Rise and Shine: Sept. 20, 2019

Good morning, CivMixers. You made it to Friday. And what a Friday it’s going to be.

It may be on the chilly side now – sub-50 degrees as I write this. But once the sun comes out, and it will, we’re headed up, up, up, to just shy of 80 degrees today. There will be some clouds and light wind, but no rain in the forecast, according to The Weather Channel.

The big news today is the massive strike that is billed as possibly the biggest day of climate action in the planet’s history.

This worldwide effort, inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist, is already underway overseas. More here. (The whole thing started in Australia).

The Dalai Lama has tweeted his support of the young protesters, saying that they are “being very realistic about the future.

The international protest comes days before the United Nations Climate Action Summit that begins Sept. 23 in New York City, where leaders from government, business, and civil society are expected to address the global climate emergency.

The New York City, Department of Education recently announced it would excuse absences by any of its 1.1 million students who wanted to skip class to attend climate rallies – if they had their parents permission. But that effort has been complicated by reports that schools have been canceling official, teacher-chaperoned trips to the events, saying that would be against department policy.

The New York City strike will begin at Foley Square and protesters will march to Battery Park for a rally. Thunberg is expected to speak to the crowd.

The strike falls on the second anniversary of when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Strikers will commemorate those who died after Maria and call on the government to stop using fossil fuels to reduce greenhouse gases that are causing climate change.

There will also be a protest in Albany, where students plan to march from Sheridan Avenue (at 11 a.m.) and gather at West Capitol Park for a rally at 1 p.m.

There are events scheduled across the state, in fact, including, but not limited to: Buffalo, Syracuse, Ithaca, and Binghamton.

A handful of brands and retailers are backing the global climate strikes, as a message to government leaders that it’s time to do something about the climate crisis.

If you are not participating in any of these events, you might want to check reports (TV and radio and online for real-time information) regarding their proceedings, because there are going to be some serious traffic disruptions, which is basically the whole point, in some areas – especially Lower Manhattan.

In other news…

A potentially explosive complaint by a whistle-blower in the intelligence community said to involve President Trump emerged as the latest front in a continuing oversight dispute between administration officials and House Democrats.

Trump is suing his long-time accounting firm Mazars USA and New York district attorney Cyrus Vance to attempt to stop his accounting records and tax returns from being sent to the local prosecutor, arguing he can’t be prosecuted while in the White House.

Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani gave conflicting answers in an interview on CNN last night as to whether he asked Ukraine to look into former Vice President Joe Biden, saying at one point “of course I did.”

The Pentagon will present a broad range of military options to Trump today as he considers how to respond to what administration officials say was an unprecedented Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry.

More than 500 people have been diagnosed with vaping-related breathing illnesses, but the cause remains unknown, U.S. health officials said yesterday. An eighth death was also reported.

Gunmaker Colt says it is suspending production of rifles for the civilian market – including the popular AR-15.

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik, along with five other New York congressional Republicans, asked the Department of Justice to investigate the constitutionality of the state’s controversial law allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses.

Republican Rep. Tom Reed collapsed yesterday afternoon in the Cannon House Office Building rotunda minutes before he was to do a live TV appearance. He was taken to the hospital, where, according to a spokesman, he was in good condition and was responsive.

JCOPE revealed that three wealthy developers seeking favors from the de Blasio administration settled charges that they had made illegal gifts to the mayor by writing five-figure checks to his now-defunct charity, the Campaign for One New York (CONY).

…The announcement came as Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is still pursuing a quixotic 2020 bid, floated a national campaign finance reform proposal via an exclusive interview with Vox.com.

The latest round of settlements in the probe comes after NYC investigators found de Blasio had violated conflict-of-interest rules — though he and his aides escaped criminal charges because prosecutors couldn’t prove criminal intent.

Responding to what it called a recent surge in animals gone wild, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation moved to label an array of exotic animals “dangerous.”

The 2020 state legislative session won’t be a repeat of the high-profile liberal accomplishments that dominated Albany this year, according to state Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs.

There’s an internal battle in organized labor in New York as the progressive left seeks to flex its political muscles.

In a city already facing financial pressures, the news that it must pay $1.9 million more for rebuilding the Hudson River seawall has caused consternation among Troy’s leaders.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office is looking into allegations regarding work being done on private vehicles inside the Guilderland Central School District bus garage on school time.

A murder trial is now underway in Albany County. Thomas Slivienski, 23, is accused of killing a teenager last year on a bike path in Cohoes.

There will be more police than usual at Watervliet Elementary School today due to an alleged threat involving the elementary school.

New York is moving ahead with plans to build a massive offshore wind turbine installation in the Atlantic waters off Long IslandBut Sen. Chris Jacobs, a WNY Republican, is calling for a moratorium on wind plants in fresh water, such as lakes or rivers.

The City of Schenectady is once again pushing to revitalize its neighborhoods, taking bids to demolish nine buildings in the neighborhoods of Hamilton Hill, Mount Pleasant and Bellevue.

A New Jersey man trained in bomb-making and intelligence-gathering by Hezbollah spent years scouting sites like Times Square and New York’s airports, tunnels and bridges for how to do the most harm in an attack, federal prosecutors said.

A Green Island man was arraigned this week on charges he tried to ram a car on an Albany street and caused a crash, State Police said.

A Buffalo high school freshman from Orleans County says she was pulled out of school this week because of her failure receive all vaccinations required by state law to attend class.

…Starting today, any unvaccinated students will be excluded from school, due to a new state law that eliminates religious exemptions from immunizations such as the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

A farm tractor driver was killed on a highway in Columbia County after a collision with a dump truck, State Police said.

Yankees star pitcher Domingo Germán was sidelined as MLB officials investigate an alleged domestic violence incident involving the mother of his two children.

Cardi B is denying claims that she’s affiliated with the New York City gang Nine Trey Gangster Bloods after rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine named her as a member during cross-examination.

RIP Joe Mercurio, 72, a well-known consultant in New York political circles, who died when his car crashed into a tractor trailer near his home in Garrison.

I am terribly sad about this. I knew Joe professionally for many years. He leaves behind a wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Eleanor.

For those interested in paying their respects to the Mercurio family. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 23, at the Clinton Funeral Home, 21 Parrott St., in Cold Spring, followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m. the next day at the funeral home and interment at Cold Spring Cemetery.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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