Rise and Shine: Feb. 11, 2020

Good Tuesday morning, CivMixers.

New Hampshire’s presidential primary kicked off at midnight – as voters in three tiny townships in the state’s North Country and White Mountains cast the first ballots in the first primary in the White House race.

Hopefully, things go better for the Democrats in the Granite State than they did at the Iowa caucuses. Fingers crossed.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders appears to be the man to beat today.

Speaking of Iowa: Both Sanders and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., requested a recanvass of last week’s tabulations, questioning the data from various precincts in a race that showed them finishing in a virtual tie.

Also happening today: Day one of a two-day global forum organized by the World Health Organization in response to coronavirus sweeping across China and surging around the globe. (The death toll has surpassed 1,000 at this point).

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan has nearly doubled; and at least 20 Americans are among those onboard who are ill.

Dozens of people were quarantined at a Hong Kong housing complex after the virus appeared to spread through the building’s pipes.

The 144th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the canine equivalent of the Super Bowl, wraps up tonight at Madison Square Garden. The Best in Show prize will be awarded, and if you happen to be in a betting mood, consider this: Terriers have claimed the top spot 47 times – the most of any breed.

While noodling around the internet this morning, I learned something fascinating: Did you know that people born in February are smarter than average? Seriously, read this

“According to a 2015 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, February babies are smarter and taller than your average babe. Not only do these babies score higher on neurocognitive tests, they’re also said to be more agreeable and conscientious of the world around them. Census data from Denmark, Austria, and Australia also concluded that these same February babes might have a slightly longer life expectancy.”

As a July baby, I’m a little jealous.

We’re in for some showers this morning, along with some areas of patchy fog, according to The Weather Channel. The precipitation will end in the afternoon, but skies will be cloudy all day…and temperatures will be fairly mild, hanging around in the high-30s. There could be some ice patches on the roads this morning, so take precautions.

A little historical gem for those of us who follow politics closely: On this day in 1812, Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting bill, marking the first-ever instance of “gerrymandering.”

In 1903, Congress adopted the Expedition Act, which authorized the Attorney General to “expedite” anti-trust cases through the courts, reflecting growing popular support for President Theodore Roosevelt’s “trust busting” campaign.

In 1942, the comic book “Archie” debuted.

In 1974, Henry Kissinger unveiled the Nixon Administration’s seven-point “Project Independence” plan to make the U.S. energy independent.

In 1979, 43 million people watched “Elvis!” on ABC.

(This one is particularly sentimental for me)…In 1983, the single “Total Eclipse of the Heart” sung by Bonnie Tyler and composed by Jim Steinman was released.

In 1993, then-President Clinton selected Janet Reno to be first female U.S. Attorney General.

Actress Jennifer Anniston is turning 51 today. She shares a birthday with: Actor Taylor Lautner (28), R & B singer Khalid (22), singer Kelly Rowland (39), singer Brandy (41), singer Sheryl Crow (58), former Alaska Governor and one-time VP candidate Sarah Palin (56), surfer Kelly Slater (48), and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (67).

If you’re reading this in a room with the lights on and on a computer that’s plugged in, you might want to take a moment to give a shoutout to the man who brought us electricity – inventor Thomas Edison – who was born on this day in 1847. (He also invented the motion picture camera and the phonograph).

Edison died of complications of diabetes on Oct. 18, 1931, at his home “Glenmont,” which is located in Llewellyn Park in West Orange, New Jersey. (He’s buried there).

In the headlines…

Eager to put on a show of force in a general election battleground state, President Donald Trump tried to rattle Democrats yesterday with a rally in New Hampshire on the eve of the state’s first-in-the-nation primaries.

Days after the federal government abruptly announced that it would no longer allow New Yorkers to participate in several popular expedited travel programs, state lawmakers assailed the change as a political stunt with crippling economic impact, and federal officials blamed the policy on a state law blocking immigration officers’ access to motor vehicle records.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said he talked to Trump over the weekend to request a face-to-face meeting to discuss the federal government’s decision to suspend New York’s participation in a program intended to prescreen travelers for quicker border crossings.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s pending rules on sexual misconduct at the nation’s schools and colleges will include provisions to shore up protections for victims of stalking and dating violence, a response to lethal attacks that have underscored the weakness of current policies.

Solutions to the plastic waste problem are often described in terms of what consumers can do to help. But federal legislation, set to be introduced by two Democrats in Congress today, would shift responsibility to the industries producing the plastic encircling the globe.

Federal prosecutors asked a judge to sentence Roger J. Stone Jr., Trump’s longtime friend and former campaign adviser, to up to nine years in prison for lying to Congress and tampering with a witness to prevent investigators from discovering how the 2016 Trump campaign tried to benefit from stolen Democratic documents.

Attorney General William P. Barr said that the Justice Department would consider information from Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, about Ukraine. That could include assertions about former Vice President Joe Biden Jr. and his son Hunter.

The driver who hit a group of teenagers as they ran across State Route 787 Saturday night, killing one and injuring three others, was driving with a suspended license, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said.

The State Education Department will return to the table with stakeholders who flooded the department with an “unprecedented” volume of feedback regarding a set of proposed curriculum standards for non-public schools, education officials said.

The capital city is taking its argument for $12.5 million in additional state funding directly to state lawmakers. Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan was noticeably absent from this year’s local government budget hearing yesterday, due to a prior family engagement.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand traveled to Albany and two other upstate New York cities yesterday to announce bipartisan legislation she said would help families better support loved ones struggling with addiction.

A New York State judge temporarily blocked the state’s week-old ruling that had effectively barred tenants from having to pay a broker fee, issuing at least a short-term reprieve to an industry scrambling to respond.

As Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs prepares to officially open its doors on Saturday, Feb. 29, its long-time campaign director, Teddy Foster, has been elevated to director.

Matt Toporowski, 33, an attorney with The Wagoner Firm and a former Albany County assistant district attorney, will challenge District Attorney David Soares for the Democratic nomination by calling into question Soares’ progressive bona fides.

A Syracuse woman killed in a car crash yesterday morning on the Thruway may have died hours before anyone noticed her car wrecked on the side of the road, authorities said.

In the strongest defense testimony yet, Mexican model Claudia Salinas denied a Harvey Weinstein accuser’s claim that she stood by and did nothing while the once-powerful movie mogul sexually assaulted the woman at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2013.

Mayor Meg Kelly’s niece and 2017 campaign manager, Theresa “Teri” Wilson, has landed yet another job in City Hall. At the City Council meeting last week, she was named the city’s communications manager, a position that pays $68,000 annually.

Robert Williams, who is accused of ambushing New York City police officers in a patrol van and then at a precinct. was arraigned yesterday on attempted murder and other charges.

A prosecutor, Burim Namani, said Williams had told investigators in videotaped interviews that he carried out the attacks because “he was tired of police officers.”

Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler delivered a tough-love message that the city has problems with unrepaired infrastructure, dubious economic development, issues in the civil service and police departments, and frayed relationships with other governments that his administration intends to correct.

The Saratoga Springs Police Department says that a scammer(s) claimed to be a member of the police department during phone calls to residents.

A baccarat dealer at Rivers Casino in Schenectady and a player from Halfmoon have been arrested for allegedly working together to steal an estimated $20,000 from the casino, authorities said.

Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney is considering ankle monitors as an alternative to bail.

The Albany Police Department is mourning the loss of one of its retired K9 officers, Red.

The Capital District Jewish Holocaust Memorial cleared another hurdle as the town Planning Board unanimously granted final site plan approval for the project on land adjacent to Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery at 2501 Troy Schenectady Road.

A Rotterdam man who served as a Schenectady County grand juror has been arrested, accused of illegally disclosing secret information from the proceedings, authorities said.

This historic brick building at 44 Central Ave., Albany, which is home to the Preservation League of New York State, gets a profile in the TU.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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