Explosion in Troy, state agencies tightening belts, hitting water in Saratoga, responsible potato gun ownership

An underground explosion sent manhole covers flying 20 feet (or 30 feet, depending on the report) into the air and broke windows around the Market Block building in downtown Troy (map) Sunday morning. Officials think a high voltage power line caught fire and caused the explosion. Power is still out in the area and could be through Monday. [TU] [Troy Record]

Even though the state budget increased almost five percent, state agencies are looking at only a one percent increase for their operating budgets. A spokeswoman for a one of the state worker unions says the budget prohibits using layoffs to save money, but she said there is some concern about the possibilty of hiring freezes. [Daily Gazette]

Excavation for the construction of the Park Place condos in Saratoga Springs recently hit water. Engineers aren't sure where the water's from -- there's a possiblity it could be spring water. [Daily Gazette]

The Niskayuna school board is considering extending foreign language instruction to kindergartners. [Daily Gazette]

Noted: crimes committed with potato guns are still crimes. And make sure not to use your spudzooka in Albany's Washington Park. [TU]

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Is there a volunteer group of any kind that clears sidewalks, crosswalks, and bus stops after storms for people who can't do it themselves or places that don't have anyone to look after it? I'd be interested and willing to pitch in, provided I'm not giving anyone a free ride on their civic duty.

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