Schumer Pushes Emergency Fund To Takle Zika Virus
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer yesterday announced he will push the President’s emergency funding request of $1.9 billion on the senate floor to help prevent and treat the spread of the Zika epidemic.
Schumer said that more than 800 Americans have already contracted Zika, which is spread through mosquitos, with 60 confirmed cases in New York State. Just recently, the CDC confirmed the link between Zika during pregnancy and severe birth defects like microcephaly.
Schumer said that these funds are critical in the fight against Zika and that Congress should deliver this funding before the epidemic spreads and more cases are brought to the United States come mosquito season.
“With so many women and families across the country looking for action, it is critical that members of Congress work together to greenlight at least $1.9 billion in emergency funding as soon as possible so that we can help stem the spread of Zika,” said Schumer. “Simply put, anyone repellent to this emergency funding plan isn’t serious about beating Zika. When it comes to fighting this epidemic, a stitch in time will save nine and so, I will do everything in my power to make sure emergency funding is delivered.”
The money will go towards improve vector control, expand access to family planning and contraceptives and accelerate efforts to developing a vaccine, among other items.
Lastly, the funds would include strong support for Puerto Rico, where women and families are especially threatened.
Local Pols Hail EPA/DEP Agreement On Gowanus Retention Tanks
New York City Council Members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, who both represent neighborhoods surrounding the Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, and New York State Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon (who represents the neighborhood in the assembly) all expressed support in a joint statement on the agreement between U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on the location of CSO Retention Tanks to cleanup the Gowanus federal Superfund site.
The agreement calls for the location of two large sewage and stormwater retention tanks to reverse over a century of environmental degradation and neglect that made the Gowanus Canal one of the most contaminated water bodies in the country. Together, the two retention tanks will achieve an estimated reduction of 58 to 78 percent of the combined sewage discharges (CSO) that flow into the Gowanus Canal today.
“We are supportive of the approach described in the proposed agreement, which would locate an eight-million gallon retention tank at two adjacent properties along the Canal, between Butler and Degraw Streets. This location avoids the permanent loss of parkland at nearby Thomas Greene Park — an important community hub for children and families, which was considered as a location for the larger tank — and will actually allow us to increase open space in our community,” the lawmakers said.
“The agreement provides strong protections, if problems arise in the acquisition of the proposed site. If the City should not meet specified timeframes for locating the retention tank on Nevins Street, the EPA can require the City to design a retention tank for construction at Thomas Greene Park.
“We are also pleased that the EPA and New York City remain in agreement regarding locating the second, four-million gallon retention tank at a City-owned property on 2nd Avenue and 5th Street. We will continue to work closely together with the Department of Sanitation, which uses the property to store road salt, and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, a local non-profit organization which also uses the space to compost organic waste, as the design process proceeds.
“We are grateful to the EPA and the DEP for listening to community residents, being guided by science in the cleanup, maximizing the public interest, and working together in a thoughtful way to arrive at the best possible outcome.”
A public meeting on the agreement is slated for 6:30 p.m. tonight at PS 32 (317 Hoyt St at Union St). Members of the public can also provide comments in writing for the next 30 days (until May 16). Comments can be mailed or emailed to Walter Mugdan, U.S. EPA Superfund Director, 290 Broadway, Floor 19, New York, N.Y., 10007 or [email protected].
Cymbrowitz, Savino Announce Removal Of Pilings From Brighton Beach
Brighton Beach Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and State Senator Diane Savino announced over the weekend that the city’s Parks Department this week will begin removing unsightly pilings from a section of Brighton Beach that stood as the last reminders of the controversial elevated comfort station relocated after a two-year battle by residents of Oceana condominiums and local elected officials.
The work will be conducted during daytime hours only and will take about a week to complete.
“Many thanks to Mayor de Blasio and the Parks Department for fulfilling their promise to remove these pilings in time for the upcoming beach season and returning Brighton Beach to the people of our community,” said Cymbrowitz. “This is a welcome announcement and one that we’ve all looked forward to for a long time.”
“This is welcome news for Brighton Beach and a victory for the surrounding community,” said Savino. “With the summer season quickly approaching, removing these pilings will make sure that the views will be beautiful and the area will be safe for all the families and seniors who use our beaches.”
In 2013, Cymbrowitz and Savino led community-wide opposition to placing the 20-foot-high comfort station in front of the Oceana after the Parks Department initially failed to perform an environmental review.
The lawmakers contended that the bathroom would better serve the public if it were moved farther west to Coney Island Avenue and the Boardwalk. In July 2015, the City officially agreed to build the new bathroom at Coney Island Avenue and the Boardwalk rather than next to the Oceana, but the pilings remained, closing off access to the area and serving as a constant reminder to residents about their lesson in bureaucracy gone wrong.
Cumbo Addresses Constituents On Budgetary & Legislative Accomplishments
City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo (For Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) tonight will address her constituents on the budgetary and legislative accomplishments that will impact the 35th Council District and New Yorkers in general.
Participants will share their vision for the district through presentations and performances. In addition, she will recognize residents who were integral to the successful inaugural participatory budgeting process.
The event is slated for between 6-8 p.m., tonight at the BRIC Arts Media House, 647 Fulton Street (entrance on Rockwell Place) in Fort Greene.
Adams Introduces Adopt-A-Catch-Basin Program
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd last week recognized Earth Day with the launch of their Adopt-A-Catch Basin pilot program.
Under the program Adams’ office and the DEP will form partnerships with block associations, business improvement districts, and other community-based organizations to remove debris that blocks storm drains.
The effort is intended to curb localized flooding after heavy rainstorms or microbursts, as well as to help prevent floatables such as bottles and other debris from entering into waterways. DEP will provide training, as well as gloves and garbage bags, to participating organizations that agree to maintain storm drains in their neighborhoods, and also enroll participants in an early alert system to inform them of upcoming weather events that may cause flooding.
Adams and Lloyd toured a portion of Canarsie, the neighborhood with the highest reports to 311 of blocked catch basins last year, and spoke about how Adopt-A-Catch Basin has the potential to make a big quality of life impact with minimal cost and effort.
“Adopt-A-Catch Basin fulfills the ‘think global, act local’ mission that should guide us in Brooklyn on Earth Day and every day throughout the year,” said Adams. “Catch basins are a critical and oft-overlooked part of our City’s infrastructure, helping to ensure our streets are properly drained and our waterways are cleaner and clearer.”
The initiative will be piloted in sections of Canarsie, Gowanus, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, and Sunset Park where catch basins that are clogged with garbage and other debris prevent adequate storm water collection, flooding areas nearby and forming small ponds that impede cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Greenfield Praises Pre-Passover Bread Burning Safety
City Councilman David G. Greenfield (Borough Park, Midwood) spent the morning before Passover last week visiting bread burning sites throughout Boro Park and Midwood, thanking FDNY and Shomrim members for their participation in the annual bread burning ritual.
The pre-Passover Orthodox Jewish ritual occurs as Jews are supposed to not eat bread or any products with yeast for the eight days of Passover.
After visiting several burning sites, Greenfield stopped by the firehouse on 12th Avenue, which is home to Engine 282 and Ladder 148, where he thanked FDNY officials and firefighters for their hard work throughout the day to make sure the bread burning ran smoothly and safely this year.
Greenfield also checked in with Boro Park Shomrim volunteer members in their mobile command center and praised them for their help overseeing the 27 burning sites throughout Boro Park and Midwood that were established in coordination with the FDNY and Community Board 12.
“The preparation for Pesach is a tremendous example of our communities and our city agencies working together to ensure that everyone is able to celebrate this important tradition safely and conveniently,” Greenfield said. “We are very lucky to have such an outstanding Fire Department and Sanitation Department, and I thank them for all that they do in collaborating with my office and Community Board 12.”
Eugene Keeps Pressure On For Summer YouCamp Funding
Flatbush City Council Member Eugene is keeping the pressure on the city to restore $20.3 million – a tiny fraction of New York City’s anticipated $82 billion budget – so that children throughout the city can have a safe place to spend the summer while their parents are at work.
When told at a hearing on the subject that the city didn’t have enough money for these programs, Eugene shot back: “Is it a lack of funding or the way we prioritize our issues?”
He added, “It’s not acceptable to say we can’t find the money. We have to find the money.”
At the hearing, young people who attended summer camp programs testified about the importance of summer programs-and the impact these crucial programs have on their lives.
Eugene and advocates for the funding will hold a rally for the restoration of summer youth program funding at 12 noon today on the steps of City Hall.