Tag Archives: State Senator Joseph Addabbo

American Softball starts second season helping developmentally disabled of Queens


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

Randy Novick asked which hand the player threw with.

He held up his left hand, which was already gripping a softball. Novick, patient and personable, found a glove that fit. As he adjusted it for the player’s hand, Novick recalled a visit to the man’s group home and how much he had enjoyed it.

It was just another Saturday as American Softball entered its second full season after Novick revived it last year. The league works with five group homes for mentally disabled people throughout Queens. There are about 50 players who all get a chance to hit, run the bases and play the field.

“The players are just happy to play because the rules are, there are no  rules,” he said. “It’s nice to get to see the players do something they normally wouldn’t do.”

This year, it was easier to get started for Novick. Last season, he had problems finding a field and getting funding.

He said he hopes the league can one day expand citywide or even across the country.

Novick, a Howard Beach resident, credited State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilmember Eric Ulrich for supporting his efforts. The organizer recruited coaches from counselors to childhood friends who wanted to lend a hand.

Addison John, a counselor at Services for the UnderServed, said clients normally start looking forward to the game by the middle of the week. Services for the UnderServed provides support for individuals with mental illness and other challenges.

“They love it,” John said. “As Friday comes, they’re ready to go.”

The coaches include Dore DeQuattro, a musician and lifelong friend of Novick’s. DeQuattro said he has enjoyed being able to give personal attention to the players. He added while his band regularly plays for the developmentally disabled, the league lets him get to work with individuals on a one-on-one basis.

“I just love these guys,” he said. “I love to give them a little extra personal attention.”

 

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Cross Bay Diner back in business after Sandy closure


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos  by Terence M. Cullen

Order up!

The Cross Bay Diner reopened on Friday, May 24 after being closed nearly seven months due to Sandy damage.

The diner’s reopening marks another step forward for the community as fewer businesses remain shuttered due to the storm.

Michael Siderakis, the owner of Cross Bay Diner, State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Councilmember Eric Ulrich and community members Frances Scarantino and Frank Gulluscio cut the ribbon to mark the popular eatery’s reopening.

Cross Bay Diner owner Michael Siderakis and State Senator Joseph Addabbo.

 

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Call for full gaming at Resorts World Casino


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Politicians and leaders in the Queens business community are calling for the state to ante up on full gaming in Queens.

State legislators and the Queens Chamber of Commerce called for a better plan to give Queens a casino if voters approve table gaming this November. They said Resorts World Casino New York City could become a full casino just months after the referendum is passed.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has said if complete gaming is approved, an upstate casino will be the first to reap the benefits and drive tourism north. Queens might not get a casino until five years after the referendum passes.

The Queens Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director Jack Friedman said both upstate and downstate New York will have an opportunity for full casinos if voters approve them.

“We’re saying to the governor, this is not an either-or proposition,” Friedman said. “There’s room for both. Let’s do it now. Resorts World is ready, willing and able to take on table gaming, and it would be a big, big boost to the Queens economy.”

The Racino has boasted more than a billion dollars in total revenue – a large amount of which goes back to the state for education – along with employment opportunities for locals.

Councilmember Leroy Comrie said the Racino has hired many people in his district. He added that more jobs from full gaming would help unemployed people in Queens, especially those affected by Sandy.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, whose district includes Resorts World, said the Racino could have table games as early as January 2014 if Queens is approved under the state’s plan.

Both Addabbo and Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder said they and their communities could not wait up to five years for full gaming to come to Queens.

Addabbo said he is pushing for a sooner start time if a casino is cleared for south Queens. In the remaining five weeks the legislature is in session, the senator said there are still considerable discussions that have to take place.

“We are in uncharted territory here,” Addabbo said. “This is an unpaved road for our state. We’ve never been in a position like this before for full gaming.”

Goldfeder said the tools were already at Resorts World to set up expanded gaming at the facility.

“Infrastructure is already in place,” he said. “Anybody who’s been there knows there’s a third floor ready to expand, to house the table games. You have a trusted partner that is willing. You have a location that is perfect and now is the time.”

 

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New Ozone Park school begins construction


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of School Construction Authority

Soon, school bells will be ringing.

Officials held a ground-breaking ceremony for a new elementary school in Ozone Park today.

The facility will hold nearly 450 students and open next year.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich, representatives for State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assembymember Mike Miller along with officials from the School Construction Authority led the ceremony for P.S. 316 at 90-07 101st Avenue.

The $38 million project is on the site formerly occupied by St. Stanislaus Catholic elementary school. P.S. 316 will accommodate students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Along with the school, a new playground will be built across the street.


Patricia McCabe, chief of staff for State Senator Joseph Addabbo; Lorraine Grillo, head of the School Construction Authority; Councilmember Eric Ulrich; Mary Ann Maltese, chief of staff for Assemblymember Michael Miller; and Monica Gutierrez, community relations manager for the School Construction Authority break ground on P.S. 316. (THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen)

 

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Community voices post-Sandy frustrations at FEMA meeting


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Gina Borrello used to live in a one-story home in Hamilton Beach.

But since Sandy hit almost six months ago and submerged her house underwater, it has been infested with toxic mold, leaving her and her six children displaced.

“I need help,” she said.

Her daughter, Donna Sirota spoke about how they have been getting by.

“First we were staying at family friends’ houses but their landlords would complain because they don’t want people in their house. The electric bill goes up, the water bill goes up. Now we’re getting an apartment. We have to pay for the apartment and we have to pay for the mortgage, still. It’s really crazy.”

At a town hall meeting hosted by FEMA and State Senator Joseph Addabbo, members of the community voiced frustration and anger at the agency’s recently-released flood maps, which would require home owners to purchase flood insurance that would cost each household anywhere from $10,000 to $31,000 in addition to their existing mortgages and home insurance premiums, depending on their zoning.

“The problem is that you’re changing the rules in the middle of the game,” said Dan Mundy, president of the Broad Channel Civic Association. “Middle class people were encouraged to settle here and I don’t think any objective person no matter where you live would agree with the idea that someone who’s on a structured budget trying to cover all their bases could ever handle somewhere close to $1,000-$2,000 a month or more.”

In a packed auditorium in P.S. 146, the atmosphere quickly revealed the continuing devastation felt by the neighborhood’s residents even after almost half a year has passed since the storm.

When asked if he felt the meeting addressed the community’s concerns, resident Peter Passalacqua said much wasn’t relayed.

“I think there is a lot more information that is buried that is just not coming out on flood elevations and zones and stuff,” he said. “We’re not hearing the big picture.”

His story, one including uphill battles with insurance companies who are offering only a fraction of the cost to repair damages, is hardly unique in this middle-class neighborhood that saw unprecedented devastation from the superstorm.

Residents urged each other to “keep showing up” and “push for more action.”

One stood up to say that this is about rebuilding more than just their homes.

“[We’re fighting] to stay in a neighborhood that we love and where we raise our kids. We need to fight in an educated manner.”

Mundy said affected residents all across the east coast are mobilizing through the “Stop FEMA Now” movement to get the aid they need to rebuild and push back against a proposal they believe is unjust.

“What we’re looking to do is to seek relief legislation because there is no way we could accept it the way it is.”

-BY ROSA KIM

 

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Mobile Command Center offers on-site help for Sandy insurance needs


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

People still dealing with Sandy-related insurance problems got a little help when the state Department of Financial Services (DFS) came to town.

A DFS Mobile Command Center set up shop on Cross Bay Boulevard on Thursday, March 21 to help with insurance needs in the wake of Sandy. About 15 to 20 people were helped between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the site, according to Peter DeLucia, director of special events for State Senator Joseph Addabbo.

Many people have had problems with insurance disbursements as they try and rebuild after the storm, DeLucia said. Addabbo and his staff have been in contact with DFS since the storm and were able to get aid to come to Howard Beach.

“We’ve been in contact with them constantly since the storm hit,” DeLucia said, adding that it was helpful for residents to work directly with DFS staffers. “There’s only so much we can do.”

DFS set up shop the next day in Rockaway with Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder and helped an additional 20-plus people.

The Command Center will return to the same Howard Beach spot, at 163-50 Cross Bay Boulevard, on Saturday, March 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

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Rockaway residents take to City Hall, demand say in Sandy rebuilding


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

By day 143, Rockaway residents had had enough.

Scores traveled to the steps of City Hall on Saturday, March 23 to call on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city to help residents rebuild after Sandy.

Shoulder to shoulder with elected officials and candidates for mayor and borough president, resident after resident told personal stories of their prolonged recovery and demanded a say in how the peninsula is rebuilt.

“Now, as community residents of the Rockaway peninsula and Broad Channel, we demand to always have our voices heard on what goes on with all future projects, and most importantly, to be part of the process when implementing them to protect our community from another Sandy, or any type of possible future disasters,” said Danny Ruscillo, president of the 100th Precinct Community Council. Ruscillo held a sign that became one of the chants during the hour-long press conference: “United we stand. Divided we drown.”

Senator Charles Schumer recently secured money to rebuild New York beaches, and take measures to prevent flooding.

 

The Army Corps of Engineers, which has been conducting surveys on protecting the beach-front community for more than a decade, recently said the study would take at least another year-and-a-half.

But residents like Margaret Wagner think that’s too long. Wagner said she took the trip to lower Manhattan while her husband was at home putting up sheetrock in their Broad Channel home.

“We want the studies to end tomorrow,” said Wagner. “Give us a plan today. Not a year-and-a-half from now.”
John Cori and Eddie Pastore, who run Friends of Rockaway Beach and organized the City Hall rally, have long campaigned to build better beach protection.

This was not the first time Rockaway residents have criticized Bloomberg and his administration for what they believed was a delayed reaction to the storm. On a visit to Breezy Point in November, Bloomberg was lambasted by a resident; spectators at the St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 2 booed him when he marched.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich and State Senator Joseph Addabbo both said it was crucial that those who live there have the final say in how the communities are rebuilt.

“These residents have to live with what’s left behind,” Addabbo said. “Let’s get to work for these people.”

“We heard about the federal money that Senator Schumer was able to secure and we’re very grateful for that,” Ulrich said. “But the community needs to be kept in the loop as to how that money is going to be spent.”

 

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Councilmember Eric Ulrich

Pols say ‘no dice’ to no downstate full gaming


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Governor Andrew Cuomo pulled a wild card last week.

New York will get seven new casinos if voters approve a full-gaming amendment this fall, Cuomo said during his State of the State address. Most of these casinos, however, will be upstate — particularly in the Finger Lake region — to drive tourism to other areas of New York.

The news has some elected officials working to ensure Resorts World Casino New York City will continue growing in South Ozone Park and creating jobs in the area.

Immediately after the governor’s generalized proposal on gaming in the state, State Senator Joseph Addabbo texted Cuomo staffers about the statement; Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder got to Twitter. Both officials, who represent the Aqueduct property and surrounding neighborhoods, are working to ensure that Resorts World becomes one of those seven full-gaming casinos.

The governor’s proposal was open for interpretation, Addabbo said, and the already-built Racino is prime for table games. Should gaming laws pass this fall, Addabbo said the Racino’s proximity to JFK Airport makes it the prime place for further development and could build up the burgeoning area.

“There’s too many facts here that cannot be ignored to say, ‘no, we’re not doing a full-fledged casino there,’” Addabbo said. “That would be an irrational thought.”

Goldfeder likewise said future expansion at Aqueduct was crucial to job growth and economic impact in south Queens.

“Especially post-Sandy, we need to create jobs and spur, boost our economy,” he said. “And putting gaming at Aqueduct would do exactly that.”

Resorts World executives are confident the company’s partnership will continue to grow, said spokesperson Stefan Friedman. Executives also plan on continuing to generate revenue for the state, particularly for education. “We remain interested in enhancing the extremely successful partnership with New York State that has led to Resorts World’s status as the number one slot machine revenue generator in entire country and look forward to reviewing the governor’s proposal to facilitate economic development in Upstate New York,” Friedman said in a statement.

Both the senator and assemblymember said they expect the pre-developed land used for a venue that would bring more visitors to the area. Having full gaming at Resorts World would only help that cause, Goldfeder said.

“We’ve got a lot of big plans for that site and enhanced gaming would be a great anchor,” he said. “But I’m confident that, working with the governor, we’re going to come to a real conclusion that would be in the best interest of the community.”

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then clear. High of 46. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then overcast. Low of 41. Winds from the NE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

QUEENS COURIER 2012 ELECTION DAY COVERAGE

Throughout the day and night Queens Courier will be updating our website, Facebook page and Twitter account (@QueensCourier) using the hastag #courierpolitics, with news and photos on the local elections and presidential race, from the casting of ballots to the final results.

If you have yet to head to the polls or even make up your mind about whom to vote for, check out our Queens Election Guide.

Voters who have been displaced by Sandy and can’t vote at their regular poll site, can find out if their voting place has been relocated here or, as Governor Cuomo announced last night, can cast an affidavit ballot at any poll site in New York State.

 Storm to hit Sandy-stricken Northeast

As the Northeast still recovers from Sandy, another storm is poised to strike the area later this week. Read more: Queens Courier

Families search for loved ones in the wake of Sandy

A Broad Channel man battled a broken boardwalk last week in search of his 65-year-old father, who refused to abandon his Rockaway beachfront home. Read more: Queens Courier

Hurricane Sandy could decide fate of New York State Senate

The future of the New York State Senate could be decided in the flood-soaked, fire-scarred parts of Queens that were hardest hit by superstorm Sandy. Read more: New York Daily News

Schools reopen to snarls; transit headaches persist

In Lower Manhattan, students shivered in school buildings that had lights, but no heat; on Staten Island, they sat by classmates whose homes had been destroyed; and in every borough, some students stayed home as the city used their classrooms, hallways and gymnasiums as shelters. Read more: New York Times

Cabbies demand express lane for fueling up, complain of long daily waits

On Monday night, New York City cabbies were demanding an express lane at local gas stations, as they complained of waiting up to six hours a day to refuel. Read more: CBS New York

In case of a recount, a long wait for Ohio

Election Day in Ohio is Tuesday, as in every other state in the union. But if the margin in the presidential contest is narrow here, as many polls predict, the winner may not be known until well into December. Read more: New York Times

New Congress likely to frustrate Obama or Romney

No matter who is elected president, he’s likely to find that the next Congress will remain what the current one has been for President Barack Obama – a headache. Read more: AP

Congressional races set records for spending

There may be little drama left in the outcome, but you wouldn’t know that by watching the final days of campaigning in the battle for the U.S. House. Read more: CNN

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then overcast. High of 59. Winds from the North at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the East in the afternoon. Chance of rain 20%. Monday night: Overcast with rain. Low of 54. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the NNE after midnight. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.2 in. possible.

EVENT of the DAY:  Queens Restaurant Week 

The ninth annual Queens Restaurant Week starts today with many eateries offering prix-fixe menus at $25 for a three-course meal or other specials. More than 100 restaurants are participating in the event, which takes place October 8-11 and October 15-18. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Poll finds tight Queens state Senate race

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. and City Councilman Eric Ulrich are locked in a tight race for Addabbo’s Queens seat in a key battle for control of the Senate, a new poll finds. Read more: New York Post

New York City Housing Authority finally placing cameras at the Pomonok Houses in Queens, but mostly in areas where there is no crime

It seems like a no-brainer — put the cameras where the crime is. But that’s not what happened at the Pomonok Houses in Queens, a Daily News examination found. Read more: New York Daily News

Friends to have fundraiser for Army Guardsman in police shooting

The friends of the Army National Guardsman who was shot and killed by a detective during a traffic stop in Queens, will raise money to help his family pay for his funeral Sunday. Read more: Fox New York

Students turned away from SATs because of ID confusion

Taking the SAT is a rite of passage for many high schoolers but some Queens students were mistakenly turned away because of confusion over their IDs. Read more: NY1

MetroCards go on sale with ads on both sides

It sputtered out of the subway vending machine, an oddity that deserved careful examination. Some riders asked a station agent how to swipe it. One woman was confused about whether it was even a MetroCard at all. Read more: New York Times

Yankees win ALDS playoff opener over Orioles 7-2

CC Sabathia, Russell Martin and the New York Yankees crashed a party that was 15 years in the making. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Obama ribs his own debating; Romney eyes speech

On a last dash for cash in the celebrity scene of California, President Barack Obama on Sunday took a good-natured shot as his own underwhelming debate performance, marveling at how his friends in the entertainment business could turn in flawless showings every time. Read more: AP

 

 

Bob Dole, Donald Rumsfeld endorse Reyes for State Senate


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo is Courtesy of Reyes for State Senate

Heavily shorthanded in endorsements this campaign, Republican candidate Juan Reyes picked up the backing of former presidential candidate Bob Dole and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

“[I am] humbled and grateful to have the endorsement of two giants in the Republican Party,” Reyes said in a statement.

The former mayoral counsel and current lawyer faces off against Councilmember Eric Ulrich on Thursday, September 13 to see which Republican will run against incumbent State Senator Joseph Addabbo.

Reyes worked as a staffer to Dole, who served five terms in the Senate, before serving a number of positions in the second Giuliani administration.

Dole called the senate hopeful “an outstanding leader who will fight for you and your family in Albany. He won’t tolerate the political nonsense that has done so much damage to New York’s economy.”

Rumsfeld said Reyes was a good conservative who would cut taxes and help economic growth.

“Juan is smart, tough minded, decent and hardworking,” he said. “He is a solid conservative who stands for lower taxes, less government spending, and a strong emphasis on economic growth in the private sector.”

Along with these endorsements, Reyes also has the backing of the Queens Republican Party. In contrast, Ulrich has a score of endorsements including: former Governor George Pataki, the Independent Party, the New York State Senate Elections Committee and Congressmember Peter King.

 

15th State Senate District endorsements rolling in


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

In the race for the 15th State Senate District, candidates have been garnering certain key endorsements.

Congressmember Bob Turner endorsed City Councilmember Eric Ulrich — as the Ozone Park native will face off in a primary against former mayoral aide Juan Reyes. The winner of the race will then go up against incumbent State Senator Joseph Addabbo.

 

 

 

 

 

“Eric is part of a new era of leadership that will make state government work again,” Turner said. “I have the great fortune of serving alongside him and I’ve seen first-hand his commitment to the community. He understands the kitchen-table issues that Queens families are facing and he is by far the most qualified candidate to bring New York out of its economic decline and put people back to work.”

Both represent the same area in their respective government bodies.

This endorsement comes after the 27-year-old councilmember got backing from the Queens Conservative party last week, and then the Independent Pary on June 4 — an endorsement given to Addabbo in 2010.

In order to run against Addabbo, however, Ulrich must first beat Reyes, a formal mayoral aid, in the June 26 primary. Reyes, a Forest Hills lawyer, received an endorsement from the Queens GOP.

The GOP choice has not affected the Ulrich campaign; rather, its members say a primary would strengthen the camp. Supporters of Ulrich are confident he will come out the victor of the primary, said Bill O’Reilly, his campaign spokesperson.

“Sometimes a primary can work out the kinks in a campaign,” O’Reilly said. “It’s a good practice-run for a general election.”

Ulrich — whose current city council district comprises a big chunk of the senate district — has the support of many party members in his zone, which includes Howard Beach, Ozone Park and Lindenwood, O’Reilly said.

“We think that’ll be an advantage going into election day,” he said. “Both in the primary and the general election.”

State Senator Joseph Addabbo has received endorsements from the United Federation of Teachers and other unions. While it is still early in the election, Addabbo said he has been focusing on business in Albany and meeting with his district’s constituents.

Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center has hope


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Officials of the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center — and 15 students in the complex’s Children’s Day Treatment program — are hoping they won’t be left out on the streets the second the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Day.

The health center and its treatment program have been housed by Peninsula Hospital in Far Rockaway for over 10 years.

But close to a month ago, Peninsula’s new management, Revival Home Health Care, said they needed the space back — and by the end of the year — in order to expand the hospital’s emergency room, according to officials.

Now — after first receiving notice to vacate the premises in only three months — Dr. Peter Nelson, the CEO of Addabbo Center, said the program has hope in its frantic search for a new home and more time.

“The message got through to him,” Nelson said of Todd Miller, the hospital’s new CEO, whom he had recently met with regarding the time frame of the removal process. “I think at this point, we’ve got his attention. He wanted to be reasonable, and he wanted to see that we were working hard to find a new place. I think we’ll be able to have more time to relocate than by December 31.”

Miller told The Courier that he has in fact granted the program an extension, but did not specify how long.

He said program officials, Peninsula personnel and representatives from the Department of Mental Health will meet next week on December 7 to discuss plans moving forward, including how much time will be actually needed.

“We’re not going to put them out on the street,” he said. “We’ve always been open to a solution that works for everyone. There was just a process that we needed to go through to make sure [program officials] were focused on the fact that they ultimately needed to find a new space.”

He said he was working closely with officials at the Department of Mental Health, as well as elected officials, including State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., to move forward, but no plans have been set in stone.

“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Miller is going to make a decision not to have the day treatment program at the hospital,” said Addabbo, who had also met with Miller to discuss the status of the center. “He feels that he wants to expand services of Peninsula Hospital, and I commend him for that and I commend him for his vision for the hospital, but it’s important to continue the program for the children and to find an alternative space for them.”

Addabbo said the one agreement made during his most recent meeting with Miller was that Miller would be “reasonable in providing the program enough time to find an appropriate, accessible space.”

“I appreciate that courtesy. It is an important program for these children, and the families depend on it,” Addabbo said.

The Children’s Day Treatment program provides clinical and academic services for children aged eight to 10, as well as therapeutic services — including individual and group therapy, psychiatry and parental guidance and counseling. The majority of the students are from the Rockaway community, according to officials, and suffer from profound behavioral and emotional difficulties.

“We’re just trying to make a plan about how we would move, when we would move and get them to work with us around that plan rather than work to try to evict us,” said Ronald Lamb, the program’s director. “I hope that it will lead to a mutually beneficial solution.”

Saint Pancras School students salute local veterans


| mchan@queenscourier.com

addabvetweb

Saint Pancras School students saluted local veterans with personal hand-crafted cards thanking them for their dedication and service to the country.

First and second graders at the Glendale school crafted their cards as personal thank yous that were hand-delivered to veterans in the VA St. Albans Community Care Center by State Senator Joseph Addabbo on Wednesday, November 9.

The creative and colorful construction paper cards were dedicated to the veterans’ sacrifice and service from World War II to the current deployments to the Middle East.

“Each year, to honor the many brave men and women from Queens who have proudly served in the military and in our recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, my district offices support several youth groups to work on some great morale-boosting, holiday-themed projects designed to either applaud those now serving their country far from home, or to salute our heroic veterans housed in the VA St. Albans Community Care Center,” said Addabbo.

The vets were moved, yet delighted, he said, to receive the hundreds of heart-felt tokens of gratitude from the students remembering their service during Veterans Day.