UAlbany students say alleged "Craigslist killer" was nerdy and nice, Barnette rebuffs request for dismissed parking tickets, building inspector says he was fired over rec center, Potato Playground closes

UAlbany officials say there are no indications that Philip Markoff, the alleged "Craigslist killer," was involved in any criminal cases during his four years as an undergrad at the school (he graduated in 2007 with a degree in biology). One of Markoff's lab partners at UAlbany called him "a nerdy science lover." A person who says he was one of Markoff's best friends at UAlbany called him "a great guy" who was "an intellectual, nice, friendly guy." Though one of Markoff's lab partners at Boston U's school of medicine said Markoff had exhibited extreme mood swings and she was "not even remotely surprised" that he'd been charged with murder. [AP/Daily Gazette] [TU] [MSNBC] [Boston Globe]

Albany city treasurer Betty Barnette says she can't comply with the Common Council's request for copies of all the parking tickets dismissed in 2008 because doing so would violate HIPAA. Yep, the medical privacy law. Council president Shawn Morris said the explanation is "absurd." [TU]

Columbia Pictures is paid just $25 for the permit to rent I-787 and ramps to/from the ESP for the filming of that Angelina Jolie movie. The production company is also paying for costs associated with the necessary detours. A state official estimates the production will inject $500k into the local economy. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Benzie Johnson, a resident of Pine Hills, says he's running for mayor of Albany. Johnson is a registered Democrat but says he'll be seeking nomination on another party's ticket -- he says he doesn't think any Democrat can beat Jerry Jennings in the primary. [TU] [CapNews9]

Former Albany County exec Michael Hoblock, a Republican, says he will challenge Colonie supervisor Paula Mahan, a Democrat, in this year's election. [TU]

The body pulled from the Hudson has been identified as the man who reportedly jumped in while fishing in Troy this past weekend. A family member says she thinks the man misjudged the temperature of the water -- police say the man had been drinking. [TU] [Troy Record]

High numbers of graduation high school seniors, along with increased interested in the affordability of state schools, has made this year one of the hardest to get into SUNY colleges and universities. [TU]

The proposed -- and much criticized -- roundabout on Erie Blvd in Schenectady is now dead. The new design for the $14 million reconstruction of the road still calls for the demolition of two businesses. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

The state has fined the Village of Stillwater more than $750k -- about half the village's budget -- over water and sewer issues. [Daily Gazette]

The recently fired Saratoga Springs building inspector says he thinks he was let go because of concerns he raised about plans for the South Side Recreation Center. Mayor Scott Johnson says the inspector's firing wasn't connected to the recreation center project. [Saratogian] [Post-Star]

The new head of an org that owns a bunch of rundown rental properties around Arbor Hill says they're now in rescue mode and not "screw-the-city mode." [TU]

The Capital Region's home foreclosure rate continued to be one of the country's lowest during the first quarter of this year. It also took a big drop compared to last quarter of 2008, though that decline may be attributable to state laws that slowed foreclosures. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Schenectady's city engineer has quit, apparently at a bad time. [Daily Gazette]

People still seem to think that a horse park for Saratoga is a good idea -- but there's the problem of where to find the $76 million to make it happen. [Post-Star]

The Troy school district is now using Twitter. [Troy Record]

The three Delmar women who started the successful Potato Playground line of kids clothes have decided to close the business because it's disrupting their work-family balance. [TU]


$25 to rent I-787? I know where I'm having my next party...

Stillwater fined for water violations? That's too ironic NOT to comment on!

Re: Craigslist Killer

The good thing about Craigslist: it's a window into our fellow community members' wants, needs and aspirations. The bad thing about Craigslist: it's a window into our fellow community members' wants, needs and aspirations. Right?

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