Several area post offices face possible closure, the state tax system is confusing, Saratoga County's strict sex offender law struck down, sweet corn season

Fourteen Capital Region post offices are on a list of possible closures -- including locations in Albany, Schenectady, Lansingburgh, Coeymans and north and south Bethlehem are on the possible chopping block. (One of the Albany locations was cited by the USPS as an alternative to city locations that were closed in the last round.) The postal service says it will be notifying residents of public meetings regarding possible closures. Nationwide, the Postal Service is considering shuttering more than 3,200 of its 36,000 locations in a effort to cover an $8 billion loss last year. [Fox23] [WTEN] [TU] [WNYT] [NYT]

Capital Region residents followed Barack Obama's suggestion and deluged local Congressional reps' offices with calls about the debt ceiling and federal spending. Chris Gibson's office says it needed 12 people answering phones to handle all the calls. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

The state's tax system is "inefficient, confusing, unfair and outdated," according to a survey by an org that studies tax issues for businesses. The survey granted granted New York a grade of F -- above only Delaware, Illinois and Pennsylvania. [TU]

The city of Albany is forcing a couple to remove a totem pole from in front of their Jefferson Street house because the city says it's on the city's right of way (map). [TU]

Eric Schneiderman, New York State's attorney general, has asked a federal court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (the law prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages). [NYT]

A Saratoga County judge struck down the county's law prohibiting all sex offenders from living and working within 1,000 feet of places such as schools, ruling that a less-restrictive state law pre-empted the county law. [Saratogian]

The National Weather Service says a "microburst" hit Colonie yesterday with winds as high as 85 miles per hour. (Photo of damage on Wolf Road.) The Home Depot in Latham was briefly evacuated last night after lightning struck the building. And a Ravena family says sparks shot out of the outlets in their home when lightning struck close by. [YNN] [@sue215] [WNYT] [WNYT]

"People with knowledge of the matter" say the recently, and abruptly, retired head of the State Police aviation unit will soon be arrested on charges he allegedly sold a GPS unit that belonged to the agency. [TU]

The Green Island Power Authority, which provides electricity to the village, is looking to raise rates for the first time in 24 years. [TU]

A fifth Troy High School student has been arrested in connection with a gang assault that happened at Elmwood Cemetery last month. [Troy Record]

Lake George parasailing companies will now have to remain grounded when the National Weather Service issues an alert, under a new rule passed by the Lake George Park Commission. The rule was passed in the wake of an accident last month that left two parasailors stranded in trees during high winds. [Post Star]

The state has decided to allow ambulances to use blue lights in addition to the red, based on studies that indicate that drivers react faster to blue lights. [Fox23]

The pilot who died when his Piper Cherokee crashed in Berne Monday was an Ohio man headed to the South Albany Airport for a business conference. [Troy Record]

Farther afield: Bennington's high school has banned students from wearing pajamas to school. [AP/CBS6]

It's sweet corn season! [Daily Gazette]

Comments

I passed that totem pole while it was lying down, partially covered with a tarp about a month ago, and I thought, "oh cool, look at that." I really don't understand why the city would have a problem with it, when based on the pictures, it's definitely not in anyone's way. Plus, that block could use a little sprucing up, and the city should not be penalizing people that are actually trying to make things look nice. I mean, c'mon!! I don't get it at all.

Re: Totem Pole

So these people knew it was against code, put it up anyway, asked the city knowing they would say no and still put it up? Then the city says take it down and now the TU is complaining for them because a few people think it's cool?

At first, I was kind of on their side but then I read this gem: "She and a friend burned tobacco and sage in front of the totem pole this week while adorning it with turkey feathers, a ceremony she said they hoped would bring protection and help."

Ehhhhh take it down guys. Sure, it might not be hurting anyone but you need to follow the rules, just like everyone else.

I'd like to know who the neighbor was who called the city and got the stop work order. Because I would like them to make a few calls for me about real code violations. The ones all over the city that people call about all the time and nothing happens.

As usual, selective code enforcement at the whim of the politically connected. As far as real code enforcement, perhaps Jennings will run for re-election with that as part of his platform for a fifth time and then do nothing about it once elected. Anyone remember the city's election year "Block by Block" program? To download their latest report on that program, go here http://www.albanyny.org/Government/Departments/Police/BlockbyBlock.aspx Of course, the last report was from 2008, right before the last election.

Hello folks,

I think you need to double check the name of the NYS Attorney General

Editors: Erp, we inadvertently left off the "man." Thanks for the heads-up.

If they affixed it to the front of their house without propping it on the sidewalk would that be acceptable? It really doesn't look like it juts out that much.

The post office thing is interesting. Having them in both the Capitol and the grand underground strip mall that is the Concourse always seemed wasteful to me, but I didn't complain when I was working in the Plaza and could just mail something from the Concourse on my way to the cafeteria. But leave the capitol one open, with its classic eagle PO Boxes.

When USPS representatives told folks in my neighborhood that the Pine Hills branch was closing, they soothed the outrage by saying "use the capitol or academy station." Now those stations are pegged to close.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution, known as the Postal Clause or the Postal Power, empowers Congress "To establish Post Offices and post Roads". That was one of the few powers of Congress when the Constitution was written. Government may not have to be big, but they have to provide basic services to people.

It's a total environmental justice issue that new Post offices are opening up in the suburbs, where people have to, and often do, drive to them. What's another mile? Yet, here we are in the city, where half the population doesn't own a car or drive and the powers that be decide it's OK to pull critical services?

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