Tag Archives: State of the Borough

Marshall gives final State of the Borough address


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

In the final State of the Borough address of her administration, Borough President Helen Marshall focused on the continued recovery of south Queens nearly three months after Sandy — honoring one first responder in particular for his valiant efforts during the storm.

“Let’s reflect together now,” she said on Tuesday, January 22, “on the devastation Sandy caused. The relief, from across the street and across the country, and the rebuilding, now underway, inspired by hope and the promise of tomorrow.”

Marshall honored the memory of Dylan Smith — the Belle Harbor surfer who tragically died in Puerto Rico last month — for his heroic efforts to help neighbors during the storm. With Smith’s parents in attendance, Marshall announced her office would give a $10,000 grant to the Swim Strong Foundation, which teaches a healthy lifestyle through swimming, in Smith’s memory.

Swim Strong founder Shawn Slevin said the grant in Smith’s name would continue to help the program, which has taught more than 2,000 people water safety and granted nearly 700 scholarships.

“This will mean so much for our scholarship funds,” Slevin said. “The borough president and her staff have always been very supportive of us.”

Michael McDonald, who helped rescue Belle Harbor residents alongside Smith, recalled the late surfer was modest to the attention he received after the storm. Before the audience at Queens College’s Colden Theater, McDonald gave a heartfelt recollection of the late October night and referred to Smith as “a guardian angel in a wetsuit.”

“The idea that his name will be mentioned in what he loved to do, which was not only swim and surf, but look out for the safety of others [is wonderful],” he said.

Marshall, covering several other items on her 2013 agenda, called for continued legislation at the state and federal level to reduce gun violence. Marshall applauded the anti-gun work of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and announced she plans to sponsor a gun buy back program sometime this spring.

“While Thanksgiving was muted by Sandy and the holiday season was saddened by the horrific violence in Newtown, let’s all agree that 2013 must be a year of hope,” Marshall said. “Our hope for getting guns off the street is gaining momentum. Here in our city, we have a long-standing and tireless leader in this effort: Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Perhaps that’s part of the reason we have seen the lowest number of murders in the past 40 years.”

 

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Borough President bestows honors


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

Besides celebrating Queens during her State of the Borough address, Borough President Helen Marshall honored a special few whose spirit and dedication have made the borough a better and safer place to live.

Marshall reserved the end of her speech to recognize a handful of residents and workers who went above and beyond the call of duty this past year and one whose dedication 70 years ago helped protect the country.

Arno Heller, a 91-year-old volunteer in Marshall’s office, emigrated from Germany shortly before World War II and served for the U.S. Army during the global conflict.  His service during that time earned him a Bronze Star, which he will receive shortly, more than a half century after serving the country.  For his service, Heller was bestowed the Declaration of Honor from Marshall.

“What I did in the Army, a lot of people did a lot more,” Heller said.  “I was just a small cog and I was glad to be able to fight for this country that gave me a home and a refuge in 1939.”

Other heroes who received the declaration from the borough president included: Firefighter Ronald Daly, a member of Rescue 4 in Woodside, who entered a raging home fire to rescue a man and his dog; Detectives Charles LoPresti and Richard Johnson, who captured the suspect in four fire bombings that took place in December; and Department of Sanitation workers Joseph Maneggio and Semi Nkozi, who while on duty saw five children and their mother on the roof of a house fire in Far Rockaway and caught each as they leapt from the burning building.

Mr. Met was also on hand to invite Maneggio and Nkozi to a Met game and give them gloves in honor of their life-saving catches.

“These acts are just a sample of the compassion and commitment you find on streets across our borough,” Marshall said.

Helen Marshall delivers State of the Borough


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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During Helen Marshall’s annual address on the state of Queens, the borough president exalted the borough’s successful projects — past, present and future.

“I am so glad that we have gathered here today to celebrate our progress and set the course for the year ahead,” said Marshall to open her 11th State of the Borough address.

Marshall was introduced to the hundreds of elected officials, community leaders and residents on-hand at Queens College’s Colden Center by Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

“We are so incredibly lucky to have Helen as our Queens borough president,” Quinn said. “This is a woman who dedicated her life to this city, life to this borough and we are all better for it.”

Since entering office, Marshall has allocated over half a billion dollars to improving the borough more than 2.2 million New Yorkers call home.

“I have worked hard to put our borough on a firm footing for future generations,” Marshall said during the speech at her alma mater.

Among the successfully completed projects the borough president touched on were the Aqueduct Racino — which received some of the loudest cheers during the 90-minute speech — new and renovated parks in Jamaica, Middle Village, Sunnyside and Elmhurst, four new schools opening and preventing Peninsula Hospital from closing.

When mentioning the planned largest convention center in America on the site of Aqueduct, Marshall made clear that it was in complement to the Willets Point center, not in place of it.

Though Marshall extolled the positives throughout the borough, she recognized there are still battles to be fought.

As the most ethnically diverse county in the nation — “As I always say, visit Queens and see the world,” she said — thousands of new residents from around the globe are making the borough home each year.

“Queens is a victim of its own success,” she said. “Our county attracts new residents and immigrants every year — but not the federal aid needed to build local schools and hospitals to care for them. And then to add insult to injury, we will lose existing aid and representation in Washington because we were undercounted in the census.”

The influx of new residents also leads to overcrowded schools, something the borough president is continuing to work on.

Marshall, who is in her third year of her third term, extolled the burgeoning borough’s plenitude of projects that have broken ground in the past year or are shovel ready, including: Willets Point, Hunters Point, Hallets Point, the new JetBlue headquarters in Long Island City, an expansion of Mount Sinai Queens, and the Cornell applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island.

“We want to learn from yesterday, have hope for today and build a better future for our children,” Marshall said to conclude her address.

Some other highlights of the speech included:
• Saving senior centers from closure, along with the opening of new centers.
• The continued development of L.I.C, downtown Flushing and downtown Jamaica.
• Securing the continued funding of the State Foreclosure Prevention Services Program
• The renovation and planned renovation of the Jamaica, Elmhurst, Hunters Point and Kew Gardens libraries.
• Preserving historical Queens with money allocated to restore the Poppenhusen Institute, Kingland Homestead, Rufus King Manor, Latimer House, Louis Armstrong House and Bowne House.