Astoria Times

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jackson Heights

Corona man stole, submerged ATMs: DA

A Corona man who tried to escape arrest by swimming the East River last month has been tied to a string of ATM thefts in Manhattan as divers recovered four of the electronic machines at the bottom of Flushing Meadows Lake, police said. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Jackson Hts. woman charged in immigration services scam

A Jackson Heights businesswoman has been charged with bilking clients out of tens of thousands of dollars after promising to help them with their immigration status, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Maspeth woman abused her ill pet poodle

MASPETH — A Maspeth woman who stuffed her severely beaten 9−year−old poodle into a suitcase that she threw into a trash can outside her house has been sentenced to 30 days in jail, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Tuesday. Comment.
Astoria Times

Man, woman wanted in Astoria slashing

ASTORIA — The NYPD is asking the public to help identify two individuals wanted for attacking a man with a box cutter in Astoria April 27. Comment.
Astoria Times

Cops search for attempted robbers

WOODSIDE — Police were looking for two men who they said attempted to rob a Woodside bagel store in the 108th Precinct April 27. Comment.
Astoria Times

L.I. dad, son, charged with fireworks dealing

BAYSIDE — Two Long Island men were busted in Bayside with 41 cases of assorted fireworks in their car May 14, police said. Comment.
Letters

MTA bailout a victory for New Yorkers

Our voices forced Gov. David Paterson and the state Senate to act. After months of messages, petitions and pressure on elected officials in Albany, we stopped the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s “doomsday” plan of hiking fares and cutting service. It is called the power of your vote. Our local media also deserves kudos for highlighting the issue. Comment.
Letters

Trying to preserve a neighborhood means a labor of love, not elitism

I am fed up with Frank Skala making bogus statements just for the sake of hearing his own voice. Using a “shotgun approach” to criticize, he hits everyone and everything in sight as long as it is not about something he embraces. A recent series of rants is leveled at me as a trustee of the Douglaston⁄Little Neck Historical Society, and it proves how lacking his level of understanding is. Comment.
Letters

Do not raise taxes on middle class

It looks as if taxes are going to be raised in the city. What else is new? Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants people to live and work in this city, but who will be able to afford to if taxes continue to be raised? Comment.
Letters

To runs city schools, meet all of the following criteria

City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein’s checklist. Comment.
Letters

Take time to appreciate the work nurses do for every community

As the world reacts to the H1N1 swine flu outbreak, the front line care providers — nurses — have helped our community. Communities across the country deal with the concerns of the illness, whether a case was confirmed or only feared. From May 6−12, the nursing profession celebrated its own during National Nurses Week. Take a moment to share your gratitude with a nurse you know and the next nurse you encounter. Comment.
Letters

Residents of city should take stand against proposed firehouse closings

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to close firehouses jeopardizes the lives of all the city’s citizens. Even if he closes a firehouse in someone else’s neighborhood, all neighborhoods will be affected. Comment.
Letters

Restore Parks Department funding

Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg released the executive budget for fiscal year 2010. Unfortunately, funding for the city Parks Department has reached a five−year low, with the agency receiving only $256 million. This year’s and last year’s budget cuts to the agency total 9 percent. Consecutive cuts like this have not been seen since 1991−92. Comment.
Letters

City won’t take care of Willets Pt biz

As a result of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s alliance with real estate interests, the vast majority of over 225 viable businesses that employ more than 1,300 people in Willets Point, notwithstanding empty assurances to the contrary, will be discarded as trash. Comment.
Letters

New law will require pharmacies to provide translation services

Catalina Martinez, a native New Yorker and longtime Queens resident, regularly fills prescriptions for her family at her local Ridgewood pharmacy. Martinez speaks Spanish fluently, but has limited proficiency in English. She often has trouble understanding the English−only instructions printed on her medications and once was hospitalized because she overdosed on her prescribed antibiotic. Comment.
Letters

Boro flu outbreak handled well

World Health Organization Director−General Margaret Chan warned of a full−blown swine flu pandemic, one that would place humanity under threat. This is scary stuff. I do not know if all is being done to combat and contain the spread of this flu worldwide, but I can only hope and pray. Comment.
Editorial

State Democrats’ Cheap Shot

It is not surprising to see Democrats or Republicans take a cheap shot at a powerful opponent, but we are stunned by statements from Shams Tarek, a spokesman for the state Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, criticizing a letter written by state Sen. Frank Padavan on behalf of former colleague Brian McLaughlin. Comment.
Astoria Times

Americans should honor their fallen this Memorial Day

Let it be known that he who wears the military order of the Purple Heart have given his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen. — Inscription on Purple Heart medal Comment.
Astoria Times

Boro center offers ways for visitors to experience nature

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the designation of the Alley Pond Environmental Center as a National Environmental Study Area by the National Park Service, an honor it continues to deserve with its excellent programs. Comment.
Astoria Times

King of insult comedy called Jackson Heights home

On May 3, 1952, in Long Island City, County Court Judge Peter Farrell imposed the latest sentence on renowned bank robber and prison escape artist William “Willie” Sutton. He was given a 30−year term at Sing Sing in upstate New York for his role in holding up the Manufacturer’s Trust Co. in Sunnyside. Comment.
Astoria Times

Dividing boro into sectors might make running it easier

Yes, Virginia, there is a God and he loves Dee Richard. I was supposed to be out of my old house May 15 and the man upstairs bathed the new owner in human kindness as she extended my stay til May 31. While I’m grateful for the extension, it still isn’t really enough. I lost too much time being ill and incapacitated. Comment.
Astoria Times

U.S. presidents have history of supporting city mayors

Recently, political developments seem to be going well for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with him assured both the Republican Party and Independence Party endorsements. Now he has just been invited to the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama, in which the president praised his efforts in the field of education reform. Comment.
Astoria Times

Sander’s critics give transit chief high marks

Elliot “Lee” Sander spoke for an hour in the Great Hall of Cooper Union last year in describing his ambitious vision of the future of the city’s mass transit system. Comment.
Astoria Times

Mary Immaculate, St. John’s hospital properties put up for sale

Bankrupt and shuttered Caritas’ Health Care Inc.’s Mary Immaculate Hospital and St. Johns Queens Hospital were placed up for sale earlier this month, the Queens Borough President’s office confirmed, adding insult to injury for the county’s ailing hospital system. Comment.
Astoria Times

SWINE FLU OUTBREAK: Teachers back city’s response as Weprin slams mayor

As new confirmed and suspected cases of swine flu resurfaced in the city, including the virus−related death of the assistant principal at IS 238 in Hollis, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration has been receiving both praise and criticism over its response to the outbreak. Comment.
Astoria Times

St. Albans man among 45 named in ID theft ring bust

A major and meticulously crafted identity theft ring allegedly run by a fugitive St. Albans businessman was shut down after a 21−month investigation, the Queens district attorney announced last Thursday. Comment.
Astoria Times

Gianaris, Vallone irate over proposed Con Ed rate hike

Western Queens elected officials said they were outraged after Con Edison proposed two new rate increase plans last week that could raise customer bills by as much as $8 per month following the state Public Service Commission’s recent decision to approve a one−year hike on electric bills. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bank sues Queens Plaza hotel developer for $17M

The developer of a major boutique hotel at the Queens Plaza redevelopment is being sued for a construction loan before work has begun at the Long Island City site, court papers show. Comment.
Astoria Times

News Corporation gives $5.5M to Harlem school

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch made a surprise $5.5 million donation last week to a Harlem charter school during a benefit concert at the neighborhood’s legendary Apollo Theater, the New York Post reported. Comment.
Astoria Times

SWINE FLU OUTBREAK: Preliminary tests find Corona baby did not die of swine flu

A 16−month−old Corona boy who died after exhibiting flu−like symptoms earlier this week was not infected with swine flu, based on preliminary tests, but 16 public schools in Queens remained closed following the death of a popular assistant principal at IS238 in Hollis from the virus and outbreaks of the illness around the borough. Comment.
Astoria Times

LIC artist provides designs for United Nations stamps

Queens already has a reputation as a borough of many nationalities, but now one of its artists will be represented all across the globe — in the portfolios of dedicated stamp collectors. Comment.
Astoria Times

Son accused of killing LIC mattress king’s wife

The wife of the founder of Long Island City’s 1−800−Mattress was found murdered in her Long Island home last week and her son is suspected of the crime, Nassau County police said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Barnett Avenue fixes planned

After years of lobbying and false starts, a group of Sunnyside Gardens residents has started the wheels rolling on improvements to long−neglected Barnett Avenue. Comment.
Astoria Times

Avella, Thompson criticize mayor’s election spending

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent an estimated $7 million more on his mayoral campaign so far than he did during his 2005 bid at this point in the campaign, according to city campaign finance records. Comment.
Astoria Times

Genocide survivor tells St. John’s graduates to be optimists

St. John’s University’s Great Lawn was a sea of red Sunday when more than 3,200 students celebrated their graduation and left their alma mater with encouragement from Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza to hold onto hope in a world that can easily present daunting barriers to success. Comment.
Astoria Times

Astoria concert to aid Italian quake victims

The borough’s Italian−American community will have an opportunity to donate money to aid the victims of the April 6 earthquake in Italy’s Abruzzo region during a concert to be held later this month in Astoria. Comment.
Astoria Times

Wiener remembered as dedicated mentor

To the students, alumni and teachers at IS 238, Assistant Principal Mitchell Wiener was more than just an instructor: He was family. Comment.
Astoria Times

Gioia trails field in public advocate race: Poll

City Councilman Eric Gioia’s (D−Sunnyside) run for public advocate pits him against five rivals: the former holder of that office, a Council colleague, a civil rights attorney, a Republican state Senate staffer and a Pakistani−American lawyer. Comment.
Astoria Times

Virus’ re−emergence taxes boro hospitals

The swine flu outbreak is intensifying pressure on Queens’ beleaguered health care system, and while the borough’s emergency rooms have been coping with huge patient increases following the closure of three major hospitals, administrators warn long−term reform must be implemented before it is too late. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens Museum unearths trove of Central Asian films

The Queens Museum of Art intends to dispel any notions that borough residents might have about post−Soviet nations in the Middle East and Central Asia with a new film series and art exhibition exploring issues of ethnic and religious identity that will be on view this summer. Comment.
Astoria Times

Ingredients: Corn, Lime, Passion

The Rube Goldberg−esque contraption turning out tortillas in a store window on an obscure side street in Corona is not a manifestation of homesick immigrants trying to recreate the foodways of their homeland. It is, instead, an example of the artisanal culinary movement as practiced by a couple of savvy young entrepreneurs getting in touch with their inner foodies. Comment.
Astoria Times

Art−O−Mat’s farewell also honors photographer’s legacy

Long Island City’s artist community lost a longtime member this year when photographer Jayne Mangino succumbed to cancer. And as the neighborhood prepares to say goodbye both to Mangino and the Vernon Boulevard gallery Art−O−Mat, her friends have organized a memorial exhibit there. Comment.
Astoria Times

Plenty of stories left to tell as 50th milestone arrives

Fifty is a nice round number, and this is my 50th column about local theater for the TimesLedger Newspapers. The first one was published on June 14, 2007, and it has appeared biweekly (with a couple of exceptions) ever since. Each one is only 500−600 words, but it takes some time and effort to get it right — to create something worthwhile, informative and entertaining. Comment.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Jackson Heights

Helen Sears, challengers duke it out at forum

Most of the answers at a City Council candidates’ forum at the Jackson Heights Diversity Center Monday night were expected, as the three leading contenders for Councilwoman Helen Sears’ (D−Jackson Heights) seat and the incumbent all showed strong support for the issues brought up by immigrant rights groups that helped organize the event. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Council candidate Singh’s campaign signs stolen

A City Council candidate hoping to become the first Sikh elected in the city is claiming that prejudice prompted vandals to remove his campaign signs and rip another in Bellerose. Comment.
Astoria Times

DiWine: Attractive, inviting wine bar opens in Astoria

What DiWine, a newish bar on 31st Street in Astoria, has going for it is a great concept. They relieve the customer of the burden of factoring price into their decision−making process by making all wines, and most food options (by category) the same price. No need to read the wine list from right to left. You can choose any wine on their list of approximately 100 bottles for $32, or any of 20 by the glass for $8. If you assume four glasses to the bottle, you’re still at the same price point. Comment.
Astoria Times

Astoria chefs promise culture clash in ‘Meatball Melee’

Canalp “John” Caner is confident that he has the best balls in all five boroughs. Comment.
Astoria Times

Cyclist killed by truck in Richmond Hill

RICHMOND HILL — A bicyclist was killed last week when he collided with a commercial truck at a busy intersection, police said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Flushing man arrested in vase assault case

FLUSHING — A Flushing man was arrested last week after allegedly bashing another man on the head with a glass vase, the Queens district attorney’s office said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Jamaica man gets 11 years for attacking wife

KEW GARDENS — A Jamaica man who attacked his wife with scissors and severely injured his infant son was sentenced to 11 years in prison last week, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comments (3).
Astoria Times

Man busted on DUI after hitting cop car: DA

ASTORIA — An Astoria man was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving earlier this month after smashing his car into a police cruiser, the Queens district attorney’s office said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Husband charged with stalking wife

LAURELTON — A Laurelton man was arrested last week after threatening his estranged wife who had an order of protection against him, the Queens district attorney’s office said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Homeless woman pleads to killing infant son

KEW GARDENS — A 23−year−old homeless woman pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter in the suffocation death of her 4−month−old son, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment.
Letters

Legalize gay marriage in New York state

Last month, Gov. David Patterson proposed legislation that would allow same−sex marriage and many of us in Queens cheered. All New York families deserve to be treated equally under the law. Same−sex couples and their families deserve the 1,324 rights and protections that come with a New York marriage license. Comment.
Letters

Act responsibly while on a trip

It does not make sense that parents would allow their teenage children to go on a trip to a foreign country, especially with the problems Mexico is experiencing. Comment.
Letters

State should uphold the traditional meaning of marriage

An open letter to state Assemblyman Mark Weprin. Comment.
Letters

Do not get rid of mayoral control

I am from Far Rockaway and went to public school. Because of mayoral control, I can see a major difference in the resources in my daughter’s school and the quality of the teachers than when I went to school. Comment.
Letters

State budget harms middle class, small businesses with large hikes

Following rounds of secrecy and closed−door meetings, Gov. David Paterson, state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D−Manhattan) and state Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D−St. Albans) led the way in enacting the worst budget in the state’s history. The details and facts surrounding this reckless and fiscally irresponsible budget are bad for all New Yorkers. Comment.
Letters

Do not rush to criticize Biden over comment about swine flu

Vice President Joe Biden is currently being criticized by officials from President Barack Obama to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and ridiculed in the press, for his warning to avoid airplanes and subways amid the swine flu outbreak. These attacks may be motivated by the fear that he might be on to something, which would be bad for business. Comment.
Letters

Cooperation from city agencies needed by Queens green group

It is with sadness and discouragement that I write this letter. The volunteer work of a handful of community−minded gardeners, the 46th Avenue Beautification Committee, is not respected and being destroyed by the city Sanitation Department’s snow removal crew — specifically the salt trucks. Comment.
Editorial

Proud of City’s Response

Now that the worst appears to be over, the city and nation will assess the response to the swine flu outbreak. Fresh Meadows, Queens and St. Francis Preparatory School, with 74 students reportedly infected, was ground zero for the swine flu in the United States. Comment.
Editorial

Doomsday Avoided

A last−minute deal in the state Senate has saved the city from a doomsday scenario that would have resulted in dramatically raised subway and bus fares and reduced services and led to the layoff of 1,000 workers. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bloomberg could end up running for mayor on three lines

Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently received the endorsement of the Queens Republican Executive Committee. With the prior endorsements of the Republican Brooklyn, Staten Island and Bronx organizations, the mayor is on his way to becoming the official Republican Party mayoral candidate. Comment.
Astoria Times

Candidates come out to gather support from boro residents

On Monday, the Queens Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club had a Queens−wide “meet the candidates forum” for City Council at St. Marks Episcopal Church in Jackson Heights. I don’t know how many were invited, but 18 showed up that I know of. Comment.
Astoria Times

United States has fought piracy since the 19th century

On May 10, 1815, Capt. Stephen Decatur took command of a 10−ship fleet setting sail for Algiers, his mission to end the raids of the Barbary pirates on American commercial shipping in the Mediterranean Sea. This sounds familiar today, as we may one day soon have to embark on a similar mission. Comment.
Astoria Times

Corona shop serves cold treats

Although he was an information technology manager for JP Morgan Chase, Timmy O’Leary’s love of custard led him to take courses at culinary school for the fun of it. Comment.
Astoria Times

Fight your traffic ticket

It is possible to successfully fight traffic tickets, even though our system is set up to discourage you from contesting them. In speaking with Queens community members who have had experience in this area, I will talk about how to win in traffic court. Comment.
Astoria Times

Forest Hills vocalist spreads melody to new learners

For the 17 singers who crowded into Sandra Bosko’s Forest Hills apartment Friday night for a performance workshop, the evening was more than just 3 1⁄2 hours of singing everything from Spanish love songs to pieces by pop star Fiona Apple. Comment.
Astoria Times

Gioia slams city pension fund for investing in Philip Morris

It is time for the city’s pension funds to quit the tobacco company Phillip Morris⁄Altria cold turkey, City Councilman Eric Gioia (D−Sunnyside) said Sunday. The city’s pension funds have 6 million shares invested in the tobacco company, even though the city froze new investments in tobacco companies in 1998, Gioia said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bayside man to bike cross−country to fight Alzheimer’s

A 50−year−old bicyclist from Bayside will make his second cross−country trip this fall to raise money for Alzheimer’s following a 2,974−mile trek last year which has since led to a burgeoning second career for the former school teacher. Comment.
Astoria Times

Catsimatidis funds fireworks for Queensboro Bridge bash

Sparks will fly at the 100th anniversary celebration of the Queensborough Bridge later this month after a city supermarket mogul agreed to fund fireworks for the event amid a budget crunch that almost prevented the display, an event spokesman said. Comment.
Astoria Times

North Shore LIJ surgeon leaves job

The chairman of neurosurgery at the North Shore−Long Island Jewish Health System is stepping down from his post following news reports that he refused to perform a brain operation on a woman who had been anesthetized for surgery because she was not his patient. Comment.
Astoria Times

FALL FROM GRACE: Democrats criticize Padavan’s support of McLaughlin

A letter written by state Sen. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose) on behalf of disgraced former colleague Brian McLaughlin set off a firestorm of political rhetoric last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Jamaica mom hit hard by city ACS cost−cutting

For Jamaica resident Erica Miller, the city’s proposal to move thousands of kindergarten students from day care centers to public schools this fall is going to make life a lot harder — and much more expensive. Comment.
Astoria Times

East Side Access project gets $194M stimulus from feds

The federal government has announced it is providing more than a quarter of a billion dollars in economic stimulus for the Second Avenue subway and East Side Access projects. Comment.
Astoria Times

MTA scrubs ‘doomsday’ budget after bailout

With legislative approval of a long−awaited financial rescue, the MTA has scrubbed its “doomsday” plan to impose drastic fare increases. It will nevertheless cost more to ride transit and use bridges and tunnels, but not nearly as much as feared. Comment.
Astoria Times

MTA flood upgrades need $80M in funds

MTA officials have reported considerable progress in projects to prevent a repeat of the August 2007 flood that shut down or disrupted much of the city’s subway system. But they said the remainder of the work, estimated to cost $80 million, has been delayed for lack of money. Comment.
Astoria Times

Not−guilty plea in radio slay

The East Elmhurst teen accused of murdering ABC Radio broadcaster George Weber in his Brooklyn apartment pleaded not guilty Friday after a grand jury indicted him on murder charges. Comment.
Astoria Times

City unveils Astoria rezoning plan

The city is planning a massive rezoning project for Astoria to preserve the community’s character and allow for new development in the first undertaking of its type for the neighborhood in 48 years. Comment.
Astoria Times

FALL FROM GRACE: McLaughlin faces sentence

The more than three−year−long saga that has obliterated the reputation of one of Queens’ most influential political and labor leaders may finally come to a close next week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Forest Hills turns out for 63rd Drive Festival despite rain

The brief but fierce rains that drenched the city Friday night parted in time for the 63rd Drive Festival in Forest Hills Saturday. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens raises $22K for Italy quake victims

Ridgewood showed some of its true colors were red, white and green last Thursday as two prominent Italian−American groups joined forces with City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D−Middle Village) to raise $22,000 for victims of last month’s earthquake in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens students boost English scores

All seven Queens school districts recorded a jump in this year’s English Language Arts test scores, according to recently released data from the state Department of Education, although area lawmakers say the results are not as significant as city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Michael Bloomberg claim. Comment.
Astoria Times

FALL FROM GRACE: Corruption case spans three years

January 2006: McLaughlin makes the surprise announcement that he will not seek an eighth term as a state assemblyman. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens families sue city over ’07 flood damage

Attorneys for Queens residents whose homes were damaged in torrential rains in 2007 have filed a class−action lawsuit against the city following city Comptroller William Thompson’s announcement last month that the city would not provide monetary compensation to flood victims. Comment.
Astoria Times

Flake backs Bloomberg for 3rd term

Mayor Michael Bloomberg got a major boost from the African American community in Queens Saturday when he won the endorsement of the Rev. Floyd Flake of the Greater Allen AME Church in Jamaica. Comment.
Astoria Times

Molloy students rock school for needy kids

Archbishop Molloy students helped a group of needy Filipino children Friday and they didn’t even have to leave the school’s auditorium to do it. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens’ summer series offer alternative to popcorn fare

Summer’s cinematic offerings tend to provide moviegoers with a dose of the reliable, whether it is comic book heroes, sequels or expensive special effects. But Queens’ selection of film−related events from May through August this year is anything but formulaic, giving borough residents a variety of viewing options, such as watching films with the stars or under them. Comment.
Astoria Times

High−flying fun

Escape the economic crisis. Don’t worry about swine flu. Forget everyday problems for a little while. Come join the circus, the Big Apple Circus, returning to Queens for its 31st season with 26 shows starting Saturday at Cunningham Park in Fresh Meadows. The circus features world−renowned artists, up to new tricks! Comment.
Astoria Times

Plenty of guilt and laughs in ‘Allergist’s Wife’ at QTIP

The outrageous comedy “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” by Charles Busch, put on by the Douglaston−based Outrageous Fortune Company, is top−flight community theater. Comment.

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