Ridgewood pol wants to increase penalties for drivers without valid license

Ridgewood state senator Michael Gianaris is calling for legislation to increase penalties for drivers without valid licenses involved in traffic injuries or deaths.

His demand comes after 13-year-old Ridgewood teen Kevin Flores was fatally struck by Philip Monfoletto of Deer Park, a trucker who didn’t have a valid license. Flores was riding his bike when the incident occurred.

Under current law, most cases sought by the district attorney end in a misdemeanor. The most severe offenses will lead to a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.

Gianaris’s bill would increase the penalty to a Class E felony for injuring a person, and a Class D felony if it ends in a death.

“This accident is yet another avoidable tragedy caused by a driver who should not have been behind the wheel to begin with,” Gianaris said. “Too many lives have been lost at the hands of drivers whose licenses are suspended or otherwise invalid because the punishment does not match the crime.”



Ridgewood Reservoir added to National Register of Historic Places

The long-awaited news is finally official.

The Ridgewood Reservoir has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Park Service approved the move after the New York State Historic Review Board voted unanimously in favor of the addition in December.

What does this mean? The 50-acre reservoir bordering Queens and Brooklyn will receive additional protections.

Built in 1859 to supply water for the city of Brooklyn, the reservoir located today within Highland Park. It became obsolete with the addition of new reservoirs in the Catskills in the 1950s, and was mostly drained by 1989.

The Old Town of Flushing Burial Ground was also added to the national register.

Holden weighs in on congestion pricing

Councilman Bob Holden has some thoughts about the proposed congestion pricing proposal to charge drivers $11.52 and trucks $25.43 for entering Manhattan south of 60th Street.

In a Twitter statement, Holden called the plan “troubling” for someone who represents taxpayers, commuters and business owners who already pay high taxes.

“While reducing traffic and fixing our crumbling transit infrastructure is a significant priority, burdening residents in areas with inadequate bus and subway service is unacceptable,” Holden says. “It’s time to reassess how money is spent by New York State and the MTA, rather than merely adding a tax on the middle class to raise revenues.

Holden then proposed to add an exemption o this plan for those who live in the five boroughs, and instead apply the fee to those living outside the city.

“My office will evaluate the details of the plan and will work to ensure that is does not negatively impact the residents of Glendale, Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodhaven and Woodside,” he said.

2017 Cop of the Year Award Dinner

Join the 104th Precinct Community Council on January 25, 2018 at the Knockdown Center in Maspeth to celebrate the 2017 Cop of the Year.

The award goes to Police Officer Charles Sadler, a very familiar and friendly face for all residents in the 104th Precinct.

The dinner will also celebrate the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council as its community partner of the year.

To purchase tickets, email lsantoro@104pcc.org!

Cathy Nolan chimes in on Farina’s departure

With Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina’s impending retirement early next year, elected officials are starting to comment on her legacy.

As you may know, Farina ascended from a teacher, principal and superintendent to deputy chancellor under the Bloomberg administration. Mayor de Blasio asked her to come out of retirement in 2013, which she accepted.

But at 74 years old, Farina announced that she will leave the department in the coming month(s) as the city begins a search for her replacement.

Ridgewood Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, who chairs the Assembly’s Education Committee, called working with the chancellor “one of the joys of my own career in government.”

“Honestly putting the children first, building change with true and lasting foundations, is her true legacy and an inspiration for everyone that has had the privilege of working with her,” Nolan said in a statement. “She has worked to bring ‘equity and excellence’ not as political buzzwords but as a true goal.”

The jury’s still out on Farina’s legacy on New York City schools. Some publications derided her actions as maintaining the status quo, but others were more positive about her work to heal relationships with teachers.

All eyes are now focused on her potential replacements, whether the city will look outward or promote from within. Either way, the future of the city’s 1.1 million public school students are on the line.

Stay tuned.

De Blasio to host town hall with Crowley on Monday

Mondays with the mayor!

Mayor de Blasio and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley are hosting a town hall meeting on Monday, December 18 at 7 p.m. at PS/IS 113 in Glendale.

It’ll be your opportunity to ask the mayor a question or two. He will be there along with senior members of his administration and city agencies.

RSVP by December 17th via email to queenstownhall@cityhall.nyc.gov or by calling 212-788-4282.

Nolan keynotes Taste of Ridgewood

Last week, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan was the keynote speaker at the annual “Taste of Ridgewood” event at the Ridgewood YMCA.

The YMCA honored Officer Charlie Sadler of the 104th Precinct.

“Congratulations to Officer Charles Sadler for everything that he and the 104th Precinct do to support our residents and communities,” Nolan said. “The YMCA could not have picked a better honoree.”

Borough president now accepting applications to join community board

Here’s your chance to get involved with your local community.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is now accepting applications from community-minded people to serve on their local community board. Ridgewood is represented by Community Board 5.

Community boards play an advisory role, contributing to land use and zoning decisions, city budget priorities and public hearings on a variety of local neighborhood issues.

Each board meets a full meeting monthly, and members also participate in individual committees, which host regular meetings.

“Government works better when we have active and engaged members from whom to draw expansive knowledge and extensive life experiences,” Katz said. “Serving on a community board is a significant commitment, demanding in both time and energy.”

“Civic-minded residents interested in playing a larger role in the governance of the city, helping to ensure the delivery of municipal services and serving Queens families and neighborhoods are encouraged to apply.”

The community board membership application is available online at www.queensbp.org/community-boards.

The application deadline for new and current community board members is January 12, 2018.

The two-year term of service begins on April 1, 2018.

Mafera Park’s hockey rink due for upgrades

Some good news for those clamoring for improvements to the hockey rink at Mafera Park.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley announced that the site has been included in a multi-site contract to improve hockey rinks throughout the borough.

Construction is expected to start this spring, according to the Park Department.

Crowley funded $500,000 for the renovations, and the de Blasio administration put in another $500,000.

“Kids, parents, players and more have expressed a great need for these rinks to be fixed up. They are used everyday, throughout every season,” she said. “Securing this renovation means that countless people can continue to safely enjoy this space year-round.”

Crowley wants to downzone all of District 30

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley

If you feel Ridgewood and its surrounding neighborhoods are being threatened by overdevelopment and the g-word (gentrification), here’s a bit of good news.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley has requested the Department of City Planning begin a process to downzoning her district, including Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale.

Earlier this month, Community Board 5 already passed a proposal to downzone portions of Ridgewood.

Local residents are weary about the ongoing conversions from single-family homes to two-family rowhouses.

“Today’s significant development pressures are creating new construction that is out of scale in our local communities,” Crowley said. “The Department of City Planning must take another comprehensive look at the district. It is our goal to find ways to maintain the existing built from and to ensure real-world impacts related to parking, traffic and schools are fully considered.”