Tapped In: Hydroponic Farming Classroom, Fracking Delay, ADA Lawsuits vs. UWS Merchants

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By Jessica Mastronardi & Joanna Fantozzi Brewer Cuts Ribbon on Hydroponic Farming Classroom On Tuesday, February 12, Upper West Side Council Member Gale Brewer joined students at the Computer School on West 77th Street to cut the ribbon on a brand new hydroponic farming classroom. With the help of $35,000 of discretionary capital funding allocated by Brewer, the Computer School created the state-of-the-art classroom to enhance science learning and provide delicious produce. A long-time supporter of hands-on science education and green initiatives, Council Member Brewer funded greenhouses at Manhattan School for Children and P.S. 199. Brewer was also instrumental in the creation and development of Urban Advantage, a program that collaborates with the Department of Education and the City's museums, zoos and gardens to fully engage middle school students in the sciences both in and out of the classroom. Broadway Scores for P.S. 84 Broadway stars are temporarily leaving their respective stages to gather for a good cause - to raise money for P.S. 84 The Lillian Weber School of Arts. Kerry Butler, Randuy Redd, Renee Elise Goldsbury, Erik Charlston, Mark Soskin and Joe Iconis and Family will be performing "Broadway Scores for P.S. 84 - A Celebration of Songs Featuring Kerry Butler and Friends" under the musical direction of Dan Elish. This event will be held on March 3rd at Robert H. Smith Auditorium at the New York History Society, at 170 Central Park West. Ticket's to the show range from $50 to $150 and include access to the 7 p.m. cocktail hour and 8 p.m. performance and live auction. Use code "Broadway" to get a 20 percent discount on tickets at ps84cabaret.eventbrite.com. All of the proceeds will be going towards P.S. 84 and the PTA's enrichment initiatives. ADA Lawsuits vs. UWS Merchants Merchant owners on the Upper West Side are learning just how much it costs to disobey the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to Crain's New York, the Florida-based attorney Ben-Zion Bradley Weitz is on the hunt for UWS storeowners with storefronts that do not meet ADA standards, and charging them tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees while plaintiffs on average make $500. Many storeowners claim that abiding by ADA regulations and the regulations of the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission is nearly impossible to do. The changes the ADA requires they make interfere with the preservation of these historic landmarks. Affected merchants are joining together create a defense against Weitz's acts of alleged extortion. Among the list of supporters for these merchants include Barbra Adler, the executive director of the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District and Peter Panken, a labor and employment attorney. Upper West Side Community Cheers Fracking Delay Environmental activists and anti-fracking New Yorkers cheered Governor Cuomo's announcement that the issuance of the final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, which would determine the fate of hydraulic fracturing in New York State, will be delayed. The announcement has been counted as a victory by opponents of the controversial drilling practice in the on-going debate over the health and safety impacts of hydro-fracking. "It is my sincere hope that the Administration would heed the warnings of public health and environmental experts to stop this process in its entirety until a comprehensive and wholly independent health study can be completed," said Upper West Side Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal in a statement. Once the health review is completed within the next few weeks, and if it has addressed each of these concerns, a permit to begin the hydro-fracking process could be processed within 10 days.

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