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VOL. 17 • NUMBER 1 • JANUARY 4, 2017

Howard Beach • Ozone Park • South Ozone Park • Woodhaven • Richmond Hill • Broad Channel Forest Hills • Middle Village • Glendale • Maspeth

TWO SOON South & West

For Second Consecutive January, 106th Precinct Hosts

City’s First Homicide of the Year after Husband Kills Wife at Richmond Hill Home, Takes Own Life at Forest Park

See Story on Page 5 The body of Stacy Singh was discovered Monday inside her house at the corner of 103rd Avenue and 113th Street. Her husband and assailant, Vinny Loknath, was found hanging from a tree in Forest Park the same day. The couple had two young children. Photos Courtesy of Google and Facebook

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 17 • Number 01 JANUARY 4, 2018 | 1


‘Amidst all this Success, Sobering Challenges Remain’ for NYC: Stringer By Michael V. Cusenza Gotham’s chief financial officer delivered his own sort of state of the city economy address on Monday on the steps of City Hall, minutes after taking the oath of office for a second term as city comptroller. And Scott Stringer issued a reality check in those remarks: For all of our recent achievements and economic prosperity, the next few years will confront our collective resolve and will to win as five boroughs united. “On days like this, we should consider the arc of our city’s history. Think of where we are,” NYC’s 44th comptroller said. “We are more diverse than we’ve ever been, with residents from every nation on earth. Thanks to the leadership of Mayor De Blasio and Police Commissioner O’Neill, and our men and women in blue, our crime rate is lower than it has been since the 1950s. And thanks to the mayor, Universal Pre-K is now a reality for all of our children. We also have

Photo Courtesy of Edwin Torres/Mayoral Photography Office

Stringer delivered his inaugural address on Monday after taking the oath of office for a second term as City comptroller.

more people working than ever before, with unemployment rates at historic lows. “But amidst all this success, sobering challenges remain.” Stringer then noted that at present, 62,000 New Yorkers will

sleep in homeless shelters; 24,000 of them are children. Rents have increased 33 percent over the last 10 years, while wages grew less than half that rate. More New Yorkers live in poverty than there are people in Philadelphia or Phoenix.

South Ozone Park Sikh Center Burglary

“Folks we have an affordability crisis – for nurses, teachers, firefighters, and child care workers; for young people who want to make New York City home and for seniors who worked for decades and earned their retirement,” Stringer

noted. “And as we know, a city that is unaffordable, is a city that is unsustainable. Because this city only works if it works for everybody.” Solving said affordability crisis, according to the comptroller, requires bold ideas and action. “We need that spirit of ingenuity and determination today – to fix our subways and buses, so working people can get to where they need to be; to support our women and minority-owned businesses, which form the core of our neighborhood economies; to build wealth in every community; and to create a true five-borough economy,” Stringer said. “Being bold and persistent is how we became New York in the first place. We can be a city where economic growth does not come at the expense of an equitable economy. We can be a city where diversity and equality go hand in hand. And we can be a city where all children – your children, my children, and the children we’re never going to meet – can make their dreams come true.”

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The thief made off with thousands of dollars in cash, audio equipment, and a camera, cops said.

By Michael V. Cusenza Cops have reached out to the public for help in identifying a man involved in a recent burglary at a South Ozone Park Sikh temple that was caught on surveillance cameras. According to police reports, the suspect gained entry into the Gurdwara Sant Masha Singh Karamjot Sikh Center through a side window around 11:15 p.m. on Wednesday,

Dec. 27, and proceeded to steal approximately $5,000 in cash, audio equipment, and a camera. The man then exited the center through the same window and fled in an unknown direction. Anyone with information regarding the burglary is asked to contact Det. John Gridley of the 106th Precinct Detective Squad at (718) 845-2261 or Detective Borough Queens South at (718) 969-5005.

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South Queens Top Cops won't Rest on Laurels By Michael V. Cusenza It certainly has been a banner 12 months for the City’s Finest. As of Wednesday, Dec. 27, there had been an eye-popping 286 murders in the five boroughs in 2017 – the lowest number on record. For perspective, in the early 1990s the NYPD investigated more than 2,000 homicides per year. Ask any veteran beat cop, seasoned gumshoe, or legendary boss: Success starts at the precinct level. So The Forum sat down with the commanders of the 102nd and 106th precincts this week to learn more about their 2017 success stories, and the issues they’re looking to address during the first few weeks of 2018. Though Capt. Courtney Nilan only assumed the reins of the 102 six weeks ago, the borough native is quite familiar with the command – she was its Special Operations lieu-

Photos Courtesy of NYPD

Capt. Brian Bohannon

tenant for two years. Nilan is especially proud of the overall decrease in crime in the precinct – 21 percent compared to 2016; the steepest drop of all Queens South posts. And the two-year difference is even more re-

markable: 34 percent. Nilan points to precision policing, technological advances, and the improvement in cop-community relations as reasons for the crime-fighting achievements in the 102. “Technology has a lot to do with it; it deters a lot of criminals. Nowadays, you can’t commit a crime without being on 10 different videos, or tracked on your phones,” she noted. Though the 102 isn’t set to install the department’s wildly successful Neighborhood Policing program until this summer, Nilan credits a strengthening of the unique bond between police and the people they swore to protect and serve with helping to bring down negative numbers. “It has helped both with crime prevention and solving crimes after they happen,” she added. As for what’s on her radar for 2018, Nilan said she’s focusing on a small uptick in commercial bur-

Photos Courtesy of NYPD

Capt. Courtney Nilan

glaries in the precinct, especially on Jamaica Avenue, 101st Avenue, and Atlantic Avenue. Captain Brian Bohannon has skippered the 106th Precinct ship for the past 14 months. For 2017, overall

crime is down more than 5 percent; two-year totals have it plummeting nearly 20 percent. He points to technology, the Neighborhood Policing program, which launched in the 106 over the summer, and “accurate and quick dissemination of intelligence” as pillars of his precinct’s success. “Where crimes occurred, how they occurred – we can get that to our officers quickly, pretty much in real time,” he told The Forum. “And we’re getting a lot of good feedback on Neighborhood Policing. If we get a call about smoke, we address it before it becomes fire. And the people trust that we’re responding to them.” In the first weeks of 2018, Bohannon said he’s also attacking a commercial burglary issue and some quality of life holdovers. Overall he’s “extremely happy and confident in the command,” he added, “and looking forward to building on our success.”

New Year’s Day Fires Spark ‘Tree-Cycle’ with City Parks Rough Start to 2018 for at MulchFest 2018 Some Borough Residents

Last year, more than 26,000 trees were recycled during MulchFest.

in Middle Village; and Forest Park at Forest Park Drive and Woodhaven Boulevard. At chipping locations you can bring your MulchFest 2018. It’s tree-mendous. The City Parks and Sanitation depart- tree to be chipped and take home a bag of ments and GreeNYC have once again mulch; at drop-off sites you can bring your teamed up for MulchFest, an annual NYC tree to be recycled through Sunday, Jan. 7. “Recycling your Christmas tree is a great event that helps residents turn their Christmas trees into wood chips for street shrub- environmental way to continue to spread bery and gardens throughout the five bor- holiday cheer across the city. Your tree will be used in a multitude of ways to help the oughs. You can even take home a bag of mulch city’s trees survive the cold season and grow strong in the spring,” Addabbo said. “By for yourself. MulchFest 2018 will take place on Jan. 6 taking part in MulchFest, you will be makand 7 at select city parks. According to State ing your city a better, and greener, place to Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), a live. Last year, more than 26,000 trees were member of the Senate Committee on Envi- recycled during MulchFest. Let’s help grow ronmental Conservation, four green spaces that number even larger this year.” Addabbo noted that DSNY will also be in his 15th District will be participating this year: drop-off only sites at the parking lot conducting special curbside pickups for at Beach 11th Street and Beach 94th Street mulching and recycling of “naked” Christalong Shore Front Parkway in Rockaway; mas trees through Saturday, Jan. 13. Naked combined chipping and drop-off sites at Ju- means no lights, ornaments, and netting. For more information about MulchFest niper Valley Park, located at 80th Street between Juniper Boulevard North and South 2018, visit nyc.gov/parks or call 311. THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 17 • Number 01 JANUARY 4, 2018 | 3 By Michael V. Cusenza

Firefighters respond to the Richmond Hill blaze on Monday afternoon.

By Michael V. Cusenza Two New Year’s Day blazes in separate south Queens communities forced residents out into the brutal cold, according to City Fire officials and published reports. The first fire broke out around 12:45 p.m. on Monday in a two-story home on 115th Street near 95th Avenue in Richmond Hill. It was quickly brought under control and no injuries were reported. Later that night, around 7 p.m., a threealarm inferno erupted at a two-story home

Photo Courtesy of NYC Fire Wire

on 113th Street between 103rd Avenue and Liberty Avenue in South Ozone Park. The City’s Bravest had the blaze under control in approximately 90 minutes. No injuries were reported, but 15-20 people were displaced as a result of the incident. The fire-ravaged South Ozone Park house apparently has a checkered safety past. Analysis of City Department of Buildings records first performed by the blog Queens Crap showed that owners incurred myriad illegal-conversion violations between 1995 and 2009.

Photo Courtesy of DSNY


NYC Ferry gets Stuck on Sandbar in Rockaway

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By Michael V. Cusenza A City Ferry vessel last Wednesday ran aground on a sandbar in the waters off Rockaway, leaving more than two-dozen passengers and crew stranded for hours before first responders could get them safely to shore. According to City Fire Chief of Special Operations John Esposito, the department received the emergency call around 6 p.m. for an NYC Ferry stuck in Jamaica Bay. “We responded with land units and our fireboats, and determined that the boat was run aground in about 2-feet of water. We devised a shuttle operation to remove 27 people from the ferry onto a smaller fireboat, onto the medium-sized fireboat, and eventually onto our 140-foot fireboat, the

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Fireboat 343,” Esposito recalled hours after the successful operation. “It was difficult because they had to climb down a 12-foot straight ladder, down the back of the ferry, onto our boat, then transferred onto several different boats. It was a very slow, tedious, time-consuming operation, with safety in mind. In 20-degree weather, out in the water with the breeze blowing – it was definitely very cold for everybody involved. NYPD, FDNY, and the United States Coast Guard were out there dealing with the elements. The passengers are now out of the elements, we have no reported injuries.” The accident left at least one area elected official fuming. “We are glad that no one was seriously injured during this incident,” said State Sen.

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Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach). “However, the City needs to seriously improve their response time in situations like this, where 27 people were stuck out on the water in sub-freezing conditions for hours before rescue boats could arrive. This is the second time since Nov. 27 that an NYC Ferry boat crashed into a submerged object, and mea-

sures need to be taken to prevent accidents like this from occurring if people are expected to trust and use the City’s ferry system. The City has been lucky that over the recent incidents on the ferry nobody was seriously injured. I’m hopeful that improved safety measures can be implemented before the City’s luck runs out.”

Cuomo Pardons Jackson Heights Transgender Advocate By Forum Staff Governor Andrew Cuomo recently issued pardons to 18 individuals who are facing the threat of deportation and other immigrationrelated challenges as a result of previous convictions. Among those granted clemency last Wednesday was Jackson Heights resident Lorena Borjas, who was convicted of fourthdegree criminal facilitation in 1994. According to the administration, at the time of her arrest, Borjas, 57, was “entrapped as a victim of human trafficking.” Borjas, a transgender woman from Mexico, has since become an advocate for transgender and immigrant communities across the country, running HIV testing programs for transgender sex workers, and syringe exchange programs for trans-women taking hormone injections. The administration also noted that Borjas currently works as an educator at community health centers across the five boroughs, and has received commenda4 JANUARY 4, 2018 • Number 01 VOL. 17

Advocate Letitia James. With the pardon, Borjas told the State that she hopes to obtain citizenship and avoid deportation, in order to effectively continue her advocacy work in New York. Cuomo indicated that he decided to issue immigration-related pardons due to “the federal government’s increased targeting of immigrants,” and wanted to reward deserving recipients’ “rehabilitative efforts and to remove the barriers that their criminal records present to their immigration status.” Fifteen of the immigration-related pardons were granted to New Yorkers convicted of non-violent crimes, who have lived crime-free for 10 years or more, and whose convictions have jeopardized their legal ability to reside in the United States. According to the State, Photo Courtesy of Lorena Borjas Community Fund the pardons will grant a chance at American legal residency to those who are parents of Borjas has become an advocate for transgender and immigrant communities. young children, caregivers to elderly parents and disabled spouses, small business owners, tions from elected officials, civic leaders, and community board members, civic leaders, and community members, including City Public those with serious health conditions. • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

In each case, the governor noted, a pardon will make immigration-related relief possible, if not automatic. “These New Yorkers have proved their rehabilitation, in some cases for decades, but have been unable to gain legal status or fully reenter society due to the stigma of conviction,” Cuomo said. “While the federal government continues to target immigrants and threatens to tear families apart with deportation, these actions take a critical step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York.” In all, Cuomo granted clemency to 61 people last week. In addition to the 18 immigration-related pardons, the governor issued pardons to 39 individuals who committed misdemeanors and non-violent crimes when they were 16 or 17 years old and have been crime free for 10 years or more; and commutations to two men who have demonstrated substantial evidence of rehabilitation and a commitment to community violence reduction.


Brazen Thieves Attempt Break-In at Howard Beach Home

Frames from the Kurz family video surveillance from top right show the car pulling up and the four bandits heading for the house. Three pass the house and go to act as lookouts while the fourth tries to start and steal the car. He is unsuccessful and ascends the stairs to try the keys in the door to gain entry to the house. When he sees Mr. Kurz coming, he flees.

By Patricia Adams ‘Twas the night after Christmas when one Howard Beach family got the surprise of their lives: Four thieves descended on the quiet residential street across from Charles Park and broke into their car. But what happened after that is described by the victimized homeowners as “shocking and unbelievable.” George and Enza Kurz had just returned to their 165th Avenue home with their 12-year-old twins and a cousin visiting from Florida for the holidays. It was around 1 a.m. when the adults settled in on the couch to watch a little TV. Around 2:20 am, Enza and the couple’s cousin, who were still up talking, heard the sensors from the home’s Ring doorbell system go off, signaling motion at their front door. Enza quickly checked the camera system and saw a man at the front door. She woke up George, who was asleep on the couch; but when he headed for the door, he saw nothing. It was then that they rolled back the cameras and learned about the series of incredible events that took place outside their

home after their arrival as they sat unsuspectingly watching TV and talking. In video footage shared exclusively with The Forum, an incredible tale began to unfold around 1:45 a.m., when a dark-colored Ford Explorer pulled up across the street from the couple’s home and four men in hoodies got out of the vehicle. They split up and began to approach cars parked on the street, rifling door handles and trying to get into vehicles. One of the prospective thieves walked on to the Kurz’ driveway and found the door of their Mercedes SUV unlocked. He went inside the car and came out with a red leather pouch/bag George had left in the car containing some personal items and a set of keys to the family’s vacation home. “In hindsight, I was foolish to leave the bag in the car and careless not to lock the doors,” George acknowledged. But he couldn’t possibly plan for what would take place less than a half-hour later. At 2:18 am, the crew returned, this time in a black Volkswagen Passat, again parking across the street. The four exited the vehicle and started

toward the Kurz’ home, one of them going into the car again, while the other three walked past the house to keep watch. The video shows the man in the car with the keys in his hand and also shows the brake lights go on, before he steps back out of the car. “There was a clicker on the key ring in the bag they took from our car,” George explained, “and he must’ve thought it was the remote for the truck because he stepped on the brakes and tried to start the car.” But he failed to score with the car. The thug then exited around 2:20 a.m. with the set of keys in hand and climbed the stairs to the Kurz’ front door. The hooded hack is then seen trying to fit the keys in the lock, pressing down on the door handle and attempting to push the door open. The video shows him turn around and look behind him, returning his gaze to the front door, and then trying to open it again. About five seconds after that, he presumably saw George Kurz approaching the door from inside through two vertical glass panels. His tail firmly ensconced between his legs, the wannabe

burglar turned and fled down the stairs and onto 165th Avenue, running past the Passat toward 99th Street. After viewing the tape, the Kurz family called the police to file a report. “This is the second time in a little over a year that we have had someone try to break into our home,” George said. “The first was in our other house in Ozone Park, and both times the police from the 106th Precinct were here in record time. They have handled this very well. They have the video and they have been at the house on several occasions. We are hopeful that these guys will be caught.” In fact, he said that coincidentally, one of the officers on the scene at the Ozone Park break-in was also on this call. Police reportedly did make some arrests in the days following Christmas for similar incidents; however the men responsible for this have not been apprehended. If you recognize the men from the photos shown above please call the 106th Precinct Detective Squad at (718) 845-2260.

Husband Stabs Wife to Death before Taking Own Life By Michael V. Cusenza The City recorded its first homicide of the new year in Richmond Hill on Monday after a troubled husband stabbed his wife to death in their 103rd Avenue home and fled to nearby Forest Park where he hanged himself from a tree limb, according to police and published reports. Investigators were called to the Woodhaven scene around 11:30 a.m. after a jogger discovered Vinny Loknath’s body in the massive borough green space near Park Lane South. “He did it in a location where he wanted to be found,” a police source told The FoPhoto Courtesy of Google rum. “It was visible.” Stacy Singh was murdered on Monday inside her home on 103rd Avenue at 113th Street. Her husband hanged Cops found Loknath’s wife, Stacy himself in Forest Park later that day. Singh, 26, around 2 p.m. in their home ly-

ing face-down with a knife near her body. She had been stabbed in the back multiple times. According to the New York Daily News, Loknath, 46, has a long history of domestic violence, and allegedly liked to drink and dabbled in cocaine. “The cops are always there,” a neighbor said. “They were always having big fights. But she still came back to him.” The couple had a young son and daughter. This is the second consecutive year that the 106th Precinct has hosted NYC’s first murder. Last January, Ricky Kalisaran, 31, was shot and killed in South Richmond Hill during an attempted armed robbery that also left his younger brother with a pair of gunshot wounds.

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Cuomo Announces Launch of Economic Justice Programs for Middle Class By Forum Staff Governor Andrew Cuomo last weekend announced the launch of a package of economic justice programs for the middle class: a second minimum wage increase, paid family leave policy, and a middle-class tax cut. “New York has made major strides in the fight for economic equality, social justice and workers’ rights and with the rollout of this historic minimum wage increase and the strongest paid family leave program in the country, we continue to protect the wallets of middle class New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “New York believes in a fair day's pay for a fair day’s work and no family member should have to choose between caring for a loved one or losing their job – this victory will help restore fairness and equality to working families across New York.” The administration noted that minimum wage increases are calculated based on where an individual works, by industry, and, in some cases, the size of the business. It is estimated that more than 2.3 million people will be positively impacted by the increase in the minimum wage statewide. As of Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, the minimum wage rates in NYC will increase to: $13/hour for large employers (11 employees or more); $12/hour for small employ-

Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Governor

Governor Cuomo announced on Sunday that the minimum wage increase, paid family leave policy, and middle class tax cut have all gone into effect.

ers (10 or less); and $13.50/hour for fastfood workers. According to the administration, beginning Monday, Jan. 1, the State began “the strongest, most progressive and most comprehensive paid family leave policy in the nation.” When fully phased in, New Yorkers will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid time off, the State said. Those eligible for paid family leave include:

• Parents during the first 12 months following birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child; • Caretakers for a sick spouse, domestic partner, child, stepchild, parent, stepparent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild; • Employees with a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent who has been notified of an order of active military service abroad.

Full-time employees with a regular schedule of 20 or more hours per week will be eligible for paid family leave after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Parttime employees with a regular schedule of less than 20 hours per week can apply for Paid Family Leave after working 175 days for their employer. Cuomo also said that the new lower state tax rates will save middle-class taxpayers nearly $6.6 billion in the first four years, and annual savings are projected to reach $4.2 billion and benefit six million filers by 2025. As the new rates phase in, they will be the State’s lowest middle-class tax rates in more than 70 years. In the five boroughs, taxpayers will see an average State tax cut of $235 in 2018 and an average State tax cut of $653 when fully phased in by 2025. “These efforts are bringing real change for citizens across the state as we begin to implement New York’s paid family leave program and continue to raise wages for every minimum wage worker in the state,” added Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “No one should ever have to choose between financial security and bonding with a new child or caring for a sick family member. We also believe that no one who works fulltime should struggle to make ends meet. These changes will help ensure that every New Yorker can put their own family first.”

Jail Population Numbers Spur Announcement that City will Close First Rikers Island Facility by Summer 2018 By Forum Staff Thanks to historic reductions in inmate population, the City is set to close its first jail facility on Rikers Island this summer, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday. The decision is part of Hizzoner’s plan to shutter Rikers Island in the next 10 years. The closure of the George Motchan Detention Center in a matter of months is made possible by the dramatic reduction of the City’s jail population, which fell below 9,000 for the month of December, a recordlow figure last reported in 1982. As of Jan. 1, the Department of Correction’s jail population is 8,705. The GMDC, according to Correction numbers, houses approximately 600 men. Its closure will bring the total number of operational Rikers Island facilities from nine to eight and it will not result in layoffs or a reduction in DOC uniformed staff, the administration noted. Instead, it will help DOC reduce overtime, provide important training and support, and strengthen staff in other key areas. In the coming months, DOC will develop plans on the transfer of uniformed staff and detainees to other facilities. “The Department of Correction and the City are committed to closing Rik6 JANUARY 4, 2018 • Number 01 VOL. 17

Photo Courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

As of Jan. 1, the City Department of Correction’s jail population is 8,705.

ers and today, we begin delivering on that commitment,” said Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann. “It is something we are able to do because of our Department’s reforms in creating safer jails and the City’s work in creating a fairer criminal justice system. Under Mayor de Blasio’s administration, we have reduced our jail population by 21 percent and have helped make our jails safer. We will contin• THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

ue building on our progress in reducing our jail population through programs that provide life and work skills that help individuals in custody re-enter our community.” In March, de Blasio and then-City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced the plan to close Rikers Island and create a jail system that is smaller, safer and fairer. Because existing borough-based facilities have the capacity to house only

approximately 2,300 people, there is no immediate way to safely house the current DOC population off-Island. According to the administration, expanding the capacity in the boroughs while simultaneously implementing a series of strategies to significantly reduce the jail population is currently underway. The Justice Implementation Task Force will coordinate the work of the many groups inside and outside of government to ensure effective implementation of the de Blasio’s roadmap. And last October, the City launched a new program that will replace short jail sentences for minor, low-level offenses (typically under 30 days) with services that help prevent recidivism. Working with the district attorneys in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, the program gives judges the option of sentencing people to these community-based programs rather than jail. Additionally, in 2017, the administration also announced that every person in DOC’s custody will receive re-entry services to help connect them with jobs and opportunities outside of jail, as well as five hours of programming per day to address vocational, educational, and therapeutic needs. “Every day we are making New York City’s jail system smaller and safer,” de Blasio added.


Gillibrand Continues Push to Deport Nazi-Era Guard Living in Jackson Heights By Michael V. Cusenza U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has reached out to German Ambassador Peter Wittig to work with the State Department to immediately resolve the longstanding issue of a Nazi-era guard currently living in Queens. Jakiw Palij, 94, who has resided in a brick home on 89th Street in Jackson Heights for more than 20 years, was allowed to enter the United States because he concealed his prior service to the Nazi regime. After determining that he had lied in order to enter the country, Palij’s American citizenship was stripped and it was ordered that he be deported. However, since then, his deportation case has stalled because Germany, Poland and Ukraine refuse to accept him, Gillibrand said in a letter she penned to Wittig last week. “Sadly, he remains, unwelcome, in the state I represent,” she added. In October, every member of the bicameral NY delegation in Congress signed a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urging him to immediately deport Palij, who, according to the New York Daily News, served as a guard at the Trawniki concentration and Schutzstaffel (commonly referred to as the SS) training camp in German-occupied Poland. “For Holocaust survivors, Mr. Palij’s deportation will confirm that the heinous

Jakiw Palij, 94, still lives on 89th Street.

crimes committed against them during the Nazi era will never be forgotten,” the elected officials wrote. Gillibrand on Friday made it clear that she wants the issue resolved now. “This letter is to add my strong support for the State Department’s efforts to press

Photo Courtesy of Google

on this issue, and to ensure that the voices of my constituents are heard,” she said. “My constituents have made clear that Mr. Palij is not welcome in our state. They agree that he lost his right to remain here when the brutal past he tried so hard to hide was revealed in an American courtroom. They have no

doubt that Mr. Palij must be deported immediately. Together, the United States and Germany can show the world that Mr. Palij’s crimes have not been forgotten. We can show that we have learned from the past and stand together today against anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hatred in all forms.”

High-Quality City Tap Water Receives 10-Year Filtration Waiver By Forum Staff The City Department of Environmental Protection has received a 10-year waiver from the State to continue delivering unfiltered drinking water from its Catskill and Delaware water supply systems, DEP announced on Thursday. The waiver, known as a Filtration Avoidance Determination, was released on Thursday by the Department of Health. According to DEP, the City will commit an estimated $1 billion over the next decade to comply with the FAD by administering programs that protect the upstate reservoirs and the vast watershed lands that surround them. For decades the City has implemented a strategy of source-water protection to maintain the high quality of water in its reservoirs. The science-based programs in the FAD are rooted in the premise that it is most cost effective and environmentally sound to protect the quality of water at its natural source. DEP’s programs in the watershed have become a national and international model for protecting water at its source. According to the de Blasio administration, each year, water utility managers and public health professionals come from around the globe to study the City’s watershed programs.

tecting the largest municipal water supply in the United States.” Over the past 25 years, the City’s watershed protection programs have been praised as a worldwide model for protecting the quality of drinking water at its source. These efforts, paired with a “robust” program of water-quality testing and infrastructure improvements, have allowed the City to avoid the construction of a costly filtration plant for its Catskill and Delaware supplies. Such a facility is estimated to cost more than $10 billion to construct, upwards of $100 million to operate each year, and would be the largest public works project in the history of the City. File Photo According to the City, DEP manages the “New York City has some of the highest quality and best protected drinking water in the world,” said DEP Commissioner Sapienza. Big Apple’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of high-quality wa“The renewal of our filtration waiver un- in wastewater upgrades, forged partnerships ter each day to more than 9.5 million New derscores that New York City has some of with watershed farmers, and focused con- Yorkers. This includes more than 70 upstate the highest quality and best protected drink- siderable attention on the forests, streams communities and institutions in Ulster, Oring water in the world,” said DEP Commis- and wetlands that comprise the natural in- ange, Putnam and Westchester counties who sioner Vincent Sapienza. “But protecting frastructure of our water supply. Important- consume an average of 110 million total galour water at its source in the Catskill Moun- ly, none of this work could succeed without lons of drinking water daily from NYC’s watains does not happen by accident. The pro- the vital local partners who administer our ter supply system. The water comes from the grams outlined in the FAD are based on de- watershed protection programs. New York- Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds cades of scientific research and investment. ers owe their gratitude to the nonprofits, that extend more than 125 miles from the Since the City received its first filtration government agencies and other watershed- City; and the system comprises 19 reserwaiver in the early 1990s we have protected based partners who carry out this work as voirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous open space around our reservoirs, invested we push toward the common goal of pro- tunnels and aqueducts. THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 17 • Number 01 JANUARY 4, 2018 | 7


De Blasio Brings Brooklyn Bernie Back to Celebrate City Values at Inauguration

By Michael V. Cusenza Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday continue to bolster his national progressive credentials as he invited U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) back home to the Big Apple to swear in Hizzoner for his second term as the 109th mayor of the City of New York. Sanders, 76, a proud product of Midwood, Brooklyn, and Liberal cult of personality, did not disappoint the throngs who braved the biting cold to bear witness to city tradition. “As Mayor de Blasio takes the oath of office for a second term, he knows, you know, and I know that we are living in a very unusual moment in American history,” Sanders noted. De Blasio appreciated Sanders’ presence at Monday’s ceremony – and his 2016 run for the White House. “Thank you to a true son of Brooklyn for joining us at today’s inauguration ceremony and for changing our national political discourse for the better,” the mayor

gushed. De Blasio also thanked “the people of New York City for entrusting me to be their mayor for a second term,” before listing the accomplishments of his first four years at

8 JANUARY 4, 2018 • Number 01 VOL. 17 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

said. “Abraham Lincoln once warned, ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ It is now clear that a society where only the One Percent can get ahead is truly a house divided against itself. In this city, we will prove there is a better way. The deepest, truest stakeholders in this city are the people who do the work, who make this city come to life every day, but who too often do not reap the rewards. We commit ourselves to making sure this is ALWAYS their city, that it will not be taken away from them.” Hizzoner later noted that as sons and daughters of Gotham, who we are is critical to what we will achieve. “We have one common identity that makes us particularly proud, that gives us a certain swagger. We live in an unspoken state of hope because every morning, we get to wake up and say: ‘I’m a New YorkGracie Mansion, noting that NYC “is the er,’” de Blasio posited. “And I can’t think of safest big city in America.” a better way to start a new day and a new The mayor then pivoted to the future. year.” “I have another hope for this city: I want Photos Courtesy of Benjamin Kanter us to be the fairest big city in America,” he and Edwin Torres/Mayoral Photography Office


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Cuomo’s State of the State Rife with Ambitious Proposals

Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Governor

Governor Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State address is anchored by nearly two-dozen local and statewide proposals.

By Michael V. Cusenza Governor Andrew Cuomo was set to deliver his State of the State speech on Wednesday afternoon. Over the past couple of weeks, he has been revealing myriad proposals – nearly two-dozen – for the Empire State that were to anchor his address. These ambitious ideas, which range from local to state-wide, include: • Remove Firearms from Domestic Abusers • Protect the Environment, Protect the Hudson River • Round Three of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative • Cutting off the Recruitment Pipeline to Eradicate MS-13 • Examine Eliminating the Minimum Wage Tip Credit to Strengthen Economic Justice in New York State • Continue to Reduce the Local Property Tax Burden by Making the State's County Shared Services Panels Permanent • Major Investment to Accelerate Improvements at Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant • New York Will Take Action to Stop Railcar Storage in the Adirondack Park • Calling on the New York State Common Retirement Fund to Cease All New Investments in Entities with Significant Fossil FuelRelated Activities and Develop a De-Carbonization Plan for Divesting from Fossil Fuels • Bringing the New York Islanders Home with a Worlds-Class Sports and Entertainment Destination at Belmont Park • Ending Sextortion Now • Protecting New York's Lakes From Harmful Algal Blooms • Democracy Agenda to Protect the Integrity of New York Elections and Require Transparency for Digital Political Ads • Fast Track State-of-the-Art Containment and Treatment of the U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman Contamination Plume Launch Comprehensive No Student Goes Hungry Program • Furthering the Fight Against Exploding Student Loan Debt 10 JANUARY 4, 2018 • Number 01 VOL. 17

• Modernize, Expand and Rebrand Stewart International Airport • Combat Sexual Harassment in the Workplace • Strengthen Workforce Development to Prepare New Yorkers for the Jobs of the Future • New York's Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda • Taking Steps to Revitalize Red Hook • Restoring Fairness in New York's Criminal Justice System Some you may already be familiar with (Sports and Entertainment Destination at Belmont Park), others maybe not. Cuomo’s 22nd proposal is a sweeping, fivepronged reform package to overhaul the State’s criminal justice system. This package, according to the administration, will guarantee fairness for the accused by reshaping New York’s antiquated bail system, ensuring access to a speedy trial, improving the disclosure of evidence in the discovery process, transforming asset forfeiture procedures and implementing new initiatives to help individuals transition from incarceration to their communities. The governor has also crafted an agenda that targets sexual harassment in the workplace. He has pledged to propose legislation to prevent public dollars from being used to settle sexual harassment claims against individuals, void forced arbitration policies in employee contracts, and mandate that any companies that do business with the state disclose the number of sexual harassment adjudications and nondisclosure agreements they have executed. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz applauded Cuomo’s vision. “A settlement should not compel silence in perpetuity and preclude further accountability for harassers enabled by that very silence,” she said. “This multi-pronged proposal is a thoughtful, important step toward restoring legitimacy and control on the survivor’s terms, and is an unequivocal statement on New York’s zero tolerance for sexual harassment, at least in the workplace.” Check the next edition of The Forum for a comprehensive review of Cuomo’s latest State of the State address. • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

The Pharmacist’s Corner Presented by Frank Pantina, R.Ph

The Flu Shot: Your Pharmacist Can Help Grumbling about the cold won’t make it go away, and for some people, those dealing with thyroid conditions, the winter can be especially taxing. We’ve put together some tips for those of you with thyroid conditions and how to survive the winter in a little more comfort. The thyroid gland is like a thermostat for our bodies. People with a sluggish thyroid are prone to having low body temperature and are prone to cold intolerance. If your thyroid function is low, you need to take some precautions to protect your health. Strategies for warming up and giving your thyroid a break: Get plenty of rest. Keep your home temperature warm. If you happen to have a landlord that is stingy with the heat, getting a note from your doctor may provide some prodding. If you do need to go out into the cold, dress in layers. Hot baths are a nice way to get yourself warm without making your thyroid do all the work! If you can’t make it to your local pharmacy to buy a heating pad, try filling an old sturdy sock with rice. Make sure you tie the end securely and then heat it in the microwave for two minutes—just be careful that it’s not too hot when applying it to your body!

Soaking your feet in hot water for 5-10 minutes will warm up the rest of your body. Cuddling and holding hands with your significant other or your pets can help you get through the cold. Spouses and pets are will share their heat with you for back and belly rubs. Did you know that the saying “Three Dog Night” is thought to originate from Eskimos who would keep dogs in their igloos to help them warm up on particularly cold nights! Balancing your blood sugar will help you stay warm. Be sure to eat high quality fats and proteins every few hours and limit sugary and starchy foods. Foods known as thermogenic can increase the metabolism, and can actually create heat when converting food to energy. Some common spices in this category are: chili, mustard, red pepper, black pepper and red hot chili peppers. Don’t leave friends and family “out in the cold,” let them know you need a little more heat than the average bear. Remember, people with thyroid conditions are more likely to experience the "Winter Blues". Last but not least, winter puts us at risk for Vitamin D deficiency. Stop in and talk to your pharmacist about a quality replacement. Try to Stay warm…Until next time.

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Police Hunt Perv who Touched Teen By Michael V. Cusenza City detectives on Tuesday released a sketch of a suspect wanted in connection with a forcible touching incident that occurred last month in broad daylight at a busy Forest Hills intersection. According to police reports, the 16-year-old female victim was standing in the vicinity of Yellowstone Boulevard and Queens Boulevard on Tuesday, Dec. 19, around 4:30 p.m., when a man approached her from behind and touched her groin. He fled the location on foot towards Jewel Avenue, cops said. The suspect is described as a white man, 25-30 years old, 5-foot-7, 150 pounds, with a light complexion and black hair; he was last seen wearing a black hat and black leather jacket with a bull or ram logo on a sleeve. Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at (800) 577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish,

(888) 57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit info by logging onto NYPDCrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All correspondences are strictly confidential. Photo Courtesy of NYPD


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Recognize The Signs Of Hypothermia By Forum Staff The arrival of cold weather provides opportunities to romp in the snow, ski the slopes or enjoy an afternoon ice skating on a frozen pond. But spending time outdoors in the cold or even in an indoor space that is not adequately warmed can result in a serious health condition known as hypothermia. Hypothermia is defined as a potentially dangerous decrease in body temperature that is usually caused by prolonged exposure to cold conditions. Outdoors enthusiasts' risk for hypothermia increases as winter progresses and temperatures drop even further. However, hypothermia can occur other times of the year if the body is chilled. For example, hypothermia can occur when boats capsize and boaters are suddenly tossed into a body of water, or when hikers get caught in the rain during evening hikes. WebMD says normal body temperature is 98.6 F (37 C), and hypothermia begins when body temperature falls below 95 F (35 C). When the body reaches lower temperatures, this can affect the heart, nervous system and certain organs, advises The Mayo Clinic. If left untreated, hypothermia may lead to cardiac and respiratory arrest. Early symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, fast breathing, cold and pale skin,

tiredness, confusion, and slurred speech. As body temperatures drop, shivering may stop and a person may faint. Hypothermia frequently develops when people are exposed to the cold without warm and dry clothing for protection. Hypothermia also may develop when people get wet or are caught unaware of changes in weather. Wind removes body heat effectively, and direct contact with cold surfaces also can bring on hypothermia more quickly. Infants and the elderly may be at a higher risk of hypothermia because their bodies aren't attuned to regulating temperature. Older adults may suffer hypothermia, for example, after spending several hours in a house with no heat during a power outage. The Mayo Clinic adds that certain medical conditions affect the body's ability to regulate body temperature, and certain medications may elevate risk as well. To prevent hypothermia, health experts advise remembering the acronym COLD: Cover, Overexertion, Layers, Dry. • Cover: Wear protective coverings, including mittens and hats, to prevent body heat from escaping through the extremities. • Overexertion: Avoid activities that cause sweating. Together, wet clothing and perspiration can cause the body to lose heat more quickly.

• Layers: Loose-fitting, layered clothing can offer protection from the cold and wind. Wool, silk or polypropylene insulate more effectively than cotton. • Dry: Remaining as dry as possible is essential. This includes getting out of wet clothing promptly. Children and the elderly may need to wear an extra layer or two than healthy adults

would wear in the same conditions. Drivers should bring along blankets and emergency supplies in the event a car breaks down in cold weather. Hypothermia is a risk any time of the year, but particularly when the weather grows chilly. Taking precautions to stay warm and dry, and knowing the signs of a drop in body temperature, can help individuals stay safe.

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Legal Notices

Notice of Formation of 108-10 72ND AVE LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 8/14/17. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: Franklin Baharestani, P.O. Box 750963, Forest Hills, NY 11375-0963. Purpose: any lawful activity. Notice of Formation of JULIE VOROBYOV, LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 9/26/17. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: Julie Soto, 154-68 27th Ave., Flushing, NY 11354 Purpose: Any lawful activity. SKYBOX MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLCArts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 11/07/17. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to:UNITED STATES COROPORATION AGENTS, INC. ,7014 13TH AVENUE, SUITE 202, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK 11228. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. BRAYDEN PARKER LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 11/10/17. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to the LLC, c/o Terence Tubridy, 155-17A Riverside Drive, Beechhurst, NY 11357. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. Notice of Formation of CLASSIC HEIGHTS REALTY, LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 11/28/17. Office location: Queens County. Princ. office of LLC: 37-51 76th St., Jackson Heights, NY 11372. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to the LLC at the addr. of its princ. office. Purpose: Any lawful activity. Notice of Formation of 4632 VERNON LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 11/14/17. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to Tuchman, Korngold, Weiss, Liebman & Gelles LLP, 6 E. 45th St., NY, NY 10017. Purpose: Any lawful activity. LEE’S WELLNESS ACUPUNCTURE, PLLC Arts of Org filed with NY Sec of State (SSNY) on 11/1/17. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to: 143-27 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11354. Purpose: Acupuncture.

Notice of Formation of SGK PROPERTIES LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 11/22/17. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to GEORGIOS KOSMIDIS, P.O. BOX 5879, ASTORIA, NY 11105. Purpose: Any lawful activity. Notice of Formation of 1445 St. Marks Avenue RCBS, LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 11/29/17. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 217-02 Jamaica Avenue, Queens Village, NY 11428. Purpose: any lawful activity.

Notice of Formation of BRANDON RAMNARAIN PHYSICAL THERAPY, PLLC. Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 11/01/17. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 91-28 218th St., Queens Village, NY 11428. Purpose: to practice the profession of Physical Therapy. Notice of Formation of Chesford Estates RCBJ LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 11/29/17. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 217-02 Jamaica Avenue, Queens Village, NY 11428. Purpose: any lawful activity.

TEDDYTORI LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 03/20/15. Latest date to dissolve: 12/31/2099. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to the LLC, 30-05 30th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11102. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.

Notice of Formation of TMD EVENT TECHNOLOGIES LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 5/23/17. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: C/O United States Corporation Agents, Inc., 7014 13th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11228 Purpose: any lawful activity.

HW Manhattan One LLC Arts of Org filed with NY Sec of State (SSNY) on 12/1/17. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 136-33 37th Ave, #8B, Flushing, NY 11354. General Purposes. Notice of formation of JACKSON HEIGHTS 1122, LLC, a limited liability company. Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 11/09/2017. Office location: Queens County. SSNY has been designated for service of process. SSNY shall mail a copy of any process served against the LLC to 3749 81st Street, Room 6B, Jackson Heights, NY11372. Purpose: any lawful purpose.

14 JANUARY 4, 2018 • Number 01 VOL. 17 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

Notice of formation of LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY. NAME SOCRATES SERVICES INTERNATIONAL LLC. Articles of Organization were filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 10/11/2017. Office location: Queens County. SSNY has been designated for service of process. SSNY shall mail a copy of any process served against the LLC to the LLC, 24-32 45th Street, Astoria, New York, 11103. Purpose: any lawful purpose. Notice of formation of MY MJ LLC a limited liability company. Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 11/14/2017. Office location: Queens County. SSNY has been designated for service of process. SSNY shall mail a copy of any process served against the LLC to UNITED STATES CORPORATION AGENTS, INC. , 7014 13TH AVENUE, SUITE 202, BROOKLYN, NY 11228. Purpose: any lawful pur-

MAIN STREET ASSOCIATES GROUP LLC Arts of Org filed with SSNY on 11/30/17. Off. Loc.: Queens County, SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to: UNITED STATES CORPORATION AGENTS, INC.. Purpose: to engage in any lawful act. TONY BROWN REAL ESTATE HOLDINGS, LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 11/14/2017. Office in Queens Co. SSNY desig. agent of LLC whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to 140-19 169thSt., Jamaica, NY 11434. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. Notice is hereby given a license, number (PENDING) for on-premises Liquor has been applied for by the undersigned to sell liquor at retail in a Restaurant under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law at 69-16 Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside, NY 11372 for on premises consumption. PHO THANH NA LTD. MEADOWS GREATER MANAGEMENT LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 11/16/17. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to: THE LLC 61-42 168TH STREET, FRESH MEADOWS, NY 11365. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. LANGSIMM RENTALS LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 12/20/17. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to:MICHAEL SIMMONS, 117-42 141st STREET, JAMAICA, NY 11436. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.

Weatherizing to save money and energy Homeowners know that maintaining a comfortable home can be a lot of work. As one project is completed or addressed, another may pop up. In spite of the hard work that can go into maintaining a home, many homeowners would agree that such efforts are well worth it to feel safe and comfortable inside one's own home. Weatherization is one of the ways to make a home more comfortable while also saving money and energy. Some weatherization projects may be best left to the professionals, while others can be tackled by homeowners themselves. The following are some projects homeowners can expect to encounter as they weatherize their homes or work with professional weatherization services. · Home energy audit: The U.S. Department of Energy notes that the purpose of a home energy audit is to give homeowners a complete picture of how they consume energy. Audits can shed light on how much energy is being consumed and if there is anywhere in the home where energy might be going to waste. Audits should be conducted before beginning any weatherization projects. Professional auditors may give advice on which areas of the home should be addressed first, while DIYers who conduct their own audits can make a list of issues before determining where to start. · Leakage: Homeowners may think leakage only poses a problem in winter, when cold air can creep in through cracks around doors and windows and make residents cold, forcing them to raise the temperature on the thermostat. But leaks can affect comfort levels and energy bills during the summer, too, forcing homeowners to adjust their air conditioners to ensure a home is cool on hot days. Choose a cool, windy day to inspect for drafts around doors and windows. The DOE notes that air leakage can adversely affect indoor air quality and contribute to moisture problems that can affect occupants' health. · Insulation: A poorly insulated home will cost more to heat in winter and more to keep cool in summer. The DOE notes that heat flows from warmer to cooler until there is no longer a temperature difference. So during winter, heat will flow from heated living spaces to unheated areas of the home, including attics and garages. In summer, heat will flow from the outdoors into the home. Properly insulating a home will decrease this flow of heat, ensuring homeowners aren't paying to heat rooms they don't use in winter or paying more to keep rooms cool in summer because heat is flowing in from the exterior of the home. Weatherizing a home is a great way for homeowners to reduce their carbon footprints and save some money.


THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 17 • Number 01 JANUARY 4, 2018 | 15


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16 JANUARY 4, 2018 • Number 01 VOL. 17 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

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THE FORUM NEWSGROUP | JANUARY 4, 2018  
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP | JANUARY 4, 2018  
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