Astoria Times

Friday, March 27, 2009

Jackson Heights

Willets Point biz owner says he was forced out by city

As the finishing touches were put on Citi Field, just across 126th Street a business was being torn down in Willets Point as part of what foes of the city’s plan to redevelop the long−neglected industrial area called a campaign to force them out. Comment.
Jackson Heights

St. Mary’s expands reach with office in Elmhurst

Bayside’s St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children expanded its operations into Elmhurst earlier this year just shortly before the neighborhood’s St. John’s Queens Hospital shuttered its doors permanently. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Immigrants blast ESL cuts

English was not their first language, but more than 200 immigrants learning the language in programs taught in Queens gathered in Jackson Heights to speak their mind about major potential cuts in their funding as Albany trims its budget. Comment.
Astoria Times

Disbarred former lawyer pleads to stealing funds

KEW GARDENS — The Bayside and Jackson Heights attorney who sued a number of Atlantic City casinos after looting her clients’ escrow accounts to fuel a gambling habit pleaded guilty to grand larceny Tuesday, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Woman bashed partner in head with board: DA

FAR ROCKAWAY — A woman was arrested Saturday after bashing her partner in the head with a board, the Queens district attorney’s office said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Upstate man was drunk when he crashed: DA

RIDGEWOOD — An upstate man was charged with drunk driving March 17 after smashing into another car in Ridgewood, the Queens district attorney’s office said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Man robbed two of trendy cell phones: DA

RIDGEWOOD — A man was charged with a pair of robberies at the same intersection after allegedly attacking two people for their cell phones March 17, the Queens district attorney’s office said. Comment.
Letters

Madoff deserves fate awaiting him

Disgraced investor Bernie Madoff is now behind bars and is serving his 150−year prison sentence for his crimes against people who trusted him. Madoff is nefarious and his egregious acts hurt and destroyed many lives. Comment.
Letters

Obama correct to criticize emphasis on test−taking

I commend President Barack Obama for calling for accountability in public education. I support Obama’s efforts to raise standards for students, reduce dropout rates, oust bad teachers, open more charter schools and pay higher salaries to teachers with expertise in math and science. Comment.
Letters

Do not remove district attorney in Rockefeller drug law reforms

It is good Albany continues to look at reforming, not repealing, the Rockefeller drug laws, especially concerning non−violent, minor drug violators — namely, users, not sellers. Comment.
Letters

Coverage of Avella needs improvement

From reading the March 12 Bayside Times, with City Councilman Tony Avella’s (D−Bayside) name in three separate headlines on Pages 1, 2 and 10, readers might get the impression the Bayside Times is giving fair and balanced coverage to Avella with stories about his work regarding landmarking, traffic safety and preventing East River tolls. Comment.
Letters

Bridge tolls, better bus service only means more of the same

An open letter to state legislators. Comment.
Letters

Mayoral control of schools has harmed city students

The position taken in your March 12 editorial “Our Kids in Albany’s Hands” is falsely premised. You write, “In many ways, the public schools have improved under [city School Chancellor Joel] Klein .... And there is no question standardized test scores have improved and more students are graduating.” Comment.
Letters

Restore security at Fort Totten

An open letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Comment.
Letters

Tax travelers for using area airports

An open letter to state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and state Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith. Comment.
Letters

Justice served in Madoff case

We have finally seen justice meted out this past week. Bernie Madoff has been sent to prison, had his bail revoked and started serving his term of 150 years. Comment.
Letters

Better revenue options exist other than tolls on bridges

There are better alternatives to the Ravitch Commission bridge toll proposal, which would have hurt Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx while having a limited effect on Manhattan. Comment.
Editorial

Paterson’s Biggest Test

At the writing of this editorial, there has yet to be a political agreement on a rescue plan for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The heated battle speaks volumes about the shortcomings of Gov. David Paterson. Comment.
Astoria Times

Article of clothing made Bloomer’s name famous

Two gentlemen, trouser tycoon Levi Strauss and hat maker John Stetson of Philadelphia, both had their names associated with their products — the Levi trousers and the Stetson hat — and neither minded at all. Comment.
Astoria Times

Deciding America’s No. 1 sport becomes a game itself

Which American sport can lay claim to being No. 1 in America and with me? Millions of people attend Major League Baseball games and the chroniclers of the game claim it still deserves to be called the national pastime. They cite the total attendance recorded for the 2008 regular season at 78.5 million. Very impressive. Comment.
Astoria Times

LaGuardia, Bloomberg have both sought GOP mayoral ticket

Fiorello LaGuardia and Michael Bloomberg began their careers as New York City mayors with a commitment to reform in terms of changing the political and electoral systems under which the city operates. Comment.
Astoria Times

City breadline, soup kitchen help the needy in trying times

A photograph of a Great Depression breadline. Two religious institutions in Queens aiding a soup kitchen in Manhattan. Children in Forest Hills helping those in need of food. The new needy. These are what I will be writing about in this column and the next. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bayside community comes out to support Hilsdorf family

The best birthday party this season has to be, without a doubt, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.’s. Comment.
Astoria Times

Pomonok elevators need stimulus money: Weiner

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D−Forest Hills) called on the city Housing Authority Tuesday to use part of the $600 million it received in federal stimulus funding to fix the elevators at Pomonok Housing in Flushing. Comment.
Astoria Times

College Pt. transfer station will pose no risks: City

Amid a growing parade of Queens politicians calling the safety of a planned College Point marine waste transfer station into question, city Sanitation Department Commissioner John Doherty said last week the facility will not pose any increased risk of bird strikes to aircraft leaving or arriving at LaGuardia Airport. Comment.
Astoria Times

Teachers, students protest proposed CUNY tuition hike

More than 500 students, teachers and community members packed the Queens College library in Flushing last Thursday evening to protest the proposed $600 annual increase in tuition and $81.6 million cut in state aid to CUNY. Comment.
Astoria Times

Give Superfund status to Newtown Creek: Weiner

Western Queens elected officials at the federal and city levels gathered last week at Newtown Creek to renew their call to the federal government to add the polluted waterway, which separates Queens and Brooklyn, to the national Superfund registry. Comment.
Astoria Times

Environmental forum to be held in Flushing

More than 50 borough and city−based environmental groups will converge on Flushing’s Al Oerter Recreational Center next weekend for a conference on green initiatives hosted by the Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces, the coalition’s president said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Tietz gives Flushing seniors health tips

Beth Abraham of Family Health Services kicked off its 2009 Healthfest at the Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center’s Flushing site last week in an effort to inform community members about the services the nonprofit provides, such as the adult day health care program on 72nd Avenue. Comment.
Astoria Times

Straphanger numbers rise despite fare woes

As the MTA faces an uncertain future, subway ridership has hit its highest point since 1965. Comment.
Astoria Times

Improvement gets 11 Queens schools off state’s watch list

A total of 11 Queens institutions were removed from the list of schools that are in need of improvement under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the best showing in three years, according to information released by the state Department of Education last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Astorians make environmentalism fashionable

Scouring the tables full of merchandise, Astoria resident David Hasil scored a plain gray T−shirt and a slightly funky Yankees baseball cap, which he surmised would clean up nicely. The cost? A bag of clothes that he and his mother, Liz, brought, containing jackets, sweatshirts, men’s T−shirts and books that they no longer wanted. Comment.
Astoria Times

Greek ambassadors

As the ancient Greeks gave us the classical underpinnings of stage drama in millenia past, perhaps it’s only appropriate that the Greek Cultural Center in Astoria has chosen to open its 35th anniversary celebration this year with new original work from a Greek playwright. Comment.
Astoria Times

Return of James integral to Bobcats’ magical run

With each upset, the Brooklyn College Academy boys’ basketball draws more recognition – more fans, more reporters, more adulation. Comment.
Astoria Times

Abusive power

Too late for the Bush administration but timely and universal anyway, Sophocles’ tragedy “Antigone” deals with the defiance of unjust authority, the arrogance of power and how easily that power intimidates good people into silence. Comment.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Astoria Times

Gioia funds renovation of Woodside school library

Students at PS 229 in Woodside may be more inclined to bury their noses in a good book after the completion of a $150,000 renovation of the school’s library. Comment.
Astoria Times

Boro CEC leaders blast online voting

Queens Community Education Council leaders are irate over the decision by the city Department of Education to use only online voting in the upcoming CEC elections, a move they said will further marginalize parents already upset by what they say is their lack of power in the city’s educational system. Comment.
Astoria Times

Rivals vie for western Queens Council seats

The dynamics of November’s City Council races were beginning to take shape in western Queens as candidates reported their fund−raising totals for the March 15 city Campaign Finance Board deadline. Comment.
Astoria Times

Flushing cultural institutions hit hard by rough economy

When asked how the Queens Botanical Garden is coping with the economy, Executive Director Susan Lacerte sighed deeply before answering. Comment.
Astoria Times

Monserrate indicted in slashing

A grand jury has indicted state Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D−East Elmhurst) on assault charges for allegedly slashing his girlfriend’s face with a broken glass during a fight in December, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said, jeopardizing the freshman senator’s standing in the state Legislature. Comment.
Astoria Times

Madoff makes money for Glendale man, for a change

A 50−year−old Glendale man may be one of the few people in the five boroughs to win money, rather than lose it, from Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Comment.
Astoria Times

Dinkins endorses David Weprin

Former Mayor David Dinkins Sunday threw his support behind City Councilman David Weprin’s (D−Hollis) campaign for city comptroller and praised the lawmaker’s financial background. Comment.
Astoria Times

Council honors Woodside actor as a subway hero

The Woodside actor who rescued a fellow straphanger who had fallen on the tracks at a Manhattan subway stop and then left on a train before he could be thanked was honored by the City Council Tuesday, although he looked as though he might rather have been back underground. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens court officer stalked woman: DA

A 43−year−old Queens criminal court officer has been arrested after he allegedly stalked a borough woman, following her in disguise and approaching her on numerous occasions in Woodside and Astoria during the past year, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.
Astoria Times

2 accused in slay of Flushing man

Two men, including the reputed New York leader of the ferocious MS−13 gang, were arraigned in Brooklyn federal court last Thursday in the murder of Flushing native Maurice Parker, who was gunned down while talking on his cell phone in front of a Bowne Street convenience store nearly two years ago, authorities said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Iconic billboard returns to Long Island City

It took eight months and a period of Scrabble−like puzzlement as workers reassembled the letters one by one, but Long Island City’s Pepsi−Cola sign is back up along the waterfront. Comment.
Astoria Times

Seminerio’s rap sheet gains extortion charge

Seven months after being indicted on mail fraud charges, state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D−Richmond Hill) was charged in a superceding indictment Monday night on allegations he extorted the president of a Queens nonprofit into making payments to the assemblyman’s sham consulting business and tried to extort a hospital executive as well as a consultant who works with health care organizations. Comment.
Astoria Times

Landmarks hears pleas to save historic Ridgewood Theatre

The city Landmarks Preservation Commission Tuesday heard impassioned appeals from Queens and Manhattan for landmark status for perhaps the nation’s longest running movie house. Comment.

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