Allegations of "disturbing and disgusting" horse training practices, new Albany casino plan floated, out Wegman-ing Wegmans

The state Gaming Commission says it's investigating allegations of horse abuse by a prominent trainer at the Saratoga Race Course. The allegations surfaced as part of a PETA undercover investigation at Saratoga and Churchill Downs in Kentucky. Among the allegations: horses were given unnecessary drugs and forced to race while in pain, and electrical devices were used to shock horses to run faster. The trainer highlighted the PETA investigation, Steve Asmussen, has trained horses that have won more than $200 million in prize money. Said the equine medical director for the state Office of Veterinary Affairs in a press release: "The behavior depicted in the undercover video and supporting materials is disturbing and disgusting." [NYS Gaming Commission] [PETA] [NYT] [TU]

The latest possible entry into the pool for the Capital Region casino: a $300 million project on land near Thruway Exit 23 in the city of Albany. [TU]

The UAlbany men's basketball team lost to Florida 67-55 in the NCAA tournament -- but the Great Danes put up a good fight in their second consecutive year in the tournament. The TU's Pete Iorizzo: "Probably [UAlbany head coach Will] Brown has been underappreciated too long." [AOA] [TU]

A look at some of the prominent issues as the state budget process heads into crunch time. [AP/Saratogian]

Fifty-nine people were arrested after protesting the Cuomo admin's proposed budget during a demonstration/sit-in inside the Capitol on Thursday. [TU] [News10]

The state's management/confidential employees are pushing for their first set of scheduled raises since 2008. About a third of the state's "M/C" employees work in the Capital Region. [State of Politics] [Daily Gazette]

It appears the Affordable Care Act will be a central issue in the election for the 20th Congressional district (incumbent Democrat Paul Tonko vs. Republican Jim Fischer). [Daily Gazette]

An arbitrator has sided with the Albany Police Department in its effort to fire an officer who was arrested in Menands in 2010 after being found unconscious in the driver's seat of his vehicle along I-787 while off-duty -- the officer was found guilty of driving while ability impaired. From a statement by APD chief Steve Krokoff: "the arbitrator's depiction of Driving While Intoxicated as 'serious misconduct', one worthy of termination, is a message sent loud and clear." [TU] [APD press release]

The Albany County DA's office says a Saratoga County woman pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $80k from two businesses -- one of them a daycare. [Albany County DA]

The Troy City Council's finance committee gave a preliminary OK to a license that would allow demolition and remediation at the Scolite site in South Troy. [Troy Record]

A Skidmore scholar on how Solomon Northup was able to survive his kidnapping into slavery: "His persistence and character were crucial to his ability to come through this." [Saratogian]

Neil Golub on the new Price Chopper Market Bistro in Latham: "As I said when we started this project, this store will set the standard for all other supermarkets in the area. It might even set a national standard. We may have out-Wegman-ed Wegmans." [TU]

Sports page:

Syracuse dominated Western Michigan 77-53 in its round of 64 game in the NCAA tournament. The Orange next play Dayton in the round of 32 on Saturday at 7:10 pm. [Syracuse Post-Standard]


Wow. Famous last words, Neil.

The new PC @ Loudon is a dramatic step up from all of the other PCs and Hannaford locations around here, no doubt. It beats Shoprite for hot food offerings (though probably not on sheer number of items offered). Apart from Whole Foods' organic offerings, it may compete with them, though that verdict won't be in until later this year.

But it still doesn't compare with a full size Wegmans - I'm thinking of the one in Allentown, PA in particular - much less what must be an unbelievably large flagship store in the Rochester area.

The Wegmans I'm referencing is essentially
-a small Italian restaurant (separate sit-down seating, live acoustic music, wine service at table)
-Westmere Beverage, as far as selection of domestic microbrews (I say this as a pretty well-educated/traveled-in-beer person and a founder of the Albany Brew Crafters)
-a huge cafeteria/food court
-THEN the new PC on top of that
-plus additional selection in virtually every category.

So, no. They have set what may be a new local standard. Certainly hope Hannaford is taking notes, that's for sure. But until I can - at least! - have a quality dinner (a real one, not a food court offering), shop for micros I can't find anywhere else (hardly the case at new PC), and be my one-stop regular-or-better grocery store, they have not by any stretch even Wegmansed Wegmans much less outdone them.

I'm not saying it's not an improvement or that it's inadequate. But if you [Golub] want to come out and make a statement like that, you're inviting reaction like this.

Been there... Out Wegman-ed Wegmans? Not even close. Their produce section is puny. Grocery section essentially the same as a typical grocery store. If they are referring to the prepared foods section, open a restaurant. It's the whole package that makes a great grocery shopping experience.

Step 2 for Price Chopper: find a new name that has at least a little class and doesn't reek of ugly cutthroat bargain-bin tactics. Even "Golubs 'R' Us" would be an improvement.

Step 3: ditch the practically-mandatory discount card (have a card for Sunoco points or whatever, but don't make it required to get the advertised prices).

I've always maintained that the name Price Chopper would be a more appropriate name for a discount furniture store.

Out Wegman-ing Wegmans? Never, and especially not as long as stores like the Delaware Ave Chopper exist. Even the smaller markets in the Wegmans chain are clean and pleasant with lots of variety - I definitely can't say the same for PC.

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