Archive for category News
There are many challenges in caring for those with chronic pain. One of them is drug monitoring. While such patients do require strong painkillers, there is a balance that has to be achieved between providing pain medication and overprescribing. Those in the health care industry – especially the ones helping seniors, such as Daniel E. Straus of Aveta and Steve Geringer of A&M Healthcare Industry Group – are often involved in this type of delicate medication management.
The recent recommendation by the FDA to add restrictions on widely-used hydrocodone-based painkillers could be challenging for caretakers in nursing homes. In all likelihood the FDA will follow this recommendation which will make it much harder to prescribe these drugs. On the other hand, the argument is that it could lessen the increasing problem of painkiller addiction that peaked in the late 1990s and is still an issue today.
Thus, at the recent hearing at FDA headquarters, many people spoke out against the change. Advocates for nursing home patients argued that frail residents experiencing chronic pain would have to go to a doctor’s office for a prescription. This is challenging when they are already so weak. In addition, PAs and NPs might no longer be able to prescribe the drugs which makes the situation much harder for those in need living in less central areas. The other question is, even if it solves the problem of a decreased addiction to hydrocodone, it is likely to lead to an increase in abuse of other drugs such as heroin.
Originally built in 1860 as the home of the First Romanian-American Congregation, the building at 70 Hester Street on the Lower East Side has been sold for an undisclosed purchase price.
The last 45 years this venerable building has been the home and studio of artists Thomas Nozkowski and Joyce Robins. It was their primary residence for most of those years, until recently. The couple and other tenants in the building have been given eviction orders since the sale was finalized.
Realtors Brown Harris Stevens had the property listed on its web site for $3.9 million, and included the following description of the building:
“After the congregation moved to a new location, 70 Hester went through a number of uses, including a speak-easy. This commercially zoned building offers many opportunities. Located outside of the historical district, zoned C6-2, the max allowed FAR is 6.02 with maximum usable floor area of 11,288 square feet makes this desirable for a developer. But for the buyer who wants to renovate and own a piece of significant New York history, this dramatic synagogue is worth the restoration and would make a remarkable space for residential, business or commercial use.”
What can New Yorkers expect for the future of this building? We will just have to wait and see.
Last Tuesday was a satisfying evening for Bob Zuckerman, executive director of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District. The event, dubbed, “Give More, give L.E.S.” took place at The DL on Delancey Street was able to reap in funds to match its goal of $10,000. The money was raised through ticket sales and the featured silent auction and is earmarked to help businesses on the Lower East Side affected by Hurricane Sandy.
On hand to support the effort of the LESBID was Jill Zarin, star of the reality TV show “The Real Housewives of New York.”
“The event was a definite success,” Zuckerman said the next day, “and we look forward to having the opportunity to give back to businesses in our community that suffered as a result of Sandy.”
The take from the fundraiser will be used to set up a new fund for business grants. Any businesses that were adversely affected by Sandy will be urged to apply for help from this fund by the LESBID.
Applications for grants are available at www.lowereastsideny.com/events/sandy/.
According to PwC’s Q3 2012 report, retail and consumer M&A in New York were buoyed by spin-off businesses, private equity, cross-border activity, investment in retail and e-commerce growth during the third quarter.
During the period, 32 deals were made in the retail and consumer sectors. These were worth more than $50 million. Meanwhile, six “mega” deals also took place during the third quarter with a collective value of more than $13.9 billion. Last year, the same period had 60% less growth in the retail sector, with only four $4.3 billion mega deals.
PwC’s Leanna Sardiga said:
“Third quarter M&A activity advanced at a brisk pace with significant increases in total deal volume and value from a year ago. With improving consumer sentiment, retail and consumer companies continue to use acquisitions as a vehicle for growth and for adapting to new consumer trends. A strong interest among private equity investors for retail combined with international and e-commerce related acquisitions for R&C corporate buyers are expected to drive the positive outlook for the retail and consumer sector.”
She added, “Deal activity in the consumer space was partially driven by large CPG companies selling non-core operations and brands, and we expect the trend to continue over the next 12 months as CPG companies look to sell underperforming assets and reinvest in higher margin or growth products and markets. Private equity will continue to focus on the restaurant industry and be active in the subsector as they see opportunities to improve operating efficiencies during the economic downturn and position for growth.’’
The Henry Street Settlement, one of the largest social service providers on the Lower East Side, was passing out hamburgers and hot dogs to residents of the Vladeck public housing complex on Wednesday as New Yorkers began to assess the damage and recover from the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy.
The food was left over from a recent community day held right before the storm devastated the region on Sunday and Monday with its relentless winds, rain and flooding.
David Garza, the executive director of Henry Street said that 83 families had to be evacuated from the Urban Family center, a shelter close to the FDR Drive. Others were removed from Helen’s House, another facility for single mothers and children below age 8, which is located on Henry Street.
There were 14 trucks on the street on Sunday and Monday operated by the Henry Street “Meals on Wheels” program together with University Settlement and the Chinese Planning Council. According to Garza the organizations intend to continue serving the more than one-thousand elderly all over the Lower East Side. On Wednesday the staff at Henry Street delivered food to senior residents that live on high floors of the Vladeck Houses.
Garza added that Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage to Henry Street buildings. Sandy caused hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage in the basement of the Urban Family Center which had bad flooding.
About 330 buildings on the Lower East Side and the East Village have been approved for historic landmark status by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The designation goes into effect immediately, despite some complaints from a few of the religious institutions in the area.
The landmark status will create an historic district that will stretch up Second Avenue between East Second and East Seventh streets. Also included are a few blocks around First Avenue, with a total of about 15 blocks of buildings slated as historic landmarks.
Executive Director Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation explained that the designation is necessary if the neighborhood is to maintain its historic flavor.
"The East Village is one of New York's oldest and most historic neighborhoods," Berman said. "It's a place that has had an outsized effect on the city's and the nation's history, and it's very much in danger of losing that character due to out of context new development."
Not everyone in the neighborhood is happy with the new status, however. The designation will require permission from the LPC before any major renovations or demolitions can be done on the buildings to assure that the changes "do not detract from the special character of the city's landmarks and historic districts," according to the commission. Heads of non-profit and religious organizations with buildings in the historic areas are afraid meeting the requirements of the commission could be costly, burdening these organizations further.
Richard Wright of the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection, located on East Second Street between First and Second Avenues is one such neighbor with worries.
"We have spent nearly $1 million in the last decade alone conserving our building and for the city to come in and tell us that they can do it better is, quite frankly, an insult," Wright complained. He is also afraid that the designation could lead to gentrification.
Berman says that this should not be a concern and that provisions to help non-profits maintain their buildings within the historic status with financial support are built into the law. Grants and financial aid will be made available.
According to a recent report, charter schools are growing more and more popular. Over the last two years, the number of students in these schools increased by nearly 13%. This data comes from the nonprofit advocacy group National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Charter schools are educational institutes that are publicly financed but privately operated. According to the NAPCS, many cities’ charter schools have begun enrolling a large percentage of public school students.
In New York City, more than 48,000 public school students attended charter schools in 2012. This is an increase of 24% since last year. Victory Schools, a consulting company that provides management and support for charter schools, aims to greatly improve the level of education and performance at schools in the area.
Meanwhile, the biggest increase in charter school enrollments was in New Orleans. Many of the city’s schools were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. As a result, more than 70% of students in the area attend charter schools.
Additional cities with more than 30% of public school students in charter schools include Detroit, Washington D.C., St. Louis and many others.
National Alliance chief executive Nina Rees said: “To the extent families are in need of other options, growth does indicate there is something missing in the public school system.”
Hurricane Sandy showed the world, and New Yorkers, that during times of need the citizens of the Big Apple are more than ready to join together and help each other. Now with the immediate crisis behind us, it is time to once again focus one of the simplest, but most profound ways people can help each other, and that is through registering on a list as someone willing to donate their organs.
The New York Donor Network is working hard to facilitate donations in 10 transplant centers and over 90 hospitals in the New York metropolitan area which serves a diverse population of more than 13 million people. Bradley Tusk of Tusk Strategies has helped the New York Donor Network to get the word out and reach such a huge population with the understanding that the more people registered as willing organ donors, the more lives can be saved.
The New York Donor Network works in the following way to maximize the number of people who can be saved through organ donations:
- By law all New York area hospitals must inform the New York Donor Network of all deaths or imminent deaths within their hospital.
- Expert and well-trained staff at the Donor Network is maximally focused on helping families give their legally binding consent to allow their loved ones to become donors in the most sensitive and understanding way possible.
- In the case of someone who is not listed in the New York State Donate Life Registry, then the New York Donor Network will help family members or other authorized persons to give their consent to the donation.
- The Donor Network provides follow-up care and referrals to families who agree to the donation or to those families and loved ones of the individual who had already legally consented to such a donation.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner it is a good time to focus on the ultimate gift which we are all thankful for, our lives. Those who decide to enroll in the New York State Donate Life Registry are saying that they are ready to give the gift of life even at the moment when that is taken away. For more information on how to sign up go to the New York Organ Donor Registry web site.
(To Keep You Out of NY Jails)
There are many different crimes one can break that could land them up in jail, but in New York City, a rather surprising new one is the inefficient care of residential gardens. The new law that is being enforced in NY’s Massapequa Park has declared that if lawns are not properly maintained, the guilty parties will be fined up to $10,000 and be imprisoned for up to 15 days. The reason the law was enacted was to maintain the high value of properties in the area which has been particularly negatively impacted by foreclosures. In a unanimous vote, it was thus decided that if lawns are not mowed, dumpsters are full, there are broken gutters or boarded windows on a property, homeowners will be subject to the fine or jail time. First offenders will be fined between $250-$1,000; second offenders, $2,500 and 10 days in jail and third-time offenders of the law will face up to 15 days in jail and top fines of $10,000.
Controversy on Garden Laws
But while in theory this new law seems like a good idea to many, there have been some very pertinent criticisms as well. One resident who chose to remain anonymous said he didn’t like the idea of people reporting on each other from the same neighborhood. He liked the place because it was known for people helping each other out, not doing the opposite. He then pointed out that it’s not so easy for everyone to maintain their properties, such as the elderly and that instead of being reported, neighbors should band together to help them, not fine them and make their already-challenging lives even harder. Especially since for those who have had their home foreclosed, smacking an extra fine on them seems like a case of adding insult to injury.
Blame it on the Banks
Given this new law, it seems disgruntled New Yorkers in the Massapequa Park area are really blaming it on their banks, and with their money, not just their mouths. Well, that’s especially true for Mayor James Altadonna who has recently proposed a law that would ultimately put the money blame on them. The law is set to charge the bank $500 every time a village employee is forced to clean up a property that has been labeled unkempt (in other words; lawns are not mowed; hedges are not trimmed; stagnant water is not drained, etc.).
So, either way, Massapequa Park is getting a real clean up. And no longer will residents be able to claim that “the grass is greener on the side,” since all gardens will be getting a shake up. The only question left to be answered is, who will be paying for it?
It’s always fascinating to learn about companies based in New York and the activities that they are doing. Avenue Capital Group, founded in 1995 by the brother-sister team Marc Lasry and Sonia Gardner, works to achieve attractive risk-adjusted returns with their focus on the distressed debt and undervalued securities of US companies.
Their US strategy is focused in three main areas. They focus on companies in financial distress, those in bankruptcy and those that are undervalued because of discrete extraordinary events. As of the end of January, 2013, their assets under management allocated to the Avenue US strategy section were estimated to be around $5.5 billion.
As they explain on their website, “Avenue’s experienced investment professionals seek “good companies with bad balance sheets”— firms with sustainable businesses and positive cash flow but whose financial situation is distressed. The investment team conducts extensive research and analysis using Avenue’s top-down/bottom-up approach to find undervalued opportunities and typically seeks to make non-operational control investments in troubled businesses. This provides the strategy maximum trading flexibility and allows Avenue’s investment professionals to focus on pre-investment research and analysis rather than post-investment operating issues.”