From an article in the NY Times
City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley of Queens will introduce a bill Thursday requiring the Taxi and Limousine Commission to train police officers to identify illegal commuter vans so that they single out the right vehicles and drivers when they set out to enforce their operation.
The commission would also have to create a guide summarizing the many cumbersome regulations that licensed van drivers must abide by -– from the types of licenses they must have to where they are allowed to circulate and the kinds of violations they might face.
The bill (see here
[pdf] and below)comes at a time when the city is trying to rein in the commuter-van industry, which offers the closest alternative to a public transportation system in neighborhoods where bus or subway service is limited or nonexistent. Vans have operated with little oversight in recent years, fostering cut-throat competition among legal and illegal drivers that has had them bend the rules of traffic and official regulations as they battle it out for fares.
Ms. Crowley said that complaints against illegal vans have ranked high among the issues she had heard from constituents since taking office last year. The problem seems particularly grave in Maspeth, Queens, she said, where commuter vans are not allowed to circulate, but do so anyway, mostly without a license.
“I look at it mostly as a public safety issue,” she said. “Many of these vans are operating dangerously and illegally. If they want to continue to do what they’re doing, they have to abide by the law or else face the consequences.”
From the Ridgewood Ledger
:Last month, the DOE’s Division of Portfolio Planning held a public meeting to discuss with parents what kind of school they would like to see, Zarin-Rosenfeld said. The division also handed out a survey to the parents, asking them what type of additional programs should be offered at the school — such as college prep, foreign language or advanced placement classes; if they preferred students to wear uniforms; what school-based programs at other districts have been most beneficial; and what organizations should the new school partner with.
Although the survey was originally handed out at the meeting, Zarin-Rosenfeld said the DOE has put the survey on its website for more respondents. So far, the DOE has received 400 surveys. The department will continue collecting them until the fall and will hold a meeting, yet to be determined, about the survey results, Zarin-Rosenfeld said.
Assemblymember Marge Markey has arranged for the New York City Board of Elections to conduct an open public demonstration of the new voting system at various locations in Queens.
“Take this opportunity to see and use the new voting system that will be the new standard for all future elections in New York City, and be sure to exercise your right to vote this fall,” said Markey.
The demonstrations will take place between 1 and 3 p.m. at the following locations: Wednesday, July 28, Broadway Branch Library, 40-20 Broadway, Long Island City; Wednesday, August 11, Maspeth Branch Library, 69-61 Grand Avenue; and Wednesday, August 18, Woodside Branch Library, 54-22 Skillman Avenue.
We didn't hear good news tonight.
- We are #1 in the city in Grand Larceny Autos (car thefts). In one area of the 104th three cars were stolen off one block in less than 28 days! The car thefts are precinct wide and we were told some cars are being stolen right out of driveways. Car thefts usually occur between the hours of 1 am and 5 am. Most of the autos stolen are mini vans.
- We are #2 or #3 in the city in home burglaries which usually occur between 10 am and 4 pm and this is occurring precinct wide. Most entries are made through windows or through the rear of the house.
Please alert the neighbors and tell them if they see anything that doesn't look right to call 911 immediately.
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Con Edison crews continue working day and night restoring service to customers impacted by this week's intense heat wave. The company has hundreds of extra crews and support personnel available 24/7 to respond to any service problems that may arise.
As of 6:30 a.m., the company had restored power to approximately 18,700 customers over the past 24 hours and was working to restore about 6,300 who were without power.
Con Edison urges customers to report power interruptions or service problems, as well as view service restoration information, online at www.conEd.com
, or on their cell phones and PDAs. Customers can also call 1-800-75-CONED.
Con Edison yesterday broke its 2010 record for peak electricity use when the company delivered 12,963 megawatts at 5 p.m. Usage would have been even higher if not for the efforts of Con Edison’s customers, who responded to the company’s request for conservation.
If you experience a power outage:
Turn off all light switches and appliances to prevent overloaded circuits when power is restored. Leave at least one light switch in the on position to alert you when power has been restored;
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Each time the door is opened, heat enters and speeds the thawing process;
- Have a battery-powered radio and a supply of extra batteries handy. Have flashlights available for every member of your household;
- Listen to your battery-operated radio on for updates on our restoration progress and safety tips;
- Fill spare containers with water for cooking and washing;
- Use candles and storm lanterns carefully. Keep them out of drafts, away from flammable materials, and out of the reach of children.
Here are some steps the company is recommending to stay cool this summer:
Make sure air conditioner filters are clean for peak efficiency;
- Set thermostats no lower than 78 degrees. Each degree lower increases cooling costs by 6 percent;
- If you have a room air-conditioning unit, close off the rooms not being used; if you have central air, block the vents in un-used or vacant rooms;
- Also turn off lights and other appliances, use a timer to turn them on as necessary, and turn your computer off when not at home to conserve;
To reduce heat and moisture, run appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers in the early morning or late at night when it’s generally cooler. Use a microwave to cook, or barbecue outside if possible.
Wednesday, 6/30, at 1:55 pm, a female was robbed at gunpoint on 74th Street/53rd Road. As she was sitting in her car a male white, bald, blue eyes, stocky build, about 160 lbs, a tattoo on his neck, wearing a gray sweatsuit approached her with a gun and demanded her pocketbook. The perpetrator possibly fled in a gray Impala with tinted windows. A partial plate number was "ED". The car fled towards Queens Boulevard. Anyone heading to Stop & Shop or other stores in the immediate area should be alert. Side streets in our area are quiet and a perfect spot for robbers. If you are walking in the area or prefer to park on the street rather than the parking lot, make an effort not to carry a purse or anything that might make you a target for robbers. If you have any information about this incident, call the 104th Squad immediately. All information will be kept strictly confidential. Please alert your neighbors and forward this to everyone you know in the area!!
As per the Queens Ledger
, "Amalgamated Bank received approval to begin construction work at its newest branch at 69-73 Grand Avenue on February 5 of this year. The building at that location has been vacant since Comprehensive Health Care of Maspeth left the space over a year ago."