Welcome to another new week, Civmixers! I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. The weather was decent, and it was a great time to get some yard work done. I see many fall decorations up now, and with the chill in the air, you can tell fall is rapidly coming.

The Fall Solstice is tomorrow…expect more on that in “Rise and Shine”.

In case you were looking for a reason to stay in New York and eschew a move to somewhere warned, like, say, Florida, consider this: A Golden State woman was attacked this past weekend while doing yard work by a 10-foot alligator. She was treated for damage to both legs, and the alligator has been captured and taken to an alligator farm.

Also, the nation is still reeling from the news of the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Known by her many liberal fans as RBG, Ginsburg was nominated to the SCOTUS by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Even before her tenure on the nation’s highest court, RBG was a leader in the fight for gender equality and was a liberal icon. She was a dedicated public servant, a genius at the law, and showed people how to live life fully every day – no matter the odds against you. The woman beat cancer multiple times, unless she finally lost that final battle.

She will be greatly missed and left a colossal robe to fill.

Let’s get to today’s 5 Things, shall we?

1) Though it shouldn’t be as important as it is, the money that a presidential nominee has in his (or her) campaign account is a significant advantage and benchmark of competitiveness. For most of the summer, President Donald Trump had has had more in the bank than his Democratic opponent, former VP Joe Biden.

That wasn’t terribly surprising, given that Trump started raising money for his re-election campaign unprecedentedly early – about the day after he was inaugurated.

Now, after a significant August push in conjunction with joint fundraising committees, Biden and the DNC have approximately $30 million more in the bank than Trump and the GOP. Last night, finance filings were made public, and they showed that when August closed, Trump had $325 million to Biden’s $466 million cash on hand.

August was enormous for Biden, earning funds of $365 million, which accounts for approximately a third of the total fundraising effort of the entire campaign.

Today, Trump interviewed Fox  & Friends where he shrugs off the finances, stating that you don’t need the most money to win. He did win in 2016, even with a financial disadvantage.

In August, Biden and and the DNC outspent Trump’s campaign. In TV ads alone, Biden was ahead in spending by nearly 4 to 1 and had ads in locations Trump did not.

2) Mark Hauser, an executive for a private equity and insurance company, today pleaded guilty for participating in the ongoing college admissions bribery scheme. The 59-year-old had paid $40,000 to have his daughter’s ACT scores amended.

Hauser appeared virtually before a federal judge in Boston, entering his guilty plea. Prosecutors will recommend he serve six months in prison and pay a fine equal to the bribery amount as part of the plea. He is to appear before the court on Jan. 21 for sentencing.

Dubbed the “Varsity Blues” scandal, prosecutors have claimed that multiple wealthy parents worked with William “Rick” Singer, a college admissions consultant, gaining access for their children to the upper echelon of colleges under fraudulent means.

As of now, 58 people have been charged under the scheme, including some celebrities. Actresses Felicity Huffman, of Desperate Housewives fame, and Lori Loughlin, Full House and Fuller House, were involved in the scandal. Huffman pleaded guilty early in the process and received 14-days in prison. Loughlin fought longer, but eventually entered a guilty plea and received a two month sentence.

In March of last year, Singer pleaded guilty of bribing to secure admissions to colleges under athletic recruiting, and also of coordinating cheating on entrance exams.

As for Hauser, he is the founder of equity in Cincinnati, OH 0, the Hauser Private Equity. He also owns an insurance firm, Hauser Inc., which was set to be bought out by Brown & Brown, but the deal was canceled after Hauser’s guilty plea gained publicity in August.

In 2016, according to prosecutors, Hauser and Singer collaborated to have Mark Riddell, an associate of Singer, to proctor the ACT exam for his daughter, with Hauser paying $40,000 for it to happen. Riddell has already pleaded guilty to proctoring and changing answers on exams and also sitting for exams instead of the applicant.

3) A Whitney Point Central School bus was in an accident this morning in the town of Nanticoke on Pendell Hill Road. The bus went off the road, stopping in the ditch. As of right now, the cause of the accident has not been released.

According to the State Police, there were no other vehicles involved in the crash. Two people were transferred to the hospital from the accident scene. Both were adults on the bus, the bus driver, 56, reported being in pain. She was transferred to Wilson Hospital in Johnson City. The bus monitor, 37, was the other patient transported, taken to Binghamton General for a cut on her head.

One child was evaluated at the site of the accident but not transferred for any treatment.

4) The Troy City Council is finally going to put the issue of fixing the approximately 120 surveillance cameras located around the city on its October schedule. For years, the cameras have been plagued by software issues meaning they only work some of the time.

Last year, the Council got a grant from the state and set aside additional money to hire a vendor to fix the cameras. However, due to the COVID pandemic, those plans were set aside.

Troy and cities around the state and nation have seen a surge in violence in recent months. Many residents say they do not feel safe on city streets and question why the cameras were allowed to malfunction for so long.

Council President Carmella Mantello says after the camera software is fixed she wants to put up additional cameras in areas known to be hotspots for crime.

5) Jessica Hildenbrandt, 43, resided in Ballston Spa, up until last year. Her family was last in contact with her in July 2019. Vermont State Police have said that the remains of a body found in September of 2019 are those of Hildenbrandt.

VSP was first alerted to what was believed to be a jaw bone seen on a gravel pit of Somerset Road. The state’s Chief Medical Examiner has ruled the death to be a homicide, and the investigation is currently underway.

Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.

Stay woke.

Photo credit: Brian Hogan.