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

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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 City Council has passed a pair of measures aimed at reducing or eliminating fines that small business now pay for some low-level infractions.

Intro. 2333 adds amendments to the city code that would offer relief from numerous existing minor violations for sanitation, health, transportation, consumer affairs, noise control and building violations. It would lower the cost of other violations, and in some cases allow for a cure period during which an owner could fix problems before summonses are issued. Read more

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Queens College ceremoniously broke ground June 16 on its $9.3 million soccer field and track renovation project.

Director of Athletics Robert Twible, left, Student Association President Zaire Couloute, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Queens College President Frank H. Wu, City Councilmember Francisco Moya, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, City Councilmember James Gennaro, Special Counsel for Ratepayer Protection and alumnus Rory Lancman, City University of New York Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodr’guez and Queens College student athlete Shannon Gibbons celebrated the upgrades last Wednesday. Read more

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Police are still on the lookout for a suspect in a forcible touching case that was reported on May 17 at 3 p.m. on 87th Avenue and 117th Street in Richmond Hill, within the 102nd Precinct.

The unidentified suspect, who was wearing a black mask at the time, allegedly entered a commercial establishment and approached a 36-year-old woman while she was at work and forcibly grabbed her breasts, according to the NYPD. The victim was not injured, and the suspect fled to parts unknown. 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

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

Thursday, June 24, 2021
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After the tally seesawed back and forth Tuesday night, Borough President Donovan Richards leads former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, his challenger, by 2,076 votes out of more than 156,000 ballots cast in the Democratic primary.

Richards, in unofficial totals released by the Board of Elections had 64,814 votes, or 41.53 percent of the votes, by Wednesday afternoon. Crowley had tallied 62,738 votes, good for 40.2 percent. 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

Monday, June 21, 2021
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

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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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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

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Hundreds gathered on 14th Street in Astoria Thursday morning to mark the 20th anniversary of what has gone down in FDNY annals as The Father’s Day Fire. 

The blaze at Long Island General Supply Hardware set off an explosion that killed Firefighters Harry Ford, 50, and Brian Fahey, 46, of Rescue 4 and Firefighter John Downing, 40, of Ladder 163 on June 17, 2001. Read more

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The suspect is described as a male with a light complexion, approximately 5 feet tall, with a medium build and bald, according to the NYPD. He has tattoos on both sides of his forearms and was last seen wearing a short-sleeve white dress shirt, tan dress pants and black shoes. 

The images depicted of the suspect were from surveillance obtained from the incident location, according to the NYPD. 

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While other high-profile members of his party seem content to bid major companies adieu to Virginia, Florida and other points south, Borough President Donovan Richards apparently is taking the potential loss of at least some jobs at Long Island City-based JetBlue Airlines very seriously.

Richards, in a June 15 letter to Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, asked the PA to extend JetBlue’s existing lease at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Read more

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A Woodhaven man has been indicted on manslaughter and other charges for the 2019 death of his infant son, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

Luis Sanchez, 30, was arraigned Wednesday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Ushir Pandit-Durant on a two-count indictment charging him with manslaughter in the first degree and endangering the welfare of a child. Read more

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To celebrate the city’s reopening, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) has sponsored two Queens Symphony Orchestra concerts in Woodhaven and Howard Beach.

“I couldn’t be more happy to announce that we will be able to have the Queens Symphony Orchestra Concerts this year,” Ulrich said in a statement. “After the incredibly tough year that everyone has had, it is so great that we can get back to these events that bring so much joy to the community.” Read more

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Numerous incidences of disruptive behavior on aircrafts, including more recently when four men had to take down a former flight attendant on a flight from Atlanta going to LA, have led to the Federal Aviation Administration releasing a report about the troublesome conduct that airport workers have to deal with.

Since Jan. 1 2021, the FAA has received approximately 3,000 reports of unruly behavior by passengers across the country, including about 2,300 reports of passengers refusing to comply with the federal face mask mandate, according to Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the agency. Read more