Stuyvesant Town author makes debut with novel about biblical scapegoats

By Sabina Mollot

Andrew Grell, a longtime resident of Stuyvesant Town, has made his writing debut with a humorous science fiction novel called Scapegoats: The Goat Protocols. The book was released earlier this summer by Golden Fleece, small publishing house in Virginia that donates portions of its profits to charitable causes, especially animal-oriented ones.

For Grell, who has a career in calculating fraud detection, the 134-page book was his first major writing undertaking. Though he wrote it recently, he first got the idea 20 years ago.

The inspiration behind it was the Scapegoats of Leviticus 16:21, that were forced to bear the sins of the camp. In the story, “the goats become telepathic as a result of their psychic overload.” They become sentient, actively pushing people to do good things to counter-balance the weight of the bad deeds they carry. The book takes place in the present day.

“It’s the only example of the Old Testament’s vicarious expiation of sin, so I played with the idea,” said Grell.

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City puts cap on apps listing for-hire vehicles

Mayor Bill de Blasio, with 32BJ SEIU union members at Union Square, cheers the new legislation. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Mayor Bill de Blasio joined union advocates, taxi drivers and other local elected officials in Union Square last Thursday to celebrate the passage of legislation that puts a cap on the number of cars allowed through for-hire vehicle apps.

The cap is meant to address congestion and driver wages, as well as the weakening of the taxi industry, and won’t have any impact on the number of for-hire vehicles already on the road. The legislation additionally includes a new minimum compensation rule for drivers, and the one-year cap does not apply to wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

“The city is sending a clear message: we’re putting hard-working New Yorkers ahead of corporations,” de Blasio said. “The City Council has spoken boldly, and now we can act. We are taking immediate action for the benefit of more than 100,000 hard-working New Yorkers who deserve a fair wage, and halting the flood of new cars grinding our streets to a halt.”

The legislation, sponsored by Brooklyn Councilmember Stephen Levin and which the mayor signed on Tuesday, will also initiate a study to comprehensively manage the industry in order to reduce congestion and protect workers by ensuring fair pay.

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