Rise and Shine: Dec. 31, 2019

Happy last day of 2019, CivMixers!

It is the 365th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, also known as Saint Sylvester’s Day, New Year’s Eve or Old Years Day/Night.

From a weather perspective, it has been a remarkable end of the year.

We’ve still got a winter weather advisory in place for parts of the region until 10 a.m., with spotty freezing drizzle and a light accumulation of ice possible. The rain/snow mix should taper off by the evening, and clouds will also decrease. Temperatures for the day will potentially reach the low 40s, and drop back into the 30s for tonight’s festivities. Dress warmly.

If you’re planning to be in Times Square tonight, expect mostly cloudy skies and a relatively warm 40 degrees when the ball drops.

The area, which is already heavily patrolled, will, as usual, get a security boost for the holiday: more than 1,200 security cameras, thousands of uniformed and plainclothes police officers, more than 200 “blocker vehicles” to prevent crosstown traffic, bomb-sniffing dogs and countless metal detectors.

And for the first time on a New Year’s Eve, the police said, drones will be used for surveillance in Times Square.

Locally, there will be a lot of celebrating going on. If you’re a fireworks fan, make sure to get to Saratoga Springs early – really early.

The annual Safe Ride program is returning to Albany County for New Year’s Eve.

As part of a New Year’s Eve tradition, Stewart’s is offering free coffee – any flavor, any size. (Cumberland Farms does the same).

Tomorrow, the first day of 2020, should bring relatively clear skies to the Albany area. (NOTE: There will be no morning “Rise and Shine”).

So many interesting things happened on this day in history. For example, in 1879, Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera “Pirates of Penzance” premiered in NYC, and Edison gave his first public demonstration of his incandescent lamp.

In 1897, Brooklyn enjoyed its last day as an autonomous city before incorporating into NYC on the first day of 1898.

In 1904, the first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in Times Square (though it was then known Longacre Square) in Manhattan. The first ball didn’t drop to signify the new year until three years later.

In 1946, President Harry Truman officially proclaimed an end to WW II.

In 1966, the Monkee’s hit “I’m a Believer” made No. 1 on the charts and remained there for seven weeks.

In 1970, Paul McCartney filed a lawsuit to dissolve The Beatles.

In 1984, infamous NYC subway gunman Bernie Goetz surrendered to police in New Hampshire.

Also, there’s a slew of celebrity birthdays today. Actor Anthony Hopkins turns 82. He shares his big day with: Actress Bebe Neuwirth (61), actor Ben Kingsley, whose birth name is birth name is Krishna Bhanji (76), actor Val Kilmer (60), actress Gong Li (54), author Nicholas Sparks (54), singer Psy, of “Gangnam Style” fame (42), fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg (73), gymnast Gabby Douglas (23) and Donald Trump Jr., who defies explanation, (42).

Folk singer John Denver was born on this day in 1943. He died in October 1997 when his experimental Rutan Long-EZ plane, aircraft registration number N555JD, crashed into Monterey Bay near Pacific Grove, California.

Singer Donna Summer was born on this day in 1948. She died of lung cancer in May 2012.

In the headlines…

Iraqi leaders say the United States violated Iraqi sovereignty with attacks that killed 24 people in retaliation for the death of an American contractor.

Grafton Thomas, the man charged with federal hate crimes following a bloody attack on a Hanukkah celebration had handwritten journals containing anti-Semitic references and had recently used his phone to look up information on Hitler and the location of synagogues, authorities said.

Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a top immigration official for the Trump administration, faced blowback after saying on Twitter that Grafton was the son of an “illegal alien” and came from a family lacking “American values.”

In its most recent audit, in 2018, the Anti-Defamation League recorded the third-highest total of anti-Semitic incidents since the group started publishing the information 40 years ago. In New York City, the police said there had been a 23 percent rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes this year.

The FBI and NYPD are reportedly beefing up security at two large local Jewish events this week in the wake of recent anti-Semitic violence in the area.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio squared off against his GOP predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, after the former two-term mayor charged that City Hall fiddled while a wave of anti-Semitic violence built.

The White House confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Donald Trump to thank him for information the US government provided that foiled a terror plot.

Wyze Labs, a company that makes budget home-security cameras, acknowledged a security breach in its system that exposed the information – including camera information, Wi-Fi network details and email addresses – of 2.4 million customers.

A judge dismissed a high-profile lawsuit by Charles Kupperman, a former national security aide to Trump, who had asked a court to clarify whether he should obey a subpoena from Congress to testify in the impeachment inquiry, or defy it on the White House’s instructions.

The past year’s population growth rate in the United States was the slowest in a century due to declining births, increasing deaths and the slowdown of international migration, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Although a test showed that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census wouldn’t have had an impact on overall response rates, it did make a difference in neighborhoods that were bilingual and had substantial numbers of non-citizens, Hispanics and Asians, the Census Bureau said.

Despite the nation’s longest economic expansion, the Empire State is actually losing population, an analysis of the new US Census data reveals. The state will likely lose at least one and possibly two congressional seats after the next official count because of its failure to grow compared to other states.

Employees at New York City’s small businesses will get a raise to start 2020 as the state’s $15 minimum wage becomes universal inside the five boroughs.

After a pedestrian in Manhattan was fatally struck by a piece of building facade, officials this month conducted surprise inspections that determined that 220 other buildings in the city had serious violations that their owners had failed to address, the authorities said.

A Brooklyn woman who dodged bail in an anti-Semitic assault over the weekend — only to be busted a day later in another alleged attack — walked free again yesterday courtesy of new bail-reform laws.

The fate of 11 bills that the New York state Legislature passed earlier this year isn’t likely to be decided until 2020, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has delayed signing them into law over a variety of concerns, a gubernatorial aide said.

The source of an explosion that was widely reported in Saratoga County remains a mystery.

State Police say they have arrested an Albany woman who  was employed as a recruit Trooper in the current session of the Basic School at the New York State Police Academy on DWI charges.

An Albany man was arrested on a felony charge of grand larceny after he allegedly stole a car from the front of the Albany International Airport terminal, according to Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple.

Sparkill Avenue resident Sonia Frederick, a state and local government consultant with a background in business administration and finance, was selected to represent Albany’s First Ward on the Common Council. She replaces Dorcey Applyrs, the new city auditor.

RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson will be featured on PBS’s popular “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.” in a segment scheduled to be shown Feb. 4.

Two city teens are accused of stealing a car and crashing it yesterday in Albany.

A career criminal serving a life sentence for killing a Long Island cop during a 2012 traffic stop was found dead in his cell at Elmira Correctional Facility earlier this month, according to authorities.

An anti-robocalls measure signed into law by Trump should help reduce the torrent of unwanted calls promising lower interest rates or pretending to be the IRS, though it won’t make all such calls disappear.

A woman who says she was 14 when she had a sexual encounter with financier Jeffrey Epstein at his mansion sued his estate in Florida court for coercion, inflicting emotional distress and battery.

Greta Thunberg’s father said in a new interview that the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden has become much happier after taking up the environmental cause — but that he worries about all the “hate” she faces.

Hundreds of thousands of people have signed an online petition to stop Target from using plastic bags.

Actress Sharon Stone, 61, can now return to mingling on Bumble after being “mistakenly” kicked off the dating app.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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