Cuomo's State of the State gets positive reaction, Schenectady officials say they did what they could in fatal fire, SUNY schools praised for being good values

Andrew Cuomo's State of the State speech, described as both "emphatically pro-business and centrist" and "sobering - and occasionally soaring," appears to have been generally well received. [NYT] [NYDN] [TU]

The secondary storyline at the Capitol yesterday was the formation of an independent caucus by four Democratic senators who say they can't "in good conscience" support the current Democratic leadership in the chamber. (Republicans hold a 32-30 majority.) Jeff Klein, one of the breakaway senators, said Andrew Cuomo is "supportive" of the move. [TU] [AP/WNYT]

Schenectady public safety commissioner Wayne Bennett on how the body of Patrick Sheehan sat in a burned out house for weeks: "When four of the residents say we have no indication anyone else is in there, nobody is reported missing for at least two weeks and the property owner is saying the third floor is vacant, what other conclusion should we have made?" The landlord now denies that he ever told fire crews the third floor of the apartment building was vacant. Sheehan was reported missing when his brother came to the apartment on Christmas Day and saw that the building had been destroyed. Says Sheehan's brother: "Whether they could have saved him in time or not, I don't know. But they should have found his body much earlier." [YNN] [Fox23] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

State police say two of the five gunshot wounds on the man at the center of the hostage situation in Albany last month were self-inflicted (it appears state troopers hit him three times after he lowered his gun at them). [TU]

The Cuomo admin has hired an executive from Wisconsin to become the first director of New York's Medicaid program. (During the State of the State, Cuomo spoke highly of Wisconsin's efforts in making its Medicaid program more efficient.) [TU]

Phillip Riback -- the former pediatric neurologist accused of abusing patients in Colonie -- will be released on time served (5.5 years) after taking a plea deal. He will not be allowed to practice medicine. Riback's original conviction, which at one point included a 48 year sentence, was overturned after the Court of Appeals ruled their were errors during his trial. [CBS6] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

The East Greenbush nurse convicted of raping a 17-year-old patient with developmental disabilities has been tagged as a Level 1 sex offender, the lowest level. She's eligible for parole next month. [TU] [Troy Record]

Hundreds of people attended a candle light vigil in Congress Park for Nicholas Naumkin and Oleg Moston -- the boy who died recently in an accidental shooting, and his grandfather who recently died after being struck by a car. [Saratogian]

Schenectady's board of zoning appeals has approved the plan for a bagel shop to use the historic Gillette House on the edge of the Stockade neighborhood. [Daily Gazette]

Albany police say a pedestrian was hit at the busy New Scotland/Whitehall intersection this morning. [CBS6]

A bunch of SUNY schools -- including UAlbany -- made a list of the best "values" in public colleges. [TU]


Correction: it was Pat Sheehan who died in the fire. His older brother Frank is quoted. I knew them both in High School, and they both known as good guys. My best wishes go out to them and their family.

Editors: Fixed. Thanks for catching that.

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