While You Were Out: Nov. 14, 2019

A long and busy day on my end, CivMixers. I hope things were productive and positive for you on this Wednesday. Remember: It’s all downhill to the weekend from here.

In the news…

One person is dead and at least three others are injured, two of them critically, after a shooting at a Southern California high school this morning, officials said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sharpened the focus of Democrats’ impeachment case against President Trump, accusing the president of committing bribery when he withheld vital military assistance from Ukraine at the same time he was seeking its commitment to publicly investigate his political rivals.

Trump is taking the fight to keep his financial records secret from congressional investigators to the Supreme Court. However, there is no guarantee it will pick up the case and it could take months before any decisions are made, legal scholars say.

Former Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts officially entered the presidential race today, adding an 18th candidate and a new twist to a turbulent Democratic primary with less than three months to go before the Iowa caucuses.

It is perhaps the most unusual gathering in New York politics, held 1,600 miles away: Somos, the annual exodus of the state’s political class to Puerto Rico.

New York’s inspector general says the state’s former Freedom of Information czar Robert Freeman engaged in a persistent pattern of sexual harassment against multiple victims, misused state resources, and had inappropriate material on his state computer.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a landmark bill into law that will end 84 years of secrecy surrounding adoptions in the state. For the first time since 1935 when the state sealed adoption records, adoptees will be able to obtain their original birth certificate when they turn 18 and find out the names of their birth parents.

The MTA is considering a “transformation plan” that would include a major restructuring from the ground up, including the loss of thousands of administrative jobs and the hiring of 500 new police officers to patrol the subway.

Changes to New York’s bail and discovery procedures pose burdens for animal shelters that prosecutors say could endanger their cruelty cases against animal abusers.

County clerks in conservative areas of upstate are setting the stage for a political clash when the Green Light Law takes effect next month. Some say they will refuse to issue the licenses, while others are also threatening to call ICE if applicants show up without documentation.

Even with the House impeachment inquiry deeply dividing Democrats and Republicans in Congress, Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado said he’s hopeful “common sense legislation” like the limousine safety bill he co-sponsored can become law.

State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs said in a radio interview that “credible” political parties will be able to meet a higher threshold for ballot access that could be set by a commission determining the future of campaign fundraising.

Facebook has signed a lease at Hudson Yards for more than 1.5 million square feet of office space and plans to move into the new offices next year.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio passed the buck after a string of high-profile subway food vendor arrests this week, with a spokeswoman saying the MTA should shoulder the burden.

Photo giant B&H knowingly cheated New York state out of at least $7 million in sales tax over the course of 13 years, a new lawsuit filed today by state Attorney General Letitia James charges.

Sleepy Hollow activist Allison Fine launched a campaign for Congress today, the first woman to join the race to succeed longtime Rep. Nita Lowey.

While New York state added 103,400 jobs over the past year, the Capital Region was one of just three metros statewide to post year-to-year job losses, according to the state Labor Department. But revisions due early next year could change that.

Democratic House candidate Mondaire Jones released the first video of his campaign that highlights his biography, his family’s struggles against racism and the history-making nature of his candidacy on the same day Allison Fine, a former NARAL board chairwoman, announced her candidacy in the race for retiring Rep. Nita Lowey’s seat.

A Bronx man was indicted today for allegedly stealing more than $3,000 using a scheme commonly known as a grandparent scam.

The Greater Amsterdam School District is seeking community input as it begins its search for a new superintendent of schools.

Complaints are swirling in Ravena around about a certain group of teenagers causing trouble – everything from dodging traffic to stealing packages off porches.

After 12 years in business, Capital Q Smokehouse in Albany will close on Dec. 14.

The massive hole at 705 Broadway in one of the city of Albany’s oldest neighborhoods is being filled. Construction crews are working on the foundations of what will be an eight-story, 132-room Hyatt Place hotel and a 134-unit apartment building, to be called Quackenbush Square.

Barely a year after opening the second location of the young-but-already-beloved Tipsy Moose Tap & Tavern brand, owners Brendan Brader and Robert Tario are adding a third. They’re taking over 261 New Scotland Ave., Albany, which for eight years was home to Capital City Gastropub, until it closed in July.

Albany’s Madison Theatre, the long-awaited historic Pine Hills movie house, is slated to open next month – on Dec. 19, to be exact – two years after it held its last screening.

Greek Peak in Cortland County and Hunter Mountain in Greene County have announced they’ll be open tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday and hopefully next weekend – and then seven days a week beginning Thanksgiving weekend.

A former cop scheduled to go on trial today in Niskayuna on an accusation of assaulting his girlfriend last year at his Rotterdam home must wait until earlier next year for his day in court.

A new study suggests that marijuana legalization leads to more cannabis use and perhaps addiction, particularly among adults 26 and older — highlighting a public health downside to a policy change that now 11 states and Washington, DC, have adopted and several others are considering.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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