QUEENS DAILY EAGLE
Covering the courts and legal community in the world’s most diverse urban center
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1, 2018
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Whitestone Residents Demand Exams for Aging Drivers
In June, an 88-year-old motorist ran a red light on Utopia Parkway in Whitestone and killed 17-year-old, Madeline Sershen in a crosswalk. Since that tragedy occurred, Sershen’s aunt Rita Barravecchio has advocated for the re-examination of drivers whose vision and acuity erodes with age. The driver, whom authorities identified as Sheila Kahn Prager, was faces a year in prison on a reckless endangerment charge. On Monday night, Barravecchio organized a rally calling on the state to enact retesting provisions. “A person needs to prove his or her ability to drive because there are a lot of skills needed,” Barravecchio told StreetBlog. “As time goes on, we get careless. Retesting will remind us all how we should be driving and demonstrate that we have fast enough reaction times.”
NYCHA is Now Smoke-Free — But Not Everyone Is Breathing A Sigh of Relief
On Monday, NYCHA banned smoking all of its apartment buildings, including the 21 complexes in Queens. Those developments include Long Island City’s Queensbridge Houses — the largest public housing development in North America — and a 20-tower complex in Woodside. Combined, they contain 15,716 apartments and house tens of thousands of tenants. Overall, about 400,000 New Yorkers call NYCHA apartments home. The anti-smoking policy was mandated by HUD in 2017. “Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, healthy home free from harmful secondhand cigarette smoke,” said former HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “HUD’s smoke-free rule is a reflection of our commitment to using housing as a platform to create healthy communities.” But some tenants question the housing authority’s priorities. “The tenants get mad now because they’re putting an emphasis on this [smoking ban] and not on other things like fixing the lead,” Shirley Williams, a tenant association president in Manhattan, told the Daily News. “NYCHA hasn’t done their job. And that’s the bad part.”
Cuomo Unveils Improved LaGuardia Access
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the completion of a major new roadway flyover that will enhance access and improve traffic flow for travelers driving into LaGuardia Airport at a conference in Queens yesterday. The new flyover, located at the Grand Central Parkway’s eastbound Exit 7, will be the primary access point for vehicles going to the eastern side of LaGuardia Airport where Delta’s gates are located. Construction of the flyover was completed in less than two years as part of the ongoing $8 billion LaGuardia Airport modernization project that Cuomo announced in 2015. “This new flyover will bring immediate relief to travelers driving to LaGuardia Airport, and is a key milestone in our plan to build the nation’s first new airport in more than 20 years and make it a world-class international gateway,” Cuomo said. “While the federal government pays lip service to infrastructure, New York is making historic strides in building a transportation network fit for the 21st century economy.”
PBS Takes Viewers On A Unique Queens Cuisine Tour
The fourth episode of No Passport Required took PBS viewers on a Caribbean cuisine tour of Richmond Hill last night. The program, hosted by Marcus Samuelsson, enabled audiences to learn about the Indo-Guyanese community’s culture, customs, and, of course, food. Samuelsson visited roti shops and bakeries, including Singh’s Roti Shop, to make and savor Guyanese treats like pine tarts, pepperpot, doubles, and plait bread. He also visited the temple canteen inside a neighborhood mandir, prepares roti at the home of a Guyanese family, and played in a cricket match. After the game, the the cricket players shared a meal of bake and saltfish and coconut pastries called salara. The show airs every Tuesday night at 9 pm. Previous episodes visited Dearborn and Detroit in Michigan, New Orleans and Chicago.
Velazquez and Meng Fight For Puerto Rico
Queens Congress Members won’t stop fighting for Puerto Rico, even if many of their peers on Capitol Hill have moved onto other issues. Last week, Rep. Nydia Velazquez and Rep. Grace Meng announced new measures to support the island territory as it recovers and rebuilds from last fall’s devastating hurricanes. Velazquez’s bill aims to ensure more federal government contracts go to Puerto Rican businesses. “Ten months have passed since Hurricane Maria ravished Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, devastated the electrical grid and crippled the already languishing economy,” Velázquez said in a statement. “My provision would channel federal dollars to the island, employing local small firms in the recovery process and on other projects. Federal procurement spending can be a powerful tool for stimulating local economic growth and, right now, Puerto Rico can use all the help it can get.” Meng, meanwhile, aims to force FEMA to release a report on its hurricane response.
A Pesticide Cloud Will Envelope Western Queens Tonight
“The Health Department will spray pesticides in parts of Western Queens tonight to stop mosquitoes from buzzing through our area,” Council Member Costa Constantinides announced on Twitter yesterday. The extermination initiative was originally planned for yesterday but rescheduled due to inclement weather. Spraying will last from 9 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Health Department advises residents of Astoria, Jackson Heights, Ditmars and surrounding neighborhoods to Stay indoors, whenever possible during the spraying. Residents can keep their air conditioners on, though they may wish to close air conditioner vents, or choose the recirculate function. After spraying residents may wish to wash outdoor toys and equipment with soap and water, wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water and, as always, wash fruits and vegetables with water.
It’s In Queens: Birds and Jazz
At 1 p.m. today, The Voelker Orth Museum in Flushing will host a $4 introducton to bird-watching event that hat includes assembling nests from natural and manmade materials and studying actual nests to see how they are constructed. At 7 p.m., Flushing Town Hall will host its Monthly Jazz Jam, which takes place on the first Wednesday of every month. The sessions are a fun forum for musicians to hone skills and jam with peers. The house band is led by saxophonist Carol Sudhalter. All are welcome. Don’t play? Come listen! Admission is $10.