Rise and Shine: Aug. 20, 2019

There’s going to be sun, sun and more sun on this terrific Tuesday, CivMixers. Make sure you get outside and soak up some Vitamin D if you have a spare moment.

The temperatures will be somewhere in the mid-to-high 80s, with slightly lower humidity and the chance of – you guessed it! – thunderstorms late tonight, according to The Weather Channel.

BTW, it’s not your imagination…The Capital Region has indeed experienced more violent thunderstorms than usual this summer.

Meteorologists confirmed that a microburst – a thunderstorm downdraft that impacts an area of less than 2.5 miles wide and has peak winds that last less than five minutes – is what caused trees to topple, some falling on cars and homes, in an area along the Northway in Malta on Sunday.

The all-women, six-day, six-sport festival The Aurora Games kicked off last night with a screening of “A League of Their Own” on the Empire State Plaza’s main stage and fireworks.

The 109 athletes who will be participating are in town and ready to go, but will any fans actually show up to watch them compete?

A brief opening ceremony and the tennis competition, featuring six players all ranked in the top 50 in the world, will start the festival at the Times Union Center this evening.

The arena currently is selling only lower-bowl seats. Other than the press box in Section 207, the upper half of the arena will be curtained off.

Actress Olivia Munn, a women’s rights activist who had been scheduled to speak as part of the sports festival, had to back out because she’s on location shooting a movie.

In the news…

White House officials have reportedly begun preparing options to help bolster the American economy and prevent it from falling into a recession, including mulling a potential payroll tax cut and a possible reversal of some of President Trump’s tariffs.

According to J.P. Morgan, the average household will be down about $1,000 when all the China tariffs (as they currently stand) kick in.

Trump is making light of his own idea of buying Greenland from Denmark, tweeting a doctored photo of Trump Tower looming over a small village in the Arctic territory.

Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts senator, offered a public apology to Native Americans over her past claim to tribal heritage, directly tackling an area that’s proved to be a big political liability.

The state attorneys general in more than a dozen states are preparing to begin an antitrust investigation of the tech giants, according to two people briefed on the discussions, increasing pressure on the companies.

Lightning-rod lawyer Michael Avenatti was merely exercising his First Amendment rights when he demanded $22.5 million from Nike — not extorting them, his attorneys argue in new court papers.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted the NYPD’s top union last night following the Police Benevolent Association’s call for a vote of “no confidence” against him and the police commissioner after the firing of Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill could have dispensed with a decision five years in the making with a terse official statement. But he instead delivered a sprawling examination of the case and spoke about the perils and valor of policing, openly displaying anguish over the choice he faced.

The mother of Eric Garner cheered Pantaleo’s firing, and suggested that the out-of-work cop get a job flipping burgers.

A potential license plate replacement requirement was tucked into yesterday’s announcement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo that New Yorkers can vote on the state’s next plate design.

Cuomo unleashed his “strong feelings” about a Times Union column dealing with anti-Italian insults that was penned by the paper’s managing editor, Casey Seiler.

In response to the criticisms from Cuomo and others, TU editor Rex Smith said in a statement:

“The column was intended as humorous political commentary, a hallmark of Casey Seiler’s writing, and it certainly didn’t arise from any ethnic bias. The original verbal attack on Chris Cuomo was certainly a slur, but in no way was coverage of the incident in the Times Union an endorsement of that intent. I’m sorry if it was interpreted as that by anybody.”

The governor said that he has only “seen parts” of the Marlon Brando mob movie “The Godfather” because he considers it anti-Italian.

The state Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities did such a lousy job keeping tabs on its fleet of vehicles that it lost track of two vans for years, a new audit of the agency by the state Comptroller’s office found.

The widow of a firefighter who perished responding to a Harlem blaze that broke out during the filming of actor Edward Norton’s “Motherless Brooklyn” has filed suit against NYC for not providing her husband with a safe work environment.

Two members of the right-wing Proud Boys group were convicted for brawling with leftist antifa members in a melee that followed a speech at New York’s Metropolitan Republican Club.

Cuomo has tapped Eric Gertler, the former co-publisher of the New York Daily News, to serve as the next president and CEO of Empire State Development, the agency tasked with coordinating New York’s economic development programs.

Gertler is currently executive chairman of U.S. News & World Report and CEO of the investment firm Ulysses Management. He has served on the ESD board since 2018.

Joseph Rabito, a longtime loyalist to Cuomo, has been named as the interim director and chief information officer at the state Office of Information Technology Services. He takes over for Robert Samson, who quietly departed the agency this month.

Fios1 News will shut down on Nov. 16 after Verizon declined to renew a 10-year contract with Rye Brook-based Regional News Network (RNN), which produces Fios1 content. About 150 people will lose their jobs as a result.

New York health officials have issued emergency regulations restricting medical exemptions from vaccination for children attending school or child care.

With little fanfare, Sen. Rules – the most prolific legislator (who isn’t really a person) in state history – introduced zero bills in 2019.

An ethics complaint involving Energy Now, a Saratoga Springs city employee and city officials that was initially dismissed by the city Ethics Board was filed last week with the state Attorney General’s office.

Braxton Becker, of Niskayuna, is scheduled to be sentenced today in the Penn State fraternity hazing case involving the death of a 19-year-old.

Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse is scheduled to plead guilty to a felony criminal charge today in U.S. District Court in Binghamton and may need to resign from public office before his first term expires at the end of the year.

Schenectady’s proposed ban on plastic straws and drink-stirrers is dead after failing to make it out of committee. Opposing lawmakers cited enforcement concerns and the need for broader legislation by the county or state Legislature as key reasons.

The results of a preliminary investigation into a fatal crash on State Route 40 in Argyle yesterday morning in which a Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy operating a patrol unit struck a northbound vehicle have been released. Neither speed nor alcohol id believed to have been a factor.

Roving packs of adolescent bicyclists are clogging Schenectady streets and causing problems in the city, officials say.

Four pedestrians were hurt after an SUV ran off the road and hit a hot dog cart in Saratoga Springs. All four plus the driver of the SUV were taken to the hospital for treatment, but none of the injuries were described as life-threatening.

Divers have recovered the body of a father who drowned while trying to save two children at an Orange County lake over the weekend.

Just two days after a fire destroyed the headquarters for Operation Adopt A Soldier, Inc. in Wilton, volunteers were back out trying to raise money to make up for the loss.

When the Carrier Dome in Syracuse gets a new roof, some season ticket holders are wondering if the stadium will get a new name.

For those with strong opinions and relevant experiences regarding Lyme disease, the public comment period on the 2019 Draft Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease has been extended until Sept. 9.

Some of the Democratic strategists who spoke to political journalist Mark Halperin for the book — notably David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama — expressed regret after many social media users criticized the author’s return to public life.

The Open Space Institute, a land preservation group, plans to invest $1 million in its property near the Adirondack High Peaks to provide a southern access point for hikers.

New York is the least friendly state in the entire country, according to an annual ranking from a global travel website.

Goodbye forever, bananas?

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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