Category Archives: Feature

Borough President Calls on CB 9 to Postpone DM Search; ‘Potential Issues’ with Candidate and Selection Process: Katz

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz this week advised the chairman of Community Board 9 to postpone the district manager selection process until after April 1. The second round of interviews was scheduled to take place on March 3 at Borough Hall, where the three remaining candidates vying for the position—James McClelland, Scott Wolff and Lisa Gomes—were to be vetted by the board However, in a letter obtained by The Forum, Katz told Chairman Ralph Gonzalez, “While I applaud the efforts … Continue reading

Communities Present Priorities to Borough Board at Budget Hearing

Community board officials, agencies, advocates and civic groups on Monday morning brought their budget needs and wants for Fiscal Year 2016—more cops at certain precincts, better sewer maintenance, find funds to bring hospitals back—before Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and the Borough Board. The purpose of the hearing, according to Katz’s office, is to obtain the views and recommendations of stakeholders and residents on the proposals contained in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s FY 2016 Preliminary Budget. The input will be … Continue reading

Bill Seeks to Provide Tax Relief for Sandy-Scarred Homeowners

For many south Queens residents, property taxes have taken on an even more significant role over the past two years. Since Superstorm Sandy pillaged parts of the Rockaways and Howard Beach, affected homeowners have seen their property taxes plummet, along with the assessed value of their buildings, due to the extensive damage left in the wake of Mother Nature’s wrath. However, property taxes subsequently skyrocketed as a direct result of post-Sandy home improvements and repairs. Seeking to protect homeowners, Assemblyman … Continue reading

Goldfeder Asks DOT for More Lights at Rockaway Blvd. Underpass

Citing dangerous conditions for pedestrians, an area elected official this week called on the city Department of Transportation to install additional street lights to a Rockaway Boulevard A-Train underpass. After receiving “numerous  complaints” from constituents regarding the poorly lit pathway on the boulevard between 99th and 100th streets, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) sent a letter to Acting Queens DOT Commissioner Jeff Lynch, urging the agency to act quickly, as the street lights on either side of the tracks were … Continue reading

Cops Bust Man Running Drugs Out of Daycare Facility

A Woodhaven man on Thursday was arrested and arraigned on drug, child endangerment and other charges for selling marijuana and other drugs out of the basement of his family’s residence—which also operates as a family daycare center and is less than 1,500 feet from two Catholic elementary schools, according to police and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Michael Gomez, 24, who lives in the same 88th Avenue building in which My Precious Moments, a group family daycare facility operated by … Continue reading

From the Publisher: Start All Over

Often dismissed as advisory groups with no real influence, community boards can actually greatly affect the daily quality of life of all residents and business owners. Each vote, each action, each instance of advocacy can potentially impact dozens of neighborhoods and thousands of people. Ostensibly, community boards are there to look out for you, to apply checks and balances at the grassroots level. The power the community boards wield is not lost on observers (certainly not in this space) or … Continue reading

Brave Howard Beach Girl Preps for Third Heart Surgery

The little girl with the rosy red cheeks that bookend a cherubic smile that could melt every ice-capped mound of snow along Cross Bay Boulevard seems tired. It’s understandable. Aside from the normal amount of daily rest every toddler requires, this 2-year-old has been through a lot. Valentina Allen’s third open-heart surgery since she arrived on Feb. 15, 2013, is scheduled for April 1. She was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare congenital defect marked by a severely … Continue reading

DOT, NYPD Unveil Pedestrian Safety Plan for Queens

Parts of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s sweeping Vision Zero program have yet to be completed and rolled out, but on Tuesday the administration unveiled the first of five pivotal VZ pieces: the Queens Borough Pedestrian Safety Plan—characterized by the Department of Transportation and NYPD as “a major step” toward achieving zero traffic fatalities on city streets. The Borough Plans are one of 63 VZ initiatives announced last year, and were developed by integrating detailed crash analysis with input from 28 … Continue reading

Schumer: Proposed Drone Rules “Solid First Step”

The Federal Aviation Administration’s long-awaited update to proposed regulations regarding drones was released Sunday.  U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, an outspoken advocate for amended guidelines, appeared moderately satisfied with the proposal, which focuses on commercial applications of drones as opposed to the use of drones as model or hobbyist aircraft. “These FAA rules are a solid first step but need a lot more refining. I am pleased that they require drones to fly below 500 feet and significantly outside of airport … Continue reading

Ozone Park Native Reappointed Commissioner of Mayor’s Disability Office

Mayor Bill de Blasio this week announced the reappointment of Queens native Victor Calise as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. Calise, an Ozone Park product who earned degrees from St. John’s University and Queens College, has been MOPD commissioner since former Mayor Bloomberg appointed him to the post in 2012. “I am honored to be chosen by Mayor de Blasio to continue to lead this office and serve New Yorkers with disabilities,” Calise said. “It has … Continue reading

A Long Line of Cheats: Many Corrupt Officials Have Called Queens Home

  It was not too many years ago that it seemed that Malcolm Smith was a protagonist making history for all the proper reasons. In 2009, he became the first African-American majority leader of the state Senate, instantly positioning himself as one of the most powerful politicians in New York. Less than six years and one federal conviction later, Smith is a footnote of that history; the latest in a long line of unscrupulous elected officials who have at some … Continue reading

Ice Creates Perilous Exit for Kids, Parents at PS 207

Patches of ice in the schoolyard at PS 207 in Howard Beach have made picking up children a daunting task for some guardians. One concerned parent last week reached out to The Forum, imploring the newspaper to witness firsthand the dismissal process, and how the conditions in some parts of the yard, including ice-capped hills of snow, have caused some parents and students to slip and land awkwardly on the ice or the ground. “I’ve seen parents fall—this is not … Continue reading

$86 M Counterfeit Scheme Thwarted; Queens Perps Involved

A 13-member crime ring, responsible for the production of over $86 million in counterfeit U.S. currency, has been taken down by the United States Secret Service.  The last two defendants named in the scheme pleaded guilty last week to RICO conspiracy involving multiple acts of counterfeiting U.S. currency and money structuring. Two other co-conspirators of the 13 are Rego Park and Forest Hills residents. The criminal enterprise involved the production, sale, and distribution of high-quality counterfeit $50 and $100 Federal … Continue reading

Goldfeder Uses Inauguration Speech to Implore Students to ‘Get Involved’

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) on Wednesday morning was sworn into office for his third term representing the 23rd District. After taking the oath delivered by Breezy Point native Judge John Ingram, Justice of the Kings County Supreme Court, Goldfeder addressed the students from the stage in the auditorium at PS 207 in Howard Beach, imploring them to “get involved” in their communities. To help illustrate his point, Goldfeder took the audience back to 5th grade, when former Assemblywoman Audrey … Continue reading

Mayor Touts ‘Honest’ and ‘Progressive’ Preliminary Budget

Characterizing the Preliminary Budget as “fiscally responsible, progressive, and honest,” Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday detailed the executive financial plan for Fiscal Year 2016 and how it would, in his words, build “on last year’s strong foundation.” De Blasio cautioned that while the city experienced another year of economic growth, the $77.7 billion package was crafted through a guarded approach, with the administration focusing on targeted investments “that will protect New Yorkers, expand opportunity, and help create a stronger, … Continue reading