Flanagan now state Senate majority leader, Kenneth White's aunt denied custody of his sisters, past the freeze point

New state Senate majority leader
Dean Skelos is officially out as state Senate majority leader, and John Flanagan is in. Flanagan is from Long Island and had the backing of Skelos. He edged out John DeFrancisco, who's from the Syracuse area, for the Republican majority leadership. [NYT] [Capital] [TWCN] [TU]

More on Flanagan: He represents a district in Suffolk County on Long Island. He's 54 and an attorney. And he got his start in the state legilsature in 1986 when he jumped in an Assembly seat race shortly before an election after his father -- John Flanagan Sr., the incumbent -- died of a heart attack. [NYS Senate] [TU] [NYT]

Kenneth White's aunt denied custody of his sisters
An Albany County Family Court judge formally removed the sisters of Kenneth White from the custody of their aunt, Brenda VanAlstyne. The judge cited a string or reasons for denying VanAlstyne custody, including evidence of "their abuse and neglect" while they were in her care. VanAlstyne was removed from the courtroom during the hearing and yelled at the judge. The sisters will stay in foster care because the judge ruled their parents are also not currently suitable guardians. After the hearing, the mother of the sisters and Kenneth White told two reporters she was responsible for the boy's death -- a comment that Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says will prompt a conversation with her. [WNYT] [TU] [TWCN] [News10] [Daily Gazette]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

Fatal Northway crash
The driver of tractor trailer died in a crash just south of Exit 10 on the Northway Monday morning. The southbound side of the Northway was closed there until later in the afternoon. [NYSP] [Daily Gazette]

No public vote on shrinking Albany County Legislature
The Albany County Legislature voted down a measure that would have put a plan to reduce the number of seats in the body from 39 to 29 on the November ballot. [TU]

Shawn Morse
The chair of the Albany County Legislature, Shawn Morse, says he's not running for re-election to the body. The signs are pointing to him making a run for mayor of Cohoes. [TU] [Troy Record]

State advertising campaign
A state comptroller's office audit of the $211 million the Empire State Development Corporation has spent on advertising to promote economic development and tourism concluded the effort had achieve little in measurable results. The audit findings were another log on the fire for critics of Start-Up NY program. [NYS OSC] [TU]

Pedestrian hit on State Street in Schenectady
Schenectady police say a driver faces a handful of charges after he allegedly struck a pedestrian on State Street near Balltown Road Saturday and then drove off. [Daily Gazette]

Schenectady code sweep
A sweep of Schenectady neighborhoods for code violations such as missing siding wasn't going over very well with some homeowners in the Goose Hill neighborhood Monday. [WNYT] [Daily Gazette]

Union Graduate College
Union Graduate College is merging with Clarkson University and will become "Clarkson University Capital Region campus." [Biz Review] [UGC]

Robotic arm
A Saratoga Springs family is in a dispute with their health insurer after the plan refused to pay for a $50k robotic arm that the family says can significantly improve their life of their son with muscular dystrophy. [WNYT]

Sandra Lee
Sandra Lee -- the TV food and entertaining personality, and the partner of Andrew Cuomo -- said on Good Morning America today that's she's been diagnosed with breast cancer. In a statement, Andrew Cuomo says he'll be taking some personal time to support her. [ABC News] [Cuomo admin]


Some perspective on the unusually warm weather we've had recently: May 11 represents the point at which the probability of a freeze (well, 36 degrees) starts slipping below 50 percent for Albany, based on the 30-year averages. [NWS Albany]

Stuff going on today (May 12)

Tuesday: The Front Parlor storytelling series returns to The Ale House in Troy. This month's them is "revolution(s)." Tuesday 7:30 pm

Stir fry
Tuesday: Chinese food expert and cookbook author Helen Chen will be at Different Drummer's Kitchen for a hands-on class about stir fry -- Mandarin Orange Shrimp with Snow Peas, Chicken with Cashew Nuts, Steamed Salmon Fillet with Asparagus, Pork Lo Mein with Shredded Vegetables. Tuesday 6 pm - $69

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