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Tony Planakis doesn’t scare easily. An Army veteran and retired NYPD detective — who made a name for himself on the job and afterward as “Tony Bees,” the man unafraid of handling swarms of tens of thousands of the little buzzers — he’s been in plenty of sticky situations.

But he did not at all like being crowded in by a group of dirt bikers before dawn on his way to the gym one morning. They too can swarm, but unlike bees they’re not necessarily peaceful unless provoked. And unlike groups of motorcyclists, who are daunting enough to drivers when they travel in packs, dirt bikers show their disrespect for the law just by being out on the roads. No plates, no insurance, no inspection, no turn signals, no brake lights, no horns — their bikes simply aren’t street legal.

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EDITORIAL
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There are at least three driving forces behind the upsurge in hate crimes, attacks on important institutions and overall disrespect for the law that we’ve been suffering the last couple of years. In one of them public policy can have virtuall…

EDITORIAL

Will Mayor de Blasio’s new Academic Recovery Plan, funded with $635 million in federal Covid relief aid that is not slated to be repeated in future years, do much to improve education? We’ll see.Certainly the mayor has tons of new numbers to …

Many of us know the disappointment that comes with suddenly pausing in the middle of whatever you were doing some time in late August when you suddenly realize the summer is almost gone and you didn’t do half of what you meant to do.Don’t let…

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The biggest absurdity about this week’s Board of Elections debacle is that it took the campaign of one of the Democratic mayoral candidates, leading contender Eric Adams, to notify the agency that it had added tens of thousands of votes out o…

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Street redesigns continue to divide communities, with no sign of, ahem, slowing down.The latest is on 39th Avenue in Sunnyside, which has been designated a Bike Boulevard. That means local car traffic only, with a speed limit of 5 mph. Not ev…

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Many times during the Covid-19 pandemic the Queens Chronicle was forced to report on business closures that hit hard, of longtime restaurants that were staples of their neighborhoods, for example, or other operations that ran on shoestring bu…

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With the tumult of the Trump presidency and the worst horrors of the coronavirus pandemic both in the rearview mirror — though either could arise again — many are enjoying a return to normalcy. Finally, politics and policy can again take a ba…

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Issue No. 1 right now in New York City is crime, and candidate No. 1 who can fight it best as mayor is Eric Adams. That’s the main reason, though not the only one, we’re endorsing the Brooklyn borough president — who spent most of his youth i…

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As our miracle vaccines continue to crush Covid-19 into the dark places from which it came, we’re thrilled to see that among the measures of progress we’re marking up is the return of in-person high school graduations.After all they’ve been t…

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Many longtime residents say the city is heading back to the ’70s as crime and grime increase, and now you can count Queens’ Vietnam veterans among them, though for an additional reason uniquely painful to them.Sometime early this week a heart…

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Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are two different things, but the former can bleed into the latter, and that sure appears to be what’s been going on recently in the city.Anyone who pays close enough attention to the news knows that a crowd of …

Mayor de Blasio deserves our thanks for insisting from the beginning of the Covid crisis that kids get back into school as much as possible as soon as possible. The process has been full of fits and starts ever since, thanks to everything fro…

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It almost seems a shame that the Constitution bans ex post facto laws, because it sure would be nice if something could be enacted to prevent Gov. Cuomo from reaping an obscene $5.1 million from that so-called book that he so-called wrote whi…

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The reopening of the city is moving ahead rapidly now, but there’s one institution in particular we’d like to see pick up the pace — because it’s so vital and beloved.That’s the Queens Public Library.

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Conventional wisdom has it that Democrats are so strong and Republicans so weak, we’ll know who our next mayor and most of the City Council will be after the June 22 primaries. The general election is just pro forma. But it could take weeks t…

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Over at his job as a Medicare counselor, Barry Klitsberg says, he’s been getting calls from senior citizens who may have an ulterior motive.“People call up, ostensibly with a problem,” he said in March. “They’re so happy that they get a perso…

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Leave it to the unelected educrats in the city Department of Education to make a divisive policy change, via the school calendar of all things, walk it back a little and leave no one satisfied but many bitter in the end.The issue is Columbus …

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Two scenes from Queens this week: In one, a Chronicle staffer with a face mask on his chin walks into a car repair shop with the bay door and regular door to the office right next to it both wide open, the wind blowing all over. The manager s…

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The city is in the midst of spending its biggest budget ever, with a $10.4 billion increase planned for the next one as money rains down from Washington, and the workforce under Mayor de Blasio is far larger than ever before — but the governm…

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There can never truly be justice for George Floyd, but we got as close to it as we can expect to come Tuesday when a jury found killer cop Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in Floyd’s horrific death. The nation will never forget what it saw …

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What the heck is going on with the U.S. Postal Service? It used to be a veritable Rock of Gibraltar among federal government agencies, or at least that was the perception. You put something in a mailbox and it was sure to get where it was sup…

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Spring is here, and with it the Queens Chronicle’s annual Spring Guide! You’ll find the special pullout supplement inside the paper you’re holding or at qchron.com if you’re reading us online.Publishing the guide marks a major accomplishment.…

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Among the 16 states that have legalized recreational marijuana, only one allows it to be smoked in public. This one.That’s right: Aside from allowing people to smoke weed in their own homes, the new law just signed by Gov. Cuomo lets tokers i…

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For the third time in a month, a fire in Queens turned out much worse than it had to be because of an outdated building feature: the cockloft.On March 4 a Jackson Heights fire damaged six businesses. Last Saturday a Queens Village blaze trash…

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So the feds are “fast tracking” the plan to charge you a new fee every time you drive into Manhattan, by allowing for a less-onerous environmental assessment of the project instead of a deeper environmental impact statement. We can only hope …

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Imagine you had the chance to ask questions of one of the scientists behind the new Perseverance rover we just landed on Mars to cruise around, study the soil, take photos, video and audio and, of course, gather samples that might yield info …

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We have one question for our state lawmakers who still want to impose record tax hikes even after the feds rode to New York’s rescue with $12.7 billion in direct aid for the government in Albany and tens of billions more for entities both pub…

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However the novel coronavirus sprang into being and whenever it first got out of Wuhan, China, has nothing to do with any Asian or Asian-American in the United States. If anything, that person may have fled the very Chinese regime that hid in…

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Is this town big enough for both of us civic associations? That’s the question some may be asking in College Point these days, but we’re sure the answer is an emphatic yes — despite the comments some people have made against a newly formed gr…

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Crime rates in Queens may be bucking citywide trends, but we’re seeing some horrific things here. Last Friday Gudelia Vallinas, a mother of two was shot dead on the street on the Astoria-Woodside border, the third killing of a mom in western …

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Citi Field’s massive parking lots were virtually empty late Monday afternoon when a Chronicle staffer arrived for his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, with just a clutch of cars parked around the entrance to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Th…

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The massive parade of vehicles and socially distanced celebration of a former soldier and cop’s 100th birthday held last Sunday was primarily a demonstration of love and respect for someone who dedicated his life to public service. Gary Inzer…

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In her Twitter bio, incoming Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter describes herself in part as a “Disruptor, Leader and Teacher!!” — in that order. But disruption is the last thing New York City schoolchildren need right now. What they need is ca…

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Why on Earth aren’t Queens residents getting the Covid-19 vaccine as fast as they possibly can? Is it the awkward scheduling procedure? The micromanaging of who is eligible at certain sites? Is it a language barrier? Historical distrust of th…

When Mayor de Blasio opposes something that would centralize planning, create reams of paperwork and require the hiring of more people to produce it, all in the name of addressing community needs and historical racial disparities, you know it…

Let’s go to the movies! That favorite cry of teens and families and just about anyone else looking for some easy entertainment has been silenced in the city for nearly a year, but it’s about to be heard again, as theaters can begin reopening …

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In politics, they say the cover-up is worse than the crime. Usually that’s true, but not when it comes to the Covid-19 nursing home death scandal surrounding Gov. Cuomo. Nothing could be as bad as his insistence that elderly patients with the…

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It’s one thing for Hiram Monserrate to be a free man, having served his time for stealing taxpayer money and having gotten a break over roughing up his girlfriend and slicing open her face with a broken glass.It would be another thing altoget…

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After a full year of horrors unlike any in living memory, there is finally good news in the fight against the novel coronavirus. And to a greater degree than before, it’s coming from multiple fronts.First is the number of new cases being repo…

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What happens when the mayor is unable to fully exercise mayoral control of schools? The answer is what happened last week, when the Panel for Educational Policy turned down a policy of Mayor de Blasio’s — and, in so doing, crushed the hopes o…

EDITORIAL

If you felt helpless watching the unrelenting, merciless snow fall, swirl and pile up earlier this week, you weren’t alone. All across Queens and the region, people were reminded of the awesome power of Mother Nature and the fact that while w…

Mayor de Blasio, speaking of the school system, on Wednesday said, “I am adamant that based on everything we’re seeing now, we’ll be able to come back full strength in September.”It’s pathetic that this could even be a question at this point.…

After all they’ve suffered during the virus crisis, do you think what city restaurants and retailers deserve is more competition, of the kind that comes with inherent advantages and less regulation?Of course not. Yet the City Council and Mayo…

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If you want a docile, complacent population more likely to put up with growing societal ills and less likely to hold those in power to account, while also becoming more dependent upon them, you could hardly do better than to encourage more po…

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was wise and kind enough in these terrible economic times to put off raising subway and bus fares for several months at least. Not so with tolls on its bridges and tunnels. Those still may go up nearl…

EDITORIAL

President Trump must be completely ostracized from society following his disgraceful actions of the past week, his attacks on our very system of government that are unlike anything ever seen in our history.So we welcome not only the impeachme…

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It’s taken way too long for the city’s vaccination efforts to get off the ground — it still had only administered 268,000 shots out of nearly 794,000 in its possession as of Wednesday morning — but we’re finally accelerating toward the rate w…

EDITORIAL

Can the United States bear even two more weeks of President Trump? That’s a question to ask and answer today, following Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the democratic republic for which it stands, by mobs of rioters.Never before i…

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City Hall has blood on its hands after the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man outside the Umbrella Hotel in Kew Gardens early New Year’s Day, in New York’s first homicide of 2021.Of course the triggerman is the person ultimately responsible …

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As the old country bluesman Furry Lewis would have put it, “We’ve been down so long that it looks like up to us.”Given where our city, state, nation and world are now, 2021 simply has to be a better year than 2020. Right?