While You Were Out: July 19, 2019

Well, you made it through another week, CivMixers. Welcome to the weekend. Perhaps you’re tired of hearing about how hot it is out there, but, well, it REALLY IS hot out there. And it’s only going to get hotter.

I had the occasion to be at the track in Saratoga for work today, and it was lovely. And also hot. But not as hot as it’s going to be tomorrow, so it was – from this layperson’s point of view, anyway – a smart decision to cancel racing for the day.

No doubt, that is not a decision made lightly. Many people are impact, many millions of dollars are at stake. In the end, though, it’s better to err on the side of caution. And it would probably be smart for you to do the same, avoiding prolonged outdoor exposure while this heat advisory is in place.

Check out these heat safety tips. Also, cooling stations are available in the cities of Albany, Troy, Cohoes and Pittsfield.

I had already left the track when the news about longtime Saratoga socialite MaryLou Whitney’s death broke. NYRA, in a tweet, called Whitney “one of racings most dedicated supporters and a tremendous ambassador for the industry.”

She leaves behind a legacy of philanthropy, raising money for everything from cancer research to the back stretch workers at the Saratoga Race Course.

Her death was announced at the track, and that was followed by a request for a moment of silence.

She was set to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in August. The Whitney Stakes, an annual race at Saratoga, is named after her family.

Whitney, 93, carried on the legacy of one of Thoroughbred racing’s great dynasties. Known as The Queen of Saratoga, she was responsible for Saratoga’s comeback from the doldrums, bringing the biggest Hollywood stars to the Spa City and throwing grand parties.

Churchill Downs said Whitney served as “First Lady of the Oaks” in 2015, and she was the owner of 2003 Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town. Bird Town’s son Bird Song would win the Grade II Alysheba on 2017 Oaks Day.

In other news…

After a week of attacks by President Trump that culminated in a chant of “send her back” at one of his re-election rallies, Rep. Ilhan Omar, the Somali-born Democrat from Minnesota, returned to her district yesterday evening to a hero’s welcome.

Trump took aim at the “Fake News Media” and “the Squad” in a tweetstorm this morning about the “Send her back” controversy.

First Lady Melania Trump says her husband’s administration is working with the State Department to try to bring home rapper A$AP Rocky, who has been behind bars in Sweden while police investigate a fight he was involved in in Stockholm earlier this month.

Iran says its military seized a U.K.-flagged tanker that was passing through the Strait of Hormuz this afternoon. Ship-tracking data show the Stena Impero was traveling from the United Arab Emirates to a port in Saudi Arabia when it suddenly veered toward Iran’s coast.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that OZY Fest, a two-day festival of “live music, conversation, comedy and food” in Central Park this weekend, has been canceled due to the heat.

Officials say former New York Giants offensive lineman Mitch Petrus has died in Arkansas of apparent heat stroke. He was 32.

The scorching weather of high summer arrives this weekend just as the outdoor performance calendar is at its busiest.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview decried what he called “super heated” rhetoric on both political extremes that places a burden on officeholders to achieve tangible accomplishments to satisfy a restive electorate.

Several people face felony charges as detectives investigate the gunplay that sent a stray bullet into a local daycare where a sleeping 3-year-old was shot in the arm yesterday, though no one faces specific charges yet for shooting the boy.

An audit by the state comptroller’s office of New York’s psychiatric facilities found poor compliance with Jonathan’s Law, a measure approved in 2007 that was designed to protect the health and safety of residents in state-run and -licensed facilities.

The operators of the town of Colonie landfill have expanded their footprint, but not in a way that appears to be enlarging the amount of trash that will be accepted there.

Berben & Wolff’s, which has run a vegan deli on Lark Street in Albany for three years and sold seitan products wholesale for about five years, next month will open its second deli location, at the corner of Fourth and Ferry streets in downtown Troy.

A new axe-throwing business – the Lazy Axe – opens this weekend on Central Avenue in Albany.

Italian restaurant Grano officially opened its doors in downtown Schenectady today in the former home of Aperitivo Bistro, which closed suddenly in March. It’s owned by Armondo Cioccke and Danny Petrosino, also chef-owners of Osteria Danny in Saratoga Springs and Armondo’s Villa Tuscan Grill in Rotterdam.

Brian LeClair of Delmar captured his second consecutive Professional Bowlers Association senior tournament title late last night, winning the PBA50 South Shore Open in Hammond, Ind.

Sloan Seymour, a sophomore forward who was a MAAC All-Rookie selection last season, is leaving the Siena College men’s basketball program.

To date, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction crowd record was 82,000 in 2007 for headliner Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles. That could be surpassed this weekend when the Hall grows by six, led by Mariano Rivera – the first unanimous vote-getter in hall’s history.

Photo credit on Whitney: NYRA.

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