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Community Spirit

Registration underway for 'Serve Albany Week'

Registration has begun for the second "Serve Albany Week."

The week from April 21-27 gives people who want to serve their community different programs throughout the city.

They include cooking, cleaning, or coordinating fun programs.

You can also help plant an indoor garden.

The event is hosted by Christ Church Albany and The Stakeholders Inc.

Mayor Sheehan to swear-in 14 new firefighters

The Albany Fire Department is welcoming 14 new recruits to its force.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan will swear in the new firefighters during a ceremony at City Hall on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.

The firefighters replace ones who have recently retired.

In a statement released on Thursday, Mayor Sheehan said, “The Albany Fire Department has a long tradition of service to the residents of and visitors to the city of Albany. It is exciting to welcome the next generation of firefighters to active service.”

Kids learn from black history display

ALBANY - As black history month comes to a close, children in Albany spent the day taking a journey through time.

The Children's Church at the Empire Christian Center put together a history display. Each room had a different theme, taking young visitors from the rich history of Africa’s kings and queens, into slavery, the 1900s and into present day.

Organizer Michelle Trotman says this is taking information out of the history books and creating a learning experience.

"Reading about your history is really great, but when you get a chance to experience it first hand, the information that is provided actually stays with you,” Trotman said. “The experience allows you to research your history and helps you understand who you are and what you can become. It helps you to understand the adversity that was faced and then propels you to into becoming somebody even greater.”

Parishioners pray for new bishop

ALBANY -- Many of the prayers during Tuesday's noon mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception were intended for Bishop-elect Edward Scharfenberger.

"I'm so pleased.  I've been waiting and praying that we get the man we need," said Theresa Tangredi of Delmar before the service.

With an imminent priest shortage and declining membership, the hope is a new leader will help to grow the diocese -- priests and parishioners.

"New life and energy. The young ones.  You have to bring the children back to our church," explained Gladys Mwesigwa, who was also attending noon mass at the cathedral just after the Scharfenberger announcement.

Since the decision came straight from Pope Francis, who seems to be wildly popular with the people, the expectation is Scharfenberger will unite the Albany Diocese.

Albany unveils local story of black history

ALBANY – Albany unveiled an exhibit Monday called Dreaming of Timbuctoo.

The exhibit tells the story of free black New Yorkers granted 40 acres of land in the Adirondacks in the 1840s to qualify them to vote.

Dreaming of Timbuctoio is a production exploring history, land and meaning.

“This is, I hope, the first of what will be many engaging opportunities for people to come to City Hall and have it be a place where they learn and where they grow and where we can engage in civic discourse,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.

The exhibit is open to the public until Feb. 15 at City Hall.

New fire chief named in Albany

Warren Abriel Jr. - File / WNYT

ALBANY – A 42-year veteran of the Albany Fire Department will now officially take over the top job.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan officially named Warren Abriel Jr. the new fire chief on Monday morning.

Abriel has been with the department since 1972. He moved up through the ranks and became executive deputy chief in 2008. Most recently, he had been serving as acting fire chief.

Abriel replaces outgoing Fire Chief Robert Forezzi, who retired in December. He will officially be sworn in on Friday.

NYS Museum re-discovers rare treasure

 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks to the New York State Civil War Centennial Commission on Sept. 12, 1962. - New York State Archives

ALBANY - In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the NYS Museum has unveiled a most special exhibit. It was just re-discovered after being tucked way for about 35 years. And part of the beauty of this exhibit is that you don't have to leave your computer to experience it.

It's an online recording of a speech the civil rights leader made at the Emancipation Dinner in New York City in September 1962. 

This is the only known recording of that speech, which was seen as a prelude to the famous "I Have A Dream" speech.

The audio recording of the 1962 speech became part of the local museum's collection in 1979. Then just recently, a very lucky intern found it tucked away in the museum's archives.