Rise and Shine: Sept. 10, 2020

Good Thursday morning, CivMixers.

I don’t know about you, but this pandemic thing has been wreaking havoc with my emotions. I’m riding a roller coaster of sadness, loneliness, anxiety and depression – sometimes all in a single day. If that’s the case for you as well, you might want to skip this next part…because it’s not exactly uplifting, but it’s important.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) to host this day, which was launched back in 2003.

According to WHO’s Mental health Atlas released in 2014, no low-income country reported having a national suicide prevention strategy, while less than 10 percent of lower-middle income countries and almost a third of upper-middle and high-income countries had one in place.

An estimated one million people die every year by suicide – that’s about one person in 10,000 (1.4 percent of all deaths). Another way to calculate that: A death every 40 seconds or about 3,000 each and every day. As of 2004 the number of people who die by suicide was expected to reach 1.5 million a year by this year.

Suicide rates tend to be about two to three times higher in women than in men, though that gap has closed in recent years. According to the WHO, 20 people have attempted suicide for every one person who succeeds, at a rate approximately one every three seconds.

Suicide is the most common cause of death for people aged 15 – 24.

The pandemic has not helped matters. The nation’s suicide rate reached historic highs prior this public health crisis, with rates at the highest levels since World War II. Economic and social pressures brought on by COVID-19 have heightened the risks, which has a lot of mental health professionals, lawmakers and policy experts very concerned.

We should all be concerned.

The important thing to know if you’re struggling is that you’re not alone, even though the socially distant world we’re living in these days makes it hard to remember that sometimes.

If you or someone you know needs to talk – no questions asked, and completely free – here’s the number for the National suicide prevention lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. It’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. English and Spanish.

Also, get to know the warnings signs for someone who might be contemplating trying to take their own life.

On this day in 1972, American long distance runner Frank Shorter scored a famous win in the men’s marathon in 2:12:19.8 at the Munich Olympics. Since then, however, that record has been broken by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, who crossed the finish line in 2:01:39 on Sept. 16, 2018, at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

There are rain showers in the forecast this morning, with scattered thunderstorms arriving in the afternoon. The temperature will be in the high 70s.

In the headlines…

The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus crisis climbed above 900,000 yesterday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. accounts for more than 20 percent of the planet’s coronavirus deaths, with more than 190,000 recorded.

The U.S. is catching its breath after a punishing six months of the coronavirus pandemic, with the daily death toll from Covid-19 declining in the wake of summertime outbreaks in Sunbelt states like Florida and Texas. Still, public health authorities and researchers are warning Americans not to let their guard down.

President Trump told journalist Bob Woodward in March that he was deliberately playing down the severity of the coronavirus to avoid inciting panic as he publicly dismissed the virus’s threat in a way public-health experts say harmed the ability to restrict its spread.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call with Woodward. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

Trump responded to the release of his interview with Woodward by explaining that he did not want to react to the coronavirus pandemic by “jumping up and down and going wild.”

Woodward defended a lingering question over the timing of some of his book’s biggest revelations, saying he wasn’t sure the president was telling the truth and he wanted to get the bigger picture before publishing prior to the election.

A GOP coronavirus relief package faces dire prospects in a U.S. Senate test vote today, and negotiators involved in recent efforts to strike a deal that could pass before the November election say they see little reason for hope.

A Trump administration official filed a whistleblower complaint alleging that he was instructed to stop disseminating intelligence memos on threats posed by Russia to the presidential election because doing so would be harmful to the president, according to records of the complaint released by the House Intelligence Committee.

The White House requested that the U.S. Justice Department launch a last-minute, controversial effort to intervene in a lawsuit in which Trump is accused of defaming E. Jean Carroll, a writer who says Trump raped her years ago, Attorney General William Barr revealed.

Using some of his harshest language and maybe his most mocking tone yet, Trump attacked Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris on Tuesday night, saying Harris as the first female president would be an “insult to our country” while repeatedly mispronouncing her name.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was in Warren, Mich. when he misspoke and said that over 6,000 U.S. military members have died from Covid-19.

The president added 20 names to his existing list of 25 potential picks to fill a future Supreme Court vacancy, including Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley.

Trump has not held a single mock debate session, and has no plans to stage a formal practice round, as he readies for his first faceoff with Joe Biden in less than three weeks, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions.

Trump was nominated for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in reaching the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

High winds fueled explosive growth in wildfires raging across the West Coast late Tuesday and yesterday and coated the San Francisco Bay Area in smoke so thick that it was dark at noon.

Powerful windstorms in California are creating more dangerous conditions as firefighters work to contain wildfires that have already blackened a record 2.3 million acres.

A Northern California wildfire threatened thousands of homes today after winds whipped it into a monster that incinerated houses in a small mountain community and killed at least three people.

AstraZeneca said that an independent committee is reviewing the potential safety concern that led to a pause in its clinical trials of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine, and the trials could restart depending on the outcome.

TikTok’s Chinese parent, ByteDance Ltd., is reportedly discussing with the U.S. government possible arrangements that would allow the popular video-sharing app to avoid a full sale of its U.S. operations.

Dr. Robert Hadden, a former Columbia University gynecologist accused by the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang of sexual assault, has been indicted for allegedly sexually abusing female patients – including a minor – over nearly two decades.

Hadden, 62, who has lost his medical license, was charged with six counts of enticing and inducing women, including one minor, to travel to his offices from other states to engage in illegal sex acts.

Federal prosecutors filed charges against two men accused of causing civil disorder in attacks on police officers during a night of sometimes violent protests in Rochester over the weekend.

City of Rochester officials accused Police Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo of lying about when he received the body worn camera footage regarding Daniel Prude’s encounter with police.

Mazzeo is calling for Mayor Lovely Warren to step down from her position amid the turmoil of the last week that culminated in the entire command staff of the Rochester Police Department retiring or reducing their rank, including the chief.

New York City will allow indoor dining at restaurants at a limited capacity starting Sept. 30, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, lifting a six-month ban aimed at stemming the spread of the new coronavirus.

Restaurants will be limited to 25 percent capacity, all customers will be required to wear masks (except when seated at their table) and submit to temperature checks, and one member of each party will have to give contact tracing information.

…Also, there will be no bar service and restaurants must close by midnight — and the public will be asked to anonymously report violations by phone or text.

The governor set a Nov. 1 deadline to reassess the infection rate, currently below 1 percent for the 33rd straight day — and if it is not rising at that time, indoor dining capacity might double.

The move came more than two months after the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio halted a plan to permit indoor dining at restaurants, citing worries about a resurgence of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 30,000 people in New York, and some concerns remain at City Hall.

The number of empty rental apartments in Manhattan nearly tripled compared with last year, as more New Yorkers fled the city and prices declined.

More than 300 storefronts along Broadway are vacant, a 78 percent increase from three years ago, a recent survey found, as the coronavirus pandemic puts added pressure on bricks-and-mortar businesses.

A recent rise in new coronavirus cases on Long Island may be just a blip and partly caused by an outbreak among SUNY Oneonta students, Cuomo said, as state officials announced they will boost COVID-19 testing at SUNY campuses.

Educators at a New York City building for children with severe disabilities walked into dirty conditions, missing protective gear, and incomplete ventilation checks, teachers and union officials said.

The Department of Education has confirmed that two city teachers who returned to their buildings Tuesday have tested positive for coronavirus. Staffers at MS 88 and PS 1 — both in Brooklyn — tested positive for COVID-19, according to the DOE.

For the second day in a row, William Floyd High School senior Maverick Stow arrived at school yesterday morning wanting to attend school five days a week, rather than abide by the district’s hybrid attendance plan. This time, school officials called the police. No arrest was made.

Catholic schools across the five boroughs opened yesterday — with the COVID-19-fighting regimens of temperature-taking and stair-rail sanitizing mixing with the age-old traditions of crisp new uniforms and first-day jitters.

The New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association announced that the fall sports of football and boys and girls volleyball statewide that are deemed high risk will be postponed until March 1, 2021.

As students head back to school, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will send 6.9 million cloth face coverings to New York this month for distribution to students, teachers and staff at schools across the state.

One of the state’s largest unions, the New York State United Teachers Union, is preparing to sue the state for withholding 20 percent of its funding to local school districts.

More than 2,000 New York City gym owners are suing de Blasio for opening the gyms — but barring barre, yoga and other fitness classes.

The number of people living in homeless shelters in New York City has fallen to its lowest level in six years amid the coronavirus pandemic, even as the nation’s largest city grapples with a housing crisis and high levels of unemployment.

The New York City Council is moving to extend a law barring landlords from going after commercial tenants’ personal funds if they can’t make rent, through March 2021.

Money woes are braking plans to roll out a shared electric scooter program, NYC Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told the City Council.

Many Revel riders are still eschewing helmets after the embattled scooter company was allowed to return to Big Apple streets, the city’s transit chief admitted.

NYC is seeing a biking boom during the pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on Halloween in the Big Apple, not only scuttling the beloved Greenwich Village parade, but ruining other longstanding traditions — and scaring many parents into keeping trick-or-treaters at home.

First-term Staten Island congressman Max Rose is running digitals ads calling fellow Democrat de Blasio “the worst mayor in the history of New York City.”

In a long-awaited change, visits to adult care facilities can now resume once there have been 14 days without a new case of COVID-19.

New York’s former top government transparency official, Robert J. Freeman, has agreed to pay $15,000 to settle ethics charges related to his rampant workplace sexual harassment and misuse of government resources.

From taxing second homes to fees on yacht sales, several of the Capital Region’s Democratic state lawmakers say all revenue-driving measures should be on the table as a means to fund public schools before they’re bled dry by cuts to state and federal aid.

As New York lawmakers continue to press for additional federal funding to crawl out of the $14.5 billion deficit the state faces from revenue declines due to the pandemic, few sectors and industries have been spared from 20 percent aid reductions, forcing local governments and industry leaders to cut staff and services.

Rivers Casino & Resort reopened yesterday evening after being closed since March – although gaming will be limited to their sports book and slot machines.

Trustco Bank is being sued over its use of $36 debit card overdraft fees by a customer who alleges the bank is illegally manipulating checking account balances to charge the lucrative fees again and again.

Amazon opened its new fulfillment center in Schodack, marking the end of a years-long – and at times contentious – process to build the first such facility for the company in upstate New York.

Rensselaer County Court Judge Debra Young set an Oct. 14 hearing date to determine if Barker Park Coalition activist Kenneth Zeoli should be removed from an 11-month-long probation and placed on five-years probation in a felony forgery case.

Gary Dake, president of the Stewart’s convenience store chain, announced on Twitter that the company would no longer be offering its decade-old house brand of beer known as Mountain Brew.

For the first time in its 150-year history, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has hired a full-time Native American curator: Patricia Marroquin Norby.

Disgraced “House of Cards” actor Kevin Spacey repeatedly raped one of his underage acting students years before he made it to the big screen — and sexually abused a 14-year-old boy the year he began his acting career, a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court alleges.

Spacey was sued by the actor Anthony Rapp and an anonymous man, both of whom accuse the actor of sexual offenses against them in the 1980s when they were about 14 years old.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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2 Comments

  1. Dave Stewart

    Cool bridge, where is it?

    Reply
    • CM

      I believe it’s the Great River Hydro recreation area in VT.

      Reply

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