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Ex-Cons Trapped in Paper Prison

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

When John Orlando was released from prison last year, he wanted to get his life back. He’d worked for decades as a funeral director, and he wanted to keep doing that. He loved the work, he needed the money, and he wanted the dignity of paying back the money he stole.

“I was guilty. I did it. I deserved to be punished,” Orlando said this past fall over breakfast in a Long Island diner. “If I could get my license back, I could make good.”

But he can’t. Orlando stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from his sick cousin who entrusted him with his estate. And when Orlando’s business failed, he couldn’t pay back the people who’d prepaid for their funerals.

He was convicted of three felonies for those crimes, and so he can’t yet get that license back. In 2016, three years after his release, he’ll be eligible to apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct, and if he gets it he’ll be allowed to at least apply to get a new funeral directing license. Until then, Orlando remains barred from the work of dressing bodies, saying prayers and arranging flowers.

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A Push to Open Adoption Records

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Carole Whitehead was 18 when her parents sent her to the Lakeview Home for Unwed Mothers in Staten Island.

“They had only one goal there, which was to get the baby away from the mothers,” said Whitehead, now 70. “They told me if I truly loved my baby, I would give him up.”

When Whitehead surrendered her son, she requested that her confidentiality be waived, so he might one day find her. She was told such waivers were “contrary to the laws of New York.”

In 1963, it was against state law for adopted children to ever view their original birth certificates. It remains so in 2015.

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Runners Chart a Safer Course

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Winter’s dark mornings and early-afternoons have many of the city’s runners logging more and more hours in the dark.  For runners like Vivian Molina, 68, who run alone, winter means an increased awareness about personal safety.

“As a woman I’m very conscious about safety so when this came up, I didn’t even wait two seconds, I just signed us up,” said Molina.

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Snow Big Deal

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Bronx Board Fires Manager

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Fighting Violence Like a Disease

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Healthcare Guide Funding Threat

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Brooklyn Boy Races Against Time

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Gang Round-up Questioned

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014