Rise and Shine: July 29, 2019

Up and at ’em, CivMixers! It’s Monday, which means it’s back to work for most of us. I hope you had a fabulous weekend…I did. Let’s get ready to tackle this day, and own it, shall we?

The forecast, according to our friends at The Weather Channel: A mix of sun and clouds, with temperatures in the mid-to-high-80s, (maybe even low 90s, depending on where you are in the region), relatively high humidity, and chance of a stray thunderstorm or two in the afternoon. You know, pretty standard end-of-July stuff.

President Donald Trump’s motion to block Congress from obtaining his state tax returns from New York will be heard in federal court today.

Also today, civil and voting rights groups will hold a news conference in Troy to discuss their lawsuit to block the Rensselaer County Board oF elections from disclosing driver’s license information to ICE.

In the headlines…

Calls for stronger gun control laws have flooded social media after three people – including a 6-year-old boy – were killed and at least 15 others injured in a mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California.

Police in California shot and killed the gunman, but are still on the hunt for another possible suspect.

Two gunmen opened fire at a massive Brownsville, Brooklyn, block party on Saturday night, leaving a 38-year-old man dead and 11 others injured.

President Trump announced that director of National Intelligence Dan Coats will step down next month, and will be replaced by John Ratcliffe, a Texas congressman who has fiercely defended Trump in the Russia investigation.

Coats, a former senator and longtime pillar of the Republican establishment, had angered the president by providing unwelcome assessments of Russia, North Korea and other matters.

Facing growing accusations of racism over his incendiary tweets, Trump tried to deflect the criticism by labeling a prominent minority congressman, Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings, as himself racist and accusing Democrats of trying to “play the race card.”

The Trump administration determined that more than 500,000 children would no longer be automatically eligible for free school meals under a proposed overhaul to the food stamp program, but left that figure out of its formal proposal, according to House Democrats.

Since Gov. Andrew Cuomo took office, his campaigns have received more than $3 million from MTA contractors and industry groups that represent them. He has publicly lashed out at some of these same firms, which have multimillion-dollar contracts with the agency, dubbing them the “transportation industrial complex.”

In an interview with the NYT, Cuomo said he had no role in choosing contractors and those decisions were not influenced by political donations. “I don’t even see the names of the contractors,” he said. “I don’t know who the hell is a contractor at the MTA…I do condemn the bad ones.”

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer again blasted the US Department of Agriculture for suspending data collection of the decline of honeybees, saying the recent decision will sting beekeepers and cost New Yorkers billions.

Terminally ill New Jersey adults will be able to decide when it’s time to die starting Thursday, when the state begins allowing patients to self-administer lethal drugs. (A similar measure is under consideration in Albany, but has not yet been passed).

Some hackers demand ransom; others sweep up personal data for sale to identity thieves. But whatever their motives, school systems around the country – including here in New York – have been the targets of their cyberattacks.

A fast-moving storm late yesterday afternoon knocked out power to more than 9,000 customers in Schenectady County, according to National Grid. The storm hit just after 4 p.m. and brought heavy rain to the area.

The storm sent water rushing through the outdoor smoking patio at Rivers Casino in Schenectady. Video of the rushing water was posted to Facebook by Queensbury resident Louis Carciobolo and had been shared an estimated 2,400 times and counting by early evening.

Also damaged: The iconic Mike’s Hot Dogs sign on Erie Boulevard. A tree felled in the storm smashed the north side of the sign that has stood for years above the historic hot dog restaurant outside the city’s Stockade neighborhood.

New York’s ethics watchdog agency is doggedly pursuing a case of alleged unregistered lobbying by Kat Sullivan, a woman best known for publicly alleging in 2016 that she had been raped by a history teacher at Troy’s Emma Willard School almost two decades earlier.

A legislative push to give law enforcement officers around the clock access to pistol permit information is the latest controversy over implementation of the SAFE Act.

Assemblyman Mike LiPetri, a Long Island Republican, wants to make it a felony to throw or spray liquids at an on-duty member of law enforcement in response to viral video of New York City police officers getting doused by water.

This time last year, Albany County jail held hundreds of immigrants detained after crossing the southern U.S. border, joining a handful picked up locally. Today there are none.

Albany City Council members are considering doubling the maximum fee for towing to $200, but whether it will get enough support to pass remains to be seen.

The head of Albany Police Department’s Police Union says City Hall is refusing to pay much needed benefits to the widow of an Albany detective, Douglas Mayville. The case is currently tied up in court.

The Albany Police say Center Station on Western Avenue was vandalized, along with a neighboring business, and they have arrested the man who caused the damage, Ronald Knight, 25, of Albany.

Knight was arrested twice in a single day on a variety of charges.

RIP, Richard Liebson, a crime reporter at The Journal News/lohud for more than three decades, died early yesterday at his White Plains at the age of 61 after suffering from cancer.

Members of Saratoga Spring’s racing community came together last night for the Saratoga Jockeys Karaoke contest – an event that, while generally carefree and fun, also serves as a poignant reminder of the dangers and risks professional horse racing jockeys face.

Though attendance numbers are still being finalized after a busy weekend crowd, a week of good weather has organizers estimating that the 2019 Saratoga County Fair may have been the most well-attended in the local event’s nearly two-century long history.

Gary Culver Jr., 47, of Perth, was killed in an early crash yesterday in Broadalbin, Fulton County Sheriff’s officials said. He died at the scene.

Saturday night, Bradly J. Brean from Queensbury was struck and killed by a vehicle traveling Eastbound on Route 146 in the Town of Clifton Park. He was 26 years old.

Rochester Democratic Rep. Joe Morelle announced he will cosponsor the GOALS (Give Our Athletes Level Salaries) Act, which would require equal pay for male and female athletes.

Two days after 1-year-old twins died in a hot car in the Bronx, their mother pleaded for leniency for her husband after he said he forgot the children in the car, saying he is a “good person,” and a “great father” and she still loves him.

A New York police officer was found dead at his Staten Island home on Saturday after shooting himself in what was the fifth police suicide in the city since June, officials said.

Attorney Beth Parlato is checking off all the requirements of running for the NY-27 seat held by embattled Republican Rep. Chris Collins – filing papers on Friday and officially announcing her candidacy today via social media. She’s says she’s an “unapologetic, conservative” voice, and is the second GOP candidate to announce a primary challenge to Collins.

There are remote campsites in the Adirondacks reachable only by boat or float plane.

This is worrisome.

“The Lion King” is still the king of the box office.

Mazel tov to Democratic Bronx state Sen. Alessandra Rose Biaggi and Nathaniel Smith Koloc, who were married recently at Stone Barns in Tarrytown. The ceremony was officiated by Manhattan Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, and Hillary Clinton led the couple in their vows.

It’s National Chicken Wing Day, and there are freebies available. Since we’re on the subject, it’s also National Lasagna Day, and National Lipstick Day, apparently.

Photo credit: Donna Dixon.

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