Enter the 4th annual Veterans Day Student Essay Contest

Congressman Joseph Crowley, right.

Congressman Joseph Crowley, right.

It’s time to show off your writing chops.

Congressman Joe Crowley is hosting his 4th annual Veterans Day student essay contest to pay tribute to our armed forces.

The contest asks students to write about what it means to commemorate the holiday.

The winning essay will be entered into the Congressional Record, while the second and third place finishers will receive congressional recognition.

“The sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform are not lost on our youth,” Crowley said. “Each year, I’m moved by the personal stories shared by students who come from military families, as well as the deep appreciation they have at such a young age for the work our service members do to keep us safe.”

“This contest encourages students to pause and reflect on the contributions of our armed forces and it gives our youth a platform to express their gratitude.”

The competition is open to students in grades 6 through 8 who live in Crowley’s congressional district.

Essays are due in his Jackson Heights district office (82-11 37th Avenue, Suite 402) by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31.

Guidelines for the contest include:

  • Essays should be no longer than 500 words
  • Essay must be typed or written in black or blue ink
  • Students must include their name, school, grade and contact information
  • Essays should be emailed to crowley.events@mail.house.gov or mailed/delivered to:
    • Office of Congressman Joseph Crowley 82-11 37th Avenue, Suite 402 Jackson Heights, NY 11372

For more information, call their office at 718-779-1400.

Gianaris collects donations for victims in Puerto Rico, Mexico

IMG_1529During a time of great need, Astoria State Senator Michael Gianaris is coming through for the victims of Puerto Rico and Mexico.

The pol collected and donated items to help those recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma, as well as the victims of Mexico’s seismic and fatal earthquake.

The materials were donated to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., who sponsored the relief drive. Donated items include batteries, diapers, feminine hygiene products, non-perishable food and cases of water.

“The residents of Puerto Rico and Mexico are hurting. I am deeply saddened by the destruction and damage that occurred,” Gianaris said. “It is up to us to help them get back on their feet and rebuild.”

Chappetto Square to receive upgrades

Screen shot via Google Maps

Screen shot via Google Maps

Chappetto Square in Astoria, near the Triborough Bridge, has been added to the mayor’s Community Parks Initiative, which will invest city funding into the public spaces.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver announced this week that 11 new sites will be added to the portfolio. The city has chosen parks that have received less than $250,000 over the past 20 years.

The playground renovations will now enter the design process this fall.

“When we talk about improving parks in New York City, we’re really talking about improving the lives of New Yorkers,” de Blasio said. “The Community Parks Initiative focuses on parks and neighborhoods that have faced the most historic disinvestment and serve dense, growing populations.”

“Improving a park brings improvements to an entire neighborhood,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides. “The Community Parks Initiative has already begun to improve underserved parks in Astoria, including Van Alst and Astoria Heights Playgrounds.”

“We are looking forward to seeing upgrades at Chappetto Square. The capital improvements and added infrastructure upgrades will be enjoyed by children and families,” he added. “As a greenspace that is so frequently used yet hasn’t been renovated in many years, the CPI funding for Chappetto Square will provide a real benefit to the neighborhood around it.”

Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to hold office hours at Borough Hall

Screen shot via Google Maps

Screen shot via Google Maps

Beginning this Friday, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) will hold monthly office hours inside Queens Borough Hall.

City officials will begin to provide residents easier access to information and services for the Queens immigrant community.

“Nearly half of our borough’s 2.3 million people were born abroad, and their many contributions to our community are a source of strength and a vital part of the Queens identity,” said Borough President Melinda Katz. “More immigrants and more DACA-eligible immigrants call Queens home than any other borough, and in this increasingly uncertain climate, we want immigrant families to know that New York has their backs.”

The upcoming deadline for enrollment renewals for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program is on October 5.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, approximately 28,000 DACA-eligible immigrants live in Queens.

The MOIA team will be in Borough Hall the last Friday of every month. Residents can meet with representatives one-on-one between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

No appointments are necessary and walk-ins are welcome.

“In the world’s borough, where nearly half of all residents are immigrants, holding monthly office hours at Queens Borough Hall will allow MOIA to be even more accessible to Queens residents,” said Bitta Mostofi, acting commissioner for MOIA. “Immigration status should not be a barrier to accessing resources, and through our legal services programs, IDNYC, access to Know Your Rights forums, among other resources, Mayor de Blasio’s administration is working every day to make New York City a more inclusive city for all.”

Variety hosts Asthma Awareness Fair next week

DKGBYNQU8AE9YMj.jpg-largeAs the new school year gets underway, it’s important to know about the basics of asthma and asthma care.

Next Thursday evening, Councilman Costa Constantinides is partnering with St. Mary’s Home Care, the Asthma Coalition of Queens and Mount Sinai Queens on an Asthma Awareness Fair at the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens.

The fun and free event will feature games, food, prizes and asthma control health screenings.

The fair runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. All are welcome.


Powhatan Democratic Club registers voters at pub crawl

image3Members of the Powhatan Democratic Club organized a pub crawl last weekend to help register more voters in the area.

They stopped at popular brunch spots to reach more voters, all while sampling Astoria’s delicious food and drinks.

They registered new voters before November’s general election, as well as voters who want to register as a Democrat for next year’s primary.

Founded in 1901, the Powhatan and Pocahontas Regular Democratic Club represents the 36th Assembly District, Part A in Astoria.

“Voter registration drives usually mean sitting at a table on a street corner for hours as people pass you by,” said Rod Townsend, the club’s outreach director. “By bringing the clipboards to the brunch and happy hour crowds, we reached more people and had a lot of fun.”

“At each stop along our pub crawl, we spread awarenesses for our organization and met new people.”



TONIGHT: Participatory budgeting neighborhood assembly

DKAtPRsW0AIZ8RB.jpg-largeThe participatory budgeting process has begun again.

Residents of District 22 can help decide how to spend $1 million on public projects on local parks, schools or libraries.

“Every year I look forward to hearing from residents about projects in which they would like to invest,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides. “The enthusiasm we’ve seen from voters is what has made participatory budgeting a success in previously cycles.”

Last year, 3,600 votes were cast in the district. Winning projects included new tree plantings, bus countdown clocks, library upgrades and improvements to the STEM lab at The Young Women’s Leadership School in Astoria.

The process begins local neighborhood assemblies, where residents brainstorm and share ideas for projects. Volunteers then break into groups and transform ideas into fully-formed project proposals with details and costs.

Voting will be this spring, both online and at sites across the district. The top projects are funded up to $1 million.

Here’s the remaining schedule for this cycle’s neighborhood assemblies:

  • Monday, September 18, 7 p.m. – Cretans Associations, 32-33 31st St.
  • Wednesday, September 20, 7 p.m. – Astoria Houses Community Center, 4-05 Astoria Blvd.
  • Wednesday, September 27, 6 p.m. – Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Ave.