Democrats stuck on Espada, unemployment up slightly, influenza still kicking thanks to H1N1, snake head case has gone cold, Dinosaur looking for Troy incentives

The state Senate: still borked. Republicans and Democrats were working on a deal yesterday to share power, but the Democrats reportedly backed out because they didn't want to accept Pedro Espada as Senate president pro tem.

Democrats have been attacking Espada in robocalls to voters in Republican districts. Espada says the calls are "playing the Latino race card." The calls don't mention Espada's ethnicity -- they described him as "indicted Democrat from the Bronx." [CapNews9] [Troy Record]

The state Department of Labor reports that unemployment in the Capital Region basically held steady in May at 6.8 percent (it was up .1 percent). But the unemployment rate was way up compared to the same month last year (4.7 percent). The region's unemployment rate is still lower than that of the state (8.2 percent) or country (9.4 percent.). [NYS DoL] [TU] [NYS DoL]

An investigator with the Albany County DA's office says the checkpoints set up to catch DWI after Alive at Five this week snagged a whole bunch of other violations, including "drugs, warrant arrests, unregistered, uninspected, switched plates." [CBS6]

June is usually a slow month for influenza, but the state Department of Health says the flu is still active in many parts of the state -- in large part because of the emerging H1N1 strain (this is true across the country, too). [TU] [CDC]

The Wilton house that police say was involved in that big pot bust this week is more like something out of Weeds than The Wire. And get this: the former mountain biking star who was snagged in the bust used to compete wearing a dead piranha and the ashes of her black lab. [Post-Star] [Saratogian] [TU]

State Park Police say crowds for SPAC shows such as Dave Matthews Band are too big. And they also want tasers to help them keep the "combative" crowds in check. [TU]

The Schenectady Police Department is catching up on its usually high backlog of outstanding warrants -- slowly. [Daily Gazette]

The state Public Service Commission has concluded that National Grid and NYSEG could have done a better job during last December's ice storm. [Daily Gazette]

The TU's publisher says the paper could lay off as many as 45 people. [Daily Gazette]

The Friday's snake head case has gone cold. [TU]

A luxury apartment complex has been proposed for Weibel Ave in Saratoga (map). [Daily Gazette]

NYRA has big plans for improvements at the Saratoga Race Course -- if it can get VLTs at Aqueduct. [Saratogian]

The Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is looking to score some incentives for its possible renovation of the old Fresno's location in Troy. [Troy Record]

The Albany High music teacher who was slated to be transfered will now stay at the school. Students, parents and alumni had protested the move. [TU]

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Washington Avenue definitely needs more than one lane in each direction, but that doesn't mean it can't be redesigned. They can reduce the size of the lanes, add a median, and add a protected bike lane where the shoulder of the road now lies. I agree, however, that the entire Harriman loop would have to be redesigned and that includes those over-passes, so this would be an extremely expensive undertaking if they want to do it right. But there could be significant development on the land that is now wasted by asphalt that could offset that cost and bulk up the tax base for the city.

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