By Bob Harris
The Queens Civic Congress, an umbrella organization of more than 100 civic associations in Queens, had its ninth biennial luncheon at Antun’s Caterers in Queens Village. Civic, co-op and tenant association leaders are the unpaid volunteers who work to maintain the quality of life in Queens communities.
The QCC honored four people with plaque clocks, state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) presented Assembly proclamations, City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Middle Village) presented a Distinguished Service Award and Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Whitestone) gave out citations.
The four civic leaders, who represent the hundreds of volunteer civic leaders who work with the QCC and their communities, are Barbara Larkin, Belle Harbor Property Owners Association; Murray Berger, Kew Gardens Civic Association; Paul A. Kerzner, Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association; and Seymour Schwartz, Briarwood Neighborhood Association.
The Pledge of Allegiance was said and Charles Henry, from the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association, sang the national anthem. QCC President Richard Hellenbrecht and QCC Foundation President Kerzner gave welcoming statements.
Then Katz gave the keynote speech. The civic leaders welcomed Katz because they know her from her many past roles, such as being a councilwoman and being in charge of Queens’ community boards, which have such an influence on the quality of life in their communities.
A special visual presentation was made by groups in favor of a Rockaway Beach railroad or a QueensWay on an old abandoned railroad line. The presentation was for informational purposes only because some community groups favor one proposal and some the other. The QCC has not taken a position because of the opposing views of some of its member groups.
But the QCC has taken stands against any further raises in water rates, against the proposal to make illegal basement apartments legal, for stopping people from paving over front lawns, for stopping the taking of part of Flushing Meadows Corona Park for a mall, for strongly punishing people who remove trees from special districts like Klein Farm and against tolls on the East River bridges.
GOOD NEWS OF THE WEEK: The Port Authority hosted roundtables at LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports.
These new events put PA officials, aviation industry people, residents and federal officials together to discuss noise and pollution of concern in communities near these airports.
Immediately, the PA announced staff for a new noise office and the doubling of the number of portable noise monitors.
BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: A recent story tells of four empty houses built by developer Thomas Huang, at 233rd Street and Mia Drive, sitting empty and neglected and used by drinking youths and rats.
There has been a stop-work order on the properties since 2007. Each house has violations. The neighbors are unhappy.