Panel recommends longer PCB dredging project timeline, attendance down at the Track, police say mustard marked alleged serial burglar

A draft report from the panel of experts reviewing the Hudson River PCB dredging project concludes that the process should be slowed down so efforts could be more precisely targeted. The panel says complications arising from inaccurate or incomplete surveys of the contamination led to higher than expected levels of PCB re-suspension (in other words, more of the PCBs were stirred up into the water than expected) -- and "substantive changes" need to be made for the next phase of the project. GE says it's already spent about $561 million on the project. [EPA] [TU] [Saratogian] [NYT] [AP/Post-Star]

The Schenectady police department says car break-ins have reached "epidemic levels" (heat map). A crime analyst for the city says there appears to be an upswing in Rotterdam and Niskayuna, too. The SPD says the thieves are after items such as iPods and GPS units. [CBS6] [CBS6] [TU] [Fox23]

Jerry Jennings said yesterday that an independent counsel will look into allegations that Ron "Cook" Barrett, the city's gang prevention specialist, was using sick time to do paid speaking gigs elsewhere. Jennings says Barrett seemed to be doing a good job with the city's kids, but common councilman Dominick Calsolaro said last night he was concerned about a lack of results. [TU] [WTEN] [CBS6]

Albany police say they've made an arrest in the June 27 fatal stabbing in Arbor Hill. They say the man arrested was found shot that same morning. The victim's mother says as many as 30 people witnessed the stabbing, but police have had trouble finding cooperation. [CBS6] [WNYT] [Fox23]

Attendance at The Track over the first 18 days of this season is down more than 10 percent compared to last year, according to NYRA. [Saratogian]

A group of Albany common council members says the Albany Medical Center expansion should include more investment in the adjacent Park South neighborhood -- including job opportunities and transit initiatives. Albany Med recently pledged $500k toward neighborhood programs. [CBS6] [WNYT] [TU]

PEF has decided to endorse Andrew Cuomo for governor. Two of the other big public employee unions -- CSEA and NYSUT -- have said they would not do so. [State of Politics] [Daily Politics]

The citywide reassessment in Troy will begin in September. [Troy Record]

Amtrak service to/from NYC has been disrupted/delayed because of trees down on the tracks. [CBS6]

The state is hoping to score more than $138 million in federal rail funding for a handful of projects, including research for potentially replacing the swiveling Lexington Avenue Bridge across the Hudson in Albany. [Daily Gazette]

From a letter allegedly written by one of the founders of the local investment firm McGinn, Smith & Co, which is facing a civil complaint from the Securities and Exchange Commission: "Hard to justify investors losing 1/2 their money while we continue to prosper at compensation levels that would seem obscene to the average citizen sitting in judgment." [TU]

A state appellate court has ruled that a former Bethlehem High School lacrosse player who was injured when she stepped on a bad spot in a Shen school district field should have the opportunity to take her case alleging the district was negligent before a jury. [Daily Gazette]

There still seems to be some life in the Saratoga condo market. [Post-Star]

The new Paeasan's in Schenectady County will be in a building that's in both Schenectady (the back of the building) and Rotterdam (the front of the building). [Marv Cermak]

There's a community garden on the backstretch at the Saratoga Race Course. [Saratogian]

Don't pet the lemurs. [Post-Star]

Police in Washington County say an alleged serial burglar has been arrested after a home owner accosted him with cooked hot dogs and a cup of coffee -- they say they man was arrested wearing mustard. [Post-Star]

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