Category Archives: Feature

Even with Aid from FEMA Program, Dramatic Drop in Flood Insurance Rates Extremely Unlikely: City

Responding to a report in last week’s Forum detailing a federal program that could help reduce flood insurance rates in affected areas of the city, the de Blasio administration characterized possible dramatic discounts as extremely unlikely. Last week, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, calling on him to enroll the city in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System to help reduce flood insurance premiums for thousands of families. Communities enrolled in … Continue reading

Assembly Leadership in Limbo After Silver Cuffed in Corruption Probe

As the smoke began to dissipate this week in the state Legislature, Assembly Democrats—those still standing, at least—were left with the gargantuan tasks of removing their embattled leader, and filling the void he leaves in his wake. The power vacuum in the Lower House was prompted last Thursday by the arrest of long-standing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) following a federal fraud and corruption probe charging one of Albany’s “Three Men in a Room” with using his official position to … Continue reading

Focus on Families Shapes Katz’s First State of the Borough Address

If it’s good for our families, it’s good for Queens. It’s not only the motto at Borough Hall, according to Borough President Melinda Katz, but also the foundation on which Katz built her inaugural State of the Borough address, which she delivered last Thursday morning at Queens College. “My parents believed that Queens held all the elements of any great city, and that no one should need to cross a bridge or tunnel to experience arts, culture, fine dining or … Continue reading

Borough Dodges Blizzard Bullet

Most of the borough this week was spared Mother Nature’s wintry wrath as a blizzard once projected to dump feet of snow on the city actually left an average amount of the white stuff. Over the weekend and into Monday, meteorologists and elected officials grimly warned of the potentially historic storm bearing down on the northeast. With accumulations forecasted in the 2- to 3-foot range, and possible wind gusts up to 65 miles per hour, Gov. Cuomo on Monday afternoon … Continue reading

Baldeo Sentencing Delayed by ‘Continued Self-Hospitalization’

Albert Baldeo, the Ozone Park attorney, activist and candidate for public office who was convicted in August of seven counts of obstructing justice in a campaign-related case, was supposed to have been sentenced on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Federal Courthouse in Manhattan. However, as Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, detailed in a Jan. 25 letter to presiding Judge Paul Crotty, the sentencing has been delayed numerous times for what Bharara … Continue reading

Flushing: Your Chinatown in Queens

Since the early 80’s, when the New York Times labeled Flushing “the new Chinatown,” the Korean population of Flushing has increased and a plethora of Asian markets and restaurants have flourished there. Asians are the majority in Flushing, with 44% of the population hailing from China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Korea, Japan, and other nations. The authenticity of Flushing’s restaurants, shops, and services makes it a draw for those outside these Asian communities – it’s an opportunity for non-Asians to … Continue reading

Single Bust Yields Four Arrests for 106th Precinct Cop of the Month

The 106th Precinct Cop of the Month for December is no stranger to the honor. Veteran Police Officer Jennifer Martinez earned the award twice before being recognized a third time last Wednesday at the precinct’s Community Council meeting. Martinez was presented with the latest plaque after her work in tracking down four perpetrators who had allegedly robbed an Ozone Park gas station at gunpoint. According to Lt. Frank DiPreta, the command’s Special Operations coordinator, on Dec. 4 around 10 p.m., … Continue reading

Housing, Immigrant Communities, Jobs Among State of Borough Topics

It’s the end of January: Time for all of the “State of the…” government progress reports. Borough President Melinda Katz is set to deliver her first address detailing the achievements of her inaugural year in office, and her vision for “The World’s Borough” over the next 12 months, this Thursday, Jan. 22, at Queens College in Flushing. In a roundtable question-and-answer media session on Tuesday at Borough Hall, Katz previewed her speech, discussing a wide range of issues affecting the … Continue reading

Crime Dips in 106th Precinct, but Schiff not Satisfied

Overall crime in the 106th Precinct appears to be trending downward, but this is no time to rest on laurels, its commanding officer said last week. Dep. Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, who has been overseeing the south central Queens command since September, 2013, indicated that compared to this review period last year—the final week of the previous year and the first week of the new one—the 106th is “down about a hundred crimes.” And according to Capt. Carlos Fernandez, commanding officer … Continue reading

Queens and Linden Boulevards to Get Vision Zero Treatment

  Hoping to build upon the transportation gains of 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio last week announced that comprehensive Vision Zero planning initiatives were on the way for Queens and Linden boulevards. In the first year of de Blasio’s plan to reduce Big Apple traffic deaths to zero, pedestrian fatalities fell to 134, the lowest level since 1910, and overall traffic fatalities were down by 15 percent from 2013. De Blasio attributed part of the success to the city Department … Continue reading

FEMA Program Could Drastically Cut Homeowner Flood Insurance Rates

For residents of low-lying, flood-prone areas, there may be light on the water-logged horizon. That’s because a little-known Federal Emergency Management Agency program could help dramatically reduce flood insurance premiums for affected homeowners. Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) this week called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to enroll the city in FEMA’s Community Rating System to help reduce flood insurance premiums for thousands of families. Communities enrolled in CRS can reduce household premiums by up to 45 percent through community … Continue reading

Gov. Cuomo Announces $3.7 Million in Grant Funding

Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week announced major grant funding to combat car theft and insurance fraud in the state. While the Governor’s Office cited a steady decline across New York in grand larceny auto reports—15,451 in 2013, a 10-percent decrease from 2012, and a 62-percent drop from 2003—the $3.7 million in grant awards will go to district attorneys’ offices and police departments in seven counties and New York City, the FDNY, as well as to two training organizations, to enhance … Continue reading

Commissioner of Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Calls Outreach Crucial

The other side of sports, the seedy underbelly pockmarked with athletes behaving badly, dominated the narrative of the kickoff of the National Football League’s 2014 season. Because of the actions of gridiron stars such as Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, domestic violence suddenly was thrust into the national spotlight, controlling the conversation on sports radio stations from Astoria to Albuquerque. While many saw an opportunity to share an opinion, Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, … Continue reading

Amendment 8 Plan Outlines How City Will Use Grant Money for Sandy Recovery

With the arrival of the third allocation of Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funds—a little more than $994 million—the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency last week began to roll out the city’s strategy for how to use the money, and solicit public comment from residents and business owners. Every time the city receives additional CDBG-DR funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, it must update its Action Plan to describe how the funds will be … Continue reading

DA’s Office Will Use Grant Money to Address Automobile Crimes

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown last week announced that his office has successfully secured a significant grant from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services to help combat vehicle theft and insurance fraud. The $556,000 award is part of a $3.7 million grant package that Gov. Andrew Cuomo said will be distributed to 17 agencies and organizations across the state for the purpose of enhancing their efforts in reducing the two crimes. The Queens DA’s Office received the largest grant—with … Continue reading