VOL. 16 • NUMBER 15 • APRIL 13, 2017
Howard Beach • Ozone Park • South Ozone Park • Woodhaven • Richmond Hill • Broad Channel Forest Hills • Middle Village • Glendale • Maspeth
South & West
HOUSE MONEY State Budget Includes $2.5B in Funding to Combat Homelessness Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that the new State Budget includes funds set aside to address the homelessness crisis and increase access to affordable housing.
See Story on Page 16 Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Governor
Ulrich Honors Hometown Hero Detective with Council Proclamation
NYPD Releases Body-Worn Camera Policy
City Looking to Pass Legislation to Combat Predatory Practices in Used Car Industry THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 16 • Number 15 APRIL 13 2017 | 1
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2 APRIL 13, 2017 • Number 15 VOL. 16 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP
Ulrich Honors Karina Case Detective with Council Proclamation By Michael V. Cusenza Local boy makes good, indeed. City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) recently honored Howard Beach resident and City Police Department Lt. John Russo with a Council Proclamation for his work which led to the arrest of a suspect six months after the brutal murder of Karina Vetrano. The 30-year-old beloved Howard Beach native was beaten, strangled, and sexually assaulted in the evening hours of Aug. 2 on her daily run inside Spring Creek Park. Last Wednesday, during a Council Stated meeting, Ulrich noted that Russo was instrumental in identifying the alleged perpetrator, Chanel Lewis, 20, who has been indicted on 13 counts of murder and sexual abuse. “For many months, there was a profound sense of sorrow and grief that swept over not only Howard Beach, but all of New York,” Ulrich said. “We’re honoring a hometown hero. He is truly
one of New York’s Finest and it’s because of him that we were able to make an arrest in this case, bring about some justice, and hopefully bring about some closure not only for the Vetrano family, but for the community, who also felt the pain that was caused as a result of this heinous crime.” According to Ulrich, Russo spent six months poring over records until a name eventually emerged. With this new lead, detectives were able to obtain a DNA sample, linking Lewis to the murder. “Karina’s picture was a picture my family and I saw in every store we went into [and] every block we drove down,” Russo said. “We were constantly reminded, just being in the neighborhood, of this unsolved murder. I’ve met people that I didn’t know telling me that they were nervous about letting their children out, and now that the case is solved, it’s a little more comfort for everyone.” According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Lewis,
the NYPD, assisted by members of my staff, the person allegedly responsible for her brutal murder finally has been brought to justice,” Brown said when Lewis was arraigned. According to the charges, Vetrano was jogging alone in Spring Creek Park in Howard Beach at approximately 6 p.m. on Aug. 2 when she was attacked by Lewis who sexually abused and strangled her. Vetrano’s body was discovered by her father, Phil, and the police later that night lying in a marshy area, approximately 15 feet from a trail near 161st Avenue and 78th Street in the park. Russo, who was raised in Maspeth and Middle Village, was honored last month by the Juniper Park Civic Association for his work on the Vetrano case. Ulrich also pointed out that during his Photo Courtesy of Councilman Ulrich’s Office Lt. John Russo (l.) and Councilman Eric Ulrich last Wednesday inside Council Chambers. career the 19-year NYPD veteran has received five awards for Exemwho was ordered held without ment at a later date in Queens Su- plary Police Duties, was named Police Officer of the Year twice in bail following his arraignment on preme Court. murder charges on Sunday, Feb. “Thanks to the persistence of 2000, and named Detective of the 5, will be arraigned on the indict- the hard-working detectives of Year in 2002.
106th Precinct Officers Recover Gun, Drugs after Executing Search Warrant in Ozone Park
Cops Foil Colorful Cross Bay Bank Bandit
By Forum Staff 106th Precinct officials last week detailed the results of a search warrant that was executed last month in Ozone Park. In the early morning hours of Thursday, March 16, officers recovered more than seven grams of crack-cocaine; a stolen, loaded 9mm handgun; drug packaging materials; and scales from a home on 93rd Avenue near Atlantic Avenue. The warrant, according to cops, was the result of a long-term drug investigation. “I am extremely proud of the dedicated work of these officers. Numerous firearm arrests have been effected this year due to our precision policing,” said Capt. Brian Bohannon, commanding officer. According to investigators, information developed by 106 Field Intelligence officers led precinct officials to apply for the warrant. Two men were also arrested. Charges included criminal possession of a weapon and criminal Photo Courtesy of NYPD possession of a controlled sub- Kudos to Police Officer Berrios ( from l. to r.), Officer Gonzalez, Officer Cahill, Sgt. Muir, Officer Sutherland, and Det. Cox. stance.
Forum Photo by Patricia Adams
Arresting Officer Valerie Cincinelli speaks with her superiors following the collar.
Avenue around 1:30 p.m., passed a teller a note demanding money, and then fled on foot with an undetermined amount of cash and He never got away with it. A Howard Beach bank robber a hidden gift. “The die-pack exploded near on Tuesday quickly felt the long arm of the law—not long after a the entrance of the bank,” police die-pack exploded as he attempt- told The Forum. The suspect then ditched all ed to make off with the loot. The man, described by po- of the cash and ran. But it took lice as in his 40s, wearing a black cops, including arresting Officer hat and gray hoodie, walked into Valerie Cincerelli, just five to sevQueens County Savings Bank on en minutes to locate him after a Cross Bay Boulevard near 156th brief canvas of the area. THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 16 • Number 15 APRIL 13 2017 | 3 By Patricia Adams and Michael V. Cusenza
Mayor, NYPD Tout Preliminary Results of Neighborhood Policing By Michael V. Cusenza “The preliminary results are in: Neighborhood policing works.” Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday, joined by City Police Department brass, trumpeted the NYPD’s pivot to a community relationsbased policing model as a rousing success. “Neighborhood policing has ushered in a new era of law enforcement built on mutual trust, understanding and cooperation. When New Yorkers know their local officers and trust their local officers, we are all safer as a city,” de Blasio said. “Coupled with the retraining of the entire department and the introduction of body cameras, we’re giving officers the tools they need to do their jobs effectively and strengthening the bonds between police and community to make the safest city in the nation even safer.” According to the City, for the first quarter of 2017, neighborhood policing commands experienced a 6.2-percent decline in the seven major felony offenses (murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny of a motor vehicle) when compared to the first quarter of 2016. This means there were approximately 800 fewer major crimes committed in the neighborhood policing commands – and more people in these communities were protected from the pain and disruption caused by violent crime
Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
“The preliminary results are in: Neighborhood policing works,” said Mayor de Blasio.
victimization. Non-neighborhood policing commands also experienced reductions in serious felony crimes, but at a lower rate with 450 fewer of the seven major felony offenses committed in the first quarter of 2017 as compared to 2016. As Police Commissioner Jim O’Neill explained last year, when the department began its gradual rollout of the strategy, the Neighborhood Policing Plan, which is now in place in more than 50 percent of NYPD precincts,
divides precincts into four or five fully staffed sectors that correspond, as much as possible, to the boundaries of actual existing neighborhoods. Sector officers assigned to these sectors work the same neighborhoods on the same shifts, increasing their familiarity with the local residents and local problems. The radio dispatchers, supervisors, and sector officers work together to maintain “sector integrity”: the sector officers and sector cars do not leave the boundaries of their assigned
sectors, except in genuine emergencies. The plan seeks to foster a sense of ownership among sector officers for the people, the problems, and even the perpetrators in a particular sector; a sense of geographic responsibility and accountability, O’Neill said. Supporting the sector officers and filling out each sector team are two cops designated as the neighborhood coordination officers. The NCOs are conceived as liaisons between the police and the community, but also as key crime-fighters and problem solvers in the sector, according to O’Neill. While they answer some radio calls to keep them conversant with the daily workload, the NCOs spend more time actively familiarizing themselves with the community to better respond to neighborhood-specific crime and other conditions. The NCOs immerse themselves in the community by attending meetings with community leaders and clergy, visiting schools, following up on previous incidents, and using creative techniques and adaptive skills to fight crime unique to their particular sectors. “The release of this report demonstrates the substantial progress we have made in reducing crime and building trust in neighborhood policing commands,” O’Neill added. “This new philosophy will enable us, by working collectively with the public, to further reduce crime and keep New York the safest city in America.”
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Bipartisan Coalition of Senators Reintroduce Bill to Combat Sex Assault on Campuses By Forum Staff A bipartisan coalition of Senators, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), recently renewed the Campus Accountability and Safety Act—legislation to combat sexual assault on college and university campuses by protecting students, promoting equity, and strengthening accountability and transparency for institutions. According to the eight senators, the legislation would reform the way colleges and universities address and report incidents of sexual assault that occur on their campuses, and would safeguard both survivors and accused students. “Sexual assault is pervasive and far too often colleges and universities would rather sweep it under the rug, but we can no longer turn a blind eye to this problem,” Gillibrand said. “This bipartisan bill would flip the incentives so that schools are finally held accountable. It would also help protect students and establish new resources for student survivors. Our bipartisan coalition will keep working together to pass this bill, change the status quo, and make our campuses safer.” Key provisions of the bill include: Establishes New Campus Resources and Support Services for Student Survivors: Colleges and universities would be
Photo Courtesy of Sen. Gillibrand’s Office
According to Sen. Gillibrand, the act forges “a path forward for survivors of sexual assault on campuses.”
required to designate Sexual Assault Response Coordinators to assist survivors of sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Schools would no longer be allowed to sanction students who report sexual violence but reveal a non-violent student conduct violation in good faith, like underage drinking. Requires Fairness in Campus Disciplinary Process: All schools would be required to use one uniform process for campus student disciplinary proceedings and would no longer allow athletic departments or
other subgroups to handle complaints. Ensures Minimum Training Standards for On-Campus Personnel: This legislation would ensure that everyone from the Sexual Assault Response Coordinators to those responsible for investigating and participating in disciplinary proceedings receives specialized training so that they have a firm understanding of the nature of these crimes and their effect on survivors. Creates New Transparency Requirements: Students at every college and university in the country would be surveyed about their experience with sexual violence
to get an accurate picture of the problem. This new biennial survey would be standardized and confidential, with the results published online so that parents and high school students can make an informed choice when comparing universities. The Department of Education would also be required to publish the names of all schools with pending investigations, final resolutions, and voluntary resolution agreements related to Title IX with respect to sexual violence and the requirements of the Clery Act. Campus Accountability and Coordination with Law Enforcement: This legislation would require colleges and universities to enter into memoranda of understanding with each local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction to report to a campus as a first responder to clearly delineate responsibilities and share information so that when a crime occurs, both campus authorities and local authorities can focus on solving the crime rather than debating jurisdiction. Stiffer Penalties for Clery Act Violations: Schools that do not comply with certain requirements under the bill may face a penalty of up to one percent of the institution’s operating budget. The bill also increases penalties for Clery Act violations up to $150,000 per violation from the current penalty of $35,000.
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see manager for details THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 16 • Number 15 APRIL 13 2017 | 5
Brooklyn Man Charged with Series of Borough Burglaries By Forum Staff A 24-year-old Queens Village man could be 104 years old when he gets out of prison after a judge sentenced him to a total of 80 years in prison, for a robbery spree that began in July 2014. Dayson Fernandez was convicted on eight counts of robbery following a jury trial in September 2016, and during a nine-day robbery spree in July 2014, he held up four livery drivers at gunpoint and took cash, jewelry and cell phones belonging to them. District Attorney Brown depicted the defendant as one who preyed on hard working livery drivers and presented extreme danger to them. DA Brown said that Fernandez was “robbing them [the drivers] at gunpoint of hundreds of dollars, mobile phones and jewelry. Someone could have easily been killed or injured during the commission of these crimes. As such, the defendant represents himself to be a danger to society and the sentence meted out by the Court is
Cops followed Rodriguez to a Knickerbocker Avenue pawn shop, where he was taken into custody.
more than warranted.” Fernandez was convicted after a two-week jury trial of four counts of first-degree robbery and four counts of second-degree robbery. Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory L. Lasak, presided at the trial and sentenced Fernandez
to four determinate terms of 20 years in prison plus five years’ post release supervision on the firstdegree robbery counts and four determinate terms of 10 years in prison plus five years’ post-release supervision on the second-degree robbery counts. The four first de-
Photo Courtesy of Google
gree counts will run consecutive to each other for a total of 80 years in prison and the second degree counts will run concurrent to the first-degree counts. According to trial testimony, Fernandez got into a livery cab and displayed a firearm, at 221
Street and 108 Avenue on July 19, 2014, shortly after noon. Fernandez told the driver “Don’t move or I’ll shoot.” He punched the victim repeatedly in the head with his fists choking him with the seatbelt before taking the driver’s wallet, which contained about $500 cash. On July21, 2014, Fernandez jumped into another livery cab at 202 Street and Jamaica Avenue and pulled a gun on the driver. He ordered the victim to “give me everything” and fled the vehicle with approximately $70 in cash, a debit card, gold chain and the driver’s wallet. Fernandez robbed two separate livery drivers within the span of an hour on July 28, 2014. At 1:00 p.m., he got into a livery cab, pushed a gun against the driver’s side and searched his pockets. The defendant fled with about $300 in cash. An hour later, at 2:00 p.m., the defendant got into a second livery cab at 108th Avenue and 221st Street and gave the cabbie instructions on where to drive. Fernandez then pointed a gun at the driver’s side and fled with roughly $400 in cash.
NYPD Releases Proposed Officer Body-Worn Camera Policy By Michael V. Cusenza The City Police Department last week announced the release of its proposed police officer body-worn camera procedure. According to the NYPD, the 53-page report detailing the updated procedure, “NYPD Response to Public and Officer Input on the Department’s Proposed Body-Worn Camera Policy,” the proposal “ensures officers participating in the bodyworn camera pilot program capture objective records of encounters, while encouraging lawful and respectful interactions between the public and the police.” The department also noted that the body-worn camera procedure is the culmination of a yearlong outreach effort that included key stakeholders and advocates, including: the NYPD Inspector General, the NYC’s respective district attorneys, members of the City Council, Public Advocate, New York Civil Liberties Union, Civilian Complaint Review Board, Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, Citizens Crime Commission, and more. Provisions of the policy cover when and under what circumstances cameras should activated, how footage can be viewed, retention of footage, and the release of footage to the public: Activation of cameras: Mandatory activation during all enforcement and investigative encounters. Mandatory deactivation
Photo Courtesy of Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office
The updated procedure has been submitted to the NYPD federal monitor for his review and approval.
during interactions with confidential informants or sex crime victims, as well as internal meetings and training. Viewing of footage: An officer may view his or her own, and other officers’ BWC footage in the furtherance of official duties (arrest processing, etc.). During an official department investigation, including serious injury or death of a person, or an officer firearms discharge, the officer concerned may view his or her own BWC recordings at a time deemed appropriate by the supervisor in charge of the investigation before
6 APRIL 13, 2017 • Number 15 VOL. 16 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP
being required a compelled statement. Retention of footage: Body camera footage will be retained for one year (and can be retained longer on a case by case basis) Release of footage: The procedure will also cover how and when footage is released to prosecutors, during litigation, and to the public. Additionally, last summer, the NYPD indicated that it wanted input on its body camera policy from the communities it patrols. So, in partnership with the Policing
Project at NYU School of Law, the department sought to cull perspectives of people who live, work, or go to school in the Big Apple through an online questionnaire. New York University collected the responses and comments and provided them to the NYPD for the department’s consideration in drafting the final policy. At the same time, the Marron Institute of Urban Management at NYU launched a separate but similar online questionnaire to get input from police officers. The surveys remained open for 40 days. “Our academic partners provided invaluable guidance on crafting questionnaires, made exhaustive efforts to promote the questionnaires to achieve maximum participation, and did an extraordinary job of organizing the questionnaire results and summarizing participants’ open written comments in two comprehensive reports,” the NYPD said. “We are grateful for their exceptional work and for the time officers and members of the public spent completing the questionnaires and providing comments.” The department noted that the questionnaires indicated that both the public and cops support a BWC program. “Not only will body-worn cameras enhance transparency and accountability, they will further improve the trust that continues to grow in these relationships,” added Police Commissioner Jim O’Neill.
Car and Motorcycle Theft Ring Foiled Following Long-Term Investigation By Forum Staff A Queens grand jury this week indicted 11 individuals from Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island for their roles in an automobile and motorcycle theft ring along with a single defendant who is accused of selling bogus inspection stickers that operated in Queens County and elsewhere between August 2015 and December 2016. The indictments came after a 16-month joint investigation by the New York City Police Department’s Auto Crime Division and my Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. “The defendants charged in this case are alleged to have worked together and separately dealing in stolen automobiles, motorcycles and car parts. One particular defendant also allegedly used social media to sell bogus 2017 New York State motor vehicle inspection stickers.” DA Brown further noted that auto theft is
Photo Courtesy of YouTube
The investigation began when an NYPD Auto Crime detective found an Instagram page that included photographs of car rims and inspection stickers for sale.
though to be a benchmark of the effectiveness of his office in combating crime. That success is measured by the dramatic drop in auto thefts from a high of more than 50,000 cars being stolen annually in 1991 to less than 2,000 just last year as a result of unearthing criminal organizations that profit
from the illicit trafficking of stolen autos, auto parts and insurance fraud. The defendants were arraigned on seven indictments variously charging them with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, conspiracy and other charges. The investigation began after detectives discovered an Instagram page that included photographs of car rims and inspection stickers for sale. The NYPD contacted the Instagram account holder, Abad Rios, who had listed his phone number on the page. The communication with Rios was the start of an undercover operation in which he sold forged New York State inspection stickers to an undercover detective on several occasions. The transactions then progressed into Rios and a co-defendant Kuldeep Sethi collaborating to sell stolen automobiles and motorcycles to undercover detectives. The NYPD’s Auto Crime Division and his Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau obtained a court-authorized wiretap, helping to unveil the inner-workings of
this alleged theft ring, which stole vehicles from Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and New Jersey. The defendants stole approximately 45 cars and 16 motorcycles worth a combined estimated total of $500,000. Unbeknownst to the defendants they sold roughly 14 of the cars and six of the motorcycles to undercover investigators. Police recovered 28 autos and bikes worth about $270,000. Rios allegedly sold an estimated 13 forged New York State inspection stickers to undercover detectives. Two Queens men, identified as Samar “Sammy” Preet, 26 ad Pierce O’Connor, 22, both of 78th Street have been variously charged in the case with third- and fourthdegree grand larceny, third-, fourth- and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree unauthorized use of vehicle and fifth-degree conspiracy. Preet was freed on $30,000 bail while O’Connor was released on his own recognizance. All defendants in the case face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
District Attorney Brown Recovering from ‘Successful’ Heart Valve Procedure By Michael V. Cusenza Queens District Attorney Richard Brown on Monday morning successfully underwent a minimally invasive heart valve procedure in Manhattan, according to his spokesman. The surgery was performed on a non-emergency basis by Dr. Mathew Williams, who heads the structural and heart valve program at NYU Langone Medical Center, Kevin Ryan said. “It is anticipated that District Attorney Brown will be released from the hospital in a couple of days. He is resting comfortably and is expected to recover fully,” Ryan added. Brown, 84, has been under cardiologists’ care since undergoing quadruple-bypass surgery in 1998. On the first day of June 2016, “Judge Brown” marked the completion of his 25th year as the borough’s prosecu-
tor. Brown first took office on June 1, 1991, when thenGov. Mario Cuomo appointed him the interim Queens DA to succeed John Santucci. At the time, Brown was serving as an associate justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department – the State’s second-highest court. “Since 1991, I have had the honor and privilege of serving as the District Attorney for Queens County and look forward to continuing to work to improve the lives of its 2.2 million residents,” Brown said last year. “Through the years I have been able to help prevent crime and to build stronger and safer communities. Nothing has been quite as rewarding to me as knowing that I have been able to make a significant difference.” File Photo
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown
Cops Looking for Crook who Robbed Forest Hills Grocery Store By Michael V. Cusenza
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. The NYPD Crime Stoppers Program, which began in 1983, offers rewards up to $2,000 for anonymous information provided to the hotline or website that leads to the arrest and indictment of a violent felon.
Forest Hills detectives recently reached out for help from the public in identifying a man wanted in connection with the armed robbery of a Queens Boulevard grocery store. According to police reports, the suspect walked into New Yellowstone Farm around 5:30 a.m. last Tuesday, April 4, brandished a gun and demanded money. The store employee complied and the man fled the location on a bike with an unknown amount of cash. The suspect was last seen wearing a black and maroon North Face jacket, black adidas sweatshirt, black sweatpants and Photo Courtesy of NYPD Cops are looking for this suspect. yellow sneakers.
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 16 • Number 15 APRIL 13 2017 | 7
The entire Forum Family would like to extend wishes for a joyous Passover and a Blessed Easter to all of our loyal readers and advertisers
8 APRIL 13, 2017 • Number 15 VOL. 16 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP
HOMETOWN HERO There is an infamous axiom that drives the pecking order of stories in the news business: “If it bleeds, it leads.” In other words, the more violent, graphic, tragic, and/or sadistic the item, the better the chances are of it kicking off the broadcast or making its way to a front page. City editors applied said adage to their broadcasts and front pages on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3 of last year. The vicious demise of Karina Vetrano – the Howard Beach jogger who was beaten, strangled, and sexually assaulted in the evening hours of Aug. 2 on her daily run inside Spring Creek Park – was tailor-made for a tabloid town like the Big Apple. (Editor’s Note: The Vetrano murder also dominated the front page of the Aug. 4, 2016 edition of The Forum.) Six months later, media outlets also trumpeted the news that a suspect allegedly responsible for the brutal crime was finally in custody. Chanel Lewis, 20, of East New York, has been indicted on 13 counts of murder and sexual abuse.
The tireless efforts of Howard Beach resident and City Police Department Lt. John Russo are, in large part, the reason why Lewis is sitting in a cell on Rikers Island to this day. Russo spent six months poring over records until a name eventually emerged. With this new lead, detectives were able to obtain a DNA sample, linking Lewis to the murder. Kudos to City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) for recently honoring Russo with a Council
Governor Cuomo signed a new budget this week. While many extolled his progressive agenda that included free college tuition for the middle class, renewing the millionaire’s tax, and giving a tax break on dues for union members, he also quietly and without much fanfare in the news media, struck a huge blow to injured workers. Unfortunately for those members of our society who no longer are able to work as a result of an injury, or sustained a life altering injury while on the job, their benefits became part of a horse-trade in Albany much to their detriment. Governor Cuomo, anxious to get his big publicity items in the budget in case he seeks higher office, seems to have used Workers’ Compensation as a bargaining chip. The Business Council circulated fake facts blaming injured workers’ benefits for the high cost of doing business in the state, when in reality employer costs nationwide for Workers’ Compensation are at their lowest levels in 35 years. Locally, Workers’ Compensation costs in New York have declined dramatically as
Proclamation. Yet this part of the story isn’t sensational enough to be splashed across a tabloid’s front page, or lead a broadcast—but it should. Russo’s police-work deserves top billing. He should be showered with all the praise the greatest city in the world can muster. This hyper-cynical, jaded world conditions us to be so quick stop the presses for a heinous homicide or when a cop slips up. Why can’t we afford the same first-place attention to
a true-blue hero and role model who has, in his own way, helped a family and community begin to heal? “We’re honoring a hometown hero,” Ulrich said. “He is truly one of New York’s Finest and it’s because of him that we were able to make an arrest in this case, bring about some justice, and hopefully bring about some closure not only for the Vetrano family, but for the community, who also felt the pain that was caused as a result of this heinous crime.” Typical of a humble hero, Russo has said it’s more about the family and the neighborhood’s families than any accolades. “We were constantly reminded, just being in the neighborhood, of this unsolved murder,” he said last Wednesday. “I’ve met people that I didn’t know telling me that they were nervous about letting their children out, and now that the case is solved, it’s a little more comfort for everyone.” On behalf of a scarred, yet grateful Howard Beach: THANK YOU, LIEUTENANT.
Catherine M. Stanton is a senior partner in the law firm of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP. She focuses on the area of Workers’ Compensation, having helped thousands of injured workers navigate a highly complex system and obtain all the benefits to which they were entitled. Ms. Stanton has been honored as a New York Super Lawyer, is the past president of the New York Workers’ Compensation Bar Association, the immediate past president of the Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group, and is an officer in several organizations dedicated to injured workers and their families. She can be reached at 800.692.3717.
well; compensation is only a small portion of employer costs and is extremely profitable for insurers. The Business Council seems to have a number of members with strong ties to the insurance industry, which makes their position even further suspect. In 2007, the Council was successful in lobbying to obtain caps on indemnity benefits and has now continued its assault so that the prior limit on weekly benefits will be further reduced. When caps were first put into place, they did not go into effect until judges determined that injured workers had reached maximum medical improvement and that their conditions could be classified as permanent. This new provision automatically starts the cap after 2½ years, regardless of a person’s abilities or condition, or whether or not he will ever be able to work again or find work that meets medical restrictions. It is up to the injured worker to show that he has not reached maximum medical treatment that the carrier can refute. The Business Council has continued
its attack by alleging that permanent lossof-use awards were unfair to the employer. They argue that the prior guidelines were outdated and did not take into consideration new advances in medicine. Again, fake facts! The guidelines are based on range of motion and loss of function after all modalities are exhausted, including new advances in medicine available. As a result, the new law directs the Board to “consult” with a group stacked with pro business and insurance interests, but no representatives of injured workers to “review” the current guidelines with the ultimate goal of reducing benefits. The fact that workers who have permanent lifealtering injuries to their arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers, and toes have absolutely no say is extremely distressing. When does this eroding away of Workers’ Compensation benefits end? Two years ago, ProPublica published a series of articles entitled “The Demolition of Workers’ Comp”. They documented the cutbacks made in many states with disastrous consequences. Their report noted
that since 2003, 33 states passed Workers’ Compensation laws that reduce benefits or make it more difficult to obtain benefits. New York is part of that list, having enacted laws not once, but twice, since then. Many believe that reducing benefits to injured workers will force them back to work. Studies have shown that this is another myth perpetuated by the falsehood that injured workers are frauds. What happens in reality is that many injured workers are unable to work and are forced into poverty or have to collect alternate benefits. Social Security Disability benefits, which are paid by the American taxpayers, are generally offset by Workers’ Compensation benefits. Without Workers’ Compensation payable by the insurance carrier, the burden on the taxpayer is larger. Rather than the Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier paying for medical treatment, it is put through Medicare. This is known as cost shifting and it affects all of us, as we are the ones who end up paying – and paying dearly.
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 16 • Number 15 APRIL 13 2017 | 9
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THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 16 • Number 15 APRIL 13 2017 | 11
Schumer Calls for Major Increase in Federal Rail and Transit Maintenance Funding
Photo Courtesy of Sen. Schumer’s Office
Schumer said he’s making a new push to prioritize investing in the Northeast Corridor rail system “before derailments and maddening delays happen more often than not.”
Backlog. In addition, transit systems across the region lack the necessary funding to Senate Minority Leader Charles make much needed repairs. So, simply put, Schumer on Monday announced that he is no matter how hard Amtrak, or other rail making a new push to prioritize investing systems, work to prioritize safety, because in rail systems, including Amtrak, the Met- of a lack of funding, some projects and imropolitan Transportation Authority, and provements are just not getting done.” New York’s senior senator said that a Long Island Rail Road, before derailments and delays “happen more often than not.” plan to make the infrastructure-improveSchumer’s comments come on the ment investments exists but has not made heels of two derailments at Penn Station any traction yet in Congress. Specifiover a recent two-week period: A New cally, Schumer highlighted his blueprint Jersey Transit train derailed during last which called for a major investment of over Monday morning’s rush hour; and on $180 billion over the next 10 years to reFriday, March 24, massive delays and can- pair aging rail and transit systems, and specellations were the result of what Amtrak cifically $5 billion a year to Amtrak, which labeled a “minor” derailment of one of its would help alleviate delays. Schumer went on to characterize rail trains at the hub. Schumer on Monday noted that Amtrak and transit improvements as “a major priis facing an over $28 billion state-of-good ority in any federal infrastructure legislarepair backlog, which could have contrib- tion.” He also said just providing basic uted to the maintenance issues that caused increases to Amtrak’s capital account in the derailments over the past two weeks. the annual appropriations process would Additionally, other regional transit systems be a major lift to helping address some of including the MTA and NJT also have se- the issues. Schumer said that if Republirious maintenance backlogs. Schumer at- cans don’t pass that infrastructure bill, the tributed the widespread maintenance is- country will need more immediate increassues plaguing the Northeast Corridor to a es in capital funding for Amtrak to address lack of funding, and called for a major in- the state of good repair backlog. Schumer crease in rail and transit maintenance fund- on Monday vowed to make rail safety a top priority. ing to help address the issue. “We learned this lesson in New York in “Maddening delays for rail commuters across the region, from Long Island to New the 1970’s when we systematically disinJersey, have exposed the repair backlog like vested in the MTA and the system broke never before,” Schumer said. “Even the down. We had delays, derailments, dirty smallest of maintenance issues, left un- trains and ridership fell to historic lows,” checked, can become the reason for the Schumer noted. “But when we made the next big delay, or worse, disaster. For far change and invested into the system, ridtoo long, Amtrak has been tremendously ership went through the roof and mainteundercapitalized to the point that they now nance vastly improved. When you delay have an over $28B State-of-Good-Repair maintenance, it only leads to disaster.” 12 APRIL 13, 2017 • Number 15 VOL. 16 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP By Forum Staff
The Pharmacist’s Corner Presented by Frank Pantina, R.Ph
Getting a jump on allergies It’s that time again—spring has sprung but so has allergy season. Literal translation: good news, bad news. Whether your allergies are seasonal or full time occupants, help is available and can be acquired with a simple trip to your local pharmacy. Spring allergy season can begin as early as February 2, but you're a believer that there's an end date, we’re sorry to inform you that those are basically false hopes. For instance picture this: you’re outside enjoying the beautiful, sunny day you’ve literally waited months for. The sun on your face, a soft breeze at your back, the smell of the first blooms of spring in the air. You hate to come inside, leaving all the beauty behind but it’s approaching darkness…it’s time to step inside. The problem is you don’t leave everything behind. The leading culprit of allergy season, tree pollen, comes along with you, wherever you go. It’s on your clothes, in your hair––it’s simply all over you––even in your eyelashes. Thankfully the means to an end for this problem awaits you right in your bathroom. So before you collapse on the couch or sit down to dinner to reminisce about the beautiful day you’ve just had, strip off your clothes, put them directly into the washing
machine or closed hamper and take yourself in for a shower. Here are a few more very helpful hints to help alleviate your suffering: --Ease irritated eyes by applying baby shampoo to a cotton ball and gently rinsing away the pollen that has collected there. Feel free to do it as often as you go in and out. --Start your allergy meds 2 weeks before the season starts --Stay away from food and beverages that have histamines if you haven’t taken your meds --Wash all A/C filters that have been collecting dust all winter long. -- Sunglasses help to protect your vulnerable eyes against some of the allergy attackers just waiting to move in and start you tearing, itching and running. Most of all remember that a quick conversation at your local pharmacy can lead you right to the best protection available for your particular condition. There are enough preparations at your fingertips that offer remedies that can effectively ease and reduce symptomology. Come see your local pharmacist and feel better about spring! Until next week…
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Investigators Search for South Ozone Park Burglar
Howard Beach Man Arrested After He Pulls Shotgun On Business Partner
Cops eventually cuffed the suspect outside his 158th Avenue home.
By Patricia Adams & Michael Cusenza
City Police Department detectives recently released a notice regarding an unidentified man who is still wanted in connection with a burglary last month in South Ozone Park. According to 106th Precinct investigators, on March 29, around 4:30 a.m., the suspect broke into a garage located at 135-
06 Foch Blvd.Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Angela Diorio at (718) 845-2261 or Detective Borough Queens South at (718) 969-5005. “Please help us identify this subject,” Capt. Brian Bohannon, precinct commander, wrote on Twitter last Wednesday morning.
A man toting a shotgun on a Howard Beach street led to a series of dramatic moments on Wednesday that ultimately ended with the perpetrator in cuffs and the backseat of a police cruiser. The suspect and his business partner were allegedly engaged in a dispute over money inside the suspect’s apartment on 158th Avenue between 101st and 102nd streets. The altercation spilled outside onto the sidewalk around 11:20 a.m., with the perpetrator allegedly gripping a shotgun – directly across
Forum Photo by Patricia Adams
the street from Ave Maria Catholic Academy. The man retreated inside his residence just as school officials issued directives to lock down AMCA. Officers from the 106th Precinct also sealed off a four-block perimeter around the suspect’s house. Emergency Service Unit officers spoke to the suspect from behind ballistic riot shields. He eventually emerged from the house with his hands raised and was peacefully placed under arrest. Police officials spoke to the suspect at length before putting him in a patrol car. No injuries were reported.
Stay Safe When Landscaping By Forum Staff Landscaping is typically viewed as a chore by homeowners, many of who enjoy doing some work on their lawns and gardens. But only few homeowners may recognize the potential dangers of lawn maintenance. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 230,000 people per year are treated for various injuries resulting from lawn and garden tools. Common injuries include loss of fingers, lacerations, broken and dislocated bones, eye injuries, and burns. Many of these injuries are entirely preventable if homeowners prioritize safety when tending to their lawns and gardens. Understand the equipment Homeowners should not assume they know how to use all of the tools necessary to maintain lush lawns and bountiful gardens. Familiarize yourself with the proper operation of manual and motorized equipment by reading the owner’s manual thoroughly, making special note of recommended safety guidelines. Take some time to locate
Read manuals, wear protective equipment and be safe when doing lawn and garden work.
the power buttons and other parts by comparing them to illustrations in the guide. Once you feel comfortable handling the equipment, then you can begin to use it. Wear appropriate protective gear Failure to wear protective gear can lead to injury. Personal protective equipment includes gloves, eye protection, ear protection, boots, and a hard
hat if necessary. When working during visibility conditions or at night, wear a reflective vest. Other protective items include a hat to shade your eyes from the sun’s rays. Sunscreen will protect the skin from UVA and UVB radiation. Long pants and sleeves can guard against flying debris. Watch your surroundings Thousands of injuries occur to children and pets who get hurt around mowers. It’s best if
children and pets remain indoors when homeowners are mowing or using other power equipment that may kick up debris. Children under the age of 12 may not have the strength or ability to operate lawn tools. Also, never make a game of riding a child on a riding mower. Nobody under the age of 16 should operate riding lawn mowers. Get approval before digging It’s difficult to know what
is beneath the ground without having a property surveyed and marked. Digging without approval can result in damage to gas lines or water/sewer pipes. Always check with the utility company before digging trenches or holes. Unplug or turn off all equipment When not in use, keep lawn equipment off. Do not try to repair or fix a snag or obstruction in equipment while it is on. Don’t modify the equipment in any way, such as removing protective guards. Exercise caution with chemicals Follow manufacturers’ safety instructions when using pesticides or fertilizers. Avoid application on windy days or right before a rainstorm, as this can spread the product and damage the ecosystem. Keep people and pets away from treated areas. Maintaining the yard is both a necessity and a hobby. Homeowners who prioritize safety can greatly reduce their risk of injury.
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 16 • Number 15 APRIL 13 2017 | 13
Legendary Comedian and Borough Native Don Rickles Dies at 90 By Michael V. Cusenza Legendary acerbic entertainer and Jackson Heights native Don Rickles died last Thursday in Los Angeles of end-stage renal disease. He was 90 years old. “One of the bravest, funniest, and sweetest guys that ever performed,” tweeted Brooklyn-born funnyman Mel Brooks. “A dear pal that we will all sorely miss.” According to the Internet Movie Database, Rickles’ career spanned more than 60 years, including 85 credits as an actor and top stand-up comic. Affectionately known as “Mr. Warmth” and “The Merchant of Venom,” Rickles’ trademark was his deft ability to at once insult and incite laughter. Don Rickles was born in New York City on May 8, 1926. An only child, he grew up in Jackson Heights on 32nd Avenue and attended PS 148 and later graduated from Newtown High School. “What I remember most about Jackson Heights is that I left,” Rickles told the Wall Street Journal in 2015. “The neighborhood was dear to me when I was growing up. My parents were very active in the synagogue two blocks away, and I was in every activity there as a young man, including shows and the Boy Scouts.” According to Rickles’ official website, after earning his high school diploma, Rickles enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served for two years during World War II on the USS Cyrene as a seaman first class. He was honorably discharged in 1946, and moved on study at and graduate
sult” comedian because he would respond to his hecklers in kind. “In school, I wasn’t a wiseguy. I had the same attitude that I have on stage today,” Rickles said in the Journal piece. “My personality is such that I’m never hurtful and I can get away with being a smart aleck. People just need to know up front that your intent isn’t personal.” Rickles, according to his site, considered his stand-up performance at President Ronald Reagan’s Second Inaugural Ball in 1985 “the highlight of his career.” Rickles, in his signature style, lobbed insults at Reagan, Vice President Bush and many other national dignitaries at the televised gala. Two lauded theatrical roles marked the latter part of Rickles acting career. In 1995, he played “Billy Sherbert” opposite Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese’s classic Vegas gangster flick, “Casino.” And, beginning in ’95, Rickles voiced Mr. Potato Head in each installment of the “Toy Story” series. “What he had was more precious, and perhaps more difficult to come by. He had himself. He was totally Rickles,” New York-native Billy Crystal wrote in Variety after hearing of Rickles’ death. “There was no one like him. He could insult anyone with hilarious unscripted jokes that, Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Gary Dunaier if examined, would unfold like rare flowers. People actuRickles was known as “Mr. Warmth” and “The Merchant of Venom.” ally looked forward to being insulted by him. It became from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Unable a huge compliment, and you felt insulted if he didn’t into get a significant amount of acting work, Rickles began sult you. And what makes it more amazing was that he doing stand-up comedy. He became known as an “in- worked clean. No easy crutch for Don. No F bombs, no nasty words. Just pure funny.”
City Announces New Legislation to Combat Predatory Financial Practices in Used Car Industry By Michael V. Cusenza The de Blasio administration and City Council recently detailed legislation to combat predatory practices in the used car industry. The bill would require used car dealerships to post a Consumer Bill of Rights and disclose information about financing and pricing, provide all required notices to the consumer be in whatever language used to negotiate the contract, and provide consumers with the option to cancel their contract within two days of the sale. Photo Courtesy of Google “For many New Yorkers having access to a car is a vital part of DCA Commissioner Salas said the legislation “creates an additional layer of protection for these consumers, specifically those in low-income neighborhoods who have been disproportionally affected by these predatory practices.” their economic stability,” said City Department of Consumer Affairs chasing a car.” The price of each additional connection with used cars. The Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “This The proposed legislation good, accessory, service, product, top five ZIP codes by number legislation creates an additional would require used car dealer- or insurance offered for sale with of complaints received are all in layer of protection for these con- ships to disclose the following to the automobile; and Brooklyn with the exception of sumers, specifically those in low- consumers: The total cost and monthly Ridgewood in Queens. The comincome neighborhoods who have The lowest annual percentage payments, including financing, to plaints range from instances of been disproportionally affected rate offered by a finance company purchase the car with each addi- forgery on contracts to a lack of by these predatory practices. By to the consumer; tional item included, without any material disclosures by dealerrequiring that used car dealerships Any charge imposed by the items included, and with all items ship staff and are concentrated in must offer additional disclosures dealership for arranging financing, included. boroughs outside of Manhattan such as a consumer bill of rights, including mark-up charges and According to DCA, from Oc- where most of DCA’s licensees are we can better ensure that hard- processing fees; tober 2013 through March 2017, located and customers are more working New Yorkers are operatA statement that the consumer the agency received 826 com- likely to rely on automobiles for ing within a fair and transparent is not required to obtain financing plaints from consumers related transportation. marketplace when it comes to pur- through the dealership; to purchase or payment issues in According to the City, the leg14 APRIL 13, 2017 • Number 15 VOL. 16 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP
islation aims to tackle common deceptive and predatory practices engaged in by used car dealers, including: Deceiving consumers into loans with longer-than-necessary repayment terms, making the car much more expensive for the consumer; Deceiving consumers into agreeing to purchase a car with expensive “add-on” products that are often misrepresented as “mandatory” for obtaining financing; Misstating disclosed monthly payment amounts to make the car appear cheaper; and Failing to disclose dealer markups of lender financing rates, total interest rate, and the total amount a consumer will pay for a car over the life of a loan. The legislation comes on the heels of a DCA investigation of Major World, a large network of used-car dealerships in Long Island City. Consumer Affairs’ complaint document alleges “numerous violations and wide-ranging consumer harm,” and seeks more than $2 million in consumer restitution and fines; the department is also seeking revocation of the company’s three DCA secondhand auto dealer licenses.
Legislation to Restore Long Island Sound Passes Senate Committee By Forum Staff The bipartisan Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Act has unanimously passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and is now headed to the full Senate for a vote, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) recently announced. The legislation, sponsored by Gillibrand, would combine two complementary water quality and shore restoration program authorizations at their previous authorization levels of $40 million and $25 million per year, respectively, through Fiscal Year 2023. The legislation would also support various projects to upgrade wastewater facilities, wetland protection and restoration, and non-point source pollution control to further protect and restore the Sound and watershed. In 1985, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in an agreement with New York and Connecticut, created the Long Island Sound Study, an office under the EPA charged with advancing efforts to restore the sound and address low oxygen levels and nitrogen levels that have depleted fish and shellfish populations as well as hurt shoreline wetlands. In 1990, the Long Island Sound Improvement Act passed, providing federal dollars to advance Sound cleanup
Courtesy of the Department of Environmental Conservation
The Long Island Sound is located between Long Island and Connecticut.
projects, including wastewater treatment improvements. In 2006, Congress passed the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act, which provided federal dollars for projects to restore the coastal habitat to help revitalize the wildlife population and coastal wetlands and plant life. Since then, for every $1 appropriated, the LISS has leveraged $87 from other federal, state, local, and private funding sources, totaling more than $3.8 billion. The funding
has enabled programs to significantly reduce the amount of nitrogen entering the Long Island Sound from sewage treatment plants by 42,000,000 pounds per year as of 2015, compared to the 1990s, and has helped restore at least 1,548 acres and protect 2,580 acres of habitat land. “The Long Island Sound is one of our most important natural treasures, and is a vital economic anchor that supports thousands of local jobs,” Gillibrand said. “Maintaining
these authorization levels would help protect the long-term health of the Sound and help promote economic development in the area. Now that this legislation is heading to the full Senate for a vote, I am urging my colleagues to pass this legislation to build on the ongoing efforts to restore the Sound for generations to come.” According to Gillibrand, the L.I. Sound borders New York and Connecticut, with 9 million people living on the coast and 24 million people living within 50 miles of the coast. Although decades of high levels of development, pollution, dumping of dredged materials, and releases of untreated sewage have severely hurt the Sound’s water quality, the Sound’s economic contribution, including from sport and commercial fishing, boating, recreation, and tourism is estimated to be between $17 billion and $37 billion annually. “The Long Island Sound is a natural treasure and an economic engine for the whole region that draws families, boaters, tourists and anglers to our shores. This legislation will make sure we have the federal funds necessary to help restore and protect the beaches and waters in and around the Long Island Sound for current and future generations,” added Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.
Trump Administration’s ‘attacks on Consumer Protections will Hurt New Yorkers’: Stringer By Forum Staff City Comptroller Scott Stringer last week released a report that he says outlines how the efforts of the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will harm consumers across New York City — making them more vulnerable to financial abuse perpetrated by various financial institutions, including consumer banks, student loan servicers, and credit card companies. According to Stringer, the White House recently signaled its intentions after the Justice Department declined to support the CFPB, which was established by the DoddFrank bill after the 2008 financial crisis as the only federal agency that serves as a watchdog for consumers purchasing financial products and services, in a case challenging the agency’s structure and independence. The Justice Department, along with congressional Republicans, Stringer said, argue that the president should be able to remove the agency’s independent director at will, a move which would potentially compromise the CFPB’s independence from partisan politics and the influence of large corporations. “The CFPB stands up for Main Street Americans – it’s like a cop on the beat protecting consumers,” Stringer said. “Since 2008, the CFPB has helped more than
like mortgages, student loans, credit cards, checking accounts, or credit reports. The CFPB works directly with financial companies to resolve consumers’ concerns and records the outcome of cases in a public database of consumer complaints. Often, the CFPB is able to facilitate resolutions including monetary compensation or restitution for the consumer. Coupled with addressing consumer complaints, the agency supervises certain consumer lenders (including both traditional banks and non-banks), enforces violations of consumer finance laws, and issues new rules and regulations. “In reversing course and opposing the CFPB, President Trump’s Justice Department is siding with large corporations who want to ignore the voices of consumers,” Stringer added. “The CFPB’s record of proPhoto Courtesy of the City Comptroller’s Office tecting New York consumers argues strongComptroller Stringer has railed against many Trump administration policies, including lately tax reform and ly for its preservation.” consumer protections. According to Stringer’s report, New 23,000 New Yorkers get a fair shake when explores the more than 23,700 complaints York consumers have sought help from pressing their complaints and concerns that the CFPB has investigated on behalf of CFPB on a variety of financial products. against big corporations. If challenges to New Yorkers since December 1, 2011. Com- The majority of New Yorkers who need asthe CFPB’s independence by Congress or plaints were made by residents in: Brook- sistance from the bureau — 21.6 percent the Trump Administration succeed, New lyn (6,774 complaints); Queens (6,493 com- — requested help on matters relating to Yorkers will be left facing unfair, abusive, plaints); Manhattan (6,199 complaints); their mortgages. In addition, other categoand deceptive financial practices with- Bronx (2,728 complaints); and Staten Is- ries with a large number of complaints include credit reporting (19.4 percent), bank out the help of a critical advocate.” land (1,537 complaints). Stringer’s analysis, “CFPB and NYC: According to the comptroller, consum- accounts and services (17.4 percent), credHow the Consumer Financial Protection Bu- ers can enlist the CFPB’s help in resolving it cards (17.3 percent), and debt collection reau Empowers and Protects New Yorkers,” issues around common financial products (16.8 percent). THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 16 • Number 15 APRIL 13 2017 | 15
Cuomo Hails Budget for Advancing Middle Class Recovery Act—Address Jobs, Homelessness, Education By Michael V. Cusenza Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced the passage of the Fiscal Year 2018 State Budget – a $153.1 billion spending plan that, according to Cuomo, builds on New York’s fiscal discipline over the last six years while strengthening the middle class, reducing taxes, and making smart investments in the state’s future. “With this budget, New York is once again leading the nation and showing what responsible government can achieve. The result is a budget that advances the core progressive principles that built New York: investing in the middle class, strengthening the economy and creating opportunity for all,” the governor said. “This Budget continues the progress we have achieved to improve the lives of New Yorkers, and build a stronger, better Empire State that truly lives up to its motto: Excelsior.” Highlights of the budget include: • Increases Education Aid by $1.1 billion, including a $700 million increase in Foundation Aid, bringing the new Education Aid total to $25.8 billion or an increase of 4.4 percent. • Extends tax rate on millionaires, preserving as much as $4.5 billion in annual revenue – 45,000 taxpayers impacted, 50 percent nonresidents. • Begins Middle Class Tax Cut – saving taxpayers $250 on average next year, and 6 million New Yorkers $700 annually when fully effective. • Invests $163 million to make college tuition free for middle-class families at SUNY and CUNY, and an additional $8 million to increase access to e-books statewide.
Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Governor
Gov. Cuomo, flanked by State Budget Director Robert Mujica (l.) and Counsel to the Governor Alphonso David, announced that the 2018 State Budget had been passed last Thursday.
• Supports New York’s middle-class families by doubling New York State Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. • Raises the age of criminal responsibility so that 16- and 17-year-olds are no longer prosecuted as adults. • Supports and expands New York’s $100 billion infrastructure program. • Delivers $2.5 billion in funding to advance the creation or preservation of 100,000 affordable and 6,000 supportive housing units. • Invests $2.5 billion in the Clean Water Infrastructure Act. • Includes $70 million for I ❤ New York to promote statewide tourism. According to the administration, the FY 2018 Budget continues funding for the State’s $20 billion comprehensive, five-year plan for affordable and supportive housing to ensure New Yorkers who are homeless or at risk of home-
lessness have safe and secure housing. The budget includes $2.5 billion in funding to advance the creation or preservation of 100,000 affordable and 6,000 supportive housing units. The budget also increases education aid by $1.1 billion, including a $700 million increase in Foundation Aid, and enacts Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship program to make college affordable at SUNY and CUNY two- and fouryear colleges for working- and middle-class families. The program provides free tuition to families making up to $125,000 per year, and nearly 940,000 New York families are eligible for the program. However, under the program, New Yorkers will be required to live and work in-state for the number of years they received the Excelsior Scholarship. “Why should New Yorkers pay for your college education and then you pick up and you move to California?” Cuomo said during a call
with state editorial writers, according to a report in the New York Post. Additionally, this fiscal plan re-establishes a privately controlled board of directors for the New York Racing Association. The new board will have 17 members: the CEO, eight executive committee members, and two individuals each appointed by the governor, the Senate and the Assembly. Breeders and horsemen each will have a member. The proposal also increases oversight by enhancing the powers of the Franchise Oversight Board, which will help safeguard the accomplishments of transitional board. Cuomo also noted that this budget invests $100 billion in major infrastructure projects across the state, including the John F. Kennedy International Airport Transformation, which earmarks $564 million to reconfigure the Grand Central/Van Wyck interchange and the Van Wyck itself, saving motorists a combined travel time of 7.4 million hours annually going to and from JFK, according to the governor. “I am thankful that after a long series of negotiations, the governor and Legislature, have adopted a rather careful spending plan for the 2018 Fiscal Year, which provides services and assistance to the middle class, students, seniors and veterans of our state,” said State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach). “We witnessed the problems that occur when an increasing number of non-fiscal policy issues are included in the budget. The budget also extends the Cross Bay Bridge reimbursement for Rockaway and Broad Channel residents, and improves tax relief programs, such as STAR, helping thousands of New Yorkers save money around tax time.”
Queens Residents Speak out Against Illegal Basement Apartments
By Michael V. Cusenza
Widespread legalization of basement apartments apparently remains on the table as an option for the City as it continues to explore ways to create and/or secure affordable housing. And many borough communities remain staunchly opposed to underground residences. “A number of Queens civics and I are speaking out against the illegal conversion of basements into unsafe living areas,” State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), a 2017 mayoral candidate, said recently. In 2014, four months into his tenure, MayCourtesy of Sen. Avella’s Office or Bill de Blasio unveiled Housing New York – “A number of Queens civics and I are speaking out against the illegal conversion ofPhoto basements into unsafe living an ambitious 10-year, five-borough, $41 billion areas,” Sen. Tony Avella said last week. plan to build and preserve 200,000 affordable apartments. income New Yorkers; doubling the Depart“We worked hard to keep the zoning the Considered one of the pillars of de Blasio’s ment of Housing Preservation and Develop- way it is, to keep the character the way it is,” said progressive vision for the city, HNY outlined ment’s capital funding for affordable housing; Martin Colberg of the Woodhaven Residents’ more than 50 initiatives that that the adminis- spurring development of small, vacant sites; Block Association. “Just shoving people into a tration has said will accelerate affordable con- stemming the tide of rent deregulation and basement or attic is not the answer.” struction, protect tenants and deliver more protecting tenants; and expanding affordable According to Avella, the de Blasio adminvalue from affordable housing investments, in- and supportive housing for seniors. istration is still contemplating basement dwellcluding: Implementing mandatory inclusionSome borough civic leaders immediately ings as a legitimate initiative to advance the ary zoning; increasing the number of homes expressed concerns regarding HNY initiatives, Housing New York agenda. for the lowest income New Yorkers; launching including how it might involve green-lighting Last year, the Citizens Housing & Plana new affordable housing program for middle- basement and attic apartments. ning Council, a nonpartisan policy research 16 APRIL 13, 2017 • Number 15 VOL. 16 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP
organization in the city focusing on housing, planning, and economic development issues, released “Hidden Housing: The Case for a Conversion Program for Basement Apartments in NYC,” bolstering the administration’s underground vision. The 64-page analysis noted that there are between 10,000 and 38,000 potential apartments in the basements of existing small homes “that could be brought into safe and legal use in New York City without even changing the Zoning Resolution.” “Basement conversions bring rental units to the market without having to acquire land. They add apartments without altering the size or shape of the building. They inherently rent for less than a similar apartment. Homeowners can pay a mortgage, maintain the property, or pay other household expenses with the rent earned on the secondary unit. Basement apartments offer housing options to underserved groups like extended families and new immigrants,” the Council wrote in the “Hidden Housing” report. “A program facilitating safe and legal basement conversions would also address the urgent health and safety concerns connected with illegal occupancy, which occurs far too frequently because the demand for housing is so high.”
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Legal Notices Notice of Formation of LM Brooklyn Property LLC, Art. of Org. filed with Sec’y of State (SSNY) on 10/1/15. 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 c/o Leonard Murgatroyd, 53-26 65th Pl., Maspeth, NY 11378. Purpose: any lawful activities. ONE SIXTEEN O EIGHT, LLC. Art. of Org. were filed with Sec’y of State (SSNY) on 02/22/17, 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: 116-08 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica, NY, 11434 .Purpose: any lawful purpose. Notice of Formation of THE DOUGLASTON COMPANIES I LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 03/28/17. Office location: Queens County. Princ. office of LLC: Douglaston Development, 42-09 235th St., 2nd Fl., Douglaston, NY 11363. 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. 6741 MYRTLE AVENUE LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 03/16/17. 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, 53-91 66th Street, Maspeth, NY 11378. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.
Notice is hereby given that an order entered by the civil court, Queens county, on the 6 day of April, 2017, bearing Index Number NC-001164-16/QU, a copy of which may be examined at the office of the clerk, located at 89-17 Sutphin Boulevard, Jamaica, NY, 11435, grants me the right to assume the name of (first) VIDYA(middle) SRINIVASAN(last) WELIWITIGODA. The city and state of my address are 9915 67TH ROAD, APT#51, Notice of Formation of Limited Liability Forest Hills, NY 11375-3023; the date of Company. Name: EVA’S KITCHEN, LLC. Art. my birth is January 16, 1988; place of my of Org. were filed with Sec’y of State (SSNY) birth is Southfield, MI; my present name is on 03/15/17, Office location: Queens County. (first) SRIVIDYA (last) SRINIVASAN aka SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom SRIVIDYA WELIWITIGODA. Notice of Formation of 101 REALTY HOLDING LLC Art. of Org. were filed with Sec’y of State (SSNY) on 03/18/17, 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 101 REALTY HOLDING LLC, 83-03 101ST AVENUE, OZONE PARK, NY, 11416 .Purpose: For any lawful purpose.
process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to the LLC, 21-57 24TH STREET, ASTORIA, NY 11105.Purpose: For any lawful purpose. VILANOVA LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 3/7/17. Office in Queens Co. SSNY design. Agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to The LLC 28-42 37th St Astoria, NY 11103. Purpose: Any lawful activity.
ARTHUR GRIFFITH LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 3/8/17. Office in Queens Co. SSNY design. Agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to ARTHUR GRIFFITH LLC, 93-17 208 STREET, QUEENS VILLAGE, NY 11428. Purpose: Any lawful activity.
Notice of Formation of Layer New York, LLC. Articles of Org. filed with the Secretary of State of NY (SSNY) on 1/9/2017. Office location is Queens County. SSNY is designated as agent upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to Bo Liu, 107-12 90th Street, Ozone Park, NY 11417. Purpose: any lawful activity.
Notice of Formation of Limited Liability Company. Name: A&R TRANSPORTING, LLC. Art. of Org. were filed with Sec’y of State (SSNY) on 03/17/17, 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, UNITED STATES CORPORATION AGENTS, INC. 7014 13TH AVENUE, SUITE 202, BROOKLYN, NY, 11228.Purpose: For any lawful purpose.
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Amato Brokerages, LLC, Arts of Org. filed with Sec. of State of NY (SSNY) on 1/26/17. Cty: Queens. SSNY desig. as agent upon whom process against may be served & shall mail process to 13320 85th St., Ozone Park, NY 11417. General Purpose.
Liquid Bread Rockaway Beach LLC, Arts of Org. filed with Sec. of State of NY (SSNY) on 12/5/16. Cty: Queens. SSNY desig. as agent upon whom process against may be served & shall mail process to 101-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Beach, NY 11694. General Purpose.
RRMS CAPITAL LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 10/05/2016. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: Rajesh Shah, 81-11 45th Ave., Apt. 6D, Elmhurst, NY 11373. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.
Notice of Formation of Horizon 31J, LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 12/23/16. 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 The LLC, 193-38 Keno Avenue, Hollis, NY 11423. Purpose: any lawful activity.
Notice of Formation of 533 MAIN STREET LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 02/06/17. Office location: Queens County. Princ. office of LLC: 30-56 Whitestone Expwy., Whitestone, NY 11354. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to the LLC at the princ. office of the LLC. Purpose: Any lawful activity.
Notice of Formation of Chestnut Apartments, LLC, Art. of Org. filed with Sec’y of State (SSNY) 11/28/16. Off. loc.: Queens Co. SSNY desig. as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of proc. to Cortisidis & Lambros, 46 Trinity Pl., NY, NY 10006. Reg. Agt. upon whom proc. may be served is Zannis Angelidakis, 152-53 10th Ave., Whitestone, NY 11357. Purp.: any lawful activities.
Tax Service A1 LLC, Arts of Org. filed with Sec. of State of NY (SSNY) on 10/22/15. County: Queens. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against may be served & shall mail process to The LLC, 10304 39th Ave., Fl. 2, Ste. 102, Corona, NY 11368. General Purpose.
6626 Grand Ave LLC, Arts of Org. filed with Sec. of State of NY (SSNY) on 2/3/17. Cty: Queens. SSNY desig. as agent upon whom process against may be served & shall mail process to 59-41 72nd St., Maspeth, NY 11378. General Purpose.
Notice of Formation: SIMPLY BETTER 236, LLC Arts of Org filed with Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) 9/27/2016. Office in Queens Co. SSNY desig. agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served & shall mail process to the UNITED STATES CORPORATION AGENTS, INC. 7014 13TH AVENUE, BROOKLYN, NY 11228. Purpose: General Notice of Formation of USA KING LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 02/06/17. 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, 172-39 HIGHLAND AVENUE 4H, JAMAICA ESTATES, NY, 11432. Purpose: any lawful activities. Element Services LLC, Arts of Org. filed with Sec. of State of NY (SSNY) on 10/7/16. County: Queens. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against may be served & shall mail process to The LLC, 37-57 85th St., Jackson Heights, NY 11372. General Purpose. TOP END INVESTORS LLC Arts of Org. filed with Sec. of State of NY (SSNY) on 11/23/16. Cty: Queens. SSNY desig. as agent upon whom process against may be served & shall mail process to 146-B FERRY STREET SUITE #1034, NEWARK, NJ, 07105. General Purpose. Notice of Formation of SNOWY ROSY LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 12/08/2016. 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 7025 YELLOWSTONE BLVD. #24N, FOREST HILLS, NY 11375. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose. Notice of Formation of NQA FOODS LLC LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 01/23/17. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to LEGALINC CORPORATE SERVICE INC., 1967 WEHRLE DRIVE, SUITE 1 #086, Buffalo, NY,14221 Purpose: Any lawful activity.
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Notice of Formation: SIMPLY BETTER 236, LLC Arts of Org filed with Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) 9/27/2016. Office in Queens Co. SSNY desig. agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served & shall mail process to the UNITED STATES CORPORATION AGENTS, INC. 7014 13TH AVENUE, BROOKLYN, NY 11228. Purpose: General
25-19 18TH STREET LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 10/28/2016. Office in Queens Co. SSNY desig. agent of LLC whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to 25-19 18th St., Astoria, NY 11102. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.
Real Physical Therapy PLLC. Art. of Org. filed w/ SSNY 2/21/17. Office in Queens Co. SSNY designated for service of process and shall mail to: 17-52 Francis Lewis Blvd, Whitestone, NY 11357 Purpose: Physical Therapy
45-15 25TH AVE LLC, Arts. of Org.
32-55, LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 04/02/12. Amended to 34-35 100 STREET, LLC on 04/11/12. 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, 522 Alicia Drive, Westbury, NY 11590. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.
filed with the SSNY on 01/11/2017. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: Marco Vicari, 45-11 25th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11103. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.
Notice is hereby given that an order entered by the civil court, Queens county, on the 31 day of March, 2017, bearing Index Number NC-001215-16/QU, a copy of which may be examined at the office of the clerk, located at 89-17 Sutphin Boulevard, Jamaica, NY, 11435, grants me the right to assume the name of SABRINA LEE RUDDOCK. The city and state of my address are 87-27 129th Street, Richmond Hill, NY 11418-2728; the date of my birth is May 1, 2005; place of my birth is Manhattan, New York; my present name is (first) SABRANA (middle) LEE (last) GREEN aka (first) SIBRANA (middle) LEE (last) RUDDOCK (infant). NOTICE OF FORMATION of limited liability company (LLC). Name: 8MDR OF QUEENS REAL ESTATE MANAGEMENT, LLC. Articles of Organization filed with Secretary of State of NY (SSNY) on 12/19/2016. 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 158-13 72ND AVENUE, FLUSHING, NY 11365. Purpose: any lawful purpose. YAK SIPPIN ENTERTAINMENT LLC App for Auth filed with SSNY on 12/28/16. 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: DAMIEN HAYES, 176-09 129TH AVENUE, JAMICA, NY 11434. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.
18 APRIL 13, 2017 • Number 15 VOL. 16 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP
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TERRAFORM ARCHITECTURE PLLC, a Prof. LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 02/27/2017. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 32-24 212th Street, Bayside, NY 11631. Purpose: To Practice The Profession Of Architect. Notice of formation of DAMO IN NY LLC. Arts. of Org., filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 02/09/17. Office location: Queens County. SSNY is designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to JUNE NOH, 25 06 120TH STREET, FLUSHING, NY, 11354. Purpose: any lawful purpose.
Notice of Formation of EMILY KLOPPENBURG STUDIO LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 03/09/17. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: Emily Kloppenburg, 4106 50th St., #6K, Woodside, NY 11377. Purpose: any lawful activities.
501 Seneca Qiu LLC. Filed 2/1/17. Of7527 Holding LLC, Arts of Org. filed with fice: Queens Co. SSNY designated as agent for Sec. of State of NY (SSNY) on 2/13/17. Cty: process & shall mail to: 2032 Greene Ave Fl 3, Queens. SSNY desig. as agent upon whom proRidgewood, NY 11385. Purpose: Genera cess against may be served & shall mail process to 75-27 182nd St., Flushing, NY 11366. General Purpose.
Higher Education Access Path, LLC. Filed 12/9/16. Office: Queens Co. SSNY designated as agent for process & shall mail to: 244SUKHAYU LLC App for Auth filed with 25 130th Ave, Rosedale, NY 11422. Purpose: SSNY on 2/24/17. Off Loc: Queens County, SSNY General. designated as agent of LLC upon whom process Geo 30 LLC. Filed 1/13/16. Office: Queens Co. SSNY designated as agent for process & shall mail to: Andrew D. Greene, P.c., 3000 Marcus Ave Ste 1W11, New Hyde Park, NY 11042. Purpose: General. Rhythmic Learning LLC. Filed 12/5/16. Office: Queens Co. SSNY designated as agent for process & shall mail to: 3458 32nd St Fl 2nd, Long Island City, NY 11106. Purpose: General. Notice is hereby given that license #1300373 has been applied by the undersigned to sell liquor wine and beer under the alcoholic beverage control law at 113-30 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills, NY 11375 for onpremises consumption. R&S Hospitality LLC d/b/a Queens Bully.
against it may be served. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to: SMITA KOSARE, 97-45 QUEENS BLVD 321205, Rego Park, NY, 11374. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.
ECO MO LLC, Arts of Org filed with SSNY on 01/03/17. 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: The LLC, 132-51 41st Rd, Flushing, NY 11355. Purpose: to engage in any lawful act.
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