Rise and Shine: Sept. 23, 2019

Good Monday morning, CivMixers. It is officially, 100 percent FALL.

The Autumnal Equinox – one of two days when the sun is located just above the Earth’s equator and day and night are roughly equal – took place while you were (likely) sleeping – at 3:50 a.m.

Daylight Saving time is right around the corner – Nov. 2 – so get ready to set those clocks back and for some long dark nights. Fall will end on December. 21 this year.

It’s not going to feel very fall-like today, as the hot weather continues. Temperatures will hover in the mid-80s, with partial clouds in the morning, bringing scattered showers and possible thunderstorms in the afternoon. There could be strong, gusty winds with some of these storms, according to The Weather Channel, and there’s a 50 percent chance we’ll see some sort of precipitation.

Also, it’s Celebrate Bisexuality Day (also known as Bi Visibility Day, which has been marked since 1999, and has been part of Bi Awareness Week since 2014) AND National Family Day AND National Dogs in Politics Day. And some other stuff. Find out more here.

The United Nations has arranged a special Climate Action summit today to kick off its annual General Assembly, which is taking place this week in Manhattan.

“Breaking with tradition, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told country leaders not to come to the podium Monday without “concrete and transformative plans” to halt rising global temperatures, achieve carbon neutrality and cut carbon emissions by 45 percent. VIPs with proposals have been told they have just three minutes to speak.”

President Donald Trump is kicking off his third UN General Assembly as escalating tensions between the United States and Iran are only the beginning of his troubles.

Trump will NOT be joining other leaders at the UN Climate Summit, instead focusing on his “core event” — a forum in a UN conference room to make a global call to protect religious freedom.

Tomorrow morning, Trump will deliver his UN speech before the General Assembly — his first major foreign address since the departure of hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton. After the speech, he’ll meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and President Barham Salih of Iraq.

Most of the attention will be focused on Trump’s Wednesday bilateral meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky amid reports that Trump previously pressured Zelensky to look into the business dealings there of former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

Trump admitted over the weekend that he had raised corruption accusations against Hunter Biden during a phone call with Ukraine’s leader – a stunning admission as pressure mounted on Democrats to impeach the president.

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has agreed to testify in open session before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday about a whistleblower complaint that the intelligence community inspector general has deemed “credible and urgent.”

Also happening today: Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan begin their trip to Africa with Baby Archie.

And rocker Bruce Springsteen turns 70. Happy Birthday to The Boss.

In the news…

Michelle Hinchey, the daughter of former Rep. Maurice Hinchey, is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge GOP state Sen. George Amedore for the 46th Senate District. She’ll announce her campaign today in Kingston with Rep. Antonio Delgado.

Big changes – bail reform and new discovery requirements – are coming for the state’s court system.

Progressive firebrand New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted her fellow Democrats for their failure in not moving ahead with impeachment ​proceedings ​against President Trump.

A top Wall Street financial agency has downgraded Buffalo’s credit rating, citing the city’s “overly optimistic revenue assumptions” and “weak operating performance in recent years.”

Samantha Nephew, 29, resigned her post as executive director of the Erie County Democratic Party after posting a sexually inappropriate image of herself on social media that was seen by government employees and Democratic colleagues.

In a letter to priests, Buffalo Diocese Bishop Richard J. Malone indicated no plans to resign, despite a poll that showed 86 percent of area Catholics wanted him to do so and a New York Times story last week that said he was “approaching persona non grata status in his own diocese.”

Hundreds came to a parking lost across from New Era Field to honor Ezra Castro, who through his alter ego of Pancho Billa became known within the #BillsMafia – and the entire Bills fan base – for his unwavering enthusiasm and kindness in the name of his favorite football team.

Four suburban school districts — Guilderland, Niskayuna, East Greenbush and Bethlehem — are cautiously moving forward with plans to push back start times for middle and high school, acknowledging the growing body of evidence that teens who sleep more perform better in school and are less prone to obesity, depression and injury.

Twice recently, cash-strapped local governments near the Canadian border solicited major construction contracts in ways that ensured unionized workers would win. That’s a boon for upstate labor unions, but non-union contractors contend taxpayers are getting less while paying more.

Albany Medical Center nurses are planning to picket outside the hospital Wednesday to raise awareness for what they say are unsafe staffing levels.

“Severely stressed” New Yorkers describe the “absolute nightmare” of the MyPayrollHR scandal as federal investigators probe the failed paycheck company.

Albany attorney Michael Koenig is representing Michael Mann, the owner of ValueWise, which is the parent company of MyPayrollHR.

Matt Hughes, who has held top or senior chef posts at a number of Albany restaurants and was on staff as executive chef at The Bishop in downtown Albany for months before it opened in mid-August, is no longer employed by the restaurant. His final night was this past Saturday.

A new circus-arts company is launching itself in Troy’s Prospect Park with a free show Sept. 27 and 28 featuring a fox on a trapeze.

The Rensselaer County Historical Society has re-branded itself, with the 92-year-old non-profit changing its name in order to seize on increasing interest in its collections. It will now be known as Historic Rensselaer County at the Hart Cluett Museum.

Experts say human trafficking is prevalent in the Capital Region.

NYPD detectives are investigating the alleged thefts of more than $350,000 worth of jewelry from two apartments in Trump Tower.

New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball have fired off a letter to NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza attacking his department’s plan for a white-milk-only policy.

Months after New York passed sweeping tenant protections, including the $20 ceiling on application fees, many real estate brokers across New York City continued to charge renters hundreds of dollars to apply for an apartment. These people may be owed a refund.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s rally in Washington Square Park last week was a show of force in her competition with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for the votes of New York progressives, a side contest in the larger Democratic presidential primary.

The unrest in Hong Kong is spilling over onto college campuses in New York.

A smoky fire at a bar adjacent to the Hyatt Centric Times Square on West 45th Street in Manhattan prompted the evacuation of hotel guests yesterday morning.

Officials are working to waterproof the leaky skylight at the World Trade Center Oculus as the $3.9 billion transit hub prepares to face another New York winter.

A former United Auto Workers official from Grand Island was charged Friday by federal prosecutors in a widening corruption scandal. Jeffery Pietrzyk, 74, was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The federal insider trading indictment facing incumbent Republican WNY Rep. Chris Collins of Clarence has turned what should be a placid election in New York’s most Republican congressional district – NY-27 – into an intraparty free-for-all.

Scott Comegys, a Democratic alpaca farmer running for the 130th Assembly District seat, is selling t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Alpacas, not super PACs” to support his campaign.

Hundreds gathered in Brooklyn Saturday to see a giant Bat-Signal beamed onto Williamsburg’s Domino Sugar Refinery — commemorating eight decades of the Caped Crusader.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester was the first in New York to seek bankruptcy protection under the weight of new sexual misconduct lawsuits, but lawyers and church leaders say it may not be the last.

A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board reveals new details about last month’s deadly plane crash into a Union Vale home.

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik wants more women in the House, and she’s unabashed about a key ingredient to do it: money.

State Police have located an 80-year-old Oneida County woman with dementia who they said may have traveled to the Albany area.

NYC education officials are attempting to contact all 19,000 former students who attended public schools near Ground Zero on 9/11 to let them know they could be eligible for free medical care.

FDNY rescuers shook a stray cat free from the tree on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where it had spent five long days after scampering skyward to escape a pit bull.

When the rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, stepped off the witness stand last Thursday after testifying at length about his former crew and fellow rappers, he stepped into an uncertain future.

One of the two teens charged last week in the May vandalism that briefly shut down Christman Sanctuary in Duanesburg faces an additional felony in connection with a swastika spray painted in the spree, State Police said.

Local residents gathered yesterday to promote peace at the 11th annual Saratoga Peace Fair, part of the ongoing Saratoga Peace Week.

A sea of purple and gold could be seen for blocks in the City of Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon, as high school students, coaches and family members participated in the district’s annual homecoming celebration ahead of the homecoming football game.

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” made television history at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards last night, winning for best drama series and tying the record for the most wins in that prestigious category with predecessors like “The West Wing,” “L.A. Law,” “Mad Men” and “Hill Street Blues.”

Billy Porter won as best actor in a drama for “Pose” – the first openly gay actor to win the award.

You think you’re having a tough time losing weight? Talk to your cat, because he/she gets it.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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