Tomorrow is Earth Day, and for the 50th anniversary of the celebration during a countrywide lockdown, there are plenty of virtual activities to take part in.  Though many typical activities are delayed or postponed to comply with current social distancing guidelines and public health protocols, there are plenty of alternative ways to celebrate.

It was another strange weather day, gloomy and rainy to start, and progressing to some intense downbursts before clearing up this evening, though the chill remains in the air. Hopefully, we can have less swingy weather soon, though it is indeed typical upstate Spring.

Let’s get right down to it today, shall we?

1) As more states begin taking steps toward reopening, many U.S. businesses are pushing for Congress to craft and pass legislation that will help to protect companies – both big and small – from any legal issues that may arise as a result of the pandemic.

So far, they seem to have the Republicans’ attention. The Democrats? Not so much…thus far.

Multiple business associations are involved in guiding the proposal for this legislation, including The Business Roundtable, The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and the US Chamber of Commerce. They’re mainly concerned about liabilities that could crop up while operating in a COVID-19 world. They want these protections also to protect them as long as they are following all official public health protocols and guidelines.

They also want to be protected against any disruptions in regards to payment, hours, and leave policies.

Meanwhile, the re-opening debate is growing ever more heated, with the Trump Administration and many of its supporters pushing for a short timeline and top public health officials and many state leaders cautioning against rushing into anything.

2) For the first time since World War II, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has been canceled. The popular and much-followed event had been scheduled for May 24, but due to the public health crisis, officials announced the cancellation today.

Unfortunately, any eighth-graders who qualified for this year’s competition will not be able to try again for next year, as they will age out. The Bee should return on June 1, 2021. Initially, organizers had postponed the event. But as time went on, they could see no realistic opportunities to reschedule.

They have expressed sorrow and regret for anyone who will not be able to participate due to aging out if they miss this year, but they have been unable to figure out how to conduct the contest virtually.

3) A bi-partisan town hall meeting on how New Yorkers can deal with the COVID-19 crisis is planned for this Thursday. It will feature Democratic U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand and Republican Rep. John Katko, and is being hosted by the Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability (IDEA) at Ohio State University. This is the second town hall of this type that IDEA has held.

Dr. Rover Corona, who is the CEO of Syracuse’s Upstate University Hospital, will also participate.

The meeting will be this Thursday, April 23, from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Please register through to participate.

4) The Cohoes Police and Fire departments responded to a fully involved structure fire this morning. The structure was on Remsen Street and was occupied at the time, with only one person being treated for minor injuries.

Upon an investigation, the fire was determined to have been intentionally started, and there was evidence found of plans to start another fire to another structure on Remsen Street. During the investigation, following the name of a suspect led to admissions of guilt for both the fire and the plans for a fire. The Cohoes police arrested and are holding Kyle Pipino, 28  for 2nd-degree arson and 2nd degree attempted arson.

5) The Greater Glens Falls Transit service has opened back up with help from the federal transit aid. It is running fewer routes and has limits on passengers, but service is back up around Fort Edwars, Glens Falls and Queensbury.

They are working in partnership with he Salvation Army of Glens Falls to get food to food pantries for senior centers, in accordance with the Salvation Army’s existing collaboration with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern NY.

That’s all for today, folks. Have a good night, and do something for the Earth tomorrow!!

Photo credit: George Fazio.