Curbside composting returns next month

Curbside composting is returning this October.
Any resident can sign up for curbside composting regardless of whether or not they were in a zone before the pandemic derailed the service. Signing up will help the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) understand where the demand for curbside composting is high.
“Outreach and education around this initiative is important to get residents to sign up and then to those where service will be offered, to participate,” said Amy Marpman, chair of Queens Solid Waste Advisory Board (QSWAB).
Mary Arnold, co-founder of CURES, a group in central Queens that works to mitigate the impact of freight trains, said composting has the potential to remove more than 30 percent of the waste that is sent to landfills.
“Composting has the potential to reduce waste-by-rail diesel pollution from locomotives that are used to haul the waste and reduce noise in the middle of the night, especially from moving giant rail cars about to old locomotive engines,” she said.

Chamber promotes online services for small biz

The Queens Chamber of Commerce partnered with Councilman Peter Koo for a walkabout, visiting a number of businesses in Flushing and informing them of resources available through the organization.
Among the resources discussed was the Queens Chamber’s new “Open+Online” program, which helps businesses build a new website and assists in SEO (search engine optimization) free of charge.
“The pandemic changed shopping patterns for small business in many ways,” said Koo. “There was a major shift toward online shopping, so we want to make sure our businesses know about the chamber’s capacity to help build websites for our community free of charge. Customers are coming back, and we want to make sure our businesses have every available resource at their disposal so they too can come back and thrive in this post-pandemic economy.”
Beginning at Bland Playground on the corner of Prince Street and 40th Road, the tour made its way up 40th Road to Flushing’s bustling Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of neighborhoods like Flushing, but they’ve had an incredibly challenging year-and-a-half due to the pandemic,” said Thomas Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “Our Open+Online program can help businesses get back on their feet and thrive in the post-pandemic economy.”
“Online presence is important for small businesses to thrive,” added Dian Song Yu, executive director of Flushing BID. “Especially during this pandemic era, a website can serve as a key communication channel between merchants and consumers, allowing businesses to operate more efficiently and broaden their customer base.”

Monthly Jazz Jam returns with in-person audiences

The Louis Armstrong Legacy Monthly Jazz Jam will return to Flushing Town Hall for in-person events after being virtual for 17 months. The first jam will take place on September 8 at 7 p.m. and will kick off a lineup of fall programs.
“Let me say how utterly thrilled we are to see everyone return for a live, in-person jam,” said Gabrielle Hamilton, town hall’s director of Education & Public Programs,. “Over the last 17 months as musicians joined us online, we heard some amazing jazz from across the globe, including six of the seven continents, but now it is time to jam again in person.”
For those unable to attend in person, virtual audiences can watch a livestream for free on Flushing Town Hall’s Facebook page.
“I want to thank everyone who went on this virtual, musical journey with us this past year and a half,” said Carol Sudhalter, the band leader for the monthly jam. “The pandemic keeps testing the resolve of the arts community, but we have proven ourselves resilient and inventive.”
Additional concerts this fall include another performance in The Lioness Women in Jazz series featuring baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian, followed by concerts with Dayramir González & Habana enTRANCé Cuban Jazz, then Yui Kitamura & The Mark Wade Trio.
Flushing Town Hall will also present the first art exhibition, “Communicating Beyond Words,” ins its gallery since the pandemic first closed its facility in March of 2020.
Flushing Town Hall will require all visitors, performers, and staff to show proof of vaccination, and masks must be worn at all times. For more information visit

Charles Melone, Variety Boys & Girls Club

Charles Melone, better known as “Coach CP,” describes basketball as his one true love.
He takes his passion for the sport with him to work every day as the athletics director at the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens in Astoria. Melone oversees all things sports, as well as runs all of the sports teams.
The Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens has a nationally recognized AAU basketball program, which Melone founded before he started working there seven years ago.
“We take underprivileged kids from this area, especially from Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Woodside, and Astoria [houses],” Melone said. “It’s a lot of amazing kids that just weren’t given an opportunity, and so with our basketball program we give them that opportunity to play against the best kids in the country.”
Melone attended Caldwell University on a basketball scholarship, and realized he wanted to stay in the game when his own basketball career came to an end.
“At a young age, my father always really nailed home that you have to give back if you have an opportunity to,” he said. “And so I figured what better way to give back than to find a common interest, which is sports and basketball that I love. That way, I could work with kids and continue to pay it forward and make sure that not only am I happy in my own life, but I’m helping other kids achieve their dreams.”
As for what he does in his free time, Melone said there isn’t much free time.
“Even on the weekends we’re traveling to tournaments, we have training sessions, and we have college exposure things,” he said. “So I’m always kind of working, but it doesn’t feel like work and I love it.”
One thing Melone is excited about is that the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens will have its first baseball team since the ‘60s starting this year.
“The gym is always packed, the kids just want to be here,” he said. “I hope to be in this community for a long time, and I’m very grateful to the Variety Boys and Girls Club for giving me this opportunity. I hope I continue to make them and the community proud.”

104th Precicnt Police Blotter (8/16/2021-8/22/2021)

Monday, Aug. 16
Christopher Snyder was arrested at 56-02 Arnold Avenue for criminal contempt by Officer Subbir.
Jeremie Diaz was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for petit larceny by Detective Rochford.
Marisela Circhado was arrested at 61st Street and Myrtle Avenue for aggravated unlicensed operator by Detective Wright.
Frederick Reed was arrested at 67-33 Cooper Avenue for resisting arrest by Officer Jiminez.
Alexander Beltran was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for burglary by Officer Hynes.

Tuesday, Aug. 17
Lesek Krom was arrested at 64-57 59th Avenue for grand larceny by Detective Rochford.
Segundo Sullagana was arrested at Norman Street and Wyckoff Avenue for criminal possession of stolen property by Detective Wright.
Aundre M. Washington was arrested at 78-16 Cooper Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Officer Combs.
Ariel Epinal was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for robbery by Detective Bublin.

Wednesday, Aug. 18
Kristhian Ramos was arrested at 1933 Linden Street for criminal mischief by Officer Mark.
Christian Guzman was arrested at 61st Street and Metropolitan Avenue for aggravated unlicensed operator by Detective Wright.
Carol Singleton was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for criminal contempt by Officer Coronado.
David Fernandez was arrested at Hart Street and Woodward Avenue for driving while intoxicated by Officer Abbondandelo.

Thursday, Aug. 19
Tristan Hassarath was arrested at 60-26 69th Avenue for menacing by Officer Gutierrez.
Tyler Reyes was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for strangulation by Detective Gerardi.
Derek Percival was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Detective Moon.
Haashim McCorkle was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Detective Rogers.
Tyrone Long was arrested at Norman Street and Myrtle Avenue for petit larceny by Detective Wright.
Selena Jaimes was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for petit larceny by Detective Fogus.
James Jankie was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Detective Friedrich.
Ramlocham Ramphal was arrested at 1605 Putnam Avenue for menacing by Officer Claybrooks.

Friday, Aug. 20
Melvin Cintron was arrested at 61-19 56th Avenue for criminal contempt by Officer Subbir.
Michael Perez was arrested at Cypress Hills Street and Cypress Avenue for driving while intoxicated by Office Troia.
Jennifer Graziano was arrested at 60-19 71st Avenue for felony assault by Detective Wright.
James Hershan was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for criminal contempt by Detective Fogus.
Ricardo Ruiz was arrested at 60-15 Eliot Avenue for criminal possession of a weapon by Officer Fitzalbert.
Tudor Pop was arrested at 61-21 Fresh Pond Road for criminal mischief by Officer Fitzalbert.

Saturday, Aug. 21
Marcus Whittington was arrested at 675 Seneca Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Officer Martinez.
Hector Esteban was arrested at 657 Onderdonk Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Officer Clemente.
Sandra Sosa was arrested at 657 Onderdonk Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Officer Clemente.
Kin McFee was arrested at 291 Onderdonk Avenue for felony assault by Officer Khan.
Stephen Davis was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Officer Foppiano.
Eury Rodriguez was arrested at 18 Charlotte Street for criminal contempt by Detective Golden.
Jampa Phuntsok was arrested at 80th Street and Juniper Boulevard South for driving while intoxicated by Officer Lamm.

Sunday, Aug. 22
Paola Mangandi was arrested at 1924 Stanhope Street for criminal contempt by Officer Prizeman.
Diego Guaypattin Cevallos was arrested at 60-47 Putnam Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Officer Rosalez.
Efren A. Garcia was arrested at 65th Place and Central Avenue for driving while intoxicated by Officer Feliciano.

“Life Interrupted,” a book dedicated to self reflection on life

Dr. Manu Dua, a renowned dentist based in Canada passed away this past March at the age of 34 and his sister Dr. Parul Dua Makkar published his book “Life Interrupted, Dr. Dua’s Life Interrupted.”

His book is about facing mortality and still holding on to hope and leaving life lessons behind.

“He wrote on things that he self-reflected on since he knew his days were numbered,” said Makkar. “He wrote about hope, about parents, about losing everything and what’s important at the end of life.” Dua wrote this book as a guide to help people who are facing adversities and how to get the emotional, inner strength to work through anything. 

Dua opened his dental practice in Calgary, Canada in 2016 from scratch which led him to be featured on the cover of Dentaltown magazine. He was inspired by his sister, Makkar to pursue a career in dentistry. He then received the diagnosis of oral cancer in August 2019 which was removed with surgery but shortly after recovery cancer reappeared in the lymph nodes in his neck and it had metastasized in April 2020. By that time, Dua chose to close his practice.

“He was very candid about his cancer journey because he was a dentist,” said Makkar. “Although he had no risk factors such as smoking, drinking yet he developed oral cancer. He was healthy and in the prime of his life”

He had endured a second surgery for his lymph nodes and received chemotherapy and radiation in the following months. The doctors then found another lesion in his chest which started very small and was given chemotherapy and radiation for treatment as well. 

After his 34th birthday on June 27, 2020, Dua finished his chemotherapy in July, and in November he had received the news that the chest lesion grew 4 times in size. In September 2020, Dua had begun writing his book about his journey.

“I just wrote an article on preventable cancers like this with early diagnosis, getting the HPV vaccine, and getting regular dental checkups,” said Makkar. “Cancer just doesn’t affect the person suffering but the village around him/her.”

Makkar owns her own family dental practice PDM Family Dental. 295 N Broadway,  Jericho,  NY,  11753. She advocates for early diagnosis with regular dental check-ups. To learn more or make appointments please visit or call 516-388-5002.

Dua’s book Life Interrupted, Dr. Dua’s Survival Guide is now available on Amazon. Makkar shared an excerpt from the chapter New Beginnings that she keeps in mind when she thinks of her brother, Manu.

“One of the most important things that I have learned during these turbulent and difficult times, is to accept the loss of control and continue to ride the wave day by day. The ability to just focus on each day and get through each day is imperative when your world collapses around you. I write this as I am in a hospital bed with one lung almost collapsed from fluid, and to be perfectly honest I have found my peace. I understand that every day is a new journey and I focus on getting through the days enjoying little victories and having complete faith that the future will unfold as it should and that my worries and anxieties are normal but fruitless and will not help me define a new path in life. What is imperative is inner peace and strength and truly believe that there will be a better life in this world or the next,” written by Dr. Manu Dua.

Lani Luv represents Queens in new music video

Lani Luv of Queens and Boujee Baby from Houston collaborated on a new hip-hop song “How We Do It.” They will be releasing the music video on August 12.

“In the music video we have a lot of landmarks throughout the city,” said Lani Luv. “For example, from Queens we included the A Tribe Called Quest mural, from Brooklyn we featured the Biggie Smalls mural, and for Manhattan we filmed at Times Square.”

The two young artists met on Instagram and it led to their collaboration. “I saw her music video, her style, and she is very versatile,” said the 12-year-old Lani Luv. “It was really fun to work with her.”

The song is infused with Lani Luv’s New York swag and the ten-year-old Boujee Baby’s Houston screw tones. The two launched a campaign on Instagram asking fans to sshare their own videos with the hashtag #howyoudoit

“The inspiration behind the song is to showcase how I do things especially since I am a kid rapper and there aren’t many out there,” said Lani Luv. Lani Luv has been rapping since she was seven years old. She is working on her first E.P.

“My biggest supporter is my family, but specifically my little sister and my mom,” Lani Luv.

Where will we find essential workers in the future?

Regarding the guest editorial on Essential Workers by Joseph A. Colangelo last week – the fact that the city administration ignored the contributions of trade-workers in the pandemic recovery is merely a symptom of a much larger problem our society faces: the systematic destruction of our nation’s once-great trade-education system resulting in many people today believing that the trades don’t deserve respect. Where does this attitude come from?

School systems across the country have disbanded and defunded training programs in automotive, electrical, and other trades for decades. The attitude among many school administrators is that the trades are not valuable or respectable careers for students. Most counselors and teachers discourage good students from taking shop classes, and direct only “inferior” students to such programs. They are under the misconception that all high school grads must go directly to college or else they have failed. This thinking is completely wrong, but so prevalent that most parents have been brainwashed into believing it and push their children to go to college even if they are not motivated or prepared to do so. The result: half fail out. 

Many young people possess the aptitude to pursue successful careers in the trades but are discouraged by the system. With proper training, those with the skills and necessary work ethic will achieve higher-paying jobs than do average college graduates. This fact directly contradicts the prevailing wisdom that has infected our educational system, which results in failing students who have no marketable skills and are buried in debt. By contrast, graduates of a high school or post-secondary trade-training program can immediately earn salaries on a par with most graduates of four-year colleges and be earning while training. For example, new members of Mr. Colangelo’s union begin working with higher salaries than most bachelors-degree holders, and in a few years are earning more than many with graduate-degrees. Like many others, I’ve had the good fortune to acquire both trade-skills and college degrees. The two paths are not mutually exclusive, but ideal. It’s time for educators to grasp this fact.

Many economists and other thought leaders have recently written about the need for more skilled-trade workers in our economy, and we frequently reinforce this idea on The Autolab Radio Show. Fortunately, some are beginning to see the light – many students are now seeking out trade-education, and schools like Bronx Community College, where I teach, have recently invested in new training facilities. Unfortunately, many schools cannot meet the demand for trade-training today. School systems must immediately return skilled-trades training to the status and funding it deserves. Without skilled workers performing critical jobs, our modern economy cannot thrive. Where do the education professionals, who often earn less than do skilled tradesmen, think the workers needed to rebuild our infrastructure will come from? We must produce enough skilled workers, or our high-tech economy will not survive.

With great hope for the return of trade education . . . before it’s too late!

Mike Porcelli

Host, The Autolab Radio Show 

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