Tag Archives: JPCA

In Middle Village, civic urged to help find CURES for rail waste woes

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Ridgewood Time/Photo by Anthony Giudice

They’re not giving up the fight.

The leader of a coalition aimed at changing the way waste is shipped by rail through Glendale and Middle Village urged residents at Thursday’s Juniper Park Civic Association meeting in Middle Village to join them in their cause.

Mary Parisen, chair of Civics United for Railroad and Environmental Solutions (CURES), informed those in attendance at Our Lady of Hope School of the group’s efforts to convince state lawmakers to ensure that any train cars carrying waste through local rail lines are capped to prevent residents from being exposed to dust and foul odors.

“We have now been working very hard on this issue, asking our electeds to push back hard, and [on Wednesday] we got a new answer,” Parisen said. “And the answer is, I don’t think we need to convince the state anymore that it has to be done. They have come and said, ‘We are going to entertain some type of closure for these rail cars.’”

Parisen explained that One World Recycling, a partner company in Tunnel Hill Partners whose rail cars travel through the Fresh Pond Rail Yard in Glendale and Middle Village, plans to ship bales of household waste in container cars topped with construction and demolition (C&D) debris. This combination of trash would then be considered municipal solid waste (MSW) and would be covered with a lid.

“If it’s just construction and demolition debris, which is what we see, there’s not going to be any sort of a seal,” Parisen said.

The community has until July 10 to comment on the One World Recycling permit while it is still in the draft stage.

Another partner in Tunnel Hill Partners, Coastal Distribution, wants to try three different options of covering their waste. They have a permit in the draft stage, which states that the options include using a synthetic tarp cover, a mineral spray or a flexible lid, according to Parisen.

“What they want to do is give them the permit, and then test this out, test each one of these options out and have our communities be the guinea pigs,” Parisen explained. “What CURES has been advocating from the very beginning is the total sealing of all rail cars containing any sort of waste. So this is totally unacceptable. We are not guinea pigs. None of this is going to seal odors, or dust, or prohibit vectors.”

Parisen urged the community to call and write letters to Joseph Martens, commissioner of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), informing him that they will not accept anything less than hard lid coverage on all types of waste traveling in rail cars.


Star of Queens: Len Santoro, American Cancer Society, Juniper Park Civic Association

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

star of queens

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Len Santoro started working with the American Cancer Society three years ago. It was his first time volunteering for such a group. Since then, Santoro has worked on several fundraising projects for the society. He also helped work with financial services company Standard & Poor’s to organize a volunteer day.

Around the same time, Santoro started working with the Juniper Park Civic Association (JPCA) after seeing all the work that it does for the community. With the JPCA, he organized neighborhood cleanups, tree plantings and much more. He also helped revive and expand its youth organization. With Santoro’s help, the JPCA has worked alongside the Maspeth High School Green Club, Stop & Shop, the 104th Precinct and others.

BACKGROUND: Santoro was born in Brooklyn, where he lived until he was eight years old. After moving to Ridgewood in 1978, he stayed there for 13 years before moving to Middle Village and then Forest Hills. In addition to his community service, Santoro also works for the IT Department of Standard & Poor’s.

“That job is interesting,” he said. “But it’s the community service that’s really important to me. Society has really opened up my eyes to volunteering, and after my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I found that it was through volunteer work that I was able to feel as though I was doing something to help her and others. It empowers you to make you feel that you can make a difference.”

FAVORITE MEMORY: “My favorite memory is probably when I was looking for my first apartment, when I was moving from Middle Village to Forest Hills. At that time, I was becoming more independent. My stepfather taught me a lot about how to negotiate in a way that let me know that I have a voice. He showed me that I’m the buyer in that situation, and if there’s something I want to go my way, I have to say something. That relates to my community service because that period was definitely a period of growth for me.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “I think my biggest challenge is getting volunteers during the summer, especially for the Relay for Life. The challenge there is always getting donations and awareness out on what we do. The biggest advantage that the American Cancer Society has over other organizations is that it offers patient services, does research and doesn’t just focus on one particular cancer.”

INSPIRATION: “I think a lot of my inspiration comes from my mother. I have two older siblings, and even though my parents divorced when I was eight years old, my mother took care of us all by herself. She always put our needs ahead of her own, and that’s what community service is all about, being able to give up your time, but doing it because it makes you feel good. When people appreciate the work that’s being done, that’s a feeling that you can’t describe and can’t replace. My other inspiration is my wife, who was working with the American Cancer Society and encouraged me to become a part of it, and that helped kick off some of the other volunteer work I’ve done since then.”