Rise and Shine: March 11, 2020

Good morning, CivMixers. Welcome to the middle of the workweek, AKA Wednesday.

It’s also National Promposal Day. Now, this isn’t something that existed back when I was a teen, walking uphill both ways to school while barefoot and listening to my Walkman.

Back in MY day, we stressed about prom, sure. We sat around and obsessed about it, particularly about whether we would be going alone, with our friends, or with someone in whom we had a romantic interest. But when the big ask occurred, it usually was pretty anticlimactic. It happened next to your locker in the hallway, or maybe on the phone – the rotary phone, that is.

Nowadays, though, the ask is a THING, it’s like a dry run for a marriage proposal. It’s scripted and videoed and posted on social media. Woah to the teen who doesn’t come up with a creative way to pop the question.

And, apparently, the ask gets its own special day.

Kids today. (Shakes head slowly in wonderment).

We’re in for a dry day today, with some sun and clouds and temperatures slightly lower than what we’ve seen over the past few days. (In the high 40s, according to The Weather Channel).

Guitarist Benji Madden, (AKA Mr. Cameron Diaz) is turning 41 today, as is his brother and Good Charlotte bandmate, Joel. Also celebrating birthdays: Singer Lisa Loeb (52), actress Thora Birch (38), and actor Johnny Knoxville (49).

You’ll notice that I did not start out this post with the daily COVID-19 news. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important or newsworthy – I do. And it’s not that I’m not worried about it – I am, believe me, I am.

It’s just…I don’t want it to dominate my life and my brain space as much as it has been. And so, I took back a few moments just to think about something else – something a little frivolous, I readily admit.

But one cannot ignore reality forever. So now, the virus news…

Days after approving an $8.3 billion coronavirus spending bill, Democrats and Republicans are negotiating another package that could include a large payroll tax cut, paid sick leave for workers without it, infrastructure investments and other measures to curb the economic and health effects of the virus.

New York National Guard troops were deployed to a Health Department command post in New Rochelle early yesterday as Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a one-mile radius will be subjected to a two-week containment, including closing of public gathering facilities and at least a dozen schools.

…The move seemed likely to be a precursor to similar, and perhaps more severe, actions elsewhere as the virus continues to spread quickly around the country. On Monday, officials in Santa Clara County, Calif., enacted a ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people, and other locations were poised to follow suit.

The state did not plan to close streets or to impose travel restrictions, Cuomo said, noting that he was only “containing facilities” where the virus might spread. Businesses like grocery stores and delis will remain open.

No student, teacher or parent at the three public schools that will be closed has tested positive for the virus. The closings will affect around half of the district’s roughly 10,000 students.

The wife of Westchester County coronavirus patient zero Lawrence Garbuz pleaded with the public not to blame their family for the virus outbreak.

State and NYC officials openly worried that the coronavirus outbreak could wreak havoc on New York’s banking and tourism industries — blowing new holes into their budgets.

There are now more than 1,000 cases of the virus in the United States, including more than 170 in New York, which has the third-highest total among states after Washington and California.

The Treasury Department is considering delaying tax payments beyond the April 15 deadline, according to a person familiar with the plans, as taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service brace for economic disruption from the spread of the coronavirus.

Wall Street rebounded by the closing bell yesterday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up almost 5 percent, or 1,164 points. Markets had surged in early trading, before sliding into red.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute canceled all in-person instruction, moving classes online until the beginning of April, school officials said.

Also moving classes online: Cornell, Rutgers, and Syracuse.

A student who attends classes at John Jay College in Manhattan has tested positive for coronavirus, the university said.

The annual St. Patrick’s Parade will step off at 1 p.m. Saturday as scheduled despite some people’s concerns regarding the coronavirus reports in Saratoga County and Bennington, Vt., organizers said.

The Diocese of Albany has issued new guidelines for worship as concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus continue, which includes that people should receive Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue.

The boisterous hum of Rome dwindled to a whisper and police patrols kept people apart in cafes as Italy enforced an extraordinary, sweeping lockdown in hopes of not becoming the next epicenter of the spreading coronavirus epidemic now that life in China is edging back to normal.

Dramatic photos shot by a NY Post photographer show a nearly empty Times Square subway station yesterday afternoon as straphangers apparently heeded sometimes contradictory advice from officials to avoid crowded trains while insisting it is still safe to ride the rails.

The MTA is doubling its subway station cleanings as coronavirus cases continue to rise in New York.

The NYC Department of Education has canceled all in-person parent-teacher conferences scheduled for the end of this week, saying they will done electronically or by phone in light of rising coronavirus concerns.

Cuomo finds the idea of his 2018 primary opponent Cynthia Nixon guiding the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak very funny.

The governor said he will send a bill to the Legislature that would ensure Coronavirus patients under quarantine get paid.

As part of New York’s effort to crack down on price gouging related to the spread of coronavirus, state AG Letitia James announced that two merchants in New York City were given cease and desist orders for charging excessive prices for hand sanitizers and disinfectant sprays.

After Austin canceled its long-running annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus, the company behind the festival is now refusing to refund thousands of ticket buyers for their purchases.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, neither the Coachella Music and Arts Festival nor the Stagecoach Music Festival this year will take place as scheduled, organizers confirmed.

Organizers of the annual New York International Auto Show at the Javits Center have rescheduled the 10-day event — while the New York City Half Marathon has been canceled in its entirety, event planners announced.

Talk shows across NYC, including ABC’s “The View” and “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” will reportedly tape without studio audiences because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus is driving one of Broadway’s most prolific producers to drastically slash ticket prices for several big shows. Starting at noon tomorrow, Scott Rudin will reduce tickets to his shows to $50 a pop for performances through March 29.

Coronavirus symptoms usually take about five days to appear after exposure, and almost always emerge within two weeks — confirming that a 14-day quarantine is appropriate, according to a new study.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency as the number of coronavirus cases in the state spiked to 92, more than double the 41 cases announced just 24 hours earlier.

A British health minister tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first UK lawmaker diagnosed with the virus.

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak prompted NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson to put off his own State of the City Address, which he had prepared to deliver tomorrow in Manhattan.

Vent Fitness says two people diagnosed with coronavirus in Saratoga County recently attended a class in Clifton Park.

Yonkers Raceway was shut down yesterday after a long-time harness racing trainer and fixture at the track died from the coronavirus.

In non-virus news…

History didn’t repeat itself in Michigan for Bernie Sanders. Because of that, the populist U.S. senator from Vermont had an extremely disappointing evening on “Super Tuesday II” – and now faces daunting delegate math that leaves him slipping swiftly out of reach of the Democratic presidential nomination.

Former Vice President Joe Biden took a major step toward clinching the Democratic nomination after racking up dominant wins in four of six states, including the night’s biggest prize: Michigan.

Biden’s wins were so decisive that Sanders’ campaign spent the night batting away speculation about whether he would quit the race, as calls are increasing for him to do so.

Former candidate Andrew Yang endorsed Biden for president live on CNN.

The New York State Republican Party is filing a complaint against U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for making “unprecedented threats” against two Supreme Court justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Attorneys representing former top gubernatorial aide Joseph Percoco, SUNY Polytechnic Institute founder Alain Kaloyeros and three upstate businessmen convicted of corruption charges in 2018 are scheduled to argue their appeals tomorrow before a panel of federal judges in Manhattan.

State racing regulators summarily suspended the licenses of 11 individuals tied to a doping scandal that has rocked the racing industry, including prominent conditioners Jason Servis, trainer of champion Maximum Security, and multiple grade 1-winning trainer Jorge Navarro.

The state AG’s office announced a change to state policies governing the birth certificates of transpeople born in New York.

A new study from the state Office of the Comptroller found that 60 percent of all homeless shelters “posed significant health and safety risks to the state’s homeless population.”

A state worker forged sick notes to take off most of the summer and December – and now he faces felony grand larceny, the state Inspector General’s office announced.

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin outlined the county’s financial achievements for the past year and turned toward goals his administration is working on for 2020 as he delivered his third state-of-the-county address last night.

Supporters of Angelicia Morris protested her recent firing as the executive director of the county Human Rights Commission.

After the Colonie Skylane Motel’s demolition, the office building for the motel went untouched, but four years later city officials say its scheduled to be torn down this morning.

Schenectady Police are investigating the death of a 2-month-old infant.

The Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park will open a year-round visitor center named after Larry Gordon, a long-time Wilton resident who spent most of his life protecting, enhancing and promoting the conservation of the landscape of Camp Saratoga.

Facing a March 16 deadline, the Petersburgh Town Board voted unanimously this week to approve an agreement in which two companies will pay a total of $500,000 toward cleanup of a PFOA-contaminated landfill that has sat unattended for more than two decades.

A New York man who threatened to assault and murder Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., last year has been sentenced to a year and one day in prison, federal prosecutors announced.

The NYPD released surveillance video of the suspected bandits in last weekend’s heist at Aqueduct racetrack in Queens.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer is one step closer to getting re-married, having picked up his marriage license with his fiancee.

It’s maple syrup season.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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