Rise and Shine: Aug. 16, 2019

Hello, CivMixers! It’s Friday and you just have a few more – relatively short – hours before the weekend officially begins.

(Unless, of course, you are already enjoying a late-summer vacation, you lucky duck, or you happen to be one of those folks who has a non-traditional work week).

Anyhow, if you’re still in planning mode for the weekend, there’s lot of stuff to do.

The weather is looking a little iffy tomorrow, with cloudy skies in the morning followed by thunderstorms in the afternoon. But Sunday’s shaping up to be OK – partly cloudy and hot, with temperatures in the high 80s.

As for today, the Weather Channel says it will be mostly cloudy in the morning and clear up a bit in the afternoon, though still without full-on sun. Temperatures will be in the mid-80s. As per usual, a stray shower or thunderstorm is possible.

Here’s the news so far…

Israel’s decision to bar two American Democratic congresswomen, Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, from visiting the country rests on a law passed just two years ago that has been used to deny entry to outspoken foreign supporters of a global movement to boycott the country.

By enlisting a foreign power to take action against two American citizens, let alone elected members of Congress, President Donald Trump crossed a line that other presidents have not, in effect exporting his partisan battles beyond the country’s borders.

Trump made his name on the world’s most famous island. Now he wants to buy the world’s biggest. The idea of the U.S. purchasing Greenland has reportedly captured the former real-estate developer’s imagination.

Trump said the US should build more mental institutions to deal with mass shooters.

Asked specifically about expanded background checks, Trump said that he would support them but also thought alternatives should be available, like institutions for violent people with mental illness.

Trump all but endorsed his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, for a potential Senate run from New Hampshire, saying he would be “hard to beat” if he ran and a “great senator” if he won.

Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell isn’t holed up in her British manor or summering on the Massachusetts coast. The NY Post found the socialite hiding in plain sight at an In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles.

Epstein’s longtime bodyguard says he believes that his former boss recruited others into helping him die in an apparent jailhouse suicide.

New Jersey Sen. Sen. Cory Booker, one of the Democratic 2020 hopefuls, has announced a new plan to combat hate crimes, extremism and white supremacist violence, just weeks after three deadly mass shootings.

Boeing is delaying the release of its 777X long-haul jet – the latest fallout as the company devotes resources to handling the crisis that ensued after two of its 737 Max planes crashed, killing hundreds of people.

Upstate New York’s largest and most lavish casino – the $1.2 billion Resorts World Catskills near Monticello in Sullivan County – lost $73 million in the first six months of 2019 and has more than $400 million in debt, raising the possibility that it will declare bankruptcy and reorganize.

Resorts World Catskills is far from alone in feeling the pain: All four of the state’s newest casinos have underperformed expectations, swamped by competition in an already-saturated gaming market. The same challenge has faced casinos across the country as states tried to one-up each other in gambling Cold War.

A rash of suicides by police officers has shaken the New York Police Department, leading the commissioner to declare a mental health emergency and highlighting the problem of untreated depression among law enforcement officers nationwide.

The sister of NYPD cop Robert Echeverria, who killed himself at his Queens home Wednesday, said she warned the department that her brother was unstable and might shoot himself if they didn’t try to stop him.

After firing a staffer who allegedly embezzled tens of thousands of dollars, Brooklyn Assemblyman Felix Ortiz is coming under intense public scrutiny for his possible role in the recent money scandal.

The on-again/off-again relationship between NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo appears to be off – again.

If Cuomo has his way, New York would be the first state to classify mass violence motivated by race, gender or sexual orientation as terrorism.

New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office has begun issuing subpoenas to financial institutions connected to the Sackler family in an effort to track the fortune they allegedly made by peddling addictive painkillers.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is so eager to send Harvey Weinstein to prison for life that he’s re-presenting the case to a grand jury so actress Annabella Sciorra can testify against the disgraced producer.

An audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli found New York’s Medicaid program duplicated payments to the tune of $102.1 million over four years.

The local firefighters union in Cohoes and Mayor Shawn Morse continue to battle it out over promotions within the fire department.

With a nod to its annual balloon fest, Glens Falls often calls itself “a city on the rise.” Thanks to the $10 million downtown revitalization grant from the state in 2016, three buildings are coming down to make way for a bright and airy new market.

Downtown Schenectady is hoping for a $10 million revitalization grant of its own.

State police are investigating a prisoner’s attempt to escape from maximum-security Great Meadow Correctional Facility in the town of Fort Ann.

A 38-year-old man and his girlfriend have been sentenced to federal prison for making child pornography using a 1-year-old baby girl.

The Department of Environmental Conservation has found harmful algae blooms in Washington Park Lake, which means touching, swallowing and even inhaling the blooms is dangerous for both dogs and humans.

A consensus of the Gloversville Enlarged School District School Board agreed to use the district’s reserves to pay for a half foot of topsoil cover to “cap” leather tannery waste contaminated soil on the field at Kingsborough Elementary School.

The Saratoga Springs Board of Ethics has dismissed two complaints filed prior to the June 25 Democratic primary for city finance commissioner.

Town of Niskayuna officials may consider the purchase of three solar arrays currently in operation around town. Town Comptroller Paul Sebesta said Monolith Solar, which owns the solar arrays, has offered to sell them for $42,000.

The University at Buffalo is getting $1.1 million in federal funding to study mosquito and fruit fly genetics.

A former top executive at the Capital Region’s largest credit union, SEFCU, is suing the organization contending they violated their own whistle blower protections.

The Glens Falls Post-Star is engaged in a war of words with its local congresswoman, Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik.

An investigation into alleged illicit activities at a Ballston Spa massage parlor led to the arrest of four people.

Albany County’s efforts to pitch itself to visitors with a 30-second TV spot has been overhauled with a more dynamic look, and will run during during next week’s inaugural run of the Aurora Games at the Times Union Center.

There’s debate over the potential – and unofficial – designation of a “no-ware” district in Albany.

The New York State Department of Education is giving more than $3 million to Capital Region libraries.

U.S. health officials are making a new attempt at adding graphic images to cigarette packets to discourage Americans from lighting up. If successful, it would be the first change to cigarette warnings in 35 years.

Nearly all of the bison who escaped from a farm in Schoharie County are back home. Two have died: One was hit by a car, another had a bad reaction to tranquilizer used to try to bring it back.

Democratic Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz not only plays the guitar but played it and sang as part of his law school band, called the Hawks and the Doves. Now he’s serenading voters.

Two of the marquee players in the 150th running of the $1.25 million Travers Stakes are out. Game Winner, last year’s champion 2-year-old, and Maximum Security, the first horse to ever win the Kentucky Derby and then be disqualified for an infraction during the running of the race, won’t run.

Avocados that stay ripe twice as long? Yes, please.

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