• February 20, 2018
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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

Georgia Diner set to close March 25

The Georgia Diner in Elmhurst will be closing for good on March 25 after 40 years of serving hungry customers.Management confirmed the pending closure to the Chronicle last Friday, one week after a demolition permit for the structure was filed with the Department of Buildings.

City will phase out the Comfort Inn next year
Posted: February 15, 2018

The city will start housing homeless families instead of single men at the Comfort Inn in Kew Gardens beginning in June, and the hotel will stop being used as an emergency homeless shelter altogether by Feb. 12, 2019.

That’s according to Human Resources Adminstration Commissioner Steve Banks, who made those promises in a Monday letter to Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) on Monday.

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Malcolm X controversy at Christ the King HS
Posted: February 15, 2018

Christ the King High School has drawn the ire of the Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, after a student’s request to have “Malcolm X” printed on his $40 senior jacket was denied.

Malcolm Xavier Combs — an honors student at the Middle Village school who was named after the civil rights leader — told the Daily News last Thursday that adminstrators denied his request, alleging that officials told him he “did want to be associated” with Malcolm X. Each senior has the ability to purchase a customized jacket.

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Kew Gdns. man fined over anti-Holden ads
Posted: February 15, 2018

A Kew Gardens man is facing stiff fines for not properly reporting negative advertisements slamming now-Councilman Bob Holden (D-Glendale) that he paid for just before Election Day last year.

The New York City Campaign Finance Board levied two penalties against Michael Ricatto last Friday, the first being a $1,980 fine in connection to newspaper advertisements he took out on Nov. 2 in multiple editions of the Chronicle and three other Queens publications — as well as anti-Holden robocalls on Oct. 31 and Nov. 5.

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Jets honor Queens Metro for anti-bullying work
Updated: February 15, 2018 - 12:36 pm

Long before Long Island City resident Tony Richardson was named to the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team or inducted into the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, he was just a kid with an afro who changed schools every two years.

The son of a soldier, Richardson was born on a military base in Germany and frequently moved around the world with his family. And each move brought with it a new town, a new school and a new set of challenges.

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Transgender activist to primary Barnwell
Posted: February 15, 2018

Transgender activist and longtime city Democratic Party leader Melissa Sklarz says she will primary first-term Assemblyman Brian Barnwell (D-Maspeth).

Sklarz announced her candidacy on her Facebook page last Thursday, saying she is one of the hundreds of Democrats around the country who have been at least partly inspired to run for office by the election of Donald Trump.

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Heroic Glendale boy is laid to rest
Posted: February 15, 2018

Glendale youngster Anthony Perez should have spent Monday morning at school at PS/IS 113 and the afternoon playing with friends.

Instead, his family was laying their 11-year-old relative to rest, six days after Perez died saving a friend who had fallen through the ice at Forest Park’s Strack Pond.

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CB 5 again resists Italian street fair
Posted: February 15, 2018

Community Board 5 voted down the Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens’ permit application for its four-day Ridgewood street festival for the fourth year in a row last Wednesday — but not before some intraboard strife over the procedure used to do so.

The Italian organization, as it has for the past 25 years, had filed plans to host its popular annual festival on a five-block stretch of Fresh Pond Road between Woodbine and Menahan streets from Thursday, Sept. 6 to Sunday, Sept. 9.

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Elmhurst LIRR stop still a long way off
Posted: February 15, 2018

As new residential buildings rise at a breakneck pace along Queens Boulevard — along with the population of Elmhurst as a whole — area leaders say the need for a Long Island Rail Road stop in the community is greater than ever.

But when rivets will actually meet the beams there isn’t so black and white.

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Lanes, cameras and tickets — oh my!
Updated: February 15, 2018 - 12:28 pm

Final warning.

The Department of Transportation announced Monday that people caught driving in the bus lanes on Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards when not permitted will be issued violations starting Tuesday.

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CB 9 backs Hevesi’s homeless proposal
Posted: February 15, 2018

Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills) said Tuesday he’s gotten multiple community boards, fellow Assembly members, state senators, city officials and more to support his $450 million plan to replace city and state rental supplements with a single statewide one.

But there is one, very important person who does not back it — Gov. Cuomo.

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Guilty verdict for killer of celebrity Forest Hills jeweler
Posted: February 15, 2018

A suspended MTA train operator who ran over a celebrity Forest Hills jeweler three years ago has been found guilty of manslaughter.

District Attorney Richard Brown announced Monday that a jury has convicted Valley Stream, LI resident Charles Jordan for mowing down Aron “Eric” Aranbayev in front of his 71st Avenue home on July 19, 2015 — the only homicide in the 112th Precinct that year.

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Reservoir put on Nat’l historic places register
Posted: February 15, 2018

Community leaders and environmental activists are celebrating now that the Ridgewood Reservoir has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Parks Service made the move on Feb. 2, with leadership from environmental education group NYC H2O making the announcement to Community Board 5 last Wednesday night.

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Rego woman ran visa fraud ring: prosecutor
Posted: February 15, 2018

A Rego Park woman has been indicted in federal court for allegedly running a visa fraud scheme in which she smuggled Armenian nationals into the United States, charging them thousands of dollars in the process.

According to U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue, 47-year-old Stella Boyadjian — an Armenian-born, naturalized American citizen — was arraigned last Wednesday on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, 10 counts of visa fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

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Friday 02/16/2018
Five things to do in Queens this weekend! Feb. 16-18
Updated: February 16, 2018 - 1:24 pm

It’s starting to feel a bit like spring out there, but of course it’s not, and in fact we may get 4 to 8 inches of snow overnight Saturday into Sunday. At least so sayeth the National Weather Service as of this writing. Regardless, you’ve got things to do and places to go! Maybe even one of these five things to do in Queens this weekend.

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Thursday 02/15/2018
JHS 157 Robotics Team, the HALSEY BULLDOGS, honor principal Vincent Suraci
Updated: February 16, 2018 - 10:47 am

My name is Dan A. Viderman, I am a seventh-grade student enrolled in the Stephen A. Halsey Honors Program AT JHS 157 in Rego Park.

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New tax cuts a win for boro commerce?
Updated: February 15, 2018 - 12:27 pm

Many say the tax bill signed by President Trump is just a gift to the biggest corporations. But in Queens, it’s not only the largest companies that are seeing positive results.

Count borough native Tom Clarke as a big fan of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. He’s a franchisee of Arby’s locations in Fresh Meadows and Middle Village, along with Burger Kings in Douglaston and Springfield Gardens.

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NYPD rolls out body cameras in the 103rd
Updated: February 15, 2018 - 12:45 pm

The NYPD’s 103rd Precinct is one of the first in the department to have its officers fully outfitted with body cameras.

Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune, commanding officer of the 103rd, announced the move Tuesday night at the monthly meeting of the precinct’s Community Council.

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Queens cool to Trump infrastructure plans
Posted: February 15, 2018

President Trump’s long-awaited national infrastructure initiative delivers a lot less than promised, according to federal and local officials here.

A 55-page summary of a plan the president had been promising since he was a candidate would commit $200 billion in federal funds while seeking to leverage an additional $1.5 trillion from state and local governments and private investment.

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Business sector wary of trash pickup zones
Posted: February 15, 2018

Anyone opening a brick-and-mortar business in New York City must factor in the cost of selecting a private garbage collection service.

But the city and the Department of Sanitation are working on a five-year plan in which officials would divide all five boroughs into zones, each with a single, city-selected commercial carter.

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Activists, U.S. agency wary of FAA decision
Updated: February 16, 2018 - 12:10 pm

Like many other quiet skies advocates in northeast Queens, Maria Becce of Broadway-Flushing is far from a fan of the TNNIS climb flight procedure from LaGuardia Airport.

The noisy NextGen departure procedure, which was created to spare the US Open tournament in Flushing Meadows Corona Park of irritating airplane noise, became frequent in northeast Queens in 2012. It has led residents of Bayside and Flushing to heavily criticize the Federal Aviation Administration.

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Iconic SFP coach Tim Leary dies of cancer
Posted: February 15, 2018

New York State’s high school basketball history is long and storied, with many of the most iconic names in the history of the sport coming from the Empire State.

But men like St. Francis Prep head coach Tim Leary were few and far between.

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Trump’s plans could hurt bus, rail projects
Posted: February 15, 2018

President Trump’s proposed budget and infrastructure plans released Monday call for a drastic cut in federal dollars that New York City is seeking to fund the second phase of Select Bus Service on Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards, the continuation of the Second Avenue Subway and other projects.

The budget would essentially call for the elimination of the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant program, known as New Starts.

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Small details lead to big arrests in 103rd
Posted: February 15, 2018

Even in the most important police investigations, little things can mean a lot.

Speaking Tuesday night at a meeting of the 103rd Precinct Community Council, Deputy Inspector Peter Fortune, the precinct’s commander, said a little bit of shoe-leather police work and a relatively small number of arrests in the last few weeks have closed more than a dozen open cases; and in one case, defused a domestic situation with a man who allegedly turned out to be heavily armed.

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Charter school founder presents plans to CB4
Posted: February 15, 2018

Parents only have two choices of middle schools in the immediate South Corona area, according to Mitchell Flax. The public school, IS 61, is overcrowded. The private school, St. Leo Catholic Academy, might not be affordable to some low-income residents.

On Tuesday, Flax pitched a third option, the Valence College Preparatory Charter School, to Community Board 4.

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Lancman tries again on youth lineup bill
Posted: February 15, 2018

Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) this week told the Chronicle that he will reintroduce a bill that would prohibit the NYPD from using minors as fillers in criminal identification lineups without parental permission.

“It’s the same bill as last year,” Lancman said, referring to a measure he introduced last fall that simply ran out of time before the election of a new City Council.

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State of the city is a ‘fair’ to remember
Posted: February 15, 2018

Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City address on Tuesday did not have the level of splashy programs that he has unveiled in the past, but instead focused on what he believes defines fairness.

“Three years, 10 months and 15 days — that’s how long this administration has to ensure that we become the fairest big city in America,” de Blasio said. “And we will take on that mission and we will do it with speed and we’ll do it with urgency.”

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Trash piles up at SBS stop
Posted: February 15, 2018

Neither the Department of Transportation nor the Sanitation Department provided clear answers on when trash cans may be placed at median bus stops along Woodhaven Boulevard, after piles of litter were left behind last Friday.

Both agencies were sent the above photo — which shows mounds of garbage at the bus stop on the southwest corner of Woodhaven Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue — and asked when cans would be placed there. A DOT spokesman said, “We’re looking into this matter” and the DSNY did not respond by press time.

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Judge hits 5Pointz developer with fine
Updated: February 15, 2018 - 12:37 pm

A federal judge on Monday ruled the owner of the former site of 5Pointz in Long Island City violated federal copyright law when he had the graffiti mecca whitewashed in 2013 and must pay the artists $6.75 million.

U.S. District Judge Frederic Block found Gerald Wolkoff, owner of the property at 45-46 Davis St., should be penalized because he did not wait for the proper permits before having the artwork painted over and did not give the artists a chance to salvage their work, a violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act.

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Survey: MTA Queens buses below C level
Updated: February 15, 2018 - 2:40 pm

City bus routes in Queens may have to attend summer school based on the latest report card from the Bus Turnaround Coalition.

The report, released Feb. 8, gave out only one A — to the Q35, which runs between Rockaway Park Beach and Brooklyn College. And 54 of the 83 lines that traverse Queens received a D or F.

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Judge strikes down tax lawsuit amicus
Posted: February 15, 2018

A Manhattan state Supreme Court justice ruled Feb. 7 that five Council members, including two from Queens, cannot use a private attorney to file an amicus curiae brief backing a lawsuit challenging the city’s property tax system. Justice Gerald Lebovits said in a four-page decision that the members must use the city’s corporation counsel, who has already said he will not represent them, when acting in their official capacity.

“Because the proposed Amici are seeking relief in their official capacity, they may not use anyone but the Corporation Counsel to represent them,” Lebovits wrote.

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Graduation rates are up, city says
Posted: February 15, 2018

Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Education announced last Wednesday that 2017 saw the highest four-year high school graduation rate on record, with 74.3 percent of children earning their diploma on time.

The year also saw the lowest dropout rate on the books, 7.8 percent.

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