Monthly Archives: June 2011

Woodhaven Murder Charge Upgraded to Hate Crime

On March 12, six teens brutally attacked and killed 18-year-old Anthony Collao while yelling anti-gay slurs. The recoil throughout Queens was fierce; neighbors clamored for stricter monitoring of abandoned homes, and activists and politicians decried another bias attack. On June 23, a day before Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Act into law, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced that the manslaughter charge against Collao’s attackers would be upgraded to murder as a hate crime. If convicted, each defendant … Continue reading

Democrats Remain Cautious as Special Election Looms

The scrum of potential Democratic candidates for the seat of former Representative Anthony Weiner seems to be growing every day. Yet even as Governor Cuomo finished a surprisingly successful session in Albany, he’s remained silent on when, and how, that seat will be filled. While Weiner’s staff is working under the aegis of the 9th Congressional District, rather than through the direction of an elected official, speculation is widening the field for Weiner’s replacement. Among the Democratic contenders that have … Continue reading

State Legislature Ends Session With Flurry of New Bills

Albany legislators ended their session last Friday after completing several key, and sometimes controversial, pieces of legislation. In the session’s final days Governor Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers negotiated, and eventually passed, a local property tax cap, extended rent regulations, approved Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s taxi proposal to allow street hails outside Manhattan and legalized same-sex marriage. Cuomo made same-sex marriage one of his top priorities, but it appeared the Republican controlled State Senate would not bring the marriage equality bill to … Continue reading

On Hold: Residents Meet With City Agencies, 311 Reps

Richard Gundlach has been reporting a truck that sometimes hauls a refrigerated container for years; it parks outside his home near 51st Avenue and 72nd Streets, and the hum of refrigeration keeps him and his neighbors up all night. On March 22, at the Kowalinski  Post in Maspeth, Gundlach spoke with Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Director of External Affairs Nicholas Sbordone, who helped walk him through complaints online before a crowd of twenty to thirty area residents. … Continue reading

Noise Bill Hearing Garners Wide Community Support

Community residents testified in Manhattan on Monday to support Councilman Eric Ulrich’s proposed “noise” bill, which increases fines and eases NYPD procedures for issuing tickets and confiscating sound equipment. “Inordinate noise continues to be the leading NYPD-related quality of life complaint made by residents of Community Board 10,” said Betty Braton, chair of the board. “It is our opinion that [the bill’s] passage will add another tool to the NYPD that will assist in more effective enforcement.” Some residents testified … Continue reading

Ave Maria Academy Hosts 2nd Annual Dinner Dance

Organizers of the Second Annual Dinner Dance in honor of the Ave Maria Catholic Academy played host to a capacity crowd at Roma View Catering last Wednesday evening. In establishing a new tradition at the event, last year’s honoree, Doctor Jerry Antonino was on hand to pass along a statue of the Blessed Mother, which represents the school, to this year’s honorees, Tony and Christine Modafferi. The Modafferis were chosen as a result of nearly twenty years of devotion and … Continue reading

Walking For Life

At the ninth annual Middle Village Relay for Life, held this past weekend, 13-year-old Cara Stock was surrounded by living proof that cancer is not an automatic death sentence—none closer than her father Raymond Stock, who beat lung cancer six years ago. “I want to be an example for people,” Raymond said. “If you stay strong, it’s not just a dire situation when you hear the words, ‘You’ve got cancer.’” As a former smoker, Raymond knew the risks. When he … Continue reading

City Passes $66 Billion Budget

The doomsday scenario of teaching positions, firehouses and other vital services being cut was averted last Friday when Mayor Michael Bloomberg reached a preliminary agreement with city lawmakers. After months of negotiations, Bloomberg, along with Council Speaker Christine Quinn and United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew, announced the $66 billion budget agreement in a press conference on Friday afternoon. The budget passed 49-1 Wednesday afternoon, preventing 4,100 teacher layoffs and saves 20 firehouses that were facing closure. “We … Continue reading

Editorial: Same Old Story in Budget Deal

The City Council approved a $66 billion budget Wednesday afternoon, which avoided massive teacher layoffs, cuts to civil services such as libraries and the closing of 20 fire companies throughout the city. All without raising taxes. Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined city politicians on Friday to announce the new agreement, where they congratulated themselves for making tough choices to pass an effective, on-time budget. Who are we kidding? It’s same story every year. Bloomberg announces in early spring that the city … Continue reading

City Council Releases Pork Spending

The City Council released its Schedule C budget—more commonly known as pork spending—on Tuesday. Council Members divided $50 million to distribute to local non-profits and community groups. There are various complaints with the city’s current pork spending. Last winter, some Council Members felt their political ties to Council Speaker Christine Quinn heavily influenced the member item distribution. There is also a fear of scandal; politicians may fund sham non-profits that filter money back into political campaigns or a new house. … Continue reading

Grand Larcenies, Grover Cleveland Park Discussed in Ridgewood

In its last meeting before breaking for the summer, the Citizens for a Better Ridgewood held a combined meeting with the 104th Police Precinct’s community council on Monday night. The meeting touched on a number of topics including the longstanding community complaints aabout Grover Cleveland Park, a crime update from the 104th Precinct and other quality of life concerns, such as noise complaints, from residents. Captain John Travaglia began the meeting with the neighborhood’s latest crime statistics. Travaglia noted that … Continue reading

Bishop Celebrates Mass to Mark St. Helen’s 50th Anniversary

Hundreds of the St. Helen’s faithful flocked to mass on Sunday afternoon to celebrate the closing of their 50th Year Anniversary Celebration. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio celebrated mass with a number of co-celebrants including Bishop Ignatius Catanello, former St. Helen’s  pastors  Reverend Monsignor Joseph C. Pfeiffer and Monsignor Richard Marchese, former parish priest Father. John Cush, current associate pastor Father. Robert Keighron and current pastor Monsignor Alfred LoPinto. Members of the tight kit community stood on-line outside the church Sunday afternoon … Continue reading

Feast of St. Anthony Draws Crowds at St. Helen’s

A special mass was held last Wednesday night to mark the opening of St. Anthony’s Feast on the grounds of St. Helen’s.  A procession of the statue of St. Anthony around the blocks of the church followed the mass. The feast was hosted by the Howard Beach Columbus Day Foundation and the parish for the second year in a row. Live entertainment, including visits from Joe Causi and a performance by Angelo Venuto, rides and games for the whole family, … Continue reading

Victory Buzz: Hornets Win Championship

Our Lady of Hope Hornets 4th Grade Girls Softball team won the CYO Brooklyn-Queens Diocesan Championship on Fathers Day, Sunday, June 19th at Juniper Valley Park. Our Lady of Hope Pastor, Fr. Michael Carrano and Fr. Peter Purpura congratulated the team as they received their trophies along with the team coaches Sal LaRosa, Christina Filip, Joe Cerillo, Jimmy Guarneri and Rich Werner.

St. Helen’s Priest Outraged Over Addabbo Support for Same Sex Marriage

Heated debate over same sex marriage descended on Howard Beach after St. Helen’s parish priest, Father Rob Keighron, reacted to State Senator Joe Addabbo’s announcement that he intended to vote in favor of the measure in Albany. Fr. Keighron made an impassioned plea to parishioners at the end of a mass in honor of St. Anthony on Monday to withdraw their support for the senator. “He is going against church teaching, the way we understand marriage and preserving what has … Continue reading