Lemonda sworn in as next FDNY UFOA president
by Andrew Shilling
Sep 19, 2014 | 166 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro swears in Battalion Chief James Lemonda as president of the UFOA
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro swears in Battalion Chief James Lemonda as president of the UFOA
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Chief James Lemonda heads his first UFOA meeting as president at Ricardo’s Restaurant in Astoria last week.
Chief James Lemonda heads his first UFOA meeting as president at Ricardo’s Restaurant in Astoria last week.
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FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro joined the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA) last week at Ricardo’s Restaurant in Astoria, to officially swear in the new board, as well as Battalion Chief James Lemonda as president. Nigro, a former UFOA member, touted the benefits that the organization has provided generations of his family. “My father is still going strong 37 years into his pension,” Nigro said, adding, “this union board represents you quite well.” Lemonda will replace former president Al Hagan as the leader of the 2,600-member union comprised of lieutenants, captains, battalion chiefs, deputy chiefs, supervising fire marshals and medical officers of the NYFD. “He has small feet, but truth be told, Al was a great leader,” Lemonda said of the shoes he was elected to fill two weeks ago. “All I can do is be James Lemonda.” Lemonda was previously a police officer for four and a half years and is now in his 29th year as a member of the FDNY. After joining the union in 1994, he was later promoted to Captain after the events of September 11, 2001, and later assigned to the 14th division of Queens and later the captain of Engine 324 in Corona. Now in his fourth year on the board, Lemonda said he looks forward to settling an ongoing contract agreement with the city. “I will try to emulate each and every one of the previous presidents and represent the members to the best of my ability,” he said.
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Non-profits battle low turnout of local volunteers
by Chase Collum
Sep 19, 2014 | 172 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With winter on the way and many properties still in need of repair after Hurricane Sandy, some local non-profit groups are having a hard time finding volunteers to keep up the work. New York State is ranked 50th out of 50 states and Washington, D.C., making it the state with the least volunteers in the U.S. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, 20.6 percent of New Yorkers spent on average 24.7 hours volunteering in 2012. Brian Steadman of Resurrection Brooklyn, a small non-profit that he founded to help with hurricane relief efforts, who is currently on projects in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood's low-lying mid-block courts, said that right now it's all hands on deck, and he's going to need some fresh volunteers to keep work going through the winter. Resurrection Brooklyn has had well over 1,000 volunteers, but most of them have been from out of state, said Steadman. He was joined by four men from rural southern Indiana, who had been to the house earlier in the year with a youth group and saw the overwhelming need for volunteers. “When I first got here, I thought to myself, well where do you start?” said Andy Hansen, who was working with his son Luke to prepare the bathroom ceiling for installation. “You look at these homes and think, tear the whole thing down and start over, but then you start with one small task and do one thing at a time, and you start to see a difference.” At Steadman's current project site, houses in need of repair still line the block, with plywood privacy barriers a common sight. “The majority of the teams are like these guys. They stay in our volunteer housing for five or six days,” Steadman said. “Usually local volunteers only come for one day.” While he and his colleagues in construction are thankful for these day volunteers, they come with problems all their own. “Day volunteer teams aren't as much bang for your buck,” Steadman said. “They're usually unskilled, they need to undergo safety training orientation, they need more supervising, and usually by the time they go to lunch and come back, you get a couple hours of good work out of them before they leave and never come back.” Next door, the odor of floodwaters still wafts from a broken window that frames a scene that remains untouched since the day the waterline began to recede. Steadman, who has worked on several restoration projects throughout the borough in the past two years, said that he wouldn't have been able to be as effective as he has if it wasn't for the support of large organizations such as NYC Service, Habitat for Humanity and United Way NYC. “At this point in the game, there's not any one sole organization to come in and just take care of everything,” Steadman said. According to Sheena Wright, president and CEO of United Way NYC, only 18 percent of New Yorkers are currently active in volunteering efforts. She believes that is because so many New Yorkers underestimate just how helpful they can really be. “Volunteerism is one of the key levers that will help us solve the problems we have today,” Wright said. “If we aggregate all of the good will and the skill in our city, we can move that number from [20] to 25 percent.” At a recent NYC Service Summit, the United Way launched a new initiative to increase volunteerism in the city, with running projects in all five boroughs including disaster relief, educational and senior programs, area beautification and crime prevention training. As autumn looms, Steadman said he expects out-of-state volunteer numbers to drop, so he is hoping that there will be an influx in new local volunteers to fill in the gaps. Preferably, he said, they will be volunteers who stick around for more than one day of work. “Habitat for Humanity has some local groups who commit to one particular day of the month and they come back every month,” he said. “That ability to put them to work shortens the training time needed, especially if they have been doing a similar task and they can help out other volunteers learn how to do it.”
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New LIC restaurant excels at classic Italian cuisine
by Jess Berry
Sep 19, 2014 | 108 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If experience is any indication of success, the chefs at Long Island City’s new Italian restaurant, Il Falco, and the locals who head there, are in for a real treat. Segundo Tinishanay and Bolivar Perez worked as chefs together for over 20 years at Il Mulino in Manhattan, serving some of the biggest celebrities in America, before heading to LIC to embark on a new venture with their own restaurant. Il Falco is an upscale, but cozy, restaurant featuring traditional Italian dishes, from pasta covered in rich lobster sauce to the classic fish dish of bronzino. With a combined 50 years of experience at the renowned Il Mulino, Tinishanay and Perez bring a level of experience to the kitchen that can oftentimes be missing when cooking classic Italian cuisine. “We try to keep the traditional plates,” Tinishanay said of the menu, which is loaded with numerous veal, fish and chicken dishes and filled out with appetizers featuring fresh vegetables, like the tomato-loaded bruschetta. The pair looked around Manhattan to open their restaurant, but soon realized the rents were not manageable for a new restaurant. That is when they crossed over into Queens to check out LIC. “I think this is a young area,” Tinishanay said. “Long Island City is going up, and the rent is not too high.” Open for three weeks now, the restaurant is already attracting a crowd for lunch and dinner. With reasonably priced meals coming from a talented kitchen, a carefully selected wine list and a handful of rich desserts, Il Falco takes the basics of a great restaurant and excels at them. Pair that with a beautifully decorated dining area that is both bright and relaxing, and you have a great lunch spot for that mid-work day break, or a perfect date night restaurant for you and a significant other or a group of friends. When you arrive, a suited and eager wait staff work hard to make you feel at home, and it seems that everyone at Il Falco is happy to be there, especially owners Tinishanay and Perez. The two friends have a love for cooking, and a talent for Italian cuisine, that is apparent as soon as you walk in the door. Welcoming you is a collection of photographs featuring just some of the celebrities who have enjoyed the duo’s food, including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. “That’s only a few of the photos,” Tinishanay said with a smile. “I have whole piles of them at home.” So whether you want a light appetizer or a plate of mushroom ravioli, Il Falco has just the right meal and the perfect atmosphere to enjoy it in. Just be prepared to eat more than you expected to — it is nearly impossible to say no to that final course of tiramisu.
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Criminals targeting Muni Meters to steal credit card info
by Jess Berry
Sep 19, 2014 | 74 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The recent uncovering of a credit card breach at Home Depot, where millions of credit card numbers were stolen over the course of at least five months, is just one example of why credit card holders must be constantly vigilant of their accounts. Consumers are always concerned about the security of their bank accounts, and one local official is taking notice and doing what he can to help protect New Yorkers’ finances in a small, but significant, way. Councilman Mark Treyger of Brooklyn has proposed legislation that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to notify cardholders in writing following incidents of security breaches. The bill comes after a number of reported incidents involving suspected identity theft at Muni Meters in Brooklyn earlier this year. The proposal would require the DOT to provide notification to all affected individuals within ten days after a Muni Meter machine has been compromised. DOT would also have to post the information on its website. “Having your identity or personal banking information stolen can lead to costly unauthorized charges, headaches and serious financial issues for victims, and it is clear this problem is on the rise in New York City,” Treyger said. “I have long been concerned with the lack of urgency on behalf of agencies like the DOT and MTA, and with their failure to take proactive steps to protect the public and inform customers when an incident does occur,” he added. “The public has a right to know when a machine has been compromised, and the DOT has an obligation to better inform residents that their information might have been stolen.” The NYPD reported in June that Muni Meters along Kings Highway in Brooklyn were being targeted by criminals, with the 61st Precinct reporting at least three incidents of compromised credit cards after Muni Meter use. The bill has been referred to the Council’s Committee on Transportation for review.
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