Oil train protest in Albany, jury selection in trial for the death of Vanessa Milligan, dealing with vacant buildings, zebra on the loose

Oil train protests
More than a thousand people marched and sat on railroad tracks in Albany Saturday to protest the oil trains that travel to the city to the Port of Albany. The protest included advocates for people living near the port in Albany's South End. Also Saturday, five people were arrested in Guilderland for charges that included unlawful interference with a railroad train at a site near the Watervliet Reservoir. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [News10] [WNYT]

A statement from Global Partners, which runs the oil train hub at the port: "It's clear we take our jobs, and our responsibility to the community, to safety, and the environment, very seriously. We will proudly continue to provide critical services and supplies to the entire Northeastern United States, and play a positive role in Albany's future for years to come." [TWCN]

Trial in the death of Vanessa Milligan
Jury selection is scheduled to start Monday in the trial of Gabriel Vega, accused of killing Vanessa Milligan and then setting her Lansingburgh apartment on fire in 2014. Vega is facing murder and arson charges, along with an abortion charge because Milligan was pregnant. [Troy Record] [TU]

Shots fired in Lansingburgh
Troy police say they're investigating an incident in which a witness says a man pulled a gun on a group of people at a corner in Lansingburgh Saturday afternoon and opened fire. [TU]

PFOA
Documents from the state Department of Environmental Conservation indicate the agency investigated emissions from a plastics plant in Petersburgh in 1997 after complaints that people near the facility were getting sick. The plant is one of the facilities in eastern Rensselaer County and Vermont that's been under scrutiny following the outing of the contamination of the Hoosick Falls water supply. [TU+]

Cuomo admin
Looking at the stack of disclosure forms that candidates for a job in the Cuomo admin must fill out -- and what those forms might include in the case of Joe Percoco, the key Andrew Cuomo aide who's under investigation as part of the feds' review of the Buffalo Billion. [Politico NY]

Vacant buildings
How Albany, Schenectady, and Troy deal with fires in structurally-compromised vacant buildings. [TU+]

State Senate 44th
The Albany County Republican Committee has endorsed Christopher Davis of Cohoes to challenge longtime incumbent Neil Breslin in the 44th state Senate district. [TU]

Nicholaus Building
The owner of Thai Thai Bistro has filed a notice of claim (the first step in a lawsuit) against the city of Schenectady alleging negligence on the part of the city in issuing permits to demolish the building next to the Nicholaus Building -- the restaurant has been out of business after it had to close April 1 when the Nicholaus Building started shaking. [Daily Gazette]

Downtown Cohoes residential project
There's a plan to convert the Hotel Cohoes building on Remsen Street in downtown Cohoes into apartments. [Troy Record]

Slowing down for business
Officials in Malta say they're interested in traffic calming along Route 9 in the town center in order to boost activity at local businesses. [Daily Gazette]

Donald Trump/John Miller
Sue Carswell, whose 1991 People magazine interview has sparked questions that Donald Trump may have posed a man named John Miller in order to talk about himself to the press, is an Albany native. [Washington Post] [TU]

Zebra on the loose
There's a search for a zebra in Greene County. [The Daily Mail]

Sports page
+ The Albany Devils sent their Calder Cup playoff series against the Toronto Marlies to a game 7 with a 4-1 victory Saturday. The series-deciding game is tonight in Toronto. [TU]
+ The UAlbany men's lacrosse team fell to Syracuse 11-9 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. [Syracuse Post-Standard]

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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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