Rise and Shine: June 14, 2019

Happy Friday, CivMix crew. You made it to the end of the week. Congrats.

It’s going to warm up a bit today, with clouds and sun in the forecast, though the temperature isn’t expected to break 70 degrees – almost, but not quite, according to The Weather Channel. Tomorrow, though, it’s supposed to be in the 80s! And then it looks like we’ll be back to rain, quite a bit of rain.

But let’s not dwell on that, shall we?

Moving on now to some headlines…

There was a lot of drama yesterday at the state Capitol as lawmakers ended weeks of speculation and passed a bill that closes the religious exemption for vaccines. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who wasn’t always a big supporter of this idea, citing constitutional concerns, quickly signed the measure into law, citing the need to address a public health crisis.

This takes place amid the worst measles outbreak the nation has seen in decades, of which New York – specially ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in the Hudson Valley and New York City – is the epicenter, though experts are now worried that the disease could jump to the Waldrof School population, which has a lot of unvaccinated kids.

At the Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge, for example, 60 percent of the 300 or so students were not vaccinated against measles and other highly contagious diseases as of late last year.

Some drama (what else is new?) in the Trump administration, too, as the president announced – via Twitter, of course – that his spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, will depart at the end of the month. She told reporters she won’t rule out a run for governor in her home state of Arkansas, to which she is returning.

Also in the spotlight – crosshairs? – is White House advisor Kellyanne Conway, who, according to the Office of the Special Counsel, violated the Hatch Act on “numerous occasions” and should be removed from the government.

Coinciding with the announcement of her seventh album, “Lover,” the pop star Taylor Swift released a new tune called “You Need to Calm Down,” where she addresses her own haters but also calls out those who attack the LGBTQ community.

Check your pantry: A Vermont-based company, King Arthur Flour, is voluntarily recalling some bags of flour due to potential E. coli contamination.

In local news…

The widow of a 38-year-old man who died a week after he was sent to the Rensselaer County jail last year has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the county and its private medical service failed to properly treat his known heart condition, which included a partially torn aorta.

Mark McCauslin, clad in a t-shirt with a rainbow stripe and surrounded by his partner, family and friends, celebrated as his hometown of Colonie officially recognized June as LGBT Pride month for the first time, thanks to his efforts.

The tractor-trailer that rolled over on the Dunn Memorial Bridge Wednesday afternoon was hauling construction and demolition debris to a dump in the city of Rensselaer, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said.

Jurors at the trial of Keith Raniere in Brooklyn were shown sexually explicit images of a 15-year-old girl that the NXIVM leader allegedly kept in his so-called “executive library” in Halfmoon.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says the government will rest its case against Raniere this morning. Closing arguments will happen next Tuesday morning before the case goes to the jury.

A Queens resident was ticketed this month after using heavy equipment to damage a beaver dam in Schoharie County, causing flooding and damage, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said.

As the latest state Legislative session wanes, Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, a Round Lake Democrat, has introduced a bill to assign a state Health Department monitor to nursing homes a federal watch list.

Dirt bikes are continuing to impact multiple Capital Region communities, and law enforcement is still trying to get the situation under control.

An organization in Schenectady that provides support and services for sex trafficking survivors, is asking for help in getting a new car to support the women they serve.

Officials are still investigating a deadly fire at Meadowbrook Apartments in Slingerlands. So far, we know one man died in this fire. Bethlehem police say an autopsy will be conducted at Ellis Hospital today.

For the first time ever, a 49-year-old father is going public with his story of alleged abuse at the hands of a former Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany priest named Edward Pratt.

Advocates are asking legislators to pause and rethink the construction of a new multi-million dollar jail in Greene County.

State Police are trying to figure out who left markings on tombstones at the Duanesburg Cemetery.

Two new murals were unveiled this week in downtown Albany as part of an ongoing project by the Albany Center Gallery.

An appeal by Tyler Pascuzzi, the man convicted in a 2014 high-speed crash that killed two in Guilderland, has fallen short.

Happy 105th (!) birthday to Watervliet resident Mildred Howarth.

Photo credit: Fred Coffey.

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