Koo Successfully Lobbies City For Laundry Licensing Changes

    City Council Member Peter Koo/via Facebook

    City Council Member Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone) last week succeeded in getting the city to change its’ laundry licensing requirements.

    The City’s new Laundry Licensing Law, which went into effect on January 30, 2017, created three new license categories – Industrial Laundry, Industrial Laundry Delivery, and Retail Laundry.  Industrial Laundry, Industrial Laundry Delivery, and new Retail Laundry businesses were required to be licensed by January 30, 2017. Retail laundries that currently hold a laundry license must apply for the new license before their current licenses expire on December 31, 2017. All businesses must be licensed—or have a temporary operating letter—by January 1, 2018. Businesses that exclusively perform dry cleaning services do not need a Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) license.

    Under the new requirements the (DCA) is changing its application requirements so businesses can apply for new laundry licenses without providing a physical copy of a Certificate of Occupancy.

    DCA will also be issuing six-month temporary licenses to businesses with circumstances that prevent them from certifying compliance; if at the end of the six months these businesses are not able to certify compliance, DCA will revisit the situation and, if warranted, issue an extension.

    “While it’s ultimately the responsibility of the City of New York to be diligent in enforcing the rules and regulations governing our small businesses, it is even more important that the City be able to recognize when those rules cause more harm than good,” said Koo.

    “This rule change is a great example of the city doing everything in its power to help neighborhood businesses stay on their feet, not penalizing them for getting caught up in red tape. Thanks to DCA and the Mayor’s office for working with our community in good faith toward a solution that works best for everyone,” added the lawmaker.

    Katz To Queens Residents: Home Energy Assistance Is Available

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz/via Facebook

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz recently announced that residents who need financial assistance to help heat their homes this winter are encouraged to come to her office at Queens Borough Hall to apply for help from the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).

    “We do not know what Mother Nature has in store for us this winter, but we do know how harmful and even deadly winter temperatures can be for the elderly and to other vulnerable people,” said Katz. “Many individuals and families are eligible for important and potentially life-saving financial assistance that will allow them to afford heating their homes. All Queens residents who are struggling to pay their heating bills should take advantage of this valuable program.”

    HEAP is a federally funded grant program that helps low-income homeowners and renters defray the cost of their heating fuel.  Eligible recipients can receive up to several hundred dollars per year to offset their fuel bills.

    HEAP application assistance will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays (excluding holidays) from now through March 14, 2018 at Queens Borough Hall (Room 225), 120-55 Queens Boulevard. No appointments will be accepted, and walk-in applicants will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Representatives from the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) will be available to directly assist people with applications.  Multi-language assistance will be available.  U.S. citizens and qualified immigrants can get HEAP assistance if they meet eligibility requirements.

    Additional details related to HEAP can also be obtained by calling by calling the New York State HEAP hotline at 1-800-342-3009 or visiting www.otda.ny.gov/programs/heap.

    Meng Urges NIH to Devote More Resources to Finding a Cure for Hepatitis B Virus

    U.S. Representative Grace Meng/Facebook

    U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, and Maspeth) along with U,S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) led a bipartisan, bicameral letter urging the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support a sustained research effort to find a cure for the hepatitis B virus.

    The letter was also signed by U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Hank Johnson (D-GA). Reps. Meng and Johnson are both co-chairs of the Congressional Hepatitis Caucus.

     “The NIH is not investing enough resources to finding a cure for a virus that chronically affects 2 million people across the country, and that leads to thousands of deaths each year,” said Meng. “Hepatitis B is also of particular concern to minority communities who are disproportionately impacted by the virus. Despite these alarming statistics, NIH research funding for hepatitis B has declined by 12.5 percent since 2012. Now that a cure for the virus could very well be in reach, it is more important than ever that the NIH devote appropriate resources to stopping the virus once and for all.”

    Globally, more than 250 million individuals live with chronic hepatitis B, which contributes to around 800,000 deaths each year, primarily due to liver cancer—the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Nationally, around 2 million individuals are chronically infected with the disease. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are particularly impacted by hepatitis B, accounting for over 50 percent of those living with the virus in the United States.

    Avella, Activists React and Counter DEC Mute Swan Management Plan

    Sen. Tony Avella

    State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Floral Park, Beechhurst, Malba, Auburndale) and multiple activist groups will stand on the steps of New York City Hall today to react to the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Mute Swan Management Plan.

    They will also present the results of a new Hudsonia independent study that totally undermines the foundational reasoning on which DEC relies to exterminate New York’s mute swans.

    The rally is slated for 1 p.m. today, Nov. 29 on the steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

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