Federal Judge: New York City's Disaster Plan Discriminates Against Disabled People

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C.S. Muncy
Manhattan, post-Sandy.
Here's another nice parting gift for the Bloomberg administration in its waning days: a massive ruling issued late yesterday by a federal judge in New York's Southern District found that the city's emergency management plan discriminates against people with disabilities. The judge, Jesse M. Furman, devoted a full 119 pages to outlining all the ways the city -- and Michael Bloomberg specifically, in his capacity as mayor -- has failed to accommodate the city's nearly 900,000 disabled people during disasters like hurricanes Irene and Sandy.

"Most significantly," Furman wrote, "the City's plans are inadequate to ensure that people with disabilities are able to evacuate before or during an emergency; they fail to provide sufficiently accessible shelters; and they do not sufficiently inform people with disabilities of the availability and location of accessible emergency services."

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Mountain Dew, Doritos, and Candyland: How Pepsi and Walmart Are Helping New Yorkers Recover

Thanks, Wal-Mart.
Nobody tell Mike Bloomberg, but hurricane-ravaged New Yorkers are drinking free Mountain Dew right now -- and probably more than the allotted 16 ounces of which he approves.

Walmart and Pepsi Co. are among the first big-time corporations to donate a large amount of supplies to aid in the Hurricane Sandy relief effort.

We got a list of what the companies have donated, and it's bound to piss off a nutrition bully like Bloomy.

Walmart has donated the following:

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Hurricane Irene Damages to be Fixed with $90 Million in Federal Money

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As we ring in the new year, Hurricane Irene may seem like a distant memory from warmer, rainier days. But recovery from the damage is not done! And New York has officially secured millions of federal dollars to rebuild.

$90 million, to be exact. Well, to be EXACT: $89,751,296.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding the congressionally approved emergency relief funds to New York State to fix the damage of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced in a press release late yesterday afternoon.

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Hurricane Irene Cost the MTA $110 Million; Fare Increases Still Planned for 2013

The MTA is out $110 million, reports the New York Post, thanks to Hurricane (later, Tropical Storm) Irene. That breaks down into $50 million to fix Metro-North's damaged Port Jervis line, $10 million spent on shuttle buses that ran as the line was down, and $50 million in operating costs, including lost fares and the cost to shut down the entire system. According to the MTA, "Overall results in August were significantly impacted by Tropical Storm Irene. Monthly passenger revenues were $21.7 million, or 5.3%, lower-than-forecast and toll revenues were $7.6 million, or 5.6%, lower."

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Mike Bloomberg's Approval Ratings Boosted By Irene

Mike Bloomberg's extra-cautious handling of Hurricane Irene appears to have reversed the damage Snowpocalypse did to his reputation, according to a new poll released by Quinnipiac University. The poll shows that 54 percent of New Yorkers now approve of Bloomberg's performance overall, while 86 percent laud his hurricane response and in particular, 90 percent approved of his decision to evacuate flood-prone areas. This is in contrast to earlier this year post-blizzard when the mayor's approval ratings slipped to 39 percent.

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At Least Two Animals Benefited From Hurricane Irene

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Not newborn Irene Hope, but close enough.
This week, a lost cat was adopted and a baby lamb was born, and we can all thank Hurricane Irene. Yeah, that Hurricane Irene, the one that is one of the top ten costliest storms in U.S. history, shut down the biggest transit system in the country for a weekend, and caused widespread devastation
and the Catskills. Forget all that noise! Focus on the kitty and the wee baby lamb, both of whom are happy and healthy.

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Barack Obama Declares Major Disaster in New York State, Providing Federal Aid for Recovery Efforts

Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in New York state following Hurricane Irene, a move that allows residents of Albany, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Greene, Schenectady, Schoharie, and Ulster Counties to receive federal recovery funds for temporary housing, home repairs, low-cost loans to cover property losses, and other recovery efforts. Yesterday Governor Cuomo had written to the president asking him to speed up the availability of funds, to bring assistance to the state without an lengthy review period. Irene is expected to be one of the 10 costliest disasters in U.S. history, with estimated damage totaling "anywhere between $7 billion and $10 billion."

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Hurricane Irene's Death Toll Is Now at 40 People

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Though New York City seems to be pretty much back on track, A-O.K., after our rendezvous with Hurricane Irene (have we gotten over our regret yet? I hope so), it bears reminding that other towns have not been so lucky. Many on the East Coast and upstate New York, as well as Vermont, are without power. Homes in the Catskills have been ripped up and blown down. People are rebuilding lives -- and, as of Monday afternoon, according to the AP, 40 people had been killed, 8 in New York. One of them was an 82-year-old Brooklyn woman who had been vacationing in Fleischmanns, New York, who drowned after a creek flooded her cottage.

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Bonus of Hurricane Irene: Lots of Magic Mushrooms

The havoc wreaked by Hurricane Irene has an upside: the hurricane may have created favorable conditions for mushrooms to grow in the wild. As Bowery Boogie reported earlier, penis-shaped red mushrooms have sprouted up on East 2nd Street since the storm, and they're not the only ones -- the magic psilocybin kind are also sprouting up everywhere.

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Metro-North to Resume on a Sunday Schedule for Lower Hudson and Lower Harlem Lines (Updated)

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Metro-North, hit hard by Hurricane Irene, is starting to make a comeback. The MTA has just announced that service will resume at 2 p.m. today on a Sunday schedule (off-peak fares are in effect). Note that this is for the Lower Hudson and Lower Harlem Lines only. Because of signal and third-rail issues and water damage, the New Haven, Upper Hudson, Upper Harlem, and New Canaan, Danbury, and Waterbury Branch Line Services remain suspended. Crews are still working to clear tracks and repair infrastructure. Port Jervis and Pascack Valley Line service also remains suspended.

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