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Mortician Leaves ‘em Smiling

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Isaiah Owens’ curiosity about funerals began at age 5 when he helped bury animals on the South Carolina farm where he grew up. The first time he saw a human corpse was during the funeral of his aunt.

After touching her head, he knew his calling was to become a funeral director.

Owens attended New York’s American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service, from which he graduated in 1969. He went on to build his Owens Funeral Home in Harlem, billing it as the place “Where beauty softens grief.”

“I make people look like they are all in heaven,” said the funeral cosmetologist.

Punishing Push For School Sports

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, about fifteen high school students from the International Community High School (ICHS) in the South Bronx stood at the gates of City Hall, where they plan to stand every Wednesday until their demands are met: sports at their school, and all small schools in New York City.

“Chancellor Fariña, you did not read our research. If you did, you would be standing with us and not against us!” belted senior Sory Konate. Other students chanted “Civil rights matter!” to the rhythm of four students drumming on bright orange Home Depot buckets. They stood behind a bright white banner embossed with the image of a clasped black fist and their movement’s social media tag, #civilrightsmatter.

Standing by, distributing fliers and keeping an eagle eye out for councilmembers, was David Garcia-Rosen, the man who had been their school dean until March, when he was removed from the school following another action calling for expanded access to sports.

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Transgender Healthcare on Tap

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Early last month New York State health officials partially lifted a 17-year-old ban on transgender health care from Medicaid, affording people seeking surgeries transitioning from one gender to another coverage for the procedures.

But a key element to transgender health care is still unavailable because there are no surgeons in New York City who specialize in gender reassignment surgery. People who want to have bottom surgery, changing their body below the belt, and top surgery, which changes the body above the belt, need to go out of state for their operations, making the process more complicated, expensive and harrowing.

The regulation, which took effect March 11, has left Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital, which hopes to be the first in New York to provide transitional surgeries, scrambling to meet the new demand.

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Baltimore Unrest’s Local Echoes

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Reed Dunlea captured video of arrests made during a Manhattan protest in support of demonstrators in Baltimore decrying the case of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody.

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Marguerite Ward, in a video for Voices of NY, talked to protestors about complaints over the loaded language used by some media outlets to describe the reaction to Gray’s death.

UWS Traffic Safety Fears Grow

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Questions Trail Charter School

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Summit Tackles Gender Equality

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

All Not Aboard on Bus Station

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Runners Chart a Safer Course

Thursday, January 29th, 2015