Tag Archives: Ribbon Cutting

P.S./I.S. 87 in Middle Village unveils $20 million extension

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

A new $20 million extension to P.S./I.S. 87 in Middle Village was unveiled in a ribbon cutting grand opening ceremony on Tuesday, October 15.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, officials from the Department of Education and parents were in attendance at the event to celebrate the new addition, which will add 120 seats in four classrooms, a new gym with basketball courts, a new main office, an elevator and various bathrooms.


“It was always frustrating having so little space to move around in. This took a toll on all of us,” said 8th grader Julian Kilichowski, the student government chair. “The new generations of Middle Village students will enjoy the beautiful new space that we have been granted.”



$120M psychiatric pavilion set to open in Glen Oaks

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A multimillion dollar psychiatric pavilion in Glen Oaks is slated to open its doors to inpatients next month.

Zucker Hillside Hospital officials celebrated the $120 million project on December 7. The 130,000-square-foot facility, which has 115 beds, also includes a center for dementia patients and a new electroconvulsive therapy unit.

“The mental health system in this country is broken and deteriorated. Our pledge is, not [broken] in this hospital, not in our health system, not in our communities,” said Joseph Schulman, executive director of Zucker Hillside.

The two-story pavilion, located at 75-59 263rd Street, will treat patients suffering with depression, mood and affective disorders, substance abuse and dementia when it opens on January 8, officials said.

“Psychiatric illness and addiction cause heartache and alter lives. Their devastating impact scars families for generations,” said Dr. John Kane, vice president of the Behavioral Health Services for North Shore-LIJ. “This new pavilion will help us treat these disorders to change that, healing families and returning people to society’s mainstream.”

According to Kane, behavioral health disorders affect nearly half the population during the course of a lifetime and account for more disability and missed days of work than any other illness.

Queens Hospital Center cut the ribbon on an 8,500-square-foot expanded psychiatric program last week, but Kane said the recent sprouting of facilities does not mean there is an increase in a total number of beds in the community.

The needs of many mentally ill individuals are still not met, he said, and the emergence of local centers may only indicate a rebuilding of state-of-the-art facilities.

“In the last 10 years, the health system has made a tremendous investment in both inpatient and outpatient care, and that’s what we need,” Kane said.

Cathie Lemaire, of Huntington, said she has been hospitalized five times for severe depression and said the illness sidetracked her life for many years until Zucker Hillside suggested she try electroconvulsive therapy.

“I had great careers in sales, in electronics. I was selling to military and commercial contractors, but I would have repeated depressive episodes,” she said. “[Zucker Hillside] has allowed me to get back to my life, to my old self, to living. It’s priceless.”

A lifetime of caring inspires new hospice unit

| mchan@queenscourier.com

The Courier/Photo by Melissa Chan

While cancer may have claimed the life of Maureen Russo, a brand new hospice unit named in her honor means her memory will live on forever.

The Maureen Russo Hospice Unit at Flushing Hospital celebrated its ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 23 in front of Russo’s family and friends, hospital leaders and elected officials.

“My wife, Maureen, cared for others all her life. But at the end of her life, it was her time to be cared for,” said Michael Russo, her husband and the current chair of the Board of Trustees at Flushing Hospital.

Russo passed away on May 12, 2011 after a five-and-a-half year long battle with cancer. Michael said hospice played a key role in her end of life care — physically, emotionally and spiritually.

“Hospice, along with family, friends and loved ones, surrounded her,” Michael said through stifled tears. “So it’s fitting that this hospice has been created in her name, in her memory, so that others who are at the end of their journeys can have the final chapters of their lives in dignity, care and support. When I look at my life and the things I have accomplished, they pale in comparison to the importance of this day.”

The new 1,800-square-foot, four-bed hospice unit is located on the third floor of the hospital. Over $350,000 was collected to bring the project into fruition, hospital officials said. The unit’s first patients were admitted the day after the ceremony on April 24.

“I’ve had the distinct pleasure and honor to have known Maureen for about a dozen years,” said Bruce Flanz, president and CEO of Flushing Hospital. “In that time, I came to love and appreciate the very special person she was. She was without a doubt one of the nicest, kindest, most caring and inspirational individuals I have ever met. Maureen’s approach to life was not only that the glass was half full, but it was full and overflowing.”

Russo’s four children — Regina, Maureen, Anthony and Michael — shared their gratitude and hopes for the unit’s future patients.

“My mom had love for us, and she loved everything that God created. She was the most wonderful woman in many people’s lives. She had peace, joy and love through her life and also at her end,” said son Anthony.

Youngest son Michael Russo said he hopes the hospice unit will be “blessed with her spirit and give peace and acceptance to all who enter it.”

New high school in Jamaica has high hopes

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan.

During its official ribbon-cutting ceremony, Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences High School celebrated the start of a successful — and first — school year.

“It seems that we’re going to be having a lot of ‘firsts’ here at Jamaica Gateway,” said Gail Robergeau, the school’s community associate. “We’re here and we’re small, but we’re growing. We look forward to doing great things.”

In September, the school became the newest and fifth addition to the Jamaica High School campus building, located at 167-01 Gothic Drive.

Since then, Principal Caren Birchwood-Taylor said the school’s current 224 students received their first marking period report cards, and the majority of them passed with flying colors.

“The first marking period was encouraging,” she said. “But there is need for improvement, especially for those who did not pass all their classes, so we are really focusing on them right now. The first few months have been hectic, but I feel energized, too, because I’ve seen so many successes.”

Assemblymember William Scarborough — the keynote speaker and self-described “product of Queens” — joined a small group of students, parents and school officials to help cut the ribbon on Thursday, November 17.

“We all have a role to play. We are all striving for the best education for our children. I’m happy to be at such a site where such a focus is put on science and math because we know those are the areas that will be highly needed in the future,” he said.

According to school officials, Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences is targeted at students seeking to explore the sciences and mathematics, especially those interested in medicine and its related fields. Through mandatory internships and community service, Jamaica Gateway students have a leg up over competition, officials say.

The school is also one of seven schools in Queens that’s part of the Gateway Institute for Pre-College Education — a nationally recognized leader in preparing low-income and minority high school students for college and the pursuit of health and science-related careers.

“These kids are looking at us to pave the way for them. They’re smart, they’re eager. They’re good kids. They come up to me and they tell me they want internships at hospitals, they want to volunteer and they want to be surgeons,” Robergeau said.

Resorts World Opens

| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

South Ozone Park’s Aqueduct Racino, reborn as Resorts World Casino New York City, officially opened its doors to an eager throng of thousands of gamers on Friday, October 28.

Casino representatives and elected officials were on hand at the former Aqueduct Racino for the ribbon cutting, and to welcome those who came to play on opening day – a line which wrapped around the building, leaving visitors with at least a two hour wait.

“I can’t wait to get in,” said Yaneet Chandra, a South Ozone Park resident who arrived at the casino at around 10 a.m. to get to the head of the line. “Queens really needed a place like this.”

And not just for gaming reasons. The casino arrives amid promises of jobs for the immediate community – and according to officials, Resorts World delivered on that promise. State Senator Joseph Addabbo said that the new facility will deal the community, and Queens at large, a much needed economic boost.

Click here for a photo gallery of the grand opening.

“To see this underused land become an economic engine is just incredible,” he said. “This is a new era for the community and a win for all.”

Michael Speller, president of Resorts World New York, said that the casino will provide thousands of full time jobs to people who needed work the most.

“We are thrilled to welcome the public to this extraordinary new entertainment venue, which will permanently employ 1,350 New Yorkers, of which 89 percent are either minority or women,” Speller said at the grand opening, which occurred exactly one year to the day of the initial groundbreaking ceremony. “With 41,000 applicants for these 1,350 jobs, Resorts World New York City will work hard with the state and leadership to find more ways to create even more jobs – as many as tens of thousands – on our site as soon as possible. Today’s grand opening was the chance for our employees to share with the first of many guests the truly unique experience of Resorts World.”

First arrivals entered the racetrack casino under the “Light of Nations” sculpture – featuring 193 individual hand-blown glass bulbs representing each of the United Nations member countries around the globe and highlighting international essence of Queens itself.

The first casino in the facility to open – dubbed Times Square Casino – features 2,485 Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Electronic Table Games (ETG). The casino floor also features Bar 360 Lounge at the heart of the gaming floor and myriad culinary offerings reflecting the diversity of the borough.

Phase two of construction, to be completed by the end of the year, will unveil 5th Avenue Casino and Crockfords Casino on the second floor with 2,515 additional VLT and ETG. Also on the second floor will be the Central Park Events Center – the largest event space in Queens.

As the doors swung open and the first guests began to pour in, their reactions were all the same – eyes wide as saucers, mouths agape. Some were even already pulling money out of their wallets as they stepped onto the escalator.

“We just really want to have fun,” said Reggie Haughton. “Times are tough, yes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t come out and enjoy ourselves. We deserve it.”

For more information on Resorts World, visit www.rwnewyork.com.

Martin Luther now has a middle school

| brennison@queenscourier.com


After more than 50 years of serving Queens as a high school, Martin Luther expanded this year to include sixth, seventh and eighth graders.

The ribbon was cut for the new middle school on Thursday, September 29 on the revamped third floor of the Maspeth school building. Politicians, local business owners, parents, administrators and students were on hand to usher in the school’s new era.

“When so many parochial schools seem to be cutting back on programs, we’re trying to expand,” said Head of School Randal Gast. “The bricks and mortar of the future at Martin Luther as well as our community and our church [are the children].”

The school year kicked off for the 32 middle school students on September 7. While there are plans to expand in the coming years, Principal Barbara Chin-Sinn added that a smaller class size allows more one-on-one teaching time with each student.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley – both of whom have been incredibly supportive of the school, Gast said – spoke to the students about the opportunity they have at Martin Luther.

Crowley, whose brother and sister both attended the high school, said part of their success is due to the foundation they gained at Martin Luther.

“You’ll have even more of an advantage because you’re coming in at a younger age,” said Crowley. “You have a very unique opportunity.”

“At a time when schools are struggling to survive, here you are cutting the ribbon on an expansion at Martin Luther. That’s why you should really be proud today,” said Addabbo.

Chin-Sinn joined the Martin Luther staff after 25 years at St. John’s Lutheran School in Glendale. Chin-Sinn’s vision includes making sure each student is prepared for high school.

“Quality education is important,” she said. “Our teachers are very well-equipped.”

Each eighth grader will take the Regents exams in both Intermediate Algebra and Living Environment this June.

Academics is not the only benefit the students will be able to take advantage of. There are programs both before and after school for students, including band, basketball, volleyball, photography, chess and drama.

“It’s fun,” said sixth grader Sally of the extracurriculars. “There are lots of clubs to choose from.”

All the students are involved in some extracurricular activity, said Chin-Sinn.

The programs before school begin at 7 a.m., with extracurricular activities after school lasting from 2:45 until 6 p.m.

“I’m excited about the myriad of opportunities that are open for these children,” Chin-Sinn said.