Sheriff's office says skydiving death was suicide, new state initiatives for flood recovery, big development project in Bethlehem close to getting go-ahead

The Saratoga County Sheriff's office has ruled the skydiving death in Northumberland a suicide. An investigator says the Duanesburg man left behind a note, and a skydiving instructor who saw the fall says the man intentionally disconnected himself from his parachute. In 2008, a Schenectady man committed suicide by jumping out of a plane without a parachute -- he landed on a house in Duanesburg. [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian] [Post-Star] [Daily Gazette 2008]

Andrew Cuomo announced a group of new initiatives aimed to help recovery efforts for Irene and Lee flooding. Among them: a temporary jobs program that will deploy people to assist with cleanup efforts. Cuomo says the statewide damage estimate from the storms is $1 billion -- and could go higher still. [Cuomo admin] [TU] [Fox23]

Cuomo's handling of the flooding situation has pushed his popularity to its highest level yet in the Q Poll. Despite 70 percent of people in a recent Siena poll saying they're concerned about future storms, more than 60 percent say they haven't done anything to prepare better for next time. [State of Politics] [TU]

Classes have finally started in the Middleburgh school district in Schoharie County. Five feet of water and mud caused more than $4 million in damage at the district's middle and high school. The Windham-Ashland-Jewett school district in Greene County still hasn't started its year, and is now aiming for next week. [Fox23] [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

A Troy Record/Grammercy poll reports that Democrat Lou Rosamilia and Republican Carmella Mantello are essentially tied in the race for Troy mayor -- with almost a quarter of voters still undecided. [Troy Record]

Andrew Cuomo said yesterday his administration currently has "no firm plans" for expanding gambling in the state -- but it's an issue being looked at. [State of Politics]

There's a push by a group of state legislators (including Roy McDonald) and local officials for the state to take over counties' share of Medicaid funding. In many counties -- Saratoga and Rensselaer among them -- Medicaid spending makes up a majority of the county budget. And as Medicaid costs continue to grow, county leaders say they don't know how they can fit the costs under the new tax cap. [TU] [YNN] [WNYT]

An Albany common councilman has proposed requiring the city's fire and police retirees to pay for 10 percent of their healthcare coverage -- and 25 percent for their families (retirees currently pay nothing). The president of the city's firefighters' union called the proposal a "blatant attempt to hurt city employees." [WTEN] [TU]

Mae D'Agostino, a Latham attorney, was sworn in yesterday as a federal judge -- she's the first woman to sit on the federal bench in Albany. [TU]

Possibly too clever headline of the day: "Pediatric radiologist 'sees through' defense's allegations in Joseph McElheny trial." [Troy Record]

The Clearview Center and Equinox -- which organizes the huge Thanksgiving dinner for people in need -- are merging. [WNYT]

The craft store chain Michael's has settled a deceptive advertising case with the state attorney general's office -- and some local schools will be getting supplies as a result. [NYS AG] [CBS6]

The Vista mixed use development in Slingerlands -- which very possibly will include a PriceRite -- is close to getting the OK to move forward with construction (map). [TU]

Flooding has displaced many rodents and other pests -- and it appears they're finding their way into homes. [YNN]

In Rotterdam Junction librarians are trying to save rare historical documents damaged by flooding by freezing them. [Daily Gazette]


Wow, suicide by skydiving, that's... wow.

> After receiving a report of a skydiver who had landed without
> his parachute, deputies found Raecke deceased upon their arrival
> at 1693 Route 32. The official cause of death was later determined
> to be blunt force trauma.

Good guess, guys.

Vista development in Slingerlands

Don't we have enough empty office spaces already?

@Lu, yeah, that former Blue Cross building between 85 and New Scotland Rd comes to mind. Has anything been done with that building?

I'll third the vacant office space comment. How much sprawl and waste can we handle in this region before people understand the damage that's being done?!

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