thickness.

The men expect to remain at these houses for about another week if the weather is favorable. Waugh and Berry have marked their ice in the lake for the third cutting of the year and their houses on North Forbes avenue are expected to be filled with this harvest.

As yet Benacker Bros. have not started on their field in the river which has been staked out. They are harvesting 14 inch ice from an artificial pond near old Riverside Park.
You can read a great description of ice harvesting on the Hudson by John Burroughs.
One of the prettiest sights about the ice-harvesting is the elevator in operation. When all works well, there is an unbroken procession of the great crystal blocks slowly ascending this incline. They go up in couples, arm in arm, as it were, like friends up a stairway, glowing and changing in the sun, and recalling the precious stones that adorned the walls of the celestial city.
Just for fun, here's a Wikipedia article about the icebox.
If you want one in your kitchen, Roseland Icebox Company specializes in reproduction quality 1900's iceboxes with completely modern refrigeration components built in (these are gorgeous - check it out here).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Independent's Last Issue

The Independent ceases publication with Friday's issue.

The 36-year-old newspaper serving Columbia and Rensselaer counties fell victim to the bad economy that has impacted the industry, the region and the nation.

And in case that link won't be around for much longer:
Times-Union, The Buzz: Journal Register shutters Capital Region newspaper
The Business Review - The Independent newspaper closing
The paper, which was founded in 1973, has been owned for the past eight years by Journal Register Co. (OTC: JRCO). The Trenton, N.J. company, which also owns The Record in Troy, N.Y. and The Saratogian in Saratoga Springs, has been struggling financially. It reported a loss of $8.7 million for the third quarter.

Military Surplus

Google just served up the following bits of local history for sale on the Merchant Circle Blog:

  • Blanket 04: Wool Blanket. 1952 new old stock blanket from New York State Army and Naval Affairs. I call it Forest Green with NY logo on one end. 82" x 68". Mfg by F.C.Huyck and Sons, Kenwood Mills in Rensselaer NY. Came in the original burlap covered bale and some may have a little storage dirt on the ends of the blankets. Wash great with Woolite or dryclean. Own a piece of NY history. $30.00
  • Blanket 05: Wool Blanket. 1952 new old stock blanket from New York State Army and Naval Affairs. I call it Burgandy with NY logo on one end. 82" x 68". Mfg by F.C.Huyck and Sons, Kenwood Mills in Rensselaer NY. Came in the original burlap covered bale and some may have a little storage dirt on the ends of the blankets. Wash great with Woolite or dryclean. Own a piece of NY history. $30.00
I couldn't find these blankets on the home page of the seller, Since the blog post was yesterday, they either sold them immediately, or they haven't been photographed and uploaded to their e-commerce system yet. Either way they claim "!!!!!If An Item Is Not In Stock We Can Probably Find It !!!!!"

Google also provides a full scan of a great old book from 1920: Two Related Industries: An Account of Paper-Making And Of Paper-Makers' Felts as Manufactured at The Kenwood Mills, Rensselaer, New York, U.S.A. and Arnprior Ontario, Canada. (Several copies are available on Amazon.)

MORE: Check out these 1940's and 1950's Kenwood Blanket advertisements for sale on a nostalgia site. It includes a 1942 wartime ad, "Afloat or Ashore, They'll Sleep Tonight" (unfortunately, the rest of the scan is illegible).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Small Business Clinics

Here are some upcoming events for small business owners:

Business Planning Course - 8 sessions starting 2/7/09, 9am-12pm
Sponsored by the College of Saint Rose and the Capital District Community Loan Fund, this intensive course will help you develop a business plan and give you the tools to run a successful small business. Tuition is $160 and includes materials and light refreshments. Scholarships may be available. Call 436-8586 to register.

Business Planning from A to Z - 02/17/2009, 8-10:00AM
Come and join professional counselors from the NYS Small Business Development Center and learn to develop a comprehensive business plan. The business plan can be used for financing or as a policy and planning guide for your small business. Topics to be covered include Marketing Strategies, Competition, Location, and Financial Strategies. Pre registration is required - (518)485-7647.

Small Business Legal Clinic - 3/5/09; The Legal Project and the Capital District Community Loan Fund are offering their quarterly Small Business Legal Clinic in Albany on Thursday evening, March 5th. This clinic is free-of-charge and provides private half-hour consultations on a variety of business topics, such as how to establish a business, trademarks and copyrights, franchises, licenses, and contracts. To schedule an appointment, call The Legal Project at 435-1770.

Cash Flow Management 03/17/2009, 8-10:00AM
Kate Baker, Business Advisor for the SBDC, will be holding a Cash Flow Management seminar. During the seminar attendees will be provided information on how to identify, and remedy issues within their business related to Cash flow Management. This will include forecasting revenues, cost of goods solds, managing business expenses, managing debt service, net income, and financing options. Pre registration is required - (518)485-7647.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


It's been a slow news week in Rensselaer, NY, so I think I'll indulge in the luxury of a small rant... It's pledge drive time at WAMC, which I find intolerable. The clumsy, rapid-fire, repetitive "pledge patter" that they seem to think is so exciting and motivational just causes me major anxiety. Life is stressful enough - nobody needs to listen to that. (I'd find it much more entertaining if they actually did learn to talk like auctioneers.)

Anyway, I went back to streaming my NPR and rediscovered WRVO, which is a terrific station in Central NY. They are NOT having an on-air pledge drive now, in case you want to check them out. (In Syracuse its "Foneless February", where you get to pledge without having to listen to the constant nonsense). WRVO has two online streams with different programming. You can get BBC News without sleep deprivation, and with two choices you'll never have to listen to another call-in show. They have some very cool stuff on the second stream (check out Tech Nation and Science Friday).

I really, really miss WRVO's fantastic signal coverage. I could drive all over the greater Syracuse metropolitan area with no static at all, and I never had to change the station while driving 15 minutes to work. Here, I'm constantly swapping back and forth in the car to see which station has the least crummy signal. And I usually get good reception in my house only if I stand within 2 feet of the radio (I guess I'm a good antenna).

Yes, I'll pledge later, when its all over. But I'll split my donation between both stations (and maybe some for WXPN in Philadelphia, to support my music fix).

Monday, February 2, 2009

Take a Daytrip: Salisbury Ski Jumps

If you're looking for a cool daytrip, next weekend (Feb. 7th & 8th) is 83rd Annual Salisbury Invitational Ski Jumps - "Jump Fest 2009". Salisbury, CT is about an hour and a half away, just over the border into Connecticut. Cost is $10 for adults, 12 and under are free.

I went to this event last year, and its great. You get to see the Eastern National ski jump competition up-close and personal (they come soaring right down toward the crowd). I was amazed at how large their skis are - you can't tell that on the television. And these folks walk up a very, very tall stairway to the top of the jump, carrying their own skis - wow!

Bring a cowbell, a lawn chair, and wear layers and good boots (you'll have to walk a few minutes from the parking area to the ski jump). They do have warming barrels burning at the jump site.

Later you can hop the horse-drawn wagon for a free ride to the town green to see the ice sculptures and warm up at the White Hart Inn. Be aware that the horses go home soon after the skiing ends. Last year they ended competition early because of snow conditions and we had to walk several blocks back to the parking lot (like I said - wear good boots).

Drive a little further south to Lakeville, CT for a good selection of restaurants. The Boathouse was very nice last year (scan the prices before you go - it is the Berk$hire$...)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Library LISTA Programs

In addition to the usual story and craft events, the following special programs are listed on the Rensselaer Library's Events Page:

  • * Henry Hudson and Friends Puppet Show- February 19th at 2 PM. Learn about the explorer with Albany Heritage Visitor’s Center as part of the Hudson 400 celebration during winter break. Please call to sign up. For ages 3 and up.

  • * Sloops to Steamboats: Early Travel on the Hudson- March 7 at 1 PM. The Rensseler County Historical Society will present a family program on steamboats of the 19th century. Please call to sign up.

  • * Birds!- Saturday, March 28 at 1 PM. Learn all about how birds fly, build nests and feed themselves with Lisa Hoyt from Dyken pond. Please call to sign up.

These are specified as being projects of the Upper Hudson Library System, supported by Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funds, awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. You can read more about LSTA here at the New York State Library's informational page.