Rise and Shine: June 24, 2020

Good Wednesday morning, CivMixers.

I neglected to note yesterday that it was National Hydration Day. (Something about the primaries made me lose my head, I guess). It seems apt to mention this – even a day late – given the weather we’ve been having of late.

I’m assume you took 5th grade science, and so recall that the human body is 60 percent water. We need water for survival. Your cells both contain water and are surrounded by water, essentially. When they’re dehydrated, they’re less permeable, and therefore have a more difficult time functioning.

The six-to-eight, eight-ounce glass-a-day standard is actually not entirely accurate. How much water you need depends on a lot of things – your size, how active you are, and the climate in which you live.

If you have dry mouth, feel sluggish, crave sugar, or are experiencing swelling of the tongue, these are possible early warning signs of dehydration. If you get dizzy, faint, experience heart palpitations or shortness of breath, seek medical attention ASAP. More here.

It will be 86 degrees today and partly cloudy, according to The Weather Channel. There’s a slight chance of a shower.

Also worth a brief mention: It’s a national holiday for our neighbors to the North. Happy St. John’s Day, also known as Midsummer.

In the headlines…

There was a lot of trouble at the polls yesterday – reports of confused poll workers handing out the wrong ballots, was a big complaint. Before the polls even opened (late in some cases, as workers were reluctant to show up due to coronavirus fears) the promised paper ballots had failed to show up in the mail for many New Yorkers.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was on his way to adding New York delegates to his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, but final results in several other congressional and local primaries statewide are likely at least a week away.

Former President Barack Obama and Biden held their first joint event of the 2020 campaign, where Obama warned Democrats against becoming complacent about the presidential election and offered an unusually direct and detailed rebuke of President Donald Trump.

Voters rebuffed Trump and nominated two Republicans he opposed to House seats from North Carolina and Kentucky. Calls in higher-profile races in Kentucky (and also New York) faced days of delay as swamped officials count mountains of mail-in ballots.

The night’s biggest news: Progressive insurgent Jamaal Bowman was leading Bronx/Westchester Rep. Eliot Engel by double digits in one of the most heavily anticipated primaries of the year yesterday as officials continued to count votes.

…However, the primary in NY-16 is too early to call. New York counties didn’t release any mail ballots Tuesday, which could account for more than half the vote. Counties have until July 1 to start releasing the results of mail ballots.

As of early this morning, Bowman had roughly 61 percent of the counted vote. Engel was in second with about 36 percent of the counted vote.

Veteran Manhattan Rep. Carolyn Maloney was in the fight of her political life late last night, leading Suraj Patel, an opponent she readily dispatched during the 2018 Democratic primary by just 500 votes.

NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres broke out to an early lead in the hotly contested battle for an open Bronx congressional seat, as the openly gay city lawmaker appeared to turn away a challenge from one of New York’s most high-profile conservative politicians: NYC Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had a blowout win in the NY-14 Democratic primary, warding off three challengers and proving, in her words, that her surprise upset victory in 2018 was “not a fluke.”

Mondaire Jones appears to have won the three-way Democratic primary in NY-17, where veteran Rep. Nita Lowey is retiring, and is on-track to become one of the first openly LGBTQ Black members of Congress.

In NY-27 in Western New York, Republican state Sen. Chris Jacobs, who was backed by Trump, won a special election, maintaining his party’s hold on a seat last occupied by Chris Collins, who resigned just before pleading guilty to federal insider trading charges.

NYC Councilman Donovan Richards has clinched an early lead in the race to be the next Queens Borough President — though the official winner won’t be announced for at least a week.

Primary Day left a number of state lawmakers at risk of being removed from office – although an influx of uncounted absentee ballots make it hard to tell who ultimately will be the victor even in races where a candidate has a strong lead.

The progressive wave spurred by democratic socialist Ocasio-Cortez two years ago continued with a vengeance in Queens, with insurgents toppling two — and possibly three — Assembly Democratic incumbents in Queens.

As New Yorkers headed to the polls, 43 candidates for state legislative offices had failed to file disclosure forms detailing their personal finances, despite a legal requirement to do so.

Early results in the Democratic primary between Albany County District Attorney David Soares and challenger Matthew Toporowski show the incumbent with a more than 1,100-vote edge. But again, due to COVID-19, final results won’t likely be known for a week or more.

Malls, movie theaters and gyms are not cleared to reopen during phase four in New York, even as coronavirus cases have dwindled and the rate of infection in the state is among the lowest in the nation.

Budget Director Robert Mujica informed local leaders — meeting as a reopening “control room” — of the governor’s phase four decision, which effects the entire state, on a conference call yesterday afternoon.

Also: Despite some general guidance provided to local officials last week, outdoor amusement and theme parks cannot open at the start of phase four. The only recreation that can reopen are museums, aquariums and zoos – and even then, only at 25 percent capacity.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art plans to open its doors on Aug. 29, after more than five months of pandemic shutdown, a museum spokesman said.

According to LG Kathy Hochul, there will not be a phase five to the reopening process. Instead, individual industries will get the green light to reopen after phase four has begun.

“There are some things that don’t fit neatly into a phase that are going to require further study and we’re going through that right now,” Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said. “We’re not going to be like other states that are inviting a second wave.”

The state has issued new guidance for restarting youth sports, adult pickup games and outdoor recreation activities conducted by gyms, fitness centers and training facilities.

President Trump last night ripped into Gov. Andrew Cuomo for not better utilizing the makeshift military hospitals deployed to New York City during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Governor Cuomo alone is to blame for refusing to shut down New York and forcing seniors who tested positive for coronavirus back into his state’s nursing homes,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement.

Cuomo continued to back his handling of coronavirus cases in nursing homes, defending a pivotal March 25 directive that let hospitals send patients with the virus into nursing homes.

Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is calling for an independent investigation into COVID-19 nursing home deaths in the state telling “Fox & Friends” that Cuomo’s actions made “absolutely no sense.”

Malliotakis, BTW, easily won her Republican primary for Congress last night and is ready to take on first-term Democratic Rep. Max Rose in what is expected to be one of the most closely watched House elections in the country.

New coronavirus cases spiked in several states, with Arizona, Texas and California reporting new daily records of infections yesterday, prompting elected officials to tighten rules on gatherings and strongly urge people to stay home and follow social-distancing guidelines.

The reopening of Trump National Doral in Florida, the most important source of revenue for the president’s strained family business, came as new cases of the coronavirus spiked in surrounding Miami-Dade County and public health officials urged caution about resuming normal activity.

Trump’s top health advisers say that the coronavirus pandemic has driven America to its knees amid a disturbing surge in cases. But the president is ignoring the new danger, instead using the worst domestic crisis in decades as a racist punchline.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci told Congress that he was seeing a “disturbing surge” of infections in some parts of the country, as Americans ignore social distancing guidelines and states reopen without adequate plans for testing and tracing the contacts of those who get sick.

“The virus is not going to disappear,” said Dr. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who testified that the virus was not yet under control in the United States.

Trump’s top health officials told Congress that they were never directed to limit coronavirus testing, despite Trump’s recent rally comment that he told his team to “slow the testing down.”

Cuomo announced that $65 million in federal CARES Act funding is available for child care providers statewide through the New York Forward Child Care Expansion Incentive program.

The fear of reduced state funding has become a reality for 12 cities across New York as the Cuomo administration plans to withhold a total $74 million from municipalities.

Long Island officially enters phase three of the reopening process today.

Swimming at New York City’s beaches will be permitted starting July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to announce today, reversing a coronavirus-prevention policy that led municipalities on Long Island to limit their beaches to locals.

The city normally opens its 14-miles of beaches to swimming on Memorial Day weekend. But swimming has been off limits to stem the spread of the new coronavirus. People could still sunbathe and enjoy the beaches.

Shootings in New York City have continued to spike at such a rate that the number of those wounded by gunfire climbed by 414 percent last week compared with the same period in 2019, according to the latest NYPD statistics.

The rising toll of gun violence has become part of a contentious debate over the future of policing in the wake of mass protests against police brutality. Police unions and their supporters have issued shrill warnings that the city was slipping into a high-crime era reminiscent of the early 1990s.

The city Health Department last night quietly released a 2017 draft report that revealed the city vastly underreported police-involved deaths over a recent five-year period.

NYC’s 311 and 911 systems have logged more than 24,000 fireworks complaints since Jan. 1, compared with about 1,060 over the same period last year, according to the New York Police Department. Most of the complaints have been made since June 1, many from Brooklyn.

De Blasio established a task force that will target suppliers and distributors in an effort to stop the flow of fireworks into the city.

Car owners will soon see some relief in their search for one of New York City’s scarcest commodities: street parking. De Blasio said that new rules taking effect on June 29 would limit alternate-side parking, which requires vehicles to be moved from one side of the street on a certain day so the street can be cleaned.

Organizers with the groups VOCAL-NY and New York Communities for Change said they are ready to camp out in City Hall Park through June 30, the day before the City Council’s deadline to approve the 2021 fiscal year budget, to demand $1 billion in cuts from the NYPD’s nearly $6 billion annual spending plan.

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there will still be a Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center for the 2020 holiday season — but maybe not the traditional crowds.

School district officials are preparing for all sorts of scenarios, but one thing is clear: Schools will look dramatically different than they did before they closed because of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

As schools consider how and when to reopen, many are finding themselves overwhelmed by the potential expenses that would come with operating under social distancing guidelines: protective equipment, staff for smaller classrooms, and additional transportation to keep students spread out on bus rides.

Syracuse University will hold weekday courses on Labor Day and three weekends this fall, the university announced.

Empire State College President Jim Malatras says because they’ve worked with students for years creating flexible course schedules they are confident they’ll be able to meet the challenges of reopening amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Albany County didn’t record a single case of COVID-19 overnight for the first time since the disease was first detected in the county on March 12, County Executive Dan McCoy said.

Bob Bellafiore: All last year, Catholic Charities food drops served 5,366 people total. After COVID hit in March, they blew through that number in 27 days.

Many communities in the Capital Region that get water from the Great Flat Aquifer are putting water restrictions in place due to both unusually dry conditions, and the Mohawk River’s level being low due to COVID-19 related delays on canal lock work in the river.

The state’s last-minute approval of in-person special education has sent Capital Region school districts, which had planned to deliver the instruction online, scrambling to meet the community demand for the services in time for July 7.

Each year, over 100,000 infants are born in New York City, where the pandemic has now reshaped the experience of childbirth. The virus has added more tension into what is an already uncertain process.

Across the city, animal specialists in full-body personal protective gear enter homes to feed, at no charge, famished pets whose owners are hospitalized with the virus, or to take custody of pets belonging to patients who do not return home.

Major League Baseball issued a 60-game schedule last night that will start July 23 or 24 in empty ballparks as the sport tries to push ahead amid the coronavirus following months of acrimony.

North Country Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik distanced herself from the executive order issued by Trump that suspends several visa programs for foreigners hoping to work in the United States.

A prosecutor in the criminal case against former Trump adviser Roger Stone said supervisors repeatedly told him Stone would receive special treatment “because of his relationship with the president,” according to prepared remarks posted yesterday before a House hearing.

“Everyone in the criminal justice system failed you,” a judge in Queens told Samuel Brownridge as he vacated his conviction because of new evidence. Brownridge served 25 years in prison for the crime he didn’t commit.

A father whose infant twins died in the Bronx last summer after he left them in an overheated car while he went to work will avoid prison after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges, officials said.

Facing mounting complaints about abusive behavior and unfair treatment of black staff members, the chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, Laura McQuade, has been ousted from her job.

E-commerce behemoth Amazon has reportedly inked a deal to lease a 1 million-square-foot warehouse in Queens, giving it the largest private-sector storage and distribution network in New York City.

Amazon’s $25 million warehouse and distribution center in a Town of Tonawanda industrial park opens this week.

NYC is cracking down on suppliers of massive fireworks that have been exploding all over the five boroughs in recent weeks, de Blasio said.

Trump’s brother asked a Queens court to block the president’s niece from publishing a book filled with damning account’s about the commander-in-chief’s family.

Mary L. Trump is the daughter of the president’s late brother, Fred Trump Jr., and her book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” is scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster on July 28.

The City of Albany’s Community Police Review Board is proposing a set of reforms that would give the board and public an expanded view of the city’s police department.

A lawyer representing residents of a nearby subsidized housing complex in Cohoes is taking the Norlite aggregate plant to federal court, seeking an injunction against burning toxic firefighting foam there.

A new civil lawsuit filed by the family of one of the 20 victims of the horrific 2018 Schoharie limo crash accuses Mavis Discount Tires of being complicit in allowing the 34-foot stretch Ford Excursion “death trap” on the road despite needing massive brake repairs.



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