Rise and Shine: Sept. 18, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, CivMixers. To whoever is in charge of the weather these days…Thank you.

We’ll again see mostly clear skies, sun and temperatures in the low 70s. Remember: It’s likely to head up into the 80s this weekend – like, maybe close to 90 degrees even, according to The Weather Channel. So, don’t pack that bathing suit and sun block away quite yet.

In the headlines…

President Donald Trump began a California visit yesterday, saying he will do “something” about homelessness but offering no specifics beyond the mention of creating a task force.

Trump’s sudden fixation with California’s homelessness problem is the rarest of cases where the state’s left wing actually recognizes a problem that the president feels strongly about.

Trump engaged in a long-distance Twitter debate over Iran with one of his closest allies, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, as Republicans sought to influence the administration’s response to the attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

The first impeachment hearing held by House Democrats quickly turned hostile as their sole witness, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, stonewalled many of their questions and declared they were “focusing on petty and personal politics.”

Following an emergency executive action from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban all flavored vape products besides menthol on Sunday, the Public Health and Health Planning Council voted unanimously to implement the move just after 5 p.m. yesterday.

The ban takes effect immediately, but retailers are being given a two-week grace period before enforcement begins on Oct. 4, according to Cuomo’s office.

As an emergency regulation, the ban is effective for 90 days. After that, the Public Health and Health Planning Council would need to vote to continue the ban for another 90 days. The Cuomo administration wants the Legislature to vote to make the ban permanent.

After extensive criticism from anti-smoking advocates like the American Lung Association on the menthol exemption, Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker is preparing a report due in two weeks on whether to revoke it.

Two Manhattan parents filed a lawsuit claiming their teenage daughter was sickened by e-cigarette giant Juul because the company illegally marketed the product to child using “big tobacco’s youth marketing playbook.”

The number and rate of abortions across the United States have plunged to their lowest levels since the procedure became legal nationwide in 1973, according to new figures released today.

In one of the boldest state-led efforts to expand access to higher education, New Mexico is unveiling a plan today to make tuition at its public colleges and universities free for all state residents, regardless of family income.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s quixotic campaign for president has even become a big zero among Democratic voters on his home turf of New York City, according to a new Siena poll.

Cuomo appears to be giving up his plan to require the replacement of license plates that are at least 10 years old after the same poll found the policy is widely unpopular among New York voters.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, another 2020 Democratic hopeful, faced an unexpected grilling from “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert on whether or not the middle class will face a tax hike to fund Medicare-for-all.

Israel’s election is too close to call this morning, with neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor his chief rival, the former army chief Benny Gantz, a centrist, immediately commanding enough support to form a majority coalition, according to exit polls.

A judge cleared the way for OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to stay in business while it pursues bankruptcy protection and settlement of more than 2,600 lawsuits filed against it in a reckoning over the opioid crisis.

Two companies who were advertising at-home sexual assault evidence collection kits appear to have halted selling and marketing the products after widespread objections and two state attorneys general – including New York’s Tish James – threatened the companies with legal action.

A harrowing new ad highlighting school shootings is being released today from Sandy Hook Promise, a gun safety advocacy group created after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.

The family of the two bystanders who died in the tragic limousine crash in Schoharie last October that killed 20 people is suing the Apple Barrel Country Store where they were struck by the runaway stretch Ford Excursion involved in the crash.

…the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, was filed on the same day that the families of other victims who died in the limo issued a press release through their attorneys pleading with the news media to stay away as the first anniversary of the Oct. 6 crash nears.

Buffalo-area Republican state Sen. Robert Ortt says the limited implementation of a new law requiring a moment of silence in schools to remember the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 was a “disservice” to those who died.

State Senate Democrats have introduced a package of bills in response to the abrupt shutdown of MyPayrollHR earlier this month that left thousands of people around the country with overdrawn bank accounts.

Six eighth graders at Edmund O’Neal Middle School were hospitalized after eating what appeared to be drug-infused brownies. They were treated and released.

The woman who was found dead — with a gunshot wound to the head — early yesterday morning in a Lansingburgh neighborhood was 19 years old and lived in the immediate area, according to Troy police, who do not believe her death was a random occurrence.

Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger posted a video to the diocese’s Facebook page yesterday afternoon, urging local Catholics to not lose faith after a slew of sexual abuse lawsuits were filed against the diocese over the past month.

As the fate of two Schenectady dogs deemed dangerous hangs in the balance, city taxpayers could eventually be on the hook for the thousands of dollars to keep the animals housed at the local impound.

A black Mercedes-Benz smashed into the lobby of the Trump Plaza in New Rochelle last night, injuring the driver and at least one other person in what appeared to be an accident, the authorities said.

A judge in the rural town of Altona has resigned after posting an image of a noose and a Trump slogan on his Facebook page. The incident was investigated by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. Canning is not a lawyer — he delivers bread for a living, and is a Democrat.

The City of Schenectady will host a public meeting on proposed safety improvements along Brandywine Avenue between I-890 and State Street tonight at 6 p.m. at Tropics Restaurant, 201 S. Brandywine Ave.

The town of Glenville faces challenges as preparation of the 2020 town budget starts, but will stay under its 2.94 percent property tax levy cap, Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said.

Ellis Medicine is abandoning its two-year effort to build an ambulatory surgical center in Clifton Park, saying the timing is no longer right for such a project.

The Greater Johnstown School District School Board voted unanimously to hire Karen Geelan as interim superintendent. Geelan, however, says she is still employed and under contract until 2022 to serve as the superintendent of Valhalla Union Free School in Westchester County.

Manhattan Democratic state Sen. Brad Hoylman is on a mission to bring back the pied-à-terre tax that was, most recently, turned down in March.

People who control limited liability corporations (LLCs) that own residential rental properties in New York state can no longer hide their identities.

The number of NYC residents who regularly ride a bicycle dropped 5 percent in the last two years, data released by the city showed.

A 1-year-old child was killed when a driver, “possibly intoxicated,” lost control of his car in the Bronx, jumped a curb and hit the child, who was being pushed in a stroller by its mother, the police said.

Hundreds of angry Uber and Lyft drivers created a rush-hour nightmare on two of NYC’s busiest highways — the FDR and BQE — to protest a new corporate policy they say is taking money out of their pockets.

New York was selected to receive funding in a nationwide effort to understand the dangers of the chemical PFAS in water.

Guilderland School Board members were expected to discuss last night work allegedly being done to private vehicles on “school time” inside the district’s bus garage.

A new parking garage in Saratoga Springs was expected to get final approval last night from the City Council. It includes an enclosed walkway over the street and into the City Center.

Crews continued to work yesterday clearing the site for a new $100 million Amazon distribution center on Route 9 in Schodack, though bedrock blasting has been postponed.

The Saratoga Springs Police Department needs help identifying three men suspected in a criminal tampering case.

State police have released the name of the man killed in Athens, Greene County on Monday. They say he’s 29-year-old Eric Wallace.

Siena College held a memorial Mass for its late president, Brother Edward Coughlin.

According to early returns in Pittsfield’s preliminary mayoral election, Melissa Mazzeo had 47 percent of the vote, while incumbent Linda Tyer got 42 percent. The top two candidates advance and will face off again in November.

Angelina Pivarnick, 33, a “Jersey Shore” star turned-Staten Island EMT, was hounded for sex and groped by one of her supervisors — and pestered by another boss about how many guys she’d slept with on the hit MTV show, she alleges in a new federal lawsuit.

The rapper and Instagram star known as Tekashi 6ix9ine has had multiple run-ins with law enforcement and is no stranger to courtrooms. But yesterday, he took on a new role: as a government witness, testifying against his former crew, the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods.

KFC announced it’s testing a new Chicken and Donuts sandwich for a limited time at more than three dozen stores in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

I have to confess: I’m not sorry I missed this.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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