Rise and Shine: Oct. 31, 2019

Happy Halloween, CivMixers! (The Google Doodle today is very cute).

If you are planning on going the semi-traditional route and trick-or-treating outside, you might want to incorporate something waterproof into that costume. There’s an 80 percent chance of rain today. On the plus side, it’s going to be quite warm: Hitting a high of 70 degrees (?!), according to The Weather Channel.

So, the upshot: Wet, but not cold. That’s half the battle, right? There might, however, be some thunderstorms around later on in the evening – around 10 p.m. or so. Be aware of that if you’re out late.

Also, depending on where you are upstate, there could be flash flooding. There’s also a high wind warning in Western New York, which could cause power outages.

Just be careful.

Singer Willow Smith is a Halloween baby; she’s turning 19. Also celebrating today are the following Scorpios: Lord Of The Rings trilogy director Peter Jackson (58), Gilmore Girls actress Vanessa Marano (27), rapper Vanilla Ice (52), actress Piper Perabo (43), and newsman Dan Rather (88).

Actor John Candy was born on this day in 1950, and died in 1994. Also born today in 1451: Explorer Christopher Columbus, who died in 1506.

It’s a big day in D.C., where member of the House are scheduled to vote on a Democratic resolution mapping out rules for public hearings in the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, after weeks of Republicans criticizing the inquiry for holding closed-door meetings in the basement of the Capitol.

The resolution lays out five key aspects of committee procedures going forward, including detailing how the House Intelligence Committee will actually conduct public hearings, who will get to ask questions, and saying that the House Judiciary Committee will be in charge of advancing articles of impeachment — if and when the time comes.

Today’s vote, which is about process, is expected to pass along party lines, though observers will be looking for defectors. Pursuant to the vote, public, televised hearings could begin as early as Nov. 12.

Also today, the trio of committees investigating Trump’s dealings with Ukraine have another private deposition with a National Security Council official: Timothy Morrison, whose departure from the NSC as senior director for Europe and Russia was announced on the eve of his testimony.

As the broadening impeachment investigation encroaches on the West Wing, more White House aides are grappling with the prospect of retaining expensive Washington lawyers to protect themselves from the fallout.

The vote series on the impeachment inquiry resolution is expected to start around 10:30 a.m., but getting to the actual vote could take a little longer, considering debate and procedural motions.

The vote, like all House votes, will be streamed live on CSPAN, which you can watch online at https://www.c-span.org/.

House impeachment investigators yesterday summoned John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, and two top White House lawyers to testify next week in their inquiry into Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine, closing in on critical witnesses as they prepare to go public with their investigation.

In other news…

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the social media platform will no longer take political ads, a major step as tech companies work to deal with misinformation ahead of the 2020 election. The ban will go into place in November.

Despite promising growth as high as 6 percent, Trump presided over an economy that grew at just 1.9 percent in the third quarter — a figure that the president said signaled an economy “in deep trouble” when it happened under his predecessor.

A bitter fight over funding for border fencing is imperiling Capitol Hill efforts to forge progress on more than $1.4 trillion worth of overdue spending bills, one of the few areas in which divided government in Washington has been able to deliver results in the Trump era.

A former New York City taxi magnate who contends his cooperation with authorities helped lead to the indictment of Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen and “the naming of the president of the United States as an unindicted co-conspirator” was sentenced to five years of probation for felony tax fraud.

A bipartisan group of more than 40 House lawmakers announced legislation that would allow thousands of undocumented farm workers a path to legal status, in exchange for farms’ mandatory participation in a system to verify employee immigration status.

Former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden’s lead over Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head presidential race has plummeted, according to a new poll, though he remains ahead of the commander in chief.

California Sen. Kamala Harris took her most drastic action yet to salvage her once-promising, now-languishing 2020 presidential bid, laying off staff members at her Baltimore headquarters and elsewhere, and redeploying others to Iowa, where she is looking to rejuvenate her campaign.

The Washington Nationals are the latest World Series champs, beating the Houston Astros in an extended Game 7 last night.

The medical examiner who ruled Jeffrey Epstein’s death a suicide immediately pushed back against the suggestion by a longtime forensic pathologist hired by Epstein’s family that some of the evidence indicates homicide.

The Troy mayor’s race entered its final week reinvigorated by the return of the Republican candidate Tom Reale, who’s expected to pull voters away from minor party candidate Rodney Wiltshire, the other challenger to incumbent Democratic Mayor Patrick Madden.

Joe Ruggiero, now a candidate for Dutchess County executive, is the former executive director of the state Bridge Authority, and received a $58,600 severance payout in March after he voluntarily resigned his position to run for elected office.

A concerned citizen called the MTA after seeing several unattended packages at the Metro-North New Rochelle Station. They turned out to contain replacement parts or equipment for a Help Point system, which helps train passengers call in suspicious packages or communicate on other matters.

As the state invests in tourist attractions in the Adirondack Park, four nonprofit organizations are calling for an investment ($10 million for infrastructure, visitor outreach and capacity studies) to address overuse, as well as more forest rangers.

Some state lawmakers want to stiffen the penalties for assaulting a sports official with a bill that would increase legal protections for officials who are harassed or assaulted on the job.

New York City and its suburbs aren’t building enough housing to keep pace with job growth, exacerbating the region’s affordability crisis and threatening future economic growth, a NYC Planning Department study argues.

A bankruptcy court judge in Poughkeepsie is expected to rule today on the fate of the famed retailer Barneys. It’s a decision that could have repercussions far from the corner of 61st and Madison in Manhattan.

Two months after a fatal elevator accident in Manhattan, a state audit by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office revealed that the NYC Department of Buildings has not done elevator re-inspections.

City Council members overwhelmingly approved Speaker Corey Johnson’s $1.7 billion blueprint for reducing the number of cars on New York City streets.

The Council also approved a sweeping package of animal-rights bills that include banning the sale of the controversial French delicacy foie gras beginning in 2022 and further tightening regulations on the horse carriage industry.

“New York is the mecca of dining in the world. How is it possible that New York doesn’t have foie gras?” said Marco Moreira, executive chef and owner of Tocqueville, an acclaimed French restaurant near Union Square, which offers an appetizer of foie gras from the Hudson Valley. “What’s next? No more veal? No more mushrooms?”

A trial is set to begin this week in New York Supreme Court in a case in which an Italian family has accused Christie’s, the auction house, of selling a pink 34.65 carats diamond known as “the Princie” despite accusations that it had been stolen.

An online fundraising campaign, launched the day after former NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo was suspended from the force in August over the death of Eric Garner, has raised $173,740 from more than 3,400 donors — and has been shared 24,000 times.

Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins has a message for the city’s understaffed dispatch center – relief is coming soon.

The Saratoga County Conservative Party is asking its registered voters to change their vote come Election Day, which is next Tuesday.

The City School District of Albany is asking families to be cautious after a suspicious incident involving a 12-year-old boy earlier this week.

Cascade Tissue Group is shutting down one of its departments at its Waterford plant, leaving 95 people out of work.

According to Mechanicville’s superintendent, 106 students called out sick yesterday, and 38 of them had a stomach ailment. Staff spent the afternoon cleaning and disinfecting classrooms, cafeteria tables, water fountains and bathrooms.

A garage fire on a property behind Central Park Middle School in Schenectady yesterday morning prompted an evacuation of the school, officials said. No injuries were reported in the garage fire and all students returned to class.

An expansion has been announced for the Project Lifesaver program in Schenectady County, which may one day eliminate the need for all-out, massive, multi-agency searches for missing children with autism.

For the second time this month, Troy gang member Jeffrey Walker has dodged an attempted murder charge, but was convicted this time on an assault charge stemming from the same shooting incident.

General Electric stock prices surged 11.5 percent yesterday after release of the company’s third-quarter earnings report, in which analysts saw glimpses of progress in the company’s turnaround efforts.

State Supreme Court Judge Richard Kupferman this week affirmed the lawsuit settlement agreement that will return ownership of the former Sherman’s Amusement Park to Gloversville-based attorney George Abdella.

The Remsen Street restaurant scene in Cohoes continues to grow, with Anthony’s Italian Restaurant being developed for what looks like an opening later this year.

Litter, damage to canoes, foraging on the forest floor and other messes made by visitors are among the list of reasons the owners of the Dippikill Wilderness Retreat in Warren County have closed it for use by the general public.

Massachusetts health officials say a second state resident has died from a vaping-related lung illness.

After being ordered by management to stick to sports, Deadspin reporters quit en masse.

Ben McGrath, a staff writer for The New Yorker, has a story in the Oct. 21 issue of the magazine about the seventh annual meeting of the League of Extraordinary Red Heads, held Oct. 8 at the Troy bar Ryan’s Wake. The club was founded by Troy PR man Duncan Crary.

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. faces a new accuser and new charges in his New York City sexual misconduct case, his lawyer said, and is due in court today.

A a decorated sex-crimes detective in the NYPD was stripped of his shield and gun and placed on administrative duty for leaking Gooding’s mug shot to an entertainment website in June.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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