Unhappy shoppers

A bill was put into motion by City Council recently that would allow supermarkets to charge shoppers five cents for every plastic bag they use to carry their groceries home, starting in October 2016.

IMG_0645

The bill, which Bill de Blasio supports, hopes to decrease plastic bag usage in the future and help better the environment. The city’s sanitation department estimates 10 billion bags a year are throw away and sent to landfills.

Stores are required to charge each customer at least five cents for every bag they use, but they can increase the price themselves. Stores that do not charge their customers the fee will be fined up to $500.

Supermarkets will keep the fee to cover the cost of providing bags to their customers, and double bagging does mean a double fee on the customer’s bill.

The five cent charge will apply to plastic and paper bags used at supermarkets, but there are some exceptions in the proposed plan. Any shopper using food stamps will not be charged a fee, and produce, milk and meat products will be exempt from the fee, to help protect from contamination.

The city plans to give away recyclable or reusable bags to use instead, if the bill is enacted.

IMG_0647

The Staten Island community, however, wants no part of this plan.

“I think it’s disgraceful that after spending so much money at the supermarket, I have to pay for bags to bring my groceries home,” said Diane Miller, a Great Kills resident. “I have no choice but to use reusable bags.”

Supermarkets like Stop and Shop and Shoprite have already began selling reusable or recyclable bags, but still provide plastic bags to their customers at no charge.

IMG_0648.JPG

Councilman Steve Matteo is also against the bill, stating that it would give Staten Island residents “another reason to shop in New Jersey” and stop promoting local businesses.

Local supermarket workers are dreaded the proposed plan, as well.

“Charging for bags will do nothing but make customers unhappy and my job harder,” said John Gaito, self scan attendant and cashier for Stop and Shop Supermarkets. “It will take us longer to get customers out the door, lines will be longer, I think it will be a mess.”

IMG_0650.JPG

Mayor de Blasio still has yet to sign the bill into law, but he plans to, as he calls this bill “a real win for the environment.”

Unhappy shoppers

Community Event Blog

In 2015, twelve of 55 Staten Island churches merged into other parishes, as part of the Archdiocese’s “Making All Things New Again” initiative. Four of those twelve churches closed down permanently and ceased all masses, services and sacraments.

The reason for the merge was because of the lowered attendance rate of the churches in question. Although 55% percent of Staten Island residents are Catholic, the number of people consistently attending church is decreasing with every year.

The Archdiocese was hoping by combining some churches, and eliminating some parishes all together, they could raise the numbers of attendance for each church. However, with the positive effects always come negative effects as well.

By merging these churches, Staten Island residents lost their family parishes. Churches they made every sacrament in and hoped their kids would too. Parishes where they meet their best childhood friend.

Priests and clergy have lost their parishes as well, the familiar faces and friends they have made over years and years disappearing into a crowd of mixed and merged parishes.

“That parish was a part of my life for at least a quarter of a century, an important part,” said Marge Hornblower, a parishioner who attended the last mass at St. Paul’s church in New Brighton last year to say her goodbyes.

Hornblower now attends a different church for weekly service, but admits she “still misses her own parish very dearly.”

Another church on Staten Island who was forced to say their goodbyes was St. Mary of the Assumption in Port Richmond.

“I was married here, confirmed here, had communion here. Me and my friends spent our whole teenage years here, working and helping here,” said Helen Giorlando, who traveled from Rockland County, New York to attend the last mass last year.

She attends church in Rockland County now, but had hoped that her children would consider coming back to St. Mary’s to get married in her old parish.

 

Community Event Blog

Community: What would miss you?

There have been a lot of places that would miss me if i were to leave staten island. my job at stop  and shop, all the customers who know my face, the country donuts next door that serves me breakfast on all my morning shifts. play, the bar me and my friends have made a second home, would notice i’m gone. the diner two blocks down from me that my family and i visit all too often would eventually notice that i’m gone. the deli that i get gas from or the nail salon i visit might also eventually notice.

Equally, i would miss all those places. i have too many memories of wasted nights at my job with co-workers who made them not totally miserable. i can recall alot of nights my group of friends ended up at play, drank too many and stumbled home on the train. my family and i went to the diner after my dance recitals every single year for about 14 years straight. these places are home to me. there places are familiar and carry memories that i dont get in any other community or place.

 

Community: What would miss you?

Community Problems

Staten Island is far from a perfect place. We have many problems plaguing our communities, like drugs, traffic and extreme violence. One particular strain of violence involves gang violence.

Cops busted a member of the Original Stacks gang for dealing drugs on Staten Island streets.

A teen gang member participated in a drive by shooting late last year, that resulted in four people — including him to get arrested.

The leader of the Tombstone Gangstahs gang, who also happened to be a registered sex offender, pleaded guilty to drug and conspiracy charges. He had also been involved with a drive by shooting, and a gang assault previously before these charges.

Community Problems

Rising Cost of Education

The cost of education in America has steadily risen over the past few years, making it difficult or sometimes impossible for potential students to further their careers as students. (I got sidetracked during class and talked with another classmate about internships and our experiences there. I am using my experience with student loans in place of an interview.)

I have taken out student loans for all four years of my college education. The loans are in my name, and my parents didn’t co-sign them at all. Every year, interest is added to my loan. My total debt once I graduate is estimated to be around $30,000. The student loan company will begin sending me payments six months after graduation, whether I have secured a job or not.

I came to CSI for many reasons, but one of the more prominent ones is finances. Private colleges with extremely high tuitions just wasn’t an option for me, because I didn’t want to be in such extreme debt at such a young age. CSI allowed me to get a college degree without drowning in debt for the next thirty years. It also allowed me to stay home, work a part time job and save money while getting my degree. CSI has a questionable reputation, but it’s the most logical choice when one considers the finances involved in getting a college education.

 

I’m not alone in this matter. According to CSNBC, “around $100 billion a year is borrowed through a cottage industry of private and publicly-funded loan programs.” tuition-graph

The presidential candidates have many strong, differing opinions about student loan debt and the rising cost of education. Bernie Sanders has called multiple times for free tuition for college freshmen and sophomores. Other candidates like Ted Cruz want to simply reform the way loans are given out to students. 

 

 

Rising Cost of Education

Impact of TPP

If TPP was passed and enacted in the United States, it could have a drastic impact on the way people use the internet. TPP could potentially take away certain freedoms the internet offers it’s users. Things like downloading music, movies, watching Youtube videos or social media could all be drastically changed or even taken away with TPP.

My classmate, Yuna Takahashi, a transfer student from Japan told me about her internet habits and how they would change if TPP was passed. She was not aware of the effects TPP would have on the internet or the past attempts. She uses the internet mostly for Facebook and Instagram. “I keep in touch with family and friends on social media,” said Takahashi. TPP would allow internet service providers to “police” the internet and the social media that was meant to keep family and friends in touch might be changed or taken away completely.

Takahashi uses the internet for another unique reason. She watches Japanese TV shows on Youtube. TPP would take these programs off Youtube, because they are copyrighted, regardless of approval, loop holes or otherwise.

“This idea is not a good one in my opinion” said Takahashi. “Japan is not as strict as here with their internet usage.”

 

Impact of TPP

TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement among twelve different Pacific Rim countries. These include: USA, Canada, Japan, Chile, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Mexico. The agreement would promote better trading practices among the different countries and lower trade barriers.

Democrats don’t agree with this plan because it reminds them too much of NAFTA, enacted in 1994, and all the failures that had along the way. They also state “trickle down economics” like this agreement doesn’t exactly hold up the ideals of democracy. One proud supporter of the TPP however is President Obama. He believes this will open up a time of prosperity and rich trading in the USA.

The agreement has caused controversy, including on the internet. Most of the content is focused on the negative views of this agreement, like this Twitter account .

 

TPP