Rise and Shine: Jan. 24, 2020

Good morning, CivMixers. We made it to Friday. Personally, I’m relieved. Not sure about you.

Also, it’s National Peanut Butter Day, which is RIGHT up my alley. I love nut butter in any form, and have an embarrassingly large collection of various varieties of the stuff in my pantry and fridge. I eat it every. Single. Day. No joke.

It’s a distinctly American thing, peanut butter. When I lived in France, my friends routinely told me how disgusting it was. They preferred Nutella, which I guess is OK, but too sweet for my taste…I know, fighting words.

Also, peanut butter apparently has not one, not two, but FOUR fathers, because something that good could not be the brainchild of just one person.

Anyway, I plan on really savoring my PB today. Hope you do the same. And I might even wear a bikini while I do it, because we’re headed up into the 40s today, according to The Weather Channel. And we’ll be staying there right through the weekend, with a mix of sun and clouds today and rain tomorrow evening.

Actor Ed Helms, perhaps best known for his role as Stuart Price in The Hangover trilogy, is 46 today. Also celebrating birthdays today: Rocker Neil Diamond (79), actress Mischa Barton (34) and gymnast Mary Lous Retton (52).

Comedian John Belushia, of “Animal House” fame, was born on this day in 1949. He died of a drug overdose at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles in 1982. Also born on this day was model Shanon Tate. She was one of four people who were murdered by members of the Manson Family in the home she shared with her husband, director Roman Polanski, in 1969. Tate was eight-and-a-half months pregnant with the couple’s son at the time of her death.

In the news…

China moved to lock down at least three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million in an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly new virus that has sickened hundreds of people and spread to other parts of the world during the busy Lunar New Year holiday.

…The unprecedented quarantine came as officials revealed that the flu-like illness has now killed 26 and infected more than 830 worldwide — and that it can spread far more easily between people than previously thought.

Many infectious disease specialists say cheap disposable masks, which cover the nose and mouth, may help prevent the spread of infections if they are worn properly and used consistently. But there isn’t much high-quality scientific evidence on their effectiveness outside health care settings.

Health officials in New Jersey were evaluating a patient for a possible case of the the deadly new coronavirus last night.

California Rep. Adam Schiff yesterday continued arguing that President Trump should be removed from office, with House impeachment managers launching a detailed condemnation of Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Despite impeachment trial rules that require them to sit silently at their desks when the proceeding is in session, senators have increasingly been wandering out for short or long breaks, to accommodate bathroom stops, telephone calls and even cable television appearances. Some are even napping.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will appear at campaign rallies with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Iowa this weekend ahead of the state’s Feb. 3 caucus.

Sen. Kamala Harris is reportedly weighing an endorsement of former VP Joe Biden – a move could lift his campaign and perhaps do even more to enhance her chances of becoming vice president, but also could anger her liberal base in California.

Early voting in the crush of Super Tuesday states that hold primaries on March 3 amounts to a parallel campaign for the Democratic nomination.

State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, a Manhattan Democrat, apologized for tweeting that “food choices in Albany are trash,” saying that she had been referencing the Empire State Plaza and the Amtrak train station, and also explaining that she had been “hangry” when she wrote those words.

An embattled nonprofit with close ties to top state lawmakers, the NYS Association of Black & Puerto Rican Legislators, which is now the subject of an AG probe, in 2017 hired a prominent Albany lobbyist – Patrick Jenkins – to boost its fundraising capabilities, according to newly released tax records. And that move paid off.

Six months after the Child Victims Act went into effect, survivors and lawyers say hundreds of lawsuits have stalled in the pre-trial discovery stages.

It remains unclear who will be named to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign Team, but county leaders want a seat at the table as the governor calls for localities to clamp down on Medicaid costs.

State AG Tish James is teaming up with 20 other attorneys general to sue the Trump Administration to block 3D printed gun files from being released on the internet.

State Sen. Liz Krueger has amended her Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act bill to include more money for law enforcement to train officers to recognize DUI. It also provides more funds for school districts to address “risky behavior” like vaping.

Krueger’s bill focuses on marijuana revenue, and calls for dedicating 25 percent of it to addiction treatment, prevention, and education.

Nine days after the Senate and Assembly both passed limousine safety bills, they are still sitting on Cuomo’s desk.

Cohoes City Schools and Fort Edward Union Free School District in Washington County experienced significantly more financial stress in the 2018-19 school year than they did the year prior, according to state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System.

Former Troy City Council president and mayoral candidate Rodney Wiltshire and his wife have left the Democratic Party, switching their enrollment to the Independence Party.

The Times Union Center experienced its second most profitable year ever in 2019, with $2,563,564 in net operating income, a 63 percent increase from the $1,572,990 netted one year earlier.

The Albany Fire Department is reminding people to be cautious when stepping onto ice after they had to rescue someone who fell through Washington Park Lake.

The Niskayuna Central School District said in a note to parents that they had to close the Birchwood Elementary School due to significant absences and many cases of the flu.

A man awaiting arraignment in Schenectady escaped briefly yesterday afternoon, but was back behind bars inside an hour.

Assemblyman Brian Kolb had a court appearance in Victor for DWI charges yesterday.

Laurence E. Kelly, president & CEO of Nathan Littauer Hospital & Nursing Home, will retire effective Oct. 2.

Some lawmakers are calling for a NYC takeover of the state-run MTA’s subway and bus services in the wake of popular transit chief Andy Byford’s resignation.

In a new interview, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray reveals she “was not fully enthusiastic” about her husband’s long-shot 2020 presidential bid.

Annabella Sciorra testified that Harvey Weinstein once knocked on her hotel room door in his underwear with a bottle of baby oil and a videocassette — prompting a defense lawyer to ask why she didn’t seek help from Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone.

Scions of the embattled Purdue pharmaceutical family, Mortimer and Jacqueline Sackler, have fled New York for Europe amid the backlash over the opioid crisis — after selling their Upper East Side townhouse for nearly $40 million.

The founder of an Arizona pharmaceutical company was ordered to spend 5 1/2 years in prison for orchestrating a bribery and kickback scheme prosecutors said helped fuel the opioid crisis.

Serena Williams tumbled out of the Australian Open in the third round today, eliminated by Wang Qiang of China, an opponent who had previously been one of her least daunting.

The Mayor of Fair Haven, Vt announced her intention to run for a second term, along with the details an impressive fundraising haul. The only complication… Mayor Lincoln is a goat.

A moose got stuck on an active railroad bridge in Vermont and was removed and relocated with minimal injuries, state fish and wildlife officials said.

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream announced their latest flavor, Netflix & Chill’d – a frozen concoction of peanut butter ice cream, pretzels, and brownies – in collaboration with the media giant.

I’m just going to leave this right here, no commentary necessary.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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