Rise and Shine: Nov. 25, 2019

Good morning, CivMixers, and welcome to this foreshortened Thanksgiving holiday week!

A lot of folks’ thoughts have already turned to turkey (and football?). Area supermarkets were off the hook this past weekend, filled with shoppers stocking up for the big meal. In a completely unscientific survey, I spotted a lot of canned yams and pre-made pie crusts in those carts. Semi-homemade all the way, people!

It’s also, as you know, a REALLY big time to travel.

More than 55 million people are expected to travel more than 50 miles or more away from home for Thanksgiving, making 2019 the second-busiest travel day since 2000, according to AAA.

And, since it’s late November, it’s probably a good idea to check the forecast before you set out on your journey. And, hey! Guess what? There are some storms looming on the horizon.

In the Northeast, the problem won’t be getting to your destination so much as coming home. We’re looking at moderate rainfall from the New York City area to the eastern part of Maine Sunday into early Monday. Some local areas will experience heavy rain – about 1 to 2 inches – according to The National Weather Service.

And, of course, the further north go get, including up here in parts of the Capital Region, that rain has a chance to be snow, or – worse yet, in my opinion – the dreaded “wintry mix.”

There are also storms brewing elsewhere in the U.S., if your holiday travel plans call for hopping on a plane. Be sure to check with your airline before you depart in case of cancellations and/or delays.

If you’re planning on getting a jump on that holiday travel, here’s a tip: The state Department of Transportation will be closing some right lanes along the Northway in Saratoga County tomorrow in order to repair guiderails.

Also, troubling news for fans of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan: Gusty winds forecast for the city may ground the event’s popular giant balloons. (If that happens, it would be the first time since 1971).

As for today in the Albany area, we’re looking at cloudy to partly cloudy skies and a high near 50 degrees. After yesterday’s cold and dreary soggy misery, I’ll take it.

The UN has designated today International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfillment of women and girls’ human rights, the UN maintains, and is defined as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

It’s also National Shopping Reminder Day – as if we needed a reminder, given all the Black Friday advertising that’s going on.

Actress Christina Applegate is turning 47 today. Presidential daughter-turned-TV-host Jenna Bush Hager is 37. Rocker Amy Grant is 58.

JFK Jr. was born on this day in 1960. He died, along with his wife Caroline Bessette and her sister, Lauren, when the light aircraft he was flying crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts on July 16, 1999. Also born today was baseball great Joe DiMaggio, who died in 1999 (on March 8).

In the headlines…

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper demanded the resignation of Richard Spencer, the Navy’s top civilian leader – an abrupt move aimed at ending an extraordinary dispute between President Trump and his own senior military leadership over the fate of a SEAL commando in a war crimes case.

Michael Bloomberg, 77, officially announced his late-entry Democratic presidential bid yesterday, unveiling a campaign that the former New York City mayor said will be squarely aimed at defeating Trump.

In a letter explaining his candidacy on his campaign website, Bloomberg – a Democrat turned Republican turned independent turned Democrat – lays out a more moderate vision for the country and casts himself as “a doer and a problem solver – not a talker.”

With Bloomberg now formally running for president, the news service that bears his name said it will not “investigate” him or any of his Democratic rivals, and Bloomberg Opinion will no longer run unsigned editorials.

Bloomberg has startled rival campaigns in recent days by reserving almost $35 million in airtime for television commercials outlining his biography and political agenda, a figure that dwarfs other campaigns’ advertising budgets.

The former mayor’s decision is something of an about-face for a politician who has considered and declined presidential runs many times before. In March, he said he would skip the race because he said he was “less interested in talking than doing.”

Anxious about the cost of a single-payer health system, more voters now support the idea of a government-run plan that would compete with private insurance.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is gearing up for an expected impeachment trial in his chamber, though the exact timing of that remains unclear.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 86, was released from the hospital yesterday after treatment for chills and a fever, a Supreme Court spokeswoman said. “She is home and doing well,” said the spokeswoman, Kathleen Arberg.

Vice President Mike Pence worked to reassure the United States’ Kurdish allies in an unannounced trip to Iraq on Saturday, the highest-level American trip since Trump ordered a pullback of U.S. forces in Syria two months ago.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani took to Twitter on Saturday to warn that he has “files” on former Vice President Joe Biden that will be released in case he “disappears.”

Pro-democracy candidates won big in Hong Kong’s district council elections yesterday, with voters turning out in record numbers to signal support for the anti-government movement gripping the city.

RIP Ed Dague, a local news icon who stepped back from the public eye as he struggled with a debilitating illness. He died yesterday morning and the age of 76.

Dague shared the anchor desk for 11 of his 19 years at WNYT with Chris Kapostasy, who is now known as Chris Jansing and works at NBC News as a senior national correspondent for MSNBC. She recalled him as “quite simply, one of the great journalists of our time.”

At a meeting today of a commission rewriting state campaign laws, state Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs is expected to propose that third-parties meet 3 percent of the total voter turnout of a presidential or gubernatorial election. This will likely cause a big fight.

City of Schenectady leaders will likely vote at today’s regular council meeting to adopt a new policy recommended by City Attorney Carl Falotico that calls for retiring management employees to be paid 25 percent of their sick time once they reach 960 hours.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares contends Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders hastily enacted a package of bail and expedited discovery reforms without providing the proper funding – a figure he estimated exceeds $1 billion.

Early yesterday morning, Cuomo’s office learned that someone had made a threat in a Reddit chat room to detonate a bomb in Times Square. The threat was deemed not credible by law enforcement, but the governor released a statement calling for increased police presence in Times Square and an investigation into the online post.

While Cuomo pledged his state cops would work with NYPD, he never actually spoke with city cops before issuing his declaration, an NYPD source said, calling it an “odd way of addressing the situation without contacting PD.”

Fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of a blaze that damaged parts of a business yesterday morning in the City of Albany’s warehouse district and sent up a column of smoke that could be seen in a neighboring county.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to pedestrianize streets around Rockefeller Center this holiday season will only cause “city-wide gridlock river to river” and lead to a slowdown in emergency response times, the city’s firefighters union warned.

Airlines shouldn’t be allowed to force parents and their children to sit separately aboard flights, Schumer said.

Albany County Legislator Lucille McKnight, a veteran advocate for the city’s South End and the longest-serving African American woman in a county legislature in New York, is preparing to retire.

Thanks to donations from organizations and individuals, the Schenectady Inner City Ministry (SiCM) purchased a new Ford Transit after the van it had previously used to transport needy families back home from its food pantry was destroyed in a crash in early October.

In one of the biggest foreclosure actions in the history of the Adirondacks, the holders of the mortgage on the bulk of real estate acquired for the proposed Adirondack Club & Resort housing development in Tupper Lake seek to retake the property from the corporation that has failed to build the massive project.

The New York Independent System Operator forecast that the system has enough capacity to meet cold weather demands and that they will be able to maintain needed operating reserves.

A bill to ban menthol-cigarette sales in NYC has garnered overwhelming support in the council, yet Council Speaker Corey Johnson refuses to bring it to a vote on the floor — because of concerns pushed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, whose organization rakes in dough from the top-selling US menthol-cigarette manufacturer.

Overnight stays at the campgrounds in New York state’s parks are continuing to surge. Cuomo says there were 680,533 overnight stays at state campgrounds through mid-October – up from 663,953 overnight stays in 2018.

If you got a rebate check this year, cherish it: It might be the last one you get. It will be up to the state Legislature and Cuomo next year to decide whether to reauthorize the $1.3 billion program amid a worsening state budget gap for the fiscal year that starts April 1.

Nearly two-dozen ferries operated by NY Waterway were taken out of service and flagged for safety issues — an impact that will lead to some delays in NYC this morning, officials said.

The NYPD’s high-tech fingerprint database was temporarily brought down by a bumbling contractor with a virus-infected mini computer.

An 82-year-old female bodybuilder used various household items — including a table, shampoo and a broom — to take down a man who broke into her home in Rochester.

The 51st Annual Daily Gazette Holiday Parade was held in downtown Schenectady this past Saturday.

Thanksgiving dinner came early at the Pride Center of the Capital Region in Albany last night.

Preparations are underway for Equinox’s annual Thanksgiving dinners. This year, on their 50th anniversary, volunteers are helping more families than ever.

The boil water advisory in the Village of Whitehall put in place after a series of water main breaks was lifted yesterday morning.

Heads up NYC commuters: Hurried Long Island Rail Road commuters at Penn Station will soon have a harder time finding somewhere to have a quick bite or drink before boarding their train.

Two legislative proposals with strong sponsors would require elementary school children to be immunized against the sexually transmitted virus known as HPV, without requiring that their parents agree or even know about the shots.

Outraged parents are taking to the web to support a Shenendehowa High School student who was bullied on social media.

Joycelyn Savage, a girlfriend who had supported the singer R. Kelly in court and on television, now says in online posts that he emotionally and physically abused her.

Pot stocks are faltering. Why? Even with the promise of congressional action on the horizon, the industry is saddled with the uncertainty of a federal ban on the product and massive costs that many investors did not anticipate when they were pouring billions into the nascent cannabis industry.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company, said that it would buy the jeweler Tiffany & Company for $16.2 billion, in the biggest deal ever agreed to in the luxury sector.

Mikaela Shiffrin, who has family ties to Albany and Berkshire counties, has set the all-time World Cup record for most slalom wins by any skier after earning her 41st career victory in the discipline at the season-opening race on Saturday.

Six years after “Frozen” kicked up a pop-culture blizzard, the sequel to Elsa, Anna and Olaf’s adventures snowed-in the box office with an estimated $127 million debut domestically and $350.2 million worldwide, according to studio estimates yesterday.

Jessye Norman was remembered as a force of nature as thousands filled the Metropolitan Opera House yesterday for a celebration of the soprano, who died Sept. 30 at age 74.

The Albany Police Department is offering up two free floor tickets to the Celine Dion: Courage World Tour at the Times Union Center on December 7…but there’s a bit of a catch.

Edible Arrangements wants in on the CBD game, launching CBD-infused sweet treats using a plant-based solution created by Incredible Edibles, with initial products including smoothies and chocolate-dipped fruit.

Beware of porch pirates this holiday season.

Your second chance at prom is taking place at the Takk House in Downtown Troy on Saturday, November 30th.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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