Section mm; Column 0; T: Men's Fashion Magazine; Pg. 76

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LOAD-DATE: February 24, 2008


GRAPHIC: PHOTOS: Pedestrians passing a new clothing shop in Amsterdam's red-light district, next to a peep show. Amsterdam is trying to curb brothels there to cut crime. Left, prostitutes in the windows of a brothel.(PHOTOGRAPHS BY HERMAN WOUTERS FOR THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE)


Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

1048 of 1231 DOCUMENTS

The New York Times

February 24, 2008 Sunday

Late Edition - Final

Driven to Save A Vista From LIPA Lines



SECTION: Section LI; Column 0; Long Island Weekly Desk; THE ISLAND; Pg. 1

LENGTH: 896 words

DATELINE: Water Mill

AND now, from the man who brought us, may it R.I.P., Peconika vodka -- a vodka that has gone the way of many of the South Fork potato fields that stoked it -- comes a nonalcoholic civic venture that Steve Abramson promises will be a visual tonic for anyone who cherishes a more pastoral Hamptons. Cost of tonic: about $10 million.

Small potatoes? Not to the Long Island Power Authority. It is installing an eight-plus-mile transmission line through the heart of the Hamptons budgeted at $20 million, with 55 percent of the line running underground. It would cost another $10 million, which the authority declines to cover, if the line were fully buried.

The prettier option is, according to LIPA, too pricey; Kevin Law, its president, said 85 percent of the authority's lines are overhead for fiscal and practical reasons, and the 55/45 split on this project is ''quite defensible.'' Sensitive to local sensitivities, even.

Mr. Abramson begs to differ and says that even if the above-ground section were not in his immediate aesthetic purview (he lives in Water Mill) he would have a.) objected to it and b.) pushed for the same solution, a people's payment to the people's utility company to cover the cost of banishing the cables below ground.

Nongreenies may call it an expensive resolution to an invisible problem; not everybody is sentimental about the way light refracts in a meadow. To Mr. Abramson and others, however, underground power lines represent a vista-saver for a community motivated to preserve its untarnished landscapes. They are poised to fork over millions of dollars to the utility company -- in the form of a monthly surcharge on the bills of roughly 5,000 customers -- to spare the sky above a four-mile stretch of road just north of Montauk Highway from being bisected by power lines. Mr. Abramson has mobilized hundreds of neighbors for the cause.

''Scuttlehole Road is probably one of the most beautiful vistas of land-to-sea that still remains intact out here,'' protested the artist Eric Fischl, a longtime North Haven resident, in an e-mail rumination in support of using private dollars, including his, to ensure that the lines are buried and the skies left pristine. Who would want to paint, or meditate, beneath gargantuan power lines?

''In some ways burying the LIPA cables is a no-brainer,'' wrote Mr. Fischl's wife, the artist April Gornik, in a separate missive.

The trouble is, the utility company is undecided about taking its customers' cash in exchange for burying the lines -- the average cost is estimated at $44 a year, depending on use. Its board of trustees may vote on Tuesday to reject this aesthetics-centric scheme from local government, civic groups and Mr. Abramson -- for lack of precedent, for lack of indemnification by the Town of Southampton, and from worry that less affluent communities will perceive the innovation as an economic injustice to themselves.

''What we have here is a cliffhanger,'' Mr. Abramson says. ''But I am not going to allow some arrogant utilities corporation to come in and destroy this place.''

Rather than tilt at windmills (the Hamptons loves them), Mr. Abramson, a retired printer and publisher, persists in directing his considerable entrepreneurial energies against a utilitarian interloper -- power lines. And if this entails antagonizing LIPA, the same public utility that keeps the lights twinkling and heat circulating in his own abode, so be it; Mr. Abramson can always get himself a windmill.

The focus of his animosity is LIPA's well-intentioned plan (the demand for power on the insatiable East End is up by 7 percent as opposed to 2 percent elsewhere). It would, Mr. Abramson says, ''defile and blight'' four miles of his hamlet by carving it up with a hefty 69-kilovolt transmission system (more gridlike than spider web-ish) hoisted by poles nearly the size of synthetic sequoias. The tallest stand 60 feet high with a 6-foot girth.

''Monstrous! Hit one of those and you die,'' says Mr. Abramson, whose other complaints against the line, actually the midsection of an otherwise buried connection between the Southampton and Bridgehampton substations, are less apocryphal.

The main problem for Mr. Abramson: the transmission line, which the utility had hoped to complete by July 4, is plug ugly. He says its installation will hurt property values (LIPA contends it won't; a town-commissioned assessment contends it could adversely affect them by $32 million). And how dangerous might overhead poles be in the event of a hurricane evacuation?

Mr. Abramson, head of the Committee for a Green South Fork and co-chairman of the Water Mill Citizens Advisory Committee, translated his umbrage into a petition and so far has collected 2,400 signatures, many belonging to local luminaries. The supermodel emeritus Christie Brinkley, a Hamptons-based supermom and environmental activist, lent her name to an e-mail campaign. The writer E. L. Doctorow supplied a scathing e-mail message in which he deems the LIPA plan ''stupid'' and ''injurious to the local economy, for why would vacationers want to come here if it puts them in mind of the north end of the New Jersey Turnpike?''

Mr. Abramson foresees lawsuits and civil disobedience if LIPA rejects the surcharge.

Mr. Law was conciliatory, to a point: ''People sue us all the time,'' he said.




LOAD-DATE: February 24, 2008



Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

1049 of 1231 DOCUMENTS

The New York Times

February 24, 2008 Sunday

Late Edition - Final

For Rowland, Second Chance Of a Lifetime



SECTION: Section CT; Column 0; Connecticut Weekly Desk; Pg. 1

LENGTH: 975 words

DATELINE: Waterbury

THEY say there are no second acts in American life. They also say that you can't go home again.

You probably don't want to say either of those things around John G. Rowland, the former three-term governor of Connecticut who is trying to resurrect his career as the economic development coordinator for Waterbury, the city where he was born.

Mr. Rowland was hired for the job by Mayor Michael J. Jarjura, an appointment that didn't make everybody happy. But more on that later.

For Mr. Rowland, 50, who assumed his new position on Feb. 1, the challenge is to rehabilitate his home city -- and thus redeem himself. Mr. Rowland resigned his governorship in the face of a corruption investigation in 2004, pleaded guilty to one charge and spent 10 months in a federal correctional institution.

On a bitterly cold February morning, as he moved about his hometown, alternately walking or driving his Chevrolet Impala, the former governor expounded on his vision for the city. He stopped and chatted with at least 25 people over a three-hour period, from security guards and nuns to artists and community organizers to old friends and neighbors. He knew all of their names, and they knew his.

If there was a cloud hovering over his head, you would never know it. For a politician who was in a federal prison only a year ago, Mr. Rowland is an amazingly hopeful kind of a guy.

''It's good to be home,'' he said after exchanging bon mots with a police officer in front of the Palace Theater on Main Street. ''He was two years behind me in school,'' he added, referring to Holy Cross High School.

''This whole area, Main Street, was the pits of the city,'' he continued. ''You can't believe how bad it was. Everything was vacant.''

Now a regional branch of the University of Connecticut sits on the former site of a decrepit department store. Across the street is the beautifully restored theater, a former vaudeville house, with its grand lobby, ornate domed ceiling and plush orchestra seats.

''My legacy as governor was UConn and the cities,'' Mr. Rowland said. ''This is my passion. When I was governor, I would call Waterbury the center of the universe.'' During his two-plus terms as governor, investment in the University of Connecticut exceeded $2 billion. And restoring downtown theaters to their old splendor was a special interest of his administration.

''The idea is to get people downtown,'' he said. For that you need something for them to come to, things to do. He cited a need for more restaurants. ''My vision is to have an ESPN Zone in downtown Waterbury,'' he said, referring to the national chain of sports bars. He would also like to see apartments and condominiums lining the blighted Naugatuck riverfront.

It may not be so easy. Like many industrial towns in the Central Naugatuck Valley that runs along Route 8, Waterbury, once known as the Brass City, has found itself caught in a long, downward economic spiral. The last brass factory closed in the 1970s. Waterbury remains a town of broken windows -- block after block of red brick buildings, begrimed by time.

Here and there you see aimless young men in hoodies nonchalanting it on street corners. Waterbury has long been perceived as a dangerous place.

''The reality is that it's safe,'' Mr. Rowland said. ''The problem is that perception is reality.''

Serious crimes are down to their lowest level since 1980, according to the Waterbury Police Department, with sharp declines in homicide and rape. (There were five homicides in 2007, in a city of about 107,000.)

Even though it has millions of square feet of factory space -- in the sort of unused structures that artists, design firms and dot-com entrepreneurs have transformed throughout the Northeast -- much of the soil around them has been contaminated, from the effluvia of generations of brass production, metal plating and other industrial uses.

''The folks you are going to get to live downtown are artist types,'' Mr. Rowland said, but ''the investment cost of bringing the old loft buildings up to code can be high.'' He is working on expediting brownfield projects, an Environmental Protection Agency program that provides seed money for cleanup and reuse.

''It's a work in progress,'' Mr. Rowland said. ''We're hoping to get $75 million statewide freed up for remediation.''

On the plus side, Mr. Rowland notes, is Waterbury's accessibility. The city sits at the junction of Routes 8 and 84 -- 40 minutes from New Haven and Hartford, an hour and a half from New York. A prime area for development of warehouse-distribution businesses, Mr. Rowland said, is Freight Street, a kind of chain-link-fence no-man's land right at the junction of Routes 8 and 84.

Waterbury also has a large pool of skilled and unskilled workers. The downtown area has been designated as an Information Technology Zone, with high-speed hookups. Real estate prices, both residential and commercial, are very affordable compared with, say, Stamford or lower Fairfield County.

After two weeks on the job, Mr. Rowland said he is getting 100 phone calls a week, many from developers wanting to buy in while the market is low. Unlike his days as governor, where he wielded a huge checkbook, he now has to rely on his skills at bringing people together and making things happen.

Mr. Rowland is being paid $95,000 in his new position, and editorialists around the state have been howling. Some have writtten that Waterbury is the last place on earth he should be working. However, others say that a Democrat in similar circumstances would be appearing on ''Oprah.''

''It is not about the money,'' said Mr. Rowland, a Republican appointed to the job by a Democratic mayor. ''It's the public service aspect. Absolutely, I think it has qualities of redemption. The city gets a second chance. I get a second chance.''




LOAD-DATE: February 24, 2008


GRAPHIC: PHOTO: HE'S BACK: John G. Rowland on the job as a Waterbury official. (PHOTOGRAPH BY GEORGE RUHE FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES) (pg. CT2)


Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

1050 of 1231 DOCUMENTS

The New York Times

February 24, 2008 Sunday

Late Edition - Final

A Capitalist Jolt for Charity


SECTION: Section BU; Column 0; Money and Business/Financial Desk; Pg. 1

LENGTH: 2079 words

IN the summer of 2005, Miles Gilburne and Nina Zolt had long talks over dinner in their Washington home about what to do next. For more than six years, Mr. Gilburne, a former AOL executive, and his wife, Ms. Zolt, a former lawyer, had supported a philanthropy that used books and online tools to enhance skills of inner-city students.

The program, which Ms. Zolt directed, had been moderately successful. Students liked writing online about books and sharing their ideas with Internet pen pals, including adult mentors. Many teachers embraced the project, called In2Books, and participating students outscored their peers in standardized tests.

Still, the costly venture grew only gradually, classroom by classroom. The couple had put $10 million into the charity, a ''meaningful portion'' of the family wealth, Mr. Gilburne says. ''It was enough money that I did lie awake at night thinking about the size of the checks,'' he recalls.

As philanthropy, the couple's efforts, however worthwhile, weren't sustainable. But their vision of using the Internet for communication and collaboration to improve education has taken on a new life -- as a business.

Today, the once-struggling venture has morphed into a primarily for-profit enterprise. And the striking transformation of In2Books is emblematic of a larger trend: charities are changing their spots and making use of some of capitalism's virtues.

The process is being pushed forward by a new breed of social entrepreneurs who are administering increasing doses of bottom-line thinking to traditional philanthropy in order to make charity more effective.

To make a fresh start, Mr. Gilburne attracted like-minded angel investors, and at the end of 2006 the group bought a for-profit company, ePals Inc., to expand on the original mission and support the foundation. The ePals company has grown and now offers classroom e-mail, blogs, online literacy tools and Web-based collaborative projects on subjects like global warming and habitats.

EPals says 125,000 classrooms around the world are using at least some of its free tools, reaching 13 million students, and its ambition is to become a global ''learning social network.''

National Geographic is to announce this week that it is investing in ePals, based in Herndon, Va., and will supply educational content for the ePals learning projects. Worldwide distribution should get a lift from Intel, which will soon ship its Classmate laptops, designed for students in developing nations, with the ePals icon on the screens. And ePals is also offered for use on the low-cost computers from One Laptop Per Child, a nonprofit group trying to bring the content and experience of the Internet to children in developing countries worldwide.

Various versions of efforts like this are appearing across the philanthropic landscape as business-minded donors, epitomized by Bill and Melinda Gates and their foundation, have treated their charitable contributions more like venture capital investments. They seek programs that can be catalysts for broad changes in fields like health, education and the environment, they measure performance and results, and they encourage nonprofits to become more self-sustaining.

Yet to have the greatest possible impact, a further step down the capitalist road is sometimes needed, analysts and others in the field say. Muhammad Yunus, the microfinance pioneer and Nobel laureate, calls this next step the ''social business.'' The goal, according to Mr. Yunus, is to create ventures that more than pay for themselves -- in other words, turn a profit.

Social business entrepreneurs, he writes, can help ''make the market work for social goals as efficiently as it does for personal goals.''

PHILANTHROPIES are discovering that for-profit status and financing can be a useful tool. For example, many microfinance lenders, modeled after Mr. Yunus's project, the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, aim to make the crossover to profit-making institutions.

Mozilla, the nonprofit foundation that developed the open-source Web browser Firefox, decided that it needed a for-profit unit to accelerate its business activities and gain market share against Microsoft's Internet Explorer. The business unit is freer to spend on marketing, charge for software service and technical support, and pay to compete for engineering talent in Silicon Valley.

Likewise,, the search giant's corporate foundation, chose for-profit status to be able to easily make investments in for-profit companies including alternative energy start-ups like eSolar and Makani Power.

''Capitalism is a very mutable, flexible beast, and what we're seeing is social entrepreneurs addressing some of these social challenges in profoundly different ways than traditional nonprofit organizations,'' said John Elkington, co-author with Pamela Hartigan of ''The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets that Change the World,'' a new book that was handed out last month to attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Even among its hybrid peers, ePals has evolved into an unusual combination of a business and a social venture. When Mr. Gilburne and Ms. Zolt established the for-profit arm in 2006, they attracted like-minded investors, acquired ePals Inc. and began hiring talented staff. They gave the original education foundation a 15 percent stake in the ePals company, and its endowment will grow if the business prospers. The nonprofit division is focusing on educational research and bringing technology into classrooms.

But the company is where the action is. ''This needs to be a large business to have a really significant social impact,'' Mr. Gilburne said. ''We couldn't do what we're doing as a nonprofit.''

Very few nonprofits get big. Only 144 of the more than 200,000 nonprofits established since 1970 had grown to $50 million or more in revenue by 2003, according to a study published last year by the Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit consulting firm that advises philanthropies.

With the rising influence of social entrepreneurs in philanthropy, many nonprofits have sought to generate revenue to become more self-sustaining. But it is still rare for a nonprofit to cross the chasm to become mainly a profit-seeking business, as in the ePals experience.

''It's tricky, but it makes sense when the business is highly aligned with the mission of the social entrepreneurs,'' said Jeffrey L. Bradach, a managing partner of Bridgespan.

As a for-profit business, ePals can more easily attract financing for growth. But outside investors raise the risk that the original social ideals will be lost in a single-minded pursuit of profit. Mr. Gilburne has tried to avoid that pitfall by gathering a stable of angel investors among his longtime business friends, who bring not only money but also a shared belief in the promise of the Internet to improve education.

The group includes Stephen M. Case, the former chief executive of AOL; Mitchell Kapor, the founder of the early spreadsheet maker Lotus Development and an open-source software supporter; and Yossi Vardi, an Israeli Internet entrepreneur.

''None of our investors are interested just in making another financial score,'' Mr. Gilburne said.

AFTER pooling their money, the angel investors bought the ePals company in December 2006 for an undisclosed price. Mr. Gilburne had watched ePals for years, starting when he was at AOL in the 1990s, and he saw it as the foundation on which to build an educational social network.

EPals started as a Web-based electronic pen-pal service in 1996, offering point-and-click tools that teachers could use to control how students use e-mail. A teacher in California, for example, set the controls so her class could communicate online only with a class in China that was engaged in a joint cultural exchange project.

Since the angel investors came aboard in 2006, the ePals work force has more than doubled, to 43, and the company continues to hire. It has improved the e-mail and blogging software and added links to outside resources, like National Geographic's digital library, to its Web-based software for online projects.

''We were a small company with little capital,'' said Tim DiScipio, a founder of the original ePals, who is the chief marketing officer of the revamped company under its new ownership. ''But now we have the resources to really pursue the vision of social learning over the Internet.''

Until last fall, ePals charged $3 to $5 a year for each student e-mail account, but the service is now free. The effect of free distribution was immediate and dramatic. The number of registered users has nearly doubled, to 13 million, since September.

The growth and ambition of ePals have impressed National Geographic enough to make an investment and forge a partnership.

''We're looking at them as a global network to distribute National Geographic content,'' explained Edward M. Prince, the chief operating officer of the venture arm of the nonprofit scientific and educational organization.

The ePals team is betting that it can build a worldwide social network in education -- a serious, controlled version of Facebook, for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. ''When markets go digital, they go collaborative and sharing,'' said Edmund Fish, the chief executive of ePals and a former executive of AOL, where he oversaw online education offerings. ''That can happen in education, too. A learning social network is not an oxymoron.''

Even the basic social networking of ePals e-mail exchanges, teachers say, helps improve writing skills and stirs curiosity about other cultures. Mirjana Milovic, a teacher in Kragujevac, Serbia, says ePals has helped the 120 students in her school with their English-language skills. Their correspondents in Alabama and Kansas have also learned that jeans and Nike shoes are popular in Kragujevac but that the McDonald's in town closed for lack of business.

''We usually prefer our domestic food,'' wrote Marija, an 18-year-old.

Candace Pauchnick, who teaches English and sociology at Patrick Henry High School in San Diego, has been using ePals for what she calls ''virtual field trips.'' In their online exchanges with students in Italy, China and the Czech Republic, her students have learned about family life and political systems in foreign lands and improved their writing skills.

''If they were just writing for me, they wouldn't be as careful,'' Ms. Pauchnick said. ''But they're writing for a student in another country. It's not drudgery for them. They buy in and they enjoy it.''

Ms. Zolt, the chief program architect of ePals, endorsed the for-profit route but insisted that the digital network also provide a free searchable database for educational research.

''The promise here is to be able to study, with vast amounts of real-time data, how children learn,'' she said.

Scholars are enthusiastic. ''Its potential is very exciting,'' said Linda B. Gambrell, a professor of education at Clemson University, who is one of the academic advisers of ePals. ''This should help us quicken the pace of translating innovative research into best practices in the classroom.''

Like many start-up companies, the revamped ePals is still working on its business model. Mr. Gilburne, the chairman, says it will pursue corporate sponsors for certain project areas. These could be part of a company's community and social responsibility activities, providing approved adult experts to help students online. For example, General Electric might sponsor ePals' global warming section by providing environmental experts as online mentors, Mr. Gilburne said, or perhaps Intel or I.B.M. would help in engineering projects.

There are commerce opportunities, Mr. Gilburne added, for education publishers who might want to market books or curriculum materials for home-school students over ePals.

Eventually, Mr. Gilburne said, advertising will be part of the mix. ''But we'll go gingerly to figure out what is appropriate and doesn't impose on the classroom,'' he said.

The failure rate for entrepreneurs -- whether social or purely capitalist -- is high. Still, ePals' backers are betting that it is worth the risk. ''These kinds of opportunities to do well and do good at the same time don't grow on trees,'' said Mr. Kapor, the ePals investor and a philanthropist. ''But I do think that ePals could be one of them.''

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