Click the Logo back to our website



AVillage’s Annual Celebration of Progress is our opportunity to thank our partners and friends, and to insure we can continue to have an impact on life in Albany’s South End. Besides, it’s a great party!
Please mark this date for the 2017 Celebration of Progress on your calendar: Thursday, March 9. We have reserved the same space as last year, that beautiful old bank lobby at 60 State Place in Albany. We look forward to your company whether you’ve been with us for our first two years or if this is your first.  We will be sending you a formal invitation in early December.

AVillage.., Inc., is a unique community based organization. We operate on a very slender budget, so your support has a great impact. Each year brings new challenges and opportunities, and new stories to tell. Community health has been a major focus this past year, with new initiatives at the Ezra Prentice community and also in the gardens and vacant buildings of the South End.


What We Learned From Global (And What We Still Don't Know)

Residents at Ezra Prentice and members of AVillage met on November 9, 2016, with Global Partners, owners of the black oil tanker cars. The meeting produced no big surprises, but one commitment from Global and some helpful information. More information should come from the meeting planned by the EPA tonight at Ezra Prentice.
Dylan Remley, Global’s regional manager, was accompanied by two members of the company’s environmental quality staff and three members of the local facilities staff. He gave a brief presentation of the company’s operation at Ezra Prentice, with a site map showing where it loads its oil cars onto barges or ships.
Several residents asked Remley whether the tanker cars have to be parked immediately behind the residences at Ezra Prentice. They talked about the constant noise and the tension of living with an unknown, menacing presence only yards away. He replied that he has no answers now, but will talk to Canadian Pacific and the Port of Albany. He explained that Canadian Pacific owns most of the track near and behind Ezra Prentice (some is also owned by CSX and by the Port of Albany’s own rail subsidiary).
Remley also said he would ask Richard Hendrick, the Port of Albany General Manager, to come and talk directly to the residents of Ezra Prentice. “He says he will come,” said Remley. He said he would find out who is responsible for the Canadian Pacific tracks near Ezra Prentice and pass on that information.
The global economy has done what years of litigation and actions could not accomplish. Remley stated that in the last three months there have been “essentially zero” oil trains coming through the Port of Albany.
Note: This is confirmed by observation and independent media reports, and is based at least in part on the current glut of petroleum products on the world market. “Due to lower prices, East Coast refineries can get oil cheaper from Africa by tanker,” says Justin Milkula, a local observer and contributor to industry watchdog Desmogblog.
Remley said the tanker cars we are seeing are carrying ethanol.
Note: These tankers will look the same from the outside. Ethanol is also a volatile fuel, but there is some evidence that it is somewhat less dangerous than the heavy North Dakota crude that had been coming through the Port, says Mikulka. 
Remley was asked about odors that seem to be coming from the tanker cars, especially with the lids up. He said the lids up do not signify that the tanker cars are venting gases. The only venting takes place when the tanker cars are emptied for shipping, and those gases are captured and do not go into the atmosphere.
Note: This is also partly confirmed by Mikulka: “When you see those hatches up on the top of the cars, those are only the exterior man way covers. So there is another interior cover that keeps the tank car closed to the atmosphere. I spoke to someone who used an infrared camera to check for fumes venting from the tank cars and they said they saw none. I also believe that they would not want the cars open to the atmosphere.  In DC I saw a presentation about the corrosion issues they have with the Bakke tank cars. It is a real issue. They definitely would not want to leave them open to the atmosphere and risk a rainstorm. 
“However, this is all assuming everything works properly.  As we know, that isn't the case with the oil and rail industries.”

Remley resisted discussing the legal issues that Global is facing from the state and federal governments, or its proposal to build heating ovens so that even thicker crude from Canada could be processed through the Port of Albany.

  -- Tom McPheeters


Breathing Lights Event

By now, you’ve probably heard of or seen the pulsing lights on vacant buildings and are either intrigued, irritated or just plain curious. This is Albany City Weekend for Breathing Lights, the regional public art exhibit that is supposed to be highlighting our vacant building problems here. We at AVillage are doing our best to shine a spotlight on the South End, which hosts 13 of the installations (plus three in the Mansion Neighborhood), and many more vacant buildings.
This Friday from 5 to 9 p.m., which is also First Friday, the Capital South Campus Center at 20 Warren St. hosts a revolving showing of Breathing Lights-inspired films made this summer by our local Youth FX program and also youth film programs in Troy and Schenectady. Also on hand will be volunteers to take you on a guided automobile tour of the South End Breathing Lights buildings, or across town to The Barn, which has its own set of events. We’ll also have information on the Albany County Land Bank, including a list of its South End Properties, some success stories and information on the Reclamation Clinics coming up. It’s a good time to give us your ideas about bringing these buildings and our streets back to life.
On Saturday, artist Jillian Hirsch will lead a walking tour of South End buildings with mosaics created this summer by youth working with AVillage and the Radix Center. Some of the young people who made the art will be there to share their stories. Since many of these buildings are also Breathing Lights and Land Bank buildings this is a good chance to see the neighborhood in the daylight. Tour starts at 3 p.m. at 46 Alexander St.

Breathing Lights is public art that can be a catalyst — if we make it so!