2002-05-29 / Seniors

Gianaris Holds Forum On Senior Issues June 7

Any senior or disabled person in Astoria, Long Island City or Jackson Heights with a gripe to unload, wanting information on a program, or who can suggest a new program should mark Friday, June 7, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on their calender.

On that day, and time, Assemblymember Michael Gianaris will hold a public forum on issues and concerns of seniors and people with disabilities in Western Queens at the Peter Della Monica Senior Center, 23-56 Broadway, Astoria.

Gianaris (D–Astoria), in announcing the event, thanked the Queens Independent Living Center for its help in planning. He’s also trying to set up special accommodations. Anyone in need of special assistance wishing to attend or speak should call his office at 545-3889 no later than Monday, June 3. Also call the same number to sign up to attend.

Such forums can be very helpful because people might have had questions they’ve been wanting to ask for a long time, or to hear something someone else will bring up applicable to a given situation. In many ways, this will probably be two and a half hours well spent in getting enlightenment on many issues.

‘OLDER AMERICANS DAY’: Three exceptional older New Yorkers from Queens were among 15 from around the city who were recognized for their special efforts at a ceremony marking Older Americans Day by the city Department for the Aging (DFTA).

On a day that was part of Older Americans month, David Deutsch of Bayside, Ralph Moreno of Jackson Heights and Phyllis Wexler were each presented with a Crystal Apple and Certificate of Appreciation signed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg honoring their continued contribution to the life of the city.

DFTA Commissioner Edwin Mendez–Santiago, in presenting the honors, stated, "We are well aware that seniors have a strong tradition of volunteerism in hospitals, museums, schools, at our own senior centers and in charitable organizations. Our ‘Not The Retiring Type’ awards exemplify the contributions of all older New Yorkers who are making a difference in the lives of others."

Specifically, the honorees were hailed, for devoting their time and expertise to helping others and for their outstanding work on behalf of the City of New York.

Deutsch, still an active attorney at 98, works on a pro bono (without charge) basis for many people in his Bayside community, including his fellow members at the Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center. He is also an accomplished artist whose work is currently being displayed at the Bayside Historical Society at Fort Totten.

Ralph Moreno, 67, is president of the Jackson Heights Action Group, which organizes sports and graffiti removal programs for local youths. Moreno also created the group’s Community Patrol, which alerted authorities to the notorious Deaf Mexican slavery ring several years ago. A native of Bogota, Colombia, he dedicates two nights a week to offering English lessons to new immigrants in his home office.

Phyllis Wexler at 66 is known as "Silly Philly, The Clown." She has been entertaining seniors and children alike for the past 10 years with face painting and balloon creations, both of which are among her specialties. She can be found plying her art at Central Park, at a street fair in Queens or at a child’s birthday party. She brings joy and laughter wherever she goes.

BEAUTIFUL BRIDE CONTEST: As part of its Father’s Day Party on June 25, the Middle Village Adult Center, 69-10 75th St., Middle Village, is holding an "Every Bride Is Beautiful" contest.

The center’s May bulletin explains that the contest works this way: Bring in a wedding picture which you haven’t shown to anyone else, to be displayed with others on a special board hung in the lobby throughout the month of June. Each picture will be assigned a number and will not be identified by name. Using a special ballot to mark who’s who in the pictures, whoever identifies the most photos correctly will win a fresh babke. Sounds like fun.

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