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Comstock's Talks is a product of Comstock's magazine, the premier business publication for California's Capital Region. Our podcast features local leaders from varying perspectives brought together to offer unique insight into local issues and provide tangible action items for listeners who want to have an impact on their community.
 
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When Pulitzer prize-winning author William Kennedy put his five-year-old son Brendan to bed one night many years ago, he made up a story about a boy whose belly button was stolen. The improvised bedtime story went on to become a published children's book in 1986, co-written with his then-teenaged son. Almost 40 years later, the pair is hoping their…
 
During a week that saw rising COVID-19 positivity, escalating tension between police and social justice activists in Saratoga Springs, and continued political fallout from a potentially illegal leak in the state's ethics oversight commission, a little levity came from news of the return of an annual naked stroll through Howe Caverns. Also on this e…
 
In the two decades since the September 11, 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, annual memorials have been an opportunity for many to reflect and heal. For others, they are a constant reminder of shock and loss that remains as fresh as it was 20 years ago. On this episode of The Eagle, Times Union columnist Paul Grondahl recounts his exper…
 
TV news anchor and reporter Paulina Bucka left Newschannel 13 this year after just four months on the job. On this episode of The Eagle, she talks to Kristi Gustafson Barlette about why she left the station, why she thinks so many of her fellow local broadcast journalists are leaving the industry, and why she’s starting a new podcast. Also on this …
 
This week the Capital Region saw a tropical storm, the installation of New York's first woman as governor, the tragic drowning of a state trooper, and a call for the attorney general to investigate an alleged leak of confidential information from the state's ethics oversight commission. But none of these headlines came close to the traffic the Time…
 
Should kids be forced to wear face coverings at school this fall? As COVID-10 cases increase across the state, most schools will implement a universal mask policy – but some parents strongly oppose mask mandates. On this episode of "The Eagle," Times Union Editor-in-Chief Casey Seiler and Managing Editor Susan Mehalick discuss the week's top headli…
 
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has submitted his resignation. What comes next? Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo Democrat, will become the first female governor in New York's history. But she inherits a state still reeling from the scandal surrounding her predecessor, and facing rising delta variant positivity. On this episode of "The Eagle," Times Union Edit…
 
One of the women who has accused embattled New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of sexual harassment is a current staffer named Brittany Commisso. Referred to as "Executive Assistant #1" in State Attorney General Tish James' scathing report released last week, Commisso alleges the governor groped her at the Executive Mansion in November. She has come forw…
 
Embattled New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo faces a hailstorm of troubles this week—including growing calls for his resignation—after New York State Attorney General Letitia James released a scathing report that determined he sexually harassed 11 women, and broke several state and federal laws. On this episode of The Eagle, Times Union Editor-in-Chief …
 
Is there a cache worth millions ensconced somewhere in the Hudson Valley? Treasure hunters have long believed the early-20th century New York gangster Dutch Schultz hinted at hidden money and gold during delirious ramblings to police on his deathbed. Nothing has ever been unearthed, yet the area in and around Phoenicia, New York, remains a destinat…
 
From Secretariat and American Pharoah and Tiz the Law and Bodacious Tatas, what goes into naming a thoroughbred racehorse? And what are the rules? On this episode of The Eagle, Times Union sports reporter Abigail Rubel explains common strategies and naming conventions, and what's not allowed by The Jockey Club. Also on this episode, education repor…
 
What happens to used cooking oil after restaurants have finished with it? A criminal syndicate has developed a sophisticated scheme to steal the grease from Capital Region eateries and sell it on the black market. On this episode of The Eagle, reporter Pete DeMola talks about his investigation into the claims of a Buffalo-based oil recycling outfit…
 
A federal judge sentenced Allison Mack to three years in prison this week for her role supplying sex "slaves" to NXIVM leader Keith Raniere. Times Union reporter Rob Gavin and Eagle host Jessica Marshall traveled to Brooklyn for the hearing, where one of Mack's victims compared her to Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged enabler of late sexual predator J…
 
Former television actress and high-ranking NXIVM member Allison Mack awaits her sentence June 30 for crimes involving Keith Raniere’s cult-like organization. On this episode of The Eagle, reporter Rob Gavin talks to Tabby Chapman, a former NXIVM coach who worked closely with Mack for a time. Chapman shares her thoughts about the sentencing and expe…
 
As the country prepared this month to celebrate Juneteenth National Independence Day, Collectiveffort's Jamel Mosely spent time getting to know Alice Green, Barbara Smith and Earl Thorpe, three trailblazing Black elders in the Capital Region. His filmed interviews became part of Hearst's Lift Every Voice project, which shared stories, experiences a…
 
Nearly a third of the population of the city of Albany is Black. The vast majority of those residents live in only three neighborhoods: West Hill, Arbor Hill and the South End. These neighborhoods have the city’s highest poverty rates and lowest percentages of homeownership. On this episode of The Eagle, reporters Massarah Mikati and Eduardo Medina…
 
What's it like inside one of those massive Amazon fulfillment centers? Times Union reporter Rick Karlin paid a rare visit to the first upstate New York facility of its kind in Schodack this week. On this episode of The Eagle, he tells of a "warehouse on steroids," where hydrogen-powered forklifts, box-building robots and high-tech COVID-19 protocol…
 
Milton resident and adoptee Cindy Dort has spent half her life searching for biological family. But it has not resulted in the happy ending you'd see on TV shows like TLC's "Long Lost Family." Instead, hers is a rare case marked by twists, turns, dead ends, uncertainty and tragedy. On this episode of The Eagle: A Times Union Podcast, reporter Leigh…
 
Technology tends to be associated with things like computers, algorithms and machines, but the world of technology and innovation has long embraced a concern for other humans. And it’s not just a matter of altruism or having a heart: Empathy is innovation’s secret sauce. Written by Jeff Wilser Produced by Robin Epley Read the story here: https://ww…
 
The now-convicted NXIVM ringleader Keith Raniere is in federal prison, most likely for the rest of his life. High-ranking members of his inner circle still await sentence hearing dates. And a small faction of former members remain loyal to Raniere as he attempts to clear his name on appeal. The ongoing NXIVM saga is the focus of former VICE senior …
 
Who gets to make what food? When does cooking cross the line from culinary appreciation to appropriation of another culture's cuisine? On this episode of The Eagle, a diverse panel of chefs, restaurateurs and culture observers discuss this contentious issue, and how it affects the Capital Region food scene. Also on this episode, reporter Shrishti M…
 
Stakeholders in the Sierra Nevada are confronting the lasting legacy of the gold rush. Written, hosted and produced by Sena Christian. Audio engineering by Phillip Baldwin. “The Days of ‘49” is by Logan English and Billy Faier, courtesy of Smithsonian Folkway Recordings. “The Gold Rush is Over” is by Smokey Hormel, courtesy of Free Music Archive. (…
 
What if Cain were on trial in a modern-day courtroom for the murder of his brother, Abel? Rabbi Dan Ornstein explores this biblical scenario and its implications in a new novel "Cain v. Abel: A Jewish Courtroom Drama." On this episode of The Eagle: A Times Union Podcast, we talk to the Albany-based Jewish leader and author about his book, and his t…
 
This episode contains explicit language and descriptions of events that may be upsetting to listeners. Please listen with care. It began with a clash in Albany's South End between civil rights protesters and police that resulted in damage to a police station, the use of pepper spray and injury to a protester. At midweek, the conviction of ex-Minnea…
 
This episode contains graphic depictions of events and explicit language. Please listen with care. When folks at the Capital City Rescue Mission in Albany were told they had a few dozen coronavirus vaccines at their disposal to use for their homeless clients, it was a race against time to get as many shots in arms as possible before the doses expir…
 
This episode contains graphic depictions of alleged sexual assault. Please take care while listening. The woman at the center of the most serious allegation of sexual misconduct against Gov. Andrew Cuomo told her story this week to Times Union Capitol Bureau Managing Editor Brendan Lyons. She says she now sees the experience as an escalating sequen…
 
Q: A new hire started today. He says he scheduled a trip before applying for the new job. He says he has all his reservations and has paid, so he will be taking the trip. He will finish the onboarding process and then go on the trip. What can I do? Written by Suzanne Lucas. Produced by Shoka. Audio engineering by Phillip Baldwin. This Evil HR Lady …
 
When Albany activist Kat Sullivan heard a satirical sea shanty about the ship that recently clogged the Suez Canal, she was inspired to try her hand at the trending musical genre. On a rainy Sunday morning, she set to work composing and filming her own shanty detailing the fallout from a whistleblower's complaint of potential safety hazards in the …
 
Activism in the Asian American Pacific Islander communities of the Capital Region gained a new sense of urgency this week in the aftermath of the Atlanta shootings that left eight dead, including six women of Asian descent. A rally in Albany brought out hundreds, some of whom had been empowered to use their voices for the first time to speak out ag…
 
When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces its annual Academy Award nominations each year, everyone in the Times Union newsroom and beyond turns immediately to features writer and movie buff C.J. Lais for his estimation of the nominees, and his educated prediction of the winners. On this episode of The Eagle, we'll hear his hot …
 
Exactly one year ago this week, the coronavirus pandemic changed the Capital Region as we knew it. Schools closed, events canceled, and businesses shuttered. People were told to stay home and social distance. The Times Union newsroom went virtual. Today, the region has endured immeasurable loss, with more than 1,000 dead from COVID-19. Yet as vacci…
 
Q: I’ve been working in a key position at my company for 20 years. When a management position opened for which I am highly qualified, I applied and, frankly, expected to land the promotion. My company instead promoted a male colleague who has similar experience but has only been with the company for 10 years. Do I have any recourse?​ Written by Suz…
 
Comstock’s magazine invited three of our 2021 Women in Leadership honorees to join us for a discussion on the ways women are shaping the future of the Capital Region. Listen in on our conversation with Betty Yee, California state controller; Cassie Gilson, president and managing partner of Axiom Advisors; and Elizabeth-Rose Mandalou, advanced somme…
 
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the allegations of sexual harassment leveled against him by three women during a press conference this week in Albany, offering an apology into the camera and admitting he was embarrassed by the circumstances in which he finds himself. A little less than a year ago, Cuomo's tough pandemic response sent his a…
 
Last week marked the 76th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Iwo Jima — a brutal, bloody fight that effectively ended the war in the Pacific in 1945. A small group of Capital Region veterans would've typically gathered to mark this anniversary at a café in Altamont, where they’d swap stories. This year the dwindling group, now in their mid-9…
 
Q: When is it too late to change careers? I’m 40 and hate my job. But with almost 20 years invested in my field, I really don’t want to start over with an entry-level position in a new area. How possible is it to switch careers without taking a massive pay cut?​ Written by Suzanne Lucas Produced by Shoka Audio engineering by Phillip Baldwin Read mo…
 
Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration is in hot water as an FBI investigation launches into its handling of nursing homes and long-term care facilities in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic. Times Union Capitol Bureau Managing Editor Brendan Lyons broke the story of the investigation this week, and reporters Amanda Fries and Ed McKinley have be…
 
After 15 years as a Major League Baseball player for five teams, Greg Vaughn now focuses on Vaughn’s Valley Foundation. This profile is part of The Next Chapter, in which we check in with Capital Region professionals who moved into new pursuits or retirement after successful careers. Written by Tom Couzens Read and produced by Robin Epley Read more…
 
Roger Valine helped transform VSP from a small local company to an international operation by 2006 when he decided to retire. This profile is part of The Next Chapter, in which we check in with Capital Region professionals who moved into new pursuits or retirement after successful careers. Written by Graham Womack Read and produced by Robin Epley R…
 
Michele McCormick sold her public relations company and became a model, actor and photographer who specializes in travel and nature photography. This profile is part of The Next Chapter, in which we check in with Capital Region professionals who moved into new pursuits or retirement after successful careers. Written by Shoka Read and produced by Ro…
 
In December 2019, a few months before the fastest drop in global stock markets in financial history, Mark Otero launched Alice Capital, a hedge fund designed to bypass emotion. This profile is part of The Next Chapter, in which we check in with Capital Region professionals who moved into new pursuits or retirement after successful careers. Written …
 
While Chinese communities in the Capital Region and around the world are welcoming the year of the Ox this week, the pandemic has complicated many elements of traditional Lunar New Year celebrations. Unable to travel to see family or host large gatherings, many say they are still celebrating on a smaller scale and staying home. On this episode of t…
 
Pam Marrone, who retired as CEO of Marrone Bio Innovations in 2020, didn’t take a break; she still works 10-12 hour days. This profile is part of The Next Chapter, in which we check in with Capital Region professionals who moved into new pursuits or retirement after successful careers. Written by Jennifer Junghans Read and produced by Robin Epley R…
 
Carl Landau had spent 37 years in publishing and event organizing when he decided to launch Pickleball Media last year. This profile is part of The Next Chapter, in which we check in with Capital Region professionals who moved into new pursuits or retirement after successful careers. Written by Sena Christian Read and produced by Robin Epley Read m…
 
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