Nature

‘Talented Fish’ with Lifestyles and St. John’s U

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Aspiring scholars from Lifestyles for the Disabled traveled to St. John University’s Staten Island campus to collaborate on projects that taught them about the “Mysteries of the Ocean.” At their final class, they take a few minutes to share what they learned about “The Talents of Fish” and other underwater creatures with Lifestyles videographer Meredith Arout.  Sannurha Vertus shares her talent for singing.

Top 10 Life-Wire News Service Stories of 2016

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Life-Wire News Service had a spectacular first full year.  Here are our most popular stories of 2016.

1- Koko Gets Her PBS Close-Up

 Our crew reviewed the PBS/BBC documentary Koko: The Gorilla Who Talks.  Koko lives at the Gorilla Foundation with Penny Patterson, who taught her sign language. -Anthony Pabon

2- Living with Down Syndrome: Eric Schwake

Eric’s video helps people understand what it is like to live with Down Syndrome. We are all the same inside.  -Joseph Padalino

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Eric Schwacke. Photo: Sam Villalobos for Life-Wire News Service.

3- Inclusion in Fashion II: FTL Moda Runway Show

People with disabilities can do anything, even in fashion.  I photographed model Madeline Stewart – she is so sweet. Because I’m short, the other photographers let me move to the front row. At the runway show, I stayed in one spot right in front and didn’t move.  I also met model Shaholly Ayers and singer Meredith O’Connor – I loved the dress she was wearing. -Meredith Arout, photographer.

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Meredith O’Connor

4- Hamilton’s America Shines on PBS

History comes alive in Great Performances’ Hamilton’s America on PBS. You get to see all the actors and actresses put their heart into it in behind-the-scenes interviews. We reviewed the documentary, and our colleagues Larry Oliveri and Meredith Arout covered the premiere. Check out their interviews with star of the show. Lin Manuel-Miranda, Ron Chernow and many others. -Salvatore DiBenedetto, reviewer.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda. Photo: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.

5- 59th New York Emmy® Awards

I remember how tired I was and how my feet hurt.  It was different.  I never thought I’d cover the Emmys, but I did it. Please check out my photos. -Meredith Arout

She did a magnificent job. I hope to work closely with Meredith in the near future. -Joseph Padalino

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6- Mandela Future Leaders Visit Staten Island

It was an experience for me. I got to interview people from all over Africa and I enjoyed it. -Anthony Kefalinos

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The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Photo: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.

7- Willowbrook Mile Ribbon Cutting

It got really bad when I lived at Willowbrook.  I hope it never comes back. Geraldo’s interview tells us how things are better now.  Never again. -Anthony Buscarello

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Photo: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.

8- Sen. Lanza Responds to SIDDC Rally

I think this video inspires everyone to help people with disabilities find housing. Don’t give up the fight. Watch this video and learn hat you can do. -Joseph Padalino

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Andrew Lanza. Photo: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.

9- Holy Week Procession in Ferrol, Spain

This is a Catholic parade for Good Friday in Ferrol, Spain. I found it interesting and some people find it unfamiliar.

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NWN Photo

10- S.I. MakerSpace: Making Dreams

MakerSpace is an interesting place to work.  They have tools and machines you can use to build all kinds of interesting things.  When I was there, I met a guy making a replica of rhythmicon, an instrument that only two exist in the world.  -Anthony DiFato

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Scott Van Campen (left) with Eric Schwake. Photo: Aeneas Jenkins for Life-Wire News Service.

Autumn Views at Wolfe’s Pond Park

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The Life-Wire News Service crew found fall photo opportunities everywhere at Staten Island’s Wolfe’s Pond Park. Our photographers offered their thoughts on many of their images.

And Access for All – Trailblazing at Mt. Loretto

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The trails at Mount Loretto Unique Area are now open for all people. Staten Island Deputy BP Edward Burke and the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s Universal Access Coordinator, Carole Fraser chat with Life-Wire’s Joseph Padalino and Anthony Pabon about the park and and the newly accessible trails in the following video from the September 22 ribbon cutting ceremony. (Photo: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News).

Click here to follow our full coverage of the September 22 Mt. Lorretto Ribbon Cutting with the full story and photogrpahy.

Mount Loretto Trails Open to All

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Ribbon cutting. Photo: Michael Cilmi for Life-Wire News Service.

On a clear and warm first day of Autumn, Joseph Padalino cut the ribbon to new accessible

trails at Mount Loretto Unique Area. Flanked by the politicians and officials who made it all possible, Padalino let out a whoop of delight.  

“I think it’s a very good park for people with disabilities like me,” observed Padalino, who uses a wheelchair. “It’s a very tranquil place to meditate. People feel at peace in that park.”

Padalino attended with a contingent of participants and staff from Lifestyles for the Disabled, one of a number of organizations represented, including Protectors of Pine Oak Woods and the Independent Living Center.

“When we build a trail to be accessible, it’s for everyone,” Carole Fraser, Universal Access Coordinator for the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), told Padalino. “It isn’t only for people with disabilities, it’s for people with small children in strollers. It’s for older adults and everyone to come and enjoy these spaces together.  Everyone can come and be more accepting of each other.”

Steve Zahn, Regional Director for the DEC, thanked State Assemblymen Ron Castorina, Jr. and Michael Cusick; Ed Burke, Staten Island Deputy Borough President; and NYC Parks officials for their efforts to improve the Pleasant Plains park.

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Ed Burke, Deputy Borough President. Photo: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.

The festivities took place on a long, wide gravel path flanked by mowed grass and goldenrod.  The program was followed by a walk down the path to a deck on a bucolic pond where everyone can enjoy the ducks and, when there is more water, some fishing.

“Did you know that Staten Island has 12,000 acres of parks and natural areas,” Burke told reporter Anthony Pabon. “That’s a third of Staten Island.  So we’ve done a great job of protecting parkland and natural areas like this.”

In addition to the trail at Mount Loretto, improvements in access at New York State parks in the area also include amenities at Butler Manor Woods, North Mt Loretto State Forest and Lemon Creek.

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Rachel Chernock, Lifestyles for the Disabled. Photo: Joseph Padalino for Life-Wire News Service.

”We have everything here, deer, raccoon, woodchuck, skunk,” Ray Matarazzo of the Protectors of the Pine Oak Woods told reporter Rachel Chernock. “The big thrill of the day was the bald eagle.  They’re always soaring overhead.”

Mount Loretto Unique Area is at 6450 Hylan Blvd. on Staten Island.  Call 718.482.4942 for information.

  • Rachel Chernock, Anthony DiCostanzo, Anthony DiFato, Kareem Ellison, Steven Filoramo, Anthony Kefalinos, Andrew Moszenberg, Anthony Pabon, Joseph Padalino, Dolores Palermo, and Gregory Perosi with Kathryn Carse and Edward Gregory.

Read “A facelift for state lands: More accessible trails, walkways, parking” at SILive.com.

Watch “Department of Environmental Conservation Improves Access to Parks on Staten Island” on NY1.com.

 

Kamp Kiwanis, an Upstate Summer Oasis

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At Kamp Kiwanis, campers can have fun against the backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York. It is a place where people of all ages and abilities can be at one with nature.

During late August, campers from Lifestyles for the Disabled enjoyed campfires, arts and crafts, salsa dancing, swimming, fishing, games and more at the camp near Rome, New York.  The Kiwanians keep a full program for their guests with special themed days, which this year included a Welcome Luau, Fiesta, Harry Potter Day and Medieval Day.  

“I never fished in my life,” said camper Anthony Pabon. “It was a good experience, but at first I thought, ‘ I really don’t want to do this.’ The sun was beating down on you, and I didn’t think fishing was really my thing.

“It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be off a boat. But we were on land, fishing off a pier.  We used worms for bait. I didn’t catch a fish, but I enjoyed it even though it was hot and sticky.” he added.

The counselors come from all across the world, from England to Jamaica. They were energetic, fun, and they helped with the team aspect of activities.

“I liked their singing,” said camper Joseph Jones.

-This article was written by the Life-Wire News Service staff, with specific contributions by Meredith Arout, Anthony DiFato, Joseph Jones, Anthony Kefalinos, Dolores Palermo, Anthony Pabon, Joseph Padalino, and Samuel Stone with Kathryn Carse and Edward Gregory.

Photos by Meredith Arout, Anthony Pabon, Brian Best, Gregory Perosi, and William Bush for Life-Wire News Service.

Ten Facts about Titanosaur from PBS Nature

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We learned about how to find fossils and about how the Titanosaur lived by watching Nature: Raising the Dinosaur Giant (Watch the trailer here, on Nature Online.), airing Wednesday, February 17, 8 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS. We enjoyed it! It was very enriching.  Here are ten facts that we learned watching the program:

  1. Hearts of the largest Titanosaurs were about 6 feet tall and weighed about as much as three adult humans.
  1. By studying teeth the paleontologists were able to conclude Titanosaurs ate non-nutritious greens like conifers.
  1. Titanosaurs did not chew their food. They bit it off and swallowed pieces.
  1. The Titanosaur in the program lived in the Patagonia region of Argentina.
  1. 40 feet long, (the length of three school buses) the Titanosaurs had incredibly long and muscular necks and tails.
  1. Paleontologists use computers to animate how the Titanosaurs moved.
  1. Paleontologists use elephants’ anatomy to compare how Titanosaurs stood.
  1. Titanosaurs’ legs had more of an angle than that of elephants.
  1. Paleontologists used plaster and toilet paper to protect bones from weather conditions and to transport them safely.
  1. A major threat to the Titanosaur was the Tyrannotitan.

We would highly recommend this documentary! Hope you have a good time learning some facts about dinosaurs.

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Titanosaur, courtesy of PBS Nature.

-Written as a group, including Joseph Padalino, Gregory Perosi, Anthony DiFato and others with Megan Welch and Edward Gregory.