329 episodes

Often, truth isn’t handed down from public officials but comes from listening to other voices. Once a week, you can hear a wide variety of views from people who shape our corner of the world in New York’s Capital Region. The Altamont Enterprise is the weekly newspaper of record for Albany County, New York.
We’ve talked with a Buddhist who provided therapy for Gilda Radner and then helped set up Gilda’s Club after she died; with a Muslim woman who is trying to educate people about her religion as she feels increased hatred; with an African-American man who, as a teenager, helped ferry people north from a town in Mississippi haunted by lynchings.

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Other Voices The Altamont Enterprise & Albany County Post

    • News
    • 5.0 • 7 Ratings

Often, truth isn’t handed down from public officials but comes from listening to other voices. Once a week, you can hear a wide variety of views from people who shape our corner of the world in New York’s Capital Region. The Altamont Enterprise is the weekly newspaper of record for Albany County, New York.
We’ve talked with a Buddhist who provided therapy for Gilda Radner and then helped set up Gilda’s Club after she died; with a Muslim woman who is trying to educate people about her religion as she feels increased hatred; with an African-American man who, as a teenager, helped ferry people north from a town in Mississippi haunted by lynchings.

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    Edna Litten — speaking out about plastic grass

    Edna Litten — speaking out about plastic grass

    “We’ve only got one planet,” says Edna Litten. “We’ve got to take care of it.”
    Litten, who grew up in Queens and lives now in Altamont, remembers going to a teach-in for the first Earth Day in 1970. Since then, over the last half-century, she has hung her laundry out to dry; she’s never owned a clothes dryer. Litten is part of a local group focusing on the dangers of synthetic turf. 
    As The Enterprise has reported at length over the last several months, part of the Guilderland school district’s proposed $21.8 million capital project includes a $2.5 million plan to build a synthetic playing field at the high school. The public vote on the project is Oct. 7.
    In July, athletes, coaches, and sports boosters spoke enthusiastically to the school board about the need for a turf field. David Austin, the district’s director of Physical Education and Athletics, said, “I don’t think it’s a luxury. We’re at a disadvantage.” He said that, before the year is out, 10 of the 15 Suburban Council schools will have turf fields, which puts Guilderland players at a disadvantage.


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    • 33 min
    Kristopher Williams — invasive species and their huge effects

    Kristopher Williams — invasive species and their huge effects

    Kristopher Williams is now in his third career, as the coordinator for the Capital Region PRISM, Partnership for Regional Invasive Species.
    Monitoring species that don’t belong is “a never-ending job,” he says, but worthwhile. “This is the greatest threat to endangered species and our ecosystem as we know it today,” said Williams on this week's podcast.
    The Capital Region PRISM, hosted by the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County, serves 11 counties, including Albany, with a staff that includes an aquatics coordinator, a terrestrial coordinator, and an educator.
    New York State has eight PRISMs, each involved in early detection and control of invasive species.
    “We train citizen scientists,” said Williams. Capital Region PRISM has partnered with iMapInvasives so that volunteers, each responsible for a grid, report on invasive species they’ve seen through an app.
    Invasive species can cause huge economic effects. It is thought the spotted lantern fly can cost losses of $400 million in New York State, Williams said. They start their life cycle in the tree of heaven, a Colonial invasive, he said.
    When they leave their host tree, they feed on stone fruit, like plums and peaches, and are attracted to vineyards and hops. They excrete a sticky honeydew-like substance that makes fruit inedible because of the mold it causes.
    “No native pest will eat them,” says Williams.
    Williams, who is a gardener himself, urges gardeners to plant native, resilient species and to diversify their plantings.
    “I love showy plants,” says Williams but he notes, “Quite often, they come from other countries.”
    Individuals can make a difference for the good. Other than planting wisely in their own yards, Williams said, they can adopt a favorite park or preserve to work on identifying and removing invasive species.
    People, he concludes, need to become more conscious of their goods and services and actions.



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    • 32 min
    Ellen Manning — Preserving a sense of place in McKownville

    Ellen Manning — Preserving a sense of place in McKownville

    “We try to protect our little neighborhood,” says Ellen Manning, president of the McKownville Improvement Association. The association, which is almost a century old, is on the brink of achieving a new form of protection —  having part of McKownville listed on the state and national registers of historic places. Manning hypothesizes in this week’s podcast that what has kept the association active since 1924 is that McKownville is sandwiched between commercial and institutional development. An early Albany suburb, McKownville runs from the city line to the Northway, on both sides of Guilderland’s major thoroughfare, Route 20.
    The historic district will encompass about 106 properties, Manning said, including some on the north side of Western Avenue, most of Waverly Place, and parts of Norwood, Glenwood, Parkwood, and Elmwood streets. The architectural styles are typical of popular home construction in the early 20th Century, ranging from Colonial revival to Arts and Crafts bungalows. The streets are lined with century-old trees and the neighbors know one another, Manning said.
    She called research conducted by McKownville volunteers “remarkable” as they documented the history and wrote descriptions of individual buildings. Manning noted such work is often done instead by hired consultants. On Sept. 14, residents whose homes would be in the historic district are invited to a public meeting, which will be held virtually. Details are posted to the association’s website. Manning herself moved to McKownville in 1998. She had lived in Albany all of her life and was always aware of the neighborhood, having gone to McKown’s Grove as a child to swim. She describes her Arts and Crafts style home, built in 1914, as having “a lot of charm, inside and out.” She likes the simple lines, rustic feel, and natural features of the Arts and Crafts style, which replaced the fussiness of the Victorian period. Manning also appreciates the intimacy of the neighborhood with the houses close together and enjoys walking the tree-lined streets. She has noted, since the onset of the pandemic, many more walkers. “It’s bringing more people out,” she said.


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    • 28 min
    Matthew Pinchinat, diversity, equity, and inclusion — ‘The community is larger than you’

    Matthew Pinchinat, diversity, equity, and inclusion — ‘The community is larger than you’

    Matthew Pinchinat was recently named as the director for diversity, equity, and inclusion — a new post for the Guilderland school district. 
    Diversity, explains Pinchinat in this week’s podcast at AltamontEnterprise.com/podcasts, means recognizing people not from our background, and includes differences in thought as well. Now, he will be shifting his influence from just the students in his classes to the entire school district, from kindergarten through 12th grade. He is hoping to bring about system-wide change. The work, he said, calls to his heart, reaching people “in that human core” and paying forward the support he has been given. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, several Guilderland graduates, all Black women, had talked to the district’s superintendent and some school board members about the racism they had encountered at Guilderland and problems with the curriculum. Subsequently, the school board formed a standing committee to deal with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Then, when drafting the budget for the 2021-22 school year, the board created the post Pinchinat will now fill.


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    • 30 min
    Alan Kowlowitz — ‘You can’t preserve what you don’t know’

    Alan Kowlowitz — ‘You can’t preserve what you don’t know’

    As newcomers move to Voorheesville and New Scotland, Alan Kowlowitz hopes they will embrace their heritage, not as a matter of genetics, a love of place handed down through family, but rather like the love that ties a marriage together.
    New Scotland is growing at a faster rate than any other municipality in Albany County, with a 5.8 percent increase in population over the last decade, according to the recently released federal census data.
    Kowlowitz sees an irony in people moving to New Scotland because it’s a beautiful town and then having the development pressure erode what drew them to town in the first place.
    “You can’t preserve what you don’t know,” says Kowlowitz in this week’s podcast.
    Kowlowitz chairs the joint village and town Historic Preservation Commission. Voorheesville and New Scotland this summer were awarded a $10,000 grant from the Preservation League of New York State to fund a cultural resource survey for the village and the hamlets of New Salem and New Scotland.
    About 300 buildings, each at least 50 years old, will be photographed, researched, and mapped with the information uploaded to the state’s Cultural Resources Information System.

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    • 40 min
    Brian Barr — a way to work toward peace and harmony in Albany

    Brian Barr — a way to work toward peace and harmony in Albany

    Brian Barr of Guilderland was one of five people recently recognized as a Community Bridge Builder at the inaugural awards ceremony held by ALERT, the Albany Law Enforcement Resolution Team.
    The not-for-profit was founded by Pastor David Traynham in 2015 after Michael Brown Jr., a Black man, was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Traynham felt it was just a matter of time before a similar incident would happen in Albany and he wanted to bring law enforcement together with the community to have one city united.
    Trynham and his wife, Brenda, founded the New Horizons Church in Albany.
    “The key is relationship,” says Barr in the week’s podcast.
    ALERT hosts an annual sports challenge, with a carnival-like atmosphere for kids, and a community and law enforcement summit as well as doing outreach.
    For example, Barr, who is president of Senior Hope Counseling, will be visiting seniors in housing projects with others to talk about substance-abuse disorders, opioid issues, and life-saving measures, he said.
    Through one personal connection at a time, Barr said, the goal is “turning down the violent atmosphere.” Anyone is welcome to join the ALERT task force or to contribute to the cause.

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    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

Wickwood2 ,

Back Stories That Give Context To Local News

I really look forward to each episode because I learn so much from the back stories behind our local news.

The most recent one with John Gonzalez is prime example and what prompted me to write this review.

Melissa Hale-Spencer has an interview style that really pulls these stories out and her voice reminds me of the great journalist Naomi Klien who is on the The Intercepted Podcast from time to time. (Highly recommend that podcast as well.)

Jesse Sommer ,

The Voice of My Home

CHEERS MS. HALE-SPENCER!

I’ve just now—on a whim—stumbled upon this Podcast, and I’m using this review space to pen a heartfelt “thank you”. The Podcasts consist of summaries of the latest Editions of our vital hometown paper of record, and offers a succinct (and soothing!) summary roll-up of the goings on in Albany County. Narrated by the Editor-in-Chief, it’s a great resource for those who haven’t the time to read the paper cover to cover, or skim the articles online. I tuned in while gazing down on the sands of Southwest Asia from 1,500 feet while traveling by Blackhawk far away from home.

The Podcast also is a newsmaker in its own right, since the one I just listened to features interviews (Ms. Hale-Spencer in the audio journalist’s seat, is to speak).

I commend the Altamont Enterprise for exploring this new medium, and hope it expands its forays into the new media landscape even further!

BRAVO!

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