Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010

Judge issues restraining order against teacher firings at Merrick Academy

An Albany judge ordered a Jamaica charter school Wednesday to halt its efforts to fire a quarter of its staff. Comment

Wyckoff Hospital fetes miracle baby’s birthday

When the neonatal unit of Wyckoff Medical Center in Brooklyn held a surprise birthday party for 1-year-old Josiah Arroyo Monday, they greeted the little boy — whom they referred to as “Wyckoff’s Baby” — not as a patient but as a family member. Comment

Police investigate death of Richmond Hill man

RICHMOND HILL — A 58-year-old Richmond Hill man died early Monday morning after suffering trauma to the back of his head, police said. Comment

2 boro teens stole iPod from park-goer: Brown

JAMAICA — Two Jamaica teenagers were arrested after allegedly stealing from an individual sitting on a park bench in Jamaica Aug. 4, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment

Arverne man starved his dog to death: Brown

ARVERNE — An Arverne man was arrested and charged with starving his pet pit bull to death in July, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment

Miller lands endorsement from Weiner

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) and state Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) took the stage at the Ridgewood Older Adult Center last Thursday to announce Weiner’s endorsement of Miller in his re-election campaign. Comment

Bellerose veteran recounts battles in the skies over Japan

On the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, Sampson Lester Friedman left New York University and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, the predecessor of the U.S. Air Force. Comment

Park activist says no to Brookville party

Last year a family day at Brookville Park turned into an out-of-control bash where liquor was sold and liter was spread all over the southeast Queens greenspace. Comment

Battle brews over Ridgewood Theatre interior’s fate

Proponents of the Ridgewood Theatre, a historic movie house that has been closed since 2008, achieved a milestone earlier this year when the facade of the building and the marquee received landmark status, but now the building faces a conflict over the interior. Comment
Jackson Heights

Diversity essential to Jackson Heights’ future: Dromm

City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said that as Jackson Heights’ population grows, he is concerned longtime residents, some of whom may be low-income, may become the victims of gentrification. Comment

New machine for voting comes to boro

Queens legislators gathered in front of the Alexander Graham Bell School in Bayside Sunday to urge residents to educate themselves on the new voting procedures they will encounter next month when they cast ballots in the primary. Comment
Fresh Meadows

Coyle takes over 107th top post from Cirabisi

The 107th Precinct in Fresh Meadows has changed leadership, with Capt. Michael Coyle replacing Deputy Inspector Stephen Cirabisi at the beginning of August. Comment

Residents: Kew Gardens jail plan increases traffic

City officials announced last week that the Kew Gardens jail on Queens Boulevard will reopen in a move that has concerned residents who said it could add traffic to already-congested streets. Comment

GOP’s Powietrzynski runs for Hevesi’s seat

Alex Powietrzynski, a Republican running for state Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi’s (D-Forest Hills) seat, grew up as communism was dissolving in Poland and cultivated a hyper-awareness of politics and its direct impact on people. Comment

Gillibrand asks Senate to vote against scams

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) along with senior advocates from Queens gathered in Rego Park last week to call on the Senate to pass legislation that would help prevent Queens residents from becoming victims of financial scams. Comment
Forest Hills Ledger

67th Rd. benches cleaned

As Forest Hills resident Steve Melnick drove by a park on Queens Boulevard and 67th Road recently, he noticed something strange. Comment

Community offers views on tennis stadium proposal

Cord Meyer Development Co.’s proposal to transform the West Side Tennis Club’s stadium in Forest Hills into luxury condominiums received a mixed response from community members last week, with some saying they want to see the stadium landmarked and others backing plans for development. Comment

Martins Field neglected as city gravesite

It’s the middle of August and the grass has turned brown in many of Flushing’s outdoor spaces from Kissena Park to Flushing Cemetery. Comment

Boro eatery discriminated

A Flushing restaurant has admitted to discriminating against customers who practice Falun Gong and violating their civil rights, the U.S. Department of Justice said. Comment

Not a Hero

It is a symptom of the age we live in that a JetBlue flight attendant who scolded a passenger over the plane’s intercom before grabbing two beers and sliding down the plane’s emergency chute became an overnight celebrity. Thousands of Internet bloggers and some newspaper columnists see Steven Slater, 38, as America’s new folk hero. Comment

Tabone’s challenge knocks Speranza off primary ballot

Former police officer Rob Speranza was knocked off the ballot last week in the race for state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza’s (D-Bayside) seat, leaving Republican Vince Tabone without a primary challenger. Comment

PBA backs Padavan run to retain seat in Senate

State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) picked up a key endorsement from the city Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association this week, while his challenger, former City Councilman Tony Avella, captured the support of the Freelancers Union. Comment

Bayside woman’s essays on life get published

A retired Bayside school teacher has released her first book of essays following 20 years of having her writing published in high-profile magazines, newspapers and anthologies. Comment

Duane seeks Assembly return

John Duane said he will draw from his Albany experiences but act as a “citizen legislator” if elected this fall as a replacement for state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside). Comment

Conviction of Friedman upheld

A panel of federal appeals judges ruled this week not to overturn a Great Neck, L.I., man’s conviction made famous in the documentary “Capturing the Friedmans,” but they called for the sexual abuse case against the son of a former Bayside HS teacher to be reopened. Comment

Bayside firefighter saves teen off duty

A Bayside off-duty firefighter’s quick-thinking and heroic behavior saved a 15-year-old boy and his pup last week after the 26-year-old FDNY employee overheard an emergency phone call being made about a fire near the Queens gym where he works out. Comment

Auburndale residents call for curbs to be replaced

In 1973, long-time Auburndale resident Mary Donahue took it upon herself to do something about the neglected litter-strewn, planted malls that divide the two lanes of 46th Avenue near her 194th Street home. Comment

Bank robber caught near scene of the crime: Cops

FOREST HILLS — A Forest Hills man was arrested Aug. 11 after he allegedly robbed a Forest Hills bank the same day, police said. Comment

Halloran helps with fallen tree

City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) was elected to the 19th Council District less than a year ago, but for me he has already moved mountains. Comment

St. Mary’s administration harms the state’s budget and taxpayers

In the Aug. 5-11 edition of the Bayside Times, there appeared an editorial denouncing me (“A Better St. Mary’s”), as head of the East Bayside Homeowners Association for our opposition to any expansion of St. Mary’s Hospital, a position the EBHA has held for one-third of a century because such a commercial enterprise should never have been allowed in a one-family residential area and certainly should not be allowed to expand. Comment

Voters must elect reformers to clean up U.S. Congress

If your car breaks down and someone recommends a mechanic to repair it, the first question you are likely to ask is: Can I trust the mechanic? Today, our nation’s economic engine has stalled and it is unclear that we can trust those in Congress responsible for getting us on the road to recovery. Comment

Jamaica Bay’s bird population always amazes

At the end of July, I went to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge with a friend who had never been there. We first walked the West Pond, seeing feeding ospreys, an oystercatcher, some immature yellow-crowned night herons and a variety of waterfowl. Then after going through the Visitors Center on the way to the East Pond on the other side of Cross Bay Boulevard, a woman at the desk made our day. She told us to go to the pond’s south end where there will be an opportunity to see shorebirds. Comment

Islamic center at WTC a symbol of freedom, not extremism

As an openly gay man and progressive elected official, I am weary of anything that smacks of fundamentalism or other form of extremism. That is why I thought carefully about the reasons I support the Islamic center near the World Trade Center site. Comment

Support boro biz to stimulate economy

A survey conducted by U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) last month of 10 popular shopping hotspots in Queens has revealed that an average of 12 percent of all storefronts are either closed or closing. Comment

Teachers trump computers

While it is important for students in our schools to become familiar with computer technology, it is just as important to remember that computers must not and will not ever take the place of classroom teachers. Comment

In Defense of Public Service

If you torture statistics enough, they will confess to anything. Case in point: a report published last week in USA Today that carried the headline “Federal workers earning double their private counterparts.” It was accompanied by charts that showed federal, city and state workers receiving far more in salaries and benefits on average than their counterparts in the private sector. The report has fueled the fire of right-wing zealots. Comment

Our History: ‘Invalid Corps’ created in wake of the Battle of Long Island

In August 1776, an important first test was faced by the American patriots in the Revolutionary War when they met up against the British and Hessians in the important Battle of Long Island. Outnumbered as they were by the English, they were overwhelmed by the enormity of the task and their ensuing defeat. Comment

Political Action: Miller faces primary opponents on both Dem, Conservative lines

After almost 30 years of limited political confrontation and little active election hostility, the 38th state Assembly District in southwest Queens has exploded into a three-way battle for control of that district seat. This district, located on the Brooklyn-Queens border, includes parts of Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale and Ridgewood. Comment

I Sit And Look Out: Lie hinders average citizen from performing his duty

My parents and others taught me that when you see an injustice, you speak out against it. Keeping silent in the face of evil, they made clear, was not acceptable. Comment

Dishing with Dee: Turner, Messer hope to become new blood in Weiner seat race

Have you noticed all the new, non-incumbent-type of candidates cropping up all over the political landscape? I have not as yet met all the new contenders, but some of the ones I did meet were quite impressive. One who instantly comes to mind is Conservative-Republican Bob Turner, who is running for U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s 9th District seat, which covers part of Brooklyn and part of Queens. Comment

Berger’s Burg: Willpower useless against three dreaded n’s of my life

Addict: one who is addicted especially to a substance. — Merriam-Webster dictionary Comment

Flushing biz better than an alarm company

As a former police officer, John DiBella knows about preventing crime. Comments (1)

Biz owners, Weiner bemoan high rents

Vacant stores in Queens have as much to do with landlords who charge extravagant rents as they do with the sour economy, residents told U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) at a meeting in Kew Gardens last week. Comment

Unisphere fountain turns on waterworks

The Unisphere and its magnificent fountains have been returned to their full glory at last, city Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said at the ribbon-cutting of the newly restored fountains last Thursday. Comment
Astoria Times

Pawn shop rankles biz owners

The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce has raised concerns over a pawnshop planned for the corner of Queens Boulevard and 46th Street, but after discussions between City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), state Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood) and the owner, the fears may be allayed. Comment
Astoria Times

Long Island City show releases tension with soothing art

Artists and borough residents celebrated National Relaxation Day at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City Sunday with an exhibit that explored the idea of rest, including a piece that was slowly melting and another made with flowers that are typically placed at grave sites. Comment

Gillibrand talks unemployment in visit to Queens

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said a complete financial turnaround for the country’s economy will not be coming any time soon, but she is working to bring jobs that would help Queens residents and individuals facing a state unemployment rate of at least 8 percent. Comment

QIFF founder stole $14K: DA

Marie Castaldo, the founder and executive director of the Queens International Film Festival, has been accused of bilking four vendors associated with the 2007 and 2008 festivals out of $14,000 just two weeks after she was charged upstate with failing to provide sustenance to more than 40 dogs she was keeping in cages, the Queens district attorney said. Comment

Moving Image gives update on renovation

The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria gave a sneak preview of its progress on the $67 million renovation and expansion project last Thursday as the museum’s director said the western Queens attraction is set to reopen in less than six months. Comment

MTA introduces new website to keep track of transit projects

Despite present financial difficulties, the MTA is building big for the future and has invited the public to follow the progress of some of the greatest changes in the transit system since its inception. Comment

Monserrate behind Moya in race funds

Former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate faces an uphill battle in restoring his public image after being ousted from the Senate in February for assaulting his girlfriend, but he is also far behind his opponent, community activist Francisco Moya, in campaign financing as he prepares for the Sept. 14 Democratic primary for the Assembly. Comment

Flushing man pleads not guilty on terrorism charges

One of three former Flushing High School students charged in connection with an alleged plot to blow up bombs in the city subway system has pleaded not guilty to several charges. Comment

Two LIJ hospitals named in U.S. News’ top rankings

Two North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System hospitals were ranked among the best hospitals in the country in the latest issue of U.S. News & World Report. Comment

City studying possible ferry to LaGuardia

Ferry service to LaGuardia Airport and Astoria is among many locations involved in a study under way by a city agency, although it is not on the horizon yet. Comment

K-Rod busted for swinging at in-law: DA

The bad news keeps coming for star Mets pitcher Francisco Rodriguez — known to fans as K-Rod — as the fallout from his infamous alleged assault of his father-in-law at Citi Field last week continues. Comment

Slater plane story scrutinized

Ever since he was released from jail last week, JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater has been basking in the limelight for allegedly sounding off against an irate passenger and using an emergency chute to leave the plane at John F. Kennedy International Airport, but investigators are trying to determine if the stunt inside the jet was a tall tale. Comment

Jawin steps up efforts to move women’s center to Fort Totten

The Center for the Women of New York President Ann Jawin said she hopes a meeting held this week between herself, elected officials’ representatives and the city will help to resolve years of red tape she said has prevented her group from moving into a building in Fort Totten in Bayside. Comment

Huntley finds strength after she gets threat

The race between Lynn Nunes and state Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) heated up last week after the incumbent fought back against a threat left at her doorstep and the challenger collected a key endorsement. Comment

DEP to embark on project to clean up Jamaica Bay

The city Department of Environmental Protection has announced plans that would not only help Jamaica Bay’s environmentally sensitive ecosystem, but also clean up the air in the nearby southeast Queens communities. Comment

Botanical Gardens names tree for boro Boy Scouts leader

When two members of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey were killed during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Director of Aviation William DeCota worked hard with the Queens Botanical Garden to make sure their lives were honored by naming trees after them. Comment

Van Bramer lands $30K for anti-graffiti hotline

For western Queens residents and shop owners who have had their buildings tagged or otherwise vandalized by graffiti, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s (D-Sunnyside) new hotline will lessen their hardship at no cost. Comment

Mayor promotes new signals to help pedestrians

For pedestrians — especially seniors — crossing Queens’ major roads can be harrowing at best and at worst fatal, a fact underscored by the most recent death of a 76-year-old Kew Gardens man crossing Queens Boulevard. Yet Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s new initiative is aimed at making crossing the streets much safer. Comment

Genting gets Silver’s OK on Aqueduct deal

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) signed off on the deal to award the Aqueduct video lottery terminal contract to Genting NY, giving the subsidiary of the Malaysian-based company the last piece of the legislative approval it needs to go forward with the project. Comment

Ackerman to secure $100K for NYHQ

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) said legislation that includes a collective $640,000 in funding for New York Hospital Queens and the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Hospital system was approved by a House committee Friday and is expected to pass the full House in the fall. Comment

Good News

Longtime Jamaica resident, musician and pastor Shiloh Brown said that ever since he began singing at the age of 5, music has inspired him to lead a life in the arts and spread that influence to others. Comment

Woodside theater company mounts Shakespeare fest

There’s no need to camp out on line at Central Park this summer to catch free performances of Shakespeare in the park —Woodside-based nonprofit theater company Hip to Hip will bring several Shakespearian classics to various Queens parks this month. Outdoor performances of “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Macbeth” will be offered Wednesdays through Sundays through Aug. 25. Comment

Dining Out: Katmandu Spice: Woodside Asian melange falls short

Queens rules when it comes to ethnic dining. We can take a “staycation” by sampling the world’s fare anytime we like. Not only can we choose from a staggering number of nationalities, but also select among their regional cuisines. We also have some idiosyncratic combo cuisines like Thai bagel joints or a restaurant that melds Brazilian with Turkish. So when Katmandu Spice opened in Woodside, promising “Brazilian BBQ Asian Fusion,” we were psyched to discover another one of these weirdly wonderful symbioses — but reality bit. Comment

The Reel Queens: Astoria filmmakers bring Queens-set short to New York

A husband-and-wife filmmaking team from Astoria will make their East Coast debut this month at the New York City International Film Festival with a screening of their short film “Text Me,” which will also be shown in Times Square. Comment



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