Rise and Shine: Sept. 16, 2019

Good Monday morning, CivMixers. I thought we might be headed toward Indian summer territory, but apparently – according to Wikipedia, anyway – that doesn’t kick in until October or even November.

Anyway, today we’ll see temperatures in the mid-70s and partly cloudy skies in the morning, with areas of patchy fog. This will give way, The Weather Channel says, to full-on sun in the afternoon.

We’ll be hovering in the low 70s for a few days, and then shooting back up to the 80s (!) this coming weekend. So, that’s something to look forward to.

The Google Doodle tells me today is B.B. King’s 94th birthday. Happy birthday, R&B and blues legend! (Riley B. King died in 2015).

I expect to see a lot made about this on the internet today.

In other news…

The United Auto Workers union went out on strike against General Motors last night, the first work stoppage in the US auto industry in 12 years.

The union’s 46,000 hourly workers walked out at 31 GM factories and 21 other facilities, spread across nine states, mostly in the center of the country. It’s the largest strike by any union against any business since the last strike at GM in 2007.

President Donald Trump and Democratic White House hopefuls have plunged into a new battle over Justice Brett Kavanaugh because they have strong incentives to put the U.S. Supreme Court at the epicenter of the election.

A number of 2020 candidates demanded Kavanaugh’s impeachment after the New York Times published excerpts of a new book containing details about sexual misconduct allegations that he has previously denied, but that revived the raw emotions spurred by his fight for confirmation last year.

Trump on Twitter called on his Justice Department to “rescue” Kavanaugh, and also suggested the justice – a significant public figure – should start “suing people for libel.”

As expected, Purdue Pharma filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York as part of its framework for settling litigation with multiple states and governments.

The New York attorney general’s office said it had tracked about $1 billion in wire transfers by the Sackler family, including through Swiss bank accounts, suggesting the family tried to shield wealth as it faced a raft of opioid crisis litigation.

State-sanctioned, safe injection sites are among the options lawmakers will talk about at a continuing series of roundtables and hearings on the opioid crisis. The next session will be held today on Staten Island – one of the epicenters of the epidemic.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has issued an emergency executive order to quickly ban the sales of flavored e-cigarettes in an effort to crack down on sales to minors.

If it does outlaw flavored e-cigarettes, New York would become the second in the nation, behind Michigan, to outlaw sale of the fruity flavors popular with children and teenagers.

Juul Labs Inc. spokesman Austin Finan said in a statement that the company would “fully comply” with local laws and any federal policy when they’re effective.

Cuomo said state Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker will hold a meeting with the Public Health and Health Planning Council this coming week that will formally ban the flavored use of nicotine that is also known as vaping.

State officials will ramp up efforts to penalize retailers who sell tobacco and e-cigarettes to minors. State Police will now partner with the Department of Health to conduct undercover investigations under the Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act.

As authorities work to understand the spate of vaping-related lung illnesses, a small-town drug bust in Wisconsin offers a closer look at the vast black market for vaping supplies.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand pledged a “full court press” ​to force the GOP-controlled Senate to take up gun safety measures by inviting ​an array of speakers — including survivors of ​​mass shootings — to tell their tales.

The state Office of Emergency Management deployed three teams in two weeks to assist with natural disaster recovery efforts outside New York’s borders – a relatively high number of deployments out of state in such a period of time.

Before Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest in July on sex-trafficking charges, federal authorities were looking into an allegation that he was seen as recently as November exiting his private jet in the United States Virgin Islands with girls who appeared to be underage.

A federal judge has decided that a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by the owner of the food truck formerly known as the Wandering Dago can proceed against several top officials at the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

A little more than a year ago, some law enforcement agencies across New York began encountering so-called “ghost guns” more frequently. These are untraceable firearms, including assault-style rifles and semiautomatic handguns, that require minimal knowledge to assemble.

A bill that would outlaw making guns the prize for raffles commonly held by community groups and sportsman’s clubs is the latest move to tighten restrictions on firearms in New York.

Two mundane political demonstrations devolved into a tense, profanity-laced powder keg when they literally came face to face Friday outside NY-21 Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik’s Glens Falls office.

New York is the first to implement so-called “red flag” legislation empowering schools, in addition to police and relatives, to petition courts to remove guns from individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others.

One month after the Child Victims Act look-back” window opened to allow victims to pursue civil claims against their attackers, advocates say a state fund is needed to help those who don’t have an institution to target or want to avoid the stress of the courtroom experience.

New York’s 2020 presidential primary will take place on April 28, despite the governor’s recent flirtation with moving it up to February.

Because the state primary date was moved from September to June 2020, the state Legislature could adjourn its annual session next year before Memorial Day – an early exit that is being contemplated to give members time to campaign.

Over the past 10 years, some of the Albany area’s largest law firms have pumped tens of thousands of dollars into judicial campaigns for town justice, city and county benches and state Supreme Court, where some candidates served on the powerful Appellate Division.

Three times this year Mayor Patrick Madden has sent the city of Troy’s labor attorneys out to stop an arbitration hearing with the Troy Police Benevolent Association. And three times, judges have tossed out the city’s arguments and ruled in the union’s favor.

The state’s apple season is in full swing and orchards say this year’s crop is a good one. The yield is slightly lower than last year’s, but the apples are more flavorful.

The town of East Greenbush is taking the next step in improving walkability along Columbia Turnpike by spending $550,000 to extend sidewalks to its border with the city of Rensselaer.

Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins has spent his first year on the job walking a fine line between the political and practical needs of the region’s largest municipal law enforcement department.

Watervliet Police said they are investigating how a bullet entered a home on 4th Avenue. No one was injured.

New York Army National Guard Maj. Doug Baker of Porter Corners, Rensselaer County, a veteran of the Iraq war and the campaign against the Islamic State, has been promoted to lieutenant commander after he assumed command of the 501st Ordnance Battalion.

Daniel Marrano, who has been accused of inappropriately touching girls between the ages of 11 and 16 at the Saratoga County Fair, is due in court today.

Seventy-six protesters were arrested Saturday afternoon for blocking traffic in Manhattan, a NYPD spokesman said. The demonstrators staged a sit-in at the Microsoft store on Fifth Avenue to demand the tech company stop allowing ICE to use their technology.

NYC’s Democratic Socialists are planning to field candidates for City Council races in 2021, hoping to ride the momentum from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset 2018 victory and local races like the one that swept state Sen. Julia Salazar into office.

The number of older black New Yorkers dying of cocaine-involved overdose deaths has tripled in recent years, a trend city health officials are struggling to understand.

Buoyed by legislative passage of a bill in California, unions in New York are pushing to change state law to extend employment protections for app-based workers.

The affluent enclave of East Hampton on Long Island is steeped in eco-conscious pride, but an offshore wind farm with a transmission cable that lands in Wainscott, one of the most exclusive slices of the area, is apparently too much green for wealthy locals.

A wind farm with up to 68 turbines in Steuben County has been approved by New York’s Electric Generation Siting Board.

Marine borers, an invasive pest, have come roaring back in New York Harbor along with more welcome oysters and other marine life, threatening almost anything in the water made of wood.

Speaking of oysters, officials released thousands of juvenile shellfish at New York City’s Hudson River Park over the weekend.

Residents at the White Pines South community in Ballston Spa have been under a boil water order since before Labor Day after the water tested positive for two different types of bacteria.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said the city has spent well over $300,000 in response to a ransomware attack that took place in March, though numbers obtained through a FOIL request don’t back up that claim.

An impaired driver from Glens Falls assaulted state troopers who responded to a three-car crash in Clifton Park, State Police said.

The Shenendehowa Central School District has, for the last three years, seen steady school attendance at over 90 percent for all grade levels, with minimal drops in enrollment throughout the school year, according to recently released district data.

Kindergarten enrollment in Niskayuna climbed 42 students in the first week of school compared to last September, according to a district report on “first Friday” enrollments.

Tropical Storm Humberto became Hurricane Humberto late last night and the next system in this month’s stormy conga line approaches across the Atlantic Ocean.

Thirty-five years after Live Aid rocked the world, a coalition of nonprofits, CEOs and government leaders is reviving a global effort to unite the world through music. “Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream,” aims to be the largest live broadcast in “cause event history.”

RIP Ric Ocasek, The Cars frontman whose deadpan vocal delivery and lanky, sunglassed look defined a rock era with chart-topping hits like “Just What I Needed.” He was discovered dead yesterday afternoon in his Manhattan apartment at the age of 75.

Also RIP to another rock-n-roll legend: Eddie Money, who left behind a career as a NYPD officer to become one of the top-selling stars of the 1970s and ’80s, with hits like “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Take Me Home Tonight.” He died recently at the age of 70.

Six Flags New England offered free tickets this weekend for anyone who brings in 25 or more nonperishable food items in honor of National Hunger Action Month.

A “Sweat Patch,” which would help people stay hydrated in very hot weather, is being tested at Schenectady’s General Electric Labs.

If this doesn’t make you smile, I’m not sure what will.

Photo credit: Silvia Lilly.



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