Loan Reforms Could Help Students Struggling With Debt

With nearly 40 million student loan borrowers holding more than $1.2 trillion in student-loan debt, federal statistics now show that student-loan debt has surpassed credit cards as the country’s third largest type of household debt. Moreover, millions of student-loan borrowers are in default, and even more are delinquent in payments. But, help may be on the way in the form of several recent efforts to reform student loans by enabling borrowers to refinance at lower interest rates, much in the … Continue reading

Civic Leaders, Pols Discuss Emergency Prep with New OEM Chief

While it has been nearly two years since Superstorm Sandy descended on the city, leaving unimaginable destruction in its wake on the Rockaway peninsula and in southern Queens, several communities are still coping with damage and the newfound anxiety associated with hurricane season. In an effort to assuage those fears a bit and continue the dialog on emergency preparedness, area civic leaders and elected officials last week met with the new commissioner of the city Office of Emergency Management at … Continue reading

Ulrich, QEDC Announce Anti-Graffiti Program

After surveying the transformed brick wall—minutes earlier covered in various forms of graffiti, now barely showing the healed scars from years of illegal paint jobs—an obviously impressed City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) captured the moment. “Now you see it,” he remarked as a worker turned off a powerwasher, “now you don’t.” Civic leaders and business owners joined Ulrich on Wednesday in front of the brick wall on the corner of 101st Street and Jamaica Avenue to tout a new … Continue reading

Mayor Touts $130 Million Community Parks Initiative

With already a few ambitious projects set to define his mayoralty, Mayor Bill de Blasio this week launched another large-scale initiative, this time aimed at a more equitable city park system. Speaking at Bowne Playground in Flushing on Tuesday morning, de Blasio announced the Community Park Initiative, a multi-faceted program to invest $130 million in under-resourced public parks located in the city’s densely populated and growing neighborhoods with higher-than-average concentrations of poverty. “From children and parents to athletes and students, … Continue reading

Woodhaven Civic Calls Sanitation Fines Unfair

  The city Sanitation Department this week promised to investigate an area civic organization’s claim that the agency is engaging in an “unfair practice of issuing tickets to property owners in the middle of the night for garbage dumped outside their properties.” According to the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, in a statement issued on Monday, it is a common nighttime occurrence for people to dump trash outside Jamaica Avenue storefronts. Then, DSNY agents write summonses in the middle of the … Continue reading

Build It Backwards?

It seems that even two years later, Superstorm Sandy is still taking an enormous toll on the residents of southern Queens and the Rockaway peninsula. Leo Marinconz, who has lived with his ailing wife on 160th Avenue in Howard Beach for the past 33 years, saw his basement, which contained precious family mementos and even unopened gifts from his youngest daughter’s wedding, flood from floor to ceiling, and his first floor take on a foot of water; all courtesy of … Continue reading

New Ozone Park Public School Set to Open in Sept. 2017

The city School Construction Authority indicated last week that the new public school designated to be built on an empty lot in Ozone Park is approximately 60 percent of the way through the design phase. Public School 323, a Community School District 27 institution that will serve approximately 504 students in grades Kindergarten through 5th, will be located on the south side of Albert Road between Raleigh Street and 99th Place. With construction scheduled to start in September 2015, doors … Continue reading

VFW Brunch

  Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Beach) gets a high-five from a young constituent last Sunday as he joined members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Prince-Wynn Post #260 at their first annual brunch since Superstorm Sandy to raise much-needed funding for their local chapter and veteran services.

Audit FEMA Boardwalk Funds: Ulrich

Much ado about the money. An area city councilman this week called on the comptroller to conduct a comprehensive audit of all Federal Emergency Management Agency allocations to the city Department of Parks and Recreation toward the rebuilding of the Rockaway Boardwalk and related park amenities in Rockaway Beach. Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Rockaway Park) is urging Comptroller Scott Stringer to investigate how the city intends to spend $480 million in FEMA reimbursement funds it is expected to receive for the … Continue reading

Recycling Day Another Rousing Success

De-cluttering a home went from a chore to a way to go green and bring awareness and action to the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” on Sunday at the bi-annual Recycling Day in Forest Park. Since 2009, state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) and Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) have organized the recycling event twice a year for constituents and donators to recycle unwanted electronics, paper and household items in an effort to encourage their districts to become more environmentally friendly. … Continue reading

Ridgewood Man Charged in Attempted Murder of Cab Driver

A Ridgewood man was arraigned this week and charged with stabbing and carjacking a livery cab driver hours after robbing a grocery store at knifepoint, the Queens District Attorney said. Kenneth Suden, 41, is facing charges stemming from two criminal complaints—one charging him with second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon; and the other one charging him with first-degree robbery. Bail was set Tuesday evening at $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash, according to … Continue reading

Rockaway Natural Gas Pipeline Project Moves Forward

Since receiving the green light from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this past May, the Rockaway Natural Gas Pipeline continues to have its share of critics and other detractors who oppose the project on principle alone, arguing against the expanded use of natural gas in the borough. But in recent months, environmental activists have found themselves singing the praises of Williams Transco, one of the companies responsible for building the $265 million pipeline to better supply the Rockaways with natural … Continue reading

Crime Down, Arrests Up in Busy 106th Pct.

To date this year, crime is down overall in the 106th Precinct, but arrests are up as officers respond to a record number of calls, according to the command’s top cop. Deputy Inspector Jeff Schiff, commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, said that while crime is down about 2 percent, arrests are up approximately 24 percent compared to this period last year. “It’s a small decrease [in crime], but it’s a decrease,” said Schiff Tuesday night at the Howard Beach-Lindenwood … Continue reading

Ozone Park Veteran Earns Honors

An area military veteran last week was honored with the Navy Good Conduct Medal and a City Council Citation, both presented by City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park). Ed Boes, 79, received the honors at Ulrich’s office as his wife of nearly 56 years, Violet, looked on. “I was proud, very proud,” said Boes in an interview with The Forum. “I’m very proud to be an American citizen.” That pride, the Naval service of his father and a love of … Continue reading

MTA Board Approves $32 Billion Capital Program

A busy Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board last Wednesday morning voted to approve the proposed 2015-2019 Capital Program, according to an MTA spokesman. The $32 billion program is designed to renew, enhance and expand the MTA network, the agency announced this week, including investments to protect the safety and reliability of transit service, improve service quality and the customer experience and expand the network with new lines and connections. MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast called the Capital Program the MTA’s … Continue reading