Final approval for Aqueduct racino deal, church group says 88-year-old woman's family prompted eviction notice, driving-while-talking ticket cancelled for amateur radio operator

Today is primary day. You can look up your polling place on the NYS Board of Elections site.

State comptroller Tom DiNapoli has signed off on the Aqueduct racino contract. That was the last step in the approval process. Genting, the winning (and, in the end, only) bidder, says it will be sending New York State its $380 million upfront payment this month. Among the planned uses of the money: propping up the faltering horse racing industry in the state. The president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association says he's not ready to pop the cork on the champagne yet, "but at least you could probably chill it now." Saratoga Springs supervisor Joanne Yepsen called the deal "a huge win for our local and state economy." [NYS OSC] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]

Ariel Myers, the Troy 19-year-old convicted of shooting Robert Guynup, got the maximum sentence -- 25 years in prison. Guynup suffered brain damage from being struck in the head and, in her victim impact statement, his wife said she now hugs "the shell I call my husband" and remembers when he could hug her back. Myers said he felt bad for what happened, "But at the same time, I'm just an innocent kid. I didn't have anything to do with it." [TU] [Troy Record] [Fox23]

The body of Marine Cpl. Philip Charte is scheduled to return to Washington County today. Community members, with 1000 American flags, will be lining the streets of Cambridge for the procession this afternoon. [TU] [Post-Star]

"People with knowledge of the crash" tell the TU that the Schenectady County Sheriff's deputy whose patrol car hit a motorcycle on Route 7 last month had fallen asleep at the wheel. [TU]

The attorney for the church group that issued an eviction notice to an 88-year-old Sand Lake woman says it doesn't have a problem with her -- it's the actions of her relatives that prompted the notice. The attorney accuses the woman's relatives of using the media to "blackmail" the church into selling the property to the family. [TU] [CBS6]

Schenectady County's preliminary 2011 budget includes a small cut in the tax levy. Spending is up, but it's offset by drawing $9 million from the county's $35 million fund balance. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

The City of Schenectady's hire of a body shop manager without posting the job or taking applications has aroused suspicion among critics of city government. [Daily Gazette]

A Troy city court judge has cancelled the driving-while-talking-on-a-phone ticket given to an amateur radio operator after concluding the state law doesn't apply to the devices. [Troy Record]

A string of break-ins on Van Schaick Island has residents of Cohoes talking about the possibility a youth curfew. [Troy Record]

The AIDS Council of Northeastern New York has gotten a $1.3 million federal grant for "popular opinion leader intervention" -- that is, getting influential social group members to spread the word about HIV prevention. [TU]

A retired Saratoga County doctor is helping start a medical school in Rwanda. [TU]

It sounds like Schenectady is getting a Shalimar. [Marv Cermak]

David Paterson on Eliot Spitzer's upcoming CNN show: "If anything goes wrong, they know I have to take his place." [Daily Politics]

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I had the pleasure of experiencing protected bike lanes in Montreal recently. It really made for a fast, efficient way to move both bike & car traffic. As a biker, it was easy to see how to navigate a busy road, and it was nice to have a bit of buffer/safety from traffic (or just knowing that the possibility of a car swerving in to you was incredibly low because of these features). As a driver, it was nice to see all of the bikes in one area, so that you don't have the errant biker who decides to blow through most of the traffic signals the wrong way down a street.

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