Today’s news:

Beware of identity thieves and parking at bus stops

Community Board 8 warned people to shred personal papers that might be used in identify theft. The city Consumer Affairs, Sanitation and Parks departments and Criminal Justice Office held the second annual Shred Fest in Queens, where machines shredded personal papers with Social Security numbers, credit card applications, pay stubs and bank statements.

The U.S. Treasury Department is urging people who receive federal benefits to switch to electronic payment. In doing so, senior citizens, people with disabilities and others would be able to safeguard their payments from financial crime. Receiving electronic payments eliminates the risk of stolen checks and helps protect the recipient from identity theft. If you would like to sign up, call 800−333−1795 or visit godirect.com or your local bank.

Last year, Cornerstone Medical Arts Hospital, at 159−05 Union Tnpk., opened. It is a rented, inpatient drug detoxification and rehabilitation facility. Patients stay from four to 10 days, but may remain for 30 days. There are 53 beds. It is a voluntary program. Patients are not under lock and key or allowed visitors. Patients are transported to Queens Hospital Center if ill.

Cornerstone is responsible for the location’s landscaping and snow removal. There are 200 employees, of which some live on site and some in various Queens. Parking on site and meals are provided for employees. Some community people objected to the facility when it was proposed, but I do not know of any complaints since it was opened. Last June, CB 8, civic leaders and representatives of elected officials received a guided tour of the facility. People can call CB 8 with any issues at 718−264−7895.

The NYPD Traffic Enforcement Unit is now enforcing the “don’t block the box” rule. If you block an intersection, you will receive a fine and have 2 12 points put on your license. Closer the home, I have noticed meter agents walking along Union Turnpike near 88th Street. If you stop your car at a bus stop, they will give you a ticket.

In the past few days, I noticed a parked car at a bus stop near Kent Street and my wife noticed a car which just stopped to let someone off at a bus stop. Both received tickets. The city is trying to speed up bus movement and fearful a car at a bus stop makes the bus stop way out in the second lane and thus slows down traffic and can cause an accident.

At the May 13 CB 8 meeting, a resolution was passed which opposed the closing of the Fire Marshal Base in Fort Totten. The highways and bridges near Fort Totten make it easy for fire marshals to move from borough to borough in an emergency. The resolution calls on other community boards and the City Council to work toward restoring the money for the base in Fort Totten.

The Parks Department has informed CB 8 there will be no New York Philharmonic Orchestra or Metropolitan Opera in Cunningham Park this summer, but there are other events in the park which will be listed in civic association newsletters and newspapers. Some are still being planned. The Marine Corps landing, usually held in Cunningham Park on the first day of Fleet Week, will now be held in Flushing Meadow Corona Park. The date and time have not been announced.

GOOD AND BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK: The city announced that since it inaugurated its million trees plan in 2007, a total of 173,299 trees have been planted. The city has also initiated a citizen−based stewardship corps offering workshops in urban tree care.

But the city, in its effort to rebuild Willets Point, has just closed 11 businesses which inspectors said have violations. The Iron Triangle is 62 acres with all types of businesses. The city never put in sewers, water pipes, sidewalks or paved streets and now suddenly says these businesses must be closed.

If the Iron Triangle is redeveloped, big developers will have multimillion−dollar contracts with some construction companies. At least construction workers will have jobs and there will be the need for the little people to run the new office buildings and stores and perform other janitorial and security services in the developed malls.

When the plans for this development were first announced, city officials put out the idea of using eminent domain to take this property away from owners so developers could rebuild for private profit all in the name of doing good things for the economy.

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