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Queens Chronicle

Western Queens News

Stories from Astoria, Long Island City, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside, Woodside, Corona, Elmhurst and East Elmhurst

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More support for the JH-C BID idea?

After what’s felt like stops, starts and moments of heated controversy, there was another note of reassurance that the Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District — first introduced as part of the proposed New Deal for Roosevelt Avenue by City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) in 2013 — will not only be a reality, but may come about in the near future.At Ferreras’ State of the District address, held last Wednesday at the Langston Hughes Community Library in Corona, the official announced that it’s “one step closer to becoming a reality.”

Hit-and-run case sparks outrage
Posted: February 26, 2015

A Corona man was arrested and charged for allegedly striking a woman with his car at the intersection of 76th Street and Woodside Avenue and fleeing the scene in his vehicle, police announced Monday.

The fatal incident, in which Valentine Gonzalez, 27, of Corona allegedly struck a pedestrian in his white Mitsubishi, occurred on Sunday a little before 8:38 p.m. Emergency Medical Services, who responded to the scene with police, pronounced the victim dead.

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Several upgrades in store for CD 21
Posted: February 26, 2015

District 21 could experience a busy year.

The district, which encompasses Corona, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and East Elmhurst and is represented by City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), is the focus of several upcoming projects, the official announced at her State of the District address last Wednesday at Langston Hughes Community Library in Corona.

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Unique new worker cooperative planned
Updated: February 27, 2015 - 3:49 pm

One idea for a Queens-based workers’ cooperative aims to empower transgender residents who face workplace discrimination.

“We see a lot of transgender individuals living in poverty and this doesn’t just happen in Queens, it happens all over New York City,” Daniel Puerto, worker cooperative developer at Make the Road New York, said.

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Rescued professor reunites with cops
Posted: February 26, 2015

Despite an apparent decrease in crime at the 108th Precinct, a homicide occurred last week not far from the precinct’s headquarters.

Police responded Friday morning around 2:30 a.m. to a report of an assault on the corner of 50th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City.

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Citi offers up a vacant parcel in Court Square
Posted: February 26, 2015

In a move that could lead to another residential skyscraper going up in Long Island City, Citigroup has put a 36,000-square-foot parcel of land in Court Square on the market.

The lot, which is partially vacant and partially occupied by empty buildings, sits just west of Two Court Square, between 44th Road, 44th Drive and 23rd Street, above which runs the 7 train. Diagonally across the street is One Court Square, the Citi building.

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Putting the warmth back in Sunnyside
Posted: February 26, 2015

Amid more snowy weather that can conjure mid-winter blues, one program is putting the warmth back in Sunnyside.

Funding for this year was just renewed for the Friendly Visitors Program, wherein volunteers spend time with house-bound seniors.

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Queens officials mourn Onorato
Posted: February 26, 2015

George Onorato, former state senator of District 12, encompassing areas such as Astoria, Long Island City and Sunnyside, died on Saturday. He was 86.

Before being elected, Onorato, a graduate of Long Island City High School — which was within the district he would ultimately represent — was the secretary and treasurer of Bricklayers Local #41 union for 15 years. He was first elected to represent the 12th District in 1983, succeeding Sen. Anthony Gazzara.

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CB 3 updated on area school projects
Posted: February 26, 2015

The February meeting of Community Board 3, held last week in the Langston Hughes Community Library in Corona, began with a fitting tribute to Black History Month.

Andrew Jackson, library director, read Langston Hughes’ poem, “Freedom’s Plow,” to share “what Black History Month is about.”

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Push for lawyers for New York immigrants
Posted: February 26, 2015

What began as a pilot program two years ago may grow into a statewide program for immigrants facing deportation.

The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project provides public defenders for detained immigrants with undocumented status. Last year, the program grew to incorporate Buffalo, but advocates call for a statewide expansion so that all New York unauthorized immigrants can have legal representation.

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Queens honors black history
Posted: February 26, 2015

With February’s end right around the corner, several area elected officials highlighted the contributions of African-American community leaders to Western Queens as part of Black History Month.

One celebration, at the Astoria Houses, top, was hosted by state Sen. Mike Gianaris, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan and City Councilman Costa Constantinides.

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Friday 02/27/2015
NYC reaches contract accord with NYPD sergeants
Updated: February 27, 2015 - 1:50 pm

The City of New York and the union for police sergeants have reached a tentative contract agreement that will see their pay increase 11 percent over the next three years, with the first 4 percent in raises kicking in immediately.

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Thursday 02/26/2015
U.S. Reps cry foul on GOP’s DHS budget
Updated: February 26, 2015 - 11:40 am

Washington, DC politics took center stage in Queens on Tuesday.

Four Democrats from Congress, in a press conference at LaGuardia Airport’s Marine Air Terminal called on House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ken.) to allow votes to approve the budget for the Department of Homeland Security, which:

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Drug bust leads to arrest of two: police
Posted: February 26, 2015

A Woodhaven man was arraigned last Thursday night on drug possession, drug sale and child endangerment charges, along with another defendant, after police found out he was selling drugs out of his cellar apartment below a daycare center, the NYPD and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

“These arrests should serve as a warning to other drug dealers that the law enforcement community will continue to aggressively track down those individuals who traffic in drugs and seek to put them in prison,” Brown said in a release announcing the arraignment.

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John Adams High to get a health clinic
Posted: February 26, 2015

Students at John Adams High School in Ozone Park will soon find it easier to get free healthcare.

The school is planning on opening a health clinic in the basement of the building, located at 101-01 Rockaway Blvd., which will be sponsored by the Cohen Children’s Medical Center and the North Shore-Long Island Jewish health system.

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Trash cap group courts Community Board 12
Posted: February 26, 2015

Proponents of a bill that would cap the allowable trash-processing levels in Southeast Queens and two other communities received a generally warm reception on Feb. 18 at Community Board 12.

Justin Wood, a community organizer with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, said CB 12’s area is one of four community districts in the city — the others being in the South Bronx and Northern Brooklyn — that process about 75 percent of the roughly 35,000 tons of garbage produced daily in the city.

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Schwartz says new toll plan good for Queens
Updated: February 26, 2015 - 11:44 am

Traffic is increasing, state and federal funding for mass transit is uncertain at best and the five-year capital program for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has a current deficit of $15 billion.

Sam Schwartz believes that he and a coalition called Move NY have the answer.

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Bill would help fund community colleges
Posted: February 26, 2015

Two area elected officials have introduced a bill in Albany that if passed would help fund technology programs and job training at community colleges.

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) and state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) announced the legislation Monday during a press conference at Queensborough Community College in Bayside.

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Split-second decision: training like a city cop
Updated: February 26, 2015 - 11:45 am

You’re an officer who has been called to an apartment complex where two men are having a physical altercation. As you approach the individuals, you notice they are intoxicated and you attempt to de-escalate the situation by talking to them. Then, one picks up a bottle and smashes it across the head of the other, knocking him out.

What do you do?

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New head of QHS looks to outreach
Posted: February 26, 2015

The new executive director of the Queens Historical Society is a third-generation borough native with a background in finance, religion and real estate.

D. Alexandra Dyer began her new duties last month at QHS headquarters in the Kingsland Homestead at 143-35 37 Ave. in Flushing. Aside from raising money for the nonprofit group, she hopes to expand programs outside the facility and to raise the organization’s profile.

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Most Queens reps will hear Israeli PM
Posted: February 26, 2015

Despite misgivings about how the invitation to speak was proferred, nearly all federal lawmakers representing Queens say they will attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 address before a joint session of Congress.

Only one of the seven representatives and two senators, Democrats all, will boycott the speech, while the spokesman for another declined to answer when the lawmakers were queried by the Queens Chronicle this week.

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Sex offenders living near UPK: senator
Posted: February 26, 2015

An investigation by the Independent Democratic Conference has found that registered sex offenders are legally allowed to live near universal prekindergarten programs, because they are not recognized as schools by the state.

“Right now a dozen predators live near stand-alone programs in compliance with state law — including one man who had sexual contact with a four-year old girl,” state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx, Westchester) said in a press release. “It’s our duty to protect all children from pedophiles in the spirit of the law and we must immediately close this loophole.”

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Assembly Dems mum on Silver indictment
Posted: February 26, 2015

Shelly who?!?

In mid-January, Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) was arguably the most powerful politician in New York State, the 21-year speaker of the state Assembly; a man many legislators bragged about being close to, and whom all feared to cross.

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New Year Parade warms things up
Updated: February 26, 2015 - 11:57 am

The temperature may have been frigid but the spirit was warm during Saturday’s Lunar New Year Parade in Downtown Flushing.

The two-hour event brought out a hearty crowd despite the cold weather.

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Seven inducted into SJU Athletics Hall of Fame
Posted: February 26, 2015

The most notable athlete in St. John’s University history has finally been enshrined in the Jamaica school’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

Nearly 30 years to the month when the Red Storm, known then as the Redmen, was led to its first and only Final Four appearance in 1985 by a lanky senior from Brooklyn, Chris Mullin was inducted into his alma mater’s Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday along with six other integral pieces of the school’s rich sports tradition.

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Storm Warning: St. John's inches closer to the NCAA Tournament
Updated: February 27, 2015 - 11:15 am

These last two weeks of the Red Storm’s regular season are going to be like a game of blackjack.

All the chips are on the table and St. John’s has a hand of 15 and the dealer has 20. The margin of error is so small and the stakes are huge.

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College Point man charged
Posted: February 26, 2015

Police have arrested a College Point man, Charles Piccolo, 38, who allegedly robbed a male senior citizen in Astoria last Tuesday.

Last Thursday, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Piccolo is charged with one count of second-degree robbery, one count of second-degree assault and one count of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

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DEP to be paid back for Rapid Repair work
Posted: February 26, 2015

Federal and city officials on Tuesday announced that the Department of Environmental Protection will be reimbursed $116 million after it funded the city’s Rapid Repair Programs, which provided quick repairs to Sandy-ravaged houses after the storm.

“The Rapid Repairs Program helped many Sandy-impacted residents throughout New York City get back on their feet in the wake of the storm by allowing homeowners to stay in their homes while more permanent repairs took place,” U.S. Sen.Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a release announcing the funding.

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Pay rises but rent skyrockets
Updated: February 26, 2015 - 4:57 pm

Workers and renters in Queens — often one and the same — got both good news and bad news in two recently issued reports: Wages in the borough are rising faster than elsewhere in the city, but so is the cost of leases.

Take the good news first. The average pay in Queens rose to $884 a week in the second quarter of 2014, a 3.2 percent increase compared to the same three months the year before, according to recently released figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average wages in Manhattan, by comparison, rose 2.4 percent to $1,146. Among what the BLS considers large counties nationwide, Queens came in 49th out of 339 in wage growth.

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