Rise and Shine: July 24, 2019

Welcome to Wednesday, CivMixers, the apex of the work week.

It’s shaping up to be a nice enough day, from a weather perspective, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures reaching back up into the (low) 80s. We’re on an upward heat trajectory as the weekend approaches. So says The Weather Channel.

News-wise, all eyes will be on Washington today, where former Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller’s appearance before two House committees promises to be the TV event of the year in the U.S. House.

Mueller is scheduled to appear at a House Judiciary Committee hearing at 8:30 a.m., and a House Intelligence Committee hearing at noon, with a 30-minute break between the two.

Lawmakers will question Mueller for roughly five hours about the book-length report he released in April. Mueller’s deputy Aaron Zebley is expected to appear as well, thanks to a last-minute request by his boss, but only the special counsel will be answering questions.

The NY Daily News has some suggested questions for Mueller. Ditto, the New York Times.

The the Justice Department earlier this week warned that Mueller’s testimony should not stray from the written conclusions outlined in the 448-page final report of his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Also today, Britain’s new American-born prime minister, Boris Johnson, officially takes office – a day after winning the Conservative Party’s runoff election.

Johnson, 55, has a good relationship with Trump, and must lead the country through its stalled exit from the European Union, known as Brexit.

It’s National Amelia Earhart Day, marking 122 years to the day since the female flying pioneer was born. Earhart famously sent her last radio call on July 2, 1937 during an attempt to fly around the world.

The 2020 Summer Olympics are exactly one year away. Host city Tokyo marked the milestone with a number of events.

It’s Military Appreciation Day at the track in Saratoga.

In other news…

New York first responders and lawmakers were jubilant yet somber over the U.S. Senate’s approval of legislation that infuses cash into the depleted 9/11 victims’ compensation fund and extends its coverage through 2090 — a guarantee of care for those who sifted through the wreckage of the World Trade Center twin towers in 2001.

…Trump is expected to sign the measure.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office said “no” when NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio asked if he could attend the press conference to celebrate the passage of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund bill. The two Democrats are both seeking the party’s 2020 nod to run for president.

The federal government has turned its full investigative powers toward examining the world’s biggest technology companies, building on a backlash against the industry that has been growing for over a year.

It took seven months, but Trump finally got a secretary of defense to succeed Jim Mattis. Mark Esper, an Army vet and ex-defense industry lobbyist, won confirmation by a 90-8 Senate vote and was sworn in at the White House by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

About 3.1 million people would lose food stamp benefits under the Trump administration’s proposal to tighten automatic eligibility requirements for the food stamp program.

The House overwhelmingly passed a resolution to oppose the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, but New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one of 17 lawmakers to vote “no.”

With challengers lining up and criticism mounting of his handling of some high-profile cases, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. hasn’t decided whether he’ll seek a fourth term.

Two more NYC cyclists died yesterday following collisions in Brooklyn and Staten Island, increasing the total number of bike riders who were killed this year to at least 17.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent some time in Lake George with his daughter, Cara, recently, and went water skiing.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and current Big Apple leader de Blasio got into a finger-pointing Twitter war over a pair of brazen water-bucket attacks on uniformed NYPD officers.

Capital Region unemployment in June stood at an 18-year low for the month at just 3.2 percent of the workforce, the state Labor Department reported. That’s the second lowest among the state’s metropolitan areas.

About a dozen so-called anti-vaxxers and their children protested outside a public forum held by state Sen. James Skoufis, in opposition to his “yes” vote on repealing a religious exemption from vaccinations, which became law in June.

About 100 people – including Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy, Mayor Kathy Sheehan and state Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy – crowded into the side room of the Savoy Taproom on Lark Street to discuss the problem of homelessness and its effects on businesses and residents.

State Police sergeant Charles Salaway spent 27 years keeping the Capital Region safe before he died of cancer connected to his work searching for victims at ground zero. Now, two of his five children will follow in his footsteps and become members of the State Police, graduating today from the State Police Academy.

The City of Troy failed to avoid arbitration over back pay its largest police union says is owed a former patrolman, according to a Rensselaer County State Supreme Court justice.

The three Milton Republicans who challenged and lost in June’s primary for the town’s elected seats have accepted the endorsement of the town’s Democratic party.

The Albany County Legislature held a public hearing last night on a pair of local laws that would change the use of plastic when people go out to shop or eat.

Capital Region military veterans hoped to travel to Washington, D.C. to see the war memorials dedicated to their service. But their flight was cancelled by Southwest Airlines because Boeing 737 Max jets remain grounded. They’re still seeking an alternate flight.

The city of Saratoga Springs would be divided into six wards and governed by a city council chosen from those different parts of the city under a proposed charter revision residents are looking to get on the November ballot – the third consecutive year residents have sought such changes.

A blighted property owned by the city of Schenectady that neighbors complained about for years has been razed.

Batavia presented Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia the key to the city.

More than 200 people will gather in Lake Placid today to discuss the Adirondacks – the 13th year the Common Ground Alliance will bring stakeholders from across the park together to take collective action on park issues.

The Bachelor — the wildly successful reality TV romance series — has announced an extension of the franchise and it is coming to Albany. It’s booked for the Palace Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on March 24, 2020.

“Blown Away” is a 10-episode competition between 10 master glassblowers, who sculpt pieces of art for the chance to win a residency at the Corning Museum of Glass.

Junior’s Bar & Grill, which has locations in Albany’s Pine Hills neighborhood and by the Troy/North Greenbush line near Hudson Valley Community College, is looking to expand again, and is seeking community input as to where it should locate.

NYC says the widow of a firefighter who died in a blaze on the Harlem set of Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn” can’t sue for lack of a safe work environment, arguing that firefighting is inherently dangerous and a burning building is not a “place of employment.”

The messy professional break-up between hot-shot personal-injury lawyers Ross Cellino and Steve Barnes is moving from the courthouse to the playhouse, dramatized in a stage show playing next month in Brooklyn.



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