Tag Archives: Bridge

Hundreds march across New York bridge for stricter gun laws

Hundreds of people carrying photos of loved ones killed by gun violence marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on May 7 to rally for stricter gun laws and chanted demands for action.

The fourth annual march, held on the eve of Mother’s Day, was organized by the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

“We are going to stand up and fight until our last breath because if we lose our children we have nothing left to lose,” said the group’s founder, Shannon Watts.

Natasha Christopher knows that pain all too well. Her son, Akeal Christopher, was shot in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood in June 2012 and died days later, on his 15th birthday.

“Gun violence destroyed my family,” Christopher said. “Nothing will ever be the same. But I’m here today to say that I have turned my pain and anger into action.”

The marchers, who went from Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn to City Hall in lower Manhattan, said they wanted stricter background checks for gun purchases and a ban on assault rifles.

“They keep saying we have good, strong gun laws, but for me, I don’t believe these laws are really that strong,” Christopher said.

Marchers, as they crossed the bridge, shouted, “What do we want? Gun sense!”

Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore was among the crowd that rallied before the march. She said she was spurred to get involved to advocate for stronger gun laws after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in December 2012.

“We’re really pushing for more gun safety regulations,” she said. “It is not an anti-gun movement. It is not a partisan movement. It is a safety movement.”

Other speakers at Saturday’s march and rally included Barbara Parker, whose daughter Alison Parker, a broadcast journalist, was shot and killed on live television in August 2015 by a disgruntled former reporter. Parker, whose daughter died alongside video journalist Adam Ward while working for Roanoke, Virginia, TV station WDBJ, said U.S. officials need to do more to enact a policy that background checks be performed for all gun sales.

The National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest gun rights lobbying group, opposes expanding background checks. The NRA says many people sent to prison because of gun crimes get their guns through theft or the black market and no amount of background checks can stop those criminals.

Under the current system, cashiers at stores selling guns call in to check with the FBI or other designated agencies to ensure customers don’t have criminal backgrounds. Some lawmakers want to expand such checks to sales at gun shows and purchases made through the Internet.

Study: California freeway wildlife corridor is feasible

Mountain lions and other animals would be able to cross a busy Southern California freeway and find new homes if the state adopts a proposal to build a long-planned wildlife bridge, according to a new study.

The landscaped animal overpass on State Route 101 north of Los Angeles would cost up to $38 million, according to Caltrans research released by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

The 165-foot-wide, 200-foot-long corridor would allow big cats and other wildlife to roam between the Santa Monica Mountains, which are hemmed in by freeways and suburban development, and less constrained wilderness areas to the north.

Experts say dispersing mountain lions is critical for preventing inbreeding but at least a dozen have been killed by traffic in the area since 2002.

State and federal legislators have endorsed a wildlife corridor in Liberty Canyon near Agoura Hills.

“A secure pathway also is essential to protect motorists, who could be killed or injured by collisions with animals,” said state Sen. Fran Pavley, who lives near the proposed overpass.

At the proposed site, the highway has 10 lanes of pavement, including exit lanes.

Scientists long ago identified Liberty Canyon as the optimal location to build a wildlife passage because of the large swaths of protected public land on either side of the freeway.

State transportation officials will now begin the next stage in the process, which is the preparation of an environmental impact document.  Public hearings will be held through 2017.

How to honor Pete Seeger? A park? A bridge? A song?

Someday, it might be possible to take the Pete Seeger Bridge to Pete Seeger Park and listen to Pete Seeger music by the Pete Seeger statue.

Plans abound to honor the recently deceased folk icon — a few early events were held Saturday, on what would have been his 95th birthday. But trying to honor a hardcore egalitarian like Seeger raises some questions.

How do you single out a singer who revered the masses? Is it OK to bestow honors on Seeger that he declined during his life? And would the old eco-warrior want his name on a $3.9 billion bridge serving suburban car culture?

“He did everything possible to not take credit for anything. It was always a group effort,” said George Mansfield, a council member in Beacon, the Hudson River city near where Seeger and his late wife, Toshi, lived for decades. “People say `How do you best memorialize Pete?’ and everyone agrees the best way to memorialize him is to continue what he started.”

Seeger, who died in January at age 94, was known around the world for his activism and gentle voice on such signature songs as “If I Had a Hammer,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” He was also known closer to home for his deep connection to the Hudson River and his tireless efforts in the movement to clean it up.

That’s why Beacon plans to rename its riverside park for Seeger and his wife, who were instrumental in converting the former dump into Riverfront Park. And more controversially, some people want to put Seeger’s name on the massive span that will replace the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson just north of New York City.

“I just imagine a family driving across the bridge years from now and some kids says, ‘Who is Pete Seeger?’ That kind of thing. That would be cool,” said Bill Swersey, a New York City resident who liked the bridge-naming idea so much he created a Change.org petition that has more than 14,000 signatures.

Critics say naming a bridge for Seeger that carries some 140,000 cars a day between sprawling Westchester and Rockland counties would fly in the face of the singer’s live-simply ethos. One counterproposal has been to rename the more ecologically friendly Walkway Over the Hudson about 45 miles upriver.

Seeger declined such honors in his life, so the idea of lending his name to bridges sits uncomfortably with some.

“He hated the spotlight,” said family friend Thom Wolke, who believes living up to Seeger’s ideals is a more fitting remembrance.

Mansfield said Seeger’s family approved of renaming the Beacon park, provided Toshi was included. He said the family also will have a say in what sort of sculpture or plaque will grace the renamed “Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park,” which could be anything from a representational statue to something abstract. One Seeger family member, grandson Kitama Cahill-Jackson, said he’s for naming anything that keeps his grandfather’s name alive.

“Whenever someone wanted to name something after him I’d ask him, and he’d say, `Do it when I’m dead,” Cahill-Jackson recalled. “And he’s dead, so I think this is a good time to do it.”

Cahill-Jackson is among the people who will honor Seeger in the most obvious way: with song. He is raising money for Seeger Fest, a five-day series of music and events in the Hudson Valley and New York City —including a concert at Lincoln Center’s outdoor performance area — starting July 17.

Seeger’s birth date on Saturday will be marked with shows featuring his songs in Woodstock, New York and St. Paul, Minnesota, and Wolke organized a show in Fontenet, France. The shows will be held in different places with different artists, but the thought is the same.

“I think part of me is doing this because I want to keep them alive,” Cahill-Jackson said. “And I’m hoping that weekend, they’ll be alive.”

Man who led police to Jeffrey Dahmer is charged in killing

The man who led Milwaukee police to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer 20 years ago made his first court appearance in a homeless man’s death.

Tracy Edwards is charged with first-degree reckless homicide in the death of Johnny Jordan, a homeless man. The victim drowned after allegedly being thrown off a bridge into the Milwaukee River following an argument with Edwards and co-defendant Timothy Carr.

Edwards’ attorney asked the court commissioner to allow Edwards to participate by phone Saturday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the request was denied, and the commissioner set bail at $10,000 and scheduled an Aug. 8 preliminary hearing.

Edwards, now 52, is known for his July 1991 escape from Dahmer’s apartment, which led to the serial killer’s arrest.

On July 22, 1991, Edwards was wearing a handcuff when he waved down a Milwaukee police car and led two officers to the Oxford Apartments, 924 N. 25th St.

Tracy Edwards said a “weird dude” in Apt. 213 had drugged him and tried to force him with a butcher knife into a bedroom where pictures of mangled bodies were on the wall and a pungent stench seeped from a large blue barrel.

Edwards said he had punched the man in the face, kicked him in the stomach and escaped into the street.

Parents might sue Rutgers over suicide

The parents of Tyler Clementi have filed notice of possible intent to sue Rutgers university over his suicide. Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge after two students webcast a sexual encounter between him and another man in his dorm room.

By law, Joseph and Jane Clementi had to wait six months to file a lawsuit but they had to give notice within 90 days to ensure their right to sue. They have now filed notice, said attorney Paul Mainardi.

“A decision as to whether to file suit against Rutgers University in the future has not been made,” Mainardi said.

One of the legal notices filed contends that Rutgers “failed to put in place and/or implement, and enforce, policies and practices that would have prevented or deterred such acts.” Another notice claims the university broke its agreement to protect Clementi.

A Rutgers spokesman said the university shared the family’s sense of loss and understood that they would question whether an institution or other people were to blame. “While the university understands the reaction,” he said, “the university is not responsible for Tyler Clementi’s suicide.”

The students responsible for the webcast have since withdrawn from the school after being charged with invasion of privacy. They may face additional charges.