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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Recent Comments

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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