Rise and Shine: Sept. 1, 2020

Happy September, CivMixers. I am trying to embrace it. A new month….a chance to turn over a new leaf – as they turn colors and fall to the ground, and the air is crisp and spicy and rich with the smell of cider doughnuts, and yes, even all things pumpkin spice, if that’s your jam.

You do you, pumpkin spice lovers. I’ll stick with apple.

Anywhoo.

September marks the beginning of the series of months named after their numerical position in the year. Oddly, however, it is not named after the number nine, but rather after the root Latin word for seven. It’s complicated, read more about that here, if you’re so inclined.

September” is also the name of an single by the iconic 70s-era band Earth, Wind and Fire that reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart, No. 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart after its release in 1978.

Today is Emma Nutt Day, celebrating the woman who became the world’s first female telephone operator on this day in 1878, when she started working for the Edwin Holmes Telephone Despatch Company in Boston, Massachusetts. She kept that job for 33 years, and apparently performed so well at it – customers really loved her soothing voice and appreciated her patience – that the company started hiring ONLY female operators.

“EMMA,” A synthesized speech attendant system created by Preferred Voice Inc. and Philips Electronics is named in her honor.

Speaking of trailblazing women, on this day in 1939, in what was described as the “scoop of the century,” Telegraph journalist Clare Hollingworth became the first to report the outbreak of World War II.

Hollingsworth was known as a the “doyenne of war correspondents.” Though not the first female foreign correspondent in history, (that distinction, at least in the U.S., goes to Margaret Bourke-White), she is nevertheless remembered for helping to shape the field of war journalism.

And yet one more woman of distinction to note today – the Google Doodle and I are on the same wavelength, it seems: Jackie Ormes, who is known as the first African-American woman cartoonist and creator of the Torchy Brown comic strip and the Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger panel.

It’s also National Chicken Boy Day. If you aren’t familiar (and no, I wasn’t), Chicken Boy is a statue in Los Angeles, California. It’s basically a man with a chicken head that stands 22 feet tall and holds a bucket of chicken. The statue can be seen on Route 66 and is named after the former 1960s Chicken Boy Restaurant.

It’s going to be mostly cloudy today with temperatures in the mid-70s.

And now, the headlines…

President Donald Trump is not going to meet with Jacob Blake’s family when he travels to Kenosha, Wisconsin today because they wanted to involve lawyers, which he said he thought was “inappropriate.”

Trump declined to condemn the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, the suspected 17-year-old shooter of three protesters against police brutality in Kenosha, claiming, without evidence, that it appeared the gunman was acting in self defense.

“If I didn’t INSIST on having the National Guard activate and go into Kenosha, Wisconsin, there would be no Kenosha right now,” the president tweeted. “Also, there would have been great death and injury. I want to thank Law Enforcement and the National Guard. I will see you on Tuesday!”

The White House said Trump’s trip would be a “unifying” visit, even as the state’s governor has asked the president to reconsider and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden has accused him of “fanning the flames of hate and division in our society.”

While in Kenosha, Trump plans to condemn what he calls “left-wing mobs” that are “marauding through our cities.” In his goal to cement his desired image as a “law-and-order president,” he will meet with the police and tour businesses damaged by rioting.

Trump discouraged anti-rioter vigilantism and defended police officers who he said sometimes “choke” after split-second decisions.

Oscar, Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning actress and producer Viola Davis took to social media to express her outrage with how the New York Post recently depicted Kenosha shooter Rittenhouse, as compared to the publication’s past coverage of slain teenager Trayvon Martin.

A family member said she identified a man police told her they are investigating in the Saturday killing of a right-wing protester in Portland, Ore., as Michael Reinoehl, a 48-year-old former professional snowboarder who calls himself a member of Antifa on social media.

Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies fatally shot a Black man who they said had a handgun yesterday afternoon after a stop turned into a violent altercation, the authorities said.

The president called Biden a “weak person” who is controlled by people in the “dark shadows.”

Biden issued a forceful rebuttal to Trump’s claim that the former vice president would preside over a nation overwhelmed by disorder and lawlessness, asserting that it was the president who had made the country unsafe through his erratic and incendiary governing style.

New York prosecutors and lawyers for Trump are set to argue before a federal appeals court today over access to his tax returns, in one of two investigations involving the president and his company that appear to be heating up in the state.

Federal prosecutors have seized “voluminous” emails and other communications in their case against Stephen K. Bannon, the former adviser to Trump who is charged with defrauding donors to a private group that promised to build a wall on the Mexican border, the government said.

U.S. stocks wrapped up their best month since April, continuing an extraordinary rally fueled by stimulus from Washington, signs of economic revival and progress toward a coronavirus vaccine.

Zoom Communications again raised its full-year outlook for a second time during the pandemic, cementing its position as one of the biggest corporate winners from the shift to working from home and remote schooling.

Airports from New York to Los Angeles, in some cases with help from airlines, are trying out ways to take passengers’ temperatures before they fly, after the government’s plans for a national program have lost momentum.

Despite being at high risk for developing Covid-19, a large number of doctors, nurses and other health care workers may be going undiagnosed after they become infected, according to a new report from the CDC.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ COV-2 cocktail of antibodies for treatment and prevention of Covid-19 could see sales of as much as $6 billion next year, according to a new analysis by Morningstar, the Chicago-based investment research firm.

The New York State Health Department announced an emergency rule that requires increased testing to distinguish whether individuals are infected or die from the coronavirus or influenza as the flu season approaches.

Standard tests in New York City can take days. Wealthier people are turning to concierge services and small laboratories to get results in as little as 24 hours.

Amazon said it had received federal approval to establish a fleet of drones and will begin limited tests of package deliveries to customers in the U.S., although a number of key steps remain before widespread use of the technology will be allowed.

Former Gov. David Paterson has cut ties with a nonprofit group that was lobbying to shape the state’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, saying it was more focused on tax policy than he initially realized.

The union that represents New York City public school teachers may vote today on authorizing a strike to start the academic year amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

The roughly 100-member executive board of the UFT unanimously approved a resolution telling the union’s leadership to keep negotiating with city officials, but if they can’t reach a deal by mid-day today on safety criteria for reopening, the union intends to bring a strike-authorization vote to the delegate assembly.

As more than a million kids prepare to head back to school in New York City, there are new concerns about whether those who are learning remotely will show up and engage in online classes.

Some Long Island school districts are spending more money on security as schools prepare to reopen this fall, including in Bohemia, where the Connetquot system is spending $300,000.

Reopening schools in New York will lead to an “inevitable” increase in coronavirus infections in some places, Cuomo said.

The Buffalo teachers union filed a grievance last week and is seeking an injunction in court this week to prevent Buffalo Public Schools from requiring teachers to come into the classroom two to three times a week.

Advocates are asking the state Education Department to ban suspension in K-12 schools and invest in therapeutic alternatives during the COVID-19 crisis.

Schenectady schools are the latest in the Capital Region to consider remote-only learning for certain grades to cope with major cuts in state aid.

SUNY Geneseo officials announced the interim suspensions of two fraternities, one sorority, and some students for failing to comply with COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Syracuse University continues to report relatively low amounts of the virus on its campus.

The state is setting up three new rapid testing tests in Oneonta to help address the spike in coronavirus cases at the SUNY campus located there.

A total of 15 confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported among students, faculty and staff on the SUNY Buffalo State campus, according to the college’s website.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he will reclose schools if the city’s infection rate ticks above 3 percent; Cuomo said 3 percent is too high “in a dense environment,” while others argue the rate should apply at community-level

Cuomo rejected growing calls to allow indoor dining at hard-hit New York City restaurants — even as neighboring New Jersey plans to permit reduced-capacity seating later this week.

De Blasio, meanwhile, suggested a return to indoor dining may yet be months away.

Cuomo’s restraint in allowing for indoor dining in the city is also a reflection of lack of compliance from businesses who allow congregations of maskless drinkers to crowd the streets, leading to the creation of a special task force and sweeps by the State Liquor Authority suspending licenses.

Cuomo acknowledged that his position put hard-hit Big Apple eateries at a “competitive disadvantage” with their rivals in the Garden State.

A Queens restaurant is losing business to Long Island eateries just a block away — all because diners are allowed to feast indoors on the island but not in the city, a new lawsuit says.

Nearly 90 percent of New York’s restaurant owners say it will be at least somewhat unlikely that their establishments will be profitable in the next six months without help from the government, according to a New York State Restaurant Association (NYSRA) survey.

New Jersey movie theaters and other indoor performance venues can reopen this week with limited capacity, Gov. Phil Murphy announced.

“I want as much economic activity as quickly as possible,” Cuomo said. “We also want to make sure the transmission rate stays under control. That is the tension. I get it with restaurants, I get it with casinos, I get it, and we’re trying to find the balance and we’re calibrating every day. I understand this argument from New Jersey will exacerbate the discussion.”

Both New York and New Jersey saw residents moving to Florida, Texas and other Sunbelt states between March and July.

The number of deaths linked to the coronavirus in New York was down to one person across the state on Sunday from a daily toll of hundreds in the spring, with Cuomo crediting New Yorkers for complying with policies to contain the spread.

An East Village bar owner who spoke out against a state requirement that food be served with drinks during the COVID-19 pandemic — then got shut down for flouting the rule — is suing Cuomo.

Cuomo and New York labor leaders called on Congress to provide $59 billion to the state to address budget shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which could impact thousands of jobs.

“It’s unclear whether the White House and U.S. Senate is willing to be reasonable,” Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters. “If they’re not, I want them to understand the consequences.”

The cash-strapped MTA is willing to open its books to the federal government if it gets $12 billion in requested aid, the agency’s chairman said.

New York City will delay sending layoff notifications to 22,000 government workers, officials said yesterday, after union leaders urged de Blasio to postpone the job cuts to allow more time to find alternative cost-saving measures.

Manhattan parking-garage operators say they have lost thousands of monthly customers as many residents packed up their cars and moved out of New York City during the new coronavirus pandemic.

Lawyers who have been battling the Cuomo administration over whether restaurants and other venues can host large weddings have filed a federal class action lawsuit on the issue.

Blaming mass unemployment and a flagging economy, dozens of elected officials are calling on de Blasio to put the brakes on the city’s annual lien auction because the resulting sales could lead to thousands of New York residents losing their homes.

The attorneys for a woman who was terminated from her position at the Division of Criminal Justice Services for her testimony in a sexual harassment investigation told a federal magistrate last week they are “suspicious” that the decision to fire her may have been made or authorized by someone in the governor’s office.

Ahead of the general election in November and the expected increase in absentee ballot use, New York legislators are pushing to establish drop box locations across the state for voters return absentee ballots.

Seagrams’ heiress and longtime NXIVM executive Clare Bronfman told the federal judge who will sentence her next month that Keith Raniere and his cult-like organization “greatly changed my life for the better” – and she refused to disavow them as she stands convicted of NXIVM-related crimes.

National Grid want to raise its gas and electric rates for upstate New York customers next year under a plan that would add nearly $8 to the average monthly bill.

Widespread outages from Tropical Storm Isaias raised red flags across PSEG Long Island’s operations, but none more perplexing than one experienced by ratepayers with smart meters who checked their online accounts to find sometimes sizable daily usage — even though their power was out.

Five alleged members of the MS-13 street gang in Maryland have been charged in the May murder of a 16-year-old New York girl.

NYC surpassed 1,000 shootings for the year on Sunday, according to NYPD data, which also shows an average of nearly 10 people fell victim to gun violence each day over the last four weeks.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said that the NYC Council’s cuts to the NYPD’s budget have fueled Gotham’s recent spike in shootings.

The NYPD has revealed a plan for how to reprimand cops for internal violations including the use of chokeholds, failing to turn on body-worn cameras and leaking information to the press.

The head of the city’s largest police union torched a plan to set concrete penalties for different types of police misconduct — criticism that comes just days after he assured the nation he was against “bad cops.”

Both Shea and de Blasio again insisted that the NYPD is not engaged in a work slowdown.

A criminal court judge who has presided over the Cuba Gooding Jr. case was randomly punched in the face yesterday morning by a cyclist pedaling through the heart of the financial district, authorities said.

New York City has reached the largest settlement recorded over an inmate’s death at the Rikers Island jail complex, agreeing to pay $5.9 million to the family of a 27-year-old transgender woman who died there last year while in solitary confinement.

An ex-con serving state prison time in connection to the 2015 gunfight at the J’Ouvert festival that left former Cuomo’s aide Carey Gabay dead has been arrested on a new federal rap related to the shootout, authorities said.

Long Island is reaping tens of millions of dollars in federal COVID-19-related contracts for goods and services ranging from vaccine syringes to meal boxes to a study of the virus itself.

The Rensselaer County Legislature Democratic minority’s third attempt to pass a resolution condemning systemic racism will not get out of committee for the September meeting, the Republican County Legislature chairman said.

Rensselaer County reported its 41st death from COVID-19 yesterday, which was also its 29th death of a nursing home resident.

A 50-year-old man who tested positive for coronavirus has died, Schenectady County officials said. The man was the 46 person in the county to die after contracting the virus. Three more people tested positive yesterday.

More than 200 people gathered at High Rock Park yesterday to honor the memory of Darryl Mount Jr. and demand the city conduct an independent investigation into his death.

People who live in Monroe County within 10 miles of Ginna Nuclear Power Plant are being given potassium iodide pills at nearby Wegmans stores.

The sport of horse racing might soon have a central governing body, something it has lacked for its entire existence. At a Keeneland press conference, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he will introduce a bill that would create the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority.

…a version of the act has been promoted for years by Capital Region Rep. Paul Tonko.

Candidates for the U.S. Senate and House scrambled to make their final pitches to voters ahead of today’s Massachusetts primary. Rep. Joe Kennedy III is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Edward Markey.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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