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This has been a “roller coaster” winter with heavy snowstorms, rain and warm, beautiful days as we enjoyed this last weekend. Now the forecast is for more frigid weather and snow this week.
As I stated in my last article in regard to the collapsed building at 78-19 Jamaica Ave. — which is next to the home to the Woodhaven Richmond Hill Ambulance Corps and the Woodhaven Senior Citizen Center — we are thankful that this property has not collapsed further with all the heavy snow. Before it does it should be demolished.
Queens Library President and CEO Tom Galante, under fire from some city officials and at least one state lawmaker for making nearly $400,000 a year, told members of the borough’s press corps that he probably works close to 100 hours a week.
Galante makes $392,000 a year as head of the library, a private, nonprofit group that contracts with the city to provide services. His salary was revealed earlier this month by the Daily News, prompting the City Council to hold a hearing and the city comptroller to launch an audit of the library.
From top left, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras and former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. scored the lowest grades in the city while Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Councilmen Eric Ulrich, Ruben Wills, Peter Koo, Jimmy Van Bramer and Danny Dromm had some of the highest
Each year, the New York League of Conservation Voters puts out a scorecard that grades all Council members on environmental issues and for the 2012-13 City Council year, Queens had some of the highest scores and the lowest.
The scores are based on voting and sponsorship records on 17 bills that cover recycling, composting, clean energy, biodiversity, transportation, air quality, energy efficiency, resiliency and more.
After news came out that Queens Library President Tom Galante agreed to renovations of his offices in the Central Library branch, including an outdoor “smoke deck,” elected officials were quick to support Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s (D-Sunnyside) decision to conduct an oversight hearing.
The meeting started off calm Wednesday as Galante opened with the number of accomplishments the Queens Library has achieved since he was appointed — including being named the best library system in the country in 2009 — but soon escalated into a tense back and forth between Galante and Council members who called his salary excessive and his outsourcing of custodians in need of reform.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley is being asked to bring participatory budgeting to Woodhaven.
After watching Angela Hurtado die in the street when she was run over by an unlicensed driver, enough is enough for community activist Dmytro Fedkowskyj.
“She was a wife, a mother and a grandmother. And as a witness to this accident, it has changed my life forever,” Fedkowskyj said during a Tuesday rally at 69th Place and Grand Avenue in Maspeth, the very intersection where Hurtado, 68, died. “We can’t sit around and continue to wait for change. Change needs to happen now.”
The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association said it will meet with Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) to encourage her to adopt participatory budgeting, a process in which public input is sought on some spending items from money allocated to a specific member of the City Council.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), who was one of the first members to adopt participatory budgeting a few years ago, in the Rockaways, has brought it to the parts of his district in Community District 9 this year, including Woodhaven. Though geographically most of the neighborhood is in Ulrich’s district, the western part is represented by Crowley.
Despite the brutal race for City Council Speaker that left the chairman of the Queens Democratic Party at odds with Mayor de Blasio and the ultimate winner, Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan), the borough was not left out when key committee chairs and other powerful posts were doled out Wednesday.
In fact, it will be a Queens member, second-term Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who will be the new majority leader, the second most powerful job in the body and second-in-command to Mark-Viverito.
The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association kicked off 2014 on Saturday with new leadership and a full agenda.
Topping that list of items was participatory budgeting, the process by which members of the public pick capital projects in the community to be funded in the city budget.
Leaders of the Friends of Queens Library at Ridgewood group were installed Jan. 6 in a ceremony celebrated with two area elected officials. Celebrating here are Friends President Maryellen Borello, center left, Vice President Kathleen Kelly, Treasurer Rosemary Gimmler and Colette Slagle.
2013 proved to be a very busy year for area civic groups.
Quality-of-life issues such as the proposed homeless shelter at 78-16 Cooper Ave. in Glendale and the trash-carrying trains roaring through southwestern Queens neighborhoods dominated many an agenda.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) has announced details for the first round of this year’s Participatory Budgeting Neighborhood Assemblies in the Woodhaven, Ozone Park and Richmond Hill sections of the district, bringing the process in which members of the public give input on where city taxpayer money should go into the neighborhoods, much of which were added to the district in last year’s redistricting.
The forums will give residents the opportunity to decide how $1 million in capital funds can be best spent on projects in those communities. Input from the assemblies will ultimately be used to create a list of several capital projects to be voted on by Community Board 9 residents residing in Ulrich’s district.
Incumbent Elizabeth Crowley and Craig Caruana pulled no punches at their contentious October debate.
If it has wheels, it made headlines.
Issues involving bicycles, illegal motor scooters, out-of-control SUVs, striking school bus drivers and pungent trash trains all made their way onto the Chronicle’s pages in 2013.
In a city the size of New York, politics and crime are often the biggest newsmakers, as was the case in 2013.
There was no shortage of political headlines this past year, an election year at that. Queens elected a new borough president while Forest Hills and Rego Park opted to bring back Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) for another term. Area politicians made their collective voices heard throughout the year, filling the Chronicle’s pages for months.
Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) is declaring victory in the race to be the new speaker of the City Council, but opponents of her bid are not conceding defeat, setting up battle lines just weeks before the Council is scheduled to vote on the second-most powerful job in the city.
Mark-Viverito, who represents East Harlem and the South Bronx, announced Thursday that she had the support of 31 members of the 51-member body, including herself and seven Queens members: re-elected Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside); Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights); Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst); and Donovan Richards (D-Rosedale); two Council members-elect Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) and Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn), who though from Brooklyn, represents a district that covers part of Ridgewood; and most notably, the borough’s only Republican, Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park).
Residents of southwestern Queens celebrated the season Dec. 7 at the Fred J. Haller Triangle in Glendale at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony held by the Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village Lions Club and City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.
Residents of southwestern Queens celebrated the season Dec. 7 at the Fred J. Haller Triangle in Glendale at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony held by the Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village Lions Club and City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley. Merry Christmas to everyone!
The Department of Homeless Services will move forward with the proposed 125-family homeless shelter at 78-16 Cooper Ave. in Glendale, but elected officials and civic leaders alike made their opposition known at a Dec. 12 public hearing.
After being given notice of the hearing just four days earlier, Assemblymen Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) and Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) joined Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) in testifying at the public hearing of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services.
After three years as president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, Ed Wendell announced this week that he will be stepping down at the end of the year.
He will be replaced by WRBA board member Martin Colberg, who was elected president last week.
The rain did not dampen the holiday spirit last Friday when Woodhaven residents and elected officials gathered for the tree and menorah lighting in Forest Parkway Plaza.
For the second year in a row an artificial tree was lit in the plaza. The live tree that previously stood on the site was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy.
The proposed 125-family homeless shelter slated for 78-16 Cooper Ave. in Glendale has received the backing of the city and the Department of Homeless Services, angering area elected officials and civic leaders.
A $27 million dollar contract between the city and Samaritan Village, a Briarwood-based human services agency, to establish the homeless shelter will be discussed at a public hearing on the mezzanine level of the Manhattan Municipal Building at 1 Center Street at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
For several years now, Dmytro Fedkowskyj, Queens’ representative on the Panel for Educational Policy — the Department of Education’s policy-making body — has convened parents and community education council members at Borough Hall several times a year to discuss education issues and concerns with him and policy advisors to Borough President Helen Marshall.
On Tuesday, they met one last time. With Marshall — and likely Fedkowskyj, who serves at her pleasure — leaving office at the end of the month, the parents, officials, former teachers and CEC members gathered to put together a list of concerns and suggestions they hope Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz, her future PEP appointee and the de Blasio administration will tackle.
The Knockdown Center’s application for a place of assembly permit for 5,000 persons has been turned down by the Buildings Department, Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano told the board during its Nov. 13 meeting.
“I sat down with them early on,” Giordano said. “I was really taken aback when [the Knockdown Center’s operators] said to me that they were looking for a permit to have that many people assemble there.”