Dalai Lama visit cancelled, Sweeney picked up for DWI again, Tuffey's niece had bull's eye sticker, another Schenectady HS suicide, school district ordered to pay for not preventing beating, Albany Freenet expanding

A representative for the Dalai Lama tells the TU that the Buddhist spiritual leader will not be coming to Albany as planned. It seems concerns surrounding the sponsor organization's ties to NXIVM, the controversial "personal growth" training org, caused the Dalai Lama's people to reconsider. [TU]

The state Senate finished passing the budget bills Friday night. Assessments of the budget differed greatly between the two parties. Even with passage in both houses, the contents of the budget aren't entirely clear -- and it may have to be revised later this year. [TU] [Daily Politics] [NYT]

At the least for the moment, the vote totals for Jim Tedisco and Scott Murphy are exactly tied. That number is almost sure to change as five counties have yet to finish re-checking the numbers on their voting machines. Tedisco announced Friday that he was stepping down as Assembly minority leader to "focus on his transition to Congress" -- though he also said he's not declaring victory. It seems Assembly Republicans were also keen to push him out of the position. The Saratoga Springs regional office for the 20th Congressional District has temporarily re-opened with its old staff while the election is sorted out. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [NYT] [Daily Gazette] [Post-Star]

Former Congressman John Sweeney was arrested early Sunday morning for allegedly driving drunk on Route 9 in Clifton Park. This is Sweeney's second DWI arrest, which bumped the charge up to a felony. Earlier in Sweeney's career he served as Rensselaer County's STOP-DWI coordinator. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Troy Record]

Among those who had a bull's eye sticker: the niece of police chief James Tuffey (another one of her uncles was also police chief for a time). An unidentified source tells the TU that Tuffey's niece didn't get a ticket for a 2007 crash because of the sticker. [TU]

Another Schenectady High School student has committed suicide -- the fourth since last November. The school district says it's brought in an outside expert to assess the situation and will request experts from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study whether the string of deaths are a suicide "cluster." [Daily Gazette] [TU]

The proposed Schenectady schools budget could include as many as 160 job cuts and a 10 percent tax increase. [TU]

The Stillwater Central School District has been ordered to pay out $1.1 million after a state Supreme Court jury found it liable for not taking action to prevent the beating of a high school girl at the hands of another girl in 2005. [TU]

The attorney for Jovan Underdue, the man accused of murdering three people in Albany early last year, told reporters out of the court that he thinks a key prosecution witness is lying in order to protect someone. [TU]

Applications for food stamps in both Albany and Saratoga counties were up 20 percent in February compared to the same month a year ago. [Daily Gazette]

For the second time in five weeks, prescription drugs have been stolen from a Saratoga Springs pharmacy. [Saratogian]

Albany police say they're looking for an intruder who reportedly whacked a man with a golf club -- and bit him -- during a robbery. [CBS6]

Local real estate agents say lower-priced homes in the Capital Region are still selling. [TU]

Joe Bruno's daughter, Susan Bruno, has left her job with the SUNY Research Foundation. The TU reported in January that Bruno was rarely seen in the office for $84,120/year job and she reportedly didn't have the listed qualifications for the job. [TU]

The telecommunications company that runs Albany Freenet says it's planning to expand the free wi-fi network to include Arbor Hill, West Hill and the South End. The company says it will also offer a premium service for a fee in Center Square. [TU]

The Wellington Hotel, which is being demolished along with other buildings on its block on State Street in downtown Albany, apparently was the home to a colony of feral cats. [TU]

Comments

Thank god the Dalai Lama isn't coming. Having them represent NXIVM would be awful, those bastards would use him in their marketing for the next million years.

Such happy news today....

> The Wellington Hotel [...] was the home to a colony of feral cats. [TU]

Damn'. I had planned to do some urban exploration there. Good thing to know, those cats were probably hungry, and my liver tastes delicious.

It's so sad to hear about the Schenectady suicides. I've been through high school twice — once as student, and once as teacher — and I wish I could teach these kids that high school is in no way representative of real life.

About the suicides, my heart goes out to the families. When people contemplate suicide they never think about who is left behind. Suicide is selfish- there is always a better solution. I read this book in 7th grade called Tunnel Vision about the aftermath of a suicide. It left an indelible inpression on me. I wonder if it's even still in print.

-S: it's too bad, you could have added feral cats to the collection of photos of you with things on your head.

Yikes, looks like John Sweeney can't get past step #1.

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