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Dania Bianchi

Stories by Dania

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Fighting words

Skidmore students stage play based on collected war letters

In a time of instant communication, distant human interaction is often accomplished by way of tweets or texts. The act of using a pen and paper is rare these days, still nothing captures a moment like a personal letter, especially a war letter.

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From STEM to stage

Tech Valley High students are the driving force behind the staging of ‘Mulan’

When most people think about Tech Valley High School, they think about students studying science, technology, engineering and math. While this is true, it’s not just STEM learning that is going on at the TVHS campus in Rensselaer.

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Local flavor

Taste of Ballston Spa is a palate-pleaser and a major fundraiser for school foundation

When school budgets aren’t enough, the key to filling the gap is apparently through the stomach.

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A musical journey

Danú tells the stories of Ireland through traditional and contemporary song

Though many folks may choose to celebrate their Irish roots with beer and corned beef at a local pub on St. Patrick’s Day, authentic Irishness can be found in a different place this year.

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Expo is out of this world

Free event at Empire State Plaza features cool costumed characters, live shows, vendors and more

The Blums are the typical American family ... two kids, jobs and a house in Upstate New York. That is, until the weekend comes and the family transforms into the bad guys from “Star Wars.”

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A midwinter’s garden

New York in Bloom gives museum displays a floral touch

Gazing into one of David Michael Schmidt’s floral displays is like stepping into another world, one of fantasy and surrealism, and Schmidt doesn’t hold back when he adds his lavish storytelling display to the New York State Museum’s annual flower show.

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Time for tea

The Victorian era sets the scene for living history presentation

Sue McLane was born in a time of poodle skirts, bobby socks and beehive hairdos, but one look at her and you would think she just stepped off the Titanic.

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Raising the bar

The Roaring ’20s sets the scene at the 17th annual Bartenders’ Ball, which this year will benefit the domestic violence shelter

Similar to today, the 1920s were a time of dramatic social change. Technological progress brought about a rapid shift in lifestyle, with perhaps the most iconic of its time being the flappers. The Roaring ’20s era of jazz, hats and canes was no stranger to the Capital District, and one group is bringing that era back for one night — flappers and all.

The write stuff

Visiting Writers Series lets authors and their audiences mingle

A local blogger has just reported a serial killer is on the loose in the city of Albany. The first two victims were local young women without any apparent connection, and the third is a Broadway actress known as “The Red Queen.”

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The wings of winter

Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center event highlights birds that don’t fly south when the weather gets cold

While many people think most, if not all birds fly south for the winter, all you have to do is take a look out the window and see that quite a few feathered friends have hung around the Capital District through the snow and bitter cold.

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A spirited soiree

In its fifth year, Wine & Dine for the Arts supports the arts one culinary masterpiece at a time

It is a no secret that New York City, Montreal and Boston all have their share of famous restaurants, theaters and entertainment hotspots, but what some people don’t realize is that those same very things can be found right here in our own backyard.

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Ice dreams

Disney celebrates 100 years with skating extravaganza at Times Union Center

According to Walt Disney, anything is possible if you just believe, and that may not be far from the truth as one of the stars from Disney on Ice’s latest show to hit the Times Union Center explains.

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Home for the holidays

Holiday traditions may have been a little different in the late 1700s when the iconic Ten Broeck Mansion was built atop an Albany hill, but more than 200 years later, the historic home continues to welcome visitors for the holidays.

A model holiday

Train exhibit at miSci an intergenerational favorite

Trains and the holidays go together like peanut butter and jelly. There is just something about the sound of a train chugging around the base of an evergreen that brings people back to a simpler time.

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It’s a small world

Nano Family Fun Day exposes young minds to tiny technology that has a big impact

Explaining the concept of nanotechnology can be a complex and potentially boring lesson for a group of elementary-aged kids.

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A mermaid's tale

V’ville middle schoolers’ latest production is a team effort

Auditions for this year’s middle school production of “The Little Mermaid Jr.” began in early September when 60 students showed up to sing and read lines. By the end of the audition, 60 students remained.

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Home of the brave

Maple Ski Ridge’s Fall Festival supports oncology camp for women

The purpose of any support group is for people who are in the same situation to get together and share their coping strategies in an effort to not feel alone. One cancer support group is taking it a step further and changing lives in the process.

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Festival’s secret ingredient is community

Agudat Achim’s carrot festival has grown to an annual rite of fall

In Niskayuna, an orange vegetable marks the beginning of the fall season, and it’s not the pumpkin.

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Learning a lifelong adventure at Bethlehem HILL

Institute dedicated to providing college-level courses celebrates 20th anniversary

The Humanities Institute for Lifelong Learning, or HILL, in Delmar, was founded in 1993 to enhance lifelong learning opportunities for the adult community in the Capital District.

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Up, up and away

40th Adirondack Balloon Festival has something for everyone

The Adirondack Balloon Festival began in 1972 in an effort to bring tourists to the area after Labor Day.

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All hands on deck

Tugboat Roundup draws tens of thousands for a celebration of Erie Canal

This coming weekend, one by one, dozens of tugboats will parade 12 miles from the Port of Albany down the Hudson River before coming to a stop in Waterford to find their docking spots in the 14th annual Tugboat Roundup.

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Let the games begin

Caber tossing, pipes and culture on tap at Scottish Games

The hills of Altamont will come alive with the sounds of bagpipes on Saturday when The Scottish Games, a two-day festival and celebration of all things Scottish, begins.

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A rodeo way of life

On summer weekends, the Double M in Ballston Spa feels a lot like the Wild West

Step through the gates at the Double M Rodeo in Ballston Spa on any Friday or Saturday evening in July and August and you will feel like you stepped into the Wild West.

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Let Freedom (Park) ring

Long running free concert series remains hot spot for family summer entertainment

What began as a dumping ground for cement and construction materials along the Mohawk River, Freedom Park was transformed into an amphitheater for a festival when Schenectady County was selected as one of 32 statewide locations to host the Bicentennial Barge for four days in July of 1976.

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Trail days become nights

Second Fairy Tales and Fireflies event highlights Rail Trail

Summer has begun in the Capital District, and The Mohawk-Hudson Land Conservancy is ready to make it official with its second Fairy Tales and Fireflies event on Thursday, June 20.

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This city wants you!

Uncle Sam heritage to be celebrated in Troy on Saturday

Though he wasn’t widely recognized until long after his death, a well-known meat packer from the City of Troy is the pride and joy of Trojans today.

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Fun Run with a serious goal

Race geared towards kids raises money for local pediatric care

As a Saratoga Springs business owner, Ames felt she had a tool to help give back to the community, and in 2008 put together the first Cantina Kids Fun Run, a run designed from start to finish with kids in mind.

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Chalk it up to Albany

Central Avenue BID, Equinox hold sidewalk art contest to coincide with Tulip Fest

Each spring, thousands of tulips take over downtown Albany. The appearance of the flowers mark the beginning of spring in the city and have a way of bringing a feeling of renewal to Albany each year.

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The Greatest Show on Earth

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus speaks to the child in every seat

Not many kids plan to run a circus when they grow up - and it’s not exactly what Johnathan Lee Iverson had in mind either as a kid growing up in New York City.

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A festival for the senses

Cathedral of All Saints to present 'Vin de Choir: A Night of Song and Wine'

On Friday, April 19, from 6 to 8 p.m., The Friends of the Choir will hold a wine tasting event at the The Cathedral of All Saints

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Quarter-century for Delmar Dash

Race that turns 25 this year started as weekly running group

The Delmar Dash will run for the 25th time on Sunday, April 14, at 9 a.m., kicking off at Bethlehem Central Middle School. Event organizers are planning to recognize the founders of the Delmar Dash.

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Art in the unusual

‘Some Assembly Required’ features multi-media collages from 16 artists

The latest exhibit displayed at the Albany International Airport Gallery, “Some Assembly Required,” shows a variety of ways contemporary artists interpret the process of collage by combining different media.

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The suds are just the start

More than just beer on tap at second Night at the Brewseum.

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Café gets touch of the Irish

St. Patrick’s Day the theme for family-friendly Café Malta performances

Elyse Young is once again bringing cafe-style entertainment to Malta, but this time it has a touch of the Irish.

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Story emerges from cocoon

Guilderland student publishes children’s book on Karner Blue

The Pine Bush Saturday, March 9, will celebrate the release of Natasha Permaul’s book about the life cycle of a Karner Blue butterfly. The children’s book started as a seventh-grade science project.

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May the best mac win

Mac-n-Cheese Bowl to benefit appetites, food bank

One of America’s favorite comfort foods will take over the Albany Marriott ballroom on Saturday for the fourth annual Mac-n-Cheese Bowl.

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Stepping it up

Black History Month Step Show a big regional draw

Step, a cross between competitive cheerleading and African dance, will explode at the Palace Theatre for the ninth year running on Feb. 8.

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This role is no garden

Schenectady Light Opera stages ‘Little Shop of Horrors’

When Austin Lieber, 17, auditioned for a role in the “Little Shop of Horrors” production at the Schenectady Light Opera House, he didn’t imagine himself crouched up inside a 4-by-4 foot prop playing the part of a man-eating plant.

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Festive greenery

Tree festivals are cropping up all over the Capital District.