Ellen Gifts Brooklyn Grads with SUNY Scholarships

Feb 27, 17 Ellen Gifts Brooklyn Grads with SUNY Scholarships

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

  In an unusually generous gesture by a woman known for extraordinarily generous gestures, Ellen DeGeneres, in partnership with Walmart, surprised the entire graduating class of Summit Academy Charter School with four-year scholarships to the State University of New York school of their choice. The gift was a surprise, and surpassed the high bar Ellen’s heart-warming gifts have always reached through the years. The scholarship money is worth $1.6 million and will be given to the 41 seniors scheduled to graduate this coming spring. The students were completely shocked by the gift, saying it was “stunning” and “a once in a lifetime opportunity.” The story of the scholarship money began when the founder of the Summit Academy Charter School, Natasha Campbell, got in touch with DeGeneres about the inspirational story of the school. Campbell described to Ellen the extreme poverty of the neighborhood where the children in the school come from, where only 4 percent of the people there have college educations. DeGeneres invited Campbell, and the school’s principal, Cheryl Lundy Swift, to come to the show and share their story. In return Ellen gave them a $25,000 check from Walmart to continue the goals of the school. The school’s mission is to have their students “attend, excel and graduate from college.” Now, with not only a 100 percent college acceptance rate on track and, thanks to Ellen and Walmart, the money to actually attend, the school’s, and the student’s dreams, can be...

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Brooklyn DA Thompson Dead from Cancer at Age 50

Oct 10, 16 Brooklyn DA Thompson Dead from Cancer at Age 50

Posted by in All, News, Politics

Only five days after announcing publicly that he was ill with colorectal cancer, Ken Thompson, Brooklyn District Attorney, is dead at age 50. He died at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital surrounded by family members. Although diagnosed this past spring, he carried on with his duties until last week when he appointed his chief assistant, Eric Gonzalez, to head the office until he won his battle with cancer. “As a man of intense faith, I intend to fight and win the battle against this disease,” Thompson said. Thompson’s wife Lu-Shawn wrote on Facebook: “The world lost a great man. Rest in Peace to my husband.” said: “I am profoundly saddened. Ken was a dedicated public servant who embodied the highest principles of the law.” Thompson became the Brooklyn DA in January 2014 after beating the incumbent Charles Hynes, who had served as Brooklyn DA since 1990. It was the first time anyone had defeated a sitting Brooklyn DA since 1911. Thompson was also the first African-American in history to fill the job of Brooklyn’s chief prosecutor. Thompson was known for ordering his office to refrain from prosecuting low-level marijuana arrests. This was partly so he could dedicate more resources to violent crimes such as rape, gun crimes, and domestic violence. He also wanted to spare New York youth from “the burden of a criminal...

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Zika Awareness Stepped Up in New York

Aug 24, 16 Zika Awareness Stepped Up in New York

Posted by in All, Health

In its efforts to keep the Zika virus from gaining a hold in New York City, the NYC Department of Health launched an interactive website as part of its $21 million, three-year education and prevention program. The website shows concerned citizens where mosquito surveillance and control activities are taking place around town, plus it shows how many mosquitoes there are left, and recent mosquito control operations by each city neighborhood. “Every day, members of our mosquito control team are collecting surveillance traps, investigating complaints of standing water, and using our tools to reduce the mosquito population,” city Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. Although there have been no known cases of Zika being transmitted in New York City, all cases are travel related, there have been 483 people in the city diagnosed with the illness, and 49 of those pregnant. Zika is most harmful to unborn babies when their mothers contract the illness from mosquitoes carrying the virus. Unborn babies can develop life-threatening birth defects from Zika, such as microcephaly, blindness, deafness, seizures and...

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Brooklyn Private School Won’t Budge for Damon Kids

Aug 10, 16 Brooklyn Private School Won’t Budge for Damon Kids

Posted by in All, Society

At St. Ann’s the rules are the rules, and can’t be broken even for the likes of Hollywood celebrities, even of the caliber of Matt Damon. Damon, star of the “Bourne” series and other prominent films such as “Good Will Hunting” and “Saving Private Ryan” is moving back to New York from Los Angeles, and would like to send his three daughters to a top-notch school. But Damon is out of luck, says the Brooklyn Heights elementary through high school, due to the claim that there is simply no more room. The school has the bragging rights to having taught such high profile people as Lena Dunham, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jemima Kirke and Zac Posen, and now has in attendance the children of Ethan Hawke and Maggie Gyllenhaal. “They had a conversation with the school, but St. Ann’s just won’t bend the rules,” said someone who knows. “They don’t care [who the parents of its students are]. A lot of schools will bend the rules very happily; they’ll bring celebrities’ kids in midway through the year or do whatever they want. St. Ann’s just isn’t doing it.” Tuition at the school is not for the faint-hearted, or super-rich. Depending on the grade, one year at St. Ann’s can set a family back between $36.080 and $42,555. The exclusive school has a bit of an alternative philosophy, as explained on their web site: “So that every child will flourish, we eschew grades, rankings and prizes in favor of ongoing dialogue and teacher...

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Daniel Taub and others on the Changing of the Guard in England

Jul 17, 16 Daniel Taub and others on the Changing of the Guard in England

Posted by in Politics

Much of England, and perhaps leaders around the world, are spinning with the quick changes happening in England’s government. Resigning recently at 10 Downing Street, David Cameron delivered remarks to the public. As he said, “It’s not been an easy journey, and of course we’ve not got every decision right, but I do believe that today our country is much stronger.” He went on to wish May the best as she negotiates the country’s “Brexit” from the European Union. When asked what one wish he had, he said it would be the “continued success of this great country that I love so very much.” Many other world leaders have weighed in on Cameron’s departure. In an article recently in the Times of Israel, Israel’s former Ambassador to the United Kingdom Daniel Taub said that the remarkable constant with David Cameron was “the genuine friendship and support he has consistently shown towards the State and people of Israel.” Daniel Taub explained that Cameron’s commitment to learning the lessons of the Holocaust was unprecedented and included his own visit to Auschwitz, his visit to the Holocaust Museum in Berlin with his children and the established of a Holocaust Memorial Commission with a commitment from his government of 50 million pounds. Looking now to the future, the former Home Secretary Theresa May will take over the job Cameron is vacating. Congratulations and analyses have poured in from around the world. London Mayor Sadiq Khan congratulated May and urged her to address the post-EU future for Britain. Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked Cameron for the work that they did together and said that he looked forward to working with May. About the transition, Daniel Taub said that May was very supportive as home secretary of “our efforts to deepen British- Israel ties in the area of homeland security, and also very receptive to the concerns of the Jewish community regarding anti-Semitism and violent extremism.” Finally, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wrote “The...

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Williamsburg’s Poop Recycling Program Creating Stink

Jul 11, 16 Williamsburg’s Poop Recycling Program Creating Stink

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

The dog run at Williamsburg’s East River State Park launched an innovative program to achieve two goals at once: rid the dog run of doggie do while simultaneously creating potent fertilizer to feed the flower beds in the 11-acre park. Leslie Wright, the regional director of state parks in New York City explained how the idea was hatched: “We figured we can use something people don’t want and turn it into something great,” he said. Wright helped get the program, which is the city’s first, off the ground. He guessed that the cost of the project, including all the materials and other supplies, would come to about $2,000. Dog owners are asked to collect their dogs’ waste using one of six styles of pooper scoopers and brown, environmentally friendly bags, supplied by the park for free, and dispose of it into one of two new, wooden compost bins. The doggie do is then mixed with untreated sawdust and “cooked and cured” before being applied to the park’s gardens. Park officials say they picked the Williamsburg neighborhood to launch the program because they felt the residents of the area would be especially excited about the idea. “I think it’s pretty in tune with the whole Brooklyn vibe,” said one dog-owner, walking in the park with her boyfriend’s golden doodle. “I think it’s great. Not only does it save me money on bags, but it’s also super easy to do,” said another dog owner. “But I’ve definitely seen a lot of people roll their eyes when they see it.” Wright mentioned that this program is one of only three like it in the country. The others are located in Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, New York; and in Alaska’s Denali National Park, especially for sled...

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