Powerful storms knock out power to thousands, guilty plea in Albany murder case, law enforcement said to now be involved in state Senate stipends, UAlbany student a Youtube star

Overnight storms
+ The line of thunderstorms that rolled through the area Thursday night knocked out power to thousands of households around the region. [National Grid]
+ It appears lightning struck a house in Slingerlands, setting it on fire. [TU]
+ In Cohoes: "All of a sudden I saw this guy get struck by lightning and I was supposed to be studying for a quiz, like three quizzes, and this dude just gets hit by lightning." [WNYT]

Guilty plea in Albany murder case
The man accused of beating 63-year-old Lori Milks to death outside the South Mall Towers in Albany last November pleaded guilty second-degree murder and nows faces 19 years to life at sentencing. The attack was captured on video. The attorney for Gerard Burks was longtime local defense attorney Terry Kindlon -- he said of the case after the plea: "This is, without question, the most provable murder case I have ever seen." [TU] [Albany County DA] [WNYT] [Spectrum]

Chip fab yard sale
SUNY Poly is looking to sell tens of millions of dollars in specialized equipment after after a chip industry research consortium effort planned for the Albany campus -- the one that prompted the construction of the $365 million NanoFab X building -- fizzled out. [TU]

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State Senate stipend questions
+ A person "who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation" tells the New York Times that the state comptroller's office is working with a law enforcement agency to investigate the stipends distributed to state senators for committee chairs they did not hold. [NYT]
+ On Thursday, Andrew Cuomo said the whole situation is connected to the salaries of legislators -- and he focused blame not on the state Senate Republican majority and Independent Democratic Conference, < href="http://www.twcnews.com/nys/capital-region/politics/2017/05/19/andrew-cuomo-blames-state-comptroller-tom-dinapoli-for-lulus-nys-senate.html">but on state comptroller Tom DiNapoli. [TU] [Spectrum]

Waiting for school tech
Local school districts they've been waiting -- and waiting -- for the state to approve their plans to use money under the Smart Schools Bond Act that was approved in November of 2014. [WNYT]

Investigating the Trump administration
Paul Tonko on being part of a push for a bipartisan independent commission to investigate the Trump administration and potential connections with Russia: "The president and his top advisers have murky and potentially improper relations to Russia. This is not a Democratic issue; it is not a Republican issue. It is an American issue." [Daily Gazette]

Garbage
+ The Albany landfill is the third-largest source of methane emissions in the state, according to federal data -- and a new state plan aimed at cutting down on emissions of the potent greenhouse gas might have consequences for the facility. [TU+]
+ Albany and Saratoga counties are looking the possibility of jointly building an anaerobic digestion facility for organic waste. [TU]

Affordable housing
+ A look at the plan to build "workforce" housing at the Saratoga Diner site. [Daily Gazette]
+ The non-profit Community Builders has proposed a plan to build mixed-income housing at the Leonard Hospital site in Troy. [Troy Record]

Rensselaer County exec race
Republican state Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin has formally filed to run for Rensselaer County exec. [TU]

Albany mayoral race
Frank Commisso Jr. released his tax return, which appears to be a first for an Albany mayoral candidate. [TU]

Erie Boulevard
Schenectady's planning commission wants to do a comprehensive study of the zoning along Erie Boulevard to understand what might work best of the future of the corridor. [Daily Gazette]

RPI
A look at RPI's financial state after Standard & Poor's lowered its bond rating earlier this year. [Troy Record]

Stable worker banned
A stable worker says he's been banned from working at the Saratoga Race Course and NYRA won't explain why. [Saratogian]

Chizi Duru
The UAlbany student who's found fame on Youtube with her videos for black women about how to care for and style their natural hair. [WNYT]

Oprah
The local artist who wants to present Oprah with a portrait inspired by dream while the icon is in town for the Skidmore commencement. [Daily Gazette]

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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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