Tag Archives: Queens Courier

Health Expo offers tips on staying healthy, financial fitness


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

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North Shore Towers residents and other guests excitedly ventured around Towers on the Green, visiting each and every vendor offering advice on how to improve their quality of life.

The Queens Courier’s annual Health & Financial Fitness Expo, held Friday, November 30, featured dozens of different business representatives from a variety of industries.

After attendees were able to visit with vendors and talk one-on-one, the program began with a number of speakers covering topics from consumer and bank fraud, to healthy aging, to the importance of a properly fitted shoe.

Jennifer Seery of CHS Home Support Services, a subsidiary of Catholic Home Care, attended the expo and brought along several prototypes of their merchandise, such as a breathing mask. The service focuses on providing the elderly with the care that they may need in order to stay in their home for as long as possible.

“It’s anything you would need outside of a hospital or a nursing home facility,” said Seery of their products. “We have all medical equipment, so if you should need anything to assist you, we can give it to you.”

“[We’re here] to get our name out in the community and let people know that it’s possible to stay home for as long as possible, if that’s what they choose,” Seery said of the event and its networking value.

Also at the expo was New York Community Bank/Queens County Savings Bank; Sinai Chapels; Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation; AgeWell New York; Turnpike Comfort Footwear; Margaret Tietz Center Light Health System; Premier Care; Steadfast Caregivers; Brandywine Senior Living; Robert Lubow; Reverie Spa; Dr. Gail Lowenstein, M.D., Physician Homecare; Genworth Insurance; OKG Jewelry; Comfort Keepers; Life Caller; Home Instead; Bayside Chiropractic, Dr. Vilan; The Lev Group at Morgan Stanley; Carelink, Inc.; REL Business Gazette; Quality Health Care; Best Senior Care; Why Weight?; Dr. Zdenko Beg, P.T.; New York Life Insurance and Fatoullah & Associates.

Ron Fatoullah of Fatoullah & Associates spoke during the event to a crowd of Towers residents and outside guests regarding planning for and securing long-term care.

“Especially in an uncertain time, planning is the most important thing,” said Fatoullah. “People should get their affairs in order now.”

The attorney spoke about the federal gift and estate tax levels that will decrease by January 1, and Fatoullah wants people to be aware of that.

“They need to have essential documents in place,” he said. “Such as last will and testament, living trust and health care proxy. Planning in advance is the key to protecting assets.”

Those who also spoke at the event included Christine A. Feingold of Sinai Chapels; Tara Buoncore-Rut, Executive Director of AgeWell New York; James Christopher, Assistant Vice President of New York Community Bank Corp; Mark Margulies, owner of Comfort Keepers; Dr. Rob Sharma of Premier Care; Susan Cohen of Brandywine Senior Living; Robert Hauer, Manager of Turnpike Comfort Footwear; George Chiungos of Genworth Financial; and Gail Lowenstein, M.D.

Lowenstein, who came to the expo for the first time this year, enjoyed being able to speak to Towers residents about her work.

“The concept of my care is based on the care I give my parents,” she said, regarding her work in geriatrics. “North Shore Towers would be a wonderful locale for us to see patients.”

George Chiungos of Genworth Financial echoed this sentiment.

“It’s always nice to come to these events and see people that you wouldn’t normally interact with,” he said. “We’re here, taking a proactive approach [for our] long term care protection.”

Get your finances in top shape


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


The word fitness is typically used to describe a person’s physical health, but financial fitness is also important for well-being.

The Queens Courier’s Health & Financial Fitness Expo on Friday, November 30, will feature both — and show how you can keep them in top shape.

At the event, sponsored by the North Shore Towers, there will be a panel, “Planning During Uncertain Times: How To Weather The Storm,” featuring keynote speaker Ronald Fatoullah, Esq., as well as ones from Premier Care, Brandywine Assisted Living, Turnpike Orthopedic, Physician Home Care, Genworth Insurance, Comfort Keepers, Sinai Chapels and Queens County Savings Bank.

The speakers will be discussing a range of topics concerning financial fitness, elder law and home care planning.

There will also be networking opportunities, free coffee and cake, and exhibitors promoting long-term care insurance, health management, estate planning, financial services and more.

Admission to the Health & Financial Fitness Expo is free, but limited seats are available, so call today to register.

To attend or for sponsorship or exhibitor opportunities please call 718-224-5863 ext. 201 or email aamato@queenscourier.com.

The Queens Courier’s Health & Financial Fitness Expo will be held on Friday, November 30 at 10 a.m at Towers on the Green in the North Shore Towers, 272-48 Grand Central Parkway, Floral Park.

The Courier celebrates the Kings of Queens


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

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The Queens Courier’s fifth annual “Kings of Queens Awards & Networking Event” was celebrated at Terrace on the Park, honoring dozens of notable businessmen and special honoree Steve Lacy, Fox 5 news anchor.

“[This event] brings people and their businesses together. I’m honored to be honored,” said Mortimer A. Lawrence of the Lawrence Law Group, LLC New York, one of this year’s “Kings.”

The breakfast, held Thursday, November 15, was attended by 400 people and served as a networking opportunity.

“What’s great about this event is that we bring together the leaders of our community. We’re so proud of the unique people that we can recognize,” said Courier publisher Victoria Schneps.

Click here to see all the picture from the event

Different vendors were able to set up tables in the Terrace on the Park expo room and share their information.

“We’re looking to expand,” said Roger Flores of RNC, a telecommunications business within Queens. “We’re a local business and we are here today to let people know what services we have to offer.”

Vendors from businesses such as RCN, to restaurants, to airlines all attended the networking event, hoping to mingle with other local companies and gain contacts.

“It’s the networking, the opportunity to meet other businesses,” said George McKirdy, a bake shop owner in Astoria. “We wanted to get in touch with some of the other businesses in Queens.”

Sponsors of the event included: TD Bank, Delta Airlines, Flushing Bank, CUNY, Con Edison, Sandwire, Melrose Credit Union, Queens Library, Daily News, Crystal Window & Door Systems and Queens County Savings Bank.

The Courier does a number of events that link businesses and communities,” said Richard Mazda, an honoree. “I appreciate getting the word out about The Secret Theatre.”

Other honorees included John Antzoulis, TD Bank; Sal Bacarella, president, Garden Works; Gerard X Brogan Jr., MD, medical director, Forest Hills Hospital; John Careddu,  New York Community Bank; Don Cato, Co-Director, Queens World Film Festival;  Sam Chang, chair, McSam Hotel Group; Dr. Michel Cohen, founder, Tribeca Pediatrics; Brother Leonard Conway, principal, St. Francis Prep; Michael Davidov, attorney, Davidov Law Group, PC; Jack Friedman, executive director, Queens Chamber of Commerce; Carl Goodman, executive director, Museum of Moving Image; Paul Goodman, CEO, NY Waterway; Kirk Haltaufderhyde, 2012 National Science Foundation Graduate Research; Dr. Gerard McNeil, associate professor, York College; Alan Kaufman, CEO, Melrose Credit Union; Mortimer A. Lawrence, Esq, The Lawrence Law Group, LLC; Dr.  Adam Lublin, co-owner, Dynamic Dental; Douglas MacLaury, Mattone Group; Hossam Abdel Maksoud, Founder & Chief Executive, Maksoud Pharm, Inc.; Eric S. Martinez, JD, CPA, audit partner, Grassi & Co; Richard Mazda, founding artistic director, The Secret Theatre; John A. Messer, VP/counsel, DC Solar Solutions; Vincent Riso, The Briarwood Organization; John E. Roe, Sr., chair of the board of Flushing Financial; Hal Rosenbluth, president, Kaufman Astoria Studios; Frank Russo, owner, Russo’s on the Bay; Edward Sadowsky, trustee, Queens Library; George Schmidt, president, Eastern American Data Voice; John Venaziano, General Manager, Douglaston Club; Mathew Xenakis, president, Woodhaven BID; Daniel Zausner, COO, National Tennis Center.

Following an hour-and-a-half of networking, this years’ “Kings” proceeded into the ballroom, donning red robes and crowns, and were greeted by rounds of applause. Videos of each honoree sharing their “keys to success” played while breakfast was served.

Hearing community leaders speak about their business tactics in the past and plans for the future was inspiring, said Steve Lacy, Fox 5 news anchor and also the MC and honoree at the event.

“It’s the people and the sense of community that I’m really impressed with,” he added.

At each Courier event, all proceeds from raffle ticket sales go to charity. This year, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the roughly $3,000 raised will go to the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance and St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children.

Meet the 2012 Kings of Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Honoring the top businessmen of Queens for their outstanding leadership and their contributions to the community, the 2012 Kings of Queens: A Champions Breakfast Awards & Networking Event will take place on Thursday, November 15 at 8:30 a.m.

This event, which will be held at Terrace on the Park, is the ultimate networking opportunity and also includes a business expo followed by a breakfast and awards ceremony.

There will also be a raffle, with all proceeds going to Sandy relief.

Attracting 500 of the top business leaders in the borough, Kings of Queens has featured Mayor Michael Bloomberg as keynote speaker as well as a recipient of the “King of Kings” award, and Borough President Helen Marshall as the recipient of the “Queen of Queens” award.

This year, honorees include John Antzoulis, small business relationship manager, TD Bank; Sal Bacarella, president, Garden Works; Gerard X Brogan Jr., MD, medical director, Forest Hills Hospital; John Careddu, retail banking regional executive, New York Community Bank; Don Cato, Co-Director & Programmer, Queens World Film Festival;  Sam Chang, chair, McSam Hotel Group; Dr. Michel Cohen, founder, Tribeca Pediatrics; Brother Leonard Conway, principal, St. Francis Prep; Michael Davidov, attorney, Davidov Law Group, PC; Jack Friedman, executive director, Queens Chamber of Commerce; Carl Goodman, executive director, Museum of Moving Image; Paul Goodman, CEO, NY Waterway; Kirk Haltaufderhyde, 2011 Graduate of York College/2012 National Science Foundation Graduate Research; Dr. Gerard McNeil, associate professor of Biology, York College; Alan Kaufman, CEO, Melrose Credit Union; Mortimer A. Lawrence, Esq, The Lawrence Law Group, LLC; Dr.  Adam Lublin, Co owner, Dynamic Dental; Douglas MacLaury, SVP of real estate development, Mattone Group; Hossam Abdel Maksoud, Founder & Chief Executive, Maksoud Pharm, Inc.; Eric S. Martinez, JD, CPA, audit partner, Grassi & Co; Richard Mazda, founding artistic director, The Secret Theatre; John A. Messer, VP/counsel, DC Solar Solutions; Vincent Riso, managing member, The Briarwood Organization; John E. Roe, Sr., chair of the board of Flushing Financial; Hal Rosenbluth, president, Kaufman Astoria Studios; Frank Russo, owner, Russo’s on the Bay; Edward Sadowsky, Trustee, Queens Library; George Schmidt, president, Eastern American Data Voice; John Venaziano, General Manager, Douglaston Yacht Club; Mathew Xenakis, president, Woodhaven Business Improvement District; Daniel Zausner, Chief Operating Officer, National Tennis Center

TD Bank, Delta Airlines, Flushing Bank, CUNY, Con Edison, Sandwire, Crystal Window & Doors Systems, NY Daily News, NY1, Queens County Savings Bank and Sandwire are sponsoring the event.

Reserve Your Ticket Today

$70 per person or $650 for a table of 10

You can also call 718-224-5863 x 226 or email mromero@queenscourier.com for tickets or sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities.

Take care of our trees


| brennison@queenscourier.com


As the season transitions from summer to autumn, it is very important that the Department of Parks & Recreation prune many of the trees in the city’s parks and along its streets.

While every single tree cannot be pruned, there are those that are in serious need of pruning to reduce the risk of injury to people or damage to property. Also, those trees that are dead or dying need to be removed as quickly as possible.

While the city is dealing with a fiscal crisis, it is important to maintain the trees in our parks and along our streets. There are over 1 million trees within the city and its parks, and some of them have stood for over 100 years. They give us needed shade in the summer and beautiful, colorful mosaics of changing leaves in the fall. Our evergreen trees grace us with their winter beauty when snow accumulates upon them, adding to the festive feeling of every holiday season.

Trees are our cathedrals of nature, soaring high above streets and homes. They also give off oxygen and take in carbon dioxide, which cleanses the air, and also retain soil from eroding on the sides of our roadways and hills. Let us work to maintain our trees so that they can be enjoyed by many future generations of New Yorkers.

John Amato

Fresh Meadows

 

Cycle of hate


| brennison@queenscourier.com


The Muslim world is afire with outrage over images of the Prophet considered to be derogatory. Yet their outrages against other religions are despicable, horrendous, horrible and barbaric. What other religion demands killing those of different beliefs?

Worldwide Muslims number over a billion and assuredly not all are terrorists, extremists or insisting upon forcing their law on everyone. Clearly those who demand blood as the price for any insult they claim shall never accept democracy or could ever comprehend a Bill of Rights so much a foundation of liberated peoples.

The war of extremist theology against non believers is nothing new. The world has witnessed its ugliness and its cost in innocent victims for generations. The U.S. supported dictators throughout the Middle East, in large part due to the need for oil but also to suppress the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

Containment that was the byword for U.S. foreign policy used against the Soviet Union cannot work to combat this threat. Targeted killing of extremist leadership will continue but will not change the reality for ideologues who believe paradise is their reward for killing infidels.

Sadly, nothing indicates anything different can be expected. If the economics of the poor in these countries improved, ordinary people might find hope for a better future, thereby quieting the voices of extremists.

In the meantime acts of violence destroy economic investment and development insuring the cycle of poverty continues, which empowers zealots of uniformity and hate.

Edward Horn

 

Reason to Move?


| letters@queenscourier.com


“Prohibition All Over Again: Board of Health approves beverage ban” (Billy Rennison, September 21) is doomed to failure before it even starts.

New York City residents will be jealous with envy as neighbors in Nassau County, Westchester County and New Jersey down large “Big Gulps” at the numerous 7-Elevens just minutes from the city line.

The insane policies of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his “health food police” regulating consumer choice will continue driving more people into surrounding counties and states, just like they do to shop at Walmart, which is also banned in the Big Apple. Freedom loving New York City residents will join us in tasting the flavor of freedom and liberty still alive and well in Nassau County.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

 

Duly noted!


| letters@queenscourier.com


Greetings to The Queens Courier team, just wanted to check in and say we enjoyed your Best of the Boro spread, and plan on trying out the Agra Indian restaurant at some point soon.

Our only concern is that there is no “vegetarian” category in the restaurant listings. Millions of people are now transitioning toward vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian food choices, for many very important reasons, and we ask that you please consider including that option during the next round of voting.

There appears to be an empty space below the “Thai” category, which would position it perfectly alphabetically.
The Winton family

Whitestone

Queens Courier to present Power Breakfast


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Queens, particularly Long Island City, could be the “Silicon Valley of the East.”

With this in mind, The Queens Courier, together with TD Bank, will present “The Future of LIC: How the tech boom will affect you & your business!,” a power breakfast networking event on Thursday, October 11.

The event will be led by Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYEDC) since 2008. Under his leadership, the NYEDC is helping local industries transition into the 21st century and investing in development and infrastructure.

The breakfast will also feature Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and State Senator Michael Gianaris, and a panel of guest speakers that includes Gayle Baron, president of LIC Partnership; Jukay Hsu, founder of Coalition for Queens; Carol Conslato, public affairs director of Con Edison and president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce; Greg Pass of Cornell Tech; Andrew Kirby, president of Plaxall; Elias Roman, CEO of Songza Media; and Elliot Park of Shine Electronics.

The speakers will each give a unique view point on what a tech boom signifies for Long Island City, which will be just a short train ride away from the Technion-Cornell applied science campus.

It’s estimated that thousands of more tech jobs will grow out of the school in the future and many of them will be in Queens.

Additionally, a recently announced initiative will provide for more tech educational opportunities in the borough and could lead to even more startups in Queens.

Don’t miss your chance to attend this informative discussion. “The Future of LIC” will be held at Water’s Edge Restaurant, 44th Drive at East River, Long Island City. Networking starts at 9 a.m. and breakfast at 10 a.m. For registration and ticket information, visit www.queenscourier.com/events or call 718-224-5863, ext. 226.

Weekend roundup


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Brooklyn, Queens Locals Clean Up Damage From Two Tornadoes

Cleanup efforts continue in Brooklyn and Queens after tornadoes roared through parts of both boroughs yesterday morning, but residents are relieved to know that no one was reported injured by the twisters. Read more: NY1

 

Queens teen calls cops, then her brother is found stabbed to death

“If you don’t get here fast, I’m going to kill this guy!”A distraught Queens teenager made that warning to a 911 operator moments before allegedly stabbing her brother to death in a clash over a cellphone, sources told The Post yesterday.

Neighbors could hear screams from inside the first-floor Woodhaven apartment during a fight between Yocairis Diaz, 18, and Frank Fortuna, 20, at about 5:25 p.m. Friday. Read more: New York Post

Queens parkour virtuoso stars in short film

Keith Horan has a serious addiction — and his enabler is the landscape of New York City.

The 27-year-old from Rockaway is a plumber by trade but his passion is parkour, which uses everything from walls to train trestles for a form of urban gymnastics. Read more: Daily News

 

Bigger is better: Forest Hills High School bucks trend

For years, school overcrowding has been an issue, leading to the development of smaller, more specialized facilities in New York City.

But Forest Hills High School, a massive, 75-year-old institution on a bucolic city block in Queens, is bucking the downsizing trend and proving that large schools can function just as well as its smaller counterparts. Read more: Daily News

 

Thug wanted in shooting of NYPD sergeant is also suspected for Queens murder

A career criminal being sought for shooting an NYPD sergeant in Queens last month is also wanted for a murder in June, the Daily News has learned. Read more: Daily News

The sad and the ugly


| qceditorial@queenscourier.com


THE SAD . . .

We at The Queens Courier extend our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of William Bateman, a local homeless man found dead just steps from the Bayside LIRR station.

The loss of a loved one is undoubtedly very difficult, and losing someone who was so well-liked in the community is truly sad.

One Queens Courier reader wrote that he “saw Bill every day on the way to work. [He] seemed to be a man with pride who never asked for anything.”

But maybe he needed help. Perhaps the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS) could have stepped in and offered resources.

After all, there are many factors that might lead to homelessness, and sometimes people are just too afraid to ask for help.

We agree with our reader, who eloquently pointed out, “[It’s] sad that that richest country in the world neglects those who are left behind, for whatever reason they are out there.”

In Bayside, there is another well-known homeless man, often seen along Bell Boulevard.

Perhaps he could use some help.

With the economy the way it is, it is incumbent on DHS to do as much as possible to help those in need.

THE UGLY

Four words: State Senator Shirley Huntley.

The politician, who is currently seeking re-election, turned herself in to the state attorney general’s regional office in Mineola, as she is being investigated for state funds sent to non-profit organizations.

What we find odd is the fact that Huntley is making a circus of her ignominy.

She hosted a press conference on Saturday, August 25, at which she announced that she would be taken into custody, and, upon her arrest, she said she was not worried about the charges and she would be cleared.

“I am not concerned,” she said. “Whatever will be, will be.”

What is truly ugly is abuse of power – politicians are meant to be bastions of justice for the little guy, the voice of the people.

When those people are struggling to make ends meet, allegations that funds were funneled are downright disheartening. We put our trust in these people, we elect them to be our leaders.

In this election year, we say they should start acting like it.

 

Queens Courier hosts senior expo


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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The sands are shifting in the extensive world of elder law, but industry experts say the key to security in the changing winds is to “plan, plan and plan.”

“With all this going on, you can’t afford not to plan. Make sure you secure your future,” said elder law attorney Ronald Fatoullah during a Courier-hosted senior expo held at North Shore Towers.

Fatoullah urged seniors on August 24 to think about the importance of long-term care planning and filing legal documents, saying elders — especially over 50 years old — should have a will, a living will, a living trust, powers of attorney and a health care proxy.

Other leaders in the field armed the crowd of close to 200 with tips on avoiding scams and reducing risks for dementia.

James Christopher, the assistant vice president and senior fraud investigator at New York Community Bancorp, said to invest in a shredder to prevent “bad guys” from sifting through garbage and opening up bank accounts with information they find. He also warned seniors not to give their account information to their health care workers and not to fall for the “infamous lotto scam,” in which seniors are mailed a check saying they won the lottery.

“We continuously get these problems,” he said. “You don’t get something for nothing.”

Another frequent problem amongst seniors and their caregivers, said president of Royal Health Care Services Phyllis Ettinger, is mistaking dementia for Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia, Ettinger said, is the “define all” term encompassing loss of brain function that could be cured by remedies, while Alzheimer’s is a specific disease and a form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time.

To lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Ettinger said the most important thing to do is exercise the body and brain with taking brisk walks each day, reading, doing crossword puzzles and playing mentally stimulating board games. Not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, maintaining a healthy diet, being social and getting a good night’s sleep are also vital, she said.

Christine Feingold, funeral director at Sinai Chapels, also warned snowbird seniors to be aware of differing prearrangement and trust account laws in Florida and New York. Setting up an account in one state, she said, does not necessarily mean it transfers over to the next.

Before the lecture began, seniors had a chance to mingle with leading businesses in the industry, including vendors Fatoullah and Associates, Bankers Conseco Life Insurance Company, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation, Margaret Tietz Center Light Health System, New York Community Bank/Queens County Savings Bank, Catholic Cemeteries, Ramps for Better Living, Senior Source of Self Help Community Services, Atria Senior Living, Samuel Field Y, Senior Bridge, Highland House, Bussani Mobility, The Regency, ProEquities, Family Care Connections, LifeWatch, Turnpike Comfort Shoes, Plan Plus Ltd, Integrity First Senior Care, Prudential and Elderplan.

Little Neck neighbors want problem tree removed


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Neighbors in Little Neck say a rotted tree rooted on a popular pathway is on its last leg and poses a danger to pedestrians passing beneath its falling limbs.

“I walk on the street. I’m so afraid of walking under this tree that I make a detour,” said Vicky Cosgrove, 61, pointing to a problematic maple at 48-03 Marathon Parkway. “It’s very dangerous.”

According to Cosgrove, the tree is hollow inside and has a number of dying or already dead branches, especially on one long arm that looms over her neighbor’s front yard, where a three year old often plays. The threatening timber, Cosgrove said, is also situated on a sidewalk where many J.H.S. 67 students venture to and from the school located less than half a mile away.

“I’d hate to see a branch come down and kill a kid,” she said. “It’s ridiculous.”

Nahid Neysani, 56, who lives in the house in front of the tree, said it was once flanked by two other trees of the same poor condition. They were removed, she said, after a few branches came down on her fence and made noticeable dents.

Still, she said she was told by the city the last tree standing on her street was not a problem.

“They’re not rushing anything,” she said. “If we have crazy wind or storms, maybe the branches will break.”

Cosgrove said she filed multiple reports to 3-1-1 and even placed calls to higher ups in the Parks Department out of frustration, although her efforts were in vain. According to a recent 3-1-1 inspection report dated June 6 of this year, the Department of Parks and Recreation inspected the tree “but the condition was not found.” The service request was also listed “closed” with no planned further updates.

“I’m no arborist, but to say this tree was inspected and no conditions were found — I don’t believe them,” Cosgrove said. “Are they blind? I was livid. Nothing gets done with the city. They tell us, ‘If you see something, say something.’ When we do, we are treated with contempt.”

But the agency changed its tune soon after The Courier reached out for more information at the end of June.

A Parks Department spokesperson said after the city tree was inspected last week, it was determined to be “in poor health” and will be removed within the next 30 days. The tree will not be felled immediately though, the spokesperson said, because it is still alive and not split.

“I’m a tree hugger. I love trees, but you have to maintain them,” Cosgrove said. “Sure, you can’t help everything. If a tornado came tomorrow and a tree hit you on the head, some things can’t be helped. But this is an accident waiting to happen.”

City trees are inspected and pruned on a block-by-block basis in a portion of each community board every year, a Parks spokesperson said.

 

City refunds bilked homeowner for sidewalk repairs


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Melissa Chen

A Fresh Meadows homeowner who said he was bilked by the city in 2009 for over $2,000 was reimbursed more than half the cost and was refunded a piece of his pilfered American Dream.

“I feel good that I won. I got into a good fight and I loved it,” said John Biagi, 62.

Biagi said when the city billed him for what he called unnecessary sidewalk repairs, he felt his right as a homeowner was violated.

In 2004, the retired mechanic was warned by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to replace approximately 68-square-feet of sidewalk on his Utopia Parkway property. While he said the slabs were defective from two trees the city recently removed, he said he had every plan to cooperate with the agency, but first requested more information.

He did not hear back from them until 2009 when he said city workers came out of the woodwork, replacing nearly the entire sidewalk surrounding Biagi’s corner home — including close to 800-square-feet of pavement instead of the originally estimated 68.

Total cost the city billed Biagi: $2,240.69.

An infuriated Biagi called 3-1-1, filed three complaints and then contacted City Comptroller John Liu, the DOT, the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and Councilmember Dan Halloran. When he only received help from Halloran after four years of getting the runaround from city agencies, Biagi, out of frustration, reached out to The Courier in March and propped up a white handcrafted billboard sign that read “Another Homeowner Screwed by NYC” in bold, red-painted lettering.

Now, the homeowner has been given back $1,442.62 — a check from the city Biagi was happy to cash. He has also replaced his billboard with a smaller one that reads “Refunded $1,442.62. Thanks for your support.”

The former sign, which garnered much attention, still leans against the home Biagi has lived in for over 20 years, and he plans to let fellow frustrated neighbors borrow it.

“I think it was wrong that I should have been in the fight in the first place, but at least I got justice in the end,” Biagi said.

According to the DDC, the revised estimate was “based on additional sidewalk flags which were observed to be broken or were identified as trip hazards.” The agency said the total bill sent to Biagi only represented 30 percent of the total sidewalk replacement work. The other 70 percent of the construction, officials said, was done to “provide uniformity in grade” and were not charged to Biagi’s account.

But Biagi, who was content with paying the final $800, said the entire sidewalk did not need to be repaired and the unnecessary improvements were ultimately paid for by city taxpayers.

“Thanks to you paying your taxes, I got a new sidewalk that I didn’t need,” Biagi said. “They refunded my stolen money back to me and they think I should be grateful. It’s wrong how they screw everyone in New York City.”

A spokesperson for Liu said the comptroller was “happy to have resolved this matter in a way that is fair and equitable to both him and the city.”

Queens Courier to host Power Breakfast with Senator Chuck Schumer


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Chuck Schumer

Senator Charles Schumer will be the featured guest and keynote speaker at the next Queens Courier Power Networking Breakfast.

The breakfast will be on Friday, June 8 at the Water’s Edge Restaurant in Long Island City, just across the East River and overlooking the Manhattan skyline.

The long-time political leader will be available for a question-and-answer panel session from those in attendance about current issues before he addresses the crowd.

Schumer has served in public office for nearly four decades after initially winning a New York State Assembly seat following his graduation from Harvard Law School in 1974. He was elected to the State Senate in 1998 and has served since.

The Power Networking Breakfast is set to start at 8:30 a.m., when attendances can engage Schumer and network with other guests while enjoying breakfast.

The moderator will be Juliet Papa, an award-winning reporter for 1010 WINS Radio, and opening remarks will be given by Randy Estrada, Retail Market Manager, TD Bank.

Panelists include Caryn Schwab,Executive Director, Mount Sinai Queens Hospital; Joe Osterman, Director of the JFK Service Delivery Center, Bombardier; and Peter M. Meyer, New York City Market President, TD Bank.

The event is hosted by The Queens Courier and 1010 WINS, and sponsored by Water’s Edge Restaurant, Con Edison and TD Bank.

Tickets for an individual seat start at $40; $350 for a table of 10. For more information or to register, go to queenscourier.com/events or call 718-224-5863, ext 226.