Tag Archives: NYCHA

FEMA to pay for Sandy-damaged boilers in Rockaway NYCHA buildings

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents in the Rockaways and other parts of the city will receive a much needed fix to their buildings following Superstorm Sandy.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Charles Schumer announced Sunday that 60 boilers in 110 separate NYCHA residential buildings in the Rockaways, Coney Island and the Lower East Side that were damaged in the storm will be replaced.

FEMA will provide approximately $100 million in funding for the “new state-of-the-art-boilers.” Since Sandy, NYCHA has been spending $3 million per month for temporary boilers in the buildings.

Officials said that instead of repairing the boilers, as is normal, FEMA had agreed to replace them, speeding up the process of restoring regular service to the affected buildings.

“For more than 16 months, bureaucratic infighting and red tape have denied NYCHA residents the most basic of necessities—reliable heat and hot water,” Schumer said. “Today we’re firmly on the path to righting a wrong that has too often left NYCHA residents in the cold during the winter and in the dark at night.”

The final funding agreement is expected to be in place in time so boiler replacement can start later this year, according to Schumer.



Queens highways, other city infrastructure ‘badly’ in need of repair: report

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons / Jim.henderson

Queens is facing some serious infrastructure challenges, according to a new report.

The Center for an Urban Future found the borough has five of the nine worst maintained highways in the city.

Based on a 10-point scale, where 1 to 5 is considered “poor,” 6 is “fair,” 7 to 8 is “good,” and 9 to 10 is “excellent,” in 2012, the Jackie Robinson Parkway received a surface rating of 5.8, and the Shore Front Parkway, Cross Bay Parkway Route 25A and Route 24 earned a 6.0.

Overall, highway conditions in the borough have been deteriorating, the report said. In 2008, 38 percent of Queens highways were rated “fair” or “poor.” Four years later, 52 percent were in the same shape.

The report, released Tuesday, showed additional infrastructure issues in the borough.

About 30 percent of its streets were in “fair” or “poor” condition.

Other findings showed that Queens New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments have the most deteriorated building façades and roofs, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspections. Four of the NYCHA complexes in the borough need over $70 million in façade repairs through 2016.

Several of the city’s oldest wastewater treatment plants are in eastern Queens, including Jamaica (1943) and Bowery Bay near Flushing (1939), according to the report.

John F. Kennedy International Airport also needs upgrades due to age.

Its facilities are 40 years old on average, “with 63 percent of cargo space considered ‘non-viable,’ or unfit for modern screening, storage and distribution,” the report said.

Queens was not alone in its infrastructure problems.

The report calculated that New York City needs $47 billion over the next four to five years to bring its “aging infrastructure to a state of good repair.”

It found that a “significant portion” of the city’s bridges, water mains, sewer pipes, school buildings and other important infrastructure is more than 50 years old and “badly” in need of repair.

“New York won’t be able to address every one of the city’s infrastructure vulnerabilities at this time,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future and co-editor of the report. “But if a significant chunk of the city’s critical infrastructure is not brought to a state of good repair in the years ahead, it could seriously undermine the city’s economic competitiveness and quality of life—and lead to substantial long-term costs.”

The aging infrastructure includes 1,000 miles of water mains more than 100 years old; more than 160 bridges across the five boroughs that were built over a century ago; and 6,300 miles of gas mains that are on average, 56 years old.

The report suggests creating new dedicated revenue sources to pay for repairing and modernizing infrastructure.



Family gets house in Jamaica thanks to Habitat for Humanity

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Maggie Hayes

Dawnette Dixon finally has her own home and even a backyard, fixed up by none other than a former president.

Habitat for Humanity acquired five New York City Housing Authority (NCYHA) homes in the borough that were abandoned, boarded up and a “blight” in the community. One of those homes was on 112th Road in Jamaica, which was vacant for roughly two decades. It is also the home Dixon, her son and daughter will be moving into early next year.

“We said to the city, we’ll turn [the homes] around,” said Neil Hetherington, CEO of Habitat for Humanity NYC.

Hetherington and the Habitat team hosted the 30th Annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project to build and repair homes citywide. President Carter, 89, and his wife have been working with the group for almost 30 years, and the Jamaica home was part of a country-wide tour fixing houses.

Carter worked the power tools and his wife moved slabs of wood, all part of constructing a new deck for the Dixons. Hundreds of volunteers and the Dixons themselves worked on the new house. Construction is estimated to be complete in six to eight weeks.

As well as cleaning up the once-vacant home, Habitat for Humanity makes upkeep for the home affordable for people like Dixon, 53, who works for the Department of Health. They receive government grants and state mortgages which can make living affordable in the long haul.

“Now they have the pride and dignity associated with not only building their home, but paying for their home,” Hetherington said. “It’s helping in a dignified way.”

Dixon, who lived in Brooklyn for most of her life, “can’t explain how excited” she is. She is moving to the home from a cramped apartment in Prospect Park.

“This is a change of environment, a change of scenery and a new life,” she said. “Even if I don’t have anything in the house, as long as I’m living there, I’m happy.”



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Friday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 72. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Friday night: Overcast in the evening, then clear. Low of 59. Winds less than 5 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Couperin & Eau de Vie: Brooklyn Baroque

Brooklyn Baroque, featuring cellist David Bakamjian, flutist Andrew Bolotowsky and harpsichordist Rebecca Pechefsky, performs chamber music by the French composer François Couperin at the King Manor Museum. Sample fruit brandy and hard cider similar to those in Rufus King’s wine cellar. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens residents living in flooded homes as they wait for NYCHA repairs

Some residents at a Queens apartment building say they’ve been complaining to their landlord for months about water, bugs and mold. Read more: CBS New York

Chinese immigrant alleges cops beat him in Queens park

A Chinese immigrant living here illegally is suing three city cops, saying they beat him mercilessly in a Queens park, his lawyer said. Read more: New York Daily News

UFT survey: hundreds of thousands of kids in overcrowded classrooms

A teachers union survey found that nearly one in four New York City public school students – more than 230,000 kids – is in a crowded classroom. Read more: CBS New York

Mayor: NYC’s air is cleaner

New York City’s air quality has reached the cleanest levels in more than 50 years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday. Read more: Fox New York

Preparing for shutdown, government plans furloughs

More than a third of federal workers would be told to stay home if the government shuts down, forcing the closure of national parks from California to Maine and all the Smithsonian museums in the nation’s capital. Workers at the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs wouldn’t be around to process visa and passport applications, complicating the travel plans of hundreds of thousands. Read more: AP



Backpack giveaway helps Far Rockaway students

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Leticia Barboza, NYCHA photographer

Students in Far Rockaway get to go back to school in style, thanks to a giveaway that doled out more than 1,000 backpacks to the tykes in need.

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) teamed up with nonprofit organization Kars4Kids and ventured to the Hammel Houses and Beach 41st Street Houses to help out the families still recovering from Sandy on Thursday, August 29.

“The kids were excited and appreciative, the parents were excited and appreciative,” said Peggy Thomas, Resident Council Association President at the Hammel Houses. “It went very well.”

Thomas added these types of giveaways are typically held “in the Bronx or Brooklyn or Staten Island, or even the other side of Queens,” but the Hammel Houses has never seen an event such as this one.

This is the second year NYCHA and Kars4Kids have collaborated to put on the event. Originally, the crew was supposed to cap the giveaway at 500 backpacks, but upped the ante when they saw the kids’ needs, according to Thomas.

“We’re here to send our kids back to school the right way,” said NYCHA Chair John Rhea.

More free backpacks are available at kars4kids.org/charity/backpack_giveaway.asp, while supplies last.




Call to reinstate free parking at Pomonok Community Center

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Visitor parking spots that were once free will now cost a Pomonok community center roughly $2,700, officials said.

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), since partnering up in March with Greystone Parking Services, has come under fire for spiking some annual parking rates at 43 citywide developments.

Now it is facing more heat for billing the Pomonok Community Center $272 for 10 visitor spaces that used to be complimentary.

“The new parking fees at the Pomonok Community Center are outrageous and unacceptable, and NYCHA must repeal them immediately,” said Congressmember Grace Meng. “They’re treating this parking lot like it’s their own business, and it’s a business gone bad.”

The Pomonok Community Center at the Queens Community House provides meals, activities and cooling stations during hot weather to more than 50 seniors who visit daily, officials said.

“It’s unconscionable that NYCHA and Greystone are extorting money from senior citizens,” said State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.

Monica Corbett, president of the Pomonok Resident Association, said the center is a second home to residents even outside the neighborhood.

Parking is already limited, she said, since Queens College and P.S. 201 are around the corner.

“The nearest senior center is not close nor is there an after-school center that serves children from K-5 grade,” Corbett said. “To ask staff and participants to pay for parking is asinine.”

Local leaders said hundreds of residents have complained to Greystone about a slew of issues — including months-long waits for parking permits and multiple cars being assigned to one spot — to no avail.

“The current policy is extremely shortsighted and threatens the operation of the center,” said Assemblymember Mike Simanowitz.

NYCHA did not immediately comment.




City Planning Commission OKs Hallets Point development

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Thousands of residential apartments, retail space and parkland are one step closer to coming to the Astoria waterfront at Hallets Point, home to the NYCHA Astoria Houses.

On Wednesday, August 21 the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the plan presented by Lincoln Equities Group, the company behind the estimated billion-dollar complex called the Hallets Point project.

In 2012, the development group announced it would build seven multifamily residential towers consisting of 2,200 units. Twenty percent of the apartments will be affordable housing. The location will also include retail space featuring supermarkets, drugstores and restaurants.

A 100,000-square-foot public park, outfitted with pedestrian walkways and bike paths, winding along the waterfront, is also expected to be included.

Robert Schenkel, Lincoln Equities development director previously said the project would bring a positive change to Hallets Points, bringing new housing, an affordable supermarket, a spot for a K-8 public school and a landscaped waterfront path.

The plan will now go before the City Council.

If the plan is approved, construction is expected to begin in late 2014 or early 2015.



$300G in repairs not made at Long Island City NYCHA center

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos By Angy Altamirano

Long Island City seniors are waiting for fixes to be made to their senior center, and have been doing so for three years.

Funds allocated to fix various problems at the Jacob Riis Settlement House at the Queensbridge Houses have yet to be put to use, and now the community wants answers as to why.

Betty McCord, a senior at the center, said that it was difficult for her to breathe last month during a Queensbridge town meeting that took place inside the gym on a hot day. There were fans available but according to McCord, they did not help.

“This place is not suitable for our seniors” said McCord.

Over the past three years, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer has allocated $300,000 for the renovation of two bathrooms and the installation of an air conditioning system in the gym. After meeting with New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) six months ago, the agency only told him the changes would take two more years.

He added NYCHA gave reasons such as not enough designers or workers for the project’s delay.
Representatives of the center said the major problems of the bathrooms are the exposed pipes on the ceiling, toilets that are either too high or too low, rusting appliances, infestation of insects, and flooring that could be dangerous to seniors.

“The lack of safe, functional, and welcoming rest room facilities for our participants and staff, particularly our seniors and young people, has been a problem for several years now,” said Robert Madison, director of Senior Services at the Jacob Riis Senior Center. “Our older adults are often forced to use the upstairs facilities because many of them simply will not set foot in the downstairs bathrooms.”

On Friday, August 16, Van Bramer gathered with seniors and representatives of the Jacob Riis Settlement Neighborhood House, the Jacob Riis Senior Center and the Queensbridge Houses to call on the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to repair problems at the community center.

“Jacob Riis Settlement Neighborhood House is the hub and heart of Queensbridge,” said Van Bramer. “How long do our seniors and youth have to wait for these renovations and improvements to take place? It is impossible and unconscionable to believe that it is going to take NYCHA nearly five years to fix our community center. This is a disgrace. We cannot and will not wait any longer.”

According to a recent NYCHA report sent to the city council, the agency has held onto nearly $50 million in taxpayer dollars which should be used for repairing projects, such as restoring New York City community centers which include the Jacob Riis Settlement House.

“I call on NYCHA to get this work done for the residents of Queensbridge,” said Van Bramer. “Not tomorrow, but today.”

Requests for comment from NYCHA were not returned as of press time.




Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Wednesday: Clear. High of 79. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Clear. Low of 61. Winds from the NW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Outdoor Night Market at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden

Astoria Market invites you to the second Night Market at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden. The market will be held on Wednesday, August 14 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Local bands will be performing, the outdoor grill will be open and there will be drink specials throughout the evening. Stroll through 30 vendors selling unique wares such as art, jewelry, toys, all natural soaps, cookies, and crocheted bags. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYCHA behind schedule on spending $50 million allocated by City Council for repairs: report

Not only did NYCHA sit on millions set aside for security cameras — the troubled agency also held on to nearly $50 million more in taxpayer dollars allotted to repair its aging developments. Read more: New York Daily News

Weiner, other Dems spar in NYC mayor’s race debate

Former congressman Anthony Weiner fell to fourth among Democratic candidates in the city’s latest mayoral race poll on Tuesday but was the center of attention in a heated debate. Read more: NBC New York

Rockaway Peninsula may lose its last hospital as St. John’s Episcopal starts closing units

Code blue! The only hospital on the Rockaway Peninsula is in critical condition after the closure of units and growing uncertainty surrounding the facility’s finances. Read more: New York Daily News

A fine myth dispelled: City collecting less cash for violations

There are dozens of ways New Yorkers can get fined by the city — failing to clean up after your dog, not bundling up your magazines on recycling day and, of course, parking your car in the wrong spot. Read more: CBS New York

Justice department, states challenge American Airlines, US Airways merger

The Justice Department and attorneys general in six states and Washington, D.C., filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the proposed $11 billion merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways, while at the same time possibly throwing AA’s bankruptcy process into disarray. Read more: NBC New York

Op-Ed: More than a sleep-over, a real eye-opener

| oped@queenscourier.com


As president of City Employees, Local 237, nearly 9,000 of my members work in developments operated by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Their work ranges from apartment repairs to grounds caretakers, boiler and elevator services, to rent collections. About one- third of these workers also live in NYCHA apartments throughout the city.

The problems in public housing have gotten a great deal of attention lately, as the long-standing tenant and worker frustration reached a new high due to sequestration cuts in federal dollars—basically, the only source of funding for the largest and oldest public housing in the nation. The $208 million in cuts would mean a loss of jobs and services.

Despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pledge to restore $58 million of federal dollars lost, the fact remains that NYCHA already has a $61 million operating deficit and $6-7 billion in much-needed capital repairs.

This is a case of too little, too late. With a three-year backlog of repairs, security cameras funded but not installed, reminders of Sandy everywhere in affected developments (and still without a plan to overcome the devastation of the next storm) and with a proposal—long kept secret—to build high-end housing on NYCHA property,

I have joined our members and residents to say “Enough is Enough!” We even held a huge rally at City Hall recently to send a strong message to all of the mayoral contenders: “NYCHA is broken. You need to fix it.” All of the candidates were invited to join the protest. Only one showed up—Bill Thompson. Thompson vowed to end the long suffering of the more than 600,000 NYCHA residents if he becomes mayor.

I guess I wasn’t surprised when Thompson invited me to join him and the other mayoral candidates for a “sleep-over” organized by Reverend Al Sharpton at a NYCHA development, Lincoln Houses in East Harlem. The choice of Lincoln Houses was not random. Residents of the aging, 25-building complex are suing NYCHA for 3,800 unfulfilled repair orders dating back to 2009. Thompson knew I had made repeated attempts to address the backlog and other key problems, all of which went unheeded.

So, after the many speeches and the grounds tour covered by dozens of reporters during the night of the sleep-over, Thompson and I met our host, Barbara Gamble, a NYCHA resident for 44 years, 30 of which were in the 10th floor apartment we visited. Without air conditioning on the sweltering night and with mold throughout the bathroom, we could now feel the human pain associated with the repair tickets that dated back so many years. We saw the struggles of Gamble— a proud grandmother who takes matters into her own hands by routinely cleaning the hallways of her entire floor!

When we met with the other candidates the next morning, the talk was about what they saw in their host apartments: ripped-out kitchen cabinets, chipped paint, water damage, faulty toilets, broken flooring and urine in the elevators (which frequently do not work). But, in my view, this was not the worst part of living in a NYCHA development.

No, it was the news that a few days after our visit, a 23-year old woman was shot to death on the project’s grounds in a location where NYCHA failed to install security cameras even though $ 1 million had been allocated by a NYC Councilmember. Despite these conditions, 227,000 people are on a waiting list for a NYCHA apartment because affordable housing in NYC is scarce. With an average of only 5,400 to 5,800 openings annually, the wait can take years.

NYCHA began more than 75 years ago as an experiment in municipal responsibility that developed into a model of social pride. Many former residents, including a NYC mayor, a supreme court justice, and a world-renowned entertainment mogul, have all gone on to make a lasting, positive impact on society.

Yet, as I saw the hardships of Barbara Gamble and her neighbors first-hand, it became clear that what is wrong with public housing today is not only broken buildings, but broken management.

The next mayor, with the ability to appoint a new chairman and form a new board, also has the ability to fix it.

Gregory Floyd is president, Teamsters Local 237, IBT




Security cameras to be installed in Far Rockaway NYCHA complexes

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Big Brother is watching in NYCHA complexes across Far Rockaway.

Security cameras are set to be installed in various housing projects, intended to curb violence, particularly gun violence, in troubled areas.

“I’m tired of hearing the stories – our seniors and our children not being able to play outside because they’re afraid of getting struck by a stray bullet,” said Councilmember Donovan Richards.

After the City Council passed its budget, Richards allocated nearly $2 million for closed-circuit security cameras in the Ocean Bay Houses and Beach 41st Street Houses.

“Public housing is regularly left underfunded with no real consideration given towards necessary improvements,” Richards said. “You have to prioritize where you want your budget money to go. I felt that was an area that needed it the most.”

Carleton Manor will also receive funds for community room upgrades for residents to enjoy, Richards said.

The camera design will be finished within eight to 10 months and installation is expected within a year-and-a-half.

Richards’ predecessor, current State Senator James Sanders, allocated funds for security cameras in the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway during his tenure. Richards said that since then, it is “like day and night.”

“I can’t remember the last time I heard of a shooting in that development,” he said. “I want to make sure they’re carrying that across the board. Make sure our children and seniors and their families are safe.”

“If you’re walking, you’re on camera. They look at blind spots. No matter which way you run, you’re going to get caught,” he added.



Unhappy Housing Authority residents offered payment plan for new parking spots

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Rory Lancman

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is offering an installment plan to ease parking rate hikes on burdened drivers.

“Increases are a way of life, but if it’s falling on the residents, at least give us ample time to prepare for this increase,” said Craig Kinsey, president of the James A. Bland Resident Association. “Not to give these residents enough time to pay—it was totally unheard of, insensitive and immoral.”

NYCHA increased parking costs this year for residents paying for unreserved spaces. Costs went up to $265 for most drivers, $212 for seniors and a whopping $500 for on-site employees.

NYCHA spokesperson Zodet Negrón the agency is getting rid of unreserved parking lots and changing them to reserved ones starting May 1.

She said the shift, which will designate a specific spot for each driver, will improve safety and make enforcement easier.

Conversion plans were released last December, with notifications reaching residents in March and April, according to the agency. But residents in the borough’s two NYCHA houses said authorities did not give them enough time to make payments.

“My son is going to college. I’m paying deposit fees for tuition, deposit fees for room and board,” said Monica Corbett, president of the Pomonok Residents Association. “I’d be stuck if I had to choose between my son’s education and parking fees. I’d be parking on the street.”

Drivers in 43 developments throughout the city now have the option to pay in four installments instead of in full.

The first payment is due April 30.

The installment plan is only available this year for residents who have not yet paid the lump sum.

“It’s better than paying all at once,” Corbett said. “It’s a new avenue for the Housing Authority. But sometimes when you don’t include the major stakeholders, things get lost in translation.”

NYCHA began a new partnership with Greystone Parking Services in March. The payment plan was offered “in response to concerns expressed by many residents,” a spokesperson said.

Kinsey lambasted the agency, saying NYCHA should have included residents in earlier discussions.

“You put a band aid on the wound, but the wound is there,” he said. “We’re working check by check like every other individual who is two checks away from being homeless. These are not objects. These are people that you’re dealing with.”



NYC Housing Authority residents outraged over parking hikes

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Rory Lancman

Queens residents are outraged over a price hike in the city Housing Authority’s annual parking rates.

“Raising the cost to park in public housing . . . is a slap in the face to all,” said Monica Corbett, president of the Pomonok Residents Association. “These fee increases hurt all residents, especially our seniors and fixed income population.”

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has spiked parking costs for some residents from $75 to $340 for non-discounted drivers, $60 to $272 for seniors and handicap, and $150 to $650 for on-site employees.

The agency has two types of parking facilities — reserved spaces for renters with assigned designations and non-reserved ones for motorists with no specific spots.

It is doing away with non-reserved lots and changing them to reserved ones starting May 1, said NYCHA spokesperson Zodet Negrón.

Expenses will rise only for drivers who currently pay for non-reserved slots.

NYCHA began a new partnership with Greystone Parking Services last month. New parking rules include police ticketing and towing of unauthorized vehicles.

“These changes to the Resident Parking Program will help ensure cleaner and safer parking lots for all residents,” Negrón said.

Conversion plans were released last December, according to the agency. But Queens residents said the news was sudden.

“NYCHA’s massive parking fee hike is unfair enough, but springing it on residents with next to no notice and requiring payment in full up-front really adds insult to injury,” said former Assemblymember and City Council candidate Rory Lancman. “NYCHA needs to focus on fixing its many shortcomings, from backlogged repairs to inadequate security, and not gouging residents.”

Assemblymember Mike Simanowitz said the change would force people to look for parking on public streets.
“The idea that our city streets will be further choked with vehicles is simply unacceptable,” he said.



Agencies give Sandy testimony before City Council

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Nearly three months after the storm devastated the tri-state area, and with residents still trying to recover, the City Council has begun investigating how various agencies handled Sandy.

Testimony has been given by representatives of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the New York City Housing Authority, Con Edison and the Long Island Power Authority, among other agencies.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich, when addressing OEM, inquired why the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department had been denied a request for a rescue boat, despite the anticipated flooding in the hamlet. Ulrich also asked why OEM had not looked at the Breezy Point Cooperative’s evacuation plan, or had better communication with the several volunteer fire departments of southern Queens.

OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno said commissioners had been on the ground working with volunteer fire departments on plans during the lead up to the storm and had always maintained communications between the volunteers and the FDNY. It was not the office’s policy to approve of other entities’ evacuation plans, he said, but OEM could give input for both cooperatives and volunteer fire departments in the future, he said.

Ulrich suggested to Bruno that once recovery is completely over, and some stability is back in the area, OEM officials begin to work with these waterside communities to better prepare for future storms.

“I think in the next year it might be a good time, when everything settles and the rebuilding starts and life gets somewhat back to normal, that OEM try to engage these communities and these fire departments.”




Queens Morning Roundup

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Friday: Rain before 10am. The rain could be heavy at times. High near 56. Breezy, with a west wind 20 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 55 mph. Friday night: A slight chance of snow showers after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 35. West wind around 16 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.

EVENT of the DAY: Irish Movie Night

Two Emerald Isle flicks will be screened. The Dead (1987), John Huston’s last film, is an adaptation of James Joyce’s love letter to the land of his ancestors and the country where his children grew up. Cluck (2011) is a comedy short about a feathered friend who upsets a family’s pecking order. New York Irish Center, 7:30 pm.Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens music teacher accused of sleeping with 16-year-old

A music teacher out of Jamaica was arrested for allegedly maintaining a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. Vaughn McKinney, 58, is accused of starting a relationship with the female student when she was 16 after the two met through a Brooklyn church choir group, led by McKinney’s wife at the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church, according an Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation (SCI) report. Read more: Queens Courier

Nation to join Connecticut in moment of silence for Sandy Hook shooting victims

People across the county will pause Friday for a moment of silence to remember the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre one week ago. Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy urged other states to honor the moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. ET, almost the exact minute that gunman Adama Lanza stormed the Newtown, Conn. school, killing 20 children and six adults. Read more: Daily News

NYers flock to ‘end of the world’-themed bashes to celebrate ‘Mayan apocalypse’

It was either a real “last call” — or just another excuse to get blotto. New Yorkers flocked to “end of the world”-themed parties at local bars last night to celebrate their potential final hours on Earth as the Mayan calendar predicted doomsday this morning. Read more: NY Post

Deli clerk killed in Queens bodega shooting

A deli clerk working alone in a Queens bodega was shot and killed last night during a brazen robbery. Cops said Ishak Ghali, 26, was shot once in the head after a lone gunman entered the All Friends Grocery & Deli on Onderdonk Avenue in Ridgewood, shortly after 6 p.m. Read more: NY Post

City housing to provide $5.6M for post-Sandy rent abatements

Some New Yorkers living in city public housing buildings will start seeing rent credits in their January bill. The New York City Housing Authority said it will provide $5.6 million in rent abatements for approximately 35,000 families affected by Hurricane Sandy. Read more: NY1

Formerly conjoined twin girls greet the public after successful separation surgery

Nine-month-old girls who were formerly conjoined twins are making their public debut at the Philadelphia hospital where they were separated. Allison June and Amelia Lee Tucker and their parents were introduced at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on Thursday. Read more: Daily News