Queens Lawmakers on the Move Feb. 15, 2021

Queens County City Council News

Koo to Host Meeting About Flushing Playground 

City Council Member Peter Koo/via Facebook

City Councilmember Peter Koo (D-Downtown Flushing, Murray Hill, Queensboro Hill) announced last week an upcoming public scoping meeting for Flushing’s Captain Mario Fajardo Playground in Kissena Corridor Park.

As part of the FY 2021 Council budget, Koo, Speaker Corey Johnson, and the Office of the Queens Borough President secured a total of $3.2 million to redesign and reconstruct the playground so that area families with children can have a more enjoyable experience in the popular community playground. The virtual community input meeting will give the community an opportunity to weigh in on how they would like to transform their neighborhood playground.

“This scoping meeting is a great opportunity for area residents to redesign their own neighborhood playground. Captain Mario Fajardo Playground is in a prime location with subprime conditions. The equipment is rundown, the space is underutilized, and the community is ready for a change,” Koo said. “I encourage everyone in the area to tune in and give your suggestions for what you would like to see in your backyard playground.”

The public scoping meeting will be held online on Zoom on Tuesday, February 16 at 6 p.m. Register online to attend the meeting. 

Addabbo Partners with LiveOn NY for Senior Webinar

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) is partnering with LiveOn NY to bring an informational webinar to residents across his district in order to help inform seniors on how to apply for important benefit programs.

During the webinar, representatives from LiveOn NY will give information about the organization and what they do, discuss the stigma and misconceptions around receiving benefits, review all of the benefits that are relevant to older adults—which includes discussing what the benefits address, eligibility criteria and the application process—and finish with a brief Q&A and contact information.

“I am happy to once again bring the services of LiveOn NY to my constituents, providing my seniors with valuable information on the benefits available to them,” Addabbo said. “Unfortunately due to COVID, we are not able to bring LiveOn representatives directly into local senior centers to discuss their benefits, but we always find a way to adjust.”

In the past, some of the benefits LiveOn NY can help constituents register for include SNAP, SCRIE, HEAP, the Medicare Savings Program, Medicaid, and property tax exemptions. While LiveOn NY cannot assist participants in registering for benefits during this meeting, seniors are encouraged to contact LiveOn NY to talk about their specific situations.

The live webinar will take place via Zoom, on Thursday, February 25, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Those interested in taking part in the webinar must register by following this link: http://bit.ly/3cVjQcN

For more information, call LiveOn NY at 212-398-5045 or email benefits@liveon-ny.org.

Rosenthal, Cruz Advocate for Nourish NY Program in State Budget

Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal
Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz.

State Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Kew Gardens, Pomonok, Electchester, College Point and parts of Whitestone, Richmond Hill, Briarwood and Forest Hills), newly appointed Chair of the Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy joined Assemblymember Catalina Cruz (D-Corona, Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights), Chair of the Task Force on New Americans, in support of increased funding for the Nourish NY Initiative. 

Nourish NY is a popular program connecting New York’s agricultural sector with food distribution efforts around the state, boosting upstate economies while combating food insecurity. In the past year, the initiative has sustained over 4,000 farms and distributed over 17 million pounds of fresh produce and food to warehouses, social services agencies and food banks. 

In a letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), the lawmakers asked for a $50 million funding allocation, an increase from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $25 million. They cited the growth of food insecurity in the city, especially during the pandemic, with over 1 million New Yorkers out of work and the program’s major successes.

“Now more than ever, addressing food insecurity requires all the resources our state has to offer,” said Rosenthal. “By connecting our upstate farmers with downstate food distribution efforts, the Nourish NY program takes a holistic and innovative approach to solving a host of problems created by the pandemic. I stand with Assemblywoman Cruz and my colleagues in calling for its full and continued funding.”

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, legislators statewide have been left scrambling for resources to ensure that the basic needs of their constituents are met. At the height of the pandemic, food lines stretched for miles with no end in sight and without a permanent or sustainable product source,” said Cruz, who sponsored legislation for the continued long term funding of Nourish NY. “As the crisis continues and food insecurity becomes more severe, we are dedicated to creating a permanent state pipeline through Nourish NY in order to put food on the table to those who need it most.”

The letter which had sign-ons from over 50 Assembly colleagues spoke to the broad success of the program, with support from members across various New York state regions and party lines.

BP Richards to Host Black History Month Celebration

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and the African American Heritage Committee last week announced his annual celebration of Black History Month, honoring the countless contributions of the Black community to the growth and future of our shared borough, will be held virtually on Thursday, February 25.

“Black history is Queens history. This Black History Month, we are beyond proud to not only celebrate our heritage as Black New Yorkers, but honor some of the most selfless and influential members of the Black community serving our families in Queens and beyond,” said Richards. “From the devastating impact of COVID-19 on communities of color to the long-overdue national reckoning with systemic injustice, this past year has been unspeakably trying for the Black community — highlighting the importance of this month’s commemoration. As the first Black man to hold this office, it is my honor to bring together families from across our borough to uplift both our Black history and future.”

Borough President Richards’ virtual celebration will include keynote remarks from New York State Attorney General Letitia James, community discussions and the presentation of awards to five exemplary community leaders: Jolander Headley, Christopher Roker, Keith M. Little, Adjoa Esinam Gzifa, and Kelly Johnson.

Richards and the African American Heritage Committee will also award African American Heritage Scholarships worth $1,000 each to six distinguished Queens high school students from across the borough to help cover expenses related to their post-secondary studies.

The February 25 Black History Month event will be held online on Thursday, February 25 beginning at 6 p.m. It will be live streamed at www.queensbp.org. Prospective attendees interested in attending via Zoom must RSVP by Tuesday, February 23 at www.queensbp.org/rsvp. Instructions will be emailed the day of the event to those who register.