While You Were Out: Dec. 3, 2019

Happy shovel-out Tuesday, CivMixers! I know many of us got our cardio in this morning by digging out our cars, driveways, sidewalks etc.

Remember, while you’re in the snow-clearing mood – dig out those hydrants!

Also, no one – not even our intrepid photographer George Fazio – is exempt from snow removal duty when a storm of this size hits. (Kudos to Otis Davidson for capturing this image).

In the non-storm headlines…

House Democrats released a 300-page impeachment report asserting that President Trump abused his power by trying to enlist Ukraine to help him in the 2020 presidential election.

The report said Trump “placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States,” seeking to undermine American democracy and endangering national security.

The report cited two instances of misconduct by the president: obstruction of the House inquiry and withholding an official White House meeting and U.S. military aid from Ukraine on the condition of investigating a Trump political rival.

Trump said the inquiry against him is a “hoax” being used by the Democrats for political gain ahead of next year’s presidential election.

Trump announced he’ll host next year’s Group of Seven summit at the Camp David presidential retreat, a second choice he’s reluctantly embracing after being pressured into nixing plans to host the gathering at one of his private Florida resorts.

A federal prosecutor vowed to seek jail time for California Rep. Duncan Hunter after he pleaded guilty to misusing $150,000 in campaign funds for his own personal expenses.

California Sen. Kamala Harris dropped out of the Democratic presidential race after months of low poll numbers and a series of missteps that crippled her campaign, a deflating comedown for a barrier-breaking candidate who was seeking to become the first black woman to win the presidency.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says Congress should consider splitting her department’s financial aid operation into a separate federal agency with the flexibility to operate like a private bank.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a memorandum transferring command and control of the state Park Police to the State Police, in part to address soaring attendance at dozens of parks spread across New York.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was non-committal today over whether Democrats in his chamber would fully embrace the recommendations of a commission setting the ground rules for a system of taxpayer funded campaigns in New York.

Heastie did say his conference will seek to generate additional revenue to address the state’s multibillion-dollar budget shortfall in hopes of avoiding deep spending cuts.

In the nearly two years since New York began widely authorizing farmers to grow hemp, farmers have had to go to unusual lengths to protect their crops because so many people — from thieves to law enforcement officials — mistake hemp for marijuana.

Elected officials from the state and city level this evening will fete the 80th birthday of longtime tenants advocate Mike McKee, a celebration that comes after arguably the most successful legislative session for his issue in Albany in decades.

Clifton Park-based Mazzone Hospitality has agreed to pay up to $4 million to settle a lawsuit by servers claiming Mazzone wrongly withheld from their pay tips that were based on wine sales, gratuities that were labeled on banquet contracts as catering or service fees, and charges for staff meals, among other allegations.

State Police arrested two women in separate domestic dispute cases earlier this week.

Cuomo signed legislation into law protecting rent regulated tenants from landlord harassment by preventing landlords from creating unsafe, disruptive or uninhabitable conditions in order to force tenants out of their homes.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals plans to expand at its 67.7-acre Red Mill Campus off Columbia Turnpike by adding a 10,000-plus square foot warehouse and office building, according to plans filed with the town.

“Black Widow,” starring Scarlett Johansson, filmed all over the world. Although no filming was done in the Capital Region, apparently scenes shot in Macon, Georgia take place in Albany, New York.

Score one for local journalism!

This week, the city of Newark sued New York, demanding that it stop using its Special One-Time Assistance program, arguing that New York was pressuring vulnerable people, desperate for housing, to accept substandard housing conditions and move.

After ending his own bid for the 2020 presidential nomination, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is really unhappy that his predecessor, former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, is making a run for the Democratic nod.

Well, this is terrifying.

Holy gingerbread house!

If you’ve got some cash to spare, there’s a local music festival for sale.

Mayor Gary McCarthy acknowledged his city struggled to keep streets clear during Sunday and Monday’s snowstorm, blaming it on a shortage of plow drivers – some, he said, refused to come in on overtime – and the simple duration of a days-long storm that dropped nearly two feet of snow on the city’s streets.

Yes, it was a big storm. But not the biggest, historically speaking.

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