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Gun Reform Under President Biden, Is Recycling A Big Waste?, And This Boca Community’s ‘Jewish Oprah’

Leslie Ovalle
During Parkland's local March For Our Lives rally in 2018, thousands flooded city streets near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

On this Wednesday, Feb. 17 episode of Sundial:

Gun Reform Under Biden

It’s been decades of activists pushing for federal gun reform and laws that never get passed — but recent changes in Washington have some activists feeling optimistic.

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“I think the difference between now and [the Obama administration], besides the fact that hundreds of more people have been killed, is that the members of the House and Senate are different now, and I think that the NRA [National Rifle Association] has lost its power. There was a time where they [the NRA] would rate lawmakers as a report card. Lawmakers don't want that anymore,” said Christine Stapleton, a political reporter for the Palm Beach Post and the USA Today Network.

President Joe Biden remembered the Parkland school shooting by calling on Congress to pass stricter gun lawsthat include a ban on assault weapons. The NRA, which has lobbied heavily against gun reform measures, is now facing bankruptcy.

“There's a lot of questions out there about the NRA. What's interesting is that it's not just the bankruptcy or just the accusations. It's the fact that the New York state's attorney general has actually sued to dissolve the NRA because of the accusations of misappropriation of money," said Stapleton.

Gun Reform Under Biden

Is Recycling A Big Waste?

A lot of the waste that’s placed in the recycling bin, shouldn’t be in there.

Bowling balls, diapers, hoses — these are all things that David Biderman, the executive director and CEO of the Solid Waste Authority of North America, says has been found in these bins.

One in five items that go to recycling facilities aren’t recyclable, he said. This is slowing down the process of making these materials reusable and it’s also making it more expensive.

“One of the challenges that we faced over the last few years has been as the foreign markets, principally China, began to go away and are no longer interested in receiving imported recycling from the United States,” said Biderman.

Plus, recycling, as it is now, has not been very effective — less than 10 percent of all plastic waste has been recycled.

Sundial recently had an expert panel conversation on the best ways to reduce plastic pollution might be. You can find it here.

Is Recycling A Big Waste?

This Boca Community’s ‘Jewish Oprah’

For the past 20 years, Trudy Berlin has engaged in conversation with dozens of women through her program “The Ladies Room” — at the JCC Levis Center in Boca Raton. The 98-year-old has been affectionately deemed the “Jewish Oprah” of the center, for her approach to interviewing and ability to connect different communities.

“I was sitting right here and they had set up the computer, and then she turned on and all of a sudden I saw faces coming up like a checkerboard. And there was such a feeling. I think I cried a little because I was like a miracle. And this [Zoom show] came to light. I look forward to Tuesday, I belong here,” Berlin said.

Berlin has spent her life as an educator and college instructor, working for years as a professor at Sarah Lawerence College in New York.

“Learning is what I loved to do, I'm a very gregarious person in many ways — but learning is better,” Berlin said.

She sees her program as a continuation of that learning, even now as it’s being conducted through Zoom.

This Boca Community’s ‘Jewish Oprah’

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Suria is Sundial's fall 2020 high school intern and a production assistant.