Astoria Times

Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009

Jackson Heights

Two cops charged in false drug bust

Two police officers suspected of falsely arresting four Queens men on drug sales charges last year were indicted by a grand jury last Thursday, opening a new chapter in a saga that deprived a pair of Jackson Heights brothers of their livelihood. Comment.
Astoria Times

Flushing merchant sold counterfeit goods: DA

JAMAICA — A merchant was convicted Friday of selling nearly $75,000 worth of counterfeit handbags, wallets, sunglasses and other clothing accessories, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Police search for electronics thieves

REGO PARK — Police were looking for at least four men who they say stole electronics from a P.C. Richard & Son store Jan. 14. Comment.
Astoria Times

Fire damages building on Jamaica Ave.: FDNY

RICHMOND HILL — A two−alarm fire caused serious damage to a mixed−use building Jan. 13, firefighters said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Police search for suspect in murder of teen

ELMHURST — Police are asking the public’s help for information regarding the murder of a Manhattan teen in Elmhurst Monday evening. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bayside prog rockers were U.S. road warriors in ’08

The Middle Eastern−influenced band Consider the Source plans to start off the New Year with a serious bang, with hopes to keep its momentum going strong as 2009 progresses. And it looks like it will be a groundbreaking year for the Bayside−based group, with multiple national tours, a new album and various festival appearances in the works for 2009. Comment.
Letters

State DOE ruling supports parental involvement in city schools

Great news for those tired of seeing the city Department of Education reduce parents’ ability to be meaningfully involved in their children’s education. In a recent ruling by state Department of Education Commissioner Richard Mills, the city DOE was found to have improperly changed the rules governing parent participation in School Leadership Teams. Comment.
Letters

Klein and Bloomberg’s running of schools does harm to teachers

We are five months into the school year with the same old tactics being used to further break the spirit of your average classroom teacher. City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have broken the school system even more than it was already broken. I do not think it can be fixed if the current administration stays in place. Comment.
Letters

DOT summonses for sidewalks unfair to Queens homeowners

In October, I attended a community meeting at PS 203, organized by City Councilman David Weprin (D−Hollis), where various city agencies were in attendance, allegedly to answer community questions and concerns. Comment.
Letters

Madoff must face jail time now

A judge ruled that money manager Bernard Madoff can remain free on bail while awaiting trial. Meanwhile, he violated his bail agreement by mailing more than $1 million in jewelry and heirlooms to family and friends over the holidays. Comment.
Editorial

See no Evil

Not only did the state Senate agree to seat former Queens City Councilman Hiram Monserrate, it even appointed him chairman of the powerful Consumer Protection Committee. Maybe the committee can look into the company that sold the glass that shattered, cutting his girlfriend’s face. Comment.
Editorial

Worth Considering

Astoria Assemblyman Michael Gianaris has come up with a proposal that could save the state as much as $30 million a year that is at least worthy of consideration. He has proposed a four−day work week for state employees involved in non−essential services. Comment.
Astoria Times

Tradition, feasts, parades highlight Chinese New Year

A tourist in Asia watched as two prominent Chinese people were being buried. As the first casket was lowered, several women came forward and placed chicken, rice, bread and wine on the coffin. “Why?” the tourist asked. “So that the body of the deceased will not go hungry,” answered a mourner. When the second casket was lowered, a single cup of rice was placed on it. “Why so little food?” the tourist asked. “That was Sing Lee. He was on a diet.” — told to me by a Chinese friend Comment.
Astoria Times

Candidates gear up for elections in city, state races

The special election candidates are scrambling to do their various things in the hopes of being the candidate of choice in their respective districts. Comment.
Astoria Times

Padavan−Gennaro race has parallels in Minnesota contest

The opening of the 2009 state Senate session Jan. 7 has come and gone. A new majority leader, Malcolm Smith (D−St. Albans), has been elected by his colleagues. The registered voters of the 11th Senate District in northeast Queens, however, had no voice in that voting process because the election to decide who will represent them has not yet been decided. Comment.
Astoria Times

LIC business strives for the best cup o’ joe

Sweetleaf Coffee and Tea is not the first business owner Rich Nieto has run, but it is the first the Flushing resident can call a labor of love. Comment.
Astoria Times

Homeless man kills Astoria gal pal, gets 19 years

A 38−year−old man who lives in a Manhattan homeless shelter was sentenced to 19 years in prison earlier this month for the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend at an Astoria housing development in January 2007, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens had 90 percent of babies born to immigrants, second−lowest HV mortality rate in city: Health Department

The city Health Department reported that in parts of Queens, nearly 90 percent of births were to foreign−born women in 2007 and that HIV deaths declined to the lowest citywide, except for those in Staten Island. Comment.
Astoria Times

Feds arrest 11 boro Con Ed workers in kickback scheme

Law enforcement officials arrested 11 current and former Con Edison employees from Queens and two other boroughs last week after they allegedly received more than $1 million in kickbacks from a contractor in connection with construction projects during the past four years in the city and Westchester County, the U.S. attorney for New York’s Eastern District said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Jury convicts shooter in Club Phenomenon slay

A Ridgewood man was convicted Friday of murder and attempted murder in the shooting of two men outside a notorious Woodside nightclub in 2006, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Flushing prepares for Lunar New Year celebration

Move over rat; make way for the ox. Comment.
Astoria Times

Monserrate goes on attack

State Sen. Hiram Monserrate’s (D−East Elmhurst) legal team lashed out at Queens District Attorney Richard Brown Friday as a Queens Criminal Court judge ruled he would not be allowed contact with girlfriend Karla Giraldo until a conference Feb. 27. Comment.
Astoria Times

Hudson crash sparks call to ground geese at LaGuardia

As the city hailed the flight crew involved in the near−miraculous water landing of a jetliner and lauded the rescuers of its passengers from the frigid Hudson River, state officials called for toughening measures to control the Canada geese population around LaGuardia Airport that is suspected of bringing down the US Airways plane just minutes after takeoff. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens’ church shelters shut doors as city tightens belt

Where once there were about 10 beds for homeless men in the basement of St. Andrew Avellino Church in Flushing, there is now empty space. Comment.
Astoria Times

Corona’s Julissa Ferreras sets sights on Monserrate’s Council seat

The Corona−born woman who hopes to succeed her former boss in the City Council has a personal history of climbing through the ranks. She faces a challenging month of campaigning against a field of community activists and district leaders before the Feb. 24 special election for Council District 25, which covers Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. Comment.
Astoria Times

ACORN crashes foreclosure auction

ACORN members were kicked out of a Jamaica courtroom Friday for disrupting a foreclosure auction by bidding “zero dollars” for homes up on the block and chanting “Stop the auction!” Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens Savings Bank’s parent company declines federal assistance

New York Community Bancorp, which operates Queens County Savings Bank, turned down nearly $600 million in federal help, the banking group announced last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Boro hospitals seek bailout

Board members of the parent company for St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica were expected to meet this week to discuss what to do about the financially struggling institutions, including whether or not to file for bankruptcy protection or close the hospitals. Comment.
Astoria Times

Inauguration provides emotional moments at Jamaica Multiplex

Jamaica residents got to view the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama in Hollywood style Tuesday at the Jamaica Multiplex. Comment.
Astoria Times

Hollis hip−hop royalty Run−DMC get Hall of Fame nod

Hollis’ most famous hip−hop group will get its due in Cleveland this spring. Comment.
Astoria Times

Diverse crowd celebrates Obama at theater in Flushing Town Hall

“I’m just so happy. I think America is back.” Comment.
Astoria Times

Bloomberg vows recovery in State of the City speech

Mayor Michael Bloomberg conceded the city was in the midst of rough economic times, but pointed to a few upcoming construction projects in Queens as ways to alleviate the situation during his State of the City address last week in Brooklyn. Comment.
Astoria Times

Obama wins youth vote at St. Albans’ PS 36

Hundreds of students in the auditorium of PS 36 in St. Albans cheered wildly, pumped their fists into the air and wiped tears from their eyes as they watched Barack Obama become the country’s first black president. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens Jews focus on relationship with Obama, blacks at Central Queens Y

Less than 24 hours before President Barack Obama was sworn into office as the nation’s first black president, a group of Queens residents gathered in the Central Queens YM & YWHA in Forest Hills to discuss the role Jewish individuals played in ushering in Obama’s victory as well as future relations between the black and Jewish communities. Comment.
Astoria Times

Crowded field vies for western Queens City Council seats

The extension of term limits may has changed the political landscape when it comes to the 2009 city elections, but it has not deterred dozens of potential candidates from pursuing their campaigns for Queens’ 14 City Council seats. Comment.
Astoria Times

Euphoria grips Queens for inauguration

From the heart of the borough’s African−American community in Jamaica to Flushing Town Hall and a St. Albans elementary school, Queens residents celebrated a watershed moment in the country’s history as President Barack Obama was sworn in as the nation’s first black president. Comment.
Astoria Times

Five Queens youth centers saved temporarily from chopping block

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council have acted to spare 19 community centers in public housing sites that were previously slated to close, including five in Queens. Comment.
Astoria Times

Canada geese draw ire over suspected role in Flight 1549 crash

Canada geese have certainly been getting their 15 minutes of fame following the emergency landing of Flight 1549 on the Hudson last week after it took off from LaGuardia Airport, where birds congregate nearby in Flushing Bay. Comment.
Astoria Times

City to sell foreclosed Jamaica home to needy

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department are stepping in with an emergency program to save several foreclosed city homes, including one in Jamaica. Comment.
Astoria Times

Singing the city electric

The Strange Love Project is the answer that the artist and hip−hop musician Bisc1 (real name Brad Smith) came up with, along with 30 other artists, to his question: “How can I artistically drive myself and other people?” Comment.
Astoria Times

Messy marriage hijinks unfold in BroadHollow comedy

No, it’s not “Rachel Getting Married.” Comment.

Monday, Jan. 19, 2009

Jackson Heights

Mom pleads guilty in Jackson Heights baby dump

The Bronx mother accused of smothering her infant son to death two years ago and discarding his body in Jackson Heights pleaded guilty to manslaughter last Thursday, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Gotti hitman used acid to get rid of body: Feds

The mystery surrounding the fate of a Howard Beach man who accidently ran over and killed Gambino mob boss John Gotti Sr.’s son nearly 30 years ago after the boy darted into the street while riding a dirt bike appears to have been solved, according to papers filed last week in Brooklyn federal court for the Eastern District. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Corona strippers get jail time for molesting young girls: DA

The husband−and−wife strippers from Corona who molested two young girls they met online both received prison time Tuesday after pleading guilty to the offenses in November, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment.
Astoria Times

UDU CafÉ: Play with your food in Flushing

Astoria Times

Fla. woman had metal knuckles in luggage: Cops

EAST ELMHURST — A 22−year−old Florida woman was arrested after a pair of metal knuckles were allegedly found in her belongings as she went through a security checkpoint at LaGuardia Airport, the Queens District Attorney said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Man attacked school guidance counselor: DA

JAMAICA — A 20−year−old Ozone Park man was arrested after he allegedly attacked a guidance counselor at a Jamaica high school, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Rich. Hill man stole $26K in stamps: Cops

JACKSON HEIGHTS — A 43−year−old Richmond Hill man was arrested after he allegedly placed an order for a shipment of stamps totaling more than $26,000 in value from the Jackson Heights pharmacy at which he worked, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Man attacked another with beer bottle: Police

JACKSON HEIGHTS — A 36−year−old East Elmhurst man was arrested after he allegedly struck another man in the head with a beer bottle at a Jackson Heights billiards hall, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Man tried to break into apartment: Police

EAST ELMHURST — A 33−year−old Elmhurst man was arrested earlier this year after he allegedly attempted to break into a woman’s apartment in East Elmhurst and then attacked a neighbor who attempted to intervene, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bayside’s Consider the Source were musical road warriors in 2008

The Middle Eastern−influenced band Consider the Source plans to start the New Year off with a serious bang, with hopes to keep their momentum going strong as the year progresses. And it looks like it will be a groundbreaking year for the Bayside−based group, with multiple national tours, a new album and various festival appearances in the works for 2009. Comment.
Letters

Padavan should let all votes count

The suppression of Democratic and new voters by state Sen. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose) and his lawyers has been a black spot on an otherwise inspiring and hopeful election. Comment.
Letters

Democrats must concede to Padavan

The race for the 11th Senate District has been dragging on for two months now. Queens Democratic leaders have turned this race into a travesty. It is time for them and City Councilman James Gennaro (D−Fresh Meadows) to concede this election. Comment.
Letters

Padavan fights for the people

We, the residents of the 11th Senate District, find ourselves without voice and representation in the state Senate. On Nov. 4, state Sen. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose) received the majority of votes, but as of yet, has not been permitted to return to Albany to represent his constituency. Comment.
Letters

Voters in 11th Senate District need representation now

I have voted in every election since I became of age. I am a proud female Hispanic Democrat, but more importantly I am an informed voter. I listen to debates, read extensively about candidates’ positions and voting records and check who contributes to candidates’ campaigns before I make a decision. Comment.
Letters

Gennaro must concede election

After two months of voter recounts by the state Elections Board and review by our courts, the time has come to declare longtime incumbent state Sen. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose) the winner of the 11th Senate District election. Comment.
Letters

Parrots don’t belong on the street

Usually, City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) is wise when it comes to representing northeast Queens. His recent opposition to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s expanding term limits is commendable and noble. Comment.
Editorial

No Bike Lane

We reported recently on a group that calls itself Ghost Bikes and their crusade to force the city to create a bike lane on Queens Boulevard following the tragic death of Asif Rahman, a bike rider struck and killed while passing a double−parked truck. Comment.
Editorial

The Sound of Silence

Profiles in courage are hard to find in the state Senate. Hiram Monserrate was sworn−in as a senator last week despite the fact he is facing a felony assault charge. Comment.
Astoria Times

Society’s lack of manners has become a sign of the times

When I recently visited a local supermarket, I found a common sight: shopping carts all over the parking lot, with some in parking spaces, including handicapped spaces. Too much effort, it seems, for users to return the carts to their proper places. Comment.
Astoria Times

Martin Luther King still stands for courage and justice

In 1983, to honor the birth of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Congress established the third Monday in January as a federal holiday to begin in 1986. This year, it will be observed on Jan. 19. Comment.
Astoria Times

Wall St. recovery, Bloomberg’s run for mayor will define ’09

As we look at the economic and political prospects in the city for 2009, there are serious questions concerning the significant amount of time it will take for the federal economic system to adjust itself after the Wall Street meltdown. Comment.
Astoria Times

Western Queens special election campaigns in full swing

It is only the second week in January, but from the non−stop running around we have been doing, it feels like it should be the middle of Mach. Comment.
Astoria Times

Flushing distinguished by journalists’ early efforts

The year 1840 witnessed the advent of journalism in Flushing. The very first newspaper printed there was called The Repository, a royal octavo edited by the students of St. Thomas’ Hall, a school for boys founded in 1839 that had room for 120 pupils and a staff of 14 instructors. Comment.
Astoria Times

Laurelton’s Bellony has the moves

Former Yankees baseball player and Laurelton resident Rodrigo Bellony has danced around the world, from Barcelona to Aruba, but his favorite place to do the salsa and the merengue is right here in Queens. Comment.
Astoria Times

Find IT service you can trust

In today’s information age where computers dominate our lives, having a good IT specialist is just as important as having a good accountant or attorney. Comment.
Astoria Times

Ozone Park man gunned down outside home

Instead of wishing Jagdesh Beni a happy 34th birthday, family members of the Ozone Park immigrant were cremating his remains Monday after he was shot and killed outside his home last week in what was the first murder in Queens of the new year. Comment.
Astoria Times

CB leaders learn about digital TV switch

Digital television will be changing the way viewers watch their favorite programs and Borough President Helen Marshall wants to make sure all of Queens is ready when broadcast signals upgrade next month. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens troops’ return from Afghanistan thrills families

For several Queens families, last week’s arrival of the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the New York Army National Guard was a day long coming. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bloomberg out of touch: Weiner

In an effort to discredit his billionaire opponent in the 2009 mayoral campaign, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D−Forest Hills) railed against Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Citizens Union breakfast Monday. Comment.
Astoria Times

Marshall upbeat on state of Queens

Dismal economic indicators did not sour the spirits of Borough President Helen Marshall during her State of the Borough address Tuesday. Comment.
Astoria Times

Mourners remember Bayside teen

Friends of a Bayside teenager who died from bacterial meningitis said they will remember her as an optimist who brought out the best in others. Comment.
Astoria Times

LIRR’s on−time performance reaches 95 percent milestone

The Long Island Rail Road last year achieved what officials called its best−ever on−time performance of 95.14 percent while serving a record number of passengers. Comment.
Astoria Times

St. John’s, Mary Immaculate hospitals on verge of closure: Marshall

In the wake of the shutdown of Parkway Hospital, Queens could be facing the loss of two more major healthcare facilities, but elected officials are scrambling to find ways to keep both St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica open. Comment.
Astoria Times

Monserrate named as a committee chair in state senate

As state Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D−East Elmhurst) took office last week and was appointed to a powerful chairmanship, a major women’s rights organization criticized the state Legislature for its reaction to charges that Monserrate slashed his girlfriend’s face with a broken glass during an argument last month. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens zookeeper bones up on the bear essentials

A Bayside man traveled to South America last fall to ensure that two of his borough friends would have the bear necessities. Comment.
Astoria Times

Princeton Review’s Best Value listing includes Queens College

For college−bound residents dealing with the effects of the economic recession, the Princeton Review said one need not look farther than southern Flushing for one of the best bachelor’s degrees for the buck in the nation. Comment.
Astoria Times

Mortality rate low, but Queens leads New York City in 13 causes of death

Deaths in the city have fallen to yet another all−time low, including the lowest infant mortality rate on record, although Queens provided some less positive health trends. Comment.
Astoria Times

Paterson gives hope for future

Belt tightening — both fiscal and physical — and green energy initiatives were among the central themes of Gov. David Paterson’s rhetoric−heavy first State of the State address. Speaking for roughly an hour and a half, the governor touched on many of the items included in his proposed budget, which he introduced Dec. 16, 2008. Comment.
Astoria Times

Foreclosures hit Queens’ South Asian community

The American Dream of prosperity and home ownership is collapsing on the borough’s South Asians as their mortgages balloon and banks move in to foreclose, deflating the stereotype of Asian prosperity, an advocacy group has found. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens’ state reps praise Gov. Paterson’s resolve

Policy proposals detailed in Gov. David Paterson’s State of the State address could mean good news for Queens residents, despite the $15 billion budget deficit lawmakers are struggling to close, borough legislators said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Mischievous pup rounds the bases at Mets’ Citi Field

You’ve heard of “Casey at the Bat,” but what about canine at the bat? Comment.
Astoria Times

Con Ed rate hike proposed

Western Queens elected officials criticized the state Public Service Commission after two of the agency’s administrative law judges recommended a one−year rate hike totaling $632 million for Con Edison. Comment.
Astoria Times

Honey saves Little Neck man’s leg

In his fight against a stubborn bacterial infection on his right leg, Franklin Lloyd found an unlikely ally: honey. Comment.
Astoria Times

DenDekker gets big welcome at Assembly swearing−in ceremony

A bevy of borough elected officials at the city, state and federal level turned out last weekend to support Democrat Michael DenDekker as he was sworn in as the new assemblyman for the 34th District following state Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette’s (D−Jackson Heights) decision last summer that he would not run for another term. Comment.
Astoria Times

Woodside gas station attendant dies after robbery: Police

Police said they have reclassified a Woodside robbery as a homicide after a gas station attendant who was held up at gunpoint last week died of a heart attack shortly thereafter. Comment.
Astoria Times

Astorians in citywide gag ride subway sans trousers

A group of Astoria residents took a brief trip to Manhattan during last weekend’s snowfall that left their fellow subway passengers with mouths agape. Comment.
Astoria Times

Four−day work week could help New York economy: Gianaris

State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D−Astoria) has proposed cutting the work week by one day for state workers in order to save the state millions of dollars per year amid the current economic downturn. Comment.
Astoria Times

Kew Gardens Community Center caters to cinephiles

For cinephiles who prefer their films projected rather than on DVD but do not want to pay theater prices, the Kew Gardens Community Center offers one of the city’s least expensive moviegoing experiences. Comment.
Astoria Times

Hair Style

Astoria’s Mieko Anekawa gives new meaning to the expression “heady” art. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens theaters offer great bang for your dwindling buck

Let me encourage you! You want a little encouragement, don’t you? In the passionate and tense drama “Orphans” by Lyle Kessler, a 24−year−old play out of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater Company, one of the characters is often in need of a hug for encouragement. Since I am an affectionate guy, my last column offered some encouraging hugs to those of you who seldom get out to see a play or a musical, even though you’re here in NYC and its suburbs, where the opportunities to see a show are limitless. Comment.
Astoria Times

Flushing native maintains order in the Magic Kindom

If Snow White looks particularly content and nurtured at this year’s “Disneyland Adventure” ice show, it is in no small measure due to the efforts of Flushing native Matt Santorelli. Comment.

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