Tag Archives: Glendale

St. Pancras celebrates Irish tradition with St. Patrick’s Day Dinner and Dance


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

St. Pancras School in Glendale hosted its annual St. Patrick’s Day Dinner and Dance on Saturday, March 9, to celebrate Irish tradition and school pride.

More than 150 alums and residents of various cultures attended the event.

There were raffles at the dinner, with all proceeds going to purchase a new SMART Board for the school.

Although St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until March 17, attendees donned green robes, shirts, ties and hats. There was traditional Celtic food, including corned beef and cabbage, and women performed Irish step dancing.

People also danced to live music by the Boston Burglars, an Irish American band that plays rock and roll.

“We wanted the St. Pancras school alumni to come back and celebrate with us every year on this very important occasion,” said Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol president Frank Kotnik, who is a St. Pancras alum and was the emcee at the event. “You didn’t have to be Irish to come here. It makes no difference. This is a school, parish, alumni thing.”

 

 

 

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Star of Queens: Mary Parisen, co-founder, Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES)


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Mary 3

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Mary Parisen is the co-founder of Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions (CURES), a coalition of some of the largest civic associations in western Queens, that came together to improve railroad infrastructure, public health and safety.

BACKGROUND:  Parisen, who works full-time as a school librarian, lives in Glendale, near the Fresh Pond Road freight. She was bothered by the noise, smell and pollution of the trains in the area. So in 2004 she spoke at a community board meeting about the concerns many people in the neighborhood had with the trains, and what came out of that was a green streets project.

“This was to try to abate the noise and make everything look nicer, but it still didn’t change the noise or the air pollution,” she said.

When Mary Arnold, Parisen’s neighbor and co founder of CURES, moved in, they both worked together to solve this problem.  The women formed a group that focused on small but successful beautification projects, and at a meeting when the issue resurfaced, Parisen said, someone suggested a group of civics be formed to tackle the problem, and that is how CURES was born.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Together with the other civic groups, CURES has been able to get the rail lines to use better technology and equipment.

GOALS: CURES’ mission is to work with federal, state and local agencies, elected officials and the railroads, to ensure that they are proactively keeping the neighborhoods clean by having the trains use better and quieter technology.

The increase in rail traffic caused an environmental burden in our neighborhood,” said Parisen.

Parisen and the group would like to see the repowering and upgrading of all locomotives in the Fresh Pond Rail terminal.  

“I’m going to have a granddaughter soon, and I don’t want to have to feel nervous to take her out of my house because of the air pollution in my area,” said Parisen.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: According to Parisen, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council has said that rail is going to increase by 50 percent by 2040.

“This increase in rail traffic should not come at the expense of the people who live in the community,” said Parisen. She added her organization is not opposed to the use of rail, but she believes that this increase should be thought with mitigation with the community.

 

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State comptroller finds irregularities with Samaritan Village


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Residents in Glendale now have more ammunition to strike back against the proposed homeless shelter.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found financial irregularities in an audit by the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), in which non-profit Samaritan Village is charging the state nearly $1 million for “unallowable, inappropriate, questionable or undocumented expenses.”

The mishandling of funds is significant because Samaritan Village is in negotiations with the city Department of Homeless Services to operate a 125-family transitional housing facility in Glendale with a five year, $27 million contract. However, the community has rallied against the proposal since it was submitted last year.

Samaritan Village provides residential, outpatient and treatment services in the city under a five-year, $73.3 million contract for OASAS. The agency reimburses Samaritan Village for the net costs it incurs to provide the services.

In response to the findings, Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi penned a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor, asking to suspend contract negotiations for the non-profit with the city regarding the Glendale homeless shelter.

“These findings from the state’s top financial office deserve consideration from your administration when determining whether the city of New York should enter into a new extended contract with an organization that is currently being cited for potential operational deficiencies,” Hevesi’s letter said. “It is appropriate for the city of New York to suspend further consideration of new contracts with this entity until further investigation.”

 

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Two Queens men charged in rash of burglaries


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Two Queens men have been arrested for a series of burglaries across the borough over the last six months.

Randolph Ardila of Maspeth and Raheim West of Long Island City are both charged with separate, various accounts of burglary, attempted burglary and criminal possession of stolen property, according to District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Ardila, 29, allegedly acted as the lookout for several Glendale and Ozone Park attempted apartment burglaries on Feb. 21. Later, at the time of his arrest, he was allegedly carrying a blue plastic contained filled with change, which had been reported missing from the Ozone Park apartment, Brown said.

In his car, police allegedly found a box containing the cremated ashes of a tenant’s mother, reported missing from a second Ozone Park location, according to the district attorney.

West, 37, was allegedly busted on tape breaking into the Promise Christian Academy Church in Flushing and making off with over $2,000 in cash last September and is additionally accused of stealing $160 from an employee at Flushing’s Asian Community Care Management earlier this month.

The LIC resident is also a suspect in two residential burglaries in Corona and another in College Point throughout February. Pry marks on the College Point residence allegedly match those made by West’s pry bar, Brown said.

When West was arrested, police recovered the pry bar, a screw driver and work gloves from his vehicle.

Ardila faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted and was ordered held on $150,000 bail. West, who faces 28 years, is being held on $200,000 bail. The pair will return to court March 10.

 

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Board approves proposed bike lanes in Ridgewood and Glendale


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Map courtesy of City Planning

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

Plans to add new bike lanes to Community Board 5 (CB 5) got the green light.

After an endorsement by freshman Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, CB 5 approved the proposed bike lanes in Ridgewood and Glendale on Wednesday with a 29-5 vote.

The Department of City Planning will begin implementing the phase one bike lanes of the proposal this summer, which connect to the Brooklyn network of paths.

One set flows parallel on Woodward and Onderdonk avenues from Flushing Avenue to Cooper Avenue. Another set runs on Harman and Himrod streets from Evergreen Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue.

“I’m very excited for this first step. I wish it could have been more,” said John Maier, co-chair of the CB 5 Transportation Committee. “I look forward to working with City Planning and the board to find phase two and possibly phase three.”

The city agency will also continue to evaluate the phase two bike lanes of the proposal, which could eventually add more paths and connect routes in Maspeth and Middle Village.

Phase two contains an expansive network of lanes throughout the rest of CB 5. However, residents have complained about a proposed lane on Elliot Street through Mount Olivet Cemetery between 67th Street and Mount Olivet Crescent. The two-way street is so narrow it is already dangerous for car traffic.

 

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City Comptroller Scott Stringer sits down with The Queens Courier


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

City Comptroller Scott Stringer sat down with The Queens Courier to discuss his first weeks in office and just where he plans to go from here.

“We hit the ground running,” he said. “It’s getting out and listening to what people say. If you want to do audits and identify people and agencies, you talk to people in the streets and get a very good idea.”

Stringer oversees the city’s $150 billion pension fund and also registers an average of 22,000 city contracts from every business concerning technology, to day care, to public housing.

For the start of his term, he has already audited public housing as well as the three separate public library systems.

He is a supporter of raising the minimum wage to $11 to accommodate the city’s price of living, and also an advocate for establishing a guaranteed revenue stream for universal pre-kindergarten. He believes in advancing public schools, namely in technology, to give students a fighting chance at a successful future.

Stringer has also made some changes internally intended to improve the efficacy of the comptroller’s office. He has proposed to ban placement agents, the “middle men” who have been involved in various past scandals, and brought in risk management professionals.

“I can’t audit an agency unless my own house is in order,” he said.

With The Courier,  Stringer covered borough-centric topics and expanded on how he plans to keep Queens, and the whole city, afloat financially.

“Nobody knows this city better than me,” he said.

 

What is your political background?

“Well, I haven’t told anyone this, but the first thing I wanted to be was a pro quarterback with the New York Jets. Then I realized early on by the age of 12, I was a little washed up,” Stringer said.

Stringer’s family had a foot in the political door when his mother ran for City Council. Growing up in Washington Heights, he thought “everyone was involved in government or politics.”

“I’m doing exactly what I always wanted to do,” he said. “The job of comptroller has never been more important [than] with this new government. I have the opportunity to work on issues I really care about.”

Stinger said the city’s economic issues are “really about civil rights and about moving everybody to where they have to be.”

“The challenge we face in the city [is] how do we bring everybody along economically,” he said.

The MTA has suspended No. 7-train service from Long Island City to Flushing for 22 weekends. What economic impact for local businesses do you foresee?

“When you have a large transportation project that in the long run will modernize the system, that’s something that’s goal-worthy,” Stringer said. “But when you don’t plan the reconstruction with the community, when you don’t partner with the businesses, you end up sacrificing people.”

“You’re sacrificing people in the name of progress, you can’t do it that way,” he said.

As comptroller, Stringer said he can “follow the money,” and make sure it is “being spent wisely.”

Additionally, he wants to “elevate this office so New Yorkers know when they want to bring an issue to my attention, they know what this office can do and what we’re going to do.”

The city Build it Back program for Sandy victims has tested the patience of many residents still trying to rebuild. How do you plan on monitoring those funds, as well as the $15 billion the city is set to receive in federal recovery funding?

During Stringer’s campaign, he proposed creating a Sandy Audit Bureau, designed specifically to watch every dollar designated for storm recovery. He has followed through and said he and the bureau will look at contractors and will be “laser focused” in making sure the money goes where it should.

“Where we find corruption or misuse of money, I want to make it very clear to everyone we will make referrals to law enforcement agencies based on our findings,” Stringer said. “The worst that can happen is you get hit by two hurricanes, because somebody took money or didn’t do the work they said they were going to.”

The comptroller is also working with Councilmember Donovan Richards and others involved with the Sandy Tracker, an online database monitoring recovery money coming in and out of the city.

He also said the administration should extend the deadline for Build it Back so more people can gain access to the recovery assistance program.

 

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Benjamin Cardozo senior wins National Youth Award from Hispanic Heritage Foundation


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Hispanic Heritage Foundation photo by Omar Ogues

One Benjamin Cardozo High School senior has received national recognition for her hard work.

Elsa Alvarado, a resident of Glendale, received the National Youth Award in the education category from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) on Thursday for her extracurricular activities and high academic performance.

She was just one of six students—after thousands applied—to earn the honor, which identifies young leaders in the Latino community.

Alvarado, who is of Nicaraguan descent, received a $1,000 grant and a Google Chromebook laptop, along with round-trip accommodations to Miami for the award ceremony.

“This is more than just an award because it speaks to being Hispanic,” Alvarado said. “It unites all the students, because we share the same goals and the same backgrounds.”

Alvarado averages a 3.9 GPA at Cardozo. She is passionate about languages, and is currently fluent in three—English, Spanish and French. She is also learning German.

Alvarado started The Future Educators of New York club at Cardozo last year, which focuses on tutoring children from kindergarten to middle school. There are currently 60 members in the club that teach various subjects.

She aspires to work in developing countries as a language professor and teach children how to communicate and learn the importance of language. She also wants to work as an ambassador in the future.

Alvarado plans to attend Georgetown University, the University of Notre Dame or George Washington University next year, and major in international relations.

“Elsa stood out as a bright, young woman who we believe will make a deep and positive impact on the education system, said Emanuel Pleitez, chair of the HHF’s Board of Directors. “We at the Hispanic Heritage Foundation are constantly searching for passionate students like her to recognize and assist in achieving their goals.”

 

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Ridgewood, Glendale could get new bike paths this summer


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Map courtesy Department of City Planning

The ongoing plans to add new bike lanes to Community Board 5 (CB 5) seem to be rolling along smoothly.

CB 5’s Transportation Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to recommend proposed lanes in Ridgewood and Glendale, which could be implemented as early as this summer.

The proposal, which includes lanes in the Department of City Planning’s phase one plan, will now hinge on a full board vote in the CB 5 February meeting.

If the board approves the new bike paths, City Planning will begin implementing the lanes this summer. The agency will also continue to evaluate phase two, which would eventually add more bike paths and connect routes in Maspeth and Middle Village.

Phase one of the plans connect to the bike lanes in the Brooklyn network of paths.

One set flows parallel on Woodward and Onderdonk avenues from Flushing Avenue to Cooper Avenue. Another set runs on Harman and Himrod streets from Evergreen Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue.

Phase two contains an expansive network of lanes throughout the rest of CB 5. However, residents have complained about a proposed lane on Elliot Street through Mount Olivet Cemetery between 67th Street and Mount Olivet Crescent. The two-way street is so narrow it is already dangerous for car traffic.

 

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Glendale’s Finback Brewery to launch beer at local bars despite setbacks


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Finback Brewery

Glendale’s Finback Brewery won’t open for a few more months, but the beer is finally coming to the surface.

The brewery, which was originally supposed to open in November last year, has been delayed by construction issues, but founders Basil Lee and Kevin Stafford are introducing three Finback beers at three bars around the city.

The brewery will have launch events for the beer at The Owl Farm bar in Brooklyn on Wednesday, Jimmy’s No. 43 in Manhattan on Thursday, and Forest Hills Station House in Queens on Jan. 28.

The three beers are Pilot X IPA, a citrusy drink filled with Summit, Chinook and Columbus hops, and hints of pink grapefruit; Puffin Smoked Porter, American porter filled with roast subtle hazelnut aroma and a smoky backbone from cherry wood smoked malt, and hints of chocolate; and Double Sess Wit, brewed with Szechuan peppercorns, ginger and chamomile.

The pair hopes to introduce the beer at other bars in the city, including The Queens Kickshaw in Astoria, and are shooting to open the brewery’s tasting room in late February or March, according to the owners.

“We’re working hard to finish the tasting room and open the brewery for beer and tours,” the owners said in an email. “We wish we could welcome you all to the brewery right now, but alas, NYC contractors have their own way of working, or not working…Rest assured we’re busy making beer and getting it out to our favorite local watering holes. Hopefully we’ll get the tasting room open in the next couple months.”

 

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Man fatally stabbed in Glendale


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Updated 5:20 p.m.

A man is dead after he was stabbed multiple times in Glendale Saturday, police said.

Officers, responding to a 9-1-1 call, found 26-year-old Emilliano LLames, of Brooklyn, on Cypress Hills Street, near 80th Avenue, about 2:10 a.m., with numerous stab wounds to the chest, the NYPD said.

He was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to police.

There are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing.

 

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Queens pro arm wrestlers to be featured on new AMC show


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy NYC Arm Control

Two Queens professional arm wrestlers will show their muscle in a new series on AMC.

Rob Bigwood, a Forest Hills resident, and Whitestone native Mike Ayello, are part of NYC Arm Control, the New York team on the show. The new series, “Game of Arms,” will feature professional arm wrestling teams from five states. The other members of the New York team are Mike Selearis, Dan Fortuna and Kevin Nelson.

The show intends to reveal the sport of arm wrestling in documentary style episodes starting Feb. 25. It will not only show the brawn that wrestlers need to participate, but the personal lives of the athletes.

“Game of Arms not only focuses on the technique and skill in this high-stakes world, but also the family, careers and personal struggles of each man outside of the sport,” said the AMC website description about the show.

The series will follow the personal lives of the country’s premier arm wrestling figures, such as Ayello, who is a firefighter from Ladder 135 in Glendale. Ayello said the show followed him around at home and also featured his work in the FDNY.

A graduate of Bayside High School, before he became an arm wrestler, he was a bouncer at clubs around New York City. He used to arm wrestle with the fellow bouncers, and being at 6 feet 5 inches, 270 pounds, he always won. Four years ago someone challenged him to wrestle in the professional circuit and he started researching professional arm wrestling and attending amateur tournaments. He quickly worked his way through the ranks and is recognized as one of the strongest arm wrestlers in the country.

Bigwood, who is vegan, is being featured among various accomplished vegan male athletes in a new documentary called “The Game Changers” by James Wilks, a former MMA welterweight champion and fellow vegan.

Both men believe that arm wrestling needs a show, such as the one on AMC, to expand.

“It’s actually a huge underground thing, but no one just taped into it yet, but I think this show will bring it out,” Ayello said.

The series is coming from Matt Renner and Ethan Prochnik, the Emmy Award-winning producers of the “Deadliest Catch,” and executive producer Dan Ilani.

Trailers have already been circulating about the show.

 

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Organics collection service extending to Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The Department of Sanitation’s organics collection program is branching out to Queens.

Starting in April, residents in Middle Village, Maspeth and Glendale will be able to participate in the program, which targets food scraps, food-spoiled paper and yard waste, such as leaves, to recycle. The program is already underway in parts of the other four boroughs.

The organics collection program is part of the city’s plan to expand recycling. The city spent more than $85 million exporting organics to landfills last year, and hopes that an expanded recycling program will lower that cost.

“If we can collect organics, we can avoid landfills disposal fees and convert the organic material into compost, an organic fertilizer, or clean renewable energy,” said Ron Gonen, deputy commissioner for recycling and sustainability. “It’s a win for taxpayers, it’s a win for the environment and it’s a win for local jobs.”

The containers are brown and come in a small kitchen size and a bigger curbside size as well. The program is volunteer-based, but the bins will be delivered to all buildings with nine or fewer residential units.

The Department of Sanitation asks that residents put only food-soiled waste, food scraps and yard waste in the bins. This means no metal, glass, plastics, cartons, animal waste, foam items, clothing or electronics are allowed in the organics bins.

People participating in the program do not need to line their organic trash bins, but if they want they can line them with newspaper, paper bags, cardboard, clear plastic liners or compostable liners approved by the Department of Sanitation.

The organic trash collected from Queens will be transferred to a composting facility upstate, according to a Sanitation Department representative.

For more information on the organics recycling collection program, visit www.nyc.gov/organics.

 

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Glendale pols appeal to Mayor de Blasio over proposed homeless shelter


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

A new mayor, but the same old homeless shelter issue.

Representatives for Glendale penned a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop the proposed homeless shelter on 78-16 Cooper Ave.

Assemblymembers Mike Miller and Andrew Hevesi, Congressmember Grace Meng and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley criticized the analysis by the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) in the letter and the agencies support for the shelter. The city is seeking a five-year $27 million contract with non-profit Samaritan Village, which would operate the facility.

“The reality is that the vast majority of the arguments made in the letter for building this facility were so generic and broad that they may be used to justify the building of transitional housing facilities anywhere in the City of New York,” the letter said.

Last year, Samaritan Village announced to Community Board 5 that it proposed the site for transitional housing for 125-families.

The letter by public officials points out that city shelter stay lengths have increased within the past year by 16 percent and it also highlights that the building is about 1.3 miles away from the nearest subway train and “not accessible to residents of the facility, who will need public transportation to commute to off-site linkage services, educational institutions, stores, and workplaces.”

The homeless shelter proposal is currently in its second phase of review, an environmental assessment. Some feel that the proposal could lose in that phase, because the building sits on contaminated ground.

The third and final review phase will be conducted in a financial analysis by City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

 

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Plans reveal new shopping center could come to Glendale


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Glendale Shopping Center

A 350,000-square-foot shopping center could be coming to Glendale, according to a brochure by Schuckman Realty obtained by The Courier.

The center will be located on 8200 Cooper Ave., next to The Shops at Atlas Park, and will be built in two phases.

Phase one, which is expected to be completed by fall 2015, consists of more than 137,000 square feet of retail, 133,650 square feet of storage, about 500 free parking spots and outdoor seating areas. While phase two will have about 80,000 square feet of retail and will be finished in spring 2016.

The proposed development will have three anchor tenants along with small stores, restaurants with outdoor seating and freestanding pad buildings with drive-thrus.

Some Glendale leaders and residents are worried the area will be inundated with traffic.

“I don’t think it is a very good spot to put more shops. There is too much traffic,” said Michelle Cook-Lopez, a member of the Glendale Property Owners Association. “Personally I think we need more manufacturing jobs. We are losing that in Glendale.”

Schuckman Realty did not return calls or emails for comment.

Glendale Shopping Center 8200 Cooper Av (1) by The Queens Courier

 

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Environmental assessment to be done on proposed Glendale homeless shelter


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The fight over the unpopular Glendale homeless shelter is heading to round two.

An environmental assessment study will be done on the site for the second phase of review to decide whether to transform the vacant factory on 78-16 Cooper Ave. into a homeless shelter, after it recently received support from the Department of Homeless Services (DHS).

Some elected officials are confident they’ll have a chance for a knockout punch in this round.

“That’s another shot we have,” Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi said at a recent Community Board 5 meeting. “I believe from anecdotal evidence that the site may be contaminated. They are not allowed to build on a contaminated site.”

DHS penned a letter to the mayor’s office last week in support for nonprofit Samaritan Village’s proposal to transform the defunct factory into a shelter for 125 families, with a contract valued at $27 million.

Elected officials and Glendale residents attended a public hearing on Thursday in Manhattan to reiterate their opposition to the possible shelter, because of the contamination on the site and congestion to local schools, among other reasons.

“The building was never intended for residential use. Changing this site to a residential use would require intensive remediation and expansive renovations,” Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said at the hearing. “Think of how much further we could use $27 million. This money could be spent repairing buildings that already have the infrastructure in place, and money would likely still be left over for improvements in current shelters and providing job placement and permanent housing services.”

The homeless shelter was first suggested to the city by Samaritan Village in 2011. A formal proposal was sent to the DHS earlier this year.

If the proposal passes the environmental assessment round, then it will go to the Office of the City Comptroller for financial review for the third and final phase.

 

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