FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JUNE 24, 2021 • THE QUEENS COURIER 29
Please, fully open senior centers
“Meng secures funding for series of
infrastructure projects in Queens” by
Carlotta Mohamed (June 18) is nothing
to be proud of.
Th e MTA could have used some of
the annual $1.5 billion funding from the
Federal Transit Administration or other
sources within the $51 billion 2020 - 2024
Five-Year Capital Plan to pay for the $17
million Forest Hills Long Island Rail Road
station upgrade. Th e LIRR share of the
$51 billion is $5.7 billion, which includes
$910 million for stations.
Like pigs dining at the trough, members
of Congress just can’t get enough
pork to bring back home. On a bipartisan
basis, they have resurrected the
old “member items” previously known
as “Congressional earmarks.” Both
Democrats and Republican Congress
members believe it is one way to assure
re-election in 2022.
Congressional earmarks have been
rebranded under a new title: community
project funding requests. Most federal
aid programs are distributed on a formula
basis to states, cities and urbanized areas
to local recipients such as the MTA.
Washington bureaucrats don’t decide
how to spend these funds. Civil servants
want to make sure dollars are spent for
eligible projects, completed on time and
within budget with taxpayers and commuters
receiving the full benefi ts.
Career civil servants have the independence
and technical expertise to do a better
job in the distribution of funds and to
protect the interests of taxpayers in avoiding
any waste, fraud or abuse than members
Larry Penner, Great Neck
JUNETEENTH IS NOW
A FEDERAL HOLIDAY
President Biden offi cially signed into
law a bill making Juneteenth National
Independence Day a federal holiday.
Now let me say bravo, and it is about
Juneteenth commemorates the end of
slavery, which was a truly sad period in
In our Declaration of Independence it
says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal, that
they are endowed by their creator with
certain unalienable rights, that among
these are life, liberty and the pursuit of
So, what happened? Did not the words
of the Declaration mean all men and
In my opinion, the establishment of this
federal holiday is a good thing!
My grandfather fought in the Union
Army under General Sherman during
the Civil War and, according to my
father, he strongly believed that we are
all created equal and deserved the rights
of all men.
As such, I thank President Biden and
Congress for the establishment of this federal
holiday. As a white man, let me say to
all my brothers and sisters of color, may
you truly be blessed and be safe and free
Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Bellerose
letters & comments
QUEENS TECH GRADUATES AT THE BALLPARK // PHOTO BY GABRIELE HOLTERMANN-GORDEN
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Now that a large percentage
of our senior citizens
have been vaccinated,
it is time to fully
reopen the senior centers
in our community.
Th e safety of our elderly residents is of
course vital, which is why these centers
have been closed for the past 16 months of
the pandemic, but our neighborhoods are
miraculously rejuvenating. A short stroll
on Austin Street, for instance, or along
Metropolitan Avenue will show that many
of our restaurants are operating at near
full capacity; most stores are serving all of
their customers; and our parks are brimming
with people on a sunny day.
Th anks to everyone’s great eff orts to
maintain social distancing measures and
heed safety protocols, this great community
— and our city as a whole — is coming
back to life at last.
Yet a signifi cant amount of our senior
citizens still lack the camaraderie and
togetherness that their senior centers provide
when completely open.
While the distribution of grab-and-go
meals, for example, is certainly benefi cial,
it’s simply not enough as a means of wholly
reintegrating into the “new normal” the
elderly women and men amongst us.
Th ese people have worked hard all their
lives, and now that they are in their golden
years, the very least that we can do is to lift
them from the coronavirus’s hard solitude
and off er them a place that gives them joy
and a sense of friendship, even family.
Senior centers, aft er all, aren’t just spaces
where older individuals can have a hot
meal; the centers are also where seniors
can talk with their friends and neighbors,
participate in exercise classes, partake
in nutritional programming, have
civic discussions and engage in the myriad
other essential activities that can’t be
fully enjoyed virtually.
Simply yet vitally, our older residents
need to just be in each other’s presence.
During my decades of public service, I
have always experienced great joy when
visiting our senior centers. So let’s fi nally
open these beloved centers once again
and revel in the happiness that will surely
Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz represents
District 29, which includes Rego Park, Forest
Hills, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill.