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Budget Shoe Retailers Fashion a New Style

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Budget retailers like Target and H&M have been teaming with high-end designers to create affordable fashions. Payless Shoe Source is the latest to jump on the trend, featuring ready-to-wear brands like Abaete, Alice and Olivia.

Ads Build AIDS Awareness in Harlem

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

The side of a building on 125th Street and Broadway has become a focal point of AIDS awareness in Harlem. Until March, two huge billboards on the building combined to declare, “We’re not taking it lying down!”— the tagline of an ad campaign by The Women’s Institute at Gay Men’s Health Crisis. The posters were replaced by twin ads for the “HIV stops with me” effort sponsored by the state and city health departments.

The messages and their prime Harlem placement come at a time when African-American women are the group with the highest rate of HIV infection in the city — and the nation.

Greenmarket Farmers Pay a Big Price

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Farmers in the Midwest have more than doubled their profits since 2005 by selling grains like corn and soybeans, thanks to the country’s biofuel craze.

But Northeast farmers, who primarily raise livestock, have ended up on the wrong side of the tipping scale.

The agricultural shift is having a direct impact at New York City’s Greenmarkets, where farmers are struggling to keep prices down as their fuel and feed costs skyrocket.

Many blame high food prices in the U.S. on the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which called for the amount of biofuels produced in the country to almost double in six years.

The price of corn, the main ingredient of ethanol, soared. Wheat and soybean farmers devoted some of their acreage to corn. In response, the price for those crops also rose.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, soybeans prices have more than doubled, and corn and wheat prices have tripled.

At the same time, gasoline and diesel fuel prices have risen by about 30% and 50%, respectively, since 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Meanwhile, farmers at the Union Square Greenmarket are holding their breath – and trying to hold their prices steady.

Welcome to the Hamster House

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Kaiser Wilhelm started it all.

Wilhelm was the hamster Jessica Wells found crossing Broadway during a walk home nearly three years ago. “I had been shoe shopping that day, which was really lucky,” said Wells, 30. “So I took the shoes outside and put the box on the sidewalk.”

Wilhelm walked straight into the box and the New York Hamster House was born. Local shelters do not accept hamsters, inspiring Wells begin taking them in.

Run out of her one-bedroom apartment in Inwood, Wells currently houses 22 hamsters and other small animals. Cages are neatly lined up against the overflowing bookshelves in the living room.

For a room with so many animals living in it, it was surprising quiet on a recent Sunday. This all changes come nightfall — the cacophony of the hamsters squeaking, running on their wheels and shredding cardboard boxes can regularly be heard. “I had to move my DVD player into the bedroom because it got so loud in here,” Wells said.

Before Kaiser Wilhelm, Wells had never owned or taken care of a hamster before. “A lot of it is trial and error,” she said, crediting hamster discussion groups online and comments hamster aficionados post on her blog for much of her knowledge.

“I’ve learned a lot. The good thing is that I don’t pretend that I know everything,” added Wells, who estimates she has taken care of more than 400 hamsters since 2005.

Wells does not charge a fee to adopt, though occasionally families will donate when they take their adoptees home. She said she spends $150 to $500 a month on supplies.

Currently, New York Hamster House is not officially a nonprofit operation, though Wells is working to change that. “Right now I’m just a girl with a lot of hamsters,” she said.

Netball Bounces Into New York

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Vinyl Records Spin New Tune

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Cinderella Solution For Pricey Proms

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Yellow Cabs Go Green

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Used Bike Business Booms

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008