Albany HS renovation falls after absentee count, public defender's office raided in unusual search, Washington County triple homicide conviction overturned, marijuana harvested -- legally


Albany High School vote
The proposed renovation/reconstruction of Albany High School fell by an unofficial margin of 103 votes after the counting of absentee ballots. Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said she thinks the district struggled to communicate some of the info related to the cost of the project and the resulting tax increase: "I wasn't able to get that message, for me personally it's a reflection of my leadership on this work." Vanden Wyngaard said the district is considering its options, which include sending the proposal up again for another vote, modifying the proposal before another vote, and taking up renovations one chunk at a time. [TU] [WNYT] [News10]

Guilty verdict in case related to Hulett Street fire
A federal jury found Edward Leon guilty of lying to a grand jury while he testified in connection the Schenectady arson case in which four people died in 2013 -- about his whereabouts at the time of the fire, and about threatening text messages sent to one of the victims. Neither Leon, nor anyone else, is currently charged with setting the fire. The family of the victim expressed frustration that Leon hasn't been charged for the fire. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN]

Raid of Saratoga County public defender's office
The Saratoga County Sheriff's deputies raided the county public defender's office in September and seized a client's case file as part an investigation into an alleged case of child pornography, the Times Union reports. The judge who signed off on the unusual search was county judge Jim Murphy -- the former county district attorney. [TU+]

Convictions in triple homicide overturned
A state appeals court overturned the murder convictions of Matthew Slocum for the deaths of his mother, stepfather, and step brother in Washington County in 2011. The court ruled that police erred in continuing to question him after indications he wanted an attorney. Said Nick Harrington, son of Slocum's stepfather: "If Matt is found innocent, I will have no trust in the system, in the judicial system, no trust at all. [Post-Star] [TU] [TWCN]

Sheldon Silver trial
The prosecutor turned its attention to an alleged arrangement in which Sheldon Silver would receive a cut of fees at a law firm in return for using his influence in state government to benefit a large real estate company. [NYT]

Shooting in Albany
Albany police say they're investigating a shooting in the area of Central Ave and Manning Boulevard Wednesday evening. [APD FB]

Hudson River PCB dredging project
The EPA approved GE's plan to close its PCB processing facility in Fort Edward. (Environmental groups have been pushing for an extension of the project.) [TU]

Christine Ryba
The latest turn in the drama surrounding state Supreme Court justice candidate Christine Ryba, who the Times Union has reported "sources" said was let go from her job with the state court system over alleged ethical missteps regarding her candidacy: She's been offered an interim job back with the state court system. [TU]

Bethlehem supervisors race
Incumbent John Clarkson beat challenger Jim Foster by just 12 votes after the counting of absentee ballots. [TU+]

Medical marijuana harvest
One of the companies participating in New York's new medical marijuana system invited the media to its indoor production facility in Fulton County Thursday to watch the first harvest. It's said to be the first legal harvest of marijuana in the state in roughly a century. [Daily Gazette] [TWCN]

Stockade house raising
The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has given the OK to a Stockade homeowner's proposal to raise and move her house out of the flood zone -- the proposal, which has been under consideratoin for many months, still requires multiple other approvals. [Daily Gazette]

Rally at UAlbany for Missouri
UAlbany students rallied Thursday in solidarity with students at the University of Missouri. [AP/TU]

The train
The Amtrak Empire Corridor route between Albany and New York City had record ridership during the fiscal year that ended in September. [TU]

Pultizer Prize nomination
A Wilton's man's book about his mother's first husband, who died in WWII, has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in the non-fiction category. [Saratogian]

It's the weekend

Look for our "Stuff to do this weekend" list later this morning.

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Recent Comments

I've found that anecdotes from neighbors, friends, or internet "strangers" can only take you so far. If you haven't already, I strongly recommend you get out there and visit these schools during the school year, during the school day to get a feel for things. In the last few months, my wife and I have made a series of visits to our local elementary, middle + high-school. During those visits, we had the chance to talk to multiple teachers and see the kids "in action". It was very VERY telling in a lot of ways - both good and bad.

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