Tag Archives: east elmhurst

Op-ed: Our children win with universal pre-K


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILWOMAN JULISSA FERRERAS

After months of rallying for the future of our children, our voices have finally been heard! Last week, our state legislators approved $300 million in funding for universal pre-kindergarten programs in their final budget. This is historic. We are now poised to ensure every child has access to high-quality, full-day pre-K.

The City’s plan is moving forward, and in less than six months, a new school year will begin, giving tens of thousands of our children access to full-day pre-K and thousands more middle-schoolers access to a safe, educational place to go after school.

Imagine the difference this will make for kids who will now start learning a year earlier. Imagine what it means for working parents!

As a former director of a Beacon program at P.S. 19 in Corona, it was my privilege to watch the effect of high-quality programming on young people who would otherwise be falling behind. Just as early education, including pre-K, is vital to a child’s success later in life, after-school for young adolescents is a bridge that helps them maintain momentum—or, in the case of struggling students, a way to regain lost time and get back on track. Studies show that children who participate in these programs behave better in school, do better in class and on tests, and have improved attendance records.

With this new, dedicated funding from Albany, the people who win here are parents and children. New York City is ready to move forward. We’ve been moving aggressively to put all the pieces in place to be ready for the fall.

Thanks to the work of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my colleagues in our city and state government, we are making history. As a new mother, I cannot tell you how excited I am about this momentous change. These are game-changing solutions that will reach every child. They’re the kind of solutions that unite communities and improve our schools.

If you live in New York City and your child is turning 4 years old in 2014, it’s time to think about applying to pre-K. Here’s what you need to know:

• Children turning 4 years old in 2014 who live in New York City are eligible to attend pre-K programs.

• Pre-K is free. You do not have to pay to attend programs offered by the NYC Department of Education.

• Programs can be half-day (2 hours and 30 minutes) or full-day (6 hours and 20 minutes). Half-day programs may take place in the morning or afternoon.

• Programs are available at public schools and community-based organizations (CBOs). There are separate application processes for public schools and CBOs.

The pre-K application period has been extended to April 23. The online application for pre-K is currently available in English and Spanish on www.schools.nyc.gov. You can also apply in person at your nearest Queens Enrollment Office, which are listed on the website. If you have any questions or need further information, please call (718) 935-2009. Our children’s future begins today.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras represents the 21st Council District encompassing Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights. She is also the Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Finance.

East Elmhurst man busted after child porn found on computer during Best Buy repair


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

ManLaptopComputerH1005_L_300_B_G

One East Elmhurst man has been slapped with charges of possessing child pornography after bringing his laptop to Best Buy for repair.

On April 1, a technician at the electronics store located in Long Island City began working on a laptop that was dropped off by 61-year-old Michael Murray on March 26 to get repaired, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

After turning on and rebooting the computer the technician found the screen saver to contain a slide show of multiple young girls posing provocatively or engaging in sexual acts with adult men, Brown said. Once the worker altered his supervisor about the images, 15 photographs of young girls were found and the police was called.

“This defendant is alleged to have had some very disturbing photographs of children being sexually abused on his computer,” Brown said. “These photographs depict real children who will no doubt be emotionally and physically scarred for the rest of their lives.”

The district attorney added that detectives went to Murray’s East Elmhurst home Wednesday morning, where he allegedly admitted to knowing what was on his screen saver. Murray also allegedly admitted he had been sharing child pornography files with other people on the Internet for about five years.

Murray has been charged with 15 counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child. If convicted, Murray could face up to four years in prison.

 

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Queens middle school students vanquish the competition in Lego robot contest


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Peter Xanthus

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Four Queens middle school teams were victorious in the NYC FIRST Lego robot building competition on April 4-6.

The contest, which was held at the Jacob Javits Center, challenged students to construct robots from Lego blocks and navigate obstacle courses. More than 70 teams from the five boroughs competed this year.

The Hurricane Pandas of P.S. 94 in Little Neck won second place for the Champion’s Award, which is given for overall excellence and innovation. The Boogie Bots of Louis Pasteur Middle School in Little Neck won first for the Project Research Award for the research and problem solving category of the contest, while Bleeker All-Stars of Edward Bleeker Junior High School in Flushing won first for the Robot Design, Strategy and Innovation Award. And the M.S. 216 Ryan Lions of Fresh Meadows won first for the Robot Performance Award.

“I’m very, very proud,” said Peter Xanthus, a sixth-grade science teacher at M.S. 216 who advises the school’s team. “It’s been six years here and this is the first time we ever came in first place.”

As a part of the contest, children had to research and think of solutions together for when natural disasters strike, not only to introduce the students to engineering and robot building but also to teach the importance of teamwork.

“You could be the most brilliant person in the whole,” Xanthus said, “but if you don’t know how to get our thoughts across to other people, you won’t get anything done.”

 

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Family, friends share memories of victims killed in Astoria creek accident


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The four young passengers who died when their car plunged into an Astoria creek after a birthday celebration were always smiling and looking toward the future, their friends and families recalled.

Jada Monique Butts, 19, was a loving person who enjoyed laughing, smiling and having fun, said Tiani Martin, her best friend of more than 10 years. One of five children, the Borough of Manhattan Community College student wanted to one day work behind the scenes in the music industry.

“She was a beautiful spirit and loved to stay positive,” Martin said. “We did everything together and she will live on.”

Butts was one of four East Elmhurst friends who died on April 4 when their Honda Accord rolled over into Steinway Creek in Astoria.

“She was my little right-hand woman,” said Paula Slader, Butts’ mother.

Another passenger was 20-year-old Jaleel Feurtado, who had the dream to play professional basketball after shining bright on the Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School basketball team, remembered his family. Feurtado was an only child and was the eldest of the family’s grandchildren.

“He was a good kid,” said one of his relatives, who wanted to remain unnamed. “He was the apple of our eyes, everyone just loved him.”

Darius Fletcher, 21, and Crystal Gravely, 19, also lost their lives in the accident. Gravely would have celebrated her 20th birthday the following day.

The driver, 20-year-old Andrew Gramm, was traveling at 60 mph when he decided to make a U-turn on the wet road, according to reports. Once the vehicle went into the water, reportedly 8 feet deep, Gramm managed to escape the vehicle and call for help, cops said, but his four friends were still inside the car when authorities arrived.

FDNY divers then extracted Fletcher, Butts, Gravely and Feurtado, who were later pronounced dead, according to police.

Gramm was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, police said. He was given a preliminary breath test where results showed he was sober during the time of the accident, police said.

The NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad is still looking into the accident and one politician has called for a review of safety measures on the various roads leading to the water.

 

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Probe continues into fatal Astoria crash as loved ones mourn victims


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos via Facebook

Police are continuing the investigation into an accident that killed four friends after their car plunged into an Astoria creek as one politician calls for a review of safety measures on roads leading to the water.

A Honda Accord carrying four passengers and a driver was traveling on 19th Avenue near 37th Street about 10:40 p.m. Friday when it hit the curb and rolled over into Steinway Creek, police said.

The driver, identified in reports as 20-year-old Andrew Gramm, was traveling at 60 mph when he decided to make a u-turn on the wet road, according to reports. Once the vehicle went into the water, reportedly 8-feet deep, Gramm managed to escape the vehicle and call for help, cops said, but four people were still inside the car when authorities arrived.

FDNY divers then extracted the passengers, Darius Fletcher, 21, Jada Monique Butts, 19, Crystal Gravely, 19, and Jaleel Feurtado, 20, all from East Elmhurst, according to police.

The women and one of the men were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center where they were pronounced dead, officials said. The second man was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital where he was also pronounced deceased.

Gravely would have celebrated her 20th birthday on Saturday, reports said.

Gramm was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, police said. He was given a preliminary breath test where results showed he was sober during the time of the accident, according to police.

The NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad is still looking into the accident.

On Facebook, family and friends are mourning the loss of the four young lives through posts and photos.

“Speechless…The only reason I can cope with this is trusting and knowing if God took these kids from us it’s because God has plans for them. Just a tough pill to swallow,” wrote Kay Roberts on Saturday together with a photo of the four friends.

Vernon Feurtado, who according to Facebook posts is one of the victim’s fathers, remembered his son, Jaleel, through photos of the two together.

Senator Michael Gianaris is now calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a review of safety measures on the various roads, including 19th Avenue, which lead to the water. According to the senator, reports of the crash have created questions about the chain-link fence that is supposed to serve as a barricade between the street and the creek. There is also not sufficient signage specifying that the street becomes a dead end.

“As our community deals with this tragic accident, we must work together to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future,” Gianaris said. “DOT must make our streets safer by reviewing all roads leading to waterways as there may be similar dangers in other neighborhoods throughout our city. This accident was avoidable, and something must be done to keep people safe as they drive, walk or cycle on our roadways.”

A DOT spokesman said  the agency had installed an “END” sign where 19th Avenue terminates and two highly visible “Dead End” signs at the intersection last October and which were in place at the time of the accident.


Photo Courtesy of the Department of Transportation

Early Saturday afternoon the DOT also secured the area with jersey barriers and barrels, and also replaced the “END” sign. The spokesman said the agency will be looking into the report of a section of the guiderail missing, even though a preliminary review does not point to any recent reports on the missing section. The DOT will also review condition at streets ending near water.

 

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Four dead after car plunges into Astoria creek


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos via Facebook

Updated 2:30 p.m.

Four people are dead after their car went into an Astoria creek Friday night, according to the NYPD.

A Honda Accord, driven by a 20-year-old man, was traveling on 19th Avenue near 37th Street about 10:40 p.m. when it hit the curb and rolled over into Steinway Creek, police said.

The driver managed to escape the vehicle, cops said, but  four people were still inside the car when authorities arrived. FDNY divers then extracted the passengers,  Darius Fletcher,21, Jada Monique Butts, 19, Crystal Gravely, 19, and Jaleel Furtado, 20, all from East Elmhurst, according to police.

The women and one of the men were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center where they were pronounced dead, officials said. The second man was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital where he was also pronounced deceased.

The 20-year-old driver was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center where he is currently listed in stable condition, police said. He was given a preliminary breath test where results showed he was sober during the time of the accident, according to police.

The NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad is looking into the accident.

 

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Op-ed: Why I support Mayor de Blasio’s plan for universal pre-K


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILWOMAN JULISSA FERRERAS

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan for universal pre-kindergarten in New York City. Often overlooked is that the plan would provide more than just high-quality programs for our youngest learners, it would also fund after-school programs for every interested middle schooler in New York. As chairwoman of the City Council’s Finance Committee, I support the de Blasio plan because it’s such a cost-effective way to address one of the most pressing challenges the city faces. As the former director of an after-school program, I support the plan because I know firsthand how critical after-school support can be in developing and safeguarding adolescents. It’s inspiring that both the Assembly and Senate have put forward budget proposals that meet these goals.

As you probably know, the mayor’s plan – which the Assembly also supports – would modestly raise income tax rates for New York City earners making more than $500,000 a year, from 3.9 percent to 4.4 percent for a period of five years. That’s a smaller increase than previous mayors have sought from Albany for key projects, and still would generate $530 million in new revenue for each of those years. Much of that revenue would be used to create tens of thousands of pre-K slots for 4 year olds, but $190 million would be directed to after-school programs. The Senate Majority Conference proposes funding after-school for every middle school student through the budget. Both proposals offer the funding needed to make the historic expansion of after-school a reality in New York City.

The city currently offers a little more than 45,000 after-school slots, which serve 56,300 students (not every student goes every day) in 239 schools. Fully, one in four children are left alone and unsupervised after school ends, the time of day when juvenile crime and violence are at their highest, and there are 237 public schools in which middle-school-age children don’t have access to comprehensive after-school. The funding from the de Blasio plan would allow the city to increase the number of after-school spots to 95,000—an addition of about 68,800 new slots—across 512 local schools, serving 120,000 children. The goal is for every child who’s interested to be able to participate. Programs would be free, run from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and mostly be run by local organizations experienced in working in the community.

As a former director of one such organization, I spent years running after-school at P.S. 19, a Beacon program, and it was my privilege to watch the effect of high-quality programming on young people who would otherwise be falling behind. Just as early education, including pre-K, is vital to a child’s success later in life, after-school for young adolescents is a bridge that helps them maintain momentum—or, in the case of struggling students, a way to regain lost time and get back on track. Studies show that children who participate in these programs behave better in school, do better in class and on tests, and have improved attendance records. After-school programs also help kids identify subjects and disciplines they enjoy and in which they can excel.

The expansion of after-school programming under the de Blasio plan would be a win for everyone. Far more children would have access to programs that would help cultivate their interests and improve their performance in school, all while ensuring they’re under supervision and avoiding the kinds of trouble that can derail a promising young life. The Legislature must work with the governor to ensure that the funding needed for expanded after-school and universal pre-K is part of the State’s final budget.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras represents the 21st Council District encompassing Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights. She is also the Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Finance.

Suspect sought in string of armed livery cab robberies


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for a man wanted in connection to a series of Queens robberies targeting livery cab drivers, police said.

The suspect struck four times, once in October, and three times in January, the NYPD said.

During the first incident, on Oct. 12, near 27-44 Ericsson St., in East Elmhurst, the suspect robbed a 49-year-old driver at gunpoint while a second suspect took the victim’s property, according to police.

The suspect robbed another driver on Jan. 8 near 1716 Stephen St. in Ridgewood. When he asked him to open the trunk, a second suspect, displayed a gun, and demanded his property, then struck the driver in the face leaving him with minor injuries, cops said. The victim did not comply, and the suspects fled without taking anything.

On Jan. 21 the suspect robbed a driver at gunpoint near 27-40 Ericsson St. Three days later, he tried to rob a driver around the same location, but was unsuccessful, the NYPD said

Police have released surveillance video of the suspect from the Jan. 21 robbery after he allegedly used the victim’s credit cards.

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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East Elmhurst man arrested for allegedly murdering girlfriend and her daughter with hammer


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

A man was arrested for allegedly beating his live-in girlfriend and her daughter to death with a hammer in their East Elmhurst home Monday after claiming they were witches, officials said.

Officers found Estrella Castaneda, 56, and Lina Castaneda, 25, inside of their 87th Street residence just after midnight with severe head trauma, police said. Both women were pronounced dead at the scene.

The victims were allegedly killed in their bedrooms, and a hammer was discovered near each woman, District Attorney Richard Brown said. Officers found Lina’s 7-year-old daughter unharmed on her mother’s bed.

Carlos Amarillo, 44, is currently being held pending arraignment on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and criminal possession of weapon, the district attorney said. If convicted, he faces life without parole.

Following the murders, Brown said, Amarillo allegedly called 9-1-1 and said “two females are dead, they were assassinated, hurry they are dead. I killed them because they are witches, I want the police to kill me. I killed them with a hammer.”

When cops arrived they allegedly saw him walking from the doorway to the street, carrying a Bible, saying, “I killed them, I killed them.”

In statements to police, Brown added, Amarillo said that he believed both of the victims were “witches and were performing voodoo and casting spells on him.”

 

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Costa Constantinides sworn in as District 22′s new councilmember


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Costa Constantinides' Office

Councilmember Costa Constantinides is ready to work for his community.

The freshman legislator celebrated his inauguration Sunday at Long Island City High School as the new District 22 councilmember, representing Astoria, and parts of Long Island City, Woodside, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

Constantinides was sworn in by former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., and Councilmember James Gennaro was the emcee of the ceremony. Constantinides previously served as deputy chief of staff for Gennaro.

“Today marks not just a transfer in power, but an inauguration of a new era in our city, an era that will be defined by a revitalized sense of civic participation and engagement,” said Constantinides. “We will ensure that the levers of city government are once again working to lift up our homeowners, tenants, small business owners, and everyone struggling to get by.”

During his inaugural address, Constantinides spoke about his goals for the district, including cleaner and safer streets, better health care, more transportation options. The councilmember also shared his stories on growing up in Astoria, from playing basketball with State Senator Michael Gianaris, back in the day, to meeting his wife on Steinway Street.

The inauguration ceremony also featured the LIC High School JROTC Color Guard, the high school’s marching band, dance class, chamber choir and refreshments by the culinary class and greek restaurant Zenon Taverna. The Greek-Cypriot Dance Pancyprian Association Youth Dance Division also performed.

“All that I have I owe to the combined efforts and the sterling example of our community, without which the course of my life would have been profoundly different,” said Constantinides. “I know that we can accomplish great things when we come together because I have lived it my entire life.”

 

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DOE proposes rezoning plan to ease overcrowding at Jackson Heights school


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Map Courtesy of the Department of Education

One middle school in Jackson Heights may soon be less crowded.

The Department of Education (DOE) announced proposed rezoning changes to move the boundaries for I.S. 145, at 33-34 80th St., and I.S. 230, at 73-10 34th Ave. in Jackson Heights. The changes would take effect for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Under the rezoning, the boundaries for I.S. 230 would expand to serve a new annex located at 74-03 34th Ave., slated to open in September. The new building is expected to accommodate 420 middle school students.

After the rezoning, about 120 incoming sixth graders from I.S. 145 would be zoned to I.S. 230 in the 2015-2016 school year. No current students will be affected.

According to the DOE, the plan was developed through working with Community Education Council 30 in addressing the needs of the community.

“This rezoning plan reflects a year-long collaboration between the Department and the CEC to create a proposal that best addresses the needs of the entire community,” said  DOE spokesperson Harry Hartfield. “Any final approval of the plan will be decided by the CEC for District 30.”

Isaac Carmignani, co-president and chair of the zoning committee of CEC 30, said the rezoning would bring some relief to the overcrowding of I.S. 145, which together with I.S. 230, is part of School District 30 which suffers from a chronic overcrowding problem.

Currently I.S. 145’s sixth grade is 948 seats and after the rezoning, the number would drop to between 815 and 835. I.S. 230’s size would increase from 350 seats to between 460 to 480.

“It doesn’t change the fact that they are going to still be tightly packed schools,” said Carmignani. “We all are looking at the bigger picture.”

Other schools that might be affected by the rezoning include P.S. 69, P.S. 149, P.S. 212 and P.S. 222 in Jackson Heights, P.S. 228 and P.S. 148 in East Elmhurst, and P.S. 152 in Woodside.

A public meeting to discuss the proposed rezoning changes and learn more information on how it will affect students will be held on Monday, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. at I.S. 145.

“What we are trying to do is have as much community engagement as possible,” said Carmignani. “We’re looking forward to continue working on this issue as the months and years go by.”

For more information, contact CEC 30 at 718-391-8380 or email cec30@schools.nyc.gov.

 

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7-year-old boy dies in East Elmhurst fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of New York Daily News

A New Year’s Day fire in East Elmhurst left a 7-year-old boy dead and a 13-year-old with second-degree burns, police said.

The blaze broke out about 9 a.m. Wednesday at a home on 90th Street near 31st Avenue, when sparks from a fireplace ignited nearby blankets and pillows, then spread to the furniture, according to the Fire Department. It was under control about an hour later.

The FDNY said the fireplace didn’t have a spark screen and there were no working smoke detectors in the house.

The 7-year-old, identified by police as Christopher Miller, was pronounced dead at the scene. The 13-year-old, who, according to published reports, is his older brother, was taken to Cornell Hospital with second-degree burns, where he was listed in stable condition.

Police said an adult family member suffered smoke inhalation in the fire.

Three firefighters also sustained minor injuries, according to the FDNY.

 

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Elmhurst man killed in Christmas morning hit-and-run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A man died early Wednesday morning after a car struck him in East Elmhurst before fleeing, police said.

Enrique Clemente-Ovando, 29, of Elmhurst, was crossing Astoria Boulevard, near 103rd Street, about 4:30 a.m., when the vehicle hit him, according to the NYPD.

Clemente-Ovando was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The car, which did not remain at the accident scene, may be a beige Toyota Camry with a Pennsylvania registration, police said.

The investigation is ongoing.

 

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Op-ed: The spirit of giving


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILMEMBER JULISSA FERRERAS

Every year, the holiday day season gives us an extra special opportunity to reflect upon our blessings and take time to give back to those we love.

With Chanukah just ending and Christmas and Kwanzaa fast approaching, it’s clear that the spirit of giving is already in the air – almost everywhere you look you see folks with shopping bags full of holiday presents just waiting to bring joy.

While I have always found truth in the age-old saying “Tis better to give than to receive,” I could not help but relish the happiness that one sizable gift brought to our community last week.

On November 26, just days before Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure of joining Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and representatives from the Queens Museum and the Queens Economic Development Corp. at Corona Plaza to announce an $800,000 leadership gift from J.P. Morgan Chase to the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.

This gift will not only benefit countless New Yorkers by creating 100 jobs for workers maintaining 20 of the City’s existing plazas, but it will also ensure that the DOT’s community partners in under-resourced neighborhoods, like Corona, will have the support they need to maintain clean, green and vibrant public plazas.

Since 2008, the DOT has installed 22 plazas throughout the City, and it plans to bring another 37 in the near future with the goal of putting all New Yorkers within a 10-minute walk of quality open space.

Corona Plaza is a perfect example of how effective and important these green spaces are to our local neighborhoods. To so many children who grow up in apartments without any front or back yards, neighborhood plazas are the only safe access they have to the outdoors.

Just 18 months ago, the site where Corona Plaza now sits was open to traffic and cluttered with parked trucks, causing a safety hazard for all pedestrians entering and exiting the nearby subway platform. Today, the plaza is a space bursting with activity, serving as the go-to destination where locals can have a cup of coffee, exercise outdoors and enjoy free family-friendly events.

Public plazas go a long way in helping our communities enhance economic activity, air quality, community safety and the overall quality of life.

Although Chase’s gift will undoubtedly go a long way in improving plazas throughout the City, it’s clear that there is still much work that needs to be done. The cost just to maintain Corona Plaza alone ranges between $50,000 and $75,000 every year, not including the hundreds of volunteer hours donated by those who want to add to the beautification efforts.

This holiday season, I urge everyone to spend time at their nearest neighborhood plaza and consider the immense benefits they generate. If you can spend just a fraction of your time investing in your local plaza, you will not only help improve these vital green spaces, but you will also create a better future for generations to come.

In the spirit of giving, please consider volunteering at your local plaza today. The gift of your time will surely be one that keeps on giving!

To learn more about the services offered by the DOT Public Plaza Program, please visit www.nyc.gov/plazas or contact 311 or plazas@dot.nyc.gov.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras represents the 21st Council District encompassing Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights. Through her leadership, Corona Plaza continues to be a premiere outdoor destination for the local community.

 

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Queens native to host youth baseball clinic


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Anthony Iapoce

A Queens native is hoping to establish a new baseball culture in the borough to foster more skilled players.

Anthony Iapoce, currently a hitting coordinator with the Chicago Cubs, has two decades of professional baseball experience playing and coaching with various teams. He will host his first youth baseball clinic on Saturday, December 14 at Fitzgerald Gym at Queens College from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“The most important factor in the camp is just being influential to the kids and teaching them the right fundamentals when it comes to the game,” Iapoce said.

The camp is the first in a series he hopes to expand before introducing a borough-wide clinic for coaches to learn advance drills and network.

Iapoce, who is a native of Astoria, grew up playing baseball in Queens. He played Catholic Youth Organization baseball at St. Joseph’s parish, and later at Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School in East Elmhurst.

After playing college baseball for Lamar University in Texas, he played for 11 years in the minor leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins), where he compiled a .273 batting average in 845 games and reached Triple-A– the highest level before the major league.

After he stopped playing baseball, he became a coach in the Marlin’s minor league system and then a hitting coordinator with the Toronto Blue Jays. Last year, he received a call from the Cubs to provide hitting guidance for their minor league players. Having traveled around the country for a long time, he recently moved back to Queens and is excited about establishing a camp in his hometown.

“This is a huge deal for me, because it’s the first camp I’ll do where I’m from,” Iapoce said. “It hits the heart pretty good. It gives you goosebumps just talking about it.”

His clinic at Queens College will be limited to about 35 players so that he can give more personal attention to each participant. Iapoce and fellow minor league coaches and players will focus on improving the youngsters’ fundamentals and mechanics in all positions. He hopes to create the coaches’ clinic based on the success of the camps.

“What we are trying to do in Chicago is create a winning culture in the minor leagues,” Iapoce said. “We are trying to create this culture of teaching in Queens, more importantly to the coaches.”

For more information about Iapoce’s baseball clinic, contact him at 347-351-5233 or click here. The camp cost $145 for one player or $125 per player for a group of five and is open to boys and girls from ages nine to 13.

 

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