While You Were Out: Jan. 6 2020

Phew! Was it just me, or was this an unusually jam-packed Monday? It seemed like everyone was back from the holidays with a VENGEANCE, and ready to hit the ground running. Everyone. All at once.

I’m wiped. And it’s only six days into the new year. I need to learn to pace myself. Deep breaths.

In the news…

Vast crowds thronged the streets of Tehran as a funeral was held for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, who was killed in an American drone strike on Friday.

Senior Iranian officials are using Twitter to hint at threats against President Trump’s properties — including his Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Florida and Trump Tower in Manhattan — over the killing of Iran’s top military commander.

John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, said that he was willing to testify at President Trump’s impeachment trial if he was subpoenaed.

The Trump administration today took its first step toward tighter pollution controls on trucks, an anomalous move for a government known for weakening environmental policies but one that would pre-empt tougher state rules.

Amy Kennedy, the wife of former Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy, announced that she is running as a Democrat for the New Jersey seat held by Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who split from the Democratic Party over President Trump’s impeachment.

Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced that he is endorsing Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Democratic primary – just four days after suspending his own campaign.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo deemed New York’s bail laws a “work in progress” as progressive Democrats pushed back against the idea of reassessing recently enacted reforms in the wake of anti-Semitic attacks.

Long Island Democratic Sen. Jim Gaughran is sponsoring a bill that would reinstate bail for 52 crimes. Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein has proposed legislation that would reinstitute cash bail for hate crimes.

Cuomo is looking to expand Midtown Manhattan’s run-down Penn Station transit hub, and said he’s even considering demolishing part of the Madison Square Garden complex to get it done.

Cuomo today came across an accident on the BQE. He cut a passenger out of his seatbelt and helped pull him out of the wreck.

The controversial Dunn Landfill in Rensselaer is just one of three dozen or so landfills and incinerators around the country that received some of the 12 million-plus tons of construction, commercial and residential refuse exported from NYC in 2018.

Shoshanah Bewlay has been appointed the new executive director of the state Committee on Open Government, the state Department of State announced. She replaces Robert Freeman, who resigned last year as the office’s longtime executive director amid allegations he sexually harassed multiple women.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles have brought an indictment against the producer Harvey Weinstein, charging him with sex crimes, even as his trial on similar charges began in New York City, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

A coalition led by the New York League of Conservation Voters launched a campaign today to push for clean fuel policy in New York.

The sentencing of ex-Cohoes Mayor Shawn M. Morse, who pleaded guilty in August to federal criminal charges, has been delayed a month and is scheduled to take place on Feb. 5 at U.S. District Court in Albany.

Central New York is among the cloudiest places in America, especially during the winter, but 2020 so far has been especially cruel.

The New York Civil Liberties Union is calling on the state Education Department to cancel its approval of a biometric surveillance system for a Western New York school district, arguing that the district has not addressed questions raised by its own experts on potential risks to student privacy.

The husband to the chief of staff to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was arrested on federal drug charges today at John F. Kennedy International Airport for his alleged role in trafficking $100,000 worth of cocaine from Jamaica in June.

State Police are investigating the killing of a Montgomery County man who was allegedly shot dead by his son this morning.

The judge set to preside over the trial of a man accused of slaughtering two women and two children in late 2017 signed an order today forbidding him from having any contact with the other man accused of participating in the crime.

Neighbors of the site of a future 1,000,000-square-foot Amazon warehouse filed their latest request to appeal in a lawsuit against Schodack’s planning board last week, reiterating their plea that an impartial environmental assessment be completed on the still-developing project.

Eight NYC subway lines ground to a halt in a transit meltdown today, with signal problems causing headaches for morning commuters fresh off holiday breaks.

former Troy City Councilman Timothy Kennedy was due in court today to face charges of felony assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

The AARP TaxAide program, which provides free tax preparation services for low and moderate-income residents in Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties, will provide those services from Feb. 1 through April 15. Tax aides are trained in federal and state tax regulations and certified by the IRS.

Fans of Cider Belly Doughnuts won’t have to drive to downtown Albany to fulfill their cravings for a Sugar Daddy, Glazer or Original Cinn when the business opens a second shop in Colonie.

Awkwafina, a University at Albany graduate (and former Times Union intern) won a Golden Globe award last night for lead actress, becoming the first actor of Asian descent to win the award.

Joaquin Phoenix, winner of Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Drama for his portrayal of Arthur Fleck in “Joker,” was shooed away after accusing Hollywood of hypocrisy over climate change (and dropping a few f-bombs in the process.)

The U.S. dairy industry, the largest in the world, is under severe pressure as the consumption habits of Americans shift.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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