Tag Archives: Assemblymember Michael Miller

Forest Park to get NYPD security cameras following sex assaults

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Brooklyn Media Group

Criminals should say cheese before they commit a crime in Forest Park.

State Assemblymember Mike Miller and Senator Joe Addabbo, who represents the park, allocated $250,000 for more than a dozen cameras inside the park, and received permission from the NYPD on Monday to have the devices installed within the next few months, following a string of sexual assaults in the green space.

“I think it will be extremely helpful in being a deterrent to crime,” Miller said. “If somebody thinks of doing something there, and they see the camera, they will think twice before committing a crime.”

Miller said they haven’t decided the exact locations of where the cameras will be placed in the park, but he wants to put them in entrances and areas where many people gather, such as Victory Field.

There will be a total of seven $35,000 units with two cameras on each, for a total of 14 cameras. Miller hopes installing the devices will not only be a crime deterrent, but will also help the NYPD identify suspects.

The camera solution comes after police tied one suspect, who is still at large, to six sexual assaults in and around the park, dating back to March 2011.

The latest assault occurred on August 26 of this year, when the victim, a 69-year-old woman jogging through the park, was approached by the suspect, who tasered and pushed her to the ground before raping her, police said.

“If there is an issue going on in Forest Park I felt putting a camera in there would bring security in the area,” Miller said. “If we can protect one person then we have done our job.”


New Ozone Park school begins construction

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of School Construction Authority

Soon, school bells will be ringing.

Officials held a ground-breaking ceremony for a new elementary school in Ozone Park today.

The facility will hold nearly 450 students and open next year.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich, representatives for State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assembymember Mike Miller along with officials from the School Construction Authority led the ceremony for P.S. 316 at 90-07 101st Avenue.

The $38 million project is on the site formerly occupied by St. Stanislaus Catholic elementary school. P.S. 316 will accommodate students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Along with the school, a new playground will be built across the street.

Patricia McCabe, chief of staff for State Senator Joseph Addabbo; Lorraine Grillo, head of the School Construction Authority; Councilmember Eric Ulrich; Mary Ann Maltese, chief of staff for Assemblymember Michael Miller; and Monica Gutierrez, community relations manager for the School Construction Authority break ground on P.S. 316. (THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen)



Woodhaven residents upset over slow response to sewage issue

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Ed Wendell

Woodhaven residents want to know why it took so long to stop the sewage that was spewing into the streets of their neighborhood.

At the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) March 16 meeting, several members inquired why the feces-ridden puddle continued to be a problem, considering how close it was to a nursery school.

“When there’s a fire, the Fire Department can rush into a house,” said WRBA President Ed Wendell. “They don’t need to ring the doorbell and get permission – there’s a fire. In this case here, this to me was every bit as bad as a fire, because you had human waste spilling out into a street right next to a nursery school.”

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) put out an emergency bid to finally fix the lingering problem. Until then, agencies could only slap the landlord with fines, officials said. There’s a $20,000 lien against the house because of fines racking up since 2005, according to Assemblymember Michael Miller’s office.

Children from neighboring St. Luke’s Nursery School had to walk into the street to get out of the waste-filled puddle coming from the house, Wendell said, and the block was never closed off or a crossing guard installed at the site.

“That sidewalk should have been closed, it should have been a hazmat situation,” he said. “Something should have been done.”

The situation with this house was unique because it dealt with tenants, according to Rudy S. Giuliani, chief of staff for Councilmember Eric Ulrich. In normal circumstances, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would shut the water off, he said. But since the city did not want to make the tenants suffer for an absentee landlord, the city looked to take other options such as sending in HPD.

Giuliani said Ulrich’s office is working on finding out what took so long to fix the problem.




Ozone Park couple says unstable tree unsafe

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of The Queens Courier

Hurricane Irene may be a thing of the past, but one Ozone Park couple says they live in constant fear of what the summer storm left behind.

David and Lillian Hughes told The Courier that they’re worried a strong wind may topple an 80-foot unstable tree outside their home on 107th Street.

“The tree is very large, and it’s going to fall at one point when the wind hits it in the right way. We don’t know when that’s going to happen, and we’re worried,” David said. “If that tree comes into the house, it’s going to smash the whole house. It could cave in and kill somebody.”

Residents since 1980, David, 62, and his wife Lillian, 55, first noticed that the tree was unsteady immediately after Hurricane Irene. David called 9-1-1 and was told it was not an emergency. He then called 3-1-1 several times and reported the situation to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

“The curb cracked, and I actually saw it going up and down about two inches. The dirt around the tree was also going up and down at the same time. The entire tree — the roots, the trunk, and the branches — was wobbling and swaying back and forth toward the street and toward my house. I got alarmed because I thought that at any second the tree could collapse,” he said.

David said that if the tree fell, it would either fall onto their house or go the other direction and knock out the power lines across the street.

He said he’s reached out to the police, to the Parks Department, to Assemblymember Michael Miller, and now to the press. But despite constantly being vigilant in the matter, David said he’s reached a dead end.

“Almost two months have gone by now, and nothing has been done. I don’t want to live like this,” he said. “I know I can’t legally try to take down the tree myself, so I can’t do anything about it. On the other hand, if the Parks Department doesn’t do anything, what am I supposed to do — wait until the tree falls and then say ‘Well, I told you so?’ That’s kind of a backwards way of doing things.”

The Parks Department said the Hughes family last filed a report on August 28. The tree was deemed healthy following an inspection on August 31, according to spokesperson Trish Bertuccio.

Bertuccio said the tree could be checked again, but the Hughes would have to file a formal request.

“It looks healthy, but the fact of the matter is the root system is not healthy. It’s not strong enough to hold the tree up,” David said. “It’s not a question of the tree itself. It’s a question of the root system that supports the tree. I can’t X-ray the ground, but these are the facts that make the difference. I pray something is done before it’s too late.”

Neighbor Francisco Rivera said he witnessed the tree swaying after Hurricane Irene and is aware of the possible danger.

“It’s already moving,” he said. “If another wind is strong enough, who knows what kind of damage can be done — and then what? Everybody is going to feel sorry.”