Queens Lawmakers on the Move October 2, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Grodenchik Reports Signage Down at Troublesome Club

City Councilmember Barry Grodenchik

Councilmember Barry S. Grodenchik (D-Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens, Queens Village) reported that the signs outside the notorious Lavoo lounge recently came down, signaling that the club’s partying days are over.  

Grodenchik spoke out earlier this year after serious security problems emerged at the location.

“The business was disruptive and harmful to the neighborhood and to the seniors and families who live here,” said Grodenchik. “Safety and security are always of utmost importance.”

The club, located at 224-13 Union Turnpike, Oakland Gardens, was the scene of drunken behavior, and several incidents of violence, which included brawls and gunshots ringing out in the middle of the night on February 29. The incidents spurred the councilmember, other elected officials, and the surrounding community to voice extreme displeasure with the disruption to quality of life in the neighborhood.

Meng Urges USDA to Fix Problems with Critical Food Assistance Program

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park), joined by other members of New York’s Congressional Delegation, sent a letter Thursday to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue expressing concern about changes to a key federal program that provides funding to local pantries and food assistance organizations.  

The correspondence is in response to adjustments in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program’s Farmers to Families Food Boxes (CFAP) initiative that has impacted which boroughs can be served by specific vendors. As a result of this change, many of these food assistance groups in Queens and other parts of New York City have been left without vendors or guidance on who they could contract with to purchase food supplies. This problem has been further complicated because the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided no overlap in service, or general assistance to those suddenly without a vendor.

The letter also urges Secretary Perdue to stop politicizing CFAP food boxes with a letter from President Trump.

“I’m deeply troubled by USDA’s changes to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program’s Farmers to Families Food Boxes initiative that seeks to help those facing food insecurity,” said Meng. “Families are struggling to put food on the table and now many may go hungry because of the agency’s restrictions on which counties and boroughs vendors can serve, even when they have the capacity to serve the whole City. I know firsthand that groups—like La Jornada in Queens—were affected by this sudden change. Secretary Perdue must ensure that impacted food pantries and nonprofits are instructed on which vendors they can partner with to provide food to our community. In a city as diverse as New York, food assistance organizations often serve specific cultural or religious communities. If this program is not carefully executed, we can be sure that whole communities in our borough and city will remain underserved. I await the Secretary’s response to this letter.”  

The correspondence also demands answers to an unanswered August 28th letter that Meng and other New York City Members of Congress sent to Secretary Purdue about changes to CFAP that affected those who observe kosher and halal dietary practices.

A copy of the letter to Secretary Perdue can be viewed here.

Addabbo Gives Out Info for Pet Owners

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways) wants to provide pet owners with resources they can use during this health crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, from the loss of jobs to making obligated payments to remaining healthy. One aspect that may be overlooked during these tough times is the need to care for pets. 

According to the CDC, currently there is no evidence to suggest that animals play a significant role in spreading COVID-19, and based on the limited information available as of their August 24 update, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.

“Pets and service animals are important members of the family, and they require the same love and care as they usually get during this pandemic,” Addabbo said. “However, pet owners may be facing financial burdens due to COVID-19 and could be in need of information and resources to provide their pets with the food and services they need.”

In order to help New York City residents with pets, the NYC Emergency Management Department and the Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare created the NYC COVID-19 Pet Hotline — an information, planning, referral and service coordination resource for pet owners that works with partner organizations through the City’s Animal Planning Task Force to field service needs and requests.

Pet Hotline operators can be reached at 877-204-8821 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

To stay up to date on the ASPCA’s COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts, visit https://www.aspca.org/animal-protection/covid-19.

The Animal Care Centers of NYC also has a list of services, resources and frequently asked questions for pet owners on how to care for their pets, what to do if someone finds a stray animal or needs to give up their pet, as well as short-term emergency measures. For more information, visit https://www.nycacc.org/help.