Mr. Pruitt, Clean Up the Hudson, NY Delegation Says.

WPCNR WATCH ON THE HUDSON. From the New York  Congressional Delegation. May 24, 2017:

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and U.S. Representatives Sean Patrick Maloney, Paul Tonko, Nita Lowey, and Eliot Engel today wrote to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling on Administrator Scott Pruitt to incorporate data provided to the EPA as part of its Second Five-Year Review showing the continued presence of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contaminants in the Hudson River.  The members cited the Second Five-Year Review is an opportunity to provide for additional cleanup of the Hudson River.

“When EPA announced the Hudson River cleanup 15 years ago, it was a promise to New Yorkers that the long-damaged river would finally be on the path to a rapid recovery,” the members wrote in their joint letter to the EPA Administrator.

“However, after the cleanup plan was established, EPA discovered that at least 2-3 times more PCB contamination existed in Hudson River sediments than had been assumed; yet EPA did not modify the scope of the cleanup.  As a result, the Hudson River remains contaminated at levels far beyond the cleanup targets EPA established. Economic development on the Upper Hudson River has long been stifled by the dark cloud of toxic pollution; communities cannot wait decades longer for a clean and usable river.”

Earlier this year, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released a report, “Recommendations to EPA for the “Five Year Review Report” for Hudson River PCBs Site” to address the current conditions of the Hudson River and provide recommendations to the EPA moving forward with the Second Five-Year Review.

DEC recommendations to the EPA include:

  1. Completing a detailed evaluation of the action plan, in addition to increasing the sampling of sediment and fish tissue to the scale and frequency necessary to optimize the remedy through further remedial work as necessary.
  2. Expanding the investigation of the site to include performance of a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study for the portion of the site between the Federal Dam at Troy and the Battery in New York City.
  3. Evaluating remedial alternatives to address the currently uncontrolled unacceptable risks to human health and the environment.

The full text of the members’ joint letter to the Environmental Protection Agency is included here and below:

 

Dear Administrator Pruitt:

We are writing to request that you ensure the ongoing Second Five Year Review of the Hudson River Superfund Site incorporate data collected and shared with EPA Region 2 that clearly shows the Hudson River remedy is not protective of human health and the environment.  The Five Year Review presents an opportunity to realize goals that you have articulated, including the importance of cleaning up the Hudson River pollution, ensuring the Superfund program succeeds in achieving both environmental outcomes and creating jobs. We ask for your help to securing additional clean-up in the Upper Hudson River.

When EPA announced the Hudson River cleanup 15 years ago, it was a promise to New Yorkers that the long-damaged river would finally be on the path to a rapid recovery. However, after the cleanup plan was established, EPA discovered that at least 2-3 times more PCB contamination existed in Hudson River sediments than had been assumed; yet EPA did not modify the scope of the cleanup.  As a result, the Hudson River remains contaminated at levels far beyond the cleanup targets EPA established. Economic development on the Upper Hudson River has long been stifled by the dark cloud of toxic pollution; communities cannot wait decades longer for a clean and usable river.  

Concerns regarding the efficacy of the EPA approved remedy resulted in a separate analysis of PCB levels in the Hudson River and the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) to conclude more work needs to be done.   Long-term “natural attenuation” of PCBs is not a solution to this problem.  The PCBs in the Upper Hudson River are continuing to be transported down-river as far as New York harbor and beyond; in fact, scientists studying the New York/New Jersey Harbor have called the legacy of PCB contamination an “economic ball and chain.” PCB levels in fish in the lower Hudson River are not declining as expected, pointing to the need for investigation of downriver contamination and appropriate remedial action. New Yorkers must not be left holding the bag for contamination that will render the Hudson River a Superfund site for generations to come.

New York State has a long and proud history of conservation in conjunction with economic development, and the Hudson River is a national symbol as an American Heritage River. As New Yorkers who live, work and play along the Hudson River, we know that additional cleanup is needed to improve our economy, and health, and quality of life.

Finally, we emphasize that a credible Five Year Review is crucial to ensure the integrity of the federal Superfund program, given that the Hudson is one of the largest and most visible sites in the country.  We look forward to working with you to achieve this.

Posted in Uncategorized

TRUMP BUDGET CUTS FUNDS FOR HIV/AIDS, STD ORGANIZATIONS. RATES OF STD INFECTIONS HIGHEST IN 20 YEARS

WPCNR HEALTH USA. Combined Statement from Five National Health Organizations. May 24, 2017:

Yesterday, President Donald Trump released his administration’s detailed FY 2018 Budget. AIDS United, NASTAD, the National Coalition of STD Directors, NMAC and The AIDS Institute join together to oppose the draconian cuts proposed by the Administration including many programs that are essential for the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and STDs.


“The country has made great progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS and STDs, but if these cuts are enacted, we will turn back the clock, resulting in more new infections, fewer patients receiving care, and ultimately, more suffering from diseases that are preventable and treatable.” said Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute.

The President’s budget proposes to cut CDC’s HIV prevention programs by $149 million or 19 percent, cut CDC’s STD prevention programs by $27 million or 17 percent since FY 2016, totally eliminate the Ryan White Program’s AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETC) and the Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) programs, eliminate the HHS Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund, reduce SAMHSA’s Minority AIDS Initiative programs, and cut the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program at HUD by $26 million.

Jesse Milan, Jr., President & CEO of AIDS United stated, “We have seen historic decreases in the number of new HIV infections over the past six years because of sustained investments in prevention, and we have thousands of HIV positive Americans who have yet to achieve viral suppression through treatment programs. By cutting funding, the work we have done will be reversed, and all the work left to do will falter and put the health of our nation at risk.”

“President Trump’s proposal to reduce CDC’s STD prevention work comes at a moment of national crisis when we are seeing the highest STD rates in 20 years. If enacted, this will devastate our ability to prevent and treat STDs and it will undermine our ability to prevent HIV.  We urge Congress to reject these extreme cuts and increase STD, HIV and public health funding,” said David C. Harvey, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors.

“I fear that these cuts signal the Administration’s lack of empathy for people living with or who are at risk for HIV,” said Paul Kawata, Executive Director of NMAC. “President Trump’s proposal to eliminate or dramatically cut many of these programs will increase the racial and socio-economic disparities we see in communities disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. This budget will hurt the most vulnerable, and Congress must consider it a non-starter.”

Murray C. Penner, Executive Director of NASTAD concluded, “Together we will fight these cuts at every stage of the appropriations process. We need to protect these programs that provide life-saving treatment for those living with HIV and work to prevent the spread of HIV and STDs. We trust that Congress will agree and recognize that these cuts are harmful, short-sighted, and will damage our nation’s public health infrastructure

Posted in Uncategorized

D.D. DOLAN ON THE WHITE PLAINS OUTDOOR ARTS FESTIVAL JUNE 3-4 ON PEOPLE TO BE HEARD ON THE INTERENET NOW

WP_20170512_10_19_25_Pro
 D.D. DOLAN, (CENTER) PRESIDENT OF THE WHITE PLAINS OUTDOOR ARTS FESTIVAL PREVIEWS THE 2017 OUTDOOR FESTIVAL JUNE 3-4 ON PEOPLE TO BE HEARD, with JIM BENEROFE (RIGHT) AND JOHN BAILEY. WHITE PLAINS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE AND FORMER OUTDOOR ARTS SCHOLARSHIP WINNER, DAVID WOEHR OF THE CLAY ARTS CENTER IN RYE JOINS HER (ON LEFT) MS. DOLAN WILL TALK ABOUT THE WHITE PLAINS HIGH SCHOOL ARTS SCHOLARSHIPS GIVEN AWAY EVERY YEAR BY THE ARTS FESTIVAL,  AND THE NEED FOR FUNDING THEM EVERY YEAR. 

 

WP Outdoor Arts with Dolan & Woehr has been postedon the internet.  The YouTube link is

link to whiteplainsweek.com
Posted in Uncategorized

County Executive Signs Law Banning Sale and Possession of Synthetic Drugs–$500 First Offense; $2,000 Second Offense

WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. May 23, 2017:

The bill banning sale and possession of synthetics drugs was passed May 8 by the Board of Legislators and signed by the County Executive last week.

The law identifies the most common hallucinogenic substances found in products, commonly known as K2, fake weed and synthetic marijuana, and imposes civil penalties of $500 for the first offense and $2,000 for a second offense.

Synthetic drugs are paricularly dangerous because they are often marketed over the counter to teenagers and people living in poorer communities as tobacco, herbs, incense, spice, and potpourri, yet contain hallucinogenic chemicals, substances and agents that are made in laboratories to mimic the active ingredients of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs.

In recent years, K2 has been packaged as a number of brand names such as Spice, Red Giant, Smacked,iBlown, Trippy, and Green Giant Scooby Snax.

The new law is being implemented by amending the “Consumer Protection Code” to restrict the sale and possession of synthetic drugs. It has support from public safety, health professionals and bi-partisan support from lawmakers.

County Executive Astorino said:”Synthetic drugs are cheap, potent,available and even market as a safe alternative to drugs. We  know these chemically-concocted drugs pose a serious threat to our communities and that we must face this challenge head-on,”

Legislator David Tubiolo, Yonkers, Co-sponsor with John Testa, Peekskill,and Virginia Perez, Yonkers said “Synthetic marijuana is a  series and dangerous problem from a public health and law enforcement perspective. Because of the inconsistent nature of the chemical compounds used, it is impossible to predict how the drug will affect the user and how severe those effects might be.

“This is especially dangerous for our kids who are the prime target of synthetic drug suppliers. The drug is generally marketed in brightly colored packages featuring familiar cartoon characters. There could not be a more innocent looking product that hides potentially deadly effects.”

Legislator Virginia Perez added: “In committee hearings, we learned from County and local  police that their officers have frequent interactions with individuals under the influence of synthetic marijuan who were ‘zombie-like,’ irrational, violent or suicidal. They also disproportionately among young teens and in low-income areas. This legislation gives law enforcement agencies a very important tool in dealing with synthetic drugs.”

Legislator John Testa, a public school teacher noted “as a public high school teacher, I can see that the danger and accressibility of these synthetic drugs poses a threat to our youth that we must address now. This law not only provides stiffer penalties including fines and possible jail time, it expands the definition of synthetic drugs which makes it harder for the producers and dealers to circumvent the law.”

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Haitians on Temporary Protected Status Should be Extended More than 6 Months

WPCNR IMMIGRANT INTELLIGENCER. From the 32BJ SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION. MAY 22, 2017

The following statement on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians living in the U.S. can be attributed to Hector Figueroa President of 32BJ SEIU:

Granting TPS extension to the 50,000 hardworking, law-abiding Haitian already living peaceful and productive lives among us is the right thing to do for humanitarian and national security reasons.

There’s strong bipartisan and community support to extend TPS beyond the limited 6 month period announced today to avoid destabilizing the families and communities built by Haitian men and women across the United States — families and communities that contribute not only to the U.S. economy but to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Haiti is still struggling to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Mathew and will need more time to recover.  The U.N. estimates at least 1.4 million Haitians are now in need of urgent assistance as clean water, food, and medicine are in short supply, and a cholera outbreak, described as the worst epidemic of cholera in recent history, is still ongoing.

Haitian TPS holders contribute $280 million to the U.S. GDP and $42 million to Social Security and to Medicare each year. More than 1 in 5 Haitian TPS holders are parents of US-born American children.

They are hardworking people making substantial contributions to our country and keeping Haiti as stable as possible as the country rebuilds.  According to a February 2016 report, remittances to Haiti exceeded $2 billion –22.7 percent of Haiti’s GDP.

Extending TPS for Haitian and Central Americans—who will also see their temporary status expire in January—is not only a response to our commitment to our traditions and values as a welcoming country, it’s in our national interest.

Posted in Uncategorized

DRAGON COASTER RIDES AGAIN! COUNTY EXECUTIVE ASTORINO OPENS PLAYLAND. PROMISES 5 NEW RIDES IN 2 YEARS. LEGISLATOR PARKER SAYS POOL WILL BE RETAINED AND STANDARD AMUSEMENTS ACCEPTS THAT.WILL LOCATE CATERING FACILITY ELSEWHERE IN PARK

WP_20170520_11_40_46_Pro

WESTCHESTER COUNTY EXECUTIVE ROBERT P. ASTORINO ARRIVES ON RECONDITIONED 1927 PLAYLAND FIRE TRUCK TO BEGIN THE PLAYLAND OPENING DAY RIBBON CUTTING SATURDAY

WPCNR PLAYLAND GO-ROUND. By John F. Bailey.May 21, 2017:

WP_20170520_11_44_09_Pro

The County Executive is introduced by Kathleen O’Connor, Deputy Commissioner of Recreation and Parks. Deputy County Executive Kevin Plunkett is at left.  Mr. Astorino, speaking for about a minute, said today marked the start of the Playland of the Future,in two years five new rides were going to be installed by the county partner, Standard Amusements, which was not represented on the dais.  On display was the preliminary plan for development of the park (shown in last picture)

WP_20170520_10_51_17_Pro

WP_20170520_11_53_07_Pro

CROWD SURGES IN TO ENJOY THE RIDES AS COUNTY EXECUTIVE ASTORINO COMPLETES CUTTING THE RIBBON TO OPEN THE 2017 SEASON. Hundreds of paying customers showed up under threatening skies for the opening, including busloads and groups of invited guests.

 

WP_20170520_11_58_01_Pro

County Legislator Kay Parker told WPCNR the timetable for Standard Amusements and its first payment to the county to accept the management of the Park, (a $60 MILLION upgrade with Standard investing $30 Million and the County, $30 Million) in partnership with Westchester County is December 31. She noted that the pool/ catering facility matter Ms. Parker told WPCNR that Standard Amusements informed the County Parks Recreation Committee May 1 that the Standard was agreeable to moving the planned catering facility Standard wants to build to another location in the park, and would not object to the county keeping the pool. Parker said the only hurdle left holding up Standard Amusements concluding accepting the agreement with the County to clear before concluding the Standard Amusements-Westchester County partnership is the City of Rye possible of appeal of the  court decision denying the city “standing,” to determine final alterations to the park. Parker told WPCNR she did not know at this time whether City of Rye was preparing an appeal. She said Rye had six months to file. She said the County Legislature had allocated $10 Million to refurbish the Playland pool.

WP_20170520_12_39_42_Pro

Squeals and shrieks and the roar of steel on steel drifted across the Playland landscape as the 1929 Dragon Coaster thrilled a new generation of thrill-seekers.

WP_20170520_12_01_52_Pro

THE PLAYLAND EXPRESS AT KIDDIELAND was packed as WPCNR’s favorite ride was back on schedule.

Posted in Uncategorized

WHITE PLAINS WEEK FRIDAY MAY 19 PROGRAM ON THE INTERNET NOW

20161110WPW 005

WHITE PLAINS WEEK for 5-19 has been posted. The YouTube link is
 
 
The Whiteplainsweek.com link is
 
JOHN BAILEY AND PETER KATZ
ON
WP_20170516_21_27_57_Pro
THE WHITE PLAINS SCHOOL BUDGET LANDSLIDE APPROVAL
IMPACT ON YOUR PROPERTY TAXES
GOVERNOR CUOMO ON THE $20 BILLION DOLLAR HOUSING PLAN
6-JACK HARRINGTON
JACK HARRINGTON REMEMBRANCE
THE FCC NET NEUTRALITY POLICY DOOMS INDEPENDENT WEBSITES
WP_20170518_13_11_20_Pro
PLAYLAND OPENING
WP_20170512_18_58_48_Pro
SANDROS RUSSO PLAYS PERCY GRAINGER MUSIC AT HISTORIC GRAINGER HOUSE LANDMARK DEDICATION
TRUMP THE PRESIDENT CONTINUES
THE HINDENBURG DISASTER REMEMBERED
ROGER AILES — THE MAN WHO CHANGED TELEVISION NEWS
Posted in Uncategorized

Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Starting Spending of $20 Billion for Affordable Housing Statewide

Governor Cuomo Announces Historic Funding to Combat Homelessness

WPCNR ALBANY ROUNDS. From the Governor’s Press Office. (Edited)May 20, 2017:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Thursday launched a landmark $20 billion, five-year plan to combat homelessness and advance the construction of affordable housing in New York State.

The action plan is made possible by the release of $2.5 billion in capital funding delivered in the FY 2018 Budget which will create and preserve more than 110,000 units of affordable and 6,000 units of supportive housing over the next five years. This marks the largest investment in the creation and preservation of affordable housing and efforts to end homelessness in the history of New York.

“This legislation is a major step forward for New York as we strengthen our efforts to combat homelessness and expand access to quality, affordable housing for our most vulnerable men, women and children,” Governor Cuomo said. ”By making significant investments in rehabilitating, preserving and constructing safe and affordable housing, we will open doors for low-income residents and support hard-working New Yorkers in every region of the state.”

The new legislation provides $2.5 billion in funding to advance the Governor’s $20 billion, multi-year homelessness and affordable housing plan.

To add critical supply to the state’s stock of affordable housing, the plan commits $10 billion to create and preserve more than 110,000 units across the state, including approximately 12,000 units created through the newly enacted “Affordable New York” program formerly known as 421-a.

The plan also includes a $10 billion landmark commitment to create 6,000 new supportive housing beds, including $7.5 billion to end the homelessness crisis and support housing programs, rental subsidies and other shelter costs in New York City and across the state.

By making significant investments in rehabilitating, preserving and constructing safe and affordable housing, we will open doors for low-income residents and support hard-working New Yorkers in every region of the state.

This historic investment offers a transformational blueprint to address the diversity of housing needs in New York, strengthen protections for tenants, and create new opportunities for low-to-moderate income households. The capital funding delivered in the FY 2018 Budget includes:

Supportive Housing: $950 million for the construction or operation of at least 6,000 supportive housing units throughout the state.
New Construction: $472 million for new construction or adaptive reuse of rental housing affordable to households that earn up to 60 percent of area median income.
New York City Housing Authority: $200 million for projects and improvements related at housing developments owned or operated by NYCHA.
NYC 100% Affordable: $100 million for the construction and preservation of 100 percent affordable units in New York City.
Senior Housing: $125 million for developing or rehabilitating affordable housing targeted to low-income seniors, aged 60 and above.
Rural and Urban Community Investment Fund: $45 million for mixed-use affordable housing developments that may include retail, commercial or community development components.
Middle Income Housing: $150 million for new construction, adaptive reuse, or reconstruction of rental housing affordable to households that earn between 60 percent and 130 percent of AMI.
Affordable Housing Preservation: $146 million for substantial or moderate rehabilitation of existing affordable multi-family rental housing currently under a regulatory agreement.
Mitchell-Lama Rehabilitation: $75 million to preserve and improve Mitchell-Lama properties throughout the State.
Public Housing: $125 million for substantial or moderate rehabilitation and/or the demolition and replacement through new construction of public housing authority developments outside of New York City.
Small Building Construction: $62.5 million for rehabilitation and/or the demolition and replacement through new construction of buildings of 5 to 40 units.
Home Ownership: $41.5 million for promoting home ownership among families of low and moderate income and stimulating the development, stabilization, and preservation of New York communities.
Mobile and Manufactured Homes: $13 million for mobile and manufactured home programs.
Main Street Programs: $10 million for stimulating reinvestment in properties located within mixed-use commercial districts located in urban, small town, and rural areas of the state.

Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative

In addition, the FY 2018 Budget continues the Governor’s commitment to provide supportive housing resources and services to address vulnerable populations experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Launched in 2017, ESSHI is a five-year program designed to fund the service and operating costs of at least 6,000 units of permanent supportive housing and to better coordinate resources from multiple-state agencies allowing more dynamic programming and quicker implementation.

Services offered through this initiative include employment and training opportunities, parenting education, counseling, independent living skills training, primary healthcare, substance use disorder treatment and mental health care, child care, and benefits advocacy are examples of what is provided to supportive housing tenants.

In 2016, New York set a record for financing the creation or preservation of more than 17,000 affordable homes and apartments and was the number one bond issuer in the nation with $2.8 billion issued. New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s Unified Funding housing round awarded more than $122 million for affordable housing in urban, suburban, and rural areas of New York. The awards are set to build or preserve nearly 2,000 affordable apartments and leverage more than $450 million in public and private resources.


 

Posted in Uncategorized

WP VOTERS PASS 2017-18 SCHOOL BUDGET WITH 85% VOTING YES TO $214 MILLION BUDGET. ELLER, STEIN VOTED NEW TERMS UNOPPOSED.

WP_20170516_21_26_18_Pro

IT WAS 9:25 PM TUESDAY EVENING WHEN MICHELE SCHOENFELD, CLERK TO THE BOARD OF EDUCATION POSTED THE FINAL TOTALS FOR TUESDAY’S WHITE PLAINS SCHOOL BUDGET ELECTION. TURNOUT WAS HIGHER THAN LAST YEAR AND THE MARGIN OF 86% OF THE VOTERS APPROVING THE BUDGET THIS YEAR WAS THE HIGHEST IN 17 YEARS.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS for White Plains Schools:

 

Budget Vote:      Yes – 823

                              No  -  130

                                                  86.4% Yes Vote

 

Candidates:         Rosemarie Eller – 816

                              Randy Stein        -  799

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized