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SE Queens pols thank seniors with trip to Atlantic City

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Southeast Queens elected officials will be giving back to the community’s senior population with a weeklong celebration filled with fun and informative events.

This year’s Senior Appreciation Week? kicks off Friday and continues till Sept. 16 with special celebrations for the members of the golden generation.

State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans), who first came up with the idea for senior week with U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) eight years ago, said the initiative gets bigger each year not only because more of his elected colleagues take part in it, but also because the elderly population in the neighborhood eagerly awaits it.

“As we began to talk, we decided this was the best way to thank them because if it weren’t for [them], we wouldn’t be here,” he said at a kickoff news conference at the gymnasium in Roy Wilkins Park.

The first event for the week will be a Sept. 10 health fair at York College hosted by the nonprofit community activist group Greater Queens Chapter of the Links. Seniors who attend the free fair can take part in blood, HIV, prostate, cholesterol and other screenings, according to the Links.

That same day City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) and state Assemblywoman Vivian Cook (D-Jamaica) will be having their annual Banner Day and Gospel Fest at Baisley Pond Park.

“Every day should be senior day,” Cook said.

On Sept. 12, Smith and Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) will be having two separate luncheons for senior citizens. On Sept. 14, Meeks will host an afternoon at the movies at the Jamaica Multiplex Theatre on Jamaica Avenue at noon.

The next day, Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) will be holding an informational fair and Assemblywoman Michelle Titus (D-Far Rockaway) will be holding a Zumba Fitness exercise class.

Her fellow Assembly member, William Scarborough (D-St. Albans), will be offering elders a treat with a trip to Atlantic City that day, too.

“I think it is wonderful to set this time aside and tell seniors thank you,” he said.

Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) will end senior week Sept. 16 with a jazz fest. The councilman said he and his fellow elected officials always get excited when coming up with these events because it goes a long way to enriching their elder constituents’ spirits.

“We are doing this because we want to give back as much as possible,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 7:09 pm, September 14, 2011
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