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New Platform to Support NYC Service Industry, Gig Workers

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NEW YORK – New York City is world-famous for its thriving nightlife, complete with bars, restaurants and cabaret shows. But what happens when there is nowhere, or no one to perform to?

Marti Gould Cummings is a popular New York City drag artist who makes a living performing in bars and clubs around the city. But work has dried up because of the COVID-19 shutdown – and there’s no cash coming in.

“I’m very scared about money. How the rent is going to get paid, come May? When you’re a drag queen, you’re a 1099, so you get paid when you show up for the gig. And when there’s no gigs there’s no income. So I think that’s where a lot of the anxiety comes from,” Cummings said.

To help make ends meet, Cummings has been performing online routines with a Venmo account on screen so virtual audiences can transfer over some tips. Cummings also sees this crisis as a time to help fellow New Yorkers. The performer is actually running for City Council in the 7th District, and is raising money for charities like the Ali Forney Center – an organization that supports LGBTQ homeless youth.

“The homeless shelters don’t close down in this time, you know, they’re still open and, and they need help. Now more than than ever,” Cummings said.

Cummings is just one of countless New Yorkers who can use help during this time, and one new platform is providing just that. Solidarity 4 Service assists people like Marti who work in the nightlife and service industry. It was co-founded by Jenice Acosta and Carlyn Cowen. The two met seven years ago working at a restaurant.

“If you want to help someone out, it takes you to a database of people that have lost jobs due to COVID-19 whether in the restaurant industry, gig work, artists, freelancers, and you can donate to them directly,” said Cowen.

And the co-founders say it’s just as easy to make a list asking for help yourself; be it financial assistance or even a temporary job. No questions asked.

“There is no verification process. We trust that individuals who are taking the time to go out there and fill this out, are actually in need of support. Donors can directly go in and read the stories and donate to who they choose to,” said Acosta.

Since its creation a couple of weeks ago, Solidarity 4 Service has raised more than sixteen thousand dollars for New Yorkers.

“[People have] been able to fill their prescriptions that they urgently needed, they’ve been able to buy groceries that they needed, they were able to pay bills that were past due,” Cowen said.

To donate or even post that you need help, you can visit the website s4s.nyc.

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Brad Gillis: “My first gig with Ozzy was horrendous – at soundcheck we only played 7 of the 18 songs on the setlist, and Ozzy didn’t even show up!”

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It’s never easy replacing a recently deceased guitar legend. But for a spell, Brad Gillis did just that after Randy Rhoads passed away in 1982 – lending a hand and helping Ozzy finish his tour commitments and get back on track, as well as being featured on the all-Sabbath Speak of the Devil live release.

However, instead of carrying on with Ozzy, Gillis opted to return to his main band, Night Ranger. And almost immediately, the band hit the big-time – scoring such massive MTV/radio hits as Don’t Tell Me You Love Me, (You Can Still) Rock in America, and Sister Christian.

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A reunion and a gig | News, Sports, Jobs

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Steubenville native Bernadette Milewsky Mullenix and her husband, Joe, look forward to class reunion and performance.
— Contributed

STEUBENVILLE — While it’s not unusual for former area residents to come home for a high school class reunion, few if any return to have a local singing gig to boot.

For singer-songwriter Bernadette Milewsky Mullenix of Warner Springs, Calif., however, that’s a reality.

The 1971 graduate of Catholic Central High School is not only looking forward to her 50-year class reunion on Saturday, which is her birthday, she and her husband, Joe, will perform as Slow Traffic on Sunday at the Spot Bar, 217 S. Fourth St., from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Because of COVID-19 pandemic delays that impacted the class reunion for CCHS Class of 1970, Saturday’s reunion will be a combined one for CCHS Class of 1970 and Class of 1971, Bernadette explained in an e-mail correspondence.

“I am very excited to be able to attend this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and perform at the Spot Bar,” she said of a trip to her hometown that combines memories and music.

“We like the venue because it has a spacious outdoor patio where we will be performing, and it is a local favorite,” she noted. “I especially like it because it brings back memories of the once bustling South End and historic downtown Steubenville, where I used to play in Beatty Park and shop at the Hub Department Store.”

Born and raised in Steubenville, the daughter of the late Thomas and Jane Milewsky attended Cathedral Grade School, where she first performed in front of her first-grade peers. After high school, she began performing in different bands in the area, moving in 1975 to California where she has continued her musical pursuits to this day.

Becoming a musician, however, wasn’t something she envisioned for herself.

“I just always had a deep love for music and would participate in grade school and high school musical events whenever I could,” she explained. “I played a few instruments, but they never stuck. I do play, though, several percussion instruments. I was always a singer and was drawn to musical people.”

She and Joe — Joseph Robert Mullenix — met in Hermosa Beach, Calif., in the summer of 1975 through their friend Michael Hall — M.D. Hall. — who also is from Steubenville.

“I moved to California to be in Mike and Joe’s band,” she noted. “We named it ‘Steuben Park.’ Joe and I hit it off from the start, but we decided not to date since we were performing together. After several years of playing together, we all went our separate ways,” she explained.

Ironically, the two reconnected in 2008 and got married on Sept. 9, 2013. “We tell people we dated for 33 years before we got married, to make sure we got it right,” she quipped.

“We now play in our own band called Slow Traffic,” she continued. “It is a passion we love and share, an essential part of our relationship. Periodically, we come back to my beloved hometown, visit family and friends and play music. Mike usually sets up an event or two, so that we can all play together again.”

Music, she explained, makes her happy.

“It is a great way to be active and involved in the musical community. I enjoy socializing, meeting new people, performing, singing, song writing, being on my feet, dancing, playing percussion, or just having a beer and hanging out with friends,” she noted.

“Joe and I have been fortunate in that we perform and play wherever we go. We once packed up our pickup truck with sound equipment and guitars and hit the road on a trip across the United States, from California to Ohio. We played along the way, including Dallas, Texas and Nashville. In fact, we ended up playing at the world-famous Spot Bar! Full circle, baby,” she wrote.

“We also had the opportunity to perform in Norway. Our friends there have a band and wanted us to play with them, so we went on two different occasions and played several different venues. We played some of the gigs as a duet and others with their full band. When we play as a duet, Joe plays acoustically on his 9-string guitar, which is a rare instrument. When we play with a full band, Joe switches to his electric guitar,” she explained.

Slow Traffic regularly plays in the wineries and winery-related venues in the Temecula Valley, SoCall and San Diego areas. The two are songwriters and perform an array of popular country, country rock and classic rock with a few originals in the mix. They’re partial to the works of artists such as Dwight Yoakam, Linda Ronstadt, Rolling Stones, George Strait, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Johnny Cash and Miranda Lambert. Randy Green does percussion.

Joe and Bernadette perform as a duo with larger bands and various musicians. They are two of the principles in the weekly Chords and Vines/LA TalkRadio show.

Bernadette said her father was a World War II veteran and her mother, a stay-at-home mom to nine children. “When time allowed, mom also worked various jobs as a cashier at different stores throughout the town. Mom and dad worked together at the True Value Hardware store on Sunset Boulevard when dad retired.”

She keeps in touch with grade school and high school friends who still live in Steubenville. “Whenever I come to visit, I make sure to visit everyone, and it is always a very special treat to see them. Friends were always something I treasured, and it was very important for me to not lose contact with them,” she noted.

She was last in the area in 2019. Her husband is from Parkersburg. “We were there for Joe’s 50th class reunion. Joe lived in Steubenville for a few years while I was still in high school, and he played music in the town with his buddy, Michael Hall, whom he met at Ohio State University. I didn’t get to meet Joe until I moved to California to be in the band with him and Michael. After I got out of high school, I played in a band with Michael and Andy Tonsky, who recently passed (a few years ago now),” she explained. Their trio was BAM.

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Candidate Profile: Roger Henderson For Gig Harbor City Council

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GIG HARBOR, WA — For the Aug. 3 Primary Election, Pierce County’s 566,000 registered voters will be asked to weigh in on dozens of high-profile elections, including mayoral races in Tacoma, Eatonville, Buckley, and Bonney Lake. Nearly a dozen cities from Puyallup to Lakewood are holding city council elections, and six school districts will also have candidates on the ballot.

To help readers make informed choices, Patch asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns and will be publishing candidate profiles as election day draws near.

Roger Henderson is running for Gig Harbor City Council Position 2

Position Sought

Gig Harbor City Council Position 2

Family

Married with three adult children (38, 35 and 30)

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?

No

Education

BS Environmental Planning & Management UC Davis 1975
BS Civil Engineering Oregon State University 1983

Occupation

Retired Civil Engineer (PE). 28 years with the US Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District and 4 years with the US Army Europe, Grafenwöhr Training Area.

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office

No elected office positions. I am currently serving on the Gig Harbor City Parks Commission.

Campaign website

http://www.voterogerhenderson….
https://www.facebook.com/VoteR…
https://www.instagram.com/vote…

Why are you seeking elective office?

This is my first time seeking elected office. I feel that the Gig Harbor City Council can use an experienced well-rounded engineer who can help them understand many of the issues that the city planners and city engineering staff bring to them for approval. By leading by example, I will work hard to bring back civility and respect in our meetings – especially towards our hard working and short-handed city staff. Gig Harbor needs to retain the talented city staff we have and attract new ones to replace those lost – they are the people who make things happen in the city!
The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.

Over the last 5 or more years, Gig Harbor has rapidly grown. My canvassing in local Gig Harbor neighborhoods and speaking with residents, I hear about their concerns of unplanned growth, loss of our beautiful trees and loss of our small-town atmosphere. Growth in Gig Harbor is inevitable and even mandated by the state. With the use of smart planning policies, solid tree retention and replacement codes and solid architectural standards that fit the local neighborhoods we can grow while at the same time retain those features we love about this city. This will require close coordination with city staff, businesses, residents as well as county and state government. Working as a team we can achieve great things for the city and its residents.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

I bring my ability to identify problems, then collect and analyze data and reach out to others for additional input. Taking this measured approach will result in an informed and thoughtful decisions. I have experience assembling teams to get projects done and fully understand that no one person has all the answers, but together we can come up with solutions that meet our present and future challenges.

If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)

The current council member is vacating his position and has done an honorable job of serving the citizens of Gig Harbor on the council. His advice, experience and dedication to the City of Gig Harbor and its residents will be missed!

How do you think local officials performed in responding to the coronavirus? What if anything would you have done differently?

Locally our COVID19 response has been a part of a larger regional response ranging from state mandates to county health department guidance. In general, all local, city and state governmental bodies have done the very best job they could given the many unknowns associated with the virus such as means of transmission, challenges to sourcing and identifying appropriate analytical tests (especially at the beginning of the pandemic) and the unfortunate politicization of the severity of the crisis. I’d like to especially commend the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department for their outstanding leadership and educational efforts during this challenging crisis.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.

Along with sustainable city growth and respect for our city staff, I support small business development in Gig Harbor… especially in the north harbor area. Small businesses develop a sense of community. I believe that it is time Gig Harbor begins taking steps to combat climate change and protecting the natural environment while increasing accessibility for walkers and cyclists. This, coupled with enhancing public transportation accessibility will reduce vehicle trips, reduce traffic, help mitigate parking issues in our small downtown area, and begin reducing our carbon footprint. I will support the formation of a local pedestrian/cyclist commission that will provide input to the council on improvements to sidewalks and bike trails – including safety issues. And finally, I wish to continue to recognize and acknowledge the history of the local indigenous people. Their history along with the others who came after only adds to what makes Gig Harbor such a wonderful place to live.

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

Prior to retiring from the US Army Corps of Engineers, I was responsible for relocating the US Forest Service’s Kern River Ranger District offices, maintenance facility, visitor center, recreation facilities and fire department at the Isabella Lake dam. Their entire facility was in the footprint of the soon to be expanded auxiliary spillway. All US Forest Service facilities had to be relocated before the Corps could award a multimillion-dollar contract to renovate both earthen dams. I lead a team of engineers, planners, biologists, real estate specialists and consultants to locate and design new facilities. Close coordination with the US Forest Service and the public was essential for success. I am proud to say that all facilities were constructed and the Forest Service moved into their state-of-the-art buildings well before the Corps awarded the dam renovation contract.

The best advice ever shared with me was:

Think globally…act locally!

What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?

Gig Harbor has a lot of projects and challenges on its plate. We need to move ahead smartly to get them done for the overall good of the city and its residents. My pledge to the residents of Gig Harbor is to keep important projects moving ahead, support our hard working city staff and keep partisan politics out of our local government. I will be honored to have your vote on august 3rd!



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