Grad student arrested in Delmar hazardous chemicals case, disputed budgets in Rensselaer County and Troy, state projected to lose Congressional seats, Hannah's Hope alleges fraud in grant voting

Bethlehem police say they've arrested Jason Sanchez following the discovery of a group of dangerous chemicals in the basement of his Delmar apartment building Tuesday. Police say experts told them the chemicals "represented an extreme danger to people." They say they also found a commercial-grade vacuum chamber in the basement. Sanchez is a grad student at RPI. His brother was badly burned in an explosion at a house in Delmar last December. [TU] [Fox23] [WNYT] [Troy Record] [CBS6]

The long-term unemployment benefits of 9,000 people in the Capital Region will run out at the end of December. [TU]

Yesterday on WFAN, David Paterson said being governor has been "very challenging, very difficult, very painful at times." And he said of the legislature: "I think the caliber of people I work with in Albany 25 years ago, and I am sorry to say this, is far superior than it is now." [Daily Politics] [State of Politics]

Paterson reportedly looked into bringing a bill to legalize same-sex marriage up during the recent lame-duck special session, but apparently couldn't find enough support in the legislature. [NYT]

Kirsten Gillibrand says WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be "thrown in jail for a very long time." [State of Politics]

The Rensselaer County legislature passed a 2011 county budget that includes a 2.5 percent tax increase last night -- but the minority is arguing the budget didn't get enough votes. [TU] [Troy Record]

The Troy City Council approved a budget that includes 1.9 percent tax increase -- and the last minute "stealth" re-allocation of $300k from the city's contingency fund. [WNYT] [Troy Record]

WTEN reports Jerry Jennings will veto the budget passed by the Albany Common Council because it includes funding to keep Public Bath No. 2 open. [WTEN]

The Census Bureau is expected to announce this month that New York State will lose one or two Congressional seats. [NYT]

GlobalFoundries has committed to creating 400 more jobs if it takes state funding for a possible expansion of the under-contstruction chip fab in Malta. [Post-Star]

It appears that 20 Schenectady city employees have participated in legal pension padding over the last three years. [TU]

The attorney for De Von Callicut, the 20-year-old accused of shooting Richard Bailey, says his trial should be moved out of Albany County. [TU]

Albany police department leadership and the union are at odds over the staffing of the department's new community policing initiative. [TU]

In a letter urging his former colleagues to support the police union, now-retired Albany police detective George McNally blames everyone for the hubub surrounding his arrest for careening drunk through Albany and Bethlehem -- except himself. [TU]

The chairman of the Colonie Republican Party commenting on the recent enrollment shift of the longtime-Republican town to a Democratic majority: "Democrats are fleeing the cities to gain a better quality of life in the suburbs that were built by Republicans, and they are taking their voting habits with them." [TU]

Hannah's Hope Fund finished just out of the money for another $250k Pepsi Refresh grant -- and it alleging the charity that beat it for second place cheated. [TU]

West Mountain has installed a system that uses credit card-like ski passes. [Saratogian]


Didn't the Hannah's Hope Fund already win this once?

@Jay: "Hannah's Hope won the August Pepsi Refresh contest and was hoping for a repeat victory.". This is a monthly "grant". That's a lot of cash per month; can't win all the time...

"McNally, in his letter, did not apologize for his actions that night or acknowledge that it was wrong to drive drunk." this man should recognize that he is nothing more than a criminal based on his actions, like the criminals he investigated while working on the APD, and in his collegue McKenna, in preventing his arrest, ruined his own career, too. He should switch to focusing on making amends and being thankful he didn't seriously hurt himself or an innocent bystander. McNally certainly wasn't considering his duty to "protect and serve" the people of Albany that night, and neither was McKenna.

Bad form by Hannah's Hope here. First, you already won once, and I'm sure you'll win again in the future, focus on that work. Second, there are plenty of deserving causes, let the money spread out a little if that's how it falls. Third, whining about fraud and demanding an investigation (which costs money that no doubt comes from the Refresh fund): not classy. Fourth, obvious, blatant use of your "mascot" in the article to garner sympathy: even more not classy.

Sorry, I really feel for the family and hope their efforts are fruitful, but this is not the way to convince people IMO.

In response to "B's" comments regarding the Hannah's Hope (HHF) article: The article did not include all of the research that went into HHF's decision to ask Pepsi for an audit. Is it "whining" when a football coach questions a referee's call and asks for an instant replay?

In response to the comment that HHF should let the money be "spread around," GAN is an extremely rare disease. There was absolutely no funding prior to Hannah's parents creating the non-profit organization Hannah's Hope Fund. They were told that their 3-year old faced a death sentence, and they channeled their grief into action that has resulted in finding a treatment. That treatment first requires a $1.2 million clinical trial. I ask "B," if it were your child, and you had the opportunity to go for a $250K grant that could mean the difference between life and death for him or her, what would you do? Would you say, "Go ahead historical foundation XYZ; it's your turn. You take the money." (Yes, history and the arts are important, but I personally choose to vote for causes that save children.)

Lastly, to refer to Hannah, an angelic child whom whenever someone meets her, they are immediately willing to do ANYTHING to help save her, as the HHF "mascot" is barbaric. The reference to Hannah's reaction was a quote the reporter pulled from a Thank you note from Hannah's parents to the HHF supporters. It was not a comment meant to gain sympathy over HHF's concerns about the voting process.

Mr. "B," next time, please have all your facts aligned before you comment. Or better yet, channel your energy into a positive cause.

"acetone, xylene, laboratory grade nitric acid, sulfuric acid, a propane torch and butane, along with a homemade commercial grade vacuum chamber."

I'm pretty sure that those chemicals are easy to purchase at stores (Home Depot), except for possibly the nitric acid. There was nothing shocking about it. And commercial grade vacuum chamber is nothing more than a well sealed metal box, with a good pump. Nothing special there, its not dangerous.

The frantic reaction by the police saying "Had the chemicals came into contact with one another, they represented an extreme danger to people" was completely stupid. There are TONS of chemicals in your house that could be hazardous if mixed.

Meanwhile, dozens of people were injured by two-ton speeding vehicles on the highway driven by idiots on their cell phones. But nobody noticed because it wasn't scary enough.

Pretty much the raction I would expect, heather.

of course I'm not saying that HHF doesn't deserve grants for research. They already earned it, and as I said they probably will in the future. I think that's great, and I sincerely hope they find the results they're looking for.

I ask "B," if it were your child, and you had the opportunity to go for a $250K grant that could mean the difference between life and death for him or her, what would you do? Would you say, "Go ahead historical foundation XYZ; it's your turn. You take the money."

I wouldn't mount a campaign accusing other charities of fraud, for one. I would, as you say, channel my energy into a positive cause.

Let's be realistic here: if a result is challenged that is effort on the part of HHF that they could use to further their cause; it's a delay in funding to another organization that could need that money to stay solvent; it's money spent by the Refresh project on investigations that very likely comes from the Refresh funds itself, which means less money in the end for every deserving group. I don't see a silver lining in this cloud.

Lastly, to refer to Hannah, an angelic child whom whenever someone meets her, they are immediately willing to do ANYTHING to help save her, as the HHF "mascot" is barbaric.

No, it's barbaric to use the words of that child as part of a campaign against another group. That quote is just about the lowest jinoistic demoninator and my stomach turned when I saw it. To appeal at that level cheapens their cause -- which again I say is a very important and valid one, just as the other causes that recieve the top votes are.

Mr. "B," next time, please have all your facts aligned before you comment. Or better yet, channel your energy into a positive cause.

Sure, let's talk about facts. You don't know who I voted for in that grant contest. You don't know where I channel my energy. You don't know which charitable organizations I've worked with. Why don't you get your facts straight before getting personal.

@Heather: yes but no. This is such a difficult issue to discuss. See, the problem here is that you have trump card. You just can *not* beat an angelic 6 years old faced with a death sentence. You can't. You are really using that card a lot in your comment though. It's not a horrible contest of who's going to die faster, but unfortunately when you say: "I personally choose to vote for causes that save children", it could probably be rephrased as "I personally vote for a cause to save that child". The prevalence of Hannah's GAN is unknown, it's extremely rare. I don't see the "Historical foundation XYZ" you are dissing here, I see in spot #2: "Find a path to the cure for Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC)". AHC is also rare, with poor outcome, but it's approx. 1 in 1,000,000 people apparently. "Mascot" is a poor choice of word, but this is pretty common, putting a face on a cause just works. The AHC Foundation is doing it too, but sad to say, they don't have anybody with a profile like Hannah at this point. It's very hard to say "all things being equal" in front of this kid, but this seems like a positive cause to me too.

There have been comments and posts on this site about the latest Pepsi refresh program outcomes and the sadness that was captured recently in the TU by the family. The family IS truly sad that they didn't win the second time around, however the family and the board of directors of Hannahs Hope Fund are eternally grateful for the previous grant received by Pepsi, the grant received by Doris Buffet, the Charles Wood Foundation and the many other countless supporters who have pledged their interest in this cause. It is certainly natural to try for a second win after the excitement of winning the first time around as this is allowed by the program rules. In any contest, after all the preparation, time and energy spent trying to compete, feeling sadness for the loss is really OK.

We are disappointed that the debate captured above has been started as it is the intention of the family and the board to ensure that everyone knows that we are not only grateful for that which we have received but we are also so energized by programs such as Pepsi's program which have been transformational in our country as far as how social media can give a voting voice to so many incredibly deserving and wonderful causes. It really has been the difference for this foundation's ability to survive and fund actual research programs which would otherwise not be occurring anywhere else worldwide.

We participate in all programs with integrity and are hopeful that everyone else does too. Since the Pepsi refresh program was launched at the beginning of this year, Pepsi has had to deal with people looking for angles to get to the money. Naturally with a program like this, there will always be challenges in managing the process. As such Pepsi has put processes in place to alert them if something suspicious may have happened and they have a hotline setup to inform the management company. It does require that people submit information that they have either witnessed or believe to have noticed, and any reports should really be between the person who reported and Pepsi . We are sorry that information about this surfaced out of context as it did. Regardless of where this particular contest ended up, if there were any suspicions, it is important to let Pepsi know so that they can refine the process going forward into future months and contests for the benefit of all ideas involved. We are certain that Pepsi will evaluate and determine the appropriate outcome whether in favor of HHF or not, and we also understand that it is their contest and it is their decision ultimately what they fund, why and when.

With all these incredibly worthy causes, it would be great if they all could get funded. Pepsi is a true example to the world of the positive impact of a great idea! Just imagine, Pepsi's decision to run the refresh everything program has gained them far more exposure than any advertising campaign could ever provide. As with any great idea, there are bumps in the road and using technology to run and monitor this program is something that is not an exact science. It too will improve with time and experience. By transformational, what I mean is, just imagine if more highly profitable companies in this world would take the baton from Pepsi and replicate this amazing program and divert portions of their advertising programs to similar philanthropic mission.

Folks, this is the real story, and we should all be investing our powerful voices and energies of encouragement to show the world that this program is transformational and encourage other companies to follow suit. Imagine what good could be done! Imagine how many worthy causes would be funded! Imagine how many lives would be saved, diseases cured, camp experiences provided, arts programs preserved and kids educated!

If we all stay vigilant on the positive and let integrity govern all participation at every level, and if we respect the positions of all the great points that energized people have made throughout this blog, the media and the social media, the Hope and Love that governs us all will be the ultimate gift that allows the next phase of this transformation to occur!

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