Tag Archives: I.S. 73

Maspeth students learn about public servants on Law Day


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Leaders in local, state and national law enforcement joined emergency response teams and civic groups in celebration of the 39th annual Law Day hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Maspeth on May 22 at Maspeth’s I.S. 73.

Maspeth-based lawyer and Kiwanis member Edward McGowan created Law Day back in 1976 as a civic project for his term as the group’s president. The event initially began with 10 guest speakers and has since expanded to include over 30 instructors and speakers from all facets of law enforcement and legal professions.

McGowan created the program as a way to give back to the children of the community, as well as to the school he himself once attended.

“This school is my foundation for what I am today,” he said. “The program is all about giving the kids the opportunity to sit in a classroom with a uniformed officer and ask questions.”

This year’s Law Day event featured representatives and guest speakers from a wide range of groups, including officers from the 104th Precinct, Maspeth Kiwanis, the MTA Police Unit, the Middle Village Ambulance Squad, NYC Office of Emergency Management, DSNY Community Affairs Unit, Maritime lawyers, NYPD Crime Prevention and Community Affairs Units, as well as agents from the FBI.

Instructors and speakers from each group were sent into classrooms to discuss their roles and professions with students in a series of three, 20-minute presentations.

“They get a chance to show a little bit about themselves and say, ‘Hey, you can do this, too,'” McGowan added.

Jon Kablack, a member of the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol (104COP), spoke with a seventh-grade class and shared his own experiences and struggles as a high school student.

“You learn, in life, from your mistakes and how to fix them,” he said. “But as a community servant, I want to come and help you fix those now, so that you’re not held back later in life.”

Kablack also discussed the topic of graffiti with the students, an important issue that often involves the community’s youth. He explained the differences between true art and vandalism and urged the class to report such incidents.

Kablack also encouraged the students to complete their homework and maintain good grades so that they could gain admittance to a good high school and college, and eventually the career of their choice.

“You can do anything you want to do,” he said.

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

P.O. Charles Sadler of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit addressed a sixth-grade class with a similar message of encouragement.

“If you set your goals, you could do anything,” he said. “Sometimes you have to work harder than other people to get to your goals, but you will get there.”

Sadler explained how the NYPD’s motto of “Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect” should be applied to life inside and out of the classroom.

“Be that guy or gal that chooses the right way,” he said. “That’s why I became a cop. I wanted to show people how to be that better person and to protect and serve those who can’t protect and serve themselves.”

McGowan hopes to plan a large event and celebration for next year’s 40th Law Day anniversary.

“I hope I’m saving lives and creating something,” he said. “Out of this, I got to help a lot of people.”

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Maspeth High School looks to tighten admission standards


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Looking to take the cream of the high school crop, Maspeth High School is considering adopting new admission criteria, a local parent warned during Monday’s Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) civic association meeting in Elmhurst.

Joann Berger, I.S. 73 PTA president, informed attendees of a plan to convert the high school located at 54-40 74th St. to a limited screened school. The school opened in 2011 as a limited, unscreened community school, with students residing in District 24 given top priority for entry.

According to Berger, school administrators are petitioning the Community Education Council of District 24 (CEC 24) for a change in its enrollment criteria. Under the proposed changes, incoming students would need to meet a new set of criteria, such as higher grade point averages, in order to be accepted into the school.

“If they go screened, that means only those top students will be getting in,” Berger said. “It would be almost like a specialized school without having to take the specialized high school test.”

Berger estimates that Maspeth High School has allocated approximately 300 seats per incoming school year. I.S. 73, which is a mere four blocks away from the high school, has nearly 690 students in their eighth-grade graduating class.

“They won’t even be able to accept half of the students from the school,” she added. “We don’t have enough high school seats within District 24 as it is.”

Maspeth High School first opened as part of the Metropolitan Avenue High School campus back in September 2011. It relocated to its current home in Maspeth the following year.

“This is the third year that they’re in the building, their first year with a graduating class, and they’re already requesting to change it to that new criteria,” Berger said.

According to Berger, representatives from Maspeth High School will make their proposal to the CEC 24 on March 24. Thereafter, the council will then make a recommendation for or against the plan to the Department of Education’s Office of Enrollment.

“The President’s Council and the PTAs in our district are not in favor of this,” she explained. “We are the most overcrowded school district in the city. We wanted a community school that is also a college preparatory school for our children.”

On May 9, CEC 24 will hold an election to fill nine of the 12 slots on the board designated to district parents. Parents of students of District 24 schools from kindergarten through eighth grade interested in seeking a CEC seat must apply online by March 11.

Berger estimates that there are approximately over 57,000 students in District 24. But she said the area known as “COMET-land” (Maspeth, Elmhurst and Woodside) is grossly underrepresented on CEC 24.

“There’s a huge section of our district which encompasses Glendale, Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth, Elmhurst and Corona,” Berger explained, “Of the nine members who sit on the CEC, there is nobody representing areas north of Juniper Valley Park. Middle Village and Glendale are the only ones with parents currently sitting on the board right now.”

COMET President Rosemarie Daraio echoed the need for greater representation. “Nobody is representing students from Maspeth, Elmhurst or Winfield,” she said.

CEC members make decisions regarding school zoning issues, school construction and the allocation of capital funding to schools within the district.

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Op-Ed: Ensuring the safety of our children


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILMEMBER ELIZABETH CROWLEY

Drivers need to be more conscientious near schools. Just a few days ago, students of I.S. 73 in Maspeth got seriously injured by an out-of-control vehicle. As police investigate this accident, we owe it to those injured students and their classmates to make our streets safer.

Grand Avenue is a very busy street. The vehicular traffic is made worse during school arrival and dismissal time as P.S. 58, I.S. 73 and Maspeth High School are all located within six blocks of each other. I believe it is imperative to implement changes as soon as possible, and on Monday, along with PTA leaders, I met with Queens DOT Commissioner Dalila Hall on site to discuss how to make Grand Avenue safer.

The stretch of Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and I.S. 73 is in need of “Safe Routes to School” program and a slowdown zone where the speed limit is reduced to 20 miles per hour. The safe routes program redesigns streets, which include expanding sidewalks, new lane paintings and improved signal timing, to ease congestion around schools.

Recently, the DOT studied vehicle speeds around all schools in New York City, and they found that 98 percent of vehicles driving around P.S. 58, I.S. 73 and Maspeth High School are going over the speed limit. This is dangerous and simply unacceptable. A comprehensive study by the DOT to change traffic patterns and slow down drivers through its “Safe Routes to School” program would be a major help in reducing congestion around these schools.

There must be constant traffic enforcement by the NYPD and DOT today. I have called on both agencies to ticket trucks that are not making local deliveries, and speeding drivers who are endangering our children must be stopped. New York recently approved speed camera enforcement at 20 schools in the city. Placing one of these cameras at Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and I.S. 73 would certainly slow drivers down once tickets begin arriving in the mail.

Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our children traveling to and from school. I have brought the concerns of the community to DOT, and together, we must demand the DOT prioritize safety on Grand Avenue. Our most vulnerable and precious resource are our children, and we must do everything to keep them safe.

Elizabeth Crowley represents the 30th Council District, covering Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood and Woodhaven

 

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Student injured in Maspeth crash dies days later of asthma attack


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

A student injured when an SUV jumped the curb in Maspeth last week has died, education officials confirmed.

Michael Gomez, 13, died at Elmhurst Hospital on Sunday, September 15 of an asthma attack, according to reports.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott reached out to his family and the principal of I.S. 73 to express his condolences and grief counselors were dispatched to the school to talk with students and teachers.

Gomez received cuts and bruises when  the silver Honda Pilot slammed into him and four other students of nearby I.S. 73 in front a deli on Thursday, September 12. Gomez was brought to Elmhurst Hospital, but released the next day.

Two other students injured in the accident are still recovering in Elmhurst Hospital and another in New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.

When the SUV hit the students, one girl was trapped underneath the vehicle, witnesses said. Good Samaritans rushed to help, and a half-dozen men lifted the car, while a resident pulled the girl out.

“I was so overwhelmed. I’m still in shock,” said Candice Cruz, who lives above the deli. When the car hit the students, she hurried to help and pulled the girl out from under. “Seeing the little body under there and the little girl trying to breathe, it was horrible.”

The driver of the car was trying to park in a spot in front the deli, but pressed on the gas pedal too hard, according to authorities.

Video surveillance from the deli corroborates this. Police did not charge the driver with a crime, although the investigation is ongoing, cops said.

The corner is usually filled with many children in the morning during school time, and many students go into the store to get breakfast, said Julio Lopez, who works at the deli.

“I just [stepped off] the sidewalk because my friend called me,” said Weiss Safdary, a 10th grader at Grover Cleveland High School. “I would have been under there too.”

Grand Avenue is a busy, narrow commercial strip with many trucks, buses and cars. Besides I.S. 73, about a block from the scene are P.S. 58 and Maspeth High School.

Residents have been highlighting the need for safety measures such as more signs to protect students.

“Maybe they should put something on the sidewalk,” said Carl Panganbian, 10th grader. “It’s for student safety, because you never know when [an accident] is going to happen.”

 

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Crash near Maspeth school prompts talk of safety improvements


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

While on a safety tour around Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and Maspeth High School, one parent suddenly said, “You don’t even see the sign that there is a school here. It’s hidden behind a tree.”

Another joined in and said “the ‘school x-ing’ [markings] have faded away.”

The parents were walking around the street, pointing out issues following last week’s accident when an SUV jumped the curb and injured five students of nearby I.S. 73.

“We have to do something about it, this can’t fall on deaf ears,” said Maryann Johnson, president of the P.S. 58 Parent Teacher Association (PTA).

Johnson saw the scene of the accident and promised that safety will be a top priority for discussion at the next PTA meeting at the end of the month.

The parents got together for the tour on Monday, September 16, hosted by Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. Crowley brought along Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall to see what can be done to improve safety in the area.

“Some of the things that they were asking for are slower speeds and more signs for drivers,” Hall said.

The three grade schools in the area, I.S. 73, P.S. 58 and Maspeth High School, are only a few blocks from each other and because Grand Avenue is a busy, narrow commercial strip, it presents danger to hundreds of children, parents said.

Parents also believe that other “stubborn” parents are partly to blame. They said that some speed into the area quickly because they are running late, and others illegally double and sometimes triple park to let children off. This adds to the congestion created by numerous vehicles already in the area.

Crowley suggested turning the area into a Slowdown Zone so cars go only 15 to 20 mph. The politician has also been fighting to remove Grand Avenue from the truck map so rigs would stop traveling down the skinny street. She has also advocated to convert nearby 70th Street to a one-way.

“I have two kids in local schools,” Crowley said. “I want to make sure that all parents don’t have to worry about their kids going to and from school.”

 

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SUV jumps curb in Maspeth, injuring five students


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Video surveillance

Warning: This video contains graphic content.

CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND LIAM LA GUERRE

Five students were injured when an SUV jumped the curb in Maspeth Thursday morning.

The incident happened around 7:50 a.m. in front a deli at 71st Street and Grand Avenue, about a block from the students’ school, I.S. 73, cops said. The students are three 13-year-old girls, a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy, police said.

The students were taken to Elmhurst Hospital in serious, but not life-threatening condition, according to fire officials. One of the 13-year-old girls has a broken leg and another girl has a fractured leg, authorities said.

One girl was trapped underneath the vehicle, a silver Honda Pilot,  when the students were hit, according to witnesses. Good Samaritans lifted the vehicle and a resident pulled the girl out.

“I was so overwhelmed. I’m still in shock,” said Candice Cruz, who lives above the deli. When the car hit the students, she hurried to help and pulled the girl out from under the car. “Seeing the little body under there and the little girl trying to breathe, it was horrible.”

Photo courtesy of Candice Cruz

The driver of the SUV, who is a 40-year-old male, was trying to park the vehicle in a spot in front the deli, but pressed on the gas pedal too hard, according to authorities. Police did not charge the driver with a crime.

The corner is usually filled with many children in the morning during school time, and many students go into the store to get breakfast, according to Julio Lopez, who works at the deli.

“I just [stepped off] the sidewalk because my friend called me,” said Weiss Safdary, a 10th grader at Grover Cleveland High School. “I would have been under there too.”

“Usually in the morning we’re comfortable because it’s safe, but today was different,” said Carl Panganbian, another 10th grader from Grover Cleveland, who said he knows one of the injured students. “Maybe they should put a metal thing on the sidewalk. It’s for student safety, because you never know when [an accident] is going to happen,” he added.

Grand Avenue is usually a busy commercial strip with many vehicles, but residents said accidents like this one are rare.

“Five years working over here, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Gabino Calle, 32, who works at a pizza restaurant on the block.

 

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