Rise and Shine: Aug. 7, 2019

Welcome to Wednesday, CivMixers. The middle of the week has arrived.

It’s going to be very humid today, with temperatures in the mid-80s. And there will be thunderstorms! Surprise. Isolated in the morning, and more widespread in the afternoon.

There’s an 80 percent chance of rain, and some of those storms may be severe. So, be on the alert for that.

It’s First Responders Day at the Saratoga Race Course.

It’s also Purple Heart Day, which ommemorates the creation of the oldest American military decoration for military merit.

President Trump will visit Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso today in an attempt to deliver a message of national unity and healing to two cities scarred by mass shootings over the weekend and where many grieving residents hold him responsible for inflaming the country’s racial divisions.

Trump said late last night in a tweet that “phony” Beto O’Rourke – a 2020 Democratic contender – should be quiet and respect the victims of the El Paso Walmart tragedy — in advance of a presidential visit to the site off the tragedy.

O’Rourke said he will take part in an event in El Paso that will honor the victims of a recent mass shooting and “confront President Trump and white supremacy.”

Dayton killer Connor Betts’ online footprint provided a glimpse into his dark thoughts and far-left political leanings — even as investigators worked to pin down a concrete motive for the massacre.

Congressional Republicans are coalescing around so-called “red flag” legislation to help law enforcement take guns from those who pose an imminent danger — a measure that, if signed into law, would be the most significant gun control legislation enacted in 20 years.

The FBI has opened a domestic terrorism investigation into the Gilroy, Calif., shooting after discovering that the gunman who killed three people and injured 13 had a “target list” of religious institutions, federal buildings and political organizations.

A subpoena from state AG Tish James’ office to the NRA seeks financial records and other documents that would shed light on spending decisions made by the board.

In other news…

Cyntoia Brown, whose life sentence for killing a man when she was 16 inspired a documentary and celebrity support, is scheduled to walk free from prison in Tennessee today after 15 years behind bars.

Brown’s story led celebrities such as Rihanna, Alyssa Milano and Kim Kardashian West to advocate on her behalf and is cited as an example of the need for criminal justice reform.

The pitched six-week battle for the Democratic nomination for Queens DA finally ended when Tiffany Cabán, whose bid galvanized progressive activists nationwide and exposed deep rifts within the left, conceded to Melinda Katz, the favorite of the state party’s establishment.

Katz ended up winning by jut a handful of votes. The NYC Board of Elections declared Katz the official winner last week, but Cabán went to court over ballots her campaign said had been improperly excluded.

This was a vindication for the Queens Democratic Party, which was left reeling last year after the defeat of former Rep. Joseph Crowley and local party chairman by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed Caban. (Gov. Andrew Cuomo backed Katz).

People walking in Times Square were sent into a widespread panic last night after what sounded like multiple gunshots rang out in the crowded tourist destination — only later to be ruled as motorcycle backfire, police said.

Cuomo signed a bill into law late yesterday that will gradually expand the state’s safety-course mandate, requiring anyone operating a motorboat or Jet Ski in New York to complete the training offered online or in a classroom. Brianna’s Law, as the new law is known, will be phased in over six years.

One of the top uniformed officials of the Mount Vernon Police Department was suspended without pay by a police commissioner he hasn’t recognized since his appointment three weeks ago.

Last year, members of the NYPD executive protection unit assigned to guard NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family helped his daughter Chiara, 24, move her belongings from an apartment in Brooklyn to Gracie Mansion.

Using city resources for personal use is typically a violation of the city’s Conflicts of Interest Law. A de Blasio spokeswoman said the detail’s involvement was “strictly voluntary,” and the items moved by the detail included a rolled-up futon mattress but no heavy furniture.

Shootings in the Big Apple rose more than 5 percent during the first seven months of the year, the NYPD said hours before de Blasio pledged $9 million to combat gun violence in ­Brooklyn.

Adoption law in New York may change – if Cuomo signs a bit currently awaiting his attention – to give more rights to birth parents, even when adoptive parents object.

Former NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is running for Congress — painting herself as the early leader of the progressive wave now sweeping Democratic politics in New York. She’s the sixth Democrat running to succeed longtime South Bronx Rep. José Serrano.

The NYC Health Department is launching an initiative to educate health-care providers on how to better serve patients who have been involved in the criminal-justice system.

Several lawsuits seek $691,000 in damages connected to a hepatitis A exposure at bartaco restuarant in Westchester County, according to newly revealed legal settlement demands.

Lawyers and institutions are preparing for a wave of lawsuits, as New York state’s Child Victims Act will allow a one-year ‘look-back’ period during which people who say they were abused as children can file civil suits.

Optimus Ride, a self-driving tech company, is launching a fleet of six cars at Brooklyn’s Navy Yard today in a push to bring autonomous vehicles to the Empire State. It’s unclear though how “self-driving” they actually are: every car will have a safety driver and software operator on board.

The Fasig-Tipton yearling sales, the most prestigious thoroughbred auction in the nation, yielded $55.5 million this year with one colt bringing in $1.5 million. While the total was less than 2018 sales of $62.79 million, the average price per horse went from $369, 376 in 2018 to $411,459.

The Erie County Fair is officially up and running.

Speaking of fairs…the Iowa State Fair is also underway, and 23 Democratic presidential hopefuls and one Republican contender will make the annual pilgrimage to mingle with the first-in-the-nation caucusgoers.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has pulled Tesla up on claims regarding the safety of its Model 3 sedan.

Overwhelmed by the love and support they received from the local community, as well as strangers and first responders around the world, as Albany Airport firefighter Josh Woodward struggled with health challenges, the Woodwards are launching a nonprofit they hope will pay that kindness forward called Woodward Strong.

Albany police say more than $13,000 handed over by families for a school field trip to Washington, D.C. has disappeared. The funds were discovered missing last month at Myers Middle School. $2,800 was in cash; the rest, checks.

The Albany Police Department was among many law enforcement agencies marking National Night Out last night.

A taxpayer-funded “Summerfest” for detainees who have displayed good behavior is causing controversy at a state-run juvenile detention center in Columbia County.

Vale Urban Farm in Schenectady is asking for the public’s help after one of its rare rabbits was allegedly stolen – for the second time – over the weekend.

Three agencies are investigating what led to the death of a Ballston Spa man who suffered critical injuries while in a Saratoga Springs police holding cell.

Trishna Begam has been named the 11 p.m. anchor at WTEN/News10ABC, according to news director, Ryan Mott.

City officials said a $50,000 project to establish design guidelines for downtown Amsterdam will likely be one of the first of the 15 projects funded through the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

The Mandarin duck — a.k.a. the Hot Duck — who landed in Central Park and captivated social media last year is MIA. In its absence, could a beaver that was seen on Monday splashing in the Hudson River off the Upper West Side become New York City’s next animal darling?

Eminent conductor James Levine quietly reached a settlement with the Metropolitan Opera, which fired him in 2018 amid accusations of sexual misconduct.

Twitter announced it may have shared users’ data with advertisers and used it for personalized advertisements without permission.

A judge in New York ordered federal agencies to produce thousands of pages of documents pertaining to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist and U.S. resident who was slain in his country’s consulate in Turkey last year.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman abruptly turned in his resignation letter to Trump yesterday.

Maebh Nesbitt of Queensbury is just four years old. She’s also the youngest 46-er on record – a feat it took her 13 months to accomplish.

A few weeks ago, a Clifton Park community helped rebuild a Girl Scout “Fairy Trail” project after it was destroyed at an area park. The fairy vandals have struck again.

Nope, sorry. Too soon.

Photo credit: Hassan Elminyawi Urban Aftermath Books. This photo first appeared on the “Looking Good, Albany!” Facebook page.

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