Capital Region News

Lance Cheung / U.S. Department of Agriculture

NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (AP) — An upstate New York school district is opting out of the National School Lunch Program as students throw out fruits and vegetables required under new nutritional guidelines.

The Niskayuna Central School District near Albany plans to opt out April 1. Officials in the suburban district say the number of students buying lunch dropped significantly this year and the program is running a $70,000 deficit.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Hundreds of people gathered in Albany today at the Empire State Plaza for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Observance.

Dr. King would have been 84 years old today - the Albany observance in his honor took place in a time of hope and change far removed from the bittersweet days of America's non-violent civil rights movement. New York's Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights, Alphonso David, read from Governor Cuomo's official proclamation marking the holiday.

Rupert Millard

Audio Pending...

New rules are being rolled out at Albany Medical Center, St. Peter's Health Partners, Ellis Medicine, Saratoga Hospital and Glens Falls Hospital, to further protect patients from influenza and other infectious diseases. Implementation of the new guidelines began Friday at some of the hospitals and start Monday at others.

Dennis Drue, a 22-year-old Siena College student, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday to a 59-count indictment. Drue was released after posting $50,000 bail.

A military couple has enlisted the help of a New York airport's staff to get married while awaiting flights to their respective military assignments. WAMC’s Dave Lucas has more…

The Times Union of Albany reports that Caitlin Murray and Sean Whitney's spur-of-the-moment wedding occurred Thursday in the observation deck at Albany International Airport. The soldiers, both privates first class, decided to get hitched as they awaited separate flights, hers to North Carolina and his to St. Louis.

Fire officials say a girl has died after being carried from a burning home near Albany. WAMC’s Dave Lucas reports

Niskayuna Fire Chief Dale Lingenfelter tells local media outlets the girl was found unconscious in a downstairs bedroom after a neighbor spotted smoke and firefighters were called to the house just before 8:30 a.m. Friday.

He says the girl, believed to be about 13 years old, died at a nearby hospital.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Lingenfelter says it's believed to have started in a kitchen.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

The New York Army National Guard will send one of its two new UH-72 Lakota light utility helicopters-and an accompanying three-member aircrew from its Latham operations center to the Texas/Mexico border next week. Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
 

WAMC Photo Composite by Dave Lucas

Schenectady joins Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Utica on the list of most impoverished school districts in New York State... Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

It’s been said that death and taxes are the only two guarantees in life , but being unable to find a parking spot in the city in Albany is also certain. But for some city residents, who live near the state capitol and the empire state plaza, which will change next month. After almost two decades of discussion, debate and court challenges, Albany will implement a permit system in certain designated areas, beginning January 15th.  Albany city clerk Nala Woodard is in charge of getting distributing parking permits for the new system.

22-year-old Saratoga County man has admitted to being drunk behind the wheel when his sport utility vehicle struck and killed a teenage girl standing alongside a road last summer. WAMC’S Dave Lucas has more.

The Saratogian reports that Gavin Staulters of Milton pleaded guilty Wednesday in Saratoga County Court to a vehicular manslaughter charge stemming from the death of 14-year-old Kari Liedel on July 7. The teen was hit by his vehicle as she and a friend waited for another friend along a road near her home in Milton.

David Guistina talks with Judy Patrick, Editor of the Daily Gazette, about the morning's top headlines. 

A 26-year-old Marine from upstate New York has been killed in Afghanistan. More from WAMC’s Dave Lucas.

Relatives of Lance Cpl. Anthony Denier tell Albany-area media outlets he was killed by enemy fire on Saturday.  Denier was from the Saratoga County city of Mechanicville and joined the Marines 18 months ago. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and was deployed to Afghanistan in October.His body is expected to be returned to the U.S. on Thursday. Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

New York Bus Tour for Education to End in Albany

Dec 3, 2012
AP Photo

  Hundreds of students, parents and teachers are getting ready to head to Albany to ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers for more money for education.

Organizers say 10-15 buses will depart from every corner of New York Dec. 5. Once in Albany, the group will march from the State Museum to the Capital.

The event is being called the Educate NY Now Express tour and is a response to deep cuts in state educationaid combined with a new property tax cap limiting what districts can raise through tax increases.

Silver Says He Will Be Cleared

Nov 28, 2012

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he expects to be vindicated in an ethics probe into the $103,000 settlement he approved to end sexual harassment claims against a fellow Democrat.

Silver tells The Buffalo News on Tuesday that he believes the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics will find he acted in good faith to protect the victims. Silver approved a deal this summer that wasn't disclosed until further sexual harassment accusations were made against the assemblyman, Vito Lopez of Brooklyn.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

An upstate New York prosecutor who targeted a Florida pharmacy while investigating online sales of steroids and other drugs can keep the case. WAMC's Dave Lucas reports.

The New York Court of Appeals says a state judge exceeded his authority when he dismissed Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares' fifth indictment of Signature Pharmacy of Orlando and barred his office from continuing.

David Guistina speaks with Mike Spain, Associate Editor of the Albany Times Union, about the morning's top headlines. 

Ever since the establishment of our democracy, citizens of the United States have demonstrated both pleasure and disgust with their government by exercising their right to vote.

David Guistina talks with Mike Spain, Associate Editor of the Times Union, about the morning's top headlines.

NY Advocates Set Minimum Wage Rally

Nov 19, 2012

  Advocates for a higher minimum wage in New York plan to rally Monday at the state Capitol, where they say lawmakers also want a pay hike.

Members of the coalition, following a Thanksgiving week press conference on hunger at a nearby Albany church, say the rally will be held in an adjacent park, followed by a prayer vigil.

The group includes the Hunger Action Network of New York State, FOCUS Churches of Albany and Capital District Area Labor Federation.

Republican New York State Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin claimed victory on election night, but his opponent, Democratic challenger Cheryl Roberts did not concede right away,  waiting for absentee ballots to be counted. Roberts has now admitted defeat, and McLaughlin says he is ready for a new two year term representing New York’s 107th Assembly District which includes Washington, Rensselaer and Columbia Counties. Speaking with WAMC’s Brian Shields, he says recent events have changed the agenda for January.

WAMC's David Guistina gets the morning headlines from Judy Patrick, editor of the Daily Gazette.

Education and business officials came together today in Saratoga County with the high tech future in mind.  GlobalFoundries and the Center for Economic Growth organized the meeting at the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park to develop a regional 13 county laboratory to promote the future of an educational system that must meet the needs of a growing technology sector. Michael Tucker is the CEO and executive director of the Center for Economic Growth. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

The University At Albany is again facing questions about the extracurricular activities of some it its students after several were arrested last week in an alleged hazing incident resembling the torture technique known as 'waterboarding'.

For more on the incident, WAMC's Patrick Donges spoke with Albany Times Union education reporter Scott Waldman, who has been following the story.


WAMC's David Guistina gets the morning headlines from Mike Spain, associate editor of the Albany Times Union.

Republican Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione was successful in her bid to represent the New York State Senate’s new 43rd District.

Marchione was flanked by supporters as she took to the podium at the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs at around 11 p.m. Tuesday night to accept her election to the New York State Senate.  

Unofficial results show her winning with 47 percent of the vote over the 35 percent won by Democratic Claverack Town Supervisor Robin Andrews.

Marchione told those assembled the story of what she described as an unlikely path to victory…

Voters in Saratoga Springs will vote tomorrow on how the city government will be structured. A charter change is on the ballot. Voters can stay with the current commissioner form of government or decide to change to a council-manager form of government. For more on the charter question, WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with Saratogian city desk reporter Lucian McCarty.

A poll released Friday by the Siena Research Institute showed some surprising numbers in one capital region New York State Senate race.

Incumbent 43rd District Senator Roy McDonald – who suspended his campaign after losing a close Republican primary to Saratoga County Clerk Kathy Marchione – received support from 29 percent of poll respondents. McDonald will appear on Tuesday’s ballot on the Independence Party line.

For analysis of the race WAMC’s Patrick Donges spoke with reporter David Lombardo who covers local politics for the Schenectady Daily Gazette.

WAMC's Alan Chartock speaks with Dr. Ralph Nurnberger, who will speak tonight at 7:30 at Congregation Gates of Heaven in Schenectady, New York on “The Middle East Today,” an event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York.

Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University, Dr. Nurnberger is an expert on American foreign policy and the Middle East. He has served as a staffer for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and was the first Executive Director of Builders for Peace.

 WAMC's Jake Sorgen spoke with Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings about his "Command Center" and preparations he's made to deal with the damaging winds and widespread power outages expected tonight. 

County Executive Kathleen Jimino of Rensselaer spoke with WAMC's Jake Sorgen about her preparations and expectations for the durations of the storm. 

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