Items tagged with 'Colonie'

Dosas at Parivar

parivar dosa

A masala dosa.

By Deanna Fox

There are universal norms when it comes to street foods around the planet: It must be cheap, it must be portable, and it must be filling.

Dosas are the classic Indian-style version of a crepe that hits all these markers. And Parivar -- the Central Avenue Indian supermarket (No, not that one. Or that one. It's the one with the peacock on the sign.) -- serves them up fresh and piping-hot, just like one would get from a vendor's street cart in an alleyway in New Delhi or Mumbai.

But unlike a street cart, Parviar lets the eater indulge from the comfort of indoor seating in a nice air-conditioned café.

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Easter candy from Krause's

krause's easter candy

By Deanna Fox

I'm a little buzzed.

Sugar buzzed.

Just moments before I sat down to write this post, I subjected myself to tasting (that is, gobbling down) a selection of Easter-themed candies from Krause's Candy in Colonie.

As I rode the sugar wave, it became clear: Ditch the aisles at Big Box Store for filling holiday baskets, and make haste towards Krause's for your Easter treats.

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Pulled Pork Sandwich from Stockyard Bar-B-Q

stockyard pulled pork

By Deanna Fox

Pulled pork is probably my favorite barbecue offering. Barbecued chicken or ribs were never something I got particularly excited about, though I am a fan of brisket. But there is just something hard not to love about that tough chunk of pork being lovingly rubbed with spices and flavorings, then left to marinate in its own fat and juices in the gentle heat of charred wood and charcoal.

Patience is a virtue, especially in cooking, and nowhere is that more true than with pulled pork. Hours of anticipation lead to fork-tender strands of meat that await a sweet and tangy sauce and two pieces of bread to accompany it.

And the version at Stockyard Bar-B-Q is the perfect example of what pulled pork sandwich should be.

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Shrimp Banh Mi Wrap at Reel Seafood Co.

Reel Seafood Co banh mi wrap

Wait, where's the bread?

By Deanna Fox

I've a bold proclamation to make.

No one in the Capital District is making an authentic banh mi. Not nobody. Not no how.

There are many places that certainly give it the ol' college try, but they all fall short in one way or another. Now, I'm not saying that these eateries should just give up, but maybe they should start rethinking what they are trying to do.

One area restaurant is already doing that, and it might come as a surprise. It's Reel Seafood Co., one of the independently-owned holdouts on Wolf Road in Colonie, and its take on banh mi is something to be admired.

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Brits R Us

brits r us colonie composite

Bangers for your mash. And other things British

By Lauren Hittinger

Anyone who appreciates candy (chocolate in particular) from across The Pond, knows there are a lot of flavors, ingredients, and brands that are tough find in the USA. Things like Flake bars, Aeros, and Crunchies are hard to come by here. And what you can find -- British brands such as Cadbury -- may not taste quite the same on the Hudson as they would on the Thames.

Which is one of the reasons ex-pats and anglophiles in the Capital District may be excited about one of Colonie's newest additions: Brits R Us.

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Coccadotts Cup Cake Wars III

coccadotts rachel cocca dott cupcake wars third appearance

Coccadotts owner Rachel Cocca Dott

Coccadotts was back on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars this past weekend. And it won.

The Colonie-based bakery came out on top of a "bad girls" WWE-themed episode. Coccadotts bounced back from a first-round setback in which the judges weren't on board with a chicken breast/yam/cinnamon cupcake, to make it through to the final round where the judges praised Coccodotts' flavor adjustments and its large display involving a wrestling "ring" surrounded by cupcakes sitting in the "stands."

The ep aired this past Saturday. It will repeat this coming Friday (September 27) at 11 am. It's also available on-demand from Amazon Instant Video.

Coccadotts says the winning cupcake varieties will be on sale in its shops today (it also has locations in Clifton Park and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina).

It was the bakery's third shot on the show -- the first was in 2011, the second aired earlier this year.

Coccadotts has been savvy about scoring attention and publicity over the years, not just through its Food Network appearances. Its Super Bowl-themed cupcakes -- including a Buffalo wing cupcake -- got it national coverage this past January.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Trying the Super Bowl-themed cupcakes from Coccadotts
+ Tasting Capital Region cupcakes

screengrab: Food Network

Last chances for an Albany Bagel... for now

albany bagel co everything bagel

An everything bagel from back in May.

The startup bagel stand Albany Bagel has just three more Saturdays at the farmers' market at the Crossings in Colonie. From an email it sent out this week:

We're still working on figuring out what the next steps will be for the Albany Bagel Company after the market closes. So while this probably won't be your last chance to try one of our bagels, it certainly will be your best chance in the near future. So come on out and grab a bagel on Saturday (9am-1pm).
As a further incentive: we officially crossed the line into profitability last weekend. We donate 100% of profits to charity, so that means that from now on every bagel you buy will mean even more money being donated to charity (even before profitability we've been donating 10% of our revenue).

ABC has an interesting backstory: it's the creation of Michael Dirolf, a software developer, along with his family and friends. They didn't have any baking experience -- they were just dissatisfied with local bagel options. So they spent a year honing a bagel recipe to resemble the bagels Dirolf had gotten in New York City.

Back in May, shortly after the stand's debut, we stopped by to try a few bagels. And they were really good -- still warm from the oven, chewy, with a crackly outside. We especially enjoyed the everything version, which was nicely savory without the burned garlic flavor that sometimes accompanies an everything (ABC wasn't using garlic on its everything -- just onion). It was easily one of the best bagels we've had in the area.

So, if you haven't tried them, yet -- here's your chance. Three more Saturdays.

Checking out the new location for the Hong Kong Bakery & Bistro

different dishes at the new Hong Kong Bakery

By Albany Jane

The Hong Kong Bakery recently moved from its location nestled in the front of the Asian Supermarket on Central Ave to 8 Wolf Road -- it's right at the southern end, across from Colonie Center between Cocca's Inn & Emperor's.

Among the changes: Their menu has expanded, and they added "bistro" to their name. It's now the Hong Kong Bakery and Bisto. And it lives up to the bistro moniker -- there's a counter to pick up baked goods and drinks to go, and sleek brushed metal tables with glass tops for dining in. It's cozy, casual, and chic at the same time. Go for a power lunch, or show up with a book and sweats, and you'll be welcome all the same.

After stopping in at the new location, here are a few things that are worth trying...

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Albany Bagel Co.

albany bagel everything bagels

Albany Bagel Co. everything bagels.

By Daniel B.

Perhaps you are among the many who have been intrigued by the mysterious Albany Bagel Co., which appeared out of nowhere late last year. They have been tweeting, creating interesting maps of Albany, and teasing all of us with the promise of great bagels.

Well, the wait is almost over. The Albany Bagel Co. will begin retail operations at the Colonie Farmers Market at the Crossings this Saturday.

But who are they? Why are they doing this? And what can we expect when they finally start selling their bagels to the public? We talked with one of the founders to find out.

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Life of Pi waves started in Colonie

Last night Life of Pi won the Oscar for visual effects -- thanks in part to a Cohoes company.

Aquatic Development Group -- which designs and makes equipment for waterparks and pools -- made the wave tank used to simulate the ocean in the film (which involves the main character being trapped with a tiger on a life boat). It was installed at former airport in Taiwan, where the movie was shot.

The photo above -- from a ADG press release -- is from the Life of Pi wave pool. During the acceptance speech, the Life of Pi effects team mentioned the tech "kept us from having to go out to the real ocean."

Here's a TU profile of the company from this past November.

ADG's tech was also used in Master and Commander and the 2006 Kevin Costner film The Guardian. The company has installed 90 percent of the wave systems in the United States, according to its website.

(Thanks, Erik.)

This is how they roll

Colonie Central High School girls bowling team practice

By Casey Normile

For most people bowling is a hobby. A way to hang with friends, a reason to hit up the snack bar.

For a handful of local high schools, though, bowling is a sport. Columbia, Lansingburgh, Niskayuna, Schenectady, and RCS are among the local schools that have teams.

But the best of the bunch could be Colonie Central High School. The girls and boys bowling teams there have combined for three state championships (and one state runner-up) over the past three seasons.

And they don't even get a pep rally.

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The next life of the Latham Circle Mall

shoppes latham circle rendering

A conceptual sketch of the "Shoppes at Latham Circle."

The Latham Circle Mall has already lived a few lifetimes. It was built in 1957 as an open air mall, and then converted to an indoor mall two decades later. Today, well, it's more or less dead.

But reincarnation may be just ahead. A development group is proposing to demolish a large part of the Latham Circle Mall and build again as the "The Shoppes at Latham Circle" -- with retail, restaurants, entertainment and -- gasp -- maybe a supermarket.

Here's the outline of the plan...

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The recipe for a juicy rumor -- or, Did you hear the one about Wegmans and Albany?

wegmans rumor recipe illustration

The ingredients are there...

Hey, have you heard the rumor about Wegmans coming to Albany? At the Latham Circle Mall? At the First Prize Center?

Variations of this rumor have been circulating since at least the beginning of the year. We've heard from it about 100 different people (an exaggeration, but not by much). And they all heard from a guy who knows a guy who... you get the picture.

The latest version surfaced Tuesday and it goes like this: the big W has bought the Latham Circle Mall -- it's a done deal -- and Wegmans will start demolition/construction soon. Since then, we've watched search referral traffic for "wegmans albany" come rolling in. The word has obviously gotten around.

Well, for what it's worth, Jo Natale -- a spokesperson for Wegmans -- told us today that the company has not bought the Latham Circle Mall property.

But that story is just so delicious. And it's easy to see why -- it follows the recipe for a juicy rumor...

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Pug Ball VIII

pug devil costume

Little devil.

The annual Pug Parade and Costume Ball is coming up June 2. It's pretty much what it sounds like: a bunch of pugs parading about. In costume.

The event is organized by the Albany Capital District Pug Lovers Group and is a benefit for the Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society and the Green Mountain Pug Rescue org.

We attended the Pug Ball a few years back -- it was a lot of fun. Pugs are sort of inherently funny dogs. Many of them appeared to actually enjoy parading about in costume. (Or, at least, they didn't feel like it was crushing their will to live, as some dogs have claimed.) There seemed to be a lot of happy people and dogs.

Of course, if you're a strict no-costumes-on-dogs person, this event is not for you. Because the costumed pugs will have you surrounded and outnumbered. Snort.

The Pug Ball runs from noon-4 pm on June 2 (a Saturday) at the main pavilion in Colonie's Cook Park. The pug parade is at 2 pm.

Whole Foods is coming to Albany

whole foods exterior san diego

A Whole Foods in San Diego.

Updated 11:55 am May 3, 2012

Whole Foods announced in its quarterly earnings report yesterday that it has signed a lease for a store in the Albany, New York area. The company also mentioned it on its Twitter feed.

A spokesman for Whole Foods, Michael Sinatra, tells AOA the store will be at Colonie Center. He says the supermarket chain will be taking over a portion of the bottom floor of the Sears space there. The store is expected to be 32,000 square feet.

Sinatra says the target date for the store opening is late 2013 early 2014. The store is still "very much in the planning phase." It will be Whole Foods' first store in upstate New York. Sinatra says the company already works with a lot of farms in this region.

"We've had requests for sometime from that area, so we're excited to open there," Sinatra says. And in an follow up email: "Nothing in particular pushed us over the edge [in deciding to expand to Albany] other than tremendous support from the local community in having us come to Albany."

At tip of the hat to Business Review for first reporting the lease signing.

What about Sears?

The announcement prompts the question: What about Sears? Susan Spaccarelli, Colonie Center's marketing manager, told us this morning that Sears will not be leaving the mall -- but she couldn't share details because the mall has not received official confirmation of the deal. Spaccarelli said Sears owns its chunk of the mall, so any leasing deal would be between Whole Foods and Sears.

A spokesman for Sears, Chris Braithwaite, tells us the company plans to continue on as usual at the Colonie Center location -- it's just that part of its space will be turned over to Whole Foods. He says it's too early to tell what the product mix will be in the reconfigured space. Braithwaite says the Colonie Center store is one of the bigger Sears, though he declined to share its square footage.

Sears and Whole Foods have teamed up for a similar deal in at least one other location, in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Supermarket field is getting crowded

Either by coincidence or strategy, the Whole Foods will be going in just down the street from the new Trader Joe's on Wolf Road. TJ's hasn't announced when that store will open, but it probably won't be long -- the company has said it would be during this quarter.

Another angle in all this: the local supermarket field is getting crowded -- and competitive. ShopRite is investing significantly in this area with two (eventually four) new stores. A Vermont-based market called Healthy Living -- which is a bit like Whole Foods -- is planning to open a store in Wilton. The relatively new Fresh Market in Latham has apparently been very well. The Honest Weight Food Co-op is looking to move ahead on its planned location in Albany. And the established players, Price Chopper especially, appear to be trying to step up their game.

Wegmans could cause a mass medical emergency right now with any sort of nod toward this area. Thousands would probably succumb to supermarket hysteria-induced fainting.

After the jump, much reaction -- a lot of it not positive -- from Twitter and Facebook.

(Thanks, Alex!)

photo: Flickr user Roebot

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Eating the buffalo chicken wing cupcake from Coccadotts

two coccadotts buffalo wing cupcake

Buffalo wings and cupcakes together -- as nature probably never intended.

When we heard this week that local cake shop Coccadotts was making Buffalo chicken wing cupcakes for the Super Bowl, we were intrigued. Because... Buffalo chicken wing cupcakes. It seemed unnatural, possibly wrong -- and perhaps, in some weird way, maybe kind of good.

So we stopped by the bakery today to eat one.

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A fisher strikes a pose

Today's wildlife moment: a posing fisher.

During our email exchange earlier this week with scientist Roland Kays, he passed along two recent clips his wildlife cameras had captured in the Colonie. The first, embedded above, is of a fisher striking a pose in front of a camera just off Sand Creek Road (we're guessing this is the general area):

This camera was ... in a slim strip of forest that connects 2 larger wooded areas (aka core areas). Our GPS tracking of fishers suggested that they used this strip as a movement corridor to get between the larger fragments, we are now testing that by setting cameras out.

We've linked to it before, but here's Kays' "Scientist at Work" series at NYT about tracking fishers in Latham.

The second clip, of raccoons "jogging" over a footbridge near the Hilton Garden Inn at ALB, is after the jump.

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Trader Joe's confirms Wolf Road location

future trader joes site colonie

The site of the soon-to-be Trader Joe's in Colonie.

Trader Joe's has confirmed that it will be opening a store at 79 Wolf Road in Colonie. The company says the store will open during the 2nd quarter of this year. The grocery store will be approximately 13,000 square feet.

Commence whatever ceremony you had planned.

A tip of the hat to the Business Review's Michael DeMasi for first reporting the news today. And to the TU's Chris Churchill for first identifying the site back in November.

The strip mall where the TJ's is being built formerly housed an Office Max. When we stopped by last week to peek through the windows, the interior had been gutted to the dirt. A construction worker told us the space will be filled by a "a Chinese restaurant and a gourmet grocery store."

The Wolf Road Trader Joe's will not be carrying wine, says TJ's spokesperson Alison Mochizuki. This isn't surprising -- in New York State retailers are only allowed one location to sell wine and liquor, and TJ's has one in Manhattan.

As for why the company chose Albany -- and whether the We Want Trader Joe's in the Capital District group influenced the company, Mochizuki says in an email:

There's a lot of foodies in Albany! We consider ourselves the neighborhood grocery store and feel Albany is a wonderful community to be part of.
Although it is very nice to be wanted, wooing doesn't go into our decision making processes of selecting a location.

Full company press release after the jump -- and a bunch of reaction from people on Twitter...

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Colonie still among lowest-crime large municipalities in nation -- but not the lowest

colonie town hallColonie is ranked #7 on this year's list of lowest crime cities in the US as compiled by CQ Press.* The town was #1 in the rankings for 2010 and 2009.

This year's rankings are based on stats from 2010. Colonie's police chief says the number of major crimes dropped slightly this year. [TU]

The city of Albany was ranked 295th on this year's list -- that's up (or, in reference to crime, down) from #317 in the 2010 rankings. And the crime score compiled by CQ for the city dropped from 86.77 to 68.06.

CQ Press also ranks metropolitan areas. The Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro is #77 on this year's rankings -- it was #73 on last year's list. It's still well below the national average.

The Glens Falls metro ranked #8 this year, after topping the rankings last year.

If you're curious about the methodology behind these rankings -- and the strong criticism of them -- here's a little more...

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Firsthand accounts of the Latham Gold's Gym struggle and death

A man died during a struggle with Colonie police this morning at the Gold's Gym in Latham, as the Times Union reported.

It sounds like there were a handful of people in the gym at the time, and a few firsthand reports have popped up online -- which describe a crazy scene.

First from Crystal Beauchemin (@Beau511) on Twitter:

Wow: guy who was flipping out& knocking machines over at my gym this AM then tazed by police...died...&I was working out 10ft away

A string of her tweets describing the incident is embedded after the jump.

And then from Courtney Horan, who posted an account on her blog:

Then he ran down the stairs, backwards mind you, and ran through the lower level of the gym, screaming and making a couple loops before going out the door. Somebody tried locking the doors after that, but he stormed back in, continuing on with his rage. Luckily someone managed to dial 911.
Meanwhile, he went behind the front desk and into the office, trashing everything.
He went back out into the gym, knocking over free weights, display walls, and huge weight machines. By this time, the police began arriving, with one of the first responders in being a woman. The enraged man spotted her and began going after her, so right as he went to approach her, she tased him.

She reports it then looked like the man had a heart attack. The Troy Record reports the man got treatment for cardiac arrest, and both the Record and the TU report he was later pronounced dead at Albany Med.

Update: Colonie police say the man was tased multiple times during the struggle -- apparently once when he triggered the taser himself. [TU] [Troy Record]

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Hooters is back

hootersUpdate: It opened June 17. [Fox23]

Everyone who pined for Chipotle, and longs for Trader Joe's and Whole Foods and Ikea* -- the gods of chain stores and restaurants are laughing at you. Hooters is coming back to the Capital Region.

We had gotten a tip about this recently, so we emailed the company earlier this week. A spokesman confirmed the rumors -- a new Hooters is set to open at 70 Wolf Road, maybe sometime in June. The site was, most recently, a Fuddruckers. When we drove by today, a crew was working on renovations.

The Capital Region's last Hooters was at Crossgates -- it closed in 2007. [Biz Review]

*Yep, we'd count ourselves among that number.

(Thanks, D)

Update: No sooner do we hit publish and skim our Twitter feed, do we see that Chris is on top of this -- he rightly notes that the new Hooters will be across from the "Hooters of haircutting."

Shopping Target's new fresh-food offerings

target overview

It's like Target, only ... more.

By Akum Norder

It's Supermarket Week on AOA -- a whole week of posts about shopping for food. Because we all have to eat.

Time was, if you were stuck having to pick up something for dinner at Target, that meant grabbing some bread and some mediocre cold cuts, or maybe chicken strips and frozen veggies.

Things have changed a bit over at the Colonie Target.

Changed how?

Changed like green curry with shrimp and sugar snap peas over jasmine rice, plus a green salad with cranberries, balsamic almonds and fresh tangerine slices.

That's what I made for dinner after going to Target earlier this week.

Target's food offerings have expanded. At the end of March, the Targets in Colonie and Wilton opened what they call "PFresh departments," an expanded grocery section with produce, meat and baked goods. Targets in Latham and East Greenbush will get PFresh departments this summer.

I went over to the Northway Mall Target to check it out.

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Fajita nachos at Pancho's

panchos mixed fajita nachos

A snack that eats like a meal.

By Jerry Papandrea - derryX

It's Forget the Resolution week on AOA: a whole lineup of foods that can send your New Year's resolution to eat better/eat less/exercise more/lose weight to its timely end.

This year I joined the mass of Americans that makes a New Year's resolution to become fit and healthy.

I recently reached a fairly minor milestone, so I figured I deserved a "cheat meal." But I couldn't figure out how to reward myself without going completely overboard.
So I gave my brother, my accomplice in overeating, a call; he reminded me of the mixed fajita nachos at Pancho's Mexican Restaurant in Colonie. The nachos consist of the same ingredients in a fajita platter spread over freshly fried corn tortilla chips and covered with copious amounts of melted white cheese. The portion is plentiful and is easily enough for a hefty snack for two.
That was it. I was going to Pancho's to order my very own plate of mixed fajita nachos.

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Colonie again tops list of lowest-crime municipalities

colonie town hall

Colonie Town Hall

For the second year in a row, Colonie is ranked at the top of CQ Press' rankings for lowest-crime cities.* Also this year, the Glens Falls metro area ranked first among metro areas for lowest crime ranking.

Albany ranked #300 #317 on the list of lowest-crime cities (it was #300 last year). And the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro ranked #73 on the list of metros.

St. Louis was ranked #1 for highest-crime. The Detroit metro area ranked #1 among metros.

CQ Press says the rankings are based on data from the federal Uniform Crime Reporting program. Here's an explanation of the methodology.

These rankings have critics. The FBI says it "discourages" such rankings and says they "lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting cities and counties, along with their residents." And the US Conference of Mayors called this year's rankings "a premeditated statistical mugging of America's cities."

* Yes, Colonie is not a city -- it's a town. CQ Press tagged it as such, not us.

(Thanks, Jess)

photo: UpstateNYer / Wikipedia

Bettie comes to Colonie

Bettie's Cakes Logo.jpgThe cupcake bus and truck for Bettie's Cakes have made appearances all over the Capital Region, but the only place you could be sure to find the bakery's cupcakes anytime was in Saratoga's Downstreet Marketplace.

Until now. Bettie's is opening up a location in the food court at Colonie Center.

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First Prize Center photos

first prize center sign closeup

That sign.

Sebastien and B's Urban Decay Tour of the Capital Region™ continues with the First Prize Center, that huge complex near Everett Road in Albany/Colonie. As Sebastien wrote on his site, "it's a story of pipes, broken catwalks, vats, giant letters, zombies in barrels, 80's toys & Bugs Bunny." (B thought it might be their white whale.)

Photosets: Sebastien | B

Earlier on AOA: Jess looked at the backstory of the First Prize Center last year -- and peopled followed up with some interesting comments.

photo: Sebastien B

Toy car

toy art car in Colonie Center parking lot

So, what is the preferred glue for sticking a figurine to one's hood?

While we're on the subject of art cars: we passed this car in the parking lot at Colonie Center this past weekend.

It's a compact Nissan with with figurines stuck to the hood. And the trunk was covered in chalkboard paint, with an accompanying bin of chalk. People had written messages all over the trunk (among them: "Freakin epic car dude!!!").

A few more pics after the jump.

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Checking out the new Dnipro location

dnipro new store from street

The new spot on Central Ave. The entrance is in the back of the building.

After Lou saw that Dnipro -- the great little Eastern European market -- had moved from Cohoes to Colonie, he decided to swing by and check it out.

And he was nice enough to send along a report from the new store. (There's bacon involved.)

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Inside the Central Avenue Trolley Power Station

Knighton's inside.JPG

The second floor at Knighton's. We kind of want to live here.

A lot of people were interested in yesterday's post about the restored trolley power station on Central Avenue -- and a few folks mentioned wanting a tour.

The owner, John Knighton, gave us a tour of the place when we there and we've posted a few more pictures after the jump.

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Powering the Schenectady Railway

trolley power station

The mystery of 1830 Central Avenue, finally solved.


So, for about as long as we can remember, every time we drive past this building at 1830 Central Ave (near Kohl's) we look up and ask ourselves "What the heck was that?"

The building has looked vacant for the longest time... but it's really kind of cool looking and we guessed it might have been an old theater of some kind. We guessed wrong.

The other day we saw an open sign hanging in the window. So we did a little happy dance and detoured into the parking lot.

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Al-Tro Park: the Capital Region getaway in Menands

al-tro park street scene

Al-Tro Park: "Pleasure Island" in Menands.

By Carl Johnson

A century ago, Albanians looking for summertime fun didn't get in the car and drive for hours to a Six Flags or a water-park.

They got on board a trolley car or steamship and headed to Menands to find the finest in 19th-century entertainment.

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Hoarded cats becoming ready for adoption

mohawk hudson rescued cat slinkyThe Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society reports that 13 of the cats rescued from the animal hoarding situation in Colonie last month are now ready for adoption. (That's Slinky, one of the cats, in the photo.) [email press release]

Brad Shear -- MHRHS's executive director -- wrote on his blog today about the resources involved with rescuing 52 cats from one incident:

Every animal needs to be identified and given a clean place to stay with food and water. A photo is taken of each cat and a record is created. Each cat then needs to be examined by our medical director, Dr. Sarah Madaio. You are probably familiar with a normal veterinary exam, just like the one your pet would get at her annual exam. Vets may schedule about 20 minutes for a 'healthy pet visit' - an annual exam in which your pet is coming in for annual vaccines, but may not have any other medical issues. Suffice to say, all of these cats had medical issues. So our veterinarian set up with two assistants to start the exam process that would last for days.

photo via Brad Shear

A tour of the Shaker settlement in Colonie

shaker barn exterior

America's first permanent Shaker settlement was founded in what was once Watervliet, and is now Colonie.

By Kalyn Belsha

You might be familiar with the well-preserved and historic landmark Hancock Shaker Village in Western Massachusetts (not to mention its cute baby animals), but you might be surprised to find out the first American Shaker settlement was built right here in the Capital Region.

The Watervliet Shaker National Historical District, settled in 1776, is a stone's throw from Albany International Airport (it's right across Albany Shaker Road). Some of the site's buildings and the museum are open for self-guided tours, but lucky for me the Historic Albany Foundation and Shaker Heritage Society let me tag along on a recent and seldom-conducted guided tour.

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Way too many cats in one house

The Mohawk & Hudson River Humane Society reports that 52 cats were recently taken from a woman's home in Colonie. It says there are indications she may have been been keeping as many as 66 cats at the house. The society says the woman has turned herself in to Colonie police and is facing animal cruelty charges.

The org describes the situation as a case of "animal hoarding."

It says none of the cats are currently healthy enough to be adopted.

[email press release not online]

The last chance post office for tax filers

Karner Rd post office

If you're dropping off your return near the deadline, make sure you hand it to a USPS to get it postmarked.

Update for 2012: This is still the post office of last resort, but it's only open until 8:30 pm.

The post office at 30 Karner Road in Colonie is the post office of last resort for procrastinating tax filers. The branch, which is connected to the mail processing facility there, will be open until 11:59 Thursday night.

Bonus spot: the Colonie Center post office will be open until 8 pm -- which, as it happens, is its normal closing time.

Cuomo hands off Paterson investigation, movie theater planned for Troy, Porco conviction upheld, bizarre chase ends in tasering

Andrew Cuomo has handed off the investigation of the Paterson administration to former chief judge Judith Kaye. Cuomo said a "preliminary review" of the situation concluded "there are credible issues to be resolved." He said he was turning the investigation over to Kaye because of an "abundance of caution, or a zeal to ensure that the public has total confidence in the investigation." (The sharp drop in Cuomo's approval rating in a recent poll might also have had something to do with that.) Kaye has never worked as a prosecutor. She won't be paid to head up the investigation. [NYT] [TU] [Daily Politics] [NY Mag] [NYT] [Daily Politics]

The Paterson administration announced that the tentative agreement with AEG to run a racino at Aqueduct is now off the table. The deal would have paid the state $300 million and revenue from the racino would have helped fund NYRA -- including improvements at Saratoga. That has some now saying that this year's season at The Track could be in jeopardy. [NYT] [TU] [Saratogian] [Saratogian]

Testimony in the Steven Raucci trial yesterday focused an explosive device that attached to the door of a Rotterdam home in 2001. Prosecutors allege that Raucci planted the device in attempt to retaliate over a union matter -- but they say he put it on the wrong house. [Daily Gazette $] [TU]

The Saratoga County sheriff's deputy accused of forcing four women to perform sex acts on him while he was on duty took a plea bargain yesterday. The deal includes six months in jail and a resignation from the sheriff's department. He won't have to register as a sex offender. [Daily Gazette $] [CBS6] [WNYT] [Saratogian]

A $160 million development proposed for the Congress-Ferry corridor in Troy includes a movie theater. The city's planning board also gave the official OK to the new Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, which is now expected to open in August. [TU Places and Spaces] [Troy Record] [Fox23] [CapNews9]

(there's more)

Paterson say continues to say he's staying, state stepping up tax audits, another Republican into NY 20 pool, pay by mobile in Saratoga, Dickens letters found

David Paterson told a Brooklyn congregation on Sunday that he will "keep governing till the end of the year." He also said that finishing the term would "fulfill the mission in which God placed me." [NYDN] [NYT]

It's not clear which agency will end up investigating the allegations that Paterson perjured himself during questioning about the Yankees tickets. [TU]

If Paterson were to leave office, lieutenant governor Richard Ravitch appears to be widely respected at the Capitol for his competence, experience -- and bluntness. Of course, that would mean another lt gov appointment, which could be tricky. [TU] [TU]

During opening statements in the Steven Raucci trial, prosecutor Robert Carney alleged that Raucci planned his alleged attacks for night so as to maximize their impact. Carney also alleged the Raucci's actions stole his alleged victim's "peace of mind, their comfort, their security." It also came out on Friday that a key undercover witness for the prosecution is a former cop whom Raucci's attorney called a "crook.". [TU] [Daily Gazette $] [Daily Gazette $]

Fred Lebrun says he thinks the state legislature will find a way to keep the state parks open. [TU]

The state has stepped up the number of audits in an effort to find more tax cheaters. [Daily Gazette $]

The state Board of Regents is reportedly considering cutting some Regents exams in order to save money. [TU]

One man died and a car hit a house as part of a two-car crash in Colonie Saturday. The driver who survived has been charged with Driving With Ability Impaired (drugs). Residents who live near the crash site say the residential intersection is notoriously dangerous because drivers often go through the stop sign there. (map). [CapNews9] [Troy Record] [CBS6] [TU] [Fox23]

(there's more)

Cuomo to investigate Paterson, Bruno sentencing pushed back, guily plea for mom accused of using daughter in burglaries, big snowfall totals in spots

Andrew Cuomo has reportedly agreed to David Paterson's request that the AG investigate Paterson aide David Johnson, the actions of the state police and the governor himself. Paterson announced last night that he had suspended Johnson after the New York Times posted an article in which it reported that a woman had sought an order of protection against Johnson -- and both the State Police and Paterson intervened in some way. [NY Post] [Paterson press release] [NYT]

Joe Bruno's attorney have reached an agreement with the feds on how much money the former state senator will have to forfeit as part of his sentencing. The figure hasn't been released, but it will probably be some portion of the $240k he was accused of receiving fraudulently. Bruno's sentencing has also been pushed to May 6. [TU] [Daily Gazette $] [Troy Record]

The state Senate passed the Family Health Care Decisions Act yesterday. The bill allows a surrogate to make decision on behalf of patient whom doctors have determined lacks decision-making capacity. The bill has already passed the Assembly -- and David Paterson reportedly will sign it. [NY Senate] [TU]

Albany County DA David Soares told the TU's editorial board yesterday that the Albany Police Department is "doing greater work in that department without the former chief there." At a community forum last night, residents suggested interview questions for the eight police chief candidates. [TU] [CapNews9]

(there's more)

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]

(there's more)

Weekend of shootings, Victoria Pool on secondary closure list, college student killed on Thruway

Schenectady police say a man was shot five times and killed on Maple Ave in the Vale neighborhood early Saturday morning (map). It's Schenectady's first homicide of the year. The SPD says two officers were injured by a ricocheting bullet as the SWAT team executed a search warrant on the same street Sunday night -- one of the officers was reportedly saved by his bulletproof vest. Police aren't saying whether the warrant is connected to the earlier shooting. The SPD says eight people were detained. [Fox23] [CapNews9] [Daily Gazette $] [CBS6] [CapNews9] [TU]

Albany police say a man was shot four times while walking between apartment buildings near Tivoli Park in Albany Friday night (map). And a teen was shot in the leg Thursday night in south Albany (map). There were a total of five shootings last week in Albany. [WNYT] [TU] [WTEN]

The Victoria Pool, Grafton Lakes and Peebles Island are on a secondary list of state parks and facilities slated for closure, depending on whether the legislature allows the state parks office to use capital funds for operational costs. The planned closure of Thacher Park -- which was officially announced on Friday -- is expected to save $255,000. If the budget plan is approved (a big "if"), parks on the first list would start to close April 1. [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [AOA] [TU] [Troy Record]

David Paterson officially announced his gubernatorial candidacy Saturday on Long Island. In his speech, he tried to position himself as the anti-establishment candidate and said, "I've done more in my two years as governor that most governors have done in two terms." Perhaps a bad sign for the governor: getting more than 100 people to show up at a campaign stop is described as "beating expectations." [NYT] [Daily Politics] [NYO] [NYDN]

(there's more)

Multiple shootings over the weekend, stats indicate drop in Troy crime, Tedisco calls for tougher animal laws, big research grant for Siena

Schenectady police say a woman was shot in the face Sunday morning in her apartment in Mont Pleasant (map). Police say witnesses reported that a man had been ringing the woman's door bell repeatedly and then kicked in her door. The SPD says it's looking for the suspect. [Fox23] [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

Albany police say a woman was shot yesterday evening on Broad Street. [Fox23]

Albany police say a teen was shot in the face early Monday morning in West Hill (map). The APD is looking for the suspect, whom the teen said he didn't know. [TU] [Fox23]

Colonie police are investigating the death of a man found outside a muffler shop on Central Ave Saturday (map). The man's body was reportedly leaning against a building. Police say no cause of death was found during the initial autopsy -- foul play is not suspected. [CapNews9] [CBS6] [Troy Record] [Fox23]

The City of Troy reported that federal stats indicate the city's overall crime rate was down 2.5 percent last year compared to the year before -- and violent crime was down 11 percent. [City of Troy Facebook]

An arbitrator has ruled that an Albany cop accused of pointing a gun at a clerk should serve a 30 day suspension. [TU]

(there's more)

Details about Harriman redevelopment, Clinton endorses Gillibrand, college endowments take hit, burglaries in Manning Blvd neighborhood

The two state officials in charge of redeveloping the Harriman State Office Campus in Albany say the redevelopment plan will be incremental. The Harriman Campus board also now says it will release Columbia Development's proposed plan for the site. [TU] [HRTDC]

The US Census will be hiring 1,500 people in the Capital Region. The temporary jobs will be part time and pay about $15/hour. [CapNews9] [Fox23] [Troy Record]

While New York did score some of that federal rail funding -- other states got a lot more. [TU]

Laws banning driving-while-cellphoning don't appear to be reducing the number of accidents. The number of tickets issued in New York State for violating the ban has been increasing steadily. [NYT] [TU]

Bill Clinton has endorsed Kirsten Gillibrand. [NYDN]

Catholic Charities is starting the Capital Region's first needle exchange program in Albany. [TU]

(there's more)

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]

The Capital Region's unemployment rate was 7 percent in December, according to the state labor department. The state's overall rate was 8.8 percent -- the highest in 26 years. [AOA] [Troy Record]

(there's more)

Police say home invasions linked to drugs and gambling, Cuomo could wait until April, a familiar robbery attempt

The Albany Police Department said yesterday that the shooting of two men in a Pine Hills apartment last week appears to be connected to sales of pot. The APD said there have been 23 reported "home invasions" in the city over the last year and "illegal activity such as drug sales or gambling." [APD]

An Albany common councilman is proposing a law that would require new city employees to live in the city. The rule wouldn't apply to police and firefighters. [TU] [CBS6]

The Schenectady County DA is backing efforts to keep emails related to the Steven Raucci case from being made public. [Daily Gazette $]

Both houses of the state legislature passed a package of ethics reforms -- and shortly thereafter, David Paterson vowed to veto the bill. The governor says the package doesn't go far enough. [NYT] [Daily Politics] [TU]

(there's more)

Paterson to propose budget today, questions about APD chief salary, protest planned for Bruno fundraiser, the "conscious" candy machine

David Paterson is scheduled to release his 2010-2011 budget proposal today.

Last night's special session of the legislature didn't include action on the proposal to increase the state's cap on the number of charter schools (though senators did find time to squabble over parliamentary procedure). The state has until 4:30 today to file its application for $700 million in federal funding -- and removal of the charter school cap is seen as a key part of that application. [AP/Post-Star] [TU] [Fox23] [TU]

Jerry Jennings is hoping to a close a gap in the next Albany budget by getting the state to advance almost $40 million in PILOT money for the ESP. [TU]

As Albany searches for a new police chief, the question has come up: does the job pay enough? [TU]

(there's more)

Teen accused in Bailey shooting pleads guilty, Walmart heirs backing local charter schools, rash of car break-ins in Colonie

King Modest, one of the teens accused of being involved with the killing of UAlbany student Richard Bailey in 2008, has agreed to a plea deal that involves him testifying against the other two accused teens. If convicted on the original charges, Modest faced 25 years to life -- he's now expected to get 10 years in prison. Statements the three teens allegedly made to Albany police indicated that Modest was a lookout during the robbery-turned-shooting. The attorney for the teen accused of pulling the trigger tried yesterday to cast doubt on Modest's version of events. [CapNews9] [Troy Record] [TU] [Fox23]

Albany police say the shooting of two men in an apartment near the St. Rose campus this week appears to have been a targeted robbery attempt. The APD says it's searching for five suspects allegedly involved in the crime. [APD] [TU]

The state Senate committee investigating Hiram Monserrate has recommended "expulsion or in the alternative, censure with revocation of privileges" for the Queens senator. Monserrate was convicted of misdemeanor assault against his girlfriend last fall. A state Senate vote on whether to expel him is expected to come in the next few weeks. Neil Breslin and Roy McDonald are both expected to vote for expulsion -- Hugh Farley says he's undecided. A political scientist says Monserrate's expulsion could throw the chamber into "chaos and deadlock." [Daily Politics] [NYT] [CapCon] [TU]

Delmar resident Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector and outspoken Iraq war critic, has been accused of being caught in a online sex sting. Police in Pennsylvania allege that he exposed himself via webcam to a undercover officer posing as a 15-year-old girl. Ritter faced similar charges in 2001 from a sting here in the Capital Region -- those charges were dropped. Ritter did not comment to reporters who knocked on his door yesterday. [AP/Saratogian] [CapNews9] [TU] [WNYT]

(there's more)

Landlord owes Troy more than $600k, man arrested for allegedly stabbing mother and brother, wettest decade on record, renovations begin on Dinosaur building

Companies owned by landlord Sandy Horowitz owe the city of Troy more than $600,000 in back taxes, according to his bankruptcy filing. Horowitz owns the Cannon Building, which was recently shut down temporarily because of code violations. [Troy Record] [Troy Record]

A Greenfield 20-year-old has been charged with stabbing both his brother and mother Friday. Saratoga County DA James Murphy said "every major organ except the heart was punctured or injured" in the brother during the attack. [Post-Star] [Saratogian]

Troy police say a man was shot multiple times Saturday night in South Troy (map). The TPD says it's arrested a Schenectady man. [CapNews9] [Troy Record]

The state will be spending $5 million to replace the bridge that connects Niska Isle -- and its nine households -- to the rest of Niskayuna. (Niska Isle is actually a peninsula.) [TU]

(there's more)

State now has glut of H1N1 vaccine, increase in heating oil prices, Olmert to speak at Union, suspect accused biting man in the neck

Apparently there is now a glut of H1N1 flu vaccine in New York State. [TU]

Prompted by the promise of federal money, David Paterson is now in favor of lifting the state cap on charter schools. [TU]

Schenectady County prosecutors allege that a Schenectady man accused of sexually abusing two girls offered to pay the girls' mother if they didn't testify against him. [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

The cold weather has prompted a rise in home heating oil prices. [WTEN]

(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)

Fatal shooting in Schenectady, kids credited with saving horses from fire, Cannon Building shut down, push to redevelop First Prize Center

Police say a man was shot and killed yesterday in Schenectady -- allegedly by his girlfriend's former husband. Police say they've arrested the alleged shooter, who they say is an active duty serviceman who was on holiday leave. [CapNews9] [TU] [Fox23] [WTEN]

Schenectady cop Dwayne Johnson pleaded not guilty yesterday to the 15 counts in his indictment, which include four felonies. Prosecutors allege that Johnson defrauded the city by working as a security guard at a gas station while he supposed to be on duty. Johnson topped the pay chart for Schenectady cops last year thanks to overtime pay. [Daily Gazette $] [CapNews9] [TU] [WTEN]

A group of "kids" is being credited with helping to save a bunch of horses* from a big barn fire in Colonie. A 12-year-old was apparently among the first to smell smoke and take action to evacuate the animals. All the horses were saved. The Gazette has a remarkable photo of the fire, which firefighters say was stoked by strong winds. [CBS6] [WTEN] [CapNews9] [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Three adults and one teen in Knox pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges they tortured and blew up a turtle last year. Police say they found video of the alleged turtle bombing this year during a raid for an Internet scam case. [Troy Record] [CapNews9] [TU]

(there's more)

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]

Saratoga Springs police say they're still investigating an incident last Friday that resulted in a man being shot in the leg. [Saratogian] [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)

Record snowfall yesterday, Paterson defends Wall Street, parking ticket plan approved, new license plates still on the way, again no ice skating at ESP

snowfall measure

We got just about 7 inches at the uptown office.

Yesterday's storm dropped 7.3 inches of snow on the Capital Region, according to the National Weather Service (forecasts on Tuesday had been predicting 2 to 5 inches). That's a record for December 9 (the previous high mark was 6.3 inches). Parts of Saratoga County reported getting as much as 10 inches. [NWS] [Saratogian]

A freight train hit a snow plow at a crossing in Northumberland yesterday morning, killing one of the the men on the plow truck and injuring the other (map). The crossing doesn't have gates or signals. [Post-Star] [CapNews9] [Saratogian]

Albany County's public works commissioner says yesterday's short, strong blast of snow made it hard to keep the roads clear during rush hour. Troy somehow found a way to clear its streets without Bob Mirch. [TU] [Troy Record]

David Paterson again vowed to hold back aid to local governments in order to keep the state solvent (his budget director compared the fiscal situation to driving in the snow). The chair of the state Senate finance committee says Paterson will be sued it he tries to do that. [NYO] [Daily Politics] [TU]

During the same speech yesterday, Paterson also defended Wall Street -- calling it the engine of New York State's economy. Said a state Senate "source" of the speech: "I half-expected to see Michael Douglas come out and reprise his role as Gordon Gekko." [NYT] [NYDN]

(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)

City, town or village?

colonie town hall

Colonie Town Hall

After we posted Monday about Colonie being named the "safest" city in the country in an annual crime ranking, Jackers pointed out in the comments:

Colonie is not a city. There's a town, and a village, but no city.

He is, of course, correct. We would argue it doesn't make much difference in this context. The list ranks areas of local jurisdiction with populations larger than 75,000 -- it doesn't really matter what you call them (whether it makes sense to rank municipalities in this way is a whole other, worthwhile discussion). But substituting "municipality" for "city" would make the sentence more accurate.

This got us wondering about what exactly differentiates a city from a town in New York State. So we looked it up.

(there's more)

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]

Joe Bruno Trial: day one of jury deliberations passed without a verdict. The jury will take a break for Thanksgiving and resume deliberations next Monday. [TU] [Troy Record]

One thing that was apparent from testimony in the Bruno trial: his second office was the golf course. [NYT]

Colonie police say a man died this morning when the pickup truck in which he was sitting exploded (map). [TU]

(there's more)

Safe as houses. In Colonie.

Colonie and Albany are literally right next door, but their crime rankings almost couldn't be farther apart.

Colonie tops the list of lowest-crime cities in this year's rankings compiled by CQ Press. Colonie had only 54 incidences of violent crime in 2008, the lowest total of the 393 cities in the rankings. It ranked #10 last year.

As far as we can tell, Albany is the only other Capital Region city on the list -- it ranked #300 (#263 last year).

Here's more about the methodology used to compile the list. By CQ's own admission, the ranking has its critics. And here's what the FBI says about these sorts of rankings:

Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use reported figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction.

The FBI does compile annual crime statistics -- here's the 2008 data for crimes in New York State, sorted by city.

[via @albcolchamber]

Movement at the Capitol, executives said they didn't know why they were paying Bruno, woman charged for not getting treatment for her dog, school district denies Whalen's appeal

There was movement on legislation at the Capitol yesterday -- just not on the deficit reduction plan. The Assembly passed -- and the Senate apparently is about to -- a bill that reforms the hundreds of quasi-independent state authorities (such as the Thruway Authority). Richard Brodsky, the assemblyman behind the bill, says the authorities have been "rogue institutions" that resembled "Soviet-style bureaucracies" and called the the bill "the most fundamental reform of Albany in decades." [TU] [NYT] [NYO] [NYDN]

And in a display that the Capitol can move quickly, the Senate passed and David Paterson signed a bill called "Leandra's Law" yesterday (the Assembly passed it on Tuesday) that makes it a felony drive drunk with a child in the car. The law also requires that anyone convicted of DWI to have an interlock device installed in their car. The new rules have been described as the toughest DWI law in the country. [NYT] [CNN] [CapNews9] [Wikipedia] [CBS News]

Not present for the last two days of the special session: Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr, who says he's been in the Bronx distributing turkeys. [NYO]

Joe Bruno Trial Day 12: Prosecutors focused on hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees that a series of telecommunications companies paid Bruno -- even though executives for those companies apparently didn't know why they were paying the senator. It also came to light that Bruno helped steer $500k in state grants to a Troy firm connected to two longtime friends/associates, one of whom apparently had a deal with the company to get paid stock in return for helping to score the money (he says Bruno's consulting wasn't connected to the money). A former attorney for the state Senate also testified that he had a "CYA" file to keep notes of his dealings with Bruno regarding ethics issues. And Judge Gary Sharpe scold of the day: "Let the record show the witness made a disgusted glance." [NYT] [NYDN] [TU] [Troy Record] [TU] [Fox23]

(there's more)

Bruno trial focuses on disclosure forms, progress -- or not -- on state budget gap, contractor dies on dredging project, the crow wars continue

Joe Bruno Trial: Much of the testimony yesterday focused on how Bruno's financial disclosure forms had been compiled. Ken Riddett, the former counsel to the Senate majority, testified that state senators were instructed to hand deliver their financial disclosure forms because of "concerns with federal mail fraud statutes." Also: Bruno's former executive assistant continued her testimony yesterday. She recounted the time Bruno sent her to the bank to get a $1000 bill for his wife -- and she says Bruno got "very angry" with her when she returned with ten $100 bills instead. [NYT] [TU] [Troy Record]

What's the state of discussions on how to close the state's budget gap? It depends on whom you ask -- though count David Paterson as one who's not optimistic, calling the situation a "prelude to what will be continued unhappiness." The governor also said he wouldn't rule out state worker furloughs if a deficit deal doesn't come about. [Daily Politics] [TU] [NYO] [NYDN]

Amy Seyboth Tirador, the Colonie soldier who recently died in Iraq, was buried in Saratoga National Cemetery yesterday. About 300 people attended her funeral in Colonie. Military officials in Iraq told the TU via email yesterday that "we do not know if her death was accidental, a suicide or a homicide." Seyboth Tirador's family has said the soldier was shot in the back of the head. During the funeral yesterday her grandfather said, "Whoever did this crime, I hope they rot in hell." [WTEN] [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT]

(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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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]

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Bruno trial Day 3, shouting over post office closures, seasonal flu still on the way, "water celery" snags development plans, school lunches go local

Joe Bruno trial Day 3: a former official with a Connecticut investment firm testified called Bruno an "introducer" and said the senator brought $140 million worth of investments to the firm. And an attorney for the investment group, testifying with an immunity deal, said Bruno relationship with the firm wasn't vetted by the ethics committee because it was "commonplace." Yesterday also included testimony by NY Daily News columnist Bill Hammond and SPAC president Marcia White, who was once Bruno's spokesperson. [TU] [CapNews9] [Fox23]

Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that his office has filed an anti-trust suit against Intel for allegedly abusing its monopoly power to keep AMD down. Any penalties assessed against Intel could help AMD, which is the biggest customer of GlobalFoundries -- Cuomo says the GloFo chip fab project in Malta had nothing to do with the suit, though. [NYO][NYT][TU]

The man accused of being the shooter in Troy's Second Street homicide was released on his own recognizance yesterday after the Rensselaer County DA's office wasn't ready for a preliminary hearing. [TU]

More than a hundred people showed up for the public info session about the potential closures of the Pine Hills and Delaware Ave post offices. The crowd included Jerry Jennings, and Common Council members Shawn Morris and Cathy Fahey. The exchanges between the crowd and USPS officials apparently got a bit heated at times. [TU] [CapNews9] [Fox23]

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First witnesses in Bruno trial, doctors flooded with requests for flu shot, public info meetings on post office closures, Thriller dance cancelled for lack of space

Here's a rundown of notable election results from yesterday. In some of the highest profile races: Jerry Jennings cruised to victory in the Albany mayoral election, Paula Mahan beat Mike Hoblock for Colonie supervisor, Republicans swept the contested seats on the Saratoga Springs city council, Republicans Bob Mirch and Neil Kelleher were both bounced from the Rensselaer County legislature. [AOA] [TU] [TU] [Saratogian] [Troy Record]

The new optical scan voting machines seemed to work out OK yesterday. [TU]

The first witnesses in the Joe Bruno trial took the stand yesterday. The head of an Albany investment firm testified that his consulting payments to Bruno increased after the senator became majority leader -- and that Bruno was responsible for bringing in $400,000 in revenue from labor unions. A former Bruno staff attorney testified that he "was not involved" in Bruno's business ventures, but did say he provided legal advice about agreements between Bruno and clients. [CapNews9] [Fox23] [TU]

Local doctors' offices say they've been deluged with patients calling for the H1N1 vaccine. [TU]

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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]

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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]

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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]

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State flu shot mandate cancelled, charges over ESP man cave, Paterson says Obama Admin cost state $1 billion, a big year for lady bugs

The state Department of Health has rescinded the flu shot mandate for health care workers. The DOH says there isn't enough vaccine to go around and the state would rather see the vax go to at-risk populations (young people, pregnant women). The Paterson Administration said the move was not related to the group of lawsuits filed over the mandate. [TU] [NYT] [NYDN]

The two men accused of being involved with the alleged "man cave" in the ESP have been hit with a bunch of charges that make the cave sound like some sort of stoner's paradise. Both men have pleaded not guilty. The attorney for one of the men said they were "shocked" to face charges over the cave "when there was actually a more publicized and egregious waste of tax money last spring as our state Senate sat around proud doing nothing while Rome burned." [Daily Politics] [AP/Troy Record] [TU]

A special meeting of the Troy city council turned into a bit of display as Democrats refused to show up and people ended up yelling at each other in front of TV cameras. Harry Tutunjian had called the meeting in an attempt to suspend three Democratic appointees accused of being involved with recent case of alleged voter fraud. [Troy Record] [TU]

Two alternate jurors from the Adrian Thomas trial say they would have voted "not guilty." [Fox23]

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DA says recent attempted abduction reports not unusual, man accused of throwing person into a fire, police taser man in Schenectady, David Hyde Pierce returns to Saratoga

Despite a recent string of reports, the Schenectady County DA says he doesn't believe there's been an unusual number of attempted abductions. [TU]

The state Department of Transportation says there's been an increase in the number of fender benders on Route 85 in Slingerlands where the roundabouts have been installed -- but fewer accidents involving injuries. The DOT reported a similar trend for the Malta roundabouts last year. [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

State Democrats have reportedly given David Paterson until December to turn his poll numbers around ahead of next year's gubernatorial race. [AP/TU]

The state has spent $19k to install hand sanitizer dispensers in state buildings -- including the Capitol -- around Albany. [PolitickerNY]

East Greenbush police say a man threw an 18-year-old into a bonfire during a party early Friday morning. The alleged victim reportedly suffered second degree burns on many parts of his body. The alleged tosser has been charged with first degree assault. [Fox23] [WTEN] [WNYT]

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Voters testify about alleged ballot fraud, man arrested for shooting dogs, Troy police set trap for suspected muggers, live poultry market opens

A string of Troy residents testified in court yesterday that that their absentee ballot applications contained fraudulent information. And the voters mentioned that a handful of Troy city and Democratic officials had approached them with absentee ballots. A state Supreme Court judge will decide whether the ballots should be tossed from the recent Working Families primary election. [CapNews9] [Troy Record] [WNYT] [TU]

The allegations of ballot fraud spilled over into last night's Troy city council meeting. Democrats and Republicans squabbled over a proposed resolution that would suspend two city marshals who have been accused of being involved with the alleged scheme. [CBS6] [Troy Record]

And handful of local municipalities released proposed budgets: Jerry Jennings' Albany budget keeps the tax levy the same, but shifts more of it onto residential tax payers; Harry Tutunjian's proposed Troy budget includes a 4.25 percent property tax increase; the proposed Colonie budget keeps the tax levy the same, but shifts a little more on commercial property owners; Clifton Park's proposed budget uses $900k from its reserve fund to balance the budget. [TU][Troy Record] [TU] [TU]

The Albany County sheriff's department announced yesterday that it had arrested a man for shooting those two dogs in Berne. Police say the man told them he killed the dogs because they were killing his chickens. The man's attorney says the dogs also killed two calves and threatened the man's family. The sheriff's department says the man isn't being charged under Buster's Law because he didn't kill the dogs in a "depraved or sadistic manner." [TU] [WNYT] [CapNews9] [Fox23]

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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]

Filming on that Will Ferrell movie starts in downtown Albany today -- here's a list of street closings and parking restrictions. [AOA] [AOA]

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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]

(there's more)

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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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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Everyone seems upset in Senate mess aftermath, Albany says sewer failure wasn't its fault, bar owners brought SLA with check of a box, rain leads to exploding cherries

David Paterson says the caucus switching that's been going on in the state Senate is "so blatantly quid pro quo that it borders on the boundaries of illegality." Jim Tedisco says that the recent mess has prompted him to work on introducing legislation in the Assembly that would allow elected officials to be recalled -- he singled out Pedro Espada for "selling his office." Roy McDonald says the legislature is "evolving into a branch of the New York City Council." And Neil Breslin says the recent events have him "less excited about being a senator." [AP/TU] [TU] [Fox23] [Saratogian] [AP/Troy Record]

Friday's special session of the state Senate was canceled and the body is next scheduled to meet on Wednesday. [PolitickerNY]

One thing the Senate ovethrow/unthrow didn't stop: big pay raises for a bunch of Senate staffers. [TU]

A hearing on the constitutionality of David Paterson's appointment of Richard Ravitch to the post of lieutenant governor has been scheduled for Wednesday. Even with the state Senate mess resolved, both Paterson and Ravitch say there's still a need for a lt governor. [AP/TU] [PolitickerNY]

Lawyers for Joe Bruno are arguing that his trial for "theft of honest services" should be delayed until the Supreme Court of the United State rules on a pair of similar cases. [TU]

They City of Albany has denied almost $300k in claims related to the flooding last August. The city says the deluge "exceeded all levels for which municipal storm sewers or municipal combined sewers are designed." [TU]

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Ambulance crew was going to take even longer route, H1N1 case in Albany County, Bronx terror informant was also Albany informant, turkey hunter charged, Troy co-op nears first goal

Recordings of dispatch communications indicate that the ambulance sent to transport the Albany boy who ran his bike into a car -- and later died -- had originally planned to take an even longer route to the scene of the accident. As it was, the Mohawk ambulance arrived on the scene 25 minutes after the call. Mohawk has yet to address why it didn't call for outside help in making the transport. [WNYT] [TU]

The state Department of Health reports that there's been a confirmed case of the emerging H1N1 flu in Albany County. The case, apparently a relatively mild one, is an adult who works in New York City. [NYS] [TU]

The Capital Region's unemployment rate was 6.7 percent last month -- that's up from 4.4 percent a year ago, but down from 7.3 percent in March. [TU] [NYS DoL]

The Saratoga Springs man arrested this week on charges he had a grenade is now under federal investigation after authorities say they found "anti-government materials" in his apartment. "Sources" say the material included a cover a Barack Obama Newsweek cover with a bull's eye on it. The father of the man's girlfriend called the guy "a psychopath." [Daily Gazette] [WNYT] [TU]

Federal stimulus money will be used to fund reconstruction of Route 5 (Central Ave) between Albany and Schenectady. Stimulus money will also fund reconstruction of Rt 2 in Watervliet. Along with other projects, $51 million of federal stimulus spending has been announced for the Capital Region. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record] [Biz Review]

Troy police intervened with a possibly suicidal man after the Los Angeles Police Department alerted them to threats the man made on his MySpace page. [Troy Record]

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Police say Saratoga Winners fire was arson, earthquake near Berne, two men Cheney'd while hunting turkey, time capsule found

Colonie police say the owner of Saratoga Winners set the club on fire so he could collect the insurance money. The owner is a former gynecologist -- his medical license was revoked 2006. [Troy Record] [TU]

The USGS reports there was a magnitude 3 earthquake near Berne last night -- people report that it woke them up. [USGS] [CBS6]

Stillwater says water usage in the town is down 2 million gallons (no time frame given)-- perhaps out of concern about PCB contamination from the Hudson seeping into the town's wells. [CapNews9]

One of the highest-profile potential primary challengers to Kirsten Gillibrand says he won't run for the Senate. Steve Israel, a Congressman from Long Island, says President Obama asked him to not challenge Gillibrand. [TU] [NYT]

A man in New York City died last night from complications related to the emerging H1N1 influenza -- New York's State's first reported death from the virus. NYC has closed 10 schools in an effort to keep a lid on another flu flare up. [NYT]

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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]

Filming for Salt continues today through Monday in downtown Albany. Traffic was reportedly all tied up downtown yesterday after filming started again. [TU] [@rmadeo]

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Former state tax worker accused of stealing identities, Jennings officially running for re-election, Troy and Albany among highest spending districts, DA wants meeting about Skidmore pot, woman wants to clean up the crap

A retired employee of the state Department of Taxation and Finance was arrested yesterday on accusations that he had used stolen taxpayers' person and financial info to open credit cards and other accounts. He's accused of running up $200,000 in fraudulent charges. Authorities say they found more than 2000 post-it notes with taxpayer data in the man's Troy home. [TU] [AP/Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]

The NY20 special election inched forward yesterday a judge ruled on how some of the absentee ballots should be assessed. The latest unofficial numbers from the New York State Board of Elections has Scott Murphy leading Jim Tedisco by 365 votes. [TU] [NYS BoE]

Tedisco was facing a sticky situation in his current job -- in the state Assembly -- yesterday after someone anonymously sent documents to the TU and various other offices that indicate Tedisco's top staffer had his personal legal bills paid by Repbublican Assembly campaign money. [TU]

Jerry Jennings has officially announced he's running for re-election as mayor of Albany. [TU]

Filming starts today on that Angelina Jolie movie -- here's a listing of the road closures. [AOA]

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The last chance post office

post office

The place to find procrastinators Wednesday night.

The post office at 30 Karner Road in Colonie is the post office of last resort for procrastinating tax filers. The branch, which is connected to the mail processing facility there, will be open until 11:59 Wednesday night.

Bonus spot: the Colonie Center post office will be open until 8 pm.

State worker union turns down no-layoff deal, Paterson pushes for same-sex marriage bill, Hearst cancels guild contract at TU, rescued animals pack humane society shelter

CSEA says it has rejected a deal offered by the Paterson administration in which state workers would give up this year's scheduled three percent raise in return for a no-layoffs guarantee. Liz Benjamin reports there may be a "pay lag" agreement coming together behind the scenes, though. Also: as promised, David Paterson has sent 10 percent of his salary ($18k) back to the state. [AP/TU] [Daily Politics] [TU]

David Paterson said yesterday he thinks the public will accept same-sex marriage and he wants to see a same-sex marriage bill come up for a vote in the state Senate -- whether it's guaranteed to pass or not. That call didn't go over all that well with same-sex marriage advocates. [NYT] [Daily Politics]

The state budget has lead to cuts in open hours at state parks this season. The local regional state park director calls the cutbacks "fairly unprecedented." Among the local consequences: the Peerless Pool will be closed on Tuesdays (the day it gets the smallest number of visitors, according to officials) and the beach at Grafton Lakes will be closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays. [TU] [Troy Record] [Saratogian] [Post-Star] [Daily Gazette]

As of this morning, the New York State Board of Elections was reporting that Scott Murphy had an eight vote lead over Jim Tedisco in the 20th Congressional District special election. The count of absentee ballots will continue today. The NY 20th may be missing out on federal stimulus money because it doesn't have a House member right now. [NYSBoE] [AP/TU]

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The economy sucks, shooting in Pine Hills, garbage threatens to topple Schenectady hill, RPI officials in Africa

This just in: the economy really sucks at this moment. [TU] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian] [Saratogian] [SRI]

State Senate Democrats are reportedly willing to support raising taxes on households making more than $250,000 as a way to cover the budget gap (they also apparently support an increase in the sales tax). There's already support for the measure in the Assembly. David Paterson has said such move should be a last resort. [NYT]

An Albany man has been charged with the murder of the man found dead in an abandoned Albany building in February (the city's first homicide of the year). Police say the suspect shot the man in a parked car on Lark Street and then dumped the body. Police say the suspect denies being involved, instead saying that he was smoking pot in Troy with a random woman he met that day. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record] [TU]

More violence in Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood: police say a woman was shot in the arm outside the Playdium bowling alley early Saturday morning (map). Police say the woman told them her sons know the shooters. There was also a reported mugging at the corner of South Main and Myrtle this weekend (map).[Troy Record] [CapNews9] [TU]

The number of bridges in New York State that have been "red-flagged" has more than quadrupled between 2002 and 2007, according to a report from the state Department of Transportation. [TU]

(there's more)

DA says scratched car prompted bombing, new rail plan for state, Siena's going to the NCAA Tournament, Breslin warns of budget deficit, big plans for Troy Proctors

A Schenectady County judge denied bail yesterday for Steven Raucci, the school district employee accused of arson and terrorism. In arguing against bail, the Schenectady DA said Raucci bombed a person's car after the man scratched Raucci's car in a parking lot. The DA says Raucci has continued to make threats since being taken into custody. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Underground explosions blasted four manhole covers off the ground yesterday afternoon in downtown Albany. National Grid says burning cables may have caused a build up of gases. Power near the site of the explosions will be shut off as investigators try to figure out what happened. [AOA] [TU] [CapNews9]

David Paterson and seemingly every other upstate elected official were at the Rensselaer train station yesterday to announce a new state rail plan. State officials hope the plan will increase New York's chances of scoring federal stimulus money for rail projects. As part of the plan, officials would like to spend $3 billion on somewhat higher speed rail service throughout the state. [TU] [AP/Troy Record] [Daily Gazette]

As David Paterson announced that he's freezing the pay of some 160 of aides, it came out that he just re-hired his recently fired top aide for $170,000. [Newsday] [NY Post]

The Albany Common Council chose not to issue subpoenas last night after the heads of the unions that represent Albany police officers chose not to testify under oath as part of the investigation in the ghost ticket scandal. The council has gotten 5,000 documents from the APD as part of the investigation. [TU] [CapNews9] [Fox23]

The Siena men's basketball team is going to the NCAA tournament. The Saints beat Niagara 77-70 last night in the MAAC Tournament final. Kenny Hasbrouck, playing with an injured calf, led Siena with 19 points. The tournament set a conference record for attendance, drawing almost 51,000. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]

(there's more)

Planning for stimulus funds, River Rats bus flips on Mass Turnpike, restaurants cutting prices, no Whitney Gala this year

Dr Strangelove war room

Sadly, the state's war room doesn't look like this. Remember: you can't fight in the war room.

The Paterson Administration has set up a "war room" to coordinate the state's administration of the roughly $25 billion in federal stimulus money headed this way. [TU]

Buried among the list of new taxes and fees in the Paterson budget proposal: a $10 fee for filing your state tax return on paper. More than 40 percent of state tax returns in New York State were filed on paper last year. [TU]

The Capital District Transportation Committee has put together a list of local infrastructure projects that should qualify for stimulus funding -- a group that totals about $87 million. Among the projects on the list: the reconstruction of Delaware Ave in Albany and the replacement of the Bridge Street bridge in Cohoes. [TU]

Three people from the Albany River Rats were seriously injured this morning after the team bus rolled over on the Mass Turnpike. The team was returning from a game in Lowell. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

From the very special election to fill Kirsten Gillibrand's old House seat... Republicans are criticizing Scott Murphy for not voting in eight primary and general elections between 2000 and 2003. And Jim Tedisco participated in a "tele town hall meeting" yesterday -- basically, the campaign robo-called 30,000 people and told them if they held on, Tedisco would speak and answer questions live. The campaign says it had as many as 6,000 people on the line at one point. [Daily Gazette] [Daily Gazette] [CapNews9]

Top Schenectady city officials are demanding to know how the cop accused of serially spending hours in an apartment when he was supposed to be on patrol could have gotten away with it. This latest scandal is just the latest in a long list of Schenectady Police Department screw-ups. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

(there's more)

Stimulus stimulates budget talk, chip fab deal hits snag, guilty verdict tossed over racial remark, candy maker expects subdued Valentine's Day

Both Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand voted for the federal stimulus bill yesterday -- they say New York State could be getting about $20 billion from the bill. That has state leaders thinking about the impact on the state budget. David Paterson says the state still needs to make significant budget cuts. He also said he wouldn't support the proposed tax on high-income households -- unless the Legislature could come up with $11 billion in budget cuts. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [NYDN]

The AMD shareholder vote on the spin-off that would own the Luther Forest chip fab was delayed yesterday after the company couldn't get enough votes together for an official decision. The vote was rescheduled for next week -- both company and local officials seemed confident the deal would still go through. AMD's stock dropped 12 percent on news of the delayed vote. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Saratogian]

The FBI and State Police raided tenant offices at the Port of Albany yesterday. The raid is part of an ongoing investigation into extortion and bid-rigging among businesses there. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Joe Bruno's federal trial has been scheduled for November of this year. His attorney says they'll be trying to get charges dismissed before then. One complication for the trial: finding jurors with an open mind about Bruno's guilt or innocence. [TU]

(there's more)

Albany's ghost ticket scandal widens, Tutunjian plans for new city hall, mud flying in Gillibrand replacement race, UAlbany narrows list of potential presidents,

The roster of vehicles eligible for "ghost" parking tickets apparently extends to a "VIP" list of 270 vehicles owned by the government and private citizens. Among those with a park-for-free pass: the head of the Downtown BID, who has previously said that people should expect to pay for parking. Albany police chief James Tuffey says the program has been shut down. [TU] [CBS6]

Nelson Costello, the man accused of murdering David Bacon 40 years ago in Waterford, was indicted yesterday on charges or murder and witness tampering -- he pleaded not guilty at his arraignment. Authorities say Costello and Bacon were involved in a rivalry over Bacon's then-fiancee -- the woman now lives in Schaghticoke. The Saratoga County DA says Costello was arrested last week in Cohoes after crashing a rental car and then trying to cover up the location of the accident. [Daily Gazette] [TU] [Troy Record]

Troy mayor Harry Tutunjian announced during his state of the city address last night that the city would seeking $22 million of federal stimulus money to build a new city hall on the site of the old one. [TU] [Troy Record]

The council meeting after Tutunjian's address turned into a verbal spat as the council argued with Troy deputy mayor Dan Crawley over the implementation of a new landlord registration law. After a council member accused Crawley of not responding to email, Crawley reportedly shouted: "Not from you. Approach me like a man and quit hiding behind your computer." [Troy Record]

(there's more)

Dems pick candidate for Gillibrand replacement race, stabbing in downtown Saratoga, RPI involved with Africa education intiative, local sales of YakTrax up

The Democrats have picked Glens Falls venture capitalist Scott Murphy to run in the special election for Kirsten Gillibrand's seat. Murphy emerged as the choice after former TV anchor Tracy Egan and AFL-CIO official Suzy Ballantyne dropped out. The 10 Democratic county chairman made their pick yesterday at the Gateway Diner in Albany (no, that's not in the district) while, apparently, wearing lots of Gillibrand flair. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record] [TU] [@pattigibbons]

Murphy will face Jim Tedisco in the special election -- and people are already lining up to replace Tedisco should he win. [Saratogian]

Police say a man was stabbed multiple times early Sunday morning at Club 388 on Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs. The victim was airlifted to Albany Med. Police arrested two men shortly after the incident -- the cops had been on patrol in the area. [CapNews9] [Daily Gazette] [Saratogian]

Saratoga Springs mayor Scott Johnson says the city's council "has already embraced the concept, but not the details" of paid parking downtown. That's not going over well with downtown business owners. [TU]

As David Paterson's public profile has taken a hit (or, hits) over the last few weeks, it appears that Sheldon Silver is controlling the agenda at the Capitol. [AP/Saratogian] [TU]

Joe Bruno, who's under federal indictment, in a recent memo to employees at the consulting firm he now heads: "If there was ever a time to be righteously indignant, that time is now." [TU]

(there's more)

Job anxiety at Capitol, Albany Med planning more development, cell phone prompts school evacuation, NYSTI fighting merger with Egg

The change in control of the state Senate is causing a lot of anxiety for staffers -- many of their jobs are up in the air as resources are being re-apportioned. The state Senate has 1,300 staffers. [NYT]

Albany Med is looking to build an office building, hotel and parking garage on land owned by the VA across New Scotland Ave. The plan would also reconfigure that part of New Scotland into a four-lane street. [TU]

A chunk of ice flew off the back of a tractor trailer yesterday and smashed through the windshield of a Ballston Spa woman's car. (The picture is remarkable.) She says she'd now like to see a state law to making it illegal to drive with ice on your car. [CBS6] [CBS6]

Local auto repair shops say business is booming as people look to hang on to their cars longer because of the economy. [TU]

Police say they're not sure what led to the death of a man found along the side of the road in North Greenbush on Sunday. [Troy Record]

(there's more)

State of the State today, Democrats organize control of state Senate, unemployment claim system crashes, two-year-old found wandering snowy streets

David Paterson will deliver the state of the state speech today at 1 pm. A group of labor unions representing state, local and healthcare workers is planning a march through downtown Albany before the speech -- traffic is being re-routed as thousands are expected to take part. Paterson has largely been out of sight the last few weeks because he's needed the time -- some 60 hours -- to memorize his speech. [TU] [Daily Gazette] [CBS6] [Daily Politics] [ABCNews]

It appears the Democrats have worked out an arrangement to take control of the state Senate. The deal may -- or may not -- have included an agreement to block a vote on same-sex marriage. Malcolm Smith will become the state's first African-American Senate majority leader. And with the change of party control, there are a bunch of new committee chairs -- including the guy who was recently charged with felony assault. [NYT] [TU] [NYDN] [Daily Politics] [NYT]

On the first day of testimony in the trial of the teen accused of firing the shot that killed Kathina Thomas, a prosecution witness admitted he had lied during his testimony. The girl's mother also testified yesterday and her account of the incident was heartbreaking. During opening arguments, the attorney for the accused teen said his client did fire a shot that day -- but not with the type of gun police say killed Thomas. [TU] [AP/Daily Gazette]

(there's more)

Democrats strike deal for control of state Senate, Schumer touting Gillibrand, longtime Saratoga sheriff gets challenger, wrong way driver causes four accidents, students organize for french fries

Note: the TU's site wasn't loading this morning.

Democrats in the state Senate have worked out a deal with the "Gang of Three" senators who were threatening to side with Republicans in the upcoming leadership vote. As part of the deal, Malcolm Smith will become head of the state Senate (president pro tem), but Pedro Espada will become majority leader (no, it usually doesn't get split like that). Also apparently part of the deal: the chamber won't bring up a vote on gay marriage, which one of the Gang of Three opposes. [NYT] [NYDN] [NYP]

Chuck Schumer is reportedly encouraging David Paterson to pick Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton. [NYP]

The solider from Rensselaer County accused of killing two superiors in Iraq was found not guilty by a military jury yesterday at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. The judge had to clear the courtroom after the verdict prompted yelling from the victims' families. [AP/Daily Gazette]

Police say bystanders flocked to the aid of the family hit by a pickup truck on State Street in Schenectady Wednesday. An SPD spokesperson says the accident scene was one of the worst he's ever seen, with little kids "lying in the street screaming for their mother." [Daily Gazette]

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What's left of Heritage Park

Heritage Park rundown

Onetime habitat of the rare diamond dog.

Check out these photos of Heritage Park by Flickr user dougtone. It's kind of remarkable how overgrown and rundown the place looks now (the pics are from this past summer).

The Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs were the last regular tenant of Heritage Park. The independent league baseball team dissolved in 2002.

These photos -- and the stadium's condition -- reminded us of The World Without Us.

Updated: Eugene writes: "The World Without Us? How about "Life After People," the
Emmy-nominated History Channel series directed by Argyle resident
David De Vries?"

photo: Flickr user dougtone

No tax increase for Schenectady?, cop gets backup from passerby, Saratoga mini-Chopper food won't be pricy, a bounty from tainted Booty

The Schenectady City Council passed a 2009 budget that does not include a tax increase. The budget proposed by Mayor Brian Stratton had called for a 2.9 percent hike. Stratton has said he would veto the budget if the council made significant cuts. [Daily Gazette]

At a John McCain rally in downtown Albany on Saturday, Jim Buhrmaster -- the Republican running for the 21st Congressional District (McNulty's seat) -- said "the silent majority" will push McCain over the top in the presidential race. At a nearby Barack Obama rally, Paul Tonko -- the Democrat running for the seat -- said the opportunity to elect Obama is "a great fortune." [Troy Record]

After an Albany police officer got tangled up in a fight Friday night with a teenager, whom police say was carrying a shotgun, a passerby went into the cop's patrol car and called for backup. (Apparently the battery in the officer's mobile radio had died.) The APD says it hasn't been able to find the anonymous person who helped the officer. [Fox23] [Daily Gazette]

A car running a red light at Quail and Madison in Albany early Sunday morning hit an ambulance, causing it to roll over. The ambulance, which had its lights and siren on, then hit another car waiting at the light. No one was seriously injured. [WNYT] [TU]

Albany Common Councilman Glen Casey says his car should't have been booted for unpaid parking tickets. "Somebody needs to do a better job," he told the TU. The city treasurer says Casey still has outstanding tickets. [TU]

(there's more)

Top Paterson aide didn't pay taxes, Barnes believes he was targeted, chip fab company to get new name, Little League bleachers stolen

David Paterson's top advisor, chief of staff Charle O'Byrne, admitted this weekend to not paying his federal or state taxes from 2001-2005 after the TU reported there were warrants out for his back taxes. O'Byrne says he neglected to pay because he was clinically depressed. O'Byrne was $200,000 behind his taxes. The Gov has said O'Byrne did disclose the problem, though it's unclear to what to extent. The conventional wisdom seems to be that O'Byrne won't lose his job over this. [AP] [TU] [TU] [NYT] [Newsday]

Albany County DA David Soares says he'll meet with Steve Barnes to talk about the attack on the food writer and his friend Friday night. According to the TU, Barnes believes he was specifically targeted. [TU]

Rensselaer County's proposed 2009 budget does not include a tax increase. County executive Kathleen Jimino says the county's expanding tax base made an increase unnecessary. [TU]

As many as 7,500 absentee ballots in Albany County did not correctly list David Soares as a candidate on the Independence Line in the district attorney race. The board of elections says it was a simple oversight and new ballots will be ready this week. [TU]

(there's more)

Colonie facing a lot of red ink, smoking ban proposed around hospitals, Schenectady looking at slick solution for graffiti, chowderfest winners

Auditors for the Town of Colonie report the town is facing a $19.5 million deficit -- that's even bigger than the previous estimates that prompted finger wagging by the state. Town supervisor Paula Mahan says the town is still looking to collect a one-time deficit reduction tax next year. A plan to do that earlier this year was blocked by the state legislature. [TU]

John McCain said last night on 60 Minutes that Andrew Cuomo, who's currently the New York attorney general, would make a good head of the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. [Daily Politics]

Capital Region colleges say they're seeing jumps in enrollment and financial aid requests, possibly because of the state of the economy. [Daily Gazette]

An Albany common council member says he's going to propose a ban on smoking within 100 feet of hospitals. It's not the health effects that have him bothered -- it's the litter. [TU]

(there's more)

Worth its weight in copper

a bunch of copper wire

A hot -- and sometimes hot -- commodity.

The TU reported today that a group of thieves took off with 780 pounds of copper wire from a recycling company in Colonie last night.

Why rip off copper? The price of the metal has increased more than five-fold since 2001 (demand from China has been pushing up prices). That's made copper quite the target for thieves. Depending on the type of wire, the copper stolen last night in Colonie is worth somewhere between $435 and $1,100.

But it looks like the thieves need to work on their market timing. Copper prices took their biggest dip in a year today.

photo: Flickr user dh3hao, used under a CC license

Unscheduled days off for Albany High, Rensselaer gets money for flood recovery, auto dealer closing because of high gas prices, RPI kicks retired prof's email because of criticism

Classes have been canceled this week at Albany High School after a computer problem messed up students' class schedules. [TU]

The state Senate is giving the City of Rensselaer $1.1 million to help with recovery from the flooding in August. Mayor Dan Dwyer says "hardly anything has been fixed" since the heavy rains. Residents say they're worried about the water rising again. [Troy Record] [TU] [WNYT]

The City of Troy is considering the purchase of a system that can listen for gunfire and then triangulate the point from which the shots were fired. It costs $200,000 for the system to cover one square mile. [TU]

A Rensselaer police car was rear-ended on the Dunn Memorial Bridge while it was stopped to issue a traffic violation. The collision pushed the cop car into the back of the car that had been pulled over. [Troy Record]

(there's more)

Malta clears way for AMD chip fab, infamous Schenectady B&B sold, brewery scolded for serving too-big samples, the best milk in New York, horse to get key to city

The Malta Town Board approved zoning changes that clear the way for the construction of the AMD chip fab in Luther Forest. The company still hasn't officially committed to the project, though. [TU]

The infamous sex party B&B in Schenectady's Union Ave neighborhood sold yesterday at auction for $201,600 (just $33 per square foot). The new owner is a psychiatrist who will use the house for offices. The old owner is headed off to Florida in his party bus, which is equipped with a stripper pole. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

A Colonie police car was torched in the driveway of an officer's house early Monday morning. It appears some kind of flammable substance had been poured over the car's exterior. [TU]

The number of Capital Region home sales in July was down 20 percent from the same period a year before -- but the median sales price was up 2 percent to $210,000. [Biz Review]

(there's more)

Spitzer aides accused of breaking ethics laws, gun buyback in Troy, Colonie EMTs upset about being grounded, lower gas prices if you pay cash

A report from the State Commission on Public Integrity says four former Eliot Spitzer aides violated state ethics laws while taking part in the "Let's get Joe Bruno by using the State Police to track his travel on state aircraft" plot. The report left the former governor off the hook, a move that some are calling a "whitewash." [NYT] [TU]

Dean Skelos, the new State Senate leader, was at The Track yesterday and said he gives his "commitment" that he would continue Joe Bruno's upstate economic development projects, including the proposed AMD chip fab at Luther Forest. [Daily Gazette]

The Albany gun buyback program is being expanded to Troy. (Earlier on AOA: The Albany gun buyback: buyer's remorse?) [TU]

The Troy police chief is in the running to head up the police force in Marco Island, Florida. [TU]

Colonie EMTs are protesting the town's decision to discontinue the medics' participation with State Police rescue flights around the region. Paula Mahan, the town supervisor, says Colonie needs the resources focused on the town. [WNYT]

Gas stations around the region are starting to offer lower prices to people who pay with cash. The stations says credit card transaction fees are taking a big bite out of their revenue. [Daily Gazette]

The head of the Metroplex Development Authority in Schenectady says the Big House night club project is back on track. [Daily Gazette]

Flooding from all the recent rain damaged the wood floor at the HVCC sports complex, probably closing the facility for the rest of the summer. HVCC is hoping it can save the floor -- a replacement would cost about $200,000. [Troy Record]

Troy City Hall to be knocked down, Bruno says Spitzer was "nuts," something may be rotten at Colonie's dump, local unemployment rate up

A $6 million slab of Bruno bacon, probably the last of his pork, will be put towards a project that includes the demolition of Troy City Hall. A riverfront park and underground parking garage are slated for its place. There doesn't appear to be a solid plan for where the new city hall will go, but Harry Tutunjian and the city council -- who have been fighting over this for months -- are vowing to work together on the relocation. [TU] [Troy Record]

Joe Bruno will officially resign from his state Senate seat at midnight tonight. In an exit interview of sorts with the Troy Record, Bruno says he'll miss the power that comes with being one of the The Three Men in the Room. He also says that he "knew there was something wrong with" Eliot Spitzer after their first meeting, describing the former gov as "certifiably nuts." [Troy Record]

The Town of Colonie, the state DEC and the AG's office are investigating whether a trash hauler defrauded the town landfill of $15 million in revenue. The company has been accused of working with landfill employees to systematically underreport the amount of garbage it's been dumping. In May, a former employee reportedly complained that they had been fired for not going along with the alleged scheme. [Daily Gazette] [Troy Record]

The candidates for the 21st Congressional District (McNulty's seat) got together last night to talk about their positions on a range of topics. "Change" was apparently a popular topic. [Daily Gazette] [Daily Gazette]

The head of AMD, the company talking about building a massive chip fab plant at Luther Forest, stepped down yesterday. Hector Ruiz had been under pressure after the company reported losing more than $1 billion last quarter. The new CEO is reportedly a star engineer who's respected on Wall Street. AMD has still not officially committed to the Luther Forest project. [TU] [NYT]

The Capital Region unemployment rate hit 4.9 percent last month, that's a full point higher than the same period last year. [TU]

Don't you just hate it when your star artist neighbor won't quit bugging you about that 90 acre parcel of land in Rensselaerville until you sell it to him? [TU]

Legislative session ends with whimper after fireworks, Keehn to run for Bruno's seat?, American to stop flight to ALB, Peerless Pool opening delayed

All the drama aside, this state legislative ended this week with most of the big issues -- including the state's ballooning budget deficit -- unresolved. [NYT]

One bill that did make it through: a measure that would have the state pay the City of Albany $5.5 million dollars this year as a sort of tax payment on the Harriman office campus (the technical term is payment in lieu of taxes). The city could use the money -- it's facing an $8 million budget gap. David Paterson is expected to sign the bill. [TU]

One of the issues lost, or whacked, in the legislative shuffle: Colonie's special mid-year deficit reduction tax. Town officials say they can't figure out why it failed in the Senate. Sen. Neil Breslin, a Democrat, says it died because town Republicans asked party members in the Senate to block it. [TU]

Former Saratoga Springs mayor Valerie Keehn says she's "considering the possibilities" of a run for Joe Bruno's soon-to-be-former state Senate seat. The Saratoga County Democratic Chair says Keehn has already decided to run. [Saratogian] [WNYT]

American Eagle, the regional carrier for American Airlines, will stop service to ALB on November 1. American and its predecessors had been serving the airport since 1929. American Eagle carries only three percent of the passengers in and out of ALB. [Daily Gazette]

The Troy Housing Authority is moving to kick out six tenants who haven't performed the required eight hours of community service. [TU]

The Fort Orange Club plan to demolish two buildings along Washington Ave in downtown Albany continues to draw criticism from neighbors and preservationists. The plan is now in front of the city's Board of Zoning and Appeals. [TU]

The pipe organ at the Round Lake Auditorium could be named a national landmark by the feds. [Daily Gazette]

The Peerless Pool at Spa State Park will not be opening this weekend as planned. Rain has kept a sealant from setting up. Victoira Pool will open, though. [TU]

The Siena men's basketball team will be playing at Kansas this coming season. The Jayhawks are the defending national champion. [Daily Gazette]

Skelos takes over, Bruno endorses McDonald, AMD CEO stops by but still no word, Colonie tax put on hold, Ethan Allen settlement

State Senate Republicans "formally elected Dean Skelos to replace Joe Bruno as majority leader. Skelos, who's from Long Island, says his top three priorities are reducing property taxes. [TU]

Bruno has endorsed Wilton Assemblyman Roy McDonald as his successor in the 43rd Senate district. [Daily Gazette]

The CEO of AMD, the company with tentative plans to build a chip fab plant in Luther Forest, was at the Capitol yesterday to make the rounds. The company says its leader was not here to ask for more money. AMD still has definitively committed to the project. [TU]

At least for the moment, it looks Colonie will not be able to levy its special mid-year deficit reduction tax. The town needs the permission of the state to collect the money, but the measure died in the Senate yesterday (it had already been approved in the Assembly). The tax would have collected about $7 million toward the town's estimated $18 million deficit. [TU]

A confidential settlement has been reached with some of the defendants in the Ethan Allen case (the foliage tour boat the tipped over on Lake George). [Daily Gazette]

The plan to create a downtown Troy business improvement district is encountering friction from people worried about the tax needed to fund the BID. [Business Review]

The owners of the Saratoga Polo grounds are hoping to build an $80 million luxury time-share (er, um, "fractional ownership) resort there. Their waiting on the state AG's office to approve the ownership arrangements. [Daily Gazette]

A teenager recently stole a car in Waterford, but only made it as far as Troy in the ride -- because that's where he ran out of gas. Police nabbed him at a Stewart's. [TU]

Colonie dirt deal wasn't, trucker protest rolling through town, job cuts at Fox23, Japanese steakhouses suddenly everywhere

The state comptroller says a public works project in Colonie that ended up dumping tons of dirt at a private club wasn't the deal it was originally made out to be. In fact, it appears to have cost the town $42,000 more than other ways of getting rid of the dirt. So, why dump it at the club? Would it suprise you to know that a handful of town officials are members of the club? [TU]

The truckers' protest will be rolling through downtown Albany this morning. The organizer says they're not intending to tie up traffic, but he says it will probably happen anyway. The truckers are protesting high diesel prices and increases in Thruway tolls. [CapNews9]

Another upscale apartment complex is in the works for Wilton. [Saratogian]

The parent company of Fox23 has cut a bunch of jobs, including 11 at the local station. [TU]

Japanese food -- that's not sushi -- isn't much of a trend across the country, but it's become big here. Or, at least, the owners of all those new Japanese steak houses hope it is. [TU]

Trey Anastasio -- of Phish fame -- graduated from Washington County drug court. And he invited the cop who arrested him to the ceremony. [WNYT]

Rowdiness and vandalism close schools, Colonie hopes to one-time its deficit, Niskayuna bans smoking in parks, whistle blown on scuffling football coach

Classes were South Colonie schools are also out today after vandals sprayed fire extinguishers all over the inside of the district's buses. [TU] [TU]

A 17-year-old was shot in the leg last night at the corner of Central and Lake in Albany. The police are looking for two men, who reportedly took off on bikes after firing the shot. [WNYT] [CBS6]

The Colonie Town Board has approved a one-time tax aimed at helping the town dig out of its $18 million deficit. Most homeowners there would end up paying less $250. Now the state Legislature has to approve the tax. [TU]

The Niskayuna Town Board voted to ban smoking at pretty much all of its outdoor facilities. The ban takes effect July 1. [TU]

The Schenectady High head football coach pleaded guilty yesterday to beating a man in an Italian restaurant. It appears that name calling started the scuffle between the two men, who are both in their 50s. [Daily Gazette]

The Daily Gazette is laying off six people, three of them in the newsroom. [Business Review]

Note: the web sites for the Troy Record and Saratogian were off-line this morning.

Hundreds mourn Kathina Thomas, skydive suicide pilot didn't have correct license, families could get boot for not doing community service, step right up to tour cramped police station

Hundreds of people showed up for the funeral of Kathina Thomas. The APD says it's making progress on finding who fired the stray bullet that killed her, though it hasn't released any additional new details. [TU]

The FAA says the pilot who flew the plane from which Sloan Carafello jumped didn't have the right kind of license to be taking skydivers up in the air, though an agency spokeman says that probably had nothing to do with Carafello being able to make it out of the aircraft without a parachute. Carafello's twin brother says the family doesn't blame the pilot. [TU]

Four aides at a state care facility in Niskayuna for people with development disabilities have been put on leave after accusations that one of their clients was assaulted in the parking lot of a McDonald's. Spilled food seems to have set off the alleged assault. [Daily Gazette]

The Troy Housing Authority says it has plans to evict families from it public housing if the residents don't complete eight hours of community service by next month, as required by federal law. Almost 100 families are on the list. [Troy Record]

The New York Civil Liberties Union has formally filed a notice of claim against the City of Troy over the code enforcement at the Sanctuary for Independent Media. The notice is the first step toward suing the city over claims it closed the arts space because it displayed Wafaa Bilal's "Virtual Jihadi" exhibit. The space has since re-opened. [Troy Record]

The parent company of WTEN/Channel 10 is on the verge of being delisted by Nasdaq. [Business Review]

If you'd like to see for yourself why Saratoga Springs needs a new police station, the cops will be happy to show you. [Saratogian]

A Colonie five-year-old's lemonade stand helped raise $10,000 for a neighbor's cancer treatment. [TU]

Truckers protest, cotton candy guy situation gets stickier, Schenectady hires former cops for Big Brother duty, stickball in Troy

Truckers protested high diesel prices yesterday by... burning diesel on a big rig drive from Northway Exit 17 to Exit 16. [Saratogian]

Remember that guy in Colonie who had been accused of handing out cotton candy that, probably unknown to him, was tainted with ant poison? Well, the cotton candy situation led police to search his home and they say they found pot and an illegal knife. The cotton candy guy says he's being smeared for his criticism of town government. [TU]

Schenectady has hired a trio of retired cops to monitor surveillance camera feeds from around the city. [Daily Gazette]

Trey Anastastio, of Phish fame, apparently was a star student in Washington County drug court and will graduate next month. That means he'll avoid jail time. [TU]

Break out those pinkies and cut down that broomstick, stickball is back in Troy. [Troy Record]

Big Fuller Road makeover planned, local Derby bettors tripped up, Albany Med prize awarded, bad cotton candy

A plan to completely reconstruct Fuller Road in Albany includes three roundabouts, medians, bike lanes and the possibility of moving the intersection with Washington Ave north to provide more room for Albany NanoTech. [TU]

Bettors at Capital Region OTBs had a little trouble getting into the gate before the Kentucky Derby. A computer glitch an hour before post time kept people from placing bets on race. Capital OTB says the hiccup wasn't its fault. It looks like about $500,000 less was bet this year on the race than last year, possibly because of the hold-up. [Daily Gazette]

The Albany Medical Center Prize went to UCSF's Elizabeth Blackburn and Yale's Joan Steitz this year for their work on RNA. They're the first two women to win the award, which is $500,000 -- the largest cash prize for medicine in the country. [Daily Gazette]

An Albany County legislator is proposing that sex offenders be prevented from staying in the same emergency shelters as everyone else. [TU]

The Fort Orange Club wants to knock down a couple of office buildings on Washington Avenue so it can build a parking lot. It seems people in the neighborhood aren't too happy about that. [TU]

The City of Saratoga Springs is holding a class to teach people how to "grieve" their property tax assessments. [Saratogian]

You know what's a bad flavor for cotton candy? Ant poison. [CapNews9]

Woman charged with starving mother, bus fares probably going up, farmers market staying for now, Rats game goes on and on and on

An Albany woman has been indicted on charges that she allowed her elderly mother to starve to death. [TU]

Facing a budget gap, CDTA says it's very likely that fares will have to go up sometime during the next year. Bus fares haven't increased since 1995. (Does it pay to take the bus to work?) [TU]

The Town of Colonie is close to selling Heritage Park to Albany County for $2.7 million. The money would be used to pay down the town's $18 million budget deficit. [Daily Gazette]

The Troy Farmers Market will be staying in its regular location for at least the first few months of the summer. Construction of a hotel will eventually bump the market someplace else. [TU]

A developer is proposing to build a new five-story office building at the corner of New Scotland and Myrtle across from Albany Med. [TU]

It sounds like a N. Greenbush town "workshop" didn't work very well. The meeting ended with the town supervisor locking himself in a room and the town attorney storming off in his car -- all while a TV reporter chased after them. [Troy Record]

The River Rats lost last night in a game that went to five overtimes. It was the longest game in AHL history. [Daily Gazette]

State budget finished, biting the bullet in Colonie, rebuilding Uncle Sam's house, UAlbany's hottest professor

The state budget is done. The final tally was close to $122 billion, up almost 5 percent over last year. That works out to about $6,400 for every person in New York State. Comments about the plan from budget watchers included the word "larding." [NYT]

The Town of Colonie is looking to take a big bite out of its state-scolded $18 million budget deficit by asking homeowners to chip in an average of $250 in a one-time tax. [TU]

Troy has hired an architecture firm to help plan a mixed-use development at the intersection of Congress and Ferry streets. One highlight of the tentative plan: rebuilding the house of Sam Wilson, the guy who inspired the character Uncle Sam. [Troy Record] [TU]

The Malta Drive-In is adding a second screen. The brothers who own it hope the addition will help them turn a profit for the first time. [Saratogian]

Michelle Mosier is apparently UAlbany's hottest professor. She attributes her title to great shoes. [TU]

More turns in the "Virtual Jihadi" drama, Schenectady cops to be tracked, call for more depleted uranium testing in Colonie, good year for maple syrup

The Sanctuary for Independent Media is discussing whether it should file suit against the City of Troy after the city closed the gallery to public events because of code violations. The org says the action was politically motivated, a response to the gallery exhibiting Wafaa Bilal's "Virtual Jihadi." [TU]

RPI has yanked the school-hosted site of the College Republicans after they called the art department a "terrorist safehaven" for its involvement with Wafaa Bilal. But the site that actually featured those comments is hosted off campus -- and it's still up. [TU]

Police cars in Schenectady will be getting GPS units so dispatchers can track their locations. The geographic info is supposed to help improve response times, but it would also help the department know when one of its cops has gone to Scotia to watch bowling. [Daily Gazette]

A group of activists is trying to get government money to do more testing of people who lived and worked near the old munitions plant on Central near the Albany/Colonie line. There's depleted uranium at the site and tests reported three months ago that some people who lived nearby were exposed to it. [TU]

RPI plans to give out $10 million more next year in financial aid. [TU]

Despite its currently decrepit state, architects and town residents are excited about what the plan to turn the Victory Mill (in Victory, outside Saratoga) into luxury condos. [Post-Star]

It's looking like a good year for maple syrup. [Daily Gazette]

Morning Blend: state cash, Saratoga rentals, fake helicopter pilots

New York State's Restore NY program announced it was dropping more than $13 million on projects around the region. Albany's getting $3.3 million to build a pair on buildings on New Scotland in the Park South neighborhood. Schnectady is getting $2.5 million to renovate the Center City Sports Complex. And Troy is getting the same amount to knock down city hall for river front development. [TU]

Colonie showed off its new system for videotaping interrogations in serious crimes. You might have thought that local law enforcement agencies are already doing that, but apparently they're not. APD chief James Tuffey says it's too expensive. [TU]

The state still hasn't worked out what's up with the New York racing franchise, but a real estate agent says that hasn't stopped the track season rental market from heating up in Saratoga. [Saratogian]

Thinking it might be cool to go around acting like you're a helicopter pilot for the state? Well, it turns out that's probably illegal. [CBS6]

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

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