2016-11-16 / Front Page

Community Board 1 Meets, HANAC Speaks

By Thomas Cogan
The Community Board 1 cabinet meeting for November had half a dozen designated guests, of which two were unavailable.  The meeting went fast but contained lots of information from those four remaining guests and those who were not on the agenda.  There was, for instance, a long description of Hour Children, not an unfamiliar organization at meetings like this but one whose work is well worth another review.  The New York Solar Partnership and its Solarize NYC program might seem to be self-descriptive but there were many questions that had to be asked in order to make everything understandable.  A meeting to figure out what to do with a $30 million allotment to Astoria Park was advertised and the approach of the year-end holiday corridor prompted warnings about how fire safety must be maintained during that time.  

The first speaker was Xavier Lopez, a job developer at HANAC, who described the Work, Learn and Grow program which offers youth in their mid-teens to employers and work projects, where they learn a variety of tasks that are meant to prepare them better for life in the job market.  The employers need only accept these youth if they choose; HANAC pays them.  Florence Koulouris, CB 1’s district manager and conductor of the meeting, said she found Work, Learn and Grow to be a great program for 14- and 15-year-olds.   Lopez’s work number is 718-204-2325 x101.

Speaking for Hour Children, the group concerned with incarcerated women and the children they must leave behind, was Jeffrey Smith, head of its program coordination.  He said the group is now 30, having been founded in 1986 by Sister Tesa Fitzgerald and four fellow nuns to help the children whose mothers are currently or formerly incarcerated.  There are three prison programs in operation, at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Taconic Correctional Facility and the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island.  Smith said that several of these kids are active in service and theatrical projects.  The organization itself has a thrift shop in Long Island City and two in Astoria (see www.facebook.com/thehourchildrenshops) and a food pantry open six hours a week (Mondays, 2:00-4:00 p.m.; Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Wednesdays, 3:00-5:00 p.m. at 35-53 Crescent St. in Astoria).  Smith said it’s a constant lookout for food and pantry supplies.  Regarding space, he said the group is searching for facilities in Long Island City.

Stephanie Herman-Scott, a family worker with Queensbridge Early Childhood Development Center, dedicated to the care and education of kids aged three and four, described what parents must have to register.  That would include paystubs for 20 or more hours a week, except for those attending school; birth certificates for all children; photo identification; an immunization book; and proof of both address and medical insurance.  For further information (particularly if self-employed), call 718-937-7640.

Kenyetta Lovings of the NYC Solar Partnership, said that the Solarize NYC program is a group effort aimed at keeping the price of solar energy down.  She described huge solar centers that sell energy to surrounding communities.  Asked about solar effectiveness at night, her assistant said that night is the time for Con Edison, whose bill and the solar source’s bill would tend to be lower that a total Con Ed bill for similar power would be.  There were questions about solar panel maintenance, owning and leasing and tax allowances.  Lovings said the NYC Solar Partnership provides guidance, what she called “a step-by-step walk-through” of all solar energy’s facets. 

Her aide added that those persons intent on being in one home for a long time should consider solar power seriously, through ownership or lease.

Nikki Kokinos, district director for City Councilman Costas Constantinides, brought up the fact that Astoria Park shall receive $30 million through the city’s Anchor Parks program and major alterations should follow there.  Kokinos said there would be a meeting, a so-called “visioning meeting” for sharing ideas about improving the park, Wednesday, November 16, 7:00-9:00 p.m., at Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Ave.  Also present was Gretha Suarez, Queens outreach coordinator of Partnership for Parks, which provides grants and equipment to city parks that might be somewhat less financially favored.

Other coming events include the HANAC Health Fair, beginning at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, November 19 at 27-40 Hoyt Av. South, near the exit from the Triboro Bridge; and the first annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in McManus Memorial Park, 81st Street and Grand Central Service Road, Sunday, December 4th from 6:00-8:00 p.m.  A choir named Washington & Friends will sing carols.

Christmas and other holidays to come also brought on fire warnings.  Darnley Jones put it succinctly:  no candles, no electrical cords bought at a 99-cent store, understand?

 

 

 

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