The gas company that says it can take your backyard

NORTH STRABANE, Pa. — For more than a decade, the country around Ronald and Sallie Cox’s home, 25 miles south of Pittsburgh, has been an unchanging landscape of rolling green foothills. Sitting atop a modest promontory, their property is ringed on three sides by a border of woodland, and to the east, the ground slopes down into a neighbor’s horse paddocks.
The Coxes built their home in 2001, and they’ve paid to maintain their enviable slice of exurban Pennsylvania. When Ronald, a financial adviser at Prudential, grew fed up with the way his wraparound backyard deck shifted every time he sat down for an evening drink, he spent around $30,000 to rip it out and replace it. You could probably land a plane on the new one, he jokes.

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Photo: Julia Wilkinson / Delaware County Daily Times

The gas company that says it can take your backyard

NORTH STRABANE, Pa. — For more than a decade, the country around Ronald and Sallie Cox’s home, 25 miles south of Pittsburgh, has been an unchanging landscape of rolling green foothills. Sitting atop a modest promontory, their property is ringed on three sides by a border of woodland, and to the east, the ground slopes down into a neighbor’s horse paddocks.

The Coxes built their home in 2001, and they’ve paid to maintain their enviable slice of exurban Pennsylvania. When Ronald, a financial adviser at Prudential, grew fed up with the way his wraparound backyard deck shifted every time he sat down for an evening drink, he spent around $30,000 to rip it out and replace it. You could probably land a plane on the new one, he jokes.

Continue Reading.

Photo: Julia Wilkinson / Delaware County Daily Times

Israeli offensive enters 7th day amid protest, death and flight of Gazans

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has ticked into a seventh day amid rising civilian deaths, growing international protest and nascent diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed.
Missiles struck three training facilities of Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades, early on Monday. Meanwhile, Israel claimed to have downed what it said was a drone over a southern city.
Neither incident resulted in any fatalities, contrasting with the prior six days of shelling in Gaza, which claimed the lives of 172 Palestinians, many of them civilians.
Fearing further bloodshed, more than 17,000 residents were said to havefled the Gaza Strip’s northern citiesin anticipation of a potential ground assault.

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Photo: Oliver Weiken / EPA

Israeli offensive enters 7th day amid protest, death and flight of Gazans

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has ticked into a seventh day amid rising civilian deaths, growing international protest and nascent diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed.

Missiles struck three training facilities of Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades, early on Monday. Meanwhile, Israel claimed to have downed what it said was a drone over a southern city.

Neither incident resulted in any fatalities, contrasting with the prior six days of shelling in Gaza, which claimed the lives of 172 Palestinians, many of them civilians.

Fearing further bloodshed, more than 17,000 residents were said to havefled the Gaza Strip’s northern citiesin anticipation of a potential ground assault.

Continue reading.

Photo: Oliver Weiken / EPA

OPINION: The Civil Rights Act’s unintended gift to transgender rights

But let me back up. First, let me tell you about a 5-year-old transgender child I’ll call Justin. In April, Justin and his mother stopped by the offices of the National Center for Transgender Equality, where I work, on their way to the White House’s annual Easter egg roll. He looked every bit the ordinary first grader — he even had reddish hair and freckles, as I did at his age.
But he was actually extraordinary. He was what I couldn’t be when I was his age: himself.

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Photo: Eric Thayer/Getty Images

OPINION: The Civil Rights Act’s unintended gift to transgender rights

But let me back up. First, let me tell you about a 5-year-old transgender child I’ll call Justin. In April, Justin and his mother stopped by the offices of the National Center for Transgender Equality, where I work, on their way to the White House’s annual Easter egg roll. He looked every bit the ordinary first grader — he even had reddish hair and freckles, as I did at his age.

But he was actually extraordinary. He was what I couldn’t be when I was his age: himself.

Continue reading.

Photo: Eric Thayer/Getty Images

OPINION: The yoga tax is good karma

On Saturdays at 11 a.m., a friend and I attend a yoga class at a Tribeca studio beloved by the so-called Goldman wives, the trim, Lululemon-clad women married to the financiers who inhabit the neighborhood’s cast-iron lofts. After class, we poke a little fun at the crowd, then look down at our feet and admit that we, too, are part of the problem. We’re not remotely 1 percenters, but we’re educated and fortunate enough to have full-time employment, and we can afford to spend $15 each week to attend a 95-minute yoga class. What’s more, we don’t have to pay taxes on our yoga class, or any other yoga class in New York City.
Should we? While efforts to tax these classes were struck down in New York, in Washington, D.C., the City Council recently passed legislation that will tax yoga,among other services, at the local sales tax rate of 5.75 percent.

Continue reading.
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images

OPINION: The yoga tax is good karma

On Saturdays at 11 a.m., a friend and I attend a yoga class at a Tribeca studio beloved by the so-called Goldman wives, the trim, Lululemon-clad women married to the financiers who inhabit the neighborhood’s cast-iron lofts. After class, we poke a little fun at the crowd, then look down at our feet and admit that we, too, are part of the problem. We’re not remotely 1 percenters, but we’re educated and fortunate enough to have full-time employment, and we can afford to spend $15 each week to attend a 95-minute yoga class. What’s more, we don’t have to pay taxes on our yoga class, or any other yoga class in New York City.

Should we? While efforts to tax these classes were struck down in New York, in Washington, D.C., the City Council recently passed legislation that will tax yoga,among other services, at the local sales tax rate of 5.75 percent.

Continue reading.

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images

Poop in the coop: Chicken farmer battles the EPA
MOOREFIELD, W.Va. — Mudlick Run rises in the foothills of the Alleghenies. The creek tumbles, muddy and turbid, for eight miles through the hardwood forest and grassy pastures of northeastern West Virginia to a village called Old Fields. There, joining the south branch of the Potomac River, it meanders past a Pilgrim’s poultry plant, which sends up plumes of chicken-scented steam. The water eventually empties into the Chesapeake Bay. Farms line the creek, and six miles west of Moorefield, up a steep bank, lies a 24-acre parcel with eight silver chicken houses and 16 cylindrical feed bins.
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Poop in the coop: Chicken farmer battles the EPA

MOOREFIELD, W.Va. — Mudlick Run rises in the foothills of the Alleghenies. The creek tumbles, muddy and turbid, for eight miles through the hardwood forest and grassy pastures of northeastern West Virginia to a village called Old Fields. There, joining the south branch of the Potomac River, it meanders past a Pilgrim’s poultry plant, which sends up plumes of chicken-scented steam. The water eventually empties into the Chesapeake Bay. Farms line the creek, and six miles west of Moorefield, up a steep bank, lies a 24-acre parcel with eight silver chicken houses and 16 cylindrical feed bins.

Continue..

The doctor won’t see you now

Tonya Battle had been working as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, for 24 years. Her employment record was spotless — by all accounts she was one of the most knowledgeable and capable care providers on the NICU floor. Even so, it wasn’t so surprising when, in the fall of 2012, one infant’s father asked to speak to Battle’s supervisor: Health is extremely personal, and no matter how skilled a health care provider, there will be times when communication with a patient breaks down. It’s common for a patient to ask for another doctor or another nurse.
What was shocking, however, was the note posted on the department assignment clipboard the next day: “NO AFRICAN AMERICAN NURSE TO TAKE CARE OF BABY.”

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Photo: Tetra/Getty Images

The doctor won’t see you now

Tonya Battle had been working as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan, for 24 years. Her employment record was spotless — by all accounts she was one of the most knowledgeable and capable care providers on the NICU floor. Even so, it wasn’t so surprising when, in the fall of 2012, one infant’s father asked to speak to Battle’s supervisor: Health is extremely personal, and no matter how skilled a health care provider, there will be times when communication with a patient breaks down. It’s common for a patient to ask for another doctor or another nurse.

What was shocking, however, was the note posted on the department assignment clipboard the next day: “NO AFRICAN AMERICAN NURSE TO TAKE CARE OF BABY.”

Continue reading.

Photo: Tetra/Getty Images

afp-photo
afp-photo:

CHINA, HONG KONG : Demonstrators march during a pro-democracy rally seeking greater democracy in Hong Kong on July 1, 2014 as frustration grows over the influence of Beijing on the city. July 1 is traditionally a day of protest in Hong Kong and also marks the anniversary of the handover from Britain to China in 1997, under a “one country, two systems” agreement. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez

afp-photo:

CHINA, HONG KONG : Demonstrators march during a pro-democracy rally seeking greater democracy in Hong Kong on July 1, 2014 as frustration grows over the influence of Beijing on the city. July 1 is traditionally a day of protest in Hong Kong and also marks the anniversary of the handover from Britain to China in 1997, under a “one country, two systems” agreement. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez

Miami’s plastic vice: Bagging the ban on bag bans

MIAMI BEACH, Florida — Miami Beach markets itself as having 9 miles of glittering, hot, white sandy beaches in a southern Florida tourist haven that delights locals and visitors alike. But sometimes the reality can be a little different.
On some weekends, it can be hard to escape stepping on mounds of discarded plastic bags, bottles, cigarette butts and food wrappers. “I can’t go to the beach anymore because I end up cleaning up,” said Dave Doebler, a member of Miami Beach’s Sustainability Committee, which is tasked with providing long- and short-term goals for the city’s strategic plan regarding environmental and economic concerns.

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Miami’s plastic vice: Bagging the ban on bag bans

MIAMI BEACH, Florida — Miami Beach markets itself as having 9 miles of glittering, hot, white sandy beaches in a southern Florida tourist haven that delights locals and visitors alike. But sometimes the reality can be a little different.

On some weekends, it can be hard to escape stepping on mounds of discarded plastic bags, bottles, cigarette butts and food wrappers. “I can’t go to the beach anymore because I end up cleaning up,” said Dave Doebler, a member of Miami Beach’s Sustainability Committee, which is tasked with providing long- and short-term goals for the city’s strategic plan regarding environmental and economic concerns.

Read more