Tag Archives: Assemblymember Mike Miller

Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps rallies to resolve collapsed building issue


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

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Next year will be Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps’ 50th anniversary, but members don’t’ know if the organization will be around to see it.

The ambulance corps headquarters took damage when building adjoining, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue, collapsed nearly a year ago. Recently members were forced to vacate after melted snow from the collapsed building caused water to flood into the volunteer group’s structure. Now the ambulance corps has damaged walls and mold, members said, and the volunteer organization has to wait for an inspection before they can use the building again.

Members of the ambulance corps and supporters rallied in front the ambulance corps building Sunday to ask the city to speed up repairs on the crumbling building.

“It’s very frustrating, sad and makes me upset,” said John Bennett, a member of the board of the ambulance corps, who has been with the organization for more than three decades. “It feels like I’m losing someone very close.”

The ambulance corps recently filed a lawsuit against the collapsed building’s owner to the tune of $13 million in damages and lost rent. However, it’s another slow process they have to deal with while the building continues to suffer.

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center rented space from the volunteer ambulance group, but had to move to a temporary location—American Legion Post 118—after the structure was determined unsafe by the city’s Buildings Department. The ambulance corps has lost its revenue source, and seniors want to move back into the volunteer groups’ building for its centralized location to transportation, wide space and other features.

“I miss the senior center because in the temporary location I can’t even use the bathroom,” Patricia Sexton said. “It’s not handicapped accessible.”

The owner of the collapsed building, George Kochabe, recently paid $3,200 in fines owed to the  Department of Buildings and hired an architect, according to the agency. However, the building still has many open violations and Kochabe owes thousands more in fines. He could not be reached for comment.

Assemblymember Mike Miller and State Senator Joseph Addabbo are pushing to have the city tear down the building, rebuild it and bill Kochabe. They not only fear for the survival of the volunteer ambulance corps and the senior center, but also worry about the threat the crumbling building creates for pedestrians.

“We don’t want to find out how much more this building could take,” Addabbo said. “We don’t want to react to a bad situation or a tragedy.”

 

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Ridgewood newsstand razed, problems persists across street


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Office of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley

One long-standing Ridgewood problem down, and one more to go.

The troublesome newsstand on Metropolitan Avenue near Fresh Pond Road, which had been an eyesore in the community, attracting garbage and graffiti for more than two decades, has finally been taken out of sight.

The MTA/LIRR, which owned the land, demolished it on Friday with $100,000 allocated from Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

“After long delays from both the DOT (Department of Transportation) and LIRR, I am happy to see persistence pay off,” Crowley said.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

Crowley called a press conference in 2009 with Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblymember Mike Miller to announce that they would remove the structure, and transform the space into a community garden.

But those promises were derailed due to complications with the LIRR and the DOT, which both have rights to the property.

The city was reluctant to have any work done in the area, according to Crowley, because of the renovations on the nearby bridge on Metropolitan Avenue.

Community leaders appreciate that the site has finally turned a corner, but now they want elected officials to focus on the other problem — literally across the street.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

The DOT assumed control of the abandoned gas station on Metropolitan Avenue across from the newsstand site several years ago, but the property has also attracted graffiti. However, unlike the newsstand, the gas station is fenced in, meaning community volunteers can’t clean it up.

“The city takes available property, because they have to fix the bridge and then they let it go,” said Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, which has cleaned up the newsstand site in the past. “They don’t keep it up, and this is a disgrace. If we, regular property owners, did that, we’d get fined.”

Photo courtesy Bob Holden

Plans aren’t complete for what the newsstand site will become, but for now the DOT “will make it nicer,” according to a Crowley spokesperson.

 

 

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Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Ambulance Corp slaps neighbor with $13M lawsuit


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter / @FDNY

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corp recently filed a lawsuit against the collapsed building next door’s owners to the tune of $13 million in damages and lost rent.

Owned by 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC, the deteriorating building, which was an abandoned furniture store, crumbled on April 12 last year, leaving a hole in the roof and damaging the adjoining ambulance corp structure.

“That building next door, because of the negligence of that corporation and others, is a danger to society,” said Angelo A. DiGiangi, general counsel of Community Advocacy Center, which is representing the volunteer ambulance organization pro bono in collaboration with CUNY Law School. “The building looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. If this building continues the way that it is, my client will lose its building.”

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center rented space from the volunteer ambulance group, but had to move to a temporary location—American Legion Post 118—after the structure was determined unsafe by the city’s Buildings Department.

Nearly a year later, the collapsed building still has a gaping hole and mold, elected officials said.

After much pushing by local politicians, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC recently paid off $3,200 in fines it owed to the Department of Buildings and hired an architect, according to the agency. However, the building still has eight open ECB violations and a total of $33,000 in fines, $20,000 due in Department of Buildings civil penalties for work without a permit and $7,500 due in  civil penalties for failure to correct hazardous violations, according to the Buildings Department.

“It’s disgusting that it took so long to get to this point,” Assemblymember Mike Miller said. “Seniors have been suffering and they want to be back in the ambulance corp. This is their home.”

The owner of the property could not be reached for comment.

Despite the recent positive movement, elected officials are still unsure of when the owner will actually repair the building.

“I need for work to be done on the building. That would be positive. Paying the fines does nothing for seniors or the Woodhaven – Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corp,” State Senator Joseph Addabbo said. “With that gaping hole in the roof, with the snow and ice, that building is only going to get worse.”

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Glendale pols appeal to Mayor de Blasio over proposed homeless shelter


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

A new mayor, but the same old homeless shelter issue.

Representatives for Glendale penned a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop the proposed homeless shelter on 78-16 Cooper Ave.

Assemblymembers Mike Miller and Andrew Hevesi, Congressmember Grace Meng and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley criticized the analysis by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) in the letter and the agencies support for the shelter. The city is seeking a five-year $27 million contract with non-profit Samaritan Village, which would operate the facility.

“The reality is that the vast majority of the arguments made in the letter for building this facility were so generic and broad that they may be used to justify the building of transitional housing facilities anywhere in the City of New York,” the letter said.

Last year, Samaritan Village announced to Community Board 5 that it proposed the site for transitional housing for 125-families.

The letter by public officials points out that city shelter stay lengths have increased within the past year by 16 percent and it also highlights that the building is about 1.3 miles away from the nearest subway train and “not accessible to residents of the facility, who will need public transportation to commute to off-site linkage services, educational institutions, stores, and workplaces.”

The homeless shelter proposal is currently in its second phase of review, an environmental assessment. Some feel that the proposal could lose in that phase, because the building sits on contaminated ground.

The third and final review phase will be conducted in a financial analysis by City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

 

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Environmental assessment to be done on proposed Glendale homeless shelter


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The fight over the unpopular Glendale homeless shelter is heading to round two.

An environmental assessment study will be done on the site for the second phase of review to decide whether to transform the vacant factory on 78-16 Cooper Ave. into a homeless shelter, after it recently received support from the Department of Homeless Services (DHS).

Some elected officials are confident they’ll have a chance for a knockout punch in this round.

“That’s another shot we have,” Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi said at a recent Community Board 5 meeting. “I believe from anecdotal evidence that the site may be contaminated. They are not allowed to build on a contaminated site.”

DHS penned a letter to the mayor’s office last week in support for nonprofit Samaritan Village’s proposal to transform the defunct factory into a shelter for 125 families, with a contract valued at $27 million.

Elected officials and Glendale residents attended a public hearing on Thursday in Manhattan to reiterate their opposition to the possible shelter, because of the contamination on the site and congestion to local schools, among other reasons.

“The building was never intended for residential use. Changing this site to a residential use would require intensive remediation and expansive renovations,” Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said at the hearing. “Think of how much further we could use $27 million. This money could be spent repairing buildings that already have the infrastructure in place, and money would likely still be left over for improvements in current shelters and providing job placement and permanent housing services.”

The homeless shelter was first suggested to the city by Samaritan Village in 2011. A formal proposal was sent to the DHS earlier this year.

If the proposal passes the environmental assessment round, then it will go to the Office of the City Comptroller for financial review for the third and final phase.

 

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Op-ed: Proposals for QueensWay project


| oped@queenscourier.com


ASSEMBLYMEMBER MIKE MILLER

I want to take a moment to address the QueensWay project, a proposed public greenway that will transform the Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Beach Branch, which was abandoned over 50 years ago. Specifically, the former railroad extends 3.5 miles from Rego Park and Forest Hills down to Ozone Park. This proposed project is one of great concern to many residents in certain areas of the rail line due to its potential negative impact on the local residents.

Certain sections of the proposed QueensWay, specifically the area of the rail line that runs parallel to 98th Street in Woodhaven, will be adjacent to the backyards of nearly 200 homeowners. Although I have been informed by the Friends of QueensWay that they plan to build the QueensWay completely gated around the entrances and make it inaccessible at night, local residents should not be the ones burdened with the cost of building a more secure fence around their backyards to ensure the privacy and safety of their home.

To find additional evidence of the resident’s safety concern, you do not have to look any further than several incidents that have occurred in and around the vicinity of Forest Park in recent years. I echo the sentiments of residents by asking how can we expect the local precincts to carry the additional responsibility of patrolling and responding to incidents on the proposed QueensWay when our precincts are already being spread too thin within our district as it is? Many of the residents on 98th Street are okay with the rail line being underutilized and prefer it stay that way. I also agree that the rail line from Park Lane South down to Atlantic Avenue be left untouched as to not interfere with the quality of life of the local residents.

Further, as per the suggestion of the MTA in its 20-year plan, the rail line from Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Boulevard should be left as is and eventually be used as a connection for an express line connection into Manhattan.

After carefully balancing the potential positive impact of the QueensWay versus the potential negative impact on certain local residents, I recommend that:

1) The QueensWay be built only on the part of the rail line that stretches from Rego Park to Park Lane South

2) The rail line from Park Lane South to Atlantic Avenue be left untouched as to not interfere with the quality of life of local residents; and

3) The rail line from Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Boulevard also be left untouched, so it can eventually be used by the MTA as an express line connection into Manhattan

In regards to maintenance of the QueensWay, it must be said that this proposed project should not at all be compared to The High Line public greenway in Manhattan. I remain unconvinced that The QueensWay when built from Rego Park to Park Lane South could achieve anywhere close to the level of corporate membership, sponsorship, and support the High Line in Manhattan has based solely on the lack of surrounding businesses in the area and the lower level of tourism that attracts the private funding necessary to maintain a public greenway. Without a consistent level of support and sponsorship from local businesses in addition to private funding, I fear that the QueensWay will eventually become an eyesore for local residents when funding for maintenance becomes an issue.

Additionally, I am interested to know whether Queens-based companies and local businesses will be the ones who are given the contracts to build out this proposed project. I believe that if the QueensWay is going to be built for the benefit of Queens residents and if it will positively impact Queens’ local businesses, then why are there currently no Queens-based companies being sought for the contracts even in the early stages of this project? I can only see a positive impact on the economy of Queens if our own borough’s businesses benefit from building the QueensWay.

Michael G. Miller represents the 38th Assembly District, which includes the neighborhoods of Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale. He was elected in September of 2009 in the Special Election called by Governor David Paterson.

 

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Community leaders trash railroad garbage expansion plan


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Residents and community leaders are trashing a company’s plan to increase garbage export from Long Island through their neighborhoods.

One World Recycling, which processes garbage in Lindenhurst, Long Island that is hauled by New York and Atlantic Railway through tracks in Middle Village, Ridgewood and Glendale, has applied to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to nearly triple its output from 370 tons of garbage per day to 1,100 tons.

“We’re going to have garbage all day and all night, that’s how we see it,” said Mary Parisen, chair of Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES). “We’re not happy about it.”

After One World applied, the community of Lindenhurst rejected the idea during a public hearing period that ended on August 16. But following procedure, the DEC has until 90 days after that date to review the application and make a decision.

With just about a month remaining until the deadline, community leaders in Queens are worried the DEC will make the wrong choice and plan to meet with agency officials to work towards a solution.

“The potential expansion of the One World Recycling Center in Lindenhurst raises numerous concerns,” said Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi. “I have signed onto a letter with my colleagues to the Department of Environmental Conservation urging them to deny this expansion, and I am having conversations with the DEC about this specific proposal.”

The trains wake up residents when they move through the night and some sit on tracks for hours with uncovered cars, which cause the stench of garbage to flow through the community, say locals.

The trains, which are owned by the state and licensed to New York and Atlantic, are outdated and discharge pollutants, according to area leaders. Earlier this year Hevesi, along with various elected officials, was able to get the state government to allocate nearly $3 million to retrofit a new engine for one of 11 locomotives, which will reduce the impact of gases in the community.

But the problem of garbage traveling through these communities has annoyed residents for years. It stems from the state increasing rail usage to cut down on truck transportation of garbage to relieve vehicle traffic and emissions.

“Everyone wants to get the trucks off the road, but it’s taking a problem from one area, mitigating it, and putting it in another area,” said Glendale resident Thomas Murawski. “You’re maybe solving part of the problem, but you’re not solving the whole problem.”

While they don’t want the One World expansion, CURES also wants the train cars covered to prevent the smell and hopes the state upgrades all the trains to new engines to cut down on pollutants.

“It’s not a matter of them being our enemies,” Parisen said. “If rail is the way of the future we want them to be responsible.”

Numerous emails and calls were made to One World Recycling but a company representative failed to reply.

 

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Woodhaven looks to resurrect civilian patrol organization


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Frank Kotnik

Woodhaven leaders are seriously considering resurrecting the more-than-a-decade defunct civilian patrol to respond to recent crimes in the neighborhood.

Members of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) recently met with Assemblymember Mike Miller and members of the Glendale Civilian Operational Patrol (GCOP) to discuss how to start the neighborhood watch. And in a town hall meeting last week, WRBA members took a poll of attendees to gauge the interest, to which there were nearly a dozen responders.

“We want safer streets, we want to improve the quality of life in our community and we want our residents to feel empowered,” said Ed Wendell, president of the WRBA.

Wendell said talks about the patrol heated up after a man attempted to rape a woman in Forest Park a few months ago, but then more crimes followed. Last month a teenage girl was stabbed in Woodhaven nearly a dozen times and a few weeks ago a wife was arrested for allegedly killing her husband by smashing her car after he clung to the hood. Also, a girl was robbed recently in the area.

“We are not just sitting back and letting things happen,” Wendell said. “We are going to be a force in our future.”

There are no statistics that show whether neighborhood watch groups actually lower or prevent crime, but the precincts appreciate their help, according to an NYPD representative.

The new patrol will work together with GCOP, as Woodhaven wants to model their program on them. GCOP has been operating since 1976 and currently has about 56 active members.

GCOP will lend equipment, such as radios, reflective vests and flashlights, to the patrol once it is established. Members of the Glendale Patrol will also train new Woodhaven volunteers on how to spot suspicious activity and to be extra “eyes and ears” for the NYPD as opposed to vigilantes.

“When I got involved 25 years ago, no one lent us a hand,” said Frank Kotnik, president of GCOP. “They will not be out there by themselves.”

Miller, who was a member of GCOP for more than 16 years, said he would be willing to help collect funding for the group once the patrol becomes established.

“I always felt I was doing something significant for the community,” Miller said. “It is a good feeling and once you become a part of it you want to do more.”

Before the group can get started Woodhaven needs to collect dedicated members and address concerns, such as transportation and donations. They will also meet with GCOP again and the 102nd Precinct.

 

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‘House of Horrors’ still a problem in Woodhaven


| tcullen@queenscourier.com


Some people in Woodhaven are still worried about what has been labelled the “House of Horrors.”

Residents voiced continued concerns at the September meeting of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association (WRBA) about the house at 87-19 90th Street, where last year an 18-year-old was murdered.

The Department of Buildings (DOB) recently sealed the back door of the house with concrete blocks, WRBA President Ed Wendell said. The DOB left before the cement had dried, however, and vandals kicked in the bricks.

The problem with the house, according to Community Affairs officer Jose Severino of the 102nd Precinct, was that the house has been foreclosed and is owned by a bank. This means if the police do make an arrest for trespassing, a representative from the bank has to sign an affidavit for the trespassing charge, he said. Because many of the banks are from out of state, it is nearly impossible to get a bank representative to comply; as a result, the suspects must be let go after a certain amount of time.

Severino went on to say this was a nationwide problem as more houses are foreclosed and left dormant by banks.

Assemblymember Mike Miller suggested collecting a list of foreclosed homes, finding out which banks owned the houses, and setting up a hotline so a bank representative is always available to sign an affidavit. Miller said he would also contact the district attorney’s office to see what options there are.

 

Voters, pols say poll site mix-ups were rampant


| mchan@queenscourier.com

DSC_0546w

A series of mix-ups, stemming from confusion from both voters and poll workers, plagued several election sites in the borough during last week’s primary, according to local elected officials.

Assemblymember Mike Miller — who bested his opponent, Etienne David Adorno, by a 71 to 29 percent margin — said he had to battle several slipups by poll site workers and the Board of Elections (BOE) last Thursday, September 13, before securing his win.

A major mishap, he said, occurred for the first four hours on election day, when a poll site inspector at P.S. 113 in Glendale shooed away Democratic voters, saying there was only a Republican and Independent primary in the 38th District.

“That was a major issue,” said Miller, who is now running unopposed in the upcoming November general election. “It could have cost both of us votes. It was a crazy day. We just wanted to get it taken care of.”

At least five different individuals looking to exercise their rights were also misled by poll workers at P.S. 239, the incumbent said. They were sent back and forth between the Ridgewood elementary school and Christ Tabernacle in Glendale, which is almost a mile away. A Woodhaven woman was also denied an affidavit ballot at P.S. 97, Miller said.

Several poll sites across the city changed after recent redistricting redrew the boundaries of election districts, said BOE spokesperson Valerie Vazquez. Alternative poll sites also needed to replace numerous locations throughout all five boroughs, including 51 in Queens, that were found not to be handicap accessible, she said.

But some mailers sent out by the BOE last month notifying voters they had new stations were given the incorrect address, officials said. Vasquez said the agency was under pressure to get the mailers out between August 1 and 5 and said some voting sites were incorrect as a result.

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who also claimed victory in her district race, said her office fielded a mixture of complaints last Thursday, primarily stemming from people who were sent to the wrong polling place.

More than 300 come out for 4th Annual IRI Walkabout


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Part of the idea, organizers said, was to show how the developmentally disabled people of Independence Residences, Inc. (IRI) are really capable of many things.

More than 300 people came out for the 4th Annual IRI Walkabout and Picnic at Cunningham Park on Saturday, July 28, to walk, eat and show their support.

“It’s a great event,” said Assemblymember Mike Miller, who has attended the event every year. “We started with a few people the first year and you saw how big it was this year. Pretty soon we’re going to outgrow the park.”

IRI executive director Ray DeNatale said he modeled the event after the Australian ritual of “walkabout,” a time of self-evaluation and renewal.

The late Florence D’Urso, wife of the founder and president of Key Food, was memorialized at the event for the supermarket chain’s dedication to supporting IRI. Walk organizers said the store has provided free food every year IRI has had a picnic. Cooking was done by the Glendale Kiwanis Club, said Miller, who is also a member.

This year IRI celebrates its 25th anniversary as an incorporated organization. In that time, the group has helped a number of disabled people find jobs and shared apartments.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo was named an honorary grand marshal for the day, along with Miller. IRI’s ability to help the disabled was an inspiration to elected officials, Addabbo said, and in turn it was their duty to ensure IRI and other organizations continue to get funding.

“What I want to center on is to protect funding for early intervention,” he said. The walk and picnic’s growing turnout spoke to the abilities of the organization and those who use it, said DeNatale, who has been with IRI for more than 11 years.

“Today was a great day,” he said. “I’m very, very thankful for all the people who came up and show support for us.”

 

Etienne David Adorno announces primary run against Assemblymember Miller


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

ADORNO 01w

Incumbent Assemblymember Mike Miller will now have a challenger for the 38th District, forcing a September 13 Democratic primary.

Etienne David Adorno, a 27-year-old Woodhaven native, announced on July 16 that he is running for the assembly seat, which Miller won in a 2009 special election.

“On September 13, 2012, I will be running in one of the most important primary elections we have ever seen in our days,” Adorno said during his announcement at the pedestrian plaza on Jamaica Avenue and Forest Parkway. “Winning the primary election in September will send a message to all, that come the general election in November, we will not only win, but also be taking the first steps to creating a more unified community.”

Adorno is a resident member of The Woodhaven Residents Block Association and Community Board 9. He most recently served as an aide to Manhattan Councilmember Robert Jackson.

Among the issues Adorno said he would work on if elected were safety and the cost of living.

“After all the years living here, I have witnessed so many of my closest friends move out of the area and others out of New York,” he said. “We need to change this, and ensure that we strengthen our middle class and reduce many of the tax burdens we impose on them.”

Miller said he’s confident going into the election.

“I look forward to campaigning against him,” he said, adding that he believed his record of serving the community over the last three years would help. “I feel very confident.”

Glendale residents may get a ZIP code of their own


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

Most of Mary Mendez’s mail says she lives in Ridgewood.

The Glendale resident has grown used to the fact that when ordering items online, her address will come up as Ridgewood.

“Most of the time I’ll just tell people I live there [in Ridgewood],” Mendez said.

The address confusion stems from the fact that Glendale and Ridgewood share the 11385 ZIP code — and have for more than 30 years.

Congressmember Bob Turner and Assemblymember Mike Miller want to change that, though, and have submitted an application to the United States Postal Service (USPS) for a unique Glendale ZIP code.

“Glendale is a unique community and should have its own ZIP code,” Turner said. “Sharing a ZIP code has created numerous, and sometimes dangerous, problems for Glendale residents, such as delays in medication delivery and first responder services.”

Prior to 1979, the neighboring communities shared their zip code with a third neighborhood in another borough — Bushwick.

Residents of the Queens neighborhoods wanted to disassociate with Bushwick following the 1977 riots and were given the ZIP code they have today.

Miller called the lack of an individual ZIP code a serious issue that needs to be addressed. “Real people are affected,” he said.

More than 1,000 Glendale residents signed a petition asking for the change.

Many feel the problem goes deeper than mail addressed to Ridgewood.

“It’s about a community identity, about keeping communities together,” said Nick Roloson, Miller’s chief of staff.

“Most people aren’t sure where Glendale is; it’s kind of no man’s land,” said Mitch Lindstedt, a Glendale resident. “I feel the lack of a ZIP is a big reason why.”

Turner said that 11384 is available and would allow the USPS to easily remedy the situation with the change of a single digit. An answer should come by the end of the summer.

Repeated calls to the USPS for a comment went unreturned.

 

Pols: Point the way to the precinct


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Local councilmembers are proponents of a plan requiring a public posting pointing to local police precincts.

Councilmembers Elizabeth Crowley and Diana Reyna announced legislation that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to install signage directing residents to the local police station.

The 104th Precinct, which polices Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth, is located on Catalpa Avenue, tucked away from any major thoroughfares and may be difficult to find for those unfamiliar with the area.

“Every resident should be able to easily find their local police precinct, and being unable to do so poses a serious public safety risk,” said Crowley. “The DOT already installs many directional signs. Adding signage for police precincts should be a no-brainer.”

Residents often need to visit police precincts to file complaints and receive police reports. Locals and leaders have requested the DOT to install the sign, but were denied, Crowley said.

“Just as we indicate to the public where local hospitals are located, so should we inform the public where their local police precincts are located,” said Reyna. “This legislation addresses an essential public safety issue by providing greater access to information about law enforcement.”

Assemblymember Mike Miller called the signage an important, logical step in helping increase the safety of the community.

The 104th Precinct did not return calls for comment.

According to a release from Crowley, signs are installed at the request of the community, but the DOT said the signage does not meet their criteria.

The DOT said that it does not comment on legislation prior to a city council hearing.

 

Sun News Briefs


| mchan@queenscourier.com


Pol: Save Jamaica Bay from runway expansion

SOUTHERN QUEENS —

Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder recently sent a letter to Port Authority executives, urging them to reject proposals to expand the runway at JFK International Airport into Jamaica Bay.

Port Authority executives introduced a plan back in February 2011 which included filling in a significant part of Jamaica Bay.

“This plan has the potential to affect local neighborhoods and a wildlife refuge,” Goldfeder said. “Air traffic has greatly increased in recent years, and I understand the need for expansion, but this proposal has too many negative implications.”

Goldfeder said runway expansion into the bay has both environmental and economic risks. The area, he said, serves as one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the northeast and is home to more than 60 species of butterflies and an array of reptiles and fish. In addition, many local businesses rely on the bay, he said, and residents who enjoy the park would see the space reduced.

“The public has really made their opinion quite clear on the issue. They do not want any part of Jamaica Bay destroyed,” Goldfeder said.

Instead, the assemblymember urged the agency to explore different, potential solutions that he said would “accomplish the same goal with less impact on our local families and environment.”

According to Goldfeder, the 400-acre parcel of wetlands and shoreline in question was designated as a wildlife refuge, park and recreation area in 1972 by the National Parks System. Congressional approval would be necessary to fill it in, as federal law specifically prohibits any airport expansion in the protected zone, he said. An environmental study of the area stated that any further man-made incursion would “diminish a national environment asset for future generations,” said Goldfeder.

“Jamaica Bay is an incredible natural resource that deserves our protection,” he said.

 

Night of comedy at Church Hall

OZONE PARK —

The Nativity BVM and St. Stan’s Parish will present a “Night of Comedy” on Saturday, March 24 at 8 p.m. The show will take place at Nativity Church Hall, located at 101-41 91st Street, and doors will open at 7:30 p.m. There will be hot dogs, snacks and an available bar. Tickets go for $20 per person. Show officials said some material may not be suitable for minors. For more information, call Steve Jasiak at 718-551-2333.

 

Gas price gouging tactics thwarted

STATEWIDE —

The assembly has recently passed a bill that would allow victims of gas price gouging to sue violators. According to Assemblymember Mike Miller, the rising costs of oil have led to serious competition between gas distributors, causing many stations to charge outrageous amounts for a gallon of gasoline.

Miller said price gouging occurs when gas merchants continuously raise their prices over the course of a 24-hour period, dramatically increasing consumer costs without the actual price of gas going up. The “predatory practice,” he said, “allows a deceitful gas distributor to make unreasonable profits at a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet.”

“As gas prices constantly fluctuate, we must make sure Queens’ families don’t fall victim to price gouging at the pumps,” said Miller. “This legislation would ban gas stations from adjusting their prices multiple times daily.”

As of March 13, the average price of gas in New York is $3.98 a gallon — 22 cents higher than the national average, said Miller, adding that in many places around the state, gas prices have exceeded $4 per gallon.

However, before the law passed, only the state’s attorney general had the power to fine or prosecute violators. Now, consumers may seek justice and compensation from dishonest merchants, Miller said.

 

Bill encourages open government

STATEWIDE —

Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder announced a new package of bills recently passed by the assembly that encourages transparency in government.

“This package of bills allows New Yorkers to have greater access to state government by increasing openness and accountability,” Goldfeder said.

Among the changes, the legislation bars government agencies from inappropriately using the copyright law to deny access to a public record and limits the time in which state agencies would have to appeal court decisions that order the release of documents, the assemblymember said.

“We need to restore the public’s trust in government. Southern Queens and Rockaway families deserve an open government that works for them,” Goldfeder said.