Rise and Shine: June 13, 2019

Hello, CivMixers, here’s hoping you’ll have a tremendous Thursday!

Want to feel old? On this day in 1978, the movie musical “Grease,” starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, had its world premiere in New York.

Oy. I remember that movie like it was yesterday.

I played the soundtrack – on a record player, mind you – over and over. So many times, until I scratched the record so badly it was beyond listening. I memorized every word. Every dance move. I wanted to be Rizzo, though. No good-goody Sandy for me. Maybe, as a brunette, I had no choice? Why are the brown-haired girls always the “bad” ones in old-school movies?


Also today, in 2008, South Buffalo native Tim Russert, moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” died suddenly while preparing for his weekly broadcast; he was 58. RIP, Tim, you were one of the good ones, and we will haven’t forgotten you.

It’s shaping up to be much cooler today in Albany, and also rainy – at least in the morning, with some showers also possible this afternoon. Expect lots of clouds and highs only in the low 60s, according to The Weather Channel.

Things look much the same for Schenectady and Troy, with steadier rain in the forecast for Saratoga Springs.

Some headlines…

The new two-way rent law deal approved by the Senate and Assembly, which the governor has said he will sign, includes new protections for tenants across the state.

In addition to allowing qualifying municipalities to participate in a rent-stabilization program, the omnibus legislation also limits security deposits to one month’s rent, strengthens legal protections against retaliatory evictions, requires advance notice of a rent increase of more than 5 percent, and extends eviction processes.

There are also some first-ever safeguards for people who live in manufactured-home parks.

Needless to say, the real estate industry, especially the downstate developers, are not at all happy with this new deal. Several developers, who have given millions of dollars worth of campaign contributions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the years, implored him to get involved and block the agreement, but he declined.

Also at the state Capitol yesterday, the Assembly voted, 86-50, to approve the Green Light bill, which would allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses, making New York the 13th state in the nation to allow this.

However, it remains unclear whether the new Democrat-controlled majority in the state Senate will be able to muster up enough votes to pass the bill.

Nineteen Democrats split from their party conference to join Republicans in voting against the bill, including several from the Capital Region and every Democrat from the Buffalo area except Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes.

Schenectady Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, the son of immigrant parents, said they went through a long process to become citizens, which is why he couldn’t support this bill. “A bill like this sort of just bypasses the immigration process, goes right to offering rights and privileges that are reserved for citizens,” he explained.

The chair of the Saratoga Springs Republican Committee has been replaced. In an organizational meeting last night, Matthew Hogan lost his leadership role to Chris Obstarczyk, a partner in the law firm Levy & Obstraczyk PLLC.

Niskayuna Town deputy attorney Rob Hess resigned yesterday morning, effective immediately. “I would rather not give a reason,” he told the Times Union, and said he is also not required by law to give one to his employer.

A $30.4 million Hyatt Place hotel project in downtown Albany won approval from the city’s Industrial Development Agency’s Finance Committee for $6.8 million in tax breaks.

Saratoga Springs parking rules that once allowed stays of up to 48 hours on Putnam Street are now restricting visitors to three hours.

Troopers arrested 68 people on drug-related charges during a weekend music festival in Rensselaer County, the State Police said. The annual Disc Jam Music Festival — which features rock and electronic music, disc golf and camping — was held Friday through Sunday in Stephentown, near the Massachusetts border.

A number of businesses on Route 7 in Brunswick were affected by a water main break on Oakwood Avenue in Troy, and have been asked to conserve water as a result.

A mandatory boil water order is in effect as a result of the break. The order has been issued for anyone living east of Burdett Avenue, including Pawling and Pinewoods Avenue. The order also extends to Brunswick, North Greenbush, and Poestenkill.

A business in Schenectady, CSL Plasma, is doing potentially life-saving work while also raising concerns that it is taking advantage of low-income communities.

Multiple fire departments were on the scene of a structure fire in Slingerlands this morning.

Saratoga County supervisors plan to give each town and city in the county an additional $20,000 annually from revenue the county is collecting from use of its former landfill, county officials said.

A public forum was held yesterday on a pipeline project being proposed by National Grid. Residents in favor, and those opposed, are all making sure their opinions are heard.

he Town of Niskayuna has scheduled a June 20 vote for a controversial proposal to build a Holocaust Memorial.

Tri-City won the New York-Penn League championship last summer, but they have a mostly new roster and a new manager, neither of which is an unusual development on a Class A Short Season team designed to develop players.

President Donald Trump said that if a foreign power offered dirt on his 2020 opponent, he’d be open to accepting it and that he’d have no obligation to call in the FBI. “I think I’d want to hear it,” Trump said in an interview with ABC News, adding, “There’s nothing wrong with listening.”

Build-A-Bear Workshop’s “Pay Your Age Day” last year was a big problem, with long lines, anxious kids and parents and people turned away during the nationwide event. Well, it’s back, but with new rules.

Photo credit: Fred Coffey.



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