Stories from Bayside, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Bellerose, College Point, Whitestone, Auburndale and Glen Oaks

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The city, Borough President Donovan Richards and lending firm Pursuit announced the launch of the Queens Small Business Grant Program on Tuesday.

Mets owner Steve Cohen donated $17.5 million as the city will partner with community-based organizations to offer $15 million worth of grants to small businesses in the borough in need up to $20,000 to support operational expenses. Read more

Two 109th Precinct neighborhood coordination officers raised over $1,000 to purchase holiday gifts and household appliances for families in need.

Police Officers Christopher Vera and Arielle Gigante, who patrol NYCHA’s Bland Houses and Latimer Gardens, hosted a GoFundMe fundraiser to make struggling families’ holidays a bit brighter. Read more

Monday, January 25, 2021
Friday, January 22, 2021
Thursday, January 21, 2021

The $1 billion in “savings” from organized labor that Mayor de Blasio has been hyping since releasing his executive budget for fiscal year 2022 on Jan. 14 still is not written on paper, much less carved in stone.

“The labor savings are to be determined,” a spokeswoman for the Mayor’s Office said Tuesday at the culmination of a series of emails between the Chronicle and de Blasio’s press office. Read more

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When Pesach Osina ran for the District 31 Council seat in a 2013 special election, he came within 79 votes of clinching the election against now-Borough President Donovan Richards and a field of seven other candidates.

Now he’s coming back for the seat — this time with experience of being Queens borough director with the city comptroller’s office under his belt. Read more

A Ridgewood man was arrested by the FBI Tuesday morning after threatening to kill high-ranking politicians including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx, Queens), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), according to a criminal complaint.

Brendan Hunt, 37, an employee of the New York State Office of Court Administration, posted that citizens should start “firing squads.” Read more

There already is a Democratic primary for Queens borough president brewing for September, with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) on Tuesday announcing his candidacy.

“The pandemic has laid bare the inequality that exists in Queens and the city at large,” Van Bramer, 51, said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “A large part of that is structural things like racism, also the growing wealth inequality. That is the defining issue of our time and is at the core of so many problems. I think we need a borough president who will use the bully pulpit of the office. Read more

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The Ridgewood Volunteer Ambulance Corps recently announced that its plan for 2021 involves extending community-based volunteer EMS services to Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens.

In December, the RVAC submitted a formal application of area expansion with the New York City Regional Emergency Medical Services Council to provide services into those communities. Read more

Facebook is partially to blame for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol building, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx, Queens) said during her virtual town hall last Friday.

“Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook bear partial responsibility for Wednesday’s events,” she said, adding, “I believe that this is directly connected to the complete lack of accountability that monopolies like Facebook have to democracy.” Read more

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Annie CottonMorris, who heads the tenants association at the 71-year-old Woodside Houses, lives just a block from the nearest deli but it takes her two hours to buy a newspaper these days.

“That’s how many people stop me now to talk about what’s wrong with their apartments,” she told an outdoor rally of angry Woodside Houses residents Tuesday. Read more

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority may have delayed fare hikes on subways and buses, but a vote on increasing tolls for bridges and tunnels by up to 8 percent still is on the table, according to MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye.

Numbers presented by the MTA state the cost of a trip by E-ZPass over the Throgs Neck and Whitestone bridges for a passenger vehicle could go from the present $6.12 to $6.70. Read more

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When the mayor and schools chancellor announced that this spring will be the last time the Gifted and Talented exam is offered in New York City’s public schools, it raised a big question about what the future holds for the programs.

Admission to G&T programs, which offer an accelerated curriculum that is aimed at covering more material with additional enrichment, is determined by a high-stakes exam administered to children as young as 4. Read more

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More than 1,500 high school students logged in last Thursday for Northwell Health’s Spark Challenge, learning about careers in healthcare and roles that employees played during the pandemic.

“I think a lot of high school students are just amazed by what healthcare professionals can actually do and the pandemic is one of the events that kind of placed the spotlight more on all of us,” said physical therapist Marc Carino. Read more

Capt. Igor Pinkhasov, commanding officer of the NYPD’s 105th Precinct, was at his Queens Village station house on the afternoon of Nov. 24, as one would normally expect, when the radio call came in — domestic violence Officers Christopher Wells and Joseph Murphy, escorting a woman to her home, had been shot and God knows how badly wounded by an enraged husband and had returned fire — all in a matter of seconds.

“That’s the call every commanding officer dreads,” Pinkhasov told the Chronicle. “Nothing you do in your career prepares you for that call.” Read more