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Yearly Archives: 2015

Baby Sitter
New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and, for a lot of people, that means for countless celebrations occurring all over the city—and someone’s making a profit from all of it.

Babysitting services are popular services offered by young people towards adults who would entrust them with the care of their children for a night due to one reason or another, usually to spend some time as a couple. Many couples still follow this practice for New Year’s celebrations and so employ babysitters for their children – however, the holiday comes with an increased price.

While amateur babysitters often make around $10 to $22 per hour, the rates from reliable babysitting services can range from $40 to $50 an hour.

Noa Mintz, teenage founder of Nannies by Noa, has said that the higher fees are reasonable, given that the sitters would spend the holiday with someone else’s children. Mintz goes on to say that: “It’s not the same as being with friends and family.”

While some mothers in the New York City area, such as Joanna Stanberry from the Upper West Side, have called the higher rate as “totally excessive”, there are others – such as Caroline Blackman Coakley from Manhattan – who say that the competence of and the trustworthiness that can be bestowed upon a sitter to care for her children was “priceless”.

State workers in New York would see a raise in their paycheck as Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to announce an hourly minimum rate of $15, according to a report by the NY Times. This move makes the minimum wage of public employees in New York far higher than in any other states, and it also places the state in the frontline of a movement against stagnant pays.

According to Mr. Cuomo, it’s high time that a wage increase should be implemented because insufficient minimum wage keeps dragging many families across the nation down. He plans to implement the increase gradually, which could benefit approximately 10,000 workers. State workers outside New York City would see a $15 per hour rate by the end of 2021. On the other hand, due to a higher cost of living, employees living in NYC would have their wages climb to $15 faster, by the end of 2018.

Many admired the governor’s move, including Paul Sonn, general counsel at the National Employment Law Project. According to Sonn, Mr. Cuomo’s move was a testament to the “power of the movement towards $15 wages.” However, some fiscal groups warned about the move’s possible implications to the state’s growth and economy.

Among the many job categories that will benefit from the increase include custodial staff, lifeguards, and office assistants.

Samuel Harrell, a 30-year-old black inmate at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon New York, died last April 21 after more than a dozen witnesses saw him being handcuffed and severely beaten by a group of about 20 corrections officers. Now, the office of the United States attorney in Manhattan is working with the Dutchess County district attorney’s office on the brutal circumstances surrounding his death.


According to a report by the New York Times, a total of 19 other prisoners witnessed the attack on Harrell unfold. Based on their accounts, Harrell had gotten into a confrontation with several corrections officers after “packed his bags and announced he was going home, though he still had several years left to serve on his drug sentence.” Eyewitness reports note that the confrontation quickly became violent, escalating to Harrell—who is known to have a history of erratic behavior commonly linked to bipolar disorder—being “repeatedly kicked and punched”.

The New York Times reports eyewitness accounts, saying that the victim had endured racial slurs as he was being assaulted by his attackers. Harrell was then thrown “thrown or dragged down a staircase”. According to one of the inmates, Harrell ended up on the landing, “bent in an impossible position”. Witnesses also point out that many of the officers that had attacked Harrell were members of a group known around the facility as the ‘Beat Up Squad’.

While corrections officer called for emergency assistance, Harrell’s medical records show that the ambulance crew were told that he had suffered from an overdose of a synthetic marijuana substance. Still, as the New York Times was able to uncover, an autopsy report from the Orange County medical examiner found that Harrell had died of cardiac arrhythmia and had suffered several cuts and bruises to his head and extremities. The autopsy had only traces of tobacco and antidepressant in Harrell’s system and ruled the manner of his death as homicide.

It was these accounts that led U.S. attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara to begin “coordinating and working” with the district attorney of Dutchess County in investigating Harrell’s death. Similarly, Dutchess County’s William V. Grady was originally quoted by the New York Times saying that “[the] very nature of this case calls for a full, fair and objective investigation into not only potential criminal law violations, but constitutional violations as well”.

The Huffington Posts reports that Harrell’s death has launched protests in upstate New York as part of the growing Black Lives Matter movement all over America. The movement calls attention to the overwhelming number of police brutality cases against African American individuals. It began after the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman for the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. It then gained significant traction after the high-profile deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in 2014.

Your spine is composed of individual bones, called vertebra, each stacked up on each other. Between these vertebrae are rubbery disks that serve as a cushion for each compartment. Each disk is composed of a soft, gelatinous center surrounded by a tough exterior called annulus. When the annulus ruptures or breaks, the gelatinous center may ‘slip’ and protrude and push nearby nerves, causing extreme pain. This condition is called slipped disk, or herniated disk.

Slipped disk can be a result of a host of different factors. Too much weight, for instance, can put much strain in your lower back, making you more prone to this condition. A family history of slipped disk and a workplace with poor ergonomics may also increase your risk. A herniated disk can also be a result of traumatic incidents.

Pain is the primary symptom of a slipped disk. But apart from that, a person suffering from this condition may also experience numbness and tingling. Muscles being served by the nerves compressed by a slipped disk may also weaken due to lack of nerve energy.

To diagnose slipped disk, your doctor will perform physical examination to check for any slipped disk symptoms. Nerve tests may also be conducted to see if any of your nerves near the spinal column are being compressed, which may indicate slipped disk. Imaging tests such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scan may also help detect slipped disk.

Therapy and medication relieves the symptoms of herniated disk to most people. But in cases when a herniated disk can cause permanent paralysis, or when its symptoms still persist even after treatment, surgery might be required.

Andrew Cuomo, New York Governor, has pushed for the increase of minimum wage for all workers in New York to $15 an hour. If successful, the state will have the highest minimum wage in all fifty states of America.

The current hourly minimum wage in the state is at $8.75, reported to increase to $9 by late 2015 or early 2016.

It has been stated that the White House is in favor of an increase to a $12 hourly minimum wage, though no comment has been made regarding the status of making it as high as $15. Cuomo has been quoted to have been in favor of an hourly minimum wage of $11.50 in New York City and $10.50, statewide.

The primary target of the increase is workers within the fast food industry. A Democrat, this move has pitched Cuomo as a defender of laborers of the state. However, this movement has been combated by other claims, stating that many smaller businesses will suffer (should the increase pass into fruition) and will be forced to let go of many workers with deemed “less essential” jobs. Some disputes sound out to saying that the increase to $15 would be “too high” and is not, at the time being, economically possible or advisable.

There are, however, some other cities in the United States that have also passed for the increase of minimum wage to $15 an hour – specifically, the cities of Log Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.

A month ago, two New York prisoners escaped from a maximum security prisons causing a 22-day long manhunt that made national headlines.  The prisoners, Richard Matt and David Sweat, reportedly used heavy power tools to cut through prison walls and pipes and eventually making their way to the outside by climbing through a manhole.  The two men were eventually found, with police shooting and killing Matt and leaving Sweat injured.  Clinton Correctional Facility is one of the largest and most highly guarded prisons in New York, leading to a number of questions on how the escape was possible.

The escape has launched a major investigation into prison workers who allegedly helped the inmates. Some prison officials have been charged with helping the prisoners smuggle in and hide the power tools that made the escape possible.  The overall security of the prison is being scrutinized as well.  Officials investigating the prison break are wondering how prison workers did not notice the preparations for the escape by the inmates, apparently having been weeks long.  The inmates also had holes in their cell walls for days prior to the escape, raising questions as prison workers are required to inspect the inmates’ cells on a daily basis.

The escape is one of the most organized and planned escapes in recent history has caused $300,000 in damages to the prison.  The investigation into how the inmates were able to break free from the prison is ongoing.

Houston has the advantage of size over other major cities in the US. It is no wonder that the Space City is rivaling the Big Apple in terms of the performing arts. The Theater District in Houston sprawls over 17 blocks downtown and has nearly 13,000 seats. There are four venues were the many performing arts organizations, including nine world-renowned ones, light up the stage. Here are two of them.

Hobby Center for the Performing Arts

The Hobby Center is in the center of the Theater District, and has an entrance and large lobby festooned with commissioned artwork. From there you can gain access to two theaters with excellent acoustics, perfect for musical performances. The second level houses the Arista Restaurant and the parking lot, so it is very convenient to have dinner and a show. Among the performances held there are the classics such as Cats and West Side Story. However, the shows are always changing so it would be best to check out the website for the schedule and pricing.

Jones Hall

Jones Hall is another popular venue in the Theater District. Built in 1966, it is the base of the Houston Symphony and the Society for the Performing Arts, and hosts approximately 250 performances in any given year, to which 400,000 people attend. Among the people who have held the stage at this splendid venue are John Denver, Sting, David Copperfield, Tony Bennett, and Faye Dunaway. Check out their website for the schedules.

You can also check out Wortham Theater Center and Alley Theatre while you are at it. These are the other two of the four major venues in Houston’s Theater District.

As confirmed by the New York Police Department, rescuers were recently able to retrieve two bodies from the rubble left by a massive East Village building explosion.

Authorities have yet to confirm the identities of both victims, although relatives have come forward to identify Nicholas Figueroa as one of the bodies retrieved from the explosion scene. Figueroa was among the two victims reported missing since the explosion last week. Also missing was Moises Lucon, who is believed to have been working in a restaurant inside the building at the time of the accident.

Both The Huffington Post and Reuters report that twenty-two individuals were injured in the explosion, which officials suspect was caused by a gas leak. In particular, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the blast could have been caused by someone illegally tapping into the building’s gas line. Aside from the affected building, two other near-by apartment buildings collapsed in the blast. Several other near-by establishments and homes were evacuated.

While rescue workers continue to search the area, authorities believe that it is unlikely anyone still buried in the rubble could have survived the explosion. Still, rescuers continue their effort to clear up the scene and search for other victims that have yet to be accounted for.

Our thoughts go out to all of those affected by this horrible tragedy.


The Internet has been all agog about the declared intention of an 18-year-old New Yorker to marry her biological father, to whom she had lost her virginity two years previously. New York is notoriously liberal on many issues, and has even legalized the marriage between a half-uncle and niece, whose shared sanguinity is estimated at 1/8. But a marriage between a father and daughter is stretching a point a bit much.

Incest is frowned upon not only because of social taboos but because offspring of closely-related individuals tend to have health or other genetically-associated problems.

Laws on incest in the U.S. vary from state to state. In New York, cousins are allowed to marry, for example. However, a marriage between a father and daughter is not legal anywhere in the US, and in many states sexual relations between persons of first-degree sanguinity (father-daughter, mother-son, between siblings) is a criminal offense with sanctions ranging from one year to lifetime imprisonment. In New York, sexual relations between a father and daughter is a Class E felony, which is punishable for up to 4 years in prison.

But the barely-adult woman pointed out that an incestuous relationship between two adults is legal in New Jersey (it is), which is why they moved there. They still can’t get married legally, but she stated in the interview with New York Magazine that “I don’t believe you need a piece of paper to prove that you want to be with the person you love.” They intend to have children. The couple maintains their anonymity for obvious reasons.