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Topaz Page-Green: Model, Philanthropist, New Yorker

Oct 11, 15 Topaz Page-Green: Model, Philanthropist, New Yorker

Posted by in All, Society

Originally from South Africa, Topaz Page-Green began her modeling career in London, and now calls New York City home. Along with her modeling career, she is a successful philanthropist. Topaz Page-Green is the founder and president of The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization, based in South Africa, which feeds thousands of school children every single day. The Lunchbox Fund was founded in 2005 by Page-Green as a response to her exposure to the extreme poverty she had been sheltered from growing up on the outskirts of Johannesburg. She had lived in South Africa as a small child, but moved to England as a teen, where she became a successful model. During a return visit to her home country, she was shocked to see children in school with nothing to eat, and she resolved to do something about it. Today, ten years later, The Lunchbox Fund feeds over 11,000 high school students every day. Topaz Page-Green, who now makes her home in the East Village, would like to expand her enterprise so that every one of South Africa’s 4 million hungry children receives at least one healthy, filling meal each and every...

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Parents Demand Equality for Public Schools and Expansion of Charter Schools

Oct 08, 15 Parents Demand Equality for Public Schools and Expansion of Charter Schools

Posted by in All, New York

Approximately 18,500 supporters of charter schools marched on City Hall on Wednesday to persuade Mayor Bill de Blasio to treat charter schools equally with other public schools, and to increase the number of schools in the charter system. Ruben Diaz Jr, Bronx Borough President and possible candidate for mayor in 2017 addressed the crowd, saying that he will “always be a supporter of charter schools.” “Mr. Mayor, what we’re saying here today is this: The public-schools system is your system. Charter schools are a part of that system, and all we want from you, Mr. Mayor, is to treat them equitably,” proclaimed Diaz to the crowd who walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in red tee-shirts emblazoned with the mottoes “I Fight to End Inequality” and “Don’t Steal Possible.” Before the march the crowd held a rally in Cadman Plaza. Parents described to the gathering how charter schools have made a big difference in the lives of their children. Patrick Cabiness, whose son attends third grade at PS 67 in Fort Greene lamented the poor education his son is now receiving. “I have seen firsthand how the mayor is failing our public schools. At my son’s school, nine out of 10 kids do not read on grade level,” Cabiness said. Another parent, Natasha Shannon of Washington Heights, exclaimed that the mayor’s own children would never be sent to one of the city’s failing public schools. All of her daughters go to Success Academy schools. Along with parents, teachers, children and politicians were in attendance, demanding equality for schools. The mayor spoke on the radio as the rally was beginning, explaining that his job is to serve the greater school population. “Our vision for the New York City public schools is that every school is going to be brought up to the point of excellence. And look, the vast majority of our kids — about 93, 94 percent of our kids — are in traditional public schools. We have to turn them around,” the mayor said....

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Computer Glitch Declares Living Woman Dead

Sep 30, 15 Computer Glitch Declares Living Woman Dead

Posted by in All, News

Selma Cohen, age 87, received a clearly mistaken letter from New York’s Bureau of Fraud Investigation declaring that she is no longer among the living, and was therefore no longer eligible for health care benefits, an entitlement reserved only for people of the alive persuasion. Cohen immediately doubted the veracity of the letter. “I said it must be wrong,” Cohen said. “You know, maybe it’s a joke or something.” Unfortunately it was not a joke, and her Medicaid benefits were discontinued. She is also worried that her Social Security payments could be halted as well. “If they have down that the lady is deceased, I doubt if they’re going to send me a check,” Cohen said. “When you’re dead, they don’t send you checks.” It appears that the problem is not going to be as easy to fix as it was to create. After a trip to the nearby Medicaid office in Crown Heights proved unhelpful Cohen was told she would need to visit the Social Security office to apply for a state ID as proof she was indeed still alive. The process could take quite a bit of time, which Cohen says she does not have. Medicaid will not pay for her cancer treatments if she is listed as dead, nor any other doctor visits or medication. Cohen says she paid her premium and should be covered until the end of December. “So I probably won’t get my check this week. And I get food stamps, so I didn’t go food shopping the last few days. I don’t know if they stopped already my food stamps,” Cohen said. “They’re not going to give me food stamps if I’m dead.” The city is investigating the incident, but Cohen has already cancelled one doctor’s appointment, and does not know how she can survive without her other benefits. She adds that until she is reinstated she would like to get her premium payment...

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Black Tree Blooming in Brooklyn

Sep 21, 15 Black Tree Blooming in Brooklyn

Posted by in All, Entertainment

Black Tree Orchard Street is sending out a branch to grow a new tree in Brooklyn. Residents can expect to see the sapling, Black Tree Brooklyn, open on September 30 at 261 Metropolitan Avenue in Crown Heights. The restaurant specializes in locally sourced ingredients in their healthful, theme-based menus. Black Tree boasts foods which come from no further than a 300-mile radius around New York, with weekly menus which break down an entire animal or particular idea each week. Partners Sandy Dee Hall and Macnair Sillick will also introduce a chef’s table for eight diners and a tasting menu. The restaurant will have 1,600 square-feet, big enough to include in-house curing and fermenting, plus barrel-aged cocktails. The dining room will have room for 80 with an additional 16 at a large, wood-stained...

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Brooklyn Celebrates Books: 2015

Sep 16, 15 Brooklyn Celebrates Books: 2015

Posted by in All, Entertainment

It has been ten years since Brooklyn launched its week-long festival of books, books and more books, with this year’s installment commencing on Sunday, September 20 at 10am. However, a week is simply not enough to get in all the great activities, so there will be unofficial events taking place all this week as a lead up to the actual festival itself. Wednesday, September 16: Saul Williams, CNN’s “poet laureate of hip-hop” is having a book launch at the Powerhouse Arena, 37 Main Street; 7pm-9pm. Thursday, September 17: “Big Bang Theory’s” adorable doctor of astrophysics, has written a book in real life. Kunal Nayyar will talk about his new book “Yes My Accent is Real: and Some Other Things I Haven’t Told You” at Barns & Noble at Union Square, 33 East 17th Street, Manhattan, at 7pm. Friday, September 18: Brooklyn Indie Party, a place to rub elbows and share a toast with some of Brooklyn’s most literary residents. Johnny Temple will be the DJ at Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street at 7:30pm. Saturday, September 19: The Brooklyn Public Library at 10 Grand Army Plaza will play host to an interpretive reading of “Alice in Wonderland” on the 150th anniversary of this classic children’s book. The Lewis Carroll Society of North America will be in costume to take on the beloved characters who attended the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. 11am. On Sunday the real Brooklyn Book Festival begins. For more information go to the Festival’s official web...

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Cleaning Up the Gowanus Canal

Sep 06, 15 Cleaning Up the Gowanus Canal

Posted by in Gowanus, Lifestyle, Society

Many have been working tirelessly to find solutions for the long-polluted waterway along the Gowanus Canal. One organization, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, is now working with the Department of Sanitation to build a facility on Second Avenue near the canal. The intention is that food scraps and other organic waste will be turned into garden compost. The location for this plan is owned by the Department of Sanitation and is currently an empty lot that is used to store salt and sand to spread on city streets in the winter. While some compositing has already been occurring on this plot, the new plans will quadruple the size of the operation and make it more efficient, as reported by conservancy executive director Andrea Parker. As she said, “It will mean that we can process a whole lot more food scraps and provide a lot more compost for street trees in the neighborhood.” The new facility will bring the many volunteers in from the cold with an open-air shelter design and it will use solar panels to power light the location. They will also have something called “bioswales” which are small plots with plants that absorb rainwater during storms. The funding for the project includes a $1.5 million in grants from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and $105,000 from City Councilman Brad Lander’s participatory budgeting...

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The Laughs Grow in Brooklyn

Aug 20, 15 The Laughs Grow in Brooklyn

Posted by in All, Entertainment

Ever since 2013 New Yorkers have been treated to a comedy festival with that special Brooklyn flare, unexpectedly known as The Brooklyn Comedy Festival. This year the festival runs from Sunday, August 19 to Sunday, August 27, and is a full week of non-stop laughter. First conceived by comics Julian Kiani and Chris Nester several years back, the pair recruited producer Ashleigh Walker and started the festival in 2013. Unlike some of the better known comedy festivals like Just for Laughs in Montreal and the New York Comedy Festival, which feature superstar comics and pricey entrance fees; The Brooklyn Comedy Festival is much more than stand-up, features up and coming comic artists, and strictly maintains ticket prices at earth-bound numbers. Just compare the $150 ticket price for the NY Comedy Festival with a $20 entrance fee for Brooklyn’s festival. But it’s not just the price that is different. The types of performances are eclectic: it’s not at all just stand-up. “God forbid this ever becomes just a stand-up comedy festival,” Mr. Nester said, “because there is so much great comedy in and around New York City and Brooklyn that is sketch and improv and musical comedy.” To keep things really interesting, this festival is not afraid to invite comedians from other cities, something smaller festivals tend to shy away from. This year audiences will be able to enjoy talent from as far away as Boston, Chicago, and Washington. “We do want to be more inclusive,” Mr. Kiani said. “It is the Brooklyn scene that we’re celebrating, but it is a comedy festival in...

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Boro President Adams Travels to Turkey All Expenses Paid

Aug 17, 15 Boro President Adams Travels to Turkey All Expenses Paid

Posted by in All, Politics

It was Borough President Redux as Eric Adams did a rerun of what his predecessor Marty Markowitz did, but with a bit more intelligence. Adams took the Turkish government up on their offer to pay for the President’s visit to Turkey, to the tune of $7,500 to cover expenses for the five day trip, just as Marty Markowitz did in 2011, but with one big difference. Adams made sure to get the city’s ethics panel to agree to the trip in advance, something Markowitz failed to do. For his failure the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board fined Markowitz $20,000, for his trip to Turkey and two other trips paid for by foreign governments, and for also taking his wife along. Not only did Adams ask permission, since he has no wife, he just brought along his important (if less fun) special counsel Ama Dwimoh. The trip took place from August 11-15, during which Adams signed a sister-city agreement between his fair city of Brooklyn and the Uskudar district of Istanbul. He also met with local leaders to discuss the importance and potential of cooperation between the two places. They also discussed the importance of fighting against the threat of terrorism. Several Brooklyn neighborhoods have large Turkish populations, including Brighton Beach, Midwood and Sheepshead...

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