2012-03-16 / Columnists

Simon says...

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

We want to wish everyone Erin Go Bragh. May the luck of the Irish be with you. May the weather be hot and beautiful for the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Manhattan. Two weeks ago our Queens County St. Patrick’s Day parade was wonderful. We had the luck of the Irish and by 12 Noon the sun shone on the Rockaways.

On Tuesday, March 6 we attended a special meeting called by the CEO of Peninsula Hospital regarding an update on the status of removing the violations on the lab at Peninsula. Todd Miller spoke and answered all questions asked of him. All elected officials or their representatives were present.

I asked for a time line on needed work and if at the same time they would be giving the hospital a much needed face lift, spackling and painting patient’s rooms, making sure heat and air conditioning in each room work and sprucing up the emergency room with new dividing curtains. Miller said that he expected to have the work done in one or two weeks and he would take us on a tour to show the finished job.

My next question was about our family, the employees who are largely from our community. Over 260 people are currently laid off since the Department of Health action. Mr. Miller said within two or three weeks a large bulk of employees would be back in place and as the patient census increases all would be rehired.

After the meeting I went on a tour with Todd Miller, Liz Sulik, board members Nancy Vardakis, Joe Mure, Steve Greenberg, Lou Caucig, Tai White of Sen. Smith’s office and Mark Weiss, an outside public relations person.

When we were taken to the lab, Todd Miller stated there were new machines in the next room, He said that we were not allowed in there because we were not in the proper sterilized gowns. I asked for pictures to be taken with his i-Phone so that I could see it with my own eyes and report to my constituents and my community.

He complied. The lab staff discussed what the new equipment would do. We were taken to a new room that was set up with a new machine where we questioned a doctor on what it will do. A board member made a sarcastic joke about why I needed to see the equipment. I have to be able to lay my head on my pillow and answer to my constituents.

We were taken on a tour of the second floor to see major work in rooms including spackling, painting, sterilizing nurses’ stations and work areas. The floors were so shiny you could see yourself like in a mirror. It is quite obvious that the new owners of Peninsula Hospital are putting their money where their mouth is. It is a shame this couldn’t have been done before the State Health Department came in and found violations.

We are expecting as soon as work is complete, for them to file with the State Health Department to reopen with all violations cured. State Senator Malcolm Smith and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder are committed to making the State Health Department reopen the facility once work is completed. At this time Peninsula is open for walk-ins to the Emergency Room, other clinical and dental clinics are open but cannot accept any case that requires lab work.

I would like to thank Bernie Feuer, my great Republican family and friend for driving me during this year’s Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Who said that Democrats and Republicans can’t get along? A million thanks to Bernie.

Bernie Feuer, Rockaway historian, will be presenting a new show on Jacob Riis, his connection to Rockaway and the story of Jacob Riis Park. It will be at the Rockaway Artists Alliance sTudio 7 gallery in Fort Tilden at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 18. Riis was a world renowned photographer, reformer and journalist in the late 19th century. Riis’s work led to building codes for NYC tenement houses.

For many years we have worked with those who are trying to find a cure for cancer. Our friend Fern Liberman is asking for volunteers and contributors for the 15th Annual Revlon Run/Walk For Women on Saturday, May 5. Our neighborhood team raised over $23,000 last year. They will walk from Times Square to Central Park. The funds collected were donated to the Gilda’s Club, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Albert Einstein Center and many more. If you are interested in joining our team call 917-821- 8521 or visit www.revlonrunwalk.org for registration. Those who are not available to walk can send checks made out to EIF Revlon Run Walk for Women and mailed to Fern Liberman, 174 Beach 133 St. Belle Harbor NY 11694. Donations can also be made on the website.

I would like to thank my great friend, Pat Nee, for the beautiful new tie for St. Patrick’s Day. We wore this on Sunday to the St. Camillus St. Patrick’s Day Dance and got a lot of compliments, It’s great to be Irish. Many, many thanks to Pat who is a gentleman and scholar.

As we approach election season, we expect nominating petitions to be out on Tuesday, March 20 for federal office for a June 26 primary. Stay in touch with my office at 718-945-1216 for the latest as the legislature and courts decide on the district lines and primary dates. Election inspectors are needed for the coming elections. There may be as many as four election days. If you are a registered Democrat in the 23 A.D. Part B and can work from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. you may be able to serve. The pay is $200 a day. There is extra pay for required classes. Call for details.

We were very proud to receive a grant from Sweet N Low as I have for over 20 years for what we call Dancing Under the Stars which is now Zumba Under the Stars. It will be Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at the Rockies Roller Rink at the boardwalk at Beach 108 Street starting Wednesday, June 27. It is under the direction of Lisa G. who is most professional, well qualified and trained. We look forward to seeing all our old and new friends. There is no charge.

We met John Rozankowski at the press conference for reopening the Rockaway line. He is continuing to be a hard working and knowledgeable advocate for the Rockaway line and better mass transit generally.

All who use social media, please friend me on Facebook. I’m listed under Lew M. Simon. Never to hesitate to call me at 718-945-1216.

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