Rise and Shine: Sept. 12, 2019

Good Thursday morning, CivMixers. We’re going through a seesaw of weather these days, with cooler temperatures, clouds and rain following on the heels of yesterday’s (comparative) heat and humidity.

Highs today are only expected to reach the mid 60s, according to The Weather Channel.

For political junkies, all eyes today will be on Houston, Texas, where, for the first time during the 2020 Democratic primary, every candidate who has qualified for the DNC debates will share the same stage.

The debate, hosted by ABC News and Univision, will be held at Texas Southern University, a public, historically black university, and airs from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

It also marks the first time the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, will share a stage with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a time when several polls have shown her gaining momentum.

Aside from Biden and Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will also be on the stage, along with New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former HUD Secretary Julián Castro; California Sen. Kamala Harris; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke; and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Yang, a Schenectady native, is the only candidate with New York roots who will be participating in the debate tonight.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t make the cut, and is widely expected to likely end his long-shot bid soon. (He said himself recently that Oct. 1 is the likely cut off date). Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand took herself out of the running, ending her campaign last month after it failed to gain traction with voters.

In other news…

President Donald Trump denied instructing an aide to urge a federal agency to repudiate weather forecasters who contradicted his claim that Hurricane Dorian could hit Alabama.

The U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to bar most Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States, while the legal fight plays out in the courts.

In a direct and urgent call to address gun violence, the chief executives of some of the nation’s best-known companies were set to send a letter to U.S. Senate leaders, urging an expansion of background checks to all firearms sales and stronger “red flag” laws.

While D.C. dithers over gun control, a new background check law takes effect in New York today that closes the so-called “Charleston Loophole,” which let church shooter Dylann Roof buy the weapons for his 2015 shooting spree that killed nine black worshippers.

Thousands of municipal governments nationwide and nearly two dozen states that sued the pharmaceutical industry for the destructive opioid crisis have tentatively reached a settlement with Purdue Pharma and its owners, members of the Sackler family.

New York Attorney General Tish James opposes the settlement, saying: “While our country continues to recover from the carnage left by the Sacklers’ greed, this family is now attempting to evade responsibility and lowball the millions of victims of the opioid crisis.”

James plans to continue to pursue New York’s lawsuit against the Sacklers filed in state Supreme Court in Suffolk County, according to a spokesperson for the AG. (Massachusetts and Connecticut are also not part of the settlement deal).

CDPHP is launching a unique partnership with the Albany County Sheriff’s Department, the Averill Park School District, and the Addictions Care Center of Albany to combat opioid addictions in the Capital Region.

The families of those killed in the terror attacks gathered at the Sept. 11 memorial in an annual ritual of mourning.

As Sept. 11-related deaths grow, a new bill would provide health insurance to families of up to 5,000 NYC employees not previously eligible – including sanitation workers who sorted through debris at Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo paid tribute to the late NYPD Detective Luis Alvarez, who delivered stirring testimony urging Congress to permanently extend the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund in June — just weeks before he died of 9/11-related cancer.

Nearly eighteen years after the Sept. 11 attacks, New York City firefighter Michael Haub has finally been laid to rest. Family and friends gathered in New York City’s Franklin Square to remember him.

Due to a spate of recent illnesses, the state Department of Health is advising all medical marijuana patients to consider alternatives to vaping and stresses any products consumed should be state regulated.

Americans’ household income is barely rising despite ongoing economic growth and low unemployment, a sign the typical family is failing to see significant gains from what has been a record-long expansion.

After days of public silence, Pioneer Bank reported to federal regulators that it faces the potential loss of millions of dollars due to potential “fraudulent activity” related to last week’s collapse of the Clifton Park-based payroll processing company MyPayrollHR.

A state Department of Health inquiry found that some long-term hospitals grappling with the highly contagious, drug resistant fungus C. auris failed to take basic measures, such as using disposable gowns and latex gloves, or to post warning signs outside the rooms of infected patients.

Three racehorses died last week at Belmont Park on the track’s first week of racing for their fall meet.

Justify failed a drug test weeks before the first race in the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby, which meant the colt should not have run in the Derby, if the sport’s rules were followed. They were not.

Teachers at YogaWorks locations in New York City are seeking to unionize, in what would appear to be a first in the U.S.

The pursuit of a lobbying disclosure case against a rape survivor who pushed for the passage of the Child Victims Act continues to draw condemnations from state lawmakers.

MTA Managing Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim will leave her post later this year. “With the MTA on the rebound and service improving across all agencies, I feel I can move on,” she said in a statement.

Near the end of the school day yesterday, a 10-year-old boy in Brooklyn stood along a bustling roadway waiting for a bus, most likely trying to get home. He was struck by an SUV driven by a man who had suffered a “medical episode” and later died at the hospital.

The latest numbers are in: The state saw a 20 percent increase in Excelsior Scholarships in the program’s second year compared to its first. But tough eligibility requirements continue to prevent many from qualifying.

More than half of the former St. Clare’s Hospital employees who were fully vested in the now-shuttered hospital’s pension plan have been told that they will never receive a dime for their retirement.

Fort Drum is among 90 Army installations nationwide where significant quantities of toxic PFAS chemicals have been detected in water, according to an environmental group’s report based on government data.

Albany school officials are investigating a racist message directed at a preschool teacher at Eagle Point Elementary School. The typed note was discovered in a piled of papers.

After his entire staff quit on the same night at the beginning of this week, Kevin Blodgett, the owner of The Shop has gone on the offensive with allegations of his own against the management team that he said orchestrated the walkout and impugned his character.

Rich Matthews, executive chef at The Shop, said he hadn’t been paid for two weeks’ work. All of The Shop’s nearly 30 employees were impacted by the MyPayrollHR demise, some seeing their accounts used for direct deposits go into negative balance, Matthews said then.

The owner of Ichiban Restaurant on Central Avenue in Albany says business is down somewhat in recent weeks — and attributes the dip to confusion stemming from a controversy involving a now-shuttered restaurant of the same name, but with different ownership.

Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello, a frequent critic of Mayor Patrick Madden, is declining to opine on a police expert’s secret memorandum that rebutted the findings of an internal affairs investigation that found a patrol sergeant lied about the circumstances leading him to fatally shoot a DWI suspect.

Some Capital Region schools landed on both the coveted “National Liberal Arts Colleges” and “National Universities” rankings in the annual list of best colleges compiled by U.S. News and World Report.

It was, after all, an emu that escaped in Guilderland.

…the bird’s name is “Sheriff Cody” and it is safely back at Whispering Willow Wild Care.

The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the sale of its abandoned tuberculosis hospital to a Texas man for $55,100. He wants to renovate the building into a home for veterans.

The sale of hot dogs and hamburgers by Democrats in Malta at the annual Community Day celebration spurred one town official to seek a ban on political fundraising on town property.

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating what caused the Dutch Apple II to lose control and strike the U.S.S. Slater on Tuesday afternoon. Both vessels sustained minimal damage in the crash.

A Queensbury family won’t have to pay rent for their deceased father’s apartment, which he never got to occupy because he died one week before he was to move in.

The state’s effort to develop future offshore wind projects will be the subject of a public discussion at the Albany Public Library today.

The next phase – rock drilling and blasting – is set to begin next week as Amazon continues construction of a massive warehouse in the small community of Schodack.

WNY Republican Rep. Chris Collins has been denied an appeal in his insider trading case and is due back in court today.

Albany residents, along with victims of the Myrtle Avenue fire met with local, county and state leaders last night. They are pushing for changes to ensure the recent five-house fire doesn’t happen again.

Great Lakes water levels are likely to continue to rise into 2020, experts say.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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