The economy sucks, shooting in Pine Hills, garbage threatens to topple Schenectady hill, RPI officials in Africa

This just in: the economy really sucks at this moment. [TU] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian] [Saratogian] [SRI]

State Senate Democrats are reportedly willing to support raising taxes on households making more than $250,000 as a way to cover the budget gap (they also apparently support an increase in the sales tax). There's already support for the measure in the Assembly. David Paterson has said such move should be a last resort. [NYT]

An Albany man has been charged with the murder of the man found dead in an abandoned Albany building in February (the city's first homicide of the year). Police say the suspect shot the man in a parked car on Lark Street and then dumped the body. Police say the suspect denies being involved, instead saying that he was smoking pot in Troy with a random woman he met that day. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record] [TU]

More violence in Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood: police say a woman was shot in the arm outside the Playdium bowling alley early Saturday morning (map). Police say the woman told them her sons know the shooters. There was also a reported mugging at the corner of South Main and Myrtle this weekend (map).[Troy Record] [CapNews9] [TU]

The number of bridges in New York State that have been "red-flagged" has more than quadrupled between 2002 and 2007, according to a report from the state Department of Transportation. [TU]

Republicans in the state Senate are complaining that the now-majority Senate Democrats have cut the Republican's central budget to a degree that "They've hampered our ability to be an effective minority." The Democrats say they've just reduced the overall Senate budget. [TU]

Even as he's pledged bring higher ethical standards to the state comptroller's office, Tom DiNapoli is taking campaign contributions from companies looking to do business with his office. The state comptroller is the sole trustee of the state's $120 billion pension fund. [NYT]

Local state Assemblyman Bob Reilly has "accidentally" become the state's leading spokesman against the legalization of mixed martial arts fighting in the state. [Saratogian]

However much Schenectady mayor Brian Stratton might like to dissolve the city's police force, a state civil service official says the city probably can't get rid of the department's cops. [Daily Gazette]

Tons of illegally dumped garbage are threatening to collapse the hillside overlooking I-890 in Schenectady. [Daily Gazette]

Police say a man's leg was severed when he was run over by a train in Rensselaer County last night. The man reportedly had been laying on the tracks. [Troy Record] [Fox23]

A New York National Guardsman from Rensselaer County was almost killed in Afghanistan by poisoned chewing tobacco. [TU]

A Colonie man says the excessive salting of nearby roads has made his house almost unlivable. [TU]

The Albany County sheriff's department says a guy pulled over during this weekend's DWI sweep had a blood alcohol level almost four times the legal limit. [TU]

RPI president Shirley Jackson and many other top officials from the school are on a trip in Africa "to expand Rensselaer's global reach and impact." [Troy Record]

Troy is joining the fight against the developing crow uprising. [Troy Record]

Starting April 15, Malta will finally be on the postal service's map. [TU]

Comments

A thought about the Schenectady PD...it seems like a case of "you reap what you sew."

Also, the crows are a force to be reckoned with. They have a massive army and they've been planning this for decades.

My fiance told me about the Playdium shooting last night and I got this nasty pit in my stomach. Coupled with all the muggings this second shooting in six months so close to my home make me want to move. Is this how neighborhoods turn to crap? A few bad things happen and clean living folks get spooked out? I don't want to abandon the neighborhood I've called home since I moved here but I don't want to get shot either.

I for one like the crows - if only because speaking ill of them will cause them all to camp out overnight above my car and let nature takes its course, costing me my previous meal (ew) and whatever the heck a car wash costs these days.

In conclusion: bang-up job, crows - bang-up job.

Skfl- I'm with you on the crow love. I even have one tattooed on my shoulder. They're far cooler than most people realize.

Mass hysteria and good neighbors flocking to Clifton Park make neighborhoods turn to crap.

@Katherine---Violence is certainly very troubling. But nothing new in Pine Hills and certainly not a pervasive experience. I have lived in PH for 24 years and have found it very safe. I do exercise due diligence (don't walk outside after dark, for example.)

My experience is that the quality of life in PH is pretty good. There are lots of interesting people, who are generally civil and congenial, and MANY great amenities.

Don't mess with the crows. They know who you are and they know where you live!

Sunset is an awesome time on my roof as you look south and watch the mega-murders stretch from Pine Hills to downtown.

KM- thanks for the perspective. I too practice due diligence but it's still unsettling. I'm not going to run screaming away from this neighborhood like an acquaintence I spoke to who now lives in Delmar. I'm going to enjoy it here as much as I have just a little more warily.

let's clarify: i like crows a little bit more than i like the movie "the crow". on an unrelated note: i could seriously go the distance without ever having to see "the crow" again - thanks for ruining "dead souls" for me (the awesome, awesome joy division track, not the concept).

I think the solution to the Pine Hills violence is to aggrssively arm the drunk college students. So, instead of getting typical party favors or blinking buttons that say "Absolut Vodka" when you're at a bar, you get handed "Absolut Mace" or "Amstel Light Brass Knuckles" or even "Grey Goose Hunting Knives." That'll solve the problem. We know that improved gun control or better policework won't.

@Joey S.: I think you're onto something. I would like to put myself on the list for the "Absolut Mace" but I'm wondering is the Brass Knuckles come in anything other than Amstel Light...I'm not such a fan. Maybe "Smirnoff Brass Knuckles" or "Malibu Brass Knuckles"? If so, please add me to that list as well. It will all coordinate wonderfully with my blinking Guinness pin and bright pink wig.

I'm sorry but crows freak me out. There are so many on the SUNY East Campus that I feel like I should be the star of a Hitchcock film.

Perhaps the crows could be trained to fight crime in Pine Hills?

So supercop James Miller says of the robberies, ''when you get three or four in a row, it's going to be highlighted." Way to take it seriously. Guess what Sherlock, we're talking about violent robberies here... this isn't bingo.

I think Elizabeth has hit the nail on the head there.

But in all seriousness, when it comes to crime you have to expect a certain amount of danger in any neighborhood when you live in a city.
I'm certainly not saying that crime pays or that you should turn a deaf ear, but one thing that upsets me even more is seeing people pack up and leave. A week ago we had a nasty mugging in Center Square (the woman who was accosted in her own doorway when she opened the door for a man posing as a UPS guy), and sure; it makes me more wary, especially after dark. But a vigilant eye and the stones to stick it out is what make neighborhoods thrive.

As for the crows, they seem to have finally flown the coop (pun intended) from my street. They were bad. Real bad. I mean, the guys who worked at the car wash laughed at us bad. Not to mention they make spooky noises. Ugh. But I don't hate em. They just do what they do.

On a final note; about the guy with the blood alcohol level of .30, I am sadly not surprised. I saw so many staggeringly inebriated people get right into their cars after partying parade-side for hours. Very disturbing indeed. I don't blame the bars or the people that sold him booze though; I blame HIM for being stupid enough to get behind the wheel, or at least his friends for not having his back and allowing him to do so.

I also wanted to mention that the TU story about the economy really hit home for me. I've been reading about (and living) the same hellish song and dance for months, but something about the image of that poor 78 year old guy peeling potatoes made me want to burst into tears.

Personally, I've lived in Pine Hills for about 17 years, and while I certainly don't think there's any reason to panic, it seems that the street crime south of Madison seems to be getting a bit worse recently. Two violent mugging/assaults on South Main, two violent mugging/assaults on Morris and a shooting on Ontario all within about a week - on top of the murder on the corner of S. Lake and Yates late last year, etc. There have been two street shootings (including a murder) within about 6-7 blocks of my house in less than 5 months. Hopefully that's just some tragic anomaly that isn't repeated anytime soon.

Did the Pine Hills shooter not attend the neighborhood watch meeting? I thought they made things pretty clear that the escalating violence in their part of town needs to stop. Heh, I bet he feels pretty dumb right about now.

@KM "I have lived in PH for 24 years and have found it very safe. I do exercise due diligence (don't walk outside after dark, for example.)"

I'm not sure if that was sarcastic or sincere.

If you consider not being able to walk outside at night "due diligence", you're rationalizing.

@Sheldon--

Not sarcastic, sincere. Any urban environment can be sketchy at night. Although it "should" be safe to be outside anytime, in reality it is not always prudent, particularly unaccompanied. (Even SUNY has a campus escort service from the library to the parking lot after dark).

That is not tantamount to cowering at home at night; it's just common sense.

Have all the good neighbors been banished to our homes by the criminals? It's like we can't even open our doors or walk from our cars home, or wait for the bus without having the can of mace ready to go. We should not have to "cower at home" to protect ourselves....and next thing we know, all the urban pioneers will be in subdevelopments in Clifton Park....until the criminals find us there too.

The Pine Hills mugging was BS. It was a drunk girl who left all her crap on the stairs in front of my friend's place, passed out, peed herself, then wandered off barefoot. In 30 degree weather. The neighbors returned her stuff the next morning. But any excuse for the papers to make Albany out to be a den of thieves.

Update on drunken Pine Hills "mugging". Girl admitted she was so drunk she didn't know what was going on, made the whole thing up. She's being charged with making up a crime (false statement?). I hate people like this. They take credibility away from all those people out there who are really victims of actual crimes.

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