Rise and Shine: Dec. 23, 2019

Good Monday morning, CivMixers! The anticipation is building – tomorrow is Christmas Eve.

And also, it’s the second night of Hanukkah. So, Chag Sameach to all my Jewish friends out there. I hope you’re having a beautiful Festival of Lights.

I would say we’re all ready for the big day in this household. But there’s always some nit-picky final tasks to attend to. (Ahem, like wrapping, which has not yet been done). We’ll get there. Or we won’t. The holiday will occur whether we’re prepared or not.

And it will all be fine. Deep breaths.

It’s going to be oddly warm for this time of year, with temperatures reaching up into the high 40s and lots of sun, according to The Weather Channel. Enjoy it while you can.

On an interesting pop culture note: Remember the Colorado dad who falsely claimed his 6-year-old kid had been scooped up by a weather balloon?

On this day in 2009, that man, Richard Heene, and his wife Mayumi, were sentenced to 90 days in jail for perpetrating a hoax that briefly captivated the nation. (The kid turned out to be hiding inside the house the whole time).

Also on this day in 1888, artist Vincent van Gogh cut off his left ear with a razor, after argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, and sent it to a prostitute for safe keeping.

The things you learn on the internet. Amazing.

Rocker Eddie Vedder is turning 54 today. He shares a birthday with model and TV personality Holly Madison (39), soap opera star Susan Lucci (72), and the Naked Cowboy (AKA Robert John Burck, who is 48).

Actor Cory Haim was born on this day in 1971. (You may recall him from his role alongside Corey Feldman in “The Lost Boys,” which made him a household name). He struggled with drug addiction during his adult years and died of pneumonia at the age of 38 in March 2010.

In the news…

Using stark “us vs. them” language, President Donald Trump and his reelection campaign have begun framing his impeachment not as a judgment on his conduct but as a referendum on how Democrats regard him and his supporters.

Top Democrats renewed demands for witnesses to testify at Trump’s impeachment trial, citing newly released emails showing the White House asked officials to keep quiet over the suspension of military aid to Ukraine just 90 minutes after the president leaned on the country’s president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump on Friday celebrated the launch of Space Force, the first new military service in more than 70 years.

Pope Francis warned over the weekend that “rigidity” in living out the Christian faith is creating a “minefield” of hatred and misunderstanding in a world where Christianity is increasingly irrelevant.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Cuomo wants to eliminate the “pink tax” – or, in other words, ban businesses from upcharging products if they are marketed toward women.

The governor also wants to require sex offenders to disclose their screen names for their social media accounts as well as dating and gaming apps.

Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have allowed all federal judges to officiate at weddings in New York, saying he can’t stomach the idea that even some of the jurists might be Trump appointees.

New York is moving forward with a $585 million plan to clean up a massive plume of underground contamination left from Long Island’s heyday as a defense and aerospace manufacturing hub, and it’s ready to take polluters to court over the bill.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer raged against a trio of big-box bargain stores for selling potentially deadly products after they were recalled — while warning that consumers may unknowingly have them as holiday gifts.

Emotional residents gathered for a menorah-lighting ceremony at the Jersey City kosher market where three people were killed in an anti-Semitic attack.

The left-leaning Working Families Party is pressuring state legislative candidates seeking its backing in 2020 to oppose charter schools, The Post has learned.

The building that fatally dropped a hunk of facade on a Manhattan woman last week and killed her is just one of thousands citywide with open violations — and some of the longest-offending buildings have no scaffolding to protect unsuspecting passersby, The NY Post has learned.

Retiring state and municipal workers padding their pensions with overtime could cost New York taxpayers $32 billion to $54 billion over the next 20 years, according to a new study.

More than one in five U.S. newspapers have closed over the past 15 years. Readers across the country told the NY Times how they were affected by the decline of local news: “Our community does not know itself.”

A string of flukes helped former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg win his first election in 2001. Can he capture lightning in a bottle again with his 2020 presidential bid?

Six pedestrians were killed from Wednesday to Friday in a spate of traffic crashes in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, reminding residents and officials of the dangers that still plague New York City’s streets, despite strides by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and the City Council toward increasing street safety.

Woodstock activist Jeff Collins, a Democratic contender for New York’s 46th state Senate district, currently represented by retiring GOP Sen. George Amedore, has dropped out of the race and will join the campaign of his former opponent Michelle Hinchey, her campaign announced.

A 48-year-old Schoharie County woman was three times the legal limit last evening when she drove into a house on Barnerville Road in Cobleskill, State Police said.

A Saturday night fire in Halfmoon left the Fast Lane garage on Route 9 destroyed, along with 6 vehicles inside and outside the garage.

After a renovation of nearly two years and $9 million, Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs will officially reopen Feb. 29 with a slate of programming from country-music royalty to jazz greats and a family-friendly circus by a local company.

The Saratoga Springs City Council is expected to approve 18 zoning changes today – one of which promises to spark legal action.

More than a week after her death, East Greenbush police have not said what happened to 25-year-old Emily Adams, who was found dead on Dec. 12 and at the time police called her death “suspicious.”

Six months after celebrating its highest graduation rate in a decade, Schenectady High School will look to welcome students back from a two-week winter break with a schoolwide “reboot” to address a crisis in student attendance.

A 57-year-old man who showed up at Ithaca’s police headquarters and abruptly attacked a sergeant with a butcher knife was shot and killed by the sergeant, whom Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick commended for saving the lives of other officers.

The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall Corp. was awarded a $1.1 million grant from Empire State Development through the Regional Economic Development Council.

Falling ice in Midtown forced cops to close off a block of Sixth Avenue yesterday morning.

An accused arsonist was released without bail following his arrest for setting fires in a Yeshiva University dorm — only to be sprung again when he was allegedly caught trespassing on Staten Island hours later.

The MTA has installed 100 feet of “safety fencing” along the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge — the first of 28,000 feet it plans to erect amid calls for stronger suicide-prevention measures there.

There is such a thing as a caviar black market for certain upscale NYC clients.

When Eddie Murphy stepped back onto the “Saturday Night Live” set for the first time in three-and-a-half decades, he brought with him some classic characters from Mister Robinson to Velvet Jones…and also started a beef with Bill Cosby.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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