Rensselaer flood damage adds up, Dare gets five years in prison, unemployment rate up, horse escapes from The Track, big year for mushrooms, Larkfest grows

The mayor of Rensselaer says the city suffered more than $20 million in damages during the flooding on Monday. He says the city doesn't have the money to cover the damages and it's looking for help from the state and federal governments. [TU]

One-time Albany community leader Aaron Dare was sentenced to more than five years in prison yesterday for his involvement in a string of fraudulent real estate deals. [TU]

The Capital Region's unemployment rate hit 5 percent in July, that's up from 4.1 percent over the same period last year. The area has had a net loss of 1,000 jobs over that period. [TU] [Biz Review]

The Governor's state police security detail will now be allowed to stop supervision of the Gov only after getting a signed order from him. The new rule was prompted by Eliot Spitzer's verbal dismissal of his security detail during his rendezvous with a prostitute in DC. [NYP]

A horse got loose at The Track this week and escaped through the front gate and crossed over Union Ave. Apparently guards at the gate were slow to close it, which has led to calls for more training and better staffing. [TU]

This summer's above-average rainfall has been a mixed bag for farmers. Hay has been harder to harvest, which could lead to higher milk prices, and tomatoes have been slower to ripen. But apples don't seem to mind the wet weather and it's is looking like a great year for pumpkins. [Saratogian]

One other bumper crop from all the rain: mushrooms. An expert says rare types of mushrooms not seen here in years are popping up around the region. You shouldn't eat them, though -- many of them are poisonous. [Daily Gazette]

It turns out the grave stone used as a patio stone in a Schenectady woman's backyard wasn't marking an actual grave. Or, at least, it wasn't anymore. It appears the stone's body (so to speak) had been moved before the house was built. [Daily Gazette]

The blocked-off area for this year's Larkfest will include Townsend Park on Washington Ave for the first time (map). Larkfest is September 20. [TU]

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I don't understand how people give such leeway to expensive highway boondoggles like this one as compared to the scrutiny the Albany Skyway project is receiving. Sure, there's certainly things to criticize with the Skyway project, but this project appears to save drivers 30 seconds on their way to the Airport at the cost of $50 million dollars! How is this not receiving five times the scrutiny and outrage that the skyway project is receiving?!? Imagine how much good we could do if that $50 million were spent in the City of Albany...

Here's the proposed design for the Albany Skyway

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