Page 2 of the Rat… archive.

Crusties enrage residents, merchants on EV blast block

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 8, 2018 in Rat News
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Crusty punks crashed out on Second Ave. near E. Seventh St., outside the vacant lot where three buildings were destroyed in the gas explosion in 2015. Photo by Maryann Marlowe

BY MARY REINHOLZ | Crusty punks, those storied panhandling travelers with pets and musical instruments, have reappeared in the East Village in greater numbers this fall season, stirring fear and loathing among some residents and business owners on Second Ave., according to several locals. They claim the police are doing little to address the problems posed by the homeless, mostly white vagabonds, which include alleged street crimes and quality-of-life offenses, like public urination outside the site of the 2015 gas explosion.

“They’re attracting all kinds of displaced people — I’ve never seen so many before,” said Maryann Marlowe, owner of Enz’s retro fashion boutique, at 125 Second Ave., which is adjacent to the vacant, rubble-strewn lot on Second Ave. and E. Seventh St. “Every day there are new ones.

“I’ve come to feel they own Second Ave. and it’s like we don’t belong,” she told The Villager. “Some have been here for 10 years. I’ve lived in the East Village for years and it’s never escalated to this point. It’s like a recurrence of Tent City, with sometimes 10 or 15 of them outside,” she said, referring to the homeless encampment in Tompkins Square Park in the 1980s.

“They have trays of food and mattresses and pillows out on Second Ave. They all have cell phones and say they make $50 a day panhandling. They’re here because they know the police will do nothing. Their hands are tied,” she said of the police.

Marlowe, who wants the blast site “supervised and cleaned every day,” called police on Saturday after she saw an older man among the younger crusties urinating in front of her tiny shop while a customer was there. She has since reached out to various public officials, ranging from Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3, and state Senator Brad Hoylman, to city agencies, like the Department of Health. She contacted the latter agency after, she said, the crusties were given “20 pounds of popcorn, which they threw all over the street,” and previously let loose pet rats at the blast site, “which have multiplied.”

Late last month, Marlowe attended a Ninth Precinct Community Council meeting at the E. Fifth St. police stationhouse, where she and her neighbors complained about “homeless” invaders to Captain John L. O’Connell, the new commanding officer. Two of them claimed the crusties were prone to violence.

Crusty punks – including travelers and so-called “home bums” — have made themselves comfortable at the Second Ave. spot. Police are reportedly powerless to do anything about the situation, despite neighborhood complaints. Photo by Maryann Marlowe

“There’s a colony of homeless between St. Mark’s Place and Seventh St. and they’re a public danger,” said an older woman who called herself Yvonne. “There was a stabbing in the beginning of August,” she continued. “One of them stabbed another one. Yesterday, they had a big fight. One or two of them have a car. They use the cell phone [chargers] so much. It might be good to get rid of the cell phone [chargers],” Yvonne suggested to O’Connell, referring to the city’s WiFi kiosks. “It’s a problem we want gone. There’s public urination.”

She also claimed that some of the crusties’ pets were in danger of abuse by their owners.

O’Connell, 44, an immense Irish-American third-generation cop, whose mother once served as a uniformed police officer in the Ninth, listened intently to Yvonne before answering.

“Certainly, it’s an issue that I’ve heard about,” he told her. “I’ve gone out there. We are doing a lot of things about it. Sergeant Bailey can go into more specifics about what we’re doing” after the meeting, he said, referring to Sergeant Leslie Bailey, who heads the Ninth’s Neighborhood Coordination Officers or N.C.O.’s.

At one point in the meeting, Bailey said, “We can’t arrest people just because they’re hanging out.”

C.B. 3 District Manager Stetzer offered a similar assessment when contacted by The Villager on Friday.

“People are allowed by law to be on the street,” she said in an e-mail. “If they are doing something criminal, that is not allowed. However, police need to see evidence.” Stetzer, who works with all of the involved agencies, said she was “not aware of any violence in the area from this population.”

This reporter spoke to three apparent crusties over the weekend, including a 24-year-old goateed man named Jagger Thompson, who has traveled around the country, and boasted of once making “suicide leaps” onto freight trains going 60 miles per hour. He said he now has cancer and is staying with a friend in New York. Thompson displayed a food-stamp card while stroking a pet kitten as he sat with his girlfriend on a Third Ave. sidewalk around the corner from St. Mark’s Place.

Kaitlin, a 24-year-old aspiring musician originally from Nashville, Tennessee, sat on a sidewalk next to a cell-phone charger not far from Gem Spa on Second Ave. at St. Mark’s Place. In front of her was a plate with coins and a small sign reading, “Anything helps.”

The crusties have mattresses, crates full of stuff and sometimes even a complete set of furniture, likes tables and chairs. Photo by Maryann Marlowe

Kaitlin, who has been in New York for several years, leaving and then returning, said she sleeps “right now on the street and different places.” She hugged a battered case containing her fiddle. “I had another one but it was stolen,” she said.

She was joined on the sidewalk by a bearded self-described crusty, apparently over 30, who identified himself as LeRoy Jenkins. He was smoking a cigarette from a $20 carton he got on the cheap from an Indian reservation in Suffolk County.

“I’m here to be with my [street] family,” he said, claiming he had recently reconciled with his parents and now sometimes stays with them on Long Island while working as a contractor.

Jenkins bristled and started shouting when told by this reporter that some people in the East Village are afraid of crusties, stating that he and his fellow travelers don’t “give a f—” about what other people think.

Asked why he was so upset, Kaitlin said softly, “Some people think we’re not even human.”

Indeed, one attendee at the aforementioned precinct council meeting called crusties “animals” several times during an interview with The Villager. He asked to be identified by the pseudonym of Stephen Lipski — because he is terrified of them, claiming he’s been “cursed out, shouted at and insulted by them every day.”

Kaitlin, left, ensuring that her eyes stayed open for the photo, with Wing the Nut, photographed at E. Seventh St. and Second Ave. for a Villager article three years ago after a couple of the crusties’ pit bulls had been attacking local residents’ dogs — and the residents themselves while trying to defend their dogs. One local man’s arm was very seriously bitten. Wing admitted that some of their animals, rescued from dogfighting rings, were “not in the best condition” when the crusties got them. Photo by Lincoln Anderson

 

He told O’Connell, “I see their hypodermic needles; I see their [hidden] bottles. I see them defecating between cars on E. Seventh St. Put in overhead lights!” he pleaded.

The 64-year-old retiree, who lives in a rent-stabilized Second Ave. apartment, told The Villager that the crusties are in the East Village “by choice because rich people from Tribeca give them money. I’ve seen one perform fellatio in a car, presumably for pay,” he said. “I’ve reported them to the police and the police give me lessons on their rights. They say, if they don’t see a crime, it’s not illegal.”

An East Village local who identified herself as Sylvia Klein said problems with the homeless have been an issue in the East Village for years. She said multiple people and city agencies were involved in addressing the problem, including the Department of Sanitation. As for dogs allegedly abused by crusties, she observed, “We have the ASPCA. If the dogs attack someone, the ASPCA can come and take the dogs the same day.” She told the police, “The Department of Homeless [Services] should be helping you guys, so you can understand the layers of the problem.”

Another woman at the meeting spoke of a different type of homeless sleeping in the neighborhoods of Alphabet City, with drug dealers allegedly operating in community gardens on E. Fourth and Fifth Sts.

“We know there is drug dealing going on the Fifth St. side of the community garden and going into E. Fourth St. There are people there who are actually the runners. We really need some help” from the police, she said.

A Noho resident who arrived alone at the meeting told O’Connell about a “big problem with people selling drugs in front of the building [on Broadway and Bleecker] and hanging out in Wendy’s all day long.” He said he talked to a cop who told him he was looking for a “confidential informant.” The man explained he had come to the council to bring the problem to the Ninth’s “attention” in hopes of getting a “coordinated” police response.

O’Connell touted the Ninth’s N.C.O.’s as a crackerjack team of crime-busters that coordinates with narcotics police and intelligence officers. Earlier in the meeting, he talked about his hopes of improving neighborhood policing and getting cops out of their cars and into direct contact with people in the community.

“We want them to get out [on the street] and to be more social, more proactive,” he said. “We want them walking out into the community. That’s something I’m passionate about.”

Shortly before the council meeting ended, the new top cop in the Ninth told locals, “The door is always open. People should feel comfortable walking into a stationhouse.”

Meanwhile, Enz’s owner Marlowe hopes the police will help her “fix” the problem with the homeless crusties and their followers, noting that the hot-button issue has brought people “to a point of rage and in-house fighting in the neighborhood, with some saying that this wouldn’t be happening if [former Mayor] Giuliani was here. The liberals hate Giuliani, so this is causing unrest.”

Asked if police returned her e-mails about the issue, Marlowe noted that an officer from community affairs sent her an e-mail, stating, “We’re working on it.”

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Crusties enrage residents, merchants on EV blast block

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 8, 2018 in Rat News
Closed

Crusty punks crashed out on Second Ave. near E. Seventh St., outside the vacant lot where three buildings were destroyed in the gas explosion in 2015. Photo by Maryann Marlowe

BY MARY REINHOLZ | Crusty punks, those storied panhandling travelers with pets and musical instruments, have reappeared in the East Village in greater numbers this fall season, stirring fear and loathing among some residents and business owners on Second Ave., according to several locals. They claim the police are doing little to address the problems posed by the homeless, mostly white vagabonds, which include alleged street crimes and quality-of-life offenses, like public urination outside the site of the 2015 gas explosion.

“They’re attracting all kinds of displaced people — I’ve never seen so many before,” said Maryann Marlowe, owner of Enz’s retro fashion boutique, at 125 Second Ave., which is adjacent to the vacant, rubble-strewn lot on Second Ave. and E. Seventh St. “Every day there are new ones.

“I’ve come to feel they own Second Ave. and it’s like we don’t belong,” she told The Villager. “Some have been here for 10 years. I’ve lived in the East Village for years and it’s never escalated to this point. It’s like a recurrence of Tent City, with sometimes 10 or 15 of them outside,” she said, referring to the homeless encampment in Tompkins Square Park in the 1980s.

“They have trays of food and mattresses and pillows out on Second Ave. They all have cell phones and say they make $50 a day panhandling. They’re here because they know the police will do nothing. Their hands are tied,” she said of the police.

Marlowe, who wants the blast site “supervised and cleaned every day,” called police on Saturday after she saw an older man among the younger crusties urinating in front of her tiny shop while a customer was there. She has since reached out to various public officials, ranging from Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3, and state Senator Brad Hoylman, to city agencies, like the Department of Health. She contacted the latter agency after, she said, the crusties were given “20 pounds of popcorn, which they threw all over the street,” and previously let loose pet rats at the blast site, “which have multiplied.”

Late last month, Marlowe attended a Ninth Precinct Community Council meeting at the E. Fifth St. police stationhouse, where she and her neighbors complained about “homeless” invaders to Captain John L. O’Connell, the new commanding officer. Two of them claimed the crusties were prone to violence.

Crusty punks – including travelers and so-called “home bums” — have made themselves comfortable at the Second Ave. spot. Police are reportedly powerless to do anything about the situation, despite neighborhood complaints. Photo by Maryann Marlowe

“There’s a colony of homeless between St. Mark’s Place and Seventh St. and they’re a public danger,” said an older woman who called herself Yvonne. “There was a stabbing in the beginning of August,” she continued. “One of them stabbed another one. Yesterday, they had a big fight. One or two of them have a car. They use the cell phone [chargers] so much. It might be good to get rid of the cell phone [chargers],” Yvonne suggested to O’Connell, referring to the city’s WiFi kiosks. “It’s a problem we want gone. There’s public urination.”

She also claimed that some of the crusties’ pets were in danger of abuse by their owners.

O’Connell, 44, an immense Irish-American third-generation cop, whose mother once served as a uniformed police officer in the Ninth, listened intently to Yvonne before answering.

“Certainly, it’s an issue that I’ve heard about,” he told her. “I’ve gone out there. We are doing a lot of things about it. Sergeant Bailey can go into more specifics about what we’re doing” after the meeting, he said, referring to Sergeant Leslie Bailey, who heads the Ninth’s Neighborhood Coordination Officers or N.C.O.’s.

At one point in the meeting, Bailey said, “We can’t arrest people just because they’re hanging out.”

C.B. 3 District Manager Stetzer offered a similar assessment when contacted by The Villager on Friday.

“People are allowed by law to be on the street,” she said in an e-mail. “If they are doing something criminal, that is not allowed. However, police need to see evidence.” Stetzer, who works with all of the involved agencies, said she was “not aware of any violence in the area from this population.”

This reporter spoke to three apparent crusties over the weekend, including a 24-year-old goateed man named Jagger Thompson, who has traveled around the country, and boasted of once making “suicide leaps” onto freight trains going 60 miles per hour. He said he now has cancer and is staying with a friend in New York. Thompson displayed a food-stamp card while stroking a pet kitten as he sat with his girlfriend on a Third Ave. sidewalk around the corner from St. Mark’s Place.

Kaitlin, a 24-year-old aspiring musician originally from Nashville, Tennessee, sat on a sidewalk next to a cell-phone charger not far from Gem Spa on Second Ave. at St. Mark’s Place. In front of her was a plate with coins and a small sign reading, “Anything helps.”

The crusties have mattresses, crates full of stuff and sometimes even a complete set of furniture, likes tables and chairs. Photo by Maryann Marlowe

Kaitlin, who has been in New York for several years, leaving and then returning, said she sleeps “right now on the street and different places.” She hugged a battered case containing her fiddle. “I had another one but it was stolen,” she said.

She was joined on the sidewalk by a bearded self-described crusty, apparently over 30, who identified himself as LeRoy Jenkins. He was smoking a cigarette from a $20 carton he got on the cheap from an Indian reservation in Suffolk County.

“I’m here to be with my [street] family,” he said, claiming he had recently reconciled with his parents and now sometimes stays with them on Long Island while working as a contractor.

Jenkins bristled and started shouting when told by this reporter that some people in the East Village are afraid of crusties, stating that he and his fellow travelers don’t “give a f—” about what other people think.

Asked why he was so upset, Kaitlin said softly, “Some people think we’re not even human.”

Indeed, one attendee at the aforementioned precinct council meeting called crusties “animals” several times during an interview with The Villager. He asked to be identified by the pseudonym of Stephen Lipski — because he is terrified of them, claiming he’s been “cursed out, shouted at and insulted by them every day.”

Kaitlin, left, ensuring that her eyes stayed open for the photo, with Wing the Nut, photographed at E. Seventh St. and Second Ave. for a Villager article three years ago after a couple of the crusties’ pit bulls had been attacking local residents’ dogs — and the residents themselves while trying to defend their dogs. One local man’s arm was very seriously bitten. Wing admitted that some of their animals, rescued from dogfighting rings, were “not in the best condition” when the crusties got them. Photo by Lincoln Anderson

 

He told O’Connell, “I see their hypodermic needles; I see their [hidden] bottles. I see them defecating between cars on E. Seventh St. Put in overhead lights!” he pleaded.

The 64-year-old retiree, who lives in a rent-stabilized Second Ave. apartment, told The Villager that the crusties are in the East Village “by choice because rich people from Tribeca give them money. I’ve seen one perform fellatio in a car, presumably for pay,” he said. “I’ve reported them to the police and the police give me lessons on their rights. They say, if they don’t see a crime, it’s not illegal.”

An East Village local who identified herself as Sylvia Klein said problems with the homeless have been an issue in the East Village for years. She said multiple people and city agencies were involved in addressing the problem, including the Department of Sanitation. As for dogs allegedly abused by crusties, she observed, “We have the ASPCA. If the dogs attack someone, the ASPCA can come and take the dogs the same day.” She told the police, “The Department of Homeless [Services] should be helping you guys, so you can understand the layers of the problem.”

Another woman at the meeting spoke of a different type of homeless sleeping in the neighborhoods of Alphabet City, with drug dealers allegedly operating in community gardens on E. Fourth and Fifth Sts.

“We know there is drug dealing going on the Fifth St. side of the community garden and going into E. Fourth St. There are people there who are actually the runners. We really need some help” from the police, she said.

A Noho resident who arrived alone at the meeting told O’Connell about a “big problem with people selling drugs in front of the building [on Broadway and Bleecker] and hanging out in Wendy’s all day long.” He said he talked to a cop who told him he was looking for a “confidential informant.” The man explained he had come to the council to bring the problem to the Ninth’s “attention” in hopes of getting a “coordinated” police response.

O’Connell touted the Ninth’s N.C.O.’s as a crackerjack team of crime-busters that coordinates with narcotics police and intelligence officers. Earlier in the meeting, he talked about his hopes of improving neighborhood policing and getting cops out of their cars and into direct contact with people in the community.

“We want them to get out [on the street] and to be more social, more proactive,” he said. “We want them walking out into the community. That’s something I’m passionate about.”

Shortly before the council meeting ended, the new top cop in the Ninth told locals, “The door is always open. People should feel comfortable walking into a stationhouse.”

Meanwhile, Enz’s owner Marlowe hopes the police will help her “fix” the problem with the homeless crusties and their followers, noting that the hot-button issue has brought people “to a point of rage and in-house fighting in the neighborhood, with some saying that this wouldn’t be happening if [former Mayor] Giuliani was here. The liberals hate Giuliani, so this is causing unrest.”

Asked if police returned her e-mails about the issue, Marlowe noted that an officer from community affairs sent her an e-mail, stating, “We’re working on it.”

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Police Calls | Three teens arrested after pursuit

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 4, 2018 in Rat News
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700 block of Balgreen Drive, Mansfield – A 27-year-old woman Wednesday made threats to blow up the building and beat everyone up after being told the physician could not see patients Wednesday as he was called to an emergency room. Police contacted the woman, who said she was stressed since her miscarriage. She apologized to the officer for cussing but denied making threats.

Foundations for Living, 1451 Ohio 39, Mansfield – Officers Wednesday responded to a report of juveniles assaulting staff with a fire extinguisher and setting off the fire alarm. A juvenile pulled the pin on the extinguisher, and it sprayed people in the face. The fire alarm went off, and Mansfield Fire Department responded. Two people complained of throat irritation. Two 14-year-old girls were transported to the Richland County Juvenile Detention Center, where they were issued summonses on charges of assault and making false alarms.

100 block of Sturges Avenue, Mansfield – Police Wednesday issued a summons to a 73-year-old man on a charge of drunkenness after he had fallen down drunk. He was taken to jail.

300 block of West Sixth Street, Mansfield – A man told officers Wednesday prior tenants broke about 30 large holes in the walls of the apartment after being evicted. An officer also looked at text messages where one person seemed to be bragging about causing the damage.

1200 block of Park Avenue West, Mansfield – A woman told police Wednesday someone took the key out of a vehicle’s ignition while it was parked in the parking lot.

Circle K, 30 E. Cook Road, Mansfield – A man Wednesday stole a 24-ounce beer, placed it down the front of his pants and left, refusing to pay for it.

800 block of Woodville Road, Mansfield – Two employees of a business Wednesday told police an unknown male juvenile exposed his private parts to them during checkout. Officers viewed surveillance video.

300 block of Louis Street, Mansfield – Officers were called to an apartment Wednesday where someone had abandoned pet rats. The Humane Society of Richland County arrived and collected the rats. The person reporting to police said damage was done at the apartment, and a dishwasher was stolen.

800 block of West Fourth Street, Mansfield – Officers Wednesday during a traffic stop saw a pill fall from the front pocket of a man. The man said the pill was a Percocet he had just purchased from a friend. He was read and signed a grand jury waiver and released pending lab results.

200 block of North Main Street, Mansfield – A man maced another man Wednesday after one man was on another man’s property looking for his dog.

100 block of Blymyer Avenue, Mansfield – A man Wednesday told police someone stole a 20-inch TV and a green couch.

200 block of East Marshall Avenue, Mansfield – Officers arrested a man on charges of possession of marijuana and possession of crack cocaine Wednesday after he and another man were seen walking in the road with a sidewalk available. The other man had warrants out of Richland County Sheriff’s Office, Ontario Police Department and Mansfield Police Department, and he had a crack pipe in his pocket. They were arrested and taken to jail.

200 block of Park Avenue West, Mansfield – Following a traffic stop early Thursday morning, officers arrested two people, one on a charge of possession of heroin. The other person had an active warrant. Both went to jail.

200 block of Park Avenue East, Mansfield – Officers responded early Thursday morning to assist the Ohio Highway Patrol with a pursuit that entered the city south on Trimble Road at Ohio 39.  During the pursuit, an officer deployed stop sticks at Park Avenue West and South Main Street. Upon arrival, one man had been detained by the patrol, and two others had fled on foot from the vehicle. Responding police units arrived and located the two a short time later in the 200 block of East Fourth Street. A short struggle ensued with one person. Two people were arrested. The patrol handled the charges and all three, ages, 15, 16 and 19, were released to their custody. 

South Linden Road, Mansfield – A woman reported Wednesday money was missing from her vehicle’s visor after the father of her children visited.

300 block of Jade Avenue, Mansfield – A woman reported Wednesday morning she received a phone call from a credit collection agency about an unpaid Walmart credit card. The woman said she didn’t have a card and didn’t apply for one. The woman found out the statement was being sent to her 32-year-old ex-boyfriend’s house. She said they hadn’t been together in six years, and she’s had the same problem with him in the past. The man is currently in prison.

First block of Greenwood Avenue, Mansfield – A woman reported Wednesday morning someone damaged tires on a vehicle.

The News Journal does not identify people charged with misdemeanor offenses in the Police Calls. This is a fairness issue related to the large number of incidents that we cannot report in the wide geographic area being covered. Offenders are identified through subsequent court listings.

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ComPost Live with Alexandra Petri

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Oct 2, 2018 in Rat News
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I still have mine, spiral bound and often art gallery-themed, from the mid-’80s and beyond. Why, you ask (as my mother does, since they are still in her house)? Well, I never kept a diary, though I intended to many times, and I thought my biographers might be grateful to have some guidance. I also figured they would be handy if I ever got around to organizing my photos. I’m sure young Brett saved his for the same reasons!

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Teacher rips into $80k whingers

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 30, 2018 in Rat News
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DESPITE living in one of Australia’s most expensive cities, Damien* says his $23,000 annual income is more than enough to live a comfortable lifestyle.

Renting in the suburb of Albion, which sits just 12km from Melbourne’s CBD, Damien lives in a share house with two roommates, his cat and two pet rats.

The 45-year-old, who says he’s made upwards of $60,000 in other jobs, understands his low income may shock some people – but it’s a lifestyle he said he wouldn’t change.

“I haven’t always been on $23,000,” he told news.com.au.

“But my other job had much longer hours for a lifestyle that wasn’t that different to what I have now, except that I could save a lot more.”

Damien, who doesn’t have children and is single, is taking part in news.com.au’s Cash Confessions series, which looks at how Australians make and spend their annual income.

Previously in the series, we spoke with mother-of-two, Stef, who lives in Sydney’s west and earns 170,000 annually. But despite her income, she said that it wasn’t enough to sustain her family’s lifestyle.

“I’m in disbelief,” he said. “I can’t believe how it could be difficult to be living on $80,000-$100,000.”

While he understands his circumstances are unique, such as no mortgage or family, an inability to live on six figures is a predicament Damien, who brings in around $450 a week, cannot understand.

“People need to cut out the things they think they need, but really they don’t,” he said.

“What I’ve learnt is that you can live on a lot less.

“I appreciate I am single and don’t have kids or a family to look after, but I have chosen not to buy a house or get a mortgage or debts or commitments, so I can understand if you take on a lot of commitments it can add up.”

Damien works just 10 hours each week as an English language tutor, but says he enjoys having a lifestyle full of free time and without the stress of making a big pay packet.

Having completed a Bachelor of Arts and majoring in linguistics, Damien has finetuned his income to suit his “minimal” lifestyle.

Spending just $440 a month on rental repayments, $700 on groceries and just $20 on takeaway food – Damien says he lives within his means, but doesn’t feel like he’s penny pinching each month.

“It really isn’t hard,” he said. “I manage and I’m not short of money.

“I do spend carefully and really watch how I spend, but I have never been motivated by money or making a big income.

“I would rather have time to do what I want, and in an ideal world I would ditch money altogether.”

In January, a survey from global database Numbeo revealed Melbourne as one of the most expensive cities in the world to live.

According to Expatistan, which compares the cost of living from city to city, the average Melbourne resident will spend $143 a month for public transport, $2118 a month for a 45sq m furnished studio in an affluent city suburb, and around $294 for utilities for a single occupant. According to Budget Direct, the average net salary (before tax) for a Melbourne resident is $4277 – more than double Damien’s income.

“Groceries are my most expensive monthly spend, but I eat simple,” he said of his supermarket spending habits.

“I am never going down the aisle thinking, ‘Oh, I can’t afford that or this.’ I just don’t buy a lot of stuff, and I am only cooking for one.

Damien said his dinners are simple, consisting usually of rice, meat and some frozen vegetables, and he will treat himself to takeaway food once a fortnight, which “makes life cheaper”.

“If I do go out, I prefer to do free things,” he said. “Like go camping or go for a walk around the city or along the beach, which doesn’t cost much at all.

“I don’t have a car, so usually travel with mates or catch public transport.”

Damien says he isn’t able to save much money on his income, but tries to put away at least $50-$100 a month if he can. He said a way of doing this is to be vigilant when it comes to spending, and question the value of every item.

“I don’t know how people manage to spend so much,” he said.

“I always ask myself if I need or want something before paying for it, and whether I will need it in a month’s time. Around 80 per cent of the time the answer is no.

“Takeaway food, online shopping, coffee – it’s those little every day things that can drain your wallet.”

* Name has been changed.

Care to confess your monthly spending habits? Are you a savvy saver who knows how to spend smart? We’d love to hear from you. Email vanessa.brown@news.com.au

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‘Flood Rat’ Rodent Surviving Deluge Goes Viral [VIDEO]

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 29, 2018 in Rat News
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The brave rodent caught on camera was doing all it could to stay dry.

New York City residents weren’t the only ones struggling to stay dry as the remnants of Tropical Depression Florence drenched the city. A video that has since gone viral captured a dark-colored subway rat huddling behind a column, clinging to its island of safety as a current of water poured through the station around it.

The brave rodent was dubbed “Flood Rat” by Reddit user JacksonCheeseburger, who posted the short clip to the social media site. It’s since garnered more than 200 comments and more than 2,000 upvotes, according to Patch.com.

The 23rd Street stop on the 6 Line was just one of several subway stations flooded by the torrential rain.

Some Redditors expressed sympathy for the determined subway dweller who was caught on camera trying to avoid getting washed away, while others stated the flood might be a good means of extermination for the vermin that lives there.

“Man, I can’t believe you have me feeling sorry for a rat,” one person wrote on Reddit. Another user said, “I’ve had rats as pets, they are really sweet animals.”

The video doesn’t show the outcome, so it’s not clear if the rat survived the ordeal. But according to an article in National Geographic, rats are excellent swimmers, can tread water for three days, and can hold their breath underwater for over two minutes.

What’s more, rats are likely to survive the apocalypse. According to the book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, author Elizabeth Kolbert says these intrepid creatures may be one of the few animals that could survive the next mass extinction. She goes to say that in fact, all of us mammals are descended from a rat-like creature that emerged from the mass annihilation that killed the dinosaurs.

Many people remember the first rodent viral superstar, Pizza Rat. While Pizza Rat might have been a hoax (according to Vox.com), there is no doubt that Flood Rat is the real deal.

Facts show that rats actually do enjoy foods like pizza. Rats are omnivorous, which means they eat everything. They can survive on just an ounce of food and water a day, which they can easily get from NYC’s trash and food waste.

The Business Insider says that it’s an urban myth that there are as many rats as people in New York. In fact, the real number of rats is closer to one-quarter of the number of people (or, approximately 2 million rodents).

Many people keep rats as pets. Pet rats bred in captivity are clean, easy to litter train, highly intelligent and fun, and best of all for kids, they’re easy to tame, love human interaction and rarely, if ever, bite, according to Momtastic.com.

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Tragedy as ‘wonderful’ Hull mum, 29, dies just eight months after her son’s father

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 27, 2018 in Rat News
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Tributes have been paid to a “wonderful” Hull mum who died aged just 29.

Simone Truelove, 29, had cared for her five-year-old son who had a rare skin condition which meant he would break out in blisters and needed constant treatment.

But, tragically, mum-of-one Simone, of Kingswood, had died after taking a cocktail of prescription drugs, heroin and cocaine which left her brain dead, an inquest was told.

Her death came just months after her son’s father, Craig Young, passed away in July 2017.

Simone’s heartbroken mother, Alison, was so devastated by her death she was unable to attend her inquest at Hull Coroner’s Court on Wednesday.

In a written statement read out at court, she said: “Growing up, Simone was a cheeky and adventurous child.

Hull Royal Infirmary

Hull Royal Infirmary

“She had pet rats when she was younger and without my knowledge she would sneak them in to school and would have all the teachers laughing.

“She was always chatting at school and left with no qualifications.

“At the age of 21 she was told that she could not have children, but at 24 she fell pregnant and was overjoyed that she would become a mother.

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Latest inquests in Hull

“When her son was born he had a rare skin condition which was a really stressful time for Simone and the family.

“The condition meant his skin would blister and needed them popping and putting cream on.

“This could take hours, but Simone would do it and would travel to Birmingham with [the child] every six months to have treatment. She was a wonderful mum.”

One Kingswood resident wasn't happy...

Simone Truelove lived in Kingswood with her son
(Image: Peter Harbour)

The inquest heard that Simone had been devastated at the loss of Mr Young, after he died of a heroin overdose.

She tragically died after she passed out when visiting her friend’s house in the early hours of March 8 this year.

The friends had been chatting in her bedroom at around 1am and Simone was described as being ‘out of it’.

Hull Coroner's Court

Hull Coroner’s Court
(Image: Rob Stebbing)

Her friend had gone to fetch her a cup of tea – but when he returned he found Simone slumped over his bunk bed at around 3am.

He tried to put her upright, but she fell forward and cut her head on the frame of a bunk bed.

He noticed Simone was not breathing, started chest compressions and called the ambulance service – which took her to Hull Royal Infirmary.

In a statement from Mr Milner, he said: “I kept asking her if she was ok and if she had taken anything.

“But she kept getting annoyed with me for asking her and then told me she was sorry for being grouchy.

Hull Coroner's Court

Hull Coroner’s Court

“Her eyes were dotted and seemed upset that she was told not to attend Craig’s inquest because his mum was the only one going to attend.”

Ambulance crews had attempted at resuscitating Simone and managed to get a pulse, before she was transferred to the intensive care unit.

A later CT scan proved she had suffered brain damage from the lack of oxygen.

She was being kept alive by a ventilator, which Dr Richard Gould explained to her heart-broken family that it would be best to allow her to pass away naturally.

Hull Coroners Court in Alfred Gelder street, city centre

Hull Coroners Court in Alfred Gelder street, city centre

Simone, who lived and had grown up in Kingswood, died at 9.55am on March 9, 2018.

The inquest was told by pathologist Dr Ian Richmond that Simone had suffered an ‘hypoxic brain injury prior to cardiac arrest as a result of multiple drug toxicity’.

He also said the levels of the drugs in her system were not of a fatal dose, however, because Simone wasn’t breathing, the drugs were not being broken down in her system.

Dr Richmond noted there was no alcohol in Simone’s system.

Humberside Police Officer Sarah Mahoney told the inquest that no foul play was involved in Simone’s tragic death and no illicit drugs were found at the home.

Senior Coroner Professor Paul Marks recorded the short form verdict of death as a result of ‘drugs/alcohol’.

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Survey Says: People Prefer Large Dogs

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 26, 2018 in Rat News
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Large DogDachshund or Dalmatian? Havanese or husky? When it comes to favored dog size, it seems larger breeds reign supreme. This is according to results from a recent international survey that found dog owners get more satisfaction from owning large dogs than small dogs.

The survey, by California-based pet care rating and recommendation website RightPet, was conducted online between 2010 and 2018, and examined 23,550 dog breed reviews from 12,167 pet owners from 106 countries. 

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The authors found that respondents rated bigger dogs as more emotionally stable, child-safe, and trainable than small dogs; larger dogs also bark less. Some of the other findings about size preference included:

  • Both women and men are happier owning large dogs than small dogs.
  • Men and younger people are significantly are more satisfied with medium, large, and giant breeds, and less satisfied with toy and small dogs.
  • Older people (around age 70) are equally satisfied with any dog size.
  • Dog owners with experience owning multiple dogs of different sizes report the greatest satisfaction with large dogs.

 
“What our study has found is that large dogs score higher in traits that are really important to most dog owners,” Brett Hodges, owner/editor at RightPet, said. “People don’t prefer large dogs per se—they like them because, in general, they’re more even-tempered, trainable, and quiet than small dogs, making them ‘best in home.’”

Other noteworthy facts from the survey:

  • Adult and children (aged 10–17) who own or have owned a pet rated their satisfaction with pet rats higher than for any other type of pet, including dogs and cats.
  • Of the 32 types of pet and livestock animals included in the survey, geese and scorpions are the least satisfying to own.
  • Pet owners who score high in the personality trait of “openness” tend to be more satisfied with dogs than cats.
  • Women show a clear preference for cats over dogs, but men like cats and dogs the same.

Click here for detailed survey results.

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Ready to get Lucky? Try this loveable big boy – Courier

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 22, 2018 in Rat News
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Who’s feeling Lucky? Lucky is a 7-year old mixed breed who has stolen the hearts of many staff and volunteers at the shelter. He’s a big boy, with a big, blocky head, a big bark and an even bigger heart. Unfortunately for him, Lucky doesn’t show well in a kennel environment. Visitors misinterpret his exuberance for visitors coupled with his stereotypical pit bull look as being aggressive. Get his gentle giant out of the shelter for a walk and you’ll discover what a lovebug he truly is. He enjoys being with people as much as possible. We think he would do best as the only pet in his new home, as he doesn’t always get along well with other dogs or cats. But don’t worry, this guy will give you plenty of love to make up for it! So, if you’re feeling Lucky, come on in and meet him.

We have plenty of other great animals at the shelter in addition to cats and dogs, including rabbits, pet rats and a handful of adorable baby guinea pigs all just waiting for a new home. Stop in and check out what fun, lovable pets are in our small critter room.

There’s still time to stop in and see our current art exhibit on our Art Wall. Our featured artist this month is Leon Vanella. If you love pictures of beautiful birds in their natural environment, you should check out the exhibit. His photographs will be displayed and available for purchase through September.

Interested in dabbling in the arts yourself? Back by popular demand, Loyal Biscuit and Marie Spaulding Art will be hosting a “Paint Your Pet” event at PMHS Sunday, Oct. 14, from 1 to 4 p.m. right here in our community room. This session is great for the beginner who wants to give painting a try in a fun, stress-free setting. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for a DIY Christmas present for someone special on your list. The cost is just $47. Space is limited, so sign up early to ensure a spot. For more information on how to register for the class visit http://mariespauldingart.com/product/pmhs-pet-portrait-fundraiser-channel-your-inner-artist-10-14-18/

Helping homeless animals is as easy as taking a walk at our annual Whisker Walk and Family Day Saturday, Sept. 29, at Harbor Park in Rockland. Register now at crowdrise.com/2018WhiskerWalk and start helping us save more lives by collecting pledges from friends, family and coworkers.

Wish list: 6-inch paper plates, Clorox wipes, zip-lock bags (gallon and quart sizes), paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags (13- and 33-gallon), canned cat food (poultry pate style), and gift certificates to Walmart, Staples, and other local businesses.

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Creatures that get stung by unfair criticism

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 20, 2018 in Rat News
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If you live in a city, you’re probably never too far away from a rat.

For a long time, their reputation for spreading disease has put them near the bottom of many people’s lists of favourite animals.

This concern stems from them long being blamed for spreading the Black Death, which killed millions of people throughout medieval Europe and Asia.

But a study published earlier this year suggests they may not have been to blame, instead pointing the finger at human parasites like fleas and lice.

There is also a difference between wild rats and pet rats, which come from a long line of rats which have been domesticated by humans – they haven’t just been plucked from the streets.

In fact, according to animal charity Blue Cross, pet rats are “clean, intelligent, enjoy human company and make wonderful pets”.

So maybe there isn’t so much to worry about?

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