News

Friday, Dec. 19, 2008

Whitestone Times

Home burglars strike in 111th Pct. in Bayside

BAYSIDE — Police in the 111th Precinct were looking for suspects after a rash of residential burglaries over the last week. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Two men face robbery rap in Bayside

BAYSIDE — A Bayside man and a Fresh Meadows man were arrested last Thursday after allegedly stealing a vial of pills from another man’s pocket, the Queens district attorney’s office said. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Car shopper drove off with seller’s wheels: Cops

FRESH MEADOWS — A car owner got more than he bargained for when a prospective buyer drove off in his minivan, police said. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Ben’s Deli negotiations back on at Bay Terrace

Representatives from Ben’s Deli and its Forest Hills−based landlord said they have resumed negotiations to allow the popular eatery to remain at its current Bay Terrace Shopping Center locale after a deal fell through last month. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Appeal hearing set for Padavan−Gennaro election

The Appellate Division last Thursday issued a stay on any recount of ballots in the battle for state Sen. Frank Padavan’s (R−Bellerose) seat until an appeal hearing is held in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn later this week. Comment.
Whitestone Times

109th Precinct braces for deep budget cuts

The commanding officer of the 109th precinct said his officers may face more than the typical challenge of keeping the streets safe in 2009. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Fulbright scholar to study jazz at Queens College

Queens College’s renowned music program is getting a little Spanish flair. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Qns. Botanical Garden to close for two weeks

Amid a statewide wave of belt−tightening, the Queens Botanical Garden announced Tuesday it will close for a two−week period during the holidays due to budget cuts. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Schleicher tenants take mansion fight to civil court

Tenants at Schleicher’s Court in College Point took their battle to court this week, which may have kick−started the repairs they have been waiting to be completed on the stately building that houses their apartments since July. Comment.
Editorial

A Heritage Worth Preserving

The city Parks Department is planning major multi−million−dollar changes in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Borough President Helen Marshall revealed plans last week that show how the park may look 10 years from now. The plans include removing some of the structures built for the 1964 World’s Fair. Comment.
Ridgewood

Civic has low expectations for new school plan

News that the city School Construction Authority would present a new proposal in January for a intermediate−high school complex in Maspeth brought waves of criticism from the community board and the area’s largest civic association. Comment.
Ridgewood

MidViller garners MTV buzz

A Queens−based band with members from Bayside, Flushing and Middle Village took the top prize last month at an MTV awards show that honored the best college bands without a record deal from across the country, the band’s bass player said. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Ecuadorian hate crime victim dies in Queens

The mother of an Ecuadorian immigrant fatally beaten in a suspected hate crime attack in Brooklyn arrived in the United States a day too late to say goodbye to her son. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Seminerio indicted in Albany corruption probe

State Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio (D-Richmond Hill) was indicted on a federal mail fraud charge last week for allegedly setting up a sham consulting company to take roughly $1 million in illegal payments from entities seeking his influence in Albany, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District in New York announced. Comment.
Little Neck Ledger

Bellerose hotel plan gets flak from CB 13

An investor who is part of a consortium hoping to develop a three-story hotel on the site of the former Frozen Cup ice cream parlor in Bellerose was grilled by Community Board 13 members and neighborhood residents, who contended that such a structure does not belong in the community. Comment.
Little Neck Ledger

DEP corrects bills for Glen Oaks co−op

The president of Glen Oaks Village said the co−op was put through “torture” by the city Department of Environmental Protection over the last 18 months in its effort to get $270,000 in erroneous water bills corrected. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Flushing Meadows wildfire worries neighbors

The second brush fire in less than a year in the Flushing Meadows Corona Park area has residents concerned future fires will not just damage wetlands, but cause nearby homes to go up in flames, too. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

Fresh Meadows store lends Toys for Tots a helping hand

More families than ever are in need of some help when it comes to holiday shopping this year and the owners of a Fresh Meadows store are hoping their Toys for Tots drive will enable the program to meet a record high requests for gifts. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

Flushing corner renamed

Nearly 2 1⁄2 years after a young Flushing man gave his life serving his adopted country, the city has responded with a permanent memorial. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

Baysiders garner MTV buzz

A Queens−based band with members from Bayside, Flushing and Middle Village took the top prize last month at an MTV awards show that honored the best college bands without a record deal from across the country, the band’s bass player said. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

Latimer Gardens slated to close

Elected officials and residents of Latimer Gardens in Flushing are scrambling to find funding to keep a second community center in the area from closing in a six−month period. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

CB 8 slams city’s plan to cut senior services

Community Board 8 members unanimously threw their support at the board’s Dec. 10 meeting behind a resolution against the city’s plan to cut its senior meal program and revamp the way it runs its senior centers. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

Remember to recycle properly, sweep your sidewalk

The October 2008 issue of the Holliswood Civic newsletter had an article by one resident about how he saw a city Sanitation Department inspector’s car with two occupants cruising the streets of Holliswood and issuing citations. This writer saw summonses issued for a pizza box placed between two garbage cans and the use of supermarket plastic bags as garbage bags. Comment.
Forest Hills Ledger

Malakov’s brother sues accused killers

Mazoltuv Borukhova is already gearing up for her criminal trial in the murder of Dr. Daniel Malakov, her estranged husband, in a Forest Hills playground, but now she and her alleged accomplice may have to prepare for a separate battle in civil court. Comment.
Bayside Times

Ex−CB 11 member Garvey, transportation chair, dies

Bayside Hills’ Daniel Garvey, a longtime Community Board 11 member who worked in the 1970s as deputy commissioner of highways for the city Department of Transportation, died Dec. 7 from complications following a mild stroke, CB 11 members said. He was in his mid−80s. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bus driver attacked in Queens Plaza

LONG ISLAND CITY — A city bus driver was attacked by a rider in Long Island City last week in an apparent robbery attempt, police said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Far Rock man forged postage labels: DA

FAR ROCKAWAY — Even during this busy time of the year, the U.S. Postal Service has time to track down people suspected of cheating the system, like one Far Rockaway businessman accused of forging postage labels to ship hundreds of packages for free, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Former Far Rock man posted nude photos of ex

FAR ROCKAWAY — A man accused of continuing to post nude photos of his ex−wife on the Internet after a court ordered him to stop pleaded guilty last week, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment.
Astoria Times

School bus kills woman on 8th Street in Astoria

ASTORIA — An Astoria woman was struck and killed by a school bus right outside her home Friday, police said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Woodside burglar sought

WOODSIDE — Police in the 108th Precinct were trying to identify a man they said broke into two apartments earlier this month. Comment.
Astoria Times

Man flashes woman, assaults cop: Brown

ASTORIA — A Long Island City man exposed himself to a woman on the street and then assaulted a police officer at his arraignment earlier this month, the Queens district attorney’s office said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens, Bklyn. 7−Eleven robbers busted: Police

FLUSHING — Four men, including one from Flushing, were arrested last week in connection with 19 robberies in Brooklyn and Queens, police said. Comment.
Letters

Christmas means love, not gifts

The Christmas season is a time to reflect and be good to one another. But I am troubled by what happened at the Wal−Mart in Valley Stream, L.I., where Jamaica man Jdimytai Damour was trampled to death for the sake of a few gifts. Comment.
Letters

Bill to ban bottled water will do harm, not good

The bill co−sponsored by City Councilman Eric Gioia (D−Sunnyside) that was reported on Dec. 4 (“Ban city bottled water use to save money: Gioia bill,” Whitestone Times) is nothing but a thinly veiled attempt on the city’s part to cut costs and try to come out smelling like a rose for doing so. Comment.
Letters

Make volunteering for seniors the best gift to give this year

The national economic downturn has caused people in Queens to rethink their spending on holiday gifts. But the greatest gift this holiday season may be time spent volunteering for an elderly neighbor or community and faith−based organizations that serve seniors throughout the borough. Comment.
Letters

Queens Library will always strive to service residents as best it can

This year was a roller coaster ride, from swings in the economy, to the historic presidential election, to the New York Giants winning the Super Bowl. Some of it was fun, but much continues to be of concern here and internationally. I am hopeful 2009 brings with it peace and prosperity for all. Comment.
Letters

Bayside will benefit from new plantings

I want to thank the city Parks Department’s Forestry Division for the great job it did in planting new street trees in my section of Bayside. A nice variety were planted for all of us to enjoy in the years to come. Comment.
Letters

MTA East River bridge toll plan unfair to residents of Queens

On Dec. 4, the Commission on MTA Financing, chaired by former MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch, released its proposals. It included an inefficient and inequitable toll tax that makes little sense and merits rejection. Comment.
Editorial

Watered−down Logic

One might wonder what Councilman Eric Gioia was drinking when he came up with legislation that would prohibit the city from purchasing bottled water or water coolers for city offices and agencies. He says his legislation will save money, protect the environment and reduce traffic congestion. Comment.
Astoria Times

Caucus voting twice affected U.S. presidential race

One form of voting procedure is the caucus, which originated in Iowa. In recent years, this procedure spread to other states during political parties’ presidential primaries. This type of voting is different from our state’s voting machine system. Comment.
Astoria Times

Celebrate the diverse holidays found in Queens this month

Queens is the most diverse county in the United States, so during this holiday season, let’s take a look at some observances. Comment.
Astoria Times

Van Buren HS alum Madeline Khan became famous actress

Madeline Gail Wolfson, better known by her stage name as Madeline Kahn, was born in Boston but raised in Queens. Comment.
Astoria Times

Political clubs of Queens get into the holiday spirit

Is everyone overwhelmed by the fact the one week from today is Christmas? Have you taken care of all the millions of details it requires to produce this year’s most memorable holiday? Or are you like me, when every year you swear you will start early, but at the last minute run around trying to get everything together? Comment.
Astoria Times

Postal service receives customers’ ire as well as sympathy

Messenger of sympathy and love — Servant of parted friends. Comment.
Astoria Times

Have a broker sell your home

You decided that 2009 is when you are selling your home, but realize it is more cost−efficient and time−efficient to hire a real estate broker. In my Queens networking travels, I have spoken to many real estate brokers. Let’s talk about how to find the right broker to sell your home in this tough housing market. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens mass transit riders get vintage treat for holidays

For some Queens commuters, taking mass transit this holiday season could seem a bit like the 1950s or even the era of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bayside union boss Ron Carey dies at 72

Ron Carey, who served as president of the Teamsters union and led a massive strike against the United Parcel Service in 1997 but was later expelled from the union after members of his campaign were found to have participated in an illegal kickback scandal, died last Thursday in Queens. The Bayside resident was 72. Comment.
Astoria Times

Loud exhausts on motorcycles endanger public safety: Vallone

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D−Astoria) went hog wild last week as he called on the city to crack down on excessively loud motorcycles during a Council public safety hearing. Comment.
Astoria Times

‘We have lived beyond our means’

After announcing that the economic crisis had pushed the state’s budget deficit to an unprecedented $15.4 billion, Gov. David Paterson unveiled a drastically reduced executive budget proposal Tuesday that called for major cuts to school and health care funding and thousands of layoffs at the state level. Comment.
Astoria Times

Rhodes case declared mistrial

Queens Supreme Court Judge Gregory Lasak declared a mistrial last Thursday in the case of a Long Island City man accused of beating and robbing two elderly women after a jury forewoman complained she had missed too much work during the month−long trial and needed to leave Friday to visit her mother, the Queens district attorney’s office said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Gioia calls on stores to remove toxic toys for holidays

A new federal law will take toys containing a toxic plastic byproduct off shelves and heighten restrictions on other toxins, but toymakers and retailers do not plan to comply until after the Christmas shopping season, City Councilman Eric Gioia (D−Sunnyside) and the New York Public Interest Research Group warned last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Queens relatively safe for older pedestrians

Although 39 elderly Queens pedestrians were killed in a recent three−year period, the borough was statistically safer than Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and other several other nearby counties, according to a new survey. Comment.
Astoria Times

Elmhurst Pk. to open in 2010

Work on the new park at the former Elmhurst Gas Tanks site is moving ahead, city Parks Department officials announced last week. Phase 1 of the project is now finished, with Phase 2 expected to start next year. Comment.
Astoria Times

Meeks takes Vegas trip amid work on auto bailout

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D−Jamaica) was on the defensive this week after a published report and photos revealed that he was in Las Vegas when his fellow congressmen were working on the failed auto industry bailout plan. Comment.
Astoria Times

Astoria community centers to close

Residents and organizers at two of the largest public housing complexes in western Queens are reeling after news that their community centers will close at the beginning of next month. Comment.
Astoria Times

Boro small businesses seek better health care

A group of small business owners in Queens and Brooklyn are reminding the state’s congressional delegates that President−elect Barack Obama’s message of change includes health coverage. Comment.
Astoria Times

Qns. native busted in $50B scheme

New York Mets co−owner Fred Wilpon and the North Shore−Long Island Jewish Health System were among the victims of an alleged $50 billion investment scheme that federal prosecutors contend was run by eastern Queens native Bernard Madoff. Comment.
Astoria Times

Boro diversity grows in new Census data

Nearly the same number of Queens residents who trace their ancestry to Italy have roots in the West Indies, according to new U.S. Census estimates released last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Council to vote on bill to suspend parking rules during snowstorms

The City Council Transportation Committee has approved a bill that supporters said would curtail unfair parking tickets by automatically suspending alternate side of the street parking rules whenever the city stops streets cleaning during a snowstorm. Comment.
Astoria Times

Willets Pt. tenants splinter on relocation

A deepening rift has emerged between tenant businesses at Willets Point as they struggle to negotiate with the city for more funding for relocation expenses. Comment.
Astoria Times

Astoria rent center protesters arrested

Two Brooklyn men said they were arrested on civil disobedience charges earlier this month after joining City Councilman Eric Gioia (D−Sunnyside) for a protest against an Astoria Rent−A−Center, which they allege practices “predatory lending” to Queens residents. Comment.
Astoria Times

The gift of a second chance

As winter weather descended upon the borough and many families faced shrinking gift−buying budgets, Christmas came early for part of the population facing even greater challenges. Comment.
Astoria Times

USTA opens site for indoor tennis

Casual and professional tennis players in Queens now have a place to practice their serves during the off−season. Comment.
Astoria Times

Sunnyside group pushes on

The spirit of the Muslim holiday of Eid inspired a Sunnyside−based Turkish organization to donate to its local senior center. But it may take more than the tidings of Eid to support Sunnyside Community Services, which may be facing its last holiday season in operation. Comment.
Astoria Times

Flushing packs 100s of years of history into a mile

Once home to many abolitionists and rabble rousers, including John Bowne, who successfully challenged former Gov. Peter Stuyvesant’s unpopular ban on the practice of religions other than the Dutch Reformed Church in New Amsterdam in the 17th century, Flushing is chock full of hundreds of years of history, which city residents learned about during the Flushing Freedom Mile tour Saturday. Comment.
Astoria Times

Boro colonel makes history

History was made this fall, and a major gender barrier toppled, when Forest Hills resident Stephanie Dawson became the first female in the history of the New York National Guard to become a brigade commander. Comment.
Astoria Times

Google images harmful: Gianaris

State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D−Astoria) blasted Google for continuing to make satellite images and street views of public areas available online, saying that the Internet search engine posed a threat to national security. Comment.

Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008

Whitestone Times

Purse stolen from car at gas station: Police

FRESH MEADOWS — Police were looking for at least one suspect who stole a driver’s purse while she was pumping gas Sunday afternoon. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Cops search for break−in suspect in Oakland Gdns.

OAKLAND GARDENS — Police were asking for the public’s help in finding at least one person who they claim broke into a house early Saturday morning. Comment.
Whitestone Times

GOP stifling the votes in Padavan race: Dems

The seemingly unending battle for the 11th Senate District marched on this week, with Democrats accusing Republicans of trying not to count every vote in the race between state Sen. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose) and his challenger, City Councilman James Gennaro (D−Fresh Meadows). Comment.
Whitestone Times

Townsend Harris HS ranked 71 nationally

Three Queens high schools were listed among the top 100 high schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report last week, giving the borough one−third of the city schools to appear on the list. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Parks Dept. to add Fort Totten tram

The city Parks Department will add a tram with several stops at Fort Totten by next spring or summer to make it easier for visitors to get around the northeast Queens park, an agency spokeswoman said. Comment.
Whitestone Times

City waffling on mansion fixes: Tenants

A dozen residents forced from their College Point home six months ago accused the city of playing ping−pong with their lives Monday as they seek to have emergency repairs made to their historic house in time for the holidays. Comment.
Whitestone Times

City honors RFK with program on social justice in public schools

Robert F. Kennedy’s legacy will now be preserved with a new curriculum promoting social justice in classrooms throughout the state, the late New York senator’s daughter and city leaders announced Tuesday at the high school in Flushing that bears his name. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Smith taps Stavisky as chair of ed panel

Longtime education advocate state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D−Whitestone) was named the new chairwoman of the state Senate Higher Education Committee, incoming Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D−St. Albans) announced Monday. Comment.
Whitestone Times

Avella slams spa on fire code

City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) has renewed his fight against InSpa World in College Point, calling for the Korean establishment to be closed down after it received several fire violations from the Fire Department. Comment.
Editorial

Let There Be Lights

Residents of an apartment building in College Point have been virtually homeless since July. The three−story Victorian home on 123rd Street looks nice enough, but the city found the electrical system posed a hazard and ordered the residents to leave their apartments. Comment.
Editorial

Who’s Counting?

How on earth is it possible that one month after the general elections the Board of Elections is still counting the votes in the state Senate race between the incumbent Frank Padavan, a Republican, and his challenger City Councilman James Gennaro, a Democrat. Comment.
Ridgewood

No solution at meeting on PS 91 playground

The debate continued last week between neighbors, civic associations, elected officials and Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office over the new playground to be built in PS 91’s schoolyard in Glendale, but little headway was evident. Comment.
Ridgewood

Woman from Maspeth gets 5 yrs in scam

A Maspeth woman arrested as part of an Internet−based robbery operation pleaded guilty on Long Island last Thursday, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. Comment.
Richmond Hill

Cross Bay toll plan hit by protesters

Protesters stood at the Broad Channel side of the Cross Bay Bridge Tuesday to demand the Metropolitan Transportation Authority rethink its proposal to eliminate the so−called Cross Bay Bridge Rebate Program, which allows Broad Channel and Rockaway residents to travel over the crossing for free with E−ZPass. Comment.
Richmond Hill

CB 10 names Aqueduct panel

Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton announced her nine selections for the 15−member Aqueduct Race Track advisory panel at the board’s monthly meeting last week. Comment.
Queens Village

Qns. Village killer gets 25 to life for beating uncle

A Queens Village man who was convicted in November of the 2006 beating death of his 71−year−old uncle was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison last week, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. Comment.
Queens Village

Club billboard draws fire

Sex may sell for the adult entertainment business, but residents in Rosedale are fed up that a suggestive billboard has been posted prominently in their neighborhood, according to City Councilman James Sanders (D−Laurelton). Comment.
Little Neck Ledger

Students at Douglaston school donate to coat drive

Students from Douglaston’s St. Anastasia School have collected 100 winter coats in a November coat drive, doubling the number donated in the past month to an initiative run by a Little Neck realtor. Comment.
Little Neck Ledger

Schneider Hospital turns 25

Former Gov. Mario Cuomo returned to Schneider Children’s Hospital last week — 25 years after he helped cut the ribbon on the facility — to break ground on a new pediatric treatment center and celebrate the hospital’s quarter−century of existence. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Malakov trial date set for January

A date was set last week for the long−awaited trial of the duo accused of plotting the brazen shooting of a Forest Hills dentist right in front of his young daughter. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Elmhurst gets new scanner

Patients waiting for CAT scans at Elmhurst Hospital Center have two reasons to be a little happier: The hospital has added a new, third scanner that is twice as fast as previous models. Comment.
Jackson Heights

Boro mourns Mumbai victims at ceremony in Jackson Heights

South Asian immigrants living in Queens fear the ripple effects from the terrorist attacks in Mumbai could have dire consequences for the people living in the region who have been the victims of religious persecution. Comment.
Jamaica Times

PS 225 to close in June over poor performance

Citing poor performance at PS 225, the city Board of Education is closing the Rockaway Park school after June. But one school advocate criticized the agency over the planned closing, contending the move would be too costly. Comment.
Jamaica Times

DOT halts plan for new Broad Channel firehouse

The Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department is facing a roadblock from the city Department of Transportation in their attempt to construct a new firehouse to replace their 100−year−old structure on Noel Avenue. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

City must do more to protect the rights of senior citizens

At its Nov. 17 meeting, the Queens Civic Congress voted to sign on as a formal plaintiff to oppose the term limits extension voted on by the City Council. If the current plaintiffs agree or not, the QCC will submit an affidavit of support. Comment.
Forest Hills Ledger

City Council hopeful sues finance board

Kew Gardens resident Mel Gagarin, running for the 29th City Council District, said the city Campaign Finance Board is unfairly allowing incumbents to potentially outspend challengers and he is hoping to change that with a recently filed lawsuit in state Supreme Court. Comment.
Flushing Times

Need help with heating?

State Assemblywoman−elect Grace Meng urged residents in Flushing to join a state program that helps pay heating bills during the winter months, noting that the country’s financial crisis makes any aid worth taking. Comment.
Flushing Times

Weiner wants Pomonok elevator safety inspection

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D−Forest Hills) has called on city officials to inspect the safety of elevators at Pomonok Housing in Flushing, the third largest of the 2,636 developments run by the city Housing Authority. Comment.
Bayside Times

Glee club from Bayside to perform holiday show at Flushing church

The Bayside Glee Club will kick off its 65th season this weekend at Flushing’s Church on the Hill with its annual holiday concert, which will feature holiday songs, Broadway tunes, operetta music and pop songs performed by the group’s 23 members. Comment.
Bayside Times

Bayside man nabs alleged bank robber

A 28−year−old Bayside man foiled a bank robbery on Utopia Parkway last week after he chased and then tackled the suspected culprit. Comment.
Astoria Times

Gang members attack student: Police

FRESH MEADOWS — A Queens student claimed he was assaulted by three gang members Friday morning, police said. Comment.
Astoria Times

Tax worker gets 3 to 6 years in larceny: State

RIDGEWOOD — A Ridgewood tax preparer has been sentenced after pleading guilty to filing false tax returns in an effort to get $4 million in tax refunds from the state, state Tax and Finance Commissioner Robert Megna said last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Description of Corona bank robber released

CORONA — Police said they have a description of a man they say robbed a Washington Mutual Bank. Comment.
Astoria Times

Cops have description, name of bank robber

REGO PARK — Police released the name and description Tuesday of a man they are looking for in connection with a Nov. 17 robbery of a Washington Mutual Bank. Comment.
Astoria Times

Cops search for Woodside bank robbery suspect

WOODSIDE — Police were asking for the public’s help to identify a suspect involved with an armed bank robbery during Thanksgiving weekend. Comment.
Editorial

Better Than Nothing

The Ravitch Commission plan to save commuters the projected 23 percent increase in subway and bus fares is better than nothing, but not by much. The last minute offer would cap bus, subway and commuter train fare increases at 8 percent for 2009. In turn, the East River bridges would be turned over to the MTA. Comment.
Astoria Times

New York once served as favorite haunt of pirates

With the continuing presence of modern−day pirates off the coast of Somalia in Africa, I thought it timely to look back at New York in the 1690s, then a pirate port of choice. Pirates were seen on the streets wearing gaudy, colorful costumes and pistols at their hips. Comment.
Astoria Times

Boro Democratic, GOP political clubs throw holiday parties

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!” to quote a line from a famous holiday song. I do not know how it looks in your neighborhood, but in mine the way some houses are decorated is enchanting. Most of the streets adjacent to local stores have holiday lights strung across the streets. The local shopping centers, malls and department stores are decorated with all sorts of enticing merchandise. Comment.
Astoria Times

Movement underway to combine Christmas and Hanukkah

In most years, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are celebrated in close proximity to one another. This year is no exception. Hanukkah starts Dec. 2l, Christmas is on Dec. 25 and Kwanzaa starts on Dec. 26. All three are joyous occasions that focus on family, children and gift−giving. Comment.
Astoria Times

Absentee ballots cause more harm than good in elections

Four years ago, a few states had formalized the concept of early voting. In this past election, early voting became an integral part of our federal voting system. It has been estimated that at least 30 percent of the electorate voted early this year, usually meaning they cast their votes weeks before the Nov. 4 general election. Comment.
Astoria Times

Eatery celebrates Dominican roots

Isabella Bensimon, the owner of one of Forest Hills’ newest Italian restaurants, Villa Isabella, is no newcomer to the food world. Comment.
Astoria Times

Create an office in your home

One of the biggest concerns relayed to me by many Queens residents is job safety in the coming year. Do not take it lightly. It is scary with not many positive signs of improvement in the near future. Comment.
Astoria Times

East River tolls could blunt fare increase

Can the city’s mass transit system be rescued from a financial abyss without crippling service cuts and imposing a 23 percent fare increase? The Ravitch Commission says yes by employing East River bridge tolls, a regionwide payroll tax and an 8 percent fare hike. Comment.
Astoria Times

As state prepares Pataki portrait, Cuomo still won’t sit for painter

It has been 13 years since he has left office. But former Gov. Mario Cuomo, who grew up in Queens, said he will not be posing for his portrait to be hung in Albany out of objection to “the principle” of the tradition. Comment.
Astoria Times

St. Michael’s Park gets new turf field

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D−Astoria) helped cut the ribbon last weekend on Astoria’s first public artificial turf field, which will provide space for neighborhood children to play in community soccer and baseball leagues. Comment.
Astoria Times

More tribes interested in Kosciuszko construction

The state’s plan to replace the 69−year−old Kosciuszko Bridge linking Maspeth with Brooklyn has attracted the attention of two additional native American tribes after the Federal Highway Administration ruled input was required from two other tribes that used to call Newtown Creek home. Comment.
Astoria Times

Budget office predicts rise to $2.50 for subway, buses

Bus and subway average fares could rise to at least $2.50, average Long Island Rail Road one−way fares could jump to $7.31 and the $81 monthly unlimited ride MetroCard could go to $104, according to a financial review by the city Independent Budget Office. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bell Blvd. bar gets bullish on Bayside

Bayside residents looking for a buck or two need look no further after Bell Boulevard’s Johnny Famous bar unleashed the borough’s only mechanical bull at its opening in October. Comment.
Astoria Times

Qns College tried funny business: Suit

Jackie Mason filed a lawsuit against Queens College last week after he said the school took advantage of his goodwill while trying to fill a hole left in its schedule left by the death of his friend, George Carlin, according to his lawyer. Comment.
Astoria Times

Wal−Mart victim’s family files lawsuit

The family of a Jamaica man, Jdimytai Damour, who was trampled to death in Wal−Mart at Green Acres Mall on Black Friday, sued the chain store last week on the grounds that Wal−Mart advertised steep discounts that caused an unruly crowd to gather outside the store. The suit further alleges Wal−Mart was not prepared to mitigate the large crowd. Comment.
Astoria Times

Schneider kids ride jet to meet Santa

Not too many children get the chance to fly to the North Pole, let alone meet Santa Claus and his elves so for a group of ill children, Saturday was their lucky day. Comment.
Astoria Times

Boro S. Asian leaders honor Mumbai dead, push for peace

South Asians from all over the city and New Jersey convened in Rego Park Friday to consider the ramifications of the Nov. 26 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Comment.
Astoria Times

Ecuadorians protest hate crime outside Elmhurst Hospital Ctr.

As an Ecuadorian immigrant clung to life after falling victim to an apparent hate crime Sunday, leaders of the Ecuadorian community in the city gathered in front of Elmhurst Hospital Center Tuesday to denounce the crime and call for unity. Comment.
Astoria Times

Bayside psychic sees a boost in business

In the current economy, investors are taking losses, restaurants are struggling to attract clientele and nonprofits are finding it increasingly difficult to collect donations. Comment.
Astoria Times

SE Qns. pantries facing shortages of food, funds

As the economy continues to sour, thousands of residents are lining up at food pantries across the borough to get their daily meals, startling new statistics show. Comment.
Astoria Times

Gioia calls on retailers to remove contaminated toys before holidays

A new federal law will take toys containing a toxic plastic byproduct off shelves and heighten restrictions on other toxins, but toymakers and retailers do not plan to comply until after the Christmas shopping season, City Councilman Eric Gioia (D−Sunnyside) and the New York Public Interest Research Group warned last week. Comment.
Astoria Times

Fed court halts FAA plans to sell JFK’s slots

The Federal Aviation Administration’s plan to auction off airline takeoff and landing slots at John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports in the last days of the Bush administration has been squelched by a federal appeals court. Comment.
Astoria Times

Diverse cultures of Queens condemn Mumbai attacks

Representatives across numerous borough faiths gathered at Bayside’s Queensborough Community College last week to condemn the late November terrorist attacks in Mumbai and commemorate the 172 victims who died, including a Brooklyn rabbi and his wife. Comment.
Astoria Times

Scores mourn Elmhurst teen killed by bus

Christmas preparations turned to sadness at the Church of the Ascension in Elmhurst as the congregation gathered Tuesday to mourn Jasmine Paragas, the 14−year−old girl killed by a school bus last week while crossing the street. Comment.
Astoria Times

Smith’s deal to win senate majority post unravels

An agreement between state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D−St. Albans) and three dissident senators that set the stage for the southeast Queens politician to become leader of the Senate in January has fallen apart. Comment.
Astoria Times

School for Global Ed ranks with nation’s best

The Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, Townsend Harris High School in Flushing and the Baccalaureate School of Global Education in Astoria each appeared on the list, which is put out annually and based chiefly on Advanced Placement test scores. Comment.
Astoria Times

Joblessness up in boro: DiNapoli

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli had mostly bad news last week for York College students and faculty at the Jamaica school’s executive leadership breakfast, where he said the borough’s unemployment rate had risen this fall amid a state and national economic slump. Comment.
Astoria Times

Vantage not recognizing demands: Tenants

State Assemblyman Jose Peralta (D−Jackson Heights) and other politicians threw their support behind hundreds of Queens tenants who rallied last week against Vantage Properties, which residents accuse of harassing and attempting to evict rent−stabilized residents in the borough. Comment.

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