Neighborhood Chatter

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WORLD TRADE CENTER PERFORMING ARTS CENTER BOARD PICKED AFTER MUCH ANTICIPATION
Almost at the end of the year, Dec. 29, 2011, the board for the World Trade Center’s Performing Arts Center was finally named, avoiding the potential loss of over $100 million designated for the future project.

The board members include Community Board 1 Chairperson Julie Menin, Silverstein Properties Chief Executive Officer and President Larry Silverstein, Brookfield Office Properties Co-Chairperson John Zuccotti, Vidicom Chief Executive Officer and Founder Christy Ferer and Walt Disney Company Vice President Zenia Mucha. Representing Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the board will be First Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris. The board is responsible for raising funds for the Center and selecting a final location.

CITYWIDE ASSEMBLY TO TWEET
It looks like the New York State Assembly is entering the social media age. Last week, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced that the assembly had established an official Assembly Majority account on Twitter, @NYSA_Majority. The account will serve as a central source for updates on Assembly proceedings. For other updates, access to press releases, calendars and reporters, citizens can visit the Assembly’s website, www.assembly.state.ny.us.

BLOOMBERGS VOWS TO KEEP FINGERPRINTING OF FOOD STAMP APPLICANTS IN PLACE
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in last week’s State of the State address that he was looking to end the city’s policy of fingerprinting individuals who apply for food stamps, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would attempt to convince the governor otherwise. In a speech last week, Bloomberg stood by the policy, saying it deterred people who try to “game the system.”

In response to Bloomberg’s stance and comments on the policy, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn released the following statement: “In these tough economic times, we need to help New Yorkers get the federal services they qualify for, not put obstacles in their way. Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg and I couldn’t disagree more—fingerprinting food stamp applicants is a time-consuming and unnecessary process that stigmatizes applicants and has prevented 24,000 New Yorkers from getting the help they deserve. The state has the authority to eliminate finger imaging in New York City, and the mayor should not even think of challenging Governor Cuomo’s decision.”

CHINATOWN/LOWER EAST SIDE ASIAN AMERICAN REPRESENTATION GROWS ON CB3
Since taking office in 2006, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer says he has made diversification and de-politicization of Community Boards a priority while managing the borough’s 12 advisory boards. In this time, the Asian-American membership of Community Board 3 has tripled, Stringer reported at a press conference last week. Almost 25 percent of the board’s membership is now Asian American. Appointees include Justin Yu of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Jimmy Cheung of the United Fujianese of America Association and Thomas Yu of Asian Americans for Equality.

“Asian Americans are New York’s fastest growing population, and that is precisely why they must be represented in its civic life to advocate for community interest on a diverse range of issues,” said Stringer. “I understand firsthand the benefits of public service—as a teenager, I was the one of the youngest New Yorkers appointed to a community board in my home district of Washington Heights.”

Stringer also urged more individuals to learn how to join their local community boards.

REGISTRATION FOR KINDERGARTEN
Was your child born in 2007? Register them now for the 2012–2013 school year to give them a leg up on their academic future. Children who attend kindergarten are more successful in their academic careers and more likely to graduate school and attend college! Interested parents should find their zoned school by dialing 311.

Parents must still submit an admission application for kindergarten even if they’re only applying to their local school. Parents may also visit their zoned schools, as well as any preferred special interest schools, between Jan. 9 and March 2 during the admissions period. The deadline for application is March 2. Families seeking more information on available schools, programs and registration can contact the Department of Education by visiting www.schools.nyc.gov or calling 718-935-2009.

SQUADRON AND KAVANAGH PUSH BAN ON ANTIBIOTICS USED IN LIVESTOCK
After the Food and Drug Administration recently announced it will restrict the use of a type of antibiotic used in livestock, State Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh are urging for the passage of their bill, which also seeks to ban the use of antibiotics in animals sold for food in New York.

In a release distributed last week, it was posited that the routine, non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animals for human consumption poses a risk to public health by creating treatment-resistant bacterial infections. Squadron and Kavanagh’s bill would ban all antibiotic use in animals sold for food in the state, except in cases of treatment for sick animals.

Last week, the FDA announced that it would restrict farmers and ranchers from using the cephalosporin class of antibiotics in cattle, pigs, chicken, and turkeys; cephalosporins are also used to treat pneumonia, strep throat, and a variety of infections in humans. Cephalosporins, the release continued, are only a small portion of the routine antibiotics used in food production.

“We are what we eat, and the huge amount of antibiotics in food today poses a major health risk for us all. We wouldn’t put antibiotics in our tap water, but today, our meat and our poultry are filled with it,” said Squadron. “The FDA’s decision to restrict one class of antibiotics is an important step, but rising drug resistance and outbreaks of food-borne illnesses mean there is still a big gap to fill. New York must take the lead in improving standards and protecting citizens by banning non-therapeutic antibiotics in our food.”

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