Tag Archives: LaGuardia Community College

Op-ed: Support programs that boost our economy


| oped@queenscourier.com

ASSEMBLYMEMBER NILY ROZIC

One by one, each student marched his way up to the front of the room to receive certificates of completion, each with a sense of accomplishment and hopefulness. One by one, each member of the cohort recounting stories of the past couple of weeks that gave them a second chance.

It was the workforce development initiative of the Queens Botanical Garden and LaGuardia Community College that made these second chances possible.

Unlike some traditional programs that lack strong ties to industry, workforce development programs often accelerate job creation because workers acquire precisely the kind of skills businesses need to expand. Today, examples like those of the Green Jobs Training Program include sustainable landscape design and maintenance, waste management, and other similar green practices.

More recently, the Robin Hood Foundation provided funding to create a workforce development program run by AAFE and One Flushing to recruit and assist those ready to enter the workforce. It is a welcome partnership that will enhance the growth and success of our local Flushing community.

Beyond that New York needs to implement creative ways to retain the talent we have. This year, I sponsored legislation that was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo making New York a national leader in workforce development and job training. I have also introduced legislation supported by Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer that would continue our economic growth and create quality jobs by investing in our engineering workforce. The financial aid program for engineering students who commit to staying in the city for five years after graduation is a smart investment to bolster an innovation economy and prepare our workforce for the 21st century.

This year’s budget also focused on workforce development and new industries in every community. Cuomo pushed for programs including innovative “Hot Spot” incubators, the Venture Capital Fund, and job linkage initiatives that push our state’s ideas, create new businesses, and train our workforce for jobs of tomorrow.

Queens is one of the most diverse counties in the entire country and it needs a government that can embrace and harness that to power its economic engine. We need to keep creating ways to support programs that boost our economy. The task for our next administration will be to help more of the city’s workforce develop the skills to obtain jobs—and more importantly careers—in sectors that are growing and expanding.

That is what I am determined to champion to do in next year’s legislative session—to be a champion of minority-owned and women-owned small businesses, provide resources to assist local businesses flourish, and forge better partnerships between private and public entities. There has never been a better time to support these pathways and programs that ultimately help our most critical economic resource–our workforce.

Assemblymember Nily Rozic represents New York’s 25th District, which spans the northeast portion of Queens, including the communities of Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside, and Douglaston.

 

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Sunnyside unveils neighborhood map


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District

Residents and visitors will now have a colorful way to get around Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) and the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce got together with LaGuardia Community College to develop an artistic, colorful map of Sunnyside targeted at both visitors and incoming residents.

At the start of the project, 14 students in the Art and Humanities Department at LaGuardia were asked to submit sketches of a Sunnyside map. They highlighted neighborhood attractions, amenities and landmarks to help familiarize visitors with the area. In July, three students were recognized as the top finalists. Carmen Zhu won first place, Adina Partoi won second place and Miho Nozawa won third place.

Local business owners, elected officials and residents gathered on October 2 to celebrate the unveiling of Zhu’s finished map at Bar 43, located at 43-06 43rd Street in Sunnyside.

“This map is a great reflection of our thriving local business community,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines BID. “We are thrilled to get the word out about Sunnyside with such a beautiful map to be able to distribute to visitors.”

During the summer, the artwork created by the fine arts student was brought together with a business directory and advertisements from local Sunnyside businesses. Printed maps will now be distributed at hotels in Long Island City, local real estate offices and community events. A new business directory in the map will be updated each year.

“Sunnyside’s businesses are some of the best in New York City – and I’m very happy to say that the design of this map is an accurate representation of the beauty, energy and warmth of the neighborhood,” said Swain Weiner, president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce. “We’re proud of the collaboration behind this project, and of this opportunity to showcase some of Sunnyside’s finest establishments.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Overcast in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 77. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the WSW in the afternoon. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 66. Winds less than 5 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Bridging the Gap

The artistic world of the borough of Queens is alive and well, and to prove it LaGuardia Community College is hosting an exhibition comprising the diverse and rich works of 24 Queens artists. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, is running through November 20. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Southwest fires captain in LaGuardia nose collapse landing

Southwest Airlines has fired the captain of a plane that landed so hard at New York’s LaGuardia airport that its nose gear collapsed. Read more: AP

Rally held for paralyzed biker in SUV Henry Hudson Parkway chase

Scores of bikers gathered at the hospital where one of their own is paralyzed after a violent confrontation and attack on a family that was surrounded and scared for their lives. Read more: ABC New York

NYC Sandy refugees say they need hotel program

New Yorkers who are still homeless a year after Sandy say they need more time to find shelter before the city evicts them from hotel rooms. Read more: NBC New York

Key deadline to apply for 9/11 fund

A key deadline to apply for the federal compensation fund for people with illnesses that might be related to toxic fallout from the Sept. 11 attacks is Thursday. Read more: Fox New York/AP

Best selling author Tom Clancy dead at 66

Tom Clancy, whose high-tech, Cold War thrillers such as “The Hunt for Red October” and “Patriot Games” made him the most widely read and influential military novelist of his time, has died. Read more: CBS New York

Community pushes for pedestrian safety in western Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Update Tuesday, October 1, 6:00 p.m. 

After three pedestrians were struck in the last three months — two fatally and one left in critical condition — the western Queens community is asking for safer traffic measures. 

According to police, on Friday, September 13 a woman was struck and killed as she was crossing Queens Plaza North and 27th Street. Just two month before, on July 2, another woman was struck and critically injured on 29th Street, just two blocks down. 

“We have a growing epidemic where pedestrians are not safe on the sidewalks and the streets of Queensboro Plaza,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who recently helped bring improvements to an intersection in front of LaGuardia Community College where a 16-year-old high school student was struck and killed in March. “Dutch Kills and Long Island City are home to thousands of new residents as well as hundreds of growing businesses. More and more people are crossing through Queensboro Plaza every single day.”

Van Bramer gathered along with other elected officials and residents on Friday, September 27 at the intersection of Queens Plaza North and 27th Street to ask the Department of Transportation (DOT) for street safety enhancements to the busy plaza near the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. 

The changes to increase pedestrian safety at Queensboro Plaza include extending the current 20 second countdown clocks at the crosswalks to give pedestrians more time to cross the congested streets and installing more street signage allowing pedestrians to be more alert of bicycle lanes.

“Crossing Queens Plaza should not be like playing Frogger,” said Noah Budnick, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives. “We’re sending the message that traffic crashes are preventable.”

According to the DOT, between 2007 to 2011, there has been one reported pedestrian injury at the intersection of Queens Plaza North and 27th Street and from 2007 to present, there has been one fatality.

“Safety is DOT’s top priority and the agency is currently reviewing the location to see if there are ways to further enhance safety at this intersection and the surrounding area for all street users, including possible upgrades to signage,” said Nicholas Mosquera, DOT spokesperson.

A day after the call for safety measures in Queens Plaza, 19 year old Luis Bravo lost his life in a hit-and-run along Broadway in Woodside.

“Yet another person has been killed here in western Queens as a result of a vehicular collision,” said Van Bramer. “For over a year now the Department of Transportation has not done anything about motorists speeding along Broadway here in Woodside. Every time a pedestrian is struck and dies as a result of a vehicular collision we will speak out against it.”

Photo Courtesy Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

The councilmember gathered with local officials and residents on October 1 at the corner of 58th Street and Broadway where Bravo was struck and the vehicle fled the scene, to ask the DOT to bring safety measures to that area as well.

“It is heartbreaking anytime a young person’s life is lost, but this instance hurts because it was so sudden and the driver who killed Luis and sped off is still at large,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “I urge everyone in our community to join together to bring this hit-and-run driver to justice, and I urge the DOT to do everything it can to make our streets safer.”

Anyone with information on the hit-and-run is encouraged to contact NYPD’s Crime Stoppers by calling 800-577-TIPS.

 

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Safety improvements at fatal Long Island City intersection


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

Months after 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak was struck and killed near LaGuardia Community College, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has answered students and residents’ pleas for safety enhancements.

Drudak, a student at the Applied Communications High School inside the community college’s building, died after being struck by a minivan that lost control and mounted the sidewalk at the intersection of Thomson Avenue and 30th Street in Long Island City. Four of five other pedestrians hit in the same incident were students at LaGuardia.

After Drudak’s death, residents, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Community Board 2 and LaGuardia Community College officials called on the DOT to enhance pedestrian safety at the intersection.

“No New Yorker should feel their life is in jeopardy when they are walking along the sidewalks of our City streets” said Van Bramer.

Since April, the DOT has implemented short-term improvements including adjusting the timing of signals near the intersection and installing pedestrian countdown signals at Thomson and Skillman Avenues, 30th Street, 30th Place, 31st Street and 31st Place. The agency has also added signs and improved markings at Thomson Avenue and Van Dam Street.

In the latest changes, the DOT said it has redesigned Thomson and Skillman Avenues by closing the slip ramp and making it illegal for vehicles to makes left turns from Thomson Avenue onto Skillman Avenue.

The department added it has installed new signs and plastic markers to limit left turns from Thomson Avenue to 30th Street.

There is also a brand new 550-square-foot pedestrian space at the intersection of 30th Street and Thomson Avenue. It is bordered by stone blocks, plastic markings and six planters.

According to the DOT, all the changes were aimed at improving safety for the large volume of students and residents that walk through the intersection daily.

 

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Sunnyside map to help visitors, residents explore neighborhood


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District

Visitors and residents are getting a colorful way to find their way around Sunnyside and explore the thriving community.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID), the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and LaGuardia Community College are developing an artistic, colorful map of Sunnyside targeted at both visitors and incoming residents.

At the start of the project, 14 students were asked to submit sketches of a Sunnyside map. They highlighted neighborhood attractions to help familiarize visitors with the area.

On July 2, three fine arts students were recognized as the top finalists. Miho Nozawa won third place, Adina Partoi won second place and Carmen Zhu won first place.

“We are looking forward to having such an exciting document to be able to distribute to visitors,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines BID. “This map is a great reflection of our thriving local business community.”

The final map will feature Zhu’s artwork and include a business directory along with advertisements from local Sunnyside businesses.

The map is expected to be completed and printed later this summer. It will be circulated in Long Island City hotels, real estate offices and community events.

“Sunnyside’s businesses are some of the best in New York City, and I’m very happy to say that the design of this map is an accurate representation of the beauty, energy, and warmth of the neighborhood,” said Swain Weiner, president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.

 

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Astoria photo exhibit shows off diversity of neighborhood


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

1

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

The diversity of Astoria is the focus of a new photography exhibit that kicked off at LaGuardia Community College.

“The Astoria Project,” a collection of photographs snapped and curated by students of LaGuardia enrolled in photography classes, focuses on how people of different backgrounds interact within the neighborhood.

The idea for the exhibit came when Scott Sternbach, director of photography at LaGuardia Community College, and Dr. Anna Cieslik of the Max Planck Institute of Religious and Ethnic Diversity teamed up.

Yet both Cieslik and Sternbach said they found taking photos in the street more difficult than they anticipated. Sternbach then came up with the idea to have the college students take over the project as a learning experience.

“It’s an opportunity to hone their skills,” said Sternbach. “A lot of the students are shy and in order to do this you have to be brave, you have to be fearless.”

At the exhibit’s grand opening on April 11, students spoke of their experiences walking on the streets trying to find their subjects.

Eddie Santillan explained how he had to sit down and talk with one subject, an Italian man named Casper, before he was able to photograph him.

“I had to know the guy first,” said Santillan. “It was cool to get to know him for a bit.”

Alvaro Imbrett shared his similar experience while running the track around Astoria Park.

“There’s always hesitancy,” he said about the subjects he photographs, “but the photographer has to sell himself. You have to reassure the subject of what you’re doing.”

In addition to showing off the diversity of Astoria, Imbrett wanted to reflect himself in his photographs.

“I want them to see me,” he said. “I think every photographer’s work should resemble themselves.”

The exhibit will run until June in LaGuardia’s photo gallery. It will then make its way around the world, being displayed in Singapore, Johannesburg and Germany.

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” said Santillan of his work travelling around the world. “I don’t think it’ll ever hit me.”

 

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Community concern over high school sharing building with younger students


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

As one of the 15 new schools announced to open in Queens in September, the Department of Education (DOE) is planning to co-locate a new high school in the same building as a middle school — and it has created mixed feelings within the community.

Energy Tech High School is expected to open at I.S. 204, located at 36-41 28th Street in Long Island City, and will be a new career and technical education (CTE) high school in partnership with Con Edison and National Grid.

“Energy tech is a visionary school similar to that of the nationally-recognized P-Tech, which was lauded by the president in the State of the Union,” said DOE spokesperson Devon Puglia.

The new high school will serve students from grades 9 through 14, who will be able to earn a high school diploma and Associates Degree through a partnership with CUNY’s LaGuardia Community College.

Although members of District 30 advocated for another CTE high school in Queens, mixing in the much older students with the middle school children is what has the community on the edge.

“There are two sides,” said Jeffrey Guyton, co-president of District 30’s Community Education Council (CEC). “I’m really in favor of that kind of program, but I’m also queasy about it.”

Energy Tech will have two years of college included, and according to Isaac Carmignani, CEC co-president, the college students will spend most of their time at LaGuardia, rather than at the high school.

“Some of the council [CEC] had a problem with that because having young adults mingling with 11- and 12-year-old middle schoolers is something that bothers them even though the population will be kept as separate as possible by the school,” said Carmignani.

I.S. 204 already shares the school building with The Academy for Careers in Television and Film. The high school will be moving next year to a new building in Hunters Point and leaving the space vacant.

The new CTE school will expose students to the energy industry, allowing them to intern with Con Edison and National Grid and be mentored by professionals.

“Schools throughout the city share space, and when adults put children first, most co-locations are very successful,” said Puglia.

Even with disagreements about the co-location, Guyton and Carmignani hope to be able to support the students in both communities and monitor what happens once the school moves in.

“Anytime you make these big changes, you’re rolling the dice. Maybe it’s going to work really well, maybe it’s not,” said Guyton. “If there are problems, we are going to communicate those immediately.”

 

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15 new schools to open in Queens next fall


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

NYC Mayor's Office Flickr/Photo by Edward Reed

Education is expanding throughout the borough with 15 new schools opening this fall, announced Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“With our new schools and school leaders, we’ll continue to provide our children with the opportunities they deserve,” said Bloomberg.

Of the 15, two will be elementary schools, six middle schools, one school housing grades 6 through 12, three high schools, one transfer high school and two career technical and educational (CTE) high schools.

One CTE school opening in Long Island City, CTE Energy Tech High School, is partnering with LaGuardia Community College, Con Edison and National Grid to give students unique internship and apprenticeship opportunities outside of the classroom, as well as a rigorous curriculum, all to prepare them for a future in the booming energy industry.

“We want to give students opportunities [to participate] in hands-on problem solving, getting to know the industry, getting out and seeing what the work feels like,” said Hope Barter, Energy Tech’s principal-to-be.

The new CTE school will share a building with I.S. 204, and despite some opposition from parents on the co-location, Barter thinks the tech students’ undertaking can only benefit the neighborhood and the city.

“Having another engineering program is an incredible opportunity for our teens and for the community,” she said.
Energy Tech and other city CTE schools, all grades 9 through 14, will give students not only high school diplomas but also associates degrees.

“As a product of the New York City public school system, I know firsthand the importance of a solid technical education,” said Ken Daly, president of National Grid New York. “Our partnership with the Energy Tech High School supports National Grid’s ‘Engineering Our Future’ initiative to build a qualified and skilled workforce.”

Mainstream schools are also spreading across the city, including the new Hunters Point Community Middle School, where students will be given the opportunity to participate in interest-based programs as well as work through an accelerated curriculum.

“Everything is going to be very engaging,” said Sarah Goodman, the middle school’s principal. “I think we’re going to provide a combination of things that are really important – a strong set of foundational skills, and a curriculum in classrooms and advisories that’s going to expose kids to ideas, ways of thinking and possible career paths.”

Community leadership and organizational skills will also be one of the school’s focuses under Goodman’s leadership.

“The range of schools that’s opening is going to give students such a range of programs to choose from,” said Barter.“We’re all doing something different, and it’s always exciting to give students choices and options.”

Citywide, 78 new schools will serve nearly 10,000 students. Once the schools reach full capacity, that number will too grow to 32,000 students.

“The schools announced today will help us continue to ensure that all students – no matter their zip code – have access to high-quality education in New York City,” said Walcott.

 

New schools opening in Queens next fall

Elementary Schools:

  • Elm Tree Elementary School
  • East Elmhurst Community School

Middle Schools:

  • Corona Arts and Sciences Academy
  • Hawtree Creek Middle School
  • The Emerson School
  • Queens United Middle School
  • Hunters Point Community Middle School
  • Middle Village Prep Charter School

Middle/High School:

  • The Riverview School (District 75)

High Schools:

  • International High School for Health Sciences
  • Veritas Academy
  • Queens High School for Language Studies

High Schools/ CTE:

  • Institute for Health Professions at Cambria Heights
  • Energy Tech High School

Transfer High School:

  • Voyages Prep – South Queens

 

 

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After fatal accident, community calls for safety


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

It didn’t have to end in tragedy.

Following the death of 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak, mowed down by a minivan outside LaGuardia Community College, students and residents asked the Department of Transportation (DOT) for what they say are much-needed street safety enhancements.

Drudak, a student at Applied Communications High School inside LaGuardia Community College’s building, died after being struck by a minivan that lost control and mounted the sidewalk at the intersection of Thomson Avenue and 30th Street in Long island City. Four of the other five pedestrians hit were students from LaGuardia.
Public officials, students, school administrators, staff members and concerned residents gathered Thursday morning, March 14 in front of Drudak’s memorial at the intersection to voice their concerns and ask the DOT to take another look at the busy street and its safety conditions.

“No one should have to fear getting hit by a car on their way to school or work,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “We need answers and we need solutions to make this place safer.”

Students at LaGuardia Community College started the “Petition to act on a safety concern with traffic issues” last July and sent it to the DOT with close to 500 signatures. According to Shah Amanat, president of the LaGuardia Community College Student Government, the DOT replied in November saying all signals were operating as designed and no changes were needed at the time.

“Please do something. We need safety. We need safety for the students, we need safety for the community, we need safety for staff and faculty members,” said Amanat.

Those in attendance asked the DOT to conduct a comprehensive safety and traffic study of Thomson Avenue and all side streets, put up additional barricades/barriers on the sidewalks and the adjustment of the timing of the street and crossing lights.

“We need them to come back and not say ‘everything is fine here,’” said Van Bramer. “We need the DOT to do this and do it now.”

Friends of Drudak also gathered to show their support for the street safety improvements and to remember their lost friend.

“I couldn’t believe it at first,” said Tenzin Samphel, 16, a student from International High School who best remembers his times beatboxing while Drudak rapped.

According to a DOT spokesperson, the fatal crash was the first at the location in at least six years and the safety enhancements that are under consideration include sidewalk extensions at the intersection and other “significant improvements.”

“Safety is always DOT’s first priority and the agency was already working with LaGuardia Community College to improve pedestrian safety and access at this location as part of the college’s planned expansion,” said the DOT spokesperson.

 

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Van jumps curb, kills teen, injures four in Long Island City


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo: Instagram/its_delgado

One pedestrian was killed and four others were injured when a minivan jumped the curb near LaGuardia Community College this morning, according to police.

Around 10:30 a.m., the vehicle was traveling eastbound on Thomson Avenue when the driver lost control and drove onto the sidewalk at 30th Street, striking five people.

They were taken to Elmhurst General Hospital where one of the victims, 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak, was pronounced dead. The four injured pedestrians are listed in stable condition.

According to Department of Education (DOE) spokesperson David Pena, Drudak was a student at Applied Communications High School, which is located near the accident site at 30-20 Thomson Avenue. The DOE is “arranging for a crisis team to offer counseling to students and staff at the school,” he said.

The investigation is ongoing.

 

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Cuomo budget centers on job creation, education improvements


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo Flickr/Governor Cuomo's  Office

In his budget outline for the coming year, Governor Andrew Cuomo focused on job creation and improving education, promising to improve the lives of New Yorkers across the state.

In addition to jobs and education, Cuomo’s proposal, NY Rising, addresses fiscal integrity and discipline and restoring the state as a progressive beacon.

Cuomo proposed an initiative that partners small start-ups with the state in order to retain companies and growth in New York. This included forgoing raising and adding supplementary taxes for businesses.

According to the governor, New York has the lowest middle class tax rate in 58 years.

Cuomo added he will be increasing minimum wage to $8.75.

Regarding education, Cuomo stated the inequities between schools for wealthy and impoverished students cause devastating discrepancies. The newly proposed budget includes a boost of $889 million, one of the largest increases in educational aid in years.

Other important issues touched upon were the decriminalization of the possession of small amounts of marijuana and a women’s equality act, both of which he hopes will be introduced in the coming year.

Throughout his address, Cuomo continued to remind the crowd that New York will continue to be a progressive and innovative state.

“This state is not just another state. This state is New York,” said Cuomo. “And when New York acts, the nation follows. And this state has had a great history of being the progressive capital, of doing things first, figuring out problems first, and we led the way.”

 

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Small business program produces success stories


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Marcela Cussolin

Since 2010, when Goldman Sachs selected LaGuardia Community College to be its first partner in its 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, over 170 small business owners have taken advantage of this free education program that is designed to help them grow their businesses.

All enrolled in the program, which is given at LaGuardia, for different reasons. Laura Catena, president/CEO of Long Island City’s City Gardens of New York, Inc., had to learn every aspect of running a business when her father suddenly died, leaving her to take over the family-owned company.

Without any knowledge of running a small business, she helplessly watched as her father’s thriving landscaping business sank from $700,000 in revenue the year he passed away, to $275,000.

But after participating in the program, the business has seen a 70 percent increase in sales and she has gotten a slew of new clients. Also, her staff has grown. Along with her foreman, designer/project manager and crewman, her husband joined the business as the general manager, and she recently hired a part-time office manager/account manager. And now that she is the middle of the busy season she said she will be hiring two or three more crewmen.

Mario Fichera, chief operating officer of Visual Millworks, a 78-year-old family business in Woodside, was desperately looking for answers on how to keep his manufacturing business afloat during these hard economic times.

Since graduating from the program in February 2012, Fichera has reversed the company’s downward spiral and got it back on track. He has developed the company’s first-ever structured budget; he took steps to ensure that his small business is being correctly evaluated by insurance companies; and he began to better handle its costs.

“Being a small business owner is very isolating; you become a prisoner in your own brain,” Fichera said. “But by bringing small business owners together, the program allowed us to discover that we are all going through the same experiences and that our situations are not unique. You suddenly realize that you are not alone.”

Leslie Nilsson-Pedace, president and CEO of Sage General Store and Sage Events, had to learn how to reinvent herself when she lost her successful restaurant.

“The great thing about the program is that it forces you to focus and come up with a game plan that is a roadmap that you really want to follow to the end of the road,” she said.

As a result of participating in 10,000 Small Businesses, all three have success stories to tell.

In fact, of the 170 small business owners who graduated from the program, 75 percent have increased their revenue and more that 50 percent are creating new jobs.

To learn more about the 10,000 Small Businesses initiative, visit www.laguardia.edu/10ksb; call 718-730-7400 or email 10KSB@lagcc.cuny.edu.

LaGuardia Community College Student Photo Exhibition


| amanning@queenscourier.com

The men and women who make up Long Island City’s small businesses are the focus of LaGuardia Community College’s student photo exhibition, “Long Island City Works.” Over 100 faces, including photographer Tony Vaccaro, were captured by the school’s commercial photography students.

“The exhibition is a way for the college to recognize the workers of Long Island City at a time when the country’s economy is facing difficult times,” said Scott Sternbach, director of the commercial photography program and one of the project developers.

The exhibition will kick off on November 17 with a reception at the LaGuardia Gallery of Photographic Arts from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Running until February 29, viewing hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, call 718-482-5985.

Investigate clean up of Newtown Creek


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Congressmember Carolyn Maloney

Indifference to filth and pollution for over a century has mutated Newtown Creek into more of a beast than a beauty.

Beginning in the mid-1800s, contaminants were spewed into Newtown Creek by more than 50 refineries that called the waterway home, including sawmills, lumber and coal yards, fertilizer and glue factories, petrochemical plants and oil refineries. The creek was also used by commercial vessels to transport oil, chemicals, fuel and other raw materials. During World War II, the channel was one of the busiest ports in the nation, and factories continue to operate on its banks to this day.

Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velázquez, Borough President Helen Marshall and Assemblymember Catherine Nolan joined EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck on a boat tour of the Newtown Creek cleanup project on October 11. During the tour, the Queens leaders were taken to the key areas of pollution in the creek.

“For far too long, Newtown Creek has been a disgrace: a toxic dumping ground since the mid-1800s, a blight on our waterways, and the scene of perhaps the largest oil spill of all time – three times the size of the Exxon Valdez,” said Maloney, referencing the Greenpoint oil spill.

In addition to the damage done by industrial pollution, the city began dumping raw sewage into the water in 1856.

As a result of its history, which includes multiple spills, Newtown Creek is among the most polluted waterways in America.

In the early 1990s, New York State declared that the channel was not meeting water quality standards under the Clean Water Act, and since that time, several government-sponsored cleanups have occurred.

Newtown Creek, whose waters wash the shores of both Queens and Brooklyn, was designated a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September of last year.

The Superfund Program was established by Congress to locate, investigate and cleanup the most hazardous sites across the country. It also provides the EPA with the authority to coerce responsible parties to account for the damage they have done, either by cleaning up the site themselves or by reimbursing the government for all costs associated with the restoration.

This past July, following a year-long examination, the EPA entered into a consent order with six potentially responsible parties to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study of the creek’s cleanup. Field work for the investigation, which will determine the nature of the pollutants, evaluate any risks to human life or the environment and assess prospective cleanup methods, is scheduled to begin within the next month.

“Restoring the health of both sides of Newtown Creek will give residents of Queens and Brooklyn improved access to the waterfront and make our neighborhoods healthier places to live,” said Maloney.

The EPA will be holding a public information session at LaGuardia Community College, located at 31-10 Thomson Avenue in Long Island City, on Thursday, October 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. to discuss the project.

The investigation could take as long seven years to complete, and the removal of contaminants from Newtown Creek could last an additional 10 years. A preliminary estimate by the EPA approximates the cleanup costs between $300 and $400 million.

The EPA has reported that potentially responsible parties include premier oil companies BP America, Exxon Mobil and Texaco, as well as the City of New York. These, as well as other responsible parties, will be paying for the remedial investigation and feasibility study for the near future.

During initial tests performed by the EPA, harmful contaminants such as pesticides, metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which easily evaporate into the air, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been detected in Newtown Creek.

“The more we find out about this polluted waterway, which affects two boroughs, the more we see the need to move the feasibility study along and remediation, in the form of a massive cleanup, to begin,” said Marshall.