Tag Archives: Congresswoman grace meng

Bramson ORT College expanding main Forest Hills campus


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

A small two-year college in Forest Hills has signed a lease for more space nearby to expand its facilities as part of a plan to become a larger institution.

Bramson ORT College, which currently enrolls 610 students, is renting 8,000 square feet of additional space at 68-80 Austin St. — a block away from the school’s main building at 69-30 Austin St.

The school hopes to build a new library, a student lounge, a bookstore, faculty offices and some new classrooms in the new space, which is under construction and will be completed by early 2015, according to school President Dr. David Kanani. Kanani said the expansion is part of a full reconstruction of the school to hopefully become a full four-year institution.

“We are restructuring the school, we are restructuring our staff, we are restructuring our facilities, we are adding new programs. We are really intent to make this one of the best two-year, career-oriented, post-secondary junior colleges in Queens, if not the state,” Kanani said. “And then after that, once we put that in good working order, then we will hopefully go for a four-year college.”

Recently, Congresswoman Grace Meng helped Bramson ORT from losing federal funds, which caused a difficult financial situation for the small school. The U.S. Department of Education was delaying financial aid for the school, and Meng intervened to bring both sides together and hasten the delivery of the funds to the institution.

Bramson ORT College, which has a campus in Brooklyn, has a history that stretches back to 1942. The school was originally established to serve refugees and immigrants during World War II.

Today it provides students with degrees in accounting, business management, computer technology, electronics, graphics and web design, paralegal, pharmacy technician and programming, among other subjects. Kanani hopes the expansion and reconstruction of the school will attract better students as well.

“I believe that when you improve the quality of the school as a whole, automatically you attract better students,” Kanani said. “Better students for us means students that want to learn.”

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Local congress members endorse John Liu in state Senate race


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo


In his bid to unseat state Sen. Tony Avella, former City Comptroller John Liu picked up another round of support from local congressional members.

Liu received endorsements on Monday from congress members Grace Meng, Gregory Meeks and Joseph Crowley, who cited his achievements as a councilman and the financial leader of the city.

“John has proven himself to be an outstanding public servant and I’m happy to support his candidacy for the New York State Senate,” Meng said. “His experience as our comptroller and as a Queens councilman make him well prepared to tackle the important issues in Albany, and I look forward to working with him to make our city, state and borough an even better place to live.”

The congress members add to a list of Liu supporters in the District 11 race, which already include Borough President Melinda Katz, numerous unions and city lawmakers.

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his support of Avella. The incumbent also received an endorsement from the Communications Workers of America, District 1.

 

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Street co-named for longtime Bayside school teacher


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Office of Councilmember Paul Vallone


Family, friends and former students of longtime P.S. 41 science teacher Geri Cilmi attended a street co-naming in her honor outside the Bayside school on Friday.

The new Mrs. Geri Cilmi Place street sign was unveiled at 214th Lane behind the school. Cilmi, who died in 2011 after battling cancer for four years, taught at the school for about 25 years and was a teacher in city schools for about four decades.

During her time at P.S. 41 she was loved by colleagues and students for her extraordinary effort as a teacher. Cilmi hosted science nights in the school, where parents and students were able to do a variety of experiments. She applied for numerous grants for the school, including one from NASA for a weather station. She also set up the school’s garden, was vice president of the Elementary School Science Association (ESSA), and made various science presentations for children.

Photo courtesy Tom Cilmi

Cilmi lived in Flushing with her husband, Tom, and her son. Various elected officials, including Councilmember Paul Vallone, Borough President Melinda Katz and Congresswoman Grace Meng, were in attendance for the street co-naming ceremony.

“Mrs. Cilmi’s life was dedicated to teaching and showing her students that science was beyond the classroom,” Vallone said. “To co-name the street in front of the school where she spent over a decade is a fitting tribute to her career and tells the community Mrs. Cilmi will forever be in our hearts.”

 

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Queens Bangladeshi community mourns victims of factory collapse on anniversary


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Gone, but not forgotten.

Congresswoman Grace Meng organized a vigil on Thursday for 1,129 Bangladeshi garment workers, who perished when a faulty building collapsed a year ago, to honor their memory and call for an increase in occupational safety and compensation.

“No one should go to work every day fearing for their life, because the building they work in is not structurally sound,” Meng said.

The Rana Plaza factory collapse occurred near the capital city of Dhaka last year due to safety conditions with the building.

Cracks were discovered in the eight-story building, but were not repaired and employees were ordered to work in the structure. More than 2,500 people were injured after the collapse.

Many other buildings in the garment industry in Bangladesh share safety concerns, according to union representatives. Some of those buildings produce goods for major American retailers, including Walmart and the Gap, just to name a few.

A coalition of politicians and labor union officials that were present at the vigil hope to bring awareness to the issue and want American companies to pledge to increase safety measures.

Little has been done to relieve working conditions, according to union representatives, and they want to prevent another tragedy.

“I think they are more concerned about the bottom line than they are concerned about the workers who have made them so successful,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “The way we make change is by increasing public awareness of what happened and why it happened.”

 

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