Rise and Shine: Oct. 18. 2019

And….exhale, CivMixers, you’ve almost made it to the weekend. It was a weird week, starting with a day off at the front end and winding up with some really crazy weather. Things seem to have calmed down now, and we’re set up for some calm and sunny skies – eventually.

Today it will be partly cloudy and still a little breezy, with winds between 10 and 20 mph, according to The Weather Channel. The temperature will be in the low 50s, climbing up over the next two days until we’re in range of 60 degrees again.

This is going to be a big day for NASA as the first all-woman space walk is scheduled to take place – just in time for Women’s History Month.

This was initially supposed to happen back in March, but NASA didn’t have two space suits small enough to fit both participants – Christina Koch and Anne McClain. That problem has been resolved.

It’s National Mammography Day and also National Chocolate Cupcake Day. Again, this seems like a pre-planned not-so-serendipitous coincidence…but who am I to say?

Movie heartthrob Zac Efron turns 31 today. He shares his birthday with singer Ne-Yo (40), skier Lindsey Vonn (35), action star Jean-Claude Van Damme (75), and reality star/daughter of a vice presidential candidate Bristol Palin (29) among others. Two people who would have been celebrating today – had they not passed away – are actress Erin Moran and rocker Chuck Berry.

In the headlines…

A magnitude 3.7 earthquake rattled parts of the Los Angeles area early this morning.

Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, threw the Trump administration’s defense against impeachment into disarray when he said that the White House withheld nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine to further President Trump’s political interests.

Mulvaney later walked back those remarks, saying: “There was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election.”

David Correia, a Florida businessperson who was arrested at JFK Airport on Wednesday as part of an investigation into associates of Rudy Giuliani, had spoken publicly as far back as January 2017 about Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

Gordon D. Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, told House impeachment investigators that Trump delegated American foreign policy on Ukraine to his personal lawyer, Giuliani – a directive he said he disagreed with but nonetheless followed.

Two men accused of conspiring with cohorts of Giuliani appeared in Manhattan federal court, where they pleaded “not guilty” to charges related to campaign finance violations.

Rick Perry, the energy secretary who has drawn scrutiny for his role in the controversy surrounding Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine officials to investigate Hunter Biden, told the president that he would resign from the cabinet.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he’s getting his endurance back and growing “stronger every day” after suffering a heart attack last week, and he promised to return to the 2020 presidential campaign trail “as soon as possible.”

The New York City Council voted overwhelmingly to close Rikers Island jail and open four new borough-based facilities instead.

…the aggressive timeline — closing Rikers by 2026 — could prove very challenging.

A police sergeant fatally shot a man during a traffic stop in the Bronx yesterday, officials said, the second deadly shooting by the New York police this week and the third time in three days that an officer fired at a suspect.

Democratic governors from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania met yesterday in New York City with health and legislative officials and agreed to work together to regulate marijuana and vaping.

The Albany County Supreme Court is set to hear the case today of the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York.

Families shivered last year as NYCHA experienced repeated heat outages. Now workers are scrambling to ready its system of aging boilers to keep residents warm through the coming winter.

The NYC medical examiner and police said they still have not officially determined the identity of the man who was discovered on Monday in the manhole near Columbus Circle.

Tapping the Tomhannock Reservoir and developing new permanent wells are among the options in a long-awaited study on how to provide drinking water for this village which continues to reel from revelations four years ago of pollution by perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA.

The commission empowered to radically transform the rules governing state election campaigns is hoping to come out with its final recommendations on Thanksgiving Eve — three days before its due. State GOP Chair Nick Langworthy is not happy.

State and local governments are filled with those simultaneously collecting public pensions while still working, but it can become a politically charged issue when those collecting large pensions take on high-paying municipal jobs.

At a forum held this week at the Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany, several experts in the field explored common misconceptions among educators about dyslexia and made the case for early detection and intervention.

Doctors are warning of another potentially deadly flu season, and Capital Region hospitals are making sure staff doesn’t spread the infection to their patients. Those who can’t or won’t get a vaccination are required to wear surgical masks around patients.

The state Public Service Commission says the price of electricity this winter is expected to be slightly lower on average than last – the same goes for natural gas.

New York’s top energy utility regulators admitted there’s a gas shortage — even as they slammed National Grid for imposing a moratorium and denying hook-ups to new customers because of supply problems.

A pro-Trump, anti-impeachment rally was held in Glens Falls.

Lynne Dixon called the Erie County executive, Mark Poloncarz, “a bully” last night as the tension grew in a televised debate between the two candidates for county government’s marquee post.

A Level 3 sex offender serving 50 years to life in state prison for a first-degree rape in Colonie in 2015 has a new chance at freedom because of a judicial error during jury selection for his trial, the region’s appellate court said.

Union College dedicated a former bank building to house the campus safety department.

An administrative law judge has upheld labor citations issued against a Schenectady employer and ordered him to pay fines following the 2016 death of an employee who was pulled into one of his wood chippers.

People in Schenectady came out last night to raise awareness and demand an end to domestic violence by participating in the YWCA NorthEastern NY’s annual “Take Back the Night March.”

The chiefs from both Albany and Troy Police Departments say they’re committed to working together to try to cut down on the violence between the two cities.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio regularly used his City Hall staff to boost his 2017 re-election bid while state and federal authorities were investigating his campaign fundraising practices, according to internal emails released yesterday.

In a winding, 35-minute speech at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall — where presidents and foreign heads of state have delivered addresses — Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg fought back against the idea that the social network needed to be an arbiter of speech.

Toxic metals which can damage a baby’s brain development have been found in nearly every baby food tested, according to a new study.

A federal lawsuit against Albany Medical Center is highlighting the amount businesses spend to bring immigrant workers here — and to what extent it’s reasonable for companies to require employees to pay back those costs if they quit.

A state health department report says smoking, obesity, workplace exposure to hazardous substances and greater access to health screenings likely are among the reasons people who live in some Long Island communities have higher rates of cancer than people elsewhere in the state.

There’s a New York connection to this story about the use of facial recognition technology in schools.

Stephen Colbert agreed to a contract extension with CBS that will keep him as the host of “The Late Show” through August 2023. He was previously signed through August 2020.

This week’s episode of WMHT’s “New York Now” features the debut of public broadcasting veteran Ray Suarez as the political report’s new interim host, and a report on the so far unsuccessful push for the legalization of gestational surrogacy.

Kim Kardashian West has joined a chorus of voices calling for clemency for a black man on Oklahoma’s death row who says a racist juror tainted the outcome of his trial.

Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs will be featured on the Travel Channel’s “Most Terrifying Places.” Paranormal encounters from casino staff and volunteers will be re-enacted by those who experienced the encounters as well as other actors.

Celebrity chef Rachel Ray, and upstate native, was in Saratoga Springs yesterday to sign copies of her new cookbook.

The Yankees lost 8-3 to the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the ALCS last night in front of 49,067 at a windy Yankee Stadium. The victory gave the Astros a 3-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series that continues today.

The growing season has officially ended in the Capital Region, and a frost advisory was issued for tomorrow morning.

A TV reboot of 1995 teen classic Clueless with a twist – the mysterious disappearance of queen bee Cher Horowitz – is in the works at CBS TV Studios.

Photo credit: George Fazio.



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