More criticism of ambulance response times, Tuffey's credentials quesitoned, fewer state worker layoffs predicted, students not allowed to ride bikes to school, bear sightings in Troy

The head of the Albany firefighters' union says his members have complained "several times" about slow response times for Mohawk Ambulance. The service is under scrutiny after it took 25 minutes for an ambulance to show up at the scene of a fatal crash between a kid on a bike and a car last week. [TU]

A TU review of records indicates that Albany police chief James Tuffey is not actually licensed to be a police officer -- though, by law, the doesn't preclude him from being chief. Common Council president Shawn Morris -- who's also running for mayor -- says there's "a strong expectation across the board that the police chief is a police officer" and has called for Tuffey to go on leave while the matter is investigated. That TU investigation also turned up questions about whether Tuffey has a permit to carry a gun. [TU] [Fox23] [TU]

"Experts" say only a few hundred state workers will actually be laid off as part of the state budget cuts. The state Department of Budget reports that 1,200 of the 8,700 planned job cuts have already happened because of the hiring freeze and retirements. [Newsday]

A Greenfield landlord has been charged with murder after police say he stabbed a tenant last week. [Saratogian]

Witnesses say "all hell broke loose" when a group of teens with baseball bats, tree branches and a brick attacked a father and son in Schenectady on Friday. [Daily Gazette]

Employees of the company hired to clean up the scene of the suicide in last month's Schenectady murder-suicide apparently dumped the bloodied materials in a dumpster behind a CVS. The DEC says charges are likely to be filed. [TU]

Ken Ivins, Saratoga Springs' finance commissioner, and Ron Kim, the city's public safety commissioner, are fighting over the proposed $1.3 million cut to the public safety budget (the city is facing a $3 million mid-year budget gap). From Ivins: "Kim needs to start managing his budget better." From Kim: "[Ivins] is not fit to do this job" [Post-Star] [TU] [Saratogian]

Two candidates into the pool for the newly-created position of "chief city auditor" in Albany: Darius Shahinfar and Leif Engstrom. Both are Democrats. [TU]

Albany Med and the attorney for a Troy man accused of killing his infant son are in a dispute over access to medical records. The deceased infant was a twin -- and the man's attorney says no one's sure which twin actually died. [TU]

It sounds like living or working near the Hudson River dredging site is... icky. The process has been slow-going so far because of fast-moving currents. [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]

It is against the rules for students to ride their bikes to school at Saratoga's Maple Avenue Middle School, as a mother and son found out two weeks ago. [Saratogian]

RPI professor Bruce Nauman -- a renowned industrial chemist and frequent critic of Shirley Jackson -- died this past weekend. He was 71. [TU]

Capital District Community Gardens reports that the number of people seeking garden plots for the first time tripled this year. [Daily Gazette]

The recent slate of new restaurants in Saratoga Springs includes many lower-priced options. [Daily Gazette]

There were a handful of bear sightings in Troy near HVCC on Friday. [Troy Record]

One awesome local veteran: Lillian Yonally, 87, who flew B-25s as part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots during the 1940s. [Troy Record]


You can ride from Buffalo to Albany, but you better not ride to the Maple Avenue Elementary School in Saratoga Springs!!!

The school’s reason for the no-biking policy is primarily one of safety, Principal Stuart Byrne said. “I would be a nervous wreck every day if kids were riding to school... Traffic isn’t bumper to bumper, but it’s non-stop...."

Does the principal have a policy in place to alleviate the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity? To reduce the risk of injury or death in automobile crashes that kill an average of 40,000 americans per year. OVER 100 PER DAY.

A few more bikes on the road means fewer cars Principal Byrne. Perhaps remedial math and some health classes might be needed.

I loved the article about Ms. Yonally! That's such an amazing story and she doesn't look a day over 75!

Re: Maple Avenue Elementary School...
I can sympathize with Principal Byrne's reasons, as I am also a bit of a worrywart. However there should be no problem with the kids riding their bikes while escorted by a parent or guardian. Perhaps that would be a good compromise.

There were a lot of shockers in today's collection...from the crime-scene dump to the Schenectady high mob beatings, and more. James Tuffey? Jeez. The story about Lillian Yonally at the end was a refreshing escape from all of the yecchhhh.

It's absolutely pathetic that a generation of school administrators apparently believes that kids died in droves in the days before universal busing -- and it wasn't so long ago. Growing up in Scotia, I never rode a bus to school -- in fact we walked (or biked) home for lunch every day until ninth grade. And yet I did not die.

The air quality inside a diesel bus poses an active hazard to the health of children, as well as the obvious issue of actively discouraging any form of exercise. In addition, administrators should look at the numbers of deaths and injuries that come from inexperienced teen drivers, whom the schools now accommodate in ever-growing numbers. My daughter has a fairly direct, fairly safe route to bike to school, but while the school has a huge, shiny parking lot for students, it has not a single bike rack.

Tuffey's not a cop? Hmmm, maybe that's why it never occurred to him that he should have done a sobriety check when the Mayor crashed his car in the middle of the night and called him...

Editors: Here's a little more about the incident to which Blehber is referring.

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