Tag Archives: Corona

Rusty trailers to be removed from overcrowded Corona elementary school


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

The largest elementary school in the city is getting much-needed room for students to grow and learn.

P.S. 19, located at 98-2 Roosevelt Ave. in Corona, is known for its overcrowded hallways and for students attending classes in trailers, also called Temporary Classroom Units. The school is the largest elementary school in the city by student enrollment and one of the most overcrowded in Queens.

For years, parents and local leaders have fought to remove the trailers, five of which were placed at the school in 1994 and a larger one that was placed on site in 1987, and bring their children back into the school.

On Friday, parents and city officials gathered in front one of the six trailers at the school to announce that the “decades-old, rusty” transportables would be removed and that a new addition is expected to be constructed for the Corona school.

The removal of the trailers and construction of the new building are funded through the Smart Schools Bond Act.

“For too long, P.S. 19 has been inadvertently punished for its own success. What’s remarkable about P.S. 19 is in spite of bursting at the seams from chronic capacity issues and trailers breaking down, the school’s learning environment remains strong and the school performs consistently well,” Borough President Melinda Katz said.

The five smaller trailers at P.S. 19 accommodate 250 students into seven kindergarten and three first-grade classrooms. The larger trailer fits 250 more students into 11 classrooms from grades one through five.

Problems faced in the trailers included frequent breaking down of heating and air conditioning.

“When my son was in kindergarten he was always upset about going to school,” said Rafaela Vivalo, a mother of a second-grader at the school. “He had to learn in a trailer and was always cold and wet during the winter — his feet never had time to dry, since they had to go inside and outside multiple times a day to the main building.”

In spring 2016 the design process for P.S. 19’s new building will be completed and by that summer all the trailers are expected to be removed. During the construction of the new building, 500 incoming students will be temporarily relocated to P.S. 315’s new building on 43rd Avenue, but will still be considered part of P.S. 19.

“It is unacceptable that some of our children are playing musical chairs in the schools within the bounds of the greatest city of the world,” state Senator Jose Peralta said. “I urge swift action on the welcomed addition and look forward to supporting P.S. 19 throughout the process.”

Construction is expected to be completed by the 2018-2019 school year and the relocated students will return to P.S. 19.

“We have worked long and hard to end overcrowding in Corona, and the expansion of P.S. 19 is a milestone in our progress,” said Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who attended the elementary school. “We’re giving our kids a quality space to learn and thrive.”

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New cleaning initiative comes to Corona


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras' office

Corona will soon be shining brighter as a new cleaning initiative takes to the streets of the western Queens neighborhood.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras announced Friday the start of Cleanup NYC in the community. The $3.5 million City Council initiative allocated $70,000 to every district, including District 21, for street cleaning.

After receiving the allocation, Ferreras contracted the Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE) to oversee the cleaning services in Corona.

“Cleanup NYC is going to make Corona a better place to live and shop,” Ferreras said. “It’s about community, it’s about cleaning up our commercial districts and it’s about bringing young men who may not have had an opportunity in the past for them to know that here in this corner of Queens that we care about [them].”

(THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano)

(THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano)

Since December, a crew of five men who have completed ACE’s training programs have been sweeping, emptying trash cans and removing graffiti. The men, wearing neon yellow work vests, are out in the neighborhood five days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Our purpose here is greater than cleaning the streets, it’s also providing employment opportunities and vocation and rehabilitation opportunities to folks that struggle in this community,” said Jim Martin, executive director of ACE.

The cleanup, which will continue until June 30, takes place on 108th Street between Northern Boulevard and 37th Avenue; Corona Avenue from 104th Street to Otis Avenue; along 103rd Street from 37th to Nichols Avenue; and from 94th Street to 104th Street on 37th Avenue.

These boundaries were chosen based on a large number of requests made by constituents.

“You’d be surprised at the number of garbage-related injuries we treat. Children will fall on nails or their parents will get infected trying to clean dirt off the street where their children play,” said Helen Artiaga, director of Plaza del Sol Family Health Center, located at 37-16 108th St. “I was very excited when I heard we’d get additional cleaning in the area.”

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Fire safety education campaign launched at LeFrak City following fatal New Year’s Eve blaze


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

A new campaign has been launched at LeFrak City to help educate residents to prevent a tragedy like the New Year’s Eve fire, which killed three people, from occurring again.

Just minutes before ringing in 2015, an unattended pot of a traditional Haitian soup cooking on a stove sparked a fire that left three dead in their Corona apartment and sent flames shooting from the ninth-floor balcony, officials said.

The FDNY determined the blaze was accidental, and no working smoke detectors were found in the home.

Police identified the victims, all residents of the apartment, as Nadia Donnay, 37, Louise Jean-Charles, 59, and Napolean Michel, 69.

In response to the fire, state Sen. Jose Peralta, together with the FDNY, LeFrak City Organization and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, announced on Thursday the launch of a fire safety education campaign for the apartment complex. 

“New Yorkers awoke on New Year’s Day to news of the horrific tragedy that struck LeFrak City just as we were all ringing in 2015 and looking forward to the promise the new year held for us and our loved ones,” Peralta said.

During this campaign, the FDNY will conduct fire safety education presentations for tenants on Jan. 14 and Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Continental Room of the Rome Tower of LeFrak City, located at 96-10 57th Ave. 

Food Bazaar Supermarkets donated $500 worth of smoke detector batteries, which will be available to tenants who attend the presentations, made possible by the FDNY Foundation.

“The lesson from the fire is that a working smoke alarm can be a life-saving piece of home safety equipment,” Peralta said. “An operating smoke detector provides a quick and early warning, providing the extra few seconds needed to escape a fire and potential tragedy.”

According to Gerald Rivera, general manager of LeFrak City Maintenance Services, owners are required to periodically replace smoke detectors upon expiration of their life, which is about 10 years. The replacements must then have a non-removable and non-replaceable battery that gives power to the alarm for a minimum of 10 years.

“LeFrak City has a proactive program to replace all campus detectors over a two-year period, a full year in advance of the required deadline,” Rivera said. “Since December 2013, we have replaced 1,600 of the old smoke detectors and will complete all remaining 3,006 replacements by the end of 2015.”

Malikah K. Shabazz, a tenant and president of the LeFrak City Tenants’ Association, said she will inform other tenants about the presentation by working with management to post notices on each floor and in the lobby, and send emails reminding people.

“We get comfortable and take a lot of things for granted and a lot of times we have to constantly be reminded to take precautions when you’re cooking or whatever you are doing that uses flame. You just have to be very careful,” Shabazz said. “It’s a blessing for them to come into our community and assist us in any way that they can.”

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Police looking for gold charm thief


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A thief with a penchant for gold jewelry stole from two Queens businesses last year, according to authorities.

He first targeted a Corona jewelry store at 97-09 Roosevelt Ave. at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 22. The suspect then stole from Gem Pawn Brokers at 90-26 Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 20.

The suspect took the jewelry by asking to see several gold charms at each store and then would distract the employee while he would swipe one of the charms before fleeing.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Police looking for man who tried to rape woman in western Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A woman fought off a man who tried to rape her on a western Queens street last month, police said.

The 24-year-old victim was walking on 43rd Avenue, within the 110th Precinct, which covers Corona and Elmhurst, about 2:40 a.m. on Dec. 20 when the suspect grabbed her from behind, cops said. He then placed his hands around her mouth, pulled her to the ground and attempted to sexually assault her, cops said.

The woman was able to fight off the suspect, who then fled. She suffered no physical injuries.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic, about 5 feet 5 inches tall and 130 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair and pocked skin. He was last seen wearing black sneakers and a brown jacket, and carrying a black backpack.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Corona church closes ‘until further notice’ after electrical fire


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2:10 p.m.

Devoted parishioners of Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church will have to find another place to worship next week after a Sunday morning blaze ripped through their beloved sanctuary.

Church officials are not sure how long it will take to make the extensive repairs. But crews were already at work Monday.

The fire broke out at 5:45 a.m. on the first floor of Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church, located at 104-11 37th Ave., not long before parishioners were expected to begin attending the first Sunday morning Mass, the FDNY said.

According to published reports, Monsignor Thomas Healy of Our Lady of Sorrows led prayers outside the church Sunday after having to cancel all masses.

Two firefighters were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital with minor injuries.

Fire marshals determined Monday that the cause of the fire was electrical due to wiring in the organ pipe tower.

According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, the church has close to 12,000 to 13,000 parishioners and has been serving the community since 1872.

“All of our shrines, churches and cathedrals are sacred and special in their own individual ways. What makes Our Lady of Sorrows stand out is that it is a parish of immigrants in the Diocese of Immigrants,”  the Diocese of Brooklyn said in a statement.

On Monday the block in front of the church remained closed off by police tape, as construction crews worked on repairing the site. There are flyers posted around the block letting residents and parishioners know that there are no Mass services until further notice.

According to a receptionist at Our Lady of Sorrows, it could take one to two weeks for the doors of the church to open again because they want to make sure the area is safe and clean.

Weekday and Sunday Mass services have been now moved to the auditorium of Our Lady Of Sorrows Catholic Academy, located at 35-34 105th St. For the service schedule, visit www.olschurch-corona.org.

The school itself was closed Monday because electricity had to be shut off due to the fire. Classes are expected to resume Tuesday, according to the school’s website.

“The Diocese of Brooklyn is fully committed to helping this church rebuild so that it may continue serving its faithful community as it has been doing since 1872,”  the Diocese of Brooklyn said in the statement. “As we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, let us pray for our fellow parishioners in Corona during this time of rebuilding.”

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New Year’s Eve cooking accident caused deadly fire at LeFrak City: officials


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube/Orest Petrychyn

Updated Friday, Jan. 2, 10:38 a.m.

An unattended pot of soup cooking on a stove sparked a horrific New Year’s Eve fire that left three dead in their LeFrak City apartment and sent flames shooting from the ninth-floor balcony, officials said.

The blaze was reported by a call to 911 at 11:46 p.m. on Wednesday and quickly went to a second alarm.

More than 100 firefighters responded to the fire at the 16-story apartment tower at 96-02 57th Ave. in Corona. After firefighters battled their way through a smoke-filled hallway, they found two women and a man unconscious and unresponsive in Apt. 9C.

All three were pronounced dead at area hospitals.

Police identified the victims, all residents of the apartment, as Nadia Donnay, 37, Louise Jean-Charles, 59, and Napolean Michel, 69.

Donnay and Jean-Charles were taken to Elmhurst Hospital. Michel was taken to Forest Hills Hospital.

The family was preparing a traditional Haitian New Year’s Eve soup on the stove that night when it was left unattended, causing the fire, according to officials. The FDNY determined the blaze was accidental and no working smoke alarms were found in the home.

“Right away, we took our jackets and we started knocking on the doors letting people know there’s a fire,” one resident told WCBS TV. “There was smoke all over the place.”

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries.

According to a LeFrak City Organization spokesman, the building has no fire violations and the apartment was outfitted with smoke detectors as required by law.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the families of those affected,” the spokesman said. “A smoke detector rider attesting to the presence of this life safety equipment was signed and initialed by the tenant in 2012.”


A YouTube video posted of the fire shows flames shooting from the ninth floor balcony.

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Construction finally set for $20M Louis Armstrong Museum annex


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Louis Armstrong House Museum 

A $20 million annex expansion of the landmarked Louis Armstrong House Museum, named for the famed jazz musician, is on the way after meeting zoning regulations.

Plans have been filed with the Buildings Department on Friday to construct the proposed educational visitors center on vacant land near the museum at 34-49 107th St. in Corona.

Design work on the new center dates as far back as 2007, but construction on the project was stalled due to a necessary variance application from the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA).

The new two-story project needed approval for a waiver to be built closer to neighboring property lines than zoning laws allow.

The BSA gave the project the green light last year, following support from Community Board 3 and the borough president’s office. Now the project is in the construction phase, according to a representative.

The museum is hoping to build the new 8,737-square-foot annex, which is designed by architecture firm Caples Jefferson, for more exhibit space and a store to better accommodate the more than 12,000 visitors who come to the museum each year.

The center will “create a wonderful cultural campus in Corona that allows us to expand our programming for the community and our visitors from around the world,” said Jennifer Walden, director of marketing at the museum.

The museum is a national historic landmark and a New York City landmark dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of the iconic musician.

Armstrong and his wife Lucille lived in the house from 1943 until his death in 1971, and the house was declared a national landmark in 1976.

 

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

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$6K reward offered for info on shooting of pregnant woman in LeFrak City


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Instead of coming together with his family to celebrate Thanksgiving, Joseph Massey had to spend his holiday trying to figure out a way to tell his four children that their mother would never be coming home.

Massey’s wife, 27-year-old Brandee Anastasia Massey, was gunned down outside of her apartment at LeFrak City at 98-15 Horace Harding Expressway in Corona on Wednesday morning, police said. She was about six months pregnant and had been returning from dropping three of her four kids off at school, according to authorities.

The stay-at-home mom was shot in the chest and arm and taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Doctors were able to deliver her baby, but the child died several hours later, according to police.

Now, hoping to develop leads in the murder investigation, state Sen. Jose Peralta and the LeFrak City Organization are each offering $2,000, in addition to the NYPD’s initial $2,000 reward, for any information leading to the arrest of Brandee’s killer.

“As this community mourns a horrific tragedy, we come together to provide however much support and comfort we can to a grieving husband and devastated family,” Peralta said. “But the most important thing we can do for them right now is to help police and law enforcement bring Brandee’s killer to justice and make whoever is responsible pay for this brutal crime.”

Brandee Anastasia Massey (Photo via Facebook)

Brandee Anastasia Massey (Photo via Facebook)

Since the shooting, Joseph Massey and his four children, who have not been able to return back to their home in Lefrak City, have been staying at a hotel. Peralta and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras have helped the family with expenses.

After seeing Massey Thursday night, Peralta said the father is very distraught and just wants justice for his family and children.

“All he said was, ‘I don’t know how to explain it to my children,’” Peralta added.

Peralta will also be creating a fund in the upcoming days to help provide for the education of Massey’s four children.

Norma Cooksey, 77, who lived in LeFrak City for 40 years, was friends with Brandee’s grandmother and said she was shocked when she heard the news.

“She grew up in front of me. She was a nice person,” Cooksey said.

Residents of LeFrak City, which is currently undergoing renovations and improvements, say they are concerned for their safety. The building where Brandee lived currently has no cameras and residents said the front door to enter the building remains unlocked.

“We have to really beef up security. Do we have adequate security here at LeFrak? In my opinion, absolutely not,” said Jim Galloway, coordinator for the Lefrak City Tenant’s League. “After this we need cameras on all the floors as quickly as possible. So if anybody comes in to LeFrak to do something irregular at least we can see them through any camera.”

Police Commissioner William Bratton said Thursday the shooting appears to have been a domestic dispute involving the victim’s uncle and police are looking to question to him, according to published reports.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Pregnant woman fatally shot, baby dies later


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Updated Thursday, Nov. 27, 1:04 p.m.

A pregnant woman was gunned down outside of her Corona apartment Wednesday morning, and died at the hospital along with her baby who initially survived, police said.

The woman, 27-year-old Anastasia Massey, was about to enter her apartment at 98-15 Horace Harding Expwy., part of LeFrak City, about 8:35 a.m. when she was shot, cops said.

The mother had just returned from dropping three of her four kids off at school, according to the New York Post. Her husband was reportedly inside their apartment at the time of the shooting. 

Massey, who was shot in the chest and arm. was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Massey was about six months pregnant and at the hospital doctors were able to deliver her baby, according to police sources. The child survived for several hours, but died Wednesday afternoon.

10806382_10152878742385987_7336219895148980406_n-1

Anastasia Massey (Photo via Facebook)

Police Commissioner William Bratton said Thursday the shooting appears to have been a domestic dispute involving the victim’s uncle and police are looking to question to him, according to published reports.

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Dairy Queen arrives in Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 19, 12:37 p.m.

Dairy Queen opened in Corona this month, bringing its famous soft-serve treats back to the borough for the first time in decades.

The DQ Grill & Chill Restaurant, at 37-39 Junction Blvd., is one of four locations in the city, joining DQs in the Bronx, Staten Island and Manhattan, which just debuted in May.

At least one Dairy Queen existed in the borough prior to the 1980s, according to corporate headquarters, but the Corona eatery is currently the only location in Queens.

The restaurant serves more than just dessert. As its name suggests, it has both a “grill” and “chill” side. Its menu features familiar sweets, including Blizzards, and lunch and dinner items, such as burgers, sandwiches and salads.

Since the Dairy Queen opened on Nov. 11, everything on the menu has been selling, according to assistant manager Gary Holmes.

“Once you order something for dinner, you’re going to have something for dessert,” he said.

Hungry diners looking for a deal can enjoy Dairy Queen’s “$5 Buck Lunch,” which includes crispy fries, a drink and a sundae for dessert.

A week after its opening, which was first reported by DNAinfo, the crowds have been decent, but the restaurant would like to see more customers.

“We are new to the area. We’ve been pretty good,” Holmes said. “But we could always do better.”

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New precinct captain will start ‘Neighborhood Friday’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Captain Brian Hennessy feels like he is back home, and he’s ready to bring the tools that helped him succeed in the 108th Precinct to his new command.

Hennessy is now the commanding officer of the 115th Precinct, which covers East Elmhurst, north Corona and Jackson Heights. He made the move from the 108th Precinct on Nov. 6, replacing Deputy Inspector Michael Cody, who since transferred to the narcotics bureau.

“The 108 was my first command and the community there was outstanding. To have that as my first command I was very lucky and I was very grateful,” Hennessy said about the precinct, which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and parts of Maspeth. “The community [at the 115] is very involved. It’s going to be good.”

The move for Hennessy is like a return back home, because before becoming the commanding officer of the 108th Precinct in May 2013, he was the second in command at the 115th Precinct for about two years.

“Inspector Cody taught me a lot,” Hennessy said. “He left me in good hands. The community here, just like the 108, is very supportive, very involved. So I enjoyed working here and I’m ecstatic to be back.”

Cody placed an emphasis on community, and Hennessy plans to continue that focus. He hopes to build on relationships with community members and bring in new programs to help strengthen the ties.

One of the big programs he hopes to start up soon is what he calls Community Fridays, which he started at his previous post. Every Friday, volunteers from the precinct and community would address quality-of-life issues such as graffiti and abandoned cars left on the streets. Another issue is homelessness, which Hennessy works closely with the Department of Homeless Services to address.

“Whatever was brought up in a community meeting or a blog or anywhere that we did see a complaint on something that needed to be fixed, we went out and took all the volunteers and did one section a week,” he said. “I’m a big proponent of community first. The relationship between the community and police has to be there in order for us to be successful.”

He also plans to bring in a conditions team to the community in which officers are assigned to different neighborhood and build “personal connections and interaction” with residents.

“They can follow up with any issues. It gives a personal face to the command,” Hennessy said.

Hennessy also hopes to work on the bigger issues in the surrounding neighborhoods such as prostitution and illegally vending on Roosevelt Avenue, gang violence and disturbances that come from the local bars and their patrons.

Working on what he began in the 108th Precinct, Hennessy also plans to start a Twitter account for the 115th Precinct because he said there were positive responses from residents at his previous post.

The next community council meeting for the 115th Precinct, which Hennessy will attend, will be held on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at the precinct, 92-15 Northern Blvd.

“You know when you come to the meeting and you give me a complaint, I’m going to personally address it,” Hennessy said. “I’m excited to be back, and I can’t wait to get out there and work with the community and help in any way we can.”

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‘Thank you and God bless you for your unimaginable courage’: Veterans Day essay winner


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Kezia Dickson

One Corona student has stood out from the rest for an essay that came from the heart.

Kezia Dickson, an eighth-grader at I.S. 61, won the inaugural Veterans Day essay competition for students in New York’s 14th Congressional District.

Dickson was recognized on Nov. 5 by U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley for placing first with her 500-word essay out of more than 800 students who participated in the competition. The contest was open to students in grades five through eight. The top essays from each grade were also given congressional recognition.

“Our Veterans Day essay contest was a wonderful opportunity to encourage our youth to reflect upon our nation’s history and salute the members of our armed forces for all their sacrifices,” Crowley said. “Kezia’s essay perfectly captures what it means to commemorate the holiday and underscores the importance of paying tribute to the men and women who protect the freedoms we’ve fought so hard for. “

Dickson, who hopes to one day work in politics, said that when she was writing the article, she wasn’t thinking about winning the contest, but about her uncles and cousins in the armed forces.

“First, I thought it was a joke because when I first wrote the essay I wasn’t doing it for the contest. Veterans Day is something that is really important to me. When I wrote it, that was right from the heart,” she said. “It really meant a lot because I know a lot of people don’t know what Veterans Day is so when I saw that someone took what I wrote to heart and took it seriously it made me feel like I was saying something that really meant a lot.”

The congressman awarded Dickson with an American flag flown over the U.S. Capitol and also presented her with a statement that will be entered into the Congressional Record in honor of her essay.

Veterans Day to Me
By Kezia Dickson

Each day millions of people in the armed forces risk their lives in order to protect us. They put losing their family, friends, and life behind just so that they can protect us. These people show unexplainable bravery and courage. I can’t even imagine putting my life on the line to fight in a war where I may possibly die. When I sit down and think about what these people are doing it blows my mind. I find it so honorable and breath-taking that someone would put themselves in such danger for strangers. That is why when Veterans Day comes along I make sure to do something for those members of the armed forces. This holiday is just a chance for me to say, “Thank you and God bless you for your unimaginable courage and kindness.” I can’t even go on to think about the struggle and pain some of these family members may feel each day as they don’t know if their husband or wife, son or daughter, mother or father is still alive. Just let alone going to sleep without having that type of awareness is hard. Sometimes us Americans take things for granted, especially, our freedom. Most people fail to understand that the freedom we have doesn’t come for free. Sacrifices are made and people end up dying in the process. Veterans Day is very important to me. For some it’s a day where you don’t have to go to work or school. For me it’s a time of reflection and renewal. To know that somebody’s husband/wife, son/daughter, father/mother is dying just so, that I can have my freedom makes me take a step back. It makes me think twice about the actions I’m taking and the things I’m doing right now. I just begin to say to myself, “Is the things I’m doing now worth someone’s life being lost?” I appreciate these members of the armed forces with the deepest gratitude. They’ve helped save my life and protect other millions of Americans. In my family, I have uncles and cousins who have served and are serving now. I understand what they do is very hard and it takes mental, emotional, and physical strength to go through with it. They go through so many obstacles but, they seem to never give up. They make me proud to call myself an American. It is their bravery and audacity that keeps America living. What they do is just unbelievable. Basically, Veterans Day my time to say, “Thank you for saving my life and thank you for your service.”                  

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82nd Street Partnership names new executive director


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Leslie Ramos

The 82nd Street Partnership has welcomed a new face to its family.

After a two-month-long search, the group’s board of directors named Leslie Ramos as the new executive director.

Ramos replaces Seth Taylor, who in August announced his resignation from the position, which he held since 2012. Taylor is now serving as the executive director of the NoHo NY Business Improvement District.

“It’s an honor to join the 82nd Street Partnership,” Ramos said. “To work within such a multicultural and booming community in Jackson Heights is an exciting opportunity. I look forward to continue strengthening the 82nd Street business enclave, which represents the entrepreneurial spirit and diversity of our city.”

Ramos was born in New York but grew up in Puerto Rico until her early teens. She then lived in Chicago and now currently resides in Brooklyn.

“It could not get any better than this,” Ramos said about the opportunity to work in such a multicultural area.

Ramos previously held the position as assistant commissioner for finance at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Other positions she has held include the executive director of the Mayor’s Office for Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses.

Taylor and the 82nd Street Partnership have been working to expand the business improvement district (BID) to Roosevelt Avenue and tackle issues of graffiti, crime, poor lighting and lack of sanitation.

Yet they have faced a lack of support from residents and business owners in the area — many of whom claim that the change is not worth the rise of costs and would kick out immigrant business owners.

Ramos said that as the group is still counting the ballots of who is in favor or the BID expansion or not, she plans to reach out to businesses and answer any questions or concerns.

“For the most part I find that the businesses are more interested to create an area that is more pleasant for them to come to work and also their customers,” Ramos said. “I want to make sure that their visions and concerns are met because at the end of the day the BID is a community of the businesses coming together to make sure things work out for the best.”

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Suspect wanted for committing lewd act in front of girl in Corona


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for a man who they say committed a lewd act in front of a 10-year-old girl in Corona earlier this month.

The incident took place at about 8:10 a.m. on Oct. 15 near Lewis Avenue and 101st Street. The suspect “displayed himself” in front of the child before fleeing in an unknown direction, police said.

Authorities have released a sketch of the suspect and describe him as Hispanic, about 20 years old, approximately 6 feet tall and 140 pounds, with short black hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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