Sinkhole repairs/boil water alert, Defending START-UP NY, suspects sought in two Albany bank robberies, push for Albany taxi reform

With the water turned off and the car out of the latest sinkhole in Albany crews are now working tostabilize a duct bank that holds all the power lines for Albany Medical Center and the VA Hospital to be sure power to those facilities isn't lost.
Meanwhile, the city has issued a boil water notice for the area of Madison Avenue from South Lake Avenue to Quail Street, Hudson Avenue from South Lake Avenue to Quail Street, and South Lake Avenue from Madison Avenue to Hudson.[TWCN][Gazette]

Defending the Startup NY program
The CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation defended the Cuomo administration's START-UP NY project before lawmakers on Wednesday. Howard Zemsky told legislators the program needs more time, saying "Everyone should take a deep breath. A lot of foundation has been laid and a lot of seeds have been planted. Let's give it a few years." The program has only created 408 jobs since 2013, but Zemsky told legislators it has sent a signal to the wold that "New York is open for business."[Business Review][TWCN][NYT]

The Rensselaer County DA's office wants permission from a judge to take a DNA sample from the man they suspect killed Noel Alkaramla. [TU+]

Fantasy sports betting
Andrew Cuomo signed a law Wednesday that makes fantasy sports betting legal , regulated and taxable in New York State. [TU]

iTunes scam
Someone going by Sgt. Davis, who claims to be from a fictional org called the Capital Region Police Agency, has been running a local phone scam asking grandparents to send bail for their grandchildren in the form of iTunes cards. [TU]

Bank Robberies
Albany police are looking for a pair of suspects in two separate bank robberies that occurred in the city on Wednesday. [WNYT]

Suspect in taxi robberies
Police have arrested a suspect in connection with a string of armed robberies of Albany taxi cab drivers. [TU]

Two crashes in one night
Police picked up an East Greenbush woman after she crashed her car twice in one night. [WNYT]

Driver never saw victim
A man charged in a hit-and-run that killed one person and injured another in Schenectady last summer testified on Wednesday that he didn't intend to leave the scene of the accident, but that he was afraid of the witnesses who were pursuing him, and claimed he didn't realize he'd hit a second person. [Gazette]

Friends of the Glenville teen killed by an Amtrak train earlier this week held a memorial on Wednesday near the tracks where she died. [WNYT]

Legislative pay raises
Andrew Cuomo says if legislators want pay raises, they should show up in front of the Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation before election day to make their case. The commission is considering a legislative pay raise rom $79,500 to $116,900 a year. Meanwhile, a group of Democratic Senate candidates are opposing the raises, saying they must be earned. [TU][TU]

Taxi reform
In the wake of an unsuccessful effort to bring Uber and Lyft to areas of NYS other than New York City, councilman Judd Crasher has introduced legislation to improve taxi service in the Capital Region. [TU]

+New York State is blaming incomplete paperwork for the payment hold-ups that caused a contractor who hadn't been paid since June to order his crews to stop work on the SUNY Poly project. [TU]

+One of the final three preferred contractor candidates to build a SUNY Poly dorm was subpoenaed by Eric Schneiderman in a bid rigging investigation in the project.[TU]

Schenectady principal search
A month away from the start of school, two of Schenectady's three middle schools do not have permanent principals. [Gazette]

Protest planned at Saratoga
Animal advocates are planning a protest this Sunday at the Saratoga Racecourse in the wake of the death of six horses so far in this Saratoga Season. [TU]

Brown's Beach
Brown's Beach on Saratoga Lake has reopened after E. coli levels caused it to close several weeks ago. Levels are in the single digits, and the beach has installed a bird deterrent system and a new set of beach rules. [News 10]

Friends fan
The producer of the TV series Friends stopped in to visit a serious ill woman in Milton who is a longtime fan of the show. [Gazette]

Happening today

The Track
Racing continues today season at the Saratoga Race Course.

Sunshine Fair

Today-Saturday: The Schoharie County Sunshine Fair continues at the fairgrounds in Cobleskill. The schedule includes agricultural displays, games, a demolition derby, and performances -- Sawyer Fredericks is performing on Saturday. Monday-Saturday various times -- $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (age 62 and up), free for children 2 and under (tickets includes fair admission, grandstand and grounds shows, and unlimited rides from noon to closing)


A Night with Janis Joplin
Today-Sunday: This is the last week for Capital Rep's production of A Night with Janis Joplin. (It closes August 7.) Tuesday-Sunday various times - $25 and up

Williamstown Theatre Festival
Today-Sunday: The Williamstown Theatre Festival's season continues with the new musical Poster Boy on the Nikos Stage (it runs through August 7). And a production of Wendy Wasserstein's An American Daughter starts Wednesdays on the main stage. various times -- $40 and up

Philadelphia Orchestra
Featuring violinist Sarah Chang

Wednesday-Saturday 8 pm -- $40 and up

Molly Hatchet at Alive at Five
Last Alive at Five of the season. With: Tumbleweed Highway. 5 pm -- free


Ironic that I hear about the boil water order for Albany from the Gazette and AOA, but not so much as a peep on the Times Union site - I guess they're too busy taking photos for the 'seen' galleries up in Saratoga.

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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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