5 Things That Happened While You Were Out: Feb. 28

Friday is over and the weekend is ahead of us. Today would normally be the last day in February, but it’s a leap year. That means a WHOLE ETXRA DAY of February!

Good thing it’s a Saturday, as it is always difficult to remember to put that “Feb. 29” date down. Before you check out for the day, here are a few things you might have missed…

1) Three people are missing and 13 were rescued and brought to the hospital off the San Diego coast. It is suspected that this is what is known as a “dump and run” in which 25-to-45-foot boats known as pangas drop migrants into the water off the U.S. coast and leave them to fend for themselves while returning to Mexico.

According to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Kurtis Kantura, pangas have no onboard communication equipment are not meant for long-distance travel. Agent Kantura said the search continue for the missing three passengers, as well as for the boats and their operators.

2) Solano County in Northern California is home to what appears to be the first patient with coronavirus who is confirmed to have not traveled outside of the country or come into contact with anyone who has. Local authorities have declared a state of emergency and launched an intense search for anyone who may have come into contact with the infected woman.

The fear is that the virus could now be spreading in the U.S. County Health Officer Dr. Bela Matyas has clarified that this is an indication that we have moved into a mitigation period as opposed to a containment period for the virus.

3) New York’s plastic bag ban will technically take effect as scheduled this Sunday, March 1, but it will not be enforced until at least April 1.

Facing a lawsuit from a Long Island plastic bag manufacturer and NYC bodega owners, the DEC today publicly agreed not to enforce the ban to allow time for the legal process to play out and a judge to decide whether to grant the temporary restraining order the plaintiffs are seeking. The full paperwork for that TRO is due to be filed on March 24.

In the meantime, retailers can continue to give shoppers plastic bags, but the five-cent fee on paper bags continues to stand in those counties where local governments decided to opt in to that cost.

4) Not much induces more anxiety for a parent than getting a letter from your child’s school. Parents across the Mechanicville School District have been receiving letters with the alarming news that Snapchat accounts have been made in the names of students without their knowledge or consent.

Snapchat is a social media application popular with preteens and teens. It lets you take pictures, apply a variety of filters to those images and share them. The pictures are only available for a brief amount of time, and then disappear. The Mechanicville superintendent’s office is encouraging parents to have talks with their children about the dangers of social media, and also to delete this app off of their phones.

The school district also stressed that this is an ongoing investigation and more information will be revealed when it becomes available.

5) Get ready for a Capital District favorite starting Monday, March 2 with the opening of 2020’s Schenectady Restaurant Week.¬†Every year, different regions within the Capital District have a restaurant week that offers the chance to go to participating dining establishments and enjoy a meal off a select menu for a fixed price. This year the price will be $25 (plus tax and tip).

This is a very popular event throughout the area, so it is recommended that you make reservations with the restaurant you want to go to. Some restaurants will require you to have reservations to get the Restaurant Week menu and pricing, so be sure to check with individual establishments before planning to go there.

Schenectady Restaurant Week is put on by the Capital Region Chamber and the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation, with promotional support by Discover Schenectady.

This year, they have partnered with Proctors to run an additional special promotion. By posting a picture of either yourself, your meal or both on Facebook or Instagram and using the hashtag #SchdyRestWeek20 you will be entered to win two tickets to the upcoming Chazz Palminteri’s One Man Show: A Bronx Tale.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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