State budget agreement includes big increase, more trouble for Schenectady cops, IBM to continue investing at Albany NanoTech, forest kindergarten planned

The Three Men in the Room have agreed to a state budget totaling almost $132 billion -- yep, that's $10 billion more than David Paterson's proposed budget and almost 9 percent bigger than last year. Direct spending by the state, not counting federal money, is increasing one percent. (Look how the Three Men buried the budget total in the 7th paragraph of the agreement's press release.) The budget includes a bunch of new taxes and fees, including hikes in the income tax for higher income households. It also kills the STAR rebate checks. The legislature still found room to keep a combined $170 million in "member items" (you know, pork). This budget was composed in "profound" secrecy. State Senate Republican minority leader Dean Skelos called it "the height of irresponsibility." [AP/Daily Gazette] [PolitickerNY] [Buffalo News] [Newsday] [TU] [NYT] [NYDN]

State Senate majority leader Malcolm Smith says the proposed reforms of the Rockefeller Drug Laws will save the state $250 million in expenses. [TU]

Yet another Schenectady cop is in trouble. A patrolman was charged Friday night with taking his girlfriend's car without her permission. The officer was already under investigation for abusing sick time and once lost his gun. "We need to bring the hammer down," mayor Brian Stratton said of the city's troubled police force. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

The APD detective accused of driving drunk through Albany and Delmar in January has pleaded not guilty. The detective is currently suspended with pay. [TU]

The Dalai Lama's emissary says he's OK with the fact that his leader's Albany visit is being sponsored by an organization that's been accused of being cult-like. [TU]

IBM is scheduled to announce today that it's extending its relationship with UAlbany's NanoCollege. That will bring Big Blue's investment there to $1 billion by 2013. [TU]

A former Stratton VA oncologist was sentenced to five years probation and more than $500k in restitution for his involvement with a research scandal that started a decade ago. [Troy Record] [TU]

A Schenectady man was convicted of kidnapping, imprisoning, assaulting and raping four prostitutes last year. He's now facing as many as 75 years in prison. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Albany Common Councilman -- and mayoral candidate -- Corey Ellis helped break up a group assaulting a man on Friday. [TU]

It looks like officials aren't all that interested in changing the design of the Saratoga City Center's expansion -- not matter how ugly it is. [Post-Star]

The Schenectady Police Department is trying to figure out how to run all the electronics in its cop cars without killing the batteries. Because the cars are kept idling to prevent the batteries from dying, SPD cruisers currently get 8 mpg. [Daily Gazette]

The Town of Milton's planning board uses a loud buzzer that sounds when a speaker's five minutes are up. [Saratogian]

The owner of two St. Bernards in Milton has been ordered to pay almost $40k to make up for the 170 rare waterfowl his dogs are accused of killing. [Troy Record]

A Ballston Spa couple is still fighting with its insurance company after a drunk driver plowed into their house in 2006. The crash made the house unlivable and killed the couple's pot-bellied pig. [Daily Gazette]

A recent training session in Saratoga Springs aimed to teach emergency responders how to deal with incidents involving horses. [Saratogian]

Sick of watching California cows talk about how happy they are, New York cows are getting their own ad campaign. [Daily Gazette]

The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs is planning to open a "forest kindergarten" this fall. The class would be held almost exclusively outside. [Daily Gazette]


My wife walked out of church to find a rain soaked anti-abortion leaflet shoved under the wiper blade. Tedisco: tell your desperate goons to leave the cars alone during Sunday morning service.

Has twitter reached its usefulness limit?

Help Ronald save us!

Don't take burgers, rabble rabble.

I would like to implement an outside office policy where I work in the forest all day long rain or shine. All I need is a tarp and some bluetooth.

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