Archive for the tag 'press releases'

Example of a Mobi-Mat (Source: assistivetech.net)

Gone are the days that the wheelchair-bound are limited to enjoying the beach from the brink of the boardwalk, rather than on the sand itself. In 2007, the city unveiled special mats that allowed the handicap and seniors better access to the water’s edge, and now the Parks Department is moving forward with plans to install three new locations.

The handicap- and senior-friendly installations, called Mobi-Mats, debuted seven summers ago, making it easier to walk or roll on top of sand. The department has agreed to install three new mats on the Riegelmann Boardwalk, at West 33rd Street, West 5th Street and Brighton 6th Street, stretching 200 feet towards the ocean. The announcement was made by Councilmembers Mark Treyger and Chaim Deutsch, who said they advocated for the expansion.

“I am thrilled that Southern Brooklyn’s great beaches will be even more accessible this summer and proud that I was able to work with Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffery to successfully meet this important request. Every resident of Coney Island and Brighton Beach should be able to take advantage of the wonderful amenities right in our backyard. I heard from many seniors throughout Coney Island, especially in the West End, who have been unable to safely and comfortably walk across the sand in years past, so this is great news for our entire peninsula,” said Treyger.

“Nobody, regardless of their handicap, should find New York City’s public resources inaccessible — especially our wonderful beaches,” said Deutsch. “I’d like to thank the Parks Department for working with us to enhance the lives of the elderly and disabled residents of Southern Brooklyn.”

In addition to representing stretches of the waterfront, both elected officials represent districts with large senior populations.

This summer, mats will now be down at the following location: West 33rd Street, Stillwell Avenue, Brighton 2nd Street, Brighton 6th Street, Coney Island Avenue, and West 5th Street. They will be in place from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Palcohol's creator enjoys one of his refreshing beverages in front of the world's ugliest painting. "It's perfect. It's so much fun!" he says in the video defending the product.

Palcohol’s creator enjoys one of his beverages in front of the world’s ugliest painting. “It’s perfect. It’s so much fun!” he says in the video defending the product.

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

If the federal government decides to approve the sale of “Palcohol” again, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) wants to make sure you won’t be able to buy it here.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz, Chairman of the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Committee, introduced legislation this week (A.9615) to prohibit the sale of powdered alcohol in New York State. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), a division of the Treasury Department, issued approval of Palcohol’s labels on April 20th but rescinded it soon after, citing technical issues with the amount of powdered alcohol contained in each package.

State Senator Joseph Griffo (R-Rome) has introduced the bill in the Senate.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz believes that Palcohol never should have reached the stage of label approval in the first place. On its website, Palcohol’s parent company Lipsmark touts its many uses, calling it “a boon to outdoors enthusiasts such as campers, hikers and others who wanted to enjoy adult beverages responsibly without having the undue burden of carrying heavy bottles of liquid.”

The company claims the product would make an excellent antiseptic for hikers and said a manufacturer contacted them wanting to use the item to make “adult” ice cream. Other manufacturers are interested in using Palcohol as a livestock supplement and in windshield washer fluid, the website notes.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz says this is a load of nonsense.

“These marketing ploys are downright laughable, but it’s not funny to think about all the kids who’ll be able to stash powdered alcohol away under their parents’ noses and then engage in dangerous and potentially addictive behavior,” he said. He noted that the concentrated nature of powdered alcohol presents a greater likelihood of overdose due to improper mixing. The beverage can also easily be concealed and brought to venues where alcohol is prohibited, he said.

The legislation will ban this product in New York State should the TTB decide to change its decision again to allow for the product to be marketed in the United States. Alaska has already banned the sale of powdered alcohol and similar legislation is pending in Minnesota and Vermont.

Earlier this month, citing public health concerns, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to supersede the TTB by banning Palcohol before it reaches store shelves.

Palcohol’s creator Mark Phillips has created a website and video defending his product.

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

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

In an effort to provide a safer alternative for prescription drug disposal, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are sponsoring the Eighth National Prescription Drugs Take-Back Initiative, this Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The drug take-back event will be held at the 61st Police Precinct, 2758 Coney Island Avenue between Avenue W and Gravesend Neck Road, where Brooklyn families are encouraged to safely dispose of their unused or expired prescription drugs, so they don’t end up in the wrong hands.

Unused prescription drugs, if left in households or disposed of improperly, can pose serious health and public safety risks. Over the past decade, prescription drug abuse has seen a dramatic increase. Studies show that nearly 1.9 million people in the U.S. meet abuse or dependence criteria for prescription drugs. And since prescription drugs are sold legally, they often fall into the wrong hands.

By safely disposing prescription drugs, we can also help preserve our environment. Many people believe that flushing unused medications down the toilet or drain is actually the responsible thing to do. Unfortunately, since many water treatment facilities are not equipped to properly filter prescription drugs from waste water, drugs often end up in our lakes and rivers.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) found low levels of antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and steroids in 80 percent of the rivers and streams tested. The presence of such drugs in our water negatively affects fish and wildlife, and concerns have been raised that drug-resistant bacteria may develop because of long-term exposure to low levels of antibiotics. These problems can be easily avoided by proper disposal of unused prescriptions.

For more information about the National Prescription Drugs Take-Back Initiative, visit DEA.gov or call (800) 882-9539.

If you have questions or concerns about this or any other matter, please contact my office at (718) 743-4078. My office is located at 1800 Sheepshead Bay Road (between Emmons Avenue and Shore Parkway). We’re open Monday throughThursday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Fridays until 5 p.m. Of course, you may always email me at cymbros@assembly.state.ny.us.

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.”

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