Capital Region News

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Each day, the city of Albany’s population swells as commuters come to work within the city limits. But the capital’s largest suburb, Colonie, has more than 80,000 residents and its own set of unique issues and challenges, according to Town of Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan. The Democrat recently announced she is seeking a fifth two-year term. She spoke with WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas and saysher political mantra is a focus on the people.

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Prosecutors say two teenagers and a man have been arraigned on charges stemming from a fatal shooting in Albany earlier this month.

The Albany County D-A's office says a 16-year-old boy and two men, ages 18 and 24, were arraigned in state Supreme Court Wednesday morning on charges that include second-degree murder and attempted murder.

They're charged in the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Courtney Yates. Police say the father of six was hit by gunfire shortly after 1 a.m. on May 5 on Lark Street. Two other men, ages 29 and 33, were wounded.

A black man killed in a shooting by Los Angeles police last week has ties to upstate New York.

29-year-old Brendon Glenn, who is from Troy, was panhandling outside a Venice bar with his dog Dozer on Tuesday night, friends said, when someone complained that he was harassing customers.

The early taste of summer brought a spate of wildfires to our area. 

First it was northern Berkshire County, then Ulster and Sullivan. Now, fast-moving brush fires have spread throughout the Catskills over the last several days. The Lanesville fire, one of largest of several to impact the area, was declared around noon Sunday "fully contained."

..:: WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas ::..

New York's highest court says it's up to the district attorney, not a city judge, to decide whether or not to prosecute protesters charged with disorderly conduct as part of the Occupy Albany movement that gripped downtown four years ago.

During the autumn of 2011, the downtown Albany "Occupy" site in the shadow of the state capitol was one of 2,000 such encampments that had sprung up across the globe. The movement took root earlier that year in New York City, as part of the response to the U.S. financial crisis, when "occupiers" converged on Zuccotti Park.

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Troy Councilman Jim Gordon is formally announcing his candidacy for mayor today, joining a crowded field of hopefuls looking to replace the retiring Democrat Lou Rosamilia. Gordon spoke with WAMC's Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

As politicians scramble to expedite laws addressing crude oil transport by rail, citizens gathered in Albany today to demand the trains be banned from rolling on New York tracks.

Rensselaer may have missed out on the casino sweepstakes and the chance to revitalize its waterfront. But now, SUNY Polytechnic Institute is eying a site downtown where it hopes to build a tech hub and employee housing.

Darius Shahinfar Campaign/Facebook

Albany Treasurer Darius Shahinfar announced today a 5-year savings of $750,000 to city taxpayers.

Shahinfar says the savings will be accomplished by the refinancing of $9.27 million of 2006 bonds, which has lowered the interest rates on those bonds from an average of 5.1 percent to 2.4 percent. In a statement, Shahinfar thanked the Albany Common Council for "quickly approving the necessary authorization for this transaction."

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The race to lead Troy is getting tighter.  Since Troy Mayor Lou Rosamilia announced he would not seek a second term in office,  a cast of hopefuls moved into the spotlight.  City Council President Rodney Wiltshire was first to officially step forward, in late March. The two-term councilman tells WAMC:   "I wanna put the party politics from the past behind, and get us into the 21st century, which is something that I think Troy desperately deserves."   Wiltshire has picked up The Working Families Party endorsement.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

There’s been another fatal shooting in Albany. In the meantime, police have announced a change in taser policy.

The city stun-gun policy change comes in the aftermath of a pair of tasing incidents in Arbor Hill. April 2nd, 39-year old Dontay Ivy, a paranoid schizophrenic with heart problems, died at Albany Medical Center shortly after police tased him. The Albany County D.A. is investigating.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

With police still investigating the latest gun death in Albany, the weekend was marked by social awareness events around the region.

People moved by headlines assembled Saturday in Albany and also Kingston observing a national day of protest in support of the people of Baltimore, calling for justice for Freddie Gray and all victims of police brutality.

A teenage troubadour from Fultonville, NY who has been wowing TV audiences around the globe every week on NBC’s “The Voice,” will perform a FREE concert in Albany.

16-year-old folk-soul singer and Voice finalist Sawyer Fredericks will appear at the Palace Theatre on Wednesday, MAY 6 at 8PM. Tickets for the performance are COMPLIMENTARY and will be available on a first come, first served basis beginning FRIDAY, MAY 1 AT 10AM***.  “The Voice" will be on hand to record the event. Theater officials promise "a wonderful experience for everyone."

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

One dead person is dead and two others remain hospitalized after a Wednesday night shooting along the outskirts of Albany's Arbor Hill. A preview of summer violence?

In late October, 2014, shaken by yet another round of gun crime in Albany, elected officials, community leaders and private citizens gathered together for a downtown brainstorming session. At the time, Mayor Kathy Sheehan said:     "We learn when we listen and sometimes a community has ideas that are far better than anything that we can come up with in a conference room in city hall."

With construction by the New York State Office of General Services under way to enhance the Madison Avenue overpass and the Empire State Plaza in Albany, organizers of the Freihofer’s Run for Women have relocated the course for the next two years. 

(Pictured) Mona Golub, vice president of public relations and consumer services, Price Chopper Supermarkets; Christine Ammon, director of human relations, Charles Freihofer Baking Company; Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and at the podium, George Regan, event director, Freihofer’s Run for Women.

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Parts of Baltimore are smoldering after violent demonstrations last night, the latest in a string of flare-ups between protestors and police across the country. Closer to home, Albany Police are taking a close look at their use of stun guns after a second incident this month in which a black man suffered a medical issue after being Tased by police. 

On April 2, 39-year old Donald "Dontay" Ivy died after an encounter with police near his Arbor Hill home after he was subdued with a stun gun. That incident is under investigation by the District Attorney.

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The Albany County Health Department has a new commissioner...

County Executive Dan McCoy today says Dr. Elizabeth Whalen has been appointed to serve as Commissioner of the Albany County Department of Health on behalf of the more than 300,000 residents of the county.

Dr. Whalen is a public health physician with dual board certification in Internal Medicine and Public Health and Preventive Medicine. 

She succeeds Dr. James Crucetti who resigned in January after 25 years with the Health Department — 22 of them as the county's top doctor.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

  The city of Albany has selected a vendor to install red light cameras at 20 intersections. 

Albany has signed a 3-year deal with GATSO USA to install and operate the cameras, which could be operational in just several weeks.

City officials say the program is more about safety than revenue, stressing it will make everyone on foot or bicycle safer.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation, Parks, Agriculture and Markets, and the State Arbor Day Committee, joined state and local officials today for an Arbor Day tree planting event at Albany's Tivoli Lake Preserve.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

A new fund to support arts, education, and cultural programs in the City of Albany was announced today.

Composite Image by Dave Lucas (WAMC)

  Two more suspicious fires in the Capital Region involving apparently vacant buildings. 

Two fires, blocks apart, in Schenectady overnight - flames shooting from buildings at 3rd and 6th streets lit up the pre-dawn skies - one of them, confirmed vacant, will have to be torn down. No injuries reported. Both blazes under investigation.

Meanwhile, officials say it could take years to redevelop the site of the massive Jay Street apartment fire in March that left four dead.

  Multiple defects have been found at Capital Region railyards in the latest round of oil train inspections. 

According to Governor. Andrew Cuomo’s office , the inspections showed 84 defects locally in the Colonie, Kenwood and Selkirk rail yards and on tracks between Fonda and Rotterdam.

Two critical defects (those are the most serious) were found after 107 tank cars in the Selkirk Rail Yard were checked. Two shipper violations were issued.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The immediate crisis that resulted when a landslide interrupted the flow of the Normans Kill Creek between two golf courses is over, but environmental restoration is expected to take months...

A hillside near the Normanside Country Club in Bethlehem collapsed somewhere between 8 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday, blocking a significant length of the creek that separates the Normanside Country Club from Capital Hills Golf Course on the Albany side.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

A potential flooding disaster averted, Albany city and county officials continue to monitor the situation where the Normans Kill creek flows between two golf courses.

A hillside close to the Normanside Country Club in Bethelehem collapsed somewhere between 8 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday, blocking a significant length of the creek that separates the Normanskill Country Club from Capital Hills Golf Course on the Albany side.

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Pope Francis recently called the Armenian massacre the “first genocide of 20th century.” With many areas marking Genocide Awareness Month, the killings and their aftermath are being discussed tonight at Siena College.

New York has settled for $2.25 million a lawsuit filed by a family that claimed the staff at an upstate New York residential center beat a severely disabled 22-year-old with a stick, neglected him and left him malnourished before he died of pneumonia.

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An upstate county has closed a loophole in state law that could have allowed fracking waste to be dumped in local landfills.

While New York has banned the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing for extracting natural gas, the state allows landfills to accept out-of-state fracking waste, possibly endangering public health and the environment.

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A 54-year-old woman was struck and killed in a hit and run while crossing Central Avenue in the Town of Colonie, New York last night. The Times Union reports that Renee Bruneau was stuck by a vehicle between Madison and Hudson Avenues and was rushed to Albany Medical Center where she later died. Town police are asking for assistance in locating the owner of the vehicle which was traveling eastbound.

  Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses of all Sizes, Homeowners and Renters in Schenectady are available beginning today. 

Low interest U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans are available to the survivors of the March 6 apartment fire in Schenectady.  SBA personnel will be temporarily available at 105 Jay Street, Room 14, today through Thursday, April 23rd to assist businesses, homeowners and renters affected by the fire.  

Junglecat/Wikimedia Commons

Funeral services were held today for an Albany man who died in police custody.  Donald “Dontay” Ivy died April 2nd after being tased during a confrontation with Albany Police.

Officials say the 39-year old Ivy was walking in the wee hours near his home along Lark Street and Second Street when three officers stopped him. At some point their interaction became physical, and Ivy was Tased. Family members said Ivy suffered from schizophrenia and had heart problems.

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