Scoopy’s, Week of Aug. 14, 2014

The Westbeth Beautification Committee, also known as the Westbeth Flea Market/Bargains Galore, returns for the “Westbeth Book Sale,” planned for next Fall. The committee has been collecting books all year, and reportedly might even have a surprise planned for the event. Details about an exact date will be released closer to the Fall. Patrons of last year’s “Book Sale” enabled the organization to buy flowers to plant around the trees and in the flower boxes at the entrance of Westbeth.

The Committee to Save Cooper Union, supported by state senator Brad Hoylman, will hold a rally and press conference outside the New York State Supreme Court on Friday, August 15, to call attention to the school’s board of trustees’ decision to impose tuition from this fall. A lawsuit by faculty, students and alumni is trying to halt the move to end a 150-year tradition of free tuition at the privately funded college.

An anonymous tenant told The Villager that after a meeting at Westbeth, construction has started at the artist housing center, and windows in the A section will be covered with plastic for 5-9 days. Tenants will not be able to run AC or even open windows during this time, at one of the hottest times of the year. The windows undergoing construction face the river, and are reportedly very sunny during the day. Management didn’t provide a good answer for why construction was starting during the summer, and couldn’t wait until September. The entire building must be done, and the building project will take over a year. Manager Matthew Russas has been evasive about the issue, the tenant reports.

While the Village is often recognized as the birthplace of the gay rights movement, many are unaware that it is also one of the cornerstones of the children’s rights movement. The Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection, who pioneered research and development in this field, will be closing soon due to financial reasons. The center, founded by Dr. Vincent J. Fontana and Dr. Mel Schneiderman, was dedicated to understanding, detecting, treating and preventing child abuse and neglect. In recent years, they have investigated the most effective mental health treatments so the best quality of care can be provided. However, one of the co-founders of the Vincent J. Fontana Center recently helped resurrect the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children’s New York state chapter. APSAC-NY will continue the Fontana Center’s mission after it closes by researching the best practices, organizing conferences and trainings, advocating at local and state levels, and disseminating information to the public. 

The Lower East Side Coalition Housing Development, Inc. (LESCHD) has named Kim O’Neale, an experienced and well known community real estate developer, as its new Executive Director. O’Neale has over 15-years of experience in real estate asset management, finance, and development and is the former Director of Asset Management for VIP Community Services and the Real Estate Asset Manager for Abyssinian Development Corporation. Over the course of her career, she has managed over 2,000 units of affordable housing, and has developed significant experience managing properties. “The LESCHD’s historic record of providing affordable housing and critical services to the most vulnerable and underserved on the Lower East Side has no equal.  I am deeply honored to lead the Lower East Side Housing Group and I look forward to building upon their innumerable good works,” she said. Gigi Li, Chair of Community Board 3, expressed that the group was “looking forward to working with Kim O’Neale in her new position.” Sarah Romanoski, Director of the East Village Community Coalition, expressed the same, and stated that the group “appreciate[s] the efforts of the LESCHD to preserve affordable housing.” Dr. Lyn Pentecost, former LESCHD Board Member, welcomed O’Neale to a “long line of community visionaries” who have led the group and work towards non-profit housing development.

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