While You Were Out: Oct. 30, 2019

Good Tuesday evening, CivMixers. A lovely late fall evening…too bad (for the trick-or-treaters among you, anyway) it’s not going to stay that way.

Some headlines…

House impeachment investigators have summoned John Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, and two other top White House officials for depositions next week, according to a person familiar with the notices. The letters took the form of voluntary requests, rather than subpoenas.

A State Department Foreign Service officer is telling House impeachment investigators that Bolton cautioned him that Rudy Giuliani “was a key voice with the president on Ukraine” and could complicate U.S. goals in the Eastern European country.

House Democrats, who for weeks resisted a formal floor vote on their impeachment inquiry into Trump, have united decisively behind the idea, a striking shift that reflects their growing confidence that the public supports their fact-finding mission into the president’s dealings with Ukraine.

A new Siena Research Institute poll talked to voters across six battleground states, and found that by 52 to 44 percent, voters oppose impeaching and removing Trump from office.

Dangerous Santa Ana winds were whipping Southern California as a new wildfire broke out near the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

The Chicago teachers strike has cancelled classes for a 10th day in the nation’s third-largest school district.

The average eighth-grade reading score on a nationally representative test declined among public school students in more than half of the states, according to data released today by the National Center for Education Statistics, the research arm of the Education Department.

Trump tweeted a mocked-up photo of him presenting a medal to Conan, the hero US Army dog who chased down ISIS fiend Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi moments before he detonated a suicide vest.

A Pennsylvania judge has struck down three gun control ordinances enacted by the City of Pittsburgh after the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue last year, saying that state law prevented the city from regulating firearms.

A forensic pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s brother said that evidence suggested Epstein did not die by suicide while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, but may have been strangled.

A loaded semiautomatic handgun and badge were stolen last month from the personal vehicle of a longtime deputy fire administrator for the New York Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services. He remains on duty, but is facing disciplinary charges as a result.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a “total mischaracterization” of the facts when he claimed that subway crime was on the upswing, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived at Manhattan Supreme Court this morning for his expected testimony at a trial that the New York Attorney General’s Office brought against ExxonMobil for allegedly hiding from investors the financial costs of climate change.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shumer is calling for a federal response to keep children safe while they board or depart school buses, and also called out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for not releasing data or recommendations following an investigation back in 2015.

State lawmakers have introduced a bill that would require restaurants to allow customers to bring in their own reusable food and drink containers. It’s called the Right to Refill Act.

The NYC Department of Transportation will temporarily turn two lanes of traffic on Fifth Avenue between 48th Street and 51st Street into concrete barrier-protected walking zones to make room for the popular shopping strip’s 20,000 pedestrians-per-hour crowds.

A bill proposed in by Brooklyn state Sen. Kevin Parker would give New York prisoners the right to vote — and, unsurprisingly, it’s stirring controversy among state lawmakers.

Albany Medical Center nurses picketed again today outside the hospital with their union representatives to call for a fair contract that contains safe staffing provisions.

The state DOT has already started preparing for winter weather. Teams of maintenance staff and mechanics have been training and getting the equipment ready for months. They have several pieces of equipment including snowplow trucks, a tow plow, and a loader-snowblower.

In a tweet, the Albany Empire says it has suspended open auditions and tryouts following recent news that AFL business operations are closing.

New York State Electric and Gas crews today were investigating a power outage that left 4,500 customers without service Wednesday in southern Saratoga County.

Six clients of Saratoga Bridges, a local organization that helps the disabled, spent nearly an hour stuck on a bus that nearly rolled onto its side in a ditch this morning.

Rosanna’s, a forthcoming Italian restaurant in Albany’s Center Square neighborhood being developed by the owners of the across-the-street Dove + Deer, has encountered delays during renovation of historic building and is now looking at opening in January or February instead of late fall.

As a nine-member commission irons out a new statewide publicly funded election system, New York’s top election enforcement official, Risa Sugarman, believes those powers should stay in an office similar to her current post. One major difference: a new “State Office of Election Law Enforcement.”

The Capital Region has some of the worst drivers in the state, according to a company called QuoteWizard. (More here).

An Ellis Medicine doctor is a member of the state’s new Maternal Mortality Review Board tasked with investigating the cause of each maternal death in the state.

Two name-brand comedians – Gabriel Iglesias and Howie Mandel – have booked shows in the Capital Region during the first half of 2020.

Police in Troy are again asking the public to assist them in solving a September homicide.

A number of communities are switching up Halloween plans due to inclement weather in the forecast.

Alex Trebek has joined forces with the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition for a new public service announcement. The Jeopardy! Host, who is battling the disease, says he wishes he knew about the symptoms sooner.

Coco the miracle dog’s fame continues.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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