Rise and Shine: July 1, 2019

Good morning, CivMixers. It’s July already! How did that happen?

It seems like only yesterday we were shivering in our parkas and boots. Summer in upstate New York is so fleeting. I hope you’re getting out there to soak up every last fabulous minute of it.

If you’re lucky, you don’t have to go to work today, and you can really enjoy what looks like some amazing weather: Sunny with zero percent chance of rain (!), and high temperatures in the mid 80s, according to The Weather Channel.

It will be a little on the humid side, but that’s kind of par for the course at this point, isn’t it?

It’s going to be a foreshortened week for many of us, due to the fact that July 4 falls on Thursday. While you’re making your holiday plans, be mindful of the fact that State and local police will be targeting reckless, aggressive and impaired drivers in New York during the extended weekend.

Some communities are getting a jump-start on their 4th celebrations, with fireworks displays and other activities planned.

The past several days have been jam-packed with news-making incidents and events, so let’s get to it…

New York will no longer allow defendants accused of murder to plead down those charges to manslaughter by saying their actions were the result of an extreme emotional disturbance caused by the discovery of someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation yesterday at WorldPride, a global celebration of LGBTQ pride that was hosted in New York City this year, to eliminate that option, which is more commonly known as the “gay panic” or “trans panic” defense.

“New York has always been the heart of the LGBT equality movement,” Cuomo said. “It started at Stonewall, it started when we hosted the first Pride Day ever. And we’ve kept that legacy alive.”

The Pride March swept down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue at a moment in history that many said was a crucial one, a half-century after the landmark Stonewall uprising: More gay rights have been affirmed than ever before, but LGBTQ issues remain a flash point in the nation’s culture wars.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that if elected president, he would restore benefits to dishonorably discharged LGBT military veterans — but offered no proposals he could actually try to enact now.

There were Pride events elsewhere in the state, and around the nation.

President Trump shook hands with Kim Jong Un yesterday and took 20 steps into North Korea, making history as the first sitting US leader to set foot in the hermit kingdom. He crossed the low stone curb divider alongside a grinning Kim into a country that’s long been a global pariah for its nuclear ambitions and dismal record on human rights.

Not surprisingly, the president was unsatisfied with the press coverage of his Korea trip.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York’s senior senator, called on the U.S. government to step up its efforts to investigate the deaths of Americans who traveled to the Dominican Republic and is asking the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to get involved.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who stepped down from her post as White House press secretary last Friday, is reportedly planning to write a book about her time in the Trump administration.

New York has banned ICE arrests in state courts. A push to go even further is reigniting debate over the power of sanctuary cities to limit federal law enforcement.

Next time you drive into the Big Apple, be aware that you’re likely being recorded. The city is in the process of installing nation’s largest urban network of automated speed cameras, with a nearly 10-fold increase to more than 2,000 cameras deployed in 750 areas within a quarter-mile radius of a school.

Former NYPD Detective Luis Alvarez, who was a leader in the fight for the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund, died Saturday at age 53. He had appeared in D.C. with former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart earlier this month to plead with Congress to extend the fund.

The federal criminal trial of Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse, accused of looting campaign accounts and lying about it to the FBI, has been pushed back two months, ensuring he will remain mayor at least until his trial is over. His primary opponent, Bill Keller, currently ahead by 100 votes, says Morse should perhaps resign.

Members of the state GOP are gathering in Albany today to formally elect Erie County GOP Chair Nick Langworthy to replace Ed Cox as their statewide chair.

The Rev. Gerard R. “Jerry” Miller, a priest of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, repeatedly sexually assaulted teenage boys in his care at the Home for Wayward Boys in Knox for three years beginning in 1984, two of his victims alleged in legal documents sent recently to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and the Albany County DA’s office.

Albany police are looking for a man who fled the scene of a hit-and-run on foot last night, leaving behind two teenagers and two loaded handguns in the car.

Power outages in Albany over the weekend caused big headaches for businesses and residents alike.

Albany’s iconic Lincoln Park pool is open, but it’s currently leaking about 1,000 gallons of water daily, making it hard to keep the unusual circular span filled to capacity. Advocates are trying to raise money to keep the more than 80-year-old pool operating in its current incarnation.

The Hadley-Luzerne School District will offer counseling to a community mourning the death of a 16-year-old who was killed in a car crash this weekend.

The debate over whether Troy should become a “sanctuary city” has been reignited. The Republican mayoral candidate is calling on Mayor Patrick Madden to make his position on the issue clear, as the City Council plans to revisit this issue in the coming weeks.

With a year left on her term, Albany Board of Education secretary Jennifer Lange has resigned to accept a job in the Cuomo administration as chief of staff to senior adviser to the governor John Maggiore, who oversees upstate economic development and intergovernmental affairs. The board will appoint someone to fill out her term.

Mechanicville interim Superintendent Jon Hunter barred the media from Saturday’s graduation ceremony after it drew attention when students and parents expressed concern over the keynote speaker: Chad Brown, an accomplished horse trainer and Mechanicville native.

Small and mid-size dairy farms in New York and nationwide are disappearing, as farmers face a choice: Either scale up, or shut down.

A retired Buffalo cop won $1 million in the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.

Lil Nas X, the rapper behind the viral sensation “Old Town Road,” came out as a member of the LGBT community in a post on World Pride Day.

“American Idol” star Madison Vandenburg teamed up with “The Voice” finalist Moriah Formica to give Capital Region fans one memorable concert at the Times Union Center Friday.

Preparing for the Women’s World Cup semifinal against the United States, coach Phil Neville was irritated to discover the Americans scoping out England’s hotel. The U.S. could move in if they win the semifinal tomorrow.

Pop star Justin Bieber has apologized for a social media post he made in 2016 that upset Taylor Swift, but has hit back at her accusations that his manager Scooter Braun is a bully.

Major League Baseball took the iconic Yankees-Red Sox rivalry across the pond to London in hopes of gaining fans in the soccer-loving country.

Congrats to WNYT sports reporters Ashley Miller and Chris Onorato, who got engaged earlier this week in Tennessee.

Photo credit: Fred Coffey.

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