Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan Assemblywoman

Reports to the

December 2007

Dear Neighbors,

As the year draws to a close, I have reviewed the issues affecting our neighborhoods and created a legislative action agenda for the 2008 Legislative Session that reflects those needs. I am especially aware that as our community grows and changes we must continue to maintain responsible economic development that does not sacrifice quality of life. I will do all I can to ensure this as your representative. I have included the agenda for your review.

One of the most pressing issues is the need to ensure thorough environmental review of buildings leased by the city for use as schools so that students are not exposed to toxic chemicals. Our community joined together to do just that when we held a forum about Information Technology High School and through our efforts have set an example for the rest of the City.

As Chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Education, I held a second hearing on the needs of children in New York State. It was enlightening to listen to testimony from experts in the field, and I look forward to improving the situation in the future.

It is always a pleasure serving the people of Queens. May you have a wonderful holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year!

Catherine Nolan

Assemblywoman Nolan with local Veterans and State Commissioner of Parks Tour Gantry Plaza State Park

Assemblywoman Nolan with Commissioner Carol Ash; Rachel Gordon from New York State Department of Parks; Gantry Plaza State Park Manager, Bill Ledwitz and area veterans, including Frank Carrado, stand before the recently installed flag pole at Gantry Plaza State Park. photo photo

“The American Flag represents the majesty of our nation and is a symbol of the courage of the men and women who protect us and fight for our freedom. It is fitting since Gantry Plaza State Park is located directly across the river from the United Nations and where people could once view the Twin Towers. I am proud to honor that memory by displaying the flag.”


Fighting for Our Community

Nolan Holds Community Forum on Technology High School Contamination photo
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan addresses a group of citizens and activists at the Information Technology High School Forum on keeping schools safe and free of toxins.

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Education Committee Chair, sponsored a community forum to increase awareness about reported contamination at Information Technology High School. The New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and New York State Healthy Schools Network co-sponsored the event with Assemblywoman Nolan.

Information Technology High School in Long Island City, Queens, is housed in a former metal plating factory leased by the New York City Department of Education and the School Construction Authority in 2003. Recent reports have revealed an increase in levels of contamination found in the soil beneath the school. Assemblywoman Nolan wanted the community to have the opportunity to ask questions and share their concerns. She invited Lenny Siegel, an environmental expert from the Center for Public Environmental Oversight, and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest to give presentations on the effects of contamination at Info Tech.

Assemblywoman Nolan is the sponsor of a bill (A.8838) that would avoid housing schools at potentially toxic sites by improving oversight standards and require the Department of Education to be accountable to the public from the beginning of the process. The bill passed the Assembly by a vote of 150 to 0 during the legislative session.

“Most people know their own neighborhoods and would have knowledge about how vacant buildings were used in the past. Public disclosure, the opportunity for the City Council to vote, and the use of the state’s standard environmental review process would provide a necessary safeguard. Parents deserve to know if Info Tech is a safe school for their children and communication is the key,” said Assemblywoman Nolan.

“If I had been asked, I probably would have recommended against putting a school on this site,” said Lenny Siegel, a community environmental consultant and Executive Director of the Center for Public Environmental Oversight. “Given that the school is already there, they seem to have a robust remedial strategy. However, the way they communicate with the community needs significant improvement, and this site will need careful watching for a long time.”

Assemblywoman Nolan was the keynote speaker at the Queens Civic Congress Installation of Officers. She is shown here with attendees, including QCC President Corey Bearack, Assemblywoman Barbara Clark and others.

“We have accomplished something great at the Queens Civic Congress. Bringing together so many groups and solidifying our shared goals has given Queens a voice in the future of this great city.

The leadership of the Queens Civic Congress has helped to establish clear guidelines for the City and the State to improve our communities through better transportation and public safety, airport access, responsible zoning laws, care of our parks and green spaces, economic development that does not sacrifice quality of life, and of course, fair funding in education.”


photo Assemblywoman Nolan with Pat Dorfman, Dan Hendricks, Mrs. VanBramer and Jimmy Van Bramer.
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan with Constituents in Sunnyside Gardens:
photo Assemblywoman Nolan with John Symth, Dierdra Feerick and other community leaders.
photo Assemblywoman Nolan with Jimmy Van Bramer and Councilmember Eric Gioia.

Part of my job as your representative in Albany is to fight to direct our fair share of tax dollars back into our communities. The following is a list of some of the programs for which I was able to obtain state funding. I urge you to take advantage of their valuable services.

  • Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Greater Ridgewood

  • American Red Cross

  • Astoria Houses Tenant Association

  • Astoria-Long Island City NAACP

  • Astoria Sharing and Caring

  • Center for Women of NY

  • Covenant Lutheran Church

  • Friends of Gantry Island State Park

  • Friends of Queensbridge Park

  • Glenridge Senior Center

  • Goodwill Industries of Greater New York

  • HANAC (For Ravenswood Senior Center)

  • East River Development Alliance

  • Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House, Inc.

  • Latin American Integration Center

  • Langston Hughes Library

  • Ravenswoods Housing Association

  • Queensbridge Tenant Association

  • Queens Borough Library

  • Ridgewood Local Development Corporation

  • Ridgewood Older Adult Center and Services

  • Ridgewood Senior Community Services

  • Steinway Children Family Services

  • Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce

  • Sunnyside Community Services

  • Sunnyside Drum Corp Inc c/o All Saints Church

  • Thalia Spanish Theater

  • YMCA


photo Assemblywoman Nolan with John Kourkoutis, Queens Business Segment Leader at the Long Island City Business Development Corporation Annual Trade Show. photo Assemblywoman Nolan helps the community connect with representatives from the NY State Department of Labor.

Nolan Leads Education Committee Investigation

photo As Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Education, Assemblywoman Nolan held a public hearing in Albany on English Language Learners and Limited English Proficient students (ELL/LEP). The Education Committee listened to the needs of the ELL/LEP population and how they are affected by state and federal policies.
“Our goal is to learn as much as possible about the needs of students and those charged with educating them. The everyday experiences of educators and administrators is crucial to our understanding and will help us prepare for the new legislative session and budget cycle,” said Assemblywoman Nolan.

Assemblywoman Nolan with Robert Lowery, Director of New York State Council of School Superintendents

According to the State Education Department there are approximately 200,000 ELL/LEP students, comprising over 13% of the total student enrollment in New York State. “Ultimately, new laws should not make it more complicated to accomplish the goal of helping these students. We will keep that in mind as we listen to testimony from people who are directly involved with ELL/LEP students,” said Assemblywoman Nolan.

New York State Department of Education Commissioner Richard Mills provided testimony at Friday’s hearing. Other witnesses included, Billy Easton, Executive Director of the NYS Alliance for Quality
Education; Catalina Fortino of the United Federation of Teachers; Charles Santelli of the New York State United Teachers; Dr. Marcia Lyles and Maria Santos of the New York City Department of Education.

Local educators and experts were also invited to attend the hearing. Dr. Luis Reyes addressed the committee with ideas on how to solve the problems inherent in the current system.

The following are some of the issues I plan to address in the Assembly in 2008

  • Advocate for fair funding in response to anticipated executive budget cuts: I will continue to ensure that funding to programs important to Queens remains strong.

  • Advocate for passage of a Healthy Schools bill for New York students: Providing comprehensive guidelines for schools to promote healthy eating habits helps New York students succeed both academically and in life.

  • Oppose the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s proposal to hike fares and tolls 6.5 percent: I will listen to constituents, and my actions will reflect an understanding of their needs.

  • Increase services to veterans: As a staunch supporter of the men and women who protect our nation, I intend to give veterans what they need to find success outside military service.

61-08 Linden Street
Ridgewood, NY 11385
(718) 456-9492
NYS Seal
45-25 47th Street
Woodside, NY 11377
(718) 784-3194