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Queens Chronicle

Queenswide

Stories with boroughwide interest

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Curbside pickups of ‘e-waste’ banned

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.

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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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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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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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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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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State funds granted for QueensWay work
Posted: December 18, 2014

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.

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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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Do it for Danny: Boy’s strength still inspires
Updated: December 19, 2014 - 12:21 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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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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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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Friday 12/19/2014
Tom Galante may sue Queens Library Board over his dismissal
Updated: December 19, 2014 - 6:26 pm

Will former Queens Library President and CEO Tom Galante sue the Board of Trustees for terminating him last Wednesday?

It depends on which of his attorneys you ask. Or maybe which newspaper you’re representing when you ask.

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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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False alarm: Jamaica High School 'intruders' were just students, officials say
Updated: December 19, 2014 - 6:19 pm

Three masked intruders have entered Jamaica High School and police emergency units have responded, the city announced around 2:25 p.m. Thursday on its NYC Alerts Twitter feed.

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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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Whitestone holiday display dazzles again
Posted: December 18, 2014

Kevin Lynch of Whitestone has set up his award-winning display of Christmas lights once again this year.

Visitors have come from as far away as Japan and Australia in the past to marvel at the display, which has been featured on HGTV and other TV networks.

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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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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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Winter Fest brings holiday cheer
Updated: December 19, 2014 - 4:25 pm

Citi Field was the location last Saturday for gingerbread, dancing elves and Santa Claus at the Winter Fest.

Mr. and Mrs. Met greeted visitors to Citi Field, where youngsters could meet Santa, make gingerbread crafts and eat holiday treats.

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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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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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Dogged investigator
Posted: December 18, 2014

Something just didn’t smell right recently when a woman arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport from Guyana with alleged bags of powdered milk and custard powder in her luggage.

K-9 Elza, top, an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois was on duty with U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Nov. 21 when she alerted her handler that something was suspicious about one bag.

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Richmond Hill group seeks to help LGBTQ
Posted: December 18, 2014

Outreach, a Richmond Hill-based substance abuse treatment center, announced on Monday that it will start a new program to treat members of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer community who are suffering from addiction to drugs or alcohol.

“There’s such a desperate need for treatment in the LGBTQ community, which has a high rate of drug and alcohol abuse,” Jill Mastrandrea, a substance abuse counselor and licensed mental health counselor at Outreach who will head the program, said in a written statement announcing its launch. “Identified LGBTQ individuals who suffer from addiction have an acute need for treatment. Many are not welcome in their family homes; they often live in shelters with little or no support.”

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A move to safer school football
Posted: December 18, 2014

The city will station 53 new certified trainers and EMTs at all contact football practices at schools with varsity and junior varsity teams, Mayor de Blasio announced last week, thanks to a $1.2 million donation from New York Giants Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch.

As a result, the mayor said, nearly 3,500 high school football players will have trained personnel at their practices, helping avoid injuries and ensuring a swift response if a player is hurt on the field.

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CB 8 OKs ‘Bishop Iggy’ Way
Posted: December 18, 2014

Community Board 8 last Wednesday unanimously approved the renaming of 74th Avenue between Utopia Parkway and 175th Street to Bishop Ignatius A. Catanello Way, honoring the former pastor of Holy Family R.C. Church, who died in March 2013.

The renaming proposal must be approved by the City Council and the mayor to become official.

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Photo contest!
Posted: December 18, 2014

Nancy Morelli, left, stopped by the Queens Chronicle offices on Tuesday with her daughter and her grandchildren to pick up the passes to Disney On Ice that she picked as her prize for winning our 2014 Summer in the Borough Photo Contest.

Morelli, her daughter Jessica Schiefer and little Julianna, left, Joseph, Arianna and Elizabeth, along with two other family members, will all be going to show.

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Nets super fan takes own life
Posted: December 18, 2014

Brooklyn Nets fans have lost a leader.

Jeffrey Vanchiro, 38, better known as Jeffrey Gamblero to Nets fans, died of severe head and spinal injuries on Sunday, a day after leaping out of a window in his father’s Flushing apartment.

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Fidelis Care fights hunger
Posted: December 18, 2014

For the next six months, every step taken by Fidelis Care’s New York State of Health metal-level members could help feed the hungry in New York State. Fidelis Care is encouraging members to exercise and earn points by recording their activity with EveryMove, a digital fitness rewards program. When a member earns enough points, the firm will donate to the state Food Bank Association.

“There’s no question regular physical activity plays a significant role in overall health. Through this initiative, our members can give back while doing something good for themselves,” said Pamela Hassen, Fidelis Care’s chief marketing officer. “As a statewide health plan, we partner with food pantries all over New York and we know the need is great, especially in the winter months. We hope this campaign makes an impact on the lives of everyone assisted by the Food Bank Association of New York State.”

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