Wednesday, June 30, 2010

CK’s Smith to don red, white and blue this summer

Bria Smith remembered how she felt a year ago and prepared for the possibility of disappointment yet again. Comment.

‘Dozo reunion draws stars of past, present

Ron Naclerio held a microphone in his right hand and had the rapt attendance from everyone in every corner of Cardozo’s packed gymnasium Saturday. At that moment, the Cardozo Basketball Reunion stood still as the longtime coach called up the 2009-10 team to stand by his side, underneath the far basket. Comment.

Springfield Gardens fire claims lives of 2 children

A makeshift memorial of a lonely teddy bear and several candles sat on the sidewalk Tuesday in front of what was once a lively Springfield Gardens home filled with children and family. Comment.

Queens Center workers protest for more benefits

A group of former employees of stores at the Queens Center Mall rallied outside the doors of the Elmhurst shopping center on Father’s Day to demand that its owner give them more benefits since it gets huge tax breaks from the city. Comment.

Two men killed in shootings in southeast Queens

Monday turned out to be deadly for two men in southeast Queens when a Long Island father was gunned down in a hail of nearly 30 bullets early in the morning and a 26-year-old was killed outside his home later in the night, police and eyewitnesses said. Comment.

Queens teen supports Haitian orphans

When Christ Church Woodside began its mission to build an orphanage near Tamavo in the Dominican Republic for those who had been orphaned in the Jan. 12 Haitian earthquake, parishioner Donna Frederickson said her son noticed something missing from the pictures of the refugees. Comment.

Blaze damages Forest Hill shops

A fire tore through a six-story Queens Boulevard building Friday, damaging a bagel store on the first floor and an adjacent storefront, fire officials said. Comment.

Margaret W. Blaha, 101

Margaret W. Blaha, a Douglaston resident, died June 16. She was 101. Comment.

Sports stars come to Field Day at Bayside HS

The De Phillips Athletic Club will hold its annual Field Day June 27 at Bayside High School, where students will be able to mingle with professional athletes, elected officials and Mr. Met. Comment.

Man attacked victim with bolt cutter: DA

JAMAICA — A Brooklyn man was arrested last week on charges of assaulting a man inside a warehouse at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.

Sanders promises to assist nonprofit’s handyman services

City Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton) has vowed to aid a nonprofit group that has been helping out needy homeowners in southeast Queens. Comment.

Merrick teachers want contract after two years

Teachers at the Merrick Academy charter school in Jamaica said they have been struggling to keep their school’s atmosphere positive since they have been working without a contract for more than two years. Comment.

CB 12 claims oversaturation in shelter dispute

The heads of a nonprofit group that wants to build a homeless shelter in Jamaica and members of Community Board 12 got into a heated clash last week during the board’s monthly meeting over the controversial proposal. Comment.

Forum searches for ways to curb boro violence

After a series of shootings and a rise in senseless violence in southeast Queens, representatives from different antiviolence organizations and members of the community came to a special CB 12 meeting at York College Friday to give their views on how to combat the growing problem. Comment.

PS/MS 156 celebrates freedom, history with Juneteenth

For black Americans, the Juneteenth celebration is a day to remember their freedom and unity after years of slavery in the United States. Comment.

Gillibrand Goes Gunning for Gangs

Last week TimesLedger Newspapers reported that U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand had become alarmed by the drug problem and growing influence of gangs throughout the state — in particular in Queens. She said there are as many as 22,000 gang members in the state and as many as 670,000 New Yorkers suffer from substance abuse related to gang activity. Comment.

Neighbor to Neighbor: Political figures must put Americans’ interests first

One thing we are having is change. Where do we go from here? When Ian Bowrey told me he was afraid he would have to close his pharmacy if he could not get funding, I had hoped that the necessary money would surely be available for such a business. Though it was classified as a “small business,” it was an important part of our communities for about 20 years, employed many local citizens and was loyal here even after criminal attacks. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Woodsider gets up to 37 years for murder

Woodside resident and Ireland native Gary McGurk, 24, received a sentence of 29 to 37 years in state prison last week for killing his sometime girlfriend Michelle Lee, a criminologist, in her Sunnyside apartment. Comment.

Woodside, Maspeth senior center programs benefit from Albany funds

State Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth) announced the state Legislature has enacted emergency extender legislation to keep multiple city senior centers open, including the Woodside and SelfHelp Maspeth senior centers. Comment.

Woodside residents upset over tree trim

Tensions have been high between Amtrak and residents of Boulevard Gardens in Woodside ever since the railroad company cut down a number of trees along the tracks in the neighborhood, but Amtrak’s recent promise to hire an arborist to replace the lost trees has made both sides feel as if an equitable solution is on the way. Comment.

Prep begins work on center

St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows broke ground last week on the second phase of a $30 million renovation plan that includes a new physical education and athletic training center and space for art education. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

The Civic Scene: Electrical union gives out 45 scholarships to pupils

The Education and Cultural Trust Fund of the Electrical Industry, in the Electric Industry Center on Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Avenue in Flushing, held a breakfast during which it gave out 45 scholarships worth $20,000 over four years to children of its members. Three hundred students applied. They had to write an essay describing what the country would be like when they are 50. Comment.

City Hall honors Vaad Harabonin’s 50th anniversary

Hundreds of Jewish leaders and elected officials celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens at City Hall this week, saluting the Fresh Meadows-based organization of rabbis as a key player in assuring the Orthodox community has access to kosher food and a wide range of services from help with funerals to legal aid. Comment.

Stavisky backs bills to protect victims of domestic violence

A legislative package drafted in part by state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) aimed at strengthening domestic violence laws and establishing protections for victims passed the Senate last week. Comment.

Bus change causes concerns

More than 50 Whitestone residents joined Monday afternoon with City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and former Councilman Tony Avella to oppose an MTA plan to shut down the Q14 bus line to Flushing and replace it with the new Q15A bus line along 10th Avenue. Comment.

Messer backs social programs in Stavisky seat race

John Messer wants to reframe the conversation in Albany from tax-and-slash to something more forward-looking. Comment.

Gennaro appears in film on dangers of gas drilling

As a lawmaker, City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) is more than used to signing letters and petitions, but he may now have to get used to giving his John Hancock to fans who have seen him in a growing number of films. Comment.
Flushing Times

Flushing women scammed three elderly men: DA

Two Flushing women have been charged under New York state’s hate crime law with allegedly stealing more than $31,000 from three men older than 70 and with trying to steal more than $50,000 more from their victims, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown’s office. Comment.

Thieves take two Ford vans in Bayside

BAYSIDE — A pair of vans were stolen from two homes early Monday morning, police said. Comment.

Teen hit with baseball bat receives staples: Cops

BAYSIDE — Police were looking for a teenage suspect who they said assaulted a man Friday night. Comment.

Driver intentionally hit victim with vehicle: Cops

BAYSIDE — A motorist used his SUV to reportedly strike a pedestrian last Thursday night, police said. Comment.

Thief stole bike after assaulting victim

FRESH MEADOWS — A bike theft took place outside a 7-Eleven store Friday afternoon, police said. Comment.


If city planners have their way, in 2013 the Sanitation Department will begin transferring 2,100 tons of waste every day from stations on the Queens border. One facility will be built in College Point, the other in Sunnyside. Comment.

Vantage signs contract with Queens supers

Queens elected officials last week applauded Vantage, a real estate investment company that owns 88 residential buildings in the borough, for signing a three-year contract with the union representing the apartments’ superintendents. Comment.

NYHQ unveils ‘West Wing’

Flushing’s luminaries gathered en masse at New York Hospital Queens last week to join the facility’s administrators and employees in celebrating the ribbon-cutting of its newly constructed, $210 million “West Wing” addition. Comment.

Meeks adds 2007-08 loans to financial disclosure form

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) submitted changes Friday to his annual financial disclosure statements he is required to file with the clerk of the House of Representatives that showed he borrowed $55,000 in personal loans in 2007 and 2008. Comment.

Tshaka honored by Ackerman for advocacy

Mandingo Tshaka was honored by Congress last week by U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside), who acknowledged the longtime Bayside community activist’s efforts to get plaques placed in Washington, D.C.’s Emancipation Hall to recognize that the Capitol was built with slave labor. Comment.

LIJ provides update on special triplets born at hospital

Three years after Long Island paraplegic Ken Kunken showed off his baby triplets, who his wife was able to conceive thanks to the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, great strides have been made in helping couples have babies, the doctor who treated Kunken said last week. Comment.

Jains flock to Queens to consecrate temple

An Elmhurst temple was the site of one of the most holy rituals in the Jain religion and thousands of worshipers from around the world gathered there to take part in the ceremony. Comment.

Halloran in ticket agent altercation

City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) is calling on the city Police Department to dismiss all summonses written by a Queens traffic agent whom the councilman alleges was driving recklessly and running stop signs in Whitestone last week. Comment.

Sale of Flake senior housing raises questions over fair deal

When the Rev. Floyd Flake sold the Allen AME Senior Citizen Housing Complex in 2006, tenants received a notice in the mail but were not told Flake was a part-owner of a for-profit corporation that bought the development for $14 million, The New York Times said. Comment.

Boro leaders mull charter revisions

In preparation for ballot initiatives that may be coming to voters in November, the Queens Civic Congress held a panel discussion Monday night about some topics, including term limits and the roles of borough presidents and community boards, that may come before voters as a result of the City Charter revision process. Comment.

Forum aims to quell tensions

Forest Hills and Rego Park are home to one of the largest populations of Bukharian Jews in the world, but not many of their neighbors know much about the religious group that hails mainly from Central Asia — something Forest Hills resident Sergey Kadinsky said he hopes to change. Comment.

Victim stabbed all over his body: Brown

CORONA — A Jamaica man was arrested last week for allegedly stabbing a person in several parts of their body, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.

Escaped LGA dog rescued from Flushing Bay

LAGUARDIA AIRPORT — At about 2 p.m. Tuesday, a rare breed of dog — perro de presa canario — escaped from the cargo hold of a Continental Airlines plane at LaGuardia Airport, according to a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Comment.

Argument in Woodside turns violent: Brown

WOODSIDE — A Corona man was arrested last week for allegedly assaulting a couple during an early morning argument that took place last month, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.

SE Qns. homes will not receive water pumps

Regarding the article about York College that appeared in the May 27-June 2 edition of TimesLedger Newspapers, a reference was made about plans to install pumps in a number of homes in the vicinity of South Road. Comment.

Traffic cameras create accidents

As a resident of Bayside, I am disgusted by the cameras being placed all over Queens. Studies have proven that they do not reduce accidents — they actually increase rear-end collisions! Comment.

Put the breaks on MTA’s plans to cut its bus service in Queens

If things do not change, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority stands poised to radically cut and eliminate bus service throughout Queens: the Q14, Q15, Q24, Q26, Q30, Q31, Q42, Q48, Q74, Q75, Q76, Q79, Q89, QM22, QM23 and X51. Residents, whether riders or not, must be united to oppose these misguided and harmful actions. Comment.

DOT must improve crosswalk safety at Union Tnpk. & Springfield Blvd.

An open letter to city Department of Transportation Queens Commissioner Maura McCarthy. Comment.

DOT takes action at fatal crossroads

An open letter to state Sen. Frank Padavan. Comment.

Don’t trust mayor, schools chancellor over treatment of teachers

Mayor Bloomberg recently announced an imaginary deal to prevent thousands of teacher layoffs. Comment.

Arizona law proven un-American

I want to thank your newspaper for your June 17 editorial “Arizona’s Hate Draws Anger Here,” which was critical of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law. Comment.

Tell mayor we need fire companies

Preserving public safety is the government’s No. 1 responsibility and it should remain our first priority even in times of economic constraint. Comment.

Students right to cut school, march and protest planned MetroCard cuts

The students who walked out of school June 11 to protest the possibility of losing their free student MetroCards due to possible budget cuts by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority did the right thing. Comment.

The Free Ride Continues

At the last moment common, sense prevailed at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. It agreed not to eliminate free student MetroCards. Although we recognize the MTA is caught between a rock and hard place, continuing the free ride to and from school makes sense. Comment.

QueensLine: Problem with mail delivery lead to naming of Corona

In June 1868, Thomas Waite Howard moved to West Flushing. He found the community’s name confusing to both outsiders and the postal service since a good portion of the community’s mail ended up in Flushing. He petitioned the U.S. Post Office Department in Washington, D.C., to change the area’s name to “Corona,” an original name he coined for the area. His thinking was the “crown of Queens County.” Comment.

Dishing with Dee: Green venture group opens HQ in LIC with big bash

For those of you who like to check out for the readers’ comments on stories and columns in the TimesLedger Newspapers, I’d like to respond to one mentioning me by name last week. Comment.

Berger’s Burg: More marriages end in divorce than eternal bliss

Dietician lecturing to audience: “The material we put in our stomachs is enough to have killed most of you years ago. But what one comestible causes the most grief and suffering after it is ingested?” Comment.

Whitestone store has what children need

In the final years of her life, Ann Disponzio talked frequently about how she would have loved to have opened a consignment shop. Comment.
Astoria Times

Students welcome new PS 229 playground

Educators, area politicians and more than 1,300 elementary school students sang songs, threw baseballs and danced along to the New York City Police Department Drum Corps Tuesday as they celebrated the opening of their new school playground at Emanuel Kaplan/PS 229 in Woodside. Comment.

Bloomberg, music festival launch public piano project in Queens

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a city music festival kicked off a two-week program last week that will place 60 public pianos in public spaces throughout the five boroughs, including five in Queens, and allow for attendees to play them. Comment.

Feds want Flake associate for new VA plans

After years of postponed planning, the federal government has moved forward with its plans to redevelop the land of the St. Albans VA Hospital, but veterans in the area are furious they were left out of the discussions and over the choice for the developer, a former colleague of the Rev. Floyd Flake. Comment.

Employee stole South Ozone Pk. biz, $30K from family: DA

While a widow traveled overseas to bury her husband and son who died while working in a toxic sewer site in Jamaica last year, one of her spouse’s employees stole the family business from right underneath her, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.

Sunnysider named boro’s poet laureate

A self-described “once-global nomad,” who made Queens his home 10 years ago because he had no trouble “finding the world in it,” was installed as the borough’s fifth and latest poet laureate during a ceremony last week at Queens Borough Hall. Comment.

Astoria public school on Newsweek’s top 100 list

Newsweek’s list of the best public high schools in the country contains more than 1,600 exceptional schools throughout the nation. So the Baccalaureate School for Global Education considers it an honor to be ranked No. 38 on the list, making it the only high school in Queens to break into the top 100. Comment.

No. 7 subway train cuts will occur at year’s end

Transit officials are planning cuts in early morning No. 7 subway service toward the end of the year, including elimination of four express trains, according to the New York City Transit Authority. Comment.

Deal between state, MTA saves student MetroCards

The MTA has abandoned its plan to take away free MetroCards from nearly 600,000 students, perhaps the most contentious part of the agency’s cutbacks because of its dire financial plight. Comment.
Astoria Times

LIC rock wall gets $200,000 fed grant

A rock wall goes a long way toward developing an adolescent into an adult, the administrators of the Outward Bound program in Long Island City said. Comment.

Leaders disagree where to store LIC millstones

A trio of western Queens civics are fighting to preserve a pair of Long Island City millstones from the 17th century, but the groups are not necessarily in agreement on where to store the artifacts. Comment.

Lancman bill brings diversity to NY juries

Gov. David Paterson signed into law an act sponsored by state Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) designed to bring more minorities to jury pools that officials said have not always represented a fair cross-section of the community. Comment.
Astoria Times

Astoria attorney pushes reform in run for Gianaris’ seat

Astoria’s John Ciafone said he would go to Albany as a reformer with an emphasis on improving education, health care and transportation in his district if elected as the replacement for state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) this fall. Comment.

City starts project to preserve Jamaica Bay marshes

The city has begun a massive overhaul of its water treatment centers near Jamaica Bay in an attempt to save the ecosystem’s dying saltwater marshes. Comment.

I warned mayor: Ragusa

Queens Republican Party Chairman Phil Ragusa said he tried to dissuade Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s re-election campaign last year from dealing with GOP operative and Forest Hills resident John Haggerty Jr., who was indicted earlier this month on allegations he stole $1.1 million of the mayor’s money and lied to Bloomberg that the money would go to poll watching and ballot security operations. Comment.

DOE searches for gifted, talented admissions test

City education officials announced this week they plan to look for a new admissions test for public schools’ gifted and talented programs for the 2012-13 school year. Comment.

Queens’ M subway line named dirtiest by Straphangers report

The M line, which runs to Middle Village, has been designated the dirtiest in the New York City subway system, but the Straphangers Campaign said 11 other lines are in hot pursuit of the grimy title. Comment.

Livery vans to replace cut buses

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in Fresh Meadows Tuesday a new city pilot program that will provide group-ride livery van service to some commuters who will be affected by the elimination of 23 bus routes citywide and have limited access to other forms of public transportation. Comment.
Astoria Times

Father program begins in LIC

Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a citywide initiative from Long Island City last week that will enable city agencies to help fathers stay active in their children’s lives. Comment.

PETA wants store to stop selling pets Astoria shop badly damaged in blaze

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling on the owner of an Astoria pet store that was recently gutted by a fire to reopen the site as a pet supply store with an adoption center rather than selling dogs and cats. Comment.

Sampson, AEG in Aqueduct memo flap

State Sen. John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), the Democratic leader of the Senate, acknowledged sending a memo to a former colleague-turned-lobbyist representing Aqueduct Entertainment Group that led to AEG changing the terms of its bid for the video lottery terminal contract at Aqueduct. Comment.

Domestic ‘Partners’

Readers turn to the QGuide every week to learn something about the borough’s burgeoning arts scene. This week the newspaper found one of its own staff taking part in that community. Comment.

LIC jazz drummer merges music with activism

While many people attempt to impact others through song, lecture or writing, Vinson Valega uses jazz to encourage social change. Comment.

Woman killed by dog walker in Flushing

Police said a dog walker stabbed a 31-year-old woman to death inside her Flushing home Thursday, crashed a car into Flushing Bay and then killed himself several hours later by lying down on the tracks of the No. 7 line at the Hunters Point stop. Comment.

Queens’ M subway line named dirtiest by Straphangers report

The M line, which runs to Middle Village, has been designated the dirtiest in the New York City subway system, but the Straphangers Campaign said 11 other lines are in hot pursuit of the grimy title. Comment.

Astoria public school on Newsweek’s top 100 list

Newsweek’s list of the best public high schools in the country contains more than 1,600 exceptional schools throughout the nation. So the Baccalaureate School for Global Education considers it an honor to be ranked No. 38 on the list, making it the only high school in Queens to break into the top 100. Comment.

Sunnysider named boro’s poet laureate

A self-described “once-global nomad,” who made Queens his home 10 years ago because he had no trouble “finding the world in it,” was installed as the borough’s fifth and latest poet laureate during a ceremony last week at Queens Borough Hall. Comment.

Flake associate eyed for VA hospital contract

After years of postponed planning, the federal government has moved forward with its plans to redevelop the land of the St. Albans VA Hospital, but veterans in the area are furious they were left out of the discussions and over the choice for the developer, a former colleague of the Rev. Floyd Flake. Comment.

VIDEO: World Cup fever grips Steinway

Algerian and U.S. soccer fans flock to Steinway Street in Astoria for the World Cup matchup on June 23, 2010. Neither team was able to score throughout 90 minutes of play. Then with three minutes remaining, the United States put one in the net. Algerians said they would root for America in the rest of this year’s cup but had hope their team would be able to go all the way four years from now. Video by Christina Santucci Comment.

The Reel Queens: P.S.1 goes underground for ‘Greater New York’ showcase

Long Island City’s P.S.1 will screen a roster of experimental, independent and documentary films through October in a section of its underground vault that it recently transformed into a movie theater. Comment.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

City Planning Greenlights Flushing Commons and Macedonia Project

The City Planning Commission voted Wednesday morning to approve plans for the $850 million Flushing Commons mixed-use project and Macedonia Plaza affordable housing building to be built in downtown Flushing. Comment.

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