Wife, Mother, Grandmother & Convicted Felon: The Rise and Fall of New York State Senator Shirley Huntley

You’ll probably only serve three months with good behavior,” Shirley Huntley recalls her lawyer, Sally Butler, saying.  The defense team was sure the judge would take into account that she was 74 years old, and suffering from severe sciatica.  And surely the judge would factor in her more than 40 years of community service.    

And so with Butler’s words fresh in her mind, Huntley surveyed her closet on the morning of May 9th, 2013 as she prepared for her sentencing hearing.  She settled on a black and white patterned dress she thought most fitting for the occasion.  She decided she would wear her smart black jacket over it, and embellish the lapel with her favorite heart shaped pin.  She combed her short brown curled wig, brushed some blush on her cheeks, and applied a subtle shade of red lipstick.  Driving to the Brooklyn courthouse, Huntley reflected on the conversation she’d had with her family the night before.  She had told them not to worry, and that even if she was sent to jail, their lives should go on as normal. 

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The Case for Funding for New York City Parks

In October 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that 35 playgrounds and parks across the City would be receiving $130 million in funding for renovations.  I went to the Bronx to find out what residents though of the initiative. 

It’s 9 o’clock on a sunny Sunday morning at Watson Gleason Playground in the South Bronx.  Sweat dripping down her forehead, and wisps of her straight brown hair waving in the wind, eleven-year-old Sanaa Ferreiras runs lap after lap around a basketball court.  With graceful strides, her small frame moves effortlessly as she stares straight ahead, determination on her face.   

“I want to be a WNBA star one day,” Ferreiras says breathlessly, as she stops for a drink of water.  But first she wants to go to college.

“I want to play for UConn.  I think I’d be good on their team,” she says with an embarrassed giggle, her eyes downcast. 

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So what exactly goes into protecting a high profile person?

On September 15th, approximately 300 foreign ministers, dignitaries and United Nations (UN) staff gathered for a prayer service to mark the opening of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).  The venue was the historic Church of the Holy Name, also know as The United Nations Parish, which is located on a tree-lined street one block from the UN headquarters. 

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Copyright Sandra Chuma 2014