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Legislators ‘need to stop’ working for institutions
Dave Kohler, of Allentown, was abused by an ordained minister in the Jehovah’s Witnesses in November 1965. He was 9 years old.
When Kohler was 17, his abuser told him to never talk about the abuse again.
“So I obeyed and kept my mouth shut,” Kohler said.
He’s been coming to Harrisburg for about five years to show his support for statute of limitations reform. “Individuals vote them in, and then they work for institutions,” Kohler said of the state legislators. “That needs to stop.”
If reform is passed that would allow Kohler the opportunity to sue his abuser, Kohler said he knows what he would do with any money he could collect.
“I will hopefully be able to afford therapy,” he said.
Dave Kohler, who said he was abused by an ordained minister in the Jehovah's Witnesses in Kutztown and Emmaus, talks about his experience, during the demonstration for statute of limitations reform to the state's childhood sexual abuse laws at the state capitol in Harrisburg on Monday. (Photo: Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)
While most of the comments on the post in the Facebook page debated the merits of the celebrations and the priorities of the district, some focused on the religious beliefs of those who don't celebrate Halloween.
Halloween began as the Celtic festival Samhain, where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to frighten ghosts, according to History.com. Due to its roots, the holiday isn't celebrated by certain religions or groups, including Jehovah's Witnesses, some Christians, Orthodox Jews and Muslims.
"It is the stated strategy of some to use our own laws against us," reads on comment on Facebook. "Wake up people. Nothing is an 'American Tradition' anymore. (And many who move here aren't doing so to become American)."
Another comment asked "Who is ruining traditions?" The response from a different person, which has since been deleted, read: "Muslims."
Kucinski said statements such as these are "very hurtful to people who are equally American but may be of a different culture, religion, or hold different beliefs than those who are making these comments."
"This discussion has emboldened certain voices in our community to make sweeping biased assumptions against groups of people that may or may not be the ones that are holding their kids home from school," she said. "Does it matter what group or groups are keeping their kids home and missing a fun celebration at school? No."
Littman said it's anyone's right to not celebrate a holiday, though others don't have to follow suit.
Read more: https://www.swnewsmedia.com/prior_lake_american/news/elementary-schools-move-away-from-fall-celebrations-spark-debate/article_b3add4dc-b36a-5ceb-a1a7-9128e7cce1e2.html
Immigration This is how they treated us: children separated from their parents at the border tell of their days in detention in the United StatesBy Nicole
Many of the children described conditions at US Customs and Border Protection facilities, where they were taken and processed during the first days after crossing the border. In the reports they were only identified by their first names. Timofei, 15, from Russia, who sought asylum on the border with his parents for his beliefs as Jehovah's Witnesses, said they were crowded night and day in the closed and crowded room, detained along with other boys. He said there was only one window that opened onto an empty hallway and that they did not have soap in the bathroom, and that only sometimes, they gave him a toothbrush for individual use. He also said that he was offered a shower when he arrived at the facilities in San Ysidro, California, but he did not and the second or third day there did not allow him to do so.
Waverly, Ohio (CNN)On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, Jennifer Slone wants you to know that bug bites are more than just itchy. They can be deadly.
And they're pretty easy to avoid.
For two weeks last summer, Slone, a librarian from Waverly, Ohio, languished in the hospital as doctors struggled to get her fever down from over 104 degrees. She developed meningitis. Her liver was suffering. She became septic, an infection raging through her bloodstream. She needed three blood transfusions.
Slone had ehrlichiosis, a bacterial infection from a tick bite.
Read more: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/25/health/tick-disease-prevention-tips/index.html
Polls conducted by ABC News and The Washington Post revealed 36 percent of U.S. respondents in 2017 term themselves as Protestant faith members. A sharp drop from 2003's 50 percent. The statistics include a drop of eight points in evangelical white Protestant numbers. The number of Christians all in all has mirrored the predicament of Protestants. From the 83 percent of 2003 to 72 percent in 2017, the declining numbers are in stark contrast to the section of the U.S. population responding with “no religion” which have almost doubled to 21 percent. Self-identification of Catholics at 22 percent remain constant during this time. The number of adults who identify with other strands of Christianity like Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses went up marginally, from 11 percent to 14 percent. Trends are more pronounced among the American youth; only 19 percent of all adults under 30 years of age in 2003 claimed to have no religion. In 2017, that percent went up to 35 percent. These figures can be compared with the 22 percent who term themselves to be affiliated with any kind of Protestantism. These figures are significant as they denote a perceptible shift in power.
Read more at World Religion News: "Sharp Drop in White Evangelicals in U.S." https://www.worldreligionnews.com/?p=51977
Along with Bible teachings and online lessons on how to lead a good life and find peace and happiness, the Jehovah Witnesses website at JW.org also offers serious insight and words of caution to parents about sexual child abuse.
And, that makes the recent Philadelphia Inquirer story alleging that Jehovah's Witness elders have repeatedly covered up sexual abuse of members' children, shunned members and victims who raised complaints of child abuse and have impeded police investigations into abuse allegations even more shocking.
Among the victims of the Witnesses' shunning and stonewalling tactics interviewed by Inquirer reporter David Gambacorta were:
The parents of a 4-year-old New Cumberland girl who was molested at the Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall in Red Lion A Spring Grove woman who was molested when she was a teen by a Witness who was a family friend A York woman who was molested in her teens by a couple she knew through the Jehovah's Witnesses. Three defendants identified in the Inquirer investigative piece were prosecuted and sentenced in York County. A fourth is awaiting prosecution.
Anyone who regularly takes the el or subway has seen them.
They stand quietly smiling with carts of religious publications, out on the sidewalk when it's nice out, and in the "unpaid" area of the station near the Ventra machines or turnstiles when the weather is inclement. The women are dressed modestly but sharply, and the men look natty as well, often wearing sport jackets and fedoras.
They are volunteers from the Jehovah's Witnesses, a Christian denomination that claims 8.4 million members in 240 countries.
Though I'm not interested in converting, I sometimes stop and say hello and pick up a copy of The Watchtower or Awake! out of courtesy, since I find their cheerful vibe oddly comforting. They're certainly more agreeable than the Old Navy Street Preacher, who hangs out at Randolph and State railing against fornicators and cigarette smokers.
But not everyone appreciates the Jehovah's Witnesses' presence at transit stations. Kevin Havener, an Edgewater resident who often commutes via the Red Line, contacted me to share a message he sent to the transit authority, to which he says he never got a response. He claimed that the Witnesses' practice of offering literature inside el stations violated a guideline in the agency's Rules of Conduct warning against the distribution of written materials on CTA property.
"I find this inexplicable permission deeply, personally offensive," Havener's message read. "Would the CTA allow other religious proselytizing [by groups] such as [Orthodox Jews], or Buddhists, or Hare Krishnas? OF COURSE NOT."
Havener eventually revealed to me that he has a horse in this race. About a decade ago he and other members of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, an activist group, wanted to hand out leaflets inside the Fullerton el stop in Lincoln Park. When they asked the CTA customer assistant for permission, they were told they needed to be out on the public sidewalk far away enough not to block any station doors. "That made perfect sense, and that's what we did," he said.
Read more: https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/is-it-legal-for-jehovahs-witnesses-to-proselytize-inside-cta-stations/Content?oid=47477482
(CNN)After a difficult, monthlong journey from Central America to the US-Mexico border, dozens of asylum-seeking migrants are vowing to remain outside an immigration processing center until "every last one" is admitted into the country, an organizer with the caravan said late Sunday.
Earlier, the migrants marched from Friendship Park in Tijuana, Mexico to the San Ysidro port of entry. They stood on the Mexican side; on the other side lay San Diego, California. It was the final leg for some in the caravan of hundreds of migrants, which had reached Tijuana on Tuesday.
Alex Mensing, an organizer with Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which assembled the caravan, said 50 migrants were admitted to the immigration processing center. He said the migrants' decision to not return to a nearby shelter overnight was made in solidarity with the asylum seekers who are inside the facility.
But the migrants' fate is uncertain. Before the group arrived, US Customs and Border Patrol officials said the port had already reached full capacity, and migrants trying to get into the United States may need to wait in Mexico as officials process those already in the facility.
The parents of a 14-year-old boy with bone cancer won a legal challenge against a Mesa hospital that attempted to override their religious objections to blood transfusions.
The Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that a lower court's emergency hotline used by hospitals to authorize medical treatment on behalf of patients is not allowed under state law.
The parents of a 14-year-old boy with bone cancer challenged Banner Cardon Children's use of a Maricopa County Superior Court emergency hotline to authorize blood transfusions on behalf of the child. The parents and boy are Jehovah's Witnesses and objected to blood transfusions on religious grounds.
While Banner Cardon's medical-treatment plan initially consisted of alternative therapies to fit the parents' religious views, hospital staff later determined that blood transfusions were medically necessary.
Hospital staff called the Maricopa County Superior Court hotline multiple times from October through December last year to seek authorization for the blood transfusions. The court granted three of five requests, according to court documents.
The parents filed a petition with the Arizona Court of Appeals seeking to halt the transfusions.
The parents, identified as Glenn and Sonia H., argued that the Superior Court hotline "lacked jurisdiction" for such emergency medical requests and also argued that hospital staffers did not justify the medical need for blood transfusions.
The lower court said that such emergency requests were "standard practice" nationwide and the hotline rotated among Superior Court judges who answered requests after hours.
In an opinion written by Judge Kenton D. Jones, the appellate court concluded that the question of whether the lower court had jurisdiction to OK emergency medical treatment was one "of significant statewide importance."
Jones noted that Arizona law allows a Juvenile Court that has jurisdiction over a child to order a parent or guardian to get medical treatment for a child. However, the appellate court did not find any such jurisdiction for a Superior Court emergency hotline.
"Our review of Arizona statutes and rules of procedure reveals no provision ... authorizing the superior court to maintain an emergency hotline for the purpose of ordering medical treatment for a non-consenting minor," Jones wrote.
Therefore, the lower court's order authorizing medical treatment on behalf of the boy is void, the appellate court said.
The parents filed the appellate-court action in November but did not request a stay of the lower court's order. The boy received blood transfusions on Dec. 1 and Dec. 5 before his parents relocated his care to a medical facility in Portland, Oregon.
Banner Health officials said the health-care provider has not yet decided whether to appeal the appellate court's decision.
Representatives of Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, which filed a legal brief on behalf of the parents, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
A Jehovah's Witnesses website said the religion considers blood transfusions a "religious issue rather than a medical one," citing multiple biblical passages.
Patients who develop certain types of cancer, such as leukemia, often require blood transfusions as a part of treatment.
(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
THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. - Two worship centers operated by the Jehovah's Witnesses were damaged by fire Monday morning, and arson is suspected in both blazes, fire officials said.
Olympia firefighters responded to the first blaze, a Kingdom Hall in the 225 Cain Road Southeast about 8:20 a.m.
A fire was breaching an interior wall in the building, which was unoccupied.
Firefighters quickly put out the blaze and determined that it started outside the building. There was a strong smell of petroleum similar to gasoline and other items that suggested arson, the Olympia Fire Department said.
About a half-hour later, another fire was then reported at a second Kingdom Hall in Tumwater. Crews from the Tumwater Fire Department responded to that scene and found smoke and fire inside and outside the building. They were able to extinguish the flames.
The Tumwater fire is likely related to the Olympia fire, officials said.
Officials from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to both fires
In the Olympia fire, video surveillance footage shows a person pouring a liquid on the exterior of the worship hall and lighting it on fire early in the morning before dawn, said Assistant Chief Rob Bradley of the Olympia Fire Department.
He said it appears the fire smoldered some time before it began spreading through the walls and was noticed.
In the Tumwater fire, evidence indicates two possible ignition points on the north side of the building, said Tumwater Fire Chief Scott LaVielle. It appears that an accelerant was used, he said.
ATF officials are now checking on similarities between the two fires.
The Dumbo Heights complex gets some praise
These aren't easy times for the Kushner family. Jared Kushner is having trouble getting security clearance so he can advise his father-in-law in the White House. The family risks losing control of its prize tower at 666 Fifth Ave. unless it can find cash to pay off loans. Their company has even been sued for charging tenants excessive rent for apartments in Brooklyn Heights.
So it was perhaps understandable that the Kushners were pleased to get one small bit of good news: A property of theirs was named “best operating building of the year” by the New York chapter of industry group Building Owners and Managers Association International.
The award was given to the former Watchtower complex acquired from the Jehovah’s Witnesses for $375 million in 2014 by a consortium including RFR Realty, LIVWRK and the Kushners. The place was renamed Dumbo Heights and commercial tenants include WeWork and Etsy.
Nichole Kushner, who triggered a federal investigation when she highlighted her brother’s White House job as part of a pitch to Chinese investors last year for a project in New Jersey, said the family was “very proud” to win the award.
“We were among the first to recognize the potential of recasting this area as a unique community combining tech/retail and high-end living spaces,” she said in a statement.
World champion and 2012 Olympian swimmer Ariana Kukors came forward Wednesday night with sexual-assault allegations against USA Swimming national team coach Sean Hutchison, the Orange CountyRegister reports.
Kukors, 28, started training with Hutchison when she was just 13 years old, at which time he allegedly started “grooming” her for a sexual relationship. She said in a press release that Hutchison first sexually assaulted her when she was 16 and continued to have a sexual relationship with her until she was 24. This report comes just one week after disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, accused of sexual abuse by more than 250 girls, was sentenced to up to 275 years in prison.
Read more: https://www.thecut.com/2018/02/world-champion-says-former-swim-coach-sexually-abused-her.html?utm_campaign=thecut&utm_source=fb&utm_medium=s1
Refugees find a welcoming home in Minnesota: State, federal actions would limit numbers allowed to settle hereBy Nicole
At home in Minnesota
To refugee Sivasundaram, his home in Burnsville feels like paradise.
"I am so happy here," said Sivasundaram, wearing the reflective vest from his job as a forklift operator. On a recent evening, he rested for a few minutes before going to his night job stocking shelves at a Target store.
His wife, Manchuladevy Ravindran, soon walked in, home from her job as a housekeeper in a nearby motel, and started cooking dinner for her three boys.
Some people would call it a stressful life — but not this family. They compare it with the life they had before.
Until 2006, they lived in Sri Lanka, an island south of India. They were part of an ethnic group called Tamils, which the government often treats like terrorists.
Soldiers rampaged through their village in a raid, slaughtered Sivasundaram's mother, and burned her house down. When he complained to the government, his life was threatened.
The family fled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where they remained for eight years. "I did house cleaning, plumbing, cutting grass, driving a taxi," recalled Sivasundaram.
The family remembers, above all, the crime.
"You couldn't use a phone in the street. Someone would take it," said Sivasundaram. "Someone would cut off the ears of old ladies for the earrings."
The boys faced a unique danger. "They would have kidnapped me for the military, or sold me to another country," said Kapilas, his 17-year-old son.
The family made a Minnesota contact through their Jehovah's Witnesses church. As soon as they arrived, neighbors knocked on their front door to welcome them.
The boys had been raised as English-speakers and have assimilated rapidly.
They laugh about the quirks of their new homeland. "I like Chick-Fil-A. The food in Malaysia is healthier, but this is tastier," said Simraj, 16.
Apilas, 13, is fascinated by boneless fish, which he never encountered in Malaysia. "I always ask: Is that fish, or is that steak?" he said.
Kapilas marveled at his new, low-stress life. "We have security and peace. Here, all I have to worry about is studying," he said.
They gathered for a meal at a time necessitated by their hectic schedules — 11 p.m.
In three years, they have saved enough to buy a car, then a house. "There is a great future here for all of us," said the father. Their success is shared by others. Simraj named 10 relatives and friends who have since followed them to America.
At the end of the interview, the father was asked whether he had anything else to say.
He is not fluent in English, so when asked a question, he looks pleadingly at his sons for help.
"No," he said. "Just thank you."
Report says 48 priests accused of child sex abuse worked in Queens, but diocese questions its accuracyBy Nicole
Four dozen priests who worked at Queens churches over the last half-century were accused of child sex abuse, according to a report released by a legal group representing victims. The Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, however, charged that the report isn’t completely accurate.
Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse issued “Hidden Disgrace,” a 22-page summary which lists the names of 65 clergy members in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens who have been accused of sexually abusing children; in some cases, the abuse occurred more than 50 years ago. An examination of the report found that 48 of the priests had been assigned to Queens churches, schools and institutions.
Read more: http://qns.com/story/2017/12/19/report-says-48-priests-accused-child-sex-abuse-worked-queens-diocese-disagrees/
Pictured L-R: Lori Lee, RN, BSN, Assistant VP of Nursing; Edey Gomez, RN; Shawn Grim, RN, BSN, Director of PCU; Penny Short, RN, BSN, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Nursing Officer; Robert Ferber, MD, Chief Clinical Innovation Officer
Nanticoke Health Services
November 28, 2017
Nanticoke Health Services is pleased to announce that Edey Gomez, RN, has been named Nurse of the Month for November 2017.
Edey began her career at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in June 1999 as an Interpreter in the Maternity Center. Over the years, she has worked in several positions and departments throughout the organization and now works as float nurse that works in several areas of the hospital. She received her RN degree in 2005 and hopes to become certified in Spanish for the hospital’s new interpreter program.
Edey was nominated by her peers for her role mode behavior as a nurse. She is known for being professional, caring and knowledgeable with great attention to detail and a drive to go above and beyond in all aspects of her work. As a float nurse, she shows up not knowing where she will be assigned, but she always brightens the day by providing excellent care, compassion and respect to each patient she encounters. She has the same positive effect on her coworkers, who noted that she always has a great attitude and finds the positive in every situation.
Edey represents the Latino community as a nurse and uses every opportunity to give back to the community. Born and raised in Mexico, Edey came to the United States as a teenager. She learned English while pursuing her GED and made “the best decision ever” to enter the nursing field at the encouragement and support of her ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher and her friend Marisela, a fellow nurse at Nanticoke.
“I love bringing a smile to my patients’ faces and watching them get better,” said Edey. “I also enjoy helping my fellow nurses because I remember how hard it was for me starting out. The thanks I receive from my patients and coworkers make it all worthwhile. I love my job and am proud to be part of the Nanticoke team!”
Edey lives in Greenwood with her husband, Mario, and her two teenagers – one works in the Emergency Department at Nanticoke and is studying to become a nurse, and the other is studying to be a respiratory therapist. Edey attends Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Georgetown and gives over 70 hours of community service a month through the church. During her free time, Edey enjoys biking with her husband, cooking, reading the Bible, and dancing to traditional Latino music—reminiscent of the days when she danced a semi-professional Mexican folk performer.
Nanticoke appreciates all of Edey’s hard work and dedication. Please join us in congratulating her as Nurse of the Month for November 2017!
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will end in January 2019 a special status given to 5,300 Nicaraguan immigrants that protects them from deportation, senior Trump administration officials said on Monday.
A U.S. flag flutters over top of the skyline of New York (R) and Jersey City (L), as seen from Bayonne, New Jersey, August 6, 2011. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn
They also said the program known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, would be extended until July 2018 for about 86,000 Honduran immigrants, but added it could then be terminated.
The decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans is part of President Donald Trump’s broader efforts to tighten restrictions on immigration.Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from across Central America live and work in the United States, but some are protected from the threat of deportation under the TPS program.
Thousands from both Nicaragua and Honduras were given the special status in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America. In all, TPS protects more than 300,000 people from nine countries living in the United States.
Trump’s administration was faced with a Monday deadline to announce its decision on Nicaragua and Honduras.
Critics have complained the TPS program allows participants to repeatedly extend their stays in 6-month to 18-month increments in case of a natural disaster, civil strife or other emergencies in their homelands.
In the case of Nicaragua, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke decided the conditions caused by Hurricane Mitch “no longer exist, and thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement.
The TPS for thousands of Nicaraguans was due to expire on Jan. 5, 2018, but it was delayed by 12 months “to allow for an orderly transition.”
Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-protections/u-s-to-end-protected-status-for-nicaraguan-immigrants-in-2019-idUSKBN1D704X
MIAMI (WSVN) - A South Florida family is speaking out days after an 83-year-old, wheelchair-bound woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver on her way to church in Miami.
Margaret Ruiz’s loved ones are seeking solace in their faith. “You can’t avoid these things that happen in life, but we have to believe, and we have to have trust and love and faith,” said Lucy Ruiz, the victim’s sister.
Lucy, 73, said she is still in shock over how her older sister was killed. “It’s very upsetting to hear that. So sudden,” she said.
Grainy surveillance video captured her as she traveled on her electric wheelchair down the sidewalk, near Northeast 62nd Street and Second Avenue, moments before, police said, she was struck by a four-door, dark-colored sedan, Wednesday evening.
“If she were here, I would just tell her how much I love her,” said Lucy.
Margaret, a devout Jehovah’s Witness, was heading to religious services at the time of the hit-and-run.
The surveillance footage shows the car involved in the crash fleeing from the scene.
Margaret leaves behind five children. One of her sons, Barry Pantoja, arrived to South Florida from New York with his entire family on Monday.
“She was my whole world for many years, and she loved her family very much,” he said.
Pantoja said his mother was a devoted mother and an esteemed member of her faith community. “She was loved, and she really appreciated, in so many ways, the way people extended themselves to her and her congregation,” he said.
Pantoja said Margaret moved to Florida to live with her sister. Over the years, she became isolated from her family and never returned to her home in New York.
Relatives said Margaret eventually fell on hard times and became homeless. She later moved into an affordable housing community.
Lakeisha Ware, Margaret’s case manager, helped the elderly woman transition off the streets.
“It’s hard because you have to have a mother. She is somebody’s mother. She’s somebody’s grandmother,” said Ware. How can you do that to a person and not look back?”
Amid their grief and pain, Margaret’s family hopes to see her again. “As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we believe in a resurrection, and I actually look forward to the day I see my mother again,” said Pantoja as he held back tears. “It’s the hope we all hold in our faith, and it’s the only thing that keeps us from being totally devastated.”
If you have any information on this hit-and-run, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
by DANIELLA SILVA, RIMA ABDELKADER, ANDREW BLANKSTEIN, EMILY PANDISE and PETE WILLIAMS
A gunman opened fire inside a rural Texas church on Sunday, killing about 25 people and injuring at least another 10, officials said.
"Approximately 25 people" were deceased, including the gunman, following the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackett told NBC News.
A single shooter walked into the church and opened fire, Wilson County Commissioner Albert Gamez Jr. said earlier Sunday.
Law enforcement officials identified the gunman as Devin Patrick Kelley, age 26, of neighboring Comal County.
Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/several-casualties-reported-texas-church-shooting-n817751
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.
A Madera police dispatcher who is a church elder is charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl he mentored, Fresno police reported.
Fresno police received an anonymous tip on Sept. 20 about Martin Ramos, 43, and launched an investigation, Sgt. Daniel Macias said.
Investigators learned that Ramos was an elder at a Jehovah’s Witnesses church in the 4000 block of West McKinley Avenue. There, he met a teen girl and her family three years ago.
Ramos mentored the girl, and the two communicated through text messages. At one point, the two exchanged “inappropriate” photos and their relationship turned physical, Macias said.
During the course of the investigation, police learned Ramos worked as a dispatcher with the Madera Police Department.
Ramos was arrested Sept. 21 and cooperated with police.
He is charged with felony oral copulation, possession and distribution of child pornography and misdemeanor child molestation. Ramos pleaded not guilty to all charges earlier this month and is out on bail. He is due back in court in November.
Brianna Calix: 559-441-6166, email@example.com, @BriannaCalix
Martin Ramos FRESNO POLICE DEPARTMENT
Almost every major U.S. city has seen years of decline in bus ridership, but Seattle has been the exception in recent years. Between 2010 and 2014, Seattle experienced the biggest jump of any major U.S. city. At its peak in 2015, around 78,000 people, or about one in five Seattle workers, rode the bus to work.
That trend has cooled slightly since then, but Seattle continues to see increased overall transit ridership, bucking the national trend of decline. In 2016, Seattle saw transit ridership increase by 4.1 percent—only Houston and Milwaukee saw even half that increase in the same year.
Read more: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/10/how-seattle-bucked-a-national-trend-and-got-more-people-to-ride-the-bus/542958/
NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — A Voluntown man is facing charges after police say he disrupted services at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in North Stonington.
Police say 34-year-old Paul Johnson was carrying a pair of wire cutters and was intoxicated when he entered through the doors of the building.
According to officials, Johnson was threatening and causing alarm to the nearly 104 members inside.
Authorities say he tried to cut the sound system as the service was going on. Members then surrounded Johnson and prevented him from cutting the wires.
Johnson was arrested and was transported to a local hospital. He is facing charges of Criminal Trespassing in the 1st Degree, Breach of Peace, and Threatening.
A collage of photos of Liza Jade Parker and her children were displayed during a graveside service Saturday afternoon celebration her life. Parker died last week when her car crashed into a heavily wooded median along the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Old Town.
An estimated 250 people gathered Saturday afternoon in a small cemetery in Wytopitlock to celebrate the young mother whose life was abruptly cut short last week in a crash off Interstate 95 in Old Town.
Liza Jade Parker, 26, died after her car crashed Sept. 24 into a heavily wooded median strip along the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Old Town. Her two small children, 5-year-old Mason Worcester and 1½-year-old Tiaona Robinson, were secured in car seats and suffered minor injuries.
Parker’s car was not found until the following day, when it was spotted by a passing tractor-trailer driver, according to police.
Saturday’s graveside service took place on a sunny, cool, crisp autumn day at Evergreen Cemetery, where her great-grandparents, Dale and Wilma Dow, are buried.
Set up near the Dows’ grave was a display of photos of Parker and her children, a framed poem, pink flowers and candles and some mementos from her childhood, including the tiny pink dress she wore home from the hospital shortly after she was born.
“I wouldn’t have it any other place and neither would Liza,” her brother, Rory Parker of West Palm Beach, Florida, said before the service began.
Parker’s grandmother, Marilyn Dow, said she and her husband, Rodger, were devastated by the untimely death because out of all of their 12 grandchildren, she was the only granddaughter.
“Liza was his diamond. That’s what he called her. It’s terrible at home, terrible. You can’t expect anything different,” Dow said.
“We would feel the same if we lost any of our family members, any of our other grandchildren but the difficult part is that she was the only granddaughter,” Dow said. “ She was Puppa’s girl. They had a wonderful relationship.”
Dow said she, Liza’s mother Shauna Dow and several other family members were drawing strength from the Jehovah’s Witness community to which they belong.
On hand were family, friends and many of the people who were part of the support network that helped her beat an addiction to heroin more than a year ago.
Parker’s success on that front captured the attention of Gov. Paul LePage, who held her up as a role model during a visit from former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and senior presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway.
During the service, Brother Rory Merrill from the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Bangor shared memories about the young mother that family and friends told to him.
Common themes from those who knew her included her devotion to her children, her smile and the twinkle in her eye and the strength and courage she showed during her battle with addiction.
Rory Parker had this to say:
“Liza did not suffer. She left this world in the best possible version of herself and her life. She was amazing. I miss my sister. I love my sister and always will.”
Parker was reported missing after she did not show up in Howland for a meeting with her son’s father in Howland scheduled for Sept. 24.
It’s still not clear what caused the crash, which remains under investigation by Maine State Police.
“It was just an accident. She drifted off the road,” her brother Rory said. “She died instantly. She did not suffer.”
Parker died from head and neck injuries she suffered in the crash, according to autopsy results released Wednesday by Mark Belserene, spokesman for the state medical examiner’s office. Belserene also said the manner of her death was ruled accidental.
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