VOL. 13 • NUMBER 8 • FEBRUARY 20, 2014
WAGING WAR AGAINST CANCER
PS 232 students in Lindenwood are honoring their friend, 8-year-old Sebastian Oseff, pictured bottom right, who died last year, with a fundraiser for childhood cancer research. See Page 7 Photo courtesy Carola Pepe
Valentina Allen Inspires Community To Act Page 3
Flood Insurance Relief In Sight? Page 12
A Glimpse Into Queensway's Future Page 25
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2|2THE FORUM NEWSGROUP | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • January 2,2014 2014 February 20,2014 THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 25, 2012 2 2| THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • •February 13,
Howard Beach 1-Year-Old Inspires Fundraiser For Children Battling Heart Defects Decked out in a pink tutu, a shirt emblazoned with her name, and a nearly perpetual smile, Valentina Allen celebrated her first birthday last week - a milestone in anyone’s life, certainly, but particularly so for the young Howard Beach girl who is bravely battling a rare congenital heart defect. Born Feb. 15, 2013 with hypoplastic left heart syndrome - a birth defect that leaves her with a severely underdeveloped left ventricle Valentina’s story is one of the power of human resiliency. Since being born a little over one year ago, she has undergone two major heart surgeries and faces one more in a year or two - after which her family and doctors expect her to live a normal, primarily hospital-free life that could even include physical feats that those of us with a fully functional heart would be hard pressed to accomplish. “The oldest person with what Valentina has is 26 now - she was born when these surgeries first came out,” said Danielle Allen, who lives in Howard Beach with Valentina, her 2-year-old daughter Victoria, and her husband Ryan. “She has been a gymnast and is a skier - she lives a completely active, normal life.” Over the past year, the Allen family has spent much of their time going back and forth between Queens and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where Valentina has undergone her two ma-
jor heart surgeries. During this time, Danielle and Ryan Allen were able to take time off to be with their daughter and stay in a hotel near the hospital - but they stressed that they met many families who were not able to afford the same. That is where a fundraiser this Sunday, Feb. 23, at 10 a.m. comes into play. The Allen family will donate the funds raised during the Lift-aThon and Cardio-a-Thon to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s social work department, which in turn helps families be able to stay with their babies during surgeries; to the hospital’s cardiac child life program - which aims to make children’s hospital visits a little more enjoyable with games, arts and crafts, and music; and cardiac research because, as Danielle Allen said, “hopefully Valentina will get to grow up, get married, have babies, and live a long, fulfilling life - which, if she was born 30 years ago, she probably wouldn’t have been able to.” Gold’s Gym is located at 157-05 Cross Bay Blvd. The fundraiser is expected to last for several hours. The fundraiser almost immediately follows Valentina’s first birthday - an occasion which Danielle Allen was, upon discovering her daughter’s defect, told may never happen. When she was 18 weeks pregnant, doctors told Danielle Allen that they couldn’t see the four chambers in Valentina’s heart. After sending the mother for a
Photo courtesy Danielle Allen
Valentina Allen, 1, of Howard Beach was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and has already undergone two major heart surgeries, but, with new technology, she is expected to live a long and healthy life.
two-hour fetal echo, it was recommended to the 28-year-old that she should abort the baby. Danielle and Ryan Allen decided to seek a second opinion and flew to Boston, where doctors told them the baby had a 75 percent chance of living until the age of three. Finally, the family
Schumer Pushes Feds For Jamaica Bay Funding
Photo courtesy NYC Parks Department
A proposed $5 million project for Spring Creek Park would restore and enhance 11 acres of salt marsh and 16 acres of coastal forest in the northern portion of Jamaica Bay.
By Anna Gustafson Saying the government needs to do more to better protect Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula from future storms, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged federal officials to support five separate projects totaling $17.5 million that he said would prove crucial during future weather events like Superstorm Sandy. Stressing that Jamaica Bay acted as a natural barrier during Sandy, somewhat softening the storm’s blow, Schumer is asking the federal Department of Interior, or DOI, to funnel millions into projects that would make the bay a more effective buffer against future coastal storms, as well as making Rockaway’s coastline more resilient, the lawmaker announced last week. “Superstorm Sandy wrought tremendous damage across the communities surrounding Ja-
maica Bay, but the damage may have been even worse were it not for Jamaica Bay’s natural ability to act as a shield against storms,” Schumer said in a statement. “Sometimes our best defense against Mother Nature’s wrath is actually Mother Nature itself, and these five projects will take what is already a natural storm defense and make it even more effective at protecting the homes and livelihoods of thousands of New Yorkers.” The requested $17.5 million for the five projects is part of the city’s official application to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grants Program, through which more than $100 million in grants will be awarded throughout the region affected by Superstorm Sandy. “These five projects are exactly what this grant program was created to fund, and I am urging the Department of Interior to give these the
green light as soon as possible,” Schumer said. The projects Schumer is supporting include the Sunset Cove salt marsh and maritime forest restoration, Rockaway East resiliency preserve, Spring Creek salt marsh and coastal upland restoration, Jamaica Bay head of bay oyster restoration, and Jamaica Bay bathymetric and sediment model. “This grant money is critical to safeguarding one of New York City’s most amazing and productive natural assets,” said city Director of Resiliency Daniel Zarrilli. The $5 million Sunset Cove salt marsh and maritime forest restoration project will restore about six to seven acres of salt marsh, enhance four to five forest acres, and construct berms on Broad Channel Island. Another $5 million is being requested for the Rockaway East resiliency preserve, a dune construction and beach habitat development project in Arverne that would result in a better protected coastline. The $5 million Spring Creek salt marsh and coastal upland restoration would restore and enhance 11 acres of salt marsh and 16 acres of coastal forest and scrubland in Spring Creek Park, where extensive marshland has been filled and remaining marshed are degraded by debris. The Jamaica Bay head of bay oyster restoration project would be located in the northeastern end of Jamaica Bay and would establish a self-sustaining oyster population that would filter the water. The constructed oyster bed would protect the adjacent shoreline from erosion and future coastal storm surges. Again, this project would be $5 million. A $1 million Jamaica Bay bathymetric and sediment model project would develop and test a model to illustrate and understand sediment transport in Jamaica Bay and its environs.
went to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where medical personnel said they’d be able to perform three heart surgeries - the first at three days old, the second at six months, and the third at two to three years old. Overwhelmed by this news, Danielle Allen said the news confirmed what she had hoped for more than anything: Her daughter had a chance at life. Along with having hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Valentina also has heterotaxy, a congenital defect where major organs are distributed abnormally in the body; and asplenia - which means the little girl has no spleen. “It’s overwhelming,” Danielle Allen said. “People will say, ‘You’re 28 years old - how are you dealing with this?’ I found the best hospitals. I didn’t care what it was going to cost me - I was doing this for my baby.” Despite the two heart surgeries - as well as another surgery to correct where her intestines were placed - one would have a difficult time knowing such a little person has been up against so much. “She’s a happy, happy baby,” Danielle Allen said. “She’s so happy and so easygoing. She’s amazing.” The fundraiser will be held at Gold’s Gym at 157-05 Cross Bay Blvd. at 10 a.m. on Feb. 23. For more information, visit https://www.facebook. com/GoldsGymHB
Homework Heroes Will Help Students For Free An organization dedicated to using technology to help students with their homework will give a live demonstration at a Parents Meeting at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy (111-10 115th St. South Ozone Park) at 6:30 PM on February 24, 2014. Homework Help Heroes aims to provide Internet-based help through the use of a tablet or touch enabled computer to any student who needs help and has access to the Internet. This help is to be provided free of charge to anyone who needs it. Having enlisted over a dozen volunteer teachers so far to help students, they intend to launch Homework Help Heroes on February 25th Although the program is launching at OLPH, it is free and open to any student who needs help, as well as any teacher who wishes to volunteer. The group hopes to be able to enlist a greater number of teachers with a wide variety of skills as more schools adopt the program. With all the concerns surrounding the adoption of Common Core standards the group feels this is an effective way to help those students who are having difficulty. The majority of the current volunteers are trained in the Common Core Curriculum and thus qualified to help those students who need help in this area. Using a tablet allows us to provide access to teachers who would not normally venture beyond their local area to provide help. The fact that students can go back and replay the help sessions to further reinforce the lesson is also a big plus.” Homework Help Heroes is currently recruiting volunteers and encourages those with an interest in becoming involved to contact them via email at info@homeworkhelpheroes. org or by telephone at (347) 693-8308.
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Mayor's First Budget Leaves Borough Leaders Hopeful
Photo Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor's Office
Mayor Bill de Blasio issues the preliminary city budget for fiscal year 2015 at the City Hall's Blue Room last week.
By Phil Corso Mayor Bill de Blasio used the same kind of language he employed throughout his campaign as he unveiled his $74 billion budget proposal, frequently throwing out phrases like “progressive” and “fair shot” for a plan that landed nods of approval from borough and city leaders. “There's nothing mutually exclusive about being both fiscally responsible and economically progressive,” de Blasio said. “This may sound counterintuitive to some, but we need a balanced budget and a strong and stable government to facilitate our fight against inequality.” The mayor’s budget proposal hit a lot of the same talking points he used to get elected, like expanding prekindergarten and after-school programs. Such budget items almost routinely hit the chopping block in years past under his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg. Another byproduct of Bloomberg’s budgetary past included the potential nixing of several Queens firehouses. The fiscal dance became an almost annual occurrence in the former mayor’s latter years, and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) said she was thrilled to see the mayor change the financial tune. “The mayor’s preliminary budget restores funding cuts Bloomberg made to the FDNY, which is vitally important,” she said in a statement. “It also expands funding for homeless prevention and early childhood and after-school learning programs. I look forward to working with the de Blasio administration to ensure that the 2015 budget is fair and balanced.” City Comptroller Scott Stringer took a deeper look into the numbers and found that unlike most years, the budget was balanced for FY 2015 prior to the release of the preliminary
budget, which allowed de Blasio to set aside new revenue. Those savings included $1 billion into the Retiree Health Benefits Trust Fund, and $300 million to the general reserve. “The preliminary budget for fiscal year 2015 contains a double dose of good news,” a spokesman for the nonprofit Citizens Budget Commission said. “There is more money than had been anticipated, and it will be put to prudent use.” The spokesman said de Blasio utilized additional tax revenue to restore $1 billion to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust Fund, established in 2006 to build reserves to fund the city’s retiree health liability. The commission was also pleased to see the mayor increase the reserves set aside in future years from $300 million to $600 million annually. De Blasio also set some money aside for new policy initiatives, including a municipal ID system, $52 million towards relieving New York City Housing Authority of the burden of paying for its own police protection, $35 million for unanticipated snow removal costs, and capping rental costs for those with HIV/AIDS who live in city-supported housing. On the topic of union contracts, de Blasio faced some criticism over allocating no money to giving city workers raises as he was still anticipating contract negotiations with city unions. “Negotiating contracts with the city’s workforce is a complex and daunting task, but it is critical that we resolve these contracts if we are going to achieve real balance,” Stringer said. “We have always faced budget challenges in this city and we have overcome those challenges by working together. I am confident that we will find ways to keep the city growing, ensure workers are compensated fairly and maintain New York’s status as the greatest city in the world.”
BE SEEN – BE KNOWN
The Forum serves a combined circulation of 45,000 a week We service 11 communities with more than 500,000 readers 4 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • February 20, 2014
Woodhaven, Queens Blvds. Listed As Two Of The Most Dangerous Roads In New York By Anna Gustafson As Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration focuses on dramatically decreasing pedestrian fatalities throughout the city, Queens residents are urging city officials to bring relief to the borough - particularly to major thoroughfares recently named as some of the state’s most dangerous places for walkers. The Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a nonprofit policy watchdog organization, said in a new analysis of statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that Woodhaven Boulevard, Northern Boulevard, Queens Boulevard, and Union Turnpike were the most dangerous in the borough for pedestrians. Additionally, the group reported that these four major roads were some of the most dangerous in the entire downstate region. The new analysis found there were 115 pedestrian deaths in Queens from 2010 through 2012 - during which time there were 683 pedestrians killed on roads in the 12 downstate New York counties. Overall, 1,236 pedestrians were killed in the tri-state region during the same time period.
more consistent traffic enforcement, more thorough crash investigations, and home rule, so we can lower speed limits and increase the used of speed cameras,” White said. City officials said all of these are part of the mayor’s initiative. While the Queens roadways were labeled as the most dangerous in the borough, it was Suffolk County that had the most dangerous road for pedestrians in the entire downstate area - as well as the tri-state region, according to the analysis. There were a reported 16 pedestrian fatalities on the county’s Route 25 - otherwise known as Jericho Turnpike - between 2010 and 2012, with half of those deaths occurring with the 11.5 mile stretch from Centereach to Ridge. Photo courtesy NYC Department of Transportation While decreasing deaths is a dauntQueens Boulevard and Woodhaven Boulevard, pictured here where the two intersect, were named as two of the most dangerous roads for ing prospect, transportation advocates pedestrians in downstate New York by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. said it can certainly be accomplished. “Pedestrian fatalities are tragic but Between 2010 and 2012, there were Steely White, executive director of curb pedestrian deaths, and the mayor eight pedestrians killed on Woodhaven Transportation Alternatives. “We can has said he aims to bring that number they can be prevented,” Campaign Boulevard, five on Northern Boulevard, save lives by building complete streets down to zero within a decade. The plan Staff Analyst Renata Silberblatt said. five on Queens Boulevard, and five on with protected bike lanes, wider side- includes decreasing the citywide speed “Complete streets policies have to limit and redesigning roads that com- move from passage to implementawalks and pedestrian safety islands.” Union, according to the report. De Blasio this week unveiled his de- munity members and city officials label tion of more life saving traffic calming “These findings make it clear once projects on roads throughout New again that we need to redesign our most tailed “Vision Zero” report that is part as particularly worrisome. De Blasio’s plan “must also include York.” dangerous arterial corridors,” said Paul of a citywide initiative to significant
With Focus On Pedestrian Deaths, Mayor Calls For Lower Speed Limit And More Speed Cameras By Anna Gustafson Reducing the citywide speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 mph and expanding the use of speed and red light cameras throughout the five boroughs were two proposals detailed in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” action plan that he and his administration rolled out Tuesday afternoon as part of an effort to significantly curb pedestrian deaths. “We refuse to accept the loss of children, parents and neighbors as inevitable,” de Blasio said at a press conference in Manhattan. “We are focusing the full weight of city government to prevent fatalities on our streets. This will add up to much more than changing intersections or issuing violations. It’s about each of us taking greater responsibility every time we get behind the wheel or step out onto the street. Our lives are literally in each other’s hands - and today we begin the work of living up to that responsibility.” The mayor joined Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and city Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, among other administration and elected officials, for the announcement that de Blasio was releasing the Vision Zero plan - the culmination of a month of efforts on the part of city repre-
Photo courtesy Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor's Office Mayor Bill de Blasio meets last week with families of city residents who have been killed in pedestrian accidents.
sentatives to develop new strategies to make streets safer, ranging from lowering the citywide speed limit to increasing enforcement against speeding and failure to yield to pedestrians. The effort, which follows the mayor’s meeting last week with families of victims of fatal pedestrian accidents, including a number from Queens, comprises new legislation, changes to city policies, public education, and community outreach. “More than 20 lives have been lost in our streets so far this year,” de Blasio said Tuesday. “The statistics are sobering. Being struck by a car is the leading cause of injury-related
death for children younger than 15. It’s the second leading cause of injury-related death for our senior citizens.” Last year, de Blasio pointed out, there were 333 recorded homicides - and 286 traffic fatalities. “Those two numbers are shockingly similar,” the mayor said. One of the proposed changes includes slashing the citywide speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph - something for which the mayor will need to receive the blessing of Albany to implement. Numerous studies have shown that the likelihood of an individual surviving after being hit by a vehicle moving at 25 mph is far
greater than had they been run into by an automobile traveling at 30 mph. Additionally, de Blasio and Bratton said they plan to expand the use of speed and red light enforcement cameras. The city currently has the authority to deploy red light cameras at 150 intersections and speed enforcement cameras at 20 spots. Building on the recent success expanding these surveillance programs, city officials said they will work with state leaders to authorize wider use of camera enforcement. Since speed enforcement cameras were activated last month, the city has issued nearly 4,000 speeding tickets.
In addition to speed limits and cameras, city officials are proposing developing borough specific street safety plans - for which the DOT will work with area elected officials, community boards and other stakeholders to address dangerous locations. They will target 50 locations per year for extensive redesign. De Blasio noted he also aims to expand neighborhood “slow zones,” and the DOT will work with communities to identify and implement 25 new arterial slow zones and eight new neighborhood slow zones that use signage and calming measures like speed humps to minimize speeding. “Over the last five years, it’s apparent that 70 percent of incidents involving pedestrian fatalities involved the issue of speed or failure to yield,” Bratton said. “And that - the department’s efforts going forward will focus very significantly on those types of violations, speeding violations and failure to yield to pedestrians at intersections. “We will be enforcing many rules and regulations, but that is the one we feel - coupled with the technology that’s being acquired, increased red light cameras, etcetera - that can have the quickest and most significant impact in reducing...pedestrian fatalities,” Bratton continued.
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Understanding Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome Overview
Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a complex and rare heart defect present at birth (congenital). In hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped. If your baby is born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the left side of the heart can't effectively pump blood to the body, so the right side of the heart must pump blood both to the lungs and to the rest of the body. Medication to prevent closure of the connection (ductus arteriosus) between the right and left sides, followed by either surgery or a heart transplant, is necessary to treat hypoplastic left heart syndrome. With advances in care, the outlook for babies born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome is better now than in the past.
Babies born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome usually are seriously ill immediately after birth. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome symptoms include: Grayish-blue skin color (cyanosis) Rapid, difficult breathing Poor feeding Cold hands and feet Being unusually drowsy or inactive In a baby with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, if the natural connections between the heart's left and right sides (foramen ovale and ductus arteriosus) are allowed to close, he or
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she may go into shock and may die. Signs of shock include: Cool, clammy skin that may be pale or gray A weak and rapid pulse Abnormal breathing that may be either slow and shallow or very rapid Dilated pupils Lackluster eyes that seem to stare A baby who is in shock may be conscious or unconscious. If you suspect your baby is in shock, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
When to see a doctor
It's more likely that your baby would be diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome either before birth or soon after. However, you should seek medical help if you notice that your baby has the following symptoms: Grayish-blue skin color Rapid, difficult breathing Poor feeding Cold hands and feet Being unusually drowsy or inactive If your baby has any of the following signs of shock, call 911 or your local emergency number right away: Cool, clammy skin that may be pale or gray A weak and rapid pulse Abnormal breathing that may be either slow and shallow or very rapid Dilated pupils in the eyes Lackluster eyes that seem to stare
Ps 232 Students Remember Sebastian Oseff With Cancer Fundraiser Event will be held exactly one year after the 8-year-old passed away
By Anna Gustafson Sebastian Oseff was wise beyond his years. A student at PS 232 in Lindenwood, the elementary school boy was known to his family and friends as a bright spot in a world that can be daunting in its darkness. Described as charismatic, intelligent, and an “old soul” who stopped at nothing to make sure those around him were happy, Sebastian lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 8 years old on March 16 last year - but his presence, his friends and family said, will forever be felt. To honor Sebastian, his friends from PS 232 are holding a fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to raising money for life-saving childhood cancer research, exactly one year from the day the world said goodbye to Sebastian, March 16. “This is a very important event that I am very proud to be part of,” said PS 232 student Benjamin Sorrentino. “My best friend Sebastian passed away on March 16, 2013 from brain cancer, and I miss him very much. I’m shaving my head on March 16, 2014 to honor him and in memory of him. I hope, by doing this this, I can help raise enough money to help other children survive cancer. I
Anna Gustafson/The Forum Newsgroup
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley sponsored a veterans’ forum this week to address a bevy of issues, including healthcare options, education and training opportunities, mental health counseling and home loan programs.
hope other people will come out and support the cause.” As part of the fundraiser, which will take place at 1 p.m. at the Royal Cutz Barbershop at 102-51 Jamaica Ave. in Richmond Hill, Sebastian’s friends are shaving their heads - a move meant to show solidarity with children who have lost their hair while fighting cancer. “I am doing this because Sebastian was a great friend,” PS 232 student An-
thony Pepe said. “He was nice and always gave compliments. This means a lot to me, and I wish he was still here. I am doing this in memory of him and to try to help other kids that have cancer.” Both Anthony’s and Benjamin’s mothers, Carola Pepe and Beth Sorrentino, are helping to organize the event. The funds raised on March 16 will go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which has, since its inception in 2005,
raised more than $127 million to support childhood cancer research. Sebastian’s mother, Jennifer Oseff, of Lindenwood, said she and her husband are incredibly touched by the students’ efforts honoring her son. “It’s bringing hope and awareness to people,” she said of the fundraiser. “The gratitude my husband and I have for people extending themselves and going out of their way is priceless.”
Oseff stressed the importance of funding childhood cancer research, noting that cancer “affects people of all walks of life and all ages. “It’s soul destroying,” she said. But, Sebastian’s mother said, such an event is a reminder of the power of friendship and connections to one another. “It gives a true meaning to the word community,” she said. “That these children who I’ve learned to adore would do that, that they’ve fought so hard for my son, is so important.” Saying how difficult it has been for Sebastian’s friends to grieve for their young friend, Carola Pepe noted how important this event is for the community: It is, she said, a chance to bring a bit of the same light that Sebastian once brought to the world. “He was my old soul,” Oseff said of her son. “I could go on for hours about what kind of a child he was. He was an individual who had so much to offer, gave so much, and far exceeded his years in terms of intelligence and humor.” You can help the students raise money on March 16. For more information, visit http://www.stbaldricks.org/ events/mypage/11116/2014.
Facing the End of Life as You Know It? What if the worst thing you think could happen does, and you are widowed, separated or divorced? What if life changes in the blink of an eye? How do you cope? How do you deal with the grief, loss, and pain? What do you politely tell those well-meaning people in you life who want to help you cope and start over? It’s not easy. It’s never easy. It hurts… it feels like life is broken and can never be fixed. You don’t have to hurt alone, and although life may never be the same, it can be good again. Beginning Experience can help, it starts with one weekend. The Beginning Experience weekend is for widowed, divorced, or separated individuals. The program helps single-again persons emerge from the darkness of grief into the light of a new beginning and move into the future with renewed hope. Turn the pain of loss into an experience of positive growth. On the weekend you’ll meet people who have gone through the same things you are going through. They know
how you feel because they have felt it and lived through it. They will share with you how they came to terms with their loss and how they’ve moved forward with their lives. More important, they listen. Beginning Experience isn’t a singles club. The weekend program transforms lives. It makes a real difference. Participants develop healthier family relationships and they begin to deal with the pain of their loss, their anger, and so much more. In fact, independent research published in the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage shows that the impact of the Beginning Experience weekend is more profound and longer lasting than that of support and informational groups for the single-again. The next weekend for the New York area is February 28, 2014 - March 2, 2014. For more information, contact John (516)822-0635, Jim (718)474-3779, or Karen (201) 736-8200.
NYPD to hold domestic violence seminar in Richmond Hill The 106th and 102nd precincts are teaming up to offer a domestic violence seminar. The seminar will be held Feb. 20 at the Fairfield Pavilion, located at 131-10 101 Ave. in Richmond Hill. It will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. "Domestic violence is a major problem," said 106th Precinct Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff. "We'll give the A through
Zs on what domestic violence is." The event will include presentations by Deputy Chief Kathleen O'Reilly, the commanding officer of the domestic violence unit; Sgt. Diana Silverstein, of the 102nd Precinct's domestic violence unit; Sgt. Nikki Lawrence, of the 106th's domestic violence unit; and the Queens District Attorney's domestic violence bureau. The event is free and open to the public.
$28.95 Expires 02/27/14
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Questioning Global Warming Dear Editor, This has been one of the most brutal winters in over a decade. Since it began I haven't heard the words "global warming" once. I'd like to know where Al Gore and all the others who claimed to have evidence that winters such as these were going the way of the dinosaur and the VCR. Probably they escaped to some warm weather location, or maybe, like most liberals and progressives, they keep a low profile when their theories are disproven. Edward Riecks Howard Beach, NY
Decreasing Teen Pregnancy in NYC Dear Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, I am writing to see if you can shed some light on a comment you made in the New York Post in an article on the declining abortion rate in New York City. You told the reporter the following: "You have more acceptance of sex education and responsible use of contraceptives. That's why we're seeing positive reductions." Assemblyman Gottfried, I am curious to know why you think sex education and use of contraceptives are the reason for the decline. It is certainly not an implausible claim, but I am wondering if you have any evidence to support it. The CDC has been tracking a consistent trend in delayed sexual initiation among teenagers and a decrease in the proportion of individuals who have had more than 5 sexual partners in the past 12 months. Meanwhile, contraceptive usage has remained quite static. If nothing else, an application of Ockham's Razor would incline one to look toward decreased sexual activity before crediting contraceptive use for a decline in abortion in New York. In either case, though, I wonder whether there is any data to support the claim with respect to the particular situation of New York City. Regarding sex education, when members of the New York City Parents' Choice Coalition met with Deputy Schools Chancellor Kathleen Grimm re-
garding the City's controversial sex education mandate and Plan B distribution program, she told us plainly that no effort was being made to measure the effect of either program on teen sexual activity or pregnancy rates. Indeed, she told us that to do so would be a violation of student privacy, a claim we found perplexing. If no tool has been used to measure the impact of the sex education programs in the City Schools or to measure the impact of the City's contraception distribution program, on what basis can one claim that such programs are having an impact on pregnancy rates or abortions? I understand that Deputy Chancellor Grimm has an ardent faith that the programs are effective, a faith which I presume you share, but I wonder whether either you or Ms. Grimm think faith is a sound basis for public policy. If I am mistaken and the City of New York has collected data which makes a compelling case that sex education as practiced in the City of New York or increases in responsible contraceptive use are the cause in the decline in pregnancy and abortion in New York City, I invite you to join me in calling for the City to release such data immediately for public examination. If I am not mistaken, I invite you to join me in calling for the City to begin collecting such data in order to move its public policies from their current faith based platform onto a sounder footing based on social science. As such data collection methods are developed, I would encourage the City to consider establishing an evidence criterion for sex education program in the schools to replace the ideological criterion currently in use. This would bring us a long way toward our shared goal of decreasing teen and unplanned pregnancy and abortion in New York City. Greg Pfundstein President Chiaroscuro Foundation
A “Perfect” Proposal Dear Editor, For the first time, I found some idea on de Blasio's Liberal agenda just perfect - municipal ID cards for the undocumented immigrants who live and work in New York City illegally. If
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implemented, it would facilitate civil and criminal prosecution of alien miscreants who work off-the-books defrauding the tax departments of the city and state, and who are criminal perpetrators of domestic violence, rape, muggings, robberies and murders in New York City. Finally, since the card holders' data would be kept on government file, it could be readily hacked by the federal National Security Administration for the deportation of all illegal immigrants. Therefore, the benefits would indeed be immense for the majority of legal citizens in the United States, but only if the ID card includes citizenship status. Of course, de Blasio would conveniently omit that data to protect the guilty? Joseph N. Manago Briarwood
Please: A More Functional City Government
A Plea for Better
Transportation Dear Mayor de Blasio,
I am writing to you as a citizen, as a life-long resident of the Rockaway Peninsula, and as president of the Queens Public Transit Committee, whose goal is to improve transportation options throughout the borough. First, let me welcome you as the mayor of our great city. In your campaign you promised positive change to help our city, including, in particular, improving the livelihoods, the neighborhoods, and the opportunities of New York’s “90 percenters.” I was encouraged that you expressed
a commitment to focus on the needs of the often neglected “outer boroughs” of the city. It is to help you achieve this goal that I am asking you to support an open, detailed, and fair study of the Rockaway Beach Line. The line’s right of way, which is owned by New York City, has remained largely intact since deactivation. Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder, State Sen. Tony Avella, and U.S. Reps. Gregory Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries have all called for reactivating the line. In addition, Queens Community Boards 14 and 5 have endorsed reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Line by lopsided margins. And here’s the reason why: the Rockaways and south Queens have been neglected for decades. Our communities have been
PUBLISHER Patricia L. Adams Dear Editor,
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Anna Gustafson
Drip, drip, drip your tax dollars are going down the drain. Have you see all the "Don't Let Tax, Water, Or Repair Charges Come Between You and Your Property" full page ads in your daily and weekly neighborhood newspapers? Even worse, was the 108 page recent supplement that appeared in the New York Daily News on Monday, Feb. 10. It lists line by line the name of every New Yorker who owes real estate tax water sewer, emergency repair or other property - related charges "the city of New York may sell a lien on your property" advertisement. Is this the best way the NYC Departments of Finance, Environmental Protection along with Housing Preservation and Development can spend taxpayers dollars? Why can't all three agencies compare their respective lists of people who owe money with those filing city and state tax returns? Surely the technology exists to place a lien on any tax refunds? You could also extend citizens the courtesy of a telephone call or letter or e-mail informing them of their overdue obligations. What's next, will the city send out marshals going door to door serving subpoenas? Larry Penner Great Neck
PRODUCTION Marisa Pilato EDITOR REPORTERS Alan Krawitz Samantha Geary CONTRIBUTING Hannah Sheehan REPORTERS Kerry Goleski Kate Bubacz Michael Florio Ben Kleine DIRECTOR OF Donna DeCarolis MARKETING PHOTOGRAPHERS Robert Stridiron Richard York _____________________________________________ THE FORUM NEWSGROUP 155-19 Lahn Street, Howard Beach, NY 11414 phone • 718-845-3221 | fax • 718-738-7645 e-mail • firstname.lastname@example.org site • theforumnewsgroup.com THE FORUM NEWSGROUP publishes every Thursday. Ad space reservations by Monday, 12 noon, preceding date of publication. Editorial submission must be made by Monday, 3 P.M., preceding date of publication. All letters to THE FORUM NEWSGROUP should be brief and are subject to editing. Writers should include a full address and home / office telephone number. Anonymous letters are not printed. Name withheld on request. No such ad or any part thereof may be reproduced without permission of THE FORUM NEWSGROUP. The publisher will not be responsible for any error in advertising beyond the cost of the space occupied by the error. Errors must be reported to THE FORUM NEWSGROUP within five days of publication. Ad position cannot be guaranteed unless paid prior to publication. Genesis Print Media & Consultation assumes no liability for the content or reply to any ads. The advertiser assumes all liability for the content of and all replies. The advertiser agrees to hold THE FORUM NEWSGROUP and its employees harmless from all costs, expenses, liabilities, and damages resulting from or caused by the publication placed by the advertiser or any reply to any such advertisement.
Making Sure Our Children Lead The Lives They Deserve Every year in the United States there are about 13,400 children who are diagnosed with cancer - with approximately one in 300 boys and one in 333 girls developing cancer before their 20th birthday, according to the American Childhood Cancer Organization. It is difficult to comprehend such staggering statistics - behind which are thousands upon thousands of stories of parents spending sleepless nights in hospitals, children battling diagnoses no one should have to face, and countless family members having to say goodbye to those for whom they would have given their lives if asked. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t know someone who has fought cancer, or who has done so themselves, and it is often a story of bravery and hope and, sometimes, profound loss. The stories behind these statistics are well known to those in our community, with many of us knowing exactly what it is to hear we have, or or someone we love has, cancer. We know what it is to fight and to sometimes feel like giving up and to fight again. And it is always incredibly difficult, no matter who is going through the fight, but it is a different kind of battle when a child is involved. The Lindenwood community knows this too well - last March 16, an 8-year-old by the name of Sebastian Oseff died after losing his fight with
brain cancer. ments, making all those around him feel special. While he had only reached the third grade, SeHe was, his mother said, an old soul. bastian was wiser than those decades older - he was And, like so many children, Sebastian is somefunny and charming and extremely intelligent. He one who everyone wishes was still here, dirtying loved his friends and his family jeans while playing with friends and raising his more than anything. One of his closest friends hand in class and kissing his parents goodnight. said Sebastian would freely hand out compli It’s impossible to make sense of a child dying
If you have a serious injury on the job and file a claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits, at some point you most likely will have to attend a hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Board. The hearing process can be daunting to many first-time attendees as you don’t know what to expect, what to bring, or in many cases, even what to wear. Those who have attended hearings are upset that they have to wait for a long period of time in a huge waiting room, only to be rushed in and out of the hearing courtroom, or “part,” in a matter of minutes. They complain that while sitting inside a hearing “part,” the parties are all speaking in codes and abbreviations, and that they can’t understand what occurred. By providing information now on the hearing process, I am hoping to alleviate some of that overwhelm and confusion. When I first started practicing Workers’ Compensation law, the Board regularly scheduled hearings for any and all outstanding issues, including need for treatment and/
or surgery. Most injured workers had numerous hearings before the Workers’ Compensation Board with the same judge presiding, and in many times, the same insurance representative. Hearings were scheduled every three to four months till the case was resolved, which could take about two years. Today, however, things are radically different. Most times, medical requests are dealt with administratively. The medical treatment guidelines lay out specifically what is pre-authorized if certain medical conditions apply. If the treating doctor wishes to pursue treatment outside the scope of the treatment guidelines, he must make a request that may be authorized or denied. These requests and denials are all done through paperwork and the injured worker unfortunately has very little to say in the matter. The amount of hearings has declined tremendously, so if you are not represented by an attorney, you need to be prepared. Put together a file. Make sure any administrative decisions have established all of the injuries you are claiming. If not, you need to tell the judge that you have a claim for other sites and you will be directed to produce medical documents where appropriate. While your treating physician should be submitting regular medical reports to the Workers’ Compensation Board and insurance carrier, you always should have your own copies of your medical
- and his classmates, just 8- and 9-years-old themselves when their friend passed away - had to come to terms with a concept that those decades their senior have trouble understanding. But, the students at PS 232 have truly responded in such an inspiring way - and on March 16 of this year, on the one year anniversary of Sebastian’s death, they are holding a fundraiser to collect money for childhood cancer research. The fundraiser will take place at 1 p.m. at the Royal Cutz Barbershop at 102-51 Jamaica Ave. in Richmond Hill. Being a part of a community can truly be an amazing inspiration - and residents are not only doing a fundraiser for childhood cancer research, but individuals are also holding an event in Howard Beach this Sunday to aid children with heart conditions. Inspired by Valentina Allen, a beautiful 1-yearold girl from Howard Beach who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome - which basically means a heart that is only half functional, the event will begin at Gold’s Gym at 157-05 Cross Bay Blvd. at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. We are calling on the community to step forward and say: It’s time we no longer have to say goodbye to those we love the most or visit them in the hospital. Let’s make sure our children can live the lives they deserve.
Letters Cont'd records, including diagnostic studies. You are entitled to reimbursement for mileage and prescriptions related to your claim. Bring copies of bills and mileage requests if the carrier has failed to reimburse you for these expenses. You should bring copies of all pertinent paperwork with you to proceed with your claim. Do not ever come late to a hearing, but bring reading material as very few cases start at the time indicated. If you are late, however, the judge probably will not recall your case; you will have to wait for a rehearing. You should be dressed appropriately and while a suit is not required, be mindful of the fact that you are appearing in a court room. The key to being your own successful advocate is to be prepared, be polite, and be patient. 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.
struggling in terms of economic opportunity, access to jobs, and in attracting local development, businesses, and employment. One of the key reasons is poor transportation. It takes longer to travel from the Rockaway Peninsula to midtown Manhattan than it does from Long Island, Westchester, and many parts of New Jersey. Travel between north and south Queens is a nightmare. People must travel either through Manhattan or take several buses to reach destinations in their own borough. South Queens has developed such a reputation for poor access that its location was a prime impediment to Governor Cuomo’s Genting convention proposal. If people can’t get to their destinations quickly and easily, why should they invest here? Unfortunately, there has been for decades a small, influential groupthat has blocked the restoration of the Rockaway Beach Line. Many in this group live near and enjoy both LIRR and subway access to midtown Manhattan. Is it fair for a small group of people to block the ability of Rockaway and south Queens residents to obtain more access to jobs and education, and to develop their communities? For some reason, the news media has focused solely on restoring the LIRR. There are, however, several subway options that would benefit more people from all walks of life. A new subway line could originate from both Far Rockaway and Rockaway Park and run along the A line to a point north of the Aqueduct/Conduit Avenue subway
station. There is sufficient capacity, and no alterations to the A line would be needed. The new subway could then proceed on the abandoned Rockaway Beach Line to Rego Park/63rd Drive. There, a station could be built that would be only four minutes away from the IND 63rd Drive station and the Rego Park malls. There is enough space for a joint LIRR/subway station. In addition, two limited bus services could be created. One could head north to Citi Field, the new mall, Fort Totten, and LaGuardia Airport, forming a complete north-south Queens link. A second could run along the Long Island Expressway, past Queens College to the busy commercial Main Street, Flushing district. With one fare and one transfer, people could easily travel within Queens, encouraging the growth of small businesses and job creation. In conclusion, Mr. Mayor, the opportunity is there to provide jobs and to enable local development and access to jobs, while at the same time reducing excessive travel times, traffic congestion, and pollution. We ask you to endorse this study and urge Gov. Cuomo to do the same.
Philip McManus President Queens Public Transit Committee Rockaway Park
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • February 20, 2014 | 9
From Classroom Size To Foreign Language, Queens' Newest PEP Member Vows To Fight For Education By Anna Gustafson Little did Deborah Dillingham know when she first stepped into a Forest Hills elementary school years ago to drop her children off for kindergarten that she would be embarking on a foray into Queens’ educational landscape that has led her to be Borough President Melinda Katz’s recent appointee to the city Panel for Educational Policy. Almost immediately after dropping her children - who are now 14 and in public high schools - off at PS 101 in Forest Hills to launch their kindergarten career, Dillingham met the school’s Parent Association president - and she quickly became an integral part of the school’s fabric. “I thought at the time, my involvement was going to be just raising money for the school,” Dillingham said. “I didn’t know what the issues were until then, but I sat on the school leadership team and became intimately involved in the issues. Small class size was one of my initial fights.” She went on to serve the city’s educational system in a number of different capacities, including as the Queens borough appointee to District 28’s Community Education Council,
for which she served as president until last week. Dillingham was also a member of the Queens Borough President’s Parent Advisory Committee, the District 28 Leadership Team, and the schools chancellor’s Parent Advisory Committee. It is this background that Katz said led her to appoint the Forest Hills woman as her representative on the PEP - a decision-making group dominated by mayoral appointees that votes on education plans for the city’s public schools, including closures and co-locations. “Through her extensive work with our city’s school system, Deborah has shown she has the knowledge, savvy and commitment necessary to be an outstanding member of the Panel for Educational Policy,” Katz said. “She cares deeply about our children and the schooling they receive and has the track record of making sure our kids get the best education possible.” Under the mayoral control legislation, which was passed by the state Legislature in 2002, the PEP was formed. During Bloomberg’s tenure, the 13-member group landed scathing criticism from parents, educators and lawmakers alike, who accused the body of being a rubber stamp for the former mayor because he appointed the
Photo courtesy Deb Dillingham
Deb Dillingham, a longtime education advocate from Forest Hills, has been selected as Queens Borough President Melinda Katz's appointee on the city Panel for Educational Policy. premiums.
majority of the panel. The mayor’s appointees never voted against a proposal supported by Bloomberg, while the representatives from the borough president - who each select one appointee for the PeP - frequently fought the ad-
ministration on everything from slashing principals’ budgets to closing large community high schools, such as Jamaica High School. The mother of three children - a 14-year-old who attends LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan, a 14-year-old who is a student at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Long Island City, and a 12-year-old who goes to the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan - Dillingham said she hopes the new PEP will be more receptive and stressed that she hopes to help parents “navigate this incredibly complex system” that is the New York City public schools. Additionally, she said she plans to advocate for much-needed funding and the restoration of programming for the borough’s schools, which, under Bloomberg, were forced to make drastic cuts to such areas as art and music and foreign language. “Each school has its own challenged, and every student has a different need,” Dillingham said. “I don’t believe in a cookie cutter education, but I do believe all children should have a gym and a playground and a music room and a library and a science lab. Most of all, they should have great teachers.”
Student Deaths Prompt Lawmakers To Advocate For More School Crossing Guards By Anna Gustafson Following the recent deaths of two schoolchildren killed in traffic accidents, two state lawmakers - one from Queens and the other from Staten Island) - are sponsoring legislation to increase the number of school crossing guards. Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (DJackson Heights) and state Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) have joined forces to co-author a bill that would require a school crossing guard be placed on each corner of a city block
on which there is a public or private school with students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It would also require additional crossing guards on the opposite corners of these intersections if the roadway has four or more traffic lanes. “We cannot expect children to cross hightraffic roadways with no supervision from a crossing guard,” DenDekker said. “I want to protect the children of New York City and put an end to completely preventable accidents, such as those that caused the deaths of two
children in my district last year.” In December 2012, 11-year-old Miguel Torres was struck and killed by a hit-and-run truck driver while crossing 80th Street and Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights. Torres had been walking to school at the time of his death and was just steps away from IS 145 when he was killed. Almost exactly one year later, 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was hit and killed at 61st Street and Northern Boulevard in Woodside while he was walking with his sister to PS 152.
Both Torres and Nahian were crossing the street unattended. “This legislation furthers my commitment to our children,” Savino said. “Crossing guards play an essential role in keeping students safe while walking to school, and children also look to them for security on dangerous city streets.” In 2013, 173 pedestrians were killed in traffic-related accidents in New York City. Currently, there are no requirements for additional crossing guards in high-traffic areas bordering schools.
Most Voters Side with Cuomo on Pre-K, Poll Says By Anna Gustafson Despite Mayor de Blasio’s major push for residents to back his proposal to raise taxes on city residents annually making $500,000 or more to pay for pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds in the five boroughs, a new poll reported that the majority of state voters are backing Gov. Cuomo’s competing proposal that would entail using state funds to pay for a universal pre-K initiative in New York. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, voters statewide suppor 76 to 20 percent using state funding for universal pre-K, with support at 59 to 35 percent among Republicans and 91 to 7 percent among Democrats. While residents don’t seem to see eyeto-eye with de Blasio on his proposal to increase taxes to pay for the initiative - a plan for which the mayor would need the blessing File photo of Albany to do - voters did overwhelmingly The majority of New York voters said they favor Gov. Cuomo's plan to use state funds to pay for an expansion of prethrow their support behind the idea of pre-K. kindergarten in the state, as opposed to Mayor de Blasio's proposal to increase taxes on the city's wealthy denizens. A total of 78 percent of voters said universal 10 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • February 20, 2014
pre-K would be “very effective” or “somewhat effective” in improving education for New York’s children, and 74 percent said the program would be very or somewhat effective in putting poor children “on a path out of poverty,” according to the poll. Additionally, voters in New York City were more split over the two proposals than their peers statewide, with 49 percent of city residents siding with Cuomo and 40 percent with de Blasio. The poll, conducted by telephone from Feb. 6 to 10, reached 1,488 voters across New York. “Just about everyone in this most liberal of states likes universal pre-kindergarten, and they think, overwhelmingly, that kids will learn and that it will help them out of poverty,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “But voters prefer Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s nonew-taxes approach to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tax-the-rich plan to pay for those new classes.”
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By Anna Gustafson
U.S. House To Soon Vote On Revised Biggert-Waters Bill
U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers said they will vote next week on a bill that would keep flood insurance premiums from skyrocketing, as they were expected to do following federal legislators passing the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012, relieving Queens residents who have said such increases could create ghost towns in the borough - as well as in coastal towns throughout the United States. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (RVA) announced last week that the House is expected to to act on a bill that he said would keep rates “affordable,” though what exactly that means has yet to be hashed out by lawmakers. The announcement follows the Senate passing the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act earlier this month that would delay flood insurance premiums from spiking for four years, while the Federal Emergency Management Agency conducts an affordability study of the plan to increase the premiums for homeowners - many of whom who have been struggling financially following Hurricane Sandy. The House bill is expected to differ from
The U.S. House of Representatives said it would vote next week on a bill to delay spikes in flood insurance premiums.
the Senate’s legislation that landed criticism from Cantor. “The Senate bill irresponsibly removes much needed reforms and imposes additional costs on taxpayers,” Cantor said in a statement. “The House will act to protect the flood insurance program but also protect ho-
meowners from unreasonable and unrealistic premium increases.” New York’s congressional representatives have been supportive of delaying the flood insurance increases, and U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island), the lead House sponsor of the Senate bill, said the higher
premiums would result in Sandy victims being “devastated yet again.” The Senate’s bill was introduced by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and is co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Johnny Isakson (RGA) and 26 other senators. The bill was drafted in response to the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act – a piece of legislation passed by Congress that phases out some subsidized insurance rates and allows for rate increases of about 20 to 25 percent each year until properties reach actuarial status. While supporters of the Biggert-Waters Act have said the bill was meant to make a debt-ridden National Flood Insurance Program more fiscally stable, as it has been hemorrhaging money, homeowners in Queens and other coastal communities across the city and nation have said the rates would force individuals from their homes because they would not be able to afford the increases – particularly after so many shelled out significant amounts of money to rebuild following Hurricane Sandy. Homeowners throughout the country have reported drastic increases, including premiums skyrocketing from $4,500 each year to $45,000 annually.
At Forest Park School, A Celebration Of Education
Individuals from the radio station HOT 97 joined the school at its January and February award celebrations honoring students and citizens of the month.
For students at the Forest Park School, PS 97, in Woodhaven, the end of the year and the beginning of 2014 has marked a more than eventful time characterized by everything from a visit by dee-jays from the radio station HOT 97 to lessons using the much welcomed chocolate and other candy.
The year kicked off with individuals from HOT 97’s “street team” venturing to the school, located at 85-52 85th St., for its January and February award celebrations honoring students and citizens of the month. The end of the year ended on a sweet note for the Forest Park School, when pupils took
In preparation for the 100th day of school, students participated in a 100th Day Read Aloud event and discussed what things can be used to help them count to 100. Photos courtesy the Forest Park School
a “Solids to Liquids to Solids” workshop, during which they melted chocolate and molded lollipops. Of course, the school has also focused its efforts on eating healthy, and parents and guardians were invited in December to attend a workshop to learn how to prepare healthy snacks - making everything from trail mix to
fruit kebobs and sushi with bananas. In recognition of the snow that never seems to end, students have made snow crafts - including snow globes and read a book titled “The Snowy Day Mystery.” Students also celebrated literacy, and, in preparation for the 100th day of school, they participated in a 100th Day Read Aloud.
Scholars Students Take Bronze in Empire State Games Held at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid from Feb. 6 to Feb. 9, the Empire State Games are a multi-day sports event that has taken place for more than 30 years and brings together more than 1,000 athletes from across the state to compete in a variety of winter sports. Isabella is a competitive freeskier in USA-
SA’s Catskill Mountain Series and a member of the Windham Mountain Freeride Team. She is a nationally ranked athlete in skiercross, halfpipe, slopestyle and rail jam and will be competing at USASA’s Ski Nationals in April at Copper Mountain in Colorado.
12 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • February 20, 2014
Photo courtesy Denise Lopresti Neibel
Isabella Neibel, a seventh grade student at Scholars Academy and lifelong resident of Roxbury in Breezy Point, earned bronze medals in Skier Cross and Ski Slopestyle at the 2014 Empire State Games.
Family, Friends Gather To Remember Christian Doran By Phil Corso It was a fitting tribute to a man who worked hard for his home borough as Christian Doran’s friends and family flooded a Bellerose church for his funeral mass. Doran, who died suddenly from an asthma attack last week at age 28, helped start the preservation organization People for the Pavilion with hopes of protecting the iconic site of the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens. And while his life may have been cut short, those who remembered the Maspeth native spoke of a man whose life proved true the notion of quality over quantity. “We are celebrating a short, but fulfilling life,” said Msgr. Edward Ryan, who spoke at Doran’s Friday morning funeral at St. Gregory the Great in Bellerose. “His life was a life of giving and a life of appreciating the beauty of helping others. While he was alive, he lived.” Doran was in the public eye just days before his death, participating in a walking tour of the pavilion alongside Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who has vowed to fulfill his goal of keeping the area preserved. "Over the past months, we have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to become friends and partners with Christian Doran," said People for the Pavilion’s Facebook photo Salmaan Khan and Matthew Silva in a state- Christian Doran, a Maspeth native and co-founder of People for the Pavilion who died at the age of 28 last week, was ment. "If you had the opportunity to speak remembered as someone who lived life to its fullest.
with him, you knew he was special. He was someone who could share his passion in a way that could excite absolutely anyone, and he had a knack for comfortably engaging those around him." When he was not working to save the Queens Pavilion, Doran also worked as a sound engineer at Queens Theater in the Park and was known to be a passionate lover of music. His brother, Sean Doran, gave a touching glimpse into his brother’s life, reading some words their father Steve had prepared for the mass. “Tian [Christian’s nickname] was our spirit, our drumbeat, our heartbeat, our joy, our baby, our love,” the letter read. “He lit up a room, made everyone smile and was the most loving person we have ever known.” Ryan also pointed out the February edition of The Gregorian, the church’s monthly newsletter, which happened to feature an early moment of Doran’s life in its “Great Gregorian Moments” section. Page seven of this month’s issue showcased an old family affair photo of Doran, then only seven weeks old, in the arms of his father Steve. Some photos of the young Doran showcased a Willy Wonka tattoo on his right shoulder. It was only fitting that his funeral mass ended with the entire room joining together to sing, “Pure Imagination,” the anthem of the 1971 film.
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Celebrating Howard Beach Boy Scouts Howard Beach's Troop and Pack 139 celebrated their Blue and Gold Bridging Ceremony at St. Helen's, and everyone from elected officials to proud parents packed the room to honor the occasion. The ceremony is held to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of Boy Scouts in America and highlights the achievements earned by all the boys, but particularly emphasizes the Webelos earning the Arrow of Light. This is a prestigious award and is the only Cub Scout award allowed on the Boy Scout uniform. Six Webelos from Pack 139 earned the award at the ceremony, which was attended by 38 cub scouts, 18 boy scouts, and all their leaders. Also present were members of the Tomahawk District and Pack and Troop and 139, which meets at St. Helen's RC Church and is active in community activities, Sandy relief, and many other events. On March 15, the scouts will hold the Pineblast Derby race at 12 p.m. at St. Helen's School at 83-09 157th Ave. in HOward Beach. All are welcome to attend.
A Call For A Quieter JFK Airport By Anna Gustafson South Queens residents know the meaning of airplane noise. They know what it is to have to stop talking countless times during a summer barbeque because a low-flying jet is overhead, or to have homes rattle from the constant stream of planes. And while the noise issues are nothing new, one elected official is saying something can - and must - be done to improve residents’ quality of life. Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) has launched an online petition for South Queens and Rockaway residents to sign and register their concerns in an effort to mitigate airplane noise. Goldfeder plans to deliver the petition to the Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey and the Federal Aviation Administration. “Residents in southern Queens and Rockaway have always been plagued by airplane noise,” Goldfeder said in a statement. “I strongly urge every resident to sign this petition today and send a message to agencies that they must provide our families the quiet and peace of mind we deserve while sitting in our own homes.” Neighborhoods in South Queens and Rockaway are hit hard by noise from JFK International Airport, to which they are adjacent, and also frequently receive additional air traffic noise from LaGuardia Airport. Goldfeder noted that while residents understand that the close proximity to the airports obviously comes with challenges, new
technology and noise mitigation techniques can be implemented to bring relief. “Besides effects on quality of life, has has been shown that noise has an absolute impact on cardiovascular health, which meant be addressed,” said Marilyn Chapoteau, a member of the Arverne Civic. Chapoteau went on to point out that noise levels in communities surround the city’s two airports - both of which are in Queens - exceed levels discussed in a 2014 Harvard School of Public Health article, the “Secrets of Sound Health,” which studied individuals who live along the noisiest flight paths near airports and found that they have a higher risk of being admitted to hospitals for cardiovascular disease. Last year, Goldfeder co-sponsored a bill that would have put measures in place to miti-
gate noise and require a community dialogue between airport officials and residents - but Gov. Cuomo did not sign the legislation. The governor did authorize the Port Authority to work with affected communities and conduct routine sound level studies. Goldfeder also recently held a discussion with officals from the Federal Aviation Administration and Port Authority to find better ways to reduce flight patterns and launch a dialogue with surrounding communities. “John F. Kennedy International Airport is not going anywhere, but we can work together to develop a better partnership and find ways to mitigate the noise,” Goldfeder said. To view the petition, visit www.stopJFKNoise.com or visit Goldfeder’s website, http:// assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Phillip-Goldfeder.
State Should Not Slaughter Mute Swans: Queens Pol, Advocates By Anna Gustafson The state Department of Environmental Conseration’s plan to kill all 2,200 wild mute swans in New York by 2025 - including potentially shooting, gassing, or decapitating them - is drawing vehement criticism from state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and animal rights advocates, and the Queens lawmaker has introduced a bill to prevent the eradication of these white water birds. “I was horrified to learn that our state wildlife agency would make such an extreme, unfounded proposal and do not believe that the DEC has provided evidence to justify the elimination of these beautiful swans,” Avella said. The lawmaker’s bill, filed Feb. 10, would require the DEC to demonstrate that actual damage to the enivironment or other c=species have been caused by the mute swan population across the state. The DEC’s proposal to kill the swan population came after state officials argued that the large birds are “potential hazards to aviation” and have displayed “aggressive behavior towards people.” The public has until tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 21, to give input on the plan. “The public outcry has been severe,” Avella
state proclamation recognizing March 10-16 as Swan Appreciation WEek. “DEC’s hateful attitudes towards mute swans must be reversed - they are out of step with the very residents of New York whose tax dollars fund the agency,” she said. Numerous animal rights advocates, including those at Friends of Animals, have pointed out that the mute swans compose about half of 1 percent of the state’s more than 400,000 waterfowl - thereby creating only a minor impact on the state’s ecosystem. “My professional opinion is that these public disputes about mute swans are overblown and unnecessary,” said Donald S. Heintzelman, an ornithologist and expert on Northern migratory Photo courtesy Friends of Animals swans. “These birds do not cause catastrophic State Sen. Tony Avella and animal rights advocates are calling for a moratorium on the state Department of damage, although most state wildlife agencies Environmental Conservation's plan to eradicate all 2,200 wild mute swans in the state by 2025 and declare them a have engrained in their official mindsets the no"prohibited invasive species." tion that mute swans should be destroyed merely because they are non-native species that might said. “Many New Yorkers do not want to see cember. compete with native tundra swans and more mute swans eliminated and animal advocacy or“Our New York office has been swamped rarely trumpeter swans.” ganizations, wildlife experts, rehabilitators and with phone calls and emails from frantic New “Furthermore, arguments that mute others have also joined the chorus of opposition.” York residents horrified that mute swans may be swans are aggressive, and also consume large Among those who have joined Avella in his wiped out completely,” said Friends of Animals’ amounts of submerged aquatic vegetation are criticism is the Friends of Animals, an animal NY Director Edita Birnkrant. greatly overblown - and represent bad science,” rights organization that has been protesting the Birnkrant went on to say that her organizaHeintzelman continued. DEC’s proposal since it was announced in De- tion is asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to issue a
14 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • February 20, 2014
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Sorbara Balsamic Vinegar 17 oz. bottle ................ 2 for $5.00 Divella Long Fusilli 17 oz. bag ............................... 2 for $5.00 Merro Anchovies 7 oz. jar ....................................... 2 for $5.00 Pietro Coricelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil 3 liter ................. $19.99 Maxwell House Regular Coffee 11 oz. can ..................... $3.99
SALE ENDS 2/26/14
Black Angus Flank Steaks ................................................... $5.99 lb. Perdue Chicken Tenders ...................................................... $2.99 lb. Bell & Evans Sliced Chicken Cutlets .................................. $5.99 lb. Boneless Pork Chops & Pork Roast ................................... $2.99 lb. Black Angus London Broil .................................................. $3.99 lb.
The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the thrill of a bargain has passed.
IT PAYS TO BUY THE BEST:
Boars Ever Low Salt Turkey ......................................... $8.99 lb. Boars Head Low Salt Ham ............................................. $7.99 lb. Boars Head Low Salt American Cheese ....................... $5.99 lb. Homemade Antipasto Salad .......................................... $3.99 lb. Homemade Chick Pea Salad ......................................... $2.99 lb. SANDWICH SPECIAL: Philly Cheese Steak Hero ........................................... $5.99 each
Not Responsible for Typographical Errors
Fresh Corn ............................................................... 3 for 99 ¢ All Dole Salads ....................................................... 2 for $5.00 Cello Carrots .......................................................... 2 for $1.00 Bosc Pears ................................................................. $1.29 lb. Cucumbers ............................................................. 3 for $1.00 Macintosh Apples ...................................................... $1.29 lb.
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • February 20, 2014 | 15
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