Home prices down, gawking slows traffic, reward offered for info about RPI student's death, the doctor will text you now

The media sale price for a home in Albany County was down two percent in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period a year ago, according to figures from the Greater Capital Association of Realtors. Rensselaer County was down six percent, Saratoga nine percent and Schenectady 12 percent. The number of sales in the Capital Region was down 29 percent compared to last year. [TU] [Biz Review]

The are still as many as 900 absentee ballots to be counted in the NY20 special election. The unofficial count has Scott Murphy up 401 votes on Jim Tedisco. County elections officials were in Albany yesterday at the state Board of Elections to go over contested ballots. Noted: writing "Go (name of your preferred candidate)" on your absentee ballot will get your ballot tossed. [Daily Gazette] [NYS BoE] [Saratogian] [TU]

The slow paper ballot count in the special election has people thinking about reforming the state's procedures and rules for absentee ballots. One proposed bill would allow voters to use their middle initial when signing an absentee ballot -- that's currently grounds for tossing a ballot. [Post-Star]

Gawking -- not road closures -- seemed to be most responsible for slowing traffic near the Salt shoot yesterday. Also: "a person familiar with the planning" tells the TU that Angelina Jolie will be in town on Sunday. [TU]

The family of the RPI student found dead from a gun shot in Troy last December is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a killer. The Troy Police Department has been split over whether the student's death as a murder or a suicide. [TU] [TU]

The woman who was convicted in February of lying about how Albany cops treated her during a traffic stop was sentenced to 1.5 years in jail. [TU]

An off-duty Troy cop ran down a guy who had stolen more than $400 from an elderly lady at bank in downtown Troy yesterday. The cop got an assist from a passerby who stopped and gave him a ride to get the jump on the mugger. [Troy Record]

A survey of substance abuse among Saratoga Springs teens reports that as many as 40 percent SSHS seniors had been binge drinking in the month prior to the survey. The rates of alcohol and drug use at the school are down or flat compared to previous years, though. [Post-Star] [Saratogian]

Wood debris from the ice storm that swept through the Capital Region in December is being chipped and sent to fire the furnaces at paper mills. [Daily Gazette]

The Governor's Mansion has been certified as a "LEED Gold" building for its eco-friendliness, the first state governor's mansion to achieve that certification. The building has been undergoing a series of renovations intended to make it more energy efficient -- and energy use is reportedly down more than 20 percent there. [TU] [Biz Review]

A pediatrician in Saratoga Springs uses an iPhone app to access patient records and write prescriptions while she's out of the office. [Saratogian]

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