Schenectady man accused of torturing dogs, soda tax falling flat, proposal for prayer before common council meetings, family raises $1 million for research

A Schenectady man has been charged with felony animal cruelty after police say he killed two dogs and burned another. Thomas Hendricks is also accused of assaulting his wife -- and police say the alleged violence against the dogs was the an attempt to hurt his wife. Hendricks has denied the allegations. [WTEN] [TU] [Fox23] [CapNews9]

During his state of the city speech last night Saratoga Springs mayor Scott Johnson criticized the "dysfunctional" state legislature for stripping the city of $4 million in VLT money. He said the city would fight new plans to keep the racino open 24/7. Johnson also said that paid parking downtown would start in May. And floated the idea of sharing services with surrounding municipalities. [CapNews9] [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Saratogian]

There was some flooding in Schenectady's Stockade neighborhood yesterday as ice jams broke the Mohawk. People in the neighborhood seemed unimpressed. [WTEN] [WNYT] [TU]

The woman who died after apparently jumping from the Berkshire Spur overpass on the Hudson this week was an Albany High School teacher. The interim Albany schools superintendent says the woman was "an excellent teacher." She had been teaching math in the district since 1984. [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT]

It doesn't sound like Democrats in the legislature are on board with the Paterson Administration's proposed soda tax. [CapNews9]

Albany common councilman Anton Konev is proposing that the council start each meeting with a prayer. [TU]

The City of Schenectady will be using state grant money to fund a study by Columbia researchers into the feasibility of merging law enforcement agencies in the county. [Daily Gazette $] [TU]

Steven Raucci's trial is scheduled to start March 1. [Daily Gazette $]

A Troy man will get 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to trying to use gasoline to burn down his apartment -- with his roommate inside. [Troy Record]

The Saratoga Springs police department is on Facebook. [Post-Star]

Ballston Spa is considering that it might have to truck in snow for its winter festival this year. [Saratogian]

A Clifton Park family has raised $1 million in 20 months as part of an effort to fund research into a rare genetic disorder. [WNYT]

Comments

I cannot get over the dog story. My dog has burn scars, and the thought of someone creating those by scalding a dog AND intentionally pulling out its hair is just unfathomable and vile. Plus, this highlights the issue that in many instances where there's animal abuse, there's also domestic abuse (and vice-versa). Way too many people stay in abusive situations because they fear for their pet's safety if they left and couldn't take them along. I truly hope his wife is taking the opportunity to get herself and her dog the hell out of the relationship.

The animal abuse story is horrifying. If guilty, he should be in jail for life.

On the subject of prayer, I'm sorry, but the city of Albany has some serious problems that the council needs to address. They should be spending their time figuring out how to stop violent street crime and plugging the expanding deficit rather than deciding whether or not to pray at their meetings.

@Erik

They already have figured all the problems out. They're just going to pray that they go away. Done and done.

Somehow that guy from Schenectady managed to one-up Michael Vick. I hope he didn't think it was a contest. I'm no psych, but from the descriptions of what he did to the dogs he sounds pretty messed up, it's not like he "grew up in a culture where that was okay".

@Erik I agree, there are bigger fish to fry. While I personally support Anton's measure (though perhaps wanting wording of the prayer written in to keep things non-denominational), I am much more concerned with street crime than the absence of prayer in our legislator's part-time political lives.

Like so many others of you that have posted, the news on the dog abuse is beyond horrible. My wife and I rescued a dog from the Menands animal shelter several years ago that was abused and neglected. He is the most gentle, loving dog we could ever have hoped for. In order for Buster's Law to work, he needs to be convicted and truly given jail time, not just probation. Even with the law in place, it's difficult to have someone convicted of this crime for one reason or another.

The story of dog abuse was terrible, TERRIBLE. However, I'm more concerned with the poor guy who had his head bashed in with a brick, for the two bucks in his pocket. WAKE UP, Mayor Jennings and do something!!!

@ joe

Good point. Keep in mind, Jennings is like a groundhog. If it's not election time, chances are you won't see him around.

As an animal lover, I've been pretty upset since hearing the dog story. I look at my sweet, sweet puppy and imagine someone doing that to him, and it messes me up. I hope he suffers the most severe penalties.

The so called ceremonial practice exception to the Establishment Clause is a shameful wink and nod, the underpinning logic of which is contrived and disingenuous. Please leave your superstition at home and far from the arena of public governance in which logic should dictates.

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