The MAY 2013
Red Hook StarªRevue SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
GOWANUS CANAL SLUDGE HEADED ELSEWHERE
While the official result of the public comment period, which ended April 27th, will not be known for several months, Mugdan stated over and over and over again that the EPA understands the Red Hook community is not in favor of depositing the Gowanus’ residue in the neighborhood. This option was always subject to community approval, as well as the approval of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Ironically, this all took place at a meeting orchestrated by Reg Flowers, who has made his name recently as a community facilitator in forums as diverse as Occupy Red Hook and the NYC Housing Authority. While ostensibly assuming a neutral position, he has been linked with John Quadrozzi Jr., whose private company would be the main beneficiary if the Red Hook Option were to be approved.
Public comment period over The end of the public comment period represents the end of what became a painful process, because the forces in
On one side stood Red Hook residents who in the wake of Superstorm Sandy were fearful of encased toxic sludge escaping and adding to the contamination of Red Hook’s soil and air. On the other side was a landowner who would be the recipient of a gift of 450,000 square feet of new land - a gift worth upwards of $1 billion, according to Brooklyn Greenway Initiative co-founder Brian McCormick. Despite a slew of public meetings, newspaper articles and an informative EPA website, much misinformation and lack of information has clouded the argument, pro and con, in the mind of the average Red Hooker. Mugdan worked hard at the April 16th meeting to frame the issues correctly. Currently, what was open for public comReg Flowers chatting it up with Lillie Marshall, John ment was the proposal to bury Quadrozzi and Phaedra Thomas in the background. the sludge on the property of (photo by Fiala) Quadrozzi, owner of the Erie favor of private gain sought to divide Grain Terminal and the land the Red Hook community, pitting jobs around it, called Gowanus GBX. Furagainst pollution. ther issues will be decided in the future,
including something called de-watering of the sludge. The $500 million dollar plan to clean up the Gowanus is still in the early planning stages. Dewatering and other issues will be part of the continuing public monitoring process - but what was asked initially has been only whether the sludge will become part of the Gowanus GBX. It’s approval has nothing at all to do with cleaning up - a job tasked the EPA in 2010, when the Gowanus was designated a Federal Superfund site. Much to the chagrin of the Bloomberg administration, which was keen on a quick local cleanup that would benefit the Toll Brother’s plan to build luxury housing adjacent to the canal, the Gowanus received the designation in March of 2010. Following initial testing, a Remedial Investigation Report was issued in January 2011. The Feasibility Study was issued in January 2011, and the Proposed Plan in December, 2012. Christos Tsiamis, a chemical engineer with a masters from Columbia University was named the project director in March 2010. The idea of creating the Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) as an alternative to shipping the sludge out(continued on page 5)
The vultures after LICH by Kimberly Gail Price
“Follow the money,” says Dr. John Romanelli. Romanelli was the final president of the medical staff at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) before the merger with the State University of New York Downstate (SUNY). He has been a doctor with LICH for more than 30 years. His entire family has been treated at LICH. And like so many others, he is concerned about the future of his hospital. LICH originally sought a suitor in the late 1990’s to prevent their hospital
The Red Hook Star-Revue 101 Union Street Brooklyn, NY 11231
t a public meeting held April 16th at the South Brooklyn Community High School, Regional Superfund Director Walter Mugdan repeated multiple times that the proposed plan to bury toxic sludge from the Gowanus in Red Hook would never happen. “How many times do you want me to say it? If we don’t have your acceptance - and it seems evident that we do not - as I’ve said, the disposal of the facility in a CDF ain’t gonna happen. Because we asked for the community’s reaction. And we’re hearing it,” he insisted.
by George Fiala
from accruing massive debt. Ironically, once under Continuum Health Partner’s leadership, money began leaking through the cracks of the 155 year old hospital. Between the stripping of their real estate assets and eradicating endowments, LICH has watched much of their value slip away. The lack of resources, funding and attention by their governing partners over the past 15 years has left LICH vulnerable to a potential shutdown. But the communities that rely on this hospital have fought for - and averted - the closure, at least for now.
Dr. Toomas Sorra, President of Concerned Citizens of LICH. (photo by Price)
Last week on Wednesday, April 24, the NY City Council Health Committee voted unanimously to support a resolution presented by Councilmen Brad Lander (D-39) and Stephen Levin (D33).
Levin followed by saying that SUNY has not “shown any interest in operating [LICH] successfully,” but “that should not overshadow the vital need for healthcare services in the Cobble Hill/Brooklyn Heights area.”
In his opening remarks, Lander commented that “We’re not insisting that SUNY Downstate continue to operate LICH. They’ve made it clear that that doesn’t work for them.”
On Thursday the following afternoon around 3 pm, the full NY City Council approved the resolution with a second unanimous vote. The bill called on SUNY and the Department of Health (continued on page 3)
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Red Hook StarªRevue
SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
VOLUME 4 NO. 6
Table of Contents Happenings....................... 2 Library Reopens ............... 4 Editorials/Crossword...... 8,9 Newsbriefs....................... 12
SATURDAY MAY 11TH
Star-Revue Wins!.10-11 Ware on Fashion........ 16 Classifieds................. 19 Seen Around Town.... 20
Join Riverkeeper as they host their 2nd annual day of service for the Hudson River. You can choose one of 75 shoreline cleanups between New York City and Albany. To register to volunteer at www.riverkeeper.org/sweep See a live performance Retreat to Victory by Paul Bennery and Robert Sullivan. Tickets are $5 per person. The Proteus Gowanus is located at 543 Union Street.
STAFF Kimberly G. Price.......................................Editor/Publisher
The Brooklyn Public Library is hosting Bike the branches, a day long bike tour through the 60 different locations throughout the borough. Select branches will offer music, magic shows and other programming and activities. BPL will suggest routes, but riders can choose their own routes and pace. The tour ends at Grand Army Plaza with entertainment and prizes from 5-7 pm. Registration is $20 for adults, $15 for students and $10 for children. For more information visit www. bklynpubliclibrary.org
George Fiala.......................................... Graphics/Publisher Brian Clancy....................................................Theater/Arts Vince Musacchia..................................................Cartoons Eric Ruff............................................................... Calendar Alliyah Leocadi .........................................................Intern
WEDNESDAY, MAY 15
Jenny Belin, Mary Anne Massaro, Mary Ann Pietanza, Leslie Ware
The Carrol Gardens Library presents “The Senior Edge:Using your Skills, Experience and Wisdom for a more Vibrant Life” from 1-2pm Lisa Catanzaro, L.C.S.W. will lead the workshop on “Volunteer, Tutor and Mentor: three ways to stay involved and get engaged in your golden years. 396 Clinton Street at Union.
SUNDAY MAY 19TH
718.624.5568 - Editorial & Advertising 917.652.9128 News Tips 101 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Carroll Gardens Greenmarket is hosting a Chili Cook off. The Happy Hookers (Engine 279) VS The Red Hook Raider (Engine 202) will be competing. Judging/ Tasting will began at noon. The Carroll Gardens Greenmarket is located at 51 Chambers Street.
SATURDAY MAY 18
The Kentler International Drawing Place invites you their 11th annual 100 Works On Paper Benefit. Enjoy 130 original works along with food and drinks from notable Red Hook eateries. Tickets are 2 for $350. The Kentler International Drawing Place is locate at 353 Van Brunt Street.
Come and Join The Heights Players as they present Chorus Line at the John Bourne Theatre. Showings are May 10-25 at 8:00pm. May 12-26 Sunday shows start at 2:00pm. Tickets are Adults $20 , Seniors & Under 16 $18. The John Bourne Theatre is located at 26 Willow Place. To make reservations call (718) 237-2752 Hot Wood Arts Gallery Presents Work By : Angela Jahn, Hannah Raine Brenner-Leonard , and Matthew Robinson Curated by Megan Suttles. Open Reception is May 11th ,12-6pm. This event will be ongoing through June 16th Saturday and Sundays 12-6pm by appointment only. Hot Wood Arts is located at 481 Van Brunt Street 9B. Come to the Jalopy Theatre and School of Music as they host the Bayou Brooklyn Music Festival on May 10 thru May 12. Experience 3 days of live band playing, community jam sessions and many other events Jalopy Theatre and School of Music is located on 315 Columbia Street. Brave New World Repertory Theatre present Moby Dick- Rehearsed by Orson Welles at The Water Front Museum. This show will runMay 3-5 and May 10-12 all shows times are at 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $25 and $18 for students/seniors. The Water Front Museum is located at 290 Conover Street at Pier 44. Come out and experience the two new exhibits at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s (BWAC). Starting May 11 through June 16 will be holding Wide Open 4 and On The Waterfront Zone A. BWAC is located at 499 Van Brunt Street.
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The saga of LICH’s lost independence (continued from page 1)
(DOH) “to work with stakeholders to pursue the acquisition of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) by another health care institution to preserve critical health care services for the community.” On Friday April 26, SUNY formally withdrew their proposed closure plan from DOH. In the news release from Ronald Najman, SUNY also plans to “continue to seek a provider of healthcare services within the LICH community, including potentially a hospital operator.” Immediately upon the withdrawal were cheers of victory among LICH’s supporters and employees. Lander publically joked at a meeting the following week that “never has a city resolution produced results so quickly.” However, there still remain serious cries of concern for the ailing Brooklyn hospital. Considering SUNY’s sordid past decisions, the apprehension is well deserved. Dr. Daniel Ricciardi commented, “Continuum has definitely raped and pillaged us; SUNY just neglected us.” Dr. Ricciardi, a rheumatology specialist through LICH, has lived in Brooklyn Heights since 1980. He began his residency at LICH in 1977.
Real Estate SUNY sparked a recent controversy over LICH real estate. The deception is one of several examples SUNY has exhibited since their takeover of LICH in two years ago. However, selling off the valuable Cobble Hill properties first began with Continuum. In June 2008, the New York Times (NYT) published an article entitled “Doctors Say Hospital is Falling Victim to Its Own Real Estate Value.” Nearly five years ago, LICH Continuum Health Partners recognized the value of the property and had sold off three of the campuses buildings for a total of more than $33 million. In previous years they sold a number LICH properties, including several brownstones along Atlantic Avenue and St. Peter’s Church and School on Hicks Street for a total of $16 million. Most notably of these buildings was the former International Longshoreman Association’s (ILA) Medical Center at 340 Court Street. Dr. Romanelli and several of his colleagues put out a bid for the building. About 30 doctors planned to open clinics and private practices associated with LICH. Continuum discovered their plan, outbid the doctors and bought it themselves for nearly $8 million. A few short months later, Continuum flipped the property for $24 million. The article also noted that “Stanley Brezenoff, president of Continuum, said in an interview Monday [June 9, 2008] that the system is, indeed, trying to cash in on the real estate,” to keep LICH from “the brink of bankruptcy. ‘We do the liquidation of assets in order to give them money to operate,’ [he said.]” Initially, hospital employees were told
Red Hook Star-Revue
that the money would be used as a $5 million investment for the development of primary care. But that never happened. Berezenoff maintained that the money went towards the hospital’s deficit. Dr. Daniel Ricciardi, who was initially on LICH’s Board of Trustees when they merged with Continuum’s board, explained that Continuum was charging their five hospitals equally for all services, “even if we didn’t get services.” Smaller hospitals – like LICH – were expected to pay the same as larger hospitals for billing and executive salaries. After being sold by Continuum, the Court Street location was immediately demolished and is still being developed into luxury condos. Under Brezenoff’s management, Continuum had a prior history of selling property of other hospitals under their jurisdiction. A Beth Israel building was sold for $180 million to a condominium
“It makes me wonder if [SUNY] knew exactly what they were doing in the beginning - which is take the institution [LICH] and flip it, like you do in real estate.” developer. Property at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center was also sold to the same developer. In the NYT article Brezenoff noted that St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan – still operating at the time – would close if permission was not granted to sell off some of the landmarked property for redevelopment. “ ‘What’s St. Vincent’s, except a real estate strategy?’ ” he said. Past president, Dr. Arnold Licht and current president, Dr. Toomas Sorra of LICH’s medical staff responded to the article with a letter to the editor. They wrote, “The short-term response to a long-term problem underscores our concerns about why LICH’s finances are still so troubled after 10 years under Continuum management.” Five years later, property values have soared and the city’s population has hit an all time high at 8,336,697. While all five boroughs registered a larger influx in 2012, Brooklyn registered the highest percentage with a 2.4% increase. Brooklyn’s population grew by almost 61,000 last year – nearly twice the number of people accounted for in Manhattan, where the population grew by 33,200 (2.1%). In March of 2013, The Real Deal: New York City Real Estate News published an article entitled “Brooklyn’s Building Bonanza,” sighting a number of real estate developments “slated for Brooklyn and Queens – with a strong emphasis on Brooklyn.” The article continues, “The
flood of new inventory will be concentrated predominantly in Downtown Brooklyn” - very near to LICH. The Real Deal cites many developments throughout Downtown Brooklyn including a 720 unit rental on Schermerhorn Street, a 200,000 square foot residential building on Smith Street, a 74 unit rental on Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights that sold for $50.8 million, a 440 unit rental on Flatbush Extension, a 90,000 square foot residential building on Bergen Street in Boerum Hill and Lightstone’s 700 unit rental along the Gowanus Canal. “The Brooklyn projects tend to be substantially bigger than what’s being built in Manhattan,” because of the rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn in 2004. “In the wake of the rezoning, developers gobbled up prime sites in the neighborhood quickly and, in many cases, cobbled together lots that can accommodate hundreds of residential units,” reported The Real Deal. On Tuesday, March 26, 2013, the Daily News printed an article, “Prospect of Redeveloping Waterfront Long Island College Hospital Site in Cobble Hill Has Developers Licking Their Chops.” The opening line reads, “Exit the doctors – enter the developers.” The article estimates the total property value of LICH to be upward of $1 billion as “real estate pros are salivating over the possibilities.” While developers are looking for new properties and SUNY remains in dire financial straits, closing the hospital for capital gain would allow the state institution to pay off massive cash shortages as well as continue on with their plan of opening a for-profit hospital elsewhere in Brooklyn – when the state budget eventually allows it. “Worse, [SUNY] hospital officials deceived the public, originally saying the closure had nothing to do with the prime real estate on which it sits – only to later admit the value of the land was a consideration,” the Daily News confirms. When taken all into account, one might find it very easy to determine the merger between SUNY and LICH was originally meant to be a real estate deal. Smaller buildings sold by Continuum gained a huge profit. Very few - if any - services SUNY promised have been fulfilled.
The SUNY Deficit Appearances suggest that SUNY never created a long-term sustainability plan for LICH. The State Comptrollers audits for the past two years verify that no proposal was ever executed. Dr. Romanelli commented that the only contribution to LICH were the two “tombstones” – the signs marking SUNY’s claim in front of the hospital. Nurse Practitioner and staff nurse of Psychiatry for the past 13 years, Hardy Hill said, “It makes me wonder if [SUNY] knew exactly what they were
Roy Sloane at the May 2nd Cobble Hill Association Meeting that discussed the LICH emergency. (photo by Price).
doing in the beginning - which is take the institution [LICH] and flip it, like you do in real estate.” Despite the financial mismanagement by Continuum for more than a decade, SUNY agreed to allow Continuum to continue LICH’s patient billing through 2016 - a service for which LICH is continuing to pay $4 million each month. Doctors and hospital staff at LICH report a consistent lack of billing to insurance companies. Millions of dollars are being lost every year because Continuum gets paid to do the billing whether the billing is done or not. Assemblywoman Joan Millman joked ironically at a recent meeting, “It’s a good time to come here [LICH]; they don’t charge.” Greenburg said that the billing is still being done by Continuum because it was “just part of the deal when the purchase was made.” Others emphasize that it was impossible for SUNY to take over LICH’s billing because they did not have the proper systems in place, but were supposed to be working towards taking over the process when the deal with Continuum expires in 2016. Thus far, SUNY’s financial plan has never been released to the public, the state, DOH or even the Comptroller’s Office for annual audits. Greenburg reiterated SUNY’s position that their financial information is available online and they would be happy to fully open their books to any prospective buyer. However, all of the requests from LICH to share crucial information on the actual financial standings were denied - until the pending lawsuit required SUNY to release the documents. SUNY’s own financial woes, before and during the merger, only became evident in the public eye in 2012 when State Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli released a report entitled “Audit Reveals Alleged Procurement Improprieties at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.” After receiving three anonymous letters of alleged fraud, investigators and auditors “found efforts to circumvent the bidding process with fake bids, improper relationships between staff and vendors, and problems with software implementation.” DiNapoli stated, “The systematic breakdown in oversight found at SUNY (continued on page 7)
May 2013 Page 3
Red Hook’s library back in business by Alliyah Leocadi
State Senator Velmanette Montgomery poses with reporter Alliyah Leocadi and library supervisor Sandra Sutton. (photo by Kimberly Gail Price)
n Tuesday, April 2, 2013 the Red Hook Public Library held their grand re-opening. The library had been closed for the past five months due to damage from Hurricane Sandy. President of the Brooklyn Public Library, Linda Johnson was joined by Borough President Marty Markowitz, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez, Councilmember Sara Gonzalez, Craig Hammerman from CB6 to celebrate the re-opening. “Welcome back to Red Hook Library” said Markowitz. It was a step forward for the library which has been waiting for a long time to get back on its feet. While employees of the local branch waited for the construction to be completed, they would travel to work at other branches of the Brookyn Public Library System. In the interim, supervisor Sandra Sutton came up with the idea of the Book Mobile. Every Friday starting in February 15, she would travel to the Red Hook location and leave books in a box in front of the library. They are no longer running the Book Mobile since they are now open. Even though there was a serve amount of damage done to the library this didn’t stop them from helping the communi-
Page 4 Red Hook Star-Revue
ty. As one of the only buildings in the neighborhood that had electricity, the staff came together to provide a warming resource center for the community. With the help from FEMA, they were able to give out blankets and other items to help local residents. As they continue to rebuild and become even stronger, they want to add more educational programs for kids and teens each month. “It’s a family place” Councilmember Sara Gonzalez said. “You bring your children, your grandchildren, and they read, they access technology.” Along with adding more programs for the little ones, they want to add even more summer programs for the kids, including a new garden. They will also be remodeling to add an art studio for local artist later on in the year. This will add more art programs for youth. Late fees charges for books you have been holding they will be gladly accepted without fines for a limited time. The Red Hook Library is located at 7 Wolcott Street. As their re-opening comes to an end they wish the community and once again welcome everyone back to library.
GBX’s win at all cost strategy backfires (continued from page 1)
of-state is his. The EPA has created CDF’s before, most notably in cleanups of the Great Lakes, specifically Waukegon Harbor, an hour north of Chicago. That CDF houses PCB contaminated sludge. It’s creation benefits Illinois taxpayers, and the land created is public land. According to the EPA’s Natalie Lowney, the only possible placement of a local CDF is above water owned by private citizen Quadrozzi. The new land would be his property; it’s use would be legally subject only to certain restrictions that maintain the integrity of the cement encasement of the sludge. As is EPA custom, this plan is subject to public approval. With the publication of the plan in December, two public meetings were scheduled for January 2013 - one in Carroll Gardens and one in Red Hook. The first glimmerings of negative public opinion were evident at the January 23rd meeting at NYCHA’s Miccio Center. While the EPA was generally applauded at the PS 58 meeting a few days earlier by Carroll Gardens residents, Christos and Lowney were severely grilled about the prospects of burying sludge in Red Hook - especially in close proximity to the ballfields and Red Hook Houses. Towards the end of the meeting, Phaedra Thomas, without initially identifying herself as an employee of Gowanus GBX, spoke glowingly of Quadrozzi, and the CDF option, until she was outed as a GBX employee by Declan Walsh and others in the audience. A month later there was a special public meeting of the Gowanus Community Action Group (CAG) which was also advertised in the local newspapers. The CAG is a group set up by the EPA at every Superfund project consisting of local stakeholders. The Gowanus CAG was organized in October 2010. It meets regularly and provides a forum for the community to express it’s concerns to the EPA, and for the EPA to update the community on its progress. Members of the CAG include representatives from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, The Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, CB6, the Park Slope Civic Council, the Red Hook Civic Association, the Sierra Club, Gowanus Dredgers, Proteus Gowanus, Fifth Avenue Committee and the Cobble Hill Association. Representatives from the Red Hook Houses East and West, namely Dorothy Shields and Lillien Marshall, are original members, but until recently were rarely in attendance.
Red Hook residents wary The complaints expressed by residents at the January meeting were mild in comparison to the February 13th public CAG meeting held in the PS 15 auditorium. A February edition of the StarRevue described some of the back and forth: “You’re very intelligent, but you repeat yourself a lot,” Red Hook resident Christopher Morson told Project Manager Christos Tsiamis, who designed the plan, delivered the presentation and has
Red Hook Star-Revue
been one of its chief advocates. “I know it’s all business, it’s all money” said Morson, referring to the $37 million that would be saved by responsible parties like the city and National Grid if waste is dumped in the Red Hook landfill instead of being shipped away—like sludge with higher toxicity adjacent to neighborhoods like Carroll Gardens.”
were dangled to Red Hook Houses residents to gain their support. Beginning at least as far back as a March 22nd 2012 EPA meeting at the Miccio Center the prospect of a relatively small number of temporary jobs were teasingly placed before the community. At various times the Quadrozzi publicity machine has presented various plans for the community, including jobs, public parks, community spaces. John McGettrick characterized their shifting landscape of ideas as “whatever they think will fly at the time.” Perhaps realizing that the tide had turned against them, the Quadrozzi GBX publicity machine cranked into full force with an April 1st meeting they arranged at the Miccio Center. This followed the appearance throughout the community of posters urging residents to “Tell the EPA NO to a Toxic Red Hook.” These posters were the work of local artist and mother Carly Yates, who held weekly meetings to discuss the Quadrozzi proposal at Bait and Tackle, creating the posters and a website in March to encourage residents to let the EPA know how they felt about the proposal. The April 1st meeting was not attended
CB 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman commented on the idea of giving GBX the authority to determine future use of the landfill. He said “I think it’s quite telling that the question of the private property owner’s fitness with regard to environmental violations doesn’t seem to be an issue for the EPA,” he said. “There are a lot of unanswered questions. It seems like a lot of discretion will be given to the private property owner, so that’s something we all need to consider as a community.” The Star-Revue article continued: “Quadrozzi’s friends appeared to number few in PS 15 on February 13, where he attended. Accordingly, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator Natalie Loney suggested the EPA’s view that ‘the trend is that the community does not want this.”
During the local debates on the location of both Fairway and IKEA, jobs
Turning over the microphone to her boss, John Quadrozzi Jr., Phaedra called him a man she could trust, someone she has known since 2000 when they worked together on an anti-dumping crusade in Red Hook. Quadrozzi described the history of the family property that was purchased in 1997. He erroneously described the 1922 Grain Terminal as a success. In fact it was a failed attempt to revive Red Hook’s grain handling business. The important piece of the presentation was a precise depiction of the potential landfill. When asked, Quadrozzi offered that it consisted of 450,000 square feet of land created from his underwater property. Adjacent to the Henry Street Basin and abutting Columbia Street, he proposed usage of the new land as a break-bulk facility, a
“Quadrozzi’s friends appeared to number few in PS 15 on February 13, where he attended. Accordingly, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator Natalie Loney suggested the EPA’s view that ‘the trend is that the community does not want this.” by the EPA. Experts were brought forth stressing the safety of the CDF option, with Quadrozzi and Thomas filling out the rest of the meeting. Questions from the
tidal wetlands park and a museum composed of a rusty ship that he owns. Reg Flowers raised his hand to speak and announced that he had “recently gotten to know Mr. Quadrozzi, and found that he was not a bad guy. Mr. Quadrozzi is not the devil.” Flowers is a Yale graduate and founder of Falconworks, an “organization whose mission is to empower communities and individuals through theater,” as described on their website. They present a series called “Off The Hook,” in which aspiring playwrites under the age of 14 write and act in their own plays.
Quadrozzi and Thomas were present at this meeting and both made public statements, stressing the jobs that would be created if the proposal survived public scrutiny. Jobs are an issue that has been used to divide Red Hook before. One part of Red Hook contains public housing, where unemployment is generally upwards of 25%. Another part consists of homeowners and businesses. To these residents, quality of life is also important. Red Hook declined after highways were built blocking off Red Hook from the rest of Brooklyn. Jobs left as transportation to and from Red Hook became more difficult, and also as a result of the decline of the shipping and warehousing industries locally. A big local employer, H. Kohnstamm & Co., located adjacent to the Houses in back of Lorraine Street, shut down in the late 1970’s.
that the Red Hook Option might provide with the 500 jobs that the entire Gowanus cleanup would provide. Being as this was a forum ostensibly created to promote the GBX option - not the Superfund cleanup in general - the implication was that one was dependent on the other, which is untrue. In the brief Q & A that followed the prepared presentation, some audience members echoed that confusion, which was purposefully allowed to linger.
Reg Flowers raises his hand to speak at the April 1st meeting. He calls Quadrozzi “not a bad guy. He’s not the devil” Carly Yates is in the foreground. (photo by Fiala)
small audience were held to a minimum. Phaedra Thomas spoke for about 15 minutes, stressing jobs and job training that the project would allegedly provide. She interlaced the 30-60 jobs
While claiming to have only recently gotten to know Quadrozzi, Flowers registered a website called RedHookVision.com on May 25, 2012. Half of the website is devoted the possible future use of GBX. It says: “GBX – a property that includes the grain elevators near the Red Hook ball fields – is being considered by the EPA to create a Confined Disposal Facility (CDF). The CDF would be created on GBX property, under water, essentially increasing the size of the property’s upland area, with dredge from the Gowanus Canal. The EPA is still deciding how they will handle the Gowanus clean-up and they are taking comments and concerns from residents on a regular basis in the coming months, with a proposed remediation plan to be released at the end of July 2012.” (continued on page 6)
May 2013 Page 5
Attempt to divide Red Hook over toxic sludge fails (continued from page 5)
Continuing: “GBX is controlled by local businessman and resident John Quadrozzi, Jr. who is inviting Red Hook to the table to create a framework for developing new sustainable industrial businesses that can help Red Hook grow into a greener future. The scope of visioning is public amenities, specifically developing an eco-industrial park, exploring waste-toenergy, increased maritime operations, beneficial reuse material manufacturing and distribution and a Waterfront Park & Maritime Museum with both community and commercial space aboard the M/V Loujaine – similar to Manhattan’s Intrepid Museum, but with an apropos cargo ship commensurate to the Brooklyn Industrial Waterfront.” Many in the community were surprised to hear that Flowers, who has been associated with Occupy Red Hook, would ally himself with a private developer looking to benefit from the disposal of toxic waste in the Red Hook community. It was revealed shortly after Reg’s public support of Quadrozzi that the next Falconworks production would be an Ibsen play supported in part by John Quadrozzi, performed on space donated by GBX. On April 9th, an email was sent out by Flowers announcing a new April 16th community meeting. It read, “Even with all the meetings, signs, petitions and conversations on the street, you may still be in search of answers and wondering why you should be for or against certain parts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan. Join community members, the Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group, and reps from the EPA to get clear on the positions, ask questions, and discuss the Gowanus, the history of local polluting, and our role in caring for the environment.” The meeting was an attempt to show the EPA that there was indeed community support for the Red Hook Option. It was ultimately a failed attempt, as speaker after speaker got up to show their opposition to the plan - much to the chagrin of an unsmiling Flowers. EPA Regional Head, Walter Mugdan repeated over and over that this option would not be chosen, as it was evidently not supported by the community. Quadrozzi himself sat patiently through the meeting with his wife, before finally getting up. Upon leaving he muttered something about ‘stupid people’ which Bea Byrd took issue with and a shouting match ensued. Lou Sones, of Groups Against Garbage Sites, a community group he founded in the 1990’s to harness community support against the locating of waste transfer facilities throughout Red Hook, read a forceful letter which included the following: “With all due respect, There is a serious lack of trust in the owner of and lobbyist for this site. They have floated 3 different drafts of what they propose. Every time the community finds dangerous flaws in their proposals, they change the proposal to placate the concerns. This moving target leads to more distrust. What this pattern says to the community is that they’ll say anything and then do whatever they want. Why in their second
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proposal do they proudly announce that they would convert waste to energy and oddly enough a study was done by Columbia University on the feasibility of importing tons of putrescible garbage (that’s the stinky stuff) a day to burn at the Quadrozzi site. But when the community (excuse the play on words) got wind of it, it was no longer mentioned or addressed. Whatever they build on this site from concrete plants to asphalt plants or a garbage burning facility, will bring increased truck traffic to a park. GBX has told us on many occasions that they have the right of way to build whatever the zoning allows. That might be true, but we don’t want to give them more land mass to facilitate them doing it.” Yet despite this public relations disaster, the Quadrozzi publicity machine was not yet finished. Six days later, just five days before the end of the public comment period, they unveiled a website www.yesnontoxicredhook.com and distributed posters designed to look like the No Toxic Red Hook posters, but with the opposite message. The website opens up to a letter written on the stationery of what seems to be a newly
Lou Sones speaking at April 16th meeting at the South Brooklyn HS. Reg Flowers arranged the meeting and invited the EPA. (photo by Fiala)
minted organization called “Red Hook Houses Community Action Coalition.” The letter is addressed to Christos Tsiamis and forwarded to a host of local and state politicians. It is signed by Ray Hall and also by Dorothy Shields and Lillie Marshall, presidents of the Red Hook East and West Resident Associations, Ray’s brother Earl Hall and Mickey Reid and Anthony Watson, vice presidents of the tenant organizations. It reads, in part: “Our organizations have joined together in an act of solidarity to fight for the Red Hook Option because people from the ‘back’ of Red Hook, many of whom own their own homes, have organized an outspoken and misguided campaign against it. The group Does Not represent the majority of Red Hook, and to the contrary, represents the minority. Their campaign has involved misrepresentations and lies about the nature and safety of the Red Hook Option. The ‘No Toxic Red Hook’ literature and website have robbed many of our residents’ right to factual information, self-determination and the pursuit of bettering their own community. There was a bright orange sign illegally posted on every one of our buildings’ doors saying “Toxic Sludge Coming to Red Hook?” At public meetings where residents
came to hear your Agency’s proposal, hecklers and ill-mannered speakers scared our residents away from even daring to ask any normal questions about the activities that will be involved in the Red Hook Option.. We IMPLORE you not to allow this small, yet politically savvy, overly empowered elitist group to dictate the future of our community. Some people have just joined into the mob mentality, lighting the torches of out of misplaced fear. But the leaders, who know the project is perfectly safe, but are using this as an opportunity get renewed name recognition and to stop ANY growth of industry and the jobs industry provides, are guilty of orchestrating a great social injustice on a community that desperately needs the real opportunities that a project like this would afford our residents.” The next paragraph claims that there hasn’t been any real dialogue between the residents of the EPA and tenants of the Red Hook Houses. In fact, there have been many community meetings held in Red Hook, both by the EPA and by the project’s supporters, as detailed in this article. It claims that elected officials have also been left out of “real dialogue,” despite the fact that Nydia Velazquez herself brought the EPA to Wyckoff Gardens for a recent meeting, and Brad Lander has been part of the process from the very beginning. He has come out with a statement in support of the community, reading as follows: “I do not support the location of a confined disposal facility in Red Hook for the disposal of contaminated material. While I appreciate the desire to leverage the cleanup for local jobs, it appears to me that the strong majority of Red Hook residents who have engaged in this process are opposed to the proposal, and do not believe that the benefits for the community outweigh the risks. If they do not want to make this trade-off, I believe we should respect their wishes.” Hall’s letter then talks about Quadrozzi, who Phaedra Thomas has publicly called “a shining light in the community.” He writes: “There has been a deliberate attack on John Quadrozzi, Jr.’s character which has also been appalling. We have known and worked with John for over 10 years. We know him to be an active Advocate for a cleaner environment, not an environmental criminal. Not only did he clean up his own property (which was the center of all negative activity in Red Hook in the 80’s and 90’s), he has always worked on improving and cleaning ALL of Red Hook. He has sponsored greening initiatives, fought illegal dumping with a personal partnership with the NY Department of Sanitation Police, and insists on impeccable cleanliness from his tenants at the Terminal. John has Always delivered on his word including delivering turkeys on thanksgiving, presents on Christmas, horses on National Night Out Against Crime, basketballs and books for Summer programs, and countless other acts of charity and partnership. John always hires Red Hook Houses residents, and prides himself on providing opportu-
Red Hook resident makes an impassioned plea to the EPA saying “we don’t want your jobs - we don’t want your garbage! (photo by Fiala)
nities for people to better their lives through honest work. We look forward to working with Mr. Quadrozzi on this exciting project and know that you can have full confidence that he will continue his stellar record of being a great neighbor and friend to all of Red Hook’s residents.” Martha Bowers, Founder and Executive Director of Red Hook’s Dance, Theater Etcetera is one of the recipients of Quadrozzi’s largesse. Phaedra Thomas sits on the DTE board. In a phone interview, Bowers called Quadrozzi a “long time supporter of ours.” She continued, “He has always been very interested in supporting the youth portions of our events.” DTE holds in annual Red Hook Fest weekend, which this year is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary. This two-day event, which this year takes place on May 30th and June 1st, presents world class dance events, as well as a performance by their own students, many of them from Red Hook. It is a well loved and this year bring back the Earth and Surf parade. DTE presented a community service award to Quadrozzi in 2010. Bowers is a friend of Phaedra Thomas, and stated that “it would be hard for me to believe that she would get involved in something that would not be good for the community.” However, when asked for her personal position on the GBX plan, she deferred, saying that she did not have enough information to be for or against it. While posters, websites, meetings and other types of publicity are all components of a publicity campaign, the question remains why it was started so late in the game. And why did the team of John Quadrozzi, Phaedra Thomas, Reg Flowers, Ray and Earl Hall and Lillie Marshall and Dorothy Shields choose the strategy of attempting to play the different sides of Red Hook against each other, especially after the unifying role that Hurricane Sandy played.
Walter Mugdan faces a respectful but angry group of Red Hookers who don’t want the Red Hook option. Reg Flowers, who organized the meeting, stands back. (Fiala photo)
Panel of speakers answer questions regarding SUNY’s recently announced RFI at the May 2nd meeting of the Cobble Hill Association that took place at LICH. (photo by Price)
The LICH saga (continued from page 3)
Downstate Medical Center allowed for questionable practices that may have undermined the integrity of the purchasing process and raises concerns about the best price was obtained. Officials must take action to change how business is done and put necessary safeguards in place to protect public dollars from this kind of fraud and abuse.” In both the 2011 and 2012 audits, the state comptroller’s findings show that SUNY was not financially capable of taking over and maintaining LICH. SUNY estimates that LICH is losing the exact amount each month that is being paid to Continuum for billing – or lack thereof. If proper billing was being implemented, evidence suggests that LICH would be a profitable hospital. In regards to the 2012 findings by DiNapoli’s audit the following year, SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher released a statement on January 17, 2013, saying, “Many of the Comptroller’s findings – none of which we dispute or consider to be a surprise – are issues already being remediated or currently being addressed.” SUNY then immediately took action against LICH who incorrectly bore the blame for SUNY’s deficit. Twenty two days later, SUNY’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to end all services at LICH.
The Othmer Endowment Fund Donald and Mildred Othmer were both in their nineties when they passed away in the late 1990’s. They had gained a large fortune by investing in Berkshire Hathaway with Warren Buffet. They had no children and at the time of their passing, the Othmer Estate was worth three-quarters of a billion dollars. Mr. Othmer was an inventor and consultant who at one time sat on the Board of Trustees at LICH. Mrs. Othmer was a former school teacher who volunteered at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and Planned Parenthood. They were also both life-long patients of LICH. In their will, they left a combined sum of approximately $136 million to their beloved hospital. When Mr. Othmer’s will was finalized in 1996, $26,956,800 was given to LICH. Mrs. Othmer’s will granted the hospital $109,344,000 after her death in 1998. The wills set very strict parameters on what was to be done with the money. The hospital was to use only the dividends off of the money each year unless “LICH finds itself on the brink of bankruptcy. If the hospital is forced to close, the intent and purpose of Donald’s and Mildred’s gift to it will become
Red Hook Star-Revue
impossible or impracticable to achieve,” the will reads. In 1999, the endowment gained approximately $10 million in dividends. Both wills also contained restrictions against a beneficiary that does “not qualify as tax exempt under the pertinent Federal tax laws” in which “the undistributed amounts shall be instead distributed to the existing and qualifying charities.” In addition, LICH was eligible to receive an additional $5 million from the Othmer Estate if a cancer center was created. Continuum bought the ILA building at 340 Court Street - after outbidding the doctors for the property - saying the building would be used for the new cancer center. The facility was to be called the Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer building, as dictated in Mrs. Othmer’s will. On May 30, 2000, King’s County Sur-
able for the repayment terms. However, one thing is certain. LICH is no longer receiving their yearly dividends.
Starving LICH On April 1, New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), the Concerned Physicians of LICH, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1199 filed a lawsuit against SUNY and DOH as an “order to show cause for declaratory Action and Article 78 proceeding.” Under the conditions of the lawsuit, SUNY was required to provide previously unreleased financial documentation to LICH and the unions one day prior to the court date. Those documents were received exactly one day before the intended court hearing on May 1. Judge Johnny Lee Baynes granted the second temporary restraining order (TRO) prohibiting SUNY from taking “any action in furtherance of the closure plan” until the originally scheduled hearing on May 2, 2013. The court date was later postponed until May 29, 2013. Despite court orders, SUNY was already taking steps toward the imminent death of LICH.
rogate’s Court issued a cy pres - or a “doctrine, applied especially to cases of charitable trusts or donations, that, in place of an impossible or illegal condition, limitation, or object, allows the nearest practicable one to be substituted,” according to dictionary.com. Under the Continuum administration, “already maximized [at] its debt capacity, LICH now petitions the court to exercise its cy pres powers” to “compete successfully and survive economically in the changing health care environment.” Because LICH was their entity, Continuum controlled the money as a non tax exempt operator. A portion - $3040 million - was used to make improvements in the hospital, mainly repainting and replacing tile. The Court Street building never materialized and was sold off in 2008.The $5 million, which had been collected in 2002, was never returned to the endowment fund. From there all traces of the Othmer monies disappear. The remaining $100+ million was absorbed into Continuum’s general pool of funds. Many of LICH’s doctors, nurses and technicians are hopeful that at least a portion of the money still exists. Some believe that Continuum borrowed the money under terms of a loan. Others expressed concern that after the merger with SUNY, Continuum is no longer li-
On April 6, the Daily News published an article entitled “The State of Long Island College Hospital is outrageous, showing complete contempt for Brooklynites.” It begins, “[LICH] is in critical condition.” In an email provided by Dr. Romanelli to the writer, Denis Hamill, a resident doctor writes, “ ‘The hospital is running out of supplies. Today I wanted to measure one patient’s temperature prior to discharge, but there were no thermometer probe covers available. After searching, a nurse manager found one box on the entire floor. But how long will that last? One shift?’ “ Also in the article, Dr. Romanelli says, “ ‘When doctors don’t have the ability to schedule surgeries, when a child is unable to receive pediatric treatment, when patients are fed tuna sandwiches like prisoners in Central Booking, this is not a hospital. This is criminal. People who don’t need to die might die at LICH because of these abusive conditions.’ “ The article continues to report all around shortages that were crippling the hospital, leaving it inadequate to provide many services. “The state of LICH is outrageous, showing contempt for the people of this part of Brooklyn. It might also be contempt of court,” Hamill writes - suggesting that SUNY’s inaction may be considered action towards closure in the May 29 hearing. Twenty computers intended and badly needed for LICH were sent directly to SUNY’s campuses. Former lobbyist and current SUNY spokesperson Steve Greenburg explains that LICH is a part
of SUNY Downstate and that “anything that is part of LICH belongs to SUNY.” In December, SUNY’s president, John Williams approved the purchase of a $2.5 million da Vinci Surgical Robot. The robot is designed to assist with surgical procedures, eliminating the possibility of human error. Data is input into the machine and the robot makes precision cuts based on the information given. It can assist in most surgeries, but is most beneficial in prostate surgeries. After the original closure vote on February 8, the robot was taken out of LICH to SUNY Downstate. SUNY also reportedly purchased at least three brand new ambulances - for SUNY - just weeks before the decision to close LICH was announced, even though SUNY claims to not be financially capable of operating LICH. In a show of bad faith, WARN notices - or letters of termination were postmarked March 19, the same day of SUNY’s second vote to shut down LICH. The letters would have to have been prepared for mailing in advance of the vote. Greenburg confirmed that as of April 20, the letters were still valid, effective June 18. Surgical teams at LICH were told by SUNY not to schedule any surgeries, including Caesarian sections after April 30, 2012. The date fell two days before the original court date on May 2, despite court orders that SUNY could not take actions to discontinue any services at LICH. At the City Council Hearing on April 24, Hill spoke of the condition of his ward. Over the past two years, the psychiatry unit has consistently held 41-43 patients. When he left for the hearing, the ward held 3 patients. He said that by the time he would arrive for his next shift, all three of those patients were scheduled to either be discharged or transferred to another hospital. Hill appealed to the City Council of Health by saying, “You don’t beat up on those who can’t help themselves.” Dr. Marwan Attilah later confirmed this fact in a phone interview with the StarRevue. In fact, the psychiatric unit was forced to close Thursday night, April 25 after all three of the doctors relocated to different hospitals. In lieu of their decision to withdraw their foreclosure plan the following day, SUNY quickly hired on a psychiatric doctor and reopened the ward Friday morning, April 26.
Request for Information On May 1, 2013, SUNY formally issued a Request for Information (RFI) from “qualified parties who could provide health care services [... ] at or around” LICH. The RFI states, “State University of New York (SUNY) on behalf of its Downstate Medical Center is requesting expressions of interest from quali(continued on page 19)
May 2013 Page 7
An unfortunate public display
alter Mugdan said it out loud in a meeting at the South Brooklyn High School. The east coast head of the EPA said in retrospect, he wished they hadn’t offered the option to bury sludge in Red Hook. We agree. The prospect of free land for any landlord is a great temptation. The EPA proposed to create landfill and donate it to the Gowanus Bay Terminal (GBX), owned by cement mogul John Quadrozzi, Jr. However, the EPA would not do this if the local community opposed it. In the wake of Sandy, and after decades of being a dumping ground for garbage - Red Hook said “no.” Faced with the loss of the free land, and about a month left in the public comment period, the strangely ineffectual Quadrozzi public relations effort went into action. It is unfortunate that their strategy consisted mostly of dividing the community. They tried to convince the EPA that the larger public housing population was on their side, as opposed to the small “elitist” (their words) homeowner population “on the other side of town” (again, their words.) They must have forgotten that almost all of the speakers from the Red Hook Houses have spoken at one or another of the public forums. The tenants have not been swayed by the idea of “jobs” that have been dangled in front of them
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
(send yours to email@example.com)
Likes our LICH reporting
This is the single best article I have read, to date, regarding the politics and corruption surrounding SUNY’s plan to close LICH. As an RN at LICH I am outraged that the situation has progressed as far as it has. DOH Commissioner NIrav Shah and Governor Cuomo MUST step in NOW to stabilize the facility as the politics play out! We cannot count on SUNY to do the right thing. The lives of tens of thousands of Brooklynites hang in the balance as LICH is threatened with closure.
by Quadrozzi spokesperson Phaedra Thomas. We are saddened by this “divide and conquer” strategy. Since Sandy and before, Red Hook speaks with one voice. Too many reputations have become tarnished in this last ditch effort to sway public opinion. Phaedra Thomas is a community figure, delightful and charming, one-time head of Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation. She went so far as to try and influence housing residents by proclaiming that one can have a prison record and still qualify for one of these “jobs,” which we find to be blatant pandering . Surprising to us is the Quadrozzi alliance with Reg Flowers. Flowers is the founder of Falconworks, an excellent and worthy theater group that has empowered and inspired many Red Hook youth. He has worked with the Red Hook Initiative and the Lions Club. He is close to many on the board of ReStore Red Hook. At one time, he wrote columns for the Star-Revue. Reg, who has done work as a facilitator in public forums, tells us he has no position in this. However, as shown in our front page article, it is clear that Reg has been a willing accomplice in the Quadrozzi attempt to sway the EPA. The dedicated people running the Gowanus project for the EPA have their eyes wide open. They see what
behind-the-scenes operator and stands to benefit hugely from the demise of LICH. For operators like Sachs, this is about market share for his clients, not health care for the citizenry. I appreciate your careful research. The February, 2011 NYT article citing Sachs’ top crony status, should have turned a light bulb on somewhere at the NYT since January, but they have magically disappeared from all this. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cuomo and LICH
And at the same time this article comes out in the RH Star, Gov Cuomo is in Albany touting his Public Trust Act that is supposed to end corruption in government. You cant make this stuff up.- js (@oceanblueskies)
The staff remains resilient and positive but we are under a great deal of stress. Patients are our priority while in our free time we march, rally, hand out flyers, signs and stickers. We go door to door and make calls and send emails to local and state politicians. When we do get to sleep we do so with the weight of thousands of lives on our minds, the future of our careers, and the stress that comes with a potential loss of income in a not so great job market.
A toast from Jim re our awards
Nursing is an act of the heart, right from the very start. It takes a special kind of person to care for the sick and dying. It is truly a shame and sad statement on what
Thank you to Red Hook Star Revue & Kimberly Gail Price for reporting on the crisis constantly & letting everyone know what was really going on. You
Page 8 Red Hook Star-Revue
The public comment period to regis-
“A win-win situation might have been for Quadrozzi to donate half of the new land to a local trust.” ter one’s opinion of the sludge burial option is over. Judging by their public statements, the EPA already understands the majority of the community is against the plan because of environmental risks. The Gowanus will of course still be cleaned up and the sludge will all be shipped elsewhere. The Star-Revue had an additional reason. The Gowanus, including the mud at the bottom, is a public good. It is now owned or in control by any single person. The EPA’s plan will transfer this mud at no charge to a private citizen, giving him in effect 450,000 square feet of land above seawater the he now owns. If he did this project himself, the cost upwards of $1 billion.
is valued in today’s society when Nurses must use all of their free time fighting to ensure they can continue to do the life saving, back breaking, rewarding and sometimes heartbreaking work we do. - Patients vs. Profits; Real estate vs. Human lives. Where do you stand Governor Cuomo? - Susan B. Shanahan
Battery Park City was land created from landfill, much of it coming from the excavation of the original World Trade Center. The city was in control of the river bottom underneath, making the landfill property of the city. A public agency, the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) was created to manage this new land. Profits from the operation of BPCA go into the revenue stream of New York City, and some of it has been designated for low income housing. Developers of Battery Park City were forced - by contract - to provide the beautiful esplanade encircling the development. We don’t think that the EPA should provide benefits to a private citizen by giving free land. It would have been better had they found a spot belonging to the city - and have the advantages been shared equally by our entire community. In addition to jobs, GBX has made all sorts of promises about parts of the CDF becoming parkland and museum space that would be shared with the community. However, none of his promises are legally binding. Our thought is that a win-win situation might have been for Quadrozzi to donate half of the CDF land to a local trust run by Red Hook community leaders for the benefit of the local population. In this way, the whole community would be guaranteed a share in this windfall.
helped bring out community support for LICH & were an important part of this fight! Without the press keeping the community informed and keeping the pressure on officials, LICH would have been dead months ago. Thank you for
As Attorney General our Governor quashed the investigation being conducted by his office into Continuum Health Partner’s ruinous, rapacious management of LICH. Instead of indictments Continuum was rewarded by then Attorney General Cuomo with the sweetheart deal with SUNY. As one might expect the board of Continuum is replete with major Cuomo campaign contributors. Arnold Licht, MD
Market share, not healthcare
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! - James Vogel, State Senator Montgomery’s office.
Greek in the room
Well done, Kimberly (The Governor and LICH). Depressing, of course, but the pieces do fit. We need a deus ex machina. - Maria
More from JS
we see. After Sandy, they should have reconsidered their idea of creating the Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) in Red Hook.
Excellent research and reporting of the issues surrounding cronies of the Governor. I wrote (an unpublished) letter to the NYT in February after they printed a propaganda piece practically fed to them by DiNapoli and Albany. As usual, the NYT sends lazy “journalists” to cover State issues. In that letter, I pointed a finger at Jeffrey Sachs, citing his contract with BHC, and his acting like he was the de facto director of NYS health institutions. Even though he was taken off the Medicaid committee, I believe he is still a major
Thanks to Kimberly Gail Price for her work as editor of the Star-Revue for all of 2012 and the foreseeable future. Though it gets tough at times, writing stories on deadline, patiently grooming new reporters for greatness, waiting for the paycheck to clear, it’s times like the above that make it all worthwhile - not to mention the good work that your words accomplish - George Fiala
OP ED: Comment on the EPA’s Proposed Plan for the Gowanus Canal
or many years, cleaning up the Gowanus Canal has been a high priority for our community – but one that seemed hopelessly far away. With the EPA’s proposed cleanup plan, and I am thrilled to see that day getting much closer. I am enthusiastic about the EPA’s Proposed Plan and believe that it puts forward the right steps:
BY CITY COUNCILMAN BRAD LANDER continue to work closely with, reach out regularly, and listen closely to community stakeholders as these subsequent decisions are made, and I urge them to do so. I do not support the location of a confined disposal facility in Red Hook for the disposal of contaminated material. While I appreciate the desire to leverage the cleanup for local jobs, it appears to
• removing some contaminated sediment from the bottom of the canal;
“With the great work done by the EPA leading to a real plan
• stabilizing that contaminated material off-site and identifying a beneficial use for it;
about the realities of climate change for our future, we have the opportunity to reclaim this toxic corner of our neighborhood,
• capping dredged areas with layers of clean material.
I am pleased that the EPA’s Proposed Plan calls for implementing stormwater runoff control measures to significantly reduce the amount of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) deposited in the Gowanus – so that the canal is not recontaminated after dredging is complete. I share the widely-held goal of improving water quality to a standard that supports the canal’s current uses, including contact recreation for children and families. We must work together to realize that goal to the greatest extent possible under CERCLA, and also through the Long Term Control Plan under the Clean Water Act. To that end, I was encouraged to see that the EPA and DEC are “committed to work together throughout the development of the remedial design and the contemporaneous Long Term Control Plan development process to ensure that both the Superfund and CWA goals are met in a timely, cost-effective manner.” I hope this spirit of collaboration can be even further extended – to include not only dredging and water quality improvements, but also bulkheads, shorelines, and wetlands restoration, and to include the City of New York, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other relevant public and private partners. There are, of course, many important questions that will need to be answered during the three-year design phase: Where will the on-site dewatering and transfer of dredged sediments will take place? Who will operate the facility? Where will off-site stabilization and beneficial use take place? Where will staging areas be located? Where will CSO controls (e.g. in-line storage tanks) be sited? These decisions will have a meaningful impact on the surrounding community. I have been very encouraged by the EPA’s extensive community outreach to date. The Gowanus Canal Superfund process has been one of the best examples of community engagement in public decision-making that I have seen in my time as an elected official (a remarkable feat for such a complex and technical issue). I am optimistic that the EPA will
Red Hook Star-Revue
Councilman Brad Lander
for cleanup, and with the clarity provided by Hurricane Sandy
• stabilizing NAPL-contaminated sediment in place; and
I agree with the EPA’s preference for a remedy that would: restore canal bottom as a natural habitat, provide for appropriate water depths to support current navigation uses, and allow for future maintenance of the remedy and canal infrastructure, including bulkheads.
The users and neighbors of Thomas Greene Park and the Douglass-Degraw Pool have also expressed concern about the potential loss of this well-used community space should an in-line storage tank be sited there. Before any final decisions are made, we would need extensive conversation and further details about the proposal, the process, and the risks that would be involved.
and create an innovative model for low-lying, mixed-use areas on a warming planet. Let’s not let it pass us by.” me that the strong majority of Red Hook residents who have engaged in this process are opposed to the proposal, and do not believe that the benefits for the community outweigh the risks. If they do not want to make this trade-off, I believe we should respect their wishes.
In addition, my office is partnering with the New York City Department of Sanitation and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, with the support of Councilmember Stephen Levin and Councilmember Sara González, to construct a community composting system on the “Salt Lot,” a
Red Hook StarªRevue
City-owned property located at 2nd Avenue and 5th Street—another potential location for an in-line storage tank. This innovative project won funding through the first participatory budgeting vote in District 39 and will turn one ton per day of food waste into usable compost. We are currently working with the project partners to finalize the design of the composting facility and anticipate that construction will begin this summer, pending regulatory approval. Again, before any final decisions are made about the siting of an in-line storage tank, we would need many more details about the (continued on page 14)
STAR-REVUE PUZZLER #28 by George Fiala ACROSS
1. Calloway 2. Onassis or Shapiro 7. Feels sick 11. Owner of LICH 12. Top edge 13. Way to get there 15. Green amphibians 17. Piles of sand 18. Suffer 19. Dances under a bar 21. Metric units (abbr) 22. Where a golfer drives from 23. “An apple __ ____” 24. Promise 27. He was honest 28. Diving bird 30. Can be smallmouth or striped 33. Comes in grape and strawberry 36. Wireless telegraph 38. Can come in seven years 39. It’s free 40. Shows on graphs 41. Chocolate alternative 43. Job 45. Start of Massachusett’s motto 46. Whips 48. Besides 50. 41 across is one 51. Beaten by a turtle 53. Place to relax 56. Lobster garb 58. Poop holder 60. Tarnish 61. Stirs up 64. Popular word for the NRA 66. George Steinbrenner was one 67. Red Planet 68. Not hard 69. Meat and wine stored does this 70. Some college degress 71. Janis Joplin song
1. 2. 3. 4.
Pierre or Marie Bless with oil So long Enticing smell
5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 14. 16. 20. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.
Eleanor or Amy “ ____ ___ sorry!” Ending for drunk or dull Mark of a debt Ate at one’s desk Wineglass part Baseball record (abbr) Blushing and beautiful women Feminine suffix A little extra on the body Distress signal Shower month (abbr) It’s happened to baseball players No longer at sea Paddles Golfers get this on the green Pen and razor manufacturer
31. “__ ____ on the shoulder” 32. Pots often need this 34. Can be wild or for horses 35. Arts center in Beacon 37. Suffix for sweets 42. Arthur or Benederet 44. Carpenter and Valentine 47. Last page 49. Geek 51. Gaza group 52. Copiers 53. Smudge 54. Weakling 55. Creative 62. Civil War general 63. Medicare recipients (abbr) 65. Greeted
May 2013 Page 9
STAR REVUE BRINGS HOME STATEWIDE AWARDS IN NEWSPAPER COMPETITION
he NY Press Association (NYPA) is the trade organization for NY community newspapers. Their annual Better Newspaper Contest recognizes excellence in journalism and publishing. Last month the results were announced at their spring convention held in Saratoga Springs. The Red Hook Star-Revue, in competition with 148 other papers, came away with six awards. The Star-Revue began publishing in 2010, joined NYPA in 2012, and became a prizewinner our first time out. NYPA’s member newspapers include publication in small little farm villages as well as large urban areas. The largest papers include The Scarsdale Inquirer, The Villager of Greenwich Village, and The Sag Harbor Express in Long Island. Some of the smaller ones include the Westmore News in Port Chester, The Lewisboro Ledger publishing in Lewis County, population 27,072, and the Saugerties Times, a small paper in
This was the first year that we entered the contest, and winning six awards was considered highly promising by publishers we met at the convention, held in Saratoga’s historic Gideon Putnam Hotel. The Star-Revue took second place in “Coverage of the Arts.” We submitted articles written about Jalopy’s Bayou Festival and a review of The Woodshed Prophets, an upstate band. Our third submission was an article about a new Gowanus soul club called SRB. The judges wrote “Stories were easy reads; I’d like to visit this community and partake in some of these events which were so brilliantly detailed here.” Our next second place award was for our initial coverage of Hurricane Sandy, entered in the category “Spot News Coverage.” Spot, or breaking news is usually left to the daily papers, occasionally things happen that are so earth shaking, or shattering, that there is plenty of room for the weekly and bi-
“Now, this is great community coverage of a storm, and the coverage stands out in a sea of entries related to storm coverage. Bravo. Even if the main “Masterpiece” story had not been so well written and presented, this newspaper was thorough in its reporting before, during and after the storm. The staff is not a big one, but it tended to follow suit with the town - a community looking out for its own. Again, well done!” a town near Woodstock. Some of these papers are independent, many are part of chains. The Star-Revue is an independent newspaper. The top prize for editorial excellence went to the Long Island Press. Advertising excellence went to The Record-Review of Bedford/Pound Ridge, a toney part of Westchester County. Other categories included photographic excellence, which went to The Southampton Press, and Best Newspaper Web Site, also won by the Southampton Press. In total there were 2,351 entries in 60 categories. The contest was judged by members of the North Carolina Press Association.
weekly publications to report on them as happening, or spot news. Writing about the hurricane and it’s immediate aftereffects was a monumental task, especially with a staff as small as ours. The two publishers spent day and night in the office, collecting emergency information to disseminate to the hurting community. We went out interviewing people and photographing events and the aftermath day and night. Our issue published November 8th is a lasting document of the carnage and the developing community spirit that has inspired the city and country. To be thought of as providing the second best coverage of Sandy among all
Kimberly Gail Price accepting one of six awards given to the Red Hook Star-Revue by the NY Press Association in its annual Better Newspaper Contest. (Fiala photo)
the community newspapers is an enormous compliment, especially as we competed against much larger organizations in areas equally affected by the storm. The judges wrote “Now, this is great community coverage of a storm, and the coverage stands out in a sea of entries related to storm coverage. Bravo. Even if the main “Masterpiece” story had not been so well written and presented, this newspaper was thorough in its reporting before, during and after the storm. The staff is not a big one, but it tended to follow suit with the town - a community looking out for its own. Again, well done!” Kimberly Gail Price, editor and publisher, won a third place award for a column about her father. It was one of the first columns she wrote for the paper following her ascension to editor in December 2011. Written on the occasion of her father’s 60th birthday, Kimberly recalled many of the things she watched her father do, writing about the positive
effects he has had on her own life. The judges wrote about this column, “The writer has a knack for presenting an issue in a very personal way. A thoroughly enjoyable read.” Our fourth award was an honorable mention for a special section we published for Valentine’s Day. We sent our reporter on a scavenger hunt through Red Hook, Carroll Gardens and Gowanus. We worked with local stores and restaurants, presenting her and her husband with an enjoyable evening in search of dinner and gifts. They had to figure out clues to complete their trek. Kimberly arranged the trek and wrote the clues, while George baby-sat their child. The judges comment was “This was a most interesting concept.” Our first place award came in an advertising category - Best Small Space Ad. We submitted a series of ads designed in-house for Freebird, an eccentric Columbia Street bookstore. They were humorous, with headlines such as “Closed (continued on next page)
Congratulations to our hometown newspaper from
Mark’s Pizza Ristorante Call them with news, Call us for delivery
Page 10 Red Hook Star-Revue
Kimberly showing Peter Miller, owner of Columbia Street’s Freebird the plaque won by the Star-Revue for creating a series of ads he ran last year. (Fiala photo)
The Star-Revue becomes an awardwinning newspaper (continued from previous page)
Five Days a Week to Thwart Your Literary Needs.” They were sold and designed by Angelika Mitchell, who was the Star-Revue advertising manager in part of 2012. The judges wrote, “Great ads! Hilarious!”
horse... the rear half. The two-day convention was held at the Gideon-Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs, half an hour north of Albany. In addition to the awards ceremonies, which accompanied lunch and dinners, the convention features educational seminars and a Friday night party where editors, reporters and publishers from all over the state mingle and share war stories.
Our final award was the result of a late night mistake on the part of our layout department, a one-man operation headed by George Fiala. For a full page story on the Red Hook Initiative’s tenth anniversary, “Hick,” instead of “Hook,” was inadvertently typed into the bold headline “Red Hick Initiative celebrates 10 years.” Our sleep deprived co-publisher Kimberly Price, generally an expert proofreader, missed this one. The judges wrote, “The Red ‘Hick’ Initiative... just too humorous!” For this prize, a trophy was awarded. An embarrassed George walked to the podium accepting a statuette featuring half-a-
The booby prize.
A posh Friday night dinner brought owners and employees of community newspapers throughout NY together for a fun night. Here Kimberly shows off some of the desserts available. (Fiala photo)
From top, clockwise: Our first post Sandy issue, winner for Spot News; booby prize winner featuring the Red Hick Initiative; Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt, winner for holiday section; A Man of Honor, Kimberly’s piece on her Dad, which won for best column; Freebird Ad, winner for Best Small Space ad; Bayou n’ Brooklyn, winner for Coverage of the Arts.
Publishers George Fiala and Kimberly Price enjoy a winning weekend.
Red Hook Star-Revue
May 2013 Page 11
spent the last four years as a philanthropist. She has been an ardent supporter of Red Hook, and a lifelong Brooklynite.
News in Brief
The new Bike Share program announced by the NYC Department of Transportation is expected to create 170 jobs and generate $36 million in local economic activity annually, according to Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Citi Bike, with 330 stations in Manhattan and some parts of Brooklyn is funded by private sponsorship and Goldman Sachs. The program allows people to rent bicycles in order to get around town. Craig Hammerman, CB6 District Manager, said “Being able to take advantage of the bike share program option for my daily commute is especially appealing to me since I lack sufficient, convenient and secure storage space for a bicycle at home.”
Squadron blocked and angry
State Senator Daniel Squadron issued a press release condemning State Senate Republicans for blocking his campaign finance reform legislation. “Scandal after scandal makes clear that we need fundamental government reform – including campaign finance reform and fair elections,” said Senator Squadron. “I urge my colleagues to stand up for people over corporations in our politics and move this bill forward,” he added.
Lander support culture
City Councilman Brad Lander announced support for the One Percent for Culture Campaign. This is a collaboration of arts and business communities aimed at educating New Yorkers about the value of non-profit culture to New York City. It is aimed at increasing funding for culture. One result of this would be increased tourism. Tourism currently accounts for $8.1 billion in economic activity annually for NYC.
Gowanus Canal boat race
The Gowanus Dredgers and the Red Hook Boaters announced a race in the Gowanus Canal on June 15th. The Gowanus Challenge is open to all canoes and other closed-bottom boats. The race will begin at the Dredgers Boathouse to the mouth of the canal and back. The winner will receive a $500 prize. They are currently looking for entrants as well as volunteers. For more information email gdredgers@ gmail.com.
Monumental wall at museum
The Brooklyn Museum announced the acquisition of a monumental wall hanging. Created by African artist El Anatsui, the wall hanging consists of two panels, each measuring 207 inches by 135 inches. They are made out of bottle caps collected from a liquor distillery in Ghana. The work will be on display at the Museum until August 4th as part of an exhibition entitled “Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui.”
Daniel Squadron complained that a bill he sponsored in the State Senate, “The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act,” was passed by the NY State Assembly, but rejected by his own State Senate. This has happened six times.
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Red Hook Fest announces schedule
Speaking of the fact that there is no state legislation protecting New Yorkers from losing their job or home because of their gender identity or expression, Squadron said that this is not fair, that it is time for New Yorkers “are treated with the fairness and dignity they deserve.”
Red Hook Boater fix-up
The container that the Red Hook Boaters used to store their kayaks adjacent to Valentino Pier was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and a new one has been installed. On May 4th, which is It’s My Park day, volunteers will be gathering from 1 – 4 pm to paint the container, clean up the waterfront, and receive orientation. For more information call Kateri Jochum, 718 902-6090.
Saturday mail here a bit more
On April 9th, the Board of Governors of the US Postal Service met and discussed the attempt by Congress to delay their decision to eliminate Saturday mail delivery. They reluctantly agreed to postpone the plan, while announcing that this delay would hurt attempts to restore the postal system to solvency. Bay Ridge Congressman Michael Grimm applauded this decision.
The New York Aquarium in Coney Island will partially reopen on May 25th. The aquarium was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The reopening will include Glover’s Reef, exhibits in the Conservation Hall and a fully remodeled Aquatheater with a new sea lion demonstration.
Cats on display
Ancient Egyptian cat sculptures will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum from July 24th 2013 through December 2014. The exhibition, called Divine Felines, is organized by Yekaterian Barbash, Assistant Curator of Egyptian Art at the museum. The exhibit includes the ferocious goddess Sakhmet, depicted as a lioness or lion-headed woman. The Museum is located at 200 Eastern Parkway, near Grand Army Plaza.
NYCHA online news
Applicants atg NYCHA housing can now view their application at the web address www.nyc.gov/nycha and choose “Applying for Public Housing.” Then click on “Check My Application Status.”
Squadron urges G train
Daniel Squadron and Erik Dilan noticed that G train ridership is rapidly growing, and have urged the MTA to increase G line service. Squadron said “At our urging, the MTA has agreed to conduct a Full Line Review.” This opens up the possibility of increased G service, which has recently been extended to Church Avenue.
Gelber hangs it up
Marilyn Gelber, president of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, is stepping down from her position at the end of June. Gelber, who has worked for Borough President Howard Golden, the NY State Department of Environmental Protection, and the Independence, then Community Savings Bank, has
The lineup for the 20th Annual Red Hook Fest has been announced. Produced by Dance Theatre Etcetera, the Fest will take place May 31st and June 1st. The June 1st performance lineup will include The Hungry March Band (leading a parade through Red Hook); The Brown Rice Family; Gangsta Grass; Nicholas Leichter Dance; and Camille A. Brown & Dancers. Over 150 young dancers will also have their turn on the Mainstage, adjacent to the Valentino Pier, and in pre-Fest workshops. For more information email email@example.com.
Brooklyn Studio Tours announces its 5th Annual Spring Artist Open Studio Tour in Red Hook and Carroll Gardens. It takes place on Saturday, June 1st and Sunday June 2nd from noon - 6 pm. They will be seeking donations from attendees as a way to do their part to help continue to restore the community. 30% of member fees will be given to ReStore Red Hook. For more information call 917 207-2091.
Red Hook Summerstage
Summerstage will be holding four events in Red Hook this summer. These shows will be on the part of the Red Hook Ballfields adjacent to the Grain Terminal. All shows begin at 7 pm unless otherwise indicated. The schedule is as follows: June 4th - Flatbush Zombies/The Underachievers; June 5th Rakim Hosted by Lyricist Lounge; June 6th - Fuzz; June 7th (7:30 pm)- Comedy Central Live presents Cristela Alonzo and Featuring Mark Normand.
Portside, the waterfront oriented nonprofit organization headed by Carolina Salguera, received a White House “Champions For Change” Award. The award was given for their work in Sandy recovery and relief. Among their achievements was the protection of their tanker The Mary A. Whalen, from damaging property during the storm, as well as operating an aid station at 351 Van Brunt Street.
Velazquez hopes for help
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez unveiled legislation aimed at addressing a number of housing challenges brought on by Hurricane Sandy. The legislation addresses the development of public housing disaster plans for the future; help for low-income victims of the storm to obtain safe, affordable housing; creation of training and hiring action plans for certain HUD funding recipients. It is not known if and when this legislation will be voted on by Congress.
Kentler International Drawing Space, at 353 Van Brunt Street, will be holding a benefit on Saturday, May 18th. Over 100 artists have donated original drawings and works on paper and these will be on sale at the benefit. In addition, there will be a silent auction. Tickets are on sale and cost $200 per person, $250 per couple. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lander sponsors bill
NY City Councilmembers Brad Land-
er and Jumaane Williams are the lead sponsors of the Community Safety Act. Its purpose is to advance accountability of the police department as well as improving relations between the police and the community it serves. It addresses Stop and Frisk by banning profiling based on race, religion, immigration status, gender identity and other protected categories. It creates an Inspector General to investigate police policies and practices.
Carroll Street Bridge closed till August.
The Carroll Street Bridge over the Gowanus Canal will be closed for renovation this summer. It will receive a new roadbed as well as undergoing structural repairs and reinforcement, and painting. Work will take place during the days only.
Art from the Ashes
Denise Carbonell of Metal and Thread writes to let us know about ART from the ashes. They are a California nonprofit art organization. The use salvaged materials to create original works to benefit communities devastated by natural disasters. They have arrived in Red Hook and are seeking materials salvaged from the hurricane. They write that if you have any reclaimed materials, or “any other crazy interesting things!), and could deliver it to their storage unit, email email@example.com.
RHI on the tube
The Red Hook Initiative was featured on NY1 for their efforts to create a community-wide wireless network. This is part of their Digital Stewards campaign, which provides comprehensive support for 19-24 year-olds to meet education and employment goals with the longterm goal of becoming self sufficient. Some graduates of the program are working at IKEA, others at area restaurants. RHI’s plan is to enroll 120 young adults in the program this year. For more information call 718 858-6782.
City Councilmembers Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander praised a new report from the Department of Investigation that found fault with certain practices and policies of the NYC Board of Elections (BOE). The BOE overstaffed a low turnout election in 2011 and cost the city at least $2.4 million in unnecessary personnel expenses.
The NY Aquarium at Coney Island is accepting participants for their summer camp programs. The programs are in July and August and include: Aquatic Adventures for children aged 6 - 8; Marine Explorers for children aged 9 - 11; Junior Oceanographers for young adults aged 12 - 14. Fees are $300 for members of the Aquarium, $325 for others. For more information call 718 265-3457.
BGI getting ready for 40 miles
The Brooklyn Greenway Initiative is accepting registration for their 5th Annual Brooklyn Waterfront Epic Ride that will take place on Saturday, July 27th. This is a 40 mile bike ride from Greenpoint to Rockaway Beach along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts. Riding is at your own pace, and there will be an after party at Rockaway Beach, which includes food, music and an optional ocean swim. For more information call the Greenway Initiative at 718 522-0193.
Photography to Storytelling at RHI by Alliyah Leocadi
On Wednesday April 3, a group of 18 youths were given a ceremony for their hard work. Ricky Santana the Middle School coordinator and kamau ware, photographer instructor, started a project where students were given the chance to take a photography classes. The program was called “Intro to Photography to Storytelling.” Within five weeks these students were taught to take pictures from different angles, to then make it in to a story using their own thoughts. kamau ware, a Philadelphia native who loves to wear bow ties, is a photographer. He intentionally uses lower case letters in his name because he feels it gives his name a stronger meaning. kamau has work with Red Hook Initiative before doing a Hurricane Sandy documentary. “Story telling is my practice,” kamau said with much energy. Along with kamau and Ricky, Keyanna Silver (tutor), Danny, Tiwan and David (group leaders all taught this class together. The topic of the subject was Hurricane Sandy. The kids were broken up into different groups to take pictures on the topic of their choice. Within these groups each had different themes that revolve around the storm. They would then take a walk around Red Hook and with cameras. Each group chose photos to make stories out of and to add their own thoughts. As the ceremony went on each participant was asked to speak about his or her experience. “I never used this type of camera before,” (Camille Bradley); “I like the different angles of the camera,” (Tyquan Harden); “It [Sandy] looked like a tsunami,” (Jared Wellington), “Really artistic and [kamau] inspires me,” (Hannah Serrano). After sharing their experiences, the students were recognized individually to receive an award for their accomplishments. Frank Gueman, 14, was excited about the work he did. “I knew how to use a camera before but now I know how to do more. I know how to make a story [with the camera].” Ricky and kamau said they would love to do this work again and hope that more kids get involved. Along with their awards the participants were able to see an edited copy of all their hard work. The 76 page book cost $200 to print and will be on display at RHI. There are currently no plans to sell the book but interested parties can look through the book at RHI located at 767 Hicks Street - Alliyah Leocadi
Kimberly Price explores “Sandy Remix,” a structure made by Roderick Wolgamott Romero from trees that were destroyed by the Sandy and other recent storms. The installation appears at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Inside the tree house’are benches made from the same materials. Mr. Romero lives in the East Village and his first tree house is in a community garden on Avenue A and 5th Street. (photo by Fiala)
Destroyed container replaced by the Red Hook Boaters The container that the Red Hook Boaters used to store their kayaks adjacent to Valentino Pier was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and a new one has been installed. On May 4th, which is It’s My Park day, volunteers will be gathering from 1 – 4 pm to paint the container, clean up the waterfront, and receive orientation. The kayaking season starts later this month: Sundays, 1:00PM - 5:00PM: May 26th until October 6th.
French artist showcases his art on Conover Street
French artist JR has pasted his larger than life portraits in public spaces all over the world. On Saturday, April 20th, Red Hook became his gallery. The Inside Out project i+nvites participants to have their photo taken and instantly printed out and pasted on a wall. The purpose is to remind New Yorkers just how intriguing their neighbors can be, and how the potentila for connectivity is always there - if you’re open to it. In a time when the worst of characters are drawing far too much national attention, a traveling photo booth designed to delight and inspire is in fact, inspirational. JR has won awards for his work, which has included a 2006 project where photos of Palestinians and Israelis were pasted onto the separation fence, side by side. Other JR projects have taken place in Paris, Brazil, Kenya, Liberia and the Sierra Leone.
Red Hook Star-Revue
May 2013 Page 13
Brad Lander’s Op-Ed
Thank you to the EPA team—especially Judith Enck, Walter Mugdan, Christos Tsiamis, and Natalie Loney—for your diligent work developing this bold and important plan, to the many partners in government—including Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, State Senator Daniel Squadron, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Councilmember Stephen Levin, and Councilmember Sara González—who have been pushing for a Gowanus cleanup, and to so many community advocates who have been working tirelessly to get to this point. I look forward to working with all of the stakeholders to see it finalized and implemented, and to build upon it toward a vibrant, sustainable future for the Gowanus in the years ahead.
(continued from page 9)
proposal, and what the impacts would be. In order to move forward, many different entities will need to work closely together to make the best decisions about remediation across environmental and regulatory domains, achieve the most effective use of public investments, and bring about a comprehensive cleanup. I was pleased to see the EPA’s commitment in the Proposed Plan to coordinate with other government agencies to ensure the best cleanup possible. This includes working closely with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on the remediation of contaminated upland sites, especially the three manufactured gas plants. There is also strong interest in how standards for bulkhead replacement and maintenance will be promulgated, including bulkhead height and design, where soft edges are possible, and where wetlands could be restored. This is an important moment for Gowanus – and one we need to build upon. The EPA’s Proposed Plan is a major step toward a cleaner community, but there is more that needs to be done. As made painfully clear during Hurricane Sandy, we need to make difficult but important decisions about public investment in sustainable infrastructure and flood mitigation measures to protect our neighborhoods. I believe we need to move forward together, with all stakeholders at the table, to develop a comprehensive plan for the infrastructure, amenities,
Part of the Gowanus, as seen from the Smith & 9th subway.
and land use regulations needed for a safe, vibrant, and sustainable Canal area. In the coming months, I will be working with other elected officials and reaching out to community stakeholders to begin the conversations for such a planning process. Let me be clear: this work will not be easy. Stakeholders have different ideas for what they want to see along and around the Canal, and we will need to work through many open questions. The Gowanus future that we want will cost real money—beyond the estimated $500 million to be paid by responsible parties
under the Proposed Plan—and it will not be easy to allocate those costs and raise the needed resources. But I believe it would be a short-sighted mistake to miss this opportunity. With the great work done by the EPA leading to a real plan for cleanup, and with the clarity provided by Hurricane Sandy about the realities of climate change for our future, we have the opportunity to reclaim this toxic corner of our neighborhood, and create an innovative model for low-lying, mixeduse areas on a warming planet. Let’s not let it pass us by.
Add local media to your marketing plan. Advertising in The Red Hook Star-Revue can lead to increased profits. Call today
718 624-5568 firstname.lastname@example.org
We are across from Coffey Park (718) 923-9880
Page 14 Red Hook Star-Revue
Fashionable in Red Hook BY LESLEY WARE
10,000 TEDDY BEARS: A STORY OF WOO
teach sewing in a building on Lorraine Street that used to be a teddy bear factory. Or at least that’s the story that I like to believe. My studio is situated on the third floor of a large industrial warehouse that was built in 1923. The other levels of the building are used as storage units.
Heading home, a few weeks ago, I encountered a gray haired man and a tween boyon the elevator carrying totes and boxes. They seemed to be vacating their storage unit. The older of the two looked in my direction and said, “This building used to be a teddy bear factory in the 70s, yer’ know?”As I hit the button to continue our decent toFloor 1, my imagination started to soar. He kept on, “the stuffed animals were assembled here and then shipped to carnivals across America. Workers made about 10,000 teddy bears a week.” What were the odds that I would end up teaching fashion in a former teddy bear factory?! I don’t believe in ghosts, but could the essence of the building’s former inhabitants be the inspiring force driving my students to want to create so many stuffed animals? Was the spirit of teddy surrounding us like the hem of a skirt? My quirky girl flag waved full staff as visions of posh bears sauntered in my head. I had to investigate. This could make a great post for my fashion blog! My initial stop was the Brooklyn Public Library, which led to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives, which somehow directed me to the Brooklyn Historical Society. There a friendly Librarian helped me to search multiple databases, including one specifically focused on buildings. Alas, I discovered a few New York Times articles about the Sapolin Paint Factory that operated in the space from the 1950s through the early 80s. Sapolin also made Woolsey Marine Paint. Marine Paints were extremely popular in the 1960s. The United States spent $25 million on this type of paint every year. At the time close to 2,000,000 gallons were being brushed, rolled or sprayed under ships annually to keep fleet neat. The history of 183 Lorraine Street was painted not plush. Despite my hopes of a cult of cute, when I ride the elevator up to my studio I’m happy to know it’s pigmented past.
Hours: Noon to 10:30 pm Tues. to Thurs. Noon to 11pm Friday. 4pm to 11pm Saturday & 4pm to 10:30pm Sunday.
Red Hook Star-Revue
May 2013 Page 15
Lisa Fonssagrives by Jenny Belin Made in Red Hook! This is a Portrait of Lisa Fonssagrives, a Swedish born beauty who worked as a leading fashion model in the 1930s-1950s. Ms. Fonssagrives once described herself as a "good clothes hanger” A funny and humble perspective! She was actually a frequent subject and muse for her photographer husband, Irving Penn, in his elegant studies of French haute couture. My appreciation of vintage fashion photography led me straight to Lisa Fonssagrives. This is an original painting on paper with collage elements: faux leather and sequins that I collected last summer at neighborhood stoop sales. For more information about my work please see my website: www.jennybelin.com.
Red Hook StarªRevue SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
Page 16 Red Hook Star-Revue
Red Hook StarªRevue
Seen around Town
These photos were all taken at the grand re-opening of the Smith and Ninth Street subway station. Above Joan Millman cuts the ribbon; below is Marty Markowitz, who asked for a metrocard since he will soon be out of a job; in the center are two employees of the Miccio Center, who were the first passengers to disembark at the new station; at top right Brad Lander reminds the audience the importance of infrastructure and bottom right shows off the new escalators. All photos on this page by Fiala.
Top left: Red Hook suffered a Sandy flashback for a few hours as the southern end of Van Brunt went dark the night of April 27th. Police reported that someone hit a lamp pole which blacked out 567 homes for an hour and a half. Top right - opening night at a new gallery at 362 Columbia, a block from De Fontes. Artist Samantha Groff listens to StarRevue editor Kimberly G. Price. Bottom left: Ernie Anastos speaks at a dinner at Steiner Studios honoring the Cobble Hill Health Center’s LifeCare program; Bottom right - the newly minted South Brooklyn Children’s Garden at the corner of Columbia and Sackett held an all day festival on April 20th featuring face painting, pea growing and more.
Red Hook Star-Revue
May 2013 Page 17
Art & Community Calendar If you have an event you would like listed in the Red Hook Star-Revue calendar, please email email@example.com
ACD funded Early Childhood education programs, family services, and Day Care services for the Gowanus Community Bethel Baptist Day Care Center 242 Hoyt Street (718) 834-9292 Sat 10:30-11:30am Story Time with Carol & Friends for Ages 4-6 at the Carroll Gardens Library with Carol Tronha of the Cobble Hill Playschool Carroll Gardens Library 396 Clinton St (Corner of Clinton & Union) (718) 596-6972 Tues 10amGoGo 1 Pre Crawlers & 11:30am GoGo 2 Creeping, Crawling &Pulling Up Element 518 Henry St (Union st.) 2nd floor studio (718) 6436064 Wed’s 6:15-7:45pm Carroll Gardens Library Chess Club. Improve your chess and learn from an expert chess player All-Ages welcome! Bring a Chess Clock For Blitz Class Carroll Gardens Library 396 Clinton St (Corner of Clinton & Union) (718) 596-6972
205 Columbia St (718) 612-6334
Now Thru June 9 (Mon-Sat) 3:304:30pm Creative Movement with Courtney Ages 4-5, 4:45-5:45pm Modern II with Courtney Ages 9-13,5:55-6:55 CYC (Cora Youth Company) Ages 9-18 Nadia & Guests (Invitation only); :30-4:30pm Big Fun Dance (Modern Technique with Jazz/Hip hop with Sarah B. Ages 6-9, 4:45-5:45pm Hip Hop Ages 9+ Sarah B & Solomon; :30-4:30pm Ballet I with Courtney ages 6-9, 4:45-5:45pm Ballet II** with Courtney Ages 9+, 7:15-8:15pm Yoga Teen/Adult with Jolene;3-4pm The Works(Drama, visual arts, music, story-telling and more) Ages 5-8; 9:3010:30am Zumba** Teen/Adults with Sarah F. Cora Studio 201 Richards St. (Coffey/Van Dyke St) (718) 858-2520
Now thru May 29 Guitar II Taught by Geoff Wiley $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
Every Monday Now Thru June3 8-9pm Banjo II Fingerpicking Taught by Hilary Hawke $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 3953214
Now thru June 1 Fingerstyle Guitar III taught by Ernie Vega $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
Now Thru May 28 Old Time Advanced Banjo III Taught by Eli Smith $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
Mon’s 10:30am Babies and Books for Babies and Tots (infant-18 months) Books for babies, learn fun songs & Rhymes and meet other families in your neighborhood in this program - Meeting Room of the Library, Carroll Gardens Library 396 Clinton St (Corner of Clinton & Union) (718) 596-6972
Now Thru May 28 Banjo I.5- Clawhammer taught by Hilary Hawke $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
Fri’s 1-2:30pm Arts & Crafts - Get Crafty with Bobbie the Volunteer Recommend ages 2 & + Meeting Room Carroll Gardens Library 396 Clinton St (Corner of Clinton & Union) (718) 596-6972
Now thru May 29 Banjo I- Clawhammer taught by Eli Smith $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
Mon- Fri 9am-11:45am Lilli Pilli with Kathryn 2 ½- 4 Years, 12-2:45 pm Lilli Pilli with Kathryn 2 ½-4 Years; 9-11:45am Lilli Pilli with Kathryn 2 ½- 4 Years, Lilli Pilli with Kathryn 2 ½- 4 Years, 3:30-4:20pm Stir the pot Kids Cooking Class 2 ½-4 ½ (Limited to 8, ); 9- 11:45am Lilli Pilli with Kathryn 2 ½- 4 Years; 9- 11:45am Lilli Pilli with Kathryn 2 ½- 4 Years, 12- 2:45 pm Lilli Pilli with Kathryn 2 ½ - 4 Years Who’s On First 46 1st Place (Clinton & Henry) (718) 243-1432 Every Mon 10:30-11 am Romp & Stomp Red Hook Library 7 Wolcott St (718) 935-0203 Every Mon 11-11:30am Toddler FUNdamentals Red Hook Library 7 Wolcott St (718) 935-0203 Every Tues 11:30-11:45am Rock Rattle & Read: Lap sit Story Time Red Hook Library 7 Wolcott St (718) 935-0203 Every Wed 10:30-11AM Story Time Red Hook Library 7 Wolcott St (718) 9350203 Every Wed 4pm Spinning Yarns Knitters Red Hook Library 7 Wolcott St (718) 935-0203
Now thru May 29 Banjo II- Clawhammer taught by Eli Smith $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
Now thru May 29 Clogging Class with Kristin Andreassen $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Now Thru May 28 Old time string Band Ensemble taught by Eli Smith Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Now thru May 29 Fiddle III Taught by Adam Moss & guest teacher Duncan Wickel $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 3953214 Now thru May 29 Fiddle IV: Advanced Old Time Fiddle Taught by Adam Moss & guest teacher Duncan Wickel $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Now thru May 30 Fiddle II Taught By Charlie Burnham $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Now thru May 30 Fiddle I Taught by Charlie Burnham $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
Now thru June 1 Guitar III taught by Geoff Wiley $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Now thru June 1 Fingerstyle Guitar I taught by Ernie Vega $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Now thru June 1 Fingerstyle Guitar II taught by Ernie Vega $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
Now thru June 1 Fingerstyle Guitar IVOpen Tunings & Slide taught by Ernie Vega $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Old Time Back-Up Guitar Class taught by Eli Smith $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
Every Mon-Fri 6:30am &7pm TRX Boot Camp (Advantages Package Required) Trainer: Nick, Tues 7:45pm TRX Strength Trainer: Nick, Wed 7am TRX Basic Robin & 7pm TRX Basic Robin, Thurs 7 am TRX Basic Robin & Rachel, Sat 9:45 am TRX Circuit Robin, Sun 11 am TRX Basic Robin & Rachel ; Body Elite, Body Elite & Fitness Center 348 Court Street (718) 935-0088 Mon-Thurs Fit For life Cardio & Strength Workout for all ages, Seniors 8-10 am, Adults 10am-2pm & Youth 4-6pm, Red Hook Recreation Center 155 Bay Street (718) 722-3211
Tues & Fri 9:30-10:30am Free Zumba Classes,Red Hook Recreation Center 155 Bay Street (718) 722-3211
Thurs-Sun 1-8pm thru Aug31st New Collections of Local Artists FREE Brooklyn Collective Gallery 212 Columbia St (Union/Sackett) (718) 596-6231 Polar Light: Greenland photography of Rebe Bass Fotrman and the Greenland drawings of Zaria Forman. A climate change awareness exhibition held in conjunction with Al Gore’s “The Climate Project” Look North Inuit Art Gallery 275 Conover St Suite 4E (347) 721-3995
Every Thurs (4-8pm) & Sun (1-5pm) Free Boat tour & open hours The Waterfront Museum Lehigh Valley Barge No. 79 290 Conover Street (718) 624-4719 ext 11 Every Sats 12-7pm Refreshments, 5-7pm Evenings, 5-10 pm Above and Beyond, a three-year retrospective of the art if William and Kathleen Lazia Micro Museum 123 Smith Street (718) 797-3116 Now through June 8 6-9pm Alexa Williams Where we Stand: New Work in Concrete Gallery Brooklyn 651 Van Brunt Street (347) 460-4063
Every Monday 8-11pm the Star Theater Acoustic Jam 101 Union St (Columbia/ Van Brunt St) (718) 624-5568 Wed May 1 9pm Roots & Ruckus ft Feral Foster & more Sun Apr 28 1pm Shaky Dave- Harmonica Workshop for Intermediates $25 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 FREE Thur May 2 8pm The Murphy Beds $10 Sun Apr 28 1pm Shaky Dave- Harmonica Workshop for Intermediates $25 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
Thur May 2 9pm Ballads &Crankies with Anna & Elizabeth $10 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Fri May 3 5:30pm The Jalopy Theatre Presents: Eva Salina at the American Folk Art Museum 10 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 FREE! Fri May 3 9pm Baby Soda Jazz Band $10 10 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Fri May 3 10pm Ghost Train Orchestra $10 10 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Sat May 4 3pm Harry Bolick Old time Open Jam 10 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 3953214 FREE! Sat May 4 9pm M.Shangahi String Brand $10 10 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
Fri May 3 4-7pm El BuhoMezcal Rhone Dry Dock wine & Spirits 424 Van Brunt St (718) 624-5921 FREE Sat May 4 4-7pm Derby Day Rhone Dry Dock wine & Spirits 424 Van Brunt St (718) 624-5921 FREE
Daily 10am-1pm A historical walking tour of Brownstones Brooklyn featuring the childhood home of Al Capone, the history of the Williamsburg Bank and the Revolutionary War battle site the Old Stone House, Real Brooklyn Pizza lunch included $40 A Tour Grows in Brooklyn 1212 64th St. (212) 209-3370 Every Sat 8-10am WalkNYC held in park area across from the recreation Red Hook Recreation Center 155 Bay Street (718) 722-3211
Red Hook StarªRevue SOUTH BROOKLYN’S COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
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Now thru June 3 Harmonica 8 week class taught by Shaky Dave Pollack $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
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Now thru May 28 Mandolin I taught by Erine Vega $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
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Now thru May 28 Mandolin II taught by Erine Vega $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
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Now thru May 31 Mandolin III taught by Erine Vega $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214
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Now thru May 31 Mandolin IV taught by Erine Vega $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Now thru Apr 29 Traditional Singing I Taught by Monica-Lisa Mills and Matt Borgmeyer $180 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Now thru May 31 Ukulele II Taught by Doug Skinner $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Now thru May 30 Ukulele III Taught By Doug Skinner $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718) 395-3214 Now thru May 29 Guitar I Taught by Geoff Wiley $245 Jalopy Theatre and School of Music 315 Columbia St (718)
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LICH. “All real estate and property, fixtures, plant and equipment at the LICH campus are held by Downstate at LICH Holding Company, Inc. (DLHC), a New York not-for-profit corporation of which SUNY is the sole member.”
fied parties who could provide health care services, including operation of an acute care hospital, at or around the Long Island College Hospital (LICH) site in Brooklyn.”
Despite the obstacles, this is significant progress for LICH. Cobble Hill Association (CHA) president, Roy Sloane said, “While this is an important victory and a critical first step - we have not yet won the war.
The RFI continues, “SUNY and certain entities related to SUNY collectively acquired the LICH healthcare services operation from Continuum Health Partners (CHP) in 2011. SUNY has operated LICH with significant annual deficits, and therefore, wishes to divest itself from the LICH operations.”
Strabone reaffirms this message of caution. “Are we out of the woods yet? No. There’s a lot that can still go wrong.” LICH still needs a new operator. But they will need SUNY’s cooperation.
(continued from page 7
After being highly publicized in the media, the RFI was long-awaited and welcomed. But upon in-depth scrutiny, the request, “has instead produced further confusion about their motives,” according to Dr. Toomas Sorra, President of Concerned Physicians of LICH. From a post on their website posted with the RFI on May 1, 2013, SUNY writes, “It is clear that Downstate needs a critical restructuring that will allow it to continue serving the community.” Five reasons for the “fiscal crisis and four “actions” taken by SUNY System Administration are listed in the post, none of which mention LICH. Dr. Sorra says that the unions will proceed with their lawsuit despite SUNY’s withdrawal of closure from DOH. “SUNY thought by withdrawing this plan, they would get us all to shut up,” he said. “But we demand to be a full service hospital.” Dr. Sorra calls the RFI a “charade, while Jerry Armer exclaims, “This one has more holes than Swiss cheese from Switzerland. They’re still out to kill Long Island College Hospital.” The timeline that SUNY has laid out is extremely brief. The deadline for the RFI is May 22, 2013, merely three weeks after the RFI was issued. In addition, the time allotted to submit questions ends at 3 pm on May 15, only two weeks after the request was issued. Seven days later, all requests are due, giving prospective buyers one week to receive a response from SUNY and issue a formal proposal.
In the interim at the CHA Spring 2013 General Meeting, Sloane “direct[ed] a few words” to SUNY: “You know we are not happy.
“You talked about community, but you Pearl Harbored us in a surprise attack on our communities without even a word of warning - even as we tried to help you. “You never engaged the community; you did not live up to your promises. “You know you were not honest with us. You made no investment, developed no plans and did no outreach. You broke faith with the people you were supposed to serve, and then you tried to take the money and run. “Our hospital does not ‘belong’ to you. LICH is the product of 150 years of philanthropy, volunteerism and commitment. You have only been holding it in trust. I regret to say that you did not prove worthy of that trust. “But even with those harsh words said, we are still willing to work with
“...This could be your proudest moment - or you’re most shameful. Reach out to us now. It is late, but not too late. Remember if you fail, you’re epitaph will read, ‘Here we lie because we refused to engage the community.’ “ LICH’s death sentence has received a stay of execution. The 460,000 residents in the surrounding communities will still have access to their much-needed medical facility. Activists remain committed to see LICH rebuild and flourish. However, there is still a lot of hard work and many obstacles ahead. LICH must become viable again quickly - before SUNY has another chance to pull the plug.
Star-Revue Classifieds REAL ESTATE
OPEN HOUSE 14 Huntington St. Tuesday, MAY 14th & 21st 5:30-7:30 pm 3-story Building, Yard, Deck Asking $890k Bring All offers Motivated seller
Licensed Electrical Contractors Commercial • Residential • Industrial Free Estimates
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LEGAL NOTICE Please be advised there will be a CB6 meeting on May 2 at 6:30 pm regarding the liquor application for 421 Bond at 421 Bond Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231. For location and other information, contact Frank Pallilo at (212) 227-1640.
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The request offers an explanation for their brief timeline. “The information received in this Request for Information (RFI) may be used in the development by SUNY of a plan to achieve fiscal viability of the Downstate Medical Center (the Sustainability Plan). SUNY is required to submit a sustainability plan to DOH and the New York Office of Budget by June 1, 2013 and begin its implementation on June 15, 2013.”
HIC License #0883902 Trade Waste License #1135
In addition to a limited timeline, the RFI also restricts access to the hospital. “There may be limited opportunities to tour the LICH campus upon request from the respondents. Tours will not include any areas of direct patient care.”
No job too big or too small
Toilets, Boilers, Heating,
In response to some of the discrepancies, Jeff Strabone, Minister of Information and Cobble Hill Association Officer, discloses that “maybe this process is meant to fail.”
Faucets, Hot Water Heaters,
B & D HEATING 507 Court Street 718 625-1396
The RFI also points out that although LICH was merged with SUNY, the hospital retains every asset belonging to
Red Hook Star-Revue
you. Trust can be rebuilt and confidence can be restored, but only if you are willing to engage all of us in the LICH community...
May 2013 Page 19
Page 20 Red Hook Star-Revue
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