Rensselaer County clerk sealing all pistol permits, Vito Lopez resigns, UAlbany students fighting suspensions over house parties

st patricks watervliet 2013-05-17

What remained of St. Patrick's in Watervliet Friday evening.

Citing cost and lack of staff, Rensselaer County clerk Frank Merola says he's sealing all pistol permit records in the county so that his office doesn't have to deal with keeping track of which people opted out of having a public record under the NY SAFE Act. Merola describes the opt-out provision as an unfunded mandate from the state. He says his office has received about 2,000 opt-out forms. [TU] [News10]

Niskayuna and South Colonie are among the few school districts statewide looking to get voters to approve a tax cap override Tuesday. Local school districts are continuing to cut positions in an attempt to balance budgets and fit under the tax cap. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Assemblyman Vito Lopez resigned effective this morning following multiple calls for his expulsion from the Assembly because of sexual harassment allegations. Lopez says his resignation is not an admission of wrongdoing and he did it for "for the sake of my family, for the sake of my close friends and for the sake of my own health." The situation has also cast a critical light on Sheldon Silver. [State of Politics] [TU] [NY Post] [NYT]

Said one of the attendees at the memorial service for the father and three children killed recently in a Schenectady house fire, which authorities say was arson, trying to make sense of the situation: "It's senseless." Said one of the service's speakers to the crowd: "It's a sad day for us when a child doesn't meet his first birthday. It shouldn't happen like that. But it does happen like that." [TU] [Daily Gazette]

UAlbany School of Business Weekend MBA ad 2012 summer

There are questions about state Senator John Sampson -- already charged with embezzlement by the feds -- and a situation that involves a roughly $40k member item not currently accounted for and a liquor store in Brooklyn. [TU]

The state Inspector General's office has been looking into a "rogue" unit at the state tax department that was involved with investigations of illegal cigarette trafficking. [TU]

The recent deaths of three young adults -- friends from Rotterdam -- highlights the growing problem of prescription drug abuse. [TU]

Two UAlbany students are challenging in court their school suspensions following arrests earlier this year for hosting off-campus house parties -- the students say the punishment is disproportionate. [Daily Gazette]

A longtime Albany Democratic Party observer on city mayoral candidates Kathy Sheehan and Corey Ellis, neither of whom have any connections to the old-school machine: "All these unknowns now are running for mayor. They're not part of the party tradition. It's kind of the end of an era." [TU]

Point of friction between Malta and the Luther Forest Tech Campus: Who should pay the roughly $400k/year bill to maintain roads in the campus? [Saratogian]

The man accused of running out of a Guilderland jewelry store with a $40,000 diamond in April has pleaded guilty. [Albany County DA]

Another cost-saving strategy in a lot of local school districts: cutting freshman sports. [TU]

One of the advocates who had been pushing to save St. Patrick's, on what it represented in Watervliet's history: "For over a century, people looked up and were able to see something extraordinary. There was a work of art in our midst the likes of which we will never see again." [TU]

The NanoCollege's first class of undergrads graduated this past weekend. [TU]

A conversation between a 76-year-old and two middle schoolers in Schenectady. [Daily Gazette]

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They should turn Maiden Lane into a stepped pedestrian street, like they have all over Europe. We don't need to reinvent the wheel, they do steep small streets pretty well across the pond, let's look for some precedents... Human scaled lighting is critical too, that goes for the whole city. And we don't need paint on the road, just signage perpendicular to the flow of traffic at the bridge entrance. I also echo the call for basic, ongoing maintenance to our current infrastructure. How about some weed removal in sidewalks, etc?

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