Bank robbery involves chase, fake beard and -- possibly -- gunfire, local unemployment rate up again, DA says RPI student's death a mystery, that's not Jimmy Tedisco

State police say a man, wearing a "a fake Abe Lincoln-style beard," robbed a bank in Latham at gunpoint yesterday afternoon before leading cops on a high-speed chase up the Northway and into Saratoga. They say the man the sped down Rt. 50 before striking another vehicle and flipping his SUV. Police are also investigating whether gunfire was exchanged -- there are indications a state trooper did fire his weapon. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian] [Post-Star] [TU]

The Capital Region's unemployment rate hit its highest point for a November (5.2 percent) since 1992's November. Retail jobs have been among the hardest hit. A state labor department analyst says he expects the numbers to get worse, but compared to the rest of the country, they're not that bad. [Biz Review] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

The number of calls last month to the state's unemployment insurance call center was almost triple that of the same period a year ago -- and as a result, about 40,000 calls went unanswered. Things are so bad the head of the center asked the TU not to reveal its location for fear that angry people would show up at the building. [TU]

Plug Power laid off 90 workers yesterday, most of them at its Latham headquarters. [Biz Review]

Troy police say they're still waiting on forensic tests to help them determine whether the death of an RPI student this week was a homicide, suicide or accident. The Rensselaer County DA says the case is "a mystery" -- but the student's mother says she doesn't think it was suicide. [Troy Record] [TU]

A high-speed chase through Rensselaer County yesterday afternoon resulted in a construction worker being run over. [TU]

The widow of the man police say killed himself and a teenager on Rt 9N this past summer while driving drunk has filed suit against two Caroline Street bars. She alleges the establishments served him drinks even after he was already very drunk. [TU]

The City of Albany's water board is looking for another rate hike. It says the extra $42 it would get (on average) from homeowners would help it repair infrastructure that dates back to the Civil War. [TU]

Could the drama over Saratoga Springs' planned South Side Recreation Center be nearing an end? The city's planning board approved the facility's plans last night, opening the way for the city to hire a contractor. [Saratogian]

Police say someone tried to pass off bad checks using Jim Tedisco's name. The Assemblyman's name was involved with a similar scam a few years back -- which resulted in him appearing in public service ads currently running to warn people about such scams. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

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