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The Federal Emergency Management Agency released Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for New York City last week that reflect the latest updates to the agency’s redrawing of the coastal flood zones.
The Preliminary FIRMs replace the Preliminary Work Maps that were released in June as an interim product. Those maps, placed much of Howard Beach into a new zone, Zone A, would require residents to have flood insurance and take measures, such as raising their homes, or risk substantially higher flood insurance premiums.
Gov. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption quoted a recording purported to be embattled City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) last week as it reported preliminary findings on the state of money and influence in New York politics.
“Not about whether or will, it’s about how much, and that’s our politicians in New York, they’re all like that,” Halloran is alleged to have told an undercover investigator. “And they get like that because of the drive that the money does for everything else. You can’t get anything without the f---ing money.”
As a Queens resident who has had to deal with the issue of increased airplane noise in our borough, I’m writing to commend our local elected officials — specifically Reps. Steve Israel and Grace Meng, state Sen. Tony Avella and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein — for their work to curb airplane noise over our neighborhoods, and to create an Airplane Noise Community Roundtable. Their work has paid off after Gov. Cuomo recently directed the Port Authority to both monitor noise levels and form a roundtable. Increased airplane noise has been detrimental to the quality of life of so many in our community, and it’s encouraging that Queens residents will now be able to voice their concerns.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last Friday that he will allocate $50 million from the state’s share of the $67 billion federal Hurricane Sandy aid package toward rebuilding protective marshland in Spring Creek Park to serve as a stronger barrier between Howard Beach and Jamaica Bay and alleviate future flooding in storms like Sandy.
The project, developed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, will involve excavation, recontouring, and revegetation to establish a self-sustaining system of wave-dampening barriers to reduce storm damage on the south and west coasts of Howard Beach. It would also make the land, which is a public park, into a more inviting and functional space.
Plans to develop the right of way of the old Rockaway Beach Long Island Rail Road line are moving forward in all directions.
While the urban parks advocacy group The Trust for Public Land conducts its feasibility study for the proposal to build a High Line-type park on the old rail line between Rego Park and Ozone Park, Queens College is now joining in, planning a study next year on both that plan and a competing one to reactivate train service between Rego Park and the Rockaway Peninsula.
A full audience of Jackson Heights residents raised their hands Monday night when Janet McEneany, the president of Queens Quiet Skies, asked if they were tired of planes flying over their houses every minute, one after another, like a brigade of B52 bombers.
McEneany and Bob Whitehair, founders of Queens Quiet Skies, an advocacy organization that fights for noise regulations, gave their 26th community education presentation as part of a town hall meeting on the issue organized by Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights). Representatives from the Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration were also in attendance.
The first set of meetings between the groups leading the study of a proposed High Line-style park on the former Rockaway Beach rail corridor and the residents who live along the line started a little on the rocky side.
Before the conglomerate of organizations, led by urban park advocacy group The Trust for Public Land and the plan’s backers, Friends of the QueensWay, even began their short presentation in Woodhaven’s Emanuel Baptist Church on Nov. 12, they were shouted down by a handful of residents who thought the workshop was a public forum.
Former Mayor David Dinkins was instrumental in securing the National Tennis Center and the US Open as fixtures in Queens.
And it was there that Dinkins attended a meet-and-greet last Friday prior to a book signing of his new memoir.
A recent flight approaching LaGuardia Airport, as seen through treetops in Middle Village.
Lacking a quorum at the meeting, the board voted unanimously as “a committee as a whole” to support the statement, an addendum to comments the EQA had previously sent to the two agencies.
According to Peter Richards, chairman of CB 13’s Parks and Environment Committee, the statement requests that an environmental impact statement be prepared to further investigate the impacts of the Runway 4L/22R Improvements Project. The concern is that conditions experienced in Southeast Queens due to airport activities will be exacerbated by the project, which proposes moving the runway 728 feet closer to the community and lowering aircraft flights by approximately 100 feet over homes.
Queens residents who are tired of loud airplanes flying over their homes too frequently are actually happy about Gov. Cuomo’s veto of a bill that would have required the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to conduct a noise and land use compatibility study — if an identical measure passes in New Jersey — because he doesn’t want to wait.
Instead, he’s taking executive action.
NYPIRG is New York’s largest and most effective student advocacy group, with 20 chapters in the state. Hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking) is a relatively new process of natural gas drilling, and it’s raising eyebrows on whether it’s safe for our environment or not, especially the quality of our drinking water.
New York is debating whether to allow fracking, and it can jeopardize millions of people’s clean water in the process. Companies like Exxon Mobil are looking to make profit by exploiting these natural resources and tainting water supplies. They have also been spending millions on advertisements to influence New Yorkers.
This process is dirtier than they like to admit. While the product, methane, might burn cleaner than coal, saying the technology is clean is a dirty lie. Huge amounts of water, sand and over 750 chemicals are pumped underground to dissolve, stabilize and extract natural gas from shale deposits.
It’s very important for students in this day and age to know the risks of fracking and how it affects the environment. We have seen the consequences of fracking in Pennsylvania and many other states.
As Gov. Cuomo begins to make a final decision about the issue, he needs to know New York students are against fracking. Please give him a call today at 1 (800) 566-5020 and say No Fracking Way.
The writer is a student at Queensborough Community College and a member of the New York Public Interest Research Group.
When the 52nd governor of New York began public school he couldn’t speak English. Meanwhile, Mario Cuomo’s father slowly worked his way from ditch digger to storeowner with his wife in South Jamaica. It was a struggle for his parents who left their native Italy to pursue a better life for their family in the 1920s. Six decades later, he would speak of their trials as Gov. Cuomo when he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
It was 1983 that marked the start of Cuomo’s 12-year tenure, the longest for a Democrat. He balanced 12 consecutive budgets, though many were late, reduced state income taxes by 20 percent and enacted the nation’s first seat belt law credited with reducing fatalities. Though seen by many as a clear choice for the presidential nomination, it never was for Cuomo. To run on a platform that said he could balance the nation’s budget while his own state was still without one would be a politically “foolish” move, as he said in a 1998 New York Magazine article.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) isn’t satisfied with the success she’s enjoyed during her first term. She’s running for a second term because, quite simply, her heart is in her district.
“I look at my past five years since I was elected the first time and anytime I ran for office, I expressed a vision,” Crowley said. “My heart is here in Middle Village, Glendale and Maspeth. I want to stay here.”
The area around York College in Jamaica has been designated a tax-free business zone by Gov. Cuomo under the state’s new Start-Up NY program.
The aim of the program is to establish tax-free areas around state and city colleges in an effort to attract businesses that would partner with the schools in return for 10 years of tax abatements.
Nearly 365 days ago, Hurricane Sandy came in as a force of destruction, but what came next was a force of unity and strength that no storm can take from us. In what seemed like a tunnel with no end in sight, days turned into weeks and then months and now we realize how far we’ve come. There are still enormous tasks ahead of us.
Almost 85 percent of the people I represent were affected by Sandy, including my own home and office. The destruction displaced my family and gave me an intimate experience in the tragedy. I have been on the front lines since the beginning of the storm and many days have tested my resolve, but seeing the strength of my own wife, Esther, and my young children, Eliana and Asher, willed me to keep going.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a timely bill passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law in July by Gov. Cuomo went into effect last month, authorizing “funding of mapping incidence of breast cancer from the Breast Cancer Research and Education Fund to qualified research institutions, organizations or agencies.”
If you pay for it, they may just build it.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 20-year Capital Assessment released last week includes a nod to the proposal for reactivating the Rockaway Beach Long Island Rail Road line.
Before he announced his campaign for mayor, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was all about helping the small business owner. He attacked the Bloomberg administration relentlessly for raising hundreds of millions of dollars, more and more each year, through fines levied for even the most minor of violations. He sued the mayor for details on the fines, issued a report and vowed to ease the burden on the job creators who own the mom-and-pop shops so critical to life in places like Queens.
But when he launched his campaign — a tactically brilliant race in which he came from way behind to win without even having to go through the runoff election so many predicted would be necessary, given how many candidates were running — de Blasio’s focus changed sharply. He decided to run as the most liberal candidate in a field of progressive Democrats, strongly staking out that position as his own.
And while hearings next month before the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals are considered far from certain to back up the board’s choice, CB 13 members came back from their summer break on Monday with a report from the state inspector general that supports many of their objections to the process by which the Indian Cultural and Community Center got the land and permission for the towers.
“It is a scathing report,” Jerry Wind, a member of the board’s Land Use Committee, told the group.
The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York is upping the ante in his fight against political corruption in the state, telling the governor’s Moreland Commission that his office will start going after the pensions of public officials who are convicted of crimes.
And an unscientific survey of elected officials from Queens elicited that legal changes and legal challenges will be forthcoming.
As if the significant increase in noise from overhead airplanes hasn’t been enough, residents of Whitestone and Malba also have had to contend with excessive disruptions from helicopters passing directly over their houses.
The problem stems from a Federal Aviation Administration mandate last year that choppers traveling between the middle of Long Island to the Hamptons must fly over water in an effort to decrease the overhead noise for residents of the island. Following the requirement, helicopter pilots began seeking a faster and cheaper route, resulting in more flights over northeast Queens.