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Queens Chronicle

GC High pleads its case before CB 5

Glendale Library rehab pushed at boro level; Addabbo blasts fracking

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Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 7:59 am, Mon Feb 27, 2012.

Applause filled the room before Geline Canayon could finish her high school’s list of accomplishments when she spoke during Community Board 5’s meeting on Feb. 8, held at Christ the King High School in Middle Village.

When the applause ceased, Canayon, Grover Cleveland High School student association president, ended a rundown of the school’s recent accomplishments that included several medals for scientific work.

But Canayon did not attend the meeting to just rattle off merits without a cause.

“We’d like to continue this legacy, but to do that, we need the support of the community to help keep our school open,” she said.

Four months ago, Denise Vittor was appointed as principal at the struggling school, which was newly categorized as a “restart” school, with three years to begin turning student performance around.

Now, the Department of Education has reclassified the school and others as “turnaround” institutions, meaning half the teachers will be reassigned or terminated and a new school or collection of smaller schools will be created for the 2012-13 school year beginning in September.

About 25 students, faculty and parents associated with the school attended the board meeting. Ten people signed up to speak during the pubic hearing, but only four were permitted.

One of them was Michael Irizarry, who serves as a dean, coach and teacher at the school.

He said that he routinely takes children from the school to clean up graffiti in the neighborhood. Other students, Irizarry said, also spend time visiting nearby senior centers.

“Our school is a very important part of this community,” Irizarry said. “These kids are givers to this community.”

In other board business, CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano said he spoke at Borough President Helen Marshall’s recent budget hearing and one of the main projects that he said he would like to see funded is rehabilitation of the Glendale Library.

“In 2012, the Glendale Library is not even handicapped-accessible,” Giordano said. “It is the only library in the Community Board 5 area that is not handicapped-accessible.”

Giordano said that from what he saw in the budget, there is $1.5 million available for this project.

Later in the public hearing session, a representative from Planet Fitness spoke about installing a gym at 329 Wykoff Ave. in Ridgewood.

The gym would be open 24 hours a day with a projected maximum of 140 members during peak hours. The 17,000-square foot building would not provide parking.

CB 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri said the building was “the worst graffiti site in the district” and the least the board would expect would be a commitment from the owners to clean every inch of graffiti and maintain proper care of it.

Afterward, the board approved Retro-Fitness’ application from last month to have a gym on Otto Road in Glendale.

Before the end of the meeting, state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) announced that there are a lot of voices in Albany telling the governor not to issue permits for hydrofracking.

The term is short for hydraulic fracturing, a process for extracting natural gas trapped in upstate rock formations by injecting water and chemicals into the ground under high pressure to break or fracture the rock.

Many have questioned whether the process could allow chemicals into water supplies upstate that serve New York City, and say the process could destabilize areas that have underground aqueducts leading to the city.

“They are some of the loudest lobbyists I’ve ever heard and I think the governor is hearing them,” Addabbo said.

Addabbo has been one of hydrofracking’s most vocal critics in both the city and in Albany.

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