seventh annual AIDSWalk, sponsored by the Community AIDS Partnership
of the Capital Region, will occur at 2 PM this Sunday (Sept.
21) in Albany’s Washington Park.
AIDSWalk 2003 stretches just under 5 kilometers (around 3
miles) and winds through Washington Park and surrounding areas
of Albany. Last year’s event raised more than $225,000 for
HIV/AIDS organizations, and attracted more than 2,000 participants,
making it the largest AIDS fund-raising event ever to take
place in the region.
been really fortunate to get college- and high-school-age
people participating,” said Linda Glassman, CAPCR coordinator.
“Nearly half of the new cases [of HIV] are people under the
age of 25.”
Along with a multitude of corporate sponsors providing services—including
entertainment, food and drink—for the event, the National
AIDS Fund will contribute one dollar for every two dollars
raised by AIDSWalk 2003 walkers. The walkers are raising money
through pledges from friends and colleagues. Those teams and
individuals that raise the most money for the event will also
of the heavy corporate sponsorship, every single penny that’s
raised gets directed to the organizations that need it,” explained
Glassman. “All of the money that’s raised stays local, with
the exception of Community Hospice, which provides services
to a hospice in Africa.”
According to the New York State Department of Health, more
than 3,475 residents of northeastern New York have been diagnosed
with AIDS, and the number of those infected with HIV (the
virus believed by many to cause AIDS) is thought to be much
higher. While local agencies providing HIV/AIDS-related services
are in high demand, the funds necessary to support these agencies
are in short supply.
During the event, panels from the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial
Quilt will be displayed, and a chalk-drawn quilt will be created
on the pavement of the Washington Park Lakehouse.
This year, confidential and anonymous HIV-testing will also
be provided at the site of the event, free of charge.
Individuals who have not yet registered for AIDSWalk 2003,
but wish to participate in the event, can attend an onsite
registration Sunday at 1 PM.
Inaction Is for the Birds
lights on the Dunn Memorial Bridge, which connects Albany
and Rensselaer, have been burning through the day, almost
continuously, since 1999, and still burned as of last Monday.
Initially, the lights were on during the day because they
were on the same power supply as a webcam installed underneath
the bridge to view Peregrine falcons in their nesting box.
Although the falcons are in the nest only from about February
to June, the 40 or so bridge lights still burned brightly
throughout the day during the remainder of the year, serving
no visible purpose. After many requests by concerned citizens
to the Department of Environmental Conservation and Niagara
Mohawk last year, the lights went on a dusk-to-dawn schedule
until another set of eggs were hatched in the falcons’ box.
Now the falcons are again gone for the year, and again the
lights remain on.
Niagara Mohawk also had been looking into installing a solar
panel to power the webcam, but so far nothing has come of
With the help of his local-news Web site, David Baker, former
editor of the now-extinct Rensselaer Beacon, brought the issue
to the public’s attention. “If that kind of waste is so visible,
then what wastes are we not seeing?” asked Baker.
After reporting the waste on his Web site, Baker faxed his
concerns to the DEC. Rick Georgeson, DEC’s regional public
affairs director, contacted officials at the Department of
Transportation to get the lights off during the day, but so
far to no avail.
So the lamps stay on, a glowing example of the red tape one
must cut through to turn off a simple light switch.
a packed hearing on Sept. 10, the Albany Zoning Board of Appeals
revoked the special use permit of the Tyler Arms veterans
home (688 Madison Ave., Albany), run by the Albany Housing
Coalition. The coalition was given 30 days to move the residents
The city requested the revocation because the coalition temporarily
allowed a drug treatment program, Project Lift, to use one
of its three buildings. The program has since moved out. Much
of the testimony from neighbors, however, involved complaints
that predated Project Lift’s arrival. Several neighbors gave
detailed accounts of problems with noise, drunkeness, and
public urination. They expressed frustration at what they
said was a lack of responsiveness from the coalition in dealing
with these problems. “This place is out of control,” said
resident Mike Kelly.
Bill Pettit, president of the Washington Park Neighborhood
Association, testified in favor of the revocation. He said
the neighborhood had been “improving” over the past several
years, and urged the board to “take into consideration the
direction the neighborhood has been headed, and allow us to
David Stacey, executive director of the Albany Housing Coalition,
testified that there had been some problems “in the beginning”
when the Veterans Administration was “dumping” people on the
house who needed more care than it could provide. He said
the coalition had recently changed property managers, become
more careful about whom it accepted, tightened rules, and
addressed the concerns raised.
Stacey also said afterward that many of the complaints from
neighborhood residents who are not right next door could not
be traced to the residents of Tyler Arms. “Every time they
see a homeless person, they’re going to say it’s one of ours,”
People testifying against the revocation pointed out that
Tyler Arms was the only home of its kind, and asked where
the veterans would go. “If they’re not living there, they’ll
have those problems elsewhere,” said Donna DeMaria, director
of the Homeless Action Committee.
The outcome seemed all but predecided, however. Despite the
wide- ranging testimony, a motion to revoke the special use
permit was made, seconded, and approved unanimously without
The coalition has the buildings on the market, and had already
told its realtor to say the zoning didn’t come with the building.
Nonetheless, the decision “probably will put [prospective
buyers] off a little,” said Stacey.
A spokesperson for the department of public safety said the
city is working to help the veterans relocate, but Stacey
says he hasn’t seen any help so far. “There is no relocation
[assistance]—where are they going to put them?” he asked.