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Juniper track construction sees further delays

By Jessica Meditz

Renovations to Juniper Valley Park’s track and field were put on the back burner when a large concrete clog in its main drainage line was discovered.

The project cannot resume until the concrete clog, as well as additional damage to a smaller section of pipe, is repaired.

Supply chain issues and a lack of registration with the comptroller’s office has shut out park goers from the facility for well over a year.

Gary Giordano, district manager of Queens Community Board 5, said that the change order was registered with the comptroller’s office in mid February, which was primarily for the subcontractor hired by the contractor, Applied Landscape Technologies, to remove drainage pipe from the site and replace it.

The contractor is supposedly working on getting permits from the Department of Buildings and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Giordano said they will need a temporary sheeting permit from the Department of Buildings, because the main sewer connection is 26 feet underground.

“That way, after the area around the pipe is excavated, the metal sheeting will prevent the rest of the Earth from covering the pipe again so there is room to work on it,” Giordano said.

Giordano said that it’s “hopeful” the contractor will start work in late March or early April.

“I am told that Applied Landscape Technologies is really on the ball with this, so if they can get their permits and start working, I would hope that they could start working by late this month or early April,” he said.

Giordano said that the long term closure of the track and field affects not just Middle Village, but its surrounding communities whose residents also use the facility.

“Soccer is more and more popular, and children and teenagers need to be able to run around and get some exercise. So now, the prime place for playing soccer in our neighborhoods is not available,” Giordano said.

“It’s forcing the soccer teams that had permits there to try to get permits elsewhere, which costs a lot of money. Children have a hard time not being able to practice close to home,” he continued. “Local football and soccer organizations are closed out of there, not to mention all the people who simply love to walk or jog around the track.”

Giordano added that if Applied Landscape Technologies can get back to work as planned, there is hope that the project will be completed before the end of 2022.

Queens pols send supplies to Ukrainian refugees

By Jessica Meditz

Citizens of the Ukraine continue to cross into Poland, fearing for their safety as Russian troops invade the Eastern European nation. In a show of support for the Ukrainian people, community leaders in Queens came together to help provide relief for refugees fleeing their homeland.

Tony Di Piazza, president of Federazione Italo-Americana Di Brooklyn and Queens in Glendale, partnered with New York City Councilman Robert Holden and Councilman James Gennaro this past weekend, to hold a supply drive for Ukrainian refugees.

The number of donations filled up two large trucks, which were loaded with essentials including tents, food, toiletries, clothing and medical supplies  — to be shipped via air to Finland, then Warsaw, and eventually Rzeszow, a Polish city near the Ukrainian border.

Di Piazza said that the Associazione Culturale Italiana Di New York will cover the cost of the shipment and that the care package should arrive by the end of the week.

“In today’s age of real time news, it was disconcerting watching the images on television of the destruction of a beautiful country and the children. We could not stand idly by and do nothing,” Di Piazza said.

“We’re happy that we could, in a very small way, be helpful to the people of Ukraine,” he continued. “The fight goes on. We stand with the people of Ukraine, we stand with Poland, and we stand for humankind.”

New York City Councilman Francisco Moya, Councilwoman Vickie Paladino, Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers, Councilwoman Linda Lee, Councilwoman Nantasha Williams and Councilwoman Sandra Ung will also host drop-off sites throughout Queens in support of the effort.

Comm. Joseph Ficalora, ECS Globe Air, WAW Humanitarian Goods, Fucsia Fitzgerald Nissoli, Ficalora Family Foundation, the CHAZAQ Organization, Chaverim of Queens, New York Community Bank, Maspeth Federal Savings Bank, Cross Country Savings Bank, Webster Bank, Richmond County Savings Foundation, and Seka Moving Company were among twenty-five local sponsors who also participated in the drive.

“As citizens of the United States, we identify with the struggle for freedom and this attack by Putin,” Holden said.

“Every day, we see videos of women and children being targeted. So it’s important for us as legislators, and just people who love democracy, that we help out.”

Holden added that participants of the drive will continue to collect and ship more supplies to those in need.

Gennaro said the effort is “the least they can do” as citizens of New York.

“The least we can do is help out those that are in dire straits, or running across the border to Poland, welcoming them with open arms,” Gennaro said. “I’m very happy to be part of this initiative to make sure that we do the right thing by the people who are suffering so terribly… We wish much ill will upon Vladimir Putin. May his murderous rampage come to an end; may he come to an end.”

Tony Di Piazza speaks about efforts made to help Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

Felder launches campaign

By Evan Triantafilidis

Ethan Felder is running for New York State Assembly District 28, which includes Rego Park, Maspeth, Elmhurst and Forest Hills.

Ethan Felder, a labor lawyer from Forest Hills, has announced his campaign for the State’s 28th Assembly District.

The seat currently held by 17-year incumbent Andrew Hevesi represents Glendale, Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens, Ridgewood, Rego Park, Maspeth, Middle Village, Elmhurst and Forest Hills.

Over 50 people gathered at Macdonald Park in Forest Hills on March 6, for Felder’s campaign kickoff event, where he claimed that the district is in a “moment of unease.”

“Hate and violence against people and their communities have left many feeling unsafe, unheard and unwanted,” Felder said. “The answer is not detachment, condescension and empty political posturing. Complacency in these times just won’t do. It’s time to turn the page. It’s a moment where true solidarity must be twinned with sensibility, not ideological dogma. We can have public safety and stand for dignity for all people.”

Felder’s platform includes public safety, quality education and economic dignity.

He has been outspoken against the current plan for a jail being placed in Kew Gardens, as well as being in favor of raising the minimum wage to $18 per hour.

The lifelong Queens resident also promotes building trust with local police precincts, amid trends of hate crimes on the streets and in subway stations.

“Many in the community are concerned about rising crime and hate,” Felder said. “I am too. Elected officials in Albany have lost their way. People are tired of talk. It’s time for action and fresh energy.”

Showing support at the campaign launch were Monica Cruz, a spokesperson for the Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Sylvia Martina, a Lefrak City tenant and Fahad Solaiman from the Jackson Heights Bangladeshi Business Association.

Felder, a union labor lawyer at 32BJ SEIU, has served on his local Community Board 6 for six years. In 2018, he represented the tenants of LeFrak City in the fight for voting rights.

“It’s always been about service,” Felder said. “It’s what led me to represent the voters of Lefrak City pro bono when the voting rights of 6,000 people were suppressed by the Board of Elections. It’s why I rallied the community against antisemitism, anti-Asian hate and for Black Lives.”

Solaiman added, “I know him as a man who always thinks about everyone. We need people like him to talk for us, to talk for the community.”

Felder attended Cornell University for his bachelor’s degree in government and later attended Washington University in St. Louis for his MBA and doctorate in law. He is a graduate of Townsend Harris High School.

Sherry Algredo to chair CB9

Evan Triantafilidis

Sherry Algredo has been named the new chair of Community Board 9, which covers Woodhaven, Kew Gardens, and parts of Richmond Hill and Ozone Park.

Algredo unseated three-term board chairman Kenichi Wilson at last week’s in-person board meeting, but not before some controversy into Wilson’s eligibility to run for a fourth term.

Although community boards allow for four consecutive two-year terms, it was originally thought that CB9 limited the position to three terms in their bylaws. However, that wasn’t the case, as Wilson sought a fourth term after reviewing the board’s bylaws, just hours before the scheduled meeting.

While Algredo could have contested Wilson’s eligibility, she opted to go head-to-head against him for the chair position, which resulted in a 19-16 vote in her favor.

“Nobody thought this could happen,” Algredo told the Ledger. “God made this possible. It was a controversy if I chose to make it a controversy, but I decided to take my chances and I won.”

Algredo, the former first vice-chair of the board, joined CB9 four years ago and had been appointed chair of the Education and Youth Services Committee. The Richmond Hill resident has been actively involved in the community, helping to organize events that promoted local businesses and education efforts in southeast Queens.

“I ran on integrity and honesty, and we did it together,” Algredo said. “With all odds against me, I stood tall.”

The Richmond Hill resident is believed to be the first Community Board chairperson from Trinidad and Tobago.

Shortly after her victory, Algredo received a congratulatory phone call from Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, whose district encompasses Woodhaven and parts of Richmond Hill.

“On International Women’s Day, I was delighted to call in to the CB9 meeting from Albany to congratulate my friend Sherry Algredo on her election to Chair of Community Board 9,” Rajkumar said in a statement. “There is no one more deserving or qualified. She has worked tirelessly for our neighborhoods as 1st Vice Chair, and has been a leader advocating for our children’s education. She also has made history as the first Indo-Caribbean woman to chair the Board. I look forward to partnering with this caring and dynamic leader to serve the people of South Queens.”

Wilson will remain on the board as the first vice-chair, as officers to the board will be sworn in on April 1, 2022.

“I’m here to support the board,” Wilson told the Ledger.

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