Rise and Shine: Sept. 14, 2020

Good Monday morning, CivMixers.

Before I dive in to all the things related to today, I wanted to draw your attention (in case you were eschewing screens yesterday) to the Google doodle that popped up on Sunday, Sept. 13.

It paid tribute to Canadian athlete and cancer activist Terry Fox on the anniversary of the first run event organized across Canada in his honor.

After losing his right leg to cancer at the age of 18 in 1977, Fox conceived of a “Marathon of Hope” – a historic cross-Canada journey to raise awareness and money for cancer research. His goal was to raise $1 for every Canadian – $24.17 million

Three years following his diagnosis, on April 12, 1980, Fox started his marathon in St. John’s, Newfoundland, running with an artificial leg. Through biting winds and summer heat, he ran close to a marathon a day for over four months, covering approximately 3,339 miles in all.

A return of Fox’s cancer, which spread to his lungs, prevented him from completing the route, but he achieved his goal of raising a dollar for every Canadian citizen, totaling over $24 million for cancer research.

Fox died on June 28, 1981.

The first Terry Fox Run was held on Sept. 13, 1981, uniting 300,000 people across Canada to walk, run or cycle in Terry’s memory. It raised $3.5 million for cancer research. A virtual Terry Fox Run will be held next Sunday, Sept. 20. This event is now the world’s largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.

Kinda makes you think to yourself – What am I doing to make a difference in the world? At least it does for me.

Some interesting historical occurrences of note that took place on this day: Composer Handel completed his “Messiah”; President Theodore Roosevelt (formerly governor of New York) succeeded William McKinley after his assassination; and Major League Baseball’s entire season was canceled due to a strike.

Today is National Coloring Day. I know a lot of people are getting back into coloring as grown ups, finding it therapeutic and relaxing. My experience is just the opposite – the need to stay inside the lines is stultifying.

Also, this day is not to be confused with National Coloring Book Day, which occurred back on Aug. 2. I see this as a distinction without a difference, personally. Is coloring really do popular as to deserve TWO full days devoted to it? I think not, but maybe you feel differently.

We’re going to have a lovely early fall day, with lots of sun, a few passing clouds and temperatures in the high 60s.

In the headlines…

President Donald Trump offered a glaring new example of his refusal to put medical science before politics with a large indoor rally in Nevada last night that made a mockery of social distancing, while the pandemic he mismanaged has now claimed more than 194,000 American lives.

“Tonight, President Donald Trump is taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat. “The president appears to have forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic.”

“You have a governor right now who is a political hack,” Trump told the audience. “Tell your governor to open up your state, by the way. Open up your state.”

The crowd at Trump’s rally chanted “lock him up” after the president accused his predecessor, former President Obama, of being caught “spying” on the 2016 Trump campaign.

Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University and medical analyst for CNN, called Trump’s indoor rally in Nevada “negligent homicide.”

Discounting polls that show him running behind, Trump predicted at the rally that he would win a second term, but he told supporters that Democrats are trying to “rig” the election.

Trump announced his intention to move forward with an executive order he signed in July that intends to lower the price of prescription drugs.

Mike Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and onetime Democratic presidential candidate, has committed $100 million of his own money to help the party’s nominee, Joe Biden, win the state of Florida.

The House is set to return today from a monthlong recess, launching a congressional sprint on a number of must-pass bills to avert a government shutdown. The House also aims to tackle the federal legalization of marijuana.

With COVID-related income supplements and unemployment benefits now expired or reduced, we face a new wave of mortgage and rental delinquencies, many of which will come in the next few months.

Authorities were searching yesterday for the gunman who shot two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in an apparent ambush, hours after hundreds of demonstrators gathered to protest the shooting death of Dijon Kizzee by members of the Sheriff’s Department.

Nearly 100 wildfires raged in the West over the weekend, as high winds and dry conditions were expected to fan some of the fast-moving blazes in the coming days in states reeling from a death toll of at least 33 people and struggling for resources.

Unprecedented levels of pollution were recorded Saturday in Oregon as tens-of-thousands of firefighters continue to battle deadly wildfires in the western U.S.

Israel said it will reimpose a national lockdown to battle a coronavirus surge, as the number of daily infections around the world reached a record high, approaching 29 million.

European stocks opened higher today, boosted by the resumption of coronavirus vaccine trials.

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine could be distributed to Americans before the end of the year if found to be safe and effective, CEO Albert Bourla said.

There is a “good chance” the company will know whether its vaccine works by the end of October, according to Bourla.

There is a growing outcry among independent scientists and public health experts who are pushing vaccine makers to be far more open with the public in the midst of a pandemic that has already killed more than 193,000 people in the United States.

Responding to a question posed by actress Jennifer Garner and posted on Instagram, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he believes Americans will be able to sit in theaters again once a coronavirus vaccine has existed “for almost a year.”

“If we get a really good vaccine and just about everybody gets vaccinated,” Fauci said, “you’ll have a degree of immunity in the general community that I think you can walk into a theater without a mask and feel like it’s comfortable that you’re not going to be at risk.”

The rate of suicide among those aged 10 to 24 increased nearly 60 percent between 2007 and 2018, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rise occurred in most states, with 42 experiencing significant increases.

Trump’s lawyers on Friday accused a federal judge of “stacking the deck” against the president in his long-running fight to block the Manhattan district attorney from getting his tax returns.

Trump mocked New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Twitter Sunday for telling city residents to enjoy the day amid heightened crime.

The Chinese owner of TikTok has reportedly chosen Oracle to be the app’s technology partner for its U.S. operations and has rejected an acquisition offer from Microsoft.

When the pandemic hit, Cuomo overrode local governments that wanted to go beyond the state’s social-distancing restrictions, which delayed the shutdown of the nation’s biggest city and slowed the reaction time as the virus spread in nursing homes, contributing to the nation’s highest death toll.

Cuomo announced that a record number of COVID-19 tests were performed statewide on Friday, which was the 36th day with the statewide infection rate below one percent.

Although federal guidelines refer to the testing numbers supplied by states as “targets.” New York, where Cuomo has touted the testing program as the best in the nation, apparently has made its goal to test the minimum number.

Saturday’s infection rate of 0.99 percent marked the 37th straight day that the rate has remained below one percent.

Central New York’s daily rate of positive coronavirus tests was up to 2 percent, according to test results returned to the state on Saturday. That’s the highest daily positive rate for the region since June 23, and Central New York is tied with Western New York with the highest daily rate based on the most recent tests.

A couple dozen protesters on Saturday gathered outside Cuomo’s office in Manhattan to demand he take responsibility for the thousands of nursing home deaths during the height of the coronavirus.

State officials have taken steps to make it easier for New Yorkers to cast their ballots by mail in November, but advocacy groups are pushing them to go even further for the biggest election since the novel coronavirus took hold.

Workers who cared for residents of nursing homes and homes for the developmentally disabled during the COVID-19 pandemic are warning that their ranks are dwindling rapidly, and they’re pressing the state to mount a major recruiting and retention campaign before a second wave of the virus hits.

Many of the Covid-related state mandates are necessary to try to control the pandemic, officials agree. But localities are asking a simple question: How are they supposed to afford all of these edicts from Albany?

State Labor Department employees contend that key security protocols, which verify someone’s identity and employment history, were removed to expedite a historic, pandemic-related surge of unemployment applications as Cuomo’s administration faced criticism for the backlog.

The largest holder of New York City taxi-medallion loans is throwing lifelines to thousands of drivers struggling to survive a collapse in ridership caused by the new coronavirus pandemic, giving about 2,000 medallion-owner drivers a loan payment holiday every month since mid-March.

The tensions between the de Blasio administration and top NYC business leaders burst into the open when 163 executives joined in an open letter to criticize the mayor’s leadership. Others think their portrait of the city is overly bleak.

Hundreds of protesters enraged at the plan to boot disabled homeless residents from a Midtown Manhattan hotel to clear space for homeless people relocated from an Upper West Side luxury hotel crowded Gracie Mansion with a message for the mayor: It’s time for you to go.

Newly surfaced documents reveal damning details about the scale and scope of what NYCHA knew of its serious lead issues in housing units with kids — all while de Blasio downplayed the health crisis.

New York City principals welcomed staff back to work this week, but many say they don’t have nearly enough teachers to accommodate the hybrid reopening plan for students who return to classrooms on Sept. 21.

New York City’s ritziest neighborhoods are among the biggest laggards when it comes to filling out the 2020 Census — potentially risking the loss of $3 billion in federal funding over the next decade.

Restaurateurs in New York City are warning of a restaurant-closing tsunami as summer turns to fall, due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s son Andrew, 34, is mulling a 2021 run for mayor.

Likely mayoral candidate Maya Wiley has tapped Alison Hirsh, a former adviser to de Blasio, to join her campaign.

Alex Elegudin, who was hired by former NYC Transit president Andy Byford in June 2018 as the agency’s first-ever senior adviser for system-wide accessibility, is leaving to become Cuomo’s top disability advisor.

Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright just opened her campaign headquarters on the ground floor of a massive Upper East Side residential building — where her Republican opponent, Louis Puliafito, is the doorman.

Two people were killed and six others wounded in a shooting early yesterday morning that took place blocks away from the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick, N.J., the authorities said.

Hundreds of protesters marched to downtown Binghamton on Saturday night in solidarity with those in Rochester who have been demonstrating nightly for over a week after the news of the death of Daniel Prude was made public.

Albany organizers are calling for the resignation of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. They’re also demanding clinical professionals respond to mental health emergencies instead of police.

Buffalo police shot and critically wounded a man who attacked a female cop with a baseball bat, according to officials.

High school seniors in Lansingburgh set up class in a school parking lot last week to protest state budget cuts and school reopening modifications.

Rallies were held across the state this weekend to protest the governor’s cuts to education aid. More here.

Dozens of New York high school football players and parents gathered in White Plains yesterday to protest a state decision delaying “high-risk” fall sports amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The TU’s Chris Churchill: “(T)he 20 percent budget cut, recently imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on schools statewide… will change nearly everything about teaching in Albany and other needy districts that rely heavily on state aid.”

The superintendent of Mohonasen schools is defending his decision to move forward with school reopening – despite knowing that an administrator had COVID-19 and was exposed to other administrators the week before in-person classes started.

COVID-19 cases with connections to the University at Albany continue to rise, as 16 more cases were added over the weekend.

Another weekend party in Washington Square Park has kept concerns high over a potential coronavirus spread at neighboring New York University as area colleges struggle to curb recent spikes.

SUNY Oswego will not shut down campus and switch to virtual learning despite the county health department confirming it has a total of 126 coronavirus cases.

Following a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley and SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras have decided to suspend athletics and Greek Life for the rest of the semester. On top of that, in-person dining and residence hall visitation will also be suspended indefinitely.

A Westchester County high-school teacher kicked off his first day of classes by handing out an image on the Black Lives Matter movement — comparing modern-day cops to slave owners and the Ku Klux Klan.

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party’s presidential candidate, rallied supporters at Townsend Park to get people to vote for him Nov. 3 so the party can meet the new state requirements to maintain its place on the state ballot.

Following a letter penned by GOP leadership in the Senate and Assembly to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, the Twitter account for the Conservative Party in New York state was reinstated last week after a two-month suspension from the social media site.

More cars filled the lots at Capital Region office parks last week than any other week since pandemic lockdowns began in March. But most employers are still not requiring anyone to go back to the office just yet.

Albany’s Water Department is working to replace all of the lead water pipes in use throughout the city at no cost to homeowners.

Wolff’s Biergarten in Schenectady had its liquor license suspended by the state for violations that were made at the location last Thursday night.

The Low Beat, located on Central Avenue, is closing, and the owner, Howard Glassman, wanted people to take anything they wanted before the doors shut for good. All he asked was they donate a little money to help pay off the final bills.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld took the stage at Chelsea’s Gotham Comedy Club Sunday morning alongside U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to call for Congressional Republicans to pass the Save Our Stages Act, a measure that would provide $10 billion in coronavirus relief grants for live entertainment venues across the country.

Connecticut health officials are warning residents after a string of infections caused by a flesh-eating bacteria found in the Long Island Sound.

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli has been sentenced to nine months of community service, weeks after she was convicted in a highly publicized tax evasion case. He mother must spend 16 months behind bars.

The NFL season kicked off yesterday and as expected, numerous players took a knee during the national anthem.

Colin Kaepernick spoke out against the NFL in the middle of the league’s slate of opening games to start the 2020 season.

Was there a shark spotted swimming in the Hudson River?

Rare white squirrels are living in Colonie.

A plane used as Air Force Two could be seen practicing Saturday at the Albany International Airport.

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