Railroad strike looms over straphangers

A falling out between Long Island Rail Road unions and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority dominated the news cycle this week as riders prepared for what could be a devastating strike for commuters throughout the city. MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said labor negotiations “collapsed” on Monday, but the agency and LIRR unions agreed to go back to the bargaining table on Wednesday with hopes of reaching a solution before Sunday’s strike date. “As Governor [Andrew] Cuomo said, a strike would disrupt … Continue reading

Comrie collects key endorsements in Senate run

Former City Councilman Leroy Comrie is garnering up plenty of support in his attempt to unseat embattled state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis). Comrie, who most recently served as deputy borough president under Borough President Melinda Katz, announced endorsements from important groups like the Queens County Democratic Organization and U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), who chairs that group. Other political leaders throwing support behind the former policymaker included U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) and City … Continue reading

Woodhaven residents revitalize historic cemetery

Years of neglect have left the tombstones at the historic Wyckoff-Snedicker Family Cemetery covered in overgrown greenery. But last week, members of the Woodhaven community moved in behind All Saints Episcopal Church with rakes and gloves, ready to clear out weeds as part of a project to make the resting place of historical families like Elmhurst and Ditmars accessible to the public. “The community needs to own this,” said Ed Wendell, Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society President. “This is an … Continue reading

Idle Howard Beach truck served as Sandy savior

The camouflage military truck parked idly on 78th Street in Howard Beach belongs to resident Paul Marcel, a volunteer EMS worker, who used the large vehicle to rescue 120 neighbors from their homes that were rapidly filling with water during Hurricane Sandy. The Forum Newsgroup ran a story in the July 10 issue detailing residents’ concerns with an abandoned army truck parked on 78th Street for several months without being moved. The owner reached out soon after to tell his story. After … Continue reading

Demolition delayed in Woodhaven

Woodhaven residents were slapped with another delay as they waited for a partially collapsed building on Jamaica Avenue to come down. After being told that work would begin at the 78-19 Jamaica Ave. building by July 14, demolition plans were once again put on hold because of a lapse in communication between architects and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as the agency reviews the plan. Now, a judge will have to set an entirely new timeline of events, officials said. Martin … Continue reading

Group wants geese protections at Jamaica Bay

A government watchdog has his eyes set on Jamaica Bay geese. David Karopkin, founder of GooseWatch NYC, has been hitting the wildlife refuge and other city spots for years to make sure that geese are not mishandled as authorities work to control populations and prevent run-ins with airplanes. And after learning of the 73 geese rounded up there late last month, the advocate has since been on a seemingly endless quest for details. GooseWatch NYC has been prodding city, federal … Continue reading

Woodhaven teen’s spirit honored through scholarship

The life and spirit of High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture (CTEA) graduate Roman Pirozek may live on through a $1,000 scholarship awarded to Rickey Ramkishun at this year’s CTEA graduation in June. Pirozek , a 19-year-old Woodhaven resident, died unexpectedly in September 2013, when a remote-controlled helicopter he was operating at Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn struck him, causing severe trauma to his head and throat. He died the scene. Staff members at CTEA began raising money … Continue reading

Restore West Pond To Freshwater

The National Park Service (NPS) is asking the public to weigh in on what should be done with West Pond, formerly a freshwater lake at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, but says restoring the pond to the way it was before Hurricane Sandy may not be the best solution. In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy ripped open a breach between West Pond and the bay, connecting the two and allowing sea water to flow into the pond. The NPS and the … Continue reading

Rego Park group calling all Queens artists

The Rego Park Green Alliance is looking to the community to step up and enhance outdoor art space throughout the borough. As part of their Queens Arts Intervention (QAI) project, the alliance is asking people to send them art proposals to consider for funding. They are looking for art for much more than just self-expression, but also to affect the lives of people in the community.   “When people kind of get excited about something, when they think something is … Continue reading

Queens Republicans look ahead without Ragusa

Queens GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa died at a turbulent time for his party and now members are looking where to go next amid infighting and minimal results.   Ragusa, 74, died late last month after a short battle with Leukemia in the company of loved ones. His death came just weeks after his party’s various clubs met in Forest Hills to try and find a common ground and move towards the ultimate goal of getting Republicans elected.   Currently, City … Continue reading

Howard Beach questions abandoned army truck

A large, camouflage military truck has been sitting vacant on 78th Street in Howard Beach for the past several months, leading residents to question why authorities have not stepped in to move it. Joseph C. Thompson, president of the not-for-profit Civilian Observation Patrol in Howard Beach, said he is aware of the truck’s presence in the neighborhood and believes it was used to transport homeowners to safer ground during Hurricane Sandy. As for making a complaint, Thompson suggested that residents call … Continue reading

Ulrich pushes education tax credit

A special tax credit geared towards education would likely spark more investment into the state’s schools, lawmakers argued this week.   City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) stood beside John Cahill, a candidate for attorney general, to plug the education investment tax credit as a means to encourage businesses or individuals to donate money to educational institutions. It was a measure Ulrich said received incredible support in the state Senate, but has yet to get going in the Assembly.   … Continue reading

Straphangers want summer bus boost

Southern Queens bus riders are calling on the Metropolitan Transit Authority to step up its summer service as beachgoers flood the region.   Residents from Rockaway teamed up with transportation leaders and elected officials to call on the MTA to increase service along the Q52, Q53 and Q22 bus lines to reduce congestion, stifle pollution and address the busy summer months ahead. State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) fired off a letter to MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast calling for … Continue reading

Governor hopeful Astorino hits Howard Beach

  If he wants to win the state, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said voters in Howard Beach needed to rally behind his run for governor.   The Republican candidate paid a visit to Lenny’s Clam Bar on Cross Bay Boulevard Monday night in the company of other party leaders, including former mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) to pitch his agenda to likeminded voters.   “We need your help,” Astorino said to the Ronald … Continue reading

Lawmakers sound alarms for storm evacuation routes

Southern Queens leaders are looking for a way out.   Superstorm Sandy may have been an anomaly in terms of its severity and timing, but it also shined a harsh light on the region’s ability to evacuate, lawmakers said. State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) and Nassau County Legislator Howard Kopel linked up to collect signatures for the governor demanding upgrades along crucial exit routes.   “Residents in southern Queens and Rockaway have always been isolated geographically and often rely … Continue reading