Forum calls for more school aid, Kokopellis owners criticizing TPD, some Thruway toll plazas could be totally automated

School district officials, teachers, and students criticized the current level of state education funding at a forum at Colonie Central High School Thursday evening that drew hundreds of people. Officials detailed many of the cuts they've had to make because of the elimination of a chunk of their district's funding. The Albany schools superintendent said her district is getting 64 percent of the aid it should be getting under the state's formula for school funding. [TU] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette]

The owners of Kokopellis are disputing the Troy Police Department's characterization of the situation when officers arrived at the club early Saturday morning: "There was a scuffle in our stairway and our security had already restored order and had the situation under control ... before the police arrived." (TPD has released 911 call transcripts this week indicating there was a large fight at the club when officers were called.) The club owners also accused the TPD of trying to "spin" the story to deflect allegations that officers acted inappropriately. The chair of the Troy city council's public safety committee says a meeting next week will examine a range of topics related to the Kokopellis incident -- from whether the club is hosting events it can't handle to whether the police department needs to change how it responds to complaints. [TU] [News10] [Troy Record]

Colonie officials searched a second Central Ave motel -- the Blu-Bell Motel (streetview) -- for code violations and concluded 80 percent of its rooms are uninhabitable. It's owned by the same person as the recently shutdown Skylane Motel. Colonie has been trying to crack down on what the town considers problem motels along Central Ave in recent years, which has contributed to putting one motel property -- with an owner who wants to renovate -- in a sort of limbo. [TU] [Troy Record] [TU]

State Police say two men were injured at the Harriman State Office Campus Thursday night when a tank of a fire suppression substance exploded. The men suffered chemical burns, and one of them had a broken leg. The Albany Fire Department says the tank being removed was part of an outdated fire control system. [NYSP] [TWCN] [News10]

Focus issue for the Jim Fischer, the Republican who appears to be the most likely challenger to Paul Tonko for the 20th Congressional District: the Affordable Care Act. [TU]

Pat Fahy and Hugh Farley are sponsoring bills that would allow school districts to assign students to community service instead of -- or in addition to -- suspension. [TU]

A new public officers ethics law passed by the Albany County legislature in 2011 hasn't been implemented in the time since because... county leadership never appointed anyone to the commission in charge of monitoring public officials. [TU]

The Nassau town supervisor says he's unconvinced by EPA assertions that the treatment system set up to handle water contaminated with toxics from the Dewey Loeffel landfill is effective. [TU]

The Saratoga County Water Authority is looking at spending as much as $10 million to deal with de-contamination byproducts in its water. (The situation has prompted two towns to recently stop buying the authority's water.) [Daily Gazette]

Three state DOT employees are being credited with saving a person from a fiery wreck on Washington Ave Ext this past weekend. [TU]

The Thruway Authority has proposed making some toll plazas completely automated. [TU]

Another tale of FOIL frustration, this time related to the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority. [Saratogian]

Retiring Schenectady fire chief Michael Della Rocco reflected on his 37-year career, which started in a time when there was essentially no training for new firefighters. [TU]

Schenectady County Court judge Karen Drago has decided to retire from the bench when her term ends this year. [TU]

The Lake Geroge boat inspection program -- aimed at keeping more invasive species from getting into the lake -- is scheduled to start May 15. [TU]

Both the town of Brunswick and the Lansingburgh school district expressed concerns about tax breaks requested for a 262-unit apartment complex proposed on Oakwood Ave. [Troy Record]

House for sale on Mariaville Lake wasn't getting offers -> so agent upped the price to $99 million -> attention. (By the way: That's not the most expensive listing ever in New York State.) [TU] [Zillow]

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