Massive Sinkhole Sucks Down Road in Sunset Park

Aug 11, 15 Massive Sinkhole Sucks Down Road in Sunset Park

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Last Tuesday a street collapsed in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, creating a 30 foot wide and 15 foot deep sinkhole. The massive pit prevented cars from turning at the intersection of 64th Steet and Fifth Avenue, making some residents annoyed. “This has ruined our whole day,” said Maria Cruz, 28, with the help of her 9-year-old son Michael, who was translating from his mother’s Spanish to the reporter’s English. “We have no water for eight hours. We can’t use our car — it is stuck here. The collapse occurred at 7am, and was caused by a leaking water main, which weakened the ground under the roadway. Utility companies were called to check the gas lines for any leaks, and water to the neighboring apartment buildings was turned off. Representatives from the DEP plan to first fill in the gaping hole with emergency filler dirt so the hole does not worsen. At a later stage they will remove the dirt and properly repair the street. Victor Gomez, a resident who lives nearby, expressed the feelings of many in the area: “Thank God no cars or pedestrians were near the hole when it blew up,” he...

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Committee Exploring Public Transportation Along Brooklyn and Queens Waterfront

Aug 03, 15 Committee Exploring Public Transportation Along Brooklyn and Queens Waterfront

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An advisory committee of some of New York’s most influential developers, transportation experts and community leaders is looking into the feasibility and benefits of a north-west transportation system that will connect the waterfront communities of Brooklyn with areas in Queens. Residents of neighborhoods along the waterfront in places like Red Hook, Brooklyn, do not now have an easy way of traveling via public transportation to Queens communities such as Astoria. The G-train is simply not that useful in this respect. The committee has commissioned HR&A Advisors to study the effect a streetcar or a light-rail system would have on overall transportation, especially between places like Sunset Park in Brooklyn to Astoria in Queens. The speculated route could also include some of Brooklyn’s most up-and-coming neighborhoods, like Downtown Brooklyn, Red Hook and Williamsburg. Destinations along the route could also include areas where office buildings and other commercial development is hot, like Long Island City and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “It’s a cool idea,” said David Lombino, an executive at development company Two Trees, which is part of the organizing effort. “We’re a supporter. Could be transformative for Brooklyn and Queens someday. We’ll...

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Woman Harassed by Robo-calls Awarded $229K in Damages

Jul 13, 15 Woman Harassed by Robo-calls Awarded $229K in Damages

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A Manhattan federal judge ruled in favor of Araceli King, saying that she was harassed by Time Warner Cable in an illegal manner. According to the law suit brought by Irving, Texas resident King, Time Warner Cable continuously left messages on her cell phone via robot to the tune of 153 automated calls in less than a year. The communications company was looking for a former customer, Luiz Perez, who at one time had King’s number, but no longer did. King informed Time Warner of their mistake, making it as clear as possible during a seven-minute discussion she had with an employee of Time Warner, to no avail. After the discussion the automated phone calls continued unabated, totaling 74 additional calls after King’s suit to end them. US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein awarded King triple damages totaling $229,000 in total, or $1,500 per call. Hellerstein said that a “responsible business” would have tried harder to find Perez. Especially after March 2014, when King had already sued Time Warner, the judge said it was “incredible” to believe that Time Warner did not know she objected, which is their claim. Time Warner Cable claims it is not liable under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act since it believed it was calling Perez, who did agree to the calls. The TCP Act was enacted to limit robocall and telemarketing abuses. The automated calls made to King were part of an “interactive voice response” system that calls late-paying customers automatically. “Defendant harassed plaintiff with robo-calls until she had to resort to a lawsuit to make the calls stop, and even then TWC could not be bothered to update the information in its IVR system,” Hellerstein wrote. He added that the last 74 calls made by TWC to King were “particularly egregious violations of the TCPA and indicate that TWC simply did not take this lawsuit seriously.” A trial has been set for July 27. Spokeswoman for the New York based TWC, Susan Leepson said that the company is...

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Despite Odds Girl with CP Graduates Top in Class, Inspires Classmates

Jun 28, 15 Despite Odds Girl with CP Graduates Top in Class, Inspires Classmates

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One young woman from Brooklyn showed her classmates, and the world, that no matter the challenges, with enough hard work and will power, success is still attainable. Johileny Meran delivered the Valedictorian speech on Friday at the Juan Morel Campos Secondary School in Brooklyn. She graduated the top of her class and received a full scholarship to study at New York University despite the fact that she has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheel chair. Her accomplishment is even more remarkable since her mother died five years ago from cancer, and she grew up in a homeless shelter. “I made it through. I was able to overcome many of the things that stood in my way,” she said. Her remarks brought many present at the graduation ceremony to tears. Her obviously proud uncle said, “It’s a good feeling when somebody have the power, the inspiration to keep going, working for something she believed in.” Her school counselor Mariela Regaldo stated, “The best thing about her, she doesn’t give up.” Meran is planning to study neuroscience at NYU. She says she would like to help find a cure for cancer, an illness that took her mother, taught her about loss, and how to overcome hardships. “It inspired, she inspired me to keep going and that’s why I’m here today,” Meran said about cancer and her...

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Children Discover Nature at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Jun 14, 15 Children Discover Nature at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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The beautiful environment of the famed Brooklyn Botanic Garden just got even more child-friendly. The recently opened Discovery Garden, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, maintains the authentic feel of being surrounded by nature, while at the same time opens up the mind of children of all ages to the surprises and excitement of the natural world. The more cerebral among us will love the informative signs explaining the whys and wherefores of the trees, plants, insects and animals who inhabit the gardens. For example, one sign posted near a venerable cork tree explained the mystery of the burls, or bumps so prominently visible on the bark: “The female (insect) lays her eggs under the bark. Inside, the young fatten up on wood, then eat their way out.” Not everyone feels a need to read signs, and Discovery Garden is wonderfully conducive to the experience of nature. In the marsh children can jump across rocks; play with mud and water from the pool; examine the mysteries of vegetable plants such as tomatoes, peppers and basil growing on raised beds. In another place children (and there parents) can grab an available trowel and start digging in the dirt. Digging is a great way to catch site of a magical earthworm or centipede. Those wanting a bit more elucidation can read a nearby explanatory sign and discover that, “soil isn’t just dirt” and that even just one small spoonful of earth “can be the home to one billion tiny living things.” Discovery Garden is open every day but Monday. March-October: Tuesday-Friday from 8am-6pm and Saturday/Sunday 10am-6pm. Closed on Labor Day but Open on Memorial Day and Columbus Day. For more information go to Brooklyn Botanic Garden... starbuck coffee | Chevrolet Aveo

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Robert Simons & Bill McGlashan in Final Negotiations with Jackie Chan

In exciting news for STX Entertainment with Robert Simons and Bill McGlashan, they are in final negotiations with Jackie Chan to star in the action thriller “The Foreigner.” Shooting is expected to start in October and the script is supposed to be based on Stephen Leather’s novel “The Chinaman,” published in 1992. The story focuses on a restaurant owner in London’s Chinatown who wants to hunt down a group of Irish terrorists that killed his daughter. STX was launched last year by film producer Robert Simonds and TPG managing partner Bill McGlashan with the goal of producing projects in the $10-80 million range. This area is virtually vacant in the studios, as they favor making massive superhero movies. STX hopes to release as many as 15 films each year by 2017. They have already lined up projects that include Matthew McConaughey (“The Free State of Jones”) and Julia Roberts (“The Secret in Their Eyes”). For this venture with Jackie Chan, David Marconi wrote the adaptation. Chan, of course, brings a slew of credits with him including being in more than 150 films since the 1960s. STX Entertainment with Robert Simons and Bill McGlashan has already lined up financial backing from venture capital firm and co-founder TPG, Chinese private equity firm Hony Capital and investors Gigo Pritzker and Beau Wrigley. They also have backing from China’s Huayi...

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