Paterson admin says parks could be opened, nervous over fate of Saratoga season, Savage to challenge Farley, school bans hugging, growling over dogs in downtown Saratoga

As has been reported everywhere: Andrew Cuomo is running for governor. Officially. (We'll speed read the coverage later today.)

The Paterson administration says the state's closed parks -- including Thacher Park -- could be opened for Memorial Day weekend if the legislature passes a measure expected to be introduced today. The bill would pull $6 million from the state Environmental Protection Fund to cover the costs of operating the parks. [AP/TU] [AP/Fox23]

NYRA says it will stop racing and layoff 1400 employees if the state doesn't come through with the money it's promised the horse racing org by June 9. David Paterson says assistance is forthcoming. The situation is making people nervous about the season at Saratoga. [TU] [Saratogian] [TU] [Saratogian]

The TU reports that a ban on the use of coal fly ash (which contains mercury) at the LaFarge cement plant in Ravena has been stuck in a Paterson administration office since 2008. The air pollution permit for the LaFarge plan is up for review and a community group has been investigating the extent of contamination related to to the plant. [TU]

The last two emergency state budget extenders included money to temporarily fund construction projects such as the Exit 6 SPUI. [Daily Gazette $]

Albany police say a man was shot three times Friday night near Swinburne Park (map). The APD says the victim told him he was shot by a group of six men. [Fox23] [YNN]

Troy police say a man was found shot on 9th Street Saturday morning after the gunfire was picked up by ShotSpotter (map). [Fox23] [YNN]

The Schenectady middle school student who was suspended after refusing to tuck his rosary into his shirt is now being represented by the American Center for Law and Justice, an org that describes itself as being "dedicated to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms." The family also now has a spokesperson to handle their media requests. [Daily Gazette $] [ACLJ] [Fox23]

A Schenectady girl says a man in a car tried to abduct her Sunday. [Fox23]

Schenectady County legislature chairwoman Susan Savage -- a Democrat from Niskayuna -- officially announced that she's challenging Hugh Farley for the 44th state Senate seat. Farley will be running for 18th term in the Senate. Savage says she'll help bring change to the legislature. Farley says the current situation is dysfunctional, but pointed out that Democrats currently control the legislature. Savage has served in the county legislature since 1997. Bonus fact about Savage: she and her husband have nine children. [YNN] [Fox23] [CBS6] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette $] [TU]

Tess Collins, the owner of the Lark Tavern business, says she hasn't made any decisions about her future. Funds from Saturday's benefit at the Lakehouse in Washington Park will help employees of the tavern. [TU] [Fox23]

Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Middle School has banned hugging. [TU]

Saratoga Springs has become a dog-friendly town -- which doesn't have everyone wagging their tails. [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

RPI's getting $2.45 million from the Empire State Stem Cell Board for research. [Troy Record]

Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing for a federal ban on drop-side cribs. [AP/Fox23]

There are about 200 Iraqi refugees in the Capital Region. [Daily Gazette $]

The First Reformed Church of Schenectady celebrated his 330th anniversary this pas weekend. [Daily Gazette $]

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