Rise and Shine: July 16, 2019

Good Tuesday morning, CivMixers. (I initially wrote “Thursday” there, wishful thinking).

It’s going to be another 90-plus degree day in most of the region, maybe a hair cooler in Saratoga Springs, with a mix of sun and clouds and the possibility of a stray thunderstorm.

More rain is headed our way tomorrow and Thursday, compliments of Barry. So enjoy the clear skies while you can, our friends at The Weather Channel say.

Rivers Casino in Schenectady was still waiting last night for the final approval of its first-in-the-state sports betting operation, but is so confident the operation will be open for business that it has scheduled a ribbon cutting for 10 a.m. today.

It’s a slow start for New York, which is launching sports betting a year after New Jersey. And, unlike the Garden State, New York will not allow mobile sports betting. (Yet).

In national news…

The Republican governor in our neighbor to the east, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, condemned a recent series of tweets by President Donald Trump telling progressive congresswomen to “go back” to other countries, calling them “shameful” and “racist.”

New York Republican lawmakers were more measured in their criticism of the president, with NY-21 Rep. Elise Stefanik calling his remarks “inappropriate, denigrating, and wrong.”

Content to gamble that a sizable chunk of the electorate embraces his tweets that have been widely denounced as racist, the president made clear that he has no qualms about exploiting racial divisions once again.

Asked by a Fox News reporter if he was concerned that his tweets were widely being viewed as racist, Trump replied: “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me. And all I’m saying — they want to leave, they can leave. Now, it doesn’t say, ‘Leave forever.’ It says, ‘Leave if you want.'”

Trump appeared to revel in the viciousness of his brawl with the four progressive women who have become the young faces of the Democratic Party.

Taxpayer-funded family planning clinics must stop referring women for abortions immediately, the Trump administration said, declaring it will begin enforcing a new regulation hailed by religious conservatives and denounced by medical organizations and women’s rights groups.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee demanded that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos turn over all emails from her personal account related to official government business.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said 62 current and eight former Border Patrol employees are under internal investigation following revelations of a secret Facebook group that mocked lawmakers and migrants.

Around New York and in the Capital Region…

The power failure that plunged a broad swath of Manhattan into darkness for five hours on Saturday night was caused by the failure of some of Consolidated Edison’s equipment near West 65th Street, utility officials said. ConEd’s executive initially dismissed the burning cable as too routine to have played a significant role in the blackout.

The five-hour power failure appears to have cost Broadway producers about $3.5 million in revenue — overall the 30 shows running last week grossed $30.6 million, down from $34.1 million the previous week.

New York State would overhaul its high-school graduation requirements, affecting hundreds of thousands of students, and rethink its use of traditional Regents exams, under an ambitious plan outlined at a state Board of Regents meeting in Albany.

The sentencing dates for NXIVM leader Keith Raniere and two of his former top “slaves,” which were scheduled for September, have been adjourned indefinitely to allow federal probation officials sufficient time to conduct pre-sentencing investigations.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia surprised attendees at yesterday’s meeting of the Board of Regents’ with the news that she’ll resign from her post by the end of August. Her next role will involve national education policy.

Elia said she was first approached by a national education firm eight months ago. She declined to identify it, but said her new employer was “absolutely not” a lobbying entity.

The outgoing commissioner denied that her decision stemmed from tension with the Regents, she said it seemed like a good time to transition to new leadership as the board members launched a host of new initiatives.

Another court has decided that the state agency charged with protecting vulnerable New Yorkers from abuse and neglect has limited authority to prosecute criminal offenses.

Albany Common Council members weighed the merits of a rewards program for informants who give information on the illegal use of dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles in the city. The issue was referred to the Public Safety Committee for further discussion and consideration.

Albany police are investigating two shootings that occurred last night.

A Boston-area casino will not only be providing hospitality this summer at the 1863 Club – the new luxury clubhouse at Saratoga Race Course – but promoting its business there as well.

NYRA announced a partnership with the newly opened Encore Boston Harbor, a Wynn Resorts integrated luxury gaming resort destination featuring upscale hospitality, dining and retail located in Greater Boston.

Schenectady City Council members are expected next week to give the city’s top lawyer the power to negotiate a settlement in a lawsuit filed last summer by the widow of a Bronx man who, despite pleas for help, died in police custody in 2017.

Schenectady’s proposed ban single-use plastic straws remains stalled after the bill failed to make it out of committee yesterday.

A new restaurant called Grano, (Italian for “wheat”), will open at the end of the week at the old Aperitivo Bistro location two doors down from Proctor’s in Schenectady.

A funeral will be held tomorrow for Lori Daviero, who many consider the pioneer for fighting to get former workers of St. Clare’s their pensions. She lost her battle with pancreatic cancer last Friday.

A neighborhood association is making an effort to stop construction at the planned Amazon distribution site in Schodack, filing an injunction last week in the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division.

State lawmakers will take another crack at passing limo safety bills when they return to Albany next year.

The shocking images of Bianca Devins, a 17-year-old Utica teen who was murdered by a young man she was seeing, prompted a widespread outcry about the spread of violent content on social media and the inability by tech companies to police it.

Police said Brandon Clark, 21, of Cicero, slit Devins’ throat and posted grisly photos of her body on social media before stabbing himself in front of officers who, after a brief struggle, arrested him.

Clark has been charged with second-degree murder, a class A-1 felony punishable by up to 25 years to life in state prison.

Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is hardly a billionaire, according to the financial-disclosure form his lawyers filed in seeking bail for him.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has raised $4.5 million in campaign donations since January 2019, even though he was just re-elected to a third term last November. He has already announced he plans to seek a fourth term in 2022.

Newly minted New York GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy is in Israel to express solidarity with the Jewish people, just weeks after Cuomo visited the country with the same goal in mind.

With a hand recount of some 91,000 votes cast in a Democratic primary for a district attorney post in Queens just beginning yesterday, it did not take long for the first commotion to arise: a stray mark discovered on a ballot.

Woodstock 50 has racked up yet more attorneys’ fees.

Do you live in one of upstate’s richest communities?

In 2020 news…

Five Democratic presidential candidates raised a combined $96 million from individual donors in the last three months — about three-quarters of the total fund-raising by the entire Democratic field, according to reports filed with the FEC.

Democratic 2020 hopeful Sen. Cory Booker, of New Jersey, raised $4.5 million in the second quarter, the campaign will report having $5.4 million cash on hand.

Another Democratic 2020 contender, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, raised $3.6 million for his presidential bid over the past three months, signaling a significant slowdown in his fundraising since his campaign launch in March.

Speaking of O’Rourke, he recently revealed that he and his wife are both descended from slave owners.

“Fargo” actor Steve Buscemi is among the donors who gave the maximum $2,800 to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s struggling presidential campaign.

Cuomo said he understood the “point” of a front-page Post editorial demanding de Blasio’s ouster for being an absentee mayor, but said he wasn’t ready to “exercise my legal authority” to make it happen.

And other things happening around the nation/globe…

The governor of Puerto Rico is resisting calls to resign despite growing protests against his government after leaked text chats revealed conversations rife with homophobic and misogynistic slurs.

Rapper Nipsey Hussle was under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department at the time of his death, it was revealed yesterday.

Photo credit: Fred Coffey.

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