Rise and Shine: July 1, 2020

Up and at ’em, CivMixers. It’s Wednesday, and July has arrived.

That means so many things, but most of all July is synonymous with summer. The hottest days of the season – AKA the “dog days” – are about to start. And though it has been on the cool side of late, we had a few scorchers for a while there. If that’s any indication of what’s to come, it’s going to be a very warm one.

And so it’s fitting that July is also National Ice Cream Month, which was established by the late former President Ronald Reagan in 1984. (Really, there was a presidential proclamation and everything).

The average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year, according to the International Dairy Foods Association. Someone out there is consuming quite a bit more than their share, too, because I’m not even close to meeting my quota.

About 1.4 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the U.S. in 2017, and ice cream makers and retailers say the Great Lakes region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) is the most successful market in which to peddle their frozen wares.

And the No. 1 flavor in this nation? Vanilla.

Sorry, nope. What is WRONG with you, America? Team Chocolate all the way. No contest.

Not surprisingly, there are a lot of deals to be had on ice cream to commemorate this momentous occasion. Click here for some of them.

Sadly, it’s not the best ice-cream eating weather; though I know there are folks who do not let a little rain get between them and a treat – no matter how soggy that might leave your cone. We’re looking at clouds and scattered thunderstorms, with a high near 80 degrees, according to The Weather Channel.

In the headlines…

The U.S. is “not in total control” of the coronavirus pandemic and daily new cases could surpass 100,000 new infections per day if the outbreak continues at its current pace, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

The country is now reporting nearly 40,000 new coronavirus cases every day — almost double from about 22,800 in mid-May — driven largely by outbreaks in a number of states across the South and West – with about 50 percent of all new cases are coming from four states: Florida, California, Texas and Arizona.

The surge of new infections and rising hospitalization rates in some states have jeopardized reopening plans throughout the U.S., threatening a nascent economic recovery. Staggered by the resurgent virus, officials are re-instituting restrictions on bars, pools and large gatherings days ahead of July 4 celebrations.

Fauci said in a Senate hearing that people should stop going to bars “right now” — just as states like Texas and Florida, both of which have seen a dramatic uptick in the number of cases, were recently forced to close their bars a second time to stem the spread of the virus.

Fauci joined other public health experts in slamming airlines planning full flights as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country.

Fauci said that U.S. health officials are keeping an eye on a new strain of flu carried by pigs in China that has characteristics of the 2009 H1N1 virus and 1918 pandemic flu.

People traveling to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut from eight additional states will have to quarantine for 14 days upon entering, bringing the total number of states on the governors’ “travel advisory” list to 16, officials said.

A new study offers the first physical evidence that the coronavirus was circulating at low levels in New York City as early as the first week of February.

A study conducted by researchers at Florida Atlantic University has found that the best type of non-medical face mask to protect against coronavirus is a stitched mask made from two layers of quilting fabric.

A federal face mask mandate would not only cut the daily growth rate of new confirmed cases of Covid-19, but could also save the U.S. economy from taking a 5 percent GDP hit in lieu of additional lockdowns, according to Goldman Sachs.

U.S. stocks wrapped up their best quarter in more than 20 years, a remarkable rally after the coronavirus pandemic brought business around the world to a virtual standstill.

Less than four hours before the Paycheck Protection Program was scheduled to end with more than $130 billion in loan money unspent, the U.S. Senate approved extending the application period until Aug. 8. The legislation now heads to the House and will require President Trump’s signature for the program to continue.

New York City officials yesterday agreed to a grim coronavirus-era budget that will sharply curtail municipal services, impose a hiring freeze and, in a move meant to placate calls to defund the police, shift roughly $1 billion from the Police Department.

The $88.1 billion budget reflected the economic shutdown that followed the outbreak, causing a $9 billion revenue shortfall that forced the city to make drastic across-the-board spending cuts.

The agreement would restore to the city budget $115 million for summer youth programs, including summer jobs, internships and classes for 35,000 young people and city-funded summer camps for another 81,000.

Anti-cop protesters got into a tense standoff with police near City Hall as lawmakers neared a vote on the budget — and weighed steep cuts to the NYPD.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the $1 billion cut from the police department budget tiptoes around demands from activists who are asking for a reduced police presence.

A majority of New York state voters don’t support reducing funding for police departments, even as they agree the recent killings of George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks are part of a “pattern of excessive police violence toward Black people,” a new Siena poll found.

Cuomo said state police, along with the Liquor Authority and Health Department officials, were out last night checking on compliance with public health protocols as he weighed a decision on today on indoor dining for New York City.

The Capital Region has been cleared to enter phase four of New York’s reopening process today, which will allow low-risk indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, film and TV production, higher education and professional sports operations to resume and reopen.

The state Health Department is investigating a “potential” coronavirus exposure associated with a Catholic Church in Ticonderoga in upstate’s Essex County on Sunday, June 21 at 9 a.m.

A quarry just over the border in Vermont has had a COVID outbreak among workers who live in Washington County – but it’s been difficult for officials to get information.

The governor signed into law the “Safe Harbor Act,” which will strengthen and extend protections for renters who face financial hardship due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Stonewall Inn — facing an uncertain future after shutting down during the coronavirus pandemic — has raised more than $300,000 through a GoFundMe campaign and will additionally receive a $250,000 donation from the Gill Foundation.

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson revealed that anti-police demonstrators have harassed his boyfriend — even vandalizing his building in Williamsburg — as protests over NYPD funding intensified in recent days.

A student at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice tried to fuel anti-cop activism by revealing the personal phone numbers of nearly a dozen NYC Council members on Tuesday — only to remove the information hours later.

Times Square’s guitar-slinging Naked Cowboy — who famously croons in little more than his underwear — drifted south to the anti-cop protests outside City Hall on yesterday, but was quickly chased away by angry demonstrators who accused him of trying to rustle up trouble.

A Muslim cop plans to sue the NYPD for $5 million after years of alleged discrimination over his religion — including being forced to pray in a dirty cell — and retribution for reporting cops cooking the books on crime stats.

A federal judge rejected a lawsuit from three Westchester landlords seeking to end Cuomo’s moratorium on evictions.

Pay raises for an estimated 80,000 state government employees are being deferred for at least another 90 days, through Oct. 1, according to the Civil Service Employees Association.

Some of the very traditions that kept Chinatown rooted to its history have made it one of the neighborhoods most heavily scarred by the pandemic. Now, the economic suffering has intensified a long-simmering generational divide.

The two Brooklyn lawyers charged with hurling a Molotov cocktail at a marked NYPD vehicle during the Floyd protests may go free on bail as the case moves forward, a federal appeals panel affirmed.

An FDNY firefighter killed alongside two of his fellow Marines in Afghanistan reportedly may have been the victim of an alleged Russian plot to pay bounties for dead American soldiers.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer turned up the heat on Trump over reports that Russia paid militants bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan, demanding intelligence briefings for lawmakers and punitive action against Vladimir Putin.

The Tri-City ValleyCats won’t play this summer, leaving the Capital Region without affiliated minor-league baseball for the first time since 2001.

Saratoga Springs Police Chief Shane Crooks and the city’s Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton will host a series of monthly discussions to address issues surrounding race and policing.

Some Saratoga County school districts are flouting New York’s social distancing guidelines for graduation ceremonies, seating up to 500, despite the state’s directive to cap attendance at the outdoor events at 150.

The owner of Bumpy’s Polar Freeze, who allegedly sent text messages using racial slurs and saying he doesn’t hire black people, was taken into custody last night after police said they caught him with a pellet gun after a Black Lives Matter rally was taking place outside the State Street ice cream shop.

Albany County elections commissioners and campaign lawyers yesterday began overseeing the counting of nearly 21,000 absentee ballots in the Albany County district attorney’s Democratic primary – what thus far is a lengthy process an attorney for incumbent David Soares characterized as “ridiculous.”

Nassau County faces a $749 million budget deficit over the next 18 months due to the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a midyear report expected to be released today.

Former Vice President Joe Biden upbraided Trump for his response to the coronavirus pandemic during a stump speech where he took questions from reporters for the first time since March — and called one of them a “lying dog face.”

Trump’s reelection campaign has announced a staff shakeup just over four months before the general election as polls show him trailing Biden. Michael Glassner, who organizes Trump’s rallies, is being reassigned to a legal role, while Jeff DeWit, a former Arizona state treasurer and Trump’s 2016 Arizona chair, will come on as chief operating officer.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted that “the president does read,” at a press conference where she also described Trump as “the most informed person on planet Earth when it comes to the threats we face.”

A New York judge temporarily blocked the publication of an unflattering tell-all book written by Trump’s niece that Simon & Schuster is set to publish in July.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can’t exclude church schools from programs benefiting their private, nonsectarian counterparts, bolstering a conservative drive to expand public support for religious education.

Karen Parkin, the global head of human resources at Adidas AG, is retiring from the company following some employee complaints about the sportswear giant’s culture and lack of diversity.

Women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault or say they were harassed while working at his former film studio will be entitled to payments from a nearly $19 million fund being created to compensate them, months after the former Hollywood producer was convicted of sex crimes.

RIP Carl Reiner, who as performer, writer and director earned a place in comedy history several times over. He died on Monday night at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 98.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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