Tag Archives: Funding

Halloran district to get funding for all participatory budget items


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The district represented by indicted Councilmember Dan Halloran will receive funding for all seven participatory budget items and then some.

Nearly $3.2 million in capital and expense projects will be honored by the City Council, according to the legislative body’s Queens delegation.

“Northeast Queens is home to many of the borough’s great cultural institutions, not-for-profits and some of the best schools in the entire city,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie, the deputy majority leader and chair of the delegation.

“I was pleased to have had the opportunity to work with my colleagues in the delegation to ensure residents can continue to thrive, and the funds we provided will make sure the quality of life in these community’s remains strong,” he added.

The Council stripped Halloran of his committee assignments and funding allocations in April when the lawmaker was charged in a conspiracy and bribery scheme.

Power to distribute his district’s funds fell to Speaker Christine Quinn’s office and the borough delegation, which said they would dole out money for 23 community projects. Those include all seven the district voted on during its second annual participatory budget process.

The initiative allows residents to choose at least five physical infrastructure projects they want to see in their neighborhood.

Halloran’s constituents voted to create kayak and canoe launches, restore the Poppenhusen Institute and MacNeil Park, add special needs equipment to local playgrounds, renovate P.S. 98’s art room and secure school smart boards and NYPD security cameras throughout the district.

Comrie said other projects that made the ballot, but not the ultimate cut, will also be funded. These include upgrading the Bayside Historical Society Officers’ Club, improving Fort Totten Park sidewalks and adding a bird watching platform at Osprey Landing.

Educational youth programs like the Alley Pond Environmental Center Inc., health initiatives by Flushing Hospital Medical Center and events by business groups like the Bayside Village Business Improvement District, among many other programs, are also in the budget.

 

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End of an era in North Korea: Kim Jong Il dies after nearly two decades in power


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

End of an era in North Korea: Kim Jong Il dies after nearly two decades in power

North Korea’s Communist leader Kim Jong Il, whose nearly two-decade reign of power was marked by nuclear threats against his neighbors and a stifling of freedoms for his own people, has died. North Korean television announced Sunday night that the country’s “Supreme Commander” had died in Pyongyang at the age of 69. A weeping North Korean state television announcer said Kim died on a train at 8:30 a.m. Saturday of a heart attack brought on by “physical fatigue” while touring the country’s provinces. Read More: Daily News

 

Thousands Expected At NYPD Officer Peter Figoski’s Funeral Today

Much of Babylon will come to a halt this morning as family, friends and thousands of fellow officers gather for the funeral of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski, a decorated 22-year veteran who was shot and killed Dec. 12 while responding to a robbery in Brooklyn. Suffolk police issued a traffic advisory Sunday, warning motorists that Montauk Highway in Babylon will be closed Monday in both directions. Read More: Newsday

 

Police identify man who fired at pair of officers

Police have identified the man that allegedly fired at two officers earlier this month in Jackson Heights while disguised in a fake beard, trench coat, hat and dark glasses. Officers were alerted of a suspicious male on the corner of 76th Street and Roosevelt Avenue on Friday, December 2.  When the officers approached the suspect – who police say is Antonio Olmeda, 53 – and asked for identification, he pulled a gun and fired two shots, police said. The officers, who were unharmed, pursued the suspect but failed to apprehend him. The fake beard, hat and glasses were recovered during the pursuit. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Long blue line to honor ‘quiet hero’ NYPD Officer Peter Figoski 

A brotherhood of cops 10,000 strong is expected to salute the casket of Officer Peter Figoski Monday morning as it arrives at the Long Island church where the hero cop prayed for a better world. The Rev. Christopher Heller, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Babylon, is expected to lead the funeral Mass, offering Figoski’s four bereaved daughters a source of strength in a time of turmoil. “I feel for his poor daughters,” said Charles Spencer, director of Boyd-Spencer Funeral Home in Babylon and a retired NYPD cop. “They’re going to need a lot of help in the future, not just through this funeral. Read More: Daily News

21 arrested in Queens during stolen iPhone/iPad undercover sting

Police arrested 141 individuals – 21 in Queens – purchasing what they believed was stolen electronics during an undercover operation throughout the city. Undercover officers targeted locations that were suspected of receiving stolen merchandise in the past and offered Apple iPhone 4s and iPad 2s that the merchants believed to be stolen for vast discounts, according to police. Read More: Queens Courier

Fundraising Controversy Cuts Liu’s Approval Rating, But Campaign Continues

City Comptroller John Liu was talking about the economy when he said “this has been quite a challenging year,” but he could have been discussing his political future. Liu’s potential campaign for mayor is under investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office, an inquiry that has already resulted in the arrest of one of his fundraisers. The U.S. attorney is reportedly questioning other Liu donors and those who collect donations for him. When asked whether the inquiry was expanding at a holiday party in Flushing on Friday, Liu said, “You’re asking me if it’s true. How am I supposed to know if it’s true? It’s a Times story. Let’s be fair.” Read More: NY1

Delta Airlines To Add Flights Out Of LaGuardia

Delta Airlines is boosting its flights out of LaGuardia. The airline is adding routes that target business travelers as well as Delta’s competitors, American Airlines and United. “For the first time really in the history of aviation at LaGuardia Airport, we’re going to build a hub. That means we’re going to be connecting passengers and growing the number of seats and destinations in a very significant way,” said Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Airlines. In the largest expansion at LaGuardia in 40 years, the airline is adding flights to Miami, Dallas, Houston, Denver and Charlotte. Read More: NY1

Take lid off land deal: judge

A Manhattan judge has backed state investigators who are trying to get to the bottom of a controversial deal to sell state land to an Indian community group in Queens. The organization that got the sweetheart deal, the Indian Cultural and Community Center, has stopped cooperating with detectives dispatched by state Inspector General Ellen Biben, court records show. But Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez said in a ruling last week that there is “a legitimate and reasonable basis for [the IG’s] inquiry,” and he ordered the Indian Cultural and Community Center to turn over the records requested. Read More: New York Post

City could close two Rockaway elementary schools for poor performance

The city is moving to close a struggling Far Rockaway elementary school, despite strong opposition from parents, after it received an “F” on its report card. The Department of Education recommended earlier this month that Public School 215 be phased out starting in the fall of 2012 and replaced with another school in the same building. The influential Panel for Educational Policy is to vote on the proposal on Feb. 9 Read More: Daily News

 

Fired Queens prosecutor beats her old boss with acquittal for her client on trial for murder

An ex-Queens prosecutor sacked after she blew the whistle on a TB scare scored an acquittal in a murder case against her old bosses late Tuesday. Michael McLennon was found not guilty in the fatal 2007 shooting of a former tenant after lawyer Tamara Harris claimed her client was fending off a machete attack when he clicked off three rounds from a .9-mm pistol. McLennon, 41, was convicted of possessing a weapon and tampering with evidence. He faces a minimum sentence of three and a half years in prison. Read More: Daily News

Long Island City to receive more residential housing and businesses development

Long Island City is on the rise — one tower at a time — thanks to a host of new developments, defying the bleak real estate market. About 1,250 condos and rental apartments are slated to hit the market in the western Queens community next year, said Eric Benaim, owner of the local real estate firm Modern Spaces. And that’s just the beginning of what’s planned over the next few years for the once predominantly industrial area. Read More: Daily News

 

DOE cuts leave their mark


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

For Gary Haberski, reporting for his six-hour shift each weekday at Bayside High School was not only a delight, but his daily workout.

“I used to walk to school every day since I only live two miles away,” said Haberski, 62, of Whitestone, one of 700 Department of Education (DOE) employees let go recently. “I would go back tomorrow if I could.”

With the largest number of layoffs at one time in the city during the Bloomberg Administration, teacher aides and support staff have officially been cut in an effort to save $35 million, according to DOE officials.

This is the second time Haberski has been laid off by the DOE, last time spending 11-months on a recall list. Although prepared with a letter explaining a possible lay-off in September, the pink slip letter that came on October 7 prompted him to call all of his elected officials in outrage.

“The first time, I was upset and depressed,” said Haberski, a lifelong Queens resident. “Now, I’m just mad.”

School aides and support staff have many roles in schools including monitoring hallways, creating a more secure environment, observing during SAT and other test taking as well as other functions. It’s those day-to-day interactions with students that he misses the most.

“You establish relationships with the kids. You see them every day and learn what they want to do with their lives. I miss all that,” said Haberski.

Since being put back on the recall list, Haberski has filed for unemployment and is currently looking into food stamps as a money-saving option. He was one of three aides to be laid-off at Bayside High School, each of them in their 60s as well.

“We are hoping they are going to call us back quicker,” said Haberski. “There are not many jobs out there to begin with, especially for a 62 year old. It’s a waiting game.”

The decision to make cuts occurred as a result of failed negotiations between DC 37, the city’s largest municipal public employee union, and the DOE. DC 37 believes the cuts will affect lower income areas the most.

Smart students at I.S. 204 will learn on smart boards


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

In today’s evolving world, advancements in education come hand-in-hand with technological innovations, and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer is assuring that the students of I.S. 204 are not left behind.

The councilmember attended I.S. 204’s first PTA meeting of the year on September 27 and announced that he is allocating $50,000 of his capital funding to improving technology at the school, including providing each classroom with a new smart board.

Through Van Bramer’s efforts, I.S. 204, located at 36-41 28th Street in Long Island City, also received $40,000 over the past two years to fund its Cultural After School Adventure program with the Intrepid Museum.

“I.S. 204 is a vital school in the community of Dutch Kills and Long Island City,” said the councilmember. “The students deserve to have a nurturing environment, rigorous coursework and current technology that will give them the skills to transition smoothly into high school and be a productive member of society. I am pleased to have been able to provide these resources.”