Rise and Shine, March 5, 2020

Good morning, and welcome to Thursday, which is one day away from the weekend.

It’s both National Absinthe Day AND National Cheese Doodle Day, which is a downright disgusting combination in my mind. I’m not sure they’re meant to be celebrated together.

Another day of not much to mention in the weather department, with partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the high 40s and fairly strong winds. You know, March.

On this day in 1924, Frank Caruana of Buffalo became the first bowler to roll two perfect games in a row.

In 1933, FDR ordered a four-day bank holiday in order to stop large amounts of money from being withdrawn from banks.

In 1953, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin died after holding power for 29 years.

In 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the ban on segregation in public schools.

In 1960, Elvis Presley ended a two-year hitch in U.S. Army.

In 1970, the SDS Weathermen terrorist group bombed 18 West 11th St. in Manhattan.

In 1985, NY Islander Mike Bossy became the first to score 50 goals in eight straight seasons.

In 1993, Cuban President Fidel Castro called Hillary Clinton “a beautiful woman.”

In 2019, Kylie Jenner became the world’s youngest-ever billionaire at 21, according to Forbes

Magician Penn Jilette is turning 65 today. Also celebrating: Model Taylor Hill (24) and actress Eva Mendes (46).

In the headlines…

The House passed a sweeping spending package to dedicate billions of dollars to dealing with the coronavirus outbreak as lawmakers scramble to combat the spread of the disease. The measure will next need to be taken up by the U.S. Senate. The White House is expected to back the deal.

Local health officials in California announced the state’s first COVID-19 death, bringing U.S. fatalities to at least 11. The patient was an elderly adult with underlying health conditions.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said a cruise ship returning to the state from Hawaii that had suspected links to two coronavirus cases, one of them fatal, was being held off the coast of San Francisco, as public health officials prepared to screen everyone on the ship.

Federal health officials announced that anyone who wants a coronavirus test may get one if a doctor agrees. But the nation’s testing capacity is still so limited that experts feared clinics and hospitals could be overwhelmed by an avalanche of requests.

Researchers in China have found that two different types of the new coronavirus could be causing infections worldwide, which means it has already mutated at least once.

When an employee of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire showed signs of possible coronavirus last week, a medical worker told him to avoid contact with others, pending further tests. Instead, he went to a mixer at a crowded music venue. Three days later, he was confirmed as the state’s first coronavirus case.

The family and friends of a Westchester man who recently tested positive for the Coronavirus have all been added to the list of infected New Yorkers. The total number of sick people across New York is 11 so far.

The state’s disease detectives continued working furiously, sorting through the circle of friends, family and co-workers of the people who had tested positive for the virus. State officials said they had asked more than 1,000 people to voluntarily isolate themselves.

“This is literally like trying to stop air, because somebody sneezes, it’s respiratory and it’s inevitable that it will continue to spread,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters.

Yeshiva University has canceled classes, Cuomo said, as the family and a neighbor of the man confirmed for coronavirus this week have all contracted the virus as well.

Hastings-on-Hudson and Mount Vernon schools will be closed today and tomorrow because of the coronavirus, the school superintendents Valerie Henning-Pedmonte and Kenneth Hamilton said. All of the school buildings will be sanitized.

As state health authorities raced to contain the growing transmission of COVID-19 downstate, Capital Region governments and institutions updated the public on precautions they’re taking to keep their communities safe.

Albany County Health Commissioner Elizabeth Whalen said that the county is awaiting test results on a person who recently traveled to Italy, a coronavirus hot spot, but who currently has no symptoms.

Various Capital Region churches, temples, synagogues and mosques are doing everything from supplying hand sanitizer before entering their sanctuaries, to asking members to not engage in the hand-shake greetings that are common during services in hopes of stopping the coronavirus.

The CDTA, which provides services in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties, is reminding passengers who may be concerned about COVID-19 to follow protocols outlined by the state Health Department to help prevent the spread of the virus and flu.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ CEO said the company hopes to have its COVID-19 treatment ready for human testing by August. Leonard Schleifer, in an interview on CNBC, said the company could have 200,000 doses ready by August, and that it would pursue both clinical trials and drug manufacturing simultaneously.

NYC is cracking down on price-gouging merchants making money off coronavirus fears by declaring face masks in short supply — making it temporarily illegal to drastically increase their prices.

New Jersey confirmed its first coronavirus case on Wednesday — a man in his 30s who has been hospitalized since Tuesday in Bergen County.

Roughly 300 students and staff from the SUNY and CUNY studying abroad in China, Italy, Iran, Japan and South Korea are being brought home immediately and the programs in those countries have been suspended in response to concerns about novel coronavirus. They will be quarantined upon return.

The coronavirus epidemic has many Americans reconsidering travel plans, ahead of high-travel Spring break times, in order to avoid outbreak areas or airports. Airline industry analysts estimate the coronavirus will reduce the number of airline passengers by about 4.7 to 6 percent worldwide.

Netflix is canceling its annual Austin-based South by Southwest screenings and events amid concerns about the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg dropped out of the presidential race and backed Joe Biden, throwing the financial might of the Democratic Party’s biggest benefactor behind the ex-vice president’s campaign as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed to wage a long battle for the nomination.

As he dropped out of the presidential race, the billionaire former mayor confronted a moment he had never quite faced: a big, heaping, public loss.

Biden’s victory in nine states, including Texas, set up what will likely be a protracted nomination fight with Sanders that will continue through New York’s presidential primary in April.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren faced an uncertain path forward after a Super Tuesday performance that fell below her campaign’s already lowered expectations, with her chances at the Democratic presidential nomination now a mathematical anomaly.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who only very rarely responds to criticism of federal judges, issued a statement denouncing remarks made by U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at a rally outside the Supreme Court.

Local highway superintendents and their workers visited the state Capitol yesterday calling on the state to increase funding to repair and maintain local roads, bridges and culverts.

State lawmakers and fiscal watchdogs have their eye on language in state budget bills that would allow Cuomo to transfer up to millions of dollars between any department, agency or authority.

Former GOP County Executive Rob Astorino, after declining to run for Rep. Nita Lowey’s congressional seat last year, is “seriously considering” running for state Senate in the 40th District, a seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Peter Harckham.

North Greenbush voters approved a $3.7 million capital project to restore and expand a Civil War-era one-room schoolhouse. The project benefiting the Little Red Schoolhouse on Route 4, was passed by residents 224 to 19.

The East Greenbush Town Board will hold a public hearing Wednesday, March 11, to listen to residents in neighborhoods bordering the Dunn Landfill that have been adversely impacted by the dump.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan vetoed a Common Council change to the city’s zoning code intended to prevent a blood plasma collection center from opening on Central Avenue, calling it “unconstitutional.”

A trucking company will invest $8.5 million to build a new fleet maintenance facility and add up to 70 new jobs, Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said.

Rensselaer County lawmakers urged the DEC to conduct air sampling in the county after learning about toxic chemicals burned from firefighter foam at Norlite Corp. in Albany County.

The Rensselaer mayor says his options are “limited” for closing the unpopular Dunn Landfill before 2022.

…The DEC is investigating dust clouds drifting from the landfill to a local school

The Cohoes City School District superintendent is facing tough decisions, and the potential for staff reductions down the road.

The Albany Common Council unanimously approved a feasibility study to reconnect Albany to the waterfront.

A Schenectady woman recovering from severe illness is now frantic searching for her two missing therapy dogs.

An Orange County man pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a $500 fine after conservation officers found 157 venomous snakes at his home.

Albany county is mourning the sudden death of a chief Albany County sheriff, Kerry Thompson, who died suddenly on Wednesday night. More information, including service arrangements will be released at a later date.

Spectrum says it is exceeding its requirement to expand high-speed broadband service upstate under last summer’s deal with state regulators allowing it to remain in New York.

Monroe County reports it has already dismissed dozens of traffic tickets due to the new laws that give police and prosecutors a deadline to hand over evidence.

The Siena Saints basketball team clinched at least a share of their first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season title since 2009-10.

Michele Hunter, executive chef at Hamlet & Ghost in Saratoga Springs, made it through all the rounds and was declared champion on Food Network’s cook-off show “Chopped” on Tuesday night.

Amazon is expanding its sports media footprint with a new deal to stream New York Yankees baseball games this season.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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