Astoria Times

Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009

Astoria Times

Dining Out: Ornella: Tasty Italian upstart makes its mark on Astoria

Even during this pesky recession there seems to be no dearth of hopeful restaurateurs living their dream of a place of their own. A case in point is Ornella Trattoria on 23rd Avenue in Astoria. With one of the most celebrated Italian trattorias in Queens barely a block away, and countless others jockeying for position, it takes some real bravado to jump into the fray. Comment.
Astoria Times

LIC Woman struck and killed by box truck

LONG ISLAND CITY — A Long Island City woman was killed last week when she was hit while crossing the street, police said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Cops seek man after attempted rape

ASTORIA — Police in the 114th Precinct were searching Tuesday for a man who robbed and tried to rape a woman early Sunday morning. Comment.
Astoria Times

Police need help to identify subway flasher

ELMHURST — Police in the 110th Precinct sought the public’s help in identifying a man who exposed himself to a female passenger on the subway last week. Comment.
Letters

Jamaica High School deserves more credit, respect from city

I graduated from Jamaica High School in 1994. Leaving George J. Ryan Middle School in Fresh Meadows in 1991, I was warned by classmates that if I went to Jamaica HS, horrible things would happen to me. Thankfully, I ignored their warnings and entered Jamaica HS in 1991. It was the best decision I ever made in my life. Comment.
Letters

Keep us informed of planned Jamaica HS closing

An open letter to city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein. Comment.
Letters

Albany budget deal averts guv’s cutbacks

The bipartisan Deficit Reduction Plan approved by the state Senate and state Assembly may have been a long time coming, but the final legislation — which closes almost $3 billion of the state’s budget gap — is superior to the original plan proposed by Gov. David Paterson. Comment.
Astoria Times

Political Action: Conservative groups increase in criticizing Obama’s policies

During the past year, there has been a proliferation of conservative groups that have increasingly engaged in rallies, street demonstrations and protest meetings. These groups have been growing around the country. There have been a significant number of these activities throughout the New York urban area. Comment.
Astoria Times

Dishing with Dee: Queens brimming with parties celebrating the holiday season

Our favorite good guys are at it again. This time it’s a Winter Holiday Festival for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York Dec. 19 from noon till 5 p.m. in Bowne Park at 32nd Avenue and 156th Street in Flushing. Comment.
Astoria Times

QueensLine: Elmhurst-born Patty Duke overcame personal problems

Anna Marie Duke was born Dec. 14, 1946, in Elmhurst. Known by her stage name, Patty Duke, for a half century she remains one of the most recognizable personalities on stage and screen. Comment.
Astoria Times

Berger’s Burg: Kwanzaa’s principles celebrate the individual and community

It takes a village of villages to celebrate Kwanzaa. Comment.
Astoria Times

I Sit And Look Out: Help others this holiday season by donating to a local nonprofit

This holiday column was first thought about on a sunny day in April in Denver. Elaine and I were visiting friends who lived in Bayside Hills for many years. A heavy snowstorm hit the city and its environs and dumped 10 inches of snow in the area where Judy and Don Merwin live, not far from downtown. Comment.
Astoria Times

How’s Business? Buy a home using leverage

While talking with prospective home buyers, the general consensus is they believe they have an edge when it comes to making a real estate deal in this economic climate. But how do you create leverage with sellers? Comment.
Astoria Times

Studio offers different workouts

For more than a decade, Zhana Galjasevic has enjoyed teaching various yoga and exercising classes around the city. Comment.
Astoria Times

Blighted Ridgewood property to be beautified by neighbors

Two months after she proposed the plan, the Long Island Rail Road has agreed to City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s (D-Middle Village) request to let the community turn a dilapidated newsstand in Ridgewood into open space for the community. Comment.
Astoria Times

Forest Hills, Jax Heights men win Lottery millions

A Forest Hills limo driver and a Jackson Heights superintendent are among the latest to have struck it rich with the New York Lottery, winning $4 million in prizes between them. Comment.
Astoria Times

Three boro synagogues named to state and federal historic lists

Three Queens synagogues have been listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places, the New York Landmarks Conservancy and Preservation League of New York State announced this week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Paterson withholds $60M from schools

Gov. David Paterson announced this week he would delay at least $60 million in school funding to New York City schools in order to keep the state’s finances afloat, and Queens legislators said the move would undoubtedly hurt borough schools. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bramson lands $5K grant for digital classes

As President Barack Obama’s administration pushes for the widespread conversion of paper health records to electronic ones, it will be imperative for employees in medical offices to be trained in the new technology — and Bramson ORT in Forest Hills is readying its students for the change. Comment.
Astoria Times

Ice rink would have been perfect for Pavilion: Activist

The New York State Pavilion, with its massive Tent of Tomorrow and two space-age towers, sits vacant in its post at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, serving no purpose other than reminding visitors of the 1964 World’s Fair. Comment.
Astoria Times

Rikers inmate guilty of plot to shoot officer

An already incarcerated convict from Jamaica will be behind bars for a lot longer after he planned to hire a hitman to target a police officer who was going to testify at his trial, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Ozone Park woman eyed in sex scandal

An Ozone Park teacher who works at James Madison High School is being investigated for inappropriate sexual behavior with a fellow teacher at the Brooklyn school, the city Department of Education said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Officials ask DA to probe Queens film festival founder

Queens elected officials are calling for an investigation into the Queens International Film Festival founder’s business ventures after having supported the festival as a borough cultural event for seven years. Comment.
Astoria Times

Woodside painter admits tax evasion

A Woodside painter who tried to sidestep federal tax laws pleaded guilty to tax evasion last week in White Plains federal court. Comment.
Astoria Times

Boro leaders critical of federal test results

While city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein touted the recently released federal math test results as indicating meaningful progress, some Queens legislators said they were disappointed in the data that showed no significant improvement since 2007, the last time the tests were given. Comment.
Astoria Times

Council to vote on mayor’s veto of parking ticket grace period

The City Council meets next week to vote on whether to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of legislation that would provide a five-minute grace period for drivers who get parking tickets. Comment.
Astoria Times

Repair Hell Gate: Vallone

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) is calling on Amtrak to immediately fix up Astoria’s Hell Gate Bridge after a five-foot piece of debris fell from the structure into a resident’s back yard. Comment.
Astoria Times

Ozone Park man convicted in drunken LIE hell ride

An Ozone Park man was convicted last week of reckless endangerment, vehicular assault, driving while intoxicated and other charges stemming from what Queens District Attorney Richard Brown called a “terrifying ride on the Long Island Expressway” in 2006. Comment.
Astoria Times

First Hunters Pt. bids to come in 2010: City

Representatives from the city Economic Development Corp. were ambitious and optimistic about the future of the Hunters Point South redevelopment as they toured the site Monday. Comment.
Astoria Times

Pols want aid for Rockaways after big storm

Gov. David Paterson is seeking $11.8 million in federal disaster aid for the Rockaways following damage sustained from the remnants of Hurricane Ida during a Nov. 12 to Nov. 14 nor’easter. Comment.
Astoria Times

Gay rights activists protest Monserrate, Onorato vote

The wound is still fresh for gay and lesbian constituents of Queens and state senators like Hiram Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst), who voted against same-sex marriage two weeks ago. Comment.
Astoria Times

Rego Center spurs worries

Mitigating traffic around Rego Center should be a top priority for City Councilman-elect Danny Dromm, members of Community Board 6 told the incoming legislator at their meeting last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

LIC artist found stabbed to death

As police continued to search for the boyfriend of an influential artist in the Long Island City community who was found stabbed in her apartment Saturday, acolleague remembered her with great fondness. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens teach suspended after ‘Shore’ punch

A drunken bar patron caught punching a “Jersey Shore” star in a video that went viral on the Web was removed from teaching at North Queens Community High School in Kew Gardens Hills last week, a city Department of Education spokeswoman said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Deal near on Juniper dog run

The key players in the ongoing battle for a dog run in Middle Village appear to be inching toward an accord, but they cautioned against excessive optimism as factions disagreed over whether an alternate site was acceptable. Comment.
Astoria Times

Willets Point project attracts 29 developers

The plans for developing Willets Point showed signs of moving forward Friday when the city Economic Development Corp. announced it had received 29 responses from developers or teams of developers interested in redeveloping the 62-acre tract next to Citi Field. Comment.
Astoria Times

Boro bikers go hog wild in Willets Point

Willets Point is a place most Queens residents avoid unless their cars break down or need new brake pads. Comment.
Astoria Times

Howard Beach house adorned with 9,600 Xmas lights

When David Reisman does Christmas lighting, he doesn’t skimp. Comment.
Astoria Times

Paterson says reps at Caritas were corrupt

Jamaica residents have been hit with a barrage of problems due to the state’s recession. Job losses, thousands of home foreclosures and depleted health services have been lingering in the minds and lives of residents over the last few years. Comment.
Astoria Times

Greek Orthodox church opens new building in boro

The pelting rain Sunday only added to the reasons that parishioners of Whitestone’s Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church were thankful for the roof over their heads as they opened the doors for the first time on a new house of worship. Comment.
Astoria Times

Peralta calls for domestic violence task force

In the wake of a shocking family murder in Corona, state Assemblyman Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) announced he will seek to establish a task force on domestic violence. Comment.
Astoria Times

Gay activist attacked at Jax Hts bar: Cops

Police were investigating the alleged assault of a gay rights activist at a Jackson Heights bar earlier this month as a hate crime, although no arrests had been made in the incident. Comment.
Astoria Times

Astoria church opens its doors to gay homeless

A citywide group that houses homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths has opened a new shelter at the former site of an LGBT center at an Astoria church after a Long Island diocese gave the house of worship a $200,000 face-lift. Comment.
Astoria Times

The Reel Queens: Setbacks, scandal leave future of Queens film in question

For the past few years, Queens has garnered a reputation as a hotspot for filmmaking and television production as city and state tax incentives have drawn the entertainment industry to the borough’s studios and streets as never before. Comment.
Astoria Times

Fleeting faces

There’s a well-known saying that patience is a virtue seldom found in a woman, and never found in a man. Comment.
Astoria Times

Hit & run charge increase for off-duty cop

The case of the off-duty police officer arrested for the hit-and-run murder of a Bronx resident in October while allegedly intoxicated continues to develop. A grand jury has boosted charges against Detective Kevin Spellman from vehicular manslaughter to aggravated vehicular homicide. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bank of America honors Bronx residents

Bank of America has chosen to honor two Bronx residents for their work and dedication to improving their communities and helping those in need. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens Players delight with madcap ‘Midsummer’

It seems that Katherine M. Carter, the director of the Queens Players’ adorable version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” remembered that the important word in the play’s title is “dream.” Comment.
Astoria Times

The Play’s The Thing: Promoting local theater is a tough job in Queens

Words, words. They’re all we have to go on. (Tom Stoppard, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”) Comment.

Monday, Dec. 14, 2009

Astoria Times

Far Rock man dies in accidental SUV crash

FAR ROCKAWAY — A man was killed last week after he lost control of his SUV and struck a light pole, police said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Police search for robber of market in Astoria

ASTORIA — Police were looking for a fugitive they said robbed a food market store on 28th Avenue last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Rego Pk man stole jacket from Queens Center: DA

ELMHURST — Police arrested a man last week for allegedly shoplifting a jacket at Queens Center Mall, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Cops search for missing Creedmore patient

QUEENS VILLAGE — Police have asked for the public’s help in finding a woman who went missing from Creedmore Psychiatric Services last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Brown says boro man hit woman in Ridgewood

RIDGEWOOD — A 43-year-old man was arraigned last week in Queens Criminal Court after he allegedly hit a woman, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Man from Ozone Park suspected in beating: DA

OZONE PARK — An Ozone Park man was arrested last week in connection with a suspected gang beating in October outside a grocery store near 101st Avenue and 80th Street, the Queens district attorney said. Comment.
Letters

Autograph signing for singer poorly handled by promoters

My 13-year-old daughter is in love with singer Justin Bieber, and when we found out he was going to be at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, L.I., for an autograph session, I decided to take her. I let her take the day off from school because she has not been absent yet this year and had received a great report card. She is a good kid and I wanted to do something nice for her and thought this would make her happy. Comment.
Letters

Boro illegal housing bigger than SJU dorms

I want to take this opportunity to respond to the headline in the Nov. 26 issue of the Fresh Meadows Times that read “City targets SJU student apts.” This headline does not justly convey the nature of the community issue at hand. The sub-headline below, however, does properly convey the issue, stating, “Officials urge boro college students to ensure dwellings are safe, report violations.” Comment.
Letters

Qns. College shouldn’t cancel key courses for low enrollment

My name is Teresa Lawrence. I have been a long-time resident of Queens. I currently attend Queens College for the EKG Certificate Program. I have completed all the necessary classes with A’s but the Basic Arrhythmia AH-857 course. Comment.
Editorial

Target the Subway Perverts

We applaud City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. for putting the spotlight on the problem of sexual harassment in the subway. According to Vallone, a majority of women who ride the subway have been the victim of some sort of sexual harassment. This is unacceptable. Comment.
Astoria Times

Political Action: Pataki could have big showing if he runs for governor in 2010

At this point as we look at next year’s possible Republican candidates for statewide office, most of the media attention has focused on former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, first as a candidate for governor and now as a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Comment.
Astoria Times

Berger’s Burg: Festival of Hanukkah means freedom from one’s oppressors

Outside, snow is slowly, softly, falling through the wintry night. Comment.
Astoria Times

Our History: Declaration singer also known for his writings, musical pieces

When I think of the talented and knowledgeable men who took on the task of planning and writing our Constitution, I never expected to learn that one of them was considered the first native composer for his composition “Seven Songs for the Harpsichord” and who also, as some believe, designed the first American flag. Comment.
Astoria Times

Dishing with Dee: Local leaders had no faith in Halloran as a candidate

Whose child is this? It has long been said, “Failure is an orphan, but success has many parents.” So it is with Dan Halloran. Comment.
Astoria Times

How’s Business? Learn to track a home’s value

With so much bad news in the real estate and financial arena, hearing something positive may be therapeutic. For the last two years, home prices have fallen to pre-2003 pricing levels. The good news is housing prices are showing signs of stabilizing and even increasing in value in some areas. So what are signs you can watch for to see if your home is going to increase in value? Comment.
Astoria Times

Framers return to Forest Hills

Two familiar faces have returned to Forest Hills. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens unemployment hits 9.2 percent as shelters reopen

More than 2,500 additional Queens residents found themselves on the unemployment rolls from September to October, according to the latest state Labor Department figures. Comment.
Astoria Times

US Airways to shut pilot base at LaGuardia

US Airways plans to shut down the pilot base for its air shuttle at La Guardia Airport despite protests from the pilots union that such a move is “ill-conceived” and would jeopardize the airline’s service to Boston and Washington. Comment.
Astoria Times

Dept. of Ed eyeing new Queens schools

City officials said at a Monday night Borough Board meeting that they are working to alleviate overcrowding at Queens schools by opening the Metropolitan Avenue campus in Forest Hills and a couple of elementary schools next year. Comment.
Astoria Times

Crowley wants speed reduced after bus crash

After a school bus full of toddlers tipped over in a collision with a car that ran a stop sign last week on 69th Street in Middle Village, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) redoubled her efforts to get the city Department of Transportation to install more traffic-slowing measures there. Comment.
Astoria Times

Sunnyside children saddle up for special horse ride

The Upper West Side is not the easiest place to get to from Queens, but a livery stable on West 48th Street is now a favorite destination for twin 4-year-olds from Sunnyside whose physical development is burgeoning, thanks to time in the saddle. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens Film Fest founder accused of running scam

Several individuals and institutions involved in the distribution and screening of films have accused Queens International Film Festival founder and Executive Director Marie Castaldo of duping them out of thousands of dollars during the past several years. Comment.
Astoria Times

Katz to join law firm after term in Council

City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) announced last week she will join one of the country’s largest law firms, Greenberg Traurig, after leaving public office at the end of December. Comment.
Astoria Times

CB 2 approvesplans for park at Hunters Pt.

The elaborate, 11-acre plan for a park at the new Hunters Point South development project moved past Community Board 2 last week, but not before board members insisted on natural grass for a large common area and requested the inclusion of a community boathouse. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens spoils marriage hopes

State Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst) and three other Queens Democrats came under fire from some constituents after voting to kill the same-sex marriage bill in the state Senate, which was struck down by a larger margin than expected. Comment.
Astoria Times

Secret Theatre in LIC celebrates expansion

The recession has not been kind to the theater community, according to Richard Mazda, the artistic director of the Secret Theatre in Long Island City. Comment.
Astoria Times

LIRR reduces LIC train noise

Rumblings about the rumbling diesels upsetting the new residents of condominiums next to a Long Island City rail yard apparently reached the Long Island Rail Road, which has undertaken measures to reduce noise there. Comment.
Astoria Times

Francis Lewis HS team takes 3rd in Siemens contest

Three Queens teens’ archeological project landed them $40,000 and third place in the 2009 Siemens Competition, a prestigious contest in which some of the country’s best and brightest student researchers vie for hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money and recognition from nationally renowned scientists and mathematicians. Comment.
Astoria Times

Schneider patients visit Santa at North Pole

Everyone knows Santa Claus leaves the North Pole once a year on Christmas, but some children can still pay him a visit up there. Comment.
Astoria Times

Ex-LIC man gets 75 yrs for Jamaica senior robs

Queens Supreme Court Judge Gregory Lasak called the man who beat and robbed two elderly Queens women “disgusting” and said he will grow “lonely and old” in state prison, where the judge sentenced him to 75 years last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Monserrate avoids jail but still faces peers

The saga of state Sen. Hiram Monserrate’s (D-East Elmhurst) assault case is out of the courtroom for the time being, but although the first-term legislator avoided any jail time on his misdemeanor conviction for recklessly injuring his girlfriend while dragging her out of his apartment building, he still faces censure from his Senate colleagues and the judgment of his constituents. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bruno conviction parallels Seminerio’s scheme

Former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Saratoga Springs) was found guilty Monday of two federal corruption charges stemming from his relationship with an Albany businessman. Comment.
Astoria Times

St. John’s University opens five-story D’Angelo Center

Hundreds of St. John’s University students, administrators and staff gathered Monday for the opening of the D’Angelo Center, a five-story building on the Fresh Meadows campus that houses everything from classrooms to pool tables and was designed to serve as the hub of student life. Comment.
Astoria Times

Wrongfully arrested Elmhurst brothers can sue city

The Elmhurst brothers who lost their supermarket after being falsely arrested on drug charges can proceed with a federal lawsuit against the city, a judge ruled last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

MTA whistleblower claims he was pushed off subway platform

Authorities are investigating a track worker’s claim that he was pushed off a subway platform onto tracks after he helped direct attention to a situation in which hundreds of track maintenance crew members work four hours for a full day’s pay at a cost of $10 million a year to the transit agency. Comment.
Astoria Times

MTA discovers $200M shortfall in revenue from new payroll tax

The MTA’s from-bad-to-worse financial straits are once again worse with the possible specter of cuts in bus and subway service on the horizon. Comment.
Astoria Times

City looks to close Beach Channel HS

Citing low graduation rates and “widespread dissatisfaction,” the city Department of Education is proposing to close Beach Channel High School in Far Rockaway. Comment.
Astoria Times

Jamaica HS pegged for closure

Jamaica High School’s student body, alumni and elected leaders said they will not let the school die without a fight and want to get more answers from the city on why the historic campus has been targeted to close. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bayside native to dissolve marriage in protest

Matthew D’Olimpio is seeking to annul his marriage, not because of the relationship he has with his wife, but because of the tight relationship he has with his gay brother. Comment.
Astoria Times

Christmas gifts pour in for kids at Forestdale

The lagging economy has not stopped borough companies and organizations from donating presents to Forestdale, a foster care nonprofit in Forest Hills, and the group has seen a big jump in the number of toys and other goods dropped off for some 700 children, Forestdale’s executive director said. Comment.
Astoria Times

CB 10 OKs one-way plan for Spritz Road

Following a recommendation from the city Department of Transportation, Community Board 10 unanimously voted to change a South Ozone Park road from a two-way street to a one-way operation last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Area leaders demand VLT firm pick

Frustration is mounting by the day over Gov. David Paterson’s indecision on picking a firm to construct and operate video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Race Track. Comment.
Astoria Times

Numerous notables have walked Jamaica HS halls

Jamaica High School, a majestic structure of pillars and towers overlooking the southeastern Queens community it has served for a century, is rich in over-achieving alumni ranging from a doo-wopgroup to a Dodgers owner. Comment.
Astoria Times

Improve traffic safety at 21st Ave.: Officials

Astoria elected officials and community activists rallied last weekend at a site along 21st Avenue where they called for new traffic safety measures in the wake of a man being struck and killed while crossing the street last month. Comment.
Astoria Times

Rejoice!

Queens residents will have ample opportunities to mark the holiday season this month with more than 30 events taking place throughout the borough to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, including concerts, tree and menorah lightings, dance performances and house tours. Comment.

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