While You Were Out: Nov. 25, 2019

Phew! What a busy Monday this has been, CivMixers! It’s like we’re trying to stuff a whole week’s worth of news into a single day…and maybe that’s the case, given the short holiday week situation we’ve got going on.

Speaking of which…

Some good news for all of you hitting the road this holiday week: Travelers across the country will see gas prices the same as or cheaper than last year AAA says.

Go ahead and rinse your cranberries, potatoes and green beans. But food experts say don’t — repeat don’t — wash the turkey before popping it in the oven on Thanksgiving Day.

Also, if you’re hosting Thanksgiving festivities this year, it’s time to check your pantry and fridge. Federal health officials are warning people to avoid some foods due to a series of issues – from E. coli to lack of inspection.

…and just in case you’re looking for some table-scape inspiration, click here.

In non-Thanksgiving news…

U.S troops have resumed large-scale counterterrorism missions against the Islamic State in northern Syria, military officials say, nearly two months after President Trump’s abrupt order to withdraw American troops opened the way for a bloody Turkish cross-border offensive.

Trump ordered the Pentagon not to remove a Navy SEAL at the center of a high-profile war crimes case from the elite commando unit, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said.

The chances of the Russian flag flying at next year’s Olympics has taken a potentially lethal hit as anti-doping regulators recommended the country be declared non-compliant for tampering with data that was supposed to help bring the entire cheating episode to a close.

Under the recommendations by a key World Anti-Doping Agency committee, Russian athletes would compete at a second straight Olympic Games in neutral uniforms and collect any medals they win without the raising of the nation’s flag or the playing of its anthem.

Trump welcomed Conan, the canine military hero who was wounded in the successful special forces raid that took out ISIS kingpin Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to the White House.

Trump praised the “special” and “brilliant” animal for his role in the “flawless attack” that took out the ISIS leader, and said that he had awarded Conan a medal and a plaque, while Vice President Mike Pence doled out pets.

Prince Andrew has withdrawn from all 230 of his patronage posts, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren went after newly announced presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg at her campaign event in Iowa today, accusing the former New York City mayor of using his money to influence the election.

Another uber-wealthy Democratic candidate for president, Tom Steyer, penned an op-ed issuing a challenge to Bloomberg: Back a wealth tax or drop out of 2020 presidential race.

The commission rewriting state campaign laws voted 6-3 today to make it substantially more difficult for minor political parties in New York to secure a place on the state ballot and earn other advantages.

Protestors shouted “shame on you” as the commission approved the plan, which could put the left-leaning Working Families Party and other minor political parties out of business.

Some barely concealed horse trading led to several surprise proposals as members of the Public Financing Commission hammered out the final details of their legally binding recommendation to revamp New York’s election laws.

Albany County Comptroller Michael Conners said his office has been blocked from interviewing 15 county employees as part of an investigation into allegations that county workers on the government payroll were assisting county Executive Daniel McCoy’s 2015 re-election campaign.

Calling New York’s upcoming bail reforms a “criminal Bill of Rights,” Republican state Sen. James Tedisco proposed a law with Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara that would enable judges to jail defendants whom they believe pose a danger to the community.

A key NYC Council committee unanimously backed legislation that would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes products, presaging the bill’s passage by the full Council this week.

Workers at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse planned a rally ahead of the busy holiday season to complain about high injury rates and demand better working conditions, The Post has learned.

The standoff between the Cuomo administration and National Grid has been resolved — at least temporarily — with a $36 million fine and an agreement that lifts the energy provider’s recent moratorium on adding new natural gas connections in Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn.

Under the deal, National Grid will lift its moratorium immediately. It will have 30 days to contact all residential customers and small businesses who seek gas hookups, and 45 days to start the process of restoring service to larger commercial projects, officials said.

Speculation is mounting in Republican circles that Donald Trump Jr., the president’s elder son, and/or Lara Trump, who is married to the president’s son, Eric, could run for office in New York and win.

The state Republican Committee launched an anti-impeachment tour across New York to call on Democratic House members to pull back their support for the impeachment inquiry into Trump. Today, the tour brought GOP Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy to the sidewalk outside Rep. Paul Tonko’s office in downtown Albany.

Legislation has been signed by Cuomo establishing a hate crime recognition training program for law enforcement across New York.

A bill eliminating toxic mercury flooring from schools in New York was also approved by Cuomo.

A Binghamton concrete manufacturer is accusing the state Thruway Authority of skirting competitive bidding requirements for two toll plaza projects in 2018.

A proposal being mulled by energy market players would severely limit media coverage of how billions of dollars flow through the electricity markets and what steps New York’s independent grid operator is taking to support the state’s climate goals.

A battalion of well-placed lobbyists and their clients is trying to convince a reluctant Cuomo to sign – not veto – legislation approved by lawmakers in June to legalize both e-scooter and e-bike sharing services.

A 14-year-old Shenendehowa student was charged with felony unlawful surveillance after she allegedly took a photo after another student as she undressed. The Saratoga County Sheriff’s office said the girl, who was not identified, was released to her family and referred to Family Court.

Andrew Lathrop, a 24-year-old local man who killed his girlfriend in their Cohoes apartment a day after he posted message on Facebook saying he hoped their relationship could be salvaged, will spend the next 25 years in prison.

John Cole, the Clifton Park businessman who lost his appeal of an assault case that left his friend paralyzed, is making a last-ditch effort to stay out of prison by trying to get his case heard by the highest court in the state, the Court of Appeals.

A Tennessee man was charged with multiple felonies after he allegedly stole several vehicles in Greenfield and Edinburg before burglarizing a seasonal camp, deputies said.

About 7,200 gallons of milk spilled onto Interstate 81 North in Oswego County after a tractor-trailer rolled over, State Police said.

Thanksgiving on the subway – now I’ve seen everything.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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