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    Meng Mourns Death Of Don Capalbi

    U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

    U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D- Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) yesterday sadly announced the death of Don Capalbi, her longtime staff member who also served as a Queens civic leader.

    Capalbi, 73, died yesterday at a local hospice facility. He was hospitalized at Long Island Jewish Medical Center last month after sustaining a head injury from a fall.

    Capalbi was a community liaison for Meng and served in the same capacity when she was a member of the New York State Assembly. Capalbi was also President of the Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association and a member of many other community organizations in the Flushing area.

    “It is a deeply sad day,” said Meng. “A member of our family has passed away and we are devastated by this terrible loss. Don worked tirelessly for the people of our Congressional district. He was an invaluable part of my team, providing me with information and advice about community issues, and representing me at civic meetings and local events. He also fought tremendously for his neighborhood, dedicating countless hours to preserving and improving the quality of life in his community. But Don was much more than a terrific staffer and civic activist. He was also a great human being; a wonderful and special person who was selfless and full of life, and one of the kindest, friendliest and gentlest people I’ve known.

    “He touched and impacted so many lives and was loved, admired and respected by all with whom he worked. Rarely did I see him without a smile on his face. I thank Don for his many years of dedication, and I will always remember his unwavering commitment to our constituents, and his many efforts to make our district a better place for all who live and work here. As I grieve his loss, I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends at this difficult time. He will be sorely missed but the legacy of his service, and the contributions he made to help others, will never be forgotten.”

    Funeral arrangements were not known at post time.

    Katz, Van Bramer Cut Ribbon On Basketball Court & Playground

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz

    City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

    Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside ), along with NYCHA officials and Queensbridge Tenant Association President April Simpson, yesterday cut the ribbin opening a new basketball court and playground at Queensbridge South between 10th Street and Vernon Boulevard.

    This $306,100 project was jointly funded through Van Bramer and Katz’s offices. That number is also part of a nearly $1.5 million project funded through their offices towards Queensbridge renovations to revamp and restore outdoor gathering spaces and play areas throughout the grounds of Queensbridge Houses North and South.

    “I am proud to have helped fund the newly renovated basketball court and play area at Queensbridge South. These essential gathering spaces will allow children and families of Queensbridge to come together, build community, and play outdoors. I love this community and I am committed to improving the grounds and overall quality of life here in every way I can,” said Van Bramer.

    “For the countless kids of all ages living in the area, these new recreation areas will not only serve as places to play, but also as community hubs for relationship building and healthy living,” said Katz. “By investing in upgrades for our parks, we are investing in a better future for our children across the borough.”

    Nolan, Gianaris, Van Bramer Break Ground On New School

    Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan

    Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Astoria, Woodside, Long Island City, Maspeth, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Dutch Kills, Blissville), State Sen.Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) and City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D) yesterday education officials, civic leaders and residents in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new school of Academy of American Studies (Q575) in Dutch Kills.

    “I am proud to see the Academy of American Studies finally get a proper school building” said Nolan.  “Principal William Bassell and our community has advocated for this school for a long time.  I am grateful to Lorraine Grillo, President of the SCA [School Construction Authority] for today’s groundbreaking.”

    The new building will be fully air conditioned, accessible, four-story high school. The 969 seat school will have 30 standard classrooms, two district special education classrooms, and three resource rooms.

    The facility will also include a competition-sized gymnasium with locker rooms. It will also have two science demo labs, two science labs, and two science prep rooms. Music and art classrooms as well as a technology lab, a medical suite, a guidance suite, and a library will be included. An administrative suite, kitchen, student and staff dining areas, and a parent room, will also be provided. The outdoor play area will include four handball courts, a half court for basketball, and a reading area.

    State Sen. Michael Gianaris

    “One of the greatest needs in our community is having enough school seats for our kids and today’s announcement is good news on that front,” said Gianaris“I will keep fighting for more schools throughout western Queens until all parents can be assured their children will have a seat in which to learn.”

    “I am excited for the new Academy of American Studies in Dutch Kills and proud to have helped secure the funding for what will be a state of the art facility. The Academy of American Studies is one of the best schools in our city and state, and its talented students and faculty deserve a beautiful, modernized building where they can reach their full potential,” said Van Bramer.

    Vallone, Koo Relaunch & Expand Senior Transportation Program

    City Council Member Paul Vallone

    City Council Member Peter Koo

    City Council Members Paul Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) and Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone) today will announce the relaunch and expansion of the successful free senior transportation program for Queens that will provide seniors with an alternative travel option for medical appointments.

    Throughout the city, seniors are faced with a lack of practical transportation options which limits their ability to attend important medical appointments. Unreliable services such as Access-a-Ride are often the only option for seniors living in transportation deserts, like northeast Queens, where public transportation is extremely limited.

    The free senior transportation program Vallone launched was very well received and provided hundreds with an innovative alternative travel option at no cost to the seniors. With additional funding allocated through Vallone’s office and the Queens Delegation of Council Members, the program is now being relaunched and expanded to serve seniors throughout all of Queens.

    The official announcement is slated for 12:30 p.m., today, Dec. 4 at the Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center 208-11 26th Avenue in Bayside.

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