Tag Archives: Bayside

Bayside man pleads guilty to mom’s beating death


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Gavel 2

A 49-year-old man has pleaded guilty to beating his elderly mother to death with a bat inside their Bayside home more than four years ago, the district attorney’s office announced.

Matthew J. Devlin in pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter Friday admitted to the killing during an argument with his mother and brother on the evening of Feb. 12, 2011, prosecutors said. As they fought, Devlin hit his mother in the head with an aluminum bat.

When police arrived at the home, they found his mother, 79-year-old Elizabeth “Betty Ann” Devlin, in a second-floor bedroom with serious head injuries, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. She was taken to an area hospital, where she was placed in a medically induced coma and died five days later.

Deviln’s brother, then 54, also suffered a head wound in the attack, which required 35 stitches.

At his plea on Friday, the judge indicated that at Devlin’s June 4 sentencing he would receive 21 years in prison and five years post-release supervision.

“This was a senseless family tragedy that ended with a mother dead and her son guilty of taking her life. By his actions, the defendant has proven himself unfit for society. While he will have to live with what he did for the rest of his life, the sentence to be imposed is more than warranted,” Brown said.

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Bayside native to become Northeast Queens Administrator for Parks Department


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Matthew Symons

BY ANGELA MATUA

Bayside native Matthew Symons is the new face of the parks he frequented as a child.

Symons, who has worked in the New York City Parks Department for almost 20 years, officially starts his job as the Northeast Queens Administrator this Monday.

He will be in charge of the overall upkeep of the parks in the district, which include Alley Pond Park, Oakland Lake, Crocheron Park, Fort Totten, Little Bay, Joe Michaels Mile and some smaller properties.

As an administrator, Symons will also be encouraging volunteer participation, working with local stakeholders in the parks and acting as a liaison with community boards and elected officials.

Symons joined the Ranger Rick Nature Club as a child and while studying at SUNY Binghamton, he met a classmate who was an Urban Park Ranger and decided to pursue that as a career. He worked as an Urban Park Ranger for 14 years before becoming the deputy administrator for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the fourth largest public park in New York City.

“This part of the world really means a lot to me as a park ranger, but also as a native Queens person,” Symons said.

Symons’ experience as a deputy administrator for Flushing Meadows Corona Park has prepared him for his new role, he said, and he wants to make it a mission to attract more visitors to northeast Queens parks.

“I think it’s always important…to develop a sense of stewardship with the public, so we want people to feel engaged and interested and to feel that the parks belong to them,” Symons said. “It’s not the city owns the parks and they just visit them, but the parks are something that belong to them.”

Though Symons hasn’t technically started his job yet, he has already been visiting parks to engage with people who are interested in parks and those who may not be to gage the projects and events he should be working on.

“[My goal is to] kind of take the temperature of the community and see what the needs are and then based on that pursue what makes most sense for the public and the parks in general.”

Though he anticipates that there will be challenges in his new role, so far, Symons likes what he sees.

“In the past few weeks, I’ve been spending some time in the area and….I’m not saying that there won’t be challenges, but we’ve had a volunteer event every weekend,” Symons said. “Basically, all of our properties are getting a lot of attention, which is great.”

Symons said the Parks Department faces a unique challenge in northeast Queens because unlike other parts of the city, Queens residents have access to outdoor spaces closer to home, such as their own backyards.

He hopes to use special events and programs like Urban Park Rangers to interest this segment of the Queens community.

“We will try anything to get people to visit their parks and love their parks,” Symons said.

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Bayside restaurant Bourbon Street expanding and adding rooftop


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos by Liam La Guerre and Bourbon Street. Rendering via Bourbon Street.

Things are getting heated at Cajun-style restaurant Bourbon Street in Bayside.

Construction is in full swing to add a rooftop bar and a 125-seat second floor party room and to renovate the bistro’s façade to give it more of a southern flair in tune with its namesake street in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Restaurant representatives said the plan is to complete the rooftop bar and new second floor, which was home to a learning center, by this summer so patrons can experience something fresh on Bell Boulevard.

“Everybody likes to be outside, especially after the winter we’ve just had,” owner Mark Boccia said. “You could see the Throgs Neck Bridge in the distance, you could see the Manhattan skyline in the distance, and the roof is above pretty much every other roof in Bayside, so you’ll get a whole different atmosphere. It’s almost like you’re not on Bell Boulevard.”

The approximately 2,000-square-foot rooftop area will have outdoor seating, serve eight to 10 beers on tap and include a raw seafood bar. Wrought iron railing, like those in New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, will be added to the rooftop and terraces on the second floor.

The project, designed by CD Architect Studio, also includes new signage and awnings over the terraces with New Orleans colors: purple, yellow and green.

Bourbon Street rendering

A new vestibule and wider entrance has been completed and a new staircase from the ground floor was recently added for easy access to the second level. Large window doors are planned for the ground floor, and to make sure the now-three-level eatery is handicap accessible, a new elevator that leads to upper floors is being installed.

While all this construction is going on, the ground floor bar and restaurant will remain open.

Boccia also owns Austin’s Ale & Steak House in Forest Hills, which added an outdoor patio space last year. He believes that the transformation of Bourbon Street is necessary to compete with other businesses on Bell Boulevard and throughout the emerging borough.

“There are just so many places to go to in Queens now, whereas in the past it didn’t matter, Bell Boulevard was the thing,” Boccia said. “Brooklyn’s totally popped up and emerged, now it’s Queens’ turn. So if you want to be competitive in Bayside, you have to make change.”

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This Bayside resident could change the way Americans drink coffee 


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre and courtesy of Daniel Grosfeld 

One Bayside man’s hot idea may revolutionize the way people drink coffee in America.

After five years and more than $2 million, Daniel Grosfeld is hoping to launch his hot canned coffee product, aptly named the HotShot, this year and recently began a Kickstarter page to raise $100,000 to cover final costs.

Hot canned coffee is already a thriving multibillion dollar industry in Japan, where vending machines carry the product, but it hasn’t taken off in the United States yet. Although some beverage companies have tried to import the Japanese product, it turned out to be too small and not hot enough for Americans, Grosfeld said.

It took Grosfeld about two and a half years to perfect the formula for a few flavors of his HotShot. His formula comes from 100 percent Arabica beans grown in Indonesia, but the canned coffee is made in America.

Together with his coffee, Grosfeld is also going to launch the HotBox, essentially a hot fridge that always keeps the coffee at 140 degrees, which Grosfeld says is the perfect temperature for coffee. To protect consumers from the heated metal cans, his company also created an insulated label.

He hopes the products will resonate with Americans because the coffee is delivered instantly hot in the HotBox.

“It’s not some crazy new drink that I have to teach people about like coconut water,” Grosfeld said. “At the end of the day it’s just coffee. It’s just a new delivery mechanism.”

Grosfeld came up with the idea after he couldn’t find coffee one early morning in Japan in 2009. As a man who drinks anywhere from three to six cups of coffee a day, eventually he found a vending machine and figured cold coffee would have to suffice. But to his surprise the can came out hot and he instantly thought, “Why isn’t this in America?”

For $79, Kickstarter sponsors will be able to get a HotBox that holds nine cans, along with 12 HotShot cans in multiple flavors: espresso, French vanilla, caramel and hot chocolate. For more money they can get more HotShot cans or more HotBoxes. So far Grosfeld has already raised more than $8,000 in two weeks on Kickstarter.

The HotBox comes in a range of sizes, including the nine-can HotBox for home use and larger machines that hold 36, 72 and 108 cans. Grosfeld envisions selling the larger machines to grocery and department stores, stadiums and movie theaters, so they can sell the cans.

Although he couldn’t say which yet, he is already in negotiation with major companies that want to put the HotShot in their stores and could do so by September when it launches. Grosfeld said he can’t wait until everyone gets to drink the product.

“I’ve been dreaming about that day for a long time,” he said. “My dream is to see it everywhere. To see it in stores, and to see people enjoy it.”

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Bayside boxer brings home Golden Gloves


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of JP Yim

One young boxer from Bayside has earned one of boxing’s most prestigious amateur awards, the Daily News Golden Gloves.

Stylianos Kalamaras, 25, defeated five competitors over the eight-week event to capture his first Light Heavyweight Golden Gloves championship during the 88th annual tournament.

“I had one of the most impressive records in the tournament,” Kalamaras said. “I had two TKOs [technical knockouts], there was only one other guy to have that. In the finals, I was the only guy to knock somebody down to the canvas in this tournament.”

In the finals on April 2, Kalamaras faced off against Franklin Johnson in the 178-pound novice division at the Barclays Center.

“I felt confident I would take the tournament,” Kalamaras said.

This wasn’t Kalamaras’ first time at the Golden Gloves, having competed back in 2011, where he lost by decision in the semifinals.

“I feel should have won that fight. I knocked that guy down, too,” Kalamaras said. “I hurt him and they gave him the decision.”

In 2013, Kalamaras won the New York Metro Championship and was victorious in the 31st annual Battle of the Badges charity event that was held in Madison Square Garden. Kalamaras fought for the FDNY and defeated the NYPD’s representative to win the title belt.

“I think that was my best fight to date,” Kalamaras said of the Battle of the Badges fight. “I knocked the guy out. It was exciting, especially since it was my first time really fighting in front of a lot of people like that in boxing at Madison Square Garden.”

Kalamaras has been boxing since the age of 16, “but now in the past two years I’ve been taking it seriously,” he said. Prior to boxing, he earned awards in judo.

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Photo by Anthony Giudice

“My father put me in judo when I was 8 years old and I was really good in judo,” Kalamaras said. “I was a three-time junior Olympic gold medalist, five-time national champion, six-time international champion. I’ve been all over the world.”

The amateur boxer is also a full-time student at Queens College where he is studying exercise science and nutrition, in hopes of getting into a program in the field of physical therapy. Kalamaras hopes to start a career in training and help other athletes as a physical therapist.

He is a Navy reservist as well, having enlisted in 2010 in the Navy’s construction unit as an engineer and is currently a Second Class Petty Officer.

Kalamaras is now looking to earn a national ranking in boxing and eventually try out for either the American or Greek teams in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Once he gains more experience and exposure, the young, amateur boxer wants to turn professional.

“My goal is to … get sponsored so I could really focus on doing this full time,” Kalamaras said. “I don’t want to drop school either because school is always important, too.”

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Bayside actor muscles in on Hollywood


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of Peter Gaudio

Bayside actor Peter Gaudio is keeping himself quite busy these days both on and off the screen.

Gaudio has a starring role in the upcoming Steve Rahaman film “Snitches,” which according to IMDb is scheduled to premiere in 2016. Starring Chris Victor and Daniel O’Shea, the movie tells the story of a New York City crime boss undermined by an associate working with corrupt police officers to bring the syndicate down.

The Bayside resident and Corona native was most recently featured in the boxing film “Back in the Day,” starring Alec Baldwin, Danny Glover and Michael Madsen. He’s also part of “Take it Back,” a mob TV drama currently in production.

But away from the production sets, Gaudio showcases his comedic and singing talents during the “Wiseguys and Women of Comedy” act playing weekly at Il Bacco restaurant in Little Neck.

An active bodybuilder and former Mr. New York City, Gaudio got his first break on the screen in the 1992 film “A Bronx Tale” starring Chazz Palmentieri and Robert DeNiro, who also directed. Gaudio said DeNiro selected him in an open audition for one of many background roles in the film shot on location in Astoria.

Over the years, he worked to refine his acting craft, studying with many renowned acting coaches in New York City including the late actor William Hickey and Alice Spivak.

Those lessons paid off for Gaudio, as he’s worked in dozens of films and television shows based in New York and had a recurring role in the off-Broadway murder-mystery show “Murdered by the Mob.” Even so, there’s only one role more important in his life.

“Working with talented artists is living a dream, but the best role I play each and every day is being the greatest father I can be to my 10-year-old daughter Petrina,” he said.

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64-year-old man dies in LIE car crash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A 64-year-old man was killed on the Long Island Expressway Thursday afternoon when his car slammed into an exit ramp divider before crashing into another vehicle, police said.

The incident happened just after 1 p.m. on the eastbound side of the roadway at the exit for the Douglaston Parkway near Oakland Gardens.

As the driver approached the exit, his Hyundai Sonata veered to the right and struck a barrier, authorities said. His car then veered back onto the expressway where it hit a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

EMS took the Hyundai’s driver, who wasn’t immediately identified by police, to North Shore University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The driver of the Jeep was uninjured.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Bayside students put their creative problem-solving skills to the test


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo Anthony Giudice

Two Bayside schools are each sending two teams to the New York State Odyssey of the Mind Association State Tournament for a chance to advance to the world finals in Michigan later this year.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Students use their creativity to solve problems ranging from building mechanical devices to presenting their interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competitions on local, state and world levels. Thousands of teams from all around the U.S. and from 25 countries participate in the program.

The teams vying for a spot in the finals are the fourth- and fifth-grade teams from P.S. 203 Oakland Gardens and the sixth- and seventh-grade teams from Nathaniel Hawthorne M.S. 74. All four teams finished in either first or second place in their divisions during the Regional Tournament, which was held on March 7 in Wantagh, Long Island, to make it to the state level.

On Thursday, the students showed their creative problem-solving skills in front of faculty, family members and classmates in P.S. 203’s auditorium ahead of the state tournament.

The fourth- and seventh-grade teams took on the challenge of “Pandora’s Box,” where they had to put a “video game spin” on the Greek myth. Students were required to include a prologue that depicts the original story of Pandora’s Box; three characters that represent different evils that escaped the box; and a power meter representing the gamer’s health bar.

The fifth- and sixth-grade teams each chose the “Silent Movie” problem. In this scenario, the students had to create and present their very own silent film. There had to be a director character, a film critic and a humorous villain character that commits three silly acts of villainy. The characters in the film were not allowed to speak; instead, they used creatively displayed subtitles, much like classic silent movies.

Each team came up with their original idea, created the sets and costumes for the performance and put on the show all on their own, as per the rules of the competition.

“We are not allowed to help them at all, we just guide them,” said Katerina Stravropoulos, a teacher for the fifth-grade team at P.S. 203. “Through probing we get them to solve the problems.”

This year’s state tournament will be held on April 11 at Binghamton University.

“I’m very optimistic for my team,” Stravropoulos said of her team’s chances in the state tournament. “The competition is tough, but we will do our best.”

Jarett Glickman, a member of the M.S. 74 seventh-grade team, and former member of P.S. 203’s team that went to the World Finals in 2013, said, “The world finals was really fun. I hope we can make it again this year.”

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Bayside Historical Society looking to bring agriculture program to Fort Totten


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Bayside Historical Society (BHS) is looking for a few good families to join its upstart community-supported agriculture (CSA) program based at the Castle at Fort Totten.

According to Frannie Budynek, a BHS trustee, the society seeks at least 50 shareholders to register with the CSA by no later than Wednesday, April 15, in order to get the program off the ground for the growing season.

In a CSA, families and individuals purchase shares in a farm within 250 miles of the community. Many of the CSAs in New York City are aligned with farms based on Long Island’s North Fork.

Farmers use the money collected to grow produce and, from June through late November, deliver their harvest to the shareholders. The produce includes leafy greens and radishes in the spring; tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers in the summer; and various types of squash in the fall.

CSA shares typically run about $30 per week per family, but Budynek said each shareholder gets more than their money’s worth in produce. Shares can also be divided among two families to help allay the costs and share the food wealth.

“The farmers are very eclectic. They try to grow a very diverse number of products,” Budynek said. “It’s like you have your own personal farmer.”

She added that the CSA program is environmentally friendly, as each farm grows its produce organically with limited pesticide use, and helps keep the farming industry in New York State economically viable.

“It helps to support local farmers and protect farmland,” Budynek said. “It keeps them farms instead of turning them into subdivisions so people can make a living through agriculture.”

She hopes to hold cooking demonstrations and recipe exchanges during weekly produce distribution at the Castle at Fort Totten. The BHS is also seeking volunteers to help coordinate one pick-up shift each month for about three to four hours.

To join the CSA or for more information, call 718-352-1548 or email info@baysidehistorical.org.

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Volunteers wanted for Relay for Life events in Queens this spring


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/File Photo

Those looking to put their best feet forward in the fight against cancer are encouraged to join Relay for Life events scheduled across Queens in May and June.

The relays benefit the American Cancer Society (ACS) and include teams of volunteers from families, businesses, churches, synagogues, mosques, schools, civic associations and other groups walking or running laps around a course to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.

New York City played host to 27 Relay for Life events last year, raising more than $1.4 million combined, a goal the ACS hopes to eclipse in this year’s relay events.

“The Relay for Life movement unites communities across the globe to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and take action to finish the fight once and for all,” ACS Relay for Life Senior Manager Ben Messner said. “Many participants are our family, friends and neighbors who have faced cancer themselves. Each new team that registers brings us one step closer to saving more lives.”

Each Relay for Life kicks off with the “Survivors’ Lap,” as local cancer survivors take the first steps on the course, symbolizing their resiliency and strength. Once the survivors complete their circuit, the fundraising teams take the track; at least one member of each team must be on the track for the relay’s duration, into the night and following morning.

Team members camp out trackside and, when not on the course, get to rest and enjoy games, music and entertainment.

After nightfall, volunteers hold a luminaria lighting ceremony, when candles lining the course are lit in honor of a cancer survivor or in memory of someone who died of its complications.

The Relay for Life for the communities of Broad Channel, Breezy Point and the Rockaways takes place on Saturday, May 16, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next morning at the Broad Channel Athletic Club, located at 125 Cross Bay Blvd. For more information, contact Carol Palacio at 631-379-4924 or carol.palacio@cancer.org.

Bayside will hold its Relay for Life on Saturday, June 6, from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following morning in Alley Pond Park. Those interested in participating can contact Marlene Medina at 646-318-7636 or marlene.medina@cancer.org for additional information.

One week later, the Howard Beach Relay for Life will kick off at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, at Frank M. Charles Memorial Park, located on 165th Avenue near 83rd Street. To learn more, contact Meghan Neary at 631-300-3458 or meaghan.neary@cancer.org.

Lastly, the Middle Village Relay for Life will take place two weeks later on Saturday, June 27, from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next morning at Juniper Valley Park’s Brennan Field, located off the corner of 71st Street and Lutheran Avenue. Contact Marlene Medina as the previously listed email and phone number.

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More Queens Library locations loaning mobile hot spots, tablets


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Library

Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card, and now more cardholders will be able to stay connected while on the go.

The Queens Library announced Tuesday that it will be expanding its mobile technology lending program in the upcoming weeks to more libraries throughout the borough.

While using their Queens Library cards, customers will be able to borrow free mobile hot spots, providing Internet access anywhere to any Wi-Fi-enabled devices with cellphone reception. Customers will also have the chance to borrow free Google Nexus tablets.

The hot spots are available for one month, and there are three renewals available afterwards. First-time hot spot borrowers will have to sign an agreement and bring a photo ID.

Locations that have been offering the free mobile hot spots and tablets since last year include branches at 89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica; 1637 Central Ave., Far Rockaway; 108-19 71st Ave., Forest Hills; 41-17 Main St., Flushing; and 35-51 81st St., Jackson Heights.

The new locations offering the hot spots include 214-20 Northern Blvd. in Bayside and 37-44 21st St. in Long Island City. They will also be available at the branch at 218-13 Linden Blvd. in Cambria Heights starting April 8; 193-20 Horace Harding Expressway in Fresh Meadows on April 15; and 169-09 137th Ave. in Rochdale Village on April 22.

The Google Nexus tablets are now available at Queens Library branches at 2012 Madison St. in Ridgewood; 128-16 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park; and 169-09 137th Ave. in Rochdale Village. Starting later this month, the tablets will be available at the following locations: 187-05 Union Turnpike in Hillcrest; 103-34 Lefferts Blvd. in Richmond Hill; and the Langston Hughes Community Library at 100-01 Northern Blvd.

A full list of borrowing sites is available at www.queenslibrary.org.

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Bayside Village BID to hold April 14 hearing on local parking woes


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Those having a hard time finding parking near Bayside’s Bell Boulevard can vent their frustrations at a special public hearing the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) will hold on the topic on Tuesday, April 14.

Residents, drivers and merchants alike are invited to attend the session scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. at Bayside United Methodist Church, located at 38-20 Bell Blvd.

The Bayside Village BID, with the assistance of Councilman Paul Vallone, recently hired an engineering firm to examine parking problems in the area around Bell Boulevard and form potential short- and long-term solutions. It is reportedly part of a revived attempt to fix parking problems in the area launched more than a decade ago.

In a letter, Bayside Village BID Executive Director Lyle Sclair said that attendees will learn information on some of the “best practices from across the region.” BID members and residents can also share their ideas and input on how to ease the pain for all drivers.

Meanwhile, Sclair urged local businesses to sign a pledge that they would keep spots in front of their shops free as much as possible.

“Many of the business owners signed a pledge that they and their workers would not park on Bell Boulevard in the metered spots that are designed for customers,” Sclair wrote. “We understand that you may need to use the parking in front of your business for pickups and deliveries. The pledge is not meant to discourage you from using the space in front of your store for business operations, but once you are done, please move your car to the surrounding side streets.”

BID members who cannot attend the April 14 meeting may schedule one-on-one consultations regarding the plan earlier that day from 3 to 6:30 p.m. at the BID’s office located at 213-39 39th Ave., Suite 310.

For more information, click here or call 718-423-2434.

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Bayside students stay fit to help feed children in Africa


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Students at one Bayside elementary school are staying fit while also helping to save lives.

Since the beginning of March, 268 students, 40 teachers and other faculty members at P.S. 41, located at 214-43 35th Ave., have been taking part in UNICEF’s Kid Power program which encourages students to be more active, while also feeding children in Africa.

During the program, the students wear Kid Power Bands, which measure their steps and unlock Kid Power Points, which are later converted to funds that go toward food packets.

At P.S. 41, which is one of 16 New York City schools participating in the program, third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students take part in the challenge and have been racking up points.

“The essence of it is that the more that they exercise and the more that they’re active, the more packets are being sent to children to eat,” said Sari Latto, principal at P.S. 41. “It’s a win-win. We get healthier children, and those [other] children can live because they are being fed. So the kids are very excited about it.”

Before receiving their blue power bands, the students learned about the program. They received lessons on poverty conditions in other countries, saw a video of malnourished children and the conditions they live in, and were told the importance of them receiving the food.

Each student was then given a band to wear on his or her wrist, and teachers were provided with tablets that sync with the bands to tally up points for the classes.

“It’s extraordinary. The children are excited about moving more and being healthy, they recognize the value of that, they feel better, they like it,” Latto said. “They are realizing that, as young as they are, they are able to do something for other children in the world so that they can live. And that’s a very empowering feeling for a child.”

Out of the classes participating from P.S. 41, one third-grade class has stood out with a total of 4,503,745 steps, equaling 769 food packets, as of Monday.

With their numbers, Class 3205, taught by Cindy Wong and Helen Kim, reached the highest points in all of the city schools and won a trip to see the New York Knicks practice later in April.

“It’s wonderful and very exciting for us and it’s great that we’re able, through this organization, to teach them how to do good now and in the future,” Wong said. “It’s motivating a lot of them to keep active.”

To get the points, the students have done sports such as soccer and basketball, danced in Zumba classes, and also taken part in gym activities.

For the third-grade students participating in the program, it is more than just taking home the grand prize; they also want to make a difference.

“It’s not just about winning in the city, it’s actually about helping more kids,” said 8-year-old Oliver.

His classmate, 9-year-old Cian, also said that even though it’s great that the class was the top in the city and will be able to see the Knicks, the important part was knowing they helped feed the children in Africa.

“It’s really good just to help out children,” he said.

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City begins $2.1 million storm sewer installation in Glen Oaks


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo via Department of Environmental Protection/Flickr 

To alleviate issues with flooding in Glen Oaks, the city has begun working on a $2.1 million project to install nearly a half-mile of new storm sewers in the area.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is funding the project, which in addition to the storm sewers, includes the installation of 31 street-level catch basins and 19 manholes.

The DEP will also replace nearly a half-mile of distribution water mains so the community will be able to receive high-quality drinking water for years to come. The entire project is expected to be completed by the summer.

“Every day, my district office receives complaints about ponding and flooding on our city streets, causing a multitude of problems for motorists, pedestrians and homeowners,” state Sen. Tony Avella said. “By investing in new storm sewers, catch basins and water mains, we can reduce flooding and improve the quality of drinking water for Glen Oaks residents.”

The storm sewer installation work is taking place along Elkmont Avenue from 250th Street to 252nd Street and on 251st Street from Elkmont Avenue to Union Turnpike. Water collected in the newly installed infrastructure will drain into an existing 72-inch storm sewer on Union Turnpike.

The DEP is also working on a much larger project to upgrade sewers and water mains in Bayside.

This project, which costs $20 million and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016, will add nearly 4.3 miles of water mains to the area’s distribution system.

The city agency hopes this move will ensure a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water for the northeast Queens neighborhood.

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Nick Cannon presents new children’s book at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

“Neon Aliens” may not have really eaten Nick Cannon’s homework when he was younger but that didn’t stop him from using it as an excuse for one of his teachers. And just as stories like that inspired him to release his new children’s poetry book, so did his experience with the youngsters at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children in Bayside.

So much so that he even released the novel at the hospital on Monday to some of those who were an inspiration to him.

The book, “Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems,” was inspired by Cannon’s desire to combine the worlds of poetry and hip-hop and his previous visit to the medical facility. He has become so inspired by the kids that he is also a member of the hospital’s board.

“I visited a few years ago and hanging out with the kids really touched me,” he said, speaking at St. Mary’s back in October of 2014. “Now I’m officially Dr. Cannon on the board.”

Cannon greeted the crowd of children at the hospital on Monday and told them how inspired he was by each and every one of them. He read excerpts from his new book and gave each child in attendance a free copy.

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Danielle Monaro, a co-host on Z-100’s “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show,” was there to introduce Cannon. She even helped the children play a game with him by having them shout out words which Cannon then had to freestyle to.

The poems cover a range of kid-friendly topics and even have a number of illustrations created by Cannon himself. He mentioned that several of the poems he wrote were inspired by the “courageous young patients,” at the hospital.

At the end of the release, Cannon accepted from St. Mary’s a plaque inscribed with one of its patients’ poems.

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