State of the State today, Democrats organize control of state Senate, unemployment claim system crashes, two-year-old found wandering snowy streets

David Paterson will deliver the state of the state speech today at 1 pm. A group of labor unions representing state, local and healthcare workers is planning a march through downtown Albany before the speech -- traffic is being re-routed as thousands are expected to take part. Paterson has largely been out of sight the last few weeks because he's needed the time -- some 60 hours -- to memorize his speech. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [CBS6] [Daily Politics] [ABCNews]

It appears the Democrats have worked out an arrangement to take control of the state Senate. The deal may -- or may not -- have included an agreement to block a vote on same-sex marriage. Malcolm Smith will become the state's first African-American Senate majority leader. And with the change of party control, there are a bunch of new committee chairs -- including the guy who was recently charged with felony assault. [NYT] [TU] [NYDN] [Daily Politics] [NYT]

On the first day of testimony in the trial of the teen accused of firing the shot that killed Kathina Thomas, a prosecution witness admitted he had lied during his testimony. The girl's mother also testified yesterday and her account of the incident was heartbreaking. During opening arguments, the attorney for the accused teen said his client did fire a shot that day -- but not with the type of gun police say killed Thomas. [TU] [AP/Daily Gazette]

The system the state uses to handle unemployment claims has been deluged with calls this week -- it crashed on both Monday and Tuesday. The spokesman for the state Department of Labor says the system was getting 10,000 calls an hour, an "unprecedented" number. [TU] [NYT]

The state comptroller says fewer state employees are opting for retirement -- probably because of the economy and the stock market. [TU]

A mail carrier has been credited with saving a toddler who was walking the streets of Colonie yesterday with no shoes or coat. Police say the two-year-old wandered off from the home of her 38-year-old grandmother. [TU]

The City of Saratoga Springs has agreed to spend $270,000 as part of a settlement with the state DEC over environmental violations by the city's public works department. [Daily Gazette]

State officials estimate that Taking Woodstock, the Ang Lee film shot in Columbia County, injected $8 milllion into the local economy. [TU]

Police say they've arrested the two people responsible for the horse slashing in Hoosick last month. [Troy Record]

Eight of the twelve Shen hockey players found smoking pot on a recent team trip were kicked off the team this week. The four others have been suspended. [Saratogian]

Arthur's Market -- that cute little store in the middle of Schenectady's Stockade neighborhood -- is for sale. But the store owners don't really want to sell it. [Daily Gazette]

Just in case you ever wondered: riding a harness horse into a winter headwind is not fun. It "feels like [your head is] splitting right open" according to a trainer. [Saratogian]

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This is potentially good news for St. Josephs. I walk around it 2 or 3 times a week and the last few years the deterioration has seemed to accelerate. She will be looking right at it everyday from her front windows.

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