Expectations and hopes for the Schenectady casino, state Senate passes ride hailing bill, number of visitors up at Thacher Park

Schenectady casino
With the opening a day away:
+ A look at the community impacts of the Rush Street Gaming casinos in Pittsburgh and near Chicago, where the results have been something between predicted extremes. [Daily Gazette]
+ Schenectady officials are hoping the casino will be part of a broader upward swing in the city's fortunes. [TWCN]

Albany fatal hit and run
+ Albany police say they've found the vehicle involved in the alleged hit and run that killed a pedestrian in Washington Park Saturday morning, but aren't saying anything beyond that. [TWCN]
+ Remembering the woman who died, 21-year-old Rajine Martinez of Albany. [News10]

Schumer, Gillibrand, and the Trump cabinet
+ Chuck Schumer on Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump's pick for education secretary: she's "the least qualified nominee in a historically unqualified cabinet." [TU]
+ Kirsten Gillibrand on the recent upswell in activism and political engagement around the country in response to the Trump administration: "I know so many people have a feeling of a call to action so intensely that they are doing literally everything they can to be heard. I feel like we are watching democracy being enlivened like I've never seen before." [The Alt]

New York's highest court
The state Senate unanimously approved the nomination of Rowan Wilson to the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court. [TU]

Uber and Lyft
The state Senate passed a bill that would open the way for ride hailing services such as Uber and Lyft to operated upstate. State Assembly speaker Carl Heastie said he expects his chamber to take on the issue soon. [TU] [TWCN]

Ethics reform
Sara Foss on the slow pace of state ethics reform: "Some issues -- mixed martial arts, ride-hailing -- get easier over time. Ethics reform, from what I've seen, never does." [Daily Gazette]

Medical marijuana officials facing charges
Former employees of Vireo Health, one of New York State's approved medical marijuana companies, are facing charges in Minnesota for allegedly transporting more than 12 pounds of cannabis oil from a production facility there to a facility in Fulton County in New York State. Moving such products from state to state is illegal. [Politico] [TU]

Untaxed cigarettes
The state Department of Taxation and Finance says it recently made two busts of allegedly untaxed cigarettes and tobacco products at Albany corner stores. [NYS DTF]

Schenectady police and conflicts of interest
Following the odd incident involving mayor Gary McCarthy that prompted an outside investigation by the Saratoga County DA, the Schenectady City Council has been discussing what, if anything, it might be able to do to lay out a formal process for how the police department should handle cases where there might be a conflict of interest because of the involvement of a city official. [Daily Gazette]

Schenectady carjacking
Schenectady police say a medical taxi driver was carjacked Monday morning at gunpoint in the Vale neighborhood. SPD says it found the car about a mile away later in the day, and is asking anyone who might have seen something to contact police. [Daily Gazette] [TWCN]

Troy church conversion
A developer wants to convert a former church building in Lansingburgh into apartments, the variance for which is opposed by two city council members. [TU]

Troy salt pile
Troy residents who live near a large salt pile along the riverfront say they're concerned about dust that drifts from the pile. [TU]

Hilltowns social services
Albany County sheriff Craig Apple says he wants the county buy the former Clarksville Elementary School and convert the space to host a range of social services for people in the Hilltowns. [TU]

State parks
Overall attendance at New York State parks was up again in 2016 -- the number of visitors was up at Thacher State Park and down at Spa State Park compared to the year before. [Daily Gazette]

Picking through the financial leftovers of the Rascals closure at Crossgates -- the owners say they're working to pay employees what's owed. [TU]

Roger Stone
Chris Churchill on Roger Stone's new book about the Trump campaign: "Generally, I'm against book burning. This might be an exception." [TU]

Boosted by concern about the Trump administration, WAMC finished its winter fund drive in one day. [TU]

Stuff going on today

Michael Sam
Michael Sam -- the first openly gay football player to be drafted by an NFL team -- will be at UAlbany to give the keynote for the university's sexuality week. "A role model and trailblazer for inclusion in sports, revered for his unswerving courage, graciousness and fortitude, Sam offers firsthand insight into leveraging individual personal strengths to pursue ones dreams, inspiring audiences with perspective on what it means to work hard to define and achieve success." Tuesday 8 pm, uptown campus, Campus Center Ballroom -- free and open to the public

African-American history in spoken word and song
Albany City Hall will host a presentation on African-American history. "Nell Stokes will take participants on a unique journey through African American history using both spoken word and traditional Black spirituals. In this uniquely entertaining and informative performance, Ms. Stokes will share excerpts from over 500 years of blood, sweat, tears, pain struggle, triumph, laughter, and joy." Tuesday 5 pm -- free

Nitty Gritty
The Nitty Gritty Poetry Slam is back at The Low Beat. 7 pm

Assisted Loving
Tuesday-Sunday: Capital Rep continues its production of Assisted Loving.

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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.

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