The Best of Josh Sorensen

Insight-Following Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, I started working on putting together a story that would document the struggle Staten Island and it;s residents would have to go though in order to recover from such a devastating storm.

 

Insight- my time with the Staten Island Advance I was assigned to many different assignments. But the ones I loved the most to do were the ones when local people are knocked off guard by changes in their community and what they do in order to adjust.

The two following stories document two cases on the North Sure of Staten Island.

One being when a windmill was constructed in Bayonne NJ, that became an eye sore for those in the surrounding area’s.

The other is when a dredging project was taking place off the shore of Richmond Terrance. The locals were disturbed by the way the dredging would crack the foundation of their homes and scared them with violent trembles.

Wind turbine stands tall on N.J. horizon

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — New things are popping up on the horizon, in the form of a fossil fuel-busting wind turbine in Bayonne, which is visible from Richmond Terrace and several hilly areas of the Island.10497274-large

Standing at a mind blowing 260 feet, the massive wind turbine was unveiled Monday, and is located at the Bayonne Municipal Utility Authority’s pumping station.

Officials at Hatch Mott MacDonald and Hatch Energy, which is responsible for the wind turbine, assured Bayonne officials that the turbine is certified to international engineering standards, in a Power Point presentation.

A single wind turbine can produce 3.3 gigawatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power 600 single-family homes for the same period, officials told the Jersey Journal. The wind turbine will also save the city electricity costs and earn Renewable Energy Credits with PSE&G, according to Steve Gallo, the executive director of Bayonne Utility Municipal Authority.

But, owing largely to the fact that his preferred site, atop a capped garbage mound at the former Fresh Kills landfill has been deemed unsuitable, Borough President James Molinaro’s repeated calls to generate clean energy on Staten Island with high-tech wind turbines have gone unheeded.

“Wind turbines will be great for the Island, especially if they are placed on top of Fresh Kills,” said Patrick J. O’Connor of West Brighton. “They are no louder then a refrigerator, and do little to no harm to wildlife, as studies shown a bird is more likely to be killed by a domestic cat than a turbine.”

The American Bird Conservancy cites a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimate that as many as 440,000 birds a year are killed in collisions with wind turbine blades — a fraction of the number killed by power lines.

Tall glass buildings are far more dangerous to birds, according to the group’s website.

Kill Van Kull Dredging Project shakes Staten Island North Shore

Staten Island, N.Y.– Residents of Mariners Harbor say they are feeling the impact of a project to deepen the Kill Van Kull — several residents say that cracks in the foundations of their homes are the result of a dredging project that involves blasting.

“I feel my house shake around the same time each day,” said Eugene Mosely, who showed several cracks in the foundation of his home on 22B South Ave. “When it first started, I thought it was a terror attack. It was scary how off-guard the shaking caught me; I feared my house would crumble to the ground.”

The vibrations from the blasting can be felt for upwards of five seconds and from several blocks away, with last week being the worst recent example, when homes shook for 10 seconds and made cracks under front stairways and in basements, according to several South Avenue residents.

“I felt a horrible rumble, everything was shaking,” said Sarah Young, another South Avenue resident who voiced her concerns after finding a crack in the concrete next to her front door. “The blasting is getting really bad,” she said. “I think there is an explosion sometimes.”

Both residents say the cracks did not exist prior to the blasting work in the Kill Van Kull — the waterway that separates the Island’s North Shore from Bayonne, N.J.

“There is no doubt that the sounds and rumbling felt by residents in the neighborhood are a result of the dredging in the Kill Van Kull,” said Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore), whose office has received multiple complaints of damage.

“This unsettling situation should be investigated by the Army Corps of Engineers as soon as possible and efforts taken to remediate this matter,” she said.

The current New York/New Jersey harbor deepening project has lasted over a year, with many restrictions on when blasting can be done, along with how much force can be used behind each blast in the 1,500 foot “blast zone,” according to Bryce Wisemiller, project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Several contracts have been issued to the Army Corps of Engineers in the last 12 years, with the current deepening project scheduled for completion in 2013. The sea bottom is to be deepened to over 50 feet, allowing much larger ships access to the channel.

Those immense ships are increasingly part of the global economy. Without the deepening project, local ports would not be competitive, and the economy would suffer, according to proponents of the dredging project.

The Corps and other involved agencies are monitoring the construction to ensure that the work conforms to federal, state and local requirements. Those requirements include a provision that drilling only be performed intermittently; only during daylight hours, and never on Sundays or federal holidays.

Follow Josh Sorensen on Twitter

Insight- Here is a link to one of my favorite storys I have done. The quality is not the greatest which I admit, but the subject matter was fun for me. I documented the 50 year history of the WWE’s Championship belt, all while reliving parts of my childhood.

50 years of the WWE Championship

Insight-  My other favorite article that I have done was my first published article, which showcases a 13-year-old boy who builds reindeer out of tree parts. From building these wooden sculptures Joesph Lauro, was able to donate hundreds of dollars to several local charities on Staten Island.

Miniature reindeer flying out of teen woodworker’s shop

Handcrafted wooden reindeerA 13-year-old boy has brought joy to the hearts of many of his Tottenville neighbors this holiday season.

Joseph Lauro of Totten Intermediate School has spent most of his days recently crafting wooden reindeer alongside his father, Harry, for friends, family, school fairs and various charities around Staten Island, including The Eden II and Genesis programs for adults and children with autism.

Joseph started making handcrafted goods out of Popsicle sticks for his parents at 8 years old, and since then has taken on more difficult projects, ranging from a house for his bird, Sunny, to a doghouse for pets Boomer and Gizmo, to an extravagant plant holder that goes around the deck in his backyard.

“He is way ahead of his time, and the neighbors really love his work,” said the elder Lauro. “Along with spreading holiday cheer, he is learning responsibility and how to run a small business; this is how many of the great entrepreneurs get their start, with small business being the true backbone of the economy.”

With reasonable prices and little to no cost for materials, Joseph has raised almost $600 this season alone. The wood used for the reindeer bodies comes from trees felled by recent rain- and snowstorms; the Lauros store the wood in their shed.

Every safety precaution is taken when Joseph handles power tools: He wears ear and eye protection, along with thick work gloves, to protect him from flying wood chips. And his father is at Joseph’s side at all times when he handles any dangerous tools.

“He fell in love with making things a few years ago, when we bought him a few hand tools and a small hand sander,” said mom Jane Lauro. “You would think a 13-year-old boy would want your conventional type of Christmas gifts, like a bike or a video game system; not Joseph – he asked for a chain saw. But I don’t think he is old enough for one yet.”

Apart from building reindeer, Joseph enjoys the outdoors with his friends. He plays offensive line alongside several of his classmates in a 9-11 flag football league on the South Shore. And he’s pulling good grades, to further his dreams of becoming an engineer.

“It feels good, knowing that the reindeer I have created have put a smile on many faces,” the boy said. “I love giving back to my community, and if I can brighten up someone’s holiday season, than I am doing a good job.”

Insight-Thus far you have seen what is viewed as my best work and my favorite work, but here is what I have considered my bread and butter when it comes to writing. Sports.

I have had a passion for sports ever since I was a child. I would often turn down the t.v. when a game was on and do my own commentating, as well as maintaining a score keeping book.

As I got older I quickly noticed that I have the voice and the face of a writer, which let me into the field of journalism.

I tried hard news at first, but it turned out it bored me to death. So with tons of convincing I was able to pull a postion at the sports web desk at the Staten Island Advance/ SILIVE.COM, where I got to talk daily about my first true love.

Here are two of my favorites, one documenting a dream come true of a local grid-iron star who got to play for his boyhood team, and the other that got me my break and credibility as a sports web based writer. The trade of Tim Tebow to the Jets. Which was a good example of a up to the moment story, being that the trade had several hang ups with contract issues.

Former Staten Island football star invited to New York Giants’ rookie mini-camp
Bobby Skinner has been waiting a long time for opportunity to knock.

Perhaps the time is now.

SkinnerAP12.JPGSkinner, 27, the New Dorp HS and Montclair State product, is among the rookies and undrafted free agents participating in the New York Giants’ minicamp this weekend.

“I can’t believe it; it’s still not registering in my head,” said Skinner, a Clifton resident and defensive tackle. “I will give it my all to make the best of this opportunity that I am blessed with.”

Skinner was a key member of New Dorp’s varsity as a senior during the 2002 season, when he received all-city and all-state mention, was a Fugazzi Award finalist and played in the Empire Outback Challenge and The Governors Bowl.

Nonetheless, his path to Giant camp this weekend was long and winding.

Skinner who dropped out of New Dorp late in his senior year, moved in 2004 to Massachusetts, where he earned his General Equivalency Diploma. From there, he enrolled at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo., in 2005.

His stay at the Missouri school was short as moved back to Massachusetts in 2006 to raise his then newborn son Bobby Jr.

Skinner worked in a juvenile detention center, until returning to Staten Island in 2010 where he worked himself back into physical shape to attend Montclair State.

It’s a long shot for any undrafted free agent to get invited to a camp, let alone make a team. It’s an even longer shot when that free agent is Skinner’s age and played Division III ball.

Nonetheless, the 6-foot-4, 295-pounder got the call this week from Giants football operations coordinator Matt Harris that there’d be a spot at the camp.

“I plan to fulfill my dream since I was a kid,” Skinner told the Advance by e-mail, “the chance to play in the NFL.”

Skinner, who was eligible for this year’s NFL draft, has been waiting since the end of April for a phone call from any NFL team inviting him to camp.

To get ready for the physical demands of an NFL camp, Skinner has been working out with the guidance of trainers of Demarco Gym in New Jersey since the end of the college season.

The gym hosted a combine for Skinner, that had several NFL teams in attendance including the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers. 

Tim Tebow traded to New York Jets

Tim Tebow, Tebowing

New York will now be “Tebowing,” as the Jets have acquired former first-round pick Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos for a forth and a sixth round selection in this years upcoming NFL Draft.

Gang Green has agreed on a deal to bring the popular, fleet-footed quarterback to New York, according to FoxSports.com.

Tebow for the moment will serve as Mark Sanchez’s back-up, working out of the wild-cat formation and possibly lining up as a slot wide receiver/ tight end.

After a disappointing 1-4 start under QB Kyle Orton, Denver turned to Tebow, who led the team to seven more regular season wins, including a AFC Western division crown and a wild card playoff victory versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, before losing to the AFC champion New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round.

Tebow finished the season with 12 throwing touchdowns, 6 interceptions and 1,729 yards through the air, along with 660 yards on the ground and six rushing touchdowns.

Ryan and Sparano will instill packages to run with Tebow as the QB, but Sanchez will remain the team’s starter. As Sanchez did throw for 3,500 yards passing last season and 26 touchdowns.

Tebow adds value wherever he is on the Jets depth chart because of his inspirational attitude and willingness to be a leader.

On a Jets team that came apart late last season, Tebow could be the force that not only brings the team together, but would also play as the one who rids the team of its bad seeds.

Sanchez might be a Tebow fan as well, at least according to an interview Sanchez did on a West Coast radio show.

“I think Tim will do great no matter what happens,” Sanchez said on the Petros and Money Show on Tuesday.

This happened, of course, before Sanchez knew he’d be teammates with Tebow. The hosts didn’t press Sanchez about Tebow possibly joining the Jets, but the USC grad doesn’t sound ready to learn a new offense as a “Wildcat” option.

“I don’t know if I’m very good splitting out like that,” Sanchez said, laughing. “I don’t like coming off the field.”

Tebow’s salaries for the next three seasons would come on the cheap end, costing no more than the average NFL backup quarterback: $1.94 million in 2012, $2.26 million in 2013 and $2.59 million in 2014.

Feel this is the right move for the Jets? Sound off in the comment section below.

Insight-  In all I feel I have a good enough portfolio as a writer to be accepting to most newspapers or websites, but what is the determining factor at this point of my life is money.

After doing an extended amount of time at the Staten Island Advance I have determined the life of a writer is not for me. The only thing that keeps me doing it is school, being that I am all but complete with my Journalism degree.

I have lost my love for writing, since the Advance. I have since moved on and dabbled in different fields of work, including industrial, accounting and even sales. Which at this point pays the bills, unlike Journalism.

My future for Journalism is not bright, but I can not say the same for the future of Journalism as a whole.

It was described to me by an editor at the Advance, that in any fields there is ups and downs, whether it be from the economy or the ever changing technology.

In the future Journalist will have do adapt to the times, by creating different ways to get their content across to a more broader audience. In a way that I am unable to answer, or else I would stay in the field.

I hope you enjoyed reading some of my work, be sure to check out the rest of the articles that are on the main page and follow me on twitter , @JoshS_sivet.

 

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