While You Were Out: Sept. 16, 2019

What a perfectly glorious Monday this has been, CivMixers. (I mean, as far as Mondays go). You couldn’t ask for a more beautiful early fall day.

FYI: According to no less authority than the Empire State Development Corp., the fall foliage season is officially underway.

In the news…

State prosecutors in Manhattan have subpoenaed President Trump’s accounting firm to demand eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns, according to several people with knowledge of the matter.

Tensions are flaring in the Persian Gulf after Trump said the U.S. is “locked and loaded” to respond to a weekend drone assault on Saudi Arabia’s energy infrastructure that his aides blamed on Iran.

Fixing the damage done by the drone attack on the Saudi oil processing plant may be the easy part. The hard part will be calming energy markets, where oil prices have jumped faster than at any time in over a decade.

Three leaders of the Women’s March on Washington who helped organize one of the largest mass mobilizations in United States history following Trump’s inauguration have stepped down from the organization’s board after years of controversy.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee asked Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to turn over documents related to communication with her family’s shipping company as the panel stepped up an investigation into whether any of her actions amount to a conflict of interest.

The liberal Working Families Party, which backed Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016, is throwing its weight behind Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Democratic primary for president.

Ahead of speech on corruption in New York City’s Washington Square Park this evening that’s expected to draw thousands, Warren unveiled additions to her plan.

Mohamed Khairullah, the mayor of Prospect Park, NJ, says he was racially profiled when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers detained him at JFK airport for three hours last month, questioning him about whether he knew any terrorists.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority released a new $54 billion blueprint to overhaul the subway and the rest of NYC’s floundering transit network – that’s $20 billion more than the last capital plan, reflecting an aging system with immense needs.

…Much of that cash will be used to fund transit chief Andy Byford’s “Fast Forward” plan, which includes modernizing antiquated signals on five lines within five years, officials said.

Not surprisingly, the governor wants to make sure the state doesn’t foot the entire bill for the MTA’s capital plan.

On the heels of similar action by New York, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a crackdown on illicit e-cigarettes and plans to launch a state-sponsored public awareness campaign about the dangers of the devices amid a nationwide outbreak of serious lung illness connected to vaping.

Some operators are cashing in on the CBD craze by substituting cheap and illegal synthetic marijuana for natural CBD in vapes and edibles such as gummy bears, an AP investigation has found. The practice has sent dozens of people to emergency rooms over the last two years.

The New York Farm Bureau wrote in a letter to New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza that banning chocolate milk won’t produce healthier lunches and will have a substantial negative effect on the state’s dairy farmers. Flavored milk currently accounts for two-thirds of the milk served in schools.

The National Transportation Safety Board is planning to issue safety recommendations in response to the Schoharie limo crash case long before it completes its full investigation of the worst highway transportation disaster in more than a decade.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced several small game hunting seasons open Oct. 1 across New York.

People with disabilities generated more than $55 million in economic impact in the Capital Region last year, according to a new report from the Rockefeller Institute of Government and the New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc.

A group of New York state lawmakers is gathering in Albany to look at ways to expand access to broadband internet access in rural and remote parts of the state.

There was a ribbon cutting ceremony at Colonie’s William Sanford Town Library this morning to kick off Phase II of an ongoing renovation project.

A Cohoes man is accused of stealing nearly $11,000 in unemployment benefits, State Police in Latham said.

With Congress mulling legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia for its attack on the 2016 American election, an important Russian bank connected to Vladimir Putin’s government has turned for help to former Republican Rep. John Sweeney.

RIP Sanford J. “Sandy” Zimmerman, who purchased the popular Cohoes Manufacturing Co. clothing store in 1979 before his entanglement in a tax fraud case forced the company into bankruptcy and an eventual sale to Burlington Coat Factory. He died earlier this month in Connecticut.

A collection of belongings left behind by Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef and television star who died in June 2018, will be sold in an online auction in October.

U.S. health officials say there were no new measles cases reported last week, a sign the nation’s worst epidemic of the disease in 27 years could be in its final stages.

Comic Shane Gillis has been axed from Saturday Night Live over racist and homophobic comments just days after he was named as a new cast member.

A Niagara Falls woman found a man’s ashes by the front door of a local Chili’s restaurant.

The ever-popular “Capitol Hauntings Tours” are coming back!

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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