Mayor Bill de Blasio named Rachel Lauter as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Appointments. Lauter previously served in the Mayor’s Office as Counsel for City Legislative Affairs.
“Rachel brings years of experience in public service and a record of success in this administration. She understands firsthand our commitment to building an administration that boasts diversity and talent. She is an excellent choice to help us promote equity, opportunity and excellence in City government,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Rachel Lauter previously served as Counsel for City Legislative Affairs. She joined the Mayor’s Office in the first month of the de Blasio Administration as an attorney in the Office of Appointments. Prior to joining the de Blasio administration, she served as Assistant Counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo and clerked for the Honorable Paul G. Gardephe in the Southern District of New York. Lauter is co-founder of the New Kings Democrats, a local Brooklyn-based political club. She began her career in New York City government as a New York City Urban Fellow. She is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, where she served as President of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, the oldest student-run legal services provider in the country.
The Mayor’s Office of Appointments serves a critical role by recruiting top talent for over 700 discretionary appointment positions at City agencies, mayoral corporations, and commissions. The Office of Appointments focuses on senior-level appointments that represent substantial policy-making and decision-making authority within City government, such as Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and Associate Commissioner. Additionally, the Office develops recommendations for mayoral board appointments for over 200 city boards and commissions, which execute important decisions in connection with city infrastructure, culture and community priorities.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro, New York City Housing Authority Chair Shola Olatoye, and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability Nilda Mesa announced the launch of the largest energy savings program for any public housing authority in the country. Through a series of competitive Energy Performance Contracts (EPC), it is estimated that at least $100 million in work will occur across nearly 300 NYCHA developments to upgrade and retrofit thousands of buildings, dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and generating tens of millions of dollars in cost savings, as well as creating more than 500 jobs.
The EPC, facilitated by HUD, is part of the Mayor’s sweeping green buildings plan and commitment to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. New York City is the largest city in the world to make that commitment. In addition to contributing to the City’s work to dramatically reduce emissions, NYCHA can mitigate the impact of rising utility costs through a reduction in consumption and help preserve funds for vital repairs and other building upgrades by leveraging alternative sources to finance energy and water upgrades.
Over the last ten years, NYCHA’s utility costs for water, electricity and heat have increased 64 percent from $350 million to $576 million, though consumption has increased just 9% during that time.
The energy-saving measures will include upgrades to heating plants and distribution systems, and installation of energy efficient lighting and apartment sensors. The heating-related upgrades will enable more reliable and efficient heating for NYCHA residents.
HUD is providing NYCHA with dedicated technical assistance, helping to determine the scope of the EPC and how it can be integrated into NYCHA’s long-term capital plans. HUD’s technical assistance will also identify potential energy conservation measures, quantify their potential savings, and rate and rank these potential measures based on savings potential, costs, and prioritized capital needs. In addition, HUD will allow NYCHA to allocate savings to future, innovative energy efficiency and water-saving projects, further helping the Authority’s bottom line.
To read a full transcript of the Mayor’s remarks, please click here.
The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City announced that $125,000 has been raised to date to support individuals and families directly affected by the Second Avenue explosion and building collapse on March 26.
The Mayor’s Fund launched a fundraising campaign on March 27 to coordinate direct financial support for those impacted by the tragedy. So far, the Mayor’s Fund has received over 350 contributions from everyday New Yorkers, totaling more than $50,000 – the majority of which were donated by individuals contributing amounts ranging from $5 to $15,000.
The total of $125,000 in pledges also includes support from corporate partners, including Con Edison, Gramercy Theatre and Irving Plaza, and Google. In response to New York City Google employees’ interest in helping those affected, Google launched a Disaster Relief Campaign that will run through the end of April. To date, Google employees and Google’s matching funds have raised over $25,000. In addition, local concert venues Irving Plaza and Gramercy Theatre will be offering patrons the option of donating to the Mayor’s Fund when purchasing tickets during the month of April. Live Nation Entertainment, the parent company of these venues, has committed to matching the donations collected up to $10,000.
Mayor Bill de Blasio joined over 300 leaders across the country – including a bipartisan group of 64 mayors – for national Stand Up for Transportation Day, to call on Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill that increases investment in transit, roads, and bridges.
With the federal transportation bill set to expire on May 31st, Mayor de Blasio joined a broad coalition of bipartisan elected officials, business and labor leaders, and many others, representing over 150 cities and spanning nearly all 50 states for a day that includes events across the country to push Congress to move beyond partisanship and fully fund cities’ transportation infrastructure.
Since 2009, federal funding for transportation infrastructure has remained at the same level, and has come in unreliable short-term patches (some as short as 30 days). The lack of a long-term federal funding bill creates local funding uncertainty, which jeopardizes transportation project planning and discourages private sector investment. This threatens to stifle local business investment and job creation in our city and nationwide.
The coalition of leaders are encouraging people to take action by visiting www.standup4transportation.org to learn more and contact their local congressional representatives, and posting on social media using #StandUp4Transportation.
To read a full transcript of the Mayor’s remarks, please click here.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that 73 cities and counties had filed a new friend-of-the-court brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit, urging immediate implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
The brief demonstrates robust support from the country’s largest cities – as well as suburbs and rural areas – for the President’s reforms, which will temporarily relieve from deportation thousands of immigrants who have longstanding ties to the U.S.
The cities and counties – representing 43 million people across the country – argue that the district court judge who temporarily blocked implementation of the programs failed to consider the significant harm to America’s local governments caused by this delay.
According to an analysis by the City, each month that the implementation of these programs is delayed, New York City and New York State will lose at least $1.5 million in additional state and local tax revenue that would be generated if 100,000 immigrants in New York City were able to access temporary work permits through executive action.
Mayor de Blasio appointed six new members to serve on the Veterans’ Advisory Board:
Charles Greinsky, a veteran of the United States Army and the Army National Guard with ten years of service and numerous military commendations, currently serves as the Commander of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, Post 80, Richmond County.
Todd Haskins served for six years in the United States Marine Corps, attaining the rank of Captain. He has worked at Goldman Sachs since 2004, where he currently serves as Managing Director in the Financial Sponsors Group.
Samuel Innocent served for seven years in the United States Army as a Sergeant, specializing in clinic asset management and logistics. He is a certified EMT and Emergency Room Technician, and currently serves as Staff Assistant for Veteran Affairs and Urban Initiatives for the City University of New York.
Mariel Juarez, a veteran of the United States Army 101st Airborne Division, brings years of experience providing resources and counseling to veterans to her new role as a VAB Member. Juarez is currently a readjustment counselor at the Staten Island Veteran Center, where she has provided Post Traumatic Stress Disorder education to returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, completed intake assessments, and provided readjustment counseling to returning combat veterans and their family members.
Jules Martin served for four years in the United States Navy, and served for 30 years in the New York City Police Department, where he held a number of positions, including Chief of the Housing Bureau. Prior to his retirement, Martin served as Vice President for Global Security and Crisis Management at New York University.
Anthony Odierno served in the United States Army, where he attained the rank of Captain and served as Aide-de-Camp to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as receiving a number of military commendations and awards. Odierno is currently a Program Manager in the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs at J.P. Morgan Chase, where he leads a variety of programs to assist members of the military and veteran community, particularly in the areas of employment, housing, and education.
In addition, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito appointed:
Charles Hernández served in the New York Army National Guard, attaining the rank of Sergeant, and was a key part of the military response to 9/11, serving as the Military Liaison to the New York City Office of Emergency Management.
Patrick Devine served in the United States Marine Corps for two years with Bravo Company 1st Battalion 9th Marines in Vietnam. Devine became involved with veterans’ advocacy after his service, joining the American Legion where he first served as Commander of the Theodore Korony Post 3253.
John Rowan served in the United States Air Force, where he was a linguist in the Air Force’s 6990 Security Squadron in Vietnam and at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. Rowan has served as the National President of Vietnam Veterans of America since 2005, and has been active with VVA since the organization’s inception in 1978.
The Veterans’ Advisory Board advises the Commissioner of Veterans’ Affairs on all matters concerning veterans, and meets regularly to ensure that lines of communication are maintained to cultivate an active community. Recent legislation passed by the City Council and approved by the Mayor increased the number of members of the Board from nine to eleven, six of whom are appointed by the Mayor, and five of whom are appointed by the City Council.
Mayor de Blasio announced two appointments to the Board of Correction and the Board of Directors of the Health and Hospitals Corporation. The Mayor appointed Stanley Brezenoff as the Chair of the Board of Correction. The Mayor appointed Gordon Campbell as a member of the Board of Directors of the Health and Hospitals Corporation, and recommends that the board elect Campbell as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.
Stanley Brezenoff brings decades of managerial experience in the private and public sectors to his new role as Chair of the Board of Correction. Most recently President and CEO of Continuum Health Partners, Brezenoff previously served as Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and as First Deputy Mayor under Mayor Ed Koch, among other positions. As Chair of the BOC, Brezenoff will be charged with leading and managing oversight of the City’s jails by monitoring the performance of the Department of Correction and providing recommendations in correctional planning.
Gordon Campbell brings over 30 years of public and nonprofit managerial experience to the Health and Hospitals Corporation, and most recently served as Chair of the Board of Correction. Campbell previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of New York City, and held numerous senior and appointed positions in the Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations. As a member of the Board of Directors of the Health and Hospitals Corporation, Campbell will play a key role in helping oversee the largest municipal healthcare system in the United States, consisting of 11 hospitals, numerous treatment centers, and various community and school-based healthcare centers.
The de Blasio Administration – led by Counsel to the Mayor Maya Wiley, Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco, and Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (“DoITT”) Anne Roest – announced a series of significant steps aimed at expanding universal access to the Internet and driving down the cost of broadband across all five boroughs.
These landmark initiatives build on the Mayor’s ongoing commitment to provide affordable broadband for all New Yorkers. The open Call for Innovations (“CFI”) is a first-of-its kind endeavor by the City to generate new approaches for reaching underserved communities. The Broadband Taskforce will work with the Administration to review ideas emerging from the CFI and explore how to connect them to larger broadband strategies. The Administration also announced appointments to two newly-created high-level positions focused on broadband and telecommunications.
According to an analysis by the Center for Economic Opportunity, 22 percent of New York City households do not have Internet service at home and 36 percent of households below the poverty line do not have Internet access at home. Recent data on smartphone use, released last week by Pew Research Center, shows that one in five American adults rely on smartphones as their primary source for Internet access. According to Pew, half of all people with no or limited home Internet have had to cancel or suspend their phone service because of financial constraints.
Recognizing these challenges, the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation released an open solicitation for new ideas and proposals to provide affordable broadband in underserved communities, accessible online at http://innovation.nyc. The CFI is aimed at technology companies, entrepreneurs and smaller Internet service providers who have insight into the barriers to entry in New York City’s telecommunications and Internet marketplace.
In honor of National Poetry Month, the City of New York (@NYCGov & @NYCulture) will host the annual “PoetweetNYC” Twitter poetry contest. From April 6 through April 13, 2015, poems sent using the hashtag #PoetweetNYC will be considered for the grand prize: appearance in Metro New York on April 30, 2015, Poem in Your Pocket Day. Visit nyc.gov/poem for official rules.
Poem in Your Pocket Day is a citywide celebration led by the Office of the Mayor in partnership with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs to encourage all New Yorkers to appreciate poetry and highlight the importance of literacy. Throughout the month of April, literary organizations will host poetry events across the five boroughs, and on April 30, all New Yorkers will be encouraged to carry a poem in their pocket to share with friends, family and colleagues. Partners for Poem in Your Pocket day include the Academy of American Poets, the Bryant Park Corporation, Metro New York and the Poetry Society of America. Visit nyc.gov/poem for a calendar of events taking place throughout the month and “like” the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Facebook page for updates and highlights.
Citywide and Borough Electeds:
Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and New York City Council Members kicked off the voting period for New York City’s 2014-2015 participatory budgeting cycle — now the largest such process in the nation. This year, 24 Council Districts will allocate nearly $30 million citywide for residents to collaboratively develop into local capital projects through a year-long process of neighborhood assemblies, delegate meetings, and project expositions. Voting will take place at over 250 poll sites and mobile voting locations throughout the city from Saturday, April 11th through Sunday, April 19th.
Participatory Budgeting is a grassroots process through which district residents vote directly to allocate at least $1 million in capital funding toward proposals developed by the community to meet local needs. Through a series of public meetings, residents work with elected officials throughout the year to identify neighborhood concerns and craft proposals to address them. Residents then decide which proposals to fund through a public vote.
New Yorkers can visit the New York City Council Participatory Budgeting website at council.nyc.gov/pb to find poll site locations, hours, and a map of proposed projects in their district. Residents can also text “YOUR VOTE” to 212-676-8384 to find out how to participate. Ballots for the 2014-2015 Participatory Budgeting cycle have been designed for clarity and ease of use to maximize participation, and are available in ten languages other than English—Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Polish, Greek, Haitian Creole, Bengali, Urdu and Yiddish—based on local demographics in participating districts. Several districts will also feature digital voting stations at poll sites as well as pop-up mobile voting sites on commercial strips, in community centers and building lobbies using touch-screen tablets.
New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released an analysis by his office showing that Wall Street money managers failed to provide value to the City’s pension funds over the last 10 years, even as they raked in billions of dollars in fees. The analysis found that high fees and failures to hit performance objectives have cost the pension system some $2.5 billion in lost value over the past decade.
The City’s $160 billion pension system is the fourth largest in the nation. Currently, the City’s five pension funds – the New York City Police Pension Fund, the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund, the Teachers Retirement System of the City of New York, the New York City Employees’ Retirement and the Board of Education Retirement System – all employ a combination of active and passive investments, each with targeted objectives, or benchmarks, against which performance can be measured.
The Comptroller’s analysis, performed by Chief Investment Officer Scott Evans and the Bureau of Asset Management using detailed historical performance data, tracked pension fund performance in all asset classes over the past ten years:
- Wall Street managers of private asset classes such as private equity, hedge funds and real estate fell $2.6 billion short of target benchmarks after fees;
- Over the same period, managers of public asset classes exceeded the benchmark slightly. However, those managers gobbled up more than 95 percent of the value added—over $2 billion—leaving almost no extra return for the Funds, which provide retirement benefits for 715,000 City workers, retirees and their beneficiaries;
- The poor performance of private asset classes ($2.6 billion below benchmark), combined with the marginally better performance in public markets, has cost the City pension funds nearly $2.5 billion in lost value over the past ten years.
As a result of the analysis, Stringer announced that the City will overhaul how it engages its external managers to better align fees paid to the value created for Fund beneficiaries.
Public Advocate Letitia James submitted a petition to the New York City Board of Correction to create enforceable rules under the City Administrative Procedure Act (CAPA) to address high rates of sexual victimization in city jails – particularly on Rikers Island. Data from the U.S. Department of Justice shows that 8.6% of inmates at the Rose M. Singer Center – the women’s only facility on Rikers – reported being sexually harassed or abused, compared to 3.2% of inmates in jails nationwide.
Federal standards to protect against sexual victimization currently exist under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and apply to city jails. However, when states certify to the federal government that they are in “compliance” with PREA in order to retain federal funding, they do not need to include information about local jail compliance. This loophole has made PREA standards difficult to enforce in city jails.
The Public Advocate is petitioning the Board of Correction to enact local rules that will:
- Create a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment or abuse by staff or inmates – ranging from offensive language and gestures, to rape;
- Mandate increased staff training and background checks for convictions of sexual abuse crimes for NYC Department of Correction (DOC) staff;
- Increase video monitoring in jail facilities;
- Separate adolescent inmates from any sight, sound, or physical contact with adult inmates (compliant with PREA standards);
- Make housing safer for transgender inmates;
- Mandate staff to report any and all allegations of sexual abuse and implement rigorous forensic investigations; and,
- Provide more social service programs for women and bring in sexual assault prevention resources into jails.
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer announced a legislative package to improve New York City’s landmarks review and preservation process, to be introduced in partnership with Councilmembers Dan Garodnick, Brad Lander, and Stephen Levin.
The legislation would:
- Establish an approximately five-year timetable for consideration of “calendared” items by the LPC.
- Create a publicly accessible web database of all LPC actions.
- Update the public submission requirements to include more documentation and rationale for landmark or historic district consideration, make those submissions possible online, and set a timetable for LPC response to the submissions (90 days for landmarks, 180 days for historic districts).
- Publish style guides for each historic district so owners and tenants can easily learn the “dos and don’ts” for their neighborhood—rather than query the LPC on each window frame or doorknob.
- Require that a property’s landmark status be disclosed to a commercial tenant before a lease of commercial premises is final.
- Codify in law the unofficial “gentlemen’s agreement” that the LPC will receive notice and 45 days to act when the Department of Buildings receives an application to alter or destroy a “calendared” property.
Borough President Melinda Katz proclaimed April 2015 as Landmarks Month in Queens and announced a series of events, including an upcoming special reception, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the New York City Landmarks Law.
Under the Landmarks Law, the borough of Queens alone boasts 11 historic districts, two interior landmarks, and more than 70 individual landmarks. The first Queens landmark was the Kingsland Homestead, designated on October 14, 1965. The most recent Queens landmark is the Ridgewood Central Historic District, designated on December 9, 2014.
A calendar of commemorative events hosted by various Queens landmarks’ is now available on Borough President Katz’s website at www.queensbp.org/landmarks50, and will be updated on a rolling basis through 2015. The webpage also includes a map and list of all the historic districts, interior and individual landmarks in Queens.
Borough President Katz will also host a special reception at 5:30pm on April 21, 2015 to commemorate the anniversary at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Attendees will enjoy a first look at the opening of the Queens Museum’s special exhibit called “Panorama of Queens, 1965-2015 – Fifty Years of Landmarking”, which will feature all Queens landmarks with a special marker on the renowned Panorama of New York City. The reception is free and open to the public, but advance RSVP is strongly encouraged via RSVP@queensbp.org.
Small Axe Peppers and nonprofit GrowNYC announced the winner of the “Bronx 5K” logo design competition, along with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. at Bronx Community College. The winning logo will brand our “Bronx 5K” pepper growing challenge through print and online marketing and on signage to identify serrano peppers growing in local community gardens, public spaces and urban farms. The goal is to grow and source at least 5,000 (or 5K) pounds of peppers from The Bronx for our delicious The Bronx Greenmarket Hot Sauce.
The winning logo was designed by Gabriel Ruiz of Throggs Neck, and can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1ciWnzH.
The panel of judges for the event included:
- DJ Kool Herc, the father of hip hop, and his sister Cindy;
- Chris Gallant, General Manager and Co-Founder of Bronx Brewery;
- Alejandra Ramos, food blogger and on-air lifestyle expert;
- Gil Teitel, owner of Teitel Brothers, the 100-year institution on Arthur Avenue; and
- Iasmel Vazquez, Vice President of Business Development at the Bronx-based Ghetto Film School.
The panel selected from nearly one hundred submissions. Bronxites were challenged to create a sign that visibly represents The Bronx, urban gardening or other unique aspects of the borough; the top three finalists were awarded cash prizes, including a $500 1st place prize.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced that actor Malik Yoba would be inducted into the 2015 Bronx Walk of Fame.
Born Abdul-Malik Kashie Yoba in the South Bronx, he is most recently known for his role in Fox’s new drama, Empire, a hip-hop drama centers on a music industry heavyweight who is about to take his company, Empire Entertainment, public.
His acting career started with a small education film, which lead to starring roles in memorable movies and television shows, including the 1993 Disney classic, Cool Runnings, and the hit Fox television series New York Undercover.
Malik Yoba will be officially inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame as part of the 44th annual Bronx Week, a program of The Bronx Tourism Council.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. announced that actress, author and television commentator Stacey Dash will be inducted into the 2015 Bronx Walk of Fame.
Stacey knew that she wanted to act, and from an early age appeared in commercials before landing first small-screen role in the 1982 made-for-TV film Farrell for the People. She then went on to playing a recurring role on The Cosby Show, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
She made her feature film debut at 21 years old in Enemy Territory. Since then Dash has led a notable acting career that has spanned more than 20 years. She has appeared in numerous films and television series including roles in Renaissance Man, Mo’ Money, and View from the Top. Her work in Clueless earned her a nomination for a 1995 “Youth in Film Award” for “Best Young Supporting Actress in a Feature Film,” which earned her a role in the television adaptation.
Bronx Week 2015 is a highly-anticipated 11-day event where the entire borough, including government, business, and the community-at-large, come together to celebrate “The Best of The Bronx” through festivals, concerts, health fairs, parades, performances and a host of other activities. It will take place from May 8-17. At the end of the 11-day celebration, our hometown heroes like Dash are honored with induction into the Bronx Walk of Fame, where their names are emblazoned on a street sign to reside on the historic Grand Concourse forever.
For more information about Bronx Week 2015, visit www.ilovethebronx.com.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced the appointment of Elizabeth Rose as Deputy Chancellor of Operations and Josh Wallack as Deputy Chancellor of Strategy and Policy.
Elizabeth Rose, who has served as Interim Acting Deputy Chancellor of Operations since January, will continue to oversee these offices following her permanent appointment: Division of School Facilities; Division of Non Public Schools; Office of Safety and Youth Development, including the Office of Safety and Security and the Office of Guidance and School Counseling; Office of School Health; Office of School Support Services, including SchoolFood, the Office of Pupil Transportation, and PSAL; School Construction Authority; Educational Construction Fund; and the Space Management Group.
Following a 20-year private-sector career in strategic planning and operations in the media industry, Elizabeth Rose joined the DOE in 2009. Most recently, she served as Chief of Staff in the Division of Operations from 2012 until January 2015. She also served as Chief of Staff in the DOE’s Office of Public Affairs and Director of Manhattan Planning. Rose’s private-sector positions include Chief Digital Officer of Vault.com; Senior Vice President of Strategy for Travelzoo; and Vice President, Strategic Planning and E-Commerce at BMG Direct.
Josh Wallack moves to the Deputy Chancellor role from his current position as the DOE’s Chief Strategy Officer, which he has served as since March 2014. As Deputy Chancellor of Strategy and Policy, he will continue to oversee the Chancellor’s Strategic Planning Office and the implementation of Pre-K for All through the Division of Early Childhood Education. He will also oversee the Office of Student Enrollment as well as the development of the new Borough Field Support Centers within the new Strong Schools, Strong Communities school support structure.
Before joining the DOE, Josh Wallack was the Vice President of Early Childhood Programs at The Children’s Aid Society, where he supervised award-winning early childhood programs across 12 sites in four City neighborhoods. Prior to joining The Children’s Aid Society, Wallack served as the Chief Operating Officer for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, and the Legislative Director for then-Council Member Bill de Blasio from 2002 to 2006. A longtime public servant, Wallack also served on Mayor de Blasio’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten Implementation Working Group in early 2014.
Chancellor Carmen Fariña, AmeriCorps Director Bill Basl, and NYC Service Chief Service Officer Paula Gavin announced that AmeriCorps will significantly increase its presence in New York City public schools through a large investment of Operation AmeriCorps funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
The federal agency’s two-year investment of up to $5.8 million, including college scholarships for AmeriCorps members, will support more than 300 AmeriCorps members working to reduce absenteeism, increase parental involvement, and ensure students are on track to graduate in 128 Community Schools.
The Operation AmeriCorps funding is being awarded to NYC Service, an NYC Office of the Mayor partnering with the NYC Department of Education to manage the program. New York City is the first city in the nation to receive funding through Operation AmeriCorps, an initiative launched by CNCS last fall for local and tribal governments to use national service as a transformative catalyst to address a high-priority community challenge. CNCS will announce additional Operation AmeriCorps grantees later this month.
In response to the increasing smoking rate, the Health Department announced a new ad campaign featuring a New Yorker who is battling a smoking-related illness. The ads tell the story of a woman named Beth, a former smoker from the Bronx who quit smoking after being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is an incurable, chronic disease associated with smoking. She formerly led a very active lifestyle that included biking and dancing. Since being diagnosed with COPD, Beth now has trouble with many routine activities, including climbing stairs, taking a shower and getting dressed. The ads will be on subways, and there will also be TV spots aired on local stations.
Since 2007, the number of smokers in New York City has increased steadily. Today, there are over 1 million smokers living in the five boroughs. The smoking rate in the Bronx, where Beth lives, is 16.1 percent. Smoking is the leading cause of premature, preventable death in New York City and kills an estimated 12,000 New Yorkers a year. It is devastating to health and causes cancer, heart and lung diseases, like COPD. Smoking also has a causal relationship to diabetes, ectopic pregnancies, rheumatoid arthritis and many other health consequences.
The most important step a smoker can take to improve his or her health is to quit smoking. Help is available to all New Yorkers who want to quit by calling 311, 1-866-NYQUITS or by visiting nysmokefree.com. Free medications and counseling are available. Using these services can make smokers twice as likely to successfully quit smoking.
To view the new ads visit NYCHealth YouTube page.