Woman accused of setting fire to Castleton house, Schenectady appealing police discipline decision, dog stories both sad and happy

Alleged arson in Castleton
State Police say a Castleton woman has been arrested on charges including arson for allegedly setting fire to a home there. Two firefighters were injured fighting the fire. And State Police say three cats and a dog died in the fire -- the woman is also facing aggravated cruelty to animals charges as a result. [NYSP] [News10] [TU]

Hoosick Falls water
Citing the situation in Hoosick Falls and other spots around the state, Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of a "Statewide Water Quality Rapid Response Team" to address drinking water contamination. [TWCN] [Cuomo admin]

In Hoosick Falls, officials say a filter has been installed on the village water system, but it could still be several weeks for flushing the system and doing tests. [WNYT]

Schenectady police oversight
Schenectady mayor Gary McCarthy says the city will take its fight to have the public safety commissioner be in charge of police discipline (rather than an arbitrator) to the state's highest court. [Daily Gazette]

Fisherman fishes skater out of the water
An ice fisherman on Collins Lake in Scotia rescued a skater who had fallen through the ice Thursday evening, using a rope, an ice auger, and a sled. [Daily Gazette]

Conviction in case of infant's broken leg
A Halfmoon man was found guilty of second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child for breaking his infant's son leg on New Year's Day 2015. The Saratoga County DA's office says its case against the man included Facebook posts in which it said the man made comments about his son. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]

Vehicular assault guilty plea
The Saratoga County DA's office says a state corrections officer pleaded guilty to first-degree vehicular assault for driving drunk and crashing into another vehicle last August. [Daily Gazette]

New trial
A man convicted in Albany County for a slashing in a strip club 15 years ago is set to get a new trial after a state appeals court ruled prosecutors failed to adequately explain why a minority juror had been excluded from the jury. [TU]

Accidental shot
Colonie police say a man accidentally fired a shot that went into a neighbor's bedroom and hit a headboard -- while someone was in bed. [News10]

New job for APD officer accused in Halloween incident
Albany police officer Michael Geraci Jr. -- on paid leave and facing termination following that incident in Colonie in which it's alleged he choked and punched a 12 year old on Halloween night -- is set to resign from the APD and take a job with the Schenectady County sheriff's road patrol. [TU+]

Dogs killed in burglary
Farther afield: The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office is investigating a burglary in the town of Florida in which two dogs -- both goldendoodles -- were fatally shot. [Daily Gazette]

School funding
There's now an organized coalition -- the Fight for Education in Schenectady -- working to get Schenectady schools a bigger share of state aid. (This is an ongoing issue with the state's education funding formula -- Schenectady has argued it's being shorted by tens of millions of dollars.) [Daily Gazette]

Payouts
Despite only working half the year, Jamie Kallner -- the former attorney for the county legislature's majority Democrats -- was Albany County's second-highest-paid employee in 2015 because of one-time payouts involved in the settlement of his ouster for undisclosed reasons. [TU+]

Parking minimums
The Schenectady Planning Commission has recommended that the city change the parking minimum for projects in the downtown core to zero. It also gave the OK to a new apartment building near Mohawk Harbor and the Upper Union Street Dunkin' Donuts. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Face off between city of Troy and hockey league
The city of Troy and the Troy Albany Youth Hockey Association are in a squabble over the hockey club paying (or not paying) for using the ice at Frear Park rink. [News10]

Happier dog stories
+ Sandra Haber of Schenectady on her papillon, GCH Medina's Luck Be A Lady Tonight (AKA Frankie), winning best of breed at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: "I will just say this much about Frankie: Frankie is not a lady and she is a party waiting to happen." [Daily Gazette]
+ Wendy Cerilli of Greenwich on her Australian shepherd Holster winning the dog show's agility competition: "If he had known he had to take a bath and go to New York City, he'd have thrown the competition." [TU]

Socrates at the bar
Remembering Troy carpenter Peter Albrecht, the city's "barroom Socrates." [TU]

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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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