Queens Lawmakers On The Move. Dec. 26, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Miller Hosts 6th Annual Southeast Queens Winterfest

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

City Council Member I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens) this week joined with a host of elected officials to kick-off and celebrate the holiday season in his 6th Annual Winterfest at Roy Wilkins Park Recreation Center in Jamaica.

The elected officials representing Southeast Queens that joined in the fun included U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, State Sen. Senator Leroy Comrie and Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman, along with special guest City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan).  

The annual “Winterfest” celebration features a slew of activities for local children, including bouncy houses, face-painting, arts and crafts, wintery-treats, and more.

Following a few hours of spirited play, Ballroom Basix, one of the groups funded by Miller, put on a dazzling dance performance featuring the students in the program from McNair Elementary School 147Q, and P.S./I.S. 268. The event culminated with the distribution of hundreds of toys.

“Our Annual Winterfest Celebration and Toy Giveaway is a very special event for us,” said Miller. “The holidays are about giving back, and it gives us no greater pleasure than to see the smiles on the faces of little ones each year. We have a saying here in Southeast Queens that ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ and this event was truly a collaborative effort. Thank you to our sponsors, our many volunteers, and the members of our community who generously donated toys at our district office over the past few weeks.”

Grodenchik Paves Way For Cardozo High School Annex

City Councilmember Barry Grodenchik

City Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik (D-Bayside, Queens, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Jamaica Estates, Little Neck Oakland Gardens, Queens Village), the Department of Education, and the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) joined with community leaders, educators, and parents last week to break ground on a state-of-the-art learning annex for Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside. 

Expected to open in September 2022, the annex will add 795 seats, helping to alleviate severe overcrowding at the school. The expansion is part of the SCA’s commitment to bring more than 5,300 high school seats to Queens by 2023, and Grodenchik is working to ensure that Eastern Queens gets its fair share. 

“Knowing that Benjamin N. Cardozo High School students have suffered with overcrowding for decades, I suggested that the School Construction Authority look at adding seats, and I am pleased that the agency found a perfect spot on the expansion,” said Grodenchik.  

“The groundbreaking is a watershed win for the school and its students; with this annex, one of New York City’s best public high school is about to get even better.”

The 3-story annex will be fully accessible, air-conditioned, and include 25 general education classrooms (grades 9-12), and two special education classrooms. The annex will have a teacher’s workroom and supervisory offices on each floor. Other amenities will include:

  •         Science (STEM) lab                                        
  •         Science Preparation Room
  •         Robotics lab
  •         Mock Court Room
  •         Media Center and Production Room
  •         Three Locker Rooms (for athletic field use)
  •         Bicycle Storage
  •         Shower and Changing Room for bicycle riders

Sanders Addresses Student Loan Debt

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) last week partnered with the Department of Financial Services (DOF) and Community Service Society to provide an in-depth presentation on how to manage student loan debt through greater financial literacy and providing access to new resources. 

The goal was to help faith-based and other community leaders better understand the nuances of student loan debt repayment. Dozens of people attended the event which was held Dec. 19 at Rush Temple AME Zion Church in Jamaica. 

“It is said that when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is stop digging,” Sanders told the crowd. “So let’s accept that the community as a whole, is in a hole, and the first thing we need to do is stop adding to the debt.”

Attendees received information about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program as an alternative to repayment as well as all repayment options for Federal Student Loans including income-based payment arrangements and graduated and extended repayment plans. 

They gained knowledge on other topics such as forbearances, deferments, loan consolidation and rehabilitation.  Also, methods to bring loans out of default and stop wage garnishment were reviewed along with options for borrowers with private student loans. 

For more information visit https://www.dfs.ny.gov/ or https://www.cssny.org/

Katz Issues Hurricane Task Force Report

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D), as her tenure in Queens Borough Hall draws to a close, earlier this week reported on the work of her Hurricane Relief Task Force, a group of government agencies, elected officials and community leaders who collectively developed and implemented solutions to problems that had previously hindered and plagued the borough’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy.

Katz prioritized the recovery efforts by forming her Hurricane Relief Task Force within weeks after taking office in 2014 as Queens Borough President. The Task Force first met in Feb. 2014, nearly 16 months after Superstorm Sandy. The objective was to regularly and correctly address what many found to be an excruciatingly slow process for repairing the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy and for getting thousands of displaced Queens residents back into their homes.

The Task Force connected communities most impacted by the storm directly and regularly with city, state and federal agencies and elected officials on the multi-year recovery effort. This helped to ensure a reliable channel of communication between officials and the community residents who had “on-the ground” knowledge of recovery-related problems.

The Task Force also facilitated interagency cooperation by empowering community leaders to create innovative ways with elected officials to enhance the efficacy of recovery and resiliency efforts.

“The community-driven Task Force model should be used as a guide for how we respond to future major disasters, especially in this time of climate change,” said Katz. “A natural disaster of Sandy’s unprecedented scope requires a coordinated response that minimizes bureaucratic red tape and empowers impacted communities to work directly with government to launch and complete the Herculean task of recovery. Our deepest thanks go to all of the members of the Hurricane Relief Task Force who did such a great job of delivering much-needed help to those impacted by Superstorm Sandy.”