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VOL. 17 • NUMBER 32 • AUGUST 9, 2018

FOOD FIGHT See Story on Page 3

With Hunger Strike and Lawsuit, Ozone Park Community Digs in its Heels as Battle with de Blasio administration over Homeless Shelter Rages On This week, attorney Chris Murray filed a lawsuit against the City re: its plan to establish a shelter for 113 mentally ill single men at 85-15 101st Ave.; while Ozone Park Residents Block Association President Sam Esposito (INSET) embarked on a hunger strike outside the location until Mayor de Blasio and Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks agree to meet and discuss moving the shelter from its present spot. Forum Photos Courtesy of Michael V. Cusenza

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 18 • Number 32, AUGUST 9, 2018 | 1

Cop-Community Partnership Shines at Rain-Shortened National Night Out Against Crime

By Michael V. Cusenza Before a fierce thunderstorm—replete with prolific, vivid lightning flashes and an intense downpour—sent participants scurrying for cover, the unique cop-community relationship took center stage Tuesday at Police Officer Edward Byrne Park in South Ozone Park for the 106th Precinct Nation-

al Night Out Against Crime. Hundreds of South Queens families joined the men and women who serve and protect their communities each day for some summer food and fun, including a rock-climb wall, bounce castle and ice cream, all set to a live DJ’s soundtrack. The 35th annual event also featured plenty of opportunities to get to know the cops on

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your beat and crime-prevention information. In 1984, the National Association of Town Watch, founded to connect community watch programs across the country and provide them the resources they needed to make a difference in their neighborhoods, officially introduced the National Night Out as an event in which community mem-

bers and local police officers would band together to meet with each other, discuss community safety concerns, and celebrate the neighborhoods where they live. It has become an American tradition for residents to forge a positive bond with the law enforcement officers who are tasked with protecting their community. Forum Photos by Michael V. Cusenza

Attorney Representing Ozone Park Community Sues City over Shelter Plan By Michael V. Cusenza It seems that the Ozone Park community that is vehemently opposed to the City’s plan to establish a homeless shelter for 113 single adult men with mental illness on 101st Avenue and 86th Street is digging in its heels—preparing for a drawn-out war, not a single battle with the de Blasio administration. This week saw the saga take a sharp turn as attorney Christopher Murray filed a lawsuit in Queens court against Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks, Lantern Community Services (shelter operator), and 101 Realty Group LLC (landlord). Additionally this week, president of the newly minted Ozone Park Residents Block Association, Sam Esposito, embarked on a hunger strike, setting up shop right outside the proposed site and foregoing food until de Blasio and Banks “are willing to meet and discuss moving this shelter from its present location.” “I haven’t eaten, and I’m not going to eat until this is resolved,” Esposito said on Tuesday. “The entire community is scared of what’s to come.”

Forum Photo by Michael V. Cusenza

Attorney Christopher Murray briefly discussed the lawsuit Tuesday outside the location of the proposed shelter.

Murray blasted Hizzoner and DSS for their handling of the homeless crisis that has gripped the city for the last several years. “This administration refuses to engage communities, and worst of all they don’t comply with their legal requirements,” Murray said. “They’re going forward, quite frankly, illegally with installing these shelters.”

According to the attorney, among the regulations the administration is skirting is occupancy. Such a shelter calls for no more than 48 beds. The City is looking to accommodate more than double that number. “It’s a reckless, inconsiderate, negligent way of approaching a problem,” Murray added. In June, a City official indicated

Wanted for Trying to Rob Ozone Park Home

Detectives assigned to the 106th Precinct recently reached out to the public for help in identifying a man wanted for trying to gain access to an Ozone Park residence late last month. According to police reports, the sus-

pect (pictured) attempted to enter a home at 107-24 108th St. and burglarize it. Anyone with information is asked to contact the 106th Precinct Detective Squad at (718) 845-2261. Reference Case #2018-201. Photo Courtesy of NYPD

via email that the Department of Homeless Services had already notified area elected officials and the community board that “we’re opening a new shelter [at] 85-15 101st Avenue, Ozone Park, for 113 single adult males with mental illness.” Last month, Esposito, a former member of Community Board 9, organized a town hall meeting

at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary church in Ozone Park. More than 700 people attended and watched representatives from DHS and Lantern absorb impassioned diatribes from elected official and members of the community. “We did not invest to stay here to live in fear,” Esposito said at the July confab. “We must take a stand now or we’re going to lose Ozone Park.” On Tuesday, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) once again did not blunt the contempt he has for the current administration, characterizing it as “deaf to our community’s needs.” “It is absolutely unacceptable that good people have to hire an attorney to protect their neighborhood,” the Ozone Park native and resident said. “They don’t have a vision. There is a far better way to serve the homeless. Prior administrations were helping homeless people—this administration refuses.” Addabbo also noted that since the shelter news broke, constituents are calling with myriad concerns. “Parents are horrified and scared,” he said. “It just gets worse.”

Trio Sought for Sword, Bat Attack

Police this week reached out to the public for help in identifying three men wanted for questioning in connection with a vicious assault in South Richmond Hill on Sunday. According to police reports, the three pictured suspects attacked a man with a

sword and bat around 6:30 a.m. in front of 101-36 123rd St. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the 102nd Detective Squad at (718) 805-3212. Reference Case #2018-1286. Photo Courtesy of NYPD

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 18 • Number 32, AUGUST 9, 2018 | 3

Panel Tasked with Drafting Bill for Marijuana Program

File Photo

Governor Cuomo has appointed a workgroup to draft legislation for a regulated adult-use marijuana program.

By Forum Staff Last month, the findings of an exhaustive, multi-agency investigation supported legalizing marijuana for recreational use in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday appointed a workgroup to draft legislation for a regulated adult-use marijuana program for the Legislature to consider in the upcoming session based on those findings. “The positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in NYS outweigh the potential negative impacts,” New York Health officials wrote in the “Assessment of the Potential Impact of Regulated Marijuana in New York State,” released on July 13. “Areas that may be a cause for concern can be mitigated with regulation and proper use of public education that is tailored to address key populations. Incorporating proper metrics and indicators will ensure rigorous and ongoing evaluation.”

In January, Cuomo directed the State Department of Health to conduct a study of a regulated marijuana program in New York to determine the health, economic, and criminal justice impacts of a regulated market and the consequences to the State resulting from legalization in surrounding states. The report found that regulation of marijuana benefits public health by enabling government oversight of the production, testing, labeling, distribution, and sale of marijuana. The creation of a regulated marijuana program would enable the State to better control licensing, ensure quality control and consumer protection, and set age and quantity restrictions. Moreover, the investigation found that a regulated program would reduce racial disparities in criminalization and incarceration rates and recommended sealing the criminal records of individuals with prior low-level marijuanarelated offenses. The report also specifically recommended the creation of a workgroup of subject matter experts to make recommendations to the State. According to the administration, the workgroup will be overseen by Counsel to the Governor Alphonso David, who will work with members to provide them with information and support and coordinate among the Executive Branch and stakeholders. It will consist of individuals with specialized knowledge, including experts in public health, public safety and economics, and the leaders of relevant State agencies. The group will be tasked with engaging with the leadership of both the State Senate and the Assembly, as well as bill sponsors of medical and regulated marijuana legislation, advocates, and academic experts with experience from other states. “I have reviewed the multi-agency re-

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any potential risks associated with it.” Cuomo on Thursday noted that since 2012, he has twice proposed legislation to ensure that possession of a small amount of marijuana, whether public or private, is treated as a violation and not as a misdemeanor, but the legislature has failed to adopt the proposal. In 2014, he signed the Compassionate Care Act into law, establishing the State’s Medical Marijuana Program.

MS-13 Members Indicted in 2016 Jamaica Shooting By Forum Staff Four reputed members of La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang have been indicted for their roles in a 2016 shooting in Jamaica that left a 16-year-old rival paralyzed, federal prosecutors announced on Friday. Melvi Amador-Rios, Santos Amador-Rios, Yan Carlos Ramirez, and Antonio Salvador were charged with assault, murder conspiracy, and attempted murder in-aid-of racketeering, along with a related firearms offense. According to federal authorities, Melvi Amador-Rios, 27, is the leader of the Centrales Locos Salvatruchas clique of MS-13, which operates in Jamaica. On Oct. 22, 2016, AmadorPhoto Courtesy of the Department of Justice Rios directed a low-level CLS memMember of the Centrales Locos Salvatruchas clique of MS-13 poses in front of a mural dedicated to the violent gang. ber, known as a “chequeo,” to obtain a firearm from his brother, Santos Ama-

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dor-Rios, 31, and use it to murder a rival gang member. The CLS chequeo obtained the gun and enlisted two other CLS chequeos to assist in the murder. Yan Carlos Ramirez, 28, and Antonio Salvador, 30, instructed the three CLS chequeos how to use the weapon to carry out the murder. During the early morning hours of Oct. 23, 2016, the three CLS chequeos confronted a suspected member of the rival 18th Street gang in Jamaica, beat him, and then shot him in the head. The victim survived the attack, but is now a paraplegic as a result of the injuries he suffered, according to federal prosecutors. “Gang violence simply serves no purpose other than to poison our communities with fear and menace,” said FBI-NY Assistant Director-in-Charge Bill Sweeney, Jr. “These gang rivals acted on baseless rage, and this victim’s life is now changed forever.”

Locals Left Behind in Gentrifying Neighborhoods: Stringer


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“The economic growth in our neighborhoods is good news, but only if it means real opportunities for the working families, seniors, and immigrants who built these communities in the first place,” Stringer said.

By Forum Staff Long-time local residents in gentrifying neighborhoods are largely being left out of the recent economic expansion, according to a report released on Friday by City Comptroller Scott Stringer. The updated 2018 edition of Stringer’s “Neighborhood Economic Profiles” analysis found that in the 24 neighborhoods identified as gentrifying, just one-third of net new jobs in these areas were filled by people of color, who represent the vast majority of local residents. “The economic growth in our neighborhoods is good news, but only if it means real opportunities for the working families, seniors, and immigrants who built these communities in the first place. This report clearly shows that local residents are getting left behind as already struggling New Yorkers are finding it harder than ever to afford living here,” Stringer said. “We need to fully fund workforce development programs, build community partnerships, and prepare local residents with the necessary skills and training so that they can thrive in their growing neighborhood economies.” The comptroller pointed out that in the 24 neighborhoods identified as “gentrifying” in the report, local employment jumped by an

average of 24 percent, nearly triple the growth rates in “low-rent, non-gentrifying areas” and far outpacing those in “high rent neighborhoods.” The fastest growth was found in Claremont-Bathgate in the Bronx, Williamsburg and Crown Heights South in Brooklyn, and Central Harlem South in Manhattan, where the number of jobs rose by more than 40 percent since 2010. Additionally, according to Stringer, high levels of job growth, especially for young employees and those in higher wage jobs, exemplify why gentrifying neighborhoods should be spaces of economic opportunity for local residents. However, the analysis found that new jobs often failed to reach local residents of color who make up the vast majority of both residents and job seekers. Additionally, these wide disparities in job outcomes suggest that gentrification may have a stronger effect on the labor market than the residential market. Stringer’s report also provided several recommendations for connecting long-time residents to local jobs and investing in workforce development, including: • The City should honor the goals set in its Career Pathways plan, which are currently far off-track, according to the comptroller. While the City promised to invest $60 million per year in “bridge programs” pairing academic

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instruction with workforce development services by 2020, as of FY 2017, only $7.5 million was budgeted. • The City should empower the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, allowing it to set policy and funding priorities for the more than a dozen agencies that engage in skills-building and job placement. • The City should develop stronger ties between community boards and nonprofits to ensure that any business or new development that comes before the boards is referred to job-placement and training organizations. • The City should also encourage stronger partnerships between local workforce devel-

opment organizations so that they can provide better end-to-end support services and work together on job placements. • The City can help preserve longstanding neighborhood businesses by developing a “re-entrepreneur” program and online portal. These programs connect retiring small-business owners with aspiring entrepreneurs and provide guidance for transferring and reinvigorating local businesses. Introducing a ReEntrepreneur program – as well as more effective entrepreneurship programs – can help preserve neighborhood anchors and maintain some continuity along New York’s fast-changing business corridors, Stringer noted.

Cuomo Moves to Strike Death Penalty from State Law By Michael V. Cusenza Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced that he will work to erase the death penalty from State law. Cuomo said the move was inspired by Pope Francis’s revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the matter. “The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” the Supreme Pontiff wrote after noting that the death penalty was once “considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.” Cuomo pointed out that the death penalty was reinstated in the Empire State under the George Pataki administration. But

to advocate for eliminating the law from the books, calling it a ‘stain on our conscience,’” Cuomo said. “Today, in solidarity with Pope Francis and in honor of my father, I will be advancing legislation to remove the death penalty – and its ugly stain in our history – from State law once and for all.” Governor Andrew Cuomo called the death penalty “morally indefensible” with no role in the modern world. “Pope Francis’s decision is a validation of my father’s principled stand against the death penalty in the face of overwhelming support for capital punishment,” Cuomo Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Governor said. “My father staked his political career “The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” Pope on his opposition to the death penalty and Francis recently wrote. never backed down, saying it ‘demeans those in June 2004, the NY Court of Appeals held stitution. who strive to preserve human life and dignithat the statute violated the New York Con“In his final years, my father continued ty.’ Pop was right then, and he is right now.” THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 18 • Number 32, AUGUST 9, 2018 | 5

EDITORIAL Once again, the City Administration for Children’s Services made headlines this week—for all the wrong reasons. An ACS staffer who served 28 years in prison for murder, and was paroled in 2010, now stands accused of attacking a 6-year-old boy he was supervising. According to NBC News, Jacques Edwards, 55, has been charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child after he allegedly slammed the child into a door frame and tried to put him inside a file cabinet, according to the City Police Department. The agency has indicated that it is conducting a full and thorough investigation. How about you start with why was this man, with such a history, hired for such a sensitive position? We’re all for second chances, but not at ACS, a City agency with a more checkered past than Mr. Edwards. This latest ACS insult reminded us of an editorial we penned in December 2016: There is a boy, all of 3 years old, who, as of Wednesday evening, is lying on a hospital bed in Manhattan, his eyes closed, a machine helping him breathe. He most likely is brain dead. Jaden Jordan has been in one hospital or another since Monday, when he was found in his Gravesend, Brooklyn, home with his skull fractured, cov-


ered in his own waste. Jaden’s mother’s boyfriend has been charged with assault. It seems that he made Jaden’s life a living hell well before Monday afternoon. “He kept the kids in a dog cage, used a pit bull to terrify them,” a law enforcement source told the New York Daily News in an exclusive report. Just two days before the boy was rushed to Coney Island Hospital, the Administration for Children’s Services investigated an anonymous tip about his mom’s boyfriend, but since the source of the tip accidentally gave the operator the address of the apartment next door to the house of horrors, the agency allegedly took no action. So many figures in little Jaden’s

procedures following the tragedy of Zymere Perkins is ongoing. Zymere, a badly beaten and malnourished Manhattan boy who was already part of an ACS investigation died in September allegedly at the hands of his guardians. He was 6. The Perkins case follows an audit released in June by Stringer’s Office that found ACS conducted inconsistent and incomplete investigations into child abuse. Pathetic. “I want to find out, in terms of those in government who were engaged directly in this case, what happened, what people did wrong, what people did right, who is responsible, world failed to protect him. and I want to assure all New Yorkers His City failed to do anything about that anyone who works for the City of it. New York found to be negligent in this Pathetic. case will pay very serious consequenc“When it comes to child welfare, es for that,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio this is as horrific as it gets. It’s heartfollowing the Perkins tragedy. breaking,” said City Comptroller Scott Be careful what you wish for, Bill Stringer in a statement released on – unless gross incompetence is actuWednesday morning. “As our office ally a personal goal of the members of continues to look into ACS procedures, your administration who have been we call on the agency to be as transentrusted with well-being of our most parent and swift as possible with its precious gifts. investigation into this specific case. Zymere is dead. Jaden is a vegWe must know what happened and etable. why, because this is happening too Boys failed by their City and the often. We can’t allow a single child to grown-ups who were supposed to slip through the cracks.” protect them. Stringer also indicated on WednesPathetic. day that his investigation of ACS

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Biker Dies in Howard Beach Crash

Forum Photos by Miguel Reyes

Motorcycle driver Elvin Veras-Polanco succumbed to his injuries shortly after arriving at Jamaica Hospital.

The 19-year-old driver of the silver BMW and her two passengers suffered minor injuries.

and published reports. Elvin Veras-Polanco, 33, was driving A Brooklyn man was killed on Sunday the bike with passenger Javier Tome, 28, night after his motorcycle collided with a around 9 p.m. when it T-boned a silver car in Howard Beach, according to police BMW at Cross Bay Boulevard and 162nd

Avenue. in critical condition. Veras-Polanco and Tome were both The 19-year-old driver of the BMW and rushed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Cen- her two passengers suffered minor injuries. ter. Veras-Polanco succumbed to his inju- No charges have been filed. ries shortly after arriving; Tome was listed

By Michael V. Cusenza

Jamaica Man Charged with Filing Fake Deed, Stealing Home from 101-Year-Old Resident By Forum Staff A Queens man who took advantage of his friendship with a 101-year-old neighbor is facing up to 15 years in prison for tricking the centenarian into signing over the deed to his home. Authorities say Ricardo Bentham, 58, of 118th Avenue, has been charged with grand larceny and other crimes for allegedly conning a neighborhood friend into transferring the deed of his long-time home into the defendant’s name in October of 2017. District Attorney Brown said, “This is a particularly troublesome case. The defendant was supposedly assisting his centenarian neighbor collect rent from his tenants, but in actuality the helper is alleged to have

duped the old man into signing away his home.” Bentham was arraigned before Queens Criminal Court Judge Jeffrey Gershuny on a complaint charging him with seconddegree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of stolen property, seconddegree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered him to return to court on August 21. If convicted, Bentham faces probation to up to 15 years in prison. According to the criminal complaint, the defendant submitted a quitclaim deed to be filed with the city on October 5, 2017. The document stated that 101- year-

old Woodrow Washington was transferring ownership of his 143rdStreet home which has a value in excess of $50,000 to the defendant for a sale price of $0. The victim realized something was wrong when he received a letter from the Department of Finance stating that the deed to his home had been transferred to Bentham. An inquirywas conducted and revealed the document that was filed bears the signature of the Mr. Washington along with a notary stamp and signature of a notary. Mr. Washington stated that the signature on the form is his, however, he is adamant that he never signed any documents in front of a notary. Mr. Theodore White, the 93-year-old notary, acknowledged knowing Bentha-

mand would often sign documents forhim because he trusted him. The document bearing his signature was missing the notary seal, which White always added to a document. Mr. Washington identified the defendant as a neighborhood friend who offered to help him collect rent fromtenants. He recalled signing documents that the defendant brought to his residence and that some were blank. Note:Department For The Aging's Elderly Crime Victims Resource Center helps older victims of crimes. They can be financial, physical, emotional, and They can be targeted for money through IRS, investment, home-improvement, charity, and other types of scams.If you are a victim, call 311 to be connected to services.

Cops Hunt Kew Gardens Creep By Michael V. Cusenza 102nd Precinct cops this week reached out to the public for help in identifying a man wanted for committing an act of public lewdness in Kew Gardens last month. According to police reports, on Tuesday, July 31, around 11:30 p.m., a 26-yearold woman was walking along 108th Street when the suspect exposed his genitals to her and began to follow her while masturbating. The man eventually fled the location in a light-colored sedan, detectives said.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man, 20-30 years old, 5-foot-6, with a beard. He was last seen wearing a white Tshirt and a baseball cap. 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 logTHE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 18 • Number 32, AUGUST 9, 2018 | 7

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My Constituents Blast Cap on Uber, Lyft: Ulrich

The City Council has proposed a cap on for-hire vehicles such as Uber.

By Michael V. Cusenza With the City Council poised to vote on Wednesday afternoon on a cap for app-based ride hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) noted that many of his South Queens constituents oppose the measure. “In the past 2 days alone I have received more than 100 emails and phones calls to my district office against the @NYCCouncil proposed cap on ride sharing services,” Ulrich tweeted last Thursday. “I support the 250,000 New Yorkers who rely on @Uber @lyft @ ridewithvia etc. to get around town.” Up for debate is a “For-Hire Vehicle Regulation Package” boasting five bills. Introduction 634-B would waive the license fee for taxis and for-hire vehicles if the vehicles being licensed are wheelchair accessible. The current taxi license fee is $550 and the current for-hire vehicle license fee is $275. Introduction 838-C would add a new license for high volume for-hire transportation services serving more than 10,000 trips a day. Given the high amount of trips

By Forum Staff

Photo Courtesy of Uber

required to qualify as a high-volume for-hire service, the new license would only apply to a handful of companies at the moment. The license would be valid for a period of two years and the Taxi and Limousine Commission will set the required licensing fee. Introduction 958-A would remove the enhanced financial penalties for unauthorized street hails in the hail exclusionary zone. Introduction 144-B would require TLC to study and decide whether to adopt vehicle utilization standards or regulations on the number of for-hire vehicle licenses. During this one-year study, no new for-hire vehicle licenses would be issued, with an exception for wheelchair-accessible vehicles. TLC would also be able to issue licenses if it determines there is a need in a particular geographic area and there isn’t a substantial effect on congestion. “In just a few years, the number of for-hire vehicles in our city has increased dramatically, snarling traffic and sparking a race to the bottom where all drivers are struggling to make more than poverty wages. An average of 2,000 additional vehicles hit the streets every month

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

PREVENTING FALLS IN SENIOR: How we can help One of the most common fears we hear expressed by patients caring for elders is how frightened they are about their loved ones taking a fall. The Center for Disease Control has done extensive work in this area and offers the following suggestions to begin with: 1. Begin an exercise program to improve leg strength and balance. 2. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines. 3. Get annual eye check-ups and update your glasses. 4. Make your home safer. In addition to these provisions, medications must be focused on. They are among the most common causes of increased fall risk in older people and are usually among the easiest risk factors to change. These risks are often missed by busy doctors. Older adults and family caregivers can make a big difference by being proactive in this area. Let your pharmacist assist you in identifying the medications that can increase the risk of falling. There are three categories of medication that are associated with increased fall risk. Medications that affect the brain, blood pressure and those that lower blood sugar for

older adults with diabetes. If you are concerned about falls and want to conduct a medication review to help prevent them, we would like to give you the following list of the 10 most commonly used medications that are associated with falls. Benzodiazepines- Prescribed to help with sleep, or anxiety. Non-benzodiazepine sedatives- Usually prescribed to treat insomnia or sleep difficulties. Antipsychotics- Treat schizophrenia and other illnesses featuring psychosis symptoms. Anticonvulsants/Mood-stabilizersDeveloped to treat seizures Antidepressants-. Prescribed to treat depression and anxiety. Opioid (narcotic) analgesics- Mainly used for the treatment of pain. Anticholinergics- Most over-the-counter sleeping aids Antihypertensives. Commonly used to treat high blood pressure. Other medications that affect blood pressure Medications that lower blood sugar. Remember your pharmacist is the most accessible health care professional to help! Until next week!

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while drivers already spend nearly half their time with empty seats. Doing nothing or endlessly waiting for others to act is not a feasible option,” said Councilman Stephen Levin (DBrooklyn), the measure’s sponsor. “This bill is a measured response that empowers the TLC to study the issue during the temporary pause on issuance of new FHV licenses.”

And Introduction 890-B would require TLC to set minimum payments to for-hire vehicle drivers for trips dispatched by high volume for-hire services. TLC would also be required to study payments for other for-hire vehicle trips and would be authorized to set payments for those trips as well as set minimum rates of fare.

DMV Using New App to Crack Down on Underage Drinking

The State Department of Motor Vehicles has launched a pilot program using state-ofthe-art technology to crack down on underage drinking and the use of fake IDs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday. Developed by New York-based Intellicheck Inc., the technology enables investigators to scan a license or ID using the Intellicheck “Law ID” app on the investigator’s smartphone and match it against driving records from all 50 states. Within seconds, investigators will know if an ID is authentic or not. New York is the first state in the nation to pilot the program, Cuomo noted. According to the administration, throughout the year, DMV investigators are present at concerts and bars across New York to check identifications and to prevent those under the age of 21 from purchasing alcohol. Known as the Operation Prevent Campaign, DMV works closely with the State Liquor Author-

Photo Courtesy of Intellicheck

The “Law ID” app will enable DMV investigators to know immediately if an out-of-state license or ID is authentic.

ity, State Police, State Park Police and local law enforcement on this effort. “Underage drinking can lead to bad decisions and situations with potentially lifelong consequences,” Cuomo said. “I’m proud to launch this new pilot program that capitalizes on exciting new technology developed right here in the Empire State and will aid in our efforts to crack down on this reckless and dan-

10 AUGUST 9, 2018 • Number 32 VOL. 17 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

gerous behavior.” Since the start of the summer enforcement season, 211 people have been arrested in New York for possessing fake identifications or trying to consume alcohol while underage. In one instance, on July 30, DMV investigators conducted an Operation Prevent at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater during the Kesha concert. As a result, 21 people were

charged with possessing false identifications. In total, 30 documents were confiscated, 29 of which were fictitious. Nine people abandoned their documents before they could be cited. The State noted that when conducting Operation Prevent events, DMV investigators frequently encounter underage individuals with fake, out-of-state licenses and IDs. Use of the “Law ID” app will enable DMV investigators to know immediately if an out-of-state license or ID is authentic. “With the help of innovative technology, we are better able to keep potentially dangerous drivers off the roads, making it safer for all who use them. We will be at concerts all summer long, and we want people to enjoy them responsibly. Do not drink and drive, do not try to buy alcohol when you are not old enough, and never let anyone else use your license to buy beer or other alcoholic beverages,” said Terri Egan, DMV executive deputy commissioner and acting chairwoman of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

Bassett Steps Down as City Health Commissioner to Accept Prestigious Harvard Post By Forum Staff Mary Bassett, M.D. will step down as City Health commissioner at the end of August to take a prestigious faculty position at Harvard University, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday. Bassett will be succeeded by First Deputy Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot, M.D., who will serve as acting Health commissioner. “Dr. Bassett brought equity to the forefront of public health in New York City,” de Blasio said. “She led the push to bring health centers to underserved neighborhoods and helped ensure New Yorkers struggling with opioid addiction received the care they needed. Her approach to public health is helping make New York City a better, fairer, and more just city.” Bassett is set to become director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, and will be appointed the François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights in the department of Social and Behavioral Science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School

Photo Courtesy of Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor de Blasio said that Dr. Bassett’s “approach to public health is helping make New York City a better, fairer, and more just city.”

of Public Health. According to the administration, Bassett first served in the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from 2002 to 2009, as deputy commissioner of Health Promotion and Disease

Prevention. She was appointed commissioner in January 2014. As commissioner, she oversaw the City’s public health response to several disease emergencies, including Ebola, Legionnaires, Zika and leptospirosis. She also

played key roles in the design and execution of major City plans, including ThriveNYC, HealingNYC and NYC End the Epidemic, and oversaw the development of a comprehensive legislative package to further curtail tobacco use.

“I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for giving me the opportunity and the honor of leading the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene over the last four and a half years. With unflagging support from the Mayor and Deputy Mayors Barrios-Paoli and Dr. Palacio, we have confronted Ebola and Legionnaires disease, strengthened our city’s tobacco laws, and addressed the ongoing opioid epidemic,” Bassett said. “We have made family and child heath a priority, helped enroll tens of thousands of New Yorkers in health care, and reduced HIV infections to record lows. For the first time, we have made improving mental health a real priority, thanks to the incredible vision and effort of First Lady Chirlane McCray. Most importantly, we have infused all of this work with an unwavering focus on racial equity and social justice, creating a legacy that will improve our city’s health in the years to come. I thank the outstanding and dedicated people who make our Health Department the best public health agency anywhere. And I thank Dr. Oxiris Barbot, who has been a great partner and will be a superb leader of the department.”

Katz’s Latest ‘Know Your Rights Week’ all About Legal Advice By Forum Staff Borough President Melinda Katz’s latest “Know Your Rights Week” event featured a series of public legal workshops Aug. 6-10 in various Queens communities, including Long Island City, Queens Village, Kew Gardens, Far Rockaway, and Jackson Heights. “Know Your Rights Week: Closing Cases, Opening Doors” participants accessed free, confidential advice from lawyers on ways to alleviate unnecessary barriers to employment and economic opportunity, including applications to seal their non-violent criminal conviction records, cleaning up rap sheets, and obtaining Certificates of Relief and Good Conduct, according to Katz and event partner, The Legal Aid Society. “If you’ve proven that you’ve turned your life around and are making good, the burden of a past non-violent mistake should not ruin or impede your future opportunities for the rest of your life,” Katz said. “Second chances and social justice reform are an integral part of New York values. This is about eliminating barriers to employment and economic opportunity, reducing recidivism rates and breaking the cycle. Our hope and aim with ‘Know Your

File Photo

“Our hope and aim with ‘Know Your Rights Weeks’ is to bolster public awareness and connect eligible New Yorkers with free legal assistance and, ultimately, relief,” Borough President Katz said.

Rights Weeks’ is to bolster public awareness and connect eligible New Yorkers with free legal assistance and, ultimately, relief. The tireless efforts on the part of our community partners – and especially the Legal Aid Society – to equip and empower New

Yorkers of their rights have a direct impact on building a better future for the growing families of Queens.” The borough president noted that any criminal conviction can significantly hinder a person’s ability to secure employ-

ment, housing, financial aid, professional licenses and other rights and benefits. New York’s conviction sealing law, which applies only to specific predominantly non-violent crimes, is based on the belief that non-violent offenders who have turned their lives around for the better should no longer have to bear the stigma of a conviction or face unnecessary barriers to opportunity and employment. The new law went into effect on Oct. 7, 2017. According to published reports, court officials believe that as many as 600,000 people in New York could be eligible to seal their convictions, but as of May 2018, only 346 people statewide had their convictions sealed. “Everyone deserves a second chance, and that includes a genuine opportunity to seal dated convictions that jeopardize housing, employment and other livelihoods,” said Tina Luongo, Attorney-In-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society. In June, Katz and her Immigration Task Force organized “Know Your Rights Week for Immigrants,” a series of free informational workshops and confidential legal clinics for immigrants.

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 18 • Number 32, AUGUST 9, 2018 | 11

JFK Port Authority Official Accepted Gifts in Exchange for Special Treatment: AG By Forum Staff A Port Authority official at John F. Kennedy International Airport has been indicted for allegedly accepting gifts and benefits in exchange for providing special treatment to foreign governments, State Attorney General Barbara Underwood recently announced. Marlene Mizzi, 54, of Wantagh, was charged with three counts of second-degree receiving a reward for official misconduct, and multiple misdemeanor counts of receiving unlawful gratuities and official misconduct. She has been suspended from her job. Joseph Jourieh, 58, of Staten Island, was also indicted for his alleged role in supplying said gifts and benefits to Mizzi. According to charging documents, Mizzi has been an employee of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for 35 years and, prior to her suspension earlier this year, worked as an assistant airport duty supervisor at JFK. Jourieh operates East Coast Concierge, which works on behalf of the Permanent Mission of Qatar to the United Nations, arranging transportation and other services when government officials travel to New York. During the annual United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, with air-

Photo Courtesy of JFK Airport

According to the indictment, JFK Port Authority official Mizzi accepted gifts and benefits in exchange for providing special treatment to foreign governments.

port security at a heightened state, Port Authority rules declare that foreign state aircraft must depart JFK within two hours of arrival and there is no overnight parking of foreign state aircraft. However, from 2014 until she left the Port Authority in June 2018, Mizzi allegedly would unilaterally grant exceptions to these rules without proper approval, for certain foreign countries, most notably Qatar. During these years, Mizzi allegedly authorized numerous

Qatari diplomatic planes to stay overnight during the United Nations General Assembly, sometimes for multiple days – allegedly in exchange for gifts and benefits from Jourieh. In 2014 and 2015, Jourieh arranged free limousine rides and meals for Mizzi, and provided her with a gift of a watch. In 2017, Mizzi received bottles of wine and other gifts from another foreign state’s representative in return for the same overnight parking privilege.

Mizzi also allegedly received other gifts, including bottles of wine, from other foreign countries for her work at JFK. On numerous occasions, representatives from foreign countries would personally deliver gifts to Mizzi on JFK property. The Port Authority Code of Ethics has a strict zero tolerance policy on the acceptance of payments, gifts, free meals, or transportation from vendors or anyone with whom the Port Authority does or is likely to do business, Underwood noted. “The defendant is alleged to have violated her position of public trust and used her position for personal gain. In this case, [Mizzi] chose to enrich herself and tarnish the reputation of the agency by allegedly accepting cash, travel, meals and other things of value from representatives of foreign governments,” said Port Authority Inspector General Michael Nestor. “The Port Authority will not tolerate employee misconduct or corruption of any kind. Today’s indictment will serve notice to all Port Authority employees that the agency will not tolerate violations of the public trust or any other corrupt acts.” The indictments stem from a joint investigation conducted by the AG’s Office and the Port Authority Inspector General’s Office. If convicted on the top counts, Mizzi and Jourieh each face a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison.

Cuomo, Lhota Announce Appointments to Transportation Workgroup By Michael V. Cusenza Governor Andrew Cuomo and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joe Lhota on Friday announced their appointments to the Metropolitan Transportation Sustainability Advisory Group. The panel was established under the 20182019 State Budget and tasked with making recommendations on strategies to improve and fund public transit in the New York City region. Cuomo has appointed Kathryn Wylde and Rhonda Herman to serve on the group. Wylde is president and CEO of the nonprofit Partnership for New York City, NYC’s leading business organization. Prior to taking over the partnership presidency in 2001, Wylde was the founding CEO of both the partnership’s housing and investment fund affiliates. The Brooklyn resident serves on a number of boards and advisory groups, including the City Economic Development Corporation, the Fund for Public Schools, Manhattan Institute, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, and the Governor’s NYC Regional Economic Development Council and his Fix NYC panel. Rhonda Herman has served on the Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council since 2008. The White Plains resident has worked Photo Courtesy of Marc Hermann/MTA at the Internal Revenue Service since 1982, The Metropolitan Transportation Sustainability Advisory Group is tasked with making recommendations on and she has held various management posi- strategies to improve and fund public transit in the New York City region. tions in Information Systems, Small Business 12 AUGUST 9, 2018 • Number 32 VOL. 17 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

Self Employed and the Wage & Investment divisions. She was a Girl Scout Troop Leader for 12 years and co-president of the White Plains High School Parent-Teacher Association. She now serves as co-chairwoman of the Senior PTA Scholarship Recognition Program. Lhota has appointed Fernando Ferrer to the panel. Ferrer has served as vice chairman of the MTA Board since 2011, and has also served as acting chairman of the board twice. In 2016, the Bronx native was appointed by Cuomo to serve on the Board of Trustees of City University of New York for a term ending in 2023. In addition, he is co-chairman at Mercury, a public strategy firm. He also serves as a director of Sterling Bancorp and Sterling National Bank. Ferrer served in the New York City Council from 1982 to 1987 and was Bronx Borough President from 1987 through 2001. And in 2005, Ferrer became the first Latino to win the Democratic Party nomination for New York City mayor. The appointments were announced a day after the transit advocacy organization Riders Alliance fired off a letter to Cuomo, demanding that he assemble the Metropolitan Transportation Sustainability Advisory Group by Aug. 15. “The longer we wait, the more modernization will cost us and the more we and our 8.5 million fellow daily riders will suffer needlessly,” RA leaders wrote. “The time to act is now. We are counting on your leadership to get the job done.




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THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 18 • Number 31, AUGUST 2, 2018 | 13

Legal Notices


NOTICE OF FORMATION of EMPIRE RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS LLC Articles of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 5/21/2018. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to: THE LLC 132-70 SANFORD AVENUE, APT 3M,FLUSHING, NY 11355. Purpose: any lawful purpose. 8/09

Notice of formation of Los Marinillos, LLC. Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 04/16/2018. Office located in Queens County. SSNY has being designated as agent for service of process. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to, Los Marinillos, LLC. 141-08 Northern Blvd. Flushing, NY 11354. Purpose: any lawful purpose.

Notice of Qualification of Cinq Pictures, LLC. Appl. for Auth. filed with NY Dept. of State on 5/2/18. Office location: Queens County. NY Sec. of State designated agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served, and shall mail process to the LLC, c/o CT Corporation System, 111 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011. DE addr. of LLC c/o Corporation Trust, 1209 Orange St, Wilmington, DE 19801. Cert. of Form. filed with DE Sec. of State, 401 Federal St., Dover, DE 19901 on 7/27/17. Purpose: any lawful activity. Notice of formation of ATELIER FAUCHEUX LLC Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 05/21/2018. Office located in Queens County. SSNY has being designated as agent for service of process. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to, ATELIER FAUCHEUX LLC, 9912 65TH ROAD #6H REGO PARK, NY 11374. Purpose: any lawful purpose.

Notice of Formation of LemonShark Poke Midtown East LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 06/21/18. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 38-19 223rd St., Bayside, NY 11361, Attn: Noel J. Shu. Purpose: any lawful activities.

Notice of formation of BLUE BUTTERFLY MASSAGE THERAPY LLC Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 06/08/2018. Office located in Queens County. SSNY has being designated as agent for service of process. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to, THE LLC, 179-66 ANDERSON RD., JAMAICA, NY 11434. Purpose: any lawful purpose. 8/16

ELLE BEE MEDIA LLC rticles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 01/24/18. Office in Queens Co. SSNY design. Agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to LAKEIA R. BROWN, 68-64 YELLOWSTONE BLVD. B46, FOREST HILLS, NY 11375. Purpose: Any lawful activity. HUSNIE MERRICK REALTY LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 06/26/18. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to the LLC, 480 Villa Ave., Staten Island, NY 10302. Purpose: Any lawful activity.



Org. filed with the SSNY on 05/25/18. 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, 40-17 48th Street, Sunnyside, NY 11104. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. 609 EAGLE ROCK AVENUE LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 06/25/18. 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 Alma Bank, 31-10 37th Avenue, Suite 400, Long Island City, NY 11101. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.

67 FRESH LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 02/15/17. 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, 2222 75th Street, East Elmhurst, NY 11370. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. 08/30

25-26 38 St LLC Arts of Org filed with NY Sec of State (SSNY) on 7/11/18. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 25-26 38th St, Astoria, NY 11103. General Purposes.

Blackchain Banking and Marketing Advisors LLC, App for Auth filed with SSNY on 05/25/18, Cert of Frmn filed in DE on 03/23/18. 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: 3162 42nd St, Long Island City, NY 11103. The off add required to be maintained in the jurisdiction of its frmn is: 919 N. Market St, #950, Wilmington, DE 19801. The name and add of the Sec. of State in its jurisdiction of org where a copy of its art of org is filed is The Secretary of State of DE, 401 Federal St, #4, Dover, DE 19901. Purpose to engage in any lawful act. Urban Plaza LLC, Arts of Org filed with SSNY on 05/15/18. 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: The LLC, 7043 45th Ave, Woodside, NY 11377 Purpose: to engage in any lawful act.

AZENS CARE LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 05/04/2018. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: ALEXANDER AZENABOR, 9840 57TH AVENUE, APT 16D, CORONA ,NY 11368. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose. HULLOFA, LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 05/21/18. 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, 1438 31st Dr., Astoria, NY 11106. Registered agent address is c/o United States Corporation Agents, Inc., 7014 13th Avenue, Suite 202, Brooklyn, NY 11228. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. THE DALI GROUP, LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 08/03/18. 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 FATMA ELMUSTAFA, 161-55 Jewel Ave. Apt 6M, FRESH MEADOWS 11365. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.



3750 BARNES DEVELOPMENT LLC Arts of Org filed with NY Sec of State (SSNY) on 6/6/18. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to:JOSEPH XU, 38-14 30TH STREET, LONG ISLAND CITY, NY 11101. General Purposes.

JUST WORDS LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 07/19/2018. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: The LLC, 15-41 208th Street, Bayside, NY 11360. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose. APRIL HAMILTON COACHING, LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 05/04/2018. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: APRIL HAMILTON COACHING, LLC, 1037 48TH AVENUE, APT 5, LONG ISLAND CITY, NY 11101. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose. AG 41-05 LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 05/22/18. 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, 41-05 30th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11103. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.

14 AUGUST 9, 2018 • Number 31 VOL. 17 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP



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