The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a law created to help victims of the tragic events of September 11th 2001, is on the verge of expiration. Passed through Congress and signed into law by President Obama on January 2, 2011, the World Trade Center Health Program will expire in a little more than one year, while the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund has a slightly longer lease on life, but only until October 2016.
Lawmakers from Long Island, along with other New York representatives and NY Mayor Bill DeBlasio are pushing to re-authorize these vital programs which help victims of 9/11 with medical treatment they need. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand will be introducing the Re-authorization Act to the Senate this month and Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Peter King will introduce the bill in the House.
If the law passes then compensation will be available to 9/11 victims until 2041.
“This re-authorization is critical for these individuals and their families,” said King. “We have come too far and we must continue to ensure that our 9/11 heroes receive the care they deserve.”
Mayor DeBlasio added:
“No group deserves our gratitude and help more than those who went to Ground Zero in the days and weeks following the September 11 attacks,” said DeBlasio. “We have a moral obligation to make sure that these heroes and their families get the medical treatment and compensation they deserve.”
Good news for Long Islanders and Billy Joel fans. The Long Island Music Hall of Fame has chosen to admit pop-star and singer-songwriter Billy Joel, along with the members of his original band into its prestigious society.
Although Joel was born in the Bronx, he grew up in Hicksville, attending Hicksville High School until 1967, the same year that he launched his musical career, at the age of 18.
The gala will take place at the Paramount in Huntington on October 23, a date which conflicts with Joel’s schedule, making it impossible for him to attend. That will not stop the Hall of Fame from inducting his fellow band members into what is the fifth class of honorees. Joel’s percussionist and drummer Liberty DeVitto, bass guitarist Doug Stegmeyer, Russel Javors on rhythm and lead guitars and Richie Cannata on keyboards, saxophones, flute, clarinet and percussion will all be there to receive their honors.
“We are very excited to honor our fifth round of inductees,” said Jeff James, chairman of the Hall of Fame. “We are humbled to have such support from these industry giants who have contributed so much to the music history of Long Island.”
During the first week in August teenagers in Clinton Hill were able to stop by the “Change One Thing” truck and learn about good nutrition. The truck is touring all over New York City this summer, educating teens about how to make better choices for their health and diet.
Teens by the truck gave out raisins and popcorn in order to show their peers that it is ‘cool’ to eat well. Workers at the truck are encouraging teens to make one healthy change to their eating habits each day, such as drinking water instead of soda, or eating carrots instead of French fries.
In addition to the truck there is a game for the teens to play called the “Change One Thing Challenge.” This computer ‘touch’ game quizzes the teens about different aspects of nutrition and food and gives examples of improved eating habits.
The Cuomo administration would like to sell an old, dilapidated and vacant building in Clinton Hill to a non-profit organization that will agree to convert to space to affordable housing for seniors and veterans, plus space reserved for social services. Some space will also be allowed for commercial and retail ventures.
A bill which will allow the sale of the state-owned property has already passed through the state Legislature, and is already on its way to the governor’s desk. Governor Cuomo supports the plan to sell the three story building at 1024 Fulton Street to the Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corp for a ‘fair market’ value.
The Office of General Services is required to negotiate a deal with the nonprofit housing group before a year is up, as per the terms of the bill. The details of how the building will be developed still remain unclear: how many apartments, how much commercial space, and the price of the building, are still unknown.
“We are unable to speculate what that cost will be until the appraisals have been completed,” said the Office of General Services spokeswoman Heather Groll.
Summer can mean different things to different people. For instance, some of us may go to the beach, the pool, or have a picnic in the park. Others of us may decide that the warm weather is the perfect time for a burglary. That seems to be exactly what is happening in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, with four incidents of burglaries taking place just last week.
• While a 23-year old woman was away on vacation her 32-inch flat-screen TV was taken from her North Oxford Walk residence in Whitman Houses in Fort Greene. The burglary took place between June 23 and July 1.
• On Wednesday, July 2, sometime between 8:45am and 5:30pm, while the 39-year old resident was at work, his apartment was ransacked and all his electronic devices were taken. This burglary took place in a building between Adelphi Street and Clermont Avenue in Fort Greene.
• On Grand Avenue between Clifton Place and Greene Avenue in Clinton Hill a laptop was reported stolen from a 28-year old man’s apartment. At 1:45 his roommate left for work, and when they returned at 5:45pm the computer was gone with the door unlocked. This incident also happened on July 2.
• Sometime between 10:30am and 5:30pm on Sunday, July 6, a burglar took off with two laptops, a tablet, and a camera from an apartment in Clinton Hill on Clinton Avenue between Myrtle and Park Avenues.
The 100 kids living in the 24-story Pratt Towers in Clinton Hill haven’t had a proper place to play in their neighborhood for 20 years, until now. With the help of over 200 volunteers from developer Forest City Ratner, the non-profit organization KaBOOM! and the residents of the tower, a brand-new playground, with a slide, rock-climbing wall, benches and garden, was built in just one day.
The actual construction may have taken just a few hours, but the Pratt Towers Playground Committee has been working on the project for eight years.
“It’s vital,” said Michael Crawford, 48 of the Committee. “There is no other place for the kids to play on the property.”
Last March the children from the building imagined what they would like their playground to look like in drawings. Those ideas were used as the basis for the construction.
“It’s been a lot of work, so to see this happen is so well worth it,” said committee co-chair Claudia Ghigliotty. The former park area was shuttered for years. It was completely rundown and full of exposed metal. “It was a real waste of space and an eyesore,” she added.
Pratt Towers paid $8,500 for the park, about 20 percent of the total budget. The playground is the third built by Forest City Ratner and KaBOOM!
Brooklynites can look forward to the beautification of a stretch of Myrtle Avenue which will be transformed in the coming months into a lovely pedestrian mall. With the help of funding from former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilwoman Letitia James, the federal government and the NYC Department of Transportation, Myrtle Plaza will be a 25,000 square-foot, $6 million haven for residents located between Hall Street and Emerson Place.
The Parks Department will be adding at least 40 new trees to the six lonely trees that already grow on the four block stretch on Myrtle. By the time summer 2015 rolls around there should be twelve Pagodas, six Zelkovas, five Pin Oaks and eight Amelanchiers rooted around the plaza, adding shade, cleaner air and beauty to the public space.
“They will increase our street beautification efforts and have been shown to reduce car speeds,” said a spokeswoman for the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership. “They cool the street and the city by providing shade in the summer and they provide cleaner air.”
The Partnership will be responsible for the care and maintenance of the trees, which will have trunks larger than five inches. Larger trees create a shadier canopy, covering the avenue with cooling shade.