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Archive for the tag 'politics'

Sunny Skies

Source: Sunny Skies

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the preliminary recipients of $340 million in pre-kindergarten funding yesterday. While none are in the Bensonhurst area, there are two in Borough Park - Mothers Love and Sunny Skies DC Corp.

Provided state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli approves the awards, Mothers Love (1681 49th Street) will land $214,287 from the state and Sunny Skies DC (4228 10th Avenue) will receive $500,000 as part of a program that is awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for 81 school districts and community-based organizations across the state.

The funding, which is included in the 2014-15 state budget, is the first installment in the governor’s commitment to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years to build a statewide universal full-day pre-kindergarten program.

The city Department of Education is slated to land nearly $300 million to build its universal pre-kindergarten program for all 4-year-olds in the city – which stems from Cuomo’s promise to pay for such a program in lieu of Mayor Bill de Blasio raising taxes to pay for it, as the mayor had originally aimed to do upon taking office.

The funds slated for private daycare operators are to fill the gap in the number of seats required to meet the need, which the Department of Education alone does not have the space for.

“Training and educating young minds is one of the smartest investments we can make as a state, as studies demonstrate that pre-kindergarten has a long lasting, positive influence on our children’s education and future success,” Cuomo said in his press release. “The state budget this year included a major investment in early education, putting New York state on the path to become just the fourth state in the nation to establish universal full day pre-K. The awards we are announcing today will enable tens of thousands of children to attend pre-K classes, and represent another step in the State’s work to prepare our students to compete in the 21st century economy.”

As part of state and city officials push for a full-day pre-kindergarten program, numerous lawmakers and educators, including Cuomo and de Blasio, stressed that studies have shown that children who participate in early education programs are more likely to read at grade level and graduate from high school than those who do not.

“We are proud to have Governor Cuomo as a strong partner in making pre-K for All a reality for the children of New York City,” de Blasio said in the same release. “This funding represents a powerful commitment by the State to build a new, stronger education foundation that will transform our schools. We are working tirelessly to make good on this opportunity to deliver new pre-K options, improve existing ones and build a high-quality system that lifts up every child.”

The full list of recipients of the $340 million is available here.

A clothing donation bin illegally placed on public property at Bay Parkway and 66th Street.

A clothing donation bin illegally placed on public property at Bay Parkway and 66th Street.

A bill to give the boot to clothing donation bins on illegally placed on public property continues to gain steam in the City Council, where it’s now set to have a public hearing on September 8.

We reported earlier this month that the bill, introduced by Councilman Vincent Gentile, had racked up the support of 20 sponsors in the Council as well as the backing of Mayor Bill de Blasio. The New York Post reported yesterday that a public hearing on the bill has been added to the Council schedule.

The bill will authorize the Department of Sanitation to immediately remove clothing donation bins illegally placed on public property, including sidewalks, city-owned lots and streets. It also gives the agency the power to issue a $250 fine to first-time violators and $500 fines for repeat offenders, in addition to hauling off the offending bin.

According to the Post, complaints about the bins have been skyrocketing and the mischievous bin operators have taken advantage of the city’s leniency thus far.

The illegal containers are multiplying exponentially. In July alone, city inspectors tagged 670 bins — 11 times more than the 59 illegal bins they tagged in all of 2009. The city has marked more than 2,000 bins for removal so far this year.

… The illegal bins are installed in the dead of night, officials say. And even when sanitation inspectors quickly tag them, the bins’ owners take advantage of regulations giving them 30 days to haul them away.

They remove them on the 29th day and usually set them up around the corner.

The legislation would also create a registry of legal bins, where operators would be required to quantify the collected donations by weight.

Source: dtanist/Flickr

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger:

Council Member Mark Treyger and Zamperla, which owns Coney Island’s Parachute Jump ride, will light the iconic structure gold next month to raise awareness for childhood cancer as part of The Gold World Project. The announcement comes after the Empire State Building rejected a request by New Hampshire resident and project founder Tony Stoddard to have the Midtown Manhattan building lit gold as part of an international lighting of landmarks across the nation and world to highlight the need for greater funding and research.

After hearing that Mr. Stoddard’s Empire State Building request was denied, Council Member Treyger contacted Valerio Ferrari of Central Amusements International, which is the Zamperla subsidiary that operates its Coney Island attractions, and Frankie’s Mission, a Brooklyn-based organization that has been asking the Empire State Building officials to reconsider their decision. Zamperla immediately agreed to participate in the awareness event and will light the parachute jump gold for one week starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, September 5th. As a result, New York City will join other major cities and landmarks in participating in The Gold World Project, which Mr. Stoddard launched in memory of his five-year-old son Cole, who passed away after a battle with Neuroblastoma.

“I really was surprised and disappointed by the Empire State Building’s denial of this important request on behalf of all families fighting childhood cancer. In the end, I am proud that we were able to turn this into a positive and find a way to bring awareness to this critical issue. We all know that Brooklyn, and not Midtown, is now the center of New York City, so it is great that Coney Island and its famous Parachute Jump will be part of The Gold World Project. My thanks to Mr. Stoddard and Frankie’s Mission for their incredible efforts and to Zamperla for accommodating this request so quickly. We don’t need the Manhattan skyline to validate how important this cause is, and on September 5th the iconic Coney Island waterfront will be the place to look to,” said Council Member Treyger.

“Thank you Councilman Treyger for helping to get the Parachute Jump at Coney Island to light gold in September for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! Lighting gold is the first step towards greater childhood cancer awareness, awareness that will lead to increased funding and research, research that will hopefully lead to a cure for all types of childhood cancer someday. Beyond that ultimate goal there is another reason to light gold – it helps to heal the hearts of parents such as myself who have lost children to cancer, the number one killer by disease of kids in our nation. It lets us know our children did not die in vain, it shows us our kids are not forgotten,” said Mr. Stoddard.

“We at Frankie’s Mission are thrilled to have the world famous Coney Island Parachute Jump sending their care and love to the childhood cancer community by lighting gold for a week in September. I know my son Frankie is smiling down as we all valiantly work together in our quest to reach true cures. We also appreciate the efforts of Zamperla and Councilman Treyger for taking real action in raising awareness for this cause,” said Camille Loccisano, founder of Frankie’s Mission and mother of Francesco Loccisano, who passed away from childhood cancer just two weeks after his 17th birthday.

“Even though the Empire State Building turned down and treated our kids without the respect they deserve, we’re excited that many have taken up the cause in response simply because it is the right thing to do. My daughter Sally is a sixth generation Brooklyn resident, so it is great that our home borough has her back and supports all of the children fighting cancer. Sally was named after her great-grandmother who was born and raised in Coney Island, so it is very fitting to have Coney go gold for this cause,” said Brooklyn resident Matt Kabel, whose 21-month-old daughter Sally is currently fighting a rare form of infant leukemia.

The entire community is invited to join Council Member Treyger, Zamperla, Frankie’s Foundation and other advocacy groups and families impacted by childhood cancer for the official Parachute Jump lighting at 8 p.m. on Friday, September 5 at the base of the structure. The Parachute Jump is located between Surf Avenue, the Riegelmann Boardwalk, W. 16th Street and W. 19th Street. Please contact Council Member Treyger’s district office at (718) 307-7151 for more information.

Source: storem/Flickr

A 10-year-old girl was digging through the sand on Coney Island Monday afternoon when she uncovered a loaded handgun.

The girl and her mother were at the water’s edge near West 19th Street at approximately 2:15 p.m. on Monday when they found the .9mm pistol loaded with one bullet, according to the Daily News.

They brought it to a lifeguard who called police. The cops came, recovered the weapon and then destroyed it at the stationhouse.

The incident has local Councilman Mark Treyger reiterating his call for more Parks Enforcement Patrol officers on area beaches.

“Hearing that a child came across a loaded handgun while simply playing in the sand was shocking and concerning to say the least. I am very relieved that nobody was injured or killed as a result, and I am not willing to keep taking chances when it comes to the public’s safety in Coney Island. This must serve as a wakeup call to City Hall and the Parks Department regarding the need to provide additional Parks Enforcement Patrol officers to our community, especially given the increasing number of New Yorkers and tourists visiting Coney Island,” said Treyger, via press release.

Treyger also called for more PEP officers earlier this summer after 10-year-old Takara McDuffy drowned in Coney Island. The girl fell into the water after the beach was closed, and their were no lifeguards on duty. Treyger said PEP officers should be hired to patrol the beaches when they’re closed to ensure no one goes near the water.

The pol says that having more PEP officers on the beach would ease the burden on the 60th Precinct.

flier-rewardA $1,000 reward is now on the table for information leading to the arrest of those who distributed anti-Muslim fliers in at least one of the Shore Haven apartment buildings near Cropsey Avenue and 21st Avenue in Bath Beach.

The fliers were found throughout the building two weeks ago, showing a hateful message calling Muslims “the second holocaust” and claims “USA hates you”.

The NYPD Hate Crimes Unit is investigating, but it appears unlikely that they will identify a suspect.

But the cops have new allies in Tony and Renee Giordano, a Sunset Park couple known in the area’s business community and neighborhood preservationists. The couple is offering the reward, hoping it will make someone with information more likely to come forward.

Brooklyn Eagle reports:

Giordano recalled that he turned to his wife after reading a newspaper article about the incident and said, “It isn’t enough that we tell people this offends us, we have to do more. Would it be all right with you if we offer a $1,000 reward?” His wife immediately agreed, he said.

Renee Giordano made a series of phone calls to get the proper wording for the reward flyer from the Police Department’s Crime Stopper division.

Tony Giordano created an online reward flier and posted it to his 2,100 friends on Facebook. The reward poster instructs anyone with information to call the Crime Stopper hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.

If the reward is not claimed the couple said they will donate the money to a pro-tolerance campaign in the Sunset Park community, according to the Eagle.

golden

The following is a press release from Cablevision:

With a focus on promoting reading and literacy, Cablevision’s Optimum and Madison Square Garden today brought the 8th Annual Knicks Summer Reading Program to P.S. 112 for young campers (ages 6-10) attending the Neighborhood Improvement Association (NIA) Summer Day Camp. Participating in the event was New York State Senator Martin Golden, along with former NBA superstar and Knicks Alumni Relations and Fan Development Advisor John Starks.

After welcoming remarks, Senator Golden and John Starks spoke about the importance of literacy. They also read aloud from the popular children’s book, Allie’s Basketball Dream by Barbara E. Barber. Following the reading, the children took part in a fun, interactive quiz about the book and participated in a raffle and autograph session. The children were also given a copy of the book discussed.

“Reading not only teaches it stimulates the imagination, strengthens self-confidence and fosters creativity, providing lifelong rewards,” said Senator Golden. “I congratulate Optimum and Madison Square Garden for this innovative program that engages young minds in such a positive way and helps instill a love of literature in students from an early age.”

“For eight years, Cablevision, in conjunction with Madison Square Garden has promoted reading programs in the communities we serve through its Summer Reading initiative,” said Jennifer Ostrager, Cablevision Vice President of Public Affairs. “Programs such as this serve as a catalyst for instilling a lifelong love of reading.”

Targeted to children ages 6-12, the Knicks Summer Reading initiative consists of a series of reading events at libraries, camps and community centers throughout the New York/New Jersey metro area. The program encourages reading through the use of incentives and is highlighted by book giveaways, ticket raffles, free t-shirts and read-aloud events with Knicks alumni and elected officials at select locations.

Councilman Mark Treyger

Councilman Mark Treyger

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger:

To help make sure that every parent has an opportunity to enroll their child in a pre-kindergarten program for this coming school year, Council Member Mark Treyger is hosting a NYC Department of Education enrollment specialist at his Bensonhurst district office (2015 Stillwell Avenue) this Monday, August 11, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The enrollment specialist will help provide parents with information needed to enroll their children in free pre-kindergarten programs in local public schools or community-based organizations for the 2014-2015 school year. In order to serve the entire community, interpreters will be available to assist parents who speak Spanish, Russian or Chinese. All New York City children who were born in 2010 and turn four years old by December 31 are eligible to enroll this year. As a former public school teacher for eight years before taking office, Council Member Treyger is urging all parents of eligible children to take advantage of this great chance to have their child enrolled in a free program right in the community.

“As a former educator, I am thrilled that our city is making these vital pre-kindergarten programs a priority for our children. This is a great opportunity to give your child a head start and a great foundation for their education. I am hosting this service to make sure that every family has the information needed to make an informed decision for their child and get them enrolled in a program for the coming school year. Anyone who hasn’t yet located a suitable program should stop by Monday’s information session for information about the different options available for local families,” said Council Member Treyger.

In addition, Council Member Treyger is publicly thanking Assembly Members Bill Colton and Alec Brook-Krasny, Senator Diane Savino and all of his colleagues in state government for passing a budget that provides funding for this critical city initiative.

For more information, please visit www.nyc.gov/prek or contact Dilyora Rahimova in Council Member Treyger’s office at (718) 307-7151.

Source: MyTudut/Flickr

The following is a press release from the offices of State Senator Marty Golden:

State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) today is announcing that he has joined forces with Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens to host a back to school collection drive for local students in need.

Residents are being encouraged to donate new school supplies including notebooks, crayons, back packs, pens, pencils, crayons, rulers, highlighters, washable glue sticks, 2-pocket folders, 3 x 5 line Index cards, etc.

Senator Marty Golden stated, “As we turn the calendar on the month of August, we begin to prepare our students and families to go back to school. For some families, the need to get their kids ready to learn and participate in another school year poses a financial challenge, and so we are being asked to help out and make a donation of some essential items. This year I hope that this community will again come together to support our neighbors in need so their children can have the same opportunities this year in the classroom. I hope you will join me in making a donation.”

Those wishing to make a donation of items can drop them off on or before Friday, August 15th at either of Senator Golden’s district offices at 7408-5th Avenue or at 3604 Quentin Road. For more information, please contact the Senator Golden’s office at (718) 238-6044.

A clothing donation bin illegally placed on public property at Bay Parkway and 66th Street.

A clothing donation bin illegally placed on public property at Bay Parkway and 66th Street.

Legislation introduced by Councilman Vincent Gentile that would give the boot to illegal clothing donation bins on city property now has the backing of the mayor and several of the pol’s Council colleagues, setting it up for swift passage.

“Vinnie convened a meeting with a bunch of citywide officials and borough presidents’ offices and made his case on why this is important, and we were able to get some action on it and it’s definitely moving in the right direction,” said Gentile spokesperson Justin Brannan.

The bill has picked up 20 sponsors and the backing of Mayor Bill de Blasio since it was introduced on July 24, according to the Council’s website.

The bill will authorize the Deparment of Sanitation to immediately remove clothing donation bins illegally placed on public property. It also gives the agency the power to issue a $250 fine to first-time violators and $500 fines for repeat offenders.

The bins are not only a public nuisance and an eyesore, many are scams. While there are legitimate bins placed with the permission of property owners, several for-profit companies have been posing as non-profits. They take the clothing they’ve collected and sell it to thrift shops and overseas markets.

“Not only are these bins eyesores, they deceive well-intentioned New Yorkers who believe they’re donating their used clothing to charity,” said Gentile in a press release.

The bill is not yet scheduled for a vote or hearing, but Brannan said he expects it to move quickly.

“We’re happy they’re paying attention to it now and now it will be a priority, so that’s exciting,” said Brannan. “This will be fairly fast-tracked and we’re very happy about that.”

Photo by Allan Rosen

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:

Assembly Member William Colton (47th Assembly District – Brooklyn) is announcing that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has agreed to add service to the B1 bus line in southern Brooklyn.

Beginning on August 31, 2014, the B1 bus line will run on a “School-Open Schedule” only. This translates into additional buses on the line, which will help improve service by decreasing the delays, irregular service, and overcrowding.

Previously, the B1 bus service operated on two different schedules: a “School-Open Schedule” when public school was in session, and a “School-Closed Schedule” when public school was not in session. This created a problem when public school was not in session, because there would be less buses running on the B1 line. Although public school was not in session, Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach was often still open. With the large number of students at Kingsborough, when there were less buses running on the B1 line, the buses often would get full with passengers at the Kingsborough bus stop in Manhattan Beach, creating overcrowding, irregular service, and delays on the entire bus line.

With the B1 bus now only operating on a “School-Open Schedule” only, there will be more buses on the line, which will lead to more and improved service for straphangers.

In June, Assemblyman Colton sent a letter to the MTA, asking them to take action to address the problems plaguing the B1 bus line, especially the chronic bus lateness, passenger overcrowding, and irregular service.

Assemblyman Colton worked with Transport Workers Union (TWU) – Local 100 in order to increase and improve the service on the B1 bus line. The Transport Workers Union played a vital role in securing the service change which will ultimately lead to better commutes and easier, faster travels for southern Brooklyn straphangers.

While this is a major community victory for southwest Brooklyn, Colton is aiming to further improve the B1 bus line, an important public transit service in our neighborhoods.

In July, Colton sent a letter to the MTA asking them to purchase new buses for the Ulmer Park Bus Depot, which services most of southwest Brooklyn. Currently, the Ulmer Park Bus Depot has the oldest fleet of buses in the City. A newer fleet of buses for the Depot would mean less mechanical malfunctions and breakdowns, which causes delays, overcrowding, and disruptions in service for passengers. Constituents have complained that often the hydraulic lifts of these older buses malfunction or don’t operate properly. This mechanical malfunction causes a serious problem for riders, especially the elderly, young children, and those carrying heavy bags or packages, making it ever more difficult to board and exit these older buses.

Additionally, Colton also sent a letter to the NYC Department of Transportation asking for the installation of additional pedestrian islands along the B1 bus line, specifically at the bus-stops at 86th Street & 25th Avenue, 86th Street & 24th Avenue, 86th Street & 23rd Avenue, 86th Street & 21st Avenue. These pedestrian plazas will help riders of the B1 bus line board and exit the buses easier and quicker, since they lift passengers six inches off the ground and higher to the door of the bus. In addition, for riders who are senior citizens, children, disabled, or those with limited mobility, the pedestrian plazas will also make boarding and exiting the buses easier as well. In addition, the pedestrian plazas will create a safe space for riders to wait for the bus, so they don’t have to wait in the middle of the street near moving vehicles. Adding pedestrian plazas to these bus stops will create a protective barrier for riders to keep them safe from oncoming traffic.

“I will continue working to improve public transit for the neighborhoods of southwest Brooklyn. This increase in service to the B1 bus line will greatly enhance the quality of life for local residents by reducing wait and travel times, creating easier, faster commutes for straphangers,” asserted Assemblyman Bill Colton. He added, “The B1 services many important areas of our community, including the busy, comercial shopping area of 86th Street. The additional service on the B1 bus line is a win-win situation for the entire community.”

Councilman Mark Treyger, who has been working to improve public transit in southern Brooklyn, affirmed, “This is great news for the many southern Brooklyn residents who rely on the B1 bus and have been frustrated by overcrowding and constant delays. At a time when our neighborhoods are growing and the need for reliable public transportation is more apparent than ever, I will continue to work with Assemblyman Colton, our community and the MTA to increase service elsewhere as needed. Running the B1 bus permanently on a ‘School-Open Schedule’ is a great first step in our ongoing efforts to provide our neighborhoods with the public service options needed to adequately serve our residents. This is only the beginning as we push for further transit improvements across Southern Brooklyn.”

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