Items tagged with 'Rensselaer County'

Floating above the Rensselaer County landscape

This is like a short midday vacation: Check out this aerial video of autumnal and winter scenes from the Rensselaer County landscape by filmmaker Nate Simms. And the accompanying music by Rosary Beard makes it even dreamier.

You might remember Nate Simms from the documentary Brunswick a few years back.

[via Deanna]

The Poestenkill Lion

The artwork above -- known as "The Poestenkill Lion" -- is now on display at the Rensselaer County Historical Society. It's a sharp turn of fate for artwork -- it was almost firewood a few years back.

From an RCHS press release:

The lion first came to RCHS in 2011, when long-time RCHS supporters Hughes and Eva Gemmill donated this delightful painting. The painting, which dates to c.1840 and is by an unknown artist, is done on four wide boards, thinly painted with milk paint on unfinished wood.
Discovered a number of years ago during the demolition of a summer kitchen in a house in Poestenkill, the lion was almost lost to history. The dismantled wood was slated to be used as firewood. Thankfully, before these four boards were burnt, the Gemmills noticed a bit of color peeking out from underneath layers of plaster and wallpaper. After some careful removal of the plaster and wallpaper, the complete image of the lion appeared.
The Gemmills did find evidence of at least one other animal. RCHS also has in its collection the small fragments of wood that depict another animal, possibly a leopard, which came from the same space. It is possible that there were more animal figures on other boards that did not survive.
Once the Gemmills had the complete painting of the lion, they hung the four boards over their bed, until they decided to donate the painting to RCHS.

RCHS says the lion is probably based on an illustration from a Bible or maybe the work of Edward Hicks. The artist is unknown.

The historical society got a $2,500 grant this year to restore the work, and sent it to O'Connor Art Conservation in the Berkshires for cleaning and repair.

image: Rensselaer County Historical Society

Schodack Island State Park

Schodack Island State Park river view

By Lauren Hittinger

This summer I'm visiting local parks to bring the scoop on each one to you. Today I'm headed north to Hudson Crossing Park. I've also already visited Hudson Crossing, Cherry Plain, Moreau Lake, Grafton Lakes, and Peebles Island.

If you've never been to Schodack Island State Park, you are definitely missing out. It is an incredibly peaceful spot right on the Hudson River, and the grounds are meticulously cared for. It also scores big bonus points because it doesn't charge an entrance fee during the week, making it a great destination for families and visitors during the week.

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Cherry Plain State Park

cherry plain park sign.jpg

Cherry Plain State Park -- worth the trip

By Lauren Hittinger

This summer I'm visiting local state parks and getting the scoop on each one. Today I'm stopping at Cherry Plain State Park. I've also already visited Moreau Lake, Grafton Lakes, and Peebles Island.

I first heard of Cherry Plain State Park as an ideal place to go to avoid the crowds, while still getting a day of swimming in. The park, situated quite a distance from metro areas, certainly does deliver on the promise of peace and personal space.

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Hot? Try wearing a fur coat

Jeff sent along this photo of bear in the town of Sand Lake today: "This bear was hot and decided to cool off in our pond."

The temperature hit 90 degrees Tuesday afternoon, with a heat index of 96. That's, like, 115 if you're wearing a fur coat.*

(Thanks, Jeff!)

*OK, we might have made the second part up.

Pizza at Kay's Pizza

Kay's Pizza cheese pizza

By Deanna Fox

It is said that the pizza you grow up with is the pizza by which all other pizza will ever be judged -- regardless of how good or bad that childhood pizza was. As a result, pizzas of many types -- and a range of relative merits -- have a special place in the hearts of people.

Sure, that very poofy crust/exceptionally thin crust/sweet sauced/tangy sauced/underbaked/overbaked/whatever pizza might have its flaws, but it's your pizza. And eating it evokes memories.

No matter what type of pizza holds that place in your heart -- and no matter how good (or bad) that pizza is -- there is little doubt the pizza from Kay's will stand up to it favorably.

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Grafton Lakes State Park

grafton lakes beach

By Lauren Hittinger

I'm visiting local state parks this spring and summer and will be sharing the best parts of each spot. Last time it was Peebles Island. Today, we talk Grafton Lakes.

Grafton Lakes is the reason why I fell in love with New York State parks. While I've been impressed with some other spots, Grafton Lakes has the closest thing in this area to a real beach. That's not to mention the trails, boating, picnicking, and basically any other outdoor activity you can think of...

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The grassfed burger at Pirates Lakeside Grill

pirates lakeside grill grassfed burger closeup

By Daniel B.

We've been blessed with a long cool spring, but soon it will get hot. And when it does you will be faced with three choices: sweat, seek air conditioning, or head for the water.

A patch of shade with some cooling breezes coming off the water is one of summer's great pleasures. Waterfront dining options far too often take advantage of the situation and charge outrageous premiums on barely adequate food.

Yet somehow in the Capital Region we've seemed to avoid the worst of that. You can eat on the banks of the Hudson at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que or in sight of the Mohawk at Jumpin' Jacks without being gouged for the view. These places are locally famous. But there is another restaurant nearby that most people probably have never heard about. And it has a nicer view than Dinosaur, uses better meat than Jumpin' Jacks, and is a veritable haven for local and regional food lovers.

Pirates Lakeside Grill is also home to the $5 grassfed burger.

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Beer Diviner Kickstarter

Quick follow up on the Beer Diviner, the "nano-brewery" in Rensselaer County: Founder Jonathan Post has started a Kickstarter campaign to expand beyond his "out in the sticks" property to open a new tasting room and retail outlet in Stephentown. Blurbage:

In order to get the outlet up and running, increase beer production and hire someone, the outlet will need start-up money for inventory, furniture and renovation. We want to make this a comfortable, community oriented space, where you can taste New York State beer, wine and liquor, try different foods, bring your laptop and get free wifi, hang out at tables inside and outside, play ping pong, foosball and darts. We plan on decorating with pictures and descriptions about the history of beer and how The Beer Diviner got its start in an indigenous village in West Africa.

Post has set a $12,000 goal -- the funding deadline is June 27.

Award: The Beer Diviner's Got Your Back Stout took 3rd place in the "Best Individual Craft Beers in the Hudson Valley" category at the recent TAP NY event. (Beers from Olde Saratoga took the top two spots.)

Earlier on AOA: Casey visited the Beer Diviner brewery in April

The Beer Diviner

beer diviner composite

By Casey Normile

For a decade, Jonathan Post -- who has a Ph.D. in English -- worked at colleges and universities around the area. But when a program he was connected to at UAlbany ended, he decided, "Fine, if I can't be a doctor of English, I'll be a doctor of beer."

So last April, he started The Beer Diviner. He now brews from his nano-brewery in Cherry Plain -- about an hour east of Albany in Renssealer County, out past Averill Park.

But Post's journey as a brewer took an important step a bit farther away than that: in a small village in Burkina Faso.

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Moxie's is more than plain vanilla

moxies exterior

By Casey Normile

The first batch of Mexican vanilla ice cream that Moxie's ever made was technically illegal.

"But only a little illegal," Pamela Allie-Morrill explains. Ms. Pam, as she likes to be called, is the daughter of the eponymous Mohamed "Moxie" Allie -- she now runs the ice cream stand in Wynantskill. She says that original supply of Mexican vanilla hitched a ride into this country in her cousin's suitcase. It wasn't exactly an act of smuggling.

That Mexican vanilla has since been replaced with Mexican vanilla sourced via Illinois. But it's still an integral part of Moxie's Around the World of Vanilla -- a solar system of vanilla ice creams in a dish that surround Moxie's signature flavor, Blue Moon.

So, why vanilla? Pam says it's simple -- it was the most readily available flavor when she was looking to make her mark on Moxie's eleven years ago. And the vanilla sampler has been a popular staple at the stand ever since.

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So people actually do get stopped for texting while driving

texting while drivingAlmost 21,000 tickets for texting-while-driving were issued by police in New York State over the last year, according to numbers from the Cuomo admin. And, look, county-by-county numbers for the past year (year before that):

Albany County: 539 (75)
Rensselaer County: 163 (21)
Saratoga County: 326 (42)
Schenectady County: 69 (18)

(It appears that Albany County racked up that total thanks in part to a sweep this spring by the county sheriff's office that netted 230 tickets for talking or texting while driving. [Troy Record])

The totals were released to mark one year since the state law making TWD a primary traffic offense took effect. That means police can now pull a person over just for that -- before you had to be doing something else to get stopped (like swerving over the double yellow because you were sending email). And it looks like people are getting pulled over for it.

You might think you can text and drive with no problem -- we're all above average drivers, right (oh, wait...) -- but probably not. There's research that indicates a distracted driver is about as bad as a driver with a .08 blood alcohol level, which is the legal limit for drunk driving. (The New York Times produced a good series about the risks of distracted driving.)

All county totals after the jump, if you're curious.

photo: Flickr user mrJasonWeaver (cc)

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Slidin' Dirty

slidin dirty truck customers

Lunch customers today in the East Greenbush Tech Park.

After hearing Danika and David rave about a food truck in downtown Troy -- "perhaps the best lunch in Troy" -- we figured it was worth tracking down. Also: we were hungry.

So today we caught up with the Slidin' Dirty food truck at the East Greenbush Tech Park and talked with its owners about sliders, fried avocado, tiny kitchens, and how the Capital Region could be a bit more food truck friendly.

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Barberville Falls closed for summer

Barberville Falls

Beautiful. And for this summer, closed to the public.

The Nature Conservancy is closing public access to the Barberville Falls in Rensselaer County this summer because it says people aren't following the rules there. From the org's press release:

Despite effort to prohibit swimming and other activities not allowed at the preserve, misuse of the preserve and disrespect for the preserve neighbors continues to be a problem.
"The decision to close the preserve, especially during the summer months, is a difficult one," said Rick Werwaiss, executive director, The Nature Conservancy Eastern New York Chapter. "In past years, the Conservancy has hired a security force, utilized volunteers, and had staff on site to patrol the preserve. Despite our efforts to discourage and control the misuse of the property, the problem has persisted and we feel closure is the only option currently available to us."
Closing the preserve will give the police the ability to strictly and consistently enforce the recurring issues of trespass, disturbing the peace, littering, swimming and climbing on the falls, and alcohol consumption.

The Nature Conservancy owns one side of the falls -- the other side is owned by a private homeowner. And as we found out when writing about the falls a few summers back, the homeowner is very serious about people not cutting across their property to reach the falls. That's understandable -- we wouldn't want hordes of people walking through our backyard all summer, either.

The conservancy says access to the falls will be closed from Memorial Day until Labor Day.

The whole situation is unfortunate. It really is a beautiful spot.

Earlier on AOA: Capital Region waterfall walks

photo: Sebastien Barre

Melody Howarth's Nassau toy hospital

Melody Howarth working

Researching and restoring

By Siobhan Connally

She started out using simple techniques of filling and smoothing -- techniques she'd learned from her father, an auto body repair man who taught her how to fill and sand damaged car fenders when she was a teenager. After that, she studied with professional conservators to perfect her skills. A few ad hoc apprenticeships and correspondence courses advanced them further.

Along the way Melody Howarth discovered she had a talent for bringing crumbling antique playthings back to a more youthful life. Today, that skill has made the Rensselaer County resident sought after by private collectors and museums worldwide.

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Dyken Pond

dyken pond composite

By Bennett Campbell

My hiking partner saw the Pileated Woodpecker through the naked beech and maple trees just before I heard it. Alternately calling in a kek-kek that starts slow but speeds up into a laugh, and drilling into trunks like a jackhammer with its three inch bill, the crow-sized bird flitted from tree to tree as we tried to get closer. Crashing through the brush a startled buck cut our chase short, dashing across the path behind us and trotting to a safer spot deep in the woods.

This is late fall in the Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center -- 600 acres of public land in Rensselaer County where you can witness an abundance of nature.

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Brunswick

Debuting soon: Brunswick, a documentary by Nate Simms about the tension between development and farming in the Rensselaer County town. From the blurbage:

Brunswick is a film about landscape change, told through the personal story of a farmer's lifelong connection to his now-threatened land. The film weaves together the plight of Sanford Bonesteel, an aging farmer in his 90s, with the dynamics of small-town politics as a residential development is planned on Sanford's former land.
The film takes place in Brunswick, New York, a small country town facing the challenge of balancing economic growth with the preservation of its rural character. It is a story both specific to Brunswick and yet recognizable to rural communities all over the United States.

All we've seen of the doc is what it's in the trailer embedded above, but it appears to be about the proposed Highland Creek development, that was to be built on farmland acquired in a deal involving the town supervisor. The development was the subject of multiple lawsuits and allegations of conflicts of interest. Bonesteel passed away at the end of 2008. [Troy Record 2008] [Wikipedia] [Troy Record 2006] [Troy Record 2008]

The first screening of the doc will be December 7 at the Spectrum. Tickets are $6.

Bonus bit: The soundtrack for the documentary was composed and performed by Matthew Carefully, who will be performing the music at Caffe Lena on December 4.

Turkey time at Coldwater Creek Farm

coldwater creek farm turkeys flock

Gobble. Gobble.

By Siobhan Connally

James Kromer doesn't talk turkey.

So as he was driving 200 squawking, day-old chicks by car from a 50-year-old turkey farm in Boston to his Coldwater Creek Farm, his family's 26-acre property in southern Rensselaer County, he just cranked up the tunes.

"They just chirped the whole time. After about an hour and a half it bothered me so I turned up the radio and opened up the windows for some white noise," laughs Kromer, an accountant by day, who is marking his second year raising antibiotic-free, pasture-raised white Broad Breasted turkeys for Thanksgiving.

So, how does an accountant end up raising 200 turkeys?

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Shaker Mountain Canning Co.

By Siobhan Connally

Kristen Greer wanted to to help increase access to fresh foods in New York City.

That's how it all began.

Greer, a New York City food policy advocate and part-time Rensselaer County resident also had a background in finance. She was volunteering with the board of Just Food to help bring more fresh foods into the city, when she discovered a need: a way for farmers and food entrepreneurs to turn their bounty into products that would last well past the growing season.

The idea for Shaker Mountain Canning Co. was born.

Today this small company near the Rensselaer County/Columbia County line cans everything from tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers to fruits, jams and butters and it's opened up a valuable conversation between farms and food producers.

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Roli's Auto

Roli's Auto - interior

Inside Roli's Auto

By Hannah Walker

When someone says Schaghticoke you probably think of the fair. At least I do. Other than cow pastures and corn fields, there's not a heck of a lot else out that way.

Well -- except for a mural-covered muscle car showroom/garage.

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Drive-thru caffeine

coffee shack top

Flavour2Go's Joe Mancino.

By Akum Norder

Updated

I'm going to blame my love of coffee shacks on a story I read as a kid.

A sister and brother who'd gone to stay with their grandmother for the summer were captivated by an old garden shed by the roadside. They cleaned it out, tidied it up, hung checkered curtains in the windows, and voila! A tiny shop. They sold homemade cookies through the window to lines of hungry neighbors.

It just seemed so industrious, so compact: They had everything they needed, in miniature!

Add coffee into that equation and it gets even better.

Go out to the Pacific Northwest and you see them everywhere -- little shacks perched in parking lots or on roadsides, offering drivers fabulously strong coffee with on-the-road convenience. How useful! How small!

As far as I've been able to find, the Capital Region has two drive-up espresso huts. Sure, I like walking to my neighborhood coffee house for a leisurely cup. But when I'm out in my car, there are times when a coffee is the difference between finishing the errands and crumpling into a tiny ball. And I'll take an independent over the Starbucks drive-thru any day.

Sadly, neither of these coffee shacks is anywhere near my neighborhood. But maybe one of them's in yours.

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Man of Kent: A toast to a roadside oasis

man of kent pint.

Pull up a stool.

By Akum Norder

Man of Kent is the best secret pub that everyone's heard of.

With a comfortable atmosphere, great beer and convivial staff, it's the sort of place you wish was in your neighborhood. But probably it's not. It's on a wooded stretch of Route 7, just minutes from the Vermont border. The words "middle of nowhere" come to mind.

If Man of Kent is your local? You have my envy.

It's one of the Capital Region's best pubs. And we drove out there recently to remind ourselves just why.

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A tank of gas, a cup of coffee and a history lesson

stewart's school sign

Who could resist an invitation like that?

By Akum Norder

Incongruity pleases me. So when I saw an old stone building cheek-by-jowl with a Stewart's shop in Hoosick, where Route 7 meets Route 22, I had to pull in and have a look.

Even before you notice the date of 1842 carved above the doorway, it's clear the place is very old. It's built of weathered stone, with a heavy lintel and a sloping roof. Along the Route 22 side of the building is a peeling sign: "Stewarts Shops invites you to visit our 150 year old school house." Curiouser and curiouser.

So I walk into the Stewart's. "What's up with that schoolhouse? Do you own it?"

"It's on our property," says the cashier. "I don't know much about it, but I can let you in if you want."

She gets the key, goes out to unlock the place for me, and leaves again.

And from one side of the parking lot to the other, I've stepped out of Stewart's and into the past.

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Gillibrands moving to Brunswick

Senator Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Gillibrand and her husband have bought a house in Brunswick, near the Troy Country Club. The house -- on more than 2.5 acres with a tennis court -- was $335,000. [WNYT] [TU]

KG and her family had been living at her mom's house in Albany temporarily after they sold their house in Columbia County, so they could move closer to family. Being closer to the airport is probably a nice bonus, too.

Ferris Wheel, nine ways

Schaghticoke Fair Ferris Wheel

Pretty x 9

We love this composite of long exposure shots that Sebastien took of the Ferris Wheel at the Schaghticoke Fair. Definitely view it big.

Here's a photoset with more of his long exposure shots from the fair. As he mentioned to us: "Photographers are attracted to Ferris wheels like moths to a flame. Shiny lights."

Earlier on AOA: Jason took some great long exposure shots at the Saratoga County Fair

photo: Sebastien B

Barberville Falls

Barberville Falls

Whoosh.

Update 2012: The Nature Conservancy is closing access to the falls for summer 2012 because people weren't following the rules.

It's shaping up to be another hot day. Flipping through this photoset Sebastien passed along from the Barberville Falls in Postenkill makes us a feel just a little bit cooler.

Sebastien says he was at the falls last weekend -- and it sounds like he a had a good time. There is a view of the falls from a Nature Conservancy preserve. It might be a fun spot to check out (especially if you include a stop at Moxie's for ice cream).

Earlier on AOA: An even better look at the Cohoes Falls

photo: Sebastien B

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Local elementary school teacher shot and killed in Buffalo, McCaffrey leaving Siena for Iowa, state budget will almost certainly be late, a seven-year-old philanthropist

An Albany elementary school teacher was shot and killed in a Buffalo suburb this past weekend. Police there say the man appears to have gone into the wrong house and was shot by the homeowner -- though they some of the details are unclear. The Albany school district says the man was "a loved and respected teacher with a strong commitment to his students and their families." [TU] [CBS6] [Buffalo News] [Fox23]

Schenectady police say two men were shot and killed in Hamilton Hill Friday night (map). The SPD says there was a crowd on the scene and it appears there had been some sort of argument -- though it's not sure whether the victims were at odds or on the same side. [Daily Gazette $] [WNYT] [TU]

Siena men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery is leaving to become the head coach at Iowa. McCaffery's teams were 112-51 at Siena and went to the NCAA tournament three times. [Iowa press release] [TU]

Local state legislators says GlobalFoundries request for another $300 million in state subsidies for the Luther Forest chip fab will have a tough time. GloFo says it wants expand capacity at the not-yet-open facility to include the world's largest clean room. [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

Steven Raucci Trial Closing arguments are expected today. On Friday, a CSEA union leader took the stand as a defense witness. The testimony continued didn't seem to help the union get out from under the negative light cast by the case. [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [TU]

A daughter-in-law of Virginia Bellerose Gratto Utigard, the sole survivor of a Cohoes fire that killed eight people 32 years ago, says Gratto Utigard went to Washington State a few weeks post-fire after receiving a sympathy card from a man there. She ended up marrying the man's brother a week later. Gratto Utigard's brother said last week that his sister was "absolutely not" capable of setting of fire. [TU] [Troy Record] [WTEN]

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One in five living in poverty in Albany, Schdy, Troy; pressure on Murphy from all sides, state running out of cash, North Greenbush kid gets lead role on Broadway

New York State's poverty rate is 14 percent, according to a report from the New York State Community Action Association. More than 20 percent of the people in Albany, Schenectady and Troy live in poverty. And about one third of children in those cities live in poverty. Of the four core Capital Region counties, Saratoga had the lowest poverty rate at 6.9 percent. The poverty line for a family of four is $22,000. [NYSCAA] [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Troy Record] [YNN]

As David Paterson's World Turns The governor said yesterday that he did not try to convince Sherr-una Booker to drop her domestic violence case against David Johnson. Paterson also said Kirsten Gillibrand threw him under the bus when she said he should resign if the allegations against him turn out to be true. Also yesterday: Marissa Shorenstein, Paterson's press secretary, resigned. "Due to the circumstances that have led to my unwitting involvement in recent news stories, I can no longer do my job effectively," she wrote in her resignation statement. Translation: I didn't know what Paterson might really have been trying to do when he told me to get in touch with Sherr-una Booker. [AP/YNN] [Fox23] [NYT] [Daily Politics] [NYT March 1]

Raucci Trial Day 12 Deborah Gray testified that her family's house and cars were vandalized on multiple occasions after Steven Raucci accused her of writing an anonymous letter to unions officials complaining about his leadership. Gray also testified that a former friend told her that Raucci was going to "take care of things" after the former friend told Raucci about her friends with a former partner (an unexploded device was later found at the former partner's house). A former co-worker of Raucci also testified that his vehicles were vandalized after he filed a sexual harassment claim after Raucci played the "man game" with him. [TU] [Daily Gazette $] [WTEN] [YNN]

Ron Canestrari says talk of a cancelled racing season at Saratoga is a pressure ploy by NYRA. Roy McDonald and Tony Jordan have written a letter to David Paterson urging to review the already-existing bids for the Aqueduct racino (money from that deal was going to prop up racing in the state). [WTEN] [Saratogian]

The Schenectady man accused of killing two dogs and torturing another has pleaded guilty. The plea deal includes two years in prison. [YNN] [Daily Gazette $]

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Conflicting reports about what Paterson said, Sararoga paid parking off the table, another potential Gillibrand challenger drops out

The friend David Paterson allegedly enlisted to talk with the woman who sought an order of protection against a top aide reportedly has told investigators that Paterson asked to pass along this message to the woman: "Tell her the governor wants her to make this go away." A Paterson spokesman said last night that it was not the message the governor sent -- and when he did talk with the woman, it was about getting the media off her back. [NYT] [TU]

Harry Corbitt, the New York State Police superintendent, announced last night on Capitol Tonight that he's retiring -- he said the "media fire storm has really disrupted my ability to function in that capacity." Denise O'Donnell, the state official who oversaw the state police, resigned last week after saying she couldn't "in good conscience" remain a part of the Paterson administration. The head of the State Troopers Police Benevolent Society released a statement yesterday trying to distance rank-and-file troopers from "the reported actions of a few people in higher positions." [CapNews9] [TU CapCon] [CapNews9]

David Paterson has called a cabinet meeting this morning at the Capitol. [Daily Politics]

Saratoga Springs' finance commissioner says downtown paid parking is now "off the table at this point." The city's budget had included $1.35 million in revenue from parking. [Post-Star] [Saratogian]

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Snow emergencies taking effect, brake on paid parking in Saratoga, medical marijuana comes up in legislature, rabid raccoons in Rensselaer County

snowy road

Around 4:30 pm on Tuesday.

We got more than six inches of snow yesterday, according to the National Weather Service (obviously, there's been more since midnight). More snow is forecasted for today. Many cities and towns have declared snow emergencies (including Albany and Saratoga Springs). National Grid was reporting on its web site this morning that about 15,000 customers were without power in the Capital Region. [NWS] [CapNews9] [National Grid]

Rochester's police chief, who was a finalist to head up the Albany police department, has pulled his name from consideration -- somewhat to the annoyance of the search committee. [TU] [CapNews9]

A SUNY committee has voted to recommend closing the New Covenant charter school in Albany. The final vote on the matter is next month. [TU] [Fox23]

The advisory panel for paid parking in downtown Saratoga Springs voted to reject all four of the plans submitted by contractors. One panel member called all the plans "totally flawed." The proposed 2010 budget for the city includes $1.35 million in revenue from parking. [Daily Gazette $] [Saratogian] [Post-Star]

Troy's city council voted 4-4 on the sale of the Uncle Sam parking garage -- which pretty much kills the deal. The developer who wanted to buy the garage now says he might pull out of the city. [TU] [Troy Record]

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Second teen pleads guilty in Bailey case, Paterson says he gets advice from Spitzer, Murphy talks about Afghanistan trip, appeals court ruling in mall peace tshirt case

Ricardo Caldwell, one of the three teens accused of being involved in the shooting death of UAlbany student Richard Bailey, took a plea deal yesterday that requires him to testify against the alleged shooter, De Von Callicut. The third teen that was charged -- King Modest -- took a similar plea deal in January. [TU] [Troy Record]

Albany police say investigators have not yet met with the two officers involved in the fatal shooting this week on Quail Street. [TU]

A group of citizens -- including UAlbany students -- testified at last night's Albany common council meeting that they don't think the police chief search has been open enough to public input. [WTEN] [WNYT]

A spokesman for David Paterson called the New York Times' latest profile of the governor (perhaps the article that had been the subject of so many rumors) a "gossip-laden, subjective, and poorly-sourced narrative." [NYT] [press release]

David Paterson says he talks to Eliot Spitzer "from time to time and get[s] advice from him." [NY Post]

Two people have filed a lawsuit against the Schenectady school district alleging that top district did nothing after being warned about Steven Raucci. [Daily Gazette $]

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Suspended Schenectady cop arrested again, Cuomo to declare in March?, man arrested for 65th time, local pilot flies supply missions to Haiti

Suspended Schenectady police officer John Lewis has been arrested. Again. It's his sixth arrest in the last two years. In this most recent case, he's accused of causing a car accident in the Ellis Hospital parking lot after he allegedly left the emergency department drunk. The SPD first tried to fire Lewis in 1998 for allegedly using a racial slur. The department's waiting for a decision on its most recent attempt to terminate him. [WNYT] [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Fox23] [CBS6]

A "source close to [Andrew] Cuomo" tells the Daily News that Andrew Cuomo will officially announce he's running for governor in March. David Paterson's campaign manager says "it's clear Mr. Cuomo is running for governor." [NYDN] [NYDN]

David Paterson is apparently going to try again to get the state worker unions to give up their raises this year. [TU]

Colonie assemblyman -- and outspoken MMA critic -- Bob Reilly says he's willing to support a compromise bill that would legalize ultimate fighting in the state if certain restrictions were placed on the sport. [TU]

UAlbany cancelled a cage fighting match scheduled for the SEFCU Arena this past weekend after a state commission said the event appeared to violate state law. [@albstudentpress] [Daily Gazette $]

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Two men shot in Pine Hills, legislators propose new ethics oversight, alleged horse slasher pleads guilty, struck Saratoga pedestrians ticketed

Albany police say two men were shot on Ontario Street near St. Rose yesterday evening (map). They say how the shooting went down was unclear. The two men's injuries were not considered life threatening. St. Rose security said the campus was locked down temporarily while police searched for suspects. [CBS6] [TU] [CapNews9] [ASP]

The Troy police overtime was almost double the amount budgeted for last year. The city's highest paid employee last year was a police sergeant who made $140,738.10 -- almost half of that overtime. [Troy Record] [TU]

State legislative leaders introduced a package of ethics reforms that would create new watchdogs for the legislature, the executive branch and lobbyists. David Paterson said the plan isn't enough because it doesn't require legislators to disclose their outside business clients. A "top aide" said the governor won't sign the bill in its current form. [TU] [NYT] [Daily Politics]

Documents filed by Andrew Cuomo's office in state supreme court allege that Pedro Espada may have violated tax, election, labor law -- and committed fraud, too -- as head of a Bronx health care group. Espada called the investigation by the AG a "witch hunt driven by his political ambitions." [NYT] [TU]

(there's more)

State of the State today, hundreds show up for save-the-Y meeting, Some Girls "in jeopardy," Murphy says he was "clotheslined" in the House

David Paterson is scheduled to deliver his State of the State address this afternoon at 1 pm (webcast). He's expected to propose a set of reforms aimed at fighting political corruption. Among the proposals: terms limits for legislators and a requirement that legislators disclose their outside income. [NYT] [TU]

The executive director of the Capital District YMCA said last night at a community meeting that the Washington Ave location -- which is on the verge of closing -- lost almost $400k last year. He said the location currently has 1800 memberships -- and, to stay open, needs 2500 by April and 3500 by the end of the year. About 400 people showed up for the meeting. [TU] [@sebastienbarre] [ACO]

The Duanesburg Central School District announced yesterday that almost $3 million had been stolen from its accounts electronically last month. The district says about $2.5 million has been recovered. The theft came to light after the district's bank flagged a transaction to an overseas bank account. A district official says they thought they had "the proper safeguards in place" to prevent such a crime. The FBI and state police are investigating. The district says it does not believe the theft was an inside job. The district has a budget of $15 million. [Daily Gazette $] [CapNews9] [CBS6] [WTEN] [Fox23] [TU] [WNYT]

After years of planning, the Albany Police Department recently installed cameras in its patrol cars. Here's press release explaining how the system works. [TU] [APD]

(there's more)

Thruway tolls increase, Albany schools to use lottery, the weekend in crime, the first baby of 2010

Thruway tolls went up five percent on Sunday, for both cash and EZ-Pass. State comptroller Tom DiNapoli criticized the increase, calling it "the last thing New Yorkers need now." [AP/Saratogian] [Fox23] [NYS OSC] [WNYT]

A 78-year-old woman was killed in Schenectady Saturday night after she was struck by a pick-up truck while crossing State Street near Proctors. The woman had been volunteering at the theater. The SPD says it's investigating the accident. [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Fox23] [CapNews9]

Troy police say a man stole an idling SUV -- with two kids in it -- from outside a grocery store Friday morning. The TPD says the kids were found 45 minutes later, unharmed, along with the SUV. They say the suspect was arrested later that day. [Troy Record] [TU] [Troy Record]

Officials from the YMCA will be holding a meeting with the public this week to talk about what might be done to save the Washington Ave location in Albany. [Troy Record]

The Albany school district will be switching to a lottery system for filling slots in its pre-k programs. The old system was first-come-first-pick-wait-all-night. [TU]

(there's more)

State comptroller says Medicaid is "leaking" millions, 89-year-old accused of attempted murder-suicide, electricity rates going up, The Missile pleads guilty

State comptroller Tom DiNapoli reported yesterday that New York's Medicaid system is "leaking" millions of dollars. He says the program lost $92 million over the last five years to errors, improper payments and poor record keeping. Among the improper payments cited by the comptroller: $196,000 in cab rides for a woman to travel daily from Dutchess County to Albany to visit her son. [NYS OSC] [NYT] [TU]

The Troy city council and mayor Harry Tutunjian were in court yesterday in an attempt to resolve their budget dispute. They didn't -- and now a judge will rule. [Troy Record] [TU]

Niskayuna police say an 89-year-old man tried to kill his 87-year-old sister as part of an attempted murder-suicide last week. He's been charged with attempted murder. [TU] [CapNews9]

Real estate agents say the federal first-time home buyer tax credit led to a surge in closed sales in the Capital Region last month (up 36 percent from last year, though only about 2 percent from 2007). There's still a lot of inventory. [TU] [AOA]

(there's more)

Investigation finds fraud at state forensics lab, Paterson talking about layoffs again, homeless shelters jammed, another bank robbery attempt

A investigation by the state inspector general concludes that Gary Veeder, a former state police forensic scientist, "routinely" failed to conduct a required test on fiber evidence and then lied about performing the test in case records. Twenty-six of the cases were from the Capital Region. State police say it does not appear the fraudulent testing affected any convictions. The IG's report also concludes that Veeder was able to get away with the fraudulent work for years because "laboratory staff's technical, or peer, reviews of Veeder's fiber examinations were substandard, overlooking obvious indications that Veeder had omitted the required fiber test." State police say they're bringing in an outside consultant to address the problem. Veeder is now dead -- he committed suicide at his home in Vorheesville last year. [NYS IG] [Fox23] [WNYT] [NYT] [TU]

The Saratoga County sheriff's deputy accused of forcing an acquaintance to perform a sex act on him while he was on duty has been indicted on 11 new charges. Saratoga County DA James Murphy says three more women have stepped forward to accuse the deputy of similar crimes. [TU] [Saratogian]

Federal prosecutors are predicting jail time for Joe Bruno. [NYDN]

David Paterson says state worker layoffs will be back on the table if state revenues continue to drop. [NYP]

Steven Raucci will stay in jail after a state appeals court affirmed a lower court's decision to deny him bail. The TU and the Daily Gazette are now suing the Schenectady school district for access to its investigation of Raucci. The district has already released a version of the report -- but it was heavily redacted. [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Daily Gazette $] [TU]

State DEC scientists report that bat populations are down 90 percent in caves where they're studying "white nose syndrome." "We don't have a lot of years to figure this out," says a DEC scientist. [NYS DEC] [TU]

(there's more)

Education groups sue over state aid, Schumer apologizes to flight attendant, police say stolen Timberlands kicked off chase, Albany councilman calls for cancellation of "Jersey Shore"

A coalition of education groups -- headed by NYSUT -- filed suit against David Paterson yesterday in attempt to eliminate the delay in education aid payments. The coalition argues that Paterson has overstepped his authority -- and the uncertainty created the action is making budgeting difficult. Paterson accused the coalition of trying to be "extra special" interest groups. [TU] [NYT] [Fox23] [Daily Politics]

Saratoga Springs' finance commissioner says the city may have to borrow money to cover the gap created by delayed state aid payments. [Saratogian]

Democrats in the Rensselaer County legislature says three incoming Republicans should not be allowed to serve in both the county legislature and their town boards. One of the incoming Republicans called the practice "totally legal." [TU] [Troy Record]

Richard Daines, New York's health commissioner, got an H1N1 shot during a photo opp yesterday. Even though flu activity in the state is decling, Daines called the flu a "tricky virus" and urged people to still get vaccinated. [CapNews9] [TU] [Fox23]

Chuck Schumer apologized yesterday for calling a flight attendant a "bitch" after she told him to stop talking on his mobile phone. Kirsten Gillibrand was sitting next to him on the plane (and apparently did end her call) and Republicans are now criticizing her for not publicly condemning Schumer's actions. [NYDN] [Politico] [NYT] [Daily Politics]

(there's more)

State school aid cuts detailed, state police report on I-90 shootout, town's bond rating downgraded to junk, the $40,000 tree

The state Division of Budget released a breakdown of how much funding would be held back from each school district as part of David Paterson's cut-for-solvency. Among the Capital Region districts, Albany took the largest hit (in absolute terms) -- $744,643. Albany's interim superintendent says the district had been anticipating the cuts and had already started trimming its budget. David Paterson said this week that the districts could eventually receive the delayed money if the state's fiscal condition improves. NYSUT is leading a coalition that plans to file suit over the delays/cuts. [Daily Politics] [CapCon] [TU] [NYT] [WTEN]

The state Board of Elections has finally approved new voting machines. [TU]

David Paterson is expected to extend anti-discrimination protections to transgender state employees today. [NYT]

A State Police investigation reports that the man at the center of January's shoot-out on I-90 was probably high on PCP and yelled for police to shoot him (which they eventually did -- he later died). They also released video of the incident from a camera in a state trooper's car. State Police say it appears the man was on the run from crimes in Connecticut. One effect of the shoot-out: the state police troop based in Loudonville is now equipped with 48 patrol semi-automatic rifles. [Daily Gazette $] [Troy Record] [Fox23] [WTEN] [CapNews9] [TU]

(there's more)

Paterson says he's cutting local aid to keep state solvent, downtown Albany Y could close, yet another bank robbery, sinkhole swallows car, more quakes in Berne

David Paterson announced yesterday that he's unilaterally withholding $750 million in aid to local governments and schools in order to keep the state solvent. Said Paterson at the announcement, "I can't say this enough: The state has run out of money. We are $1 billion short." He also blamed the legislature, again, for not addressing the state's budget gap. A spokesman for the state Senate majority called Paterson's action "self-indulgent theatrics." [TU] [NYDN] [NYO] [NYT]

A state panel's draft report, obtained by NYT, says that New York State's juvenile prisons are in such bad shape that family court judges should stop sending all but the most dangerous offenders to them. [NYT]

The lawyer for De Von Callicut, the teen accused of firing the shot that killed Richard Bailey, is trying to get Callicut's statement to police tossed because he didn't have an attorney present. [TU]

A state lawyer told a state Supreme Court judge that the planned expansion of the Albany landfill would be its last -- probably. [TU]

Saratoga Springs are investigating an early Friday morning shooting. [Saratogian]

Albany police are investigating a car-to-car shooting around noon on Saturday near Hoffman Park (map). [WNYT] [Fox23]

(there's more)

Joe Bruno convicted, state managers upset they're not getting a raise, another bank robbery, cash for clunker appliances, crackdown on deer jacking

A federal jury convicted Joe Bruno on two felony counts of mail fraud. (here's a breakdown of the counts). "It was very hard to convict him when he's done so much for the area," said the juryforewoman to the TU. As he exited the courthouse, Bruno said to reporters: "It's not over till it's over and I think it's far from over." It sounds like Bruno is already planning an appeal. He faces up to 40 years in jail and $500k in fines -- though the judge has broad sentencing discretion. [TU] [Troy Record] [TU] [Troy Record] [Buffalo News] [NYT]

The Albany County legislature has approved a budget that includes a 5.9 percent tax increase* -- and keeps 100 jobs that were slated to be cut. (*The Record says the legislature approved a budget with a 5.4 percent tax increase, as opposed to county exec Mike Breslin's proposed 5.9 percent.) [TU] [CapNews9] [Troy Record]

Schenectady police say a man was shot on Hamburg street early this morning (map). [TU]

State management and confidential employees are upset that they're not getting raises -- even though the unionized people they supervise are. [TU]

(there's more)

State Senate votes down same-sex marriage bill, Bruno trial still deliberating, alleged elderly safe robber arrested, Albany school district considers mid-year job cuts

The state Senate voted down the same-sex marriage bill 38-24. Supporters of the bill apparently thought the vote would be closer. Eight Democrats joined every Republican in the chamber in voting "no." Here's a listing of how each senator voted. [TU] [NYT] [NYDN] [CapCon]

The state Senate passed the $2.7 billion deficit reduction bill. David Paterson criticized the legislature's cuts for falling "well short" of what's actually necessary to cover the budget gap. The Senate also passed bills that reform the state's public authorities (such as the Thruway Authority) and change the pension rules for new state employees. [TU] [Daily Politics] [NYT] [NYT]

Joe Bruno Trial: the jury is still deliberating. The jury asked to have testimony read back yesterday from Jared Abbruzzese, the Loudonville businessman who bought an overvalued horse from Bruno apparently to make up for a canceled consulting contract. Oh, no: the trial seems to be affecting Uncle Joe's perma-tan (if not his loquaciousness). [TU] [Troy Record] [NYT]

After the Saratoga Springs' police and fire chiefs announced their retirements this week, Ron Kim -- the outgoing Saratoga Springs public safety commissioner -- says he's moving to hire their replacements. That's not going over well with Richard Wirth, who become public safety commissioner on January 1. [TU] [Saratogian]

(there's more)

Another round of flu shot clinics

flu shot needleAlbany County and, for the first time, Rensselaer County have free H1N1 flu shot clinics coming up. Both counties are only offering the shots to residents in priority groups. Pre-registration is required.

Details after jump.

(there's more)

Movement on state budget gap, Bruno trial jurors say they're stuck, Saratoga chiefs retiring, still no public release of plan for Harriman, police say guard was tied up during safe robbery

The state Assembly passed a deficit reduction bill during the middle of the night -- the bill falls short of making all the necessary cuts, though. The state Senate is scheduled to vote on a budget gap bill today. [NYO] [Daily Politics] [TU]

The Assembly also passed the same-sex marriage bill again. Who knows if the Senate will vote on the bill. [NYDN] [NYO]

Joe Bruno Trial: The jury said yesterday that it had reached a verdict on two counts (which ones and what verdict unknown) -- but was stuck on the six other counts. Judge Gary Sharpe then basically told them to keep trying. The Bruno camp appeared to be heartened by the development. [Troy Record] [NYT] [TU]

Saratoga Springs' police and fire chiefs announced yesterday that they're retiring. The chiefs say they hope their retirements will helps save the jobs of younger members of their departments slated for layoffs. Both chiefs make about $100k. [TU] [Saratogian] [Post-Star]

The SUNY central office says it will not be investigating allegations that SUNY Cobleskill allowed unqualified students into the school just so it could get their tuition money. The allegations are part of a suit filed by a former dean, who alleges that the school discriminated against African-American students from NYC by lowering its admission standards in order to balance its budget. [TU] [CapNews9]

(there's more)

Paterson addressing budget gap by himself, Porco appeal expected today, glut of apples this year, Salvo has to hire bell ringers

David Paterson said yesterday that he's decided to act unilaterally to save the state $1.6 billion through a series of cuts, transfers and accounting maneuvers. He also continued to blame the state Senate for the lack of progress on a deal that would close the state's $3+ budget gap. Paterson might also be considering declaring a "fiscal emergency," a move floated by John Faso. The legislature is expected to be back for a another budget gap special session today. The state is projected to have just $36 million in cash by the end of the year (the state comptroller says even less). [NYO] [Daily Politics] [NYDN] [TU] [CapNews9] [NYT] [NY Post]

Joe Bruno Trial: Jury is back for deliberations today after a break for the holiday. [CapNews9]

Christopher Porco's appeal is expected to be heard today before a state appellate court in Brooklyn. Porco's attorney recently said prosecutors in the case "took a blow torch to the constitution." [CBS6] [CapNews9]

Kirsten Gillibrand, in the area to announce an initiative aimed at protecting seniors against fraud, said the Army has not been forthcoming about details surrounding the death of Colonie soldier Amy Seyboth Tirador. [WNYT] [TU]

(there's more)

Extraordinary legislative session very ordinary, Army still investigating Colonie soldier's death, judge blocks Fort Orange Club demolition, prisoners to make new license plates

Today is Veterans Day.

Yesterday's "extraordinary" session of the state legislature produced rather ordinary results -- there was no agreement on cuts to close the state budget gap and no Senate vote on the same-sex marriage bill. Late yesterday afternoon David Paterson said he will call the legislature back next Monday and Tuesday. He also said the Senate would vote on same-sex marriage "at a date not certain between now and the end of the year." [TU] [NYT] [Daily Politics] [NYO]

Joe Bruno trial Day Seven: the business manager of a Saratoga County plumbers union testified that Bruno recommended Wright Investment Services -- and didn't mention that he was a consultant for the firm. The union also got two state grants, perhaps at Bruno's discretion, around the time it invested $4 million with Wright -- and the timing of those came up yesterday during testimony by state Senator Betty Little. After one of Bruno's attorneys tried to introduce five years of member items as evidence, Judge Gary Sharpe scolded both sides. "This trial has lost its way for a long time. This is not an election campaign," he said. [Troy Record] [TU] [Fox23] [NYT]

The Army says "the facts and circumstances" surrounding the death of Colonie soldier Amy Seyboth Tirador in Iraq are "still under investigation." The military has called Seyboth Tirador's death "non-combat-related" -- her family has been telling the media that she was shot in the back of the head on a base in Kirkush. [TU]

The condition of 12 bridges in the Capital Region -- and 110 upstate bridges in total -- scored lower on state inspections than the now-closed Champlain Bridge, according to an analysis by a group of upstate legislators. There was a rally outside the Capitol yesterday calling for more state funding for upstate bridge maintenance. [TU] [Fox23]

The Troy city council has proposed budgets cuts it says will hold next year's tax increase to 2.2 percent. The slate of cuts includes the elimination of a handful of city jobs, including the commissioner of public works and the mayor's spokesperson. [TU] [Troy Record]

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Legislature back today, Tonko and Murphy split on health care vote, the weekend in stabbings, police chase half-naked suspect through Watervliet

The legislature is back this week for at least a few days. Today's schedule includes a joint session this afternoon in which David Paterson will speak about the state budget gap (whatever size it may be). A special session is schedule tomorrow to take up measures to address the gap -- and, maybe for the state Senate to vote on the same-sex marriage bill. [Fox23] [TU] [NYDN] [Daily Politics]

The two local House members split on the health care reform vote his past weekend. Paul Tonko voted "yes" -- in a statement he said the bill will provide coverage to 22,000 people in his district. Scott Murphy voted "no" -- in a statement, he said the bill didn't do enough to curb costs. Murphy was one of 39 Democrats to vote against the bill -- and one of three from New York. [TU] [Paul Tonko] [Scott Murphy] [NYT] [Daily Politics]

The Army has called the death of Colonie solider Amy Seyboth Tirador "a non-combat related incident" in Iraq. But her family says the staff sergeant was shot in the back of the head -- though beyond that, they say the military hasn't given them any more details. [Fort Lewis press release] [CBS6] [Fox23]

Week two of the Joe Bruno trial begins today. On a Friday Leonard Fassler, a longtime associate of Bruno, testified that the senator set up meetings with government officials, including then-Governor Pataki, for companies which were paying him consulting fees. Fassler said the consulting fees were paid to Bruno because he helped Fassler become a "better executive." [CBS6] [TU] [Troy Record]

(there's more)

Paterson calls special session to address budget, Colonie solider dies in Iraq, Schenectady County ranks high for domestic violence reports, more H1N1 vaccine arriving

David Paterson has officially called a special session of the legislature for next Tuesday. Among the issues on the slate for the session: budget cuts to close the $3.2 billion gap and same-sex marriage. Paterson has also called for a joint session on Monday so he can he address the legislature about the budget gap. It sounds like many Senate Democrats won't attend, though -- a "senior official" called the session a "photo op" for Paterson. Neil Breslin says he intends to attend. [NYO [TU] [Daily Politics] [AP/Saratogian] [CapNews9]

Joe Bruno trial Day 4: labor union officials testified that Bruno approached them about using the investment firm for which he consulted to manage their pensions -- but they said there was never an exchange of legislative influence or favors for the business. A TU analysis indicates that unions that did business with Bruno's firm did get grants from the state labor department directly or indirectly through Bruno. [Troy Record] [TU] [TU]

The family of an Army soldier from Colonie says she died in Iraq this week. Amy Seyboth Tirador had been serving as an Arabic-language interpreter. [TU] [WTEN]

It sounds like the Rensselaer County DA's office and the Troy Police Department were not on the same page for the arrest of the suspect in the Second Street homicide. The suspect was released on his own recognizance this week after the DA's office said it wasn't ready for a preliminary hearing. [Troy Record] [Fox23]

(there's more)

Human skull fragments in Saratoga County, flu hitting some schools, school board hears Whalen appeal, Rensselaer stations Amtrak's 10th busiest

State police say fragments of a human skull were found in a wooded area in Greenfield (map). They say it appears the skull belonged to a child 10-12 years old. The state police lab will be testing the fragments for DNA. [TU] [Fox23] [Saratogian] [CapNews9]

The Empire Center reports that 1.5 million New Yorkers have moved out of the state since 2000. The one area to show a population gain: the Capital Region. [Empire Center] [CapNews9] [Post-Star]

A spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration says judges are leaving the bench because "they can't make ends meet" on their $136,700 salary. The state's judiciary has been pushing for a pay raise for years. [TU]

Albany police say four men, armed with guns, invaded a house on Washington Ave yesterday (map). Police say the it appears the house was targeted. They say the robbers used zip-ties to tie up seven people in the house. [Fox23] [CapNews9] [TU]

Some Capital Region schools are reporting higher than usual rates of absenteeism because of the flu. Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons cancelled classes yesterday because so many students were sick. [TU] [WTEN]

(there's more)

Thomas found guilty, guilty plea in 40 year old murder, home sales falling through, upstate teaching jobs in high demand, busy beavers causing trouble

A jury found Adrian Thomas guilty of second-degree murder in the case of his infant son's death. The jury reached the decision Friday afternoon after 25 hours of deliberation. Thomas' stepmother says the verdict was influenced by race -- eleven of the jurors were white and one was African-American. Sentencing is scheduled for November 12. Thomas' attorneys say they will appeal. [Troy Record] [TU] [WTEN] [Fox23] [WNYT] [CBS6]

Nelson Costello, the man accused of killing David Bacon 40 years ago in Waterford, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Friday. Recordings of phone conversations between Costello and witness apparently helped prompt the plea. Costello's attorney says his client is remorseful and "almost wants to be punished." Costello has apparently agreed to help officials find Bacon's body in Virginia. [TU] [Saratogian] [WTEN] [WNYT]

There's been yet another report of an attempted abduction, this time in Albany (map). [Fox23] [WNYT]

Archaelogists have found the skeleton of an infant at the former grave site turned up during the Delaware Ave reconstruction in Albany. The remains will be re-buried at a cemetery in Glenmont. [CapNews9] [TU]

David Paterson has scheduled a special session of the legislature for November 10 to address the budget gap. He also wants a joint session on November 9. [NYO] [CapNews9]

(there's more)

Court halts mandatory flu shots for health workers, stabbing in Glenmont, small pumpkin crop, Paterson-Schwarzenegger friendship

A state Supreme Court judge has issued a temporary halt to the state-mandated flu shots for health care workers. A handful of lawsuits, including one filed by three Albany Med nurses, argue that state Department of Health overstepped its authority in requiring the vaccinations. The state health department says it's "confident that the regulation will be upheld." [NYT] [TU] [AP/Troy Record] [WTEN]

Neil Breslin and a group of other state senators are calling for Hiram Monserrate, recently convicted of misdemeanor assault, to quit -- or get kicked out of the Senate. Breslin said that Monserrate's exit is a necessary step toward the state Senate earning back the public's trust. [TU] [AP/Troy Record]

Shop owners and residents near Hackett Middle School in Albany say students have been causing a bunch of problems right after school as they walk through the neighborhood (map). [TU]

Investors with an Albany investment company currently under federal investigation say they raised red flags about the operation more than two years ago. [TU]

(there's more)

Shooting in Troy, school board revises bike-to-school ban, state's high court hears same-sex marriage cases, state grants millions for Albany hotel redevelopment

Troy police say a man was shot in the head last night in South Troy (map). They say they're looking for a male suspect. The victim was in critical condition last night. [CapNews9] [Troy Record] [CBS6]

An indictment against Chad Rubin, the convicted bank robber accused of plotting to kidnap former Rensselaer County DA Patricia DeAngelis, alleges that the man planned a robbery of the same bank to finance his alleged plot. He's also accused of plotting to kill bank employees and members of the prosecutor's office. An attorney from outside the public defender's office had to be found to represent Rubin because the indictment alleges that he made threats against people in that office, too. The current Rensselaer County DA said yesterday that he thought Rubin probably wouldn't have been able to carry out the alleged plot. [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT] [Fox23]

Matthew Whalen, the Lansingburgh High School honors student and Eagle Scout who was suspended for having a pocket knife in an emergency kit in his locked car in the school's parking lot, appeared on Fox News yesterday. The Lansingburgh school superintendent said yesterday that he thought Whalen's 20-day suspension was "appropriate and fair." The district says it has a "zero tolerance" policy on weapons. [WTEN] [FoxNews] [TU] [Troy Record]

The New York Civil Liberties called for the state Department of Health to suspend the requirement that all health care workers get flu shots. The four nurses suing the state over the issue are planning a protest at the Capitol today. The state health commissioner said yesterday that the flu shot mandate is in the interest of patients, communities and health care workers. [NYT] [Troy Record] [WTEN]

The Saratoga Springs school board has revised its ban on biking to school. The new rule allows kids to ride to school, though with a number of qualifications. That didn't go over well with the mother of the boy who's been riding to school in protest of the ban. [TU] [Saratogian] [Post-Star]

(there's more)

Nurses say they're suing over flu shot requirement, couple accused of abandoning dogs, car registration stickers not sticking, cities try to solve crow problem, fish pedicure ban proposed

Four Albany Med nurses are filing a lawsuit against the state health commissioner over the state's flu shot requirement for health care workers. The nurses say the requirement is a violation of their civil liberties. One of them says they "don't believe in" the vaccine. The nurses could be suspended -- and later fired -- if they don't get the shot. Their attorney says they'll quit if the state doesn't drop the requirement. [TU] [CapNews9] [WNYT] [WTEN] [Troy Record]

An East Greenbush woman says the incident in which a teenager was allegedly thrown onto a bonfire last week is just part of a string of ongoing violence between two rival groups in the town. The mother of the burned teen says the alleged attack was racially motivated. [WTEN] [WTEN]

State police have arrested two people in Rensselaer County for allegedly abandoning their dogs with no food or water in a house. Police accuse the couple of moving to a new house -- and leaving the dogs behind. The dogs were found -- hungry and thirsty -- last week after a neighbor noticed them. Police say the couple had moved out weeks before. Shelter workers say it looks like the dogs will be OK. [Fox23] [CapNews9] [CBS6] [Troy Record] [WNYT]

Two Delmar women are pushing for a Bethlehem town law that would require cat owners to keep their pets in doors. The women say their neighborhood as become overrun with cat poop -- "You can't even walk around the circle without the scent of cat urine and feces knocking you down," says one of them. [TU] [Spotlight]

(there's more)

Jurors watch video of father's admission, teacher alleges assessment test cheating, reported indictment in alleged plot against former DA, bank moves to foreclose on Cannon Building

Jurors in the trial of Adrian Thomas, the Troy man accused of causing the death of his infant son, watched video of his interrogation yesterday in which he demonstrated how he threw his son down on a bed. The demonstration came after hours of interrogation and a good cop/bad cop routine by Troy police detectives. Thomas' defense is arguing the admission was coerced. [WTEN][TU] [Troy Record]

NYRA has extended next year's Saratoga racing season by four days -- for a total of 40 days. The extended season will include a Grade 1 stakes race that was previously held at Belmont. Saratoga business owners seemed pretty happy about the longer season. [TU] [Post-Star] [Saratogian]

Downtown Saratoga business owners aren't so happy about the proposed plan for paid parking. [Saratogian]

One of the teachers who alleges that she was being secretly videotaped at an Albany charter school has accused the school of letting students cheat on assessment tests. The executive director of the Brighter Choice foundation, which backs the school, says they're looking into the "serious allegations." [Troy Record] [CapNews9]

Albany police say a 19-year-old was stabbed in the Grand Street neighborhood yesterday afternoon (map). The man was reportedly in critical condition last night. Police say it appears the stabbing was part of a street fight. Neighbors held a peace vigil near the scene of the crime yesterday evening. [CBS6] [CapNews9] [Fox23] [TU]

(there's more)

Finger pointed at "chief finger pointer," Luther Forest reportedly beat out Brazil and China, Schumer and Gillibrand hedge on Paterson, microloans in Watervliet

chester arthur birthday

A ceremony commemorating the 180th birthday of President Chester A. Arthur yesterday at his grave in the Albany Rural Cemetery. (Photo: Matt Ryan)

Democrats in Rensselaer County have hit back at allegations of absentee ballot fraud by accusing Republicans of similar electoral wrongdoing. The Dems are focusing their attention of Republican Bob Mirch, who they're calling -- we kid you not -- the "chief finger pointer." [TU] [Troy Record]

Brian Stratton's proposed Schenectady budget includes an almost 6 percent tax increase. Stratton says the city is facing "challenging times," which include big increases in pension and healthcare costs. [TU] [Fox23]

Albany police say a 16-year-old girl reported being temporarily abducted on Second Street yesterday. It's the second reported abduction attempt in the city in a week. [CBS6] [Fox23]

GlobalFoundries chairman Hector Ruiz told the National Press Club that Luther Forest beat out sites in Brazil, China and Russia for the new chip fab. [TU]

(there's more)

Special prosecutor appointed for Troy absentee ballot case, Breslin reportedly calls Espada a crook, healthcare workers protest flu shot requirement, brown bats threatened by fungus

A special prosecutor has been appointed to look into the allegations of absentee ballot fraud in Troy. The city housing authority has also locked down the office an employee accused of participating in the alleged scheme, which would have benefited Democrats. Democratic city councilman Clem Campana said yesterday he's "done nothing wrong." And the Rensselaer County Democratic chairman struck back at Republican Bob Mirch, who brought the alleged to scheme light, saying, "Mirch wrote the book on absentee ballot corruption." [Troy Record] [TU] [CapNews9] [WTEN]

Neil Breslin reportedly told a church crowd in Bethlehem this past weekend that Pedro Espada is a "crook" who "should be in jail." He also apparently told the crowd that Espada doesn't actually live in his Bronx district. Breslin has been talking recently about organizing a reform group in the state Senate because he's "embarrassed" by what's gone on in the chamber. [PolitickerNY] [Jay Gallagher] [Daily Politics]

De Von Callicutt, the 19-year-old accused of firing that shot that killed UAlbany student Richard Bailey, showed up in court yesterday without a lawyer. That's the second time his arraignment has been delayed for that reason. Callicutt is already in state prison for a different crime. [TU] [WTEN] [CapNews9]

Schenectady police have arrested a man for last September's Albany St. murder. [TU]

Personal information for 300,000 state and local employees could be at risk because of a security breach at Express Scripts, the company that manages pharmacy benefits for the Empire Plan. Hackers apparently stole the information last year and have been trying to extort the company. Letters notifying people of the breach went out to some local state workers during the past two weeks. [TU] [CNET] [Fox23] [CBS6]

Saratoga Springs' school superintendent says the district may reconsider its ban on elementary and middle school students biking or walking to school. [TU]

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Voter fraud alleged in Troy, VFW punishes alleged flag burner with duct-taping, big chunk of downtown Albany for sale, mass Thriller dance planned

Thirty-four people in Troy have filed sworn affidavits alleging that absentee ballots were fraudulently cast in their name during the recent primary election. The ballots were handled by or prepared for officials of the Democratic and Working Family Parties. The Rensselaer County DA is asking for a judge to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate. The affidavits were collected by private investigators working for Republican Bob Mirch, who says he will call for a federal investigation. [Troy Record] [TU] [TU] [CBS6]

Troy police have arrested a suspect for the shooting that hit a man in the head two weeks ago. The victim, who witnesses say had told a group of teens outside his house to quiet down and then was taking pictures of a fight that later broke out, is still in the hospital. [Troy Record] [WNYT] [Fox23] [CapNews9]

Members of a VFW in Rensselaer County say they duct-taped a man to a flag pole for six hours as punishment after the man allegedly burned the American flag flying at their post. The man reportedly had gotten angry after he was denied a drink at the post's bar. The post's commander says the man was given three options for punishment: being turned into police, a one-on-one fight with a veteran or the duct-taping. [WTEN] [Troy Record] [TU]

Jerry Jennings has proposed using land from the Harriman State Office Campus to allow a buffer zone between the dorm UAlbany wants to build on the east side of its campus and the residential neighborhood next door. Many of the residents of the neighborhood are not happy about the proposed dorm and have been posting developments about the project to a blog. [TU]

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Obama at HVCC today, Bruno not invited, Paterson told to drop out, transcript indicates chief used slur, men accused of blowing up turtle

obama hvcc before

The scene this morning before the event.

President Obama's appearance at HVCC today is scheduled for 11:30 am. There were no tickets made available to the public. Video from the event will be streamed on HVCC's web site. Update: Lou's posted details about how to get the stream working. [HVCC] [HVCC]

Obama's speech is expected to focus on the economy and industries such as alternative energy. HVCC was likely chosen because the Obama Administration has been touting the potential of community colleges to train workers for these industries. [Troy Record] [TU]

The usual assortment of state and local politicians will be at the Obama event -- including Paul Tonko, who's flying in on Air Force One with the POTUS. [TU] [Fox23]

Not on that list of officials: Joe Bruno, who says the White House told him specifically that he was not invited -- and told WNYT that he's "hurt by it." Bruno's pork prowess helped fund many of the projects Obama will be highlighting. [WNYT] [TU]

The White House has reportedly asked David Paterson to drop out of the 2010 gubernatorial race. Paterson says he's still planning to run. The President is expected to meet with Paterson today during his visit to the Capital Region -- and with gubernatorial candidate state attorney general Andrew Cuomo. [NYT] [AP/Troy Record] [NYDN]

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Rumors of Obama visit to the area, Paterson says layoffs on the table, more complaints about student behavior, a big garage sale mistake

It's primary day. Polls are open from noon to 9 pm. If you're not sure where to vote, you can look it up at the State Board of Elections site.

Rumors are swirling that President Obama will make an appearance the site of the GlobalFoundries chip fab project in Malta. A source tells the TU that the Obama Administration is "considering" it. WNYT reports that the Secret Service has been doing advance work. A source tells CBS6 that the White House has been interested in the chip fab and how community colleges are involved in training workers. A spokesman for GloFo told the Post-Star that he didn't know "anything definite." [TU] [WNYT] [CBS6] [Post-Star]

Troy Police say they're still trying to piece together the details of the incident that led to a man getting shot in the head. Neighbors say the man had told the group of teenagers in the street to quiet down before the shooting. One neighbor says the shooting "could have been prevented" because residents called police before it happened. Six teens have been arrested for fighting outside the house. [Troy Record] [TU] [WTEN] [WNYT]

The man police say was the shooter in the Second Street murder last month in Albany says he heard shots at the party and ran away. [TU]

David Paterson said yesterday that "everything is on the table" -- including state worker layoffs and furloughs -- in the discussion about how to close the $2.1 billion midyear budget gap. He's called a leaders meeting to work on the cuts. [PolitickerNY] [Daily Politics]

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Man shot in head, mother and son defy bike-to-school ban, state investigating suspicious fires, odd math on state test, ghost cats

Troy police say a man was shot in the head Sunday morning during a fight (map). The man is expected to survive. Police say the man may not have been the target of the shot -- though neighbors say the man, who lived on the street, was fired at for taking pictures of the scrum. [TU] [Troy Record] [Fox23]

Albany police have arrested a Troy man for the August 30 Second Street murder. Police say there may have been a confrontation between the two men before the shooting. The APD says witnesses at the party where the shooting occurred were initially reluctant to cooperate with the investigation. [TU] [Troy Record] [Fox23]

Schaghticoke fire officials say there was another suspicious fire this weekend. The state is now organizing a task force to investigate a string of 10 suspicious fires around the town. [Fox23] [TU]

A Troy City Hall inter-office memo warns of big tax increases in the city next year if it can't find a way to make budget cuts. [Troy Record]

The Saratoga mother and son who got in trouble for biking to school last spring defied the districts' no-biking-to-school rule by pedaling to the first day of class last week. [Saratogian]

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Second murder in Albany this month, Summer Bird wins Travers, hospital employees required to get flu shots, party invitation causes kerfuffle

2nd Street murder

The scene outside 327 Second Street in Albany, where police say a man was shot and killed this past weekend during a party. (Photo by Paul Esmond)

Albany police say a Troy man was shot and killed in a basement apartment in West Hill early Sunday morning (map). There apparently had been a party at the house. Police say they don't have suspects or a motive, yet. It was the fifth murder in Albany this year. [TU] [Troy Record] [Fox23 [WNYT]

Police have arrested another suspect in this month's Western Ave murder in Albany. This second suspect, who's been charged with second degree murder, just turned 16. [WNYT] [TU]

Summer Bird won the Travers by 3.5 lengths on Saturday. The horse also won the Belmont and is the son of Marylou Whitney's Birdstone, who also won the Belmont and Travers in 2004. Rain kept attendance to 34,221 -- the smallest crowd in 30 years. Among those in attendance: David Paterson. [CapNews9] [Post-Star] [Saratogian] [CapNews9]

Backstretch workers at The Track still haven't seen most of the money a state investigation concluded is owed to them by horse trainers. [TU]

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Jennings and Ellis spar over vacant buildings, state Senate paying lease on empty offices, Joe Bruno still alive, socialite's tiny dogs on display

Jerry Jennings and mayoral candidate Corey Ellis went back and forth yesterday over vacant buildings and the city's plan to paint boarded up windows to look like real windows. At a press conference on Henry Johnson, Jennings said the painted boards will help deter crime. At his own presser nearby, Ellis said "There's not enough paint in this city to solve these problems." [TU] [WNYT] [CitizenAction YouTube via PolitickerNY]

A former state Senate employee has alleged that David Paterson was having an affair with a staffer while he was lieutenant governor. That prompted a lawyer for the alleged mistress to call the former staffer "a lying weasel." [NYT]

The state Senate is paying $1.5 million on a lease for empty office space near the Capitol. [TU]

The Schenectady Free Health Clinic is on the verge of closing after its state funding didn't get renewed. [TU]

Saratoga public safety commissioner -- and mayoral candidate -- Ron Kim says the Saratogian has been too lax in allowing what he calls racist comments to be posted on its web site. (Kim is part Korean and apparently some of the comments make references to him being like Kim Jong Il). The Saratogian says Kim didn't report the offensive comments to the paper. [TU] [Saratogian]

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Espada's son resigning from Senate job, sheriff's deputy arrested, council members got ghost tickets, Novella says she's changed, Skidmore's rep up in smoke

Pedro Espada says his son will be resigning the $120k/year state Senate job that was created for him. The resignation comes after Andrew Cuomo's office said it was looking into whether the hiring violated state ethics laws. It also came out yesterday that Pedro the Younger apparently had not been showing up for his new job. Big Pedro said last night the resignation was "appropriate," though he continued to insist the hiring had not been nepotism. [TU] [NYT] [NY Post] [Daily Politics]

Also among the state Senate Democrats' recent hires: a former member of the governor's staff who was let go after the state Inspector General's office described him as "immature," "irresponsible" and "ill-suited." [TU]

A Saratoga County Sheriff's deputy was arrested Tuesday night after a woman accused him of forcing her into a sex act with him. The sheriff's department says the deputy was on duty in his uniform -- and the woman in his patrol car -- when the alleged act occurred (the Gazette says it was oral). The deputy and woman apparently already knew each other. [TU] [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette] [Post-Star]

Colonie supervisor Paula Mahan says the town's $19.5 million deficit has almost been cut in half. The special one-time deficit reduction tax accounted for $5.5 million. Mike Hoblock, Mahan's Republican opponent for the supervisor position, questioned whether the town was really that far in the hole to start. [CBS6] [CapNews9] [TU]

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Albany County closer to requiring menu calorie counts, state facing huge infrastructure costs, call for community policing, new state tax credit for home buyers, Dubai ruler sheiks up yearling sale

The Albany County legislature has passed a law requiring that chain restaurants post calorie counts on menus. If county exec Mike Breslin signs the bill, it would take effect next February. New York City already has such a law. [TU] [CapNews9] [CBS6]

The Albany County legislature also passed a bill that bans Bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles and sippy cups. [Troy Record]

The state comptroller says New York is facing $250 billion in infrastructure repair costs over the next two decades -- and where all the money will come from is unclear (controller's office report). [CBS6]

State Senate majority Democrats have created a $120k/year job for Pedro Espada's son. [NY Mag]

Scott Murphy has been holding "Congress on Your Corner" meetings with constituents around his district to talk about health care reform -- he was in Saratoga and Rensselaer counties yesterday. Murphy says he's in favor of a health insurance mandate. [CapNews9] [Post-Star]

Hoping to make use of David Paterson's low poll numbers, national Republicans have been referring to Kirsten Gillibrand as "Paterson-appointee Kirsten Gillibrand." [NYT]

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The Grafton Peace Pagoda

Grafton Peace Pagoda .jpg

The Grafton Peace Pagoda

By Jessica Pasko

A peace pagoda sounds like something you'd have to trek to Nepal to find, right? Uh-uh. There's a gorgeous one right in Rensselaer County, in the quiet little town of Grafton.

The Grafton Peace Pagoda is a lovely spot that's home to a famed Buddhist nun .

Here's the scoop.

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Authorities say alleged kidnapper knew gang members, Paterson hires friend despite hiring freeze, USPS says closure list is A STUDY, Unhappy Meals distributed

Authorities say the man accused of kidnapping a woman in downtown Saratoga Springs recently did know the two alleged Salvadoran gang members arrested this week. The Saratoga DA is asking people to take photos of unusual graffiti and send them to police so the tags can be investigated for connections to gangs. [Saratogian] [Saratogian]

Colonie's town council has approved a measure that would limit the number of sex offenders who can reside in a single hotel or motel. Leaders were concerned that a strip of motels along Central Ave had become a hot spot for sex offenders -- one motel reportedly has 25 sex offenders staying at it. [CapNews9] [CBS6]

David Paterson signed an executive order that sets a state goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels. New York's current level is 290 million tons -- 23 million tons more than in 1990. [TU] [AP/Saratogian]

Despite a state freeze on hiring, David Paterson added a longtime friend -- and fellow club partier -- to a $88k job in a state office in DC. The woman was reportedly "imposed" on the office. [NYDN] [NYP]

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Another gap in the state budget, foreclosure rates stay low, authority moves to buy Albany's oldest building, big plans for bus rapid transit

The state Division of Budget is projecting that New York will be short $2.1 billion during this fiscal year. The reason: less-than-expected revenues from both income and sales taxes. The projected gap will probably bring the legislature back into session in September. [NYS DoB] [NYT] [TU]

A state appeals court has ruled that Richard Ravitch can serve as lieutenant governor until the legality of his appointment is argued in court August 18. One catch: he's not allowed to preside over the state Senate or cast tie-breaking votes in the chamber. Ravitch says he been working on budget issues in the administration. [Daily Politics] [Biz Review] [Fox23]

A handful of state governors will be in Saratoga this weekend for eating, drinking, horse racing and partying a conference hosted by David Paterson. [Daily Politics]

Albany police say a man -- dressed as a woman -- stabbed a stylist at a salon on North Lake in yesterday. Police say the man then ran off with the woman's purse before being arrested. [CapNews9] [CBS6]

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Arrest in Saratoga kidnapping case, suit alleges Raucci cut off heat to classroom, assemblyman says four day week a "no-brainer," Union disputes party school tag

Saratoga Springs police say they have arrested the man whom they allege is responsible for the kidnapping and attempted rape of a woman last Thursday night (map). The man -- who's an illegal immigrant -- has been charged with felony kidnapping and felony robbery (he's accused of taking off with $500). Police continued to praise the woman for her moxie in being able to escape from the attack. Authorities say they're investigating whether the man was involved with another similar crime in Lake George. [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette] [CapNews9] [Post-Star] [TU]

Yet another lawsuit filed over the alleged conduct of Steven Raucci accuses the former Schenectady school district employee of cutting off the heat to a teacher's classroom after her husband -- who worked for Raucci -- indicated he might challenge Raucci for a union leadership position. [Daily Gazette]

David Paterson has requested that the USDA declare 17 counties, including the Capital Region, agricultural disaster areas. The damp, cloudy summer has been miserable for farmers. [CBS6] [Daily Gazette]

New York State's new education commissioner is David Steiner, who was a dean at Hunter College in NYC. He said yesterday that he will focus on improving teacher performance. [NYT] [TU]

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Ravitch appointment temporarily unblocked, Schenectady woman set on fire, New York State owes back taxes on The Track, man saved by Pork Chop

A state appellate judge has temporarily blocked the injunction that blocked Richard Ravitch from acting as lieutenant governor. Republicans get a chance on Monday to argue that Ravitch should be re-blocked. The fight over the constitutionality of Ravitch's appointment could drag on for months -- and will probably end up in the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court. [AP/CapNews9] [NYT] [NYDN]

Schenectady police say a woman was set on fire last night during what appears to have been an argument. Police say the woman was in so much pain that she wasn't able to give them any details about the attack. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [CBS6]

Said Ron Kim during his announcement yesterday that he's running for mayor of Saratoga Springs: "There is nothing wrong with this city that can't be fixed." Kim says his administration would focus on open government, fixing the city budget and a new public safety building. Kim, a Democrat, will face Republican incumbent Scott Johnson. The two candidates were already doing some trash talking yesterday. [Saratogian] [TU] [CapNews9]

The three Democrats running for mayor of Albany will be at a candidate forum tonight at St. Sophia's. The forum will focus on senior citizens issues and will include a Q&A session. [TU] [CapNews9]

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Attorney calls ESP man cave allegations overblown, SPAC ticket surchage floated, Tedisco proposes "Madoff Bill," DEC building urinals criticized for backsplash

An attorney for one of the men accused of setting up a "man cave" in the ESP for smoking pot instead described the space as "a break room" and called the allegations "overblown." One of the accused men has a criminal record -- and there are some questions about whether the state knew that before hiring him. [TU] [CBS6]

The Albany Common Council has passed a resolution that calls on public agencies to not ask a person about his/her immigration status if that person is "not posing a threat." The resolution is non-binding. [TU] [CBS6] [Fox23]

Saratoga Springs' finance commissioner has floated the idea of tacking on a $2 surcharge to rock and pop concert tickets at SPAC. The fee could bring in as much as $500k. SPAC's executive director said the venue is "firmly opposed" to the proposed fee and called it "an onerous tax." [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Saratogian]

The Troy Fire Department says mayor Harry Tutunjian has asked it to tour the RPI campus -- EMPAC in particular -- to get a better sense of the layout of campus buildings. The TFD has been lobbying for RPI to pay a public safety fee to fund additional fire coverage of the campus. [TU]

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Game on in state Senate, documents indicate district officials may have known about Raucci, police say man used child as shield, popular Phish camp closed

The state Senate is back in session today, though it seems no one really knows what's going to happen. The session could take up NYC-related legislation -- or it could focus on reforming pork distribution. One possible complication: Democrats will only have a 31-30 majority because one of their members is on his honeymoon. [AP/Troy Record] [TU] [NYP]

David Paterson apparently wasn't a fan of the Democratic leadership signing Happy Birthday at their post-game press conference last week. Maybe he's just annoyed that he had to take time out from fund raising because of the Senate mess. [Daily Politics] [NYT]

Longtime Capital Region car dealer Ken Gowey says he's running for governor. His platform includes big tax cuts and belief that "man-made global warming" is a "boondoggle." [TU]

Documents filed as part of a lawsuit against the Schenectady School District indicate that district officials may have known about Steven Raucci's alleged acts of harassment as early as 2005. The documents include handwritten notes from the district's HR director that originally appeared as part of a workers compensation claim against the district. That claim alleged that an employee who worked under Raucci suffered emotional harm because of harassment. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

A state Supreme Court judge has struck down Albany County's sex offender residency law because it's superceded by state law. A similar law in Rensselaer County was tossed recently for the same reason. [TU]

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State comptroller says he'll stop senators' pay, officials say fatal Schenectady fire was arson, Troy's Cannon Building could be closed, WTEN going up for auction

State comptroller Tom DiNapoli says he will withhold state senators' pay because of the Senate standoff. There's some question as to whether DiNapoli can legally do that -- and a spokesman for Senate Democrats has already said they'll sue if the comptroller actually goes through with it. [NYT] [NYDN] [TU]

There didn't appear to be an significant progress toward a resolution of the state Senate mess yesterday, though the two sides did talk. David Paterson asked the public for ideas about how to fix the situation. [Daily Politics] [Capitol Tonight]

One group that's made OK in all this: lawyers. [Capitol Tonight]

With another "extraordinary" session planned for tomorrow, senators were making Fourth of July plans. Among them: conjugal visits, fireworks at the ESP, laundry and reading "computer mail." [NYDN] [NYT]

Schenectady County DA Robert Carney says the fire that killed a 10-year-old girl in Schenectady last month was intentionally set by woman who was upset with the girl's mother. The woman has been charged with murder and arson. Carney says he doesn't think the woman intended to kill the child. The girl's mother was not home at the time of the fire -- she's been charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Three firefighters were injured while trying to save the girl. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Fox23] [CBS6]

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State senators agree to hate on David Paterson, landfill expansion gets official OK from DEC, Troy dog park becomes political squabble, Dino looking for big tax breaks, rabid fox alert, gastropub opening in Saratoga

The state Senate's two caucuses held separate, brief -- and pointless -- sessions yesterday. The two sides apparently are close to working out some sort of deal to share power -- and asked for more time to negotiate. David Paterson essentially told them to stuff it and called another "extraordinary" session for today. He also directed the state treasurer to withhold senators' per diems. [Daily Politics] [NYT] [PolitickerNY]

One thing senators of both sides can apparently agree on: they're annoyed with David Paterson. Brooklyn Dem Kevin Park even called Paterson a "coke snorting, staff-banging governor" (he later retracted his comment -- at least he didn't hit the governor). Paterson said it's not him versus the legislature, but rather "governance versus chaos." [Newsday] [PolitickerNY] [NYDN] [TU]

It looks like the Senate chaos has put the same-sex marriage bill on hold indefinitely. [AP/Daily Gazette]

Former state health commissioner Antonia Novello has pleaded guilty in the case that alleged she used her state employees as personal assistants. She's getting off with no jail time, but will have to do community service, pay $22,500 in restitution and pay a small fine. [TU] [AP/Daily Gazette]

A spokesman for Rick Lazio says the former Long Island congressman and US Senate candidate "fully intends" to run for Governor of New York. Lazio has called for New York to replace the Assembly and Senate with a unicameral legislature. [AP/TU] [Daily Politics]

A draft of the Albany Common Council's ghost ticket investigation report concludes that the "intent of the system itself was not bad ... it was the impropriety in how the benefit was granted that is a cause for concern." One version of the draft report also apparently includes sharp criticism of city treasurer Betty Barnette's office. [TU]

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Paterson calls special Senate session, twins die in accident, lottery winner allegedly sold crack, man accused of syruping gas tanks

David Paterson is calling the state Senate into special session this afternoon. Whether anything of actual substance will happen is uncertain, though -- in large part because it's not clear who will be running the chamber. Paterson can set the agenda -- and he's putting up 90 largely uncontroversial bills for consideration (he can't make the senators vote, though). When/if the bills are voted on, Paterson says he'll keep the Senate in session for bills related to "reform, fiscal discipline and also civil rights." One of those bills is probably the same-sex marriage bill, though Paterson didn't say that exactly -- probably because Democrat, and outspoken same-sex marriage opponent, Ruben Diaz has been threatening to switch parties if the bill is brought up. [TU] [NYDN] [Buffalo News] [Daily Politics] [PolitickerNY]

While the Senate drama lurched forward yesterday, the Assembly finished its session. [AP]

Twin teenage brothers died Sunday in Rensselaer County after the ATVs they were driving collided head-on. A teen girl was also seriously injured. The teens were not wearing helmets (the TU story says state law requires helmets, the Gazette story says it does not helmets are required). [TU] [Troy Record] [Daily Gazette]

Police say a Schenectady man stabbed his adult step daughter and her friend after the man got into an argument with his wife at a Father's Day party on Sunday. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

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Woman killed in Schenectady deli stick-up, Tonko endorses Morris, Paterson reaches out to Bruno on same-sex marriage, Price Chopper alleges grocery espionage, plane lands on Route 9

A woman was shot and killed in a deli on Eastern Ave in Schenectady Friday night (map). Police say it appears the woman got caught up in the middle of a robbery -- but they're not sure whether the she was intentionally shot. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

A Troy man has been arrested for the death of his girfriend's three-year-old daughter. Police haven't said yet how the girl died. [TU]

Paul Tonko has endorsed Shawn Morris in the Albany mayoral race. Responded Jerry Jennings: "... the people behind me are the people that live in this city, that work in this city, and that will vote in this city." [TU] [CapNews9]

David Paterson has reached out to Joe Bruno to help him lobby Republican state Senators to support to the same-sex marriage bill. [Liz Benjamin]

The Obama Administration has found many of its appointees in New York State. [TU]

Another New Yorker the Obama team has leaned on heavily -- whether they like it or not: Chuck Schumer.

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Deal to avoid state worker layoffs "expected" today, Albany landfill expansion approval could come soon, Rensselaer County computers being de-wormed, UAlbany getting new building

The announcement of a deal between the state worker unions and the Paterson administration to avoid layoffs is "expected" to come today. The deal will reportedly include $20k buyouts for employees eligible for retirement -- which has some observers asking where the money is going to come from. The deal also apparently includes a new, less generous tier in the state pension system. [NYDN] [TU]

It's looking like the state DEC could approve the expansion of the Albany landfill soon. The dump is projected to be full before the end of this year -- six years sooner than originally planned. [TU]

The search has been called off for the man who went missing in the Mohawk on Sunday. A friend who accompanied the man that day said strong currents tipped their canoe. Rains earlier that week had increased the Mohawk's flow that weekend. [Troy Record] [TU] [USGS]

Among Scott Murphy's first slate of requested Congressional earmarks (pork): $2 million for a new Saratoga Springs public safety building. Murphy has posted his full list of requested earmarks online. [Saratogian] [Post-Star]

Another potential 2010 primary challenger to Kirsten Gillibrand has announced she won't be running against KG. [NYDN]

David Paterson's new top advisor described himself as being "like the 300-pound offensive tackle blocking for the quarterback called Governor David Paterson." [NYT]

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Deal to avoid state worker layoffs reportedly coming together, police say men posed as cops, questions about Alive at Five alcohol testing, McCafe coming soon

"People briefed on details" tell the TU that the state worker unions and the Paterson administration are working on a deal that would avoid the planned layoffs -- by offering $20k buyouts to employees near retirement and adding a new tier to the state pension system. [TU]

A bill that would legalize mixed martial arts fighting in New York State made it of Assembly committee yesterday, despite the opposition of local Assemblymen Bob Reilly and Jack McEneny. "Violence begets violence," said Reilly. A vote in the full Assembly is expected this session. [TU] [Fox23] [CapNews9]

The "project labor agreement" that will guarantee union wages on the Luther Forest chip fab construction was officially announced yesterday. The agreement includes a no-strike pledge from local unions. GlobalFoundries has said it was waiting for such an agreement to be in place before starting construction. The project could include as many as 1,900 construction jobs. [Daily Gazette] [Biz Review] [Post-Star]

Troy police say two men posed as cops and used a starter's pistol to briefly kidnap two teenagers yesterday. The incident might have had something do with the men having their supply of free coffee at a Dunkin Donuts cut off. One of alleged kidnappers once posed as a cop back in the 90s -- for altruistic reasons. [Troy Record] [Fox23] [CBS6] [TU]

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Police say kidnapping and car chase shooting were linked, crackdown planned for Alive at Five, new Spitzer details, badass of the week

Police say last week's multi-city kidnapping and the car-to-car shooting in Troy were all part of the same story -- a twisted, violent story like something out of 24 or a mob movie. Police say the woman abducted in Albany last week was tortured -- including the use of bleach and salt in her wounds -- in Troy as part of an attempt to extract information from her about a safe her brother allegedly stole. The brother then allegedly went to Troy to swap the safe for his sister, but not trusting the captors, police say he opened fire on them as they drove -- with the man's sister in the trunk of one of the cars -- through the streets of Troy. [TU] [Troy Record] [WNYT]

The City of Albany says it'll be cracking down on drunk people at this summer's Alive at Five concerts. Among the methods: the use of a sensor to test drinks -- and people -- for alcohol. [Troy Record] [TU]

Scores on state math tests given to grade school students were up statewide this year -- including local school districts. The results prompted the head of the state Board of Regents to ask if the test was too easy. [NYSED] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

State Senator Tom Duane, the sponsor of the Senate same-sex marriage bill, says the measure has enough votes to pass the state Senate. Senate majority leader Malcolm Smith says he doesn't think that's true -- and says he won't bring the bill to a vote if he thinks it will fail. [NYDN] [Buffalo News] [TU]

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Blame the Listerine?

listerine bottleThere was a weird -- and sad -- story in the TU today about a guy in Rensselaer County who failed a court-ordered sobriety test -- and his attorney blamed... Listerine.

The excuse apparently didn't go over well with the judge. And it seems laughable. But it got us wondering: is apparent-intoxification via mouthwash possible?

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Dalai Lama in town today, Republican steps into Albany mayoral race, KG introduces first Senate bill, famous shotgun wielding-grandma dies

The Dalai Lama is appearing at the Palace Theater in Albany at 2 pm today. He's also scheduled to stop by the state Senate. A critic of the Clifton Park executive training program that's connected to the event's sponsor organization says Dalai Lama's association with the org is "a mistake." [Palace Theater] [Liz Benjamin] [CapNews9]

There's now a Republican in the race for Albany mayor. Nathan Lebron, an IT exec who lives in the Whitehall neighborhood, says the city's Democratic machine is broken and needs to be replaced. [TU]

Troy police say a man was shot and beaten in his home last night (map). His injuries aren't considered life-threatening. [TU]

David Paterson has ordered state agencies to stop buying bottled water for environmental reasons. The ban covers both indivdual bottles and the standup water cooler bottles. [NYT]

Paterson also announced that the state would be spending $25 million on battery research. The center for that research may not be located upstate, as had originally been announced. [TU] [Gannett/TU]

(there's more)

State worker unions talk trash about Paterson, special election absentee ballot count starts, big new contract for Siena basketball coach, Troy dog park become partisan issue

The heads of the two biggest state worker unions, CSEA and PEF, met with David Paterson yesterday about the planned layoffs and it appears not much happened -- except for some trash talking. CSEA president Danny Donohue said the governor "needs a good psychiatrist or at least he should share the drugs that he's on because he's not making any sense to any of our members." Paterson's people called Donohue's remarks "inappropriate" and said they "reflect a lack of respect for the taxpayers of New York." The two unions are also upset that Paterson tried to go over their heads by sending a letter directly to state workers. [TU] [Troy Record] [Fox23] [Biz Review]

The "long, tedious" count of the absentee ballots in the 20th Congressional District special election has started. Every ballot is being examined by an election worker and observers from both campaigns. An elections commissioner says the process could take as long as three weeks. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Post-Star]

State police and animal protection groups raided a horse farm in Coxsackie yesterday and found 177 malnourished horses. The animals belong to trainer Ernie Paragallo, whose horses have won more than $20 million in purse money over the last 12 years. The condition of Paragallo's horses has been a concern of animal groups since at least 2007. [TU] [NYT] [NYT]

David Paterson says he's planning to introduce legislation that would make same-sex marriages legal in New York. Previous bills have passed in the Assembly, but stalled in the state Senate. [Gannett/TU]

(there's more)

State tax refunds a little slow this year, number of prostitution arrests up, accused horse stabber offered plea deal, clerk pleads guilty to ripping off city, there's a new Miss Limerick

The state Department of Taxation and Finance says state tax refunds have been a little slower to go out this year because it's screening refunds more carefully. [TU]

A deal between David Paterson and the leaders of the legislature is reportedly in the works that would kill the proposed taxes on soda, digital downloads and a bunch of other "fun" transactions. [Daily Politics]

The company that said it would run the racino at Aqueduct has told the state it now can't get financing to pay the contract fee. That means less revenue for the state -- and for less money for NYRA, which uses racino money to prop up racing at Saratoga and the state's other tracks. [NYT] [Saratogian]

Two unnamed sources tell the TU that an Albany police sergeant told Bethlehem cops to back off an APD detective the night the detective is accused of driving drunk from Albany into Delmar. The sergeant has been suspended, though the reason has been made public. [TU]

Apparently the Capital Region is a "fertile" area for prostitution -- and, in part as a result, arrests are up. [TU]

(there's more)

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