Monday, February 28, 2011

Backyards Not Bonuses - New York Communities for Change

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Despite the fact the only a fraction of homeowners who sought help received a permanent mortgage modification from JP Morgan Chase, the bank's CEO, Jamie Dimon, just received a $17 million dollar bonus.
Clearly, Chase is out of touch with the consequences the financial industry's reckless practices continue to have in our communities.

Yesterday, NYC Council Member Jumaane Williams kicked off a campaign by New York Communities for Change in rockstar fashion!

Cheered on by fellow Council Members and dozens of NYCC protesters, Williams stormed JP Morgan Chase’s Park Avenue branch. Protesting the bank's awful record on helping families who are facing foreclosure and haven't received assistance with their mortgages, Williams closed his Chase account.

Can you continue our fight against Chase and pitch in $17? That's just 1/1,000,000 of Jamie Dimon's bonus.

In the coming weeks, many other elected officials, clergy members and unions will follow suit, drawing attention to Chase’s terrible record on modifying mortgages of distressed homeowners in New York.

Council Members Williams, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Mathieu Eugene and James Sanders were the first on the scene, but this is only the beginning.

Just 6 percent of NY homeowners who sought help have received a permanent mortgage modification from JP Morgan Chase - the other 94 percent have been denied or are in limbo. 

That’s a shocking number when their CEO just received a $17 million bonus!
Please help us take this campaign to the next level by contributing $17 dollars.

It might seem like a small amount (just 1/1,000,000th of Jamie Dimon’s bonus!), but it will go a long way in helping us make sure that everyone who googles Chase will see the truth about their lending practices.

DEP Declogs Sewers, Helps Jamaica Bay by Ivan Pereira -

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The city Department of Environmental Protection started its spring cleaning a little early and said it will not only result in less flooding in Springfield Gardens but also improve the Jamaica Bay ecosystem.

The agency announced Monday that it completed its work on the 12.2 miles of sewers under Linden and Springfield boulevards, where there have been several reports of flooding due to clogged storm drains.

For its initiative, DEP crews used Vactor trucks that suck the debris and garbage out of the sewers and transport the rubbish to a waste treatment plant in Manhattan before being shipped to a landfill. DEP Commissioner Cas Holloway said southeast Queens was chosen as the first location for the removal not only because of the complaints from homeowners who had to deal with the flooded streets, but also because of the area’s proximity to Jamaica Bay, where wastewater is discharged.

“We started this effort in Jamaica because we know that localized flooding is a problem for some residents and to protect Jamaica Bay — one of the ecological gems of New York City,” he said in a statement.

The trucks removed more than 1,500 tons of debris from the sewers that were clogging 20 percent of its pipe volume, according to the city agency. Some of the trash included tires, construction materials, large rocks and a 15-foot ladder, the agency said.

In 2001, the DEP installed an 8-foot-by-17-foot storm sewer in Springfield Gardens to deal with heavy floods in the area, but on several occasions, most recently in August, the neighborhood still experienced flooding during severe rain storms due to clogged drains.

Special sonar technology and closed-circuit cameras were used to pinpoint the exact locations of the debris in southeast Queens, the agency said.

The two $450,000 trucks contain a 30-foot hose that is inserted into the sewer through a manhole cover and sucks in the debris after the pipes are flushed by a separate water jet, according to the DEP.

The agency estimates that the cleanup reduced combined sewer overflow, which contains both wastewater and storm water, that goes into Jamaica Bay by 25 percent and will help improve the water quality in the ecosystem.

The bay has lost huge portions of its saltwater marshland due to a high concentration of nitrogen in the water. Four DEP wastewater facilities have been discharging the nitrogen into the bay and the agency has been working to fix the problem through several multimillion-dollar initiatives.

The DEP commissioner said the truck would be cleaning sewers in other parts of the city in the near future.

“Optimizing our existing sewer network is a key part of the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan, which will save New Yorkers more than $2 billion when fully implemented, and will dramatically reduce CSOs,” Holloway said.

Eric Rotbard's Electric Car - wnycradio

Think about it: a car you plug in at night, the same way you charge a cell phone. For decades, this has been the drawing-board dream of engineers and environmentalists. Now, electric cars are starting to actually appear on the roads...and this guy has one.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rep Weiner Responds to Speech by Justice Thomas Declaring Agreement with Spouse on Health Care Reform

Following a speech on Saturday by Justice Clarence Thomas at Virginia Law School's 30th Annual Student Symposium in which he criticized those who have called upon him to recuse himself from considerations of health care reform and at the same time aligned himself with the same values as his spouse, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D – Queens and Brooklyn), the author of a letter signed by 90 Members of Congress calling on the associate justice to recuse himself, released the following response:

"This only confirms the need for Justice Thomas to recuse himself. By declaring his support and shared views of his spouse, he adds to the perception that his mind is made up. He undermines confidence in our highest court."

Save the American Dream Rally on February 26th at City Hall Park...

Planned Parenthood Rally on February 26th at Foley Square...

Rallies in Lower Manhattan in Support of Workers' & Women's Rights by

Thousands take to the streets of lower Manhattan to protest GOP assault on the rights of workers and women.

By Kellabeck

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rep Weiner, CM Ferreras Call on City to Sell Sexist Statue on Craigslist

Today, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D – Queens and Brooklyn), Council Member Julissa Ferreras, Chair of the Women's Issues Committee, and representatives from local women’s organizations called on the City to get rid of the sexist statue near Queens Borough Hall, Triumph of Civic Virtue, which depicts a nude man standing atop two women, and sell it on Craigslist to raise funds.

Sculpted by Frederick MacMonnies, the Civic Virtue statue has been the source of controversy in the Kew Gardens community since 1941, when then-Mayor LaGuardia moved the offensive figure out of City Hall Park to Kew Gardens. The marble statue, which depicts a nude man with standing over the necks of two woman, has been an eyesore on the community ever since.

With the passage of time, the statue has worn down significantly – and considerations are now underway to restore the decaying, misogynistic figure. Potential repairs, according to the Parks Department, would cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Standing in front of the statue, representatives from the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy and the Queens County Young Democrats Women’s Caucus joined Weiner and Council Member Ferreras in expressing their outrage over the offensive figure and urged the City to place the statue on Craigslist as means of raising revenue – rather than using already scarce funds to restore it.

Mayor LaGuardia had it right when he banished this offensive statue from City Hall Park. Queens residents don’t want this sitting in our backward any longer,” Weiner said. “This statue is neither civil nor virtuous – and it’s time for it to go.”

"There is nothing NYC about this statue. It depicts women as weak and inferior to men- which is far from the truth- the statue has no place in a public space,” Council Member Ferreras said. “This should not be the first thing women see when getting out of the subway. The statue is located just one block away from the Queens Family Justice Center and sends the wrong message. It belongs in a museum."

Today’s press conference comes in the midst of recent anti-women proposals by the new GOP-led Congress, including the “Protect Life Act,” which would allow hospitals the right to refuse emergency abortions even when a woman’s life at stake, and the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," which would impose tax penalties on Americans with private insurance plans that include abortion coverage.

Today, Rep. Weiner wrote to Edna Wells Handy, Commissioner of Department of Citywide Administrative Services, asking that the offensive Civic Virtue statue be removed and sold.

In the letter, Weiner stated, “Rather than pouring money into restoring the statue, the city should sell it on Craigslist. I am sure the city could come up with some productive uses for the proceeds.”

Full text of Weiner’s letter is below:

February 25, 2011

Ms. Edna Wells Handy
Department of Citywide Administrative Services
City of New York
1 Centre Street, Floor 17
New York, New York 10007-1602

Dear Commissioner Handy:

It’s time to get rid of Civic Virtue. Not the ideal, the statue. It’s sexist. It’s ugly. It’s time for it to go. I am writing to urge you to put the statue, located next to Queens Borough Hall, up for sale and removal.

The statue has been there since 1941, when then Parks Commissioner Robert Moses and Mayor Fiorello La Guardia moved it from City Hall Park in Manhattan. From the time the statue was moved to Queens, many members of the community have objected to the sexist nature of the statue, and I agree with them.

I appreciate the wealth and diversity of arts and humanities displays in the Borough of Queens. We have museums, cultural centers, stadiums and theatres – This statue does not contribute to the mix. It’s an eyesore that depicts a nude man standing triumphantly atop two women at one of the busiest intersection in Queens.

The statue apparently wasn’t appropriate for City Hall in the 1940s, and it’s an insult to think that it is fine for Queens today. What might have at one time been seen as a socially acceptable demonstration of our desire to stamp out vice and corruption is simply not appropriate today. This is particularly true given the assault on the rights of women underway today in Washington

I thank you in advance for your prompt attention and reply to this matter.


Member of Congress

Defend the American Dream! - YouTube

In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under attack.

Instead of creating much needed jobs, Conservatives are giving tax breaks to corporations and the very rich all while cutting funding for education, police, emergency response, and vital human services.

This is only the first battle in the right wing’s attempts to destroy the American Dream. We must stop it before it spreads to other states.

On Saturday, February 26, at noon local time, rallies will be organized in front of every statehouse and in every major city to stand in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin.

Show Solidarity with Wisconsin! Join the Saturday rally to save the American Dream.

Cops Who Nabbed Burglar Honored by 102 Precinct Community Council by Stephen Geffon - Queens Chronicle

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102nd Precinct Community Council President Maria Thomson, left, Precinct Executive Officer Capt. Martin Briffa, and police officers Jose Severino and Ashana Kelly at the meeting.PHOTO BY STEPHEN GEFFON

Two 102nd Precinct police officers who captured an alleged burglar reportedly responsible for a string of thefts throughout the community were awarded with the Cop of the Month award last week.

Officers Jose Severino and Ashana Kelly were honored at the 102nd Precinct Community Council’s meeting, during which Precinct Executive Officer Capt. Martin Briffa and Precinct Community Council President Maria Thomson presented the two individuals with the award for January.
Briffa said police received a 911 call on Jan. 25 at 4 p.m. about a suspicious individual knocking on a door at an apartment building in the vicinity of 126th Street and 86th Avenue in Richmond Hill.

After the individual received no response at the door, he allegedly went around the building and climbed up the fire escape to enter the resident’s apartment, Briffa said.

The captain said officers Saverino and Kelly responded to the location and set up a perimeter at the front and rear of the building.When they heard noise inside the apartment, they entered and captured the suspect, according to Briffa.

Police believe they will be able to close 17 open burglary cases thanks to the arrest because the defendant allegedly committed that many, Briffa said.

Police noted the perpetrator in the other 17 cases had used the fire escape to enter the building, as the individual arrested by Savarino and Kelly had done.

Four burglaries were reported in the 102nd Precinct during the week ending Feb. 6, according to city crime statistics.

Rally in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin and Save the American Dream Rally at City Hall Park, NYC - Video Rally 211

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My friend, Vickie, recently sent me a link to a video of a rally in her home town, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on February 11th...She and her husband are in one of the cars beeping in support of the rally'ers at the 3:30 mark... 

Prairie du Chien is a city in and the county seat of Crawford County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 6,018 at the 2000 census...

So, if that many people can come out in a little Midwest town then, New York City should fill Broadway tomorrow with thousands of people in the streets in solidarity with Wisconsin and the unions...

Attend tomorrow's (today's) Rally to Save the American Dream in New York City at City Hall Park at 11am - 1pm, information below...

Click on image to enlarge 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Relay for Life Keeps Growing in Queens by Liz Rhodes -Queens Chronicle

Birthday and pajama parties, a luau and celebrating superheroes are just some of the themes this year in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life events throughout the borough.
And this year there are even more event locations in Queens, with a total of 12 sites. The earliest noncompetitive relay starts April 9 and the last one is on June 25.
Although totals were not available from last year’s programs in the borough, the ACS is hoping the events can raise $1 million in 2011, according to Suzanne Isbell, manager of special events for the ACS’s Queens office.

We are very proud of how our relays do and would like to have as many teams as possible,” Isbell said. “What better time than now to celebrate those who were able to defeat this disease, remember those who were overcome by it and fight back for anyone who has ever had to hear those three devastating words, ‘you have cancer.’”

Relay for Life began in 1986 in the State of Washington and has gone on to become a popular national fund-raising venue for the cancer society, which considers it “a unique celebration of life.” It is usually an overnight event where teams of eight to 15 people take turns walking or running around tracks. Teams collect money prior to the relay in various ways, including car washes and personal solicitations.

Each location has its own theme and there is a festive atmosphere as team members camp out and enjoy food, music and entertainment. The first lap is reserved for cancer survivors and when it gets dark, there is a luminaria candle ceremony for those who have been affected by cancer.

Money raised goes for research, education, advocacy and services. In Queens, services can include accessing a wig, temporary recovery space and counseling and family support.

By 2015, the ACS hopes to prevent almost 5 million additional deaths from cancer, avoid 6 million new cancer diagnoses and continue to improve the quality of life for disease sufferers.

The borough’s second oldest and one of its most successful relays is held in Middle Village at Juniper Valley Park. It began nine years ago and last year volunteers raised $152,000. Maria Vega of Glendale has participated in the last five events and has her own team filled with family members.

The Middle Village relay is so successful because it’s a great community taking in Maspeth, Glendale and Ridgewood,” Vega said. “People come together for a great cause.”

Last year 500 participants spent the night at Juniper Valley Park and a total of 1,000 attended the event. Vega is hoping for even higher numbers this year.

Middle Village’s theme is a pajama party and participants are expected to dress up accordingly.

A cancer survivor due to early detection, Vega has been involved with the relay for six years. “My husband and I have no children and I don’t work, so I have time to volunteer,” she said.

James Thompson is a relative newcomer to Queens, having moved to Astoria three months ago. He is now the co-chairman of the Astoria Relay for Life. “What better way to learn about the community and meet people,” Thompson said. “I love it here.”

Thompson, a real estate attorney who hails from Staten Island, ran the Baruch College Relay for Life several years ago and found it a great experience. He is hoping for the same in Astoria.

Mary Modica of Bayside is a volunteer at the cancer society office in Kew Gardens who participated in Fort Totten relays a few times. This year, the former Cunningham Park event is merging with the one at Fort Totten.

It’s a similar area and we wanted to grow the event,” said Modica, a retired school principal. “The location at Fort Totten is perfect.”

A born organizer, Modica has already gotten the FDNY, which has a facility at the fort, to form a team and is also involving area students.

I am handing out fliers and seeking volunteers,” she said. “I want to make it one of the most successful ones in Queens.”

That distinction goes to the Howard Beach event which raised $165,000 last year. Phyllis Inserillo is its co-chairwoman.

Her best friend is a cancer survivor and she likes the message of the cancer society. “We have a small but mighty committee of 10 with more than 700 in the relay,” Inserillo said.

The mother of two young children, she is also a professional party planner. Her motto for the relay is “Don’t stop trying.”

She advises others interested in starting similar events elsewhere: “Don’t give up about involving people. I got the Department of Education involved this year. I keep calling and don’t take no for an answer.”

The Howard Beach theme this year is luau and Inserillo has already gotten a company to donate hula dancers as part of the program’s entertainment. “We thought it was a fun and summery theme,” she said.

To register, participate or for further information, log onto or call the Queens office at (718) 261-1092.

Relay for Life locations in Queens:

Astoria at Astoria Park on June 25-26. The theme is More Birthdays. Contact: Alley Pond Park on June 11-12. The theme is Television and Movies. Contact: for Life at Forest Park in Woodhaven on April 30. Bring you pet to this new one-day event. Contact: College Point at MacNeil Park on May 21-22. The theme is Pajama Party. Contact: Delta Air Lines at JFK on May 12. A new relay inside the terminal for airline employees and others. One-day event only. Details are still being worked out. Flushing, a new event at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Park; a one-day program on June 4. Previous events have been held at Shea Stadium and Citi Field. It was last at the tennis center in 2009. The theme is More Birthdays.Contact: Fort Totten in Bayside on June 4-5. The theme is More Birthdays. First year merged with Cunningham Park. Contact: Howard Beach at Frank M. Charles Memorial Park on June 11-12. The theme this year is Luau. Contact: Jamaica at Roy Wilkins Park on June 25-26. There hasn’t been an event here since 2008 and this year it will run for the full overnight session. The theme is Mardi Gras. Contact: Middle Village at Juniper Valley Park on June 25-26. Always a well-attended event. The theme is Pajama Party. Contact: Riis Park in the Rockaways on June 11-12. This is the oldest relay program, having been started 11 years ago. The theme is More Birthdays. Contact: St. John’s University on the Jamaica campus on April 9-10 in the Lou Carnessecca Arena. The theme is Superheroes. You don’t have to be a student or alumni member to participate. Contact:

AQE Video Contest - Budget Cuts -with Cynthia Nixon - YouTube

Dear Gov. Cuomo: Our Kids Need College and Careers!

Too many schools have lost teaching positions, needed programs and are struggling to get by with bare-bones resources. How much more can we take from our kids?

Governor Cuomo is calling for another devastating education budget cut totaling $1.5 BILLION dollars! We've heard from the Governor, but now it's time that he hears from YOU.

Make a video telling the Governor how budget cuts to education could affect your educational future. Enter the contest and win an iPad or $1,000 for your classroom!

NY Pension Fund Posts 6% Rate of Return | The Business Review

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New York state’s pension fund posted a 6 percent rate of return in its most recent quarter, a $7.8 billion net gain in value, officials said Tuesday.

The fund’s assets are now worth $140.6 billion, as of the end of 2010, said Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The fund’s assets have not been that large since mid-2008.

The fund remains the third-largest public pension system in the nation, behind two in California.

DiNapoli said the fund benefited from a rally in the equities market experienced during the final three months of 2010. The pension fund runs on the same fiscal year as the state, ending March 31.

The fund pays $7.7 billion of benefits every year. There are 1.06 million state or local government workers, retirees and beneficiaries who belong to the system.

The state pension fund, combined with the teachers’ retirement system, pays $1 billion of benefits a year to residents in the four core Capital Region counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Saratoga.

Late Last Call Hung Up by Community Board 9 by Ralph Mancini -

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Denies Eatery Liquor Permit Extension

A Richmond Hill restaurant’s request to serve alcoholic beverages until the wee hours of the morning was shotdown by members of Community Board 9 at the group’s Tuesday, Feb. 8 meeting following a brief war of wordsbetween decision makers of the advisory panel that stood on opposite sides of the fence.

During the board’s monthly Public Safety Committee report at the Fairfield Pavillion in Richmond Hill, attendees were informed of an appeal made by owners of Las Victorias Restaurant, located at 104-19 Jamaica Ave., to obtain a liquor license authorizing the sale of adult drinks until 4 a.m.

Committee co-chair James Coccovillo clarified that moving forward his team would only endorse restaurant liquor licenses if the establishments stop selling alcohol to their patrons at 1 a.m.

“At this time, this committee is taking a stand,” he said. “This is going to be our policy.”
The business owner initially disputed the condition set forth, arguing that many other restaurants in his area carry on with their distribution of drinks to their customers throughout the early morning hours.

Board member Joan DeCamp sided with him, pointing out how “unrealistic” it would be to expect any night time eatery to be successful without making liquors available to the clientele.

“I would much rather have people come into a restaurant…eat, stay and have a drink than go out to a bar,” she observed.

A rebuttal was issued by committee member Rabbi Daniel Pollack, who advised listeners that restaurants and bars play by a different set of rules. Neighborhood restaurants, he suggested, generally close at 12 midnight.

He frowned upon permitting Las Victorias from essentially becoming a bar after 1 a.m., maintaining that excessive drinking often leads to criminal activity and quality-of-life problems.

“I like going out to restaurants a lot,” Coccovillo added. “After dinner, I’ll sit there and I’ll even have a drink or coffee; within 15, 20 minutes, I’m on my way home. I’m not hanging out, drinking—that’s a restaurant. If you’re open at three in the morning, you’re no longer a restaurant; you’re a bar.”

Fellow board member and associate real estate broker Regina Santoro predicted that having another bar-like business would only add to the existing “chaos” generated by several night establishments throughout Richmond Hill.

In relation to other eating establishments that don’t adhere to a curfew, Coccovillo promised that they would be aware of the committee’s new policy once their liquor licenses are up for renewals.

During a roll-call vote, Board 9 elected to support the restaurant’s request by a 24-12 tally with the stipulation that the business in question conclude selling alcohol by 1 a.m.

Spike in local grand larcenies

Capt. Martin Briffa, executive officer of the 102nd Precinct, reported increases in criminal activity over the previous 28-day period, including a 23 percent surge in major crimes, along with a 131 percent growth in grand larcenies. Most of those crimes consisted in the theft of credit cards and bank checks, which the captain said are “easy to crackdown on.”

He also addressed a three percent uptick in felony assaults by explaining how his precinct is flooded with night clubs and other establishments, where assaults have taken place, particularly during the holiday season.

Briffa surmised that educating the many foreigners in his command about the laws they must abide by will help alleviate the recent numbers.

Many crimes, such as rape, he continued, are being committed by individuals that know the victims and not by strangers.

“We can do car stops. If you have a Toyota, we’ll stop you; that’s what they’re stealing these days. We try to teach people not to leave handbags in cars. There are people who are even taking quarters from [parked] cars,” said Briffa.

In response to Board 9 Chairperson Ivan Mrakovcic’s concerns about prostitution, Conditions Unit Sgt. Joseph DeMarco admitted that there was a problem in the area of Rockaway Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue. He promised board members that his unit would perform sting operations if necessary to rid the streets of street walkers.

DeMarco further touched on his precinct’s focus on monitoring liquor stores to ensure that they don’t sell any of their merchandise to people who are under the age of 21.

Carousel update

In his chairperson’s report, Mrakovcic notified board members that a vendor who currently works at Flushing Meadows/Corona Park will soon be operating the Forest Park Carousel starting sometime in June. “We want it open as soon as possible… and landmarked,” he stated.

Strengthening park communities

Hassan King of Partnership for Parks spoke of his organization’s outreach efforts to provide resources to stakeholders interested in maintaining smaller park properties. 

He detailed how his group was involved in helping the Astoria Park Waterfront Alliance secure grants in order to provide greater waterfront access in their neighborhood park.

“Because of our unique relationship with the Parks Department, we’ve been able to help with the education and fitness programs in that park,” he said along with mentioning how Partnership for Parks is also looking to visit other areas they normally don’t go to.

In addition, King offered his expertise to Mrakovcic, Andrea Crawford and other board members who may be looking to start a feasibility study on a rails-for-trails project to turn an unused tract of land at Forest Park into a bike trail.

Pol promotes listening tour

City Council Member Ruben Wills was on hand to tell those in attendance about his listening tour in which he will visit various sites throughout his district to understand the needs of all his constituents. “All I do is sit and listen to you,” he added.

The Southeast Queens native alerted the audience to an upcoming unemployment seminar he’ll be hosting in order to “bring everything to this community that hasn’t been provided.”
“When everything gets tough, we actually band together—we make things happen,” he said in reference to school teachers being laid off.

Spotlight on car service

Some board members, such as Clark Whitsett, made their feelings known about the Richmond Hillbased Community Quisqueya Car Service, which recently submitted its application for its base station license renewal.

Whitsett reported that the drivers from the car service continually make illegal u-turns at busy intersections, congesting traffic. He also noted how many of them wait for their calls along residential streets and deprive residents of parking spaces.

Similarly, Mrakovcic pointed out how Community Quisqueya’s employees frequently leave their cars running and pollute the air in between rides.

Attorney Richard Weinberg conceded that his client may be the best, but is “far from the worst” in terms of local car service companies. He stated that his client’s employees are all local community members.

Board member and Woodhaven activist Maria Thomson concurred by saying that Community Quisqueya provides jobs and a “good” service to the community usually responding to their calls within five minutes.

“Every time we had a problem, they took care of it. U-turns are a police issue,” concluded Sam Esposito. The board voted in favor of renewing the base station license by a 29-7 tally.

Community Board 9 regularly meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:45 p.m. at various locations throughout Kew Gardens, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven. For more details, call 1-718-286-2686

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Queens Library at Flushing to Host "Be The Match" Marrow Registry on March 28th

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Queens Library HealthLink Flushing Cancer Action Council and the New York Blood Center invite healthy adults to give someone a second chance at a healthy life by registering for the BE THE MATCH Marrow Registry. Registration will take place on Monday, March 28, 2011, between 2 and 8 pm at Queens Library at Flushing, 41-17 Main Street and Kissena Boulevard. Registration is quick, safe, painless and free. To sign up, please call Queens Library at Flushing, (718) 661 - 1200, extension 0.

Each day, thousands of people with serious illnesses search for a bone marrow donor to make a life-saving transplant possible. Because tissue types are inherited, patients are most likely to match someone of their own race and ethnicity. Donors representing diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are needed so that every patient has a second chance at life. A patient's likelihood of having a suitable donor on the Be The Match Registry who is willing and able to donate on their behalf is estimated to range from 66% to 93%, depending on race and ethnicity. Most patients (about 70%) do not find a match in their families. They need your help.

Volunteers need to be between the ages of 18 and 60, be willing to donate to any patient in need and meet the health guidelines. Registration only means that the volunteer will be in a database for possible contact at a later date. You are not committing to donate. For more information about The National Marrow Donor Program, please call 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit

Queens Library HealthLink is a collaborative initiative of Queens Library, the American Cancer Society, the Queens Cancer Center of Queens Hospital and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. It is a five-year federally funded research project based in Queens Library that will explore the potential to partner with libraries as a vehicle for community health outreach to fight cancer.

Queens Library is an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library. Queens Library serves a population of 2.3 million in the most ethnically diverse county in the U.S. With 23 million items in circulation for FY 2010, the Library has among the highest circulations of any public library system in the world. For more information about programs, services, locations, events and news, visit the Queens Library Web site at or phone 718-990-0700. Queens Library. Enrich Your Life (r).

Joanne King, Queens Library
89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, NY 11432
718-990-0704; fax 718-990-5147;

Feds Reject Plan for Full-Blown N.Y. Casino by Tom Precious -

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New York racetrack casinos lost a major potential competitor Feb. 18 after federal officials rejected a plan for a sprawling, full-blown casino just 90 miles from Manhattan.

The U.S. Department of Interior formally ended a bid for an off-reservation casino to be built in the southern Catskills resort region by the Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohicans.

The Wisconsin-based tribe struck a deal late last fall in the final weeks of the outgoing administration of former New York Governor David Paterson for the casino rights in return for settling a long-standing land claims lawsuit by the tribe for what it maintains is ancestral land in central New York.

Racetrack-based casinos, which in New York can offer video lottery terminals, expressed concerns that they could not compete with the massive casino, complete with table games, that the Mohicans were proposing to build not far from the Monticello harness racetrack.

Genting New York, the developer of the long-stalled casino at Aqueduct racetrack that is expected to open this summer, has gone so far as to say it would be scaling back some plans for the new facility as a result of the competition from the proposed Catskills casino. Officials at racinos from Yonkers to Saratoga Springs openly worried about business dropping off by a Catskills casino.

The bid by the Wisconsin tribe was also opposed by New York Indian tribes, which urged the federal regulators to reject the out-of-state Indian bid for what would have been a lucrative casino.

"By rejecting this ill-conceived compact, the Department of Interior has allowed New York State to go back to the drawing board and put together a gaming policy that makes sense,'' said the New York Gaming Association, a group representing New York racetrack casinos.

The tracks say they should be allowed to operate full-scale casinos at their facilities.

"We are extremely pleased with DOI's decision and look forward to working with Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo and the state Legislature to develop a gaming policy that maximizes revenue, creates jobs and keeps the racetrack casino economic engine churning,'' the group said.

Runway Rumble: Environmental Activists Don't Want JFK's Airport Expansion Into Jamaica Bay to Take Off by Alex Rush -

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Environmental activists say a proposal to fill in an area roughly two-and-a-half times the size of Governors Island off the coast of John F. Kennedy Airport to build new runways in protected Jamaica Bay would be damaging to sea life, hurt the local fishing industry, and have repercussions as far away as Floyd Bennett Field.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s most drastic plan to reduce bottlenecks at the airport while adding up to 70 flights an hour would install three runways on what is now the bay — a portion of the Gateway National Recreation area — and some think the plan is nuts.

“We’re organizing to fight this lame-brained idea,” said Brighton Beach resident Ida Sanoff, who chairs the marine conservation group Natural Resources Protective Association. “No one in their right mind will let 400 acres of Jamaica Bay be filled in for any reason.”

Even the organization involved with formulating the new runway plan admits to its environmental downside.

The Regional Plan Association, an independent organization that monitors transit issues in the metropolitan area, released a report on Jan. 27 saying that the extra runways would let the Queens’ airport handle millions of additional passengers, but would most likely involve the “disruption to the environment, requiring the Port Authority to regenerate and restore wetlands that have eroded or been eliminated in Jamaica Bay.” The planners also concluded that the fill could destroy marine life near Floyd Bennett Field in Mill Basin, about six miles away.

But environmentalists think things could get much worst — both naturally and financially.

“It will hurt the migratory pattern of birds and fish that breed there and could even weaken the area’s flood protection,” Sanoff said.

A local fisherman agreed.

“The runways will not only hurt our access to the fish, but they’ll take away what the fish survive on,” said Stephen Byrne, who captains chartered fishing boats in Jamaica Bay and is a spokesman for the Fishermen’s Conservation Association. “Airport expansion is important, but recreational fishing is an important industry, too.”

The Port Authority has three additional expansion proposals that are less drastic. One calls for only two additional runways and would fill in about half the amount of Jamaica Bay, and two other plans require little to no fill, but would build runways that can only be navigated by a new, yet-to-be-approved traffic system, according to Regional Plan Association spokesman Jeffery Zupan, who pointed out that approval of the expansion of the airport could take some time.

“Picking the expansion plan to implement will be a political process in which all the stakeholders have to agree, including the Port Authority, the Federal Aviation Administration — and environmental groups,” Zupan said.

Avella To Bloomberg: Stop Blaming The Unions by Liz Benjamin - Capital Tonight

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NYC Councilman-turned-Senator Tony Avella sent a letter today to his erstwhile political foe, Mayor Blooomberg, accusing him of taking an “unconscionable” stance on the so-called holiday “bonuses” he’s trying to eliminate as part of his pension reform push.
The Queens Democrat, who ran a longshot run for mayor in 2009 (losing the Democratic primary to then-NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson), is siding with the more than 33,000 former NYC cops and firefighters who receive that amount every December as part of the Variable Supplement Fund.
The bonus was established in 1968 and, unlike other pension benefits, is not constitutionally protected. Doing away with it would save the city $200 million a year, Bloomberg mantains.
But the unions – and now Avella – note the bonuses came about as a result of the collective bargaining process. In exchange, the city was allowed to adopt a more aggressive pension investment strategy to reduce its annual direct contribution to the pension funds. (This reportedly saved $4 billion, Avella said).
Avella called the mayor’s characterization of the VSF as “Christmas bonuses” disgraceful, adding: “Your attacks in this regard on the city’s uniformed personnel, who put their lives at on the line every day throughout their careers, is unbecoming for a mayor of the City of New York.”

Free Citizenship Application Assistance in Richmond Hill on March 12th Sponsored by Senator Addabbo

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Senator Joe Addabbo is sponsoring a Free Citizenship Application Assistance event on Saturday, March 12th 2011 from 10 AM to 3 PM. The event will be held at at Holy Child Jesus located at 111-02 86th Avenue in Richmond Hill.

What: Free Citizenship Application Assistance
When: Saturday March 12th
Time: 10am - 3pm
Where: Holy Child Jesus - 111-02 86th Avenue, Richmond Hill, NY
Sponsored by: Senator Joe Addabbo

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Best of New York: Dominick's Hot Dog Cart in Queens Reigns Supreme as NYC Top Pick BY Jacob E. Osterhout and Amanda P. Sidman - NY Daily News

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Woodhaven Blvd. at 65th or 67th Aves., Rego Park

Dominick's hot dog cart in Queens has boasted steamed Sabrett dogs for 51 years

You may be thinking, How is this hot dog truck different from all others? We'll tell you: Owner Angelina D'Angelo has been serving the classic New York frank on Woodhaven Blvd. for 51 years. Plus, the Queens truck's steamed, skinless Sabrett dog snaps when you bite into it and has a soft, meaty center. Dogs cost $2.75; you can add their spicy mustard free of charge or splurge for their homemade onions or freshly steamed sauerkraut. Dominick's dogs remind you why the only place you'll ever eat a hot dog is in New York. And from now on, maybe just Queens."

Join the Job Party - America needs JOBS NOW..! Cheesehead Rally in NYC on Feb 19th...

Join the Job Party NOW..!
15 million unemployed. 12 million underemployed. Unions under attack.
Record corporate profits. Banker crimes unpunished. Tea Party on the march.
It's time for change. It's time to fight back. It's time for the Job Party. Join us!
Our kickoff event was a fun and spirited NYC Cheesehead Rally in NYC on Feb. 18th to support Wisconsin workers who are under attack from Gov. Scott Walker and the Tea Party.
Follow the JobParty on Twitter here...
Follow the JobParty on FaceBook here...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Aqueduct Firm Hires Ozone Park Groups by Anna Gustafson - Queens Chronicle -

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The general contractor for the new Aqueduct racino in South Ozone Park awarded three construction bids totaling more than $51 million to groups from Ozone Park, Resort World New York said this week.

“Queens needs revenue, and for this reason, we are fully committed to awarding construction bids to as many local businesses as possible,” Michael Speller, president of Resorts World New York, said in a prepared statement. “This casino will fill two crucial needs. Not only will Resorts World New York create a tremendous facility that will generate considerable revenue for Ozone Park, New York City and New York state, but the casino will also help revitalize and ultimately stabilize Queens’ businesses and economy.”

Speller said they have focused on hiring locally, including bringing jobs to businesses owned by minorities and women, to build what is now known as the Resorts World New York racetrack casino.

Tutor Perini, the general contractor, awarded a $25.1 million contract to WDF Inc. to provide heating, ventilation and air-conditoning work; a $19.2 million contract to Five Star Electric; and $6.8 million to WDF for plumbing.

We are just so excited that Resorts World New York is following through on its promises to Ozone Park businesses,” said Larry Roman, chairman and CEO of WDF Inc. “At at time when Queens so desperately needs revenue, it is a blessing to have such a great project for so many of our local businesses to work on. Ozone Park is home to some of the finest construction businesses in the world, and for that reason I have no doubt that Resorts World New York is going to be a first-class facility that will benefit the entire region.”

The announcement comes about a week after Tutor Perini announced that more than one-third of their subcontractors are certified as a Minority or Women Owned Business Enterprise.

Tutor Perini has so far awarded $135 million to subcontractors in the greater New York City area.

The gaming facility at the race track, the city’s first casino slated to open its doors this summer, is expected to employ more than 900 people and generate at least $300 million in annual state revenue, according to officials with franchise operator Genting New York.

There are more than several hundred people now working at the site. The first phase of the three-stage project will include 1,600 video lottery terminals and a central bar.