Cuomo signs ethics reform, public weighs in on 1 Monument Square, Paul Ryan headed to Saratoga, the 38 second pint

Ethics reform
Without fanfare on Wednesday, Andrew Cuomo signed an ethics reform package that would impose tight restrictions on outside spending groups in an effort to curb the impact of the Citizens United decision, but critics say it is nowhere near strong enough, since it doesn't put restrictions on lawmakers outside income or affect the "LLC loophole."[WNYT][TU][TWCN]

1 Monument Square
The City of Troy is putting the brakes on the development of 1 Monument square after residents who came out for a public hearing about the space on Wednesday made it clear that any project there is developed slowly and correctly, with the city's future needs in mind. [TU]

Michael Davis
Closing statements were wrapped up on Wednesday and the jury is now deliberating the case of Michael Davis, charged in the death of 2 year old Viola Davis, his girlfriend's daughter. [TU]

Corrections officer admits role in bank robbery
A former state corrections officer confessed on Wednesday to his part in the elaborate Rotterdam bank robbery scheme that involved a phoned-in threat against a school to divert police attention. [Gazette]

Man allegedly tried to burn down mother's home
The Colonie man charged earlier this summer for trying to run down a motorcyclist with a Jeep is now facing arson charges for allegedly trying to burn down his mother's home. [TU]

State laptop theft
A former state employee pleaded guilty on Wednesday to felony Grand Larceny for trying to steal about $30,000 worth of laptops and resell them.[TU]

Prosecutors want max for SafyreTerry's mother
Federal prosecutors are seeking the maximum 15 year prison sentence for the mother of Safyre Terry -- who confessed to perjury in connection with the case that maimed Safyre and killed her siblings and her father. [Gazette]

Log Bay Day
Members of the Lake George Park Commission are working to eliminate Log Bay Day, in the wake of the fatal hit and run boat crash that killed a nine year old girl. [News 10]

National Grid and solar
A Monolith Solar executive is claiming National Grid and other utilities are slow on signing off on upstate solar farms and are part of an "old boys network."[TU]

Paul Ryan headed for Saratoga
House Speaker Paul Ryan is expected to come to Saratoga on Monday to endorse Elise Stefanik, but the location of his appearance is still under wraps. [TU]

Beagle freedom
Chris Churchill lauds New York's new Beagle Freedom Law, which gives former test animals a shot at adoption. [TU+]

Neon path
A new neon green path with extra traction for bicycles is being installed as part of the upgrade to the Corning Riverfront Park bike path. [TU]

Troy boy to visit Pope
The Make-A-Wish Foundations is sending an 11-year-old Troy boy to the Vatican, to be blessed by Pope Francis. [WNYT]

Brain freeze
The winner of the annual ice cream eating contest at the Saratoga Racecourse snarfed down a pint of ice cream in 38 seconds. [Saratogian]

Happening today

Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally
Actors/comedians Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally will be at The Palace for a stage show titled "Summer of 69: No Apostrophe." Blurbage: "With this show, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally are yanking the britches right off of their marriage, exposing the salacious details of their fiery union for all the world to enjoy, featuring songs, funny talking, heavy ribaldry, light petting and an astonishing final act of completion." Thursday 8 pm -- $39.50 and up

Emma Straub
Novelist Emma Straub will be at The Mount in Lenox for a conversation with journalist Kate Bolick. Straub's new novel is Modern Lovers. Thursday 5:30 pm -- $18

Deja View
The Deja View series in downtown Albany's Tricentennial Park will be showing The Princess Bride. "Patrons are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to view the movie..." Thursday 7:45 pm -- free

Washington County Fair
Today-Sunday: The Washington County Fair will be at the fairgrounds in Greenwich. It bills itself as "New York's #1 Agricultural County Fair." (Admission does not include carnival rides. During the fair, ride tickets are $1.25 each.) Monday-Sunday -- adults $10 / children 13 and under are free / all-week pass is $30 / free admission for all active military service members with military ID

Park Playhouse
Today-Saturday: This is the last week for the The Park Playhouse's production of The Little Mermaid, adapted from the Disney film, in Albany's Washington Park. (It runs through August 27.) Today-Saturday 7:30 pm -- free on the lawn / reserve tickets $16 and up

The Track
It's the fifth full week of the season at the Saratoga Race Course. It's a big week there because the Travers Stakes -- the biggest race of the season -- is on Saturday.

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My grandmother has Alzheimers and sometimes comes to stay with us in Troy. Last week the absolutely highlight of her day was seeing the hundreds of crows that came streaming by the window at our apartment. I watched her go from completely unresponsive to engaged... stringing questions together and returning to her old joyful self for the half hour she watched those birds was enough to endear crows to me forever.

If you see someone running around throwing bird seed in Riverfront Park yelling "COME ON DOWN, BIRD FRIENDS!", it's me.

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