Tag Archives: Broad Channel

Charity aims to gives Sandy victims a boxful of comfort


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

A native New Yorker is helping people displaced by Sandy feel more at home.

Pam Koner, executive director and founder of the Family-to-Family charity, has begun a program in which donors can buy boxes filled with food items and send them to Sandy victims. The “Comforts of Home” boxes, which cost $62 each, come with ingredients and staples such as beans and pasta.

After the storm, Koner said she wanted to find a way for people to help the community rebuild.

“It’s linking a family or an individual who has more with a family or individual who has less,” Koner explained.

Alison Kase of Broad Channel received assistance from Family-to-Family. She said the program helped her get past the grief of losing everything.

“It helped you through the point of hopelessness,” she recounted. “It made you feel like there is someone out there who wants to help.”

The Family-to-Family program started about 10 years ago as a nationwide hunger relief program. Koner and her organization have visited disaster zones including New Orleans after Katrina and Joplin, Mississippi following the 2011 tornado.

The inspiration for creating the Comforts of Home boxes came when Koner and other Family-to-Family employees determined what they would miss if they were displaced from their homes.

“It would be the aromas and taste of home,” Koner said. “So, I started thinking about how I could help another family feel like they had their home.”

The boxes help recipient families keep up their sense of dignity, Koner said.

“Here, people have been so dependent on volunteers,” Koner said. “Now people are having these things delivered to them and there’s such dignity around that. We’re trying to make them feel great, and they are so grateful.”

The Comforts of Home boxes are available at www.family-to-family.org.

-BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

 

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Rockaway residents take to City Hall, demand say in Sandy rebuilding


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

By day 143, Rockaway residents had had enough.

Scores traveled to the steps of City Hall on Saturday, March 23 to call on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city to help residents rebuild after Sandy.

Shoulder to shoulder with elected officials and candidates for mayor and borough president, resident after resident told personal stories of their prolonged recovery and demanded a say in how the peninsula is rebuilt.

“Now, as community residents of the Rockaway peninsula and Broad Channel, we demand to always have our voices heard on what goes on with all future projects, and most importantly, to be part of the process when implementing them to protect our community from another Sandy, or any type of possible future disasters,” said Danny Ruscillo, president of the 100th Precinct Community Council. Ruscillo held a sign that became one of the chants during the hour-long press conference: “United we stand. Divided we drown.”

Senator Charles Schumer recently secured money to rebuild New York beaches, and take measures to prevent flooding.

 

The Army Corps of Engineers, which has been conducting surveys on protecting the beach-front community for more than a decade, recently said the study would take at least another year-and-a-half.

But residents like Margaret Wagner think that’s too long. Wagner said she took the trip to lower Manhattan while her husband was at home putting up sheetrock in their Broad Channel home.

“We want the studies to end tomorrow,” said Wagner. “Give us a plan today. Not a year-and-a-half from now.”
John Cori and Eddie Pastore, who run Friends of Rockaway Beach and organized the City Hall rally, have long campaigned to build better beach protection.

This was not the first time Rockaway residents have criticized Bloomberg and his administration for what they believed was a delayed reaction to the storm. On a visit to Breezy Point in November, Bloomberg was lambasted by a resident; spectators at the St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 2 booed him when he marched.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich and State Senator Joseph Addabbo both said it was crucial that those who live there have the final say in how the communities are rebuilt.

“These residents have to live with what’s left behind,” Addabbo said. “Let’s get to work for these people.”

“We heard about the federal money that Senator Schumer was able to secure and we’re very grateful for that,” Ulrich said. “But the community needs to be kept in the loop as to how that money is going to be spent.”

 

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Councilmember Eric Ulrich

Rapid Repairs fixes more than 20,000 Sandy-damaged homes


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Five months after Sandy damaged thousands of residences in New York City, the NYC Rapid Repairs program has completed work on more than 20,000 homes,  Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced today.

The program was launched last November in the aftermath of the storm in order to provide heat, power and hot water to those homes affected.

Queens has benefited the most out of any borough, with more than 5,000 buildings repaired.

“In the four months since it launched, Rapid Repairs has restored essential services to more than 20,000 residences, allowing nearly 54,000 New Yorkers return to their homes where real recovery can begin,” said Bloomberg speaking at the American Legion Post in Broad Channel , which served as a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center following Sandy. “It’s a new model for disaster recovery that we proved can work.”

All scheduled repairs are expected to be finished by next week.

“The milestone that Rapid Repairs reached today in servicing over 20,000 families is significant towards showing that our community is making major progress following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy,” said Councilmember Donovan Richards said.

Bloomberg also announced the city’s plans for $1.77 billion in federal aid to assist residents and businesses affected by the storm.

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City is also putting aside $10 million in private donations to assist one and two-family homes in need of repairs.

 

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Op-Ed: Recovery through economic activity and investment


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER PHILLIP GOLDFEDER

Last year, the legislature passed a bill, as the first step in the process to amending the state constitution, allowing enhanced gaming in up to seven locations across the state. While this was only the beginning, it was a huge victory for Queens families who have already benefited from the economic development and jobs created by Resorts World at Aqueduct and realize the potential for growth. In his annual state of the state address, Governor Andrew Cuomo shared a vision for the future of our state and I look forward to our continued partnership and collaboration in an effort to boost every community across the state.

In southern Queens and Rockaway, Sandy has left a path of unimaginable devastation and destruction and it will take the coordinated efforts of the public and private sector to fully recover. Now, more than ever, we need to find new and creative ways to help our small businesses to create good-paying jobs and rejuvenate our local economy. Creating a full-scale, enhanced gaming casino at Resorts World would not only increase revenues for the community and the state, but the impact would be felt immediately in terms of economic activity and job creation for southern Queens and Rockaway families.

Expanding gaming also provides opportunities for continued investment in southern Queens and Rockaway infrastructure. I continue to be a staunch advocate for the complete restoration of the abandoned Rockaway Beach Rail Line, as it would be the right solution to not only encourage economic development but to increase transit options for all of Queens’ families. Created at the turn of the century, the Rockaway Beach Rail Line, also known as White Pot Junction, was owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road. Strategically placed within a major network of trains throughout New York City, the rail line provided residents with safe, affordable and expedient access to other parts of Queens and the rest of the city.

There is no need to look any farther than Resorts World at Aqueduct, a proven location for enhanced gaming and reliable community partner. Since their first year anniversary, Resorts World has set records in slot machine gaming, beating out the casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, contributing millions of dollars towards the education of our children. Further, Resorts World has been a valuable neighbor that has worked hand-in-hand with elected leaders, the NYPD and our community to ensure a seamless development at the Aqueduct facility. Resorts World is the perfect example of partnership and we need to give them the tools necessary to continue to succeed so that our families and small businesses may continue to recover and become even more resilient.

In addition to their success as a casino, Resorts World is committed to a long term partnership with our community and has continued their positive relationship through vital investments in our local organizations and standing on the front lines of Sandy relief and recovery. Given the right tools, Resorts World will continue to exceed every expectation, expand on our local workforce and stimulate our local economy, in addition to creating opportunities for the continued success and recovery of Queens.

Goldfeder represents the 23rd Assembly District including Ozone Park, Lindenwood, Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways.

 

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Queens couple stays strong through Sandy


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Frances and Peter Wilps

Frances and Peter Wilps of Broad Channel were selected as the winners of The Queens Courier Valentine’s Day Couples Contest:

In traditional wedding vows, the bride and groom often promise to love each other “in good times and in bad,” but for one Queens couple, it would have been more appropriate to say “in good weather and in bad.”

Natural disasters, however, were the last thing on Frances and Peter Wilps’ minds when they were matched on the dating website eHarmony.

Both were previously married with children, and for the first time decided to go online to find love.
Frances said she didn’t have high hopes of meeting someone, but thought, “what do I have to lose? Let me give it a whirl.”

Her first few dates were “a disaster,” but her first date with Peter was the opposite.

“Everything he said [on his online dating profile] seemed so sincere,” said Frances.

But that magical first meeting almost didn’t happen because Peter lived in Monmouth County, New Jersey and Frances resided in Broad Channel, a distance of one to two hours, depending on traffic.

“I thought, ‘I’m not going to go through with this. It’s a big waste of time, the commute seeing each other,’” said Frances.

Still, Peter was persistent and called her for a date, agreeing to meet her at Frenasia, an Asian restaurant on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach.

“[Frenasia] has kind of become our home. It’s our every Friday night thing,” said Frances.

About five months later, in August 2007, Frenasia was where Peter proposed.

It was also where the couple went to have a private moment following their wedding.

“We walked in there as husband and wife, and we sat down and someone sent us a bottle of champagne and we ate a little something,” said Frances.

Following the wedding, Peter moved to Frances’ home in Broad Channel, and the adjustment was easy. Like his wife, Peter grew up in Queens.

The real test of their marriage came a few years later when Irene hit New York City in August, 2011, followed by Sandy only 14 months later.

Their house sustained some water damage from Irene, but Sandy destroyed the Wilps’ entire first floor.

“We knew we would get water, but we never thought the magnitude of it would be what it was”, said Frances.

Though many personal items were lost, fortunately their wedding photos and other keepsakes were fine.

“On the mantle I had a bunch of pictures and my husband said take them off, bring them upstairs and I was questioning him, she said. “Thank God I listened.”

A few months later, they are slowly fixing their first floor, but there is still no heat, appliances or furniture in downstairs.
“You learn what you take for granted, that’s for sure,” said Frances.

For now, they are living in a bedroom and are dealing with the financial burden and rebuilding what they lost in the storm.

Sandy “has been very trying,” on their relationship, said Frances.

“We are on top of each other 24/7 and it’s tough, the stress of no money and the house is a mess,” she continued.
But along with adding stress, the disaster has also strengthened their marriage.

“The support from one another has been fabulous,” He’s just wonderful. When I need him, he’s always strong. And I’m there for him when he has his moments and he’s upset and he’s worried,” she said. “We’re each other’s backbone.”

As winners of The Courier’s contest the Wilps will receive a “King & Queens for a Day” spa package from Christie & Co. Salon * Spa in The Bay Terrace.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Clear. High of 48. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 15 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 36. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph

EVENT of the DAY: Queens Young Professionals Holiday Party

Recently, the Queens Young Professionals group formed to provide resources and networking opportunities to cultivate the borough’s future business leaders and encourage the next generation to become invested in borough wide issues. QYP, which is free to join, hosts its first ever holiday party with an unlimited buffet and specially priced drinks plus the chance to network. $10. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

M.T.A. chief will resign as he looks at mayoral bid

Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has informed the Cuomo administration that he is stepping down from his position, according to four people with direct knowledge of his plans. Read more: New York Times

MTA to vote on fare, toll hike proposal Wednesday

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is scheduled to vote on its latest fare and toll hike proposal Wednesday morning. Read more: NY1

Little-known program can help flood-prone homeowners stave off future damage

Broad Channel homeowner Joan Delahunt, still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Irene, was working on a plan to raise the level of her flood-prone home when Superstorm Sandy struck. Read more: New York Daily News

NRA breaks silence, comments on Newtown tragedy

After four days of self-imposed silence on the shooting that killed 26 people inside a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, the nation’s largest gun rights lobby emerged Tuesday and promised “to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” ABC New York

Obama to call for gun policy changes

President Barack Obama is launching an administration-wide effort to curb gun violence, underscoring the growing political consensus over tightening gun restrictions following the horrific massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. Read more: Fox New York

Instagram takes step back, says ‘It is not our intention to sell your photos

Instagram, the popular mobile photo-sharing service now owned by Facebook, has backpedaled on some of its planned changes that led to concerns that it would use its members’ photos in advertisements. Read more: CBS New York

Time 2012 Person of the Year: Barack Obama

Twenty-seven years after driving from New York City to Chicago in a $2,000 Honda Civic for a job that probably wouldn’t amount to much, Barack Obama, in better shape but with grayer hair, stood in the presidential suite on the top floor of the Fairmont Millennium Park hotel as flat screens announced his re-election as President of the United States. Read more: Time magazine

 

 

Op-Ed: Where to turn for help


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY STATE SENATOR JOSEPH ADDABBO

As if a sluggish economy wasn’t enough for our local businesses to deal with, they now have to deal with the aftermath of Sandy. But as business owners start to pick up the pieces, many of whom also experienced personal losses at their own home, it is imperative that our city, state and federal government have programs that would assist getting these businesses open as soon as possible.

It has been weeks since Sandy hit our city and still the southern one third of my district is trying to recuperate. At this time, over 13,000 residents and businesses are without power in Rockaway. The areas of Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach are suffering economically. By working together with our business owners, community groups, chambers of commerce and other governmental entities, over time we can revive the now dormant store fronts into active businesses once again. It is important for our businesses to know that they are not in this rebuilding period alone. I reassure store owners throughout my district that they can use my office as a resource for information and programs that have been established in the wake of Sandy.

The New York City Small Business Services and Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) have set up a number of programs to aid businesses who are seeking to reopen. These programs range from offering temporary work space to providing supplies and services. There are programs that deal with employee retention and alternatives to laying off workers. There is also financial assistance through an emergency loan program that offers up to $25,000 with no payments for six months and a 1% interest rate for months seven through 30. A tax exemption program through the NYC Industrial Developmental Agency exists for purchases of construction materials and equipment up to $100,000. The New York City assistance for businesses can be found at www.nyc.gov and www.nycedc.com.

New York State is offering aid through the Empire State Development (ESD) and Small Business Development Centers. For their services and recovery planning contact www.esd.ny.gov and www.nyssbdc.org . ESD is supporting several organizations that have made loans available to businesses affected by Sandy. Some of these loans have early no interest payments and go up to $150,000. Those interested can get detailed information at www.accionusa.org/sandy or by calling 718-205-3773 and 718-961-0888.

On the federal level, both the Small Business Administration (SBA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are offering loans for businesses at www.sba.gov. Information on tax relief can be found at www.irs.gov. Business owners seeking additional information as to other programs that exist, also for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) information, can complete an application at www.disasterassistance.gov.

I encourage owners to reach out to their elected officials for additional information on governmental assistance and other programs which exist to assist such businesses.

While my Howard Beach district office gets reconstructed after being wrecked by Sandy, I drive around the affected areas of my district and weeks later cannot believe the devastation. I know I will eventually get to attend another function at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach, but can never eat lunch again at Harbor Light Pub in Belle Harbor, Rockaway, which was sadly destroyed from fires caused by the storm. For the sake of our communities, for the sake of our neighbors, for the sake of our business owners, we must work together to get our local businesses back on their feet and running again.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 50. Winds from the NNE at 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Clear in the evening, then overcast. Low of 37. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Mets and City Harvest Sandy Food Drive

Fans donating 10 items or more of nonperishable nutritious food will receive a voucher redeemable for one pair of tickets to a select Mets game in April 2013. Donors will also receive 15 percent off select merchandise at the Mets Team Store at Citi Field. Season Ticket Holders who donate food can show their ID card to get 20 percent off select items. The discount will only be honored Wednesday, November 14. Drop off location will be inside the Hodges VIP entrance next to the Mets Team Store. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Sandy storm victims fear price gouging from electrical inspectors

Those red, yellow and green placards being plastered across damaged structures in storm-ravaged Rockaway and Broad Channel could determine whether you can indeed go home again. Read more: New York Daily News

Parents: Bus for relocated Rockaways students delayed in return home

Some parents in the Rockaways are furious after waiting for their kids for hours to come home from school Tuesday. Read more: NY1

MTA bigs: Refund only fare

Riders who paid for an unlimited MetroCard during Hurricane Sandy may see a rebate, after all. Read more: New York Post

Time Warner Cable sued for modem ‘scam’

Time Warner Cable was zapped with two class-action lawsuits that could affect 15 million customers Tuesday over its decision to charge a $3.95 monthly “lease” fee for modems. Read more: New York Daily News

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree survives Sandy

The Christmas tree that will dominate New York’s Rockefeller Center survived the winds of Superstorm Sandy that left a path of destruction in a New Jersey town and even its donor without electricity for weeks. Read more: ABC New York

Lawmakers probe widening generals scandal

Lawmakers are digging into the tangled tale of emails that exposed an extramarital affair ending David Petraeus’ CIA career and led investigators to a questionable relationship between a Florida socialite and the general commanding the war in Afghanistan. Read more: AP

 

 

Con Ed restores power to those without damaged equipment; thousands in Howard Beach, Broad Channel remain without lights


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

Two weeks after Sandy knocked out electricity to more than 100,000 Queens residents, Con Edison announced power was restored to all customers whose equipment was not damaged during the storm.

Several thousand residents in Howard Beach and Broad Channel will remain without power until their equipment is deemed safe, Con Ed said.

The last Sandy outages throughout the rest of the borough were finally restored last night, Con Ed said in a release.

“We want to restore customers as much as they want the electricity back, but we will not restore customers unless it is safe to do so,” said a Con Ed spokesperson.

There are several steps residents in those areas must follow before their lights can be turned back on, Con Ed said.

Residents’ equipment must be inspected, cleaned and repaired by a licensed contractor; the contractor must then complete a self-certification form and email (hurricanesandybrooklynqueens@coned.com) or fax (718-802-6349) the form to Con Ed.

Tens of thousands of Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) customers in the Rockaways also remain without electricity.

Queens’s Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then clear. High of 70. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Clear. Low of 57. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Rent A White Guy: The Musical

A new multilingual musical tale about the life of foreigners living in China, Rent A White Guy: The Musical, makes its New York premiere at the Secret Theatre in Long Island City tonight. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

New York area cleans up after strong storms

Residents and municipalities across the New York viewing area are cleaning up after a September storm. Read more: ABC New York

With storm season looming, Broad Channel residents push city to move quickly on flood control plan

Broad Channel residents, facing the annual barrage of autumn storms and floods, say the city is dragging its feet on a plan to repair vulnerable streets. Read more: New York Daily News

Report: Day care owners allegedly defrauded DOE

The owners of several day care centers in Queens are accused of defrauding the Department of Education out of more than $35,000. Read more: NY1

Body of missing scuba diver found

The body of a snorkeler who went missing last week was pulled from the water off Queens Tuesday morning, sources said. Read more: New York Daily News

F.B.I. criticizes officer’s role in a terror case

The undercover New York police detective at the heart of a case against a Queens man accused in a terror plot came under criticism from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his handling of an earlier terrorism inquiry, according to a legal document. Read more: New York Times

Romney refocuses as Obama decries ‘victim’ claim

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are moving the presidential campaign back to familiar ground, grappling over the proper role of government in a debate where clumsy, seemingly dismissive statements have made both men susceptible to caricature. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 82. Winds from the ENE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the SE in the afternoon. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 72. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the WNW after midnight

EVENT of the DAY: Family Karaoke Night at Manducatis Rustica

At this Long Island City restaurant’s karaoke night there are over 40,000 songs to choose from plus $5 specialty drinks for adults and gelato for kids of all ages. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Brazen thief steals 2 silver Torah crowns from Queens synogogue during evening services

Two valuable silver Torah crowns were stolen from a Queens synagogue during evening prayer services, police said Tuesday. Read more: New York Daily News

Councilman proposes emergency lane along Queens Boulevard

While traffic on Queens Boulevard can be frustrating for drivers, one official says it may be causing bigger problems. Read more: NY1

Cagey peacock ruffles Queens cops’ feathers

They can rappel down skyscrapers, rescue plane-crash survivors from an icy river, and go toe-to-toe with terrorists.But elite NYPD Emergency Service Unit cops were outsmarted yesterday by a plucky peacock that has made a Queens neighborhood his home away from home for the past week. Read more: New York Post

Busted pipe slowly turning freshwater ponds salty in Broad Channel

A busted drain pipe and valve system is slowly ruining the ecology of Jamaica Bay, driving away birds that usually breed along two freshwater ponds. Read more: New York Daily News

Sources: U.S. Open ref arrested in connection with husband’s death

Sources say that police arrested a U.S. Open tennis referee Tuesday who is a suspect in her husband’s death. Read more: NY1

NYPD: Muslim spying led to no leads, terror cases

In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloguing mosques, the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation, the department acknowledged in court testimony unsealed late Monday. Read more: AP

Blasting goes awry along 2nd Avenue subway; buildings, sidewalk damaged

Blasting along Manhattan’s still-under-construction 2nd Avenue subway line caused some damage Tuesday afternoon. Now, authorities want to know if human error was to blame. Read more: CBS New York

Searching for a new neighbor on ‘Sesame Street’

“Sesame Street” held its first-ever open casting call in New York this week to find its newest neighbor — a Hispanic character to reflect the long-running show’s increasingly diverse audience. Read more: Wall Street Journal 

BC/WSJ poll: Heading into conventions, Obama has four-point lead 

After Mitt Romney selected his vice presidential running mate, and just days before the political conventions kick off next week, President Barack Obama maintains his advantage in the race for the White House, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Read more: NBC news

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: Spider-Man at Cambria/Cabbell Park

Come to Cambria/Cabbell Park in Jamaica for a free screening of Spider-Man (PG 13), starring Tobey Maguire as the superhero.

Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Remains in attic of suicide house were woman who was knifed to death: officials

A woman whose dead body was found in the home of a Queens man who killed himself was knifed to death, officials said Sunday. The rotting remains of the still-unidentified woman were found in the attic of tenant Devendra Autar, 32. Autar, a police officer’s brother who was found hanging from a pullup bar in his Richmond Hill home July 20, left behind a chilling suicide note. Read more: New York Daily News

Qns. leader’s kin among dead

The uncle of a Queens man was among those killed yesterday in the Sikh temple massacre. Mohan Khatra was worshipping at the Sikh Cultural Society in Richmond Hill when he learned the news about his relative, Suvez Khatra, 77. “It’s very sad news for our family. It’s very sad news for our community” Khatra told The Post. Read more: New York Post

Police increase security at Sikh temples in NYC

The NYPD are increasing their patrols of Sikh temples around the city after the shooting in Wisconsin Sunday. In the Richmond Hill section of Queens, a officer was seen talking to the temples president. Although the shooting happened thousands of miles away, worshippers here are worried. Read more: Fox 5

Long-awaited barrier goes up along a dangerous stretch of road in Broad Channel 

The stretch of Cross Bay Blvd. that runs along the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is well-known for its scenic views but also its dangerous history. Wooden crosses pockmark the area where motorists and pedestrians were killed in accidents.Now, after years of haggling over funding, environmental concerns and logistics, the city is constructing a safety barrier to protect walkers, runners and bicyclists who use the popular pathway from traffic. Read more: New York Daily News

Silver consolation prize for Queens badminton club

There were bagels. There was badminton. And, in the end, there was bitter disappointment. At the CP Badminton Club in College Point, where groups of Malaysians often gather to play the game, about 25 enthusiasts gathered over breakfast early Sunday morning to watch the Olympic men’s singles final between Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei and China’s Lin Dan, the world’s two best players and archrivals. Read more: New York Times

 

 

MTA set to roll out bus route changes


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Microsoft PowerPoint - Woodhaven Blvd Route Changes presentation

Commuters relying on bus service may be “en route” for some changes.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that the Q21 and Q52 busses will undergo several service alterations, beginning on Sunday, July 1.

A spokesperson from the MTA claimed these changes are part of the agency’s efforts to renew and improve service in response to changing ridership and market conditions within funding restraints, adding that these particular alterations reflect the continuing growth of longer-distance, limited-stop ridership on Cross Bay Boulevard,

Woodhaven Boulevard and the new residential development in Arverne.

The Q21 will be shortened, operating as far south as 164th Avenue and 92nd Street near Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach and make local stops only between Howard Beach and Elmhurst. Hours of operation and frequency will remain the same as the current Q21 bus, as will service between Lindenwood and northern destinations.
Travelers aiming for Broad Channel and the Rockaway peninsula will be required to transfer to either the Q52 or the Q53.

Due to local roadway layout, customers heading northbound on Cross Bay Boulevard between 160th Avenue and 164th Avenue will need to board a Q52 or Q53 at 163rd

Avenue, take a southbound Q21 around the loop or a northbound Q21 at 160th Avenue and 92nd Street.

The line currently known as the part-time Q21 Limited will be renamed the Q52, continuing to operate full time on the same schedule as the current Q21 and using the same bus stops. Two new limited stops will also be added to this route at Cross Bay Boulevard and 163rd Avenue in Howard Beach and Cross Bay Boulevard and 5th Road in Broad Channel. This course will only see limited-stop access to and from the Rockaways.

The MTA alleged that transportation to the Rockaway peninsula would be greatly improved, including longer-distance service provided by full-time, limited-stop service.

Dan Mundy, Jr., President of the Broad Channel Civic Association, fears bus route alterations will cause delays and be detrimental to those travelling northbound.
“[These changes] will create a worse commute for people with the worst commute,” said Mundy. “We’re getting the short end of the deal here in terms of adequate service.”

Mundy alleged that the MTA had yet to reach out to the residents of both Far Rockaway and Broad Channel.

Betty Braton, Community Board 10 chair, insisted that these bus changes would not affect the people of Howard Beach. Braton added that the MTA also discussed the idea of possibly altering the Q41 bus line at the Board’s May 3 meeting, but they had not set concrete plans.

To get more information about your bus route and how it may be changing, check mta.info or call 5-1-1.

Cross Bay Bridge rebate reinstated, but not right away


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Cross Bay Bridgew

Rockaway residents relishing in the relief of a reinstated, ratified rebate program are now holding their breath.

The Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge Residency Rebate Program recently passed the state budget, said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, meaning Rockaway and Broad Channel residents will now be reimbursed for their travels across the bridge.

With an E-Z Pass, they currently pay $1.19 each time they drive along the Cross Bay Bridge for up to two trips a day. While additional crossings are free afterward, local elected officials and residents have long deemed the toll a problem.

Goldfeder said the toll forced Broad Channel and Rockaway residents to reach into their pockets just to go to and from work, patronize local businesses, bring their children to and from school and take care of daily errands.

The toll — the only intra-borough one in the city — was free for residents of Broad Channel and the Rockaways for 12 years, but was reinstated by the MTA in 2010.

The rebate, local leaders said, would stimulate more activity and revenue between Rockaway and Broad Channel businesses, while saving residents between $800 and $1,500 a year.

“I made a pledge before taking office that I would work to eliminate the Cross Bay Bridge Toll,” Goldfeder said. “Today, I have made good on that pledge and have secured a huge victory for the hardworking families and businesses of the Rockaways and Broad Channel. The return of this important rebate program is a step in the right direction towards the complete elimination of this inherently unfair tax. This toll has been a burden for the residents and businesses of our community for far too long.”

Under the provisions of the bill, the discount program was expected to go into immediate effect once the budget was signed at the end of March. However, according to the MTA, residents may not see benefits until July 1 at the latest.

“It’s fully funded. The MTA, as of April 1, has the money necessary to give local residents a rebate for the toll,” Goldfeder said. “I’m urging them, and I have been urging them, to implement it as soon as possible at no cost to them. It’s in the state budget.”

An MTA spokesperson said the money first has to be transferred from the state to the MTA before it goes from the MTA to Bridges and Tunnels. In the meantime, the representative said, all E-Z Pass tags have to be reprogrammed, which may take a couple of months in total.

“As far as we’re concerned, all they have to do is electronically press a button. They’re playing games. The money is there. Do what you’re supposed to do. Don’t make us wait any longer,” said Democratic Assembly District Leader Lew Simon.

Simon said residents of the peninsula are prepared to “march across the Cross Bay Bridge in thousands” in order to send a “clear message” to the MTA.

“We’re not going to take it,” he said. “The money is in the budget, the budget should start right away — not by July 1.”

Congressmember Turner briefs Broad Channel


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Congresmember Turner

Congressmember Bob Turner attended the Broad Channel Civic Association meeting on Thursday, January 26 to update residents on his first five months in office, and to assure them that he is addressing their local concerns.  Turner spoke before a packed room at the Shad Creek VFW in Broad Channel.

“The Broad Channel Civic Association has done an outstanding job highlighting the challenges facing the community and I am committed to working closely with them as their congressmember. All the areas I am honored to represent should know that their unique and local issues will be priorities of my office,” Turner said.

Specifically, he noted the successful effort to include a resident toll discount for the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for Broad Channel in the governors’ proposed budget. Turner, who contacted Governor Andrew Cuomo and MTA Chairman Joe Lhota about the unfairness of the toll on Broad Channel residents stated, “I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder and Broad Channnel on this issue, and am pleased that Governor Cuomo has recognized that local residents should not have to pay a toll to conduct basic daily activities.”

In addition, the congressmember mentioned his meeting with representatives of National Grid and emphasized the importance of bringing natural gas to Broad Channel, the only area of New York City still without access to natural gas.

Turner also gave an overview of his first five months in office, including his committee appointments, trips to Afghanistan and Israel, and focus on creating jobs and preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Turner praised the efforts of Broad Channel Civic Association and its president, Dan Mundy Jr., and his father, past president, Dan Mundy, Sr., for their hard work and dedication.

“The Mundys know the issues inside and out and have been enormously helpful to me and my office in addressing important Broad Channel and Rockaway issues.”