Bronx Men Plead Guilty in Strangulation Death of Borough Teacher

Two Bronx men last week copped to their roles in the 2013 death of a Jackson Heights middle-school teacher, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Cecil Golden, 22, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for strangling David Rangel, 53, and shoving his body underneath a sofa inside his apartment. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined Rangel died as a result of compression of the neck and torso. Elijah Agyepong, 21, pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery for taking Rangel’s … Continue reading

New Bill Curbs Clothing Collection Containers

The City Council has passed a bill that takes aim at particular eyesores that proliferate during the holiday season. Last Thursday, the council approved legislation that would regulate clothing collection bins that are illegally placed on public property. The law allows the city Department of Sanitation to immediately remove any illegally placed collection bin located on public property. Currently, the DSNY is authorized to remove bins 30 days after posting a notice on them; however, bin owners are able to … Continue reading

Queens College Marks “Kristallnacht” with Personal Stories

Hundreds gathered at Queens College on Sunday to commemorate “Kristallnacht,” or Night of Broken Glass, which was a series of coordinated attacks against Jews, Jewish-owned businesses, and synagogues in Germany and Austria in November 1938. The attacks, carried out by Nazi paramilitary officers as well as civilians, resulted in hundreds of deaths; 1,000 synagogues burned, 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged, and at least 30,000 people arrested and sent to concentration camps, where later many would be killed as the … Continue reading

Ideas Emerge from Initial WRBA Budgeting Session

Members of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association last weekend churned out dozens of ideas during the first participatory budgeting brainstorming session. This is the fourth consecutive year that City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) has let constituents decide how to spend $2 million of taxpayer money on district capital needs. Ulrich was one of the initial four council members to implement PB in 2011. “Participatory budgeting encourages a greater partnership between communities and elected representatives to find creative solutions for … Continue reading

Borough President Names New Communications Director

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz last week announced the appointment of Sharon Lee as communications director. Immediately prior to joining Borough President Katz’s office, Lee, a borough resident, served as campaign manager for Assemblyman Ron Kim’s (D-Flushing) successful re-election bid. Previously, Lee served as senior advisor and press secretary to former Comptroller and City Councilman John Liu. “I’m honored to join Team Katz at Borough Hall,” Lee said. “It’s an absolute privilege to work with a dynamic leader of such … Continue reading

Borough Community Parks Initiative On Schedule: Parks Dept.

Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled the ambitious Community Parks Initiative, a multi-faceted program to invest $130 million in under-resourced public parks located in the city’s densely populated and growing neighborhoods with higher-than-average concentrations of poverty. And this week, the city Parks Department reiterated the project’s objective and indicated that it is running on schedule. In a presentation Monday evening to the Queens Borough Board at Borough Hall, Queens Parks Commissioner Dottie Lewandowski and Jennifer Gardner, senior project planner … Continue reading

Two Men Convicted of Killing Girl at St. Albans Party

Two men last week were found guilty of manslaughter in the 2011 shooting death of a woman at a birthday party in St. Albans, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. After deliberating for nearly two days, a jury late last Thursday convicted both Oneil Mairs, 27, of Jamaica, and Nicholas Allen, 25, of Queens Village, of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree reckless endangerment for killing 26-year-old Avalisa Morris on Feb. 6, 2011. According to … Continue reading

DOT to Scale Back 101st Avenue Pedestrian Plaza

The city Department of Transportation last week told The Forum that, after a lengthy study, the agency has decided to scale back the pedestrian plaza in Ozone Park near City Line. For months, the DOT and civic leaders have heard myriad complaints from small business owners in the area regarding the open space on 101st Avenue at Drew Street and Liberty Avenue. Many have said the plaza has greatly affected their bottom lines. According to a DOT spokesperson, the department … Continue reading

Goldfeder Calls on Cuomo to Use Part of Surplus on Rail Line

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) this week ramped up efforts to help fund the revitalization of the defunct Rockaway Beach Rail Line by penning a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, urging him to direct a portion of the $5 billion in state dollars from the budget surplus, created by settlements and fines from major financial firms, to restore the line. Last week, Goldfeder helped detail the findings of a Queens College study that surveyed thousands of residents and researched available … Continue reading

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 50 years for Killing Friend

A Brooklyn man last week was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for the 2010 shootings of two men. Miguel Molinar, 50, of Bushwick, was found guilty last month following a two-week jury trial of second-degree murder, second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. According to trial testimony, Molinar drove out to a construction site on the evening of Nov. 19, 2010, while victims Isidore Francis and Emmanuel Simington followed in a separate … Continue reading

Senior Center Showcases Talented Guys and Gals

Ralph Rega last Friday serenaded seniors and staff with a little Tony Bennett during the annual talent show at the Howard Beach Senior Center on Cross Bay Boulevard. Many residents entertained the appreciative audience with song, dance moves and some jokes.

Ulrich Honored by Helmets to Hardhats Group

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) received the Freedom Award from New York City Helmets to Hardhats this week at their second annual luncheon. The Freedom Award is the highest honor given by the organization and is awarded specifically to individuals who show exemplary service to city veterans. Helmets to Hardhats assists transitioning service members with job placement in the city’s construction industry. The organization works with 15 trade organizations citywide, representing approximately 100,000 working people. Since his appointment as Chair … Continue reading

Area Builder Using Revolutionary Eco-Friendly Materials

If you see a new home being built in Howard Beach or Ozone Park, chances are Gustavo Badolati and F1 Construction, Inc. are helming the project. And thanks to a new accord with Eco Building Products, Badolati and his crews are using environmentally friendly lumber that is shifting the way houses are framed, from the traditional to the revolutionary. “For a long time, since [Superstorm] Sandy, we’ve been looking for different ways to build and rebuild,” Badolati said last Friday … Continue reading

DOC Outlines Plan to Reduce Rikers Island Violence

With Rikers Island wracked by a slew of headline-grabbing scandals over the past year, the commissioner of the Department of Correction this week outlined a package of reforms aimed at reducing jail violence, and enhancing the safety of staff and inmates. Commissioner Joseph Ponte, speaking in front of the city Board of Correction on Tuesday, announced that the department’s reforms call for installing security cameras in every DOC facility on Rikers Island within the next 18 months. Cameras, Ponte noted, … Continue reading

Jamaica Basketball Coach Charged with Possession of Child Porn

A Jamaica basketball coach this week was awaiting arraignment on charges of possessing child pornography after a 15-year-old boy he coached told his parents about his alleged video chats with the man, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Robert Walker, 42, faces a criminal complaint charging him with use of a child in a sexual performance, first-degree disseminating indecent material to minors, possessing a sexual performance by a child and endangering the welfare of a child. According to the complaint, … Continue reading