Archive for the tag 'press releases'

weinstein

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein:

Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein has been visiting schools to publicize the expansion of the Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program and the April 23rd enrollment deadline.

The Assemblywoman fought strongly for the expansion, with $300 million in the recently enacted 2014-15 State Budget potentially allowing for all NYC children turning 4 in 2014 with free Pre-K education if enrolled in time. Half day and full day programs will be available at Public schools and Community based organizations.

The Assemblywoman read to students enrolled in the UPK program at PS 197. The administration and teachers at the school voiced excitement about the expansion.

“Studies are showing how vital Pre-K education is for the healthy growth of a child as they head on to Kindergarten and primary school,” said PS 197 Principal Rosemarie Nicoletti. “The expansion of this program will help us reach so many more children and I thank Assemblywoman Weinstein for her continued commitment to serving the needs of her youngest constituents.”

“As successful as we were in Albany in securing this funding, the real success of this program will depend on how many children enroll,” said the Assemblywoman. “I urge parents of eligible children to apply before we hit the deadline on April 23rd.”

Parents can enroll online or by calling or visiting the Brooklyn enrollment center at 131 Livingston Street (718-935-4908). The office will be open from 8 am – 7 pm on the following dates: April 8 – 9, April 15 – 16, and April 22 – 23.

Source: sincerelyhiten via flickr

Source: sincerelyhiten/Flickr

The following is a press release from the offices of State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

A bill introduced by Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) to commission a comprehensive study on the social impact of problem gambling has gained a valuable sponsor in the Senate and was cited during expert testimony at a New York State Gaming Commission Forum today in Albany.

The legislation (A.7836), which authorizes and directs the commissioner of mental health to commission a statewide evaluation regarding the extent of legal and illegal gambling by New York state residents, has attracted the sponsorship of Senator Marty Golden and on April 1 was reported to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

James Maney, Executive Director of the New York Council on Problem Gambling, gave the bill a positive mention this morning during the forum on “Addressing Problem Gambling in the Era of Expanded Gaming.”

According to Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, who is Chairman of the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the purpose of this bill is to mitigate the social costs related to problem gambling.

A survey conducted by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) found that five percent of adults, or 668,000 individuals, exhibited problem gambling behaviors within the past year. Another survey of seventh through 12th grade students revealed that 10 percent, or 140,000 students, showed signs of problem gambling in the past 12 months and another 10 percent of those students were in need of treatment for problem gambling. Of those students in the survey who were identified as in need of chemical dependency treatment, 45 percent were at risk or in need of treatment for problem gambling.

Research has found that proximity to casinos increases the rate of problem gambling among the local population, said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz. The National Gambling Impact Study Commission showed that casinos within a 50-mile radius of an individual’s home can double the prevalence of problem gambling.

The Buffalo Research Institute on Addiction, in its own study, claimed that having a casino within 10 miles of a home has a significant effect on problem gambling. Currently, New York State has five casinos operated by Native Americans and nine independently operated racinos; combined they operate approximately 29,000 electronic gambling machines, which is more than any state in the Northeast or Midwest. New York continues to expand its existing gaming market and if non-tribal casino gaming is legalized, permitting up to seven new casinos to be established, the risk of more individuals developing a gambling problem could increase significantly.

“While it is important that New York State continue to conduct surveys that determine the prevalence of problem gambling and illustrate the need for prevention and treatment services, additional research that measures the social impact of problem gambling is sorely needed,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. Directing such research would allow the state to pinpoint which social costs associated with problem gambling are most predominant among New York’s identified problem gamblers and have also been detected in communities impacted by the presence of a casino, he noted.

“By having this information, New York State and its public officials will be able to develop a comprehensive plan comprising precise policies and regulations that aim to mitigate the social costs related to problem gambling,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. The information would also enable the problem gambling service providers and the casino industry to implement strategies and interventions that target the specific problem gambling needs of each local community and its citizens, he said.

“By working faithfully 8 hours a day, I may eventually get to be boss and work 12 hours a day!” (Source: IntelFreePress/Flickr)

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D-Brooklyn) strongly urges parents and guardians who have young adults without summer plans to apply for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). The Summer Youth Employment Program provides young people who live in New York City with paid summer employment during the months of July and August.

“The Summer Youth Employment Program provides an incredible opportunity for anyone 14 to 24 years old to build upon their skills and obtain a meaningful work experience” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch.

Currently, SYEP applicants are chosen through a lottery system. Because of this, hundreds of children are never fortunate enough to be included in this program. Councilman Deutsch is currently working with city officials to make this valuable program available to everyone who is eligible. “Every summer, many young adults spend their time in an unproductive fashion which occasionally, may lead them into trouble” said Councilman Deutsch. “We must eliminate this needless strain on our society and create more opportunities for our precious youth to grow; they are the future of our great city”.

Employees work in a variety of entry-level positions at the following:

  • Government Agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Summer Camps
  • Non-Profits
  • Small Businesses
  • Law Firms
  • Museums
  • Sports Enterprises
  • Retail Organizations

In addition to work experience, SYEP provides workshops on job readiness, career exploration, financial literacy, and opportunities to continue education and social growth.

Any New York City resident between the ages of 14 and 24 may apply for this program online or at a community-based organization during the application period. The application period is open from now until Friday, April 25, 2014.

Source: NYC Parks Department

Source: NYC Parks Department

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D-Brooklyn), in an ongoing effort to improve parks in the 48th District, will host a Town Hall Meeting at PS 195 Thursday, April 3rd at 7 PM, inviting community members to share their thoughts and propose upgrades for Manhattan Beach Park, a major recreational park and popular destination.

This is the second in a series of Town Hall Meetings Council Member Deutsch will host in an effort to involve residents in plans to improve our local parks.

“I am working hard to improve our community’s parks,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “I invite all area residents to attend this important Town Hall Meeting, share their vision of the park, and take a hand in shaping its future.”

Manhattan Beach Park, located off Oriental Boulevard between Ocean Avenue and Mackenzie Street, is home to baseball fields, beaches, playgrounds, sprinklers, and a dog run, in addition to basketball, tennis, handball and volleyball courts.

Council Member Deutsch’s Town Hall Meeting will give park goers an opportunity to weigh in on the future of Manhattan Beach Park. Those in attendance are encouraged to share their knowledge of the park, best usage, and point out facilities that may require repair or maintenance. In addition, community members will be given an opportunity to propose capital projects, which Councilman Deutsch will discuss with Parks Department officials for funding consideration.

“Take advantage of this opportunity to make Manhattan Beach Park a better place,” said Councilman Deutsch.

The Town Hall Meeting will be held in the auditorium at PS 195 [131 Irwin St. between Shore and Oriental boulevards] Thursday, April 3, at 7 PM.

Source: Nathan James/Flickr

Legislation aimed at reducing auto insurance fraud in New York State passed the Senate on Monday, bringing the bill which allows insurance companies to retroactively cancel the policies of fraudsters one step closer to law.

The Senate bill was sponsored by State Senator Marty Golden, who describes it in this press release:

Today the New York State Senate passed S1959A, sponsored by Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn), which allows insurance companies to retroactively cancel policies taken out by people who commit auto fraud. These criminals often take out policies and pay for them with bad checks or stolen credit cards just before they stage accidents. Under current law, insurance companies cannot cancel the policy and policyholders wind up paying for it through higher premiums. This bill would take that burden off honest consumers and therefore lower the insurance rates.

“Auto insurance fraud is costing New Yorkers millions of dollars, and it’s time that fair and honest members of our community stop paying for the crimes of others,” stated Senator Golden. “This legislation will give insurance companies the right to revoke insurance policies for those who try to game the system.”

This measure would bring New York in line with the other large no-fault states and remove any incentives for staged accidents. In fact, only seven other states (AZ, CO, KS, ME, MD, NC and SD) do not allow for retroactive cancellation. Innocent victims of uninsured drivers would be covered under their own policy or the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation.

The bill, which you can read here, now moves onto the Democratic-led Assembly, where it has support from a number of Democrats, including local Assembly members Steven Cymbrowitz and Dov Hikind.

Previous versions of this bill – and two others passed by the Senate to combat auto fraud – died in the Assembly.

Auto fraud continues to be an ongoing issue in Southern Brooklyn. The longest-running and largest auto insurance scam ring in history ended in April 2012, when authorities busted 36 individuals – many of them Southern Brooklyn residents – using anti-Mafia RICO laws. The individuals were accused of exploiting New York’s “no-fault” insurance law, which allows drives and passengers to obtain up to $50,000 for accidents injuries regardless of fault.

Prior to that, another ring was busted in Brooklyn, leading to the arrest of 16 people for allegedly ripping off companies for $400,000 between 2009 and 2011.

The Asser Levy Park bandshell in better days. (Source: senarchitects.com)

The Asser Levy Park bandshell in better days. (Source: senarchitects.com)

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

New York City Council Member Chaim Deutsch (D-Brooklyn), a strong advocate for improving all parks within the 48th district, will host a town hall meeting at Trump Village on Monday, March 24th, inviting community members to discuss their thoughts regarding necessary upgrades to Asser Levy (Seaside) Park, a popular location for rest, relaxation and recreation, which has fallen into disrepair.

(PREVIOUSLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: Deutsch calls for demolition of Asser Levy Seaside Park bandshell.)

“Asser Levy Park has the potential to become a more enjoyable park,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “It’s time we give the park some overdue attention, and begin working towards regenerating the lost splendor of this valuable resource.”

Asser Levy Park, located off Ocean Parkway between Sea Breeze and Surf Avenues, is home to a playground, hand ball courts, greenery, fitness path and a band shell; all requiring maintenance.

At the town hall meeting, Council Member Deutsch will be asking his constituents to share their vision on how to improve Asser Levy Park. In particular, the Councilman would like to gauge the public’s interests as he determines whether the city’s efforts should be directed towards repairing the rundown facilities currently located at the park, or replacing them with new projects favored by the community. Council Member Deutsch will also explore possibilities for supplementing the park with additional greenery in an effort to enhance the park’s natural beauty.

“Asser Levy Park should become everything that the community wants it to be,” said Council Member Deutsch. “It’s for this reason, that I hope you’ll join me in discussing this important issue and contribute your ideas on how to improve Asser Levy Park.”

The town hall meeting will be held in the Community Room at Trump Village Section 4 [2928 W. Fifth Street between Neptune and Surf Avenues] Monday, March 24, 7 PM.

Oriental Boulevard near Falmouth Street, the scene of an accident that left a 4-year-old dead in 2010. (Source: Reader submission)

The following is a press release from the offices Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

New York City Council Member Chaim Deutsch (D-Brooklyn), at a joint hearing of the Transportation and Public Safety committees of the New York City Council, called upon Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to install a traffic light at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, a busy intersection adjacent to a playground, where fatal automobile accidents have occurred. As a result, Manhattan Beach residents have identified this intersection as requiring a more comprehensive traffic-control device than the current yellow-blinking signal.

(Previously on Sheepshead Bites:

“The people of Manhattan Beach have long recognized the need for traffic-calming initiatives, including a traffic light, at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, where recent traffic accidents on this busy thoroughfare have claimed two lives,” Councilman Deutsch stated. “Drivers have repeatedly complained that the flashing-yellow signal at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue is more confusing than helpful. As such, the existing blinking signal merely exacerbates an already hazardous environment for motorists and pedestrians alike.”

“Due to its close proximity to Kingsborough Community College, Leon Goldstein High School, MJHS Menorah Home & Hospital, Manhattan Beach Park, and private homes, it is imperative that the city take the necessary steps to heighten traffic safety along Oriental Boulevard.” said Council Member Deutsch. “Further tragic reminders are not necessary to emphasize the need for safety initiatives along Oriental Boulevard, and a traffic signal at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue would be a good place to start.”

Council Member Deutsch supports many of the initiatives proposed in the Vision Zero plan by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has pledged to take decisive and sustained action to reduce street fatalities and injuries. In the past year, 291 New Yorkers have been killed in car crashes, and 15,465 pedestrians and bicyclists were injured in collisions with automobiles. Unfortunately, some of these collisions, and even some deaths have occurred in recent years near Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue. In 2010, a four-year-old boy was struck and killed by a city bus, and, in 2008, a Kingsborough Community College student was killed riding his motorcycle. Both accidents occurred on Oriental Boulevard.

During a Joint Transportation and Public Safety City Council Committee hearing with DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg on February 24, Council Member Deutsch reminded the city agency of Oriental Boulevard’s infamous traffic safety history, and the obligation it had to replace the flashing-yellow light at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue with a traffic signal. At the hearing, Commissioner Trottenberg agreed that the flashing-yellow light might cause confusion.

“I look forward to working with Commissioner Trottenberg, and the Department of Transportation to ensure that the goal of Vision Zero, to eliminate traffic deaths and increase safety in New York City, quickly becomes a reality,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “With that in mind, I implore the DOT to heed the call of the residents of Manhattan Beach to install a traffic signal at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, and implement other traffic safety initiatives along Oriental Boulevard to insure that no other residents suffer the same heartbreaking fate as the young lives already lost.”

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

Russian-speaking Verizon customers would do well to have a translator handy if they want to complain about FIOS or question a bill. Following a number of complaints from constituents, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) has learned that Verizon has discontinued its customer support phone line for Russian-speaking customers, leaving people unable to resolve issues such as service outages, billing, and general account inquiries.

“The explanation offered by Verizon was that the volume of customers did not warrant a dedicated department,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. “Give me a break. There are over 200,000 Russian-speaking people in New York City. That’s absurd.”

He said that a phone line with an answering machine was offered to provide callbacks for Russian-speaking customers instead, but was also shut down. Attempts at restoring service for non-English speakers have been unsatisfactory, he said. Spanish is the only language option currently offered.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz recently wrote to the NYS Public Service Commission about the issue and noted that Russian-speaking customers currently have two options to reach a customer representative at Verizon. The first is through his district office during regular business hours. “The second option requires non-English speakers to navigate an English-only phone menu to reach an English-speaking representative, and then have the English language skills to provide enough information to arrange a call back,” he said. “This is an insurmountable task for most non-English speakers and neither of these options provides immediate assistance.”

Making the problem worse is Verizon’s management of the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Program, which provides low-cost phone service for recipients of public assistance. Lifeline requires annual recertification over the phone and Verizon offers no language preference. As a result, many Russian-speaking people fail to recertify in time. “They’re dropped from the program and are responsible for increased bills until they re-enroll,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.

“Verizon has to stop treating our Russian speaking residents like second-class citizens. It’s outrageous and must be corrected,” he said.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. Photo by Erica Sherman

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. Photo by Erica Sherman

The following is a press release issued on February 25 by the offices of Congresswoman Yvette Clarke:

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke today called on officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Build It Back program to eliminate delays in providing resources to homeowners who are eligible for assistance to rebuild from damage in Hurricane Sandy.

A report by the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding stated that even as 19,920 homeowners have applied for assistance, only 173 homeowners have been notified of the amount available to them, and construction has not yet started on any of the projects. $648 million has been allocated by the federal government to Build it Back.

“The homeowners of Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach cannot continue to wait for the assistance to rebuild their homes, or reimbursement for repairs already completed,” said Congresswoman Clarke, who worked with a bipartisan coalition of her colleagues in the House of Representatives to enact a relief program after Hurricane Sandy. “The resources are available. We need only to distribute these resources to homeowners in need of assistance, who have completed the application process and are ready to rebuild.”

In the neighborhoods of Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach, both of which are located in the Ninth Congressional District of New York, 1,088 homeowners have applied for assistance from Build It Back.

Source: Doug88888/Flickr

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

Despite the sharp rise in heroin abuse and the continuing scourge of prescription painkiller addiction among a broad demographic, New York State is not properly equipped to address the opiate addiction crisis, says Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said the budget for the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) has remained “flat” for several years and, remarkably, there is no funding directly related to opiate abuse in the 2014-1015 executive budget. “Although there is reinvestment in this budget, there are little details how it will be distributed or what kind of services it will provide,” he said.

While New York State has made major strides in the battle against prescription drug abuse, a shift from prescription opioid to heroin abuse has resulted in a rise of treatment admissions across the state, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said. The Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse is asking for $5 million to expand access to and capacity for treatment of opiate abuse, another $5 million to expand school-based prevention programs, and $5 million to expand community-based detoxification services.

A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Cymbrowitz (A.8591) would establish the Community Chemical Dependency Services Expansion Program, which would take advantage of savings that the state realizes as behavioral health services transition into managed care and the utilization of medically managed detoxification services declines. The program would distribute these funds to community based providers.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz also co-sponsored legislation (A.8637) to increase the availability of Naloxone, sometimes referred to as the drug overdose antidote. When administered in a timely fashion, Naloxone counteracts the life threatening depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system caused by an opioid or heroin overdose.

In 2005, the state authorized non-medical persons to administer Naloxone to an individual in order to prevent an opioid or heroin overdose from becoming fatal. Currently, parents and family members of addicts are being turned away from Naloxone training programs or are attending the programs and not receiving Naloxone due to the shortage of prescribers participating in such programs. “Due to the increase of opioid abuse, expanded access to Naloxone has become necessary priority to save lives,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.

In Nassau County, EMTs administer Naloxone through their police department’s ambulance services and in Suffolk County the state provided first responders with Naloxone. “Expanding upon the success of existing programs, more lives could be saved if Naloxone were available to addicts, their families and other people likely to be in a position to assist a person at risk of an opioid related overdose,” he said.

“Under this legislation, one prescriber would be able to issue a non-patient specific order to numerous programs, allowing for increased access. This legislation will give the person who is likely to discover an overdose victim the ability to save their life, a life that could otherwise be lost if the victim has to wait for the EMT to arrive,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.

In testimony by the NYS Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers during a recent budget hearing in Albany, executive director John Coppola noted that overdose deaths related to prescription painkillers increased 233% between 2000 and 2012, while heroin-related overdose deaths also increased 84% between 2010 and 2012 in NYC after four years on the decline, according to a NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene report.

“The number of overdose deaths in New York State now exceeds motor vehicle related deaths. This staggering loss of life demands bold leadership and action from New York’s elected officials,” Coppola said.

The 2012-2013 State Fiscal Year Enacted Budget established the prescription pain medication awareness program. Another major initiative to help New York protect its citizens from the consequences of prescription drug abuse is the Internet System for Tracking Overprescribing Act, known as I-STOP, enacted in 2012. “This seminal legislation tracks controlled substance prescribing, prevents doctor shopping and weeds out unscrupulous doctors. One unfortunate side effect of successfully restricting street access to these controlled substances is that addicts are turning to other drugs, such as heroin,” Assemblyman Cymbrowitz said.

“Without treatment readily available, the public health costs will be severe for New York State — and the human toll even more so,” he said.

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