Team AOC to co-host virtual ICE workshop

Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday at 7 p.m., the campaign of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will co-host a workshop to educate and empower the community on their rights while engaging with ICE.

The #AbolishICE: Know Your Rights and Resisting ICE workshop will be led by Luba Cortes from Make the Road NY, Genia Blaser from Immigrant Defense Project, and Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, the Democratic nominee for Assembly District 34.

This is the third workshop in a series of events hosted by the campaign. Previous ones included topics like organizing a childcare collective and an eviction defense workshop.

The event will be streamed live on AOC’s Facebook page and YouTube.

Sunnyside Community Services distributes face masks in Woodside

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Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Community Services

Sunnyside Community Services is doing its part to serve the community during COVID-19.

Earlier this month, SCSNY set up a table outside the 61st Street Woodside station to pass out free face masks and information to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The effort was part of COVID-Free Queens, an awareness campaign led by Public Health Solutions.

Since July, SCSNY has distributed more than 3,500 free face masks throughout Sunnyside and Woodside.

Queens man sentenced to 12 years for rape in Sunnyside

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Matthew Luna, a 27-year-old man from Long Island City, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for pursuing and raping a woman after she got off a bus in Sunnyside in February 2019.

Luna pleaded guilty in January to rape in the first degree. He was given 12 years in prison, followed by 10 years’ post release supervision.

He also has to register as a sex offender.

“It was a vicious, violent act that should never happen on our streets,” Queens District Melinda Katz said. “My office will vigorously prosecute those who violate and victimize others.”

Luna boarded a city bus on the night of February 15, where he spotted the victim, a 20-year-old woman. He followed her when she exited the bus near 54th Street and Skillman Avenue.

He approached her and asked for directions to a nearby subway station. Luna then kept talking to her, telling her she was pretty and asking for a hug.

The victim then started backing away, and Luna grabbed her arms, struck her, shoved her against a parked car, ripped her clothes off from the wait down and sexually assaulted her.

He then threw her to the ground and raped her.

The victim was taken to a local hospital and treated for her injuries. After photos and a video circulated in the media, Luna surrendered himself to the police just three days later.

ACE expands cleaning route, days on Roosevelt Avenue

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ACE Programs for the Homeless is expanding their cleaning services for Woodside.

ACE workers, who can be seen in their bright red shirts, will now cover Roosevelt Avenue from 51st to 65th street.

They will up their cleaning services from four to six days a week, including a shift on Saturday and a shift on Sunday.

The increase in cleaning services is in response to the growth in trash along the high-traffic corridor.

Read more about it in this week’s LIC/Astoria Journal.

Two new Open Streets come to Sunnyside

With residents yearning for more open space in light of the pandemic, New York City has added two new blocks to the Open Streets program.

Last week, the city added 47th Street from 39th Avenue to Skillman Avenue, as well as 49th Street from 39th Avenue to Skillman Avenue, to the program.

Collectively, they represent a 0.38-mile stretch of new Open Streets, which bars car traffic in most cases, leaving it open for bikers, pedestrians and other users of the road.

The two blocks will be managed by the 39th Avenue Open Street Coalition.

Small basement fire breaks out in Sunnyside building

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UPDATE: According to the FDNY, four people, including a civilian and three firefighters, were taken to a local hospital. The incident was under control in two hours and 10 minutes.

 

A fire broke out in the basement of an apartment building at 45-45 46th Street in Sunnyside on Friday afternoon.

No one appeared to be injured. After just a few minutes, the fire seemed to be contained, though several dozen firefighters were on the scene for more than an hour.

As you can see from the photo above, the windows of the first floor and basement were broken.

Though some residents from nearby buildings were evacuated, it looked like some went to the roof to check out what was going on.

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It was unclear if the restaurant next door, Bistro Punta Sal, a Peruvian spot, was affected.

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Dozens of people were watching the firefighters at work just across the street. One man with an American flag-designed mask tossed two firefighters water bottles. Others applauded the firefighters for their work.

 

Acting BP Lee is accepting applications to join CEC 30

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Acting Borough President Sharon Lee is looking for two dedicated parent volunteers to fill two vacant positions on Community Education Council District 30.

Lee is accepting applications from education-minded individuals until Friday, August 7.

CEC 30, which includes Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Astoria and Long Island City, is responsible for advising and commenting on educational policies and providing input to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.

Each CEC oversees elementary and middle schools in their respective community school district. There are seven community school districts in Queens.

To read more about the role of CECs, click here.

CEC members meet for public meetings every month, and visit schools to see what their educational needs are. They also review the district’s educational programs, approve zoning lines, and submit a capital plan to the chancellor after holding public hearings.

The CEC membership application is available online here and can be returned by email to education@queensbp.org.

Bronx man charged with attempted murder on 7 train

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A Bronx man who allegedly stabbed two elderly people on the 7 train in Sunnyside was charged with attempted murder, among other crimes.

Queens District Attorney announced on Wednesday that 46-year-old Patrick Chambers from the Bronx was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in the hospital before a Queens Criminal Court judge.

Chambers is charged with attempted murder in the second degree, two counts of attempted assault, two counts of assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

He will return to court on August 14. If convicted, he faces up to 25 yers in prison.

AOC, Jamaal Bowman to host eviction defense workshop

Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Later this evening, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will join soon-to-be Congressman Jamaal Bowman and Housing Justice for All to host an eviction defense training for tenants looking to hold onto their homes.

Attendees will discuss ways families can protect themselves against evictions through “organized defense efforts and blockades.”

The lawmakers will also highlight the need for a universal eviction moratorium in New York through the end of 2020, and to cancel debt.

To register for the workshop, click here.

Van Bramer explains why he voted ‘no’ to the budget

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File photo

On Tuesday night, the New York City Council voted to pass the $88 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2021.

For weeks, advocates marching and protesting across the city have called for defunding the NYPD by at least $1 billion. The demonstrations have resulted in an occupation of City Hall Park, where activists called on the City Council to decrease the police budget significantly.

However, as City Council Speaker Corey Johnson later admitted, negotiations for the $1 billion in cuts fell short.

When the vote for the budget came, 37 members voted in favor, while 12 voted against. Sunnyside Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer was one of the no votes.

“The people have demanded a real $1 billion cut to the NYPD, but also a reimagining of public safety in this city,” he explained in a statement. “Sadly, the most historic part of this budget is how it fails to meet the moment.

“As a person who benefits from white privilege, I have a particular obligation to meet this moment and to use my power and privilege to end white supremacy and a police state that brutalizes black and brown bodies,” he added.

Van Bramer noted that over $350 million of the cut is through overtime reduction goals. However, he said based on history, the reduction is more of a “suggestion” because NYPD blows through overtime numbers.

The councilman added that the budget should have eliminated more cadet classes and actively reduced the headcount of uniformed officers.

On moving school safety officers out of the NYPD to the Department of Education budget, Van Bramer said those changes happen over two years, and does nothing for students who feel over-policed and criminalized.

“It’s not a cut,” he said. “We should have gone much further and invested more in education and programs that build up communities.”