Tag Archives: Far Rockaway

10-year-old Far Rockaway girl shot


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic image

A 10-year-old girl is in stable condition after being shot in the leg in a Far Rockaway shooting this morning, cops said.

Police responded to the gunfire at about 1:24 a.m. and found the girl at 22-29 Dix Ave. No arrests have been made at this time. The girl was not the intended target of the shooting, according to reports.

The victim is in stable condition at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

Police are still investigating the incident.

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 86. Winds from the NW at 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night Partly cloudy in the evening, then overcast. Low of 68. Winds from the North at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Shakespeare at  Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Hip to Hip Theatre Company presents Shakespeare’s The Tempest near Flushing Meadows-Corona Park’s Unisphere at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24. Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Hot weather killed 8 people in New York City in July

The New York City medical examiner’s office says eight people have died of heat exposure during July’s punishing heat wave. Read more: AP

Queens woman, 96, waited an hour for ambulance at senior residence after 911 call

The 96-year-old Queens woman who waited more than an hour for an ambulance after falling down Monday is still suffering. Read more: New York Daily News 

Far Rockaway residents blast NYC over constant neighborhood flooding

There was frustration on Tuesday in a Queens neighborhood that’s plagued by flooding. Residents said the city is doing nothing to solve the problem. Read more: CBS New York

State to provide refunds for estate taxes paid by same-sex spouses

The State of New York said Tuesday that it will give same-sex spouses refunds for estate taxes they were forced to pay because federal law didn’t recognize gay marriage. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Queens woman recovers life savings from tossed fridge 

A happy ending for a Queens woman who almost lost her life savings. Read more: NY1

Rockaways native was honored by White House for being a “Champion of Change” in response to Hurricane Sandy

A Rockaways native who launched a website to help her old neighborhood after Hurricane Sandy was honored by the White House Tuesday as a “Champion of Change.” Read more: New York Daily News 

Fight over Detroit bankruptcy begins in federal court

A showdown over the biggest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history begins in a federal court on Wednesday morning as creditors challenge its legality. Read more: Reuters 

LIPA instituting Sandy fixes


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Nearly nine months after Sandy, LIPA facilities are still coming back online.

During the storm, five of the energy company’s substations on the Rockaway Peninsula took on water damage, shutting down the area’s power and leaving residents in the dark until repairs were made.

“It’s still a work in progress,” said Nick Lizanich, LIPA’s vice president of operations.

He explained that at the peninsula’s substations, LIPA worked on immediate restoration, which required both temporary and permanent mitigation. He added that in some cases, it can take over a year to order and receive the larger pieces of equipment that were damaged.

Lizanich detailed those issues at a tour of the Rockaways’ substations on Wednesday, July 17. Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder and Councilmember Donovan Richards attended to see the repairs so far firsthand.

“LIPA is doing a good job ensuring the elected [officials] are in the loop. Communication was the biggest issue we had during Sandy,” Richards said. “To their credit, they’re taking steps forward.”

In Far Rockaway, LIPA’s substation was inundated by roughly three to four feet of water. Lizanich said workers could not get in for several days, but mobile equipment and mobile substations were brought in to temporarily distribute power. But he pointed out that while “there was power on the street [...] no customers [were] attached to it because their homes weren’t safe.”

“There’s a lot of room for improvement in that entire process,” Lizanich added.

Now LIPA is monitoring the fixes and working on turning temporary repairs into permanent ones.

“I think prior to Sandy, LIPA sold us a lot of smoke and mirrors. The storm made it clear there were holes in the system,” Goldfeder said. “But now to see real equipment, real plans and new notification systems is a great thing.”

However, despite visible changes, Goldfeder said “we have a long way to go.”

“I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re moving in the right direction,” Richards said.

 

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Disney movie stars help clean up Rockaway Beach


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

A pair of Disney teen movie stars stepped out the spotlight and into the sunlight to join a Far Rockaway Beach clean-up on July 14.

Ross Lynch and Maia Mitchell, who play surfing lovers Brady and McKenzie in the upcoming Disney Channel flick “Teen Beach Movie,” mixed and mingled with about 45 volunteers and helped tidy up the beach and repair damage done by Sandy.

“It’s really, really cool to give back to the community,” Lynch said. “And also it’s nice to meet everyone who is cleaning up the beach.”

The clean-up was a part of a global Disney volunteering initiative in conjunction with Verizon employees. Teams from both companies and their children picked up garbage, painted rusted railings and, together with the teen stars, applied mulch to prevent weed growth and stabilize the soil for new plants.

“For us to be able to come out with our families and volunteer as a unit, it’s really important,” said Adrienne White, a manager of the volunteer group at Disney. “We know that by doing that it inspires our young kids to become lifelong volunteers and contributors.”

In their surf-rock musical movie, Mitchell and Lynch battle bikers for control of a beach hangout. They spontaneously break out in song and dance throughout the film. The stars said while learning their roles, they were taught about the importance of the beach ecosystem. They were blown away by the beauty of Rockaway Beach.

“It was great to see [Rockaway Beach] and see a new part of New York,” Mitchell said. “I’ve never been here and it looks beautiful.”

“Teen Beach Movie” will premiere on Friday, July 19 at 8 p.m. on the Disney Channel.

 

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Security cameras to be installed in Far Rockaway NYCHA complexes


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Big Brother is watching in NYCHA complexes across Far Rockaway.

Security cameras are set to be installed in various housing projects, intended to curb violence, particularly gun violence, in troubled areas.

“I’m tired of hearing the stories – our seniors and our children not being able to play outside because they’re afraid of getting struck by a stray bullet,” said Councilmember Donovan Richards.

After the City Council passed its budget, Richards allocated nearly $2 million for closed-circuit security cameras in the Ocean Bay Houses and Beach 41st Street Houses.

“Public housing is regularly left underfunded with no real consideration given towards necessary improvements,” Richards said. “You have to prioritize where you want your budget money to go. I felt that was an area that needed it the most.”

Carleton Manor will also receive funds for community room upgrades for residents to enjoy, Richards said.

The camera design will be finished within eight to 10 months and installation is expected within a year-and-a-half.

Richards’ predecessor, current State Senator James Sanders, allocated funds for security cameras in the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway during his tenure. Richards said that since then, it is “like day and night.”

“I can’t remember the last time I heard of a shooting in that development,” he said. “I want to make sure they’re carrying that across the board. Make sure our children and seniors and their families are safe.”

“If you’re walking, you’re on camera. They look at blind spots. No matter which way you run, you’re going to get caught,” he added.

 

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NYPD investigating South Ozone Park attack as hate crime


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of 106th Precinct

A Far Rockaway man was struck with a trophy outside of a bar, resulting in several medical staples to his head. He said he was attacked because he is gay.

“The bouncer let my basher run before the cops came,” said Zaman Mohamed Amin, the victim and a well-known figure in the LGBTQ community, on his Facebook page. “I received seven staples in my head.”

The incident, on Sunday, June 23, involved two victims, allegedly attacked in front of Players Restaurant and Bar in South Ozone Park. LGBTQ’s Anti-Violence Project (AVP) said they were both hit in the head with the trophy and verbally attacked by several unidentified people. Amin was sent to Long Island Jewish Hospital, where he received treatment for the laceration on his forehead.

“I am out of the hospital, even [stronger] now than ever, and ready to take this community and fight for my LGBTQ rights,” he said.

The NYPD told the AVP they are looking into the incident as a hate-motivated attack.

“Hate crimes must stop,” Amin said. “No one gives another person the right to hit another. We are all children of God no matter our race, sexual orientation, color of our skin, religion or gender.”

A man who identified himself as a manager at Players Restaurant and Bar said he could not comment on the attack.

 

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Police pursue man in connection with anti-Semitic activity


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD is searching for man who allegedly wrote racial slurs about Jewish people.

Randy Evans is wanted for criminal mischief. Evans wrote anti-Semitic messages on a Yeshiva, a residential home and two vehicles in Far Rockaway on June 24 around 8:30 a.m. in the confines of the 101st Precinct, cops said. Evans is described as a black man about 5’8” and 160 pounds.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). All calls are confidential.

 

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NYC pilot to extend school day for sixth graders


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Johann Hamilton

The last bell will ring two and a half hours later for 2,000 of the city’s sixth graders starting this fall.

A pilot program will provide additional literacy training at 20 middle schools with high-needs students, including five in Queens, according to the Department of Education (DOE).

The schools are also part of a 40-school expansion of the Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI), which provides extensive literary instruction in grades six through eight.

“We are committed to ensuring that all students are prepared for college and 21st century careers, and the Middle School Quality Initiative has been central to this mission,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

The Queens schools participating in the pilot are P.S./I.S. 116 William C. Hughley in Jamaica, Waterside School for Leadership in Rockaway, P.S. 043 in Far Rockaway, Queens United Middle School in Springfield Gardens and Village Academy in Far Rockaway.

The $6.2 million for the MSQI expansion comes from the City Council and DOE along with contributions from the Robin Hood Foundation, a nonprofit that helps fight poverty, and other groups.

“We are confident that a daily dose of extra tutoring for students struggling with English language arts will significantly increase students’ ability to comprehend at [their] grade level across all subjects,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

However, Patricia Simmons, a school aid at P.S./I.S. 116, believes money can be allocated in better ways.

“If they’d just give the schools the supplies they need, then they wouldn’t need to extend the time,” she said. “So many classes don’t have enough textbooks or workbooks.”

Another faculty member was concerned about the age of the students in the program.

“For the little kids, it’ll be too much, but the older ones will be able to handle it,” said a teacher who wanted to remain anonymous.

Tedric Simpson, a former student, also agreed the pilot might be taxing on the sixth graders.

“It’s too much school for one day. They could maybe do it from Monday to Wednesday, but not every day,” she said.

For parents, the benefit went beyond learning.

“Some parents can’t afford babysitters, so the extra hours could be good for them,” said Jean Elie.

With additional reporting by Johann Hamilton

 

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Far Rockaway nursing home director arrested for covering up disappearance of resident


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

handcuffs-with-color-web-size1111111111

A former director at a Far Rockaway nursing home has been arrested for falsifying records to cover up the disappearance of a resident with dementia, announced Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

Juliet Clifford, 43, of Mount Vernon, NY, has been charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, falsifying business records and willful violation of the health laws.  If found guilty, she could face up to four years in prison.

According to the criminal complaint, said Schneiderman, Clifford neglected to call 9-1-1- when 74-year-old resident Alan Frazer went missing from the Bishop Charles Waldo MacLean Episcopal Nursing Home on May 26.

She covered up his disappearance by telling investigators that he left “against medical advise” (AMA), and refused their requests to report him missing.

The day after his disappearance Clifford allegedly removed information from his medical records, ordered a staff member to state in Frazer’s records that he left AMA and told staff members not to call police, according to the attorney general.

Frazer was eventually reported missing by the nursing facility on May 30, but has still not been found.

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Alan Frazer is asked to call 1-800-346-3543:

Missing From: Far Rockaway
New York Date Missing: 5/26/2013
DOB: 7/21/1938 |
Race: Black
Sex: Male
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Gray
Weight: 150 lbs.
Height: 5’8″
Other Information: Alan is a missing vulnerable adult with dementia and high blood pressure and may be in need of medical attention. He was last seen on Brookhaven Avenue and may have travelled to the Bronx. Alan was last seen wearing a blue jacket, blue jeans, sneakers and a white cap.
Investigating Agency: New York City Police Department

 

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Far Rockaway basketball tournament aims to stop violence


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Far Rockaway is fighting its reputation of violence through a program that brings youth together and puts them under one roof.

The Stack Bundles basketball tournament kicked of its second year earlier this month and will continue through the summer. Twelve teams of 10 players each are traveling the peninsula and breaking territorial barriers. All the athletes are age 18 and over.

“We want to spread the word so these kids get it. Right now, they don’t get it,” said tournament founder Manny Fiallo, who is also outreach coordinator for the Police Athletic League (PAL) in Far Rockaway and a parent coordinator at the Department of Education (DOE).

Fiallo said that in Far Rockaway, people get very protective of their respective areas.

“If you’re from Edgemere, why can’t you go to Redfern?” he said. “We want to bring everybody together.”

Last year, Fiallo got the idea of creating something to “represent the neighborhood, something everyone could look forward to,” according to Fiallo’s partner Lakia Echols.

Stack Bundles was a rapper who lived in Redfern and died from gun violence. Fiallo said the Bundles name is well respected around the peninsula, so he called on it for a stop-the-violence effort and created the tournament.

“It’s great competition,” said returning player David Bostick. “It gives us a reason to do something good for the neighborhood.”

“Plus, it’s bragging rights,” he added.

When the second week for the tournament began, over 100 people from the neighborhood came to watch. Community members from toddlers to seniors were in the audience cheering on the players.

“A lot of kids came out and watched us play,” Bostick said. “After school, kids don’t necessarily have something to do. This gets them off the street.”
Bostick added that it is beneficial for younger kids to see older guys from different areas getting along.

At the tournament, youths affected by violence spoke to the audience and opened up about their experiences. People who lost their parents shared their stories and received support from people all over the peninsula.

Echols said once he and Fiallo have participants at the tournament, they can get their attention and show them the PAL program has job and parent training, too.

Deshawna Thompson-Banrey is a coach at this year’s tournament. She works with Fiallo and said Stack Bundles simply gives people something to do and gets them off the street.

“Right now, they’re doing something productive. This is a safe place,” she said.

The games will continue every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday through the summer.

 

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Queens community comes together to stop the violence


| editorial@queenscourier.com

QC05162013.pdf - Adobe Acrobat

As politicians at all levels try to combat gun violence through legislation, local groups seeing issues within their communities have taken a grassroots approach to keeping neighborhoods safe.

“Upon my release from prison, I wanted to make sure today’s youth didn’t fall into the same traps that I fell into,” said Lance Feurtado.

He and his brother co-founded the King of Kings, an anti-violence group in southeast Queens. They started the group in 2005, a year after Feurtado was released from prison. Their main goal is to reduce shootings and killings.

Feurtado set his sights on the Redfern Community Houses in Far Rockaway. After a shooting in broad daylight took place there, he hit the ground running.

King of Kings also goes on anti-drug and anti-gang tours to educate young people about the consequences of a violent lifestyle, the hidden dangers of drugs and what to do if you are pulled over by police.

I am “a former drug kingpin. I’m an ex-gang member,” Feurtado said. “We can relate first-hand to what the youth are going through. We lived it, we survived it.”

Feurtado also hosts a series of community events such as an annual “Friends for Life” breakfast.

Reverend Phil Craig is another activist active in the borough. The president of the Queens chapter of the National Action Network hosts youth town halls about violence in the community.

“The children, you can tell they’re dealing with a tug-and-pull situation,” he said. “A lot of their friends are attracted to this violent type of lifestyle. It makes them feel important.”

Craig and others in the chapter work to instill a different type of importance in young people—one where they can see themselves being successful off the streets.

“They can make a difference,” Craig said. “Negativity is contagious, but if we can change it around, the positive could become contagious.”

Craig said a big part of reducing violence among youths is getting parents involved and establishing a balanced household structure—something he said many homes in his area lack.

“There’s a gap they can’t fill at home, and these kids are out running around in the streets to try and fill it,” he said.

Out there, young people get territorial, said Manny Fiallo, the outreach coordinator for the Police Athletic League (PAL) in Far Rockaway. Fiallo is also a parent coordinator at the Department of Education (DOE).

“Kids feel like they can’t go to certain places,” he said. “But it’s one peninsula, it’s one Rockaway.”

Last year, Fiallo worked to put on a basketball tournament in memory of Stack Bundles, a local rapper who he said youths respect. The event was so successful that Fiallo is hosting it again and hopes to make it an annual event. The tournament travels throughout the peninsula. Fiallo said it helps break barriers by putting participants in areas they may not usually travel to.

“It involves the whole community, it’s about the whole community,” he said.

Aside from the tournament, Fiallo’s group has hosted teen job fairs and is trying to get a GED program expanded to accommodate 23- to 28-year-olds.

On summer weekends, Craig and the National Action Network occupy corners and try to get young people off the streets.

“One of the things I’ve observed, at 1 a.m., you have kids walking in the streets in packs. They can’t be more than 13 or 14 years old,” he said.

Organizations like Craig’s are trying to stop the violence once and for all.

“When people know each other, there’s less of a tendency [toward] tension” in the community, Feurtado said.

-BY MAGGIE HAYES & TERENCE M. CULLEN

 

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MTA cuts shuttle service to Sandy-ravaged Rockaways


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of MTA

Local and citywide leaders say the MTA is throwing the Rockaways under the bus.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio joined with Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder and Councilmember Donovan Richards in Far Rockaway on Friday, April 19 to decry the decreased shuttle bus service to the Sandy-affected peninsula.

A train service to the Rockaways last ran on Sunday, October 28 as the city buckled down for the storm, which left rails across Jamaica Bay severely damaged.

Since then, buses have run from the Howard Beach-JFK Station to the peninsula.

But on Monday the MTA cut bus service from 94 to 75 runs per weekday.

De Blasio contrasted the cuts with the transit authority’s new Cannonball train, a streamlined shuttle to the Hamptons. He said people with high incomes would benefit from the new train while low- to middle-income Rockaway residents would suffer from the cost-saving measure.

“The MTA can’t throw the Rockaways under the bus,” he said. “If it can expand service for Manhattanites weekending in the Hamptons, then it can afford to do right by hard-hit families in the Rockaways.”

Train service within Rockaway returned in December with the restored H train. It runs from the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue station to Beach 90-Holland.

“This shuttle service provides an essential lifeline with the rest of New York City for our residents in one of the areas hit hardest by Sandy,” Richards said. “If anything, what we really need is more buses during peak morning and evening hours.”

Goldfeder, who has advocated for faster train service to the peninsula, noted that south Queens residents already have one of the city’s longest commutes to midtown. With families still reeling six months after the storm, the service cuts would be another blow, he said.

“Our communities are still struggling to rebuild from the damage caused by Sandy,” Goldfeder said. “And the last thing they need is to be nickeled-and-dimed for service that is crucial to helping them recover.”

The MTA, however, said the service, while decreasing, is shifting to streamline travel in and out of Rockaway.

“We’re actually improving service for the vast majority of customers who use the shuttle,” said MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz.

There will be more shuttle buses running during rush hours, and decreased service during slower hours, he said.

Oritz said the Cannonball train follows a route that has been in operation for the past century. He added that the only recent change was making the train leave from Penn Station instead of Hunters Point.

 

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Far Rockaway organization gives girls a ‘Window’ to the future


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Angrela Hines

One Far Rockaway organization is aiming to provide young girls with a greater sense of life, more than just “what they see outside their windows.”

Project Window was created with intentions to provide a feeling of camaraderie and a common ground for young women to speak about friends, family and life, as well as opportunities to reach their full potential and face life with confidence.

“I wanted to help girls get help and not become a product of their environment,” said Angela Hines, the program’s creator.

Hines, a Far Rockaway native, is no stranger to struggle. She dropped out of high school and became a teen mom.

However, she was determined to succeed, and started college, with three children to take care of. After graduating, she went on to law school, now with five children. Through hard work, she persevered, got her degree and started work at Queens Family Court representing children.

“I saw at-risk girls,” she said of her time in the courts. “Girls who were struggling in school, with poor family life. I knew I wanted to help, and if I could help just one girl, it was worth it.”

With that, she began Project Window.

Hines works with girls at P.S./M.S. 138 once a week; they sit together and discuss bullying, teen violence, domestic violence, etiquette and more. They also travel to sites outside of the neighborhood so Hines can show them that “there is life outside the only community they have known.”

“Ms. Hines sees that we can do [well] in life,” said participant Domenique White, 13. “Before the program started, all of us girls were rowdy and disrespectful.”

White said that before Project Window, she picked on people and was a “big bully.” After meeting with Hines and airing out problems, White has learned to think positively and change her attitude.

The school’s assistant principal, Shallonda Daniels, said that she has seen a significant change in the girls since they began Hines’ program.

“[The] program has given the girls an opportunity to share their thoughts and learn that there is more to life than what they see outside in their communities,” Daniels said.

Initially a pilot program, Project Window is now looking to expand to all of Far Rockaway. The Ocean Bay Action Center has offered up a larger space for Hines to hold mentor sessions, and the community has put themselves behind her, supporting the initiative.

“I can’t even describe the feeling I get when I see the girls and how they’re changing,” said Hines. “I really feel like this is working.”

If you would like to know more about Project Window or contribute to the initiative, contact Hines at 347-306-8688.

 

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National Guardsman guilty in murder of girlfriend


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

He went from hero to felon.

A National Guardsman and Iraq war veteran has been convicted of second-degree murder for punching, drowning and ultimately killing his girlfriend on the beaches of Far Rockaway.

David Lynch, 33, served two tours in Iraq and was a reservist in the New York National Guard at the time of the November 2010 killing. He was convicted on Thursday, March 21.

“The defendant was trained to defend the weak and protect the innocent,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “In this case, he went against everything he was taught.”

According to trial testimony, Lynch brutally beat and drowned Althea Lewis, 45, of Springfield Gardens. In the early morning, Lynch and Lewis were on the beach having an argument. Lynch punched and bit Lewis on her head and face, threw her in the water and dragged her out by her feet, causing her head to be submerged.

Police discovered her clothed body on the beach with four puncture wounds on her face, later revealed to be from Lynch’s Army ring. The cuts were so deep that cops initially thought Lewis was shot. Ultimately, she died as a result of blunt force injury to her head and submersion in water.

“[Lynch’s] actions have irreparably shattered a family by robbing them of a loved one,” said Brown. “Conviction warrants imposition of a maximum prison sentence to punish him and protect society.”

The Supreme Court set sentencing for Monday, April 29. Lynch faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

 

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Far Rockaway residents still receiving Verizon bills despite no service since Sandy


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

It’s been five months since 77-year-old Arquilla Heard has been able to make a phone call.

Since Sandy, the Far Rockaway resident — and many of her neighbors in the Ocean Bay Houses — have had no cell phone service from Verizon.

Heard has received monthly phone bills since the storm, some reaching nearly $200. Despite not having service, she paid November’s bill, but has since refused to make payments.

“Maybe I have my own wires crossed, but to bill people without service seems negligent to me,” said Councilmember Donovan Richards. “For my seniors and my youth who may have had an emergency and no phone to dial out, this is a crime.”

“I don’t have the money to keep paying bills,” said Heard. “I need my phone. It’s a necessity.”

On Monday, March 25, Richards held a press conference outside the Ocean Bay Houses demanding that Heard and others in her predicament receive a six-month credit for the services they have not received since October, as well as an additional three-month credit for the inconvenience.

“It’s a crying shame that Verizon is so insensitive that they would still send bills to people’s mailboxes,” he said.
Since the storm, the community has been left without an explanation about service or billing, and although phone booths have been put up, many don’t work, according to residents.

Verizon, however, said it has offered customers free wireless devices for their telephone service. They have also restored service to nearly 6,200 Rockaway customers since the storm. They are working closely with the New York City Housing Authority to fully restore all service.

“Sandy severely damaged Verizon’s network serving all of Rockaway, including [the Ocean Bay Houses]. By the end of this month, we will begin restoring service to all those who live in the complex from 54th to 59th Streets on our brand new state-of-the-art fiber optic network. We are now working with the housing authority to gain access to the apartments from 51st to 53rd Street,” said a Verizon spokesperson.

Gian Jones lives in Bayswater and was without his Verizon FiOS service for about a month. He too continued to receive bills, but snagged a rebate after repeatedly calling the company.

“There might be some technical issues [with service lines] that we don’t know about,” he said. “But it took continuously calling them and fighting them to see a credit. There’s no reason why Rockaway residents should be paying a bill. At the very least, service should be suspended.”

Residents also noted that not only is there a lack of phone service, but Verizon power lines remain hanging from poles to this day.

“You can walk into the hanging wires,” said Felicia Johnson, Rockaway resident and Community Board 14 member.

“Verizon has really just neglected the community at large.”

“If you can send me a bill, why can’t you send me a letter saying, ‘This is where we are, this is what we’re going to do,’” she added.

Richards asks that any resident with phone service problems get in touch with his office.

“Common decency is needed,” he said. “My residents cannot afford to not have phone service for another day.”

 

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