Apply to join the Queens Solid Waste Advisory Board

Borough President Donovan Richards is now accepting applications to serve on the Queens Solid Waste Advisory Board.

QSWAB is tasked with advising the borough president on issues such as waste, recycling, resiliency and environmental equity.

Find the QSWAB application online at The application deadline is February 26.

QSWAB will meet monthly. The group must consist of no fewer than 20 members chosen by the borough president. Members will represent community boards, recycling and carting industries, environmental organizations, property owners, labor, tenant groups and members of the public.

Each appointed term lasts two years and members are eligible for reappointment at the end of the term.

“We will leave no stone unturned when it comes to ensuring environmental justice for all Queens communities,” Richards said, “especially for our long-underserved neighborhoods and those areas most endangered by the perils of climate change.”

CB5 discusses homeless encampment at Myrtle/Fresh Pond

A new homeless encampment under the trestle along Myrtle Avenue near Fresh Pond Road was the topic of discussion at last week’s Community Board 5 meeting.

According to board members, the encampment has made several bus riders afraid to wait for the bus at that location.

Workers from the nonprofit organization Breaking Ground have asked them to seek shelter, especially in the cold, board members said, but the homeless there have so far refused.

CB5’s district manager said it’s a legal issue, as the city’s Department of Homeless Services cannot remove the homeless from the streets unless they willing move themselves.

Read more about the issue in this week’s Queens Ledger.

Ardila raises over $40K in latest filing

City Council candidate Juan Ardila has raised over $40,000 in his campaign to unseat incumbent Councilman Bob Holden.

According to the latest filings, Ardila has raised nearly $41,000, and received another $74,000 in matching funds.

Holden, by contrast, has also raised nearly $43,000, putting the two campaigns in good positions moving forward in the race.

According to Ardila’s campaign, he had over 500 individual donations and 160 in-district donors. The average contribution size was $76.

“It’s clear that our campaign is continuing to build the kind of grassroots movement we need to not only win this race, but create a people-powered agenda that will help us solve the many problem our district faces,” he said.

Ardila has racked up endorsements from the Working Families Party, State Senators Jessica Ramos and Michael Gianaris, Councilman Brad Lander, SEIU 1199, Make the Road Action, Run for Something and Churches United for Fair Housing.

New York Blood Center, Mets host blood drive at Atlas

The New York Mets and the New York Blood Center are teaming up today for the 2021 Mets Fan Blood Drive.

Mets fans and all interested blood donors can donate at one of five locations in Queens, including The Shops at Atlas Park between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Donors will receive a voucher for a pair of tickets to see the Mets, a free limited edition fan t-shirt and an entry into a sweepstakes for signed memorabilia.

Usually held at Citi Field, the semi-annual blood drive is being at five locations to better control the size of the crowds and facilitate social distancing.

“The vaccine has shown us a light at the end of the tunnel, but we need New Yorkers to come together to help build and sustain the blood supply,” said Andrea Cefarelli, senior executive director of recruitment and marketing for New York Blood Center. “We’re grateful to the Mets for their support and I encourage all eligible New Yorkers—Yankees fans included!—to come out and give.”

Make an appointment by visiting

Holden joins council’s Public Safety Committee

File Photo

In the last year of his first term, Councilman Bob Holden has joined the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

He currently chairs the Committee on Technology.

“If we don’t have public safety in our city, we don’t have anything,” he said. “Our city has lost its way, as many of our elected officials have turned their backs on public safety policies that kept the city safer for decades.”

The Public Safety Committee, chaired by fellow Queens Councilwoman Adrienne Adams, includes jurisdiction over the NYPD, Civilian Complaint Review Board, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, courts, district attorneys, and the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.

The committee was previously chaired by then-Councilman and now Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

Other City Council members in the committee include Keith Powers, Ydanis Rodriguez, Kevin Riley, Fernando Cabrera, Vanessa Gibson, I. Daneek Miller, Carlos Menchaca and Chaim Deutsch.

“I will be a voice of reason,” Holden added, “fighting for common-sense policy and safer streets for my constituents and for all New Yorkers.”

City Council candidate Juan Ardila endorsed by Gianaris

State Senator Michael Gianaris

A City Council candidate challenging Robert Holden to represent the district has been backed by an influential Democrat.

Juan Ardila was endorsed by Michael Gianaris, the deputy leader of the New York State Senate who also represents a sliver of Ridgewood.

Others who have backed Ardila’s bid to unseat Holden include State Senator Jessica Ramos, Councilman Brad Lander, the NY Working Families Party, SEIU 1199, Make the Road Action, CVH Power, Run for Something and Open NY.

Ardila, the son of a Colombian father and Honduran-Cuban mother, is the first Latino candidate in District 30’s history. If elected, he would be the first Colombian-American to serve in the City Council.

He worked for Lander before becoming a consultant for the Department of Education. He now works at a legal services nonprofit as a program coordinator.

Ardila is an alum of St. Adalberts, Archbishop Molloy High School, Fordham University and NYU.

Ridgewood’s Edward Grayson is the new DSNY commissioner

The new leader of the NYC Department of Sanitation knows Ridgewood’s streets well.

Before the start of the new year, Mayor de Blasio appointed Edward Grayson, who grew up in Ridgewood, as the commissioner of DSNY. He served as acting commissioner since September.

Grayson is a 21-year veteran of the department, and has a family history with DSNY. His dad was a sanitation worker and supervisor, while his mom was the recycling outreach coordinator during the 90s.

Before being appointed acting commissioner, Grayson was a four-star chief and director of the Bureau of Cleaning and Collection. He oversaw the day-to-day operations for the agency, including the collection, recycling and disposal of more than 12,000 tons of waste every day.

“Growing up in Ridgewood, everyone in my neighborhood had a plan for how they’d someday serve the people of New York,” Grayson said, “as so many of our parents did, including my own.”

We wish him luck as he leads New York’s Strongest!