Morning Blend

A quick scan each morning of headlines from around the region

Political calculation and maneuvering on Scheiderman replacement, guilty verdicts in Schenectady murder for hire case, new Madison Theater operator aiming for summer opening

Replacing Schneiderman
+ A peek into the political calculation and maneuvering going on among New York State Democrats over who should replaced Eric Schneiderman. NYC Public Advocate Tish James has been at the center of the speculation, but Carl Heastie said Thursday there's no deal in place. [Politico NY x2]
+ One idea that's been in circulation is that acting AG Barbara Underwood could hold the job until the election of new AG this fall -- Andrew Cuomo stopped short of endorsing that option. [Politico NY]
+ Preet Bharara said on his podcast this week that he doesn't know if he'd want the job of AG, but that he's sure he doesn't want to be part of the state legislature's process of selecting AG for the rest of the current term. [TU]

Prosecuting Scheiderman
Andrew Cuomo has appointed Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas as a special prosecutor to investigate the domestic violence and abuse allegations against Eric Schneiderman. Not publicly clear at the moment: Whether the women mentioned in the New Yorker article want to press charges. [TU] [Politico NY]

Schenectady murder for hire verdict
A Schenectady County jury returned guilty verdicts for the two men on trial for their connection to the 2016 contract killing of Charles Dembrosky in Schenectady. Joevany Luna was found guilty of first-degree murder and potentially faces life in prison, while Kyshaan Moore was found guilty of second-degree murder and potentially faces 25 years to life. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

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Effort to replace Schneiderman continues, Silver won't testify in retrial, two shootings in Albany, Schenectady County/GE to develop solar farms

Replacing Schneiderman
New York State lawmakers continue to search for a permanent replacement for Schneiderman.The state Assembly is expected to start interviewing candidates for the job next week. [TU][TU]

Schneiderman's temporary replacement
A profile of Eric Schneiderman's temporary replacement, Barbara Underwood.[NYT]

Preet for AG
Chris Churchill makes the case for former U.S. Attorney for New York's Southern District Preet Bharara to replace Eric Schneiderman as Attorney General. [TU]

Good riddance
Sarah Foss says "good riddance" to Schneiderman. [Gazette]

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Eric Schneiderman resigning after abuse allegations, Albany settlement with family of Dontay Ivy, visit from GlobalFoundries parent company, the Blenheim bridge

Eric Schneiderman resigns following allegations of abuse
+ Late Monday after the New Yorker posted an article alleging that state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had engaged physical and psychological abuse of four women. Two of the women -- who had longterm relationships with Schneiderman -- talked to the magazine on the record, their accounts detailed and corroborated by others. [The New Yorker]
+ Three hours later -- with prominent state leaders such as Andrew Cuomo and Kirsten Gillibrand calling for his resignation -- Schneiderman announced will be resigning the post of AG by the end of business on Tuesday: "In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me. While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office's work at this critical time." [NYT] [NYS OAG]
+ During his time as a state Senator and the AG, Schneiderman had introduced a bill to make intentional strangulation to the point of unconsciousness a violent felony, been hailed for work to protect women against domestic violence, and had spoken out against Harvey Weinstein. [NYT]

Replacing Schneiderman
+ "A source familiar with the transition process" tells the Times Union that New York's solicitor general -- Barbara Underwood -- will temporarily fill the state Attorney General role after Schneiderman's resignation. [TU]
+ The state legislature has the power to pick a new AG, who will serve through this November's election. Jimmy Vielkind, in a run-through of possibilities: "Albany is uniquely well-versed in filling the seats of disgraced politicians, and if past is prologue, senior, sitting legislators have a leg up in the appointments process." [Politico NY]

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Spotlight on code enforcement staffing and training, Quackenbush Center developer says project being reformulated, boldly going to Ticonderoga

Building and codes inspectors
Lauren Stanforth in a large Times Union review of local building and codes inspection operations: "Code enforcement offices in local governments throughout the Capital Region are beset with low-paid workers, inspectors who face conflicts of interest and weakened state oversight of training and certification." [TU]

Drug addiction
+ A profile of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program -- LEAD -- which aims to divert people with addiction and mental health issues away from the criminal justice system. The city of Albany was an early adopter of the program and former police chief Brendan Cox is now part of the national org. [TU]
+ Local law enforcement agencies say they've seen an uptick in the number of people driving under the influence of opiates -- or even passed out at the wheel. [Daily Gazette]

SUNY Poly
A former GlobalFoundries CEO (and RPI grad) has been picked by SUNY to head up SUNY Poly's research operations and economic development projects as part of a new org called NY CREATES. [TU]

Quackenbush Center
The developer of the proposed mixed-use project next to Quackenbush Square in downtown Albany says construction bids were much higher than expected, but the company is still committed and is reformulating the plan. [TU] [Biz Review]

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Gubernatorial campaigns jab each other over taxes and contributions, continued skepticism of Albany sewer facility plan, dressing for success

Gubernatorial election
+ Politico reports that "Cynthia Nixon has donated tens of thousands of dollars to several progressive groups that are now supporting her campaign for governor." [Politico NY]
+ Marc Molinaro released his tax return. Cynthia Nixon has yet to do so. [TU] [Politco NY]
+ Cynthia Nixon released a housing plan that includes a provision that would extend rent stabilization laws statewide. [Politico NY] [Nixon campaign]
+ Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Jumaane Williams laid out a plan to increase taxes and fees on things like stock transfers and large real estate transactions to raise $20 billion in new state revenue. [TU]

Lincoln Park sewer facility
The sewer facility proposed for a ravine in Albany's Lincoln Park continued to face skepticism at a public meeting Thursday evening. [TU] Earlier: The plan to fix a problem in Albany that's been a century in the making -- and the concerns about that fix

Albany school board election
There will be four candidates for three positions on the Albany school board for the May 15 election -- which will, oddly, involve two ballots. [TU]


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Officers arrested after AG investigation of village police department, Albany County sick leave proposal, next Siena coach

Police officers arrested
Four law enforcement officers -- three of them from the Galway Police Department -- were arrested Tuesday on charges they falsified documents filed with the state related to officer training. The state Attorney General's office has been investigating the village police department for all sorts of alleged misconduct, including the falsification of training credentials for officers who have ended up taking jobs at other police agencies around the region. The village has a tiny police force with a tiny budget and the mayor says its main purpose is to deter speeding. [NYS OAG] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Sick days
There's a proposed Albany County law that would mandate paid sick time for the employees of private sector employers in the county. (Albany County exec Dan McCoy has supported this idea.) The Capital Region Chamber is opposing the legislation and sent out an email to members this week urging them to speak out against it. [TU] [Biz Review]

Siena coach search
A "source close to the situation" has been telling local media outlets that Jamion Christian will be the next Siena men's basketball coach. (Rodger Wyland has been saying this since last week.) He's currently the head coach at Mount Saint Mary's University in Maryland. Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey had also been a rumored candidate. [News10] [Spectrum] [@RodgerWyland] [TU]

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Report shows cause of Schenectady landslide, opening statements in Silver retrial, Saratoga Racecourse to get new building, Mets to honor late trooper

Schenectady landslide report
A report released to the Daily Gazette on Monday shows water from a broken water service line that leaked into a dirt basement floor of a Barney Street home caused the Schenectady landslide earlier this year. [Gazette]

Silver trial
Sheldon Silver's retrial got underway on Monday with prosecutors claiming the former Assembly speaker abused his power for personal gain by taking bribes, while the defense told the court "Everything that happened in this case was not only legal...it was designed to -- and did -- help people."[TU][NYT]

Hochul
Kathy Hochul called rumors that she'll be dropped from Andrew Cuomo's democratic ticket a "non-story," but Cuomo has publicly suggested that she run for Chris Collins' House seat. [Politico]

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Reducing barriers for opioid addiction treatment, scrutinizing school suspension disparities, Faso and food stamps, last shot for the Patroons?

Opioids
A look at the changing approach -- and barriers that still remain -- to offering immediate access to withdrawal medication for people suffering from opioid addiction, which could significantly reduce the number of overdoses. [TU]

Galway Police Department
Brendan Lyons reports that the state Attorney General's office has been investigating the Galway village police department for allegations of all sorts of misconduct. [TU]

Suspension disparities
Black students in many Capital Region schools districts are suspended at much higher rates than their white classmates, according to recently released federal data -- and parents say they're concerned their children have been treated differently. [Daily Gazette]

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What happens when state employees report workplace harassment, Troy hit-and-run, sorting through responsibility for Normans Kill landslide, restaurant barge sold

Harassment in state government
Vivian Wang on three recent cases of alleged harassment involving state employees and the lack of a single investigative body or agency to handle complaints of harassment brought by people working for New York State: "The cases show that bringing a complaint in New York State government can be a clunky, unpredictable process. What policies do exist are not always followed. And for all the sleek uniformity that officials have promised in recent weeks, none of the new policies fully address how, in practice, it will be achieved." [NYT]

Race for governor
Marc Molinaro says he's secured enough endorsements to claim the Republican nomination for governor. [Politico NY]

43rd state Senate District
After Kathy Marchione's surprise announcement that she won't be running re-election, the field of candidates for the 43rd state Senate District is just starting to assemble. (It includes parts of Saratoga, Washington, Rensselaer, and Columbia counties.) [TU]

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Marchione won't seek re-election, Cuomo urges Felder to rejoin Dems, donor reneges on Boyhaven purchase, WWII vet joins class of 2018

Marchione to retire
State Senator Kathy Marchione announced on Wednesday that she will not run for re-election. Marchione cited family reasons for stepping away from the Senate, but Democrats are buoyed by her decision to leave, combined with the results of this week's special election. [Spectrum][TU][Record][TU]

Cuomo/Felder
Andrew Cuomo reached out to Simcha Felder the Brooklyn Democratic Senator who has caucused with Republicans since getting elected, in an effort to gain Democratic control of the Senate. In a letter, Cuomo told Felder,"You have said that you act in the best interest of your constituents. For their benefit, now is the time that matters."[TU][NYT]


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Senate Dems retake seats, Felder stays with Republicans, GOP appears to hold Assembly majority, Bail set for Mack in NXIVM sex trafficking case, Exit 4 coming in 2019

Special election results

+Senate Democrats regained two vacant seats in Tuesday's special election, but the newly unified party still falls short of a majority because Simcha Felder -- a Bronx Democrat who has caucused with Republicans since his election, has decided to continue his affiliation with the GOP. [TU][NYT][NYT][TU]

+State Assembly seats up for grabs in Tuesdays special election appear to have remained in Republican hands. [TU]

NXIVM
Smallville actress Allison Mack was released by a federal judge in Brooklyn on $5 million bond in her NXIVM sex trafficking / forced labor case. [Spectrum][TU]

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Special elections today for local Assembly seats, holes in plastic bag ban, conviction in Troy stabbing death, touring the restaurant barge that's up for auction

Special elections
+ There are special elections today for the 102nd state Assembly District (which wraps around the southwestern part of the Capital Region) and the 107th state Assembly District (which includes most of Rensselaer County). Polls are open until 9 pm. Don't know where to vote? Check with the state Board of Elections or your county board of elections site. [TU]
+ A look at some of the security measures in place for voting machines and other election processes. [TU]

Proposed plastic bag ban
+ Environmental orgs say the Cuomo admin's proposed plastic shopping bag ban doesn't go far enough. And its fate in the state legislature isn't clear, in part because of a key swing vote in the state Senate. [Daily Gazette] [NYT]
+ Cynthia Nixon was in Albany Monday for the climate march -- just about the same time the Cuomo admin announced the plan. Chris Churchill commented that the bag ban is an example of Cuomo's "great Cynthia Nixon freak-out." [Spectrum] [TU x]

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Police investigating Albany homicide, water leak alleged in Schenectady landslide, question Cuomo's claims, the queen of cookie sales

Albany homicide
Albany police say a 38-year-old man died after being shot multiple times near Clinton Street and Second Ave in the South End (map) Sunday afternoon. APD says it's investigating and asking anyone with info to call or provide an anonymous tip. It's Albany's second homicide of the year. [APD] [Spectrum] [TU]

NXIVM
Allison Mack -- the actress famous for her role on Smallville -- was indicted Friday along with NXIVM founder Keith Raniere on federal sex trafficking and forced labor charges. Federal prosecutors allege that Mack recruited women for what was described as a mentorship group but instead were sexually exploited. Mack had been previously listed as an unidentified co-conspirator. [US DOJ] [TU]

Schenectady landslide
In a notice of claim filed against the city of Schenectady, owners of a rental property on Nott Terrace allege that the city knew there was a water leak on the hillside above their property that was weakening hillside before the January landslide. The man was trapped in a residence by the landslide says he's been suffering from physical injuries and PTSD. [TU] [News10]

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Albany behind schedule on trash plan, Saratoga Code Blue shelter gets permit, Niskayuna Holocaust memorial postponed, tulip watching

Cities and trash
+ The city of Albany is apparently behind schedule on mapping out a plan for how to handle its trash after the city landfill closes at the end of 2022. [TU]
+ People in Troy continue to be upset about the $160 per-unit trash fee, and Madden administration officials say they'll have a new trash plan by this October. [TU]

Sararoga Code Blue shelter
The Saratoga Springs planning board granted Shelters of Saratoga a special use permit for the proposed new Code Blue shelter. An attorney for neighbors who oppose the project says there may be further legal challenges. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Schenectady City Council president workplace violence allegation
Schenectady City Council president Ed Kosiur said in a letter that he raised his voice and was impolite during an exchange with city employees, but he strongly disagrees that he violated the city's workplace violence policy. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

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Sentencing in Mechanicville driveway murder, Car crashes into Schenectady porch, Cuomo signs order to grant voting rights to parolees, more student gun protests planned

Teens sentenced in Mechanicville murder
The 17 year old and 20 year old who admitted to robbing and fatally shooting a Mechanicville man last summer, were sentenced to 18 years to life and 20 years to life respectively. At the sentencing, Judge James Murphy called Nikolai Mavashev diabolical for plotting the murder of 19-year-old David Feliciano. [Spectrum][Saratogian][TU]

Sentencing in death of teen
Nineteen-year-old Christopher Miranda was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison for the death of 16-year-old Zachery Brown, struck and killed on a Saratoga County roadside last year, driving at speeds of up to 104 miles per hour. [News 10]

Car crashes into yards, home and hydrant
A car crashed into the porch of a Schenectady home on Albany Street early Thursday morning, hitting three yards, a fire hydrant and flipping an SUV in its path. The driver and two passengers were taken to the hospital for treatment. [Spectrum][TU][Gazette]


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Police gave protest video to RPI, IDC staffers face layoffs following unification, Cuomo releases tax return, Pulitzer winner has roots in Troy

Police taped RPI protest
Troy police officers hired by RPI videotaped a protest at the school last fall, and handed the tape over to institute officials, who used it to identify protest leaders. [TU]

IDC layoffs
IDC staffers are dealing with salary cuts and layoffs now that Senate Democrats have unified. [TU]

A middle class guy
Andrew Cuomo released his tax return on Tuesday, and declared himself a "middle class guy."[DN][Buffalo News]

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State Board of Elections scrutinizes Sheehan campaign, Schenectady officials say building inspection process improved, billboard presses Amedore over Child Victims Act

Sheehan campaign complaint
The state Board of Elections has filed a complaint alleging Kathy Sheehan's mayoral campaign took contributions from donors that exceeded limits, filed late reports, and violated a law that forbids political parties from holding raffles -- a campaign spokesman said the campaign has been working with the state BOE "to amend filings and ensure compliance." [TU]

Race for governor
+ Andrew Cuomo leads Cynthia Nixon for the Democratic primary 58-27 in the Siena poll out Tuesday. [SRI]
+ It sounds like the Cuomo campaign is trying to drop Kathy Hochul as lieutenant governor. [Buffalo News]
+ The leadership of the Conservative Party is lining up behind Republican Marc Molinaro, which could mean an exit from the race for John DeFrancisco. [TU]

Schenectady code enforcement
Schenectady city officials told a city council committee meeting that the city's buildings department is more quickly addressing code violation reports, emphasizing training, and working toward other improvements. The department has been the subject of significant criticism following the fatal Jay Street fire. [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

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Albany Med nurses vote to unionize, Cynthia Nixon gets key endorsement, Siena basketball coach out, $2 a bowling pin

Albany Med nurse unionization
Albany Med nurses voted to unionize with the New York State Nurses Association 1,161-582. Nurses there say they're seeking a voice in staffing decisions as well as fair wages and benefits. [TU] [News10]

NXIVM
Federal prosecutors allege in a lettered filed in federal court that NXIVM founder Keith Raniere "has a decades' long history of abusing women and girls." [TU]

Race for governor
+ The Working Families Party endorsed Cynthia Nixon over the weekend. Ahead of the announcement when it became apparent he wasn't going to get the endorsement, Andrew Cuomo said he wouldn't be seeking it. The last two labor unions that were part of the Working Families Party also exited. (The endorsement also possibly has some implications for future ballot lines.) [Politico NY x2] [NYT] [Politico NY]
+ Chris Churchill on Nixon's recent comment -- in jest or not -- about upstate starting around Ithaca: "We shouldn't laugh, because downstate myopia has real-world consequences. When upstate is ruled, as it usually is, by downstate politicians with so little understanding of its needs, wants and culture, the region can only continue to suffer and dwindle." [TU]

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Cuomo continues call for study of marijuana legalization issues, Madison Theater sale complete, eating scorpions with Bear Grylls

Marijuana legalization
Andrew Cuomo on marijuana legalization: "It's not really 'legalize or not.' It's, 'do you not legalize when it is legal 10 miles from both sides of your border.'" (Cynthia Nixon called for legalization earlier this week.) [Politico NY] [NYT]

Schenectady police
Last year's Court of Appeals ruling that Schenectady's public safety commissioner can preside over police disciplinary hearings includes a provision that the trial portion of the process is open to the public -- though the three cases that come up since then have been resolved before reaching that point. [TU]

Former mayor pleads guilty
The former mayor of Stillwater -- Rick W. Nelson -- has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges. He's facing 5-15 years in prison. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Roger Stone and James O'Keefe at Siena
Siena is hosting a student-organized free speech conference this weekend that will feature many conservative political figures and operatives, including Roger Stone and James O'Keefe. [TU]

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More than $500,000 seized in NXIVM raid, Schenectady man shot in head, Nixon focused on legalizing marijuana, Pastor sees Easter thefts as opportunity for forgiveness

NXIVM
More than half a million dollars in cash was seized from the home of NXIVM president Nancy Salzman during a federal raid last month, including $390,000 being held in a shoe box. NXIVM founder Keith Raniere is scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn this week on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor. [TU][Spectrum]

Schenectady shooting
A man was shot in the head Wednesday night outside Schenectady's Saw Mill Tavern. [Gazette]

Suspicious device removed from Ballston Spa railroad track
State, local and federal authorities safely removed what appeared to be a pipe bomb from railroad tracks in Ballston Spa on Wednesday.[TU]

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

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

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

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

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Troy considering size of police force, Miner says she's still considering gubernatorial run, focus returns to Albany County Legislature grants, more Troy parking meters

Troy police
Troy mayor Patrick Madden says the city should get an independent expert to assess the size of the city's police force with an eye toward expanding the force in order to purse community policing. [TU]

NXIVM
The state Attorney General's Office has temporarily suspended its investigation of a non-profit associated with NXIVM because of federal criminal case investigation of the org. [TU]

Siena coach investigation
A "person who witnessed the incident but is not authorized by the school to comment" tells the Times Union that they saw Siena men's basketball coach push a player out a chair during a team review session, an incident Brendan Lyons reports is now a subject of the investigation of Patsos. [TU]

Race for governor
+ Former Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner -- a Democratic and frequent Andrew Cuomo critic -- has a registered a state-level campaign committee and says she's seriously considering a run for governor. [Politico NY]
+ Andrew Cuomo's formal campaign organization appears to be getting a slow start. [Politico NY]

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Albany Med nurse unionization push, Greenfield woman shot in head, Siena coach plays defense on allegations, jobs now and in the future

Albany Med nurse unionization
A look at the heated situation surrounding the current unionization campaign among nurses at Albany Med. [TU]

Greenfield woman shot in head
The Saratoga County Sheriff's office says a Greenfield woman was shot in the head by her boyfriend during a domestic incident Saturday night, and was in critical condition. Neighbors said they heard yelling before the gunshot. The sheriff's office says the boyfriend has been charged with first-degree assault. [TU] [News10] [Saratogian]

Fatal industrial accident
Colonie police say a man working for a landscaping and excavation company died Saturday after he was pinned between by two pieces of equipment. [TU]

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Stefanik faces tough questioning from crowd, investigation of Siena coach widening, Albany County Legislature leadership shuffle, Stewart's (on paper) millionaires

Elise Stefanik faces questioning from public
At a "Coffee With Your Congresswoman" event Thursday in Moreau, Elise Stefanik said federal EPA head Scott Pruitt should resign, and she tried to separate herself from Donald Trump on multiple issues. The capacity crowd of 200 people had a series of pointed questions for Stefanik, and some of her answers prompted derisive laughter and boos. [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [NY Now]

Schenectady County jail employee resignations following raid
State Police say a former Schenectady County jail guard was arrested last week as part of a drug investigation, which prompted an internal investigation by the Schenectady County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff Dominic Dagostino says four jail employees have resigned as a result. [Daily Gazette]

Troy police drug unit closed
New Troy police chief Brian Owens has closed the department drug unit that had included members now facing charges related to an alleged coverup of a warrantless search, and says he's focusing the department on community policing. [TU]

NXIVM
Brendan Lyons walks through the allegations connected to a Halfmoon townhouse raided by the FBI last week was allegedly used for sexual encounters with the NXIVM's leader and where the feds allege a woman became a victim of sex trafficking and forced labor. [TU]

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IDC reunites with Senate Dems, Nixon blasts Cuomo on PFOA contamination, marches commemorate King anniversary

IDC
The Independent Democratic Conference has agreed to dissolve and reunite with the Democratic party.
Andrew Cuomo said the move would put Andrea Stewart-Cousins on track to be the first woman to lead a Senate majority conference, but Dems still have to pick up two Senate seats in special elections later this month for that to happen. [NYT][TU]

Nixon in Hoosick Falls
Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon was in Hoosick Falls on Wednesday, where she met with residents and criticized the Cuomo administration's handling of the PFOA pollution situation. [Spectrum][TU]

Man killed on train tracks
Police in Colonie say a man was killed by an Amtrak passenger train after he appeared to purposely step out in front of the train. [TU]

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Grand jury report critical of code enforcement in Jay Street fire, Molinaro officially declares run for governor, Greene County fire kills five people, pushback on plan for huge distribution center

Jay Street fire
A Schenectady County grand jury review of the situation surrounding the 2015 Jay Street fatal fire concludes that "the numerous failures of the Schenectady Bureau of Code Enforcement office ... directly contributed to the deaths and injuries which occurred." Mayor Gary McCarthy: "We're going to take it and study it and look to build on some of the changes we have already made." [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Race for governor
+ Dutchess County exec Marc Molinaro formally announced in Tivoli that he's running for governor. He criticized Andrew Cuomo for "an administration focused inward, not on the people, but on self-preservation, political survival and presidential ambitions." Also: "We will change the way we do business in this very city to include more stakeholders and more citizens and finally end four men in a room." [TU] [NYT] [News10]
+ Molinaro said he didn't vote for Donald Trump. [New York Now]
+ Molinaro first faces a Republican primary and state Senator John DeFrancisco, but he already has the support of the majority of the party's state committee. [Politico NY]

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Sizing up the new state budget, feds continuing NXIVM investigation, not lamenting the Amazon bid loss, coming out when you're a pro wrestler

State budget
+ The governor and legislative leaders reached a deal on the $168 billion million state budget early Saturday morning via the New York-typical closed-door process. [TU]
+ The budget includes a $995 million increase in school funding. [Politico NY]
+ Also in the budget: $12 million of the $12.5 million in funding the city of Albany had been seeking for its budget. Kathy Sheehan is continuing to push for the $12.5 million to be made permanent. [News10] [WNYT]
+ An overview of a bunch of items tucked into the budget, including provisions for menstrual supplies in schools and baby changing stations in renovated buildings. [TU]
+ Folded into the budget process: new rules related to sexual harassment in the workplace -- but critics say they don't go far enough. [NYT] [Politico NY]
+ Also passed concurrently with the budget: stricter gun control rules for domestic violence situations. [TU]
+ One of the frames for this budget was an effort on the part of the Cuomo admin to circumvent some of the aspects of the federal tax overhaul that caps state and local tax deductions. Experts say it's unclear the workarounds will work. [NYT x2]
+ Among the issues not addressed during the budget rush: the Child Victims Act. [TU]

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Rush to finish state budget, allegations of bullying around Albany Med nurse unionization, sheriff proposes that deputies train pistol permit applicants, Church of Holy Innocents status

State budget
As of Friday morning there was still no overall deal on a state budget as leaders try to get things nailed down before the start of the religious holidays and the start of the new fiscal year. Though the state legislature continued the tradition of passing bills in the middle of the night. A look at a few of the sticking points, which sometimes come down to individual members. [Democrat & Chronicle] [State of Politics] [Politico NY]

Nurse unionization at Albany Med
The Cuomo admin announced Thursday that the state Department of Labor will be investigating alleged "threatening and coercive behavior" at Albany Med being used against the campaign to unionized nurses there. Albany Med, in a statement to the Times Union, countered that it has "received numerous reports of our nurses who intend to vote no being subjected to intimidation and bullying by union supporters." [Cuomo admin] [TU]

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Budget voting expected today, controversial items could be left out of spending plan, reporter arrested at Capitol, voter registration rising for area teens

Budget
State lawmakers are optimistic that budget voting could begin today, allowing them to approve the spending plan before the April 1 deadline and before the Passover/Easter session break. But several controversial policy issues may be left off the negotiating table, including early voting, tuition aid for undocumented immigrants, and a law that would make it easer for victims of child abuse to sue abusers. [WNYT][TU]

Effort to unseat IDC members
An effort is underway focused on unseating members of the Independent Democratic Conference.[NYT]

Cuomo on bailing out casino
In response to questions abou the struggling Del Lago casino, which is having trouble competing with the Seneca Indian Nation casinos, Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he has no interest in bailing out private businesses. [TU]

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FBI raids NXIVM buildings, budget deadline looms, Rivers asks to renegotiate, Capital Region unemployment rise

NXIVM
NXIVM co-founder Keith Raniere will remain in federal custody until he is returned to New York to face federal charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor. The FBI raided the home of NXIVM President Nancy Salzman in Halfmoon on Tuesday. [TU][TU]

Budget
Legislators are scrambling to finish up the budget early so they can get home for Passover and Good Friday, and it appears a number of issues may be left out of the plan, including taxes, immigration policy, sexual harassment and the Child Victim's Act. The Assembly appears to have secured $9.8 million in the budget for an allotment to the city of Albany, but Mayor Kathy Sheehan says without the full $12.5 million, city services will have to be cut. [TU][TU]

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NXIVM founder arrested, Nixon calls Cuomo a bully, crime numbers trending downward, cash still accounts for many CDTA fares

NXIVM founder arrested
The Department of Justice announced that Keith Raniere -- the founder of Nxivm, the secretive org based in Colonie -- is facing charges for alleged sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy. US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York says Raniere was arrested in Mexico Sunday and deported to the United States where he's scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Fort Worth. The feds allege that Raniere was part of an effort to form a secret slave-master sex club within NXIVM. The group is alleged to have branded women with a cauterizing device and required them to submit compromising material about themselves. [US DOJ] [TU x2] [NYT]

Race for governor
+ Cynthia Nixon appeared at an Alliance for Quality Education press conference about school funding in Albany Monday and went after Andrew Cuomo, calling him a bully and accusing of him acting like "a progressive Democrat leading the resistance" while handing over power to Republicans. She also the criticized what she described as the "the old boys' club" arrangement in state government. [TU] [Politico NY] [Spectrum] [NYT]
+ Chris Churchill on Nixon and Cuomo: "She's punching the bully in the nose." [TU]
+ A look at the behind-the-scenes efforts by the Cuomo and Nixon campaigns to win support from influential African-American figures around New York City. [NYT]

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Considering the causes of threats made against schools, two shootings in Albany, crunch time for state budget, sharp downturn in number of refugees to Albany

Gun violence
+ There have been more than a dozen threats made against Capital Region schools since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida -- none of the reported threats have been deemed credible by officials, though charges have been filed in multiple cases, including the recent threat at Shenendehowa High School East. So drives these threats? [TU] [Daily Gazette x2]
+ Thousands gathered in Albany Saturday for the local March for Our Lives event. [AOA]
+ Following along with local students at the march in Washington, DC. [Daily Gazette]
+ Albany police are investigating a shooting on Clinton Ave near Swinburne Park early Sunday morning. APD said a man was shot in the leg and suffered non-life threatening injuries. [APD]
+ Albany police are investigating a shooting inside a room at the Motel 6 on Watervliet Ave overnight Sunday to Monday. APD said a man was shot in the leg and suffered non-life threatening injuries. It described the situation as "an isolated incident that occurred inside of a single room at the motel in which the victim and suspects were known to each other." APD says "a suspect believed to be involved" was arrested. [APD]

Rensselaer landfill
The commissioner for the state Department of Environmental Conservation says the agency is investigating the Dunn C&D Landfill in Rensselaer -- which takes construction debris, and has been taking in more tonnage that the Albany and Colonie landfills combined. [TU]

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Arrest in Schenectady school crash, Gipson withdraws gubernatorial bid, Capital Region population grows while upstate shrinks

Charges in Schenectady school crash
A Schenectady man is facing charges for driving through a window into a classroom at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in the early morning hours on Wednesday. [Spectrum]

School threats
+An 18-year-old Colonie High School Student has been charged with making the weapons threat that caused an increased police presence at the school on Wednesday. The teen is charged with making a terroristic threat, which carries a maximum penalty of 2 to 7 years in prison. [TU]

+Police in Galway arrested a 13-year-old student in the central school district for allegedly threatening, in two social media posts, to shoot at the school. [TU]

Capital Region population growth up while upstate population declines
According to new census data, the Capital Region added nearly 17,000 residents since 2010, making it the only Upstate New York region to show population growth in that time period. [TU]

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Car slams into Schenectady school, Nixon debuts gubernatorial campaign, judge won't toss charges against Silver, federal cuts could affect CDTA plan

School threats
+Police will be stationed at Colonie Central High School today following a threatening comment made by a student on a school bus on Tuesday. A letter to parents from the principal says that the threat was not credible but the district was still taking it seriously. [WNYT][TU]

+A 13-year-old Shenendahowa student has been charge with falsely reporting an incident after making a threatening Instagram post.[WNYT][TU]

+Cohoes High School went into lockdown on Tuesday after a student called in a shooting threat that turned out to be false. [TU]

Car slams into school
Schenectady's Martin Luther King Elementary School is closed today, after a car drove through a window and into a classroom overnight. [Spectrum][Gazette]

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Shaping up the race for governor, Cuomo admin response to allegations of unaddressed misconduct at state agency, threat prompts students to stay home

Race for governor
+ The Cuomo campaign's response to Cynthia Nixon entering the race for the Democratic nomination: "Governor Cuomo has delivered more real progressive wins than any other Democrat in the country, including passing marriage equality, the strongest gun safety law in the nation, a $15 minimum wage, free college tuition, paid family leave, record setting funding for public education, expanding and protecting healthcare for our most vulnerable, and banning fracking." [State of Politics]
+ An overview of the politics of the Cuomo-Nixon matchup. [Politico NY]
+ Republicans seemed pretty happy about Nixon getting into the race. [Politico NY]

Niko DiNovo
Niko DiNovo -- the Colonie teen badly burned in the Blessings Tavern car crash in 2016 -- died Monday from injuries from the crash. [TU]

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Allegations of harassment at state agency, Rensselaer community turns out to support families, the Skyway and cynicism, Orange madness

Abuse allegations at state agency
Brendon Lyons reports that a(n unreleased) state Inspector General's investigation found that a top official at the state Division of Criminal Justice Services threatened female employees and engaged in years of sexual harassment, racism, and ageism -- but the official was not disciplined and two women who testified as part of the investigation were punished. [TU]

Cole crash trial
From Friday: A Saratoga County court jury found John W. Cole guilty of felony assault, driving while ability impaired, and reckless driving -- and acquitted him of two other charges -- for the March 2017 crash in Halfmoon that left one of his passengers a quadriplegic. He faces two to seven years at sentencing. Scott Shapiro -- the husband of Deanna Shapiro, was seriously injured: "There are clearly no winners here, the impact on both my family and John's family cannot be understated." [Daily Gazette] [TU x2]

Rensselaer fatal fire
+ Rensselaer police say the cause of the Mann Ave. house fire that killed members of a family appears to have an electrical problem that was accidental. [News10]
+ There was an all-day community fundraiser in Rensselaer Sunday to benefit the Mann Ave family as well as the children of a Rensselaer woman who was recently found dead in the Hudson. [TU]

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Sheriff: Plot against judge was made up, Cuomo questions school walkout discipline, name change for Troy's Riverfront Park

Sheriff: Plot against judge was made up
Albany County sheriff Craig Apple says it's been determined that the reported plot against state Supreme Court justice Thomas Breslin was made up by a county jail inmate in an effort to get a deal. [TU]

School walkouts
+ Andrew Cuomo issued a public letter requesting that state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia to look into reports that students around the state were disciplined for participating in walkout events this week to protest gun violence, including an alleged case in which a school blocked exits (an apparent reference to report about Schuylverville). [Cuomo admin] [TU]
+ In her own return public letter, Elia said NYSED will "investigate any reports where the safety of students was put in jeopardy, as we always do." [NYSED]
+ Talking with local students who face discipline for walkout events -- and the school officials who disciplined them. [Daily Gazette]

National Gride rate increase
The state Public Service Commission has approved a rate change for National Grid that will increase the average monthly bill for electricity and gas by about $16 over the next three years. [TU]

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Capital Region students protest gun violence, guilty plea in Cohoes Fire, fatal crash on Cohoes-Waterford Bridge, Blenheim-Gilboa to get millions from NYPA

Guilty plea in Cohoes fire
John Gomes pleaded guilty to fourth-degree arson for starting the burn barrel fire that got out of control in November destroying a damaging numerous buildings in Downtown Cohoes. The blaze displaced 20 people and caused at least $4 million in damage. [TU][Spectrum]

Fatal crash on Cohoes Waterford Bridge
Police continue to investigate a fatal car crash that closed down the Cohoes-Waterford Bridget this morning. [News 10]

The Percoco trial and the Cuomo administration
The Percoco trial raised a number of ethics and transparency questions about the Cuomo administration. Andrew Cuomo says the suggestions he knew about Joe Percoco's actions are "political garbage." [TU][Politico]

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Guilty verdict for Percoco, Coeymans police respond to outrage over raccoon incident, Stefanik and the House intelligence committee, leaving and holding a state job

Percoco trial verdict
+ The jury in the federal corruption case involving former top Cuomo admin official Joe Percoco found Percoco guilty on three charges for soliciting and accepting bribes from two companies in exchange for influence on business connected to state government. [US DOJ] [NYT]
+ An executive with the Syracuse-area company Cor Development was also found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. [Syracuse.com]
+ Andrew Cuomo called the verdict "personally painful" because of his longtime close relationship with Percoco, "however, we must learn from what happened and put additional safeguards in place to secure the public trust. Anything less is unacceptable." Cue speculation about to the degree to which the conviction hurts Cuomo's re-election campaign. [TU] [NYT]
+ State Senator -- and a Republican gubernatorial candidate -- John DeFrancisco: "With or without the conviction, this is a pretty good indication that we need a change at the top." [State of Politics]

Coeymans raccoon
+ From a Coeymans Police Department statement on the incident in which officers ran down a rabid raccoon in a shopping plaza parking lot: "We understand that this is not easy to watch, however The Town of Coeymans Police Department, and the Officers involved acted without malice or contempt, and without another remedy acted only with the Publics wellbeing in mind. Based on the above it was the safest way to remove the immediate hazard, given the circumstances presented." [CPD Facebook]
+ The state Department of Health says tests indicate the raccoon was rabid. [TU]
+ Mohawk Hudson Humane Society president Todd Cramer said he was "instantly sickened and appalled" by the video and said there were other options police could have used. The acting CPD chief said the department will work to develop different procedures for similar situations in the future. [Spectrum] [WNYT]

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Oquendo sentenced, Judge orders PR campaign to shut down in DWI trial, Percoco jury still deadlocked, probe of police raccoon killing

Oquendo sentencing
A State Supreme Court justice sentenced Johnny Oquendo to 27 years to life in prison for the murder of his stepdaughter Noel Alkaramla. Oquendo, who represented himself at the sentencing, maintained his innocence in a statement to the court. [TU][Spectrum][WNYT]

Judge orders PR campaign to be shut down in DWI case
The Saratoga County judge in the DWI case agains businessman John Cole of Cole's Collision has ordered a stop to a public relations plan featuring ads where charity leaders highlight Cole's philanthropy.[TU][Gazette]

Percoco jury deadlocked
The jury in the corruption trial of Joe Percoco has again told a judge that it is deadlocked, but the judge in the case wants them to continue trying to reach a verdict.[NYT]

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Rensselaer house fire kills three members of family, legal fight over video from police body cameras, criticism of PR campaign ahead of trial

Fatal fire in Rensselaer
Three members of a Rensselaer family -- a child, mother, and grandmother -- died in a house fire early Sunday morning. Two other children suffered injuries, one of them serious. Officials say it's not clear yet what caused the fire -- it gutted the entire home -- and it's under investigation. More than a hundred people gathered outside the house on Sunday for a vigil. [TU] [News10] [Troy Record] [TU]

Guns
+ The Saratoga Springs City Council has voted to ban gun sales at the Saratoga Springs City Center -- it looks like the recurring gun show scheduled for the venue in May will be the last there. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
+ Talking with Capital Region high school students about gun violence and walkouts planned for this Wednesday. [Daily Gazette]

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Oquendo sentencing delayed again, Albany Capital Center funding questioned, shoveling out the neighborhood, windfall in CommerceHub sale

Oquendo sentencing delayed
Johnny Oquendo's sentencing for the death of Noel Alkaramla in Troy was postponed again -- to next Monday -- after the judge ruled the new sentencing report hadn't been made available with enough time ahead of the sentencing. The judge also ruled that Oquendo can now represent himself (with his most recent attorney on standby). [TU] [News10] [Troy Record]

Percoco trial
The jury in the Joe Percoco case is still deliberating, apparently to the chagrin of almost everyone involved. [TU]

Rensselaer County Sheriff's Office / ICE
The NYCLU is criticizing the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Office's participation in a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement program in which Sheriff Patrick Russo says two corrections officers will be trained to check on immigration holds on prisoners in the county jail. [TU]

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Snowstorm leaves thousands without power, Schenectady police officer demoted for alleged violence, Cuomo makes light of potential Nixon challenge, Stefanik challenger drops out

Snow
An estimated 7,000 Capital Region residents are without power after Wednesday's snowstorm. Twenty-eight flights were canceled at Albany International Airport. Amtrak will continue operating on a modified schedule on Thursday due to the storm.[Gazette][TU][TU]

Jay street fire
A survivor of the Jay Street fire comes to terms with the verdict in the David Tyree case, and with his own suffering.[Gazette]

Schumer's infrastructure plan
Chuck Schumer's proposal to improve infrastructure and create jobs by eliminating tax breaks from the nation's wealthiest individuals and corporations. [TU]

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Tyree acquitted in Jay Street fire case, Percoco Jury deadlocked, more snow causing closings and cancellations, a lobster of a different color

Snow
New York State has issued a travel advisory and many schools are closed and events canceled due to winter storm Quinn. [Spectrum]

Tyree acquitted
A jury acquitted former Schenectady code enforcement officer Kenneth Tyree of four counts of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in connection with the fatal 2015 Jay Street fire. Tyree was found guilty on one count of offering a false instrument for filing for lying about past felonies on his job application to become a building inspector, and could face 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison. [TU][Gazette]

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Closing arguments in Jay St fire inspection trial, Washington Ave Armory suing Migos, CommerceHub acquired in billion dollar deal, pushback on Troy church conversion

Jay Street fire inspection trial
The trial of former Schenectady inspector Kenneth Tyree had closing arguments Monday. The prosecution argued Tyree didn't put in the necessary effort to do his job correctly and, if he had, the four deaths in the fire could have been prevented. The defense said that Tyree told his supervisor what he saw and argued Tyree is being scapegoated for the fire. [Spectrum] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Guns
The state Senate passed a group of bills Monday backers said would increase safety for schools from gun violence -- including allowing retired police officers to earn more as school resource officers without a waiver, requiring schools to hold two active shooter drills a year, and Jim Tedisco's vanity license plate for funding armed guards in schools. None of the bills deals directly with gun laws, which prompted sharp criticism from Democrats in the chamber. And Tedisco's bill in particular was mocked. [News10] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Washington Ave Armory suing Migos
The company that owns the Washington Ave Armory is suing Migos, alleging the hip hop group's actions encouraged and incited the brawling at their 2015 concert there. (The incident led to the venue being hit with a nuisance abatement order and it ended up surrendering its liquor license.) And a person who says he was seriously injured at the concert has also filed a suit against Migos and the Armory. [The Alt] [TU]

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Troopers and tow truck operator injured in I-90 crash, new Republican in the pool for governor, Flag Day Parade ends

Troopers and tow truck operator injured in I-90 crash
+ State Police say three people -- two of them state troopers -- were seriously injured in a crash on I-90 in North Greenbush early Sunday morning. NYSP say two troopers had responded to a call for single-vehicle crash in the median. A two truck arrived with two operators. And then, with the scene marked off flares, State Police say another driver failed to move over, hit the patrol car, then hit both troopers and one of the tow truck operators -- all three suffered serious injuries and were hospitalized. The second tow operator and the driver of the second vehicle also suffered injuries. The second driver is facing DWI and "numerous others" traffic charges. [NYSP]
+ Said the other tow truck operator to News10 of the crash: "It was just terrible. It was like a hurricane coming through." [News10]
+ State Police Major Robert Patnaude on the setup of the scene before the second crash: "It was lit up like a Christmas tree. There's no reason why he shouldn't have seen it." [WNYT]
+ Patnaude remarking on both crashes, the first of which State Police say was the result of a driver distracted by a phone: "You're driving a 3,000-pound vehicle that is a dangerous weapon and people take it too lightly." [TU]

Schenectady police excessive force case
According to a Schenectady Police Department internal affairs reports, an SPD lieutenant who had been up for the job of police chief had shown photos of a woman whose head had been busted open when officers slammed her head into a bench and told other members of the force "this is what happens when someone hits one of my men" -- the report concluded that the officers hadn't followed training and the use of force was excessive. (The report surfaced in a federal court filing as part of a lawsuit filed by the woman.) [TU]

Guns
+ The former Columbia High School student who brought a shotgun to school in 2014 2004 -- and was tackled by the then-principal -- wrote a letter to the Times Union following Chris Churchill's recent column looking back at the incident hailing the principal as a hero, expressing regret for the pain he's caused, and praising the Parkland high school students for their advocacy. [TU]
+ Talking with local high school students about their plans to join nationwide walk-out events to protest gun violence. [TU]

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It's snowing, Tyree cross examined in Jay Street fire inspection trial, Troy taking on trash problem, Albany Med buys two buildings in Albany

Snow
Things changed -- as the forecast probabilities suggested they might -- and we're getting a lot of snow. The NWS forecast as of 9 am is projecting an expected snowfall of 14 inches in Albany, with higher totals to the west. There are, of course, many cancellations and delays. Check before heading out. Even better, don't head out if you don't have to. And take it slowly with the shoveling -- it's wet and heavy snow. [NWS Albany]

Trial related to Jay St fire
The prosecution cross examined former Schenectady housing inspector Kenneth Tyree Thursday about his inspection of 104 Jay Street -- Tyree said he didn't have experience with alarm systems and was told to look but not touch the building's alarm system. At one point during the questioning, when the prosecution mentioned the victims of the fire, Tyree started sobbing. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Guilty verdict for man shot by Schenectady police
The man shot by Schenectady police last year -- an incident shown on Facebook Live by a bystander -- was found guilty on charges connected to the case, including criminal possession of a weapon. The weapon was a loaded sawed-off shotgun that police say the man threw to the porch of a nearby home, and prosecutors say his DNA was on the gun handle -- SPD has not said what the object was that the man was accused of pointing at police. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

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Local judge guarded after death threats, gun control stalls in NYS Senate, Tyree takes stand in Jay Street fire trial, Cohoes & RPI team up on smart mural

Prominent judge receives death threats
Death threats received by State Supreme Court judge Thomas Breslin have been deemed credible and police are guarding his home while an investigation is underway. [TU]

Gun control measures stalled in Senate
The Republican controlled NYS Senate refused on Wednesday to take up gun control measures proposed by Senate Democrats. [NYT][TU]

Cuomo on gun control
Andrew Cuomo is blaming members of his own party in Congress for failing to advance tough gun control measures. [Politico]

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Hoosick Falls accepts PFOA payment, former priest convicted of abuse found dead in jail, gun control debate heats up in NYS legislature

PFOA payment
The Hoosick Falls Village Board voted on Tuesday to accept a $330,251 payment from Saint-Gobain and Honeywell to cover some of the costs from PFOA contamination of the village water supply. The resolution is not a settlement and won't release the companies from future reimbursement costs and damages. [WNYT][TU]

Former priest and abuser found dead in jail
A former Long Island Catholic priest who was arrested for child sexual abuse last year at a Washington County retreat, was found dead on Tuesday in a Saratoga County jail cell. The Sheriff's office says the death is believed to be a suicide. Michael Hands was slated to be sentenced on Thursday after pleading guilty in January to two felony counts of sexually abusing a child. [TU][Saratogian][Post Star]

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Focus on training in Jay Street fire trial, Supreme Court unions case of particular interest in New York, concern about potential Albany middle school plan

Trial related to Jay St fire
During cross examination Monday, the attorney for defendant Kenneth Tyree worked to portray for the former Schenectady inspector as poorly trained and cast doubt on some of the claims made by his supervisor. Tyree's inspector testified that he told Tyree to call him if he ran into any issues or anything he didn't understand while inspecting 104 Jay St. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Percoco trial
The defense in the Joe Percoco trial rested Monday after just a handful witnesses -- and without Percoco testifying. [NYT]

Supreme Court unions case
The Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments Monday in Janus v AFSCME, which could affect public sector unions ability to collect fees from employees who don't belong to the union but are still represented by it. The case is of particular interest in New York State, which has more than 1 million unionized public employees across the various levels of government. How much the case could affect the power of unions in New York is a matter of debate. [NYT] [TU] [Politico NY]

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Incorrect report prompts scare at Colonie Center, Cuomo campaign collecting contributions from appointees, judge accused of stealing millions, the Power Breakfast Club

Scare at Colonie Center
An incident in the food court at Colonie Center late Sunday afternoon prompted word to circulate -- incorrectly -- in the mall that shots had been fired, leading people to take shelter or flee. Colonie police say there was no gun and no shots were fired during an argument between a customer and a clerk -- the man is alleged to have said he had a gun, apparently loud slaps on the kiosk had been interpreted as gunshots. CPD says the customer was arrested on charges that include criminal nuisance. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [WNYT] [Spectrum]

Guns
+ Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo says he's already been approached by three school districts about placing an armed officer in schools. [Saratogian]
+ Jim Tedisco is proposing a "Guardians For Schools" custom license plate to help fund armed officers and other security measures in schools. [TU]
+ Saratoga Springs mayor Meg Kelly says she's been talking with a church about conducting a gun buyback. [Daily Gazette]

Cuomo campaign cash
The New York Times reports that the Cuomo admin has "quietly reinterpreted" an executive order that bars most state appointees from donating to, or soliciting donations for, the campaign fund of the governor who made the appointment -- to the tune of $890k in contributions. [NYT]

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New York part of new state coalition on guns, Mohawk ice jams breaking up, prosecution rests in Percoco trial, push for geothermal in ESP microgrid

Guns
+ The governors of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island say their states are forming a coalition -- States for Gun Safety -- to create a database to supplement the federal background check system, and along with sharing info related to gun law enforcement. [TU] [Politico]
+ Vermont's Republican governor and Democrats in its legislature said Thursday they're in favor of more stringent gun control laws in the state, which one legislator described as a "sea change." (The NYS Attorney General's Office reported in 2016 that Vermont was the #1 source state of "likely-trafficked" guns recovered in the Capital Region.) [Seven Days]
+ The The New York State Sheriffs' Association is pushing for the state legislature to provide funding for at least one armed officer at every elementary and high school. [TU]
+ The president of the Albany Public School Teacher Association on Donald Trump's proposal to arm teachers: "The answer just doesn't make any sense." [WNYT]
+ A 20-year-old Sage College student at a vigil Thursday on what she thought when the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting happened five years ago: "I was really shocked and I said to myself, 'This will never happen again. This is ridiculous.' And then over and over and over, this happened again." [TU]

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Flooding concerns as ice jams break on Mohawk, pedestrian killed in Albany, former Troy councilman facing harassment charges in Reno, paid parking coming to downtown Saratoga

Mohawk Flooding
The warm temperatures have resulted in an ice jam break on the Mohawk that is beginning to flood the Stockade neighborhood. [Spectrum][Gazette]

Pedestrian death
Albany police are investigating the death of a 92-year-old pedestrian who was hit by a car as she stepped out from between parked vehicles near Washington and Quail Streets on Tuesday night. [TU]

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Eye on potential flooding, mother charged following Troy fire, pressure on school budgets, together for 75 years

Ice jams and potential flooding
The rapidly warming weather this week is prompting concerns about potential flooding along the Mohawk River as ice jams thaw and move downstream. Meteorologists say it's hard to predict how the 17-mile-long ice jam in the Mohawk affect things. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Mother charged following Troy fire
Troy fire officials say it looks like the house fire on 4th Ave was caused by kids playing with matches or a lighter. The mother of the three children is alleged to have left them alone in the apartment and she's facing misdemeanor child endangerment charges. A passerby and neighbors came to the aid of the kids. [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT]

Guns and schools
+ One of the recent trends in school design being incorporated by Schenectady and other local districts: "secure vestibules" -- basically two sets of locked doors at school entrances. [Daily Gazette]
+ Talking with local high school students about the national student walkout against school gun violence planned for March 14. [Daily Gazette]

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Former residents testify in Jay Street fire trial, should pardons of crimes committed as a teen be made public, communicating at the Olympics

Jay Street fire inspection trial
Thursday included testimony from former residents of the 104 Jay St apartment building, one who told the court upkeep of the building had fallen off in the months leading up to the fire and another who said city building inspector Kenneth Tyree didn't check the smoke detector in his unit during an inspection that was "real quick, about a minute." [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Guns
+ Prompted by the school shooting in Florida this week, Andrew Cuomo has advocating for something like the SAFE Act on the national level. [Politico NY]
+ The Albany County Sheriff's Office says an Albany man was arrested for allegedly making a gun-related threat toward co-workers at the Albany County Nursing Home. [Spectrum]
+ The Berlin Central School District issued a notice parents Thursday about "a possible threat to the middle and high school." A 17-year-old has been arrested for allegedly making a comment deemed potentially threatening at lunch, which then ended up on Snapchat. [News10] [WNYT]
+ Schools and churches around the area say they're reviewing their plans for dealing with a shooter. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple: "This has become the norm. I never thought I'd say that about active shooter situations, but this is." [WNYT] [Spectrum]

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Troy has a new police chief, former building manager testifies in Jay St. fire trial, landslide repair underway, Saratoga anti-KKK rally

Troy police Chief
The city of Troy has a new police chief. Brian Owens took command of the city's police force on Wednesday, promising to lead the city's police out of a tumultuous two years. [Spectrum][TU]

Jay street fire trial
The former building manager of the Jay Street apartment building destroyed in a fatal fire in 2015, took the witness stand on Wednesday, testifying against Kenneth Tyree, the Schenectady city inspector charged with failing to properly inspect the building. The testimony was part of a plea agreement for Sacks, who pleaded guilty last month to four counts of criminally-negligent homicide will spend 1 to 3 years in state prison.[TU][Gazette]

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Mero sentenced for double murder, Testimony from Jay Street fire survivor, Anti-KKK rally planned today in Saratoga, lock of Washington's hair found at Union College

Jay street fire
A Schenectady County jury heard a tale of a narrow escape from a survivor of the 2015 Jay Street fire who leapt from a fifth floor apartment to escape the blaze. [Gazette]

Mero sentenced
Edward Mero was sentenced on Tuesday to 50 years to life for the murders of two woman whose deaths he tried to cover up in a Coeymans fire. [TU]

Percoco trial
Todd Howe was back on the witness stand Tuesday, following a weekend in jail after admitting to an act of fraud on the witness stand last week. Howe told prosecutors "I'm in a boatload of trouble." [TU][NYT]

Schenectady Restaurant Week 2018 in-post ad

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Push back on hate group flyers in Saratoga, mayors seek more state aid, a skeptical eye on Troy's comprehensive plan, Captain Cuomo

KKK flyers in Saratoga Springs
A group called the Saratoga Peace Alliance distributed flyers around Saratoga Springs as a counter to this weekend's distribution of KKK flyers. And the city council issued a joint system condemning the flyers and asking anyone with info about them to contact police. The city's public safety commissioner says the distribution of the flyers violates city code, but isn't a criminal offense. [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian] [Spectrum]

Trial related to Jay Street fire
A review of video and 911 calls from the fatal Jay Street fire that have surfaced as part of the trial of former Schenectady building inspector Kenneth Tyree, which resumes Tuesday. [Daily Gazette]

Mayors push for more state aid
Members of the New York Conference of Mayors -- including Kathy Sheehan and Gary McCarthy -- were at Capitol Monday pushing for an increase in the state's Aid and Incentives for Municipalities, or AIM. (It's one of the main ways the state distributes financial aid to cities.) They also say the Cuomo admin's push for local municipalities to share services hasn't been counting the full range of such efforts. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Schenectady Restaurant Week 2018 in-post ad

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What effect does Howe arrest have on Percoco trial, march calls for answers in death of man in Schenectady police custody, miles long ice jam on Mohawk, sliding to a silver medal

Percoco trial
+ It came out Friday that Todd Howe -- the star witness for the prosecution -- was arrested Thursday after admitting on the stand that he had tried to skip out on a $600 charge at the Waldorf Astoria by telling his credit card company he had canceled the reservation -- an act the feds decided was a violation of the conditions of his release. [WSJ] [TU]
+ What does the arrest mean for the trial? It's probably not good for the prosecution. [TU]
+ Also: Does Howe get to wear a suit in court now or will he be in prison clothing? [NYT]
+ Chris Churchill on ziti, both the literal and figurative types. [TU]

Review of death of man in Schenectady police custody
More than a hundred people marched in Schenectady Saturday calling for more information about the death of Andrew Kearse in police custody last May. Kearse's widow, Angelique Negroni-Kearse, says Schenectady police were slow to call for medical help after Kearse reported difficulty breathing following a short foot chase and arrest. Black Lives Matter of Greater New York is calling for video of the incident to be released to the public. (Negroni-Kearse says she was shown the video by the state Attorney General's office, which is investigating the death.) [TU] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette]

KKK flyers in Saratoga Springs
Saratoga Springs police say flyers for a faction of the KKK showed up on cars windshields on the city's north side Sunday morning. SSPD says the flyers were similar to ones distributed last May. [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

Schenectady Restaurant Week 2018 in-post ad

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Opening arguments in trial connected to Jay Street fire, more cross examination of Todd Howe, new Troy police chief, remembering Edmund O'Neal

Jay Street fire trial
During opening arguments in the trial of former Schenectady building inspector Kenneth Tyree connected to the fatal Jay Street fire, the prosecutor said the fire alarm was not working properly two weeks before the fire and that "if the defendant had done his job properly" ahead of the fire four people wouldn't have died. The defense argued Tyree had not been trained for that sort of inspection and is being scapegoated. [WNYT] [Daily Gazette] [News0]

Percoco trial
+ During cross examination of Todd Howe, an attorney for Joe Percoco laid out an argument that Percoco thought he was making money from a lobbying firm and Howe deceived him -- a charge that Howe denied. [TU]
+ Also on cross examination, Howe admitted that he had lied to his credit card company about racking up a $600 charge at the Waldorf Astoria in October 2016, which would appear to be violation of his cooperation agreement with the feds. [NYT]
+ Another angle to this whole situation: the use of private email accounts by Cuomo admin officials for government business, which Howe has testified was widespread. [TU]
+ The trial has also highlighted, again, the LLC loophole in the state's campaign finance rules. [Spectrum]
+ Andrew Cuomo again declined to comment on Thursday about the trial. [Politico NY]

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Trial begins in Jay Street fire, Percoco defense takes on Howe's credibility, graduation rates up in NY but down in Schenectady

Snow
Wednesday's snowstorm Brought as much as a foot of snow to areas of the Capital Region, closing schools, canceling flights and keeping tow trucks busy. [Gazette]

Federal budget deal
Chuck Schumer on the bipartisan budget deal struck on Wednesday in the Senate: "The budget deal doesn't have everything I wanted; it doesn't have everything Senator McConnell wanted; but it has what New Yorkers need."[TU]

Teen pleads guilty to murder
One of the teens charged with a the shooting death of a Mechanicville man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to second-degree murder. [Saratogian]

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Percoco and the ziti, Senate Dems unveil gun legislation, RPI administrator asked alumni association to send controversial email, it's snowing

Snow
The snow is underway and area closings have begun. [TU]

Percoco and ziti
Tuesday in the corruption trial of former top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, star witness Todd Howe testified that he helped Percoco set up a no show job for Percoco's wife in something they called "operation fat man," and that Percoco referred to money as "ziti." [TU][Gazette]

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Sheehan presses case for permanent increase in Albany state funding, Howe testifies at Percoco trial, sentencing in UAlbany rape case, bowling a farewell to the Playdium

State funding for Albany
Kathy Sheehan was back before state legislators Monday pressing the case for Albany's annual state aid to be permanently increased by $12.5 million (the city budget is counting on that money), citing the city's disparity in per capita state funding and the large portion of tax-exempt and state-owned land. Sheehan also delivered a letter to Andrew Cuomo that argues the case. [News10] [TU] [Sheehan admin]

Percoco trial
The much anticipated moment: Todd Howe took the stand for the prosecution Monday in the Joe Percoco trial. Howe, who's already pleaded guilty to multiple felonies, described Percoco as "the closest thing to a brother that I ever had," and detailed he said were efforts to trade Percoco's influence within the Cuomo admin for bribes, or "ziti." [Spectrum] [TU] [NYT]

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Start of trial connected to Jay Street fire, Troy police detectives indicted, decision on Boreas Ponds use, tracking vacant buildings in Albany

Jay Street fire trial
Jury selection starts Monday in the trial of Kenneth Tyree, the former Schenectady building inspector facing charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the case of the fatal 2015 Jay Street fire. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Percoco trial
Todd Howe is scheduled to finally take the stand this week in the Joe Percoco trial -- and the defense attorneys in the case have been working to portray him as a liar. [NYT]

Troy Police Department
Two Troy police detectives were indicted Friday on charges related to an alleged covering up of a warrantless search executed by the TPD's drug unit. Their attorneys say they didn't do anything wrong. The special prosecutor in the case -- Columbia County DA Paul Czajka -- praised the TPD officers who spoke up about the situation. [TU] [Troy Record] [News10]

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Madden: New leadership and training for Troy police soon, New York hit with $14 million penalty over highway signs, Republican challenger for Kirsten Gillibrand

Troy Police Department
+ A grand jury has handed up a second indictment in the case of an alleged illegal search, and cover up, by the Troy Police Department's drug unit -- it's scheduled to be opened Friday afternoon. [TU]
+ Mayor Patrick Madden says there will be new leadership of the police department by the end of February and it will be training to improve its interaction with the community. Said Madden in his state of the city address: "Policing isn't just about capturing and handcuffing people, it's about working with individuals in the community." [TU] [WNYT]

Schenectady County jail guard discipline
"People familiar with the situation" tell the Times Union that a Schenectady County jail guard is facing a range of sanctions, including early retirement, for allegedly sexually harassing several women on the jail's medical staff -- but he'll be allowed to stay on the job for another 20 months. [TU]

Percoco trial
A Competitive Power Ventures exec testifying Thursday about an arrangement to pay Joe Percoco's wife for "educational consulting services": "When the first answer out of somebody's mouth to a pretty basic question is 'there is nothing illegal about it,' it raises a red flag in my mind." [TU]

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Faso, Stefanik safe following Amtrak crash, 20 years for Albany Father's Day shooting, prosecutors: Percoco used influence in "Albany game," William Kennedy celebrates 90 years

Faso/ Stefanik uninjured in train crash
Corrected Representatives John Faso was not injured when an Amtrak charter train carrying Congressional Republicans to a retreat crashed into a garbage truck on Wednesday. (Elise Stefanik was not a train.) [WNYT] [AP/TU] [@RepStefanik]

Percoco trial
Wednesday in the trial of Joe Percoco:
+ Prosecutors said Percoco used his close ties to Andrew Cuomo to give developers access to the "Albany game." [NYT]
+ The court heard testimony about an alleged "low show" job that prosecutors claim was arranged for Percoco's wife by lobbyist Todd Howe.[TU]


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A rumble and then everything went black, sentencing in Blessings Tavern crash, imagining a Governor Trump, triple OT

Schenectady mudslide
+ One of the men trapped in an apartment by the Schenectady mudslide described the what happened from his point of view: "All of a sudden, we heard a rumble and the next thing you know, I woke up and everything was black. I woke up next to my nephew screaming." [News10]
+ Crews demolished two homes and a garage Monday, and officials are examining an apartment building. [Spectrum]
+ City officials say they're not sure yet what caused the slide. State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, who's a civil engineer, said now could be a good time to do a wider review of potential problem spots. [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

Percoco trial
+ On Monday the prosecution showed emails it alleges indicate Joe Percoco intervened with Empire State Development so that COR Development wouldn't have to reach a labor peace agreement for a Syracuse-area project, and an FBI agent testified about a $15k payment from COR to Todd Howe's consultancy that appears to have then been funneled to Percoco's wife. [TU]
+ Also: The trial has raised questions about Percoco's use of state-funded office space while he was on leave as Andrew Cuomo's campaign manager. [TU]

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Mudslide traps man in Schenectady, the business of local hospitals, teaching mental health in schools, trying out for the team

Schenectady mudslide
+ A mudslide early Sunday morning in the area of Barney Street/Nott Terrace in Schenectady (map) trapped a man in his home and prompted the evacuation of 11 people in nearby homes. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
+ The 19-year-old man who was trapped was taken to Albany Med and is "doing OK," his mother told WNYT. [WNYT]
+ Schenectady city officials say two homes and a garage will be demolished. [TU]
+ A similar Schenectady mudslide in 1996 killed a man. [Daily Gazette]

Complaints about Mechanicville mayor
Mechanicville's human resource officer says the city council is hiring an outside attorney to investigate allegations of boorish and harassing behavior by mayor Dennis Baker. [TU]

Percoco trial
Among the sharp directives issued by judge Valerie Caproni to attorneys in the Joe Percoco trial: "You're entitled to a vigorous defense. What you're not entitled to is a tedious defense." [TU]

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Mechanicville police accuse mayor of boorish behavior, wilderness designations recommended for Boreas Ponds, counting Capital Center events

Complaints about Mechanicville mayor
Mechanicville police have filed a personnel complaint against against mayor Dennis Baker, accusing him of all sorts of intimidating, threatening, boorish, and generally cranky behavior. Among the specific allegations: Baker contaminated a potential crime scene, called police multiple times a day to report minor traffic violations (while sometimes following vehicles) as part of a campaign to get more tickets issued, and called an officer's transgender parent "disgusting, weird." [WNYT] [TU]

Guilty verdict in fatal stabbing
A jury found the man accused of fatally stabbing Marc Douglas on Grand Street in Albany last June guilty of second-degree murder. Richard Quinn -- who's 64 years old -- faces 25 years to life in prison at sentencing. Quinn had been picked up on probation violations in the months before the stabbing, but was allowed to remain free without bail. The Albany County DA's office is arguing that the case points to shortcomings in Andrew Cuomo's proposed bail reforms. [Spectrum] [TU] [Albany County DA]

Flu
Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order allowing pharmacists to issue flu shots to kids ages 2-18. The move was prompted by the strength of this year's flu season -- the number of lab-confirmed flu cases around the state continued to climb last week. [Cuomo admin] [NYS DOH]

Troy Night Out 2018-January in-post ad

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Percoco debt over $1M, Cuomo signs Net Neutrality order, Albany could face subpoena over sanctuary status, Moody's report:casinos "cannibalizing revenues"

Net Neutrality
Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on Wednesday prohibiting state government contracts with internet companies that do not adhere to the principals of net neutrality. [News 10][TU]

Percoco
Day two in the corruption trial of Joe Percoco: It was revealed that Cuomo's top aid and his wife were facing more than $1 million in mortgage and credit card debts in 2014, when he allegedly accepted payoffs from businessmen. [TU]

Sanctuary cities
Albany is one of 23 sanctuary cities around the country that could be served with a subpoena by the U.S. Department of Justice if it doesn't provide proof that it is complying with Federal immigration law. [TU][WNYT]

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Opening arguments in Percoco trial, Kirsten Gillibrand's "no" vote, Kathy Sheehan v. Tucker Carlson

Percoco trial
Opening statements got underway Tuesday in the trial of Cuomo aide Joe Percoco. Prosecutors described Percoco as a powerful, but not wealthy man who traded on "the most valuable thing he owned -- his job, his power and influence in state government."[News 10][NYT]

GE
GE's Power unit in Schenectady is reporting that its profit dropped 88 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017.[TU]

Capital Region Unemployment
Unemployment in the Capital Region is up 0.3 percentage points to 4.2 percent. [TU]

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Continued back and forth over Troy Police Department, SUNY chancellor proposes move to zero-carbon electricity, no show but a donation anyway

Scrutiny of Troy Police Department
+ Chris Churchill, in response to former Troy police chief John Tedesco's pushback on the state Attorney General's review of the Edson Thevenin shooting: "Taken together, [a series of brutality and corruption allegations] show a troubled department with a history of treating residents with aggressive disrespect. So I disagree with Tedesco. For the good of the city, Troy's next police chief should come from somewhere else." [TU]
+ City Council president Carmella Mantello's request for a meeting with the AG's office about the report has rankled the Troy Police Benevolent Association, which has accused of her setting up the meeting "for political points and headlines." Mantello: "I'm looking at this as a whole. No one is here to point fingers." [Troy Record] [Troy PBA FB] [Spectrum]
+ Local defense attorneys speculate on whether the AG's report will affect the way juries perceive the Troy Police Department. [TU]

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Former TPD chief pushes back on criticism of shooting investigation, a guilty plea in Jay Street fire case, RPI alumni group pushes for change

Scrutiny of Troy Police Department
+ In a letter to the Troy Record, John Tedesco -- who just recently retired as Troy police chief -- called state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman a "political mad man" and pushed back on sections of the state AG's office report on the fatal police shooting of Edson Thevenin, arguing the AG's office was motivated to find fault so that it could pursue a case against Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove (Tedesco also took issue Times Union columnist Chris Churchill.) [Troy Record]
+ The AG's office will be meeting with the Troy City Council to discuss the report, at the request of council president Carmella Mantello. She said the meeting is part of the council pursing an oversight role of the TPD and the mayor. [TU] [WNYT]

Joe Percoco trial
The trial of Joe Percoco -- a longtime top aide to Andrew Cuomo -- on federal corruption charges starts Monday. It's expected to highlight the workings of the state's economic development efforts, and potentially complicate things politically for the governor. [TU] [Politico NY]

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Call for Troy police reform, big shakeup in Albany County Legislature, Sheehan continues push for state funding, mermaid hair

Call for Troy police reform
+ Prompted by the recent state Attorney General's office report about the fatal police shooting of Edson Thevenin, activists gathered in Troy Thursday to call for a more active civilian police review board as well as officer body cameras. [Troy Record]
+ Former Troy city council member Anastasia Robertson: "We're not here to say all policemen are bad, or policewomen are bad, because that is not the case ... But everybody, regardless, deserves fairness and unbiased approach without prejudgment on how their case is handled." [News10]
+ The group is pushing for the state AG to also take over the investigation of the police shooting of Dahmeek McDonald. McDonald's attorney -- Mark Mischler -- said Troy mayor Patrick Madden's defense of the police department following the report on the Thevenin shooting is "nothing less than traumatic." [Spectrum] [TU]

Big shakeup in Albany County Legislature
Albany County Legislature majority leader Frank Commisso Sr. -- who held the position for 25 years -- resigned the leadership position Thursday ahead of an evening caucus organized to oust him. The new majority leader is Gary Domalewicz, a 25-year veteran of the legislature who represents a district adjacent to Commisso's in uptown Albany. The switch comes two weeks after the former chair of the legislature -- Green Island's Sean Ward, a Commisso ally -- was replaced by Andrew Joyce. [TU]

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Cuomo calls budget a defense from "economic missile," reaction to AG's report on Troy shooting, Schenectady police lieutenant charged

State budget
+ Andrew Cuomo released his 2018 budget on Tuesday, calling it a response to Washington's "economic missile"
+ The proposal includes a plan that would allow businesses to assume their employees' income taxes as a payroll tax. [NYT][Spectrum]
+ There's also a plan in the works that could allow people to make deductible "charitable donations" to their local school districts in lieu of school property taxes.[TU]
+ Missing from the $168 billion spending plan: the $12.5 million in Albany "Capital City Funding." [TU]

Cuomo up 20 points in Siena poll
The newest Siena poll shows Andrew Cuomo's approval rating at 62 percent -- up 10 points from his November rating. [TU]

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Arrest in Rotterdam crash that killed pedestrian, eye on river ice and flooding, Albany nearing contract with blue collar workers, remembering founder of Pine Hollow Arboretum

Pedestrian killed in Rotterdam hit-and-run
+ Police arrested a Schenectady woman in connection with the hit-and-run crash in Rotterdam Friday night in which 46-year-old Dramone Houston died -- 30-year-old Megan M. Alexandre of Schenectady is charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Rotterdam police say surveillance camera video from nearby businesses played a key role in leading them to Alexandre's vehicle. [News10] [TU] [Daily Gazette]
+ Houston's wife, Yvette, to the Times Union: "What really hurts and bothers me is that he was lying there for hours in the sleet and freezing rain ... It just breaks my heart. I can't get it out of my head." [TU]

Recalling the Guilderland quadruple homicide
Guilderland police chief Carol Lawlor on the still-unsolved 2014 killing of a family of four: "Not one of us goes down Western Avenue without that coming to mind, because there it is -- it's right there ... I know that it still plays heavily on the minds and hearts of the community, and the police department." [TU]

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Guilty plea in fatal Albany hit-and-run, concerns about flooding, South End residents question air quality study, weather prompting produce shortages

Guilty plea in fatal Washington Park hit-and-run
Jose Martinez -- accused of hitting Rajine Martinez while she was in a road in Washington Park last year, and then leaving the scene -- pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of Leaving the Scene of an Incident Which Results in Death Without Reporting. He faces 2-6 years in prison at sentencing. [TU] [Albany County DA]

Sentencing in Hadley murder
Michael C. Norton -- the Hadley man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for hitting his wife, Sherry Norton, with an axe last May -- was
sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. [TU]

Jeff Klein sexual harassment allegation
Jeff Klein has formally asked the state's Joint Commission on Public Ethics to investigate the allegation that he forcibly kissed a staffer outside a Lark Street bar in 2015. The head of the state Senate's Independent Democratic Conference stated in his letter to JCOPE, "The alleged incident did not happen, period." The request to JCOPE came after Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said the case didn't fall under the jurisdiction of the Senate's ethics committee. [Politico NY] [TU] [Politico NY]

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IDC leader Klein denies sexual assault allegation, Saratoga County has state's largest gender pay gap, rain and higher temps prompt flood warnings

Jeff Klein denies sexual allegation
State Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein is denying allegations that he forcibly kissed a female staffer outside Justin's on Lark Street in 2015. State Senator Diane Savino, who is dating Klein and was at the bar on the night in question, came to his defense. Savino says on the night in question, the staffer invited Klein to a Seder dinner, which he declined, in full view of herself and other colleagues. [TU][Huffington Post][Spectrum][Politico][NYT]

Saratoga county pay gap
Saratoga County has the largest pay gap between the sexes in the state, with women, on average, making $18,539 less than their male counterparts.[TU]

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Hoosick Falls will sue over PFOA, Morse critic charged with harassment , Oquendo seeks new trial, Albany to Buffalo non-stop

Hoosick Falls PFOA
The Hoosick Falls Village Board voted unanimously on Tuesday to sue Saint-Gobain and Honeywell for the PFOA contamination of the village water supply and soil. [Spectrum][TU]

Hit and run trial
The defense attorney for Jose Martinez, the man charged with the hit-and-run death of a woman in Washington Park last year, slammed the case against his client based on the fact that two witnesses lied about which of them was driving the car that first struck the victim, then changed their story after a video surfaced. [TU]

Oquendo seeks new trial
Sentencing for Johnny Oquendo, who was convicted late last year for the murder of Noel Alkaramla, has been delayed while he seeks a new trial. [Spectrum]

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ZBA decision opens way for Saratoga Code Blue shelter, taxi owners criticized proposed Capital Region taxi system, Playdium redevelopment seeking tax breaks

Saratoga Springs Code Blue shelter
The Saratoga Springs zoning board of appeals voted Monday that the city's proposed new Code Blue shelter can be designated a neighborhood rooming house, opening the way for the project to be built on Walworth Street. An attorney for neighborhood opponents of the proposed shelter site say they're considering whether to challenge the decision in court. The director of the shelter says its been housing 41 people a night for more than four weeks during the recent cold at its current location on Henry Street. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [WNYT]

Malta Gardens water problems
Residents of Malta Gardens showed up at the Malta Town Hall Monday to focus attention on the fact they've been without consistent water service for a week -- a problem that management now says might be extend beyond a water main break. [Spectrum]

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Memorial service honors victims in Troy murder case, Republicans concerned about finding strong Cuomo challenger, food pantries on campus, homeless Jesus

Troy quadruple homicide
+ A grand jury handed up indictments Friday against the two men accused of the Troy quadruple homicide, with charges including first- and second-degree murder, along with burglary and robbery. The indictments had been expected on Wednesday and the delay prompted procedural maneuvering from the DA's office and protests from the defense. [Daily Gazette] [News10] [TU]
+ At a memorial service in Troy Saturday, people remembered Shanta Myers, her 11-year-old son Jeremiah, and five-year-old daughter Shanise. Chris Churchill on the service: "If you're a person who tries to look for the good after a tragedy, you saw what you wanted there." [TU x2]

Review of Albany police handling of alleged rape case
Albany acting police chief Bob Sears says the department is reviewing the handling of a case in which, "sources briefed on the case" tell the Times Union, that officers responded to an Albany apartment about an intoxicated woman being abducted, left without making an arrest, and the women alleges she was later raped. [TU]

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State of the State sets in a difficult financial year, Siena poll shows consumer confidence up, memorial service scheduled for slain Troy family


State of the State
In a 90 minute State of the State address on Wednesday, Andrew Cuomo laid out his plans for what is shaping up to be a very difficult financial year for the state. The agenda took aim at federal government policies like DACA repeal and tax reform, and included plans to get rid of the tipped wage for hospitality workers, battle sexual harassment, end cash bail for misdemeanors, make voting easier in the state -- setting Cuomo's platform for the upcoming gubernatorial race. Here's a closer look at six things mentioned in the speech, and here's the full text of the speech.[NYT][TU][AOA][NY.GOV]

+Chris Churchill on the State of the State, from the size of the podium("it makes the governor look like an immigrant from the isle of Lilliput.) to the content of the speech. [TU]

+Sara Foss on the things left unsaid in the 90 minute address.[Gazette]

Consumer confidence
A new Siena poll says consumer confidence is on the rise in New York. [TU]

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State of the State and start of legislative session today, Troy quadruple murder suspects have violent pasts, councilman calls on Morse to quit in meeting turned shouting match

State of the State
Andrew Cuomo is slated to give his State of the State address at 1pm. Among the items on the agenda,
how to deal with the fallout from Federal policies like the new tax plan and the coming expiration of DACA, overhaul of sexual harassment policies, early election voting and ending cash bail for minor crimes. Here's a list of Cuomo's State of the State proposals.

The speech marks the start of the 2018 legislative session, which begins with a $4 billion deficit and the threat of losing billions more from Federal cuts.
[NYT][Gazette][TU][WNYT][NYT]]NY.gov]

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Arrests but still few details about Troy quadruple homicide, inaugurations for local leaders, minimum wage increase and start for paid family leave

Troy quadruple homicide
+ Two Schenectady men were arraigned Saturday on charges related to the killings of Shanta Myers, Brandi Mells, Shanise Myers, and Jeremiah Myers in Lansingburgh. The men -- 38-year-old James W. White and 24-year-old Justin C. Mann -- were charged with one count of first-degree murder and four counts of second-degree murder. [WNYT] [Troy Record]
+ Law enforcement officials have continued to keep back many details of the investigation, including what led them to the two men or what the motive might be. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
+ The director of the City Mission in Schenectady told the Times Union that James White had been banned from the shelter several months ago because of his behavior. [TU]
+ A fundraising campaign for the Myers family has now raised more than $40,000. [TU]

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Guilty verdict in fatal hit-and-run, APD officer arrested again, police search for Spa City bank robber, tax plan confusion begins

Guilty verdict in fatal hit and run
An Albany County jury found Brian Tromans guilty on Wednesday in the hit-and-run death of National Guard Master Sergeant Rudolph Seabron in Colonie in January. [Spectrum]

APD officer's 2nd arrest
APD officer Shawn Dixon was arrested for leaving the scene of a car crash on Wednesday, for the second time in eight months.[TU]

Attempted murder
Two Albany men are facing attempted murder charges for allegedly robbing and shooting a man on Old Hickory Drive in late November. [TU]

Republican tax plan
+ A look at some of the confusion and chaos anticipated as the new tax laws go into effect in less than two weeks. [Politico]
+ Capital Region tax advisers on what the new federal tax structure will mean for New Yorkers. [Gazette]
+ Chris Churchill on how the Republican tax plan will affect not-for-profits by removing some of the financial incentive to donate. [TU]

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Stefanik/Faso vote "no" on tax bill, Mero found guilty on all counts in double murder, tax exemption questions on two more Albany properties, local car dealer taking Bitcoin

Tax bill
Both Elise Stefanik and John Faso voted "no" on the tax reform bill that passed in the House on Tuesday. The bill heads for the Senate today. Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that House Republicans will "Rue the day"the legislation was passed. [TU][Washington Examiner]

+Town and city governments are seeing a number of requests for people to pay their 2018 property taxes early, before the new law takes affect. [Gazette]

Two more Albany properties may have wrongly received tax exemptions
The Albany assessor's office says two downtown parking lots with ties to the Albany Convention Center may have wrongly been granted exemptions over the last seven years, but convention center authorities contend the exemptions are legal.[TU]

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Morse accuser details alleged abuse, Stefanik to vote "no" on tax plan, school bus driver accused of being intoxicated on the job, Andrew Cuomo's ghosts

Allegations against Shawn Morse
Colleen Keller, one of the women alleged to have been abused by Cohoes mayor Shawn Morse, has issued a statement pushing back on Morse's claim there was no abuse: "The abuse started out with me being physically pushed, grabbed and verbally degraded. It escalated from there." [TU]

Saratoga Code Blue shelter
The Saratoga Springs zoning board of appeals heard arguments during a public hearing Monday night about whether the Saratoga Code Blue shelter should be allowed to operate at a location on Walworth Street. Opponents are arguing the shelter would violate the zoning for the property. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Republican tax plan
+ Elise Stefanik announced Monday she will vote "no" on the Republican tax plan, because "the final bill does not adequately protect the state and local tax deduction that so many in our district and across New York rely on." John Faso is also a "no" vote. [Post-Star] [Daily Gazette]
+ In her statement, Stefanik referred to "Albany's failed leadership and inability to rein in spending," which didn't go over well with Andrew Cuomo. [TU]
+ Cuomo said Monday that a shutdown of the federal government prompted by Democrats in Congress would be a justified move to fight to the tax plan. [Politico NY]

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Casino revenue lagging far behind projections, questions about Albany org for homeless after death, Troy police chief retiring, whether to purse the farming life

Casino revenue
The actual revenues from the new casinos around the state -- and the resulting reductions in local municipal taxes -- are way behind the projections made when the idea was pitched to the public. [TU]

People who are homeless
+ The policies and management of the Homeless Action Committee in Albany are under scrutiny after a resident of the org's North Pearl Street facility was turned away for having alcohol one night earlier this month and was found dead outside in the cold the next morning. [TU]
+ A look at the Code Blue shelter in Schenectady and the efforts to meet the health needs of the people there. [Daily Gazette]

Missing woman found in ravine
North Greenbush police say a Troy woman last seen very early Sunday was found in a ravine Sunday evening. NGPD says she was found barely conscious and suffering from hypothermia. [TU] [Troy Record]

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Deliberations in double murder trial, NY AG says he's suing over net neutrality rollback, Pearl St venue's liquor license suspended, the teen who saved his sister from a fire

Mero double murder trial
The jury is now deliberating in the trial of Edward Mero for the deaths of Megan Cunningham and Shelby Countermine. During closing arguments, the prosecution argued there are too many details pointing toward Mero for them to be coincidental. And the defense argued the prosecution lacks hard evidence connecting Mero to the deaths. [News10] [TU] [Spectrum]

Republican tax plan
+ John Faso is "likely a 'no'" on the latest version of the Republican tax plan being worked out between the House and Senate, while a spokesman for Elise Stefanik says she's "pleased it's moving in a positive direction." [TU]
+ The tax plan's cap on deductions for state and local taxes has some people in New York asking if they can pay their 2018 property taxes before the end of this year. [TU]

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Albany police probe overnight shooting, Cohoes Dems back Morse, suspect in Blessings Tavern crash back in jail, $85M in REDC grants

Albany shootings
Albany police are investigating a shooting near Dove Street And Hudson Avenue that occurred late Wednesday night. The victim says he was attacked by four men who stole his wallet, punched him in the face and shot him in the foot and elbow. [WNYT][APD]

Albany man charged in shooting
Albany police have linked a Schenectady man to a Clinton Street shooting that took place on December 23 of 2016. [TU]

Morse
The Cohoes Democratic Committee is backing Shawn Morse in spite of allegations of domestic abuse against the mayor. Morse held a closed door meeting with committee members on Wednesday night to discuss the allegations as well as economic development issues. [WNYT][Spectrum][TU]

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Gillibrand v. Trump, Morse denies new allegations and refuses to step down, David Sweat on hunger strike

Gillibrand and Trump
Kirstin Gillibrand called Donald Trump's Tuesday morning tweet about her a "sexual smear." Gillibrand has called on Trump to resign over allegations of sexual harassment, and Trump's tweet, some say, is giving her some useful limelight. [NYT][Specrtrum][TU]

Shawn Morse
New allegations of harassment and abuse against Shawn Morse have been leveled by the roommate of a former girlfriend.. Some officials are calling for his resignation, but Morse denies the allegations and he announced on Tuesday that he has no plans to resign. His announcement, met with applause from supporters. [Spectrum][Record][WNYT][TU]
[Spectrum]


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Gillibrand calls for Trump to resign, Sheehan joins call for Morse to resign, ALB to BUF, the effects of expanding coverage for transgender people

Kirsten Gillibrand calls for Trump to resign
+ Kirsten Gillibrand on CNN Monday: "President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign." She is now one of five Democratic Senators calling for the President to step down. [CNN] [Politico]
+ Cue the inevitable Twitter fight with Donald Trump. [Twitter]

Abuse allegations against Shawn Morse
+ On Monday Kathy Sheehan joined the chorus of local Democratic politicians calling for Cohoes mayor Shawn Morse to resign because of the domestic violence allegations against him. [TU]
+ Dan McCoy, to WNYT: ""Being a father of two daughters, being a husband, I can't condone any of this type of behavior. So if it comes out and it's true, for the people of Cohoes, the mayor should step aside." [WNYT]
+ From a statement released by Shawn Morse: "In the absence of a credible, sworn allegation that I engaged in wrongdoing, I respectfully request my fellow Democrats and the good people of Cohoes to keep an open mind and permit any such allegations to be resolved by the Courts, where I am entitled to the same measures of due process as any other citizen." [News10]
+ Chris Churchill on the prospects for Cohoes with Morse as its mayor: "Politicians will avoid Morse. Much worse for the city, businesses and developers may also stay away for fear of the damage that could come tying their reputations to the embattled mayor." [TU]

NY Governor 2018
State Assembly Republican minority leader Brian Kolb says he's into the pool for 2018 governor's race. [TU]

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More allegations prompt call for Morse to step down, fatal shooting at downtown Albany venue, a year after an Adirondack rescue, UAlbany tops Siena in Albany Cup

Abuse allegations against Shawn Morse
+ Citing "three people with knowledge of the matter," the Times Union reports there are domestic abuse allegations against Cohoes mayor Shawn Morse that date back to the 1990s -- Morse did not comment on the allegations via an attorney, and his attorney said "it will be evident that the mayor did not engage in any wrongdoing or criminal conduct" in the recent incident involving his wife. [TU]
+ State Assembly member Pat Fahy on Twitter: "These are disturbing revelations from the @timesunion about a history of domestic violence and unacceptable behavior not becoming of the title "Honorable" from an elected official. Time for Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse to make an honorable move and step aside." Said Fahy to WNYT: "It is very upsetting and what bothered me the most is to see there's been such a strong history and such a disturbing disturbing pattern of violence and abuse." [@PatriciaFahy109] [WNYT]
+ Albany County Democratic Committee chair Jack Flynn to the TU: "If in fact, the allegations are found to be true, we ask that Mayor Morse resign from office immediately." [TU]

Fatal shooting in downtown Albany
Albany police say a man was fatally shot early Saturday morning at the Levels Banquet Hall on North Pearl Street. APD is asking anyone with information contact the department. (Steve Barnes on the backstory of the venue.) [APD] [TU]

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Fights prompt closure of Albany High, waiting for word on GE cuts, Cuomo and the conference call, balancing the ballet at SPAC

Fights shut down Albany High
The Albany school district says there were several fights among Albany High School students during a fire drill toward the end of the school day Thursday and, as a result, the school will be closed Friday as staff review video. The district says 10 students were arrested and there could be additional arrests -- it also said there were no weapons involved. The incident prompted a large police response -- and many rumors about what did or did not happen. [Albany school district] [TU]

Double murder trial
The trial Thursday included testimony from a man who says he saw Edward Mero in the area where Shelby Countermine's body was found in Coeymans, and testimony from Countermine's father about exchanges he had with Mero around the time Countermine disappeared. [TU]

Sentencing in Rocks shooting
The man who pleaded guilty to the fatal shooting of Wendell Hill during a party at Rocks in Albany on Thanksgiving in 2016 was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Said Hill's mother at the sentencing: "Why did you take my baby from me?" [Spectrum] [TU]

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GE Power may lose 12,000 jobs, Gillibrand & Schumer: Franken should resign, single vote decides Troy council race, Saratoga scraps two longtime festivals

GE Power to cut 12,000 jobs
GE Power may cut 12 thousand jobs in an effort to slash $2.5 billion in expenses. The reductions, account for about 18 percent of GE Power's workforce and are mostly expected to affect workers outside the U.S. [TU][Gazette]

Franken
Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer are among a group of Democratic senators calling for Al Franken to step down in light of harassment allegations. [NYT]

McGrath wins Troy council seat by single vote
Following the counting of three absentee votes, longtime Troy Councilman and Republican Mark McGrath beat Democratic challenger Cindy Blakely by a single vote.[TU][Record]

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Shen land sale passes, Rotterdam police search for bank robber, 3 absentee ballots will decide Troy race, state of emergency lifted in Cohoes

Shen land vote
Voters overwhelmingly approved the $1.1 million deal for the Shenedehowa School District to sell 37-acres of undeveloped forest and wetlands to the town of Clifton Park.[TU][Gazette]

Mero murder trial
Employees of the Albany water department testified Tuesday that former employee Ted Mero, on trial for the Arcadia Avenue fire that killed 23 year old Megan Cunningham, boasted a few weeks before the blaze that he could burn a house down without getting caught. [TU]

Rotterdam bank robber
Police in Rotterdam are searching for the man who robbed the Altamont Avenue branch of the Pioneer Savings Bank on Tuesday afternoon. [WNYT]

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Cuomo and other governors talk about suing over Republican tax plan, opening statements in double murder trial, treating kids suffering from trauma with care

Republican tax plan
+ Andrew Cuomo, California governor Jerry Brown, and New Jersey governor-elect Phil Murphy say they're looking at suing over the Republican tax plan that's moving through Congress because of it caps the exemption on property taxes and eliminates the deduction for state income tax. [TU] [Politico NY]
+ The exact effects of tax overhaul are still being sorted, but experts seem to be in agreement that it will have a significant effect on New York State, especially downstate. [TU]
+ The House version of the tax plan would count tuition waivers for graduate students as income, which an RPI official says would have a "chilling effect" on grad students. [Biz Review]

Body found in Delmar
Bethlehem police say they've
identified the body found on the slope behind the Hoffman's car wash on Delaware Ave -- an adult woman -- and say there doesn't appear to be any foul play. [TU] [Spectrum] [WNYT]

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The charges against the Rensselaer County DA, examining school segregation, perspectives on the rising minimum wage, 150 years in downtown Albany

Charges against Rensselaer County DA
+ From Friday: Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove was arranged on charges of felony perjury and two misdemeanor counts of official misconduct in connection with his handling of the fatal shooting of a man in 2016 by Troy police. The state Attorney General's office alleges that Abelove withheld evidence from the grand jury that initially reviewed the shooting case, "took the extraordinary step" of granting immunity to the police officer who testified before that grand jury, and then made a false statement to the grand jury reviewing his own conduct. [TU] [NYS OAG]
+ After the arraignment, Abelove said he's done nothing wrong and will not resign. [Troy Record] [News10]
+ The Cuomo admin says it's reviewing the situation, and while it's possible the governor could initiate a removal of the DA, experts say it's unlikely. [The Alt]
+ Independent of the charges on Friday, there are signs of problems in how the Rensselaer County DA's office is being run. [TU]
+ The office is up for election next year -- reviewing the the field of potential candidates. [TU]

Body found in Delmar
Bethlehem police say a hunter reported on Saturday finding human remains on the hillside behind the Hoffman's car wash on Delaware Ave. BPD says the body was decomposed to the point it was initially difficult to tell much about it. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday. [News10] [WNYT] [TU]

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Massive fire in Cohoes, absentee ballot allegations in Albany, layoffs at GE, so many apartments planned

Massive fire in downtown Cohoes
+ That huge fire on Remsen Street in downtown Cohoes Thursday afternoon and evening destroyed or damaged more 20 buildings. A resident told WNYT that the wind-blown fire looked like "a tornado fire" jumping from building to building. [TU] [WNYT]
+ Officials say no one was seriously injured, but approximately 20 people are thought to have been displaced by the fire. [News10] [Troy Record]
+ Crews totally more than 100 firefighters from fire departments around the Capital Region responded to the fire. [Spectrum]
+ A Cohoes man is accused of causing fire, and has been arraigned on arson and reckless endangerment charges. Authorities allege he was trying to bend metal for a sword in a fire in a barrel in his backyard and the fire got away from him. An assistant police chief called the fire "reckless arson." [Spectrum [WNYT] [TU]
+ Among the buildings affected is the historic Smith's Restaurant, which suffered heavy water damage. [Daily Gazette]

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McLaughlin sanctioned in Assembly, Albany request $2 million for Cap Rep project,Troy seeks new Leonard Hospital proposal

McLaughlin sanctioned
Assemblyman and executive-elect Steve McLaughlin was sanctioned by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Wednesday, for a June 2016 incident where he was alleged to have asked a female aide to give him nude photos. The sanction follows a 17-month ethics investigation into the incident. Chris Churchill makes the case that in this climate of famous and powerful men being called out for sexual harassment, McLaughlin, who won the race for executive before voters were told about the harassment allegations, is the luckiest politician around. [Spectrum][TU][TU]

Key theft leads to jail lockdown
The Schenectady County jail was locked down on Monday, after an inmate stole a set of keys in a sheriff's van. [TU]


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Troy council rejects budget, Senate Dems may reunite, SUNY Poly bailout approved, Warren Buffett asked to remove oil trains from Adks

Troy budget
In a 7-2 vote, the Troy City Council rejected Mayor Patrick Madden's proposed budget on Tuesday and refused to move ahead on a $190 per residential unit trash fee that would be necessary to balance the spending plan. Without approval from the council, the mayor's budget will still technically take effect in December, and the gap would have to be addressed after the fact. [TU][Spectrum][WNYT]

Reuniting
Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeff Klein has reportedly agreed to a plan to reunite the conference with State Senate Democrats after nearly seven years apart. [Politico][TU]


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Money for drinking water systems, the latest fight over the Troy budget, Schenectaday's plans for police body cameras, Phil Bayly is retiring

Drinking water
Albany, Schenectady, and Troy are each getting roughly $500k from the state to replace lead service lines in older sections of their drinking water systems. Joe Coffey, head of the Albany Water Department, says the money could cover the replacement 100-250 of the lines connecting homes to mains -- which he called "a good drop in the bucket." And Schenectady mayor Gary McCarthy says the first step will be working to prioritize which pipes should be replaced. [Cuomo admin] [TU] [Spectrum] [Daily Gazette]

State Senate
A group of top state Democratic Party officials are pitching a plan to re-unify the Democrats in the state Senate in order to regain a ruling coalition there. (The breakaway Independent Democratic Conference is currently aligned in a coalition with Republicans.) If that happens, it would make Brooklyn's Simcha Felder -- a Democrat who caucuses with the Republicans -- the 32nd vote in a chamber otherwise split 31-31. [TU] [Politico NY]

Albany double murder case
The man accused of killing Megan Cunningham in 2013 Albany fire and Shelby Countermine in 2014 allegedly talked with a date about getting "rid of people" and made other potentially incriminating statements to investigators and inmates, according to docs filed in court. [TU]

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Tracking gun violence, Albany and density, what you know instead of who know, and state champs -- again

Gun violence
A look at every shots fired incident in Schenectady so far this year and efforts to gun violence. [Daily Gazette]

Absent teachers
Bethany Bump: "School districts in the Capital Region and beyond are increasingly having trouble filling classrooms with high-quality teachers, due to a growing shortage of substitute teachers and frequent teacher absences caused by illness, caregiving duties and required training, among other things." [TU]

Albany apartment projects
+ A development team is now proposing building 170 apartments on the Sandidge Way site near SUNY Poly in Albany. [Biz Review]
+ Chris Churchill on the recent mini-boom in apartment projects in Albany: "I get the complaints. It is hard for residents of established neighborhoods to welcome construction that may alter their ease of life. And it is certainly a good thing when residents want to protect their neighborhoods and demand quality from developers. But generally speaking, Albany should embrace this wave of new construction and the increasing population density it promises." [TU]

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Accused shooter in Albany death arrested and dies later in the day, fight over Troy trash fee and budget, where Joe Biden ate after his Schenectady stop

Accused shooter in Albany death arrested, and dies later in the day
Albany police announced Tuesday that they had arrested Taron Robinson, who was accused of fatally shooting Christopher Hardy this past April near First Street and Quail Street. And Robinson -- who had been earlier diagnosed with terminal cancer -- died Tuesday night at Albany Med, according to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple. Hardy was the biological brother of mayor Kathy Sheehan's adopted son, and Robinson was nephew of Common Council member Mark Robinson. [APD] [TU]

Troy trash fee
The Troy City Council rejected the Madden administration's proposed trash fee Tuesday night -- opponents called it a hidden tax and said the admin lacked a plan for moving the city toward pay as you throw. In a statement, Madden said the decision opens a $2.9 million hole in the budget. [Troy Record] [News10]

Schenectady police body cameras
Schenectady police are moving toward testing officer body cameras, maybe as early as February. [TU]

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Fatal fire in Saratoga County, Albany budget passed, the Cuomo admin and Sam Hoyt, Joe Biden at Proctors

Fatal Saratoga County fire
A mother and daughter died in a house fire in Corinth Monday morning. Three other people, including two young children, were rescued and taken to the hospital. Officials have not yet indicated was caused the fire. [TU]

Albany budget
The Albany Common Council approved the 2018 budget 12-0 with a few changes, including a small reduction in the trash fee for multi-unit buildings and two-percent raise for council members. [TU]

Troy trash fee
Is a 17-year-old plan the way for Troy to move toward a pay-as-you-throw trash system? (A trash fee is currently a key issued for the Troy budget.) [Troy Record]

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Reaction to guilty verdict in Troy murder trial, protest of police conduct in Troy, talking with Carolyn McLaughlin

Reaction to guilty verdict in the death of Noel Alkaramla
+ Debra Napoli -- Noel Alkaramla's mother, and Johnny Oquendo's former wife -- after Oquendo was found guilty Friday of murdering her daughter in Troy in 2015: "I'll never hold my child. I'll never be a grandmother. There's no time that can fill the empty space that he's left me in my heart ... Johnny, God's got a place for you and not in his kingdom. There's a place you will be going below, reserved in Hell." [Troy Record] [WNYT] [Spectrum]
+ Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove on Andrew Botts, the ADA who prosecuted the case and the subject of criticism from the trial judges for procedural issues: "He is the consummate professional, and this verdict bears out all the hard work he put into the case." [Spectrum]
+ Oquendo's attorney says he's planning to appeal. [TU]

Cuomo admin accused of not responding to sexual harassment complaint
The woman who's accused former Empire State Development Corp. regional president Sam Hoyt of sexually harassing her alleges in a lawsuit that the Cuomo administration exhibited "deliberate indifference" to her complaints about the state official. Cuomo admin counsel Alphonso David called the allegation "patently and demonstrably false." [NY Post] [NYT]

Local ethics boards
A Times Union review of local municipal ethics boards around the Capital Region "revealed many of the panels meet only 'as needed' and do not update their codes or proactively conduct investigations -- throwing them into a state of dormancy that can last years." [TU]

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Jury deliberating in the murder of Noel Alkaramla, Gillibrand says Bill Clinton should have resigned, Bow Tie suing Troy over 1MSq

Trial in the death of Noel Alkaramla
Update: The jury returned Friday and found Oquendo guilty on all counts, including second-degree murder. [TU]

The jury in now deliberating in the the trial of Johnny Oquendo -- accused of killing Noel Alkaramla in Troy, stuffing her body into a suitcase, and dumping it in the Hudson River. During closing arguments, the prosecution admitted its case was circumstantial, but pointed to testimony from neighbors about hearing a thud and seeing a suitcase at the bottom of the steps, video showing a shadowy figure heading to the river, and the testimony of Oquendo's former girlfriend that the suitcase belonged to him. The defense attacked the credibility of the former girlfriend, arguing her history of mental illness, work as a psychic medium, and possible axe to grind cast serious doubt on her testimony. [News10] [Troy Record] [TU] [Spectrum]

Republican tax plan
+ Five Republican members of New York's House delegation voted against the Republican tax plan that passed Thursday, including Elise Stefanik and John Faso. (Their objection was the removal of the deduction for state and local taxes.) [TU]
+ Andrew Cuomo said the four New York Republicans who voted for the plan are "treasonous" and tried to argued that John Faso's "no" vote wasn't enough -- that he should have resigned in protest. The state's Republican delegation pushed back on Cuomo's claims that he had been contact with them and that they told him their leadership were pushing them to vote "yes." [Politico x2]

Albany and sanctuary cities
Following the feds' warning this week that Albany's "sanctuary city" policies could endanger its federal funding, Kathy Sheehan appeared on Fox News Thursday night to spar with Tucker Carlson over the issue. [Fox News]

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Faso/Stefanik to vote no on tax reform, Albany receives DOJ warning about sanctuary status, 50 foot spruce headed for ESP


Faso/Stefanik on tax reform
Both John Faso and Elise Stefanik have announced they will not support the House Republican tax reform legislation when it comes up for vote today. [TU][Stefanik.house.gov]

Albany receives DOJ warning
Mayor Kathy Sheehan has been warned by the Department of Justice that Albany's status as a sanctuary city puts the city at risk of losing federal grant funding. [TU]

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Absentee ballots decide Troy races, Saratoga Charter reform may be defeated, star witness in Oquendo murder trail claims to communicate with the dead

Explosion causes fire at bottling plant
Fire officials say an exploding propane tank on a forklift at the Pepsi bottling plant in Latham is responsible for the fire that broke out at the plant at around 5 am. There were no injuries.

Oquendo murder trial
Tuesday in the Oquendo murder trial:

+Jurors saw the suitcase where prosecutors say they found the body of Noel Alkaramla. [WNYT]

+A star prosecution witness, Oquendo's former girlfriend, was expected to give testimony that would connect Oquendo to the suitcase, but but her credibility was called into question as the defense pointed out her admitted drug us, mental health problems, sexual contact with animals and claims that she communicates with the dead. [Record][TU]

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Investigation of alleged Morse domestic incident turned over to State Police, change in leadership of Schenectady casino, school recess recession

Shawn Morse
Cohoes police say they're turning the investigation of the alleged domestic incident between mayor Shawn Morse and his wife over to State Police. "A person familiar with the case" tells the Times Union that the three Cohoes police officers who originally responded filed a domestic incident report that would theoretically involve statements from the people involved -- that doc has not been made public. From a Facebook post by Morse: "If you believe I'm unfit to be your mayor over this, I will resign." [Troy Record] [TU] [News10]

Saratoga Springs charter vote and absentee ballots
Three members of the Saratoga Springs City Council voted Monday to authorize the city to spend up to $5,000 on an attorney to monitor the counting of absentee ballots for the charter change vote. The commissioners -- John Franck, Michelle Madigan, and Skip Scirocco, who have been opposed to the city changing its form of government -- didn't notify mayor Joanne Yepsen or fellow commissioner Chris Mathiesen of the meeting, and they faced an irked crowd of public commenters at the midday meeting. Bob Turner, who had been chair of the charter review commission, accused the commissioners of using public money to advance their own personal and political interests. The whole charter review process has been an ongoing drama. [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Spectrum] [Daily Gazette]

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Scrutiny of police response to Cohoes mayor's home, gaps in local infant mortality, proposed investments in Arbor Hill and Hamilton Hill, lost film wedding couple found

Shawn Morse
The Times Union reports that Cohoes police responded to the home of Cohoes mayor Shawn Morse Friday morning, and according to a police record, Morse's wife initially alleged to dispatchers that he had grabbed her by the throat and thrown her to the ground. From a statement released by Morse: "The claims made in the Albany Times Union are patently false." And in a Facebook post, Morse said he and his wife had been arguing "as we try to deal with the difficulties of raising our 15 year old." The Times Union reports that a photo posted on Facebook indicates that the Cohoes police captain who was dispatched to oversee the response at the Morse residence went on a social outing with his wife, Morse, and Morse's wife at the Rivers Casino Saturday night. [TU] [WNYT] [News10] [TU]

Gaps in infant mortality
Sara Foss is looking at infant mortality in the Capital Region, and notes that Albany County has the highest African-American infant mortality rate in the state -- 23.2 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to 4.7 deaths per 1,000 for white babies. [Daily Gazette]

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Things get weird in Troy murder trial, talking with new Common Council members, video game makers call for tax breaks

Veterans Day is Saturday, but the federal observed holiday is Friday.

Trial in the death of Noel Alkaramla
+ Things got weird(er) Thursday in the trial of Johnny Oquendo for the death of Noel Alkaramla. Oquendo's attorney asked a prosecution witness -- who knew both Oquendo and Alkaramla -- if she and Oquendo had broken up because she had sex with a dog. The defense then alluded to mobile phone video and photos, the woman said any photos were made after they broke up, and the Oquendo's attorney asked if she needed to see the videos to refresh her memory -- and after a recess -- she ended up taking the 5th. [TU] [Troy Record]
+ Probably more important to the case is the issue of whether some DNA evidence will be allowed. (Geoff Redick has been posting detailed updates of the trial -- along with some explanations about procedure -- on Twitter.) [Spectrum] [@geoffredick]

AG review of Rensselaer County DA
It sounds like the state Attorney General's grand jury review of the Rensselaer County DA's handling of the fatal shooting of Edson Thevenin by Troy police is comparing that case with an earlier case that involved a much longer investigation. [TU]

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Teen shot in Albany, Rensselaer County deputy fired after arrest, absentee ballots will decide Rensselaer races & Saratoga charter

Teen shot in Albany
A 17-year- old boy is recovering from an abdominal wound after he was shot on Hunter Avenue in the city at around 4 pm on Wednesday. [WNYT]

Active shooter training
The Clifton Park Library held an active shooter drill on Wednesday. [Gazette]

Guns
"All of these mass killings are senseless -- and yet they happen again and again"-- Chris Churchill on the Texas church shooting. [TU]

Absentee ballots will decide Rensselaer County races
Several Rensselaer County races, including the county executive race, will be decided by absentee ballots on Monday.[TU]

Saratoga Springs charter reform
Saratoga Springs residents will have to wait two weeks for a decision on reforming the city charter, while absentee ballots are counted. [Spectrum]


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New Yorkers say no to Constitutional Convention, Albany's Sheehan will serve a second term, gorilla suit clad criminal attempts McDonald's robbery, six tons of turkey

Election results
+The proposed Constitutional Convention was soundly defeated in Tuesday's election.[NYT]
+Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan will serve another term.[TU]
+Paula Mahan will service a sixth term as Colonie supervisor. [TU]
+Democrat Meg Kelly will be the next mayor of Saratoga Springs. [Spectrum]
+Republican Steve McLaughlin declared victory in the race for Rensselaer County Executive, but with absentee votes not yet counted, and a less than 1,000 votes separating them, Democratic candidate Andrea Smyth is calling for a recount. [WNYT]
+Three Democratic incumbents on the Schenectady City Council held on to their seats. [Gazette]
+Democrats regained control of the Troy City Council with victories by Anasha Cummings, David Blissember, TJ Kennedy and Colleen Murtagh Paratore.[Record]

+Here are more results [AOA]

Moving election day to the weekend
Paul Tonko is one of the representatives behind a Federal effort to move election day to a weekend. [TU]

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It's Election Day, many stories about guns, focus on suitcase in Troy murder trial, Chick-fil-A landing in the area

Election Day
+ It's today, of course. Polls are open until 9 pm. Don't know where to vote? Check with the state Board of Elections website.
+ A reminder that there are three statewide ballot questions on the backside of this year's ballot, including the question about a constitutional convention. So don't forget to flip the ballot over.

Guns
+ The Albany County Sheriff's Office says a Knox man is facing multiple weapons charges after authorities allege they found a collection of weapons at his home -- including grenades, a grenade launcher, and explosives. Albany County sheriff Craig Apple says the man's wife had called 911 worried he might kill himself, and authorities tracked him down at East Greenbush motel where he allegedly had an AR-15 and 50 rounds of ammunition. Apple on the collection of weapons at the man's home: "It was an insane scene." [Daily Gazette] [Spectrum] [TU]
+ Genville police say they've now arrested the second suspect in the Glenville gun shop burglary. Police also say the total number of guns stolen is thought to be 67 -- and about 20 of them have been recovered. [TU] [Daily Gazette]
+ Kirsten Gillibrand, on the floor of the Senate, on the mass shooting at a Texas church this past weekend: "Plain and simple, Americans are being slaughtered, and Congress is refusing to protect them." [TU]
+ Chris Churchill on the country's mass shootings: "They are weaklings who shoot to feel empowered. They are misanthropes jealous of happiness. The Sutherland Springs killer massacred children, for God's sake." [TU]
+ More than 80 people attended a Saratoga County Sheriff's Office workshop Monday about how to protect themselves during a mass shooting event. [Daily Gazette]

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Election Day prep, concern about elimination of historic tax credit, arrest in Glenville gun store burglary, worms and cow-milking robots

Election Day
It's Tuesday, as you know:
+ A look at the three statewide ballot questions that will be on the back of everyone's ballots, including the question about whether to have a constitutional convention. [TU]
+ Election issue highlights from around the state. [Politico NY]
+ Saratoga Springs voters will choose whether to change the city's form of government. [Daily Gazette]
+ A profile of the race between Peter Crummey and Julian Schreibman for seven-county state Supreme Court judgeship that includes this area. [TU]
+ The fight over absentee ballots in the Albany's 11th ward has prompted a judge to order the ballots for the general election to not be counted until there's hearing about their validity. (It may not matter if the Common Council race isn't within the margin of the absentees.) [TU]

Republican tax plan
+ Local developers and officials say the potential elimination of the federal historic tax credit could have a big effect on this area, where the credit's been used to renovate many old buildings. [TU]
+ A proposed new tax on some private college endowments could hit schools such as Skidmore and Union. [Daily Gazette]

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New York reaction to Republican tax plan, ICE arrest in Saratoga Springs, Rensselaer County exec debate, which jobs after learning to code?

Republican tax plan
Two provisions of the tax plan unveiled by House Republicans Thursday that will be get a lot of attention in here in New York: the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes, and the capping of the property tax, and the capping of the mortgage interest deduction for newly purchased homes at $500k and property taxes at $10k. [NYT]

Reaction clips:
+ Elise Stefanik: "I will be working with my colleagues in the New York delegation to improve this plan to provide real tax relief for New Yorkers and to address the issue of state and local tax deductions." [Stefanik office]
+ John Faso: "I remain concerned about the elimination of the deduction for state income taxes and will continue to advocate for such a policy and ensure this plan works for New York middle class families." [Faso office]
+ Paul Tonko: ""While I am just beginning to analyze this 429-page tax bill, it is already clear that this would be a massive giveaway to corporations and the wealthiest families at the expense of America's middle-class and working families who haven't gotten a real raise in decades." [Daily Gazette]
+ Andrew Cuomo: "It affects about 12 states the hardest. All 12 states happen to be states that are so-called blue states. And not that I'm going to succumb to the conspiracy theory, but it's a heck of a coincidence." [Cuomo admin]

Trial in the death of Noel Alkaramla
Thursday included testimony from two prosecution witnesses -- and, a described by Geoff Redick, a "chaotic string of objections, private discussions, and long breaks away from the jury." [Troy Record] [Spectrum]

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Skidmore alum killed in Monday's NYC attack, damaging testimony stricken in Oquendo murder trial, former Palace executive director to run Cohoes Music Hall

Schumer / Trump on NYC Attack
At a news conference on Wednesday, Chuck Schumer said Donald Trump should "stop tweeting and start leading" after Trump tweeted this week that the suspected NYC terrorist charged with killing eight people in lower Manhattan on Monday "came into our country what is called the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer beauty." An AP fact check reveals that the lottery program was a bipartisan effort. [TU][NYT]

Skidmore graduate killed in NYC attack
A 2016 Skidmore graduate who was working as a software engineer, analyst and web developer was one of the eight people killed in Monday's attack in lower Manhattan.[Gazette] [TU]

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Siena Poll: 57% would vote against Constitutional Convention, opening statements in Alkaramla murder trial, retrial slated for Skelos and son

New Yorkers on Con Con
The latest Siena Poll shows 57 percent of likely voters across the state would say no to a Constitutional Convention.[TU]

Noel Alkaramla murder trial
A Rensselaer County Court jury heard the details of Noel Alkaramia's death as opening statements were made in the murder trial of her stepfather Johnny Oquendo. [WNYT][TU]

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Allegations and counter allegations over absentee ballots in Albany, complications related to the Hilton Albany labor dispute, supervisor sues his own town, "avalanche of interest" in dough boys

Scrutiny of absentee ballots in Albany
A group of current and former local elected officials appeared outside the the state Board of Elections offices in downtown Albany Monday morning to call for an investigation of the use of increased use of absentee ballots in the Albany primary election -- a few of the political figures targeted in the accusations say they were making it easier for people to vote and the allegations are an attempt to suppress dissenting votes. [TU]

Gun shop robberies
+ The burglary of a Central Ave gun shop early Sunday morning in which five handguns were stolen took just 17 seconds. Police say they don't think it's connected to the recent gun shop burglary in Glenville. [WNYT x2]
+ A gun shop owner tells News10 it's not realistic to lock up a shop's guns every night. [News10]

Albany police and immigrant communities
An important question prompted by an incident in which an Albany police officer allegedly told a person while responding to a domestic violence call, "If you're going to live in this country, you need to learn to speak English": What is the APD is doing to make sure it can communicate with people among the city's diverse array of immigrant communities, some of whom speak languages for which finding a translator might be difficult? [TU]

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Scrutiny of Albany absentee ballots, settlement in county jail death, potential path for convention center land development, $7 million for ASO

Scrutiny of absentee ballots in Albany
A group of forty current and former local elected officials is asking the state Board of Elections and the state Attorney General, and the Albany County DA to look into alleged "wrongful activity in the absentee ballot process" during this year's primary elections in the city and county of Albany. (See reporting by Amanda Fries last week about the allegations.) [TU x2]

Another gun store burglary
+ Colonie police say a gun store on Central Ave was burglarized early Sunday morning and the suspect took five handguns. It's the second gun store robbery in the region over the past week, following the burglary in Glenville. [TU] [News10] [Daily Gazette]
+ There's now a $15k reward offered for info leading to the arrest of two "persons of interest" in the Glenville case. [TU]

Settlement in Albany County jail death
A private medical contractor and Albany County have settled a lawsuit over the death of Troy man in the county jail in 2014 for almost $1.1 million -- a case in which a state commission that reviewed what happened determined the medical care provided to the man, who had suffered a stroke, was "so grossly inadequate ... it shocks the conscience." [TU]

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Faso and Stefanik vote no on federal budget resolution, concerns about Sheridan Hollow microgrid project, shortage of substitute teachers, former brewery building sold

New York and the federal budget
John Faso and Elise Stefanik were among the 20 House Republicans who voted against the federal budget resolution that narrowly passed Thursday. Both cited the potential elimination of the tax deduction for state and local taxes as a reason for their "no" vote. (New York officials -- including Andrew Cuomo and Chuck Schumer -- have been pushing hard against this provision of the Republican tax plan.) [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Microgrid plant in Sheridan Hollow
The New York Power Authority says it will be doing a full environmental impact study on the proposed natural gas-fired cogeneration plant at the state's Sheridan Hollow steam facility that would be used to power a microgrid for ESP and other nearby facilities. The plan is meeting resistance from neighborhood and environmental activists worried about local pollution effects and the use of fossil fuels. Former regional EPA administrator Judith Enck says the use of natural gas for the plant is "a terrible mistake." [TU] [Politico NY]

Sex offender to stay confined
The man who tried to kidnap a Saratoga Springs High School cross country runner in 2005 -- and was set to be released from prison today -- will continue to be confined, the the state Corrections and Community Supervision announced Thursday. The state attorney general's office had filed Thursday morning for civil confinement for the man, and a state Supreme Court issued the order later in the day. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

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Cuomo retuning to Puerto Rico, parol for convict involved in grisly '93 murder, puppy stolen from Crossgates pet store

Cuomo will return to Puerto Rico
Andrew Cuomo is headed back to Puerto Rico today, the second time since the island was hit by Hurricane Maria. [TU]

Albany mayoral race
A look at the three challengers facing off against Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan in the upcoming general election. [TU]

State to study New York's cancer disparity
Andrew Cuomo was in Glens Falls on Wednesday to announce an effort to help reduce cancer in parts of the state where it is highest. Cuomo said cancer rates are 20 percent higher in Warren County than in New York City, and said researchers will be examining those trends to find the reason for the disparity. [News 10][Post Star]


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Schenectady budget narrowly passes, persons of interest questioned in gun shop robbery, Cuomo signs e-cigarette ban, no clowns on campus

Schenectady budget
The Schenectady City Council voted 4-3 on Tuesday to pass an $85.2 million budget that contains a 1 percent tax cut. [Gazette][TU]

Foam spill
Damage from a foam spill due to a fire suppressions malfunction a Commutair hanger at Albany International Airport could cost millions of dollars. [TU]

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Schumer and Cuomo push back on Congressional tax plan, Bow Tie looking for refund on 1 Monument Square, fiber optic Saratoga?, designing the Cohoes riverfront

New York vs. the Congressional Republican tax plan
Chuck Schumer and Andrew Cuomo made a rare joint appearance Monday outside a home in Selkirk to push back against the tax plan moving through Congress that would remove the deduction for state and local taxes. Cuomo called it "an attempted death blow" to the state. And Schumer described eliminating the deduction as "double taxation on the middle class." The offices of John Faso and Elise Stefanik said the local Republican Congress members don't support the elimination of the deduction. [Politico NY] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [News10]

1 Monument Square
In its letter canceling its land development agreement for 1 Monument Square, Bow Tie is demanding the return of its $60k deposit and the reimbursement of $186k it says it spent on the project. [TU]

Teachers and students
There's research that indicates that students of colors perform better in school when they have at least a few teachers who are people of color -- yet people of color make up small percentages of the teaching workforce in districts such as Albany and Schenectady. [TU]

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Cardi B booted by Albany hotel, congestion concerns in Colonie, ethics climate at Capitol "really is not good," work begins on River Street building conversion

Cardi B
Following her show at the TU Center Saturday, Cardi B and her associates were booted from the Hilton Albany after alleged complaints about noise and the odor of marijuana. The rapper said on Instagram that no one in her group was smoking, and attributed their removal to racism (she's since removed videos about the incident). Albany police say they could smell marijuana in the hotel, but there was no evidence it came from rooms connected to Cardi B and the decision to have her group removed was the decision of the hotel. [News10] [TMZ] [TU] [Spectrum]

Constitutional convention
Surveying the various perspectives on whether voters should vote yes or no on whether to have a state constitutional convention, and the "pretty strange bedfellows" created by the topic. [Daily Gazette x2]

Colonie supervisor election
+ An overview of the issues in the race for Colonie supervisor, in which incumbent Democrat Paula Mahan is facing Republican Albany County legislator Frank Mauriello. [TU]
+ Chris Churchill on the traffic, congestion, and development pressures that are the forefront of frustrations in the Capital Region's second most populous municipality. [TU]

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Four Amazon bids from New York, questions about hiring of new Palace leader, pedestrian dies from crash injuries, use of elephants in circuses banned

Amazon bids
+ Here's a snapshot of the Capital Region's bid for Amazon's second headquarters. The pitch was hand delivered to Amazon in Seattle. [AOA] [Biz Review]
+ There were four bids from New York State: the Capital Region, the New York City area, Buffalo/Rochester, and Syracuse/Utica. [Spectrum]

Palace intrigue
Steve Barnes reports that sources tell him that the new head of the Palace Theatre "was hired without input from at least a third of its board of directors and without the outgoing director's knowledge that a search for her replacement had been conducted." [TU]

Sentencing in Albany murder
Gerard Burks -- the man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the beating death of Lori Milks outside the South Mall Towers -- was sentenced to 18.5 years to life in prison. [TU]

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Cyclist dies in crash, Albany to begin search for police chief, pedestrian hit in Niskayuna, Palace names new executive director


Cyclist hit
A cyclist was taken to Albany Med with serious injuries after a crash with a vehicle on Washington Avenue Extension around 5:30 am Thursday. Update: Albany police say the cyclist has died. [WNYT] [APD]

Pedestrian hit in Niskayuana
A pedestrian is in critical condition after he was struck by a car on State Street near Balltown Road in Niskayuna on Wednesday night. [Spectrum]

Albany police chief search
Ten months after former Albany police chief Brendan Cox left his post, the city is hiring a search firm to find a new police chief. [TU]

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Sorting the 1 Monument Square situation, DA calling 1995 Schenectady murder solved, local company says Uber/Lyft have taken almost half of its taxi business

1 Monument Square
+ Talking with a bunch of interests in downtown Troy about how to move forward at the 1 Monument Square site. [The Alt]
+ Sam Judge, the Troy developer and property owner whose lawsuit apparently tripped up the movie theater project, to the Business Review: "The suggestion that the site is doomed or no other reputable developer will develop the site is preposterous." Judge also alleges that Steve Strichman, Troy's commissioner of planning and economic development, threatened the developer's ability to do business in the city if he didn't drop the legal action -- Strichman denies the allegation. [Biz Review x2]
+ Judge to Chris Churchill: "I couldn't in good conscience sit back and watch while parking problems went from bad to worse." [TU]
+ The Madden administration says it's considering options for Riverfront Park access at the 1 Monument Square site, along with staged development. [Troy Record]
+ Cohoes is now trying to make a play for the project -- its director of community and economic development says the city has three sites downtown in mind. [WNYT]

Schenectady murder cold case closed
Schenectady County DA Robert Carney announced Monday that his office has closed the case on the 1995 murder of Suzanne Nauman. The DA says an examination of DNA evidence suggests that the perpetrator was Stanislaw Maciag, who killed himself in prison in 1997. State and city investigators were prompted to look at Maciag's potential involvement by a Daily Gazette editorial that noted the parallels of Nauman's murder to another case. [TU] [Spectrum] [Daily Gazette]

Schenectady police oversight
The state's highest court ruled Tuesday that Schenectady's public safety commissioner does have the authority discipline police officers. [Daily Gazette]

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Looking at the state of assault weapons and the SAFE Act, Rensselaer riverfront part of local Amazon bid, SPAC to reduce ballet residency

Guns
Looking at the number of assault weapons in New York State, its laws about them, and the degree to which they're enforced. [Daily Gazette]

State AG review of Rensselaer County DA
A Rensselaer County assistant district attorney who was fired this month testified Friday before a grand jury as part of the state attorney general's office review of the Rensselaer County DA's handling of the fatal April 2016 fatal Troy police shooting. [TU]

Albany County Land Bank
A look at the progress of the Albany County Land Bank -- now the second biggest in the state -- and the challenges it faces in its mission to get vacant and foreclosed properties back into productive use. [TU]

Amazon
The Rensselaer riverfront is one of the sites highlighted in the Capital Region's bid for Amazon's second headquarters. [Biz Review]

1 Monument Square
ICYMI, as they say: The movie theater project for 1 Monument Square in Troy is off, the Madden administration announced late Friday afternoon. [AOA]

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Guilty pleas in murder cases, more details in alleged Howard Johnson's harassment, talking about Troy trash fee

Guilty plea in Rocks shooting
The man accused of the fatal shooting at Rocks in Albany in the early morning of Thanksgiving last year has pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. He faces up to 25 years in prison. He had faced 25 years to life if convicted at trial of second-degree murder. [Albany County DA] [TU]

Guilty plea in Hadley ax murder
The Hadley man accused of using an ax to kill his wife at their home this past May has pleaded guilty second-degree murder. He faces 20 years to life in prison. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Sentencing in fatal crash
The Corinth woman who pleaded guilty in the fatal crash that killed her infant daughter -- prosecutors alleged she was under the influence of drugs at the time -- was sentenced to 4-12 years in prison. [Daily Gazette]

Register to vote
Today is the deadline to register to vote for the November election. It's also the deadline to switch your party affiliation if you want to vote in next year's primaries. [NYS BOE]

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Lake George HoJo's operator charged with sexually harassing employees, Schenectady County approves budget with 1% tax cut, RPI students to protest for Union control at Homecoming alumni event


Howard Johnson's operator charged with sexually harassing employees
The operator of the Howard Johnson's in Lake George is accused of sexually harassing female employees over the past year. Jonathan LaRock is accused of sexually harassing approximately 15 current and former female employees, some as young as 17-years-old. [Spectrum][TU][Gazette]

Schenectady County budget
The Schenectady County Legislature voted on Wednesday to adopt a $319.83 million 2018 budget that, due to casino revenue, includes a 1 percent tax cut[TU]

Special session
Andrew Cuomo continues to threaten a special session of the legislature, and some legislators say they are good with that, as long as there is a clear agenda. [TU][Spectrum]

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Shooting during neighbor dispute, criticism of coverage of hate group claims, dirt bikes on city streets, 90 years old and still cutting hair

Shot during neighbor dispute
State Police say a Moreau man was shot during a dispute with a neighbor Sunday night -- he was airlifted to Albany Med with serious injuries and is expected to survive. The neighbor is facing charges of first-degree assault and first-degree criminal use of a firearm. A neighbor says she heard five loud noises that sounded like fireworks. [NYSP] [WNYT] [Spectrum]

Albany police West Hill search
Albany police were searching the Central/Lexington area of West Hill Monday following an armed robbery at a mobile phone store (map) in the morning, and they were continuing to survey a nearby spot on Sherman Street where a man had been fatally shot Sunday. [TU]

Register to vote
The deadline to register to vote for the November election -- or to change your party enrollment for next year's primaries -- is this Friday. [TU]

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Two decades for a crime he didn't commit, Cuomo says NY birth control coverage mandate will continue, bill proposes to change Columbus Day

Monday is Columbus Day. Some things are closed, some things are not. Check before you go.

Two decades for a crime he didn't commit
Brendan Lyons talks with Carl Dukes -- the man who served two decades in prison for a 1997 Albany murder he did not commit -- about how he was coerced into a statement by Albany police detectives, the despair he felt after being sent to prison, and how he eventually came to some sort of peace with what happened. [TU]

Albany fatal shooting
Albany police are investigating a fatal shooting on Sherman Street Sunday afternoon (map). A man told News10 that he heard four shots. APD is asking members of the public who might have info to come forward. [APD] [News10] [WNYT]

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Cuomo seeks in-state tuition rates for students from Puerto Rico, Albany schools could take in students from Puerto Rico, Nobel prize work traced back to Wadsworth Center

Tuition for students from Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico
Andrew Cuomo is asking New York State colleges to offer in-state tuition rates for students from the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. [TU]

Albany schools may take students from Puerto Rico
Officials from the Albany City School District say the district is prepared to take in some new students from Puerto Rico while the island rebuilds after Hurricane Maria. [TU]

Corruption retrials
Corruption retrials of Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver may end up playing out during an election year. [NYT]

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Cuomo says now is the time to discuss gun control, student threat caused Ballston Spa School lockdown,30 year anniversary of October snowstorm

Guns
+In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting that killed 59 people and injured more than 500 others, Andrew Cuomo says Trump administration claims that "now is not the time to discuss gun control" are "ludicrous", and claims the administration is afraid to act because they don't want to upset the NRA. [TU]

+Chuck Schumer called on Donald Trump to work work with legislators from both sides of the aisle on gun control in the wake of the shooting in Vegas.[TU]

+A primer on New York gun laws[NYT]


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Reaction to Las Vegas mass shooting, Albany snow shoveling law change approved, gondola project adds high-profile director

Las Vegas mass shooting
+ A Clifton Park woman who was at the concert on the experience of living through the incident, to the Times Union: "At one point, you're listening to a performer you love so much and then next you're on the ground fearing for your safety." [TU]
+ A local man who was at the hotel, to News10 up returning at ALB: "We thought it was a helicopter at first then all of a sudden we see people running and people were bleeding, it was just crazy." [News10]
+ At event in Colonie Monday, Kirsten Gillibrand said Congress hasn't passed a range "common sense" gun policies because it's "too weak and too cowardly" to stand up to the gun manufacturers. [WNYT] [TU]
+ Paul Tonko: "Congress has had many, many opportunities to take up common-sense firearms reform, hundreds of devastating attacks from Columbine to Sandy Hook, and has repeatedly failed to adopt any meaningful protections. That must change." [Daily Gazette]
+ A roundup of more reactions from New York Congressional delegation. [Spectrum]

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Scanning municipal budgets, concerns among immigrants and farms about enforcement, local singer on The Voice

Municipal budgets
+ Kathy Sheehan's proposed 2018 Albany city budget (pdf) includes includes a decrease in spending of less than half a percent and an increase in the taxes of not-quite 1 percent. It also again relies on $12.5 million in "capital city funding" from the state. [TU]
+ Gary McCarthy's proposed Schenectady city budget includes a 1-percent property tax cut, and projects about $2.3 million in revenue from casino payments. The overall proposed budget is $85.24 million, an increase of not quite 1-percent from the 2017 adopted budget. [Daily Gazette] [Spectrum] [TU] [City of Schenectady]
+ Joe Landry's proposed Niskayuna town budget includes a 2-percent reduction in the tax rate and holds spending essentially flat compared to this year. [TU]
+ Homeowners in some sections of Guilderland were unexpectedly hit with double-digit percentage school district tax increases recently because of how the equalization rate was figured for the town. [TU]

Albany County DA
Chris Churchill argues the office of Albany County DA David Soares should show leniency to a veteran facing possible jail time for a burglary charge -- the man suffered from PTSD and substance abuse, and is now getting treatment. [TU]

Immigrants and farms
A look at how complications and uncertainty in the nation's immigration system -- and now concerns about immigration enforcement -- are squeezing New York farms and farm workers. [TU]

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Questions following Glenville's plant's second explosion, Niskayuna students kneel during national anthem, conviction in Schenectady murder, giving random people $100

Glenville explosion
Glenville supervisor Chris Koetzle said the explosion at Mohawk Asphalt Emulsions Thursday morning -- the second major explosion in a year -- is evidence the facility should move from its location along the Mohawk River. The company says it's stopped manufacturing a kerosene solution that contributed to the blast. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Taking a knee
Six Niskayuna High School football players and one cheerleader kneeled during the national anthem ahead of their game with Guilderland Thursday night. Said one of the players to the Daily Gazette: "The reason is there are some social injustices happening in this nation. And, yeah, OK, I'm just 16, I'm just a high school senior -- but it's my job, just like it's anyone else's, to be a voice and to speak against those injustices. I feel like it's my job to speak." [News10] [Daily Gazette]

Taxes
The Cuomo has released projections of how much it figures the proposed Republican federal tax plan would cost New Yorkers if the deduction for state and local taxes is eliminated. In the Capital Region, the Cuomo admin estimates some 160,000 taxpayers would face an average increase of $3,088. [NYT] [Cuomo admin]

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Explosion at asphalt plant, NY to send troopers to Puerto Rico, deer that attacked Troy man was rabid, CDTA plan for regional taxi system

Explosion at asphalt plant
Schenectady police blocked Freemans Bridge Road this morning after an explosion at an asphalt plant . Two men died last year in another explosion at the plant, and the company was fined by OSHA for safety violations in connection with that incident. [Gazette][WNYT][TU]

Puerto Rico
Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that one hundred New York state troopers will be sent to Puerto Rico and will be deputized to carry out law enforcement activities there. [WNYT][TU]

Cuomo on tax reform plan
Andrew Cuomo on Donald Trump's proposed tax reform: "It is the height of hypocrisy. You have an administration saying I want to cut taxes and now literally they want to tax you on the taxes that you pay." [Daily News]

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Commisso Jr. won't campaign on Independence line, two displaced by Rotterdam fire, Schenectady County announces Street Crime Task Force,Troy man rescued from deer attack


Commisso
Frank Commisso Jr. announced Tuesday that he will not actively campaign for votes on the Independence Party line in the Albany Mayoral general election. [TU]

Two displaced in Rotterdam Fire
A two-alarm fire displaced two residents of an apartment complex and damaged a swimming pool installation business in Rotterdam

Street crime task force
Schenectady County leaders announced a Street Crime Interdiction Task Force, composed of officers from the Sherif's Department and municipal police departments, to focus on high crime areas in the county. ]Gazette][Spectrum]


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Troy murder trial delayed over location tech evidence, Skelos conviction overturned , UAlbany as "an anchor institution for our community"

Trial in the death of Noel Alkaramla
The trial of Johnny Oquendo -- accused of killing Noel Alkaramla in Troy in 2015, putting her body in a suitcase, and dumping it in the Hudson River -- was set to start Tuesday, but it's been delayed until late October in order for the judge to hear arguments over the admissibility of mobile phone location data from a Google service. [Troy Record] [TU]

Crime
The FBI released crime statistics from its Uniform Crime Reporting program for 2016, and they indicate there was an uptick in violent crimes in the city of Albany compared to the previous two years. [FBI] [Daily Gazette]

Skelos conviction overturned
A federal appeals court has overturned the corruption convictions of former state Senate majority leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam Skelos. [NYT]

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New casinos lagging revenue predictions, alleged election shenanigans, the 1 Monument Square drama, a really big pumpkin

Casinos
+ All three of the new full casinos in New York State are behind projections for revenue -- and, as a result, also behind projection on the amount of money they'd be providing to municipalities. A breakdown of the numbers. [TU x2]
+ A few different views on the effect of the casino in Schenectady so far. [TU]
+ See also: The Daily's Gazette's tracking of Rivers revenue. [Daily Gazette]

Puerto Rico
New York State is coordinating a donation drive to assist Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday: "Look, to our colleagues in the federal government, I humbly suggest that at this time instead of arguing with football players, instead of obsessing about how to take health care from the poor in this country, why don't we put the politics aside and focus on helping Americans in desperate need." [TU] [NYS] [Politico NY]

South Glens Falls school bus incident
The South Glens Falls transgender teen who was ordered off a school bus last week after not complying with an order from the bus driver to sit with the girls: "I don't hate the bus driver for what he did ... I believe a lot of instances like this come from a place of ignorance." [News10]

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Trucks destroyed in Voorheesville explosion, students defend transgender teens on school bus, charges in crash with cyclist, significant downtown Albany resident project facing redesign

Voorheesville explosion
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says an explosion at a state Department of Transportation site in Voorheesville Friday morning destroyed three dump trucks worth an estimated $500k. Neighbors reported hearing multiple explosions. The cause hasn't been determined, but investigators are calling it suspicious. [TU] [News10] [Spectrum]

South Glens Falls school bus incident
Students on a South Glens Falls school bus came to the defense of two transgender students this week when during an incident captured on video in which the bus driver kicked the two students off the bus. The district superintendent says the bus driver was wrong and "we're going to use this as a learning experience." [TU] [News10]

Puerto Rico
Andrew Cuomo, a group of state officials, and experts from the New York Power Authority are headed to Puerto Rico to survey damage from Hurricane Maria and offer assistance. [TU]

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Albany assessment error cost $90 thousand, Father's Day shooting suspect arrested, pair of teens suspects in fatal Mechanicville shooting, Egg to get $4 M shell


Albany assessment mistake cost $90,000
A mistake by the former Albany assessor cost the city about $90 thousand. Investigation into the mistake showed 9 of 27 properties granted commercial or mixed use tax exemptions did not qualify for the exemption.

Algae in Albany reservoir
The Basic Creek Reservoir in Westerlo, which is Albany's backup water source, has been affected by an algae bloom that has been a problem in bodies of water around New York State. [TU][WNYT]

Albany mayoral primary breakdown
Kathy Sheehan took 12 of the city's 15 wards in last weeks mayoral primary, with Carolyn McLaughlin taking two and Frank Commisso Jr, winning just his own ward.

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Cuomo blasts latest Obamacare repeal effort, New York grants $38 million to SUNY Poly, Shen agreement to sell controversial lot to Clifton Park


Cuomo blasts new Obamacare repeal effort
Andrew Cuomo voiced opposition on Tuesday to the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare and said if there is not replacement for the plan by October 1, New York stands to loose up to $2.6 billion in federal aid to hospitals that serve the uninsured. [TU]

$38 million for SUNY Poly
A week after it received a $25 million loan from the State University of New York, SUNY Poly's real estate arm will get a $38.5 million grant from New York State to help pay for its $324 million computer chip manufacturing research facility. [TU]

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Meyer concedes Rensselaer County exec race, police department transparency criticized, arrest over dog left in hot car

Rensselaer County exec election
Christopher Meyer has formally conceded the Republican and Conservative primaries to Steve McLaughlin in the race for Rensselaer County exec. (Meyer would have needed an unusually large share of the outstanding absentee votes to make up the election day gap with McLaughlin.) McLaughlin will face Democrat Andrea Smyth and Green Party candidate Wayne Foy in the general election. [TU] [Troy Record] [WNYT]

Schenectady shooting
Schenectady police say a 15 year old was shot in the leg around 10 am in Hamilton Hill (map). SPD detectives were reviewing video from the multiple cameras in the area. The shooting was across the street from a new $18 million affordable housing development and it appeared a stray bullet had shattered window there. [Spectrum] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette]

Police transparency
The New York Civil Liberties Union reports that of 23 police departments around the state from which it requested records on topics such as use of force, just one delivered the info without an administrative appeal or lawsuit. That group of 23 included the departments from the four core cities of the Capital Region. [NYCLU] [TU]

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Plea for info on serious downtown Albany hit and run, proposal to crack down on credit reporting agencies, Albany considering sale of Coeymans land, riding the rails in old-school style

Pedestrian injured in Albany hit and run
A 58-year-old man said he was hit by a vehicle while crossing Broadway in downtown Albany Friday afternoon -- then kept going. Albany police say they don't have many details, only that the vehicle was silver. The man who was hit -- Louis Sanford Jr., who works at the Pearl Street Diner -- suffered serious injuries. [News10] [TU x2]

Credit agency crackdown
The Cuomo admin is proposing stricter state rules for reporting agencies -- such as Equifax -- that would regulate the agencies more like banks and insurance companies. [NYT]

Cuomo trip to US Virgin Islands
+ Andrew Cuomo visited the US Virgin Islands Friday and said the state would be sending New York National Guard and State Police personnel there to assist with recovery efforts. [TU]
+ Jimmy Vielkind on Cuomo's trip: "Foreign travel is not an explicit part of governing a U.S. state, but upwardly mobile governors have frequently found reasons to venture abroad and gain some standing to talk about foreign affairs." [Politico NY]
+ Steve McLaughlin: "He'll spend more time on that airplane than he did in Hoosick Falls when we had a water contamination issue." [News10]

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Lawsuit over Albany wrongful imprisonment, questions about inspector's whereabouts in Jay Street fire case, proposal to redevelop Playdium site

Lawsuit over Albany wrongful imprisonment
Two men wrongfully convicted of an Albany murder -- and who spent almost two decades in prison as a result -- are suing the city of Albany a group of former Albany police detectives alleging police used fabricated evidence and coercion to get incriminating statements. [TU]

Jay Street fire
Investigators have street surveillance video that allegedly shows Schenectady city code inspector Kenneth Tyree at a different location for some of the time that he's said he was at the inspection for 104 Jay Street -- and at a pre-trial hearing Thursday an agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives testified that Tyree told him didn't have an explanation. Tyree faces multiple charges related to the inspection of the Jay Street building and the fatal fire there. [Daily Gazette]

Watervliet firefighter and police officer facing possible discipline
A Watervliet firefighter and police officer are both facing possible disciplinary action -- and the firefighter a harassment charge -- after an incident involving a third man outside a Stewart's that allegedly involved a thrown cup of hot coffee. The third man tells News10 the dispute is a tangent (via Facebook) of the situation surrounding former Watervliet police officer Joshua Spratt. [Troy Record] [TU] [News10]

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Schumer announces deal for "Dreamers", charges dropped for double homicide suspect, SUNY Poly gets $25 million bailout, water taxi coming to Schenectady

Schumer meets with Trump on DACA
Following a dinner with Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer announced a deal to protect nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children.[TU]

Unsettled Albany council races
Judd Krasher is holding out for absentee ballot totals before admitting defeat in the 11th Ward primary election. Incumbent 3rd Ward Councilman Ron Bailey says he'll be continuing to the general election on the Working Families and Independence parties' lines. [TU]

Charges dropped in double homicide
A judge has dismissed all charges against the suspect who was alleged to be the ring leader in the killings of two Troy roommates earlier this year, saying there was not sufficient evidence to support the indictment of 27 year old Cresencio Salazar.
[TU]

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Sheehan takes Albany primary, Schenectady D.A. named Troy special prosecutor, TU Center bans elephant acts

Primary results
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan easily defeated primary challengers Frank Commisso Jr. and Carolyn McLaughlin on Tuesday. Here's a look at more of Tuesday's Albany primary results. McLaughlin told a a crowd she still believed in a bright future for Albany but said it couldn't be business as usual. Commisso Jr., who has the Independence Party line, said he will make decisions about November over the next few days. Only two votes separated the candidates in Albany's Green Party mayoral primary. [Spectrum] [AOA] [TU] [TU]

Rensselaer County exec
Steve McLaughlin is ahead of Christopher Meyer in the Republican primary for Rensselaer County executive by 339 votes. McLaughlin declared victory Tuesday, but Meyer didn't concede. [Rensselaer County BOE] [TU]

Schenectady DA named special prosecutor in Troy case
Schenectady county DA Robert Carney has been named the special prosecutor in the investigation into the Troy police shooting of parole absconder Dahmeek McDonald in August. [TU]

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It's primary day, McLaughlin questions Albany mayoral poll, ICE resumes arrests in Saratoga, 1 Monument Sq project pulled from agenda

Primary Day
+ Polls are open from noon to 9 pm.
+ Don't know where to vote? Check with the state Board of Elections website.
+ Don't know which offices and candidates are on the ballot where you live? Check with your county Board of Elections website (here's Albany County).
+ Sara Foss: "We all want better political candidates and better politicians, but unless we turn out and vote we're never going to get them." [Daily Gazette]

Albany mayoral primary
+ Candidate interviews: Carolyn McLaughlin | Frank Commisso Jr. | Kathy Sheehan.
+ On Monday, Carolyn McLaughlin publicly questioned the methods used in the Siena poll that indicated Kathy Sheehan has a large lead over McLaughlin and Frank Commisso Jr. [TU] [Spectrum]

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Preparing for Primary Day, push to reduce grace period for clearing snowy sidewalks, rising tide for Castleton?

Primary Day
Primary Day is Tuesday:
+ An overview of key races around the Capital Region, many of them in the city of Albany. [TU]
+ Kathy Sheehan continues to have a relatively large lead in the Albany Democratic primary for mayor, according to a new Spectrum/Siena poll. [Spectrum] [SRI]
+ A look at where the Albany mayoral candidates stand on the future of the city landfill, which is projected to close in early 2023. [TU]
+ An overview of the seven people running for three Albany city judge seats. [TU]
+ A look at the primaries in Schenectady County. [Daily Gazette]

Don't know what's on the ballot Tuesday for where you live -- or where to vote? Check with your county board of election website.

Steve McLaughlin
Another turn in the recent drama surrounding state Assemblyman/Rensselaer County exec candidate Steve McLaughlin and a staffer. [TU]

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Response to Hurricane Irma, Habitat looking at West Hill project, state's highest court rules against assisted suicide, Amtrak upgrades

Hurricanes
+ Talking with local members of a New York State urban search and rescue team that's headed to Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma. [WNYT] [Spectrum]
+ A New York Air National Guard air rescue wing based on Long Island is headed to the Caribbean to assist with hurricane recovery. [Daily Gazette]
+ Direct flights from Florida to ALB are sold out through Sunday. [TU]
+ The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society has taken in a group of dogs from Texas to help open up room in shelters following Hurricane Harvey. [WNYT]

Rensselaer County exec election
The recently surfaced recordings of an argument between Steve McLaughlin and a member of his state Assembly staff were one of the big topics during a Spectrum-hosted Rensselaer County executive Republican primary debate between McLaughlin and deputy county exec Christopher Meyer. Other topics: infrastructure, Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, the SAFE Act, and opioids. [TU] [Spectrum] [Troy Record]

Habitat looking at West Hill
Habitat for Humanity Capital District is looking at the possibility of a large mixed-use project in Albany's West Hill neighborhood similar to the recent Habitat project in Sheridan Hollow. [TU]

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New York leads federal DACA lawsuit, SUNY Poly withholding lease information, final Albany mayoral primary debate

Schumer on DACA repeal
Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that Donald Trump's decision earlier this week to repeal DACA, was "As heartless as it was brainless'', and expressed guarded optimism that congress would be able to come up with a legislative solution to avoid mass deportations. [TU]

NY leads lawsuit over DACA
A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of government watchdog group Common Cause, alleges New York's longtime practice of purging voter roles to remove inactive voters is disenfranchising tens of thousands of voters.[TU]

SUNY Poly withholding lease information
Fuller Road Management-- the non-profit development arm of SUNY Poly, is refusing to release details of lease agreements with tenants at the ZEN building in Albany, despite acknowledging that it is subject to New York's Freedom of Information Law. The NYS Attorney General is investigating an alleged inflated lease for a company that later received some lucrative state contracts. [TU]


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Siena poll: 59 percent of NY voters say confederate monuments should stay up, Cuomo on DACA decision:"feeding the beast of bigotry red meat", grand jury will examine D.A.'s handling of Troy police involved shooting

Siena Poll
A new Siena poll shows 59 percent of voters statewide believe confederate monuments should stay up. In the same poll, fifty percent of voters statewide gave Donald Trump an F for his handling of Charlottesville, and, by a slim margin, voters polled oppose giving neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups permits to hold marches, and shows him with a 29 percent favorability rate in NY. [TU][Spectrum][

DACA
Dozens of people rallied in Wallenburg Park on Tuesday to protest Donald Trump's decision to remind DACA. Andrew Cuomo called said the reminding DACA "is just feeding the beast of bigotry red meat."[WNYT][NYSoP]

Abelove
A grand jury will investigate Troy D.A. Joel Abelove's handling of the police shooting of Edson Thevenin following a car pursuit in April of 2016. Meanwhile lawmakers in Rensselaer County have rejected a measure to approve up to $50 thousand dollars to help cover Abelove's legal expenses in the case. [WNYT][TU]

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New York State readying challenge to feds over DACA, talking with voters in Albany mayoral race, Saratoga Race Course posts record bet total

DACA
If the Trump administration proceeds with a floated plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- who covers undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children -- Andrew Cuomo and Eric Schneiderman say that New York State "will sue to protect the 'dreamers' and the state's sovereign interest." [NYT] [Cuomo admin]

Stillwater mayor allegations
+ Stillwater village mayor Rick Nelson resigned Friday, the village announced this past weekend, after his arraignment on child pornography charges. [Daily Gazette]
+ Nelson's arrest was at least the fifth time he's faced some sort of charge or complaint alleging the victimization of children, the Times Union reports. [TU]

Steve McLaughlin
+ The Times Union posted audio of an argument between state Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin and a staffer in which she accuses him of physically hurting her -- but the unnamed staffer told the TU this week McLaughlin didn't physically harm her. [TU]
+ McLaughlin alleges the audio was leaked to damage him in the race for Rensselaer County executive -- his opponent, Christopher Meyer, says he wasn't involved. [Spectrum]

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Troy police investigate pair of mysterious deaths, Albany's Democratic mayoral candidates debate, Union College president to step down

Harvey
+The Red Cross is training volunteers to head to Texas to assist the flooding victims.
+New York is sending additional Air National Guard members to Texas to respond to the flooding from Harvey
+Victory church is collecting funds to send a truckload of supplies and assistance to Houston.
+''When your neighbor's house is underwater, you don't haggle over the price to get into a rescue boat,'' -- Paul Tonko urging fellow Democrats in Congress to approve support for Harvey victims and not succumb to temptation for payback for GOP resistance to help for victims of Hurricane Irene and Sandy.
[Saratogian][TU][WNYT][TU]

Pair of mysterious deaths in Troy
Police found two men dead in a South Troy home early this morning.
An investigation is underway but police initially found no signs of foul play. [TU][WNYT]

Democratic Mayoral Debate
Albany's three Democratic mayoral candidates debated on Tuesday, covering issues like jobs, developing the city waterfront and property taxes for government and not-for-profit entities. [TU][News 10]

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Local volunteers headed to help with Harvey relief, Hoosick Falls residents say they've been forgotten again, man accused of watching people sleep, more than a century of apples

Hurricane Harvey
+ The Red Cross is sending volunteers and supplies from the Capital Region to help with Hurricane Harvey. And it's holding boot camps for new volunteers. [Daily Gazette] [TU]
+ Talking with people who endured Irene flooding six years ago about recovering from such a disaster. [Daily Gazette]
+ Charity Navigator's page about charities and donations for Hurricane Harvey relief.
+ Pro Publica: 5 Tips for Donating After Disasters

Hoosick Falls
People in Hoosick Falls say they feel like they've been forgotten by the state -- again -- following the flooding there earlier this summer. [TU]

Education gaps
A look at the persistent disparities in test scores among groups of students on the state's grade 3-8 tests in the Capital Region's schools. [TU]

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State Police: Glenville man was trying to commit suicide by police, investigation into Prattsville flood relief money, bike share memberships ahead of projections

Hurricane Harvey
+ Looking to help? Houston and Texas-based charities for donations. [Houston Chronicle] [@JiaTolentino]
+ Charity Navigator's page about charities and donations for Hurricane Harvey relief.
+ Pro Publica: 5 Tips for Donating After Disasters
____

Glenville police shooting investigation
State Police said Friday their investigation has concluded that the man fatally shot by police in Glenville July 28 was trying to commit suicide by getting police to shoot him. State Police say Brian Skinner had rushed at responding officers with a knife in a threatening manner, and when he didn't drop the knife after repeated orders, they fired. An officer was also hit in the gunfire, and State Police say it hasn't been determined yet which officer fired that shot. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [WNYT]

Troy police shooting investigation
A group of African American pastors in Troy is calling for the Rensselaer County DA to recuse his office from the investigation into Troy police shooting Dahmeek McDonald August 15. [TU]

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FBI to aid in Troy police shooting investigation, Troy police investigate overnight shooting, Coyote sightings in Loudonville, gun show returns to Saratoga with Hitler memorabilia

Troy police shooting investigation
At the request of Troy Mayor Patrick Madden, the FBI will assist in an investigation of the officer-involved shooting of a parole absconder in the North Central neighborhood last week. [TU]

Troy shooting
Police in Troy are investigating a Wednesday night shooting between Congress and Ferry Streets. [TU]

Coyote sightings in Loudonville
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is warning people about recent coyote sightings in Colonie after a Loudonville woman reported seeing a coyote near her home. [TU][WNYT]


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Attorney calls for Abelove's recusal in Troy police shooting, storms lead to outages throughout the region, Albany judge rolls out program for homeless defendants

Abelove
The attorney for the 22-year-old man shot by Troy police last week says his client did not have a gun and is requesting that DA Joel Abelove recuse himself from the case because of an existing probe into his handling of a fatal shooting by Troy police last year. Abelove has issued a statement suggesting he does not plan to recuse himself from the investigation. [Spectrum][TU][TU]

Storms and outages
Tuesday's storms knocked out power to about 6,000 National Grid customers, most of whom are back on line by now. [TU]

State reading/math exams
While scores on New York's annual reading and math exams went up the Capital Region saw gains in reading but not in math. [TU]


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Eclipse gawking around the region, Lark Street standoff, new horse safety measures at the Track, Kenwood campus sold

Eclipse
It happened, and people all around the region watched. More than a thousand people showed up at miSci for events there. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Troy police shooting investigation
The attorney for the man shot by Troy police week last week says his client didn't have a gun, and he's calling for the Rensselaer County DA's office to recuse itself from the review of the case. [TU]

Lark Street standoff
Albany police shut down the block of Lark Street between Washington and State Monday evening after a report that a man had shut himself in an apartment with a handgun. Police took the man into custody after about four hours and he was taken to the hospital for evaluation. No one was injured. APD was searching the apartment for a gun. [TU] [News10] [Spectrum] [WNYT]

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It's eclipse day, the road to Canada and asylum, casino continues to lag payout projections to municipalities, possibly wild... something

Eclipse
Yep, the eclipse -- a partial eclipse, here, to be specific -- is happening Monday afternoon. It'll start at 1:22 pm and end at 3:56 pm, with the maximum eclipse at 2:42 pm.

There are viewing events around the region -- here are a few of them -- at which telescopes and other viewers will be set up. And a reminder to not look directly at the sun without the special eclipse-viewing glasses.

Seeking asylum across the border
Chris Churchil travels to the road on the New York/Quebec border where people worried about their US immigration/refugee status have been crossing into Canada illegally so they can request asylum. [TU]

Troy police shooting investigation
Reps for Andrew Cuomo and state attorney general Eric Schneiderman say they're monitoring the investigation of last week's shooting of man by Troy police. [TU]

Horse deaths
+ The current Saratoga Race Course season now includes 17 horse deaths. [WNYT]
+ What role do the track surfaces play in horse injuries? [TU]

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Troy residents protest police shooting, not-guilty plea in double murder, Albany mayoral debate tonight, another equine death at Saratoga

Troy police involved shooting
Video has surfaced of the man shot by Troy police, bleeding on the ground as officers pushed him down and cuffed him, and witnesses say police had their guns drawn as they approached his vehicle, though he was only wanted for a parole violation. At a news conference on Wednesday, Troy Police Chief John Tedesco said authorities had been searching for Dahmeek McDonald for months after he violated parole by removing an ankle bracelet, and that he had "a history of weapons possession." More than 100 members of the community held a march to City Hall on Wednesday, to protest the shooting of the unarmed man. McDonald's uncle, Messiah Cooper, led the march, spoke with police and helped calm the crowd but called for better policing. He called on young people of color to take the exams to become police officers. He also spoke about discrimination against the poor, saying "They think poor people don't matter. They'd beat white people in the ghetto just like they'd beat me. We're in this together."[TU][Gazette][News 10][Spectrum][Record][WNYT][TU]

Other Troy police involved shootings
A look at some of the other police involved shootings in Troy in recent years, including the fatal shooting of Edson Thevenin -- D.A. Joel Abelove's handling of that case remains under investigation by the NYS Attorney General's office. [Spectrum]

Not guilty plea in double murder
Bryan Redden, the 21-year-old man charged with the double murder of a 33-year-old Glens Falls woman and her 4-year-old daughter pleaded not guilty to eight charges, including murder, grand larceny and tampering with evidence. [Spectrum]

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Police involved shooting leads to standoff in Troy, Cuomo to push new hate crime provisions, date set for Silver re-trial, parts of Yaddo for rent

Police involved Troy shooting leads to standoff
Troy police shot a suspect in the North Central neighborhood Tuesday evening while attempting to stop him for alleged parole violations. The man, 22-year-old Dahmeek McDonald, was shot twice in the torso. One witness to the arrest of the shooting victim said police were cuffing him "rough-like, like he wasn't even shot." The incident sparked a confrontation between residents of the neighborhood and Troy police in riot gear, closing streets . [WNYT][Spectrum][TU][TU]

Grand jury empaneled in Troy police investigation
The Columbia County District Attorney is empaneling a grand jury to look into the case of several Troy detectives who are being investigated for entering the residence of a Troy woman without a warrant in June. [Spectrum]

Cuomo on Trump
Andrew Cuomo tweeted a response to Donald Trump's Tuesday afternoon press conference in which Trump made reference to "very fine people" on both sides of the events in Charlottesville this weekend, saying: "There are no "very fine" white supremacists, Mr. Trump"
Cuomo also said on Tuesday that he will push to strengthen the state hate crimes laws and stiffen penalties for rioting. [@NYGovCuomo][TU]

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Responses to Charlottesville, company appeared in Start-Up NY ad but apparently didn't end up here, Commisso questions Siena poll

Charlottesville
+ The Capital Region's House of Representatives members universally denounced the actions of the white supremacist groups in Charlottesville. [TU]
+ After the CEOs of Merck and Under Armour announced their exit from the Trump administration's manufacturing council following the President's tepid response to Charlottesville, GE says chair Jeff Immelt will stay on the council. (As you know, GE employs about 6,000 people in the Capital Region.) [NYT] [TU]
+ Chris Churchill asks why Donald Trump won't call the Charlottesville car attack terrorism. [TU]

JCC bomb threats
Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that increases the potential penalty for calling in bomb threats to community centers. The bill was prompted by the string of threats made against Jewish community centers around the state this year. [Daily Gazette] [News10]

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Albany rally responds to events in Charlottesville, Sheehan leads in Democratic primary poll, from prison to small business owner

Rally against racism
Hundreds of people gathered in Albany's Townsend Park Sunday to rally against racism and white supremacy following the recent events in Charlottesville. The event was backed by multiple political, labor, and faith organizations. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Milton town supervisor complaint
Brendan Lyons: "The town of Milton took extraordinary steps to conceal the details of a 2016 harassment complaint filed against the town's supervisor, Daniel P. Lewza, who has publicly denied that
he was the target of the incendiary allegations made by his former secretary." [TU]

Albany mayoral election
+ In a new Siena poll, 50 percent of respondents said they would vote for Kathy Sheehan if the Democratic primary was held today (the poll was conducted August 2-7) -- 20 percent said they'd vote for Frank Commisso Jr and 13 percent for Carolyn McLaughlin. [Siena SRI]
+ Sheehan skipped a candidates forum with the union that represents the city's blue collar workers on Saturday -- her campaign manager said the union had already aligned itself with Commisso. [TU]
+ Sheehan loaned her campaign $162k in July, according to the latest filings with the state Board of Elections. [The Alt]
+ Chris Churchill offered some advice for Commisso about how to respond to stories like the recent TU story about public officials and unpaid parking tickets. (Commisso called it a "blatant hit job" on Twitter.) [TU x2] [@FrankCommisso15]

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Gillibrand addresses health care, taxes and North Korea in town hall, arrests in Mechanicville shooting death, upstate casinos disappointed by slow business

Gillibrand town hall
Kirsten Gillibrand held a town hall meeting at Hudson Valley Community College on Wednesday evening, and focused largely on health care. Gillibrand singled out the Republicans who crossed party lines to kill the repeal of the ACA and called for a Medicare for all style solution.Gillibrand also addressed tax reform and Donald Trump's stance on North Korea. [TU][News 10][Gazette]

Mechanicville murder allegedly drug related
Two men have been arrested in connection with the shooting death of 19-year-old David J. Feliciano in his Mechanicville driveway on Monday. [TU]

Warren county murder suicide
Warren County Sheriff's Deputies are investigating an alleged murder suicide where a 76-year-old man is believed to have shot his 71-year-old brother and then turned the gun on himself. [TU]


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Cuomo under pressure to reunify Senate Democrats, docs missing Albany tax break mistake, sentencing in Knowles murder, arrest in abduction attempt, $2.9 million overhaul for Peerless Pool

Updated

Cuomo under pressure to reunify Senate Democrats
Andrew Cuomo is under pressure to reunify the IDC with Senate Democrats, if he wants to heighten his national profile for a possible presidential run. [NYT]

Troy water line
Troy officials held a ceremony on Tuesday to mark the completion of the $3.2 million project to replace the water transmission lines that ruptured in January of 2016. [Record]

Docs missing in Albany tax break mistake
A FOIL request by the Albany Business Review revealed the many of the application documents related to the "485-a" tax break that was mistakenly issued to projects in the city of Albany are either missing or incomplete. [Biz Review]


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Reports of shots fired and suspicious death in Mechanicville, questioning Cuomo's political prospects, Siena adjuncts push for contract

Suspicious death in Mechanicville
Police say officers responding to a home in Mechanicville Monday night for a shots fired called found a man dead in the driveway. But they've yet to release many details, including whether the man in the driveway had been shot. Police are calling the death suspicious. [News10] [CBS6] [Spectrum]

Albany County jail death autopsy
Sheriff Craig Apple says an autopsy of the woman who died in the Albany County jail in June concluded that she had been on a "deadly cocktail" of cocaine and fentanyl. [TU]

Andrew Cuomo, 2018, and 2020
+ Chris Churchill: "The potential [gubernatorial] challengers realize something about Gov. Andrew Cuomo. They realize the Democrat is vulnerable." [TU]
+ Jimmy Vielkind: "If Cuomo is serious about running for president in 2020, as many in New York political circles think, would he be better off not running for a third term of his own next year?" [Politico]


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Schenectady County tops per capita crime rate list, Peerless Pool to close season early, Maccabi Games in town for the week

Schenectady crime
Schenectady County had the highest per capita rate of serious crimes in the state in 2016 among counties, based on figures from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services -- though the crime rate in the county has declined 16 percent over the last five years. (The crimes are what's known as "index" crimes.) [TU]

Settlement in Price Chopper overtime lawsuit
The Golub Corp. has agreed to pay $6.5 million to store department managers to settle a lawsuit that alleged the company improperly classified the managers in a way that made them exempt from receiving overtime. The company says it denies any wrongdoing. [Daily Gazette]

Alcohol treatment for state Senate majority leader
State Senate Republican majority leader John Flanagan said in a statement Sunday that had recently gotten treatment for alcohol dependency. [TU]


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NY will provide voter info to Trump voter fraud commission, PA train derailment causes concern in Albany, Rensselaer/Hudson trolley line part of Empire State Trail plan

NY to provide voter info to Trump commission
Despite protests from Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Board of Elections has voted to provide some voter data -- names, birthdates, addresses and voting history-- to Donald Trump's commission investigating voter fraud.[Spectrum][TU/AP]

Train en route to Albany derails
A train carrying hazardous materials that was headed to Selkirk, derailed and caught fire in Pennsylvania --- which is causing concern among residents of Albany's Ezra Prentice apartment complex. [TU][News 10]

Albany Common Council president
As Carolyn McLaughlin runs for Mayor of Albany, a look at the three way race for Albany Common Council President. [TU]



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Cuomo says he'll sue over Federal challenge to SAFE Act, Stefanik faces two new challengers, medical marijuana facility slated for Glenville

Cuomo will sue to protect SAFE Act
Representative Chris Collins, a longtime opponent of the NY SAFE Act, has introduced a Federal bill that would limit a state's authority to regulate gun sales -- which, if passed, would override the act. Andrew Cuomo announced he would sue to block any federal efforts to override the act, saying "the state has rights too." [TU][TWCN]

Stefanik
Elise Stefanik will face two more challengers in the race for the 21st Congressional District seat 00 one from the right and another from the left. If you're keeping score, that makes six people who have announced an intention to challenge Stefanik -- five Democrats and one Republican. [TU]

Meanwhile, Stefanik was in Saratoga County on Tuesday where she toured a shelter for homeless veterans and heard concerns from vets on health care and other assistance issues.[Saratogian]

19 arrests at Stephentown music festival
Police arrested 19 people on drug charges and confiscated
cocaine, hallucinogenic mushrooms, doses of LSD, Ketamine, MDMA pills, marijuana, prescription pills and gummy candies and lollipops laced with drugs
. [Record][TU]



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Federal Superfund designation for Hoosick Falls, takes on Trump's comment about Upstate, Cohoes fire called suspicious, topless in Saratoga

Hoosick Falls
The EPA has declared the Saint-Gobain plant in Hoosick Falls a federal Superfund site. The designation means federal resources can be put toward cleaning up contamination at the site, which polluted the village's drinking water supply. [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT]

Moving from Upstate
Three takes on Donald's Trumps comment about how people should move from Upstate New York if they can't get a job:
+ Chris Churchill: "When Trump suggested last week that upstate New Yorkers move to where jobs are more plentiful, he wasn't entirely wrong. In fact, that's exactly what many residents have been doing." [TU]
+ Sara Foss: "If anything, Trump's remarks suggest he believes upstate New York is so hopeless that the process of disinvestment and abandonment that began decades ago should be accelerated." [Daily Gazette]
+ Charlie Kraebel: "Too many people in power -- from the statehouse to tiny village boardrooms -- never want to give up their turf. But too many people, voters in particular, keep sending the same people back every time election season rolls around. How can you fix anything if you keep rehiring the people who broke the state in the first place?" [Troy Record]


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Family suspects man shot by Glenville police was suicidal, focus on Schenectady code enforcement, Albany-Rensselaer gondola still up in the air

Glenville police shooting
+ The brother of the Glenville man who was fatally shot by police Friday night after the man allegedly charged at officers with knife tells the Times Union he thinks it's likely his brother was suicidal. [TU x2]
+ State Police say the Glenville police officer shot in the abdomen during the incident was hit by a bullet fired by an officer's firearm, though it was unclear which one. Glenville supervisor Chris Koetzle said that the officer, Ben Ferretti, was in good spirits at Albany Med Sunday and was on track for a full recovery. [Daily Gazette x2]

Fatal shooting in Schenectady
Schenectady police say two men were shot -- one fatally -- in an incident on Crane Street in Mont Pleasant early Saturday morning. SPD says a third person was stabbed. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Albany shooting
Albany police say two men were shot overnight Sunday to Monday night near Benson and Quail (map). [News10]

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Cuomo blasts Senate Republicans on ACA vote, Log Bay Day officially canceled, public hearing today for Troy movie theater

Cuomo on health care vote
Andrew Cuomo blasted the Senate on Tuesday for a procedural vote to move forward with an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying the Republican proposals put forward to replace the ACA would "devastate our health care system and have a disastrous impact on New York." [NYSOP]

Guilty plea in kayaking death
The woman charged with tampering intentionally drowning her fiancé by tampering with his kayak on the Hudson pleaded guilty on Monday to a lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide. [TU]

Log Bay Day officially canceled
Log Bay Day on Lake George was officially cancelled by the Lake George Park Commission on Tuesday, a year after the fatal boat crash that claimed the life of an 8-year-old girl. Warren County officials say they are monitoring social media efforts to move the party to another part of the lake, but they don't expect problems. [TWCN][TU]


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Move toward paid family leave for state employees, Troy police turmoil, Commisso takes top spot in mayoral race fundraising period, the principal who was "the man"

Paid family leave
New York State's new paid family leave law takes effect in 2018 -- but it doesn't apply to public employees, though a benefit could be available through collective bargaining. The Cuomo administration says it will offer the benefit to state employees starting January 1 if their unions choose to opt in. [TU]

Troy police
+ A look at the administrative-, discipline-, and labor-related strife involving the Troy Police Department right now. [TU]
+ Citing crime in Troy, state Assemblyman (and Rensselaer County exec candidate) Steve McLaughlin is criticizing the Cuomo admin for deploying 200 state troopers to New York City, which he says could compromise coverage of areas upstate. [Troy Record]

State Police in Albany
The Albany Police Department/State Police joint patrols are set to start this week. [Spectrum]

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Scrutiny of health care in Albany County jail death, arrest in fatal Troy stabbing, spotlight on buildings at former convention center site, a big lift

Scrutiny of Albany County jail death
Brendan Lyons looks into the 2014 death of a man in the Albany County jail in an episode in which representatives of the private contractor running medical services at the jail appear to have let the man's condition spiral downward over many hours. [TU]

Shooting in Albany
Albany police say responding officers found two men with gunshot wounds in their legs Saturday night just off Second Ave (area map). [APD]

Arrest in fatal Troy stabbing
Troy police say they've arrested a 51-year-old man for the fatal stabbing in a residence on Oakwood Ave earlier this month. An hours-long standoff preceded the Friday night arrest. [Troy Record] [TU]

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Sentencing in murder of Troy official, fatal fire in Saratoga Springs, surge of applications for Excelsior Scholarship, a medium-sized key to the city

Sentencing in murder of Troy official
Joseph Vandenburgh -- convicted of fatally stabbing Troy city offical Bill Chamberlain near his home in North Greenbush -- was sentenced to 35 years to life in prison Friday morning. [TU]

Fatal fire in Saratoga Springs
One woman died, and a man suffered serious injuries, in a fire in a residence in the Geyser Crest section of Saratoga Springs Thursday. A Navy veteran who was staying a nearby home kicked down the door and rescued the man from the fire. The man's wife had a leg injury and had trouble moving. Four dogs also died. [Saratogian] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Spectrum]

Excelsior Scholarship
The deadline for applying for the new free-tuition Excelsior Scholarship is Friday night, and the state has already gotten more than 75,000 applications -- and more than 40,000 of the applicants have been notified they're eligible. The Cuomo admin budgeted for about 23,000 qualifiers -- and officials say they still think many who are eligible won't end up accepting. [Politico NY] [TU]

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Cleanup/investigation continue in Madison Avenue fire, calls for GE to continue Hudson cleanup, dates set in for Kaloyeros/Percoco trials

Madison Avenue fire
Cleanup continues at the site of a fire that destroyed four homes on Madison Avenue in Albany on Monday night. Authorities have yet to determine a cause of the blaze but learned that one of the homes may have been renting without a permit. Efforts are underway to help raise money for the victims on the fire who have been displaced.
[Spectrum][TU][WNYT]

Troy arson investigation
Troy officials have declared a curfew for the city's North Central neighborhood while they investigate connections between a string of fires in abandoned homes in the area. Investigators think there could be a connection to arsons dating back to 2012 in the area, and are looking at some of the suspects in the earlier fires. [TU][WNYT]


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Madison Ave houses demolished after fire, Troy fires ruled arson, 2nd confirmed case of tick borne Powassan in Saratoga County

Madison Avenue fire
Four historic row houses on Madison Avenue in Albany were demolished on Tuesday after being destroyed by fire on Monday night. More than a dozen people were displaced by the blaze, but everyone made it out alive. Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire, but they don't believe it's suspicious. One good bit of news, a dog believed lost in the fire was found and returned to its owner on Tuesday. [TU][Spectrum][WNYT][News 10]

Troy fires
Fire officials on Tuesday have tabled a rash of recent fires in unoccupied Lansingburgh homes as suspicious. [Spectrum][Record]

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Large fire on Madison Ave in Albany, Saratoga talks about ICE arrests, man dies from stabbing injuries in Troy, casino payments continue to lag expectations

Madison Ave fire 2017-07-17

A photo from Monday night's row house fire on Madison Ave in Albany. / photo: Paul Gallo

Madison Ave fire
A large fire ripped through a string of row houses on Madison Ave between Lark and Dove Monday night in Albany (map). Sixteen people have been displaced from their homes. The Albany Fire Department says it's too early to determine a cause. [WNYT] [News10] [TU]

Saratoga Springs ICE arrests
A major topic of discussion at a Saratoga Springs community forum Monday night about recent ICE arrests in the city: Why the apparent focus on Saratoga? There were also questions about how community members could assist undocumented immigrants. People also talked about fear that's spread among immigrants in the county. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [WNYT] [News10]

Troy arsons
The city of Troy says law enforcement is investigating six recent fires in the city as arsons. And TPD John Tedesco says police will be enforcing a curfew in North Central. [City of Troy] [TU]


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Job cuts at SUNY Poly, skepticism about job creation via tax breaks and incentives, huge crowd for Schenectady Summer Night

Job cuts at SUNY Poly
SUNY Poly has cut 38 support staff jobs at the Albany campus -- none of the cuts were in research positions. The cuts are part of a plan to trim $10 million from the school's budget. Interim president Bahgat Sammakia said SUNY Poly, which the Cuomo admin had used an economic development org, is focusing its direction and reviewing the economic development projects with which it's involved. [AP/NYDN] [TU] [Biz Review]

Shooting in Albany
Albany police say a man was shot Saturday afternoon on Clinton Ave near Swinburne Park made his way over to Central Ave for help. The Times Union reports witnesses saw the man run into the Burger King on Central requesting assistance. APD says it's investigating. [APD] [TU]

Another vacant building fire in Troy
Troy officials say they're investigating the cause of a fire at a vacant building in Lansingburgh early Monday. It's the fourth vacant building fire in two weeks. Officials say it's not determined whether the fires are connected. [News10] [TU] [Spectrum]

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Watchdogs dismayed by Silver conviction being overturned, Colonie murder-suicide investigation closed, new housing construction in Schenectady

Reaction to Sheldon Silver conviction overturned
+ Good government groups and public ethics advocates were dismayed by Sheldon Silver's conviction being overturned by a federal appeals court, and fear his case is now evidence there's a legal open window for public officials to enrich themselves via corruption. [Politico NY] [NYT]
+ Local state Assembly member Carrie Woerner, a Democrat, on corruption and the earlier Supreme Court decision that paved the way for Silver's conviction to be overturned: "If it looks like a carrot and smells like a carrot and tastes like a carrot, it's probably a carrot." [TU]
+ Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York: "Sheldon Silver is absolutely guilty of corrupting his office and violating the public trust." [Daily Gazette]
+ Joe Bruno says he's "very happy" for Sheldon Silver. [Spectrum]

Colonie murder-suicide case closed
State Police have closed the investigation into the incident in which Colonie police officer Israel Roman killed his wife, one of their sons, set their home on fire, and then killed himself -- NYSP says it wasn't able to determine a motive. [TU]

1 Monument Square
The developers planning to build a movie theater complex at 1 Monument Square will be seeking tax breaks for the project. [Biz Review]

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Silver conviction overturned, Q-poll: Cuomo approval numbers down, illegal marijuana growing operations in Selkirk home

Silver conviction overturned
A federal appeals court has overturned Sheldon Silver's 2015 corruption conviction.The ruling cited a recent Supreme Court decision narrowing the scope of public corruption. The judges ruled that in light of that decision, erroneous instructions were given to the jury and concluded that " it is not clear beyond a reasonable doubt that a rational jury would have reached the same conclusion if properly instructed, as is required by law for the verdict to stand."[NYT][TU]

Q-Poll shows drop for Cuomo
The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows 55 percent of voters polled say Andrew Cuomo should not run for president in 2020. The poll also showed a dip in Cuomo's approval rating. [TU][NYT]

Powassan virus
The NYS Department of health has confirmed a fatal case of Powassan virus in Saratoga County. [Spectrum]

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Cuomo touts new Schenectady rail station, immigrants arrested in Saratoga to be deported, man charged with shooting at Schenectady police, Stiller casting for Danemora mini series

Cuomo visits Schenectady, touts train station
As crews began tearing down the old Schenectady rail station on Tuesday, Andrew Cuomo was in the Electric City touting the design for the new station. Cuomo pointed to the $23 million train station as an emblem of positive change in the city. [Gazette][WNYT][TU]

School board elections moving
Andrew Cuomo signed a bill earlier this week that will move annual school board elections from the November general election to the third Tuesday in May, when school districts in New York hold budget votes. [TU]

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Opioid epidemic prompts counties to target drug companies, focus on combined sewer overflows, Central Warehouse contract off

Opioids
The Albany County Legislature has put its support behind a push for the county to recover damages from pharmaceutical companies related to the opioid addiction epidemic. Albany County is joining other counties a lawsuit. [TU] [WNYT] [Spectrum]

Sewage in the Hudson
Troy mayor Patrick Madden pushed back on the characterization of the large combined sewer overflow that sent sewage in to the Hudson River in recent weeks as a "spill," instead calling it a "discharge" and focusing attention on the infrastructure problem that caused it. Albany had a similar event last week -- and both cities failed to report to the DEC in the required timeframe. The DEC says it's investigating the situation. [Madden admin] [TU] [Spectrum] [New York Law Journal]

(Combined sewer overflows -- in which the old sewer systems that handle both storm water and sewage together become overwhelmed -- are a longrunning problem, and there's a 15-year plan in place among the communities of the "Albany Pool" to address the issue.)

Shooting in Troy
Troy police say one person was taken to the hospital following gunfire around 11 pm in North Central. [News10]

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Big sewage spills in the Hudson River, affordable housing development floated for Albany, ViaPort aquarium expanding

Sewage in the Hudson
Heavy rain at the start of this month prompted large sewage spills into the Hudson from Albany and Troy -- the spills were combined sewer overflows -- and both cities were slow to report to the spills to the state. (Combined sewer overflows -- in which the old sewer systems tha handle both storm water and sewage together become overwhelmed -- are a longrunning problem, and there's a 15-year plan in place to address the issue.) [TU]

Gun violence
+ There was a stop-the-violence march in Albany's Arbor Hill and West Hill neighborhoods Saturday. [WNYT] [Spectrum]
+ A look at the tools local law enforcement agencies have for tracking crime guns. [TU]
+ Chris Churchill on the recent spike in homicides in the city and discussions about the size of the city's police force. [TU+]

Affordable housing in Albany
A Rochester-based developer is considering a plan to redevelop more than 70 properties along Clinton Ave in Albany into affordable housing. [TU]

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Verdict in fatal stabbing of Troy official, "extraordinary" session wraps at state Capitol, all the Lyfting and Ubering, a reminder about fireworks

Trial in the death of Bill Chamberlain
Update: The jury found Vandenburgh guilty of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon. [Spectrum]
____
The jury in now deliberating in the trial of Joseph Vandenburgh, accused of fatally stabbing former Troy city official Bill Chamberlain near Chamberlain's home in Wynantskill in 2015. The prosecution alleges DNA evidence links Vandenburgh to a large knife used in the attack. Vandenburgh's attorney argued her client had no motive. [TU] [Troy Record] [Spectrum] [WNYT]

Extraordinary session
+ The state legislature wrapped its "extraordinary" session (technical term) with the passage of a bill that includes sales tax extenders for counties and mayoral control of NYC schools. [TU] [Spectrum]
+ Also: There's a provision that names the new Tappan Zee Bridge after Mario Cuomo, which Andrew Cuomo said his father wouldn't have wanted (but the son pushed for it anyway). [Politico]

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Special session underway, Schenectady man charged in multi-state prostitution ring, rare Colonial ledger found on eBay, it's Uber Day

Special session
After hours of what was described as dysfunction, the Assembly passed legislation that would, among other things, ensure mayoral control of NYC schools for two years, and extend sales taxes that are vital to the financial health of more than 50 counties. The Assembly also passed legislation that would rename the Tappan Zee Bridge after the late governor Mario Cuomo and provide a financial incentive package for the Vernon Downs racino/harness track. The legislation goes to the Senate on Thursday. [TU][NYT][Gannett][NYSOP]

Ride share day
You can officially take an Uber ride in upstate NY as of today. [Gazette]

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Cuomo calls special legislative session, alleged murder was released by judge 5 weeks earlier , Albany Chiropractor allegedly abused patients, another rare lobster escapes the pot

Albany
For the second time in his tenure as governor, Andrew Cuomo is calling the legislature back for a special session. Cuomo says he wants lawmakers to vote on a bill to extend mayoral control of New York City's public schools and Cuomo included, "Such other subjects as I may recommend." One of the items that could come up in special session, a sales tax extender that could mean local tax increases if it goes unpassed. Some legislators are bemoaning the cost of a special session, which some estimate at hundreds of thousands of dollars. [TU][WNYT][NYT][WNYT][News 10]

Medicaid managed care provider legislation
Something that did pass in the legislative session -- a bill that would require Medicaid managed care providers to cover drugs from the two not-for-profit pharmacies in the state operated by the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. [TU]

Alleged murderer was released after recent parole violations
The career criminal charged with the murder of a homeless man last Sunday violated was released five weeks earlier after he was brought before a judge on parole violations. [TU]

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Remembering man killed on Grand Street, fight over Saratoga Code Blue shelter, prepping for ride hailing, yoga with goats

Fatal stabbing in Albany on Grand Street
Albany police identified the man fatally stabbed early Sunday morning on Grand Street as 47-year-old Mark Douglas. He was homeless and a well-known figure in the neighborhood -- said one person to the Times Union: "He was as much of a neighbor as you could be, especially considering that he didn't have a residence." APD says the incident is still under investigation and asks anyone with info to call. [APD] [TU+]

Update: APD, crediting "many phone calls and cooperation from the community," says it's arrested a 64-year-old man who's been charged with second-degree murder. [APD]

Fight over location of Saratoga Springs Code Blue shelter
The Saratoga Springs Zoning Board of Appeals ruled Monday that a challenge to a proposed Code Blue shelter on Walworth Street next to the Shelters of Saratoga had been filed past the deadline. One of neighborhood opponents to the shelter location opponents -- Robert Pringle, who's also CEO of Glens Falls Hospital -- told the Daily Gazette the plan is "toxic" for the neighborhood, and mayoral candidate Mark Baker weighed in against the plan. And it sounds like opponents are considering legal options. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [News10]

Fall from Great Escape ride
A Warren County Sheriff's lieutenant said Monday it appears "human error" caused a teen to end up dangling -- and then falling -- from the Sky Ride at the Great Escape. [Post-Star]

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Teen falls from Great Escape ride, sentencing in Crossgates gunfire incident, the frustration of small claims court, redevelop former convention center site bit by bit?

Fall from Great Escape ride
A teen fell 25 feet from the Sky Ride chair lift ride at the Great Escape Saturday evening, a incident captured on video. Before falling, the teen was dangling from the lift, her arm and neck stuck on the bar of the car. Bystanders gathered below and broke her fall. Warren County Sheriff's deputies say the teen did not suffer serious injuries. The park says the ride is close while it investigates what happened. [News10] [Facebook] [News10] [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Post-Star]

Fatal stabbing in Albany
Albany police say a 47-year-old man died after being stabbed early Sunday morning near Madison Ave and Grand Street. APD is asking anyone with info to call. [APD]

State Police academy investigation
Brendan Lyons reports that State Police had been investigating whether there had been inappropriate interactions between training officers and female recruits at the at the State Police academy: "Nearly six months later, interviews with multiple people familiar with the investigation, and a review of internal State Police documents, raise questions about whether the agency fully investigated the allegations or may have sought to cover them up." [TU]

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Reaction to Senate Republican health plan, multiple households displaced in Albany fire, from Pakistan to Schenectady to a diploma

Senate Republican health care plan
New York reaction to the Senate version of the Republican health care legislation:
+ Chuck Schumer said the Senate plan is "meaner" than House version, playing on Donald Trump's earlier comments about the House version being "mean." [TU]
+ From a Kirsten Gillibrand statement: "The Senate bill presented today, which was crafted behind closed doors by 13 men, would fundamentally harm Americans young and old, do severe damage to a fragile economy, and bankrupt state governments across the country." [Gillibrand office]
+ The Senate plan includes the New York-specific provision backed by John Faso that would shift more than $2 billion in Medicaid costs from counties to the state, and he said doing so would relieve a burden from property tax payers. [TU]
+ A spokesman for Elise Stefanik says she's reviewing the legislation. [Press Republican]
+ From a Paul Tonko statement: "This bill will lead to historic drops in coverage and major increases in premiums for those who can least afford them." [Tonko office]

North Manning Blvd fire
Multiple buildings in a row of homes along North Manning Blvd caught fire Friday morning, displacing as many as 30 people. AFD chief Warren Abriel said the fire started in a vacant building and spread. Workers at the nearby Bimbo bakery (formerly Freihofer's) are being credited with noticing the fire and alerting residents of the homes to get out. [News10] [@JohnCraigWNYT] [Spectrum] [TU] [@EmilyMasters]

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Legislative session ends with business left undone, suspicious white powder sent to Harriman Campus, Adelphi selling memorabilia, Tappan Zee could be named for Mario Cuomo

Session ends
The legislative session came to a close late Wednesday night without resolving a sales tax extension for 53 counties, and the question of whether New York City can be allowed more charter schools -- two bargaining chips that were leveraged against each other. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says he won't bring the Assembly back into session to vote on mayoral control of charter schools. [Spectrum][NYT][TU][NYSOP]

White powder delivered to State Police
An envelope containing white powder was received in the mail at the Department of Correction and Community Supervision offices on the Harriman Campus. State Police are trying to determine what the powder is and who sent it, but say no-one has become ill. [TU] [Gazette]

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Slocum guilty in triple homicide, woman drowns when car topples into creek, legislative session winds down, SCCC extends president's contract

Slocum convicted in triple murder
A Washington County jury convicted Matthew Slocum on all charges for the 2013 murder of his mother, stepfather and stepfather. [TU]

Fish Creek death
A 66-year-old Saratoga Springs woman drowned Tuesday evening after her car toppled off a one-lane bridge into Fish Creek. [Gazette]

Legislative session winds down
The state legislative session wraps up today. Still on the table -- a sales tax extension measure that is tied up in a dispute over NYC charter schools. Legislators don't think they'll be able to come to an agreement on the Child Victims Act before the close of the session. And Andrew Cuomo did signed the law officially raising the legal age for marriage to 17. [WNYT][TU][TWCN][TU]

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Hoosick Falls contamination levels much higher than previously reported, indictment in Colonie fatal alleged hit and run, alcohol in movie theaters looks like a no-go

Hoosick Falls
A state Department of Environmental Conservation presentation Monday evening reported that testing of sites in Hoosick Falls indicated much higher levels of PFOA contamination than previously reported. And the DEC is referring to the sites as Superfund sites. Former regional EPA administrator Judith Enck said the levels may be the highest identified levels in the nation. And there's discussion about the possibility of connecting to the Tomhannock Reservoir as a new source of drinking water. [TU] [Spectrum] [News10] [WNYT]

Colonie standoff
Colonie police say a man had barricaded himself inside a home Monday evening, and neighbors were evacuated as part of the standoff. They say when they entered the home overnight, the man was found dead in an apparent suicide. [News10] [TU]

Troy police drug unit investigation
+ Officials say multiple agencies will be assisting the Troy Police Department to fill in gaps while the department's drug unit is on leave as part of an internal investigation. The city has yet to say publicly why the unit was was placed on leave. (Both the TU and News10 have reported there are allegations involving a warrantless search.) [TU] [News10]
+ Mark Robarge: "As a result, we in the media and the public are left to speculate on what really happened. We really have no clue whether this is a minor issue or a major scandal, beyond the fact that the suspension of an entire police unit is highly unusual and suggests a significant problem." [Troy Record]

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Sources say alleged warrantless search at heart of Troy drug unit investigation, fatal shooting in Albany, study links between cancer and toxic sites, celebrating 180 years

Troy police drug unit investigation
"Several city government sources" tell the Times Union that the entire Troy police drug unit was placed on leave because of an allegation that the unit filed a false burglary repot to cover up a warrantless search of residence. News10 talked with a landlord who said it was her property that was searched -- and she said police admitted to her that they did the search without a warrant. City officials have yet to publicly address the specifics of the situation. [TU] [News10] [Troy Record]

Albany tax break mistake
Following the recent revelation that the city of Albany has incorrectly applied a state tax break program to residential projects, the city said assessor Keith McDonald -- who told the Business Review it was his mistake -- is retiring at the end of June. Mayor Kathy Sheehan told the Times Union the issue dates back to 2011 and the city reviewing the potential impact of the mistake -- she also said the assessor operates independently and she had not spoken with him about assessments. One of the properties to which the tax break was apparently applied incorrectly was the new 73-unit residential conversion at 20 Park Street near the Capitol, the developer of which said the break was key in making the project happen. A ribbon cutting for the project scheduled for Monday was cancelled. [Biz Review] [TU] [Biz Review x2]

Albany homicide
Albany police say a 46-year-old man was fatally shot Sunday afternoon in the South End. The man had been at a family Father's Day celebration, and police say an altercation preceded the shooting. It's the seventh homicide in the city since a period of 9 months without a homicide ended late last year. [APD] [News10] [WNYT] [TU]

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Sentencing in UAlbany bus incident, guilty verdict in the death of Medina Knowles, Albany tax break mistake, treasurer reports Albany budget surplus, big cat -- or really big cat?

Updated

Sentencing in UAlbany bus incident
Ariel Agudio and Asha Burwell -- the two women found guilty of filing a false report as part of the UAlbany bus incident -- were sentenced to three years probations and 200 hours of community service Friday morning. [TU]

Guilty verdict in the death of Medina Knowles
A jury found Raekwon Stover guilty of all the charges against him, including second-degree murder, in the shooting death of 17-year-old Medina Knowles in her Schenectady home last year. He faces up to 25 years to life at sentencing. [News10] [Daily Gazette]

Troy police drug unit
The entire Troy police drug unit has placed on administrative leave, but no one from the city will officially say why. [News10] [TU]

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Local reps react to Alexandria shooting, Wilton teacher charged with rape, Schenectady County sues opioid makers

NY Congress members react to shooting
Reactions from Elise Stefanik, John Faso, Paul Tonko and Chuck Schumer to Wednesday's shooting at a baseball practice for a Republican congressional team. [TU]

Schenectady County sues opioid makers
Schenectady county has joined a list of counties filing lawsuits against the manufacturers of prescription opiates. [TU]

Teacher charged with rape
A 5th grade teacher at Dorothy Nolan Elementary School in Wilton is facing rape charges for having an alleged sexual relationship with a student. [TU]

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Testimony wraps up in Knowles murder trial, visa restrictions mean seasonal employee shortages, self-driving car tested on I-90


Knowles murder trial
Testimony wrapped up on Tuesday in the trial of Raekwon Stover, charged with the death of Medina Knowels wrapped up on Tuesday, with a neighbor who told the court she was awakened by screams and gunshots. [Gazette]

White Creek triple murder trial
Loretta Colegrove, the former girlfriend of murder suspect Matthew Slocum, testified at his retrial on Tuesday that she witnessed Slocum firing a shotgun at his stepbrother. [TU]

Saratoga inclusionary zoning vote delayed
Plans to vote on an inclusionary zoning proposal in Saratoga Springs have been postponed after a workshop on the proposal turned into a heated discussion between the city and developers who are concerned about costs and the vagueness of the wording. [Saratogian][Gazette][TU]


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Sex trafficking sting nets 12 arrests, Albany County legislature votes down anti-nepotism proposal, Kirsten Gillibrand and the F word

Underage sex trafficking sting
Police say an underage sex trafficking sting operation based in Warren County netted the arrests of 12 men from around the region. The sting involved posting online ads with an undercover police officer posing as the contact person -- they men were arrested when they showed up and agreed to a price. The sting included the Warren County Sheriff's Department, State Police, and FBI. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Post-Star] [News10]

Trial in the death of Medina Knowles
A prosecution witnessed testified Monday that when he and Raekwon Stover were inmates at the Schenectady County jail, Stover admitted that he had fatally shot Medina Knowles (the witness is set to get a reduced jail term for his testimony). [Daily Gazette]

Albany County anti-nepotism proposal
The Albany County Legislature voted against a proposed resolution that would have imposed stricter rules for the hiring of former officials and the family of county officials to county jobs. [TU]

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New head for GE, trial of the man charged with killing Medina Knowles, Albany school district settles harassment case, a century of outdoor movies

New head of GE
Jeff Immelt is stepping down as head of GE later this year to be replaced by John Flannery, current head of GE Healthcare. The conglomerate has more than 6,000 employees in the Capital Region. [Bloomberg] [TU]

Trial in the death of Medina Knowles
In opening statements of the trial of Raekwon Stover -- accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Medina Knowles in a Schenectady residence last fall -- the prosecution alleged that Stover had been prostituting Knowles and killed her because he was angry she was going to stop. A former girlfriend of Stover testified that he had talked about becoming a pimp and later called her from jail asking her to delete photos of Knowles from his email. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Hiring relatives for Albany County government jobs
The Albany County Legislature is considering a resolution that would impose new restrictions on the hiring of people who have family who are elected county officials. [TU]

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Congressional rep reaction to Comey testimony, former school board president sentenced, Uber tagged by state ethics commission, organizing the (maybe last) Flag Day Parade

Comey testimony
A roundup of reaction from New York/Capital Region Congressional reps about James Comey's testimony Thursday. [Daily Gazette]

Charges in Schenectady police Mumford Street shooting
Schenectady police say the man shot by officers during a standoff on Mumford Street is facing a group of charges that includes reckless endangerment and unlawful imprisonment. He was arraigned in his hospital room at Albany Med. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Former Saratoga Springs school board president sentenced
Former Saratoga Springs school board president Chip Locke was sentenced to six months in jail and $15k in restitution for stealing money from Greenfield Home School Association. Locke used the sentencing to criticize members of the association. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

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Experts question Hoosick Falls study, Schenectady police say shooting was justified in standoff, former Russian orphans graduate together from Ballston Spa High School

PFOA
Environmental health experts interviewed by the Times Union say the newly-released study that concludes there was no increase in cancer rates among Hoosick Falls residents in the last 20 years is flawed or "deceitful." Village residents questioned the results of the study at a meeting on Wednesday. [TU][Spectrum]

Schenectady police say shooting was justified
Schenectady police say the city man shot by officers during a standoff earlier this weekwas unarmed at the moment of the shooting, but police chief Eric Cliffordsays he believes the shooting was justified. [Spectrum][Gazette]

AG to investigate Schenectady police custody death
Eric Schneiderman's office is investigating the case of a New York City man who died in the custody of Schenectady police in early May. [Gazette]

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Soares unveils juvenile clean slate program, report claims no elevated levels of PFOA related cancer in Hoosick Falls, Cuomo takes aim at Faso/Stefanik and other GOP congressional leaders, Shen art project attracts controversy

Cuomo takes aim at Faso/Stefanik
Andrew Cuomo took aim at six Congressional Republicans on Tuesday-- including John Faso and Elise Stefanik-- saying they've violated oaths and defrauded voters and pledging to see them ejected from office in the midterm elections. [NYT][TU]

Soares juvenile justice plan
David Soares has released details for Project Reclamation -- a three-pronged plan clean slate plan designed to allow non-violent felony defendants between ages 16 and 24 to resolve cases without jail time or a criminal record. [WNYT][TU]

PFOA
The Department of Health has released a new study that claims t PFOA related cancers were not elevated in Hoosick Falls over the last 20 years, compared to the rest of New York. [News 10][Spectrum]

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Man shot by Schenectady police, sentencing in Lake George boat crash trial, plans for pedestrian safety in Albany and Cohoes, remembering Dan Lynch

Man shot by Schenectady police
Schenectady police shot a man during a standoff in response to a reported domestic situation Monday morning at a Hamilton Hill home (map). SPD said later on Tuesday the man was in stable condition at Albany Med. The incident was captured on a Facebook live video by a bystander, and police fired after the man appeared to make an abrupt pointing motion from a second-floor porch. SPD said they did not find a gun near the man. [Daily Gazette] [WNYT] [TU x2]

Lake George boat crash trial
Alex West was sentenced to 5-15 years in prison for his role in the fatal Lake George boat crash last summer. West was convicted on eight counts, including second-degree manslaughter, but the judge imposed concurrent sentences, shortening the overall length of time West will be in prison. The sentencing included victim impact statements from the family of Charlotte McCue, the 8 year old killed in the crash. And a statement from West: "I am haunted every day by it, knowing that I was part of something that took away a little girl." [Post-Star] [TU] [News10] [Daily Gazette]

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Local orgs bracing for potential food stamp cuts, shooting in Cohoes, sheriff: driver in fatal ambulance crash fell asleep, cold spring holding back local farms

Food stamps
Local organizations that provide services to food-insecure people in the Capital Region are bracing for the possible effects of the Trump administration's proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- more than 70,000 people in the Capital Region were on SNAP this past spring. [TU]

Shooting in Cohoes
Cohoes police say a 19-year-old man was shot Sunday afternoon on Main Street, and a 24-year-old man has been arrested. The father of the 19 year old said his family knows the alleged shooter, and police said the shooting was not random. [News10] [WNYT] [Spectrum]

Opioids
The Daily Gazette has a series running about opioid addiction -- its local toll, and strategies for addressing it. [Daily Gazette x2]

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New York to pursue climate coalition with other states, sale of old Troy hospital site for affordable housing fails, EPA says enough Hudson dredging for now, getting to age 106

Climate change
Following Donald Trump's announcement Thursday that the US would exit the Paris Climate Accord, the Cuomo administration said Andrew Cuomo and the governors of California and Washington are forming the United States Climate Alliance in an effort to bring together states committed to upholding the agreement. It's one of multiple similar efforts on the state and local level around the country. [NYT] [Cuomo admin] [AP/Troy Record] [NYT]

Sentencing in fatal Saratoga County crash
Maria Lentini -- who was found guilty of leaving the scene of a fatal crash with a pedestrian in Halfmoon and not reporting it -- was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison, but is out pending an appeal. One of Patrick Duff's family members said she had asked family and friends to pray for Lentini, only to find out "you left him on your windshield for over an hour to look out for yourself." [TU] [Spectrum] [Daily Gazette]

Leonard Hospital
The deal for the city of Troy to sell the Leonard Hospital property to a developer planning new affordable housing there has fallen through after a 4-4 city council vote, with councilman John Donohue abstaining because he works for an org than would seeking housing in the development. [WNYT] [TU]

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Cuomo urges Trump to stay in climate pact, Schaghticoke teen killed in crash, one plea and one sentencing in Schenectady fire perjury case, 90 mph microburst in Colonie

NY officials advise Trump on climate pact
State officials including Andrew Cuomo, Eric Schneiderman, Tom DiNapoli and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand have all advised Donald Trump not to drop out of the Paris global climate change accord. [TU]

Schaghticoke teen killed in crash
Seventeen year old William Rowe -- a senior at Hoosic Valley High School in Schaghticoke-- died Wednesday morning when his pick up truck crashed head on into a motor home. The investigation into the crash continues. [TU][Spectrum]

Guilderland teen mourned
Guilderland is mourning the loss of 17 year old Alyssa Gelfand, who died in a crash on a stretch of road where another teen was 17 years ago [Spectrum] [TU]

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Marquis Dixon charged for allegedly threatening mother, Guilderland teen dies from injuries sustained in crash, conflicting reactions to Albany budget report, Spa City mayor calls on voters to approve new charter

Guilderland student dies from injuries
The 17-year-old driver of a car that crashed on Hurst Road in Guilderland, has died. Police say rain and darkness were factors in the crash. [TWCN][TU]

Marquis Dixon arrested again
Marquis Dixon, the local teen who became the face of the local Raise the Age movement after being sentenced at age 16 to nine years in prison for stealing sneakers, has been arrested again, charged with menacing and criminal possession of a weapon. Dixon, now 19, allegedly threatened his mother with a steak knife on Saturday, telling her he would kill her. A month ago Dixon, who was released earlier this year was arrested for allegedly trying to spend a fake $20 bill. [News 10][TU][TWCN][News 10]

Albany budget report
There were conflicting reactions from the mayoral candidates Tuesday to the recent state-backed consultants' report about how to fix Albany's budget situation -- ranging from "it validates the work we're doing" to "Albany is headed in the wrong direction." [TU]


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Long-awaited report on Albany's finances finally out, DA rolls back Walmart theft case agreement, push for farm worker labor rights, more bits about possible new Cap Rep theater

Report on Albany finances
+ The long-awaited state-backed consultants' report on the city of Albany's finances was finally released late this past Friday afternoon -- among the many recommendations: fewer police officers and firefighters, higher taxes. [TU]
+ Reaction from the mayoral candidates. [WNYT]

State Senate stipend scandal
+ An overview and recap of latest scandalous situation involving the state legislature, involving the state Senate and the payment of committee chair stipends to members who didn't actually have the positions. [NYT]
+ "A source with knowledge of the decision" tells the Daily News that the Albany County DA's office will not be pursuing a formal investigation of the situation. [NYDN]

Rensselaer County and Walmart theft cases
+ After an agreement between the Rensselaer County DA's office and Walmart in which the chain was not to call law enforcement for thefts less than $100 -- a bid to reduce crowding local courts with cases over small thefts -- came to light in a Times Union report, DA Joel Abelove reversed course Friday. [TU x2]
+ Chris Churchill: "It all sounds like a madcap game show in which contestants run around a big-box store filling their carts -- but if they go over the $100 limit, they lose and don't get to keep the stuff. (Sad horn sound.)" [TU+]
+ From Bloomberg Businessweek last year: "Walmart's Out-of-Control Crime Problem Is Driving Police Crazy." [Bloomberg]

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Siena poll:Cuomo's popularity jumps, NY lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have problems with Trump budget, an act of kindness revealed after graduation

Siena poll shows bump in Cuomo's popularity
A new Siena poll shows Andrew Cuomo's support among New York voters has jumped significantly, from 54% to 61%. But the poll shows some voters still think the governor is "under water" on six issues, including taxes and infrastructure. [Gazette][TU]

NY lawmakers on Trump budget
Chuck Schumer, Elise Stefanik and John Faso all say they have problems with the proposed Trump budget. [Hearst]

Stefanik
The DCCC is adding Elise Stefanik to a list of Republicans to target in the midterm elections. [Gazette]


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Security stepped up after Manchester attack, alleged hit-and-run crashes in Schenectady, Albany seeks steep cut in valuation of Coeymans property

Manchester reaction
Following the bombing in Manchester, England, Andrew Cuomo said in a statement he's "directed state law enforcement officials to step up security and patrols at high-profile locations across New York, including our airports, bridges, tunnels and mass transit systems." [NYT] [Cuomo admin]

State Senate stipends
"Sources briefed on the meeting" tell the Times Union that one of the leaders of the state Senate Democratic conference and staffers were contacted by the Albany County DA's public integrity unit about the Senate stipends that have been paid to Republicans and members of the Independent Democratic Conference. [TU]

Schenectady alleged hit-and-runs
+ Schenectady police say a driver ran over a curb near an elementary school in Mont Pleasant Monday morning, hitting a high school student, and then drove off. SPD said it later arrested the alleged driver at her home. [Daily Gazette]
+ The man accused of a different hit-and-run in Schenectady Monday is facing a felony leaving the scene charge. [Daily Gazette]

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Fatal stabbing in Albany, Troy pools not opening this summer, Saratoga Springs mayor not running for re-election, Oprah at Skidmore

Fatal stabbing in Albany
Albany police said responding officers found a man stabbed on Elk Street in West Hill early Saturday morning -- and he later died of his injuries. APD says it's investigating and asking anyone with info to call. [APD]

Man injured in Schenectady hit and run
Schenectady police say a pedestrian suffered a serious head injury in an alleged hit-and-run crash on State Street near Hulett Street (map) early Monday morning. SPD says it stopped a vehicle that matched a description reported by a witness and the driver has been charged with leaving the scene. [News10] [TU]

Charting the local government jobs of politicians' families
The Times Union continues its survey of the local government jobs held by the family members of local elected officials, specifically in Halfmoon. [TU+ x2]

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

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

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

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

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Mother and child hit by school bus, Senate votes to move up ride sharing, Saratoga citizens battle racist fliers with message of peace, Hollywood visits ALB

Hate crime victim not surprised by youth suspect
The father of five whose garage was burned down in an apparent hate crime earlier his week says he's not surprised a teen has been arrested for the crime, telling the TU "Children don't understand the actions that they take."[TU]

School bus hits mother and child
Police are investigating an incident in Schenectady where a city school bus hit a mother and child on Wednesday afternoon.[Gazette]

Ride sharing 10 days sooner
The NYS Senate has passed legislation that would allow ride sharing in upstate NY by the July 4th weekend. [TU]

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Capital Region school budgets approved, teen arrested in connection with arson/hate crime, Albany parking tickets on the rise again, blind veteran athlete joins NY Veterans Hall of Fame

School budgets
School districts in the Capital Region approved their budgets and capital projects on Tuesday, most by large margins. The Albany Public Library budget was also approved by 76 percent. There were changes on a number of the region's school boards. [TU][TU][APL]

Arrest in alleged hate crime
Police have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with a Schodack fire being investigated as a hate crime. Charges can not officially be designated as a hate crime because of the suspect's age. [TWCN][News 10]

Confession in fatal crash
A Ballston Spa man has admitted that he left the scene of the crash that claimed the life of a pedestrian in Milton back in October.[TU]


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Police investigating Schodack fire as a hate crime, Schenectady teen killed in Thruway crash, Capital Rep looking at potential new theater space

Polls are open today for votes on school district budgets, and in some places, also for members of school boards and library budgets. Don't know where to vote? Check with your school district's website.

Police investigating Schodack fire as a hate crime
Schodack police say a detached garage that appears to have been set on fire Sunday night had been spray painted with a swastika and a racial epithet. And the town's police chief says the incident is being investigated as a hate crime. An African-American family lives in the home -- said the father Monday: "It's not going to force me to move."

Death of man in Schenectady police custody
+ State Police say they're reviewing interviews, along with audio and video, from the recent incident in which Andrew Kearse died while in Schenectady police custody. Mayor Gary McCarthy on Monday: "The initial review seems to be that the officers acted appropriately, and (we're) looking to see what the exact cause of death was." [Daily Gazette] [TU]
+ Sara Foss: "One of the reasons Kearse's death deserves extra scrutiny is because there have been a number of troubling allegations of excessive force on the part of the Schenectady police." [Daily Gazette]

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Questions about death of man in Schenectady police custody, getting ready for ride hailing, GlobalFoundries on a roll, victories that don't necessary show up on the scoreboard

Death of man in Schenectady police custody
A woman identifying as the girlfriend of Andrew Kearse -- the man who died while in Schenectady police custody last week -- said she saw police drag the man out of a police car, and that while he was on the ground and unresponsive, officers were joking that he was faking. And the man's wife, who's from the Bronx, tells News10 she questions how long it took for Kearse to get medical attention. SPD chief Eric Clifford in a statement: "Our agency is cooperating fully with this investigation and has every intention of being transparent to the community regarding all the facts related to this incident. The investigation needs to be completed and reported upon by the NYSP before any further comments can be made." [Spectrum] [News10] [Daily Gazette]

State Senate bonuses
+ An attorney for the state Senate Republican majority released a letter Saturday night pushing back on the allegation the majority had improperly directed bonuses to members of the Independent Democratic Caucus, arguing the dispensing of committee chair stipends was at the discretion of the chamber. A spokesman for the Senate's Democratic conference called the letter an "obvious after-the-fact effort to cover up for an outrageous misuse of taxpayer funds." [TU] [NYT]
+ "Insiders" explain to Ken Lovett why the bonuses came about. [NYDN]

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Man dies in SPD custody, pedstrian struck in Colonie, Jimino not running for re-election, brewery planned for Albany

Man dies in Schenectady police custody
Schenectady police say a man apprehended after a short foot chase following a traffic stop died Thursday afternoon while in police custody. SPD said the man had complained of breathing problems and feeling dizzy while in a police car on the way to a station, became unresponsive, paramedics were called, and he was pronounced dead at Ellis Hospital. SPD says State Police have been called into investigate. [News10] [Spectrum] [TU]

Pedestrian struck in Colonie
Colonie police say driver struck a teen walking her dog along Albany Street Thursday afternoon -- the teen was taken to Albany Med and was in critical but stable condition, the dog died. CPD says the driver immediately stopped and called 911. CPD is investigating and asking any witnesses to call with info. [CPD press release] [News10]

American Health Care Act
+ Kirsten Gillibrand on the all-male group of Senators selected to work on the American Health Care Act: "We have 13 men writing this health care bill right now; I'd like to know what their personal experience is with women's health care." [TU]
+ More than 150 people lined a street in Schoharie Thursday to protest John Faso's recent vote for the American Health Care Act -- Faso was there to speak at the Schoharie County Republican Committee's Lincoln Dinner. [Daily Gazette]

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KKK handbills found on cars in Saratoga, local reps on Comey firing, one step closer to driverless cars on NY roads

Hate speech in Saratoga
Handbills with hate messages seeking recruits for the KKK were left on car windshields in a Saratoga Springs neighborhood this week. Saratoga Springs Police Chief Greg Veitch describes the bills as amateurish, but says he is concerned that the sentiment is present in the community. [Saratogian][Gazette]

Child's death may bring new charges for imprisoned caregiver
The death of a 12-year-old child of complications from injuries sustained as a baby at the hands of a former caregiver, has Schenectady County prosecutors considering whether to bring stronger charges against the convicted assailant, who is currently serving an 18-year prison sentence for the assault. [TU[

Local reps on Comey firing
Representatives John Faso and Elise Stefanik expressed concern about the timing of the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Kirsten Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer and Paul Tonko are among those insisting on the need for a special prosecutor in the investigation of potential Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election.. [TU][Gazette]

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Schumer warned Trump about the timing of Comey firing, husband pleads not-guilty to ax-murder of wife, Schenectady County reinstitutes fireworks ban


Schumer on Comey firing
Chuck Schumer says he warned Donald Trump that firing FBI Director James Comey now was a mistake, and would look like a cover-up. Schumer said he wants to see an independent prosecutor appointed to handle the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. [WNYT]

Alleged ax murder in Hadley
The woman whose body was found in her Hadley home last week, was the victim of an ax murder, and her husband is a suspect. Michael Norton pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife, Sherry Norton. Norton told reporters, "I love my wife. I didn't mean it to happen."[TWCN][Gazette][News 10][TU]

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West found guilty in Lake George boat crash trial, Stefanik faces questions about health care vote, Mazzone empire getting international partner, Smith's Tavern is closing

Lake George boat crash trial
+ The jury found Alexander West guilty on 8 of 12 charges, including second-degree manslaughter, on Monday. He faces as many as 22 years in prison at sentencing. West's attorney says they'll be exploring a possible appeal. [News10] [TU] [Post-Star]
+ After the verdict, jurors said they wanted to take their time during deliberation and had been prepared to deliberate longer if necessary. [Post-Star]
+ Robert Knarr, grandfather of Charlotte McCue: "It's a big win, but I will tell you, every one of us here would trade this victory -- and probably our lives -- to have Charlotte back." [Daily Gazette]

American Health Care Act
Elise Stefanik faced questions about the recent American Health Care Act vote during a TV town hall meeting Monday evening hosted by Mountain Lakes PBS. Stefanik said she voted for the bill because of "reduced coverage and higher deductibles" under the Affordable Care Act. Many of the questions from the crowed were critical of her vote in support of the bill, citing concerns about loss of coverage, pre-existing conditions, and cuts to Medicaid. [Politico NY] [Daily Gazette] [Post-Star]

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Verdict in Crossgates gunfire trial, political fallout from Congressional health care vote, food banks in need as summer approaches

Crossgates gunfire trial
Friday afternoon a jury found Tasheem Maeweather, accused of firing a gun in the incident that prompted a lockdown at Crossgates, guilty of reckless endangerment -- but not guilty of attempted murder, attempted assault, and criminal possession of a weapon. He faces 3.5 to 7 years in prison -- but his attorney says they're planning an appeal. [TU] [Spectrum] [Daily Gazette]

American Health Care Act
+ Looking at the politics -- and potential electoral implications -- of the American Health Care Act in for Republican Congress members in two upstate districts. [Politico NY]
+ John Faso will not be appearing at a "Save our Healthcare Town Hall" in Kingston Monday evening -- but Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democratic Congressman from an adjacent district, will be there. [Daily Freeman]
+ A former aide to Andrew Cuomo -- and current Harvard Law student -- says he's planning a run against Faso next year. [Politico NY]

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Stefanik and Faso address why they voted for AHCA, closing arguments in Lake George boat crash and Crossgates gunfire trials, 1 Monument Square plan takes step forward

American Health Care Act
+ Elise Stefanik and John Faso were both "yes" votes, Paul Tonko a "no" vote. How New York State's House delegation voted. [AOA]
+ Stefanik statement clip: "The American Health Care Act is not perfect, but it is an important step in reforming our broken healthcare system to help families in our district. As this legislation moves to the Senate, I will continue to work to strengthen the support for those with pre-existing conditions." [Stefanik office]
+ Faso statement clip: "The AHCA contains a provision I authored to eliminate the ability of New York State as of 2020 to impose Medicaid costs on county property taxpayers. ... The provision I authored will bring much-needed property tax relief and keep people and jobs in Upstate New York." [Faso office]
+ Tonko statement clip: "I can only hope Republicans come to their senses and stop this disaster in the U.S. Senate. I encourage everyone to keep up the calls, emails, tweets, posts, letters, etc. The fight to protect our care is not over." [Tonko office]
+ More reaction from New York officials. [TU]

Lake George boat crash trial
Thursday featured the closing arguments for both the prosecution and defense. Cheryl Coleman, Alexander West's attorney, tried to create an equivalency between West and the driver of the other boat, Robert Knarr, because he said he'd had wine with dinner that night. Warren County DA Kate Hogan, referencing West's alleged drug and alcohol use throughout that day: "What's good for the goose is good for the gander? Are you kidding me?" [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Crossgates gunfire trial
Thursday included the closing arguments in the trial of Tasheem Maeweather, accused of firing a gun in the incident that prompted a lockdown at Crossgates. Maeweather's attorney, Lee Kindlon, argued the the prosecution lacked evidence: "They want you to be afraid of a young black male walking through the mall." (Here's an overview of the trial.) [Spectrum] [WNYT] [Altamont Enterprise]

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Faso and Stefanik will vote yes on AHCA, West doesn't testify in Lake George boat crash trial, off-duty officer says he saw Crossgates shooting

American Health Care Act
+ John Faso issued a statement Thursday morning saying that he will support vote for the amended American Health Care Act. [John Faso]
+ After initially decline to state her intentions this morning, Elise Stefanik told HuffPost she's also a "yes" vote. [@MEPFuller]
+ Paul Tonko on Twitter: "To be clear: despite what @POTUS & @HouseGOP say, #TrumpCare Does. Not. Protect. Those. With. Pre. Existing. Conditions. #VoteNoAHCA #AHCA" [@Tonko4Congress]
+ Andrew Cuomo trashed the legislation, saying it "is an assault on women and an assault on New York," and calling on New York's Congressional delegation to vote against it. [TU]

Lake George boat crash trial
The defense in the Lake George boat crash trial of Alexander West rested its case on Wednesday, without testimony from West.The defense decided against having West testify because it didn't want to risk having suppressed evidence from blood tests revealed on cross examination. West's father testified for his son, claiming that Alex West reacted with "utter disbelief" when he learned the crash resulted in the death of 8-year-old Charlotte McCue. [Spectrum] [Gazette][TU]

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Witnesses didn't see Crossgates shooting defendant with gun, State Police to patrol Albany neighborhoods, Boy Scouts to close longtime local camp

Crossgates gunfire trial
Seven witnesses, including a mall Santa, testified on Tuesday that they did not see Tasheem Maeweather, the defendant in the Crossgates gunfire trial, with a gun at any point. [WNYT][TU]

State Police to patrol Albany neighborhoods
Andrew Cuomo was at the main branch of the Albany Public Library on Tuesday to announce a plan for State Police officers to patrol some violence plagued Albany neighborhoods in an effort to combat gang activity. [TU][Gazette]

Stefanik and Faso on health care bill
Both Elise Stefanik and John Faso say they are still undecided on the latest proposed Republican effort to replace the Affordable Care Act. [TU]


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Defense expert witness testifies in Lake George boat crash trial, Crossgates gunfire incident trial starts, Lyft angling to pick up passengers at ALB, ghostly child or child-like ghost?

Lake George boat crash trial
Monday included testimony from Eric McCue, the father of Charlotte McCue, as the last prosecution witness, describing how he remembered the crash, seeing the other boat above him: "I noticed it was white, and then I watched it kind of traverse the rest of our boat and ultimately cross it up by where Charlotte and Courtney were sitting." There was also continued testimony from the prosecution's expert witness, and testimony from the defense expert witness, who said on cross examination that Alexander West's boat hit the boat that was carrying the McCues. [Daily Gazette] [Spectrum] [TU]

Crossgates gunfire trial
The trial of Tasheem Maeweather -- accused of firing a gun during the incident that prompted a lockdown of Crossgates -- started Monday with jury selection and discussions of the number and recollections of eyewitnesses. During opening statements, the prosecutor alleged the incident was the result of tension between two rival groups and accused Maeweather of going to the mall to settle a score. Maeweather's attorney told the jury that his client didn't fire a gun and "this case is about perception versus reality." [TU] [News10][ WNYT] [Spectrum]

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Expert witness testifies in Lake George boat crash trial, differences in how restaurants are inspected, Lincoln Park pool to open this summer

Lake George boat crash trial
Friday included testimony from an expert witness for the prosecution who reconstructed the crash. The retired state trooper, who teaches marine law enforcement, testified that it appeared Alexander West's boat had been traveling 22-25 miles per hour just ahead of the crash, and the other boat was traveling 5-8 miles per hour. The defense tried to knock down the credibility of the witness and West's attorneys said they will put their own expert witness on the stand. [Daily Gazette] [News10] [Spectrum]

Crossgates gunfire trial
With the trial set to start Monday, the attorney for the man accused of firing the shots that prompted the evacuation of Crossgates last November says the DA's office offered a plea deal but he and his client aren't interested because the case is weak. [TU]

Restaurant inspections
There appears to be a divergence in how state and county health inspectors assess restaurant violations, according to an analysis by the Times Union. [TU]

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Grandfather gives emotional testimony in Lake George boat crash trial, the push for police to use a "textalyzer," signs of a brewery project in Troy

Lake George boat crash trial
Robert Knarr -- Charlotte McCue's grandfather -- testified Thursday about the night of the crash, sobbing as recounted the events: "We were home, basically, and we were driving comfortably and then I heard a loud 'bang, bang, bang.'" The day also included the playing of video of a police interview with Alexander West in which he asserted he had only had two beers earlier in the day, a contention that's been disputed by testimony from earlier witnesses in the trial. [News10] [Spectrum] [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Textalyzer
Legislators in the state Assembly and Senate are pushing a bill that would allow police to use a device to determine whether a mobile phone was being used during a crash -- without a warrant. Attorneys say use of the device would raise Constitutional and privacy questions. [TU] [News10]

A $2.55 million settlement and a mystery
The family of Slingerlands woman who suffered a serious brain injury at the Loudonville home of a prominent family has settled a lawsuit for $2.55 million -- but they say they still don't know what happened that night in 2011. [TU]

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

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

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

+Sara Foss shares thoughts on the drug and partying subculture behind the Alexander West incident.
[TU][Gazette][Spectrum][Gazette]

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Witnesses testify to cocaine use in Lake George boat crash trial, deliberations underway in bus attack trial, wreck claims life of 18-year-old Coeymans man, state delays Albany budget report again

Lake George boat crash trial
Jurors in the Alexander West trial on Tuesday heard from two women who testified they snorted cocaine on with West in the hours before the fatal boat crash that killed an 8-year-old girl, but it was left unclear how much cocaine West consumed or exactly how much he had to drink before the crash.[TU][Gazette]

UAlbany bus incident trial
Deliberations are underway in the UAlbany bus attack trial. In closing arguments the defense claims his clients, the women who claimed they were attacked, were acting in self defense, and asked the jury to remember the questions of racial bias in the case, while prosecutors say the video in the case shows it is not a question of racial bias, but truth.[Gazette][TU]

18-year-old killed in Albany County wreck
An 18-year-old man Coeymans man was killed and his passenger injured after their car crossed into oncoming traffic and hit a Freightliner tractor on River Road in Bethlehem. [Gazette][TU]

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Defendants testify in UAlbany bus incident trial, emotional testimony in Lake George boat crash trial, giving birth along the Thruway

UAlbany bus incident trial
Ariel Agudio and Asha Burwell took the stand in the trial Monday and continued to stick with their version of events during the incident. And the connotation of the word "ratchet" continued to be at issue, with Agudio asserting it had a racist tone as used: "In that situation, I feel like she only said it because we were black." And Burwell said she heard someone use the "n" word. [TU] [Spectrum] [WNYT]

Lake George boat crash trial
Courtney McCue -- the mother of Charlotte McCue, the 8-year-old who died in the crash -- testified Monday and broke down while answering questions about that night: "I looked to my left and Charlotte wasn't moving. She wasn't responding. She was really hurt." McCue also detailed the serious injuries she sustained, including a fractured spine. And when she was shown a picture of her injured leg: "That's where my daughter's head was when it was crushed." [Daily Gazette] [WNYT] [TU] [Spectrum] [Post-Star]

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Reviewing allegations of police brutality in Schenectady, retail crunch ripples hit local municipal budgets, legislature looking at allowing booze at movie theaters

Schenectady police
Brendan Lyons reviews recent allegations of police brutality in Schenectady: "Interviews with people involved in violent encounters with Schenectady police, and a review of videos and court records, raise questions about whether the department began slipping back to its old ways in recent years." [TU]

Fatal Schenectady fire
The Schenectady Fire Department says one person died in a fire on Green Street overnight (map). Four others were able to escape. SFD is investigating the cause. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [News10]

UAlbany bus incident trial
Friday included testimony from two alleged victims in the bus incident, along with 11 other students who had been on the bus that night. [Spectrum] [TU]

Lake George boat crash trial
+ Friday included testimony from eight witnesses, including an off-duty detective who said he watched and heard the scene when Alexander West's boat docked following the crash. [Daily Gazette]
+ Robert Gavin considers the testimony of Cara Mia Canale -- "straight out of central casting -- from a 'Cheech & Chong' movie" -- and whether it helped or hurt the prosecution. [TU]

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UAlbany bus incident trial focuses on the word "ratchet," remembering Sol Greenberg, AG says local architect wasn't actually an architect, a decade of the Veggie Mobile

UAlbany bus incident trial
+ A main topic of questioning and witness testimony at the trial Thursday: whether anyone heard racial slurs used on the bus, and what their understanding of the connotations of the term "ratchet" were. [TU] [Spectrum]
+ Among the witnesses called was a UAlbany police detective, who was asked by Aasha Burwell's attorney whether it was his job to "track down any aspect of the case to see if there was a racial component" and responded: "I don't know if it was my job. My job was to find the truth of what happened." [WNYT]

Lake George boat crash trial
Cara Mia Canale, a passenger in Alexander West's boat, testified for the prosecution Thursday that she witnessed West drinking and taking drugs throughout the day of the crash -- and that she had also taken drugs. And of the crash itself: "We hit something extremely hard...I remember kind of going airborne almost and coming down in the water." West's attorney challenged Canale on cross examination, asking her if she was on drugs at the moment -- Canale said no -- and questioning why she had changed her initial story from the day. [TU] [News10] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette] [Spectrum]

Sol Greenberg
Remember Sol Greenberg, the longtime Albany County DA who died this week at age 95. [TU]

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Witnesses testify in UAlbany bus incident, testimony begins in Lake George boat crash trial, Anderson announces mayoral bid, letters from 1940s Albany

UAlbany bus trial
Jurors saw video of the UAlbany bus incident on Wednesday and heard from some of the people who recorded video of the altercation on their phones. Witnesses who testified said they could not tell if the fight was racially motivated. One juror had to be replaced by an alternate after he fell asleep twice during testimony, was an hour late to court on Wednesday, and two deputies had to bring him to the courthouse. [TU][TWCN][WNYT]

Lake George boat trial
Jurors in the trial of Alexander West on Wednesday heard the 911 tape from the night of the boat crash that killed 8-year-old Charlotte McCue in July of last year. They also heard testimony from McCue's step-grandmother in the case. In her opening statements, Warren County DA Kate Hogan said West drank throughout the day and snorted cocaine prior to the crash. [TU][Gazette][TWCN]


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Opening arguments in UAlbany bus trial, jury in place for Lake George Boating trial,Emma Willard report on sexual abuse over 70 years

UAlbany bus trial
+Opening statements got underway on Tuesday in the trial of two women charged with falsely reporting an attack on a CDTA bus last year. The defense stated that racial bias was a part of the case, prosecutors told jurors" "You're not here to solve all the racial woes of society; your job is to decide this case based on the facts and the indictment."[TWCN][Gazette]

+Chris Churchill looks at jury selection and the question of race in the trial.

Lake George Boating trial
The trial of Alexander West, charged in the boating crash that claimed the life of an 8-year-old girl on Lake George last summer, gets underway today. [TU][Gazette]

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Jury selection in UAlbany bus incident trial, TSA: pilot had gun in his bag at ALB, step forward for First Prize Center redev plan, Rue has been re-homed

UAlbany bus incident trial
+ Jury selection in the trial of the two women charged in last year's Albany bus incident took most of Monday. [WNYT]
+ Before jury selection, attorneys for the women argued that the intense public attention on the case had tainted the jury pool and asked for a change of venue -- a request denied by the judge. [TU]
+ The Albany County DA's office said four charges against one of the women were dropped because a witness was not available to testify. [News10]
+ Chris Churchill: "It won't be an easy or pleasant trial." [TU+]

Lake George boat crash trial
The first day of the trial in last summer's fatal Lake George boat crash focused on jury selection, with attorneys asking potential juries about how they view accidents. Many of the potential jurors said they didn't think they could objective about the case. [Daily Gazette] [Post-Star] [TU]

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A look at a year of gun violence in Albany, Cuomo pushes back on free tuition plan criticism, a shortage of "starter" homes

Gun violence in Albany
The Times Union included an extensive look at the past year of gun violence in the city of Albany by Emily Masters:
+ There were 63 incidents of gunfire in the city in 2016 -- injuring 28 people and killing one -- and many of them were in West Hill. [TU]
+ The details of some of the those incidents. [TU]
+ A profile of Albany Cure Violence, the org trying to disrupt the pattern of gun violence in the city. [TU]

Halfmoon standoff
State Police used tear gas to end a standoff with a man in Halfmoon Monday morning. The standoff started Sunday, and police say one shot was fired at them and multiple shots were fired inside the home. [TU] [News10]

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Health care big topic for Faso TV town hall, body found on tracks in Rensselaer, Schenectady County considers rolling back allowed fireworks

Faso TV town hall
+ A big topic during John Faso's TV town hall event on WMHT Thursday evening: health care, and his support of the effort to replace the Affordable Care Act -- "My approach with the ACA is keep what works and fix what doesn't." [NYSNYS/Daily Freeman] [TU]
+ The studio audience for the event was about 80 people, and a crowd of about 100 people gathered outside to protest. [News10]
+ Paul Tonko has a town hall-style event scheduled for next Thursday at Skidmore. [Daily Gazette]

School budgets
+ Because of an unusually large increase in state aid, the Albany school district is proposing a budget that adds multiple new programs -- but doesn't include a tax increase. [TU]
+ The Troy school district got less in state aid than officials were hoping, and its superintendent said the result was a "tough" budget. [Troy Record]

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AG seizes Abelove's email, teen pleads not-guilty in Blessings Tavern crash, hundreds of pounds of bricks fall from Western Ave building, Cuomo signs free tuition legislation

Suspect in fatal Albany shooting may have City Hall connection
The Times Union is reporting that the nephew of Albany City Councilman Mark Robinson is a suspect in the shooting that killed the brother of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan's adopted son earlier this week. The paper cites "law enforcement sources" indicating an investigation into a potential retaliation scenario involving an early incident of gunfire. [TU]

Albany homicides
The murder of Christopher Hardy is Albany's fifth homicide since Thanksgiving. [TWCN]

AG's office seizes Abelove's email
The NYS Attorney General's office has seized the email of Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove as part of an investigation into Abelove's handling of Edson Thevenin by a Troy police officer.[TU]

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Albany homicide victim connected to mayor, Chief Justice John Roberts visits RPI, Shen board asked to turn over land, Tuesday heat a Capital Region record


Albany homicide victim had a family connection to mayor
The 27-year-old father shot to death in West Hill on Saturday was the biological brother of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan's adopted son. "It's a call that I never thought I would ever get," said Sheehan. [WNYT][TU]

College tuition
The new plan for tuition-free state college tuition for qualifying New York State students would affect traditional students coming directly from high school who finish school on time -- something New York State students seem to be doing less frequently. [NYT]

Ethics
The New York Times on the state ethics legislation that didn't pass again this year. [NYT]

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Free-tuition plan includes in-state live/work requirement, reviewing first year of Albany's LEAD program, celebrity rooster unconcerned by your schedule

State budget
Bits and reaction as people pick through the state budget...

+ On Monday Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation that raises the state's age of criminal responsibility for many crimes. [Spectrum]

+ Cuomo on the provision of the plan for free tuition at SUNY and CUNY schools -- the Excelsior Scholarship -- that requires recipients to live and work in New York State for the number of years they receive the scholarship: "Why should New Yorkers pay for your college education, and then you pick up and move to California?" [TU+]

+ A look how the school aid totals shook out for Capital Region school districts -- the Schenectady and Albany school districts got relatively large increases. Though, as Schenectady superintendent Larry Spring pointed out, the district still isn't getting the total it's marked for under the "Foundation Aid" formula. [TU] [Spectrum]

+ The new budget again includes a big barrel of pork that's distributed with little transparency. [TU+]

+ Business leaders seem relatively happy with many aspects of the budget glob of legislation, including ride hailing expansion and the re-privatization of NYRA. [Daily Gazette] [WNYT]

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There's a state budget, ride hailing expansion part of budget deal, Nicholaus Building demolished, teen swept through sewer

State budget
There's now a $153 billion state budget -- about a week late -- after a deal announced Friday night on a bunch of different issues and rolled into a big package of legislation voted on this past weekend. Among those issues... [NYT] [TU]

Age of criminal responsibility
There's now a plan raise the state's age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 for many crimes, though advocates for the change say the plan is a half step. [Politico NY x2]

Free SUNY and CUNY tuition
There's a schedule to phase in free SUNY and CUNY tuition for students from families with incomes less than $125,000 a year. (The state's private colleges have been, and continue to be, critical of the plan.) [AP/Troy Record] [News10]

Ride hailing
There's a measure that allows services such as Uber and Lyft to start operating across the state later this year. [Daily Gazette]

School aid
The budget includes a billion dollar increase in aid for school districts -- Schenectady is getting another $15 million, and its superintendent is talking about a tax cut. [NYS DOB] [Daily Gazette]

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State budget process inches ahead, larger budget surplus for Troy, Sheehan touts record ahead of formal announcement that's she's running again

State budget past deadline
The march toward a state budget continues a step or two at a time, though maybe not always forward...
+ The state Senate has gone home for the moment, but the state Assembly will be in session Friday "a long day" to take up more budget bills. [Politico NY]
+ Are leaders closer to a deal on the issues that are holding up the overall process? Maybe, who knows. [State of Politics]
+ One of the things still not nailed down is state aid for school districts, and the uncertainty is causing problems as local officials try to get district budgets set. [TU]

Troy budget
The projected general fund surplus for the city of Troy is $2.6 million, according to a report from the Madden admin, "derived from one-time unanticipated revenues, aggressive approach to revenue collection, non-recurring budgetary savings in expenditures, and tight spending controls." That's more than double the 2015 surplus. Patrick Madden: "I anticipate that there are going to be those who say, 'Well, great news, but why did you need a tax increase for 2017?' and there are going to be others who say, 'Excellent news. Now, we can fix the pools,' but I want to be careful. The factors that led to a surplus in 2016 are unique to 2016." [Madden admin] [TU] [Troy Record]

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Budget negotiations slow as Senate leaves for break, fate of Schenectady's Nicolaus Building in legal limbo, Plug Power inks $600 M deal with Amazon

Budget
Budget progress made on Tuesday night slowed on Wednesday. Andrew Cuomo said there were three main sticking points on the NYS budget : affordable housing, charter schools and a deal to raise the age of criminal responsibility. Cuomo, who has pushed for on-time budgets in the past, says he is alright with delaying the budget until after the legislature's break -- which is scheduled to begin today-- because the state could use more time to get a sense of cuts that could be coming to New York from the federal government . He also reiterated an anticipated need for mid year budget adjustments in 2018. Senate has left for the break with a promise to return only for a complete budget agreement, but Assembly is expected to continue to work on Thursday. Lawmakers won't get paid until the budget is passed. [TU][NYT][CapCon][Politico][Spectrum][News 10][WNYT]

Flooding
The Capital Region is preparing for minor flooding stemming from rain this week and snow melt. [TU]

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NY budget could happen this week -- or not, state spending plan includes $12.5 M for Albany, Shen voters reject proposed land sale, Sotomayor speaks at Sage and UAlbany

Budget agreement on the horizon
+ An agreement on raising the age of criminal responsibility ended a legislative deadlock over the state budget. Following the agreement, a half dozen bills were passed on Tuesday night and it's possible that a full spending plan could be passed by the end of the week. Earlier this week, legislators approved a budget extension measure -- and Andrew Cuomo says waiting until after the Easter break is fine, but Carl Heastie says he wants a spending plan passed before the break. [NYT][TWCN][WNYT][Politico][TU]

+ One of the bills introduced on Tuesday includes $12.5 million in aid for Albany -- and the money is not a "spin-up" payment on the Empire State PILOT. [TU]

Clifton Park land sale rejected by voters
Shen school district voters overwhelmingly rejected the district proposal pto sell 32 undeveloped acres of land to BBL Construction. Tuesday's final vote count was 5,442 to 2,323 against selling the land. [Gazette][Saratogian]

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Legislature passes budget extenders, Sonia Sotomayor visits, concerns voiced about Rezone Albany, it's Free Cone Day

State budget past deadline
With the state now past its deadline for a new budget...
+ The state Senate and Assembly approved budget extender legislation Monday that will fund the government through the end of May. (And state employees will be paid this week.) [TU x2]
+ Though the government will keep running, the lack of a new budget creates significant uncertainty about aid for local school districts as they head toward budget votes later this spring. Also left hanging: The city of Albany and its push for $12.5 million in additional aid. [TU] [News10]
+ Legislators aren't happy about the situation -- and there's a lot finger pointing, especially at Andrew Cuomo. [Politico NY] [TU] [Spectrum]
+ The hang-up for the budget continues to be a handful of proposals that are not necessarily budget related, such as the push to raise the criminal age of responsibility. [NYT]
+ The budget extenders include almost $1.8 billion for Cuomo admin economic development projects. [Politico NY]

Sonia Sotoymayor
Sonia Sotomayor's visit to the Capital Region this week included a talk with Albany Law students Monday evening. She'll be at Sage Tuesday morning, and then at UAlbany Tuesday evening for an event open to the public. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

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State budget past deadline, middle school space crunch in Albany, local history in mural form

State budget past deadline
The deadline for an on-time state budget was the end of Friday -- but as of Monday morning, there was no budget:
+ Andrew Cuomo is proposing a resolution that would extend the current budget through May and keep the government running -- though state legislators would not be paid while its in effect. The legislature can approve the extender in full or reject it outright, there's no in between. [State of Politics] [Politico NY]
+ The budget process is apparently hung up on outside issues that have been folded into the budget, notably the proposal to raise the criminal age of responsibility. [NYT]

Albany shootings
Albany police say they're investigating two shootings over the weekend -- the shooting of a 61-year-old man in the South End Saturday evening (map), and the shooting of a 29-year-old man Sunday afternoon in Pine Hills (block map). APD said Sunday it didn't know if the two shootings were related. [APD x2]

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State budget deadline day, 30 days for strangulation death, debate over Saratoga Springs class, concerns about RPI's hockey program

State budget deadline
+ The state budget is due by the end of Friday, but it looks like it won't be done and the process is headed into into stoppage time this weekend. [TU] [State of Politics]
+ Among them major issues tangled in the budget process: The push to raise the state's criminal age of responsibility from 16 to 18. A done deal? Maybe -- maybe not. [State of Politics] [TU]
+ Another issue tacked onto the budget process: Legislation to allow companies such as Uber and Lyft to operated statewide. Is it going to happen? Probably, maybe. [Politico NY]

Sentencing in strangulation death
The Wilton man who pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the strangulation death of neighborhood during a disagreement over loud music has been sentenced to 30 days in jail, five years probation, and restitution of more than $8k. The DA's office pointed to extenuating circumstances, including a heart condition, that contributed to the man's death. The victim's wife: "That was a sentence for a jaywalker." [News10] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian] [TU]

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Ride sharing and college tuition still on the table as budget deadline looms, underground fire closes part of State Street near Proctors, Tony Soprano and the plan to memorize Pi

State budget
New York's budget is due Friday at midnight and legislators continue negotiations. Major issues still on the table include making college more accessible and expanding taxi ride-sharing upstate and raising the age of criminal responsibility. [TWCN][Politico][WNYT]

Schenectady underground fire
An underground explosion and fire has closed a portion of State Street in front of Proctors in Schenectady. [TU][Gazette]

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Cuomo rating up in new Q Poll, federal cuts may affect NY budget plan, fewer local opt outs on state exams, fixing up FDR's Packard

Q Poll shows hike in Cuomo's approval
The latest Quinnapiac poll shows Andrew Cuomo's approval rating at a two year high of 52%, while Donald Trump's rating is at 29 percent. [Politico]

State budget
New York's budget deadline is three days away and Andrew Cuomo says deals are close on policy items like expanding ride sharing outside NYC and raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York. but Cuomo is concerned about the impact federal funding cuts could have on the state budget. Cuomo also said on Tuesday that he won't sign a budget without a wage hike for workers who care for workers who care for people with developmental disabilities. [TU][NYT][News10]

Albany budget
While New York State is concerned about the impact of the federal budget on New York's spending plan, Kathy Sheehan is concerned with getting $12.5 million from the state to balance Albany's budget.Sheehan is also concerned about the impact of Albany's sanctuary city designation and what that could mean for federal funding to the city, since earlier this week Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to pull funding for sanctuary cities -- but Sheehan reaffirmed that Albany will remain a sanctuary city. [TWCN][WNYT]

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Extension for the state budget?, push for recorded interrogations, question incentives to keep jobs upstate, shooting in Albany, three minutes of alpaca

State budget
The state budget is due by the end of Friday -- but Andrew Cuomo is talking about the possibility of an "extender budget" that would continue the state's current budget, citing concerns about uncertainty in how funding for the state will shake out in the federal budget. (Is this just a negotiating tactic on the part of the governor? Maybe!) [TU] [Politico NY] [State of Politics]

Recorded interrogations
Advocates were at the Capitol Monday pushing for a requirement that all police interrogations in violent felony cases be recorded on video. And Adrian Thomas, who was eventually acquitted of killing his infant son in Troy in 2008 in a case that included a recorded confession that he says was coerced by police, was there to lend his support to the proposal. A bill passed by the state Senate and backed Andrew Cuomo would expand recorded interrogations, but advocates say it doesn't go far enough and wouldn't have required video in the case of Thomas. [Spectrum] [NYSNYS/Troy Record] [News10] [TU]

Peter Young
Peter Young Housing Industries and Treatment is asking a court to stop the state from cutting off the funding for its programs in the Capital Region, and accuses a state official of "egregious bureaucratic bullying." [TU]

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Questioning the billions spent on upstate economic development, final stretch for state budget, point of contention for ride sharing, Union hockey crashes out of NCAA tournament

Jobs, jobs, jobs?
Job growth upstate has lagged the national average during Andrew Cuomo's administration. And a review by by a coalition of investigative reporting orgs of the billions spent by the state on economic development iniatitives concludes "the state's substantial investment in the upstate economy has not generated many jobs." [Investigative Post/TU x2]

American Health Care Act
Local Congressional rep reaction to the Republican health care bill crashing:
+ Democrat Paul Tonko, who had opposed the plan: "It's about life and death choices. Rather than victory laps here, we need to acknowledge that voices, email, social media across span of weeks is what saved health care for 24 million Americans." [TU]
+ Republican John Faso, who had supported the plan and been a backer of New York-only provision to shift Medicaid costs from counties to the state (the subject of much criticism from Andrew Cuomo), called for the two major parties to work together on health care "in an incremental way where we can find bipartisan consensus because it's clear we can't rely just on Republican votes to pass these reforms." [WNYT]
+ Republican Elise Stefanik, who didn't publicly state how she would vote on the plan, in a released statement: "I am committed to achieving a 21st century healthcare system and will continue to work to replace Obamacare with reforms that lower costs, increase access and improve quality for hard working North Country families." [Stefanik office]

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Stefanik undecided on health care vote, crunch time for Albany state aid, ShopRite considering Clifton Park

American Health Care Act
+ A spokesman for Elise Stefanik said Thursday evening she's still undecided about how to vote on the American Health Care Act and was waiting to review the final text of the legislation. Earlier Thursday about a hundred people held a "die in" outside Stefanik's office in Glens Falls, urging her to vote no. [Post-Star] [News10]
+ Andrew Cuomo argued Thursday that a provision in the American Health Care Act that would shift Medicaid costs from New York counties outside NYC to the state -- and only do so in New York State -- is unconstitutional and said the state is considering a lawsuit if the provision becomes law. [TU]

Fatal Troy shooting
Troy police say the man shot Thursday morning near Prospect Park has died. TPD says it's looking for two men and the shooting does not appear to be random. [TWCN] [Troy Record] [News10]

State funding for Albany
With the state budget deadline approaching, Albany city officials say they're cautiously optimistic the city will get the additional $12.5 million in state aid on which the current city budget relies -- but are preparing for cuts if the money doesn't come through. [TU]

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Abelove files civil suit over Cuomo order, Capital Region population rank drops, unattended cooking oil blamed for Colonie fire, Siena students create arm for 7-year-old Ugandan girl

Abelove
Less than a week after Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office seized the cellphone of Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove in an investigation into the death of a civilian in a confrontation with police, has filed a civil complaint in state Supreme Court seeking to overturn Andrew Cuomo's order giving the NYS attorney general authority to supersede local DAs in such cases. [TU]

Capital Region population
Fixed According to newly released U.S. Census data, Capital Region population rank relative to other metros slipped a few places. [TU]

NY Dems lobby against ACA repealing replace
Top state officials are doing some last minute lobbying to try to influence House Republicans from NY to vote against the measure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. [Gazette][TU]

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Faso/Collins ACA amendment causes uproar, Colonie apartment fire displaces 100, Child hit by school bus in Troy, PFOA troubled Hoosick Falls elects new mayor


Faso/Collins ACA amendment causes state concerns
An amendment to ACA legislation proposed by Congressmen John Faso and Chris Collins, that would only affect New York State, would relive counties outside of New York City of responsibility for Medicaid, shifting their portion of payment to the state. The plan, which also calls for a property tax cut, has angered Andrew Cuomo, and caused mixed reaction in both parties. [WNYT][Spectrum][Buffalo News][NYT]

Colonie apartment fire
Three people were hospitalized, one is seriously injured, and about 100 were left homeless after fire broke out in a kitchen of a Colonie apartment building. [Gazette][TU][News 10]

Child hit by school bus
A 6-year-old boy was hit by a school bus in Troy early Wednesday morning. The Child was sent to the hospital with lacerations and non life threatening injuries. [News 10][TU]

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Police say man painted swastikas on his own house, New York-specific provision for Republican health care plan, prospects not good for Empire State Trail funding

Swastika graffiti
Remember that story from February in which a Schenectady man said he went outside and found that someone had spray painted swastikas on his home? Schenectady police say they now believe the man did it himself and he's been arrested on misdemeanor falsely reporting an incident charge. He's also been ticketed for harassment for allegedly threatening a person in February. [Daily Gazette February 2017] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Troy police officer charged with DWI
The off-duty Troy police officer accused of crashing into a Colonie police vehicle while driving drunk has pleaded not guilty. His attorney says he's been suspended from his job, which TPD didn't confirm Monday evening. [News10] [TU]

American Health Care Act
The Republican leadership of the House of Representatives has inserted a special New York-only provision into their chamber's version of the American Health Care Act in attempt to sway Republican House members from the state -- it would shift Medicaid costs from non-NYC counties to the state, a move that's been sought by many county officials around the state. Both John Faso and Elise Stefanik say they support the provision. [NYT] [The Hill] [HuffPo] [TU]

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Fatal crash following chase, Tonko not a fan of health care bill, back-and-forth continues over Peter Young programs, 50 episodes about Steven Raucci?

Fatal crash after chase
State Police say one man died -- and two State Troopers were injured -- during an episode Saturday night in which the man led police on a high-speed chase from Schoharie County to Rotterdam, where he crashed his vehicle into dump truck hauling snow. State Police say the man had indicated in a call to his girlfriend that he intended to kill himself by crashing into something. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Police conduct
+ Brendan Lyons reports that a Schenectady police lieutenant was suspended following an incident "in which a woman's head was split open when she was picked up and slammed down onto a station bench by two officers, and then charged with a crime that portrayed her as the aggressor." He reports there's video of the incident. [TU]
+ An off-duty Troy police officer was charged with DWI following a crash into a Colonie police vehicle early Saturday morning in Colonie. Troy police say the officer has been "relieved of his duties" pending an investigation. [TU] [News10] [Troy Record]
+ An association that represents district attorneys statewide has decided to not file a brief in support of Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove's challenge of the Cuomo executive order giving the state Attorney General authority to review cases in which unarmed civilians die during interactions with police. (Investigators with the state AG's office recently seized a county-owned phone used by Abelove as part of their investigation into Abelove's handling of the grand jury review of the death of Edson Thevenin in Troy.) [TU]

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Snow clearing continues, Rensselaer County DA's phone seized, New York pushback against proposed Trump budget, floating tiki bars

Snow clearing
Snow emergencies continue to be in effect in Albany and Troy.
+ In Troy, some residents they've been confused by the rules for the snow emergency. (Troy rarely declares snow emergencies.) And crews say they've been slowed by cars that haven't been moved. [WNYT] [Spectrum]
+ In Schenectady on Thursday, residents of Hamilton Hill were calling attention to streets that were still unplowed. Mayor Gary McCarthy said crews had been slowed by cars that were not observing parking rules. [News10] [WNYT]
+ Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan says crews have moved 25,000 cubic yards of snow to the city's snow dock in Glenmont. (By some back-of-the-envelope math, that's roughly equivalent to a football field piled almost 12 feet high.) [CBS6]

Rensselaer County DA's phone seized
On Thursday investigators from the state Attorney General's office seized a county-owned mobile used by Rensselaer County district attorney Joel Abelove as part of its ongoing investigation into the DA's handling of the grand jury review of the incident in which Troy police fatally shot Edson Thevenin. The judge who signed the search warrant for the phone was state Supreme Court Justice Richard McNally -- the former Rensselaer County DA against whom Abelove had run in a previous election -- a situation Abelove's attorney called "very disconcerting." Abelove's attorney also accused the state AG's office of pursuing the case for political reasons, "that it would polish [Eric Schneiderman's] credentials for higher office." [Troy Record] [TU] [Spectrum]

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Snow emergencies in effect, police search for suspect in Schenectady shooting, cows rescued in barn collapse, RID founder dies at 90

Snow
+Snow emergencies are in effect around the Capital Region as efforts to clear streets after Tuesday's blizzard continue. In Albany cars need to be on the even side of the street until 8pm on Thursday, then they switch to the odd side. Tow trucks are out in the city to remove cars that do not comply. [TWCN][News 10]

+Troy has even instituted a rare snow emergency. [TWCN]

+Snow removal efforts will delay garbage pickup in Schenectady until Saturday. [Gazette]

+Snow days are starting to add up for some districts in the Capital Region. [Gazette]

Schenectady shooting
Schenectady police are seeking a suspect in the shooting of a city man in a busy area of State Street at 2pm on Wednesday. Police say the shooting took place near 787 State street. The victim was taken to Albany Medical Center. [TWCN][Gazette][TU]

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Capital Region digs out after blizzard, snow emergencies announced, PFOA found in Cambridge, Cuomo on Bharara firing -"I haven't followed it"

Snow
+ The Capital Region continues to dig out after Tuesday's blizzard. As much as two feet of snow fell on parts of the region. Schools, malls, New York State offices and pretty much everything else closed on Tuesday. Tractor trailers were banned from I-87 and other area highways. All flights were canceled out of Albany Airport. Today airline service is starting to return, and Amtrak is working to get trains running again, but it's best to check the status of flights and trains before heading to your destination. [TU][WNYT][News10][TWCN]

+ Snow emergencies are in effect in communities around the region while crews attempt to clear the roadways. Albany's snow emergency goes into effect at 8 pm Wednesday. [WNYT][

+Schenectady used GPS to help them clear the streets more effectively on Tuesday. Gazette]

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Blizzard warning issued, projecting Preet Bharara probabilities, expansion of Albany County styrofoam ban voted down

Blizzard
+ The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the area through Wednesday morning: "Extremely dangerous travel conditions due to snow covered roads, white-out conditions along with blowing and drifting snow." [NWS Albany]
+ Snow totals are now forecasted to be in the range of two feet. [NWS Albany]
+ The governor has declared a state of emergency in all counties and directed non-essential state employees in affected areas to stay home. [Cuomo admin]
+ Many local offices, businesses, and other places are closed today. If you're wondering if it's closed, the answer is probably yes.
+ CDTA says that, for now, it's running on its regular schedule today. (Though there are sure to be delays.) But keep checking for updates if you plan on riding. [CDTA]
+ The city of Albany has issued a snow emergency starting Wednesday at 8 pm with EVEN side parking. [City of Albany]

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Preet Bharara is out as US Attorney, early look at casino revenue, Albany school district considers Muslim holidays, Troy as a software spot

Preet Bharara is out
+ On Friday The Trump administration asked for the resignations of the 46 US Attorneys that were holdovers from the Obama administration -- including Preet Bharara, whose office prosecuted Sheldon Silver, Dean Skelos, and as an active case against associates of Andrew Cuomo. And as the high-profile prosecutor declared on Twitter Saturday: "I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired." Bharara's ouster is a bit of a surprise because it appeared he would be staying on after a meeting with Donald Trump late year.
+ Why the change? Speculation includes that Bharara's ouster was a Trump shot at Chuck Schumer (Bharara once worked for Schumer). A group of ethics advocacy orgs had also recently asked Bharara to investigate where Donald Trump was in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which was noted by the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. [Politico NY] [NPR] [ABC News]
+ Because New York and politics: "Preet Bharara is out of a job. Will he run for another?" [Politico NY]
+ Among the other US Attorney's let go: Richard Hartunian, whose district included the Capital Region. [TU]

Charge in fatal Washington Park incident
Albany police say the man accused of hitting Rajine Martinez with his SUV in Washington Park and then taking off has been charged with leaving the scene for the February incident. Martinez, who police have said had already been lying in the roadway, later died at the hospital. [APD FB] [TU February 13]

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Forty years in prison for role in killing of Lansingburgh couple, Schneiderman to join challenge to Trump immigration order, Megyn Kelly at Albany Law

Sentencing in death of Lansingburgh couple
Daniel Reuter -- who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the killings of Allen and Maria Lockrow in Lansingburgh in 2014 -- was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday. As part of Reuter's plea deal, he testified against co-defendant Jacob Heimroth, who's serving 50 years to life after being convicted of second-degree murder. Said Allan Lockrow's brother afterward of the crime and extended case: "No family should have to go through this. This was brutal." [Troy Record] [TU] [TWCN]

Charges upgraded against Schenectady man accused of setting his wife on fire
The charges against Antonio Bargallo -- the Schenectady man accused of setting his wife on fire in their home Saturday -- have been upgraded to include a second-degree murder charge. [TU]

Police looking for adult who slapped child
Rotterdam police released a video Thursday of an adult forcefully slapping a 13-year-old boy inside a gas station, and they're looking for help in identifying the man. Rotterdam Police lieutenant Jeff Collins, to TWCN: "For a person to take out their frustration by striking a juvenile is completely unacceptable." [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN]

Commisso Jr officially declares for Albany mayor
Common Council member Frank Commisso Jr. formally announced Thursday that he's running for mayor of Albany. [TU]

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Hochul: proposed health care plan would have "devastating consequences," body of Johnstown man found in suitcase in Arkansas, EBA theater building sells at auction

Hochul on health care
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said Wednesday that the new Republican health care plan would have "devastating consequences" for New Yorkers, particularly low-income residents. [TU]

Johnstown man's body found in suitcase in Arkansas
A elderly Johnstown man's body has been found in a suitcase in an Alabama field. An investigation is underway, but police believe the man died in Johnstown and the body was driven to Arkansas by people he knew. [Gazette][TWCN][TU]

Marquis Dixon
Marquis Dixon, the teen charged with stealing a pair of sneakers whose sentence was reduced when his case became the center of a high profile effort to gain him youthful offender status, is back in jail after two parole violations. Chris Churchill spoke with Dixon's mother, who says the violations were curfew violations.[TU][TU]

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Capital Region representatives react to Republican health care plan, Troy building to be demolished after fire, Trump immigration polices could affect local tourism and racing industries

Health care
Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Paul Tonko came out in opposition to the health care overhaul plan released by Congressional Republican leadership and the Trump administration Tuesday. Republicans John Faso and Elise Stefanik appeared optimistic but say they are still looking at the plan. [TU][Gazette]

Abelove challenging Cuomo
Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove is asking the state district attorneys association to back him in fighting Andrew Cuomo's order allowing the NYS Attorney General to intervene in cases involving fatal encounters between police officers and unarmed civilians. [TU]

4th Street building coming down
A section of 4th Street in Troy will be closed today as crews tear down a building that was destroyed by fire on Tuesday. [Record]

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Charges likely to be upgraded against man accused of setting wife on fire, Albany council approves Palace transfer plan, more Troy political drama

Charges likely to be upgraded for Schenectady man accused of setting his wife on fire
Antonio Bargallo -- the Schenectady man accused of setting his wife on fire in their home Saturday -- is being held without bail and is likely to face upgraded charges later this week (he's currently facing charges that include attempted murder). Said a neighbor of Elizabeth Gonzalez, who died of her injuries Sunday, to the Gazette: "She was a beautiful woman." And one of Gonzalez's sons of the situation, to News10: "That man took everything from me and my little brother that man took a lot. No matter how I want to turn it off, he's still my father." [TU] [Daily Gazette] [News10]

Palace transfer plan approved
The Albany Common Council voted 12-3 in favor of a proposal to transfer ownership of the Palace Theater to the non-profit org that runs for the venue for $750,000 paid to the city over 30 years -- the proposal also calls for a community benefits plan to be included in the deal. (The Palace is planning a large renovation and expansion, and the org says it needs to have ownership of the building to move forward.) [TU]

March madness
+ The Siena men's basketball team narrowly missed out on a trip to the NCAA tournament, losing to Iona 87-86 in overtime in the MAAC tournament final at the TU Center Monday night. [TU]
+ The UAlbany men's team advanced to the final of the America East tournament with 63-56 win at Stony Brook Monday night. The Great Danes will face Vermont in Burlington Saturday morning with a spot in the NCAA tournament on the line. [UAlbany]

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Schenectady woman dies after being set on fire, 16 agencies respond to bowling alley fight, remembering John Hedley

Police: Woman set on fire
Schenectady police say a woman died after being set on fire in her Eastern Ave neighborhood apartment Saturday. Her husband is accused of pouring gasoline on her and their home and setting her on fire -- he's facing an attempted murder charge that's set to be upgraded. Said a neighbor to the TU who had run outside to smother the fire on the woman with a blanket: "My heart is broken. I really tried to save her -- I really did." [Daily Gazette] [TWCN] [WNYT] [TU]

Rape kit testing backlog
The Schenectady police department had a backlog of 75 untested rape kits during a recent review by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services -- the fourth highest total in the state. [TU+]

Schenectady code enforcement
Sara Foss reviews the many questions about the city of Schenectady's code enforcement following the charges against a building inspector related to the fatal Jay Street fire: "Frankly, I have a hard time believing that the conditions that existed at 104 Jay Street -- and the failure to fix them or order them fixed -- are unique." [Daily Gazette]

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Focus on Schenectady code enforcement following Jay Street fire charges, Schumer and Gillibrand call for Sessions to resign, what are those tall poles in Troy for?

Jay Street fire
Said Schenectady County DA Robert Carney Thursday of Schenectady code enforcement officer Kenneth Tyree, who had been arraigned earlier in the day on charges including second-degree manslaughter in the 2015 Jay Street fire that caused the deaths of four people: "He just didn't do his job." The prosecution alleges that building manager Jason Sacks -- who was also charged with second-degree murder Thursday -- had allowed the fire alarm and smoke detection system at 104 Jay St. to be inoperable for five weeks leading up to the fire, and Tyree didn't flag the problem and make the necessary warnings. (A survivor of the fire had said from the start that he never heard a fire alarm.) [TU] [Daily Gazette] [TWCN] [News10]

The charges against Tyree cast more questions about the state of Schenectady's code enforcement department, the head of which committed suicide last month and friends told the Times Union he had been demoralized about his job. (Carney said Thursd the department head wasn't a target of the investigation and knew that.) The department is set to be audited by the state comptroller's office. [Daily Gazette] [TU+] [TU]

High winds
The high winds Thursday contributed to 35,000 power outages around the region, including one side of Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs. [Daily Gazette]

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Charges in 2015 Jay Street fire, Albany council reviews Palace plan, Sage announces new president

Jay Street fire
A Schenectady city code enforcement officer and a property manager were arraigned Thursday morning on charges that include second-degree manslaughter in connection with the 2015 Jay Street fire that killed four people. Among the allegations in the indictments: the property manager "tampered with or otherwise disturbed" the fire and alarm system at 104 Jay St., and that code enforcement officer failed to take required action after "knowing the fire protective system was out of service." Schenectady County DA Robert Carney is expected to release a report on the investigation into the fire today as well. [TU] [Gazette x2]

Threats to JCCs
Andrew Cuomo visited the Albany Jewish Community Center on Wednesday, decrying the rash of bomb threats locally and nationally and promising New York is fully committed to seeing justice done in the case. Cuomo has also announced he'll be taking a trip to Israel. [TWCN][Gazette][TU][NYT]

Windy
High winds caused falling trees and power polls in the Capital Region overnight, resulting inpower outages, blocked roads and some school delays. High winds are expected to continue today. [TU][News 10][Gazette][WNYT]

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Local representatives react to Trump speech, body found in Schenectady, Drue loses appeal in fatal crash, Capital Center set to open

Local representatives react to Trump speech
Donald Trump addressed the nation Tuesday night. Here are a few reactions from local representatives:

+Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the speech had an air of unreality, saying "What the president says and what the president does are almost at opposite ends." [Washington Examiner]

+John Faso was encouraged by Trumps talk about immigration while Paul Tonko believes "It's just smoke and mirrors masquerading as immigration reform,'' [TU]

+ Kirsten Gillibrand says she hopes Trump will support the FAMILY Act based on his acknowledgment of the need for paid leave. [Observer]

Capital Center opens today
The $78 million Capital Center at opens today in downtown Albany, just in time for the MAAC conference basketball tournament. [TU]

Cuomo on Albany spin-up
In a Q&A at the Capitol on Tuesday, Andrew Cuomo said again the the state is working to find a way to close the $12.5 million gap in the Albany city budget but isn't promising the whole total. [TU]


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Not guilty plea in deaths of two women, Hoosick Falls board tables settlement offer, GE engineer held up by immigration order back in Niskayuna

Arrest in connection with deaths of two women
Edward Mero of Albany pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of two women: Shelby Countermine, whose body was found on land owned by the Albany Water Department in Coeymans in May 2015, six months after she was last seen in Schenectady; and Megan Cunningham, whose body was found after a house fire on Arcadia Ave in Albany in January of 2013. State Police said Monday it was only recently that they felt they had enough information for an arrest. Mero's attorney, Cheryl Coleman, pointed to leaks to the media ahead of the indictment being unsealed and criticized the prosecution's case: "[W]hat they did is they clearly opened an investigation where they had two weak cases, put them together and hoped to strengthen them both that way." [News10] [WNYT] [TWCN] [TU]

Hoosick Falls
The Hoosick Falls village board voted to table the proposed $1 million settlement with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International over PFOA contamination of the water supply. The meeting featured many speakers against the settlement. Resident Brian Bushner, who's running unopposed for a village trustee spot: "People here deserve better. We deserve to have our bills paid, but we also deserve not to give up our future." [News10] [WNYT] [TU]

Company records: State Senator Brad Hoylman, a Democratic member of the Senate's Environmental Conservation Committee, is pushing for the legislature to release to the public records subpoenaed from three companies involved in PFOA contamination of water supplies in Rensselaer County. [TU]

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Man charged in deaths two women years apart, Gillibrand urges Hoosick Falls to hold off on settlement, how much blame does Albany deserve for its budget problems?

Arrest in connection with deaths of two women
An Albany man has been arrested in connection with the deaths of two women: Shelby Countermine, whose body was found on land owned by the the Albany Water Department in Coeymans in 2015; and Megan Cunningham, who died in a house fire on Arcadia Ave in Albany in 2013. An Albany County grand jury has handed up an indictment against 29-year-old Edward (Ted) Mero, who's been on paid leave from the city water department since May of 2015, and he was arrested Friday. He pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder Monday morning. [News10] [TU x2]

Man missing in Poestenkill Gorge
Troy officials say a man fell into the Poestenkill Gorge Saturday and has not yet been found. Mayor Patrick Madden said the man had been seen climbing rocks when he lost his grip, fell, and did not surface in the water. The Troy Fire Department said turbulent water has limited the search. [TWCN] [News10] [TU]

Gillibrand urges rejection of Hoosick Falls agreement
Kirsten Gillibrand has issued a letter to Hoosick Falls mayor David Borge urging the village board to hold off the proposed $1 million settlement with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International to cover costs associated with PFOA contamination of the village water supply. The US Senator expressed concerns about the size of the settlement and the restrictions it would place on the village taking further action in the future. The village board is scheduled to vote on the agreement Monday evening. [TU] [TWCN] [Troy Record]


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Murder charge in Albany infant death, Troy officer honored for actions during shootout, a new life here and a new arm

Albany infant death
A Troy man has been indicted on charges that include second-degree murder in the death of an infant at a residence in Albany earlier this month. Prosecutors allege the man "recklessly engage[d] in conduct which created a grave risk of death that ultimately resulted in the death of a one year old infant". An Albany woman has also been indicted on charges of endangering the welfare of a child. Both people have pleaded not guilty. The infant's grandmother tells News10 that woman charged is the boy's mother. Albany police say officers had been called to the apartment on South Allen Street February 6 and found the infant unresponsive -- he as taken to Albany Med and later died. [Albany County DA] [Daily Gazette] [News10] [TWCN]

Transgender students
Following a Trump administraion rollback of federal protections for transgender students this week, New York State officials -- including Andrew Cuomo, education commissioner MaryEllen Elia, and attorney general Eric Schneiderman emphasized state protections for transgender students. [Washington Post] [Politico NY]

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Guilty verdict in Best murder, Hoosick Falls considers revised PFOA agreement, Stefanik/Faso constituents call for town halls, the choices that led to closure of Troy's pools

Guilty verdict in Best murder
After five hours of deliberations, a Schenectady jury convicted Bloods member Troy Saunders of first-degree murder, robbery and all other charges in the death of Wayne Best Junior. Saunders could face life without parole.[Gazette][TWCN][TU]

Hoosick Falls
Former EPA administrator Judith Enck is urging Hoosick Falls not to accept a
a newly revised settlement from Honeywell and Saint Gobain that would up compensation for contamination by $195 thousand to $1.04 million. [TWCN][Record][TU]

SUNY Poly
Former NYS Budget Director Bob Megan was appointed on Wednesday as the president of SUNY Poly's two nonprofit development arms. [TU]

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New draft settlement for Hoosick Falls, no charges for firefighter who accidentally shot himself, transgendered woman assaulted at bus stop

Saint Gobain ups Hoosick Falls settlement
A new draft agreement between Hoosick Falls and Saint Gobain adds $195,000 to an original $850,000 agreement for expenses related to PFOA contamination. [TWCN][TU]

Meanwhile, Hoosick Falls mayor David Borge says he agrees with a recent statement by NYS Health Commissioner Howard Zucker that the village now has some of the cleanest drinking water in the nation. [Record]

Petersburgh air
Results taken from a test of the Taconic Plastics facility in Petersburgh show PFOA and other substances are being removed from emissions. [WNYT][TU]

Gibson on McMaster
Chris Gibson served under H.R. McMaster and has high praise for Donald Trumps choice for National Security Advisor. [TU]

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Overflow crowd at local Congressional town hall meeting, opposition to Colonie landfill expansion, SUNY Poly said to be "rudderless," the sordid casino story that maybe wasn't so sordid

Tonko town hall meeting
An overflow crowd of more than 500 people turned out for a town hall-style meeting with Paul Tonko Monday evening in Schenectady. Among the topics: the Affordable Care Act, refugees, manufacturing jobs, and the environment. Said Tonko during the meeting: "When I have a chance to meet with the president, I will share some very strong feelings about climate change, about the environment, about public lands." The crowd appeared generally supportive of the Democrat. [Daily Gazette] [News10] [TWCN] [WNYT]

Stefanik and Faso: Neither Elise Stefanik or John Faso have town hall-style meetings scheduled, a recent point of criticism for both Republican Congress members. [Saratogian] [TU]

Gillibrand on Russia and Trump foreign policy
Kirsten Gillibrand during a visit to 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base Sunday: "I am very concerned about another country trying to undermine our elections. Our democracy depends on free and fair elections and so I am concerned by these acts by Russia. I am concerned how the president is reacting to other foreign countries and positioning us in a more volatile way. I'm concerned about the country and our well-being and it's one of the roles I take very seriously on the Armed Services Committee." [TU] [TWCN]

Colonie landfill expansion
A look at the opposition organizing among nearby towns and residents against the proposed expansion of the Colonie landfill near the Mohawk River. [TU+]

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Albany bracing for possibility state aid doesn't come through, push for money to fix sewers and water systems, he was cooking at home

Albany push for state aid
The $12.5 million in additional state aid the Sheehan administration included in the current city of Albany budget was not part of the state budget amendments released Thursday evening. At a press conference Friday morning Kathy Sheehan said she believes the Cuomo admin is "is convinced of our case" and the city would continue to press for the aid with members of the state legislature.

The money represents 7 percent of the current city budget and Sheehan said the city is preparing for the possibility it doesn't come through. She's instituted a hiring a freeze in which any new hire would have to be revenue neutral. And she said the city is reviewing every program -- including events such as Alive at Five, which is now at risk without the aid.

Said Sheehan of the city's request to the state in light of the relatively low amount of money the city gets through the state's regular aid program for municipalities: "The state capital is treated like no other large city in New york State. And I just want to stress that. We are not asking for something extra. We are asking for something that gets us a little closer to parity."

Here's a quick thread by Geoff Redick that includes some context and reaction. [@Redick_TWCNews]

Earlier: Does Albany get a fair share of state aid?

"That's a lurking monster right now"
Jim Tedisco and Phil Steck pushed the case for state legislation that would set up a regular stream of funding for local municipalities to address water and sewer infrastructure. Said Tedisco Thursday: "That's a lurking monster right now and we can pay now or we can pay later." Tedisco has promoted this idea in past years, but he says hopeful of seeing action this time around because he's a now in the state Senate and a member of the majority coalition. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [TWCN]

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Video admissible in Crossgates shooting, D.A. report: Rotterdam police shooting justified, fired Walmart employee sentenced in bank robberies

Video admissible in Crossgates shooting
An acting State Supreme Court judge has ruled that a videotaped conversation between police and Tasheem Maeweather -- the man accused of firing a gun during the November incident in Crossgates that prompted a lockdown of the mall -- will be allowed as evidence in his attempted murder trial. [TU]

Rotterdam police shooting declared justified
Schenectady County DA Robert Carney released a report on Wednesday, stating that the Rotterdam patrolman who shot and killed a knife-wielding veteran in April was justified in the shooting. The report calls the event "an unavoidable tragedy."[TU][TU][Gazette]

Inmate charged with murder
A prison inmate serving time for a non-fatal Hamilton Hill shooting is now facing murder charges in connection with the 2014 shooting death of Angel Carrion in Schenectady's Mont Pleasant neighborhood. [TU][Gazette]


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Rocks suspect rejects plea bargain, Momentive strike ends after 15 weeks, possible Hoosick Falls air pollution, Spa City gets Code Blue shelter

Rocks suspect rejects plea
Kareem Blacknall, the man accused of the fatal shooting at Rocks night club in Albany last November, has rejected a plea bargain of 18 years to life in prison and will stand trial for murder, attempted murder and other charges. Blacknall's lawyers claim he was at the club but that he is not guilty of the shooting.Lawyers for Blacknall say their client is not safe in jail, claiming there is a bounty on his head inside the facility. [TU][TWCN][TU]

Momentive
After 105 days, the strike at Momentive has come to an end.
Union members have approved a new contract, but relations remain strained, particularly over the fate of 25 employees who were fired during the strike.
The union is now working to try to reinstate those employees. [TU][Gazette][Saratogian][WNYT]


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APD: Suspect in fatal Washington Park hit and run, Albany officials explain plowing plan, AMC buys another Park South property, "This is not your fault"

Suspect in fatal Washington Park hit and run
Albany police a man now in custody on a parole violation is a suspect in the recent fatal hit and run in Washington Park -- they allege the Albany man rear ended a vehicle at Henry Johnson and Washington Ave, then fled through the park. APD says the woman killed in the incident, Rajine Martinez, had already been in the road semi-conscious before the crash and two bystanders where trying to help her. [News10] [TWCN] [TU]

Clinton Ave fatal shooting
Albany police have identified the man killed in the shooting in a Clinton Ave home early Sunday morning and say they believe it was not random. [TU]

Alleged safety violations at Warehouse District conversion
The developer behind the conversions of 960 Broadway and the Nipper Building is facing almost $170k in fines for allegedly allowing workers to be exposed to asbestos and lead as well as other safety issues at the 960 Broadway site. The developer is contesting the violations. [OSHA] [TU+]

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Winter continues, fatal shooting in Albany, swastikas painted on Schenectady home, where not to park a school bus

It snow. Again.
+ Winter, it continues: Sunday's storm piled up another 7-8 inches of snow depending on location. [NWS Albany]
+ The city of Albany has declared another snow emergency starting Monday at 8 pm with EVEN side parking. It flips to odd side parking at 8 pm Tuesday. [City of Albany]
+ Albany towed 120 cars during the snow emergency last week. [News10]

Fatal shooting in Albany
Albany police say they responded to a home on the 200 block of Clinton Ave (map) early Sunday morning and a man had been shot in the torso. He was taken to Albany Med and died of his injuries. APD says it's investigating and has asked anyone with info to call the detective division. [News10] [APD]

Rallies for and against Planned Parenthood
A thousand or more people turned out for a rally in support of Planned Parenthood along Central Ave in Albany Saturday, which included appearances by Paul Tonko, Patricia Fahy, and Kathy Sheehan. That same day there was a rally in Troy for the federal government to defund the health care org. [TWCN] [TU] [WNYT]

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Winter reasserts itself, tentative agreement on contract in Momentive strike, Schumer and Gillibrand vote "no", The Wine Shop reopens

Snowstorm
It snowed -- a surprising amount. Totals from around the area for Thursday's storm ranged from 6-18 inches. And the 11.2 inches recorded at ALB was the highest storm total since February 2015. [NWS Albany x2]

Snow emergencies are in effect in a bunch of municipalities, including Albany (where towing started Thursday night). But Troy continued its snow emergency-resistant ways. [TU] [News10] [TWCN]

Momentive strike
Officials from Momentive and the union representing striking workers at the plant in Waterford say they've reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, though few details were released. The approximately 700 union members will vote on the contract next week and could be back to work Wednesday. The strike has lasted more than three months. [Politico NY] [Saratogian] [News10] [TU+] [Daily Gazette]

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Opening day for Rivers Casino, siblings shot in Albany home, car stolen with toddler inside, Matilda Cuomo to be inducted in National Women's Hall of Fame

Casino opening day
Rivers Casino opens today, and area residents have a mix of hope and concern for what the project will bring to the region. [WNYT][Gazette]

Albany shooting
A brother and sister were hospitalized after they were shot in a home on Washington Avenue in Albany on Tuesday, Albany police say. APD says a man walked into the house and shot the 26 year old man and 21 year old woman. The woman is in critical condition. APD says it's "confident that this is an isolated incident and not a random act." [WNYT] [News 10] [APD press release]

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Expectations and hopes for the Schenectady casino, state Senate passes ride hailing bill, number of visitors up at Thacher Park

Schenectady casino
With the opening a day away:
+ A look at the community impacts of the Rush Street Gaming casinos in Pittsburgh and near Chicago, where the results have been something between predicted extremes. [Daily Gazette]
+ Schenectady officials are hoping the casino will be part of a broader upward swing in the city's fortunes. [TWCN]

Albany fatal hit and run
+ Albany police say they've found the vehicle involved in the alleged hit and run that killed a pedestrian in Washington Park Saturday morning, but aren't saying anything beyond that. [TWCN]
+ Remembering the woman who died, 21-year-old Rajine Martinez of Albany. [News10]

Schumer, Gillibrand, and the Trump cabinet
+ Chuck Schumer on Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump's pick for education secretary: she's "the least qualified nominee in a historically unqualified cabinet." [TU]
+ Kirsten Gillibrand on the recent upswell in activism and political engagement around the country in response to the Trump administration: "I know so many people have a feeling of a call to action so intensely that they are doing literally everything they can to be heard. I feel like we are watching democracy being enlivened like I've never seen before." [The Alt]

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Pedestrian killed in Washington Park hit and run, continued confusion and uncertainty over immigration order, building the paper pantry

Fatal Albany hit and run
Albany police say they're investigating the death of pedestrian in Washington Park after she was apparently hit by an SUV and the vehicle fled the scene. APD says the woman -- 21-year-old Rajine Martinez of Albany -- was struck around 4 am on Washington Park Road near New Scotland Ave. Police have not commented on what factors may have been involved in the crash, but nearby residents say drivers often speed through the park. [APD] [TU] [News10] [TWCN] [WNYT]

Schenectady casino
+ A look at the many touted economic benefits of the Rivers Casino and Resort, which opens Wednesday in Schenectady. [TU+]
+ A look at some of the concerns people in/near Schenectady have about the project. [Daily Gazette]

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Interfaith vigil for JCC after second bomb threat, Marchione pushes for tax cap that would always be 2 percent, ideas for the old Matten Shipyard

Interfaith vigil in support of Albany JCC
Hundreds of people turned out at the Albany Jewish Community Center Thursday evening for an vigil as a show of support following the second recent bomb threat made against the center this week -- and the event included speakers of many different faiths calling for peace and solidarity. [TU] [WNYT]

Niskayuna woman can't back into the US
The family and friends of a Niskayuna woman -- a French citizen born in Syria who's an electrical engineer at GE -- say she was traveling with her children when the Trump immigrant order was instituted and now can't get back into the US. [WNYT]

State of Troy
In his state of the city address Thursday, Troy mayor Patrick Madden touted new investment in the city and touched on the city's difficult budget situation: "My administration is committed to fact-based budgeting devoid of the political calculations that led us to where we are today." City council president Carmella Mantello said she wanted to hear more about addressing the fiscal challenges. [TU] [TWCN]

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Cuomo authorizes Schneiderman to probe Abelove's handling of fatal shooting, Gillibrand will vote no on Gorsuch, underground blast in downtown Albany

Cuomo authorizes A.G. investigation of Abelove
Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order giving Eric Schneiderman's office the authority to investigate Rensselaer County DA Joel Abelove's handling of last April's case of the fatal shooting of Edson Thevenin by a Troy police officer. [TU][TWCN][WNYT]

Zemsky questioned by lawmakers
"You know, some people are very political and they want to call success failure" -- Empire State Development Commissioner Howard Zemsky on some of the grilling he took from state lawmakers on Wednesday about the states economic development practices, in the wake of corruption allegations and the arrests of ex-SUNY Poly President Alain Kaloyeros and former Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, on bid rigging charges. [TWCN][WNYT]

Gorsuch
+Kirsten Gillibrand says she's planning to vote no on Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch claiming he "has proven to have a judicial philosophy outside of the mainstream and time and again has subjugated individual rights to those of corporations." [Gazette]

+Attorney General Eric Schneiderman warned against those who are touting Neil Gorsuch as Scalia 2.0. [TU]

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Schumer casts doubt on Gorsuch, local school districts oppose DeVos, Schneiderman joins ACLU suit against immigration restrictions, Momentive workers take strike to Capitol

Gorsuch
Chuck Schumer on Donald Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch:
"Judge Gorsuch has repeatedly sided with corporations over working people, demonstrated a hostility toward women's rights and, most troubling, hewed to an ideological approach to jurisprudence that makes me skeptical that he can be a strong, independent justice on the court.'' [Gazette]

DeVos
Capital Region school boards in Albany, Bethlehem and Schenectady have gone public with their opposition to Betsy DeVos' for Education Secretary cleared the Senate.]TU]

In Schenectady, one parent was angered by an anti-DeVos flier sent home with her child this week. [Gazette]

Schneiderman joins ACLU suit over immigration
Eric Schneiderman will join the American Civil Liberties Union and others in their lawsuit against Donald Trump's recent executive order on immigration. [TU]

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Continued reaction to Trump immigration order, Cuomo pushes to put abortion rights into state constitution, Ecovative caught in EPA grant freeze

Continued reaction to Trump immigration order
+ After saying he needed to learn more about the order over the weekend, local Republican Congressman called the Trump administration's immigration order "neither well-drafted nor well-implemented" on Monday. [TU]
+ Local Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko backed Democrat-drafted legislation in the House that would defund and rescind the executive order: "My colleagues and I steadfastly refuse to step aside to let this President throw peaceful, worthy and freedom loving people to the wolves and hand ISIS another recruiting tool in the process." [Tonko office]
+ Western New York Republican Congressman Chris Collins, a longtime Trump supporter, at a Conservative Party event Monday in Colonie: "The liberal media is going nuts over this. [Senator] Chuck Schumer is going nuts over this ... Well, wait a minute: This is a promise [the president] made, and he's doing it in a very sensible way." [TWCN]
+ Donald Trump accused Chuck Schumer of "fake tears" during Schumer's emotional denunciation of the White House's immigration order over the weekend: "I'm going to ask him who was his acting coach, because I know him very well." A Schumer spokesman when asked about what Trump said: "We are not going to dignify that with a response." [TU x2]
+ The president of the Masjid As-Salam mosque in Albany on the events of the weekend: "The Muslim community is very much uncertain and confused." [TWCN]
+ A Sage student from Togo in West Africa who's a practicing Muslim: "I'm scared that I'm going to lose the hope that I came to this country for." [TU+]

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Reactions and pushback to Trump travel ban, Faso in leaked Republican recording of ACA discussion, ShopRite in the mix for North Greenbush plaza

Reaction to Trump travel ban order
Lots of reaction this weekend to the Trump administration's order temporarily blocking all refugees as well as the citizens of seven predominantly-Muslim countries from entering the US, and the resulting confusing situation as officials tried to figure out how to implement the order:
+ Chuck Schumer, with tears in his eyes: "This executive order is mean spirited and un-American. It was implemented in a way that created chaos and confusion across the country, and it will only serve to embolden and inspire those around the globe who will do us harm." (On Twitter, Donald Trump blamed a Delta computer program and "the tears of Senator Schumer" for problems at airports.) [CNN x2]
+ Andrew Cuomo in a statement: "I never thought I'd see the day when refugees, who have fled war-torn countries in search of a better life, would be turned away at our doorstep. We are a nation of bridges, not walls, and a great many of us still believe in the words 'give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses." The Cuomo admin also set up a hotline for people to report immigration problems at airports in the state. [Cuomo admin x2]
+ State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called the order "unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful" and his office said it would be assisting attorneys representing people detained at airports. [Politico NY]
+ Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik called the order "rushed and overly broad" on Sunday, and Congressman John Faso, also a Republican, said he didn't yet know for certain how the order handled people with green cards. [TU]
+ Hundreds of people turned out at the Albany International Airport to protest the order. [TU]

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Schumer vows fight on Trump cabinet picks, 1 Monument Square review committee public -- proposals still not, freedom of flamethrowers

Schumer on Trump nominations
Chuck Schumer speaking in Brooklyn Thursday night about upcoming votes on Trump cabinet picks: "We're going to do everything we can to not have [U.S. Sen. Jeff] Sessions, who's against voting rights and against immigrants, be AG. We're going to fight him and not let [U.S. Rep. Tom] Price, who wants to roll back Medicaid and Medicare, be the secretary of HHS ... We're going to fight them and make sure that they don't put a regressive person on the Supreme Court." [Politico NY]

Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand both said this week they'll be opposing President Trump's pick for Education secretary, Betsy DeVos. [HuffPo] [The Hill]

Earlier: How Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are voting on the Trump cabinet nominations

Judge adjourns sentencing in Wilton hit and run that injured boy
Saratoga County Court judge James Murphy adjourned the sentencing of the woman who pleaded guilty to hitting a boy with her SUV in Wilton last June and then driving off without reporting the incident because he said the six-month sentence in the plea bargain was insufficient given the impact the injuries have had on the boy. [TU]

Goodbye, Albany Devils
Albany County exec Dan McCoy on the reportedly impending move of the Albany Devils to Binghamton: "They haven't committed to leaving yet, but the [Binghamton] offer is better than what we can give. I anticipate that they will be leaving." [Daily Gazette]

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Sheehan gives Albany's State of the City amid protests, APD investigates South End shooting, Schneiderman pledges to battle for "sanctuary cities,"


Albany State of the City
Kathy Sheehan's state of the city address Wednesday evening was interrupted by protesters chanting in support of a new contract for the city's blue collar employees -- they've been without one since 2013 -- and calling for the two police officers who stopped Dontay Ivy to be fired. The chants included "Sheehan's got to go!" and "Kathy Trump."

Sheehan eventually decided to deliver her speech anyway, and the protesters chanted during the virtually the whole address. Among the topics the mayor touched on during the speech: a new city courthouse, a new vacant buildings program, traffic safety, air quality concerns in the South End, praise the police department's efforts in community policing. Afterward [TU]

Said Sheehan of the protest in her post-speech comments to the media: "They made their point at the beginning of my speech. I heard them loud and clear. And I agreed with them -- they need a contract. I want nothing more than to have a contract, that's what negotiations are for. And I do believe that black lives matter. And I do believe that we need to reform policing. And so I'm doing that."

Sanctuary cities
stating sanctuary cities would not be eligible for federal funding, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he would do everything in his power to fight Donald Trump's executive order denying federal funding to "sanctuary cities". [NYT] [TU]

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Schenectady man injured in Union St. shooting, Brockovich at Capitol to discuss Legionnaire's, Trump/Clinton/Sanders owe Albany $80 grand

Sleet
Sleet and snow overnight caused power outages and left area walks and roadways slippery enough for more school delays on Wednesday morning.
[TU]

Schenectady shooting
Schenectady police say a city man was hospitalized on Tuesday after he was shot in the arm near the Union College campus. [TU][TWCN][WNYT]

Former Granville mayor facing charges
The former mayor of the Washington County town of Granville -- who is a high school track coach --was arrested this week for allegedly peeping on an underaged boy in the shower and inappropriately touching team members. [Post Star][WNYT][TU]

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Slushy winter storm, remembering parents who died in I-88 crash, Momentive strikers rally in CEO's neighborhood, the state of Schenectady