Paterson aide: staff is a disaster, Albany County moves toward texting while driving ban, teacher accused of selling pot, modern dance at SPAC

With poll numbers sliding, David Paterson says he will be addressing "structural problems" on his staff. A "a source close to the governor's staff" tells the TU that Paterson's office is currently a "disaster." Adds an ex-aide: "Under David there was a 'Lord of the Flies' environment where you claim your territory and hold on to it." [AOA] [TU]

The state's leader all agree: the budget gap could top $14 billion. [Biz Review]

Yesterday during the course of a trial for an unrelated case, an Albany police officer testified that he had bought one of the infamous (and illegal) APD machine guns from the head of the Albany Police Officer's Union. [TU]

Albany police say they've id'ed the body found in an abandoned building on Broadway this past weekend as Ruel Torak of Schenectady. Police are treating the case as a homicide -- they say they're not sure if Torak was murdered at the location or taken there afterward. [TU] [Troy Record]

Steven Raucci, the Schenectady School District employee accused of arson and intimidation, was released on bail yesterday -- and then picked by Schodack police on new arson charges related to a separate incident in 2007. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Schenectady County's ban on texting-while-driving goes into effect on Sunday -- and it looks like Albany County is headed toward adopting its own TWD law. [TU]

There's a lot on the plate for tonight's meeting of the Saratoga City Council. The council will be hearing about proposed plans to turn EMS service over to a for-profit company. It will also be discussing the possible development of a new movie theater downtown. [Post-Star] [Saratogian] [TU]

One of the passengers on the River Rats team bus the night it crashed on the Mass Turnpike says he thinks the driver was going much faster than the speed limit. Mass State Police say they're still investigating. The last of the five River Rats hospitalized after the crash was released Monday afternoon. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

The upcoming special election to fill Kirsten Gillibrand's old House seat will cost Saratoga County $200,000. [Daily Gazette]

An East Greenbush middle school teacher was arrested yesterday on drug charges. The DEA says the man sold two pounds of marijuana last summer. [Troy Record] [TU]

Troy police have set up an internal blog in order to share information about drug investigations in the city. [Troy Record]

Troy is getting new traffic signals. The new lights will be more energy efficient and will be able to change their pattern based on traffic and time of day. [Troy Record]

A study by the Capital District Transportation Authority has concluded that the best possible route for light rail in the area runs along already-existing right-of-way along the Hudson River from Waterford to Albany. [TU]

Two modern dance companies have been booked to replace the eliminated third week of ballet at SPAC this coming summer.

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I ride every day to work, and also after work for exercise. I love the concept of being a person who happens to ride a bike. There's a level of bike riding, with the high performance gear and sleek clothing, that makes riding seem like its not for everyone. I try to avoid markers like that, and always wear regular clothing/shoes/backpack with dumpy-looking bike. One concession is bike gloves.

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