Rise and Shine: Feb. 24, 2020

Good Monday morning, CivMixers.

I’m almost afraid to say it, because it feels like I’ll probably jinx it and Mother Nature is notoriously fickle – especially upstate in late February/early March – but it ALMOST feels like spring is right around the corner. The weekend was glorious. And today, we’re looking at sunny skies and temperatures reaching into the 50s!

Enjoy it while you can, though, because according to The Weather Channel, we’re looking at rain, rain and more rain for the next three days or so. But I’ll take that over snow at this point. I and SO READY for mud season. Bring it.

BTW, happy National Tortilla Chip Day!

Did you know tortilla chips have an origin story? According to the interwebs…

“As the story goes, the triangle shaped tortilla chips we love with salsa, guacamole, and queso dip gained prominence in the 1940s, when Rebecca Webb Carranza decided to take the rejected tortillas from her company’s automated manufacturing line and repurpose them.

As a way to reduce food waste and create new revenue streams in her Mexican deli and tortilla factory near Los Angeles, she decided to cut the rejects into triangles and fry them, selling them in dime bags at the El Zarape Tortilla Factory.

In 1994, Carranza received the Golden Tortilla award for her contribution to the Mexican food industry, and in 2006, she passed away at the age of 98.”

On this day in 1980, the U.S. ice hockey team clinched the gold medal with 4-2 win over Finland at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics in the wake of the Feb. 22 4-3 “Miracle on Ice” victory against the hot favorite to win – the Soviet Union.

Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of that amazing game. Some members of the miracle team appeared Friday at a rally for President Donald Trump in Las Vegas and are now being criticized for that.

Speaking of Nevada, it was a very good weekend for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He won the state’s caucuses in a big way, and is now the undisputed frontrunner of the Democratic presidential primary.

This, of course, turned Sanders into more of a target than he already was for his fellow Democratic White House hopefuls. Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Saturday, for example, made his most explicit case yet that Sanders would be unable to beat Trump in the general election.

There’s a lot more news where that came from. But before we dive into it…Former boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. is turning 43 today. Other birthdays of note: Singer Trace Cyrus (31), Nike co-founder Phil Knight (82), and actor Billy Zane (54).

On this day in 1955, Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs was born and was put up for adoption. He went on to upend the modern computer industry and turn the simple black turtleneck into a fashion statement. Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor in 2003, and died of respiratory arrest related to the tumor at the age of 56 in October 2011.

Now, back to those headlines…

Trump arrived in India this morning for his highly-anticipated two-day trip where he hopes to forge a new trade deal with the country.

Energized by his landslide victory in the Nevada caucuses, Sanders turned his focus to Trump while his campaign made plans to try to win the coming South Carolina primary and amass an insurmountable delegate lead on Super Tuesday next week.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee called out Sanders over his decision to skip its conference next month in Washington and blaming his decision on his concern that the group provides a platform for leaders to “express bigotry” and oppose basic Palestinian rights.

Former Democratic presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson made a surprise appearance at a Sanders’ rally in Austin, Texas, to announce her endorsement of the Democratic front-runner.

Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on the Democratic Party to abandon the caucus system altogether in a statement released following the caucuses held in his home state.

Europe confronted its first major outbreak of the coronavirus as an eruption of more than 150 cases in Italy prompted officials to lock down at least 10 towns, close schools in major cities and cancel sporting events and cultural touchstones – including the end of the Venice carnival.

The TSA has barred employees from using Chinese-owned TikTok to post on the agency’s website after U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned the popular app, which was banned by the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies, could pose a security threat.

Police cleared the Jewish community center in Albany yesterday after a person affiliated with the center received an emailed bomb threat, authorities said.

…It was later announced that Albany was not the only target: the email was sent to several people with JCC emails, from at least 19 Jewish community centers in the State.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, speaking to reporters outside the Albany JCC, called the threats an act of “terror.”

Former New York Gov. David Paterson called on state legislators in Albany to fix the bail reform law that he says is releasing criminals who pose a “danger to society” out into the streets.

Schenectady Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara says the governor’s office told him to stop tweeting about bail reform. A Cuomo spokesman’s reply: “I don’t know what he’s talking about, and in our experience neither does the assemblyman most times.”

An Orthodox Jewish man credited as a hero for attacking a knife-wielding man who stabbed five people during a Hanukkah celebration north of New York City is reportedly refusing to take a $20,000 reward from established Jewish groups because he considers them Zionists.

The jurors weighing Harvey Weinstein’s fate will head into their second week of deliberations today, and some legal experts are theorizing a verdict may be imminent.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s use of the encrypted messaging app Signal on his private phone poses serious ethical and legal questions, government watchdog groups said.

De Blasio kicks off a typical day with roughly two hours in the gym before getting around to running the city at 10:30 a.m., a NY Post review of his schedules shows.

A racist fashion show incident at FIT has caused the suspension of two administrators lead to an official apology from the school’s president, Dr. Joyce Brown, and will be reviewed by an outside investigator.

Immigrants love New York, and they are having the greatest economic effect here, out of all the states, according to a new report.

A coalition of developers and civil rights activists is pushing hard for property tax reform in New York City, which needs approval in Albany, but the obstacles are formidable.

The city of Rensselaer has not submitted three years worth of required financial data to the state comptroller’s office – in line with a time period when the municipality began collecting sizable payments from the troubled S.A. Dunn landfill.

…Environmental activists, homeowners, and others in Rensselaer and East Greenbush are calling for the landfill’s immediate closure.

A funeral for 17-year-old Brandon Sylvester, the Green Island student who was killed while crossing Route 787 this month, will be held today in Loudonville.

State Police are investigating the overdose death of a high school student in the Schalmont school district who attended the Capital Region BOCES Auto and Pathways program.

Former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver lost his bid Friday to get a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision to uphold part of his corruption conviction.

An invasive species of abandoned pet turtles is wreaking havoc in NYC parks, pushing out native animals and potentially exposing visitors to Salmonella, according to experts.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez managed to get her goddaughter into a Bronx charter school, according to a Facebook Live video she recorded in 2017 before she was a public figure.

New York is considering ending a practice that allows one spouse to legally refuse to pay for nursing home care for the other — while passing the bill to Medicaid.

Schumer has a sweet spot for Junior’s cheesecakes.

The Saratoga Polo Association’s historic polo field is going up for auction early next month. Bids will be accepted online from 9 a.m. March 2 to 3 p.m. March 4, with a minimum bid of $4.3 million.

A week shy of the start of New York state’s plastic bag ban, business and government leaders gathered at Crossgates Mall on Friday to remind shoppers of the impending changes.

Mike Bloomberg said Friday he’d free three women from confidentiality agreements that bar them from speaking publicly about sexual harassment or discrimination suits filed against him over the last three decades.

Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said that he would undergo surgery next month to remove a tumor on his kidney.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is going to review a recent traffic matter involving Newburgh City Councilman-at-Large Omari Shakur and city police officers.

A California man who said he wanted to fly to the edge of outer space to see if the world is round has died after his home-built rocket blasted off into the desert sky and plunged back to earth.

Actor Kirk Douglas, who died Feb. 5 at the age of 103, left the bulk of his $80 million estate to the Douglas Foundation, the charity he co-founded nearly six decades ago.

Some RPI students REALLY wanted Chik-fil-A.

RIP Matthew Bender IV, a longtime leader in the Capital Region’s philanthropic community, who died yesterday at the age of 88.

RIP Barbara Smith, (AKA B. Smith), a fashion model who created a business empire by catering to the tastes of aspiring black professionals with her restaurants, television shows, bedding and furniture collections and books on entertaining. She died on Saturday at her home on Long Island at the age of 70.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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