Astoria Times

Friday, April 17, 2009

Astoria Times

Ex−Mets star convicted of beating girlfriend

KEW GARDENS — A former big league baseball player was sentenced Tuesday to spend nine months in jail for beating up his girlfriend in the fall, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment.
Astoria Times

U.S. citizen accused of concealing heroin at JFK

KENNEDY AIRPORT — U.S. Customs agents allege an airline passenger arriving from Ecuador Friday had a sweet spot for drugs in his luggage. Comment.
Astoria Times

St. Albans man violated protection order: Brown

ST. ALBANS — A 29−year−old man was arraigned last week for allegedly stalking a woman who had placed an order of protection against him, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Police need help in search for ill woman

MASPETH — Police are asking the public’s help in finding an ill woman who disappeared from her home last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Cabbie dies in Grand Central car accident

GRAND CENTRAL PARKWAY — A 24−year−old taxi driver died in a car accident that brought traffic to a halt Saturday morning, police said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Man charged with disorderly conduct

JAMAICA — Police arrested a man last week who they say frightened officers and pedestrians. Comment.
Astoria Times

Police need help in search for missing teen

HOWARD BEACH — A teenager has been reported missing since April 8, police said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Jamaica man assaulted woman in his apt.: DA

JAMAICA — The Queens district attorney’s office arraigned a man last week who they say beat up a woman in his apartment. Comment.
Letters

Water Board must use its rates to only pay for related services

On April 3, the city Water Board continued its annual ritual of treating city water ratepayers as a cash cow that keeps on giving. Its proposal to raise city water rates comes on the heels of its rate increases of 14 percent in 2008 and 12 percent in 2007, which translates to a combined increase over three years of over 45 percent. Comment.
Letters

Columnist hits nail on the head

An open letter to columnist Alex Berger. Comment.
Letters

Light rail could save MTA money

Alterations in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s capital program offer a constructive method of avoiding drastic fare increases and service cuts or the Ravitch Commission’s lesser fare increases, bridge tolls and business taxes. Comment.
Letters

Support rights of rent−stabilized tenants against landlords

Politicians need to step up and put their money where their mouths are in supporting tenants’ rights against predatory equity landlord Vantage Properties and private financier AREA Property Partners, formerly known as Apollo Real Estate Advisors. Comment.
Letters

State budget will not help New Yorkers

I am disappointed with the approval of the state budget, with its almost unfettered tax and fee increases and inexcusable spending increase — a budget passed with the vote of state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D−Howard Beach). Comment.
Letters

Avella should campaign carefully

An open letter to City Councilman Tony Avella. Comment.
Letters

Vote Bloomberg out of office

After reading the list of people attending the opening of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Forest Hills election office, it does not look good for him. Comment.
Letters

City schools need arts curriculum

I am calling on the city to take an important step to restore quality arts education in city public schools. Comment.
Letters

Astoria needs larger police presence

I find it comical that, on any given day, an average of five or six police officers are assigned to a single subway station, presumably to check people’s bags. Typically, one officer will do the checking while the others stand around chatting and looking official. Comment.
Editorial

The Right to Do Nothing

Queens Supreme Court Justice Kevin Kerrigan was correct when he ruled last week that a subway conductor and a token collector had no legal responsibility to intervene when a young woman was raped twice on a subway platform. They were, in fact, following Metropolitan Transportation Authority “work rules” when they decided not to confront the rapist. Comment.
Astoria Times

Independence Party endorses Bloomberg for mayor

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has gained the endorsement of the city Independence Party at a meeting of the party’s five county executive committees. The members seemed to think Bloomberg can become the first Independent mayor of a major city with their organization leading the way. Comment.
Astoria Times

Legendary sportscaster born in Astoria

On March 22, 1952, sportscaster Bob Costas was born in Astoria. His family later moved to Commack, L.I. He attended, although did not graduate from, Syracuse University. Comment.
Astoria Times

Celebrate the coming of spring by observing Arbor, May days

A little seed for me to sow. A little earth to make it grow. A little hole, a little pat, a little wish and that is that. A little sun, a little shower, a little while and then a flower. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bloomberg visits Flushing to speak at Council on Arts gala

We sincerely hope everyone enjoyed their holiday, whether it was Passover or Easter. It was a time to share with family and friends. They say when the economy starts to go south, the bonds of family and friendship become stronger. This is probably due in large part to the lack of superfluous income to spend on the acquisition of new toys and things, most of which are unnecessary. Comment.
Astoria Times

Samba music to carnivores’ ears

Samba Grill is ready to stake its claim as a one−of−a−kind among Astoria’s bustling culinary community, providing borough residents with an inexpensive and extensive taste of Brazil. Comment.
Astoria Times

Save money on your vacation

Spring is here, which means the summer and warm weather are not far away. One dilemma I am hearing from many Queens residents is how to take a vacation in these tough economic times. The downturn can deter travel plans, but if you want to be a smart vacationer and save money, you will have to do what you can. This week, I am going to talk about what to keep in mind while planning your vacation during a recession. Comment.
Astoria Times

Abortion law stifles free speech: Avella

Several members of the Queens City Council delegation said they opposed a new city measure that would allow police to arrest protesters outside abortion clinics because the officials believe the legislation violates the First Amendment rights of city residents. Comment.
Astoria Times

Gianaris wants clean energy

State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D−Astoria) believes the state should clean up existing power plants in Western Queens rather than build new ones following the decision last week by the state energy board to approve amendments on the second phase of an Astoria plant. Comment.
Astoria Times

New stadium a hit with Mets fans

In a manner befitting the team’s hard−luck history, the New York Mets inaugurated their $800 million new home Monday by losing to the San Diego Padres 6−5 before a capacity crowd of more than 41,000, but scoring a big hit with fans who appeared to enjoy Citi Field’s more intimate feel and cutting−edge facilities. Comment.
Astoria Times

Mark, David Weprin’s mother honored by state Hispanic group

Sylvia Weprin, mother of state Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D−Little Neck) and City Councilman David Weprin (D−Hollis), was given an award by a state group that drafts legislative initiatives to help Hispanics, Mark Weprin said Monday. Comment.
Astoria Times

Obama eases travel limits for Cuban Americans

President Barack Obama announced Monday that he would lift restrictions for Cuban Americans to visit or send money to relatives back home, breaking tradition with nearly a half−century of United States policy toward the communist country. Comment.
Astoria Times

Woman, 37, hurt in LIC warehouse stair collapse

A staircase collapsed at Long Island City’s 5 Pointz artists warehouse Friday, sending a jewelry designer plummeting roughly 30 feet and throwing the future of the spray−painted industrial complex into question. Comment.
Astoria Times

Astorians join quake relief effort

Prominent leaders from Astoria’s Italian American community pledged last week to raise money for victims of the massive earthquake that recently devastated central Italy’s mountainous Abruzzo region as well as planning an upcoming benefit concert in the neighborhood. Comment.
Astoria Times

Boro Asian leaders back Bloomy in run for third term as mayor

Some of the movers and shakers in Queens’ Asian−American community gave Mayor Michael Bloomberg a boost for his run for a third term Monday, holding a raucous campaign rally at a downtown Flushing restaurant in his honor. Comment.
Astoria Times

Cancer Society plans Dogswalk on May 3

The American Cancer Society will host its 17th annual Dogswalk Against Cancer May 3 at Bear Mountain Park, where dogs of all shapes and sizes will take part in a variety of contests. Comment.
Astoria Times

David Weprin protests plan to hike water rates 14 percent

City Councilman David Weprin (D−Hollis) hopes to present petitions listing thousands of opponents of a 14 percent water rate hike when he goes before the city Water Board later this month. Comment.
Astoria Times

Hit−run kills woman on Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst

An unidentified woman in her 20s died in a hit−and−run at the intersection of 70th Street and Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst last week, prompting neighbors to once again fear for their safety as pedestrians. Comment.
Astoria Times

NY airports must keep their weather experts: Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D−N.Y.) has asked U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to order the Federal Aviation Administration to scrap a plan to transfer 100 weather specialists out of the New York area, lest it compromise air safety. Comment.
Astoria Times

Borough construction industry in slump

Although Queens real estate is miles away from the Wall Street epicenter of the financial crisis gripping the city, half a year after the stock market collapsed the borough’s construction industry has been left reeling, builders and officials said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens GOP holds class on running a campaign

More than 50 borough Republican candidates, activists and party leaders spent much of Saturday learning the ins and outs of running a campaign in the “candidate’s school” hosted by the Queens County GOP. Comment.
Astoria Times

New playgrounds planned for PS 88, 182, 224 and 877: Marshall

Upgrades are in the works for four Queens school playgrounds to help fight the growing problem of childhood obesity, Borough President Helen Marshall announced last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Willets Pt. talks resume, workers claim harassment

New York Mets fans fired up grills underneath the Van Wyck Expressway Monday ahead of the team’s debut at Citi Field. Just across the street, Willets Point stirred. Comment.
Astoria Times

USTA weighs roof on tennis center, denies Islanders talk

The United States Tennis Association has sent out a request for proposals from architects with the intention of possibly building a roof on the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, but the group’s ambitions do not currently include enticing the New York Islanders to move in, officials said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Forest Hills minister stole from church members: DA

A federal grand jury indicted five members of a Uniondale, L.I., investment firm on charges they swindled $9 million from members of their Forest Hills church and others, the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn said Tuesday. Comment.
Astoria Times

New Guy

Nicely−Nicely Johnson’s very best friend in the world may very well be Tituss Burgess, the Queens actor who portrays him in Broadway’s latest adaptation of the classic musical “Guys and Dolls.” Comment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jackson Heights

Council OKs plan for HS in Maspeth

Maspeth will be the home of the city’s next high school after the City Council voted 38−10 last Thursday in favor of a proposal opposed by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D−Middle Village) and the Juniper Park Civic Association. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Auschwitz survivor to speak at Forest Hills Y April 20

Thomas Buergenthal, an International Court judge in The Hague, Netherlands, who survived Auschwitz as a 10−year−old, is slated to discuss his recently released book detailing the early years of his life at the Central Queens YM & YWHA in Forest Hills April 20. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Corona custodian charged with molesting 9−year−old

A 50−year−old custodian at a Head Start program in Corona was charged last week with sexually molesting a 9−year−old girl for whom his wife baby−sat, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Scam targets immigrants

As the economy flounders and more people seek work, state legislators are trying to stiffen the fines on employment agencies that attempt to swindle clients out of a finder’s fee. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Ackerman helps grant dying man’s last wish

A dying Corona man was reunited with his 74−year−old mother from Peru Saturday after U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D−Bayside) made 11th−hour diplomatic efforts. Comment.
Astoria Times

Woodside graffiti gal sprayed subways: DA

A Woodside woman’s alleged habit of spray−painting trains around the globe led to fame but also her downfall, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

G train rape victim to appeal lawsuit dismissal

Maria Besedin, 25, was sexually assaulted in June 2005 around 2 a.m. by a man on the subway platform of the G line at Long Island City’s 21st Street station. The rapist, who was never apprehended, had sat down next to the victim on an empty subway train and touched her leg before following her onto the platform and sexually assaulting her, attorney Marc Albert said. Comment.
Astoria Times

DOB unveils online application system

The city Department of Buildings has launched a new online building application process that officials said will provide an unprecedented level of public access to upcoming projects. Comment.
Astoria Times

Astoria leads boro’s Italian relief efforts

A bevy of western Queens Italian−American groups and leaders vowed to come to the aid of residents in central Italy’s Abruzzo region after it was rocked Monday by a massive earthquake that killed more than 200 people. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens workers start drive to boost Census response

Like everything else in this economy, the U.S. Census is cutting down. Comment.
Astoria Times

Middle College could stay put

A celebrated specialty high school in Long Island City got one step closer to staying in its current spot across the street from LaGuardia Community College after Community Board 2 voted overwhelmingly in favor of a city School Construction Authority application to acquire the property last Thursday. Comment.
Astoria Times

Run−D.M.C. inducted into rock Hall of Fame

Run−D.M.C. started out as a group of three hip−hop loving friends from Hollis and evolved into the pioneers of the music genre. Comment.
Astoria Times

Petrocelli indicted on corruption charge: Feds

The head of Long Island City−based Petrocelli Electric Company was indicted on corruption charges in Manhattan federal court last Thursday for allegedly giving payouts to a “representative” of a union represented at the time by disgraced former state Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin, according to court papers. Comment.
Astoria Times

Willets raid sparks outrage

State Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D−East Elmhurst) and City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D−Jackson Heights) slammed city agencies for shutting down 11 Willets Point businesses the day before the Mets exhibition opener, saying the action violated the city’s agreement to help tenants move as a condition for approving the area’s massive redevelopment. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens Chamber to ID projects that could hire boro’s small biz

The Queens Chamber of Commerce has set up a committee to comb the economic stimulus package in an effort to identify projects that local business can work on. Comment.
Astoria Times

Woodside man sentenced to 16 years for rape: DA

A former NYPD officer and Astoria resident was sentenced to 16 years in prison for raping a Howard Beach woman in 1996, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Friday. Comment.
Astoria Times

City alters Willets approach

After taking the temperature of the current construction climate, the city said this week it will delay soliciting a developer for its massive Willets Point project and adopt a piecemeal approach to construction as they move forward. Comment.
Astoria Times

Applications jump for boro CECs

Although the number of candidates for local schools councils has dropped citywide, more individuals are seeking to be elected in Queens than in the last election two years ago, according to data released by the Department of Education Monday. Comment.
Astoria Times

Boro TB cases jumped 12% in 2008: DOH

While tuberculosis has been declining throughout the city, the disease has increased in Queens and health officials have urged people to get tested, promising that no one who does so will be asked about their immigration status. Comment.
Astoria Times

Sunnyside Gdns preservation vote set for April 22

The penultimate stage in the long−fought battle over how to preserve the historic homes of Sunnyside Gardens will take place later this month. The city Planning Commission is set to vote on a text amendment for the special zoning district April 22. Comment.
Astoria Times

TimesLedger wins six New York Press awards

TimesLedger Newspapers reporters’ coverage of a variety of issues, from Willets Point to congestion pricing, won the group six awards from the New York Press Association, a trade organization for weekly and small daily papers in the state. Comment.
Astoria Times

Gioia, de Blasio, Siegel spar at CUNY debate

Shouts of approval rang out when City Councilman Eric Gioia (D−Sunnyside) railed against the MTA’s recent vote to slash service throughout the borough and called for creating a city more affordable for middle−class residents at the first Public Advocate debate of this campaign season last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Vallone worried about crime despite drop in western Queens

Crime in western Queens is on the decline as the number of felony and misdemeanor incidents dropped in borough neighborhoods last year — but Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D−Astoria) said recently released police statistics still were troubling. Comment.
Astoria Times

Astoria immigrant school fears city may cut funding

The principal and faculty of an Astoria school for new immigrants who speak 18 languages said they were concerned city funding rules could prevent the academy from getting adequate resources following a decline in the student population this past year. Comment.
Astoria Times

Hospital closings leave borough in triage: First in a Series

When Borough President Helen Marshall toured the emergency rooms at Jamaica Hospital and Forest Hills Hospital last month, she was startled by what she saw. Comment.
Astoria Times

W train improves grade to C on transit report card

Straphangers have given the W subway line, one of two lines that could be eliminated under the MTA’s Doomsday budget, an overall grade of C in the NYC Transit Authority’s Rider Report Card, up from D−plus in the previous survey. Comment.
Astoria Times

State budget will worsen economy, Padavan says

New York state has a budget, if not a very popular one. The state Legislature approved the budget Friday after four days of debate. Votes on the budget bill were split mostly along party lines. Comment.
Astoria Times

Gianaris blasts plan to add power plant

State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D−Astoria) blasted the state’s Electric Generation Siting and the Environment Board after it paved the way for the second phase of an Astoria power plant earlier this week. Comment.

Sign up for our email newsletter

Astoria Times archive

CNG: Community Newspaper Group