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Hoverboards May Not Hover, But they Do Spontaneously Combust

Jan 04, 16 Hoverboards May Not Hover, But they Do Spontaneously Combust

Posted by in All, Lifestyle

As consumers continue to ignore the ban on using hoverboards in New York, the chances of seeing fires and explosions from these devices here mounts. For instance, last week New York saw its first hoverboard fire which began when a hover-board that was charging began to smoke, and then caught on fire. No one was hurt, but the fire department was summoned to put out the blaze in a Brooklyn apartment. Anyone caught using a hoverboard in New York is faced with a $200 fine. The popular contraption, which does not “hover” but rather rolls along quite attached to the ground, with wheels, has been exploding and catching fire throughout the United States. It is believed that faulty batteries are the source of the danger. The Brooklyn owner of the hover-board was charging his machine inside his sixth-floor apartment in the Kingsborough Houses in Crown Heights. At about 5pm on Tuesday the device began to smoke. The owner then became frightened and took his toy out of the apartment and placed it in the hallway, where it burst into flames.  Luckily firefighters arrived in time to put out the fire before any additional damage was...

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Brooklyn Boa Busted for Riding MTA without Paying

Dec 28, 15 Brooklyn Boa Busted for Riding MTA without Paying

Posted by in All, News

With flashbacks to the famed Bronx Zoo Cobra, another large snake of the boa constrictor variety was caught riding the B12 bus along East New York Avenue a few Saturdays ago. As soon as the driver spotted the snake, eight stops into his route, he immediately turned his bus around and headed back to the depot. Apparently there were no other riders on the bus. Back at the depot workers removed some bus panels to reach the snake, who was trying to get closer to the warmth from the engine. Workers from Animal Care and Control took the snake to somewhere, presumably safer than an MTA bus. Someone for the MTA said that a different driver had seen someone with a snake in a bag enter the bus the day before. The driver assumed when the passenger with the snake left the bus, that he took his snake with him. Wrong! “A guy brought a snake with him on the bus,” the source said. “I guess it got too big for him to take care of, so he left it on the bus in a...

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Knife Wielding Man Claims to be ISIS Fighter in Brooklyn

Dec 22, 15 Knife Wielding Man Claims to be ISIS Fighter in Brooklyn

Posted by in All, News

Police say that a 23-year-old man threatened paramedics with a butterfly knife in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn on Sunday morning. The man, Jancer Abreu, claimed he was a member of the terrorist organization ISIS, was arrested after he began waving around the knife while screaming “I am ISIS.” The incident happened at 6am at the corner of Wycoff Avenue and Stanhope Street. Officials described Abreu as emotionally disturbed. He was handcuffed and then arrested on charges of criminal possession of a weapon, menacing and harassment. Officials do not believe Abreu is a bone fide ISIS fighter. No one was injured during the incident. The man is awaiting arraignment as of Sunday...

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Board of Ed Fails Three Brooklyn Schools

Dec 15, 15 Board of Ed Fails Three Brooklyn Schools

Posted by in All, New York

Lagging enrollment and poor student performance are the reasons behind the upcoming closures of three Brooklyn public schools. The schools, all located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, are: Peace Academy Middle School; the School for the Urban Environment; and Foundations Academy High School. This is the first time Mayor Bill de Blasio has opted to shut down any non-charter schools in the city. The decision to close will leave 217 students in total with the need to find other places to learn. The Education Department said that the Peace Academy and the School for the Urban Environment are the two schools in New York with the lowest student body, with only 47 and 57 students respectively. The school for the Urban Environment has not had even one student able to score adequately on the state English test for the past two years. Foundations Academy had the lowest graduation rate of any school in New York City during the 2013-2014 school year. The city average for graduation is 68 percent, but Foundations only graduated 22 percent of its students. The high school is also among the cities least in demand schools. Only two eighth graders chose it as their first choice on this year’s application. The mayor’s decision came as a surprise, however. The previous Mayor Bloomberg was not averse to shutting down schools which did not show results, closing over 150 schools during his tenure. Mayor de Blasio, on the other hand, has said from the start that he would be hesitant to close down schools, opting to stimulate them instead with resources to help them improve. One observer, David C. Bloomfield, a professor of education leadership at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, was a bit uncertain how de Blasio chose these schools to close and why at this time. “It’s a big departure because it’s so precipitous,” Mr. Bloomfield said. There was no warning or prior announcements that these three schools were on line for closure. “He said this would only be a last...

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Police Seize Weed and ‘Rooms Shipped from West

Dec 06, 15 Police Seize Weed and ‘Rooms Shipped from West

Posted by in All, News

Reacting to a tip from Homeland Security, the NYPD grabbed a shipping container at the Brooklyn waterfront filled with marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and other drugs. The container, which arrived in Brooklyn from Oregon and California, had over 290 pounds of pot and other drugs within. The police observed as two men and one woman drove up to the container in a U-Haul truck and a Hyundai at Maspeth Avenue dock in East Williamsburg. They watched as the threesome transferred the contents of the container into the truck, and then drove away. The police followed and stopped them at Morgan Avenue, saying they had gone through a red light. After a search warrant was obtained by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, the three were arrested and charged with multiple counts of drug possession. The three, who are residents of Long Island, said they were paid $1,000 per person to bring the drugs to a storage unit in Long Island. They are Michael Clemente, Frank Hollen, 27, and Hollen’s fiancée Emily Lynch,...

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Rare Bird Blows into Brooklyn

Dec 03, 15 Rare Bird Blows into Brooklyn

Posted by in All, Featured

Some people ogle movie stars, others like sports heroes, and then there are those who plotz for plumage. If you are one of the latter, then get out your binoculars, and head out to Prospect Park in the heart of Brooklyn, and see if you can’t get a gander of an extraordinarily rare site: a beautifully colored Painted Bunting. This bird, known to some as the “Liberace bird,” is remarkable in its appearance. A little finch-like creature, he has a brilliant indigo head, bright yellow shoulders, and wings which transitions smoothly from chartreuse to green. Insuring that all the color groups are included, his breast is a lovely combination of scarlet and burnt sienna. The bird was visible for four straight days, and has never before appeared in Brooklyn. It is almost never seen anywhere north of Arkansas. If you want a glimpse of this bird you will have to fight the crowds, who must try and get a view of him between the brown native grasses planted outside the LeFrak Center skating rink complex. Speculation about why the bird might be visiting Brooklyn raged. To see an adult male so far afield is quite perplexing, considering their usual winter quarters are Florida and Mexico. Perhaps he was carried on a wind from the west, and considering the warm November temperatures New York has been experiencing, decided to stay. The native grasses could also be a factor attracting the fine feathered friend. One observer, Scott Schulman, manager of LeFrak Center was awed by the site of this eye-popping creature. “That was remarkable, to say the least,” he said....

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Phil Vasan’s Next Opportunity

Nov 30, 15 Phil Vasan’s Next Opportunity

Posted by in All, Business

Now that Wells Fargo has agreed to the purchase of the US private banking division of Credit Suisse, there is a rare opportunity for investment firms to snatch up a talented executive who will soon be leaving Credit Suisse. As soon as the Credit Suisse transition has been completed, Phil Vasan, the present CEO, will be leaving. Vasan became the CEO back in 2013 in order to bring profitability back to Credit Suisse’s US operations, a task he was successful in completing. For a decade Phil Vasan worked as the head of prime services at Credit Suisse. Beginning in 2003 until he took over the private banking operation in 2013, Vasan raised the market share of the firm from 2 percent to 14 percent. Vasan’s success brought Credit Suisse into a top-two market position and then an invitation by Brady Dougan to repair the operations of the private bank. So what is the next step for Vasan? The expectation is that Vasan will either return to his long time career as an investment banker or instead make the switch to alternative investment management. If he decides he would like to return to banking, then it is clear that he would be best suited for a leadership role there, especially if there was an opportunity to take the bank in the direction of much needed changes. However, the banks most in need of his special skill set, such as Barclays, Deutsche and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, seem to not yet be ready for the type of transformative leadership Vasan would bring to the table. Another option which is more likely to entice Vasan is a senior position in the alternative investment industry. The larger firms and more cautious hedge fund managers which have survived the recent crisis in this industry will most likely recognize the value of someone like Vasan to transition their firms around to money-making machines in a more sustainable business model. In the internal memo Credit Suisse sent out which announced...

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$31 million Raised at Annual FIDF Dinner

This year, the 9th annual Hollywood gala dinner raised a staggering $31 billion for the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces.  Attended by a vast array of celebrities, the event was chaired by Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl. The largest donation was received from IFCJ founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.  He donated $8.4 million to the cause.  The IFCJ – International Fellowship of Christians and Jews – also recently provided financial aid for victims of the latest wave of terror to hit Israel. The gala has been growing steadily each year.  As Saban pointed out, “for the past nine years I have watched this gala grow into the preeminent charity event it is today, and I am truly humbled by the funds raised, which are a testament to the importance of the FIDF organization and its mission. The overwhelming support from the Los Angeles community continues to amaze me.” The night before, Saban hosted an event that celebrated Eckstein’s recent publication entitled ‘The Bridge Builder.’  A hundred people hailing from the business, entertainment and non-profit sectors attended the event.  The book accounts Eckstein’s work through the IFCJ of fostering and developing positive relationships and understandings between Christian and Jews around the world – a cornerstone of the...

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