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Advocates warn of education crisis

ALBANY -- Education advocates say New York's under-funding of schools has reached crisis proportions. They released their findings Monday after a tour of 14 school districts around the state.

As the State Assembly and Senate prepare their education budgets, the head of the Schenectady City schools calls this a situation beyond urgent-- less money for more students with greater needs.

Cohoes School Superintendent Robert Libby says unfair funding for education is a huge crisis.

"We could end up eliminating kindergarten," said Libby. "We could be mandated to provide universal pre-K, and there is no mandate for kindergarten. If finances get that bad, we may have to at least begin looking at half-day kindergarten, and then in future years even worse."

Sheriff's investigator accused of using criminal database for personal use

An investigator with the Albany County Sheriff’s Department is on the other side of the law.

Gabriel Rodriguez, 39, is accused of using a police computer to look up criminal records of others for his own personal use. The arrest comes after an investigation that started earlier this year.

Rodriguez is facing a felony computer trespass charge as well as misdemeanor charges for misconduct and falsifying business records.

State police say he has already been serving a suspension on unrelated charges.

Cohoes man sentenced for third DWI in 10 years

ALBANY - A Cohoes man will spend up to five years in prison for his third drunken driving conviction in 10 years.

Walter Russell was sentenced Monday morning. He pleaded guilty to the charges in January. At the time he was arrested, police say his blood alcohol level was .26 percent.

Russell will also lost his license for at least a year. He is also required to have an ignition interlock device installed on his car.

'Bridges Out of Poverty' program coming to senior center

A program to educate people on poverty is coming to the Cohoes Senior Center.

Cohoes Bridges Out of Poverty trains people “about the hidden rules of economic class.” Part of that includes specialized training for businesses and agencies, and mentoring some who are in poverty.

For more information, please call Brittney Hunt at (518) 935-3381 or cohoesbridges@gmail.com or Keith Hornbrook, executive director of the Cohoes Multi-Service Senior Citizens Center at (518) 235-2420.

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Local parishioners monitor Ukrainian uprising

WATERVLIET - Parishioners of ST. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Watervliet are closely monitoring minute-to-minute developments in Ukraine these days.

The church, which first opened its doors to immigrants in 1908, and today serves about 150 Capital Region households, remains a tight-knit community, many of whom still have family and friends living in the old country.

With Russian troops amassing on the border, a fugitive president forced to flee for his own safety, and an acting president whose insisting he's now in charge of the country, the lives of Ukrainians -- both in country, and around the world -- are being turned upside down.

"Supposedly Putin says that he's not going to invade Ukraine but what they are saying and what reality is going to be, we're going to see," says Nicholas Fil, a St. Nicholas parishioner, born in Ukraine, who came to the U.S. in 1964.

Albany Peace Project yields results

ALBANY -- Every day in January, between 370 and 400 people logged on to the Albany Peace Project website to access a guided meditation with a focus on eliminating violence and crime in the City of Albany.

"I love the benefits of meditation for myself but I knew it would get me to meditate each morning. I was excited...that this would make a difference for the whole community," says participant Jennifer Hanson of Niskayuna.

Because this was the first year and an alternative crime fighting method, to say the least, there was no guarantee that the Albany Peace Project would work.  There are large scale studies from other parts of the country and even the world.  But would it be effective here?  Does Albany have enough collective positive thought?

Three arrested after Waterford home invasion

WATERFORD – Three men are under arrest in connection with an armed home invasion on Second Street.

Ian Ulric Castaldo, 21, Brendan Conway, 17, and Jeremy Fontaine, 19, are all charged with burglary, robbery, and assault.

Police say there’s a possible fourth suspect.

The suspects are accused of stealing about $30 and a small amount of marijuana.

According to police, one of the victims was also punched and kicked during the robbery.