Morning Blend

A quick scan each morning of headlines from around the region

Family questions handling of Troy police fatal shooting investigation, Albany aiming to save $100k with new lights, the kindness of regular people

April 17 fatal shooting by Troy police (updated)
Friday morning the family Edson Thevenin -- the man fatally shot by Troy police during an incident near the Collar City Bridge -- spoke to the media about the case, saying Troy police have changed their story about what happened multiple times. Said Thevenin's wife, Cinthia, about the handling of the case: "They were just trying to wrap things up as quickly as they can and sweep it under the rung. They were hoping it would just go away and we wouldn't ask questions." [TWCN] [TU]

In light of the current dispute between state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove over who should have jurisdiction to investigate the case, a look at an opinion piece Abelove wrote for Times Union this past August about the Andrew Cuomo executive order moving the power to investigate deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of police to the AG's office: "I remain committed to handling all cases, including those involving law enforcement officers, with impartiality, fairness and honesty, without fear or favor -- but in a lawful and transparent fashion." Abelove continued to decline publicly commenting Thursday. A question in the case: Could Thevenin's car -- which police allege he used to pin an officer against another vehicle -- be considered a weapon? [TU+] [Troy Record] [WNYT]

Stabbing in downtown Troy
Troy police say they're investigating the stabbing of a woman near State Street and the Frear Alley (map) Thursday night. TPD says sounds of moaning led people to discover the woman -- she was taken to the hospital for surgery. [News10] [TWCN] [TU]

Albany apartment fire
A fire at multi-unit home in West Hill late Thursday afternoon has displaced 13 people. Residents say it appears a problem with electric wiring caused the fire. [News10] [WNYT]

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Schneiderman sues Rensselaer County DA over handling of fatal police-involved shooting, 2nd Troy bank robbery this week, Jackson reverses plan to hire RPI activities director

AG's office sues Troy DA
Eric Schneiderman's office is suing to take over the recent Troy case of a fatal police-involved shooting of a DWI suspect. The suit claims Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove, rushed the case to a grand jury, in violation of Andrew Cuomo's executive order giving the New York attorney general broad powers to investigate and prosecute in deadly encounters between police officers and unarmed civilians. After hearing Abelove's case, the grand jury cleared Troy police Sgt. Randall French of any wrongdoing in the incident, which occurred five days earlier. In a statement on Wednesday, Schneiderman claimed "Abelove's actions not only violate the law but directly undermine the public's confidence in law enforcement." [Record][NYT][TU][Gazette]

Another Troy bank robbery
The First Niagara bank branch in Troy was robbed on Wednesday afternoon -- the second Troy First Niagara branch to be robbed this week. [TU][TWCN]

Alleged sexual assault at Saint Rose
Police say they have video of two suspects leaving a building around the time of an alleged sexual assault at a College of Saint Rose dorm. [TU]

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Former JCOPE director to join Cuomo administration, Albany County hearing on proposed tobacco law, Earth Day oil spill on the Hudson

Former JCOPE leader joins Cuomo administration
The Former Executive Director of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics has quietly taken a job as a deputy commissioner at the state Department of Taxation and Finance, where she will lead the criminal investigation services division. [TU+]

Hearing on Albany County tobacco law
At a public hearing on Tuesday night, Albany County legislators listened to members of the public comment on the pros and cons of a proposed law that would raise the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21. [News 10][TWCN][WNYT]

Sentencing in Schenectady drug murder
Carlson Nunes was sentenced to 22 years to life in the 2015 murder of Carlos Figueroa. [Gazette]

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Upswing in Capital Region home sales, bank robber with the sniffles?, details of deal for restaurant at TU Center

Upswing for home sales
Closed home sales in the Capital Region during the first quarter of 2016 were up 18 percent compared to the same period the year before (and pending sales were up 30 percent), according to numbers from the Greater Capital Association of Realtors. Among the reasons floated: increasing rental prices, relatively low interest rates, and a mild winter. [GCAR] [TU+]

Affordable housing in Troy
The residential conversion of the former Mooradians furniture warehouse in North Central will include units set aside for people in different income brackets. [TWCN]

April 17 fatal shooting by Troy police
The Record's Mark Robarge: There's no evidence the officer who fatally shot a man during the encounter near the Collar City Bridge did anything wrong, but the apparent effort by the Rensselaer County DA's office to quickly resolve the investigation into the incident "did [the officer] no favors by injecting more controversy into the case than it deserves, and I wouldn't at all be surprised to learn in short order that the grand jury's word is not the last in this case." [Troy Record]

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Man fatally shot by police in Berne, chef pleads guilty in theft from restaurant, considering sparklers in Albany County

State Police fatally shoot man in Berne
State Police say two troopers responding to a call in Berne fatally shot a man Friday night when he "aggressively approached" the troopers while carrying a knife in each hand and did not comply with orders to put the knives down. State Police Major William Keeler says the man, 51-year-old Carl Baranishyn Jr., had called 911 and expressed "suicidal thoughts, homicidal statements, including two any responding law enforcement" -- and a coroner has ruled the death suicide by police. Keeler said it was his understanding the troopers had tasers, but the dark night conditions made would have made them difficult to use. He said the troopers gave Baranishyn "ample opportunity to surrender and drop his knife." [NYSP] [TWCN] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [News10]

April 17 fatal shooting by Troy police
A Rensselaer County grand jury returned a "no true bill" clearing Troy police sergeant Randall French of criminal charges in the April 17 incident in which he fatally shot Edson Thevenin after Thevenin allegedly pinned French against a car with a vehicle. It's not clear what sort of investigation -- if any -- the state attorney general's office will be pursing in the case under its recently granted power to investigation the deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of police. [Troy Record] [TU]

February 9 Colonie murder suicide
State Police say they still don't know what prompted Colonie police officer Israel Roman to kill his wife, 10-year-old son, and himself and set their house on fire. [TU+]

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Proposals for election reform, SUNY Poly looking for bids for Rensselaer riverfront project, Union pushes back on Schenectady request for payments

Addressing elections complaints
Among the proposed solutions following complaints about how the New York presidential primary was administered this week: automatic voter registration, same-day registration, and moving the deadline for switching party registration closer to the primary -- but the state legislature hasn't exactly seemed motivated to act on such reforms in recent years. [TU+]

Death in Albany fire
Albany officials say the man pulled from fire on South Pine Street this week has died. AFD says it appears the fire was accidental. [WNYT] [TU]

890 loop reconfiguration
Construction is set to start Monday on the reconfiguration of the I-890 Exit 4 loop in Schenectady. [Cuomo admin] [Daily Gazette]

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2.65 million primary voters, Feds seek max for Silver, Kinder Morgan rethinking pipeline, Sage students stage topless protest

Primary voters
About 2.65 million New Yorkers cast ballots in this week's presidential primary elections. [TU]

Sheldon Silver
"What I have done, has hurt the Assembly, and New York, and my constituents terribly, and I regret that more than I can possibly express" -- Sheldon Silver in a apology letter to the judge who will sentence him next month. Federal prosecutors are arguing for a more than 10-year sentence for Silver. [NYT][WNYT]

Kinder Morgan suspends pipeline plan
Kinder Morgan has announced they are suspending plans to build the proposed $3.3 billion Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, which was expected to go from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, passing through Schoharie and Albany Counties. [TU]

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Clinton/Trump win New York primaries,former childcare worker charged with sex abuse, Attorney General will review fatal Troy shooting

New York Primaries
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump saw victories in Tuesday's New York primary. Initial results showed Clinton ahead of Sanders by 58 to 42 percent. In the Republican race, early results show that Donald Trump garnered 60 percent of the vote, while John Kasich took 25 percent, and Td Cruz just 15 percent. Bernie sanders won the Capital District and most of upstate New York by a slim margin. Trump was the clear victor in the Capital Region. Here's a quick scan of the New York Primaries. [NYT][TU][TU][AOA]

Attorney General will review Troy police shooting
The state attorney general's office will formally review the death of a man who fled a traffic stop last weekend and was shot and killed by a Troy police officer. [TU]

Childcare worker charged with sex crime
A former Guilderland school cafeteria aid who spent 30 years in the field of child has been charged with felony first-degree criminal sexual act, after allegedly committing a sex act involving a child under the age of 11 on the grounds of the Westmere Elementary School on Saturday. [TU][WNYT]

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More details about fatal shooting of man by Troy police, it's presidential primary day in New York, Kasich in Schenectady, Dairy Circus destroyed by fire

More details about incident in which man was fatally shot by Troy police
Troy police officially released the names of the Watervliet man fatally shot by a police officer early Sunday morning, along with the names of the officers involved in the incident near the Collar City Bridge. TPD says Sgt. Randy French fired eight shots at Edson Thevenin after Thevenin allegedly pinned French against a patrol car with his vehicle. TPD chief John Tedesco: "It would appear that the actions of Sgt. French were in line with the law, our policy and department training, and we are fully supporting the sergeant." [Daily Gazette] [TWCN]

Tedesco said police investigators have yet to interview French about the incident due to his medical condition (TPD says French suffered a leg injury). There have been somewhat conflicting reports on which agency will be investigating the shooting -- the Rensselaer County DA said the state Attorney General's office told them it would not be claiming jurisdiction, but a spokesman for the AG's office tells the Times Union that decision hasn't been made, yet. [Troy Record] [WNYT] [TU+]

It's presidential primary day
Polls are open in New York State for the Democratic and Republican party presidential primaries from noon to 9 pm today. Don't know where to vote? Check with the state Board of Elections website. (You must be a registered Democrat or Republican to vote in the primary.)

Delegates
The important results from Tuesday primaries will be how many delegates each candidate is able to pick up from the various vote totals in Congressional districts around the state.
+ There are 247 pledged Democratic delegates at stake in New York -- and Hillary Clinton currently leads Bernie Sanders by 1,307-1,094 in pledged delegates. [Politico NY]
+ On the Republican side, a key question will be whether Donald Trump can get a majority of the primary vote in Congressional districts, which would allow him to claim all three delegates from those districts. If he doesn't get past the 50 percent point, then the second-place finisher in the district gets one of the three delegates. [TU+] [FiveThirtyEight]

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Man fatally shot by Troy police, Bill Clinton campaigns for Hillary Clinton in Colonie, new development planned for Albany's Park South

Man fatally shot by Troy police
Troy police say an officer shot and killed a man early Sunday morning during an incident that began with a traffic stop on 6th Avenue. TPD says the man, who has not been publicly identified by police, fled the traffic stop in his vehicle, eventually crashing it into a barrier at the westbound entrance to the Collar City Bridge. Police say the man was blocked in by two police cars when drove forward, pinning an officer who had been on foot against his own police car. The officer fired on the driver through the windshield, fatally wounding the driver. TPD says the officer, who has not been publicly identified by the department, was treated at a hospital and released, but will need further medical treatment. [TU+] [TWCN] [WNYT] [Troy Record] [News10]

Presidential primaries
+ Bill Clinton spoke to a crowd of about 600 at the Desmond Saturday in support of Hilly Clinton's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Said former president of his wife: "She is not just the best change-maker now just in the race, but the best change-maker I've ever known..." [TU] [TWCN] [Daily Gazette]
+ Hundreds of people gathered in West Capitol Park Saturday in Albany to rally for Bernie Sanders. [TWCN]
+ John Kasich to set to appear at a town hall-style event at the Schenectady Armory Monday evening. [Daily Gazette]

The New York presidential primaries are Tuesday. Don't know where to vote? Check with the state Board of Elections website.

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New details in Jacquelyn Porreca murder case, recaps of Clinton-Sanders debate, video of Albany meeting between Sanders and BLM Upstate, Cuomo signs MMA bill

Jacquelyn Porreca murder case
A few new details in the Jacquelyn Porreca murder case surfaced Thursday during a pre-trial hearing: Colonie police say they were approached by an informant who said he'd heard Michael Chmielewski and Sean Moreland talking about the case, and police then bugged the informant's car to record later talk by the two suspects. A Colonie police sergeant also testified that Chmielewski showed police where he's alleged to tossed the knife and gloves used in the fatal stabbing into the lake at Washington Park. Chmielewski's attorney says he was pressured to make admissions in the case, and Moreland's attorney is trying to get his client's case separated from that of Chmielewski. [TWCN] [WNYT] [TU]

Clinton-Sanders debate
Ahead of next week's presidential primary in New York State, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders appeared in a feisty and pointed debate in Brooklyn Thursday night. Topics included banking regulation, gun control, climate change, and Israel. The $15 minimum wage -- and New York's recent move toward it -- also came up. Here's a TWCN live blog of the debate and here's AP fact check of some of the statements. [NYT] [TWCN] [State of Politics] [TWCN] [AP/Troy Record]

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Police: fatal Rotterdam shooting justified, Bill Clinton reportedly headed to Albany, poll shows 55% approval for Cuomo

Rotterdam shooting update
At a news conference on Wednesday, police said the fatal shooting of a man in a Rotterdam home this weekend by a police officer was justified. Investigators say the shots were fired in self defense after an attempt at tasering the emotionally disturbed man failed and he lunged and police with a knife. [Gazette][WNYT][TU]

Bill Clinton
Several news outlets are reporting that Bill Clinton will be in Albany this weekend to stump for Hillary Clinton. [TWCN][Gazette]

Trump
Donald Trump told the Times Unionhe'll be the first Republican presidential candidate since Reagan to win New York.[TU+]


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Siena poll: Clinton/Trump lead in New York, local employees join Verizon strike, NYRA may return to private control

Siena poll shows Clinton/Trump lead in New York
A new Siena poll reports Hillary Clinton ten points ahead of Bernie Sanders in New York -- a lead that has dropped by 11 points since March. Donald Trump leads John Kasich and Ted Cruz 50-27-17. [TU][Daily Gazette][News 10]

Details emerge in fatal Guilderland crash
Police say the car in the fatal crash near Schoolhouse Road and Western Ave earlier this week was reported stolen shortly before the crash by a man who says he left it parked and running on the 400 block of Madison Avenue in Albany. [TU]

State ethics
With the recent convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos complete, federal prosecutor Preet Bharara may be turning his attention to the executive branch of state government. [Politico]

JCOPE resignations
Two JCOPE commissioners -- one appointed by Andrew Cuomo and one by Dean Skelos-- quietly resigned recently. [TU+]

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Trump, Sanders, and Kasich all make stops in Capital Region, investigation into fatal police shooting in Rotterdam, allegations that Cohoes in leaning on building owners

As you know, three presidential candidates -- Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and John Kasich -- were in the Capital Region Monday:

Donald Trump in Albany
A crowd of between 10,000-17,000 people* gathered at the TU Center for the Donald Trump rally. The Republican candidate criticized what he called the "rigged" structure of the primaries in both parties. He said he'd stop jobs being moved out of the country by using tariffs. He criticized Ted Cruz for the the fellow Republican's "New York values" comment. He called everything in Hillary Clinton's life "a big, fat, beautiful lie." And closed by telling the crowd: "We are going to win so much you may even get tired of winning, and you will say please, it's too much winning, we can't take it anymore." [TWCN] [Biz Review] [NYSNYS/Troy Record] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

*Estimates in various reports ranged from "more than 10,000" to "just over 15,000" to "more than 15,000" to "almost full" 17,000-seat capacity of the TU Center.

Bernie Sanders in Albany
Bernie Sanders appeared before a capacity crowd (more than 4,000 people) at the Washington Ave Armory , and also made an appearance outside the nearby Albany Public Library for members of the crowd who couldn't get in. The Democratic candidate criticized the financial system, calling it a "rigged economy" and called for a $15-per-hour minimum wage in every state. He described the criminal justice system as "broken." (Before the rally, he met with two members of Dontay Ivy's family and representatives of Black Lives Matter.) He said he would ban hydro-fracking. And he criticized Hillary Clinton for her Iraq war vote. [TWCN] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette] [TU x2] [Politico NY] [Daily Gazette]

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Man fatally shot by police in Rotterdam, presidential candidates all over the area today, Troy parking ticket amnesty program

Man fatally shot by police in Rotterdam
Rotterdam police say 30-year-old William Clark was fatally shot by a town police officer Sunday morning. RPD says officers responding to the house on Roberta Road (map) arrived to find the man armed with knife, and it says Clark slashed one of the officers, causing a non-life threatening injury -- the officer then shot Clark. Schenectady County DA Robert Carney says office is currently handling the case as if it will ultimately be his office's case -- not the state attorney general's office -- because the initial investigation indicates Clark was armed. [TU] [News10] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette]

Sanders, Kasich, Trump in town today
Three presidential candidates will be in the Capital Region Monday for appearances. Bernie Sanders will be at the Washington Ave Armory. John Kasich will be making public appearances in Troy and Saratoga Springs (and a private appearance in Albany). And Donald Trump will be at the TU Center (Pearl Street in front of the area will be closed to traffic all day). Jack McEneny on all the recent attention the area has gotten from presidential contenders: "This is completely unprecedented." [TWCN] [campaign event pages] [TU]

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Ted Cruz campaigns in Scotia, results from Rupeka autopsy in Mexico, apartment complex planned near SUNY Poly, Terry Kindlon retires

Ted Cruz in Scotia
+ Ted Cruz made a campaign stop at a Christian school in Scotia Thursday as he tries to overtake Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for president. Said Cruz to the crowd of more than 1,000 people: "I want to ask every one of you if you don't see Donald Trump as the nominee, if you don't want to see Hillary Clinton has the next president, come out and vote for me 10 times ... Now I'm not a Democrat so I'm not asking you to do anything illegal. But if you go home, pick up the phone and call nine people, it will be like 10 votes." Cruz also talked about policy, including his support for a flat tax and the abolition of the IRS, repealing the Affordable Care Act, and pulling back on regulations of business. Earlier in the day, Cruz spoke with News10 and said in reference to his critical comment during a Republican debate about "New York values": "As I've toured the state, I've found people knew exactly what I meant ... People knew exactly what I meant by the liberal attitudes." [Politico NY] [TWCN] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [CNN] [News10]

+ The Cruz event also drew supporters of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who gathered outside and engaged in their own discussion. [TWCN] [Daily Gazette]

+ It looks John Kasich will be in the area on Monday making at least one stop in Saratoga Springs. [TU]

The New York presidential primary is April 19.

Hoosick Falls
Michael Hickey, who played a key role in the discovery of the contamination of the drinking water supply in Hoosick Falls, has filed a class-action lawsuit against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International. [TU]

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Rupeka and girlfriend confirmed dead in Mexico, Cruz is in Scotia, Trump, Kasich and Sanders may be headed to the Capital Region

Rupeka
The State Department has confirmed that Adam Rupeka-- the Capital Region man with a history of baiting police officers-- and his girlfriend, Jennifer Ogburn, died in Mexico. A Tijuana based magazine is reporting that the two were found dead in a motel room,. Rupeka's estranged wife has confirmed the pair died of drug overdoses and Mexican authorities are investigating the case as a possible suicide. [TU][TWCN][Gazette][TU+]

Cruz
The Ted Cruz rally in Scotia today is sold out.[TU]

More presidential candidates headed to the Capital Region
Unnamed sources are telling area news organizations that Donald Trump has scheduled a rally in Albany next week. Both the TU Center and The Egg have been mentioned as possible sites for the rally. John Kasich is also expected to visit the region next week. Bernie Sanders has also reportedly reached out to the TU Center about a rally.
[TU][Gazette][News10]

Clinton/ Sanders
The New York Times asks if Hillary Clinton still depend on the supporters that sent her to the Senate. And Politico looks at how Clinton and Sanders would fare in different areas of New York. [NYT][Politico]

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Cruz to stop in Scotia, 47 laid off at Price Chopper HQ, Rupeka suspected dead, State Street to reopen in front of Nicholaus Building

Cruz headed to Scotia
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz will speak in Scotia on Thursday at Mekeel Christian Academy in Scotia.[TU][Gazette]

Rupeka
Troy police are waiting for photos to determine whether a couple found dead in Mexico earlier this week are Adam Rupeka and his girlfriend, Jennifer Ogburn. A warrant was sworn out for Rupeka's arrest after he failed to show up in court to face a charge that he allegedly sexually abused a 15-year-old girl. [TU][TU]

Chopper
Price Chopper laid off 47 employees at its corporate offices in Schenectady this week.
Company officials say they are focused on a more lean and efficient administration, while focusing on their new stores. [Gazette][TWCN]

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Hillary Clinton campaigns in Cohoes, planning for Northway Exit 4 reconfiguration, opening date for Albany convention center

Hillary Clinton in Cohoes
+ Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in Cohoes Monday evening before more than a thousand people in a gym at Cohoes High School. She told the crowd she'd work toward "broad-based, inclusive prosperity" and bringing manufacturing back to upstate. Among the other topics she touched on: repairing infrastructure, college affordability, and immigration. [Troy Record] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [News10]

+ Earlier in the afternoon Clinton met with Democratic state legislators at the Renaissance Hotel across from the Capitol in a private event. Among the things she reportedly said: some of the guns used in crimes in New York come from Vermont. (Apparently Clinton has been trying to hammer Bernie Sanders on gun control issues.) [State of Politics] [Politico NY]

+ Also Monday: Supporters of Bernie Sanders rallied outside the state Capitol in Albany. Chris Churchill: "Bernie Sanders has a real chance to win the New York primary, an upset that would embarrass Hillary Clinton like no other defeat." [Daily Gazette] [TU+]

The presidential primary in New York State is April 19.

Airport Northway interchange
Bids for the reconfiguration of Northway Exit 4 to provide smoother access to ALB aren't expected to go out until 2019. The recent state budget included $50 million for the project. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

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It's snowing, Hillary Clinton to appear in Cohoes, State Ed upholds Albany High School vote, UAlbany women's basketball coach leaving

It's snowing
The Capital Region is in line to get about 4 inches of snow (more in higher elevations) through Monday. April snow wouldn't typically be all that noteworthy, but this has been one of the least-snowy snowfall seasons on record here. [NWS Albany]

Hillary Clinton in Cohoes
Hillary Clinton is set to appear at Cohoes High School Monday evening for a public campaign event. Supporters of Bernie Sanders were out canvassing in the Capital Region over the weekend. Presidential primary day in New York State is April 19. [TU] [WNYT]

Nicholas Building
Work continues to stabilize the 196-year-old Nicholas Building in downtown Schenectady after people inside the building noticed shaking Friday afternoon. Road closures at the State and Erie are also continuing. The building is next the site where the former Olender building was recently demolished for a new mixed-use project -- the chair of the Schenectady Heritage Foundation says they had expressed concerns about the potential impact of the project on the Nicholas Building as far back as 2014. [Daily Gazette] [TU x2]

State budget
Here are some Capital Region-specific bits from the state budget that came together at the end of last week -- they include $50 million for reconfiguring the Northway interchange by ALB and $1.5 million for Albany and Troy in anti-poverty funding. [Cuomo admin] [TU]

Also: The increased school aid in the budget prompted double-digit aid increases for multiple Capital Region school districts, including Albany and Schenectady. [Daily Gazette]

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State budget deal at the deadline, $15 minimum wage part of the deal -- but upstate on separate schedule, another record year for CDTA, first in line at 5:30 am

State budget deal
Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday night that his administration and legislative leaders had a reached a deal on the state budget, just a few hours before the midnight deadline. Both houses of the legislature were working on passing the budget bills into the night and earlier morning hours of Friday (with plans to finish up today), prompting complaints the process has been rushed. [TU] [Politico NY] [NYT]

Among the major provisions of the budget package: a paid family leave system starting in 2018, an eventual increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, a tax cut for households making between $40k-$300k, and increased education funding. [Politico NY] [AP/Troy Record]

$15 minimum wage
The part of the deal getting the most attention is the planned increase in the minimum wage, which is set to go as follows (the current minimum wage is $9):
+ New York City's minimum wage will increase each year until reaching $15 on the last day of 2018. (Businesses with 10 or fewer employees will have until the end of 2019.)
+ In Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, the minimum wage will reach $15 by the last day of 2021.
+ For the rest of the state the minimum wage will increase by 70 cents per year until reaching $12.50 an hour on the last day of 2020. After that the minimum wage will continue to increase toward $15 according to a schedule set by state budget director based on economic conditions

The separate schedules for NYC, the Long Island/Westechester, and upstate were part of a compromise between Cuomo and the state Senate Republican majority. Said Cuomo of the upstate schedule for increasing the minimum wage: "If the economy turns, we'll have the ability to suspend the minimum wage so we don't hurt a slowing economy ... We believe the increase in the minimum wage can help the upstate economy, but again, it's all about that calibration and this is the smartest, safest way to go about it in my opinion." [NYDN] [TWCN]

The upstate schedule appeared to irk both supporters and opponents of the minimum wage increase. [Citizen Action] [Unshackle Upstate]

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Rupeka on the run, NYCLU: Ivy stop violated Fourth Amendment, budget creeps closer, Silver disbarred, winning lotto ticket sold in Latham

Rupeka
Adam Rupeka, the police critic charged with sexually abusing a 15-year-old-girl, may have fled the country for Canada with his girlfriend, who is also charged in the alleged incident. Rupeka's girlfriend, Jennifer Ogburn, did not show up for a Tuesday court appearance. Early Wednesday morning Rupeka posted a video on his Facebook page claiming they are in Canada. In previous videos, Rupeka claims he is on the run for his life, and that police are after him because he has exposed them in the past. [TWCN][WNYT][TU][Gazette][Record]

NYCLU: Ivy stop violated Fourth Amendment
Nearly a year after the death of Dontay Ivy, the NYCLU is charging the police stop that led to his death violated his Fourth Amendment rights protecting against an illegal search. [TU]

State budget
With two days left to the start of the new fiscal year, debate continues over the proposed $15 minimum wage hike. Cuomo says he still working toward the $15 minimum wage.
Capital New York reports it has learned the budget could include an income tax cut for those making less than $300,000 a year. [TU][TU][CNY]

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Not-guilty plea in fatal Thruway crash case, negotiations continue on $15 min wage, Troy parking ticket amnesty planned

Charges in 2014 fatal Thruway crash
Tyler Pascuzzi -- accused of speeding on the Thruway between exits 24 and 25 while drunk and causing a crash that killed two people and injured another in 2014 -- pleaded not guilty to a group of charges that includes aggravated vehicular homicide and second-degree manslaughter. The mother of one of the people who died in the crash was in court with a large photo of her daughter and yelled at Pascuzzi to look at the photo. Pascuzzi's attorney said the case would "very, very hotly contested" and they intend for Pascuzzi to be acquitted. [Daily Gazette] [WNYT] [TU] [TWCN]

Adam Rupeka arrest
In a video posted to YouTube Monday, Adama Rupeka said he's "on the run for my life." Troy police say Rupeka and Jennifer Ogburn of Hudson were arrested over the weekend for an alleged incident of sexual abuse involving a 15 year old. A post indicated Rupeka and Ogburn may have gone to Canada. (Rupeka has made headlines in the recent past for the incident in which he flipped off a Saratoga Springs police officer and was then pepper sprayed, resulting in the officer's resignation and a settlement; and also for allegedly crashing a drone onto the Capitol.) [YouTube] [News10] [TU]

$15 minimum wage
As the state budget deadline approaches, negotiations at the Capitol continue over the proposed $15 minimum wage, which has been wrapped into the budget. Current points of friction: how long it would take to phase in the increase, and which regions of the state where the phase would be slower. [TWCN] [TU]

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SPD: Shots fired near State Street in downtown Schenectady, refugees finding home in the Capital Region, Syracuse headed to the Final Four

Shots fired in downtown Schenectady
Schenectady police say three people were arrested in connection with an incident early Sunday morning in which shots were fired just off State Street downtown (map). SPD says officers had responded to a reported fight outside Nico's on the next block west on State Street -- the crowd dispersed, but a second fight started on Barrett Street, and that's when two men allegedly opened fire. [News10] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

Adam Rupeka arrested
Adam Rupeka of Troy -- who's made headlines in the recent past for the incident in which he flipped off a Saratoga Springs police officer and was then pepper sprayed, resulting in the officer's resignation; and for allegedly crashing a drone onto the Capitol -- was arrested over the weekend for an alleged incident of sexual abuse involving a 15 year old. Also arrested was a woman from Hudson. Said Rupeka after being arraigned: "Another case of the police out to get me." [TU] [Troy Record] [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

Schenectady police officer arrested
Schenectady police say an off-duty officer, Aaron Zampella, was arrested Friday morning after he allegedly fled a traffic stop early Friday morning. SPD says alcohol or drugs were not involved. He's been suspended without pay. [TU] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette]

Sentencing in fatal slashing at B'nai B'rith apartments
From Friday: Sixty-one-year-old Robert Lake -- convicted of fatally slashing the throat of Latisha Alzaid in his apartment at the B'nai B'rith Parkview Apartments in Albany in 2014 -- was sentenced to 23 years to life in prison. State Supreme Court Justice Richard Mott described Lake as "a dangerous man, a man who should not have the opportunity to ever live in civilized society again." [TU] [WNYT]

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Crunch time for $15 minimum wage, SPD: man tried to use a car to break up a fight, buildings on State Street in Albany being sold

$15 minimum wage
As the state budget deadline approaches, it's also crunch time for negotiations on the proposed $15 minimum wage:
+ Sorting through the various political angles for Andrew Cuomo, the state Senate, and the Assembly. [Politico NY]
+ Business groups are pushing for the Republican majority in the state Senate to pull the issue from the budget process. [TWCN]
+ One of the ideas that's bubbled up is setting different minimums for upstate and downstate. Local state Assemblywoman Carrier Woerner, a Democrat, is floating the idea of setting the minimum wage by region. Local state Senator George Amedore, a Republican, sounds skeptical of different rates. And labor groups are outright against it. [TWCN] [Biz Review] [TWCN]
+ A Columbia County dairy farmer on why he's skeptical of a possible exemption for the agricultural sector. [Biz Review]
+ Looking at who's backing the competing research on the minimum wage issue. [TU+]

Fight crash
Schenectady police allege a man stole a car and intentionally drove it a person in an attempt to stop a fight in the Vale neighborhood Thursday afternoon. SPD says the man hit the two men in the fight, along with woman who was a bystander -- the the men suffered minor injuries, and the woman a serious head injury. SPD says the man is facing charges including assault and grand larceny. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [News10] [TWCN]

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Controversial sign scrapped from casino plan, Skelos and son request community service, how to outwit a brazen turkey

Controversial sign pulled from casino plan
Rush Street Gaming scrapped its plan to build a controversial 80-foot pylon sign at the Front Street entrance to the $330 million casino on Erie Boulevard.[TU][Gazette]

Skelos and son ask for community service
Lawyers for former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and his son Adam, who were convicted of all eight bribery, extortion and conspiracy counts against them late last year, have asked a judge to forgo prison sentences and sentence them, instead, to community service.
[NYT]

Plea/sentencing for slashing brother
The 20-year-old Saratoga man charged with stabbing his 10-year-old brother's throat last spring pled guilty to felony assault charges on Wednesday and was sentenced to time served. [TU]

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Assembly approves Mixed Martial Arts fighting, Hoosick Falls water safe to drink, Palace Theater will manage Cohoes Music Hall

MMA Fighting
After years of debate the NYS Assembly has passed a bill allowing Mixed Martial Arts fighting. The measure, which has passed the Senate but failed in the Assembly many times, passed 113 -25. New York was the last state to prohibit the sport due to its bloody and dangerous nature. [TWCN][WNYT][NYT]

Hoosick Falls water
The governor's office has pronounced that Hoosick Falls tap water is safe to drink, following the installation of filters and several weeks of testing. [TU]

JCOPE director has ties to Cuomo
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has again chosen someone with close ties to Andrew Cuomo as its leader. Seth Agata, a former l to Mr. Cuomo and the governor's pick last year to serve as chairman of the Public Employment Relations Board will be the new Executive Director of JCOPE. [NYT][TU]

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Sentencing in crash that killed Skidmore student, Albany trash fee repeal rejected, Schenectady looking to Union to chip in

Sentencing in crash that killed Skidmore student
Thomas Gorman -- who pleaded guilty to driving drunk in the crash that killed a Skidmore student and injured two others last Halloween -- was sentenced to 5-15 years in prison. Some of the victim impact statements at the sentencing included grisly details of the immediate aftermath of the crash. Gorman asked for forgiveness: "If I could take it all back, I would ... If I could trade places I would." Said Saratoga County Court judge James Murphy: "This is no accident Mr. Gorman ... I don't think you can fully grasp the devastation you have caused by the choice of your criminal conduct." Saratoga County DA Karen Heggen said the students had been out the roadway at the time of the crash and Gorman didn't hadn't attempted to stop. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [News10] [Saratogian] [WNYT]

Albany trash fee
The attempt to repeal the new trash fee for multi-unit residential buildings (up to four units) failed to get enough votes at Monday's Common Council meeting. Critics of the fee continued to describe it as discriminatory and unfair to low-income residents. City budget director Rachel McEneny in a statement about the trash fee: "The Governor in his Executive Budget indicated that we must engage in developing a comprehensive long-term financial plan. This is a step forward in identifying sustainable revenue streams that are essential to getting Albany onto sound fiscal footing." [WNYT] [TWCN] [TU] [News10]

Woman and her service dog refused table
Hana -- the Guilderland restaurant where a woman who's blind say she and her service dog were refused a table -- has publicly apologized and said it's parted ways with the manager involved in the incident. [TU]

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UAlbany run in NCAA tournament ends, woman says she and her service dog refused a table at restaurant, debate over Albany trash fee, remembering Mars Hill

UAlbany women in the NCAA tournament
The UAlbany women's basketball team fell to Syracuse 76-59 in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday. The Great Danes made it to the second round for the first time ever after a pulling an upset of Florida on Friday. Said UAlbany coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson after Sunday's game: "I don't want them to have their heads down. I don't want them to be sad. I want them to feel blessed that the things that we've done here are pretty amazing." (After five straight trips to the NCAA tournament, will Coach Abe be back for another shot next season -- or will she be hired away by a larger program? ) [ESPN] [News10] [TU]

New Board of Regents chancellor
The state Board of Regents has selected Betty Rosa as its next chancellor. Rosa is a former school superintendent in the Bronx, and has supported recent efforts by parents to opt-out of standardized testing. [TU] [WSJ]

Sentencing for ring of scammers
Five people who pleaded guilty to being part of a ring that scammed elderly people in Albany County were sentenced to prison Friday -- a 59-year-old man at the center of the ring got 8-16 years. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Woman and her service dog refused service
A Latham woman who's blind says she and her service dog were refused a table at Hana in Guilderland, in an apparent violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. [TU]

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Second fatal shooting on Schenectady street this year, funding to address flooding problem in Albany, Great Danes in the NCAA tournament

Fatal shooting in Schenectady
Schenectady police say they're investigating the fatal shooting of a 30-year-old man on Germania Avenue in Hamilton Hill Thursday morning. Neighbors say they heard five gunshots. It's the second fatal shooting on the street this year -- SPD says it's looking into a potential connection between the two incidents. [Daily Gazette] [News10] [TWCN] [TU]

Albany schools budget gap
The Albany school district is pushing for more state funding as it faces a $2.1 million budget gap. [TU]

NCAA tournament
The #12 seed UAlbany women's basketball team takes on #5 seed Florida in the first round of the NCAA tournament at noon today in Syracuse. The game is on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.

Syracuse: The #10 seed Syracuse men's basketball team faces #7 seed Dayton in the NCAA tournament first round today at 12:15 in St. Louis. The game is on CBS.

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Maximum sentence for perjury in fatal Schenectady arson, police probe midday Albany shooting,$15 min wage opponents protest

Leon sentenced for perjury in Schenectady arson
Edward Leon -- who prosecutors say is now a suspect in the Schenectady arson that killed David Terry and three of his children, and badly burned Safyre Terry -- was sentenced to ten years in prison for perjury for twice lying to a grand jury about where he was on the night of the fire. Because of the nature of the crime he lied about, prosecutors asked for the maximum ten year sentence for Leon, while they investigate his connection to the crime. [TU][Gazette][TWCN]

Life without parole
After two trials and 12 years , a Troy man will spend life without parole in prison will spend life in prison without parole for the 2003 murder of a witness in a drug trial. [WNYT][Record]

Orange Street shooting
Albany police are investigating an Orange Street shooting that took place at about 2:30pm Wednesday and left a man wounded in the leg and hand.[TU][TWCN]

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Ethics bill passes Assembly, Lobby Day at the Capitol, casino ahead of schedule, MMA legislation headed back to Assembly

Ethics
The NYS Assembly passed an ethics reform bill on Tuesday by a vote of 137-4. The bill would allow legislators to make no more than $69,600 in outside income -- 40 percent of the annual salary of State Supreme Court justices.[TU][NYT}

Lobby Day
The proposed $15 minimum wage was one of the main causes at this years lobby day at the NYS Capitol.[WNYT][TU]

Student teacher arrested on child endangerment charges
A 22-year-old student teacher from the College of Saint Rose was arrested on Tuesday, for allegedly pretending to be a talent scout and asking underaged girls as young as 10 to send him photos of themselves in bikinis and underwear. [TU][WNYT]

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Large fire in Troy, TU Center naming deal extended, questions about Cohoes mayor's self appointment, spotting bobcats

Large fire on Congress Street in Troy
Two people were injured in a large fire in a multi-unit building on Congress Street in Troy (map) Monday night, the Troy Fire Department says. The fire also displaced 20 people. [WNYT] [News10]

PFOA
Of drinking water samples from 50 homes in Petersburgh recently tested for PFOA, 20 had levels above the EPA standard. The homes are within a half mile of the Taconic Plastics site. [TWCN] [News10]

TU Center naming deal
The Albany County Legislature approved a new deal that keeps the "Times Union Center" name on the downtown Albany arena -- and cuts back the amount the arena is required to spend on advertising each year with the paper. [TU]

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Hoosick Falls filtration system now working, prosecutors point toward suspect in Hulett Street fire, remembering an extraordinary life

Hoosick Falls
Andrew Cuomo was in Hoosick Falls Sunday for the announcement that the system installed on the village water supply to filter out PFOA is now working. Officials say water from the tap should still not be consumed, though, because the filtered water needs time to flush the contaminated water. [NYT] [TU]

Hulett Street fire
In a document recently filed in federal court, federal prosecutors allege there's "significant evidence" of Edward Leon being involved with the Hulett Street arson in Schenectady that killed four people in 2013. Leon is soon facing sentencing for perjury for related to the investigation of case -- he hasn't been charged with involvement with the fire. [TU]

Schenectady casino
The city of Schenectady is in line to get $3.5 million this year related to the Rivers Casino project, even though the casino isn't set to open until next year. [Daily Gazette]

Also: A look inside the classes of SCCC's Casino and Gaming Management program. [Daily Gazette]

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Trying to understand suspicious Schenectady fire, missing Wilton woman found dead, hit and run on Central Ave, UAlbany women playing for another trip to NCAA tournament

Parkwood Boulevard fire
Karen Kirsch, whom firefighters rescued from the fire that destroyed her Schenectady home on Parkwood Boulevard last wee, on the possibility that someone set it in connection with her son's shooting death in December 2014: "This really could be a wrong address, it could be some stupid maniac who just wanted to set a house on fire ... We've tried to play this over and over again and none of it makes any sense." [TU]

Missing Wilton woman found dead
Police say the body of a 20-year-old Wilton woman had been missing since last Friday was found in a wooded area off Route 9 Thursday. They say they're continuing to investigate, but the death does not appear suspicious. Police say the woman had left her mother's home in the early morning wearing nothing but pajama bottoms and there were indications she was under the influence of drugs. [Saratogian] [TU] [TWCN] [Daily Gazette]

ID of body found in the Hudson
Troy police say an autopsy has concluded that the body found in the Hudson River near the Corning Preserve this week was that of a Poestenkill man who had been missing since Christmas, and they do not suspect foul play. TPD says the man was last seen on video on 4th Street in Troy toward the Menands Bridge in the early morning of December 25. [Troy Record] [TU]

Hoosick Falls
It appears that one of the components included in the filtration systems involved by the state and contractors in homes in Hoosick Falls was not to be used in systems processing water for human consumption -- DEC says it's working to replace the valves. [WNYT]

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Paying for contaminated water, government groups say Cuomo is failing on ethics reform, January unemployment lowest since before recession


Petersburgh/Hoosick Falls water
Taconic Plastics will pay for a new water filtration system for Petersburgh. Hoosick Falls homeowners packed a village board meeting on Tuesday night, to argue they should not have to pay for contaminated water.Also, noted: Andrew Cuomo has yet to make an appearance in Hoosick Falls. [TU] [WNYT][Capital NY]

Cuomo and ethics
Three leading good government groups including NYS Public Interest Research Group, say Andrew Cuomo is not doing enough to deal with the state's ethics problem. [TU]

Unemployment down
January boasted the lowest January unemployment rates in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area since 2004.[Business Review]

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Criticism of UAlbany's handling of bus incident, Troy council pushing for input on 1 Monument Square, a confusing winter for skunks

UAlbany bus incident
An attorney for one of the women charged in the UAlbany bus incident is pushing back on the way the university is handling the situation, arguing the timing of the school's student conduct hearing scheduled for this week potentially compromises the women's ability to defend themselves in criminal court -- and criticizes the university for arranging a list of witnesses for the hearing that doesn't include anyone said to have been on the bus. (Here's the full statement.) [TWCN]

Leaked Troy 911 call
Reaction to the news that a Troy police detective sergeant has been suspended, allegedly in connection with the leaking of the Gordon 911 call during last year's mayoral election:
+ Jim Gordon in a statement: "The attempt to over focus on a previously closed issue for the sole purpose of political gain has no role in our society, just as we have no use for those who committed these crimes" [News10]
+ Troy Republican committee chair Thomas Casey: "Unfortunately, it's par for the course for the Troy City and Rensselaer County Democratic committees ... None of this is for the betterment of Troy; it's basically for power and to line their own pockets." [TWCN]
+ Rensselaer County Democratic chair Tom Wade said he wasn't involved in the call's release. [WNYT]

Watervliet police
The city of Watervliet and its police union are fighting over whether former officer Joshua Spratt -- who pleaded guilty to a criminal sex act with a Watervliet High School student while he was the school's resource officer -- retired or resigned before pleading guilty; $20k in benefits are at stake in the distinction. [TU]

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The Jay Street fire one year later, changes recommended for 1 Monument Square plan, a night of confessions, UAlbany women one game from NCAA tournament

Jay Street fire one year later
Marking a year since the fatal Jay Street, family and friends gathered at Schenectady City Hall Sunday for a memorial service. They also expressed frustration with the still in-progress Schenectady County DA's office investigation into possible code issues at the site. [Daily Gazette] [TU+]

Parkwood Boulevard fire
Fire investigators searched through the debris from the fire that destroyed a two-family home on Parkwood Boulevard in Schenectady Friday -- a fire that officials say they're treating as suspicious. The house had been the home of Wayne Best Jr., who was fatally shot near there in December of 2014. On Friday one of the suspects in that case was indicted on charges that included second-degree murder. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

1 Monument Square
The Troy planning commission is recommending multiple changes for the proposed project at 1 Monument Square downtown, including additional public parking and a pathway through the site that aligns with Broadway. [TU]

Leaked Troy 911 call
"Several police and city government sources" tell the Times Union that a Troy police detective sergeant was suspended for allegedly being involved in the leaking of the Gordon 911 call during the last mayoral race. [TU]

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More water test results in Rensselaer County, presidents point to college affordability problem, taxi app legislation for upstate on hold

PFOA
Rensselaer County exec Kathy Jimino says the county's tests for PFOA on a handful of wells in Petersburgh and Berlin have returned results similar to tests conducted by the state (one was found over the guideline limit, another close to the limit) -- and it's waiting on tests for another 60 wells. Meanwhile over in Hoosick Falls, as residents are being instructed to flush the pipes and water heaters in their homes to clear them of contaminated water, distrust and skepticism of officials continues. [TU] [WNYT]

Also: The city of Albany reported Thursday that tests of its water supply revealed "no detectable levels" of PFOA. In a statement Kathy Sheehan said that was as expected, but the city water department did the tests because of what has happened recently in other communities. [Sheehan admin]

Rescue from fire in Schenectady
The Schenectady Fire Department says firefighters rescued a woman from a fire at a two-family home on Parkwood Boulevard. The fire destroyed the house. Public safety commissioner Wayne Bennett tells the Daily Gazette the fire "does have suspicious indications"; one of its former residents was fatally near the home in December of 2014 -- the arraignment for one of the men charged in the killing is set for today. [TWCN] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette]

Cost of college
A recurring theme at a public discussion with Capital Region college presidents Thursday: too many students are having trouble paying for college. Another prominent topic: the challenge of declining enrollments, prompted in part by demographic trends. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

On Friday an org called New York Students Rising is planning a walkout by SUNY students to protest increases in tuition. [TU]

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Sheehan says she'll veto plans to scrap trash fee, committee to study purchasing a Troy City Hall home, 3 historic places on state preservation list

Narcan/opioids
Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that independent pharmacies as well as chain pharmacies can distribute the heroin antidote Narcan over the counter. Meanwhile, Kirsten Gillibrand is urging the Senate to pass legislation requiring the CDC to issue strict guidelines for prescribing opiates for pain. [WNYT] [News 10]

Trash fee
Kathy Sheehan has promised she'll veto a plan to scrap Albany's new trash fee on small apartment buildings if the plan gets to her desk. [TU]

New Red Light Camera
Another red light camera -- this one at the intersection of Washington and Quail -- went live at midnight. [TU]

PFOA
Less than a third of 145 wells tested in the town of Hoosick and village of Hoosick Falls, indicated a presence of PFOAs that exceeded the EPA safety threshold. Flushing of the water system in Hoosick Falls continues today, meanwhile, state legislators are considering a proposal to extend the statute of limitations so people who may have been harmed by PFOAs in the water can pursue lawsuits. [TU][WNYT]

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Troy water main break repair estimated at $73,000, liquor store owners release robbery video,from the Ferua Bush to the canibus beat

Petersburgh water
Toxic PFOA levels in Petersburgh wells were as high as 152,000 parts per trillion back in 2004, according to a recent and by January of 2013 had dropped to the, still high, level of 7,500 parts per trillion. Water samples taken in January and February show 983 parts per trillion -- still well above the EPA advisory level. Water pick-ups -- where residents can get tickets and pick up one gallon of water per day -- have begun in the town. [TU][News10][TWCN]

McCoy calls for easier access to heroin antidote
In his State of the County address on Tuesday, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy called on the State Department of Health, to grant easier access to the heroin antidote Narcan by removing the need for a prescription. [TU][TWCN]

Wandering Dago
A federal judge turned aside every argument made by the owners of the Wandering Dago, who sued the state for being denied a permit to operated on the Empire State Plaza because the name on their truck is considered a racial slur. [TU]

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Judge calls for quick resolution of UAlbany bus incident case, not guilty plea in Watervliet murder case, prayer and meatballs

UAlbany bus incident
+ Albany City Court judge Rachel Kretser at the arraignment of the three women Monday morning: "This case should proceed as quickly as possible. This case really has already done enough damage in our community. It's an open wound and I want it resolved." [WNYT]

+ Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration spokesperson Angelica Clarke: "I don't think there's any question that there's more video than was released to the public." [TWCN]

+ Unwinding the story of "Will," who according to rumors -- rumors repeated by local media outlets -- had dropped out of UAlbany because of blowback from the bus incident. It turns out the school says there's no record of him being enrolled this semester. [TU+]

Watervliet murder case
The Watervliet man accused of killing a neighbor -- and firing a shotgun at another friend -- this past January pleaded not guilty to charges including second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder. [TU] [WNYT] [Troy Record]

Pedestrian hit on Central Ave
Albany police say a driver hit a pedestrian on Central Ave at North Allen (map) Monday night and then drove off. [WNYT]

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Not guilty pleas in UAlbany bus incident charges, Safyre donation volunteer accused of theft, new Albany city property assessment, former Jillian's building sold

UAlbany bus incident
The three women charged in the UAlbany bus incident pleaded not guilty in Albany City Court Monday morning. [TU] [@RedickTWCNews]

Continued reaction:
+ Friday afternoon UAlbany president Robert Jones said he had no apology to make for his initial statements about the incident: "We took them as they were stated in the police report, and responded accordingly." [TWCN]
+ The org Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration released an open letter affirming its "unabashed and unwavering support" for the three women, and criticizing the release of the video as "incomplete." [CAAMI]
+ #BlackLivesMatter co-creator Alicia Garza was at Skidmore over the weekend and said in part of the UAlbany situation: "I think there are bigger things to address. And it sounds like to me, that the reason that the case got so much traction here, is because that's what black folks experience here." [WNYT]

PFOA
State officials say flushing of the water system in Hoosick Falls has started. And the Cuomo admin pointed a finger at the feds for inaction on PFOA contamination in Petersburgh. And just over the border in Vermont, PFOA contamination has been detected in wells in North Bennington. [TU] [Politico NY] [WNYT]

Pedestrian struck in Albany
State Police say a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on South Pearl Street and pinned against a building -- the driver and a passenger in the car both ran after the crash. [TU] [NYSP]

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Reaction to charges in UAlbany bus incident, Albany High School project on hold, carjackers said to have posed as cops, Schenectady considers parking minimums

UAlbany bus incident
Reaction to the University Police Department's announcement of charges against the three women who had alleged they were the victims of an attack on a CDTA bus that included racial slurs:
+ Mark Mishler, an attorney for one of the women, in a statement: "It is also unfortunate that some in the media and public appear to have reached a conclusion as to what occurred in this incident without actually having the information needed in order to reach such a conclusion." [TU]
+ UAlbany president Robert Jones to WNYT, on his initial statements in response to the incident: "As I've said several times and I'll repeat it once more, we responded as quickly as we can, based on the information we had at the moment. And my instinct is always, anytime any of our students come forward with any kind of indication they've been hurt or harmed, we're always going to lead with compassion." [WNYT]
+ Alice Green to TWCN: "Justice demands that they be seen as innocent until proven guilty ... If someone makes a charge that's not true, we have to understand what would cause someone to do that. What can we learn from the relationships that might have existed on that bus?" [TWCN]
+ UAlbany student Sean Stone to WNYT: "It just makes it harder for if this thing actually happens. People will think that they're lying and look at this story with incredulity instead of taking this story as fact." [WNYT]

Time Warner Cable News has posted full-length versions of the CDTA camera video. And here are the 911 calls posted by News10. [TWCN] [News10]

Albany High School vote
The Albany school board has put the plan to renovate/expand Albany High School on hold pending a decision from the state Education Department about problems with the recent public vote on the project. At Thursday night's board meeting an attorney for the school district said that despite the problems at polling sites "there is no evidence that any voter was denied the right to vote or informed that they could not vote." He also said there's no evidence any of the polling site problems were intentional. [TU] [News10] [WNYT]

Superintendent(s) pay: Also Thursday in a vote near midnight, the school board approved a plan to pay former superintendent Raymond Colucciello $725 per day to serve as an advisor to current acting superintendent Kimberly Wilkins. [TU]

$15 minimum wage
Andrew Cuomo was in Albany Thursday to rally for a $15 minimum wage -- but he said he wouldn't threaten to hold up the state budget over the proposed increase. A top member of the state Senate Republican majority said there's "no support" for the $15 figure in his conference. [NYSNYS/Troy Record] [TU] [TWCN]

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Class action suit over Hoosick Falls water, appeal to toss Albany High referendum, random acts of kindness expected in Saratoga on Monday


UAlbany bus accusers said to face charges
News10 and the Times Union, citing anonymous sources, report the three UAlbany students who said they were victims of an alleged racially charged attack on a CDTA bus will appear in Albany City Court to face minor charges in connection with the case. [News10] [TU]

Chris Churchill's call for patience in the search for truth in the case. [TU+]

Albany High School referendum
More than two dozen Albany residents have filed an appeal with the state Education Department in an effort to get the results of the Albany High School referendum thrown out. The vote is expected to be at the center of tonight's Albany School Board meeting. [TU][WNYT]

Hoosick Falls Water
Weitz & Luxenberg, the firm that employees Erin Brockovich, has filed a class action lawsuit against Saint-Gobain and Honeywell International over the Hoosick Falls water contamination. The suit was filed on behalf of four residents of the town and contends they were exposed to PFOAs and that their property values were diminished. Meanwhile, tests of private wells in Hoosick falls have been showing extremely high levels of PFOAs [Record][TU][WNYT]

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UAlbany plans engineering school in former Philip Schuyler school, no timeline for Troy sinkhole repair, Cuomo giving no thought a 2020 presidential run

UAlbany plans engineering school at former Philip Schuyler
UAlbany has announced plans to open a school of engineering and applied sciences in the former Philip Schuyler school next to its downtown campus. UAlbany president Robert Jones is asking the state legislature for $20 million for the first phase of the overhaul on the building, which he believes will help drive economic development and neighborhood revitalization in downtown Albany.[TU][Gazette][WNYT]

Alleged bus incident prompts another UAlbany conversation
UAlbany president Robert Jones held another in a series of "critical conversations" with students, surrounding race and gender issues in the wake of the alleged racially charged incident that occurred on a CDTA bus several weeks ago. Jones told reporters that his initial statement about the alleged incident was one of compassion for students, saying "Any time something is reported that puts our students in harms way, you're always going to see me lead with compassion."He says the situation is providing a transformational moment for the campus.
[TU][TWCN][News10]

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Looking into the Troy sinkhole, naming deal for TU Center extended, 147-year-old school closing, which Rush Street is that?

Troy sinkhole watch
Crews in Troy are trying to figure out what caused the large sinkhole on Campbell Ave. City firefighters first detected the start of the hole Saturday night when a firetruck hit what felt like a large bump in the road. [Troy Record] [TU]

Also: Chris Churchill on the challenge of being mayor of Troy right now. [TU+]

Schenectady shooting investigation
Schenectady police say they've identified a person of interest in the weekend shooting of a man in Mont Pleasant. [Daily Gazette]

Jay Street fire
Says the brother of one of the people who died in the Jay Street fire almost a year ago: "There is a lot of confusion and a lot of things that haven't been answered about the fire ... There's a lot that's unsaid. There is still tension." [Daily Gazette]

TU Center naming deal
Albany County and the Times Union have reached a deal to extend the paper's naming rights to the TU Center through 2020. [TU]

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PFOA detected in another Rensselaer County drinking water supply, Route 5 continues to be dangerous for pedestrians, Trump says he's "most popular person that's ever lived" upstate

Another case of PFOA in drinking water
The town of Petersburgh in Rensselaer County announced over the weekend that state tests detected PFOA in water from one of the wells in the Petersburgh Water District at levels just below the cutoff considered safe for consumption. The town has started distributing bottled water as a precaution. State officials say the tests were prompted by a report from Taconic Plastics that it had found groundwater at its site was contaminated. Basil Seggos, the acting state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, said his agency believes the company site is the source of the PFOA contamination in Petersburgh. [Town of Petersburgh] [TU] [TWCN] [WNYT]

Hoosick Falls: A mechanical breakdown is slowing the implementation of a filtering system on the village water supply. [TWCN]

Shooting in Schenectady
Schenectady police are investigating the shooting of a man in Mont Pleasant Saturday morning -- and then another reports of shots fired at the same address Saturday night. SPD says the man shot in the morning was shot at close range in the head and was in critical condition Sunday. [Daily Gazette x2] [TU]

Route 5 pedestrian crashes
The Times Union's Tim O'Brien on pedestrian safety along the Route 5 corridor, where five people were killed last year: "Someone gets struck on average more than once a week while crossing the stretch of Route 5 between Albany and Schenectady, where it is known as State Street." [TU+]

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Woman accused of setting fire to Castleton house, Schenectady appealing police discipline decision, dog stories both sad and happy

Alleged arson in Castleton
State Police say a Castleton woman has been arrested on charges including arson for allegedly setting fire to a home there. Two firefighters were injured fighting the fire. And State Police say three cats and a dog died in the fire -- the woman is also facing aggravated cruelty to animals charges as a result. [NYSP] [News10] [TU]

Hoosick Falls water
Citing the situation in Hoosick Falls and other spots around the state, Andrew Cuomo announced the creation of a "Statewide Water Quality Rapid Response Team" to address drinking water contamination. [TWCN] [Cuomo admin]

In Hoosick Falls, officials say a filter has been installed on the village water system, but it could still be several weeks for flushing the system and doing tests. [WNYT]

Schenectady police oversight
Schenectady mayor Gary McCarthy says the city will take its fight to have the public safety commissioner be in charge of police discipline (rather than an arbitrator) to the state's highest court. [Daily Gazette]

Fisherman fishes skater out of the water
An ice fisherman on Collins Lake in Scotia rescued a skater who had fallen through the ice Thursday evening, using a rope, an ice auger, and a sled. [Daily Gazette]

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$3 million plan to replace Troy water main, DMV outage caused problems statewide, Skelos/Silver pensions revealed

$3 million for water main replacement
On the heels of an announcement about a state audit that called it's financial situation precarious, officials in Troy are seeking grant money to help with a nearly $3 million plan to replace the damaged water main that caused widespread flooding in January, with a larger pipeline.[TU] [TU]

DMV outage
A problem with an electric transformer caused power outages at the DMV office on Swan Street on Wednesday that resulted in computer problems in department offices throughout the state. [TU][WNYT]

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Conners planning appeal on Albany High referendum, DiNapoli audit reveals Troy finances "precarious", help for Saratoga Code Blue shelter, bill to make St. Patrick's Day school holiday

Effort to overturn Albany High School vote
"Gross incompetence is speaking very highly of the effort that was put out. This was an absolute sham of an election." -- Albany County Comptroller Michael Conners on the recent referendum on the proposed Albany High School renovation. Conners is investigating the vote and plans to file an appeal on behalf of a group of Albany residents who want to see the city throw out the vote and hold a new referendum in April. [TWCN][TU][WNYT]

Troy finances
Tom DiNapoli's office has confirmed the findings in a draft audit of Troy obtained last month by the Times Union, that show the city's finances are in a "precarious position" due to poor budgeting, overuse of emergency funds and insufficient funding for capital costs.[TU]

Hoosick Falls water
The EPA is testing baseball fields in Hoosick Falls today for the presence of PFOA.
The State Department of Financial Services and the EPA have set up a mobile command center to help answer the questions of homeowners in the village. [TWCN][WNYT]

(there's more)

State to pay for home filtration systems in Hoosick Falls, Troy officials show video of a fatal shooting, board supports Saint Rose president

Hoosick Falls water
The Cuomo admin announced that the state will be directing $10 million to install filtration systems in 1,500 homes in Hoosick Falls. It said the state is planning for a possible alternate water supply. More than 900 people in the village have signed up with the state for blood tests to screen for exposure to PFOA. The heads of the state Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation were in the village Saturday at a blood testing event. [TU x2] [TWCN]

$12.5 million for Albany from state
Among the details about the $12.5 million in state funding for the city of Albany included in the Cuomo admin's budget amendments: It's a "spin-up" on the PILOT schedule for the Empire State Plaza (so the money is being peeled off the back end of the state's payments for the ESP), and it requires the city to develop a "comprehensive, long-term financial plan that is structurally balanced without reliance on continuing special state assistance..." [TWCN] [TU]

Video of fatal Troy shooting involving police
From Friday: The Troy Police Department released video of the incident in Lansingburgh last August in which Thaddeus Faison exchanged gunfire with two TPD officers, Joshua Comitale and Chad Klein -- Faison died from his injuries and the two officers were wounded. TPD chief John Tedesco said the video depicts the officers acting according to their training: "These are two officers who obviously paid attention to their training. There's no question it's that training that saved their lives. I have nothing to critique here." Cornelius Clark, pastor of Holy Serenity Church of God in Christ, appeared at the released with city officials: "Based on what we observed, everything went according to the way it should have gone, so we don't see any things that we could contradict here." [TU] [Troy Record] [WNYT]

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Police looking for motive in Colonie murder/suicide, $12.5 million for Albany budget gap, to re-vote or not to re-vote, UAlbany president updates bus investigation

Colonie murder/suicide investigation
State Police said Thursday that an investigation has concluded that Colonie Police Officer Israel Roman shot his wife, his 10-year-old son, then started the fire at their Latham home, and then shot himself. Police say a motive in the case is still unclear -- and there was "no indication of anything strange going on" as of this past Monday. An unnamed friend of Deborah Roman tells the Times Union Deborah had told her as far back as 2009 that she felt oppressed and trapped in her marriage to Israel Roman. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TWCN] [TU+]

Hoosick Falls water
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is pushing for Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International to pay for a Superfund cleanup of the groundwater contamination in Hoosick Falls. The DEC says the two companies -- along with possibly others -- are responsible for the PFOA in the drinking water supply. (A predecessor of Honeywell operated in Hoosick Falls during the 1980s and 90s.) Both companies said in statements they were looking to cooperate with DEC. [AP/Troy Record] [TU] [News10] [TWCN]

$12.5 million for Albany
The Cuomo administration's budget amendments include the $12.5 million Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan had been seeking from the state to cover a gap in the city budget. [TU]

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Albany school board: referendum results will stand, police investigate possible Colonie murder/suicide, Assembly plans hearings on Hoosick Falls water, reasons to brush off snow

Albany High vote
The margin of votes by which the $180 million Albany High School referendum passed dropped from 228 to 189 on Wednesday, following the realization that some votes cast at the Arbor Hill polling place were counted twice. Calls for a third vote on the proposal and threats of a federal lawsuit have been mentioned, but they are not swaying the Albany School Board. School Board officials conceded that the vote was mishandled but said they won't put the project back on the ballot.Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says she is concerned about the problems with the polls but believes that the people have spoken and hopes the referendum results hold up.[TU][TWCN][Gazette][TU][TU]

Colonie murder/suicide investigation
Investigators are still trying to piece together the details about the fire that may have been a murder/suicide in Colonie. The Times Union reports Colonie patrol officer Israel Roman loaded the family car with some of his 15-year-old son's clothing , money and valuables and moved the vehicle from the garage to the street before the fire broke out. Investigators believe Roman may have shot his wife and younger son before setting fire to the home.Family and friends have set up a fundraiser for Noah Roman, the family's older son, who was not at home when the incident occurred. [TU+][WNYT][News10]

(there's more)

Deadly Colonie fire possible murder-suicide, problems at polls in Albany High vote, two arrested in Best murder, Bharara on corruption

Fire kills three at home of Colonie officer
Police are investigating the cause of a house fire that claimed the life of Colonie police officer Israel Roman, his wife and one of his sons. Authorities say the incident may have been a murder-suicide. [TU][WNYT]

Albany High School vote
The referendum on the new $180 million Albany High School proposal passed by 228 votes on Tuesday. About 8,000 people turned out to for the re-vote, but problems--including polling places opening late and running out of ballots--were reported at some polling sites. Affidavit votes are being tallied today. [Business Review][TU][TWCN]

Hoosick Falls clean-up agreement pending
Hoosick Falls Mayor David Borge says an agreement is expected to be reached Wednesday with Saint-Gobain over the costs for cleaning up PFOA from the village water supply. [TWCN]

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Preet Bharara in Albany, new $500 million deal for SUNY Poly, 20 years behind the store counter

There are school district votes today in Albany, Scotia-Glenville, and Troy. Don't know where to vote? Check with your district. Here's the where-to-vote info for Albany.

Preet Bharara in Albany
Preet Bharara appeared at WAMC's performance venue for an interview about his work prosecuting public corruption in the state as a US Attorney. Said Bharara: "People always know. You think no one knew Sheldon Silver was corrupt before he was put in handcuffs? Not a chance." Earlier in the day Bharara spoke before New York Conference of Mayors in downtown Albany: "The point is not just to punish politicians who have broken the law, but to help improve a political system that is broken down." [WAMC] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Meanwhile, it was seemingly business as usual around the Capitol. [Politico NY]

New deal for SUNY Poly
GlobalFoundries will reportedly set up a $500 million chip research center at the SUNY Poly campus in Albany. Officials say the center will add 100 jobs there. [TU+] [Daily Gazette]

UAlbany bus incident
Alice Green tells the Times Union that the group of local leaders shown video from the UAlbany bus incident by the district attorney also were shown statements from witnesses on the bus -- and those statements in part contradicted the allegations about what happened. On Monday at joint legislative hearing on the budget, UAlbany president Robert Jones declined comment, later citing the ongoing investigation. [TU+] [TWCN]

Chris Churchill on the situation: "What a mess. What a horrible, horrible mess." [TU+]

(there's more)

DA shows UAlbany bus incident video to group of leaders, charting the timeline on the Hoosick Falls situation, homeless shelters facing space crunch

UAlbany bus incident
Albany County DA David Soares showed video of the UAlbany bus incident to a group of community and university leaders Friday afternoon. Alice Green, executive director of the Center for Law and Justice, was part of the group: "It was very confusing, very difficult to tell what was going on, but we haven't heard, at least I haven't heard, any racial slurs." Albany Common Council president Carolyn McLaughlin was also part of the group and said the crowded bus made it hard to see what exactly happened. Soares on why he showed the video to the group: "There is a social media component here that is moving at a much faster clip than the actual truth-seeking, fact-finding investigation, and ... people are arriving at conclusions that are based upon the words and hearsay of individuals. We can't engage in that." [News10] [WNYT] [TWCN] [TU]

Hoosick Falls water
The Times Union reports that documents and emails indicate the state Department of Health had some of knowledge of PFOA contamination of the Hoosick Falls water supply as far back as August 2014 -- but unclear information and regulations contributed to a delay in the public being notified. [TU]

State and local officials -- including Congressman Chris Gibson -- were in Hoosick Falls Saturday to learn about the new water filtration system. Also: a survey of the various law firms currently vying for business in Hoosick Falls. [News10] [TU+]

(there's more)

Push for new Hoosick Falls water supply, "no secret spells" for Troy budget problems, railroad overpass as can opener

Hoosick Falls water
As fear and uncertainty wear on people in the Hoosick Falls, state Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin is pushing for a new water source for the village: "I don't think a permanent filtration system is going to satisfy the people of Hoosick Falls." [Politico NY] [WNYT]

Also: Charting the long history of manufacturing using PFOA in the village. [News10]

The state of Troy
Troy mayor Patrick Madden on fixing the city's financial problems in his state of the city speech Thursday: "There are no secret spells, incantations or silver bullets. We did not get here overnight, nor can it be fixed overnight. It will take some time to reclaim our fiscal health, but we cannot put this off any longer. The time to start this work is now." (Madden says the current year budget is balanced, but city council president Carmella Mantello says it's not.) He also floated the idea of a tax on hotel stays. [Troy Record] [News10] [TU]

Schenectady police discipline
A state appeals court has ruled against the city of Schenectady in its bid to have the city public safety commissioner oversee police disciplinary cases. Public safety commissioner Wayne Bennett says the city now has to decide whether it will appeal the case to the state's highest court. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

(there's more)

Sweat sentenced for escape attempt, Albany County joins suit to stop oil trains, Rivers Casino breaks ground, no really-- it's still February

Sweat sentenced
David Sweat, the convicted murderer who, with his partner Richard Matt, escaped from Dannemora prison last summer, was sentenced on Wednesday to pay $79,841 in restitution and serve 31/2 to seven years in prison for the escape and a similar consecutive sentence for prison contraband. At the sentencing Sweat apologized for frightening people, but the New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said she was convinced Sweat "would try it again if given the opportunity." [TU][TWCN] [TU]

UAlbany bus incident
UAlbany president Robert Jones released a video statement Wednesday asking people for patience on the investigation in the bus incident last weekend: "I ask all of us to not rush to judgment. We need to know all of the facts. We must get this right." Jones said university police had interviewed 29 people, and were reviewing video and audio. The incident is continuing to get attention beyond the Capital Region -- Hillary Clinton's Twitter account mentioned it Thursday. [UAlbany] [@HillaryClinton]

Saint-Gobain
"When all of the cameras are off and all the TV lights are down and all the microphones go away, we will be here." The President and CEO of Saint-Gobain, the company alleged to have released PFOA into the Hoosick Falls water system, on their commitment to the community where they have operated for years. [WNYT]

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Video surfaces in CDTA bus incident, physician says public health study should include former Hoosick Falls residents, groundbreaking for Rivers Casino scheduled today, Senate approves MMA for the 7th time

Hoosick Falls water
A doctor who has been pivotal in uncovering the Hoosick Falls water contamination crisis says a state public health study of the long-term impact on village residents needs to include those who have moved away over the years. According to a new document, Hoosick Falls asked for the village water to be tested back in April of last year, but people were not instructed to stop drinking the water until November. [TU][News 10]

CDTA bus attack
Video has surfaced of the CDTA bus altercation in which a group of Ualbany students say they were the victims of a racially motivated attack. [TU]

Casino groundbreaking
The Rivers Casino groundbreaking is expected to take place today.[TU]

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Rally at UAlbany in response to bus incident, guilty plea in death of Skidmore student, she was born when Taft was president

UAlbany bus incident rally 2016-02-01

The rally Monday evening at UAlbany.

Incident on bus at UAlbany
A rally at UAlbany Monday evening to support the three African-American women who say they were attacked on a CDTA bus by a group using racial slurs drew hundreds of people to the uptown campus center. One of the women, Asha Burwell, told the crowd: "We are shocked, upset, but we will remain unbroken. We stand here with strength because we value our worth as black women and as human beings in general. I would like everyone to understand that more violence will not solve anything. It will not make us feel any better nor will it result in any justice for us." [TU] [News10]

Monday afternoon University Police Department chief J. Frank Wiley said in a statement that UPD has used video from CDTA and other sources to identify 34 persons of interest -- 16 of whom have been interviewed, with more interviews planned. TWCN has posted interview clips with an anonymous person who says she was on the bus early Saturday morning -- and she says her recollection of events differs from the details that have been made public so far. The bus was one of CDTA's new "accordion" busses -- and the transit org says the driver didn't know what was happening in the back of the bus. [UPD] [TWCN] [WNYT]

Hoosick Falls water
In Latham Monday, Chuck Schumer said of the situation in Hoosick Falls the public efforts say far by the company Saint-Gobain: "They've got to do more. Expressing sympathy and giving out filters is not enough. There's a cloud of fear and uncertainty hanging over Hoosick Falls." Residents of the village have been signing up for testing of their wells and blood, and some have already installed filtering systems in their houses. Said Brian Bushner, a village resident who's decided to run for the village board of trustees because of the situation, to the Troy Record: "What infuriated me the most -- and I think I speak for a lot of people here when I say this -- is the mayor saying it was a personal choice to drink the water until after the EPA said to stop drinking it. Think about that phrase for just a second. You can't live without water. Water, beside air, is the most basic thing you need to live. You're saying it's a personal choice to do the most basic thing for survival." [TU] [WNYT] [Biz Review] [Troy Record]

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UAlbany students say they were assaulted on bus by group using racial slurs, possible new model for Albany trash collection, about those anti-corruption billboards

Investigation of incident on bus at UAlbany
Three African-American UAlbany students say they were assaulted by a group of 10-12 white people using racial slurs while on the #11 CDTA bus early Saturday morning. University Police Department chief Frank Wiley said in a statement to the campus community that UPD and Albany police are investigating the incident and reviewing video from both bus security cameras and bystanders. [statement by UAlbany president Robert Jones] [@AshaBurwell] [TU] [UPD statement] [WNYT]

There is a rally to support the three students planned for UAlbany's uptown campus Monday evening.

Hoosick Falls water
Erin Brockovich was in Hoosick Falls over the weekend as part of information session organized by a personal injury law firm. She told the crowd: "When you get together and you start being actively involved and getting involved, whether it be with your mayor or going to your city council, and asking questions and demanding answers and taking charge of your back yard, your town, you will make a difference." And residents say the contamination of the water supply casts doubt on the future of the village. [TWCN] [WNYT] [TU] [TU+]

On Friday DEC police were investigating an allegation of illegal solid waste dumping in the town of Hoosick. [TU]

The future of trash collection in Albany
With Albany's landfill set to close in the next few years, a detailed look at the possibility of the city switching to a "pay as you throw" model for trash collection. [TU+] Earlier: Talking trash in Albany

(there's more)

EPA issues new guidance for Hoosick Falls water, state attorney general investigates event ticket industry, the doctor will virtually see you now

Hoosick Falls water
The EPA is now advising residents of Hoosick Falls with private wells that they shouldn't drink their well water (or cook with it) if tests reveal levels of PFOA to be above 100 parts per trillion. The village is installing a filtration system on its water supply -- it's a few weeks away from being operational -- but some residents say they'll still be wary to drink the water because they don't trust officials now. [TU] [TWCN] [Biz Review] [News10]

Also: The law firm Weitz & Luxemberg (yep, the same one that Sheldon Silver had been directing asbestos cases to) is sending Erin Brockovich to the area to "discuss the legal options and remedies available to Hoosick Falls clients and other residents who seek assistance." [TU CapCon]

School district fiscal problems
State comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office released a list of school districts around the state that are in "fiscal stress." The Corinth School District in Saratoga County is in the category of "significant fiscal stress" -- and the Watervliet and Rensselaer school districts are in the "moderate stress" category. [NYS OSC] [TU+]

Schenectady demolitions
The Capital Region Land Bank wants to demolish 19 buildings in the city of Schenectady. [Daily Gazette]

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APD investigating 2 shootings, Superfund site declared in Hoosick Falls, apartment building planned for DeLaet's Landing

Two Albany shootings
Albany police are investigating two shootings in the city on Wednesday. The first took place near 9am on Wednesday in West Hill, not far from Albany High School.
The victim was sitting in a car in front of a day care center - just a few doors away from the building where pastor Charlie Muller's gun buyback program is run.
Later in the day, in what is believed to be a related incident, a SWAT team closed down roads and entered a house on Judson Street and took two people into custody. Police found evidence consistent with gunshots. [TU][WNYT][TWCN][News 10][WNYT]

Hoosick Falls Water
Andrew Cuomo met with Hoosick Falls officials at the Capitol on Wednesday to discuss the contamination of the village's water.Shortly after the meeting The Cuomo administration announced it would declare the Saint-Gobain plastics plant that contaminated the Hoosick Falls water supply a Superfund site. The move will give the state the power to seek reimbursements for the cleanup costs from the source of the pollution. The state will list PFOA, the chemical that has been found in the village water supply, as a hazardous substance. Superfund money will be used to retest wells, conduct blood tests, install filtration systems at schools and establish a state hotline among other things. [TU][Record][NYT][TU][News10]

(there's more)

Plea deal rejected in Porreca case, Sheehan and Madden ask state legislators to assist cities, Bharara to visit Albany

Mayors seek assistance
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Troy Mayor Patrick Madden were among a group of Ne York State Mayors who addressed legislators on Friday for financial assistance. Sheehan is seeking $12.5 million from the state to close a hole in the city budget. Madden urged legislators to fully fund a proposal to use $250 million for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects around the state.
[TU][TWCN]

Plea deal rejected in murder case
Sean Moreland, who allegedly drove the getaway car
in the Jacquelyn Porreca murder case, has rejected a deal from prosecutors that would have required a 15 year prison term. [TU]

Hoosick Falls Water
A temporary water filter is being installed in Hoosick Falls to help filter out PFOA contaminants that may be responsible for elevated levels of cancers, thyroid disease and pregnancy problems in the town. A larger permanent filter is expected to be installed by October. Hoosick officials say state the Health Department asked them to keep quiet about toxic chemicals found in multiple private wells in the town . The investigation into the contamination of the water in Hoosick falls began after the son of a a 68 year old man who died from kidney cancer began asking questions two years ago. [TWCN][Record][TU][Record]

(there's more)

Protesters interrupt Sheehan's State of the City address, Hulett Street fire info reward increased, Albany teens win national song contest

Sheehan's State of the City address interrupted
Protesters calling for the firing of the police officers involved with the death of Dontay Ivy, as well as police chief Brendan Cox, interrupted Kathy Sheehan's State of the City address for about 20 minutes Monday evening at Albany City Hall. They also repeated the call for the city's police force to be disarmed. In her speech, Sheehan pointed to a city goal to implement better policing, including body cameras and implicit bias train -- an effort she said was working to "shake the legacy of racism that we have, that was earned and that was reprehensible." [News10] [WNYT] [TWCN] [TU]

The protest also marked a public announcement of the formation of an upstate chapter of Black Lives Matter. [Daily Gazette]

Albany schools
Acting Albany schools superintendent Kimberly Young Wilkins, a longtime principal in the district, on the situation she's facing: "I've been here for 25 years. We have weathered storms, and we're going to weather this." School board president Kenneth Bruce also addressed the ouster of former superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard last week: "This decision was based on merit. Job security is based on performance. When there's performance, there's security and when there isn't, there isn't." He also fell back on the "personnel decision" reason for not explaining the decision in more detail. [TU] [News10] [WNYT] [TWCN]

Bigger reward for Hulett Street fire info
The reward for info in the fatal 2013 Hulett Street in Schenectady is now $40,000. It's the fire in which a father and three children were killed -- and Sa'Fyre Terry was seriously injured. The now eight-year-old girl appeared at the warehouse where volunteers are opening the millions of cards and packages sent to her Monday to thank everyone for their efforts. Said Terry's aunt: "The outpouring of love for Sa'fyre has been absolutely amazing, but there's no gift that can beat the gift of justice that she so rightfully deserves." [WNYT] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

(there's more)

The events that led up to the Albany schools superintendent's ouster, three rescued from burning house, CDTA ready to move ahead with Troy transit center, man fights off rabid fox

Albany schools superintendent
Chronicling the events that led up to the ouster of Albany school district superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard last week -- though the school board has not detailed why exactly it decided to part ways with Vanden Wyngaard. As part of her separation agreement, she's set to receive a $90k lump sum, salary through this June, and medical benefits through June 2017. By the way: The vote on the reformulated plan to rebuilding/expand Albany High School is just about two weeks away. [TU+] [TU] [TU+]

Troy water main repair
The city of Troy says repairs on the large water main break are now finished and regular service levels have been restored to Halfmoon and Waterford. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Allegations against former Albany County Sheriff's sergeant
Brendan Lyons details the allegations against a former Albany County Sheriff's sergeant in a situation involving a former girlfriend -- including a voicemail to the woman's new boyfriend, attributed to the former sergeant, that states, "I will murder you where you stand." [TU+]

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School board critics turn out after ouster of Albany schools superintendent, repair of Troy water main break nearing end, Hoosick Falls hired PR firm to help handle tainted water supply situation

Albany schools superintendent pushed out
The Albany school district announced Thursday that superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard would be resigning in an arrangement that includes her taking paid leave now through the end of her contract in June. Said school board president Kenneth Bruce in a statement: "the board and the superintendent have come to a point where we no longer can overcome our philosophical differences about how best to implement the change our district urgently needs." [Albany school district]

Supporters of Vanden Wyngaard have recently been pushing for the board to extend her contract and many people turned out at a tense board meeting Thursday night to criticize the panel for pushing the superintendent out. City Common Council president Carolyn McLaughlin: "You set her up for failure ... There was no support. You supported her for about 18 months and then you decided that all bets were off. I don't know who's coming in next, but what you did to Dr. V, you'll do it to them." Common Council member Vivian Kornegay: "The Albany public school district board is dysfunctional. It's dysfunctional, segregated and discriminatory." Bruce said race was not a factor in the board's decision. [TWCN] [TU] [WNYT] [News10]

Albany High School rebuild proposal: A PAC called Support Albany High School has formed to push for approval of the reformulated plan to rebuild/expand Albany High School at the February vote. [TU+]

Troy water main break
Crews worked Thursday to repair a second, small leak in the large water main that failed earlier this week. The city says the overall repair project should be finished by this weekend. [Troy Record] [TWCN]

Troy is seeking help from the state -- in the form of grants and a low-interest loan -- to cover the $2.7 million cost of installing 3,700 linear feet of larger pipe as an upgrade to the main. [Troy Record] [TU] [TWCN]

Supervisors in Waterford and Halfmoon -- where water service was disrupted by the Troy main break -- say they're not sure yet how much it's cost the towns to provide alternate water supplies during the episode. [TU+]

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Troy water main repair continues, 19 citations but no charges for garbage truck driver in fatal accident, Silver keeps pension, New York considers new consequences for skipping tolls

Troy water main update
Work continues today on the water main break that has spilled millions of gallons of water into the streets of Troy and left thousands of people in the city and surrounding communities with limited water service for days. Paul Tonko toured the site of the break on Wednesday pointing out that it is a symbol of a national problem with aging infrastructure. Troy is seeking state and federal aid to repair the aging infrastructure problems that caused the break. The city council will hold a special meeting tonight in an effort to speed along a grant proposal to replace the aging water line. 25 Waterford homes had their water restored on Wednesday. Schools are open again in Waterford Halfmoon and Mechanicville school districts but water restrictions are still in effect in many communities, affecting residents and businesses. Meanwhile, Waterford and Halfmoon are considering new water sources to avoid similar problems in the future. [TWCN][Saratogian][Gazette][WNYT][News 10][TU+][TU]

Judiciary committee approves DiFiore
Cuomo appointee Janet DiFiore won the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday,. A vote was delayed but DiFiore is expected to be confirmed as New York State's next Chief Judge. [TU][NYT]

Garbage truck driver cited in 2015 fatal accident
The driver of a garbage truck that struck and killed a 4-year-old boy at Central and Quail in Albany last year will not face criminal charges. James P. Kelly was issued 19 citations in connection with the incident, including failure to yield the right of way. [TU][Gazette]

(there's more)

Repairs continue on Troy water main,Women's Equality laws take affect, Stefanik kicks off reelection bid,overdue honors for WWII vet


Troy water main
Crews have been working round the clock to repair the water main break in Troy. The break is affecting the city of Troy and Nine municipalities outside Troy. The freezing temperatures and the fact that the main is steel and not cast iron are contributing to the difficulty. [TWCN][TU][Record]pTU]

Schenectady city phones
The city of Schenectady phone lines - including police and fire department, are not working and can't take incoming calls today. [Gazette]

NY Women's Equality Laws
Seven new laws that are part of Andrew Cuomo's Women's Equality Agenda take effect today, including equal pay and domestic violence legislation. [WNYT]

(there's more)

Troy works to repair large water main break, Teachout for Congressional run?, affordable housing crunch in Saratoga, the crow as painter

Troy water main break, and the problem of aging infrastructure
One of Troy's largest water mains burst Sunday, flooding an area near the break in Lansingburgh and prompting the city to ask residents to restrict water use. There have also beens service disruptions in some municipalities that draw water from Troy, including Mechanicville and Halfmoon. [TU] [News10] [TU]

The break highlights both a short term and long term challenge for Troy: A costly repair of the century-old main would be a strain on city finances because the city's water fund was used in recent years to balance the general city budget. And in the longterm, mayor Patrick Manning says the city has hundreds of miles of century-old water infrastructure. [TU+] [Troy Record]

Schenectady County jail death
The Schenectady County Sheriff's Office says a 53-year-old county jail inmate who had been treated at a hospital just before the entering the jail earlier this month died Sunday. The sheriff says jail medical personnel had been monitoring the inmate's treatment. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Teachout for 19th Congressional District?
Democratic county leaders in the NY 19th Congressional District (currently rep'ed by Chris Gibson) voted over the weekend to endorse Zephyr Teachout -- even though she's yet to officially toss her hat in the ring. [TU]

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VanAlstyne sentenced for death of Kenneth White, packed meeting about Hoosick Falls water contamination, pedestrian killed in Route 9 crash, together to the end

Tiffany VanAlstyne sentenced
Tiffany VanAlstyne -- who pleaded guilty to killing her five-year-old cousin, Kenneth White, in Knox in December 2014 -- was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison. Judge Stephen Herrick noted that Van Alstyne had been diagnosed with mental illness, but had stopped taking her medication: "There were tell-tale signs that you were at risk. From what I've read, this was a time bomb waiting to go off." Said VanAlstyne at the sentencing: "I am so, so sorry for what I did and what happened to Kenneth. I wish I could take it back but I can't." Said Christine White, Kenneth's mother and VanAlstyne's aunt, outside court: "I love my son more than anything in this world ... But I also love my niece, and I know what kind of girl she was." [Daily Gazette] [TU] [WNYT] [TWCN]

Hudson Hoosick Falls water
Hoosick Falls residents packed a meeting Thursday night with EPA regional administrator Judith Enck about contamination of the village's water supply with a chemical called PFOA. Enck said agencies to need study the source of contamination (a nearby factory is suspected) and the extent of its spread in the ground water. [TWCN] [TU]

State school aid
Though Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget includes an almost-$1 billion increase in school aid for the next year, school funding advocates say the increased still lags behind the level the state should be at -- and a handful of Capital Region districts are even scheduled to receive less aid. [Troy Record] [TU+]

(there's more)

Albany $12.5 million missing from Cuomo budget, GE announces 100 jobs for Niskayuna - moves HQ from CT to Boston, opening 1.7 million cards and packages

State of the State
Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address: a look at ethics, local governments, big infrastructure, minimum wage, paid family leave, housing , homelessness and more. Here's some legislative reaction to the governor's plans.

Protestors lined the concourse, many advocating for the proposed $15 minimum wage. Some business groups are speaking out against the wage hike. [AOA][NYT][TU][TWCN][TU][News10]

Albany $ missing from budget
The $12.5 million that the city of Albany was looking for from the state to help balance its budget was not included in the governor's spending plan.[TU]

GE
General Electric announced 100 new jobs will be added to its Global Research Center in Niskayuna. Meanwhile, GE Affiliate Granite Services will close its operations in Schenectady and cut 41 jobs due to a loss of contract. GE also announced that it is moving its headquarters from Connecticut to Boston (New York officials had been trying to lure the company HQ to the state). [TU][Business Review][TU]

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Cuomo to deliver state of the state today, Assembly votes down ethics proposals, vigil for Sherwin, four Canadian women charged with local "grandparent scam," if walls could talk

State of the State
Andrew Cuomo will deliver the State of the State address today. Here's a look at what he'll be talking about. [TU]

$15 minimum wage
More than 1,000 people are expected to show up at the State of the State to advocate for a $15 minimum wage. [News 10]

Ethics
The NYS Assembly voted down 13 Republican proposed ethics reforms, including term limits for legislators and televised hearings. [Daily Freeman][WNYT]

Clean Conscience pledges
The five members of the Senate IDC announced they have signed "clean conscience" pledges. [TU]

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Feds: "insufficient evidence" of a federal crime related to state anti-corruption panel, former Watervliet police officer sentenced to prison, teacher accused of taking toys

Feds' investigation of Moreland Commission
A statement Monday from Preet Bharara's office about the federal investigation into Andrew Cuomo shutting down the Moreland Commission anti-corruption panel: "After a thorough investigation of interference with the operation of the Moreland Commission and its premature closing, this Office has concluded that, absent any additional proof that may develop, there is insufficient evidence to prove a federal crime." Andrew Cuomo's attorney: "We were always confident there was no illegality here, and we appreciate the U.S. attorney clarifying this for the public record." Not mentioned in the Bharara office statement: anything about the Buffalo Billion. [US DOJ] [NYT] [TU]

High school graduation rates
The state Education Department released high school graduation rates for the class that graduated in 2015, and statewide the rate was up almost two percentage points to 78.1 percent. Here's an easy-scan breakdown of rates for Capital Region districts. One bit from the Schenectady school district -- which, along with Albany, again had one of the lowest rates in the region: superintendent Larry Spring said that of the roughly 100 students in the graduating cohort who had been in the district since kindergarten, 97 percent graduated on time. [NYSED] [AOA] [Daily Gazette]

Robberies, assaults along New Scotland Ave
More details in the two separate robberies/assault along New Scotland Ave in Albany Saturday: Police allege the man arrested in the case -- Jose L. Marlett -- abducted the second woman near New Scotland Elementary, tied her up with a telephone cord in his apartment, and sexually assaulted her. After Marlett left the apartment, the woman was able to break free and News10 reports she ran naked down New Scotland Ave where she was able to get help at a restaurant on the corner of New Scotland and Ontario. Neighbors tell TWCN they had noticed Marlett acting strangely. [TU] [News10] [TWCN]

Former Watervliet police offer heading to prison
Former Watervliet police officer Nicholas Pontore -- accused of being involved with the Young Gunnerz gang, and buying drugs while on duty in his police car -- pleaded guilty in Rensselaer County Court to a drug charge and was sentenced to two years in prison. [TWCN] [Troy Record] [TU]

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Man charged with murder in Watervliet death, allegations of abuse in state prisons, the Bob & Ron's sign has been sold

Homicide in Watervliet
A Watervilet man -- 49-year-old Michael J. Fox -- is facing a murder charge in connection with the death of a man in a residence on 4th Ave Friday night. Watervliet police say they responded to a call of shots fired, there was a evidence a shotgun had been used, and a standoff ensued. A woman tells News10 Fox had called her to the residence and tried to hold her there with the man who had been shot -- she said she escaped as Fox fired at her with a shotgun. Watervliet police say a tactical team eventually entered the residence and took Fox into custody. [TU] [WNYT] [News10] [TWCN]

Suspicious fire in Troy
The Troy Fire Department says an apartment building fire that displaced 10 people is a suspicious and neighbors are pointing the finger at a neighbor who recently moved in and they say had been acting strangely and had made threatening statements. [TU]

Allegations of abuse in state prisons
From a Brendan Lyons article about allegations of prisoner abuse in New York State prisons: "several inmates and prison employees interviewed" said the practice of guards putting plastic bags over the heads of inmates is "is routine in some prisons." [TU+]

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Former Watervliet police officer sentenced, medical marijuana dispensaries open, Troy Bombers set to become a Wolff's

The tangled web involving police in Watervliet
Joshua Spratt -- the former Watervliet police officer who pleaded guilty to a criminal sex act with a teen he met as a city school resource officer -- was sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years probation. Said state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Breslin at the sentencing to Spratt in reference to Spratt's duty as a police officer to protect and serve: "you protected no one and you served yourself," and said he was reluctantly sentencing Spratt according to the plea bargain in the case. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

Also Thursday: Former Albany County Sheriff's sergeant Martin F. Zaloga Jr. was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to texting a photo of his penis to a Watervliet teen -- an act that was discovered during the investigation surrounding Spratt. [TU] [TWCN]

And over in Rensselaer County, Daquan Murray of Troy was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his guilty plea to selling cocaine. Murray was alleged to be a leader of the Young Gunnerz gang, was the target of the state Attorney General's Operation Trojan Horse sweep -- the arrests for which included former Watervliet police officer Nicholas Pontore. And a recording Pontore handed over to Watervliet police prompted the investigation in Spratt. [TWCN] [Troy Record] [TU]

Medical marijuana
Thursday marked the first day medical marijuana dispensaries could be open in New York State, and the Etain dispensary in Albany's Warehouse District opened to the media for a tour. As of Thursday, the state Department of Health said there were just 51 patients statewide who had been registered to buy medical marijuana. [TWCN] [News10] [TU+]

Judith Kaye
Judith Kaye -- the first woman named to New York State's highest court, and the first to serve as the court's chief judge -- has died at age 77. [NYT]

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Ethics dominate day one for legislators, Cuomo to propose Thruway toll freeze and $22 billion for roads & bridges, Vital Vio founders make Forbes list

New session opens with focus on ethics
Ethics discussion dominated the first day of session for New York legislators.
On day one of the first legislative session after the convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle pitched plans for ethics reform, while advocates for good government asked legislators to sign a three point "Clean Conscience Pledge". In addition to ethics reform, lawmakers say minimum wage and the heroin epidemic are issues they plan to address in the new session. [TU][TU][News 10]

School threat may be connected to bank robbery
Police believe a fake threat that put Mohonasen High School into a temporary lockdown on Wednesday may have been an attempt to divert them from a TrustCo bank robbery that took place ten minutes after the 911 call reporting the threat. Half an hour later an Albany NBT bank at 54 State Street was robbed. [TWCN][Gazette]

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Legislators head back to work with ethics on their minds, frigid temperatures bring Code Blue alert, Albany marijuana dispensary to open this week

Lawmakers and ethics

Lawmakers are back at work at the Capitol and focused on ethics reform, but there is still a disagreement about what that reform will look like. [TU][TWCN][WNYT]

Legislative swipe cards
As the session opens, lawmakers will use swipe card devices to help prove they are in Albany. [TU]

Funeral directors, dry cleaners and vets
How some NYS legislators make their living when they're not legislating. [NYT]

$7 billion proposed for upstate
In what he is calling "the largest construction program in modern political history in the state of New York," Andrew Cuomo plans to introduce $7 billion in proposals for upstate, including transportation, energy and agriculture projects.[TU]

Code blue
Frigid temperatures on Tuesday meant Code Blue was in effect at homeless shelters in the Capital Region and around New York. In spite of Andrew Cuomo's recent executive order requiring all homeless people to go to shelters when the temperature is below freezing, some shelters are not forcing people to remain indoors. [WNYT][TWCN]

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Questions about new state policy regarding shelter for homeless in the cold, Albany trash fee approved, alleged scheme to steal laptops from the state

The cold
Low temps dipped near zero overnight -- the coldest temps here since last March. And the high temp for Tuesday is forecasted to be in the low 20s. [NWS x2]

Homeless in the cold
Leaders of Capital Region governments and orgs helping the the homeless were trying to figure out the implications of the new Cuomo admin policy that calls for shelters to be open when the temperature drops below freezing -- and allows for people to be forcibly removed from the street in such weather. Among the questions: Is there currently enough capacity at local shelters, especially during the day. And whether it's prudent to force someone into a shelter who doesn't want to be there. [Daily Gazette] [NYT] [TWCN] [Troy Record] [News10]

The Capital City Rescue Mission in Albany had provided space for almost 200 people over night Monday to Tuesday. [News10]

Albany trash free
The Albany Common Council passed a measure allowing the city to assess a trash fee on residential buildings with 2-4 units (the fee is $180/unit -- buildings with more than 4 units are already required to hire a private trash hauler). Before the vote the fee continued to face opposition from council members argued the fee unfairly would burden low-income residents. [TWCN] [TU]

Pedestrian death
East Greenbush police say a pedestrian was killed Monday afternoon on Columbia turnpike when, witnesses told police, a vehicle "left the roadway, running over road signs and striking a pedestrian who was walking along the shoulder of the road." EGPD says the driver was taken to a hospital. And it's asking anyone who might have seen the crash to call the department. [EGPD press release] [News10]

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Alkaramla's body found in the Hudson, Cuomo continuing push for minimum wage increase, who gets REDC money, first baby of 2016

Today's Morning Blend includes a handful of stories from the last week or so over the new year holiday.

Noel Alkaramla case
Troy police announced New Year's Eve that the body of Noel Alkaramla was found in a suitcase in the Hudson River near Albany last week. Alkaramla's stepfather is a suspect and is being held on a parole violation, but hasn't been charged in the case. Law enforcement originally had searched the Hudson near Troy for the suitcase, but an official tells the Times Union that tests involving suitcases dropped into the river and the aid of FBI experts led investigators to a spot near USS Slater. [Troy Record] [TU x2]

Minimum wage
Andrew Cuomo is set to announce today that he'll be adding state university employees to the $15-an-hour minimum wage schedule. Cuomo says an eventual $15-an-hour minimum wage for all workers will be one of his priorities in 2016. [NYT] [NYDN]

The state's minimum wage for all workers rose to $9/hour on January 1 under a previously scheduled increase, and $9.75 per hour ($10.50 per hour in NYC) for fast food employees. The minimum wage for tipped employees also rose to $7.50 per hour from $5. [NYS DOL x3]

Homeless in the cold
Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order requiring homeless shelters around the state to extend hours -- and it authorizes law enforcement agencies to forcibly move homeless people inside who refuse, a measure some advocates are saying might not be legal. [Cuomo admin] [TU] [NYDN]

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Guilty verdict in Schenectady murder, UAlbany purchasing nine acres in Guilderland, Lippmann relaxes courtroom camera laws, dreaming of a warm Christmas

UAlbany purchases bordering property
UAlbany has purchased about nine acres of property bordering its campus in Guilderland for approximately $600 thousand. [TU]

Saratoga woman charged in fatal hit and run
A Saratoga Springs woman is facing felony counts of reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident, in connection with a fatal accident that killed a pedestrian in the Spa City earlier this month. [TU]

Guilty verdict in Schenectady murder
After two days of deliberations, a Schenectady County jury found Jamel Johnson guilty of second -degree murder in the death of a Schenectady man who allegedly beat Johnson several weeks earlier.Johnson, a member of the Bloods gang from Brooklyn, faces 25 years to life in prison[Gazette][TU]

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Schenectady casino gets formal OK, Cuomo to pardon 10,000 people, about naming things after people

Casinos moving forward
The state Gaming Commission issued licenses for the first batch of three upstate casinos, including the planned Rivers Casino in Schenectady, formally opening the way for construction to begin. The general manage for the Rivers Casino is projecting a possible summer 2017 opening for the facility. And Schenectady mayor Gary McCarthy says the city is in line for a "host benefit fee" of roughly $4 million. [NYT] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Stabbing death of Troy city official
Hundreds of people lined up Monday to pay their respects to Troy city operations director Bill Chamberlain, who was fatally stabbed last week near his home in North Greenbush. And city officials are talking about honoring Chamberlain in some way. City council president Rodney Wiltshire on the 30-year city employee: "The reality is he always had the answers ... He just knew how things were done." [TWCN] [Troy Record] [News10]

The little town of Bethlehem
The town of Bethlehem's decision to not include a "Merry Christmas" sign at its Four Corners holiday display has prompted a response from an Arizona-based religious rights group. [TU+]

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Suspect identified in fatal stabbing of Troy official, continued criticism for nursing home, she doesn't give a "rat's noodle" what neighbors say

Investigation of Troy official's death
North Greenbush police identified a suspect in the Thursday night stabbing death of Troy director of operations Bill Chamberlain: 28-year-old Joseph Vandenburgh of Wynantskill was being held on a parole violation. Over the weekend police searched the home of Vandenburgh's mother. Police say Chamberlain had been stabbed as many as 25 times and a knife was found near his body. [TWCN] [Troy Record] [TU x2]

Both city officials and Troy business owners remembered Chamberlain as a dedicated public servant who played a key role for the city. [WNYT] [TWCN]

Park Ave fire
Official determination of the cause in the Albany Park Ave fire that displaced 25 people: "undetermined but with accidental characteristics." [TU]

Troy police
Troy's police chief says the department is down 15 officers and it's having trouble attracting and retaining officers. [TU+]

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Investigation of Troy official's death, new vote for Albany High rebuild plan, cards and packages for Sa'Fyre piling up

Investigation into death of Troy official
The Times Union and TWCN are both reporting that Bill Chamberlain, director of operations for the city of Troy, died Thursday night near his North Greenbush home -- the TU reports Chamberlin's wife found him after their dog returned alone from a walk, and TWCN reports "sources" tell them it was a stabbing. [TU] [TWCN]

Hoosick Falls water
The federal Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that residents of Hoosick Falls should not drink the village's water because of levels of a toxic industrial chemical in the water -- both the state and village mayor had previously downplayed the risk of the drinking the water. [TU]

Troy City Council rejects health care deal for police
The Troy City Council unanimously voted against an agreement with the city's police union to offer lifetime health coverage after just 10 years of service. Council members also expressed frustration and anger that mayor Lou Rosamilia signed the deal 18 months ago and it was only now coming before the council. [TU] [Troy Record]

Albany High School rebuild
The reformulated plan for a rebuild of Albany High School -- now with a $180 million total project cost -- is set to go before voters in February. [Albany school district] [TU]

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Accomplice sentenced in "death ray" case, New York to reform solitary confinement rules, longtime Capital Region broadcaster Ralph Vartigan dies

Eight years for death-ray accomplice
Eric Feight, the man convicted of assisting KKK member Glendon Scott Crawford in a failed plot to kill muslims with an "x-ray death machine" was sentenced Wednesday to eight years in prison. [TU][Gazette][TWCN]

New York to reform solitary confinement
As the result of an NYCLU lawsuit over the treatments of inmates, New York has agreed to overhaul the way it administers solitary confinement in state prisons.
[NYT][TU]

Sentencing in SCCC student stabbing
The former Schenectady County Community College Student
charged with stabbing two fellow students in a fight over a stolen banana earlier this year will was sentenced to ten years in state prison. [TU]

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Police investigate Schenectady stabbing, Albany High and Schneiderman release anti-discrimination plan, fire safety lessons pay off for Schenectady girl, call for tax free Christmas trees

Schenectady Stabbing
Police in Schenectady are looking for a suspect after a man was stabbed in a State Street Apartment.[TU][WNYT]

Patrice Zimmerman
Colonie police have positively identified a body pulled from the Hudson on Tuesday as that of 59-year-old Patrice Zimmerman, who went missing earlier this week.. The Cause of death has been determined to be asphyxia due to drowning. Police say no new evidence suggests foul play. [Record][WNYT][TWCN]

Albany High agreement to avoid discrimination
Eric Schneiderman's office and the Albany City School District will announce a plan to make sure that minority and disabled students are no longer discriminated against, following a report that showed they were far more likely to be suspended than their peers in the years leading up to 2014. [TU+]

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Search for missing Colonie woman, Troy council bristling over police retiree deal, stepped up security at TU Center

Missing Colonie woman
A search for a missing Colonie woman -- 59-year-old Patrice Zimmerman -- included a State Police helicopter Monday. CPD says there are some indications she might be injured. Her vehicle was found in Waterford late Monday afternoon. Security video shows the car being there early Monday morning. Tuesday morning divers were preparing to search for Zimmerman. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TWCN] [WNYT]

Update: Colonie police say a Zimmerman's body was found in the Hudson River near Peebles Island Tuesday. [TWCN]

Troy police
The Troy City Council is bristling at being asked to approve an agreement with the city's police union that sets the amount of service necessary to qualify for retirement health coverage at just 10 years -- an agreement that mayor Lou Rosamilia apparently signed 18 months ago and didn't tell the council. The city is facing an arbitration case with the PBA over a claim to the health benefits by a former officer who left the force and pleaded guilty to tipping off drug dealers about a raid. [Troy Record] [TU+]

Wormuth second sentencing
Former Halfmoon supervisor Mindy Wormuth was sentenced to 10 months in prison in Saratoga County Court for stealing from her campaign account -- the sentence will run concurrently with her year-long federal prison sentence for taking a bribe as part of a sting. (Said her attorney Monday: "She was a small fish in a larger investigation.") Also: The remaining $20k in her campaign account will go to various charities. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian] [WNYT]

They're going to Disney World
Sa'Fyre Terry and her family are getting an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World and other Florida amusement parks from a charity org. And the Postal Service estimates there have been more than 175,000 Christmas cards sent to Terry. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

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Program and faculty cuts at Saint Rose, Christmas cards pour in for Sa'fyre, plans detailed for Hedley District, back to the sea

Saint Rose cuts
On Friday the College of Saint Rose announced it's cutting multiple academic programs and 23 faculty positions as part of its effort to put the college on firmer financial footing. The college says the eliminated programs have "low or no enrollment" and the cuts will affect about 4 percent of students. The Faculty Association of Saint Rose criticized the cuts, as well as the process leading up to them, and is talking about unionizing. [Saint Rose] [TU]

Hoosick Falls water
The story behind the discovery of the contaminant PFOA in the wells that serve Hoosick Falls -- the fight over the village's response to the situation. [TU+]

Bharara on Silver and Skelos guilty verdicts
US Attorney Preet Bharara after the guilty verdict in the Dean Skelos trial Friday: "The corruption in the State Legislature in Albany has not been episodic ... It's been systemic, and if nothing else, the trials revealed that there's a deep culture problem, and a matter-of-factness about how at least these two defendants, who've now been found guilty, went about their daily corrupt business with barely a thought about it." [NYT x2]

Christmas cards for Sa'fyre
Tens of thousands of Christmas cards have been sent to Sa'Fyre Terry following the call for cards for survivor of the Hulett Street fire. Also: A look at the network of friends, families -- and bikers -- that's grown to help support Terry and her family. [Daily Gazette x2]

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The bright side of $98 million, jail sentence for Wormuth, task force suggests Common Core retreat, Uber meeting draws 150

$98 million
The Capital Region did not win a $500 million URI grant but it did get $98 million, and, as a top performer, is eligible for another $50 million for regional development projects. Mike Hickey, CEO of the Center for Economic Growth says the was disappointed the Capital Region didn't win $500 million in the REDC awards, but that $98 million "was a hell of a consolation prize." Co-chair of the Capital Region REDC, Ualbany President Robert Jones pointed out other upsides, including the fact that the Capital Region is now thinking like a region and that the plans will serve as the blueprint for development over the next decade [AOA][TU x 2][Business Review]

Evidence collected in Alkaramla case
Police collected evidence, including paint chips, clothing and muddy boots, from the home of Johnny Oquendo, the stepfather of Noel Alkaramla, who has been missing since November 22.[TU]

Task force suggests retreat from Common Core
A NYS Common Core task force formed by Andrew Cuomo in September is recommending that the implement its own set of standards as opposed to the the national standards in an effort to reduce testing and anxiety. The task force is also recommending that test scores not be used to evaluate teachers through 2019, to allow time for new standards and tests to be developed. [TU][NYT]

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Regional Economic Development Council announcement today, Skelos trial goes to jury, NYRA expects $4 million profit

Regional Economic Development awards
The winners of the Regional Economic Development Competition will be announced this morning. Winners will divide $1.5 billion in economic aid. What should you expect? Here's a look.[Gazette] [TU][Business Review]

Skelos
Jury deliberations begin today in he corruption trial of Dean Skelos. In Closing arguments on Wednesday the defense claimed the prosecutions case was full of holes and based on mischaracteriztions snippets of conversations. In their rebuttal, prosecutors invoked Shel Silverstein.[Gazette][NYT][Capital New York]

$15 fast food wage upheld
A NYS Industrial Board of Appeals has upheld the coming $15 an hour minimum wage for fast food workers. The Restaurant associate, which appealed the wage hike to the board, issued a statement saying it is "extremely disappointed" in the ruling. [TU][WNYT]

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Search for Alkaramla continues down river, Rosamilia vetoes council's budget cut, closing arguments in Skelos trial, AG's warning for Springsteen fans


Noel Alkaramla search
The Search for Noel Alkaramla will move further down the Hudson River today. On Tuesday police dropped a rolling suitcase in the river to see how a suitcase containing the eight of a body would travel. Earlier this week the Alkaramla's stepfather told police to look for a suitcase. [TU[WNYT][Record]

Missing Mechanicville man
Mechanicville police are searching for a 39 year old man who was last seen on Saturday.[TU]

Rosamilia vetoes budget cut
Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia has vetoed the City Council's decision to eliminate the parks and recreation director position from the city budget - the only cut the council made to the 2016 spending plan. [Record]

Does a voice vote violate Freedom of Information law?
The Albany County Legislature voted to approve a $610 million budget with a voice vote on Tuesday -- where legislators as a group shout yay or nay -- rather than an individual roll call vote -- which means you can't find out how your particular legislator voted - which some say is a violation of the freedom of information act.
[TU]

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Search of Hudson River continues in case of missing Troy woman, plan for apartments above Arts Center, gifts of meals and hats

Noel Alkaramla case
Police divers continued to search the Hudson River near Troy for evidence in the case of Noel Alkaramla, who's been missing since November 22. Alkaramla's girlfriend says a text message from Alkaramla indicated her stepfather had wanted to meet up to talk the night Alkaramla disappeared. The stepfather was picked up on a parole violation last week -- and "several sources with knowledge of the investigation who are not authorized to speak" tell the Times Union he allegedly told police he had info Alkaramla, specifically that they should look for a suitcase. Troy police say they can't comment on any potential connections between Alkaramla's disappearance and the stepfather being picked up -- and haven't said whether they've found anything in the river related to the case. [Troy Record] [News10] [TU] [WNYT] [TWCN]

Fred Drumm case
The Saratoga County Sheriff's Office says it's investigation into the disappearance of Saratoga town councilman Fred Drumm is continuing -- he's been missing since November 25. [Daily Gazette]

Dogs shot
The Albany County Sheriff's Office and the state Department of Environmental Conservation are investigating the deaths of two dogs found shot near the Albany/Schoharie county line. The dogs disappeared from their family on Friday and were found over the weekend. Albany County sheriff Craig Apple: "Somebody shot them for no apparent reason. Never called police. Never contacted DEC. And never contacted anybody in the area. Just left them there." [Daily Gazette] [News10] [WNYT]

(there's more)

Search continues for missing Troy woman, adjusted plan for Albany High rebuild, large underage drinking bust in Troy, how they got that seal out of the lock

Noel Alkaramla case
Police divers searched the Hudson River near Troy over the week for evidence in the case of Noel Alkaramla, who's been missing since November 23. Troy police say Alkaramla's stepfather was picked up on a parole violation Friday -- last week Alkaramla's mother told the Times Union she was worried the stepfather might be involved, and Alkaramla's fiancee told WNYT Alkaramla had planned to talk with the stepfather before disappeared. [TWCN] [Troy Record] [News10] [TU] [WNYT]

Pedestrian killed in crash
The Saratoga County Sheriff's Office says a Clifton Park man was killed in a crash with a car on Route 9 early Sunday morning. The sheriff's office says there's no evidence the driver was intoxicated or impaired and an investigation is in progress -- it's looking for a second driver who might have witnessed the crash. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN]

Central Ave: Colonie police say a pedestrian was struck on Central Ave near Osborne Road Sunday night. [TWCN]

2-6 years: An Albany man was sentenced to 2-6 years in prison after pleading guilty to leaving the scene of a fatal crash with a pedestrian on Central Ave this past April and not reporting it. [TU]

Albany High School rebuild
The Albany School Board is considering a $180 million version of the plan to rebuild/expand the district's high school (the plan that narrowly was voted down in December was $196 million) -- and trying to figure out when the public vote on it should be. [TU+]

Also: It looks like the school district will need to add space for a fourth middle school in the future. [TU+]

(there's more)

Investigation into Park Ave fire, seal's visit to canal lock ending, two new residential conversions opening

Park Avenue fire
Albany fire officials said Thursday they're still investigating the cause of the Park Avenue fire, but it appears to have started on an enclosed rear porch and then burned for some amount of time before someone noticed. The buildings affected by the fire -- three of which were demolished -- housed 25 people. [WNYT] [TU] [TWCN]

Sheldon Silver
Sheldon Silver formally filed for his state pension this week -- which could worth something like $90k a year according to various estimates. [NYT] [TU]

Skelos trial
Among the issues surfaced during the Skelos & Son trial Thursday: You've given a job to the son of the the state Senate majority leader at the request of the legislator, the son doesn't show for the job, you don't fire him in order "to avoid the chance in Albany that, you know, that we would run into a problem with any legislation" -- then what do you put in his annual performance review? [NYT]

Seal relocation
The state Canal Corp is draining Lock 1 on the Champlain Canal in order to capture a seal who's been hanging out there since this past summer -- the plan is to relocate the seal to Long Island. [TU] Earlier: Odd and notable creatures of the Hudson River

(there's more)

Albany fire leaves 23 homeless, Silver planning appeals, NYS Labor Dept investigates Walmart firing, local film heads to Sundance

Cuomo calls for gun control
Following news of Wednesday's mass shooting in California, Andrew Cuomo called for strong federal gun control laws[TU]

Fire destroys Albany apartments
The Red Cross and New Hope Church are assisting 23 people left homeless by a fire that spread to four buildings on Park Street in Albany. The buildings were torn down by this morning. Fire officials have yet to announce a cause, but there is a press conference scheduled for later this morning. [WNYT][News10][TU]

Silver appeal
Sheldon Silver's attorneys are planning their first appeal, claiming prosecutors in the case failed to prove the existence of a quid pro quo relationship.[NYT]

Silver replacement
Silver's replacement in the NYS Assembly will likely be chosen by the Manhattan Democratic County Committee. [TWCN]

(there's more)

State ethics in the wake of Silver conviction, Former Watervliet officer pleads guilty in embezzlement case, Cuomo appoints former JCOPE head as chief judge, Nassau wants off the grid

Sheldon Silver

Some of the complications of separating ethics from business as usual in the NYS legislature in the wake of Sheldon Silver's conviction. [NYT]

Silver's conviction was yet another political earthquake, but is it enough to bring down the old ways of doing business and clean up state ethics?[TU+]

Will the former speaker be sentenced to 20 years in jail? [D&C]

For now, at least, it seems Silver is still eligible to collect his New York State pension. [WNYT]

A special election to fill Sheldon Silver's assembly seat will be held on April 19.[Newsday]

(there's more)

Sheldon Silver convicted on all charges, Troy council votes for tax cap override, Washington Ave Armory looking for new uses, Avery Moses Day

Sheldon Silver convicted
A jury found Sheldon Silver guilty on all seven counts against him in his corruption trial in federal court. With the conviction Silver was automatically removed from the state Assembly, where he was still a member after being replaced as speaker. After the verdict Silver's attorney said there would be a "vigorous" appeal of the conviction. [NYT] [TU] [NYDN]

Silver's defense had argued he had been operating according to the rules and culture of state government -- so now that he's been convicted, does anything change? Maybe not. [NYT] [Politico NY]

Albany budget
The Albany Common Council voted to pass the proposed 2016 budget -- without a decision on how to implement a proposed new trash fee for residential buildings with 1-4 units. [TU]

Troy budget
After mayor Lou Rosamilia revised his proposed budget to include a tax increase of just under 5 percent, the Troy City Council voted to override the tax cap for the budget Monday (an override vote for 9.3 percent increase failed last week). Incoming mayor Patrick Madden on the budget: "It looks like his budget works, if everything falls into place ... It works on paper, but we're going to have to deal with reality." [TU] [TWCN] [Troy Record]

(there's more)

Reviewing Capital Region crime numbers, protest over firing of Walmart employee, struggle over direction of Honest Weight

Crime
A look at 2014 crime numbers from around the Capital Region. [TU+]

Canned at Walmart
Protestors rallied outside the East Greenbush Walmart Friday calling for the company to restore the job of the man fired after he redemeed $2 in cans he found while collecting carts. Walmart has changed its story again about why Thomas Smith was fired -- it's now saying "he did not disclose certain serious criminal convictions during the application process." But Smith tells the Times Union he disclosed his conviction for a 2002 bank robbery on his application. [Troy Record] [WNYT] [TU]

Casinos
The current snag in the roll out of new casinos around the state, including in Schenectady: the State Gaming Commission has yet to license the new casino operators. [NYDN]

(there's more)

Cousin admits to Kenneth White murder, police search for missing Troy woman, Silver deliberation gets weird, Collar City boom

Van Alstyne admits to Kenneth White murder
Tiffany Van Alstyne plead guilty on Tuesday to the murder of her 5-year-old cousin Kenneth White. The 20-year old will face 18 years to life when she is sentenced - if she had been convicted by a jury that sentence would have been 25 years to life. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says he believes the boys death could have been prevented if Child Protective diagnosed problems in the family sooner. An advocacy group formed in Kenneth White's memory wants to see charges filed against Kenneth White's aunt, Brenda Van Alstyne. [News 10][TU][TWCN][Gazette]

Missing Troy Woman
Police are searching for a Troy woman who went missing after a co-worker drove her home from her shift as a hostes on Sunday. Documents with Noel Alkaramla's personal information on them were found in the street near her home on Washington Street in Troy.[Record][WNYT][TU]

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Protestors call for police firings because of Dontay Ivy case, Liberty Ridge Farm challenging fine for refusing same-sex wedding, Lillian's Restaurant is closing

Dontay Ivy
Members of Dontay Ivy's family and Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration rallied at the Albany City Hall Monday, calling for the mayor Kathy Sheehan to fire police chief Brendan Cox and the three police officers involved with the incident in which Ivy died. Celinda Okwuosa, Ivy's aunt: "All this about police doing their job, following their policies -- well, those policies need to be changed because they're discriminatory." [WNYT] [TWCN] [TU]

Troy fatal stabbing
Police in New Jersey arrested the man wanted in the fatal stabbing of a woman in North Central Monday morning. Troy police say the woman had an order of protection against the man. And the man's brother tells News10 that the couple were married and had been scheduled to finalize their divorce that day in court. [TU] [WNYT] [News10]

Lillian's closing
Lillian's Restaurant, which has been on Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs for more than four decades, is set to close at the end of this year. Owner Raymond Morris says he was recently approached with an offer to the buy building, and decided to sell. Morris said the next owner has retail and office space plans for the building. [Saratogian] [TU] [Biz Review]

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Search following fatal stabbing in Troy, Walmart responds to can-redemption firing, South End Children's Café already a drawing a crowd

Fatal stabbing in Troy
Troy police say a woman was fatally stabbed early Monday inside a residence in North Central (map). Police are searching for a man they want to question in the case and they say could be armed and dangerous. Update: Police say the man was found in New Jersey. [Troy Record] [TU] [TU]

Canned at Walmart
A Walmart spokesman tells the Times Union Thomas Smith was fired from the company's East Greenbush store because he redeemed $2 worth of cans that had been left in a shopping cart inside the store, which the company determined to be "gross misconduct." Said the spokesman to the Washington Post about the situation: "Taking items that have been returned to the customer service desk is no different from stealing off our shelves or from customers." The GoFundMe campaign for Smith is up to almost $20,000 as of Monday morning. [TU] [Washington Post] [GoFundMe]

Albany High School
The Albany school board is split over how to proceed on another pitch to voters about renovating/expanding Albany High School. [TU+]

(there's more)

Protest over possible Saint Rose program cuts, vote on 1MSq tax breaks postponed, Bob & Ron's closes Albany location

Saint Rose
A look at the split between Saint Rose president Carolyn Stefanco and faculty over impending program cuts aimed at closing the college's $9 million budget gap. The expected cuts prompted protests Friday morning. [TU] [Biz Review] [@AylaFerrone/News10]

1 Monument Square
A key vote on tax breaks for the 1 Monument Square project in Troy originally scheduled for Friday morning has been postponed. And there's a push from within the city council for a new appraisal of the value of the land. Earlier this week the Troy Waterfront Farmers' Market announced it would not be occupying the street level retail space that had been designated for it since the project was first floated almost two years ago. [Biz Review] [Troy Record] [AOA]

Schenectady police officer returns
Mark Weekes -- the Schenectady police officer who suffered a fractured skull and other serious injuries during an attempt to make an arrest this past summer -- returned to work this week. [Daily Gazette]

Canned from Walmart
The story of the man allegedly fired from the East Greenbush Walmart for redeeming $5.10 in cans he collected from the parking lot has prompted a GoFundMe campaign and other donations. [TU]

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Cuomo: "no specific terrorist threat" to New York, not guilty pleas in Porreca murder case, Troy City Council votes down tax cap override, six year old rescues residents from apartment fire

ISIS
Andrew Cuomo says that in spite of recent videotaped warnings about attacks on New York, "there is no specific threat to New York State at this time" . The mayor and police commissioner in NYC are telling people to ignore the video. A video released by the group Anonymous lists the Watervliet Arsenal as a potential target. [TU][NYT][News 10]

UAlbany terrorism program
UAlbany is creating a new a new College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity.[TWCN]

Six year old rescues residents from fire
A 6 year old Albany boy rescued residents of his Broad Street apartment building when he awoke smelling smoke early Wednesday, alerted his mother, and didn't give up when she tried to send him back to bed. [WNYT][TU]

Troy Council votes against tax cap override
Troy's city council fell one vote short in its effort to override the tax cap which could lead to layoffs and reductions in services like snowplowing and garbage pick up.[TU][News 10]

(there's more)

Cuomo:NY won't turn away Syrian refugees, 230 animals rescued in Westerlo hoarding case, Albany to annoy crow overlords

Cuomo won't turn away Syrian refugees
Andrew Cuomo questioned the authority of Republican governors who are vowing to keep Syrian refugees out of their states. Cuomo said said Tuesday that he has no plans to oppose allowing Syrian refugees into New York, saying that closing boarders to Syrian refuges would "defeat the American Dream" [TWCN][TU+][WNYT]

230 animals rescued in Westerlo
More than 230 animals were rescued from a hoarding situation in Westerlo. The homeowner has been charged with animal cruelty. Humane Society workers and sheriff's deputies went to the home for a welfare check and found cats, dogs, birds and goats without food or water in unhealthy conditions. The Hudson Mohawk Humane Society plans to nurse the animals back to health and prepare them for adoption. [TU][TWCN][WNYT][News10]

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Local Congressional reps on Syrian refugee program, Troy police get riot gear, downtown residential development in Schenectady

Paris attacks reaction
In a statement Monday Chris Gibson said the US should suspend its refugee placement program for Syrians "until we know more about what happened in Paris and until we can assure the safety and security of our people." Paul Tonko said refugees should go through a screening process, "But I denounce the politics of fear currently being employed by those running for president, as well as those already in office at the federal, state and local level." [TWCN] [TU]

School funding
Among the topics that came up Monday during a state Board of Regents meeting about requesting an additional $2.4 billion in state aid for schools during the next budget cycle: What will school districts do if the next state tax cap is 0 percent, which is possible given the slow rate of inflation. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Troy police riot gear
The Troy Police Department got a $5k grant to buy riot gear for a dozen officers, and the city's proposed budget includes $75k to buy more riot gear. Troy police leaders framed the acquisition of the gear as a protective measure for officers. Alice Green of the Center for Law and Justice, to News10: "It's dangerous to militarize the police department. Especially in this time when they're having such difficulty getting the community to trust them." [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT] [News10]

Stockade house raising
Monday evening Schenectady's Historic District Commission voted to allow a Stockade homeowner to move and raise her nearly 200-year-old home out of the flood plain. Said homeowner Meredith Anker of the commission and the long approval process: "They didn't want it from the beginning and kept bringing up negative things. To have to fight so hard to save my house is very frustrating." [TU] [Daily Gazette]

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Reaction to Paris attacks, alleged problems at VA hospital, Skelos trial starting, Albany parking ticket amnesty extended

Reaction to Paris attacks
Among the stories of the mutiple people with connections to the Capital Region who were in Paris during the attacks Friday night: Skidmore students studying abroad and the Schoharie native who was in the city visiting friends. [TU+] [Daily Gazette]

On Saturday there happened to be a conference about Islamaphobia at the Muslim Community Center of the Capital District -- said a man from Virginia attending the conference in Colonie: "Anytime there's an attack, I pray for two things. One, I say, 'God, please take care of the families of the victims,' and I pray for the victims. But the second thing, I'll be honest with you, is 'I hope to God it's not a Muslim.'" [TWCN] [Daily Gazette]

Stratton VA Medical Center
The Times Union reports the director of the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany was suddenly placed on administrative leave last week, and current and former employees (some of the anonymous) allege there have been problems that range from patient care to staff management. [TU]

Albany school buses
School bus drivers who work for the company that contracts with the Albany school district are forming a union, which the say is a response to the company's lack of movement on concerns about safety and staffing. [Daily Gazette] [TU+]

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Albany HS renovation falls after absentee count, public defender's office raided in unusual search, Washington County triple homicide conviction overturned, marijuana harvested -- legally


Albany High School vote
The proposed renovation/reconstruction of Albany High School fell by an unofficial margin of 103 votes after the counting of absentee ballots. Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said she thinks the district struggled to communicate some of the info related to the cost of the project and the resulting tax increase: "I wasn't able to get that message, for me personally it's a reflection of my leadership on this work." Vanden Wyngaard said the district is considering its options, which include sending the proposal up again for another vote, modifying the proposal before another vote, and taking up renovations one chunk at a time. [TU] [WNYT] [News10]

Guilty verdict in case related to Hulett Street fire
A federal jury found Edward Leon guilty of lying to a grand jury while he testified in connection the Schenectady arson case in which four people died in 2013 -- about his whereabouts at the time of the fire, and about threatening text messages sent to one of the victims. Neither Leon, nor anyone else, is currently charged with setting the fire. The family of the victim expressed frustration that Leon hasn't been charged for the fire. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN]

Raid of Saratoga County public defender's office
The Saratoga County Sheriff's deputies raided the county public defender's office in September and seized a client's case file as part an investigation into an alleged case of child pornography, the Times Union reports. The judge who signed off on the unusual search was county judge Jim Murphy -- the former county district attorney. [TU+]

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Suspect in Porreca murder former high school honor student/athlete, Gibson eyes gubernatorial run, Silver trial focused on definition of friendship, breaking down the Albany High vote

Porreca murder update
Police have ended their search of the Washington Park lake for the knife used to murder Jacquelyn Porreca. Just five years ago, one of the suspects in the murder was an honor student and star athlete at Colonie Central High School. Police say the suspects were looking for money to fuel their heroin habit. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says out of the 650 inmates in the county jail, more than two-thirds, are there because of heroin.[News 10][TU][WNYT][WNYT]

Friends with Shelly?
The outcome of Sheldon Silver's corruption trial may rest, in part, on how jurors perceive his friendship with a Columbia University doctor. [NYT]

Governor Gibson?
Chris Gibson is continuing to consider a run for governor. [TU]

Medical Marijuana
Andrew Cuomo has approved an Emergency Access Program to give some patients with serious illness faster access to medical marijuana.[TU][Gazette]

Marijuana harvest
The first legal marijuana harvest since the early 1900s will happen today in Perth. [TU]

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Two charged in Porreca murder, guilty plea in fatal DWI, Albany high school still nine votes down, Vito Lopez dead at 74

Two charged in Porreca murder

Two men have been charged with the August murder of Jackie Porreca, the Colonie Salon employee stabbed at Recycled Salon on Sand Creek Road. Police say the men did not know Porreca and were looking for money for heroin. They left with between $500 and $800. This morning divers will continue a search of the lake in Albany's Washington Park for the knife used in the incident. [WNYT][TU][Gazette][TWCN][News 10]

Driver pleads guilty in fatal DWI
The 22 year old man charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide in the death of a local environmentalist has pleaded guilty. Prosecutors say Kadeem Fowler had a blood alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit and was going 75 miles per hour on Henry Johnson Blvd when he hit Amy Stock's car last July. [WNYT][Gazette]

Nine votes down
Absentee ballots will continue to be counted in the Albany School vote, on Thursday. Currently the referendum is losing by nine votes, with 412 ballots left to count. [TU][TWCN]

(there's more)

Large fire in Albany, search for driver in Cohoes hit and run, catalytic converters swiped, Henry Johnson's Medal of Honor on display

Large fire in Albany
A large fire on South Pearl Street Monday evening displaced 13 people, and the intersection of South Pearl and Fourth Avenue was closed. Albany's fire chief said it wasn't clear yet what caused the fire. [News10] [TWCN] [TU] [WNYT]

Search for driver in Cohoes hit and run
Cohoes police say they're looking for the driver who left the scene following a crash with a pedestrian downtown Friday night (map). The pedestrian's family says she suffered a broken pelvis, ribs, and vertebrae and is in critical condition. [TWCN] [WNYT] [News10]

Hulett Street fire case
The prosecution in the case against Edward Leon told the jury Monday that it intended to show that Leon not only originally lied to a grand jury about his whereabouts with respect to the Schenectady fire in which four people died, but that he also sent threatening text messages in the days leading up to the fire. [Daily Gazette]

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No indictment for police officer in fatal Troy shooting, Albany trash fee debated, Troy Bombers closed as ownership changes

No indictment for police officer in Thaddeus Faison case
A Rensselaer County grand jury declined to hand up an indictment against Troy police officer Joshua Comitale for fatally shooting Thaddeus Faison during an exchange of gunfire that left both Comitale and officer Chad Klein with serious injuries. Authorities say Faison fired first, hitting Klein in the shoulder while he was sitting in his police vehicle. Said Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove: "My heart does go out to the family of Mr. Faison because they lost somebody as well. It's not their fault that they lost a loved one, but the culpability in this case lays at the feet of Mr. Faison. He fired first. He could have ended this when instructed to do so and he did not." Troy police say an internal affairs investigation of the incident is continuing. From a Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration statement: "We don't know exactly what occurred that night. We do know that the District Attorney and Police Chief collaborated to prematurely present a narrative of what they believed happened to the public well before any investigation had begun." [News10] [TWCN] [TU] [Troy Record]

Trial connected to 2013 fatal Hulett Street fire
The trial of Edward Leon is set to start in federal court Monday -- he's accused of lying to a grand jury about his whereabouts the night the 2013 Schenectady arson that killed a father and three children. Neither Leon or anyone else is currently charged with setting the fire. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Heroin
Chronicling the toll heroin has taken on young adults in and around Averill Park. [TU]

(there's more)

Former assistant police chief accused of theft, projections for impact of $15 min wage, mapping Albany High School votes

Former Watervliet PD assistant chief accused of theft
A former Watervliet assistant police chief has been charged with grand larceny and falsifying business records in connection with an alleged embezzlement scheme from Parker Brothers Memorial Funeral Home. Mark Fiet, who retired from the police department in 2003, is the second person to be charged in the case. The DA's office says the alleged theft was "in excess of $3000" -- a "a source close to the investigation" tells WNYT the figure is in the hundreds of thousands. [Albany County DA] [TU] [News10] [WNYT]

APD officer under investigation
The Times Union reports an Albany police officer has been placed on administrative duties while Colonie police investigate an incident in which it's alleged the officer "choked and punched a 12-year-old boy" while he was off duty Halloween night. [TU]

Body cameras
A look at how Saratoga Springs police are using new body cameras. [News10]

More details in Schenectady buried-in-basement case
Prosecutors say the man found barely alive under a pile of debris in a Union Street basement near the decomposing body of neighborhood had been there multiple days after being attacked. [Daily Gazette]

(there's more)

Columbia doctor testifies against Silver, Troy city council proposes budget cuts, Dannemora guard pleads not guilty, Revolutionary quarter

Silver Trial
A Columbia University doctor testified against Sheldon Silver on Wednesday, telling the court that he referred asbestos cancer patients to Silver's law firm so it could seek multimilion-dollar settlements from lawsuits. The prosecution pointed out that the doctor first lied about his involvement with the case and later signed a non-prosecution agreement in exchange for his testimony.[Gazette][NYT][TWCN]

Albany High
Albany school district and board officials discusswhy the Albany High School proposal is still in limbo. [TU]

Troy council suggests budget cuts
Troy's city council suggested $610,000 in spending cuts to the proposed $68.6 million 2016 city budget. The cuts would reduce a planned tax hike from about 9.3 percent to 6.3 percent. [TU][TWCN]

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Madden elected Troy mayor, new Albany High School comes down to absentee ballots, Metroland seized for back taxes


Election results
+The decision on a new Albany High School is still too close to call. Unofficial results last night showed votes in favor of the project leading by 10 votes, but over 1,000 absentee votes are yet to be counted.[TU]

+A proposal to change the Albany city County charter failed on Tuesday as 59 percent voted against it. [TU]

+Patrick Madden will be the next mayor of Troy. Late results show the Democrat will be working with a republican city council. [TU][Record]

+Gary McCarthy won a second term as Schenectady's mayor. All incumbents running for the Schenectady council will also be returning to their posts, and they will be joined by newly elected Democrat John Polimeni. [TU][Gazette]

+The Saratoga Political Action Committee's candidates suffered defeat in most of the races they backed.Joanne Yepsen secured a narrow lead against Republican challenger John Safford. [Business Review][Saratogian][TU]

+Paula Mahan easily won another term as Colonie supervisor, but the Democratic supervisor may be have a town board that is half Republican.[TU]

+Unofficial late returns show the balance of power in the Albany County Legislature appears to be unchanged after Tuesday's voting, although in two cases, Republicans and Democrats exchanged seats. [TU]

A quick scan of other Capital Region election results from Tuesday night. [AOA]

Silver trial
In opening arguments in Sheldon Silver's corruption case, prosecutors pointed to Silver as a man who "used his law license to make nearly $4 million by disguising bribes and kickbacks as legal fees. Silver's team depicted him as a champion of affordable housing and cures for cancer who acted within the law. [Gazette][NYT]

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It's Election Day, protest at Albany Common Council meeting over Dontay Ivy's death, Chris Gibson on Andrew Cuomo, that enormous plane

Election Day
It's Election Day. Many local races on our ballots around the Capital Region, among them: Albany County exec and legislature, Troy mayor and council, Schenectady mayor and council, Saratoga Springs mayor and council, Colonie supervisor, Guilderland supervisor. Also on the ballot: The proposed $196 million plan for a major renovation of, and addition to, Albany High School.

Polls are open until 9 pm. Don't know where to vote? Check with the state Board of Election website.

Dontay Ivy
Protesters calling for the firing of three Albany police officers and the resignation of Albany County DA David Soares over the death of Dontay Ivy made their presence felt at the Albany Common Council meeting Monday night. They also called for Albany police to stop using tasers. Said Ivy's sister, Aneisha Johnson: "He died because three men made a decision to stop him, to question him, to a point of escalation, ran and chased him down, (shocked him with a Taser) and took his life." [@JCEvangelist_TU] [News10] [TWCN]

Earlier Monday, David Soares told the Times Union editorial board law enforcement officials should consider the creation of a voluntary registry of people with mental illness so that police could know when they were dealing with a person with mental health issues. (Ivy suffered from schizophrenia and his family says he didn't like to be touched.) [TU]

Skidmore mourns student's death
Skidmore mourned the loss of the student killed by an alleged drunk driver while walking along a road in Greenfield near the college's campus early Sunday morning with two other students. In a statement made to the Saratoga County Sheriff's Department, the driver said he had noticed people along the road before the crash. [TU] [TWCN]

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Protest and calls for change in police procedure over Dontay Ivy case, pedestrian killed in alleged drunk driver crash, Sheldon Silver trial starts, miles of knitting

Dontay Ivy
There was a rally outside Albany police headquarters Friday evening to protest the grand jury's decision to hand up indictments in the case of Dontay Ivy's death. Protesters called for three officers involved in the incident to be fired, and the resignation of Albany County DA David Soares. [AOA] [TU]

Police release video
Earlier Friday Albany police released a few video clips depicting scenes from the incident in which officers stopped Ivy. Said APD chief Brendan Cox of that night: "We'll continue to give them our condolences to [Ivy's family]. Unfortunately, our officers were doing their jobs. Again, nobody wanted this to happen. Am I sorry this happened? Yeah, I'm sorry this happened. I don't want anybody to die. That's the last thing I want to have happen is anybody to die." [TU] [WNYT] [TWCN]

Calls for changes in police procedure
Also on Friday: African-American clergy members from Albany called for changes in police procedures, and pushed for community policing. (Chris Churchill on why he believes Albany police broke the law by stopping Ivy.) [News10] [WNYT] [TU+]

Cameras
The Albany police department's recording equipment -- and its policies for when and how that equipment should be used -- is under scrutiny because of the Ivy case. [TU]

Pedestrian killed by alleged drunk driver
One Skidmore student was killed, and two others injured, when an alleged drunk driver hit them early Sunday morning by the Greenfield/Saratoga Springs line near the college's campus, according to the Saratoga County Sheriff's Department. The driver is facing vehicular assault and DWI charges, and Saratoga County DA Karen Heggen said "it's clearly evident there will be additional charges." [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette] [News10] [WNYT]

(there's more)

Dontay Ivy's family responds to grand jury decision, lead up to local elections next week, buyer of Washington Tavern/Gingerman says sale is off

Dontay Ivy
The family of Dontay Ivy responded publicly to the decision of an Albany County grand jury to not hand up indictments against the police officers involved in the incident in which Ivy died this past April. Said Ivy's sister, Aneisha Johnson: "I always tried to protect my baby brother and that one night I didn't. I keep replaying it in my mind. Why did he have to die? He was robbed of so much by his mental illness and then his life was taken by the police." Said Ivy's cousin, Tre Staton: "An innocent man walking down the street, who's mentally ill, who answers all your questions - why are you tackling him? Why are you Tasing him?" Said Ivy's aunt, Celinda Okwuosa: "At the end of the day, we gave (District Attorney) David Soares' office the opportunity to let justice have its course and we did ... but what did we get in return? Disappointment." [WNYT] [TU] [News10] [TWCN]

Lawsuits filed after prison suicide
The parents of a Selkirk man have filed wrongful death lawsuits related to the man's suicide in solitary confinement at at the Fishkill Correctional Facility -- the suits allege the man's mental illness was not properly treated in prison and that guards physically and verbally abused him. [TU]

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Protest planned in Ivy case, leaders join forces for Hackett Middle School, jury selection begins in Silver trial, small quake in Fulton County

Dontay Ivy
Chris Churchill on the grand jury's decision not to prosecute the officers in the Dontay Ivy case. [TU]

The decision not to hand up indictments in the case was announced yesterday by DA David Soares. Some members of the community and the Common Council are calling for change including taking a look at how body cameras and recording equipment are used(police had them but were not required to use them when they stopped Ivy). The officers involved in the case are expected to return to work on the force. Ivy's family was in disbelief over the verdict. A protest rally at the APD headquarters on Henry Johnson Blvd is planned for Friday Night. [AOA][TWCN][News 10][TU]

Hackett Middle School
"OK, they're failing. But why? Some of these kids are lucky if they come to school with shoes on or jackets during the winter. Some of them come to school hungry. Or they don't show up at all. We can come together and help change that." Albany County Executive Dan McCoy on a new plan for parents, teachers and community members to come together to improve the situation at Hackett Middle School before an outside takeover of the school is forced.[TU][TWCN]

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State Police: man arrested after making school shooting threat, Iron Gate Cafe owners say they're worried about new bus stop, Hatsgiving

Arrest after alleged school shooting threat
State Police in Queensbury say they arrested a South Glens Falls man after he allegedly "made credible threats to commit a mass shooting at an unknown elementary school." Authorities tell the Post-Star the man, who had been a student at SUNY-Adirondack, had given a note to an instructor there that he wanted to kill kids and the instructor notified campus security. He faces a felony charge of making a terroristic threat. [NYSP] [Post-Star] [TU]

Troy mayoral race
Among the topics discussed at the last Troy mayoral candidates debate/forum ahead of next week's election: development -- where it's happening, and how to encourage it. [TU]

State Board of Regents chancellor to leave board
State Board of Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch says she'll be exiting the job when her term ends next spring. Said Tisch Monday of the rollout of the controversial Common Core standards during her tenure: "Some people say it was implemented poorly. I say we disrupted stagnation. We disrupted complacency, and we tried to imbue the system with urgency." [TU] [NYT]

Cat hoarding
The Albany County Sheriff's Office says more than 40 cats were removed from a Westerlo home Monday. Sheriff Craig Apple said the home had become uninhabitable because of cat feces and garbage. Apple said the homeowner had said she had been partly living in a car: "So we got to get her out of here; we got to get her to a safe place and get her some help." [TU] [TWCN] [News10]

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All that economic development money, Schenectady mayoral debate focuses on crime and neighborhoods, pedestrian killed in crash, new generation of activists

All that Regional Economic Development Council money
The Times Union takes a detailed look at where the $164 million in state grants awarded to the Capital Region via the Regional Economic Development Council process has gone, and what sorts of outcomes there have been so far. [TU+]

Buffalo Billion solar
A look at the Cuomo's admin's plan to revitalize Buffalo's industrial economy with the $750 million that's been pledged toward a Solar City solar panel factory. [NYT]

Campaign cash and contracts
Picking apart the the complex web of campaign contributions, tax breaks, and state contracts involving a Hudson Valley development firm and the Cuomo admin. [TU]

Schenectady mayoral debate
Among the topics discussed in the Sunday evening televised Schenectady mayoral candidates debate: crime and policing, as well as economic and neighborhood development. [TWCN] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

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Cuomo orders extension of discrimination protections to transgender people, fatal crash involving pedestrian on Route 7, frequent Sheehan critic to leave Albany council

Protections for transgender people
Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that he's directing the State Division of Human Rights to extend protections against discrimination and harassment based on gender identity, transgender status or gender dysphoria. Cuomo's action bypasses the state legislature, where the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act (GENDA) has been stalled in the state Senate for years. The bill's sponsor in the state Senate, Daniel Squadron, says he'll continue to push for its passage. [Cuomo admin] [NYT] [TU]

Pedestrian killed on Route 7
Colonie police say a pedestrian died Thursday evening after being hit while crossing Route 7 near the intersection with Wade Road. The road was closed for about four hours during the response. CPD says speed and alcohol were not a factor and it's investigating. [News10] [TU] [WNYT]

New trial
A state appeals court has ordered a new trial for an African-American defendant in a Schenectady shooting case after ruling that the trial judge erred during the process in which the prosecution moved to have an African-American woman removed as a potential juror -- the jury in the trial ended up being all white. [TU]

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Cuomo economic chief says Capital Region economy looks good, governor signs women's equality bills, Troy mayoral candidates debate, NYRA touts record Saratoga season

Region's economy good, chance of economic development prize, maybe not so much
Andrew Cuomo's economic development chief says the Capital Region's economy is already much better off than the rest of upstate NY, which is making some folks wonder about the region's chances in the race for one of three $500 million Upstate Revitalization prizes. [TU]

Women's equality bills
Andrew Cuomo signed eight bills on Tuesday that were part of his 2012 Women's Equality Agenda. Bills address issues like pay equity, employment discrimination based on pregnancy - missing was a provision on reproductive rights which is still being opposed in the state Senate.[TU][WNYT]

Silver/Skelos
Both Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos have had a list of pre trial motions denied in their respective corruption cases. [TU]

Troy mayoral debate
Troy mayoral candidates Patrick Madden, Jim Gordon and Rodney Wiltshirediscussed crime, budget and infrastructure issues in a debate on TWCN on Wednesday night.[Record] [TWCN]

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Uber making its upstate pitch, Troy jazz club loses license, Capital Region jobless rate down, happy Back to the Future day

Uber
Uber launched an online petition drive on Tuesday as part of an effort to expand its service into upstate New York, including the Capital Region. In an announcement at the Capitol, Uber officials were joined by Capital Region business and political leaders and released The company projects its drivers projections on the number of jobs it says the service will create. [TWCN][TU][Gazette]

Woman killed in Troy fire
Fire officials in Troy are working to determine the cause of blaze that claimed the life of a woman with disabilities on Monday. They have identified the victim as 52-year-old Lisa O'Dell. A fund has been set up to help O'Dell's 19-year-old daughter, who was her caregiver.[Record][TWCN][TU]

$500 million pitch
The Capital Region Economic Development Council made its pitch for $500 million to state officials on Tuesday.[TU]

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Club owner says her establishment wasn't involved with 4th Street confrontation with police, push poll in Troy mayoral race, hotel across from Capitol now open

Confrontation with Troy police on Fourth Street
The owner of the RBC Jazz Club says not only that her establishment wasn't involved in the confrontation between a group of people and Troy police early Sunday morning, but that the altercation also didn't happen in front of the club. Troy police chief John Tedesco said following the incident, in which the TPD said four officers were injured, that there had been repeated problems at the club and it's "a place that should have closed long time ago." [Troy Record] [TU]

Fatal fire in Troy
Troy fire officials say a woman was found dead after an apartment fire in South Troy (map) Monday afternoon. Officials say the woman had a disability that could have made it difficult to get out of the apartment. Four households were displaced by the fire. [News10] [WNYT] [TWCN]

Guilty plea in scam targeting Price Chopper
A third person has pleaded guilty to being involved with a counterfeit credit card plot in which the cards were used to purchase more than $400k in gift cards from Price Chopper locations around the Northeast. [Daily Gazette]

(there's more)

Troy police say officers injured during confrontation outside club, reward offered in Schenectady nailed cat case, Honest Weight considering changes

TPD: Officers injured during confrontation
Troy police officers were involved in a confrontation outside a Fourth Street club (map) early Sunday that the TPD says ended with four arrests and injuries to four officers. Part of the incident was captured on video and posted on Facebook -- the blurry video shows officers wrestling people to the ground while using batons. TPD chief John Tedesco tells WNYT he sees the video "as great evidence for the officers and prosecution against the people we arrested." [Troy Record] [TU] [FB] [WNYT]

Watervliet police
The Watervliet Police Department continues to be under scrutiny -- law enforcement searched a WPD sergeant's Latham home this past week as part of an investigation into the department's handling of sexual abuse case that involved a former officer. [TU]

NXIVM
The latest Brendan Lyons article about NXIVM is like something from a twisty TV drama -- it includes a dynastic family, an alleged email hack via virus, and an alleged plot to lure people to Mexico. [TU]

(there's more)

Local candidates stake out positions, cat found nailed to a tree, the best-dressed panhandler in Albany

Local elections

Schenectady mayoral election
A back-and-forth between incumbent Gary McCarthy and challenger Roger Hull before the Times Union editorial board included how each plans to lift the city's neighborhoods. [TU]

Schenectady City Council elections
Main topics of a Schenectady City Council candidates' forum: downtown development and how to create jobs. [Daily Gazette]

Troy mayoral election
Quick takes from three of the four Troy mayoral candidates on their ideas for economic development. [Troy Record]

Albany's bid for more state aid
"Several people familiar with the meeting" tell Politico that Alain Kaloyeros told Albany's state legislators that the city's request for an extra $12.5 million in state aid to balance its next budget might have a better chance if the city's large educational and medical institutions offered payments of their own. [Politico NY]

(there's more)

Blu-Bell motel demolished, Hometown Healthcare expands, church revives gun buyback, longtime local broadcaster Ed O'Brien dies

Blu-Bell demolition
The Blu-Bell motel in Colonie has finally been torn down.[TU]

Hometown Health Center Expands
Hometown Health Center in Schenectady , which provides care regardless of a patient's ability to pay, is planning a two-phase multimillion dollar expansion in an effort to better serve its community. Three multi family buildings have been purchased for the project and are expected to be razed for the expansion. [TU][Gazette]

Proposed penalties for delays in reporting Albany County oil spills
A proposed Albany County law could mean jail time and civil penalties for the operators of crude oil storage and transfer facilities that fail to swiftly report oil spills to county emergency management officials. [TU]

Crude oil fire/spill protection
Foam fire trailers will be placed in cities next to rail lines in the Capital Region. [TWCN]

(there's more)

Albany police chief addresses weekend of shootings, growing number of local tech jobs, tax breaks for residential conversions, a planned house made of hemp

Weekend of Albany shootings
Albany police chief Brendan Cox said Monday the four shootings in the city over the weekend "were not random acts." Also: "I have a very hard time believing that these are not connected ..." Common Council member Ron Bailey expressed frustration with what he says has been a lack of action on responding to gun violence. [TU] [TWCN] [News10]

Schenectady mayoral race
Challenger Roger Hull said Monday that he would move to eliminate the public safety commissioner position in the city, and forgo taking his mayoral salary, if an effort to add more police officers. Incumbent Gary McCarthy credited current public safety commissioner Wayne Bennett with helping prompt improvements in the Schenectady PD and called Hull's offer to forgo the mayoral salary "more of a political stunt than anything for good public policy." [TU] [TWCN]

Schenectady police discipline
The issue of the Schenectady public safety commissioner position goes beyond the cost of salary because the city has also been pushing for the commissioner to have the final say on police discipline, not an arbitrator. The city's police union has pushed back on that arrangement, and the case is scheduled to go before a state appellate court next month. [Daily Gazette x2]

GlobalFoundaries layoffs
GlobalFoundaries is moving to layoff some number of its employees in the United States (the company hasn't revealed numbers) -- including a "relatively small" number at the Malta fab. The move follows a buyout the company had offered to employees in an attempt to thin its workforce following the acquisition of IBM chip facilities in the Hudson Valley and Vermont. [Biz Review] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

(there's more)

Weekend of shootings in Albany, Ivy case headed for grand jury, questions about One Monument Square project, large warehouse party broken up

We had some technical problems this morning, thus the delay.

Four shootings in Albany
Albany police say they're investigating four shootings over from this past weekend. APD says a man was shot Friday night on Clinton Ave (block map). There was another shooting near Sheridan Ave and Lark Street Saturday afternoon (map). Then another shooting Saturday night on Livingston Ave (block map), and then another overnight Saturday to Sunday near Jeanette Street and Second Avenue (map). APD says it doesn't know if the shootings are connected. [APD x2] [TU]

Troy shooting
Troy police say a person was shot Sunday night near Prospect Park (map). TPD says the man was taken to the hospital with what appeared to be a shotgun wound. [WNYT] [TWCN]

Stabbing in Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs police say a Schenectady man was stabbed multiple times early Saturday morning in the area of Lake Ave and Circular Street (map. SSPD says it believes the attack is related to an earlier incident in Schenectady. [TWCN] [TU]

Dontay Ivy case
The review of the April 2015 death of Dontay Ivy while in Albany police custody will apparently soon be heading to a grand jury. [TU+]

(there's more)

Plea deal for former Watervliet police officer, facebooking with Alain Kaloyeros, local FiOS rollout nearing finish

Plea deal for Watervliet police officer
Former Watervliet police officer Joshua Spratt pleaded guilty a third-degree criminal sex act, a felony, as part of a plead deal over charges that he engaged in sex acts with a 16 year old. He faces six months in jail, 10 years of probabation, and must register as a sex offender. Spratt met the teen -- and a 17 year old with whom he was also accused of having sexual relations -- through his job as a school resource officer. He could have faced as many as 16 years in prison if he had been convicted on all the charges against him. Albany County DA David Soares called the penalties in the plea deal "very appropriate sanctions." [Albany County DA] [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT]

$15 an hour
The impending minimum wage increase for fast food workers in New York State prompted talk at a state legislative hearing of people potentially leaving health care jobs, such as nursing home aide, for fast food jobs. And various players are gearing up for the fight in the state legislature over Andrew Cuomo's proposed $15-an-hour minimum wage across all industries. [TU] [AP/Troy Record]

SUNY Poly
Gotham Gazette's David Howard King reports that Alain Kaloyeros said via Facebook messenger that he faced the "threat of jail" if he were to talk about US Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation of the Buffalo Billion. [Gotham Gazette]

(there's more)

Pipeline opponents seek water protection law, SUNY Poly extends Tokyo deal, Schenectady County opens solar farm, the view from Corinth

Pipeline opponents seek water protection
Dozens of pipeline opponents attended a Rensselaer County Legislature public hearing on the subject on Wednesday, and asked legislators to pass a Drinking Water Protection Law that would require water testing before blasting for the pipeline.[TU]

Beer, Wine, Cider and Spirits
More incentives for NYS distillers were announced at Wednesday's Beer, Wine, Cider and Spirits summit [TWCN]

Buffalo Billion
At the Beer, Wine, Cider and Spirits event, Cuomo faced a number of questions about the Buffalo Billion investigation.
Cuomo said federal investigators have not questioned or subpoenaed him in connection with the "Buffalo Billion" investigation. [TWCN][TU]

(there's more)

Albany teen stabbed, investigation continues a year after Guilderland homicides, heating costs expected to drop this winter

Booze summit
Another Beer, Wine, Spirits and Cider Summit is being held at the Empire State Plaza. [TWCN]

Albany teen stabbed Tuesday afternoon
A 16-year old Albany boy is recovering from a stab wound to the chest after being attacked at around 3pm Tuesday near North Manning Blvd. Police escorted school children to their homes for several hours after the incident.[WNYT][TWCN]

Anniversary of Guilderland homicides
"One of the most complicated set of circumstances that we've ever experienced in an investigation." -- David Soares on the brutal killings of the Chen family in Guilderland a year ago. The family of four - a mother, father and two boys ages 7 and ten, were murdered in their Guilderland, and police are still working to solve the homicides. [Gazette][TWCN]

Sentencing in Troy Halloween attack
Cody Santalucia was sentenced to nine months in prison for the Halloween 2014 attack on Raymond Felix outside of Bootlegger's on Broadway.[Record]

(there's more)

The bid for $500 million, GE says Hudson River dredging is finished, tour of medical marijuana production facility

Plan for $500 million
The Capital Region's bid for $500 million in the Cuomo admin's Upstate Revitalization Initiative competition has been posted -- its many proposed plans include talk of a major mixed-used development on the former convention center land in downtown Albany, expanding CDTA service, workforce training and development in technical fields, and creating a cluster focused on healthcare data analytics. [CREDC] [TU]

Hudson River dredging
GE announced Monday it's finished the long-running Hudson River PCB dredging project -- and environmental groups said they'd keep pushing for the project to be extended. [TU]

Indictment in death of Troy child
A Troy man has been charged with first- and second-degree manslaughter in the death of a 2.5 year old this past February. [Troy Record] [TU]

(there's more)

Questions about state police lab scandal, proposal to raise age for buying tobacco to 21, bear caught on video in backyard

New York State police crime lab scandal
From the latest Brendan Lyons article about the State Police forensic scientists accused of cheating on tests for a new DNA analysis technique: "...a year after the internal probe began, a review of documents from the investigation, including transcripts of the scientists' interrogations, raises questions about whether they were wrongly accused of cheating at the end of an aggressive probe led by a uniformed State Police captain..." [TU+]

Albany budget
JCE on the Albany budget and the $12.5 million in currently unallocated state aid the Sheehan administration is banking on: "The question now is what leads Sheehan to believe the state would make such a large financial pledge to Albany this year when it has repeatedly refused to do so in the recent past." [TU+]

Combined Thruway/DOT office building in Albany off
The Thruway Authority has canceled a plan to build a new office building in Albany that would have combined the headquarters of the authority and the state Department of Transportation. [Biz Review]

(there's more)

Hurricane projected to turn away from East Coast, proposed Albany budget leans on large chunk of new state aid, home at last

Hurricane Joaquin
The latest forecast now projects that Hurricane Joaquin will follow a path farther out in the Atlantic, missing the US East Coast. (Forecasts earlier in the week had projected a possible landfall along the upper East Coast sometime late this coming weekend.) [National Hurricane Center]

Albany budget
Kathy Sheehan released her proposed 2016 budget for the city of Albany, and it counts on an additional $12.5 million in state aid -- a plan already catching criticism from some Common Council members. The proposed budget would also add a per-unit trash collection fee for small apartment buildings. [Sheehan admin] [TU] [TWCN]

Troy budget
Lou Rosamilia's proposed 2016 budget for the city of Troy includes a 9.3 percent tax rate increase. [TU]

Schenectady budget
Gary McCarthy's proposed 2016 budget for the city of Schenectady includes a slightly lower tax levy. And McCarthy is projecting an across-the-board 10-percent tax cut in 2017 because of anticipated casino payments. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

(there's more)

Rain causes more flooding, Cuomo advises preparation for Joaquin, forced prostitution arrest in Colonie, it's city budget time, the search for Peppermint the Parrot

Flooding
Heavy rains caused flooding and power outages in the region on Wednesday and sent sewage flowing into some area water ways.Homes in Colonie were flooded when a bridge shattered, causing some families to be evacuated from their homes for a short time. Meanwhile forecasters and the folks at National Grid are keeping an eye on Joaquin
and Andrew Cuomo is advising New Yorker's to stock up on supplies and be prepared. [TWCN][WNYT][TU][TU][TU]

Forced prostitution arrest
Colonie police arrested an 18-year-old Albany man for allegedly forcing a woman into prostitution . Police say the man had a handgun and a stun gun. [TU][TWCN]

Northeast Parent and Child lawsuit
The Northeast Parent & Child Society is being sued for the alleged abuse of a developmentally disabled child who lived in one of its facilities. [TU]

(there's more)

Heavy rain and some flooding around region, deadline for struggling schools, the ghost sign that disappeared

Rain, rain
Heavy rains and flash flooding are slowing commutes and causing problems around the Capital Region. [TU]

UAlbany/Albany Law agreement
A new agreement between Ualbany and Albany Law will allow students to take classes at either campus and allow the schools to share registration processes, research and grant-seeking opportunities and other services. [TU]

Deadline for struggling schools
Today is the deadline for struggling schools around the state, including three in the Capital Region, to submit plans for improvement. [TWCN]

(there's more)

Mitchell sentenced for role in prison escape, push continues for Uber/Lyft, more red light cameras online, the lingerie was literally hot

Joyce Mitchell sentenced
Joyce Mitchell, the Clinton Correctional Facility employee who admitted she helped Richard Matt and David Sweat escape, was sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison. Said Mitchell at the sentencing: "I live with regret every day and will for the rest of my life." [TWCN] [NYT]

SUNY Poly
More bits in the latest drama involving SUNY Poly and NYSERDA over the transfer of the Saratoga Technology + Energy Park: There's apparently some question whether the NYSERDA board knew that STEP was to be transferred to SUNY Poly as part of a larger deal. And the acting director of the state Authorities Budget Office says NYSERDA board members were right to question the deal if they felt they didn't have enough information about it. [TU] [Politico NY]

Common Core reboot
The Cuomo admin announced Monday a task force aimed at a "total reboot" the Common Core system and testing in the state. The task force includes multiple people who worked on a previous Cuomo admin educational reform panel. [Cuomo admin] [Politico NY]

(there's more)

Bits surfacing about feds' investigation into the Buffalo Billion, Troy taking crime reports online, arboretum proposed for casino site

Buffalo Billion/SUNY Poly
"People with knowledge of the subpoena to SUNY Polytechnic" tell the New York Times that the recently surfaced investigation of the Buffalo Billion initiative by US Attorney Preet Bharara's office is focused in part on whether requests for proposals were written in such a way as to narrow the field in favor of a construction company whose CEO has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the Cuomo campaign. [NYT] [Buffalo News]

Part of the ripple from this story: The investigation apparently prompted a member of the NYSERDA board to call for a review of the agency's transfer of the Saratoga Technology + Energy Park to SUNY Poly for $1. A SUNY Poly statement described the board member's call "misguided." [Politico NY] [TU]

Analysis: Jimmy Vielkind observes that Bharara is "making war on campaign fund-raising as we know it" in New York State. [Politico NY]

Drinking water
The cost of maintaining/replacing the drinking water infrastructure in New York State over the next two decades is estimated to be between $22 billion and $39 billion (depending on who's estimating). Some cities in the Capital Region, such as Troy, have water infrastructure that dates back to the 19th century -- and much of it will be need to fixed in the near future. [AP/TU] [TU] Earlier: Cast iron and hollowed-out tree trunks

Fatal stabbing in Schenectady
Schenectady police say they've made an arrest in the fatal stabbing of a man at the Yates Village apartment complex Friday afternoon. SPD says the incident was a verbal argument that escalated. [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

(there's more)

Everett facing charges related to Troy Democratic mayoral primary, former APD chief cashed out a lot of vacation time, latest attempt to fix SPAC lawn

Troy mayoral race
Former mayoral candidate Ernest Everett pleaded not guilty to counts of felony forgery and offering a false instrument Friday morning. The charges are the result of allegations that Everett falsified his nominating petitions for the Democratic mayoral primary, in which he finished third. The top two vote getters -- winner Patrick Madden and Rodney Wiltshire -- were ultimately separated by 50 votes, and on Thursday they traded claims over whether Everett's presence in the race did, or did not, sway the results. There were also dueling statements between the Wiltshire, who's still running on the Working Families line, and county Democratic Party chair Tom Wade about alleged elections shenanigans. [TU x2] [TWCN] [Troy Record]

Next Schenectady police chief
Mayor Gary McCarthy says his priorities for the next police chief are that the person will live in the city, and that the chief will make use of data-driven policing. (Current chief Brian Kilcullen is leaving for a job in Vermont.) [TU+]

Former APD chief vacation buyout
Former Albany police chief Steve Krokoff cashed out $134,663 in unused vacation time when he left the APD this year -- Krokoff tells the Times Union "it was an occupational hazard to take time off" while he was a member of the department's command staff. [TU+]

Albany County retirement home head
County exec Dan McCoy is asking the county legislature to formally hire Larry Slatky as the head of the county nursing home (he's currently serving in the role as a consultant) -- at $325k a year. [TU]

(there's more)

Siena poll:voters support minimum wage hike, more details from "x-ray weapon" tapes, Troy moose euthanized, Schenectady's theme song

Poll shows support for $15 minimum wage
A new Siena poll shows New York voters are onboard with raising the minimum wage to $15 but do not support common core. [TU]

7-year-old rescues mom from attacker
"I just had him beat me up instead of you, Mom" - a seven year old A 7-year-old Rotterdam boy who authorities say rescued his mother from an attack. The alleged attacker, was arrested in North Carolina on Wednesday and charged with rape, assault and strangulation. [Gazette][TWCN]

Troy moose euthanized
DEC officials say the moose captured in Troy on Monday had to be euthanized because it had torn muscle in its rear legs and was unable to walk when it woke up. Officials believe the animal crossed the river from Watervliet to troy and may have torn the muscles slipping on wet rocks on the river bank. [WNYT][Record][Gazette]

(there's more)

"Death ray" tapes released, Albany is fiscally stressed, Capital Region unemployment drops again

"Death ray" tapes released
Tapes of conversations between Glendon Scott Crawford and FBI agents have been released in the "Death Ray" case. Crawford is heard saying things like "Look at us, we're killing people". Crawford was convicted by a jury last month after a deliberation of only three hours. [TWCN][WNYT][TU]

Albany fiscally stressed
The state comptroller's office is ready to declare that Albany in under "significant fiscal stress," a determination based largely on how much money a municipality has in its fund balance. [TU]

Albany Scofflaw
Lawmakers have unpaid parking tickets, too. [TU]

(there's more)

Albany gets money for police body cameras, moose roams Troy and Green Island, street performers rally in Albany

Lansingburgh moose NYS DEC

The moose captured in Troy Monday. / photo: NYS DEC

Police body cameras
The city of Albany is line to get $133k from the feds for body cameras for officers. The grant requires a 50/50 match from the local municipality either in kind or in cash. APD chief Brendan Cox to the Times Union: "Purchasing the body cams are the easy part; the implementation and training is the difficult part." [US DOJ x2] [TU]

SUNY Poly
In light of the news that the feds have subpoenaed SUNY Poly as part of a look into the Buffalo Billion initiative, Chris Churchill reviews a timeline of announcements for developments on the Albany campus and donations by Columbia Development (and its affiliates) to the Cuomo campaign. On Monday SUNY Poly released a statement calling its model "open, transparent, and successful." [TU+] [SUNY Poly]

Parking ticket amnesty
The Albany Common Council approved a plan to offer amnesty on late charges for outstanding parking tickets, of which there are some 60,000 dating back to 2010 -- and if people don't pay up, the tickets will be farmed out to debt collection agencies. [TU]

Also at Monday's meeting: The Common Council passed a resolution supporting the "Raise the Age" campaign, which aiming to get the state to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18. [News10]

Moose in Troy
The state Department of Conversation Conservation captured a moose in Troy Monday, after it apparently had wandered through the city, across the Hudson River to Green Island, crossed I-787 during rush hour, and then made its way back across the river to Lansingburgh (map). DEC says the moose was tranquilized and unharmed, and will be taken to a wildlife management area to be set free. It's mating season, so many young moose are, as a wildlife biologist told TWCN, "looking for love in all the wrong places." [NYS DEC] [Troy Record] [TU] [TWCN]

(there's more)

Fatal stabbing in Albany, question about policing of panhandling, award for Hudson the Railroad Puppy

We had web server problems this morning, thus the delay. Happy Monday.

Fatal stabbing in Albany
Albany police say two men were found with stabbing injuries overnight Saturday-Sunday on Elberon Place, near the western end of Washington Park (block map). One man was pronounced dead at the hospital, the other was treated for non life-threatening injuries. APD spokesman Steve Smith: "This appears to be an isolated incident between two groups who are known to each other." [APD] [TWCN]

Shooting in Albany
Albany police say a man was shot Saturday afternoon in West Hill (map). [TU]

SUNY Poly
"Sources" tell the NY Daily News that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office has subpoenaed SUNY Polytechnic Institute as part of an investigation of the Cuomo admin's "Buffalo Billion" economic development plan. [NYDN]

$15 minimum wage
In comments made Friday, Andrew Cuomo indicated he'd be seeking a business tax cut as part of a trade-off to get the proposed increase in the state minimum wage. [TU]

(there's more)

Troy police sorting through latest shooting case, plan for widening Normans Kill, GE looking at connecting factory to the Mohawk River

Troy shootings
In response to the two new shootings this week, Troy police say the recent rash of gun violence could be a result of a struggle to claim the space left vacant by the recent bust of a gang accused of drug activity in the state. There was also some question Thursday about the actual identity of one the most recent victims of gunfire -- and by Friday morning TPD said it had originally misidentified the person. The city of Troy has had 70 shootings -- and 30 victims of shootings -- over the past 21 months, according to a Times Union tally. [WNYT] [Troy Record] [TU x2]

Normans Kill landslide
The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Thursday it's reached an agreement with the Normanside Country Club to widen the stream at the site of the landslide that blocked it this past April. The club will pay for the work and could still face penalties. [NYS DEC] [TU]

NXIVM
A federal judge has tossed the lawsuit filed by NXIVM -- the executive training program that's been accused of being a cult -- against a group of people accused of hacking its computers, among them a former Times Union reporter. [TU]

(there's more)

Gabay dies from shooting injury, two shootings in Troy, Madden takes Troy mayoral primary, Albany D.A. won't prosecute busker

Carey Gabay
Carey Gabay, the former aide to Governor Cuomo who was shot early on Labor Day, has died. Gaby was declared brain dead on Wednesday and died after being taken off life support. Andrew Cuomo remembered Gaby as "the epitome of an outstanding public servant," and said New York is undoubtedly better today because of his efforts. [TU][TWCN][NYT]

Troy Shootings
Troy police are investigating two shootings. A 19-year-old man was in critical condition at Albany Medical Center after he was shot on River Street in North Troy at about 4:40 Wednesday afternoon. A 22-year-old man was the victim of the second shooting, outside the Corliss Apartments, at about midnight. [TU][Record][WNYT]

Troy mayoral primary
Patrick Madden is the winner of the Democratic Mayoral primary in Troy. After absentee ballots and affidavit votes were opened, Madden beat City Council President Rodney Wiltshire by 45 votes. Wiltshire will actively campaign for mayor on the Working Families line. [TWCN][TU][Record]

(there's more)

APD officer moved to admin duty after video of interaction with busker, investigation into Niskayuna death, ring turns up almost 40 years later

Albany police busker incident
Albany police say an officer has been placed on administrative duty after a video surfaced on Youtube of the officer confronting a busker on Pearl Street downtown -- the officer appears to imply the busker needs a permit, appears to grab a phone being used to video the encounter, and the busker was cited for disorderly conduct. APD chief Brendan Cox to News10: "To my knowledge, there is no ordinance against busking." [YouTube] [TU] [News10]

Niskayuna death investigated
Niskayuna police are investigating what they're calling the "unattended death" of a man at a home on Union Street. NPD says officers had gone to to the home for a health and welfare check. On Monday State Police investigators were at the scene collecting evidence. [TU] [News10] [WNYT]

The Cuomo admin and women
Politico looked into gender breakdown among members of the Cuomo admin and concludes that "women still occupy a relatively small percentage of [the Cuomo] administration's top jobs." [Politico NY]

(there's more)

Large warehouse fire in Albany, Soares says he'd to turn resources away from low-level pot arrests, call for Cuomo to raise pay of state employees to $15 per hour

Warehouse fire in Albany
A large fire at vacant warehouse near the Albany Pump Station Saturday drew multiple fire departments in response. The building -- and two adjacent structures -- were demolished Sunday. A mixed-use development has been in the works for the site -- a demolition request for the site was pulled from the Albany Planning Board schedule last November after questions arose about the historic nature of some of the buildings. [News10] [TU] [Biz Review 2014 November]

Decriminalizing pot
Albany County DA David Soares told the Times Union editorial board he'd like to see police agencies in the county move away from putting resources into low-level marijuana arrests. [TU]

(there's more)

Local primary results, reaction to Cuomo's proposed $15-and-hour min wage, Soares talks about Ivy case, more red light cameras online

Local primaries
Thursday was primary day for the November elections. Among the highlights from the unofficial results:

+ Albany County exec Democratic primary: incumbent Dan McCoy beat Dan Egan 60-37. McCoy is now all but certain to be re-elected in November. [TU]

+ The Troy Democratic mayoral primary finished too close to call -- Patrick Madden (754 votes), Rodney Wiltshire (749 votes), Ernest Everett (246 votes). There are more than a hundred absentee ballots to be counted. [Troy Record]

+ Cohoes mayor Democratic primary: Shawn Morse beat Dianne Nolin 56-41. Morse is now in line to become the next mayor of Cohoes (he's the nephew of the current mayor). [Troy Record]

+ Rensselaer County sheriff Republican primary: Patrick Russo Jr. beat Scott Ryan 64-35. There's no Democrat on the ballot for November. [TU]

+ Saratoga Springs commissioner of public safety Democratic primary: incumbent Christian Mathiesen beat Sarah Burger 65-35. Mathiesen next faces Republican Richard Wirth, who had been the incumbent when Mathiesen won in 2011. [Saratogian]

Unofficial elections results for each county: Albany | Rensselaer | Saratoga | Schenectady.

(there's more)

It's primary day, DiNapoli warns NYS overtime over $700 million, power outage continues in Albany, legislature working on state pie

Primary day
Polls are open from noon to 9pm today for primary races throughout the region. [TU]

Minimum wage
Andrew Cuomo is expected to be joined by Vice President Joe Biden in New York City later today to announce his support of a $15 an hour minimum wage for all workers in New York State. Meanwhile, final approval for a plan to gradually raise minim wage for fast-food workers in New York to $15 is expected to get final approval from the state labor commissioner this week. [NYT][TU]

State overtime woes
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is again warning the state about overtime costs, which his office estimates will surpass $700 million in 2015.[TU]

Power outage
More than 100 Albany residents are still without power today. That's down from the more than 2,000 left without power late Tuesday and early Wednesday.
CDTA busses were brought in to chauffeur residents of a senior apartment building to a cooling station, and hundreds of students at The College of Saint Rose had to find alternate housing or sleep in the school gym. [News 10][TU][TWCN]

(there's more)

Former Cuomo aide remains critical, suspect in buried alive case was unsupervised after prison, National Grid deals with Albany outages


Carey Gabay shooting
Carey Gabay, the former assistant counsel to Andrew Cuomo who was shot in Brooklyn over the weekend, remained in critical condition Tuesday evening. Earlier Tuesday the governor publicly challenged federal lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws. [TU x 2]

Schenectady buried alive case
The former inmate charged with attempted murder for allegedly burying a neighbor alive, spent 17 years in prison for murder, was only released two months ago, had been in his new apartment for two weeks and because of a legal loophole, was not under any type of supervision. [News 10]

Albany outage
Crews worked on Tuesday night to make repairs to an electrical problem that knocked out power to the 600-block of Madison Avenue on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning National Grid was working on another Albany outage.

(there's more)

Final stretch for local primaries, Cuomo calls for further gun control, Schenectady casino pylon sign could be back up for review

Local primaries
Party primaries for local elections are on a Thursday this year -- this Thursday. So there are a lot of surveys of local primaries:
+ The Democratic primary for Albany County exec between incumbent Dan McCoy and former Albany school board member Dan Egan.
+ The Democratic primary for Troy mayor between Ernest Everett, Patrick Madden, and city council president Rodney Wiltshire.
+ The Democratic primary for Cohoes mayor between city council member Diane Nolin and Albany County Legislature chair Shawn Morse.
+ The Republican primary for Rensselaer County Sheriff between current undersheriff Patrick Russo and Scott Ryan.
[Daily Gazette] [TU x4]

Guns
A Cuomo administration attorney, Carey Gabay, was critically injured early Monday in Brooklyn when was hit in the head by a stray bullet. Andrew Cuomo in response to the shooting, on gun control: "How many mentally ill people have to get a gun and kill children? How many criminals have to get a gun and kill innocent people before this nation is going to say we have to do something?" [NYT] [TU]

Union Street basement homicide
News10 reports the Schenectady man found buried in debris in a Union Street basement is out of the hospital and recovering at a rehab center. Last week Schenectady police identified the remains of the woman found near the man -- they say she was 55-year-old Valarie Washington -- and said they're treating her death as a homicide. [News10] [TU]

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Arrest after man found buried alive with corpse in Schenectady basement, sketch released in connection with fatal Colonie stabbing, no tax increase in proposed Albany County budget

Disoriented man found with body in Schenectady basement
Police have arrested a Schenectady man for allegedly hitting a man over the head with a shovel then burying him in the basement of a Union Street apartment building under several feet of debris. The victim was found by police after people expressed concerned for the welfare of a resident. He was discovered in the basement along with the badly decomposed remains of a woman. Forty-four-year-old Harold Michael Ortiz of Schenectady is now charged with attempted murder and unlawful imprisonment for allegedly hitting the man and trying to bury him in the basement. An autopsy is being conducted to determine how the woman died. [TU][Gazette][WNYT][TWCN]

Cars crashing into buildings
The 87-year-old- driver of a car that crashed into the Blue Ribbon Diner in Schenectady has been sited for unsafe backing and imprudent speed. The 72 year old woman who was pinned between the car and the building was last reported to be in stable condition. The owners of the Tint King, down the road at 2167 Central Avenue say they will have to relocate after an out of control truck smashed through their building some 14 hours after the diner incident. [Gazette][TWCN][WNYT]

Sketch released in salon stabbing
Colonie police have released a sketch based on a description from someone who saw a man walking south on Russell Road shortly before the fatal stabbing of
a woman at a Sand Creek Road salon. [News 10]

(there's more)

Two separate cases of cars going through buildings, civil suit in Ivy death, Troy charter commission suggests smaller council, truck driver sentenced in trooper's death


Car goes through diner
Seven people were injured on Tuesday when a car went through the wall at Schenectady's Blue Ribbon Diner during the lunch hour. Police say an elderly man put his car in reverse, hitting a woman behind the car and backing through the wall of the diner - pinning the woman between the car and crash debris. [TU][Gazette][WNYT]

Car goes through window tinting building
A pickup truck on Central Avenue hit a utility poll and traveled about 100 yards before slamming through the wall of a window tinting business. Police fear removing the truck may cause the building to collapse. [TU][TWCN][WNYT]

Civil lawsuit in Ivy's death
The family of Donald "Dontay" Ivy has filed a federal civl rights lawsuit against the city of Albany and the three police officers who use a taser to subdue Ivy at a store near his home in April. Earlier this week Ivy's death was ruled a homicide in a coroner's report. [WNYT][TWCN]

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Troy police officer released from hospital, muggings in Albany student neighborhood, possible parking ticket amnesty in a can, Rice Building sold

Lansingburgh police shooting
Troy police officer Joshua Comitale was released from Albany Med Monday -- a week and a half after the shooting in Lansingburgh in which he was hit four times in the legs. (The other officer shot in the incident, Chad Klein, was released last week.) TPD chief John Tedesco said the department expects Comitale will return to duty after rehab. In remarks to the media Monday Tedesco again mentioned that the TPD has surveillance video of the incident in which Thaddeus Faison was shot and killed -- and he said the video would be made public eventually. [TWCN] [TU] [WNYT]

Colonie salon stabbing
A group of 50 State Police recruits were deployed Monday to help search the area near the Colonie salon where police say Jacquelyn Porecca was fatally stabbed a week and a half ago. Colonie police say they didn't find anything new. [WNYT] [TWCN]

Muggings in Albany student neighborhood
Albany police say there was a string of street robberies over the weekend in the section of Pine Hills in which many college students live (map). (Students from both UAlbany and Saint Rose recently returned.) A UAlbany student tells News10 that he was assaulted by a group of 8-10 people who took his phone and tablet. APD says it's made one arrest in a another incident in which four people were allegedly attacked by a group that punched them in the head and robbed them. [TU] [News10] [APD FB]

Saratoga Springs hit and run
Saratoga Springs police say a Ballston Spa man is accused of hitting pedestrian on Broadway at Caroline Street Saturday morning then driving away. SSPD says the pedestrian suffered multiple broken bones and taken to Albany Med via helicopter. Police say a tip from a city employee led them the alleged driver. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]

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New details in Dontay Ivy case, no strike for Ellis nurses, American Pharoah finishes second, Ed Lewi remembered

Dontay Ivy case
There has yet to be an official, publicly-released report on the death of Dontay Ivy while in Albany police custody this past spring, but Brendan Lyons reports in the Times Union that a coroner's report designated the death as a homicide -- and a possible grand jury review of the case "has stalled." "A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation" tells Lyons of the incident in which Albany police stopped Ivy: "Everything that could possibly go wrong, goes wrong here." An attorney representing the police officers confirms to WNYT the homicide designation in the coroner's report, noting it's a medical rather criminal determination. [TU] [WNYT]

Ellis nurses
Nurses at Ellis Medicine cancelled their plan to strike later this week after the org representing them reached an agreement on a contract with the hospital group early Saturday morning. The agreement must still be voted on by the nurses. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

American Pharoah
American Pharoah did not win the much-anticipated Travers Stakes at the Saratoga Race Course this past weekend. The Triple Crown winner lost to a horse named Keen Ice in a close race. American Pharoah joins a string of star, undefeated horses to lose at Saratoga. [TU] [NYT] [Saratogian]

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Huge crowd expected in Saratoga Springs this weekend, Saint Rose facing faculty and program cuts, the pigeon whisperer of Schenectady

American Pharoah/Travers
Saratoga Springs police say they're expecting more than 100,000 people in Saratoga Springs Saturday for the Travers, and multiple agencies have been drawn in to help handle traffic and crowds. There will also be increased security at the Saratoga Race Course, with hand-held metal detectors screenings at the entrances. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]

American Pharoah's workout this morning at The Track drew an estimated 15,000 people. [@CBS6Torie]

Lansingburgh police shooting
Officials say Troy police Officer Joshua Comitale is now out of intensive care. Troy have said he was shot in both legs during the shooting in Lansingburgh last weekend. [TU]

Colonie Center shooting
Colonie police say they have a suspect in the shooting outside the mall, but have not made an arrest. [TU]

Faculty cuts at Saint Rose
Facing a structural budget deficit and operating shortfalls, the College of Saint Rose told faculty and staff members this week that the school is going into "retrenchment," which will include faculty layoffs and program cuts. [TU]

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Controversy over Troy memorial, Pharoah arrives in Saratoga, Craigslist post gone awry

Controversial Troy memorial
There's been some controversy over a memorial to Thaddeus Faison, the man who died in the Troy shootout that injured two police officers.The memorial on 7th Avenue was constructed after the original one, near the site of the shooting was taken down at the request of the property owner. Faison's wife told News10 that the memorial is not a sign of disrespect abut a way for those who knew him to say goodbye, and assured people that no death threats were being sent to police. Graffiti commemorating Faison, who is being remembered by his friends as a man who was good to children and made a bad decision, was being cleaned up on Wednesday.[Chris Churchill][Record][News 10][WNYT][Record]

Police arrested a Troy man who had an AK-47 style assault rifle as he was headed toward the 7th Avenue memorial for Faison on Tuesday night.[WNYT]

Former Peter Young COO pleads guilty
The former CEO of the Peter Young Housing Industries and Treatment has pleaded guilty to filing false reports for claiming $600,000 in state funds would be used on a Brooklyn treatment center, but using the money instead to pay upstate employees and fund upstate projects. [TU][News 10]

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Details slowly unfold in Lansingburgh police shooting, Pharaoh to land at Albany International, fishing for cars in the Hudson

Troy shooting update
Chad Klein, one of the patrolmen injured in the Saturday car-jacking in Troy, was released from the hospital on Tuesday. [TU]

Chris Churchill's column in support of the two officers injured in a shootout in Troy this week that killed Thaddeus Faison. [TU]

After police removed a memorial to Faison,, a second memorial has gone up near Faison's former home on Seventh Avenue, where neighbors remember him as a father who encouraged children to listen in school and do better. [Record]

Fatal salon stabbing
Police say they have no new leads but they continue to search for the person who stabbed Jacuelyn Porreca to death in her salon on Friday.[WNYT]

Dontay Ivy case
David Soares may have more options for stepping away from the Donald "Dontay" Ivy case if the case is not given to New York's attorney general as he requested. [TU]

(there's more)

A few more details about Troy police shooting, letter: Soares tried to get state AG to take on Ivy case, Saratoga Springs filling up for Travers

Lansingburgh police shooting
The two Troy police officers injured in the exchange of gunfire this weekend in Lansingburgh are continuing to recover -- Chad Klein, who was shot once, is expected to be released today, according to the Times Union and WNYT. Officials "familiar with details of the incident" tell the TU that Joshua Comitale was hit four times in the legs and will continue to stay in the hospital. On Monday TPD continued to survey the scene of the shooting and has so far declined to release the video it says it has of the incident. Two witnesses tell the Times Union they saw Thaddeus Faison fire first, watched the struggle by officers to subdue him, and then observed officers perform CPR on him. TPD removed items commemorating both the officers and Faison from the intersection near the scene on Monday, which upset people who had constructed the memorial for Faison. [WNYT] [TU x3] [TWCN] [WNYT]

Fatal Colonie salon stabbing
Colonie police said Monday that they're no closer to finding a suspect in the stabbing of death of Jacquelyn Porreca than they were on Friday. CPD says cash was apparently taken from multiple hidden spots in the salon. And it's looking at video from CDTA buses that may have passed through the area around the time of the attack. [News10] [TU] [TWCN]

Dontay Ivy case
Albany County DA David Soares asked the Cuomo admin to assign the investigation into the death of Dontay Ivy while in Albany police custody to the state attorney's general's office, according to a letter obtained by the Times Union. [TU]

Officers credit with saving shooting victim
Two Albany police officers are being credited with saving the life of a shooting victim in West Hill Saturday by applying a tourniquet to his leg. [TU]

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Sorting through Troy incident that left one man dead and two officers shot, investigation in fatal Colonie stabbing, American Pharoah to run in Travers

Man fatally shot by Troy police, two officers shot
Troy police say one man is dead and two officers shot after an exchange of gun fire Saturday night in Lansingburgh (map). TPD says the officers -- Joshua Comitale and Chad Klein -- were responding to an alleged attempted car jacking when 39-year-old Thaddeus Faison, who TPD says had been identified as matching the description of the suspect, opened fire. TPD says about 20 rounds were exchanged between the two officers and Faison, and Faison was struck multiple times. TPD says Klein was hit in the shoulder while in his squad car, Comitale was shot in both legs. TPD says Faison was then tasered as officers restrained him -- he was later pronounced dead at a hospital. TPD says its response to the incident started when a report of the alleged attempted car jacking was called in by a friend of the driver. A friend of Faison tells the Times Union he had been at his girlfriend's home in Troy eating dinner shortly before the incident and had received a call from a friend who needed him. [News10] [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Fatal stabbing in Colonie
Colonie police are investigating the fatal stabbing of a woman working at a salon on Sand Creek Road Friday afternoon. CPD says it appears to have been a robbery because all cash was missing from the salon. But as of Saturday they reported they had no suspects or leads and were asking for the public to come forward with info. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [WNYT]

Shootings, stabbings in Albany
Albany police say there were two shootings and two stabbings in West Hill overnight Sunday into Monday -- though they're not sure if they're related. [TU]

(there's more)

Troy anti-violence rally, x-ray weapon case headed for closing arguments, big chip fab project in Utica, another distillery plan

Troy anti-violence rally
Troy residents rallied against gun violence near the site of this week's fatal shooting, and there was talk of becoming proactive rather than reactive. The topic also came up at a forum for mayoral candidates earlier in the day, with candidates mentioning the need for jobs programs and diversity in the police force. [TU] [News10] [Troy Record] [TWCN]

Watervliet police
At a city council meeting Thursday night Watervliet residents pressed city officials for answers about the recent allegations involving city police officers, and officials talked about finding ways to restore trust. Also Thursday, the city was served with a notice of claim (the first step in a lawsuit) related to the situation involving a former school resource officer and allegations he had sex with two teens. [News10] [WNYT] [TU]

Glendon Scott Crawford trial
Update: The jury found Crawford guilty on all counts Friday. [TU]

On Thursday the prosecution played FBI video in which Glendon Scott Crawford talked about plans to use the would-be radiation weapon against a set of targets that included local mosques and the Governor's Mansion. The jury could go into deliberations today following closing arguments. [TU x2]

Possible nurses strike
The New York State Nurses Association announced nurses at Ellis Medicine are preparing to strike September 3 if there's not a contract agreement, and Ellis said it was preparing to lock out the nurses for five days if that happens. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

(there's more)

Anti-violence rally planned for Troy, Ellis nurses could strike, Heastie visits Schenectady, bear wrestling Troy man reunites with dog

Search for alleged attacker
Police are looking for a man who was witnessed shoving the face of a teenaged girl into a car in the parking lot at Colonie Center, cracking the windshield of the vehicle. The girl then left with the man and a young boy, in a white Kia Sorrento SUV.[TU][Gazette]

Troy shooting update
Police continue their investigation into the shooting death of a Troy teenager earlier this week, meanwhile mourners set up a makeshift memorial for the teen. A Stop the Violence meeting is planned for 5:30 pm today at the site of the shooting at 6th Avenue and Hutton Street. [Record][WNYT]

UAlbany incident
An equipment malfunction in the Ualbany physics building caused a temporary evacuation of the building on Wednesday night. [TWCN][TU]

Potential nurses strike at Ellis
About 600 registered nurses at Ellis Hospital are planning a one day strike if a contract negotiation isn't reached within ten days. [Gazette][TU]


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Three arrests in Troy shooting, guilty plea in Schenectady murder, Crawford recordings played in death ray trial


Arrests in Troy shooting death
Police have made three arrests in connection with a Monday night shooting in Troy that left one teen dead and another wounded. A fourth person who is under 16 was also allegedly involved in the incident. A Stop the Violence Rally is scheduled for Thursday near the site of the shootings at 6th Avenue and Hutton. [Record][WNYT][TU][News10]

Quail Street mugging
Police in Albany are looking for two people who robbed a man at gunpoint on Quail Street in Albanyearly Wednesday morning and beat him with a pistol. [TU]

Guilty plea in Schenectady murder
Jamell Modest of Schenectady pleaded guilty on Tuesday to second-degree murder in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend and their 8-month old son. [TU][WNYT]

(there's more)

Fatal shooting in Troy, arrest in fatal Schenectady hit and run, Crossgates bowling alley project is off, how Aziz Ansari ended up in Albany

Fatal shooting in Troy
Troy police say two teens were shot overnight in the area just south of the Collar City Bridge (map) -- a 19 year old was pronounced dead at a hospital, and a 14 year old is expected to survive. TPD says there was a chase following the reports of shots fired and a vehicle -- allegedly containing firearms -- was stopped in Colonie. TPD chief John Tedesco told the Record that four people had been taken into custody for questioning as of Tuesday morning. News10 reports that a crowd had gathered overnight outside Samaritan Hospital "yelling and shouting at police officers" and units from multiple agencies responded to control the crowd. [WNYT] [TWCN] [TU] [Troy Record] [News10]

Shootings in Albany
Albany police say they're investigating two shootings overnight Saturday to Sunday, one in West Hill, the other in Arbor Hill. APD says it does not believe the shootings are related. [APD]

Arrest in fatal Schenectady hit and run
Schenectady police say they've made an arrest in the two hit and runs involving pedestrians -- one fatal -- on State Street Friday night. Adimu Goodwin, 41, of Schenectady is facing a group of charges that include second-degree manslaughter. SPD says it doesn't know what prompted the crashes. About an hour before the successive incidents, the coach of a Pop Warner football team says Goodwin had been at team practice helping coach. [Daily Gazette] [News10] [TWCN] [TU]

Glendon Scott Crawford trial
The trial of Glendon Scott Crawford -- the Saratoga County man accused of building an x-ray device intended to be used against Muslims -- began Monday with opening statements in which federal prosecutors tried to depict him as a man with detailed plans to kill to people, and Crawford's attorney arguing his client had been pushed along by the feds. Day one also included testimony from two reps of local Jewish organizations that had reported Crawford to authorities after they say he'd approached them with the offer a plan he said would aid Israel. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

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Pedestrian dies after Schenectady hit and run, x-ray device plot trial set to start, police say 10-year-old was at the wheel, Travers Day sold out

Fatal Schenectady hit and run
Schenectady police say one person has died and another is injured after a van hit two pedestrians in two separate incidents around 9 pm Friday night on State Street (map). SPD says it found the van and located the registered owner, who's not suspected of being the driver. SPD is asking anyone with info to call police. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [WNYT] [News10]

Colonie Center shooting
Colonie police say it appears that dispute that led to the shooting of a man outside Colonie Center Thursday night had started in a line for the movies inside the mall. [TU]

Watervliet police
The Watervliet Police Department has suspended its school resource officer program and other youth programs amid the multiple investigations into alleged drug connection and sexual misconduct within the department. Two of the officers that are under investigations were among the city's highest-paid employees last year. [TU] [Troy Record]

Troy police excessive force case
The city of Troy has a tentative agreement to settle a 2013 case of alleged excessive force -- that began with a jaywalking arrest and later involved a taser -- for $60k. [TU]

(there's more)

Shooting outside Colonie Center, man describes how he fought off bear, Cannon Building headed for foreclosure sale

Shooting outside Colonie Center
Colonie police say a man was shot outside Colonie Center around 10 pm Thursday in the area of the mall entrance near the Cheesecake Factory. CPD says the man and two other people had been "involved in an altercation earlier with another group" that included the suspected shooter. A search involving multiple agencies, including a State Police helicopter, didn't turn up the suspect. CPD says the man who was shot is from Schenectady -- he's being treated at Albany Med for a gun shot to abdomen and is expected to survive. The suspect is from the Albany area, according to CPD. A woman was in the parking lot at the time of the shooting tells the Daily Gazette that when she heard the multiple shots fired it sounded like it might be firecrackers -- she then saw three vehicles speed out of the parking lot and one man fleeing on foot. [CPD press release] [TU x2] [Daily Gazette]

Pedestrian hit on Central Ave
Albany police say a pedestrian was hit by a vehicle on Central Ave near the Westgate shopping plaza Thursday evening and suffered serious injuries. The street was closed for almost four hours as part of the crash investigation. [TWCN] [TU]

More than $3 million in harassment case
A state appeals court issued a ruling Thursday that opens the way for a payout of more than $3 million to a former Rensselaer County jail sergeant who was sexually harassed by a group of other jail employees. The state Division of Human Rights found that the female sergeant had been subjected to daily harassment and a supervisor had told her "let it slide." [TU] [Troy Record]

Bear attack
The Troy man who fought off a bear that attacked his dog while they were walking in Adirondacks earlier this week, to the Times Union: "There's a lot of people going around calling me a hero. I'm not a hero. I did it because I love my dog." [TU+]

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Reid resigns as Rensselaer County chairman, 27 percent opt out of state tests in Capital Region, Travers expected to sell out

Reid resigns as Rensselaer County Legislature Chairman
Martin Reid stepped down on Wednesday as Chairman of the Rensselaer County Legislature after he was arraigned on more than 41 counts for allegedly stealing more than $15,000 by filing for unemployment while earning $30,000 as legislature chairman between February and November of 2013. [WNYT][TWCN]

Common Core scores
About 20 percent of New York State students opted out of common core testing last term . That number is up 15% over last year and in the Capital Region the number was just under 27.5 percent. [NYT][TU]

Elementary math scores were up in the Capital Region. [Business Review]

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Dannemora inmates claim abuse following escape, second Albany shooting in two weeks, Rensselaer County legislature chair charged with larceny, yearling sales top $46 million

Dannemora abuse allegations
A legal services group says inmates at Clinton Correctional Facility's honor block were beaten, stripped of privileges and confined to solitary following the escape of Richard Matt and David Sweat from the facility in June in an attempt to obtain information about the escape. In one case an inmate claims he was beaten by three guards without name badges who allegedly punched him, slammed his head against the wall , put a plastic bag over his head and threatened to water board him. [WNYT/AP][NYT]

Another Albany shooting
Albany police say a 24-year-old man who was shot on Orange street on Tuesday night is expected to survive . This is the second Albany shooting in as many weeks.[WNYT][TU]

Legislative chair arraigned on larceny charge
The Chairman of the Rensselaer County Legislature was arraigned Wednesday morning for allegedly stealing more than $15,000 in state unemployment benefits while also collecting a government salary. [TU]

Pipeline opponents rally
Constitution Pipeline opponents marched on the state DEC office in Albany on Tuesday to urge the agency to deny final water permits for the gas pipeline which would carry gas from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania through four NY Counties and finally to Schoharie County to connect up with existing pipelines. [Gazette]

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Rally outside DA's office for Ivy and Dixon cases, Wormuth pleads guilty to federal charges, more tax breaks for GloFo, Peanut is saved

Dontay Ivy and Marquis Dixon
Activists rallied outside the office of Albany County district attorney David Soares to call for the DA to complete the investigation into the death of Dontay Ivy -- who died in Albany police custody four months ago -- and to protest the nine-year sentence given to Albany teen Marquis Dixon, who was convicted of stealing a pair sneakers, allegedly at gunpoint. Said Dixon's mother, Aisha Dixon: "I believe that the crime should fit the time and his crime is not fitting his time." [WNYT] [TWCN]

The rally also points to what one activist described to the Times Union as "disappointment" in Soares, whom many progressive groups have supported in past elections. [TU]

Mindy Wormuth
Former Halfmoon supervisor Mindy Wormuth pleaded guilty to two felony charges of extortion and lying to the feds. She faces up to a year in prison. Wormuth admitted to taking more than $5k in bribes that had been disguised as consulting fees. [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Charges in fatal Albany crash
Albany police say the man accused of driving drunk in the crash that killed Amy Stock in July has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated DWI. [APD]

Sentencing in fatal Saratoga County crash
The driver who pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular manslaughter for driving drunk in the crash that killed pedestrian Jonathon L. Rogers in northern Saratoga County last September was sentenced to 2-6 years in prison. [Post-Star]

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Justice Center accused of incomplete investigation and media seeking, allegation of "PILOT shopping" in Troy, high-end chains find their way here

Justice Center
Attorneys two women acquitted by a jury of charges brought in Niskayuna by the state's Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs in say the recently-created state agency investigated the case poorly, and they allege the agency was out for the media attention. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Development tax breaks
Troy's planning director described the recent decision by the developer planning a residential conversion of the former Record building to seek a better tax break deal from the county IDA after a smaller offer from the city IDA as "PILOT shopping." [TU+]

Watervliet police
Another Watervliet police officer has been placed on administrative leave as part of an internal affairs investigation. [TWCN] [TU]

Dontay Ivy case
At a rally planned for Monday morning, activists are set to call for charges to be brought against police in the Dontay Ivy case. It's been four months since Ivy died while in Albany police custody, and officials say the investigation of what happened is still in progress. [TU] [News10]

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Schumer and Gillibrand split on Iran deal, Travers attendance will be capped, residential conversion planned for Monument Square, the rescuer of bear cubs

Iran deal
Chuck Schumer announced he'll be opposing the Obama administration's proposed international deal on Iran's nuclear program, which could open the way for other Democrats in Congress to oppose the deal. Kirsten Gillibrand said Thursday before Schumer's announcement that she will be supporting the deal. [Medium] [NYT] [TU]

Travers attendance cap
NYRA says it will cap attendance for this year's Travers Stakes at 50,000. As of the Thursday, there were about 20,000 general-admission spots remaining. (The Travers is the biggest race of the season at Saratoga, but this year it's expected to be an especially big event because it's looking like Triple Crown winner American Pharoah could be running.) [TU] [TWCN]

Monument Square building sold
Developer Sonny Bonnacio is buying the the former Hendrick Hudson Hotel building on Monument Square in downtown Troy from Pioneer Bank (Pioneer is moving its headquarters to Colonie), with plans to convert much of the space to residential units. [Biz Review] [TU]

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Police investigate Albany shooting, toxicology reports show Matt was intoxicated when apprehended,attendance and handle up at track

Albany shooting
Albany police are investigating a shooting that took place on Wednesday night on 1st street near Henry Johnson Boulevard. A 38-year-old man was taken to Albany Medical Center.[TU][WNYT]

Toxicology on Matt
Toxicology reports show Richard Matt, one of the inmates who escaped from Dannemora prison earlier this summer, had a blood alcohol level of at least 0.08 at the time of his death.[TU]

Gang arrests
Arrests in a Troy drug bust this week included eight members of the Young Gunnerz gang and 12 of their associates, who police say were responsible for a great deal of recent violence in the city. [TU]

Watervliet P.D.
The Watervliet police officer arrested as part of this week's Troy drug bust for allegedly buying cocaine on duty is the second Watervliet officer brought up on charges in a matter of months.[WNYT]

Also, a former assistant chief for the Watervliet Police Department and current employee of the Parker Brothers Memorial Funeral Home is under investigation in connection with the theft of thousands of dollars from the Funeral Home. [TWCN][Record]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Former Watervliet cop allegedly bought cocaine on duty, two more red light cameras activated, Warren County medical marijuana facility breaks ground

Former cop arrested in drug investigation
A Troy drug investigation has netted 20 arrests, including a former Watervliet police officer who allegedly bought cocaine while on duty. [TU][Record][News 10]

Red light cameras
Two more red light cameras in Albany turned on at midnight.
The cameras cover the north and southbound lanes at the intersection of Everett Road and Watervliet Avenue Extension.[TWCN][WNYT]

JCOPE
JCOPE met on Tuesday in an effort to select a new leader
and spent time arguing over the governor's influence in the hiring process.
A legislative aide on Tuesday's JCOPE meeting: "It's state government's version of 'The Office,'" said one legislative aide who watched the proceedings. "I'm uncomfortable, but I can't turn away."[TU][News 10][Capital NY]

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Schenectady police officer released from hospital, state AG taking up civilian death investigation, larger project proposed for former Record building

Schenectady police officer injured
Schenectady police say officer Mark Weekes has been released from the hospital as he recovers from a skull fracture sustained during an incident on duty early Saturday morning on State Street. SPD officials say Weekes had been working without a partner, and backup had been dispatched from the other side of the city. A relative of James Hilton, the Glens Falls man accused of assaulting Weekes, tells the Times Union that Hilton is an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD, and an amateur MMA fighter. During a court appearance Monday Hilton told the judge he fears for his safety in jail. [TWCN] [Daily Gazette] [TU x2]

Inmate death at Schenectady County Jail
The Schenectady County Sheriff's Office says an inmate died at the county jail Sunday night, and it's opened an investigation into the death. WNYT reports the inmate's fiancee said he had been suffering from cancer and sickle cell anemia. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [WNYT]

Hamilton Hill
Schenectady police say they've increased patrols in Hamilton Hill in response to the string of recent shootings there, but police chief Brian Kilcullen told the city council Monday that the department needs more officers and is "operating with far fewer bodies than we ever had." [Daily Gazette]

Alleged spa prostitution case tossed
Three years after a raid on an Albany spa at which law enforcement officials alleged prostitution was happening, the case has been tossed by a judge citing a lack of evidence. One of the twists in the case was that the spa owner is married to a former Times Union editor, who had alleged the raid was retaliation for a series of investigative articles looking into the operations of a county sheriff drug unit. [TU]

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Albany County in line for 3 medical marijuana dispensaries, outbreak of Schenectady gun violence continues, Washington Tavern/Ginger Man sold

Medical marijuana
The state Department of Health has announced the five organizations selected to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana around the state. Three of the companies have planned dispensaries in Albany County. The state's rules for medical marijuana required to the selected companies to manage the product from "seed to sale." And registered physicians will be required to take a four-hour course on marijuana as a medicine. Among the types of patients expected to be treated: an 8-year-old in East Schodack who has epilepsy. [NYS DOH] [TU x2] [NYT] [WNYT]

Schenectady gun violence
Schenectady police say a man was shot multiple times early Sunday morning in Hamilton Hill (map) -- on the same street where there have been two other recent shootings. And it was just a block from a community rally against violence Friday evening. After Sunday's shooting, rally organizer Marva Issacs told TWCN she's frustrated, but: "I'm not stopping." [WNYT] [Daily Gazette x2] [TWCN]

Schenectady police officer beaten
Schenectady police say an officer was beaten unconscious, suffering a skull fracture, while trying to arrest a Glens Falls man early Saturday morning on State Street. SPD says man was later arrested after being tracked a police dog. He's been charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [WNYT]

Albany County sheriff's sergeant resigns
The Times Union reports an Albany County sheriff's sergeant has resigned after an allegation surfaced that he had inappropriate contact with a teen in Watervliet, the allegation spun out of the recent investigation of a Watervliet police officer accused having sex with a underage teen. [TU]

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Outpouring of support after slur, looking toward a new Schenectady train station, Mission Impossible was possible

Community support follow slurs
People in Wynantskill have been rallying support for a couple whose house was vandalized with anti-gay slurs -- and a local hardware store offered free supplies to help fix the damage. Said John McEnerney to the Times Union: "They didn't just attack our house ... They attacked our whole neighborhood. This is a nice place and it made people angry." [News10] [WNYT] [TU+]

Stephentown dog death
A Stephentown farmer to the Times Union on the incident in he which he says he had to shoot a neighbor's escaped dog because it was menacing his horses: "I feel bad enough because I love animals and now this will get all over social media and make me look like a bad guy." [TU]

Troy mayoral race
An effort to get Ernest Everett bumped from the Democratic mayoral primary failed after a judge ruled Thursday the challenge missed a deadline for filing. [Troy Record] [TU]

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Inmate found dead at Albany County Jail, anti violence rally planned in Schenectady, questions about Quirky, all over a Scooby Doo doll

Inmate found dead at Albany County Jail
A prisoner at the Albany County Correctional facility was found dead in his cell on Wednesday night, in what is believed to have been a suicide. The man was due to be sentenced next week on a conspiracy charge in a scheme to get an 80-year-old woman to turn over her home. [TWCN][TU]

Dannemora
David Sweat is still spilling information about his Dannemora escape. [TU]

Joyce Mitchell, the Dannemora prison employee who helped Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from the prison, will collect her state pension, even though she is forced to retire because she is going to jail for her role in the incident.[WNYT]

Sentences
Chris Churchill on the sentence 16-year-old Marquis Dixon received for stealing a pair of sneakers in Albany-- which is significantly longer than the one Jeffrey Mann got in Saratoga County for his role in the bar fight that killed Aaron Huggins. [TU]

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Dannemora employee takes plea deal, Malta man sentenced in wife's murder, Quirky cuts jobs, goat rustlers sentenced

Dannemora employee pleads guilty to aiding escape
Joyce Mitchell, an instructor at the tailor shop at Clinton Correctional Facility, pleaded guilty Tuesday to aiding Richard Matt and David Sweat in their escape from the prison in June. Mitchell told a judge she "was caught up in he fantasy," and that she enjoyed the attention they gave her and the thought of the start of a different life. [TU][NYT]

Former cop sentenced in wife's murder
The Malta man and former Long Island cop convicted of killing his wife of 40 years was sentenced to 15 years in prison.[TU]

Schenectady shooting victim named
The 18 year old man shot on a Schenectady Street on Monday has been identified as Kusaan Tolliver. The shooting was the second in five days in the city. The president of the Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association says the group is planning a march against violence with the help of the Southern Christian Leadership conference.[TU][TWCN]

Mann sentenced
A Lake George man was sentenced on criminally negligent homicide in connection with a fatal bar fight in Saratoga last September. At the sentencing Andrew Mann apologized to Aaron Huggins' family and to his own, saying " not a day goes by that I don't wish I hadn't put my hands on him." [WNYT][Saratogian]

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Fatal shooting in Schenectady, allegations against arrested Watervliet police officer detailed, investigation into shooting of cat

Fatal shooting in Schenectady
Schenectady police say an 18-year-old man was shot and killed in Hamilton Hill Monday night (map). SPD says it's investigating. [Daily Gazette] [News10]

Watervliet police officer arrested
The Albany County DA's office detailed the charges against Watervliet police officer Joshua Spratt, who had been a school resource officer Watervliet High School -- he's accused of having a sexual relationship with two students, ages 16 and 17. He faces charges for alleged sex acts involving the 16 year old at multiple locations in Watervliet and Menands. Watervliet police chief Ronald Boisvert called the allegations "shocking." And school district superintendent Lori Caplan released a statement that said in part: "If the allegations are true, we are profoundly troubled that a trusted authority figure who served an important role in our district could betray that trust of students, staff and families of our school district in such an egregious way." [Albany County DA] [TWCN] [WNYT]

SUNY Poly
How SUNY Poly fits into the $600 million photonics center in Rochester that's being backed the feds -- research for the project will be done in Albany. [Democrat & Chronicle] [TU]

Also: SUNY Poly is involved with a planned new chip fab in New York... somewhere. [TU]

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Watervliet police officer arrested, focus on impending gap between fast food and other minimum wage employees, some sort of taxi plan in the works

Watervliet police officer arrested
A Watervliet police officer who had been assigned as a school resource officer was arrested over the weekend has been charged with a criminal sex act and endangering the welfare of a child. [WNYT] [Troy Record] [TU]

Sampson found guilty
State Senator John Sampson, the former head of the state Senate while it was controlled by Democrats, was convicted Friday of three charges related to hindering a federal investigation -- and a felony conviction means he's booted from the state Senate. If you're keeping score, he was the second former high-ranking state Senator to get the boot last week for a felony conviction, joining Republic Tom Libous. [NYT x2]

Minimum wage
The owner of the local Mr. Subb chain says he'll have to raise menu prices 20 percent to cover the scheduled fast food employee minimum wage increase -- the sandwich chain isn't subject to the planned increase (not enough locations), but the owner says he'll have to raise wages to compete for employees. The planned increase is also highlighting the impending gap between fast food employees and the many other workers in other industries that make minimum wage or close to it. [Biz Review] [NYT]

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Fast food wage hike will take years to implement, Libous found guilty of lying to FBI, Planners approve new casino design, UAlbany designed app to increase voter turnout

Fast food minimum wage hike
Andrew Cuomo hopes other states will follow New York in raising the minimum wage to $15 for fast food workers.Reactions to the news of the wage board decision to hike the fast food minimum wage were mixed. But advocates for the wage hike were disappointed to learn that the wage hike won't go into affect for another six years. [NYT][TU] [TU]

Libous found guilty
State Senator Tom Libous - the deputy majority leader of the state Senate, was founded guilty on Wednesday of lying to FBI agents regarding his son's hiring at a politically connected law firm. Libous, who has prostate cancer that he says is terminal, forfeits his seat as a result of the conviction and will be sentenced in October. [NYT][TU]

New casino design approved
The newest version of a plan for the $330 million Rivers Casino has been approved by Schenectady's Planning Commission with the condition that the materials and color of the pylon sign used in the design are changed. [Gazette][TU]

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Capital Region unemployment rate among lowest in NY, more charges for Skelos & son, 1 Monument Square goes back to the drawing board, Schenectady is counting dogs

Capital Region Unemployment
The Capital Region has some of the lowest unemployment rates in New York State. [Business Review]

New charges facing Skelos and son
A new indictment alleges that Adam Skelos, son of former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, threatened to "smash in" the head of a supervisor at the malpractice insurance company where he allegedly had a no-show job. The new indictment includes two new charges of soliciting bribes.
[WNYT][TU][NYT]

1 Monument Square
Troy's proposed 1 Monument Square project is going back to the drawing board for another redesign. [TU] Earlier: A look at the latest plan for the 1 Monument Square project in Troy

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Percentage of kids in poverty up in both state and Albany area, Cox confirmed as APD chief, blood donors complain of frequent calls, Saratoga County Fair opens

Child poverty
The percentage of children living in poverty increased in New York State to 23 percent (from 19 percent) in 2013 compared to the 2010. In the Capital Region, the rate increased to 16 percent (from 14.3 percent) over the same period. [Annie E. Casey Foundation] [TU]

State tax cap
The property tax increase cap for local governments will be .73 percent in 2016, according to a report from the state comptroller's office. (The cap is set at the lesser of either 2 percent or the rate of inflation.) Orgs that represent municipalities and school districts are warning the cap's rate for next year could mean reduced services on the local level. [NYS OSC] [TU]

New Albany police chief
The Albany Common Council unanimously approved the appointment of acting police chief Brendan Cox to the permanent role as chief. [TU]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Albany red light cameras activated, casino job fair draws more than 1,000 people, Metroland for sale

Albany red light cameras
Albany police said red light cameras were set to become active at the system's first two intersections Monday morning: the eastbound approach of Shaker Road and Northern Boulevard, and the westbound approach of Washington Avenue and Quail Street. Warning letters will be issued for violations during the next days -- and after that period, a $50 fine. [APD FB]

Fatal crash in Albany
Albany police say they're investigating a crash at Henry Johnson Blvd and First Street in which one person died early Sunday morning. APD says a vehicle had struck several parked cars on First Street and failed to stop at a stop sign at Henry Johnson before striking a vehicle traveling along Henry Johnson -- the driver of that second vehicle died. APD says charges are pending. [APD FB] [News10]

$15 fast food wage?
"A person familiar with the board's plans" tells the Wall Street Journal that the state's fast food wage board is "expected" to recommend a $15/hour minimum wage for fast food workers at its meeting this Wednesday. (The state's current minimum wage is $8.75/hour, and is scheduled to increase to $9 at the end of the year.) [WSJ]

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Schneiderman forms unit to review civilian deaths at hands of police, other kids on the playground turning on Andrew Cuomo, Proctors and Universal Preservation Hall partnering

Police oversight
State attorney general Eric Schneiderman announced the formation of the unit created to review, and potentially prosecute, cases in which unarmed civilians die at the hands of police. The unit is headed up by Alvin Bragg, a prosecutor and former federal attorney, and also includes former Albany County DA Paul Clyne. Schneiderman was empowered to start the unit via an executive order signed by Andrew Cuomo earlier this week -- the governor says a review of such cases on the state level helps address potential conflicts of interest involving police and county prosecutors. On Thursday Albany County DA David Soares advocated for opening to the public the grand jurying process in such cases rather than taking the authority away from local prosecutors. [NYS OAG] [TU] [CBS6]

Troy police settlements
The Troy City Council approved settlements totaling $89k in two lawsuits involving allegations that police used excessive force. [TU]

New Albany police officers
Fifteen new Albany police officers were sworn in Thursday. Said acting chief Brendan Cox, who's in line to become the permanent chief: "The mark of an officer, hopefully under my administration, will be that they understand the tenets of procedural justice and that we can solve problems outside the criminal justice system." [WNYT] [TWC]

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Three charged in Schenectady murder, Albany Med mercury case appealed to U.S. Supreme Court, Dannemora escape resulted in $300 thousand in damage

Suspects in Schenectady shooting death
Schenectady police have charged three men--one of whom is 16-years-old - with second-degree murder for their alleged roles in the shooting death of a teenager outside a city convenience store last week. Police say it appears the victim was not the intended target. [TU][Gazette]

Mercury case appealed to Supreme Court
The man who spread toxic mercury on food and other surfaces at Albany Med last year has appealed his case to the U. S. Supreme Court, claiming he was charged federally for a local crime.[Gazette]

Attorneys want $7 million for redistricting suit
Albany County wants a federal judge to throw out the $7-million legal bill submitted by the attorneys who sued to invalidate the county's 2011 redistricting map.[TU]

Guilderland pedestrian struck by car
A pedestrian believed to be a 6-year-old boy was sent to Albany Med on Tuesday after being struck by a vehicle while crossing the intersection of Route 155 and Brandywine Parkway in Guilderland with his grandmother on Wednesday.[News 10][WNYT][TU]

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Cuomo names special prosecutor in police related deaths, former Dannemora prison superintendent resigns, rekindled fireworks cause truck fire, new life for old Harriman Campus building

Special Prosecutor named for civilian deaths involving police
Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order on Tuesday, naming the state attorney general as a special prosecutor for police-related civilian deaths. [NYT]

Dannemora
The prison supervisor accused of helping Richard Matt and David Sweat escape from Clinton Correctional Facility was transferred on Tuesday from Rensselaer County jail to the custody of the Clinton County Sheriff's Department. [TU]

Steven Racette, the former superintendent of the Clinton County Correctional Facility is planning to retire.
[WNYT]

Resignation of former SSPD officer
The Saratoga Springs City Council has accepted the resignation of Nathan Baker, the former city police officer who was videotaped pepper spraying a suspect who gave him the middle finger. Baker will receive $5,000 in back pay from the city and in return has agreed not to apply for a job with the city police force again. [TWCN][Gazette]

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Albany red light cameras set to start soon, was this Fourth of July different for fireworks, update on one of the "Railroad Puppies"

Albany red light cameras
Albany's acting police chief tells the Times Union the city's new red light camera system will start coming online in the next few weeks -- with a few changes. [TU]

Fireworks
After a Fourth of July in which local counties (except Albany) allowed some types of fireworks, some people say noise and disruptions from pyrotechnics were worse in some neighborhoods, though local police departments say they got about the same number of calls. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Saratoga Springs police
WNYT reports that the officer placed on leave following the middle finger traffic stop has submitted his resignation. [WNYT]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Sweat moved from Albany Med, review of next Albany police chief, "Bra Wars" in Guilderland

Dannemora escape
David Sweat was discharged from Albany Med early Sunday morning and moved to the Five Points Correctional Facility in Romulus (in Seneca County), according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. [NYS DOCCS]

+ Prison experts tell the Times Union that the review of security procedures at the Clinton Correctional Facility should focus on keeping contraband out of the prison and the relationship between staff and inmates. [TU]

+ The Buffalo News reports that, according to "information obtained" from "law enforcement officials," three days before the escape Richard Matt had sent his daughter a letter that said, "I always promised you I would see you on the outside. I'm a man of my word." [Buffalo News]

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New superintendent and rules for Clinton County, Malcolm Smith gets 7 years, dog runs for mayor of Schenectady

Dannemora update
The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has announced that the Clinton County superintendent has been replaced with a former first deputy from Elmira Correctional Facility. Part of his job will be to enforce new rules, which include the closing of the honor block from which Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped. Meanwhile other inmates from Sweat and Matt's honor block are complaining about abuse in the wake of the escape. [TU][WNYT][NYT][WNYT]

David Sweat could be discharged from Albany Med by the end of the week[WNYT]

Richard Matt's family has finally agreed to claim the convicted killer's body. [WNYT]

How the search for Richard Matt and David Sweat helped the Dannemora economy. [NYT]

Smith gets 7 years
Former Senate Majority leader Malcolm Smith was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday for trying to bribe his way onto the Republican ticket for the 2013 New York City Mayoral Race. [TU][NYT]

Complaints about Cuomo
It seems NYC Mayor Bill DiBlasio isn't the only Democrat who is frustrated with Andrew Cuomo.[NYT]

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A dozen employees suspended at Dannemora in wake of escape, Saratoga County shooting ruled suicide by police, planning ahead for Avian Flu

Dannemora suspensions
Twelve employees were suspended from the Clinton County Correctional facility, including Superintendent Steven Racette, two deputy superintendents and nine corrections officers.[TU]

More breakout details

+David Sweat has told authorities that he and Richard Matt were sawing through the cell walls for about six months before their escape from Clinton Correctional facility, and that he did a dry run of the escape the night before. [NYT]

+Sweat told police no power tools were used in the escape, just hand tools and a sledgehammer. [WNYT]

+Sweat also told authorities that police almost caught him twice in the three week search, and that one officer walked by a tree he was hiding in. [News 10]

+Five days after he was killed by law enforcement officials, Richard Matt's body has still not been claimed from the Franklin county Coroner.[TU]

Meanwhile, inside Dannemora
Some prisoners are claiming they were violently assaulted by authorities in an effort to obtain information about the escape. [TWCN]

One report now shows that Clinton Correctional facility has had a history of violence by staff. But some officers say the escape doesn't surprise them because a fear of lawsuits and a push for inmate rights has limited guards. [TWCN][TWCN]

Have a Nice Day:the movie
Chris Churchill is already planning the movie version of the escape.

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More details on Dannemora escapees' flight and the search for them, "officer-invovled" fatal shooting in Saratoga County, long lines for Sonic

Dannemora escape
A few bits are surfacing about Richard Matt and David Sweat's time on the run. Andrew Cuomo said on the Capitol Pressroom that Matt and Sweat had split up days before they were captured, apparently because Sweat thought Matt was slowing him down. Cuomo also said the escapees' original plan was to allegedly meet Joyce Mitchell outside the prison and head for Mexico -- when Mitchell didn't show up, the plan changed to run toward Canada. [Capitol Pressroom] [TU]

+ Details are also emerging about the mechanics of the search for the two escapees, which the New York Times reports started off slowly, with a lack of communication and organization. [NYT]

+ "Law enforcement officials briefed on the probe" tell CNN, and "one official with knowledge of the matter" tells NYT, that the FBI has opened a corruption investigation into employees and inmates at the Clinton Correctional Facility. [CNN] [NYT]

+ "People briefed on the matter but not authorized to comment" tell the Times Union that the superintendent of the Clinton Correctional Facility and some other leaders of the prison have been placed on administrative leave. [TU]

+ Larry Levine -- who served 10 years in prison and is the founder and director of Wall Street Prison Consultants -- told TWCN he thinks "the staff at Clinton Correctional are sweating David Sweat" because the now-captured escapee knows about the inner workings and problems of the facility. [TWCN]

+ On Monday Albany Med announced that Sweat has been upgraded to serious condition, and doctors have determined he doesn't require surgery at this time. A Syracuse-area trauma surgeon tells the Times Union it's not uncommon for people who are shot to not require surgery. [Albany Med press release] [TU]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Second Dannemora escapee captured, indictments in Lansingburgh arson case, skepticism about "Breathing Lights"

Dannemora manhunt
State Police say David Sweat was shot and captured Sunday in Constable, a town just south of the Canadian border. NYSP superintendent Joseph D'Amico said sergeant Jay Cook had spotted Sweat jogging down a road Sunday afternoon, stopped to question him, Sweat ran, and Cook fired when it looked like Sweat would be entering the woods. Sweat is now at Albany Med, where Sunday night officials say he's in critical condition. [NYSP] [NYT] [TU]

+ The capture of Sweat on Sunday follows the capture and death of Richard Matt on Friday in the nearby town of Malone. Officials say Matt, who was allegedly armed with a shotgun, was fatally shot by border patrol agents after he refused to raise his hands. State Police say an autopsy concluded Matt had died from three gunshots to the head. [NYT] [TU]

+ Constable resident Trevor Buchanan to the Times Union, in article about the relief felt by people in the area now that the hunt is over: "CNN called me yesterday. That's the only time I'm getting a call from CNN unless I make a series of bad decisions." [TU]

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State legislature closes sessions with Whatever, prison contraband allegedly traded for art, Albany's middle schools struggling, longtime top editors at Record/Saratogian leaving

The Big Whatever
The state legislature finished its session Thursday night, a little more than a week past the originally scheduled end date, with a bill that included property tax rebates and a bunch of items of interest to New York City. In New York State government's typical commitment to openness, the text of the large bill was released Thursday evening and the three-day aging period was waived. The big was alternately tagged The Big Ugly, The Big Lovely, and The Big Whatever. [Capital] [NYT] [TU]

Dannemora manhunt
Update: Late Friday afternoon sources were telling media outlets that Richard Matt had been shot and killed by federal agents. [NYT]
____
Day 21: Still not captured.

The focus Thursday was on the prison guard who was arrested this week for allegedly helping Richard Matt and David Sweat obtain tools such as a screwdriver and pliers. Sources and court records indicate Gene Palmer told investigators he had traded the favors in exchange for paintings done by Matt and an intelligence on other inmates. [NYT] [TU]

(there's more)

Still no vote on legislative "framework" agreement, second prison employee charged in Dannemora escape, on racism and the Albany flag

Dannemora Manhunt
Day 20 and Richard Matt and David Sweat are still at large. State Police say one of the cabins linked to the two men is missing a shotgun and that many cabins in the area of the search keep guns and ammunition. [TWCN]

The second Clinton Correctional Facility prison employee arrested in connection with the escape is out on bail and is expected to return to court later today. He is facing charges of promotion of prison contraband and evidence tampering for allegedly delivering tools to the inmates inside frozen meat. His lawyers say he didn't know the tools were in the meat. [WNYT][NYT][TU]

Still no vote on framework agreement
Legislators are hoping to vote today on a framework agreement of end of the year legislation, but Assembly Democrats are hoping more can be done on issues like rent control. [TU][TWCN]

(there's more)

State Police: evidence prison escapees were at cabin, push for increasing fast food minimum wage, no free open house at Saratoga Race Course this year

Dannemora manhunt

Day 18: Still not captured.

+ The search is currently focused again in the area around Dannemora -- State Police say they recovered evidence indicating David Sweat and Richard Matt may have spent time at a camp to the west of prison. "A source with knowledge of the investigation" tells NBC News that DNA from both Sweat and Matt was found at the cabin. [TU] [NYSP] [NBC News]

+ WNYT talked with an Albany-area man whose family has a camp in the same area as the cabin apparently visited by the escapees: "It really, truly is the middle of nowhere." [WNYT]

+ Authorities have been sifting through hundreds of potential leads called in by the public, which have placed the men in widespread spots such as near the Pennsylvania border and Prince Edward Island in Canada. [NYT]

+ Lyle Mitchell -- the husband of Joyce Mitchell, the prison employee who's been charged with helping the escapees -- in an interview on the Today Show: "When it came down to her hurtin' me, that's when she said something was wrong. She said she was in too deep, she didn't know how to get out of it." [NBC News]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Dannemora manhunt shifts around state, lawsuit filed over Mount case in Saratoga Springs, digging into the Normanskill landslide timeline

Dannemora manhunt

Day 17: Still not captured.

+ The search temporarily focused on the town of Friendship in Allegany County, in the southwest of the state, on Saturday after a resident reported two seeing two men who said she saw resembled Richard Matt and David Sweat. By Sunday the hunt had shifted back to an area near Dannemora -- leaks to the media point to authorities having found some sort of indication the escapees might have been at a camp west of Dannemora. [TU] [TWCN] [TU] [WNYT]

+ On Friday state officials announced a corrections officer at the Clinton Correctional Facility has been placed on leave -- without mentioning details about how officer might be connected to the situation. An attorney for the officer said his client had worked on the block that housed Matt and Sweat, but he didn't know about the escape plan. [TU] [TWC]

+ New York Times: "No single lapse or mistake in security enabled the two men to break out of the Clinton Correctional Facility, long considered one of the most secure prisons in the nation. But it now appears an array of oversights, years in the making, set the stage for the prison break..." [NYT]

+ Also: NYT got a boilermaker to test how long (and how loud) it would take using various tools to cut through the sort of steam pipe that Matt and Sweat used to escape. [NYT]

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State legislature slog continues, Dannemora manhunt continues, alleged Lansingburgh arson trio back in region, thought mining for mind grapes

State legislative session
Now past the scheduled end of the legislative sessions, the state Assembly and Senate are planning to continue the session next week after passing a five-day extension of NYC rent control. (The end of session has entered its Sartre period.) [Capital] [NYT]

Dannemora manhunt
Day 14: Still not captured. Richard Matt and David Sweat has been added to the US Marshals' 15 Most Wanted Fugitives list. And State Police say they have 160 troopers on patrol in communities near the Clinton Correctional Facility.

Also Thursday: An attorney for Lyle Mitchell, the husband of Joyce Mitchell (the prison employee who's been arrested for allegedly providing assistance to Matt and Sweat), on his client's stance toward his wife: "Lyle still cares but realizes he can't stand by her. She's kind of made her own bed. He has to distance himself." He also said his client is being "completely cooperative" with law enforcement. [US Marshals] [NYSP] [TU] [TWCN]

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Legislative session in overtime, Cox named APD chief, casino designers will tweak the plan, manhunt for convicts expands

Legislative overtime
The legislative session was slated to end on Wednesday but lawmakers went into overtime today and the end does not appear to be in sight.
Among the items still to be decided: rent control legislation, pension forfeiture for corrupt officials, the property tax cap and education tax credits.But the bill to name the wood frog the official state amphibian squeaked past by one vote after a heated debate. [NYT][TU][WNYT][TU]

A vote on Mixed Martial Arts fighting may also get pushed to the floorin the Assembly today. Another bill winding its way to the close of the legislative session would require New york drivers to updated the photos on their licenses every eight years. [TWCN][TU]

New Albany police chief
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan has tapped former deputy chief and acting Police Chief Brendan Cox to be the city's new Chief. Cox will replace Steven Krokoff, who retired in April. [TU]

Designers to tweak casino plan
A designer for Rush Street Gamings's planned Schenectady casino told a group at a public comment session on the design that his team will go back to the drawing board. "We've heard you loud and clear," Mike Levin told critics of the new casino design, saying the team will work to strike a balance between a more traditional design and what he called the "cutting edge, contemporary,slick building" currently proposed.

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Lots to wrap up as legislative session closes, manhunt for Dannemora escapees expands, Shop Rite is feeling the squeeze of competition, dining with dogs legislation passes Assembly

Extension likely for legislative session

The legislative session should be wrapping up today but lawmakers are preparing for an extended stay as they try to wrap up a number of issues like the just expired rent legislation.
Two bills that have made headway are Cuomo's "Enough is Enough" legislation to combat sexual assault on college campuses, and a plan to grant access to medical marijuana to seriously ill patients before the states official plan goes into effect in 2016. [Capital NY][Gazette][WNYT][TU][TWCN]

Dannemora manhunt expands

Eleven days into the manhunt for a pair of escaped prisoners from Dannemora, State Police have announced the search will expand beyond the 16 square miles of woods swamps and fields near the prison. State police are planning to expand the search for two escaped murderers. Police say the recent rain has cause problems with the search has been washing away any scent that dogs might pick up and has been interfering with devices used to detect body heat. [NYT
[WNYT]

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Dannemora escapees still not captured, Dontay Ivy's family files notice of claim alleging excessive force, worries about Normanskill flooding

Dannemora manhunt

+ Search day 11: Still not captured. [Press Republican]

+ The search has included more than 800 officers and covered 13 square miles. [TU]

+ Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said Sunday that it appears Joyce Mitchell, the prison employee who's been arrested for allegedly aiding Richard Matt and David Sweat, got cold feet on aiding the prisoners as a getaway driver. On Monday he wouldn't address the allegation leaked by unnamed sources that there was some sort of plot to harm Mitchell's husband. (Unnamed sources are continuing to leak allegations.) [AP/Troy REcord] [TWCN] [News10]

+ State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott on the investigation into the prison break: "I will follow the evidence, wherever it leads." [TWCN]

Dontay Ivy
The family of Dontay Ivy has filed a notice of claim (the precursor to a lawsuit) alleging Albany police officers used excessive force, and it seeks up to $20 million in damages. Ivy died after being tasered by police April 2 in Arbor and the city has released few specific details about the situation. [TU]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Dannemora manhunt in 10th day, state Inspector General to investigation prison escape, teens in prison, concern over dollar stores

Dannemora manhunt

+ Search day 10: Still not captured. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday: "We don't know if they are still in the immediate area or if they are in Mexico by now." [CNN]

+ On Friday Joyce Mitchell, the Clinton Correctional Facility tailor shop employee who had been questioned by investigators multiple times last week, was arrested for allegedly providing the Richard Matt and David Sweat with hacksaw blades, chisels, and screwdriver bit. The Clinton County DA said Mitchell had also been set to drive the escapees, but backed out of that part of the alleged plan. Mitchell was housed at the Rensselaer County jail over the weekend in order to ease tensions, according to the Clinton County Sheriff. [News10] [TWCN] [News10] [Press Republican]

+ Unnamed sources continue to leak alleged details about the case. A "law enforcement source" tells the New York Daily News that allegedly Mitchell said during interrogation that Matt and Sweat had planned on killing her husband, and she would drive to an unknown location far away. A "law enforcement source" (The same person?) tells the Times Union that he/she heard secondhand that the plan included "possibly" killing Mitchell's husband. [NYDN] [TU]

+ The Times Union looks into the multiple alleged system failures that allowed the escape plan to go undetected. [TU]

+ Andrew Cuomo announced there will be a state inspector general's investigation into the situation surrounding the escape. [NYT]

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Dannemora escapees still not captured, state legislation goes to the dogs, she's not dead

Dannemora manhunt
Authorities have yet to capture Richard Matt and David Sweat, who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility last weekend. On Friday Clinton County DA Andrew Wylie told the media that the prison employee who's been implicated in the escape gave the two men contraband, but not power tools. The Times Union reports that "a State Police document" it obtained indicates the woman "admitted to providing power tools." And "sources" tell CNN the woman provided "hacksaw blades, drill bits and lighted eyeglasses" to the men. [TU] [TWCN] [TU] [CNN]

+ "Those close to the situation" tell the Times Union that a recent request to lock down the whole prison to search for weapons was turned down the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision "amid" concerns of overtime costs. [TU]

+ The manhunt, which includes more than 500 officers, has most recently focused on an area just to the east of Dannemora. [News10] [TWCN]

+ Residents of the area are starting to tire of the commotion and stress related to the hunt. [TWCN]

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Search for escaped convicts heads into day six, Guilderland broker charged in alleged Ponzi scheme, zip line and aquarium coming to the region

Dannemora update
Police are in the sixth day of a search for two escapees from Dannemora. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin joined Andrew Cuomo at a news conference on Wednesday where police announced they believe the two escaped convicts may be headed for Vermont . Overnight a large police response was underway east of Dannemora where Route 374 was closed and detours are set up. Police are questioning Joyce Mitchell, a civilian who worked in a tailor shop at Clinton Correctional facility in Dannemora, who is alleged to have helped facilitate the escape.[Gazette'[TU][TWCN][WNYT][NYT]

Alleged Ponzi scheme
A money manager and Senior Vice President of Capital Financial Planning in Guilderland is facing nine felony charges including first degree money laundering in connection with an alleged Ponzi scheme. [WNYT][TWCN]

Fund for suspended officer
An online fund raising campaign has been established to help the Saratoga Springs police officer suspended after he was seen on video pepper spraying a man who gave him the middle finger. [Gazette]

Schenectady Taser incident
The Schenectady police department says they are investigating an allegation by a city man that police used excessive force when they pepper-sprayed and Tasered him in Mont Pleasant last week while arresting him for jaywalking. A teen who made one of the videos showing the arrest was also arrested on disorderly conduct charges for allegedly crossing against a light and causing a traffic hazard. [Gazette x 2]

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Manhunt continues for Dannemora escapees, tornado hits Scotia, jail sentence in ongoing Greenfield horse farm case, Mr. Fredericks goes to the Capitol

Dannemora manhunt
The manhunt continues today for two convicted killers who escaped from Dannemora over the weekend. On Tuesday the hunt centered on the Essex County town of Willsboro after it was reported that two men were seen bolting into the woods.[TU][WNYT][NYT]

Questions about Andrew Cuomo's visit to Dannemora. [Capital NY]

Tornado hits Scotia
A tornado with winds of up to 80 miles per hour touched down in a Scotia neighborhood on Tuesday. The tornado was classified as an EFo, the lowest level on the scale, but it did its share of damage, downing wires and tree branches.[TU][Gazette][WNYT]

Legislative ethics
With six days left in the legislative session, there is still no agreement on ethics reform. The Assembly an Senate are arguing over language in a bill that would allow a judge to take away the pension of a politician convicted of a felony.[News 10][TU]

A state Supreme Court justice has ruled that former New York State Assemblyman Vito Lopez must pay a fine of $330,000 that was levied against him by the Legislative Ethics Commission. [TU][WNYT]

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Hunt continues for escaped prisoners, first responders described devastation of oil train crashes, 1st round pick

Escape from Dannemora
The hunt for the two escaped prisoners from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora continued Monday as investigators focused on whether the convicted killers had help. A "person briefed on the matter" tells the Times Union that Richard Matt and David Sweat had been staying in an "honor block" that allowed more liberties -- and the investigation has focused on the possible role of an employee who worked the two men in a prison tailor shop. Said Andrew Cuomo Monday of the escape plan: "I don't think they could have acquired the equipment they needed to do this without help." The escape is said to be the first in the facility's more-than-150-year history. [AP/Saratogian] [TU] [NYT] [TWCN] [Wikipedia]

Histories of Capital Region/New York prison escapes: Times Union | Daily Gazette | News10.

Meta: From the New York Times: "For Mr. Cuomo, the escaped men represent both a genuine law-enforcement challenge -- how to chase down a pair of killers in a remote corner of the state -- and an unexpected break from the deepest political doldrums of his time in office."

News story quote or outtake from a comic book movie: "You can imagine the powers in that person to convince others of things when what really lurks within is quite evil." [WNYT]

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Two prisoners escape from Dannemora, arrests in Troy arson case, thinking about the Stockade in a flood-prone future

Escape from Dannemora
State Police say two inmates escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora (map) sometime between Friday and Saturday. NYSP say the inmates -- Richard Matt and Donald Sweat -- were serving sentences for murder and are "very dangerous individuals." Authorities say the men used power tools to cut through a steel wall in their cells, got access to a catwalk leading tunnels and pipes below the prison, cut through the pipes, went through pipes, and emerged outside the prison through a manhole a block away. Officials say the men might have had help. On Sunday, Andrew Cuomo said the two men "could be anywhere in the state by this time" as well as in Vermont or Canada. The governor announced a $100k reward for information leading to an arrest. [NYSP] [TU] [NYSP] [Press Republican] [NYT] [TWCN] [TU] [Cuomo admin]

Arrests in Troy fire case
Troy police three people were arrested last week in North Carolina for the Lansingburgh fire in May that eventually resulted in the death of an elderly woman. The trio will face arson charges when they're returned to Rensselaer County. TPD has not publicly discussed a motive in the fire. [Troy Record] [TU] [TWCN]

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Charges dropped in Saratoga Springs PD middle finger case, GlobalFoundaries adding jobs, apartment plan in the works for Rensselaer waterfront

SSPD middle finger case
Charges have been dropped against Adam Rupeka, the man who had been stopped by Saratoga Springs police, and sprayed with pepper spray, after flipping an officer the finger -- an incident Rupeka recorded on video. The officer -- Nathan Baker -- has been on administrative leave and SSPD chief Greg Veitch says the department is moving to fire him. Rupeka's attorney says he'll be pursuing a civil case against the city. [Saratogian] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Rally in Troy
There was a community rally Thursday near the spot where Tyreek Prince was fatally shot early Sunday morning in Troy. Said Prince's grandfather, James June: "There's a lesson in this and the lesson is not revenge or retaliation ... It's education. I don't want to see [other kid's] mothers going through what my wife, my children, Tyreek's mother and his family are going through." [News10] [TWCN]

GlobalFoundries
GlobalFoundries says it's planning to add 600 jobs at its Malta facility by the end of the year. [TU+]

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Cuomo asks agencies what they think of Schneiderman, Albany/Troy police investigating Troy shooting death, NYRA has a new chairman, Henry Johnson honored at Pentagon

QPoll: Voters disapprove of Cuomo's education plan
A recent Quinnapiac poll shows 59 percent of voters disapprove of the way Andrew Cuomo is handling education, with 54 percent saying they trust teachers unions to improve schools more than the governor. [Capital NY]

Cuomo surveys state agencies about Schneiderman
Andrew Cuomo is surveying state agencies asking them to evaluate the performance of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman -- something believed to be a first for a New York governor.[NYT][TU]

Sheehan meets with Harlem state Assemblyman
Harlem state Assemblyman Keith Wright met with Kathy Sheehan and acting police chief Brendan Cox to clear the air after Wright suggested in a recent speech that minority protestors should be concerned about getting arrested in Albany because there are "not a lot of people that look like us up there." [TU]

Arrests in rent protest at Capitol
Fifty-five people were arrested at a protest by tenants rights groups at the Capitol on Wednesday. Protesters were calling for strengthening New York City rent control laws. [TU]

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Qpoll: Cuomo rating at new low, Jay Street building owner claims hydrants not functioning, Pioneer bank leaves Troy

Cuomo's rating drops again
The latest Quinnipiac poll reports Andrew Cuomo's approval rating have dropped to its lowest point, 44 percent, largely over low grades on his handling of ethics issues. [TU]

NYRA Chairman takes leave over Skelos scandal
NYRA's board chairman is taking a leave of absence following allegations his company provided a "no show job" to the son of former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. [WNYT][Saratogian]

Jay Street building owner says alleges broken hydrants
The owner of the Jay Street apartment building destroyed in a deadly fire in March alleges the hydrants near the building weren't working properly, which, he says, hampered the fire departments response. The Schenectady City Attorney says the hydrants were, in fact, working correctly.[Gazette][TU]

Schenectady officials are blaming the debris from the March Jay Street fire for flooding in city hall this week.[Gazette]

$14 million Hamilton Hill housing project
A $14 million project announced on Tuesday would create 50 new low-income apartments apartments in Schenectady's Hamilton Hill neighborhood, in an effort to revitalize the neighborhood. [TU]

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White House ceremony for Henry Johnson, settlement in Troy police civil rights lawsuit, NYRA chair's company said to be connected with Skelos, who owns Washington Park?

Henry Johnson
Barack Obama is scheduled to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to WWI hero, and Albany native, Henry Johnson this morning. The top enlisted member of the New York Army National Guard will be accepting the award on Johnson's behalf. [TU]

The ceremony is scheduled for 11:15 am and will be streamed online. It will also be shown at Albany City Hall. [White House]

Troy fatal shooting investigation
Troy police have identified the young man killed in a shooting early Sunday morning near the Hoosick Street overpass as Tyreek Prince. TPD says there are currently no suspects and the investigation is ongoing. In April Albany police said Prince had been shot in the leg in the Mansion Neighborhood. TPD chief John Tedesco says the department will be talking with Albany police about the situation. Said a mother in the Troy neighborhood where Prince was shot to News10 on Monday: "I'm just tired of burying our kids ... I'm tired of our kids killing each other." [TU] [APD press release] [Troy Record] [TWCN] [News10]

Troy police civil rights case
The city of Troy reached a $39k settlement in the lawsuit in which a jury recently found that two police officers violated a man's civil rights by using excessive force during an incident at a hospital. Troy Corporation Counsel Ian Silverman continued to express city government support for the officers, to the Troy Record: "We think they behaved appropriately and reasonably that night." [TU] [Troy Record]

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Fatal shooting in Troy, Troy officials treating May fire as a homicide, Brown's Beach opens to the public, Chebet wins third Freihofer's run title

Fatal Troy shooting
One person was killed and another injured during a shooting in Troy early Sunday morning near the Hoosick Street bridge underpass (map), Troy police say. [News10]

+ Schenectady police say one person was injured in a shooting in Hamilton Hill Friday afternoon (map). [Daily Gazette]

+ Albany police say two vehicles were struck by gunfire, but no injuries reported, Saturday night in West Hill (map. [TU]

Lansingburgh fire investigation
Troy police say they're treating the recent death of an 82-year-old woman from injuries suffered during the May 1 Lansingburgh fire as a homicide. Law enforcement officials say they're seeking three suspects in the case, and are asking for the public's help with information about the case. TPD chief John Tedesco said officials are "very confident" that the May 1 fire is not connected with the long string of suspected arsons in Lansingburgh. [TU] [News10] [TWCN]

Oil trains
Among the proposals in a pair of oil train reports issued last week by the offices of Albany County exec Dan McCoy and Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan: a wall along tracks in the South End to separate neighborhoods from the oil trains. [Capital] [TU]

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Kenneth White's cousin said to have described his death on video, Dean Skelos and son indicted, yearbook giraffe photo criticized

Kenneth White case
Tiffany VanAlstyne -- accused of killing her 5-year-old cousin Kenneth White in December -- is described to police on video how she choked the boy and then dumped his body over a guardrail near their home in Knox, according to court documents obtained by the Times Union. [TU+]

Medical marijuana dispensary in Albany?
One of the companies trying to land a state license to sell medical marijuana wants to open a dispensary in Albany's Warehouse District, a plan that would require a zoning adjustment. [TU+]

Skelos and son
Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, have been indicted on six counts in the federal corruption case against them. The indictment includes a new accusation involving an alleged no-show job for Adam Skelos with a medical malpractice insurance company that was lobbying the former state Senate majority leader. [State of Politics] [NYT]

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Pataki announces presidential run, Robinson gets maximum, land owner makes another bid for Bisco permit

Pataki 2016
Former NY Governor George Pataki has released a campaign video announcing his 2016 presidential campaign. [NYT]

Robinson gets maximum
Herman Robinson was sentenced on Wednesday to 100 years to life in prison for repeatedly raping a young woman and murdering the infant child she gave birth to. At the sentencing Herman maintained his innocence, while his victim, now a college student training to be a social worker, told the court,"I am strong." [TWCN][Gazette][TU]

Assembly passes single payer health bill
The State Assembly approved a bill on Wednesday to create a single-payer health system in NY. This was the first vote to occur on the issue since 1992, though it had been introduced every year since by Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried. It is not likely to clear the Senate. [TU]

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Regents name new State Ed Commissioner, Schneiderman's plan to battle corruption, governors neighbor for 87 years

On corruption
A new Siena poll reports that while 90 percent of respondents think corruption is a serious problem, and 62 percent say it's serious among legislators, only 37 percent say they are less likely to re-elect their representatives. [TU]

Meanwhile, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has laid out his plan to combat legislative corruption, which includes a ban on all outside income, but makes the legislature full time and gives them a pay raise.[TU]

As the session ends
As the legislative session comes to a close, some of Andrew Cuomo's plans may not come to fruition. The NYT offered a suggested list of items to resolve before legislators go home. [NYT][NYT]

New State Ed Commissioner
MaryEllen Elia, a former Buffalo-area social studies teacher and was most recently a schools superintendent in the Tampa, Florida area, is the Board of Regents' unanimous choice for the next New York State Education Commissioner. Elia says she plans to do a lot of listening. Assemblyman Jim Tesdisco, a vocal opponent of Common Core, says the board "clearly jumped the shark" in its decision. [TU][CNY][WNYT]

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Death following Troy arson fire, Normanskill fix could cost millions, Albany aquarium idea apparently still floating, words as colors

Death in Troy arson case
The 82-year-old woman who was pulled, unconscious, from the Lansingburgh arson fire earlier this month has died, Troy police say. The fire was the 14th suspicious fire in Lansingburgh since last July. [WNYT] [TU]

Troy police civil rights suit
John Larkins, whose lawsuit over an encounter with Troy police at a hospital in 2011 resulted in a jury finding last week that two officers had violated his civil rights by using excessive force, to the Times Union: "I don't want a buyout ... That's not justice. I want their badges to be taken away. The police are supposed to protect our civil rights, not trample over them. Chief Tedesco should also be prosecuted. Systematic injustice has been perpetuated by his officers." [TU]

Also: The Troy City Council's public safety committee recently reviewed the TPD's discipline policies, and the chair's report concluded the department's discipline processes are "routinely managed in an effective manner." [Troy Record]

Normanskill landslide
A state Department of Transportation memo provides a range of options for restoration work on the section of the Normanskill that was blocked by a landslide in April, with a rough estimate of price ranging from $1.4 million to $7.8 million. [TU]

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Full environmental review for proposed Port of Albany oil heating facility, jury finds against two Troy police officers in civil rights lawsuit, passing on former convention center land

Oil trains
The state Department of Environmental Conversation announced Thursday that it's rescinding its earlier to decision to no require a full environmental review of Global Companies' plan to build a facility for heating crude oil at the Port of Albany. (Speculation is that the facility would allow the transfer of tar sands oil from Canada at the port.) DEC cited the nearby Ezra Prentice Homes, and the potential adverse impacts on the people living there, as a reason for the switch. Albany Common Council member Dorcey Applyrs to the Times Union, about the change and the addition of an air pollution sensor near the port: "This is what the community has been asking for. We want to know what is in the air that we are breathing." [NYS DEC] [Capital] [TU]

Troy police civil rights case
The jury in a civil rights lawsuit in US District Court Utica found that two Troy police officers violated a man's civil rights by using excessive force during an incident at a hospital in 2011. Troy's corporation counsel said the city disagrees with the verdict on use of excessive force and "we stand by our officers." [TU] [Troy Record]

Guilty plea in Malta death
Charles Wilkerson -- the 69-year-old Malta man accused of strangling his wife of more than 40 years to death a year ago in their home -- pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter Thursday. The plea deal includes an expected sentence of 15 years in prison. [WNYT] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

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Shooting death in Albany, planners give approval to Mohawk Harbor project, law enforcement agencies winners in international gambling ring

Albany shooting death
Albany police are investigating the fatal shooting of a 60-year-old man late Wednesday night inside an apartment on Judson near First Street. It's the third homicide in Albany in recent weeks. A frustrated Common Councilman, Mark Robinson, told the Times Union: "When you have bad housing stock on top of bad housing stock and absentee landlords who only care about getting their monthly rent check, it is easy for drug houses to get established in our communities." [WNYT][TWCN][TU]

Another step toward Mohawk Harbor
Schenectady's Planning Commission has approved the Galesi Groups 60-acre riverfront condos and retail project for the old Alco site. [Gazette]

Brendon Glenn
Chris Churchill looks at the questions surrounding the death of Brendon K. Glenn, the unarmed Troy man killed by Los Angels police recently. Funeral services for Glenn were held in Troy on Wednesday. [TU][Record]

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Body of missing Schenectady woman discovered in Coeymans, alleged illegal boarding house raided in Colonie, new video surfaces in Saratoga police stop, no birds at the fair

Body of missing Schenectady woman discovered in Coeymans
The body discovered in a shallow grave in Coeymans has been identified as that of Shelby Countermine, a Schenectady woman who disappeared last December . The case is being treated as a murder. [TU][WNYT]

Illegal boarding house
The Colonie codes department is serving the owners of a Central Avenue home for allegedly running an illegal boarding house with 15 bedrooms, 40 beds, and only a half bathroom. [TU][TWCN]

School budgets approved
Capital Region school district budgets were all passed on Tuesday. In Albany, the school district budget was supported by 72 percent of the votes cast - the highest figure in district's history according to the district director of communications. [Gazette][TU]

More video in controversial Saratoga Springs police stop
A second video has surfaced in a controversial Saratoga Springs police stop. This video shows the officer pepper spraying the man who is sitting in his car after refusing to get out of the vehicle while asking what crime he had committed. [TU][Saratogian][Gazette]

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Allegation of excessive force in Saratoga Springs traffic stop, Coeymans body being treated as homicide, Sawyer Fredericks finds out if he's won The Voice tonight

Today is school budget vote day. Don't know where to vote? Check with your board of education (it could be different from you vote for other elections).

Police/community relations
+ Troy: The trial for a lawsuit in which three Troy police officers are accused of using excessive force while arresting a man at a hospital in 2011 started in US District Court in Utica. [TU]
+ Saratoga Springs: The Saratoga Springs Police Department says it's placed an officer on administrative leave after an activist says excessive force, including pepper spray, was used on him during a traffic stop Saturday afternoon after giving the officer the finger. The incident was partially captured on video. (A "law enforcement source" tells WNYT there's also another video "that clearly shows the confrontation.") Adam Rupeka says he had gone to Saratoga Springs for the purpose of testing the police there. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [YouTube] [WNYT] [TWCN]

Kenneth White case
Kenneth White's father pleaded guilty to a finding of neglect in Albany County Family Court Monday. Jason White said he's getting substance abuse treatment and ultimately wants to get custody of Kenneth's sisters. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Coeymans body
A "source close to the case" tells WNYT and News10 that there's evidence indicating the body found in Coeymans last week is a Capital Region woman who disappeared in December. Police say they're treating the case as a homicide. [WNYT] [News10]

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Arrest in Schenectady arson cases, APD updated policy on taser use, superintendent alleges she was harassed after pregnancy, 400 points

Schenectady arson arrest
Schenectady officials announced Friday that they've arrested a man suspected of being responsible for five arsons in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood. Police credited an anonymous call and surveillance camera video for helping lead to the arrest. Officials did not address a possible motive for the fires. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [News10]

Albany police tasers and body cameras
Acting Albany police chief Brendan Cox briefed a Common Council committee on the APD's new guidelines for taser use, including multiple categories of people for which officers would be restricted from using the stun guns. (It has now been a month and a half since Dontay Ivy died in police custody after being tasered.) [TU]

Oil trains
"Three meeting attendees" tell Capital that "state environmental officials have said in private meetings that it may be legally difficult for them to oppose construction of a heating facility at the Port of Albany that would allow tar sands crude to be transported through New York." [Capital]

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Questions about train safety system, reaction to Medal of Honor for Henry Johnson, Start-Up NY's very slow start, buyer for Hoffman's Playland property

Train safety
The safety system that experts say could have possibly prevented the Amtrak crash near Philadelphia this week -- Positive Train Control -- is not yet in use on lines in New York State traveled by Amtrak. There's currently a fight in Congress over whether the deadline for implementing PTC nationwide should be pushed back to 2020. Amtrak officials said this week the railroad is close to testing its implementation of the system. [NPR] [TU x2] [NYT]

Henry Johnson
Albany WWI hero , the White House announced Thursday. Here's reaction from local historians, advocates, and officials. [AOA] [TU]

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Derailed Amtrak train was speeding, teen dies following Plotter Kill fall, Wormuth in federal court, Fido on the patio

Derailed Amtrak train was speeding
The Amtrak train that derailed on a sharp curve between Philadelphia and NY on Tuesday night, killing seven people was speeding at more than 106 mph before it went off the tracks. The engineer says he has no recollection of what happened. Chuck Schumer is calling for Positive Train Control systems that would slow down trains when they are going to fast or when there is a car or another train on the track. [NYT][WNYT][News 10]

Teen dies following Plotter Kill fall
The Clifton Park teenager who fell 50 feet while hiking at Plotter Kill Preserve on Tuesday has died.[TU]

Wormuth in U.S. District Court
Former Halfmoon Supervisor Melinda Wormuth appeared in U.S. District Court on Wednesday. Wormuth's attorney E. Stewart Jones argued that Wormuth was not read her Miranda rights before making videotaped statements, claiming a longtime town attorney told her it would be alright to use her political connections to lobby on behalf of the MMA. [TU][Record][Gazette]

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Flanagan now state Senate majority leader, Kenneth White's aunt denied custody of his sisters, past the freeze point

New state Senate majority leader
Dean Skelos is officially out as state Senate majority leader, and John Flanagan is in. Flanagan is from Long Island and had the backing of Skelos. He edged out John DeFrancisco, who's from the Syracuse area, for the Republican majority leadership. [NYT] [Capital] [TWCN] [TU]

More on Flanagan: He represents a district in Suffolk County on Long Island. He's 54 and an attorney. And he got his start in the state legilsature in 1986 when he jumped in an Assembly seat race shortly before an election after his father -- John Flanagan Sr., the incumbent -- died of a heart attack. [NYS Senate] [TU] [NYT]

Kenneth White's aunt denied custody of his sisters
An Albany County Family Court judge formally removed the sisters of Kenneth White from the custody of their aunt, Brenda VanAlstyne. The judge cited a string or reasons for denying VanAlstyne custody, including evidence of "their abuse and neglect" while they were in her care. VanAlstyne was removed from the courtroom during the hearing and yelled at the judge. The sisters will stay in foster care because the judge ruled their parents are also not currently suitable guardians. After the hearing, the mother of the sisters and Kenneth White told two reporters she was responsible for the boy's death -- a comment that Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says will prompt a conversation with her. [WNYT] [TU] [TWCN] [News10] [Daily Gazette]

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Dean Skelos said to be on the way out of state Senate leadership, the former KGB agent in Schaghticoke, the snow that won't quit

Dean Skelos
"GOP sources" tell the Buffalo News that Dean Skelos will be out as state Senate majority leader today -- either by a vote of his conference, and or by his own decision. The behind-the-scenes scramble to succeed him has been in progress for days. [Buffalo News] [Capital]

More tangents of the Skelos story:
+ A look at the widespread influence exerted by Glenwood Management, the real estate developer that popped up in both the Skelos and Sheldon Silver cases, and how it's used the LLC loophole to become a top campaign contributor in the state. [TU]
+ Do the state's legislative leaders have too much power. [TU]
+ A survey of the many state Senate Republicans -- as well as lobbyists -- with second homes along a section of of the Florida coast. [NYDN]

Making bail (or not)
The Daily Gazette's Kathleen Moore looked into how even small amounts of bail can end up keeping people in jail -- a situation that even law enforcement officials says isn't necessarily helpful -- and how that can end up having longterm consequences. [Daily Gazette]

KGB
The odd story of the IT specialist who worked for multiple utility entities in New York who was also a KGB agent, and then became a consultant for the FBI and National Security Administration. The man now works for NYISO in North Greenbush and lives in Schaghticoke. [Capital] [TU]

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Rensselaer waterfront potential SUNY Poly site, DA's office looking for person in Dontay Ivy case, state Assemblyman pleads guilty, a good way to go through life

Nano Rensselaer?
Alain Kaloyeros says SUNY Poly is looking at creating "an innovation and commercialization hub" at the De Laet's Landing site on the Rensselaer waterfront. Kaloyeros says the decision to focus on Rensselaer was at the urging of Andrew Cuomo. [Biz Review] [TU]

Dontay Ivy case
The Albany County DA's office is looking for a person who appears in a surveillance video from around the scene of the incident involving Albany police and Dontay Ivy. From the DA's office press release: "To be clear, this person is not a suspect, but may have information in relation to the investigation of the death of Donald 'Dontay' Ivy." [Albany County DA]

Schenectady fatal fire
A second person has died from injuries in the house fire in Schenectady Wednesday. [Daily Gazette]

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Three arraigned in Lark Street fatal shooting, deadly fire in Schenectady, Skelos survives ouster effort by dems, the Patriots of corruption

Lark Street fatal shooting update
A pair of teenagers have been charged in the shooting death of a 27-year-old father of six on an Albany street corner earlier this week. A third suspect -- a 24-year-old Albany man -- was arraigned in connection with the case this morning. [TU][TU]

Skelos
State Senate Democrats made a failed attempt on Wednesday to remove Dean Skelos as majority leader. Skelos still has the support of the Republican majority -- but barely. Andrew Cuomo says if the charges against Skelos are true they are "deeply disturbing," but he stopped short of saying Skelos should step down. [TU][TWCN][TU]

One dead in Schenectady fire
One person has died and another was badly burned in an overnight house fire in Schenectady.[TU][WNYT]

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Two charged in fatal Albany shooting, Skelos won't step down, "United Nations of workers" bringing FIOS to Guilderland

Two suspects in Albany shooting
Two men have been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the deadly shooting at Lark Street and Sheridan Avenue in Albany. [TU]

Skelos update
Dismissing a federal corruption complaint against himself and his son as "nothing more than a press release," Dean Skelos has decided not to step down as Senate Majority Leader. While Senate Republicans have stood behind Skelos, Assembly Republicans are calling on Skelos to step down from his leadership post. The cases against Skelos and Sheldon Silver involve some pretty powerful New York real estate names, including a major Albany political donor who has given at least $1 million to Andrew Cuomo. [TU][NYT][TWCN][NYT][CapNY][CapNY]

Schneiderman on Corruption
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took the opportunity to point out that the state has two path's forward, "one path is further investigations and prosecutions and the erosion of public confidence. The other path is to enact comprehensive reforms far more serious than anything that has been or is on the table in Albany. "[Capitol Confidential]

(there's more)

Skelos holds onto state Senate leadership post, APD policy change on taser use, medical marijuana dispensary pitched for Clifton Park

Skelos and Son
+ Following the arrest of Dean Skelos and his son Adam Monday morning, state Senate Republicans decided Monday night to stick with Skelos as majority leader. (Ahead of the Monday night conference, George Amedore said Skelos should not keep the top spot, while Hugh Farley said Skelos should not resign the position if he doesn't want to.) [NYT] [Capital] [Daily Gazette]
+ A look at Glenwood Management, the development firm that's not been connected to both Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, and its executive Charles Dorego. Said an unnamed lobbyist to Capital: "If Dorego is involved,then you can bet more trees are going to fall." [TU] [Capital]

Fatal shooting in Albany
Albany police say three people were shot -- one fatally -- early Tuesday morning in Sheridan Hollow (map). APD says it's taken two suspects into custody. The Times Union described the scene as "grisly with pools of dried blood on stoops, sidewalks and the street." [APD FB] [TU]

Albany police tasers
Albany police have a new policy that limits officers to using three bursts from a taser on a suspect. [TU]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

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Dean Skelos arrested, investigation into Lansingburgh fire, rally for answers in Ivy case, jarred in Rotterdam

Dean Skelos arrested
Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, surrendered on federal corruption charges this morning. "Multiple sources" tell NYDN that Skelos will try to make the case that he should hold onto his leadership of the state Senate. [NYT] [TWCN] [NYDN]

Lansingburgh fire
"Authorities familiar with the investigation" tell the Times Union that gasoline was used to start the apartment fire in Lansingburgh early Friday. Lou Rosamilia: "Just total disrespect for human life. We are going to work vigilantly to get that person or those individuals involved in this, and put an end to it. Once and for all." [TU] [WNYT]

Rally for answers in Dontay Ivy case
About 100 people rallied outside Albany police headquarters Saturday to push for answers in the death of Dontay Ivy. It's been one month since Ivy died in police custody after being tasered, and there has yet to be official word about why the Albany man was stopped by police. Masai Andrews of Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration: "People are anxious, they want to have answers." [TU] [TWCN]

Also: A look at how police use tasers, and the relative lethality of the weapons. [TU+]

(there's more)

Memorial for man fatally shot in West Hill, red light camera revenue projection cut, is there a way to avoid ticket scalpers?

West Hill shooting
Family and community members gathered at Livingston Park in Albany's West Hill neighborhood Thursday to remember the man fatally shot there this week, identified by Albany police as Latwan Hankins of Albany. (APD says the incident, in which two other men were also shot, is under investigation.) Common Council member Mark Robinson said the community needs to get a grip on what's caused recent violence, or the summer could be hard. Said Robinson: "We're in a struggling community ... We're in a community that lacks opportunities." [TU] [APD press release] [TWCN] [News10]

Suspicious fire in Lansingburgh
Troy fire and police officials are treating an overnight fire at a 6-unit apartment building in Lansingburgh as suspicious. A resident tells WNYT she saw two men throw something that exploded before the fire. [TWCN] [News10] [WNYT]

Shane Harding sentenced
Shane Harding, the Schodack man who pleaded guilty to kidnapping two women last September as part of a multi-day incident that snaked through multiple Capital Region counties and western Massachusetts before he was captured near Skidmore, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. One of the women who was kidnapped said the incident "changed me in ways I'm yet to figure out how to accept." Said Renssealer County judge Deborah Young: "I only wish I could give you more time." [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record] [News10]

(there's more)

One dead in West Hill shooting, Cuomo unveils AIDS plan, education lobbies were biggest spenders, advice for living to 104

One dead in West Hill Shooting
Albany police are investigating a shooting in Livingston Park in West Hill overnight that left a 21-year-old man dead and two other men injured. [WNYT][TWCN]

Another suspicious fire in Mont Pleasant
Schenectady officials are investigating the third suspicious fire in the Mont Pleasant neighborhood this month. [TU]

Shooting prompts school lockdown in Schenectady
Elmer Avenue Elementary School in Schenectady was locked down for a while following a shooting on Wednesday morning. [TWCN]

Cuomo unveils AIDS plan
Andrew Cuomo has announced a plan aimed at ending the AIDS epidemic in New York State over the next five years. The plan is expected to cost billions of dollars, which still need to be found. [TU][CapNY]

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Trial date set for Silver, Scarborough to plead guilty in travel voucher scam, fracking ban won't be permanent, something stinky in Watervliet

Silver trial date
Sheldon Silver pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, at his arraignment on charges he transferred more than $287,000 of what prosecutors say were the proceeds of his crimes into investments that were not available to the general public.Silver's trial has been set for November 1[NYT][Business Review]

One Western New York Democrat wants the Assembly to vote on expelling Silver. [TU]


Scarborough to plead guilty
Assemblyman William Scarborough says he will plead guilty to federal charges that he misused $40,000 in travel vouchers and accepted payment for the days he was not in Albany. The Queens Democrat will plead guilty to federal charges he submitted false travel vouchers, accepting payments for days hat he was not in Albany. Scarborough sent out a statement apologizing for his actions and blaming poor judgement and a difficult financial situation. [TU][TU]

Cuomo plan for police oversight
Meeting with lobbyists and family members of people killed by police, Andrew Cuomo said if lawmakers don't approve his plans for independent monitor to oversee such cases he will create a special prosecutor who would have the power to pursue charges against officers.[TU]

Plea deal in Lansingburgh beating deaths
One of the defendants charged in the beating death of a Lansingburgh couple inside their home last year has taken a plea deal and agreed to testify against his codefendant.[Record][TWCN]

(there's more)

APD acting chief addresses taser use, lower speed limit for oil trains -- but not here, questions about job creation numbers, red beards

Albany police taser
Acting Albany police chief Brendan Cox on the incident this past weekend in which a man said to be fleeing from police was tasered, and then apparently lost consciousness afterward: "Based on the totality of circumstances with Mr. Townsend he was certainly perceived as potentially carrying a deadly weapon. He was told give up, if you don't give up you're going to be tased and he chose to be tased." Cox said APD officers used a taser 62 times in the 283 "use of force" arrests in 2014 (there were 5,700 arrests total for the year). [WNYT] [TWCN] [News10]

Oil trains
The feds have issued a new order that limits oil trains to no more than 40 miles per hour in "high threat urban areas" -- a designation that doesn't include the Capital Region. [US DOT FRA] [TU]

West Wind Acres
West Wind Acres Joshua Rockwood was back in Glenville Town Court Monday for a hearing about how much might be owed for the care of horses taken from the farm in March -- the total floated was $7,600. Rockwood's attorney said afterward the animals had proper living conditions at West Wind Acres and never should have been seized. [TU] [News10] [Daily Gazette]

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APD: Man "became unresponsive" after being tasered, Herman Robinson found guilty, reviewing the escaped bison situation, Lincoln's funeral train

Albany police taser
Albany police say a man "appeared to have a seizure and became unresponsive" after being tasered after an alleged attempt to flee and resist arrest. APD says officers began CPR, and the man regained consciousness before EMS arrived. Police say the man -- Jamarl Townsend of Albany, age 21 -- had been identified as a parole absconder and was wanted for questioning in a 2014 shooting. APD acting chief Brendan Cox to the Times Union: "(The suspect) decided to run. And based on all information, having been involved in a shooting and believed to have a gun, it was an appropriate use of the Taser." Townsend's sister, Ashante Boyd, to WNYT: "The reason he tried to run yesterday is because he was scared ... He don't want to go back to jail. Any person they don't want to be back in jail after they did time." [APD press release] [TU] [WNYT]

This most recent incident follows the death of Dontay Ivey on April 2 after he was tasered by Albany police -- officials have yet to publicly release specific information about why Ivey was stopped. And in September 2014 Daniel Satre died in Ballston Spa after being tasered by police. [Daily Gazette]

Herman Robinson trial
Herman Robinson -- the Schenectady man accused of repeatedly raping a young woman, impregnating her, and then killing the baby shortly after it was born -- was found by guilty Friday on the full range of counts against him, including second-degree murder, rape, and sexual assault. He faces 100 years to life at sentencing. Said Schenectady County DA Robert Carney of the young woman, who testified at the trial: "She's strong, she's bright, and she's very brave ... And despite what he did to her, she has a very promising future." [Daily Gazette] [TU] [WNYT]

Shots fired in mall parking lot
Guilderland police say they're looking for two men in connection with shots fired in the Crossgates Mall parking lot Friday early evening during what was apparently an attempted robbery. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

(there's more)

Keeping an eye on level of Normanskill, Comcast-TWC deal off, the old and new pot economies, bison on the run

Normanskill
Some residents along the Normanskill say they're still worried about potential flooding from the landslide this week. The city of Albany announced Friday morning that all 18 holes of the Capital Hills golf course, which borders the landslide area and has been used to access the blockage, will be open this weekend. [TU] [city of Albany press release]

See also: Some number of facts about the Normanskill

Ferguson looked to Albany
The city of Ferguson, Missouri has been in contact with officials in Albany to learn about Albany's experience with community policing, the chair of Albany's Citizens Police Review Board tells WNYT. [WNYT]

Plug pulled on Comcast-TWC merger
Comcast has called off its plan to buy Time Warner Cable after the federal government said it had "significant concerns" that the combined entity would control internet access for too large a portion of the country -- as much as 40 percent. (Consumer advocates had been against the deal from the start -- one had called a merger of the two companies with notoriously bad customer service "badness squared.") TWC has about 300,000 subscribers in the Capital Region. [NYT] [US DOJ] [NYT] [Washington Post 2014] [TU]

(there's more)

Sheehan wants "full reimbursement" for Normanskill repair work, more Common Core exams & more opt-outs, stolen phone leads to pop-star status in China

Reimbursement for Normans Kill
Mayor Kathy Sheehan's office says Albany plans to seek "full reimbursement " for its handling of the landslide at the privately owned Normanside Country Club that blocked the Normanskill earlier this week. So far the damage is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Normanside Country Club managing partner David Hostig says the landslide that blocked the Normanskill this week was an "act of god," but Bethlehem supervisor John Clarkson says the club began grading work on the slope before receiving a permit.[TU][CBS6][TU]

More Common Core, more opt-outs
Wednesday saw another round of common core exams and another round of boycotts. The overwhelming number of students who have opted out of Common Core testing has some legislators considering changes to the education section of the state budget. [TU][Gazette][TWCN]

Dontay Ivy's family still seeking answers
Albany Police Department has still not revealed why officers originally stopped Dontay Ivy, the mentally ill man who died after being tasered by police more than three weeks ago. [TU]

Autopsy shows narcotics in one-year-old
An autopsy shows a Washington County one-year-old who died in February had narcotics in her system [Post Star]

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Albany County has state's second lowest unemployment rate, body found in Hudson River, federal judge approves Albany County political map, 45 years of Earth Day

Earth Day
Today is Earth Day. The first Earth Day was celebrated 45 years ago. That's also the day the first Earth Day legislation was signed in New York State, creating the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation -- one of the first government agencies specifically formed for the purpose of overseeing all environmental concerns through one organization.

Headlines

Federal judge approves Albany County political map
A federal judge gave his approval on Tuesday to the new district map for the Albany County Legislature, effectively ending a four year voting rights lawsuit stemming from the 2011 map, which was alleged to have violated the Voting Rights Act by diluting the power of African-American voters.[TU]

Forensic scientists face termination
Fifteen forensic scientists with the State Police have been suspended without pay and issued termination notices following a six-month internal investigation that revealed unauthorized information sharing on training exams for a new computer-based form of DNA analysis.[TU]

Unemployment drops in Albany
Albany County had the second lowest unemployment rate in the state during March. (NYS Department of Labor press release.) [WNYT]

(there's more)

Water flowing again on Normanskill, more adjunct instructors unionizing, criticism of Albany codes office situation

Normanskill landslide
Water is flowing again past the Normanskill blockage caused by a landslide Sunday/Monday. Crews used pumps to keep the water level down above the blockage while a new trench was dug to divert the water. [TU] [Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple Twitter x2]

Herman Robinson trial
Herman Robinson's alleged suicide note -- which mentions the repeated rape of a young woman, her pregnancy, and the death of the baby -- was allowed into evidence at his trial. Closing arguments are scheduled for Tuesday. [Daily Gazette] [News10]

Adjuncts continue to unionize
The SCCC board of trustees voted to recognize a union representing the college's adjunct instructors. And now adjuncts at Siena are working to form a union. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

(there's more)

Cuomo in Cuba, uncertainty about testing opt-outs, another into the pool for Troy mayor, duct tape as doctoring

Cuomo in Cuba
Andrew Cuomo and a trade delegation that includes New York State officials and business leaders is set to arrive in Cuba today. The goal is start laying the groundwork for businesses connections between the country and New York. [NYT] [TU]

Rotterdam police settlement
An attorney for the family who alleged their teen's arm was broken by Rotterdam police during incident on a school bus that was captured on video says their suit has been settled for $360k. [Daily Gazette]

Maestro's
Police say former Maestro's partners John LaPosta and Tina Kruger were arrested Friday morning on allegations they stole more than $50k from the Saratoga Spring restaurant. Their attorney says the situation is a business dispute that the pair thought had been resolved. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

(there's more)

Two shootings in Troy, a loophole that can fit armored trucks of money, Air Force Something

Troy shootings
Troy police say they believe two shootings Thursday evening in North Central (map) are connected. Witnesses say a teen playing on a nearby basketball court was hit -- a witness tells WNYT there were 60-70 kids in the park at the time. [News10] [Troy Record] [WNYT]

Guilty plea in Albany domestic shooting death
Damien Zervos of Albany pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Charee Akins-Maddox in their Lark Street home, while four children were there, in October 2013. [Albany County DA] [TU 2013 October]

Reviewing the police
A man says he had his hands "stomped on" by a Colonie police officer near the scene of the fatal train collision with a pedestrian this week. The CPD chief says the department is investigating. [News10] [TU]

In Troy: The city's Police Objective Review Committee doesn't have its required number of members, nor has it filed its annual report that was due in February. [TU]

(there's more)

Brush fire stops traffic on the Northway, Skelos & son under investigation, opt outs jeopardize Schenectady Common Core participation, Union bells toll for Lincoln

Forecast
97% chance someone will tell you how beautiful it is today.
40% chance of drinks on a patio.

News

Brush fire
A tractor trailer that caught fire on Wednesday iignited a brushfire along the Northway during rush hour last night, resulting in huge backups for commuters. The Northway was shut down between exits 10 and 11. [WNYT][TU][Gazette]

Skelos & son
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is now investigating State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam.[NYT]

Colonie hit and run update
Police are examining a vehicle found near the site of Monday nights's deadly hit-and-run in Colonie that they say "has damage with is consistent with being in an auto/pedestrian crash." [TU][TWCN]

Saint Rose MB in post ad 2014-fall

(there's more)

It's tax day, Common Core testing underway, environmentalists ask GE to expand dredging, Fight for $15 protests in Albany

The forecast

It's April 15. Expect long lines at area post offices today and exhausted accountants later this week.[TWCN]

Be careful filling out your forms, New York has already rejected $331 million in fraudulent refund claims this year. [WNYT]

Headlines

Common Core
Common Core testing is underway across the state for students in grades 3-8. Opt out rates in Capital Region schools range from 2 percent to 53 percent. [TU]

Herman Robinson rape/murder case
A disturbing day of victim and Public Defender sparing in the rape and murder case of Herman Robinson. [TU][TWCN]

(there's more)

Pedestrian struck and killed on Central Ave, funeral for Dontay Ivy, police/community forum in Schenectady, free ice cream cone day

Pedestrian death on Central Ave
Colonie police say a pedestrian was hit and killed while trying to cross Central Ave Monday night (map). CPD says the vehicle did not stop and they're looking for the driver. [TU] [TWCN]

Accuser testifies in Herman Robinson trial
The woman who prosecutors say was repeatedly raped by Herman Robinson in Schenectady testified Monday about the alleged abuse that started when she was 11 years old and continued over many years. Her testimony included many gruesome details and she described the episode in which it's alleged she gave birth and Robinson killed the newborn. [Daily Gazette] [TWCN] [TU] [News10]

Funeral for Dontay Ivy
Funeral services for Dontay Ivy were Monday in Albany. The services drew about 400 people, including Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan and acting police chief Brendan Cox. One of Ivy's cousins, Chamberlain Guthrie, to TWCN about the investigation into Ivy's death while in police custody: "We're not disillusioned to the process, we're not disillusioned to reality, we just want the truth to come out in the end." [News10] [TU] [TWCN]

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Large fire in Troy, Sheehan talks about situation surrounding death of Dontay Ivy, points record for UAlbany's Thompson

Troy fire
A multi-building fire at Fourth Street and Washington Street in Troy (map) Friday evening displaced 25 residents. (Donation page for people affected.) There were no reported injuries. Fire officials are investigating the cause, but the TFD there's been no indication it was intentionally set. [Troy Record] [News10] [TU]

Kenneth White's aunt
An Albany County Family Court judge ruled that Kenneth White's sisters -- 4 and 5 years old -- had been neglected while in the custody of their aunt, Brenda VanAlstyne. The judge also ruled that one of the sisters had likely been abused while in the Berne home. A hearing set for May will determine VanAlstyne's potential custody and visitation of the children. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TWCN]

The death of Dontay Ivy
Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan talked with the Times Union the situation surrounding the death of Dontay Ivy -- "That is not what the officers wanted to happen at the end of that stop ... We need to be careful and not jump to judgment." -- but did not share specific details about why Ivy was stopped by Albany police. Ivy's funeral is today. [TU] [News10]

(there's more)

Accuser testifies in Herman Robinson trial, push for federal transit funding, down on Start-Up NY, a kidney to spare

Herman Robinson trial
The woman prosecutors say was repeatedly raped by Herman Robinson took the stand Thursday for the first time in his murder and rape trial. Earlier in the day Dr. Jennifer Canter, a pediatrician who examined the woman, testified that she's performed exams in hundreds of sexual assault cases: "I haven't quite seen something that looked this disturbing." Canter also testified that there indications the young woman had given birth. [Daily Gazette] [WNYT] [TU]

Investigation into death of Dontay Ivy
The Albany Police Department issued a statement Thursday that it welcomes the independent investigation of the Dontay Ivy case by the Albany County DA's office. And continued: "In order to ensure a fair and impartial investigation by the District Attorney's Office the police department is unable to comment any further until the investigation has been completed." [APD press release]

Also on Thursday, a group of UAlbany students rallied for a better police/community relationship. [TWCN]

(there's more)

UAlbany students planning rally to protest Donald Ivy's death, lawsuit filed in Jay Street fire, $662 million in state overtime, Schenectady celebrates Steinmetz

Weather
If you're feeling kind of drab today, it's probably not you. It's probably this.

News

UAlbany students will rally for Donald Ivy
UAlbany students are planning a rally this afternoon to protest the death of Donald Ivy, the 39 year old paranoid schizophrenic man who was tasered by police last week. [TU]

Arrest in Schenectady shooting
Schenectady police have charged one man with attempted murder and assault in connection with a shooting outside Schenectady High School. A combination of video and witness accounts led police to 27 year old David J. Fyall who they allege "aided a third party" who fired the shot. The shooter is still at large. [WNYT][Gazette]

Judges disallow $600,000 in Bruno refund requests
State auditors say they are disallowing more than $600,000 of the $2.2 million in legal bills Joe Bruno submitted for reimbursement in connection with his public corruption trial. Among the bills disallowed -a public opinion poll and time spent on the phone with journalists[Cap NY]

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Soares to investigate death of Donald Ivy, NYS budget includes corruption referendum, Schenectady High teacher nominated for a Tony Award, Happening today: baseball trivia and fish tossing

Weather

The first moment we almost considered just going back to bed? The one where we learned there was snow in the forecast today.

News

Soares to investigate Donald Ivy death
DA David Soares has announced his office will conduct an independent investigation into the death of Donald "Dontay" Ivy, the mentally ill man who died after being tasered in a confrontation with police last week. [TU]

Shooting outside elementary school
Schenectady police say a man was shot in the road outside Hamilton Elementary School on Tuesday. Said a neighbor of the school about the search for a shooter "We live by the no-snitch rule in the neighborhood, and one day, it'll be my little ones that get shot."[WNYT][Gazette]

Referendum on corruption
An item in New York's new budget would require voters to decide on whether to revoke the pensions of public officials convicted of corruption.[TU][WNYT]

(there's more)

Continued focus on police/community interactions, Chris Gibson for governor?, licensing of street musicians proposed in Saratoga Springs

Focus on police after Dontay Ivy's death
Monday's Albany Common Council meeting included many public comments from people concerned about the recent death of Dontay Ivy and police/community interactions. [TU] [CBS6]

Herman Robinson trial
The trial of Herman Robinson -- accused of serially raping a young woman in Schenectady, and killing a newborn he fathered with her -- started Monday. The prosecutor called the alleged murder "a display of unspeakable violence." [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Attempt to prevent further domestic violence
The Schenectady Police Department is using a new "lethality assessment" in an attempt to identify high-priority domestic violence suspects. [Daily Gazette]

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Rally for answers in death of Dontay Ivy, I-787 construction in downtown Albany, a life-changing month

Continued focus on the death of Dontay Ivy:

+ A group of approximately 200 people marched from the APD's South Station to City Hall Friday evening to call for answers in the case. Among the issues highlighted: Questions about Ivy stopped by police, and the use of tasers by police. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [WNYT] [TWCN]

+ Derek Johnson, one of Ivy's cousins, to News10 about the investigation into Ivy's death: "We just want to do it the right way and you know we want to do it without breaking up our city." [News10]

+ Lois Christie -- the mother of Daniel Satre, the Ballston Spa man who died last year after being tasered by police -- to the Times Union: "I just hope that this family can get more answers than we could." [TU]

+ A look at how police departments train -- or don't -- their officers on how to deal with situation involving people with mental illness. [TU]

(there's more)

More details about death of man in APD custody, mixed-use project said to be planned for First Prize site, Passover starts this evening

A few more details about the situation surrounding the death of a man in Albany police custody this week:

+ The family of Donald "Dontay" Ivy sai he had schizophrenia and a heart condition. Said Ivy's cousin, Celeste Hightower, to the Times Union: "There's a lot of missing information right now ... We just want to wait until everything is presented to us and then maybe there will be satisfaction, maybe not. We don't know until it is all presented. So that's what we're waiting for." [TU x2]

+ Acting Albany police chief Brendan Cox said Ivy was stopped by officers "based on suspicious activity" -- the nature of which has not yet been disclosed -- and officers used a Taser, number of times not yet disclosed, after the situation became combative. Cox says APD is continuing to investigate. [Daily Gazette]

+ Albany police released a brief timeline of the incident, indicating officers performed CPR on Ivy and that an ambulance transporting him arrived at Albany Med roughly 35 minutes after the start of the situation. [News10]

+ The APD also identified the three officers involved: Joshua Sears, Michael Mahany, and Charles Skinkle -- they've been placed on administrative leave. [WNYT]

+ A friend who attended Albany High School with Dontay Ivy remembered him as a good student and good teammate. [TU]

(there's more)

Man dies in APD custody, Cuomo touts education reform, enrollment decline concern for UAlbany, Capital Region seeks infrastructure help from federal govt

Hi. We're continuing to try out a new format for Morning Blend. Thanks for the feedback so far, and we welcome continued suggestions.

What not to wear
Your winter coat. It's going to be 61. Also, we suggest a walk at lunchtime. This reprieve from the winter that wouldn't end isn't going to last for long.

Man dies in APD custody
Updated Albany police are investigating the death of a 39-year-old man who police say died after being tasered during a physical confrontation with officers near Lark Street early Thursday morning. Statement from Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan: "The Albany Police Department is investigating the death of a person in custody. The incident occurred on Lark Street near Second Street early this morning. I ask that everyone respect the process and await the results of the investigation. Our condolences go out to the family during this difficult time." [TU] [City of Albany press release]

News
Cuomo on education reform
Andrew Cuomo on his controversial education reforms in the 2015 budget - including the overhaul of the teacher evaluation system opposed by NYSUT: "Despite the trauma of change, that's going to be one of the greatest legacies for me in this state when all is said and done." [TU]

How old and broken down are Albany's water and sewer systems?
Paul Tonko referred to Capital Region water and sewer systems as "hidden spaghetti" and Kathy Sheehan pointed out that one of the many water pipe breaks repaired this year was installed when Ulysses S. Grant was president. [TU]

Travel ban affects UAlbany coaches
It looks like New York's ban on non-essential travel to Indiana will keep UAlbany's basketball coaches from going to the Final Four in Indianapolis this weekend. [TU]

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142 billion budget agreement, McGinn and Smith order to pay $99 M, helping out Jay Street merchants, how not to celebrate April Fool's Day

Hi. We're continuing to try out a new format for Morning Blend. Thanks for the feedback so far, and we welcome continued suggestions.

Spring? Is that you?
45 today. 61 on Thursday. Not quite flip-flop weather, but promising.

Under the wire
Legislators raced the clock to get the $142 billion NYS budget passed by the deadline. . Ethics and education reforms that were deal-breakers for Andrew Cuomo ended up in the Education Labor & Family Assistance bill. A not so comforting thought from Assemblyman Dan Stec on the bills which were submitted with less than 12 hours until the budget deadline "I'm sure there isn't a soul in Albany that's read all of these." [WNYT][Gazette][TU]

$11.5 million
What Albany County gets to deal with debt that dates back to the construction of the Knickerbocker Arena, Pepsi, Times Union Center. Other local budget items include:
+ $152 million for projects at the Harriman state office campus.
+ $2 million appropriation for the Schenectady Metroplex redevelopment.
+ $42 million appropriation for the University at Albany Emerging Technology and Entrepreneurial Complex and other projects part of the SUNY 2020 challenge grant program.
[TU]

Silver's View
Sheldon Silver on budgets, from his new seat in the back row of the Assembly.
"Some are smoother, some are less smooth," he said. "We all hit bumps in the road at some point."[NYT]

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State budget crunch time, SCCC adjuncts moving toward unionization, the naked female form, Albany from above back then

Hi. We're continuing to try out a new format for Morning Blend. Thanks for the feedback so far, and we welcome continued suggestions.

Many details are surfacing -- or not -- about all the various elements in the state budget that legislators are trying to cram together before the deadline Tuesday night:

+ Education funding and testing are a major issue: The Cuomo admin has tied an increase in education funding to a reform plan that would link tests intended to measure "student growth performance" to teacher tenure decisions. NYSUT has been pushing back on the reform package. [TU] [State of Politics x2]

+ Lead (lede) of the day, from Casey Seiler, about the ethics reform component of the budget: "Legislation designed to expand transparency in government remained under wraps a day before it was scheduled to be passed as part of an on-time state budget." [TU]

+ The budget doesn't include proposed cuts to VLT aid for Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County. It also codifies an expansion of the types of VLT games to include games such blackjack [Daily Gazette]. [TU]

+ Quietly tucked into the budget: a sales tax break for yachts. [Capital]

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There's a state budget deal, Dinosaur accused of wage violations, job opening: Quidditch coach, new format for Morning Blend

Hello. We're trying something new with Morning Blend because the old format was starting to feel really stale. This new take still includes links to news stories (though there will be fewer of them) while mixing in other sorts of bits: quotes, facts, events. The new format is a work in progress and is likely to change.

Feedback? Please leave it in the comments, or email editors |at| alloveralbany |dot| com.

Just in time for the deadline, there's a state budget deal, or at least, the outline of one. What's in: a $1.6 billion increase (6 percent) in education aid, a plan for a new teacher evaluation system, increased disclosure requirements for state legislators, and the $1.5 billion in competitive upstate development grants. Among what's not included: an increase in the minimum wage. [TU] [Cuomo admin] [Capital] [State of Politics] [NYDN]

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More testimony in hearing over custody of Kenneth White's sisters, state budget crunch time, an exit through fire, stolen wheel chair prompts many donations

On the second day of testimony in the Albany County Family Court case over whether Brenda VanAlstyne should be allowed to have custody of Kenneth White's two sisters the foster mother of the girls said one of them told her she had been hit by Tiffany VanAlstyne multiple times. The defense has argued that there's no evidence there was abuse by Brenda VanAlstyne. A judge is scheduled to rule on the case in April. [TU] [News10] [Daily Gazette]

There have been high levels of hunkering, behind closed dooring, and hashing out at the state Capitol as leaders negotiate the details of the state budget. If the budget is to be on time, and follow the typical rules of procedure, the budget bills will have to be ready by the end of Saturday to make the Tuesday deadline for a vote. [TWCN] [TU]

Education continued to be a big topic at the Capitol as the budget process headed into crunch time -- on Thursday there was another rally inside the Capitol to oppose education initiatives floated by the Cuomo admin. Also: "growing number of New York parents," according to the Times Union, are pushing for the state to stop student testing on the Common Core curriculum. [News10] [TU]

Albany County leaders have indicated the county won't appeal the federal court decision regarding redistricting and minority voting rights. [TU]

Skidmore has extended the suspension of a student accused of raping another student by two years, the accuser and her attorney reported Thursday. The accused hasn't been charged with a crime, but an administrative board found him guilty of violating the college's code of conduct. Reina Kiefer said the college should have expelled the student. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

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Wiltshire enters Troy mayoral race, Kenneth White's aunt in family court over abuse allegations, homeless services approved for New Scotland Ave church

Troy City Council President Rodney Wiltshire officially announced his bid for Mayor on Wednesday. At his announcement, Wilshire promised to create jobs, capitalize on he waterfront and make the streets safer. A Lansingburgh native and pharmaceutical sales rep says he also plans to throw his hat into the Troy mayoral race. [Record][WNYT][TWCN]

Carl Heastie says raising the minimum wage "absolutely has to be on the table" in budget negotiations as far as the assembly is concerned. [TU]

State Senate Republicans say they are close to an ethics agreement with Democrats. [CNY]

The aunt of Kenneth White, the five-year-old boy police say was killed in December by his cousin, Tiffany, was in court on Wednesday, attempting to clear herself of abuse charges. Lawyers for Albany County are arguing that Brenda VanAlstyne knew her daughter Tiffany was not in a proper state of mental health when she let her care for 5-year-old Kenneth White. Brenda VanAlstyne is trying to gain custody of Kenneth White's two sisters. [Gazette][TWCN][WNYT]

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Troy city council president to announce mayoral bid, state of emergency lifted on Jay Street, pedestrian hit by train in Mechanicville, support for Schenectady County farmer

A federal judge ruled this week that Albany County's 2011 redistricting plan diluted minority voting power, and ordered legislators to rework the plan before this year's legislative elections. [TU]

Unlikely to be part of the state budget: raising the age of criminal responsibility and The DREAM Act.Still being discussed: ethics and an overhaul on plans to evaluate public schools.
[TU][NYT][CNY]

Troy City Council President Rodney Wiltshire is expected to announce his candidacy for mayor today. [TU]

A pedestrian was hit by a train in Mechanicville early Wednesday morning.[WNYT]

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Rosamilia not running for second term, more VLTs where?, top judges wonder why they're even hearing Albany case

Lou Rosamilia announced Monday that he will not be running for re-election as mayor of Troy. Rosamilia's term has been marked by a series of challenges and controversies, including the city's shaky financial position, a federal investigation into demolitions, and the frozen water pipes situation in Lansingburgh. Said the mayor at the press conference: "Each night, before I go to bed, I look in the mirror and I ask myself: 'Did you do the best thing you could do for the City of Troy?' And I've gone to bed with peace of mind, and comfort that I did my best." [Troy Record] [TU] [TWCN]

Schenectady officials have identified the fourth victim of the Jay Street fire. The brother of Robert Thomas tells the Times Union his sibling was "loved by everyone who came in contact with him." [Daily Gazette] [TU]

"Several state lawmakers" tell the Times Union that they were pitched a plan to add 200 VLTs to the Capital District OTB location on Central Ave in Albany. Also: Some of the elected officials cited last week as supporting the proposed 1,000 VLT facility at DeLaet's Landing in Rensselaer tell the Times Union they don't actually support the plan. [TU x2]

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Jay Street fire ruled accidental, VLT casino proposed for Rensselaer, questions about death of man tasered by police, together for 75 years

The investigation into the Jay Street fire has concluced that it was accidental, Schenectady officials announced Friday. SFD chief Ray Senecal said the investigation had determined the fire started in an upholstered chair -- maybe because of candles, incense, or cigarettes -- in the apartment of Harry Simpson, who then tried to drag the chair out of the apartment into the hallway, but it got stuck in a doorway. Simpson died in the fire, but officials say he managed to alert two other residents who escaped -- one of whom says he'd have died if Simpson hadn't woken him up. Schenectady County DA Robert Carney said the investigation is continuing into the specific circumstances related to the deaths of the four people who didn't make it out alive. [Daily Gazette] [News10] [WNYT] [TWCN] [Daily Gazette] [News10] [TU]

Schenectady police say two people were wounded in an exchange of gunfire between two vehicles Friday around noon in Mont Pleasant. The incident prompted a lockdown at several nearby schools. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN]

Capital District OTB wants to open a video lottery terminal casino at de Laet's Landing in Rensselaer, a plan that has the support of Rensselaer's mayor of other local elected officials. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

A spotlight on child poverty in some of the Capital Region's urban areas, specifically Schenectady and Troy. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

The UAlbany men's and women's basketball team lost their NCAA tournament games. [TU x2]

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Demolition at Jay Street fire site, 22 indicted in alleged drug ring, Troy avoids state financial oversight, NCAA tournament day for UAlbany

Demolition started Thursday at the Jay Street fire site. The demolition company says the process will take several days, with the hope it will allow investigators to examine the buildings floor by floor. Schenectady's fire chief says they think, but can't be absolutely certain, that they've now accounted for everyone thought to be missing after the fire. He also says they're hoping to get the site stabilized so nearby businesses can reopen. [Daily Gazette] [WNYT] [TWCN] [News10]

The state attorney general's office announced Thursday the unsealing of indictments charging 22 people allegedly connected to a distribution ring for cocaine and heroin in the Capital Region. Albany police say the investigation into the alleged ring was set off by the stabbing death of the Takim Smith in Troy in 2013 and the violent back and forth in Troy and Albany that followed. [NYS OAG] [TWCN]

An attorney for the family of Daniel Satre says the autopsy in the case concluded the Ballston Spa man died of a heart problem connected to "excited delirium syndrome." Said Terrance Kindlon to the Times Union: "The question one must ask is would Daniel have had it if he didn't have a bunch of people shooting Tasers at him." [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Both of UAlbany's basketball teams play in the NCAA tournament today. The #13 seed women's team takes on #4 seed Duke at noon on ESPN2. And the #14 seed men's team faces #3 seed Oklahoma at 7:27 pm on truTV. [ESPN x2]

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Details on ethics agreement, Skelos says no deal yet, another body identified in Jay Street fire, grand jury clears officers in taser death, who owns the word moose?

The agreement between Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Democrats is nearly a carbon copy of the plan Cuomo laid out in February. Among other things it includes a requirement provision that would require a lawmaker to disclose the nature and source of his or her income if it is more than $1,000 and disclose client or customer names if the income tops $5,000 - with an exemption for lawyers working on things like wills or divorce cases .
The agreement also includes a verification system that would use attendance swipe cards to prevent lawmakers from claiming per-diem payments when they weren't really at the Capitol and constraints on the use of campaign funds.Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos says he wants better disclosure requirements for the Executive branch, including disclosure for domestic partners such as Governor Cuomo's girlfriend Sandra Lee, and the naming of campaign donors that are awarded state contracts. Skelos reinforced on the agreement between governor Cuomo and Assembly speaker Carl Heastie "All it is is a two-way announcement" - something that is a departure from Cuomo's usual approach .[TU][WNYT][TU][Gazette][Capital NY][TU][NYT]

Meanwhile State Senator Liz Kruegar and Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell are pushing Cuomo to drop the 90-day email purge policy. [TU]

There will be no charges in the death of Daniel Satre, who died in Ballston Spa in September after being tasered in a confrontation with six police officers. A grand jury has cleared the police officers involved in the case. [TU][WNYT][TWCN]

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Cuomo and Dems reach deal on ethics reform, Qpoll shows Cuomo approval down to 50%, demolition company will take down Jay Street building, Shaker High student researching Alzheimer's cure

Andrew Cuomo and Democratic Majority Leader Carl Heastie have struck a deal on ethics reform, placing pressure on the Republican majority to sign on to the deal. Details are still forthcoming. Cuomo said the goal was for New York to have the strongest ethics laws in the nation. [News 10][TU][TWCN][NYT]

The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Andrew Cuomo's job-approval rating has dropped to 50% -- the lowest since he took office. The poll shows that Cuomo's education reform plans are part of the reason for the drop.[Politics on Hudson][Observer]

Legislators are considering a bill that would require schools to let parents know that their kids can opt out of the controversial Common Core tests. [Gazette]

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Criminal activity not ruled out in Jay Street fire, Armory liquor license suspended, locking down legislator's tablets, remembering longtime owner of Famous Lunch

Schenectady officials say they have not ruled out criminal activity related to the Jay Street fire, and mayor Gary McCarthy says the Schenectady County DA's office has subpoenaed code inspection reports for the buildings. (The city has denied media org's FOIL requests for the docs citing "ongoing criminal investigation.") Schenectady police say demolition of the buildings will start Wednesday. The city has declared a state of emergency in the area near the buildings until noon Saturday. [Daily Gazette] [News10] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TWCN]

The State Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license for the Washington Avenue Armory, citing the situation there this past weekend and previous incidents. SLA chair Dennis Rosen told TWCN the video from the fight Saturday night was "absolutely shocking." From an Armory statement about the suspension: "Through cooperation with state and city authorities, the Armory has been working to resolve management and security concerns to ensure patrons' safety is held at the utmost importance." A few of the music events scheduled for the venue have been working to get rescheduled at other venues in the city. [NY SLA] [TWCN] [Armory press release] [TU]

A bill inspired by the Kenneth White case passed in the state legislature Monday -- it would allow Child Protective Services to expedite the release records to law enforcement agencies during the investigation in a missing child case. The Cuomo admin says it's reviewing the bill. [TWCN] [WNYT] [TU]

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Two more sets of remains found at Jay Street fire site, a decade after Aref-Hossain FBI sting, proposal deadline for convention center land extended

Officials say the remains of two more bodies have been recovered from the Jay Street fire site. The official number of deaths is now at 4 -- on Friday officials identified the first two sets of remains recovered. The investigation is entering its second week and officials say it's possible more remains could be found. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

One bit of good news from the Jay Street fire: A dog was rescued from a charred fourth floor apartment Saturday -- eight days after the fire. After noticing the dog poking his head out of a window, firefighters were able to lure him out with pizza. [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

More than a hundred Skidmore students gathered Friday to protest the possible readmission of a student accused of drugging and raping another student last spring -- the student was suspended for one year after the school found him to be in violation of its campus sexual and gender based misconduct policy. Reina Keifer says she reported the incident to Saratoga Springs police this past fall -- she tells WNYT that she recently learned the SSPD won't be pursuing criminal charges. SSPD told media outlets it's investigating a reported sexual assault on campus from 2014 April. [News10] [TWCN] [TU] [WNYT] [News10]

NYT's Jesse McKinley on the Cuomo admin's approach to this year's budget negotiations: "Call it quid pro quo or tit for tat, but the prevailing mode of governance this year for Mr. Cuomo is tying appropriations to new policy -- or else." [NYT]

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Remains of second person removed from Jay Street fire site, three arrests in Armory stabbings case, renewed push for GENDA, you've been trolled by Santa

Schenectady police say the remains of a second person have been removed from the Jay Street fire site. Schenectady mayor Gary McCarthy said the "complicated" investigation into the fire's cause is ongoing. Many organizations have been working to help 60 people displaced by the fire. Business owners near the site say they've been looking for information from the city about when they might be able to reopen. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

Albany police say they've made three arrests in connection with the stabbings at the Washington Avenue Armory this past weekend. Also on Thursday, the venue announced that it has suspended all music events as it "conducts a full review of arena operations, ticketing, and security procedures." Albany deputy police chief Brendan Cox tells the Times Union that officers working outside the Armory that night were not notified when the fight inside started. [APD FB] [AOA] [TU]

The simmering situation surrounding the Cuomo administration and the 90-day email deletion policy has prompted Andrew Cuomo's office to propose a joint effort among the legislature, state attorney general's office, and state comptroller's office to develop a common email retention policy. [NYT] [TU]

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19-year-old charged with stabbing 10-year-old brother, high winds temporarily halt Jay street recovery effort,police probe UAlbany muggings, longtime radio host Don Weeks dies

A 19-year-old in the town of Saratoga has been arrested for allegedly stabbing his 10-year-old brother overnight. Deputies say the boy had been slashed in the throat but that the injuries were non life threatening. [News 10][TWCN][TU]

Authorities in Schenectady say one body has been recovered from the Jay Street apartment building destroyed by fire last week, but the investigation was put on hold Wednesday due to wind gusts for 48 miles per hour and a shaky chimney, but is expected to continue today. [WNYT][TWCN]

The 26 year old Schodack man who faced abduction, weapons and rape charges stemming from a crime spree that spanned two states, and caused a lockdown at Skidmore College in september has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and will be sentenced to 25 to 30 years in prison. [Gazette][Saratogian][TU]

Police are investigating the robberies of two UAlbany students who were mugged late Wednesday on the uptown campus.[TU]

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Remains recovered in destroyed Jay Street building, former Saratoga County sergeant recorded on cell phone pleads guilty to harassment, Rensselaer County Legislature to Troy: take action to thaw pipes

Investigators found several bodies in the burnt out apartment building on Jay Street on Tuesday. It's believed the bodies of three people who have been missing were discovered but the recovery teams are not saying for sure. The remains uncovered Tuesday were sent to a medical examiner . Investigators have returned to the scene today to continue their search. [TU][News10][Gazette][TWCN]

Former Saratoga County Sheriff's sergeant Shawn Glans plead guilty to midemeanor charges of official misconduct and harassment on Tuesday stemming from the November incident outside the Halfmoon Walmart where a confrontation between Glans and a Saratoga Springs man was reordered on a cell phone. Glans was discharged with no jail time or probation but has been ordered to pay $1,500 in fines and court fees.
Glans attorney maintains that what the video did not show was that the suspects were baiting Glans. [WNYT] [Saratogian][TWCN][Gazette]

Assembly has proposed $150.7 billion state budget it says will put families first and includes proposing larger increases in minimum wage and public school aid than the governors proposed budget. [Capital NY][WNYT]

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Investigation continues into Jay Street fire, Sheehan addresses Armory incident, another candidate for Troy mayor?

Investigators are planning Tuesday to start searching the interior of the buildings destroyed in the Jay Street fire. Officials say it's unclear how many people might have been in the building -- reports from families indicate there might be 2 or 3 people unaccounted for. The fire displaced 60 people, and various agencies have been working to find them housing and services. [Daily Gazette] [News10] [TWCN] [News10] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Kathy Sheehan on the incident at the Washington Ave Armory this past weekend: "The melee, and I think it is fair to call it a melee, demonstrates a complete lack of control inside that building, and it's something that we are focusing on and looking at our options." The Armory released a statement reporting that it had 35 private security guards, as well as five APD officers at the facility that night. Also from the statement: "The Armory aims on providing a safe environment for all its patrons. These types of artists, however, encourage the wrong behavior. As a result, Migos is now banned from the Armory and the Armory will not be hosting these types of artists in the future." [TU] [News10] [Armory statement]

An increase in the minimum wage to $10.50 would raise the hourly wages of more than 80,000 people in the Capital District, according to the Cuomo admin. Both Cuomo and the Assembly majority have been pushing for an increase (though for different amounts), but the idea appears stalled in the state Senate. [Cuomo admin] [TU]

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Six stabbings at Washington Ave Armory concert, search continues in Jay Street fire wreckage, concerns about number of medical marijuana dispensaries

Albany police say six people were stabbed at a concert at the Washington Avenue Armory early Saturday morning. APD says another person reported being assaulted and robbed in a bathroom at the armory. An APD spokesman said over the weekend that suspects in the stabbings are unknown and the department is investigating. Video from the scene shows a metal barricade being lifted and thrown. A witness who didn't want to be identified described the scene to WNYT: "Just multiple large fights, people getting hit with like barricades, and people getting jumped, basically, multiple people beating up one person." The Armory released a statement about the incident, a clip: "The Armory is deeply disturbed and regrets the unfortunate incidents that took place at the concert on Friday night. While the majority of patrons come to the arena to enjoy a show, there are the few who come to the show with malicious intentions and clearly to ruin the experience for those who attend." Albany city officials say they'll be discussing safety measures at the venue. [APD FB] [News10] [TMZ] [WNYT] [Armory press release] [TU]

Officials are continuing the search for bodies in the wreckage of the Jay Street fire in Schenectady. The building is being demolished piece by piece in order to aid the search and investigation into the cause. Residents of the apartment buildings tell the Daily Gazette they didn't hear the fire alarms until they were outside the building, and recalled multiple unaddressed issues with the building. [TU] [Daily Gazette x2]

The SUNY Charter Schools Committee voted to close the Brighter Choice middle schools for boys and girls. The committee cited problems with both educational performance and finances, the executive director of the SUNY Charter Schools Institute accused schools officials of attempting to use misdirection to divert attention away from problems at the schools. A school official says the schools are considering their options. [SUNY Charter School Institute] [TU] [WNYT] [TWCN]

Colonie police say an 88-year-old pedestrian has died after being hit while crossing Central Ave near the Colonie/Niskayuna border Friday evening. [Daily Gazette]

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Big fire in downtown Schenectady, Rosamilia leans on legal opinion to justify not unfreezing pipes, woman accused of keeping mother's dead body in house -- for 14 months

There was a large fire overnight in downtown Schenectady on Jay Street near City Hall (map). The fire was visible above rooftops. Officials say several people were taken to hospitals with injuries -- one person is said to have jumped -- and another person is currently unaccounted for. More than 25 people were getting help from the Red Cross. [Daily Gazette] [Instagram pinupjordan] [@PhotogChris10] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TWCN]

Also overnight: A large fire at the Bethlehem Industrial Park in warehouse that, depending on the report, was either for a construction company and/or one that makes wooden crates. Officials say there were no injuries. [TU] [TWCN] [News10]

Troy mayor Lou Rosamilia responded to calls for the city to unfreeze city-owned water pipes in Lansingburgh by citing an opinion by a city attorney that it's "not the city's legal obligation to pay for water lines to be thawed out." Rosamilia: "I'm a very compassionate person. When it comes to situations where people are in need of something, my tendency is to reach out and help them ... But as I said before, if I did that based on the legal response I've gotten, I would actually be stepping outside my authority." Members of the city council continued to criticize the mayor's stance -- councilman Ken Zalewski: "I feel like I'm in the twilight zone here. I can't even believe this is a debate we're having whether to thaw some pipes or not. It's obscene." And city council president Rodney Wiltshire: "It's horrible." The water is running again for one of the families after a plumber came to help -- at his mother's request. [Troy Record] [News10] [WNYT x2] [TU] [WNYT]

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Thousands rally for charter schools on Lobby Day, 10 days without water for Lansingburgh neighborhood, marijuana arrests up 132 percent at UAlbany, Albany businesses hoping for MAAC bump, you could be the next Yolanda Vega

Chanting "Don't Steal possible", Thousands of people rallied at the Capitol on Wednesday in favor of charter schools. Speakers at the rally called for the governor and state legislators to raise or remove New York's self-imposed cap on charter schools. [TWCN][TU]

It's now ten days without water for the residents of a Lansingburgh neighborhood. Troy city councilman Jim Gordon is putting pressure on the city to help the residents. [TU][WNYT]

Cohoes City Hall is set to reopen today after a water main break flooded the building last moth raising air quality and asbestos concerns. Asbestos tests on the building have come back negative. [WNYT][TWCN]

The state Canal Corp issued a work permit for the Galesi Group, clearing the last hurdle for the developer to begin work on its Mohawk Harbor project. [Gazette]

Marijuana arrests were up 132 percent at Ualbany in 2014[TU]

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Thousands converge on Capitol for Lobby Day, Troy tells neighborhood without water to fix the problem themselves, White's aunt denied custody of sisters, 70 years of love in the first degree

Today is Lobby Day at the State Capitol, when thousands of people from around the state will converge on the Capitol to lobby for funding in the state budget. An education rally will be held in West Capitol Park and nine thousand teachers, parents and students are expected to turn out to show their support for charter schools. Their rally will include a performance by Janelle Monae [TU][WNYT][NY1][Rolling Stone]

Brighter Choices Charter School makes its final bid to remain open at a public hearing this Friday. [TU]

Residents of one Troy neighborhood have been without water for eight days, and the city says those residents will have to hire plumbers and fix the problems themselves. [Record][TU]

A judge has ruled that the sisters of Kenneth White, the little boy who who is believed to have been murdered by his cousin late last year, will remain in foster care. The children's aunt, and the mother of alleged murderer Tiffany Van Alstyne, petitioned the court to get custody of the girls. [WNYT][TWCN]

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Upgrades for state parks planned, Albany parking permit system going sticker-less, former county legislator accused of dumping kitty litter in yards

The Cuomo admin has unveiled a $900 million plan for upgrading state parks. In the Capital Region, it includes facilities improvements for Spa State Park, possibly adding the former Mt. McGregor prison forestland to Moreau Lake State Park, and the construction of the already-proposed Thacher State Park visitor center. [Cuomo admin] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Troy Record]

The backstory on a temporary state surcharge on health insurance that grew to collect billions and billions of dollars -- which was has been spent with little or no formal oversight, and ended up filling the slush fund from which Sheldon Silver is accused of granting money for his alleged asbestos case referral scheme. [Capital]

About that walkway connecting the TU Center, not-yet-built Albany Convention Center, and ESP: it's not currently clear from where the money for the walkway conversion/renovation/construction will come. [TU]

The Albany residential parking permit system is switching over to a sticker-less system that will include online registration of visitor passes. [TU]

Some context for the $200 million price tag on the proposed renovation of Albany High School. [TU]

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Reasons for the Schenectady casino site selection, more ZIP code complaints, Albany cidery aiming to double production

Factors that played into the Schenectady casino site's selection, according to the Gaming Facility Location Board report released Friday: design and waterfront location, poverty rates for nearby areas, and perceived problems with other applications. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN]

Court papers filed by the Albany County Sheriff's Office in the Kenneth White case indicate investigators have tried to link boots worn by Tiffany VanAlstyne with tracks in the snow found near White's body. [TU]

A persistent issue for homeless single mothers with young children: the cost of child care makes getting and keeping a job very difficult. [Daily Gazette]

The Albany Convention Center Authority is aiming to start construction on the new facility the week of March 16. The convention center also recently hired a sales director who will start recruiting potential events/shows for the center. [TU] [Biz Review]

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Local schools on Cuomo admin's "failing" schools list, the Albany St. Patrick's Day parade drama, the thing about wild animals

The Cuomo administration released a list of 178 schools around the state it says are "failing." The list includes three schools in the Albany school district (including Albany High School), two in the Schenectady district, and one in Troy. Said Cuomo in a statement: "This is the real scandal in Albany, the alarming fact that state government has stood by and done nothing as generation after generation of students have passed through failing schools." Local school officials pushed back on the Cuomo admin's contention that they've been getting enough funding, and the threat of a state takeover. Schenectady schools superintendent Larry Spring: "It baffles me that the governor would systematically withhold money from poor schools that serve poor students, that he would wait for them to fail, and then say the state government is going to ride in to rescue them." Albany schools superintendent Margeurite Vanden Wyngaard: "The premise of receivership is that other folks can do that better ... And I understand that notion -- but we are not a business model. We are not creating a factory or parts; we are trying to develop human beings." [Cuomo admin] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

More banging on the drum for the Cuomo admin to release numbers on how much state aid schools will be getting so districts can plan budgets, this time from Assembly Republicans. [NYSNYS/Troy Record]

The proposed $200 million renovation of Albany High School will be up for a public vote on Election Day this November. [TU]

Colonie's town board approved new rules for motels that limit guest stays to 28 days if a motel doesn't have a restaurant or kitchenettes in the rooms. Also Thursday: The owner of 470 Troy-Schenectady Road reached a plea deal that includes the demolition of the building, which the town said had many code violations and was housing people upstairs. And the Alex Patel motel saga continued. [TU x2] [News10]

The Albany metro area has the highest per capita union membership in the nation, according to an analysis based on Census data. [TU]

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Sheehan asks state for $17 million, Schenectady middle school students still failing in large numbers, Albany County Land Bank seeks owners with vision for 123 properties

Andrew Cuomo held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss pre-K andhis plan to fight sexual assault on college campuses, but instead he found himself dealing with ethics questions. Cuomo told reporters he has not been subpoenaed by federal investigators to this point. The press conference was called for the exact same time NYC mayor Bill De Blasio was set to make his budget pitch to legislators, which raised some eyebrows. [Daily News][TU][TU][NYT]

One day after Albany learned there would be few strings on its $5 million state Financial Restructuring Board grant, Kathy Sheehan appeared before state legislators on "tin cup day" to lay out a case for the city to get another $5 million to reduce its tax levy, along with a recurring $12 million grant. [TU]

After seeing that Albany got that $5 million from the Financial Restructuring Board, Troy mayor Lou Rosamilia is also looking for help from the board.[TU]

The Albany County Land Bank is soliciting proposals for 121 properties scattered throughout the city and two properties in Cohoes. [TU]

For a second year in a row, reports indicate Schenectady students are failing middle school in droves. [Gazette]

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Silver pleads not guilty, Siena Poll: 92% of New Yorkers think legislative corruption is serious,Thelma Dooley-secretary to three Albany Mayors- has died

Lawyers for Sheldon Silver entered a not guilty plea on Tuesday and argued that the case against the former Assembly speaker should be thrown out because US Attorney Preet Bharara broke rules by offering uncensored views about Mr. Silver's guilt in public "always in inflammatory, over the top language that targets not just Mr. Silver but the entire New York State government."[WNYT][TWCN][NYT]

A new Siena poll reports 92% of New York voters think corruption is a serious problem in state government. [WNYT]

Tipped workers in New York State are getting an increase in their minimum wage to $7.50 an hour beginning December 31.[TU]

The state Financial Restructuring Board attached few requests to the $5 million it awarded the city of Albany. [TU]

An Albany Common Council committee debated proposed reforms for the coming red light cameras, but decided to postpone a vote on the reforms until more questions are answered. [WNYT][TWCN][

The Cuomo administration has begun to implement a 90-day deletion policy for email of rank and file state employees. [CNY]

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Reaction to Krokoff's exit from APD, report highlights suspension rate disparities in Albany schools, more memories of Draven Rodriguez

Many of the reactions to the announcement that Albany police chief Steven Krokoff is leaving for a job in Georgia focused on the shift toward a more community-oriented approach and tone he had brought to the APD. (Krokoff apparently won out over 160 candidates for the chief's job in Milton, Georgia in part of because of his record making that shift.) Deputy chief Brendan Cox, who will be acting chief when Krokoff leaves: "We're going in such a good direction, I don't know that I see any need for changes." [TU x2] [News10]

A review by a research group at UCLA of school districts across the country concludes that suspension rates in the Albany school district are "troubling," and the gap is widening in the rate at which white and minority students are suspended. Albany's schools superintendent tells the Times Union the district is working to reduce suspension rates. [Civil Rights Project at UCLA] [TU]

The temperature in Albany dipped to -8 overnight. As the frigid weather goes on and on, many people are dealing with ice dams on the roof and frozen pipes. [NWS] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]

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Krokoff leaving Albany Police Department, Cuomo attaches ethics reform to budget, remembering MLK Jr's speech in Albany

Albany police chief Steven Krokoff is leaving the department to take a police chief position job in Georgia, the Sheehan administration announced Monday morning. Krokoff says in the press release the move is about being able to spend more time with extended family. He's been chief since 2010, and during his term has pushed the APD to be more oriented toward community policing. Krokoff's last day -- he's technically retiring -- is set for April 1. Current deputy chief Brendan Cox has been named interim chief. [City of Albany press release]

Andrew Cuomo included his ethics reform plan with his budget amendments. The insertion of the plan into the amendments sets up a possible showdown with the legislature ahead of the April 1 budget deadline. [Cuomo admin] [Capital] [TU]

With a focus on the situation leading up to the death of Kenneth White, the Times Union reviewed child fatality reports filed with the state in the Capital Region core and found "often troubling circumstances in households where child-protective workers were monitoring living conditions." [TU x2]

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Silver indicted on three counts, redevelopment plan for Kenwood property, Amedore proposes term limits, the springs in winter

A federal grand jury handed up a three-count indictment against Sheldon Silver. The counts in the indictment allege extortion, honest services mail fraud, and honest services wire fraud. The indictmentdoesn't include two of the five charges in the original complaint against the former state Assembly speaker. Silver's attorneys say they will fight for his "total vindication." [US DOJ] [Capital] [NYT] [NYDN]

Chuck Schumer says the oil tanker cars that derailed and caught fire in West Virginia this week wouldn't meet the proposed new federal safety standards, even though they were of a more recent generation of tanker car. Protesters held another rally against the oil train shipments outside Albany City Hall Thursday. [TU] [WNYT]

State Police say two Halfmoon have been arrested after one of them allegedly threw a flammable liquid on a dog and then set it on fire, and the dog was burned on its face and ear. [NYSP]

Developer Sonny Bonacio has floated a $30 million plan to convert the former Kenwood Convent property on Albany's southern edge into a mixed-use apartment complex. [Biz Review]

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JCOPE wants Silver's financial statements, another Schenectady stabbing, Halfmoon seeks zip code, don't call it "Barbara's Law"

Andrew Cuomo claims the only thing standing in the way of disclosure laws are legislators that do not want to disclose their outside income.[TWCN]

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has sent a notice of delinquency to Sheldon Silver for financial statements from 2011-2013 seeking information about non-state employee income. [TU]

Albany Common Council members could vote to include a grace period in red light camera plans tonight.[TWCN]

A stabbing near Van Voast Street in Schenectady sent an 18-year-old man to Ellis Hospital with multiple wounds.[TU]

A Glenville house fire left a family homeless claimed the life of a family dog .[News 10]

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Activists call for ban on oil trains in Albany, cab driver robbed at gunpoint outside Crossgates, 90 water main breaks in Latham this year

In his State of the Judiciary address, New York's top judge, Jonathan Lippman, called the grand jury system "a relic of another time," and, in light of the case of Eric Garner and other deadly police encounters, called for judges to oversee the grand jury process in cases involving deadly and near-deadly incidents involving police and civilians.[NYT][TU]

Activists are asking the Albany Common Council to pass a resolution calling on the state Department of Environmental conservation to ban oil trains in the city following crashes and explosions in other locations around the country and Canada. [TU]

The Cuomo administration is proposing an increase in New York's oil spill fund. [WNYT]

In his State of the County address on Tuesday, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy called for more reforms in the transport of oil through Albany and said the county has been operating with a balanced budget for the last three years. McCoy also announced plans to provide primary medical care for the public out of a vacant space in the county nursing home and announced a new opioid addiction program coming to the county. [TWCN][TU][Record]

Police say a cab driver was held up at gunpoint outside Crossgates Mall by two men he drove to the mall on Tuesday night. Guilderland police arrested a 16 year old in connection with the attempted robbery. Another suspect is still on the loose. [TU][WNYT][News 10]

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Double stabbing in Schenectady private student dorm, truck falls from Collar City Bridge, proposal for surveillance camera registry in Troy, ear muffs for calves

A Bronx man is accused of stabbing two people inside the privately-owned student dorm across from SCCC Sunday afternoon. Henzlee Miranda has been charged with attempted murder. The Times Union reports all three people attend the school. [Daily Gazette] [TWCN] [TU]

Schenectady police say a man was fatally shot Monday evening in Hamilton Hill (map). SPD says there have been no arrests. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

A man arrested last year on drug charges has accused Albany police detectives of stealing more than $3k from his apartment during a warrantless search -- APD chief Steven Krokoff tells the Times Union he's confident an internal investigation will conclude the allegations of theft are false, but the detectives have all received "refresher training" on proper procedure. [TU]

The city of Albany is fighting $132,000 in legal fees it's been ordered to pay as part of a case dating back to 2006 in which city police confiscated an SUV during a drug investigation -- a case that was settled with the woman who owned the SUV for $10k. [TU]

A review of the state's Commission on Judicial Conduct by the New York World/Columbia Journalism School concluded that "the commission often does not remove judges even when they've violated the constitutionally guaranteed right to due process or manipulated the outcome of cases." [New York World/TU]

Troy police say two people escaped with minor injuries after the truck they were in fell off the Collar City Bridge and landed on 5th Avenue Monday. TPD says the pick-up truck hit a snow bank that acted like a ramp. [WNYT] [Troy Record]

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Child dies after being hit by truck at Albany intersection, allegations of care problems at former Saratoga County nursing home, power shut off at mall, eight lives left

Albany police say a four-year-old boy died after being hit by a truck while crossing Central Ave at Quail Street (map). APD says the boy had been crossing with his mother, holding hands, and walking with the light -- an APD spokesman says that information is from surveillance video -- and the truck had been turning left on the green light. The garbage truck belongs to a private company, ICS Waste & Recycling -- a company spokesperson said in a statement that "The child had jumped over a snowbank and out into the road without warning." A crossing guard at the intersection told WNYT of traffic at the intersection: "They don't stop. They don't care. They never stop. They never stop. You gotta jump out of the way." An employee at the Subway on the corner tells the Times Union she saw someone hit at the intersection last summer. [APD press releases] [News10] [TWCN] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

City of Albany crossing guards say their push to unionize isn't just about better pay, but also better training and equipment. [TU]

A Vorheesville father is pushing for state legislation that would allow school bus operators to install traffic cameras on buses that could take photos of the license plates of vehicles that illegally pass school buses and law enforcement agencies could issue tickets based on the photos. [WNYT]

Anonymous family members and an employee tell the Saratogian the quality of care has declined at Maplewood Manor, the Saratoga County nursing home recently transferred to a private operator, and they allege residents' needs are being neglected. [Saratogian]

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Cold snap prompts Code Blue alerts, VanAlstyne pleads not guilty in death of cousin, Albany council members seek red light camera changes

A drop in temperatures means a Code Blue will alerts be in effect in the Capital Region from Thursday through Monday. [Weather Underground][TU]

Four Albany Common Council members say they want changes in the upcoming red light camera enforcement , including an education grace period when the cameras are first activated and a four second yellow light duration so nobody accidentally runs a red light.[TWCN][WNYT]

Two hundred cars were towed in Albany as part of the most recent snow emergency.[News 10]

Tiffany VanAlstyne was arraigned on murder and manslaughter Wednesday in the death of her 5-year-old cousin Kenneth White. VanAlstyne pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The Albany County Sheriff says VanAlstyne is a security risk and is in danger of being harmed by other inmates. [WNYT][TU][Record]

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Term limits & ban on outside income being proposed for legislature, water main breaks becoming a problem, Liquor Authority sides with Saratoga bar

A new bill suggesting term limits of eight years for New York legislators is headed for the senate floor. Meanwhile the IDC is set to introduce a plan that would ban outside income for legislators. Senate Republicans are not in favor of the ban. Lawmakers are also openly discussing whether to make legislating a full time job in New York.[TU][TU][WNYT][CNY]

The State University of New York and its students are spending a combined $170 million a year to fill gaps left by secondary education.[TU]

Rensselaer Mayor Dan Dwyer is hoping the state will help foot the bill for infrastructure repairs in the city after two water main breaks in three days. [News 10]

Albany has suffered nearly 20 water main breaks so far this year.[WNYT]

A stretch of Broadway in Schenectady has reopened after National Grid repaired a gas leak at Broadway Lunch.

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Snow emergencies, feds reportedly investigating systemic state corruption, supplies of road salt are tight, Troy Atrium courtyard for sale

Both Albany (starting 8 pm Tuesday) and Troy (8 am Tuesday) have declared so emergencies, along with a handful of other local municipalities. [City of Albany] [City of Troy] [TU]

A federal Department of Justice official tells WSJ that federal prosecutors are working a wide-ranging investigation of corruption involving state politicians and could end up issuing a report on systemic corruption. [WSJ]

Prominent Halfmoon developer Bruce Tanski was sentenced to three years probation and 200 hours of community service as part of the deal for his guilty plea to charges that he funneled campaign contributions through other donors in order to exceed contribution limits. The community service is connected with a charity to which Tanski is already associated, and for which his daughter is listed as the president. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

The Schenectady City Council approved zoning changes for the Mohawk Harbor casino site that allow increased building heights and larger signage. Councilman Vince Riggi abstained from the vote, repeating his objection that the council didn't have enough info about the building designs involved. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

Troy officials are looking into another suspicious fire in Lansingburgh. Officials say the fire fits the pattern of suspected arsons in the neighborhood. The city's arson task force is now investigating 13 fires. [Troy Record] [TU] [News10]

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Troy club owner arrested for shooting, cousin indicted in death of Kenneth White, Post Silver Stress Disorder?, 600 pounds and counting

There's a winter storm warning in effect through Tuesday morning -- total accumulation could be as much as 14 inches. [NWS]

Troy police say the owner of the now-closed Kokopellis has been arrested in connection with a shooting at the club during a private event January 11. Joseph Glick has been charged with first-degree assault for allegedly shooting a man in the leg. Troy police say they believe the shooting was intentional, but Glick's attorney says witnesses report it was accidental. [Troy Record] [News10] [TWCN] [TU]

Tiffany Van Alstyne has been indicted on charges that include second-degree murder in the December death of her cousin, five-year-old Kenneth White. [Albany County DA] [TU]

Schenectady police say a man was arrested Friday after he allegedly barricaded himself in a Central State neighborhood apartment with his girlfriend and her child -- while the apartment was burning (map). Rogers Jackson is facing charges that include attempted murder and arson. SPD says seven officers were injured during the incident, six of them with smoke inhalation. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN]

An Ohio man's claim of culpability in the 1997 murder of a UAlbany student in Arbor Hill has cast doubt on the convictions of the two Albany men currently in prison for the crime -- at the time police say the men confessed after several hours of interrogation without attorneys present (they both later recanted). [TU]

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Malcom Smith convicted, state settlement in Vito Lopez sexual harassment lawsuit, school district "flying blind" without state aid info, former CDTA mechanic alleges co-workers hazed him

Malcolm Smith, the former majority leader of the state Senate, was convicted on federal corruption charges Thursday. The feds say Smith, a Democrat, tried to bribe his way onto the Republican line in the NYC mayoral election. Said US Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement, of the case: "And sadly, this was just one of many pockets of corruption this Office has uncovered in New York, which has become the 'show me the money' state. It should not be asking too much to expect public officials at least to obey the law." [NYT] [Buffalo News] [US Attorney Southern District of NY]

Two former state Assembly staffers who accused former Assemblyman Vito Lopez of sexually harassing them have reached a $580k settlement -- $545k from the state, and $35k from Lopez. Said the women in a statement: "We hope our ordeal will serve as a strong reminder to New York's legislators that they are accountable for their behavior. All women should be treated with respect and dignity, not as sex objects or as problems to be handled and silenced." It's the second such settlement the state has made regarding Lopez and sexual harassment allegations -- it settled for more than $100k with two Assembly staffers in 2012. [NYT] [TU] [NY Post]

Andrew Cuomo, talking with the Syracuse Post-Standard editorial board this week, on Sheldon Silver: "This was a 20-year senior state official. If you can't trust him, who can you trust?" [Syracuse Post-Standard]

The massive Anthem data breach might also include information for members of the Empire Plan. [TU]

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Metro North investigators asking why SUV was stopped on tracks, Troy police investigate Wednesday afternoon shooting, plans revealed to improve I-890

The investigation into the fatal Metro North crash on Wednesday is now focused on why the driver of an SUV stopped on the train tracks between the lowered crossing gates. [TU]

The truck driver involved in the fatal accident that killed Trooper David Cuniff had allegedly been on the road for more than 14 hours at the time of the accident according to an indictment released this week. [TU]

Representatives from one of the five companies vying for the contract for red light cameras in Albany, were in the city last night to answer questions at a public hearing. [WNYT]

Police in Troy are investigating a shooting that occurred on Tuesday afternoon at around 2:50pm on 7th Avenue in Troy. [TWCN]

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Metro North train collides with car- six killed, Heastie elected Assembly Speaker, renewed effort to move up last call in Saratoga,from prison to state park

Six people were killed in Westchester County on Tuesday night when a Metro North train hit a car in Valhalla. [TWCN][NYT]

Carl Heastie has officially been elected Speaker of the NYS Assembly. Heastie is the first new speaker in 21-years. At a press conference on Tuesday he told the chamber,"The resignation of the previous speaker has brought about change in the leadership of this house. And this change in leadership will bring about much needed reform." But for a speaker, he appears to be a man of few words. Meanwhile former speaker Sheldon Silver took a desk in the back of the chamber. Most Republicans voted for Brian Kolb, and one cast his vote for Preet Bharara, the federal prosecutor who had Silver arrested.
[TWCN][TU][NYT][CNY][Record]

State Police arrested the Canadian truck driver involved in the fatal accident that killed Trooper David Cunniff a year ago. Officials allege 66-year-old Gary Blakely was negligent behind the wheel, citing unsafe lane changes, reckless driving and operating over allotted hours. He's in the Montgomery County Jail on several charges including aggravated manslaughter and aggravated criminally negligent homicide.

Five companies -- two of the largest-- are vying to get the contract for Albany's red light cameras.[TU]

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Heastie set to be next Assembly speaker, Cuomo says no budget without ethics reform, Hello Kitty's alleged secret message, Ecovative opening factory in Troy

Sheldon Silver was set to resign the state Assembly speakership just before midnight Monday night. And Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie is set to be elected to the new speaker Tuesday morning. (Comments from a handful of Capital Region Assembly members.) The speaker vote had been scheduled for February 10, but was moved up. Assembly Democratic majority leader Joe Morelle defending the compressed schedule: "There has been a public airing. There's been a lot of news articles about the various candidates. We've gone through and talked to our colleagues. We've done this in a way that has always been done." [TU] [NYT] [Daily Gazette] [State of Politics] [TWCN]

In a speech Monday Andrew Cuomo said he would not sign the state budget this year without the passage of a five-point ethics reform plan. Among the provisions of the plan: increased disclosure about outside income for public officials. [Cuomo admin] [TU] [NYT]

Troy has declared its first snow emergency in many years. [City of Troy] [WNYT]

The Albany snow emergency starts at 8 pm Tuesday with even-side parking, and flips to odd-side parking at 8 pm Wednesday. [City of Albany]

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Next speaker kind of like the old speaker, suburban school districts seeing increase in poverty, evidence that stuck, the TU Center 25 years later

As you know, it's snowing. The Capital Region is expected to get 10-14 inches. Many things are delayed or canceled. Call ahead, take your time. You know how this works.

With Bronx state Assemblyman Carl Heastie poised to become speaker, the are reports the new boss is like the old boss. [NYDN] [Capital]

Sheldon Silver's exit as speaker transfers power over many aspects of the operation of the Assembly, including parking spaces and who gets new computers. [TU]

Preet Bharara's "stay tuned" comment at the press release announcing the arrest of Sheldon Silver has people at the Capitol waiting for the other shoe -- or many shoes -- to drop. [Capitol]

The number of children qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch has been rising in suburban school districts in the Capital Region. [Daily Gazette]

The SUNY Charter Schools Institute announced it will not be supporting renewal of the charter for the Brighter Choice middle schools in Albany. The schools currently include about 450 students. [TU] [WNYT]

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Bronx Assemblyman seen as frontrunner for Assembly speaker, Repp sentenced to 40 years to life, disruptive pile driving, family birthday x3

The scramble to become the next speaker of the state Assembly is now down to three, and it looks like Carl Heastie of the Bronx is the frontrunner. [TU] [State of Politics]

"People familiar with the investigation" tell WNBC that the feds are looking into state Senate majority leader Dean Skelos and his sources of outside income. Skelos's office released a statement calling the report "irresponsible, and does not meet the standards of serious journalism." [WNBC] [NYDN]

Anthony Repp, who pleaded guilty to killing his mother and stepfather with a rock at their Schaghticoke home in 2013, was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison. Rensselaer County ADA said audio of the attack could be heard on a 911 call, with Repp saying at the end, "Bye-bye mom, gone forever." Repp's attorney, Terrance Kindlon, said his client suffers from mental illness, but the specifics of the case didn't fit a defense on those grounds. [Troy Record] [TU] [News10] [WNYT]

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Potential successors line up for Speaker, two die in separate Capital Region fires, man jailed for hitting mother, 72 year old lays down fitness challenge for Jimmy Fallon

Several Democratic lawmakers are already vying to replace the speaker. Here's a look at who they are, and a breakdown of the six days that resulted in Silver's demise. Meanwhile lawmakers are working on the budget without Silver. [TWCN][NYT]

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has reportedly lined up cooperating witnesses in the corruption case against Sheldon Silver. [TU]

Sheldon Silver is taking a leave of absence from the Manhattan personal injury law firm where he works outside of the legislature. [NYT]

Reconsidering how things get done in the legislature in the wake of the Silver controversy. [TU]

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Dems will replace Silver as speaker, Capital Region unemployment reaches seven year low, virtual snow days just aren't the same

After ten hours of deliberations Assembly Democrats announced on Tuesday that Sheldon Silver will be out as speaker as of Monday. It's still not clear if Silver will resign or be forced out of the speaker's post, but he told reporters, "I will not hinder the succession process." Silver did say he had no plans to resign his seat in the Assembly. [TU][WNYT][TWCN]

Silver's temporary replacement will be Rochester Assemblyman Joseph Morelle. Morelle, who will be speaker until at least February 10, when a special election will be held, is a business friendly Democrat.[NYT][News10][City&State][CapNY]

Unemployment dropped to a seven year low in December with a local jobless rate of 4.5 percent. [TU]

The Capital Region only got a few inches of snow on Tuesday, but it was enough to make commutes slippery.[WNYT]

Rensselaer is going ahead with plans for a waterfront esplanade, even though the city lost its bid for a casino at DeLaet's Landing. [TU]

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Local cancelation for snowy apocalypse, Assembly Democrats pushing on Silver to resign speaker post, Glenville restaurant fire called suspicious

The icy, snowy apocalypse for the Capital Region was canceled, as the Nor'easter took a track farther to the east. The new snowfall projection for the Capital Region core: something like 3-6 inches. [AOA] [NWS]

Momentum in the state Assembly appears to have shifted against Sheldon Silver and his continued reign as speaker after a Monday night meeting of the Assembly majority Democrats asked Silver to resign his leadership post. Earlier Tuesday Democratic Assemblyman Keith Wright of Manhattan, a possible successor to Silver as speaker, criticized the placeholder group of five proposed to handle Silver's budget negotiation duties, and called for Silver to step down. Said Silver as he left the Capitol Monday night: "I am the speaker ... I'm standing. And I'm going to be standing for a long time." [TWCN] [NYDN] [TU] [Capital] [NYT]

The Troy City Council report on the King Street and King Fuels demolitions, as well as the 51 3rd Street code crackdown, concludes that there were "a systemic and integral set of failures and patterns" that led to the situations. Council president Rodney Wiltshire says the council has pushed the city administration for changes, but nothing has happened. Mayor Lou Rosamilia said Monday he couldn't comment on the report because he hadn't read it yet. But he continued to back up the actions of the city administration regarding the two demolitions, to TWCN: "Based on the information I received and heard, people exercised what they believed was in the best interest of the city and the building in both locations." [Troy City Council report] [TU] [Troy Record] [TWCN]

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Silver said to be handing off some power in the Assembly, Bharara questions "three men in a room" setup, Albany parking enforcement reportedly fighting tech glitches

Yep, it's going to snow a lot -- probably about a foot here in the Capital Region. [NWS]

Sheldon Silver will be handing the state budget negotiations over to a five-member group of Assembly members as he faces federal corruption charges. Silver is not resigning his post as speaker, and will continue to get the $41k leadership stipend. [NYDN] [TU]

Joe Bruno, commenting on the Sheldon Silver situation Friday on TALK 1300: "My experience with the feds. You are guilty from day one. When they start looking at you and then you better be able to prove that you're innocent." [WNYT]

US Attorney Preet Bharara speaking Friday about state's government's longstanding "three men in a room" power structure: "There are by my count 213 men and women in the state legislature, and yet it is common knowledge that only three men essentially wield all the power. ... I must confess a little bit of confusion about this: When did this come to pass? Why has everyone just come to accept it?" [Capital]

Police and community org officials say the effort to get more minority police officers needs to include persistent recruitment and more minority community members taking civil service tests. [Daily Gazette]

Chris Churchill: The case of an Albany teen sent to prison for 9 years on a conviction connected to the theft of a pair of sneakers highlights the role of poverty in the criminal justice system's inequities. [TU]

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All Sheldon Silver all the time, push for state to help pay for legal defense for the poor, JetBlue scheduled for November arrival, learning to walk again with an exoskeleton

Sheldon Silver was released after posting a $200k bond in federal court Thursday afternoon, and afterward said: "I am confident that when all the answers are aired I will be vindicated." [State of Politics] [NYT]

A quick scan of what the feds allege Sheldon Silver did. [AOA]

Andrew Cuomo, to the New York Daily News editorial board, about the Silver situation: "Obviously it's bad for the speaker, but it's also a bad reflection on government and it adds to the negativity. And it adds to the cynicism and it adds to the 'they're all the same,'" (The governor did not say whether he thinks Silver should resign his leadership spot.) [NYDN]

The state Assembly session scheduled for Thursday was cancelled, and Assembly Democrats huddled up before announcing their continued support for Silver as speaker. Said Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle: "We believe he can carry out his duties as speaker and we are standing side by side to do our responsibilities and do our job so we can advance forward." Capital Region Democratic Assembly members all had pretty much the same take: they're waiting to see how things play out. The Republican Assembly Minority Leader, Brian Kolb, said Silver should step down as speaker. [State of Politics] [TWCN] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Despite the Democrats' efforts to insist that the Silver situation wouldn't be a "distraction" from business of the legsislature, Silver's arrest could signal a massive shift in the fundamental political calculus of the Capitol. [State of Politics] [NYT]

Education policy -- including funding, teacher evaluations, and other hot topics -- are set to be a key part of the legislative session, and the Silver arrest could tilt things toward Andrew Cuomo and state Senate Republicans. [Capital]

The feds allege Silver racked up millions in income from his legal work -- yet by public appearances, Silver is said to have lived a relatively modest life (including stays at the Red Carpet Inn in Albany). [NY Post]

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Sheldon Silver arrested on corruption charge, Cuomo lays out $141 billion "opportunity agenda", Albany lawmakers consider residency requirement, new redistricting plan for Schenectady schools

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested today on corruption charges. The charges stem from allegations that Silver took payments from a small law firm that he failed to list on his annual financial disclosure filings. [AOA][NYT]

Andrew Cuomo laid out a 141.6 billion budget plan on Tuesday for the upcoming fiscal year. What Cuomo called his "Opportunity Agenda" included plans to tie $800 million in school aid to an 11 point list of school reform that includes incentive pay for teachers, tenure reform and an increase in charter schools. The plan also calls for cutting more than 2 million in aid to communities with VLTs, which could mean a hit of half-a-million dollars to Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County. Cuomo also announced a proposal to better protect students from sexual assault on college campuses and $500 million for broadband access in rural upstate areas. Reactions to the plan were mixed. Here are a few take away items from the speech [TU][TU][TWCN][TU][Saratogian][Gazette][WNYT][Record][AOA]

Twenty-two protestors were arrested outside the entrance to the convention center during the speech.
Protests outside the address were smaller than in recent years, with some anti fracking advocates holding up thank you signs. Others work "I Can't Breathe" sweatshirts and carried signs that read Black Lives Matter. [TU][WNYT][CNY]

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State of the State/budget address today, Cuomo approval rating highest since summer, minimum wage and poverty themes in People's State of the State, significant cutbacks at GE battery plant, when Santa beat Mario Cuomo at checkers

President Obama laid out an ambitious agenda in Tuesday's State of the Union address. [NYT]

Andrew Cuomo gives his combined budget and State of the State address today. In a preview on Tuesday, said "This is probably the most robust State of the State I've done." Expect to hear about tax cuts for small business, property tax relief, funding for bridges and subways and improvements for public schools.[WNYT][TU][TWCN]

On the eve of the state of the state address a Siena poll showed Andrew Cuomo's favorability rating is up to 60 percent-- the highest since the summer. [TU]

Parents and teachers gathered in Valatie last night to send a message to Andrew Cuomo to drop common core.[TWCN]

Anti-poverty groups, labor leaders and others had their say on Tuesday at the 25th annual People's State of the State at the Capitol. [TWCN][WNYT]

More than 80 legislators have signed a letter to Andrew Cuomo requesting $2.2 billion in additional state aid for schools, including $250 million in pre-kindergarten.{TU]

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Previews from State of the State include juvenile justice reform and potential Harriman campus private development, task force for Lansingburgh fires, push to delete license plate scanner data

With the State of the State/state budget presentation scheduled for Wednesday, the Cuomo admin has been previewing a bunch of different plans/initiatives/programs:
+ A report from a juvenile justice panel recommends raising the cut-off age for juvenile jurisdiction from 16 to 18. [TU]
+ A proposal to raise the state's minimum wage to $10.50 per hour ($11.50 per hour in New York City). [TU]
+ Andrew Cuomo announced plans for a commission to study, and possibly raise, the pay of state legislators -- and restrict their outside income. [NYT]
+ "Cuomo administration officials" tell the Times Union the state budget proposal will include a plan to dedicate a chunk of the Harriman State Office Campus in Albany to private development that would have provide PILOTs to the city of Albany. [TU]

The city of Troy has put together a task force to investigate the alleged arsons in Lansingburgh. There was another suspicious fire this past Sunday. [TU] [Troy Record]

NYRA and the Wandering Dago food truck have reached a settlement over the truck being bounced from the Saratoga Race Course because of its name. The Times Union reports the settlement is for $68,500. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

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Upstate regions to compete for $500 million, clarification of SUNY Poly payment to Albany, shadow could dim prospects of parking garage, too tall

The Cuomo admin's new upstate economic development funding initiative: Having seven regions compete for three $500 million awards. It's a follow-up of sorts to the "Buffalo Billion." [TU] [State of Politics]

Some clarification on the $1.9 million that SUNY Poly will be contributing to the city of Albany. [TU]

The family of Trevor Duffy, the UAlbany student who died from an alcohol overdose last fall at what's alleged to have been underground frat off campus, has filed the initial paperwork for a lawsuit against UAlbany, SUNY, and the city of Albany seeking $55 million. [TWCN] [TU]

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Cold snap continues, Schenectady man shot and robbed while taking out trash, SUNY Poly to pay city of Albany--but how much?

Yep, still cold.[Weather Underground]

In her 2015 State of the City address on Wednesday, Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan focused on bringing new revenue into the city. Sheehan announced that SUNY Polytechnic will pay the city of Albany $500 thousand a year for three years in lieu of taxes, but it's not clear if that is new assistance or part of a previously announced grant. [TWCN][WNYT][TU]

A Schenectady man