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Bon Jovi Opens Third Restaurant for People in Need to Eat for Free

You don’t have to worry about the check if you aren’t able to pay.

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(TMU) — Jon Bon Jovi and his wife Dorothea, a couple with heart and soul, officially opened the third of their volunteer-run restaurants. JBJ Soul Kitchen opened at Rutgers University in Newark on January 22 of this year.

The on campus restaurant’s goal is to cater to students facing food insecurity. More than 75% of the 36,000 undergraduate students receive financial aid, according to the university’s website.

JBJ Soul Kitchen offers a freshly prepared three course meal and patrons don’t have to worry about the check if they aren’t able to pay. To avoid patrons being stigmatized by the issues surrounding food insecurity, servers at the restaurant won’t know whether patrons paid for their meal thanks to the “pay it forward” and volunteer system used.

Bon Jovi explained the logic behind opening a restaurant at Rutgers to NBC Nightly News:

We opened our first Soul Kitchen ten years ago in Red Bank, New Jersey after Super Storm Sandy. And the second one on Toms River, because those were the people most impacted by it.”

 

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All are welcome at our table. Looking forward to spring and our garden in bloom!

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“Now what we realize is that there were kids in colleges that were hungry,” he continued. “And this was a—logical progression. And Rutgers really embraced the concept.”

“People had this romanticized version of the starving student. It’s not as romantic as we would like to think it is,” Dorothea added.

The TODAY Show’s January 27 episode aired footage from the interview in which Bon Jovi talked about the partnership, “We were approached by the food service provider here, and we had been aware of food insecurity on college campuses, and it was just a natural fit,” he said.

At the Rutgers JBJ Soul Kitchen students, faculty, staff, and community members will pay $12 or use a meal swipe to enter the establishment. Money for meals can be donated over and above the cost of their own meal to help cover the cost for someone else. By volunteering at the restaurant, patrons can earn meals for themselves or as donations for others.

The two other JBJ Soul Kitchens, both in New Jersey, bring people of various socioeconomic backgrounds together where they dine at communal tables. Serving paying and non-paying customers, the communal dining style helps bridge economic, cultural, and social differences by connecting people who might have never met or even spoken to each other in other circumstances.

The newest location aims to create these connections between Rutgers students and the surrounding community as well and will offer different meal options for students that include vegan, gluten-free, halal, and kosher food, which will help bring in students from many different backgrounds.

JBJ Soul Kitchen plans to also grow the school’s existing food pantry, adjacent to the restaurant, which last year served 30 tons of food.

Jon and Dorothea put their money where their hearts are. The couple began helping those less fortunate when they launched the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation in 2006. The foundation has helped support over 600 units of affordable and supportive housing in 10 states for thousands of people including youth and veterans. The foundation has since expanded its mission to help those struggling with food insecurity by providing warm, nutritious meals to those in need through their JBJ Soul Kitchens.

“We have been so blessed and so lucky. To see people not be able to feed their families, it’s just not acceptable,” said Dorothea.

By Jade Small | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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After Strong Backlash, NYPD Kicks Robotic Dog “Spot” to the Curb

Kenny Stancil

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The New York City Police Department decided this week to stop leasing a robotic dog from Boston Dynamics following a sustained outcry from residents and lawmakers, who denounced the use of the high-tech, four-legged device in low-income neighborhoods as a misallocation of public resources and violation of civil liberties.

When the NYPD acquired the K-9 machine last August, officials portrayed “Digidog”—the department’s name for the camera-equipped, 70-pound robot—as “a futuristic tool that could go places that were too dangerous to send officers,” the New York Times reported earlier this week.

Inspector Frank Digiacomo of the department’s Technical Assistance Response Unit said in a television interview in December: “This dog is going to save lives. It’s going to protect people. It’s going to protect officers.”

Instead—thanks to strong backlash from critics, including people who live in the Bronx apartment complex and the Manhattan public housing building where the robotic dog was deployed in recent weeks—the department is returning “Spot,” as Boston Dynamics calls the device, months earlier than expected.

According to the Times:

In response to a subpoena from City Councilman Ben Kallos and Council Speaker Corey Johnson requesting records related to the device, police officials said that a contract worth roughly $94,000 to lease the robotic dog from its maker, Boston Dynamics, had been terminated on April 22.

John Miller, the police department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, confirmed on Wednesday that the contract had been canceled and that the dog had been returned to Boston Dynamics or would be soon.

Miller told the Times that the police had initially planned to continue testing the K-9 machine’s capabilities until August, when the lease had been scheduled to end.

The robotic dog came under increased scrutiny in February, after it was deployed in response to a home invasion at a Bronx apartment building, as Common Dreams reported at the time.

“Robotic surveillance ground drones are being deployed for testing on low-income communities of color with under-resourced schools,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted in response. “Please ask yourself: when was the last time you saw next-generation, world class technology for education, healthcare, housing, etc. consistently prioritized for underserved communities like this?” 

And earlier this month, as Common Dreams reported, footage of the robotic dog walking through a Manhattan public housing building went viral, sparking additional outrage and prompting a city council investigation.

“Why the hell do we need robot police dogs?” Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) asked at the time. 

While there are “people living in poverty, struggling to put food on the table, keep a roof over their head, take care of their kids, afford child care—all this going on, and now we got damn robot police dogs walking down the street,” Bowman lamented.

Bill Neidhardt, a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who urged the police department to reconsider its use of the robot following objections from residents and lawmakers, said he was “glad the Digidog was put down.”

“It’s creepy, alienating, and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers,” Neidhardt said.

Republished from CommonDreams.org under Creative Commons

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Good News

Cliffhanger: Mountain Biker Saved From “Imminent Death” After Falling Into Canyon

Elias Marat

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A Southern California mountain biker is likely counting his blessings after he was rescued from what authorities describe as “imminent death”” after falling from the side of a cliff in the Angeles National Forest.

The mountain biker, described as an older man, fell into the canyon at Mt. Wilson on Thursday morning and was dangling hundreds of feet above the ground before his fellow bikers, and eventually a special team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, rescued him.

For some time the man dangled by a thin cord around his ankle that was tied to his bicycle while hanging on for dear life “like a cat,” Capt. Tom Giandomenico of the LASD special enforcement bureau told the Los Angeles Times.

“He knew he was in such a precarious situation. He was just scared to even rotate his head to look at us. He just didn’t want to move a muscle,” LASD Deputy Richard Thomsen told CBSLA.

Additionally, when the helicopter team arrived it wasn’t just a matter of simply hoisting the man to safety, as the air generated by the helicopter’s rotor would have sent the man plummeting to “imminent death,” Giandomenico added.

“Because he was head-down on the rock face there, that dropped probably a good 40 feet before it hit some soft dirt and a boulder,” Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Helbring said. “And beyond that was hundreds of feet down to the bottom of the canyon.”

Instead, one of the members of the special enforcement team composed of former SWAT officers devised a plan to rappel down to the man and move him to a ledge below, from which the two could be airlifted to safety.

However, due to a lack of boulders or trees, there was nothing to tie a rope to – and thus no way to rappel down to anything.

So instead, the special enforcement team used the man’s brother and another friend to be their anchor, a plan that ultimately succeeded.

Giandomenico called the rescue “one of the more significant, courageous maneuvers I’ve seen.”

“Heroic, in my opinion,” he added.

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Animals

Rare Creature Photographed Alive In The Wild For The First Time Ever

Elias Marat

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Advances in the methods used by researchers to watch wildlife have allowed for the photographing of a rare creature whose image had never been captured in the wild before.

Researchers in the West African nation of Togo were able to spot the rare Walter’s duiker, a rare species of petite African antelope, for the first time in the wild thanks to camera traps equipped with motion sensors.

In addition to the Walter’s duiker, the camera traps were also able to discover rare species of aardvarks and a mongoose, reports Gizmodo.

At a time when the extinction of entire species is becoming more common worldwide, such devices should help conservationists not only preserve creatures sought by bushmeat hunters but also spot rare animals whose presence is elusive for human observers. In the past, biologists were forced to rely on the same hunters for information.

“Camera traps are a game changer when it comes to biodiversity survey fieldwork,” said University of Oxford wildlife biologist Neil D’Cruze.

“I’ve spent weeks roughing it in tropical forests seemingly devoid of any large mammal species,” D’Cruze continued. “Yet when you fire up the laptop and stick in the memory card from camera traps that have been sitting there patiently during the entire trip—and see species that were there with you the entire time —it’s like being given a glimpse into a parallel world.”

The Walter’s duiker was discovered in 2010 when specimens of bushmeat were compared to other duiker specimens. The new images of the creature are the first to have been seen.

Rare species like Walter’s duiker are often not listed as “endangered” by groups like the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to a lack of data.

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