Enterprise and feature reporting

Hawaii’s Cuts To Pest Control Have Allowed Dengue To Thrive

Honolulu Civil Beat, February 2016

It’s a threat as fearsome as any of the other calamities that global warming might rain down on Hawaii: widespread outbreaks of insect-borne diseases that could decimate tourism, debilitate the state’s workforce, and cost millions to combat.

Scientists and health experts, who link the swift spread of diseases like Zika and chikungunya to a rise in global temperatures, say it’s only a matter of time before they arrive on Hawaii’s shores.

But Hawaii’s real enemy isn’t dengue fever or the Zika virus, it’s the mosquitos that spread them. And despite all the advances in medicine and technology in the last century, mosquito control seems to be something we’ve gotten worse at — not better. Read more 

Mauna Kea Telescopes: The Business of Astronomy Is Not an Easy One

Honolulu Civil Beat, April 2015

The first telescope built atop Mauna Kea was tiny by today’s standards, an 88-inch instrument that astronomers hoped would reveal new details about the universe, and draw the world’s best researchers to a mountain relatively unknown in the scientific community.

More than half a century after site testing began, that University of Hawaii telescope is still used — along with a dozen others that have transformed Mauna Kea into one of the most famous sites for astronomical observation on Earth.

Countries from around the world pour millions of dollars each year into supporting research there, taking advantage of the location’s unique combination of high altitude, dark skies and stable atmosphere.

Yet even as crews get ready to begin work on the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope — still on hold Monday as state officials and the telescope builder try to work a compromise with Native Hawaiian protestors who have brought construction to a halt — other observatories on the mountain struggle to maintain funding and remain fully operational. Read more

Uncertainties abound for asylum seekers

Homeless students struggle to keep up

Orange County Register, December 2013

Part 1 of a two part series

In 2012-13, 29,860 O.C. students were living in situations so unstable they were considered homeless under federal education standards – twice as many as before the recession, according to state figures. That’s 1 in 17 students.

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Foundation Making Pitch for Long Stalled Jackie Robinson Museum

Tribeca Trib, September 2012

Picture 13Along a nearly half-block stretch of  Canal Street and around the corner on  Varick, you can’t miss the great Jackie Robinson. There, in the high windows  that wrap around 1 Hudson Square, the  larger-than-life face of the man who  broke baseball’s color barrier looks back  at you. So, too, does the promise of what,  one day, will lie behind those covered  windows: The Jackie Robinson Museum.

It has been like that for more than  four years now, 11,000 square feet of  prime ground-floor space lying empty  and waiting for the day that the Jackie  Robinson Foundation can raise the rest  of the $42 million it says it needs to build and endow this ambitious dream. First slated to open in 2010, a sign in the window now gives two different anticipated completion dates, 2014 and 2015. Read more

Caught in a Legal Limbo, Church in BPC School Waits for Answer

Tribeca Trib, March 2012

February was a month of uncertainty for the many churches that meet in school buildings across the city, their fate hinging on the twists and turns of a prolonged church-state court battle.

In an event space in northern Tribeca, Ryan Holladay, the pastor of Lower Manhattan Community Church, which usually holds services in Battery Park City’s P.S. 89, stood before his parishioners on the last Sun­day of the month and tried to reassure them.

“We have a lot of peace about God taking us where he wants us to be,” the 27-year-old pastor and law student said before launching into his sermon. “Thanks for being along for the ride.”

The congregation—mostly Battery Park City residents—made the trek with small children in tow to the Desbrosses Street space for the church’s first meeting outside of P.S. 89, their home for nearly 10 years.

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Passion for Preservation Behind Historic Ships Coming to Pier 25

They are ships with a past. Sail, steam, and diesel-powered vessels that have hauled passengers, tended lighthouses, and pushed oil freighters into harbor. Together they conjure visions of a time when the Hudson River was not only a working waterfront, it was the city’s main artery.

They are the Lilac, Tug Pegasus and Clipper City, and they are expected to take up berths this month on the north side of Tribeca’s Pier 25, at the end of North Moore Street. Their arrival will be the fulfillment of a promise by the Hudson River Park Trust to bring history into the park.

Although the rebuilt pier is a barely recognizable vestige of New York’s maritime past (AstroTurf and volleyball courts where cargo and coiled lines might once have lain) the pier has bollards just as working piers did. And it will have ships.“I guess what people are saying is that let’s not totally forget this was once a working harbor,” said Gerald Weinstein, president of the Lilac Preservation Project.

New Farmers Face Urban Elements

Tribeca Trib, May 2011

Professional and novice gardeners alike thought the biggest challenge faced by the new Urban Farm at the Battery might be the subway: Every few minutes trains rumble underneath the park, causing freshly mounded soil to shake around the fragile roots of seedlings.

But that was before the pigeons arrived…and the squirrels…and the rats …and the occasional dog.

Keeping such pests from ruining crops is not a problem faced by farmers in, say, Iowa. But here, in Lower Manhattan’s first farm in 400 years, a special urban solution needed to be found.

– See more at: http://www.tribecatrib.com/content/new-farmers-face-urban-elements-0#sthash.TTwkdqHL.dpuf

Trash: It’s what’s for dinner

Orange County Register, June 2009

Pushing aside a large white plastic skeleton wrapped in cellophane, Grace Hill-Speed scales the side of a green metal dumpster, jumps in and begins scrounging beneath packages of mushroom brie for other edible food.

Warned by her dumpster diving partner to watch out for maggots beneath her right foot, the petite blonde woman pulls three apples out of the trash, notices an odd smell and shudders.

“OK, I am done,” she says slinging one leg over the bin. “I am just doing this now because I am addicted to dumpster diving.”

Hill-Speed and her fellow diver, Eric Einem, survey their loot: several packages of cheese, a pound of butter and a half-dozen apples. They carry them back to their truck, already laden with boxes of tangerines, shrink-wrapped meat, flour, cookies, pecans and granola – a week’s worth of groceries pulled from the refuse of two local supermarkets.

Once thought of as an activity for the destitute or simply crazy, dumpster diving is part of a growing subculture. A simple online search reveals videos and blogs, discussion boards, articles and even dumpster diving recipes. Orange County residents dive for food, clothes, furniture, and even some things as specific as collectible clocks—often without the knowledge of their friends or spouses.

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