Questions about state police lab scandal, proposal to raise age for buying tobacco to 21, bear caught on video in backyard

New York State police crime lab scandal
From the latest Brendan Lyons article about the State Police forensic scientists accused of cheating on tests for a new DNA analysis technique: "...a year after the internal probe began, a review of documents from the investigation, including transcripts of the scientists' interrogations, raises questions about whether they were wrongly accused of cheating at the end of an aggressive probe led by a uniformed State Police captain..." [TU+]

Albany budget
JCE on the Albany budget and the $12.5 million in currently unallocated state aid the Sheehan administration is banking on: "The question now is what leads Sheehan to believe the state would make such a large financial pledge to Albany this year when it has repeatedly refused to do so in the recent past." [TU+]

Combined Thruway/DOT office building in Albany off
The Thruway Authority has canceled a plan to build a new office building in Albany that would have combined the headquarters of the authority and the state Department of Transportation. [Biz Review]

Conviction in Albany murder case
Jarquell Williams of Albany was convicted of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a man on South Pearl Street during the afternoon of October 16, 2014 -- and incident that ended with a police standoff and the use of tear gas. [TU]

Alleged identity theft by former state tax department employee
A former state Department of Taxation and Finance is accused of using taxpayer info gleaned from his job to steal more than $50k via fraudulent checks and credit cards. [TU]

Schenectady mayoral race
Another look at the matchup between between Gary McCarthy and Roger Hull for Schenectady mayor. [Daily Gazette]

Saratoga Springs landfill mess
Saratoga Springs is considering the use of eminent domain in situation in which it's being required by the state to fix an improperly capped section of the Weibel Avenue Landfill that was sold more than a decade ago (the current owner doesn't want to sell). [TU]

Tobacco sales
An Albany County legislator is proposing to raise the age for tobacco sales in the county from 18 to 21. [TWCN]

Troy church facing foreclosure
The Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Troy facing foreclosure over unpaid property taxes after its non-profit status was allowed to lapse -- there's now talk of turning it in a community center. [Troy Record] [TU]

John King
Former state education commissioner John King, whose tenure in New York was filled with much drama and criticism over the state's implementation of the Common Core, has been named by the Obama admin as acting federal secretary of education. [TU]

Andrew Cuomo has picked Basil Seggos, his deputy secretary for the environment, to be the next commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation. [TU]

Winter is coming
New York State's reliance on natural gas for home heating has been increasing over the last decade, adding more households than all other states combined. [Politico NY]

Bear snacks
A bear was caught on video eating from a bird feeder in a Wilton backyard -- apparently it's been making the rounds of the neighborhood bird feeders. [Saratogian]

Stuff going on today

Complete streets in Albany
The city of Albany and the Capital District Transportation Committee are holding a public meeting to get input about citywide "Complete Streets" plan. "The Policy and Design Manual will act as a guide for all future construction, reconstruction and resurfacing projects within the City of Albany, setting forth design guidelines that assist in accommodating all users, including pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists and transit riders." Monday 5-7:30 pm at the The Linda

The transformation of marriage
Noted marriage historian Stephanie Coontz will be at Union for a talk titled "For Better AND Worse: Gender, Class, and the Transformation of Marriage." (Coontz's talk is part of a semester-long look at income inequality.) Monday 7 pm, Nott Memorial - free


Hmmmm... I'd say If you build a housing development in the middle of a forest, you're certain to have an abundant amount of wildlife and this includes bears.

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