Kelly de la rocha

LAZ Parking attendent Jeff Martin feeds pidgeons and sparrows on the morning of Monday, Aug. 24, at the Center City parking lot on Liberty Street. (Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer)

Bird whisperer draws pigeons to parking lot

BY KELLY DE LA ROCHA Gazette Reporter SCHENECTADY — As the sky brightened Monday morning, the birds began to gather, their silhouettes softening the apex of a steeply pitched slate roof. Eyes on the glass-and-metal booth at the edge of…


Kelly de la Rocha kayaks up the Alplaus Kill. (Photo provided)

Kayaking the Mohawk provides multiple rewards

BY KELLY DE LA ROCHA Gazette Reporter NISKAYUNA — Finally, after years of wishing, I have a kayak. Two of them, actually — a great Craigslist find. The pair came with everything except a list of where to use them….


Nine children gathered at the Central Park greenhouse Wednesday for the Little Diggers Gardening Program, run by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schenectady County. Wednesday was the final day of the six-week program, which has been held at the greenhouse the past five springs.

Kids love Schenectady garden classrooms

BY KELLY DE LA ROCHA Gazette Reporter SCHENECTADY — Beneath a canopy behind the Central Park greenhouse Wednesday, nine little children turned clementine crates full of soil into fairy gardens. Intent on their work, tiny hands carefully planted maple saplings,…


Gina Mantova stands in the olive grove in Italy. (Photo provided)

Sisters show diners the ‘Appian Way’

Family olive grove in Italy provides a key ingredient for restaurant in Schenectady BY KELLY DE LA ROCHA Gazette Reporter SCHENECTADY — When Gina Mantova says everything at The Appian Way restaurant is made from scratch, she’s not kidding. She…


Geoff Heller of Boys Scouts of America, Troop 357, places American Legion, DAV, & VFW poppies and forget me nots on veteran's graves during the Vale Cemetery Memorial Day Services on Monday May 25, 2015. (Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer)

Scouting looking to restore its appeal

Officials push family aspect, fresh activities BY KELLY DE LA ROCHA Gazette Reporter CAPITAL REGION — As summer, the season synonymous with Scout camp, draws near, membership in both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts is down. Citing competition from other…


Johnny LaVigne (left), son LJ, 10, and Maia, 12, enjoy an afternoon in their Del Gallo pool in Clifton Park May 31, 2015. (Erica Miller/Gazette Photographer)

Pool installers see business grow

BY KELLY DE LA ROCHA Gazette Reporter CAPITAL REGION — The number of local swimming pool installations has been on the decline since 2012, but installers say the 2015 season is starting out swimmingly. “This is our best year in…




Victoria Burr assists Tech Valley High School students inside an International Space Station replica at the new Challenger Learning Center at the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) in Schenectady on Thursday, May 14, 2015. (Patrick Dodson/Gazette Photographer)

MiSci launches Challenger Learning Center

BY KELLY DE LA ROCHA Gazette Reporter SCHENECTADY — A siren blared, a red light flashed and all heads snapped to attention. “Looks like we have an emergency,” mission commander Victoria Burr told the young astronauts in the space station….


Habitat for Humanity homes located at Van Vranken Avenue and Salina Street in Schenectady sat vacant for several months because of outstanding tax liens the group was unaware of when it began construction. (Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer)

Habitat faces new hurdle in Schenectady

With tax-lien problem resolved, agency losing executive director BY KELLY DE LA ROCHA Gazette Reporter SCHENECTADY — The final tax lien delaying the sale of two Northside Habitat for Humanity homes has been resolved, according to Habitat for Humanity of…


Brian Chesky (Photo provided)

Two local natives make Time’s ‘influential’ list

Doctor, tech innovator named ‘Pioneers’ BY KELLY DE LA ROCHA Gazette Reporter CAPITAL REGION — Two former Capital Region residents have made Time’s list of 100 most influential people. Tom Catena, a physician raised in Montgomery County, and former Niskayuna…