Good morning, CivMixers. Happy Friday!

And also, happy Saint Nicholas Day – a day that recognizes the third-century saint who became an inspiration for the modern-day Santa Claus.

In case you weren’t aware, (I wasn’t), St. Nicholas is known for selling all his possessions and giving his money to the poor. Raised as a devout Christian, St. Nicholas dedicated his whole life to serving the sick and suffering.

Children in families who celebrate St. Nicholas Day, which is observed largely in Austria, parts of Germany and Switzerland, receive treats – including candy, cookies, small toys, or fruit – in stockings, socks, shoes or bags. Sounds familiar…

It’s also Bartender Appreciation Day, and you might feel like you need a nice drink when you see today’s forecast.

We’re in for some more snow this morning, which will give way to a mix of rain and snow this afternoon. There will be an accumulation of about one to three inches – just enough, in other words, to make things…interesting. Temperatures will be in the mid-30s, according to The Weather Channel.

Today is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 62nd birthday! (He celebrated a few days early in the typical way – by holding a political fundraiser, at which he was lightly roasted by comedian Amy Schumer and got in some digs at his younger brother, Chris. The event was also crashed by protestors).

The governor shares his special day with comedian Judd Apatow (52) and the late Michael Jackson’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe (61, remember her?) Here’s some interesting online blather about characteristics of people born on this day:

“December 6 individuals are persuasive folks, with a natural talent for communication. They have an optimistic approach in life that makes them look at things in a brighter light. Full of compassion and care, these people are great to know and gel with. They are sociable, friendly and outgoing by nature. However, they have the tendency to act quite selfishly sometimes. In unfavorable situations, these people can turn moody and grumpy as well. December 6 individuals need to work on their negative attributes to lead a good life.”


In the news…

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House would begin drafting impeachment articles against President Donald Trump, pushing ahead with a rapid timetable that could set the stage for a vote before Christmas to charge him with high crimes and misdemeanors.

Trump administration officials, seeking to weaken Democrats’ case for impeachment, disputed some of the details in the House Intelligence Committee’s report about calls between Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and White House aides.

Uber, as part of a long anticipated safety report, revealed that more than 3,000 sexual assaults were reported during its U.S. rides in 2018. That figure includes 235 rapes across the company’s 1.3 billion rides last year.

Meanwhile, 19 women sued Lyft this week, joining a growing list of people who say the popular ride-hailing service failed to prevent drivers from sexually assaulting them, then ignored the complaints.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg vowed to re-institute a federal assault weapons ban and require more rigorous background checks and licensing to obtain firearms if he’s elected president.

The U.S. Department of Justice is backing the federal lawsuit brought by Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola that questions the constitutionality of New York’s new “Green Light” law, which makes drivers licenses available to undocumented immigrants.

In a court filing, DOJ took issue with a portion of the state law that prevents state and county officials from providing information to federal immigration officials without a court order, calling it “legally suspect.”

Despite the intervention, the federal government urged the judge to rule on the plaintiff’s non-Constitutional arguments first, as well as the state’s argument that Merola does not have standing to bring the lawsuit. A federal judge in Buffalo ruled earlier this year that Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns did not have standing in a similar case because he did not prove he was an injured party.

County clerks in New York had been hoping the Trump administration would get involved in the battle to block the state law, which has left some clerks uneasy as the law gets ready to take effect Dec. 14, (though practically speaking, it’s DEc. 16, since the 14th is a Saturday).

Niagara County Clerk Joseph Jastrzemski, along with Kearns, will be posting a sign in the Erie and Niagara County DMV offices advising people if they believe someone is an undocumented immigrant to report it to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with the tip line number on the signs.

State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker declared that flu is now prevalent in New York, kicking into effect a state regulation that requires health care workers who are not vaccinated against influenza to wear surgical or procedure masks in areas where patients are typically present.

The state AG has jumped into a long-simmering dispute, accusing local officials in Chester and Orange County of violating fair housing laws and discriminating against the Hasidic community, and petitioning a judge to join a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the Greens at Chester, the developer.

The first few years of life are a critical time for addressing developmental delays, child development experts say, but years of state disinvestment in early intervention programs are making these services harder to come by, with significant racial and socioeconomic disparities in access across the state, new data shows.

Upstate duck farmers are begging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to intervene and stop the NYC Council’s recent ban on the sale of foie gras — the controversial duck delicacy that’s enraged animal rights activists.

With New York State facing a $6 billion budget deficit, the speaker of the state Assembly, Carl Heastie, said it might be time to impose new taxes on the rich.

At his first news conference since being sworn in Tuesday, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea raised alarms about the “sweeping” bail and discovery law changes that will go into effect on Jan. 1.

Supporters of New York’s sweeping new criminal justice laws argued in Albany that concerns from members of law enforcement over the implementation of those changes will not lead to the parade of horribles that’s been predicted by some in recent months.

New York is about to slash the amounts that real estate donors and other large contributors can give to candidates for governor and other statewide offices.

Despite getting an earlier pass from the city, state environmental officials have “grave concerns” about a large trash processing plant proposed for Rensselaer. And the city’s mayor-elect said the proposed BioHiTech trash processing plant permit process was mishandled by the outgoing administration.

The City Council voted 6-1 last night to have the Troy Local Development Corp. handle the negotiations with a New Jersey firm to make the fifth attempt to develop the 1 Monument Square site that’s been vacant since 2011.

Albany County legislators last night approved a $733 million budget for next year, adjusting proposed salary increases for some top elected officials that raised the eyebrows of some legislators earlier on.

The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court denied a Schodack neighborhood group’s appeal of a January dismissal of their lawsuit concerning an upcoming Amazon distribution center.

More than 200 vehicles were towed during the snow emergency in the City of Albany. Mayor Kathy Sheehan said she’s puzzled about the spike in tows compared to last year.

The 6-week-old boy who died this week after apparently ingesting methamphetamine was under the supervision of the Rensselaer County Child Protective Services, city police said.

A number of roads were closed in Rotterdam due to a water main break near the Five Corners intersection.

Police have identified the pedestrian hit and killed on Ridge Road in East Greenbush Wednesday Night. Investigators say it appears 28-year-old Dyllan Amodeo was lying in the street when he was hit by a car.

The search continues for missing 77-year-old Beverly Trombley, whose son, Christopher, spoke publicly about her disappearance.

The 33rd annual Victorian Streetwalk took place in Saratoga Springs last night.

A new Siena Poll found that 47 percent of New Yorkers plan to spend $500 or more this holiday season on gifts, with 1 in 5 to spend over $1,000.

Video of Schenectady resident Meghan Hughes clearing snow with a snowblower while dressed up as unicorn has been viewed more than one million times in less than two days.

Jay L. Kriegel, who as a 25-year-old prodigy helped shape the Lindsay administration’s progressive challenge to New York City’s entrenched power brokers, and who later emerged as one himself, in fields ranging from TV broadcasting to real estate development, died at his weekend home in South Kent, Conn. after suffering complications from melanoma. He was 79.

Bloomberg might be getting some presidential campaign advice from Hillary Clinton, with whom he was spotted having dinner in NYC this week.

Cuomo’s former girlfriend Sandra Lee said she’s feeling “good” but also “sad” after her breakup with the governor.

Billy Joel will play his 75th monthly show of his Madison Square Garden residency on April 10.

Federal prosecutors are accusing singer R. Kelly of scheming with others to pay for a fake ID for an unnamed female a day before he married R&B singer Aaliyah, then 15 years old, in a secret ceremony in 1994.

Photo credit: George Fazio.