Tag Archives: Glen Oaks

Councilman Weprin to leave seat for Cuomo administration


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/file photo

Updated Tuesday, May 12, 12:35 p.m.

Councilman Mark Weprin gave his two weeks’ notice to the people of his district Monday, as he announced his departure from the City Council to take a job with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Weprin, 53, who has served in the 23rd Council District seat since 2010, is poised to become Cuomo’s deputy secretary of legislative affairs. He didn’t set a specific date when he would leave office, but in a statement, Weprin indicated his resignation would take effect “within the next two weeks.”

Prior to his City Council election, Weprin served for 15 years in the state Assembly, holding the seat previously held by his late father, former Assembly Speaker Saul Weprin. Mark Weprin was elected to the City Council seat in 2009 to succeed his brother, David, who made an unsuccessful run for City Comptroller.

David Weprin then won a special election in 2010 for his brother’s and father’s former Assembly seat.

“It has been an honor to represent eastern Queens as an elected official for 21 years,” Mark Weprin said in a statement Monday morning. “It has been my privilege to serve the people and families of my neighborhood. I am proud to have helped the communities I have represented to continue to be wonderful places to live, work and raise a family.”

At the start of his second City Council term, Mark Weprin was elected in January 2014 as chair of the City Council’s Queens delegation. He was also named chair of the Zoning and Franchises Committee and serves on the Land Use, Education, Economic Development, Oversight and Investigations, and Technology committees.

As deputy secretary for legislative affairs, Mark Weprin will reportedly serve as a liaison between Cuomo and leaders of the Assembly and state Senate on various matters.

“I have known Governor Cuomo for most of my life, and he is a leader of incredible talent,” Weprin added. “I look forward to this next step in my public career.”

Once the councilman’s resignation takes effect, the mayor must call for a non-partisan special election to be held within 60 days. Each candidate must secure their own party line; the established political parties cannot nominate a candidate of their own, but they may make an endorsement.

The 23rd Council District includes all or parts of Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Hollis Park Gardens, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.

As for who may replace Weprin in the City Council, one contender has already emerged — former Assemblyman and Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik. He confirmed his interest in running for the seat in a phone interview with The Courier on Tuesday.

Other potential contenders, as reported in the New York Observer, include Dominic Panakal, chief-of-staff to Councilman Rory Lancman; local attorney Ali Najmi; civic activist and former City Council candidate Bob Friedrich; and former City Council and Assembly candidate Steve Behar.

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Richmond Hill liquor store owner busted for tax fraud


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

LiquorBottlesHC0401_L_300_C_R

A Glen Oaks man was busted for failing to pay more than $500,000 in sales taxes owed to the state by his Richmond Hill liquor store, prosecutors said.

Gurcharan Singh, 33, along with his business, Raj American Liquor Inc., located at 102-25 Atlantic Ave., are facing charges of criminal tax fraud, grand larceny, falsifying business records and sales, and compensating use taxes/fraud returns, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Singh and his business are accused of underreporting more than $10 million in sales on tax returns filed between March 1, 2007, and May 31, 2010. According to prosecutors, the liquor store collected $11,327,548 in revenue, but only reported sales of $387,724.

Singh, who is listed as the chairman or chief executive officer of Raj American Liquor, allegedly failed to pay $501,730 in sales taxes that should have gone to the state.

“This is the type of crime that makes every New Yorker a victim because the government and the public are cheated out of money to fund programs, services and infrastructure,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

If convicted, Singh faces up to 15 years in prison. His business is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or double the amount of the illegal gain.

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City begins $2.1 million storm sewer installation in Glen Oaks


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo via Department of Environmental Protection/Flickr 

To alleviate issues with flooding in Glen Oaks, the city has begun working on a $2.1 million project to install nearly a half-mile of new storm sewers in the area.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is funding the project, which in addition to the storm sewers, includes the installation of 31 street-level catch basins and 19 manholes.

The DEP will also replace nearly a half-mile of distribution water mains so the community will be able to receive high-quality drinking water for years to come. The entire project is expected to be completed by the summer.

“Every day, my district office receives complaints about ponding and flooding on our city streets, causing a multitude of problems for motorists, pedestrians and homeowners,” state Sen. Tony Avella said. “By investing in new storm sewers, catch basins and water mains, we can reduce flooding and improve the quality of drinking water for Glen Oaks residents.”

The storm sewer installation work is taking place along Elkmont Avenue from 250th Street to 252nd Street and on 251st Street from Elkmont Avenue to Union Turnpike. Water collected in the newly installed infrastructure will drain into an existing 72-inch storm sewer on Union Turnpike.

The DEP is also working on a much larger project to upgrade sewers and water mains in Bayside.

This project, which costs $20 million and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016, will add nearly 4.3 miles of water mains to the area’s distribution system.

The city agency hopes this move will ensure a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water for the northeast Queens neighborhood.

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Van fatally strikes 79-year-old in Glen Oaks


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

AmbulanceInMotionHC0507_L_300_C_Y-624x416

A 79-year-old man was killed while trying to cross a Glen Oaks street on Saturday, cops said.

The victim, Edmund Chou, was struck by a Ford Econoline van about 5:15 p.m. on Hillside Avenue near 257th Street, about 10 blocks from his home, according to authorities.

He was attempting to walk from the north to south side of Hillside Avenue outside of the crosswalk when the vehicle hit him, cops said.

Chou was taken to Long Island Jewish Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The van’s driver remained on the scene and police were investigating.

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Suspect wanted in connection to 21 Queens, Bronx commercial break-ins


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted in connection with a string of citywide commercial burglaries.

In a total of 21 incidents, starting in June in Rosedale and most recently occurring on Oct. 20 in the Bronx, at least one suspect broke into commercial establishments via the roof, side or rear doors, or ventilation ducts while the business were closed, according authorities. Money from the cash register and broken-into ATMs, as well as miscellaneous items, such as cigarettes, were taken during the thefts.

In Queens, the burglaries have occurred in Laurelton, Broad Channel, Jamaica, Astoria, Queens Village, Bayside, Hollis, Glen Oaks, College Point, Richmond Hill and Flushing. The other break-ins all happened in the Bronx.

The NYPD has released surveillance photos of the male suspect wanted in an incident on Sept. 12 in Richmond Hill. During this burglary, at about 8 p.m. the suspect entered 88-24 Van Wyck Expressway via the roof, damaged the security system but did not remove any property, police said.

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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Historic greenhouses receive more than $1M for restoration project


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

The Queens County Farm Museum is getting some serious green to fix three greenhouses on the state’s oldest continuously running farm, according to city records.

The city Department of Design and Construction will begin a $1.4 million construction project in 2015 to restore the wooden structures.

The last time the Floral Park site’s greenhouses were restored was in 1999 and since then their concrete foundations and wooden window frames have decayed.

According to James Trent, the founder of the museum, the greenhouses need to be restored every few decades since they were built in 1929 and 1934.

“They’re the last wooden greenhouses owned by the city,” he said. “These houses are very attractive but they need to be worked on periodically.”

Currently, only one of the sites are being used for plants and flowers. The other two are empty and the public isn’t allowed in them out of fear that the aging wood might drop the glass panels that they hold.

“It really causes the wood to shift out of place,” said Executive Director Amy Boncardo. “It’s like a living structure and very complex.”

The farm, which began in 1697, is owned by the Parks Department and serves as an agricultural production center and an educational center for schools.

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Health Department to treat parts of Queens against West Nile


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Tuesday, Aug. 19, the Health Department will treat parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of West Nile virus.

The treatment, which will spray pesticide from trucks, will take place between the hours of 8:15 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Wednesday, Aug. 20. during the same hours.

For this spraying, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil® 10+10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

• Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.

• Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.

• Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using again.

• Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

LOCATIONS:

Parts of Corona, Forest Hills, Forest Hill Gardens, Flushing, Kew Gardens Hills, Queensboro Hill and Rego Park (Bordered  by Long Island Expressway, College Point Boulevard and Booth Memorial Avenue to the north; 99th Street, 67th Avenue and Austin Street to the west; Jackie Robinson Parkway and Grand Central Parkway to the south; and Main Street to the east)

Parts of Bellrose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Hollis Hills, Glen Oaks and Little Neck (Bordered by Long Island Expressway, Douglaston Parkway and Van Zandt Avenue to the north; Cloverdale Boulevard,73rd Avenue and Springfield Boulevard to the west; Hillside Avenue to the south; Little Neck Parkway, Leith Road, Hewlett Street and Langdale Street to the east.)

 

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Glen Oaks Library branch up for national honor


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Queens Library

After reopening a few months ago, the Glen Oaks Library branch has received more than new books.

The new building, which cost $17.1 million and opened in September, has been the recipient of a few honors, including being a recent winner at the Queens Chamber of Commerce’s annual Building Awards on Thursday.

Now the Glen Oaks Library will represent New York State for 2013 Building of the Year by American-Architects.com. Voting will continue online until Jan. 31.

“We’ve contributed to public architecture of the city. This is a public project. It is for the people of the neighborhood,” said Scott Marble, co-founder of Marble Fairbanks, the architect firm that designed the building. “I feel like we are part of the legacy of great architecture in Queens.”

The new library branch was funded by the city and doubled the space of the previous building. With clear panels all around, it is flooded with natural light on every level.

The building is also very eco-friendly. It was certified Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design), the second highest level for a standard of environmental sustainability by the U.S. Green Building Councils.

Click here for more information on Building of the Year award by American-Architects.com

 

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Bellerose residents demand mosquito help after years with no West Nile spraying


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CDC

Bellerose residents say they live in a forgotten land when it comes to the city’s efforts to eliminate mosquitoes.

“You can’t go outside. You can’t make it from your car to your front door,” said Maria Donza.

The bloodsuckers are keeping residents on house arrest and even alert indoors, said Donza, who added she sits with a bottle of bug spray at home.

The city has not sprayed the area since before 2011.

Pesticide was scheduled for Bellerose in August 2011, but the order was eventually canceled, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) website.

The department recently targeted neighborhoods north of Bellerose, spraying parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Douglaston Manor, Glen Oaks, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens on July 25 and early the next day.

“Everywhere else in Queens has been mostly getting sprayed,” said resident AJ Sonnick. “I don’t understand why Bellerose has been forgotten.”

The 20-year-old said he was bitten four times in the 20 minutes he was in his backyard the other day.

“This is a beautiful neighborhood. It’s a great neighborhood to live,” Sonnick said. “It’s a shame that we just can’t sit outside.”

A DOHMH spokesperson said Bellerose has not been sprayed because no West Nile Virus activity has been detected there.

The virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause encephalitis and meningitis.

Insects carrying the potentially fatal virus were recently found in Auburndale, College Point, Holliswood, Middle Village, Pomonok and the areas north of Bellerose sprayed last week.

The pesticide is taken as a last resort in areas where there is a high risk of West Nile Virus transmission, the department said.

Catch basins in Bellerose have been treated with larvicide twice this season.

“Though there may be an increase in floodwater mosquitoes citywide, these mosquitoes do not transmit West Nile Virus,” the DOHMH spokesperson said.

However, State Senator Tony Avella said the city should take measures before Bellerose makes the infected list.

“Every year, we have deaths from West Nile Virus. Every year, it resurfaces,” he said. “So why don’t we do a much more proactive spraying to reduce that population rather than wait until it explodes on us?”

Mosquitoes “don’t know what a boundary is on a map” and can fly into new nearby territories, the legislator added.

The city urged residents to call 3-1-1 to report standing water, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

 

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West Nile spraying in Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

On Wednesday, July 24, there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, July 25 during the same hours.

Neighborhoods: Parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Douglas Manor, Glen Oaks, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens.

Bordered by: Little Neck Bay and 39th Avenue to the North; Bell Boulevard, Long Island Expressway, Cloverdale Boulevard, 73rd Avenue and Springfield  Boulevard to the West; 76th Avenue, 263rd Street and Union Turnpike to the South; and Nassau County border to the East.

Parts of the following zip codes: 11361, 11362, 11363,  11364, 11426, 11427,  11004, 11005

For the sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10 a synthetic
pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department  recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

New modern library opens in Glen Oaks this May


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Public Library

Glen Oaks is getting a sleek new library that opens in the third week of May, officials said.

The $17 million facility at 256-04 Union Turnpike is 18,000 square feet­­—nearly double the size of the neighborhood’s temporary library at 255-01 Union Turnpike. The new, three-story building will have more customer service features including computer workstations, an outdoor reading space and separate areas for adults, teens and children.

The library will also have a sweeping interior staircase, a sky-lit reading lounge and a partial glass exterior.

As construction wraps up, the temporary branch will close on May 3, officials said.

Bookworms can visit nearby libraries in Bellerose or Windsor Park until the grand opening. Materials can be renewed online at www.queenslibrary.org or by phone at 718-990-8508.

 

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Glen Oaks elementary school donates to military veterans


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A Glen Oaks elementary school has donated $1,000 to military veterans.

Youngsters at P.S. 115 presented a check to Services for the UnderServed (SUS) on Friday, March 15. The funds were allocated for SUS programs that support the country’s veterans.

“It really touches an old man’s heart,” said Howard Wheeler of Elmhurst, who served 22 years in the U.S. Navy. “It means so much to us that you all, as young as you are, have the mind to think of others than yourself.”

The pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students raised funds through a bake sale and a school dance. They then worked with AmeriCorps, a federal government program focusing on community service, to connect with SUS.

“It’s an extraordinary gesture on their part,” said Kevin Burke, the school’s parent coordinator. “These children are our future. It’s very important that they recognize the history of our country and know there are people that commit themselves in protecting our country.”

P.S. 115 plans to hold another bake sale at the school on April 22.

“It’s a very, very selfless act,” Staff Sergeant Nicole Robinson of the Army Reserves said to the students. “You guys are future soldiers for change. You did a very good thing.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Overcast in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 25 with a windchill as low as 3. Windy. Winds from the NNW at 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph. Thursday night: Clear. Low of 12F with a windchill as low as 0. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Beer Pairing Dinner

Come to Alobar in LIC on January 24 for a five course tasting menu and beer pairing courtesy of Brewery Ommegang. $55 for the beer and food. Call 718-752-6000 to make reservations. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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Woodside merchants say they’re losing business to evening ‘No Parking’ zone on Roosevelt Ave.

Woodside merchants are urging the city to lift a weekday parking restriction on Roosevelt Ave. because they say it’s unnecessary and bad for business. Read more: New York Daily News

Cold weather stretch makes life dangerous for Sandy victims

Looking at the job ahead of him, Alberto Pizarro said he’s taking a break from helping his neighbor, William Farrell rebuild his home this week. The men said they can’t go any further until a new boiler is installed, and one small space heater isn’t cutting it. Read more: NY1

1 dead, 1 critical after being struck in separate Queens car accidents

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Defiant Secretary of State Clinton takes on lawmakers over Benghazi attack

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The Pentagon’s decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat presents a daunting challenge to top military leaders who now will have to decide which, if any, jobs they believe should be open only to men. Read more: AP

 

$17M facelift for Glen Oaks library


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Public Library

A $17 million facelift will soon bring chic changes to a Glen Oaks library, officials said.

A sweeping interior staircase, a sky-lit reading lounge and a partially transparent exterior are some of the modern designs being built at the 255-01 Union Turnpike site of the Glen Oaks branch of the Queens Library.

“We’re very excited about it,” said Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village. “It’s a really beautifully designed library, as opposed to the old one that had more of a concrete box-like structure with very few windows.”

Officials said the library, built in 1956, was becoming too small for the growing Glen Oaks population. Renovations will nearly double the size of the library to 18,000-square-feet and include many new customer service features along its three levels, including more computer workstations, separate areas for adults, teens and children, and an outdoor reading space.

“I think this library will attract a lot more people,” Friedrich said. “The community really needs it. We have a lot of seniors in Glen Oaks who love sitting outside to read.”

The new library is slated to open later this spring, officials said. Bookworms can visit the library’s temporary space across the street until construction is completed.

“This state-of-the-art library will be a terrific asset for the community,” said Councilmember Mark Weprin, who helped fund the improvement project with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

 

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$120M psychiatric pavilion set to open in Glen Oaks


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A multimillion dollar psychiatric pavilion in Glen Oaks is slated to open its doors to inpatients next month.

Zucker Hillside Hospital officials celebrated the $120 million project on December 7. The 130,000-square-foot facility, which has 115 beds, also includes a center for dementia patients and a new electroconvulsive therapy unit.

“The mental health system in this country is broken and deteriorated. Our pledge is, not [broken] in this hospital, not in our health system, not in our communities,” said Joseph Schulman, executive director of Zucker Hillside.

The two-story pavilion, located at 75-59 263rd Street, will treat patients suffering with depression, mood and affective disorders, substance abuse and dementia when it opens on January 8, officials said.

“Psychiatric illness and addiction cause heartache and alter lives. Their devastating impact scars families for generations,” said Dr. John Kane, vice president of the Behavioral Health Services for North Shore-LIJ. “This new pavilion will help us treat these disorders to change that, healing families and returning people to society’s mainstream.”

According to Kane, behavioral health disorders affect nearly half the population during the course of a lifetime and account for more disability and missed days of work than any other illness.

Queens Hospital Center cut the ribbon on an 8,500-square-foot expanded psychiatric program last week, but Kane said the recent sprouting of facilities does not mean there is an increase in a total number of beds in the community.

The needs of many mentally ill individuals are still not met, he said, and the emergence of local centers may only indicate a rebuilding of state-of-the-art facilities.

“In the last 10 years, the health system has made a tremendous investment in both inpatient and outpatient care, and that’s what we need,” Kane said.

Cathie Lemaire, of Huntington, said she has been hospitalized five times for severe depression and said the illness sidetracked her life for many years until Zucker Hillside suggested she try electroconvulsive therapy.

“I had great careers in sales, in electronics. I was selling to military and commercial contractors, but I would have repeated depressive episodes,” she said. “[Zucker Hillside] has allowed me to get back to my life, to my old self, to living. It’s priceless.”