Rise and Shine: Sept. 30, 2019

It’s Monday, CivMixers, and somehow, it’s also the last day of September – already. It’s also the 273rd day of the year, which means 92 days remain in 2019.

In the Hebrew calendar, it’s 1 Tishri 5780. For those of you observing Rosh Hashanah, “shanah tovah” – I hope it’s a sweet one.

In response to several recent anti-Semitic incidents, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ramped up State Police patrols near synagogues and other religious centers as the Jewish High Holidays begin.

For everyone else: Welcome to the work week!

It will be partly cloudy today, with highs just barely touching 70 degrees, according to The Weather Channel.

In the news…

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign contacted top TV anchors and networks to “demand” that Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, be kept off the air because of what they called his misleading comments about the Biden family and Ukraine.

A tricky balancing act is now underway for House Democrats as they return to their districts for a two-week recess that will double as a crucial time to frame a coast-to-coast debate over impeachment and the nation’s priorities.

Trump said he wants and “deserves” to meet the “accuser” behind allegations made against him in a recently-revealed whistleblower complaint.

Trump’s top Congressional allies forcefully — and sometimes colorfully — defended the president on the Sunday shows this week. “Salem witch trials had more due process than this,” remarked South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Democratic Rep. Max Rose flipped a GOP seat on Staten Island, which Trump won by 16 points. His stance on impeachment could determine whether he keeps it in next year’s election.

The State Department has reportedly ramped up an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, ​rekindling one of the themes of the 2016 presidential election that had crowds at Trump rallies chanting “lock her up.”

…As many as 130 former Clinton aides have been contacted in recent week and alerted that emails sent years ago have now been deemed classified and may be considered security violations.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the growing impeachment debate on Capitol Hill shouldn’t stall long-sought legislation seeking background checks for gun purchases — nor keep Trump from backing the measure.

An investigation by The New York Times found an insatiable criminal underworld that is causing the Internet to be overrun with images of child sexual abuse, exploiting the flawed and insufficient efforts to contain it.

Tech companies are reporting a boom in online photos and videos of children being sexually exploited — a record 45 million illegal images were flagged last year alone — with online groups sharing images of younger victims and more extreme forms of abuse.

As the Trump administration continues to face backlash over its plan to lower the cap on the number of refugees to be admitted into the country, experts are warning the move could have a strong negative impact on the economy.

Pope Francis has always urged compassion and charity toward the refugees of the world. Yesterday, during a special Mass on the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, he unveiled a monument to migration in St. Peter’s Square as a homage to the displaced.

The DNC says it intends to hold the next presidential debate on just one night – Oct. 15 – even with 12 candidates on the stage, according to multiple reports. Anyone who hopes to qualify has until the end of tomorrow to do so.

The police are still investigating who pulled the trigger of NYPD Officer Brian Mulkeen’s service pistol and killed him as he struggled with a man, Antonio Lavance Williams, whom officers had wanted to question about a recent spate of gang violence at a Bronx housing project.

Investigators recovered a .32-caliber pistol from Williams, but the police said the weapon had not been fired. Williams was shot dead by five responding officers, who had not been named.

Friends, colleagues and family say Mulkeen was a natural-born leader — a former standout athlete at Fordham University and an officer who won repeated awards in his nearly seven years with the NYPD.

In 2015, Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake introduced a bill pushed by Airbnb, the online rental platform. One month before, Airbnb paid $189,000 to a political consulting firm, Hilltop Public Solutions, that employed Blake as a consultant, though he insists he never worked for Airbnb.

Since the $15-an-hour minimum wage hit New York City in December, Big Apple restaurants have been cutting staff hours and even closing kitchens as they struggle to shoulder the extra payroll costs.

Cuomo said that repairs to the L train tube between Brooklyn and Manhattan will wrap up by April 2020 — months ahead of previous predictions.

Republican Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli wants the Trump administration to build a presidential library in his borough, where 57 percent of residents voted for Trump in 2016, not his home borough of Queens or where “progressive Manhattanites will fight tooth and nail” against it.

Harassment victims and their advocates say the state is failing to protect government workers from toxic workplaces. I fact, protections for workers accused of misconduct are so strong, they say, it can make it difficult to fire men accused of grotesque abuses.

The credit reporting giant TransUnion is suing the state Department of Motor Vehicles for declining to provide three years of traffic conviction records on New York drivers.

What’s being billed as an efficiency move at the state DEC has sparked a turf battle with some Environmental Conservation Officers complaining that their duties could be curtailed at the expense of fellow agency employees – the Forest Rangers.

Over the course of just two hours Friday night, police in the city of Albany responded to four separate incidents that left five people shot and one stabbed. All of the wounds were non-life-threatening.

Sean Harden, 11, of Cohoes, who was in a medically-induced coma last week after being diagnosed with sepsis, is on the rebound, according to his mother. It’s unclear how he developed the infection.

As Colonie works to convert over 4,000 high pressure sodium streetlights to light emitting diodes (LEDs), a study by the Lighting Research Center at RPI found LED streetlights can make streets safer while also being more energy efficient and cost effective.

A lingering dispute between the leaders of a Guyanese Hindu temple in Schenectady and a local contractor over unfinished renovations and the $72,000 they have so far paid him has led to recriminations and could wind up in court.

Price fluctuations, oversupply, more frequent hurricanes and constant squeezing by middlemen and grocery chains have made it difficult for many small farmers, including those in upstate New York, to make a living — particularly in the fresh fruit and vegetable sector.

The Capital Region is hungry for tradespeople – men and women trained to be carpenters, welders, HVAC technicians, electricians and plumbers. The problem is, not enough people are going into those fields.

A judge denied a temporary restraining order that would have blocked the state’s emergency ban on e-cigarette flavors.

Cuomo is calling for the state to investigate an alleged hate crime on a North Country school bus. He wants the New York state Division of Human Rights to look into the incident — which happened earlier this month.

Former GOP Sen. Al D’Amato said he would “absolutely” support former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a 2020 Democratic presidential campaign.

A campaign committee controlled by state Senate Republicans has been accused of refusing to repay $100,000 to former Sen. Cathy Young’s campaign because she tried to oust Senate Minority Leader John Flanagan last year.

Low-price fashion chain Forever 21, a one-time hot destination for teen shoppers that fell victim to its own rapid expansion and changing consumer tastes, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow issued an apology for remarks he made last week referencing the freeing of slaves when discussing wealthy donors’ new avenues to donate.

A lawyer for Union College last month asked a Schenectady County judge to lift an order preventing the college from expelling a student now working to finish his final year of college.

The FBI unsealed hundreds of documents last week related to controversial New York lawyer Roy Cohn, whose clients included mobsters, Yankee players, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese and Trump during his days as a Manhattan real estate developer.

A new vulnerability in Apple’s iOS operating system is sitting on hundreds of millions of iPhones, iPads and iPods, according to the researcher who found it.

A slew of new rent laws in New York may mean major changes for tenants and landlords in the Capital Region.

The city of Amsterdam was ranked as the most fiscally stressed municipality in New York state in a report released by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office.

A new wedding and events venue is coming to downtown Albany. The building itself at 76 North Pearl Street has been there for years, it’s the old Kenmore Hotel.

Dozens of Gold Star Mothers and Families gathered in West Capitol Part in Albany yesterday to honor their fallen service members.

About a month after a bird knocked over a heat lamp and started a fire in the parrot house at the Berkshire Bird Paradise in Petersburg, the surrounding communities held a fundraiser to help them in their rebuilding efforts.

There were several Oktoberfest celebrations over the weekend, click here, here and here.

Fall enthusiasts flocked to Saratoga Springs yesterday for a fairly new but quickly-evolving tradition: the Saratoga Giant Pumpkinfest.

This happened, and so did this.

Eliot Spitzer is ready to walk down the aisle again — he and longtime girlfriend, Roxana Girand, have gotten engaged, a rep for the former governor confirmed.

Longtime Capitol journalist Matt Ryan is leaving his post as co-host and managing editor of WMHT’s weekly political report, “New York Now.”

A happy couple from Orchard Park is believed to be the first to tie the knot on the field of an NFL stadium during halftime. (They are serious Bills fans).

If only they could figure out how to do this between NYC and Albany…

Photo credit: George Fazio.



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