This just in: it's snowy and very cold, federal safety warning about crude oil shipments, McLaughlin leaning away from gubernatorial run, dog rescued from the Hudson

It snowed a lot. And it's cold. The storm dropped 10-12 inches of snow around the Capital Region, and overnight temps dipped below zero. The Thruway was closed between Exit 24 and New York City over night because of the snow (it re-opened this morning). [NWS] [NWS] [TU] [Cuomo admin]

Today's forecast: high temperature of 7 degress, low tonight of -11. [NWS]

Many municipalities around the Capital Region have declared snow emergencies, including Albany (starts 8 pm Friday night with even side parking). The city of Troy, which often faces criticism for not having a snow emergency plan, is still working on formulating such a plan, according to a city spokesperson -- and a snow "push back" was planned for the central business district early Friday morning. [City of Albany] [Troy Record] [News10]

Federal regulators have issued a warning that Bakken crude oil -- for which the Port of Albany has become a major node in its shipping network -- "may be more flammable than traditional heavy crude oil." A train carrying the oil crashed in North Dakota this week, sending a fiery plume into the air. [TU] [US PHMSA] [ABC News]

Moreau's town board is supporting a push to site a casino at the Mount McGregor Correctional Facility, slated for closure later this year. The Saratoga racino (er, Saratoga Casino and Raceway) is thought to be the frontrunner if a Capital Region casino is sited in Saratoga County -- but Moreau's supervisor points out that a majority of his town's resident voted to approve full casinos in the state, and a majority of Saratoga Springs voted against it. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Rensselaer County state Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, a Republican who's been a frequent critic of the Cuomo admin, says he probably won't end up jumping into the electoral pool for governor -- because he can't raise the money necessary for a robust challenge to Andrew Cuomo. McLaughlin says it appears the Republican party establishment is circling around Westchester County exec Rob Astorino as its chosen gubernatorial candidate. [TU] [TWCN] [State of Politics]

Two more women have stepped forward with allegations of sexual harassment against state Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak, a Democrat from the Buffalo area. [TU]

State officials want to know why it took J.P. Morgan Chase almost three months to notify them about a security breach involving pre-paid debit cards issued to people who receive food stamp and unemployment benefits from the state. [NYS DOL] [TU]

The state education department announced it's gotten a waiver from the feds to eliminate "double testing" in math for about 60,000 7th and 8th graders. Testing -- and the number of tests given to students -- have been a big issue around the state over the past year. [NYSED] [TU]

State regulators have given to the OK to the new $1 billion state "Green Bank," which aims to provide financing for renewable energy projects. [TU]

The former campaign manager for Monica Arias Miranda, who ran in the Democratic primary for the state Senate 46th (the seat eventually won by Cecilia Tkaczyk), is facing a harassment charge for allegedly sending Arias Miranda messages that contained racist statements and an ethnic slur. Brian Young says the allegations are "absolutely untrue" and says he believes the allegations are retaliation for a dispute of over payments for services. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Among the last acts of the outgoing Hoosick town supervisor: attempting to tie up a majority of the town's fund balance so it wouldn't be available to the incoming supervisor. [Troy Record]

The town of Ballston is facing the possible loss of future federal funding because the town has not performed audits required by some of the federal grants -- the outgoing supervisor blames political fighting with the town board. [Saratogian]

The Mechanicville city council approved a city budget this week that includes a 17.7 percent tax increase. The state comptroller's office has criticized the city for "extremely poor" financial record keeping in recent years. [Daily Gazette] [NYS OSC 2013-02-01]

A big issue this year for the Rensselaer County legislature, according to its re-elected chairman: expansion of the county sewer system. [TU]

Among the infrastructure projects in Colonie this year: the start of an 11-year sewage system upgrade. [Troy Record]

Malta has approved the construction of two more roundabouts, located near Exit 11 (map). [TU]

Former Schenectady police chief Mark Chaires has resigned as exec director of the Hamilton Hill Arts Center. [TU]

A small cap mutual fund run out of offices on Western Ave in Guilderland now has $223 million under management -- more than double the amount from a year ago. [TU]

A rescue crew pulled a dog from the Hudson River in Pleasantdale after it fell through the ice Thursday night. [News10]

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