Concerns about city of Albany money in state budget, Troy police respond to rash of violence, massive gang bust in Albany, man arrested for 59th time, worry about apple crop

The provision for a $7.8 million "spin up" on the state's payment in lieu of taxes to the city of Albany for the ESP is not in the current version of the state Senate's budget bills. Without the advance on the state's payments, the city would be facing a significant hole in its budget. Update Tuesday afternoon: Albany councilman Richard Conti reports the money has been restored in a new bill. [TU] [@RichardConti2]

It looks like voting on the state budget bills could start Wednesday, meaning the budget could be wrapped up by the April 1 deadline (or earlier). One potential roadblock to getting the budget finished -- the establishment of a federally mandated health insurance exchange -- is being sidestepped and could be established by an executive order. If the budget is finished by the deadline, it would be just the 8th on time budget since 1975. [TU] [NYT] [YNN] [AP/Troy Record]

The Troy Police Department says it's addressing the recent surge in violent crimes with an increased emphasis on community policing -- including more officers on foot patrol and increased deployments in crime hot spots. The TPD is also filling out its tactical team and adding a K-9 unit. [WTEN] [Troy Record] [TU] [Fox23]

Law enforcement agencies were in the process of arresting more than 50 alleged gang members in Albany Tuesday morning. The arrests are targeting drug operations in the South End. [WTEN] [TU]

A probable product of the budget process: a new state agency that would merge the state Division of the Lottery and the state Racing and Wagering Board into a state "Gaming Commission." The new agency would be responsible for oversight of full casino gambling in the state (if that's eventually approved) and... bingo. [Daily Gazette] [State of Politics]

A group of state legislators wore hoodies in the legislative chambers yesterday as a show of support for Trayvon Martin's family and a protest against "demonizing stereotypes." [Fox23] [TU]

Schenectady police have arrested a man, who already served time for manslaughter, for the stabbing near the YMCA last week. [Daily Gazette]

Albany County prosecutors have asked for the forgery charges against former county legislator Brian Scavo to be dismissed after a handwriting expert says the documents in question may not have been forged. [TU]

A company that owns a large group of student rental properties near RPI has filed suit alleging the school tried to undermine the company by warning students about the company's financial problems. [Daily Gazette] [The Poly]

A Malta town councilman is arguing that companies that locate in the Luther Forest tech park should be allowed to get property tax breaks, which are currently prohibited by zoning. [Saratogian]

East Greenbush police say an Albany man was arrested for the 59th time in his life Friday when he was nabbed for allegedly stealing $675 in baby formula from CVS. So familiar is he to police that officers were able to ID him by sight off the surveillance video. (And by the way: baby formula is routinely ripped off.) [EGPD] [WNYT] [Fox23]

The DEC alleges that two men tore up a mile-long stretch of the Taconic Crest Trail in Rensselaer County with their trucks -- and then called 911 when they got stuck in the middle of the night. [TU]

The extraordinarily mild winter resulted in big savings for municipalities on road salt, plowing, and maintenance. [Daily Gazette]

The (seasonably) cold weather this week could cause problems for the apple crop because trees are already budding. [WTEN]

The infectious horse disease that closed the Saratoga racino track has spread to more horses there -- an official called it "a very tense situation right now" because there are almost 200 horses at the track. [Post-Star] [Saratogian]

A problem with FiOS TV over the weekend caused subscribers in the Capital Region to miss NCAA tournament games and the season premiere of Mad Men. [TU]

Money from the recent "On Deck Saratoga" fundraiser has gone to repair the bowl at the Saratoga skate park. [Saratogian]

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I ride every day to work, and also after work for exercise. I love the concept of being a person who happens to ride a bike. There's a level of bike riding, with the high performance gear and sleek clothing, that makes riding seem like its not for everyone. I try to avoid markers like that, and always wear regular clothing/shoes/backpack with dumpy-looking bike. One concession is bike gloves.

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