Archive for the tag 'bans'

Ariel Jasper is leading the fight to legalize ferret ownership. (Photo by Vanessa Ogle)

by Vanessa Ogle

There are dog people. There are cat people. And, now, there are ferret people.

For the first time since 1999, New York City is considering reversing a ban on ferret ownership in all five boroughs. Though ownership is legal throughout the rest of the state, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani enacted a citywide ban, which the Bloomberg administration defended.

But that hasn’t stopped residents from secretly owning ferrets.

So Sheepshead Bay resident Ariel Jasper, 23, was excited when Mayor Bill de Blasio took office. De Blasio, who seeks to ban horse drawn carriages from city streets, has already earned a reputation from animal rights activists as a more compassionate mayor for animal rights than his predecessors.

“Growing up, I had an interest in ferrets,” Jasper told Sheepshead Bites. “They were adorable.”

She’d been eager to stop the ban but didn’t feel that the Bloomberg administration would have been receptive. In early January, after de Blasio took office, she launched a petition that now has more than 380 supporters. Now Jasper, a master’s student at Brooklyn College, is the frontlines activist to overturn the ban and credited with prompting the change at City Hall.

On Tuesday, officials from the Health Department confirmed they would support lifting the ban.

Ferrets, though commonly misidentified as rodents, are actually part of the weasel family. They have a lifespan of between five and nine years and they have the same bite incident as a cat or dog.

“We allow very powerful dogs in our society,” Jasper said. “I don’t understand the double standards.”

Jasper feels that with ferrets—like all animals—it comes down to responsible pet ownership.

“You never leave any child unsupervised with any animal,” she said.

Her only concern about the legalization of ferrets revolves around impulsive pet store customers.

“Ferrets have an initial cuteness,” she said, but adds that they shouldn’t be purchased on a whim. “They need space and they require special care. They are not cage animals.”

Legalization could take place anytime between June and December. And when it does, Jasper plans on owning a ferret.

“Once everything’s legal,” she said.

Palcohol's creator enjoys one of his refreshing beverages in front of the world's ugliest painting. "It's perfect. It's so much fun!" he says in the video defending the product.

Palcohol’s creator enjoys one of his beverages in front of the world’s ugliest painting. “It’s perfect. It’s so much fun!” he says in the video defending the product.

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

If the federal government decides to approve the sale of “Palcohol” again, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) wants to make sure you won’t be able to buy it here.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, Chairman of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee, introduced legislation this week (A.9615) to prohibit the sale of powdered alcohol in New York State. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), a division of the Treasury Department, issued approval of Palcohol’s labels on April 20th but rescinded it soon after, citing technical issues with the amount of powdered alcohol contained in each package.

State Senator Joseph Griffo (R-Rome) has introduced the bill in the Senate.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz believes that Palcohol never should have reached the stage of label approval in the first place. On its website, Palcohol’s parent company Lipsmark touts its many uses, calling it “a boon to outdoors enthusiasts such as campers, hikers and others who wanted to enjoy adult beverages responsibly without having the undue burden of carrying heavy bottles of liquid.”

The company claims the product would make an excellent antiseptic for hikers and said a manufacturer contacted them wanting to use the item to make “adult” ice cream. Other manufacturers are interested in using Palcohol as a livestock supplement and in windshield washer fluid, the website notes.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz says this is a load of nonsense.

“These marketing ploys are downright laughable, but it’s not funny to think about all the kids who’ll be able to stash powdered alcohol away under their parents’ noses and then engage in dangerous and potentially addictive behavior,” he said. He noted that the concentrated nature of powdered alcohol presents a greater likelihood of overdose due to improper mixing. The beverage can also easily be concealed and brought to venues where alcohol is prohibited, he said.

The legislation will ban this product in New York State should the TTB decide to change its decision again to allow for the product to be marketed in the United States. Alaska has already banned the sale of powdered alcohol and similar legislation is pending in Minnesota and Vermont.

Earlier this month, citing public health concerns, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to supersede the TTB by banning Palcohol before it reaches store shelves.

Palcohol’s creator Mark Phillips has created a website and video defending his product.

Source: randomplaces/Flickr

Rampant obesity has forced hospitals – and taxpayers – to pay.

Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway) purchased a specially-sized radiographic flouroscopy unit, a type of X-ray machine that provides moving images, for more than double the price of the regular sized unit, to accommodate and securely hold overweight patients.

The regular sized x-ray machines costs $301,000, while the super-sized was purchased for $650,000. It seems as though weight loss not only comes along with health benefits, but economic benefits as well.

According to the New York Post, other hospitals in New York are also spending more on various facilities and machines to provide for the needs of overweight patients. For instance, Jacobi Medical Center of The Bronx installed 40 new toilets specially crafted for individuals weighing up to 500 pounds.

Antonio Martin, chief operating officer for the Health and Hospitals Corporation, told the Post that hospitals the amount of overweight patients in hospitals has increased and therefore, they were forced to make these new arrangements. Martin said that he has seen patients weighing 600 and 700 pounds.

“The cost of a hospital bed that is specifically designed for an obese patient is about three times the cost of a standard hospital bed,” said Martin. “And the price of an extra wide wheelchair is easily double the amount of a regular one.”

For years, obesity has been a public health disaster in America, and it is constantly getting worse. The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation stated that almost 60 percent of New York City inhabitants are overweight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical costs associated with obesity have climbed to the alarming cost of $147 billion a year in America.

These statistics and costs have been released at a convenient time for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration, who have rushed to point to the additional costs as an example of need to pass his proposed ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in New York City.

“This is going to be worse than smoking ever was,” Bloomberg said, according to Capital New York. “Smoking deaths in New York City are now down to 7,000 a year. Obesity-related diseases are 6,000 and skyrocketing, while the smoking ones are coming down.”

“We just have to do something about it,” he said.


Source: New Yorkers for Beverage Choices

If the battle to kill a proposed ban on large sugary drinks were likened to World War II, the Southern Brooklyn coastline played the role of Normandy this weekend.

The soda industry lobby unleashed an all-out assault on the densely packed beach at Coney Island, with dozens of activists on the sand and a banner-carrying plane overhead in an effort to win the public’s hearts, diets and wallets. From there, they established an outpost at the United Artists theater, also jam-packed with movie-goers escaping the brutal heat outside, with clipboard-wielding workers in T-shirts stating, “I picked out my beverage all by myself,” and pro-soda ads screened before every film.

New Yorkers for Beverage Choice, the beverage industry lobby group behind the push, flew this banner over the Coney Island and Rockaway beaches this weekend and on July 4 as part of an effort to educate New Yorkers about the ramifications of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary drinks.

Several weeks ago, Bloomberg’s Administration has proposed a ban on beverages like soda in containers larger than 16-ounces in New York City restaurants, movie theaters, sports arenas, coffee shops, delis, pizza shops, and food trucks or carts.

“No one tells us what neighborhood to live in, what team to root for, or what deli to eat at,” said New Yorkers for Beverage Choice in a video on their website, entitled “Where Will it End?”

The goals of New Yorkers for Beverage Choice are to convey to New Yorkers that standing up to the Bloomberg Administration’s ban is about defending their freedom and rights, and to persuade them to sign petitions and submit comments to the Board of Health to ensure their voice is heard.

The city’s Board of Health will decide whether or not to endorse Bloomberg’s proposal after a public hearing on July 24.

Source: quinn.anya/Flickr

City Councilman Lew Fidler penned a letter to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott last week demanding the abolition of the public school cell phone ban, which has been in place since 2006.

The letter, backed by 47 of the Council’s 51 members, called the rule “out of touch” and “possibly discriminatory,” stating that the rule is mostly enforced in schools that use metal detectors, which happen to be in poorer areas, while prestigious schools are not affected. Parents have also been critics of the ban, particularly those with children who have long commutes.

The ban has also been criticized for taking money out of lower income student’s pockets, who pay $1 a day to store their phones in mobile trucks or local bodegas. The $5 per week can add up for lower income students, while the mobile trucks make an estimated $4.2 million per year. The Department of Education has opposed efforts to implement in-school storage facilities, arguing that the liability to store thousands of phones is too high.

The four members of Council who opposed the bill and the Education department have yet to comment on the letter.

- Justin Santoro

Photo: addicted Eyes/Flickr

Jet ski riders of Jamaica Bay will have to find another place to enjoy the summer weather, zooming and splashing around on their jets.

Well, its either that or the risk of getting caught and fined for performing an illegal action.

Park officials around the Bay are cracking down on the decade-old ban on jet skiing in Jamaica Bay to protect the wildlife in the area, National Parks officials said.

The ban was officially put into place in 2001, yet it has not been enforced over the past decade. Currently however, those caught zipping down the stream are given a warning, or a ticket as high as $75, according the Daily News. These penalties have been in effect since the beginning of the summer season.

The ban has left several Jamaica Bay jet ski riders frustrated and agitated, and operators of jet ski rental companies complain that it’s hurting business.

“We get harassed constantly by (the US Parks Police),” Anthony Stallone, operator of the jet ski rental service at Emmons Avenue’s Venice Marina, told the Daily News.

Stallone, 41, said that he was out on a jet ski with friends, enjoying the sunny weather of early June, when they were bombarded and fined by a hoard of federal officials. Stallone felt as though this was a trap. He said that the officials were waiting for them as soon as they exited the Bay.

Upset or not, unfair or not, riders must decide whether or not they are willing to stand up to the ban and risk being fined, or whether they should just give in, and find another waterway in which jet ski riding is legal.

From the New York Times:

New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.

The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.

… The mayor, who said he occasionally drank a diet soda “on a hot day,” contested the idea that the plan would limit consumers’ choices, saying the option to buy more soda would always be available.

“Your argument, I guess, could be that it’s a little less convenient to have to carry two 16-ounce drinks to your seat in the movie theater rather than one 32 ounce,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a sarcastic tone. “I don’t think you can make the case that we’re taking things away.”

He also said he foresaw no adverse effect on local businesses, and he suggested that restaurants could simply charge more for smaller drinks if their sales were to drop.