Fiery crash at Colonie tavern, questions about Hulett Street fire investigation, Schumer and Long debate, can/should Albany treasurer salary be cut for other raises?

Colonie car crash, fire
Colonie police say a driver crashed his car into two other vehicles in the parking lot of Blessing's Tavern Friday night, and two of the vehicles went through the wall of the tavern and one of the vehicles burst into flames, and the building then caught fire. CPD says four people were injured -- the driver of the car, a cook, and a tavern patron were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The fourth -- a 16 year old who was a passenger in the first car -- suffered burns on more than 95 percent of his body, according to family, and was taken to a burn unit in Westchester County. He was in critical condition as of Sunday night. A witness tells TWCN he saw the teen running, "completely engulfed in flames." [CPD press release] [News10] [TU] [TWCN x2]

The driver is facing charges that include vehicular assault and driving while ability impaired by drugs. [CPD press release]

Hulett Street fire investigation
Brendan Lyons on the investigation into the Hulett Street fire in Schenectady that killed four people and seriously injured Safyre Terry: "A review of interview transcripts, court records and a copy of [Jennica] Duell's videotaped interrogation, which was recently made public by the U.S. Attorney's office, also raises questions about whether Schenectady detectives and federal agents manipulated the interviews that resulted in Duell and another man, Bryan Fish, who was 18 at the time, signing strikingly similar and detailed statements that implicated [Robert] Butler, who always maintained his innocence." [TU+]

Acquittal on most serious charges in Schenectady murder trial
The man accused of fatally stabbing James Jackson outside Yates Village in Schenectady in September 25 was acquitted of the murder charge in the case, but was found guilty of felony weapon possession. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Arrests in Rotterdam bank robbery
Rotterdam police say they've arrested two people in connection with the robbery of the Pioneer Savings Bank on Altamont Avenue last week. [News10]

Fatal crash on Northway
State Police say they're investigating a one-vehicle crash on the Northway in Wilton Sunday morning that killed one person and injured five others. NYSP say the driver fell asleep and the vehicle veered off the road, the back on, then overturned several times. [NYSP]

Person hit on train tracks in Albany
Canadian Pacific says a person walking on train tracks near North Ferry Street in Albany early Saturday morning was hit by a train. The person was taken to the hospital in critical condition. [TU] [WNYT]

Marquis Dixon appeal
Chris Churchill on the Marquis Dixon case following last week's state appellate court decision granting Dixon youthful offender status, and reduced sentence, for an Albany sneaker robbery: "Our criminal justice system is criminal and unjust. It sends too many to prison unjustly and for too long. There is one set of rules for the rich and another for the poor -- and that makes a mockery of what this country is supposed to be about." [TU+]

Schumer-Long debate
Among the topics that came up during the debate between Chuck Schumer and Republican challenger Wendy Long debated at Union College Sunday: regulation of Wall Street, the Supreme Court, and Donald Trump. [TWCN] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Politico NY]

Rensselaer school district audit
A state comptroller's office audit of the finances of the Rensselaer school district found a string of problems and lost aid from the state because of mismanagement. The district asked for the audit after it fired its former district business official last November. [NYS OSC] [TU]

City budgets
+ Troy mayor Patrick Madden and city council president Carmella Mantello had a pointed public exchange about the proposed budget and its 28 percent tax increase. [Troy Record]
+ The Schenectady City Council passed its 2017 budget (with a 4 percent tax decrease) at a five-minute-long meeting. [Daily Gazette]

Albany treasurer salary cut?
Albany treasurer Darius Shahinfar says he wants to cut his own salary so members of his staff can get raises, prompting questions for the Common Council about whether that's legal and or prudent. [TU]

Saratoga Springs sidewalk sitting law
The Saratoga Springs police chief says his department hasn't made any arrests under the city's recently-enacted law against sitting on sidewalks -- and doesn't expect to. [TU]

Mohawk Harbor
The developer of the new Riverhouse apartments at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady says rents will range from $1,000 a month for a studio to $2,000-$3,300 for a two-bedroom. [Daily Gazette]

Stuff going on today

Halloween
It's Halloween, so a reminder to stock up on some candy for for trick-or-treaters. (And keep an eye out for them if you're driving in the evening.)

If you're around Albany and looking for an indoor place to trick-or-treat, Albany Law has its annual Trick or Treat Street event at its campus gym. Monday 5-8 pm -- free

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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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