It's still hot, opening day at the Track, unflattering picture of SUNY Cobleskill, cooking oil spill closes street, celebration of Jerry Jennings

The forecasted high for today: 99 (87 on Saturday). And Thursday set a record for the highest low temperature for the date: 77. Air conditioning is pushing the state's electricity usage toward near a record level, and on Thursday Andrew Cuomo asked New Yorkers to conserve electricity to avoid power outages. And National Grid has asked large users of electricity -- such as GlobalFoundries -- to pull back on their usage. The city of Schenectady is asking residents to conserve water. [NWS] [NWS] [Cuomo admin] [Troy Record] [Daily Gazette]

Today is opening day at the Saratoga Race Course. And NYRA says the races will go on, despite the heat. How the Track is dealing with the heat for the horses: more water, more veterinarians. [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette]

The state's unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in June, the lowest mark since February 2009, the state Department of Labor reported. The Albany metro area had more public sector jobs in June compared to the same month the year before -- the first time that's happened since 2009. [NYS DOL] [TU]

Andrew Cuomo is pushing a plan in which regions around the state would get to decide how to spend their portions of $500 million in federal disaster recovery funding. The local plans will have to take into account the threat of future flooding. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

The graduation rate for Schenectady High School -- perennially one of the lowest in the Capital Region -- was up 7 percentage points for the 2012-2013 school year, and summer school Regents exams could push the rate over 60 percent. [Daily Gazette] Earlier: Capital Region high school graduation rates 2012

UAlbany School of Business Weekend MBA ad 2012 summer

About 100 people were evacuated in Watervliet Thursday because of a gas leak. [Troy Record]

The sixth of seven teens charged in the situation surrounding the murder of Takim Smith in Troy has pleaded guilty to first degree robbery. [Troy Record] [TU]

A trio of people in Utica are facing child sex trafficking, as well as prostitution and drug charges, for a situation in which authorities allege they preyed on a 16-year-old runaway from Albany. [TU]

State Police say troopers found more than two pounds of heroin in a car stopped on I-87 in Bethlehem. In a separate case, State Police say troopers found more than seven pounds of pot in a car stopped on I-90 in Albany. [NYSP] [NYSP]

A fire hit three homes on Orange Street in Albany Thursday. [News10]

There are currently court orders in place for the force feeding of four inmates in New York State. [TU]

Set for trial this summer: The case of Whiskey the horse from Greenfield, either an animal of "vicious propensity" or "calm, docile, well-trained and sociable." [TU]

Testimony and documents in the case of the former SUNY Cobleskill dean who says he was dumped from his position after he blew the whistle on the school's admission practices don't paint a good picture of the institution. [TU]

Schenectady police say a recent scam involves a call from the "National Grid Disconnect Department" and an urgent push for payment over the phone on a prepaid card. (There is no "National Grid Disconnect Department.") [TU]

Political campaign fundraising is now forbidden at the Saratoga Race Course, Belmont, and Aqueduct (though there's a loophole, of course). [TU]

The state Department of Labor has decided that a Princetown town judge was OK to collect unemployment benefits after the town removed her from the position of clerk in her own court. [Daily Gazette]

A resolution may be near in the dispute over the PILOT for 677 Broadway in Albany. [TU]

The part that knocked the local NWS doppler radar off-line: a gear that rotates the radar dome. [NWS] [TU]

The Daily Gazette has a new publisher. [Daily Gazette]

Non-GloFo chip companies are apparently now trying to poach chip fab talent from this area. [TU]

A cooking oil spill closed a section of Livingston Ave in Albany Thursday (map). [TU]

The "Cemetery Dog" has been reunited with his family. [News10]

Thursday's Alive at Five show was a celebration of Jerry Jennings, and "a night of a thousand and one tan jokes." [TU]

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