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

Freedom to Offend

A journalist goes to work in the morning and is the first to arrive at the office. She turns on the lights and fires up her computer. The familiar hum of fluorescents, electronics, and the heater is an odd comfort at the early hour, as is the thermos of coffee which warms her. Familiarity, warmth…independence. Alone, she doesn’t feel lonely. Just ready for the work at hand. She will be writing today. That is a gift and one she is … Continue reading

CB 9 Honors Retiring MTA Representative

The members of Community Board 9 on Tuesday night presented Joe Raskin (r.), assistant director of government and community relations at MTA New York City Transit, with an award recognizing him for his work over many years with the board, and congratulating him on his impending retirement. Raskin is also an accomplished photographer and author. His book, “The Routes Not Taken: A Trip Through New York City’s Unbuilt Subway System,” was published by Fordham University Press in November 2013.

Bookkeeper Gets Two to Four Years in Prison for Taking Kickbacks

A College Point woman, who formerly worked as a bookkeeper for a Flushing truck parts company, was sentenced last Thursday to two to four years in prison for accepting kickbacks from customers in return for falsifying the company’s business records by either deleting invoices or falsely crediting accounts, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Laura Greco, 54, pleaded guilty in August to two counts of second-degree grand larceny. According to the charges, during her employment at New York Metro … Continue reading

Edible Arrangements Owner Pleads Guilty to Tax Charges

A Springfield Gardens man, who owns an Edible Arrangements franchise on Springfield Boulevard, pleaded guilty last week to violations of the state Tax Code for failing to pay more than $185,000 in taxes due to both the city and state, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Maurice Letman, 42, owns MSM Arrangements, which operates as an EA franchise that sells fruit baskets and bouquets. According to Brown, Letman has pleaded guilty to violations of sections 1804 and 1802 of … Continue reading

All About Energy at Borough Cabinet Meeting

Energy, its various forms and how to save it was the topic at Tuesday’s Borough Cabinet meeting at Borough Hall. Samuel Man, a regional representative from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority detailed numerous programs to help both city residents and small businesses save money on energy costs while also helping the environment by using clean and renewable energy sources. Since 1975, NYSERDA has been providing programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy … Continue reading

City is No Home for Styrofoam

It seems that in just over a year in the big chair at City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio has become familiar with the give and take of Gotham politics. Within a 24-hour period last week, de Blasio announced that he was lifting the ban on cell phones at public schools, and levying a ban on single-use Styrofoam products in the city. The administration on Friday announced that as of July 1, food service establishments, stores and manufacturers may not … Continue reading

De Blasio, Mark-Viverito Launch IDNYC Card Program

Mayor Bill de Blasio, joined by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, other elected officials and civic leaders on a damp, overcast Monday morning in Flushing, officially launched the IDNYC municipal identification program for residents of all five boroughs. Signed into law over the summer, with the intention of helping “government work more effectively and efficiently for New Yorkers,” according to the Mayor’s Office, the municipal ID card is available for all city residents age 14 and older. It will be … Continue reading

De Blasio Announces Major Reform of City’s ‘Outdated’ Corporate Tax Structure

Mayor Bill de Blasio this week proposed a major reform of the city’s corporate tax structure, modernizing what he called an “outdated system,” providing tax relief to small businesses and local manufacturers, and streamlining tax codes. The revenue-neutral reforms will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015. Certain corporate tax provisions have not been reformed in decades, de Blasio said, and reflect an outdated financial regulatory structure. By conforming the city’s corporate tax system with that of the state, de Blasio … Continue reading

Port Authority Seeking Public Input on Freight Traffic Congestion Solution

Port Authority representatives on Monday visited the Borough Board in the second-floor conference room at Borough Hall to detail Cross Harbor Freight Program options and encourage input from the public in choosing the best regional solutions for freight-related traffic congestion. The primary purpose of the CHFP, according to the Port Authority and Federal Highway Administration, is to improve the movement of freight across New York Harbor between the east-of-Hudson and west-of-Hudson regions. By improving the movement of goods across the … Continue reading

Community Board 9 DM Search Down to Five Candidates

The Community Board 9 District Manager Search Committee last Thursday evening whittled down the candidate pool to five from 11. These applicants have advanced to the interview stage: Scott Wolff, Lisa Gomes, James McClelland, Beryl Nyack and Joann Ariola. In a meeting at Borough Hall, each member of the 12-person collective gathered around a table and reviewed the applications and resumes of all candidates. In a voting system, the applicants who received the most tallies moved on to the next … Continue reading

Six New Officers Join 106th Precinct

Six rookie officers fresh out of the Police Academy and assigned to the 106th Precinct have already begun working the streets of south central Queens.  State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) recently addressed the officers, noting that “Each year, when the future of our city’s finest graduate the Police Academy and become rookie officers, they are bestowed a badge. This badge shows they are our community’s protectors and allies, and we the public become their priority. Jobs like that are … 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