Stories with boroughwide interest

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As many New Yorkers celebrated reaching a major milestone last week, with 70 percent of adults across the state having received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, vaccination rates among adolescents continue to lag behind.

To address the discrepancy in vaccination rates between younger and older people, MetroPlusHealth and NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst hosted a vaccination drive last Saturday for teenagers, offering incentives along with the shots. Read more

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Neir’s Tavern has attempted to fit 200 years of history in one image. Locent Gordon, the owner of the bar, believed to be the longest-running in New York City, recently commissioned Bienbenido Guerra to paint a 5-by-16-foot mural that depicts the tavern’s centuries-spanning story.

The mural will form a permanent backdrop behind the tavern’s stage. Read more

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Persistence is key.

The residents of College Point have spent a year demanding answers on why their quality of life was being disturbed by an enduring sewer project, but all avenues led to dead ends. Finally, they were given a lift by the Queens borough president with an interagency task force that would address their concerns head-on. Read more

A year after hosting a Juneteenth rally to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement, Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens) held a festival of the holiday, which is now a national one, at Roy Wilkins Park in St. Albans.

“We worked hard last year not only in government but in the streets, screaming the names of those who lives were cut short by the hands of racist police,” said Hyndman. “The Juneteenth bill was birthed out of a need for a deep education for those stories untold in America about Black peoples fight to be liberated — that still exist today. I am very honored for the support and that President Biden followed suit to ensure this day 156 years ago is remembered and not just for Black people. We do, however, hope for more on a national level to protect those same bodies.” Read more

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The March 27 death of a Whitestone man has been ruled a homicide.

Devin Deegan died after firefighter Justin Deieso allegedly delivered a fatal blow outside the Terrace Inn Bar & Grill on Francis Lewis Boulevard, not far from each of their homes. Police said the two had been arguing when Deieso hit the 55-year-old hard enough to send him to the ground. Head trauma sustained from hitting the pavement sent Deegan into cardiac arrest, officials said. He was taken to Flushing Hospital Medical Center and pronounced dead. Read more

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Councilman Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) may be on his way out of the City Council, but it is not before he tries to deliver on his yearslong promise to address private sector waste issues.

Last week he presented Intro. 2349, the Waste to Rail Act, which would seek to raise the standards of the city’s private waste industry by incentivizing the use of trains to export waste to reduce total truck traffic and environmental, safety and other quality-of-life issues from trucking, according to Miller’s office. Read more

Thursday, June 24, 2021
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It’s been a very difficult 14 months for Queens. New York City and Queens in particular were the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, and our neighborhoods were amongst the hardest hit. Not only did Covid take the lives of thousands of our friends and neighbors, but it also took a tremendous toll on our local economy. A year ago, unemployment was at levels we had never seen in our lifetimes. The small businesses that create jobs and opportunity and add to the character of our neighborhoods struggled to survive, with many sadly closing their doors to customers for good.

Thankfully, we’re turning the corner. Over 70 percent of adults in New York are now at least partially vaccinated. Restrictions are being lifted and people are returning to their prepandemic routines. But the small businesses we lost won’t magically reappear, and those that survived are still hanging on by a thread. There is still work to do to get our economy back on track. Read more

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As students finish up their last classes for the school year, Mayor de Blasio wants them to busy themselves through his new Summer Rising program, a free K to 12 academic, arts and recreation initiative, which will be open to 190,000 kids.

“Our kids ... need our support as we build a recovery for all of us,” said de Blasio. “This is a free program for all New York City students, combining academics and cultural enrichment for the best summer yet.” Read more

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The city’s Parks Department announced on June 16 that more than a dozen of its green spaces throughout the city have been renamed in honor of the Black American experience. This was three days before President Biden officially made Juneteenth, a commemoration for the emancipation of slaves on June 19, 1865, an federal holiday.

“By making Juneteenth a federal holiday, all Americans can feel the power of this day and learn from our history,” said Biden at a June 17 press conference in the East Room with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. “We can’t rest until the promise of equality is fulfilled for every one of us in every corner of this nation. That to me is the meaning of Juneteenth.” Read more

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To keep kids busy this year and prevent them from falling behind on their education, Assemblyman Clyde Vanel (D-Queens Village) has teamed up with Code Ninjas, a kids coding franchise that teaches them to build their own video games via computer programming.

“We are excited to make sure to expose the students to world-class programs,” said Vanel via email to the Queens Chronicle. “We must prepare the next generation for tomorrow’s economic reality. The students in District 29 have the opportunity to enroll in top programs and training.” Read more

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The city’s Department of Education has teamed up with Rover Labs, a diagnostics technology company in Toronto with a lab in New Jersey, to provide saliva testing for 50 city schools during a two-month pilot program, which started in June.

Fluidigm Corp., a San Francisco-based firm, developed the test, which studies microfluidics or the behavior of fluids. Read more

The Queens Chronicle’s 13th annual Summer in the Borough Photo Contest is, like the 12th, a bit different from its predecessors.

We still want you to take your best shots of children playing, workers working, lovely landscapes, birds on the bay — whatever you think best says “summertime in Queens.” If you need some inspiration, check out last year’s winning photo, above, by Malgorzata Bartyzel of Woodhaven, and another fine 2020 entry, by Kathleen Lang of Elmhurst. Read more

Monday, June 21, 2021
Friday, June 18, 2021
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Ahead of Juneteenth, the commemoration when the last slaves were emancipated on June 19, 1865, the city’s Parks Department announced that 16 of its green spaces throughout the city will be renamed in honor of the Black American experience. 

The former Railroad Park in St. Albans at 174th Place and 129th Avenue is now named after legendary broadcaster Gwen Ifill.  Read more

Thursday, June 17, 2021
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In recent weeks, Broad Channel residents have noticed floating lights out in Jamaica Bay in the wee hours of the morning that they recognize as the sign of a wildlife menace: poachers.

On Wednesday night United States Park Police responded to a group of poachers on Terrapin Point, an area south of West Pond in the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, and issued 20 summonses to two individuals who were gathering turtles, according to Dan Mundy Jr., of Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers. Read more

Two elected officials have unleashed an artillery barrage against Mayor de Blasio and his Department of Homeless Services over the type and location of a shelter for 175 homeless men that is slated to open in Briarwood in 2022.

In a two-page letter to the mayor dated on Tuesday, Councilman James Gennaro (D-Hillcrest) and state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) called plans for the building at 138-50 Queens Blvd. “entirely inappropriate” [emphasis in the original]. Read more

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Lawmakers wrapped up their annual legislative session June 10. Before adjourning the six-month session, the state senators and assemblymembers passed about 400 bills in both chambers last week, bringing the total to nearly 900 for the year.

But state Sen. John Liu (D-Bayside) discourages measuring the lawmakers’ success by the volume of legislation they were able to pass this year. Read more

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The United States Postal Service campaign for this year’s National Dog Bite Awareness Week is “Be Aware: Any Dog Can Bite.”

Dog bite incidents have gotten so bad that USPS carriers carry dog repellant, warning cards about certain households and dog alerts programmed in their handheld scanners. Read more

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Gov. Cuomo announced on Tuesday, that most Covid-19 restrictions are lifted in the Empire State effectively immediately because at least 70 percent of adult New Yorkers have completed their first vaccine series, but for some it will feel like a tale of two cities.

Masks are still required for unvaccinated people, preschool to high school students, people traveling via public transit, and those in homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes and healthcare settings, and anyone who intends to attend large-scale indoor event venues, according to the state. Read more

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Community leaders and parents rallied last Friday outside PS 35 in Hollis as a call to action against the city and state’s education departments, elected officials in Southeast Queens and School District 29, which covers Cambria Heights, St. Albans, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, Rosedale, Hollis and Queens Village, because of the poor test scores of students in the district.

“These are communities that are overwhelmingly Black people,” said Raymond Dugue, the second assistant president general of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, a social, humanitarian and educational organization for the Black diaspora. “In fact, according to the Census, Black people make up 78 percent of those communities.” Read more