Upswing in Capital Region home sales, bank robber with the sniffles?, details of deal for restaurant at TU Center

Upswing for home sales
Closed home sales in the Capital Region during the first quarter of 2016 were up 18 percent compared to the same period the year before (and pending sales were up 30 percent), according to numbers from the Greater Capital Association of Realtors. Among the reasons floated: increasing rental prices, relatively low interest rates, and a mild winter. [GCAR] [TU+]

Affordable housing in Troy
The residential conversion of the former Mooradians furniture warehouse in North Central will include units set aside for people in different income brackets. [TWCN]

April 17 fatal shooting by Troy police
The Record's Mark Robarge: There's no evidence the officer who fatally shot a man during the encounter near the Collar City Bridge did anything wrong, but the apparent effort by the Rensselaer County DA's office to quickly resolve the investigation into the incident "did [the officer] no favors by injecting more controversy into the case than it deserves, and I wouldn't at all be surprised to learn in short order that the grand jury's word is not the last in this case." [Troy Record]

Shootings in Albany
Albany police say they're investigating two separate shootings -- one early Sunday morning, and the other late Sunday afternoon. The location of the first is unknown, the second was reported in West Hill. APD says it doesn't know if the shootings are related. [APD FB]

Troy bank robbery
Troy police say they're searching for the man who robbed the First Niagara Bank in Lansingburgh around noon Monday -- apparently without displaying or implying he had a weapon. He's described as white, 5-9, 30-35 years old, wearing a dark baseball hat -- and a tissue stuck in one of his nostrils. TPD says it's looking into whether there's a connection with the robbery of the Citizens Bank in downtown Troy last week. [TWCN] [WNYT] [News10] [Troy Record]

"The Ninja Burglar"
A vehicle stop made by Saratoga Springs police in 2014 (from which the suspect fled) was a key break in the investigation of man accused of being "The Ninja Burglar", who allegedly robbed more than 100 homes in Staten Island, New New Jersey, and Saratoga Springs over a decade. [TWCN]

Suspicious Schenectady house fire
The Schenectady Fire Department says the fire at a vacant house in Hamilton Hill Sunday is suspicious because the power and gas weren't turned on for the property. [Daily Gazette]

M/C raises
The two-percent raises for the state's management/confidential employees are set to take effect next month. [TU]

County job for former county supervisor
Anita Daly -- the longtime Saratoga County supervisor who just recently left her exited her spot on the county board of supervisors -- is taking a recently-created county job. [TU]

Johnny Rockets at TU Center
The deal for a Johnny Rockets to open at the TU Center includes Albany County making upgrades to the restaurant space worth as much as $200k. [TU]

Saratoga Springs City Hall expansion
Looking over some of the proposed ideas for providing more court space in Saratoga Springs City Hall -- all of which would cost at least $1.5 million. [Saratogian]

Community farm plan in Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs mayor Joanne Yepsen says the city is still moving forward with the proposed million-dollar plan to turn the Pitney Farm into a protected community farm, but Saratoga PLAN -- which had been raising money for idea -- has pulled out of the project. [Daily Gazette]

Colonie
Chris Churchill: Does the continued development in Colonie threaten the qualities that have made the town so attractive to people? [TU+]

Stuff going on today

The Trip to Bountiful
Capital Rep's production of The Trip to Bountiful opens today. (Previews were this past weekend.) The show is the story of Carrie Watts, an aging widow who escapes from the home of her son and goes on a journey to revisit her childhood home. The show stars a number of talented Capital Region actors, including the amazing Barbara Howard, Kevin Craig West, Tony Pallone, and newcomer Joshua Powell. Tuesday-Sunday various times -- $20 and up

Tomato Family 411
Capital Roots has a class about growing tomatoes and other related vegetables lined up at the Hartman Road community garden (just off New Scotland Road) in Albany. "Fill your garden with juicy tomatoes, zesty peppers, plentiful potatoes, and plump eggplants! Instruction will include soil preparation, exploring easy to grow varieties, trellising, care and maintenance, disease and pest identification, and harvest methods." Tuesday 6 pm -- $5 (registration required)

Straw Bale, Keyhole Gardens and Scoop & Dump
Cornell Cooperative Extension Rensselaer County is hosting a class about "keyhole gardening." "Planting directly into straw bales sounds odd, but provided amazing results and many advantages. Keyhole gardening is a water-saving raised-bed technique designed for dry conditions. Scoop & dump was pioneered at Cornell University for large projects on compacted soils and has proven the power of compost." Tuesday 7 pm -- $6 (registration required)

Music: Wild Belle at The Hollow
Psych/dance/folk pop. 8 pm - $10.27 ahead / $15 at door

Music: Basement at Upstate Concert Hall
Rock. With: Turnstile, Defeater, Colleen Green. 7 pm -- $16 ahead / $20 day of

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