Local home prices hold steady, former NYS health commissioner accused of abusing staff, Bruno says they've messed with the wrong guy, Honest Weight sales up

Median home prices in the the Capital Region fell one percent last year, according to figures from the Greater Capital Association of Realtors. The number of transactions did slow considerably -- down 15 percent. In the four core counties of the Capital Region, median prices held steady -- and in Albany County the median sales price actually went up one percent. An economics consultancy is projecting that home prices here will fall two percent this year. [Biz Review] [TU]

Kirsten Gillibrand is scheduled to take the oath of office for the Senate today. At 42-years-old, she'll become the nation's youngest US Senator. [AP]

As many as 25 Democrats are hoping to snag the nomination to run for Gillibrand's soon-to-be old House seat. There are also a bunch of Republicans in the scrum, though it seems three frontrunners have emerged (Tedisco, Little, Faso). [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Former New York State health commissioner Anotonia Novello "shamelessly and blatantly exploited and abused her staff, adding a new dimension to the definition of 'arrogance' and 'chutzpah'," according to the NYS Inspector General's office. Among Novello's alleged transgressions: she commandeered state staff and vehicles for frequent shopping expeditions. Novello's lawyer says the former commissioner didn't do anything that "calls for criminal prosecution." [NYT]

Of his recent indictment, Joe Bruno says "They picked on the wrong guy." He also added, "I don't apologize for anything." [CapNews9]

The EPA announced yesterday that GE will pay most of the costs associated with hooking up the water systems of Waterford and Halfmoon to that of Troy so the towns can have an alternate source of drinking water during the Hudson PCB dredging project. The two towns say they might still sue, though, because they're worried they'll have to take water from the Hudson while dredging isn't actively occurring. [Saratogian] [TU]

The head of the Schenectady drug operation that included former Schenectady police chief Greg Kaczmarek and his wife was sentenced yesterday to 12 years in prison. County court judge Karen Drago told Kerry Kirkem, "Quite frankly, I don't see you as a very nice person." [Daily Gazette] [TU]

There appear to be two finalists of the SUNY chancellor job: University of Cincinnati president Nancy Zimpher and Buffalo State president Muriel Howard. It seems that David Paterson is now getting involved with the selection process and a final decision could come soon -- or it might not. [TU]

Albany police say a 15-year-old was stabbed three times yesterday afternoon during a fight with another teen and the teen's father. No charges have been filed, though. [TU]

Flu season has yet to really crank up here, but health officials are urging people to still get a flu shot. [Daily Gazette]

The new building for the Honest Weight Food Co-op will be partially financed through loans from its members. The co-op says sales were up 15 percent last year. [Daily Gazette] [Fox23]

Schools in the Saratoga Springs City School District were recently equipped with "Smartboards," interactive white boards that can display video and web content as well as save notes written upon them. [Saratogian]

Comments

I worked at the Health Department and met Dr Novella a few times. She was quite the character and not once did she talk about health or health care. Most memorable was a charity event in Saratoga - a silent auction where she tried to stop people from bidding on an item she wanted - she actually had someone stand in front of the item and tell people bidding was over, when it wasn't... perhaps that person was the security guard who drove her all over. She did nothing to improve health care in NY.

As a co-op member, I received the flyer in the mail from Honest Weight asking for loans for the new store. It was the snottiest peice of mail ever from that place. They are asking for $1000 - $5000 ("or more") for 5 years, with your choice of 1-4% interest rate. Then it stated that as far as I, the lender, should be concerned, the loan shouldn't be a money-making venture so please choose the 1% interest rate. Excuse me!?! If I even had an extra 5 grand to loan out, you better believe I'd be asking for more than 1% interest, and also demanding that a box of cereal not cost 6-fricken-dollars in the new swanky store so that my low-income self could maybe afford to shop there.

Today's word of the day courtesy of the Times Union: piscatorial. It is an amazing word for several reasons and I tip my hat to the person at the TU that decided to use it. Now if only I could find a way to bring it up in conversation besides saying "my word of the day is piscatorial" at which time everyone tilts there heads and looks at me funny.

She should have hired "At Your Service!"

@Dave - I got the same flier in the mail and thought pretty much the same thing. Who has an extra $1000 just laying around? I can barely justify buying organic products at HWFC as it is -- considering many of them are now cheaper at PC.

@Dave,jess:

I think a Lot of the middle-aged, upper-middle-class customers who shop at Honest Weight can afford to put their money toward the new building. Someone, for sure, is buying very expensive cheeses and olives there, and whomever that is should have an interest (a community interest, not a monetary one) in making the coop a more efficient and usable space.

And as far as $6 boxes of cereal go, why don't you consider buying oats and seeds in bulk and making your own damn cereal? I SAVE a TON of money by shopping for certain bulk items at the coop.

I don't have any money to lend them, but I know for sure that if I did have the money, the coop would be a great space to invest in. The work they do is a huge part of why I learned to like Albany.

If my neighborhood Price Chopper had the local, free-range, etc. eggs and other very local products that I buy at HWFC on a regular basis, then I'd probably stop going. But I do love me some fresh local eggs. I get loose spices there, too, and certain things when they're on sale. But packaged foods? Meh.

@CCC, LB - I agree to a certain degree. I think I just get sort of frustrated with a certain sense of elitism that too often gets injected into our food industry.

Nevertheless, I am totally into the co-op because I'm on a gluten-free diet and it's where I buy a lot of things. I fully realize I can't blame the co-op for my overall frustration with the comparative cost of 'healthy" foods (organic, sustainable, etc) to processed, enriched foods.

If it weren't for places like the co-op that put the energy into making people aware of where our food comes from and the benefits of some foods over others, places like Price Chopper and Hannford wouldn't have the selection of organic, local and gluten free etc. foods they do.
That said - the food snob thing is a little out of control, but that's more about Gucci bag self esteem than making informed food choices.

If I had the money I'd definitely loan it to them.

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