Rise and Shine: Jan. 31, 2020

The end is here, CivMixers. The end of the week, that is. And what a week it has been. It’s also the end of January. Tomorrow, we will enter February, the month of love. Get ready.

It’s National Hot Chocolate Day. The Troy Business Improvement District is celebrating with a “hot chocolate hop” for Troy Night Out this evening. It’s kind of like a pub crawl, but with sweet, chocolatey goodness to consume instead of alcohol. (Actually, there might be some alcohol involved at one or two businesses).

On the whole, it’s all very wholesome. Check it out if you’ve got time.

Ir’s certainly hot chocolate weather. We’ll see partly cloudy skies and the thermometer will flirt with 40 degrees, according to The Weather Channel. There’s some snow in the forecast for tomorrow – morning showers, not a lot – but just so you know.

On this day in 1865, General Robert E. Lee was named Commander-in-Chief of Confederate Armies during US Civil War.

In 1929, Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was expelled from Russia to Turkey.

In 1969, the “Green Hornet” radio show was first heard on WXYZ Radio in Detroit.

In 1955, RCA demonstrated the first music synthesizer.

In 1971, “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison hit No. 1 on the UK pop chart.

In 1982, the U.S. Male Figure Skating championship was won by Scott Hamilton.

In 2000, a fight between Baltimore Raven player Ray Lewis and his companions and another group of people resulted in the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Lewis was subsequently indicted on murder and aggravated-assault charges, and pleaded pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in connection with the case.

Singer Justin Timberlake is advancing on 40, but not quite there yet. He turns 39 today. Other birthdays of note: Model Portia de Rossi (AKA the wife of Ellen DeGeneres – 49), actress Kerry Washington (43), country singer Tyler Hubbard (33), former baseball great Nolan Ryan (73),

Jackie Robinson, who broke the baseball color line when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, was born on this day in 1918. He died of a heart attack in Stamford, CT at the age of 53.

The actress, singer, dancer, and comedian, who was best known for starring in Broadway and film musicals, Carol Channing, was born on this day in 1921. She died on January 15, 2019, of natural causes at her home in Rancho Mirage, California, at the age of 97 – just 16 days shy of her 98th birthday.

In the headlines…

A final vote to acquit or remove President Donald Trump from office could come as soon today, senators said. It may all depend on another vote certain to be cast Friday: Will the Senate seek new witness testimony and documents in the case?

Republican Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander said although he believed that Democrats had proved their case that Trump acted “inappropriately” in his dealings with Ukraine, he did not think the president’s actions were impeachable and would vote against considering new evidence in the impeachment trial.

The writer E. Jean Carroll, who has accused Trump of raping her in the 1990s and is suing him for defamation, asked yesterday that he provide a DNA sample to determine whether his genetic material is on a dress she says she had on at the time of the incident.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo reassured New Yorkers that there are still no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the state.

…This came the same day the WHO declared a global health emergency over the spread of the newly discovered virus, and the same day that health officials reported the first known person-to-person transmission of the virus in the U.S.

The State Department told Americans to not travel to China because of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

When the helicopter carrying the basketball legend Kobe Bryant crashed into a fogbound mountainside, killing all nine people onboard, the pilot who was struggling to avoid the clouds did not have the legal authority to navigate with his instruments because the aircraft owner did not have the necessary federal certification.

The charter company that owns the helicopter Bryant and his daughter Gianna were traveling in when it crashed, killing all nine people on board, has suspended all of their services after the accident.

In one of his most direct confrontations yet with his top rival in the Iowa caucuses, former Vice President Joe Biden called out Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont for not being a Democrat even as Sanders makes a competitive run for that party’s presidential nomination.

The spotlight on brain injuries suffered by Americans in Iraq this month is an example of America’s episodic attention to this invisible war wound, which has affected hundreds of thousands over the past 20 years but is not yet fully understood.

The Albany Police Department has moved to fire three police officers and discipline five others for their roles in a violent confrontation with residents after they responded to complaints about a raucous house party last year on First Street.

Sam Fein, an Albany County legislator who represents Albany’s South End, Historic Pastures and Mansion neighborhoods, said he plans to challenge veteran Democratic Assemblyman John McDonald in order to implement his “bold vision for the future.”

A report from a New York State Bar Association committee has backed the legalization of marijuana in New York, and the organization’s House of Delegates is due to consider it today.

A coalition of business groups released a letter urging top lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate to not pass legislation that would reclassify workers in the so-called “gig” economy.

Lawmakers holding budget hearings this week faced protests from environmental and left-leaning groups who criticized the lack of new solar and wind projects breaking ground in the state.

Activist, actress and former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon endorsed the half-dozen candidates endorsed by the New York City Democratic Socialists of America.

Cuomo’s budget includes a proposed increase of $826 million in education funding, but 10 local school districts say that is not enough and they are concerned.

A bill in Albany would impose a statewide ban on sales of dogs, cats and rabbits from retail stores, applying to the 80 or so licensed pet store businesses in the state, not to breeders who sell the animals directly.

There are a number of potential complications that homeowners and businesses must navigate as the state moves toward reducing the use of traditional fossil fuels like natural gas or heating oil in the housing market.

A former, long-time state elected official (ex-GOP Sen. George Winner), and former GOP executive director Ed Lurie, who has been a critic of a nonpartisan redistricting panel, were picked by the Senate Minority Conference for an independent redistricting commission.

New York should spend an additional $25 million for bolstering security for organizations that could be vulnerable to hate crimes, the governor said. He wants the money in the final budget deal.

State Sen. Jim Tedisco, a Republican, and Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara are launching an online questionnaire and will then hold a series of roundtable discussions about why people are leaving New York in droves.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany says two new names from the clergy have been brought to their attention in connection with abuse allegations.

New York City should consider allowing yellow cabs to use some of the same strategies as the ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, including so-called surge pricing when demand is high, a government panel is set to recommend.

New York is considering a startling step: eliminating one-third of the lanes on one of the city’s busiest highways: the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which is rapidly falling apart under the weight of 153,000 vehicles a day, more than three times what it was built to handle.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former cop, said he would carry a gun if elected NYC mayor in 2021 rather than waste taxpayer money by having his own security detail like Mayor Bill de Blasio and his predecessors.

Fotis Dulos, the Connecticut man accused of murdering his estranged wife, Jennifer Dulos, last May in a case that received national attention, died yesterday, his lawyer said, two days after he attempted suicide at his home.

Adam Skelos, son of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, is asking a judge to allow him to finish out his sentence in a halfway house — and he made the request all by himself, according to new court papers.

The Bronx’s top elected Democrats squared off in a power struggle over who gets to run the borough’s largest political club.

A high-level NYC commission empowered by the mayor and City Council speaker is proposing a major overhaul that would fundamentally shift the tax burden to wealthier neighborhoods and lessen it for low- and moderate-income homeowners. (Albany needs to approve this, so expect a fight).

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson placed the blame for the city’s snowballing homelessness crisis squarely on the shoulders of de Blasio, describing his administration’s response as merely lurching from “crisis to crisis” as the 2021 mayoral wannabe put forth his own homeless housing plan.

A parolee who broke into a women’s home while she was sleeping last fall, then fled, was tracked down using “biological evidence” from the crime scene, Warren County sheriff’s deputies said.

A former longtime business partner of Halfmoon-based developer Bruce Tanski was sentenced to one year’s probation yesterday, two years after pleading guilty to federal bank charges in a case in which Tanski had been identified as a co-conspirator but never charged.

As Americans scrambled to get out of Wuhan, China, while the deadly coronavirus outbreak emerged, a 2004 Niskayuna High School graduate and his family hopped a plane for the U.S. thanks to a lucky coincidence in travel planning a day before the area was quarantined.

Six students from Catskill High School have been selected for the 2020 High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall.

After 2 and a half months, WAMC’s Joe Donahue is back at work after sustaining a devastating injury on the last day of a trip to Ireland with family.

The idea of a “best bagel” contest outside of the bagel mecca – NYC – might strike some as impossible. Yet here are the results of the TU’s poll.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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