Category Archives: Politics

A Rose That Grew From Concrete

New playground opens at Goldie Maple Academy
By Daniel Offner

The once vacant lot adjacent to the Goldie Maple Academy (PS/MS 333) on Beach 54th Street has been transformed into a brand new facility that will serve dozens of local school children with adequate space and activities for years to come.

After nearly two years of construction, the $3.2 million renovation of the track, courts and playground at the Goldie Maple Academy is officially open.

This story originally appeared in the Aug. 12, 2016 edition of The Wave Newspaper.

Pavilion Will Get A Fresh Coat Of Paint

It has been 50 long years since Queens, the aptly-dubbed “World’s Borough,” played host to the 1964-65 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Now, five decades later, New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver joined local elected officials and community leaders, on Wednesday, to announce plans to repaint and restore the “Tent of Tomorrow,” a one-of-a-kind structure that is emblematic of the Borough.

“The Tent of Tomorrow is an iconic symbol of Queens,” Silver said. “It’s a highly visible structure that you can see on both sides of the Grand Central Parkway and Long Island Expressway, but we haven’t been able to give it the treatment it deserves until now.”

This story originally appeared in the May 7, 2015 edition of the Queens Tribune.

Queens CB’s Say ‘No’ To Term Limits

Queens Community Board leaders are not fans of imposing term-limits on its members.

Last year, City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) proposed legislation to place term limits on all Community Board appointees, capping service at six consecutive two-year terms – a maximum of 12 years.

“I saw the impact that term-limits had on communities and particularly communities that were underrepresented,” Dromm told the Queens Tribune last December. “We need to have new blood and new people sharing their ideas. Communities change and so I think Community Boards should change.”

This story originally appeared in the May 7, 2015 edition of the Queens Tribune.

The Gift of Life: Trying To Stem The Tide In New York’s Organ Donation

Ranked last among the 50 states, New York’s organ donor numbers are at an all-time low.

To try and address this issue, LiveOnNY – a nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant in the greater New York-Metropolitan area – increased its outreach during the month of April to work to inform and encourage residents across the State to give the gift of life by registering to be an organ donor.

Nearly half of all transplanted organs in 2013 were kidneys. Nearly half of all transplanted organs in 2013 were kidneys.

According to LiveOnNY, another New Yorker dies every 15 hours while waiting for an organ transplant that can help save his or her life. At present, 22 percent of eligible New Yorkers – over the age of 18 – are registered donors, far below the national average of 47 percent.

This story originally appeared in the May 7, 2015 edition of the Queens Tribune.

KAAGNY Ousts Prez Amid Controversy

Conflicts with the administration of the Korean American Association of Greater New York – a nonprofit organization serving 500,000 Korean-Americans living in the Tri-State area – culminated this week with the impeachment of Board President Sung K. Min.

The infighting developed after a new challenger, Ms. Minsun Kim, paid a $100,000 candidacy fee, with the intention of running against Min.

This story originally appeared in the April 2, 2015 edition of the Queens Tribune. 

Traffic Woes Continue Around Flushing Commons

Traffic Woes Continue Around Flushing Commons

The DOT created a temporary walkway along Union Street, between 37th and 39th avenues, to make it safer for pedestrian travel. Photo by Daniel Offner.

Traffic issues around the Flushing Commons construction site have yet to cease, despite an amended stipulation with the Dept. of Transportation, made last December, requiring the placement of traffic control agents around the site during the duration of the construction.

However, according to State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), developers with TDC Development, the Rockefeller Group Development Corporation and AECOM Capital hired a couple of flagmen to direct traffic, instead of complying with the agreement.

“The developers think that hiring additional flagmen is sufficient,” Avella said. “But it’s not.”

This story originally appeared in the Feb. 20, 2015 edition of the Queens Tribune.

County Kicks Trees To The Curb

Seaman's Neck Park Photo/Meetup.com

Seaman’s Neck Park
Photo/Meetup.com

Residents are in a fervor over Nassau County’s recent decision to remove 176 oak trees along a mile-and-a-half stretch of Seaman’s Neck Road.

“It’s outrageous,” said local resident Lee Gardner. “It changed the entire landscape.”

Like most of her neighbors, Gardner said she was shocked, since the county did not notify residents.

Mike Martino, a spokesperson with the Nassau County Department of Public Works said the trees were removed because they posed an immediate danger to pedestrians in the area.

“The county had to act,” Martino said. “We had to do this job.”

However, Gardner and other residents say that the county had other options to fix the sidewalks, other than removing nearly 200 completely healthy trees.

“Every tree that was taken down was 40 to 50 years old,” Gardner said, adding that her next door neighbor had paid to fix a part of the sidewalk in front of her house, and her tree was still taken down. “I am furious with Ed Mangano.”

Though the county did not give residents a say in the matter, Martino said the DPW will be replanting trees along Seaman’s Neck Road in the fall.

This story originally appeared in the Aug. 21, 2014 edition of the Levittown Tribune. 

Smile, You’re on School Zone Camera

Photo/Antonnews.com

Nassau County drivers are up in arms due to the recent implementation of school zone speed cameras, which have issued numerous violations since they were installed just weeks ago. The source of residents beef with the county’s speed cameras stems from the cameras issuing speed violations even when school wasn’t in session.

Director of Nassau County Traffic Safety Chris Mistron said that while some residents were taken by surprise, summer school hours are still considered a violation period.

“We didn’t utilize a warning period of sorts,” Mistron said, acknowledging the shock some residents experienced after receiving a violation in the mail. “I’d like to believe compliance will reduce the number of crashes around areas where these cameras are present.”

This story originally appeared in the Aug. 20, 2014 edition of the Levittown Tribune.

School Board Shuffle

This year’s school elections proved to be a big one for the challengers in Levittown, with nearly every seat contested in each of the two local school districts.

In the Island Trees Union Free School District, a last-minute endorsement from the teacher’s union paired with an outspoken campaign, helped net the trio of Brian Fielding, Paul Giambona and Michael Rich three seats on the Board of Education.

“I was excited that so many people came out,” Fielding said. “It shows that when change is needed a small community can stand together.”

This story originally appeared in the May 28, 2014 edition of the Levittown Tribune.

Levittown Welcomes School For Autism

The ELIJA school for autistic children has just settled into its new home, after signing a three-year lease to rent out the 13-room Laurel Lane primary school in Levittown. On World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, ELIJA school stakeholders gathered with county, town and school officials for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting event.

“This is a fantastic use of the property,” said Hempstead Town Councilman Gary Hudes. “It involves and helps people in the community.”

ELIJA—which stands for Empowering Long Island’s Journey Through Autism—is a not-for-profit organization that was founded by two parents in the spring of 2002 and uses applied behavior analysis to keep educational programs effective, exciting, enjoyable, for children with autistic spectrum disorders.

This story originally appeared in the April 10, 2014 edition of the Levittown Tribune.