Albany metro among nation's leaders in residents with grad degrees, court orders DA's office employee reinstated, school board president arrested, firefighters lift SUV off man

The Albany metro area ranks #8 in the nation for the percent of residents who have a graduate degree (among the largest 100 metros), according to data from the Brookings Institution. Yes, that's a good thing. [TU] [Brookings] [NYT]

A state appellate court has ordered former Albany County DA's office director of administration Richard Arthur re-hired with back pay and benefits in ruling he was ousted in a process that included multiple procedural errors. Arthur was fired in 2009 following a county audit that concluded he had displayed a "total disregard for fiscal management." [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Jerry Jennings says he had discussions with Albany police about the spa busted for an alleged act of prostitution -- but he didn't know the spa was owned by the wife of Times Union investigations editor Bob Port, and "I didn't even know the guy's name. I never heard of him." (Port alleged in the New York Times last week that the spa was targeted by law enforcement and Jennings' administration because of TU coverage.) [TU] [NYT]

The Cuomo admin announced it's getting rid of "outdated, obsolete and non-functioning trains that have been sitting idle in a weed filled industrial park in Glenville," as well as millions of dollars worth of unneeded train equipment being stored in a Rotterdam warehouse. The admin says the state was spending $150k a year to store the stuff. The trains are leftover from a $70 million Albany-to-NYC high-speed rail plan started in the late 90s that never panned out. Some of the warehoused parts for the special trains were never even opened until last month. Said state operations director Howard Glaser: "These trains may be the most expensive planters in the world." [Cuomo admin] [NYT] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

SPAC and law enforcement officials reiterated the ban on bringing alcohol to the venue and say they'll be patrolling the parking lot for people drinking ahead of shows. [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]

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Janet DiFiore -- the Westchester County DA and the head of JCOPE, the state's new ethics panel -- said yesterday she's "done nothing wrong on anyone's behalf let alone someone who was an employee for me." (DiFiore's reportedly under investigation for possibly having tried to set up welfare benefits for her family's live-in maid.) Continued JCOPE drama: photographers at yesterday's meeting were asked to leave after the panel's spokesman decided the room was becoming to crowded. [State of Politics] [NY Post] [TU]

Six Occupy Albany protestors were arrested yesterday after refusing to leave Dean Skelos' office at the Capitol while pushing for a minimum wage increase. [AP/Fox23]

A state appellate court in Albany has ruled that falsely saying someone is gay is no longer defamation. [AP/Troy Record]

A Schenectady man who pleaded guilty to being involved in an execution-style shooting at a bar in Mont Pleasant 2010 has been sentenced to 13 years in prison. Said the judge during sentencing: "Everyone thinks they can handle the situation by out-manning each other and shooting each other. ... It's got to stop." [TU] [Daily Gazette]

The 18-year-old at the wheel in the crash in Providence in January that killed another teen who was riding along has pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide. Data from the truck's "black box" indicated the vehicle was going 98 mph before it hit a utility pole. [TU] [Saratogian]

The president of the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk school board was arrested last week and charged with aggravated harassment. Also charged with aggravated harassment: the father of the school board's vice president. The Albany County DA's office say the two men were on the receiving end of each other's alleged harassment. The district's superintendent says "no action will be taken by the board until the appropriate legal process has played out." [Spotlight] [TU] [WNYT] [News10]

The Saratoga County DA's office has reiterated its offer of immunity to anyone with information about what happened to Alexander Grant, the Boston College student who died after what appears to be a bizarre night in Saratoga in March 2011. [Saratoga County DA]

A man was seriously injured after he fell 45 feet from a cliff at the Poestenkill Gorge in Troy. The area is a no-swimming zone. [WNYT] [YNN]

What not to do while drunk, Troy edition. [TU]

Albany firefighters saved a man this week by lifting a two-ton SUV off him -- without using any equipment. [TU]

The Best Western Sovereign Hotel across from UAlbany has closed again after another outbreak of Legionnaire's disease. Showerheads may be to blame for the re-emergence of the disease. [TU] [YNN]

A restaurant in West Coxsackie has been busted by the DEC for allegedly serving fish caught from the Hudson. [TU]

A bear has apparently been on an extended visit to Rotterdam. [News10]

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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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