First Read Tonight – May 18, 2017

WEATHER: Partly cloudy in New York City, severe thunderstorms in Albany and a chance of thunderstorms in Buffalo. New York City, low 71; Albany, low 68; Buffalo, low 52.



* A driver with a history of drunken driving arrests plowed through crowds of pedestrians on packed sidewalks along three Times Square blocks, killing one person and injuring 22 others, The New York Times writes.

* State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report questioning the state budget that was was passed in April, saying the combination of reduced tax revenue and potential federal budget cuts could result in a challenging fiscal picture, State of Politics reports.

* Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed the ongoing committee stipend controversy by saying it was DiNapoli’s responsibility to determine whether these payments were legal or illegal and that since he hasn’t asked for the money back, he must not have objected, the Times Union writes.

* Republican state Sen. Pam Helming, who earlier this week said she would return her stipend, wrote on Facebook that she was never told she would receive a stipend for being vice chairwoman of a Senate committee, State of Politics reports.

* Lawyers for former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, argued that the duo’s corruption conviction should be thrown out because prosecutors’ arguments now conflict with a new interpretation of public corruption laws, the Daily News writes.

* More news below …


New Yorkers 50-plus contribute nearly $600 billion to the state economy annually, but many are leaving in search of better livability and affordability.  AARP New York recently convened leaders in design, transportation, health and other areas of livability to support New York’s commitment to become the first age-friendly state in the nation.  Learn more about how AARP New York is leading on livability.


* New York City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo won’t support Mayor Bill de Blasio administration’s plan to redevelop the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights, marking the latest split between the council and the mayor, Politico New York reports.

* State Republican lawmakers who represent Long Island introduced a bill that would allow the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to block state funding to Amtrak in order to compensate commuters who are impacted by delays and cancellations attributed to Amtrak’s maintenance, State of Politics writes.

* Cuomo said he hasn’t made a final decision on whether to march in the Puerto Rican Day Parade, which is honoring pardoned Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera with its Freedom Hero Award, the New York Post writes.

* According to the Independent Budget Office, New York City’s jails held an average of 3,931 prisoners a day in 2016 who were incarcerated only because they couldn’t make bail, costing taxpayers $116 million a year to keep the detainees behind bars as they await trial, the Post reports.

* The annual Power Trends report on the New York electric grid showed that the wind and hydroelectric power produced upstate needs more transmission line capacity to get to where power is consumed in the New York City region, calling it a tale of two grids, the Syracuse Post-Standard writes.



Improve safety and patient care across New York

44 out of 50 states regulate the practice of pharmacy technicians. New York currently does not. Support common sense legislation to improve safety and patient care across the state. Learn more:




* Former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who reshaped the network into the nation’s No. 1 cable news outlet and later resigned amid allegations that he sexually harassed female colleagues, has died at the age of 77, the Post writes.

* The U.S. Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III, a former FBI director, as special counsel to oversee the investigation into ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, the Times writes.

* Michael Flynn and other advisers to the Trump campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the final seven months of the 2016 presidential race, Reuters reports.

* Michael Flynn, who thus far has not complied with congressional subpoenas to hand over documents pertaining to the Russia investigation, told Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, the Times writes.



State of New York Women Forum Next Thursday! Hear from New York’s female leaders including Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner of the NYC Dept. of Transportation, and Maria Vullo, Superintendent of the NYS Dept. of Financial Services . Topics of discussion include women entrepreneurship, breaking through in male-dominated industries, and women’s role in health care. Click here to register for the half day forum on May 25th at the New York Academy of Medicine.





* Eighteen Mile Creek in Niagara County is so polluted that the state Department of Health doesn’t want people to eat the fish caught there, but another state agency, the Department of Environmental Conservation, stocks it each year for recreational fishing, the Investigative Post reports.

* The lawyers who run the Queens Democratic Party have made millions of dollars processing the estates of people who die without wills and foreclosing on people’s homes throughout the state, including many in Queens, Ross Barkan writes for The Village Voice.

* The biotech company Athenex, which hopes to raise $100 million in an initial public offering to help pay for work to develop cancer-fighting drugs, will become one of only a handful of Buffalo-based companies to have gone public in the past 25 years, The Buffalo News writes.


TOMORROW! Come watch New York’s elected officials and candidates and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. participate in non-partisan test of skill in the ancient New York City art of stickball in celebration of Bronx Week’s Health Day and the ongoing #NOT62 Campaign for a Healthier Bronx. Join us at noon tomorrow at Joyce Kilmer Park in Bronx, New York. Click here to RSVP for free!




5 p.m. and 6 p.m. – “MetroFocus” features singer Tony Bennett and a look at the proposed QueensWay park, WLIW21 (5 p.m.) and WNET Thirteen (6 p.m.).

7 p.m. and 10 p.m. – “Road to City Hall” features New York City mayoral candidate Paul Massey Jr., NY1.

8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. – “Capital Tonight” features U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, Andy Zepp of the Finger Lakes Land Trust and Jerry DeLuca from the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs, Spectrum News.



7 p.m. – The Liberty host the Minnesota Lynx, ESPN2.

8:15 p.m. – The Yankees visit the Kansas City Royals, FS1.



Still Serving: Honoring Veterans Improving New York. Nominations are now open for City & State’s annual “Still Serving” Award - recognizing the work of New York veterans and active service members who continue to serve their communities through public service, volunteerism, government, or civic engagement. Click here to nominate someone you know for their dedication in serving New York's communities!



8:30 a.m. – New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters delivers the welcoming remarks at the 23rd Annual Citywide Seminar on Ethics in City Government, New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, Manhattan.

9 a.m. – The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner hosts New York City Missing Persons Day, Hirsch Center for Forensic Sciences, 421 E. 26th St., Manhattan.

10 a.m. – “The Brian Lehrer Show” features New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Times transit reporter Emma G. Fitzsimmons and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy from Connecticut, WNYC.

10 a.m. – District Council 37 and officials from New York City's three public library systems rally for increased capital and operating funding for libraries in the fiscal year 2018 city budget, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

10:30 a.m. – The New York City Minority and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise Program, the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation and others host a forum for tech and software companies, Urban Tech Hub at Grand Central Tech, 335 Madison Ave., Manhattan.

11 a.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations, the Committee on Finance and Subcommittee on Libraries hold a joint executive budget hearing on the city’s public libraries, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

12 p.m.City & State and Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. host the annual #not62 Bronx Week Health Day with a stickball challenge for elected officials and candidates, Joyce Kilmer Park, Grand Concourse and East 161st Street, Bronx.

12:30 p.m. – The New York City Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations and the Committee on Finance hold a joint executive budget hearing on the city Department of Cultural Affairs, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

1 p.m. – New York City Councilman Andy King announces the implementation of Jaden’s Law, providing New Yorkers with a brochure with information about stem cells and options for becoming a bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell donor, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

1:30 p.m. – New York City first lady Chirlane McCray addresses the issue of substance use as part of the Weekend of Faith for Mental Health, Ibn Sina Community Center, 46-1 20th Ave., Queens.


TOP TWEET: Tourists seem unfazed. One just asked a cop in Times Square where Shake Shack is.

-Jillian Jorgensen @Jill_Jorgensen