NYS budget spokesman criticizes Albany funding, Raniere hires Albany attorney, hearing on controversial Holocaust memorial, sparkler ban upheld in Schenectady County

City of Albany officials were taken aback by a recent comment by the state budget division spokesman that the $12 million in additional aid the city has gotten from the state in recent years was "not fair to state taxpayers" because it had helped the city build its fund balance. (The city has been working with the state in recent years on its fiscal situation, submitting itself to a review by an outside firm at the state's request.) [TU]

Holocaust memorial
Niskayuna residents turned out Tuesday night to voice their opinions on a controversial Holocaust Memorial proposed for Route 7.[Gazette][TU]

Raniere attorney
NXIVM leader Keith Raniere has retained Paul DerOhannesian a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor from Albany to defend him against federal charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor. [TU]

Morse critic files claim against Cohoes
Jeffrey Bagley, a frequent critic of Mayor Shawn Morse, has filed a notice of claim against Cohoes, alleging city police falsely arrested him on harassment charges following a Facebook exchange with a relative of the Mayor.[TU]

Drug bust at Colonie motel
Saratoga County sheriff's Deputies and Colonie police made six arrests in a drug bust at the Golden Circle Motel in Colonie.[Spectrum]

Troy police
Troy leaders are debating hiring more police officers for the city. [Spectrum]

Shooter drill
SPAC is in the midst of a week long active shooter drill. [WNYT]

Pay gap
According to a new study, New York has the smallest gender pay gap in the nation -- 11 percent.In an effort to further close pay gaps in the state, Andrew Cuomo is supporting legislation banning employers from asking prospective employees how much money they make. [TU][TU]

Schenectady fire
A family of five was displaced after fire broke out on Tuesday at their Albany Street Apartment. [Gazette]

Parking amnesty
Shawn Morse is proposing a perking ticket amnesty in the city in an effort to collect more that $250,000 in unpaid tickets. [TU]

Schneiderman wins Trump U settlement
The defunct Trump University has agreed to a $25 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by Eric Schneiderman's office on behalf of former students.[TU]

Woman allegedly threatened mass shooting
An Albany woman was arrested for allegedly threatening a mass shooting at the Albany County Department of Social Services. [TU]

X
Efforts in to remove the red X signs from abandoned buildings in Albany. [TU]

This was legal?
A bill awaiting Andrew Cuomo's signature would close a loophole that allowed e-cigarette companies to give free samples to minors. [TU]

Sparklers in Schenectady
Sparklers and small fireworks will remain illegal in Schenectady County.[Gazette]

Saratoga Bruegger's closed
The longtime Broadway location of Bruegger's Bagels in Saratoga Springs closed suddenly this week. [Gazette]

Best places
According to a U.S. News and World Report ranking, the Capital Region is in the top third of the 125 largest metros best places to live, and tops ever other metro in New York State. [TU]

Stuff going on today

Blithe Spirit
Tuesday-Sunday: Capital Repertory Theatre opens its new production of Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit. (It was in previews this past weekend.) "One highly spirited wife is fun - but two is fertile ground for this smash comedy hit of the London and Broadway stages from the witty pen of Noël Coward. Meet cantankerous novelist Charles Condomine, re-married to Ruth but haunted (literally) by the ghost of his late first wife, the clever and insistent Elvira who has been conjured up by a visiting 'happy medium,' one Madame Arcati." The production runs through May 6. Tuesday-Sunday various times -- $20 and up

Diversity in The Creative Economy
Wednesday: The Opalka Gallery on the Sage Albany campus is hosting an Open Forum event, "Diversity in The Creative Economy," moderated by Ada Harper of 518Blk. "Confirmed panelists include Dale Davidson, owner of Umana Restaurant and Wine Bar, Ashleigh Kinsey, CEO of AK Design Digital Media Services & Consulting, Bhawin Suchak Executive Director of Youth FX, DJ Trumastr, founder of Beat*Shot Productions, and Hana van der Kolk, Troy-based touring choreographer and performance artist." Wednesday 6 pm -- free

Bobsledding and 10 Thurlow Terrace
Wednesday: Albany Archives' Matt Malette will be at the Albany Public Library Washington Ave Branch to talk about the history of bobsledding in Albany and the backstory of the Thurlow Mansion next to Washington Park. Wednesday 6:30 pm -- free

ART!??!!!
Wednesday: EMPAC director Johannes Goebel will be hosting an open discussion about art. "Why is there art at all? Why should anyone care? Isn't everything art and everyone an artist? What is the place of art in this society and at Rensselaer? What is EMPAC's place in all this? Is art meant to speak to my heart or is it all just elitist stuff? Isn't art about self-expression with all value in the eye of the beholder? But then what is the return on investment?" Wednesday 7 pm -- free

Elizabeth Kolbert
Wednesday: The rescheduled Elizabeth Kolbert Saratoga Reads talk at Skidmore is full.

Music

Wednesday: Hamell on Trial at The Low Beat
April residency. 7 pm

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I ride every day to work, and also after work for exercise. I love the concept of being a person who happens to ride a bike. There's a level of bike riding, with the high performance gear and sleek clothing, that makes riding seem like its not for everyone. I try to avoid markers like that, and always wear regular clothing/shoes/backpack with dumpy-looking bike. One concession is bike gloves.

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