2018-04-18 / Front Page

CB 1 Joins After Brief Hiatus

By Thomas Cogan
Because in February there was no scheduled meeting and in March the meeting was cancelled on the grounds of inclement weather, the Community Board 1 cabinet meeting for April 12 was the first in three months.  It was held as usual at the board room of Kaufman Astoria Studios.  Florence Koulouris, CB1’s district manager, got the meeting down to business quickly, as if making up for lost time. 

The meeting took an unconventional look at recycling and sustainability and then heard reports from the Parks Department, including one about disposal of hazardous materials.  From the Fire Department there was advice about electrical outlets; and an agency that treats serious mental health issues explained itself.  There was a report from the ASPCA and one from the Department of Health that began with mosquitoes and came around to rats and persons who hoard garbage. 

The first speaker was Eszter Csicsai, coordinator of donateNYC, Bureau of Recycling & Sustainability of the Department of Sanitation.  She encouraged anyone who has old clothing or other goods that are no longer being used, but which needn’t be thrown out, to bring them to centers throughout the city, which will see they are re-used.  These donation sites are listed on nyc.gov/donate/directory, and the mobile app there can be downloaded to iOS or Android phones.  Csicsai said that at the Earth Day fairs being held in the city on Sunday, April 22, some 70 non-profit partners interested in refuse they wouldn’t refuse will gather.  She named Hour Children, the Astoria agency at 36-11 12th St., as one.

Shirley Echavarria of the Parks Department said current projects include repair of the comfort station in Queensbridge Park and repairs around the track in Astoria Park.  On Saturday, April 21, Astoria Park will be the site of a hazardous materials disposal, an event that in the past has attracted a lot of persons wanting to get rid of such items as used electronic equipment and old paint cans, so those attending this year should be ready for crowded conditions. Hours at Astoria Park will be 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Echavarria also was told that hawks in the parks of Queens and elsewhere often prey on squirrels and small dogs running free, so be sure if you’re taking your Yorkie out to the park, have it on a leash lest it become some hawk’s lunch.  (And remember—hawks are an endangered species, which might amuse some dogs, though probably only large ones.)

Le-Tis Williams, the Fire Department’s community affairs unit’s borough manager, spoke of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training, which is so popular, she said, that signing up for the summer had better be done now.  She told the meeting that she had to leave on other business, so Brian Johnson took over.

He took up a topic popular in the department, warning of the misuse of power strips and extension cords.  He said never to run their wires under rugs or carpeting and not to use them to power refrigerators or air conditioners.  Also, when fleeing a burning apartment, close the door on the way out, so smoke will not flood the hallway.

Ave McCracken and Nicole Forgenie were at the meeting to talk about Transitional Services for New York, or TSINY, which advertises, “We help people rediscover themselves.”  In business since 1975 and with several offices in Queens, it is a mental health service for bipolar and schizophrenic individuals and others.  It recently bought an old building in Jamaica and intends to raze it and construct its first building, an 88-unit residence.  A TSINY bookstore in Bayside is called Turn the Page . . . Again!

McCracken and Forgenie said that TSINY will hold an open house event at its 90-27 Sutphin Blvd., 5th Floor address, Thursday, April 26, 12:30-4:00 p.m., so the public can meet the team.  RSVP should be sent on or before April 19 by calling Terry LoPiano at 718-746-6647 x 7011 or emailing tlopiano@tsiny.org.  TSINY can be reached by F, E, J and Z trains at Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue, which is also where the Long Island Railroad’s Jamaica station is.  The Q40, Q43 and Q44 buses stop there.

James Dean, formerly of the animal cruelty division of the New York Police Department and now of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told the meeting that cruelty to animals can graduate to child abuse and other crimes.  He said that many serial or mass killers have backgrounds of cruelty to animals.  He and his assistant said that the ASPCA provides speakers to many events.  Koulouris mentioned a discovery made recently when two persons moved from where they were living and left behind two Great Dane dogs that would have starved if they hadn’t been rescued.

The Health Department representative at the meeting said the mosquito season has been open since the beginning of April.  He mentioned a food safety workshop for fast food cooks on Wednesday, May 16 at Queensboro Hall.  It is related to getting “A” ratings for their places of work.  More information is available at 646-632-6001.  Also, the Rat Academy carries on, making home visits to rid them of unwanted visitors.  Requests for their services must be made through local community boards.   

A garbage hoarder is bound to attract rats, and the experience of dealing with such a person, a woman, was described.  She would not let the DSNY or anyone else into her residence, and normally authorities can enter only with permission.  After obtaining an order concerning safety violations they got in, and ultimately a carter took away all the garbage collected in her basement, but it left the rest of the house still packed with the stuff.

Claudia Coger, an Astoria Houses resident, said she lives in a cul-de-sac where trash collects quickly if it isn’t removed.  Lately there has been some street and sidewalk work done there, which has forced suspension of alternate side parking.  Coger said there was no notice of that suspension; she found out only through City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office.  She would like a little relief from the mounting rubbish.

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