State Police: fatal home explosion caused by spark and propane, woman falls off roof, both hands on the wheel please, Duffy cracks about Jennings' tan

State Police say the Salem home explosion that killed six people was caused by a spark from a switch on the home's water heater ignited propane in the house. Police say there were two propane tanks that served the house -- but couldn't say from tank the gas had escaped. The water heater was located in the basement and it's likely the escaped gas settled there before being ignited by the spark. People in the house reported smelling gas before the explosion. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Post-Star] [Saratogian]

A man drove his car into Saratoga Lake yesterday as he allegedly ran from police who had been responding to a call about a domestic incident at The Track. The flaw in this plan: the man didn't know what to do after reportedly "flooring" the car into the lake (the reader-submitted photo to the Saratogian of the man standing on his car while police watch is photo of the day). According to the witnesses, the man -- who's from Kentucky -- said to police: "I can't swim a lick. I'm going down with the car." The man was arrested after being pulled from the lake. [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian] [TU] [Post-Star]

The school tax rate in Albany will actually be going down for 2011-2012. [TU]

More arguing and finger pointing among leaders in Troy over where city hall will end up (still not settled). Said Harry Tutunjian to the city council at one point during the meeting: "You can't do anything right." [Troy Record] [TU]

The Troy library board has proposed a 15 percent tax increase. [TU]

New York State AG Eric Schneiderman has subpoenaed three energy companies as part of an investigation into whether they misled investors about how much natural gas is in wells in New York. On regulation: the Cuomo admin's advisory group on hydrofracking met for the first time yesterday in its effort to figure out how to regulate the industry. [NYT] [TU]

Schenectady police say a man was found dead in a vacant building in Hamilton Hill (map). They say it's not clear how the man died, but it doesn't appear to be suspicious. [WTEN] [TU]

Albany police say a woman fell from the roof a 4-story building on Madison Ave near Washington Park early Friday morning (map). It's not clear what happened, but they say it appears to be an accident. The woman survived and is awaiting surgery. [APD press release below]

The number of closed home sales in the Capital Region was up last month compared to July 2010 -- but only because last July was unusually slow. [TU]

Like the rest of the country, the Capital Region is losing retail jobs -- and they may not be coming back. [TU]

Allan Riga, The 60-year-old Albany man convicted of assaulting his 74-year-old neighbor with a garden hose, was sentenced to two years in prison. The assault occurred after the older man had stopped his car to find out why Riga had sprayed his car with water. Prosecutors had basically argued that Riga was the neighborhood jerk. [WNYT] [WTEN] [TU]

State Police say they arrested a Saratoga man for masturbating as he drove up the Northway -- on two separate occasions. [Post-Star] [WTEN]

Neighbors of a vacant house in Schenectady say they've battling roaches from the property: "There's a line at night. You could see them walking over the street to come visit us." [Daily Gazette]

Even Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy makes jokes about Jerry Jennings' tan. [TU]

____

APD Press Release

Albany Police and Fire Departments responded to a EMS call at 462 Madison Avenue early this morning for a 39 year old woman who apparently fell off the roof of the four story apartment building.

Officers and firefighters arrived at the scene just after midnight after receiving a 911 call from the victim's boyfriend. He had come home last night and initially couldn't find his girlfriend, Patricia Frechette, in the apartment.

There is a hatch in their apartment that leads to the roof and he went up to the roof to look for her and when he looked over the edge he saw here lying in the alleyway between 462 and 460 Madison Avenue.

Paramedics on the scene immobilized her and had her transported to Albany Medical Center. She is being treated for multiple fractures, a damaged bladder and bleeding on her brain. She is stable condition and awaiting surgery this morning.

Building and Code officials are on the scene this morning.

It has not been determined at this point how the victim fell. At this time it appears to be accidental.

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I had the pleasure of experiencing protected bike lanes in Montreal recently. It really made for a fast, efficient way to move both bike & car traffic. As a biker, it was easy to see how to navigate a busy road, and it was nice to have a bit of buffer/safety from traffic (or just knowing that the possibility of a car swerving in to you was incredibly low because of these features). As a driver, it was nice to see all of the bikes in one area, so that you don't have the errant biker who decides to blow through most of the traffic signals the wrong way down a street.

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