Rise and Shine: Sept. 4, 2019

Good morning, CivMixers. Welcome to this hot and humid Wednesday.

There will be thunderstorms – scattered this morning – then mostly cloudy, with a chance of ore thunderstorms in the afternoon. Some of these storms may be severe, and there’s a very high (80 percent) chance of rain, according to The Weather Chanel. Be prepared.

Speaking of the weather…Hurricane Dorian continues to make headlines.

The storm is no longer expected to hit Florida directly, but it is still slamming tourism spending and travel in the Sunshine State.

Walt Disney World theme parks closed ahead of forecasted strong winds and heavy rain from the edges of the storm, and the Orlando International Airport halted operations.

States of emergency remained in effect along coastal zones in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.

The true extent of Dorian’s toll on the Bahamas was only beginning to emerge as the storm began to pull away.

President Donald Trump hit back at London Mayor Sadiq Khan after the British politician chastised him for golfing while Dorian approached the mainland United States.

In other news…

The defense secretary approved a border-wall spending plan that will divert funds from more than 100 military construction projects to earmark $3.6 billion for constructing a wall on the southern border with Mexico.

Stocks fell yesterday, the first trading day of a historically tough month, after the world’s two largest economies began imposing new tariffs on each other’s goods. Weak manufacturing data also dented investor sentiment.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong, meanwhile, soared more than 3.5 percent during Wednesday afternoon trade (they’re very far ahead of us) following reports that a controversial extradition bill is set to be withdrawn.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign said yesterday it would return the money recently given by lobbyists – the same day a report highlighted the thousands of dollars in cash donated to the campaign by members of the influence industry.

Google will be the target of an antitrust investigation by a broad coalition of state attorneys general set to be announced as early as next week.

YouTube said it had removed nearly 30,000 more videos for hate speech in the last month and promised an update to its harassment policy “soon.”

Secret Service veterans are grumbling about the Trump administration’s repeated insistence that it’s logistically easier for law enforcement to secure Trump resorts when the president and vice president travel.

High school students, a science teacher and his daughter, an adventurous marine biologist and a family of five celebrating a birthday are among those presumed to have died when fire tore through a scuba diving boat off the Southern California coast, trapping dozens of sleeping people below deck.

As the opioid addiction crisis rages on, health experts worry about its effects on another public health issue they’ve worked for decades to end – the HIV epidemic.

The Ohio-based supermarket giant Kroger asked customers to stop openly carrying firearms in its stores, just hours after Walmart made a similar request.

A judge is expected to discuss plans today for the unsealing of more court records in a civil case involving sexual abuse claims against the financier Jeffrey Epstein.

An anonymous man terrified he’s about to be named in court papers related to Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell’s alleged child sex trafficking ring is begging the judge not to release his name and identities of others accused because it could tarnish their reputations.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that closes a loophole to give law enforcement access to out-of-state records to help prevent the “dangerously mentally ill” from obtaining a firearm license in New York.

The parents of about 26,000 New York children who previously had obtained religious exemptions to vaccinations, are facing a moment of reckoning: get vaccinated, as the law now requires, or don’t go to school.

Here’s why the Internet thinks the governor’s license plate contest is rigged: Four similar choices featuring the Statue of Liberty would split the vote, allowing the design featuring the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge to prevail.

The New York State Board of Regents’ reassessment of high school graduation standards won’t change the state’s troubled standardized testing system, but could allow more ways for students to graduate.

Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly announced her proposal to double her and city council commissioner’s salaries – from $14,500 to $30,000. The increase, she said, would be enacted through a new local law amending the city charter where the salaries are now set.

…The Saratoga Springs City Council didn’t bring the measure up for a vote last night.

A controversial resolution that calls for Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford to receive a $8,175 payout for unused sick time he accumulated before his promotion was voted out of a City Council subcommittee over the protests of Councilman Vince Riggi.

The Schenectady Police Department has a new K-9: Hickey, a nearly 2-year-old German shepherd, who will be handled by Officer Aaron Lang.

speaking of police dogs.

The mile-long tanker trains moving Bakken crude oil through Albany are a thing of the past, but train-safety experts and advocates warn that Trump administration rollbacks and cancellations of railroad regulations pose new threats to major crossroads — including the Capital Region.

About a third of the Capital Region’s households will not complete their 2020 Census forms when they get them in mid-March next year, Census Bureau and local leaders said.

Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins defended his officers amid questions of how police handled a traffic stop at Grand Street and Madison Avenue on Sunday night, a portion of which was captured on video and has been shared widely on Facebook.

Five years after former Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson was convicted of accepting bribes while in office, he announced his intent to run for retiring Rep. José Serrano’s seat, but he might also consider trying to regain his old legislative spot.

Troy Police are investigating a shooting that took place near 61 Fifth Ave. last night.

The Halfmoon Planning Board has approved a new space for Mother Teresa’s Academy, a private Catholic school currently operating in Clifton Park, according to planning documents.

The state Department of Health has awarded the cities of Amsterdam and Johnstown each $521,785 grants to help pay for the replacement of lead service lines supplying residential drinking water.

State Attorney General Letitia James and Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia issued two guidance letters to school officials outlining the state’s priority of providing safe, fair, and supportive learning environments for all students throughout the state.

SUNY Schenectady County Community College turned 50 years old yesterday as students headed back to class. Its largest birthday present will remain under wraps as its library receives a $10 million overhaul set for completion next summer.

For the first time in a decade, HVCC is seeing positive enrollment, and it’s the only community college in the area — and possibly in the whole state — that can say that.

A local food bank in Albany is looking for answers after their iconic Nipper statue vanished over Labor Day weekend.

Officials at the University at Albany will be opening a brand new on-campus food pantry located in the campus center. Students and faculty will have access to the pantry 20 hours a week.

Porsche chose Niagara Falls, a Chinese wind farm and a solar site in Germany to unveil its first all-electric sports car, underscoring the new Taycan’s central role in turning parent Volkswagen AG into the world’s leading seller of battery-powered vehicles.

If you’re planning an upstate fall foliage trip, but aren’t really the roughing it type, perhaps consider glamping?

Skaneatles, Lake Placid and Alexandria Bay are all top spots for leaf-peeping this year, according to a recent list released by U.S. News & World Report.

This issue was getting a lot of traction on social media not too long ago – apparently dating in New York is expensive, and not just in NYC.

Next time you’re in Manhattan, consider taking a Citi Bike across town, because it’s faster than a cab or an Uber.

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro called the network “unbelievable” as she publicly discussed her suspension from the channel for the first time and admitted that she’s worried about being fired.

Today, 98 percent of all vehicles tested receive four or five stars for crashworthiness. Consumer advocates and safety experts say it’s time to raise the bar for the New Car Assessment Program, which hasn’t been updated in nearly 10 years.

RIP the Rev. Wendell Foster, a leader, teacher and preacher, and the first African American elected to the NYCCouncil from the Bronx, who served from 1978-2001.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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