Items tagged with 'Saratoga County'

Hudson Crossing Park

Hudson Crossing Park river

By Lauren Hittinger

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

Hudson Crossing Park is a little bit different from the other destinations I've visited this summer. First off, it's not a State Park and subsequently has no admission fee. Also, it's specifically focused around environmental responsibility, and you can see evidence of that all around the park.

It may not have as many amenities as other locations, but the beautiful setting and unique eco touches make it worth a stop.

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Moreau Lake State Park

moreau lake state park bridge

By Lauren Hittinger

This summer I'm visiting local state parks and sharing the scoop on each one. I've already visited Grafton Lakes State Park and Peebles Island. Today I venture a little farther north with a visit to Moreau Lake State Park.

Located at the northern edge of the Capital Region, Moreau Lake State Park is going to be a bit more of a drive for some people, but it's worth a visit. The day use amenities are not unique, but the size and natural setting of the park is.

Moreau Lake State Park is certainly one of the more beautiful local state parks, and there's lots of space to explore.

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Eat Good Food

Eat Good Food truck exterior

By Lauren Hittinger

John and Jean Travis had run two successful restaurants, including the former Jonesville Store in Clifton Park, before getting into the food truck business three years ago with the Eat Good Food truck. The transition hasn't always been easy -- a sign on their truck reads: "The only thing more overrated than natural childbirth is the joy of owning your own business."

Even so, the experience has the Travises sticking to their core principles of serving fresh food made to order -- while having fun doing so. And along the way they've found success teaming up with other food trucks.

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2013 Showcase of Homes

The Washington on Broadway in downtown Saratoga SpringsThe 2013 Showcase of Homes starts this weekend in Saratoga County, and runs each of the two weekends after (September 21-22, 28-29; October 5-6). It's basically a self-guided tour of big/extravagant new houses.

We checked this out a few years back. It was basically like walking through HGTV. It also made us wonder what people are doing with all that space in their bathrooms. Anyway, if the home design/remodeling/House Hunters thing interests you, there's usually some quality gawking.

There are 14 homes on the tour this year. And unlike in some previous years, the homes are mostly grouped together geographically, near Saratoga Springs. In fact, one of the homes on the tour is a condo in the new building on Broadway in Saratoga, "The Washington" (on the right).

Tickets for the tour are $20, and are good for each weekend. There's also a "Comfort of Homes" event this Friday from 5-10 pm in which eight of the homes will be open and samples of comfort food from various restaurants -- including Maestro's, Prime, and Capriccio Saratoga -- will be available. Tickets for that are $25 -- or $40, including a tour ticket. Proceeds benefit Northern Saratoga Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together Saratoga County.

In-between places: Mechanicville and Stillwater

welcome to mechanicville sign

By Casey Normile

The Capital Region is full of cities, towns, villages, and hamlets. And some of these places -- like Albany or Saratoga Springs or Troy -- get lots of attention. This series isn't about those places. It's about those other spots -- the "in-between" places.

Next up: Mechanicville and Stillwater -- a city and town (and village) alongside the Hudson in Saratoga County.

If you haven't visited in a while, or ever, here's a quick look at the side-by-side river places.

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In-between places: Ballston Spa

in between ballston spa composite

By Casey Normile

The Capital Region is full of cities, towns, villages, and hamlets. And some of these places -- like Albany or Saratoga Springs or Troy -- get lots of attention. This series isn't about those places. It's about those other spots -- the "in-between" places.

First up: Ballston Spa.

If you haven't visited in a while -- or have never been -- here are a bunch of facts, tips, and highlights to get you started...

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Dennis Drue arraigned in Northway crash

Dennis Drue via NYSPDennis Drue -- the driver accused of causing the Northway crash in December that killed two teens and seriously injured two others -- was arraigned Monday on 59 counts (52 of those felonies) in Saratoga County court. The long string of charges includes aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, and driving while ability impaired. [TU] [Saratogian] [NYSP]

Drue pleaded not guilty and posted bail. [Daily Gazette]

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So people actually do get stopped for texting while driving

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo: Flickr user mrJasonWeaver (cc)

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That ABC News story about GlobalFoundries

The much hyped ABC World News story about the GlobalFoundries chip fab and Malta aired last night. And it was shockingly bad.

As reported by ABC, the chip fab story is one in which a plucky "tiny American town" got together, put on a show, "beat out of the world," and is now "coming back to life." And (best TV reporter smile voice) look at those crazy white coverall suits people have to wear at a chip fab!

No mention of the fact this "tiny American town" isn't actually in the middle of nowhere, but rather is part of the 59th largest metro area in the country -- and in the middle of the most prosperous county in that metro area. No mention of the $1.4 billion in public incentives used to lure the fab project, including an unprecedented $665 million cash grant. No mention of UAlbany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and its focus on chip fab research, the presence of which was key to attracting the fab. No mention of the billions in public and private investment going into this metro area for chip fab research.

There are so many angles to this story that could have highlighted both that Americans are capable of advanced manufacturing -- and the investment, complications, and side effects of attracting that sort of development.

What makes ABC's story even worse is that the correspondent, David Muir, is from upstate New York. He grew up in the Syracuse area, went to Ithaca College, and was on the local TV news in Syracuse. It's not like this place should be totally foreign to him. We're reasonably sure he's heard of the Albany metro area.

But attention is attention.

sPAW City

spaw city indoor dog parkThis could be good: an indoor dog park called sPAW CITY has opened in Ballston Spa. From the blurbage on its Facebook page:

Total of 4,750 sq ft in a climate controlled late 1800's post and beam 2 story barn right on the beautiful banks of the Gordon and Kaydeross Creeks in Ballston Spa, NY. When the weather is just right we have over 60 windows to open. Ahhh smell the fresh air...
2,000 sq ft of social space, coffee bar with seating and free WiFi if you just want to hang out with your "lazy" dog and socialize in a low key way. Yappy Hours, Parties, rentals and special events will be held.
2,750 sq ft of safe open play space with an abundance of toys and play equipment.

Here are photos of the space, the price info (starts at $8 for 2.5 hours for one dog during week days), and rules for the space. There's a grand opening tonight (Friday) from 5-8 pm with free entry.

The people behind the dog park are Keith and Amy Augustine from the gourmet dog treat company The Lazy Dog Cookie Co, according to its Facebook page.

We've thought for a while that someone should open a place like this in one of the many empty big box spaces around the Capital Region (but an old barn works, too). It could be useful during the winter or when it's been raining for days. A good dog is a dog tired from walking or playing.

photo via sPAW CITY Facebook

Healthy Living Market opening in Wilton

healthy living market south burlington

The Healthy Living Market in South Burlington, Vermont.

The Vermont-based Healthy Living Market and Cafe announced today that it's planning a new store at the Wilton Mall, aiming to be open next winter.

The market will occupy the space left empty by the former J.C. Penney at the mall. The company says the store will be about 35,000 square feet. (For comparison: the new ShopRite being built in Albany will be 65,000 square feet.) The company says it's planning to hire about 140 people.

The company touts its store as "a one-stop destination for natural groceries, fresh organic and local produce, locally sourced meats and poultry, crusty artisan breads, a world of cheese, health and beauty products, a complete vitamin/supplement department, freshly prepared foods and a broad selection of microbrews and wine."

We hear from a Vermonter that Health Living is like a Whole Foods or Fresh Market, but with an emphasis on local food. We also hear that its nickname around Burlington is "Wealthy Living," because it does tend to be high-end.

This will be the company's second store. Its first opened in South Burlington 26 years ago. If you've ever been to that store, we'd love to hear about it.

Full press release after the jump.

Earlier on AOA:
+ The local supermarket field is getting crowded
+ Trader Joe's confirms Wolf Road location

photo: Flickr user NNECAPA

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Pancakes at the Jonesville Store

jonesville store pancakes overhead

Crusty. In a good way.

By Daniel B.

Clifton Park is full of secrets. To the outsider, it may seem like a vast wasteland of chain restaurants and suburban sprawl. However, tucked out of sight, just a few minutes west of the Northway in the hamlet of Jonesville is a little restaurant with incredible pancakes. But unless you are a townie, you might not have heard about them.

That is, unless you have happened to stumble upon the comments of a woman who goes by the handle Kerosena. She seems to be on a mission to single-handedly bring these pancakes out of the shadows and into the light of day.

Her tales of these mythical pancakes got me thinking about a trip up to Exit 10. But when I found out they use only real New York maple syrup, I grabbed my keys and was on my way to the Jonesville Store.

As it turns out, their use of local maple syrup was just one of many delightful surprises.

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A neighborhood where (economically) everyone's just about the same

country knolls clifton park census map

Almost none of these things are not like the others.

The Country Knolls neighborhood in Clifton Park has the smallest income inequality of any place in the nation, according to the Census Bureau (with a handful of statistical caveats). That is, there's very little distance between the high and low ends of the income distribution there (Gini index of 0.214). Or, to put it simply, almost everyone there has just about the same level of household income.

Notes the Census Bureau in the report, U.S. Neighborhood Income Inequality in the 2005-2009 Period:

Country Knolls CDP NY, part of the Albany Urbanized Area about halfway between Albany and Saratoga Springs NY (see Map 2), has the lowest measured income inequality (though not different from the others in the table because of the small sample sizes)--0.214, or 46 percent of the U.S. figure.21 In these small places with low inequality, sorting is likely the source of the homogeneity in income. For example, in Country Knolls in 2005-2009, 96 percent of the people were White non-Hispanic; 85 percent of households are married-couple households; 97 percent of the people at least 1 year old were living in the same residence 1 year earlier; 26 percent of people 25 years and over had a graduate or professional degree; the median income of households was $107,589; and only 9 of 609 housing units were renter-occupied (1.5 percent).

That median income would put a household somewhere close to the 80th percentile for income in the Capital Region.

A tip of the hat to the TU's Chris Churchill for noticing this. And The Biz Review talked about it with Clifton Park supervisor Phil Barrett, who lives in that neighborhood.

[via @MickIAm]

Earlier on AOA: Capital Region income distribution

map: US Census Bureau

Office chair lacking a jet engine? Maybe he can help with that.

mad scientists john bowler

John Bowler atop the "mechanical lizard car."

This is fun: John Bowler, a contractor from Malta, is the host of a new show on the National Geographic Channel called Mad Scientists. From the blurbage:

Travel across America with host John Bowler as he ventures into gadget-filled garages and junk-strewn backyards to meet amateur inventors who are making amazing(ly weird) things! Test-drive a jet-powered minivan, a fire-breathing wheelchair, a water-powered rocket belt, and more. Once we've seen what these 'mad scientists' are capable of, John challenges each inventor to improve one of their creations, and, with his help, build the coolest, weirdest thing they can think of. And here's the catch -- they only have 48 hours. The results? Well, it might work and it might not, but either way, "It's going to get weird!"

After the jump, there's a clip from an episode in which they build a rocket-propelled motorcycle/office chair.

Bowler got an audition for the show through a college roommate who's producing the show -- and, as he told to the TU, "I'm fairly fluent in wacko."

Mad Scientists debuts tonight at 10 pm at Nat Geo.

(Thanks, Jessica R!)

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The Saratoga lip dub

The much-hyped Saratoga lip dub was released Tuesday night. The 8.5 minute video is set in downtown Saratoga Springs and includes a medley of songs by Train (the drummer for the band is from Saratoga).

The inspiration for the lip dub reportedly came from Emerson College's much-viewed lip dub -- the head of the Saratoga County chamber of commerce has a daughter who goes there and heard about it from her. The chamber is hoping the video will be a marketing vehicle for Saratoga. [Saratoga lip dub Facebook] [Post-Star]

Other cities have done this, too. A lip dub for Grand Rapids, Michigan is probably the most famous of that type -- it's been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube.

The Saratoga video was shot on September 1 -- about 1,000 people reportedly showed up for the recording. [Saratogian]

It's impressive that organizers were able to coordinate that many people. But one side effect of having a crowd that big is that people's faces fly through the frame so fast that it's kind of hard to tell if they're "singing" (or whatever it's called in a lip dub).

Update: The Idiots wonder what else the money spent on this video could have been used for.

Showcase of Homes 2011

showcase of homes 2011 map thumbnailThe 2011 Showcase of Homes starts this weekend in Saratoga County. It's basically a tour of crazy big/extravagant new houses.

We did this a few years back, and it did prompt a fair amount of who-needs-a-bathtub-with-25-jets questioning. But it was the closest we'll ever come to walking through HGTV -- and it was kind of fun to gawk at how the other 10 percent live. (That said, wouldn't it be great to see this kind of series in the Capital Region's urban areas -- a sort of Showcase of In-fill Development?)

This year's tour includes 19 houses. It runs for the next three weekends. Tickets are $20. Proceeds benefit a group of charities, including Habitat for Humanity.

The Malta Drive-in Market

malta drive-in signThe new market at the Malta Drive-in starts up this Sunday. It's scheduled to run each Sunday from now through early October.

The lineup for the market includes local artisans, antique dealers and food. It sounds kind of fun -- so we bounced a few questions to the market's organizer, Mike Thompson, about what we should expect...

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DeCrescente Distributing: A warehouse of good ideas

dc warehouse

How can you make a space like this more energy-efficient? DeCrescente's on it.

By Akum Norder

"Everyone's talking about going green," says Russ Teplitzky, general manager of DeCrescente Distributing Company. "You can either talk about it or you can do something about it."

DeCrescente, in Mechanicville, chose the "do something" route -- to the tune of a half-million dollars' worth of energy improvements. The resulting efficiency boost is the equivalent of taking more than 1,200 cars off the road. And the project was underscored by their belief that doing the right thing can also make good business sense.

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Stevo Poulin

Badass of the week: Stevo Poulin of Schuylerville.

The 8-year-old and his mohawk have piled up a 256-26 record on the youth wrestling circuit. He's been described as "a blitzkrieg of speed, strength and know-how" who "scarifies" grown men -- or simply "a bad little man."

That highlight video above has been viewed on YouTube more than 6 million times. Behold the strut as he walks onto the mat.

When not blitzing his opponents, Stevo enjoys dominating spelling and math tests. He also has an outdoor cat who eats mice.

[via Post-Star Saratoga Snippets]

L'esperance Tile Works: Sure-fired beauty

l'esperance soldier full

He'd lost his head.

By Akum Norder

To a history and architecture geek like me, Linda Ellett is a superhero.

The century-old tiled fireplace stood out like a broken tooth. Its central design was supposed to be a three-tile panel of a reclining Roman soldier, but the first tile -- the soldier's head and chest -- was missing. The team restoring this California home asked: Could Linda, founder of L'esperance Tile Works outside of Saratoga Springs, re-create the missing tile?

Fortunately the panel's original creators, the American Encaustic Tile Company, had included a picture of the full panel in their 1902 catalog. Working from a grainy catalog picture -- and drawing from the style of the two remaining tiles -- Linda recreated the missing piece, accounting for variables such as the shrinkage of the clay and the darkening of the glaze during firing, to match the originals in both line and color.

Tile restoration combines artistry with sleuthing and mathematical exactness. And it's only one part of the amazing work going on at L'esperance Tile.

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Hannah's Hope Fund

Sames family.jpg

Hannah and her family

Your three year old daughter is diagnosed with a rare disease.

There's no support group. There's no foundation. There are no clinical trials -- just well meaning doctors with advice about how to make her more comfortable.

If you took that advice, who could fault you?

But Matt Sames and his wife Lori couldn't let go without a fight.

The Rexford couple has managed to bring together an international community of scientists and doctors, and raised over $2.2 million to help save their daughter and others like her.

Now the Hannah's Hope Fund is in fourth place for a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant that will help support an upcoming clinical trial.

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At the Saratoga County Fair

saratoga fair ride long exposure

Weeeeeee!

Jason sent along a photoset from this year's Saratoga County Fair. His long exposure shots of the rides are really fun.

Update: Paul has also posted a few long exposure shots from the fair.

photo: Jason Lehr

Saratoga Woods and Waterways

lichen closeupOne of our favorite local blogs is Jackie Donnelly's "Saratoga Woods and Waterways." Every post is like a virtual walk through the woods.

Jackie's photos are beautiful. And we appreciate the way she stops to notice the tiny details -- the fuzzy violets, the underside of a columbine flower, the crack in a rock, the shape of a lichen (right).

It often feels like the world is whooshing past us. It's good to know there are still people taking a moment to take it all in.

photo: Jackie Donnelly

Whitewater Derby 2010

whitewater derby 2010

Anything that floats.

Sebsatien's posted a photoset from this past weekend's Whitewater Derby in Mechanicville. It includes some good shots of the competitors -- especially entrants in the "anything that floats" category.

It wasn't exactly the nicest day to be on the water. "Frigid, windy and downright uncomfortable" was how the Saratogian's Sam Hollingsworth described it.

photo: Sebastien B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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]

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Wooing the Google

google logoThe collaborative effort to pitch Troy for Google's community fiber project is pushing ahead. The effort now has a site: Troygle. And the city government has gotten involved with the planning process. [Troy Record] (There's been a Facebook page for a few weeks.)

The best quick argument we've seen for Troy's bid came from Lou in a comment:

1. Because of RPI, Troy has a sizable population of folks who'll come up with clever ways to weave all that bandwidth into their daily lives, and who'll have the skills to report on the effects in detail.

2. Because there's a sizable underprivileged population, Troy's a good lab for examining the public benefits of superior data infrastructure.
3. Troy's big enough, but not too big. Significant yet economical.

Saratoga County is apparently also looking to make a pitch. [Post-Star]

As you might imagine, the competition to win this project is fierce. Towns are using basketball crowds, flash mobs and mayors with shrinkage to attract attention. Topeka, Kansas even temporarily re-named itself... Google.

[FastCompany link via @dougbartow]

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]

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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]

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The Balloon Room

balloon room

How could you not smile in a room full of balloons?

By Dawn Padfield

When Burnt Hills' Cindy Gotobed wants a party, she doesn't mess around.

For the past five years she and her family have hosted a Balloon Room party in their living room for her kids and their friends. What's a balloon room party, you ask? Only 1000 inflated balloons packed into your living room.

Why? It's 1000 inflated balloons packed into your living room.

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Rumors swirl about Paterson, Bruno bacon not delivered, clerk and robber crash through window, a Schenectady gift basket for Stephen Colbert

The big news at the state Capitol is... a NYT story about David Paterson... that hasn't been published yet... and no one seems to know when it will be. The story is rumored to include some sort of bombshell -- though that, too, is currently a mystery (Gawker commenters had some ideas). The governor reportedly met with Democratic party leaders over the weekend to discuss whether or not he will follow through on his vow to run for election this fall. And there are rumors about serious discontent within his administration. A spokesman for Paterson called all the recent rumors "a new low even by the standards of planet Albany." [TU] [Gawker] [AP/Post-Star] [NY Post] [CBS6]

Harold Ford accused Kirsten Gillibrand of using "underhanded tactics" in her attempt to gather early endorsements from county Democratic Party leaders around the state. Gillibrand is calling for Ford to disclose whether he got a bonus from Bank of America. [NYT] [NYO]

Much of the $75 million in state money promised by Joe Bruno just before he left office hasn't made it through. [TU]

The chairwoman of an inspector general's panel charged with tracking stimulus money says much of the federal funding distributed to New York State has yet to be spent. [TU]

The man accused of stabbing three people near the intersection of State and Henry Johnson following LarkFest last year was convicted on Friday on three counts of assault. He could get 25-50 years in prison. The victims said the man ran at them, shirtless, and yelled "I live for this, this is what I do!" during the attack. The man had been up for trial in 2008 for another alleged stabbing in Troy in 2007, but a judge tossed the case for procedural reasons. [CapNews9] [Troy Record] [CBS6] [Troy Record] [TU]

A Schenectady man died from carbon monoxide poisoning in his apartment after turning on his stove to keep warm because the apartment's thermostat was malfunctioning, keeping the heat down. [Daily Gazette $]

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Paterson says budget gap growing, Gillibrand asks Obama question, rabid kitten found, another escaped dog

David Paterson says the state is now facing an $8.2 billion budget gap -- that's up about $750 million from the previous estimate. The state's budget director says the widening gap is the result of smaller than expected tax revenue from Wall Street bonuses. In the increased estimate had member of the legislature criticizing the governor for not providing an "accurate picture" in his proposed budget. [TU] [AP/Post-Star] [NYT] [Daily Politics]

Kirsten Gillibrand got to ask a question at yesterday's Q&A with Barack Obama. That might not be a good sign for her. [NYDN] [PolitickerNY]

The Greenfield man accused of stabbing and killing a tenant last year during a fight pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday. The case ended up being a bizarre tangle of allegations. [Saratogian] [TU]

(there's more)

Snowfall total way behind, Republicans lining up behind Lazio, shooting in north Albany, Brunomobile still parked

This winter's snowfall so far is about a foot less than typical totals. By the way: Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today. [TU] [CNN]

Brian Stratton says Schenectady is facing a budget gap of almost $13 million in 2011. One possible way to help cover the gap: start charging non-profits such as Union College and Ellis Hospital for police and fire services. [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

It's looking like the state Republican Party is lining up behind Rick Lazio as its choice for governor. Lazio was in Colonie yesterday and called out Andrew Cuomo, saying that Cuomo has "locked himself in his office and watched as Albany burned." A spokesman for Cuomo said yesterday that the AG is currently "focused on his public service." [CapNews9] [TU] [NYT] [Fox23]

Skidmore's president announced yesterday that the college will not have to go through with planned layoffs. He said the college's financial is improved because of an upswing in the endowment, as well as the results of attrition and a hiring freeze. [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Post-Star]

(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]

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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)

Mayor says Albany faces "financial tsunami," ESP man caver gets a year in jail, Skidmore moves into new Zankel Center

During his state of the city speech last night, Jerry Jennings said Albany is facing the possibility of a "a financial tsunami" in 2011. The mayor said the city will be bringing in outside financial consultants to help develop a plan. He also continued his call for "appropriate equitable state aid" to the city. [WTEN] [TU] [CapNews9]

The janitor who pleaded guilty in the ESP Man Cave case was sentenced to a year in jail and scolded for bringing "contempt and ridicule" on state workers. [CapNews9] [TU]

Parts of the Cannon Building on Monument Square in Troy have re-opened after the building inspectors shut it down for code violations. Harry Tutunjian tweeted yesterday that the building is still without water. [TU] [@TroyMayor]

The new president of the Schenectady city council is calling for voters to dump the city's school board members in the spring elections. [TU]

(there's more)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(there's more)

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

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

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

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

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

(there's more)

Pension system for new state workers adjusted, NYRA aims to stop horse slaughter, another bank robbery, Albany Institute scraping financially, dog rescued with help of plumbing camera

David Paterson signed legislation that creates a new tier -- "Tier V" -- for the state employee pension system raises the retirement age and requires workers to contribute more. It's being touted as the biggest change to the pension system in 25 years. Paterson says the change will save New York State $35 billion over the next 30 years. [TU] [Fox23] [Paterson op-ed in TU]

The federal officials who handled the investigation and prosecution of Joe Bruno say they will continue to focus on ethics violations at the state capitol. [TU]

The state is no longer limiting distribution of the H1N1 flu vaccine to people in priority groups. Albany County has scheduled times next week for residents to get the jab. [AP/TU] [Albany County]

According to court documents obtained by the TU, the three teens accused of murdering Richard Bailey allegedly gave police detailed -- and different -- accounts of the night of the murder. [TU]

NYRA announced yesterday that any horse owner who sells their horses to slaughter -- "either knowingly or for lack of due diligence" -- will have their stalls revoked at Saratoga and the other NYRA tracks. [Saratogian] [CapNews9] [Post-Star]

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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]

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

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

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

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

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

(there's more)

Legislature goes home with no budget deal, state worker buyout extended, all sorts of rumors about Rudy, student accused of lighting firecrackers in school cafeteria

The state legislature has gone home -- and there's no deal to fix the budget gap. David Paterson said he and the state Senate are still stuck on proposed cuts for health care and education funding. Some senators are floating a plan that would "spin up" money for this year's budget, which is apparently just another way of saying borrowing from next year's budget. It looks like the legislature will be back on Monday. [NYO] [TU] [Daily Politics] [Susan Arbetter] [NYO]

The Paterson Administration is extending the $20,000 state worker buyout. [TU]

Joe Bruno Trial: A Senate aide testified yesterday that Bruno allocated "member items" (you know, pork) to other senators based on political considerations (this was apparently something akin to actually acknowledging the elephant in the room). NYT has strung together bits of info from the trial that it argues provide "vivid and sometimes captivating detail how easily official duties and private business can overlap for lawmakers in Albany." [TU] [NYT]

One side effect of the Bruno trial: the Senate is apparently now short on computers. [NYO]

The Albany Convention Center Authority released plans and renderings for the facility this morning. [TU]

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Rrrawsome

junot sprout stalk

Jess' dog Junot, enjoying a Brussels sprout stalk snack

By Jessica Pasko

Okay, you've probaly heard of the raw food diet for people. So it's probably no surprise that the idea has spread to dog food, too. After all, their wild ancestors certainly weren't dabbling with meat grinders or industrial ovens.

Lisa Rosamino of Ballston Lake has been feeding her dogs a raw diet for over a decade now, and she runs a business -- called Rrrawsome -- that sells raw dog food ingredients locally.

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H1N1 shot clinic Sunday at TU Center

H1N1 micrograph

An electron micrograph of H1N1 virions. The image has been colorized.

The Albany County Department of Health is holding a free H1N1 flu shot clinic at the TU Center this Sunday. Apparently there will be about 4,500 doses available.

The health department's web site stresses that you must register in advance -- and it's currently registering Albany County residents in the following priority groups:

  • Pregnant women
  • Persons who live with or provide care for infants under 6 months old
  • Children 6 months - 4 years old
  • Health-care and emergency medical services personnel who have direct contact with patients or infectious materials
  • Children and adolescents 5-18 years old who have medical conditions that put them at higher risk for influenza-related complications

You can register online (be sure to follow the link for the appropriate priority group) -- or by calling 447-4505 from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (Arielle says she registered her toddler this way this morning).

Turnout at other H1N1 vaccine clinics around the Capital Region has been strong, so it's probably a good idea to register sooner rather than later.

Saratoga County: Saratoga County Public Health has an H1N1 flu shot clinic for priority scheduled for tomorrow in Saratoga Springs. It's by appointment only, though. And when we checked this morning (after a three dials to get through), it was full. The person handling the calls said the county is hoping it will receive more doses next week.

image: Cynthia Goldsmith / CDC

Bruno speaks out about case, dog found duct-taped and bagged, another student mugging in Pine Hills, Albany High production prompted by protests

Joe Bruno called into Talk 1300 yesterday to complain about the federal case against him. During the segment, Bruno said of the federal investigation of him: "I wasn't a terrorist.... I never abused the public trust that people put in me. I never, never used politics to make money. I just didn't do that." Bruno's comments may not go over well with the judge presiding of his case, who has warned both sides in the trial about speaking outside of court -- and just the day before said scolded them in court: "This is not an election campaign." [NYDN] [TU] [TU] [NYT]

About Gary Sharpe, the judge in the Bruno trial: An op-ed in the Troy Record this past weekend questioned whether the judge had a conflict of interest because his son works as a prosecutor in the Albany US Attorney's office -- the same office that's prosecuting Bruno. The head of that office told the NYDN yesterday that Sharpe's son has had no involvement with the case. [Troy Record] [NYDN]

David Paterson said he will pull the $25 fee for the new "EmpireGold" license plates -- if someone can come up with a way to replace the $129 million the fee is projected to contribute to the state budget. [NY Post]

The Paterson Administration projects that increases in the fee that retailers pay to be sellers of tobacco products will reduce the number of tobacco retail outlets by 40 percent. [TU]

A group of hunters in Saratoga County say they found a dog wrapped in duct tape and stuffed in a garbage bag. [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]

(there's more)

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

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

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

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

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

(there's more)

Bruno trial starts today, homicide in Albany, speculation about connections between deaths in Greenfield, toddler found because of lights on his shoes

Joe Bruno's federal trial starts today. The feds are prosecuting him under a "theft of honest services" statute -- the feds allege that Bruno made more than $3 million in consulting fees from groups who benefited from his influence in state government. The case is expected to shine a light on the many of the gaps in New York State's ethics laws. Apparently some people are saying the case is almost like putting the entire culture of the capitol on trial. Bruno has already spent more than $600k on his defense. [TU] [AP/Saratogian] [TU] [NYT] [AP/Troy Record]

Albany police say a man was killed on Saturday in an Eagle Street apartment just down the block from the Governor's Mansion (map). The APD says there are no suspects, yet. [Fox23] [TU]

Troy police say a man has been arrested and charged for the murder on Second Street two weeks ago. They didn't release info about a motive. Police say information from people in the neighborhood helped lead them to the suspect. [TU] [Troy Record] [WNYT]

The Schenectady city council approved a budget that does not include a tax increase. The originally-proposed budget had included an almost six percent increase. [TU][TU]

New York State's texting-while-driving ban took effect yesterday. [Fox23]

(there's more)

Investigators hope to pull DNA from bone fragments, big development planned for Troy, Paterson's deadline could be January, police car license plates stolen

Law enforcement officials say they found a jaw bone containing teeth near the site of the skull fragments in Greenfield. The hope is they'll be able to extract DNA evidence from the teeth. Forensic testing is expected to take weeks. Officials say the child-sized skull could be evidence in a handful of missing persons cases -- but they say it's unlikely the fragments belong to Jaliek Rainwalker. [Saratogian] [TU] [CapNews9] [WNYT] [Fox23]

Jerry Jennings has put together an eight member search committee for a new chief of police. The Albany mayor says the panel has no timeline. [CapNews9] [TU]

The union that represents Troy firefighters is using a house fire this past weekend to continue its push for more staffing at the station on Boulton Road (the station near RPI). They say it took crews an extra three minutes to respond to the fire because they were short staffed -- and that delay may have resulted in a firefighter sustaining minor injuries. The union would like to see two more firefighters added to the crew at the station. [Troy Record] [TU] [WTEN] [WNYT]

A developer is proposing a $160 million mixed used project in Troy at Ferry, Congress and Eighth streets (map). [TU]

(there's more)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(there's more)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(there's more)

Official warns that state won't be able to pay bills, flu shot shortage, Troy will get money for homelessness after all, airlift wing headed for Antarctica

The state budget director says the state may not have enough cash to cover all its scheduled payments in mid-December. David Paterson and the legislative leaders met yesterday about covering the $3 billion budget gap, though it doesn't sound like they made much progress. Paterson said that the state is facing an economy that he believes will be "the worst we will see in our lifetime." [TU] [Daily Politics] [WTEN]

There was another mugging in downtown Troy. The TPD says its planning more community meetings about crime after a tip from the one this week lead to a drug bust. [Troy Record] [Fox23]

A judge has denied Save the Pine Bush's request for a restraining order that would have prevented the Albany landfill expanding from proceeding. [TU]

Public clinics and doctors' offices say they're having a tough time getting enough doses of seasonal flu vaccine. Saratoga County had to cancel its upcoming flu shot clinics because it couldn't get sufficient supplies. There have been flu shot shortages all around the US because of increased demand and the need to concurrently manufacture the vax for H1N1. [TU] [Post-Star] [NYT]

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Wende's Happy Hula Hoops

hoops.jpg

Wende's happy hoops.

By Jessica Pasko

Ever hula hoop? Yes, hula hoop.

Of course you have.

Most of us had a hoop of our own when we were kids. Well, apparently it's kind of a thing again -- for fun and for fitness.

You can still find some of the standard, garden variety hoops in the toy stores next to the boxes of colorful rubber balls, but Wende Smith would rather make her own. And hers have sparkly pink and purple butterflies and other cool stuff.

Wende is a Saratoga County mom and the owner of a little company called Happy Hoops.

(there's more)

State budget widens and Paterson warns of pain, Raucci to get pension even if convicted, Gillibrand pushes repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, goat kidnapped

New York State comptroller Tom DiNapoli now says the state's budget gap could be as big as $4.1 billion. David Paterson has said that he will release a slate of proposed budget cuts that would involve "pain." LG Richard Ravitch, who's helping Paterson with budget issues, says the plan will be "asking every agency in the government to cut back significantly." As bad as things might be this year, apparently the real problem is next year when the federal stimulus money ends. As one anonymous legislator told Liz Benjamin: "Then we're in deep sh*t." [TU] [NYT] [CapNews9] [Daily Politics]

Adrian Thomas, the Troy man charged with causing the death of his infant son, took the stand in his own defense yesterday -- and testified that he had lied during his videotaped interrogation by police. Thomas said he admitted to police that he slammed the child down so he "could go to the hospital and see my son and my wife." [Troy Record] [TU]

The Troy man shot in the head earlier this week has died. It's the third homicide of the year in Troy. The TPD says it's following leads. [Troy Record] [Fox23] [CapNews9]

Albany police have arrested two men -- one already in prison, the other 18 years old -- for a 2007 murder on Second Street. [TU]

The Lansingburgh High School student suspended for having a pocketknife in his car says he's been contacted by West Point and told the incident won't have any effect on his application to the service academy. [WTEN]

Steven Raucci, the now-retired Schenectady school district employee accused of arson, intimidation and harassment related to his former job, will receive a pension of $79,067 -- even if he's convicted. [TU]

(there's more)

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

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

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

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

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

(there's more)

Jennings wins Democratic mayoral primary, Joe Bruno takes a turn on the swings, plane headed for Saratoga crashes, dogs found shot

Jerry Jennings topped Corey Ellis in the Albany mayoral Democratic primary with 7,615 to 5,971 (that's 56 percent to 44 percent). At his victory party, Jennings told the crowd he "wasn't going to walk away from this city in a very challenging time." Ellis told supporters that he would "continue to fight for this city" and that "this fight is just beginning." Ellis also said problems at polling sites held down his vote total. [CBS6] [TU] [CapNews9]

In other Albany primary results: Carolyn McLaughlin beat Lenny Ricciuti for Common Council president, Kathy Sheehan won big over incumbent Betty Barnette for treasurer and Leif Engstrom holds a 225 vote lead over Darius Shahinfar for city auditor. [CapNews9] [TU]

The whole list of primary results: Albany County | Rensselaer County | Saratoga County | Schenectady County

As the jury selection process started for his federal trial, Joe Bruno took a turn on the swings at a new playground in Troy that was built with Bruno Bacon. [TU] [CapNews9]

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Police say shooting wasn't random, residential parking permits probably won't pass, Erin Brockovich coming to talk about mercury, quarters to depict Battles of Saratoga

Albany police say the shooting death of a man on North Pearl Street this week does not appear to be random. Albany County DA David Soares told residents of the apartment complex where the man was shot that the APD has its "best and the brightest working on this." A resident of the apartment complex said the APD used to have more of a presence in the neighborhood -- and she'd like to see it return. [Fox23] [TU] [Fox23]

In response to this latest shooting -- the fourth in a month -- mayoral candidate Corey Ellis said: "The City of Albany is under seige and we are in crisis." An APD spokesman asserted that the city is safe, though he said "when you have violent crimes that occur of this magnitude it gives you the perception that the streets aren't." [CBS6] [WTEN]

It appears that now-retired former APD chief James Tuffey has landed in a soft spot: BBL Construction -- the city's dominant construction company, whose owner is friends with both Tuffey and Jerry Jennings. [TU]

The state Senate is back in session today and is expected to take up ethics reform. Though it originally was scheduled to be on the slate, it now appears that a residential parking permit law for Albany will not come up. [CapNews9] [PolitickerNY] [TU]

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School board member party photos draw interest from police, DMV fees going up, Albany FreeNet expanding, cutbacks come to David Paterson's face

The Schenectady County DA says police will be looking into photos (originally posted on Facebook) that show a Schenectady school board member and his wife -- who's a teacher -- drinking from a Jagermeister luge and doing a keg stand at their son's high school graduation party. [TU] [WTEN] [Daily Gazette $]

DMV fees go up today -- the cost of renewing a driver's license is going up $14.50. Next year, car registrations will require a new license plate ($25) -- and keeping the same license number will cost an extra $20. Jim Tedisco called the higher fees a tax increase. Rensselaer County's clerk said the state legislature is treating the DMV like "a cash cow." [TU] [Saratogian] [WNYT] [CapNews9]

David Paterson and other state officials were at a middle school in Albany yesterday to raise awareness about prep for flu season. Officials say the recently emerged H1N1 flu is likely to flare up in schools. Local school districts and colleges say they're getting the word out about preventive measures to parents and students. [CapNews9] [Fox23] [TU]

A state comptroller's report indicates that county sales tax receipts in the Capital Region are down more than six percent this year. In Saratoga County, which the report indicates is down 12 percent, officials said the numbers seemed off the mark. [NYS Comptroller] [Saratogian]

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

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

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

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

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

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State Senate still stuck, Novello to do community service at Albany clinic, political spat over playground, Miss New York crowned, angry penguin in Waterford

The state Senate is still stuck. The two caucuses repeated their parallel in-and-out sessions over the weekend. David Paterson, who's suing the Senate over the quickie sessions, met with the Democratic caucus over the weekend -- though there aren't any details about whether they decided to hug it out or to continue hating each other. Yet another "extraordinary" session is planned for today. The two sides appear no closer to working out a power-sharing deal. [CapNews9] [Daily Politics] [AP/TU]

One of the background issues to the Senate mess is the 2010 redistricting. Demographers say population shifts are pointing toward a sizable Democratic majority -- though that depends on how districts are drawn. [NYT]

The state comptroller's office has cancelled $3 million in state funding for Pedro Espada's Bronx health care company. The comptroller says Espada, the disputed Senate pro tem, neglected to report that his org owed back taxes. [TU]

Even though New York State pays some of the lowest unemployment benefits in the nation, the state's unemployment insurance fund will be $2 billion short by the end of the year. [TU]

Albany County will be furloughing employees one day per month over the next six months. County exec Mike Breslin says the plan will save $1.4 million (the county faces a $20.5 million budget gap). Breslin says he'll be taking part in the furlough. [TU] [Troy Record]

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State Senate paralyzed by drama, plane plucked from Mohawk, Albany sewers maxed out, moose on the loose

As had been rumored, Hiram Monserrate switched back to the Democratic caucus yesterday and now the state Senate is split 31-31. Result: no one knows what the hell is going on. The two parties discussed a power-sharing arrangement, but couldn't come up with a deal. They're now looking to the courts to settle things> -- and it sounds like the judiciary would really rather not do that. [NYT] [NYDN] [NYT]

The situation puts the state in a "constitutional crisis" as there's no clear way for the Senate to function. Also muddled: the line of succession to the governorship. [Buffalo News]

The Republicans + Democrat Pedro Espada showed up in the Senate chamber yesterday, but couldn't do anything official because they were one short of a quorum. Democrats are now threatening to sue Espada because, they say, he violated a court-issued injunction against acting as Senate pro tem. [Daily Politics] [CapNews9]

John Sampson, the new leader of the Senate Democrats, is being credited with bringing Monserrate back into the caucus. [TU]

A crew pulled the small private plane that crashed into the Mohawk near Glenville out of the river yesterday. The victims were also identified -- one was a former Bollywood actor turned real estate developer. Officials aren't sure what caused the crash. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

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City treasurer received ghost tickets, it's good to be a lobbyist, problems at the Muddy Cup, Chopper uses AdvantEdge cards to notify of recall, Fallon was quizzed for final credits

Albany city treasurer Betty Barnette has testified that she had no knowledge of the ghost ticket system until she read about it in the news -- but the TU has obtained copies of seven no-fine tickets given to... Barnette. She says she has no memory of receiving the tickets. [TU] [CBS6]

Firms that lobby the state billed their clients almost $174 million last year. NYSUT spent $4.4 million -- the most of any single group. [Biz Review]

Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are apparently becoming BFF. He's even memorized her mobile number. [NYT]

The Saratoga County towns that had sued to hold up the Hudson dredging over concerns about their drinking water supply have dropped their suit. The dredging project is scheduled to start this month. [Daily Gazette]

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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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Recent Comments

I had the pleasure of experiencing protected bike lanes in Montreal recently. It really made for a fast, efficient way to move both bike & car traffic. As a biker, it was easy to see how to navigate a busy road, and it was nice to have a bit of buffer/safety from traffic (or just knowing that the possibility of a car swerving in to you was incredibly low because of these features). As a driver, it was nice to see all of the bikes in one area, so that you don't have the errant biker who decides to blow through most of the traffic signals the wrong way down a street.

Stuff to do this weekend

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A bit more about protected bike lanes in Albany

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