I’m Back!

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I left this blog when I ended Multimedia and Issues in the News.  Documentary took over and I had to work over there.  I highly suggest checking out the final product!  

 

I graduated almost a month ago! I’ve been searching out some jobs so I’m using the work that’s on this blog, Weird Ithaca and Ithaca Week to hopefully lead me to employment and the real world! 

 

Wish me luck! 

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It took some searching to find some information on trafficking from Salon.  None of it is new.  Only one has a first person narrative.  A piece entitled “My pimp advertised me online” where a woman tells her story of being forced into prostitution. Most of them are just the reporters assuming how hard it is to be trafficked by using anonymous sources.  Also, every single one is about sex trafficking.  The only one that mentions that there could be other forms is one that mentions Estonia might ban trafficking (they did).  But even that piece focuses on sex work and not really on things like making goods or farming.  Still, it’s not surprising as farming or production is not sexy and it’s too real for people to deal with.

The Atlantic presents a similar problem.  Their most recent article is from a month ago that tells us slavery does still exist. The difference is this one doesn’t focus just one sex slavery.  This one focuses on everything that slavery involves.  It also is the only one that has actual pictures of slaves doing jobs that aren’t sex slavery.  The rest is just sex slavery and from last year and further back.  

It actually is depressing how little slavery was focused on in both of them.  You know, bashing other political parties during election season takes up a lot of space.

I have 36 slaves working for me. Welp, that’s depressing but less than I actually thought it would be. Off to find some fair trade bathroom products. 

Salon and The Atlantic

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The city of Ithaca is expanding its sustainability efforts by installing solar panels on the buildings of the Ithaca Youth Bureau and the Ithaca Fire Department.

In addition, any energy generated by the panels that the buildings do not use will go back onto the city’s grid, providing more power for other buildings to use.

 

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The city has already saved $523,057 in energy costs over the last three years through energy conservation and facility improvement measures on government buildings.

The Youth Bureau isn’t new to renewable energy.  Two years ago, they started a solar hot water project in Cass Park, though the main building didn’t use enough hot water to implement the plan there.  According to Ithaca Youth Bureau director Allen Green, that was when the bureau first started thinking about solar electric power.

“We have been interested in sustainability for a while,” said Green. “The IYB was a bit of a trail blazer.”

At the fire department, the firehouse currently buys its energy off the city grid.  Once the panels are installed, it will be powered on its own.  The most important part of the installation is that the department will no longer be running on the power created by fossil fuels on the grid, said Fire Chief Tom Parsons.

“The savings will be small,” said Parsons, “the bigger impact is that we’re using sustainable energy. We’re not relying on energy produced by fossil fuels.

The Town of Ithaca is generating ideas as well.  A new community initiative started last week, holding forums where people can discuss energy alternatives to create a plan.

These ideas have included ways to possibly share solar energy, according to town sustainability planner Nick Goldsmith.

“Not everyone has enough roof space for panels,” Goldsmith said.  That prompted one resident, at a forum last Tuesday, to suggest solar panels on houses that other residents could also use.  The quadrants would allow residents to share with those who do have the space, said Goldsmith.

Solar power does come at a cost. The upfront cost for the technology is more than that of other sources, and many don’t find the panels aesthetically pleasing on buildings or houses.  However, the price remains steadier for renewable resources because there are fewer variables, said Adam Rickel, project manager at Nextera Engery, which installs and maintains more solar panels and wind turbines than any other company in North America.

“You can set a price with a contract,” Rickel said, “You pledge to buy an amount of energy and that price is locked in.  The reason is, we know what that fuel costs, it doesn’t cost anything.  With natural gas, the price we pay fluctuates with the price of natural gas.”

Green and Parsons both feel that the benefits of sustainable energy technology far outweigh any down sides.

“Technology plays a huge role,” Rickel said, “as it gets better it’ll become less expensive for communities.”

City Makes Stride Toward Cleaner Energy

Hip Culture: A belly dance community in Upstate New York

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Her 4-foot-10 frame held steadfast, staring straight ahead, until the music started. At the first low beat of an Egyptian drum, June Seaney’s dainty feet set into a grand step across the wooden floor of her living room studio. Her hands curled through the air and her long, amber hair created a path for the other dancers to follow. Olga and Jackie’s skirts swayed as they, too, took their first steps.

The Chandani Belly Dance Troupe’s routine had begun.

 

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Seaney, the troupe instructor, was always mystified by belly dancing, but never imagined that she would spend her life running a studio. Now, Seaney teaches beginner, intermediate and advanced levels of Middle Eastern and Romani dances at Cornell University and with her company, Moonlight Dancer.

Though high rent forced Seaney out of her studio in downtown Ithaca, she still teaches four days a week in her living room at home. She spends the most time with her troupe, Chandani. Some of the members have been dancing with Seaney for nearly 20 years.

“These people are fabulous. They’ve hung in there while we’re regrouping and finding another place,” Seaney said. “We all help each other.”

The troupe, eight female members, gathers not just for practice, but performance. Chiandi has performed at several festivals in Ithaca and the surrounding area and during the months of September and October, the troupe performs nearly every weekend.

Tonight, in Seaney’s living room, the troupe members are in full, traditional costume to rehearse an Egyptian dance for Rakkasah East, a belly dance exposition in Somerset, N.J., this weekend.

“I drag them everywhere,” Seaney said, laughing.

Seaney believes that performance is the best way to spread the culture of belly dance, which is often misinterpreted.

Middle Eastern and Romani belly dance are traditional styles that focus on isolating different parts of the body, mainly the hips. Belly dance is usually performed by women and was popularized in the United States during the early 18th century to model Oriental harems.

Most often now, Seaney said, belly dance is only seen in restaurants and music videos.

Troupe member Olga Malysheva was attracted by the music during one of Seaney’s shows. Prior to seeing June perform Malysheva had thought belly dancing was “controversial” dance style. However, she was still interested in learning more about it.

“I saw June performing and I thought ‘oh my god that’s so impressive. I want to dance like that,” Malysheva said.

Maylsheva signed up for classes with Seaney almost immediately and has been with Chiandi ever since.

Emily Nowels, Ithaca College student and belly dancer, has danced with another local troupe called Mirage. Nowels, a native of Indiana, said that instructors like Seaney create a strong foundation for the local belly dancing culture.

“It’s always important to have someone who is so committed to spreading the dance,” Nowels said. “She and her troupe inspire other people to learn the art and to dance with her.”