2015-12-02 / Political Page

DA’s Decision Clears Way For Mother And Child

While early reports about the mother leaving her infant child in a Richmond Hill church Nativity scene speculated she could face criminal charges, “by the grace of Jesus, the Queens district attorney let her go after questioning…It turned that, secretly, she had returned to the church to make sure all was good,” according to the Daily News editorial describing the events which led to the story’s happy ending last weekend.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, speaking at his office after his investigators and police located and interviewed the baby’s mother, stated that he determined no criminal prosecution was warranted.

Brown explained, according to newspaper reports, that the mother followed the spirit of New York’s ‘Safe Haven’, law, which allows a parent to leave a child not older than 30 days with an appropriate person or in a suitable location.

The 19-year-old mother, Brown said, left the child in the cradle of the Nativity Christmas scene “because it was the warmest nook to tuck him in.” He was bundled in warm, heavy towels she had purchased on their way to the church. The 19-year-old mother, Brown said, left the child in the cradle of the Nativity Christmas scene “because it was the warmest nook to tuck him in.” He was bundled in warm, heavy towels she had purchased on their way to the church. “The mother…felt her newborn child would be found safely in the church…and she returned the following morning to make certain that the baby had been found,” Brown said.

Thus it was that the newborn child and thoughtful mother found their way on the Monday of Thanksgiving week to Holy Child Jesus Church in Richmond Hill, passing two other houses of worship on the way.

The 19-year-old mother, Brown said, left the child in the cradle of the Nativity Christmas scene “because it was the warmest nook to tuck him in.” He was bundled in warm, heavy towels she had purchased on their way to the church.

After all that excitement last Monday, with church parishioners fawning over the infant child, police did not charge the mother with any crime and the baby was brought to Jamaica Hospital to be examined thoroughly. Eventually the child was placed in the hands of the city’s Administration for Children’s Services which will probably determine the baby’s next move.

Meanwhile, the almost unbelievable episode at the church had priests and parishioners still talking about it through Thanksgiving Day and the days that followed. Newspapers reported Father Christopher Heanue mentioned the child during the Sunday Mass, wishing he would find a loving home and caring new parents.

Father Heanue also expressed the hope that the child would find a home in the parish and it was reported one parishioner was seriously thinking about adopting the child.


BILL GETS HEARING: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, have been getting a lot of attention recently, especially at airports, where they’re a serious threat to airplanes.

Now, however, Councilman Paul Vallone (D–Bayside) his introduced legislation to regulate their private use in New York City. The City Council Committee on Public Safety held a hearing on Vallone’s bill. He hailed the meeting as “an important part in starting a dialogue with our city as we seek to keep our skies safe.”

The bill, Vallone says, “…gives our city the teeth to effectively regulate drones in our skies without waiting for the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to update federal regulations or for a tragedy to happen. Our public safety, now more than ever, is a prime focus and this bill finally gives the NYPD the tools they need to protect our skies.”

Vallone said his bill, sponsored by 24 Council Members, “will create violations and misdemeanors with fines for UAVs that are flown in the prohibited areas, as well as those flown with the intent to cause harm or damage or destroy property.”

Vallone adds, the bill also strives to maintain a balance with the recreational use of UAVs by requiring the Commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation “to designate areas within city parks where they could be legally flown.

“Finally, there will also be restrictions on the times, locations and altitudes at which UAVs may be operated and prohibit the use of UAVs for conducting surveillance or that are equipped with weapons or dangerous instruments. This bill would not affect the operation of UAVs by city agencies.”

Vallone notes, “The technology for UAVs has rapidly advanced in the last few years, allowing UAVs to be widely available and increasingly affordable for the average person, resulting in the rampant proliferation of drones in the city’s air space. This unchecked growth has spurred significant security and privacy concerns, as well as resulted in many ‘close call’ incidents with commercial and city air traffic.”

TALKS ON NEW OZONE PARKWOODHAVEN BUS SERVICE CONTINUED: After months of discussions and concerns expressed by the public and elected officials over a proposal to bring Select Bus Service (SBS) to Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, the city Department of Transportation (DOT) has agreed to consider the plan further and hold more meetings with local stakeholders at the start of 2016.

However, it appears that DOT and the MTA made a proposal which Addabbo (D–Howard Beach) and Miller (D–Woodhaven) raised questions about relative to a new bus routing plan, leading to the DOT setting future talks.

According to Addabbo, the proposal made by the DOT and MTA was “to remove a lane of traffic from Rockaway Boulevard to Park Lane South in both directions to create a ‘Bus Only’ lane for the Q52 and Q53 routes, therefore having pedestrians wait for a bus on the median.”

However, Addabbo responded to the proposal, saying that,” …this plan would ultimately add unnecessary congestion to a main thoroughfare that is already extremely overcrowded and would place pedestrians at serious risk.”

Addabbo said local residents and passengers directly affected by the new routes raised objections about it.

Addabbo, commenting on the extension of discussions with DOT, stated: “We have been very vocal with our hesitations regarding this SBS proposal and I am truly grateful that both DOT and MTA have listened to our concerns and are willing not to rush the project along, while we continue to work on a plan that benefits not only bus riders, but also drivers, pedestrians, businesses and the surrounding communities.”

Assemblyman Mike Miller, in the neighboring community to Ozone Park, commenting on the DOT’s extension of discussions on the plan, stated:

“The SBS plan put forth by the city is a questionable solution to our transportation woes, and I am glad to see that our voices are being heard. I thank DOT and MTA for making an effort to compromise on this proposal and I look forward to continuing to work with the agencies as they hold open houses and gather more valuable input from the public.”

CUOMO BACKING MAYORAL OPPONENT: Mayor Bill de Blasio’s reelection race is still a couple of years away, but all of the present discord between the mayor and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and the constant and recurring reports that the two top officials in the city/state aren’t on speaking terms…will that situation develop into Cuomo backing a de Blasio foe in 2017?

Why not! There are already rumors and reports that the governor’s “choice to oust” the mayor is Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, of Brooklyn (and a small chunk of Howard Beach in Queens). That’s the way a savvy political writer in Albany phrased it recently, and we think the point is well taken.

Not only does the mayor have problems with his old boss (when Cuomo ran HUD some years ago), but de Blasio has serious problems with city issues like housing, the homeless, the NYPD etc., all of which have brought his poll numbers down.

Giving credence to the Jeffries rumor are the reports that the congressman has been bad-mouthing de Blasio himself.

NO RED LIGHTS FOR BIKES: A proposal that has sparked a lot of comment from newspaper readers was scheduled for an airing before the City Council yesterday. It states that bicyclists do not have to stop at red lights, the same as cars and pedestrians.

Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D–Bushwick, Ridgewood) introduced it and has admitted that he does not stop for red lights when there’s light traffic as he approaches one.

Most comments we’ve read that dis- agree with Reynoso cite the danger involved from cars and trucks moving through green lights at a brisk pace, if not speeding. These commenters think the idea is unnecessary, not safe and not sensible.

Others have noted they’ve seen bike riders already ignoring red lights and continuing riding as they approach a red light. But for the most part the comments say it would be a dangerous practice.

One editorial cited a statistic pointing out that 4,463 cyclists were injured in crashes last year, but didn’t specify whether they were ignoring red lights or not when the accidents occurred. We think the Council will reject it.

CROWLEY REINTRODUCES BIKE-TO-WORK BILL: Seeking to encourage bike-to-work use, Congressman Joseph Crowley has reintroduced his bill to authorize workers to use their commuter benefits for an already affordable and environmentally friendly form of transportation.

“This bipartisan legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code to allow workers to use their pre-tax commuter benefits for bike share programs, just as they already can for other forms of transportation,” Crowley explained.

“Originally introduced in the 113th Congress, the bill would give commuters the option to pair bike share with other forms of transit, greatly expanding mobility and improving access to existing transit systems, Crowley (D–Queens/The Bronx) stated.

As previously introduced, the bill is cosponsored by Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN). Paulsen stated: “I’m glad to team up with Congressman Crowley to introduce the bipartisan Bike to Work Act to increase access to bike share and make it more affordable for those traveling to work.”

Crowley, Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus in the House, noted: “Increased connectivity is critical to the future growth of cities like New York and programs like Citi Bike are vital to meeting the needs of those communities that have long been underserved by viable transportation options.”

QUEENS CONSERVATIVES OPPOSE COUNCIL PAY RAISE PROPOSAL: Tom Long, the Queens County Conservative Party Chairman, reports that recently, when it was proposed to give City Council Members an increase in annual salary, from $112,500 to $192,500, his members “unanimously” voted against at the group’s monthly meeting.

Long said, “When the NYPD gets a raise of one percent to protect the citizens of New York City and the New York City Council is talking about giving themselves a raise of 71 percent, is unrealistic and a ludicrous idea.”

Most other New Yorkers agreed, and the proposal will almost surely go nowhere.

ADDABBO SPONSORS EDUCATION HIRING EVENT: More than 100 jobs will be on the line today when state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. hosts a hiring event in partnership with Birch Family Services.

The event will be held at the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens, located at 110-04 Atlantic Avenue in Richmond Hill, from 8 am to 2 pm. Representatives of Birch Family Services will be on hand to greet the job seekers.

Birch, which is dedicated to helping individuals with developmental disabilities as well as their families, is looking to fill several education positions, such as teaching assistants, certified teachers, oneto one aides, curriculum coordinators and maintenance workers.

Addabbo (D–Howard Beach) said, “Every year, there is a tremendous demand for additional workers in the field of health services and companies that work with the disabled.” Birch Family Services is one of the best in their industry, the lawmaker said, providing opportunities in a wide variety of services for the community.

For Addabbo, it will be his third hiring event since October when he hosted his annual Fall Job Fair, as well as a health care hiring event with Birch.

E. CROWLEY CELEBRATES DIWALI, HONORS CULTURAL CENTER PIONEER: Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D–Glendale) joined in the Diwali celebration at the Shikshayatan Cultural Center’s 27th Anniversary ceremony, where she presented Purnima Desai, the center’s Founder, President and Director, with a City Council Proclamation for her public service and dedication to the Indian culture.

Crowley stated, “Diwali is the celebration of good over evil, light over darkness – a message worthy to be celebrated by all cultures. For 27 years, Purnima Desai has spread that message throughout Queens, allowing first generation Indians to keep a tight grasp on their culture, as well as giving second-and third-generations a strong feel for their own history. It’s so important for every individual to hold onto the values, traditions and ways of their native culture. Purnima shows us that we should always be proud of where we come from.”

Crowley added that the Shikshayatan Culture Center, at 146-29 Holly Avenue in Flushing, provides lessons in Sanskrit and Hindi, native music, dances, arts and more. It also gives teachings in Indian heritage, tradition and ancestry.

WEPRIN SETS TOY DRIVE: Charitable organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens in Richmond Hill won’t be forgotten this holiday season – they’re on Assemblyman David Weprin’s Holiday Toy Drive list. The drive is going on right now, Weprin said, and he asks that donors bring a new or gently used toy to either of his two district offices.

The Fresh Meadows office is at 185-06 Union Turnpike, Fresh Meadows (718- 454-3027); And the Richmond Hill office is located at 111-12 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 5, in Richmond Hill (718-805-2381).

All donations must be in by December 18, Weprin asks. For more information about the Toy Drive or any other local issue contact either of his district offices.

MARKEY TO HOLD HEARING ON ‘INJURIES IN COMBATIVE SPORTS’: Assemblywoman Margaret Markey has announced that the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development will hold a public hearing about “Injuries in Combative Sports” on Friday, December 11.

The hearing will take place in the Assembly Hearing Room 1923 at 250 Broadway, 19th Floor, in Manhattan, starting at 10:30 am.

Assemblywoman Markey, committee Chairwoman, said the committee has invited medical researchers, sports medicine professionals and regulatory officials to testify about the frequency, severity and long-term consequences of injuries suffered by professional boxers, wrestlers, mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters and other combative sports participants.

The New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) is authorized to regulate professional boxing and wrestling, which includes establishment of medical and safety rules and regulations. If legalized in New York State, the sport of mixed martial arts would likely be regulated by NYSAC.

Assemblywoman Markey said, “Debate about the legalization of commercial mixed martial arts in New York State has been an issue in the Legislature over the past few years. In addition to moral concerns about the extreme brutality of the performances, there has also been concern about health and safety issues for MMA participants. Of particular concern are the long-term consequences of head injuries. Extensive research and discussion among professionals about injuries in all the combative sports have made new information available to help inform our deliberations. I look forward to hearing about health and safety protocols for players in combative sports that are currently performed in New York State and learning what new or revised protections and benefits might be required for the welfare of current and future professional athletes engaged in combative sports.”

Oral testimony on December 11 is by invitation only. For additional information, contact Committee Assistant Kendall Jacobsen, Room 513, Capitol, Albany, New York 12248, 518-455-4355.

LOCAL POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS WILL BE HOLDING HOLIDAY PARTIES: -Queens Village Republican Club Christmas/Chanukah Dinner Party: Queens Village Republican Club will be holding a General Club Meeting/Party on Thursday, December 3. Doors open at 7:30 pm for dinner, and the meeting starts at 8 pm.

The Christmas/Chanukah Dinner Party will feature a spread by Bassett Caterers, a “fabulous complete hot buffet dinner, including delectable entrees, salad, soda, coffee, tea, dessert. Cash bar available, $35 per person,” according to the invitation. Payment will be accepted at the door, but reservations are required, for seating is limited. Contact Jim Trent at 718-343- 8830, or email jtrent8830@aol.com.

Confirmed speakers for the event are Queens GOP Chairman Bob Turner; Ann Schockett, President of NYS Federation of Republican Women.

Invited speakers: Rep. Dan Donovan, state Senators Martin Golden, and Jack Martins.

They will be honoring Republican district leaders, ED captains and poll workers; and the Nominating Committee Report will be presented.

The event will be held at Knights of Columbus – St. Anne’s Council,263-15 Union Turnpike, Glen Oaks, NY 11004.

The Queens Village Republican Club also will be holding their our annual gala, the 141st Anniversary Lincoln Dinner on Sunday, February 28, 2016, from 3 pm to 8 pm at Antun’s, in Queens Village.

-Ridgewood Dems Holiday Party Fundraiser: The Ridgewood Democratic Club has sent out invitations to its Annual Holiday Party & Building Fundraiser, set for Saturday, December 5, 6 pm. There will be a buffet and refreshments, at 60-70 Putnam Avenue in Ridgewood, NY 11385, (one block off Fresh Pond Road ). The suggested donation is $20, and all other donations are appreciated, they said. For more information call: David at 917-574- 7867. Their upcoming events are:

Saturday, January 23, 11am - Membership Brunch

Friday, March 11, 7pm -General Meeting

Friday, April 22, 7pm - General Meeting

Friday, May 20, 7pm - General Meeting

Thursday, June 9 - Annual Dinner - Riccardo’s

-Queens County GOP Holiday Party: The Queens County GOP Holiday Party is set for Tuesday, December 8, from 6:30 pm to 10 pm, at Verdi’s of Whitestone, 149-58 Cross Island Parkway, Whitestone. The party will feature hot and cold buffet dinner, beer, wine and soda, dessert, coffee, tea, and espresso. Tickets are $75 either at the door, or online, at www.eventbrite.com/e/queens-countygop holiday-party-tickets-19466988286.

OPPOSING CONGESTION PRICING: At a press conference scheduled for Sunday afternoon, Assemblyman David I. Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) will join major Queens civic organizations, and business advocacy groups to express strong opposition to Move NY’s recently re-introduced Congestion Pricing Plan.

Weprin issued a statement outlining the situation. He stated, “Not all locations in the city are easily accessible by public transportation. The many disenfranchised populations in the northern, southern, and eastern Queens neighborhoods, as well as many parts of Brooklyn do not have the same amenities as those in Manhattan, with readily accessible subway systems near their homes and businesses. Move NY’s reintroduction of an already dismissed congestion pricing proposal is wrong, it will impose an undue financial burden on our working- and middle-class commuters who must rely on those roadways; whether to make a living, to visit their loved ones across town, or to travel to Manhattan to receive lifesaving medical care not often accessible in outer-borough hospitals.

“It will also be a major financial burden” on small businesses that rely on the free bridges for multiple trips daily and may result in additional charges to consumers. Queens residents are already struggling with the perpetual rising cost of living in New York and an additional increase is simply unaffordable for the middle and working class citizens of Queens.”

Various community leaders and business advocacy members, including the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Queens Civic Congress, will speak out against Move NY/ “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz’ toll-tax scheme.

The conference will be held Sunday, December 6 at noon, outside of 25-01 Bridge Plaza North (between Queens Plaza North and Crescent Street).

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: A verdict has been handed down in the prosecution of former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has been found guilty on corruption charges. Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement on the verdict: “Today, justice was served. Corruption was discovered, investigated, and prosecuted, and the jury has spoken. With the allegations proven, it is time for the Legislature to take seriously the need for reform. There will be zero tolerance for the violation of the public trust in New York.

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