Former judge indicted for alleged shakedown, thousands of ghost tickets issued, police say dog starved to death, car smashes into florist

A former state Supreme Court judge from Albany County has been indicted on charges he tried to shake down attorneys appearing before him. Federal prosecutors say Thomas Spargo threatened to "harm" an attorney if the attorney didn't give him $10,000. Spargo was removed from the bench in 2006 after allegations of this behavior surface. He's recently been doing work for the City of Troy. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]

An attempted murder case in Schenectady could be retried after one of the jurors told a prosecutor he based his decision on the defendant's race. The juror also told the prosecutor he was distracted during the trail by the prosecutor's "captivating beauty." The juror now says he was drunk when he made the statements. [Daily Gazette]

APD chief James Tuffey told the Albany City Council yesterday that 40 percent of the parking tickets given out in the city over the last two years have been "ghost tickets" (that is, the recipients didn't have to pay). [TU]

The Troy City Council now says it won't challenge the mayor's veto of its changes to the city budget. [Troy Record]

The parent company of MapInfo is laying off 12 employees at its offices in Rensselaer Tech Park. Just last year the company got a tax break from the county for creating new jobs. [Troy Record] [Daily Gazette]

Saratoga County supervisors approved a budget for 2009 that is projected to hold tax rates steady. [Daily Gazette]

A Troy woman has been accused of starving her dog to death. The detective who investigated the case says the details of the story are so sad they're "almost too much to bear." [TU]

High schools in the Capital Region are adding classes about nanotechnology to their curricula. [TU]

A car crashed through the front window of a Schenectady florist Tuesday night. The car hit the building with such force, it ended up getting stuck -- wheels off the ground -- in the back wall of the florist's space. [Daily Gazette] [Fox23]

Saratoga Springs police busted a guy this week they say had 17 pounds of marijuana. [Saratogian]

The number of Capital Region home foreclosures was down 20 percent in November compared to the same month a year ago. Nationally, foreclosures were up 28 percent. [Biz Review]

Ballston Spa is the first municipality in New York State to be declared a "fair trade community." [Saratogian]

A retirement home in Slingerlands is using Wii Fit to help residents work on their balance in an effort to prevent falls. [Daily Gazette]

Bob Woodward stopped by the TU yesterday for a talk. [TU]

Comments

re: A Troy woman has been accused of starving her dog to death.

If anyone can find a picture of this woman in the back of a police car with handcuffs, send it to me. Bonus points if she's crying or getting smacked around. I want to make it my Christmas card. Because nothing warms my heart more than seeing horrible people get what they deserve.

For crying out loud, with how easy it is to take a dog to a shelter and the number of rescue groups out there (ESPECIALLY for pit bulls—those are some fantastically loyal owners), it blows my mind that someone would let an unwanted pet starve to death. Shelters will take in animals without asking anything but the most basic of questions (not to mention a moment of temporary embarrassment and shame is surely easier on the conscience than watching a dog suffer at your own hand), and some even have anonymous drop-off areas. If you’re unable to take care of an animal, suck up your pride and give it a chance for a better life!

The woman who starved the poor dog to death needs to be put in a cage in her backyard and not given any food, water or shelter for 45 days. That's the only fair thing as far as I'm concerned. What is wrong with people?? It's too disturbing and disgusting for words. Not to mention her neighbors - did they not notice this helpless creature crying, barking, whining, and slowly being starved to death in such horrible, in humane conditions? They should be ashamed of themselves. All it would have taken was one phone call to police or the humane society. Such a shame.

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