Unions sue over furloughs, outrage over Paterson staff raises, cathedral to reopen after massive restoration

CSEA, PEF and United University Professions have all filed suit in an attempt to stop the state worker furloughs. Legal experts say the unions' legal case is strong. Lt. Gov Richard Ravitch said if the courts bounce the furloughs, layoffs may be next. [TU] [Buffalo News] [YNN]

Of the challenge to furloughs, David Paterson said: "We're asking everybody for their fair share of sacrifice in a recession." And then word got out that five of Paterson's staffers are getting pay raises. Four of the staffers are in the press office and Paterson's spokesman says the staffers are taking on more responsibility because of departures (the administration says total salary for the office is down $300k). A PEF spokeswoman said the raises are a "slap in the face to state employees." Update: The administration says the raises have now been withdrawn. [AP/Post-Star] [CBS6] [NYDN] [Fox23] [NY Post] [TU CapCon]

The non-union management/confidential state employees will get their scheduled step raises this month. [TU]

By the way: there's still no state budget. Speaker Sheldon Silver says it's not the Assembly's fault. And John Sampson, the head of the majority Senate Democrats, is in... DC. [Daily Politics] [Daily Politics]

The wife of the man shot in the head after trying to quiet down a fight in Troy's Griswold Heights last testified yesterday that she and her husband had called 911 five times before the shooting. She says her husband will likely full-time care when he comes home from the hospital. [TU] [Troy Record]

The homeowner who fatally shot Albany teacher David Park has been cleared of criminal responsibility by a grand jury. Erie County's district attorney said shooting was "terrible and tragic" but was justified under the law. An attorney for the homeowner says the man is devastated. [Buffalo News] [AP/Fox23] [TU]

Public comments at the hearing for the LaFarge cement plant's permit ran strongly in favor of stricter air pollution limits. [TU]

A group of state legislators is pushing a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to take DNA samples when suspects are arrested on felony charges. They say the samples will help investigations into unsolved cases. The samples would be removed from the database if the suspect is found not guilty or pleads the case down to a misdemeanor. [NY Senate] [TU] [YNN] [CBS6]

Saratoga County is looking to borrow $11.8 million for a new emergency radio system. [Saratogian]

The Rensselaer school district budget includes the elimination of the middle school. [TU]

The family of the woman who died in the Saratoga Springs lockup is apparently pursuing its own investigation of the death. [Saratogian]

Fire fighters credited a construction worker with helping to save the lives of two people in Schenectady by warning them the house they were in was on fire. The SFD says the cause of the fire is suspicious. [Daily Gazette $] [Fox23]

Guilderland police say an armed suspect robbed a person making a night deposit at the Citizen Bank at the corner of Western and Schoolhouse Road last night (map). [WTEN]

The proposed Albany library budget would increase library taxes 5.5 percent. [TU]

Columbia County apple farmers have been using helicopters to keep the blossoms from freezing. [TU]

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany will reopen later this month. The massive restoration of the building started in 2001. [TU] [WTEN]

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I ride every day to work, and also after work for exercise. I love the concept of being a person who happens to ride a bike. There's a level of bike riding, with the high performance gear and sleek clothing, that makes riding seem like its not for everyone. I try to avoid markers like that, and always wear regular clothing/shoes/backpack with dumpy-looking bike. One concession is bike gloves.

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