Not guilty pleas in UAlbany bus incident charges, Safyre donation volunteer accused of theft, new Albany city property assessment, former Jillian's building sold

UAlbany bus incident
The three women charged in the UAlbany bus incident pleaded not guilty in Albany City Court Monday morning. [TU] [@RedickTWCNews]

Continued reaction:
+ Friday afternoon UAlbany president Robert Jones said he had no apology to make for his initial statements about the incident: "We took them as they were stated in the police report, and responded accordingly." [TWCN]
+ The org Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration released an open letter affirming its "unabashed and unwavering support" for the three women, and criticizing the release of the video as "incomplete." [CAAMI]
+ #BlackLivesMatter co-creator Alicia Garza was at Skidmore over the weekend and said in part of the UAlbany situation: "I think there are bigger things to address. And it sounds like to me, that the reason that the case got so much traction here, is because that's what black folks experience here." [WNYT]

PFOA
State officials say flushing of the water system in Hoosick Falls has started. And the Cuomo admin pointed a finger at the feds for inaction on PFOA contamination in Petersburgh. And just over the border in Vermont, PFOA contamination has been detected in wells in North Bennington. [TU] [Politico NY] [WNYT]

Pedestrian struck in Albany
State Police say a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on South Pearl Street and pinned against a building -- the driver and a passenger in the car both ran after the crash. [TU] [NYSP]

Struggling schools
The state Education Department released the latest version of its struggling schools list. Hackett Middle School in Albany and Hamilton Elementary School in Schenectady are being moved moved out of receivership. [NYSED] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Rescue from fire
Albany firefighters rescued an unconscious woman from an apartment building fire on North Pearl Street over the weekend. [TU]

Armed robbery in Troy
Bob DeMeo of Bob DeMeo's Discount Wine & Liquor in Troy on being robbed at gunpoint Saturday night: "To actually have a gun held up to your head kind of gives a whole new perspective of what's life worth ... Do I want to be here at night when we could just be relaxing at this point?" If the person's caught, store co-owner Anthony DeRusso says they're willing to forgo charges if the person checks into a treatment program. [Troy Record] [TWCN]

Alleged theft from Safyre donations
A volunteer who has been helping process the cards and donations sent to Safyre Terry has been accused of stealing donated cash and gift cards. Her attorney denies the allegations. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Solar City
Workers on the much-hyped Solar City factory in Buffalo were laid off Friday because the contractor says New York State was late in paying on some $80 million in invoices -- official say the money should start flowing this week. [Buffalo News]

Albany tax assessments
Results are in for the city of Albany's new tax reassessment -- the overall assessed value of commercial real estate in the city was up, the overall assessed value of residential property is down slightly. [TU+]

Saratoga Springs salaries
The top earner on the Saratoga Springs city payroll for 2015, a fire captain, worked almost 2,000 hours overtime (that's about 38 hours a week), according to records FOIL'ed by the Daily Gazette. [Daily Gazette]

1 Monument Square
Chronicling the years of unsuccessful attempts to redevelop the 1 Monument Square site in downtown Troy. [TU+]

Troy seawall
Chuck Schumer says FEMA will pick up the entire $12.8 million cost of repairing the seawall that protects downtown Troy from the Hudson River. [TU]

Former Jillian's building
A group that includes Chris Pratt and Alessio Depoli have closed on the purchase on the former Jillian's building on Pearl Street in downtown Albany. (This deal has been in the works for a while. Pratt and Depoli own a string of other establishments including the Pearl Street Pub, The Capital, and Steuben Street Market.) [Biz Review]

That empty development in North Greenbush
Van Rensselaer Square -- that development site in North Greenbush at Route 4 and West Sand Lake Road (map) that's sat empty for so many years -- is finally getting a tenant, a credit union branch. [Biz Review] [TU]

Weird winter
How this warm, low-snow winter could be affecting different types of animals. [Daily Gazette]

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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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