Van Bramer gears up for borough president run

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Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer is reportedly interested in running for borough president in 2021, according to reports.

In an email sent out to supporters yesterday afternoon, the third-term councilman announced he has already opened a campaign account for the 2021 election cycle.

Though he didn’t specifically say he’s running to lead Borough Hall, his fundraising limit is also capped at $3,850, which is the maximum permitted for a candidate running for that position.

“Representing Queens in the City Council is the greatest honor of my life,” he said in the email. “We live in neighborhoods with rich histories and bright futures – the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.”

“I was born in Queens and have lived here my entire life. I have dedicated my life to making the borough the best that it can be, and I will continue to fight for Queens as a councilman and hopefully one day in higher office.”

Certainly sounds like a borough president run, doesn’t it?

Calls for MTA to survey 7 train viaduct

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Screen shot via Google Maps

After concrete fell from the 7 train viaduct on 41st Street and Queens Boulevard last week, a local elected official wants the MTA to survey and review the needs of the overpass.

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan fired off a letter to MTA Chairman Joe Lhota and said while no one was injured, the incident was a “cause for great concern.”

She wrote that the structure was rebuilt in the early 1990s.

“Our community had been repeatedly assured that the structure would last over 40 years,” Nolan said. “This failure, after only a few decades, is shocking.”

“There are other signs of disrepair on the 7 line, including leaking platform roof rain gutters and buckling treads at the station stairs.”


Chancellor visits PS 150 to see Passport to Social Studies curriculum

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina stopped by PS 150 in Sunnyside this morning to check out how to the Passport to Social Studies curriculum was working.

PS 150 is one of 866 elementary and middle schools using the curriculum, which was introduced last school year.

“Social Studies has always been my favorite subject, and schools across the five boroughs are bringing it to life with the Passport to Social Studies,” Farina says. “I hope the Passport will inspire the next generation of citizens who are well-versed in current events and historical patterns, and think critically about how to improve New York City and our society.”

The curriculum includes instructional resources for teachers and individual lesson plans. Teachers can use it to develop students’ historical understanding and social studies skills.

It encourages young students to ask questions, think critically, gather evidence and consider many perspectives. It also helps students make connections between history and their own lives.

At PS 150, a 5th grade class created a “living history museum” about European explorers. A 3rd grade class created travel brochures and researched endangered animals as part of their unit on China. Finally, a 2nd grade class learned about the history of NYC transportation.

“Social Studies was the first subject I gravitated to in school and was the foundation for my love of history, government and politics,” says Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “I am thrilled to see this engaging curriculum being used in New York City schools, helping to shape the minds and pique the curiosity of another generation of leaders.”

Veterans Memorial at JVD Park gets a wash


The Veterans Memorial at John Vincent Daniels Park in Woodside was cleaned up earlier this week, thanks to the effort of Fedcap and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

The monument is dedicated to a Woodside native who lost his life in the final days of World War I in 1918. The memorial had been defaced over the weekend.

“The defamation of a monument to those who have served our country is a disgrace that I will not accept,” Van Bramer said. “The minute a constituent reached out to my office and alerted me to the situation, I made sure this monument was cleaned and restored as quickly as possible.”

Senator Peralta’s constituent case record

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Have you ever wondered what elected officials do to help the community and constituents they serve?

Well, at least one local politician has revealed the number of constituents cases they have taken up since taking office.

State Senator Jose Peralta’s office touted that they have received more than 9,500 cases since 2011. Last year, they took up 1,792 cases, the most they’ve ever done.

That’s even more than 2012, when they handled 1,753 cases. Their office attributed the rise due to the beginning of the DACA program.

According to the senator, problems relating to housing, quality of life and immigration were at the top of his constituents’ minds.

Here are number of cases by year:

  • 2011: 1,055
  • 2012: 1,753
  • 2013: 950
  • 2014: 1,356
  • 2014: 1,229
  • 2016: 1,396
  • 2017: 1,792

We expect 2018 to follow this trend as well!


Fulbright winners complete prestigious program


A Sunnyside resident was among the Fulbright Award winners who have completed their year-long program abroad.

Sunnysider Chelsea Raymond met with Congressman Joseph Crowley last week, who congratulated her and other Fulbright winners for completing their prestigious program. They were given certificates of Congressional recognition.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright program sponsors Americans complete teaching or research in other countries. Its purpose is to increase mutual understanding between countries.

Raymond studied sport psychology in Scotland with a focus in self-efficacy among underserved youth.

Woodside Library closed today and tomorrow

A quick note for all of our library users.

Queens Library branches, for the most part, are reopening today after most were closed on Thursday because of the blizzard.

Woodside Library is one of the few exceptions. It’s closed today and tomorrow, January 6, for emergency maintenance.

Hopefully, with warmer weather coming after the weekend, all branches will resume back to normal.

City Council bill requires Parks to clean equipment after pesticide sprays

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Hooray for cleaner parks!

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s bill, passed by the City Council, will require Parks to clean playground equipment in city parks within 24 hours after any city agency sprays pesticides.

Van Bramer says he came up with the idea after several constituents complained about sludge left over after pesticide spraying at many playgrounds in his district.

“Cleaning our city’s playgrounds after the application of pesticides is a common-sense policy that will protect public health and quality of life for children and families throughout New York City,” he says.

Have lunch with Santa this Saturday


This Saturday, December 23, from 11 am to 3 pm, join the Ecuadorian American Ayazamana Cultural Center and enjoy a free lunch. The best part? You and your family will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with Santa Claus. Kids will also receive goodie bags and there will be able arts & crafts available for them as well. The event is completely free.

The Ecuadorian American Ayazamana Cultural Center is located at 45-23 47 Street.

Sunnyside building was under fire


A residential building in Sunnyside appeared to be struck with fire on Monday afternoon.

We spotted (and heard) a few firetrucks on the corner of 48th Avenue and 48th Street.

The Twitter account FDNYalerts tweeted at 4:11 p.m. that there was a fire on the top floor of 48-12 48th Street.

Sixteen minutes later, at 4:27 p.m., the account posted that the multiple dwelling fire was “under control.”

We’re waiting to hear more information about the injuries and cause of the fire. We certainly hope everyone is okay.