DA says scratched car prompted bombing, new rail plan for state, Siena's going to the NCAA Tournament, Breslin warns of budget deficit, big plans for Troy Proctors

A Schenectady County judge denied bail yesterday for Steven Raucci, the school district employee accused of arson and terrorism. In arguing against bail, the Schenectady DA said Raucci bombed a person's car after the man scratched Raucci's car in a parking lot. The DA says Raucci has continued to make threats since being taken into custody. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Underground explosions blasted four manhole covers off the ground yesterday afternoon in downtown Albany. National Grid says burning cables may have caused a build up of gases. Power near the site of the explosions will be shut off as investigators try to figure out what happened. [AOA] [TU] [CapNews9]

David Paterson and seemingly every other upstate elected official were at the Rensselaer train station yesterday to announce a new state rail plan. State officials hope the plan will increase New York's chances of scoring federal stimulus money for rail projects. As part of the plan, officials would like to spend $3 billion on somewhat higher speed rail service throughout the state. [TU] [AP/Troy Record] [Daily Gazette]

As David Paterson announced that he's freezing the pay of some 160 of aides, it came out that he just re-hired his recently fired top aide for $170,000. [Newsday] [NY Post]

The Albany Common Council chose not to issue subpoenas last night after the heads of the unions that represent Albany police officers chose not to testify under oath as part of the investigation in the ghost ticket scandal. The council has gotten 5,000 documents from the APD as part of the investigation. [TU] [CapNews9] [Fox23]

The Siena men's basketball team is going to the NCAA tournament. The Saints beat Niagara 77-70 last night in the MAAC Tournament final. Kenny Hasbrouck, playing with an injured calf, led Siena with 19 points. The tournament set a conference record for attendance, drawing almost 51,000. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]

Albany County Executive Mike Breslin said last night during his state of the county address that the county could face "a multi-million dollar budget shortfall." Breslin said sales tax receipts have been down five of the last six quarters. [Troy Record] [TU]

In his state of the city speech last night, Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton said he doubts whether the city's police department can be fixed and said the city could explore getting rid of the department. [Daily Gazette]

The City of Troy, RPI and a developer have announced a plan to construct a new building behind the facades of the Proctors Theater and Chasan Buildings in downtown Troy. The office/retail project would cost $15 million -- officials hope to get $5 million of that from the state. [TU] [Troy Record]

Eric Sundwald, the Libertarian candidate in the special election to fill Kirsten Gillibrand's House seat, says he's submitted enough signatures to get on the ballot. His campaign coordinator says Sundwald's positions on the issues are "significantly different than the two other candidates." [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Colonie police say an Albany man tried to kidnap a teen girl on Sand Creek Road this past Saturday. The man was arrested later that day. [TU]

Albany police say they've arrested a mugger who was targeting drunk people near the UAlbany student ghetto this past weekend. [TU]

An Albany police officer was hit by a car on Lark Street early Monday morning. He was treated and released. [TU]

The federal investigation of John Sweeney continues. The latest: the FBI has subpoenaed records from the state's Olympic Regional Development Authority about "retreats" in Lake Placid that Sweeney used to hold for lobbyist and other politically-connected people. [TU]

How drunk must one be to not realize that you've been shot in the foot? [Troy Record]

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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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