Snowy apocalypse fizzles, Cuomo takes victory lap, Albany planning board sued over church, peace sign billboard mystery revealed

Mother Nature was just joking about the Icy, Snowy Apocalypse. The forecast for the rest of today calls for... rain. [NWS]

Following passage of the on-time state budget, Andrew Cuomo took a video victory lap. The thing about making budget cuts, though -- there's less money to go around. [State of Politics] [NYT]

Good government groups are irked about the way public access to the Assembly and Senate chambers was closed off during the budget protests this week. One group is considering filing suit over the matter. [Daily Gazette] [State of Politics]

The man accused of hitting a Senate staffer with a cymbal during the protest has been told to never re-enter the Capitol. [Fox23] [YNN]

The final version of the state budget includes about $2 million in VLT aid for Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County. [Post-Star]

The former New York State prisons official accused of skipping work on Fridays for 17 years taken a plea deal that will that includes six months in jail. The official headed up the system's food program -- so, uh, bon appetit. [TU] [Daily Politics]

Cobleskill police say they haven't identified a specific cause of death for Elizabeth Corneilus, a SUNY Cobleskill student and 2009 Saratoga Springs High School grad -- but they don't believe foul play was involved. [TU] [Saratogian]

Albany police say a man was shot in the leg in West Hill yesterday afternoon (map). Said a neighborhood woman: "Drugs or kids and guns and fighting, this is what you get. Every block. Not just this block but every block." [YNN] [Fox23]

A state appeals court has reversed the conviction of a man found guilty of a murder in Albany's West Hill neighborhood in 2001. The court ruled the man should get a new trial because he didn't get a chance to confront a witness at trial. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

An Albany man has taken a plea deal in the case of an alleged pot dealer who went missing after police say he was abducted outside an alleged stash house in the New Scotland neighborhood last summer (map). [TU]

The Albany man police say fatally stabbed a man at a club in February has been picked up in Staten Island. [Fox23] [TU]

The owner of Beverly's in Saratoga has taken a plea deal on a child pornography charge. [TU]

The former NYC police detective accused of stalking a girl in Albany last year has been acquitted. [TU]

A state appeals court has ruled that Colonie's public works commissioner -- Jack Cunningham, the former Bethlehem supervisor -- was appointed improperly because he doesn't live in the town. Town supervisor Paula Mahan says the town board will pass a law that will allow Cunningham to keep the job. [Troy Record] [TU]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has sued the City of Albany's planning board for rejecting its application to knock down a former Catholic school on New Scotland Ave so it could be a church. [TU]

Among the provisions the state says Saratoga County must include in its new solid waste management plan: a state-approved plan for recycling (the county currently doesn't have one). [TU]

Rotterdam Democrats are lining up behind Harry Buffardi for supervisor -- not incumbent Frank Del Gallo, who ran as a Democrat. [Daily Gazette]

The state Racing and Wagering Board has ruled that Ernest Paragallo, the breeder convicted of neglecting 177 horses at a farm in Greene County, has been banned from participating in the state's racing industry -- even as a track spectator. [Saratogian] [YNN]

The long, snowy winter has been hard on wildlife. [Post-Star]

John McLoughlin, who recently left WTEN, is joining WNYT part-time. He'll also be writing a column for the Daily Gazette. [Troy Record] [Daily Gazette]

The story behind the mysterious peace sign billboard on Route 9 in Wilton. [Post-Star]

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I've found that anecdotes from neighbors, friends, or internet "strangers" can only take you so far. If you haven't already, I strongly recommend you get out there and visit these schools during the school year, during the school day to get a feel for things. In the last few months, my wife and I have made a series of visits to our local elementary, middle + high-school. During those visits, we had the chance to talk to multiple teachers and see the kids "in action". It was very VERY telling in a lot of ways - both good and bad.

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