New Sun Newsbriefs

Young Man and Friends Clean Up America's Rivers

He started by himself — now he's got plenty of helpers and huge success

As a teen, Chade Pregracke started picking up trash from the Mississippi River.

Over a decade, his non-profit company has pulled over 4 million pounds of garbage from America's rivers. Click here to view the CBS video, "The Rivers' Garbage Man."

* * *

Doorman's Secret to Winning Award:
"I love people and they love me"

After 46 years on job, man is crowned Upper East Side's best

Upper East Side doorman Steven Keschl has been voted the neighborhood's best doorman - and after an amazing 46 years on the job, it's well-deserved.

At 81, the big-hearted Hungarian native still happily greets residents, hails cabs and carries luggage on a daily basis.

"Good afternoon, my friends," a spry Keschl cooed as residents walked into 460 E. 79th St., where he has worked since 1961.

"There isn't another doorman like Steve, and we're keeping him," gushed apartment owner Rena Fafalios. "The building would close if he left."

"He's part of the family here," agreed resident Argyro Pantazopoulos, 80, as Keschl, dressed in his crisp green uniform, escorted her to a taxi. Even on the upper East Side, famed for its well-tailored and efficient doormen, Keschl's devotion to the job is legendary: He has never missed a day of work. "Our kids, and so many others who grew up with him, like to come back and say hi," said Peter Moss, a retired management consultant.

The secret to Keschl's success?

"I love people and people love me," said Keschl. "I was born like this — I can't help it."

Besides that, "He always knows what is going on," said building resident Stuart Schenendorf. By delivering packages promptly and responding to residents' concerns, Keschl has earned his apartment owners' respect. "These are important things when you rely on someone," said Schenendorf, 51.

A grandfather of four who lives in the Bronx, Keschl brings a homey touch to the building. He met his wife, Elizabeth, at work the year he started. She was a young nanny and they both spoke German. Today, Elizabeth Keschl still bakes apple pies for building residents and staff. Keschl, an avid gardener, brings summer vegetables to his employers.

Keschl was voted Best East Side Doorman in the first Building Service Awards, a competition held over the summer.

Of the more than 50 doormen nominated, Keschl stood out to the judges because of the years he has devoted to the building and the "strong affection" for him expressed in nominating letters, said Matt Nerzig, a spokesman for Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.

The competition was put on by building management companies, the union and Manhattan Media, a consortium of neighborhood newspapers.

As he has gotten older, Keschl said his building's management has offered him a chair to sit in the lobby — something he has refused to accept.

"It doesn't look good," Keschl said.

Source: Meslissa Grace, The New York Daily News

* * *

Green Jobs Are Plentiful

With just about every company trying to green its products, services and internal operations these days, there has never been a better time to find a green job. Jobs in eco-advocacy and in "hands on" environmental work such as pollution cleanup and land use planning are more abundant than ever. And green issues are driving the creation of new jobs in many other vocations as well.

The November/December 2007 issue of E - The Environmental Magazine reports that of the hottest sectors for new green jobs right now are:

  • travel and hospitality
  • planning and land use
  • alternative health and medicine
  • renewable energy
  • environmental law
  • information technology
  • environmental education
  • design and construction
  • corporate responsibility, and
  • food and farming
  • Those with experience in any of these fields should find plenty of opportunities that can help marry their skills with their green principles.

    Analysts point to the alternative and renewable energy sector as offering perhaps the most opportunities.
    "Solar and wind are already multibillion-dollar industries," says Peter Beadle, who launched the website in 2005. Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies also offer many opportunities, he says. Technical personnel-engineers, installers, etc., form the backbone of such industries, but marketing, sales and communications specialists are needed to get the technologies to market.

    Source: E - The Envionmental Magazine

    * * *

    Coca-Cola Rolls Out Company's First-Ever Hybrid Delivery Trucks

    Will add 120 Hybrid Trucks to National Fleet over the next year

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined Coca-Cola Enterprises(CCE) executives to announce the first five hybrid-electric delivery trucks, which will operate out of the company's distribution center in the Bronx.

    The center has 90 trucks servicing 8,700 customers in Manhattan and the Bronx, delivering more than 8 million cases of beverages annually. The trucks use 32 percent less fuel than standard trucks and use technology to eliminate emissions when they idle or sit in traffic.

    "Sustainable business practices will save businesses and government money in the long run. That's why we're converting our taxi fleet to hybrids. It's why major rental companies like Hertz are converting their fleets, and it's why a world leader in product distribution like Coca-Cola has made this commitment," said Mayor Bloomberg.

    "Although clearly a major international brand, there are important local implications resulting from this decision. Coca-Cola Enterprises runs trucks though our five boroughs on their distribution routes, and by introducing these hybrid-electric trucks, they are contributing to better air quality in the communities they serve locally - especially their home in the South Bronx."


    * * *

    A Goldie Opportunity to Change Thoughts

    Thanks to The Hawn Foundation, the "Mindfulness Education Program" will be coming to Minnesota and New York in January 2008.

    The foundation was started in 2003 by Goldie Hawn, and is dedicated to supporting children by advancing mindfulness training in educational, healthcare and community-based settings.

    What is "Mindfulness Education"?

    Through a number of surprisingly simple techniques, students learn to observe their minds and become aware of thoughts and feelings as they occur. With this awareness comes an amazing freedom that we all could benefit from: to disengage from negative emotions and behaviors, and instead, respond in a way that is positive and healthy.

    According to studies by leading researchers, mindfulness-based techniques are proven to decrease anxiety, stress and depression, as well as increase resilience and optimism in adults and in children.

    (Is this one reason Goldie is so positive and joyful?)

    After great success in Vancouver, now Minnesota and New York are eagerly awaiting the M.E. program.

    * * *

    Turning a New Leaf and Digging Up Dirt

    The New Leaf Café is an enterprise of Bette Midler's New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a not-for-profit organization working to reclaim, develop, and revitalize parks, gardens, and public spaces for New York City.

    It's a unique undertaking whereby a non-profit operates a for-profit restaurant and all net proceeds support the restoration and maintenance of Fort Tryon Park in Northern Manhattan. The end result is a profitable venture that brings value to the park, provides income to the City of New York, and creates jobs within the community.

    This fabulous café is in an old 1930s stone building offering a distinctive and romantic setting with a country lodge-like ambiance. It also hosts Thursday night jazz with a variety of performers.

    The New Leaf is just one of many divine achievements by Ms. Midler and the NYRP. They're also involved with such things as planting a million trees, transforming rundown places into gorgeous parks and gardens, and providing a tremendous amount of fun and well-being for a great many people.

    * * *

    Lennon in Iceland Imagines Peace

    In John Lennon's honor, the Imagine Peace Tower is shining brightly in Iceland. It is a beacon of light to spread the message of love and inspire the people of the world to "Imagine Peace."

    Each year it will stay lit from October 9, John's birthday, to December 8, the day he was shot.

    More info:
    Lighting Ceremony with Yoko, Olivia Harrison and Ringo.

    * * *

    Hillary Clinton Does Not Fear Death

    Although she recently joked at an AARP convention that "60 is the new 50," Ms. Clinton also spoke about the inevitability of aging.

    "I do lose friends all the time," she told The New York Daily News. "I realize that is a part of my growing older along with them." Her dearest Arkansas friend, Diane Blair, recently passed on.

    "I am someone who believes that death is part of life," Clinton went on. "I don't have any fear of it, I don't have any anxiety about it. I just want to live every day to the best that I can.

    Known as a brisk walker, she is grateful for her energy. "I'm lucky that I've got a good stamina," said Clinton. "I try to take care of myself. It's much harder on the road because there's too much junk food and temptation around. I don't exercise as much as I did before I got into the real heat of the presidential campaign, but I try to get out and walk."

    Source: The New York Daily News

    * * *

    Ramp Up Your Awareness

    October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month in New York City. Wednesday the 17th became a day filled with educational, entertainment and employment opportunities for many NYers with disabilities.

    The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, joined by The American Association for People With Disabilities, Vantage Mobility International, TiLite, United Spinal Association, and American Honda Motor Co sponsored Disability Mentoring Day in the Big Apple.

    Billed as a Super-Charged Day of Awareness, it became every bit that and more.

    This years' DMD paired approximately 150 disabled students and job-seeker mentees with public and private organizations — including those hosting this event — acting as mentors for a day-long job shadowing experience.

    American Honda Motors and Vantage Mobility International donated two disability conversion Honda Odysseys for use by MOPD and the Mayor's Office for Veterans Affairs.

    To tie a celebratory ribbon on this gem of a day, the wheelchair equipped rap group 4 Wheel City, put on quite a show for many of Central Park's luncheon crowd.

    Downtown, the wheelchair rugby team, The NY Spinal Jets held a scrimmage match in City Hall Park. They displayed considerable talent on the field and off.

    Finally, Lincoln Center Plaza was the setting for wonderful performances by wheelchair ballroom dancers from DanceSport USA.

    Each venue provided New Yorkers with a heightened awareness of just how "abled" people with disabilities are.

    By Don Owens

    * * *

    New Yorkers Starting to See the Light

    In a new initiative for Staten Island and Brooklyn, Con Edison is teaming up with electrical companies to install free, energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs in residential homes. Con Ed pays the smaller companies to install the bulbs, avoiding out-of-pocket expenses for the consumer. But Con Ed also saves money because the bulbs use less electricity, lessening the need to construct power plants or upgrade existing ones. And as more customers switch to the bulbs, the risk of blackouts during times of peak demand will also decrease.

    All parties involved say it's a win-win situation.

    "There is such a thing as something for free in New York City. It's a great success, and we're hopeful to continue the growth here and unveil it to the city in the coming year," said Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-Staten Island).

    Con Ed spokesman Mark Irving said that interested homeowners can go to the company's Web site to find out which companies in their area are, or will be, participating. The program is also available in Westchester County, he added.

    Source: AM New York.

    * * *

    Holistic Hospitals on the Rise

    More than one in four U.S. hospitals now offers complementary alternative medicine (CAM), such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and massage therapy.

    A survey of nearly 1,400 U.S. hospitals showed that the normally staid mainstream medical institutions are providing complementary and alternative therapies to meet growing demand from the public.

    The survey is conducted and published by the American Hospital Association every two years and the most recent shows the percentage of hospitals offering one or more CAM services increased from 8% in 1998 to 27% in 2005.

    Offerings were most common in the Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and less common on the West Coast (!). The least common areas to offer CAM services were in the South (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee).

    The top six services offered on an outpatient basis among hospitals offering CAM were massage therapy (71%); tai chi, yoga, or chi gong (47%); relaxation training (43%), acupuncture (39%); guided imagery (32%), and therapeutic touch (30%).

    Top inpatient services were massage therapy (37%), music/art therapy (26%), therapeutic touch (25%), guided imagery (22%), relaxation training (20%), and acupuncture (11%).

    * * *

    Subway Angels Rescue and Vanish

    Last summer, a woman fainted and fell onto the subway tracks at the Main Street subway station in Flushing, NY. Two unidentified men jumped in and lifted her to safety – one of them gathered her belongings and placed them next to her on the platform. The life-saving "angels" disappeared without a word as soon as they saw paramedics arriving at the scene. If you have any information on these heavenly helpers, please contact The New Sun.

    * * *