Budget agreement reached early, 52 arrested in massive Capital Region drug sweep, 135 cats found in Halfmoon trailer, plans for Colonie Shop Rite approved, Spa City bar owners fight to keep 4AM last call,Indian Ladder Trail open for season

Governor Cuomo and the legislature agreed last night on a $132 billion budget. They're expecting to start voting today and enact the new spending plan on Friday -- two days early. Cuomo says the spending plan is all about jobs. A few key points included: the New York Works Task Force to oversee investment in projects and facilitate job creation, a $1.2 billion plan to rebuild roads and bridges, $102 million in flood control projects and challenge grants for state economic councils and SUNY schools. Absent in the budget is a state health insurance exchange program that would comply with the federal health care overhaul -- a plan Cuomo says he'll enact through executive order. [NYT] [WNYT] [TU] [Capitol Confidential] [YNN]

A $7.8 million dollar "spin up" payment promised to Albany by Andrew Cuomo has been reinstated in the budget after being pulled as a bargaining chip earlier this week. The payment is advance on a payment in lieu of taxes on the Empire Plaza that the state must pay Albany in 2032 and it was considered a crucial to balancing the city budget.[TU]

Lobby groups spent more than $220 million in New York last year -- a $7 million increase from the year before. Leading the pack with $12 million is The Committee to Save New York, which has strongly supported Andrew Cuomo. [NYT]

52 suspects in the Capital Region and Vermont, including members of the gangs The Bloods and Orinial Gangsta Killas, were indicted Tuesday in the largest crackdown in the history of the Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the drug ring "primarily supplied other drug dealers." Arrests were made in connection with a total of 261 drug related charges including the sale of heroin, cocaine and prescription drugs. One of the defendants was allegedly involved in a murder plot to avenge the Death of Richard "Shaddi" Gibbs, who was shot on November 29th. Another started working as an outreach worker form the SNUG anti-violence program on Monday.[WNYT] [YNN] [Record] [TU]

Nineteen of the 135 cats taken from a half-moon trailer park had to be euthanized after the trailer where they resided was declared unlivable. The director of the Saratoga County Animal shelter, where the cats were taken, says it's the most cats they've ever gotten at once.[YNN] [Gazette] [TU]

Colonie planners have approved plans for the 70,000 square foot Shop Rite supermarket to be built on the Otto Cadillac site on Central Avenue. Some residents are still concerned that the store will cause noise and traffic and decrease property values.[YNN]

Dashaul Terry was sentenced yesterday to up to 11 years in jail for his part in the shooting death of his brother Virgil Terry and 17 year old Alphanzo Pittman.[TU]

An Albany man is facing charges for allegedly stealing $12,000 from a Loudon Amerms apartment.[CBS 6]

SAT and ACT cheating schemes, including one where a male student got away with taking the SAT for a female student, have prompted The College Board to increase security and require photo ID when taking the exams.[NYT] [TU]

Saratoga Springs bar and restaurant owners are resistant to moving last call from 4AM to 3AM More than 100 residents, restaurant and bar owners and city officials turned out at a public hearing to debate the issue on Tuesday night. [Saratogian] [Post Star]

Malta is debating whether to offer tax breaks to bring more high tech companies to Luther Forest.[Gazette]

Beahive, Albany's first co-working facility, opens today.[YNN]

A survivor of the Bergen-Belson concentration camp recalled his experiences, for Albany middle school and high school social studies teachers yesterday. [TU]

A Canadian anthropologist is returning a collection of human bone fragments from the French and Indian War to Lake George. [TU]

A Niskayuna resident is looking into starting a food coop in Schenectady. [Gazette]

Indian Ladder Trail at Thacher Park is open for the season.

Comments

The way SAT/ACT are given is just so lax that it's a wonder this has not been reported (or anyone got caught) before. They should release the names of the students who cheated in the SAT/ACT, especially to the colleges they are now attending. That way, disciplinary actions can be taken as well. It's looking like they are not going to suffer any consequences for this legally and that should not be the case.

Does the opening of the Indian Ladder trail also mean the entrance fee will be enforced now? Can someone in AOA answer this? I'd like to get some hiking done before that. Their website indicates the park will open on May 1.

@jb: I've never paid an entrance fee for the Indian Ladder Trail. Is this new?

No, I mean the park. You have to pay entrance per car when you go there right?

Oh great, Albany's idea to spur economic reform and vitality is adding another Shop Rite. Just what we need. Why are we constantly adding grocery stores to an area already over populated with them?

"We" aren't adding grocery stores, the free market is adding grocery stores. Shop Rite obviously sees an economic opportunity in the area. Competition is good.

FYI, the free market would just as soon poison you as give you a nice new supermarket.

This is our home. It behooves us to not let anyone take a big ol' dump in the middle of the livingroom.

@BK - I don't see the need for another Grocery store...why not influence the "Free Market" some and add something different?

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