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Childhood center receives blessing

Times Union feed - 10 hours 11 min ago
The dedication and blessing of The Manuel Pena Early Childhood Education Center at the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish School was held on Wednesday June 21, 2017, in Niskayuna, N.Y.

Prosecutor exiting the courtroom

Times Union feed - 10 hours 11 min ago
U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian will begin his final week Monday as the region's top federal prosecutor, leaving behind a legacy of successful cases against domestic terrorists, financial investment crooks and gang members along with an unresolved investigation into a quadruple arson-homicide in Schenectady. Hartunian, 56, also made the call to prosecute former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno a second time after the Supreme Court found the "honest services" mail fraud law — of which Bruno was convicted of violating in 2009 — to be unconstitutional and in need of retooling. Hartunian operated the office's Organized Crime Drug Task Force before taking the top spot. "Rick Hartunian ran the U.S. attorney's office much like his beloved mentor, Sol Greenberg, ran the Albany County DA's office many years ago," Albany defense attorney Michael McDermott, a former prosecutor, told the Times Union. In 2009, there was an apparent resolution to the Bruno prosecution when he was convicted of two counts of honest services mail fraud. The Supreme Court's decision ruled in an unrelated case determined that honest services must include proof of a kickback or bribe. Hartunian's office brought a death penalty-eligible arson charge against Robert Butler of Saratoga Springs but dropped it when evidence surfaced implicating Edward Leon of St. Johnsville. On Dec. 21, 1988, Hartunian's sister, Lynne Anne, was one of the 270 people killed in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, a New York-bound Boeing 747 jumbo jet over Lockerbie, Scotland. Crawford, a Ku Klux Klan member, approached Jewish groups seeking assistance in his diabolical scheme to use a mobile radiation-spewing device to use on Muslim institutions in the Capital Region, as well as the Executive Mansion in Albany and the White House. Hartunian's tenure featured several major crackdowns on street gangs from Albany to Schenectady to Syracuse, which he credits for reducing crime and making neighborhoods safer.

GE mixing drones and artificial intelligence in Niskayuna

Times Union feed - 10 hours 11 min ago

NISKAYUNA — In a picnic area at General Electric Co.'s Global Research Center, a group of scientists and engineers are working on a new industrial revolution that will involve robots, drones and artificial intelligence.

GE has been developing robot and artificial intelligence technologies for many years now.

But these researchers are part of GE latest effort to monetize that technology with the launch of Avitas Systems, a new GE-created company being run by GE employees in Boston and Niskayuna.

Tax exemption error heats up Albany mayoral race

Times Union feed - 10 hours 11 min ago

Tax exemptions mistakenly given by the city assessor have become a focal point in Albany's mayoral race with Councilman Frank Commisso Jr. charging Mayor Kathy Sheehan with culpability in the error.

SUNY tuition is rising, even as free tuition becomes reality

Times Union feed - 10 hours 11 min ago

Unless they qualify for the state's new free tuition program, State University of New York students will see their tuition increase $200 this fall. The SUNY board of trustees voted Wednesday to raise tuition 3.1 percent to $6,670 for in-state students attending the state's four-year colleges — a move student leaders strongly condemned as "unconscionable" when "so many viable alternatives" exist.

Sewer woes again close iconic Lake George beach

Times Union feed - 10 hours 11 min ago

Less than a month into the summer Lake George tourist season, a mysterious recurring sewage problem is again forcing the state to close the iconic Million Dollar Beach.

On Wednesday, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said unsafe levels of sewage-related E. coli bacteria near the beach will keep it closed until at least Friday. The bacteria can sicken people who are exposed to it.

Last summer, similar problems kept the beach closed for a week. The latest episode was unwelcome news to Lake George officials, who rely on summer tourists for much of the village's economy. "This is an unprecedented occurrence on our lake that demands a swift response," said village Mayor Robert Blais.

Fulton County shows off business park, medical marijuana tenant

Times Union feed - 10 hours 11 min ago

Fulton County officials are looking for businesses that need lots of affordable space in a secure and remote location with access to a workforce with a wide range of education and skills. That's what Vireo Health of New York, one of five medical marijuana companies operating in the state, got when it moved into the 213-acre Tryon Technology Park two years ago.

CSEA offered five-year contract

Times Union feed - 10 hours 11 min ago

CSEA gets 5 year contract offer with 2 percent raises, higher longevity bonuses

Warren County airport seeks expansion as county pushes development plans

Times Union feed - 10 hours 11 min ago

Queensbury — A regional airport that serves Glens Falls is looking to expand as Warren County officials are pushing to open up hundreds of surrounding acres for economic development .

County officials are currently developing plans to expand the main runway at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport from 5,000 to 6,000 feet, which could allow for larger jet aircraft to operate and for smaller craft to carry more fuel. That expansion got a conditional federal approval in 2010.

There is no commercial service currently offered at the 76-year-old airport, which provides corporate, private and recreational aviation services.. The 628-acre facility is operated by Rich Air.

Troy man accused of Watervliet burglary spree

Times Union feed - 10 hours 11 min ago

WATERVLIET — A Troy man is accused of burglarizing three city homes in one night, Watervliet police said Wednesday.

Marquis H. NeSmith, 29, was arrested early Wednesday morning by city officers investigating a spree of break-ins that spanned the city, police said.

Capital Region groups honored for refugee aid work

Times Union feed - 10 hours 11 min ago

Few New Yorkers know about a war that's lasted 60 years and recently sent refugees fleeing for their lives from Myanmar, once known as Burma. But Habitat for Humanity for the Capital District has housed 12 Myanmar refugees in about a year. The Myanmar civil war has inflicted torture, homelessness, prison and execution without trial on its residents. Camps on the Thailand-Myanmar border can barely handle the 100,000 refugees seeking any haven.

Habitat for Humanity for the Capital District was one of four groups honored in the City Hall rotunda Tuesday morning for providing new homes to such refugees who had lost everything.

Habitat executive director Christine Schudde says all of the adults in the newly housed families also have jobs and are getting involved in helping their communities.

"Three more refugee families will move into their Habitat homes at the end of June," said Scjidde. 32. who started at Habitat as an 18 year old volunteer. "And seven more refugee families are going through the process to get homes of their own."

M&T Bank teams up with Habitat to help the families through the mortgage process. Habitat's David Brown and Bill Hammarstrom were also recognized..

Preserving a Caribbean spirit, far from home

Times Union feed - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 03:19
"People from the Caribbean have a much different perspective because of their colonial histories," said Annette Johnson, a state worker born in Canada, whose grandmother was Haitian. A dozen members of the Capital District of New York Caribbean American Cultural Association sat in a circle at the Albany Public Library at a recent meeting. The organization was formed two years ago by University at Albany faculty members Marcia Sutherland, associate professor of Africana Studies, and Glyne Griffith, associate professor and chair of English. "Resistance to colonialism is a central part of the Caribbean psychology," said Sutherland, who presented a research paper on Jamaica's black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Since I lived in the U.S. since I was young, I didn't learn much about my Haitian culture until I became an adult. Growing up in Jamaica, Jacqueline Rowe of Niskayuna, a registered nurse and real estate agent, recalled that she used to boil dried hibiscus flowers in a tea and used it to lighten and color her hair. Members are beginning a fundraising drive to be able to provide a college scholarship to a high school senior of Caribbean heritage. "Being part of this group gives me an opportunity to make a difference and to show young people a sense of cultural pride, no matter which island they come from," said Ainsley Thomas, who grew up in Jamaica and lives in Albany.

Keep greenhouse gas emissions in mind, Albany told

Times Union feed - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 03:19

As the city winds down its public forums on the future of waste disposal in Albany, environmental advocates are urging officials to include energy efficiency and environmental protection as elements in its plan.

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