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Saco-Indonesia.com - Sejak masih jejaka, Suno (58), warga Desa Karang Kedawang, Kecamatan Sooko, Kabupaten Mojokerto, Jawa Timur, sudah akrab dengan usaha persepatuan. Walau kala itu ”sekadar” sebagai tukang sol sepatu. Kini, ia menjadi salah satu pelaku usaha kecil dan menengah dengan produksi sampai 70 kodi sandal per hari.

Sebagai tukang sol sepatu, Suno yang memulai membuka usaha sendiri pembuatan sandal dengan merek Expo, enam tahun silam, telah malang melintang dari satu tempat kerja pembuatan sepatu ke tempat pembuatan sepatu lain.

”Awalnya saya bekerja menjadi tukang sol sepatu di Surabaya, tepatnya di Petemon, lalu pindah ke Rangkah, dan terakhir kerja di pabrik sepatu di Sukomanunggal,” katanya.

Suno adalah salah satu dari sekitar 1.300 pelaku usaha kecil dan menengah (UKM) di wilayah kerja Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional (BTPN) Cabang Mojokerto yang menjadi nasabah sekaligus binaan bank ini.

Sejak tahun 2010 Suno mendapat kucuran kredit Rp 30 juta untuk tambahan modal sekaligus pengembangan usahanya. Setahun berikutnya, Suno kembali mendapat kucuran kredit Rp 60 juta. Pada 2012, dia mendapat kredit lagi sebesar Rp 98 juta.

”Sebelum kucuran kredit dari BTPN sampai tiga kali, modal awal untuk mulai membuka usaha sandal ini saya pinjam dari koperasi sebesar Rp 10 juta,” kata Suno.

Setelah menjadi binaan BTPN dan mendapat pelatihan, khususnya menyangkut manajemen keuangan dalam pengelolaan usaha kecil, usaha sandal Suno berkembang cepat.

Rugi

Suno bercerita, pada awal memulai usaha, dia sering menyerahkan pengerjaan pembuatan sandal kepada orang lain. ”Istilahnya, saya men- sub- kan pesanan itu kepada perajin sandal lain,” ujarnya.

Namun, hasilnya justru tak menguntungkan, bahkan Suno menelan kerugian. ”Saya sempat tak mengerjakan sendiri pesanan sandal itu. Hasilnya, dalam dua bulan saya rugi sekitar Rp 3,5 juta.”

Pengalaman pahit itulah yang memaksa Suno mengerjakan sendiri produk sandal Expo miliknya. Seiring berjalannya waktu, usahanya tumbuh dan berkembang. Pesanan dari pedagang grosir di Pasar Turi, Surabaya, misalnya, terus meningkat.

”Sekarang saya sudah bisa membayar orang. Di sini ada tujuh karyawan dari tukang sol, tukang kap, dan seorang sekretaris,” kata Suno.

Dibantu anaknya yang masih lajang, Sugianto, untuk memasarkan produknya, Suno bangga bisa memberikan lapangan pekerjaan kepada orang lain.

”Rata-rata setiap hari usaha saya ini bisa memproduksi 30 sampai 50 kodi sandal. Kalau pesanan sedang ramai, dalam sehari bisa mencapai 70 kodi. Kalau sudah begini, saya juga menyerahkan pengerjaan pembuatan sandal kepada enam tukang sol, tukang kap, dan tukang katokan di rumah. Mereka mengerjakan pesanan itu di rumah masing-masing, saya mengontrol hasilnya,” kata Suno.

Pedagang grosir

Sekarang, usaha skala kecil yang digeluti Suno dengan produk sandal untuk dewasa dan anak-anak serta sandal perempuan ini tak hanya dipasarkan di Surabaya dan sekitarnya, tetapi juga sudah sampai ke Tulungagung, Jawa Timur, hingga Solo, Jawa Tengah.

”Selain melayani pedagang bedak (eceran di pasar atau kaki lima), saya juga mendapat pesanan dari para pedagang grosir,” kata Suno.

Seminggu sekali ditemani Sugianto, salah satu anaknya, dengan mobil boks, Suno membawa ribuan pasang sandal menyusuri jalur tengah antara Jawa Timur dan Jawa Tengah.

Sebagai mitra usaha kecil dan menengah, BTPN Mojokerto telah menyalurkan kredit usaha kecil dan menengah sejak tahun 2009 hingga 2012. Kredit yang disalurkan itu mencapai lebih dari Rp 110 miliar.

”Ada 30 sampai 40 debitor UKM sepatu dan sandal yang menerima kucuran kredit kami, salah satunya yang berhasil, ya, usaha sandal milik Suno,” kata Mashudi, Area Daya Spesialis BTPN Cabang Mojokerto.

Suno mengakui, sebelum mendapat pelatihan manajemen keuangan dari BTPN, usahanya sekadar berjalan saja. Susno yang tak sempat menamatkan sekolah dasar (SD) itu sama sekali tak mempunyai pengetahuan soal pengelolaan keuangan usaha.

”Dulu, manajemennya campur aduk tidak karuan, tetapi sekarang pembukuan usaha ini sudah mulai rapi,” kata Suno.

Ketangguhan

Usaha sandal yang digeluti Suno adalah potret ketangguhan lapisan wong cilik yang berhasil dalam mengembangkan usaha. Walau dalam skala kecil, dia bisa memberikan sumber penghasilan dan penghidupan bagi orang lain.

”Saya masih punya impian untuk memiliki atau setidaknya membuka toko sandal dan sepatu di Pasar Klewer, Solo. Di toko itu tidak hanya menjual hasil produksi saya, tetapi juga hasil produksi perajin lain,” tutur Suno tentang harapannya.

”Keinginan saya ke depan menciptakan lebih banyak lagi lapangan kerja untuk orang-orang kecil dan susah,” katanya.

Soal keuntungan dari hasil usahanya itu, Suno mengaku masih sangat bergantung pada permintaan pasar, selain kelancaran pembayaran dari grosir ataupun pedagang bedak. ”Setidaknya dalam setahun saya masih bisa menikmati keuntungan bersih sekitar Rp 20 juta untuk ditabung. Itu kalau semuanya berjalan lancar. Namun, sering pembayarannya molor, bahkan ada yang bayar 50 persen di muka, sisanya baru dibayar satu-dua bulan,” tuturnya.

Suno, sang juragan sandal yang lahir di tanah Majapahit itu, kini bisa bernapas lega walau setiap hari harus berpikir keras untuk menjaga agar usahanya tetap berdenyut dalam situasi politik dan ekonomi yang kurang memihak kepada wong cilik ini.

 

Sumber : Kompas Cetak/Kompas.com
Editor :Liwon Maulana
Awalnya Tukang Sol Sepatu Kini Menjadi Produsen

Satuan Tugas (Satgas) Yonif 751/Raider telah menyergap tiga warga sipil bersenjata yang telah diidentifikasi dari Kelompok Yambi di Kabupaten Puncak Jaya pada Sabtu (15/3) lalu.

"Selama ini Kodam XVII/Cenderawasih juga tidak menempatkan pihak yang berseberangan paham sebagai musuh, tetapi senantiasa mengajak mereka yang berbeda paham untuk dapat menyelesaikan permasalahan dengan cara damai," kata Pangdam Cenderawasih Mayjen TNI Christian Zebua.

Dalam penyergapan tersebut, katanya, selain meringkus tiga anggota sipil bersenjata, Yonif 751/Raider juga dan mengamankan 29 butir amunisi kaliber 5,56 mm, empat kaos loreng, satu celana loreng, satu tas rangsel, satu busur busur serta 10 anak panah.

Christian juga menyesalkan kejadian tersebut, karena masih ada kelompok-kelompok tertentu yang telah melakukan tindak kekerasan dengan menggunakan senjata api.

Dia juga mengatakan, kontak senjata tersebut telah terjadi pada saat Tim I Satuan Penugasan Pengamanan Daerah Rawan Yonif 751/R dengan kekuatan 15 orang anggota yang dipimpin oleh Sertu Obed Anggara melaksanakan Ambust di KV 2491.

"Saat dalam perjalanan menuju titik Ambust, kemudian bertemu dengan sekelompok masyarakat yang berjumlah 10 orang. ketika akan didekati, tiba-tiba empat orang dari kelompok tersebut telah melakukan penembakan ke arah personel Satgas Yonif 751/R," katanya dilansir dari Antara.

Christian lebih lanjut menuturkan, para prajurit TNI kemudian telah melakukan pengejaran terhadap empat orang yang melakukan penembakan, sehingga terjadi kontak tembak.

Kelompok sipil bersenjata ini, lanjut dia, terdesak di tepi jurang. Salah seorang di antaranya yang membawa senjata api yaitu Yekeles Enumbi melompat ke jurang sedangkan tiga rekannya mengalami luka tembak yaitu Tigabut Enumbi, Kindeman Telenggen/Taman Telenggen dan Metinus Telenggen.

"Ketiga orang ini kemudian dievakuasi ke RSUD (Rumah Sakit Umum Daerah) Mulia untuk mendapatkan perawatan medis, sedangkan enam orang warga lainya dibawa menuju Polres Puncak Jaya guna penyelidikan lebih lanjut," katanya.

Disergap TNI, 1 sipil bersenjata terjun ke jurang dan 3 ditembak

Kapolda Jawa Barat Irjen Mohammad Iriawan menegaskan pelaku penembak Briptu Nurul Affandi yakni berinisial KK dan S adalah spesialis pencurian sepeda motor (curanmor). Keduanya sudah sering keluar masuk penjara dalam kasus serupa.

"Pelaku berinisial KK yang ditangkap di Lampung Timur, Lampung pada Senin (27/1) subuh, perannya hanya sebatas joki atau yang membawa motor. Justru S lah sebagai pelaku utama dan yang hingga saat ini masih buron," kata Iriawan di Bogor, Selasa (28/1).

Lebih lanjut ia menjelaskan, KK ditangkap setelah pihaknya bersama Polda Jabar, Polda Metro, Polda Lampung, Polres Bogor dan Depok melakukan penyelidikan yang cukup lama.

"Saat ditangkap di rumahnya, kita juga berhasil mengamankan barang bukti 10 sepeda motor yang diduga hasil curian," katanya.

Saat ini pihaknya masih melakukan pengembangan, untuk mengejar pelaku utama berinisial S. "Untuk sementara tidak ada motif lain. Ini murni pencurian sepeda motor, karena pelaku kepergok hendak mencuri sepeda motor dan ditegur oleh korban," ungkapnya.

Iriawan menambahkan, tidak menutup kemungkinan ada pelaku lain dalam kasus penembakan ini. "Maka dari itu kita masih melakukan penyelidikan dan pengembangan. Tapi yang jelas pelaku ini adalah pernah masuk penjara atau residivis," katanya.

Seperti diberitakan sebelumnya, Briptu Nurul Affandi anggota Unit Reserse dan Kriminal Polsek Klapanunggal tewas ditembak saat mempergoki pelaku pencurian sepeda motor di samping warung gado-gado dekat PT Nippres, Jalan Raya Narogong, Klapanunggal, Kabupaten Bogor, Jumat (10/1).

PENEMBAK BRIPTU NURUL SPESIALIS CURANMOR

Satreskrim Polres Cimahi terus akan mendalami Dedeh Uum Fatimah yang berusia (38) tahun ibu tersangka pembunuh anaknya, Aisah Fany yang berusia (2,5) tahun yang ditenggelamkan ke dalam toren atau penampungan air. Termasuk dugaan aliran sesat dalam diri Dedeh.

Pasalnya ibu tiga anak ini sama sekali tidak menyesali perbuatannya. Dedeh justru menyesal tidak menghabisi dua anak lainnya dalam insiden tersebut.

"Belum kita temukan, kita masih dalami kita juga geledah rumahnya tapi belum bisa kita simpulkan," kata Kapolres Cimahi AKBP Erwin Kurniawan , Jumat (14/3).

Dedeh saat ini masih terus dalam pemeriksaan intensif penyidik Polres Cimahi. Tes kejiwaan juga sudah dilakukan untuk dapat memastikan apakah terganggu atau tidak.

"Sudah hari Rabu kemarin di tes kejiwaan, hasilnya paling satu minggu baru keluar, jadi belum bisa kami simpulkan," paparnya.

Diberitakan sebelumnya, Dedeh ini dengan sadis tiba-tiba menenggelamkan anaknya sendiri yang masih balita ke dalam toren air di rumahnya di Kampung Cijengjing, Desa Kertamulya, Kecamatan Padalarang, Kabupaten Bandung Barat pada Selasa (11/3) lalu. Pelaku nekat menghabisi nyawa anaknya saat tidur pulas. Dedeh membunuh anaknya sendiri karena ingin mengirimnya ke surga.

Polisi belum temukan dugaan aliran sesat dalam kasus Dedeh

BANDUNG, Saco-Indonesia.com - Sementara sebagian penduduk Jakarta mengutuk musibah banjir yang terjadi hampir setiap datangnya hujan besar, penduduk di wilayah lain justeru menghadapi bahaya kekeringan. Hal ini terungkap dalam penyampaian makalah di Sidang Kolokium Puslitbang Sumber Daya Air Kementerian Pekerjaan Umum, Rabu (15/5/2013).

Perubahan intensitas kekeringan tersebut menimbulkan kerentanan terhadap sektor pertanian, terutama padi dan palawija.
-- Wanny M Putuhena

Subjek mengenai kekeringan ini disampaikan oleh Wanny K. Adidarma berdasakan makalah berjudul "Perubahan Ciri Kekeringan Pertanian di Pulau Jawa". Makalah tersebut merupakan karyanya bersama William M. Putuhena.

Wanny mengatakan, karakteristik musibah kekeringan jauh berbeda dengan musibah banjir. Musibah banjir dapat diantisipasi dengan tindakan-tindakan spontan, sementara kekeringan dapat datang perlahan-lahan tanpa mampu diantisipasi.

Inilah jenis bencana yang seringkali mengalami overlapping dengan pemberitaan bencana banjir. Padahal, keduanya merupakan musibah berbahaya.

"Dampak dari perubahan iklim terhadap kekeringan sudah mulai terasa di beberapa wilayah di Indonesia. Perubahan intensitas kekeringan tersebut menimbulkan kerentanan terhadap sektor pertanian, terutama padi dan palawija," ujar Wanny.

Untuk membuktikan hal tersebut, Wanny melakukan penelitian di lima lokasi. Kelimanya yaitu, wilayah Cidanau Cilisung Ciliman, wilayah Cirebon, Pemali Comal beserta Daerah Aliran Sungai (DAS) Pemali dan DAS Comal, DAS Solo Hulu, dan wilayah Kedu. Kajian dilakukan oleh Wanny dan William itu menyiratkan bahwa jenis kekeringan pertanian mempunyai hubungan dengan dampaknya.

Kekeringan pertanian digambarkan oleh intensitas kekeringan yang pada umumnya kurang dari 220mm/bulan dan durasi kekeringan kurang dari sembilan bulan. Selama dua hingga tiga dasawarsa terakhir, intensitas kekeringan mengalami perubahan jika dibandingkan dengan durasi kekeringan terutama bagi tanaman padi. Kekeringan untuk padi yang terjadi pada tahun-tahun kering sifatnya lebih merata secara ruang dibandingkan kekeringan untuk palawija.

"Kekeringan pertanian terjadi karena kurangnya hujan bulanan, padahal kebutuhan air lebih banyak," kata Wanny.

Perubahan ciri kekeringan pertanian terjadi dalam bentuk pergeseran tingkat keparahan, makin besar periode ulang, artinya semakin parah. Sementara itu, setiap wilayah juga memiliki perubahan berbeda, namun secara garis besar tingkat kekeringan semakin parah. Lewat penelitian dan pemantauan yang dilakukan oleh Wanny dan William, tampak tren terjadinya kekeringan di wilayah-wilayah sampel tersebut.

"Kalau kita tahu dengan pasti intensitasnya berapa, kita bisa tahu kapan kekeringan dapat terjadi," ujarnya.

 
Editor :Liwon Maulana(galipat)
sumber:Kompas.com
Waspadai Bahaya Kekeringan

Even as a high school student, Dave Goldberg was urging female classmates to speak up. As a young dot-com executive, he had one girlfriend after another, but fell hard for a driven friend named Sheryl Sandberg, pining after her for years. After they wed, Mr. Goldberg pushed her to negotiate hard for high compensation and arranged his schedule so that he could be home with their children when she was traveling for work.

Mr. Goldberg, who died unexpectedly on Friday, was a genial, 47-year-old Silicon Valley entrepreneur who built his latest company, SurveyMonkey, from a modest enterprise to one recently valued by investors at $2 billion. But he was also perhaps the signature male feminist of his era: the first major chief executive in memory to spur his wife to become as successful in business as he was, and an essential figure in “Lean In,” Ms. Sandberg’s blockbuster guide to female achievement.

Over the weekend, even strangers were shocked at his death, both because of his relatively young age and because they knew of him as the living, breathing, car-pooling center of a new philosophy of two-career marriage.

“They were very much the role models for what this next generation wants to grapple with,” said Debora L. Spar, the president of Barnard College. In a 2011 commencement speech there, Ms. Sandberg told the graduates that whom they married would be their most important career decision.

In the play “The Heidi Chronicles,” revived on Broadway this spring, a male character who is the founder of a media company says that “I don’t want to come home to an A-plus,” explaining that his ambitions require him to marry an unthreatening helpmeet. Mr. Goldberg grew up to hold the opposite view, starting with his upbringing in progressive Minneapolis circles where “there was woman power in every aspect of our lives,” Jeffrey Dachis, a childhood friend, said in an interview.

The Goldberg parents read “The Feminine Mystique” together — in fact, Mr. Goldberg’s father introduced it to his wife, according to Ms. Sandberg’s book. In 1976, Paula Goldberg helped found a nonprofit to aid children with disabilities. Her husband, Mel, a law professor who taught at night, made the family breakfast at home.

Later, when Dave Goldberg was in high school and his prom date, Jill Chessen, stayed silent in a politics class, he chastised her afterward. He said, “You need to speak up,” Ms. Chessen recalled in an interview. “They need to hear your voice.”

Years later, when Karin Gilford, an early employee at Launch Media, Mr. Goldberg’s digital music company, became a mother, he knew exactly what to do. He kept giving her challenging assignments, she recalled, but also let her work from home one day a week. After Yahoo acquired Launch, Mr. Goldberg became known for distributing roses to all the women in the office on Valentine’s Day.

Ms. Sandberg, who often describes herself as bossy-in-a-good-way, enchanted him when they became friendly in the mid-1990s. He “was smitten with her,” Ms. Chessen remembered. Ms. Sandberg was dating someone else, but Mr. Goldberg still hung around, even helping her and her then-boyfriend move, recalled Bob Roback, a friend and co-founder of Launch. When they finally married in 2004, friends remember thinking how similar the two were, and that the qualities that might have made Ms. Sandberg intimidating to some men drew Mr. Goldberg to her even more.

Over the next decade, Mr. Goldberg and Ms. Sandberg pioneered new ways of capturing information online, had a son and then a daughter, became immensely wealthy, and hashed out their who-does-what-in-this-marriage issues. Mr. Goldberg’s commute from the Bay Area to Los Angeles became a strain, so he relocated, later joking that he “lost the coin flip” of where they would live. He paid the bills, she planned the birthday parties, and both often left their offices at 5:30 so they could eat dinner with their children before resuming work afterward.

Friends in Silicon Valley say they were careful to conduct their careers separately, politely refusing when outsiders would ask one about the other’s work: Ms. Sandberg’s role building Facebook into an information and advertising powerhouse, and Mr. Goldberg at SurveyMonkey, which made polling faster and cheaper. But privately, their work was intertwined. He often began statements to his team with the phrase “Well, Sheryl said” sharing her business advice. He counseled her, too, starting with her salary negotiations with Mark Zuckerberg.

“I wanted Mark to really feel he stretched to get Sheryl, because she was worth it,” Mr. Goldberg explained in a 2013 “60 Minutes” interview, his Minnesota accent and his smile intact as he offered a rare peek of the intersection of marriage and money at the top of corporate life.

 

 

While his wife grew increasingly outspoken about women’s advancement, Mr. Goldberg quietly advised the men in the office on family and partnership matters, an associate said. Six out of 16 members of SurveyMonkey’s management team are female, an almost unheard-of ratio among Silicon Valley “unicorns,” or companies valued at over $1 billion.

When Mellody Hobson, a friend and finance executive, wrote a chapter of “Lean In” about women of color for the college edition of the book, Mr. Goldberg gave her feedback on the draft, a clue to his deep involvement. He joked with Ms. Hobson that she was too long-winded, like Ms. Sandberg, but aside from that, he said he loved the chapter, she said in an interview.

By then, Mr. Goldberg was a figure of fascination who inspired a “where can I get one of those?” reaction among many of the women who had read the best seller “Lean In.” Some lamented that Ms. Sandberg’s advice hinged too much on marrying a Dave Goldberg, who was humble enough to plan around his wife, attentive enough to worry about which shoes his young daughter would wear, and rich enough to help pay for the help that made the family’s balancing act manageable.

Now that he is gone, and Ms. Sandberg goes from being half of a celebrated partnership to perhaps the business world’s most prominent single mother, the pages of “Lean In” carry a new sting of loss.

“We are never at 50-50 at any given moment — perfect equality is hard to define or sustain — but we allow the pendulum to swing back and forth between us,” she wrote in 2013, adding that they were looking forward to raising teenagers together.

“Fortunately, I have Dave to figure it out with me,” she wrote.

Dave Goldberg Was Lifelong Women’s Advocate

BEIJING (AP) — The head of Taiwan's Nationalists reaffirmed the party's support for eventual unification with the mainland when he met Monday with Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of continuing rapprochement between the former bitter enemies.

Nationalist Party Chairman Eric Chu, a likely presidential candidate next year, also affirmed Taiwan's desire to join the proposed Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank during the meeting in Beijing. China claims Taiwan as its own territory and doesn't want the island to join using a name that might imply it is an independent country.

Chu's comments during his meeting with Xi were carried live on Hong Kong-based broadcaster Phoenix Television.

The Nationalists were driven to Taiwan by Mao Zedong's Communists during the Chinese civil war in 1949, leading to decades of hostility between the sides. Chu, who took over as party leader in January, is the third Nationalist chairman to visit the mainland and the first since 2009.

Relations between the communist-ruled mainland and the self-governing democratic island of Taiwan began to warm in the 1990s, partly out of their common opposition to Taiwan's formal independence from China, a position advocated by the island's Democratic Progressive Party.

Despite increasingly close economic ties, the prospect of political unification has grown increasingly unpopular on Taiwan, especially with younger voters. Opposition to the Nationalists' pro-China policies was seen as a driver behind heavy local electoral defeats for the party last year that led to Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou resigning as party chairman.

Taiwan party leader affirms eventual reunion with China
Photo
 
United’s first-class and business fliers get Rhapsody, its high-minded in-flight magazine, seen here at its office in Brooklyn. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Last summer at a writers’ workshop in Oregon, the novelists Anthony Doerr, Karen Russell and Elissa Schappell were chatting over cocktails when they realized they had all published work in the same magazine. It wasn’t one of the usual literary outlets, like Tin House, The Paris Review or The New Yorker. It was Rhapsody, an in-flight magazine for United Airlines.

It seemed like a weird coincidence. Then again, considering Rhapsody’s growing roster of A-list fiction writers, maybe not. Since its first issue hit plane cabins a year and a half ago, Rhapsody has published original works by literary stars like Joyce Carol Oates, Rick Moody, Amy Bloom, Emma Straub and Mr. Doerr, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction two weeks ago.

As airlines try to distinguish their high-end service with luxuries like private sleeping chambers, showers, butler service and meals from five-star chefs, United Airlines is offering a loftier, more cerebral amenity to its first-class and business-class passengers: elegant prose by prominent novelists. There are no airport maps or disheartening lists of in-flight meal and entertainment options in Rhapsody. Instead, the magazine has published ruminative first-person travel accounts, cultural dispatches and probing essays about flight by more than 30 literary fiction writers.

 

Photo
 
Sean Manning, executive editor of Rhapsody, which publishes works by the likes of Joyce Carol Oates, Amy Bloom and Anthony Doerr, who won a Pulitzer Prize. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

 

An airline might seem like an odd literary patron. But as publishers and writers look for new ways to reach readers in a shaky retail climate, many have formed corporate alliances with transit companies, including American Airlines, JetBlue and Amtrak, that provide a captive audience.

Mark Krolick, United Airlines’ managing director of marketing and product development, said the quality of the writing in Rhapsody brings a patina of sophistication to its first-class service, along with other opulent touches like mood lighting, soft music and a branded scent.

“The high-end leisure or business-class traveler has higher expectations, even in the entertainment we provide,” he said.

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Some of Rhapsody’s contributing writers say they were lured by the promise of free airfare and luxury accommodations provided by United, as well as exposure to an elite audience of some two million first-class and business-class travelers.

“It’s not your normal Park Slope Community Bookstore types who read Rhapsody,” Mr. Moody, author of the 1994 novel “The Ice Storm,” who wrote an introspective, philosophical piece about traveling to the Aran Islands of Ireland for Rhapsody, said in an email. “I’m not sure I myself am in that Rhapsody demographic, but I would like them to buy my books one day.”

In addition to offering travel perks, the magazine pays well and gives writers freedom, within reason, to choose their subject matter and write with style. Certain genres of flight stories are off limits, naturally: no plane crashes or woeful tales of lost luggage or rude flight attendants, and nothing too risqué.

“We’re not going to have someone write about joining the mile-high club,” said Jordan Heller, the editor in chief of Rhapsody. “Despite those restrictions, we’ve managed to come up with a lot of high-minded literary content.”

Guiding writers toward the right idea occasionally requires some gentle prodding. When Rhapsody’s executive editor asked Ms. Russell to contribute an essay about a memorable flight experience, she first pitched a story about the time she was chaperoning a group of teenagers on a trip to Europe, and their delayed plane sat at the airport in New York for several hours while other passengers got progressively drunker.

“He pointed out that disaster flights are not what people want to read about when they’re in transit, and very diplomatically suggested that maybe people want to read something that casts air travel in a more positive light,” said Ms. Russell, whose novel “Swamplandia!” was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.

She turned in a nostalgia-tinged essay about her first flight on a trip to Disney World when she was 6. “The Magic Kingdom was an anticlimax,” she wrote. “What ride could compare to that first flight?”

Ms. Oates also wrote about her first flight, in a tiny yellow propeller plane piloted by her father. The novelist Joyce Maynard told of the constant disappointment of never seeing her books in airport bookstores and the thrill of finally spotting a fellow plane passenger reading her novel “Labor Day.” Emily St. John Mandel, who was a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction last year, wrote about agonizing over which books to bring on a long flight.

“There’s nobody that’s looked down their noses at us as an in-flight magazine,” said Sean Manning, the magazine’s executive editor. “As big as these people are in the literary world, there’s still this untapped audience for them of luxury travelers.”

United is one of a handful of companies showcasing work by literary writers as a way to elevate their brands and engage customers. Chipotle has printed original work from writers like Toni Morrison, Jeffrey Eugenides and Barbara Kingsolver on its disposable cups and paper bags. The eyeglass company Warby Parker hosts parties for authors and sells books from 14 independent publishers in its stores.

JetBlue offers around 40 e-books from HarperCollins and Penguin Random House on its free wireless network, allowing passengers to read free samples and buy and download books. JetBlue will start offering 11 digital titles from Simon & Schuster soon. Amtrak recently forged an alliance with Penguin Random House to provide free digital samples from 28 popular titles, which passengers can buy and download over Amtrak’s admittedly spotty wireless service.

Amtrak is becoming an incubator for literary talent in its own right. Last year, it started a residency program, offering writers a free long-distance train trip and complimentary food. More than 16,000 writers applied and 24 made the cut.

Like Amtrak, Rhapsody has found that writers are eager to get onboard. On a rainy spring afternoon, Rhapsody’s editorial staff sat around a conference table discussing the June issue, which will feature an essay by the novelist Hannah Pittard and an unpublished short story by the late Elmore Leonard.

“Do you have that photo of Elmore Leonard? Can I see it?” Mr. Heller, the editor in chief, asked Rhapsody’s design director, Christos Hannides. Mr. Hannides slid it across the table and noted that they also had a photograph of cowboy spurs. “It’s very simple; it won’t take away from the literature,” he said.

Rhapsody’s office, an open space with exposed pipes and a vaulted brick ceiling, sits in Dumbo at the epicenter of literary Brooklyn, in the same converted tea warehouse as the literary journal N+1 and the digital publisher Atavist. Two of the magazine’s seven staff members hold graduate degrees in creative writing. Mr. Manning, the executive editor, has published a memoir and edited five literary anthologies.

Mr. Manning said Rhapsody was conceived from the start as a place for literary novelists to write with voice and style, and nobody had been put off that their work would live in plane cabins and airport lounges.

Still, some contributors say they wish the magazine were more widely circulated.

“I would love it if I could read it,” said Ms. Schappell, a Brooklyn-based novelist who wrote a feature story for Rhapsody’s inaugural issue. “But I never fly first class.”

Rhapsody, a Lofty Literary Journal, Perused at 39,000 Feet

A lapsed seminarian, Mr. Chambers succeeded Saul Alinsky as leader of the social justice umbrella group Industrial Areas Foundation.

Edward Chambers, Early Leader in Community Organizing, Dies at 85

“It was really nice to play with other women and not have this underlying tone of being at each other’s throats.”

ay 4, 2015 ‘Game of Thrones’ Q&A: Keisha Castle-Hughes on the Tao of the Sand Snakes

The 2015 Met Gala has only officially begun, but there's a clear leader in the race for best couple, no small feat at an event that threatens to sap Hollywood of every celebrity it has for the duration of an East Coast evening.

That would be Marc Jacobs and his surprise guest (who, by some miracle, remained under wraps until their red carpet debut), Cher.

“This has been a dream of mine for a very, very long time,” Mr. Jacobs said.

It is Cher's first appearance at the Met Gala since 1997, when she arrived on the arm of Donatella Versace.

– MATTHEW SCHNEIER

Cher and Marc Jacobs

Mr. Bartoszewski was given honorary Israeli citizenship for his work to save Jews during World War II and later surprised even himself by being instrumental in reconciling Poland and Germany.

Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, 93, Dies; Polish Auschwitz Survivor Aided Jews

Mr. Haroche was a founder of Liberty Travel, which grew from a two-man operation to the largest leisure travel operation in the United States.

Gilbert Haroche, Builder of an Economy Travel Empire, Dies at 87

Ms. von Furstenberg made her debut in the movies and on the Broadway stage in the early 1950s as a teenager and later reinvented herself as a television actress, writer and philanthropist.

Betsy von Furstenberg, Baroness and Versatile Actress, Dies at 83

Mr. King sang for the Drifters and found success as a solo performer with hits like “Spanish Harlem.”

Ben E. King, Soulful Singer of ‘Stand by Me,’ Dies at 76

Mr. Alger, who served five terms from Texas, led Republican women in a confrontation with Lyndon B. Johnson that may have cost Richard M. Nixon the 1960 presidential election.

Bruce Alger, 96, Dies; Led ‘Mink Coat’ Protest Against Lyndon Johnson

Since a white police officer, Darren Wilson fatally shot unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in a confrontation last August in Ferguson, Mo., there have been many other cases in which the police have shot and killed suspects, some of them unarmed. Mr. Brown's death set off protests throughout the country, pushing law enforcement into the spotlight and sparking a public debate on police tactics. Here is a selection of police shootings that have been reported by news organizations since Mr. Brown's death. In some cases, investigations are continuing.

Photo
 
 
The apartment complex northeast of Atlanta where Anthony Hill, 27, was fatally shot by a DeKalb County police officer. Credit Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal Constitution

Chamblee, Ga.
Fatal Police Shootings: Accounts Since Ferguson

Over the last five years or so, it seemed there was little that Dean G. Skelos, the majority leader of the New York Senate, would not do for his son.

He pressed a powerful real estate executive to provide commissions to his son, a 32-year-old title insurance salesman, according to a federal criminal complaint. He helped get him a job at an environmental company and employed his influence to help the company get government work. He used his office to push natural gas drilling regulations that would have increased his son’s commissions.

He even tried to direct part of a $5.4 billion state budget windfall to fund government contracts that the company was seeking. And when the company was close to securing a storm-water contract from Nassau County, the senator, through an intermediary, pressured the company to pay his son more — or risk having the senator subvert the bid.

The criminal complaint, unsealed on Monday, lays out corruption charges against Senator Skelos and his son, Adam B. Skelos, the latest scandal to seize Albany, and potentially alter its power structure.

Photo
 
Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, discussed the case involving Dean G. Skelos and his son, Adam. Credit Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The repeated and diverse efforts by Senator Skelos, a Long Island Republican, to use what prosecutors said was his political influence to find work, or at least income, for his son could send both men to federal prison. If they are convicted of all six charges against them, they face up to 20 years in prison for each of four of the six counts and up to 10 years for the remaining two.

Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, of Long Island, who serves as chairman of the Republican conference, emerged from a closed-door meeting Monday night to say that conference members agreed that Mr. Skelos should be benefited the “presumption of innocence,” and would stay in his leadership role.

“The leader has indicated he would like to remain as leader,” said Mr. LaValle, “and he has the support of the conference.” The case against Mr. Skelos and his son grew out of a broader inquiry into political corruption by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, that has already changed the face of the state capital. It is based in part, according to the six-count complaint, on conversations secretly recorded by one of two cooperating witnesses, and wiretaps on the cellphones of the senator and his son. Those recordings revealed that both men were concerned about electronic surveillance, and illustrated the son’s unsuccessful efforts to thwart it.

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Adam Skelos took to using a “burner” phone, the complaint says, and told his father he wanted them to speak through a FaceTime video call in an apparent effort to avoid detection. They also used coded language at times.

At one point, Adam Skelos was recorded telling a Senate staff member of his frustration in not being able to speak openly to his father on the phone, noting that he could not “just send smoke signals or a little pigeon” carrying a message.

The 43-page complaint, sworn out by Paul M. Takla, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, outlines a five-year scheme to “monetize” the senator’s official position; it also lays bare the extent to which a father sought to use his position to help his son.

The charges accuse the two men of extorting payments through a real estate developer, Glenwood Management, based on Long Island, and the environmental company, AbTech Industries, in Scottsdale, Ariz., with the expectation that the money paid to Adam Skelos — nearly $220,000 in total — would influence his father’s actions.

Glenwood, one of the state’s most prolific campaign donors, had ties to AbTech through investments in the environmental firm’s parent company by Glenwood’s founding family and a senior executive.

The accusations in the complaint portray Senator Skelos as a man who, when it came to his son, was not shy about twisting arms, even in situations that might give other arm-twisters pause.

Seeking to help his son, Senator Skelos turned to the executive at Glenwood, which develops rental apartments in New York City and has much at stake when it comes to real estate legislation in Albany. The senator urged him to direct business to his son, who sold title insurance.

After much prodding, the executive, Charles C. Dorego, engineered a $20,000 payment to Adam Skelos from a title insurance company even though he did no work for the money. But far more lucrative was a consultant position that Mr. Dorego arranged for Adam Skelos at AbTech, which seeks government contracts to treat storm water. (Mr. Dorego is not identified by name in the complaint, but referred to only as CW-1, for Cooperating Witness 1.)

Senator Skelos appeared to take an active interest in his son’s new line of work. Adam Skelos sent him several drafts of his consulting agreement with AbTech, the complaint says, as well as the final deal that was struck.

“Mazel tov,” his father replied.

Senator Skelos sent relevant news articles to his son, including one about a sewage leak near Albany. When AbTech wanted to seek government contracts after Hurricane Sandy, the senator got on a conference call with his son and an AbTech executive, Bjornulf White, and offered advice. (Like Mr. Dorego, Mr. White is not named in the complaint, but referred to as CW-2.)

The assistance paid off: With the senator’s help, AbTech secured a contract worth up to $12 million from Nassau County, a big break for a struggling small business.

But the money was slow to materialize. The senator expressed impatience with county officials.

Adam Skelos, in a phone call with Mr. White in late December, suggested that his father would seek to punish the county. “I tell you this, the state is not going to do a [expletive] thing for the county,” he said.

Three days later, Senator Skelos pressed his case with the Nassau County executive, Edward P. Mangano, a fellow Republican. “Somebody feels like they’re just getting jerked around the last two years,” the senator said, referring to his son in what the complaint described as “coded language.”

The next day, the senator pursued the matter, as he and Mr. Mangano attended a wake for a slain New York City police officer. Senator Skelos then reassured his son, who called him while he was still at the wake. “All claims that are in will be taken care of,” the senator said.

AbTech’s fortunes appeared to weigh on his son. At one point in January, Adam Skelos told his father that if the company did not succeed, he would “lose the ability to pay for things.”

Making matters worse, in recent months, Senator Skelos and his son appeared to grow wary about who was watching them. In addition to making calls on the burner phone, Adam Skelos said he used the FaceTime video calling “because that doesn’t show up on the phone bill,” as he told Mr. White.

In late February, Adam Skelos arranged a pair of meetings between Mr. White and state senators; AbTech needed to win state legislation that would allow its contract to move beyond its initial stages. But Senator Skelos deemed the plan too risky and caused one of the meetings to be canceled.

In another recorded call, Adam Skelos, promising to be “very, very vague” on the phone, urged his father to allow the meeting. The senator offered a warning. “Right now we are in dangerous times, Adam,” he told him.

A month later, in another phone call that was recorded by the authorities, Adam Skelos complained that his father could not give him “real advice” about AbTech while the two men were speaking over the telephone.

“You can’t talk normally,” he told his father, “because it’s like [expletive] Preet Bharara is listening to every [expletive] phone call. It’s just [expletive] frustrating.”

“It is,” his father agreed.

Dean Skelos, Albany Senate Leader, Aided Son at All Costs, U.S. Says

Mr. Mankiewicz, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for “I Want to Live!,” also wrote episodes of television shows such as “Star Trek” and “Marcus Welby, M.D.”

Don Mankiewicz, Screenwriter in a Family Film Tradition, Dies at 93
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