Sammy’s Law Passes, Granting Authority to Set Speed Limits

Courtesy Jessica González-Rojas’s Office

State Senator John Liu and Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas celebrate the passage of Sammy’s Law, granting New York City authority over speed limits, in a landmark move to enhance street safety and curb traffic-related fatalities.


State Senator John Liu and Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas joined forces on April 30 to celebrate the passage of Sammy’s Law, a groundbreaking legislation that grants New York City the authority to set its own speed limits.

The measure, which was included in the recently approved FY25 state budget, marks a significant step forward in the ongoing efforts to enhance street safety and reduce traffic-related fatalities in the city.

Named after 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein, who tragically lost his life in a traffic accident in Brooklyn in 2013, Sammy’s Law empowers the city to lower speed limits from 25 mph to 20 mph and from 15 mph to 10 mph in designated traffic-calming zones, also known as “slow zones.” Notably, roads outside Manhattan with at least three lanes in a single direction will maintain a speed limit of 25 mph.

“Too many lives have been lost to traffic violence, including those of young children, because our laws do not protect them,” Senator Liu said. “Sammy Cohen Eckstein, Allison Hope Liao, Quintas Chen, Bayron Palomino Arroyo, and too many others were all young lives full of promise who were unfairly taken too soon. In a big city like New York, drivers need to slow down. The passage of Sammy’s Law this month is a testament to their legacies, and we now call on the City of New York to act with the same urgency and implement these changes so no more families have to endure the heartbreak of losing a loved one to preventable traffic violence.”

The passage of Sammy’s Law comes at a critical juncture, as recent reports indicate a concerning rise in traffic-related fatalities, particularly in Queens, where 37 percent of this year’s traffic fatalities have occurred. The legislation is a response to this alarming trend, aiming to mitigate the risks associated with speeding and improve overall street safety.

 “Sammy’s Law is a game changer for street safety because it will finally allow New York City to set its own speed limits,” State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, lead sponsor of Sammy’s Law said. “In 2020, I introduced this common-sense traffic safety legislation in memory of Sammy Cohen Eckstein, a young man who was fatally struck by a speeding driver just months before his thirteenth birthday. Since Sammy’s tragic death, his mother Amy Cohen has been a relentless champion for street safety through the organization she co-founded, Families for Safe Streets, and has inspired dozens of other family members who’ve lost loved ones to traffic violence to advocate for new traffic policies to save lives. New Yorkers owe them a deep debt of gratitude for helping change the paradigm of traffic safety in Albany.”

Assembly Member González-Rojas, a staunch advocate for safe streets and a key co-sponsor of Sammy’s Law, expressed her enthusiasm for the bill’s passage. She emphasized the importance of addressing the growing pedestrian and cyclist deaths in Western Queens, citing the need for immediate action to prevent further tragedies.

“I am elated at the passage of this bill. It has been a long time coming and hard fought on every level,” González-Rojas said. “There is still more work to be done, but what we have accomplished thus far is incredible progress. Families, like that of 7-year-old Dolma Naadhun who was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing the street with her mother, have experienced unimaginable pain of losing loved ones due to traffic violence. We’ve marched alongside each other in the streets, attended hearings and rallies to get this bill passed. I’m proud of the work we’ve done and the families that showed up and advocated for this bill. I am grateful that Sammy’s Law will improve the safety of our streets.”

The significance of Sammy’s Law extends beyond its potential to save lives; it also symbolizes a victory for grassroots activism and community advocacy. Families for Safe Streets, a group composed of individuals who have lost loved ones to traffic violence, played a pivotal role in championing the legislation, along with other organizations and elected officials.

Amy Tam Liao, the mother of Allison Hope Liao and founder of Families for Safe Streets, underscored the lifesaving potential of reduced speed limits, emphasizing the urgent need for the law’s swift implementation.

“Reduced speed limits save lives – and Sammy’s Law will protect countless New Yorkers from traffic violence,” Tam Liao said. “Finally, New York City will be able to set its own speed limits. When I lost my daughter, Allison, the loss tore a hole in my family, my neighborhood, and my community. Every day, I remember her laughter and her spirit, taken from us far too soon. We must protect our youngest and most vulnerable from traffic violence, and Sammy’s Law must be implemented immediately and appropriately.”

As New York prepares to implement Sammy’s Law, stakeholders across the city are hopeful that this landmark legislation will pave the way for safer streets and fewer traffic-related tragedies. With strong support from elected officials, advocacy groups, and community members, the fight against traffic violence continues to gain momentum, driven by a shared commitment to protecting lives and ensuring a safer future for all New Yorkers.

“It’s long past time we take back our streets from speeding drivers and deliver justice to the grieving families of Sammy Cohen Eckstein, Allison Hope Liao, Quintas Chen, Bayron Palomino Arroyo, and too many others,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. said. “That’s exactly what the long overdue passage of Sammy’s Law, allowing New York City to finally set its own speed limits, will help us do. I couldn’t be more grateful for the tireless advocacy of groups like Families for Safe Streets, who have turned their pain into progress, and for the work of all our elected partners to get this badly needed bill passed into law.”

Driving Economic Progress and Empowering Entrepreneurs in Queens

Courtesy QEDC

The Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) is a driving force behind economic progress and community empowerment in Queens.


Within the ever evolving mosaic that is Queens, the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) emerges as a champion of economic progress and community development. At the center of QEDC lies a bold mission: to create and retain jobs, foster entrepreneurship, and promote community prosperity, with a special focus on supporting individuals of low-to-moderate income, women, minorities, and immigrants. Since its inception in 1977, QEDC has been dedicated to empowering individuals and driving economic growth across Queens.

At the core of QEDC’s mission is a dedication to helping individuals from diverse backgrounds navigate the intricacies of entrepreneurship. Through an array of programs and initiatives, the organization provides invaluable support to aspiring business owners, equipping them with the tools and resources needed to thrive in the competitive landscape of small business.

Seth Bornstein, Executive Director of QEDC for the past 15 years has seen the borough’s landscape change in front of his very eyes and has shifted the organization to continually adapt to neighborhood and resident’s needs.

“Our mission is to help people start with a small business. We do that through a variety of programs that focus on people of middle income, lower income women, minorities, Bornstein said. “There’s a huge amount of people coming here who want to become entrepreneurs, we strive to help them.”

Indeed, QEDC’s impact spans a wide spectrum of activities, from business counseling sessions tailored to the needs of individual entrepreneurs to educational classes that cover essential topics ranging from marketing strategies to financial planning. These services, made possible through public grants and foundation support, are offered free of charge, democratizing access to valuable resources and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship.

One of QEDC’s flagship initiatives is its Kitchen Incubator, a hub for culinary innovation where aspiring food entrepreneurs can bring their culinary visions to life. With state-of-the-art facilities and mentorship opportunities, the Kitchen Incubator serves as a launching pad for culinary ventures, contributing to the vibrant food scene that defines Queens.

The organization also offers the Entrepreneurship Assistance Center (EAC), which is a pioneering initiative catering to entrepreneurs in the New York City area since 1992. Offering comprehensive training and personalized coaching, the EAC equips both budding and established business owners with the skills and resources necessary to thrive in today’s competitive market. Under the umbrella of QEDC, the EAC has played a pivotal role in assisting over 700 individuals in launching over 100 businesses and creating 350 jobs, while securing substantial financing and achieving impressive sales figures.

Another feature is the Women’s Business Center (WBC), which is a cornerstone of support for women entrepreneurs, empowering them to thrive in the economy by fostering the growth and success of their businesses. Since its establishment in 2001, the WBC has been a driving force behind the advancement of women business owners, offering a comprehensive suite of services tailored to their unique needs. From one-on-one counseling and training courses to workshops, mentoring, and networking opportunities, the WBC provides a nurturing environment where women can develop their entrepreneurial skills and connect with like-minded peers.

Beyond nurturing individual businesses, QEDC is deeply committed to enhancing the fabric of Queens’ neighborhoods. Through collaborative efforts with local stakeholders and government agencies, the organization spearheads neighborhood development projects aimed at revitalizing commercial corridors, beautifying public spaces, and fostering a sense of community pride.

Recent achievements highlight QEDC’s multifaceted approach to community development. From organizing small business training programs to managing public spaces like Corona Plaza, the organization has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to making Queens a more vibrant and inclusive place for all residents. The organization’s recent efforts include graffiti cleanup as part of a neighborhood development program. They work efficiently with funded council members to identify and remove graffiti, enhancing neighborhood aesthetics and community satisfaction.

“Queens County is made for big businesses, small businesses including those with fewer than five employees, who may lack the resources needed to expand,” Bornstein said. “We provide assistance to help them navigate and grow their businesses, thus supporting the small business community.”

Looking ahead, QEDC remains steadfast in its commitment to driving positive change, exemplified by upcoming events like the Queens Taste fundraiser on May 21. Collaborating with the Queens Tourism Council, QEDC will host Queens Taste 2024 at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park from 6 pm to 9 pm. This celebration and networking event will feature over 50 restaurants and beverage purveyors offering samples to more than 500 attendees, creating a vibrant atmosphere for mingling and enjoying a diverse array of culinary delights while showcasing the borough’s rich cultural tapestry.

Courtesy QEDC

With a rich history since 1977, QEDC offers an array of programs aimed at equipping aspiring entrepreneurs with resources and support to thrive in Queens.

Kidney Coalition of NYC Hosts Pop-Up Craft Fair

Courtesy The Kidney Coalition of NYC

The Kidney Coalition of NYC recently hosted a vibrant pop-up craft fair at the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Glendale.


The Kidney Coalition of NYC (KCNYC) hosted a vibrant pop-up craft fair on April 28, drawing in crowds of supporters, vendors, and music enthusiasts to the Redeemer Lutheran Church in Glendale. The event, which showcased the organization’s dedication to its cause, featured over 20 vendors, raffles, music, and a bustling concession stand.

Volunteers, the lifeblood of KCNYC, worked tirelessly to ensure the event’s success. From setup to cleanup, their dedication was instrumental in creating a welcoming atmosphere for all attendees. Gratitude poured in from the organization to everyone who contributed, from volunteers to vendors and the community at large.

Courtesy The Kidney Coalition of NYC

The event featured over 20 vendors, live music, raffles, and a bustling concession stand, drawing in crowds of supporters and community members.

The event proved not only a celebration of creativity and community spirit but also a fundraising success. Initial estimates indicated a raise of over 750 dollars.

The funds raised will be directed toward the organization’s impactful campaigns. A significant portion will support the children’s campaign, Florie’s Flowers, while the remainder will be allocated to providing tote bags for dialysis patients. This dual focus underscores KCNYC’s commitment to addressing the diverse needs of individuals impacted by kidney disease.

Courtesy The Kidney Coalition of NYC

Volunteers played a crucial role in ensuring the event’s success, from setup to cleanup, while attendees enjoyed a festive atmosphere filled with creativity and camaraderie.

Looking ahead, KCNYC has already set its sights on its next vendor event scheduled for October 26. As the organization continues its mission to provide a community of learning, support, and healing for individuals affected by kidney disease, events like these serve as crucial touchpoints for raising awareness and fostering connections within the community and beyond.

Founded as a non-profit organization by individuals with kidney disease for individuals with kidney disease, KCNYC stands as a beacon of hope and support for those navigating the complexities of chronic kidney disease. Through its myriad programs, activities, and events, KCNYC remains dedicated to its vision of advocacy, education, and ultimately, finding a cure for Chronic Kidney Disease.

For more information about KCNYC and upcoming events, visit their website at

Courtesy The Kidney Coalition of NYC

The fair raised over $750, with funds directed towards supporting the organization’s children’s campaign, Florie’s Flowers, and providing tote bags for dialysis patients.

Couple’s Journey from Renovation to Ruin Spurs Community Support


Courtesy the Pettrey’s
The Pettrey family’s long-awaited move to their newly renovated home in Forest Hills turned into a nightmare when a devastating fire consumed their future just days before they were set to move in.


In the neighborhood of Forest Hills, a young family’s dreams were shattered when their newly renovated home went up in flames just days before they were set to move in.

Emily and Luke Pettrey, who had eagerly awaited the arrival of their first child while working to create a cozy nest for their growing family, now find themselves grappling with the aftermath of a devastating fire that consumed what was supposed to be their future.

Luke Pettrey, who has resided in Forest Hills since 2001, shares that he and his wife met during the pandemic, with her hailing from Chicago. The couple has been married for nearly three years, previously renting in the Rego Park area before tragedy struck.

The Pettreys’ journey began almost a year ago when they closed on their new coop in Forest Hills, excitedly preparing for the arrival of their first child. However, their plans took an unexpected turn when they discovered they were expecting a baby right around the time of closing.  They embarked on a journey to transform their house into a home, envisioning a bright future filled with love and laughter. From selecting furniture and appliances to painting the nursery, every detail was carefully chosen with their growing family in mind.

Despite the initial excitement, the ensuing months were marked by a chaotic whirlwind of renovations, contractor issues, and insurance complications as they worked tirelessly to ready their home for their growing family. With their baby due on Christmas Day, they found themselves staying with friends while awaiting the completion of the renovations. Finally, just as they were on the cusp of moving in, tragedy struck.

Their dreams were shattered on the morning of April 26, when Luke returned home from work to find a devastating text from their real estate agent containing images of their new apartment engulfed in flames, just days before they were scheduled to move in.

“I get home from work, my wife and Son were already asleep, so I get in bed, and I get a text from our real estate agent who helped us close the place,” Luke said. “And it was pictures from the citizen app that said fire reported and there’s just like videos and pictures of essentially my apartment consumed in flames.”

Courtesy the Pettrey’s

The family goes through uncertainties and challenges as they navigate the aftermath and seek support from their community through a GoFundMe campaign.

The aftermath of the fire left the Pettreys grappling with numerous uncertainties, including the cause of the blaze and the extent of their insurance coverage. While initial assessments suggest that the fire may have been related to the ongoing renovations, the exact details remain unclear pending the completion of the fire marshal’s report, a process that could take up to four to six weeks.

Despite ruling out intentional arson, the Pettreys still face a daunting array of challenges as they navigate the complex aftermath of the disaster. Issues with their home insurance policy, compounded by lapses in coverage, have added further complications to an already overwhelming situation. With no clear indication of liability, the Pettreys find themselves in a state of limbo, uncertain of how to proceed amidst mounting property losses and living expenses.

As they await clarity on their insurance claims, the Pettreys are forced to confront the harsh realities of their situation, grappling with the prospect of rebuilding their lives from the ground up while juggling the financial strain of mortgage payments and the recent arrival of their newborn child.

“It’s a surreal experience, it kind of felt like a movie, just watching it go up in flames three days before,” Luke said. “I think probably the biggest challenge is just figuring out how to not dwell on it, and just move forward and take whatever the next step is, and not try to figure it all out right now. But do the next thing we can do.”

Despite the heartbreaking setback, the Pettreys remain resilient, finding solace in their faith and the support of their community as they face the daunting task of rebuilding their lives from scratch.

Luke, who hopes to serve as a minister within the next year, sees a silver lining amidst the tragedy, recognizing how their faith has sustained them through the darkest of times.

“It’s been a blessing to my wife and I because we already see how God is using this experience in both of our lives,” Luke said. “And even in the challenges, we are doing good and we’re grateful.”

The Pettreys’ story has touched the hearts of many, inspiring an outpouring of generosity and compassion from friends, neighbors, and even strangers from Forest Hills to all the way in Chicago. A GoFundMe campaign, launched by Emily’s cousin, has garnered overwhelming support, with donations pouring in to help the Pettreys rebuild their lives and find shelter during this difficult period.

With the daunting prospect of rebuilding their home from scratch looming ahead, the funds raised will serve as a lifeline, helping to alleviate the immediate financial strain of living expenses and survival costs in the months ahead. However, Luke acknowledges that the true magnitude of their expenses, including extensive renovations and property losses, far exceeds what can be covered by the GoFundMe donations alone. Nevertheless, every contribution, no matter how small, brings them one step closer to reclaiming their lives and rebuilding together.

For those wishing to contribute or offer assistance in other ways, please visit their GoFundMe page at

Maspeth Community Honors Two Remarkable Women for Decades of Service

Mohamed Farghaly

Gloria Macaig proudly holds her Community Service Award, recognizing her unwavering dedication to serving the Maspeth community through her involvement with AARP and the Frank Kowalinski Post.


Two remarkable women were honored at last week’s award meeting hosted by the Frank Kowalinski Post 4. One recipient, celebrated for reaching the rare milestone of 100 years of age, stood as a beacon of vitality and endurance. The other, recognized for her dedicated service to the community, exemplified the profound impact of compassion and generosity.

The Polish Legion of American Veterans post is dedicated to Frank Kowalinski, who holds the distinction of being the first U.S. Army soldier of Polish descent to lose his life in combat during World War I.

In collaboration with AARP, the Post held a ceremony where the two women were honored. AARP, previously known as the American Association of Retired Persons, is a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for older Americans on various federal health and fiscal matters, including Medicare and Social Security.

Lucy Winsko, speaking as Vice President of the Post, highlighted the significance of their contributions and the importance of community involvement. She emphasized the organization’s commitment to supporting veterans, nursing home residents, and underprivileged children through various initiatives.

Gloria Macaig was  honored by the AARP and Frank Kowalinski Post for her outstanding contributions to the Maspeth area. For the past five years, Macaig has been an active member of AARP, the senior citizen organization, where she dedicates her time to community service through the program.

Beyond her involvement with AARP, Macaig has been a stalwart member of the Frank Kowalinski Post for the past few years, passionately supporting veterans and managing events to honor their service. As the President of the Ladies Auxiliary, Macaig plays a pivotal role in organizing parties and providing assistance to veterans in need.

She is also an active member of the Maspeth Lions Club, where she contributes to fundraising efforts for community projects, including purchasing guide dogs for the blind. Reflecting on her upbringing, Macaig credits her parents for instilling in her the values of community service, a tradition she continues with her own family.

When asked about the importance of her work, Macaig emphasized the need to help others and the joy she finds in giving back to her community. With upcoming events like the Grand Avenue parade, Macaig and her fellow volunteers are gearing up to provide essential support to participants, showcasing their unwavering commitment to service.

“My parents raised me to help not only myself but also to assist the community, neighbors, friends, and family,” Macaig said. “I think it’s important to encourage others, including my own son, to engage in community involvement. We receive a lot of support here, and I’m grateful for the assistance.”

Helen Sokol, a beloved member of the community, was also honored for her remarkable achievement of reaching the centennial milestone at 102 years old.

Recalling the recent award ceremony, Sokol, expressed her surprise at being recognized. Her commitment to the organization spans many years, dating back to its origins at the Presbyterian Church on Seabury Street. Despite various relocations due to rent issues and building fires, Sokol,’s loyalty to the organization has remained.

Describing the organization’s meetings as a platform for open discussion and community engagement, Sokol, highlighted the importance of providing women with a space to voice their concerns and ideas. With a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose, members gather regularly to address local issues and support one another.

Sokol, emphasized the sense of community fostered by the bi-weekly meetings and organization’s activities, including weekly donations and outreach efforts to local churches in need. With her positive outlook and unwavering commitment to community involvement, Sokol, embodies the spirit of service and resilience that defines the organization’s mission.

“I think the women who attend here genuinely enjoy it because they feel that they can speak their minds and see that it can lead to positive changes in the community,” she said. I think it’s a nice, friendly organization.”

At its core, the Post stands as a symbol of unity and goodwill, bringing women together in service and solidarity. With the unwavering support of the AARP, they continue to uphold their mission of making a positive difference in the lives of others, embodying the values of compassion and civic responsibility.

Mohamed Farghaly

Helen Sokol, accepts her Centennial Milestone Award, commemorating her remarkable achievement of reaching 102 years of age and her enduring commitment to community engagement in Maspeth.

Queens GOP Press Conference: Paul King, Yiatin Chu and Dwayne Moore on NYC Migrant Struggles

By Ledger Staff |

Paul King speaks in Jamaica.

At a Queens GOP press conference in Jamaica, three candidates delivered speeches focused on the ongoing influx of migrants into New York. About a dozen attendees listened to the candidates outline their platforms on Monday in front of a hotel functioning as a migrant shelter.

The city’s migrant crisis is a hot-button issue this election cycle, and Republicans are betting on it to garner them more votes. Two candidates at the event — Paul King, running for a House seat in the 5th District and Dwayne Moore, running for the 29th Assembly District seat inside the 5th congressional district — look to have very slim chances of winning. Candidate Yiatin Chu, though, who is running for State Senate in District 11, could be a competitive challenger to Democratic incumbent Toby Ann Stavinsky. 

Paul King, a Republican Rockaway resident challenging powerful House Democrat Gregory Meeks for the second cycle in a row, was among the speakers. King lost by a wide margin in 2022, with Meeks taking home 75.1% of the vote. 

In describing his platform, King said he would support reviving the H.R.2 “Secure the Border” Act, the bill at the heart of government shutdown threats in January. H.R.2 would impose sweeping restrictions on the asylum process, denying migrants the option to claim asylum unless the individual Customs and Border Patrol officer that processes them decides that their asylum case is likely to be accepted, and requiring those making an asylum claim to pay a $50 fee. It would also require all employers to verify their employees’ legal status, and resume Trump-era plans for a more extensive border wall. 

King also argued that the asylum process should generally be altered.

“It’s being watered down because we allow it to be used like a magic word. Abracadabra, you come to the border, you say asylum, you get to come in,” King said. “We need to bring back asylum what it’s meant to do: to help people who need protection and give them their day in court quickly, not seven years from now.”

King’s last point touched on international affairs. “The final thing we should do, immediately in early 2025, is give the President, via new laws, more power to go after the coyote cartels in Mexico,” he said to the crowd. 

The notion of direct attacks on Mexican cartels has gained significant ground in the GOP in recent years as the proliferation of fentanyl has worsened. Lawyers say such actions would not be consistent with international law, and some State Department officials have warned of potential bloody backlash on American soil. 

Yiatin Chu

Yiatin Chu, an anti-affirmative action and pro-SHSAT education activist running against  Democrat incumbent Toby Ann Stavinsky for the District 11 State Senate seat, spoke next. Stavinsky, who chairs the Committee on Higher Education, has 25 years in office under her belt. The race could be competitive: while the district re-elected Stavinsky in 2022, which was a bad year for Democrats, it’s been trending steadily more Republican in recent years and has a plurality of Asian voters. 

“Instead of budgeting an additional $2.4 billion dollars, as Albany did in April, for services for illegal migrants, we must defund all programs for illegal immigrants except the cost of a one way bus ticket to leave our state,” Chu said in her speech. 

Chu also expressed her support for Laken’s Law, a bill that would require local and state law enforcement, and some courts, to notify ICE upon the arrest or conviction of an undocumented person. 

Like King, Chu argued for restricting employers’ ability to hire undocumented workers — specifically highlighting food delivery apps, an ever-popular work option among migrant men trying to make a living.

“We need to enforce labor laws that we have on the books and start giving jobs to legal residents who want them,” Chu said. “Start by ensuring that the delivery app companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash have them audit their workers. These companies have made huge profits by allowing their business model to underpay illegal immigrants while taking away opportunities from legal residents.”

Dwayne Moore.

Dwayne Moore, a former teacher, actor and Jamaica, Queens resident who serves as a Republican County Committee member, spoke after Chu. Moore is running for an Assembly seat in the 29th District, which hasn’t seen a Republican candidate since 2015 — the year that current Democratic incumbent Alicia Hyndman won 92.8% of the vote. 

Moore, like Chu, stated his support for ending New York’s sanctuary city status. He argued that the large number of migrant children enrolling in the strained city’s public school system is “taking the future away from our kids.”

When it comes to policy, Moore said the state should pass legislation preventing undocumented immigrants from becoming homeowners — a departure from the event’s overall focus on impoverished and working class migrants who rely on strained social services. 

“How can we just flood over 170,000 people when our own citizens can’t even get homes, can’t even get apartments?” Moore said. “We should pass legislation barring anyone that is not a citizen and does not have legal status to be able to purchase property in this state.”

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing