While You Were Out: Sept. 26, 2019

Hello, CivMixers. The weekend is almost upon us. (Or, if you subscribe to my point of view, it’s more or less already here).

If you’re up for a celebration, and you’re a breakfast-for-dinner kind of person, you’re in luck, because today is National Pancake Day. There’s still plenty of time to celebrate.

It’s also World Contraception Day.

In other news…

The whistleblower complaint at the center of Congress’ impeachment inquiry alleges that President Donald Trump abused the power of his office to “solicit interference from a foreign country” in next year’s U.S. election. The White House then tried to “lock down” the information to cover it up, the complaint says.

The House Intelligence Committee has released a redacted version of the whistleblower complaint, and you can read it for yourself here.

The whistle-blower is a CIA officer who was detailed to work at the White House at one point, according to three people familiar with his identity.

Trump said he wants to know who provided information to a whistle-blower about his phone call with the president of Ukraine, saying that whoever did so was “close to a spy” and that “in the old days,” spies were dealt with differently.

Democratic 2020 candidate Joe Biden dropped into Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night and said this of Trump’s effort to get the Ukrainian president to investigate the former vice president and his son, Hunter: “It’s such a blatant abuse of power that I don’t think it can stand.”

The last time America watched an impeachment inquiry, (Bill Clinton, 1998), it was largely an analog affair. If the inquiry opened by House Democrats this week results in a formal impeachment of Trump, it will be the first of the social media era.

Corey Lewandowski, the political operative who helped elect Trump, has had conversations with White House officials in recent days about potentially taking a position inside the administration to help the president confront a looming impeachment fight.

Diplomats are rallying to the support of former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch after the release of a whistleblower complaint shed further light on the circumstances of her unexpected removal.

The NTSB released the results of a monthslong review of potential lapses in the design and approval of Boeing’s 737 Max, faulting the company for making erroneous assumptions during the development of the jet and calling for broader changes in the way airplanes are certified.

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, said he bears “all the responsibility” for the killing of a dissident writer by Saudi agents in Istanbul last year, but denied he had prior knowledge of the plot, according to a trailer for a documentary to be released next week.

Advocacy groups at a meeting with Facebook are criticizing the tech giant’s announcement earlier this week that it won’t remove newsworthy posts from politicians even if they’re misleading or break the site’s rules.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation giving voters until Feb. 14 to enroll in a party to vote in the April presidential primary or the June congressional and state primary.

New York’s ban on flavored tobacco will now include menthol after Cuomo accepted the recommendation of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker that the ban be expanded – a move that was previously backed by anti-smoking and tobacco use advocates.

A wreck in which a tractor-trailer rolled over a car caused closure of northbound lanes of I-787 earlier today.

The driver whose car was crushed down to its doors when a tractor-trailer rolled onto it on I-787 walked away with just a cut on his finger, authorities said.

Actress and activist Cynthia Nixon, who lost a Democratic primary to Cuomo last year, has endorsed progressive challengers in a pair of congressional primaries.

The New York State Thruway Authority has officially begun work to implement cashless tolling throughout the entire system.

Three adults are accused of supplying alcohol to two teenagers who were involved in a fatal crash after leaving one of the adult’s homes in June, Sheriff Craig Apple says.

Defense lawyers will seek to raise police misconduct allegations, including that a sergeant on the case accepted Yankees tickets from a lawyer for one of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s accusers.

A few months shy of the trial in the deadly Schoharie limo crash, new documents reveal the prosecution is asking the court permission to hand over grand jury materials to the defense team representing Nauman Hussain. The reason? They believe those materials are “potentially exculpatory.”

The Rensselaer County Legislature’s Democratic minority has made another push to get a vote on an early voting site in the city, which the Republican majority is making clear it’s not planning to grant.

The city of Albany’s failure to hire enough dispatchers to man its 911 center was due to a miscommunication over hiring practices, Mayor Kathy Sheehan said.

The outcome of a patent infringement lawsuit that Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has pending against Amazon over the company’s Alexa device may hinge on a separate but related lawsuit pending in state court in Texas.

Kevin Everleth, a veteran of four decades in the food and hospitality business who opened two restaurants during his dozen-plus years in Albany, is relocating to Key West, Fla. He leaves Tuesday Oct. 1 after selling his house in Albany’s Center Square neighborhood.

After ten years on the air as host of WCNY’s “Capitol Pressroom,” Susan Arbetter is moving on.

“Arbetter, who ran the show from a somewhat cramped and ramshackle studio in the middle of the Capitol’s pressroom, gained a reputation for thoughtful, frequently witty interviews — including, in somewhat off-and-on fashion, (Cuomo) — that didn’t shy away from complex policy details.”

Schenectady police have identified the woman found dead on a bus outside the Imperial Motel on Wednesday. She is 51-year-old Kimberly Hill of Troy, and she was a passenger on the bus up from NYC.

The Niskayuna School Board is set to narrow its options for reworking grade configurations in district schools as it looks to earn voter support next year for a major capital project.

The Rochester diocese’s decision to file for bankruptcy has left many who were promised justice under New York’s Child Victims Act feeling betrayed.

SUNY Upstate Medical University cannot justify millions of dollars it spends on salaries for employees, some of whom get paid for “busy work” or questionable assignments, according to the state Comptroller’s Office.

The pedestrian killed this week after being struck by a car in Albany was identified by police as a Schenectady man. Curtis Carnegie, 50, was killed at about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday when he was struck on Washington Avenue Extension, just west of Fuller Road.

State public health officials say a fourth Massachusetts resident has died of the mosquito-borne eastern equine encephalitis virus.

NYC correction officers would be required to call detainees by their names instead of referring to them as a number or a “body,” if a City Council bill proposed yesterday passes.

More than two dozen local governments in New York are in a form of financial stress, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office found in an annual report released today. That includes eight counties, nine cities, seven towns and a village government.

Wow. This lede: “A neighborhood meeting in Park Slope descended into a belligerent free-for-all on Wednesday night, after the event’s invited speaker spewed conspiracy theories about a pedophile-linked bike lobby, then shoved a well-known cycling advocate.”

A trio of utility giants building a natural gas pipeline that would cut across the Appalachian Trail has spent more than $109 million lobbying federal lawmakers and officials since the $7.8 billion project was unveiled five years ago, according to a MapLight analysis.

James and Kathryn Murdoch are claiming their independence from the more conservative arm of the family, in part to combat climate change.

This week, “Law & Order SVU” becomes the longest-running drama in prime-time history, kicking off its 21st season today.

RIP Anthony Mancinelli, the world’s oldest working barber, who died at his New Windsor home at the age of 108. He suffered from cancer of the jaw, but only retired – and reluctantly – weeks before his death.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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