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The past few months in Albany have been busy ones, with a transition of leadership in the Governor’s office, adoption of a new State budget, and vigorous debate on a number of issues.
I was pleased to be part of the budget process this year as a member of the Agriculture/Environment/Housing Budget Subcommittee. My participation helped ensure new or continued funding for a number of important 30th Assembly District initiatives and organizations. This includes $89,000 for Woodside on the Move and the Central Astoria Local Development Corporation to provide important community housing services, as well as $125,000 to fund summer programs in our local parks. We also increased funding for education, including expanded K and Pre-K classes.
Governor David Paterson just signed my bill (A9666) which provides well-deserved enhanced medical benefits for surviving spouses of NYC Police and Fire officers. Awaiting the Governor’s signature is another bill of mine (A8584), relating to licensing of commercial feed manufacturers, which will help ensure the safety of the food we eat.
As the session continues there is still much work to be done. The Legislature must address such challenges as funding the MTA Capital Plan and other transit and transportation issues in the weeks ahead.
I look forward to more achievements during the remainder of the legislative session and will keep you posted on our progress.
Big Summer Fun in Local Parks
It’s going to be a summer full of fun for children and families at many local parks and public spaces in the 30th Assembly District thanks to $125,000 in State funding I was able to obtain for the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.
There’s no need to travel far this summer to beat the heat and enjoy the delights of the outdoors. You’ll find plenty of excitement and fresh air right close to home with a busy schedule of extra activity designed to bring sparkle to the lazy days of summer.
The enjoyment begins on June 25th at Boulevard Gardens with the first in a series of outdoor summer concerts, continuing in July with Wednesday summer concert programs at Windmuller Park, Big Six Towers and Sunnyside Gardens Community Park.
There will be a busy schedule of warm weather activities for youngsters in July and August in Frontera, Windmuller, Principe/Maurice, Big Bush and Little Bush Parks and Dutch Kills and Reiff Playgrounds.
The fun includes weekday children’s performances every Tuesday for ages 4-10, with dance, reading, and children’s puppet and theater shows. Saturday Family Fun days will feature fun for the whole family with arts and crafts, inflatable rides, face painting, contests, music and games.
For those who want to get into shape – or stay that way – there will be Shape Up New York programs at Windmuller and Frontera Parks and Arrow Community Center. There will be classes in aerobics, Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, stretching and strength training taught by certified instructors. The instruction is designed to encourage the development of a healthy lifestyle and increase self-esteem through non-taxing, energizing, non-competitive physical activity.
Youngsters ages 8-15 can enjoy the Summer Sports Experience at Principe/Maurice Park. This program will include intensive training and skill development in tennis, track, softball, basketball and volleyball. Participants will receive general fitness training and also learn proper stretching and warm-up techniques.
Another program I am pleased to fund again this summer, in cooperation with the New York Junior Tennis League, will bring free instruction for youngsters ages 6-18 to the IS 204 schoolyard this summer, beginning June 30th.
E-STOP LAW TAKES AIM AT INTERNET SEX PREDATORS:
INCREASE IN FUNDING FOR PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS: When we adopted the State budget for the coming year, it provided for an increase in the state reimbursement for independent and religious schools that are required to comply with state educational mandates. The budget increases the reimbursement for mandated services by $12.1 million over last year for a total of $139.5 million in the new fiscal year. It is important to ensure that these schools receive the support they need to comply with appropriate state programs and regulations.
BILLS SUPPORT RENTERS’ RIGHTS: The Assembly has passed a package of bills designed to regulate rent laws and promote fairness in renting procedures among tenants and landlords. Since so many New York City residents don’t own their own apartments, the rights of tenants must be adequately protected to ensure they can continue to afford to live in the city. These bills that I strongly supported put protections in place that can help reverse skyrocketing rents in regulated buildings and help protect people from being priced out of their homes. Some of the protections include: increasing the income thresholds for luxury, high income tenants; reducing by half the permissible amount of a rent increase after a vacancy; and limiting an owner’s ability to recover a rent-regulated apartment for personal use.
Markey Honors 15 Special Women With Her Annual
Assemblywoman Markey with her 2008 “Women of Distinction” including, from left: Marie Breslin; Catherine Volpe, Theresa Cavello, Joan Sammon, Sister Mary Conroy, Assemblywoman Markey, Marie Torniali, Joan Bonaccorsi, Lucille Winsko, Dorothy Cavello, Barbara Coleman, Olga Demko, Tania Broschart.
It takes dedicated women with a strong sense of community to build better neighborhoods. So I was delighted to recently present 15 local women with my annual “Women of Distinction” Awards as a salute to their outstanding volunteer service.
Each year, during National Women’s History Month, I reach out to major community organizations and institutions in the 30th Assembly District to identify exceptional women who are active in their communities and assist at local non-profit groups and institutions. It was an honor for the State of New York and me to salute the commitment, spirit and energy of these outstanding volunteers.
This year’s “Women of Distinction” earned this tribute by working with seniors and children, advocating on community issues, organizing neighborhood improvement projects, and providing leadership for vital local organizations and institutions. They help improve the neighborhood and the lives of all around them. Following are the 2008 “Women of Distinction” and their community contributions:
Joan Bonaccorsi, nominated by Woodside Senior Center, where she has been advisory board secretary and helps take blood pressure readings. She is also with the Ravenswood and Peter della Monica Senior Center and works with Apple Aides at La Guardia Airport.
Marie Breslin, nominated by the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce, is President of the Maspeth Kiwanis Club, where she also serves as chair of its auction committee.
Tania Broschart, nominated by the Middle Village Maspeth Civic Association, is the chairperson and driving force behind the highly successful annual Spring and Fall Festivals in Juniper Valley Park.
Anne Bruno, nominated by Community Board 1, is active with the board and the 114th Precinct Community Council.
Dorothy Cavello, nominated by Sunnyside Community Park, where she is an active board member. She is Co-President of the Phipps Tenants Association.
Theresa Cavallo, nominated by the Dutch Kills Civic Association, where she has been a member since its inception and is Recording Secretary. She has also served as secretary at St. Patrick’s Church in Long Island City for many years.
Barbara Coleman, nominated by Community Board 2, where she is an active member. Her research resulted in a memorial plaque honoring Woodside residents who lost their lives in World War One.
Sister Mary Conroy, nominated by St. Mary’s Church, where she runs the food pantry and thrift shop for the area serving 40-60 families weekly.
Olga Demko, nominated by Selfhelp Maspeth Senior Center, where she used her sewing talent for 20 years to help fundraising for the center and now volunteers in an intergenerational sewing project.
Diane DeSilva, nominated by Maspeth Town Hall where she is a regular weekly volunteer.
Elizabeth Montanegro, nominated by United Forties Civic Association, where is is a long-time member and chair of its Planning Committee. She also Volunteers at St. Raphael’s School and is active with the 108th Precinct Community Council.
Joan Sammon, nominated by Maspeth Kiwanis Club, where she is active on many projects including chairing its anti-graffiti program.
Marie Torniali, nominated by Central Astoria LDC, where she initiated a successful housing hotline for tenants, coordinates an annual summer concert series, and is leading an extensive street beautification program.
Catherine Volpe, nominated by Woodside on the Move, Inc., is currently President of the Board of the Berkley Towers Co-op, one of the best run co-ops in Queens. She is also a long serving member of the Kiwanis Club of Woodside.
Lucille Winsko, nominated by C.O.M.E.T, has been a school crossing guard for more than 20 years and is a block captain for the organization.
CHILD ID PROGRAM AT SCHOOL: Assemblywoman Markey and some of the participants in Operation Safe Child, which came to St. Adalbert’s School in April. The program, sponsored by the Assemblywoman and the NYPD, creates a Safe Child ID Card that is invaluable for use by law enforcement in tracking a missing child.
GRAND AVENUE SERVICE PROJECT: Assemblywoman Markey presented a Citation to newly-minted Eagle Scout James Mikoleskai and praised his outstanding community service that included the cleaning and repainting of fire hydrants along Grand Avenue. She said, “His service project demonstrates how much he cares about the quality of life in his community and I am delighted to honor his achievements.”
CELEBRATE NURSE ANNIVERSARY: Assemblywoman Markey joined in the celebration at Ridegewood Gardens as the senior center marked the first anniversary of its Visiting Nurse program.
We Need to Re-Open Long Island City’s Engine Company 261 and Get
Better Fire Service in Queens
We Will Vigorously Oppose ‘Flagpole’ CellPhone Transmitter on
May is Proclaimed Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Month
I was pleased when 60 other members of the Assembly joined me in sponsoring a resolution to designate the month of May as Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Month in New York.
We acted to call attention to the troubling research that shows that one in five children in America are victims of sexual abuse, the greatest majority of them by family or family acquaintances or other people they trust and respect.
A portion of the resolution reads, “By calling attention to the serious and significant problem of child sexual abuse, the observation of Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Month exemplifies a worthy commitment to the children of New York State, encourages improvement in the quality and availability of pertinent programs, laws and services, and provides an opportunity to increase awareness about all aspects of this important matter.”
The declaration was also designed to put a spotlight on my legislation, A4560-B, The Child Victims’ Act of NY, that will provide greater justice for victims of childhood sex abuse. The legislation already received Assembly approval in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and will soon be approved in the current session. A companion bill in the State Senate is sponsored by Senator Stephen Saland (41st District, Poughkeepsie).
At present, New York State law enables predators to avoid the consequences of their crimes. It permits abusers to continue their predatory actions and assault new victims. We have a responsibility to past and future generations of children to ensure that predators are identified, stopped and punished. This legislation helps do that more effectively.
Sex crimes, particularly those committed against children, are among the most heinous and deeply disturbing in our society. They leave life-long scars and have multiple victims. As the general public becomes more and more aware of the terrible human tragedy at the root of this issue, it is important for victims of sexual assault to have the opportunity to get justice for the wrongs done against them. This legislation gives abuse victims their day in court.
There will be plenty of special summer fun in our neighborhood parks for kids and their families over the next few months as a result of State funding I helped provide to the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. I am pleased to provide this handy schedule of exciting activities for children and families. Enjoy the summer in a local park close to home!
Family Day Programs:
Assemblywoman Margaret Markey