Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella commends Mayor Adams statement on migrant family status
We commend Mayor Adams and his announcement today for stating that the thousands of migrants flooding New York City is completely unsustainable. We said the same weeks ago.
In fact, I and three of our council members of the Staten Island delegation sent a letter to the New York City Independent Budget Office asking for a cost analysis of migrant families coming into the city who will impact the boroughs’ resources. We are pleased the Mayor has stated strongly how this will impact all New Yorkers and cost us upwards of $1 billion, if not more. This is a problem our city did not create. It is a federal issue which requires a federal solution.
If the city expects to spend at least $1 billion on this crisis, by our math, that’s almost $60,000 being spent per person for the 17,000 migrants NYC has accepted so far. As we await a final report from IBO, we will continue to seek to work with the Adams administration to get to a solution that steers into a different direction. This report is expected to be complete within the next two weeks.
There isn’t a more generous country than the United States and the people of Staten Island are always willing to help those in need - whether it is food, clothing, or shelter. It is not about this notion of a lack of compassion or understanding, but that Staten Islanders are forced to deal with an issue they did not create.
Earlier this week, our office stood with Congresswoman Malliotakis, Councilmembers Carr and Borelli, and members of the Travis Civic Association outside the Comfort Inn in Travis to oppose the stay of migrant families who were placed in the neighborhood without notice. We reiterated, as we had done in the letter to IBO, that the instability of this approach is the beginning of no end in sight.
City Hall recently announced that city agencies have to cut their budgets and inevitably will translate to cuts for Staten Island and other New Yorkers. The Mayor has issued a warning to the federal government, and to state and fellow citizens that we need a course of action immediately. We need better answers, we need a better solution, and we stand ready to work with Mayor Adams to solve this problem New York did not create.
Borough President Vito Fossella, local elected officials call on DOE Chancellor and DOHMH Commissioner to reconsider latest COVID-19 guidance for schools
Borough President Vito J. Fossella and fellow elected officials have sent a letter to Department of Education Chancellor David Banks and Department of Mental Health & Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan requesting that they reconsider the COVID-19 guidance for parents and students as the new school year begins next week. Currently, unvaccinated parents are prohibited from coming into a DOE school building and unvaccinated students are not allowed to play in after-school sports programs.
In the letter, they cite how important parent involvement is needed, especially after almost two years of interrupted school sessions due to the pandemic. It states:
“While well-intentioned and noble, some of the decisions in the past have negatively affected many children. Evidence suggests that cases of mental illness in school-aged children are on the rise and low-test scores are sadly becoming the norm. We urge you to reconsider and reverse the policies regarding unvaccinated parents and children.
Unvaccinated parents have not been in their child’s school for over two years and have missed out on critical moments including meetings, events, award ceremonies, and graduations. NYC DOE student enrollment is down, and parents are showing their opposition to these overreaching policies by removing their children from DOE schools. Furthermore, unvaccinated children who have been welcomed back to school are prohibited from participating in many after school sport programs, which is proven to be instrumental for a well-rounded education.”
They also refer to when New York City lifted restrictions for other activities and locations where large gatherings can take place.
“Months ago, New York City rightly relaxed all of its in-person restrictions for the unvaccinated to attend indoor sporting events, concerts, all entertainment venues, or to simply enjoy indoor dining or going to the gym. As the DOE COVID-19 guidance stands now, unvaccinated parents are not allowed into their child’s NYC DOE school building for back-to-school events, socials, PTA meetings, parent-teacher conferences, fundraising, parent workshops, or any in-school events with their child.”
The letter was signed by Congressmember Nicole Malliotakis; Senator Andrew Lanza; Councilmembers David Carr and Joseph Borelli; Assemblymembers Michael Reilly and Michael Tannousis.
Borough President Vito J. Fossella is pleased to announce his appointment of Aaron Bogad as the Staten Island representative to the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP).
The Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) consists of 15 appointed members and the Chancellor. Each borough president appoints one member, CEC Presidents elect one member, and the mayor appoints the remaining nine members. The Chancellor serves as an ex-officio non-voting member.
Aaron Bogad is the immediate past president of The Staten Island Federation of PTAs and has held that position for the last 5 years. Mr. Bogad has been a member of the Community Education Council 31 since 2015, three of those years as President of the CEC.
Previous positions include President of the District 31 High School President's Council, and a member of the District Leadership Team where he represented families on the Chancellor's Parent Advisory Committee. For the past 13 years, Mr. Bogad has held many positions, including PTA President and PTA Treasurer, and has been a part of many working groups within the district and DOE Central. He also has been involved locally, previously serving as a board member for 5 years at the Arden Heights Jewish Center. For the past 12 years, Mr. Bogad has coached youth softball where he remains a USA Softball Certified Coach in his daughter’s travel softball organization.
Mr. Bogand and his wife have three daughters, one of them who attends a New York City public high school.
“We are pleased that Aaron has accepted this appointment, and are confident he will work well with us to make the best decisions for our school community,” said Borough President Fossella. “Our priorities for Staten Island include robust academic achievement, enhanced school safety, expanded sports programs, innovative education, and public/private partnerships to help our students. Additionally, I thank Jaclyn Tacoronte for her service on the PEP.”
“After suffering career ending injuries on September 11, 2001, while working as a NYC EMS Emergency Medical Technician that responded to the World Trade Center, I decided that I needed to do whatever I could physically and emotionally to make things better for my daughters as well as the children in our district,” said Mr. Bogad. “I thank Borough President Fossella for the opportunity to continue my work supporting our schools. It has been and remains to be a huge honor and a privilege to serve our community.”
We gathered under solemn skies at the Postcards Memorial on Sunday to remember those lost in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the First Responders who have died in the years since due to their work at Ground Zero.
“I am honored to continue this tribute of remembrance and reflection,” said Borough President Vito Fossella.
Bishop John O’Hara, the Episcopal Vicar of Staten Island and southern Manhattan, delivered the invocation, and the Rev. Dr. Victor Brown, the Pastor of Mount Sinai United Christian Church, delivered the benediction. Gov. Kathy Hochul offered remarks. There were musical selections throughout the evening and an FDNY Marine Division boat sprayed water in the harbor. Bells tolled during the 9/11 Tribute Readings and the First Responders Tribute Readings. A moment of silence was held.
“There’s an old saying ‘make a memory every day’ -- tragically one thing 9/11 did was to prevent and destroy so many possible memories for so many families from being made,” said Borough President Fossella. “In fact, it’s been 7,671 days since that fateful day. If you take the number of those who perished and add up all those days, you get close to 2 million. That’s 2 million memories that didn’t occur -- memories like that of a newborn child, a first birthday, a first day of school, a graduation day, a first job, a walk down the aisle or something as simple and precious as a walk in the park.”
As the ceremony concluded, roses were placed between the silhouettes of the Postcards Memorial and on the rain-slicked panels of the First Responders Memorial.
Statement from Borough President Vito J. Fossella Commending DOT Commissioner Roseann Caruana on Swinnerton Street Concern
Several residents brought attention to an approved traffic conversion on Swinnerton Street during a recent Tottenville Civic Association Meeting. The conversion would change the street’s one-way traffic pattern to a two-way street. Residents said that they were never notified of the conversion and its approval, and were displeased at this process.
DOT Borough Commissioner Roseann Caruana said she was unaware of this approval and would investigate. Within one day, the Commissioner was able to identify the miscommunication among the neighborhood, and stopped the conversion altogether after listening to the concerned residents of Swinnerton Street.
We are very pleased and thankful for Borough Commissioner Caruana’s swift and positive response to a community concern. The evidence of a job well done came from the residents, primarily of Swinnerton Street, who were grateful to the DOT team for their actions.
Commissioner Caruana and her team deserve credit for reacting so quickly and responsibly to the matter.
Borough President Fossella, DSNY Commissioner Tisch announce $70K in budget allocations to business improvement districts
BIDs across the borough a priority in budget for cleanup efforts
Borough President Vito J. Fossella was joined by Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jesscia Tisch today to announce $70,000 in discretionary funds from our office to business improvement districts and merchant associations across Staten Island for beautification of their corridors, particularly in the removal of litter.
A Business Improvement District (BID) is a geographical area where involved businesses oversee and fund the maintenance, improvement, and promotion of their commercial district. There are over 70 BIDs in New York City with approximately $160 million invested in NYC neighborhoods annually. All Staten Island BIDs maintain the public spaces within their district, including any clean up of their corridor, and program their district with events that directly impact the surrounding neighborhood.
The entities that received the funding include the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) and their various neighborhood development projects, the South Shore BID, Forest Avenue BID, and the West Brighton LDC.
This funding is part of a broader citywide commitment to cleaner streets, and comes on the heels of an unprecedented $40 million investment by the Adams Administration that took effect earlier this year. These funds take street cleanliness significantly beyond pre-pandemic levels, and will cover 50,000 more litter-basket collections per week, new Precision Cleaning teams in the districts with the greatest need, and ongoing efforts to keep vacant lots from becoming filthy eyesores.
“We are grateful to have the opportunity to use taxpayer money to invest in several of Staten Island’s business improvement districts for their cleanup efforts, beautification services, and so much more,” said Borough President Vito J. Fossella. “These funds not only strengthen the economic landscape of the borough, but also give us a chance to show that cleaning up our borough is one of our top priorities, from West Brighton to Tottenville. I want to thank DSNY Commissioner Tisch for not only joining us today, but also supporting the work of our businesses and the vitality they provide to all of Staten Island.”
“New York’s recovery hinges on clean streets, and that’s going to take a real investment from every part of government,” said Jessica Tisch, Commissioner, NYC Department of Sanitation. “I want to thank Borough President Fossella for this investment, and look forward to supporting the various Staten Island BIDs in their important work of bringing New York back clean, healthy, and safe.”
"One of the most frequently identified needs of Business Improvement Districts and merchant associations is beautification and maintenance. The appearance and general cleanliness of an area can make a significant difference in its ability to attract shoppers," said Gina Gutman, Interim President of the SIEDC. "We're very thankful to Borough President Fossella for his support of our commercial districts and particularly the funding he provided for work in Rosebank, Graniteville and North Hylan.”
“Staten Island’s Business Improvement Districts have made significant investments in their communities, and we are thrilled to see their efforts supplemented by Borough President Fossella and DSNY Commissioner Tisch,” said Linda Baran, President & CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “This investment not only works toward beautifying our commercial corridors, but also ensures that our shopping districts are safe and welcoming for customers.”
“On behalf of the West Brighton LDC and the Forest Avenue BID we are thankful to Borough President Vito Fossella for providing funding for sanitation and beautification of the Forest Avenue Business Improvement District commercial corridor. Having a clean corridor not only supports the local economy, it enhances the quality of life for our neighborhood businesses and residents,” said Nina Flores, Executive Director of West Brighton LDC and Forest Avenue BID.
Watch the full press conference here.
Statement from Borough President Vito J. Fossella Commending NYPD for Efforts in Carjacking Incident
Yesterday afternoon, a Staten Islander was carjacked at gunpoint while at a gas station in Richmond Valley. Due to the swift response of NYPD officers to the scene, a description of the criminal and the vehicle taken was shared with all Staten Island precincts and highway units.
It is important to note that within minutes, the NYPD were able to work with agencies across the bridge to track down the vehicle which was eventually recovered in Jersey City. This recovery also resulted in the arrest of one perpetrator involved.
This situation follows the increasing trend of crimes committed throughout New York City, specifically the recent assaults on a bodega worker, and a police officer in a Manhattan subway station. These incidents endanger our neighborhoods and communities. We would like to take this opportunity to commend, and support, the men and women of the NYPD and surrounding agencies for their excellent work in this matter.
Statement from Borough President Vito J. Fossella regarding Police Officer Assault in Subway Station
On the heels of a bodega worker getting attacked and then arrested for murder, we now have a 16-year-old criminal fighting a police officer in a subway station, putting the officer in a chokehold, and then being released within 24 hours.
The world is upside-down when people lose the right to defend themselves and police officers can be assaulted without consequence. This is a signal that should never be sent.
Recently, the MTA released a survey which stated the number one concern New Yorkers have about using public transportation is personal safety. Too many people are afraid to ride the subway. After seeing this video, can you blame them?
The reason people feel unsafe on the subways is because the subways are unsafe. There are too many criminals loose without bail. Until bail reform is fixed, public safety in New York is going to remain broken. I don’t blame anyone for avoiding the subways until bail policies are addressed.
Borough President Vito Fossella, Councilmember David Carr Allocate $13.7MFor New Dorp HS Fields
Borough President Vito Fossella and Councilmember David Carr have announced an allocation of $13.7 million to New Dorp High School to renovate the softball and baseball fields on the campus.
The fields are expected to receive new turf on both fields, new drainage, new bleachers and other necessary upgrades.
NDHS Principal Seth Schoenfeld, former Principal Deirdre DeAngelis, and members of the NDHS athletic community had been advocating for this project to become a priority. Borough President Fossella and Councilmember Carr set to work in this year’s budget negotiations to ensure that this need was met.
Borough President Fossella asked Mayor Eric Adams for funding to support this project and the Mayor allocated $9 million in his latest budget. Councilmember David Carr asked City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams for funds and she was able to grant $2.5 million for the project. The Borough President's office allocated $2.2 million from his budget. The project is expected to be in its design phase by the end of the year.
“While academics are important, it is crucial that athletic and other extracurricular activities are available," said Borough President Fossella. "New Dorp High School has a rich history and tradition on Staten Island, especially its baseball and softball teams. We want to continue that tradition by building these new state-of-the-art athletic fields. Thousands of students will benefit from these needed fields. We applaud Mayor Adams’ commitment to our schoolchildren and school athletes. We appreciate this level of support that will have a lasting impact on students and staff. I want to thank Mayor Adams, Speaker Adams, and Councilmember Carr for their support of this project.”
Statement from Borough President Vito J. Fossella regarding Latest Effort to Block VA Clinic Closures
It appears that the Senate has said they have the votes to block the proposed recommendation from the Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission that would close the Brooklyn and Manhattan VA medical clinics, among others across the country.
From the first moment this was raised, we stood shoulder to shoulder, united with Veterans across Staten Island to pledge to them that we would fight to keep these crucial facilities open. The proposal from the commission would also force all Staten Island Veterans to travel to New Jersey for care. We cannot do that to our Veterans and their families.
We are pleased that for now this proposal appears to be off the table, but we will remain committed to our Veteran community in the event this recommendation comes up again.
Statement from Borough President Vito J. Fossella regarding court ruling on Non-Citizen Voting
We initiated our lawsuit to make an argument for common sense. We knew from day one that the New York State Constitution prohibits non-citizens from voting in our municipal elections. We had to stand up for reason, common sense, and the citizens of our borough, city and state.
Whether it was one million or one non-citizen who would have been granted the right to vote – it was wrong. It would have diluted the votes of our own citizens, and begs the question: why should citizens from other countries be allowed to vote in our local municipal elections? We applaud the court’s decision -it’s a victory for every citizen of our borough and city.
Free concerts to take place every Thursday night starting June 30th; special concert featuring Vito Picone and the Elegants on Saturday, August 20th
Borough President Vito J. Fossella is pleased to announce the dates and lineup for his 2022 Sounds of Summer Concert Series. All concerts will take place at 7pm, with the exception of August 18th and August 20th when the concerts will begin at 6:30pm. The Thursday night concert schedule is as follows:
June 30th— Silver Lake Park (Forest Ave. at Haven Esplanade) featuring Grounded4Life and Cause & the Effects
July 7th— Wolfe’s Pond Park (Cornelia Ave. and Chester Ave.) featuring The Karlus Trapp Band and The Resistance
July 14th— Midland Beach Splaza (Fr. Capodanno Blvd. at Seaview Ave) featuring Vinnie Medugno & the Chiclettes with the CODA Band
July 21st — Conference House Park (298 Satterlee Street) featuring Generations and JC & The Funtime Band
July 28th— Historic Richmond Town (441 Clarke Ave.) featuring Just Friends
August 4th— Bloomingdale Park (Ramona Ave. and Lenevar Ave.) featuring Goon Dads and Wicked Revival
August 11th— Snug Harbor Cultural Center (1000 Richmond Terrace) featuring Hughie Lynch and Joan Caddell and the Midnight Choir
August 18th— Fort Wadsworth (210 New York Avenue) featuring Lina Fiscardi and The Black Ties at 6:30pm
August 25th— Westerleigh Park (Neal Dow Ave. and Maine Ave.) featuring JD & the All Stars and T-N-T with Mike Campbell
A special concert with headliners Vito Picone and the Elegants featuring Bob D’Andrea and The Dreamers will take place on Saturday, August 20th at 6:30pm at Midland Beach Turtle Circle (Fr. Capodanno Blvd. at Hunter Ave).
“We are pleased to continue the summer concert series which invites all Staten Islanders to enjoy free entertainment in parks across the borough,” said Borough President Fossella. “We want to thank the talent who are sharing their musical gifts with us, as we look forward to hearing this lineup play all summer. Enjoy!”
The Sounds of Summer Concert Series is sponsored by Borough President Fossella and Councilmembers Kamillah Hanks, David Carr, and Joe Borelli.
Please note that shows will be cancelled in the event of extreme weather for safety reasons. For more information, visit www.statenislandusa.com/summerconcerts, Facebook page, or call 718-816-2133.
Award honors fallen principal, nominations currently being accepted
Borough President Vito J. Fossella has announced that nominations are currently being accepted for the Patrick F. Daly Award. This award goes to two educators who exemplify the values of fallen principal Patrick Daly, who was gunned down in Red Hook, Brooklyn thirty years ago while searching for a student who had left the school building.
“It is an honor to continue this award that pays tribute to the legacy and life of fallen principal Mr. Patrick Daly,” said BP Fossella. “Educators often go beyond the walls of the classroom to make an impact on their students. I look forward to recognizing two of them with this award.”
Anyone who wishes to nominate a teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal, or principal may do so. The award will be given in Mr. Daly’s memory, honoring his legacy of service to the community, his steadfast commitment to his students, and his leadership.
“I would like to express my gratitude to Borough President Fossella for honoring my uncle’s dedication to his students and remembering his tragic sacrifice. It is a privilege to honor Staten Island’s truly great educators in his memory,” said David Pascarella, nephew of the fallen educator.
"On behalf of the Daly family, I want to thank the Borough President for continuing to honor Staten Island's educators and my father's legacy with this award. I look forward to meeting this year's recipients,” said Pat Daly, son of the fallen educator.
Nominations are currently being accepted for the award until July 15. For full details, please visit https://www.statenislandusa.com/patrickdalynomination.html.
Statement from Borough President Vito J. Fossella on Department Of Building’s Expanded Hours
We want to commend Mayor Adams and Department of Buildings Commissioner Ulrich for their recent announcement of extended hours every Tuesday that will be available to any homeowner, tenant, small business owner, or building manager who require assistance.
Constituents will be able to speak directly with staff about a number of buildings related issues – from renovation planning to addressing an open violation on a property, and using the online resources already available.
This effort by the Department of Buildings is an example of how our government can work effectively for Staten Island, and for the people of New York City. We encourage Staten Islanders to take advantage of this resource and come to Borough Hall’s second floor from 4p.m. to 7p.m. every Tuesday if help is needed.
Local reps from city agencies join together to discuss solutions for SI litter issue
Borough President Vito J. Fossella and District Attorney Michael E. McMahon hosted representatives from various city agencies at Borough Hall yesterday to discuss long and short term solutions to the litter problem Staten Islanders encounter every day. DOT Borough Commissioner Roseann Caruana and Parks Borough Commissioner Lynda Ricciardone were also in attendance.
This litter summit follows the debut of BP Fossella’s litter initiative “Don’t Trash On Me” 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. Additionally, it complements DA McMahon’s litter efforts around the borough including the removal of illegal signs, graffiti cleanup, litter enforcement and more.
“We are committed to work with anybody to get Staten Island clean. While there are many individuals and groups that graciously volunteer and sponsor cleanups, the hard reality is we need the help of City agencies to do the job right,” said Borough President Fossella. “They have the manpower and resources to resolve our current issues with litter. Fortunately, DA McMahon and I met with the leaders of these key agencies, and there seems to be a strong desire to tackle the litter problem in a collaborative way. It was a good start, and we will continue to keep it in focus.”
“I was proud to join Borough President Fossella to meet with various City agencies all crucial to our fight against litter, and we welcome these continued partnerships to assist in our mission to keep Staten Island clean and safe,” said DA McMahon. “As the summer months begin, we will work tirelessly to prevent litter and trash from piling up in our communities and also hold accountable those who use our borough as their personal dumping ground through vigorous enforcement actions and hefty fines. 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 work to keep our streets safe and improve the quality of life in our borough."
Representatives from the New York Police Department, Department of Sanitation, and Department of Environmental Protection were also in attendance. Staten Islanders who participate in cleanups are encouraged to post before and after photos on social media with the hashtag #DontTrashOnMe to be re-posted.
If you see an area that needs cleaning, please reach out to our litter liaisons, or report it through the BP Assist App which can be found in the App Store and Google Play.
Tiffany Arguello at 718-816-2069 or TArguello@statenislandusa.com
Zsakee Lewis at 718-816-2147 or ZLewis@statenislandusa.com
Borough Hall hosts Cancer Prevention Roundtable with elected officials focusing on skin and HPV related cancers
Elected officials, medical professionals, and not-for-profit leaders work together to expand program
Borough President Vito J. Fossella and his public health team are pleased to continue the work of a three-year Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA) grant given to Columbia University’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) by hosting a cancer roundtable with local elected officials, medical professionals, community leaders and not-for-profit organizations. The goal is to expand the program to additional community partner sites across Staten Island which can adopt their own sun safety policies, and extend to clinical partners to improve HPV vaccination, in an effort to reduce skin and HPV related cancer rates across the borough.
Compared to the other four boroughs of New York City, Staten Island has a higher incidence of melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. With this grant, HICCC will work with the Borough President’s Office and Richmond University Medical Center to reduce skin cancer rates in Staten Island by raising awareness about the dangers of indoor tanning and the importance of widespread adoption of sun safety practices like seeking shade and using sunscreen for skin cancer prevention.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, Children’s Aid- Goodhue Center, the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island, and the Richmond University Medical Center’s School-Based Health Center at Susan E. Wagner High School have designed and adopted sun safety policies that encourage providing free sunscreen, displaying sun safety information, and providing sun safety training for staff.
“Our goal is to highlight the fact that there are so many of these cases of skin and HPV related cancers across the borough,” said Borough President Fossella. “This roundtable will help be the first step to spread awareness of this program which is available to community organizations and clinical offices. We want to thank our partners and beyond for their efforts in this important endeavor.”
“We are proud to partner with the Borough President’s office, HICCC, and all of our community partners to bring sun safety programming to our Day Camp and Cornerstone programs. We know that taking proactive steps will help young people prevent cancer in the future, and we’re grateful to be able to play a role in educating our youth on the importance of prevention,” said Orit Lender, JCC CEO.
The grant will also address improving the low rates of HPV vaccination across Staten Island. Staten Island has the lowest rate of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations within the five boroughs with only about 1 in 4 adolescents (ages 13 to 17) having completed the HPV vaccination series. This rate is also significantly lower than New York State’s average of about 55%. HPV can cause six different types of cancers in both men and women, and is responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. The program will work to improve awareness about the protective benefits of the HPV vaccine and provide educational opportunities to community organizations, schools, and healthcare providers. Additionally, the grant will also work with both the Staten Island hospitals, various school based health centers and other clinical partners to improve HPV vaccination rates throughout the borough.
“We are so grateful for our partnership with the team at the Columbia Herbert Irving Cancer Center. They have not only helped in identifying the true needs and gaps of our community, but have been able to bring much needed resources for Staten Island through the CPiA grant,” said Dr. Ginny Mantello, Director of Health and Wellness for Borough President Fossella. “We will continue to work with them beyond this grant to identify other resources around cancer prevention and education for the clinical and community based partners.”
“The roundtable provided an excellent forum to dialogue with our colleagues on population health concerns such as skin cancer and HPV among Staten Islanders,” said MR. Richard J. Salhany, MBA, FACHE, Chief Administrative Officer from Richmond University Medical Center. “We share a common goal of improving the health of the community through prevention, outreach and treatment.”
This roundtable was designed to help elected officials and other community leaders learn about ongoing cancer prevention work on Staten Island, discuss work under the grant, provide an overview of the three main ways to work on cancer prevention in adolescents, and discuss how to leverage partnerships to reduce cancer rates in Staten Island.
“The Cancer Prevention Roundtable was a great opportunity for us to talk to Staten Island elected officials about how they can work with the Cancer Prevention in Action program. We had a great discussion about the need for sun safety programming and HPV vaccination education in order to reduce cancer rates on Staten Island,” said Maya Lipsman, Project Director for Cancer Prevention in Action. “As trusted leaders in their communities, people listen to what elected officials have to say, so we hope that we can partner with them to spread information about sun safety and HPV vaccination to reduce Staten Island’s cancer burden in these areas.”
Columbia University’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) was recently awarded a three-year grant by Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA) of New York State Department of Health and Health Research, Inc. The award supports the HICCC’s work on skin cancer risk reduction and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination education in Staten Island. The HICCC is the first and only site in New York City to receive this competitive award by the CPiA program. HICCC has partnered with Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) and the Office of the Staten Island Borough President to complete the activities of this grant. These partners make connections with local organizations to implement sun safety policies and deliver HPV vaccination education.
NYC EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND STATEN ISLAND BOROUGH PRESIDENT ANNOUNCE NEW BOROUGH COMMAND CENTER ON STATEN ISLAND
In line with the start of Atlantic hurricane season, the New York City Emergency Management Department and Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella debuted the Borough Command Center (BCC) on Staten Island for emergency responders. The BCC will serve as a hub for NYC Emergency Management responders to mobilize and coordinate emergency assets during large-scale emergencies on Staten Island, allowing first responders to strategically address the specific needs of Staten Island’s communities.
“Disasters start and end locally, and this new command center will allow us to effectively respond to emergencies that affect Staten Island,” said NYC Emergency Management Zach Iscol. “We are thankful to Borough President Fossella and his office for their support in helping us continue to build a robust emergency response structure in this city.”
“We are pleased to announce that a new, expanded, and state of the art NYC Emergency Management Center will be located at the Petrides Complex. Given this centralized location, we feel this site will best serve the Staten Island community and the operations of NYC Emergency Management in our borough in cases of any emergency,” said Staten Island Borough President Vito J. Fossella. “We have been working with NYC Emergency Management since January to get a site to the borough since Staten Island relies on the agency for its expertise in emergency response, preparedness, and public awareness on safety. We commend NYC Emergency Management and the Department of Education for their partnership.”
“School buildings and campuses have long served as hubs for our communities, particularly in times of hardship. I am grateful that with this new borough command center we will be able to ensure that our students and families have access to essential emergency resources, particularly as we head into hurricane season,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “I laud the incredible work that has been done to realize this center, and look forward to the Department of Education’s continued partnership with Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella and the New York City Emergency Management Department to support our communities.”
During the response to Tropical Storm Isaias, NYC Emergency Management deployed its Interagency Coordination Center to Staten Island Mall parking lot to coordinate field response operations in the borough. This mobile command center allowed the agency, along with its private partners, to strategically deploy resources throughout the borough. Under this new plan, the BCC would serve as the central hub for coordination and response.
To raise awareness of the hurricane season, NYC Emergency Management relaunched the "Know Your Zone" hurricane awareness campaign to encourage New Yorkers to find out whether they live in one of the city's six hurricane evacuation zones. New Yorkers can visit NYC.gov/knowyourzone to find their evacuation zone designation and to get more information about how to prepare for hurricanes. The Know Your Zone campaign is a multipronged, multilingual campaign that is supported with updated advertising for the 2022 hurricane season, social media engagement (#knowyourzone), and community outreach (hurricane preparedness presentations in communities throughout the city).
Through the Know Your Zone campaign, NYC Emergency Management aims to reach 3.1 million New Yorkers living within the city's hurricane evacuation zones, which were revised in 2021. Hurricane evacuation zones are based on coastal flood risk resulting from storm surge (the "dome" of ocean water that is pushed ashore by the winds and low barometric pressure of a hurricane), the geography of the city's low-lying neighborhoods, and the accessibility of these neighborhoods by bridges and roads. The City may order residents who live in a zone to evacuate depending on a hurricane's forecasted strength, track, and storm surge. If you are ordered to evacuate, do so as directed.
Vehicular accident reduction focus of proposed Borough Hall meeting with MTA, Port Authority and New York State DOT
Borough President Vito Fossella announced today that he has written to the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT) to request vehicular accident data for the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the Port Authority bridges, the Staten Island Expressway and the West Shore Expressway.
This correspondence follows the Borough President’s recent statement of concern about the high number of traffic accidents impacting these crossings and corridors, which he maintains creates a ripple effect on local roads, hurting the local economy and negatively affecting the quality of life of Staten Islanders.
Borough President Fossella stated in his letter that he will invite representatives of these agencies to Borough Hall to discuss this data, and to begin a dialogue on ways in which to raise public awareness and ultimately lessen accidents and injuries.
“Staten Islanders are forced to rely on our bridges and expressways to a vastly greater degree than other boroughs,” said Borough President Fossella. “Unlike those other boroughs, our lack of mass transit forces us to depend on roadways and bridges to connect us to things like jobs and family.
“This is why we are so concerned about the health impacts and the tremendous congestion caused by traffic accidents.”
“We've all observed how a single accident on the Verrazano Bridge can back up traffic all the way to the Goethals Bridge and around to the West Shore Expressway. Such an accident can cause tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles to wind up navigating narrow residential and local commercial corridors. This becomes a nightmare for Staten Island drivers,” he added.
According to the Borough President, data from law enforcement sources indicate a large percentage of accidents are caused by day-to-day things such as distracted driving and improper lane changes. He also cited road work as a likely contributor, forcing drivers into making awkward turns and lane changes. Speed limit enforcement is also an issue, and he maintained that all of these symptoms should be diagnosed with an aim toward implementing greater driver safety.
“We must try to calculate the impacts of all these idling vehicles: the delays that a parent experiences trying to get their child to school on time, or the anxiety felt by an adult child trying to get a senior-citizen parent to a doctor for treatment. There are more negative scenarios than we can list, and though Staten Island is not unique in grappling with this problem, it is here, on this island, that we must get a handle on it.”
“With this meeting, I hope to get our most experienced experts from these authorities focused on deeply examining potential solutions, and working with our community leaders on reducing the number of accidents and increasing public awareness about responsible driving. It is also important that we raise public awareness about the new NYPD policy allowing drivers to move to a safe portion of the roadway, to exchange information in the case of minor fender benders. That alone will go a long way towards decreasing traffic jams.”
Borough President Fossella asked the agencies to be prepared to provide the data by June. We encourage all drivers to stay alert on all roads ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Please keep eyes on the road and wear a seatbelt at all times for your protection.
BP Fossella initiates Apple, DOE partnership to provide advanced curriculum in schools across Staten Island
Borough President Vito J. Fossella is pleased to announce a public/private partnership with Apple and the New York City Department of Education that has piloted a training in various schools across Staten Island which he initiated along with District 31 Superintendent Dr. Marion Wilson and Mark F. Cannizzaro, President of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.
Early in January, BP Fossella and Mr. Cannizzaro sought to identify this particular coding and app design program as a way to incorporate Apple into our schools. The resources available within Apple’s portfolio were then suggested by Fossella and Cannizzaro to Superintendent Wilson which resulted in this partnership. This endeavor increases access to programs that will better prepare students for a technology-driven market found in both academic and career pathways. The training is primarily geared toward project based learning in coding and app design that will examine the role of strategic, intentional Apple technology in order to drive deeper learning.
The pilot, which began in January, is currently implemented in 10 schools across the borough including: P.S. 21; P.S. 29; I.S. 34; P.S. 56; P.S. 59; P.S. 60; The Eagle Academy for Young Men; Tottenville High School; McKee High School; and Staten Island Technical High School.
“We wanted to find a way to use the resources available through private businesses such as Apple to offer students diverse opportunities in the world of technology. Coding and app design programs are becoming a main aspect of employment in today’s workforce,” said Borough President Fossella. “With the curriculums the company has provided, we can better introduce interested Staten Island students to work that will translate to real-life experiences in this field. The translation of this program results in possible solutions to issues Staten Islanders face throughout the community. I want to thank Dr. Wilson and Mark for hopping on board with this idea, and we hope to extend the opportunities to more schools in the future. I also would like to thank Apple and the teachers for bringing our students an advanced level of education.”
“We are creating a generation of 21st century learners - preparing them for jobs that we are not even aware of yet. One of the great aspects about this curriculum is that it is not a one size fits all model, but can adapt from grades 3-K to 12,” said Superintendent Wilson. “By exposing coding and project-based learning to students, we can incorporate skills needed for both college and career pathways at an early age. We are thrilled to support this partnership that brings real life connections to students, and help keep teachers and staff current. I want to thank Borough President Fossella and Mark Cannizzaro for putting Staten Island’s students ahead of the curve in this digital age.”
“Partnerships with private businesses can enrich our students’ lives and provide them with high-quality learning opportunities that will impact them for years to come,” said CSA President Mark Cannizzaro. “We thank Borough President Fossella, Superintendent Wilson, and Apple for their efforts in developing this forward-looking program, and we applaud Principal Bonanno and the other Staten Island school leaders who have successfully implemented this meaningful learning.”
The pilot at P.S. 60 has engaged students of all ages to think about how they want to make a difference in their community. It has also opened up opportunities for teachers to introduce more complicated topics to their students, including financial literacy and civil rights issues.
“The biggest benefit of this program is the students’ impact on the community and helping them identify who their audience is for these projects,” said Donna Bonanno, Principal of P.S. 60. “This partnership with Apple gives us the ability to teach our students ways to apply skills in a collaborative manner toward issues that they see in their own communities. I want to thank Superintendent Wilson, Borough President Fossella, and Mr. Cannizzaro for initiating this partnership and giving our students an education that amplifies what’s already being done in each school across the borough.”
The coding curriculum provided by this partnership will provide teachers with access to two different programs. “Swift Playgrounds” is an app that teaches coding for kids through a world of interactive puzzles and playful characters geared to introduce coding language used by professional app developers. “Develop in Swift” is a comprehensive coding offering intended for students in grades 9 and above. The curriculum prepares students for college or a career in app development using the Swift programming language, and is complemented with free online professional learning for educators. As students move from this app to more advanced concepts, they’ll explore designing and building a fully functioning app on their own and can even earn AP credit or an industry-recognized certification.
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.
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