Monthly Archives: August 2011

Cleanup Begins After Jamaica Ave Fire

A four-alarm fire in Richmond Hill on Monday evening destroyed six businesses, displaced tenants and disrupted subway service along Jamaica Avenue. The fire started in the Island Musculoskeletal Care medical office, which is under construction at Jamaica Avenue and 112th Street, at 5:30 p.m. and quickly spread to surrounding buildings. It took 168 firemen from dozens of units including Engine 294, Engine 285 and Ladder 143, three hours to get the fire under control. Billowing smoke from the buildings was … Continue reading

Dead Trees in MacDonald Park Worry Residents

Last fall’s tornado devastated MacDonald Park in Forest Hills. Once a picturesque backdrop along Queens Boulevard where residents could sit and enjoy some green space, the park became a mess of fallen trees. Thanks to the efforts of the city Parks Department and volunteers from around the city, MacDonald Park was cleaned up and nearly 80 new trees were planted in April. However, members of the community have noticed some of the new saplings are dying, and they are calling … Continue reading

CEC24 Debates City’s Sex Ed Mandate

The City’s recent decision to mandate sex education was the main topic at Tuesday night’s Community Education Council 24 meeting at P.S. 58 in Maspeth. The council held its monthly meeting to discuss the pros and cons of teaching sex education as early as elementary school and to vote on a resolution stating that schools should be allowed to decide if they want to teach sex education in the 6 or 7 grades. That goes against the Department of Education’s … Continue reading

Turner, Deacy Vow to Protect Senior Programs

Republicans Bob Turner and Jane Deacy visited seniors at the Forest Park Senior center during a lunchtime meal of roast chicken, mash potatoes and string beans on Thursday afternoon to garner their support before the September 13 special elections for vacant Congressional and Assembly seats. Turner, running for the 9th Congressional District, trails Democrat David Weprin by a six-point margin, according to the latest Siena College Poll released last Thursday. In light of the unexpectedly close poll results, both candidates … Continue reading

Weprin Scores Key Endorsements in Congressional Race

Endorsements have been rolling in for David Weprin, the Democratic candidate to replace Anthony Weiner in the 9th Congressional District, including a major endorsement from Republican City Council Member Peter Koo last Thursday. Before the announcement, the only politician to have crossed party lines in the race was when former Mayor Ed Koch endorsed Republican candidate Bob Turner. “As I have done in the past, I am crossing party lines to support a candidate I feel who will be the … Continue reading

It’s a Family Affair: Restaurateur Builds the American Dream

The long-awaited grand opening of the Atlantic Shopping Plaza was held on Tuesday evening with a kick-off party at the plaza’s brand new showcase­­–the Atlantic Diner. For many neighborhood residents that who patronized the establishment for the last 16 years, the day couldn’t have come quickly enough. But for one man, the opening meant the realization of a dream that started a long time ago in a town in Greece several hours by car, from Athens. Bill Athanasopoulos was 12-years-old … Continue reading

Rare East Coast Earthquake Shakes Queens

New Yorkers are used to many things including extreme weather, but not an earthquake. A quake in central Virginia caused most of the eastern seaboard to shake—some reports said as many as 20 states felt the shocks—causing fear and excitement throughout the city. The U.S. Geological Survey said a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Mineral, Virginia shortly before 2 p.m. on Tuesday. Shocks were felt throughout the eastern United States, and in the initial confusion, many buildings, including the White House … Continue reading

Pitching In to Keep Jamaica Ave Litter Free

With garbage piling up Jamaica Avenue due to budget cuts from the Sanitation Department,three  local politicians pitched in funds to increase litter basket collection service. Last Thursday, at a press conference on the corner of Jamaica Avenue and Forest Parkway in Woodhaven, Council Members Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) joined Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner John Doherty to announce funding for extra litter basket collection along Jamaica Avenue from the Brooklyn boundary down … Continue reading

Editorial: Blowing Past a Red Light? Smile

The city is always looking to make some extra cash, and red-light cameras may be the newest answer, and it just might save lives. This week the Daily News reported the city made $55 million from red-light fines last year. When asked about the figure, Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the New York Post he’d like to see even more of the cameras. The case against red-light cameras covers many grounds. Some argue that the cameras violate drivers’ privacy. Others contend … Continue reading

Man Seeks to Revitalize Nabe Watch Program

Why leave crime fighting to the professionals? One resident of Richmond Hill believes that civilians can make an impact in reducing crime in their community. Simcha Waisman, the president of the One Stop Richmond Hill Community Center, formed a civilian patrol in the 102nd Precinct 15 years ago, but the group was forced to dissolve because it didn’t have the cooperation from one of the precinct’s captains. “We left because we didn’t have support,” said Waisman. “The police department has … Continue reading

Forest Park Senior Center Escapes Budget Ax

After budget cuts threatened a possible closure, the Forest Park Senior Center will keep its doors open for at least another year. According to Executive Director Donna Marie Caltabiano, the Woodhaven-based senior center will receive $120,000 in funding. Half of that came from the City Council and Borough President Helen Marshall is expected to fund the remaining amount. Paola Miceli, the director of Health, Human Services and Senior Services for Marshall, told The Forum her office will give discretionary funds … Continue reading

J/Z Subway Line Rated Best In City

The J/Z subway line that runs above Jamaica Avenue is the best in the city. Those are the findings of the Straphangers Campaign, an independent group run by the New York Public Interest Research Group that grades the MTA on its service. The 2011 State of the Subways Report Card was released on Wednesday, judging individual subway lines for waiting times, regularity of service, adequate seats, clean cars and understandable announcements. Straphangers grade the lines using a MetroCard fare system; … Continue reading

District 27 Parents Protest Middle School Choice

Local parents opposed to a new city policy aimed at providing more enrollment options to middle school students are garnering signatures and support ahead of a Community Election Council 27 vote on the matter. Middle school choice is a new Department of Education policy giving students and parents the opportunity to list in order of preference what middle schools in the district they would like to attend. The city then would match students with a school based on their preferences. … Continue reading

Fraudulent Richmond Hill Mortgage Lender Sentenced

One of the ringleaders of a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud, preying on Guyanese immigrants in Richmond Hill and other parts of Queens and Brooklyn, was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison last Thursday. Roger Huggins, 36, of Queens Village co-owned and operated a company in Richmond Hill under various names including Home Solutions Management, Home Solutions Enterprises and Home Solutions Limited. The company posed as a foreclosure rescue firm. According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Huggins and … Continue reading

Long Island Contractor Charged with Bilking Queens Homeowners

A Long Island contractor was charged with stealing $537,000 from homeowners throughout Queens following an investigation by the Queens District Attorney’s office and the city Department of Investigation (DOI). Wayne Drinkwine, 59, who operated under the alias Wayne Thomas, ran a contracting business where he allegedly received funds for repair work that was never completed. In some instances, Drinkwine would begin demolition of a home but then left the property abandoned, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The victims in … Continue reading