While You Were Out: Feb. 5, 2020

The big news today: President Donald Trump, as expected, was acquitted by a divided U.S. Senate acquitted of charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress to aid his own re-election, bringing an acrimonious impeachment trial to its expected end.

The only Republican to break ranks was Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who voted with the Democrats to impeach. He said it was the most difficult decision he has ever made in his life.

Republican senators quickly shot down talk of punishing Romney after the party’s 2012 presidential nominee voted to convict Trump on the first article of impeachment, abuse of power.

Tedra Cobb, the Democrat hoping to unseat Republican NY-21 Rep. Elise Stefanik, announced that she does not support removing President Donald Trump from office – though she said in December that she would have voted to impeach him.

Could things get any worse for the Iowa Democrats? The party said it would issue a “minor correction” to the latest results of its caucuses released earlier today.

The Iowa Democratic caucus has been wreaked by such havoc that Brooklyn Borough President and presumptive mayoral candidate Eric Adams is calling on City Hall to take steps to ensure New Yorkers never suffer the same embarrassment.

Things did not go well in Iowa for former Vice President Joe Biden.

Yum China Holdings, which operates Pizza Hut and KFC in China, has temporarily closed more than 30 percent of its stores there as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Two more people in New York City are being tested for the new coronavirus after recently returning from China and displaying symptoms of the deadly disease, the city announced.

About 350 Americans fleeing the virus zone in China were being screened today at two California military bases where they will be quarantined for 14 days.

Infamous Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff is reportedly seeking an early release from prison so he won’t have to die behind bars.

Shawn Morse, an iron-fisted former firefighter who endured a scandal-plagued first term as the mayor of the city where he grew up, was sentenced to probation, 200 hours of community service and fined $3,000 by a federal judge, six months after admitting he stole more than $12,200 in campaign funds.

Workers replaced the first of 19 signs missing the second “Z” in Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, accurately spelling the last name of Giovanni de Verrazzano for the first time since the bridge opened in 1964.

A Cohoes city judge set bail for a man with a long history of failing to make his court appearances, setting up the first constitutional legal challenge of a new state law that prohibits judges from requiring defendants to post cash bail for certain non-violent offenses.

Every first-time parent in New York City will soon be eligible to receive as many as six home visits from professionals as part of a $43 million early childhood effort that will be announced tomorrow.

Veteran Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif is going to work for the Cuomo administrstion.

In an unexpected addendum to last year’s rent laws, state housing regulators said renters can no longer be charged broker fees, potentially upending the market and delivering the latest blow to an industry already reeling from new regulations and sweeping tenant protections.

The NYPD is retiring handwritten memo books by Feb. 17 in a transition to a digital version — an app on officers’ department-issued iPhones.

New York City’s police commissioner has blamed the state’s new bail law for a sharp rise last month in serious crimes, warning again that the law allows violent criminals to go free and risks eroding the city’s historic improvements in public safety.

A report from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has recommended that a parcel of land on Putnam Street undergo cleanup for contamination found there.

Glencliff Elementary School in Rexford was closed today as the Niskayuna Central School District confronts another outbreak of influenza.

Spotify is planning to purchase the podcast website The Ringer, the website’s owner Bill Simmons confirmed, assuring his followers that The Ringer, which features more than 30 podcasts, would remain the same “in every respect.”

Location scouts have scoured the Collar City looking at buildings inside and out to provide the Victorian setting for New York scenes that will be depicted in HBO’s upcoming “The Gilded Age,” a period drama from “Downton Abbey” creator by Julian Fellowes.

Pete Rose again asked Major League Baseball to end his lifetime ban, saying the penalty is unfair compared with discipline for steroids use and electronic sign stealing.

Around the world, fireflies light up the night with their shimmering bodies. But scientists say this magical display is under threat – with the loss of their natural habitats, pesticide use and artificial light putting some of the 2,000 or so species at risk of extinction.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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