Don’t Trash On Me” will encourage Staten Islanders to partake in cleanups, organize their own, report littered areas directly to Borough Hall
Borough President Vito J. Fossella launched his litter initiative, “Don’t Trash on Me,” today which brings collaborative attention and effort to the fight in keeping Staten Island clean by encouraging residents to join a cleanup, organize their own, or report locations to our office. This long-term campaign also invites city agencies to work together to improve the standards of excellence in the Staten Island community when it comes to litter.
In addition to this announcement, BP Fossella named staff members Tiffany Arguello and Zsakee Lewis as Borough Hall’s litter liaisons. Their role will be to help encourage Staten Islanders across the borough to report littered areas to our office so cleanups that will address these unkempt locations can be coordinated. “Don’t Trash On Me” will have a dedicated page on our website to offer residents a calendar of cleanups and a litter log of locations that have been cleaned.
“There are too many streets and neighborhoods across Staten Island that contain litter. We want to get those areas clean; street by street, if necessary,” said Borough President Fossella. “Our goal is to tackle this problem using any and all resources - both in the private and public sector. It’s time we stop those who consider our streets a garbage dump, and we can do this together. We ask our fellow Staten Islanders to report to our office what they see and how we can improve our borough. We have appointed two litter liaisons to handle and to coordinate with other partners to clean up our town. Now let’s get to work.”
A piece of this initiative includes the partnership between Borough President Fossella and the Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. Both offices will encourage groups to organize cleanups across the borough and reach out if they need a site to clean or need support with supplies including masks, garbage bags, and/or gloves.
"I am proud to join Borough President Fossella to continue the longstanding partnership between our offices to keep Staten Island clean and free of litter. It is obvious to anyone who travels around our borough that trash, graffiti, and overgrowth are a problem that confronts us all, and which leads to deteriorating conditions throughout our communities,” said DA McMahon. “While my office will continue to shame and hold accountable those who think the earth we share is their personal dumping ground, initiatives such as the BP’s “Don’t Trash on Me” litter campaign are crucial to keeping our streets clean year round and protecting our quality of life on Staten Island. My team and I look forward to joining forces once again with our partners in the community, law enforcement, and government to participate in cleanups all over Staten Island as we continue working together to keep our borough safe and clean."
Borough Fossella has also announced that he’ll be convening a litter summit with city agencies and local stakeholders who often have to deal with this recurring issue including small businesses, residential properties, catch basins, parks and many others.
“The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to support Borough President Vito Fossella on Don’t Trash On Me,” said Linda Baran, President & CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “We encourage all Staten Islanders, small businesses, and community groups to do their part in keeping litter off our streets. Keeping our neighborhoods clean helps sustain a vibrant, beautiful, and welcoming community we can all be proud of.”
Those who participate in cleanups are encouraged to post before and after photos on social media with the hashtag #DontTrashOnMe to be re-posted by both office’s social media accounts.
If you see an area that needs cleaning, please reach out to our litter liaisons or report it through the BP Assist App. Signing up is easy and can be done on our website here: https://www.statenislandusa.com/bpassist.html.
Tiffany Arguello at 718-816-2069 or TArguello@statenislandusa.com
Zsakee Lewis at 718-816-2147 or ZLewis@statenislandusa.com
Arthur Kill Road Improvement Project, initiated in 2015, is three years away from start of construction; Borough President Fossella and Councilmembers Borelli & Carr hold field meeting with DOT, DDC, DEP and Parks
BP requests accelerated timeline to relieve congestion, improve quality of life
Borough President Vito J. Fossella invited representatives from the four agencies involved in the Arthur Kill Road capital project to a site meeting with Councilman Joe Borelli and Councilman David Carr’s office to receive updates on the long-delayed road project and explore ways to efficiently accelerate the timetable. The capital project was initiated in 2015.
BP Fossella and Councilman Borelli, along with Councilman Carr’s chief of staff Giuseppe Deserio, met with DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley, DEP Assistant Commissioner Mario Bruno, Nicholas Barbaro from DEP Bureau of Water and Sewer Operations, DOT Borough Commissioner Roseann Caruana, and chief of staff Joseph Homsey from the Borough Parks office.
When completed, the Arthur Kill Road widening project will reduce traffic congestion along the corridor and create a safer road for motorists. It will also add a multi-use path for bicycles and pedestrians and improve access to Brookfield Park. DDC officials report that the design phase will continue through 2024 and construction is expected to begin in 2025. DDC also reports that the anticipated completion for the project will be in 2028.
“It is difficult to understand how a capital project along a 1.5 mile stretch of road can take 13 years to complete,” said Borough President Fossella. “We found that length of time unacceptable, and so we contacted the lead agency, the New York City Department of Design & Construction, to organize this field visit.”
BP Fossella asked for assurances that every step would be taken, where possible, to accelerate the project. He also requested consistent updates and continuous collaboration among the agencies.
“The DDC, DOT, DEP and Parks all agreed that the timeframe was manageable and that the various agencies would work together,” Fossella added. “My goal is to improve the quality of life for constituents and residents in the surrounding neighborhood. We’re going to work with the Adams administration and its agencies so that the project is completed safely and in a timely manner. There are several projects going on in other parts of Staten Island that are frustrating to commuters so let’s learn from those and get this project done as quickly as possible.”
This stretch of Arthur Kill Road has historically been an issue of traffic congestion because it is too narrow, without turning lanes and pedestrian walkways in many sections. It also has an impact on the merchants and stores in the area.
“Even in the best-case scenario, this project will have spanned the full terms of five Mid-Island and South Shore Council Members, three Minority Leaders, two Borough Presidents and two Mayors before it is complete,” said Councilmember Joseph Borelli. “When we talk about how broken the city’s capital development process is, this project is the poster child. Borough President Fossella is absolutely right to push these agencies to speed up this project, and to continue to hold them accountable to the taxpayers that continue to pay, in more ways than one, for its delays.”
“This is an incredibly important project for Staten Island,” said Councilmember David Carr. “Arthur Kill Road has long been a congested thoroughfare and expanding it to allow for left-turn queues and other improvements is critical.”
“I commend Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks for lifting the vaccine mandate for public school proms. This will allow students the opportunity to enjoy their once-in-a-lifetime prom festivities. We saw the impact of vaccine mandates over the past two and half years that drove so much of Staten Island’s catering hall and restaurant business to New Jersey – there’s no reason for that now.
As we publicly stated way back in March, our students have suffered long enough with Covid-19 restrictions severely limiting their academic and social experiences. We are pleased to see the vaccine mandate lifted for proms. We wish all our seniors a great time enjoying this milestone event in their lives. I also want to thank Councilmember Carr and Councilmember Borelli for keeping the pressure on regarding this matter.”
Funding will allow expansion of quality care and treatments for SI newborns, children
Borough President Vito J. Fossella announced this evening the allocation of $2 million to Richmond University Medical Center for the expansion of the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units which focus on the treatment of the most vulnerable newborns and children.
The existing Neonatal Intensive care Unit (NICU) will be renovated to accommodate 25 infants and maximize the quantity of private rooms by incorporating bays and cubicles to meet the adequate number of infant stations. Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) will also expand the Pediatric Intensive care Unit (PICU) to accommodate current space requirements for 3 cribs.
“We are pleased to allocate funding to Richmond University Medical Center as they have been crucial in saving the lives of so many babies throughout the years. These two units at RUMC are highly regarded for their care of newborns and children, and it is an honor to support them for this work,” said Borough President Fossella. “Families across Staten Island and beyond will be able to access more available resources at RUMC with the knowledge and relief of receiving quality care. This funding will also allow their great team to continue to save and treat newborns with a space that’s better for parent-baby bonding and overall satisfaction. This allocation underscores the standard of excellence and quality of care we know exists in our borough.”
“On behalf of our board of trustees and everyone throughout our organization, a tremendous thank you to Borough President Fossella for his support of our hospital, and especially our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit,” said Richmond University Medical Center President and Chief Executive Officer, Daniel J. Messina, PhD, FACHE. “His support will benefit the many newborns and their families that require the advanced, specialized care provided by our experienced physicians, nurses, and medical professionals in our Level III NICU. Our NICU, which specializes in the care of high-risk newborns, some weighing only one pound when born, has a survival rate that stands at over 99%, one of the highest survival rates in the country. For over five decades, more than 30,000 newborns have received care in our NICU, which features state of the art technology and provides leading medically proven effective treatments to care for our youngest patients. Borough President Fossella’s commitment to RUMC is also a commitment to ensuring Staten Island families have continued access to the highest quality medical care available without having to leave Staten Island.”
“Thank you to the Borough President for his generous support of RUMC and our NICU,” said Santosh Parab, MD, Director of RUMC’s NICU. “With his help we will be able to further upgrade our unit, greatly enhancing the care we provide so families can continue to see RUMC as Staten Island’s best source of critical care for their newborns. We are honored that so many families have entrusted their children’s care to us. By taking care of us and our hospital, the borough president is also taking care of families across Staten Island.”
The scope of work for the expansion will include:
Calls for additional analysis of bridges and expressways’ accident data
Borough President Vito Fossella today expressed deep concern over the number of traffic accidents on Staten Island’s expressways, the Verrazano Bridge, and the Port Authority crossings after reviewing the publicly available data from the Metropolitan Transit Authority (Bridges & Tunnels).
He has asked the MTA, the Port Authority, and the State Department of Transportation to provide him with accident data and safety and enforcement information that would shed light on why the accidents are occurring and how the agencies can collaborate on reducing accidents and raising public awareness.
“The data shows that the Verrazano Bridge has the highest number of collisions, and more importantly, collisions with injuries of any bridge or tunnel in the MTA system. That prompted us to reach out to the Port Authority which governs the NJ to SI crossings, and the state DOT which regulates traffic on the interstate highways, which includes the Staten Island Expressway and West Shore Expressway. This will allow us to look at the totality of the accident rates on our bridges and expressways,” said Borough President Fossella. “We look forward to reviewing the data that’s provided to us in more detail so we can come together again with these agencies to determine plausible solutions.”
According to the public data from 2021, 197,000 cars drove over the Verrazano Bridge each day which resulted in 423 accidents for the year. Almost half of those accidents occurred because drivers were following too close. Ten percent of accidents were caused by an unsafe lane change, and 8% of accidents happened because of improper passing.
“We as Staten Islanders experience many times over the frustration of sitting in traffic on our expressways or bridges due to vehicular accidents,” Fossella added. “These accidents range from severe crashes with tragic loss of life to minor fender-benders. However, all result in a ripple effect of delays and congestion throughout the Island whenever an accident occurs. Typically, motorists will try to find alternative routes which clog our neighborhood streets. So, the impact often is not limited to the bridges or expressways – it is felt throughout many neighborhoods and many lives.”
BP Fossella adds that Staten Islanders rely greatly on the efficiency and safety of our bridges and expressways. It is vital that we obtain a better understanding of safety on these transportation corridors, which carry millions of vehicles per year. Our office looks forward to better understanding the data and then work urgently to decrease the number of accidents.
Construction on Hylan Boulevard in Midland Beach expected to be completed this summer
Borough President Vito J. Fossella joined New York City Department of Design and Construction Commissioner (DDC) Tom Foley recently to view the progress of the infrastructure improvements on Hylan Boulevard, which rounds out the latest phase of the New Creek Bluebelt project.
The construction phase of the project affecting Hylan Boulevard and adjacent areas is anticipated to be completed this summer, according to the DDC.
“We are pleased to know that construction on Hylan Boulevard will be coming to an end this summer. This work is important to the surrounding neighborhoods because it updates aging infrastructure, while providing a drainage system that will help mitigate flooding during heavy storms,” said Borough President Fossella. “I want to thank the DDC and DEP for their efforts to get this project done. I asked them to work with local businesses throughout the ongoing project to ensure any potential issues are resolved, particularly with customer access to the several businesses in the area."
“As construction continues on Hylan Boulevard, we look forward to learning from these experiences as the DDC and DEP plan ahead for additional Bluebelt phases going forward,” Fossella added.
The Bluebelt approach was pioneered by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Bluebelts help control neighborhood flooding by directing stormwater away from homes and into a network of ponds and creeks. The New Creek Bluebelt will convey stormwater (from higher inland communities) down under Richmond Road and Hylan Boulevard and ultimately out-to-sea. DEP and DDC are upgrading the sewer system under Hylan Boulevard, which resulted in heavy construction work between Jefferson and Seaver Avenues. Large detention ponds on either side of Hylan Boulevard will hold stormwater and gradually release it into streams and culverts, mitigating the flooding that often affected nearby homes and streets. New storm sewers have also been installed by DEP and DDC.
The New Creek Bluebelt drains a watershed area covering approximately 2,249 acres. When completed, this Bluebelt will preserve large tracts of wetlands with new pond ecosystems that not only beautify the area but also help protect neighborhoods from flooding after heavy rains. Over the last 25 years, DEP has built more than 70 Bluebelts across Staten Island with additional sites currently in construction and design. These are fine examples of combining human and natural engineering to address our stormwater challenges.
Statement from Borough President Vito J. Fossella on the new Staten Island Emergency Coordination Center
We are pleased to announce that a location has been selected on Staten Island to be the site of a New York City Emergency Management coordination center, one that will best serve the Staten Island community and the operations of NYCEM in our borough.
This new location checks all the boxes. It is close to the Staten Island Expressway and is not located in an evacuation zone. The physical space is also large enough to accommodate multiple NYCEM personnel and includes a multi-use room, equipment, and additional resources.
We have worked with NYCEM over the last couple of months to identify a suitable location. Early January after taking office, one of the first things we did was we visited the NYCEM command center in Brooklyn, and we identified that a new site would be a top priority for our borough.
In times of emergency and throughout the year, Staten Island relies on NYCEM for its expertise in emergency response, preparedness, and public awareness on safety.
A centralized location for our Staten Island NYCEM coordination center is crucial for our borough emergency management. As we’ve seen during intense storms, flooding events and power outages, Staten Island depends on the coordination that NYCEM brings in multi-day efforts to protect lives and property, and provide resources for our residents.
We know more storms and emergencies will come. We must expect the unexpected and prepare for it. Our office commends NYCEM for their diligence, and we thank the Department of Education for its partnership. We look forward to an official announcement with more details soon.
There continues to be a push from all levels of government to fight to keep the Department of Veteran Affairs clinics in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island open to serve our Veterans.
I want to commend Senator Chuck Schumer for recently releasing an advocacy plan, and using his resources to bring this fight to the White House. Along with the efforts of Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis and the opposition from Mayor Eric Adams, we are hopeful that the VA will reconsider its recommendations to close the clinics which will in turn limit access to care for not only Staten Island Veterans, but those living in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
We owe all of our freedom to our Veterans. We cannot give up this fight to provide proper and accessible care to them and their families. Let’s continue to work with our partners in government to find a solution.
Statement from Borough President Vito J. Fossella on Mask Mandates for Toddlers Overturned by Staten Island Judge
This is overdue but welcome news for young families.
We believe it’s time to move on from these mask mandates and that is certainly true for these young children. My hope is that the city does not appeal the judge's decision.
The court has ruled that this mask mandate is unconstitutional. Let it be.
Local leaders donate Ukrainian flag to Borough Hall, ask Staten Islanders to take action in support of country’s people
Borough President Vito J. Fossella invited local Ukrainian community leaders, members of the Staten Island religious community, and representatives from the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island today asking for ways Staten Island can help Ukrainians worldwide as the country continues to endure the Russian invasion.
“We have seen the courage and strength of Ukrainian citizens. Despite the fact that they are fleeing these horrible circumstances, you do not see it in their faces,” said Borough President Fossella. “The vast majority are stoically walking hand in hand, with their life on their back, sometimes being separated at the border. They are showing the world what courage is all about.”
He continued the conversation asking how Staten Islanders could help.
“Half a million people on Staten Island want to send our voice to Washington and do everything in our power as a country to end this violent invasion. We just hope that we as Americans can do what we can to assist the people of Ukraine during this time.”
Staten Islander Andriy Boychuk, who was born in Ukraine, was in attendance at the meeting and implored Staten Island to do what they can to show their solidarity with Ukrainians. Boychuk also donated an Ukrainian flag to Borough Hall, which is currently affixed to the exterior of the building that faces Richmond Terrace and all of Downtown Staten Island.
“To all people living on Staten Island, we would like to urge you to take action and not remain silent. Russia has invaded Ukraine, killing innocent civilians in the process,” said Boychuk, who also represents “Razom for Ukraine,” a U.S. based non-profit organization. “Shares on social media, tweets, dollars donated to non-profit organizations, attending rallies, discussions, and public displays of the Ukrainian flag all count and mean so much to Ukrainians all over the world. I want to thank the Borough President for the invitation and his allyship to Ukraine.”
More details to follow on where donations can be made to support Ukraine.
Catchphrase “Fight Hunger, Not Each Other” strives to encourage working together for good
Borough President Vito J. Fossella was joined by District Attorney Michael E. McMahon and Bread of Life Executive Director Joseph Delaney today to announce a partnership for the 31st annual Bread of Life Food Drive.
This year, Bread of Life is using the catchphrase “Fight Hunger, Not Each Other” to give students an extracurricular outlet and opportunity to contribute to the community in light of recent violence in schools. Students in both public and private schools will lead and participate in the drive to fight food insecurity across Staten Island. At the end of the drive, the food collected will be given to over 20 not-for-profit organizations on Staten Island.
“The Bread of Life food drive is a Staten Island tradition that helps foster the good that we all find within the students of our local schools,” said Borough President Fossella. “There has always been a common theme with the Bread of Life food drive. It highlights the importance of working together for the greater good, helping so many Staten Islanders who experience food insecurity. I want to thank DA McMahon for partnering on this wonderful event which has been spearheaded for decades by Joe Delaney, Dr. Bob Griswold and Notre Dame Club President Tom Ventrudo. Your efforts have changed the lives of so many, and we thank you for your service.”
“For the past 30 years, the University of Notre Dame Bread of Life food drive has brought together local schools, volunteers, and organizations from across Staten Island to provide much-needed food items and support to our neighbors in need,” said District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. “This year’s theme, “Fight Hunger, Not Each Other,” encourages Staten Island students from all backgrounds to unite under the common cause of ending hunger by working together. Just as importantly we are helping our students understand the hurt that violence against each other can cause and that there are better, peaceful ways to resolve disagreements. I am equally proud to partner with Borough President Fossella and his office to continue this wonderful Staten Island tradition, and I thank Joe Delaney, Dr. Bob Griswold and Club President Tom Ventrudo for their tireless work to create a lasting culture of giving and peace in our schools throughout the borough.”
“I thank Borough President Fossella and District Attorney McMahon for bringing together the students of our Staten Island schools to fight hunger by participating in the annual Notre Dame Bread of Life food drive,” said Bread of Life Executive Director Joseph Delaney. “The leadership of these two distinguished public officials can only serve to inspire our students to join together in a common cause that will lead to a greater unity of our young people, as they become a significant force for good within our schools and throughout the Staten Island community for years to come.”
The Bread of Life has raised almost two million food items from over 100 local schools, and distributed donations to 25 not-for-profits on Staten Island throughout its 30 year history. This year, participating schools will collect non-perishable items between March 28 and April 9.
Statement of Borough President Vito J. Fossella on incident involving a student with an alleged gun at Port Richmond High School
The incident yesterday at Port Richmond High School, captured on video, shows a student allegedly dropping a gun from his backpack, picking it up, and exiting the school doors unhindered. This represents the latest in a string of warnings to our school system, Staten Island, and our society.
Sadly, too many kids are being raised to believe there are no consequences for their actions, either in their school or on the streets. To these kids, unlawful behavior is acceptable behavior, because they can get away with almost anything.
Do we have the courage to act and fix this now?
Let me be clear – there are many good things occurring in Port Richmond High School, thanks to the hard work of its principal, teachers and students. That makes incidents like this all the more unfortunate.
Recently, every elected official on Staten Island – Democrat and Republican – pledged to work together to establish clear rules and guidelines to keep our schools safe.
Call me “old school” but something needs to be done to send a clear message: enough is enough.
We pledge to work with our colleagues in government to help effectuate a change in the protocols that have allowed this type of activity to disrupt our schools.
Educators, police officers, school safety agents, the court system, community leaders, innocent kids, and parents are all frustrated because these incidents are allowed to continue. We need the cooperation of our City and State to bring about the changes that are needed.
Let’s end this frustration and take back our schools, once and for all.
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil is an approach that ultimately hurts our kids.
Statement of Assemblyman Mike Tannousis
"Unfortunately, this is another example that demonstrates our need for increased safety in our schools. New York is in a public safety crisis and the situation is only getting worse. We need immediate action from all levels of government."
Statement of Assemblyman Mike Reilly
"This incident only highlights the need for enhanced safety measures in our public schools and greater support from the New York City Police Department. When are children are at school, their safety and security is the responsibility of the City of New York."
Statement of Councilmember Kamillah Hanks
"Parents send their children to schools expecting them to be safe. Gun violence is an immediate threat to our city and state. Incidents like this one should worry every member of our community. As Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety, preventing situations like the one that occurred at Port Richmond High School is absolutely a top priority. I fully intend to work with our local schools, NYPD, and city agencies to achieve that."
Statement of Councilman David Carr
“We have to keep guns out of schools and away from our children. Every parent in Staten Island and beyond should be able to have the confidence that their child is safe when they go to class for the day. It is unacceptable that someone can bring a gun to school and appear to suffer no consequences. The risk to students, faculty, staff, and visitors is too great, and the New York City Department of Education has to make the safety of those in its care the foremost priority.”
This long-awaited day of lifting mask and vaccine mandates is music to the ears of so many parents, students, families, and business owners across Staten Island.
We have been saying for months that mask mandates should come to an end and that students in particular have suffered a detrimental consequence in their educational progress and mental health. Today, I had the chance to speak with a class of students at Monsignor Farrell High School on their first week learning in a mask-free environment. I asked how it felt. They answered “amazing.”
We hope that all kids this coming Monday will feel the same way once the mask mandate ends for public school students. I want to applaud Mayor Eric Adams for taking this next step as we move forward with COVID-19 in the rearview.
Four new members join the Borough Hall team
Borough President Vito J. Fossella is pleased to announce the addition of four members to his staff. William Beale will serve as Director of Emergency Management, Public Safety & Veterans Affairs; Daniel Master will serve as Legal Counsel; Dr. Ram Raju will serve in a voluntary position as Senior Advisor of Intergovernmental Affairs and Health; Sia Sipp will serve as Special Assistant to the Borough President.
“As a retired NYPD sergeant, William will be instrumental in responding to public safety issues, as well as act in support of our U.S. service men and women. Sia will bring a depth of knowledge on local issues, having worked with me in our Congressional office,” said Borough President Fossella. “Dan Master returns to Borough Hall and brings his vast experience both in legal matters and Staten Island affairs. For example, Dan was instrumental in the closing of the Fresh Kills Landfill. I’m also proud to bring on Dr. Ram Raju who will be helping to advise me on all healthcare issues and quality of life matters on Staten Island.”
William Beale joined the New York City Police Department in 1991 and retired as Sergeant in 2011. As a retired police officer, his role within the Borough President’s office will allow him to address issues of public safety that come through the office, and serve as a liaison to the borough’s Veterans. Upon his retirement, he returned to school where he earned his certification from The Christ Hospital School of Radiography and is now certified in both X-Ray and Computerized Tomography. William, a Brooklyn native, lives in Great Kills with his wife Kera and three children.
Daniel Master returns to the role of Legal Counsel to the Borough President, a position he held under former Borough Presidents Guy V. Molinari and James P. Molinaro. He has also served the Borough as Chief Assistant District Attorney and Acting District Attorney, Richmond County. Dan holds law degrees from Georgetown Law Center and Columbia Law School and a graduate degree in Criminology from the University of Cambridge. He was a litigation Associate at the law firm of Shea & Gould and has served on the full-time law faculties at NYU School of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law, and Boston College Law School. Dan and his wife Angie have two children, Emma and Trip, currently at Stanford University.
“I enjoyed my time in local government working on projects such as closing the Fresh Kills Landfill and bringing minor league baseball to Staten Island. Improving the quality of life for all Staten Islanders is my lodestar,” said Master. “I was fortunate to have Borough Presidents Jim Molinaro and Guy Molinari as my mentors, and I’m thankful to Borough President Fossella for affording me this opportunity to reprise my role as Borough Hall Counsel.”
Beginning his medical career at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, Dr. Ram Raju has a 40-year career as a healthcare provider, teacher, researcher and community organizer. He formerly held executive positions at Northwell Health, NYC Health and Hospitals, and the Cook County Health System in Chicago, and will now serve as Senior Advisor of Intergovernmental Affairs and Health to BP Fossella. Among his many accomplishments include improving population health at Northwell by finding ways to meet the needs of its most vulnerable communities through public/private partnerships, and turning the financial status of the Cook County healthcare system around that expanded healthcare coverage to thousands of its residents. He attended Madras Medical College for his medical diploma and Master of Surgery degree and underwent further training in England. Dr. Raju is also a physician executive, having obtained an MBA from the University of Tennessee and CPE from the American College of Physician Executives. He was also president-elect of Asian HealthCare Leaders Association (AHCLA), board trustee of the NYS Office of Professional Conduct, and serves as a member of Community Board 2 and the Iron Hills Civic Association. Dr. Raju says he is excited to work with BP Fossella to improve the quality of life for all Staten Islanders.
A graduate of Fordham University, Sia Sipp earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, and proceeded to work in advertising sales at Blair Television in Manhattan until she left in 1997 when BP Fossella was first elected to Congress. She was an Executive Assistant in his Congressional office throughout his entire term, working on the Readers Are Leaders Program, and working closely with the Congressman’s United States Service Academy Selection Committee. After leaving Fossella’s office, Sia stayed home and raised her three children. Sia will report directly to Borough President Fossella and provide guidance on administrative, staff and policy decisions, advise the borough president on government and community issues, and serve as confidential assistant and manager of the borough president’s daily schedule. She looks forward to working for him again as he continues to serve the people of Staten Island. She lives in Randall Manor with her husband Thomas Sipp and their three children.
These staff changes are effective immediately.
BP Fossella, SI Chamber encourage Staten Islanders to support local eateries this weekend for a second chance at New Year’s Eve
Patrons are asked to dine in or take out on Jan. 29th
Borough President Vito J. Fossella and Staten Island Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Linda Baran want to remind Staten Islanders to support their favorite local bar or restaurant this Saturday, January 29th for a New Year’s Eve Part II.
Diners who take a photo of their table/food and tag @sichamber and the restaurant on Instagram will be entered to win one of the prizes listed below. There will be 12 different winners. All tagged posts/stories must be posted and submitted by 11:59pm on Saturday, January 29th.
Due to a large number of patrons canceling their reservations last New Year’s Eve, Staten Island restaurants were faced with an over-order of food supply, loss of wages for workers, and overall loss of revenue for their establishment. That was the impetus for BP Fossella and the SI Chamber of Commerce to create New Year’s Eve Part II.
To enter the contest, Instagram accounts will need to be set to public (not private) in order for entries to be accepted. On Monday, January 31st, the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce will enter all of the entrants’ Instagram handles into a randomizer to pick the winner, who will be notified through Instagram direct message.
"Governor Kathy Hochul has extended the mandate that masks be worn in all indoor spaces except your home, or where proof of vaccination is already required, until February 1, 2022.
The governor has left the responsibility of enforcement of this mandate to the individual counties, and I agree with this approach. The time for masks and mandates has passed. Accordingly, on Staten Island, the use of masks should be made entirely optional. Only by making this a personal decision are we respecting our individual freedoms, and trusting ourselves and our neighbors, to carry out these responsibilities with common sense.
Not only do we have limited resources, but also possess freewill. Staten Island has much better uses for our limited resources than citing individuals who are exercising their personal rights and beliefs.
Business owners, too, should not be punished for making choices of their own free will, or if they fail to follow seemingly arbitrary and ever-changing government mandates. They should be able to exercise their right to make common sense decisions, do whatever they believe is best for their businesses, and trust that customers will make their own personal choices.
Masks and a myriad of COVID restrictions have taken a toll on too many businesses and families, including school children. Children who have not been vaccinated have been and will be denied the opportunity to play indoor sports, or use their local athletic centers, community centers, and more. Some are being made to spend many days home from school learning remotely, if they are learning at all. I am convinced that such severity is not only unjustified by “the science” and statistics, but also harmful in ways we are already seeing, and which will continue to manifest themselves later.
Should these mandates continue, the toll taken on everyday life and the mental health of many will be significant. There needs to be a better balance. That balance should be determined by each of us individually.
A Statement from SI Borough President Vito Fossella Concerning Supreme Court Ruling on Vaccine Mandates
"Finally, there is a little dose of sanity coming out of Washington with the Supreme Court's ruling today striking down the Biden Administration's vaccine mandate for most private employers. This is the refreshing change of pace that we've been waiting for. The vaccine mandate was a clear overreach by the Administration. The Court's decision brings a level of common sense to this issue. I hope it's a bellwether for things to come.
Some people who make health policy declarations have to understand the disastrous impact their rules have on business and the economy, and that when they make healthcare policies, they are, often, simultaneously making economic policy."
BP Fossella, SI Chamber announce initiative in support of local eateries that lost revenue from NYE celebrations
Staten Islanders are encouraged to dine in or take out from a local restaurant Jan. 29th
Borough President Vito J. Fossella, along with Staten Island Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Linda Baran and other elected officials, announced yesterday a new initiative that will support local restaurants which suffered a financial loss during the New Year’s Eve 2022 holiday. Due to a large number of patrons canceling their reservations, Staten Island restaurants were faced with an over-order of food supply, loss of wages for workers, and overall loss of revenue for their establishment.
This initiative, New Year’s Eve Part II, encourages residents to patronize local Staten Island restaurants on Saturday, January 29th by dining in or taking out. Diners who take a photo of their table/food and tag @sibpvito, @sichamber, and the restaurant on Instagram will be entered to win various prizes. Details of prizes will follow.
“We are here for the restaurant owners, we are here for the small business owners, we are here for the bar owners, we are here for the tavern owners, we are here for the catering halls who suffered and perhaps felt like they didn’t have a voice for the last couple of years,” said BP Fossella to a room of over 20 restaurant owners. “But, we’re here to say you have a voice and we want to be supportive of you. We want to be there for you. The New Year’s Eve that came and went was hurtful for many of you. It’s typically a big day for restaurant owners."
BP Fossella offered these words to Staten Islanders.
"Please think about showing your support by going to your favorite bar or restaurant, and if you want to say thanks for sticking it out these last couple of years, come out on Jan. 29," he said. "It’s a fun way to say New Year’s Eve came and went, but we can do it again.”
“I want to acknowledge the many restaurants in the room today that for the last two years have been experiencing one thing after another, adapting to closures, mandates, outdoor dining and more,” said Linda Baran, President & CEO of the SI Chamber of Commerce. “It’s really important that we all support our community and we support people that risk their livelihoods to stay in business, and the workers who really need these jobs. Let’s all come out on Jan. 29 and let’s celebrate New Year’s Eve.”
“We stuck it through and we came together as a community,” said Max Calicchio, owner of Max’s Es-Ca, who described the challenges restaurateurs faced as they tried to navigate the changing regulations. “When one of us was down, we went to help them. And that’s the way we survived -- and I think we’re stronger for it.”
To enter the contest, Instagram accounts will need to be set to public (not private) in order for Borough Hall to accept entries. On Monday, January 31st, we will enter all of the entrants Instagram handles into a randomizer to pick the winner, who will be notified through Instagram direct message.
"In light of non-citizen voting now becoming law, I have filed a lawsuit today in New York State Supreme Court, Richmond County, seeking to declare that the law violates the New York State Constitution.
More specifically, the new law violates Article II, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution which clearly states the three necessary “qualifications of voters.” These include citizenship, to be at least 18 years of age, and to have residency in the state for at least 30 days.
As the lead plaintiff of this lawsuit, I seek to prohibit the Board of Elections from implementing the new law. The new law will require the creation of two different ballots for municipal races to prevent non-citizen voters from participating in federal and state elections, which in reality, opens the door for error. Potentially adding 800,000 new non-citizen voters to a system that has been made more complex by rank choice voting will increase concerns over fraud, and undermine faith in the system while diluting the voice of our citizens in selecting their local leaders.
One of the great privileges of being a United States citizen is the right to vote. To extend that right to non-citizens is unconstitutional and simultaneously dilutes the votes of and devalues what it means to be a citizen of New York State.
While the provisions of the new law would first be implemented in the 2023 elections, the time is now to protect the rights of all New York citizens, including those Staten Islanders who elected me to be their Borough President."
Sites will help mitigate historically long COVID-testing wait times
Borough President Vito J. Fossella, in partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals, has announced an additional testing site at Great Kills Park which builds on the other three sites secured earlier this week. All mobile vans will be able to serve 250 to 300 people a day and are open from 8a.m. - 7p.m.
Here are the locations and schedules for next week as the sites will rotate:
From Monday through Wednesday, the vans will be at Great Kills, Conference House, and Wolfe’s Pond Park. From Thursday through Sunday, the vans will be at Brookfield Park, Charleston Shopping Center and Wolfe’s Pond Park.
BP Vito Fossella & Assemblymember Mike Cusick Call for No Discussions on Citi Bike Expansion Until Staten Island is Included in the Program
Ask that no discussions be held with Citi Bike on electrifying docking stations until S.I. Gets Service
Borough President Vito J. Fossella and Assemblymember Michael Cusick have requested that the New York City Department of Transportation and Con Edison cease any further discussions with Citi Bike about electrifying docking stations and expanding service until Staten Island can be included in the program.
Recently, DOT and Citi Bike have been discussing ways to connect Citi Bike docking stations to the City’s electrical grid. This would be an expansion of the Citi Bike service.
“How can a program be called “Citi Bike” when only four/fifths of the City is served by the Citi Bike program?” Borough President Fossella and Assemblyman Cusick asked.
“This is a matter of equity and it troubles me to see Staten Island excluded from such a positive city-wide transportation program,” said Borough President Fossella. “By requesting that the DOT and Con Edison stop any further conversations with Citi Bike, we hope to trigger an action plan to bring Citi Bike service to this borough. I thank Assemblymember Mike Cusick for recognizing the importance of this issue and supporting this endeavor for Staten Island.”
“Staten Island is just as much a part of this city as every other borough. There is no reason why Staten Island should be excluded from the Citi Bike program while the rest of the city gets to enjoy the benefits,” said Assemblymember Cusick. “As the borough with the least transportation alternatives, the Citi Bike program would be especially beneficial for Staten Island. I am glad to be working with Borough President Fossella to bring Citi Bikes to Staten Island.”
“We would greatly appreciate DOT and Con Edison’s support in this matter. It’s time that Citi Bike lives up to its moniker and includes all five boroughs of the City in its service area,” said Fossella and Cusick.
Several previous attempts have been made to bring dockless bike share to Staten Island. The companies Jump and Lime, now owned by Uber, proved successful in the spring of 2019 but the program was discontinued by the end of that year. Beryl, a UK-based company, was expected to launch a dockless bike share program in 2020 but pulled out of the deal due to logistical complications and other considerations relating to COVID-19. Citi Bike, established in 2013, has never been offered on Staten Island.
A Statement from Borough President Fossella on Mayor Adams' “Small Business Forward” Executive Order
"I commend Mayor Eric Adams for his recent executive order. He is now requiring city agencies to scale back on what might be described as the unnecessary harassment of New York’s small businesses. It is refreshing to know that our city is moving in the right direction by aiding these hard-working men and women. Too many businesses have been unexpectedly hit with fines so excessive, often for innocent mistakes, that they have been forced to close their doors.
Announcements of this nature are what our small business owners want and need to hear. For too many years they have been burdened by overly aggressive enforcement. By reducing fines, issuing warnings, and allowing for cure periods, our city will no longer impose anti-business rules and regulations. This will allow us to show support of small businesses, not present, as the mayor said, “an obstacle.”
As Staten Island Borough President, I will take this opportunity to assist the mayor by having my staff compile data from our borough’s small businesses about some of the fines they have received. It is my hope that these examples will underscore the importance of these efforts.
In closing, I am so pleased that Mayor Adams has taken such an important step. He believes, as I do, that we should promote and support small businesses. This executive order represents a refreshing policy change and a new era of cooperation.
The mayor is modifying a policy that not only drained them of their dollars, but drained their spirit as well."
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