Friday, October 25, 2013

Report From RIRA President Ellen Polivy - Roosevelt Island Community Communications, Elementary TV Crew Donates $2500 To RIRA, CERT Search For Missing Teen, Seeking Boy/Girl Scout Leaders & Women's Health Initiatives

 Image Of Elementary TV Show With Lucy Liu Filming On Roosevelt Island Bridge

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) President Ellen Polivy sends the following Report To The Community:
I am aware of Frank Farance's recent blog post. He had many things to say but one thing he said is important and true: RIRA delegates need to be responsive to their constituents. I would like to elaborate on that theme of responsiveness.

How do we know what our constituents want? What is important to them?

My candidate’s platform focused on the setting up of a way to easily and quickly reach out to the residents of the island for the purposes of eliciting viewpoints, lobbying elected and appointed officials and reaching out to neighbors in need. We have been putting our agendas on line and our minutes and meeting notes. We have set up a Facebook page and have provided the community with a way to contact us on We have handed out questionnaires at many events.

CBS gives our team $2,500.

On Tuesday October 15, drivers found themselves snarled in traffic on Main Street on the way up the helix ramp and over the bridge. The cause was an all day lane closure during a TV shoot for the CBS television show “Elementary”. The CBS Assistant Location Manager Rob Herling was very responsive to our RIRA team effort of asking that our community be compensated for our inconvenience. He immediately contacted his Location Manager David Chambers who gave the final approval on the donation. CBS was very cooperative and moved the process along very quickly. Location shoots are a fabulous example of good teamwork. RIRA is expecting a check for $2,500 that we will use to benefit our residents. We really appreciate the assistance.

The RIRA teamwork that helped us ask for the donation is worth mentioning. The simple efforts of five people at RIRA allowed us to be in a position to ask for the money. Former RIRA president Matthew Katz noticed the RIOC lane closure announcement and alerted me of the shoot. With the guidance of Christina Delfico (IDig2Learn) who is a TV producer and Island resident I created a letter of introduction and request. I sent out a request for a volunteer to physically go to the location as I was unable to get there. RIRA member Steve Heller volunteered immediately and within the hour delivered my letter to the location manager who called me almost immediately and told me what I needed to do. I followed his directions and Russell Fields our treasurer followed up. Thank you everyone who helped and a big “Ben Hug” of appreciation to CBS show “Elementary”.

CERT search effort

Another team effort occurred on October 18. OEM deployed the Community Emergency Response Team to search for Avonte Oquendo the missing autistic teen. In less than an hour after a directed request we had gathered 16 people from a combination of CERT, CERT trainees and RIRA to search for Avonte. OEM called for this deployment and Director McManus briefed us on the specifics of the search. We broke up into three search parties to scan the seawall area at low tide. Two public safety officers (Torrens and Yee) went with us. The two groups who went with the officers said they were attentive and professional. Some of the RIRA members who had earlier in the year challenged these public safety officers were nicely working shoulder to shoulder in peaceful collaboration to a common goal: Searching for a disabled and at-risk teenager missing for two weeks. This goes to show that in different circumstances people show up in different ways. I commend Jack McManus for the professional manner in which he briefed us, set up communications, sent us out in groups and used available public safety officers to work with us. This search effort may have never had much more than a slim chance of success but it was one more way for different elements of our community to experience working collaboratively. “Ben Hugs” to Jack McManus, Officer Torrens and Yee and the CERT, CERT class and RIRA who made the search possible on Roosevelt Island. We wish Avonte’s family, friends and school peace at this difficult time.

The people who made themselves available with a half hour notice were Philipp Mirow, Vicki Feinmel, Susan Marcus, Gwendolyn Ryals,Gary Bunie, Joyce Mincheff, joward Polivy, Russell Fields, Margie Smith, Ellen Polivy, Betty Godwin, Helen Chirivas, Karine Wong, Scot Bobo. Many more said they would have come with the right timing.

RIRA/RIOC relations

I believe that RIRA and RIOC should create a cooperative working relationship because that is the easiest way to get things done. RIRA exists as a sounding board for community concerns. Bring your concerns to us, or loop us in when you have direct discussions with RIOC. RIRA will try to balance your perspective with your neighbors’ viewpoints, and then work to make change happen.

Volunteers needed for Boy Scout Girl Scouts and more

I read with disappointment in the September WIRE that Geoff Kerr is retiring and there will be no more Boy Scout troop. I was heartened by RIOC Director Margie Smith’s response in the following WIRE that had RIOC been contacted, they would have found a space for them. There never was a girl scout troop. Many of us remember fondly the fun of Scouting days. Would anyone consider becoming a scout leader? Let me know. RIRA will work with RIOC to find space.

I urge everyone who wants to change things to the positive, join a committee and be a good team member. RIRA is planning a series of events that celebrate Island artists. Join the Social Cultural and Educational committee and help make this happen. Everyone has alternate time commitments. I myself have my own very busy work and personal life. However, when you make a decision to join the team, time expands to fit the work.

The Roosevelt Island Women’s Health Organization

I recently got the schedule for the year from RIWHO. Their offerings look great. Their monthly seminars are not just educational but they are fun. Women get together to eat, learn and talk, the perfect combination. The RIWHO mission is to empower women to be attentive to their health and to create habits that lead to a healthy life style. Each meeting include training in meditation, good nutrition and then a special health topic of the day. Topics include weight loss and surgery, recipes for healthy food preparation, tips on being a natural beauty, keeping young and fit, how not to abuse prescription drugs, disposal of prescription medication, stress relief, homeopathic remedies, folk remedies and more, Mark your calendar for Wednesdays October 23, November 20, December 18, January 29, February 28, March 26, Aril 30. What looks like the most fun is their “spa” day in May and a “boat ride” in June. Watch the WIRE and the kiosks for more specifics. Hope to see you there. I hope you don’t get tired of me giving “Ben Hugs”, but so many people deserve it. “Ben hugs” to Laila Amatullah for founding this important organization and to her working board of directors who keep the organization going; Mary Coleman, Elaine Belton, Sheryl Glenn, Marilyn Atkins, Barbara Parker, Eileen Sheehy, Wendy Hersh, and Andy Reddick.


YetAnotherRIer said...

Does anybody know how Avonte's family managed to get the entire city to start such a massive search campaign for their child? Plenty of children go missing all the time and you won't hear much about them (maybe a news blurb here or a local flyer there but rarely something as broad as this one). What's the secret sauce?

Mark Lyon said...

In this case, it was likely the city's own concern about their liability. They were, after all, supposed to be supervising the child at the time he took off.