2015-09-23 / Front Page

CB 1 Meets For The First Time Sans Hartmann

By Thomas Cogan
The September Community Board 1 cabinet meeting was the first since Lucille Hartmann retired as CB 1 district manager, after an eight-year term.  Succeeding Hartmann as district manager is her former assistant, Florence Koulouris.  In the third-floor boardroom of Kaufman Astoria Studios she presided over a succession of city officials, from the Departments of Transportation, Sanitation or Health to the Department of Education’s Ravenswood Universal Pre-K.  Several of them heard from community activists who lent them both support and criticism, particularly in regard to an insecticide-spraying campaign, conducted to reduce the population of hazardous mosquitoes in a part of Astoria during the summer.  Coming events were announced, among them a Department of Sanitation safe disposal day in Astoria Park, Saturday, September 19.  

Samantha Dolgoff, a borough planner for the Department of Transportation, reported on traffic calming measures laid out on streets in Astoria, between Steinway and 21st Streets and 30th and 20th Avenues.  These included speed humps and gateway signs on each block indicating their presence there.  There is a plan to eliminate automobile traffic on Shore Boulevard, which runs along the East River and under the Triboro and Hell Gate bridges, but it isn’t definite yet, she said.  Koulouris said that shutting Shore Boulevard down had been tried in the 1980s but it was judged ineffective and discontinued.  Rudolph Sarchese, CB 1 board member, complained about illegal advertising signs on Astoria Boulevard.  Luigi DiRico, the Department of Sanitation’s district representative, said his men constantly remove them, but the signs are hardly taken away when they are stuck back up again by their enterprising owners, who are making statements for small business, particularly theirs.  All agreed they are remarkably persistent, since they include phone numbers on their ads that can be traced by the Sanitation police, who can issue summonses. 

DiRico also said that there would be a safe disposal event Saturday, September 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., rain or shine, in the Astoria Park parking lot, Hoyt Avenue and 19th Street (cars can enter from Ditmars Boulevard onto 21st Street).  Automotive products such as batteries; household items such as cleaners and paint; syringes and medications; and electronic gear shall be accepted.   All items should be labeled clearly, DiRico said, especially if they are classified as hazardous or poisonous, and all containers should be tightly sealed.

Joanne Choi, community liaison for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, was present to report on mosquito control measures.  She was quickly confronted by Fran Luhmann-McDonald, CB 1board member and community activist, who said that the local spraying on Monday, August 17 was carried out with scant notification to residents.  There was only one such notice on the department’s Web site, which “leaves a lot to be desired,” McDonald said.  Choi said that Alert NYC sent out notification, but Koulouris said her office received nothing.  Spraying insecticide is necessary to control reproduction of Culex and Asian tiger mosquitoes, both of which may carry West Nile virus, but the toxic spray can be hazardous to persons with respiratory problems, who need to be warned to stay out of range of the spray trucks.  Debra Tharrington, of City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office, said that maps of areas to be sprayed should be posted online as part of the notification process.

A Department of Housing, Preservation and Development representative, Kathy Mapp, had information about violations complaints in residential buildings and penalties that might result from them.  She said that a building owner could be fined $200 by the Department of Finance for ignoring three or more instances of a particular complaint.

Registration for free universal pre-kindergarten classes at Queens Library Ravenswood, 35-42 21st St., has been slow, according to Department of Education and pre-K representative Catherine Olivo.  When she said that to the meeting she got several responses, mainly suggesting places where flyers and posters about registration could be mounted.  Mark Chrisante, of One World Neighborhood Charter School, 36-12 35th Ave., offered to provide a place at One World where registration, aimed at children born in 2011, could be completed.  Registration can be made by getting in contact with Ella Williams, director of Queens Library Universal Pre-Kindergarten at 718-849-1069 or at ella.williams@queenslibrary.org .  Olivo’s phone number is 347-592-7792.

Another Saturday, September 19 event was announced, by Mayella Calzeron of Big Brothers and Sisters of New York City:  the 11th annual five-kilometer Race for the Kids in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.  It is sponsored by Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play, which seeks to raise funding for and awareness of the 111-year-old group dedicated to adult mentoring of children faced with adversity.  More information is available by calling 212-686-2042 or emailing raceforthekids@bigsnyc.org.








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