Saturday, March 9, 2013

Have a Great Idea for Your Neighborhood?

The Troy City Council will award $9,000 in Neighborhood Improvement Program Grants (NIP) this year, which is a 40% increase from 2012. Individual grants should range from $250 to $900. The purpose of the grants are to encourage residents to initiate neighborhood improvement projects and programs that stimulate further community involvement in Troy’s neighborhoods.  Applications are due by March 29. The application from can be downloaded at:

Troy Reassessment Info

If you are a property owner in Troy, then you are well aware of the property reassessment.   As a reminder, if you disagree with the full market value estimate and want to file a complaint you need to schedule an “Informal Review.”  These will be held from March 11 through March 28.   You must schedule an appointment; you can do so by going to and clicking on “Informal Review Registration.”  After answering several questions, you will be able to choose a date for your review. 

If you would like to participate in a class on “Understanding Your New Property Assessment,”  you can register by going to and clicking on “Public Education Class Registration.”   That will then provide you some options for dates and times.  These workshops will focus on how the assessments were determined; a review of the notice property owners have received; and how to prepare for the informal review process.

If you need assistance registering for a review or class, call 800-718-5149.

Information regarding property assessments, inventory data, and sales is available by going to  This information will also be available from Monday, March 4 to Saturday, March 20 at the following locations at the Troy Public Library:  Main Branch and Lansingburgh Branch @  27 114th Street. 

Faces at TRIP – Sandy Phoenix

Sandy PhoenixSandy Phoenix and TRIP have a long history. Her love for bookkeeping led her to an opening at TRIP, and she was hired on December 4, 1978! Luckily for us, she has been with the program ever since.  She is currently the Office Manager and Director of Accounting for TRIP’s seven companies. Sandy has three people working with her who are tasked with ensuring that business runs smoothly: they provide customer services, serve as our Human Resources department, maintain the front office including equipment and supplies, do bookkeeping, and help keep TRIP on track.

Before TRIP, Sandy worked at St. Mary’s Hospital and spent some time at home, taking care of her three children. When she isn’t working, Sandy now spends time with her seven (soon to be eight!) grandchildren.  She also loves to ride motorcycles and go snowmobiling, boating, and camping. Her family camps everywhere whenever they get a chance – they all love the outdoors! Aside from riding her motorcycle for pure pleasure, Sandy also likes to bike with a cause: she and her husband regularly do cancer runs and are helping with one this coming May.

TRIP thanks Sandy for her wonderful spirit and lifelong dedication to helping others!

Calling All Landlords

Are you a landlord trying to do your best?  Are you struggling to find – and keep – the best possible tenants?   Are you seeking effective strategies for maintaining your property and even, perhaps, making it profitable? 

Join others at the next Troy Landlord Training sessions on April 22nd and 24th from 6-8 PM.  Sponsored by TRIP for landlords and potential landlords, the four hour program presents a variety of speakers that address tenant screening, code enforcement, the eviction process, Section 8 subsidies, renting to students, spotting criminal activity, and lots more.  As part of TRIP’s Green Initiative, information about NYSERDA and green practices in rental housing have been added to the list of topics.  Come meet experts who can help guide you to success as a landlord; presenters hail from Troy’s Code Enforcement Department and Community Police Unit, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, United Tenants, TRIP’s Rental Management Unit, Troy Housing Authority and more.

Created by a team of community members with the goal of improving the quality of life in Troy’s neighborhoods, TRIP, the city, Rensselaer and others worked with residents to create a Landlord Training Program to meet Troy’s rental market.  Since its inception in 2001, almost 1300 landlords have attended the 4- hour program.  Participants consistently give it high marks. 

The Troy Landlord Training Program is offered in spring and fall.  The next two part session will be held on Monday, April 22nd and Wednesday, April 24th from 6-8 PM both nights.  There is a $15 fee for materials and a light supper. Registration is required.

Register at or (518) 690-0020 x221.  For more info, contact Hilary Lamishaw, Director of Community Affairs, at (518) 272-8289 x214.

Free Tax Prep Services

Rensselaer County CA$H Coalition – Provides Free Tax Prep Services

Call to see when VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) volunteers are available at the following locations.  Ask what documents you need to bring with you.    

Commission on Economic Opportunity
tax return2328 Fifth Avenue, Troy
(518) 272-6012

Italian Community Center
1450 Fifth Avenue, Troy
Contact community police officer for appointment: (518) 270-4689

Circles of Mercy
11 Washington Street, Rensselaer
(518) 462-0899

Underground Railroad Conference April 12-14

Colia Clark

April 12: Opalka Gallery, Sage College, 140 New Scotland Ave., Albany
April 13: Russell Sage College, 65 First St., Troy 
April 13: Evening Potluck and Session, The Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 6th Ave., Troy
April 14: The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence, 194 Livingston Ave., Albany

Milestones on the Road to Freedom: The Emancipation Proclamation, Harriet Tubman, and the March on Washington - a Legacy and a Future

2013 is the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 100th anniversary of the death of Harriet Tubman and the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. This 12th annual conference on the Underground Railroad seeks to connect the Underground Railroad, these key events and present day struggles for freedom and justice. To that end, an extraordinary schedule of events is planned for young and old alike.

Michele Wallace
Friday’s Educators’ Workshop will focus on racial identity and privilege. The afternoon segment of the workshop will be privileged to have Michele Wallace, Black feminist, art analyst and daughter of Faith Ringgold, offer her comments on the topic. As well, Ms. Wallace will provide Friday evening’s Opening Address, The Portrayal of Slavery and the Underground Railroad in the Visual Art of Faith Ringgold, with Reference to the Path-Breaking Work of Jacob Lawrence. 

Andor Skotnes
Leading off Saturday morning, Historian Andor Skotnes will speak on The Importance (or Non-Importance) of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and Today. He will be joined by Tubman scholar Kate Clifford Larson, speaking on Harriet Tubman Then and Now: a Woman of Importance. Over 25 workshops will be available, along with the inclusion of family friendly programming, new and returning vendors, more exhibitors, and the annual raffle. Keynote speaker Colia Clark, lifelong social activist with roots in the NAACP and SNCC, will speak on The Southern Civil Rights Struggle in the 1950s and 1960s, and the Legacy of the Underground Railroad. With their artistry, performers Travelin’ This Road, SUNYA Chamber Singers, and soloist MaryNell Morgan will help us touch the past to be inspired in the present. A palate-pleasing reception with stimulating conversation will close Saturday’s events.

Kate Clifford Larson

Saturday evening at 7:30pm (potluck prior) at Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 6th Ave., Troy (  Louis Massiah will present a program that is co-sponsored by Underground Railroad History Project.
The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence will be the focus of Sunday’s events with tours, slide show, USCT re-enactment unit demonstration, and discussion about the future of the Myers Residence. A light lunch buffet will be available.
An enriching weekend awaits! Mark your calendars! Spread the word! Check the website at for info and registration. See you in April! 

Submitted by Mary Liz Stewart, Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.       54 Bertha Street, Albany, NY 12209 -- 518-465-8708 -- marylizugr [at] gmail [dot] com