Sandy Claus Steps Up in South Queens

It’s never too early for Santa to start loading his sleigh. A toy drive called Secret Sandy Claus, started by Michael Sciaraffo two years ago after Hurricane Sandy, started to collect toys last week with hopes of bringing smiles to Sandy-stricken kids throughout the borough. It marked the third consecutive year the Santa-style savior was in operation, and Sciaraffo said he expects it to be bigger than ever. For the second year in a row, the Brooklyn native teamed up … Continue reading

City Moves on Woodhaven Traffic Woes

Changes are coming to Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards as the city prepares to put shovels to pavement this coming fall. The street improvement project will go into full effect next month as part of the city Transportation Department’s ongoing efforts to ease congestion along the busy commercial corridors running across southern Queens. Plans included upgrades to service road safety and revamped bus lanes throughout the region, which the city said should make for better driving conditions. “Woodhaven and Cross … Continue reading

Jamaica man charged in dad’s murder

A South Jamaica man appeared in court this week for the first time since being arraigned on homicide charges in the shooting death of his father—an act Queens District Attorney Richard Brown called “totally incomprehensible.” Anthony Guyton, 37, has been remanded to the custody of the city Department of Correction after being charged last week with second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to … Continue reading

Build It Back Delivers Water Bill Credit

The city’s Build It Back program announced new water bill credits to homeowners whose homes were left vacant in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, director Amy Peterson said this week. The program director fired off a letter to residents of southern Queens in tandem with the city Department of Environmental Protection and the Housing Recovery Office identifying 1,500 homeowners eligible for the latest form of disaster relief. Through the Build It Back program,  those residents secured a non-refundable $750 credit … Continue reading

Violence Interrupters Coming to More Boro Communities

When Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this month the expansion of the Gun Violence Crisis Management System to 14 precincts across the city—including four in Queens—he noted that, as an integral part of the $12.7 million program, individuals known as “violence interrupters” would be descending on the high-risk communities targeted by the joint de Blasio administration-City Council effort. “This [expansion] relies on the notion of violence interruption,” de Blasio said. “You may have heard of this around the country—the … Continue reading

Crime Series Shoots in Broad Channel

A CBS film crew landed in Broad Channel this week to shoot scenes for an original crime series at the end of West 12th Road. “Elementary,” a CBS crime series starring Johnny Lee Miller as a contemporary Sherlock Holmes, set up shop in southern Queens on Friday evening for the shoot. Peter Mahon with the West 12th Road Block Association snapped some photos of the film crews and uploaded them to his group’s blog to tease the show, which airs … Continue reading

Breezy Street Renamed for Vietnam Vet

A Vietnam War hero was immortalized on a Breezy Point street over the weekend, thanks legislation signed earlier this summer made way for massive co-namings throughout the city. Beach 221st Street and Rockaway Point Boulevard was co-named in honor of late Sgt. Gerard Dunne on Saturday, paying tribute to the U.S. Army hero who died in action in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam on Aug. 25, 1968. City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) came together with members of the Breezy Point community … Continue reading

Howard Beach Patrol Gets New Wheels

Howard Beach’s newest civilian observation patrol rolled out a new ride as volunteers took to the streets to provide an extra set of eyes and ears to the 106th Precinct. Joseph Thompson, president of the HBCOP, said his aunt stepped up to donate her own car to the volunteer group as it started hitting the pavement last week. Thompson helped start the group earlier this summer and has spent the ensuing weeks growing his organization while working alongside the 106th … Continue reading

New Vets’ Commish Should Focus on Jobs, Healthcare: Area Advocates

After Mayor de Blasio last week tapped Loree Sutton, MD, to head the city’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs, area officials and advocates said the retired Army brigadier general should bolster efforts to help former service members with access to jobs and healthcare. Sutton, a psychiatrist and leading national mental health advocate, was lauded for more than 25 years of military and civilian service and her expertise in the treatment of brain injuries. “Loree’s revolutionary mental health work has helped countless … Continue reading

Howard Beach Lets Loose at ‘Fun Day’

The community came out in big numbers last Thursday for one last hurrah at PS/MS 146 as the Reach for the Stars daycare program partied on at 98th Street and 159th Avenue in Howard Beach. Community Fun Day, hosted by the STARS Youth Center in Howard Beach, featured inflatable fun along with a rock-climbing wall, balloon animals, face painting and much more for the entire family to enjoy. Residents from all over the community came out to celebrate and the … Continue reading

De Blasio Touts After-School Initiative in Richmond Hill

Bill de Blasio’s successful mayoral campaign was built around his “Tale of Two Cities,” which highlighted what he saw as unprecedented socioeconomic inequality facing the Big Apple. One of the ways in which he sought to bridge that pervasive gap was through education, particularly after-school programs, and last week he visited Richmond Hill to applaud the efforts of educators and raise awareness of enrollment applications for these enhanced after-school activities. De Blasio and city Department of Youth and Community Development … Continue reading

Steady Recovery for Ozone Park Hit-And-Run Victim

A brutal 52 stitches to the stomach and severely injured back have not stopped 29-year-old Sandeep Singh, who has been on the mend since the driver of a white truck called him “Osama” before running him over late last month. Brother Navindeep Singh said his family was shocked to see the beloved father fall victim to such a hateful act in modern day New York City. He stood with city leaders in Richmond Hill last Thursday to denounce Joseph Caleca, … Continue reading

Southern Queens Pre-K Clear to Launch

The city kept busy this summer making sure its universal pre-kindergarten sites were ready to launch on Sept. 4, but announced some sites were still categorized as public health hazards. Nonetheless, southern Queens was ready to go. The city Health Department along with the Department of Education said this week that 12 of the more than 1,100 sites where pre-K classes were being offered still showed violations and were in need of immediate action if they wanted to open on … Continue reading

Rikers Island Injury Claims on the Rise: Audit

With corruption and violence at alarming levels, and the bad old days back on the horizon, perhaps it is unsurprising to learn that personal injury claims at some facilities on Rikers Island have increased significantly over the last five years, according to an audit report published last week by city Comptroller Scott Stringer. Claims are filed by inmates or employees of city correction institutions or facilities who were allegedly injured by the actions of city employees or inmates. For example, … Continue reading

106th Catches Lindenwood Car Thief: Schiff

A Lindenwood man was caught redhanded behind the wheel of a stolen car earlier this week, hopefully putting an end to a string of related crimes in southern Queens, Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff said.   Richard Hobbs, 27, was arrested Monday after cops alleged he stole an unattended running vehicle early in the morning in Ozone Park. Plain-clothes officers spotted the suspect soon after his description hit police radio waves and arrested him to find out he was already a … Continue reading