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VOL. 20 • NUMBER 48 • NOVEMBER 26, 2020

RAW DEAL As One-Year Anniversary of Sewage Flood Disaster Looms, Homeowners’ Lawyers Blast City for ‘Failing to Negotiate in Good Faith’ to Pay for Damage

See Story on Page 2 The collapse of an old pipe installed 32 years ago 40 feet underground along 150th Street near South Conduit Avenue caused an extensive flood of raw sewage that ravaged dozens of South Ozone Park and Jamaica houses on Nov. 30, 2019. File Photo

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 20 • Number 48 • NOVEMBER 26, 2020 | 1

A Year Later, South Queens Residents Still Dealing with Sewage Flood Disaster Issues

Photo Courtesy of Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Mayor Bill de Blasio visited some of the damaged houses after the Nov. 30, 2019 disaster.

By Michael V. Cusenza As the one-year anniversary of the South Queens sewage flood disaster approaches, attorneys for many of the homeowners affected by the incident say the City has failed to negotiate in good faith to pay for the damage incurred in their residences. “Incredulously, the City’s reason for offering less than fair market value on everything that was lost, which had to be replaced and

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The City has confirmed that more than 70 homes in South Ozone Park and Jamaica were affected by flooding.

rebuilt, was that our clients do not all have a complete inventory of lost items with photographs of the items,” said Craig Phemister of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. “The City’s position is abhorrent, given that the City is the one who rushed in to remove all the contaminated items. The City should have been the ones to properly inventory and photograph the removed items before disposing of them.” In a December 2019 Department of Environmental Protection report, the City admit-

ted that the collapse of an old pipe installed 32 years ago 40 feet underground along 150th Street near South Conduit Avenue caused an extensive flood of raw sewage on Nov. 30, 2019 that damaged more than 70 homes in South Ozone Park and Jamaica. The DEP even stated in the analysis that it “accepts responsibility” for the calamity. Napoli Shkolnik has filed a lawsuit “against the City to recover all that was lost and had to be replaced or repaired due to the City’s negli-

gence in installing and maintaining the sewage system in Ozone Park,” Phemister said. “It is imperative that the City take action on this, as they promised they would,” he added. According to the DEP, the “road collapsing due to the subsidence of overburden demonstrates that the 42-inch sewer constructed in 1987 is significantly collapsed, and that any other cause for the November 30th blockage is extremely unlikely.”

Keep SHSAT—with Changes to Make it Accessible to More Students: Addabbo By Forum Staff As the City Department of Education continues to try to figure out how to administer high school admissions for the upcoming year, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) has indicated that he wants to ensure that the Specialized High School Admissions Test remains in place— with some suggested improvements. Addabbo recently noted that he believes that the SHSAT is a good tool to utilize for admission into New York City’s specialized high schools. Currently under State law, a student’s SHSAT score is the only criterion for admission to these schools. He said that he also understands the frustration expressed by many of his constituents as the DOE looks to alter the admissions process as it calls for greater diversity at specialized schools; but Addabbo reiterated that he doesn’t think that eliminating the SHSAT altogether is the right path forward. Addabbo said that one area of concern is the costs associated with the test. Although the SHSAT itself does not require a fee, many of the test preparation courses and books are expensive, which could discourage students from low-income households from taking the exam. Addabbo said that these resources should be made more

File Photos

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza have called for the elimination of the SHSAT.

widely available to all students. “By increasing the availability of the SHSAT, we would allow our brightest students to flourish, improve our specialized high schools and increase the diversity of students who can take the test,” said Addabbo, a member of the Senate Standing Committee on Education. “After that, it is up to the students and their abilities to prove that they can in fact compete for a seat. By combining more widely available and affordable test prep options with adding to the specialized high school admis-

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“By increasing the availability of the SHSAT, we would allow our brightest students to flourish, improve our specialized high schools and increase the diversity of students who can take the test,” Sen. Addabbo said.

sions criteria, I believe we can provide even more students across the city with the educational opportunity to attend these schools.” The senator recalled when Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza met with the members of the Senate Education Committee in Albany on May 1, 2018 and spoke of the SHSAT. Addabbo said that at the time Carranza didn’t suggest an elimination of the SHSAT, but the use of “multiple measures” when evaluating a student for admission to a specialized high school.

Of Carranza’s visit, Addabbo  noted, “I believe that since many smart students are not good test takers or could have a bad experience when taking the SHSAT, measures such attendance, a GPA, extracurricular activities, volunteerism, or a student’s entire body of work could be considered during the admissions process, in addition to the SHSAT score.” Addabbo also noted that Carranza stood by Mayor Bill de Blasio about a month after his visit to Albany and announced plans to eliminate the SHSAT.

City Leaders Blasted for Shuttering Schools

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By Michael V. Cusenza Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza have been roundly ripped for their decision on Nov. 18 to close schools as NYC looks to battle a second COVID-19 attack. “We spent some time confirming it and double checking it, because it is exactly on the number of 3.00 percent. But unfortunately, as of today, on our seven-day rolling average for coronavirus positivity, New York City had exactly 3.0 percent, and, as a result, we do need to close our schools for the coming days,” de Blasio announced last Wednesday. “No one is happy about this decision, we all in-fact are feeling very sad about this decision, because so much good work has been put into keeping the schools open—and opening them up to begin with, let’s start there—opening the schools when almost no other major school system in America opened making them so safe. But we set a very clear standard and we need to stick to that standard, and I want to emphasize to parents, to educators, to staff, to kids that we intend to come back and come back as quickly as possible.” Statements blasting the de Blasio administration’s move to shutter schools poured into The Forum. “As a public school parent, I am angry about the leadership that failed to make it  possible to keep schools safe and open. And while our kids will no longer have access to in-person instruction, people are still dining indoors, going to gyms, and working in non-essential offices. This does not pass the common sense test,” City Comptroller Scott Stringer said. “Thousands of families, including mine, will continue to muddle our

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way through this school year, and Elyse and I are enormously grateful to the boys’ teachers and their colleagues throughout the city.” Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York Executive Director Jennifer March said, “As news rolls out today about a system-wide shutdown of New York City schools  starting Thursday, CCC remains deeply concerned about the health and social-emotional well-being of our City’s students during this time, as well as the quality of remote learning they will receive.  School  closures  disrupt the lives of children and the capacity of parents to work, and have a particularly devastating impact on the most vulnerable populations of students, such as students with special needs, students living in temporary housing, and English-language learners. These challenges are compounded by the fact that many households across New York City still lack remote learning devices, access to WiFi, cellular data service, or adequate technological support needed for successful remote engagement.” State Sen. Brian Benjamin (D-Manhattan), also a candidate for City Comptroller, added, “This abrupt decision will put unnecessary stress on working families and students in schools that have low positivity rates in geographic areas with low positivity rates. These schools should have remained open. Once the schools are closed, New York City parents deserve a clear reopening plan with transparent criteria, which includes aggressive testing and appropriate protocols to ensure that schools will remain safe. Also, the State and City need to have the same methodology for determining positivity rates to reduce confusion to parents and the broader community.”

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BENEFITS OF WATER Dehydration is a dangerous condition that can cause a host of complications and even prove fatal in severe cases. But as dangerous as dehydration can be, many cases are entirely preventable. The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink enough water. When the body does not take in as much water as it puts out, it can become dehydrated. People who live in warm climates or in elevated altitudes may lose more water than those who do not. In addition, water loss is accelerated during strenuous exercise, highlighting the emphasis men and women must place on drinking enough water during their workouts. But water does more for the body than prevent dehydration. The following are a handful of lesser known ways that water benefits the body. • Water can help people maintain healthy weights. Dieting fads come and go, but water is a mainstay for people who want to control their caloric intake in an effort to maintain healthy weights. Water has zero calories, so reaching for a bottle or glass of water instead of a soda, lemonade or another caloric beverage can help people keep the pounds off. A study from researchers at the University of Texas Health

Science Center found that even diet soda enhances weight gain by as much as 41 percent. In addition, soda has been linked to conditions such as obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. No such association exists with water. • Water helps to fight fatigue. The fatigue-fighting properties of water are another of its lesser known benefits. When the body is not adequately hydrated, it can experience muscle soreness. And fitness enthusiasts who do not drink enough water may notice their bodies require extensive recovery time after working out. Each of those consequences can be prevented by drinking enough water, and doing so can even improve performance, as studies have shown that just a 3 percent loss of body weight due to dehydration can cause as much as a 10 percent drop in performance level. • Water can improve the appearance of the skin. Skin that does not get enough water can turn dry and flaky and feel tight. In addition, dry skin is more likely to wrinkle than adequately hydrated skin. Getting water to the skin can be tricky, as the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health notes that water will reach all the other

organs of the body before it reaches the skin. But the school recommends applying a hydrating moisturizer within two minutes of leaving the bath or shower and drinking at least eight glasses of water a day to ensure the skin is getting enough water. • Water helps the gastrointestinal tract. Water can help maintain normal bowel function. When the body lacks sufficient fluid, the colon will pull water from stools

in an effort to stay hydrated. That can lead to constipation, a condition in which people experience difficulty emptying their bowels. By drinking enough water, people can ensure their colon will not have to pull water from stools to stay hydrated, thereby helping them stay regular. Water helps the body in myriad ways, many of which might surprise people unaware of just how valuable water can be to the body.

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Overdoses Spike across NY during Pandemic: Pol

File Photo

The COVID-19 crisis has interrupted traditional care services and many mental health and addiction support providers, which were overburdened before the pandemic, are facing financial strain and at risk of shutting their doors.

By Forum Staff U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) recently urged Senate leadership to include robust funding for substance use disorder and mental health care services in the next coronavirus relief package. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Gillibrand called for robust emergency funds for providers of mental health and addiction treatment services to maintain operations, and ensure stability for the duration of the economic and public health crisis. According to Gillibrand, social isolation, increased financial stress, loss of work, lack of structured time, and daily stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic have exacerbated mental health issues and substance use disorders and caused overdoses across the country to nearly double. Now, the emotional strains and stress of the holidays threaten to compound this crisis. In Albany and Rensselaer Counties, overdose deaths have increased by more than 40 percent compared to last year. In Erie County, the number of overdose deaths increased by 77 percent compared to 2019; and in Onondaga County there were twice as many opioid deaths in the first half of 2020 as there were in the first half of 2019, the senator noted. Additionally, the COVID-19 crisis has interrupted traditional care services and many mental health and addiction support providers, which were overburdened before the pandemic, are facing financial strain and at risk of shutting their doors, Gillibrand said. In New York, community behavioral health organizations may have to close within the next few months with-

out financial assistance and providers have had to make tough decisions with limited resources, including payroll cuts and rationing life-saving supplies. Supplemental emergency funding in the next legislative package is critical for these providers to maintain operations, ensure stability, and continue serving their communities for the duration of the crisis. Advocates, including the National Council for Behavioral Health, estimate nearly $40 billion in emergency funds is needed for providers of mental health and addiction treatment services, Gillibrand added. Earlier this year, Gillibrand introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Family Support Services Act  to create a $25 million grant program over five years to help nonprofits and community organizations provide support services to families with loved ones seeking addiction treatment. The legislation was recently passed in the House of Representatives. “For many families the emotional strains and stress of the holidays are compounded when a loved one suffers from mental health and substance use disorders. And, as the pandemic has exacerbated our country’s addiction crisis, individuals and their families are in even greater need of resources to keep themselves and their loved ones safe,� Gillibrand said.  “Many mental health care and substance use disorder support services are faced with the heavy burden of helping Americans in need with limited resources. Shoring up these programs with robust funding, and the passage of my bipartisan Family Support Services for Addiction Act,  would ensure that nonprofits and organizations supporting those recovering from substance use and their families can keep their doors open.�

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During the COVID_19 crisis we are offering virtual learning sessions to help students throough the difficult navigation of online learning offered through schools.              Please call for information and rates.         Thank you.  Saty home. Stay safe. THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 20 • Number 48 • NOVEMBER 26, 2020 | 5

Federal Jury Convicts Virginia Man in South Jamaica Shooting

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York

The gun Alonzo Shipp used in the July 2018 shooting in South Jamaica.

By Forum Staff After deliberating for just 30 minutes, a federal jury in Brooklyn recently returned a guilty verdict against a Virginia man for a 2018 shooting in South Jamaica that saw the victim survive, prosecutors announced. Alonzo Shipp, 33, was officially convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammuni-

tion in connection with the incident. According to prosecutors, the evidence at trial established that in the early morning hours of July 20, 2018, Shipp, also known as “Pump,” shot the victim in the abdomen. The victim collapsed two blocks away and called 911. Shipp followed the victim and stood over him, holding his gun as the victim begged for his life. While

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York

According to prosecutors, the evidence at trial established that Shipp, also known as “Pump,” shot the victim in the abdomen.

on the line with the 911 operator, the victim spoke directly to Shipp, stating: “I don’t want to die, Pump. Please, I don’t want to die, Pump.” Shipp’s gun jammed, and he fled tossing the gun in a dumpster. Later that morning, a civilian found the gun and contacted the NYPD. Police officers recovered the gun, and NYPD ballistics examiners determined that a shell casing found where the victim was shot was

consistent with being fired from the gun found in the dumpster. A search of Shipp’s Facebook account revealed a message in which he admitted to a friend that he was on the run because of the shooting at the location where the victim was found. “A convicted felon armed with a gun is a fraught combination that oftentimes results in someone getting shot and that is precisely what

happened in this case,” said Acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme. “Today’s verdict is yet another reminder as to why this Office remains focused on prosecuting violent armed offenders who seem to think that they can shoot victims on our streets with impunity.” When sentenced, Shipp faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment on each count.

DA, Defense File Joint Motion to Release Man Incarcerated for 26 Years for Murder he Didn’t Commit By Forum Staff Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz has filed a joint motion with defense counsel to vacate the murder conviction of a man who has been incarcerated for nearly 26 years for a 1994 homicide in the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City, Katz announced Thursday. The motion is based on newly discovered witnesses and the results of agreed-upon DNA analysis which contradict “significant aspects” of the evidence used during trial testimony to convict Ernest “Jaythan” Kendrick. The new DNA testing—which was not available in 1995—revealed that the victim’s DNA was not found on or inside a black purse that was recovered in Kendrick’s apartment and believed to have belonged to the victim. According to court records, on Nov. 30, 1994, a 70-year-old woman was stabbed twice in the back by someone trying to steal her purse on the grounds of the Ravenswood Houses. Witnesses heard the victim, Josephine Sanchez, scream and looked out their windows. A 10-year-old witness

Photo Courtesy of Google

Josephine Sanchez, 70, was murdered in November 1994 on the grounds of the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City.

provided a description of the assailant—his clothing and his direction of flight to the police. Katz said Kendrick was detained by police several hours after the murder because he loosely fit the description provided by the 10-year-old child. This youngster initially identified someone else when he viewed a live lineup that included Kendrick. However, after leaving the viewing room— and under disputed circumstances—the boy changed his selection to Kendrick.

According to court records, Kendrick was interrogated by the police over the course of several days. He consistently maintained his innocence but made several statements that detectives found suspicious. Additionally, during their canvas, police obtained a statement from a second witness who told police that he saw Kendrick fleeing the murder scene with a black purse under his arm. Absent physical evidence tying Kendrick to the crime, Katz has indicated that she has concluded

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that the defendant was convicted based largely on the following: The 10-year-old’s identification of Kendrick as the assailant and testimony that the black purse recovered from the defendant’s apartment appeared similar to what he saw taken from the victim. The second witness’s testimony that he saw Kendrick running past him with a black purse under his arm. According to the motion filed today, the jury that convicted

Kendrick did not hear the following evidence that would have changed the outcome of the trial: Forensic DNA test results, which excluded the victim from DNA detected on or inside the recovered black purse. Four new witnesses who undermine the credibility of the second witness’ testimony that he saw Kendrick run past him with a black purse: a neighbor who lived directly below the 10-year-old’s apartment saw the assailant flee in the opposite direction from where the second witness claimed to have seen Kendrick run; two witnesses who were the first to approach the victim and render aid contradict the second witness’s account of seeing the victim alone; a new witness, whose apartment the second witness claimed to have been visiting has stated that she was not at home at the time the second witness stated that he was with her. Taken together, Katz said, these new witnesses and the exculpatory DNA results create a reasonable probability that the jury would have acquitted Kendrick.

MTA Outlines Bleak 2021 Budget and Four-Year Financial Plan would result in the elimination of nearly 5,900 positions in total across MTA New York City Transit and the MTA Bus Company.  

By Michael V. Cusenza Facing the worst financial crisis in agency history, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority recently released its proposed 2021 budget and four-year financial plan. The plan includes devastating service cuts, a drastic reduction in the agency’s workforce and a continued pause on the historic $51.5 billion Capital Plan in the absence of $12 billion in federal aid. The MTA presented a worstcase 2021 spending plan at its November board meeting that assumes no additional federal emergency relief. At the same time, agency officials have indicated that they are continuing their effort to secure $12 billion in federal funding. Should federal relief arrive, the MTA will make any necessary budget adjustments during 2021. The November Plan includes favorable re-estimates from the July Plan as fare and toll revenues are projected to surpass the previous forecast by $319 million and non-labor expenses are projected to be lower by $295 million in 2020. Savings from vacancies— attributable to an MTA-wide hiring freeze—are expected to total $66 million. Debt service expense is forecast to be $31 million favorable in 2020, with savings through the remainder of the period covered by the four-year financial plan, while subsidies are slightly unfavorable through 2022, followed by improvements in 2023 and 2024. This brings the MTA’s projected deficits to $15.9 billion through 2024. The MTA has taken aggressive measures to cut costs internally, focusing on three key areas: reducing overtime, consulting contracts, and other non-personnel expenses. Agencies have already begun implementing these savings, which are now projected to reduce expenses by $259 million in 2020, $601 million in 2021, $498 million in 2022, $466 million in 2023 and $461 million in 2024.   In order to close the 2020 deficit caused by federal inaction, the MTA will have to use its authority to borrow the maximum of $2.9 billion from the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Lending Facility before the window closes at the end of 2020. The MTA is taking additional actions to address the 2020 deficit by releasing the current 2020 General Reserve of

Photo Courtesy of Marc Hermann/MTA

“As I have said, we cannot cut our way out of this crisis—we are facing a blow to our ridership greater than that experienced during the Great Depression,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye.

$170 million, applying the $337 million in the OPEB Trust Fund to current OPEB payments, and retaining Committed to Capital transfers in the operating budget at $187 million for 2020, $181 million for 2021, $120 million for 2022 and $114 million for 2023. Without emergency aid, the MTA is proposing service reductions of 40 percent for the New York City subways and buses, and 50 percent for the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, for a combined annualized savings of nearly $1.3 billion. Service reductions are estimated to have a workplace impact of

nearly 9,400 positions. The pro- ing and inspection costs.   The service reduction would posed service reductions focus on achieving significant cost re- result in the elimination of nearly ductions, mitigating negative 2,400 positions.  customer impacts, and rightsizing New York City Transit service in response to current and Department of Buses & projected ridership.   MTA Bus Company New York City Transit - Subway The MTA  proposes to reduce Subway service reductions of bus service by up to 40 percent up to 40 percent may result in re- through elimination or consolidaduced train frequency, suspension tion of bus routes and reductions of service on some lines at certain in frequency by up to 33 percent times of day, and/or major week- on the routes that remain. Changend changes. The reduction in es to routes would ensure that serservice may allow for a 35 percent vice is available within a half-mile subway fleet reduction, generat- of existing stops.   ing savings in maintenance, cleanThe bus service reductions

Photo Courtesy of Marc Hermann/MTA

According to the MTA, service reductions are estimated to have a workplace impact of nearly 9,400 positions.

Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad The MTA proposes to reduce commuter railroad service by 50 percent, which may result in peak period train frequencies of every 20 to 30 minutes along busier line segments, or hourly at less busy line segments. Proposed reductions under consideration take into account the existence of nearby alternate service and maintaining adequate service for essential workers. Off-peak and weekend service may be hourly, reflecting current ridership levels while maintaining sufficient service to prevent crowding. The railroads’ service reductions would result in the elimination of a total of more than 900 positions.    “The MTA continues to face a once-in-100-year fiscal tsunami and this is without a doubt one of the most difficult and devastating budgets in agency history,”  said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye. “No one at the MTA wants to undertake these horrific cuts but with federal relief nowhere in sight there is no other option. As I have said, we cannot cut our way out of this crisis—we are facing a blow to our ridership greater than that experienced during the Great Depression. We are once again urging Washington to take immediate action and provide the full $12 billion to the MTA.” The MTA Board will be asked to vote to enact a new budget in December. “Firing 9,000 workers and slashing 40 percent of subway and bus service would cost millions of New Yorkers several hours of commuting time each week and devastate the city for decades to come. Like never before, New Yorkers are counting on our congressional champions like Senator Schumer and Representative Jeffries to save public transit,” said Riders Alliance Executive Director Betsy Plum. “Failing to save transit at this pivotal moment is not an option. Should Congress fail to act, the MTA’s doomsday budget must be the absolute last resort. As Chairman Foye said, literally everything must be on the table. At the end of the day, Gov. Cuomo must do all he possibly can to safeguard our transit system and New York’s future.”

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 20 • Number 48 • NOVEMBER 26, 2020 | 7

Small Biz Owners Demand Economic Relief

HOWARD BEACH ASSEMBLY OF GOD OFFERS YOU ENCOURAGEMENT THROUGH PRAYER IN THE TIME OF THIS PANDEMIC Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.

Photo Courtesy of the Aronov Campaign

“If we truly care about preserving the strength of our economy and workforce here in New York, we must begin with the lifeblood of our communities and immediately enact comprehensive guidance and relief for our small businesses,” said City Council Candidate David Aronov.

By Forum Staff Small business owners on Tuesday rallied on the steps of Borough Hall demanding economic relief as they continue to experience economic devastation wrought by ongoing COVID-19 restaurant guidance and regulations. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Small businesses can barely make it on 100 percent capacity with labor, food cost, rent, and utilities. Can you imagine how we are all doing with 25 percent capacity for dining? It’s a recipe for disaster,” said Spiro Gatanas, owner of DinerBar and Tower Diner in Rego Park. City Council Candidate David Aronov added, “Our small businesses have been hurt, and we have to ensure they get the support they need to continue to be open and succeed. As the backbone of our city’s economy, the lack of investment into our small businesses now will cost us in the long run. Council District 29 is no stranger to vacant storefronts. Just take a walk on Austin Street in Forest Hills, Queens Boulevard in Rego Park, Lefferts Boulevard in Kew Gardens, or Jamaica Avenue in Richmond Hill. “Small businesses in Queens have been left to decode an increasingly complex and convoluted system for themselves: from color-coded zones, to unfair business regulations, to over-the-top fining from State Liquor Authority and associated city and state agencies.I speak from personal experience on the pain and frustration small businesses have felt throughout these past months. My family has owned and operated a small business for over 25 years in

Kew Gardens. “We need leadership to offer fair guidance and relief to our businesses, not continuously add levels of dysfunction and confusion to the process. That’s why we’re calling on Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo to enact the following: rent relief for small businesses, comprehensive protocol for indoor and outdoor dining, an expansion of the visiting inspector program to reduce fines and promote small business education, and a system of streamlined communication that involves feedback from small business owners. “If we truly care about preserving the strength of our economy and workforce here in New York, we must begin with the lifeblood of our communities and immediately enact comprehensive guidance and relief for our small businesses.” Small business owners echoed Aronov’s statement. “The majority of my business was from 8 p.m.-4a.m. before the pandemic. Now with a 10 p.m. cutoff and with customers feeling unsafe being outside at night because of an unruly hotel in Kew Gardens, the business is struggling. We need real leadership now,” said Sabri Dani, owner of Dani’s House of Pizza in Kew Gardens. “Seeing the demand for the store hours, we’re looking to stay open 24/7 from our current times of 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. But as a new small business that is not receiving grants or loans or new small business assistance it is extremely difficult to create a financially sustainable business,” said Mohammad Islam, owner of Grocery Shoppe in Richmond Hill.

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He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91

THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 20 • Number 48 • NOVEMBER 26, 2020 | 9

Stringer Takes City to Court over Virus Probe

Photo Courtesy of Comptroller Stringer’s Office

“New Yorkers deserve answers about what our City knew about the virus, when we knew it, and what we did about it,” Comptroller Stringer said. “But instead of timely providing documents and being fully transparent, City Hall has continually delayed disclosures and thwarted the truth.”

By Michael Cusenza City Comptroller Scott Stringer recently took court action to force the City to comply with  a subpoena issued pursuant to  his  investigation into the City’s preparedness for and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following what Stringer has described as months of  stalling  and  refusals  to  fully comply with the subpoena issued in June, the  City’s fiscal watchdog  filed a  petition in New York County Supreme Court seeking a court order  to  compel  the City to promptly and completely comply with the subpoena.  The  petition  details how the City has  consistently  stymied  the production of documents, repeatedly missed production  deadlines—several of which the City set for itself—and recently declared it would not be able to provide all requested documents until April  at the earliest— nearly a year after Stringer’s office launched the investigation. In May, Stringer kicked off a probe into the City’s preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a request for documents received, created, or issued by City government officials and agencies related to the public emergency, and its potential impact on residents and businesses, in advance of the March 22 statewide stayat-home order. The comptroller’s investigation includes a request for communications in email, memoranda, guidance, rules, advisories, or other written information received, created, or issued by the City that addressed COVID-19 such as: Operational and decision-making structure for the City to address the public health emergency; Measures that City government was advised could or should be taken to reduce the risk of New Yorkers contracting the

virus, including introduction of social distancing, closure of non-essential businesses and locations, widespread testing, and availability and use of personal protective equipment by medical professionals and the general public; Projected transmission rates, death tolls, and geographic and demographic breakdowns of the virus’ impacts on the City including the most vulnerable New Yorkers, those with pre-existing medical conditions and New Yorkers living in overcrowded housing; Transmission and impacts of the virus through asymptomatic individuals and its viability on surfaces of all types; Impacts of COVID-19 on the city’s health care system including estimated and projected need for hospital beds, emergency room capacity, intensive care unit beds, staff, and PPE, among other relevant issues. “My office launched an investigation into the City’s preparedness for  and response to COVID-19 so that we can learn from our past experiences and improve on them as we continue to battle this pandemic. New Yorkers deserve answers about what our City knew about the virus, when we knew it, and what we did about it. But instead of timely providing documents and being fully transparent, City Hall has continually  delayed  disclosures  and thwarted the truth.    Six months  after our investigation began, the Administration hasn’t produced a single document from City Hall and has  repeatedly impeded our efforts and failed to provide the documents necessary to execute our investigation,” Stringer said. “As we stare down a potential second wave, the investigation has only become more vital. With every delay, every obstruction, and every attempt to  escape  oversight,  the City is denying  New Yorkers the open and honest government they deserve. My office won’t stand for it.” 

10 NOVEMBER 26, 2020 • Number 48 • VOL. 20 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

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

DON’T LET ALLERGIES RUIN YOUR HOLIDAYS The fall and winter holidays are festive times for celebration, but for those who suffer from allergies and asthma, the holidays can be trying at best. You can find a variety of preparations at your local pharmacy to help you deal with the suffering that accompanies reactions to some of the triggers but the best thing to do is consult your pharmacist and an allergist to get to the root of your problem. Identify the Source of Your Suffering: Finding out what triggers your symptoms essential. Wash the Tree Before Trimming: Terpene is a potential allergen found in the oil or sap of live Christmas trees, evergreen wreaths and garlands. Mold also can reside on trees, and pollen is commonly found on junipers and cedar evergreens. Use a leaf blower in a well-ventilated area to remove some of the pollen from live trees and decorations. Wash the tree, especially the trunk, outdoors with a garden hose and leave in a bucket of water in the garage or on a covered porch to dry. Wear gloves when handling the tree to avoid contact with sap. Let it Snow… Outside:  While the artificial snow contained in aerosol cans helps bring the outdoor ambience in, these sprays can trigger episodes. Be

wary of scented candles, scented items including potpourri and wood-burning fireplaces. Avoid these as best you can Deck the Halls… After a Good Dusting: All of the beautiful decorations your store in a basement or the attic gather dust and mold and must be cleaned thoroughly when they are removed from storage to use. Clean each item thoroughly before decking the halls, dining room or tree. Pack as much as you can in airtight containers when preparing again for storage. Plan Ahead for Healthy Travel: Traveling can present issues and being properly prepared for the “what if ’s” of this situation are crucial. Pack your medications in a carry-on bag so they’ll always be there for you at a moment’s notice. Consider bringing your own pillow. Early morning and late evening travel, when air quality is generally better and traffic is lighter, also may be helpful. If you rent a car, request one in which there has been no smoking. Chill Out: Stress makes it harder for your immune system to do its job. Take time to decompress and stay on schedule with any allergy and asthma medications to prevent symptoms from interfering with holiday fun.

For your family’s prescription needs, please call

CROSS BAY CHEMIST at 718-659-9500 or 718-880-1644

157-02 Cross Bay Blvd. in Howard Beach: Mon-Fri 9am-9pm. Sat-Sun 9am-7pm. or 96-05 101st Ave. in Ozone Park: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm. Sunday: Closed.

Two Cops Shot in Shootout By Michael V. Cusenza Two City cops working a domestic violence case Tuesday were wounded and a suspected perpetrator was killed in a wild shootout in Springfield Gardens, City and NYPD officials said. “Thank God they’re going to pull through,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said of Officers Joseph Murphy and Christopher Wells. According to the NYPD and published reports, Rondell Goppy, 41, started shooting at the two officers as soon as he walked into his 179th Street home shortly before 1 p.m. The cops were there to escort the suspect’s wife into the residence. “The wife walked into the 105th Precinct this morning. She said her husband choked her,’’ a law-enforcement source told the New York Post. “The domesticviolence officers went back with her to the house to get some stuff.” Both officers’ wounds required surgery at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Photo Courtesy of NYPD

One of the guns the shooter used on the two heroic cops.

“Two courageous NYPD cops were shot today doing the job the public asks them to do. By the grace of God they will survive — but this is a stark reminder of the inherent dangers our men and women in blue face as they keep people safe. They do it on behalf of every New Yorker,” said NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan.

Trottenberg Resigns as Longest-serving NYC Transportation Commissioner By Michael V. Cusenza City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg on Monday announced her resignation from the de Blasio administration, effective in early December. Trottenberg has served as DOT commissioner since January 2014, making her the longest-serving commissioner in the agency’s history and one of the longest-serving commissioners in the de Blasio administration. Mayor Bill de Blasio hailed Trottenberg as a nation-leading advocate for street safety and accessibility who has led unprecedented efforts to expand New York City’s streets for more sustainable modes like cycling and buses, with a focus on underserved communities. While Trottenberg has not announced new employment, she had been asked earlier this month to volunteer on the Biden-Harris presidential transition team, advising on transportation. De Blasio boasted that Trottenberg spearheaded his administration’s efforts around a range of transportation issues, including: Better Buses and Mass Transit As part of its Better Buses plan, the administration worked closely with MTA New York City Transit, committing to expanded access to buses, including an additional 64 more miles

Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

“I will always be grateful to Mayor de Blasio for the incredible opportunity to serve the city I love so much, and especially for the chance to lead the 5,800 dedicated public servants at DOT,” Commissioner Trottenberg said.

of dedicated bus lanes around the City since 2014, for a total of nearly 138 miles. The 14th Street Busway, begun in 2019 and made permanent this year, has received international attention for increasing ridership and decreasing travel times. This year, DOT has created a record number of bus-priority projects, including along Jay Street in Brooklyn, Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island, and East 149th Street and E.L. Grant Highway in the Bronx. Trottenberg served for five years as a mayoral appointee on the Board of the Metro-

politan Transportation Authority, where she served as a voice for New York’s subway and bus riders and advocated for greater system accessibility. Street Safety and Pedestrianization NYC was the first American city to adopt Vision Zero. DOT has served as the lead agency since 2014 for a multi-agency effort to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities through enforcement, engineering and education. Traffic fatalities in New York City have been recorded

since 1910 — and six of the city’s seven safest years have happened since 2014. As part of Vision Zero, Trottenberg was instrumental in successfully advocating for the State legislation that allowed the City to lower its default speed limit to 25 MPH and expand its speed-camera program to 750 zones and 2,000 cameras, making it the largest such program in the world. Since 2014, New York City has undertaken over 700 street-improvement projects, making streets safer for all users. DOT has continued adding car-free pedestrian plazas citywide, over 70 plazas now covering over 20 acres of former street space. South Queens residents will recall Trottenberg for helping to implement Select Bus Service along the Cross Bay Boulevard-Woodhaven Boulevard Corridor and for aiding in launching daily ferry service in the five boroughs. “I will always be grateful to Mayor de Blasio for the incredible opportunity to serve the city I love so much, and especially for the chance to lead the 5,800 dedicated public servants at DOT,” Trottenberg said. “I have been honored to work with them and see the passion, creativity and dedication they bring every day to serving New Yorkers, especially during the pandemic of the last eight months. For now, I just say thank you, one and all.”

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THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 20 • Number 48 • NOVEMBER 26, 2020 | 11

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         12 NOVEMBER 26, 2020 • Number 48 • VOL. 20 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP




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THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • VOL. 20 • Number 48 • NOVEMBER 26, 2020 | 13

Legal Notices Shin Bless LLC filed w/ SSNY on 9/28/20. Office: Queens Co. SSNY designated as agent for process & shall mail to: 26-14 Jackson Ave., LIC, NY 11101. Purpose: any lawful. Notice of Formation of Aunty Lou Pepper Sauce Plus LLC. Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on October 19, 2020.Office located in QUEENS. SSNY has been designated for service of process. SSNY shall mail a copy of any process served against the LLC to: 138-56 223rd Street Laurelton, NY 11413. Purpose: Any lawful acts Notice of Formation of ZERO SHORTCUTS FITNESS TRAINING LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 07/03/20. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: UNITED STATES CORPORATION AGENTS, INC., 7014 13TH AVENUE, SUITE 202, BROOKLYN, NY 11228. Purpose: any lawful activities. 211-16 93RD AVE, LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 10/2/20. Office in Queens Co. SSNY design. Agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to The Limited Liability Company, 211-16 93rd. Avenue, Queens VIllage, NY 11428. Purpose: Any lawful activity. The Golden Peacock Tribe LLC Arts. Of Org. filed with Secy. Of State of N.Y. (SSNY) on 07/30/2020. 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, 138-35 39th Ave, #16A, Flushing NY 11354, which is also the principal business location. Purpose: any lawful activity. K & K BROTHERS NY LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 10/21/20. 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 Yixian Cao, 146-16 Booth Memorial, Flushing, NY 11355. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. APP FOR AUTH for MOVIES WITH A MISSION CORNERSTONE PRODUCTIONS LLC App for Auth filed with SSNY 9/28/2020 LLC. Registered in Montana on 6/2/2014 Off. Loc.: Queens Co. SSNY designated as agent upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY to mail copy of process to The LLC, c/o Robert Kollar, 22-55 31ST St., Suite 200 #67, Astoria, NY 11105. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.

SCHORR EYECARE ASSOCIATES LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 11/6/20. Office in Queens Co. SSNY design. Agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to The LLC 207A Beach 11th St Far Rockaway, NY 11691. Purpose: Any lawful activity. SMBI LLC. Articles of Org._ filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 11/09/2020. Office in Queens Co. SSNY Desig. agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to 104-28 Merrick Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11433. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. Notice of formation of 32 26 99 STREET, LLC. Art. Of Org. filed with the Sect’y of State of NY (SSNY) on 08/17/20. Office in Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to the LLC, 48-17 64 ST WOODSIDE, NY, 11377. Purpose: Any lawful purpose Notice of formation WHITEHOUSE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, LLC Articles of Org._ filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 09/30/2020. Office in Queens Co. SSNY Desig. agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to ROSEMARIE A. SANTOS, 118-35 Queens Boulevard, Forest Hills, NY 11375Purpose: Any lawful purpose. MERRILL CONSULTING SERVICES LLC filed Arts. of Org. with the Sect’y of State of NY (SSNY) on 10/29/2020. Office: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served and shall mail process to: The LLC, 112-02 Northern Blvd, Ste-PHD, Corona, NY 11368. Purpose: any lawful act. BRICK CITY PRODUCTIONS LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 11/17/2020. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: Antonio Causi, 9716 Albert Road #2, Ozone Park, NY 11417. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose.

MAGNET HEALTH LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 09/09/20. Latest date to dissolve: 12/31/2120. 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 Kalb & Rosenfeld P.C., 283 Commack Road, Suite 210, Commack, NY 11725. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.

Notice is hereby given that an Order entered by the Civil Court, Queens County, on the 14th day of October 2020, bearing Index Number NC000564-20/QU, a copy of which may be examined at the Office of the Clerk, located at 89-17 Sutphin Blvd., Jamaica, New York, 11435, grants me the right to assume the name of JADENE EUSEBIO RONCO. My present name is JADENE EUSEBIO-RONCO aka JADENE RONCO.The city and state of my present address is OZONE PARK, NY. The month and year of my birth are JUNE 1995. The place of my birth is QUEENS, NEW YORK.

BLUE STARGAZER LLC Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 10/28/20. 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 INCORP SERVICES, INC ONE COMMERCE PLAZA, 99 WASHINGTON AVE, STE 805-A, ALBANY, NY 12210-2822. Purpose: Any lawful purpose.

“Notice is hereby given that a license number 1331946 for a beer, wine, Liquor license has been applied for by Calima Corp., to sell beer, wine and liquor at retail in a Restaurant under the Alcoholic Beverage Control law at 45-07 47th Avenue, Woodside, NY 11377 for on premises consumption.”

14 NOVEMBER 26, 2020 • Number 48 • VOL. 20 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP

HUDSON COUNTY DOCKET NO.: FM- 09-2241-19 CIVIL ACTION COMPLAINT FOR DIVORCE MICHAEL L. DOVE, Plaintiff, vs. CRISTEN L. SCHMITT, Defendant, The Plaintiff, Michael L. Dove, residing at 19 Rock Street, Apt. 404, Jersey City, State of New Jersey, by way of Complaint against the Defendant, Cristen L. Schmitt, through his attorney states: l. The Plaintiff was lawfully .married to the Defendant on May 28, 2010 in a Civil Ceremony in the Kew Gardens, New York. 2 That Plaintiff was a bona fide resident of the County of Hudson and State of New Jersey when this cause of action herein for divorce arose and has ever since, and for more than one (l) year next preceding the commencement of this action, continued to be such a bona fide resident of the County of Hudson, State of New Jersey. 3. The Defendant, Cristen L, Schmitt, presently resides at The Transition Recovery Program located at 1928 N.E. 154th Street, North Miami Beach, FL 33162. 4, Irreconcilable differences developed in the marriage, which have existed for ore than six consecutive months and have caused the breakdown of the marriage, and there is no reasonable prospect for reconciliation of the parties or their marriage. 5. There was one child born of the marriage, to wit: Addison Rose Dove, born July 6, 2012. 6. Pursuant to R, 4:5-1, et seq., there have been no prior proceedings between the parties respecting the marriage or its dissolution or respecting the maintenance of either party. 7. There was no property legally and beneficially acquired during the marriage. WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff, Michael L. Dove, demands Judgment as follows: (a) Dissolving the marriage between the parties to this action, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2; (b) For such further relief as the Court may deem just, equitable and proper. Respectfully submitted, Law Offices of Gerald Shapiro Richard S. Chadwick PREPARED AND FILED BY THE COURT FILED OCT 30, 2020 TARA SCHILLARI RICH, J.S.C. Michael L. Dove SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY COUNTY OF HUDSON CHANCERY DIVISION-FAMILY PART Plaintiff DOCKET NO. FM-09-2241-19 Cristen Schmitt Defendant. CIVIL ACTION ORDER The Court having entered this Order, sua sponte, upon receipt of letters from Plaintiffs attorney dated October 15, 2020 advising that the newspapers the Court previously ordered Plaintiff to publish the Notice of Complaint in charge $4,743.56 as a discounted rate (New York Daily News) and $3,255.40 (Miami Herald) and dated October 29, 2020 wherein counsel provides alternate, less expensive newspapers for the publication of the Notice of the Complaint, and for good cause shown, It is on this 30th day of October 2020, ORDERED: l . Paragraph 2 of the September 18, 2020 Order is hereby modified and superseded as follows — “Within 20 days of the date of the entry of this Order, Plaintiff shall file a Notice of Filing of the Divorce Complaint in the Forum Newsgroup and Miami Today which are newspapers with circulation in Ozone Park, NY and Miami, FL, respectively, a Defendant’s last known addresses are 10746 89th Street, Ozone Park, NY 11417, per New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, and 935 NE 149th Street, Miami, FL 33161, per the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. This publication shall serve as substituted service under New Jersey Court Rule 4:4-5(a)(3). 2. Plaintiff shall file with the Court proof of publication referred to in Paragraph 1 of this Order by way of Affidavit of Publication within -7- days of its publication. 3. Within 35 days of the date that the Notice of the Filing of the Divorce Complaint is published in the Forum Newsgroup and Miami Today, pursuant to Paragraph I f this Order, the Defendant shall serve upon Plaintiff and file with the Court, along with proof of service on Plaintiff, located at Hudson County Courthouse, 595 Newark Avenue, Family Part; Jersey City, NJ 07306, either:(a) an Answer to the Plaintiff ’s Complaint for Divorce; or (b) a written appearance in accordance with Court Rule 5:4-3(a). If the Defendant fails to file an Answer or appearance with the Court within 35 days of the date that the Notice of the filing of the Divorce Complaint is published in the Forum Newsgroup and Miami Today, pursuant to Paragraphs I and 2 of this Order, then judgment by default may be entered against the Defendant for the relief demanded in the Complaint for Divorce. 4. If Defendant is unable to obtain an attorney, the Defendant may contact the lawyer referral service of the County of Hudson by calling (201) 798-4708. If Defendant cannot afford an attorney, then Defendant may contact Legal Services by calling (201) 792-6363. 5. The matter is listed for a telephonic Status Conference on December 7, 2020 at 3:45 p.m. Plaintiff shall provide the Court with all proofs required under this Order as detailed in Paragraph 2 of this Order on or before the December 7, 2020 telephonic Status Conference. 6. Plaintiff shall serve a copy of this Order on Defendant within 7 days of its receipt by Plaintiff. 7. All terms of prior Court Orders not modified by the terms of this Order shall remain in full force and effect. /s/ Tara Schillari Rich Hon. Tara Schillari Rich, J.S.C. *The Court emailed a copy of this Order to Plaintiff ’s attorney (Desapiolaw@gmail.com) on 1030-20 and mailed a copy of this Order to Defendant on 10-30-20.


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THE FORUM NEWSGROUP â&#x20AC;¢ VOL. 20 â&#x20AC;¢ Number 48 â&#x20AC;¢ NOVEMBER 26, 2020 | 15

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27 28 29 30 01 02 03

We ask you to please remember that for everyone’s safety, masks must be worn at all times while in the store. Thank you. Stay safe!

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16 NOVEMBER 26, 2020 • Number 48 • VOL. 20 • THE FORUM NEWSGROUP


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