Monthly Archives: May 2011

DOE Seeks to Ease PS 49 Overcrowding

More than a decade ago, P.S. 49 was an average school in a district notorious for below average schools. By 2003, the Middle Village school was featured in the guidebook “New York City’s Best Elementary Schools.” That success has caught up, and this year, the school is at more than 130 percent of its capacity. The situation is so dire the newest kindergarten class is being held in the former room of the Parent Teacher Association. Overcrowding has also made … Continue reading

Different Strokes: The State and City Budgets

When Governor Andrew Cuomo passed the state budget earlier this spring, there were massive cuts to education and social services. While there was a smattering of complaints—notably from senior centers facing closure—most people understood hard decisions had to be made due to the state’s terrible fiscal situation. When Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented his executive budget, proposing familiar cuts to firehouses, libraries and social services, criticism began pouring in from all corners of the city. These are not hypocritical reactions. There … Continue reading

Library Cuts Threaten Five-Day-A-Week Service

New York City’s three public library systems are in danger of serious cuts in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s executive budget. If the Mayor’s executive budget is approved, Queens Library will see a $25 million reduction, which critics say would completely cripple the system. “Should the budget be adopted as proposed, libraries in Queens will fall far below a basic five-day-a-week service level in every community,” said Queens Library CEO Thomas Galante in testimony before the City Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, … Continue reading

GOP Councilmen Trash Mayor’s Budget

Monday night’s meeting of the Ronald Reagan Republican Club served as a stage for Councilman Eric Ulrich and City Council Minority Leader James Oddo to unleash anger and outrage over Mayor Bloomberg’s executive budget, and what they say are potentially devastating effects on residents across the city. Both Republicans pointed out that the Bloomberg administration is doing everything it can to avoid tackling big issues where large sums of money could be saved. “Failure to address the areas where real … Continue reading

Prosecutors Criticize Budget

Add Queens District Attorney Richard Brown to the growing list of officials worried about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s executive budget. Brown, along with Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes, Bronx DA Robert Johnson, Staten Island DA Daniel Donovan and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, testified before the City Council about the proposed cuts. “Since September 2001, we—the city’s prosecutors—have sustained cumulative cuts from the city totaling more than 20 percent—deep cuts that have presented significant challenges and that have had a profound impact on … Continue reading

In Brief: Energy Prices, Saint Matthews and Marriage Equality

Relief from rising electricity costs Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York State legislature pushed through a bill that would ease the rising costs of electricity for consumers by providing tax reliefs to power plants. “With New York City ratepayers facing hundreds of millions of dollars in unwarranted electricity rate increases, we moved quickly with our partners in government and the Legislature to protect consumers and address the issues cited by FERC in its initial decision,” Cuomo … Continue reading

New Smoking Ban in Effect for Parks

The city’s newly expanded anti-smoking law went into effect on Monday, meaning smokers can no longer legally light up at public parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas. The City Council passed the bill 36-12 in February. Some applauded the bill’s effort to curb the dangers of secondhand smoke. “Recent studies, and studies over the years, have shown that secondhand smoke can have a harmful impact. Public smoking is not just a risk people take on themselves, it is a risk that … Continue reading

Deja Vu: Engine 294 Faces the Ax Again

With the budget debate smoldering in City Hall, 20 fire companies are in jeopardy of being closed in July. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s list of closings—which could save the city $55 million—was made public on May 18, but many community leaders and residents would rather see the budget savings go up in flames than risk their neighborhoods’ safety. Woodhaven and Richmond Hill are now revisiting an old battle: keeping Engine Company 294, at 101-20 Jamaica Avenue, manned and fighting fires. Community … Continue reading

Charter School Faces Opposition in Central Queens

A debate over Community Education Council policy broke out after a contentious vote over a proposed charter school at the District 24 meeting on Tuesday. Five members of CEC 24 voted in favor of denying support to Central Queens Academy charter school, and one member, Brian Rafferty, voted against the resolution. Before voting, Rafferty explained that according to CEC voting regulations, any resolution that fails to garner six votes is considered as a failed resolution. “The rules that govern the … Continue reading

Park Advocates Keep Pressure on City

Rosemarie Pittelli and Kay DeVita watched the rally across the street from their homes and grew agitated. More than 80 people had arrived at the corner of 57th Road and 58th Street—the former site of St. Saviour’s church—to demand the city convert the area into a public park. Pitelli and DeVita, who both own homes on 57th Place, want a park in the area, but after years of advocacy that has resulted in little progress, hope was fading. “We’ve been … Continue reading

Honorees Announced For Maspeth Memorial Day Parade

The United Veterans and Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth has announced its speakers and honorees for the Maspeth Memorial Day Parade, which will be held this Sunday, May 29 along Grand Avenue. Vietnam Veteran Conrad Steers will be the featured speaker at the ceremony after the parade. Steers was awarded the Purple Heart after being severely wounded by enemy sniper fire in South Vietnam. He is the commander of the New York Military Order of the Purple Heart. Steers has been … Continue reading

New Perscription Drug Card Available For Residents

Purchasing prescription drugs became easier and cheaper for city residents on Wednesday with the debut of the BigAppleRx prescription drug program. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs today launched New York City’s first official prescription discount card – offering substantial discounts throughout the five boroughs. The BigAppleRx card will be one of the most widely distributed prescription drug discount cards in the nation, and is available to anyone regardless of age, income, citizenship … Continue reading

Richmond Hill South Civic Officers Swear In, Help Troops

The Richmond Hill South Civic Association (RHSCA) held the installation of the 2011-2112 Executive Board last week. The swearing in was conducted by Senator Joe Addabbo and the dismissal of the Executive Board was administered by Councilmember Eric Ulrich. In addition to the installation ceremony, some special Proclamations of Merit were awarded to RHSCA members Millie Esposito and Elana Carruba by Addabbo, Assemblyman Michael Miller, Ulrich and Donald Landman of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary 118 for their coupon cutting … Continue reading

Ulrich Honors Local Senior’s 90th Birthday

Councilman Eric Ulrich presents local resident Christine Titone with a Proclamation in honor of her 90th birthday, while celebrating with family and friends at the Howard Beach Senior Center on Tuesday. Ulrich thanked Christine for her years of service to the community, which included 25 years of teaching at St. Clement Pope School in Baisley Park, followed by 18 years teaching at Our Lady of Grace School until her retirement at age 82.

Students Revisit Woodhaven’s Garden of Remembrance

Cadets of the Franklin K. Lane High School Air Force Junior ROTC, led by Chief Master Sergeant Jose L. Silveira, ROTC Commandant, gathered at the Woodhaven Post 118’s Garden of Remembrance Memorial at 89-02 91st Street. The Garden of Remembrance is made up of more than 600 cemetery markers bearing crosses and the Star of David to represent the different religious faiths of Post members that have died since the Post was chartered in 1920. The Garden is intended to … Continue reading