Good Monday morning, CivMixers. I hope the weekend was good to you.
There’s a freezing rain alert in place until noon today. Take some extra time on that morning commute, and be careful where you step this morning.
It’s going to be cloudy all day, with more showers likely in the afternoon, according to The Weather Channel, with the high temperature hovering around 37 degrees. Later tonight, expect the rain to turn into light snow, which will last through tomorrow morning. (The chance of precipitation: 100 percent).
When it comes to happenings…We get a break from the impeachment hearings today.
The action starts back up tomorrow with a marathon day of testimony from: Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert for the National Security Council; Jennifer Williams, Vice President Mike Pence; Kurt D. Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine; and Timothy Morrison, a Europe and Russia expert for the National Security Council.
The hearings have significantly raised the profile of Republican North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik, who emerged last week as a central figure on the Republican side of the House Intelligence Committee, and also a top antagonist of Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat.
Among those discussing Stefani and her Democratic opponent Tedra Cobb: Trump, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, model Chrissy Teigen and actor Zach Braff. Cobb is reporting $1 million in donations in just three days, with donors spanning the country and including Hollywood stars.
Trump praised Stefanik on Twitter, saying: “A new Republican Star is born.”
Stefanik was also named in Time magazine’s 100 Next List of next-generation leaders.
Meanwhile, another New York lawmaker, U.S. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, says the president should not voice his concerns about the impeachment hearings on Twitter but instead should appear before Congress to testify.
Others marking a big day: Journalist Megyn Kelly (49), actor Damon Wayans Jr. (37), author Margaret Atwood (80), baseball player David Ortiz (44), actress Chloë Sevigny (45) and actor Owen Wilson (51).
In other news…
When Kentucky’s GOP governor lost his bid for reelection two weeks ago despite President Trump’s active endorsement, the president and his allies brushed it off. Yesterday, a day after another Trump-backed GOP gubernatorial candidate fell in Louisiana, the president and his surrogates barely mounted a defense.
John Bel Edwards, a rare Democratic governor in the Deep South, received 51 percent of the votes in Louisiana Saturday, barely fending off a challenge from businessman Eddie Rispone, who aligned closely with the president.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo insists he is “at peace” with his decision not to enter the 2020 Democratic fray, even as others – former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick – are moving to launch late campaigns.
Ahead of a potential White House run, Bloomberg reversed his longstanding support of the aggressive “stop-and-frisk” policing strategy that he pursued for a decade and that led to the disproportionate stopping of black and Latino people across the city. “I was wrong,” he declared. “And I am sorry.”
“Our focus was on saving lives,” Bloomberg said during a speech at a black church in Brooklyn. “But the fact is: Far too many innocent people were being stopped.” The program was – and continues to be – a divisive issue in New York.
The Police Benevolent Association slammed Bloomberg over his apology, calling the stop-and-frisk practice city cops carried out for years a “misguided policy” that put officers in the line of fire. De Blasio, meanwhile, said his predecessor’s comments were “long-overdue” and called the timing of them “transparent and cynical.”
Syracuse University suspended all social activities at fraternities for the rest of the semester yesterday, after a string of racist and anti-Semitic incidents that have roiled campus, prompting student protests, boycotts and sit-ins.
A plane with Hillary Clinton aboard was reportedly grounded at LaGuardia Airport Sunday afternoon after suffering an unknown mechanical issue on the tarmac.
Four people were fatally shot and six others wounded after at least one gunman opened fire on a backyard party in Fresno, Calif., yesterday, the authorities said. All 10 of the victims were Asian men between 25 and 30 years old, but several children were at the party.
The 16-year-old boy who allegedly shot five fellow students — killing two — before turning the gun on himself at a Southern California high school, died on Friday. His motive for the shooting remains a mystery.
Under pressure from his political advisers and lobbyists to factor in the potential pushback from his supporters, Trump has resisted moving forward with any action on vaping, while saying he still wants to study the issue.
WeWork is preparing to cut at least 4,000 people from its work force as it tries to stabilize itself after the company’s breakneck growth racked up heavy losses and led it to the brink of collapse, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
In a rare public appearance to pick up an award, the woman who accused U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault – Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University – said she had a responsibility to come forward.
Five women used Jeffrey Epstein’s estate last week, accusing him of rape, battery and false imprisonment and seeking unspecified damages. They hope to build momentum for changing the statute of limitations in New York and elsewhere for civil claims stemming from sex crimes, which are under growing scrutiny across the U.S.
With sweeping court reforms set to begin in New York state next year, New York City officials will spend millions ensuring thousands of defendants freed through the elimination of cash bail will return for their hearings.
Warren County’s Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on Friday asking for more time or more exceptions to the cash bail reforms that eliminate bail for most misdemeanors and Class E felonies.
The NYT editorial board weighs in: “Experience elsewhere and ample research show that there is no reason to believe New York’s reforms will lead to mayhem, or endanger the public…Prosecutors and police unions trying to thwart the will of the voters and undermine the public’s trust in long-overdue reforms should instead get to work making the change.”
JCOPE is facing a significant challenge. Although the panel has reached a series of high-profile settlements with donors to the de Blasio lobbying charity, a target of the inquiry is fighting back with a lawsuit, arguing the investigations are based on an illegal premise.
Schumer called on bargain stores to stop selling Chinese-made over-the-counter medications that may contain harmful ingredients.
Randy Santos was videotaped bludgeoning four homeless men to death, the police have said. He said in an interview that he only recalls collecting bottles that night.
Right-wing agitator group the Proud Boys plastered New York City with banners promoting their controversial club yesterday morning, prompting outrage from Cuomo, who was labeled “Fredo” by one posting.
Despite calls for transparency in its formation of Manhattan’s congestion-pricing plan, the MTA claims the powerful committee that will propose the tolls is not covered under the state’s Open Meetings Law — and can operate in secret.
Three pro-life organizations – the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, CompassCare Pregnancy Services, and the First Bible Baptist Church, a church in the suburb of Rochester – are suing the state over the “Boss Bill,” a law designed to prevent employers from discriminating against employees over their reproductive health decisions.
The state IG’s office, which had hidden its investigation this year into allegations that Cuomo had improperly received details on the private deliberations of the JCOPE, does not consistently issue public reports on its work, selectively posting some of its reports, but shielding others.
Chris Churchill says he “takes no satisfaction” in the fact that GOP operative Roger Stone was found guilty of lying, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The parents of the Cornell freshman, Antonio Tsialas, 18, who was found dead in a campus gorge, are reportedly offering $10,000 for information into their son’s death.
A woman’s body was found yesterday morning on the side of the road on the west side of Great Sacandaga Lake, just south of Northville. in what police determined to be a hit-and-run accident in Fulton County.
Albany police are investigating two shootings that happened over the weekend in which victims were hit with birdshot.
Two organizations that support military personnel on active duty have put out a call for volunteers.
Cuomo and Attorney General Tish James have announced an expanded lawsuit against the International Joint Commission, for “failing to implement its flood protocol for the Moses-Saunders Power Dam,” which can be used to help regulate the level of water in Lake Ontario.
State police say a 20-year-old man has died after a member of his hunting party accidentally shot him in central New York yesterday – the second day of regular big game season in the state’s Southern Zone.
The Ithaca College versus SUNY Cortland 61st Cortaca Jug game at MetLife Stadium this past weekend became the most-attended football game in Division III history, with 45,161 fans watching Ithaca defeat Cortland, 32-20. The game averages about 10,000 fans when it is played on one of the schools’ campuses.
The Tri-City ValleyCats appear to be keeping their affiliation with Major League Baseball under MLB’s plan to reduce the number of minor-league teams.
After a year and a half with WNYT, meteorologist Greg Pollak is leaving. His last day will be Nov. 29. He’s headed to Texas, where he has accepted a position at WOAI/KABB in San Antonio.
A sexually charged sketch in the latest “Saturday Night Live” episode has resulted in Instagram trolls flooding the official Sara Lee Bread account with some saucy comments. But when contacted by The NY Post, the baking company said it was taking the situation in stride.
Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight, singer and musician Alison Krauss and mystery writer James Patterson are among the artists and philanthropists being honored by Trump for their contributions to the arts or the humanities – the first recipients of prestigious national medals since the president took office.
Photo credit: George Fazio.