Aqueduct racino deal moving forward, roundabout causing frustration, cigarette sales reportedly way down since tax hike

Sheldon Silver has given his OK to Genting's Aquaduct racino project bid, opening the way for a final contract. Money from the deal will go toward propping up NYRA, which operates Saratoga. The org has $150 million in improvements it would like to make at The Track. [State of Politcs] [TU] [TU]

David Paterson says the legislature must return soon to decide how to distribute the recently passed federal aid to schools. There are two formulas from which the legislature can pick. [State of Politics] [WTEN]

Paterson aide David Johnson is expected to be charged today with misdemeanor assault for the alleged incident of domestic violence involving Sherr-una Booker. An independent counsel recently concluded that evidence in the case warranted "consideration of possible charges" against Johnson and that the governor made "errors of judgment" during the situation surrounding the alleged assault. [NYT] [AOA]

The state budget wasn't actually finished when everyone thought it was -- because the Assembly sent the wrong bill to the governor and he signed it. [Buffalo News]

Bethlehem police say they've arrested a 17-year-old for allegedly setting fire to a house in Delmar August 4. They say the teen knew the family that lived in the house (they were away at the time). [YNN] [WNYT] [Fox23]

An Albany County official asked people to be patient with new Maxwell Road roundabout in Colonie (map). The construction around the new intersection has been causing long backups -- and frustrating drivers. [TU] [WTEN] [YNN]

Andrew Cuomo, David Paterson, Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer all made appearances at Charlie Rangel's birthday fundraiser. The influential congressman was recently accused of 13 House ethics violations. [TU] [NYT] [Daily Politics] [CBS]

Scott Murphy said yesterday that he's open to the idea of Congressional term limits -- and called the branch of government "incredibly broken." Chris Gibson, who's challenging Murphy, has proposed eight year term limits for Congress. [Post-Star]

Sales of cigarettes at convenience stores in New York State are down 25-35 percent since the state tax increase, according to the New York Association of Convenience Stores. The org says people are going out-of-state or to Indian reservations to buy cigarettes. Stewart's says it's seen a decline, but not to that degree. [NYACS] [Daily Gazette]

The state Department of Taxation and Finance says three men in Queens were recently busted for allegedly trafficking 360 cartons of untaxed cigarettes (that would represent $23,000 in taxes). [NYS DTF]

Troy's industrial development authority is expected to approve an agreement for the sale of the Uncle Sam Parking Garage. [Troy Record]

Bakery owner Rachel Cocca-Dott says Albany County trans-fat ban is unfair because it doesn't apply to supermarket bakeries. [YNN]

Albany Med has reportedly pledged $500k toward a Park South neighborhood redevelopment fund as compensation for disruptions in the neighborhood bordering the medical center's expansion. [TU]

There are a few signs of spin-off jobs popping up around the GlobalFoundries chip fab. [TU]

Rotterdam's town supervisor is fighting the property tax assessments on his home and business. [Daily Gazette]

A Schenectady resident has collected signatures in an attempt to get on the ballot for city council on a Schenectady Taxpayers Outrage Party line. [Daily Gazette]

The Cannon Building on Monument Square in Troy is open again for business (the city had shut it down for code violations). And the Illium Cafe, on the buildings street level, has new owners. [TU] [Troy Record]

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I'm concerned how much demolition is going on here. Too many important, historic buildings in Albany are already tagged with an 'X' and the city's approach seems to tear down and ask questions later. Not only are these homes part of the city's history but they are what makes this place unique and they should be treasured- not trashed. In addition, these structures are better built and will last longer than new construction. ...

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