Archive for the tag 'quality of life'

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger and Assemblyman Bill Colton:

Council Member Mark Treyger and Assembly Member Bill Colton are calling on the MTA to provide public notification within 24 hours of cases of confirmed bedbug sightings on any trains, buses or in stations. The proposal comes after a number of incidents involving bedbugs on several trains along the N line, in addition to trains on the Q and 6 lines. On Monday, an N train was taken out of service at DeKalb Avenue and a conductor received medical attention as a result of bedbugs. Currently, the MTA does not have a formal policy for informing the public about these incidents.

In response, Treyger and Colton are proposing state legislation, supported by a City Council resolution, requiring the MTA to take the same steps to inform its customers as it does for other emergencies or service delays, including social media outreach. In addition, the MTA would have to detail the steps it is taking to remedy these situations and protect the public’s health while using public transportation. This proposal has support from the Transport Workers Union (TWU), whose members have been impacted by the outbreaks. Council Member Treyger and Assembly Member Colton were joined at today’s press conference in front of the N train station on Kings Highway by District Leader-elect Nancy Tong and a number of residents who regularly use this line and are concerned about the lack of information from the MTA about the recent outbreaks. Council Member Treyger and Colton now plan to move forward with this legislation, putting a formal procedure in place to respond to outbreaks and notify the public.

“This is an important issue that the MTA has to take much more seriously on behalf of the millions of New Yorkers that ride its buses and trains, as well as its employees. The MTA has an obligation to inform the public of any bedbug sightings or outbreaks due to the health implications that are involved. However, the MTA must also consider the economic consequences of bedbug infestations in a home, especially for working New Yorkers who cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars in fumigation or cleaning bills. The MTA can easily inform the public in much the same manner it does for service delays, and we deserve to know exactly what steps it is taking to respond to bedbug infestations,” said Council Member Treyger.

”The public has a right to know if there is a confirmed detection of bedbugs on trains or buses. The families of riders and transit workers must be given the opportunity to take protective measures to minimize the chance of bedbug infestation being transported to their homes and places of work,” said Assembly Member Colton.

“Families are rightfully worried about the disruption and large economic costs that bedbugs can cause, if carried into their homes. Families have a right to be informed as to how to protect themselves from this risk,” said District Leader-elect Tong.

It’s not the first time we’ve asked that question, and the answer we’ve gotten in the past from readers and local officials is “No.”

Yet, following the mid-July meeting between Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and Department of Sanitation Borough Superintendent Joe Lupo, in which the pol said Lupo agreed “immediate action needs to be taken,” it seems the only action taken so far is the removal of a handful of public litter baskets. 

There’s this one at Avenue Z and East 17th Street that we were keeping an eye on. It was overflowing the day Cymbrowitz had his meeting, and despite the “immediate action” it stayed overflowing for nearly a week, with debris blowing into the intersection.

Photo by Vickie P.

Photo by Vickie P.

And then when they finally emptied it, they took the can away as well:

Submitted by reader.

Submitted by reader.

And while people who would normally litter continue to litter, those who are responsible are the ones burdened by the removal of these trash cans.

“Had to carry doggy poop for blocks because apparently their solution to the overflowing garbage situation was to remove the garbage can,” the reader who submitted the above photo said.

We also noticed fewer cans on Sheepshead Bay Road.

Now, we have shown in the past that removing a bin can lead to less litter on a corner, but more pickups would have the same effect without inconveniencing anybody.

And before we hear this “budget cut” nonsense, it’s worth noting that except for one year, the budget of the Department of Sanitation has increased every year for the past five years. Womp womp.

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The following is a press release from Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

Council Member Chaim Deutsch is pleased to announce the success of his first community clean-up event that drew nearly 100 volunteers to Sheepshead Bay Road on Sunday. Armed with rakes, shovels and brooms, volunteers turned out to pick up trash from neighborhood streets.

“We’re taking pride in our neighborhoods – block by block across our district. Coming out and volunteering is sending a message to violators that we demand a clean neighborhood,” Deutsch stated. “Cleaner streets promote social and economic improvement, whilst giving our children and families a clean, safe place to reside.”

This event, the first in a series of clean-ups in Council Member Deutsch’s district, aims to promote unity and community activism, all the while drawing attention to the Council Member’s top priority: cleaner streets. Council Member Deutsch is proud to have funded various clean-up initiatives in this year’s budget and is actively reaching out to local small business owners to educate them on ways to keep storefronts clean.

“Many thanks to the Department of Sanitation for their commitment to working with me to promote cleanliness, as well as for the donation of gloves and garbage bags and the loan of brooms, shovels, dustpans and rakes,” said Deutsch. “Together we are making our neighborhoods an even better place to live, work, and do business.”

Please contact Council Member Deutsch’s office at 718-368-9176 to learn more about future community clean-up events or to share suggestions that will help Deutsch address problem areas.

The next Community Clean-Up Event will be held on August 17th on Avenue U.

View photos from the cleanup.

Source: Cymbrowitz's office

Source: Cymbrowitz’s office

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

Trash problems and summer heat are a bad mix, and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) says the city needs to do something about the problem now before Sheepshead Bay’s vermin population starts to soar.

In an effort to address quality of life issues throughout his district, the lawmaker took New York City Department of Sanitation Borough Superintendent Joe Lupo on a tour of Sheepshead Bay yesterday afternoon.

He invited Lupo to his district because many residents have reached out to him about trash throughout the neighborhood. In addition to overall filth in Sheepshead Bay, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz told the superintendent about the overflowing trash bins on Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue, the state of the Sheepshead Bay Road underpasses by the train station and along Shore Parkway, as well as trash along the Emmons Avenue median and Ocean Avenue.

Noting that the beauty of Sheepshead Bay attracts tens of thousands of residents and visitors each year, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz has partnered in recent years with the Department of Sanitation in an effort to encourage area merchants along Sheepshead Bay Road to sign up for Adopt-a-Basket, Sanitation’s volunteer program, which would help prevent public garbage cans from overflowing all over our streets.

The legislator also provided multi-modal funding for various beautification projects along the bay side of Emmons Avenue between Ocean Avenue and East 14th Street, which included newly-planted trees, new sidewalks, curb cuts, newly-painted railings, granite pavers, benches and covered trash receptacles. New decorative benches and trash cans recently capped off the much-anticipated project on the west end of Emmons Avenue.

In surveying the community, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz and Superintendent Lupo both agreed that immediate action needs to be taken. “While providing an aesthetically pleasing setting will encourage more people to enjoy the stretch of our waterfront, we need to be vigilant in ensuring that our community remains clean,” said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz.

He said he looks forward to continuing to partner with the Department of Sanitation to address the problem.

Captain Chell. Photo by Erica Sherman

Captain John Chell. Photo by Erica Sherman

The next meeting of the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) will be Wednesday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. inside Public School 195, 131 Irwin Street at Hampton Avenue.

Members and attendees will discuss the anti-Semitic graffiti that was discovered earlier this month on several properties on Exeter Street.

Guest speakers — Captain John Chell of the 61st Police Precinct and Alexander Gurevich, Esq., Office of the Brooklyn District Attorney — will talk about how the NYPD handles these crimes and what punishment is meted out to criminals involved.

There will additionally be updates on Traffic Committee proposals, Build it Back and NY Rising monies allocated to Manhattan Beach.

The meeting is taking place at the same time as a seminar by the Department of Finance about insurance issues (flier to come on this site shortly). For those concerned about missing one meeting or the other, MBCG said they have booked the DOF to attend their June meeting to go over many of the same issues.

The MBCG encourages members of the community to attend and participate in their monthly civic meetings. For more, contact MBCG at (718) 200-1845 or manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org@gmail.com, or visit www.manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org.

vandals

The New York Police Department has released footage from a neighbor’s surveillance camera that appears to show four teenagers believed to be responsible for spraying anti-Semitic graffiti in Manhattan Beach this weekend.

Graffiti depicting a swastika-like icon and messages including “F-ck Jews” were found scrawled on homes, a tree stump and construction site on Saturday morning. The NYPD is investigating the incident as a hate crime, and has released the surveillance video as they seek help from the public in identifying the vandals.

The video appears to show four teens in hoodies walking down Exeter Street. They make two brief stops within the camera’s range, lighting up their marks with a cellphone or flashlight as they quickly scribble their hate-filled messages and move on.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website, or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Here’s the video, via ABC News:

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Anti-Semitic messages and swastikas were found painted on several properties on Exeter Street in Manhattan Beach over the weekend, and police believe the perps were five white teenage males.

The graffiti was discovered on homes, a tree stump and a construction site early Sunday morning, according to a message sent by the Manhattan Beach Community Group.

JPUpdates reports that surveillance video captured the five suspects spray painting the Exeter Street home of Victor Popovsky:

“We are not going to tolerate this nonsense. Not in this neighborhood and not anywhere else,” said Popovsky, a physics teacher at PS321 in Park Slope.

The teenagers sprayed swastika on a tree and lamp post, as well as hate graffiti at a constructs site.

Council member Chaim Deutsch was seen on the scene Sunday afternoon trying to remove the graffiti with no success. “Words of hate and graffiti of hate will not be tolerated, in this community or in any other neighborhood,” Mr. Deutsch told JP. “As a son of holocaust survivors I take these incidents very personal.”

“We need to educate our youth of what such hate graffiti means,” Mr. Deutsch added.

Deutsch told the outlet that the NYPD is investigating it as a hate crime.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz has called for those responsible to be punished for their actions:

“The appearance of hate graffiti in two predominantly Jewish neighborhoods this weekend — here in my district in Manhattan Beach and also in Borough Park — reminds us that we can never educate people enough about anti-Semitism and the dangers of intolerance.

“Whether the graffiti was motivated by hatred, anger, boredom or ignorance the result is exactly the same: it makes residents feel uncomfortable and frightened to be in the place they call home. This is unacceptable under any circumstances, and particularly in neighborhoods where many Holocaust survivors sought refuge.

“The person responsible for this crime must be punished to the fullest extent that the law allows, and all of us must continue to speak out swiftly and decisively against any act of hatred that takes place in our community.”

Source: Lisanne Anderson

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association met on Thursday to create a roadmap for tackling the neighborhood’s trash problem, but faced pushback from the Department of Sanitation, which claimed some of their concerns were better addressed to other agencies.

Approximately 50 neighbors gathered at the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park, located at Fillmore Avenue and Marine Parkway, to voice concerns to their local government representatives.

Bruno Iciano, the Community Affairs Liaison from the Department of Sanitation spoke first, opening up the floor to concerns from the group about ongoing garbage problems along major corridors, as well as underneath the Brighton Line subway overpasses. The group’s leadership expressed his hope that the department will work closely with the community to improve conditions.

“Our goal is to create a plan to attack all aspects of sanitation,” said Ed Jaworski, the civic association’s president. “It is our hope that grassroots might drive policy.”

Iciano spoke to the audience about several ways that local communities could get involved with neighborhood problems. He spoke highly of the “Adopt-A-Basket” program, the “Sponsor-A-Basket” program, and the Doe Fund. These first two projects would, respectively, allow property owners and individuals to take responsibility over local trash baskets and allow participants to sponsor “high-end” baskets that discourage residents from using them for household trash. The third program would provide local merchants the ability to hire individuals “going through tough times” at a low-cost to help clean up the streets.

The initiatives, though, fell short of satisfying neighbor’s questions, which focused on enforcement:

  • “What do you do with repeat offenders?”
  • “How can we tell if neighbors that get fined actually pay those fines?”
  • “We need to do something about the subway overpasses by the B and Q train on Sheepshead bay. What can you do?”

Not many of these concerns were resolved. Rather, the conversation seemed to resemble a game of hot potato, a diffusion of responsibility by government agencies.

“We’re not responsible for cleaning sidewalks… The overpasses, those are the responsibility of the MTA… You’ll have to call 311,” Iciano said during his presentation.

The MTA, however, sees it differently. Responding to Sheepshead Bites’ questions about maintenance in February, the MTA has previously said that cleaning underpasses and removing hazards like snow and ice are the city’s responsibility, either through the Department of Transportation or the Department of Sanitation.

On preventing sidewalk litter baskets from overflowing, Iciano said they hope to work more closely with residents who live above the storefronts.

“We’re gonna have to do outreach on Avenue U,” he said.

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch told the crowd he would work to keep the pressure on the agencies.

“Keeping our communities clean is our main mission. We want people to stay and shop here. We don’t want them to go to other areas,” he said. “We need to educate small business owners. But that isn’t the only step. It’s a process, and I will be holding every city agency accountable.”

Jaworksi noted that he wished the MTA had sent a representative so that both, the MTA and DOS, could take ownership over the sanitation problems surrounding the local train stations.

“I wish someone would make the connection and take responsibility, say, ‘Let’s talk and get this done.’ How long can they keep passing the ball around?” said civic member Kathy Jaworski.

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.

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Source: Clayton Collier/Twitter

UPDATE (11:55 a.m.): The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an Air Quality Advisory until 11 p.m. tonight. Those with respiratory concerns should reduce outdoor activity.

Original story:

A brush fire in a state park in New Jersey is throwing up smoke, blowing north into New York City, filling communities in Southern Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island with an acrid smell this morning.

The New York Post reports:

“Due to a brush fire in the Wharton State Park in New Jersey, residents in Staten Island & Brooklyn may smell smoke,” tweeted the NYC Office of Emergency Management at around 1:45 a.m.

The nearly 123,000-acre park, located in Burlington County, is roughly 70 miles from the southern tip of New York City. Odors were reported from Staten Island to Brooklyn and Manhattan.

DNAinfo adds:

About 30 acres of the park ignited Sunday night and sent a plume of smoke into the sky that could be seen from miles around, according to NBC, which added that the flames haven’t injured anyone or burned any buildings.

The smoke smell remained in the area until late morning.

An AP report says no one has been injured and no structures damaged in the fire. As of 9:30 a.m., firefighters had managed to contain about 30 percent of the blaze.

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