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A new bill introduced by Congressman Steve Israel (D-Suffolk, Nassau, Queens) on March 4 would allow those caring for elderly relatives who do not live with them to receive a tax credit of up to $1,200 for qualified elder-care expenses.
Many of those caregivers — who, according to Israel, spend on average $5,530 out-of-pocket each year on expenses for their aging relatives — cannot claim their parents as dependents because they live elsewhere.
The U.S. Senate passed legislation last Thursday that would relieve the flood rate hikes mandated by a 2012 law aimed at stabilizing the finances of the National Flood Insurance Program.
By a vote of 67-32, the Senate approved the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which if made into law would delay the increases in the flood insurance rates mandate under the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012, until the Federal Emergency Management Agency does an affordability study to determine how the rate hikes would affect homeowners in food zones. It also would require FEMA to certify that its flood maps are accurate and ensure local levees and other flood control structures are taken into account in the mapping process.
A total of $3.4 million was allocated from federal Sandy aid funds to reimburse the MTA for 90 percent of the cost to repair the Gil Hodges-Marine Parkway Bridge for damage that occurred during Hurricane Sandy, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced Tuesday.
The reimbursements include $1,519,087 for repair of scour and erosion damage for the storm surge; $161,144.20 to repair switchgears, which were flooded with saltwater; $600,914 for the repair or replacement of electrical parts related to the navigation and security lights that were submerged under saltwater; and $44,498.00 for the replacement or repair of spare parts such as cables, lights, gear wheels and motors that were damaged.
Washington heavyweights were among the more than 400 people on hand on Monday as the Greater New York Inter-Alumni Council of the United Negro College Fund held its 24th annual awards breakfast in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King.
U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) both were on hand, as was Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-Queens, Nassau).
Nearly $5 million in federal funds has been allocated for major Hurricane Sandy-related repairs and emergency protective measures at Beach Channel High School and related cleanup in Jamaica Bay.
The total funding, $4,902,607.21, will reimburse 90 percent of the costs the School Construction Authority undertook for post-storm repairs at the school on the shore of Jamaica Bay. They include cleaning up an oil spill caused by the school’s ruptured oil tanks; rental and installation of temporary power generators, including staging for more than two dozen other schools in the disaster zone; rental and installation of a temporary boiler and a fuel oil tank; and new fire alarms.
Howard Beach’s PS 207 may have been the most heavily damaged school in Queens by Hurricane Sandy.
The school, at 159-15 88 St., is in the heart of the heavily residential Rockwood Park section of the neighborhood that was hit hard by Sandy’s storm surge last year.
This Thanksgiving, New York’s wind energy has given us a lot to be grateful for.
A new report by Environment New York, “Wind Power for a Cleaner America,” shows that wind energy in New York is already avoiding carbon pollution equivalent to taking 382,203 cars off the road. In addition to reducing global warming pollution, wind energy in the state is also avoiding 1,724 tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxides which contribute to asthma, and 2,130 tons of sulfur dioxide which is a major component of acid rain. These benefits have made wind power a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which seeks to reduce global warming pollution 17 percent by 2020.
Federal incentives for wind–the investment tax credit and the production tax credit–are largely responsible for wind’s success, but are set to expire at the end of 2013. To curb global warming pollution and prevent future extreme weather events like Sandy, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand should continue to be champions for clean energy, and I call on our House delegation to do everything within their power to extend these critical clean energy incentives before the end of the year.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, along with our own Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, was correct when asking for a straight up or down vote to reopen the government and raise the debt limit.
Buried within the bill recently passed was a $147,000 death benefit to the family of the late New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg. His family is worth over $50 million. How many other amendments were buried in this bill which have nothing to do with reopening the government and raising the debt limit? This is a clear example of why we need means testing for all, including members of Congress who benefit from various government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Obamacare.
It is an old Washington parlor trick to allow both senators and Congress members to amend basic bills with language that benefits their own special interests. It is horse trading between the leadership and members to obtain their votes for the basic bill they may not support.
If Sens. Reid, Schumer and Gillibrand are all serious about reform in Washington, let them pass future legislation with straight up or down votes, without adding amendments.
The opinions of Queens’ federal lawmakers on whether the United States should launch an attack on Syria in response to its government’s apparent use of chemical weapons against civilians run the gamut.
Some support the action, at least one is opposed, at least one admits he is undecided and several of the others issued varying statements before President Obama announced that he would seek congressional authorization for military action last Friday.
The United States should not rashly attack Syria over its government’s apparent use of chemical weapons, and President Obama should ask Congress to approve any strike on the country before launching one, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) said in a statement issued Friday.
Maloney’s statement appears to be the first released by any of Queens’ federal representatives on the possibility of the United States launching air strikes against Syria.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) met with Queens community leaders and elected officials on Friday to urge congressional leaders to pass bipartisan legislation this year to restore the Voting Rights Act.
This past June, the U.S. Supreme Court made a controversial amendment to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by striking down Section 5, which determines which states and localities must get federal approval before they change their voting rights laws.
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall referred to Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), the first Asian-American congresswoman from New York, as “Chinese” at a rally for the Voting Rights Act held last Friday.
“We have this wonderful young Chinese woman who works in this borough,” Marshall said to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who also spoke at the event [see separate story]. The borough president was speaking of the greater role minorities have come to play in the electoral process in recent years.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, center, speaks out on amendments to the Voting Rights Act with Borough President Helen Marshall, left, Mazeda Uddin of the Alliance of South Asian American Labor, center right, and New York State NAACP President Hazel Dukes.
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall referred to Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), the first Asian-American congresswoman from New York, as “Chinese” at a rally for the Voting Rights Act on Friday.
“We have this wonderful young Chinese woman who works in this borough,” Marshall said to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who also spoke at the event. The borough president was speaking of the greater role minorities have come to play in the electoral process in recent years.
The entire Queens delegation in Congress, along with U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), have signed a letter urging the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to create a regional Airport Advisory Committee.
The Port Authority operates John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports in Queens, and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey along with smaller regional fields.
Seeking to alleviate concerns from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and civil liberties groups over the separation of church and state issues regarding a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to aid houses of worship damaged by Hurricane Sandy, two U.S. senators have introduced a new measure that would limit the aid to repairs of their physical structures.
Championing their constituents’ gripes about airplane noise over their homes, elected officials from Northeast Queens headed down to Washington, DC last Wednesday to convince the Federal Aviation Administration that its environmental review process was insufficient when it changed the procedures for planes departing from LaGuardia Airport last year.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside), and Reps. Grace Meng (D-Bayside) and Steve Israel (D-Melville) agreed with federal and regional FAA representatives to meet again with lawyers and technical experts to discuss the legal arguments over implementing new flight paths without a cumulative environmental impact study. The first meeting is not scheduled yet.
A group that began seven months ago with a few people venting their complaints while eating at the Terrace Diner has evolved into a neighborhood movement, a force dedicated to making the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority work for the residents of Northeast Queens to alleviate the noise and pollution from planes flying out of LaGuardia airport.
Approximately 200 people with similar frustrations attended the first Queens Quiet Skies community education meting on May 2 in the Bayside High School auditorium. While planes rumbled overhead, leaders and experts presented residents with legal and technical information and encouraged them to get more involved.
More than seven million people will visit the Adirondacks this year, but sadly, without needed federal support these mountains may not be prepared for such crowds, visitors may see a park which isn’t as pristine as in the past, and development may continue along its borders. The current Congress could bring renewed hope to these majestic mountains — with their beloved lakes, pristine trails and popular ski resorts — by acting to protect our parks for generations to come.
Decades ago, Congress set up the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect our parks against overdevelopment and pollution. Unfortunately, this program has been routinely underfunded for years. This has put the Adirondacks — and the memories and experiences millions will have by visiting them — at risk.
That’s bad news for the Adirondacks, as well as other parks like Harriman State Park in the Hudson River Valley and Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes region, where New Yorkers spend time hiking, fishing, boating, camping or simply enjoying the scenery. We should protect these special places so
that future generations can experience seeing a moose up close, or catching trout from the crystalline waters of a mountain lake, just as generations of New Yorkers have done before us.
We owe it to our children to protect the Adirondack Mountains, and other places that make New York special, with full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I applaud Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for supporting our parks, open spaces and wilderness areas,and we hope New York’s legislators will give our parks the protections they deserve.
(An open letter to U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries)
Howard Beach took a substantial beating owing to Superstorm Sandy! Charles Park is the only green space in the entire area frequented by not only Queens residents, but by Brooklynites as well. It is part of Gateway National Recreation Area and under the domain of the National Parks Service.
Charles Park was substantially damaged by the storm, such that trees have been destroyed and numerous amounts of previously waterborne debrisstilllitter the area, including at least a derelict boat or two.
We implore you to make sure that sufficient moneyfrom the storm relief package be designated towards restoring Charles Park to a decent level of usage so that we, your constituents ( and others) can enjoy this unique urban space!
Tributes poured in last Friday for Ed Koch, the three-term mayor who personified New York City from 1978 through 1989, and who died early that morning at age 88.
They came unsolicited from elected officials across the city, and were echoed on the street by the people of Queens.
Politics dominated much of the news in South Queens in 2012. With local and national elections looming, the communities were the epicenter of a hard-fought state legislative race with statewide implications.
But much like T.S. Eliot’s explanation of the apocalypse in “The Hollow Men,” the campaign ended not with a bang, but with a whimper, shoved from the top of people’s minds by the most devastating natural disaster to strike South Queens in a lifetime.
Queens politics in 2012 brought new districts, a historic election in the 6th Congressional District and enough cloak-and-dagger intrigue to fill a Robert Ludlum novel.
But when Hurricane Sandy struck in October, killing 12 people in Queens and more than 40 in the city, devastating the Rockaways, Howard Beach, lower Manhattan and Staten Island, the people of central Queens, who were largely spared the storm’s wrath, rallied to the cause of those worst hit.