Rise and Shine: Sept. 25, 2019

Happy Hump Day, CivMixers. It looks like there’s another nice fall day on tap, with temperatures in the mid-70s and lots of sunshine. It’s humid at the moment, but that will be dropping throughout the day, according to The Weather Channel.

It’s not a great day to be a lobster.

Hollywood actors and super-couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones both have birthdays today. He turns 75, and she’s 50.

The big news continues to be down in D.C., where Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump, charging him with betraying his oath of office and the nation’s security by seeking to enlist a foreign power to tarnish a rival for his own political gain.

“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” Pelosi said in a brief speech invoking the nation’s founding principles. Trump, she added, “must be held accountable — no one is above the law.”

But the chairs of the six committees that have been investigating Trump for months and rank-and-file members said no details were discussed about how the mechanics of the probes might change.

As of now, there is no word of creating a new, select committee. If that happens, the impeachment issue would be taken away from House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, of New York.

Trump, meanwhile, expressed defiance, calling Pelosi’s announcement a “continuation of the witch hunt” that will be “bad for the county” and “a positive for me in the election.”

Trump also referred to the move as “presidential harassment” on Twitter, and shared a video slamming impeachment as Democrats’ “sole focus.”

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is defending his handling of a whistleblower complaint that is said to relate to Trump’s discussions with Ukraine, vowing in a statement to handle the situation “appropriately.”

White House and intelligence officials were working out a plan to release a redacted version of the whistle-blower complaint that helped ignite the impeachment drive against Trump and to allow the whistle-blower to speak with congressional investigators.

Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani said the State Department sent him to Ukraine on his mission to collect dirt on Hunter Biden’s business dealings as means for opposition research on his father, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Here in New York, federal prosecutors told a judge that they are considering inserting themselves into a lawsuit filed last week by Trump that argued he cannot be criminally investigated while in office.

A number of New York House Democrats announced their support of the impeachment proceedings.

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik said – though her campaign – that she opposes the effort. WNY Republican Reps. Chris Collins and Tom Reed are also standing with Trump on this one.

Here’s a nearly complete list of where all House members stand on the impeachment question at the moment.

Global stocks skidded after the Democrats’ impeachment announcement.

In non-Trump/impeachment news…

Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist from Sweden who delivered a much-watched speech at the United Nations, is being celebrated by the left and has become a lightning rod for the right, drawing attacks by television and social media commentators.

Internal affairs officers from the NYPD are investigating serious misconduct involving several high-ranking officials in its Special Victims Division, including a sergeant who oversaw the troubled investigation of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

A new bill introduced by Democratic state Sen. James Skoufis would bar pet insurers from denying medical coverage to dogs or cats with pre-existing conditions or illnesses — just like for people.

Lawyers for a Chinese immigrant who is fighting a decision that caused him to lose custody of his daughter, even though her mother was the one found to have inflicted excessive corporal punishment, hope his case will change how a decades-old New York law treats unwed fathers.

The New York State School Boards Association has tapped its longtime finance and operations manager Robert S. Schneider of Gansevoort as the association’s next executive director, effective Jan. 1. He succeeds Tim Kremer, who’s retiring.

Chicago-based Exelon Corp. and its associated Exelon Foundation, which run three upstate nuclear plants, today will announce details of a $20 million initiative to boost clean energy start-ups.

Republican state Sen. Jim Tedisco has introduced the “No, New License Plate Fee…Ever…Bill,” which would ensure that no one would have to pay additional fees if they need to get a new license plate for any reason.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand missed more than a third of the Senate’s votes during his failed bid for the Democratic 2020 nod, failing to show up for 38 percent of them between Jan. 20 and yesterday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his administration is “serious about legalizing recreational marijuana in this state.”

About 80 homes were evacuated after a tractor trailer carrying compressed natural gas overturned north of Binghamton on Interstate 88.

Albany County lawmakers are looking at an all-out ban of flavored tobacco products in an effort to curb teen vaping.

The Town of Saratoga Republican Committee has replaced Michael Booth Sr., a 57-year-old candidate for town board who died last week, with Ruth Drumm.

The Clifton Park Halfmoon Public Library’s proposed 2020 budget of $4.77 million will go up for vote on Thursday.

The former Mayfield Town Clerk, Dorothy Hart, pleaded guilty to grand larceny for pockeing over $35,000 in public funds.

Upstate Medical University and Cor Development Co. – both Central New York entities rocked by recent corruption scandals – are fighting over a big stretch of downtown Syracuse that is primed for new development when Interstate 81 gets rerouted.

An ex-girlfriend of Keith Raniere says the NXIVM sex cult leader terrorized her after they ended their abusive decade-long relationship — claiming he hired people to stalk her and possibly kill her dog.

The owner of the Wilton limousine service that supplied the stretch Ford Excursion involved in the deadly October 2018 crash in Schoharie had suffered a heart attack earlier that year, leaving his youngest son in charge of the business.

A 50-year-old man was hit by a car and killed last night along Washington Avenue Extension, Albany police said.

The Albany Police Officer’s Union is urging Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and the Albany Common Council to take action on a shortage of dispatchers.

Two scientists whose discoveries in stem cell and cancer cell biology have led to major advances in the medical field won the 2019 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research.

As the MTA prepares to unleash 500 new police officers on the NYC subway system, the transit authority wants to make clear that those cops won’t be weighed down by unnecessary burdens, like citywide decriminalization priorities or a statistical justification for their presence.

The NYC Council passed a bill that would require city facilities to receive deliveries at night “where feasible” in an effort to reduce traffic congestion.

Michael Avenatti will face charges he stole $300,000 from porn star Stormy Daniels in New York, a judge ruled following a request from the attorney that the case be transferred to California.

Health care experts from across the state gathered in Saratoga Springs for the Health Association of New York State’s (HANYS) Opioid Summit, focusing in part on reducing the stigma associated with substance use.

The former Warrensburg deputy town supervisor, Dean Ackley, is back behind bars, facing new charges after being indicted on sexual abuse charges earlier this year.

Superstar singer Plácido Domingo withdrew from the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s “Macbeth” and indicated he would not return to the Met, amid rising tensions over the company’s response to allegations that he had sexually harassed multiple women.

Twenty-one of the 301 trainees who graduated from the FDNY Academy this week were children of men who died on September 11 or years later from 9/11-related cancers.

The New York State Association for Affordable Housing kicked off a statewide campaign to push people to the polls as part of National Voter Registration Day.

Vox Media Inc. agreed to buy New York Media, the owner of New York Magazine. The transaction was all-stock, but the valuations involved are not yet known.

Vox and New York said they are bringing together a much-decorated print magazine, websites, a podcast empire and several streaming television deals — the very model, they hope, of a modern media company.

WeWork chief executive Adam Neumann stepped down from his post after a lengthy board meeting yesterday. He was under pressure from directors and investors after he led a botched attempt to take the closely watched company public.

Devin Sloane, a California father and businessman, was sentenced to four months in federal prison for his role in a sweeping college admissions scandal, which significantly exceeded the 14-day imprisonment the same judge ordered the actress Felicity Huffman to serve.

State public health officials say a third person in Massachusetts has died after contracting the mosquito-borne eastern equine encephalitis virus.

Residents can fish without a license on all of New York’s public waterways this coming Saturday as a celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Cats, they like us – well, some of us, anyway – they really do!

Photo credit: Colleen Ryan.

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