Rise and Shine: Oct. 28, 2019

We’re back at Monday, CivMixers. And it’s Halloween week!

It’s going to be mostly cloudy for your commute this morning, and then only partly cloudy this afternoon. After all the rain we saw yesterday, we’re getting a bit of a reprieve. Clear skies are in the forecast, according to The Weather Channel, with temperatures in the low 60s.

It’s National First Responders Day, which is something that resonates with me personally, given the number of cops – both current and former – in my family. Also, it’s National Immigrants Day and National Chocolate Day.

An excuse to eat chocolate? Yes, please.

A number of famous people are celebrating birthdays today, including Microsoft founder-turned-philanthropist Bill Gates (63), reality star Caitlyn Jenner (69), actress Julia Roberts (51), and actor Joaquin Phoenix, who’s having a moment as “The Joker” (44).

On this day in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York Harbor by President Cleveland. The statue weighs 225 tons and is 152 feet tall. It was originally known as “Liberty Enlightening the World.”

Also today, in 1919, Congress enacted the Volstead Act, also known as the National Prohibition Act. Prohibition was repealed in 1933 with the passing of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In the news now…

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the shadowy leader of the Islamic State group who presided over its global jihad and became arguably the world’s most wanted man, is dead after being targeted by a U.S. military raid in Syria, President Donald Trump said yesterday.

Trump said al-Baghdadi was chased to the end of an underground tunnel, “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way” as he was pursued by American military dogs. He blew up himself and three children by detonating a suicide vest.

Trump was greeted with a Bronx cheer at the World Series in Washington D.C. last night, as the crowd booed the commander in chief and some chanted, “Lock him up.”

Democratic California Rep. Katie Hill announced her resignation yesterday after a string of reports shining a negative light on her personal life, including a reported affair with her legislative director that sparked a House Ethics Committee investigation.

The legislative director whose alleged affair with Hill spurred the Ethics probe against the now-former lawmaker said his fellow staffers’ “lives are ruined” following his boss’s resignation.

RIP John Conyers Jr., an advocate of liberal causes for five decades and the longest-serving African-American in the history of Congress, who died at his home in Detroit yesterday at the age of 90.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders insists he feels better than ever less than a month after heart surgery, but his return to the campaign trail this week sparked new questions about the unusually old age of the Democratic Party’s leading 2020 presidential candidates.

Worry gave way to panic across a huge swath of Northern California, as officials ordered more people to leave because of the Kincade fire, bringing the number of residents under mandatory evacuation to 180,000. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency.

UK police have charged a truck driver with 39 counts of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people in connection with 39 deaths in the back of the truck he was driving in southeastern England.

Marty Connor, a former Democratic leader of the state Senate with ties to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is aiding a primary campaign by Justin Potter to oust Deputy Senate Majority Leader Mike Gianaris.

Cuomo announced new efforts Saturday to push for national gun control measures with a “Make America Safer” campaign, which looks to curb gun violence through a four-point plan.

Powerful Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake is a tax deadbeat, according to government filings that show he owes at least $25,000 to the state and feds.

Bronx Councilman Andy King is promising a court fight if the NYC Council votes today to kick him out of office following an ethics committee report that found he had abused the power of his office. He held a news conference outlining his virtues.

In a text message to his colleagues last night, King said he is battling a “campaign…to lynch me.”

After the Child Victims Act comes the Adult Survivors Act, a new bill that would create a one-year window that would allow adults to revive old sex-crime accusations and bring them to court.

Reps. Nydia Velazquez, Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney are introducing federal legislation to ban non-essential choppers within NYC airspace like the ones used for sightseeing tours.

Opening day for the Wegmans located at the Brooklyn Navy Yard drew big crowds.

Some 1.5 million packages are delivered every day in NYC by Amazon and other online services – a push for convenience that is having a profound impact on gridlock, roadway safety and pollution.

As early voting began on Saturday, voters in New York City were offered a ballot question to decide whether to implement ranked-choice voting in primaries and special elections.

Supporters say early voting will increase turnout and alter campaign strategy in New York.

More than 2,800 Capital Region residents cast their ballots this weekend as New York ushered in early voting.

By 12:30 p.m. Saturday, a NYC Board of Elections spokeswoman said early voting was going “well” and more than 4,000 people had shown up to participate.

In New York, scientists and officials are calling for residents and companies to do their part to combat insect populations threatened by climate change, with projects as ambitious as a rooftop meadow and as simple as choosing native plants for home window boxes.

NYPD officers fatally shot a Brooklyn T-shirt vendor in a nail salon on Friday after he used a chair to hit an officer who was trying to arrest another man, officials said.

…The officer, who was hit on the head during the altercation, was hospitalized in critical but stable condition, officials said.

East Harlem residents welcome a plan to extend the Second Avenue Subway, but they’re worried it might change the neighborhood.

Two New York landlords with large portfolios of rent-regulated apartments are behind on payments on more than $200 million in real-estate loans, a sign that new state rent laws are starting to hurt investors.

New York’s insurance regulator said it is launching an investigation into a UnitedHealth Group algorithm that a study found prioritized care for healthier white patients over sicker black patients.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio joined religious leaders and other officials at a special service at a Midtown synagogue yesterday to mark the first anniversary of the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh.

Over the past decade, the yearly attendance and annual budget of Proctors have both more than doubled, making the Schenectady-based arts organization a colossus in the local cultural scene.

More than four years after the ingenious escape of two convicted murderers from Clinton Correctional Facility, employees at state prisons have continued smuggling contraband into the lockups despite the heightened security measures that followed the incident.

State Police are investigating after a reported shooting early yesterday morning during a party being held in Copake, Columbia County.

A Binghamton-area man was busted early yesterday after calling in a crank bomb threat to Trump Tower in Manhattan.

Opponents of incumbents in the city of Saratoga Springs’ key November races are alleging a pay-to-play atmosphere after people connected to Saratoga Hospital have contributed at least $8,000 to re-election campaigns amid the hospital seeking approval for its Morgan Street expansion.

Lionheart Pub, the iconic Madison Avenue, Albany watering hole, will be expanding with a new second-floor brewery, the Lark Street Business Improvement District announced.

Two lawsuits filed this year against Cuomo’s administration argue that state health officials bypassed the public and legislature in moving to slash hundreds of millions of Medicaid dollars for elderly and disabled people.

Top officials at the State Education Department just can’t quit fast enough. The latest to bolt: Interim Commissioner Beth Berlin, who announced her resignation this month after just weeks at the helm.

Ian Walsh Reilly, president of the esteemed Metropolitan Republican Club who once invited the founder of the controversial Proud Boys to speak, claims he’s been slandered by a politician and pundits as a member of the far-right group.

An assisted living facility in Guilderland with a history of Legionnaires’ outbreaks has been ordered not to admit new residents after state testing found legionella bacteria still present on the property.

The owner of a Ballston Spa apartment complex, who is supporting Republican Milton town Supervisor Scott Ostrander for re-election in November, sought to have two supporters of Ostrander’s political opponent arrested for attempting to leave campaign flyers for residents.

Schenectady-area legislators this weekend unveiled a new pedestrian trail named for longtime local GOP leader Jim Buhrmaster, who died in July.

Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos could lose his title as world’s richest man to the guy who held it for two dozen years – his Seattle-area neighbor Bill Gates – after the e-commerce giant’s lower-than-expected third quarter results thumped its shares.

Sports fans from across New York attended Rivers Casino & Resorts’ first-ever Sports Betting Expo Saturday afternoon.

In the current tight labor market, ski areas across the country are having a tough time filling jobs, so they’re upping the ante by boosting wages, providing more housing and offering other perks to fill those jobs before the snow flies.

NYRA cancelled its live racing program at Belmont Park yesterday following the first race due to reduced visibility caused by high winds and torrential rainfall forecast to impact Long Island throughout the day.

Local lawmakers of both parties expressed support for a proposal to require school districts across the state to screen young students for dyslexia, an unexpected struggle with basic reading skills.

Halloween drivers can expect to see an increase in sobriety checkpoints and DWI patrols.

Snow on Halloween??? It’s possible.

After three years of cutting costs and diverting resources from its solar energy products while it focused on the rollout of the Model 3 electric vehicle, Tesla once again is paying attention to its shriveled solar business.

Dennis Whited, a senior master technician at Saratoga Ford, is serving on the Ford Technician Review Panel – a national position.

Two Clifton Park residents are facing charges after being accused of doing “donuts” on two Shenendehowa school fields and damaging them, Saratoga County Sheriff’s officials said.

The body of a missing Cornell University student was recovered from Fall Creek by Ithaca Falls. The death of 18-year old Antonio Tsialas is under investigation, but foul play is not suspected.

Pope Francis is considering reversing a ban on celibacy in the priesthood in limited circumstances because of a chronic shortage of priests in the Amazon rain forest.

RIP Paul Barrere, guitarist and singer for the long-running rock group Little Feat, who has died at 71, the band announced.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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