Today’s news:

Avella, Howard Beach group press relief effort for Italian quake victims

City Council members Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and Vincent Gentile (D-Brooklyn) appealed to New Yorkers Wednesday to contribute to the relief effort for the earthquake-ravaged areas of Italy.

“I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the countless victims of this unfortunate natural disaster,” Avella said at a City Hall news conference.

“We have learned that the people of L’Aquila, the worst hit town in the Abruzzi region of Italy, responded to the 9/11 attack in 2001 by raising $5,000 for New York.”

He added, “It is time for us to respond in kind to their compassion.”

The final death toll is as yet unknown, but so far 260 people are confirmed dead and tens of thousands are reported homeless from the earthquake.

Avella and Gentile were joined by the Sons of Italy in America, the Howard Beach Columbus Day Foundation and other Italian-American groups as well as Francesco Maria Talo, the Italian consul general in New York City.

For more information on contributing to the effort, contact Avella’s offices at 212 788-7250 in Manhattan or 718 747-2137 in Queens.

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