Rise and Shine: Dec. 3, 2019

What day is it, CivMixers? I’ve lost track. All I see is endless white.

OK, it’s Tuesday. And it looks like the snow has finally stopped, (outside my window, anyway), though the winter storm warning is in effect through 7 a.m. It makes me feel better – but only a little – to know we’re not in this alone. The storm hit a wide swath of the Northeast and impacted some 40 million people.

Down in the NYC metro area, with ample warning of the region’s first winter storm this season and extensive preparation, there were relatively few major problems reported.

A bus, carrying nearly 30 passengers, and tractor trailer collided last night on the Berkshire Spur in Columbia County. All injuries appeared to be non-life threatening.

As of last night, we had made it onto the Top 10 December storms list, hitting No. 8 and still climbing.

More than 20 inches of snow were reported in Knox, Schoharie, Schaghticoke, Clifton Park and Glenville. And TU weatherman Jason Gough said some areas west of the Capital Region would likely see a reading of 30 inches or more.

They’re running out of snow days in Saratoga.

Schenectady residents tracked the progress of local snowplows online.

The City of Troy issued its first snow emergency in two years.

People magazine picked up a feel-good story about Albany Police officers digging out a 99-year-old woman who called for assistance in removing snow from her driveway.

This morning there are delays and closures, and the great dig out begins in earnest. There will be some sunshine this afternoon, and temperatures will hit the low-to-mid 30s, according to The Weather Channel.

In celebrity birthday news, of which there is quite a bit today: Actress Amanda Seyfried is 33. Metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne is 70. Comedian Tiffany Haddish is 31. Actress Jenna Dewan is 38. Actress Julianne Moore is 58, actress Dascha Polanco is 36, actress Anna Chlumsky is 38, and actor Brendan Fraser is 40.

In the headlines…

The House has plunged into a landmark impeachment week, with Democrats who once hoped to sway Republicans now facing the prospect of an ever-hardening partisan split over the historic question of removing President Donald Trump from office.

The impeachment report from the House Intelligence Committee, to be released publicly today, is expected to forcefully make the Democrats’ case that Trump engaged in what Chairman Adam Schiff calls impeachable “wrongdoing and misconduct” in pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democrats while he was withholding military aid.

Next stop: The House Judiciary Committee, which unveiled the list of constitutional scholars set to testify in its first impeachment hearing tomorrow.

The Justice Department says releasing secret grand jury documents from then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe to House lawmakers engaged in the impeachment inquiry could discourage future witnesses to presidential abuse from cooperating with grand juries.

House Republicans released a report ripping Democrats’ impeachment proceedings, arguing that the evidence collected in the probe so far does not support the accusations leveled against Trump or rise to the level of removal from office.

The Trump administration said a new French tax that hit American technology companies discriminated against the United States, a declaration that could lead to retaliatory tariffs as high as 100 percent on French wines.

France’s finance minister is threatening a “strong European riposte” if the Trump administration follows through on a proposal to hit French wine, cheese, handbags and other products with tariffs of up to 100 percent.

For more than a year, California Rep. Duncan Hunter insisted criminal charges against him and his wife were the result of a conspiracy of the “deep state” meant to drive the six-term Republican from office in the Democrat-dominated state. But Hunter now plans to plead guilty to the misuse of campaign funds at a federal court hearing today.

Additional charges are likely in the criminal case against two longtime associates of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, a federal prosecutor said.

Former President Jimmy Carter, 95, was hospitalized again over the weekend only days after being released, this time for a urinary tract infection, but he was recovering well, his office reported.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is already having an impact in the Democratic primary for the White House just a week after launching his presidential bid, a new survey released yesterday showed.

“To understand how Bloomberg can become president, it is worth considering how he first became mayor – by executing, and succeeding with, a plan no less unlikely than running for president and skipping Iowa and New Hampshire.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has long-standing ties to Spencer Freedman, the state official who dismissed a whistleblower’s claim that the governor was illegally tipped off to a potential probe into a crooked former top aide, Joe Percoco.

The political arm representing the Hispanic Congressional Democrats has endorsed NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres to succeed retiring Bronx Rep. Jose Serrano in Congress.

Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger is reportedly set to fill in as the leader of the Buffalo Diocese following the impending resignation of Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone, who has faced backlash for his handling of sex abuse claims.

New York has quietly established a program that expands access to clean syringes in far-flung areas of the state as health officials work to reduce overdose deaths and control the spread of infection and disease among injection drug users.

Roughly 300 students walked out of Beacon – one of NYC’s most prestigious and selective public high schools – to protest its high-stakes admissions process, which they said has exacerbated segregation in the nation’s largest school system.

Advocates are concerned that a significant amount of the enforcement work appears headed away from the independent enforcement counsel’s office overseen by attorney Risa Sugarman and back to the state Board of Elections.

New York’s most vulnerable Democrat — freshman Staten Island Rep. Max Rose — joined the legions of Republicans criticizing the state’s criminal justice reforms Monday, blasting the measures as going “too far, too fast.”

A Manhattan judge dismissed a bribery case against former Brooklyn state assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny who was accused of helping a crooked doctor run a $6.3 million pill mill.

The number of New York City teens who say they have used heroin has quadrupled over the last two decades, according to new data from the Health Department.

Rent regulations could be coming to the City of Albany.

The Rensselaer County Legislature unanimously approved the 2020 budget of about $353.1 million last night that cuts property taxes, even though the Democratic minority expressed concerns about “unprecedented raises” for members of the county executive’s staff.

Construction will resume next week on the Collar Factory Lofts building at 701 River St. in Troy, which was heavily damaged in a fire last July.

Two Ballston Spa residents are facing charges after fighting with troopers during a traffic stop in Milton.

A dog from Bethlehem placed in the National Dog Show.

Tuberculosis put Saranac Lake on the map, and local residents still honor that novel legacy.

Syracuse city councilors have approved the first pay raises in more than a decade for themselves, the mayor and the city auditor. Mayor Ben Walsh isn’t yet certain if he’ll sign off on this move.

Federal prosecutors in Buffalo asked for another delay in the sentencing of political operative G. Steven Pigeon. The delay, the latest in a series of adjournments requested by the government, came just three weeks after the FBI conducted a court-ordered search of City Hall as part of a public corruption investigation.

A disease called fire blight, easily managed for a long time in apple and pear orchards, is becoming more virulent as the climate changes and as growers alter the way the trees are configured to produce higher yields.

An un-inflated evacuation slide reportedly fell from a Delta airplane approaching Boston’s Logan International Airport on Sunday, narrowly missing two residents in a nearby residential neighborhood.

When the International Olympic Committee decided to admit skateboarding without setting age requirements, the game changed for a lot of young girls.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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