Rise and Shine: Nov. 7, 2019

Good morning, CivMixers. It’s going to be a rather wet Thursday, with showers in the morning turning into a steady rain by afternoon, according to The Weather Channel.

By the time the evening rolls around, there will be a chance of (gulp) snow – the first of the season.

Also, it’s not going to be terribly warm, with highs in the mid-40s and lows in the mid-20s. Conditions for the evening commute could be slick. The snow – if it falls – probably won’t be sticking around for very long in most places, though this depends on elevation.

At any rate, be careful while driving this evening, you know how Capital Region drivers can get when they encounter the first snowfall…let’s just say it’s not pretty.

Like it or not, it’s that time of year. As far as Starbucks is concerned, the holiday season is officially upon us. The coffee chain unveiled its new seasonal cups yesterday.

In addition to this year’s four disposable cup designs, Starbucks is also offering a reusable holiday cup with a “merry” theme. (Remember, these are not Christmas cups, per se, but they are red, white and green and also sport designs, which has been a bit of an issue in years past).

For the record, today marks the approximate midpoint of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and of spring in the Southern Hemisphere (starting the season at the September equinox).

Singer Lorde is celebrating her 22nd birthday today. She shares the day with folk singer Joni Mitchell (75), filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (48) and former CIA Director David Petraeus (66), among others.

In the news…

Democrats announced that they will launch public impeachment hearings next week, intending to lay out a narrative of presidential misconduct by Donald Trump.

First to testify will be William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, who has relayed in private his understanding that there was a quid pro quo with Trump holding up military aid to a U.S. ally facing threats from its neighbor Russia.

Taylor identified Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, as the instigator behind the drive to get Ukraine’s president to announce investigations into the president’s political rivals, telling impeachment investigators last month that Giuliani was acting on Trump’s behalf.

Giuliani has finally managed to assemble a legal team after weeks of spurned attempts at doing so.

Trump was more personally involved in his campaign’s effort to obtain Democratic emails stolen by Russian operatives in 2016 than was previously known, phone records introduced in federal court during Roger Stone’s trial suggested.

A piece of evidence in the trial will be Stone’s mentions of a character from “The Godfather: Part II” who gives false testimony during a Senate hearing on organized crime.

Trump, at a campaign rally in Louisiana last night, unloaded on whistleblower attorney Mark Zaid, after a Fox News article from earlier in the day revealed that Zaid had tweeted about the beginning of a “coup” against the president back in 2017.

The nine U.S. citizens slaughtered in an ambush Monday were from a Mormon community in northern Mexico where NXIVM recruited teenagers for a “girls school” to live in the Capital Region under the care of a high-ranking “slave” for Keith Raniere.

In the wake of the murders of nine family members with dual U.S.-Mexico citizenship by drug cartel gunmen on a road between Sonora and Chihuahua, Trump and members of Congress are weighing options to step up America’s role in Mexico’s drug war – including possibly treating the cartels like terrorist organizations.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed more than 150 conservative judges nominated by Trump, and Senate Republicans say they are not done.

A new book on Ruth Bader Ginsburg explores the U.S. Supreme Court justice’s thoughts on the #MeToo movement and her hope that non-disclosure agreements, which have come under fire in sexual misconduct cases, “will not be enforced by the courts.”

Federal aid for America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities has now expired and Congress can’t agree whether to pass a short or long term plan to restore the funding.

The U.S. attorney’s office is recommending that Ralph V. Signoracci IV, the former longtime campaign treasurer for ex-Cohoes Mayor Shawn M. Morse, be sentenced to at least a year in prison for his guilty plea to a felony wire fraud charge.

Some efforts to prepare New Yorkers for next year’s census count are on hold as community organizations wait for answers about available state funding.

Ballot confusion may have contributed to the Election Day loss of outspoken Schenectady City Councilman Vince Riggi.

Paula Mahan’s continued leadership of the region’s biggest town – a 12-year tenure – hinges on the question of whether she can hold on to her slim, 62-vote election-night lead over Republican George Scaringe. At least 726 absentee ballots remain to be counted and more could come in in coming days.

…the absentee ballots won’t be counted until Nov. 19, so the outcome of this race won’t be known for some time.

Union College’s Title IX coordinator Melissa Kelley will step down at the end of the week to accept a position the School of Public Health at the University at Albany, school officials have confirmed.

For 27 years, the Rev. John Thomas Connery served the parishioners of the Church of the Immaculate Conception as pastor of the Glenville congregation. Last night, those congregants gathered to bid him farewell.

Five dogs and nine puppies were rescued from a Montgomery County home where local animal welfare officials say they were forced to live in filthy conditions. All the dogs are expected to survive, and once they receive medical examinations and are cleaned up, will be put up for adoption.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo opened the Northbound Exit 3 flyover and all remaining ramps on the Northway. However, construction at the airport isn’t expected to be complete until spring 2020.

District attorneys across the state slammed Cuomo after he said law enforcement agencies don’t need more funding to implement new criminal justice reforms.

Just a year after getting reelected to a third term, Cuomo’s fundraising machine is going full bore — as a controversial state commission considers limiting campaign cash from wealthy donors who’ve filled his campaign kitty.

Shuttered New York radio station WBAI FM 99.5 is expected to go back on the air at midnight Thursday following a judge’s ruling in a lawsuit brought by its employees after it was abruptly shut down last month.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio demanded the city Board of Elections end its multimillion dollar black car program following a string of NY Post stories that exposed the big spending as he blasted the embattled agency.

Alex West, who was convicted of manslaughter in the Lake George boating death of 8-year-old Charlotte McCue in 2016, wants a new trial, claiming he received “ineffective counsel” from well-known defense attorney Cheryl Coleman.

Unannounced and unexpected, FBI agents arrived at Buffalo City Hall yesterday armed with a search warrant focused on the city’s Office of Strategic Planning and the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency in what appears to be an investigation into public corruption. They left with box upon box of seized information, but no arrests were made.

The Fulton County Sheriff says response times for non-emergencies will be longer as he addresses staffing shortages within his department.

A bill sponsored by state Sen. James Skoufis would incentivize kidney donation by providing free lifetime health insurance for donors.

Cuomo weighed in on the mounting overuse concerns leaving Adirondack High Peaks communities reeling, saying it’s “a legitimate issue” that his administration has to work on.

A guard at the Coxsackie Correctional Facility is recovering from serious injuries after an inmate attack at the prison.

Communities impacted by the Halloween storm are hoping federal aid will help them rebuild.

Town of Argyle residents are looking forward to being able to buy alcohol locally after voters approved the end to the community’s “dry” status.

James Dean hasn’t been alive in 64 years, but the “Rebel Without a Cause” actor has been cast in a new film about the Vietnam War, thanks to CGI, which has sparked controversy.

Less than 20 percent of New York City voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s election, despite the introduction of early voting meant to boost turnout.

Just a month after one of her aides was busted in a mafia-linked scheme, Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is having a Nov. 19 birthday fund-raising bash for her congressional bid that is being co-hosted by a real life ex-mob wife.

Myah Autry, 32, the Bronx Zoo “Lion Queen” who jumped into two animal enclosures at the zoo in September was arrested by the NYPD. Police were able to identify Autry thanks to the photos and videos she posted of herself.

All Marines can now endure the rain with the protection of an umbrella, ending a longstanding tradition of toughening it when it showers.

Cans of two limited edition beers produced by the Southern Tier Brewing Co. near Jamestown have been recalled because of worries they could burst open.

The NYT art critic argues that it’s time for the Louvre to take down the Mona Lisa, saying the famous painting is a security hazard, an educational obstacle and not even a satisfying bucket-list item.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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