Happy Friday, CivMixers! This week FLEW by for me. I’m not sure if you can say the same. But it’s good to finally be at the tail end of it.
There’s going to be “abundant sunshine” in the region today, with temps in the high 80s. August is delivering this far. Tomorrow, some scattered thunderstorms have suddenly popped up on the radar, so be mindful of that when making those weekend plans.
It’s going to be very busy at the track in Saratoga, as this is Whitney Weekend and the Fasig-Tipton Festival of Racing are both on tap. Saturday’s Whitney Stakes features a special tribute to Marylou Whitney, the “Queen of Saratoga,” who died July 19.
Saratoga Polo will pay tribute to Whitney with a weekend of commemorative activities tied to the annual Whitney Cup at Saratoga Polos’ historic Whitney Field.
Whitney will be inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame this morning at 10:30 a.m. at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion. This event is free and open to members of the public.
Also, Hootie & the Blowfish are in concert at SPAC on Sunday.
If you’re in Albany tomorrow, stop by the Black Arts and Cultural Festival at the Empire State Plaza, which will feature a lineup of entertainment plus craft and food vendors. Also, there’s a special performance by Grammy Award Winning Artist Mya.
A sensory-friendly showing of “The Lion King” will be held tomorrow afternoon at the Clifton Park Regal. It’s a free event, hosted by Republican Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh.
If you’re looking for something to do this evening, dig out those dancing shoes and head on over to the Albany First Friday Swing Dance w/Doc Scanlon at the Albany Elks Lodge #49, with a free lesson starting at 7 p.m.
Onto the headlines…
Beijing pledged to respond if the U.S. insists on adding extra tariffs to the remainder of Chinese imports, after President Donald Trump’s abrupt escalation of the trade war.
As a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Trump bemoaned the state of American cities, broadening his days-long onslaught against Baltimore to accuse Democrats of running urban areas across the nation into the ground.
A hard-won budget and debt deal easily cleared the U.S. Senate, powered by Trump’s endorsement and a bipartisan drive to cement recent spending increases for the Pentagon and domestic agencies.
U.S. job growth likely slowed in July after outsized gains in the prior month, with wages probably maintaining their moderate pace of increase, which could boost market expectations for another interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve next month.
Texas Rep. Will Hurd, the only African American Republican in the House, announced last night that he will not seek reelection in 2020. He’s the sixth GOP lawmaker and third House Republican from Texas to announce his retirement in the past two weeks.
After two rounds of debates, there’s still no clear favorite in the crowded 2020 Democratic field, and former Vice President Joe Biden’s frontrunner status is very fragile.
The U.S. Justice Department has reportedly declined to prosecute former FBI Director James Comey over his handling of a series of memos he wrote that documented personal interactions with Trump.
Puerto Rican politics were in full-blown crisis yesterday s confirmation of the nominee to succeed departing Gov. Ricardo Rosselló was delayed into next week. The delay casts doubt over who will become governor with Rosselló set to leave office at 5 p.m. today.
R. Kelly is due in a New York City court today for an arraignment on charges he sexually abused women and girls — but his attorney says they may be late because he was unable to locate the R&B singer after he landed in New Jersey yesterday.
The jailed Kelly is scheduled to appear at back-to-back hearings in federal court in Brooklyn, where he’s expected to enter a not guilty plea and then seek bail. The hearings follow his arrest last month in a separate Chicago case accusing him of engaging in child pornography.
State prosecutors in Manhattan subpoenaed Trump’s family business yesterday, reviving an investigation into the company’s role in hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, has died at the age of 22, the family announced.
Though the family did not provide a cause of death, Kennedy Hill reportedly died of a drug overdose. She once spoke about battling depression and attempting to take her own life in a first-person piece for her high school newspaper.
With a vote of 5 to 2, the Troy City Council shot down a proposed law that would have prohibited the mayor and city council members from ever reintroducing legislation that would make Troy a Sanctuary City.
Troy Mayor Patrick Madden said the City Council last night approved a six-year contract with the Troy Police Benevolent and Protection Association (PBA).
New York City principals will notify thousands of parents of young children that their classrooms had cracked, chipped or peeling paint that tested positive for lead this summer, city officials said.
Activists are rallying today outside a Boston courthouse as a judge hears arguments in Massachusetts lawsuit against Purdue Pharma over the national drug epidemic.
Colorado today becomes the third state in the nation after New York and Illinois to allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana instead of opioids for pain relief.
A man who was critically injured while in the custody of the Saratoga Springs Police Department has died.
Albany Symphony management and the union representing musicians of the orchestra agreed to a new, four-year contract last week that both sides said satisfies their respective concerns and stabilizes the future of the organization.
The fallout of the June primary continued to reverberate in Saratoga Springs as 11 members of the city’s Democratic Committee announced their resignations to protest the Democratic nominee for city Commissioner of Finance, Patricia Morrison, who was not the committee-endorsed candidate.
SEFCU employees put together 55 bikes as part of a team-building exercise, and then gave them out at the City Mission of Schenectady, Equinox Youth Shelter and the South End Children’s Café.
Lake George has been free of the E. coli contamination that shut down the popular Million Dollar Beach several times in 2016 and 2017, and groundbreaking for a badly needed sewer treatment plant is set to begin later in August, though it’s unclear how that will be funded.
The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission conducted a controlled burn yesterday.
The community organization A Block at a Time hosted a meeting at a church on Quail St. last night, and attendees raised concerns and possible solutions to recent violence involving youth Albany.
A political newcomer has announced he will seek an open seat on the County Legislature, setting up a contest between a fresh-faced novice and a seasoned veteran with decades of experience in local politics. Omar Sterling McGill announced he will challenge Margaret “Peggy” King for the District 1 seat.
U.S. drug overdose deaths, which have been concentrated in Appalachia and other rural areas for more than a dozen years, are back to being most common in big cities again, according to a government report issued today.
The challenges NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio faces in the largest city in the country are starting to define his long shot 2020 presidential bid, and possibly his political future.
General Electric offered a guardedly upbeat update on its finances this week, raising its full-year financial projections and delivering a second-quarter report sprinkled with caveats.
The death of Woodstock 50 is also the story of a former player – Michael Lang, one of the producers of the original Woodstock festival in 1969 – returning to a changed game.
The DEC is asking the public and the media stay away from the buffalo that escaped from a ranch in Schoharie County while authorities continue work to corral them.
Five of the 24 goats brought in to spend the summer chewing their way through the poison ivy and weeds choking the Upper West Side’s Riverside Park were feted yesterday in the first annual Goat Awards.
Photo credit: Matt Bauder. This photo first appeared on the “Looking Good, Albany!” Facebook page.