Stories from Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, City Line and JFK Airport

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Just over a week after a group of Howard Beach women cleaned up the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge, another group of residents assembled to take on the trash that has piled up on a beach a few hundred yards away.

Twelve Howard Beach residents gathered on last Saturday to pick up the litter that has recently accumulated in the mounds of dead grass along the beach surrounding Charles Memorial Park.

Bartlett Dairy has come a long way since milkman Thomas Malave founded it in Queens with one truck back in 1963.

And the company that now is a distributor of dairy products, frozen food, paper products and other items now is officially returning its corporate headquarters and approximately 165 jobs to Queens, closing last week on a 6.15-acre parcel of land in Springfield Gardens near John F. Kennedy Airport. Read more

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One week after the mayor signed the NYPD accountability package into law, protesters in Flushing marched to defund and demilitarize the police, claiming the legislation is not nearly enough.

“It’s definitely mostly for appearance. It’s the same thing with the budget change where they moved $1 billion from the police but they didn’t do anything we asked for,” John Almonte, founder of the recently established NYC Injustice Fighters, said July 23. Almonte created the organization in an effort to increase Queens’ participation in the Black Lives Matter movement, which he said had been lacking compared to efforts in other areas of the city. “They were just trying to make it seem like they were doing good, but it’s definitely not done. As people have been saying, this is not a moment, it’s a movement.” Read more

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Many residents in Queens are at risk of starving, but more than 30 boxes of emergency meals were left on the side of an underpass in Middle Village Monday.

The boxes were piled on top of each other along a wall near the Queens Midtown Expressway. A sticker on the boxes labeled GetFood NYC said the boxes were packed July 26 and were to be delivered by July 31. Read more

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The state Senate and Assembly unanimously passed legislation aimed at preventing domestic abusers from harassing their victims through remotely controlled technology.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) and Sen.Jamaal Bailey (D-Bronx), aims to protect domestic violence survivors by allowing for restraining orders that prohibit an abuser or harasser from controlling “smart” devices in a domestic abuse survivor’s home, vehicle or other property. Many smart devices, such as security locks, thermostats, doorbells, speakers, sprinklers, cameras and lighting, can be controlled through an app on a smartphone via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and can be used by abusers as a tool for harassment. Read more

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After receiving the most votes in a nationwide poll, Flushing Town Hall won a $20,000 grant to maintain its virtual education programming for children.

CIT Group administered the Acts of Caring online poll, which called on users to vote for one of 10 nonprofits that could benefit from additional funding. Each organization featured in the poll received a $10,000 grant from the bank holding company, but the winning organization’s grant was doubled at the end of voting. Read more

Friday, July 31, 2020
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New York City released its plan for containing the spread of COVID-19 in public schools on Thursday, outlining its protocols for closing schools in response to cases of infection.

Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carranza explained in a Friday press event that they plan on taking a “pod-based” approach to thinking about virus transmission. Classrooms with an infected student or teacher will close for 14 days. Entire schools will only shutter if an investigation by the city’s Test and Trace program, which worked closely with the mayor on the plan, uncovers the potential for transmission between multiple classrooms. Read more

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Woodhaven’s Avenue Diner, open since 2009, is the latest casualty in a series of diner closing that pre-dates the pandemic-fueled economic crisis for small businesses.

Paul Vasiliadis, who has not taken more than 30 days off in the nine years of owning and managing the restaurant, said that there were just too many obstacles stacked against the business to come back from the pandemic. Read more

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The NYPD’s 105th Precinct is hosting a two-day blood drive to assist Malachi Capers on Aug. 6 and 7 at its Queens Village headquarters.

Capers, 20, was shot on July 27 outside a deli in Laurelton after allegedly being attacked by a man after the two of them bumped inside the store. Capers was shot once in the abdomen when the altercation went out to the sidewalk. Read more

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A new survey reinforces what has been known since Dutch settlers paid the native Lenape people for control of the island then called Mannahatta — real estate on that sliver of land between the East and Hudson rivers is pricier than it is on the far broader island to the east.

But some spots in Queens do make their mark in the study, which ranks the 100 priciest ZIP codes in New York City based on data from the first half of the year. Read more

Thursday, July 30, 2020
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The city’s 73 business improvement districts, along with the five borough chambers of commerce and other city and state associations, have proposed a nine-point plan aimed at helping small businesses survive the economic hardships of the pandemic and revive their communities.

The call to action, addressed to Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan), was released July 21 and calls for the officials to take adequate steps to reinforce a sentiment so often shared by the officials: “Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities and the backbone of our economy.” Read more

Some residents at the Bland Houses in Flushing got their cooking gas restored after months of waiting, but some are still holding out five months later.

Two gas lines at the New York City Housing Authority complex were interrupted to address a broken gas cock in one building and a gas leak in another, affecting 20 total apartments. Both service interruptions affect cooking gas only and were unrelated to heat or hot water service. Read more

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With the clock ticking down to Aug. 1, U.S. Senate Democrats and Republicans spent Wednesday blaming each other for the failure, as of the Chronicle’s deadline, to reach an accord on supplemental unemployment support for about 30 million Americans.

Democrats, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), are supporting the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions, or HEROES, Act, a $3 trillion package passed by the Democrat-led House of Representatives in May. Read more

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Franklin Diaz of Corona never admitted he was sick, so his daughter knew he was in bad shape when he called her at 8 a.m. on April 11 and told her he was taking himself to the hospital. Franklin, who had underlying heart conditions and a blood disorder, was having difficulty breathing, but was certain he just had an extreme case of the common cold. Twenty minutes after Claudia hung up the phone, a doctor from NewYork-Presbyterian Queens called her back to tell her they were admitting her father into the emergency room with a case of pneumonia. Not long after, it was determined that Franklin had COVID-19.

“I spoke to him every morning as much as he could ... the third day I said, ‘How are you doing?’ but he said he was tired, ‘I got to go,’ and he hung up,” Claudia said of the moments before her 68-year-old father was put on a ventilator. Claudia, who lives in Florida, relied on FaceTime and telephone calls to stay updated with her sick father from thousands of miles away. “Not knowing what could happen, him being by himself, having that space between both of us was nerve-racking. My connection to him was the phone, and now I have nothing.” Read more

The city is offering free 14-day hospital stays to those who have tested positive for COVID-19, or suspect they may have the virus, but do not have a safe place to isolate.

To decide who qualifies, a medical provider will assess each situation to determine if one’s home is not fit for self-isolation, which could mean it does not have space for one to stay 6 feet away from others, one must share bathrooms or one lives with someone who is vulnerable. Read more

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While the food insecurity of the COVID crisis has spurred the creation of mutual aid groups and food distributions across the city, in Queens one provider stands out among the rest.

The Richmond Hill-based River Fund, a nonprofit whose mission is to fight hunger, homelessness and poverty across New York City, distributed 5.2 million pounds of groceries in the first 16 weeks of its COVID operations. Read more

A virtual jobs fair will be held by the Queens Borough President’s Office Wednesday, Aug. 5, connecting residents to available employment opportunities.

The event, the sixth of its kind held by interim Borough President Sharon Lee, will feature employers and recruiters including the Child Center of New York, Community Capacity Development, the Council for Airport Opportunity, LIFE Camp, Mercy Home, MetroPlus Health Plan, New York Life, NYC Health + Hospitals and others. Read more