10 news stories from over the Thanksgiving break

Here are 10 stories (or groups of stories) from the over the Thanksgiving break.

Shooting at Rocks
Four people were shot -- one fatally -- at Rocks on Central Ave in Albany early Thanksgiving morning, according to Albany police. The bar's owner says the shooting occurred at a private party next door -- and officials say it doesn't appear the incident targeted the LBGTQ community. As of Sunday, APD had yet to release the names of the victims or a description of the suspect. [APD] [News10] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Crunch time for city budgets

+ Troy mayor Patrick Madden says his administration has gotten the tax increase in the proposed budget down to 23 percent. But the group of four City Council Republicans that's said they won't approve a tax cap override unless the increase is cut to 9.5 percent says it's not enough. [TWCN][News10]

+ Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan released a response to last week's letter from four Common Council members criticizing her proposed budget, providing counterpoints to the letter's argument and pushing back on its overall message: "Since engaging in meaningful dialogue clearly is not your intent or desire, this letter simply corrects, for the record, the falsehoods and misrepresentations in your letter." Frank Commisso Jr. -- one of the four council members, and a potential challenger for the mayor's office -- continued to criticize the mayor, saying her administration isn't taking responsibility for its actions. [Sheehan admin] [TWCN]

Caroline Street fire
An early morning fire on Thanksgiving damaged multiple businesses along Caroline Street in downtown Saratoga Springs and displaced apartment residents. There's a fundraiser to help restaurant employees who will be out of work while the damage is repaired. [Saratogian] [TU]

Albany convention center
+ With the Albany Capital Center set to open on Eagle Street in the spring, the original convention center site along Broadway still sits undeveloped -- and publicly, at least, there are no plans for it.
+ Albany County officials are talking about re-evaluating a planned increase in the amount of the county hotel bed tax that goes to the convention center. [TU]

Albany County nursing home
The executive director of the Albany County nursing home says better tracking of reimbursements and planned renovations have put the facility on the path to being financially independent from the county -- it currently gets $7 million from the county, down from $14 million last year. (In recent years there had been a long debate over whether the county should privatize the facility because of the home's financial troubles.) [TU]

Working for the governor's office, but not paid by it
More than 40 percent of the people who work in the governor's office are paid via agencies or authorities separate from the executive chamber, according to a Times Union analysis. [TU+]

Albany school enrollment
Enrollment in Albany city public schools is up more than 18 percent from 2008-2009, thanks in part to charter school closures and new immigrants. [TU]

Court rules in favor of program for the homeless at Albany church
A state appellate court has ruled that a program that serves homeless families can operate at the parsonage of a church on upper New Scotland Ave in Albany, reversing a lower court decision that the program wasn't consistent with the church's house-of-worship zoning. [TU+]

Local employment at colleges
Employment at Capital Region colleges and universities was up more than 18 percent between 2005-2015, according to state Department of Labor data. [TU+]

UAlbany-Siena
+ The UAlbany's men's basketball team beat Siena 81-72 in the Albany Cup game at SEFCU Arena. [TU]
+ The UAlbany women's team beat Siena 88-86, the Great Danes' seventh straight Albany Cup win. [Daily Gazette]

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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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