While You Were Out: Sept. 9, 2019

Monday, Monday. Monday.

What else is there to say, really? Thankfully, it’s almost over.

Headlines…

The Secretary of Commerce reportedly threatened to fire top employees at NOAA on Friday after the agency’s Birmingham office contradicted President Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian might hit Alabama.

Trump called the model Chrissy Teigen “filthy mouthed” and the musician John Legend “boring” in tweets last night that trumpeted the president’s achievements in criminal justice reform, prompting them to fire back.

Trump presented the nation’s highest award for public safety to six Ohio police officers who responded swiftly to reports of gunfire last month in Dayton, confronted the shooter in under a minute and prevented more deaths.

Juul Labs, the dominant e-cigarette company, violated federal regulations by selling its vaping products as a safe alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes without approval from the FDA, the agency said in a warning letter.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Health Department continue to urge people to refrain from using any vaping products for marijuana or nicotine while an investigation continues into the cause of a mysterious lung ailment related to vaping that has now sickened 41 New Yorkers.

Cuomo said health officials will be issuing subpoenas to companies marketing and selling “thickening agents” used in black market vaping products, as well as emergency regulations mandating that warning signs be posted in all vape and smoke shops in the state.

Fifty U.S. states and territories, led by Texas, announced an investigation into Google’s “potential monopolistic behavior.”

Trump indicated he would not be willing to debate the Republicans seeking to run against him in a primary for the party’s 2020 nomination.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s effort to unite Democrats behind well-funded, centrist Senate candidates has sparked a backlash from progressives who warn that the Democratic leader risks turning off voters they’ll need to take back the chamber.

Sarah Palin’s husband, Todd, filed for divorce from the former vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor citing “incompatibility of temperament between the parties such that they find it impossible to live together as husband and wife.”

Three House committees began investigating reported efforts by the president and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to pressure “the government of Ukraine to assist” Trump’s re-election campaign by having Ukraine probe former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Coast Guard rescuers made contact with four crew members trapped inside a capsized cargo ship, confirming that the men were still alive more than a day after the vessel overturned while leaving a port on the Georgia coast.

The rescue team was communicating with the trapped sailors through the hole drilled in the ship’s hull, but getting them out remains quite challenging. The Coast Guard said on Twitter another hole would be drilled to deliver supplies.

Hackers accessed the names, birth dates and email addresses of 2,168 students in the Bethlehem Central School District as part of a multi-state digital security breach, according to a letter sent by the district superintendent to student households.

Hundreds of families opposed to vaccinating their children descended on the state Board of Regents today to pressure the board to delay the implementation of a law that ends religious exemptions to New York school vaccination requirements.

A new law signed by Cuomo establishes an annual moment of silence in New York’s public schools to remember the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Another law signed by Cuomo will allow car dealerships to include the replacement of keys and key fobs to the list of items covered by service contracts, which is already allowed by 32 other states. Replacing a key fob can range from $250 to nearly $1,000.

Cuomo said more workers should be classified as employees, not independent contractors, in order for them to receive benefits like health care and retirement.

Lawmakers in the state Assembly this week are making a push to provide support and aid to areas in the Bahamas and the Caribbean that were devastated last week by Hurricane Dorian.

Albany Sheriff Craig Apple plans to use an empty tier in one of his jail’s building to create transitional housing and a one-stop resource for those who are struggling with homelessness, job loss, addiction or mental health issues.

Saratoga County Sheriff’s deputies will be channeling their inner pop star tonight on CBS’s “Lip Sync to the Rescue.”

Also tonight, the Schenectady City Council is expected to vote on a controversial resolution to pay Police Chief Eric Clifford $8,175 for unused sick time he earned before his promotion to chief.

The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has confirmed that Lincoln Correctional Facility in Manhattan and Livingston Correctional Facility in western New York have officially closed.

Jahmel Samuels is the new women’s basketball head coach at SUNY Schenectady. He previously served as an assistant coach for the school’s men’s basketball program for three seasons, and takes over as women’s basketball head coach from Chelcy Moore.

In what is believed to be unprecedented in the local restaurant scene, the entire staff of The Shop in Troy resigned after service on Sunday, leaving the future of the downtown gastropub uncertain, former employees said.

The trustees of the St. Clare’s hospital pension fund that collapsed last year were told by their attorneys in late 2017 that a last-ditch effort to try and save the fund through the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. could expose them to potential legal liability.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is encouraging customers to file complaints regarding MyPayrollHR.

New York State Police arrested a fugitive from California after they say he was driving drunk in Schenectady.

A federal judge says a civil lawsuit filed by Vermont residents seeking damages from PFOA contamination in their Bennington neighborhood can proceed as a class-action lawsuit.

The Capital Region premiere of James Franco’s “The Pretenders,” filmed at a variety of local sites in 2016, will be screened at 7 p.m. on Oct. 5 at The Palace Theatre in Albany, where part of the movie was filmed.

…The movie premiere in Albany is one of three. The others will take place in New York City and Los Angeles.

For the first time, a husband and wife were honored together in the Rensselaer County Honor-a-Deceased-Veteran monthly ceremon: Andy Dolan, who served in the U.S. Navy and later the U.S. Army in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and later was police officer in Troy, and his wife Gloria L. Steeves Dolan, who joined the Women’s Army Corps.

The state Office of General Services (OGS) is seeking two New York State spruce trees to be displayed in front of the Capitol this holiday season.

New York’s Archbishop has been closely following the controversy surrounding the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has tapped a political powerbroker, Alison Hirsh, vice president and political director of 32BJ SEIU, to guide his administration through the next two years, at a time when his national ambitions have accelerated his eventual lame-duck status.

Meanwhile, in international news…

John Bercow, the animated speaker of the House of Commons, said he would step down by Oct. 31, the day Britain is scheduled to leave the EU, and won’t run should a general election be called before then.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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