Rise and Shine, June 12, 2019

Good morning, CivMixers! Welcome to Wednesday.

Such an interesting day of the week, smack in the middle of everything, named either for chief Anglo-Saxon/Teutonic god Woden, the leader of the Wild Hunt, or Mercury, the Roman god of commerce, travel, theivery, eloquence and science, and messenger of the other gods – hence “Mercredi” the French word for this day.

I interpret this – very loosely – as Wednesday being a day for getting sh–t done. It’s the day we go over the mid-week hump and into the slide toward there weekend.

It’s going to be really nice out there, weather wise, with temperatures heading toward the high 70s, sunshine in the morning for Albany, Troy, Schenectady and Saratoga Springs and a few clouds in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, for you allergy sufferers, the pollen alert for trees and grass (not ragweed) is quite high – and even without the official word on that, it has been easy to see with all the fluff floating around in the air.

Bring tissues.

Also, try to get outside and enjoy this sun while you can, because it’s back to rain in the forecast tomorrow and Friday morning, not to mention Sunday…but let’s assume that’s still negotiable. Remember: A little outside time goes a very long way for your physical and mental health.

And now, some headlines…

Lots of action down at the state Capitol yesterday, where the Senate and Assembly reached a two-way deal on the New York City rent laws that are about to expire on Saturday, June 15.

In a signifiant blow to the once-powerful real estate industry, the changes would abolish rules that let building owners deregulate apartments, close a series of loopholes that permit them to raise rents and allow some tenant protections to expand statewide.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly said he would sign whatever package of rent bills the Legislature passed.

The state Senate passed a bill to legalize paid gestational surrogacy for couples who are unable to have their own children. But it faces an uncertain future in the Assembly, and opponents range from feminist icon Gloria Steinem to the Catholic Church.

Women’s rights scholars have argued that paid surrogacy turns women’s bodies into commodities and is coercive to poor women given the sizable payments it can bring.

As lawmakers work to legalize recreational, adult-use marijuana, police continue to arrest hundreds of mostly black and Hispanic people for marijuana offenses in the Capital Region’s more urban areas.

In Albany and Schenectady counties, marijuana arrests surged in 2017 and 2018, almost exclusively among people of color, while arrests of white people fell to a record low, according to a review of arrest data filed with the state Division of Criminal Justice Services over the past decade.

A group of farmers drove tractors up State Street to the Capitol and then rallied in support of changes to a bill that would standardize working conditions on farms for of 30,000 farms across New York.

The Democratic-led Assembly has paid more than $150,000 in taxpayer-funded legal fees to private attorneys to help preserve the recent pay raises for its members.

A bill focusing on gender discrimination and product prices has now moved to the state Senate for consideration after passing the Assembly.

State lawmakers took a significant step toward expanding the national conversation about sex and crime by introducing bills to decriminalize prostitution, though quick passage seems unlikely.

The registration for the limo involved in the deadly September 2018 Schoharie County crash was suspended by DOT, and then reinstated just before the incident. The state DOT and DMV aren’t talking about their interactions with Prestige Limousine that month.

A settlement has been reached between the victims and surviving family members of the fatal Jay Street, Schenectady fire and those accused of leaving the property in a “dangerous, hazardous and defective condition.”

A month after a water service line broke in front of Caryn Luna’s house on Troy-Schenectady Road in Niskayuna, water is still bubbling up from where her front lawn meets the sidewalk and running in a muddy stream to the sewer. And now, the town has told her she’ll have to pay thousands of dollars to repair it.

Hudson Valley Community College students will pay $150 more in tuition by the time school begins this fall under a $98.1 million budget approved by the Rensselaer County Legislature last night.

A dozen people stood across the street from 865 Myrtle Ave., in the Pine Hills neighborhood of Albany, watching as a Bobcat tore down a house that had been an eyesore for a long time. As the last bit of the roof came crumbling down under the crush of heavy equipment, the neighbors let out a long-awaited cheer.

The chair of the Rensselaer County Legislature has introduced a bill for a one-year moratorium on all solid waste facilities built within a mile of the Hudson River. This would impact a proposed plant on the former BASF property on Riverside Avenue.

Troy’s Police Benevolent Association is raising concerns about understaffing in the city’s police department, saying there aren’t enough officers to keep city residents safe.

Forest rangers rescued 10 people in the Capital Region this week, in cases ranging from missing kayakers, lost hikers and a sickened state park visitor, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said.

The northwestern Rensselaer County village of Valley Falls, which is home to just 466 residents, has a vision of transforming a derelict 159-year-old former Thompson Mill site into a park along the Hoosic River, whose waters helped drive the 19th century mills in this area.

In Glenville, 9-year-old Brady Snakovsky is making it his mission to ensure all Police K9’s have bullet proof vests. His K9 Fund has raised more than $100,000, and donated more than 80 vests to departments across the nation.

A large sinkhole closed a road in Hudson Falls.

A group is continuing its fight against a natural gas pipeline in Bethlehem and East and North Greenbush tonight. There will be a forum at the East Greenbush library at 7 p.m.

A spokeswoman for the national prosecutor’s office in the Dominican Republic says a second person has been arrested in the investigation into the shooting of former Red Sox star David Ortiz. There is no public indication the man is the suspected shooter.

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden repeatedly ripped into each other during separate events as unfit to lead the country as they both traveled to the battleground state of Iowa, giving voters a preview of what a general election matchup between the two men might look like.

Photo credit: Fred Coffey.

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