Rise and Shine: Dec. 24. 2019

Happy Christmas Eve (AKA: Tuesday), CivMixers!

On this day in 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the War of 1812 between the United States, the United Kingdom and their allies. On this day in 1818, fittingly, the Christmas carol “Silent Night” – composed by Franz Xaver Gruber – was first sung at St. Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, Austria.

An interesting Christmas Eve tradition in Norway: People hide all the brooms in the house to prevent witches from stealing them for a midnight ride. It’s also common to leave a bowl of porridge in the barn for the gnome who protects the farm.

Here in the U.S., of course, we do the cookies-for-Santa thing. And also carrots for the reindeer. And reindeer dust. Can’t forget that.

If you’re traveling…well, I’m sorry. A record 115.6 million Americans are expected to hit the roads, skies and rails this holiday season, according to AAA. Be prepared for crowded airports, train and bus stations, rest areas and highways.

Designer Kate Spade was born on this day in 1962. Sadly, she took her own life in June of 2018. Also born today and no longer with us: Movie actress Ava Gardner, who died of pneumonia in 1990.

Pop singer Ricky Martin is turning 47 today. He shares his holiday birthday with TV host Ryan Seacrest (44), and young adult author – she of the “Twilight” series fame – Stephenie Meyer (45).

It’s going to be nice and clear for your Christmas Eve revelry, and oddly, the warmest moment in the day might well be right now: 38 degrees, as I write this. The temperature for the rest of the day will be in the low-to-mid 30s, according to The Weather Channel.

Tomorrow, we’re in for partly cloudy skies, temperatures around 40 and a slight (10 percent) chance of rain.

In the news…

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said newly released emails showing that military aid to Ukraine was suspended 90 minutes after President Trump demanded “a favor” from Ukraine’s president were “explosive” and strengthened Democratic demands for far more internal administration documents ahead of the impeachment trial.

As the new chief executive of Boeing, David L. Calhoun will take on one of the most challenging tasks in corporate America: steering the embattled airplane manufacturer out of a crisis that has consumed it for more than a year.

The Trump administration awarded billions of dollars in contracts for private companies to operate immigration detention centers in California — less than two weeks before a new state law takes effect to prohibit them.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was raised as a Roman Catholic, said in an interview with New York Magazine published yesterday that he is “more of a Jew” than George Soros, a liberal billionaire and Holocaust survivor.

“Don’t tell me I’m anti-Semitic if I oppose him,” said Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer. “Soros is hardly a Jew. I’m more of a Jew than Soros is. I probably know more about — he doesn’t go to church, he doesn’t go to religion — synagogue. He doesn’t belong to a synagogue, he doesn’t support Israel, he’s an enemy of Israel.”

Giuliani also said he thinks prosecutors in the Manhattan US attorney’s office are out to get him for his role in the Ukrainian investigation — because they’re jealous over how he ran the federal prosecutor’s office three decades ago.

After naming former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter as his national presidential campaign chairman last week, former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is angling for a key endorsement from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.

Americans think New Yorkers are the biggest jerks in the country, according to a new survey released just days before Christmas.

Soon, foam containers, plates and cups may vanish for good in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a statewide ban on single-use food containers and packing peanuts made of polystyrene, a pollutant that is not biodegradable and is difficult to recycle.

Cuomo has vetoed legislation that would have prohibited children less than 10 years old being left unattended in a motor vehicle.

For the fourth-consecutive year, New Yorkers earning minimum wage will be receiving a pay increase this month, (on Dec. 31), but the state’s growing Medicaid costs and shrinking population have critics of the policy raising concerns.

…here are some other impending changes to New York laws in 2020 that could have widespread impacts.

More than 49,000 people on parole in New York had their voting rights restored under a conditional pardon order signed by Cuomo, in the year-and-a-half since it’s been in effect.

A state bill to regulate prescription drug middlemen, known as Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), was sent to Cuomo’s desk last week after the State Senate and Assembly passed it in June.

Legislation bolstering elevator safety — just months after a man was crushed to death in a lift mishap in a Kips Bay apartment building – awaits Cuomo’s signature.

Alongside the year-round fears of pedestrians in New York City — plummeting into a sidewalk cellar or being hit by a car — the winter season ushers in another potentially deadly menace: falling ice.

The Brooklyn CBD wholesaler whose 106-pound shipment of perfectly legal hemp was wrongfully seized by the NYPD last month will have a green Christmas, as the stash was released yesterday.

A Manhattan judge has slammed the brakes on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attempt to limit the amount of time Uber and Lyft drivers can ride around Manhattan without passengers.

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, a Brooklyn Democrat, is calling on Optimum to offer refunds to internet customers after the company suddenly slipped a hidden fee into bills earlier this year.

New York City traffic fatalities are up this year for the first time since de Blasio took office, city officials said.

Albany-area families are more likely to encounter wait lists at both early childhood centers and smaller family-run programs than those in other regions, according to a new report highlighting regional and socioeconomic disparities in access to infant and toddler care.

A plan to root out corruption by using public money to fund campaigns in New York is moving forward.

The Saratoga Springs City Council approved 18 changes to the city’s zoning map, including a controversial change which would pave the way for Saratoga Hospital to expand into a surrounding residential neighborhood.

Two 18-year-olds are facing a felony charge after they allegedly broke into a home in Charlton and stole cash and other household items.

A funeral service was held for Eli Ojeda-Harmon, the six-week-old baby who died after Cohoes Police said he ingested methamphetamine inside an apartment on Van Vechten Street.

A dentist office was damaged yesterday morning after a fire broke out in the building on Saratoga Road in Glenville.

Schumer was in Washington County yesterday to announce a plan to lessen the high rate of suicide among farmers.

A man was taken into custody after leading police on a chase that ended in a crash on Central Avenue in Colonie.

At last night’s Council meeting, the City of Schenectady finalized the transfer of five vacant properties over to the Community Land Trust of Schenectady.

A state commission said Michael Tawil, a part-time judge in Ossining Town Court, should be censured for inappropriate behavior, including a derogatory remark made in court while he was acting as a defense attorney.

The Hudson Valley Interlink Analytic System is among a number of surveillance systems being adopted around the country by police, government agencies and community groups to track drug overdoses.

One Seagram’s heiress is headed to federal prison next year for her NXIVM-related crimes. And another could be headed to the bank.

Local “American Idol” star Madison VanDenburg is looking forward to her senior year in high school.

Cooksburg Lumber in Preston Hollow supplied shredded bark to the art department producing the 2019 film “The Irishman,” timber used to construct gallows for the 2017 drama “The Greatest Showman,” and lumber to build animal enclosures inside the ark from the 2014 movie “Noah.” Next up: Pilings from the Tappan Zee.

Rapper Lil Wayne flew into Miami-Opa locka Executive Airport on a private jet that was searched by federal agents, who found cocaine and a gun on the plane.

A certain car enthusiast governor we know might be VERY interested in this.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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