Split verdict in UAlbany bus trial, more drug testimony in West trial, $350 thousand price tag for unplanned Schenectady demolitions

UAlbany bus trial
The two former UAlbany students who claimed they were the victims of a racially motivated attack on a CDTA bus 15-months ago were found guilty on Wednesday of filing a false report, but were acquitted of assault and harassment charges. Asha Burwell and Ariel Agudio could each face jail time, and are currently under a 9pm curfew until their sentencing in June. Their attorneys say the case should never have come to court. [TU][Gazette][WNYT][Spectrum]

West trial
+Alexander West testified on Wednesday that he was aware there was cocaine on his boat the night he crashed into another boat, killing an eight year old girl. Attorneys for West worked out a deal for him to share the information, claiming the knowledge didn't amount to usage. Prosecutors also attempted to discredit a witness who had an on-again, off-again relationship with West and stated he was flirting with her and seemed drunk on the day of the crash.

+Sara Foss shares thoughts on the drug and partying subculture behind the Alexander West incident.

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Petersburgh lawsuit upheld
A State Supreme Court justice declined to dismiss the class-action lawsuit against the plastics company, Taconic, filed on behalf of Peteresburgh residents, claiming th company polluted local water supplies with PFOA. [TU]

UAlbany imposes Mumps ban
In an attempt to curtail a Mumps outbreak , UAlbany is banning students who have not had the Mumps vaccine. [TU]

Suspects still at large in Hague robbery
Authorities are still searching for a pair of suspects in connection with an armed robbery at a Hague general store this week. [Spectrum]

Cost of unplanned Schenectady Demos
The cost of three unplanned demolition projects in Schenectady, including the Nichlaus building, was $350 thousand, but Mayor Gary McCarthy says the city is still within budget and plans to try to recoup some of that money from the owners, including $168 thousand from the owners of the Nichlaus building. [Gazette]

Excelsior scholarship
Bond rating firm Fitch Ratings has released a report predicting that the Excelsior Scholarship program offering free SUNY/CUNY tuition for students from families earning less than $125 thousand will create "enrollment uncertainty" across the Northeast. [TU]

Trump tax plan would cut NY deductions
Donald Trump's proposed tax reform could be harmful to many Upstate New York taxpayers. On the list of New Yorkers who would benefit from the changes: Donald Trump. [TU][NYT]

Taxi rules
Communities will soon be able to decide whether to impose a new set of rules, developed by CDTA, to oversee taxi services. [Gazette]

Chicks and ducks and a vacant lot in Troy
Chris Churchill looks at the question of a which is better -- a vacant lot full of needles, or a vacant lot becoming a home for chicks and ducks and urban agriculture. [TU+]

Cuomo chief of staff
Andrew Cuomo's newly named chief of staff is a Shaker grad who grew up in Loudonville. [TU]

Pratt honored
Legislators, Wednesday, honored the late State Trooper Tim Pratt, who died in October while trying to help a truck driver who was lost on a dark road. [TU]

Special Olympics
Siena College will host the Special Olympics in June. [TU]

Stuff going on today

Dining Out for Life

Dining Out For Life returns for 2017. The event is a fundraiser for the Alliance for Positive Health (formerly the AIDS Council of Northeast New York). And it's just about the easiest way to contribute. Here's how: You go out to eat at one of the participating restaurants. That's it. The participating restaurants will donate a portion of their checks from that day to the Alliance. (You can also make an additional donation -- ask for an envelope from one of the ambassadors.)

Douglas Brinkley
Historian Douglas Brinkley will be at the State Museum as part of the NYS Writers Institute visiting writers series. He'll be talking about his latest book, Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America. Thursday 8 pm -- free

Alone in this Remote Place: The Pioneering Women Biologists of New York's Raptor Recovery Programs
Thursday: Journalist Darryl McGrath will be at the Albany Institute to talk about the preservation efforts that helped save the bald eagle and peregrine falcon. "A small group of largely forgotten women scientists played a critical role in the two projects that restored these birds to the wild, often under extremely hazardous conditions in isolated settings. These pioneers were often the first people ever to undertake certain critical tasks in this historic work." McGrath is the author of Flight Paths: A Field Journal of Hope, Heartbreak, and Miracles with New York's Bird People. Thursday 6 pm -- free


MOVE Music Festival
The three day MOVE Music Festival kicks off tonight with Sawyer Fredericks, Jocelyn and Chris Arndt, and C.K. Flach at the Cohoes Music Hall. 7 pm
various prices

Branford Marsalis Quartet with special guest Kurt Elling at Troy Music Hall
The annual music hall gala. 7:30 pm -- $29 and up

Eleanor Ellis, Bill Ellis, Andy Cohen at Caffe Lena
Acoustic blues. 7 pm -- $22

The Kitchen Dwellers at The Hollow
"Bluegrass, Newgrass, Jamgrass, Yamgrass, Sam'sgrass, Wheat grass, Galaxygrass." With: Let's Be Leonard. 8 pm -- $12


Is there some reason you keep writing $350 thousand instead of just $350,000? That's just one example of at least 4 times above. Is there some new style guide dictating that? It's fewer characters and less jarring on the eye to just write the number. I'm just curious.

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