Congresswoman reports back from visit to Puerto Rico

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Congresswoman Grace Meng has returned from her trip to Puerto Rico, where she spent two days assessing hurricane recovery efforts on the island.

She received briefings on the rebuilding, toured the damaged and damaged facilities and spoke with local residents and government officials.

“More than four months after Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico, the island continues to struggle with efforts to recover and rebuild,” she said. “Puerto Rico continues to need help and assistance. Many still have no power, damage remains to property and infrastructure, and people continue to suffer.

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Meng said the funding provided to Puerto Rico is “woefully inadequate.”

Ron Kim’s office to offer free tax prep


For the sixth consecutive year, Assemblyman Ron Kim’s office will serve as a site offering free tax preparation services along with Urban Upbound.

The program begins on January 23 and ends on April 17. Appointments will be available Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Due to high demand, services are provided by appointment only, and they muse be made in advance.

To schedule an appointment, call Kim’s office at 718-939-0195. Visit his Flushing office at 136-20 38th Avenue.

Winter Family Program: The World of Bugs



Bugs are all around us! Come explore the World of Bugs by examining the parts of a squirmy earthworm, creating your own insect, and hunting for bug homes in the Woodland at the Queens Botanical Garden on January 27th at 11 am.

Winter is wonderful at QBG! Bring the whole family and experience winter’s splendor with indoor garden activities and an outdoor nature walk. Activities are geared for 4-10 year olds, but all are welcome to attend. Each Saturday will include indoor nature-themed hands on activities, followed by a short nature walk around the Garden. Bundle up and dress for the weather! Ticket includes one child. Please purchase separate tickets for each child.

This is not a drop-off program.

Registration required:

Queens SOUP is accepting grassroots proposals

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Queens SOUP is back in 2018!

The Greater Flushing Chamber of commerce is inviting local organizations, institutions, residents and small businesses to submit proposals for projects to improve the neighborhood.

The best proposals will be considered for funding with Queens SOUP, a micro-granting dinner where participants vote on the best projects.

The event is scheduled for April 15 at the Flushing Quaker Meeting House on Northern Boulevard.

Now in its third year, Queens SOUP has used the potluck dinner to raise $1,000 for community projects since 2016.

The deadline to apply is March 4. Submit your proposal here:

Valentines for Vets is back again!

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Can you believe Valentine’s Day is only about a month away?

In the spirit of the holiday, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and the law offices of Ann-Margaret Carrozza are teaming up again for the 22nd annual Valentines for Vets gift drive.

They are collecting donations of cards, candy (sugar free is a plus), playing cards, puzzles, shaving cream, toothbrushes, toothpaste and new clothing items such as pajamas, robes, slippers and socks.

All of these items will go to hospitalized and disabled veterans at the NYS Veterans Home at St. Albans and the St. Albans VA Community Living Center.

The deadline for donations is Monday, February 12.

Drop off gifts at Assemblyman Braunstein’s office at 213-33 39th Avenue, Suite 238 in Bayside, Carrozza’s law office at 213-38 40th Avenue OR Community Board 11’s office at 46-21 Little Neck Parkway.

Avella’s year-end scorecard for city agencies

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How did each city department do in 2017? State Senator Tony Avella, who is often critical of agencies, has posted his grades.

The pol based his scores on performance, management and responsiveness to his constituents. He made sure to point out that the grades are reflective of the leadership of each agency, not the workers.

Here are his grades for city and state agencies:

  • Department of Buildings: F
    • “DOB is still not responsive to illegal or out of character construction. Clearly, DOB does not have sufficient staff to timely respond to community complaints.”
  • Department of Transportation: D
    • Avella slammed DOT for their “bureaucratic approach to policy issues” and lack of responsiveness. Let’s not forget the ongoing Northern Boulevard bike lane battle that rolls over into 2018.
  • Department of Parks and Recreation: F
    • Where did Parks go wrong? Avella says in handling trees and sidewalks, park maintenance and capital construction. He also called for Commissioner Mitchell Silver to resign in 2017.
  • State Department of Environmental Conservation: F
    • This grade was mainly due to their handling of the Waterpointe development in Whitestone.
  • Mayor’s Office: F
    • This is an obvious one.
  • Human Resources Administration: F
  • Department of Homeless Services: F
    • “This F needs no explanation.”
  • Department of Consumer Affairs: F
    • “Totally worthless.”

Okay, so he gave the failing/poor grades out first. How about some “mediocre” grades?

  • State Department of Financial Services: B
    • Avella wants DFS to improve their timeliness.
  • NYPD: C
    • The main complaint is their handling of quality of life issues.
  • Department of Environmental Protection: C
    • Avella says he’s pleased DEP is willing to compromise on bioswales, but hasn’t provided a full opt-out that his constituents desire.
  • Department of Finance: C
  • State Department of Health: C

Which departments got the good grades?

  • FDNY: A
  • Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: A
  • Department of Housing Preservation and Development: A
  • State Department of Agriculture and Markets: A
  • Department of Sanitation: A
  • Governor and Governor’s Office: A
    • This one makes us all think why the guv got an A.