While You Were Out: Oct. 3, 2019

Happy almost-Friday, CivMixers. It’s chilly out there. And busy. Very busy. Here’s a smattering of the stories that made headlines today as I battled traffic in NYC…

President Trump, already facing impeachment for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, publicly called on China to examine former Vice President Joe Biden as well, an extraordinary request to a foreign power for help that could benefit him in next year’s election.

House investigators today privately questioned Kurt Volker, the State Department’s former special envoy for Ukraine, interviewing the first witness in their growing impeachment inquiry into whether Trump tried to bend American policy for his own political benefit.

Attorneys for victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history say they’ve reached a settlement to resolve lawsuits that’s expected to pay between $735 million and $800 million.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted that he’s “feeling good” after heart surgery, and used his situation to reiterate his call for “Medicare for All.”

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 campaign apparently sent dinner to the Sanders campaign headquarters in Washington, D.C. after her primary rival underwent heart surgery.

Sanders should be able to return home by the end of this weekend and will participate in the next Democratic debate, his wife, Jane Sanders, said.

A law firm hired by the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2016 amid the sprawling “Buffalo Billion” investigation received a $1.2 million contract extension in February. It’s now being used to pay the pricey legal bills for an FBI investigation of the Executive Chamber’s hiring practices.

New York’s ban on the sale of flavored vaping products, also known as e-cigarettes, won’t take effect tomorrow after a state appellate court granted a request from an industry group to delay implementation of the rule.

Embattled lawyer Michael Avenatti is suing his ex-client Stormy Daniels for $2 million in legal fees from their infamous “hush agreement” lawsuit against Trump.

After a winding legislative process, NYC veterans will for the first time have a dedicated agency to rely on, with the official launch tomorrow of the Department of Veterans’ Services.

Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has lost a longshot bid to move his sexual assault trial out of New York City.

A jury convicted members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods after the flamboyant rapper Tekashi69 (AKA Daniel Hernandez) testified about their crimes.

A federal court ruling paving the way for a supervised drug injection site in Philadelphia may spur action in New York.

Cameron Collins, the son of former Rep. Chris Collins, and father of the younger Collins’ fiance, Stephen Zarsky, both pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Each faces up to five years in prison.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — a standard-bearer of the progressive left — is opposing the de Blasio administration’s plan to replace Rikers Island with four borough-based jails, as the NYC Council prepares to vote on the controversial proposal later this month.

New Yorkers think the country’s political climate is more divided than ever, according to a new Siena poll.

Niagara Wheatfield High School’s handling of rape charges against a star lacrosse player, who was allowed to attend classes with his accuser, sparked a fierce debate over whether administrators are equipped to address what some experts say is an epidemic of sexual misconduct and assaults by teens across the nation.

The sentencing of a man who killed Khalil Barnes last year was postponed after he told a judge he wanted to fire his attorney.

TU columnist Chris Churchill does not approve of Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin’s Twitter habits.

A portrait of the passengers aboard the doomed World War II-era airplane began to emerge a day after the plane crashed at a Connecticut airport, killing seven.

California’s foie gras ban put the state’s only foie farm out of business. New York farmers worry the same will happen to them as a result of a bill under consideration by the NYC Council.

Joel Giambra, a former Erie County executive consulting for a Kenmore-based wholesale e-cigarette distributor, has asked Cuomo for an in-person meeting to find a “better solution to managing the vape industry” rather than the outright ban of flavored e-cigarettes.

A climate march and rally will be held in front of the Executive Mansion in Albany tomorrow.

A former Watkins Glen teen who has spent almost two decades in prison for killing his high school classmate will have his first parole hearing in the middle of October, and the Schuyler County DA said members of the public have expressed overwhelming opposition to a potential early release.

It seems highly unlikely that Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, who is running for a third term, will get the controversial 16 percent salary increase he wants and included in his latest budget proposal.

Pizza Hut is celebrating National Pizza Month by giving away free pizzas every day in October.

Newsday is selling its freebie commuter paper amNewYork to Schneps Media, relinquishing its last toehold in the five boroughs as it concentrates on its core Long Island audience.

The first woman to become a four-star general in the U.S. military will be honored with an award at West Point on Oct. 10.

Congratulations to Susan Arbetter, who will soon take over as host of “Capital Tonight.”

Niskayuna High School grad Marc LaBelle and his Los Angeles-based band Dirty Honey are riding high on Billboard with “When I’m Gone,” a hard-crunching, classic-sounding metal song now perched at number one on the mainstream rock chart.

…this marks the first time an unsigned band has hit the top in the chart’s four decades.

Dirty Honey, still unsigned, is now on tour, opening for prog-metal band Alter Bridge and Christian-metal band Skillet.

The state Department of Transportation will close two left lanes on the southbound side of the Northway between 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday between exits 15 to 13 to facilitate pavement repairs.

Photo credit: Silvia Lilly.

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