Investigation of Troy official's death, new vote for Albany High rebuild plan, cards and packages for Sa'Fyre piling up

Investigation into death of Troy official
The Times Union and TWCN are both reporting that Bill Chamberlain, director of operations for the city of Troy, died Thursday night near his North Greenbush home -- the TU reports Chamberlin's wife found him after their dog returned alone from a walk, and TWCN reports "sources" tell them it was a stabbing. [TU] [TWCN]

Hoosick Falls water
The federal Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that residents of Hoosick Falls should not drink the village's water because of levels of a toxic industrial chemical in the water -- both the state and village mayor had previously downplayed the risk of the drinking the water. [TU]

Troy City Council rejects health care deal for police
The Troy City Council unanimously voted against an agreement with the city's police union to offer lifetime health coverage after just 10 years of service. Council members also expressed frustration and anger that mayor Lou Rosamilia signed the deal 18 months ago and it was only now coming before the council. [TU] [Troy Record]

Albany High School rebuild
The reformulated plan for a rebuild of Albany High School -- now with a $180 million total project cost -- is set to go before voters in February. [Albany school district] [TU]

Casinos
The state Gaming Commission is scheduled to issue licenses for the new casinos, including the proposed Schenectady casino, on Monday. (If the license is awarded, it would open the way for construction of the casino to begin.) [Daily Gazette]

Also: The company backing the Schenectady casino has been looking into raising money via an arrangement in which foreign nationals can get a US visa by investing money in this country. [TU+]

Breaks
A question raised by the New York Power Authority as it cut a deal to give Alcoa cheap electric power in return for keeping a plant open in the North Country -- will other companies ask for the same thing now? [TU]

Guilty verdict for Scavo
Fromer Albany County legislator Brian Scavo was convicted on two felony counts related to a situation in which he deposited phony checks at a bank. Scavo, who's had multiple brushes with the law in recent years, contends he was the victim of a person trying to scam him in the sale of a car, and alleged his prosecution was politically motivated. [TU x2]

Playback problems
Defense attorneys say the Albany County DA's office shares Albany police video evidence with them in a format that is often not playable. [TU+]

Pipeline
Opponents of the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline criticized an information session held in Castleton by the company Kinder Morgan as "propaganda." [TU]

Pink Palace plan v2
Sonny Bonacio is floating a new plan for the "Pink Palace" site in Saratoga Springs, this time with a demolition of the existing building and the construction of fewer residential units. [TU]

Sa'Fyre
Sa'Fyre Terry has now received more than 400,000 Christmas cards, along with thousands of packages. And her family is thinking about ways of paying the generosity forward. [TWCN] [WNYT]

It's the weekend

Look for our "stuff to do this weekend" list a little later this morning.

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My grandmother has Alzheimers and sometimes comes to stay with us in Troy. Last week the absolutely highlight of her day was seeing the hundreds of crows that came streaming by the window at our apartment. I watched her go from completely unresponsive to engaged... stringing questions together and returning to her old joyful self for the half hour she watched those birds was enough to endear crows to me forever.

If you see someone running around throwing bird seed in Riverfront Park yelling "COME ON DOWN, BIRD FRIENDS!", it's me.

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