Tag Archives: Corona

Community boards OK rezoning for East Elmhurst, Corona


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

locator_map

Proposed rezoning of parts of East Elmhurst and Corona seems to be on track, with approvals from both Community Boards (CB) 3 and 4.

The Department of City Planning received the go-ahead from the boards — a first step since Commissioner Amanda Burden’s June 3 announcement of the beginning of the official public review process of a 127-block rezoning of East Elmhurst and 14 block fronts along Roosevelt Avenue in Corona.

The objective of the rezoning is to protect the current character of East Elmhurst’s residential blocks, which are made up of one- and two-family detached, semi-detached and attached homes.

“This rezoning, which was developed in close consultation with the community and local elected officials, will protect the cherished one- and two-family composition of this neighborhood,” said Burden.

The proposal also looks to update commercial overlays in order to reinforce the main commercial corridors, better reflect current land use trends and constrain commercial incursions onto residential streets. The rezoning will aim to strengthen the character of Astoria Boulevard and help it stand out from residential streets.

The 14 block fronts along Roosevelt Avenue that are included in the rezoning proposal will also help increase development in the area. For example it will allow the 82nd Street Partnership’s Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District to provide services for the merchants and community on the busy strip.

“Though currently zoned for residential use, we’re seeing increased commercial activity along the stretch of Roosevelt Avenue from Elmhurst Avenue to 114th Street,” said Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.

“The rezoning pairs nicely with the proposed Jackson Heights- Corona BID, which would promote local economic growth and be a positive force for the entire commercial corridor.”

The rezoning proposal will now be reviewed by the Borough Board, Borough President, the City Planning Commission and then the City Council.

 

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Walcott addresses overcrowding in Corona school


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


Parents and teachers at P.S. 143, the Louis Armstrong School, are overwhelmed by overcrowding and are clamoring for a solution.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott addressed the issue in a tense June 24 meeting in which parents and school officials were fuming over the two-decade-long problem.

The Corona elementary school has a capacity of 900 students, yet 1,780 students are currently enrolled, according to school officials.

In front of the main building on 34th Avenue between 112th and 113th Streets, there are four large, trailer-like classrooms.

“If they build a building outside for us, it will alleviate the overcrowding in here,” said Alma Salgado, president of the P.S. 143 Parent Teacher Association.

However, Walcott was cautious about such an approach.

“As soon as we build, we need to build more in district 24,” he said.

Parents said that the overcrowding has led to classrooms with 30 and sometimes more students. Some students have to eat lunch as early as 9:30 a.m., while others have classes in the cafeteria because of scheduling conflicts.

“It’s a hurdle that we have to jump over,” said first-year principal Jerry Brito. “It is obviously an issue we have to be aware of, because it does make it harder for us to run things.”

To address the overcrowding, the Department of Education leased space owned by a Greek Orthodox church on 38th Avenue. The site, about a dozen blocks away from P.S. 143, has accommodated 250 students.

The agreement was extended through the 2013-2014 school year. However, the property’s owners do not want to renew the lease for the 2014-2015 school year.

Before he left the meeting, Walcott said he will continue to look for a solution. He added that in three weeks, he will send an update to the school administrators to relay to parents.

 

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Two sought in Corona stabbing of 17-year-old


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police have released a video of two suspects wanted in connection to the stabbing of a teen in Corona on Saturday.

The pair approached the 17-year-old victim around 12:00 a.m. on May 25  at the corner of 37th Avenue and 111th Street, and started arguing with him, said police. They then stabbed him once in the stomach and once in the lower back.

The victim was taken to St Barnabas Hospital.

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

 

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Willets Point business owners expect to reopen


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Nearly one dozen Willets Point business owners who had their auto shops abruptly shut down by the city two weeks ago said they expect to reopen in a few days.

“We all have families,” said Wais Mohibi, owner of Discount Muffler in the Iron Triangle. “Don’t just come in without warning, without anything, and just shut us down.”

The city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) issued partial vacate orders two weeks ago to five businesses at 38-01 126th Street for “illegal, unsafe construction,” according to a department spokesperson.

About five other shops at 37-11 126th Street were also shut down. Vacate orders had been in effect at those locations since 2009, the DOB said.

The businesses were hit with violations for working without permits and for having improper lightweight steel, called C-joist, installed at their sites, according to the department.

The DOB said C-joist construction without proper shoring affects the structural stability of buildings and can cause collapse. Such conditions led to the death of one Brooklyn construction workers last year, the department said.

Most of the business owners dealing with vacate orders are working out deals with the city to sell their property. However, they said they did not expect to be forced out of their jobs so quickly. They added that the vacates left them with nothing.

“All our equipment is inside. We can’t do anything,” Mohibi said. “That’s not fair at all. We’re basically going to be in the street.”

Marco Neira, president of the Willets Point Defense Committee, said business owners expect their stores will temporarily reopen by Monday, June 3.

He said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras’s office has been in touch with the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), which will handle repairs to the stores.

According to an HPD spokesperson, the repairs will be funded by the city and will begin in the next few days. The spokesperson added that there is no timeline yet for the project’s completion.

Ferreras said those owners should be able to return next week at the very latest.

“The city has to treat us as human beings,” Neira said. “I know they want this land. They can have this land, but not in this way.”

According to the DOB, business owners have to submit new design drawings, obtain permits and install proper shoring before their shops can reopen.

The establishments are located at the heart a $3 billion city project to transform the area into a major commercial hub.

“This is obviously harassment by the city of New York because this area is slated for redevelopment,” said State Senator Tony Avella. “It’s death by a thousand cuts.”

 

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Three charged with kidnapping, holding Queens man for month in $3M ransom attempt


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO

Three men have been arrested for kidnapping a man off a Jackson Heights street in broad daylight and holding him in a warehouse for a month in a $3 million ransom attempt, the district attorney’s office said Wednesday.

Christian Acuna, 35, of Corona, Dennis Alves, 32, of East Elmhurst, and Eduardo Moncayo, 38, of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, are currently awaiting arraignment on kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment charges. If convicted, each of the men could face up to 25 years to life in prison.

According to the charges, on April 18, Moncayo approached the victim, 52-year-old Pedro Portugal, on Roosevelt Avenue and showed him what appeared to be an NYPD badge.

Moncayo and an unapprehended man then allegedly grabbed Portugal and forced him into a vehicle.

He was driven to a Long Island City warehouse where he was bound, beaten and burnt with acid by a group of unknown men over a 32-day period.

The men told Portugal that they knew he had property in the United States, and he was ordered to call his mother and brother in Ecuador and ask for $3 million in ransom.

Portugal’s ordeal came to an end May 20 when police rescued him from inside the warehouse.

“Nobody said anything,” said Flavio Camposano, worker at Sign Zone, one of the businesses working out of the warehouse on 43rd Avenue, where Portugal was allegedly held captive. “Everything was regular.”

According to Camposano, a man shouted asking for help through an open window on the third floor of the warehouse on Monday and then at around 3 p.m. police swarmed the area.

Local business owners at 88-06 Roosevelt Avenue said Portugal worked as an accountant on the second floor of the building.

“I was surprised to hear what happened because it was in the middle of the day,” said a worker at Cholula Bakery who wished to remain anonymous and who saw Portugal get his breakfast at the shop every day. “There were so many people on the street. It’s so great he was found.”

Sergio Ruiz, owner of a deli at 88-04 Roosevelt Avenue, has known Portugal for the past 13 years and said the surveillance camera from his store shows Portugal leaving the building calmly the day of the kidnapping. Ruiz believes that if he was approached by men identifying themselves as cops he would have been in the same situation.

“At the moment someone just reacts and just does it,” said Ruiz.

Pedro Portugal, a 52-year-old man from Woodside, was allegedly kidnapped outside this Jackson Heights location on April 18 and held for ransom for 32 days.

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$2M in heroin, crystal meth seized from Corona drug operation


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Officials investigating a stash house in Corona busted three drug traffickers and seized more than $2 million in heroin and crystal meth, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office announced.

Miguel Mercado-Guelen, 33, of Queens, Henry Nunez 38, of Brooklyn, and Diego Estevez, 39, of Connecticut, have been indicted on drug and conspiracy charges.

On April 9, the day of their arrests, investigators observed the three men handing off a bag containing around 6.6 pounds of heroin in the Bronx.

Investigators seized the drugs and detained the men, and later conducted a search on the Queens drug stash house that was under surveillance.

The search of the two-level apartment at 24-24 96th Street turned up approximately 3 more pounds of heroin, almost 9 pounds of crystal meth, a 9 mm handgun and a loaded magazine clip.

The heroin seized in the Bronx and at the Queens home is valued at more than $1 million, and the crystal meth is worth about $960,000, said the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office.

 

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MTA worker busted for staging robbery at Queens subway station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

A MTA worker and her male accomplice have been arrested for stealing $4,000 in a staged robbery at a Queens subway station, announced District Attorney Richard Brown.

Tracy King, 48, of Queens, and Anthony Brown, 42, of Brooklyn, have been charged with grand larceny, defrauding the government and falsely reporting an incident.

As part of the duo’s alleged scheme, King claimed she was a victim of the Saturday, May 11 holdup at the 7 train station at 111th Street in Corona.

According to the charges, said the district attorney, King initially claimed that around 11:00 a.m. she was in the station’s break room when a man with a black revolver and stun gun came in, pointed them at her, and duct taped her hands and mouth. He then removed the keys to the ticket booth and took approximately $4,000 from inside of it.

Fellow MTA employees later found King duct taped inside the break room, and King was taken to a police local precinct to file a report.

But following an investigation, cops no longer believed King was the victim, but had instead agreed to split the stolen money with the robber.

Brown told police that King asked if he wanted to make some money and told him to come to the station on Saturday, said the district attorney.  She also told him to tie her up with the duct tape so cops would believe the robbery was real.

If convicted, King and Brown face up to seven years in prison.

 

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Police searching for suspects in Corona robbery


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for four suspects in connection to a robbery in Corona.

On Saturday, April 13 at 5 a.m. the suspects approached a 28-year-old victim and assaulted him as he was walking in front of 35-02 103rd Street, police said. They removed his wallet and chain before fleeing the scene. The victim suffered injuries to his face and was taken to Elmhurst Hospital.

Police described the first suspect as a Hispanic male wearing a dark blue jacket, gray pants and gray sneakers.

The second suspect is a Hispanic male with dark facial hair and wearing a black winter hat, black hooded sweatshirt, black bubble vest, blue jeans and black sneakers

The third suspect is a Hispanic male with dark short hair and wearing a black leather coat, black jeans with a chain on his left pocket and black sneakers.

The fourth suspect is a Hispanic male wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and black sneakers. He was also carrying a white plastic shopping bag.

Authorities have released a surveillance video of three of the suspects.

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 by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Call for gun control as Corona murder remains unsolved


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Debra Greene received a call at work last April that changed her life forever. Her oldest son, Theodore Malcolm Greene, had been shot on his way home by an unknown perpetrator and by the time she reached the hospital, Theodore was gone.

One year later, there are still no answers for this grieving mother who said all she wants is closure and justice.

“It’s not easy, there’s no closure,” said Greene. “I fight with anger all the time. Someone had to have seen something.”

The 26-year-old victim had been coming back from celebrating a friend’s birthday in Manhattan when he was approached at approximately 5 a.m. and shot 21 times in front of 98-25 Horace Harding Expressway in LeFrak City on Friday, April 20.

Greene said all she knows is that there had been a fight at the club that night, but that through surveillance videos, police noted her son was not a part of the quarrel.

“None of this makes sense to me,” said Greene. “I would like to know, I would like justice.”

Now, Councilmember Daniel Dromm and Senator Jose Peralta have come together to urge local residents to speak up and help solve this murder. An additional $2,000 has been pledged to the initial $22,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect.

“A killer is free in New York City and we don’t know who that is,” said Dromm. “By increasing the reward amount, we are sending a strong message that we are not giving up on our search.”

Peralta said the community needs to denounce gun violence loudly and help save another similar incident from happening.

“Guns are a plague in some Queens communities,” said Peralta. “I will continue my fight to get them off of our streets and to put violent criminals in jail.”

Dromm also addressed the recent vote in Congress surrounding gun control.

“It’s a total disgrace,” he said. “We have to, as Americans, realize that gun violence affects our communities, affects families, affects mothers. When a mother loses a child, their life is never the same again.”

Along with lending his support in helping solve the LeFrak City murder, Peralta emphasized the need to pass firearm microstamping, which would allow guns and ammunition to become easier to track with markings on shell casings left behind at crime scenes. This method, Peralta believes, could have already helped solve Theodore’s murder.

“It will take all of us working together as neighbors and friends to bring peace to the lives of the family of Theodore Greene and at least some comfort,” said Peralta. “These bullet cases could be the difference between finding the killer and not.”

In the meantime, Greene passes the site where her son was cut down every day.

Some days, she said, are better than others. But some days, reality hits and she remembers her “smart boy” who had plans for a future.

Officials are asking anyone with information on this incident to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

 

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Borough President backs National Tennis Center expansion


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Borough President Helen Marshall is recommending the city and state go forward with proposed expansions at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Marshall’s Borough Board was one councilmember short at the Monday, April 8 meeting to take a vote, thus forcing her to give her ultimate “yes” recommendation.

“While the Borough Board is not voting tonight,” Marshal said. “I am submitting my formal recommendation later this week. And I can tell you that I am insisting that any alienated parkland must be replaced.”

During the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP), the six voting Community Boards were split on the project. The three voting Community Boards that voted yes attached conditions mainly focused on the US Tennis Association being part of a conservancy for the park.

The plan, if approved next by the City Council and the state legislature, could begin this fall, according to USTA officials. Roughly 800 full-time construction jobs are expected for Queens workers over the six-year construction period.

While the project will only eat up about 0.68 acres of green space to the south of the Tennis Center, USTA has now promised to replace that land.

Danny Zausner, chief operating officer at the USTA, said lowering the southern border would ease foot traffic during the US Open. The relocated connector road, currently on the property leased to USTA, would now include sidewalks if the plan is approved.

Expansion at the tennis center and USTA’s community outreach have been questioned by some, however.

Councilmember Peter Koo, one of four city lawmakers at the meeting, told Zausner that small business owners in the past said they were rejected when trying to work with USTA to drive tennis fans into Flushing during the US Open.

Zausner, addressing Koo’s questions, said the association had worked with local businesses in surrounding neighborhoods, including Corona and Flushing, and had seen productive economic revenue to those areas.

But while there had been success, with Zausner pointing to the Sheraton LaGuardia East in Downtown Flushing, he said the USTA could further dialogue with more business owners.

“They [patrons] come for the day session, they run out for dinner either on the Corona side or the Flushing side, and then they come back for the night session,” Zausner said after the meeting. “As I mentioned to the councilmember, I think we’re doing a lot already but there’s no question we could be doing more.”

Borough President Helen Marshall delivers her remarks on expansion at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. (THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen)

 

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82nd Street Partnership expands business improvement district


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Logo Courtesy of the 82nd Street Partnership

The 82nd Street Partnership will now extend all the way through 114th Street as part of the New Deal for Roosevelt Avenue announced by Councilmember Julissa Ferreras.

“The 82nd Street Partnership is thrilled to announce this endeavor of expanding our business improvement district to include the major commercial corridors of Roosevelt Avenue, Junction Boulevard, 103rd Street and National Street,” said Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.

In this expansion, the 82nd Street Partnership will form the Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District (BID). This will become a community-driven effort including property owners, businesses, residents, public officials and other stakeholders that will improve the strip’s “sense of place.”

“The future BID will work to improve quality of life and support local economic activity in the neighborhood by creating a cleaner, safer, brighter, and overall more enjoyable place for everyone,” said Taylor.

Under the leadership of Ferreras and the BID’s steering committee, it will work with community boards and city government agencies, like the Department of Sanitation, to certify all the city services and resources will be delivered to the neighborhood.

According to Robert Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, Roosevelt Avenue will continue to flourish once the change, which was brought to the stretch on 82nd Street years ago by the 82nd Street Partnership, is replicated throughout the community.

In addition to the expansion, $350,000 in funding, from Mayor Bloomberg’s office in union with Small Business Services, was secured for a “Taste of the BID.” This “taste” will introduce local business owners and community residents the benefits of the expanded partnership.

In the following months, the 82nd Street Partnership will work with its partners to develop the BID plan and help form the neighborhood’s future headed for a “collectively shared vision,” said Taylor.

An introductory seminar to the expansion for residents, property and business owners will be held on Tuesday, March 26 at 5:30 p.m. at 103-24 Roosevelt Avenue. To get more information on the BID, the community can visit www.jhcoronabid.org.

 

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Queens Argentinians proud of new pope


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy The New York Daily News

BY MAGGIE HAYES AND ANGY ALTAMARINO

The world has been watching Pope Francis, from the moment he was chosen to head the Catholic Church, to his first Sunday mass and the day of his first tweet.

“Popes not only head the church, but they are a moral compass for the world at large,” said Dr. Patrick McNamara from the American Catholic League. “They are the blanket moral leader of the world. People of all religions recognize that.”

When the papal conclave chose Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Latin Americans around the world rejoiced. Latin America represents roughly half of the world’s Catholic population, and Queens residents hope that he can bring a new leadership to the church.

“I speak with my Argentinian heart when I say that God has blessed the whole world with Pope Francis, a being of light and so necessary for these difficult times the world is going through,” said Ivonne Sigaud, a Buenos Aires native living in College Point.

Many hope that Pope Francis can bring trust back to a church long plagued by scandal, while being a progressive leader that can conform with the modern times.

“I long for an urgent change in the [church], we need it in order to continue believing in it,” said Monica Insaurralde of Corona, also a Buenos Aires native. “I believe, hope, that this pope is the change.”

Also the first Jesuit pope, the Catholic community is wondering whether he will bring Jesuit attributes to his papacy. Typically seen as educators, Jesuits are known for open-mindedness when approaching everyday life.

“Jesuits were supposed to serve the pope, they weren’t supposed to become the pope,” said McNamara.“For a long time, [they] were seen as somewhat liberal. But I think he combines the best elements of progressive and traditional.”

Also the first pope of his name, Catholics around the world speculate he will draw inspiration from Francis of Assisi, a simple man known to empathize with and help the poor.

“[Pope Francis] was always a person who kept a low profile, a good man who was always on the side of humble,” said Hector Alberto Andrada from Buenos Aires, now living in College Point. “He walked the streets of Buenos Aires just like another citizen.”

Pope Francis reportedly never lived like the other Cardinals in Buenos Aires, but instead resided in his own apartment, took public transportation and actively worked with the people of Argentina.

“We are happy to know that they have trusted such a large mission to a simple man, recognized for his spirit of service,” said Fatima San Martin, a native of Misiones, Argentina. “They have put their eyes on South America, and specifically our Argentina.”

-With additional reporting by Anthony O’Reilly

 

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Councilmember, cops crack down on illegally parked cars


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


Councilmember Julissa Ferreras’ office has been working along with local precincts for over a year to help remove illegally parked cars.

These cars, which often have no plates and no registration, are left parked on the streets for long periods of time with no one coming to claim the vehicles.

Working with the 115th and 110th precincts, cars that have been parker longer than three days may face being towed.

“Every time a car is illegally parked for days at a time, it not only takes away parking from the numerous residents living within my district, but it also affects the local economy by taking up spaces that are used to serve small businesses,” said Ferreras.

According to the Councilmember’s office, the 115th Precinct conducted a tow/enforcement operation on Monday, March 12 near 103rd Street and 37th Avenue in Corona. During the operation, a total of four vehicles were impounded, each having a “for sale” marking and noted to have been parked for an extended period of time.

 

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Op-Ed: A new alliance for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park


| editorial@queenscourier.com


BY COUNCILMEMBER JULISSA FERRERAS

With public review of the National Tennis Center’s proposed expansion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (FMCP) well under way, it is time to set our sights on the future of what is the largest and most important open space for the residents of Queens.

Having spent my whole life in and around FMCP, I can attest to the fact that it has not received the attention and resources a park of its size and high utilization deserves.

Although I am sensitive to the budgetary and staffing constraints the Parks Department faces, it must be pointed out that unlike most communities in the city, we in Queens have private entities that greatly benefit from our public space.

After engaging in numerous conversations with the park’s stakeholders, I have come to the conclusion that we must establish a new nonprofit alliance dedicated to FMCP.  I see this as the best way to ensure the community has the quality park it deserves for future generations to enjoy.

Despite hosting upwards of 20,000 people from organized soccer leagues every week, our beloved park only has a quarter of the staff of Prospect Park, though it is more than double in size.

Additionally, Central Park, which is smaller than FMCP, has nearly eight times as many workers.

Our parkland is precious. FMCP is the Central Park of Queens.  It is the heart and lungs of our community.

If a public-private partnership akin to the Prospect Park Alliance and the Central Park Conservancy were to be created, FMCP would be better positioned to attract new revenue streams and incorporate direct community input.

The FMCP alliance board, which will be comprised of a healthy mix of local residents and representatives from the corporations inhabiting the park, will be able to work with the Parks Department in determining how private funds would be best spent for the benefit of the community.

In the immediate term, the alliance would provide a vehicle to which corporate entities operating in and benefiting from the park, such as the USTA and the Mets, could commit financial support for the ongoing care of the park, augmenting the Parks Department’s budget.

My vision for the alliance is to allow its members to represent the voice of our community and be a part of the park’s governance. I look forward to achieving a healthy collaborative effort wherein the alliance can receive funds from private sources to increase FMCP’s dedicated staff and resources it so desperately needs.

Every stakeholder I have spoken to – from the organizations who want to build in the park and local business owners to the soccer leagues and park advocacy groups – agrees that FMCP needs a new alliance, and it needs it now.

As this community is being asked to consider three major development projects in and next to FMCP, we ask the Parks Department and the City to look at these three projects holistically, consider their cumulative impact on the park, and commit to creating an alliance that will help protect this irreplaceable park.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras represents the 21st Council District encompassing Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights. She is the chair of the Women’s Issues Committee and is a member of the Committees on Parks and Recreation, Civil Rights, Consumer Affairs, Economic Development, Finance and Health.

 

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Corona residents file $10M suit against alleged toxic grocer


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


Corona residents filed a $10 million lawsuit against a neighboring grocery wholesaler who they say is making their everyday lives toxic.

According to the lawsuit, which comes from about 23 residents, Moreno Produce — also known as Nuevo Mexico Lindo Su Abarrotera Central Corp. — is being accused of endangering the health, welfare and safety of the residents and interrupting their peace and quiet.

Residents say tractor trailer trucks spend hours parked outside with the engines on, sending toxic fumes into neighboring homes. At night, even though the truck engines are shut off, the refrigerator motors remain running all night, disrupting sleep in nearby homes.

“The motors would vibrate and rattle pictures off the wall,” said Peter Zirbes, the lawyer representing the residents.

These “unreasonable and dangerous” ways of conducting business began two years ago, Zirbes said, and has continued as the business has grown.

The idle trucks also block traffic and have occasionally caused damages to residents’ vehicles, residents charged.
Its employees have also allegedly made “rude, abusive and sexually suggestive comments,” and have threatened some residents with physical violence, the lawsuit said.

“We are looking for some compensation because the residents have been put through this for two years,” said Zirbes. “They are entitled to have peace in their neighborhood.”

Among those in the lawsuit are children who have inhaled the toxic air and cannot safely play outdoors with the fear of being hit by a truck or forklift, the lawyer said.

In the meantime, Moreno Produce has been hit with a “temporary restraining order,” which states the trucks are not allowed to stop for more than 15 minutes during the day, Zirbes said.

The residents hope to reach a balanced agreement.

An attorney for Moreno did not return calls for comment.

 

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