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July 15, 2009

Group Taps Albany’s “Creative Class” to Bring Richard Florida to Town

Filed under: Business,Events,Features,News — duncan @ 11:40 am

For Immediate Release
Contact: Catherine Hedgeman 518-708-6350


The Stakeholders Hires Duncan Crary to Promote Best-Selling Author’s Talk at Palace, Sept. 24

ALBANY, NY (7-15-09)—A local nonprofit has engaged Albany’s “creative class” to promote an upcoming talk by global best-selling author Richard Florida.

On Sept. 24, at the Palace Theatre, Florida will speak about the concepts in his latest book, “Who’s Your City? – How the Creative Economy is Making the Place Where You Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life.” Florida’s earlier books explored the importance of the creative class, an emergent class of independent intellectuals, artists and entrepreneurs.

The presentation is co-hosted by The Stakeholders, Inc., and The Center for Economic Growth. General Electric is the presenting sponsor.

To promote the event, The Stakeholders, Inc., has hired independent creative consultant Duncan Crary, of Duncan Crary Communications.

“The Stakeholders is bringing Richard Florida to our Capital City to start the discussion about how and why the people of our region should invest in a creative economy,” said Catherine Hedgeman, president & CEO of The Stakeholders, Inc. “We’re proud to have hired Duncan to promote this event, because he is a member of our region’s growing creative class who has chosen to make this area his home.”

This February, Crary, 30, founded his own new media and creative consulting business in Troy. In May, he partnered with Dutch Apple Cruises to host a successful riverboat commute to work between Albany and Troy. A former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, Crary now hosts and produces “The KunstlerCast,” a weekly audio podcast featuring urban planning author James Howard Kunstler.

“Many young creative professionals like me are happily choosing to make the Capital Region our home,” Crary said. “Richard Florida’s talk will help the community-at-large to better understand the vital role that the creative class will play in our region’s new economy. I hope that it will also inspire young professionals to stake a claim in the places we have chosen to live, because these are our cities.”

The mission of The Stakeholders is to cultivate an informed and active creative class dedicated to building diverse and sustainable communities throughout New York’s Capital Region.

Though Crary is the first paid consultant on the team, more than a dozen creative class professionals are serving as volunteers for the Stakeholders to orchestrate the Richard Florida event. More than a dozen local businesses and organizations have signed on to sponsor the talk.

Richard Florida is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and professor of Business and Creativity at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. His other books include “The Rise of the Creative Class,” “Cities and the Creative Class” and “The Flight of the Creative Class.”

For information about the Sept. 24 presentation by Richard Florida, visit:

For information about The Center for Economic Growth, visit:

For information about The Stakeholders, visit: and

For information about Duncan Crary Communications, visit:


July 14, 2009

Rexford Woman Teaches How to “Drive” Your Bicycle for Safety

Filed under: Business,Features — duncan @ 12:21 pm

For Immediate Release
Contact: Tamara Flanders (518) 429-6615


Vehicular Cycling Teaches Bicyclers to Share Road with Cars

REXFORD, NY (7-14-09) — A bicycle safety instructor is teaching Capital Region cyclists how to “drive” their bikes.

“Every time I’m out on the road I see people making dangerous choices,” said Tamara Flanders, a cycling instructor who is certified by the League of American Cyclists. “Some mis-educated people behind the wheel don’t respect the right of cyclists to be on the road. On the other hand, some mis-educated bike riders don’t follow proper road etiquette and make car drivers nervous or upset.”

Flanders is working to make shared roadways safer for bicycles and cars by teaching “vehicular cycling,” the practice of driving bicycles on roads in a manner that is visible, predictable, and in accordance with traffic law.

“Cycling is safest when the bicycle is treated the same as other vehicles,” Flanders said. “When you follow all the traffic laws, you are ‘driving’ your bike. This ensures your visibility and safety from the cars around you.”

Now that summer is here, and more people are using bicycle transportation to avoid high gas prices, Flanders said it’s crucial that cyclists and car drivers do everything in their power to avoid crashes.

“Knowing how to properly share the road can prevent nearly all of the car-bicycle crashes that happen,” Flanders said.

Flanders will be teaching a variety of safe cycling courses this summer, including a cycling coaching program titled “Couch Potato to 25 Miles.” This program will teach novice cycling skills, as well as vehicular cycling, while helping beginning cyclists build their skills and endurance to comfortably cycle 25 miles. Couch Potato to 25 miles is scheduled to start at the end of July 2009 and will utilize many of the beautiful sections of Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail and select roadways in the Niskayuna and Schenectady areas.

Flanders also offers one-on-one bicycle coaching. During each session, she rides with her individual student, teaching him or her how to navigate roads safely and effectively on a bike.

In addition to teaching bicycle safety classes, Flanders is a holistic health counselor.

“Riding your bike safely is a great way to improve your health, raise your self esteem, and have a great time,” she said

For information and to register for programs, visit: .


July 1, 2009

Jackson, 50th, Put Albany “Motown” Band in High Demand

Filed under: Events,Features — duncan @ 8:00 am

For Immediate Release
Contact: Dave Flood 518-462-1617


Solid Smoke Gears Up To Record Original “Motown” Record

ALBANY, N.Y. (07-01-09) — The recent death of Michael Jackson is fueling more demand for local “Motown” band, Solid Smoke.

“This year is the 50th anniversary of Motown Records, so we’re already very busy,” said Dave Flood, manager of Solid Smoke. “With the passing of Michael Jackson, we’re getting even more calls. People love that Motown sound and they want to hear it now more than ever. Everybody loves to dance.”

Founded 11 years ago by the late Larry Lewis, Solid Smoke is a four-piece Motown-style band, featuring: Decky Lawson, 34, on vocals; Mike Wooten, 51, on the guitar and synthesizer; Myron Thomas, 55, on the drums; and James Scott, 41, on bass guitar and vocals.

“I grew up listening to that Motown stuff,” said Scott. “I also grew up singing Gospel.”

Scott, who directs the Gospel choir at Albany’s Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, says Gospel music and Motown have a lot in common. Musically, Motown blends R&B with pop styles. But Motown can also draw from the vocal stylings of Gospel.

For now, Solid Smoke plays crowd-pleasing songs by Motown artists like James Brown, The Temptations, and Earth, Wind & Fire. But the band plans to record an album of original music by the end of this year.

“It will have the Motown feel. It will have a blues feel. It will also have a gospel feeling,” Scott said of the band’s planned upcoming

Flood, who has managed the band for the last 11 years, has high hopes for the upcoming album and is already making plans with a local music
venue for the album release party.

“Many great musicians have played in this band,” Flood said. “This is the most gifted group of musicians so far. You’ve gotta go to New York to find musicians this good.”


July 16, Pittsfield, “3rd Thursdays”, 5 p.m.
July 19, Scotia, Freedom Park, 7 p.m.
July 25, Amsterdam, Riverlink Park, 7 p.m.
Aug. 3,10,17,24,29,31, Saratoga Springs, The Parting Glass, 9:30 p.m.

For information, call Dave Flood at 518-462-1617
or visit:

Click Here for High Resolution Photo of Solid Smoke.