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One last Fall Festival for our councilman

The annual Fall Festival takes place this Saturday, October 16, from noon to 3 p.m. at Victory Field at Woodhaven Boulevard and Forest Park Drive.
There will be plenty of activities for the kids, including face painting, bounce house and a pumpkin patch where kids can walk away with their very own pumpkin. This is a free event and it is always very well attended so make sure you get there early.
This festival is sponsored by Councilman Eric Ulrich, Parks Department and Forest Park Trust. If you have any questions, please call Ulrich’s office at (718) 738-1083.
This year will be the last time this event will be sponsored by the councilman as he will be leaving the City Council due to term limits.
He has been serving our community since 2009, when he won a special election at 24 years of age to replace Joe Addabbo, who left the position when he was elected to the State Senate, where he still serves.
Eric Ulrich has been a steady presence at our civic meetings and responsive to our needs and complaints. During my time as president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, I got to spend time working with Eric on several projects.
One of the more memorable afternoons we spent together was back in July 2012. The weatherman said it was 99 degrees that day, but I think he was on the low side.
Eric brought red paint and brushes and joined a group of volunteers as we walked around Woodhaven repainting red fireboxes defaced by graffiti.
It was hot, sweaty, messy work, but the results were worth it. Afterwards, it felt good to drive around the neighborhood and see all those bright red, freshly painted fireboxes, especially the tall free-standing alarm boxes of which there are very few left in New York City.
“Graffiti diminishes civic pride in a community, it lowers property values and it gives off a general impression of lawlessness,” he told the volunteers. “The good work we’ve done here today in cleaning up these fireboxes improves the quality of life in our community.”
I really appreciated his commitment to fighting graffiti and his work with us on sanitation and noise complaints, as well as a number of other issues important to the residents of Woodhaven.
But what I really appreciated about Eric was something he did privately, that I haven’t really shared with many people. It was back in September of 2015, just a few days after my mom had passed away.
My wife and I were still in shock, as anyone is after the death of a loved one. We had rearranged the apartment for hospice care and we were just starting to put things back together, but our heads were in a fog.
The doorbell rang and it was Eric, stopping by to see how we were doing. He brought an Edible Arrangement and came in and we sat and spoke about life and death.
As a young man, Eric had considered joining the priesthood and taught religion in high school. From our conversation that day, I think he would have made a really fine priest.
The City Council is a very busy job, and we really appreciated him taking time out of his day off to spend time with us. He’s a good man and he’s been a good representative for Woodhaven. He will be missed.
The race to replace Eric is underway and will be decided on Tuesday, November 2. Your choices are (alphabetically) Joann Ariola (R), Felicia Singh (D) and Kenichi Wilson (I).
We wish Eric the very best in his future endeavors and, once again, thank him for his good work over the past dozen years. We look forward to this Saturday’s Fall Festival and hope that no matter who wins the race to replace him, it’s a tradition that will continue for years to come.

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