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  1. For the majority of survivors of abuse, the new law is a welcome legal tool, but only for citizens of New York State. However, for Jehovah’s Witness victims, the legislation is far more significant. The Witness organization is headquartered in New York, which means that any and all cases from all 50 States are eligible where the Watchtower Organization is a defendant. The key to filing such cases revolves around Watchtower’s decades-old policy in which allegations of sexual abuse are handled internally as matters of “sin”- but are rarely if ever reported to law enforcement. --------------- As stated by New York’s Government Web Site, this new law: Provides that the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution of a sexual offense committed against a child shall not begin to run until the child turns 23 years of age. Provides that a civil action for conduct constituting a sexual offense against a child shall be brought before the child turns 55 years of age. Revives previously barred actions related to sexual abuse of children. Grants civil trial preference to such actions. Eliminates the notice of claim requirements for such actions when the action is brought against a municipality, the state or a school district. Requires judicial training relating to child abuse and the establishment of rules relating to civil actions brought for sexual offenses committed against children. These stipulations represent landmark changes to New York laws protecting minors, which previously placed unrealistic limits on the time given for victims to come forward and report abuse, or file a civil lawsuit seeking justice. Experts in the field now recognize that it may take 25, 30, 35 years or even longer before a victim of childhood abuse is able to disclose the crimes committed against them.
  2. Purchaser will turn 21 Clark St. into seniors housing called The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle The Jehovah's Witnesses have sold one of the grand jewels of their real-estate portfolio for about $200 million. The Towers, a former Brooklyn Heights Historic District hotel where the Dodgers lived and presidents gave speeches, will now be turned into seniors housing by its purchaser. Built in the 1920s, the Leverich Towers Hotel, as it was originally known, has colonnaded towers on its four corners like a Venetian palazzo — a really big palazzo. The 16-story, 313,768-square-foot property at 21 Clark St. played host in its heyday to the highest-paid Brooklyn Dodgers. Only the stars of Brooklyn's since-departed baseball team were allowed to live in its splendid suites during baseball season. Other players lived elsewhere, including the Hotel Saint George in Brooklyn Heights. President Harry Truman spoke at The Towers. Advertisements called it “The Aristocrat of Brooklyn Hotels.” It was designed by Starrett & Van Vleck, the architecture firm that also designed Manhattan flagship stores for Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. Later, the Watchtower, which owned the Towers for four decades, used the Clark Street property as a residence and dining hall for more than 1,000 people who worked at its nearby world headquarters. Here's The Towers' grand staircase, which echoes the grandeur of its early days as a hotel. Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors is the purchaser The Jehovah's Witnesses put the former hotel, which has frontage on Willow and Pineapple streets, up for sale in May 2016. The purchaser, Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors, plans to transform The Towers into seniors housing and rename it The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights. “Meticulously maintained since its inception in the late 1920s, The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights epitomizes a Class A property with a unique redevelopment opportunity: To introduce modern, luxury living for seniors in Brooklyn and Manhattan,” Al Rabil, Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors' managing partner and CEO, said in a press release. The new owner is “committed to upholding the property's unique legacy,” Rabil said. The Boca Raton-based investment firm is the real-estate private equity arm of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors L.P. Watermark Retirement Communities, a nationwide operator of seniors housing communities, is partnering with Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors on The Towers' redevelopment. The sale deed for the Towers has not yet appeared in city Finance Department records. But according to the Wall Street Journal — which was the first to report The Towers' sale — the price was about $200 million. The Watchtower paid $1,992,229.08 for The Towers in 1975, Finance Department records indicate.  The Towers' rooftop terrace has views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. Watchtower property sell-off moves closer to finish line The sale of The Towers brings the Jehovah's Witnesses a big step closer to completing their years-long effort to liquidate their once-vast property portfolio in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. The sell-off was precipitated by their decision to move their world headquarters to the upstate New York town of Warwick. “For those of us who lived in Brooklyn Heights, we'll remember The Towers not just as a landmark building but as a beautiful and comfortable home,” Watchtower spokesman David Semonian said in a statement. “With this most recent transaction, we close another chapter of our history in Brooklyn,” he said. Other buyers of the religious organization's properties include the Kushner Cos., which spent about $1 billion with investor partners on Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO Watchtower purchases. The firm was headed by Jared Kushner until he stepped aside to serve as senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump.  http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2017/11/1/jehovahs-witnesses-sell-towers-storied-brooklyn-heights-hotel
  3. Two European tourists with measles potentially exposed others at three Jehovah's Witness facilities in the greater New York City area, health officials said Saturday night. The two tourists visited the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses on New Jersey Avenue in Brooklyn between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on April 15. They also visited Watchtower World Headquarters on Kings Drive in Tuxedo Park between 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on April 16 and the  Watchtower Educational Center on Watchtower Drive in Patterson between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on April 17. Officials urged anyone who was exposed and is suffering symptoms to contact a health care provider before seeking treatment in order to minimize exposure. Symptoms include a fever, rash, cough, conjunctivitis or runny nose. Symptoms usually appear 10 to 12 days after exposure but may appear as early as 7 days and as late as 21 days after exposure, the state said. This most recent incident marks the fourth month in a row that European tourists with confirmed cases of measles have traveled through the tri-state area. Officials previously warned of one incident in Manhattan and two at Newark Liberty International Airport. https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/NY-Jehovahs-Witness-Measles-Exposure-480467391.html
  4. (CNN)Getting work emails from your boss when you're off the clock? There ought to be a law against that. Well, in New York City, there just might be. Rafael Espinal, a city council member from Brooklyn, introduced a bill last week that would make it illegal for businesses to contact employees via email or instant message when employees are off work. The "Disconnecting From Work" bill would only apply to businesses with 10 or more employees and forbid communication when workers are off duty, on vacation, using personal days or off sick. Read more: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/28/us/new-york-law-against-email-after-work-trnd/index.html
  5. NEW WORLD WARWICK CENTER, HEADQUARTERS, USA The beautiful entrance hall ❤
  6. Watchtower volunteers restore a historic building free of charge. ????? Gardiner City Hall arranged by the watchtower volunteers The Historic City Hall of Gardiner has just received a change of face from the volunteers of the watchtower society. In a civic demonstration, the tax-exempt religious organization provided free labor to the city to wash, repair, bait and paint the entire exterior of the building. "they did an amazing job", said the mayor of the city, Marybeth Majestic, at the 8 August meeting. Built in 1875 as a single-room school and expanded in 1895, the Queen Anne style structure continued to serve on Gardiner as a primary school until 1981. was added to the national register of historic places in 2000 and He suffered a major renovation in 2005 the watchtower project repainted the old white window in a more historically authentic forest seen in ancient photographs Majestic noted that the city council remained open to the public during the normal hours of service during the project. "his security measures were max", he said. She estimated that Gardiner's town hall would have had to pay about $ 40.000 for the job if the workforce had not been donated. About $ 6000 in the cost of materials were covered by a dedicated fund that the city had booked several years ago for maintenance and repairs to the city council. " I'm very grateful to our friends and neighbors of watchtower for an amazing job done." https://hudsonvalleyone.com/2017/08/19/gardiner-town-hall-spruced-up-by-watchtower-volunteers/
  7. http://jw-branchoffices.blogspot.com/p/jehovahs-witnesses-warwick-tuxedo.html
  8. http://nypost.com/2016/09/17/woman-lived-with-her-sons-corpse-for-over-a-decade/
  9. Originally shared by Michael Bambis / Greece (I don't know how to say thank you in Greek ;-)
  10. Video: Planned headquarters in  Warwick Wallkill Expansion Update (Low).mp4
  11. The ubiquitous, easily torn, often doubled-up plastic bags from the grocery store — hoarded by dog owners, despised by the environmentally concerned and occasionally caught in trees — will soon cost at least a nickel in New York City. The City Council voted 28 to 20 on Thursday to require certain retailers to collect a fee on each carryout bag, paper or plastic, with some exceptions. Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed support for the measure. Passage of the bill came after two years of debate and at least one other attempt by the city’s elected officials to charge a fee or tax on disposable bags. The legislation, modeled on similar laws in California and Washington, D.C., encountered an unusual amount of resistance and resulted in what council members said was one of the closest votes in years, on par with the extension of term limits passed during the tenure of Mr. de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg. The vehemence of the opposition could perhaps be traced to plastic bags’ daily presence in the lives of New Yorkers, who often shop for groceries spontaneously and then lug the crinkly bags home to be reused as trash-can liners or to pick up after pets. As with previous measures adopted by the 51-member Council to prohibit smoking in bars and to include calorie information on restaurant menus, the impact of the bag bill, which would take effect in October, is likely to be immediate for millions of people. That many will be unhappy about paying for bags that have always been free is the point. “The fee is irritating, which is precisely why it works,” said Councilman Brad Lander, a Brooklyn Democrat and, with Councilwoman Margaret Chin, a Manhattan Democrat, a main sponsor of the legislation. “We don’t want to pay it so we’ll bring bags instead. So the fact that it’s irritating irritates a lot of people.” The debate that preceded the bill’s approval on Thursday provided a rare sight in the Council Chambers, where most bills pass by large margins. At least one member called the bill “stupid,” prompting another to object. Mr. Lander, in his remarks, promised to show a colleague opposed to the measure where he could buy plastic bags in bulk online. There was also a fair amount of canine scatological humor. To the bill’s proponents, the goal is not to collect the fee but to nudge New Yorkers into bringing their own reusable bags when they shop. Other cities that have introduced similar fees have seen a sharp drop in the use of plastic bags, petroleum products that can linger in landfills for centuries. In New York City, the Sanitation Department has said it collects roughly 10 billion single-use plastic bags a year. The Council settled on a 5-cent minimum fee after an earlier version of the bill called for 10 cents; stores, which will collect and keep the fees, can charge more if they choose. Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, said during a radio interview last week that people “must stop using plastic bags, for the good of our environment.” “I think it’ll change the behavior quickly and not hit people’s pocketbooks in any meaningful way,” he continued. Under the legislation, restaurants, including those that deliver and serve takeout, and street vendors of prepared food will not have to charge for the plastic bags they give to customers. Among the other exemptions: plastic bags used for produce, small paper medicine bags at pharmacies, bags used at state-regulated liquor stores and bags used by soup kitchens. Those buying groceries with food stamps are also exempt from paying the fee. Paper bags were also included in the bill, sponsors said, because they have an environmental impact; if paper bags were not included, shoppers would simply switch from plastic to paper, resulting in no change in overall waste. New York is hardly in the forefront in regulating plastic bags, though not for lack of trying. Mr. Bloomberg offered a proposal in 2008 for a 6-cent bag fee — 5 cents for stores; a penny for the city — before dropping it several months later amid strong opposition. At the time, one of the opponents onthe Council was Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who is now a state senator. Last month, Senator Felder introduced a bill that would prohibit the levying of local fees on bags; it passed a committee this week. In discussing his opposition this week, Mr. Felder traced the 200-year history of how people have carried their groceries home, progressing from cloth bags to boxes to paper to plastic, and said that reusing bags presented a health hazard. He said he would hold a hearing on his bill in the city next month. “That’s nothing less than a tax on the poor and the middle class — the most disadvantaged people,” he said. Opposition to the measure has also come from the plastic bag industry — via its lobbying arm, the American Progressive Bag Alliance — as well as from those who, like Mr. Felder, said the fee amounted to a regressive tax, disproportionately affecting low-income and minority New Yorkers while failing to positive benefits for residents. “I was in Washington, D.C., when the bag fee happened, and you know what? It was to clean up the river,” said Bertha Lewis, a social justice activist and longtime ally of Mr. de Blasio’s. “These funds are being dedicated to the pockets of the retailers.” Ms. Lewis’s group, the Black Institute, collected thousands of signatures in opposition to the bill and received support from the American Progressive Bag Alliance — which, according to its chairman, changed its name in recent years from the Plastic Bag Alliance. Some who had expressed early support for the bill were said to be wavering amid what council members described as a torrent of robocalls and fliers in certain districts in opposition to the measure, which would cover retail stores, grocers, bodegas and many street vendors. The Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, who voted in favor of the bill, was asked at a news conference before the vote was taken if she used reusable bags when she went shopping. “Right now I don’t,” she said, adding that the bill would push her to do so. “And I’m more than happy to do that.” Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/nyregion/new-york-city-council-backs-5-cent-fee-on-plastic-bags.html?_r=1
  12. Looking for a new way to obtain fresh produce? This floating urban forest has your back.Swale, a barge topped with a forest of trees and edible plants, will be docking in Brooklyn, Governors Island and the Bronx this June. The 80 feet by 30 feet barge and collaborative floating food project will let people on board harvest scallions, rosemary, blueberries, wild leek, radicchio, ramps, sea kale and other fresh produce. Mary Mattingly, the artist behind the project, told Brooklyn Based via email. Unlike traditional farming and gardening, food forests require less care in the long term. They don’t have to be replanted each year, and once they are more established, they take care of themselves to a large extent. We want to ask, what if healthy free food could be a public service instead of an expensive commodity? We see this as a step towards policy change in the city, where on most public land it’s still illegal to grow public, free food, and believe that the benefits outweigh all potential risks that have deterred the city from planting edible perennial plants as part of the urban infrastructure. We hope a future New York can actually include this as part of the city’s public plan in a safe, thoughtful way, and believe the time is right. Inspired by a late-1800s ordinance forbidding picking or foraging for food on NYC's public land, Mattingly hopes the project convinces city officials to repeal the law. While floating on the Hudson River this summer, Swale will host a month-long installation and performance series called Eco_Hack 2016. Biome Arts, an artist collective, looks to explore and reimagine their relationship with nature and technology by way of large scale, eco-digital installations. Workshops will be available as well. Source: http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/floating-urban-forest-coming-new-york-summer.html
  13. The city's free Wi-Fi hubs will be publicly launched this afternoon by Mayor Bill de Blasio near one of the recently installed kiosks along Third Avenue.LinkNYC, as the program is officially known, will see the conversion of several defunct pay phones into Wi-Fi hubs providing free internet and several other services. Four of the hubs went live last month, and according to a map on LinkNYC's website, a total of 15 are now operational along Third Avenue between East 14th Street all the way to up East 45th Street. Several others kiosks that are yet to go live have also been installed along that route. By July this year, the city expects to install at least 510 kiosks throughout the five boroughs. When the four hubs went live last month they only had the free Wi-Fi capability. But with the public launch today, all the other functions of the kiosk will also go live. Customers will be able to use a touchscreen, or a Link tablet as they are known, to make free phone calls to anywhere across the United States. They will also be able to look up directions, and find out about other city services. The kiosks also come with two free USB charging ports to charge devices. Over the next eight years the city plans to install 7,500 such links throughout the city. Advertising displays on the kiosks will help generate $500 million for the city over the next 12 years. Source: http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2016/02/18/with_official_launch_linknyc_set_to_bring_wifi_directions_to_nyers.php

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