While You Were Out: Oct. 14, 2019

If you had off from work and/or school today, CivMixers, well, I hope you made the most of what was a beautiful fall day.

I mean, I really hope you got out there and lived your BEST LIFE, climbing all the mountains and eating all the apple cider doughnuts, or maybe just sitting on your porch or on a park bench somewhere, soaking up all that October sun and feeling the good vibes of a day all to yourself.

For the rest of us working stiffs – those of us who toil in relative obscurity for hours on end, barely seeing the light of day – all I can say is: We made it through another Monday. Phew.

In the news…

Roughly five miles from the nation’s largest Christopher Columbus celebration, hundreds gathered yesterday and today on Randalls Island to celebrate indigenous people at an event that has become part of a larger conversation about how New York City should honor controversial historical figures.

Meanwhile, as the annual Columbus Day Parade kicked off in Manhattan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the city will be getting a statue of Mother Cabrini, and Albany will pay for it.

Cuomo said a state commission will work with the Columbus Citizens Foundation, the Diocese of Brooklyn and others to site and fund the new statue.

Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former top Russia and Europe adviser, met with House impeachment investigators today prepared to testify that she and other officials objected strenuously to the removal of the ambassador to Ukraine, only to be disregarded.

Police officers in the Westchester County town of Greenburgh will not face criminal prosecution in the 2017 death of a Yonkers man, Attorney General Letitia James’s office said.

The Fort Worth, Texas police officer who shot and killed a 28-year-old woman as she was playing video games with her nephew in her home resigned only hours before he was going to be fired, the authorities said.

The White House said Trump “strongly condemns” a gruesome fake video that depicts him shooting members of the news media and political rivals, which was shown at his Florida resort, though he had not yet seen it and planned to do so “shortly.”

NYT reporters Maggie Haberman, Astead Herndon, Jonathan Martin, Alex Burns, Lisa Lerer and Patrick Healy hosted an online preview chat about tomorrow night’s Democratic debate.

Former Vice President Joe Biden unveiled an ethics plan that directly targets Trump, accusing him of creating the “most corrupt administration in modern history.” It’s a sign the Democratic presidential candidate is ramping up his defense ahead of the fourth Democratic debate in Ohio.

U.S. troops scrambled for Syria’s exits today while the Trump administration threatened economic penalties on Turkey for an invasion that opened the door to a resurgence of the Islamic State group – the fighters who were the reason U.S. forces came in the first place.

The state Department of Motor Vehicles says it has launched an inquiry into allegations that the Mavis Discount Tire shop on Broadway in Saratoga Springs faked brake repairs and did an illegal inspection of the stretch Ford Excursion limo that crashed last year in Schoharie, killing 20 people.

Utility National Grid, under pressure from state regulators, announced it will re-connect nearly 1,000 customers in the downstate region amid an investigation and fines threatened by New York officials.

Kat Sullivan, a former Emma Willard student whose alleged rape by a teacher at the school prompted her to push for passage of the state’s Child Victims Act, said she’s donating a billboard she rented for the cause to the family of Edson Thevinin, shot and killed by a Troy police sergeant in 2016.

The lawsuit filed by the family of Darryl Mount Jr., the 21-year-old Malta who died after he fled Saratoga Springs police six years ago, is likely to be resolved in the coming months, a lawyer involved in the case said.

Driver’s license applicants in New York will soon have the option of taking a required five-hour training and instruction course online, despite safety concerns raised by driving schools in jeopardy of losing business for their in-person classes.

With California this month agreeing to ban its sale, environmentalists in New York are renewing their call for Cuomo to sign a bill that would eliminate the agricultural use of chlorpyrifos, an insecticide that came into heavy use after DDT was banned in the 1970s.

The New York State Nurses Association intends to file a lawsuit tomorrow in federal court that alleges Albany Medical Center has effectively forced hundreds of Filipino nurses to continue working there under threat of severe harm.

The Working Families Party, which once supported the man Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated in a primary, former Rep. Joe Crowley, is now supporting her as she faces a primary challenge from Democratic NYC Councilman Fernando Carbrera.

Some Democratic state senators are hoping to add extra provisions to the Child Victims Act to help alleged victims who they say cannot achieve justice under the current law.

At a time when polls permeate the national dialogue, The Marist Poll in Poughkeepsie has created an online educational platform. The aim is to address some of the most misunderstood and misreported aspects of polling.

New York’s political contribution limits – some of the most lax in the country – could become more restrictive in the near future thanks to a commission charged with establishing a statewide taxpayer-funded campaign system.

The commission spent over four hours today discussing how to implement a matching small donor public campaign finance system for statewide races. They reached consensus on a few issues that give an indication of how the final proposal, due in December, might look.

Les Plaine, age 65, has spent about 50 hours a week operating his family ‘s bicycle retail business, Plaine and Son at 1816 State St., since he was maybe 30 — approximately 91,000 hours of his adult life, but the stalwart city business won’t quite make it to its 75th birthday.

As New York continues to roll out 2016 legislation boosting the state hourly minimum wage to $15, a number of Capital Region colleges, including Skidmore, rely on an exception enabling non-profit educational institutions to continue paying student-workers at a rate below the state standard. The students want a raise.

Time is running out if you filed an extension on your 2018 tax return. The deadline to file is tomorrow (Oct. 15). If you’re on track to miss that deadline, prepare to pay a five percent failure to file penalty.

The second location of Albany’s 116-year-old Orchard Tavern will open this Friday. Called Orchard Tavern West and announced in May, it has taken the former Dorato’s Restaurant and Pub space in Guilderland’s Star Plaza.

Journalist Ray Suarez, a 14-year veteran of the “PBS NewsHour,” will serve as the interim host of WMHT’s statewide political report “New York Now” beginning with this week’s episode.

A group of adorable kittens will be looking for a home after being rescued overnight in Albany.

Maybe soda isn’t the devil after all?

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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