State legislature closes sessions with Whatever, prison contraband allegedly traded for art, Albany's middle schools struggling, longtime top editors at Record/Saratogian leaving

The Big Whatever
The state legislature finished its session Thursday night, a little more than a week past the originally scheduled end date, with a bill that included property tax rebates and a bunch of items of interest to New York City. In New York State government's typical commitment to openness, the text of the large bill was released Thursday evening and the three-day aging period was waived. The big was alternately tagged The Big Ugly, The Big Lovely, and The Big Whatever. [Capital] [NYT] [TU]

Dannemora manhunt
Update: Late Friday afternoon sources were telling media outlets that Richard Matt had been shot and killed by federal agents. [NYT]
____
Day 21: Still not captured.

The focus Thursday was on the prison guard who was arrested this week for allegedly helping Richard Matt and David Sweat obtain tools such as a screwdriver and pliers. Sources and court records indicate Gene Palmer told investigators he had traded the favors in exchange for paintings done by Matt and an intelligence on other inmates. [NYT] [TU]

Schenectady PD accused of excessive force
An Albany has filed a notice of claim -- the precursor to a lawsuit -- against the city of Schenectady alleging city police used racially profiled him and used excessive force against him during an incident last September. [Daily Gazette]

IG: State official got improper perks
A state Inspector General's report concludes that a former director with the State Office of Medicaid Inspector General accepted improper gifts and rewards -- including food, travel, and a job offer -- from a corporation whose contract he oversaw. [NYS IG] [TU]

Albany middle schools
Albany's middle schools -- both public and charter -- are struggling, according to standardized test scores (with one exception). [TU+]

TWC/Charter deal
One of the promised benefits in the proposed Time Warner Cable/Charter merger: faster internet connection speeds for customers here in the Capital Region. [TU]

Whole Foods
The Whole Foods in Colonie has been fined after Albany County says inspectors found prepackaged items that had been labeled with the wrong weights. [CBS6]

Record/Saratogian editors
The top editors for the joint Record/Saratogian have taken buyouts, along with a handful of other longtime employees of the newspapers. [Saratogian]

A big start
Shen grad Sean Conroy was the starting pitcher for the Sonoma Stompers of the independent Pacific Association of Baseball Clubs Thursday night -- and became the first openly gay active professional baseball player. [AP/Daily Gazette]

Harleys
Paul Grondahl at a motorcycle rendezvous in Duanesburg: "Bare breasts had become so passe at the Harley Rendezvous Classic that for this year's 37th edition, organizers upped the ante and brought in strippers who danced on a metal pole that shot flames from the back of a 2003 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail Classic." [TU]

Albany's Rice Building
The Rice Building at the corner of Western and Quail -- AKA, the former Lamp Post building (among other bars) -- is going up for auction after Albany County seized it for back taxes. [TU]

That was then

An ad for the Rice Building from when it was a bowling alley, as shared by the Albany Muskrat on Twitter today:

Stuff to do

It's Friday, thankfully. Look for our "Stuff to do this weekend" post later this morning.

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I ride every day to work, and also after work for exercise. I love the concept of being a person who happens to ride a bike. There's a level of bike riding, with the high performance gear and sleek clothing, that makes riding seem like its not for everyone. I try to avoid markers like that, and always wear regular clothing/shoes/backpack with dumpy-looking bike. One concession is bike gloves.

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