• December 18, 2014
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Queens Chronicle

Central/Mid Queens News

Stories from Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens, Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale, Ridgewood, Briarwood and Elmhurst

Top Story

State funds granted for QueensWay work

QueensWay: 1. Rail: 0.Supporters of the idea to turn the abandoned Rockaway Beach rail line into an elevated park similar to Manhattan’s High Line scored a victory on Friday, as $443,750 was awarded to the QueensWay project through Gov. Cuomo’s New York City Regional Economic Development Council.

CB 5 gives The Back Yard the OK
Posted: December 18, 2014

Once any snow we may get melts and the weather warms up again, Ridgewood residents may have yet another unique, brand-new eatery to kick back and relax at.

Community Board 5 voted 24-7 in favor of granting a 600-plus person seasonal beer and wine license to The Back Yard, an outdoor gathering space planned for 56-06 Cooper Ave. in Ridgewood, last Wednesday.

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Residents hammer home Pan Am slam
Posted: December 18, 2014

Opponents of the Pan American Hotel’s transformation into a homeless shelter six months ago have new ammunition in their fight to get the shelter shut down.

On Friday, members of the civic group Elmhurst United, other area residents and state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) rallied outside the shelter to shed light on living conditions they described as “horrendous” inside the Boulevard Family Residence in a press release announcing the event.

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Mayor signs shelter eligibility bill into law
Posted: December 18, 2014

Victims of domestic violence will now have an easier pathway into the city’s homeless shelter system.

At a Friday press conference at City Hall, Mayor de Blasio signed into law Intro 361-a, which grants a presumption of eligibility for applicants to the city shelter system who are exiting Human Resources Administration domestic violence shelters.

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104th Precinct talks recent rise in robberies
Posted: December 18, 2014

Crime continues to drop in the 104th Precinct. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be ugly blips on the radar every now and then.

At the 104th Precinct Community Council meeting on Tuesday, Capt. Chris Manson, the squad room’s commanding officer, said crime is down significantly in the jurisdiction, made up of Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood and Glendale.

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Kew Gardens water main work complete
Posted: December 18, 2014

Kew Gardens residents can now enjoy the finest tap water from sea to shining sea.

That’s according to Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), in response to the city’s completion of a $10.6 million overhaul of the neighborhood’s aging water main network, announced Friday by the Department of Design and Construction and the Department of Environmental Protection.

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Do it for Danny: Boy’s strength still inspires
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 12:31 pm

The star of the St. John’s men’s basketball team is not the tattooed shooting guard with the sweet jump shot.

It’s not the lengthy center with the imposing presence on defense.

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Police accountability rally held in Rego Park
Posted: December 18, 2014

Protesters gathered outside the Queens Center mall in Rego Park on Sunday, calling for justice for victims of police violence and an indictment of Police Officer Peter Liang, who fatally shot Akai Gurley in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project last month.

Coordinated by DRUM — South Asian Organizing Center, formerly Desis Rising Up and Moving — and the Center for the Acceleration of African American Businesses, close to 80 people took park in a spoken-word event inside Burlington Coat Factory.

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BP Katz hears land use pleas and plans
Posted: December 18, 2014

Just in time for Hanukkah, Borough President Melinda Katz heard explanations from the representatives of an illegally operated synagogue in Kew Gardens Hills at last Thursday’s land use hearing at Borough Hall.

According to Sheldon Lobel, the attorney for Torah Haim Ohel Sara at 144-11 77 Ave., the synagogue’s owners are seeking an extension from the Board of Standards and Appeals in order to give themselves more time to obtain a certificate of occupancy.

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Select Bus Service will make Woodhaven worse
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 12:42 pm

Action needs to be taken to improve mobility between northern and southern Queens along the Woodhaven Boulevard corridor, including to and from Midtown Manhattan.

A new study by Queens College, Community Impact Study of Proposed Uses of the Rockaway Beach Branch Right of Way, reports that the region’s transit users must endure a subway trip that is 42 percent longer than the New York City average. In some cases, such as from Far Rockaway to Midtown, the subway journey time is at least an hour. Travel to other parts of Queens can exceed two hours. In contrast, the Long Island Rail Road trains that crossed Jamaica Bay on the Rockaway Beach Line took as little as 43 minutes.

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Thursday 12/18/2014
Cuomo vetoes Avella bill to save the swans
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:11 pm

Gov. Cuomo on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have delayed a plan to kill or remove every mute swan in the state. The Department of Environmental Conservation considers the birds an invasive species and wants all 2,200 of them in the state gone by 2025.

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A Christmas classic
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:12 pm

Students at St. Stanislaus Kostka School at 61-17 Grand Ave. in Maspeth received an early Christmas present last Friday, as a classical quartet from the Aaron Copeland School of Music at Queens College performed for the students.

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Menorah destroyed on Hollis Hills site
Posted: December 18, 2014

Chanukah, the festival of lights, has been dimmed in Hollis Hills this year after vandals destroyed a community menorah.

For seven years, the community has been celebrating Chanukah by lighting a giant menorah at the traffic island on Union Turnpike at 220th Street during the eight-day Jewish holiday. But right before the first candle was to be lit on Tuesday night, residents discovered it had been overturned and the lighting mechanisms destroyed.

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Curbside pickups of ‘e-waste’ banned
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 12:25 pm

Beginning Jan. 1 the Department of Sanitation will no longer collect old electronics left at the curbside. That includes computers, televisions, DVD players, keyboards, MP3 players, video game consoles and a variety of other devices.

The change stems from a state law that will make it illegal to throw out such electronics in the regular trash. The goal of the 2010 Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act is to encourage the proper disposal of potentially harmful electronic waste. Residents who leave such items at their curbs may receive a summons and most will have to bring them to designated drop-off sites.

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DSNY authorized to remove illegal bins
Posted: December 18, 2014

The city Department of Sanitation is now authorized to immediately seize illegitimate clothing donation bins placed throughout the city — a process that previously took more than a month — after the City Council approved new legislation last month and it went unaddressed by Mayor de Blasio.

“While we want to encourage New Yorkers to donate clothing and other materials to those in need, we also want to ensure that organizations collecting these items are doing so responsibly, and this bill will achieve both of those goals,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan, Bronx) said in a written statement.

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City educators rank highly, report says
Posted: December 18, 2014

More than 90 percent of city teachers and principals were rated as effective or highly effective in the state’s Annual Professional Performance Review in the first year that the five boroughs were graded under the assessment system.

“For our schools to succeed, we need to hold ourselves accountable for the development of our educators,” city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fari–a said in a written statement after the report was released on Tuesday. “At the same time, a well-developed evaluation system — with four, much more nuanced ratings, instead of only two — helps us identify and provide specific support to struggling teachers, as well as identify those who do not belong in the classroom.”

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Toy drive ends soon; gifts still needed
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 12:29 pm

The clock is ticking and soon the 20th annual Queens Chronicle Toy Drive will be over. Won’t you please contribute before the deadline on Monday, Dec. 22?

This year, the Chronicle is collecting gifts for children in four Queens city homeless shelters and a safe house in Eastern Queens for victims of domestic violence.

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Reforms to assist mentally ill inmates
Posted: December 18, 2014

New York City will spend $130 million over the next four years, as part of a comprehensive plan to reduce crime, jail re-entry and the number of people with mental illnesses, who are often locked up for minor offenses.

The plan, proposed by Mayor de Blasio’s Task Force on Behavioral Health and the Criminal Justice System, came in response to a number of cases in which mentally ill inmates died under questionable conditions at Rikers Island, the country’s second-largest correction facility.

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HIV-prevention pill made available to young people
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 12:50 pm

An HIV diagnosis is no longer the death sentence it once was, as patients are now able to treat the condition with medication and live well into their 80s, but there are still 16,000 cases in Queens alone, according to health officials, and young gay and bisexual men are most adversely affected.

Now there is a way to proactively reduce the risk of infection, by taking a pill called Truvada every day. The method is called PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, and doctors say it’s 99 percent effective when it’s done right. Increasing access to PrEP is part of Gov. Cuomo’s three-point plan to decrease new HIV infections. Fewer than 2,000 people are taking Truvada nationwide.

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Crowley butts heads over FDNY women
Posted: December 18, 2014

State Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) last week dismissed Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s (D-Glendale) assertion about gender discrimination in hiring at the Fire Department, instead arguing that most women are simply not interested to become firefighters or aren’t fit for the job.

Savino made those comments in a Facebook post, moments after a City Council Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice hearing, chaired by Crowley, grilled Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro about the lack of female representation in the department. The state senator dismissed Crowley’s claims that the FDNY is using “excessive testing” and rigorous exercises which cause women to drop out of the academy.

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Storm Warning
Posted: December 18, 2014

It’s been a long time since I and many other St. John’s alumni around my age have said we’re proud of our basketball team, since our college squad has energized its fan base like this.

It’s been a few years since Red Storm players have been asked what it’s like to be the best hoops team in the city, if not the best ball club in the five boroughs in any sport.

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Q58 is Queens’ slowest bus, report
Posted: December 18, 2014

For the third consecutive time, the Q58 route between Ridgewood and Flushing Main Street, won the Pokey Awards for what it’s best at: being the slowest bus in the Borough of Queens.

According to an annual report on public transit released by the Straphangers Campaign last week, Q58 travels at 7 mph.

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QUICK HITS
Posted: December 18, 2014

State law: no more tattoos or piercings for Rover and Fluffy

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Men’s fitness classes
Posted: December 18, 2014

The Middle Village Adult Center, located at 69-10 75 St., now offers a one-hour men’s fitness class twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays from 8:45 to 9:45 a.m. The class is taught by Gerard, a city Parks and Recreation-certified instructor. It has three components: cardio aerobics, upperbody toning (using bands and weights) and muscle stretching.

The class is geared for all levels of experience, from those who have not worked out in years to the experienced exerciser.

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New lawyers in offing for Halloran, Tabone
Posted: December 18, 2014

Halloran, Tabone and outgoing state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) were among six people arrested in 2013 in connection with an alleged plot for Smith, a lifelong Democrat, to bribe his way onto the city’s 2013 Republican mayoral ballot.

Halloran was convicted in July of taking bribes to act as a go-between for Smith and GOP officials in the city, who would have had to approve the party switch.

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’Tis the season to give
Posted: December 18, 2014

The spirit of giving has gotten into the employees of Astoria Bank at 75-25 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village.

The workers, joined by branch manager Alphonse Gentile, center, and Marine Corps League Assistant Area Vice Commandant James Seaman helped organize a Toys for Tots drive at the location. They also contributed to the Chronicle’s 20th annual toy and gift drive this year.

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Holiday tips to keep pets safe
Posted: December 18, 2014

Central Veterinary Associates has released several tips to keep your pets safe this holiday season. The veterinary practice, with offices in Bayside, Forest Hills and Far Rockaway, stresses the unintended hazards seemingly harmless decorations may pose for pets. Among the tips are these:

•Make sure that your Christmas tree is properly secured in its stand so it won’t fall on a pet and beware that the water in the stand may contain bacteria harmful to them.

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CB 5 votes on gym, industry
Posted: December 18, 2014

In addition to a lengthy discussion and vote on The Back Yard last Wednesday, Community Board 5 also took a stand on a proposed gym expansion and a November City Council pro-industry report.

On Nov. 19, the City Council released a 40-page assessment of the decline of the city’s manufacturing sector. In it, the governing body entertained the idea of three new zoning districts — industrial employment, creative economy and real mixed-use districts — to help reinvigorate industry and manufacturing in the city.

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