Sunday, January 6, 2013

San Pedro Welcomes Jane Goodall

And Friends Bono, Betty White, and Others

Jane Goodall kisses female chimpanzee Tess. (Photo Credit: AP)

The Warner Grand Theater of San Pedro, California rang in the New Year on Jan. 4 with an enchanted evening with the infamous primatologist Jane Goodall. The theater, which has decreased in popularity with the local community over the years since opening in 1931, received a full house with a sold out theater. All proceeds from the night went directly to the Jane Goodall Institute. The organization seeks to aware those of and helps those in diminishing environments and lands.

 In addition to Jane, other performances and speakers such as a South African drums healing band, Bono, Bradley Trevor Greive, Betty White, and one of the first participants in California in Jane’s Roots and Shoots program appeared for the night. Did I mention Bono was there? The lead singer of U2, who is well known for his numerous philanthropic work, lended a helping hand for Jane’s cause by singing “With or Without You” and “One Love”. Introduced as “the man who needs no introduction”, the surprise guest spoke no words besides singing and strumming along acoustically to his two hits yet received a loud applause by the audience.
Other planned guests also received a warm reception as Bradley Trevor Greive and Betty White humorously talked about their love for animals and their support for Jane and her foundation. Betty best said why Jane’s work matters, stating, “It’s so important because if people don’t know they can’t help.”
Lastly, the celebrated guest arrived on stage discussing how she became exactly what she is: primatologist, conservationist, UN Peace ambassador and supporter for a better world for ourselves and the animals around us. Here are the key points of Jane’s speech:
1.            It is not too late to help the earth and to help the suffering lands, people, and animals from what humanity itself has done to them. Plants and animals are resilient.
2.            Chimpanzees are very similar to human beings in obvious ways. Yet the way we process knowledge is far more advance than any other species.
3.            Your families and the support of your mother are very important. As Jane related stories about her own mother who accompanied to Tanzania with her on her first study alone and a chimp named Satan whose ancient mother still protected her son at an old age, the theme was apparent through the evening. Jane stated, “In the animal kingdom as well as among humans there are good mothers and there are bad mothers. And the profits of the child well-raised of a good mother are enormous.”

4.            We work best together. To help save diminishing environments and our world for future generations we must work with one another to make a difference.
The night itself was wonderful and eye opening. Though there is not enough room to expand more on the topic, please watch the following videos for sneak peeks of the night. Also, follow the link for more information on Jane and her institute.

Monday, September 24, 2012

No Sleep Till Brooklyn

Barclays Center is Set to Open This Friday with Both Optimism and Criticism.

By Alexandria Jezina
Photo Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
After years of construction and financial ownership uncertainty, Barclays Center is scheduled to open its door to the public this upcoming Friday on Sept. 28. While many are excited for the center that will be home to the NBA's Brooklyn Nets and location of many upcoming musical concerts, locals of the neighborhood are still singing another tune. Locals fear that drunken event-goers especially basketball fans will drunkenly fill the streets and cause property damage. They also dread the promise of worsened traffic and lack of already cramped parking spaces. 
However, as a non-Brooklyn resident but rather Long Island college student, I am excited over the opening of the center and the potential it is offering customers. The center will sell a wide selection of local Brooklyn- specialty food such as Blue Marble Ice cream, Brooklyn Cupcakes, and Nathan's Hot Dogs. It will also offer high-rollers choices of refined food made in Brooklyn such as caviar and lobster rolls. As I read the article describing the variety food choices the center is set to sell, my mouth have or may have not been watering. The food selection in addition to the beautifully new constructed building is a fit reason to celebrate the opening of Barclays Center.
The center is set to open on Friday to a series of sold-out Jay-Z concerts who is also a partial owner of the stadium and Nets Franchise. A Nets game will not take place in the center until November with the team's first game in the stadium versus the NY Knicks. Local residents may be angry about the noise and traffic it will cause them, but the center is going to bring the borough of Brooklyn a big economic boost. Barclays Center will provide approximately 1,900 part-time jobs to residents and are supporting Brooklyn restaurants with its wide selection of local food. With its negatives come positives, and one may hope its benefits will overpower the few irritable consequences that Barclays Center will bring.

Relocation Bonuses in Pelham Parkway Religiously Speaking

By Alexandria Jezina

AP Image
Would you uproot your whole family to a new area in order to receive an additional living bonus of approximately $625 a month? If you are like the Soloveichik family who relocated their family of six consisting of four small children from Chicago to Pelham Parkway of Bronx in New York, NY you would. The family is receiving the bonus from the synagogue they attend in Pelham Parkway as an incentive to boost the dwindling Orthodox Jewish population in the area.
This synagogue is not the first to use relocation bonuses as an incentive to boost the Jewish population in barren areas. Many synagogues across the US are using this draw to create a larger Jewish community in areas where Jewish families are few. Synagogues of New Jersey and New Orleans also use cash incentives to bring families to their community. In these cases, eventually synagogues lower their cash incentives to a lower amount after their goal of making the Jewish community stronger shows noticeable results. Many of these synagogues still report a number of applicants who want to come to the area after relocation bonuses are lowered due to the presence of a stronger Jewish community in the area.
Though cash rewards are used to bring Jewish families to the area, chosen applicants must go through a detailed interview process and fit certain expectations to be chosen as the recipient of the cash relocation bonus. While some may view the mix of religion and cash bribery as ethically wrong, others see the potential of these programs to create prosperous Jewish communities in places where there was no sense of the Jewish identity before. As a fellow Non-Jewish college student Lexie England of Hofstra University stated, “I can see where there is an ethical dilemma in the situation, but I feel that there are not necessarily negative consequences to it. In the end these synagogues are bringing actively worshipping families together and making their communities stronger." 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Local Mosque: Target of Hate Crime

    By Alexandria Jezina
     Last week between Sept. 12 and 13, a local mosque in North Shore in Long island, NY was targeted and vandalized with graffiti and toilet paper. The graffiti include hateful comments such as “The War Will Rise” and “RIP US Ambassador” referring to the death of American Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens. Suffolk Police have stated the event is an example of hate crime against the mosque that never experienced any previous problems in its 20 years in the area.
Photo Credit of
      The hate crime though local may reveal some inner-targeted feeling towards those of the Islamic faith since the death of the American Ambassador. His death is attributed to the striking and raiding of the US Consulate in Libya which was called for by extremists of the Islamist faith due to the movie “The Innocence of Islam”. The movie that offended Muslims due to the disdaining of their Prophet Muhammad has caused striking among Muslims across the world including the Middle East and even Greece recently.
      What is most upsetting about this situation is the fact that the mosque condemned the acts of those violently rioting in Libya and mourned the death of the deceased American Ambassador the day he died. Worshipers of the mosque have voiced their fear and grief over the event, speaking out on how this could happen in a country that they love so dearly and is their home. The hate crime committed reveals a bigoted misconception towards Muslims that will even further America’s international tension with countries such as Libya if the view is taken on by Americans in important political positions. 

Ciao Hofstra

Picture Courtesy of Hofstra University.

Hofstra University Hosts Its 20th Annual Italian Festival

By Alexandria Jezina
      Earlier today on Sept. 23, Hofstra University of Long Island, NY hosted its 20th annual Italian Festival on the outside of its south side of campus. The event began at 11 a.m. filling the campus with vendors selling Italian gear, jewelry, authentic food, and much more. Hofstra students and faculty received free admission to the event, which was open to the public for an admission of $6 for adults. 
      Some of the main highlights of the event included performances by world-renown American-Italian musical artist Filippo Voltaggio, Italian American folk band Coro d'Italia that was founded in 1932, and Italian Poetry Readings held in Cultural Center Theater. The event also featured a bounce house and a make your own puppet section leaving smaller children and a few college students satisfied. Though it was held on a college campus, the event focused on reaching out to the Long Island community and celebrating American-Italian culture. The environment was very family-friendly, with its occupants ranging from toddlers, to college students, to adults, and many senior citizens.
       What I found interesting about the event was how it was not mainly focused on being Italian, but being an Italian American. The event's main star Filippo Voltaggio was born in Northern California, the son of two Italian immigrants who was emerged into his Italian culture as a first generation American. At the event I also spotted many wearing "Proud to be Italian American" shirts. I personally was excited by all the traditional Italian food and gelato that filled the event and the air with a savory scent. There was also a shaved ice truck, ironically Hawaiian not Italian, at the event.
     Overall, the Italian Festival illuminated that being an Italian American is a culture by itself, separate from being simply Italian or American. New York is the home of many Italian Americans and has become a place of emergence of a new 21st century culture entwining the cultural clashes of being Italian and American. For those who live on Long Island, this it is a great event to attend in addition to the San Gennaro Festival held in Little Italy in Manhattan, NY annually in September as well. As a college student, it's interesting to see this bubble filled with young students become a place where families feel welcome.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bush Who?

Jeb Bush Talks Politics at Hofstra University 

By Alexandria Jezina

      Usually when one thinks of Bush, our former Presidents George W. or George Sr. come in mind. On the liberal side of politics, the name Bush has a negative connotation of not necessarily failed administrations but not successful ones either. The Gulf War of 1990-1991 and lengthy American military occupation  to Afghanistan also are attached to the infamous Bush name. However, Jeb Bush is not his father nor brother and on Wednesday September 19th was able to exhibit his own separate personal and political identity at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island.
     The former Governor of Florida,began by talking about the utmost importance of debates using his father and brother as examples and followed by describing the main factors needed in fixing America's economy. According to Jeb, the steps to getting America on track to having a sustainable economy is comprised of the following four key elements: energy strategy, immigration policy , best means of regulating our society, and education reform. Not only do we need to focus on the categories but we need to have the right way of addressing theses reforms for our economy to work. 
      Jeb's political views on the mentioned four categories can be summarized as the following:
Photo Credit:
AP Photo found from Tampa Bay Times.
  1. Energy Strategy: America needs to tap into our natural resources at home by using a combination of drilling and hydro-fracking, instead of relying on foreign oil from countries who don't like us.
  2. Immigration Policy: Contrary to main Republican ideals, Jeb's immigration ideology differs. He believes that we should reform our  legal immigration policy by making it more efficient and that those who are already here illegally can stay, but must pay penalties and fulfill requirements such as speaking English.
  3. Regulating Our Society: We need to regulate our society in a way fit to serve the 21st century instead of relying on outdated policies and laws that over-complicate the system.
  4. Education Reform: American's spend the most money on their education system in the world, while only a third of those coming out of the K-12 system are career or college ready. We should impose a policy like that of Florida's A-F grading system, which makes states accountable for their education system. 
     In my opinion, Jeb had a set of solid ideologies that sounded like it could work for our country, possibly without being impeded by partisan bickering. As a moderate Republican, Jeb believes in policies that both political sides could compromise on without feeling completely cheated and abandoning their beliefs. Yes, environmental fanatics are not going to be too pleased by hydro-fracking techniques, but is it not better than a country dependent on foreign oil? And yes, extreme conservatives might not agree with his immigration policy, but shouldn't those who worked so hard for their American dream and manage to follow requirements and pay the penalty of coming to this country illegally deserve to stay in their home?
     The event ended in a Q&A with one questioner asking "Why don't you run for President?" Jeb replied by casually stating that he has a family and other commitments, giving off the impression of a normal, down-to-earth guy. For the conservative stereotype that's associated with many Republicans, Jeb Bush was a breath of fresh air. Hearing Jeb speak in person was a great experience for me personally and I would recommend anyone, no matter their political stance, to see him speak if they have the opportunity to.