Tag Archives: grace meng

MTA, DOT scrap plans for Main Street bus-only lane in Kew Gardens Hills


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Rory Lancman's office

Facing community and political opposition, the MTA and the city Department of Transportation slammed the brakes on a proposed dedicated bus lane for the limited Q44 bus line on Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills.

The news came during Wednesday night’s meeting of the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association. The MTA planned to take one lane in each direction of Main Street to convert the Q44 between Flushing and Jamaica into a Select Bus Service (SBS) route.

Civic leaders and elected officials protested the plans previously, claiming the lost lane of traffic would increase vehicular traffic on Main Street while also depriving both residents and shoppers of valued parking space.

“A dedicated bus-only lane in Kew Gardens Hills was always the wrong choice for our community,” Councilman Rory Lancman said in a press release Thursday. “The proposed bus-only lane would have increased congestion, reduced parking spaces, hurt businesses and diverted cars onto residential streets.”

Lancman, along with Rep. Grace Meng, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz and state Senators Joseph Addabbo and Toby Ann Stavisky, praised the MTA and DOT for hearing concerns about the bus lane and ultimately nixing the plan.

According to Lancman, the DOT and MTA will seek other methods to improve traffic flow on Main Street in Kew Gardens Hills, including potential street reconfiguration, off-board fare collection and re-synchronizing traffic lights.

A source familiar with the plan indicated a bus-only lane is most likely for areas of Main Street north of the Long Island Expressway. However, it is not likely a bus lane would be created on Main Street south of Kew Gardens Hills due to a lack of street space.

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Federal funding for Flushing Bay channel dredging


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

Looking to make it easier for ships and barges to navigate, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will dredge the main channel leading into Flushing Bay beginning this fall, Representatives Joe Crowley and Grace Meng announced Thursday.

The dredging will focus on Flushing Bay’s Federal Channel — located near the East River, the easternmost end of La Guardia Airport’s Runway 31 and the College Point waterfront. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, approximately 1,425,000 tons of cargo is transported through the channel annually and deposited at 14 different marine terminals.

Much of the cargo consists of sand, stone and petroleum products sent to local industries.

In October crews will begin dredging the 15-foot deep channel extending the length of Flushing Bay, removing approximately 125,000 cubic yards of sediment and other material on the channel floor. The sediment will be shipped inland for processing and disposal.

“Flushing Bay continues to be an important waterway for New York and I’m pleased that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be undertaking much-needed dredging of the channel to improve maneuverability for ships,” Crowley said.

“Ensuring that these vessels are able to freely navigate through this body of water helps promote and improve everything from trade and commerce to recreation and public safety,” Meng added.

The project, which was secured in the Corps’ $12.1 million work plan for federal 2015 fiscal year, has an estimated cost of $250,000.

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First charter meeting for Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

City Council Member Peter Koo swears in the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce board of directors last Wednesday. (photo courtesy of Koo's office)

The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce continued its growth on the afternoon of March 18 with its first membership meeting that attracted numerous civic and business leaders.

The chamber’s first formal task was to elect a board of directors to oversee the organization’s operation under the stewardship of co-chairs Simon Gerson and Chris Kui. The organization also appointed a council of advisers and approved its corporate bylaws and agenda for the months ahead.

“The Flushing Chamber is proud to provide leadership to ensure the continued prosperity of our community,” Gerson said. “Our local businesses will benefit from the networking, education and advocacy opportunities that the chamber provides.”

Greater Flushing looks to replace the void that the 80-year-old Flushing Chamber of Commerce left when it dissolved in 2012. Many blamed the group’s inability to change with the times and neighborhood’s demographics as key factors resulting in its demise.

But Greater Flushing Executive Director John Choe said the upstart group aims to create a “multicultural and modern” organization catering to all businesses and people in Flushing from every background. Greater Flushing already has about 70 businesses as members, and Choe hopes that number will double in the next few months.

“I think Flushing deserves a chamber that will advocate on behalf of the entire community,” he said. “We haven’t had a chamber for a long time, even though we’re the fourth-largest commercial district in the city.”

Greater Flushing already has a “very full plate” of programs aiming to serve and enrich businesses, residents and visitors alike, Choe added, including a free English language program in partnership with Monroe College. The chamber also wants to sponsor several street fairs this summer and launch free financial literacy programs.

The chamber is also considering creating a “formal lending circle” with established credit agencies, Choe noted. Traditional lending circles often practiced among immigrant families involve members donating funds into a central account, with the lump sum then provided to someone launching a business or buying a home, among other purposes.

The formal circle, Choe said, would follow regulations and ensure accountability with the borrowers.

City Councilman Peter Koo had the honor of installing the newly-elected board of directors and threw his support to the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, saying the group would provide “small business owners with the resources they need to expand and grow.”

“We are still living in a climate of over-regulation that remains challenging for many small business owners, so the Flushing Chamber will be a welcomed addition to our diverse business community,” Koo said.

Greater Flushing’s board of directors consists of Gerson, Kui and Don Capalbi of the Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association, Perka Chan of HealthFirst, Michael Cheng of Epos Global Management, Taehoon Kim of Regen Acupuncture, Ellen Kodadek of Flushing Town Hall, Michael Lam of Century Homes Realty Group LLC, Alice Lee of HealthPlus Amerigroup, Alfred Rankins of the Latimer House Museum, Maureen Regan of Green Earth Urban Gardens and Leo Zhang of the law firm of Geng & Zhang.

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Dragons mark Lunar New Year in Flushing


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Eric Jankiewicz

Dragons were spotted in Flushing on Thursday.

Thumping drums accompanied the quick pace of commuters and shoppers in downtown Flushing. Two dragons walked into a T-Mobile store on Roosevelt Avenue with a traveling band following close behind. It was the first day of Lunar New Year.

To mark the holiday that is celebrated by many Asian communities, a kung fu and dance club ran through the streets of Flushing’s Chinatown with dragon costumes, cymbals and drums. The Hung Sing Kwoon group celebrates the holiday every year by holding a small parade on the first day of Lunar New Year.

“We’re celebrating the new year by parading around Flushing stores,” said Adam Chin, who has been with the group for seven years.

The group usually barges into stores and parades through the streets for the majority of the day.

“We’ll keep it up even in this cold,” Chin said as the wind picked up. “We feel it’s our duty to help spread joy on this day. That’s why we go into stores too. People really like that.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Grace Meng read to a group of students for Lunar New Year. The lawmakers were at the Flushing branch of the Queens Library, where many of the children were wearing traditional red clothes for the holiday.

“The Lunar New Year is an important time,” Gillibrand said. “It’s a chance to think about new goals, and I wish everyone happiness, success and good fortune.

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Op-ed: Small businesses vital to Queens and the nation


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY U.S. REP GRACE MENG

What do the local pizzeria, optometrist and neighborhood nail salon have in common? They are all small businesses; and if you walk down any commercial strip in Queens — from Bell Boulevard to Myrtle Avenue and Main Street to Queens Boulevard — you’ll see plenty of them.

Why? Because small businesses drive the economy here in our borough and across the nation. They are the engine that stimulates economic growth and the backbone of the region’s economy.

Small businesses also bring investment and innovation to communities; provide jobs to local residents; and heavily contribute to their local tax base, funding everything from schools, police and many other municipal services.

According to federal government statistics, 99.7 percent of all employer firms are small businesses. Small businesses also generate 63 percent of new jobs and make up 48.5 percent of private-sector employment.

With the prosperity of New York City and the country so closely tied to the success of small businesses, it is critical that government do all it can to help entrepreneurs make their businesses successful. On the federal level, a great deal of assistance is provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA), an independent agency created by Congress to assist, counsel and protect the interests of small-business owners. The SBA offers many programs for individuals to start and run a small business, such as providing grants and loans, and help to develop business plans and obtain government contracts, among many other services.

I urge all entrepreneurs to make use of the valuable resources that the SBA provides, whether it’s an idea for a startup or questions about operating an existing business. Go to SBA.gov to tap into the huge array of these services.

Just two weeks ago, I arranged for the head of the SBA, Maria Contreras-Sweet, to visit Queens, where she saw borough businesses firsthand. While meeting with area entrepreneurs, she, too, encouraged local small-business owners to take advantage of all that the agency has to offer.

As a member of the House Small Business Committee, I’ve made helping small businesses a top priority during my first term in Congress.

After organizing and taking part in a rare Congressional field hearing in Queens, I worked with the SBA to make it easier for entrepreneurs to gain critical access to capital. I also helped arrange for additional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) services in Queens, and I continue my efforts to secure a third full-service facility in the borough—a site that would be more central to our district and meet the language and cultural needs of area business owners.

There are several other initiatives I’ve been proud to spearhead, from hosting seminars to sponsoring and supporting legislation to helping entrepreneurs impacted by Hurricane Sandy. During my second term in 2015, I plan to continue these and other initiatives, and I’ll continue to work closely with the SBA and other government agencies. We must ensure that entrepreneurs are aware of the resources that are available to them, and that they stay up to date with the ever-changing business landscape.

With so much at stake, it is imperative that we help small businesses grow and thrive in order to ensure that our economy moves in the right direction and continues to recover from the economic downturn. As the daughter of Queens small-business owners, I have a profound understanding of the struggles and needs of small businesses. We cannot afford to let them down.

In addition to government resources, consumers must do their part. It is essential that Queens residents support small businesses in their communities. I’ll be doing so on National Small Business Saturday this Nov. 29. I hope you will as well.

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng is a Democrat representing Queens.

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Bayside small businesses praised by feds


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the borough president's office

With more small businesses than big box stores on Bell Boulevard, the commercial strip was the perfect destination for the head of the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) when she made the trip to New York last week.

“I’m so excited to be here in Bayside,” said Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of SBA. “Unlike many other places, Bell Boulevard has such a high concentration of small businesses and I want to keep this area thriving.”

Contreras-Sweet, along with Congresswoman Grace Meng, spoke to the owners of Bayside Milk Farm and went behind the food market’s deli to try out some of the food.

During the trip, Contreras-Sweet urged business owners to use the free resources that SBA provides. Many new initiatives, Contreras-Sweet said, are meant to help small businesses modernize their tools.

Small businesses can get technical assistance through a program called Operation HOPE. Entrepreneurs can also get loans and business counseling through SBA’s Direct Resource Packet, which brings together information about lenders and counselors in one document online.

“Thank you for your voice and thank you for all the great work you’re doing,” Meng said to Contreras-Sweet.

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Outrage after DMV dismisses tickets against driver who killed toddler in Flushing


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The Department of Motor Vehicles has dropped two tickets against the driver who fatally struck a 3-year-old girl in Flushing last year, angering the toddler’s father and others.

Allison Liao and her grandmother were crossing the intersection of Cherry Avenue and Main Street on Oct. 6, 2013, when an SUV hit the child, according to police.

The driver, identified in media reports as Ahmad Abu-Zayedeha, remained at the scene and was not charged with a crime. But he was issued two summonses for failing to exercise due care and failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

The girl’s father, Hsi-Pei Liao, took to social media Friday to express his feelings over the dismissal of the summonses.

“.@nysdmv why did you void the 2 tickets for the driver that killed my 3 year old daughter!?!?” he wrote on Twitter.

He has filed a civil suit against Abu-Zayedeha, according to the New York Post.

Advocacy group Transportation Alternatives and U.S. Rep. Grace Meng were also upset over the decision and took aim at the DMV.

In a statement, Meng said she would be writing to the department about the dismissal.

“After watching the video of this tragedy, I find the decision to dismiss these tickets very troubling,” she said.

Photo via Hsi-Pei Liao/Twitter

Photo via Hsi-Pei Liao/Twitter

According to the video and published reports, Liao and her grandmother were crossing with the light and holding each other’s hands when the SUV struck them as it was making a turn.

Abu-Zayedeha had been drinking before the accident, but passed a Breathalyzer test, reports said. He testified under oath that Allison had run into the path of his car, according to Gothamist.

Transportation Alternatives called for the removal of DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala.

“This is an outrageous injustice to the family of Allison Liao, and to all New Yorkers,” executive Director Paul Steely White said. “The two summonses were already a mere slap on the wrist for the driver who failed to yield and killed Allison Liao when she was in the crosswalk with the light, hand-in-hand with her grandmother. Now the state Department of Motor Vehicles has decided the deadly driver who muscled his way through that crosswalk doesn’t even deserve such a paltry sanction.”

In a statement released to CBS New York, the DMV reiterated that no criminal charges were brought against Abu-Zayedeha in connection to the accident and said that the tickets had been dismissed on July 1.

“However, whenever a fatal accident occurs anywhere in the state, the DMV schedules a special safety hearing,” the statement also said. “That hearing for Mr. Abu-Zayedeha has been set for January 6. At that time, a determination will be made if Mr. Abu-Zayedeha has any culpability for the accident on October 6 that would result in any action being taken with regard to his driver license based on the Vehicle and Traffic law. DMV is an administrative agency and has no authority with regard to law enforcement or criminal prosecution.”

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Legislation proposed to give Glendale its own ZIP code


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Is it Glendale or Ridgewood? You can’t tell from the ZIP code.

But the confusion may be a thing of the past if new legislation, introduced by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, gets passed.

“For years, the residents of Glendale have sought to obtain a ZIP code for their community and now I join them in their fight,” Meng said. “Most areas in the borough are recognized by their neighborhood names, which provide a sense of identity and pride for local residents. That is true for Glendale, and it’s time for the Postal Service to accept and recognize that by creating a ZIP code that the community can finally call its own.”

The pleas for a Glendale ZIP code have been constant for over a decade but have continually fallen on deaf ears, according to published reports. The neighborhood currently shares its 11385 ZIP Code with Ridgewood.

In 2007, the U.S. Postal Service shot down Glendale’s plea for its own ZIP code because it would be too costly and would have an adverse effect on mail service, according to the Daily News.

But residents and elected officials are willing to give it another go and win their very own five-digit identity.

“The residents and business owners in Glendale have advocated for Glendale to have a unique ZIP code for many year,” said Brian Dooley, president of the Glendale Property Association.

“Glendale should be recognized as a truly unique place with its own identity, issues and strengths, separate and apart from our neighbors in Ridgewood.”

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House bill looks at Flushing’s connection to religious freedom


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

File Photo

There’s more than just tennis and the World’s Fair in Queens. U.S. Rep. Grace Meng wants to add the roots of American religious freedom to Queens’ list of accomplishments.

A bill, sponsored by Meng, would require the government to look into funding Flushing sites like the Bowne House and Quaker Meetinghouse, according to the Library of Congress. These sites are associated with the 1657 signing of the Flushing Remonstrance, the document recognized as the forerunner of religious freedom in America.

Her bill won a majority in the House of Representatives on Monday night.

“The passage of this legislation brings us one step closer towards many more Americans learning about the important role that Queens played in the history of religious freedom in America,” Meng said.

If the bill passes the Senate and is signed by President Barack Obama, the Flushing sites would receive federal funding and, according to Meng, result in increased tourism.

“Not only would the two facilities become more well-known, but the sites would stand to receive many more visitors each year, and more tourism translates into more dollars for the Queens economy,” she said. “It’s time for more people across the country to know about the Flushing Remonstrance, and putting these sites on a national stage is a sure way to accomplish that.”

Rosemary Vietor, vice president of the Bowne House Historical Society, was “thrilled” to hear the news and said that the study would help lift the Flushing Remonstrance signing out of obscurity.

“The 1657 Remonstrance triggered events which established the principle of religious freedom in the colony of New Amsterdam,” she said, “which led to the guarantee of religious freedom in the First Amendment more than 100 years later.”

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Op-ed: Protect yourself from skin cancer all year long


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

DR. WAYNE KYE

May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Protection Month. It makes sense to focus on skin protection when spring gives way to summer and we spend more time outdoors. While we should be especially vigilant in the strong summer sun, it is also important to remember to protect our skin throughout the year.

Damage can be done in the fall and winter and on cloudy days. Many facial moisturizers are now made with SPF 30 or higher and should be used year-round, along with hats and sunglasses.

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, with more than 2 million people diagnosed each year. In 2014, it is expected that 76,100 of new cases will be melanoma skin cancer, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, leading to 9,710 deaths. One person dies from melanoma skin cancer every hour. In New York alone, it is expected that there will be 4,240 new cases of melanoma skin cancer in 2014. People too often don’t realize that melanoma can be deadly or understand that everyone, regardless of age, hair color, race or gender is at risk.

The primary cause of skin cancer is damage from the sun’s UV rays (ultraviolet radiation). Spending time in the sun, tanning or getting sunburned ages your skin rapidly and leads to a higher risk of skin cancer.

Tanning booths, popular among teenagers, produce dangerous UV rays and are especially harmful to those who are younger than 35, increasing their risk of melanoma by 75 percent. One indoor tanning session can increase your risk of melanoma by 20 percent. There is also a higher risk for people who smoke, have fair skin, freckles or light-colored eyes, have a family history of skin cancer or have numerous moles.

Children are especially vulnerable and spend more time outdoors than they do at any other time in their lives. Skin damage at an early age significantly raises the risk of skin cancer later on in life, so it is crucial to be attentive with young people. By practicing sun safety consistently, they will learn habits to use during teenage years and adulthood.

Here are some things everyone — regardless of age — should know:

  • Seek shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is the strongest. Even when it is cloudy out, UV rays can still reach the earth’s surface.
  •  Don’t get burned. Always use sunscreen when you are outside. Use at least SPF 30 sunscreen that is UVA and UVB blocking. Apply a palmful to your entire body 20 minutes before exposure, repeating every 2 hours. Do not forget to use SPF lip balm, too — even your lips are sensitive to sun rays.
  • •When you are in the sun, protect your eyes with UV-absorbent sunglasses, and wear a wide-brimmed hat and tightly woven clothing for maximum protection.
  •  Enjoy brief sun exposure of 15 minutes up to 3 days a week to your arms, face and hands. This produces much-needed Vitamin D.

It is also important that your health professional give your skin an annual examination — and that you check yourself monthly. Look for new moles or moles that have changed in size, color or shape. If you find a change in your skin, red spots, have sores that do not heal, or new moles, see your health professional right away.

The power of the sun should not be feared, but it must be respected. Always be cautious when going out in the sun. The preventive steps outlined above are easy and effective. Follow them. Encourage your loved ones to do the same. For more information on skin cancer and cancer prevention, visit preventcancer.org.

Dr. Wayne Kye is the spouse of Representative Grace Meng (NY-6) and a member of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

 

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Miss America to judge Rep. Meng’s contest


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Matt Boyd Photography

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

U.S. Rep Grace Meng has tapped someone who knows a little something about contests to judge her first-ever science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competition. 

Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri will be a contest judge for Meng’s district as a part of the nationwide “The House Student App Challenge.”

For the contest, high school students in congressional districts around the country will be challenged to create an app for mobile, tablet or computer devices on a platform of their choosing.

The winning app from Meng’s district will be displayed in an exhibit in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., along with winners from other congressional districts.

“Nina is an advocate for STEM education and a role model to those seeking to enter the STEM fields,” Meng said. “Her involvement in our competition will further highlight the outstanding STEM talent that exists here in Queens, and I look forward to her helping to decide the winner.”

Davuluri, 25, who was crowned Miss America in September 2013, is the first person of Indian descent to win the famed contest. She will be a judge alongside Jukay Hsu, founder of tech advocacy group Coalition for Queens.

Davuluri graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science. She aspires to be a physician and has traveled across the country pushing STEM education, hoping to attract more students into the field.

“It’s an honor to be participating as one of the judges in the first annual congressional STEM competition,” Davuluri said. “As Miss America, I am proud to advocate for STEM education, and I am excited to see how creative the students will be in their presentations.”

Students wishing to enter the contest can click here for more information. They are required to provide a video explaining the app they’ve created.

So far, more than a dozen students have entered the contest. The contest will continue to accept entries until May 31, and the winner will be announced in June.

 

 

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Rep. Meng wants Flushing gems added to National Park Service


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Federal park officials are supporting a bill by Congressmember Grace Meng that would make historic Flushing sites part of the National Park Service, the legislator said.

The measure would require the Secretary of the Interior, who oversees federal parkland, to look into whether sites connected to the Flushing Remonstrance could be included in the national park system.

The Remonstrance, a historic 1657 petition, was signed by Peter Stuyvesant and 30 citizens to protest a policy that banned Quakers from practicing their religion in the colony of New Netherland.

Other sites mentioned in the bill are Flushing’s John Bowne House, where the Quakers held meetings, and the Old Quaker Meetinghouse, which was built in 1694 by Bowne and other Quakers.

“The story of the Flushing Remonstrance is not for New Yorkers alone,” Meng said. “It was an early struggle to establish the fundamental right to practice one’s religion.”

National Park Service Associate Director Victor Knox said the Department of the Interior supports the bill during a recent hearing held in Washington, according to Meng.

 

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John Liu endorses Congressmemeber Grace Meng for re-election


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Congressmember Grace Meng

Former Comptroller John Liu put an end to rumors he may run against Congressmember Grace Meng by endorsing the popular Flushing representative for her re-election bid Monday.

“I thank John Liu for his endorsement and for highlighting the important work I’ve done in Congress during my first year in Washington,” Meng said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to work with him to make our city, state and borough an even better place to live.”

Liu, after an unsuccessful bid for mayor, has reportedly been eyeing a spot back in elected office.

However, the current part-time Baruch College professor has not confirmed or denied any rumors that include possible challenges to Congressmember Nydia Velázquez or State Senator Tony Avella.

 

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Police, Congressmember Meng warn of phone scam


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Don’t be another phone scam victim, police and Congressmember Grace Meng are warning.

Criminals, posing as authority figures, are either targeting immigrants with threats of deportation or calling victims to say they owe money to the IRS or to utility companies.

Meng said scammers are posing as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials, asking for Social Security and passport numbers.

The thieves then say payment is needed to fix immigration record problems, in many cases demanding victims use a Green Dot MoneyPak, police said.

“These are not government officials trying to correct a problem. They are con artists trying to rip people off,” Meng said.

Residents should be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason, police said. Cops also warn residents not to give out personal or financial information to anyone who calls or emails.

Utility and government agencies will never say to pay immediately with Green Dot MoneyPak or even ask for payments over the phone, the NYPD said.

Victims should call their local precincts or report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission here.

Meng said constituents concerned about their immigration records can call her office at 718-445-7860 or visit here.

The congressmember introduced an anti-spoofing bill last December, calling for penalties for  those who use caller IDs to misrepresent themselves in order to get personal or financial information.

“The public should be on guard against this outrageous scam and not fall victim to it,” Meng said.

 

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Local leaders applaud city’s call to save Gifted & Talented seats


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Local leaders are hailing the city’s decision to allow all District 26 elementary school students enrolled in Gifted & Talented (G&T) programs to be grandfathered into middle school programs.

“There is no more important issue in our community than the education of our students,” said Assemblymember Nily Rozic. “The new policy reflects the children and parents in District 26 and will allow families to focus on getting their children off to a strong start in middle school.”

Parents were outraged when they learned students would no longer be automatically accepted into their local middle school G&T programs.

Fifth grade students would have to submit applications and seek admission to middle school G&T programs based on their fourth grade New York State ELA and math scores, the Department of Education (DOE) previously said.

More than 750 people signed an online petition, protesting the abrupt change.

“The Gifted and Talented programs in our schools are vitally important to the education of our students,” said Congressmember Grace Meng. “After listening closely to the needs of parents, the community, and elected officials, I applaud the Department of Education for its decision to add more G&T seats in District 26 as well as allow current students through fifth grade to remain in the program.”

According to Councilmember Mark Weprin, the DOE will also create more middle school G&T programs for high-performing general education students.

“With the opening of additional classes for incoming students who qualify for the program, the agreement is good news for parents across the district,” he said.

 

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