Rise and Shine: Jan. 20, 2020

Good Monday morning, CivMixers. It’s a Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday observed on the third Monday of each January to honor the legacy of the slain civil rights leader MLK Jr. Here’s a list of what’s open and closed.

I mentioned last week that MLK’s birthday was on Jan. 15, which corresponds on some years to the day we hold in his honor, and not on others.

The first federal MLK Day holiday was held on 1986.

Interesting fact: South Carolina was the last state in the nation to make MLK’s birthday an official, paid state holiday, which did not occur until May 2000. Remember, President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later, though (obviously) a number of states resisted.

Up until then, a day off choice had been offered to South Carolina workers between MLK Day and three other Confederate holidays. This decision coincided with the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina’s State House dome.

In 1994, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, designating this holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort.

So, it’s the 26th anniversary of this day being a “day on, not a day off,” which means Americans are encouraged to basically to do like MLK did, and try (for one day, at least) to make their respective communities a better place.

Locally, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Observance will kick off at The Egg at 10 a.m. A keynote address will be delivered by award-winning journalist and Black Panther author Jesse J. Holland.

Holland not too long ago left his job at the AP to become a Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Residence at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, where he will continue his research into African American history in the Washington, D.C. specializing in the people of the former Freedman’s Village in Arlington National Cemetery.

There will also be a performance by Anita Wilson, a gospel music singer, songwriter, and music producer.

There are plenty of other events taking place around the region.

A community march will step off shortly after 11 a.m. from the Empire State Plaza concourse and end with a wreath-laying ceremony at Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Lincoln Park.

For example, some local unions and their allies are hosting a free screening at 155 Washington Ave., Albany of “We Cried Power,” a documentary about the modern social movement to end poverty that was inspired by MLK’s “Poor People’s Campaign” of 1968 – his last big effort before he was assassinated that same year in Memphis, Tenn.

Also, the Albany Institute of History and Art is offering free admission.

If you’re heading out today, be sure to bundle up, as the very cold weather continues. Currently, it’s about 16 degrees, and we’re only doing to see temperatures in the mid-20s, according to The Weather Channel. A few flurries are possible early this morning, but those should clear up and skies will be mostly cloudy for the remainder of the day.

This is the traditional date of inauguration in post-presidential years. On this day in 2009, Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, becoming the first black person in history ever to hold that post. And, of course, in 2017, Donald J. Trump was inaugurated, sparking a day of protest known as the “Women’s March.”

The fourth annual Women’s March descended on the streets of D.C. Saturday. But unlike the first demonstration that brought hundreds of thousands to the capital the day after Trump’s inauguration, the march drew just a fraction of the original turnout as the movement has struggled.

Similar marches took place around the country, including in New York City and Schenectady.

Meanwhile, the National Archives and Records Administration, which calls itself the country’s record keeper, apologized on Saturday for altering a photo of protesters at the 2017 Women’s March that blurred out references critical of Trump.

The astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who, along with the 1969 Apollo 11 mission commander Neil Armstrong, were the first two humans to land on the Moon, is 90 years young today. He shares his birthday with actress Stacey Dash (53), actor Skeet Ulrich (50), and comedian, political commentator, and television host Bill Maher (64).

In the news…

A man shot and killed two police officers yesterday as they responded to a home in a leafy neighborhood beneath the rim of a famed volcanic crater near Waikiki Beach, authorities said.

With Trump’s impeachment trial getting underway, Democrats are intensifying their demands for more testimony and documents that could add to the already voluminous evidence against him and bolster their case by shedding new light on several key questions.

In a break with convention, the NYT editorial board has chosen to endorse two separate Democratic candidates for president: Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, both sitting U.S. senators who represent divergent strains in the Democratic Party.

Trump took a potshot at Michael Bloomberg over the former New York mayor and presidential candidate’s remarks about a gun-toting Texas churchgoer who killed a would-be mass-shooter.

Bloomberg took to the site of historic race riots in Tulsa, Okla., on Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend to propose sweeping plans to redress the economic legacy of generations of discrimination against African Americans.

On his first campaign stop for the Martin Luther King holiday in South Carolina, former Vice President Joe Biden denounced the president in some of his strongest language yet, mentioning the words “Trump” and “Ku Klux Klans” in the same sentence.

In a database of more than 3,500 cities compiled by AccuWeather, about 83 percent saw average temperatures higher than normal last year. (There’s a feature where you can enter your city’s name to see where it measures up, but Albany isn’t in there).

The governor tomorrow will reveal his 2020-21 budget that includes some big-ticket proposals as well as the legalization of marijuana, while filling a $6.1 billion deficit that threatens funding for schools and health care.

State leaders are not expected to take swift action in response to calls from some of their legislative colleagues and law enforcement officials for a repeal of New York’s recently enacted criminal justice reforms.

She’s not on the ballot in November, but that won’t keep U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand from the campaign trail in 2020. She plans to use her leadership political action committee, Off the Sidelines, to boost the election efforts of at least 20 Democratic women running in state and congressional races.

Reel Seafood Co., one of the last bastions of independent dining on Wolf Road and a destination since 1984, closed suddenly after business on Saturday. It remains unclear why the abrupt closure took place.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares said he will run for re-election in 2020, seeking his fifth term in office.

City of Troy police are investigating after a man broke into a 4th Street residence early yesterday morning and was hospitalized after residents subdued him.

Carolina McGraw, 19, a 2018 graduate of Niskayuna High School and sophomore at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., has collected about 200 signatures over the past several weeks as she runs to serve as a pledged Biden delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Toxic outbreaks or “blooms” of cyanobacteria, often mistaken for and even called algae, are getting worse in lakes around the world – including here in New York.

A man accused of robbing banks in New York City had been released under a Jan. 1 law that ended bail for most nonviolent charges when he struck again – for a fifth time.

…Federal prosecutors questioned whether the serial bank robber should have been locked up in South Carolina the entire time.

Rudy Giuliani falsely blamed NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio for the rocky roll-out of bail reform yesterday, even though the measure was passed by state lawmakers — not the city — and the current mayor has publicly called for changes to the law.

Bronx Councilman Mark Gjonaj — who once introduced failed legislation to replace ticket-issuing city speed cameras with toothless warning signs — had nine such citations issued to his car last year for zooming through school zones in The Bronx, records show.

Enrollment in community colleges is decreasing across the nation. In New York, the student body has decreased by 23 percent at SUNY community colleges from 2010 to 2019.

Members of the Kings County Democratic Committee today are expected to formally elect Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte as their new chairperson — the group’s first female leader — replacing longtime power broker Frank Seddio, who is resigning after eight years at the post.

Bronx Democratic state Sen. Luis Sepulveda is being eyed by the Board of Elections for his handling of a $200,000 loan he received from a Long Island dentist to fill a campaign budget hole.

…Four of those New York schools, in addition to Clinton Community College, lost more than a third of their students — Tompkins-Cortland, Niagara County, Herkimer County and Monroe Community College outside of Rochester.

Susan B. Anthony’s Washington County home, where the women’s rights leader lived from age 6 to 19, may finally get its due, as the state has vowed to commit $700,000 to repair it.

A slew of powerful Democratic politicians — from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to state Attorney General Letitia James and city Comptroller Scott Stringer — who have attended the REBNY gala in the past to rub elbows with deep-pocketed potential-donor developers skipped it this year under pressure from the left.

In the wake of two local cyber attacks, a state Sen. David Carlucci is introducing legislation to prevent governments and municipalities from paying ransom.

The Kansas City Chiefs earned a trip to Super Bowl LIV by beating the Tennessee Titans, 35-24. Patrick Mahomes threw for 294 yards and three passing touchdowns and the Chiefs, after falling behind, 10-0, reeled off 28 consecutive points to put the game out of reach.

Jonathan Holloway, the provost of Northwestern University, is expected to take over leadership of Rutgers University next week, becoming its first black president, a school official said.

A water main break, the second in one week, flooded a New York City subway station and suspended service on several lines yesterday morning.

Underdog NYC mayoral candidate Loree Sutton has raked in $113,000 in donations just two months after launching her 2021 campaign — from a colorful cast of contributors including Craigslist founder Craig Newmark and Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau.

As Puerto Rico reels from an ongoing series of tragic earthquakes and tremors in recent weeks, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the mental health of the island’s 3.2 million residents should be top of mind.

RIP David Olney, 71, a renowned folk singer-songwriter who died in the middle of a performance in Florida after apologizing to his audience and closing his eyes.

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston shared a warm reunion at the SAG Awards yesterday, minutes after the exes picked up separate acting trophies.

The severance deal that Buckingham Palace announced on Saturday for Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, is most remarkable for how clean a break the royal family is making with two of its most popular, if disaffected, members — much more severe than the couple apparently expected.

“The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges,” the 35-year-old prince said at a charity event in London.

If you enjoy being outdoors, The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced available positions for the summer of 2020.

…this might be another job option: Oscar Mayer is hiring “Hotdoggers” to drive the legendary Wiernermobile. The full-time paid position involves a one-year assignment traveling to multiple states as a brand ambassador.

The Regeneron Science Talent Search is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science competition for high school seniors. Hannah Shell a Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School senior, has been named a finalist.

Photo credit: George Fazio.



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