A blog post can be a daunting item: once it is out there, it is out there to stay. So, with that in mind, we start this TRR blog in order to encourage an exchange of ideas about war, trauma, injuries both seen and invisible, and healing/wellness.

A blog post can be a daunting item: once it is out there, it is out there to stay. So, with that in mind, we start this TRR blog in order to encourage an exchange of ideas about war, trauma, injuries both seen and invisible, and healing/wellness. At TRR, we focus on wholeness and life: a whole person living a meaningful and enriched life. Rather than offering nifty tricks designed to mask pain, we want to facilitate real wellness in the aftermath of the deep suffering of trauma. Trauma that leads to deep emotional and existential pain can come from anywhere and at any time. Natural disasters or disasters wrought by human minds and hands do not discriminate, and many a life has been suddenly altered forever by such events. Can a person attain to real, substantial wellness in the wake of such horrific experiences?

Simply stated, yes.

As easy as that is to write, or to say, it can be quite challenging to experience this wellness because trauma creates a complex matrix of converging human experiences, a nexus of confusing and disorienting existential dynamics that vary from person to person. It is easy to say “Yes, people can recover and thrive,” but no one who knows trauma, either through personal traumatic experience or helping someone to deal with it, would say it is “easy.”

Still, this vision of a whole person living a meaningful and enriched life in the aftermath of trauma IS possible.

By “the whole person” we mean the integrated human experience of the physical, neurological, psychological, emotional, and spiritual aspects of life; these interrelated facets of existential contact with the outside world and the inner self. We aim to treat the whole person so that every aspect of life experiences healing and wellness.

One major component of the person that has, until recently, been largely ignored is the “moral center,” that “place” in the person that registers “right and wrong” inwardly and outwardly as a person moves through the world and navigates through experiences. This aspect of moral sensibility and sensitivity, if not honored, can get stuck in deep wounding, becoming a center of existential pain when a person perpetrates, witnesses, or fails to prevent something that violates his/her moral commitments or deeply held visions of what should and should not happen in the world.

Such a violation often takes place when warriors kill in combat. Knowing full well the necessity of action that is thrust upon a warfighter in the heat of battle, many who have killed “justifiably” know in their heads that they “did what had to be done” but find that something in their deep heart rebels against the action, causing profound hurt and a sense of moral transgression. Some feel that, having killed, they cannot return to the land of civilized behavior–they feel they have “become” something different and are no longer fit for life in the world off of the battlefield. This has come to be known as “Moral Injury,” a somewhat strange term but a valuable one for denoting a common experience among men and woman who have had to kill in the line of duty, or who have witnessed killing and death. Sometimes, just hearing “war stories” is enough to inflict this soul wound.

At TRR, this aspect of traumatic experience has become a key focus due to the fact that we have seen the impact of such experiences again and again in our returning warriors. We will talk about it often in this blog.

So, here we begin. We our regular offerings here with be thought-provoking as we continue to engage our culture filled with wounded warriors. These men and women live all around us, tens of thousands of them from military, law enforcement, firefighting, and other high-risk protective vocations. Their wounds often escape the human eye, and even in those with visible wounds there often exist equally severe unseen wounds. They deserve our society’s best, but they often receive much less. We hope to facilitate deep and multifaceted wellness in the lives of those who we can reach, and, through this blog, we hope to inspire dialogue among us all about these important issues.

David N. Weinraub is the co-founder and managing partner of BrownWeinraub, New York’s top lobbying firm. He sets the overarching vision for the firm and provides the strategic framework necessary to meet each client’s objectives.

David was a member of Governor Mario M. Cuomo’s senior staff, serving as Director of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs. He was also Counsel to Lieutenant Governor Stan Lundine and Director of Regional Services for the Department of State. The common theme of David’s government service – confidential, high level, complex assignments with little margin for error. Throughout his tenure, he was able to manage teams of diverse personnel and deliver victories across program areas and across the state. David was asked regularly to develop campaign plans for a variety of ballot initiatives and to advise on numerous elections at all levels of government.

The firm’s growing list of clients attests in no small part to David’s creativity, prudent judgment and network of key policy makers and political thought leaders throughout the country. He has taught at St. John’s University and serves on various law panels. David is a trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission and serves on the board of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, New York Chapter.  

Alex Betke is an attorney and registered lobbyist focusing his practice on Government Relations and Municipal Law, a unique combination of legal concentrations allowing him to meet clients’ needs at all levels of government and to provide innovative resolutions to a variety of legal challenges.

Alex enjoys considerable experience working with the Governor’s Office, the Legislature, state agencies, the Attorney General and the State Comptroller, along with New York’s federal government representatives. His clients range from major industry associations and fortune 500 companies to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations, with work encompassing all aspects of government relations, including legislation, procurement, appropriations and regulatory matters.

Previously, Alex was elected for eight years as the Town Supervisor of the Town of Coxsackie and served several terms as a councilman before holding that post. Based on his experience and exposure to the workings of local government, he established and grew a municipal practice, and continues to serve as general and special counsel to various municipalities.

Alex has been involved in New York State politics throughout his career, serving as an elected state committeeman for the New York State Democratic Party and working on several statewide campaigns. This experience, in addition to his professional work, contributes to and informs his approach to legal matters and increases his effectiveness in advancing client objectives.

David R. Everett is a partner in the Firm’s  Environmental, Municipal and Real Estate Development, Zoning and Land Use, and Energy and Telecommunications Practice Groups. His areas of expertise include land use law, zoning and planning, real estate development, SEQRA compliance, solid waste management and environmental regulations. Mr. Everett routinely lectures on SEQRA compliance, zoning and planning issues and environmental permitting regulations throughout New York State for the N.Y. Association of Towns and N.Y. Planning Federation, among others.

Representative Accomplishments

  • Acted as lead counsel for the development of numerous large warehouse distribution centers for FORTUNE 10 corporations and e-commerce companies.   Handled distribution centers ranging in size from 200,000 square feet to over 1 million square feet.  Also handled distribution centers located adjacent to Stewart International Airport in the Town of Newburgh, NY.  Handled all aspects of the development process including negotiating land purchase agreements and other transactional matters, handling due diligence investigations, obtaining right to build approvals and financial incentives and successfully defending litigation challenging project approvals.
  • Acted as lead counsel for the municipal review and approval of one of the largest private residential golf resorts in the Hudson Valley valued at between $750 million to $1 billion. The resort contained hundreds of dwelling units consisting of estate homes, single-family homes, condos, townhomes, hotel lodging units, a championship golf course, club house, recreational amenities,  and related improvements. Handled all aspects of site plan and subdivision reviews, environmental review, performance bonding, transportation corporations for water and wastewater disposal, conservation easements, public park easement, homeowner’s association, etc. Successfully handled numerous lawsuits seeking to overturn the environmental and land use approvals for the project.
  • Acted as lead counsel to several religious organizations in the Hudson Valley in the development of monasteries, missionary training facilities, literature production facilities, administrative offices, residential facilities and worship halls. Also handled all aspects of site selection and acquisition, due diligence, land use and environmental approvals, RLUIPA, etc.
  • Acted as the lead counsel for a national home builder in connection with the development of over 3,000 homes in the greater New York City area including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, age-restricted communities and affordable housing. Conducted environmental due diligence investigations related to the development of large residential communities. Assisted with the redevelopment of large urban brownfield sites for residential communities. 
  • Acted as lead counsel for one of the largest real estate developers in New York State in connection with the development of shopping centers including strip centers, neighborhood and community retail stores, power centers and lifestyle centers.  Assisted a client in securing $500 million in private financing to construct a super-regional shopping mall in the lower Hudson Valley.  
  • Acted as lead counsel for the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) in connection with obtaining land use and environmental approvals for the construction of the power control center (PCC) for New York State.  The PCC operates and controls the bulk electric transmission grid across the State.
  • Acted as lead counsel in connection with the development, construction and operation of the largest private motorcycle racetrack in the country.  Successfully defended multiple lawsuits challenging the land use and environmental approvals for the track.
  • Acted as lead counsel in building a coalition of almost 50 municipalities from across the State to file amicus curaie briefs in lawsuits challenging the legal authority of municipalities to adopt zoning controls on natural gas drilling.
  • Acted as lead counsel for over 60 municipalities in the Southern Tier of New York State in connection with developing and implementing local road protection programs with respect to natural gas drilling operations.
  • Assisted the New York State Thruway Authority with environmental impact assessment and permitting issues associated with the redevelopment of the Tappan Zee Bridge and I-287 corridor from Port Chester, NY to Suffern, NY. 
  • Assisted Woodstock Ventures in obtaining land use and environmental approvals for the Woodstock Music Festivals in 1994 and 1999. Prepared and negotiated numerous contracts on environmental issues including contracts for the removal of septage, solid waste, hazardous waste and regulated medical waste. 
  • Assisted clients in obtaining land use approvals from planning, zoning and legislative boards including site plan and subdivision approvals, special use permits, variances, zoning amendments, etc. Handled all aspects of land use litigation. 
  • Assisted clients in obtaining environmental permits and approvals from federal, State and local agencies including wetland permits, SPDES permits, stream impact permits, flood protection permits, air permits, stormwater permits, etc. 
  • Assisted FORTUNE 500 companies in complying with State and federal environmental laws including air, water and underground storage tank regulations. 
  • Represented clients before State and federal agencies in enforcement actions regarding alleged violations of environmental laws. Negotiated consent orders with the EPA and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • Represented resource recovery agencies in siting county-wide landfills, developing solid waste management plans, and preparing, adopting and enforcing flow control and recycling regulations. Handled litigation challenging the constitutionality of flow control laws.

Charles Gottlieb is a Partner of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna’s Real Estate Development, Zoning and Land Use; Environmental; Municipal; and Energy and Telecommunications practice groups. His expertise is in representing residential and commercial developers, religious institutions, non-profit organizations and public utility infrastructure companies to obtain needed land use and environmental permits.  Prior to joining the firm, Charles was an associate attorney at Cuddy & Feder, LLP in Westchester County and previously served as a legal intern for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Representative Accomplishments

  • Assists clients with all aspects of the land use permitting process, including the State Environmental Quality Review Act, and regularly appear before municipal land use, zoning and environmental permitting agencies.
  • Assists telecommunications infrastructure companies and wireless carriers in obtaining permits from local land use agencies and advise on compliance with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and related FCC orders.
  • Successfully assisted clients before local land use agencies related to New York’s Padavan Law and local, State and Federal historic preservation laws.
  • Represents clients during Article 78 litigation proceedings in resolving their real estate, land use and zoning, and environmental disputes.
  • Effectively defend clients subject to municipal zoning and environmental enforcement actions.
  • Obtain favorable rezoning and zoning interpretations for developers before local legislative bodies, local code enforcement officers, and local Zoning Boards of Appeal.

Affiliations

Charles is admitted to practice in the State of New York and Connecticut, and the Northern and Southern District Federal Courts.  Charles is also a member of the New York State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. 

Professional/Community

Charles is on the Board of Directors of the City of Troy Boys and Girls Club in New York.

Publications

Planning and Permitting Mobile Broadband Communications Infrastructure: Is It Time to Amend Your Code? Presentation, Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Institute at Touro Law School, 2015

Municipal Land Use and Legal Considerations Associated With Advancing Technologies That Are Critical To Communities in Transition, Presentation, PACE 2014 Land Use and Sustainable Development Conference Transitioning Communities, Pace Law School, 2014.

Land Use and Planning: Preventing Flight of Millennials, Publication, New York Law Journal, November 3, 2015

Background/Education

Charles, originally from Vermont, received a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Albany Law School in 2011.  He also received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Quinnipiac University in 2008.

Dan Hubbell is a Partner with Whiteman Osterman & Hanna joining the Firm in September 2014.  Mr. Hubbell primarily represents public, not-for-profit, and private entities in real estate, land use, development, and real property taxation matters, with an emphasis on acquisition, financing, development, leasing, and disposition of commercial and corporate real property, including the preparation and negotiations of all transactional documents.  Additionally, Mr. Hubbell provides guidance to public and private entities concerning real property tax assessments, exemptions and payment in lieu of taxes agreements.  Prior to practicing law, Mr. Hubbell worked as a commercial real estate appraiser, performing complex appraisal assignments on various property types.

Representative Accomplishments

  • Represented multiple private entities in the acquisition, financing, development and leasing of retail, office, industrial and multi-family residential properties.
  • Represented multiple not-for-profit and religious corporations in the acquisition, financing, development and disposition of corporate real property, including applications to the New York State Attorney General or Supreme Court for approval of such transactions.
  • Represented developers of residential condominium and homeowners’ association projects in preparing and filing offering plans with the New York State Attorney General.
  • Co-counsel to local development authority, advising on all economic development issues, including development, construction, financing, payment in lieu of tax and other agreements.
  • Represented public housing authority in a public-private RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration) conversion of the authority’s entire real estate portfolio.
  • Commenced and negotiated the settlement of multiple tax certiorari proceedings relating to various property types, including retail centers, office buildings, multi-family apartment complexes, industrial buildings, hydro-electric facilities, lumber mills, farms and agricultural lands, and residences.

Affiliations

Mr. Hubbell is a member of the New York State Bar and a New York State Certified General Real Estate Appraiser.  He is a Practicing Affiliate of the Appraisal Institute and a past board member of the Mid-Hudson Chapter of the Appraisal Institute.  Mr. Hubbell serves on the Board of Directors of Hudson River Housing and is a past president of the organization.  

Background/Education

Mr. Hubbell graduated magna cum laude from Albany Law School, where he was a member of the Albany Law Review.  While in law school, Mr. Hubbell was a legal intern in the Criminal Prosecutions and Public Integrity Bureaus of the New York State Office of the Attorney General, as well as a summer associate with Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP.  Mr. Hubbell also holds a Master of Science degree in Non-Profit/NGO Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. During his time at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Hubbell interned as a grants officer with the Wachovia Regional Foundation and served as a consultant to the United Nations Office of Human Resources Management. Prior to graduate school, Mr. Hubbell worked in the non-profit sector, founding and leading a local education non-profit in south-central Pennsylvania. Mr. Hubbell received his Bachelors of Arts from the University of Valley Forge, graduating magna cum laude.  

Boyu comes to Vanreusel Ventures from an analyst background, after a 3-year career with Lion Raisins Corp. He spent this time developing models for valuing stock on behalf of investors – drawing on income comparisons, revenue trends, profit analysis, and more.

Now as the Sr. Financial Analyst, he brings all these talents to bear as part of the Vanreusel team. Through trend analysis, modeling, and data management, he keeps our financial models aligned with movement in the markets. Then for clients, he builds sales and revenue forecasts to factor risk and rewards into the decision process.

Born in China, Boyu studied for a BA in Economics at Syracuse University, then a Master of Science in Finance degree at the University of Maryland College Park. Away from work, he plays basketball and loves traveling – experiencing different cultures and food whenever he has the chance.

John Blackburn has over 40 years of experience in the practice of architecture. He received his Master of Architecture and Urban Design degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1972 and was principal of his own firm from 1976-1979 before joining Keyes Condon Florence Architects as an Associate Architect for four years. In 1983, he founded Smith Blackburn Architects with Robert Smith, AIA and merged with Richard Stauffer Associates in 1987 to form Smith Blackburn Stauffer. In 1995, the firm incorporated and changed its name to Blackburn Architects, P.C.

Mr. Blackburn is the senior principal of the firm and is responsible for overall firm management. His experience includes the management of a full range of project types and services, including programming, existing facility evaluation and master planning, new construction, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation.

Mr. Blackburn has over 30 years of experience in equestrian design and is renowned worldwide as an industry leader. His equestrian projects range from polo barns and thoroughbred-training facilities to therapeutic riding centers and private ranches. Blackburn’s designs rely on the active principles of passive design to encourage animal safety and sustainable facilities.

Mr. Blackburn has co-authored two highly lauded books, Healthy Stables by Design, and American Equestrian Design; both of which focus on the firm's long practice of designing exceptional equestrian properties.

As a Project Manager in Bohler’s Albany office, Tim is a practicing Professional Engineer who helps owners and developers identify opportunities to become accomplished. With a degree in Civil Engineering and Geography from Syracuse University, and more than 9 years of experience in site civil engineering design and permitting fields, Tim leads a growing team of talented engineers and designers who bring clients’ visions to life. Tim drives the development process, guiding projects from due diligence and conceptual design through site design, entitlements, and construction.

Jeff Newman, of Stone Creek Planning and Management, has more than two decades of experience operating and managing large properties, including a 236-acre horse farm and retreat center. He comes to TRR to share his operational expertise as part of the Farm Team.  With a certification in Permaculture Design, Jeff will work to ensure that the site will be not just sustainable, but regenerative in its design.