Scramble on for stimulus money, Paterson says soda tax has gone flat, big condo project put on hold, Dunn Bridge closing temporarily, Springsteen tickets are pricy

Local officials are scrambling to line up for the some $20 billion of stimulus money that's probably headed toward New York. Albany, Schenectady and Troy have already proposed projects worth a combined $600 million. Now Saratoga Springs is asking for about $17 million -- $10.7 million of which would go toward the construction of the new police station. Chuck Schumer said yesterday that the Capital Region would be getting $108 million for Medicaid from the bill. [TU] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

The Albany Common Council has decided it will ask city and police officials to answer questions about the ghost ticket scandal under oath. It won't be issuing these people a subpoena -- at least, not yet. [TU]

David Paterson says the state legislature will probably not pass his proposed soda tax. [AP/TU]

State Senate Democrats says they will not be using the recently discovered "Brunomobile." The custom van gets 8 miles per gallon and reportedly has "retained a ghost of its new-car smell." [TU]

Jim Tedisco and Scott Murphy, the two candidates in the race to fill Kirsten Gillibrand's former seat in the House, are arguing over whose job creation number is bigger. Neither candidate will say whether they would have voted for the stimulus bill that's moving through Congress. It sounds like Murphy, the Democrat, has the support of his in-laws -- even though they're Republicans. [Daily Gazette] [Fox23] [Saratogian]

The state comptroller's office reports that the state Education Department's system for doing background checks on school district hires takes too long. That means school districts have to hire people before the checks are finished. The comptroller's audit found that both the Bethlehem and Schenectady school districts had hired people with criminal records. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

The family of Jonathan Carey, the autistic boy who died while in the care of a state facility in Schenectady, has sued a group of administrators and staff at the facility. The suit alleges that the man who was convicted of killing Carey had repeatedly assaulted the boy prior to his death. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

The Albany School District has decided it will feed students into its two middle schools based on the students' elementary schools. The district had also been considering a lottery system. [CBS6] [TU]

The Dunn Memorial Bridge will be closed for the next five weekends so the overhead signs can be replaced. [TU]

The Capital Grand project, which proposed to build 125 condos on Broadway in Albany, has been put on hold. The developers say the current financial climate has made financing too hard to obtain. (Rumors had been circulating about this for months.) [TU] [North Albany]

Tickets for the Bruce Springsteen concert at the TU Center are going for almost $500 on the "secondary" market. [TU]

A Saratoga woman who appeared 100 movies -- including the Our Gang films -- died recently. After appearing in all those movies, Shirley Jean Rickert was a burlesque stripper, secretary, bartender and traveling industrial hardware saleswoman. [TU] [Saratogian]

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