Schumer Demands Sleep Apnea Testing For Train Operators

    U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

    U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) demanded that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) reverse their decision to not requiring sleep apnea screening and treatment mandates for rail engineers across the nation.

    In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, Schumer urged the department to reinstate the federal rule in order to help avoid future fatigue-related rail tragedies. A recent investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that two recent crashes in Brooklyn and Hoboken were the result of the train engineers’ fatigue and their employers’ failure to screen and treat for sleep apnea.

    For more than a decade, the NTSB has recommended that railroads test and treat vehicle operators for sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, which was long ignored until a series of deadly, related accidents. Following a 2013 Metro-North derailment in the Bronx that tragically killed four people, the MTA began developing a pilot project to screen and treat Metro-North engineers for sleep disorders and later expanded the program to the Long Island Rail Road. Similarly, following a 2008 accident on the T train in Boston, the New York City Transit system began screening and treating subway train operators for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Nearly 20 percent of the major investigations completed by NTSB between 2001 and 2012 identified fatigue issues as a probable cause.

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    “The non-partisan, ‎expert-led NTSB, whose mission it is to advance transportation safety, just sounded an alarm that should be deafening to the federal DOT when it comes to their inexcusable decision to halt a national sleep apnea screening standard from being implemented, “said Schumer.

    “After the tragedies in Brooklyn and Hoboken‎, and at Spuyten-Duyvil, it is clearer than ever that sleep apnea screening tests for train operators is a common sense precaution that can save lives. The Trump administration is asleep at the switch if they do not heed the ‎latest NTSB recommendation to reinstate ‎this commonsense sleep apnea rule‎. The DOT must get across sleep apnea screening back on track before it is too late– this puts them on notice,” added Schumer.

    Meng Cosponsors Resolution to Recognize Growth and Contributions of South Korea

    U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

    U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth) last week kicked off the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea with the cosponsoring of a bipartisan resolution (H.Res.707) that seeks to recognize the growth and transformation of South Korea, and its significant contributions to the international community.

     “South Korea has made outstanding contributions across the globe, and this resolution appropriately recognizes the assistance that South Korea has provided to the international community,” said Meng. “I am proud to champion this resolution that honors South Korea’s progress, and the importance of the U.S.-South Korea relationship. South Korea is strong partner of the United States and I look forward to seeing our ally make even further achievements and contributions in the years ahead.”

    Specifically, the resolution:

    (1) Reaffirms the steadfast alliance between the United States and South Korea;

    (2) Applauds South Korea and its people for its significant contributions to the international community;

    (3) Encourages South Korea to continue its foreign assistance programs and improving the lives of individuals throughout the world; and

    (4) Provides best wishes and support for a successful Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang.

    The resolution has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee where it is awaiting further action.

    Avella and College Point Residents Call on City to Fix Consistently Flooded Street

    Sen. Tony Avella

    State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Briarwood) on Friday stood with residents of Powells Cove Boulevard in College Point to call on the city to finally address a major flooding condition that has plagued this community for over 20 years.

    When the Senator and residents gathered on the corner of Powells Cove Boulevard and 126th Street, they stood around a massive pool of water from a rainfall from the beginning of the week that had frozen over and showed no signs of going away.

    For two years, Avella has been working with the residents to obtain action from multiple city agencies in order to get the poor roadbed and flooding conditions addressed. Many agencies have inspected the location, including the Department of Transportation (DOT) who blamed the flooding on a lack of storm sewers at the location and claimed that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) must address that before DOT can address the road issues.

    DEP informed Avella over the summer that they would open a 90-day investigation of the location. Neither the Senator nor the residents have heard what the investigation concluded.

    “I’m not sure how the city expects people to live with conditions like this. How they allow their residents to live in such a flood-prone area without proper drainage or a sewer is beyond me. Just because these New Yorkers live at the end of College Point does not mean that you should treat them like they live at the end of the world. These New Yorkers have waited too long, something needs to be done immediately. It is absurd that residents are still having to beg for basic city services like storm sewers,” said Avella.

    Van Bramer Celebrates Black History Month

    City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer/Facebook

    City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Maspeth.) later this month will hold his 8th Annual Black History Month event.

    We will honor leaders in our community who have worked to improve the lives of people throughout Western Queens. We will also enjoy light refreshments, as well as special performances by Precise Dance Studio, Jelani Remy and L. Steven Tayorl, said Van Bramer.

    The event is slated for between 6:30-8:30 p.m., Monday Feb. 26 at the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement, 10-25 41st Avenue in Long Island City. The event is free and open to all. Please RSVP to or (718) 383-9566×1.


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