Commentary written collaboratively by Aread Diaz, Anthony DiFato, Kareem Ellison, Frank Faretra, Matthew Ianelli, Joseph Jones, Michael Smith, with Edward Gregory.
Darius McCollum, a convicted train thief with Asperger’s Syndrome, will be getting mental help, instead of jail. Will it be the kind of help he needs; will he be locked in an asylum; or will he be treated and released back into society? What kind of help he gets, the courts will decide. Life-Wire News Service has some opinions on the subject. Here’s what we think:
Darius McCollum needs justice, not injustice from the justice department. In fact, they put him in jail for a mental disorder that they know nothing about. How can you lock someone in an institution when he needs help? Being in a psych ward is like being in Hell, and that’s not fun. Most people don’t or won’t understand his love for the transit system and calling him a thief. Sometimes it’s hard to understand his mental disability. –Joseph Jones.
If he has a disorder, they should allow him to go to the hospital for his disorder. They should help people when they have a disorder, not put them in jail. -Kareem Ellison
He needs help because he stole trains. Be good to yourself and others. Do not send Darius to jail; he needs psychological help. –Frank Faretra.
He’s a good bus driver and I seen lots of buses and I’ve seen a lot of people drive them. Sometimes I see people drive the trains. He needs a job, a career and mental help. –Michael Smith.
He should go to the hospital because he steals buses and trains, so he can get better. –Matthew Ianelli.
People spend a lot of time talking about him as a notorious criminal. But all he does with these vehicles is what the normal bus drivers do; but people say he does it better. –Anthony DiFato.
He’s not that bad at all. He needs help. If he doesn’t get his help, he could spend the rest of his life in jail or an asylum. -Aread Diaz
We encourage the judge and the justice system to do what’s right for Darius McCollum.
Find out more at Free Darius Now Online.
Here is our recent review of the documentary: Off the Rails: Story of a One-Track Mind.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Tuesday was a wintry day but life was popping at Blue Heron Park. It was all happening at the bird feeders. Because contrary to popular belief, not all birds go south for the winter.
And even though it was cloudy and cold, with temps in the mid 30s, we didn’t even have to be that adventurous. The Annadale preserve has a spacious Nature Center, so in its warmth and comfort the Media Department members were able to watch the birds come and go and get quite a few photos displaying the beauty of the feathered creatures. (Check out the slide show below.)
The field trip was part of a new activity sponsored by Friends of Blue Heron Park, called the Jack Baird Bird Identification Program. It provides youngsters (and the young at heart) with binoculars, books and charts to ID the birds and chart to record the observations. Oh and a friendly ranger to help too.
“The birds come to the feeders because it is winter time, and they don’t have food, especially when the ground is frozen and covered with snow,” said Meredith A, explaining what Park Ranger Andrew told us.
“He also told us deer sometime visit,” said Kevin D.
The birds we saw included the red-bellied woodpecker, downy woodpecker, male and female cardinal, black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, house finch and the mockingbird.
“I got my first photo of a cardinal,” said a beaming Meredith.
When we first got there, things got a little quiet. Then a feeding frenzy broke out and binoculars and cameras were moving among the nearly dozen feeders. As you can see by the photos, when things get quiet at the feeders, there is plenty to look at in the center, from bones and fur to turtles.
The goal is for this feeder project to become a true scientific research project for the young and curious budding scientist. By recording this data about the birds here in Staten Island, the information collected will help students, naturalists and other interested people.
The program is named in honor of the late Jack Baird, a native Staten Islander who helped create Blue Heron Park. It extends from now through April 30.
Check it out this weekend. Blue Heron Park Nature Center is at 222 Poillon Ave., Annadale.
Kathryn Carse wrote this with Meredith Arout, Kevin Distefano, Aaron Bialer and Anthony Kefalinos. Photos by Meredith Arout, Kevin Distefano, Aaron Bialer.
Please enjoy two seasonal word search puzzles created by our Life-Wire News Service staff.
If you like classic cars and classic rock, come on down to Midland Beach Sunday, September 24 for the Rare Breed Legacies Auto Meet, beginning at noon.
Besides classic cars, visitors will enjoy great music from 8-Track, American Cover Story, Nakid Jedeye, Spite Club, and Hard Rock n’ Sports. Also spinning discs will be DJ Bass Chills.
Proceeds raised will benefit the Stephen Siller Foundation, Semper Fi Foundation, and the NYPD Foundation. Registration for cars begins at 11 a.m.
-Written collaboratively by Anthony DiFato, Joseph Padalino, and other members of the Life-Wire News Service crew, with Edward Gregory.
While Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Jose is making its moves in the Atlantic, it’s making its presence known along the coast with high surf and riptides.
It won’t be coming here, Andre Fitzgerald assured us. It’s going north and turning east. Rain here, but more in Long Island tonight.
We decided to go to the beach and see for ourselves what if any effect it was having on Staten Island. We headed for Gateway National Park Area at Great Kills. We drove past the harbor and down to the last parking lot between the beach house and Crooke’s Point.
“The breeze is right into your face. It’s what I like,” said Kevin DiStefano who spread his arms and let out a hoot when he arrived.
“It’s not a day for a book and a flask of tea. This is a hold onto your stuff for dear life day,” observed Anthony Difato who nonetheless had book in hand.
Joe Maturi, Media Dept. supervisor, started to head down to the water with Kevin and Tim Fauske. They didn’t get far before a mini sandstorm arose.
“A bunch of sand started blowing hard,” said Tim. Through the fuzzy scene we could see a pair doing yoga at the water’s edge. “It was hard to take a picture,” said Riki Garcia.
Luckily the sand whipping around didn’t last long. But Jose’s reach could be seen in the choppy water and white caps, the dramatic clouds and the blowing leaves and grasses.
“That looks really rough. I wouldn’t go out in that water,” said Joe Trischitta when he saw the photos back in the Media Room. He does quite a bit of boating. And in fact, there were no boats out, even the gulls were hunkered down on shore for awhile. The rain hadn’t moved in yet though, so the sun, clouds and grey and silver water made for a beautiful and relaxing place to be.
We weren’t the only ones. In addition to the yoga pair, there were a couple of dog walkers, a cyclist and a rollerblader to name a few.
All in all it was a good nearly end of summer day. Enjoy the breezes and the clouds, which have been joined by the rain now as Jose passes by.
Kathryn Carse with Anthony DiFato, Kevin DiStefano, Tim Fauske, Andre Fitzgerald and Riki Garcia. Joe Trischitta and Joe Jones who were not with us at the beach also helped shape the story. Photos by Riki, Harry Rodriguez and Jenn Romano
First me and my mom have to set up a consultation with the tattoo artist to decide the best place, size and color of the tattoo. My colors are white, dark purple and black.
Both cats have a yellow half moon shape. It is on my first tattoo too. (See below.)
The artist has to have a license. My artist was female. The place has papers that you have to sign. You have to bring ID to show you are of age — over 18.
You have to take care of it. You have to wash it twice day with unscented bar soap to clear off bacteria. Then you put a small circle of lotion on it. You can’t swim. You can’t shave your legs.
I got my first tattoo when I was 21. I like bows, dressing up nice. I showed a picture to my mom. She liked it. It’s my tattoo, but she has to be “in the circle.”
I got my second tattoo when I was 22. The meaning is private.
This is my third tattoo. I’m 23. It’s a way to express myself.
This story was written form an an interview with Riki G by Angel Bruno, Yoni Chernock, Timothy Fauske and Anthony Kefalinos
My day of being in a wheelchair is horrible. It’s horrible because of my circumstance. I want to be able to walk like other people. I want to kick a ball like other people. I want to be like a normal person. Not because I’m normal now, you know what I mean? I want to be more normal than the average person. Physically, I can’t go to the bathroom by myself, feed myself, put my shirt on or go in the pool. I want to be able to do more things on my own. I want less help.
The reason why I’m revealing my feelings about walking is because I want people to understand what I’m going through. Sometimes when I go home, I listen to Josh Groban. And I go in my room and listen to him and I cry. I cry because I sometimes get very emotional about this and crying releases tension.
I like coming to Lifestyles because it brings me to a place where I have friends. It is not a babysitting service. Lifestyles is a structural program, which teaches us to go out into the workforce. It also gives us an opportunity to expand our minds.
And it gives us a chance to shine. Lifestyles hais a social basis where people come and be happy. And this is why I feel good when I come here. We learn to properly introduce ourselves. I enjoy interviewing people on camera and off. We take pictures and learn to be photographers. So when I come to Lifestyles, I feel like I have a purpose. I feel very special because Lifestyles got me a camera that I can put on my tray, so I can take pictures.
There is an invention called [Robotic] Exoskeleton that you put on like a jacket and you can walk. It has worked with some people, but for me, I don’t know. If you take a picture of my spine, it’s curved. So I don’t know how the Exoskeleton would work. I hope someday in the near future it would. The first thing I would do is go on a plane and take a trip to Italy to see my cousins. I did it once, but there were people to lift me. I want to actually walk by myself.
I enjoyed dictating this essay because it gave me a chance to tell you what I go through everyday in a wheelchair. I hope you read my story because I want everybody to know what I’m going through. Thank you everybody for listening and have a good day.
Joseph Padalino attends Lifestyles for the Disabled day habilitation program. This essay was dictated to Acewin Tam, an intern from Staten Island Technical High School, and Kathryn Carse with the Lifestyles M