Putting my experiences of Life In NYC in a more personal perspective, and checking in with international/national, tech and some other news
Translation from English
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell
April 2016 Monthly Update
A Message from Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell
Despite this week's chill, there are hints of spring in the air! In honor of the season, my staff has put together information about local CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture)opportunities-pick up weekly boxes brimming with farm-fresh vegetables, fruits, and more, and support our upstate farmers at the same time.
In Albany, it has been a difficult few weeks as we forged through annual budget negotiations. I have been hearing from and meeting with many of you throughout this process, and, as always, I am honored to represent such an engaged and passionate constituency.
There are multiple aspects of this year's budget of which I am proud. Here are a few highlights:
Historic Education Funding: An $1.47 billion increase in education aid for a total of $24.7 billion- the largest in NY history.
Higher Education Protection: Full restoration of CUNY funds and a tuition freeze at CUNY and SUNY schools.
Protection for Working Families: 12 weeks of Paid Family Leave per year starting in 2018.
Minimum Wage Increase: A minimum wage increase reaching $15 per hour in New York City by the end of 2018.
Expansion & Cost Reduction of Healthcare: $5.6 million to reduce the Medicare Part C co-insurance cut & Medicaid coverage for inmates within the final 30 days of their incarceration.
Environmental Protection: An increase of more than $120 million for a total of $300 million for the Environmental Protection Fund, which will pay for initiatives that prevent and identify water contamination, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, eradicate invasive species and address climate change.
These victories represent a progressive budget that supports equal opportunity for all members of our state. From now until the end of June, I look forward to working with my colleagues on progressive legislation, and hope to continue to hear from constituents on issues that are important to you.
As always, should you need assistance or information, my Community Office is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM. Feel free to call my office at (212) 866-3970 or email me at email@example.com. I also encourage you to follow my official New York State Assembly Twitter & Facebook accounts to get exclusive insight into the work I'm doing in my district and for all New Yorkers by visiting www.twitter.com/dannyodonnellny and www.facebook.com/danieljodonnellny.
Very truly yours,
Assembly Member O'Donnell in the News
In case you missed it, check out these news features of Assembly Member O'Donnell in March 2016.
The New York Times published Assembly Member O'Donnell's letter-to-the-editor on reforming Riker's Island: http://nyti.ms/1Sn45Go
The New York Daily News published Assembly Member O'Donnell's letter-to-the-editor regarding accountability and transparency in inmate related deaths: http://nydn.us/1ZIwSLc
The Troy Record covers Assembly Member O'Donnell's comments regarding inmate access to education: http://bit.ly/25wM5mS
Mixed Martial Arts
The New York Times covers Assembly Member O'Donnell's concerns regarding the violence and gambling involved in legalizing mixed martial arts in New York State: http://nyti.ms/1RL9ars
The New Yorker covers Assembly Member O'Donnell's concerns regarding the lobbying interests involved in legalizing mixed martial arts in New York State: http://bit.ly/1RWuKwt
Politico New York covers Assembly Member O'Donnell's comments regarding the elections of new Board of Regents members: http://politi.co/1PFVFIf
Times Union covers Assembly Member O'Donnell's call to ban state funded travel to Mississippi and to support his bill A6913 which bans state funded travel to all states that use religious freedom to discriminate: http://bit.ly/1RWEDdt
Gay City News covers Assembly Member O'Donnell's bill A6913, which would ban state funded travel to places that discriminate in light of North Carolina's recent anti-LGBT legislation: http://bit.ly/1MTenfO
People Magazine includes Assembly Member O'Donnell's statement praising the St. Patrick's Day Parade inclusion of the LGBT community: http://bit.ly/1RnLob9
Sign up Early for Community Supported Agriculture Membership and Save!
If you are interested in Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), purchasing a CSA membership may be right for you. Membership is a convenient way to get weekly or biweekly fresh produce delivered to a drop-off location near you. Becoming a CSA member entails purchasing a "share" of fresh produce from a regional farmer and paying upfront to receive boxes brimming with fresh produce for an entire season. Contents of the shares vary, most commonly include vegetables, and often fruit. Many farmers are now also offering dairy, eggs, and meat for an additional charge. Typical prices are between $400-$600 for a weekly box of produce between June and November. There are also usually opportunities to purchase half shares or other ways to get smaller amounts. Some farms accept food stamps and offer sliding scales for fees, including the West Harlem CSA. Below are some CSA's in neighborhood:
New York City Housing Authority Environmental Ambassadors
Live at NYCHA and love your community? Help keep it clean and green by joining
Environmental Ambassadors! Environmental Ambassadors are NYCHA residents who are trained by GrowNYC to become community recycling experts. After completing 2 recycling workshops, Environmental Ambassadors conduct 12 hours of local outreach at their development to encourage their neighbors to participate in the NYCHA Recycles! Program (http://on.nyc.gov/1QRPckN). Environmental Ambassadors help to make a positive change where they live.
Participants must be 18 years of age or older, and currently reside at a NYCHA development.
CHW Scholarship Fund for Public & Affordable Housing Residents
The Cannon Heyman & Weiss Scholarship Fund is awarding up to $17,000 in scholarship awards to residents of affordable housing who are accepted into full- and part-time study at approved colleges, junior colleges, technical schools, and other post-secondary institutions leading to a degree, diploma or certificate.
Eligibility criteria: "Affordable Housing" means multi-family residential rental housing in New York State financed by Federal, State or local subsidies including either project-based Section 8 subsidy or portable Section 8 vouchers.
Application Deadline: May 17, 2016
To access the CHW Scholarship Fund Application, visit
NYCHA offers two types of scholarships to support our residents as they increase their income and assets through higher education. The NYCHA-CUNY Resident Scholarship awards a one-time $1,000 grant to eligible residents who are full-time undergraduates at a City University of New York (CUNY) college, and the Regina A. Figueroa Memorial Scholarship offers a one-time $1,000 award to eligible residents with disabilities who are enrolled in a CUNY undergraduate program.
Eligibility Criteria: Authorized NYCHA public housing residents; full-time, enrolled undergraduate CUNY students; 25 or more credits; minimum 3.0 GPA.
Application Deadline: June 25, 2016
Applications will be available starting May 1st. Check out their FAQ by visiting
This summer, New York City public school students across all five boroughs will be able to take classes in City schools, including students who are not required to attend summer school, thanks to the Department of Education's (DOE) new Summer in the City (SITC) initiative.
SITC is a brand-new approach to summer school for students in grades 2-12, as it combines new curricula, college-level and STEM-oriented instruction, and educational visits to many of the City's cultural institutions. SITC will run from July 7 through August 11 at over 300 sites in all five boroughs and will serve more than 150,000 students.
The SITC program, which will include both mandated (students who must complete summer school for grade promotion) and non-mandated students, seeks to address the many of the shortcomings that affect conventional summer school instruction by focusing on learning instead of remediation.
NYC Parks is currently looking for enthusiastic job seekers who have a passion for helping New Yorkers get fit, learn about the natural world, play sports, and have fun through their free public programming citywide. NYC Parks is looking to fill positions including:
Summer Camp Counselors
Seasonal Urban Park Rangers
"Kids in Motion" Playground Associates
Mobile Recreation Unit Playground Associates and Supervisors
"Summer Sports Experience" Playground Associates
Piping Plover Monitors
Adventure Course Facilitators
The length of employment for these positions ranges from two - eight months with pay rates up to $19.51/hour. Those that are interested can go to their website to view all of their seasonal job opportunities, which also include maintenance and other skilled trade positions.
There are two ways to file your taxes safely and for free:
1) In person at your local free tax preparation site
Sites offering this service have varying income eligibility requirements. For most sites, you must earn $54,000 or less (with children) or $30,000 or less (no children).
There are more than 200 NYC Free Tax Prep sites throughout the city.
IRS certified preparers will help you claim important credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and NYC Child Care Tax Credit (NYC CCTC) to get the full refund you deserve. http://on.nyc.gov/1KVeWEL
Some sites let you drop off your tax documents and pick up the completed return later.
The NYS STEM Incentive Program provides a full SUNY or CUNY tuition scholarship for the top 10 percent of students in each New York State high school if they pursue a STEM degree in an associates or bachelor degree program and agree to work in a STEM field in New York State for 5 years after graduation.
The deadline for submitting the NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Incentive Program Application is August 15, 2016.
Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group April Events
4/25 (Mon) The Evolution of Riverside Park, 6:30pm.Talk by Charles McKinney, Principal Urban Designer, New York City Parks and Recreation. At Hostelling International, 891 Amsterdam Ave (103rd)
The NYC Organics Collection Program
New York City runs one of the largest food waste recycling programs of its kind, collecting organic waste from residences, schools, city agencies, and institutions in all five boroughs. Every week, the Department of Sanitation collects food scraps, food-soiled paper, and yard waste from participants in pilot areas. Sanitation transports this waste to local and regional processing facilities where it is recycled into compost or turned into renewable energy.
To request NYC Organics Collection in your apartment building, city agency, or non-profit organization, submit an online inquiry at http://nyc.gov/organics.
Single-Family homes and small apartment buildings in pilot areas automatically receive service, as well as select public schools. If you don't live in a pilot area or if your building does not qualify for NYC Organics Collection, you can still recycle your organic waste by composting at home or bringing your food waste to a drop-off site in our community. Visit http://nyc.gov/compostproject for food waste drop off locations and more information.
The office of Assembly Member O'Donnell urges the community to participate in this initiative, as the NYC Organics Collection Program is a proven way to combat rodent infestation on our streets and in our spaces.
Free Business Development Services for All Manhattan and Bronx Veterans
The Washington Heights-Inwood Development Corporation (57 Wadsworth Avenue [176thStreet]) is a 501c-3 not-for-profit organization that is offering free business development counseling to veterans starting a new business or expanding an existing business. WHIDC will help you with your business formation and other legal issues, developing your business plan, cash flow projections, marketing strategies, licenses, certifications and more. WHIDC also provides direct business loans up to $50,000!
Manhattan & Bronx veterans in need of business development services or loans may contact the WHIDC at (212) 795-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New York National College Fair
The National Association for College Admissions Counseling has announced that the The New York National College Fair will be held at the Jacob Javitz Center on Sunday, April 24
West Side Community Garden's Annual Tulip Festival
West Side Community Garden's Annual Tulip Festival will be in full bloom for two weekends in 2016,
Saturday April 16 and Sunday April 17, and Saturday April 30 and Sunday May 1. With a display of more than 13,000 tulips, spring flowers, and blossoming trees, this celebration of Spring attracts flower lovers from throughout the New York City region and around the world.
"Our annual Tulip Festival is a feast for the senses, unrivaled in our area for the spectrum and depth of tulip varieties on display," says WSCG Board President Jackie Bukowski. "The hard work of the fall planting weekends is on full display as the Garden showcases its relaxed, family-friendly community appeal."
The Westside Community Garden is celebrating its 42nd year as a serene green space for gardeners and visitors alike. Open daily from dawn to dusk during the blooming season, admission to the Tulip Festival is free through the entrance at 123 West 89th Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues).
Member volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and distribute educational materials and Garden event schedules for 2016.
Bloomingdale School of Music April Events
On Friday, April 8th join Bloomingdale School of Music (323 West 108th Street) at 7:00pm for a faculty concert entitled "Contemporary Contrasts," featuring Chamber pieces from a crucial point in the 20th century--when composers had a clearly new voice, while their music still had folk influences. Free and Open to the Public. Call 212-663-6021 ext. 0 for more info.
On Sunday, April 3rd and 10th join Bloomingdale School of Music (323 West 108th Street) at 11:00am for a program entitled "Shaking Strings Up - Rocking the Boat:" An exciting introduction to the world of improvisation. Through individual and ensemble variation and decision-making exercises, students explore their own creativity on their instrument. For more info, visit https://bsmny.org/about/news/stringfestival2016/index.php Call 212-663-6021 ext. 0 for more info.
On Friday, April 15th join Bloomingdale School of Music (323 West 108th Street) at 7:00pm for a concert entitled "Faculty Focus: Katherine Copland," Moonlight, Magic & The Nightingale: opera arias and songs against the backdrop of night. Free and Open to the Public. Call 212-663-6021 ext. 0 for more info.
On Saturday, April 16th join Bloomingdale School of Music (323 West 108th Street) for a "Vocal Workshop." BSM's annual Vocal Workshop features performance by faculty and students. Check back for more details! Time TBD. Free and Open to the Public. Call 212-663-6021 ext. 0 for more info.
ASSEMBLY MEMBER O'DONNELL'S UPCOMING
FREE LEGAL CLINIC
For constituents who need help with legal issues but are unable to come to Assembly Member O'Donnell's Community Office during the workday, Assembly Member O'Donnell hosts a monthly evening opportunity for constituents to consult with a volunteer attorney.
Call Joyce at (212) 866-3970 to make an appointment.
** Thursday, April 21st **
The Summer Youth Employment Program
The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) provides New York City youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with paid summer employment for up to six weeks in July and August. Participants work in a variety of entry-level jobs including:
SYEP also provides workshops on job readiness, career exploration, financial literacy and opportunities to continue education and social growth.
Programs are located in community-based organizations in all five boroughs of New York City. Youth can apply for the program online or at a community-based organization during the application period. Participants are selected by lottery for the program.
Specialized programming for disabled, foster care, runaway/homeless and court-involved youth are also available.
NEED A LARGE PRINT COPY OF THE MONTHLY UPDATE? CALL OR VISIT ASSEMBLY MEMBER O'DONNELL'S DISTRICT OFFICE FOR ONE!
If you are visually impaired or feel that you read better in large print, please do not hesitate to request a large print copy of Assembly Member O'Donnell's monthly update. Please call or stop by the Assembly Member's Community Office to request a copy.