Items tagged with 'Albany County'
The renovation of the atrium of the Times Union Center officially started Wednesday. (There was a ceremonial sledgehammering of some concrete steps.) Maybe you've noticed the construction work -- and the narrowing of Pearl Street -- there recently. That's what the activity's been about.
The $19.6 million project will enclose the atrium along Pearl Street to make it usable for events all four seasons, expand the mezzanine space, reconfigure the stairs and escalators, and upgrade the bathrooms. Also: The design includes a large vertical sheet of falling water and new digital billboards on the exterior.
The north side of the atrium is currently the focus of the construction work. The plan is to have it ready by next spring, along with the new streetscape, and then switch the focus to the south side. The arena will be open during the work.
The renovation is part of the larger overall plan to connect the Empire State Plaza, the new Albany Capital Center on Eagle Street, and the TU Center into a chain of spaces that can be used for events both small and very large (the NCAA men's basketball tournament, for example). The convention center is scheduled to be ready in March of next year, and the walkway connecting all three venues will also be enclosed by then.
Here are renderings, along with a few construction pics from Wednesday, if you're curious...
A few weeks ago we got an email from Laura, who noticed that inmates from the Albany County Jail were putting up the holiday light display in Washington Park. "I suppose there are many points of view on prisoners working," she wrote, "but it looks like chain gang labor to me."
We've noticed prisoners working on other projects throughout the county, too. And Laura's note got us curious about what kind of jobs they're doing and how the program works.
Almost 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.
Tuesday was, of course, Election Day -- and for the third time in 12 years, I did not vote.
The first time I didn't vote was 1999. I turned 18 on October 3, was a freshman in college and was overwhelmed and misinformed about where to vote. The second time was in 2003. I had just moved to a new town and registered when changing my drivers license. The registration was never processed.
But this year, my absence from the polls was an active choice.
CDTA is reconfiguring its routes in Albany County, starting on Sunday (November 13). The transit org is touting it as "the largest service change" in the authority's history. From the blurbage about the changes:
Improved Trunk Routes -- CDTA trunk routes operate seven (7) days a week, from early morning until late night. Customers using Routes #6, #7, #12, & #18 will see increased frequency, later night and New Sunday service and consistent trip patterns with no deviations.
New Neighborhood Network -- Neighborhood routes will improve service to destinations outside of downtown Albany by:
+ Establishing additional cross-town service
+ Increasing level of service on streets with high ridership
+ Providing new service to areas with high demand
Improved Commuter Routes -- Provide more direct, peak period connections throughout Albany County to customer-requested locations including Albany International Airport, Corporate Woods, Harriman State Campus, Ohav Shalom and Stonehenge Apartment Complexes along with Patroon Creek Boulevard.
You might have noticed the blue bags over route signs along the road -- this is what those are about.
Here's a listing of the new schedules. A map of the restructured routes is embedded after the jump.
CDTA says routes in Albany County represent "well over 50%" of its ridership. So this is a big deal. Even more so if it actually makes the system more useful to people.
Standing at the voting booth today, looking at all the unopposed races, we thought: Albany needs a better opposition party -- whether it's Republicans, Greens, Technocrats, the Party Party. Something, anything to make the Democrats at least have to earn it.
You know, there's a small mischievous thrill from voting "none of the above" as a write-in, but it doesn't really help anything. And voting for voting's sake is hollow.
We have seen the future of restaurant menus in Albany County.
And it's kind of depressing.
Greg sent along a gallery of photos from the "snowpocalypse" out in Westerlo. He says he spent the weekend "helping my girlfriend's family dig out from the insane amount of snow that got dumped on them."
Insane is the right word. While the central Capital Region just got slushy rain toward the end of last week, the snow just kept falling in western Albany County. An observation station to the west of Thacher Park recorded snow depths of more than 3.5 feet by the end of last week.
From Greg's description of the gallery:
There's a few pictures of us excavating her brothers car, and some shots of the abandoned barn that collapsed across the street (no cows were hurt). The first picture is of Hartford, CT the same day as I drove back from a work trip.
Other places weren't so lucky -- CBS6 reported that farm animals were killed in two separate barn collapses this past weekend in the hill towns.
Updated at 5:30 pm -- new Facebook pages added
It's hard to say, because there's been no public declaration by the state that Thacher and other state parks are facing the budget axe. But the signs seem to be pointing in that direction.
Paterson attacks rumors, police say listening system reported gunshots first, county sending out prescription discount cards
In an interview with the AP, David Paterson defended himself against the still-unknown accusations that may or may not be included a New York Times article that may or may not be published. The frenzy of anticipation has led outlets to print all sorts of rumors. Rick Lazio called out the NYT yesterday in a letter, writing that if it doesn't have a story, it has "a moral obligation to stop the drama and the psychological warfare" on the governor. Neither NYT officials or reporters are commenting. And now some are saying Paterson might even come out ahead in all this. [AP/Post-Star] [NY Post] [Daily Politics] [Fox23] [NYO]
The bid to override David Paterson's veto of the ethics reform bill failed yesterday in the state Senate. Twenty-five Republicans and one Democratic voted to sustain the veto. Hugh Farley and Roy McDonald both voted to override. [TU] [NYT] [Daily Politics]
Troy police say a man was shot in North Central Friday night -- and they first heard about the shooting via the city's ShotSpotter system. The TPD says the system alerted officials 10 minutes before the first call related to the incident. [TU] [Troy Record] [WTEN]
A 19-year-old from Troy has been arrested for allegedly shooting an 18-year-old last week in north Albany. [TU]
During his State of the City address, Schenectady mayor Brian Stratton said last night that the city is freezing hiring and cutting other expenditures in an attempt to cover an upcoming $12.8 million budget gap. The city council also voted yesterday to move toward freeing itself from being responsible for taxes not paid to the school district. [WTEN] [Daily Gazette $] [CBS6] [Daily Gazette $]
The construction company that's building the GlobalFoundries chip fab at Luther Forest is moving its headquarters to the Watervliet Arsenal. Also: ATIC, the investment company funded by the government of Abu Dhabi, now owns 66 percent of GloFo. [TU] [Post-Star]
Two Ballston Spa teens were charged with felonies over the weekend for sending explicit text message pics. [WNYT]
Cold snap, New York rail funds request stops short, low number of home foreclosures, surgical robot unveiled
Today's weather forecast includes a steep temperature drop, the possibility of strong wind gusts and some snow. [NWS]
Chuck Schumer says New York State is in line to get $151 million from the $6 billion the feds have pledged for high speed rail. Part of that money will go toward constructing a second track at the bottleneck between Rensselaer and Schenectady. It will also pay for signal upgrades and engineering studies. New York State had been hoping to get billions, not of this money. [Post-Star] [Daily Gazette $] [CBS6] [TU]
The state Department of Taxation and Finance is looking to step up its tax collection enforcement efforts. [TU]
Friends and family of Joe Bruno have been writing letters urging the judge presiding over his case to go easy on his sentencing. [TU]
Schenectady's sewer maintenance supervisor was the city's highest-paid employee in 2009 -- mostly because of overtime. [TU]
Ford takes shot at Gillibrand and Schumer, TU Center turns profit, second ESP man caver sentenced, Phillip Livingston school up for sale
Harold Ford was in Albany yesterday to make the rounds at the Capitol and ESP -- and take shots at both Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. Ford said on Talk 1300 that both senators were elected to be independent and not act like a "parakeet" for for the Democratic Party. A Gillibrand spokesman shot back: "The notion that [Ford] is independent is completely contrived." Said one legislative intern to the TU after meeting Ford on the ESP concourse: "He should really look into getting a New York accent." [AP/Troy Record] [NYO] [NYDN] [NYT] [TU]
David Paterson said yesterday that his potential gubernatorial campaign opponents shouldn't be hiding in the "candidate protection program." [NYDN]
Annoyed that the governor keeps calling them back for special sessions, the legislature has decided to just not adjourn -- basically blocking more special sessions. [Daily Politics]
Albany County announced that the Times Union Center, which it owns, turned a profit of almost $1.8 million last year -- up from about $900k the year before. That's the second-highest profit in the facility's 20-year history (not adjusted for inflation). [Albany County] [TU]
Options considered for Albany High, Fort Orange Club gets demolition permit, liquor stores upset about supermarket wine, Colonie "actively pursuing" redevelopment of First Prize Center
After Albany High School was as identified as one of the state's "persistently lowest achieving" schools, interim schools superintendent Raymond Colucciello says the "transformation" option is being strongly considered (the state has laid out four options for reorganizing schools on this list). [AOA] [TU] [NYSED]
The Albany city planning board has granted the Fort Orange Club a permit to demolish two buildings on its property. Preservationists had argued the buildings were historically significant. [TU]
Timothy Rankins, the owner of downtown Albany bar Envy Lounge, was arrested yesterday on charges that he didn't pay almost $200k in sales taxes. The allegedly unpaid taxes are from the operation of the Pearl Restaurant and Lounge, which Rankins once owned (the Pearl was shut down after an underage drinking raid there -- it's since reopened under new management). The TU has recently chronicled Rankins allegedly close ties with police and city officials. [Troy Record] [CBS6] [WNYT] [TU]
Chilly reaction to Paterson budget, shooting near school in Troy, mop protests at Bruno fundraiser, prof accused of growing pot
David Paterson's proposed budget doesn't seem to have gone over well with state legislators, some of whom are already vowing to make significant changes the proposed cuts in education and health care spending. Local elected officials also seemed cool to the budget plan. School district officials also weren't happy. Andrew Cuomo: good start, let's see it actually happen. And the conservative-leaning Empire Center said Paterson's budget didn't cut enough. One person who did seem enthusiastic: SUNY chancellor Nancy Zimpher (the Paterson plan would give SUNY more control over its tuition rates). [NYT] [TU] [Troy Record] [Saratogian] [Daily Politics] [Post-Star] [CapNews9]
The state legislature didn't vote yesterday on a plan to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the state. The legislature had been bouncing the plan around because of a deadline yesterday afternoon to file for federal education money. [TU] [NYT]
Troy police say a man was shot in the back yesterday afternoon in North Central, just a block from a school. (map). A witness said he saw two men run from the scene and drive off. [TU] [CapNews9] [Troy Record]
The woman who was driving over the Dunn Memorial Bridge in 2005 when a section dropped two feet has settled with the state Department of Transportation for more than $100k, according to her attorney. The lawyer says her client has suffered from PTSD because of the experience. [TU] [Fox23]
Fred emailed this week that the Panera on Washington Ave Ext has new menu boards up -- and they include calorie counts for all the items.
This is the first example we've seen locally of this kind of menu board tagging. It will soon be required of all chain restaurants in Albany County because of a bill that was passed last fall. The aim of the bill is to help people make healthier food choices.
New York City already has a similar measure in effect. The research on whether the calorie counts actually affect people's behavior is unclear. A study that looked at the question shortly after the law took effect found little change. A more recent study suggested the counts may have prompted people to consume fewer calories at Starbucks.
As it happens, the trio of women ahead us in the line today were having a discussion about how to they were going to spend their calorie allotment for lunch (they were trying to not go over 400). They seemed to be paying attention the counts. (Yep, one anecdote -- doesn't mean much.)
By the way: a recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reported that many of the restaurant calorie counts it studied were... wrong.
Troy budget veto overridden, APD leaning toward community policing, Paterson looking for a "hand back," trailer runs into overpass
The Troy city council voted to override Harry Tutunjian's budget veto last night -- and now Tutunjian says he'll take the issue to court. The mayor says he would go jail before certifying what he calls an "imbalanced" budget. He also accused members of the city council of lying and distorting the truth. Council president Clement Campana said the council was within its rights to adjust the mayor's budget. [TU] [Troy Record] [Fox23] [@TroyMayor] [CapNews9]
The Albany police department appears to be leaning toward an embrace of community policing again. (Question: Why are fundamental policy decisions being made before a new chief comes on board?) [TU]
Now that Colonie has tightened its rules on motels that house sex offenders, Albany County Social Services has been placing them in homeless shelters and apartments in the city of Albany, according to a county spokesperson. [TU]
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]
State management and confidential employees are upset that they're not getting raises -- even though the unionized people they supervise are. [TU]
Albany 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.
Paterson proposes unilateral authority cut budget, Troy residents irked by parking ticket sweep, reward grows for info about duct-taped dog
David Paterson introduced his own deficit reduction bill yesterday -- and said during a webcast that if the legislature wouldn't make cuts, they should give him the temporary authority to do it unilaterally. That second proposal didn't go over well with the legislature. One assemblyman said, "What's next, martial law?" And others, including Neil Breslin, questioned the constitutionality of the arrangement (though apparently some think it might fly). Ron Canestrari praised Paterson's attempt to move the budget ball. Paterson's speech did appear to make some progress -- in further uniting the state Senate against him. The legislature won't be back in session until next week. [NYO] [Daily Politics] [NYDN] [NYT] [Daily Politics] [NYO] [TU] [AP/Troy Record] [Daily Politics] [Fox23]
One thing that was apparent from testimony in the Bruno trial: his second office was the golf course. [NYT]
Update: The Albany County clinic is now full.
Both Albany County and Schenectady County have free H1N1 flu shot clinics coming up. Both counties' clinics are only open to county residents.
Nov 22 | 10 am - 4:30 pm | TU Center
Nov 24 | 3:30 pm - 7 pm | Berne Knox Westerlo Elementary School
The clinic is open to people in the following priority groups: pregnant women,
people over age 4 who live with or provide care for infants younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical personnel, people aged 4-24 years and people aged 25 to 64 years who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications.
The county says it doesn't have pediatric vaccine available for kids 6 months to 47 months.
Registration is required.
The clinics will be open to the same priority groups as Albany County, plus children 6 months to pre-k.
You'll need an appointment -- call 386-2824.
Also: If you can't make it to one of the clinics -- or you live in Saratoga County or Rensselaer County -- give your doctor's office a call. New vaccine shipments have apparently been gradually arriving.
Rensselaer County's web site says it does not plan to hold H1N1 flu shot clinics.
photo: James Gathany / CDC
The health department's web site stresses that you must register in advance -- and it's currently registering Albany County residents in the following priority groups:
- Pregnant women
- Persons who live with or provide care for infants under 6 months old
- Children 6 months - 4 years old
- Health-care and emergency medical services personnel who have direct contact with patients or infectious materials
- Children and adolescents 5-18 years old who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications
You can register online (be sure to follow the link for the appropriate priority group) -- or by calling 447-4505 from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (Arielle says she registered her toddler this way this morning).
Turnout at other H1N1 vaccine clinics around the Capital Region has been strong, so it's probably a good idea to register sooner rather than later.
Saratoga County: Saratoga County Public Health has an H1N1 flu shot clinic for priority scheduled for tomorrow in Saratoga Springs. It's by appointment only, though. And when we checked this morning (after a three dials to get through), it was full. The person handling the calls said the county is hoping it will receive more doses next week.
image: Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC
Opening statements in Bruno trial, Aretha Franklin coming to RPI, investigation into Paterson World Series tickets, cops say man was wearing a Breathalyzer costume, naked sprint around the Nott
A jury was selected for Joe Bruno's federal trial yesterday. Each side also delivered its opening statement. The prosecution said Bruno used his influence at the capitol to rake in more than $3 million from clients. Bruno's defense said he's "a hardworking, honest public servant" and the feds had made a mistake. As he entered the courthouse yesterday, Bruno told reporter he had been "looking forward to this day." [CapNews9] [NYT] [Troy Record] [TU] [NYSNYS via Daily Politics]
GlobalFoundries has announced that Hector Ruiz is stepping down as chairman of the board. The WSJ reported in October that the feds had identified Ruiz as the AMD executive who leaked news of the impending formation of GlobalFoundries to a hedge fund last year. The new chairman will be Alan Ross, who had been the CEO of another semi-conductor company. GloFo says Ruiz's exit will have no effect on plans for the Luther Forest chip fab. [NYT] [San Jose Mercury News] [TU] [Saratogian]
The Albany County Department of Health reported its first death associated with the H1N1 flu. The ACDoH says the teen had a "longstanding underlying medical condition." The county health commissioner said the news was not cause for alarm and "the vast majority of individuals" will recover. [TU] [WTEN] [Troy Record] [CapNews9]
The Albany County Department of Health says the death of a county resident has been associated with the contaminated ground beef that was recently recalled. The beef was produced by a company in western New York and distributed throughout the East Coast. Locally, the beef had been available at Price Chopper, which has been contacting people to notify them of the recall. [Fox23] [NYT] [TU] [@ChrisRooney]
Aretha Franklin and Joshua Bell will performing at EMPAC in December as part of a celebration of Shirley Ann Jackson's 10 years at RPI (or, as
@supraphonic @timesunion called it yesterday; Shirleystock). The performances will not be open to the general public. (Earlier on AOA: RPI's Jackson tops compensation chart) [RPInsider] [TU] [AP/CBS6]
Reaction to Paterson's proposed budget cuts, investigators say RPI student's death was homicide, state says it didn't know hotel owner was behind on taxes, Saratoga sued over Taser info
David Paterson has proposed $3 billion in cuts to this year's state budget. He said yesterday that "all of us will have to sacrifice to save the state." Sheldon Silver said Paterson "took the bull by the horns" -- but the governor's proposals were met with skepticism by state senators, and outrage from interest groups. [AOA] [Daily Politics] [NYT] [Daily Politics] [Daily Politics]
The man who was stabbed in Albany's Grand Street neighborhood last week has died -- the city's 8th homicide of the year. [CapNews9]
Private investigators hired by the family of the RPI student found dead of a gun shot in a Troy apartment last year say they have concluded the student was murdered. Troy detectives have said the case was a suicide -- but the private investigators accused the TPD of coming to that conclusion in "a rather imaginative way." [TU] [Troy Record] [Troy Record]
The state's Division of Human Rights has ruled that Saratoga Springs must pay 8 city employees damages of $10k each because the city had not provided sufficient facilities for female employees of the city's police department. The decision prompted squabbling between mayor Scott Johnson and public safety commissioner Ron Kim (who are both running for mayor this year) over who's to blame for the situation. [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Saratogian]
State budget widens and Paterson warns of pain, Raucci to get pension even if convicted, Gillibrand pushes repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, goat kidnapped
New York State comptroller Tom DiNapoli now says the state's budget gap could be as big as $4.1 billion. David Paterson has said that he will release a slate of proposed budget cuts that would involve "pain." LG Richard Ravitch, who's helping Paterson with budget issues, says the plan will be "asking every agency in the government to cut back significantly." As bad as things might be this year, apparently the real problem is next year when the federal stimulus money ends. As one anonymous legislator told Liz Benjamin: "Then we're in deep sh*t." [TU] [NYT] [CapNews9] [Daily Politics]
Adrian Thomas, the Troy man charged with causing the death of his infant son, took the stand in his own defense yesterday -- and testified that he had lied during his videotaped interrogation by police. Thomas said he admitted to police that he slammed the child down so he "could go to the hospital and see my son and my wife." [Troy Record] [TU]
Albany police have arrested two men -- one already in prison, the other 18 years old -- for a 2007 murder on Second Street. [TU]
The Lansingburgh High School student suspended for having a pocketknife in his car says he's been contacted by West Point and told the incident won't have any effect on his application to the service academy. [WTEN]
Steven Raucci, the now-retired Schenectady school district employee accused of arson, intimidation and harassment related to his former job, will receive a pension of $79,067 -- even if he's convicted. [TU]
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]
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]
Back in August the Albany County legislature passed a law that requires chain restaurants to post calorie counts on menus. The legislation is based on a similar measure in New York City. The aim of both laws: help people make healthier choices.
Here's the thing -- the early indication is that the NYC law isn't working. A paper out today from the journal Health Affairs reports that New York City's law didn't appear to have an effect on the choices people made. From the abstract:
We examined the influence of menu calorie labels on fast food choices in the wake of New York City's labeling mandate. Receipts and survey responses were collected from 1,156 adults at fast-food restaurants in low-income, minority New York communities. These were compared to a sample in Newark, New Jersey, a city that had not introduced menu labeling. We found that 27.7 percent who saw calorie labeling in New York said the information influenced their choices. However, we did not detect a change in calories purchased after the introduction of calorie labeling.
As the abstract indicates, the study only looked at low-income communities -- and health advocates are already responding that the law might have more effect where people aren't as price sensitive.
Albany County's calorie count law takes effect early next year.
Paterson says he never expected to be Gov, another person arrested for turtle bombing, chief suspended for slur, Schenectady overrun with kingergartners
Yesterday wasn't exactly a day of ringing support for David Paterson. Of Paterson's vow to run for governor in 2010, Sheldon Silver said, "I think, right now, I support him for governor." And at a Capitol leaders meeting, Senate leader John Sampson publicly doubted Paterson's estimate of a $3 billion midyear budget gap by saying his conference "doesn't believe in government by guesswork." Paterson says he'll be calling the legislature back at some point to address the gap. [AP/Troy Record] [PolitickerNY] [TU] [WTEN]
Paterson said yesterday in Syracuse that he never thought he'd be governor: "I did not sign up for this ... I wanted to be lieutenant governor. I had this grand plan that Hillary Clinton was going to become president. Maybe the governor would appoint me to the Senate." But he said he's still planning to run next year -- probably. [NYT] [NYDN]
The Schenectady County legislature has approved a county budget that will cut taxes a little more than two percent. Republicans -- who are in the minority -- criticized the cut as an election year ploy. [Daily Gazette $] [TU]
A group of Albany County legislators is proposing that the county build a new nursing home to replace the current facility. County exec Mike Breslin has been pushing to close the existing home in favor of placing residents in private facilities and in-home care. [TU]
Source says alleged Bailey shooter talked about crime, Paterson says he's still running, big tax increases looming for Saratoga, police say isotopes point to local crime connection
A "person familiar with the investigation" says the alleged shooter in the Richard Bailey murder had been telling a bunch of people about his alleged involvement in the crime -- and that led investigators to him. [TU]
Police say a Saratoga Springs man stabbed his mother multiple times yesterday. A city court judge has ordered a mental health evaluation of the man. Police say neighbors came running to the woman's aid after hearing her scream -- and probably saved her life. [Saratogian ][TU] [Post-Star]
After the drama with Obama on Monday, David Paterson said yesterday: "Clearly I'm running for re-election." [PolitickerNY]
After yesterday's Court of Appeals ruling affirming Richard Ravitch's appointment as lieutenant governor, a top Republican in the legislature says the state's constitution should be changed to address LG succession. Now that Ravitch's job is official, he says "my golf game is going to go to hell in a basket." [CapNews9] [Daily Politics]
Rick Lazio officially declared that he's running for governor -- even Rudy Giuliani jumps in the race. Lazio said yesterday that it's time to "replace state government with a government that this state needs." [Daily Politics] [PolitickerNY]
State Senate back to squabbling, gun violence team coming together, Troy shoot and kill dog, seniors say vultures weird them out
Yesterday's state Senate session fizzled as Democrats and Republicans fought over a new system for policing ethics>. Democrats blamed Republicans for being obstinate and Republicans said Democrats were trying to design the system to their advantage. [TU] [NYT]
The squabble over ethics reform kept other issues off the Senate plate -- including the bill that would create a residential parking permit system for Albany. [PolitickerNY]
The implementation team for Albany's Gun Violence Task Force is coming together -- both the Common Council and Jerry Jennings announced their picks yesterday. The school district and the police department have yet to announce their selections. [TU] [CapNews9]
Two Schenectady women have been charged after police say they signed a contract to allow a 19-year-old guy to date a 13-year-old girl. [Fox23]
Speculation about Tuffey's resignation, state Ed Department looking into kegger, Bethlehem cops go weeding, new row houses planned for Center Square
Speculation continues about the departure of Albany police chief James Tuffey. His retirement announcement -- by many accounts sudden -- came after a group of department commanders retained legal counsel and told city hall they would not deny a incident in which Tuffey is accused of using a racial slur. Mayor Jerry Jennings says he did not ask Tuffey to resign. The union that represents Albany police officers is saying that the resignation was forced with the help of the department's command staff -- and is accusing the city of using Tuffey's departure to stall contract negotiations with the union. [TU] [CapNews9] [WNYT] [Fox23] [Troy Record]
Jennings says there will be a "national search" for a candidate to replace Tuffey. Because of a charter change in 2007, the Common Council will have veto power over the mayor's choice for the position. Common Council president Shawn Morris says she wants Jennings to talk with the council about criteria for the candidate search. Citing Jennings' five other picks for chief, Morris said, "It's time to broaden the search." [CapNews9] [TU] [CBS6] [CBS6]
The New York State Education Department now says it will be looking into photos that popped up on Facebook of a Schenectady school board member and his wife -- a teacher -- at a kegger celebrating their son's high school graduation. Schenectady's schools superintendent says the district is "looking at [the situation] internally." [WTEN] [Upstream] [TU]
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]
Opening day at The Track, child dies after being hit by police vehicle, bill would allow supermarket wine sales, Schenectady could turn down money for cops, tanker spills milk on I-90
It's opening day at The Track. Racing starts at 1 pm.
The state Department of Labor says it will be continuing to scrutinize whether trainers are paying overtime and minimum wage to backstretch workers. An investigation the agency conducted last year found that adequate records were not being kept and many workers were not getting full compensation. [Fox23] [Saratogian] [Post-Star]
Many businesses in Saratoga are pulling for a strong track season -- the city's finance commissioner said the season is "like our Christmas." Hotels in Saratoga are apparently almost completely booked up for this weekend. [Daily Gazette] [TU]
A child died in Troy yesterday after being hit by unmarked police vehicle. Police say the vehicle was not responding to an emergency. There are reports the child might have entered the street between two parked cars. The city says it's conducting an investigation. [Troy Record] [Fox23] [CapNews9] [TU]
A bill has been proposed in Albany County would require chain restaurants to post calories counts on menus. One of the supporters of the bill is Panera -- the chain says its local restaurants already have plans to post calorie counts. [Albany County] [TU] [Fox23]
From Cassie's Twitter stream Tuesday afternoon, a cautionary tale 140 characters at a time:
Tweeting a response to @B_Nut got me pulled over [on Wolf Road]. Telling the officer "I wasn't texting. I was Tweeting." is not recommended.
Raucci report won't be released, cool summer may be setting up cold winter, Tedisco hints at run for different office, alleged cold cut heist leads to pepper spraying
The Schenectady school district's internal investigation into Steven Raucci -- the former district employee who's been accused arson and intimidation -- will not be made public. The district says its lawyer "strongly advised" it to not release the report. [Daily Gazette] [TU]
The package of state incentives for the Luther Forest chip fab project is actually closer to $1.37 billion -- and could be more if GlobalFoundries expands at the site. [TU]
A guy who was forcibly sedated at the direction of Albany County law enforcement so they could search his body for drugs in 2006 has settled his lawsuit for $125k. The search included a camera being put up his rectum. [TU] [AP/CBS6]
There's some historical data that indicates we could be in for a cold, snowy winter. [TU]
The Capital Region's tick population -- and the incidence of Lyme disease -- appear to be on the rise. [Daily Gazette]
Not much has changed in state Senate, Gillibrand cut off at Sotomayor hearing, judge admonished for not getting work done, pair accused of using kid to aid burglaries
Now that the state Senate leadership mess has been resolved, the chamber can move on to the really important stuff: staffing budgets. Oh, and Pedro Espada says was made majority leader because senators "trust" that "I can lead that house." [AP/Troy Record] [CapNews9]
Already bolstered by the state Senate's "extraordinary" sessions, downtown Albany restaurants are pulling for a special session. [CapNews9] [TU]
Chuck Schumer (video) and Kirsten Gillibrand (video) introduced Sonia Sotomayor at her Supreme Court nomination hearing yesterday. KG went on so long that she had to be cut off by Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (the first gavel comes at 6:25 in her video). Gillibrand does have a reputation for being loquacious. [SchumerTube] [GillibrandTube] [TU] [NYT]
Joe Bruno has already spent more than $450k on lawyers this year as part of his defense against federal corruption charges. [Daily Politics]
CSEA members showed up at last night's Albany County Legislature meeting to protest the planned five-day furloughs of county workers. The union says workers found out about the furlough via the media. Albany County exec Mike Breslin says the county is facing a $20 million budget gap. [Fox23] [CBS6]
That was a lot of rain, state Senate will meet on 4th, RPI disputes fire department accusations, Rudy Giuliani wants to motivate you, ALB says show up earlier
Yesterday's severe thunderstorms dropped more than three inches of rain in some places (the official NWS tally of 2.76 inches was a local record for July 1). Latham and Cohoes seemed to get the worst of it. There were reports of flooding all over the area. [TU] [NWS] [Fox23] [Twitter]
The state Senate held another of its "extraordinary" in-and-out sessions yesterday. The big issue of the day seemed to be the question of whether the Assembly would accept the bills "passed" by the Senate in Tuesday's V8-fueled session. It looks like the senators will be spending the Fourth of July at the Capitol -- David Paterson has ordered them into session every day through Monday. [TU] [Daily Politics]
Both Senate factions are expected to turn in per diem requests for the last two weeks today -- though whether they'll be paid is apparently up in the air. [NYDN]
Guilderland's supervisor says the town will be pulling its garbage business from the Albany landfill because of concerns about the facility's expansion into the Pine Bush. [TU]
RPI says that its public safety office called the Troy Fire Department just 32 seconds after the first report of a fire at one its chem labs this week -- not 12 minutes as the department has alleged. The TFD says RPI's delay created a more dangerous situation for firefighters. [Troy Record]
Judge orders state Senate back to work, Paterson warns of another fiscal shortfall, trans-fat ban adjusted, police get DNA evidence from soda bottle
A state Supreme Court judge ordered the state Senate -- both caucuses -- into session today. The judge scolded senators for their behavior and said they risked appearing "rude, inconsiderate and egotistical." Democrats say they'll show up for the session (though they're promising not to take up anything controversial) and the Republicans have already filed an appeal. If the Senate doesn't take action a handful of measures will expire tonight, including sales tax extensions in many counties. [NYT] [Daily Politics] [NYDN] [TU]
If it seems like the Senate mess would put incumbents at risk of being thrown out of office... well, behold the power of pork. [TU]
At the NY Conference of Mayors meeting yesterday in Saratoga, David Paterson said that state tax revenues "may be down 35 percent this year from where they were projected." [Post-Star]
State Senate still stuck, Novello to do community service at Albany clinic, political spat over playground, Miss New York crowned, angry penguin in Waterford
The state Senate is still stuck. The two caucuses repeated their parallel in-and-out sessions over the weekend. David Paterson, who's suing the Senate over the quickie sessions, met with the Democratic caucus over the weekend -- though there aren't any details about whether they decided to hug it out or to continue hating each other. Yet another "extraordinary" session is planned for today. The two sides appear no closer to working out a power-sharing deal. [CapNews9] [Daily Politics] [AP/TU]
One of the background issues to the Senate mess is the 2010 redistricting. Demographers say population shifts are pointing toward a sizable Democratic majority -- though that depends on how districts are drawn. [NYT]
The state comptroller's office has cancelled $3 million in state funding for Pedro Espada's Bronx health care company. The comptroller says Espada, the disputed Senate pro tem, neglected to report that his org owed back taxes. [TU]
Even though New York State pays some of the lowest unemployment benefits in the nation, the state's unemployment insurance fund will be $2 billion short by the end of the year. [TU]
Albany County will be furloughing employees one day per month over the next six months. County exec Mike Breslin says the plan will save $1.4 million (the county faces a $20.5 million budget gap). Breslin says he'll be taking part in the furlough. [TU] [Troy Record]
Paterson says he will force Senate into session, judge snagged in DWI sweep, bristling at being New York's pay toilet, vinyl records store opens in Schenectady
David Paterson says he will call the state Senate into special session tomorrow if the body doesn't get to work today. Said Paterson yesterday of all the drama: "Over the last couple of weeks, the senators' conduct has been laughable." Paterson says Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman would preside over the special session -- a provision that some say could be unconstitutional or create a conflict of interest. The session would focus on "emergency" issues such as the sale tax extension for some counties. Not on that list: same-sex marriage, though Paterson says he intends for the Senate to vote on the bill before the summer break. [TU] [NYDN] [PolitickerNY] [Daily Politics] [NYT]
Two things that might prompt Senators to start moving: they can't hook up their cronies with patronage jobs until the situation's resolved; and all their pork is currently locked in the barrel. [TU] [TU]
Police say an Albany County family court judge was snagged as part of the county-wide drunk driving sweep last Thursday. Green Island police say the judge tried to evade a checkpoint at the Troy-Green Island Bridge and led police on a short chase. [TU] [Troy Record]
The Albany Police Department is reportedly trying to fire two members of the force -- the detective accused of driving drunk through Albany into Bethlehem in February; and the sergeant who's been accused of trying to cover for the detective. [TU]
Drama continues in the state Senate, NYCLU sues Troy over "Virtual Jihadi," FBI raids downtown Saratoga office
The new leadership of the state Senate says it will go into session this afternoon -- whether it has access to the Senate chamber or not. Democrats have literally locked the chamber and are holding the keys. Possibly-new majority leader Dean Skelos says there's nothing that requires the Senate to meet in its chamber -- and the body could go into session in a park if need be . [TU] [NYT] [NYDN]
Democrats say Pedro Espada -- one of the two Dems who are now caucusing with the Republicans -- switched because the leadership denied him almost $2 million in pork for two new, possibly shady, non-profits. They're also focusing attention on accusations that Espada's been involved with campaign finance mishaps -- and may not live in his district. Espada says Democrats are engaging in "character assassination." [TU] [NYDN]
Republicans are reportedly trying to recruit more Democrats to their coalition, including the sponsor of the Senate's version of the same-sex marriage bill. Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to get Hiram Monserrate -- one of the two switchers -- to flip back by threatening to primary him. [NYT] [Daily Politics]
When/if the Senate goes into session, Skelos says there is "going to be a new way of governing." Good government groups say the reforms already presented by the coalition are a step in the right direction. [Fox23] [CapNews9]
And in non-Senate news...
The site of last night's earthquake -- well, here, but 9 km down.
There was another earthquake last night near Berne -- and it was relatively big (for this area).
The seismographic network that monitors this area reports that quake was a 3 on the magnitude scale ("felt quite noticeably by persons indoors, especially on upper floors of buildings"). There are reports that people did feel this one.
Things have been a little shaky in the Hill Towns recently. Over just the last three months there have been 14 earthquakes. Most of them have been tiny. The one last night was the strongest of the group.
There's an interactive map after the jump.
City treasurer received ghost tickets, it's good to be a lobbyist, problems at the Muddy Cup, Chopper uses AdvantEdge cards to notify of recall, Fallon was quizzed for final credits
Albany city treasurer Betty Barnette has testified that she had no knowledge of the ghost ticket system until she read about it in the news -- but the TU has obtained copies of seven no-fine tickets given to... Barnette. She says she has no memory of receiving the tickets. [TU] [CBS6]
Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are apparently becoming BFF. He's even memorized her mobile number. [NYT]
The Saratoga County towns that had sued to hold up the Hudson dredging over concerns about their drinking water supply have dropped their suit. The dredging project is scheduled to start this month. [Daily Gazette]
Suspected case of H1N1 tests negative, Salt filming continues, acre of garbage revealed, cop crashes through storefront window, bakeries call for cupcake exemption
One of the local suspected cases of the emerging H1N1 influenza has already tested negative. Samples from as many as six suspected cases in the region are still being tested. [TU]
Andrew Cuomo says his office is widening its investigation of kickbacks and other fishy stuff going on with the state pension fund. Andrew Cuomo says "a national network of actors" was involved in defrauding the fund. A handful of people with connections to former state comptroller Alan Hevesi, who ran the fund, have already been indicted. Allegations of wrongdoing at the fund stretch back to at least 2002. [TU] [NYT] [Daily Politics]
A group of politically-appointed attorneys that allegedly maneuvered their way into protected jobs at the state Department of Taxation and Finance have been told by civil service that they need to explain why their jobs shouldn't be revoked. [TU]
The state recently settled a civil rights lawsuit filed by a Schenectady man who said he was fired from his job as a photographer for the state Senate in 2003. The man, who's white, alleged that he had been fired by then-Senate minority leader David Paterson's staff because he wasn't an African-American. [NY Post]
Albany Common Councilwoman Barbara Smith says she wants to know whether it was just a coincidence that a former Albany cop was picked for child porn shortly before he was scheduled to testify about the ghost ticket scandal. [TU]
State worker unions say they're trying to make Paterson unpopular, texting while driving ban passed, Saratoga Rec center moving forward, man accused of stuffing video games into stroller
The state worker unions say they're trying to use condemnation and negative ads to push David Paterson's approval numbers down so that he changes his mind about the layoffs. Note to the unions: Paterson's approval ratings are already about as low as they can go. [YouTube] [NYT] [Q Poll]
The Paterson administration is looking to extend the time people in the state can receive unemployment checks. The "first wave" of people seeing their unemployment benefits expire is scheduled to arrive next month. [TU] [Troy Record]
Scott Murphy is up 25 votes on Jim Tedisco in the 20th Congressional District special election, according to the latest unofficial numbers from the New York State Board of Elections. The Tedisco is campaign is asking the state to extend the deadline for military ballots another 15 days (the deadline was yesterday) -- 205 of the 998 military ballots mailed out have been returned so far. The special election saga took another turn yesterday when the state Supreme Court judge who will rule on disputed absentee ballots was out yesterday for medical reasons. [NYS BoE] [Planet Albany] [Daily Gazette] [TU]
The Albany County legislature passed a ban on texting while driving by a vote of 31-1. The bill won't take effect until six months after it's signed by Albany County exec Mike Breslin. The fine for violating the ban is $150. [TU] [CBS6]