Human skull fragments in Saratoga County, flu hitting some schools, school board hears Whalen appeal, Rensselaer stations Amtrak's 10th busiest

State police say fragments of a human skull were found in a wooded area in Greenfield (map). They say it appears the skull belonged to a child 10-12 years old. The state police lab will be testing the fragments for DNA. [TU] [Fox23] [Saratogian] [CapNews9]

The Empire Center reports that 1.5 million New Yorkers have moved out of the state since 2000. The one area to show a population gain: the Capital Region. [Empire Center] [CapNews9] [Post-Star]

A spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration says judges are leaving the bench because "they can't make ends meet" on their $136,700 salary. The state's judiciary has been pushing for a pay raise for years. [TU]

Albany police say four men, armed with guns, invaded a house on Washington Ave yesterday (map). Police say the it appears the house was targeted. They say the robbers used zip-ties to tie up seven people in the house. [Fox23] [CapNews9] [TU]

Some Capital Region schools are reporting higher than usual rates of absenteeism because of the flu. Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons cancelled classes yesterday because so many students were sick. [TU] [WTEN]

The "no new plates" campaign is spreading across the state, including the county clerks in Saratoga and Rensselaer counties. [TU] [Post-Star]

The state's ethics panel has decided to not look into the Paterson Administration leaks that cast Caroline Kennedy in a disparaging light after she pulled out of the Senate appointment process. [NYT]

The state Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that Save the Pine Bush did have standing to sue over a hotel development in the Pine Bush -- but the court also ruled against the environmental org's suit. [TU]

The man who says he was placed on the Working Families ballot for the Rensselaer County legislature without his knowledge apparently lives in Schenectady. [WTEN]

The Lansingburgh school board met with Matthew Whalen's parents and attorney yesterday about potentially removing the student's suspension from his record. The board says it will make a decision in the next two weeks. [Fox23] [Troy Record]

The Shen School District has settled that lawsuit over the kid jumping from a file case for $700k. [TU]

Colonie police say it appears a five year old, who was home sick from school, drowned in a bathtub yesterday. They say the father called 911 after finding the boy unresponsive. Police say responders found the boy under water. [CapNews9] [WTEN] [Troy Record]

A Schenectady County judge found a man guilty yesterday of a grisly attack on a woman in downtown Schenectady. [TU]

The Albany County Sheriff's Department says it arrested a Latham man for allegedly being the recipient of a 30-pound shipment of pot. The department says it intercepted the alleged package and investigators dressed up as delivery men to make the bust. [Fox23] [Troy Record]

The retired Albany cop arrested on child porn charges earlier this year has pleaded guilty. [CapNews9]

The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce is warning people about scammers going around posing as census workers. [Saratogian]

Amtrak says the Rensselaer train station is its 10th busiest stop. [Troy Record]

The reconstruction of Church Street in Saratoga Springs has hit a few snags. [Saratogian]

Mets fan David Paterson on the World Series: "Just the sight of the Phillies uniform makes me a Yankee fan." [Daily Politics]

Comments

An article estimating the exodus out of New York state since 2000 to be around 1.5 million people followed by an article on how we're going to be required to buy new license plates...priceless. I actually just re-registered my car last month and it cost me $60.

I'm not backing the license plate issue in particular, but if you want to move out out NYS for tax/fee reasons, I hope you enjoy your crappy roads, crappy schools, fewer services, and generally lower quality of life. Those things come at a price.

I'm not annoyed with the rate hike. That's fine. But why the hell do we need to replace the perfectly acceptable plates? Just charge us the fee and don't make us get our hands dirty.

@ Ellsass

I enjoy all of those things and would certainly agree that they come at some expense. I do believe, however, that we can have all of these without burdening the tax payers that remain in New York state. It's a matter of economic beliefs. Lower taxes/tax cuts mean more people and more businesses return to our state. More tax paying citizens results in lower taxes and more people investing in our local economies. There has to be a tipping point. Out-of-control spending on frivolous things has resulted in us being taxed on everything imaginable.

Here's another take on that Empire Center report. It focuses more on the city, but the salient point here is that the state population actually grew nearly 3% since 2000. Of course, that data doesn't agree with their policies as much so they just focus on how many people left, ignoring people who moved into the state.

Yep, we're just being taxed to near death, and then to death, and then to death again, so much so that nobody wants to live here, obviously! Except for the millions who move here.

Oh, statistics.

I feel really bad for the judges having to live on such a paltry income. No really. $136K? You might have to buy a used BMW. The shame.

And I had to laugh Elsass who thinks the whole rest of the country is so bad off, and that NY (apparently) is living high on the hog. Personally, I'd rather be in a state that knows how to manage its money and not strangle the citizens to make the budget.

$136K is not a lot when you consider most judges could easily be running (or came from) a private practice as a lawyer.

Also, (re. Working families ballot...) could I hate Bob Mirsch any more? I thought not, but apparently I can.

@ph I'd like to see more efficiency, too. But moving out of the state doesn't solve that.

@Jon I'm not saying NY is the best, just in the top tier.

So basically the County Clerks like Frank Merola are in favor of closing old bridges, bigger potholes, laying off teachers, more dangerous schools, closing state parks, fewer cops, more crime, and other frivolous things like that (frivolous, perhaps, like taxpayer-paid county clerks?).

If you have fewer people living in the state but the cost of everything else stays the same (to say nothing of it going up), how else do you pay for it? Look, the high fees suck, but it's easier for someone like the Rensselaer County Clerk to score easy political points (again) than to offer solutions.

@ Beaver

I'm sure glad that I live in Albany, with some of the highest taxes in the state, and I don't have any of those things on your list to worry about! Right now we have high taxes and all of what you just mentioned.

Don't kid yourself, the same politicians who find a way to vote themselves pay increases every year and are creative enough to find ways to tax us, should be creative enough to find ways to cut spending. No it's not easy to cut spending, but like you said the alternative is that taxes will never go down. The more money we have in our pockets, the more money we can put back into the economy.

Good points Beaver, but I reiterate: more people are actually living in the state than in 2000. The Empire Center is a staunchly right-wing, anti-tax policy institute, so of course they're going to frame this as an "exodus" of state residents, by only focusing on those who leave, not net population change.

Some people just buy the hype too easily.

@ph: I'm with you -- yes, we do have those problems. That's sort of my point, which admittedly, I probably fumbled.

Perhaps we have these problems (and more) because we don't have enough money to fund the solutions, which would mean (gulp) taxes and fees are going up to make up the difference, at least enough to combat the lingering economic woes caused by 8 years of giving the country away to Big Business.

I don't want to pay any more than I do in taxes (of course I'd love to pay less) and I'd love to have money in my pocket to put back into the economy. I really agree on those points. But what the hell do we as a society and voters do to fix the current problems that we pointed out (which need more money to fix) and yet not pay as much in taxes? I don't know myself, I'm just asking.

Paterson has proposed boatloads of cuts for a year now, and all anyone does is make fun of the guy. I'm not saying he's correct or even a good governor, or even that in two years people are going to say he was correct about some things. But few people are offering specific solutions of what and where to specifically cut and what taxes and fees to increase, and by how much.

Sh*t, cut the politicians' salaries and especially their lu-lu's -- yes, that's one place to start (and if the county clerks are so geared up about this, why don't they volunteer to work for free, or even for less? Their salaries are paid for with taxes and fees, too). Once that barely dents the total deficit, then what else do you cut that's frivolous? No, if you're a county clerk, it's easier to put out a petition at a DMV office and raise the ol' anti-government hackles (ironic since, they're the government).

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