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Archives for November 4, 2014

Garden Views: Tips for growing onions

By Mary Heie
Contributing Writer

It’s garden clean up time and that includes harvesting and drying onions before storing. My crop this year did not meet my expectations regarding the size of the bulbs. Most of them are small: almost shallot sized of a couple of inches or less in diameter. This led me to think about onions and analyze what happened this year.

There are several kinds of onions. One kind, a perennial, is known as Egyptian “walking” onions. Sometimes they are referred to as “winter” onions. They develop little bulblets at the top of the stems. When the tops get too heavy, they fall to the ground and the little bulbs form roots wherever they land. These onions are grown for their stems as green onions. They can be planted any time, including in the fall. Other onions are biennials – they grow from seeds one year and finish their life cycle the following year. But these are not winter hardy in Minnesota. There are ways to plant onion seeds indoors in the winter and have onion plants to set out in the spring. However, it is easiest for most home gardeners to purchase onion sets (small onions without tops) or onion plants for planting in the spring. I had planted onion sets.

All onions need full sun (up to 14 hours) for the best success. That was the first problem. My garden is small and I try to plant as much as possible in it. I had planted the onions on the north side of the row of beans and tomatoes. Of course, eventually the onions received too much shade as the other plants grew. What was I thinking? Onions are shallow-rooted and require constant and consistent moisture for growth. In the early summer there was too much moisture and probably not enough later in the season. Although soaker hoses follow the rows in the garden, I suspect that there was competition with other vegetables for the water. The vegetable garden was weeded frequently and mulched with grass clippings. That’s a plus for onions as they do not grow well with weeds.

Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients that onions require. Too much rain or irrigation can leach available nitrogen from the soil.  Phosphorus and Potassium are also needed. I had worked some garden fertilizer (a standard 10-10-10) into the soil before planting, but was lax on any other applications. My onions were probably starving for food.

Harvest onions when the tops are about half dried out and falling over. Dig them up carefully so the bulb is not damaged. They need to be allowed to cure by drying. Spread them out on some newspapers or in a shallow box for a few days.  After they are dry, the tops can be cut off.  If the tops are long enough, they can be braided. Store the onions in a cool, dry place.   Don’t peel off the dried skins until you are ready to use them. I decided that not all is lost: this year my onions are the perfect size to be used whole in roasted vegetable recipes and stews!

The Anoka County Master Gardeners invite you to visit our Hot Topics section for a variety of interesting articles and links Visit these links for more information on growing onions:

Mary Heie is an Anoka County Master Gardener.

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Design Firms OMA and OLIN Collaborate on a Garden Bridge in Washington, DC

For generations Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia River has been a dividing line between Capitol Hill—a burgeoning neighborhood where new residents are flocking to historic row houses and new condos—and the Anacostia neighborhood—where sluggish economic growth has left empty storefronts and rising poverty.

Now design firm OMA, founded by Rem Koolhaas, has partnered with the landscape architects at Philadelphia- and Los Angeles–based firm OLIN on a winning elevated-garden and bridge design that aims to bring the divided community together.

“A kind of connectivity is really vital in both directions,” says OMA designer Jason Long. “We’re always interested in using buildings as a social catalyst.”

In a government-funded competition for 11th Street Bridge Park, OMA’s X-shaped structure was chosen over three other finalists in a decision made not only by the city but by community residents. The park, projected to open in 2018, will be situated on an aged-out freeway bridge built in the 1960s. The piers, or structural supports of the bridge, remain strong, and the designers have been tasked with constructing a new deck that will include performance spaces and cafes. In OMA’s plan, a green space where the two walkways intersect will encourage residents from each side to gather in the center. Large gardens will be created on the Capitol Hill side, where plant life is slim, and a café and play space will be installed on the Anacostia side, next to the preexisting Anacostia Park.

“We wanted the bridge to have a civic importance,” Long says. “It holds its own against very monumental elements within D.C.—but at the same time it’s very approachable. It’s meant for people.”


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Movers & Shakers (Nov. 3)

Officers Directors

The Kiwanis Club of Corvallis recently installed officers for the 2014-15 year.

Installed as president was Barbara Malloy, director of the Presbyterian Preschool and Child Care Center. Other officers are president-elect Michael Lee of Home Life; vice president Jennifer Roberts, executive director of Regent Court; secretary Megan Cadwell, operations officer of Citizens Bank; treasurer Gerard Groesz, manager of FirstAmerican Title; and past president Brad Teel of Teel Travel Planners.

Board members elected are Dave Anderson, retired from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; Jack Peters of Oregon State University; Brian Robertson, owner of Willamette Investment Advisors; Andrew Myrtue, owner of Bullfrog Landscape; Peggy Obrist, vice president and branch manager of Citizens Bank; Irma Sargent, retired from the Oregon State University Extension Service; Ryan Hanson, financial advisor for Edward Jones; and Sandra Thiesen of Benton Habitat for Humanity.


The Marys River Watershed Council recently welcomed new director Joseph Kemper, representing the OSU Hydrophiles.

Members re-elected directors Jennifer Beathe, May Dasch, Mark Taratoot and Thom Whittier. Drew Bennett and Dave Schmedding stepped down this year. Incoming officers are Meleah Ashford, chair; David Zielinski, chair-elect; Mark Taratoot, treasurer; and Jennifer Beathe, secretary. The council’s mission is to inspire and support voluntary watershed stewardship, supporting fish and wildlife habitat and water quality.

People on the Move

Keller Williams Realty Mid-Willamette has announced the addition of Mason Hendrickson to its team.

Hendrickson was born and raised in Corvallis, and has a background in maintenance and landscaping. He is working out of the Corvallis office, but will serve the entire Willamette Valley. He can be reached at 541-231-0437 or


Central Willamette Community Credit Union recently announced that Nikki Warner has been hired as chief administrative officer.

Warner has background in banking and finance, and most recently was a client development manager for one of the largest providers of insurance, lending and marketing products for financial institutions in the country. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Linfield College.


Bill Smelser, a 1980 Corvallis High School graduate, has been promoted to assistant general manager of the Courtyard Atlanta Gwinnett Mall, effective Nov. 12.

Smelser recently celebrated his 17th anniversary with Marriott, in a career which included stops in San Diego, Detroit, Cleveland and Orlando. He has spent seven years in Atlanta, the last three as operations manager of the Courtyard Atlanta Perimeter Center. He also is a U.S. Navy (Gulf War 1) veteran and a 2001 graduate of Kent State University.


The five hospitals affiliated with Samaritan Health Services recently awarded a total of $208,605 in social accountability grants to 33 service organizations, to be distributed over the next 12 months.

Social accountability grants are awarded within Benton, Linn and Lincoln counties. Funding decisions are made by committees consisting of employees and board members at each affiliated hospital. Funded programs address unmet needs of underserved populations and are designed to improve overall community health.

The following Benton County agencies received social accountability grants: the Benton County Oral Health Coalition, the Benton County Health Department, the Boys Girls Club of Corvallis, Love INC of Benton County, Strengthening Rural Families, the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence, the Corvallis Drop-In Center, the Corvallis Environmental Center, Friends of Benton County Drug Court, the Parent Enhancement Program, the Old Mill Center for Children and Families, RSVP of Benton County and Vina Moses Center.

Take a Bow

James Coakley, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Oregon State University who conducts research at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, recently received a Distinguished Public Service Medal from NASA.

The medal is NASA’s highest form of recognition, awarded to nongovernment individuals whose distinguished service, ability or vision has contributed to NASA’s advancement of the United States’ interests.

Coakley earned his medal for visionary service in atmospheric sciences research. He is recognized worldwide for his research, which has advanced the understanding of the role of aerosols, clouds and radiation in Earth’s climate system.

Medal recipients were honored in a ceremony on Aug. 14 at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.


The Oregon Business Education Association named Linn-Benton Community College business faculty member Nancy Noe as Postsecondary Teacher of the Year on Oct. 10 at its annual conference.

Noe, of Albany, began her teaching career at LBCC in 2000, teaching office management and computer classes, and serving as chair of the Business Technology Department, as lead advisor for the Legal Administrative Assistant program and Administrative Office Professional program, and as Business Technology representative for LBCC’s high school College Now program.

Noe also is lead chair of the Administrative Office Professional Statewide Consortium. Previously, she served as advisor for the Future Business Leaders of America at Harrisburg High School and Sweet Home High School, and was an adjunct professor at Capella University.

Noe earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration, finance and law at Portland State University, and a master’s degree in business education from Oregon State University.

Training Development

Interior designer Mary Turney of Henderer Design Build in Corvallis has completed Certified Aging In Place Specialist training.

A Certified Aging in Place Specialist is someone who understands the aging-in-place home remodeling market, and the technology, tools and resources available for seniors to age in place. Individuals with the CAPS designation are trained in the needs of the aging population, common remodeling projects, and expenditures and product ideas and resources.

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Looking for an idea or two? Or maybe 151?

17. Children’s bandages that play a funny song to help relieve pain and fear.

Why not? That’s one of the 151 ideas in Russ Riendeau’s new e-book, “151 Ideas That Will Change The World.” It’s a book worth reading, especially since it’s free at

There are things to know about Riendeau:

• He’s a highly successful entrepreneur whose East Wing Group Inc., a Barrington executive search firm, celebrates its 30th anniversary next year.

• Although he spends his working hours “in the war room doing the traditional executive search stuff,” after hours Riendeau lets his creative energies loose.

He writes business books, most conceptually closer to “151 Ideas” than to anything on an MBA reading list. He’s an accomplished musician who writes and records his own music — and whose resulting CDs have become more effective leave-behinds than a business card.

He’s a painter — mostly abstracts — and sculptor.

A behavioral scientist, Riendeau is comfortable enough in his own skin to kick back and think, dream and create. Who knows what ideas we might create if we did the same?

64. Solar powered fans that cool car interiors when the car is parked.

77. Holographic imaging systems that create different exterior landscaping.

• As a kid growing up in Rolling Meadows, Riendeau built tree forts — some as tall as three stories, one with a basement.

“People choose to use their time in different ways,” Riendeau says. “I’ve found ways to use little chunks of time. I’ve written my books in 10-minute bursts,” the early texts coming while he was waiting for his kids at swim meets and soccer games.

125. Popsicles, chocolate, ice cream and other appropriate foods that deliver sunscreen chemicals into the skin.

19. Pet doors with paw print recognition for entry.

30. Red wine that doesn’t stain.

2. Self-cleaning/unclogging gutters and downspouts.

“I wanted to do something outside the everyday book, something short and free that I could give away,” Riendeau says of “151 Ideas.”

“I wanted to really challenge the way we look at ideas and problem solving. I sat down on my porch this summer and said, ‘I’m not leaving this chair until I write 100 ideas.’

“I was stumped at 20.” Like any good entrepreneur who runs into a roadblock, Riendeau looked at the challenge differently. “I broke things into categories,” Riendeau says, and went from there.

67. Bicycle radar alerts, beams that signal (the biker’s presence) to oncoming cars.

38. Self-tying shoes for seniors.

83. Teflon roof shingles for high snow areas.

Riendeau hopes the rest of us “will come up with a creative solution to a problem.” Use (the) book, he suggests, “to reset or redesign (a product or service) that has grown dull, tired or outdated.”

Why not? Entrepreneurs tend to solve problems. Here’s one of my ideas: Eyeglasses that self-adjust to the wearer’s changing eyesight. What are you thinking about?

• Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Listen to Jim’s Business Owners’ Pod Talk at © 2014 Kendall Communications Inc.

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At a Bronx Park, Dreams of Greener Landscapes

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Building a better South Florida

On a rainy October Friday, volunteers from LNR Property served chicken nuggets, painted faces and manned an obstacle course for the children who attend ARC Project Thrive. The Harvest Festival was part of a three-year-long relationship between the real estate investment firm and the Kendall early intervention program for young children with intellectual and developmental delays.

A day later, on a sunny Saturday, workers from Swire Properties’ Brickell City Centre, along with other volunteers from Wells Fargo, helped construct a home for a Liberty City family. The Habitat for Humanity house will be completed by the end of the year, after volunteers have done everything from roofing to framing to landscaping. It is the third home sponsored by Brickell City Centre in the past two years. Parent company Swire has done eight, bringing the total to 11.

Next weekend Baptist Health workers and their families will help color in the lines of a mural at the South Miami Aquatic Center and prepare an area for landscaping at a youth center in west Homestead, while in years past accountants at MBAF have landscaped a home and distributed food to the needy in Liberty City. Lawyers and staff from Greenberg Traurig also have bowled with kids from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami and painted a wood fence at the McLamore Children’s Center, an emergency shelter for children who have been abused.

Today, corporations are doing more than writing checks for needy organizations. They’re turning to their employees, asking them to get involved in their community with a little elbow grease. Feeding the homeless. Building houses for the needy. Mentoring at-risk youth. Cleaning dirty beaches. Some projects are completed during work hours, others on weekends, when employee’s families are also included. Across South Florida, efforts to be a good corporate citizen have been steadily increasing.

“You can plot a straight upward line of interest in the six years I’ve been involved,” says Darrill Gaschler, chief operating officer of HandsOn Miami, a group that matches volunteers to nonprofits. “And not only are we seeing more interest but we’re also seeing companies bringing more employees, asking for longer projects and doing it more frequently.”

For those who volunteer through an employer, the reason is obvious.

“People want to see the impact of their contribution,” says Cory Olson, president of LNR, “and it cuts across all the demographics and levels. The work may be more time-consuming than writing a check, but you see the results right there.”

LNR has been working with ARC Project Thrive since 2012, when the investment company asked United Way if it could do more. Since then LNR has created an herb garden, painted playground equipment, added murals to a tricycle trail and landscaped the front of the ARC property. Company volunteers have also worked at Habitat for Humanity house-building Saturdays.

The company’s 300 employees receive an email detailing an upcoming project and can sign up through the human resources department. Olson says there is usually a waiting list.

“Every time we have a program we have to turn people away,” he adds. “Then when we finish a project, they’re asking, ‘When are we going to do it again? Why don’t we do this more often?’ They truly enjoy it.”

Chris Gandolfo, senior vice president of development for Swire Properties, recounts a similar experience. He feels his employees are particularly suited to help Habitat for Humanity, providing both construction and design expertise along with actual labor. “They do it it once and they’re hooked,” he says. “It turns out to be a lot of fun.”

Many volunteer projects chosen by corporations often align with a company’s industry profile — Baptist Health employees, for example, plant new gardens or add to existing ones at West Kendall schools to teach children about proper nutrition. In some partnerships, executives sit on a nonprofit’s board — Swire’s Gandolfo is on Habitat for Humanity’s. Some are arranged marriages that live happily ever after, like LNR and ARC Project Thrive, brokered by United Way. And still others come to fruition from the ground up, suggested by a committed employee.

At the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, Chief Integration Officer Sandy Grossman has organized Christmas Eve parties for Chapman Partnership families. Matt Gorson, the law firm’s co-chairman, launched a drive to sign up employees to serve as mentors for kids through Big Brothers Big Sisters. Every month, 27 young people spend the morning in the office learning about the legal system and the world of work.

“It takes less time to write a check,” Gorson says, “but there’s not the same commitment. When you’re serving on boards, serving on committees, working on projects for an organization, it’s so much more powerful.”

For some companies, volunteering is part of the corporate culture. “Part of our mission is to give back to the community we service,” says Juan C. Gutierrez, director of human resources for MBAF, one of the nation’s Top 40 certified public accounting firms. “It starts from the top and it trickles down. It’s a commitment we feel strongly about.”

Gutierrez notes that younger employees are interested in volunteerism: “They grew up with it going to school and they expect it.”

For the nonprofits, volunteering not only sends needed crews: It produces a valuable byproduct.

“It’s a great way of getting our message and our mission across,” says Alex Rosen, marketing manager for Miami-Dade’s Chapman Partnership, which provides comprehensive services to the homeless. “When volunteers come here, they learn about homelessness and many return to do more. They become donors.”

It’s the old-fashioned way of going viral. Rosen calls the more than 20,000 volunteers who come through the centers “the backbone” of the organization.

Mario Artecona, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami, admits his organization wouldn’t be able to help as many families if not for the companies that work through the Team Build program. “Simply we would have to build less,” he adds. “Team Build is the lifeblood of our ability to help families.”

But businesses also profit from their good deeds beyond the obvious goodwill. Working side by side with colleagues and higher-ups for a charity can build camaraderie. Friendships often form across departments. “When you see the CEO holding the ladder for the receptionist, all titles disappear,” Artecona says. “It’s really a win-win situation.”

Stefanie Lenahan, director of engagement for United Way, which often brokers partnerships between businesses and agencies, says the team-building effort required to work on a volunteer project often carries back over into the office. “It’s a great morale booster,” she says. “And it gives employees networking opportunities and exposure.”

Agency directors say the work provided by the corporate-sponsored volunteers is priceless. At ARC Project Thrive, both money and labor have provided the extra perks that the center would not be able to afford otherwise, from a playground mural to computers.

“They’re a blessing,” says Irma Alvarez Project Thrive’s school director, of the LNR volunteers. “They make such a big difference in our lives.”

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Phoenix’s Homeward Bound opens community garden

Phoenix non-profit Homeward Bound has joined a growing number of groups turning vacant lots into community gardens.

Homeward Bound, a transitional-housing provider for families with children who have suffered from homelessness or domestic violence, held a grand opening Oct. 18.

Children, families and about 20 volunteers moved and watered 10 tons of soil that morning.

“I want to grow strawberries and tomatoes,” said 10-year-old Jillian Yount. She asked while shoveling: “Wait, our food is going to grow in cow poop?”

There are 80 apartments for mothers and their children at Homeward Bound on Colter Street and 23rd Avenue. About 70 homes surround the main facilities and house larger families.

The garden has four plots, which allows 175 square feet of fresh produce.

Volunteers donated time, and businesses, including Home Depot Inc., Whole Foods Market, Sprinkler World and Preach Building Landscaping Supply, provided resources.

Arizona State University’s Institute of Global Sustainability, the University of Arizona’s Cooperative Extension program and Brophy College Preparatory have worked to teach the children and their parents how to set up the garden.

They will grow carrots, strawberries, lettuce, kale and radishes in one plot. They reserved a second for herbs, a third big bed for artichoke and flowers, and the fourth is specifically for educating the youths.

ASU brought in scientists and researchers to host classes so the children can learn about soil and grow beans.

The children will figure out what to plant and when.

The parents also will learn “how to supplement their food budget by growing some of their own fresh produce” said Marsha Johnson-Phillips, lead coordinator and children’s specialist with Homeward Bound.

Johnson-Phillips said the program also will promote nutrition.

“If kids grow it, they will eat it,” she said.

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Capital Region business in brief

Joins department

ALBANY Dr. Kristin Gold has joined Albany Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology as a general obstetrician and gynecologist.

Gold completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Albany Medical Center Hospital, where she was administrative chief resident and received the Excellence in Obstetrics Award. She received her medical degree from Albany Medical College in 2010.

An Albany resident, she is a member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Gold sees patients of all ages for general obstetrics and gynecologic needs at Albany Med’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at 16 New Scotland Ave., Albany.

Garden built

MECHANICVILLE For the fifth year in a row, the partnership between retailer Kohl’s Department Stores, and Chip’s Landscaping resulted in a new sustainable water feature and gardens at the site of the Mechanicville Area Community Services Center.

As a new spin on the annual ‘Go Green’ build this year, the center received a natural, sustainable water garden on site and an outdoor gathering area and educational platform. The green space will provide a backdrop for sensory, inspirational and healing experiences for programs serving all ages at the center.

Volunteers for the build were from Kohl’s Department stores and Chip’s Landscaping. Lunch and a variety of garden materials were donated by local businesses including Old Bryan Inn Mullholland Enterprises, Cranesville Stone, Real Bark Mulch, Palette Stone, Northern Nurseries, Dehn’s Flowers, Dyers Nursery, and Kerls Electric.

Chip’s Landscaping is family owned, local sustainable landscaping company serving Saratoga County and the greater Capital Region for 20 years.

Joins board

ALBANY NBT Bank President of Commercial Banking Jeffrey Levy announced that Antonio Civitella has joined the bank’s Capital Region Advisory Board.

Civitella is president and CEO of Transfinder, a national leader in student transportation management systems and services based in Schenectady. He began his career as a computer software intern with James Forth Associates, a management-consulting firm. He successfully developed and launched the company’s flagship product Transfinder Pro a school bus routing, scheduling and planning software program, purchased the company in December 2000 and became president and CEO. Civitella holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Siena College.

Three inducted

ALBANY Three physicians were recently inducted into the CDPHP® Physicians’ Academy™ in recognition of their commitment to improving health care in our community: Dr. Augustin “Gus” DeLago, Dr. John A. Nolan, and Dr. Jennifer M. Pearce.

The honorees are selected for their delivery of high-quality care, development and observance of best practices, and their willingness to mentor colleagues and staff.

DeLago is president, Capital Cardiology Associates and director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and Interventional Cardiology, Albany Medical Center. He is the founder and director of the Cardiac CT Imaging Suite at Corporate Woods. He inaugurated, and is the director of, the Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Program at Albany Medical Center. He is currently training other area hospital physicians to do the TAVR and valvuloplasty procedures.

Pearce is associate professor of pediatric hematology/oncology at Albany Medical College and co-director of pediatric oncology in the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Bernard Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center. She specializes in diagnosing and treating infants, children, and adolescents with a range of childhood cancers and blood disorders. She is also a consultant at the New York State Newborn Screening Program in Albany.

Nolan is one of the founding members of the Cardiology Associates of Schenectady and has served as the group’s president since its inception. He is chief of cardiology and the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Ellis Hospital, where he previously served as medical director of the hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab. He was instrumental in developing the Cardiac Surgery Program at Ellis.

Director appointed

ALBANY The Board of Directors of the Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center announces the appointment of Adam Chaskin as Executive Director.

A native of Boxboro, Mass., Chaskin most recently served as Program Director of the Schenectady Jewish Community Center, helping to implement a new membership, programming, and accounting system, creating a new membership structure, and overseeing expansion of the fitness center. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering and received a Master’s Degree in Physical Education from Hamilton. University.

He has worked as a systems designer and analyst for a Department of Defense contractor and as a high school and Division 1 College Basketball Coach. Chaskin has also coached several Maccabi USA National Basketball Teams in international competition, and is the chairman for MaccabiUSA Basketball for the 2015 European Games which will be held in Berlin, Germany. He and his wife, Regina, have two sons, and are members of Congregation Gates of Heaven.

Clinic expands

ALBANY Albany Med’s Sports Concussion Clinic has expanded to offer patients a multifaceted approach to treatment.

To provide a comprehensive approach to identifying and managing the full range of head injuries, clinic Director Dr. Hamish Kerr, a team physician for the United States Olympic Committee, USA Rugby and Siena College, works with pediatric neurologist Dr. John Pugh and sports medicine specialist Dr. Deborah Light, a fight physician for professional boxing and wrestling events for the New York State Athletic Commission, as well as the team physician for Siena College women’s soccer.

The clinic’s specialists provide immediate treatments as well as guide athletes on decisions about returning to work, school or sports. The clinic also offers educational services to athletic directors, coaches, referees and parents.

The Sports Concussion Clinic is located at Albany Medical Center’s Medicine/Pediatrics Office at 724 Watervliet-Shaker Road in Latham.

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