Rise and Shine: Oct. 2, 2019

Welcome to Wednesday, CivMixers.

In Indian, they’re celebrating Gandhi Jayanti – a national holiday that marks the birthday of the Father of the nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi or Bapuji.

It’s also the International Day of Nonviolence, which honors how Gandhi’s work and legacy has impacted global, non-violent protest.

Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1948, shares a birthday with TV host Kelly Ripa (49) and former “Police” frontman Sting (68).

If you’re thinking about marking National Walk and Bike to School Day this morning, you might want to wear rain gear. A steady light rain is in the forecast, with showers continuing into the afternoon and temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, according to The Weather Channel.

In the headlines…

Rudy Giuliani, the outspoken personal attorney for Donald Trump, has hired his own lawyer to represent him in the House’s fast-moving impeachment investigation into the president: Jon Sale, a former Watergate prosecutor and assistant U.S. attorney.

Giuliani thinks Congress’ probe into the president is wrong, and he wants to sue those behind it.

In the first skirmish in what promises to be an epic impeachment struggle between the executive and legislative branches, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out at three congressional committees seeking to depose diplomats involved in American policy toward Ukraine, calling their demands for confidential interviews “an act of intimidation.”

Support for impeaching Trump and removing him from office has surged by 9 points in the latest Monmouth University national poll, driven by a double-digit spike in support among independent voters.

Trump’s re-election campaign and the RNC raised a combined $125 million over the past three months — a massive total that disturbed some Democrats who believe their party should be more focused on countering Trump’s head start in the 2020 presidential election.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has produced the biggest fund-raising quarter of the Democratic primary, taking in $25.3 million over the last three months – a lot less than Trump and the GOP.

Trump’s political advisers have concluded a monthslong effort to tighten the rules for choosing delegates to the Republican National Convention, all but ensuring there are no dissenting speeches at the gathering of party officials in Charlotte next year.

A federal judge rejected claims that Harvard had intentionally discriminated against Asian-American applicants, in a closely watched case that presented one of the biggest legal challenges to affirmative action in years.

Pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson late yesterday announced a $20.4 million settlement with two Ohio counties to resolve claims about the company’s role in creating the nation’s opioid crisis.

Former WNY Republican Rep. Chris Collins pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to federal investigators, after admitting passing private information about Innate to his son to help him avoid financial losses.

“I regret these actions beyond anything,” Collins, 69, told the judge. He also apologized to his son and his constituents, saying: “I have tried to be a model citizen to them; the actions I took are anything but.”

Collins faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years; his son and the father of his son’s fiancée are expected to plead guilty to related charges later this week.

In response to a federal report showing a spike in active duty military suicides, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on federal lawmakers to hold a hearing to discuss the rising number of service men and women taking their own lives.

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., issued a ruling yesterday allowing states to issue their own open-internet provisions, even as the federal government rolls back net neutrality rules. The decision could give New York new fuel to implement a broad array of internet protections.

A federal judge has struck down a sweeping state law pushed by the Cuomo administration in 2016 that required nonprofits engaging in lobbying to disclose far more information about their donors than previously called for.

Police divers, boats and helicopters yesterday were searching the water off Rockaway Beach, where the churning surf has long been a notorious site of drownings, looking for two missing teenage boys last seen in the ocean.

Both the volume of sales and the price of co-ops and condos in Manhattan fell sharply in the third quarter, thanks largely to higher transfer-tax rates for luxury apartments that took effect in July, though the decline was not limited to high-end sales, reaffirming that the balance of power has shifted to buyers.

States are taking the so-called “Amazon tax” sone step farther, imposing “marketplace” and “remote seller” taxes that allow collections on a wider range of internet sales, beyond those offered by giant e-retailers.

The Cuomo administration is appealing an arbitrator’s decision in the case of Chad Dominie, who was accused by three women of sexual harassment in state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities office in Glens Falls and pleaded guilty to a harassment violation, but was not fired.

At more than $179 million, Albany’s proposed 2020 general fund is growing slightly by one and a quarter percent. In her budget proposal, Mayor Kathy Sheehan once again laid out her case for $12.5 million in Capital City Funding from the state.

In 2020, the city of Saratoga Springs’ proposed budget is expected to grow another 2.4 percent. But by using a portion of the city’s savings, city taxpayers could see a slight decrease in their property taxes.

Schenectady’s $336.3 million tentative 2020 spending plan will keep taxes flat. The budget projects 2.9 million in casino revenues and relies on $6.3 million in fund balance or surplus monies – about $800,000 more than in the current budget.

When the Trump administration announced the strictest annual limits yet on the number of refugees that will be allowed entry into the U.S., leaders of Capital Region organizations that help with resettlement began to worry about families waiting to be reunited and whether funding for their programs will be cut.

UAlbany officials, along with members of law enforcement, elected officials, and experts in the field held a town hall with students to discuss the dangers of drinking and drug use.

SUNY Empire State College is launching a campaign to raise $1,000,000 to help veterans, military members and their families pay tuition.

Amsterdam High School was placed in a lockout yesterday morning after two male students allegedly posted on social media they were planning to “shoot up” the school in the afternoon. The students were taken into custody and charged with making a terrorist threat.

Violent crime in the City of Albany is down 10 percent from last year, according to officials with the police department. But Chief Eric Hawkins says he’s growing concerned about the demographics involved in recent crime.

On January 1, a number of criminal offenses will no longer qualify for bail, which is something police and prosecutors are not happy about when it comes to public safety.

A Latham man faces charges after his van struck St. Ambrose Church and School on Old Loudon Road yesterday afternoon, causing a lockdown at the school, Colonie police said.

New York City has banned the term “illegal alien” when used “with intent to demean, humiliate or harass a person as well as discrimination against someone based on their English proficiency and threats to call immigration authorities on someone “based on a discriminatory motive.”

Westfall Station Cafe — a restaurant open since September 2016 in the multi-use Westfall Village development off Route 43 in Averill Park — is closed, effective immediately, according to a note on Facebook.

New York’s Attorney general has joined 28 others to oppose a proposed bill through the consumer Financial Protection Bureau would authorize debt collects to use social media as a form of communication.

Nassau and Suffolk were the most fiscally stressed counties in New York in 2018, the state comptroller’s office said.

A longtime Mets fan is suing the team after he was knocked unconscious by a T-shirt cannon which nearly blinded him when it socked him in the face.

New Jersey has experienced its first vaping-related death, state health officials announced.

Hundreds of naturally red-haired people will assemble in Troy next week for an annual meeting and toast.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has filed a lawsuit against a British tabloid and its parent company over the publication of a private letter, according to her husband, Prince Harry – an unusually public rebuke of the British press by the royal family.

Reporters were sent scrambling yesterday after a mouse dropped out of the ceiling of NBC News’ booth in the press area of the White House — right onto correspondent Peter Alexander’s lap — and then made a mad dash through the briefing room.

Why, though?

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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