by Megan Bungeroth Sheepskins and Soledad CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien (left) was the commencement speaker at Hunter College's 205th graduation ceremony, which was presided over by Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab. The commencement ceremony, where 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students received their degrees, took place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on May 29. E-Cigarette Restrictions Pass Assembly Upper West Side Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal's bill to restrict the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors passed the assembly unanimously last week. If it passes the Senate, where it's sponsored by State Sen. Owen Johnson of Long Island, with the same ease, the law would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and regulate their sale in the same way that traditional cigarettes are regulated. E-cigarettes, as they're sometimes called, are manufactured with no restrictions on what types of chemicals they can contain. While they don't create smoke, they do contain nicotine and other unknown chemicals. They are battery-operated devices made to look like regular cigarettes that vaporize the nicotine, rather than burn it, and have been marketed as transition devices to help smokers quit more harmful cigarettes. They have also been heavily marketed to young teens, with an array of candy and fruit flavors like watermelon and bubble gum. Cool kids have been planted to "smoke" them in popular clubs and bars. Currently, anyone can purchase and use them legally. "[This] will help to avert a lifetime of cigarette smoking in young people and teens by preventing them from using this 'gateway' device," Rosenthal said. "Young people who begin smoking electronic cigarettes are very likely to move away from electronic cigarettes and onto the real thing." Plantathon Fest The Broadway Mall Association is dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the malls of Broadway, from the Upper West Side through Harlem. On Sunday, June 10, the organization is hosting its 35th annual Plantathon and Music Festival. At this free festival, participants can sample international cuisine from over 50 food stands, browse the displays of over 400 craft and plant exhibitors and listen to the music of Linda Miller, Havana Central, and Blue Haze on Broadway between 72nd and 86th streets. Famed actor Eli Wallach will be signing autographs and discussing his autobiography at the Authors Corner from 2-4 p.m. The festival runs from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and is open to all. For more information, call 212-764-6330. Computer School Music Fundraiser Broadway stars are going to grace the stage June 11 at the Computer School, 100 W. 77th St., to sing songs from your favorite musicals. Funds raised will benefit the Computer School Instrumental Music Program. The show will have performers from Porgy & Bess, Phantom of the Opera, Showboat, Wicked, Leap of Faith, Next to Normal, The Fantasticks, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and more. Get razzed, get dazzled and help expand the CS music program! Mocktail hour starts at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 6:30. Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for adults. Wingspan Arts' 10th Anniversary Wingspan Arts will honor Council Member Gale Brewer at its 10th anniversary benefit on June 11 at B.B. Kings' Blues Club and Grill. This year's milestone event will be a celebration of the arts education and enrichment programs Wingspan has provided to students and communities over the past decade. This year's other honorees include Wingspan Arts founder Gary Bernstein. A proclamation from the mayor's office will be issued as a tribute to Wingspan's contributions to the city. This year's benefit includes cocktails, dinner and a show. The evening will feature performances by Wingspan Arts students and teaching artists, Broadway chatterbox Seth Rudetsky, Gavin Lodge (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Alena Watters (Sister Act), cabaret performer Kim Grogg (One Hit Wonder Woman) and other friends from the New York City entertainment community. The nonprofit organization was founded 10 years ago in New York City and offers customized in-school, after-school, conservatory and partnership arts programs for children in grades K-12. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wingspanarts.org. Property Taxes Demystified Upper West Side City Council Member Gale Brewer and representatives from the city's Department of Finance will be available to help residents with property tax questions at a seminar on Thursday, June 7 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square. Bring questions about commercial, residential, condo and co-op property taxes and get answers directly from the department that handles them.
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