My name is Devon Jackson and um I got involved in a second degree robbery three years ago and ever since then my life completely changed like even my own parents don’t even look at me the same no more. Its like I’m an outsider to my whole family so every time I look at into someone’s eyes they look at me different. I’m not the same quiet little boy used to be running around the house all the time so now its like I have to change my whole background, I have to speak different, act different in front of everybody. so everything is changing for me now, its not the same no more and its crazy because that fifteen minutes of that robbery is probably going to change the rest of my life. If I had the chance to turn back the hands of time man I would I would I would see myself putting the knife down not even joining the same people I was always running with.

I robbed it was about a regular white male, about thirty five thirty six years old coming down Central Park West. Its was about eight nine o’clock at night nobody around we decided to go and just do it. Nothing planned, we just did it. It was just like that.

It was shocking like it was surprising cause as myself thats not even my personality, like my personality I like sports and I wouldn’t even see I couldn’t even see myself holding that knife up to this guys face it was like I could see the reflection in his eyes and looked at him. I was scared too as I was doing it so as I did it it was just when I came when I got back in the house and the Police knocked at my door man it was like my heart dropped straight to my feet. I couldn’t breathe for like ten minutes, so that whole feeling its not cool. Its not cool at all. Fifteen or twenty minutes could change somebody’s whole life forever.

From Courthouse Confessions |  Digg |  FURL |  Yahoo! My Web 2.0 |  Reddit

Long Island’s history, culture, and traditions are closely linked to clams. The hard clam or northern quahog has been one of the most valuable seafood products harvested in New York for much of the past century. For every year from 1970 through 1994, the dockside value of hard clams landed in New York has exceeded that of any other fish or shellfish species landed in the state. The hard clam is one of several different species or types of clam found in New York’s marine waters. While many consumers may not be familiar with the term “hard clam”, they readily recognize the market names for the various sizes of hard clams: chowders (the largest size), cherries or cherrystones (medium size), and littlenecks or necks which are the smallest (and most valuable) clams which are traditionally consumed cooked or raw on the half shell.

Hard clams live in shallow coastal bay waters in areas with a sandy, muddy, or rocky bottom. The clam burrows into the bottom substrate leaving only the siphon exposed to pump water containing food and oxygen and to dispose of waste. Scientists estimate that hard clams reproduce in 1 to 2 years, and that the average number of years required to reach a commercial size is about 3 years in the New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts area. Actual growth rates are dependent on a number of factors like water temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen, the quality and quantity of available food, and other factors.

Commercial hard clam harvesters are referred to as “baymen”, “clammers”, or “clam diggers” on Long Island where most of the state’s hard clams are harvested. New York baymen work primarily in Long Island’s unique and extensive system of inshore bays and waterways which are considered to be among the most productive areas for clams in the nation. Clams are harvested in Long Island’s South Shore bays from Nassau county to the Great South Bay and out to Southampton Town; in the Peconic and Gardiners Bay system on the East End; and along the North Shore in Long Island Sound from the eastern tip Long Island to the western towns in Nassau county. Clams are also transplanted from Raritan Bay to certified Long Island waters where they are re-harvested after a specified period of time.

From “New York’s Clam Industry” by Ken Gall by New York Seafood Council. |  Digg |  FURL |  Yahoo! My Web 2.0 |  Reddit

NEW YORK — Rescuers suspended their search Sunday for a 10-year-old girl in the water off Coney Island, one of three swimmers still missing from powerful ocean currents at New York City and Long Island beaches over the weekend.

Four others drowned at local beaches Friday and Saturday, authorities said. The search for the girl was suspended Sunday afternoon pending further developments, Coast Guard Cmdr. Gregory Hitchen said.

Akira Johnson was pulled under by currents while swimming with her cousin Saturday afternoon. Her cousin, Tyriek Currie, also 10, was rescued.

A strong storm system spawned rough seas and 8-foot waves to the area earlier this week, National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Connolly said.

From “4 Dead, 3 Missing In Waters Off N.Y.” published July 28, 2008 at The Hartford Courant. |  Digg |  FURL |  Yahoo! My Web 2.0 |  Reddit

It’s July. It’s Saturday, and the city has turned out to catch some sun.

While the seven city parks department beaches meet federal health standards and attracted an estimated 15 million visitors last year, they have their shortcomings. It’s the litter, it’s the water quality, say beachgoers. Overall, our city beaches have an inferior reputation — some say unjustly — compared to suburban sunbathing spots.

Officials, advocates and others argue the city shore offers amenities you can’t get on Long Island — swimming with a view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge or being able to leave nature’s waves for the ups and downs of The Cyclone — and the quality of its facilities has improved.

Urban beaches, though, pose special challenges for the parks officials who run them. The shore offers relief from our cement landscape but it also is very much a part of the city. That gives the beaches a kind of gritty charm but also presents huge problems in terms of pollution, debris and ordinary litter.

While littering can threaten the water quality, the larger danger is the city’s combined sewer and stormwater system, which covers about 60 to 65 percent of the whole city. Heavy rainfalls overwhelm the sewage plants and cause untreated sewage and stormwater to run off into our water bodies. More than one-tenth of an inch of rain can cause the sewage system to reach capacity and overflow into the ocean or the Long Island Sound.

“Absolutely, positively, there is no doubt about that,” said Councilmember James Gennaro, the chair of the council’s Environmental Protection Committee, calling the combined sewer system the biggest threat to our water quality. “This is the gospel.”

There have been significant improvements — in the 1980s the system caught 30 percent of the overflow, it now contains more than 70 percent. Years ago, it was not uncommon for medical waste or other “objectionable material” to wash up on the beach said Department of Parks and Recreation Deputy Commissioner Liam Cavanagh. Now it is extremely rare that a public beach will be closed because of water quality.

According to a report from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which oversees bacteria testing in the city’s waterways, the city did not close any beaches due to water quality in 2007, compared to two closures in 2006. It issued 24 wet weather advisories — pre-emptive warnings to the public to avoid the water after heavy rainfalls — up from just 3 in 2006. Those warnings come when rainfall is expected to overflow the sewage system. The increase, the report said, is due to a higher frequency of rainstorms.

Compared to the rest of the state, the city’s beaches are on the cleaner end of the spectrum — with Chautaugua County next to Lake Erie exceeding bacteria standards most frequently in 2006, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Queens County ranked third best in terms of the number of beaches that never exceeded state standards for bacteria counts. But other parts of the city did not fare as well. In Staten Island, for example, only a third of the beach never exceeded standards.

According to a report from New Yorkers for Parks, litter was found on 42 percent of city shorelines and broken glass was retrieved on 53 percent of city beaches in 2007.

From “Keeping City Beaches Safe and Clean” by Courtney Gross, published July 21, 2008 at Gotham Gazette. |  Digg |  FURL |  Yahoo! My Web 2.0 |  Reddit