Rise and Shine: March, 3, 2020

Good Tuesday morning, CivMixers. Actually, it’s not just any Tuesday, but SUPER TUESDAY!

Yes, the biggest day of the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign is here, with 14 states and one territory (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and American Samoa) holding primary elections. With a huge trove of 1,344 delegates up for grabs – about a third of the total – Super Tuesday could set the course for the rest of the race.

Former Vice President Joe Biden hopes to get a bounce today from his dominating victory in South Carolina and the subsequent withdrawal from the race of Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, both of whom endorsed him.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg entire unorthodox presidential bid is resting on the outcome of this day.

New Yorkers won’t get their turn to weigh in on the presidential primary until April 28. Who knows how many candidates will actually be left standing by then?

It’s also Town Meeting Day for our neighbors in Vermont – a state holiday (held on the first Tuesday in March) during which most or all the members of a community come together to legislate policy and budgets for local government.

Wikipedia says that this is a town- or city-level meeting where decisions are made, in contrast with town hall meetings held by state and national politicians to answer questions from their constituents, which have no decision-making power.

Sounds crazy, but it works – or it must, because they’ve been doing it an awfully long time.

Expect rain to develop later in the day today, with clouds in the morning and temperatures climbing into the high 50s, according to The Weather Channel.

Actress and model Jessica Biel (AKA Mrs. Timberlake, though there’s been some reported trouble in that marriage of late) is turning 38 today. Other celebrity birthdays of note include: Director George Miller (best known for the “Mad Max” franchise – 75), actress Julie Bowen (50), and singer Camila Cabello (23).

In the headlines…

President Donald Trump gloated about the stock market roaring back during a rally in North Carolina last night, while throwing sharp barbs at the thinning Democratic presidential field on the eve of Super Tuesday’s big round of primaries.

Major cities across China have announced new travel restrictions on people who have recently visited countries where coronavirus infections are on the rise.

The Trump administration said that nearly a million tests could be administered for the coronavirus in the United States by the end of this week, a significant escalation of screening as the American death toll reached six and U.S. infections topped 100.

…The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention botched its first attempt to mass produce a diagnostic test kit, a discovery made only after officials had shipped hundreds of kits to state laboratories. A promised replacement took several weeks.

The state Legislature approved a $40 million in emergency funding to fight the coronavirus while expanding the Cuomo administration’s ability to respond to the outbreak and other public health emergencies — language which drew harsh criticism from some lawmakers late last night.

New York officials warned that the coronavirus was likely to spread in New York City, a day after confirming that a Manhattan woman had contracted the virus while traveling in Iran and was now isolated in her home. “Community spread is going to be real,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

In NYC the MTA will routinely disinfect stations, trains and buses as a precaution against coronavirus, transit officials said. Starting last night, transit workers began to deep clean the entire system using an “enhanced daily cleaning procedure,” the MTA said in a statement.

The Pope, who has been suffering from a cold, was tested for the coronavirus and the results came back negative, a report said.

Lake George businesses that rely on foreign workers during the busy tourism season are concerned that coronavirus will keep those workers away.

While public health risk remains low in the region, the first confirmed case in New York and rising case counts across the U.S. has more people wondering whether their communities are prepared in the event of an outbreak. In the Capital Region, health and emergency officials say the answer is a resounding yes.

A group of students at the University of Albany are demanding that a coronavirus-themed party — featuring buckets of Corona beers and partygoers in surgical masks — be treated as a “hate crime.”

New York has an extra $700 million to add to state coffers thanks to higher than expected Wall Street bonus payments that came in last year, state officials said.

A reduced Common Council voted 8-1, with two members voting present, to approve a new law last night that will automatically enroll city residents in a program that relies more on renewable energy sources to power their homes.

A Vermont state official confirmed that the controversial burning of toxic PFAS materials at the Norlite plant in Cohoes began at least as early as 2018.

The North Greenbush building inspector says he was interviewed last week by federal and state agents who are investigating the circumstances surrounding the installation of a sewer line to former town supervisor Louis Desso’s property.

Schenectady visitors and downtown residents will soon have another option for healthy, nutritious food at their disposal once the much-anticipated Electric City Food Cooperative opens its doors.

Nurses at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady are sharing their safety concerns in the wake of a patient-involved stabbing and assault that left four people injured last week.

The governor has proposed spending $175 million for workforce training in the 2020-21 state budget, but advocates and lawmakers say the state needs to do more in light of the thousands of good-paying, steady jobs that go unfilled each year in New York because there aren’t enough trained people.

The governor’s threat to strip $2.35 million in state video lottery terminal aid to the city of Saratoga Springs is reviving some painful memories. In 2009 when the city lost $3.3 million in state VLT aid, it led to an 8 percent increase in property tax and dozens of layoffs.

The New York Racing Association will accept full-space corporate and group hospitality reservations for the 2020 season at Saratoga Race Course beginning at 10 a.m. today.

As video of a NYC carriage horse that died in Central Park spread quickly on social media, and several elected officials called for an investigation.

The Harvey Weinstein jurors, in 26 “stressful” hours in the jury room, focused on the question of consent in the sexual encounters central to the case before they decided to convict the disgraced Hollywood mogul.

The Democratic-controlled state Senate passed a bill that would “authorize the manufacture and sale of ice cream or other frozen desserts made with liquor.”

Whoever chose the name of Troy’s Police Objective Review Committee overlooked the fact that its acronym evokes a particularly derogatory slang term for cops — an echo that has been incorporated into the City Code for a generation. But that’s likely to change next week.

Here are 20 things you might not know about veteran Capital Region Rep. Paul Tonko, for exmaple: He’s a BIG ice cream fan.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, months after a failed White House bid, has made moves that could help his wife, Chirlane McCray, be elected to the Brooklyn borough president’s office. But he has also downplayed her interest in running.

Alain Kaloyeros — the former president and CEO of SUNY Polytechnic Institute — and a former Ph.D. student are suing the SUNY Research Foundation claiming the foundation has not commercialized or protected an invention they patented in the early 2000s.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement now jails nearly every immigrant it arrests in New York — including those who don’t pose a threat — for weeks or even months until they go before a judge, according to data released in a new lawsuit.

Amtrak, the national railroad that is caught in a political stalemate over its pleas for help saving century-old infrastructure in New York City, has chosen its next leader: William J. Flynn, 66, who is the chairman and former chief executive of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, which operates cargo airlines and other airfreight businesses.

MSNBC said that beginning today, rotating substitute hosts will cover the weeknight prime-time slot previously occupied by Chris Matthews, who abruptly retired on the air during “Hardball” last night after accusations of making inappropriate comments – including several about women.

Michele Hunter, executive chef at Hamlet & Ghost in Saratoga Springs, will compete on the Food Network show “Chopped” at 9 p.m. tonight. The show features four chefs cooking off in three rounds with mystery ingredients.

RIP James Lipton, an actor-turned-academic who became an unlikely celebrity and got hundreds of master actors and Hollywood luminaries to open up about their craft as the longtime host of “Inside the Actors Studio.” He died yesterday at the age of 93 after suffering from bladder cancer.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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