Dealing with the aftermath of a gruesome day, S Mall Expressway to stay closed until at least August, escaped horse hit by tractor trailer in Saratoga

Matthew Slocum, the man police had wanted in connection with a fatal fire Wednesday in Washington County, has been charged with murder and arson. Police allege Slocum shot three people -- his mother, stepfather, and stepbrother -- and then set their house on fire. Said a victim's family member of Slocum outside town court: "I hope he rots in hell." [Post-Star] [TU] [Saratogian] [Fox23]

State Police say a fifth person -- an infant -- has now died from injuries from the explosion that leveled a house in Washington County Wednesday. The father of three people who died in the explosion alleges that residents had complained to the landlord about leaky gas stove for months. One of the victims was a promising young pastry chef-in-training on a scholarship at the Culinary Institute of America. [Post-Star] [Saratogian] [Post-Star]

After such an unusual and gruesome day -- an alleged murder/arson, a house leveled by an explosion, eight deaths -- emergency responders in Washington County are getting counseling. [WNYT]

Albany County undersheriff -- and, as of now, sole candidate for county sheriff -- Craig Apple resigned yesterday so as not to violate federal law that prohibits local public officials from running for political offices. Apple's resignation leaves the sheriff's office in a bit of a situation -- Apple had been running the office after the former sheriff retired and it now has no one who can sign paychecks or other contracts. But Apple's attorney is asking a county court judge to appoint Apple to fulfill the duties of sheriff. Update: And the request was reportedly granted Friday morning. [WNYT] [TU] [Troy Record] [@JCEvangelist_TU]

The state Department of Transportation says the South Mall Expressway will be closed until at least the end of the month as crews make temporary repairs to two cracked beams that are supporting the road near the Dunn Memorial Bridge. Inspections on Wednesday found 10-foot-long cracks in two "pier cap beams" (the large concrete beams that span the vertical columns holding up the elevated roadway). NYSDOT says it will look at long-term repair options after the temporary repairs have been made. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]

The smoke from fire at a junkyard in Cohoes could be seen from miles away Thursday afternoon (map). The fire department says a scrapped car caught fire. [Troy Record] [TU]

The Schenectady school district will save more than $100k by pushing the start time for its high school 15 minutes earlier, allowing it to consolidate bus runs. [Daily Gazette]

A runaway race horse was struck a tractor trailer Thursday on Route 9 in Saratoga (map). The horse as seriously injured and had to be euthanized. The horse had been scheduled to run at Saratoga in August. [Saratogian] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

If you get caught drinking where it's not allowed at SPAC, you could end up picking up garbage. [Saratogian]

The two Troy women who were found with 80 cats in two cars in Bennington have pleaded guilty animal cruelty. [WTEN]

A Schoharie County man says he has no regrets about rescuing 100 llamas -- though he'd now like people to come adopt them (two by two). [Daily Gazette]

Brian Stratton says cycling is now his passion -- and he's completed a century ride (100 miles). [Troy Record]

People started lining up for the Harry Potter movie at Crossgates at 10 am Thursday (the first screenings were at midnight). [Troy Record]

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Yesterday (Thursday) was one of those days I was really sorry I turned on the news.

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