Here’s to a peaceful presidential campaign

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By William Lewis

TimesLedger Newspapers

Having a presidential election every four years has led to longer and longer presidential campaigns.

One of the best examples of early presidential campaigns was Jimmy Carter, who after being governor of Georgia until 1974 spent the next two years campaigning for the presidency. He was elected president in 1976. He had set up campaign organizations all over the country and visited these places, giving speeches. He was projected as coming from nowhere to win the presidency.

As we look at the political situation this year going into the presidential race two years from now, the Democratic Party’s situation is somewhat similar to the Republican Party’s of two years ago. A number of Democratic candidates may emerge from the Democratic primaries. In 2016, the Republican Party had 17 candidates running in the primaries throughout the nation.

An open primary in many states encourages a large number of candidates. The Democratic Party will no longer be held by one person, as happened with Hillary Clinton two years ago. We will see who emerges as the strongest candidate after the Democratic primaries.

This process can go on for the next two years, with candidates in the Democratic Party unofficially running for office, and by 2020 we may have a considerable number of candidates in the Democratic primaries that year, especially in the battleground states. This is going to be a hard-fought campaign in both political parties and may turn out to be one of the more bitter campaigns in American history.

The issue of importance will be immigration, which up until 2016 was not a major issue. In 2020 it will be a major issue, accompanied by both political parties giving their definitions of American values. The candidates will have their own views on how immigration should be handled.

There may be candidates running against President Donald Trump in the Republican primaries. They, too, will have views on these all important matters. But the American political system is becoming longer and longer, with more campaigns everywhere to elect our president. This is not good for our form of government. It seems that we need to tone down the American political system, which, as I indicated, is becoming increasingly bitter.

We could also have a third-party candidate emerge to run in the national election in 2020. At any rate, by voting for president in 2020, the American people will be voting on what they believe to be the proper American values. The 2020 election process will possibly be the most important presidential election that we have had in many years. One good thing about this is that more and more people are becoming active in politics, attending rallies, going to fundraising activities, and getting involved campaigning for a candidate. This is happening in both political parties.

Let us hope that the election process during the next two years can be held in a peaceful manner.

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Source: Times Ledger

Elmhurst couple busted for unlawful conversions

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Bill Parry

TimesLedger Newspapers

LuHi

An Elmhurst couple were indicted on charges that they endangered the lives of up to 15 people living in a one-bedroom house on Forley Street, which they converted into five single-room occupancies, despite a city order requiring the tenants to vacate the premises, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced Tuesday.

Segundo Chimbay, 53, and his wife, Maria Chimbay, 52, are awaiting arraignment in Queens Supreme Court on an 18-count indictment. If convicted, each could face up to seven years in prison.

“The defendants are accused of trading the safety of their tenants for cold, hard cash,” Brown said. “In addition to putting a strain on city services, such as parking, transportation, waste disposal and schools, illegal conversions endanger the lives of residents as well as firefighters and other personnel who, in responding to an emergency, would have been confronted by a maze of rooms with no way out.”

The indictment is a result of a multi-agency initiative to crack down on dangerous and illegal housing in Queens, and Brown said his office would “vigorously prosecute” those who profit from such illegal housing. Tenants at the Forley Street home paid $750 to $1,400 a month, in cash, despite the eviction notice from the city.

“The defendants flouted vacate orders and constructed dangerous, illegal conversions that endangered the lives of residents, according to charges,” city Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters said. “One of the defendants is a recidivist offender, having engaged in a serial disregard for the city’s building codes and arrested previously by DOI for the same conduct.”

An inspection by the Department of Building in May 2016 found that the building had been “illegally converted to or maintained as a dwelling for occupancy by four or more families.” A follow-up DOB inspection last year found sleeping quarters in the basement, three SROs on the second floor and an additional SRO at the attic level, and all 15 occupants sharing a common kitchen on the first floor.

“Renting illegal apartments can not only cost bad-actor landlords $50,000 or more in fines, but it can also cost them their freedom,” Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler said.

“Illegal apartments often lack basic safety standards, such as having two exits in case one is blocked by a fire. We issue vacate orders only as a last resort, when there’s an immediate risk to tenants’ safety. Putting renters back in dangerous living spaces, as the defendants are alleged to have done, shows complete and utter disregard for people’s lives.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

Comment on this story.

Source: Times Ledger

Elmhurst couple busted for unlawful conversions

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Bill Parry

TimesLedger Newspapers

LuHi

An Elmhurst couple were indicted on charges that they endangered the lives of up to 15 people living in a one-bedroom house on Forley Street, which they converted into five single-room occupancies, despite a city order requiring the tenants to vacate the premises, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced Tuesday.

Segundo Chimbay, 53, and his wife, Maria Chimbay, 52, are awaiting arraignment in Queens Supreme Court on an 18-count indictment. If convicted, each could face up to seven years in prison.

“The defendants are accused of trading the safety of their tenants for cold, hard cash,” Brown said. “In addition to putting a strain on city services, such as parking, transportation, waste disposal and schools, illegal conversions endanger the lives of residents as well as firefighters and other personnel who, in responding to an emergency, would have been confronted by a maze of rooms with no way out.”

The indictment is a result of a multi-agency initiative to crack down on dangerous and illegal housing in Queens, and Brown said his office would “vigorously prosecute” those who profit from such illegal housing. Tenants at the Forley Street home paid $750 to $1,400 a month, in cash, despite the eviction notice from the city.

“The defendants flouted vacate orders and constructed dangerous, illegal conversions that endangered the lives of residents, according to charges,” city Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters said. “One of the defendants is a recidivist offender, having engaged in a serial disregard for the city’s building codes and arrested previously by DOI for the same conduct.”

An inspection by the Department of Building in May 2016 found that the building had been “illegally converted to or maintained as a dwelling for occupancy by four or more families.” A follow-up DOB inspection last year found sleeping quarters in the basement, three SROs on the second floor and an additional SRO at the attic level, and all 15 occupants sharing a common kitchen on the first floor.

“Renting illegal apartments can not only cost bad-actor landlords $50,000 or more in fines, but it can also cost them their freedom,” Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler said.

“Illegal apartments often lack basic safety standards, such as having two exits in case one is blocked by a fire. We issue vacate orders only as a last resort, when there’s an immediate risk to tenants’ safety. Putting renters back in dangerous living spaces, as the defendants are alleged to have done, shows complete and utter disregard for people’s lives.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

Comment on this story.

Source: Times Ledger

Divine Wisdom to shutter Bayside campus for expanded Douglaston facility

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By Mark Hallum

TimesLedger Newspapers

Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy in Bayside will close its doors to merge with the Douglaston campus only two miles away, a Brooklyn Diocese spokeswoman confirmed.

Students and staff will be fully accommodated by the Douglaston facility in the 2018-19 school year because of declining enrollment and demographic changes in the communities served by the schools, according to diocese spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad, and because of increased capacity at the Douglaston campus, at 45-11 245th St.

Divine Wisdom’s school secretary, Kathy Furlong, expressed a positive outlook for the change, saying that a 4,000-square-foot expansion completed in September will create a better educational environment for students who, Erstad said, travel to Douglaston weekly as it is.

A diocese press release said enrollment at the Bayside Campus, at 58-10 214th St., had declined by 10 percent in the past year, which Erstad attributed to people moving away from the city and new residents not sending their children to Catholic schools. One other school under the purview of diocese also shut its doors this week, St. Pancras School in Glendale.

A city Department of Education spokesman could not confirm whether or not there were plans to take over the Bayside campus to relieve some of the overcrowding in District 26, which is among the highest-performing in the city.

Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) spoke of addressing this issue through using available land in College Point in September, but the idea also contended with the fact many students would have to be bused into area dominated by marshland.

The Brooklyn Diocese seems to be making changes not only to schools in Queens, with the former rectory at St. Anastasia in Douglaston to be rented out to Services for the UnderServed to care for developmentally challenged adults.

The move required approval from Community Board 11, which granted it with a nearly unanimous vote in December to allow the not-for-profit to operate out the building at 45-14 245th St.

Doris Figueroa, senior vice president of developmental disabilities services at SUS, said SUS has several similar facilities across the city. Figueroa said the eight residents are being moved from another facility that is larger but lacks some of the accessibility standards needed for the residents.

About $450,000 will be spent renovating the former church annex to make it ADA-accessible for the residents.

In 2015, St. Anastasia Church in Douglaston celebrated 100 years in the community by dressing in early 20th-century attire, holding outdoor festivities and conducting a service led by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn Diocese.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Comment on this story.

Source: Times Ledger

Divine Wisdom to shutter Bayside campus for expanded Douglaston facility

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Mark Hallum

TimesLedger Newspapers

Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy in Bayside will close its doors to merge with the Douglaston campus only two miles away, a Brooklyn Diocese spokeswoman confirmed.

Students and staff will be fully accommodated by the Douglaston facility in the 2018-19 school year because of declining enrollment and demographic changes in the communities served by the schools, according to diocese spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad, and because of increased capacity at the Douglaston campus, at 45-11 245th St.

Divine Wisdom’s school secretary, Kathy Furlong, expressed a positive outlook for the change, saying that a 4,000-square-foot expansion completed in September will create a better educational environment for students who, Erstad said, travel to Douglaston weekly as it is.

A diocese press release said enrollment at the Bayside Campus, at 58-10 214th St., had declined by 10 percent in the past year, which Erstad attributed to people moving away from the city and new residents not sending their children to Catholic schools. One other school under the purview of diocese also shut its doors this week, St. Pancras School in Glendale.

A city Department of Education spokesman could not confirm whether or not there were plans to take over the Bayside campus to relieve some of the overcrowding in District 26, which is among the highest-performing in the city.

Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) spoke of addressing this issue through using available land in College Point in September, but the idea also contended with the fact many students would have to be bused into area dominated by marshland.

The Brooklyn Diocese seems to be making changes not only to schools in Queens, with the former rectory at St. Anastasia in Douglaston to be rented out to Services for the UnderServed to care for developmentally challenged adults.

The move required approval from Community Board 11, which granted it with a nearly unanimous vote in December to allow the not-for-profit to operate out the building at 45-14 245th St.

Doris Figueroa, senior vice president of developmental disabilities services at SUS, said SUS has several similar facilities across the city. Figueroa said the eight residents are being moved from another facility that is larger but lacks some of the accessibility standards needed for the residents.

About $450,000 will be spent renovating the former church annex to make it ADA-accessible for the residents.

MARY LOUIS ACADEMY

In 2015, St. Anastasia Church in Douglaston celebrated 100 years in the community by dressing in early 20th-century attire, holding outdoor festivities and conducting a service led by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn Diocese.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Comment on this story.

Source: Times Ledger

Islanders’ new arena will lead to more traffic on Cross Island Parkway

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Linda Imhauser

TimesLedger Newspapers

I read with dismay that an 18,000-seat hockey and concert arena will be built at Belmont Park for the New York Islanders.

While this may benefit some people, it will create horrendous traffic on the overburdened Cross Island Parkway.

Beginning daily at 2:30 p.m., there is bumper-to-bumper traffic from the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges, plus terrible backups near the entrance to the Long Island Expressway.

Now we will have to deal with thousands of people going to and from this arena.

While there will be some improvements from the Long Island Rail Road, what is the city planning to do to alleviate increased traffic on the Cross Island Parkway?

LuHi

New York’s motto seems to be “build, build, build,” without much thought for the problems it causes.

Linda Imhauser

Whitestone

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Source: Times Ledger

Here’s to a peaceful presidential campaign

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By William Lewis

TimesLedger Newspapers

Having a presidential election every four years has led to longer and longer presidential campaigns.

One of the best examples of early presidential campaigns was Jimmy Carter, who after being governor of Georgia until 1974 spent the next two years campaigning for the presidency. He was elected president in 1976. He had set up campaign organizations all over the country and visited these places, giving speeches. He was projected as coming from nowhere to win the presidency.

As we look at the political situation this year going into the presidential race two years from now, the Democratic Party’s situation is somewhat similar to the Republican Party’s of two years ago. A number of Democratic candidates may emerge from the Democratic primaries. In 2016, the Republican Party had 17 candidates running in the primaries throughout the nation.

An open primary in many states encourages a large number of candidates. The Democratic Party will no longer be held by one person, as happened with Hillary Clinton two years ago. We will see who emerges as the strongest candidate after the Democratic primaries.

Lutheran School of Flushing and Bayside

This process can go on for the next two years, with candidates in the Democratic Party unofficially running for office, and by 2020 we may have a considerable number of candidates in the Democratic primaries that year, especially in the battleground states. This is going to be a hard-fought campaign in both political parties and may turn out to be one of the more bitter campaigns in American history.

The issue of importance will be immigration, which up until 2016 was not a major issue. In 2020 it will be a major issue, accompanied by both political parties giving their definitions of American values. The candidates will have their own views on how immigration should be handled.

There may be candidates running against President Donald Trump in the Republican primaries. They, too, will have views on these all important matters. But the American political system is becoming longer and longer, with more campaigns everywhere to elect our president. This is not good for our form of government. It seems that we need to tone down the American political system, which, as I indicated, is becoming increasingly bitter.

We could also have a third-party candidate emerge to run in the national election in 2020. At any rate, by voting for president in 2020, the American people will be voting on what they believe to be the proper American values. The 2020 election process will possibly be the most important presidential election that we have had in many years. One good thing about this is that more and more people are becoming active in politics, attending rallies, going to fundraising activities, and getting involved campaigning for a candidate. This is happening in both political parties.

Let us hope that the election process during the next two years can be held in a peaceful manner.

Comment on this story.

Source: Times Ledger

Police search for two suspects in recent crime spree

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Bill Parry

TimesLedger Newspapers

Police were looking for two men responsible for a crime spree in numerous locations around the borough this month, striking most recently in Bayside.

The two suspects entered a bodega located at 150-09 Bayside Ave. just after 7 p.m. Thursday and removed $2,000 from the register and fled in a four-door silver Honda Accord, police said.

One suspect was described as a light skinned man between 5 feet, 8 inches tall and 5 feet, 10 inches tall who was last seen wearing a black mask covering his face, blue gloves and he was armed with a handgun.

The other suspect was described as a black man who was last seen wearing all black, a white mask and blue gloves.

Investigators believe the same silver Honda Accord was used last Monday in Woodside when the light skinned suspect entered a Pizza Hut at 51-02 Northern Blvd. just before 10 p.m. and flashed a gun before making off with $160 in cash.

This time, the suspect was wearing a white mask covering his face, a blue tyvek suit and blue gloves, according to authorities.

LuHi

The two were believed to be the same men that robbed a 7-Eleven at 61-19 Northern Blvd. at gunpoint Dec. 17. They fled with more than $300 in cash, police said.

The duo’s first armed robbery allegedly took place Thursday, Jan. 4m just after 11 p.m., at a BP gas station located at 29-16 Francis Lewis Blvd. in Flushing. The suspects took off with $900 in cash, police said

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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Source: Times Ledger

LIC gallery features Japanese knitted dolls

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Merle Exit

TimesLedger Newspapers

The Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small, stuffed yarn creatures is the subject of the latest exhibition at Resobox, a Japanese gallery and studio at 41-26 27th St. in Long Island City.

The art, known as amigurumi, will be featured through March 31 at the gallery, one of three Resobox locations in New York City. The other two are in Chelsea and the East Village.

The exhibition — titled “World Amigurumi Exhibition Vol. 4: Dolls for Daily Life!” — comprises 4,500 amigurumi dolls, collected from about 120 professional artists in 45 countries.

Queens Theater

Resobox was founded in 2011 by Takashi Ikezawa, a Japanese native who said the name was a combination of the words “resonating” and “box.”

“I envisioned a culture center not only where Japanese art can be displayed but to give the opportunity for both Japanese born and ancestry to have a place to mingle and learn,” Ikezawa said. “This 700-square-foot space has an area for socializing, an event space, a separate classroom and a cafe. We are open to share our culture with anyone who cares to enjoy our space.”

His strong identification with Japanese culture stems from four years of his experience as a guide on Mount Fuji, a place that is historic as well as sacred to Japanese people.

The Long Island City location is open every day. “People can come here simply to view the art and perhaps have macha tea,” Ikezawa said. “In regards to classes, we teach the Japanese language, as well as creating bonsai, amigurumi, origami, Japanese dance and Japanese cooking.”

The cafe serves udon, ramen, rice bowl dishes, salads, appetizers, sushi, desserts and drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The gallery’s opening hours are noon to 4 and 6 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 10 Saturday and noon to 6 Sunday.

All locations are free to the public.

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Source: Times Ledger

St. John’s women’s hoops extends winning streak to five

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By Zach Gewelb

TimesLedger Newspapers

The St. John’s women’s basketball team continues to roll, earning its fifth straight victory by dispatching Villanova, 70-64, Sunday afternoon at Carnesecca Arena.

The Red Storm (12-7, 5-3 Big East) outscored their Big East opponent in every quarter to secure the victory.

MARY LOUIS ACADEMY

“Great team win for us. I’m proud of how we played,” St. John’s head coach Joe Tartamella said. “Just a great win for us, and probably one of the bigger ones we’ve had this year.”

Senior forward Maya Singleton continued her strong season, tallying 16 points and 11 rebounds to record her 13th double-double of the season.

Alisha Kebbe (16 points), Tiana England (12 points) and Andrayah Adams (10 points) also eclipsed double figures to help St. John’s down Villanova (14-3, 4-3 Big East).

The Red Storm offense played one of its best games of the season against the Wildcats, known for being a strong defensive squad. The Johnnies shot lights out from the field (49 percent) and converted 6 of 11 shots from three-point range. Their 70 points scored mark the second-most Villanova has given up all season.

Neither team was able to pull ahead in the first quarter, but St. John’s would take the lead at the end of the frame when Akina Wellere drilled a three as the buzzer sounded to send the Johnnies into the second quarter with a 14-12 advantage.

The game remained close throughout the second quarter, but St. John’s once again finished the frame strong scoring six of the last eight points to take a 29-25 lead into halftime.

Singleton came up big in the first half, scoring 10 of her 16 points. She had some help early in the third quarter, though, when St. John’s came out of the break hot. The Johnnies came up with two three-pointers and a layup to build a 10-point lead just three minutes into the quarter. Their lead would grow to 11 later in the frame, but Villanova clawed back into the game, cutting the deficit to five heading into the fourth quarter.

St. John’s maintained the lead early in the fourth, but the Wildcats tied the game at 54-54 midway through the period. The Johnnies went on a 6-0 run and never looked back, making clutch free throws in the waning moments to secure the win.

After the game, Tartamella said he was proud of his team’s effort against a tough opponent.

“The way that we came out today, I thought we did a really great job throughout the game in controlling” things, he said. “It’s fun to watch when you can watch execution of the game plan and being able to execute down the stretch by making big shots and making plays.”

The Red Storm will look to keep its five-game winning streak alive when the team returns to the court to take on Seton Hall on the road Sunday afternoon. Opening tip is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewelb@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4539.

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Source: Times Ledger