Authorities say alleged kidnapper knew gang members, Paterson hires friend despite hiring freeze, USPS says closure list is A STUDY, Unhappy Meals distributed

Authorities say the man accused of kidnapping a woman in downtown Saratoga Springs recently did know the two alleged Salvadoran gang members arrested this week. The Saratoga DA is asking people to take photos of unusual graffiti and send them to police so the tags can be investigated for connections to gangs. [Saratogian] [Saratogian]

Colonie's town council has approved a measure that would limit the number of sex offenders who can reside in a single hotel or motel. Leaders were concerned that a strip of motels along Central Ave had become a hot spot for sex offenders -- one motel reportedly has 25 sex offenders staying at it. [CapNews9] [CBS6]

David Paterson signed an executive order that sets a state goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels. New York's current level is 290 million tons -- 23 million tons more than in 1990. [TU] [AP/Saratogian]

Despite a state freeze on hiring, David Paterson added a longtime friend -- and fellow club partier -- to a $88k job in a state office in DC. The woman was reportedly "imposed" on the office. [NYDN] [NYP]

A USPS spokesperson says the list of post offices that could be closed or "consolidated" in the Capital Region "IS A STUDY." [TU]

Despite complaints about long waits during this year's grievance day, the chairwoman of Schenectady's Board of Assessment Review (the committee that decides whether a property tax assessment is fair) says the panel will not go back to hearing grievances by appointment. [TU]

The Troy City Council has approved the creation of two new dog parks, which could resolve the ongoing political squabble over the spaces. The council also voted to hire an architecture firm for the site of the soon-to-be-former city hall site. [Troy Record] [TU]

There's been a spree of vandalism -- and chicken theft -- near Grafton in Rensselaer County. There are suspicions that the vandals could be local teens because some of the tags have included the local phone exchange. [Troy Record] [WNYT]

Tests continue to show high levels of bacteria associated with sewage at the public Shepard Park Beach in Lake George -- and officials aren't sure why. Both Shepard Park and Million Dollar Beach were closed after a sewage spill in July -- MDB has since re-opened. [CapNews9]

PETA handed out "Unhappy Meals" yesterday at the McDonald's at 391 Central Ave in Albany yesterday. The org was protesting the treatment of chickens. [CBS6] [Fox23]

Comments

Maybe I'm just not understanding it, but what is the reasoning behind limiting the number of sex offenders in each motel? What difference does it make if there are 2, 10 or 25 in each one? Is it better to limit them so they have to spread out into more motels? I'd much rather see 20 living in one than 2 living in each of 10 motels. And I'd rather see them living in a seedy motel than in my neighborhood.

> The Saratoga DA is asking people to take photos of unusual graffiti
> and send them to police [...] for connections to gangs

I sure did, but they told me I got confused with the Twitter Gang. What gives?!

@Amy: you are completely right of course. But why stop there? Let's put 50 of them in one "hotel", then let's add some architectural enhancements, right? Like a very very tall wall. Electric fences. Guards. And a moat. Feel safer now?

@-s: And you are completely right as well. Unfortunately, it's a very difficult situation to which there are no easy answers. Our local governments have effectively "put" them in these motels because of the severe restrictions put on where they can live. The owner of the motel on Central only leases to sex offenders, so that's where they go to live. Now the local government wants to cut down on the number that can live there. But if this motel isn't renting rooms to them, who will they rent to? Homeless families? That's just putting those children at risk from the few remaining sex offenders who are allowed to live there. Tourists? Only if they stumble across it. What is the problem with allowing this motel to rent rooms to as many sex offenders as they want? Until the local government gives them another viable option, they're really stuck as to where they can go. Have you read about the whole colony of sex offenders living under an overpass in Florida because they have nowhere else to go? Of course they shouldn't be behind tall walls and electric fences once they've served their time. But does anyone honestly think that they can be completely rehabilitated? I wouldn't want my children, or anyone's children, to be at risk. Do you have children, -s? Would you want a sex offender living next door to you? Like I said, there are no easy answers.

Amy,

In fact, recdividism rates for sex offenders are comparatively and particularly low when talking about reoffending for sex crimes. That article is only one of many, many out there, but happens to be the first under a Google search for "sex offender recidivism", and particularly applicable.

Sure, when being alarmist about one's own children, hard statistics and actual facts aren't going to be much consolation, I get it.

But yes, I think there is an easy answer: treat them like human beings.

What can I say. There are children everywhere, so how far is good enough for parents to push those people? I assume said offenders have to disclose their locations, so I would check if there is one in my neighborhood, introduce myself, treat him as I treat my other neighbors (some of them probably more "disfunctioning"), but not necessarily bring my kids over. And I would just lock my kids if I can't live without assuming they are beyond repair. Or move; I'm pretty sure there are more neighborhoods than offenders.

"Restricting where sex offenders can live is supposed to keep them away from potential victims, but it is doubtful that this works. A determined predator can always catch a bus." http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14164614&source=hptextfeature

OK, the Post Office review is a study. Post Office spokesperson, study this (I put in all caps for you, too): DON'T CLOSE OUR POST OFFICES.


And while we're at it, answer me this (you don't need respond in all caps): If shutting down a building and taking away services is not called "closing" but rather a "consolidation," then what, exactly, is a "closing"?

Also, if it is a "study," then why single out certain post offices and exclude others from your "study"? Again an upper-lower case response would be OK .

@Sarah: Holy Georgia :( Lots of scary stories here. Very interesting link, thanks.

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