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RHBA park fair honors community members

Hurricane Hanna held out long enough on Saturday, September 6 for the Richmond Hill Block Association (RHBA) to honor those in the community that give back at its 35th annual Park Fair.
With thousands of people - and plenty of elected officials - in attendance, the day was filled with food, family and fun - until the rains poured down.
But right before the storm, the RHBA awarded Senator Serphin Maltese the “Exemplary Senator” award and the “Exemplary Assemblymember” award went to Assemblymember Nettie Mayersohn.
“The Richmond Hill Block Association does a phenomenal job in putting this fair together,” said Mayersohn. “It’s one of the best in Queens, the city, the state.”
Wendy Bowne, Chair of the event and President of the RHBA, then gave special recognition to Howard Carlson, Battalion Chief of 51 and former RHBA Board member; Neme Alperstein, and Joshua Schneps, Co-Publisher of The Queens Courier.
“I want to thank the Richmond Hill Block Association,” said Schneps. “We both have the same mission - to make the community we live in a better place. To that end, the Richmond Hill Block Association does an amazing job.”
And despite the fact that it was daylight, the stars were out - the “Shining Stars of Richmond Hill,” that is.
This year, the RHBA honored Nancy Cataldi of the Richmond Hill Historical Society; David Halpern of the Lefferts Animal Hospital; Brian Sutton, Richmond Hill High School basketball coach; Sergeant Harold Colbert of the John Bowne High School Air Force JROTC, which helped kick off the ceremony; Raymond Aviles; Karen Musikka, parent Coordinator, P.S. 54; Phil Sparachio of the Parks Department; and Caroline Eckert for cleaning up Jamaica Avenue for 49 years.
But the loudest applause - and a standing ovation - went to John Hughes.
Still in high school, Hughes volunteers a lot of his time helping the RHBA and doing graffiti clean ups.
The RHBA also thanked numerous officers from the 102nd Precinct for a job well done and various area businesses for their support of the Richmond Hill community.
Before the ceremony ended, the RHBA, which up until then had been giving out the awards, got one of its own.
City Councilmember Anthony Como presented them with a City Council citation - signed unanimously - for their hard work on behalf of the residents of Richmond Hill.
In addition to the awards ceremony, there was a music recital by Piano Art; performances by classic rock bands Plastic Soul, Baby Daddy and Nightwing; a “portable museum” from the Museum of Natural History; a “portable smoke house” from the Fire Department Education Unit; walking tours with the Forest Park Urban Rangers; and video games, basketball and more with representatives of the U.S. Army, among others.
Raffle prizes this year included gift certificates to the Atlantic Diner, La Cantina Pizzeria and O Lavrador Restaurant, as well as Sam Ash Music Stores; tickets to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Atlas Park regal Cinemas; Z100 “goodies”; and even a lithograph autographed poster from the 2007 Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants.
Tina, who brought her two-year-old son Anthony to the fair for the first time, but who has been attending herself for a number of years, told The Courier, “I like to take him to see the fire trucks.” She also said she’d take him again next year.
The 36th annual RHBA Park Fair will be held on Saturday, September 12, 2009.
For more information on the RHBA or its various programs, call 718-849-3759 or visit www.rhba.org.

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