Tag Archives: College Point

College Point principal resigns after protests and allegations


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

The so-called “terror-driven reign” of a College Point principal is over.

Jennifer Jones-Rogers resigned as head of P.S. 29 last week, education officials confirmed, after dozens in the community urged the city to fire her earlier this summer.

“I think that this is a step in the right direction, but it’s not everything,” said Gloria Huachamber, who has a 9-year-old son in the school. “Why did this happen in the first place? As much as I am happy, what happens to all the damage that was done? We need to follow the trail.”

Critics said Jones-Rogers wrongfully placed a handful of students in special education classes without notifying parents and created a “hostile environment” that drove away teachers and caused parents to pull their kids from the elementary school.

“The behavior of Principal Jones-Rogers as described by parents and teachers was simply unacceptable, and it became clear that she had lost control of the school,” said State Senator Tony Avella.

Jones-Rogers quit October 8, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Education (DOE) said. 

Jill Leaky-Eisenberg, a veteran educator with more than 20 years of experience under her belt, replaces her. She was the assistant principal of P.S. 21 in Flushing before the switch, the DOE said.

“I don’t think this was a resigning. I think this was more avoiding the issue. People don’t just leave overnight,” Huachamber said. 

According to the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), Jones-Rogers recently gave birth and is leaving to support her husband’s new job out of New York.

“We’re very happy that her husband got a great, new job out of state and they’re moving,” said CSA spokesperson Chiara Coletti. “I’m sure she’ll continue to work there.”

About two dozen parents and teachers rallied in front of P.S. 29 in August to call on the city to fire Jones-Rogers and start an investigation into apparent mismanagement of funds.

Educators say she did not provide a copy of the school’s budget to the United Federation of Teachers chapter president for the past two years as required and also got rid of the school’s library and computer lab.

The principal’s bullish tactics were also allegedly used on teachers who complained about her, according to many who said they had their desks taken away as punishment.

“Now there’s peace at the school — for now,” Huachamber said.

According to Avella, the Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation probed the administrator’s handlings.

Jones-Rogers could not be reached for comment.

A similar rally held last year to remove an unpopular principal at Martin Van Buren High School yielded the same result.

Marilyn Shevell, who was called an “ineffective leader” by members of the PTA and community, retired from the Queens Village school last July after the protest, according to the DOE.

Van Buren has since improved a full letter grade from a “D” to a “C” under new leadership from Sam Sochet, the latest progress report shows.

P.S. 29 scored a “B” on its most recent report. The school received an “A” in 2010 during Jones-Rogers’ first term.

 

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Forklift falls, kills mechanic in College Point warehouse


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A mechanic working inside a College Point warehouse Thursday morning was crushed and killed by a forklift, a police source said.

The machine used for lifting heavy loads fell on top of the man, whose identity was not yet released, shortly before 11 a.m. on October 3, according to an NYPD spokesperson.

The man suffered severe body trauma, authorities said, and was pronounced dead on scene at 28-00 College Point Boulevard.

Nearby construction workers said about 20 warehouse employees are constantly seen moving forklifts in and out of the facility daily.

“Accidents happen a lot when you’re dealing with heavy machinery,” said James Garabedian, a nearby iron worker. “But people getting pinned by a forklift – that usually doesn’t happen.”

It was unclear which company ran the warehouse. A man who identified himself to police as being in charge of the warehouse declined to comment.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was on site investigating the incident.

Check back with The Queens Courier for updates on this developing story.

 

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Concern in College Point over police tow pound


| mchan@queenscourier.com

College Point leaders fear crumbling roads in an already congested neighborhood will not be able to handle a new police tow pound that “magically appeared” out of nowhere.

State Senator Tony Avella said NYPD tow trucks have been bringing cars in and out of College Point Corporate Park for more than two weeks without first alerting the community.

“This is going to have a major impact on the local area,” he said. “You have tow trucks coming and going all hours of the day and night. You now have more congestion in that area.”

The 31-22 College Point Boulevard lot in the industrial, retail center is approximately 174,000 square feet, according to a spokesperson for the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).

The NYCEDC oversees the corporate park but has not run the property in question since November 2012, the spokesperson said.

Local leaders said they know little about the use and duration of the operation. An NYPD spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.

“This just magically appeared maybe three weeks ago,” said Andrew Rocco, president of the College Point Civic and Taxpayers Association. “Nobody was informed about it.”

Rocco said the tow pound would increase traffic on deteriorating roads marked with potholes. The area’s infrastructure also has to hold a new police academy currently being built, he said.

“There’s going to be 5,000 people coming in and out of there,” he said. “It’s just one insult after another.”

Avella said the tow pound is also operating without having gone through a lengthy vetting process called a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which seeks feedback from the community board, borough president, Planning Commission and City Council.

Community Board 7 declined to comment at this time.

“The streets are falling apart,” said Joe Femenia of College Point. “The idea of a corporate park is bringing in businesses. When you put in a municipal work there, it counts as zero.”

“They keep sticking things in this district,” Femenia said. “That’s a cause for concern.”

 

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City looking to sell four undevelopable lots in northeast Queens


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Graphic courtesy of DCAS

Community Board 7 gave the city permission this week to dispose of four vacant lots that are too small to develop.

The city’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) needed approval from the board on September 23 to remove the properties from its inventory in order to sell in the future.

The tiny plots of land in Mitchell-Linden, Flushing, College Point and Whitestone were created erroneously “when somebody just made a mistake in the 50s and 60s,” according to DCAS senior planner Christian Grove.

The four properties were all acquired by the city for free, between 1955 and 1988, through the in-rem tax foreclosure process, according to a DCAS spokesperson.

DCAS representatives said the department would offer each of the four plots to adjacent owners but did not plan to subdivide and sell in pieces.

“These are small. These are not developable, like we could put a house on. You would just walk right by them,” Grove said. “But they do have some value to the adjacent owners.”

“It could be a patch of grass in between the homes, and they just don’t realize it’s city-owed,” Grove continued. “Here’s an opportunity for them to keep it.”

One three-foot-wide lot in Murray Hill is 1,500 square feet and borders 22 privately-owned buildings between 161st and 162nd Streets and 35th Avenue and Northern Boulevard, according to DCAS.

Another is only 252 square feet and joins three properties in College Point near 119th Street and 9th Avenue.

It was unclear how much money the city would seek for the properties.

None of the four lots have been appraised yet, a DCAS spokesperson said.

Community Board 7 also approved a second DCAS application to disown another property at 135-15 40th Road in Flushing.

DCAS plans to dispose of the property to NYC Land Development Corp, an entity of the city’s Economic Development Corp. The land will then be sold to developer Success 88 for $1.5 million.

A representative for the developer said the proposed six-story building would have commercial space at its base and office space above.

It would also have a community facility, which includes a school for English learners, and would have energy-efficient components.

If the $3.5 million project is approved by the city, construction would begin in 2015, the community board said.

 

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New life for Queens youth football league


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

When College Point resident Mariella Toufos was searching for a youth football league for her son, she held the same concerns most parents do.

Will the contact be too rough? How about the coaching?

Then she heard about the Whitepoint Wolverines. Online reviews were positive and the team’s website looked attractive with its pictures and videos. So she decided to give the team a try. And after taking her son to his first practice with the Wolverines’ travel team at Memorial Field in Flushing, her worries were gone.

“I’m very excited and my son is very excited,” Toufos said. “Based on what I’ve seen today, it seems like they’re very organized, very structured, so I’m looking forward to the season.”

Over the past two years, the Wolverines have reintroduced themselves to the Whitestone, College Point and Flushing neighborhoods with a new system and fresh coaching.

The league currently has about 300 players spread out in various age divisions, with the oldest players age 13.

Decades ago, it was a flourishing program with thousands of children, but gradually diminished after developing a bad reputation from coaches that treated young players too harshly, according to parents and league administrators.

Then Mike McCutchen stepped in as president and about two years ago began to reform the league. He focused the program more on teaching the young players the fundamentals of the game from every aspect rather than focusing on winning.

He also got former standout college players, semi-pros and high school coaches to pitch in. Now even a player with NFL experience has signed on to coach the children.

Native Brooklynite Jeremiah Brown, who played for Wagner College in Staten Island and was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, started to help coach the league this year.

“New York City is rough for football players to reach their dreams or come close to getting a scholarship sometimes,” Brown said. “I just have that passion to give back to the youth, period.”

There are flag football and tackle football divisions along with the travel team, which is for older players looking for more competition.

Many of the athletes go on to local high school teams such as Cardozo, Bayside and Flushing high schools, McCutchen said.

Games do not begin until September, but every Saturday morning until the season starts the league is holding free clinics about fundamentals at Memorial Field.

“Our main goal here really is to teach the game and keep children out of trouble,” McCutchen said.

 

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Mailers direct Whitestone voters to wrong polling sites


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

An apparent mistake by the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) would have had Whitestone residents voting in Forest Hills during the upcoming primary.

About 100 people in Whitestone, College Point, Malba and Beechhurst were sent BOE mailers last week directing them to vote more than six miles away, double the distance of their usual polling place, a local civic leader said.

The 61-20 Grand Central Parkway poll site listed on the notices is on the border between Corona and Forest Hills.

“I’ve been in Whitestone for 27 years. I’ve always voted at P.S. 193. It’s four blocks from my house,” said resident George Mirtsopoulos, 58. “I get this notice saying I’m voting in Forest Hills. I thought it was ridiculous.”

Mirtsopoulos, Malba Gardens Civic president Alfredo Centola and the area’s city councilmember said they alerted the elections board of the blunder.

The BOE first told residents the change was due to recent redistricting and later switched to say it was a “glitch” that sent voters in the 11357 ZIP code to poll sites in the 11375 area, residents said. The two numbers differ only by switching the last two digits.

“You should check and double check,” Mirtsopoulos said. “Somebody should have said, ‘Wait. They live in Whitestone, why are they voting in Forest Hills?’ The bells and whistles should have gone off a little bit.”

The mailer blindsided multiple residents, mostly the elderly, who did not take immediate notice of change in poll site, Mirtsopoulos said.

“A lot of people on my block didn’t even realize it,” he said. “It would have caused a lot of confusion.”

Councilmember Dan Halloran — who awaits trial for bribery but represents the district for the remainder of the year — said his office “was flooded with calls from angry or upset people.”

He said an 84-year-old widow named Marilyn would not have traveled to Forest Hills despite voting in every election since 1955.

Residents who called the BOE to complain were told new mailers with the correct poll site would be sent out soon, but the Board had no immediate comment for the press.

 

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Woman claims College Point condo discriminated against her disability


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A paralyzed Queens woman is suing a national real estate development company, claiming a newly built College Point condominium discriminated against her disability, a lawsuit said.

The suit filed August 8 claims AVR Realty violated fair housing and human rights laws when it rejected Suzanne Vilchez’s request to make her newly purchased condo unit more handicapped accessible.

Vilchez is restricted to a wheelchair and has limited movement in her hands, fingers and arms, the lawsuit said.

She and her mother, Maria Coello, put a deposit down in August 2009 for a two-bedroom unit at Powell Cove Estates, a new 220-unit waterfront condo community, according to legal documents.

They said they were granted requests then by a sales representative for a levered door, an accessible patio, a lowered bathroom light switch and a roll-in shower, among other accommodations.

But the pair, who had sold their family home, was told a year later the doors could not be changed and the patio could not be modified to be made more accessible, the lawsuit said.

The federal Fair Housing Amendments Act mandates new multi-family residential buildings, with at least four units, be designed and built to have minimum accessibility features for the disabled.

It also requires building owners to make “reasonable exceptions” to policies and operations in accommodating people with disabilities and to allow tenants to pay for and make modifications.

AVR Realty declined to comment.

A discrimination complaint Vilchez filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is still “under active investigation,” the department said.

 

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West Nile spraying in Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

On Monday, August 5 there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:15 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Tuesday, August 6 during the same hours.

Part of the following neighborhoods: Auburndale, College Point, Flushing, Linden Hill, Malba, Murray Hill and Whitestone.

Bordered by: Cross Island Parkway, 149 Street and 20th Avenue to the North; 124th Street, College Point Boulevard, Northern Boulevard and Union Street to the West; Sanford Avenue and Northern Boulevard to the South; and Utopia Parkway to the East.

Parts of the following zip codes: 11354, 11355, 11356, 11357 and 11361.

For the sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10 a synthetic
pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department  recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Teachers, parents demand firing of College Point elementary school principal


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Several parents and teachers in College Point want the city to end what they claim is an elementary school principal’s terror-driven reign.

They said Jennifer Jones-Rogers of P.S. 29 has wrongfully placed a handful of students in special education classes without notifying parents.

Critics also say the administrator’s “hostile environment” has driven away droves of teachers and has caused parents to pull their kids from the school.

“It is a shame that one person can do so much harm,” said parent Linda Briones, who has since transferred her child out of the school.

Marisol Chavez said her nine-year-old son Lukas “came crying home” at the start of the school year when he was put into a special education class.

“He said, ‘I don’t want to be in that class. I don’t belong in that class,’” Chavez said.

He spent a week there before Chavez was able to straighten out the mishap.

“I had to fight it. They made me cry,” she said. “She said my son would never perform well in another setting, that he will never succeed. It was horrible.”

The principal’s bullish tactics are also allegedly used on teachers who complain about her. Many said they had their desks taken away as punishment.

“It is clear that the principal has lost control of the school,” said State Senator Tony Avella, who joined about two dozen people at a rally on August 1.

The group called for the city to fire Jones-Rogers and start an investigation into apparent mismanagement of funds.

Educators say she has not provided a copy of the school’s budget to the United Federation of Teachers chapter president for the past two years as required.

Jones-Rogers is also accused of getting rid of the school’s library and computer lab.

“The current administrator at our school has created a learning and working environment that is detrimental to all,” said Stephanie Flunory, a second grade teacher.

P.S. 29 scored a “B” on its most recent city progress report. The school received an “A” in 2010 during the principal’s first term.

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Education said the department is “aware of the concerns” and will address them.

The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) vouched for Jones-Rogers, saying she is “widely considered to be a fine school leader.”

“This is a typical case of a handful of disgruntled people and a politician who is looking to further his constituent base in an election season,” said CSA Executive Vice President Mark Cannizzaro.

Jones-Rogers could not be immediately reached for comment.

 

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Bellerose residents demand mosquito help after years with no West Nile spraying


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CDC

Bellerose residents say they live in a forgotten land when it comes to the city’s efforts to eliminate mosquitoes.

“You can’t go outside. You can’t make it from your car to your front door,” said Maria Donza.

The bloodsuckers are keeping residents on house arrest and even alert indoors, said Donza, who added she sits with a bottle of bug spray at home.

The city has not sprayed the area since before 2011.

Pesticide was scheduled for Bellerose in August 2011, but the order was eventually canceled, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) website.

The department recently targeted neighborhoods north of Bellerose, spraying parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Douglaston Manor, Glen Oaks, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens on July 25 and early the next day.

“Everywhere else in Queens has been mostly getting sprayed,” said resident AJ Sonnick. “I don’t understand why Bellerose has been forgotten.”

The 20-year-old said he was bitten four times in the 20 minutes he was in his backyard the other day.

“This is a beautiful neighborhood. It’s a great neighborhood to live,” Sonnick said. “It’s a shame that we just can’t sit outside.”

A DOHMH spokesperson said Bellerose has not been sprayed because no West Nile Virus activity has been detected there.

The virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause encephalitis and meningitis.

Insects carrying the potentially fatal virus were recently found in Auburndale, College Point, Holliswood, Middle Village, Pomonok and the areas north of Bellerose sprayed last week.

The pesticide is taken as a last resort in areas where there is a high risk of West Nile Virus transmission, the department said.

Catch basins in Bellerose have been treated with larvicide twice this season.

“Though there may be an increase in floodwater mosquitoes citywide, these mosquitoes do not transmit West Nile Virus,” the DOHMH spokesperson said.

However, State Senator Tony Avella said the city should take measures before Bellerose makes the infected list.

“Every year, we have deaths from West Nile Virus. Every year, it resurfaces,” he said. “So why don’t we do a much more proactive spraying to reduce that population rather than wait until it explodes on us?”

Mosquitoes “don’t know what a boundary is on a map” and can fly into new nearby territories, the legislator added.

The city urged residents to call 3-1-1 to report standing water, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

 

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Two Queens soccer players signed to Cosmos


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos By Angy Altamirano

David Diosa and Sebastián Guenzatti are kicking their way to the top, as both were signed to be part of the returning New York Cosmos.

The Cosmos, which were once based in New York and featured the likes of famed soccer player Pelé, are making a comeback to the North American Soccer League this August.

On the roster, fans will find Diosa, 20, from Jackson Heights and Guenzatti, 22, from College Point.

Colombian-born Diosa started playing soccer at age 4 and came to the United States when he was 10. He played soccer in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park on a team called Bolaños and went on to play with other local teams. Diosa also shone bright as he helped Martin Luther King High School’s soccer team win the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) soccer championship four years in a row.

Diosa later became part of the Cosmos youth academy, where he played for the under-18 and under-23 teams.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “I was waiting for this moment since the academy, so I feel glad to play here, feel honored to play here, to be part of the team and to be part of the legendary club.”

Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese finds it rewarding to have a player like Diosa on the team. Savarese believes the acquisition shows the work that went into the academy paid off.

“Diosa has a great passion for the game, great commitment,” he said. “He has been doing great and he has been growing very rapidly and developing in his game to be a player that can bring things that we don’t have.”

Guenzatti, who began playing soccer at age 4 in Uruguay, caught Savarese’s eye when he played for him at another local academy in the under-17 and under-18 teams.

“He was always a player that I liked. I felt that he had the potential to become a good pro,” said Savarese. “I felt that it was the right time for him to be part of this.”

After playing soccer for Francis Lewis High School for four years, Guenzatti went on to play for two Uruguayan teams.

Savarese then gave him a call to return to New York and try out for the Cosmos.

“I got a little experience over there and now coming here and playing with players I used to see on T.V. and I used to follow – it feels good,” said Guenzatti.

For both Diosa and Guenzatti, it is still surreal to be playing on the same team with players they watched on television for years. But they hope to learn from other teammates and grow together. Both are also thankful to their families.

“I will just work hard [and] listen to the people who are older than me — that have more experience — and get more experience out of this, too,” said Guenzatti.

The Cosmos’ home opener is on August 3 against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium.

 

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West Nile spraying in Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

On Tuesday, July 9, Wednesday, July 10 and Thursday, July 11, there will be West Nile spraying in Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease in the following marsh and other non-residential areas:

Alley Pond Park: Alley Creek Marsh (areas inside Alley Pond Park)

Linden Hill/College Point: Abandoned Flushing Airport (Marsh areas bounded by Whitestone Expressway to the east; 20th Avenue to the north; 130th Avenue and Ulmer Street to the west; and Ulmer Street and 28th Street to the south)

Edgemere, Somerville: Dubos Point and Edgemere Park (Marsh areas bounded by Norton Basin to the east; Mott Point to the north; Grass Hassock Channel to the west; and Beach 65th Street, De Costa Avenue and Almeda Avenue to the south)

The spraying will take place between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Wednesday, July 10, Thursday July 11 and Friday, June 12 during the same hours.

VectoBac™ CG, VectoMax™ CG/FG and/or VectoLex™ CG/FG – all containing naturally occurring bacteria—will be used for this spraying. These larvicides are used throughout the mosquito season to treat mosquito breeding sites, and are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York  State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

College Point residents say big rigs a nuisance


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Some College Point residents are tired of being kept awake.

Neighbors of a 24-hour truck company at 129-16 14th Avenue say dozens of loud, heavy-duty vehicles come and go at all hours of the night and into the early morning.

“It’s rough. We like to have our windows open in the summer. They’re running their trucks, going up and down the block. It wakes people up,” said David Toic, 34. “We don’t want to be sleeping and all of a sudden hear trucks running.”

More than 20 people have signed a petition calling for action against the company, TNP Trucking.

Turan Ates, who has been leading the fight for 17 years, said the daily disturbances keep his 11-year-old daughter tossing and turning in bed.

“I can’t wake her up in the morning for school,” said the 47-year-old father of three. “These people, they don’t let us sleep. We shouldn’t be living like that.”

Ates has filed nearly 90 complaints with the city since 2011, officials said. He claims trucks constantly idle for more than three minutes, the maximum time frame under city law.

“They come here, pick up a coffee and leave their trucks on for hours,” he said. “It’s not just one truck. There are 20 trucks. When they come here, they park their trucks all around the block completely.”

Dominick Sciallo, who lives directly across the street from the truck yard, said vehicles dominate the street.

“It’s a disaster over here,” he said.

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Environmental Protection said it has conducted 70 inspections but never found any violations.

A TNP Trucking official said vehicles come and go because they work around the clock, hauling beams and debris away from city emergencies on highways, tunnels and bridges.

“If the city had a big emergency, we would be called in,” said David Francis, who runs TNP’s College Point headquarters. “If this is a 24-hour operation, where am I supposed to go?”

Francis said the company is unionized under Teamsters Local 282 and has been in business for more than 30 years. Newly bought trucks have clean air equipment to reduce toxins, he added.

“We’re not doing anything wrong,” Francis said.

 

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West Nile spraying in Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

On Wednesday June, 12 and Thursday, June 13 there will be West Nile spraying in Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease in the following areas:

Alley Pond Park: Alley Creek Marsh (areas inside Alley Pond Park)

Linden Hill/College Point: Abandoned Flushing Airport (Marsh areas bounded by Whitestone Expressway to the east; 20th Avenue to the north; 130th Avenue and Ulmer Street to the west; and Ulmer Street and 28th Street to the south)

Edgemere, Somerville: Dubos Point and Edgemere Park (Marsh areas bounded by Norton Basin to the east; Mott Point to the north; Grass Hassock Channel to the west; and Beach 65th Street, De Costa Avenue and Almeda Avenue to the south)

The spraying will take place between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, June 13 and Friday, June 14 during the same hours.

West Nile virus has not yet been detected anywhere in New York City this season, according to the Health Department.

VectoBac™ CG, VectoMax™ CG/FG and/or VectoLex™ CG/FG – all containing naturally occurring bacteria—will be used for this spraying. These larvicides are used throughout the mosquito season to treat mosquito breeding sites, and are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York  State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Call for middle school to replace St. Fidelis in College Point


| mchan@queenscourier.com

More than 200 residents in College Point have signed a petition calling for a middle school to replace soon-to-be shuttered St. Fidelis School.

“With St. Fidelis closing, we didn’t see it as a crisis but an opportunity,” said Andrew Rocco, president of the College Point Civic and Taxpayers Association. “People are flooding into College Point for the quality of life and great neighborhood. Why should we not have basic infrastructure like a middle school?”

The century-old Catholic elementary school at 124-06 14th Avenue will close this month due to declining enrollment and increased operating costs, The Courier previously reported.

Neighboring parishes will take in St. Fidelis students in the meantime, said Thomas Chadzutko, superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

But local leaders are pushing the city’s Department of Education (DOE) to consider replacing the pre-K through eighth grade institution.

“The population in College Point is increasing dramatically,” said State Senator Tony Avella. “The community has been asking for a middle school for the last five years.”

The lawmaker added that area students have to travel outside their neighborhood to attend junior high. It took some seventh and eighth graders two hours to get to and from J.H.S. 194 when the city temporarily took away yellow school bus service in 2010.

A DOE spokesperson said St. Fidelis is still being reviewed for a potential lease.

It could become another elementary school to ease overcrowding at College Point’s two existing pre-K through fifth grade facilities. However, local leaders say a middle school would be more helpful.

“We’re getting things put into our neighborhood that service the entire city, yet we can’t have basic infrastructure needs,” said Rocco, pointing to the new police academy and waste transfer station at College Point.

Community Board 7’s education committee does not have an official stance on the issue. But Chairperson Arlene Fleishman, a former District 25 school board president, said the district needs more elementary school seats. She rejected the idea that College Point needs a middle school because students currently have to go outside their neighborhood.

“All our children, no matter where they live, have to travel to middle schools,” she said, “and high schools are even further.”

Darren Kaplan of College Point said the area would ideally get both a middle and elementary school to accommodate new members of the growing population.

“The middle school situation is ridiculous,” the 52-year-old father said. “It’s a mess.”

Rocco said congested elementary schools now will only lead to overcrowded middle schools later.

“It’s not rocket science,” he said. “It’s pretty obvious. If the two elementary schools have kids packed in trailers outside, then there’s going to be a need for a junior high school because that’s next.”

 

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