Vallone Announces Participatory Budgeting Vote Results

    City Council Member Paul Vallone

    City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck and Whitestone) yesterday announced the results of the fifth year of participatory budgeting (PB) in Northeast Queens, which garnered just over 8,500 votes.

    PB is where constituents in a district vote to decide on where and how a portion of a city council member’s discretionary funds from the city budget will be spent. This showing toppled Northeast Queens’ previous record and was the best in the entire city.

    The winning projects are as follows:

    1. P.S. 129 Gymnasium Renovation – 2,009 votes; This project will fund a full renovation of the school’s existing gym space to enhance educational opportunities in the safest way possible for the P.S. 129 school community.
    2. Green Biome at Bayside High School – 1,807 votes; This project will fund a Green Biome, which will provides avenues for hands-on learning about hydroponics, solar energy, recycling and urban gardening.
    3. NYPD Security Cameras – 1,574 votes; This project will fund and install four NYPD security cameras in District 19, which are meant to enhance crime prevention.

    “The results once again clearly show that Northeast Queens has overwhelmingly embraced the success of the participatory budgeting process,” said Vallone. “This grassroots process encourages voter participation at a time when voter turnout is at a record low and is a great way to teach our youth the power and importance of voting. This tremendous effort could not have been possible without the continuous dedication of our delegates, community liaisons, volunteers, staff and Vito Tautonico, our Director of Constituent Services, who spearheaded the process. I look forward to continuing to grow the process next year.”

    Cuomo Releases First Report On Suicide Prevention In The State

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo

    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) yesterday announced the release of the first report from the New York State Suicide Prevention Task Force.

    Established by the Governor in November 2017, the Task Force serves to increase awareness of and access to supportive services with a special focus on high-risk groups including veterans, Latina adolescents, and members of the LGBTQ community.

    Recommendations from the report include strengthening public health prevention efforts, integrating suicide prevention in healthcare, timely sharing of data for surveillance and planning, and infusing cultural competence throughout suicide prevention activities.

    “It is critical that every New Yorker has access to the resources and mental health services they need to lead stable, healthy lives,” said Cuomo. “As we continue to bolster prevention efforts in communities across the state, especially among high-risk groups, these recommendations will help increase awareness and strengthen the safety net to protect anyone who needs help.”

    At the Governor’s direction, the Task Force examined current programs, services, and statewide suicide prevention policies in order to identify gaps in resources and strengthen coordination between State and local partners.

    The Task Force’s recommendations fall into four main categories and goals:

    • Strengthening public health prevention efforts: Forging stronger partnerships with local communities, providing resources and expertise to assess local needs, and implementing research-informed prevention programs. Several recommendations are designed to jump-start State and community actions to expand the number of communities with prevention expertise to implement comprehensive public health prevention using best practices.
    • Integrating suicide prevention in healthcare: Helping healthcare providers adopt a systematic approach to suicide prevention, which includes helping them to promote access to services, more effectively identify those at risk and utilize the most effective treatments.
    • Timely sharing of data for surveillance and planning: Gathering and tracking data on regional trends in suicide rates and related behaviors is critically important to implement a high-quality public health prevention approach. By improving the availability of data, gaps in services can be addressed and local planning and prevention efforts can be enhanced.
    • Infusing cultural competence throughout suicide prevention activities: Considering a community’s unique cultural and societal factors to develop effective programs and resources needed to create a suicide-free New York. Competence to address the needs of the State’s diverse population is required across the full range of suicide prevention activities. In addition to tailoring services to address differences in race, gender, sexuality, and nationality, cultural competence includes the capacity for State agencies to differentiate programming needs of more rural and urban communities; competence within local coalitions to engage representatives of their diverse communities; recognition of the methods needed to reach each generation; and selection and tailoring of programming to suit the needs of each group at elevated risk for suicide.

    Gillibrand Pushes Fed Funding Towards Jobs and Training For At-Risk Youths

    U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

    U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday announced her push to secure millions in federal funding for a Department of Labor (DOL) program that helps at-risk young adults get jobs across New York State and the country as part of its Reintegration of Ex-Offenders program.

    This program provides grants to national and regional nonprofit organizations that provide critical services that help at-risk youth, aged 16 to 24, attain the skills and education needed for success. These services include case management, skills training, tutoring, and mentoring to put these young people on a pathway to a good job. The beneficiaries of the program are both unemployed and out of school, putting them at a greater risk of becoming involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

    “Every young person deserves the chance to get a good job and help their community thrive,” said Gillibrand. “However, the high rate of youth unemployment, particularly for minorities and youth from underserved communities, is a testament to the obstacles that stand in the way of their success. We should invest in our youth and their full potential, even if they have made mistakes in the past. That’s why I am urging my colleagues to provide necessary funding to this critical Department of Labor program in this year’s appropriations bill.”

    Sanders Earth Day Message

    State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

    State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway, NY) yesterday encouraged New Yorkers to celebrate Earth Day 2019 (Which was yesterday) as an opportunity to renew their commitment to protecting the environment.

    “Protecting the health of New Yorkers and the environment in which we raise our families is one of the most important things we can do,” said Sanders. “It is our duty and responsibility to future generations to protect our state’s natural beauty and resources.”

    In 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin declared April 22 as Earth Day and organized a nationwide grassroots demonstration to allow people throughout the country to speak and express their concern for the land, rivers, lakes and air. The event continued annually and led to the internationally observed day of action.

    “No stone should be left unturned and each day is precious in the fight to protect our earth,” Sanders said. “We must protect our environment and conserve our natural resources. Let us take care of our communities and ensure a clean, sustainable world for our children and grandchildren.”

    For more information about Earth Day 2019, please visit:

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