Leila Deen, Greenpeace … Shell


Shell is traveling across the Pacific, and we’re watching.

Shell on the water
Follow these volunteers as they travel across the Pacific to document Shell’s misdeeds.

Follow

An ‘illegal’ dancer returns to the stage — 70 years later


Billy Rose nicknamed her “Jailbait” — but Paulette Harwood was too young to know what the great showman meant. After all, she was just 16 when she started dancing at his Diamond Horseshoe, in the basement of Times Square’s Paramount Hotel.

The glitzy nightclub was in its heyday in 1943 when Paulette arrived, fresh from ballet school.

And while the club fell on hard times — closing in 1951, its once-elegant interior trashed — it reopened Dec. 31, 2013, with a production called “Queen of the Night.”

Harwood, who might lay claim to that title as well, was there to see it.

She returned there the other day with 20 of her ballet students, who took the bus down from Newton Upper Falls, Mass., to see where their famous teacher once danced.

Now 87, her thick, honey-blond hair gone white, Harwood patted the stage, her eyes moist. “It brings back such wonderful memories of my grandmother,” she said of the woman who raised and chaperoned her. “I was just so happy to be paid, doing something I loved!”

Growing up in Brookline, Mass., the only child of parents who divorced before she turned 1, Harwood can’t remember a time she wasn’t dancing. At 14, she skipped school to audition for the Boston Opera’s “The Merry Widow.” She made it into the corps, spending her freshman year en pointe.

Her ballet teacher was Harriet Hoctor, a former Ziegfeld Follies girl and favorite Rose dancer and choreographer. But Hoctor was tired of performing, and knew whom she wanted to succeed her.

She personally took her star pupil down to the Diamond Horseshoe, where Rose saw Harwood dance and hired her on the spot.

Did he know she was 16? Harwood shrugs. “Billy knew it, but he didn’t know it,” she says. “I was supposed to say I was 18…but he was very good to me.”

We could outdance the Rockettes any day of the week!

 – Paulette Harwood

He was protective, too, letting her and her grandmother, Dodo, stay in the hotel for free. Harwood commuted to work by elevator.

Her pay was $100 a week, a nice chunk of change back then, especially for a high-schooler. Besides, the club had a kitchen — “where the food was delicious, and I was so skinny, they kept trying to feed me!”

Even so, she got her share of unwanted attention. But Harwood was there to work, not play. “If [men] asked me out, I told them I had to take my grandmother,” she says. “They weren’t interested after that.”

Her show was a revue titled “The Post War Preview,” which forecast a world free of the fighting that dragged on for another year.

Rose, who by then had divorced Fanny Brice, the original funny lady, was a lyricist as well as an impresario, and supplied words to “The Blue Danube Waltz,” which a young man sang as Harwood pirouetted.

As soon as she finished, she ran upstairs to change for the big cancan number.

When she wasn’t dancing, she did her schoolwork, typing her papers on the pay machines in the hotel lobby. A dime got you 30 minutes of typing time, so she learned to type fast.

But even a high-school girl can be a teacher.

“The showgirls were beautiful, but they didn’t know how to walk,” she recalls of Rose’s “Long-Stemmed Roses,” who were all 6 feet or taller.

“They’d go clunk, clunk on their heels,” Harwood recalls. Like a mother duckling with very big chicks, she led them around until they’d achieved a modicum of grace.

They all towered over Rose, who barely cleared 5 feet. “He’d climb on a table and give directions,” she recalls. “Every time we turned around, he’d be on top of a table!”

If [men] asked me out, I told them I had to take my grandmother. They weren’t interested after that.

 – Paulette Harwood

After six months, Rose decided to take his revue on the road and entertain the troops. Harwood and her grandmother came along, and Rose took them to USO halls, bases and hospitals at his own expense.

She came home in time to graduate from high school, then returned to New York to dance at the Copacabana and the Latin Quarter, whose stage door opened onto Times Square.

On VJ Day, she and the other dancers spilled into the street, falling into the arms of sailors. “They were all kissing the girls that day,” she says, and yes, she was one of them.

In 1945, she joined Radio City Music Hall’s Corps de Ballet, not to be confused with the Rockettes.

“That’s a dirty word in our language,” she sniffs. “We could outdance the Rockettes any day of the week!”

The rival dancers had separate dressing rooms: the ballerinas on 50th Street, the Rockettes along 51st.

Three years in, she hurt her ankle so bad, she couldn’t dance. She returned to Boston, opened a ballet studio, met “a cocky little Irishman” on a blind date, and fell in love.

She and her husband, Paul, went on to have three daughters — all of them dancers, one of whom married actor Peter Gallagher.

All in all, she says, a good life. A dancer’s life.

The Clean Water Act turns 41


Summary of the Clean Water Act

Quick Links

33 U.S.C. §1251 et seq. (1972)

The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. “Clean Water Act” became the Act’s common name with amendments in 1972.

Under the CWA, EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. We have also set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters.

The CWA made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained. EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls discharges. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.

Compliance and Enforcement

History of this Act

More Information

The Office of Water (OW) ensures drinking water is safe, and restores and maintains oceans, watersheds, and their aquatic ecosystems to protect human health, support economic and recreational activities, and provide healthy habitat for fish, plants, and wildlife.

  • The EPA Watershed Academy provides training courses on statutes, watershed protection, and other key Clean Water Act resources.

Arrested for fighting slavery?


WALK FREE.ORG Modern slavery couldn’t be closer to home for Biram Dah Abeid. The twelfth of thirteen children born to an enslaved mother, Biram was released from a life of servitude while still in the womb.1 His release was the dying act of his mother’s master in Mauritania, a country where the children of slaves become the property of their owners.

Biram grew up a member of the Haratina, the class of people known to be the descendants of slaves, many of whom remain trapped in situations of slavery and exploitation by Mauritania’s slave-owning elites. Biram and others have made it their life’s mission to end this abuse in Mauritania.2

However they face regular harassment and harsh treatment in this fight for freedom. As you read this Biram and his fellow activists are sitting in a prison cell for their work to end slavery in Mauritania — and we need your help to secure justice

Call on the Mauritanian government to free Biram Dah Abeid and his fellow anti-slavery activists.

The 2014 Global Slavery Index revealed that 35.8 million people are trapped in modern slavery around the world — and Mauritania is one of the worst offenders, with the highest prevalence of modern slavery in the world.3That’s why the work of anti-slavery activists such as Biram is so important; but instead of addressing the root causes of slavery, the Mauritanian government is working to intimidate those that speak out

Sources close to the activists have made serious allegations that some of the group have been tortured, including being stripped, beaten and trampled by police since their arrest last year.

The activists were arrested during a peaceful anti-slavery protest and were convicted in January for inciting hatred under Mauritania’s terrorism laws.

A huge wave of international pressure now could force the Mauritanian government to prioritize ending slavery and stop the harassment of anti-slavery activists.

Send a message to Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, calling on him to release these activists and get serious about tackling modern slavery.

It has now been weeks since Biram and his fellow activists’ imprisonment: let’s not wait any longer to get them out of prison and back to fighting against slavery.

In hope,

Victoria, Mika, Jayde, Joanna and the Walk Free team

1 http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/08/freedom-fighter
2 http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/08/freedom-fighter
3 http://www.globalslaveryindex.org/